By SHAQ DAVIS
A psychologist hired to train Pima Community College employees on handling threat assessments has resigned after a consulting firm released two reports analyzing the college’s safety and security operations.
James Sanchez resigned on Feb. 14.
“I felt like it’s time for me to get back to clinical practice,” he said in a telephone interview.
Instead of replacing Sanchez, the college will contract with Threat Assessment Group, a consulting firm that PCC used previously.
A student incident from Spring 2013 prompted the consultant reports. PCC paid $100,000 to Security Research Management Consultants of Columbus, Ohio.
The firm visited campuses during night and daytime hours, and conducted interviews with Pima employees and students.
One key finding: PCC needs to modernize its police department.
Incident spurs assessment
The student incident that prompted the security assessment unfolded last spring.
On March 5, a female student at Northwest Campus told a faculty member about a disturbing conversation with a male student, describing the male student’s vocabulary as “creepy.”
In an earlier incident, an instructor assigned students to write their names on index cards. Instead of his own name, the same male student wrote “Heinrich Himmler.”
The faculty member said the student also made disturbing comments in class about how he “enjoyed watching people bleed” and “babies should die.”
The incidents resembled actions by former PCC student Jared Loughner, who shot and killed six people at a Tucson shopping center in 2011 soon after being expelled from the college.
In response to the Loughner shootings, PCC formed a Behavioral Assessment Committee to monitor student behavior and develop plans to prevent campus violence.
The college also created a staff psychologist position, and hired Sanchez at an annual salary of $95,201. Sanchez chaired the Behavioral Assessment Committee.
In the 2013 incident, Sanchez met with the male student and concluded that the student did not represent a credible threat.
After instructors filed a formal complaint against Sanchez, the college hired the Security Research firm.
Their analysis said a campus vice president waited nine days before investigating the Northwest student complaint. It also concluded that the behavioral committee lacked written rules and communicated poorly.
The safety and security reports
Many of the consultant recommendations for improving campus safety focused on the PCC police department.
Key suggestions included:
· Relocating the main headquarters to a central area closer to campuses.
· Increasing types of campus patrols.
· Encouraging dialogue with the community.
· Modernizing the records management system.
· Pursuing accreditation for the police department.
The consultants also examined recently implemented PCC safety measures, such as:
· All classrooms now have corridor locks that can be locked from the inside.
· The college has installed panic buttons at high-risk campus areas.
· A PCC Alert texting system provides notification of major emergencies.
· A “bona fide” criminal justice department provides safety and security services.
· Campus Action Teams and volunteers assist in emergency situations.
PCC has also hired five new police officers, bringing the number of certified officers to 33.
Relocating police headquarters
PCC police headquarters are currently located at Country Club and Valencia roads near Tucson International Airport.
The report suggested relocating to a “more central and visible location with more opportunity for interaction with members of the academic community.”
Police Chief Manny Amado supports the idea.
“We really should be more centralized, so that we can get to the campuses a lot quicker,” he said.
Amado said each campus substation should be more accessible and visible as well.
Using more types of campus patrols
Another recommendation was to “increase the use of foot patrol and bicycle patrols or other means of transportation beyond cars.”
Amado said non-vehicle patrols are in place.
“Our bike patrol has been up and running again since last year, we have officers that go on foot patrol,” he said. “It is a deterrent and it’s stealthy.”
Emphasizing community outreach
The report encourages officers “to participate in presentations and talks to share their expertise.”
Amado foresees more emphasis on community policing, saying he and his officers are available for classroom presentations and town hall meetings. Doing so helps create transparency between the department and the community, he said.
It is also important to give people safety tips, Amado added. “The more you reach out to them, the easier your job is,” he said.
One cost-effective way to provide safety tips would be using the marquees located on Pima campuses, Amado noted. The idea was first brought to his attention by Mike Aguilar, a PCC community service officer.
Police officers also plan to provide informational handouts at gatherings such as faculty orientations.
Updated records management system
The report said the police department needs to modernize its records management system, which still uses a hard-copy paper system.
It recommended a system that increases security, allows information sharing and provides for analysis of data and trends.
Vice Chancellor for Facilities Bill Ward, who oversees the police department, told the PCC governing board that he will implement an electronic system.
Amado said that will make record-keeping more efficient.
“It would take less time if the officer were able to type his report straight into a computer and then have it electronically sent to records,” he said.
Officers currently must park their police car and return to the office to type a report. The new system would provide officers with a mobile data computer.
“If an officer can do that in a vehicle and still be visible, that’s a lot better than being stuck in an office,” Amado said.
The mobile computers would also provide computerized information not now available and give officers more flexibility while on patrol, he said.
Accreditation for PCC police officers
The PCC police department dropped its national accreditation in 2003 as a cost-cutting measure.
The consultants recommended accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, which accredits both the University of Arizona and Tucson police departments.
Ward told the governing board that he will pursue accreditation with either that group or with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
Perceptions by students, employees
In a random survey of PCC students, Gabriel Ibanez said he hasn’t seen any pressing problems or faced any incidents on campus.
Employee Steve Grede said he feels safe at Pima but believes there should be more police making rounds when night classes are dismissed.
“There is vulnerability at 10 o’clock at night when the parking lot is empty,” he said.
Leaders say they’re committed to safety
Chancellor Lee Lambert says he takes safety for the entire college seriously and will pursue whatever steps necessary to ensure it.
“We are constantly and proactively improving security and safety on our campuses, learning centers and other facilities,” he said in a press release. “Commissioning an independent evaluation from a nationally respected firm is part of that process.”
Ward said future safety and security enhancements will build on the steps already taken.
“The annual crime report we publish every year shows that Pima is, overall, a safe place to study and work,” Ward said in a press release. “But I believe we can and must do more.”
He said the college will thoroughly analyze each of the consultant’s recommendations in the weeks and months ahead, then begin implementation.
Amado said his department is 100 percent committed to creating a safer place to learn and work.
“We as a police department are committed to the safety and security of everyone on the college,” he said. “We will continue to crack down on issues that occur on campus. That is the commitment that every police officer makes.”
By KATIE STEWART
Most college students share stressful experiences such as classes at odd hours, extensive homework and long hours at a job. Some also face mental health issues.
Anyone, including college students, can be affected by mental illness. You can seem totally fine one minute, then suddenly feel everyday life squeezing the oxygen out of you.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates 26.2 percent of U.S. residents ages 18 and older suffer from mental issues such as bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
The constant pressures of school can spawn depression in college students, according to NIMH.
About 30 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some time in the past year, according to an American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment.
More than 6 percent of college students consider suicide and about 1 percent attempt suicide, the ACHA-NCHA said.
Family members who don’t have the disease really don’t understand what people are going through. They sometimes think students are just looking for attention, being dramatic or are too high-strung.
Depressed or anxious students who don’t understand themselves can feel out of place and constantly hope the world won’t come crashing down. They never really live life to the fullest.
When an illness is at its worst and pressure is at its peak, irrational thinking can make actions result in bad consequences.
“Many people with anxiety have severe problems with anxious and irrational thinking,” according to literature from the Calm Clinic. “They know their thoughts are irrational, and yet struggle to convince themselves of the more logical and reasoned response.”
Anyone dealing with mental health issues needs coping methods to make it through the hard times.
Some patients use prescription medication such as Prozac, Zoloft and Xanax.
Those who don’t seek professional help may rely on recreational drugs and alcohol, self-mutilation or even suicide to rid themselves of the constant pain.
A lucky few deal with their illness through natural methods such as meditation and exercise.
Successful coping methods teach people to recognize their early symptoms and find healthy ways to achieve a more peaceful mindset.
Experts suggest that people with mental illness engage in their treatment by knowing what they have and asking the questions they need answered.
Other tips: Find support from loved ones who understand, avoid alcohol and substances that could make the illness worse, stay rested and healthy.
People dealing with stress may push their mind and body to a breaking point. It is better to ease up on the work and school load. Take a break, take a breath.
Many resist asking for help because they don’t want to be seen as weak. But sometimes, asking for help is the only way to get help.
Finding successful coping methods can help people manage their disease and may change the stigma of mental illness.
If you or anyone you may know is dealing with mental illness or high stress, call or email the National Institute of Health at (301) 443-4536 or email NIMHpress@mail.nih.gov.
Helpful websites, books and movies about mental illness include:
- National Institutes of Health: nimh.nih.gov
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: nami.org
- “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath
- “Prozac Nation” by Elizabeth Wurtzel
- “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012)
- “Girl, Interrupted” (1999)
By MICHAEL ANDERSON
For horse racing fans in Tucson, February marks the return of Rillito Park Racetrack.
“I love it, I’ve been coming here my whole life,” aficionado Priscilla Aguirre said. “There’s so many people that love horse racing and this is the only track we’ve got in Tucson.”
Rillito Park has hosted thoroughbred racing since 1953, when the current racing oval was built. It sponsored quarter horse racing for years before that.
The majority of race horses today are thoroughbreds, which boast a combination of speed, agility, power and endurance.
Thoroughbreds were created in England in the 17th and 18th centuries by breeding small, quick European mares to larger Middle East stallions that possessed great endurance.
American quarter horses were created in North America by breeding thoroughbreds to the descendants of the horses left behind by the Spanish.
Quarter horses have less endurance than thoroughbreds, but retain the speed and are probably more agile.
This made them ideal for cowboys, and quarter horses are the most common mounts at rodeos.
Rillito Park holds races for both breeds, hosting about eight races a day, weekends-only through March 30.
Bill Brashears, who’s been training horses for 33 years, got his start at Rillito.
“This place is always fun,” he said.
Culturally diverse crowds provide part of the track’s appeal. Families, college students, retirees, ranchers and cowboys intermingle in the endearingly rustic grandstand and club house, creating a cool “county fair” vibe.
Rillito’s compact size allows close-up views. Its oval is only five-eighths of a mile, while most U.S. tracks are a mile.
Patti Shirley, vice-president of the Pima County Horsemen’s Association, said she loves historic southern California race tracks such as Santa Anita and Del Mar but they require binoculars to see action.
“Here, you’re right on top of it,” she said.
The horses are impressive up close while being saddled in the paddock, and even more so when they charge down the stretch toward the wire, often finishing just inches apart.
If several hit the wire together, you can feel the ground shake.
Betting and horse racing go hand-in-hand. Standard bets cost $2.
I suggest taking a bit of money that you can afford to lose, arriving early (traffic and parking can be a problem), and buying a $3program. The program provides all the information you need on the competing horses and explains how to bet.
You will probably lose money betting, but you’ll enjoy it anyway. And hey, you might just win.
Rillito Park Racetrack
Address: 4502 N. First Ave.
Hours: Weekends through March 30. First post 1 p.m.
Admission: Grandstand $5, Clubhouse $8
By ROBERT HERNANDEZ
Generation Cool is the latest retro-style boutique making a hubbub on Fourth Avenue by drawing inspiration from ‘80s and ‘90s pop culture.
Robert “Slobby Robby” Hall came up with the concept for Generation Cool by drawing from his personal interests before returning to the workforce after raising a child.
Hall received an associate degree in illustration from Pima Community College and a bachelor’s degree in art education and printmaking from the University of Arizona.
“I graduated from the U of A and then I had about three to four years where I wasn’t working,” he said. “Getting back and thinking of how I was going to make money, nothing seemed more natural than working for myself.”
Generation Cool houses both a vintage clothing and toy store, and an arcade and snack bar.
While an arcade in a clothing store might sound odd, Hall understood the fluctuations of retail locations.
“The arcade came with the more business side of the idea,” he said. “I thought in my head, ‘what’s a steady money-maker?’”
The real party happens on Saturday nights from 7-10 p.m., when Generation Cool hosts an Arcade Disco with arcade games, disc jockeys and free pizza.
“It’s a weekly party night with games and contests, all revolving around our arcade,” Hall said.
Hall hopes his store will bridge generation gaps.
Rick Cano regularly visits in hopes of finding rare Ninja Turtle toys, not for collecting but for playing with his son.
“I have a 4-year-old who’s collecting all the new Ninja Turtle toys, so now he’s digging up my old ones from when I was a kid,” Cano said. “I’m trying to piece together all the ones I was missing. My son and I get to play together.”
But Generation Cool is not for just children and parents.
Hall plans to host in-store concerts by local and underground rappers. In the meantime, disc jockey J.R. “Sid the Kid” Harrison works the turntables every day from 4 p.m. until closing.
The downtown community has supported the store since it opened a few months ago.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Hall said. “Everyone gets it and I don’t have to explain myself a lot.”
Overall, Hall wants to create a space where Tucson’s young and old can hang out.
“I just want this to be a comfortable place where you can bring your kids, your parents or your friends and have a great time,” he said.
Address: 404 N. Fourth Ave.
Monday-Thursday: noon-8 p.m.
Sunday: noon-6 p.m.
By JOSE SANTIAGO III
The Pima Community College baseball team is looking to build momentum following a doubleheader sweep at West Campus.
The Aztecs defeated Phoenix College in both games on Feb. 25, improving their overall record to 12-8 with a 6-2 conference mark.
In the first game, the score was tied in the seventh inning before sophomore Dan Kennon came up with an RBI single to give Pima the 3-2 victory.
In the second game, the Aztecs won 4-1 after more timely hitting in the seventh. This time rhe score came from freshman Francisco Rodriguez, who broke up a tie game with a two-run single.
Sophomore Scotty Watson earned the win. Freshman Ben Skuro pitched the last two innings to pick up the save.
The team split a double header against Mesa Community College on Feb. 22.
In the first game, the Aztecs won a 3-2 thriller, with sophomore Cooper Smith hitting the go-ahead run in the sixth.
They couldn’t muster runs in the second game, however, and lost 9-3. Mesa scored early against freshman Marcel Renteria and the Aztecs couldn’t bounce back from the early deficit.
Pima’s seven-game winning streak was snapped in the first matchup of a series against South Mountain Community College on Feb. 18.
Pima lost the first game 3-2. Freshman Chris Kucko went home with the loss after giving up three runs in four and two-thirds innings.
The Aztecs bounced back in the next game, winning 11-6.
Sophomore James Lynch went 3-5 with five RBIs. He fell a single short of hitting for the cycle, including a go-ahead home run in the seventh.
The Aztecs swept the opening doubleheader of ACCAC conference play against Arizona Western College on Feb. 15. Pima scored nine runs in both games and had 26 hits in the series.
Freshmen Kyle Petty and Renteria both got their second wins of the season. Lynch combined for three RBIs in the two games.
March 1: @ Eastern Arizona College, Thatcher, noon
March 4: Central Arizona College, West Campus, noon
March 8: Yavapai College, West Campus, noon
March 11: @ Chandler-Gilbert CC, Chandler, 6 p.m.
March 12: Northeastern JC, West Campus, 3 p.m.
March 13: Northeastern Oklahoma, West Campus, 10 a.m.
March 13: Pro Train Baseball, West Campus, 2 p.m.
By ZACH ARMENTA
Pima Community College sophomore Amy Beeston is a beast on the tennis court.
As a child, she played volleyball, softball and basketball. Her mom suggested that Beeston give tennis a chance.
“My mom knew a coach and thought I should try it,” she said.
That first lesson sparked an 11-year career that continues today.
She was originally recruited by Eastern Arizona College, but the coach recruiting her left the team. That coach called PCC coach Gretchen Schantz to help Beeston play tennis in college. After talking to Schantz, Beeston decided to play for PCC.
Beeston hails from Lehi, Utah, and returns home over the summer to spend time with her parents and three sisters.
“Very beautiful, a little smaller than Tucson, and it’s home,” she said about Lehi.
Beeston is the only one in her family who lives in Arizona. She calls family, school and tennis her highest priorities.
“If you have people to support you, you can succeed,” she said.
In addition to tennis, Beeston enjoys snowboarding, wakeboarding and ice cream. She loves ice cream so much that she claims she can live off it.
“I ate a gallon of cookie dough ice cream in one sitting once,” she said.
Beeston brings a lot more than just talent to the team, according to her coach.
“A lot of energy, good leader,” Schantz said. “Likes being on a team, she brings the team together.”
Beeston has multiple pre-match rituals.
“I drink two cups of water, wear black socks and a hat,” she said “I have to eat, listen to rap music and tell myself I’m a good tennis player.”
Last year, Beeston finished first in singles and doubles at regionals. With that success, she has been offered partial scholarships by two universities.
One is Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. The other is Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. She still hasn’t picked one, and hopes for more offers in the future.
Beeston started the season 2-0 by dominating Imperial Valley College. She went 1-1 in play at the ACCAC preseason tournament in Mesa on Feb. 21.
Her goal is to remain in beast mode, crushing everyone who dares step on the other side of the net.
By LARRY GAURANO
Hasan Alsuhil’s American dream started on the streets of Iraq.
Alsuhil, 39, is a graphic design student at Pima Community College. He arrived in the United States five years ago and has lived in Tucson ever since.
In Iraq, Alsuhil lived with many restrictions.
“If you had the freedom that I had in my country, you wouldn’t call it freedom,” he said.
Alsuhil has always had a passion for graphic design, but that option wasn’t available when he attended the University of Baghdad. Instead, he obtained a degree in engineering.
After college, Alsuhil opened his own computer store with colleagues from school. They repaired computers and taught classes.
The Iraqi government imposed many supervisory laws that restricted what citizens could do. They could only use approved forms of media, and anyone who violated the law was subject to prison time.
“You can go to jail for just having a Yahoo account,” Alsuhil said.
The restrictions seemed normal to Alsuhil, who affectionately refers to his time in Iraq as living in a can.
Life came to an abrupt halt on a day he was heading home after shopping with his mother. A tank blocked the road.
He knew tensions were high between his country and the United States, but had no idea that Iraq was going to be invaded.
He and his mother were forced to stay with his cousins while they waited out the invasion. All they could do was sleep and hope they would wake up in the morning.
When the fighting ended, he learned the building next to his house was a munitions depot. It was destroyed along with everything around it.
As a new regime entered power, life wasn’t perfect but it was better than what he experienced previously.
“The old regime was like cancer, and the new one like a bad flu,” he said. “Flu in comparison to cancer, yea, you can deal with that.”
Crime flourished during the growing pains of new leadership. One such crime was kidnapping wealthy Iraqis and holding them for ransom. Although Alsuhil wasn’t rich, some believed him to be.
Alsuhil began receiving threatening letters on his doorstep, demanding money. He knew what to expect if he didn’t comply.
“That was just a few days after my neighbor was kidnapped,” he said. “They weren’t kidding.”
That night he took what little he had, went to the airport and fled to Jordan.
Many Iraqis were fleeing their war-torn country, but they did not plan on abandoning their country permanently. They lived in Jordan, waiting for things to get better.
Alsuhil’s situation did not improve. Neighbors told him the letters continued to arrive. The kidnappers were still after him and knew that he was in Jordan.
He sought the assistance of the United Nations, which had a program in place for refugee resettlement. The process took two years and he was relocated in Tucson.
Alsuhil was fearful when he first arrived. He wasn’t sure how Americans would treat him, after what happened on Sept. 11 and with the growing dissension over the occupation of Iraq.
Those fears quickly subsided when he began meeting people. In fact, he was shocked that people apologized to him over what happened in his country.
Alsuhil was overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of the people he came across in Tucson. He quickly made friends.
When he learned about PCC, he knew it was time to pursue his passion for graphic design. His Pima instructors motivated him.
His latest accolade is winning the logo contest for a new Creative Writing Center at West Campus. His design was selected from more than two dozen entries.
“We thought it was really attractive,” English and Journalism Chair Meg Files said. “It’s simple but it attracts attention.”
Along with the recognition, Alsuhil also took home $100.
For Alsuhil, retelling his story still brings pain. But through it all, he smiles and celebrates his good luck.
By ANDREW PAXTON
Since becoming chancellor of Pima Community College more than seven months ago, Lee Lambert has met with different constituencies.
To ensure that he understands student concerns, Lambert will hold open-office hours at PCC campuses and facilities. The first visit took place Feb. 5 at West Campus.
“I want us to be as student-centered as we can be,” he said.
Lambert toured West Campus and met with staff and faculty groups before spending more than an hour in the Student Life office discussing numerous topics.
Everything needed to get the college off probation is being done, he said. He also assured students their Pima credits will transfer to the three state universities.
Getting sanctions removed involves rebuilding trust and fixing the systems in place, Lambert acknowledged.
“It will take a while for people to start feeling comfortable again,” he said.
Lambert also spent time getting to know students on a personal level, asking about their backgrounds and career goals.
Students brought up issues including the lack of an African studies program, shortcomings with the college’s ROTC program and ongoing issues surrounding advising.
The chancellor used the advising situation to demonstrate larger problems at PCC.
“People are passionate but the system they are put in is bad,” he said. “The system isn’t designed to keep students informed and that has negative, unintended consequences.”
Lambert said the desire of people at the college has been misdirected and needs to be refocused.
“We need to have a serious conversation about what we can and can’t do in the community,” he said.
Enrollment was another topic of concern. Lambert said changes are being made so the college can better understand why fewer students are attending.
Lambert then turned the tables on the students, asking what they want him to accomplish.
Students mentioned an activity fee for student and club activities, as well as sustainability projects such as installing solar panels at PCC facilities.
They also requested specialized advising for difficult degree programs, a proposal Lambert said he supports.
Pima needs more applied components such as internships and hands-on training, he added.
Lambert said he would pass the student suggestions to the appropriate people but encouraged students to take their concerns directly to their campus president or vice president of student development.
“I don’t like the bureaucracy or hierarchy here,” he said. “Create the structure you want.”
Visitors took advantage of the laid-back atmosphere while chatting with Lambert. Several students and employees came by just to thank the chancellor for visiting or to welcome him on campus.
Those who visited with the chancellor said they appreciated that he took time from his schedule to meet with them.
In turn, the chancellor was excited to get a chance to meet with students in the relaxed setting away from the office.
“It was great for the chancellor to come see us on campus and listen to our concerns face-to-face,” said student government member Marquita “Kyra” Wallace. “It shows how much he cares about students.”
After the student meeting, Lambert joined several employees for lunch in the cafeteria.
He said that gives him a chance to meet with people in a less structured environment.
Lambert will continue to reach out to students and employees. He hopes to hold open-office hours at each campus at least once during the semester.
“There’s stuff going on out there that we need to be paying attention to,” he said.
By MICHAEL ANDERSON
It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when silicon chips and electronics didn’t dominate our lives. Back then, pinball was a popular form of entertainment.
Pinball machines were easier to find then than video games are today. They were fixtures in bars, arcades, pizza parlors, bowling alleys and movie theaters.
The 1980s brought about the computer revolution, and video games pushed pinball into the background.
While pinball’s popularity waned, however, it never disappeared. Thanks to places like D&D Pinball, it is making a comeback.
D&D, located at 331 E. Seventh St., is the home-away-from-home for its founders, Tucson native Gary Dillahunty and his wife, University of Arizona graduate Jane Decker.
The arcade is “dedicated to the art, sport and preservation of pinball,” according to its mission statement.
The couple never intended to open a pinball “museum.” Decker didn’t even play as a child.
A trip to Sin City changed everything.
“We went to the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, had a great time there, and came back and bought a few games for ourselves,” Decker said. “People would come over and play them and we saw how much they liked them.”
That inspired the couple to open their own pinball place in Tucson, “ to get pinball out there so people can enjoy it,” Decker said.
They opened D&D in September 2013.The initial reception was positive and has been gaining popularity ever since.
“People are hugging us and saying ‘thank you for doing this,’” Decker said. “They’re excited to bring their kids down, excited to bring their friends.”
Tucsonan Eric Lyons, who volunteers at D&D, was one of the first people in the door.
“When I got wind of it, I was stalking them online, asking them ‘when are you opening? When are you opening?’” he said.
Lyons was soon volunteering to help out and has since become an indispensable part of the team.
Because Decker and Dillahunty work full time at Raytheon, they depend upon volunteers like Lyons to help keep the machines in working order, the facility clean and the doors open.
Currently, they’re only open on weekends, but that could change.
“Eventually, if the demand is there, we’ll probably expand our hours a bit,” Decker said.
D&D has more than 30 machines available for play. The oldest ones are from the early 1970s, the newest are just a few years old and there are examples of basically every generation of machines in between.
Admission is free. Most games cost either 25 or 50 cents to play, although a few of the newer ones cost 75 cents.
D&D seems to appeal to a wide variety of people, cutting across racial, gender, age and social boundaries.
“One guy was 93 and some of the kids are 3, so it’s all ages,” Decker said.
There are chairs available for those who want to relax. Step stools are available for children, who seem to really enjoy the clacking bumpers, flashing lights and ringing bells.
Josh Marsden of Tucson, who also volunteers at D&D, brings his son for quality father-son time.
“It’s a great venue for young and old to come in and play machines that are basically unachievable for most people,” Marsden said. “Unless you’ve got a rich uncle who has a really cool game room, you’re not going to get to see these machines, let alone play them.”
While D&D focuses on preserving and promoting pinball for players of all skill levels, the owners host tournaments for more competitive players.
They also re-invest their profits, both into their operation and into local charities. More information is available on their website.
Whether you are already a pinball fan or have never dropped a quarter in one, stop by and check out D&D. It is one of the few places where you can experience the machines that entertained us before everyone had a videogame system in their pockets.
Address: 331 E. Seventh St.
Friday: 3 p.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday: noon-9 p.m.
Sunday: noon-5 p.m.
By NICK QUIHUIS
Todd Poelstra, director of the upcoming Pima Community College musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” calls the show “a gift” for both the audience and for the student cast and crew.
“The balance between the beauty of the singing and dancing, with depth of characters, is a rare treat,” Poelstra said. “The show is so universal you can’t help but reflect on your own life.”
The musical will run Feb. 20-March 2 in the Center for the Arts complex on West Campus. Show times are Wednesdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. American Sign Language interpreters will be available at the Feb. 26 showing.
The story, set in a rural Russian village in 1905, depicts a father’s struggle to stray from patriarchic traditions and open his mind to new understandings of equality. The Broadway show won nine Tony awards.
Poelstra said the musical is relevant to modern-day society.
“Many in our culture expend tremendous energy trying to limit the equality of groups that they don’t choose to understand,” he said.
Protagonist Tevye, a hardworking dairyman, wishes that his five daughters would conform to patriarchal customs. As the story progresses, he is exposed to new ideas regarding the equality and individualism of women.
“It’s been a fun challenge,” said Xavier Robles, who plays Tevye. “Everybody has heard of ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ everybody thinks of the movie with Chaim Topol, or the original Broadway show with Zero Mostel.
“I try to incorporate both characters and also have my own take on it,” Robles said. “It’s been a lot different because, for me personally, being a 21-year-old, I can’t really relate to a 50-year-old man,” he said.
Poelstra said he specifically looks for shows with roles of merit for women.
“In the PCC ‘Fiddler’ there are 35 student actors with nine principals: four male and five female,” he said.
“It’s as close to musical theater perfection as it gets,” he said. “It has strong characters, a wonderful story, unforgettable music and exhilarating dancing. The musical leaves you feeling good and invigorated.”
Although Poelstra is the director, the show couldn’t be possible without his students or hardworking team of technical directors, costumers, choreographers and musical directors.
“Usually I’m an actor in the shows, and so being on the other side of it has been really eye-opening,” said Samantha Severson, stage manager for the musical.
“I’ve been able to see how the directors actually work. I never quite understood where they were going with things until they got there, and now I get to see the process,” she said.
“As a stage manager, I am actually in charge of facilitating every rehearsal,” she added. “I’m usually here way before the other actors.”
Poelstra said he implicitly trusts everyone on the team. “While there is a tremendous amount of work in putting on a musical, with this team it is a joy,” he said.
Tickets cost $18, with discounts available.
For additional information, call 206-6986 or email email@example.com.
By BETO HOYOS
Pima Community College defeated Mesa Community College 61-58 in an overtime thriller on Feb. 8.
“We just made one more shot than the other team,” head coach Todd Holthaus said.
Mesa tied the game toward the end of regulation and extended the game to overtime.
“Mesa and Pima games are epic and today proved no different,” Holthaus said.
With time running down, Felicia Foster found Alicia Jones open from deep as time expired. The Aztecs stormed the court in celebration.
“A great win against a great team,” Holthaus said.
Jones finished with 26 points and nine rebounds. Foster had nine points.
On Feb. 5, Pima defeated South Mountain Community College 75-53.
Coming out of the half, the Aztecs hunkered down defensively and held on to a comfortable lead. The largest lead for the Aztecs was 75-50.
Jayla Brown hit four shots from deep and finished the game with 12 points. Raja Moreno-Ross had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
On Feb. 1, the Aztecs defeated Scottsdale Community College 64-63.
The first half saw both teams exchange leads. After halftime, the Aztecs held leads that never surpassed six points.
“There were a few bad calls and we weren’t making our free throws but we did stick together,” Holly Bolen said.
With 1:03 seconds left to play, Melody McLaughlin found Foster open for a three. After a few possessions of fighting back, Scottsdale hit an open three that cut the lead to two with 21 seconds left.
“Coach always talks about playing for a full 40 minutes, not 38, not 20, but 40 and that game was not a reflection of that,” Bolen said.
Moreno-Ross tallied her tenth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 boards. Rachel Williams finished with a team-high 13 points off the bench and Foster finished with 12 points.
On Jan. 29, the Aztecs broke a losing streak when they defeated Phoenix College 81-65 and swept the season series.
Pima took an early lead with a 15-0 run. The biggest lead of the game came after McLaughlin hit a three and put the Aztecs up 34-17.
Coming out of halftime, Phoenix College cut into the Aztecs’ lead and trailed by five. The Aztecs responded by going on an 8-0 run.
Moreno-Ross led the team in scoring, finishing with 17 points. Jones had 16 points and seven rebounds. McLaughlin finished with 12 points and Williams had 12 points off the bench.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College’s men’s and women’s track teams will have to go far this season if they are to deem it a success.
Both the women’s and men’s teams had runner-up finishes in regionals last year.
A majority of their core players have returned this season, giving the Aztecs confidence they can compete for the region championship.
Head coach Greg Wenneborg feels his team is deep and talented at every position except for the sprint team.
He said the sprinters are talented, but he wishes there was a little more depth on that side of the team.
“Our goal this year is to have as many high-caliber contenders qualify for the indoor national championships in the Armory in New York City on March 7,” Wenneborg said.
Currently, Pima has 13 athletes who qualify. Wenneborg feels that 11 of them will be top-five finishers in their events.
The loss of some key players from last year’s team means new faces will have to step up for the Aztecs.
On the women’s side, sophomore Kathy Fisher, who holds Pima’s record for the hurdles, is back. So is sophomore Nikki Regalado, who holds the PCC record for the 5000 meters.
With these players on the roster and a slew of new talent coming in, the Aztecs are looking forward to the upcoming season.
Pima took several first-place finishes at the Glendale indoor invitational on Feb. 8.
The Aztec women’s distance medley relay team of Fisher, Regalado and freshmen Heidi Lopez and Raelene Yocupicio finished with a time of 12 minutes 57.02 seconds. That is the second best time in the country so far this year.
Freshman Maggie Prillaman also took first place in the long and the high jumps.
She jumped 17 feet 4 inches in the long jump and 4 feet 11 inches in the high jump.
On the men’s side, freshman Anthony Spendlove took first place in the 5000 meter run with a time of 16:55 and Wilcox took first place in the high jump with a jump of 6 feet 7 inches.
Pima also recorded an impressive first meet of the season, setting six national qualifiers on Jan. 25.
The Aztecs didn’t let the cold and the rain slow them down.
Freshman Christian Gutierrez took first place in the 35-pound throw with a throw of 46 feet.
“I was very pleased with our performance,” Wenneborg said.
“In this meet I think we finished with 13 first-place finishers so even though the weather wasn’t ideal I was still happy.”
Among those first place finishers was Fisher, who tied her own record in the 60 meters with a time of 9:33.
By SHAQ DAVIS
Starting this August, Pima Community College tobacco users will be confined to smoking areas around the college’s campuses.
On Dec.11 of last year, Pima’s governing board voted to limit the use of tobacco to specifically marked spaces around campus.
PCC officials said the policy is designed to allow non-smokers to be free of second-hand smoke and smokers to continue to enjoy their products.
The issue was first submitted in September 2012, then discussed and studied by the college for more than a year. A college-wide survey was conducted to gauge response to a change in Pima’s smoking policy.
Out of about 4,700 students and employees surveyed, 78 percent supported the idea to specifically designate areas for smokers. Another 70 percent agreed that increasingly popular electronic cigarettes should be banned from inside PCC classrooms and buildings.
David Bea, PCC’s vice chancellor of finance, said the majority of participants encouraged a change to using tobacco around PCC campuses.
In an Oct. 9 board meeting, he noted that the new smoking policy would be easier to enforce.
PCC student Stephen Kass feels there will be health benefits and that the policy will be easier to maintain.
The designated areas will not be too far for smokers, according to Pima officials.
“Providing there’s not one smoking section a quarter mile to get to, as long as they make it reasonable to get to, then yes,” said student Gene Garland.
Andrea Garland, also a student, added there should be a minimum of two designations for convenience when going to classes.
Anyone found to be in violation of policy would be asked to move. Under the code of conduct, students and employees must comply.
The spaces will have ashtrays and covered benches provided, according to a Dec. 12 press release.
The previous policy SPG-2303/AA prohibited smoking 25 feet from entrances and exit areas. It also limited smoking to being outside only.
Policy 2304 now includes e-cigarettes on the list of products to be used outside designations to adhere to the Smoke-Free Arizona Act passed in November 2006.
The first phase of the estimated $25,000 project is set to be completed by the 2014 fall semester.
By MICHAEL ANDERSON
Model A Fords and fedora hats were the style downtown Jan. 25, meaning Dillinger Days had returned to the Hotel Congress. The annual event celebrates the capture of John Dillinger, one of America’s most notorious bank robbers.
A Jan. 23, 1934 fire caused two of Dillinger’s gang to be evacuated from the Hotel Congress. They were forced to abandon two trunks that contained two Thompson sub-machine guns, ammunition and money.
They bribed some firemen to retrieve their suspicious luggage, which led to all four gang members being arrested around town two days later.
Hotel Congress celebrates this coup by local law enforcement as Dillinger Days.
“It’s really something we like to do for the community,” said David Slute, entertainment director at the hotel.
This year’s event featured lectures, re-enactments, magic shows, live music and a fashion show. There was also a walking tour, dozens of antique cars and displays by Tucson’s fire and police departments. The displays included the gang’s two Thompsons, confiscated by the TPD.
“It’s a good time for the city of Tucson,” said James Beebe, who brings his 1931 Model A Ford every year. “Look at the people, they’re having a good time. They’re enjoying it, the weather’s great. I love it.”
By NICK QUIHUIS
From time spent abroad as a naval intelligence officer to employment in Louisiana working shrimp boats out of Morgan City, Pima Community College writing instructor Jon Michael Bell has scoured the world for perspective and experience.
“I’ve had many, many jobs in my life,” Bell said. “And the best job I ever had of those was actually driving airport vans in San Francisco.”
Bell’s time in San Francisco influenced his life greatly, providing him with a new adventure each day. In addition to supplying many of his fondest memories, it also provided material for his classes.
“I’ve never had more fun in my life,” Bell said. “Life was like a movie.”
Paying homage to the iconic and romantic rebel, Bell uses his past experiences to teach writing and rhetoric at Downtown Campus. He avoids the lecture-listen style and instead uses a more student-centered approach.
“He’s unlike most teachers I have had in the past,” engineering student Ricardo Beas said. “He throws out all biases in a successful effort to make the student want to speak up and be heard.”
Each class begins with an open discussion driven almost entirely by the students. Although Bell wants minimal instructor interaction, he always makes a point to participate as well.
“You have to make the students realize that it matters to you as the teacher whether they pass or fail, whether they learn or screw around,” Bell said. “Everything else follows from that.”
The process works, according to Beas. “I think he really believes everyone is a great writer in their own right, but finds a way to make us want to better ourselves and add that layer of polish we long to have,” he said.
Bell also succeeds by “offering relatable content along with his amazing sense of humor,” Beas added.
The strategy resonated greatly with sophomore Savannah Plaisted.
“He speaks to students in a way that makes them appreciate what they’re learning from him,” she said. “Rather than talking at us, he likes to hear our views.”
Plaisted said Bell’s class changed her views on many topics and was “definitely” her favorite course thus far in her college experience.
Bell believes all good teachers connect with their students.
“They care about the students and the students feel a connection,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the strategy in the classroom is.”