RSSArchive for October 13th, 2011

Stop the whining, already

Stop the whining, already


If you Google “whining” in sports, you will find a plethora of stories about players whining about bad calls and/or losing. Enough is enough, already!

I hold this opinion not just for professionals but for all levels and age groups.

After watching a Pima Community College men’s soccer game, this question kept nagging in the back of my mind: What good is whining in sports?

The opposing team, Phoenix College, continued complaining the entire game. It was so bad that the referee finally told them to stop. I have never experienced this level of bellyaching before.

Their complaints weren’t changing anything with the referees, and Pima seemed to feed off of it.

I just don’t get the point of it.

Does whining about what should have been, or at least what you think should have been, make any difference?

I think it does more harm than good. First of all, you look like a whiny brat and not a professional sports player. If I was a fan of yours before you started whining, I can guarantee that I won’t be a fan after.

If I was the referee in your sport, I would be pissed. Who’s job is it to make the calls… yours or mine? There is a reason why you’re playing the game and I’m calling it.

Rarely have I seen a referee change a call based on a player’s complaint.

What good comes from all of that? If you have the answer, please fill me in.

Natalie Gil

THE WORD: What’s your favorite fall TV show?

Interviews and photos by Celeste Orendain


Natalie Gil

Natalie Gil

“The Vampires Diaries” – because it reminds me of Twilight.

Natalie Gil

Criminal Justice

Desert Vista


Judith Arredondo Herrera

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” – because it gives me ideas and I’m interested in finding ways of changing my home someday.

Judith Arredondo Herrera


Desert Vista


Jessica Arredondo

“The Game” – because I like sports and I watch a lot of shows that have to do with sports.

Jessica Arredondo


Desert Vista


Andrew Johnson

“Law and Older SUVs” – because it gives a lot of true court stories.

Andrew Johnson

Early Childhood Studies

Desert Vista


Steven Tequida


“Jersey Shore” – because they are ridiculous but entertaining.

Steven Tequida


Desert Vista


Storm vs. Aztecs: PCC tries to ignite East vs. West rivalry

Storm vs. Aztecs: PCC tries to ignite East vs. West rivalry


Not every Pima Community College team was called the “Aztecs,” the football team used to go by “Storm.”

When the football team was formed, the Storm was the name chosen after a vote was taken from students, faculty and staff.

“The team is going to be called the Storm, as if, there is a storm coming out of the East and don’t get caught by it,” said then East Campus President Mary Retterer.

This was Jan. 24 2001, when PCC was flush with cash and was fresh from renovating three campuses and building two more in the 1990s and the athletic department had visions of expanding.  There were talks of having football and softball teams at both the east and west campuses along with having baseball teams at the desert vista and west campuses.

Retterer called it “replicating” and these teams would be able to play each other and if a student attended the east campus they would only be allowed to play for the east campus team.

That was all talk and never happened, no Pima Aztec team from the West Campus ever battled a Pima Storm team from the East Campus.

The Storm became the name of the golf teams that were also relocated to the East Campus. Both teams practiced at Fred Enke Golf Course, located adjacent to East Campus and the eastern campus even had its own athletic department.

Along with a team name the consensus also decided on team colors. The actual color was called “desert sky blue.” Desert sky blue was paired with black and silver trim to produce the uniforms.

The name served Pima well as they went to a bowl game in Pima’s best year, 2004. That year the No. 11 Storm (8-3) beat No. 4 Kilgore College in Kilgore’s backyard at the Pilgrim’s Pride Bowl in Mount Pleasant, Texas.

“The name and the colors are very unique and attractive. I think people will get real excited about the uniqueness of the colors and the name,” said defensive backs coach Keith Graham in 2001.

Apparently people didn’t get too excited about the name or the colors because the team name was changed to the Aztecs in 2005.  All Pima teams became the Aztecs and the school colors, for every campus, were changed to navy blue and black, from orange on the West Campus and desert sky blue at the East Campus.

Since the name change Pima has won six games so maybe they should consider a throwback game with desert sky blue helmets.

Higher education more important to women, survey says

Higher education more important to women, survey says


Women value a college education more than men, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

When about 2,100 Americans were asked their opinions on education last spring, respondents with and without a college diploma said they thought college was more vital to a woman’s success than a man’s.

The survey also found that more women believe a college education had a positive impact on their lives.

More than eight out of 10 women with a four-year degree said their education was “very useful” in helping them grow intellectually. About three-fourths said college helped their emotional development.

In contrast, just two-thirds of college-educated men said college helped with their intellectual growth and 64 percent said it helped them mature personally.

“Men will always be allowed to have their rights and they always have,” East Campus student Lauren Millette said. “Women had to work for them. They would rather have education than be a stay-at-home mom like they’re ‘supposed’ to be.”

Pima Community College, like many colleges, has a gender gap. About 55 percent of students are female.

Chancellor Roy Flores has called the gap significant, and said it needs to be addressed.

“The state’s colleges and universities must do all they can to eliminate this disparity because of its impact on society,” he said.

In the national survey, 46 percent said it is a bad thing that fewer men than women are obtaining college degrees.

In other survey findings, women expressed more concern about the escalating cost of college. Just 14 percent of female college graduates said college is affordable for most people, compared to more than 25 percent of males.

Colleges around the country raise tuition annually. PCC raised tuition this fall by $5 to $58.50 per credit hour, but says it is the ninth cheapest community college in the state.

White House event cancelled over admissions debate

White House event cancelled over admissions debate


Controversy over Pima Community College’s new admissions policy has postponed a White House Hispanic Community Action Summit.

The summit, which will bring White House officials and leaders from federal agencies to discuss jobs, education, health care and immigration with local leaders, was scheduled for Oct. 15 at Pima’s West Campus.

When PCC announced that the summit would be held at the college, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Tucson, began receiving phone calls from Tucsonans who were unhappy with the location.

Grijalva said many members of the Hispanic community expressed concern that “Pathways to Pima,” PCC’s new admissions policy, would adversely affect the Hispanic community, and therefore made Pima an inappropriate location for the summit

The new policy will require applicants to test at a seventh grade mathematic, reading and writing level. Those who test below seventh grade will be referred to a 10-week, $33 remedial program before being allowed to take college courses.

Grijalva’s office advised those who called with concerns to contact the White House, which is where details of the summit had been decided.

Grijalva said he then got a call from the White House, during which he explained the Pima conflict and was told the summit was being put on hold in order to avoid any controversy.

PCC vice chancellor and spokesman C.J. Karamargin then got a call saying the summit was being put on hold after Grijalva complained to the White House about Pima’s admissions policy.

Grijalva, who has come out in opposition to the new admissions standards, said he was just happy the summit would be held at a local educational institution.

“The fight was secondary to the fact it was in Tucson,” Grijalva said.

Karamargin said PCC was honored to be selected to host the event, and he feels that Tucson is an ideal place to hold one of the summits, because people in the area are concerned about civil discourse.

He said that the college has put a lot of work into preparing for the summit and is hoping the event will happen at Pima.

“We are ready, willing and able to move forward when the White House gives us the green light,” Karamargin said.

Grijalva has been in contact with the White House, and says that the summit will take place somewhere in Tucson.

“The summit will be in Tucson,” Grijalva said.

“Issues of venue will be discussed, and they’ll keep us informed.”

Czarina Schutt

Aztecs dig themselves into a deeper hole with three consecutive losses


After breaking an 11-match losing streak, the Pima Community College volleyball team suffered three tough losses.

Pima (3-14, 0-9, Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) couldn’t win its last three matches, against Phoenix College, Scottsdale Community College and Yavapai College.

The Aztecs lost a home match, 3-0, against Phoenix on Oct. 7. They lost the first set 25-18 and the second set 25-16. The third set was very close but Pima lost 25-22.

On Sept. 30, Scottsdale crushed the Aztecs in three sets. They lost their first two sets 25-14 and the last set 25-18.

Head coach Dan Bithell said freshman setters Kami Humphrey and sophomore Czarina Schutt lead Pima’s offense at the Scottsdale match.

“I felt like we didn’t put in a lot of physical effort,” Bithell said. “Any time that we’re not in a position to play our hardest, we are not going to be very successful and so that’s kind of the way that it went.”

On Sept. 28, Pima team lost 3-0 in a road conference match against Yavapai.

Freshman outside hitter Megan Dorris led the Pima offensive effort with five kills. Aztec team captain Czarina Schutt played a solid two-way match with 17 assists and four digs. Humphrey also played well at the net, making three blocks.

“I felt that we played a little better but again just not with the consistency that we really needed to win that game,” Bithell said.

The coach said he expects to win.

“I feel if we are able to kind of put our best effort out there we can compete with anybody and obviously if that is what we can do I like our chances.” Bithell said.

Pima’s closes out the season with a home match and two road matches before Sophomore Night on Oct. 26 against Mesa Commuity College at 7 p.m.

Czarina Schutt

Czarina Schutt makes dig in match with Phoenix on Oct. 7

Chancellor recuperating at home after heart surgery

Chancellor recuperating at home after heart surgery


Pima Community College Provost Suzanne Miles assumed Chancellor Roy Flores’ seat at the Oct. 19 Board of Governors meeting, and announced that Flores is home after quadruple bypass surgery on Oct. 14.

“He took a hot shower—we just got an update on this. He’s very pleased to be home,” Miles said at the meeting. “We’ll keep you posted but at this point in time it’s just a couple more weeks of more healing.”

Miles sent an email to PCC employees Oct. 19, stating that her husband picked up Flores at the hospital the afternoon of Oct. 18 and delivered him to his home. She said Flores was resting comfortably and discussing the state of the economy.

“He has been advised not to have visitors until he is stronger, which could be three to five days at the least,” Miles said. “For those of you who asked about sending flowers and plants, please do not do so until later next week. Cards and flowers can be sent directly to his office and his staff will get them to his home.”

Miles said Flores will have home health care for a week or two in addition to a constant delivery of heart-healthy meals.

“He certainly appreciates your good will and support as he focuses on healing,” she said.

Miles emphasized, however, that Flores needs rest in order to recuperate and heal.

“He really doesn’t need visitors yet—it’s nothing personal,” she said. “But if you need to see him or need an appointment, just go through his office and they’ll set something up.”



Dr. Flores is out of surgery and in recovery.  He had a quadruple bypass. I will have another update at the Board meeting next Wednesday.  On his behalf we want to thank you for your expressions of support. For those of you who asked about sending flowers and plants, please do not do so until later next week.  Cards and flowers can be sent directly to his office and his staff will get them to his home.



Roy Flores, chancellor for Pima Community College, will undergo triple-bypass heart surgery on Friday, Oct. 14.

“I feel strong and have been running regularly, but my doctor tells me that there is some blockage in my arteries that we need to address,” Flores said.

“I’m in excellent shape otherwise, a perfect candidate for this kind of procedure.”

His doctor also told him he can look forward to a full recovery in four to six weeks.

Flores doesn’t blame the stressful events that PCC has endured over the past year for taking a toll on his health.

“It’s not just one thing that causes these types of medical problems,” he said. “Stress is a factor and if you look at people that have stressful jobs in every sector of society they tend to have not only this kind of thing but they also have some other health challenges.”

Flores tries to stay healthy by exercising.

“I try to run and exercise because you have to have stamina to put in long days week after week, month after month and year after year,” he said.

Flores underwent a series of three medical procedures five weeks ago.

“One was the regular treadmill test, where there was an indication that there was an anomaly,” Flores said. “Then there was another test that was done—a more sophisticated test that indicated there might be other kinds of problems. An angiogram was done last that ultimately uncovered that I had to have bypass surgery.”

Flores said he is not nervous about his upcoming bypass, although he suspects he will be on the day of surgery.

“The angiogram did not make me nervous, so I’m hopeful that it’ll be the same kind of thing,” he said. “I suspect I will be a little bit nervous, although one never knows. We’ll see.”

Suzanne Miles, PCC provost and executive vice chancellor with 26 years at PCC, will assume some of Flores’ responsibilities.

“We expect college operations to continue to run smoothly,” Miles said. “Dr. Flores has assembled a team of dedicated professionals who are all devoted to education and serving our community. We will hold down the fort while he is away.”

John Carrol, vice president of instruction at Community Campus, will assume some of Miles’ duties as president of Community Campus. He is the former acting superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District.

Flores will maintain regular contact with his staff regarding budget and planning issues.

“I have every confidence in our team, and I know that students and faculty will not notice any difference in college operations,” he said.

Fox Theatre

Fox Theatre

Photo By DONALD HANSEN. The standard photo of the Fox was changed with a painting program and Photoshop CS5. I enjoy stepping out of the box. I have to remind myself it's not all black and white.

Default logo - blue

Groups seek alternative to Columbus Day


In the early issues of the Aztec Press, Columbus Day was mentioned almost as rarely as the observance of Halloween.

In the decades that followed, Halloween gained popularity and eventually earned annual recognition. This is not the case with Columbus Day, which is featured only a handful of times in the pages of October publications.


An article from 1979 outlines the history of the holiday, taking note of both the 300th and 400th anniversaries of the initial arrival of Christopher Columbus on American soil. The earliest celebrations of the holiday were generally honored by Italian Americans.

In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging U.S. citizens to “cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express honor to the discoverer and their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life.”

Many students, from yesterday and today, know that Columbus “sailed the ocean blue” in the year 1492. Few students are aware of the controversy that is associated with the holiday, yet that is changing.

This controversy is reflected in the pages of the Aztec Press, particularly in an article from October 2000. The article covered the 2nd annual Celebration and Remembrance of the Children of the Sun, which was also referred to as Counter-Columbus Day.


One of the organizers of the event was a Native American, Roland Goodbird Salinas.


“Counter-Columbus Day is an educational day to inform people that Christopher Columbus didn’t find America,” Salinas said. “And to teach people that our people did.”


When Columbus arrived in the Bahamas on Oct. 12, 1492, he thought he had reached an Asian spice island.

It wasn’t until his third voyage to the Americas that Columbus realized he was not exploring Asian territories. Instead, he was venturing into a “new world.”

For centuries Columbus has been credited with “discovering” a land that was already inhabited by various tribes.

The indigenous people of the Bahamas were forced into slavery by Columbus and the settlers who followed him. Some tribesmen and women were brought back to Europe as slaves or trophies.

The dark details of exactly how Columbus “discovered” America have sparked much opposition to the federal holiday.

One opposition group is the Transform Columbus Day Alliance, based in Denver. The alliance organizes rallies and events to help spread awareness about the meaning of the holiday.

Their principles are explained on their website,

One statement reads, “The destruction of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Africa is considered to be an acceptable cost for the construction of the current settler societies of the Western hemisphere. We denounce these theories and practices.”


Other societies that have attempted to transform the holiday include South Dakota’s Native American Day and Hawaii’s Discoverer’s Day.

In 2002, Venezuela changed the name of Columbus Day to Dia de la Resistencia Indigena (Day of the Indigenous Resistance). Many other Latin American countries observe Dia de la Raza (Day of the People/Race) instead of Columbus Day.

Despite the differences of name and meaning, most celebrations offer similar events ranging from pow-wows to parades.

At the 2nd annual Counter-Columbus Day, dancers for Mexica, also known as the Aztecs, performed dances such as The Dance of Rain (Tlaloc), The Dance of the Ancestors (Chi Chi Mecca) and the Dance of the Four Directions (Naui Ollin).


 “We do the dances to honor the different spirits and elements of the universe,” dancer Ella Zepeda said. “The reason we offer prayers through our dances is to remember our people and remember the struggle and sacrifice our ancestors went through, so we can make sure they live on in balance and in harmony with the elements in the universe.”


'Occupy Tucson' reaches Old Pueblo

‘Occupy Tucson’ reaches Old Pueblo


Occupy Tucson began demonstrations Oct. 15 at Armory Park, changed from the original location at Pancho Villa Park.

Occupy Tucson had to move locations because of a major scheduling conflict with “Meet Yourself Tucson.” The festival occupied the same area protesters planned to rally in the downtown financial district.

Protester Lori Labatka wasn’t a fan of the move. “Armory Park is where lots of protests happen in Tucson. Doing it in a park isn’t effective as is occupying a corporate space.”

The City of Tucson accommodated the protesters by turning off the sprinklers in Armory Park and installing a portable toilet.

A major criticism of Occupy Tucson was its poor organization and lack of uniting message.

Photo By KYLE WASSON A young woman raises her sign proudly as a group returns from marching. Protestors began gathering Oct. 15

Pima Community College nursing major Reina Dawn attended the protest. “People are motivated but when they get there they don’t know what to do,” she said. “I think the majority of young people my age have a lack of critical thinking which is necessary for a change to happen.”

Planning meetings were bogged down by votes requiring a consensus of nearly 100 people for decisions.

A litany of signs reading different messages were laid on the ground after a march through downtown. The signs ranged from straightforward to conspiracy theory laden.

Disorganization manifested itself in a variety of ways, including promotion and participation by New-Age spiritual movements like Gabriel of Sedona, whose own movement held a banner advertising their website all day Saturday.

Photo By KYLE WASSON One of many signs protestors have created since the inception of Occupy Tucson

Callie, a pre-school teacher who refused to give her last name, showed up to support friends who protested on the Brooklyn Bridge and had been pinned down by police officers for seven hours.

“As a teacher I’ve seen a lot of pay cuts and layoffs,” she said. “It’s frustrating to see all of these corporations making money but we can’t even make changes for the most important thing, the children.” Callie would rather see a larger budget for education than defense.

Those who listened to the speeches at the protest noticed a theme emerge: Corporations are making too much money while most of America is in a financial crisis.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by different groups of people who participate and can get over individual differences to stand up against the very small percentage of people who have all the wealth,”  Callie remarked.

However, trouble continues for Occupy Tucson: Those who participate and endure arrest receive a citation for $1000, up to six months in jail and three years of probation.

Photo By KYLE WASSON A group of protestors returns from parading the streets of downtown Tucson. Sign holders gather in groups of 30-50 and march daily.

Labatka was interested in seeing how solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protestors would manifest in Tucson.

“I’ve never been a big fan of capitalism,” Labatka said. “I am perpetually upset because of it. We have an unfair system, we’re all getting fucked all the time. It hurts more than it helps.”

She wants to see a total reformation of U.S. politics and economics. “It would take collaboration of many people. I think change needs to start from the bottom up. It’s cool that a dialogue has started.”

Despite a 12:30 a.m. curfew at Armory Park, a few protestors were still camped out. During the day, people play music or games to keep the momentum going. Police walk through or stand by to monitor the scene.



Oct. 13, 2011



Occupy Together, the national movement that began on Wall Street in New York City, has spread to Tucson.

Members of the Occupy Tucson chapter say they are among the 99 percent taking action against greed and corruption by the 1 percent.

Occupy Together plans to hold a worldwide occupation in more than 1,000 cities on Oct. 15. In Tucson, the occupation will begin at 9 a.m. at Armory Park.

On Oct. 9, about 200 people gathered near the iconic statue of freedom fighter “Pancho Villa” in Veinte De Agosto Park in downtown Tucson.

Kathleen Hannan, PCC student. Aztec Press photo by Leftrick Herd.

Kathleen Hannan, a 58-year-old Pima Community College student, described the movement as a true democracy.

“This is the same structure that started as the Wall Street occupation,” Hannan said. “Last week was the first general assembly. This is not a leadership meeting because part of the movement is not to have leaders. We are the 99 percent.”

At the gathering, fliers were available on a picnic table set up under a tree.

The smaller of the fliers advertised the Oct. 15 gathering. The larger flier was titled “Revolution: a how-to.”

Below the title, another headline read “from anonymous to the citizens of the world, enjoy!”

The larger flier provided instructions on how to cooperate during the gathering. It covered how to handle law enforcement and the media, and how to participate in a general assembly.

The flier showed hand signals and defined lingo such as the “stack,” a term for the line of people waiting to address the crowd.

At noon, a young man who called himself Jon McLain grabbed a megaphone and began speaking.

After the crowd voted that McLain and a man next to him would serve as meeting facilitators, he explained how the meeting would be organized.

McLain organized the stack and explained the meeting would take consensus on topics to be discussed at the Oct. 15 gathering. One by one, participants made proposals.

Suggestions included locations for holding movements, organizing transportation for members of the occupation, how to keep the gathering peaceful and who would be on which committee or team.

For further information, visit

Participants at the Oct. 9 Occupy Tucson meeting take a photo. Aztec Press photo by Leftrick Herd.


Occupy Tucson planning meeting

Shuttle exploration ‘moving ahead’

Shuttle exploration ‘moving ahead’


Pima Community College is moving forward with an idea to set up a shuttle service between Desert Vista, Downtown and West campuses.

Last spring, Pima students taking classes at those campuses received a seven-question survey through their email last April.

The survey asked students about their current commute, and about preferred schedules and prices for a shuttle.

“The college is moving ahead with the exploration of the Pima shuttle,” Assistant Vice Chancellor for Marketing C.J. Karamargin said.

The survey produced 2,200 student responses, with most supporting the shuttle concept.

“The survey’s purpose was to find out if there was enough student interest to move forward with the project,” Karamargin said. “The survey proved there is.”

The Board of Governors recently hired Mark Kinsey as PCC’s new transportation/ support services manager. Kinsey has five years of experience as the director of outreach and education for the Mohave xxxx xxxxx.

Karamargin said Kinsey will begin exploring shuttle options, but there is no timetable for any service to begin.


Default logo - blue

Mother and daughter honor students earn Pima scholarships


Maria Guadalupe Cantu was happy to learn she had been awarded an Amigos de Pima scholarship.

The next day, she and her family were surprised and thrilled to learn that her mother, Maria Elena Cantu, had also been awarded a scholarship from the same foundation.

Both women are honor students at Pima Community College.

Maria G. Cantu, sometimes called “Maria junior,” was the first to enroll at Pima. She is working toward becoming a lawyer.

Inspired by her children, Maria E. Cantu registered as well. While studying social work, she balances school with caring for her three children and home. She hopes to show women that it is never too late to attend college.

The family matriarch has also shown her two daughters and son the value of working in the community. For the past several years, she has volunteered at behavioral health centers, senior centers, food banks and schools.

Her goal, in the community and in her future profession, has always been strengthening families.

Both women cite hard work and dedication as reasons for their academic successes. They are “always at the library,” frequently with the younger Cantu daughter in tow.

However, both women are quick to name numerous instructors, advisors and counselors who have consistently gone “far beyond” the parameters of their jobs to support them.

“The Marias,” as they are often called, are sources of pride and inspiration to each other. Each understands the importance of education, both in school and the community.

“Nobody can take education from you,” Maria E. Cantu frequently tells her children.

Maria G. Cantu was awarded the Richard and Mary Fimbres LULAC Scholarship. Maria E. Cantu was awarded the Rosita Cota Bilingual Pioneer Scholarship.

Halloween horror in Tucson: Nightfall and Slaughterhouse

Halloween horror in Tucson: Nightfall and Slaughterhouse

Prepare for terror once night falls on ‘Nightfall’


By day, Old Tucson is a family tourist attraction where “the spirit of the Old West comes alive.” However, by night, Old Tucson is transformed into a spooky haunt, overrun with deranged clowns, zombies and freaks.

As far as fall fun goes, Nightfall does not disappoint. It offers everything I’ve come to expect from a Halloween attraction: a funny, overly crude show, chainsaws, cheesy acting, moderate terror and pyrotechnics (all for an inflated price).

I attended Nightfall on a Thursday night and am glad I did. Attendance was low, meaning no lines for haunted houses, shows, food and drink, or the restrooms.

Upon arrival, I cautiously made my way through the wide-open walkways on my way to the first show, “Gross Encounters.” An assortment of creatures attempted to scare me, but only the clown with his loud horn actually succeeded.

“Gross Encounters” told the story of a redneck patriot and his wife trying to capture terrorists on camera. They encounter a hippy who falls from the sky (supposedly after being probed by an alien life force) and hilarity ensues.

The show was entertaining. It wasn’t hilarious but managed to make me giggle, and the rest of the audience loved it. The humor was a little too crass to feel natural at times, but, again, the audience ate it up.

Nightfall’s second show, “Dead of Night,” did not enjoy the same response. It was full of cheesy, over-acted dialogue recorded on tape. The actors simply moved their lips. The best part, the pyrotechnics, were mildly entertaining at best.

By this time, I was parched and decided to check out “The Web.” Nightfall’s website describes it as a place to “jam to the heart-stopping sounds of Ozzie Osbourne, Hammerfall, Judas Priest, Metallica, Rob Zombie and staggering sights by Lumio Vista,” but I just didn’t see it.

“The Web” appeared to be nothing more than a bar playing heavy-rock music. The laser light shows put on by local production company Lumio Vista were neat, but too intense to enjoy for longer than a few minutes. It definitely was not as luring as the website claims.

The best part of Nightfall, by far, were the haunted houses. There were three, “Iron Door Mine,” “Zombie Lockdown” and “Carnival Caverns,” with “Iron Door Mine” being the mildest.

A Nightfall employee in full gruesome make-up sits at the entrance to each haunted house and regulates how many people are allowed in. This ensures that no patron exits without witnessing every scary moment the house has to offer.

“Zombie Lockdown” was the scariest, and my favorite. What could possibly be better than a maze dotted with blown up heads, flashing lights and terrifying zombies jumping out from behind walls at the most opportune of moments?

This house was complete with an “electrified” metal grate (I screamed my lungs out) and a real Tucson police car, complete with lights, sirens and, of course, a zombie.

Overall, Nightfall didn’t disappoint. It was a fun way to get out of the house for a night. It accomplished what it set out to provide: family Halloween fun.

My only complaint was the price. Tickets are $25 a piece and I was only there for three hours.

I wish I had taken time to get the student discount, which requires a receipt proving the purchase of two 20-ounce Coca-Cola products along with a valid photo student I.D.

For more information and a full set of event rules, visit

Rob Jensen dresses as the clown "Pappy" in a NIghtfall production. Photograph by Marie Demarais.


Nightfall at Old Tucson

Location: Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road

Dates: Thursdays-Sundays through Oct. 30, plus Halloween night

Hours: Thursdays, Sundays and Halloween: 6-10 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays: 6 p.m.-midnight

Cost: $25 adults, $20 children, with discounts available




Slaughterhouse vows no mercy, disappoints


The website boasts that it is Tucson’s scariest haunted house “where fear and terror show no mercy.” The setting, an old slaughterhouse, brings to mind sounds and images right out of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

But The Slaughterhouse haunted house left me confused, wondering if I had missed something.

As I walked up to the entrance, with my sister and brother-in-law, we were excited after seeing a child running toward the exit in tears. He sobbed as he tried to catch up to his family. Seeing this as a good sign, we hoped it meant this event would be truly scary, unfit for young children.

The Slaughterhouse is divided into four “haunts.”

The first two haunts, “The Boiler Room” and “City Meats,” were the only sections to use the retired slaughterhouse to produce scares.

Both haunts featured slaughterhouse employees and remnants of their work. There was blood. There were loud, ominous noises. And yes, there were characters jumping out at us, screaming. But it didn’t work. We weren’t scared. Instead we found ourselves giggling through these scenes.

After viewing half of what The Slaughterhouse had to offer, we almost gave up. Somewhat confused that we had mistakenly stumbled into areas meant to scare children, we pressed on, hoping to be terrified.

The third haunt “CarnEvil” seemed promising. It had the longest, slowest-moving line. We considered this proof that it was the scariest option.

I envisioned terrified visitors paralyzed with fear, unable to move along and make room for the rest of us.

When we finally reached the front of CarnEvil’s line, we were told the three of us would be going in alone. No group of strangers in front or behind us to bear the brunt of any surprises!

We were also handed 3D glasses. This had to mean terror. Someone or something was going to jump out right at me!

Sadly, none of those hopes came true. This haunt did have a carnival theme packed with images of freaks and games. Along with 3D effects and black light, it produced some interesting images. But they simply were not scary.

As we moped outside, a masked man with a chainsaw gave chase. My sister and I had seen this routine done to much better effect a couple of years earlier at another haunted house. He tried to appear menacing, but we just shrugged it off with disappointed laughs.

The final “Twisted Tree” haunt may have been the weakest. Or maybe I was just so frustrated, I didn’t care anymore.

This haunt took place outside in a cemetery. Along the way, young women in black dresses and dramatic makeup hissed and moaned as we walked through. I think we all may have been going through the motions at this point.

The producers of The Slaughterhouse seemed to abandon their greatest asset. Their haunted house takes place in an actual slaughterhouse!

We saw little reminder of that throughout the four haunts. There were clowns, dark corners and characters with standard Halloween makeup lurching and screaming. But it never came together to produce one halt, jump or scream.

A costumed Slaughterhouse character gnaws on a severed limb. Aztec Press photo by Laura Blandburg.


The Slaughterhouse

Location: The old Farmer John Building, 1102 W. Grant Road

Hours: Thursdays–Sundays through Oct. 30, plus Oct. 31

Gates open at 6:30 p.m., shows begin at 7 p.m.

Cost: $21, with group discounts available


AIDSWALK set for Oct. 16 at UA mall

AIDSWALK set for Oct. 16 at UA mall


AIDSWALK, the annual 5K walk and 10K fun run benefitting the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation, will be held Sunday, Oct. 16, starting at the University of Arizona mall.

For the event’s 23rd anniversary, SAAF has set a fundraising goal of $180,000 with 6,000 walkers or runners.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. at the UA mall. The 10K fun run starts at 7:30 a.m., and a Quilt Opening Ceremony will be held at 8 a.m. The 5K walk starts at 9 a.m., followed by additional events at 10 a.m.

Runners and walkers can register online at Cost is $35 for the 10K and $20 for the 5K.

Event coordinator Monique Vallery has volunteered with SAAF for four years.

“I’m very proud of our community and their commitment to SAAF,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to the things we do without everyone’s support.”

AIDSWALK will offer free HIV testing on-site this year.

“I really encourage people to come out and help SAAF raise much-needed funds and gain some education,” Vallery said.

SAAF began in 1997 when three previous organizations merged. The organization works to educate, provide outreach and give clients holistic support.

“People need to realize that everyone is at risk,” Vallery said.

SAAF education programs inform people about HIV prevention, STDs, substance abuse, hepatitis and safe-sex resources through counseling, workshops, support groups and social activities. The group also gives away free condoms.

Clients receive services to live healthy, safe, self-sufficient lives. SAAF offers assessment of needs, helps form connections to community services, advocates on behalf of clients and gives medical referrals.

Services include access to dental services, emergency rent and utility assistance, food programs, housing, in-home services, medications assistance, move-in deposits, substance abuse treatment, telephone assistance and transportation.

AIDSWALK 2011 will fund SAAF programs and directly help those living with HIV/AIDS. Last year, funds raised helped 1,049 people with care services and 550 outreach events reached at least 13,800 people.

Vallery’s favorite parts of AIDSWALK are watching the Quilt Ceremony and meeting new people.

“I am always amazed by how many people come out to show their support,” she said.

For additional information about SAAF, visit or call 628-7223.

Pima photographers exhibit All Souls work

Pima photographers exhibit All Souls work


As November approaches, many Tucsonans prepare for All Souls Procession, the popular ceremony that creatively celebrates the lives of those who have passed.

Artist Susan Johnson started the All Souls Procession in 1990, basing it on the Dia de los Muertos holiday celebrated in many Latin countries. The home-grown Tucson event has since become one of the biggest ceremonies in North America.

Numerous local artists collaborate in events that take place before the ceremony itself. One such event, the All Soul’s Procession 5th Annual Photography Exhibition, took place Oct. 8 at Studio 455.

Pima Community College students Barbara Lundstrom and Kiki Nelson displayed photographs, and PCC instructor Ann Simmons-Myers judged the exhibition.

The goal of the exhibit is to promote culture and community in Tucson. Many photographers submit pieces exploring the celebration of life and the mourning of death.

“The All Souls Procession to me has a lot of purposes,” Lundstrom said. “It depends on the person there and what they want from it.”

Nelson is a Portland transplant who is enjoying her first gallery exhibition and will participate in her first All Souls Procession.

“You have to get out there as an artist,” she said. “Your work isn’t going to take care of itself. So I said to myself, ‘I’m just going to enter some shots and see what happens.’”

The All Souls Procession will take place on Sunday, Nov. 6. You can find more information at



All Souls Procession

When: Sunday, Nov. 6

Gather at 5 p.m. at Epic Cafe

Procession starts at 6 p.m.

Grand Finale: at Mercado San Agustín on West Congress



Pima Community College students Kiki Nelson, Barbara Lundstrom, Bryon Keck and Andrew Westhoven discuss the gallery show. (Larry Gaurano, Aztec Press)