By DAVID J. DEL GRANDE
Pima Community College is taking corrective action after receiving a Notice of Deficiencies statement from the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
On July 30, the ASBN gave the college one year to either make significant progress towards, or completely correct, the deficiencies highlighted in the notice.
The state board issued the formal action after receiving an anonymous complaint and completing an investigation. The complaint said Pima undermined the authority of Marty Mayhew, the dean of Pima’s nursing program.
The notice says any interference compromises nursing education, places patient safety at risk and undermines the authority of the nursing program administrator.
If the college fails to address the ASBN concerns, the board could restrict nursing student admissions at Pima or remove state approval of the PCC nursing program.
PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert outlined a plan of corrections and met with ASBN in September.
Pima’s nursing program must follow strict guidelines set by the Arizona Nurse Practice Act.
“There are rules and regulations that in order to have a nursing program, the college has to abide by,” Mayhew said. “Things that are not necessarily in my control.”
Katy Challenger, Pima’s nursing program department chair, stressed the state action did not criticize the nursing program itself.
“It wasn’t something the nursing department did that they felt was inappropriate,” she said.
According to the notice of deficiencies, the violations began in December 2012.
The ASBN findings say, “On or about May 13, 2013, Ana Jimenez, President of Pima Community College Education Association (PCCEA), a representative faculty group, attempted to reverse a decision regarding clinical assignment of faculty made by the nursing program administrator (Mayhew) based solely on the report of the involved faculty.”
West Campus President Louis Albert said he reversed Mayhew’s decision to place a faculty member in a specialty-nursing course. Albert said he took the action due to pressure placed on him by PCCEA.
“I probably should not have leaned so hard, but I did,” Albert said. “It’s the one decision I regret.”
Jimenez denied the state allegations.
“Please know that PCCEA did not interfere with the administration of the nursing program,” she said in a written response. “In every case, PCCEA’s only role is to ensure uniform enforcement of policies that govern all Pima Community College faculty members.”
Jimenez said PCCEA was unaware of the sanctions placed on the nursing program and was not provided any opportunity to address the reported violations.
The ASBN notice also accused PCCEA of other violations, including:
- Not supporting an increase in salary for nursing faculty.
- Not supporting drug screening policies for faculty, despite the fact they relate to patient safety.
- Admonishing Mayhew for instituting a ‘dress code’ for faculty when there was no evidence that a dress code had been implemented.
- Requesting an opportunity to talk with faculty to seek out other areas of dissatisfaction.
Based on Arizona law, all nursing programs must provide an organizational chart that identifies the relationship, lines of authority and channels of communication within the program, and between the program and the parent institution.
Lambert wrote in his response, “The college recognizes that during the events described in the AZBN findings,
PCCEA was allowed to interfere with the administration of the nursing program contrary to the applicable AZBN standards.”
His letter was addressed to Pamela Randolph, ASBN associate director of education and evidence based regulation.
At a PCCEA informational meeting held Nov. 22, Jimenez said she was tired of the secrecy but was unable to fully disclose any information due to the ongoing investigation.
“When I read the complaints, I was pretty taken aback, and I don’t feel like the nursing board’s investigation was thorough,” Jimenez said. “I didn’t feel like I had an opportunity to provide a perspective.”
Albert said he expected that Pima would be contacted in August after ASBN completed its investigation.
“It didn’t surprise us, because we had all been asked questions about it by the state board,” he said. “We knew there was going to be a report coming later in the summer.”
Nursing students interviewed by Aztec Press were mostly unaware of the implications of the notice of deficiencies or were not overly concerned with administrative issues.
Instructors have kept their students on task as Pima nursing certification test scores rose to 92.49 percent, which is greater than the Arizona state average of 89.49 percent.
Albert said it was ultimately his choice to either disclose the notice of deficiencies and potentially negatively impact nursing students, or internally reform Pima’s policy shortcomings. His intention was to meet the requirements of ASBN and not add unwarranted concern to the student body.
“It was the students I had in mind,” Albert said.
By A. GREENE
The approximately 490-square-foot space that serves as the Veteran’s Center at Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus will be a thing of the past, come January 2014.
Relocation is underway to a new 1,500-square-foot room in the historic Roosevelt Building.
Student vets have been in need of a new space for some time, according to Scott Plotts, Student Veteran’s of America Club president.
Plotts said finding the room and approving it for a new veteran’s center turned out to be a breeze.
“We had a meeting with the stand-in president, Charlotte Fugett, and we discussed an area that was being underutilized,” Plotts said.
The proposed space was being used for storage. Plotts said when they pitched the idea to Chancellor Lee Lambert, the chancellor said yes “right off the bat.”
From there, Plotts said, the student vets gathered a team, came up with a rough floor plan and were given a budget of $35,000.
Plotts said the budget should be more than enough, because the amount of renovation needed is minimal.
With more than triple the current space, Plotts said the new center will help in many ways.
“For one, it’s going to increase the number of veterans we can serve on a daily basis,” he said.
The size of the current center is a known deterrent for many student vets. The new center will also be more open, and will have more computers and workstations for students.
Plotts is also excited to see the new dedicated quiet room, which vets use to decompress when they’re not in a good place emotionally or mentally. The current quiet room is too multipurpose, he said.
The new Downtown Campus Veteran’s Center is expected to be finished before the Spring 2014 semester starts.
Gary Parker, a recently hired veteran certifying official and a student vet, works with vets to make sure they are on track to receive their GI bill benefits. He is one of what will eventually be a team of four certifying officials.
Student vets must be certified through the VA to get money for school. Pima is adding the certifying officials as another effort toward improving veteran’s affairs.
There are currently 1,770 active student veterans at Pima, Parker said, noting “That’s a 300-plus increase from the last couple years.”
Parker cited predictions that about one million soldiers will leave the military, partly due to troops leaving Afghanistan. More vets at home means more vets in school.
He plans to have enough certifying officials trained by summer that he can send them to other campuses to help new and returning student vets get their money squared away.
To help make the process easier, college officials also took another look at the application process.
“We’re cutting down our paperwork intake by 50 to 75 percent,” Parker said. There are now two forms necessary when applying for benefits.
Other improvements are still in the works.
After the new center is up and running, Plotts hopes to get started on expanding to other campuses. In the meantime, he’s focusing on the new vet center and how it will help veteran students transition.
“Veterans are fairly boisterous at times,” Plotts said. “What’s nice about the new space is that it’s kind of a cross between the college environment and the veteran environment. It’s a great transition, it’s not just flipping a switch.”
Parker agreed, and encouraged students who are apprehensive to come to the Veteran’s Center.
“Vets don’t like help, generally. That’s my impression,” Parker said. “We think we can do things on our own.”
The transition to college can be difficult, he added.
“You ain’t in war, you ain’t in your unit, you’re in this huge environment. You get lost,” he said. “A lot of times, when people get out of the military some just don’t want to have anything else to do with it. But the reality of it is, you’re always gonna have that connection.”
By MICHAEL ANDERSON
It was just another Sunday night and New Jersey teenager Sheldon Coudray was at a party with friends when they heard the news. Pearl Harbor had been bombed.
The date was Dec. 7, 1941.
Many boys in Coudray’s Plainfield neighborhood rushed off to join the Marines. He stayed in high school for several weeks.
“I didn’t know what the hell to do, so I just stayed in school until the draft came and all of a sudden I knew I’d get that card in the mail any day,” he said. “I didn’t want to go in the infantry so I decided, ‘How about the old Air Corp?’”
Coudray, now 90, is a volunteer at the Pima County Air and Space Museum. In mid-1942 he was an 18-year-old flight engineer/top-turret gunner aboard a B-24 Liberator, flying from Hawaii to his first base of operations, the island of Kwajalein.
The B-24 was a four-engine strategic bomber with a crew of 10, defended by 10 .50-caliber machine guns. In Europe, B-24s bombed targets in formations with hundreds of planes, but in the open expanse of the South Pacific they operated in groups that rarely totaled more than 30.
Coudray and his crew arrived in a brand-new plane that they reasoned was theirs. Upon arrival, however, they were taken to what Coudray described as a “junk yard” and given their choice of several planes.
They chose one called “A Tisket a Tasket, a GI Casket,” which was decorated with a painting of a skeleton in a coffin making an obscene gesture. It was a veteran of about 80 missions.
Despite the ominous moniker, the plane served them well. They survived 61 dangerous missions.
Coudray attributes much of their good fortune to their ground crew.
“They were very conscientious and very good, and they took excellent care of our airplane for us,” he said.
According to Coudray, Air Corp officials in effect told them, “We want you to take the biggest bomb load you can and drop those bombs on a target. If you don’t get back, that’s incidental. If you do get back, that’s fine.”
Most B-24 losses in Europe were due to flak and enemy fighters, but faulty navigation posed the greatest danger in the Pacific. Many planes operating over huge expanses of open ocean got lost, ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean.
Coudray’s primary job was flight engineer, but when under attack he manned a twin .50-caliber machine gun turret atop the fuselage. He shot down multiple planes.
“I don’t want you to think it was fun shooting them down; it was disturbing,” he said. “I kind of felt bad, but at the same time it was kill or be killed.”
Many early missions were to attack the island of Truk, an important Japanese base.
In 1944, his crew flew their most memorable mission as one of six B-24s escorting three unarmed reconnaissance planes sent to photograph Saipan before the landing of Marines. The mission took more than 22 hours, and required multiple re-fueling stops.
The air crews weren’t sure what to expect, but had been told there might be a pilot training base on Saipan. This was confirmed when they approached the island.
“All of a sudden, the whole sky was full of airplanes,” Coudray said.
The number was later estimated at more than 100. After a fierce battle, two B-24s and 54 enemy fighters had been shot down, Coudray said.
He and his crew bombed other important targets, including Iwo Jima and Okinawa, before being brought home in August 1945.
Coudray attended Rutgers University on the GI Bill, studying mathematics and engineering. He worked as an engineer for Bechtel at sites around the world, including New York, South Africa, South America and the Philippines.
He and his wife Mareta Johan Coudray have five children, 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Coudray retired at age 76, and soon after moved to Tucson. He’s been a volunteer at the Air and Space Museum for 12 years, working on Saturdays.
He attributes his longevity to a philosophy and a regimen.
“Don’t get upset and things will always work out, and make sure you have a couple beers once in a while,” he said.
For younger generations, he offers this advice:
“Remember, the world is open in front of you,” he said. “There’s nothing you can’t do.”
By SEBASTIAN BARAJAS
Tucson Dodgeball League has breathed competitive fire into the beloved childhood game.
League founder Steve Damon says the sport has evolved to incorporate rules, boundaries and a myriad of strategies.
Although the objective remains basic, players must adapt due to a fast pace and stiff competition.
“All too often, new teams come in and get straight eliminated because they are not quite used to the feel of an actual game,” Damon says.
The Tucson league began unofficially in the summer of 2003, when a group of friends got together to play dodgeball at the University of Arizona. Word spread and weekly dodgeball games were held until campus police asked the large crowds to disperse.
Pima Community College police made the same request when players moved to the West Campus tennis courts. After a series of moves, the league eventually found a home gym at the Boys and Girls Club.
The current game format was partially inspired by the classic 2004 movie “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.” Dodgeball also borrows elements from professional sport leagues such as the NFL and NBA.
Each dodgeball team consists of six players, and each game is separated into two 15-minute halves. Individual prowess counts almost as much as teamwork, because the game can quickly leave a single player facing several opponents.
“Believe it or not, the game has evolved enough to the point where strategy is needed against some of the more experienced players,” Damon says.
Semiprofessional players like Chris Bell can launch rubber balls in excess of 60 mph and have competed in tournaments all over the world. Bell has played with International Rampage in places like China, New Zealand and Malaysia.
Competition rages both on and off the court.
Three-year dodgeball veteran Luis Ateca has sparked rivalries by dawning an alter ego. He’s infamously known as “Mascara Fatale.”
“Frankly, I am one of the most feared players out there,” Ateca says.
Ateca maintains a bitter feud with Damon, who calls himself “Hurricane.”
The two have been at war since 2010. They have even sent challenge videos to one another, to coax a reaction during league play.
In addition to competitive play, Tucson Dodgeball League offers open dodgeball for people who want to play but do not have time for a league. The group also organizes charity events.
Future goals include collaborating with Phoenix Dodgeball to form an Arizona Dodgeball League.
“It will showcase the best and serve as a place for our semiprofessional players to regularly compete for a state title,” Damon says.
To learn more about Tucson Dodgeball League, visit tucsondodgeball.com.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
It’s been more than six years since Pima Community College freshman forward Ben “Murphy” Gershman played competitive basketball. At age 24, he’s back on the court.
The Tucson High School graduate started playing basketball at age 7.
When he graduated from high school, no colleges made any scholarship offers. He attended PCC, but dropped out after four weeks to join the work force.
“I wasn’t ready for college back then,” Gershman said. ”I wasn’t interested in school and I wasn’t playing basketball, so there was nothing really keeping me here.”
Gershman worked retail, then started his own home remodeling and maintenance company about two years ago.
He kept returning to the basketball court, playing in a city league. A friend, Jerry Ledesma, urged Gershman to try out for the PCC basketball team.
“He would constantly tell me to try out, but I would keep putting him off ‘cause honestly I didn’t think I could do it,” Gershman said.
First-year PCC head coach Brian Peabody didn’t share Gershman’s doubts.
“I went to watch him play and offered him a spot on the team right away,” Peabody said.
Peabody said Gershman brings a blue-collar work ethic that makes him the team’s leader.
“He treats this like a job,” Peabody said. “He comes to practice every day ready to work.”
Both Peabody and Gershman believe in leading by example. So far this season, Gershman is averaging 19.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
“I didn’t think I would be playing this good,” Gershman said. “The thing is, I know I can play much better.”
Gershman has garnered respect from his teammates.
“He’s amazing,” freshman forward Maurice “Mo” Webb said. “Ben is the leader of our team in every
sense. If there’s someone you should look up to or someone you’re trying to emulate on or off the court, it’s Ben Gershman.”
Basketball has opened other opportunities for Gershman.
He’s earned a 3.8 GPA taking gen-ed classes at Pima, and hopes to continue playing at a four-year university. His long-term goal is to earn a degree in engineering.
“I wasn’t ready for school back then, but I am now,” Gershman said.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College head football coach Pat Nugent turned in his letter of resignation on Nov. 15.
His resignation came just two weeks after a 38-22 win over powerhouse Arizona Western College on Nov. 2. The win improved Pima’s record to 5-5, which represented the most season wins the Aztecs had under Nugent and the most wins under any coach since 2003.
“I’m glad we went out with a bang,” Nugent said. “I told the Western coach the other day, I’m leaving just because I know I may never beat Western again.”
In reality, Nugent said, five years of coaching at the community college level wore him down.
“This is a year-round job,” he said. “With junior college kids, there’s a lot of social stuff that you have to deal with. A junior college kid doesn’t have the greatest life. There are a lot of issues you have to deal with, from academics to financial issues.”
Raymond Suarez, Pima’s director of sports information, said he was shocked when he heard the news. He didn’t think Nugent would walk away after such a good season.
Suarez said he respects and appreciates everything Nugent did for the Aztecs. Assistant coaches and players also expressed gratitude.
“Nugent has put this program on the map,” defensive backs coach Carter Jones said. “He was worked tirelessly to do right by the players, and staff. I am great full for the opportunity he has given me.”
Freshman quarterback Jack Nykaza said the news will require adjustment.
“Coach resigning is very hard on the guys,” Nykaza said. “I appreciate his leadership and him as a person.”
Sophomore receiver Cassius Pierce was shocked to hear the news.
“It was surprising to me, especially after having a winning season,” he said. “As a sophomore, we wanted to get Pima back on the map for coach, and we did that.”
The task of finding a new head football coach falls to Athletic Director Edgar Soto. He said that filling Nugent’s shoes won’t be easy, but he would like to have an interim coach hired within a few weeks.
“We are looking to find the best coach possible, whether it be from within or from the outside,” Soto said. “We have coaches on staff who I know are well qualified, but I also know there are coaches outside this program who are well qualified.”
Several coaches from the Tucson area, and some from Nugent’s staff, have expressed interest.
Nugent has endorsed two coaches, defensive coordinator Pat Ryden and defensive lines coach Jim Monaco. Both coaches have been a part of Nugent’s staff for several years and Nugent expressed complete confidence in their abilities to lead the football program.
Despite some calls to disband the football program, Soto said it will remain intact.
“I don’t think at this point it’s going to happen,” Soto said. “The way we look at the value of a program here at Pima is the educational value of what the program brings.”
He said football has given more than 100 students an opportunity to get an education and transfer to four-year universities.
By STEPHANIE SOTO
When Mick Ratajczak was 21, he made a bad decision that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Ratajczak, a Pima Community College graduate who works as a tutor at the Desert Vista Learning Center, made his life-changing choice on a warm night in February 2001.
He and a friend borrowed another friend’s Pontiac Grand Prix to run errands. His friend drove, and decided to test how fast the car would go. He soon reached 120 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone.
The driver didn’t slow down at a curve, which made the car slide. The back of the Grand Prix hit a telephone pole, and the car rotated in the air. Ratajczak was wearing a seatbelt, but the impact threw him out the passenger-seat door. He landed 40 feet from the vehicle.
Ratajczak didn’t know his fate until the next day. Doctors told him that he had broken his spine, and would never walk again.
“After I heard those words from the doctor, obviously I was very depressed,” Ratajczak said. “I thought my life was over. What hurt the most was that I loved doing physical things, and most specifically bike riding.”
His doctor prescribed a two-year regimen of physical rehabilitation.
“I lived in the hospital,” Ratajczak said. “They also gave me vocational rehab, where they teach you how to be independent and use a wheelchair.”
When he finally left the hospital, Ratajczak lived with his older brother for a while. Eventually, using disability income, he rented his own place to test his independence.
Ratajczak quickly learned that apartments aren’t designed for a person in a wheelchair.
“Living on my own was hard,” he said. “I couldn’t reach the cabinets on the top, and when I would cook or wash dishes I had do everything sideways.”
After four years, Ratajczak returned to classes at PCC.
“It took me a while to go back to school, but I told myself, if I can’t use my legs, then I’ll push my brain to the fullest potential to make up for it,” he said.
Ratajczak graduated from PCC in 2008, and earned a degree from University of Arizona last spring. He majored in physiology/applied mathematics and minored in chemistry.
He said he chose physiology because he could learn about body functions, and included math because he excels in that subject. He hopes to become a naturopath or a biological researcher.
At the Desert Vista Learning Center, students always spot his colored hats and his wheelchair. He tutors people in math, physics, biology and chemistry.
Students praise his tutoring skills.
“OMG, this guy is a genius and I wish I had his brain,” Eduardo Alberto Dauz said.
Ratajczak said he plans to continue tutoring for as long as students need him.
“It’s rewarding when students thank me for helping them on tests,” he said.
His supervisor, Gustavo Miranda, said it is an honor to have Ratajczak as part of the Desert Vista team.
“He’s always positive and students always compliment us for having him,” Miranda said.
Ratajczak said he learned valuable lessons from his accident.
“I have learned that for every action there is a reaction, and to love yourself because God only made one of you,” he said.
“Even though life threw you a lot of curve balls,” he added, “learn from it and never give up because there is always going to be a light at the end of the tunnel.”
By KATIE STEWART
If people find pleasure in ingesting a substance or engaging in an event, they keep doing it. Addiction occurs when the action becomes compulsive and interferes with life responsibilities.
New research suggests people may inherit the disease of addiction. Through our genes, it travels from generation to generation.
Author Jessica Berman talks about the hereditary risk of addiction in an article titled “Inherited Vulnerability to Drug Addiction Discovered.”
“Substance abuse is known to run in families,” Berman writes. “Having an addicted family member increases a person’s risk of addiction by eight to 10 percent above the general population.”
Those findings strike close to home for me and my sisters. We have an addictive parent, and must constantly watch how we conduct ourselves with substances to make sure we don’t relive the vicious cycle.
We know firsthand that addiction affects not only addicts but also those around them.
Having an alcoholic father is somewhat like a dormant storm. You never know when something is going to hit but when it does, it destroys everything within a 10-mile radius.
Trying to understand addiction is often difficult, and sometimes next to impossible. We want to be there for family members who are dealing with the disease, but it’s emotionally draining. You may never know why loved ones start to use again.
Like mother, like daughters
The film “Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows” explores the life of the famous “Wizard of Oz” actress and singer. Garland dealt with drug and alcohol abuse throughout her young adulthood, which eventually led to her untimely death by barbiturate overdose.
Her daughters, Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft, have dealt with their own demons of alcohol and drug abuse.
Both Minnelli and Luft discussed their experiences with addiction and their mother’s unwanted legacy in an interview with Dateline, “Liza: Life in the Limelight.”
“I know for sure that in this disease, you do not have a choice,” Minnelli said.
Minnelli, who has been in and out of rehab repeatedly, credited her sister with helping her fight her addictions.
Negative media influences
Although genetics is a main cause of addiction, the media also plays a contributing role.
Celebrities like Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton make drinking and using drugs look like a fun game. Other bad examples: Movies such as “Up in Smoke,” where the characters are always high, or the TV show “Breaking Bad,” whose main character is a meth dealer.
The media rarely shows any consequences for using drugs and alcohol, only what happens when characters capture that ultimate high.
When the media glorifies drug and alcohol abuse, it gives people a mindset to start experimenting with the substances.
Author Shannon Brys talks about how media impacts young people in an article, “Increasing in Teens: Use of Social Media, Drugs and Alcohol.”
“When media and social media portray people getting drunk or doing drugs, it glorifies the situation and makes teens feel like they’re missing out on something,” Brys wrote.
Numerous studies have attempted to show how media affects drug and alcohol usage:
· Smoking in movies addicts more than 1,000 kids every day and 340 of those kids will die prematurely as a result of their addiction, according to a study published in the June 10, 2003 issue of The Lancet.
· Teens who watch “suggestive teen programming” are also more likely to use tobacco, alcohol or marijuana. The study identified reality TV shows such as “Jersey Shore,” “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant” and teen dramas such as “Skins” or “Gossip Girl.”
· Teens who have seen pictures on social media of other teens using drugs, drinking or passed out are four times more likely to have used marijuana, three times more likely to have consumed alcohol and almost three times more likely to have used tobacco.
· Many ads use celebrity endorsers, humor, rock music or attractive young models, all of which have been shown to be effective with children and adolescents. Advertising makes smoking and drinking seems like normal activities and may function as a “superpeer” in subtly pressuring teenagers to experiment. Research suggests that advertising may be responsible for up to 30 percent of adolescent tobacco and alcohol use.
When dealing with drug and alcohol addiction, people need to be educated on the dangers of abuse. They must learn how to be cautious, know the signs of an addict and be aware of their family history with addiction.
In the end, it is each individual’s responsibility to know his or her limits when using alcohol or other substances. Everyone must learn how and where to get help if recreational use slips into a dangerous and potentially deadly addiction.
If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction, here are some websites, books and movies that provide more information:
· “Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood” by Koren Zailckas
· “Postcards from the Edge” by Carrie Fisher
· “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1994)
· “Rachel Getting Married” (2008)
By BRENDA PACHECO
In 1998, University of Wyoming students offended by a fellow student’s sexual orientation kidnapped Matthew Shepard. He was beaten, tied to a fence and left to die in the outskirts of Laramie.
The brutal murder stunned the country and made international news.
Pima Community College’ theater department will examine the hate crime in performances of “The Laramie Project” through Nov. 24 in the Black Box Theatre on West Campus.
“The play is a complicated view of Laramie’s response to the murder of Matthew Shepard,” Director Nancy Davis Booth said in a press release.
“It is constructed in a series of moments in which Laramie residents remember and reflect on this hate crime and the media onslaught,” she said. “Through these deeply personal reflections, the impact on this small community reveals the human spirit’s triumph over bigotry and violence.”
The play was written by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theatre Project. It premiered in February 2000 in Denver and has since been performed worldwide.
“The Laramie Project” is part of the Pima theater program’s ongoing efforts to make audiences aware of intolerance and injustice. The director and actors will hold discussions with the audience after each performance.
Student actors want audiences to absorb the play’s message.
“I hope they watch it and realize the pain the town went through and how hard it was for them,” Kristen Fabry said.
Booth said University of Mississippi students who heckled actors during a recent production of “The Laramie Project” prove that the play’s discussion of bullying and hatred remains relevant.
She called the heckling a form of “absolutely appalling” childish bigotry. “It’s hurtful to all of us,” Booth said. “It’s disgusting.”
Actor Cole Potwardowski urged patrons to voice their opinions.
“Ultimately, I think people can have whatever opinion they want,” he said. “If people have a negative or positive opinion, say it after the show.”
Show times are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. American Sign Language interpreters will be available Nov. 21.
Admission is $15, with discounts available. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.
For details, visit pima.edu/cfa or call 206-6986.
“The Laramie Project”
When: Nov. 14-24
Where: Black Box Theatre, West Campus CFA
Box office: 206-6986
The following is a letter the PCC drama department received:
November 14, 2013
To the Director, Cast, and Crew of The Laramie Project at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona:
I would like to thank you for taking on the task of producing The Laramie Project. It’s been 15 years since my son Matthew was murdered in an anti-‐gay hate crime in Laramie, Wyoming. Matt wanted simply to finish his studies so he could go out and do good things in the world. His death because of violence rooted in hate and ignorance has set me on a journey I would never have imagined for myself before that tragedy. Continuing to educate people about the issues is part of that journey.
The Laramie Project with its powerful messages, unfortunately, continues to be relevant in the world today. Bullying, hate crimes, young people committing suicide because they are harassed and targeted for being who they are; all of these events surround us on a daily basis and remind us that there is much work to be done.
Dennis and I believe The Laramie Project is an invaluable educational piece about how hate impacts society, and we support and thank those who choose to engage in what can be an emotional and sometimes controversial process. Each individual company that produces this piece brings a fresh perspective to the issues and more minds and voices to the discussion. Sometimes I hear detractors of The Laramie Project refer to it as “that gay play”. It is not a play about being gay, or about encouraging anyone to be gay. It’s about being targeted, hurt, murdered for being different or perceived to be different, whatever that difference may be, and how those actions affect your life and the lives of all around you.
Again, I thank you for having the courage to engage in a production that can raise so many emotional and personal issues, and encourage you to use this opportunity to form discussions of how to create a more civil, compassionate, and just world.
We applaud and appreciate your efforts.
Co-‐Founder and President, The Matthew Shepard Foundation
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Comic-Con started as a comic book convention in San Diego in 1970, but has evolved into a pop culture gathering for entertainment genres ranging from comic books to sci fi movies.
Tucson began hosting its own Comic-Con six years ago. This year’s event, held Nov. 2-3, was the biggest to date.
Comic-Con attracts numerous vendors who set up booths to show off their products.
Sean Beall, owner of A2Z Games in Tucson, jumped at the opportunity to participate when local organizers added gaming for the first time.
“This has been so exciting for all of us in the gaming center,” Beall said. “To see so many people excited to play games is really awesome.”
Kyle Sanders of Mesa first brought artwork created by his wife, Natali Sanders, to a Comic-Con in Phoenix in 2010. The art was well received, and he’s been attending conventions as a vendor ever since.
“I really enjoy meeting new people and talking and interacting with the fans,” he said. “Also, I just love getting Natali’s artwork out. She does amazing stuff and I want to see her succeed in it.”
Some vendors dress like the characters they are trying to sell. Sara Moni of Phoenix dressed as Kali from Nightingale comics.
“She is a hunter forest-type creature that helps her friend Nightingale stop a coming invasion that threatens their land,” Moni explained.
Visitors also dressed as a favorite superhero or TV character.
Tucson native Amber Hunt wore a Steam Punk tinkerer costume.
“I love the atmosphere and love the vendors,” Hunt said. “It’s a great way to spend the weekend with a lot of like-minded people.”
Mike Syfritt of Phoenix attended as Dr. Octopus.
“Costuming is an incredible challenge,” Syfritt said. “I’m friends with the people that put this on, and I love to be a part of this community.”
Allen Dang dressed as his childhood hero, Green Arrow.
“This is my first Comic-Con,” Dang said. “Seeing people all dressed up in different costumes and how they make their own costumes is really exciting.”
By JOHN CHESTNUT
Marco Montano is a man in incredible shape who always has a smile and upbeat attitude. His biceps could wear a pair of headphones and look better than most people.
Beneath the aesthetics lies a 40-year-old man fighting an unwinnable battle against time. Looking at him, you’d think he might be the first to win.
Montano grew up on Tucson’s South Side. After graduating from Sunnyside High School, he moved to St. Louis in 1992. He returned home before leaving for New York, then made his way back to Tucson in May.
“A lot of family members and friends were dying by the plague of drug addiction and gangbanging,” Montano said. “I didn’t want to become a victim or product of that environment. Seeing that there is a whole world out there, I up and left.”
He’s now taking classes at Pima Community College and interning as a fitness trainer.
Montano’s motivation for fitness came from the physical labor of construction jobs.
“I was 275 pounds and could barely bench 135 pounds,” he said. “I really needed to start doing something else because I was starting to see a decline in my performance.”
In the gym, Montano found new habits and a passion for exercise.
“I really like this field,” he said of fitness training. “It’s something that I love to do. I don’t feel that it’s a job if you get paid to do what you love.”
Montano works out to enhance performance, not for huge biceps or six-pack abs.
“I’m 40 and everything is declining,” he said. “I don’t feel it yet and I’m grateful for that, but I don’t want to pat myself on the back.” Laughing, he knocked on the wooden floor of the Desert Vista fitness center.
He plans to teach “until his knees give out or he can’t do it anymore.”
Montano has ideas for how nutritionists can make people more aware of how much they eat. He suggests adding an exercise count to nutrition facts, listing how many repetitions would be needed to work off the calories.
“I bet people would start to watch what they’re eating, to be more conscious of their portions,” he said.
Montano’s favorite post-workout meal is rotisserie chicken with a big bag of baby kale salad.
“I eat the whole rotisserie chicken,” he said with a laugh.
On Mondays and Thursdays, Montano teaches classes as the downtown and southeast locations of Platinum Fitness.
“Participants that take my class tell me, ‘Oh you’re inspiring,’ and I’m like ‘No!’” he said. “Every time I get there, I’m dead tired. I’m thinking of all this homework I’ve got to do, and different machines I have to fix.”
Once the class starts, however, his students provide motivation. “They inspire me to do what I do and take it to a whole new level for them,” he said.
PCC student Danelle Cochran complimented Montano’s work ethic. “You can tell by the look in his eye that he takes his workouts and life serious,” she said.
With his busy schedule, Montano has cut his workouts to four days a week.
His long-term goal is to earn a doctorate. “That, more than anything, is my big prize at the end,” he said.
Montano credits his Sunnyside football coach, Don Klostreich, for keeping him out of trouble during his younger years.
“I lost a lot of friends, and Don took care of me,” he said. “He kept me in the wrestling room, he kept me playing football and he kept me weight training. Don saved my life.”
Montano tried out for the Pima football team this season but missed the agility test by .7 seconds.
He benches 405 pounds and can leg press 1,200 pounds. “Never let friends skip leg day,” he said jokingly.
Marco offers many motivation phrases to his students. “Quality over quantity” is one workout favorite.
“Go light to do it right, not strong to do it wrong,” he said.
By BETO HOYOS
The Pima Community College women’s basketball team used a three-day Utah road trip to gain experience against tough teams.
“We’ve challenged the girls with a tough schedule and to be 2-2 at this point is huge going forward,” head coach Todd Holthaus said.
In their final game of the trip on Nov. 9, Pima fell to Southern Idaho 81-59.
The Aztecs found themselves down 43-20 at the end of the first half. They outscored Southern Idaho 39-38 in the second half, but couldn’t catch up.
Sophomore Felicia Foster and freshman Melody McLaughlin finished with 12 points each. Foster also had four rebounds, four steals and three assists, while McLaughlin had seven rebounds and four assists.
Freshman Alicia Jones contributed 10 points and four rebounds.
The Aztecs opened conference play on Nov. 13 after the Aztec Press went to print.
On Nov. 8, the Aztecs defeated Utah State University-Eastern 105-82.
McLaughlin recorded a double-double with 22 points and 18 rebounds.
Freshman Holly Bolen scored 17 points and eight rebounds. Jones finished with 10 points, and Foster had eight assists.
“We’re unstoppable when we fight as a team,” Bolen said. “We didn’t win all the games but we became better as a team and learned a lot.”
In the first game of the Utah trip on Nov. 7, the Aztecs fell to Salt Lake City College 63-58.
The Aztecs led by five at the half, but were outscored in the second period.
Free throws proved to be the Aztecs’ downfall. They made just eight trips to the foul line and sunk four. Salt Lake City went 16-27 from the foul line.
Jones had a team-high 16 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Rachel Williams had 13 points and three assists, while freshman Raja Moreno-Ross had 12 points and six rebounds.
On Nov. 2, the Aztec defeated Quest Prep (Nevada) 99-60 in the final day of the Pima/Tohono O’Odham Kickoff Classic.
Five players reached double figures, and the Aztecs hit 12 three-pointers during the game. Foster scored 16 points and Jones had 15. Bolen finished with 14 points, while Raja Moreno-Ross contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Aztecs also got a boost from their bench. Freshman Jayla Brown finished with 13 points and freshman Adriana Barrientez had three assists and four points.
In their home opener on Nov. 1, Pima fell to Midland College 83-75.
Pima controlled the game for most of the first half, but was outscored 41-35 in the second.
The Aztecs were lead by Jones, who scored a game-high 14 points. Sophomore Shayna Porter-Banks contributed nine points and seven rebounds.
Nov. 20: Chandler-Gilbert CC, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 23: @ Phoenix College, Phoenix, 2 p.m.
Nov. 26: @ Scottsdale CC, Scottsdale, 5:30 p.m.
By DAVID JOSEPH DEL GRANDE
Matthew Evan Andrew Bourque left Basrah, Iraq almost a decade ago, but his war-time experience on the Shatt-Al-Arab waterway has not yet left him.
He sustained an injury that should have ended his legacy, but an optimistic philosophy fuels this veteran’s resolve.
Bourque says he always wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives.
He also has a strong interest in the medical field, and understood the benefits of joining the military in regards to building personal character and earning a degree.
That’s why he has made Pima Community College his latest stop along his tempestuous journey.
At 30-years-old, Bourque is part of a generation in the United States that were inspired to become soldiers directly after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks.
“I kinda saw it as a chance to start my life in a positive direction,” Bourque says about becoming a soldier. “And then I saw 9/11, and I was like ‘maybe I can do some good?’”
Bourque was born in Clearwater Beach, Fla. but spent most of his childhood in Louisiana. His father was an engineer for the United States Air Force, and was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base located a few miles from Bossier City, La.
Bourque describes himself as a well-adjusted, popular and out-going person up until the time of his active duty. Just a normal young man, that can look back and smile at a happy childhood.
That Tuesday morning on Sept. 11, 2001 also started off normal. But, the plume of dust, smoke and death that erupted as the Twin Towers crumbled to the New York City streets brought the fog of war that may never lift and many lives will not return to any sense of normalcy.
Bourque chose to enlist in the U.S. Navy, and went to Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. for basic training. He was subsequently stationed at a military hospital in Basrah, Iraq’s second-largest city after Baghdad.
Basrah can arguably be described as one of the hottest cities in the world, with its daily summer temperatures reaching at least 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The vivid memories cancel a slight grin on Bourque’s face as he remembers his two years there.
“I can feel the heat from the sun, I can feel the heat coming off the walls,” Bourque says. “Just the heat and the air, it’s crazy. I feel sometimes like I’m still there,” he says.
Bourque remains haunted by the sensation of the Persian Gulf sands against his face, and also the feeling of trepidation from engaging in guerrilla warfare.
He found it nearly impossible discerning between an everyday Iraqi citizen and an armed insurgent.
“The level of tension and anxiety was very high,” Bourque says.
And in December 2003, during a routine intel-reconnaissance mission, Bourque sustained a gunshot wound to the chest.
The 7.62 caliber round fired from an AK-47 pierced his armor-plated vest, practically destroying his left lung, and became lodged in his back.
Four days later, Bourque woke up in the ICU at a military hospital. He was unaware what had happened or how much time passed until the doctor explained the situation.
Bourque had lost most of his left lung and was told that he had been resuscitated upon arrival at the emergency room.
A sense of concern, fear and confusion flooded his mind.
“First I thought about my teammates,” Bourque says. “And I was thinking, ‘Why me? Why did I live?’”
Bourque said his doctors did not know how or why he had survived.
And being a medic himself, Bourque saw no logical explanation why soldiers he had served with had passed after sustaining less severe combat wounds. Survivor’s guilt is one of the weights he is fighting to lift during his ongoing recovery.
Bourque is also progressively coming to terms with PTSD, and is actively seeking help at Southern Arizona Veteran Affairs Health Care System in Tucson. He says his doctors painted a bleak picture about the time and overall effectiveness therapy will have.
“But I’m not looking at that,” Bourque said. “I’m looking at the brighter side.”
Bourque returned to Pima in the fall with plans to transfer to the University of Arizona to earn his degree in Business Administration.
His goal is to work for SAVAHCS and help make veteran services more efficient and comprehensive.
Stephanie Ann Rogers, support technician for Disabled Student Resources at Downtown Campus, has developed a great rapport with Bourque since August.
Rogers says at first Bourque was a little apprehensive about asking for help. But as he began to open-up and grow, so did their friendship.
“He’s like a big brother to me,” Rogers says. “He’s got a sweet personality and disposition and everything.”
Rogers says Veterans Day will certainly hold more meaning, and significance to her this year.
And she has more than enough faith in Bourque’s ability if his begins to falter.
“I do have a better understanding of our vets,” Rogers says. “And any vet really, not just ours.”
Regardless of the grave repercussions, Bourque doesn’t regret the decision to become a soldier. Pride beams from his eyes when he talks about serving his country.
But he remains disillusioned by the fact he can count on one hand the number of people who have thanked him for the sacrifice. Bourque is setting education as his new cornerstone.
And as his life continues, he exercises a new found liberty pursuing happiness through selflessness.
“I wanna make something of myself,” Bourque says. “I wanna enjoy life.”
By KATIE STEWART
The latest exhibit at Pima Community College’s Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery examines the way artists use the mediums of assemblage, collage and fabrication.
“CONSTRUCT: Putting It Together” will be on display through Dec. 13 in the Center for the Arts on West Campus. Admission is free.
A gallery talk will take place on Nov. 7 at 2 p.m., followed by a reception from 5-7 p.m.
Many of the exhibit’s 16 artists are well known throughout Tucson and the southwest region.
The featured artists are: Tony Berlant, Ann Keuper, Joy Fox, Betty Harris, Joe Harris, Joan Marum, Clark Trujillo, Judy Miller, Marvin Shaver, Lloyd Schermer, Julie Sasse, Albert Kogel, David Adix, Joe Hatton, Ellen McMahon and Nick Georgiou.
The artists work with metal, paper, wood, ceramics, photography, jewelry, fibers and found objects.
Keuper, a fiber artist, said the process of “constructing” an idea is unique in weaving.
“The ideas develop as the weaving grows … much like life,” she said via email. “Then it is like a timeline of thought, idea and inspiration.”
Nick Georgiou, who recycles books and newspapers to create sculptural forms, said his work represents the decline of the printed word in modern society and its rebirth as art.
“Books and newspapers are becoming artifacts of the 21st century,” he wrote in an email. “I feel I’m working with a living organism because things are changing all the time. The digital age has completely transformed the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us.”
Adix is a Tucson sculptor and painter known for working with found objects.
“My work, my constructions are portals to another time and space, the link between worlds … the inner and the outer, the manifest and imagined,” Adix wrote via email. “These assemblages I hope provide the viewer with a visual access to another place and time.”
Kogel, who creates carved wood panels, said his work grows over time until the final piece emerges. He said via email that he feels a closure that is only temporary at times.
McMahon, a University of Arizona professor in the school of art, focuses on bringing artists, designers and scientists together to address environmental issues.
“I am interested in how differing modes of inquiry and methods of communication help us make sense of our experience,” she wrote via email.
Exhibit curator David Andres said the “Construct” title refers to arranging different concepts into one cohesive piece. The phrase “putting it together” comes from Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Sunday in the Park with George.”
For more information, call 206-6942 or visit pima.edu/cfa.
“CONSTRUCT: Putting It Together”
Where: Bernal Gallery, West Campus CFA
When: Through Dec. 11
Gallery talk: Nov. 7, 2 p.m.
Reception: Nov. 7, 5-7 p.m.
By ANDREW PAXTON
Students and employees at Pima Community College joined people from around the world in remembering the Sept. 11 attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
At the college’s West Campus, student government co-presidents Alec Moreno and Cedric Nealy led a pledge of allegiance. The PCC police honor guard conducted a flag ceremony and PCC music student Aubrey Adams sang the national anthem.
Campus President Louis Albert gave a brief speech remembering those that lost their lives 12 years ago.
Downtown Campus also held events to memorialize those lost in the attacks.
The Northwest Campus sponsored volunteer events for students.
Aid workers and community organizers encourage people to participate in volunteer service to honor those that died during the terrorist attacks.