By CELESTE ORENDAIN
Pima Community College’s Speakers’ Series continues March 5 with a presentation from anthropology faculty member Dianna Repp.
The exhibition, “Ars Moriendi, Ars Vivendi: The Art of Dying, The Art of Living” will examine themes of death and dying across cultures and end-of-life practices unique to specific cultures.
The lecture also ties in to a new anthropology course Pima is offering at West Campus, “Death and Grieving Across Cultures.”
Repp has explored anthropology of religion, art and end-of-life issues for more than two decades.
She has taught anthropology at Pima since 1996 and holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Arizona State University. She is involved in local and national funerary societies, and attended the First International Summit of Funeral Cooperatives in Québec City, Canada.
Repp hopes to broaden the understanding of death by interacting with people of different cultures and studying the beliefs of other religions.
“Another reason why I study death is because it is something that it touches us all,” said Repp.
The yearlong free lecture series by Pima faculty is sponsored by the Provost’s Office and Faculty Senate.
The lecture will be held in the PCC District Office Community Board Room, 4905 E. Broadway Blvd., in Building C at 6 p.m.
The series will feature one more lecture this semester, “Knowing is as Knowing Does,” by Jerry Gill on April 2, and will continue again in the Fall Semester.
By ROSE VALENZUELA
Sophomore pitcher Yvette Alvarez took the loss in game one, and now stands at 7-5 on the year.
Sophomore Shawma Comeaux pushed across two Aztecs with a third inning double, but it wasn’t enough.
Freshman hurler Stephanie Vejar was saddled with the loss in game two, as her season mark fell to 7-2.
Alvarez was 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI. Sophomore catcher Alejandra Ortiz had a pair of RBIs, and sophomore Cynthia Pelayo went 2 for 4 with two doubles.
The Aztecs had a great day against last year’s NJCAA Division II national champions on Feb. 16.
Alvarez pitched the first game and only gave up one run with four strikeouts and one walk, as the Aztecs defeated Phoenix College 4-1 in the first game of the twinbill.
Alvarez stands at 5-4 on the campaign.
Pima got on the board after sophomore Ortiz hit an RBI to drive in Pelayo. Pelayo finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs in the game.
Sophomore Aubre Carpenter had an RBI single in the fifth inning to give the Aztecs a 4-0 lead. Phoenix got their run from a solo homer, but the Aztecs didn’t let them start a larger rally.
In the second game, PCC’s sophomores stepped up and showed their opponents what they’re made of.
Noelle Medina, Gemma Contreras, Pelayo and Alvarez all had great games. Alvarez entered the game to pitch in the fifth inning, facing seven batters. She allowed no hits to earn the save.
Vejar notched the win on the mound.
The Aztecs are doing a great job of working as a team in every game to pull out the wins.
It seems like they are ready to take on the rest of the season with no hesitation.
Pima split a double-dip with South Mountain Community College on Feb. 12. PCC lost the first game 5-4, before pounding South Mountain 19-3 in the second contest.
Starring at the plate were Alvarez, Pelayo, Carpenter, Comeaux and freshman Stephanie Ramirez.
Vejar picked up the victory on the mound in game two, while Alvarez absorbed the loss in the first contest.
After dropping a pair against Glendale Community College on Feb. 9, the recent wins have shown that the women have what it takes to bounce back and be the best they can.
Although the Aztecs lost their games against Glendale, they still didn’t go down easily, losing 5-4 and 7-5.
By JORGE ENCINAS
The Tucson modern streetcar has been sold to taxpayers as a vital necessity to revitalization of downtown while providing a much-needed form of public transportation. In reality, it’s a waste of money and labor.
The various planners of the streetcar line, city officials and public supporters of the estimated $196 million project make numerous claims about the benefits to come after completion.
Supporters claim creation of 500 construction jobs and 1,500 long-term jobs, plus predict creation of new businesses and an increase in consumers along the route due to greater public mobility.
These benefits could have been accomplished without the need for an expensive and limited form of transportation. It’s a system that will be primarily used by a small portion of the city population, rather than being a practical means of transportation for the city as a whole.
A better solution to bringing in both new businesses and consumers would have been to use the money to resurface the roads and to hire additional Downtown Tucson Partnership security.
With improved roads and better access to parking, more people would be willing to drive into downtown. Any real increase in local business sales will rely heavily on attracting people from all over the city, not just the university area.
Repairing the roads and adding new parking still would have provided the important 500 construction jobs.
Added security would help to bring in families that would like to feel safer when walking and shopping downtown or along Fourth Avenue. That currently can feel like an unattractive option for parents who want to bring their children.
Buying more versatile, and cheaper, wheel-based shuttles would have fulfilled the same transportation needs provided by the streetcar.
The use of these wheel-based shuttles would have offered more flexibility to route planning and a greater range of service to more portions of the city, while still preserving the “green” benefits by utilizing alternative fuels.
It’s too late to change this now as the project is halfway completed and the money spent, but it can be taken as a lesson for future revitalization projects and ongoing Rio Nuevo developments.
When it comes to the use of public money, planners and officials have a responsibility to find the best solutions that benefit the city as a whole while using less money to achieve more.
Encinas believes the best way to improve the local economy is by focusing on efficient and practical solutions rather than excess spending on extravagance.
By BARRY JED RICHARDSON JR.
I imagine being a little boy on a playground, short on cool toys because I come from a low-income household. I see a group of boys playing with dinosaurs in the sandbox.
I ask if I can join them. Why not? I was brought up to share, but the boys refuse to let me play.
They say their dinosaurs belong to them and that I should get my own, even though they have so many they’re not playing with them all.
Well, I can’t get my own dinosaurs because my parents are not rich. They can’t provide me with everything I want.
This scenario reminds me of the rich and poor. We live in a country where a hedge fund manager pays about as much in taxes as his secretary.
As a country, we’re still in debt and things are hardly improving from an economic standpoint. Why not ask those who have so much to give back just a little more?
This attitude of hoarding money and trembling at the thought of giving any of it back is like possessive little boys not willing to share their dinosaurs.
I also think of the seagulls from “Finding Nemo” when I think of those who oppose tax increases for the rich, saying, “Mine, mine, mine!”
To the right-wing extremists who claim to be patriotic and supportive of the troops but are against higher taxes on millionaire salaries, I say, “If you’re so supportive of this country, how about lending it some support?”
We all need to pitch in and help this country get back on its feet, every single one of us.
If asking the more affluent to pitch in a little more of their abundance seems tyrannical, I invite these affluent types to move to a country without basic principles of equality, liberty and justice for all.
Asking those with more than enough to give a little more just makes sense.
Yes, they may have to do without one more private island or a jumbo jet, but if they’re not willing to help, they should get out of this country and buy their own.
Richardson loves dinosaurs and believes that all children are entitled to their fair share of dinosaur toys.
By STEVE CHOICE
Mutz, a program specialist at the Disabled Student Resources office at Desert Vista Campus, is also one of the fastest wheelchair athletes in the country.
He narrowly missed qualifying for the Paralympic Games twice before, but doesn’t plan on having it happen a third time when the games take place in Rio de Janeiro.
“I’m going for 2016 in Rio,” the former 100-meter national champion said. “To win at the Paralympic level, that’s the ultimate goal. My goal is to break the world record.”
Long before he began to pursue athletic glory, Mutz mastered the use of his wheelchair. He was born with a rare condition called arthrogryposis, which left him without certain muscles in his legs.
“They say it’s from a lack of activity in the womb,” he said. “Like I didn’t move around enough or something like that. Which is pretty funny, because now I’m one of the most active people in my family.”
Mutz, 31, could probably qualify as one of the most active people in the country. He does more by 7 a.m. than many people do in a year.
“I’ll get up at 5, then go train until about 7,” said Mutz, who started racing in 1994.
The Texas native’s morning regimen usually consists of doing 10 to 12 miles of roadwork in his “racing chair.” He and his workout partners also mix in lots of inclines to ramp up the challenge.
“On Starr Pass, there’s a really steep hill where we do those. Pushing up that’s a real workout,” he said.
When Mutz is finished, he hops in his SUV — to get dressed for work.
“A lot of the places where we train, there’s nowhere to change, so we just do it in the car,” he said, laughing. “You just have to make sure your stuff is ironed for work.”
Making things smoother for his students at Desert Vista is another big part of Mutz’s day.
“We want to make sure we can level that playing field for them, because a lot of times, those students have to work three times harder than other students just to keep up.”
Mutz is proud to be a source of inspiration to his students.
“I hope that by seeing someone like me doing what I’m doing, they can say, ‘Hey, he’s just like me. Those opportunities are out there, and I can have that chance.’”
After he gets off work, Mutz puts in the second half of his daily workout routine, this time in the gym. He works on his core, lifts weights or boxes for about an hour and a half.
The aspiring record-holder, who says weight training has taken him “to the next level,” can bench-press 130 pounds.
“Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I weigh 95 pounds,” he said. “The ratio of weight lifted to my body weight is pretty good.”
Something else Mutz got to lift was the gold medal he won at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio.
“To have your name called and they say ‘United States of America,’ it’s pretty cool,” he said. “And hearing the national anthem … I can’t describe the feeling.
“The only thing I think would be better is winning at the Paralympics.”
Ascending the podium in the city where he achieved one of his biggest triumphs would make it all the sweeter.
“Being there the first time was amazing. It’s where I had one of my best moments as an athlete,” he said. “To do it there again, that would just be incredible.”
By PALOMA MELLO
When Pima Community College counselor Bobby Burns came to Tucson in the early ‘90s, he had just $200 in his pockets.
“I made some bad choices back in the day,” Burns said. “I didn’t have a job and didn’t have any money.”
Burns, who was born and raised in Phoenix, joined the Navy soon after he graduated from high school in 1978. He spent six years as a cook, but originally wanted to be a journalist.
“It turned out that I hadn’t the score high enough to get the training for that,” he said. “Cooking was something that I was always fascinated with, so I did that.”
Education was another passion. After leaving the Navy, Burns earned a bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University and found work teaching in elementary and high schools.
Things didn’t go as planned after he resigned his last job in Phoenix.
Burns came to Tucson and found the Primavera Foundation, a shelter for homeless men on Benson Highway. The shelter offers men beds, meals, showers and other resources necessary to help them get back on their feet.
He ended up spending about 50 days at Primavera.
“On my first night I felt scared, I felt alone, I felt hopeless,” he said. “My self-esteem was low and I felt that my life was in chaos. Once I started building my confidence back, I got better and better.”
While still living at the shelter, he began working as a high school substitute teacher. He also began to keep a journal of his experiences at Primavera.
“I was able to save up money, and I got an affordable house,” Burns said. “After that, I moved to a small downtown apartment. I was able to get back on my feet by saving up money and making the right choices.”
He turned his journal about his time at the Primavera Foundation into a memoir called “Shelter.”
“Writing was always a passion,” Burns said. “Even when I was a kid I wanted to write but I didn’t know how to, so over the years I’ve learned a little bit about writing.”
After getting rejected by many publishers, Burns found one in 1998 who believed in his book. Burns completed a nine-city book tour and about 200 interviews.
An important moment came when he was featured in “Publishers Weekly,” a magazine considered the bible of publishing by many authors.
“Writing about poverty or homelessness are rarely best sellers,” Burns said. “I thought this isn’t probably a bestseller, but it is still in print, it’s in the second printing.”
Burns served on the Primavera Foundation board of directors for a while soon after he left the facility, and he still maintains relationships with people that he met there.
Since 2001, Burns has worked at the PCC Northwest Campus giving academic advice to students.
“Being an advisor happened kind of by accident,” Burns said. “I was teaching developmental writing at Pima, and a friend of mine said that they needed help during the busy season. I got involved with advising just part time and then full time.”
His experience at the shelter also inspired Burns to write poetry.
“In the book, I did write some poems that I didn’t even think were poems,” he said. “I was just experimenting.”
During an interview, a reporter mentioned that his poetry stood out. It gave Burns some ideas, and he began to play around with them.
For the past four years, Burns has been writing a book of poetry. He writes about his past life experiences and about the life he has now with his wife Pamela and their 2-year-old son, Trevor Miles.
“The experience in the shelter was meant to be,” Burns said. “It was a blessing that I ended up homeless, because my life is really getting better as a result of it.”
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
In his first year of coaching the University of Arizona football team, head coach Rich Rodriguez led the Wildcats to an 8-5 record, including 4-5 in conference play.
Now the question is, can the Wildcats improve upon last year?
History says no one can really predict. The UA hasn’t had a great history when it comes to football.
The last time the program had any respect was in the early ‘90s under coach Dick Tomey, with his Desert Swarm defense.
Tomey led the Wildcats to their first 10-win season in 1993, and they beat the Miami Hurricanes 29-0 in the Fiesta Bowl. They finshed the season ranked sixth.
His best year, though, came in 1998. The Wildcats finished fourth in the country and posted a 12-1 record.
Which brings us to the present. Can Rodriguez bring Arizona back to the national spotlight?
He has his work cut out for him next year. Arizona must replace six starters on the offensive side and four starters on defense.
The offense is the area of most concern. Arizona must replace starting quarterback Matt Scott, the starting fullback and wide receiver, plus three of five starting linemen.
B.J. Denker looks to be the front-runner for the starting quarterback position, but don’t be surprised if true freshman Anu Solomon — the nation’s No. 2-rated quarterback — pushes Denker for the job.
The offensive line will pretty much be all new, which in the football world is never a good thing. The group will need to grow up fast if they want to have any success.
The defense didn’t take as hard a hit. The team lost just one defensive lineman, two linebackers and one cornerback. The Wildcats played with a lot of young talent, and they should only get better next year.
Last year, the defense switched to a 3-3-5 system. They struggled early on, but showed improvement as the season progressed. With the players having another year to be familar with the new system, they should be much improved.
In college football, recent history has shown that a dominant defense wins championships. So even though Rodriguez is best known for his fast-paced offense, it’s his defense that really needs to step up.
Coaches can only do so much. In the end, it comes down to the players. The only way to recruit players is to win.
One winning season won’t do that, but it doesn’t hurt. Rodriguez did it before at West Virginia. He took a program that was at the bottom of the Big East to a national power.
If he continues to put winning seasons together, the players will come.
The sky’s the limit for Arizona. First things first, though. They need to keep winning.
By BRUCE HARDT
Pima Community College will host “Return of the Corn Mothers” through a writing contest and art exhibit.
The term “corn mother” stems from the oral traditions of the Hopi people throughout the American Southwest. An entity synonymous with Mother Earth, the corn mother represents growth, life, creativity and the world’s feminine aspects.
“The concept comes from Hopi tradition of corn mother, the woman that brings you life, the woman that nurtures you,” said Geneva Escobedo, executive assistant to the West Campus president and a corn mother herself.
Escobedo is one of eight corn mothers in Arizona. In addition to her work at PCC’s West Campus, she is actively involved with volunteer work at Oyama Elementary School.
There are currently 32 corn mothers from Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.
“They selected women, like unsung heroines that do fabulous things in the community,” Escobedo said.
“Return of the Corn Mothers,” a partnership between PCC and exhibition founder Metropolitan State University of Denver, is a gallery of works from multi-generational, multi-cultural women who have a strong, supportive presence in their communities.
The exhibition will be displayed from April 24 through Aug. 29 in the Student Art Gallery on the second floor of the West Campus A building.
“This is only the second time the exhibit has been in Arizona,” Escobedo said. “It’s very exciting because it’s an exhibit that really highlights women we wouldn’t normally meet or normally know, and highlights their works.”
A ninth Arizonan, from Tucson, will be inducted as a corn mother during the exhibit’s opening reception on April 24 at 7:30 p.m.
In honor of the exhibit, PCC students are called to submit a creative writing piece of any length that integrates the concept of corn mother. Who is the corn mother in your life? Is it your mother, grandmother, aunt or a family friend? What does this important woman represent to you?
“I decided it would be interesting to include students in our effort, through the writing,” Escobedo said. “Because I think a lot can be shared, the stories about who we see as our corn mother.”
Students are asked to submit, in hard copy form, a poem, short story or creative nonfiction by 5 p.m., Friday, March 22, to Escobedo at email@example.com. In the subject of the email, state the style of your submission, such as short story, and be sure to attach your file.
In the body of the email, submitters are asked to include their name, complete address, phone number, student identification number, attending campus, email address and title of the submitted work.
In addition, emails must include the following statement: “I (type full name) certify that the above-named work is my original and unpublished work. I have also read and understand the submission guidelines.”
Winners will be notified by April 1 and will present their work at the exhibit’s opening reception on April 24. A book of all creative entries will also be published and distributed.
For questions and information, call Escobedo at 206-3110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For exhibit details, visit returnofthecornmothers.com.
By CHELO GRUBB
In a Feb. 14 email to Pima employees, interim Chancellor Suzanne Miles said the college will look into an opt-in text message system to alert students and staff about on-campus incidents. The college hopes to have a plan in December.
“If we can get it done sooner, we will,” PCC spokesman C.J. Karamargin said in an email.. “First and foremost, we want to get it right. Our goal is to move as quickly as possible.”
The college notified students taking classes at Downtown Campus via email the day after the robbery.
“We recognize that issuing a bulletin the day after an incident involving public safety occurs, as was the case last month, is too late,” Miles said in her email.
Other safety changes will be taking place more immediately.
For future incidents, the college is considering sending notifications to all Pima emails, updating the website more immediately and asking faculty to read a notice in their classes.
“Our No. 1 goal is public safety. If there is an imminent threat to public safety – violent activity, hazards or major disruptions – people should know about it as quickly as possible,” Karamargin said. “A car that is broken into at a campus parking lot, for example, would not rise to this level.”
The college is also looking into the possibility of having “Shooter Drill Training” this summer and adding to PCC’s Department of Public Safety staff.
Miles’ email says an informational video including “active shooter information” is being placed on the college’s intranet.
By the end of May, the college plans to have a radio for each campus’ Action Team hooked up to PCC’s Department of Public Safety. May 31 is also the deadline for each campus to develop an emergency safety plan for the student services area.
The college has set a Jan. 21, 2014 deadline an external agency audit safety practices and will look into the legality of locking classroom doors from the inside.
The Jan. 18 robbery and attempted assault is still under investigation, with no new information available.
The suspect is a black male with dreadlocks, early 20s, between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-11. Anyone with details is urged to call 911 or 88-CRIME.
By STEVE CHOICE
The perennial hard-luck Chicago Cubs are always thinking about “next year.”
After losing its 18th straight contest on Feb. 22, the Pima Community College men’s basketball team may be able to relate to that sentiment.
The Aztecs (6-24, 1-21 ACCAC) closed out their season with a 99-59 defeat at Cochise College.
Freshman guard Lawrence Pierce finished off a strong campaign with 20 points. Freshmen guards Terrance Carroll and Mike Scroggins contributed 12 and 11, respectively.
“We just have to go back to the lab,” Pierce said of the tough season. “I feel like we have a nice group of guys, and maybe some more will come.
“I appreciate the guys I’ve played with this year. As far as next year goes, we’ll just have to go back to the drawing board.”
Pima dropped a heartbreaking 71-70 contest to Tohono O’odham Community College on Feb. 19.
Though it was played at the West Campus gym, it may have felt like a road game for Pima. Tohono’s fans accounted for the majority of the spectators, and the atmosphere was raucous.
Carroll rose to the occasion, dropping 37 points on the Jegos in the loss. The Tennessee native was fearless with the ball all night, going 10 for 14 from 3-point range.
Freshman guard Joseph Monreal contributed 12 points for PCC.
The nail-biter came on the heels of Pima’s most lopsided loss of the year, an 80-32 road defeat to Mesa Community College on Feb. 16.
Despite the losing jag, the Aztecs are looking ahead to better times.
“After dropping this many in a row, we’re playing for pride and preparing for next season,” Carroll said after an 89-59 home defeat to South Mountain Community College on Feb. 13.
“We’ve just gotta keep putting out maximum effort and hope we break this streak.”
Carroll led PCC with 18 points and seven rebounds against South Mountain. He went 3 for 6 from 3-point range.
Scroggins had 13 points, while Pierce contributed 11.
Freshman Kevin Burton chipped in 10 points, and went 2 for 5 from distance.
“It’s been tough,” Monreal said of the winless stretch. “We just have to keep fighting.”
One thing handicapping Pima is a short bench.
“We’re only going about eight or nine deep right now, so that’s making it a little tougher near the end of games,” Monreal said. “The other teams are fresher at the finish.”
PCC’s second-half troubles were evident on Feb. 9 at Scottsdale Community College.
Pima trailed just 27-21 at the break, but eventually fell 71-51.
The Aztecs didn’t have any better luck on the road against Phoenix College on Feb.6, dropping an 88-50 contest.
Scroggins had 14 points, eight assists and five boards against the Bears.
By COLE POTWARDOWSKI
Pima Community College’s East Campus put leadership into action Feb. 8 with its first student-organized conference.
Caleb Rhodes, student government president, initiated the all-day conference with support from fellow students and from East Campus administrators including Student Life Advisor Constance Strickland.
“I suggested it and they’ve been amazing with going along with it,” Rhodes said.
Nancee Sorenson, vice president of student development at East Campus, was the first speaker. “Leaders are people that do things,” she said.
To solidify her point, the conference recognized representatives from state universities and heard talks by Tucson City Councilwoman Shirley Scott and 2012 PCC graduate Dax W. Crocker.
Scott leads Ward 4, an east Tucson district. She is the driving force behind multiple community projects, including the Clemens Center near East Campus and the current Houghton Road expansion project.
“Leadership is not necessarily inborn,” Scott said. “You already have it.”
Her talk examined her own leadership in everyday life, including her actions on community projects, public gun shows and public versus media opinions.
“The right to vote is the biggest gift you have,” Scott said. “I don’t vote at the press. I vote at the table.”
She advised that a life in public office might not always be saccharine. “You have to be willing to say no to 800 people,” Scott said.
Crocker, a Phi Theta Kappa member and minister at the House of Glory Church, provided candid insight into leadership qualities.
“Be prepared to be lonely,” Crocker said.
After graduating from Pima, Crocker sought further education at an Ivy League college but a scholarship to the University of Arizona altered his plan.
Crocker told the student leaders about conceptualizing a community project to help middle school children with their homework. “The biggest challenge was how to recruit tutors,” he said.
When waving a “recruiters wanted” sign on campus yielded feeble results, Crocker sought help from a UA instructor who referred him to a TUSD superintendent.
Crocker also talked about being selected as the speaker for his graduating class.
“That college degree recognizes your efforts,” Crocker said.
Attendees were briefed on transferability options and career outlets from guest speakers representing UA, University of Arizona South, Arizona State University and University of Maryland University College.
The representatives encouraged students to communicate with university transfer advisors.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
The Pima Community College women’s golf team placed second in the two-day tournament it hosted on Feb. 25-26 at the Silverbell Golf Course.
Freshman Josie Trapnell shot 160 for the tourney, good enough for second place overall.
Also for Pima, sophomore Abriana Romero had a 177, sophomore Shelby Empens shot 182, and freshman Brittney Makar carded a 186 for the two days.
In their first tournament of the season, the Aztecs finished in second place out of six teams at Legacy Golf Course in Laveen, Ariz.
Pima shot a combined score of 719, while Mesa Community College’s total of 673 won it. South Mountain Community College finished third with a score of 744.
“Pretty good. They all are capable of doing better,” said head coach Bill Nicol of his team’s performance in Laveen.
One of the bright spot for the Aztecs came from Trapnell. She finished third out of 24 players with a score of 167. She shot an 84 on the first day and 83 on the second.
Other finishers for PCC were Romero and Empens at 179 and 183, respectively, and Makar at 190.
Nicol feels his players need to work on their short games before their next tournament. He believes all of them are capable of playing better golf then what they showed last week.
The women hope to improve on their strong start to the season when they play again on March 9-10 at Dobson Ranch Golf Course in Mesa.
Nicol spoke to the possibility of his team getting its first victory of the season there.
“It’s going to be tough to do, but we are going to work on doing it,” he said.
On the men’s side, the Aztecs finished second in a tournament at Legacy on Feb. 18-19, 16 strokes behind winner South Mountain.
Freshman Tyler Cooper led the Aztecs with a two-day total of 144, while fellow freshman Henry Cunningham finished at 146.
After posting an 80 on day one, sophomore Joe Courtney came back with a 70 on the second day.
On the first day, Cunningham had a rare hole-in-one on the fourth hole.
“I was there to see, me and about 50 other people,” said head coach Grant Waltke of the ace.
The women’s team will tee it up at Tucson’s Silverbell Golf Club for a tournament on Feb. 25-26, while the men travel to Sun City on March 4-5 for their next competition.
Mar 4-5: @ Glendale CC, Sun City, noon
By ARLO COSTALES
Burning Palms uses instruments ranging from dulcimer to vintage guitars to produce a melodically unique sound that avoids sounding too kitschy.
The foursome consists of Simone Stepmotherford (guitar/vocals), Chelsey (dulcimer/guitar/vocals), Sissy J. Fox (bass) and Mandy Millions (drums).
The band members sound comfortably in sync, despite only playing together since December. Just one member, Chelsey, has more than six months playing experience.
“The rest of us are just making it up,” said Stepmotherford, the band’s lead singer and songwriter.
Like all bands still in adolescence, Burning Palms is working out kinks and making adjustments.
During rehearsals, Stepmotherford instructed her bandmates to “do less” or “just sing anything.”
It seemed chaotic, but the musicians put the feedback into execution during following takes.
Asked to categorize their music, band members suggested a “lo-fi garage” label.
The term seems fitting but modest. Their talent is apparent, with each tune achieving a piercingly distinctive sound.
Most impressive is the integration of instruments played.
Ever see a violin bow used to play a guitar? That’s just one example of the innovation Burning Palms uses to create something out of the ordinary.
Their overall musical vibe is an eerie in-your-face melodramatic fusion with bursts of blended rock ‘n’ roll.
The evocative wails and distorted riffs promote an urge to thrash with the beat, which should make for a memorable live experience.
Burning Palms will play their debut show Feb. 20 at La Cocina Restaurant, Cantina and Coffee Bar, 201 N. Court Ave. They’ll appear on a 10 p.m-1:30 a.m. program with La Cerca and Jessa Cordova.
The Aztec Press sat briefly with Stepmotherford for a question-and-answer session:
Q: Why did you start the band and what do you want to get out of it?
A: Boys, booze, money and political power.
Q: What are your songs typically about?
A: The guy who doesn’t matter because he is dead, peyote trips in the desert, haunting … the usual murder ballad themes.
Q: What musical influences does the band have?
A: The sound twigs and fallen leaves make when you step on them, irregular heartbeats and bedroom music.
Q: Was the all-girl aspect on purpose?
A: No, it just sort of happened that way on accident.
Q: How ready are you for the show?
A: Not ready at all … I’m freaking out.
By SHEILA TEMPLETON
During a Feb. 1 discussion, the Faculty Senate voted to eliminate late registration. The vote was 24-4, with four abstentions.
The Faculty Senate is an elected group of about 70 instructors representing departments from each PCC campus. The Senate deals with a variety of academic and college issues.
The faculty vote will not eliminate late registration. College administrators make that decision.
However, the Faculty Senate asked the college to form a task force composed of faculty and administrators, “to make this change expeditiously since delaying would only serve to continue to harm students’ opportunities for success.”
The Senate members acknowledged that late registration is appropriate in some circumstances, and want faculty members to retain authority to allow late registration on a case-by-case basis.
West Campus sociology lead instructor MaryKris McIlwaine led the drive.
“The college and quite a few instructors have, for 20-plus years now, been aware of the harms of allowing late registration,” she said in an email.
“We’ve been debating this issue in Faculty Senate year after year after year. I finally just coalesced enough political will from enough like-minded Senators that we could finally take some action on the matter in the right direction.”
Faculty Senate President Joe Labuda, a West Campus librarian, said he supports the concept.
“The arguments to eliminate late registration are compelling and I sympathized with the aim of this resolution,” he said. “The research shows it is a questionable idea to maintain late registration.”
Advocates for late registration argue that extended registrationis essential to the open-door philosophy of community colleges and increases the number of students who enroll, thereby increasing revenue.
Opponents point to studies that conclude late registration harms students.
Studies consistently show higher retention and completion rates among students who register on time, according to an article in Community College Journal written by Terry O’Bannon.
O’Bannon is president emeritus of the League for Innovation in the Community College and senior adviser for higher education programs at Walden University.
Supporters of a firm deadline for course registration say students need to be present for early class sessions.
“This time is used for laying out course overviews and objectives and making initial assignments, creating a sense of class community, O’Bannon writes.
“This initial groundwork is the key to subsequent success for many students, but this orientation process is continually disrupted by the comings and goings of late registrants.”
A University of North Texas study found that 35 percent of new students who registered late were retained to the next semester. The retention rate for students who registered on time was 80 percent.
The study also showed on-time registrants withdrew from 10 percent of their course hours, compared to late registrants who withdrew from 21 percent.
A study at Kentucky Community and Technical College found similar results, concluding “students who registered late for their courses were less likely to persist through their first year of college.”
BY SIERRA J. RUSSELL
Gradually, however, safe-sex awareness emerged.
In a 1975 article, a county health educator said venereal diseases do not always have noticeable symptoms, allowing them to spread from one unsuspecting host to the next.
Much like today, one of the most frightening exams for a student to face took place at a doctor’s office. Fear and procrastination often resulted in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Toni Benson, then coordinator for a STD hotline, said the hotline tried to “share basic health information, insights and provide people with possible alternatives and possible consequences of their behavior.”
In the ‘80s, the outbreak of AIDS ignited increasing concern about sexual precautions.
National Condom Week, which originated at the University of California- Berkeley in 1978, gained popularity at college campuses across the nation.
At Tulane University in Louisiana, “safe sex kits” were distributed in lunch bags with “condom sense” printed on the outside.
Rev. Fred Tondalo, head of a Florida AIDS center, asked hotels to provide condoms to students checking in for spring break.
As part of the awareness effort, Pima Community College permitted the distribution of 6,000 condoms in 1988. The condoms were provided by the Pima County Health Department and distributed by the Aztec Press.
The prophylactics were included in each copy of the December issue. Although some recipients were offended, many students and faculty expressed appreciation and support.
A 1991 spring issue covered a “condom art” contest. Students were encouraged to create flowers and other arrangements from condoms provided by the Tucson AIDS Project and the Pima County Health Department.
El Rio Health Center and Planned Parenthood sponsored the 1992 National Condom Week, which began on Valentine’s Day. Representatives on campus handed out free condoms, lubricants and informational pamphlets.
Planned Parenthood representative Claudia Vanatta Skocpol said a frequently asked question dealt with lubricants. She encouraged the use of water-based lubricants rather than oil-based ones such as Vaseline, which can cause a condom to break.
Magdalena Velasco, an El Rio volunteer, stressed the importance of knowing how to properly use protection.
“We have information on how to use the condom, which is more important than the condom itself,” Velasco said.