RSSArchive for September, 2011

Specialty drinks: My date with a 'Fat-Man'

Specialty drinks: My date with a ‘Fat-Man’

By RYAN TSARSIS            

The Toucan Sam. The Malibu Barbie. The Test 1, 2. When you visit bars on Fourth Avenue, a tasty specialty drink with a witty name always comes to mind.

When traveling Fourth Avenue, I spent my time interviewing bartenders to find each bar’s specialty drink.

Of the establishments that accepted an interview, The Hut had the drink with the most historical intrigue. The ‘Fat Man’ has been The Hut’s specialty since the bar’s inception just over six years ago.

Bartender Ali Head serves up a Fat Man at The Hut. Aztec Press photo by Ryan Tsarsis.

Ali Head, the bartender serving me The Fat Man, was very discreet in withholding its recipe.

She did, however, reveal that the beverage is concocted using four “secret” rums and an assortment of tropical juices, served in a giant fish bowl-type glass.

“The Fat Man is a drink which the owners and bartenders have never revealed the specific ingredients,” Head said.

“The Hut’s building used to hold hanger bombs, and the Fat Man is based on a picture we have of a fat man getting into a bomb.”

Although The Hut has its specialty, most servers said each bartender had his own special concoction.

Jason Smith, bartender at The Shanty, said Mike Farley, a former architectural student and fellow co-bartender, invented a popular specialty drink.

“Mike invented the Toucan Sam. It’s part Malibu, peach schnapps, banana schnapps, orange juice, sweet and sour, with a grenadine sink,” Smith said.

Bartender Patrick Reefer serves his specialty drink at Mr. Head's. Aztec Press photo by Ryan Tsarsis.

Mr. Heads’ bartender Patrick Reefer said his most popular cocktail associated with the bar was the Test 1, 2. The bomber-type drink combines 20 ounces of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer with a shot of whiskey.

Since opening on Dec. 6, Mr. Heads is on the rise. After I muscled up to the bar, Reefer offered to make me a drink: his Whiskey Sour made with Chambord, blood orange liquor and a lemon slice. It was the best drink I had during this review.

Surprisingly, most bars on Fourth Avenue don’t have specialty drinks. Bartenders at O’Malley’s Bar and Grill and at Plush said they did not offer specialty items.

After visiting the majority of the bars on Fourth Avenue, the names didn’t disappoint, and the drinks didn’t either. I can’t wait for my next date with The Fat Man.

Genderqueer instructor thrives on diversity

Genderqueer instructor thrives on diversity


TC Tolbert had Little Debbie’s Zebra Cakes on the brain when he renamed himself.

Tolbert, a transgender feminist poet who teaches writing courses at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, first brought up the topic of getting a sex change to his mother when he was a fifth-grade girl.

Her mom said no, and Tolbert continued to grow up in a Pentecostal Christian environment. In college, she married a man and tried to live the life she understood to be correct.

Tolbert loved her husband, but wasn’t completely happy with where she was in life. Her husband was the first to tell her that she was a lesbian.

The two separated, and a few years later, she began to question her gender. Around that time, when Tolbert hiked the Appalachian Trail, her journey into diversity really began.

Making the transition

On the trail, hikers are known by their “trail names,” not their given names. As a snack, Tolbert had brought along a box of Little Debbie’s Zebra Cakes.

The person he was hiking with asked, mistaking the name, “Where are those Tiger Cakes?” Tolbert responded, saying, “There is no such thing… and I ate them.”

“Tiger Cakes” stuck, and became Tolbert’s trail name. At the end of the eight months it took to hike the trail, Tolbert decided to stick with an abbreviated version of the name. He dubbed himself “TC,” all uppercase, with no added punctuation.

“I was in the middle of changing, but I didn’t really know what would happen,” he said.

After the hike, Tolbert began taking steps forward. He decided to get a master’s degree in poetry, and to begin taking testosterone. He also asked friends to use “he” when talking about him.

“I don’t feel like I was born in the wrong body, but I do feel like I got to a place where I was ready to just transform, you know, to grow into a new body,” he said.

Inclusive improv

Tolbert describes himself as genderqueer, meaning he doesn’t see himself as entirely male or female.

“I present as a guy, but I’m also a very effeminate guy and I love that. I don’t want to hem myself in,” he said.

For Tolbert, the term stems from more than physical presence.

“It also means having more radical politics, very left of center,” he said. “Not just around voting but around definitions, relationships, equality… how to navigate quality and relationships. It’s not just a gender expression thing.”

 Tolbert writes poetry that deals with gender topics.

His debut poetry chapbook, “territories of folding,” was published in March. The book, an excerpt from a longer, unpublished manuscript, plays with moving text around on a page and reading the words from different directions.

Tolbert says some of his most impactful writing is done during the two hours a week he spends with Movement Salon. The group is made up dancers, writers and a musician who, without planning, create a piece of art together that feels cohesive.

During this time, Tolbert says, “anything goes.” Everything that happens in those two hours becomes part of the piece.

“If I can understand how to be totally present to pay attention in the moment in this small space, and respond to people and work with people in a way that is opening in this space, then I can apply that to the rest of my life,” he said.

The artists laugh together and joke about real-life applications of their work.

For example, if someone pulls out in front of him in traffic, Tolbert might say, ‘Oh, that person is dueting with me now’ instead of calling the other driver a jerk.

The concept is, ‘OK, that was a choice I didn’t expect, and now I’m going to work with that,’” he said, laughing.

Tolbert is also co-editing an anthology that will come out in early 2012. He won the Arizona Statewide Poetry Competition in 2010.

 Transgender support

 Last year, Tolbert founded “Made for Flight,” a transgender youth and ally empowerment workshop series that discusses transgender history, ally development and creative writing.

He decided to start the program after attending a few Tucson events for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is held on Nov. 20 every year.

The first year he attended, about 10 transsexuals participated. The commemoration consisted of participants holding hands and singing a song.

“I felt uncomfortable with this idea that transpeople, who are already struggling with these certain kinds of oppression, gather and are just really sad together?” Tolbert said. “Where are our support systems? Where are our allies?”

With Made for Flight, Tolbert visits youth groups and gay-straight alliances, who make kites for specific transpeople who were murdered in the last year. Workshop participants then attend the day of remembrance and release the kites.

“We are lifting up this image of a person, and celebrating them, and literally getting our eyes off the ground and up so hopefully our spirits go up as well,” Tolbert said. “There is a sense of hope when you look at something in the sky.”

 Broadening horizons

Tolbert also spends much time working with non-profit organizations. He is the assistant director of Casa Libre, a writer’s community center that hosts literary events.

In conjunction with Casa Libre, Tolbert is involved with Read Between the Bars. The group provides prisoners with educational and entertaining books, and publishes Trickhouse, an online cross-genre arts journal.

During the summer, Tolbert leads a week-long “Heroic Journey” that helps teenagers who are dealing with the death of a friend or family member.

Tolbert is easy to talk to and extremely friendly. He says being involved in numerous projects is simply his nature.

“I get a strong sense of connection by working with a lot of different folks,” he said. “I don’t like for my world to be small. It’s really important to feel like I’m connecting with folks that I normally just wouldn’t bump into on the street.”

TC Tolbert relaxes at Casa Libre, a writer's community center. Aztec Press photo by Leftrick Herd.

Fall festivals offer fun for all tastes

Fall festivals offer fun for all tastes

Compiled by Nina Elliott


American Indian Feast

Oct. 1

Traditional foods of American Indian nations, entertainment and dinner served at San Xavier Plaza. $50 adv/ $60 at door.

Tickets: 295-1350


Oktoberfest at Café Passé

Oct. 1

Bratwurst and beers served after noon at 415 N. Fourth Ave; entertainment by the Bouncing Czechs, 6:30- 8:30 p.m.


Aztec Press photo by Ryan Tsarsis.

Tucson Oktoberfest

Sept. 29-Oct. 2

Optimist Club fundraiser features German food, beer/wine, artists and music at Hi Corbett Field.

Details:, 241-7730


Mount Lemmon Oktoberfest

Weekends through Oct. 9

German food, beer, music and dancing, 11:30 a.m-5 p.m at Ski Valley, 10300 Ski Run Road. Free, with $4 parking.

Details:, 576-1321


Tucson Culinary Festival

Oct. 27-30

Sample gourmet food and spirits from Tucson restaurants at 7000 N. Resort Drive. See website for costs.




Oct. 9

Dog-friendly benefit event with contests, food and a beer garden at Tucson Hebrew Academy, 3888 E. River Road, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.



Fall Club Crawl


Tucson Weekly presents 90 bands performing on 30 stages in downtown Tucson and along Fourth Avenue for audiences ages 21 & over, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Details:, 740-1000


Tucson Film & Music Festival

Oct. 6-10

Upstairs Film presents the annual event, featuring indie film and music downtown. Tickets, starting at $6, available through



Great Tucson Beer Festival

Oct. 8

Benefit for Sun Sounds of Arizona features beer sampling and live music at Hi Corbett Field. No one under age 21 admitted.

Details:, 296-2400


Southern Arizona Blues Heritage

Oct. 16.

Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation hosts an all-day concert of blues music at the Reid Park bandshell.



Oro Valley Arts in the Park

Oct. 22-23

Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance stages a fine arts and music festival with 124 artists and food vendors at Riverfront Park, 551 W. Lambert Lane.

Details: 797-3959,


Desert Bluegrass Music Festival

Oct. 28-30

Desert Bluegrass Association presents local, regional and national bluegrass bands, workshops and jam sessions, and a Friday night band contest at AVA Amphitheater, 5655 W. Valencia Road.



Fall Pumpkin Celebration, Willcox

Weekends through Oct. 30

Apple Annie’s presents hayrides, pumpkin picking and children’s activities every weekend in October.

Details:, 1-520-384-4685


Buckelew Farm Pumpkin Fest, Maze

Weekends through Oct. 31

Pumpkin festival, corn maze and a haunted cornfield at Buckelew Farm, 17000 W. Ajo Way.

Details:, 822-2277


Nightfall at Old Tucson

Sept. 30-Oct. 31

The award-winning haunted town returns for Halloween terror. See website for dates, times. Admission: $25 adults.

Details:, 883-0100


The Slaughterhouse

Sept. 30-Oct. 31

The haunted house on Grant Road at I-10 vows to show no mercy. See website for dates, times. General admission costs $21.



Day of the Dead Exhibit-La Pilita

Oct. 10-Nov. 5

Diá de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) community altar created by schoolchildren, a shop offering icons, holiday-related items.

Details: 882-7454,


Haunted Ruins at Valley of the Moon

Oct. 13-30

The historical fantasy garden hosts costumed Halloween events for all ages Thursdays-Sundays. Admission $8.



The Great Pumpkin Race

Oct. 16

Southern Arizona Roadrunners hosts a cross-country-style 5K run through Buckelew Farm, including thr corn maze.



Day of the Dead Exhibit

Oct. 18-Nov. 20

Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. alvernon Way, will showcase Dia de los Muertos artwork. Call for admission prices.

Details:, 326-9686


Mexican Baseball Fiesta

Oct. 7-9

Three Pacific League of Mexico teams and a team of future San Diego Padres players will play exhibition doubleheaders at Kino Stadium.



Pride on Parade, Pride in the Desert

Oct. 8-9

The annual gay pride weekend includes a parade and block party on Saturday, and all-day events at Reid Park on Sunday.



Get Moving Tucson Half-Marathon

Oct. 9

Half-marathon traverses “A” Mountain. Companion 5K walk/run.



Tucson Meet Yourself

Oct. 14-16

The folklife festival celebrates Southern Arizona’s diverse ethnic communities with performances, demonstrations, food vendors and children’s activities in downtown Tucson. Tucsonans in the know flock to the food samples and call the popular gathering “Tucson Eat Yourself.”



Festival of Flight

Oct. 14-16

Wings over the Desert at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum celebrates all winged creatures with raptor programs, live bat encounters and lectures, hummingbirds, live bugs, hands-on science and a tequila tasting.

Details:, 883-2702



Blown in by Katrina - Part 2

Blown in by Katrina – Part 2

Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series about Tucson resident Jerome Hubbard’s ordeal during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Part 1 told of the Hubbard family’s experiences when the storm struck. Family members became separated after the storm, and Hubbard spent time at the infamous New Orleans overpass where storm victims gathered to await aid.


In the middle of the night, Jerome Hubbard felt something tugging at his feet and saw a man trying to steal his boots. They fought and Hubbard won, but his pants got ripped in the brawl.

On Sept. 2, more people were brought to the Causeway Overpass where hurricane victims had gathered, and some were bused out.

At midday, activists Jesse Jackson and Cleo Fields showed up.

“They came up like a parade,” Hubbard said. “He’s using those big words that nobody cares to understand and doing his whole song and dance in front of the camera.”

During his time at the overpass, Hubbard constantly heard a woman’s hungry baby crying non-stop. She kept telling herself that the baby would be OK.

One evening, Hubbard noticed the baby was no longer crying. He saw the woman rocking the baby in her arms, and asked how it was doing. She told him it was asleep.

Hubbard took a peek and saw the baby was dead. When he saw dried tears on her face, he decided to move on and let the lady be alone.

He saw two other people die that night. One who was killed by another man after an all-night brawl. Hubbard said the other man “went crazy” and military personnel were forced to intervene.

At one point during the night, Hubbard and others broke into a ration truck to get food for people. After they unloaded a couple of boxes, they were stopped at gunpoint.

As soon as day broke, buses started coming in. Hubbard managed to jump on a bus that was headed toward Texas.

They arrived at a rest stop on the Louisiana-Texas border and got out to stretch their legs. State troopers pulled up to their spot and told everybody to get back on the bus.

Hubbard’s bus was supposed to go to Houston, but was diverted to Dallas. Before they arrived, they were told they were unwelcome in Dallas as well. People previously brought in by bus had caused too much trouble in the area.

As they headed out of town, Hubbard asked the driver where they were heading. The driver said he was just told to drive, and was awaiting instructions via CB radio.

Hubbard fell asleep. When he awoke, he saw amber lights and men running around with guns.

They had stopped at Fort Smith, Ark. People were now told to get off the bus and line up. Still half-asleep, Hubbard felt lost but did as he was told.

The evacuees entered a processing center and were handed a form to fill out.

Soldiers informed Hubbard that he was in a processing station for refugees, and the form would be his identity number. They also said the form would strip him of his citizenship.

Hubbard folded the form and walked away.

He and a few other men headed to a barracks, but quickly decided in the barracks that they weren’t going to stay. Military personnel informed them they could leave but said the exit was two miles away.

A couple of medics overheard the conversation, and told the men they were headed toward the exit. If people wanted to escape, there was nothing they could do.

Hubbard and his group took the hint. They hitched a ride in a medical vehicle, and jumped out near the exit.

After Hubbard climbed a fence, a Good Samaritan picked him up. The man bought Hubbard socks, a shirt and food, then dropped him off at the nearest bus station.

When Hubbard learned the cheapest one-way ticket was about $400, he decided to try the airport. When he arrived there, he learned a one-way ticked would cost about $580.

He called some of this friends and asked them to call his dad to let his father know that he was OK.

After taking a seat at the airport to think about his next move, Hubbard overheard a man talking on the phone about his family in Lafayette, La.

Two men dressed in scrubs walked by, and one stopped to ask Hubbard where he was from and where he was trying to get to. Hubbard said he would like to get to Houston.

The man told Hubbard he would be back. When he returned a few minutes later,  he told Hubbard that he and his cousin were trying to rent a car but couldn’t afford it. If Hubbard had $200, they could all leave.

Hubbard only had $100, but remembered the man on the phone trying to get to Lafayette. He found the man, who agreed to pitch in for the rental car.

At a stop along the way, Hubbard called his friends again and learned that his mom and dad met up and were in New Iberia, La.

The group dropped off one passenger in Houston, then headed east. Hubbard called his father, and asked him to pick him up in Lafayette. They arranged to meet at a mile post marker.

When they got to that mile marker, his dad was standing there.

Hubbard can’t describe his feelings at that moment. He walked over to his dad and said, “You ain’t mad at me, huh?”

They hugged, and Hubbard broke down. After a bit, they got into the car and drove to New Iberia. When they reached the house where his parents were staying, his dad said his mother was in the back of the house.

Hubbard felt a moment of panic, but headed to the back room. The room was dark.

When he opened the door, his mother looked up but didn’t realize who it was. She recognized him when he asked her how she was doing, and held out her arms for a hug.

Hubbard told her he was sorry, and they embraced in a moment of joy and relief. His long ordeal was over.

Jerome Hubbard. Aztec Press photo by Mylo Erickson.


Once people were allowed to go back into New Orleans, Hubbard and his family got back into their house in October 2005.

They began a cleanup that took months. Hubbard’s father told him he needed to decide what to do. He didn’t want him to stay, as there would be no opportunities for some time.

Hubbard decided to move to Arizona, since he had relatives living in the state. He relocated to Tucson, and will receive a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from the Art Institute of Tucson in December.



Photo by DONALD HANSEN I took this photo the other day after it had been raining. This male horned owl has been living in my backyard tree for several months. Lately there has been a female (much larger than a male) horned owl staying for long periods of time. I'm happy, because I can watch them flying for hours.

Back from the brink: Soccer player returns to playing field

Back from the brink: Soccer player returns to playing field


Pima Community College men’s soccer player Declan Fulton cheated death a year ago after a hiking trip turned awry.

Fulton and a few friends were hiking the Tanque Verde Falls in Sabino Canyon in late August 2010. They spotted waterfalls and started to jump from above into a big pool of water.

Further downstream, another waterfall spilled over a ledge. That waterfall dropped 50 feet drop into a pool that was no deeper than 10 feet. After a shouted conversation with people below the falls, Fulton decided to slide down the ledge into a closer pool of water.

“I went to grab my friend’s hand and slipped,” Fulton said. “I knew I was going to fall, so I just threw myself off anyway. That saved my life because I would have landed on the rock at the bottom.”

The people below witnessed the fall and pulled Fulton into the shade. An off-duty paramedic who happened to be nearby helped him until a helicopter arrived.

“I remember hearing the helicopter come and I had to get airlifted out of there,” Fulton said. “Apparently it took two hours to get to the hospital.”

His parents, who live in Sierra Vista, met him at the hospital. Fulton had broken his pelvis, his elbow, a vertebrae in his back and some teeth, and punctured a lung.

His head would have suffered much more damage if he hadn’t covered it with his elbow.

“My elbow pretty much took the full impact of the fall,” Fulton said.

The following morning, Fulton woke up with his hands attached to the hospital bed. He had just one worry.

“I was trying to ask everyone, would I be able to play again,” he said.

After multiple surgeries, he finally got the answer he wanted. He could play soccer again despite having initial surgery on his elbow and a seven-hour pelvis surgery.

Fulton was in a wheelchair for almost three months and had in-house rehabilitation treatment.

“He’s a good kid, a very resilient kid,” men’s soccer head coach David Cosgrove said. “It’s truly remarkable.”

Fulton moved to Sierra Vista while recovering from his injuries.

“I was living in a house with stairs, so I moved back in with my family for the rest of the year,” he said.

While rehabbing, he started walking again. He also began playing soccer with friends, but was in pain while playing.

“I was trying to do too much, so I just gave it some time while I was in a men’s league,” he said. “I was starting to get some speed back and picked up the game back.”

It was “kind of a wakeup call” when he returned to Tucson for preseason training with his Pima team.

“Everyone was in better shape than I was,” he said. “I was behind everything.”

Declan Fulton makes his 10th appearance after last year's hiking accident. Aztec Press photo by Larry Gaurano.


Fulton and Cosgrove agree that he isn’t back to 100 percent yet but has made significant strides in improving his game.

“Everyone knows that I’ve still got what it takes and it’s just going to take time for it to come back,” Fulton said.

“It’s amazing, he went from being in a wheelchair to scoring goals,” teammate Jordan Benson said.

Cosgrove is grateful to have Fulton back in the lineup.

“He’s getting better and better and considering where he was about this time last year, it’s a remarkable story,” Cosgrove said. “He does play every game and he logs significant time. He is a key component of the team right now.”

Fulton is currently the Pima men’s top scorer, with more than six goals and four assists.

“Declan is scoring the most goals and playing the best for us,” Cosgrove said.

Controversial ‘Pathways’ gets Board approval

Controversial ‘Pathways’ gets Board approval


 Pima Community College Board of Governors voted 4-1 on Sept. 21 to endorse the new admissions standards that will become effective March 2012, but the ultimate decision didn’t come without debate.

“I need to understand it better or it needs to be refined a little better…” Sherryn Marshall, the only board member to vote in opposition. “I don’t want to endorse what somebody else has done. I either want to vote on a change or vote not to change. I don’t want to impose a vote to endorse, so I have to vote no.”

Marshall later added that she was voting against the process and not against the program.

The idea of ‘Pathways to Pima’ came from poor assessment scores due to unprepared students. The Arizona Daily Star reported PCC students were amongst the least prepared community colleges in the state, in 2009-10.

Students applying to Pima next year will have to test above the seventh grade level in math, reading and writing and have a high school diploma or GED.

Those students who don’t meet the requirements will be referred to ‘Pathways to Pima’ a 10-week, self-paced, instructional course designed to improve skills at a projected cost of $33, which financial aid won’t cover. Scholarships will be offered through the PCC Foundation.

‘Pathways’ will replace and eliminate the remedial course system. It will also help students acquire a GED and allow them to attempt the placement test again once they are caught up in the educational areas they are lacking.

The board recognizes that one size does not fit all when it comes to education, emphasizing that the current system has a poor success rate with students never reaching the college level course in their deficiency.

Marshall expressed concern whether those students deficient in one subject but efficient in another would be allowed to take credit classes.

Over a dozen speakers took the podium at the Board of Governors meeting.

Georgia Brosseau, former board member, advised the board members to publicly report the progress of the change to the admissions standards, emphasizing that PCC is a public institution.

President-elect of the PCC Faculty Senate Dolores Duran-Cerda voted to support the changes in academic standards.

She claims the faculties outside the faculty senate also agree with the changes.

“Why? Well who is in the classroom with the students every day? Not faculty from 20, 30 years ago,” Duran-Cerda said.

“Our voice matters. We also know what isn’t working and what needs improvement.”

Duran-Cerda also added that ‘Pathways’ would help a student get a solid foundation so they can experience their academic journey in a productive non-frustrating, non-intimidating way.

“We, the current faculty at Pima Community College, are your testimonials of what is going on in the classroom today. Trust our voices. Trust our hands-on experience with our students,” Duran-Cerda said.

“We have not been successful in the past. We need to make changes in order to move ahead,”

Board member Brenda Evan said. “We want to do whatever it takes—whatever it takes to allow our students to succeed.”

There is some debate whether this is the change Pima needs.

“I do think that we need to make changes but not so drastically that it eliminates those people who need us most,” Clarence Boykins, president of the Black Chamber of Commerce said to the board.

Boykins put the television show ‘Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader’ as an example— contending that many adults would be unable to pass the PCC placement test successfully.

“We need to think of those who are not here to represent themselves and those who we haven’t heard the voices of in none of this process, those people who are not smarter than a fifth grader,” he said.

Board member Marty Cortez said the board does not take the concerns being addressed lightly.

“I see now there has been a lot of misunderstanding of what ‘Pathways to Pima’ is going to be, what it means and that we are shutting the door on some students. That’s not what ‘Pathways’ is.”

Opposition fears that once a student scores poorly on the placement, they will be discouraged from any further options such as a ‘special’ program.

In a letter to Governing Board member David Longoria, Rep. Grijalva stressed the following: “I am deeply concerned with the proposed admission changes recently presented… The first Pima College district board adopted the ‘open door’ to education; an opportunity that has been a hallmark of Pima’s community philosophy ever since.”

“You don’t turn people away, necessarily; you turn them off,” Molly McKasson, a former Pima instructor, stressed at the hearing.


Reporter Kyle Wasson contributed to this story.

THE WORD: What is your favorite fall activity?

THE WORD: What is your favorite fall activity?

Photos and interviews by Whitney Billings


“Jumping in leaves.”

Brittany De Los Angeles

Downtown Campus


“Reading outside and biking.”

Daniel Schaller

Downtown Campus


“Watching scary movies and decorating for Halloween.”

Amber Worrel

Downtown Campus


“Hiking up Mount Lemmon and in Sabino Canyon.”

Sarah Martin

Downtown Campus


“Playing lacrosse with my friends from high school.”

Ryan Baker

Downtown Campus


The Word: Video Version 


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PCC trims administrator salaries


In the last year, Pima Community College has focused on capping salaries for top administrative personnel.

The average earnings of the chancellor, provost and all campus presidents—PCC’s highest tier of administrators—stagger at $181,685 combined.

This number is roughly $86,000 more than the highest paid instructional faculty member at PCC.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, 38 of PCC administrators’ salaries, which were greater than $100,000, cost Pima $5 million.

These costs have decreased 8.7 percent from the previous year.

“Times are tough all over,” said PCC Chancellor Roy Flores.

If tough means a fiscally unreliable state, depressing local property values, and an ever-increasing student enrollment, then yes, times are tough at PCC.

Flores estimates nearly 23 percent of administrative jobs were eliminated over the past few years.

“Everyone’s doing a lot more these days. We aren’t firing anybody—simply eliminating vacant job positions and positions like administrative assistants.”

Savings are not solely attributed to less spending.

Suzanne Miles has combined her academic services as provost with those of Community Campus president—ultimately performing two jobs and reimbursed for just one.

Since the indoctrination of lower-cost leaders began, administrators like the West Campus vice president and Northwest Campus president now earn roughly 7 percent less than each of their predecessors.

As long as local property values drop and state funding is pinched, Flores confirms there will be tougher times at Pima.

PCC’s budget dropped nearly $5.2 million from local property taxes in the last year, at a staggering 5.3 percent.

Although spending for administrative salaries has been capped, Flores did not shrug away from the idea of raises once again at Pima.

“Raises are very important,” Flores said.

“Our staff works hard for the college to provide the best possible service. These people need to be awarded appropriately.”

The range of salaries for ‘instructional faculty’ members at PCC is approximately $37-$95 thousand.

PCC campus presidents and provost average $165,214. Chancellor Flores earns a whopping $282,965.

For a complete database on all PCC faculty and staff salaries visit


Top 10 PCC Salaries

 Roy Flores, chancellor, $282,965

David Bea, executive vice chancellor for finance and administration, $179,226

Suzanne Miles, provost, executive vice chancellor for academic and student services, and Community Campus president $179,226

Charlotte Fugett, East Campus president, $179,148

Lou Albert, West Campus president, $162,935

Johnson Bia, Desert Vista Campus president, $159,116

Alojzy Kajstura, Northwest Campus president, $159,116

Janet May, vice chancellor, $155,387

Luba Chliwniak, Downtown Campus president, $151,745

Cynthia Dooling, vice chancellor, $148,188

CJ Karamargin, vice chancellor, $148,188

Mary Ann Martinez Sanchez, vice provost, $124,170

Brigid Murphy, Downtown Campus vice president, $124,170

Source: Pima Community College

Tumacacori Mission

Tumacacori Mission

Photo by DONALD HANSEN Once the home of the Pimen Indians, Father Kino approached the Pimen settlement of Tumacacori in Jan. 1691. By 1701 the first part of the mission was built. Father Kino named and blessed the new mission "Cayetano de Tumacacori" This is a great place for a picnic, try it.

Aztecs finish 4th, 6th at UA

Aztecs finish 4th, 6th at UA


The Pima Community College women’s cross country team retained its place in the top 10 while participating in the Dave Murray Invitational, hosted by the University of Arizona, on Sept. 16.

The Aztec men finished third among junior colleges and the No. 7 women finished second.

“It was a mix of good and bad,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said. “The men found out how talented our region is and held their own.”

Jamie Shrader runs in a pack of NCAA Division I athletes on Sept. 16. Aztec Press photo by James Kelley.


The men raced to sixth place overall out of nine teams.

Freshman Luis Ruiz was top performer for the PCC men with a time of 22:53 on the 4.25 mile course. He placed 27th overall and eighth among junior college participants.

“I think I just raced smarter,” Ruiz said about the difference between this meet and the last. “I’m happy with our performance, but I know we’re capable of a lot better.”

Freshmen Fabian Romero and David-Michael Scott also ran well, snagging 33rd and 38th places.

The Aztec women finished second among junior college teams, losing to No. 1 Central Arizona College.

“The women came within 10 points of the No. 1 ranked team in the country,” Wenneborg said.

Pima finished fourth overall at the meet, behind the UA, Northern Arizona University and Central Arizona.

Freshman Jamie Shrader led the way as she ran the three-mile course in 18:29. She finished first among junior college competitors, 21st overall.

Freshman Kelsey Montano and sophomore Heidi Lopez both finished just behind Shrader in the top 10 with times of 19:14 and 19:49. They finished 29th and 35th overall.

The men's cross country team begins the Dave Murray Invitational, a meet hosted by the University of Arizona at the Del Urich Golf Course on Sept. 16. Aztec Press photo by James Kelley.

New Northwest Campus president: Kajstura values higher education

New Northwest Campus president: Kajstura values higher education

Campus President Alex Kajstura.


Aug. 14, 1981 represents a memorable day for Pima Community College’s recently hired Northwest Campus president.

On that date Alex Kajstura emigrated from formerly communist Poland to the United States, which he considers the greatest country in the world.

“I just very recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of my great move,” Kajstura said.

Kajstura believes he is living the ultimate American success story. He says that once a person is educated and obtains a university diploma, no one can take that away.

He started his college career as a part-time instructor and advanced to department chair, division chair, associate dean, dean and provost. Kajstura reported for work as the Northwest Campus president on June 16.

“I have worked my way up,” Kajstura said. “I’m real excited to have this opportunity.”

He calls community colleges a truly American invention.

“There are no other countries that have community colleges,” Kajstura said. “The beauty of it is how democratic higher education is in the United States. Everyone gets a shot at higher education.”

He said he first heard about PCC through its reputation for being an excellent and innovative college with great leadership. Kajstura pointed out that Pima is one of the largest community college systems in the country.

Kajstura obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Silesian University of Poland in 1978. He said Poland’s university system is based on the German model.

Of 3,000 prospective students who complete general education courses in high school, 100 enter the university system.

“It’s very elitist,” he said. “It’s a more competitive program.”

Students spend four or five years at a university, concentrating on their discipline. When it comes time for graduate school, however, Kajstura said students look to the United States.

“There’s no question that the entire world is looking up to the United States as having the best graduate schools in whatever discipline you choose,” he said.

Kajstura’s father was a violinist for a symphonic orchestra and his mother was a music teacher. They encouraged him and his brother to obtain “a more solid degree,” which provided his greatest incentive to pursue chemistry.

He also obtained a master’s degree in organic chemistry, another master’s in business administration and a doctorate in higher education from Southern Illinois University.

His brother teaches biology at Harvard School of Medicine.

Kajstura thinks Tucson is an exceptional place with very polite and civilized people, and hopes to stay in the city for a long time.

His hobbies include playing golf, exercising and traveling. After living in flat areas of Florida and Virginia, Tucson’s terrain made him realize he had forgotten what it is like to walk uphill on trails.

Kajstura is fluent in English and Polish, and gets by speaking German, Russian and Italian.

“Speak a second language — that gives you an advantage,” he said.

He also advises students to take advantage of PCC’s multiple resources and to get involved in student life.

“Just go for it,” he said. “It’s more than just getting your diploma, it’s about being a well educated citizen of the world.”

DESTINATIONS:  Museum showcases southwestern culture

DESTINATIONS: Museum showcases southwestern culture

The Arizona State Museum on University Boulevard is the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the Southwest. Photo by Amy Zambrano


If you want to experience the history of cultures in the Southwest and northern Mexico, the Arizona State Museum invites you to visit.

The museum showcases Arizona and Southwest archeological studies in educational exhibitions, and offers interesting programs for adults and children.

Arizona State Museum, the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the Southwest, was established in 1893 by the Arizona Territorial Legislature. It is located near the central entrance to the University of Arizona.

Ongoing exhibits include the Pottery Project and Paths of Life: American Indians of the Southwest. Other exhibits rotate monthly.

The Pottery Project is the largest exhibit of its kind in the world, with more than 20,000 ceramic specimens more than 2,000 years old.

The “Paths of Life” exhibition explores the origins, history and lifeways of the Yaqui, O’odham, Apache, Navajo and Hopi with prehistoric artifacts and historic objects.

The museum’s store, “Native Goods,” sells representations of museum artifacts, educational materials and crafts.

Arizona State Museum also conducts ongoing research and serves as a laboratory for prominent anthropologists to study southwestern cultures.

You can visit the museum Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for Pima Community College and University of Arizona students, military families and children under 17. All other adults ages 18 and over pay $5.

For a full details about exhibitions, programs, tours, directions and parking, visit


Arizona State Museum

Address: 1013 E. University Blvd.

Phone: 621-6302

Hours: Mon-Sat, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission: Free for Pima/UA students, military families. $5 for ages 18 years and older.


Peru Parade

Peru Parade

Photo by CYNTHIA LANCASTER In my photojournalism classes, I encourage students to always carry a camera. I follow my own advice on vacations, and enjoy documenting life in the locations I visit. I happened upon this colorful parade in Cuzco, Peru. There was only time to take one photo before the revelers moved on.

Chuck George leaves Pima adjunct position

Chuck George leaves Pima adjunct position


KOLD-TV chief meteorologist Chuck George has resigned from his part-time faculty position at Pima Community College.

George took a leave of absence from KOLD on Sept. 9, following what appeared to be a difficult newscast on Sept. 6. During his 10 p.m. forecast, George began to speak very slowly and was unable to finish.

That same day, George tweeted 33 times in quick succession, on topics ranging from celebrity Sharon Osborne to a urinal at KOLD. Most of his Sept. 6 tweets have been deleted.

On Sept. 7, PCC received a call from KOLD producers saying that George would no longer be able to teach his Geology 101 weather and climate class at Northwest Campus, according to PCC spokesman Paul Schwalbach.

Schwalbach said Pima found another instructor, and George’s class has continued uninterrupted. George’s Northwest Campus supervisor declined to comment.

Earlier in the year, George set up the Archimedes Scholarship at Pima, which is designed for students who are majoring in a scientific discipline. Incoming students who apply need a 3.5 GPA, while current students must maintain at least a 3.25 GPA.

George had planned to donate $2,500 of his Pima salary to fund the scholarship. Schwalbach said the scholarship will still be available, and that anyone can donate to the fund at

The KOLD personality was one of two keynote speakers at Pima’s back-to-school employee convocation, which took place Aug. 19 at West Campus. George gave a brief meteorology talk and promoted the Archimedes scholarship.

This is not George’s first leave of absence from KOLD. In the spring of 2010, George was off the air for five weeks.

KOLD Vice President and General Manager Debbie Bush told the Arizona Daily Star that George is expected to return to the station in about six weeks.

In the meantime, George’s Facebook page continues to fill with well-wishes.

Meteorologist Chuck George.