Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year...
I'll be back tomorrow with Compelling Stories from papers around the state. If you haven't made plans I'll be at Aunt Chilada's to ring in the New Year... Hope to see you there!
If you know of any great parties not listed here or hear be sure to post them. Also any holiday horror stories like these feel free to post those as well.

A Truly Arizonian Thing to do...

I'm going to take a trip to the Salt River and watch water flow thru it this afternoon... I may even take some pictures... Sound strange to you. It's been 6 years since there was water flowing thru that river... This is an event for Zonies! Anyone have memories of bridge washouts on the river (1980 or was it 81 comes to mind... Mill Ave. was the only bridge that survived) feel free to post them here.

Consultants' campaign tactics probed

Shady politics in Arizona? I don't believe it! *wink*
East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona news for Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, ScottsdaleA half-dozen legislative candidates who knocked off Republican incumbents in September's primary election have two little-known political operatives from the East Valley to thank. Now, as those new lawmakers prepare to take their seats when the Legislature convenes in January, the two operatives are at the center of state investigations into possible voter disenfranchisement and violation of campaign finance laws. One of the new lawmakers could even face removal from office if found to have broken campaign laws. Constantin Querard and Chris Baker arguably affected the political bent of the next Legislature more than any other political figures. About half of their staunchly conservative candidates trounced moderate Republicans — lawmakers who had rebelled against GOP leadership to pass a budget written largely by Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano. As a result, this Legislature will be one of the most conservative in recent years, which means tax cuts, restricting access to abortion and immigration-related policies will get a higher priority. Querard and Baker helped to craft themes about low taxation, responsible education spending and immigration control that were repeated from campaign to campaign. But some losing candidates as well as Republican officials see Querard and Baker as shadowy conspirators willing to bend or break state election laws to win. They say the pair manipulated campaign records and hid expenditures to help their candidates win in tough races.

AHCCCS Director: Working Poor Could Strain Health Care System

Arizona Capitol Times "The state is becoming the 'default health insurer' for low-income workers, says AHCCCS Director Tony Rodgers. 'If employers, especially small businesses, feel that they can’t afford health insurance premiums for those employees, and their incomes would qualify them for AHCCCS, then there’s no disincentive for them not to have their people covered by AHCCCS,' he said."

Update: Searchers find bodies

Prescott Newspapers Online "PRESCOTT – With an apparent look of devastation on their faces,family and friends embraced Thursday after authorities recovered the body of the second canoeist who vanished into the rapid waters of Granite Creek a day earlier. 'Thank God that they found him,' said Cynthia Gianelli Williams, the stepmother of victim Brian Gianelli. 'There is nothing else I can say.'”

Arizona Night Life: Night Clubs & Parties

Arizona Night Life: Night Clubs & Parties This is a good list of parties around the state tonight...

Instapundit has an interesting blurb on Big Media and the Blogosphere

In honor of the Fiesta Bowl

Here's an account from a Salt Lake City Newspaper guy in the Valley for the Bowl game... It's pretty funny. | Folks in Arizona not bowl savvy PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — After a 14-month hiatus, the Rock Report was rolling — soaring, actually — right up until the security guard at Paradise Valley Mall said, "Sir. I'm going to have to ask you to leave." It lost steam after that. "I'm not selling anything. I'm conducting a poll for the newspaper in Salt Lake," the Rock Report explained. Pretty soon another security officer arrived. A regular Welcome Wagon. They whispered a minute. "I'm sorry. You're going to have to leave. It's policy," the first guard continued. "No news media allowed unless it's cleared by the management." The Rock Report is pretty sure he was lying but wasn't interested in finding out if mall security had a policy of conducting body cavity searches, too. The purpose of the latest Rock Report was to determine exactly how up to speed Arizonans are on the Utes and their bid to win the Fiesta Bowl. Answer: Not very. Unless Keith Urban actually is the coach, Joseph Smith the quarterback and Mele Kalikimaka the right guard. "What's the name of that team again?" said Elizabeth, of Phoenix. The Rock Report, by way of explanation, is a highly respected if somewhat unscientific poll. It normally involves interviewing 10 people on a given subject. Thanks to the security staff at Paradise Valley Mall, this time the poll included just seven.

Regents could set tuition by major

How stupid is this idea... or is it? Perhaps prospective teachers and nurses could have deeply discounted or even free tuition because of the shortages in those areas? I guess then we would have to charge law students and engineers... and general studies majors double or triple what we charge now. Interesting...
Regents could set tuition by major | The Arizona Daily Star �: Arizona's university students will be paying more in tuition next year, but how much will depend on a variety of factors, including their institution and possibly - for the first time - their major. 'We may consider differential tuition with the colleges within a single university,' said Gary Stuart, Arizona Board of Regents president. He said he did not know whether the regents would ever approve that concept, but this will be the first time it will be discussed and analyzed. After two years of consecutive increases that boosted tuition more than 50 percent at the state's three universities, the regents are considering a variety of ideas to help pay for higher education in one of the nation's fastest-growing states. An idea proposed by Tucson Regent Fred Boice would ensure that tuition increased by a predictable amount over four years for each freshman class. That would help families budget the education costs, he said, and give students an incentive to earn their degree in four years.

Update: Mohave County employee is safe in Thailand

Mohave Valley News: News Column: "KINGMAN -- A Mohave County employee and his family vacationing in Thailand during Sunday's deadly earthquake and tsunamis is safe. Kingman resident Greg Laporta and his parents, Andrew and Joanne Laporta, also of Kingman, traveled to Thailand for Laporta's wedding to a Thai woman, Bunnada Kongrach, several days before Christmas. Laporta and his family left Kingman Dec. 20. The wedding took place two days later. An earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale struck the region Sunday just off the northwestern coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. As of Thursday, the death toll from the tidal waves, or tsunamis, which swamped coastal villages and tourist resorts, is more than 117,000 people from 12 countries from Sri Lanka to Thailand. That number will likely rise. Mike Matthews, director of the county's information technology department said Laporta called him Wednesday night to confirm that they were in Bangkok, Thailand's capital, and not near the hardest hit tourist destinations on the western coast of that country."

Parents kidnap 2 kids from Arizonia Child Protective Services

I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often... by the way, how does this happen during a supervised visit?
Americas Amber Alert Center - Parents kidnap 2 kids from Arizonia Media Alert: "Americas Amber Alert News Center(S.Tucson AZ USA)TAA-- South Tucson police are searching for two children who were kidnapped Thursday from Child Protective Services by their parents. An Amber Alert wasn't issued for the 6-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl because the incident didn't meet the criteria of imminent danger, said Officer Ed Little. Still, the children may be in danger. 'When it's a kidnapping, nobody knows,' he said. 'We all hate to assume.'" Angel Jacobo and Nataly Queira Reyna were taken from a scheduled supervised visit with their parents at the CPS facility at 2750 S. Fourth Ave., Little said. The kidnapping occurred between 11 a.m. and 12:35 p.m.

Austin students win contest days after bandmate dies "Just two days after their bandmate collapsed during practice in Phoenix and died of a heart attack, Austin's Bowie High School Band won the Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship in Arizona. The 280-member band edged Homestead High School of Fort Wayne, Ind., for the win Thursday. The students felt strongly about staying in the competition, hoping that their best effort would pay tribute to sophomore xylophonist Robert Michael Plumlee, Principal Kent Ewing said. 'These are awesome kids,' he said. 'They are very excited. It's very emotional also at this point.'"

Border Problem? What Border Problem?

This is why a bill like Proposition 200 was able to pass here!
Arizona tops entrant busts Arizona tops entrant busts | The Arizona Daily Star �: More illegal entrants were caught along the Arizona-Mexico border this year than in California, New Mexico and Texas combined, officials said. While Arizona has been known to be the busiest crossing point for illegal immigration for the past seven years, the new high in the number of people captured in the Border Patrol's Tucson and Yuma sectors accounted for about half of all of the agency's apprehensions along the border with Mexico. Arizona's trend to No. 1 in the Border Patrol's apprehension rate appears to be on track to continue next year. Since the Oct. 1 beginning of the agency's fiscal year, there have been 97,731 apprehensions in Arizona. That's more than half of the Border Patrol's 186,713 apprehensions all along the Mexican border. Record pot seizures in state likely Record pot seizures in state likely: TUCSON - In the peak of harvest season for marijuana, federal agents along the Arizona-Mexico border are predicting another record year for pot seizures, which have skyrocketed more than 440 percent during the past decade. Agents patrolling Arizona's border and inspecting cargo at the six ports of entry intercepted more than 168,000 pounds of marijuana since Oct. 1, the start of the federal fiscal year. Last year, agents in southern Arizona confiscated a record amount of pot: more than 400 tons all told. That's greater than the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tom Peyer has a post on Arizona Billboards

Arizona Billboards


Note the Pray for Tucson... I wonder if they've been stuck in traffic there?

Special-edition Lotus Elise on the block at Barrett-Jackson

How come I didn't get this for Christmas? You know, my birthday is coming up... (hint, hint)
Special-edition Lotus Elise on the block at Barrett-Jackson - 2004-12-30 - The Business Journal of Phoenix: A special 2005 Lotus Elise created for the Barrett-Jackson Auction will be unveiled Jan. 5, 2005, at the Los Angeles International Auto Show before being auctioned off in Scottsdale later in the month. "The Lotus Elise is one of the most exciting and desirable sports cars in the world," said Craig Jackson, president of Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. "We're honored that Lotus and U.S. dealer Park Place would create a one-off 'Barrett-Jackson' edition. With the 2005 Lotus offered at no reserve, this is a chance for someone languishing on a waiting list to instantly own an Elise." The Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction at Scottsdale's WestWorld will be held Jan. 25-30, with 900-plus cars scheduled to be auctioned off. The 190-horsepower Elise is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox inside a chassis made of bonded and extruded aluminum. Weighing less than 2,000 pounds, the Elise zips from 0 to 60 mph in under five seconds. Manufacturer's suggested retail price for an Elise begins at $40,930; the Barrett-Jackson Edition model includes a special interior, graphics, speed gear and other amenities.

New Years Preparation- Required Reading

In honor of New Years and my own planned self-destruction, I thought it would be fun to take a spin on the web in search of hangover cures.

Before I go any further, and without implying anything, alot of what I found came from the UK and Ireland. That said there are some interesting cures out there… Most are crap but their worth a chuckle. By the way, in this list is one tested cure (and one that is obviously a perfect preventative); I don’t want to spoil it so I’ll wait until the end to clue you in.

Voodoo Cure

Sticking 13 needles in the cork of the wine bottle is reputed to head off a hangover. Probably because by the time you find the needles and get coordinated enough to stick them into the cork, you've given your body a chance to recover! This remedy has a variation where the ashes of a cigar are dropped into a beer bottle. (Not recommended in nonsmoking areas)

Prickly Pear

Apparently, the latest answer is to use the skin of the prickly pear cactus. It significantly reduces the body’s inflammatory reaction to alcohol, thereby reducing the severity of hangover symptoms such as headache and nausea, they say.

Gerry from Belfast said:

[In addition,] as the prickly pear cactus is in abundance throughout the island of Ireland, it seems inevitable that thousands of us will be ditching a cooked breakfast on New Year's Day in favour of this new miracle hangover cure. Talk about an irrelevant news story...


Have a hot bath and drink two pints of Vimto on ice. The Vimto keeps your head cool so your body sweats out all the booze. You have to start by kneeling up in the bath then gradually immersing the rest of your body” – Cold Feet star John Thomson’s hangover cure.

Volcanic hangover cure

A hangover cure based on volcanic dust may soon be on the shop shelves, according to a UK company.

A West Sussex firm wants to start clinical trials of the mineral. It claims the pills, which can already be bought over the internet, absorb toxins from alcohol "like Velcro".

Burnt Toast with Honey

Fructose, found in many fruit juices, helps the body burn alcohol faster. Consuming food high in fructose is beneficial, both before and after an evening of excessive alcohol. "Honey has the highest concentration of fructose. …spread some honey on toast." Eating honey on toast can double your benefits, as long as the toast is burnt. Burnt toast has a small amount of carbon, the same ingredient found in the hangover pills, which can absorb the impurities in alcohol.

Until hangover cure is found, drink less booze, more water

Remedy is elusive: Purported aids range from the prickly pear to a big, greasy breakfast, but researching a "magic pill" brings some ethical headaches, too

Party Poopers!

The perfect cure of course is not to drink. The studied one is the Prickly Pear extract. Apparently, you can get it in health food stores.

What is your hangover cure?

NAU grad survives tsunami while rock climbing

NAU grad survives tsunami while rock climbing: "'What is that, a tsunami?' That sarcastic question would soon have fateful consequences for Matt Engbring, a Flagstaff resident who was rock-climbing at a beach in southern Thailand on Sunday when an earthquake-spawned tidal wave hit without warning. Engbring, 24, was climbing with friends when they heard a large rumbling noise. After making the flip comment, he ran to the beach and started shooting photos of the oncoming wave, not realizing how gigantic it was."

Camper's body found near Fountain Hills, believed flooding victim

Camper's body found near Fountain Hills, believed flooding victim: "Authorities say flooding on the Verde River may have claimed the life of a camper in the Needle Rock Recreation Area near Fountain Hills. A body was found on the soggy grounds shortly before noon Thursday, according to a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman. Remnants of a campsite were located nearby."

Salt River will have flowing water for 1st time in years in Valley

Salt River will have flowing water for 1st time in years in Valley: "Heavy storm runoff will force the Salt River Project to release water from two of its reservoirs and send it flowing across the Valley through the normally dry Salt River bed for the first time in almost seven years. The result will be something never before seen: water spilling over the top of the two inflatable rubber dams used to form Tempe Town Lake in the river bottom. The river flow likely will reach the lake early Saturday, SRP officials said. Water will spill over the top of the upstream dam first and then over the downstream side. The dams were built to handle flood runoff, but engineers will watch them closely and could partly deflate them, if needed. Town Lake was filled in 1999; the last time any water flowed through the Valley in the Salt River was March 1998."

Body of canoeist found; flooding forces evacuations

Body of canoeist found; flooding forces evacuations: "SEDONA - Authorities on Thursday recovered the body of the first of two men believed to have drowned after their canoe capsized in rain-swollen Granite Creek in Prescott on Wednesday. The other man is still missing, and the search continues. The first man's body was found on Yavapai Prescott Tribe land about halfway between Sundog Ranch Road and the U.S. 89 bridge near the Veterans Administration Hospital."

Cards as good as Bucs, but forget the confetti

Cards as good as Bucs, but forget the confetti: "Two years ago, the Cardinals would have been thrilled to hear they would soon be on equal footing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Well, now they are, and it's certainly not because of anything the Cardinals have done. The Buccaneers have regressed, sliding from winning Super Bowl XXXVII to this year's 5-10 record, which they share with the Cardinals, their opponent Sunday at Sun Devil Stadium."

D-Backs may get Vazquez for Unit

D-Backs may get Vazquez for Unit: "The Big Apple may celebrate the New Year without the Big Unit, but New York Yankees fans may not have to wait much longer. The Yankees and Diamondbacks are still working on a trade that may not be completed until next week. Earlier this month, the Diamondbacks and Randy Johnson talked about finalizing a trade by the end of December. With two days left in 2004, Diamondbacks Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick said Wednesday that the organization is still working with that general timetable. Kendrick said the time frame remained the same, but it wasn't firm."

This is news?

Slightly Off Center picked up on something good out of Tucson:
This is news? - Slightly Off Center: "It must be an incredibly slow news day in Tucson. C.J. Karamargin, Political Reporter for Tucson's largest paper, the Arizona Daily Star, is reporting on what the Google hit counts of what prominent Arizona politicians are. Just when you think that you can only find boring and irrelevant political information here at Slightly Off Center, we discover there are more outlets out there for your perusal."

ABC News: West Coast Storms Leave 7 Dead, 2 Missing

ABC News: West Coast Storms Leave 7 Dead, 2 Missing: "A slow-rolling series of storms that battered much of the West this week had more punishment in store for California, where weather-weary residents have already endured lashing rain, heavy snowfall and a destructive tornado. Since the wild weather began slogging ashore Monday, five deaths in California and two in Colorado have been blamed on storms. Two canoers were missing in Arizona."

Therapist Arrested for Having Sexual Relationship with Teenage Patient

KGUN 9 News: "A Tucson mental-health counselor is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old patient. 42-year-old Richard Giberti is charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor. Sheriff's deputies say Giberti started counseling the girl in February of 2003. Detectives say the relationship went from professional--- to sexual. Richard Giberti is a married man with children. He is licensed as a professional counselor and a substance abuse counselor. Until now, the therapist had a clean record."

Builder cements plans for homes

Builder cements plans for homes: "Dave Keller is building what is apparently the Valley's first subdivision of concrete homes in decades. The concrete increases energy efficiency and makes the homes quieter and resistant to termites, mold and fire. The subdivision, Sunset Trails IV at 40th Avenue and Lone Cactus Drive in northwest Phoenix, will contain 34 homes of 3,000 to 4,000 square feet, including full finished basements and inside and outside concrete walls, selling for $115 to $120 a square foot. 'That's comparable with 2-by-6 (wood frame) construction prices,' Keller said. 'This is the only development in the Valley to my knowledge where the entire subdivision is all concrete homes.' Decades ago, houses in the Maryvale neighborhood were built of concrete blocks, and some newer custom homes have been built with concrete walls. But Keller said his will be the first all-concrete subdivision."

This is the kind of senseless vandalism that drives me nuts!

Mohave Valley News: News Column: "KINGMAN -- A rash of broken windows plagued Kingman car owners Tuesday night just as a powerful winter storm rolled into the area. The Kingman Police Department reported suspects smashed the windows of 14 cars at several locations in town, KPD Capt. Larry McGill said. The criminal damage occurred in the general area south of Interstate 40 and west of Stockton Hill Road including Gates, Pacific and Golden Gate avenues."

Snowy season brings benefits to ski resorts, businesses > News: "PHOENIX (AP) -- After years of crippling drought, steady winter snowstorms have brought Arizona its best ski season in recent years, allowing ski resorts to open early while boosting sales for winter sports businesses. With the forecast calling for snow showers through the weekend and snow storms next week, skiers and snowboarders will likely see a white winter beyond the holidays. 'We've had a good winter so far, there is snow in the right places and people are happy,' said David Eichler, a spokesman for the Arizona Office of Tourism. This season to date, Flagstaff has received 37 inches of snow, compared to 1.2 inches of snow for the same time last season, said Ben Peterson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. Last year's lackluster ski season caused the" | 2004-'05 New Year's Eve Guide

It's worth a look, I know where I'll be, and it's not on the list. I'll be at Aunt Chilada's in The Point at Squaw Peak... | 2004-'05 New Year's Eve Guide | 2004-12-30: "If your idea of a fun New Year's Eve consists of sitting at home in front of the TV and doing shots of Tequila Rose while watching the ball drop in Times Square, consider this: Those poor East Coast bastards are freezing their buns off, and there are plenty of hot New Year's events right here in the Valley of the Sun. The following is a select listing of parties, dinners and events happening around the Valley on Friday, December 31, and Saturday, January 1, so you can take your pick of places to sing 'Auld Lang Syne.' All events are subject to change. Call the venue to confirm details."

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Arizonians Caught in the Tsunami- Reports from around the state.

Mohave Valley News: News Column: "KINGMAN -- Whether a Mohave County employee and his family were affected by Sunday's earthquake and tsunamis remains a mystery. An earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale struck the region off the northwestern coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. As of Tuesday, tidal waves -- or tsunamis -- killed more than 52,000 people from 11 countries from Sri Lanka to Thailand where Kingman resident Greg Laporta and his wife were honeymooning. The Thai government reported Tuesday more than 1,500 people have been killed by the tsunamis in that country. Of that, more than 700 Western tourists have been killed at vacation destinations along Thailand�s western coast of the Indian Ocean. Laporta left Kingman Dec. 20 to travel to Thailand to marry a Thai woman, Bunnada Kongrach. The wedding date was reportedly Dec. 22. Joining him on the trip were his parents, Andrew and Joanne Laporta also of Kingman, according to Mike Matthews, director of the county's information technology department. Andrew Laporta reportedly is a science teacher at the Eagle Academy in Golden Valley. Phone calls to the school as well as to Laporta's residence went unanswered."
City woman among dead in Sri Lanka | The Arizona Daily Star �: "A Tucson woman, vacationing with her family in Sri Lanka, was among the tens of thousands of people killed Sunday by the massive, earthquake-triggered tsunamis. Her death and the growing natural disaster affecting their homeland and at least nine other Asian and East African countries have stunned the small Sri Lankan community in Tucson. Soma Madawela, a Sri Lankan who returned to her homeland with her husband and son last month for a trip around the country, drowned in the waves that crashed into the country's eastern coast, friends in Tucson said. The news of her death traveled quickly through the 25 families that make up Tucson's Sri Lankan community. The U.S. State Department released a statement that 12 U.S. citizens had died in the disaster and hundreds more were missing Tuesday night."
Prescott Newspapers Online"A Prescott woman who traveled to Thailand before an earthquake and tsunami ravaged the region this week is unharmed, her son said Tuesday. Matt Condie, a freshman at Yavapai College, said his mother, Marlys Tanner, called him at around midnight Monday to say that she was OK, and spoke to him for about an hour. Condie added that his mother said she was staying in a house with a family friend on the island of Phuket a few miles inland when the tidal wave struck on Sunday. “She said all the tourists there left,” Condie said. “She is working on one of her books and she is basically just hanging out.” Condie, who works in a Prescott motel, said that Tanner, who is retired, was planning to travel to Malaysia Tuesday to extend her visa and return to Thailand later that day. He added that the natural disaster, which has claimed more than 52,000 lives, will not alter her plans to stay in Thailand until her return flight Feb. 18."

What is one hundred thousand?

I was trying to get a grasp of One Hundred Thousand. I've been reading that that is the minimum for the number killed from the Tsunami. It's a pretty hard thing to grasp, but I'll give it a try. Sun Devil Stadium holds 73,521 for football. The MegaPenny Project says One Hundred Thousand Pennies is just over 2 square feet of pennies, or stacked 512 feet. The stadium at ASU is approximately 122 feet from the playing field to the top of the bleachers. The pennies would stack just over 4 times as high as the stadium. Click here for more interesting Perspective from Arizona.

Anil's Doublespeak has some more resources on providing Tsunami Help

Anil's Doublespeak:
* Google has a special page setup with a list of charities. * Benjamin Rosenbaum has collected ratings of the charities mentioned in Google's list and on Tsunamihelp. * You can now donate to the American Red Cross through Amazon. Nearly $3 million has been collected through Amazon so far.

The Payson Roundup: Zane Grey Cabin on-target for spring debut at Green Valley Park

Can it ever really be the same?
The Payson Roundup: Zane Grey Cabin on-target for spring debut at Green Valley Park: It may not be the original location, but the Zane Grey cabin is rising from the ashes of the Dude Fire that consumed it more than 14 years ago. Progress on the reconstruction of the cabin next to the Rim Country Museum in Green Valley Park has been steady, if not spectacular, Dick Wolfe, president of the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation reported. 'The foundation is complete,' Wolfe said. 'The foundation for the chimney and fireplace is also built.' Construction has slowed of late because contractors have been busy on other projects. 'That's good for them and the economy, but not for us,' Wolfe said. 'But we hope to start on the chimney and fireplace next week, and once that's done the framing will go very quickly.' Wolfe hopes to have the cabin complete sometime next spring. So far the cabin foundation has raised $122,000 to rebuild the cabin, with a total projected cost of $170,000. The famous Western novelist's cabin was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, and by the 1980s it was attracting 20,000 visitors a year. Grey, who penned more than 60 Western novels, spent each fall at the cabin during the 1920s. He set 24 of his books in Arizona; half of those were in the Rim country. Among the novelist's works are 'Riders of the Purple Sage,' 'Call of the Canyon,' 'To the Last Man' and 'Vanishing American.'

Crime fighting takes a hit on the Navajo Reservation

Independent - December 28, 2004: Crime fighting takes a hitWINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation Law Enforcement, Corrections and Criminal Investigations are projecting a combined shortfall of $4.8 million in Fiscal Year 2005, according to Samson Cowboy, director for the Division of Public Safety. Also, Tuba City Jail is on the verge of closing, Hope MacDonald-Lonetree, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said during Monday's meeting. Still worse, the committee has learned that all of the Navajo Nation's jails were built by the tribe and not the Bureau of Indian Affairs as previously thought. MacDonald-Lonetree said the Navajo Department of Justice will would look into the contract with BIA and figure out whether there are any options available to the Nation under the current contract. All six of the detention centers need major renovation. And though no one knows quite how it happened, the Navajo Nation has been left out of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Fiscal Year 2006 detention facilities budget request for appropriations from Congress, MacDonald-Lonetree said.

Tonto Apache Tribe creates court of appeals

The Payson Roundup: Tribe creates court of appeals: "The Tonto Apache Tribal court has operated without their own court of appeals until now when the tribe's population growth has dictated the need for a more sophisticated judicial system. 'It's like 20 years ago when Payson didn't have stoplights,' said tribal council Chairman, Ivan Smith. 'We didn't need them then, but we need them now.' Smith and the tribal council appointed three men to hear upcoming appeals. The judges, Thomas Zlaket, former Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court; Jesse Filkins, former Maricopa County Superior Court Judge; and former Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Kevin Gover, will begin hearing appeals in November."

Property rights advocate sees difference in Tempe

Here we go again, should condemnation be used to transfer property from private landholders to private landholders?
East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona news for Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, ScottsdaleTom Liddy, one of the attorneys who successfully defended Randy Bailey against Mesa’s attempts to take his brake shop for economic development, is now defending the use of condemnation in neighboring Tempe. The conservative talkshow host and chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party has been hired to represent the developers of the planned Tempe Marketplace. If Miravista Holdings and Vestar are unable to broker private deals with landowners refusing to sell their property for the $200 million project, they could ask the city to step in and take the property. Liddy, former executive director of the Institute for Justice’s Arizona Chapter, said there was a stark difference between Bailey’s Brake Shop and the planned Marketplace. The institute, a Washington D.C.-based law firm, is a major advocate for the protection of civil liberties and private property rights and helped bring national news media attention to Bailey’s fight against Mesa. "There is clearly a public benefit here where there was none in the Bailey case," Liddy said. He said there are three areas where the public stands to benefit from taking the property. First, after assembling the properties, Liddy said the developers could complete a major environmental cleanup of the area. It would prevent further contamination of an area that is exposing business owners and their employees to poisonous gases such as methane. Environmental studies show there are a number of properties that have been contaminated by hazardous waste, including the site of a former Tempe dump. However many of the remaining property owners dispute the extent of contamination. Second, Liddy said relocating the businesses would improve safety conditions for employees working in the area. For example, he said there are not enough hydrants to offer adequate fire protection. There is only one hydrant on the 200-acre site, said Deems Shepard, a senior fire inspector for the Tempe Fire Department. The area, which which was annexed in 1999, does not meet the city’s fire hydrant code, Shepard said. Third, Liddy said the public would benefit from redeveloping a "blighted" area. However, Bailey disagreed with the popular talk-show host, saying the public does not benefit when cities take private property and give it to developers. Bailey, who has been speaking with a number of the Tempe holdouts, said that he was very surprised to learn that Liddy is supporting the use of eminent domain. "I don’t support transferring private property to private owners," he said.

Cox raises basic cable rate

Cox raises basic cable rate - 2004-12-29 - The Business Journal of Phoenix: "Cox Communications Inc. is raising its basic cable rate by $2 in response to higher operating and programming costs. The cost of Cox's 22-channel basic service will increase to $17.95 a month from $15.95 beginning Feb. 15. The Cox 'Classic' package will increase to $39.95 a month from $37.95 and there also will be a 95-cent increase in the monthly cost of premium channel packages like Showtime and HBO. Cox, the largest cable provider in Arizona, has about 2 million customers and the rate increase, the first one in three years, is expected to affect the majority of them, but in varying ways. Cox Arizona Vice President Ivan Johnson said customers who subscribe to the company's bundled service -- cable, high-speed Internet and telephone -- won't have their rates increased."

Sedona evacuated as Oak Creek rises

East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona news for Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale: "SEDONA- At least 300 people were being evacuated in the Sedona area today after a winter storm caused Oak Creek water levels to rise 11 feet overnight. By mid-morning about 50 people had been taken to a shelter. More were expected to be sent there as the storm that first hit California worked its way across Arizona Wednesday. People living in low lying areas closest to the creek were being urged to evacuate, said Matt Shobert, Sedona fire district deputy chief. Minor flooding was reported in some homes. Heavy rain over the area led the water in Oak Creek to rise from about 3 feet to 14 feet by mid-morning Wednesday. It was expected to crest at higher levels. Runoff could cause flash flooding elsewhere and prompt more evacuations in the tourist community known for its prominent red rock features, officials warned. Rain water was also causing some canyon walls to collapse in Oak Creek Canyon, making it unsafe for even emergency crews. A 14-miles section of State Road 89A, which runs between Sedona and Flagstaff, was closed, said Department of Public Safety officials. It was unclear how soon it might reopen."

Slim Fast Foods closes Tucson plant

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV Knoxville, TN: Slim Fast Foods closes Tucson plant: "TUCSON Slim-Fast Foods has closed its two-year-old plant in Arizona after a deal promising seven (m) million dollars in tax incentives fell through yesterday. Plant manager Jeff Juneau (JOON'-oh) says the company's other plant in Covington, Tennessee, can meet demand for the diet products the company makes."

Jerrry Orbach Leaves Us

One of my favorites on the show... Read about his career here.
The Moderate Voice: Jerrry Orbach Leaves Us: Veteran character actor Jerry Orbach, best known for his role in Law & Order has died of prostate cancer at age 69. He was a star of stage, screen, TV and even cartoons (Beauty and the Beast: he sung 'Be Our Guest') for many years. You can hear him on the original cast album of the classic off-Broadway musical The Fantastics. Orbach was on Law & Order (the modern day descendent of the old TV show Dragnet) for 12 years and recently left the show and was to start in a spin-off 'Law & Order: Trial by Jury' that was to have debuted on NBC in the fall. One of acting's all-around best.

Your Lesson For The Day

Here's a handy formula you may want to write down: Finger food + Tabasco sauce + itchy eye = Danger. Very very danger. You may want to stick it on your refrigerator to remind yourself. I know I will.(from Deans World)
Which reminds me of another lesson: Here in the Southwest many of us follow the tradition of buying large quantities of green chili every fall. To process the chili for use throughout the year, the pods are roasted (usually at the point of sale) in large wire mesh drums that rotate over a propane flame (to me this is the best smell of autumn). The chili is next dumped into plastic garbage bags and taken home. We generally let the chili rest in the plastic for several hours. The next step is to bag the chili into usable amounts and then freeze them (we double bag in quart zip-locks; single bagging tends to leak when thawed). Depending on how much you buy, this can be pretty time consuming. Not only do you have to be careful not to scratch your eyes, it's best to wear gloves to keep your hands from burning (not from heat but from the chili).

Update- The Page Unified School District has been in an unusual state of flux recently

Lake Powell Chronicle Online Page Unified School District officially cut its ties with Greg Conway on Dec. 22 as it agreed to a severance package of more than $55,000 in exchange for Conway’s immediate resignation as the district’s superintendent. After a two-hour meeting behind closed doors, PUSD’s governing board announced the settlement in open meeting. While there had been very little discussed in previous meetings, board member Dale Tsosie spoke on the matter last week. Reading from a prepared statement, Tsosie explained that the agreement releases the district and Conway from any liability, but the district is still compelled to respond with any government agency that decides to review matters pertaining to the superintendent.
See previous story here.

Arizona now 2nd fastest growing state

Arizona now 2nd fastest growing state"In a single year, Arizona jumped from being the fourth to being the second fastest growing state in the nation, eclipsed only by Nevada, according to estimates released Dec. 20 by the U.S. Census Bureau. The bureau’s latest ranking of the 10 fastest growing states includes three other western states — Idaho (fourth), Utah (seventh) and New Mexico (10th) — and five southern or coastal states: Florida (third), Georgia (fifth), Texas (sixth), Delaware (eighth) and North Carolina (ninth). North Carolina and New Mexico replaced California and Hawaii on the list of the fastest growing states."

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami: "The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami The SEA-EAT blog for short News and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts." (Republished)

Hayworth didn't report value of skybox gifts

Hayworth didn't report value of skybox gifts: "U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth's campaign committee failed five times to disclose that a lobbyist or his Indian tribe clients provided sports skyboxes used by the Arizona congressman for political fund-raisers several years ago. Hayworth's chief of staff, Joe Eule, said this week that Hayworth thought the boxes, used as an enjoyable setting for donors to gather and give financial support, were turned over to the congressman by two tribes, not a lobbyist now under federal investigation. Eule said that neither he nor Hayworth had any contact with lobbyist Jack Abramoff regarding the skyboxes and that Hayworth had met Abramoff only once or twice elsewhere."

Ariz. pastor held in Fla. sex counts

Ariz. pastor held in Fla. sex counts: "A Douglas pastor has been arrested in the reputed molestation of a 6-year-old Florida boy in 1996 and admitted to sexually abusing children in North Carolina and Michigan, authorities said Tuesday. Robert Armand Enerson, 54, was booked into Cochise County Jail on Monday night on three charges of lewd assault on a child, said Lt. Carlos Guido Jr., a Douglas Police Department spokesman. Enerson, a pastor at the First Assembly of God in Douglas for two years, will be jailed pending extradition to Polk County, Fla., authorities said. 'Obviously we're continuing the investigation to see if there are additional victims,' Guido said."

Band student dies after practice

Band student dies after practice: "A Texas high school band member rehearsing for performances in this week's Fiesta Bowl events collapsed Tuesday morning during drills at Phoenix's Central High School and died a short time later, authorities said. Robert Michael Plumlee, 15, who was believed to have suffered a heart attack, was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center shortly after collapsing about 9:15 a.m., investigators said. Plumlee, a sophomore xylophonist with the James Bowie High School Outdoor Performing Ensemble in Austin, was preparing to appear at Tuesday night's Insight Bowl at Bank One Ballpark and at Friday's Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade. The ensemble also was scheduled to compete against 13 bands in a national championship on Thursday."

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Suns streak ends... but you have to love the way this season is going!

East Valley Tribune: "Tony Parker scored a season-high 29 points in just 30 minutes, and San Antonio shot 52 percent in a 115-94 victory that ended Phoenix's 11-game winning streak and amplified the ongoing chatter over just how good the Suns really are. 'They just kicked our butts,' said Suns point guard Steve Nash, who scored all 12 of his points in the first quarter. 'Maybe that's good for this team, to face a tough challenge like this. ... We can make this a turning point in our season. We can learn that we are not a finished product.' Phoenix's full-throttle offense - the league's most productive at nearly 110 points per game - was ground to a near-halt by the Spurs' defense - the NBA's stingiest, giving up an average of 85 points per game. The Suns, with an NBA-best 24-4 record, didn't break 20 points in the second and third quarters, and trailed at one point by 31. 'Everybody understood that defense is what was going to do it for us,' said the Spurs' Bruce Bowen. 'We know they can score points, but let's see what they can do against hands being in their face on contested shots.'"

BIA superintendent bumped after disputes with Tribal Council

WMICentral: "WHITERIVER - Fort Apache Agency Superintendent Ben Nuvamsa was notified Dec. 13 of his transfer to another Bureau of Indian Affairs agency in Pima. Nuvamsa has been the BIA superintendent in Whiteriver for 16 years, but has had differences with the present tribal administration over federal '638 contracts and other financial matters. The '638 contracts involve federal funding that is managed by tribal entities. Nuvamsa alleges the tribe owes the federal government more than $13 million, $9.4 million to the BIA."

New observations rule out asteroid Earth impact in 2029

Even though it was supposed to be on Friday the 13th... Amazing (see origional post here)!!!
AP Wire | 12/28/2004 | New observations rule out asteroid Earth impact in 2029: PASADENA, Calif. - Additional observations of asteroid 2004 MN4 have ruled out the possibility it could hit Earth in 2029, NASA scientists said. Based on observations in June and again this month, the big asteroid last week was given a small chance of impacting Earth on April 13 of that year, although the Near Earth Object Program Office at Jet Propulsion Laboratory said it was likely that a collision would be ruled out as more information was learned about its orbit. Astronomers then began independent efforts to find earlier observations of the asteroid. Jeff Larsen and Anne Descour of the Spacewatch Observatory near Tucson, Ariz., found faint pictures of the asteroid in archival images dating to March 15, the NEO office said in a statement posted on its Web site this week. 'These observations extended the observed time interval for this asteroid by three months allowing an improvement in its orbit so that an Earth impact on 13 April 2029 can now be ruled out,' the NEO office said. The refined trajectory of the object also ruled out an impact with the moon.

Gruesome Murder Wave Shakes Mexico's Cancun

Yahoo! News - Gruesome Murder Wave Shakes Mexico's Cancun: "MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Not far from the luxury hotels, bars and Caribbean beaches, a wave of grisly murders has hit the Mexican holiday resort of Cancun, with 13 dead bodies discovered in less than two months. Prosecutors said on Tuesday the latest victim surfaced on the weekend when a construction worker stumbled on the body of a local man bound hand and foot and apparently suffocated in wasteland near a main highway. A local justice official said it was unclear if there was a connection with a dozen other murder victims found in recent weeks -- five that had been tied up and shot in the head, four whose charred bodies were found in the burned remains of a car, and three that had been tied up and suffocated. Those killings have been linked by police to drug trafficking."

Yahoo! News - Campus club seeks right to exclude gays

Yahoo! News - Campus club seeks right to exclude gays: "A legal confrontation is playing out here as a student organization seeks official recognition and money from a state-run university even though the students plan to exclude non-Christians and gays. A group of Christian students at Arizona State University's law school formed a chapter of the Christian Legal Society, a national organization that unites Christian lawyers and law students for fellowship, mutual legal support, meetings and Bible readings. After the university refused to recognize the group, the society's national headquarters in Washington, D.C., drafted a lawsuit challenging the university over its anti-discrimination policies, a move that echoes similar and sometimes successful efforts across the country. In the lawsuit, the society argues that the members at Arizona State have a constitutionally protected right to organize and receive university recognition under the 1st and 14th Amendments. "

ASU West offers nursing program year-round

ASU West offers nursing program year-round - 2004-12-28 - The Business Journal of Phoenix: "The professional nursing program at Arizona State University's West campus has moved to a year-round schedule beginning with the August 2005 class, school officials said Tuesday. The program, hosted in the College of Human Services, takes approximately 16 months, using the summer as a regular semester. 'This decision was made based on community and student demand for more nurses, more quickly,' said College of Nursing Associate Dean Mary Killeen. 'The nursing shortage in Arizona is still at a critical point and we simply need to move nurses into the work force more rapidly. This not only benefits hospitals and health care organizations, but helps our students start earning professional salaries earlier.'"

Phoenix police officer shot in face, chest during family fight

Phoenix police officer shot in face, chest during family fight: "A 25-year Phoenix police veteran was shot several times in the upper body and face by his wife during a family quarrel late Monday, authorities said. Detective Billy Soza, 53, a property crimes investigator from the city's south side, is in stable condition at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, said Sgt. Randy Force, a spokesman for the department."

Post-Christmas Tree Tip

This is the most awsome idea, to bad we have an artificial tree with the lights hard wired into it!
Mises Economics Blog: Post-Christmas Tree Tip: When you throw out the Christmas this year, leave the lights on it and let the garbage people haul the whole mess away. Everyone knows that taking off the lights is the most frustrating part of taking the tree down. They get tangled, stepped on, and cause tree needles to spread. The old lights won't shine as bright next year in any case, and you will be spared the frustration that comes with untangling and repairs. But wait. Isn't this wasteful? Well, the term waste has no meaning apart from the price system, and I just picked up 100 feet of lights for $2 at the local drug store. Surely the time and frustration saved from wrestling with tree lights is worth $2. And next year when you put the lights on, you can put them on any which way, knowing full well that you will never have to take them off.

"You've Got To Be Kidding Me."

Eric Spratling atFort Awesome has a few choice words to express about accreditation of the Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU: "the Cronkite School succeeds marvelously in teaching and academics, but is losing its accreditation because there apparently aren't enough minorities and women in high enough positions."

Not at finish line yet

Not at finish line yet | �: "Kenny Cormier does not need people to tell him he has made it big in Douglas. He hears the honks from local drivers as he runs through the town, overhears his father's co-workers praising him, and feels the support of a town that has rallied behind the area's best distance runner. Ever since winning the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships - perhaps the best measuring stick for young distance runners - earlier this month, Cormier has been soaking up the accolades, even if he is a bit uncomfortable in the spotlight. 'It's nice to have that kind of recognition, and the community has been very supportive,' Cormier said. 'I don't think you do any sport for the spotlight or attention. It's just about what you enjoy doing.'"

Gov. J.D. Leghorn? Yep, and we ain't just whistlin' 'Dixie'

Gov. J.D. Leghorn? Yep, and we ain't just whistlin' 'Dixie': "Rep. J.D. Hayworth broke the first 'contract' he ever signed with voters, a promise to serve only three terms. He took contributions from companies like Enron, WorldCom and Arthur Andersen. A political action committee he formed accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from Indians with gambling interests, then hired Hayworth's wife to do bookkeeping. He has taken tens of thousands of dollars from his own campaign war chest and doled it out to other candidates. He collected so much money for this past election (against a candidate with few resources) that he was able to hand over $100,000 to the national Republican campaign committee. He also enthusiastically plays the role of attack dog for his party on the national news programs. Naturally, this type of behavior hasn't gone unnoticed in Arizona. Because of his well-documented antics and unrepentant demeanor, Hayworth has become . . . the most important Republican in the state. More so than Sen. John McCain, who is much more of a national figure. More so than Sen. Jon Kyl or any other member of Congress. A politician is measured by the respect he or she gets from the opposition. Not long ago, I spoke with Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, who would like nothing more than to run against Gov. Janet Napolitano in 2006. But only if he first doesn't have to face Hayworth in a primary. "I think it would be best for the party if leadership got together and settled on a candidate, rather than have a bitterly fought primary," Romley said, perhaps taking to heart the chant of "governor, governor, governor" that greeted Hayworth when he took the stage at Republican Party headquarters on Election Night. Other Republicans also have deferred to Hayworth. "An awful lot of people have asked him to look at it (the governor's job)," Hayworth spokesman Larry VanHoose said. "He hasn't put any time frame on deciding. He hasn't had much to say about it, really. I gather that he and Mrs. Hayworth and the family are talking about it, but it hasn't gone much beyond that." People (like me) who once called Hayworth a political Foghorn Leghorn obviously didn't watch enough cartoons. The cagey old rooster takes his lumps, but he always manages to get to his feet, puff up his chest and strut back onto the screen singing do-dah, do-dah. He wins, and so does Hayworth, who appears to rule the roost over a deferential brood of clucking Republican farm birds. Back in 1994, Hayworth stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with Matt Salmon, John Shadegg and other Republicans, signing the Contract with America and pledging, among other things, to leave office after six years. The only person who kept the promise, Salmon, lost to Napolitano in the governor's race. Hayworth knew better. He has known from the start that working as a TV sportscaster wasn't simply a good preparation for politics, it was perfect. Politics is TV, and Hayworth has played to the cameras from his very first campaign, when he said, "I don't view what I am planning to do as a career." He instinctively knows what voters hold against a politician and what they don't, what's important to them and what's not. Romley is a war hero who has put bad guys in jail for 16 years. There was a time when a candidate with no combat experience and a background in sports entertainment wouldn't have had a chance against a wounded veteran with a chestful of medals and a history of public service. But as one recent election clearly demonstrated, times change."

Parent group to lobby state on education

Parent group to lobby state on education: "SCOTTSDALE - Parents in the Scottsdale Unified School District want to make sure the Legislature knows they are watching. The Scottsdale Parent Council is organizing to lobby the Legislature in hopes of preventing cuts in education funding. 'We're going to keep informed, and we're going to inform parents,' said Amy Besing, the parent council's vice president of legislation. Some lawmakers have predicted a state budget deficit of as much as $500 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Most of the budget is devoted to education. Several parents have registered as lobbyists and plan to meet with legislators before the Jan. 10 start of the next lawmaking session. The session usually runs until May or June. The non-profit Scottsdale Parent Council has more than 50 members and is interested in state funding decisions. Members have been more active since the 2003 legislative session, when lawmakers threatened to reduce education funding because of what then was a $1 billion budget deficit. Most education funding was spared the budget ax, in part because of parent lobbying. Parents are encouraged to call or e-mail legislators with their concerns."

Firm barred from selling Botox knockoff

Firm barred from selling Botox knockoff: "FORT LAUDERDALE - Two doctors and their Arizona company were barred Monday from selling or marketing an unapproved botulism toxin that is believed to have paralyzed four people who should have used the weaker anti-wrinkle drug Botox. Drs. Chad Livdahl and Zarah Karim of Toxin Research International Inc. do not have approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the 'use, sale, marketing and promotion of a toxic substance for treatment of wrinkles in human beings,' according to a statement from the Miami office of U.S. Attorney Marcos Jimenez. An emergency restraining order on the company, President and CEO Livdahl and board member Karim was approved Monday by U.S. District Judge James Cohn in Fort Lauderdale. It also covers three sister companies: Powderz Inc., Cosmetic Pharmacy Inc. and Z Spa Inc."

State losing out on phone funds

State losing out on phone funds: "WASHINGTON - Since 1996, consumers in Arizona have been paying millions of dollars in long-distance phone surcharges that were supposed to help pay for better phone service in rural communities. But like 39 other states, Arizona has gotten nothing in return. Instead, a flaw in the federal formula for redistributing the money as subsidies to telephone companies that serve rural areas has resulted in the money being sent to just 10 states. A coalition of state utility commissioners and consumer and trade groups says it wants Congress to fix the formula in its session starting next month to realign the way the money is disbursed into a fairer, more targeted way. They say that such a move could bring Arizona between $4 million and $10 million a year. "The current rules for this program are extremely unfair to Arizona and the 40 states in all who should be getting their fair share of support for isolated communities but are not," said Dale Curtis, a spokesman for the 80-member Coalition for Equitable and Affordable Rural Service."

State aims to rate child care

State aims to rate child care: "Arizona is in the midst of developing a rating system for its more than 2,000 licensed child-care centers. The system would make it easier for parents to know the quality of individual centers, including teachers' education level, student-to-teacher ratios and curriculum. The Arizona School Readiness Board, which reports to the governor, is developing a system that would give centers a quality rating like a hotel or restaurant. At least 15 states rate child-care centers, following similar standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which accredits centers across the country that meet high standards. In Arizona, about 10 percent of child-care centers are accredited. United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is leading the way with a pilot, five-star rating system for about 60 child-care centers, including at least three in the Valley. United Way expects to launch the program in February."

Monday, December 27, 2004

Writer sees real estate investment cycle ending

Writer sees real estate investment cycle ending - 2004-12-27 - The Business Journal of Phoenix: "Despite the excellent performance for real estate investments over the past five years, it still remains a cyclical investment and the cycle is beginning to turn, a Valley real estate writer said Monday. Steve Bergsman of Mesa, the author of 'Maverick Real Estate Investing: The Art of Buying And Selling Real Estate Like Trump, Zell, Simon and the World's Greatest Landowners,' said that as interest rates climb, the number of investors looking to make a commercial real estate deal will decline. Bergsman said he bases his conclusions on a number of interviews he's conducted with national-level real estate investors."

Suspicious pipe piece prompts 2-hour shutdown of Loop 202 stretch

Suspicious pipe piece prompts 2-hour shutdown of Loop 202 stretch: "The discovery of what looked like a pipe bomb along a stretch of the Loop 202 prompted a shutdown of westbound lanes midmorning Monday, ensnarling traffic for post-holiday commuters for about two hours. An Arizona Department of Transportation worker found an 8-inch piece of metal pipe in the gravel on the Red Mountain Freeway, said Frank Valenzuela, state Department of Public Safety spokesman. The yellow-tinted pipe, found about 150 feet west of Center Road in a median between the westbound lanes and a frontage road, had caps screwed into both ends, Venezuela said."

License plate credit refund

The Arizona Daily Star: "Beginning next week, a new state law will allow people who sell a vehicle to apply for a refund for the time left on its registration - if it's at least $12. Currently, owners with time left on the registration can claim that as a credit when they go to renew registration on another vehicle. But the seller can apply for a refund only if the credit is worth more than $350, said Cydney DeModica, state Motor Vehicle Division spokeswoman. You can find out how much of a credit you're due and even apply for a refund at Click on 'Plate Credit.' Questions? Click on the 'Info Page' link on that page, or call 629-9808."

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas

Blogging will be sporadic over the weekend, back to normal on Monday. In the mean time feel free to browse the archives. Comments are welcome and may be used for ideas for future posts. For anyone who doesn't celebrate christmas (and even those who do), Happy Holidays!

Mittry Lake rehab project draws national award

Mittry Lake rehab project draws national award: "The Arizona Game and Fish Department is among 11 recipients of the 2004 Department of Interior Environmental Achievement Awards. The award recognizes exceptional achievements that conserve the nation's natural resources through communication, consultation and cooperation. The award went to participants in the Mittry Lake Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation project. Sharing the award are the Yuma offices of the Game and Fish Department, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation. All three agencies share land management responsibilities for the area."

Thursday, December 23, 2004

This was too good not to pass along!

Asteroid May Hit Earth On Friday, April 13, 2029,

Origionally observed at Kitt Peak, near Tucson, Arizona, the Asteriod should have better odds then stated since it would hit on Friday the 13th. [Isn't that how things like this work... we're all doomed!]
ABC News: Scientist: Asteroid May Hit Earth in 2029LOS ANGELES Dec 23, 2004 — There's a 1-in-300 chance that a recently discovered asteroid, believed to be about 1,300 feet long, could hit Earth in 2029, a NASA scientist said Thursday, but he added that the perceived risk probably will be eliminated once astronomers get more detail about its orbit. There have been only a limited number of sightings of Asteroid 2004 MN4, which has been given an initial rating of 2 on the 10-point Torino Impact Hazard Scale used by astronomers to predict asteroid or comet impacts, said Donald Yeomans, manager of the Near Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. No previously observed asteroid has been graded higher than 1. On Friday, April 13, 2029, "we can't yet rule out an Earth impact," Yeomans said. "But the impact probability, as we call it, is 300-to-1 against an impact."

Protecting Children From Abuse in Arizona

Teachers beware!!
Mental Help Net - 2 - News - Protecting Children From Abuse in Arizona: "The value of an Arizona state law requiring educators to report suspected child abuse was made clear with the felony indictments of four women at DeGrazia Elementary School in the Marana Unified School District. Principal Julia Barwell ,and counselor Jennifer De La Montana, as well as kindergarten teachers Connie Jensen and Dorlis Menendez, are on paid leave with the district. They are accused of waiting two days before notifying law enforcement authorities about a 5-year- old girl's allegations of sexual abuse. Meantime, authorities say, the child was abused yet again. The child's father pleaded guilty to sex offenses last month."

About 20 suspicious fires set overnight in Phoenix

About 20 suspicious fires set overnight in Phoenix: "Authorities are investigating nearly 20 suspicious fires set in central Phoenix overnight. The fire clusters were set in the area of 12th Street to Seventh Avenue and Thomas to Camelback roads. Assistant Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan says there were no injuries and no extensive damage to done to buildings since firefighters were able to respond quickly to the reports."

Affordable Housing is a Topic of Concern Lately

I for one think this is a real problem, it's good to see people starting to do something about it.
Fannie Mae and Realtors team up: "Fannie Mae has teamed up with the Arizona Association of Realtors to assist Valley businesses in helping their employees buy homes. Under the Housing Arizona's Workforce program, real estate agents will market a Fannie Mae housing initiative that encourages employers to offer customized housing incentives, ideally as a company
This fits in nicely with a story from yesterday.
Panel to tackle void in affordable housing: "Beginning teachers, police officers, firefighters and others can't afford to buy a home in many parts of metro Phoenix. That reality is the flip side of a years-long boom of appreciation in the nation's No. 1 housing market. 'We are heading toward a real housing crisis,' said residential real estate developer Gregg Holmes, president of Stardust Cos." Holmes is leading a group of business, civic and government leaders who are looking for solutions. Soaring housing costs and weak income gains have made it harder now for Valley residents to afford a home than any time since 1989.
Here's the surprising bit (for me anyway).
Despite record home sales across the Phoenix area, the state's homeownership rate has dropped since 2000. This signals that second-home buyers and investors are behind much of the current buying spree and are pushing prices above what actual residents can afford. The goal of the Regional Task Force on Quality Workforce Housing is to spur development of more homes for households earning $20,000 to $42,000 a year.

Astronomers with the University of Arizona's Spacewatch Project Spot Small Asteroid Between Satellites and Earth

Small Asteroid Passes Between Satellites and Earth: "Astronomers spotted an asteroid this week after it had flown past Earth on a course that took it so close to the planet it was below the orbits of some satellites. The space rock was relatively small, however, and would not have posed any danger had it plunged into the atmosphere. The object, named 2004 YD5, was about 16 feet (5 meters) wide, though that's a rough estimate based on its distance and assumed reflectivity. Had it entered the atmosphere, it would have exploded high up, experts figure. Satellite territory The asteroid passed just under the orbits of geostationary satellites, which at 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) altitude are the highest manmade objects circling Earth. Most other satellites, along with the International Space Station (news - web sites), circle the planet at just a few hundred miles up. 2004 YD5 is the second closest pass of an asteroid ever observed by telescope, according to the Asteroid/Comet Connection, a web site that monitors space rock discoveries. The closest involved a rock that flew by last March and was not announced until August. 2004 YD5 was discovered Tuesday, Dec. 21 by Stan Pope, who volunteers his time to examine images provided by the FMO (Fast Moving Object) project, an online program run by the University of Arizona's Spacewatch Project. After the initial detection, other observers noted the object's position during the day and its path was then calculated back. Closest approach occurred on Dec. 19."

'Festivus' Shares Space With Fla. Nativity

Ahh, a festivus for the rest of us!!! Bring out the pole, it's time for the feats of strength!
Yahoo! News - 'Festivus' Shares Space With Fla. Nativity"BARTOW, Fla. - When a church group put a nativity scene on public property, officials warned it might open the door to other religious — and not-so-religious — displays. They were right. Since the nativity was erected in Polk County, displays have gone up honoring Zoroastrianism and the fake holiday Festivus, featured on the TV show "Seinfeld." The Polk County Commission voted 4-1 Wednesday to permit the nativity scene to remain across the street from the courthouse, as well as to make that area a "public forum" open to any type of display. But the commission insisted that unless someone claims a particular display and submits a written request asking it remain, it would be removed. By Wednesday evening, no one had claimed the Festivus display, and the commission said it would come down; a woman claimed the Zoroastrianism display, which was to stay. "

The smell of vomit triggers 3 Glendale hazmat situations

3 Glendale hazmat situations investigated: "Glendale police have launched a criminal investigation into three hazardous material situations that were reported late Wednesday and overnight. One is at Glendale Community College. The second is at the City of Glendale Public Safety building downtown. A police officer discovered a third at a justice court while conducting a sweep of city buildings. Fire Department spokesman Elio Pompa says fire crews are dealing with a substance that has the aroma of vomit. Glendale Sergeant Jim Toomey says the substance has been identified and is not dangerous to the public. Police are not disclosing what the substance is for investigatory purposes."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Blogthings - Are You a Martini?

You Are a Martini
You're not a total lush, but you do like your drinks strong For you, drinking is an art. An experience to be relished. That doesn't mean you don't get really really drunk. A few strong martini's, and you're dancing on the bar!

Two points for R.E.G. (real estate guy)

Ok, I have to admit I'm a bit of a voyeur. I've been following a blog for a while now and tonight someone posted a comment that was just too funny to ignore. A bit of background is required... Citygurl meets Real Estate Guy (REG) at a party and gives him her number, he calls and last night they had their first date. REG it turns out has no sense of smell (this is his endearing quality). Earlier today, Citygurl gives us the rundown and says no dates in the future... but then he calls and now she's considering another date...

At Wednesday, December 22, 2004, dsp said...

But ... think of all the money you'd save on the perfume you would never have to buy because he wouldn't be able to smell you anyway. And if you farted on a date, he'd never know!

The fart thing just cracked me up!

John Gotti's Brother Convicted in Murder Plot

Arizonan's will remember Sammy the Bull for his part in an ecstasydrug ring busted a few years ago.
Yahoo! News - John Gotti's Brother Convicted in Murder Plot: "NEW YORK (Reuters) - A brother of John Gotti, the late boss of the Gambino organized crime family, was convicted on Wednesday of plotting to kill mob informant Salvatore 'Sammy The Bull' Gravano. Peter Gotti, 65, a former sanitation worker, was also found guilty by a Manhattan federal jury of racketeering and extortion charges. He could be sentenced to a maximum of 60 years in prison on all of the charges."

Judge lifts order blocking immigration initiative

Judge lifts order blocking immigration initiative: "TUCSON - A federal judge on Wednesday lifted a restraining order blocking enforcement of a voter-approved initiative to deny illegal immigrants some public benefits. The order means the initiative immediately becomes Arizona law. U.S. District Judge David C. Bury temporarily barred the state from implementing Proposition 200 on Nov. 30, after the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund asked him to declare it unconstitutional. MALDEF's lawsuit raised questions about the constitutionality of the initiative approved by voters Nov. 2, and Bury said in his order that he wanted more time to consider the issue" Update

Ex-officer pleads guilty in trading drugs for sex

Ex-officer pleads guilty in trading drugs for sex: "A former Department of Public Safety patrol officer who traded drugs for sex pleaded guilty in Maricopa County Superior Court Wednesday and was sentenced to probation. Michael D. Thompson, 31, expressed his remorse for no longer being a law enforcement officer."

The Page Unified School District has been in an unusual state of flux recently

The Page Unified School District has been in an unusual state of flux recently. The center of the storm seems to be suspended superintendent Greg Conway.

Page Unified School District Superintendent Greg Conway, as of 5 p.m. on Dec. 8, found himself on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into his conduct.

Comments on the article suggest, “He ‘probably’ stole money from public funds for his personal gain.” They also suggest that this has happened before when he worked in Delores, Colorado.

Greg Conway’s leave of absence as superintendent of the Page Unified School District may become permanent this week, if an agenda for a special board meeting is any indication.

In unrelated news, the PUSD School Board received the appointment to the board of a former employee

Longtime resident Elizabeth Mayes has returned to the Page school system, more than 20 years after she retired. This time, however, she’s working as a member of Page Unified School District’s governing board.

Cecilia Owen, Coconino County Superintendent of Schools, appointed Mayes to the board on Dec. 7 from a field of six candidates.

Officers: Illegals crossing Huachucas are no safer in wintertime

Illegal immigration is in the news again as border agents warn that the dangers of crossing during the winter is no better than during the summer.

Sierra Vista Herald: Local News: "FORT HUACHUCA - Trails in the Huachuca Mountains are used by illegal immigrants and many of them do not realize that this time of year cold weather is an uncompromising killer. One would think that coyotes, or people smugglers, could find easier paths for their paying clients to cross into the United States during the winter months, but the mountainous terrain in the western part of Cochise County remains a favorite avenue north, said Ron Bellavia, who heads the U.S. Border Patrol's Search, Trauma and Rescue team in the agency's Tucson Sector. For the past few years the county has had nearly half of all the illegal immigrants apprehended in the sector. Also in the past the county has recorded a number of deaths, due to exposure, both heat and cold."

The Moderate Voice is Spreading Politically Correct Christmas Cheer

Deck the halls with boughs of non-endangered plant species... Fa la la la la la la la la... Tis the season to be self-actualizing... Fa la la la la la la la la... Don we now our alternate-lifestyle apparel! Fa la la la la la la la la...
Too funny not to mention!

2 priests indicted over missing funds from Mesa church

2 priests indicted over missing funds from Mesa church: "Two Catholic priests have been indicted on more than a dozen charges of theft and fraud involving about $160,000 in missing funds at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Mesa. Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley announced the indictments Wednesday morning. They named the Rev. Dennis Riccitelli, former pastor of Holy Cross, and the Rev. Blas� Meyer, a longtime Riccitelli friend who has been working as associate pastor at St. Clement of Rome in Sun City. Meyer also was a former pastor at Holy Cross. The Diocese of Phoenix planned an early afternoon press conference."
More to come as available...

Mohave County to discuss line of credit agreement involving Colorado City

The Colorado City Unified School District is in the news again, you may remember the post from a couple of weeks ago noting that Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne wanted to "push for a new law that would allow the state to take over 'grossly mismanaged' school districts and named Colorado City Unified as the first target." Horne wants to take over district
Mohave Valley News: News Column: "KINGMAN -- The Mohave County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss changing a line of credit agreement involving the Colorado City Unified School District. The county and Wells Fargo entered into an agreement in 2000 for a line of credit with the school district. Under discussion today is amending the agreement to convert the revolving line of credit to a non-revolving line of credit, Chief Civil Deputy County Attorney Deborah Herbert said."

Alcor says Williams papers submitted

I am so glad that this is behind us now...
East Valley Tribune"The Scottsdale cryonics facility storing the remains of baseball great Ted Williams says it has complied with a court ruling to turn over confidential documents to the Williams’ family. Alcor Life Extension Foundation hand-delivered documents concerning Williams’ final wishes to Scottsdale attorney David Goldstein on Monday, said Alcor spokeswoman Cheryl Walsh. Goldstein represents John and Samuel Williams, Ted Williams’ nephews, who sued Alcor in March to find out whether the cryonics lab had the necessary paperwork to store the body. "

While Yankees meet with Beltran, deal for Johnson falls through > News: "NEW YORK (AP) -- By the time top Yankees officials were done meeting with Carlos Beltran, they knew their trade to acquire Randy Johnson had fallen through. The Los Angeles Dodgers reversed course Tuesday and withdrew from the proposed three-team, 10-player deal that would have sent Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Yankees. 'As we sit here right now, the deal is no more,' Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta said during a conference call. 'I've been saying all along that we weren't going to do the deal unless it made sense for this club in 2005, and that was not the case.'"

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Moderate Voice has some Major Information on Blogging

A newspaper built around blogging... Progress in motion.
You could say the first shoe dropped on the news media during the 2004 Presidential campaign when blogs became important players by not just influencing the news media but making news.

Now the other shoe is dropping.

The hub for this story, links, and serious analysis is Jay Rosen's PressThink which has the definitive post on the subject.

As Rosen notes, the place for what could one day be seen as a pivotal moment in journalism is Greensboro, North Carolina, where there's a thriving blog community. What's the big deal? The local newspaper the Greensboro News-Record is seriously considering incorporating blogging into its web news operations in a big, high profile way.

Kidnapping, robbery shake up bar owner

Kidnapping, robbery shake up bar owner: "TEMPE - A Valley nightclub and bar owner is still shaken after being kidnapped early Sunday at his home, then taken to one of his clubs and forced to open a safe, police say. Jeff O'Neil was blindfolded and tied up at gunpoint. The only details he saw was that the three men wore ski masks and latex gloves. 'They did not give me the opportunity to see them, and I didn't want to see them,' O'Neil said. 'Honest to god, I saw them for about 2 seconds, it happened so extremely fast.'"

This is A Much Cooler Map Than Red/Blue Election Maps

Cyote Blog has an intersting linguistic map for how people refer to a soft drink.

UA researchers study pacemakerlike device for stroke patients

This is way cool! East Valley Tribune: "TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Doctors at the University of Arizona are testing a pacemakerlike, brain-stimulating device for usefulness in restoring hand and arm movement in stroke patients. About 536,000 Americans survive strokes each year, and many are left with permanent disabilities. For decades, little has changed in the approach to recovery. Patients undergo physical therapy and live with whatever function they regain."

Sixth Harry Potter Book Due Out in July

I can hardly wait! Yahoo! News - Sixth Harry Potter Book Due Out in July: "LONDON - The sixth novel in J.K. Rowling's blockbuster Harry Potter series, 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,' will go on sale in Britain and the United States on July 16, publishers said Tuesday."

Immigration is big in the news today

Immigration is big in the news today; I’ve compiled some articles from around the state. I’ll start with a huge arrest near Yuma yesterday.

USBP arrests 138 in surprise stop

"That tells me the people who are circumventing the (known) checkpoints are entering the United States illegally," Nicely said. He said the labor bus arrests are further proof illegal immigrants are being hired to work in the county — a claim that the California-based Western Growers Association denied in late November when they publicly protested Border Patrol enforcement during harvest season. In a statement just before Thanksgiving, WGA claimed border enforcement was deterring legal migrant workers from coming to work and as a result, some of their members were only able to harvest 30 percent of their crops. When asked then if members of the growers association knowingly hire illegal immigrants, WGA Vice President Matt McInerney said they do not.

A movement towards citizenship is gaining steam as a reaction to fears from Proposition 200.

Rush is on for immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship

"PHOENIX (AP) -- Even before Arizona voters passed Proposition 200 last month, the Phoenix office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant Services was overwhelmed with applications for citizenship and green cards. Now, legal immigrants throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area are pouring into the offices of document preparers and lawyers to apply for citizenship. Advocates say legal residents from Mexico and Latin American are taking steps to become citizens because Proposition 200 makes them feel like it's open season on immigrants."

Finally, a success story and some insight into the perspective of the Mexicans who come here seeking work.

Coffee co-op percolating

SALVADOR URBINA, Mexico - A decade ago, plunging coffee prices sent farmers in this Mexican village fleeing north toward the Arizona border in search of other jobs. Now a handful of those refugees have set out to rescue their hometown, forming a cooperative to ship Salvador Urbina's coffee beans over the border to Douglas, then sell them throughout the United States. ...For decades, Mexicans and their Guatemalan farmhands in this town of 7,000 made a decent living off of those coffee plants, picking the red berries from October to January, processing them and selling them to wholesalers in the lowlands. "We used to do pretty well here," said coffee farmer Reynaldo Cifuentes. But it is time-consuming, costly work. ...Until the mid-1990s, a 100-pound sack of unhusked Arabica beans fetched about $100. Then the government relaxed its controls on coffee prices, and imports started arriving from automated, chemically fertilized farms in Colombia, Brazil and Vietnam. The price per sack dropped as low as $40. Salvador Urbina was devastated. Thousands of men stopped growing coffee and headed north to the United States, looking for jobs. So did the Guatemalans who used to work on their farms. Like so many other Mexican towns, Salvador Urbina became a village of women, children and old men. Then some of the refugees got an idea. It began in early 2002 with Daniel Cifuentes, Reynaldo's cousin. He had settled in Agua Prieta, Sonora, just south of the border from Douglas. Bouncing from layoff to layoff in maquiladora assembly plants, Daniel Cifuentes began talking about his hometown with a Presbyterian minister, Mark Adams. Adams works for Frontera de Cristo, a ministry in Douglas and Agua Prieta. "We started talking about why people immigrate to the north, and I told him why we had to leave our town," Cifuentes said. "Then I started thinking of a way for our people, the ones who work the soil, to sell our coffee directly, without middle men." Other Mexican villages, even some near Salvador Urbina, have tried to tap into the U.S. appetite for gourmet coffee by forming similar cooperatives. But many of them end up selling their crops to U.S. companies because they don't have a way to get it to customers. Other efforts have failed because they're organized by American activists with little business experience. Cifuentes and Adams enlisted the help of a former maquiladora manager, Tommy Bassett, and came up with a business plan. They would form a company called Just Coffee Inc., roast Salvador Urbina's coffee in Agua Prieta, send it over the border to Douglas and sell it directly to Americans through an Internet site, "You had a couple of coffee farmers, an old business guy who wanted to try something new and a pastor who didn't know anything about running a company," Adams said. "But with a lot of prayer, we managed to get it off the ground." With a $20,000 loan from the Presbyterian Church, they bought a roasting machine and grinder and began organizing friends and family back home. Eventually, 26 families in Salvador Urbina and three relatives in Agua Prieta signed on. Word of the effort spread through Presbyterian churches, and the orders began flowing in. Sales began in November 2002. Just Coffee's goal was to sell 800 pounds of coffee in its first year, Daniel Cifuentes said. It sold 32,000 pounds. ..."Without this, I would probably have to leave coffee entirely and head up to the border," Victor Barrios PĂ©rez, 64, said as he raked a bed of Arabica beans on his patio. Eventually, Just Coffee wants to expand to include the entire town, Daniel Cifuentes said. "The goal is to rescue our town from this crisis," he said. "But the vision is also to create work and reduce the rate of immigration to the United States." That prospect drives older farmers like Arnufo Lopez Perez, 76, who has five children in the United States. He dreams of working with them again among the coffee trees and the flamboyan flowers. "I would like to see them again," he said. "I would like them to come back."

Update: I almost forgot to mention President Bush's renewed interest in a guest worker plan.
Bush Renews Call for Guest Worker Plan

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Monday renewed his call for a guest worker program for immigrants seeking employment in the United States, saying the Border Patrol shouldn't be chasing "goodhearted people who are coming here to work."

Bush has wanted such a program since taking office four years ago. But the idea was sidetracked by the Sept. 11 attacks and then left on the sideline because the White House did not want to tackle such a controversial issue during an election year.