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MONDAY, JULY 7

MACHETE MANIAC ON THE LOOSE! A machete-wielding nutjob attacks two teen girls at a bus stop near Campbell Avenue and Grant Road before speeding off in a white Dodge Intrepid. One of the girls is seriously injured.

THE FINAL REJECTION: Gov. Janet Napolitano issued her final vetoes of the 2008 legislative session. Napolitano vetoes five bills, including a bill that would have allowed people to transport firearms hidden in their vehicles without a concealed-weapons permit. Napolitano says that the bill "would have added to the level of uncertainty and danger law enforcement officers who make traffic stops already face in the line of duty. It would also deprive officers of the ability to confiscate concealed weapons from individuals who ignore the concealed-weapons laws in transit."


TUESDAY, JULY 8

STREET SCRAPE: After more than two decades of studying alternatives, the Tucson City Council approves the final (for now) downtown route for the Aviation Parkway. The new alignment will run a half-block north of Sixth Avenue, which will allow the city to preserve several historic warehouses. Residents in the nearby neighborhood complain that the new road, which will require the demolition of a handful of buildings, will disrupt their lives.


WEDNESDAY, JULY 9

BON VOYAGE: ExpressJet, which offered nonstop flights to multiple destinations from Tucson International Airport, announces that will end its branded service completely in September. A company spokeswoman tells the morning daily that fuel costs are forcing the carrier to cut back.


THURSDAY, JULY 10

NATION OF WHINERS: Arizona Sen. John McCain has to rebuke close pal Phil Gramm after the former Texas senator says Americans are a "nation of whiners" who don't realize how good they have it, because they are in a "mental recession."

McCain said he "strongly disagree(d)" with Gramm's assessment, which came in an interview with the Washington Times.

"America is in great difficulty, and we are experiencing economic challenges," McCain told the press.

NEW LITTLE HOBGOBLIN: Congratulations to Weekly contributor Jon Hobson, who welcomes new daughter Emma Renee Hobson into the world. Emma Renee Hobson, who is born at 9:50 p.m., weighs in at 7 pounds, 9 ounces and looks just as cute as a button in the photos.


FRIDAY, JULY 11

RENEWAL NOTICE: Republican Kris Mayes of the Arizona Corporation Commission says that half of the eight ACC candidates in the upcoming GOP primary would reverse the push to have energy companies generate a percentage of their power through renewable means such as solar energy. Mayes endorses four candidates in the race: Marian McClure, Bob Stump, Bob Robson and Barry Wong.


SATURDAY, JULY 12

MACHETE MADMAN NABBED? Police capture a man they suspect attacked the two girls with a machete earlier in the week when they bust Rickey F. Russell, 26. On this Saturday night, Russell attempts an unsuccessful robbery at knifepoint and then botches an effort to steal a car from a woman. A police helicopter spots his white Dodge Intrepid, and he is apprehended by ground forces. Police say Russell admitted owning a machete.


SUNDAY, JULY 13

A bus approaching the Nogales port of entry in the wee hours of the morning is nearly swallowed up by a sinkhole that opens on the Mexican side of the border following heavy rains. The bus is able to back up, and the passengers are able to walk across the border, but an SUV that tries to use the lane gets stuck in the hole. U.S. officials have to close the express SENTRI lane until the sinkhole, which measures 10 to 15 feet, can be repaired.

Heavy rains have also washed out a bridge on Highway 86 near Sells on the Tohono O'odham reservation, forcing drivers on the way to Ajo and Rocky Point to make a detour.


DATELINE MARS: WHAT'S UP WITH THE PHOENIX?

Scientists at the UA's Lunar and Planetary Lab have sent orders to the robotic arm aboard the Phoenix Mars Lander to enlarge the Snow White trench so they can get a better sample for delivery to the spacecraft's Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer.

The Phoenix team has to get the sample just right, because they are concerned that the TEGA, which cooks samples so their gases can be analyzed, could be disabled after the next test thanks to a short circuit. The oven, which has only been used once since the spacecraft landed on Mars' arctic plain over Memorial Day weekend, was designed to conduct eight tests.

The scientists have been working with a model of the lander at their Tucson headquarters to get a sense of how to best deliver the sample.

The LPL crew continues to examine other data that has been sent back by the spacecraft.

"The Phoenix science team is working diligently to analyze the results of the tests from these various instruments," says Peter Smith, who is the principal investigator with the Phoenix project.

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