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Vegetarian meals can be creative

Vegetarian meals can be creative


My first time dining at Tasteful Kitchen was by chance. A group of friends and myself were planning to dine out, but we were tired of the usual chain restaurants.

Someone had the idea of eating vegetarian. Unsure at first, we decided to look up local restaurants.

Tasteful Kitchen popped up. The website said it offered a twist to the vegetarian menu while still maintaining awareness of people’s dietary needs. So we gave it a chance.

The restaurant, co-owned by sisters Sigret and Keanne Thompson, is located between University Boulevard and Fourth Street at 722 N. Stone Ave. The menu offers a wide variety of vegan and gluten-free options.

The Thompson sisters opened Tasteful Kitchen in early 2011 after noticing there weren’t many vegetarian restaurants in Tucson.

The restaurant is housed in a building from the 1930s. It was built with 13-inch solid adobe walls and is very rustic, giving it a cozy feeling. Once inside, you will find two small dining rooms.

The rooms are decorated with warm colors and paintings from local artists. The art is for sale, so the art displays change from time to time.

My first experience at the restaurant was fabulous. The environment was soothing and the lighting was just right. Service was spectacular and the food was delicious.

Keanne Thompson guided my party by letting us know what was what, and recommending some dishes.

I recommend the decadent carrot cake. It’s not too sweet and not too bland. It’s just right.

Starters and small plates range from $6 to $10, main courses are $18, desserts are $7 and drinks cost $3 to $4.

Tasteful Kitchen isn’t like your average restaurant. Dining there is like eating at home, and reminded me of a family gathering.

The Thompsons prefer quality over quantity. The dining experience may take a little longer than usual but that’s because everything is made fresh for the customer.

Sigret Thompson taught herself to cook by recreating food from London and Sydney, places she used to live. She is a chef at the restaurant, working alongside sous chef Laura Clawson. They both enjoy the freedom to offer classic vegetarian specials.

“We enjoy working with seasonal fruits and vegetables with a strong emphasis on organic and locally grown produce,” Sigret Thompson said. “We offer farm-to-table specials frequently and local ingredients are intermingled throughout our menu.”

The owners keep their ingredients as close to their natural state as possible with a minimal amount of processed foods. They also avoid hydrogenated fats, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners and GMOs.


The Tasteful Kitchen also offers educational events to sharpen kitchen skills. Classes and events are listed on the website.


The Tasteful Kitchen

Address: 722 N. Stone Ave.

Phone: 250-9600

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 5-9 p.m.


Tasteful Kitchen co-owners Keanne Thompson, left, and Sigret Thompson offer diners vegan and gluten-free dining options. The sisters opened their Stone Avenue restaurant in early 2011. (Erik Medina/Aztec Press)

TOP 10: Spring cleaning ideas for changing things up


In with the new, out with the old. We like to change things up. Springtime isn’t only about cleaning, it’s also about reinventing ourselves. Here are my top 10 ideas for spring cleaning.

  1. Actually clean

We claim to clean our house or room all year long. But do we, really? Try actually cleaning. Get into crevices. Mop, sweep, dust, scrub, wash. Clean like you’ve never cleaned before.

  1. Buy fragrances

Invest, if you haven’t already, in things that give your home a pleasant smell. Try candles, air fresheners or fragrant incense. You and your guests will appreciate the pleasant scent that greets you when you walk into your home.

  1. Become a decor guru

Learn a few things about home decor, what goes with what. It’s not hard. Pinterest is very helpful and a good place to start. That way, when you decide to make changes to your home, it won’t look like a whole lot of nonsense.

  1. Paint walls

If you’ve never painted your walls, they are likely one of four colors: cream, beige, white or brown. These are very basic colors and, for the most part, a bit boring. Change it up. Paint the walls your favorite color or something unique, but remember to make it match the furniture so it has some feng shui.

  1. Find new wall art

Whether you have random paintings or family photos, it’s time for them to go. OK fine, you can keep the family photos but buy some art or create your own. Make the room pop.

  1. Buy new dishes

Admit it, we care about what we eat on and what we eat with. Buy new plates, silverware or cups. You can play it safe and choose neutral colors, or be brave and select vibrant hues.

  1. Learn house maintenance

It might seem like a long shot or impossible but that’s why we have YouTube. Watch a few videos on how to fix a pipe or clean a backed-up drain. It can be pricey to pay others to do it for us. Save a few bucks by learning how to do it yourself.

  1. Take out the trash

Go around your house or room and pick up all of the things that you classify as “what if.” We all have things we don’t throw away because we think they’ll have use in the future. But in reality, you’re becoming a hoarder. Throw them away.

  1. Choose carpet vs. tile

Now this one might be the most expensive, but you have to decide whether you are a tile person or a carpet person. Everyone has a preference, learn yours. Take some time to figure it out, and save up some money. That way, you can make the change if needed.

  1. Change your wardrobe

Many people don’t like to change their wardrobe because they’re comfortable in it and have had it for while. Get rid of the things you haven’t worn in months. Take some friends, or someone whose opinion you trust, and go shopping. Buy new clothes and reinvent yourself. Make people do a double-take when you walk by.

Les-bi honest, coming out is hard

Les-bi honest, coming out is hard


Imagine a boy named John. He’s gay and until recently, didn’t want anyone to know because he feared abuse, neglect and even abandonment.

He waited for the right time and finally decided to come out. Surprisingly, John’s parents embraced his announcement while offering hugs and kisses.

This is a dream for many members of the LGBTQ+ community but realistically, coming out remains a daunting goal.

It isn’t something that just happens. We don’t ritually chant at a full moon, “I’m gay,” “I’m bisexual” or “I’m trans,” expecting everyone we know to be OK with it.

Like grief, coming out has stages. Take it from Cindy Fragozo and Ricardo Serventi, students at Pima Community College who are openly LGBTQ.

Aztec Press illustration by Katelyn Roberts


Serventi: I thought, ‘I can’t be that.’ I knew other people were; it didn’t bother me. I just thought I couldn’t be that. It felt surreal. It felt strange to think that I was, but it also felt right at the same time.

Fragozo: I never really had a realization that I was bi. I didn’t feel attraction to just one specific gender.

I didn’t think much of it until around middle school, where I noticed that some people thought it was weird to not be straight. That’s when I started to feel a bit self-conscious about myself and uncomfortable whenever someone brought up if they liked someone.


Serventi: I had no worries whatsoever, although, I did not see the point of labeling myself as LGBTQ because I was still the same person as before. It was just that who I would see myself with changed, so what should I fear?

Fragozo: There was this certain fear that I can’t fully explain that I thought about. I felt like the people I was closest to would look at me differently for my sexuality.


Serventi: I first saw myself as openminded to both genders. But as I grew older, I saw that I couldn’t be with females. Only males. I felt at peace with myself when I realized it, but again, it was surreal when I was listening to myself say it.

Fragozo: When I first started to be more open about myself, it felt oddly freeing. It was nice because I finally started to feel like I was being myself.

While there are always going to be jerks that try to ruin it, that feeling of freedom is really nice. I felt more open and confident and wanted to actually share parts of my bi self with people.

To go from acting like I totally didn’t think that girl was cute to actually saying it out loud was nice, and not even saying it in a gay way. I remember trying to not comment on a girl’s appearance at all because I didn’t want to come off as gay, which is funny for me to look back at it now.


Serventi: I didn’t believe myself, on my identity, until I told someone. Hearing myself say it to another person was kind of the seal. The people that I first told were my friends. I was met with acceptance from them.

My family still doesn’t know. But I came out to everyone else a few months ago, I think. Honestly, school has been keeping me too busy to really keep track.

Fragozo: I didn’t really ever have a distinct moment where I came out. I’m just always sharing my praise of women. Luckily, I have a family that isn’t against LGBTQ people so it wasn’t too nerve-racking. Everyone I told was very supportive and I’m lucky to have that.

I don’t have a moment where I outright told them. I think we all knew and accepted it. I’ve been out since freshmen year of high school, so five years out of my 20 years. It’s such a small chunk of my life. I never really looked at it that way until now.


Serventi: My two best friends are Cindy and Erik. They both are LGBTQ as well. So, they were incredibly helpful when I came out.

Fragozo: I have my best friends Erik and Ricky that I can express my full bisexual feelings to and they’re really supportive. It helps that they both aren’t straight, which is nice. We all just share our gay feelings together.


We can’t just say coming out happens one way, because it doesn’t.

The thing to remember when coming out is to surround yourself with people you care for and who care for you.

Serventi and Fragozo are best friends. That Erik person they’re talking about, well that’s me.

When I finally decided to come out, I wasn’t met with hugs and kisses, but I was accepted. My family and friends supported me and that was what really mattered.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment,” that’s what I intend to do.




Aries (March 21-April 19)

It’s your month! Make things go your way. Don’t rely too much on faith, it’s up to you to form your future. Keep yourself engaged and get as much done as possible. Persistence is key.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

You keep telling yourself it’s time for change, yet the only thing changing for you is the balance on your bank account and not in a good way. It’s OK, we’ve all been there.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

You’re at a point where you have a lot of free time on your hands. Reality check, that’s you procrastinating on your responsibilities.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

So you realized 2017 isn’t your year. That’s OK, there’s always 2018. Or 2019. Maybe even 2020.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

You can’t decide whether to have a social life or to keep up with your schooling. Learn to balance both. It may be tough but you can do it. For example, study sessions and Starbucks.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

All work and no play is not good for the soul. You’ve been a busy bee lately. Just know it’s OK to relax every now and then. It won’t be the end of the world.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

If tomorrow isn’t the due date, then today isn’t the do-date.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

At this point in the semester you must admit that 2007 Britney Spears is making a lot of sense. Shaving your head is the least of your concerns.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

You’re in your prime. There is nothing you can’t do, what can go wrong? Take advantage of this time. Do the impossible because you don’t know how long it will last.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

You might be thinking “Bill Gates dropped out of college, why can’t I?” Remember, he dropped out of Harvard. Stay in school.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

You’re slacking off, going with the flow and seeing how things end up. Don’t get too comfortable. If you start now and have determination, you can get back on track and accomplish your goals.

Pisces (Feb.19-March 20)

Enjoy the little things, such as stargazing when you’re stressed. Don’t think so much about the things you can’t control. For example, pay no attention to the black hole that’s light years away.

FIVE QUESTIONS: A quick conversation with Elyssia Chavarria

FIVE QUESTIONS: A quick conversation with Elyssia Chavarria

Editor’s note: In this ongoing feature, we ask a Pima Community College student some not-so-serious questions.

Compiled by Erik Medina

Elyssia Chavarria takes classes at Northwest Campus and works as a student aide at the West Campus Library. She plans on transferring to the University of Arizona to become an American Sign Language interpreter. She is also a big fan of Harry Potter.

Question 1: What classes are you enjoying the most and why?

Elyssia: My favorite class is Sign Language 202, because I aspire to be a sign language interpreter.


Question 2: What color socks are you wearing?

Elyssia: Nude.


Question 3: What’s your favorite movie and why?

Elyssia: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” I don’t know why, but that’s my favorite book in the series. The tri-wizard tournament and the yule ball are my favorite parts.


Question 4: What is the last song you listened to?

Elyssia: “Galway Girl” by Ed Sheeran.


Question 5: What did you eat for breakfast?

Elyssia: Orange Hibiscus tea.

Elyssia Chavarria, who hopes to become a sign language interpreter, works as a student aide at the West Campus Library. (Erik Medina/Aztec Press)

Breaking the Stigma

Breaking the Stigma

Mental illness remains the taboo of our society.

When someone says they have a mental illness, many people automatically believe the individual is crazy or unstable.

As a society and as a community, we must understand that mental illnesses are not as bad as they’re made out to be. Some people live their daily lives without others knowing they have been diagnosed as mentally ill.

We should grow in ways that help those with mental illnesses and find ways to make them feel comfortable in society, instead of viewing them as outsiders.

One in five adults in the United States will experience a mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illnesses. That’s about 43.8 million people.

An additional one in 25 U.S. adults will experience a serious mental illness that interferes with or limits major life activities. That’s about 10 million people.

With such high numbers, one would hope society is doing more to normalize mental illness. Unfortunately, it seems we are not.

I didn’t think much about mental illness until I enrolled in an abnormal psychology class. Everything changed when we learned about mental illnesses. My studies provided insight, which started making me more passionate about the subject.

As part of our curriculum, NAMI individuals diagnosed with a mental illness visited the class.

They told us stories about their “dark days,” when they first began to experience a mental illness. They moved on to telling us how they grew from that and were able to continue their lives. One visitor shared his hopes for the future: an end to the stigma that mental illness incapacitates an individual.

He hopes for a day when those with mental illnesses can have checkups with a doctor in the same way in which one would have a physical examination.

His point is worth repeating. People do not become their illness. They are still human beings.


Best Bets: Spring celebrations fill festival calendar

Best Bets: Spring celebrations fill festival calendar

Compiled by Erik Medina

From award-winning Mexican cinema to car-free neighborhood strolls, upcoming festivals offer varied ways to celebrate spring. Here are our suggestions for top choices.

Tucson Cine Mexico: March 22-26

The showcase, co-sponsored by the University of Arizona Hanson Film Institute and by New York’s Cinema Tropical, is the longest-running festival of contemporary Mexican film in the United States.

This year’s line-up features a mix of award-winning thrillers, comedies and documentaries. Filmmakers will interact with audiences during question-and-answer sessions.

Venues include:

  • Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.
  • Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave.
  • Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18, 5455 S. Calle Santa Cruz. (Interstate 19-Irvington Road)

Admission is free but it is recommended to reserve seating at


Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair: March 24-26

Tucson’s largest arts venue returns to Fourth Avenue between Ninth Street and University Boulevard. Hours are 10 a.m.-dusk each day.

Activities include 400-plus arts and crafts booths, food vendors, stage musicians and street performers, plus a free children’s hands-on art pavilion. No pets are allowed.


Marana Founders’ Day Festival: March 25

The Marana Heritage Conservancy and the Town of Marana celebrate Marana’s roots from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Ora Mae Harn Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road. Activities include a vintage tractor and car show, heritage village, live entertainment, kid’s zone and food court.

A parade begins at 10 a.m. along Marana Main Street. Parking will be accessible from Bill Gaudette Drive.

 Details:, calendar tab

Africa Night Dance Fusion: March 25-26

Diaspora Showcase presents a night of live music and dance performances at Grand Luxe Hotel, 1365 W. Grant Road. An eclectic mix of African sound, salsa and reggae will play from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Admission costs $20 in advance and $25 at the door.


Cruise, BBQ & Blues Festival and Car Show: April 1

After a weather cancellation in February, the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance has rescheduled its annual festival.

Thousands of participants will enjoy live blues music and purchase barbecue as they view a variety of cars and trucks that celebrate the art of vehicle design.

The event takes place 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Oro Valley Marketplace, 12155 N. Oracle Road. Tickets cost $5, with a $1 discount for veterans and active duty military with ID. Ages 10 and under are free. Cash only.


Cyclovia Tucson: April 2

Walkers, bicyclists and roller-bladers celebrate neighborhoods and alternative transportation from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. during this annual car-free event.

Living Streets Alliance has designed a new route that makes its way from downtown Tucson through historic neighborhoods to South Tucson.

For the first time, portions of West Alameda Street and Church Avenue will close to vehicle traffic. Participating downtown museums include the Tucson Museum of Art, which will offer free admission.

The route continues down South Eighth Avenue, ending at a Healthy South Tucson Coalition health fair. Activities will include music, activities and demonstrations.


Cyclovia Tucson – midtown route
Sunday November 01, 2015.
Photos by: Mamta Popat

Artist’s difficult life won’t define her

Artist’s difficult life won’t define her


Call Pima Community College student Montessa White an artistic Cinderella. “I’m a creative, ambitious person — I like to think at least,” White said. “I think I’m pretty smart and I want to do what I want to do. I have a lot of dreams and passions and I’m trying to pursue that. I’m a dreamer.”

Montessa White puts finishing touches on a sketch at the West Campus Library.
Erik Medina / Aztec Press

White was born on June 14, which makes her a Gemini. Although White does not pay much attention to astrology, she believes Gemini actually does describe who she is.

“I can be two different people,” she said. “I can be smart and nice Montessa or really mean Montessa.”

White is originally from southern California, mainly the Yorba Linda and Placentia areas.

White didn’t grow up in an average family. She was raised by her mother after her mother and father separated. White’s mother left for California and her father stayed in Arizona.

“It’s complicated, I know,” she said.

White didn’t have a “happy-go-lucky” life as a child. She constantly movedaround and was homeless at one point.

“I was sleeping next to mailboxes with my mom’s jean jacket wrapped around me,” she said.

However, White said she doesn’t let that define her. She strives for the best, despite her struggles in life.

White can recall one moment she classifies as happy: the moment she met her stepfather.

“My life flipped upside down, like the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’” she said. “We were in a really bad situation and then we moved into a nice household.”

“Goddess” by Montessa White

Eventually White moved to Oro Valley to live with her father, and attended Ironwood Ridge High School.

White’s years of moving around meant she missed a lot of high school between her freshman and sophomore years.

She had to scramble to make up missing credits needed to graduate.

“Everyone was bitching about their classes,” she said. “I had a full schedule, plus online classes. Twice as many classes.

It was hell.”

White completed high school with top grades, and graduated on time.

At PCC, White is majoring in digital art with a concentration in illustration. She is also looking into animation classes.

Besides attending school, White works as a student aide at the West Campus library. She works along Christine Seliga,

a library service specialist who has known White since August.

Seliga describes White as a creative and conscientious person.

“She’s got amazing skills with drawing and coming up with concepts for her design class,” Seliga said. “Montessa has

some visions that other people don’t have. She’s got some talents.”

Like many artists, White started drawing at a young age.

“My mom actually told me she would find my sketches on the toilet paper while using the bathroom,” she said.

Her go-to supply is a pencil. She does have other instruments for drawing but likes to stick to the basics.

White doesn’t draw inspiration from any famous artists.

“Inner Beauty” by Montessa White

“I actually don’t look towards famous artists,” she said. “I think their work is cool. I like looking at it sometimes, but I don’t care.”

White does relate to animator Tim Burton. They do not draw or create similar pieces, but she thinks they share similar art styles.

White can’t put a name to her style. She mainly draws people but tweaks them.

She also creates feminist art, which she defines as women drawing women.

Her post-Pima plans include finding a good school with digital art and animation programs, possibly in California.

She would enjoy any job related to full-length or short films, but would especially like to work on storyboards by helping with characters or background art.

Her dream job would be working as a storyboard artist at Disney.

In fact, Disney has been a very important part of White’s difficult life. Disney movies taught her life lessons such as to have courage and to follow her dreams.

If she could be in any Disney movie, White said she’d be in either “Beauty and the Beast” or “Cinderella.”

“Cinderella is my life,” she said. “I feel like I’m like Belle and a little like Jasmine because Jasmine is fierce and fire. I can actually see myself in any movie.”

THE WORD: What are your plans for Spring Break?

THE WORD: What are your plans for Spring Break?

Interviews and photos by Erik Medina at Desert Vista Campus

“I am spending time with my brothers and sleeping in.”

Bella Caballero

Major: Equine veterinarian

“I am going to spend time with family and friends. I’ll probably go see the latest movie and will definitely sleep in.”

Chantia Kinsey

Major: Hospitality

“I will be studying and enjoying time at home. I will also spend time with friends, and work.”

Pablo Medina

Major: Pre-med

“A team of friends and I are going to be bike riding at Gates Pass. Party! Chill! Enjoy life!”

Francisco Flowers

Major: Mechanical and nuclear engineering

“I will most likely be playing video games, hanging out with friends, sleeping and definitely eating food.”

Cindy Fragozo

Major: Liberal arts

Part-time instructor, full-time rocker

Part-time instructor, full-time rocker


Erik Medina/Aztec Press Instructor Alisha Vazquez browses the history section at the West Campus library. Vasquez, a fifth-generation Tucsonan, teaches Mexican American culture and border topics at Desert Vista Campus.


In the desert and concrete beyond Interstate 10 on the south side of Tucson, you’ll find a punk rock historian at Pima Community College’s Desert Vista Campus.

Alisha Maria Vasquez, born in Tucson on Nov. 5, 1984, has lived in the city her entire life.

“I’m a bubbly, punk, Chicana krip,” she says.

Krip, a term for anger, reflects her feeling about being born with short-leg syndrome.

She had her first surgery at age 5, and endured another 20 surgeries over the next 10 years.

However, Vasquez says her disability is a part of her character.

Vasquez witnessed her parents’ divorce at age 10 and stayed with her mother. She says her family didn’t have many material goods but was culturally rich.

She later went through a punk rock phase and says the genre helped her control anger that originated from frustration with her place in society.

“We were poor, whatever, a lot of people are poor,” she says. “But I’m Mexican and a woman.”

Through most of her high school years, she wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon because of her history with medicine and doctors.

Her goal changed when she took a history class in her junior year of high school. She realized she loved history and decided to learn more.

Her high grade point average helped her receive a scholarship from the University of Arizona. Vasquez majored in history and women’s gender studies, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree.

Vasquez later moved to San Francisco, and attended San Francisco State University to obtain a master’s degree in history.

She studied Chicanx history and felt fortunate to count disability activist Paul K. Longmore as an instructor. Under his guidance, Vasquez dreamed of being the next big disability historian.

“I was breaking boundaries,” she says.

Her studies mirror her personal life. “I’m the most narcissistic person,” she says. “I study myself.”

Vasquez graduated from SFSU with a 4.0 grade point average, and returned to Tucson with an academic perspective. She was jobless for one year, but spent 50-plus hours a week volunteering.

Serving on the board of directors for Tucson Urban League helped her better understand the community.

She then joined a task force on racial ethnic disparity, and identified areas where kids were getting picked up and arrested. She represented the youth and sought alternatives for those who were facing jail time.

Vasquez eventually found part-time employment at PCC, working as a Mexican American Studies instructor.

Sandra Shattuck, a Desert Vista writing instructor, met Vasquez in January 2016 when their classes were paired as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities Border Culture grant.

“I like Alisha’s enthusiasm,” Shattuck says. “She is passionate about what she teaches.”

She also admires Vasquez’s teaching methods.

“Alisha is so clear in presenting complex issues and offering a long view of the history and then making the connections between back then and today,” Shattuck says.

The grant program brings students to Tucson from across the country to learn about Mexican American culture and border issues.

“I’ve brought my fifth-generation Tucsonan perspective into the program,” Vasquez says.

She would like to teach full time for PCC or work in administration to create community partnerships.

“For me, higher education made a lot of sense but it’s not for everyone,” she says. “As a society, we must also assist people to achieve their dreams even if it seems outside the norms.”

Although retirement is far away, Vasquez would like to retire as a PCC employee. She says she would only leave if she was offered a position where she could root for the underdog, as she always has, only this time for pay.

Her plan for the years ahead is to start a family with her husband. She likes the idea of two kids. She would also be interested in traveling if she doesn’t start a family. 

“Be yourself,” she says. “You will never please everyone, but if you can find a way to live a life that is true to morals and values that you set for yourself, you will be happy.”

WEEKEND WORKSHOP: PCC instructor to offer ‘Art of Storytelling’ tips

WEEKEND WORKSHOP: PCC instructor to offer ‘Art of Storytelling’ tips


PCC writing instructor Molly McCloy will lead “Art of Storytelling” sessions March 3-5. (Photo by Dan Morris)

Pima Community College writing instructor Molly McCloy will lead a weekend workshop on March 3-5 to teach students how to write and perform nonfiction stories from their lives.

“Art of Storytelling” sessions will be held at the Downtown Campus in the AH building, room 140. The schedule is as follows: Friday 6-8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Students will also write individually on Saturday evening.

Students will view videos and listen to podcasts, read short nonfiction based on storytelling performances, and learn to organize stories using a traditional three-act structure. They’ll have an option to perform their work live for an audience on the last day of the workshop.

McCloy earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from The New School in New York City. She is a three-time winner of the NYC Moth StorySLAM and has published in Slate, Nerve and Swink.

She recently wrote a one-woman show, “Mad Dog Grudges,” and has performed it in New York City, Tucson and Phoenix.

Students can earn two credits. Current PCC students can enroll in WRT 298T4 through MyPima, CRN 23823. Non-students can complete an online admission form at Cost for state residents is $183.

For more information, contact Josie Milliken at or Brooke Anderson at

Hello! Hola! Ni Hao! Salut! Hujambo!

Hello! Hola! Ni Hao! Salut! Hujambo!

Erik Medina


For some reason, many residents of the United States think it’s “un-American” to speak a language other than English. In reality, the U.S. does not have a national language.

Many of our citizens use the excuse of “it’s freedom of speech” when speaking their mind, but harass individuals who are speaking another language. Isn’t that the non-English speaker’s “freedom of speech?”

I believe that being bilingual should be glorified and not criticized. We should embrace the diversity our nation holds.

Being bilingual is without a doubt a positive thing. It’s been proven to actually help intellectual growth and enhance mental development.

Many like to say that if children speak two languages, they will be confused or forget their native language. Ironically, learning two languages actually helps children understand their native language.

Being bilingual also provides better job opportunities. Employers look for individuals who are able to communicate with more than just one group of people.

Now for the downside of being bilingual and learning two languages … There is none.

There has been no proof that learning two languages can negatively affect the mental function of an individual. The only possible downside is discrimination and typically discrimination comes from those who see bilingualism as a “bad thing.”

We as a nation should understand that people are not born with prejudice. They are taught it.

Instead of growing up to believe that something or someone is superior to others, we should learn to understand that we are all equal and that we are all humans.

Language is a form of communication. It brings people together and helps them express themselves. Language is a way to share culture and tradition.

Cesar Chavez once said, “Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speaker.”

Erik Medina plans to transfer to Arizona State University and hopes to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and journalism. He also likes cats.



Snuggle up to fun February events

Compiled by Erik Medina

February is the month of love and relationships. Don’t know how to celebrate? Here are some events suitable for both couples and singles.

Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase

Through Feb.12

More than 40 shows set up across the city in tent, hotels and exhibit halls. Items on display range from precious jewels to mineral crafts to dinosaur fossils.

Most citywide shows are free and open to the public.

The main event is the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show on Feb. 9-12 at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave.

Admission to the convention center cost $13 with discounts available. This year’s theme is “Mineral Treasures of the Midwest.”

 Details: or

Savor Food & Wine Festival

Feb. 4

The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance brings together more than 75 chefs, wineries, breweries and restaurants to showcase the diversity of heritage foods and ingredients in the southwest.

The event will take place at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2510 N. Alvernon Way. The admission price of $65 allows you to sample from a variety of menus.


Arizona Renaissance Festival

Feb. 11-April 2

The festival just outside of Phoenix is a 30-acre medieval amusement park with 13 stages, an arts/craft fair and jousting tournament. The annual event runs every Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11-April 2, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. It will also be open Feb. 20, President’s Day. No pets allowed.

Tickets start at $24 for ages 12 and up, with discounts available at participating Fry’s Food Stores. Parking is free.

From Tucson, take Highway 70 to Florence Junction. Go west 7 miles on Highway 60 to Festival Village.

 Details: or

Lunar New Year Celebration

Feb. 11

The Tucson Chinese Culture Center will host Year of the Rooster celebrations at Tucson Mall, 4500 N. Oracle Road, on the first floor near JCPenney.

The event will feature live performances all day. The first act begins at 11 a.m. and the last at 7 p.m. Admission is free.


Fort Lowell Day

Feb. 11

The historic neighborhood invites the community to relive its past. The 36th annual celebration from noon to 4 p.m. will include a wide variety of activities and displays such as adobe brick making and tours of historic sites. Admission and parking are free.





Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Don’t be basic! If you’re single, do things you’re not used to, have fun. In a relationship? Spice things up! Try sushi with your partner.

Pisces (Feb.19-March 20)

Didn’t get a New Year’s kiss? Don’t get too excited, you probably won’t get a Valentine’s Day kiss either. Sorry.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

We’ve all had desperate times. Can’t get rid of a clinger from Tinder? Remember, when in doubt, “New number, who dis?”

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Don’t focus too much on your romantic relationship, but more on your friendships. Your friends have been there through your ups and downs. Appreciate it.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Fries before guys. Sisters before misters. Mates before dates. Pals over gals.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to watch “Fifty Shades Darker” alone. Just in case, though, bring a friend or take the book. Say it’s for book club.

Leo (July 23- Aug. 22)

You might not have found the “one” yet but that’s OK. Don’t rush into things. Would you rather pick up 10 pennies from the ground or one dime?

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sept. 22)

Relationships are overrated, so stick to pets. We know you’ve closed the door to force your pets to spend time with you. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Feeling blindsided on what to do for Valentine’s Day? Have you ever heard of Pinterest?

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

When planning a romantic evening, it’s the thought that counts. However, making ramen, pouring it into a bowl and serving it to your date does not qualify as a fancy meal.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec 21)

Being single isn’t as bad as it’s put out to be. That’s why there’s Netflix. Binge watch a series and eat food. That will mend your lonely heart.

 Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan 19)

Date someone outside of your circle. Be aware, however, that artists aren’t always the best choice. If you break up, they make something out of the experience. Your pain is their path to becoming famous and rich.