By D.R. WILLIAMS
It’s the best time of year in Tuscon. The heater is out of commission, in lower altitudes we have temporary rivers along the outskirts of town, go a little higher there’s pools and waterfalls still within sight of the mighty saguaro forests.
The storms that lingered throughout town during Jan. 20-22 had a huge impact on Mount Lemmon and Catalina Highway. Snow totals ranged from 12-24 inches in certain areas and were enough for Ski Valley to open for skiing and boarding.
Snowmen populations are on the rise as desert dwellers make their way up and do their typical winter activities. Some are seeing snow for their first time; others are reminded of another place and time but all appreciate the beauty of it.
Dogs especially enjoy getting into the action. Mine loves to swim in the melt waters at Redington but once she adjusted to slipping and sliding on the ice she wore a grin the entire time. Do you and your pet a favor and get outdoors!
By D.R. WILLIAMS
It’s colder outside, the days are getting longer and winter break is fast approaching.
Some of us are finishing large semester projects and others are cramming for finals but many students are already planning their vacation.
With a full month off before a new term starts, it would be a waste not to fill it with fun. I already know I won’t pick up as many shifts at work as my dad would like or save as much money as my mom would like, but at least I’ll be happy.
You can spend your free time like a good little worker bee, but you’ll find me flying down ski slopes. Here are some great winter activities to keep you occupied:
10. Catch some rays
Sunbathing by the pool sounds like a summer activity but Tucson has sunshine 85 percent of the year. A 70-degree January afternoon isn’t unheard of, so take advantage during the break from school.
- Visit Winterhaven
Cool night air and houses decorated in vibrant LED colors represent the perfect combination this time of year, and a thermos of hot chocolate makes it even better. A canned food drive at the neighborhood entrance makes it all for good purpose. The show runs daily from 6-10 p.m. through Dec. 26. For details, visit WinterhavenFestival.org.
- Light a fire
Spark the fireplace to warm up after cold winter storms. It encourages cuddling and can set the mood for a wild night. Roast some marshmallows and relax without the stress of homework.
- Watch football
College bowl games start Dec. 17 and continue through Jan. 9. The onslaught provides a perfect opportunity to test the hypothesis that you can never watch too much football. If you reach your limit, try the Winter X-Games.
- Play in the snow
When Mount Lemmon finally gets snow, there’s always a rush to make snowmen or sled down hills. Take the vehicle with four-wheel drive or a set of chains and pile the family in for a quick getaway.
- Glide on ice
Holiday movies always include ice skating. Unfortunately, Tucson hasn’t had a rink since 2007 so you must go to Phoenix to scratch that itch. If you prefer hockey players battling on ice, the Tucson Roadrunners have home games through January. See tucsonroadrunners.com.
- Hit the road
Road tripping never gets old. The Grand Canyon looks amazing when it’s covered in snow. Chances are pretty good you’ve never seen the entire state, so break out the roadmap or just try to get lost.
- Chow down
Tacos, tamales, ham, fried okra, roasted potatoes — it doesn’t matter what cultural background you come from. We all have our favorite holiday foods this time of year.
- Take a stroll
Enjoy long walks through the desert at sunset with your dog. When the school days were long and you felt like you were losing, your dog still greeted you like royalty. Catch up on quality time because, no matter what grades you received, you’re still a winner in her eyes.
- Shred some powder
Dust off the skis or snowboard and head up the mountains. Snowbowl in Flagstaff has great snow and is close to the Grand Canyon. Sunrise in the White Mountains offers the best value for students, with season passes starting at $99 with proof of 12 credit hours. Mount Lemmon doesn’t have ideal slopes, but being an hour away is hard to beat when conditions are right.
By D.R. WILLIAMS
When you think about the United States government persecuting the first Americans, maybe a movie or a one-sided battle from long ago comes to mind.
Perhaps you remember the Indian Removal Act and the long “Trail of Tears” walk that ensued.
Unfortunately, persecution continues today in North Dakota with the Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has received backup from six surrounding states and is cracking down on activists trying to protect an important water supply.
Equipped with riot gear and tossing tear gas, deputies protect Dakota Access Pipeline assets because oil is more precious than water.
Dakota Access plans to run the pipeline under the Missouri River, the longest flowing waterway in the U.S. The proposal leaves people scratching their heads, asking “There’s no place else it could have gone?”
Nobody consulted the Sioux about construction plans. They were just enacted and everyone was supposed to sit idly by while sacred lands and burial grounds were placed at risk of being destroyed.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the original pipeline permits. The Corps is currently conducting an environmental impact study, and final permits won’t be granted until after its completion.
Pressure has mounted as opponents seek a halt in construction but to date Dakota Access has declined to change its drilling plans. People of all backgrounds, including celebrities and political activists, are helping get the word out.
Why hasn’t the company rerouted the pipeline? Besides the fact that construction on both sides of the river is complete, racism remains strong in America. It flourishes individually and institutionally.
If the police and court system treated the crazy rednecks in Oregon the same way they’ve treated some of the Sioux women, there would have been a civil war.
If they had gassed or forcibly arrested any of the armed group that occupied a federal wildlife refuge last January, gun freaks everywhere would have lost their mind.
The most disheartening fact is this has all happened under a progressive president. Can you imagine the police reaction with President Trump, the self proclaimed “law and order candidate?”
After Trump won his election, Rudy Giuliani was quoted as saying, “This is like Andrew Jackson’s victory. This is the people beating the establishment.”
If Trump truly is the second coming of Jackson, we’ve got to intensify the resistance and we cannot afford to lose.
It’s important we stand up now and send a message that the government is supposed to work from the consent of the governed and not the other way around. It’s important we stand with our Native American friends and say enough is enough.
We’ve come to a fork in the road, one that will either take us back to a time where the white establishment does what it wants or forward to a new society in which all people’s voices are recognized as equally important.
Pima Community College student Rudy Meza, a Yaqui Sundancer, says one of the best ways to help is to “spread the word.”
He encourages people to watch the You-tube videos documenting police brutality and visit the American Indian Movement website at aimovement.org.
Write your congressperson, send bottled water, donate winter supplies or simply educate yourself. Today it is North Dakota, tomorrow it could be Arizona.
Racial equality is as important as water purity. It’s time we light a fire under the government and start demanding they serve every American and not just the corporations and banks that fund campaigns.
D.R. Williams thinks conservatives should try to save Mother Earth rather than turning it into the Death Star.
By D.R. WILLIAMS
Bicyclists throughout the state and from different parts of the world have been training all year and the time has finally come to put their bodies to the test in Tucson’s pre-Thanksgiving classic on Nov. 19.
Riders in the full 106-mile loop start and finish at Armory Park downtown but there are the options for 76-, 54-, 37- and 28-mile routes.
With more than 9,000 bicyclists riding in a given year, the streets are packed with colorful jerseys. Hotels and shops filled with customers who help account for a large part of the $88 million the DOT says out-of-state riders add to Arizona’s economy in a year.
Some of the more notable riders in the race’s history include Lance Armstrong in 1997 fresh off his cleanest victory (beating cancer) and Rep. Gabby Giffords’ ride last year after being shot in the head in 2011.
Many men and women of all ages are trying to set personal bests while others are out to prove that age is just a mindset.
Participants can register online until Nov. 15. They can also register Nov. 17-18 at the El Tour Expo in the Tucson Convention Center, but prices will be highest then at $180.
The recent record-breaking heat most likely will not play a factor. History suggests it will cool off and riders will have a tough time staying warm for the 7 a.m. start time.
Vehicle drivers must be prepared to take alternate routes to accommodate cyclists who have paid to have the roadway priority.
When the ride started in 1983, there were 198 riders trying to raise money for charity with their bikes. Last year, riders raised $16 million and donated to the community and non-profit organizations. This years primary beneficiary is the Easter Seals Blake Foundation.
Race day will have activities and booths set up for all ages by the finish line, sponsored by Tucson Medical Center and Casino Del Sol, as well as music and beer garden.
For registration and volunteer information, visit perimeterbicycling.com or call 745-2033.
By D.R. WILLIAMS
It’s that time of year again: cold mornings, pumpkin spice lattes and tight yoga pants. If you look in the right spots, leaves are also changing color.
Yellows, browns and reds are mixed in around town but the best colors are atop Mount Lemmon at around 9,000 feet.
On the drive up Catalina Highway, you go in a short time from chollas and saguaros to pines and aspens. The majority of the trees are a deep evergreen, but clusters of fall colors satisfy the eyes.
You’re more likely to see a doe with its fawn than a couple of stray cats. The cool mountain breeze rushes by and fills your lungs with a crisp freshness the city can’t offer.
Though we may have 90-degree temps in the valley, the mountaintop air assures us that winter is coming.
It’s even harder to breathe up there. Some would say it’s because the air is thinner, but I like to think it’s all the sick views.
With a plethora of parking pull-offs, you can’t miss the shot if you take a camera.
Before the visitor center, red-colored leaves have the most contrasting colors.
Ski Valley and Summerhaven have the most groups of yellow and orange, making the 30 miles to Tucson seem more like 300.
Both locations have you covered if you’re looking for food to go with the views. Try the Iron Door Restaurant at Ski Valley or my personal favorites, the Cookie Cabin and the fudge from the General Store in Summerhaven.
The cool temperature helps keep the fudge from melting in the car, so there’s still plenty of time for a little walkabout.
The romantic views are perfect for wooing someone new or keeping the flame going, and it’s a date that won’t break the bank.
The ski lift is still open and hasn’t yet switched to winter prices, so there is still time to take a ride or just roll around in the leaves.
One of the hardest things about going up is deciding when to come down. The drive doesn’t seem as long during the descent but it’s more dreadful after a long day of adventuring.
Snacking on the freshly purchased fudge while driving tastes great, and it helps keep the eyes from getting heavy.
Tucson has the reputation of having a small window for autumn weather. We have a tendency to jump straight from summer to winter, so the chance to see a gradual transition is rarely available.
Luckily, we have a piece of paradise looking down on us from the Catalinas.
By D.R. WILLIAMS
In the United States, one can receive a million-dollar loan from one’s father, star in a crappy reality show, sexually harass women and then gain credibility for a presidential campaign.
Now that isn’t the typical American experience but, best-case scenario, you can be a real asshole and people will love you for it.
The more knives you strategically place in the back of anyone unwitting enough to turn, the better. If that means tax evasion, DO IT. More power to you.
This is the country of winners or losers, sink or swim, rich or poor. If you don’t like it, get out. America is the country where the top 20 percent get the pie. It’s too tasty to share because the other 80 percent are complainers who wouldn’t adapt and overcome.
We have a capitalistic society. Being a good person doesn’t pay the bills. Andrew Jackson on the 20 does.
Execute the rape, murder and eviction of native peoples and you could be glorified for 200 years. That’s reality.
Money talks in the USA. We love our millionaires more than our bleeding-heart activists and protestors, and no one apologizes for it.
The possibilities are endless. We have more potential and opportunities than anywhere else in the world. We’re bigger, faster and stronger, and we don’t stop.
Security is top priority. Our drones keep a constant lookout, making sure the people stay in line.
The working class holds the country together. If it wasn’t for their back-breaking work, we would be lost. Of course, that doesn’t mean we value them accordingly. That’s the beauty of it: have the largest, most skilled labor force and keep them at each other’s throats for the scraps the upper class leaves behind.
Accept our country for all its glory: the giant mansions on the sides of beautiful mountain ranges, the skyscrapers rising to the clouds, the breast implants, the gold jewelry and fancy cars.
This is what we’ve let America become. If you don’t care, just keep doing your thing. If you love this country enough to want change, speak up. The ones who make the most noise (good or bad) gain the most following.
Williams has 10 years until he’s eligible to run for presidential. Don’t hold your breath.
Photos and interviews by Casey Muse Jr. and Nick Trujillo on West Campus
“The only problem I had was transferring my financial aid from Tohano O’odham (Community College) to Pima.”
“Yes, I have had to drop a class I really wanted to take because my financial aid says that it is not a transferable credit.”
Major: Liberal Arts
“When I was registering for financial aid, the system had issues processing everything.”
Major: Liberal Arts
“It’s hard to get my parents to fill out the information and then I just forgot about it, to be honest.”
“I don’t qualify for financial aid. My parents make too much.”
By D.R. WILLIAMS
The Aztecs finished the regular season on a high note with a victory against Paradise Valley Community College bringing their season record to 4-7 (2-4 in conference play.)
Freshman Dalton Reisig was the difference in the 5-4 win, taking the No. 2 singles match in two long sets 7-5, 6-4. Freshman Marc Avalos won his No. 1 singles match handedly 6-1, 6-1. The duo won their doubles match at the No. 1 spot 8-2.
Freshman Raj Singh Kaila dropped the No. 3 singles match 6-1, 6-1. Sophomore Jesus Lopez was shut out in his No. 4 match 6-0, 6-0.
Sophomore Landon Trejo was defeated 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 5 singles match while freshman Curtis Jefferey was victorious in the No. 6 match, winning 6-0, 7-5.
The Aztecs played a close match against the New Mexico Military Institute on April 9 but lost 6-3. Avalos lost the No. 1 singles match 6-2, 7-5 in a tough effort.
Singh Kaila lost his match at the No. 3 singles spot 6-3, 7-5. Lopez won his second set at No. 4 singles but couldn’t come out on top losing 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 10-7.
Trejo beat his opponent 6-2, 6-1 at the No. 5 singles spot while Jeffery won his match at No. 6 singles by default as the other team did not have enough players. Avalos lost at No. 1 singles .
PCC will compete at the Region I championships at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale, Ariz., on April 19-20.
Photos and interviews by D.R Williams on West Campus
“When I was younger. I just never gave it a second thought.”
“I don’t litter. I pick up trash when I go hiking if I see it. “
Major: Arts and Entertainment
“Never. I’ve always tried to pick trash up when I see it.”
Major: Marine Biology
“I only throw out biodegradable things to help the soil.”
“Laziness. I didn’t want trash in the car and I wasn’t stopping“
Major: Web Design