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Campus president grateful for education opportunities

Campus president grateful for education opportunities

By TANISHA KNUTZEN

The new president of Northwest Campus was a first-generation college student who originally had no intention of seeking higher education.

David Doré said a life-changing summer spent in a remote village in Mexico made him realize he could be doing more with his life.

“I realized that I had the opportunity to attend college and the people in that village did not have the same opportunity,” he said. “I decided then and there that it was my responsibility to go to college.”

After he began attending college classes, Doré realized his love for teaching.

“Once you find your spark, then you know this is what you want to do with the rest of your life,” he said.

“When you walk into something and you just know this is what you’re meant to be doing, that’s what teaching is to me.”

Pima Community College hired Doré in May after an extensive search for a new campus president.

“David’s wide-ranging background serving students, combined with his administrative expertise, makes him a most welcome addition to the college,” Chancellor Lee Lambert said in a press release.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Gannon University in Erie, Pa., Doré completed master’s degrees in theological studies, education and business administration at three different universities.

He attended Pepperdine University in California for his doctorate in education.

Doré has spent nearly two decades working with community colleges but began his career by teaching at lower grade levels.

“Community college is more interesting to me,” he said.

“The students are extremely diverse and we take people from where they are and take them to the next level.”

Although Doré loves working in a classroom setting, he knows he can impact students at a broader level through administrative positions.

He most recently worked at Mesa Community College as the dean of instruction for career and technical education.

He was responsible for 150 degree and certificate programs, and oversaw the newly created Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institute.

Jeremiah Palicka, student government president at Northwest Campus, said he is excited about the future connection of Doré and the campus.

“From what I’ve seen, he is super involved on and off campus,” Palicka said.

“We’re just excited about working with him on upcoming campus projects.”

One of Doré’s many goals for both Northwest Campus and PCC is to make people feel proud of Pima and to feel proud about attending a community college.

He wants to see students thrive within the campus community by taking the initiative to be more involved and to get their voices heard.

Every success he has enjoyed in life started by taking chances, Doré said.

“Always be willing to take a risk,” he said.

“When you’re young, you don’t have much to lose, so why not take a chance and live outside your comfort zone?”

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David Dore, the new president of Northwest Campus, says he loves teaching but knows he can make an impact as an administrator. (Tanisha Knutzen/Aztec Press.)

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Creatures of the night

Creatures of the night

By JAMIE VERWYS

A quick glimpse of an ape-like creature walks across the frame of a home video.

Is it really Bigfoot or a man in a suit perpetuating a long running hoax?

Cryptozoology, a pseudo-science that studies hidden or unknown animals, was named in 1959 by author Lucien Blancou, according to Discovery.com.

Blancou wrote about a forerunner in unknown animal research, Bernard Heuvelmans, who published “On the Track of Unknown Animals” in 1955.

Heuvelmans wrote, “What makes an animal of interest to cryptozoology is that it is unexpected.”

An animal must be “truly singular, unexpected, paradoxical, striking, emotionally upsetting and thus be capable of mystification,” he said.

Is there any truth to the horrifying monsters reported by witnesses?

Bedtime stories, life lessons

Cultures from around the globe use stories and anecdotes to teach children lessons of survival and morality.

They also serve to scare the community from acting out taboo behaviors.

It seems some of the “cryptids” reported by man could easily be explained away as one of these fables.

In the Philippines, mothers warn their children not to go out late or the Aswang will kidnap them and devour their blood and organs.

The Aswang is a shape shifter, often taking the form of a shy human by day and a winged monster, dog or woman at night.

Myths about the creature have existed in the Philippines for the last 400 years, according to the 2011 documentary, “The Aswang Phenomenon.”

Canadian director Jordan Clark found in his research that the Aswang has been historically used as a form of social control and propaganda by the Spanish colonizers, the Catholic Church and the Philippine government.

Though the fear created by the Aswang is genuine for the people of the Philippines even today, determinant, scientific proof of the creature’s existence remains unfound.

Global similarities

While some reported cryptids have been proven to represent societal negatives in specific countries, a multi-cultural link is present in strikingly similar descriptions of beasts from opposite ends of the world.

The most famous American cryptid, Bigfoot, is called  Sasquatch by Native American tribes.

The beast seems to have cousins in almost every country. Ape-like humanoids have been spotted in the Himalayas (the Yeti), Mongolia (the Yeren) and Australia (the Yowie).

With the prevalence of reports of ape creatures in so many places, could it mean it’s out there? Or, does this just speak to a human desire to find the missing link?

A 1973 report, “Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality,” was the first published scientific study of Bigfoot. Primatologist John Napier concluded that with no hard evidence, science must say that Bigfoot does not exist.

However, Napier could not dismiss the hundreds of eyewitness accounts. “There must be something in northwest America that needs explaining, and that something leaves man-like footprints,” he wrote.

Mistaken identities

In another formal study published in the Journal of Biogeography in 2009, sighting locations were used to determine Bigfoot’s preferred habitat.

It concluded that most Bigfoot sightings were likely black bears that inhabitant the same environmental parameters and have a striking resemblance to physical descriptions of the ape man.

Some cryptids have been scientifically determined to indeed be real animals.

One example is the okapi, or African unicorn, documented by ancient Egyptians and by African tribes. Described as a cross between a zebra, donkey and giraffe, it was rejected by Western science and considered a myth.

The British governor of Uganda, Harry Johnston, acquired an okapi skull and pelt in 1901 during his time in the Congo.

There were an estimated 10,000-20,000 wild okapi in 2011, according to the Okapi Conservation Project.

The monster is fear

Be they hoax or myth, endangered species or real mysteries of science, I have come to one conclusion: Cryptids are real because the human emotion of fear is a realty.

I have no doubts that many have looked into the dark and seen something that frightened them, something they did not understand. Fear allows the unknown to become something tangible.

Whether by cultural influence or an individual’s interpretation of what a monster actually is, fear could be looking out at us, capable of mystification.

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Aztec Press photo illustration by Jamie Verwys and Nick Meyers.

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Wing ready to fly into future

Wing ready to fly into future

By BETO HOYOS

Much changes in 30 years, but Dave Wing’s passion for teaching digital arts at Pima Community College has withstood the test of time.

Wing began his tenure at PCC in 1984, and will retire in December.

He grew up in Seattle, Wash., and became interested in photography early in junior high school.

“I first used old analog 35mm films and I took photo classes, and would always freelance and develop my own photos in my own darkroom,” he said.

Toward the tail end of the Vietnam War, Wing enlisted in the Air Force and worked as a munitions specialist. His four years in the service took him overseas briefly.

“The only place I went to was Okinawa,” he said. “I was there for 18 months at Kadena Air Force Base.”

He applied to extend his stay in Japan, but mistaken orders brought him back to the United States.

Upon his return, he was stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.

Wing was split in his feelings toward the war, but did his duty.

“I think that war in general is a terrible thing and I don’t think anyone should have to go into any kind of combat situation,” he said. “Certainly I believe in democracy and I did my part to support it.”

After his military discharge, Wing looked for work.

“I was south of Tucson pulling weeds in trailer parks and I thought there had to be something better,” he said.

His solution was to enroll at the University of Arizona.

During Wing’s time at Pima, a major challenge was keeping up with technology advancements.

“Computers have changed and what we can do with computers now has changed,” he said. “When I came here, we started with Mac 512 and floppy drives and no storage.”

Wing was somewhat of a pioneer in the digital arts department. “I was the first person they hired full time to teach on the video side,” he said.

Though Wing has spent most of his career at PCC, he’s also taught at the UA and worked with major production companies.

“I’ve done stuff for the Arizona Commission of the Arts, and worked as a lighting director on a Nickelodeon show, ‘Hey Dude,’ for several seasons,” he said.

Independent Film Arizona named Wing their 2014 Educator of the Year.

“We know of no one who has made as great a contribution to the southern Arizona filmmaker community as you have,” IFA President Antonella Cassia said during the presentation.

Wing believes video and photography skills can be useful even for people who don’t take a career path in digital arts.

“It benefits people by learning the skills of organization and planning,” he said.

Derek Lookingbill, a PCC graduate who runs his own indie film company called Dream Stalker Productions, has been Wing’s assistant since 2012. He credits Wing with teaching him critical skills.

“I had a good idea of what was going on coming in but he just helped me sharpen everything,” Lookingbill said. “It’s going to be hard to replace him but he’ll still be around a bit.”

Other digital arts graduates provide further testament to Wing’s knowledge and teaching ability.

“I’ve had students who ended up working in LA in reality television, music videos, dramas, documentaries, and we keep having more and more students transferring to film schools in Los Angeles and back east,” he said.

Favorite memories include working with students on their year-long film project.

“This may be their only time working with this equipment or this may be their first of many,” he said.

Don’t think for a second that Wing will stay home in a rocking chair once he retires. On the contrary, he’s ready to unleash his inner rocker.

He’s a guitarist for a jazz band called Silver Croft, which plays at local venues like La Cocina and Monterey Court.  Listen to songs at silvercroft.com.

Wing has been with the band for four years and looks forward to spending more time making music.

“There are two retirees in the group,” he said. “I’ll be the third and I look forward to taking up the instrument more.”

Wing enjoyed his time at the college but says he’s ready to move on. “You know when it’s time, but I’m certainly going to miss it,” he said.

He calls PCC an asset to the community and admires Pima students.

“I don’t know if I’m a good teacher but my students are good,” he said. “PCC generally has creative students.”

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Digital Arts instructor Dave Wing, left, works with Derek Lookingbill in front of a video lab green screen. Wing plans to retire in December. (Beto Hoyos/Aztec Press.)

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PHOTO SPOTLIGHT: A busy weekend in the Old Pueblo

PHOTO SPOTLIGHT: A busy weekend in the Old Pueblo

It was a colorful weekend in the Old Pueblo as community members turned out in full force to celebrate what makes this city ours. Tucson Meet Yourself drew thousands Oct. 10-12 to celebrate the diversity of cultures and folklife represented in Tucson. On Oct. 11, members of the LGBT community gathered at dusk to participate in the Tucson Pride Parade, demonstrating support for individuals of all genders.

-By Nick Meyers

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The Pima Community College East Campus Pride Alliance turns out in force to participate in the Tucson Pride Parade on Oct. 11 in support of the city’s LGBT community. (Nick Meyers/Aztec Press.)

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Tempest DuJour makes sure her vibrant hair maintains its shape before members of the LGBT community stroll down Fourth Avenue. (Nick Meyers/Aztec Press)

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Traditional Chicano art such as alebrijes is on display at the Tucson Meet Yourself festival. (Larry Gaurano/Aztec Press.)

 

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Piñatas are one of many artisan crafts available for purchase at the Tucson Meet Yourself festival. (Larry Gaurano/Aztec Press.)

 

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Grupo tradiciones showcase a traditional Mexican folk dance called jarabe at Tucson Meet Yourself. (Larry Gaurano/Aztec Press.)

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MEN'S SOCCER: Team battles through injuries

MEN’S SOCCER: Team battles through injuries

By CALEB FOSTER

The Pima Community College men’s soccer team (12-3-1) showed depth and perseverance after  battling through injuries suffered in an Oct.2 game.

The Aztecs shut out Scottsdale Community College on Oct. 11 with a 2-0 win. The win marked their eighth shutout of the season and the second time they have beat Scottsdale.

Freshman Alejandro Gonzalez scored for the Aztecs in the first half off an assist from fellow freshman Robert Gorman.

After the half, freshman Sadam Ali added to the lead with an assist from freshman Osvaldo Varela.

Freshman goalkeeper Sam Kavathas had three saves during the game.

Pima completed a 4-3 comeback win on the road Oct. 9 against Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

The Aztecs were behind 1-2 going into the second half, with their lone goal coming from Gonzalez off a penalty kick.

Freshman Alex Rojo scored next for the Aztecs off an assist from sophomore Garrett Andreatta.

Andreatta scored the third goal for Pima with sophomore Arturo Vega in on the assist.

Freshman Gabe Zepp stepped up for the Aztecs late in the game where they found themselves in a 3-3 tie. Zepp scored the winning goal off an assist from freshman Ryan Bristow in the 82nd minute.

Despite being down two key players, the Aztecs upset No. 11 Glendale CC on Oct. 7 with a blowout 3-0 win.

Freshman Emilio Villatoro scored first for the Aztecs in the 33rd minute off the back of a defender to give the Aztecs a 1-0 lead going into the half.

Vega scored next for the Aztecs off of an assist from sophomore Christian Cabello in the 51st minute. Gorman scored the last goal in the 76th minute.

The Aztecs ended with seven shots on goal and with three saves from Kavathas.

“Glendale is obviously one of the top teams in the conference,” head coach Dave Cosgrove said. “There’s no way anyone would have expected us to win 3-0.”

The Aztecs fell to Phoenix College 5-1 on Oct. 2 in their worst loss of the season.

Pima found the net early when Zepp scored in the 7th minute off an assist from Gonzalez.

Phoenix answered by scoring three goals in the first half and adding another two in the second. The Aztecs gave up the most points in a game this season. Phoenix outshot Pima 10-8. Kavathas finished with three saves.

ON DECK

Oct. 16: Paradise Valley CC, Kino North, 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 18: Yavapai College, Kino North, 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 23: @ Mesa CC, Mesa, 5:30 p.m.

Oct. 25: GateWay CC, Kino North, 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 28: @ NJCAA Region 1 Quarter Finals

Oct. 30: @ NJCAA Region 1 Semi-Finals

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Freshman Gabe Zepp battles for possesion against a Scottsdale CC defender on Oct. 11. (Caleb Foster/Aztec Press.)

 

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VOLLEYBALL: Winning streak comes to an end

VOLLEYBALL: Winning streak comes to an end

By BETO HOYOS

The Pima Community College volleyball team took on No. 10 Arizona Western College on Oct. 11 but lost in a five-set thriller.

The Aztecs held a lead for most of the first set but Western tied it up at 19-19. The Aztecs scored six of the last seven points to win.

In the second set, the biggest lead for either team was three points. The Aztecs could not hold a 24-22 lead and Western came back to win.

Western held a lead most of the third set but the Aztecs won the fourth set. In the fifth-set tie breaker, the Aztecs gave up a lead early and couldn’t recover.

Sophomore Nykole Adun led the Aztecs with 11 kills, five blocks, five digs and two aces.

On Oct 10, the Aztecs lost to No. 13 Scottsdale Community College in another five-set battle.

In the first set, the Aztecs scored the first six points of the game. Scottsdale got as close as one point but Pima took the win.

Scottsdale won the next two sets but the Aztecs came back in the fourth to force a fifth set. The Aztecs came within one point five times but could not grab a lead.

Sophomore Alexis Ammerman led the Aztecs with 18 kills and seven digs. Adun had 11 kills.

On Oct. 8, the Aztecs extended a winning streak to five games when they beat Phoenix College in four sets.

The first two sets mostly went the Aztec’s way, thanks to kills from freshman Kaysee Pilgrim. The third and fourth sets were tougher. Phoenix had a lead for most of the fourth set but the Aztecs cut the lead to one. A kill by Adun secured the victory.

On Oct. 3, the Aztecs defeated South Mountain College at home.

“I think we’re carrying the momentum from the San Diego tournament,” Ammerman said. “We got a little taste of victory and we want more.”

The Aztecs dropped the first set but responded by winning three straight.

On Oct. 1, the Aztecs beat Chandler-Gilbert in three sets.

After trailing in the first set, the Aztecs scored eight straight points for a win. In the second set, Pima capped the win with a kill by Pilgrim.

Ammermen finished with 10 kills. She was named ACCAC Division II Co-Player of the Week for Sept. 29-Oct. 5.

ON DECK

Oct. 17: @ Yavapai College, Prescott, 7 p.m.

Oct. 22: @ Mesa CC, 7 p.m.

Oct. 24: Glendale CC, West Campus, 7 p.m.

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Sophomore Nykole Adun attempts a pick against Western Arizona College on Oct 11. She led Pima with 11 kills, five blocks and two aces. (Photo courtesy of PCC.)

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Aquaponics taking root

Aquaponics taking root

By SIERRA J. RUSSELL

Verdant foliage and flowing water provide sharp contrast to the dry landscape that surrounds Pima Community College’s Desert Vista Campus.

Tomatoes and lemongrass mixed with fish ponds represent the college’s foray into aquaponics, a method of agriculture that combines aquaculture and hydroponics. It’s essentially a blend of fish farming and water gardening.

“One nice thing about the program is the flexibility,” program coordinator Ely Esparza said. “This allows for a lot of ingenuity. There are no black and white guidelines so your hands are free.”

Some 44 graduating high school students got a first-hand look at the program when they participated in Esparza’s Agri-SURF Summer Bridge Program.

The program was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and founded by Esparza, who was inspired by his love of surfing when conceiving the name. The acronym stands for Agricultural Sustainability and Universal Renewable Farming.

“I love this program and the staff,” student Darien Coronado said.

Esparza said one of his primary aims is to show students that agriculture encompasses far more than traditional farming.

“A lot of people think agriculture only involves tractors and pitchforks,” he said. “In reality, there is a lot of technology and scientific research involved.  engineering, animal sciences and water policy.”

During the five-week summer program, participants went on numerous field trips to local farms and research facilities such as the Biosphere 2.

By the end of the summer, students had constructed two aquaponics systems. The main chamber of the system contains fish stocked by Local Roots Aquaponics, a company that specializes in aquaponics systems ranging from aquarium size to 50 square feet.

The water from the fish tank is directed by gravity to a lower chamber filled with lava rocks that serve as a filter. Various plants and vegetables are placed within the porous rocks, with their roots submerged in the nutrient rich water.

Once the water has reached the end of the system, it is pumped back to the fish chamber. After it is filtered, it’s ready to begin the cycle again.

This method of gardening is especially useful in the desert because it uses far less water than traditional practices. Studies show it typically uses 10 percent of the water, with potential to produce 400 percent more food, than common agricultural techniques.

Unlike crops grown in soil, there is no need to weed out unwelcome vegetation. Plants currently growing in the PCC systems include basil, bell peppers, lemongrass and tomatoes. They are lush, healthy and shaded from harsh overhead light.

The 35 tilapia now stocked in the tanks will be replaced in December with catfish that can survive winter temperatures.

The young generation of tilapia will be transferred to warmer waters. The mature fish will be the main course in a small fish fry, allowing students and staff to savor the fruits of their efforts.

“It is something new and exciting,” program participant Gladys Ramirez said. “It is good to be involved in things that have never been done before.”

Desert Vista is currently the only PCC location with aquaponics facilities, but Esparza plans to expand the program in the future. Students from Northwest Campus were also involved in the summer program.

As part of next summer’s program, Esparza plans to add two more systems as well as a small ramada and benches.

“It’s a simple concept and can be done at home,” he said.

The innovative concept has caught the attention of numerous Tucson residents and organizations. Arizona Illustrated recently featured the program and new businesses include Local Roots Aquaponics, Ecogro, Tucson AquaPonics Project and Maggie’s Farm Aquaponics.

To learn more about Pima’s program, contact Ely Esparza at 206-5199 or eesparza1@pima.edu.

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Ely Esparza, program coordinator for Pima’s Agri-SURF program, checks on basil growing at an aquaponics system at Desert Vista Campus. Students from a summer bridge program built the system last summer. (Sierra J. Russell/Aztec Press)

 

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BEYOND THE POLE: The hidden world of exotic dancers

BEYOND THE POLE: The hidden world of exotic dancers

By JAMIE VERWYS

“Looking to round up the finest 18 and over girls in Tucson, cash nightly.”

Advertisements promising college women wads of cash for flashing serious skin aren’t hard to find. The call for exotic dancers can be found by picking up a copy of Tucson Weekly or Pima Community College’s own student publication, the Aztec Press.

Since January, issues of Aztec Press featured an advertisement for a local “gentlemen’s club,” Eden Cabaret. The ad spurred negative response from Pima students and faculty.

Social service student Sandra Fisher wrote, “It is extremely unlikely that a bright, educated future for young women will begin with selling their bodies.”

She asks, “Did anyone at the Aztec Press consider the impact of such a sleazy suggestion in a campus publication to our student body (pun intended)?”

Bob Shoun, director of PCC’s Office of Dispute Resolution, received a complaint that the “advertisement was not in line with the college philosophy and concerns related to sexual harassment.”

Editor-in-chief Andrew Paxton responded to the criticism in a column published last semester.

“The decision to run this form of advertising was not made lightly or arbitrarily,” he wrote. “The issue was discussed at length in the newsroom before I made my choice to allow the ad space to be purchased.”

He adds, “In the end, the newspaper is a business. In order to publish, we need financial backers. Any legitimate business that is willing to invest money in a college newspaper is welcome in these pages.”

The Aztec Press operates as an academic learning lab for student journalists, who exercise their First Amendment right to publish without prior restraint. The publication is expected to cover printing expenses through the sale of advertising.

While the content of Eden’s ad is not reflective of Pima or the newspaper, it brings with it questions about morality and the role that exotic clubs play in society.

What actually lies beyond the velvet curtains and dimly lit rooms of a strip club?

Are these establishments purveyors of debauchery and wayward girls? Are they a source of entertainment that speaks to the erotic nature of humans? Are they a dangerous, damaging environment or just businesses staffed by people trying to make a living?

“There’s this impression that the girls want to be there and have no respect for themselves,” says a former Eden dancer named Pandora.

“Most girls are there because they have to be,” she says. “They are working to make money. They aren’t there to party and it’s not something we do for fun.”

Two years ago Pandora was in a relationship she was supporting financially. She had no money for rent and a desire to finish her classes at the University of Arizona. As a customer of the club herself, she decided to begin dancing there.

After one year, she saved enough money to leave the industry and finish her final semester in school. Though she wanted to find a career with her new degree, her diploma was withheld until she paid $800 that she owed.

“I went back to Eden for two days and hated it because I had completely left the culture,” she says. “When I got back into it, I had culture shock.”

Currently, Pandora is training to be a manager and acts as “house mom” to the dancers. She teaches pole tricks and safety procedures, provides money-making tips and acts as a secondary bouncer.

Pandora’s story of college aspirations and unpaid bills is a common motif with the dancers who make up the adult entertainment industry. Many cite school, children and being out of money.

Eden dancer Gemini saw how much money the women were making and decided she could do that too.

“The money is my favorite part,” she says. “I went to school, I got my associate’s and stopped going. I want to go back, but right now I’m just taking care of my daughter.”

Dancers are independent contractors who pay the clubs a portion of their earnings to dance there. Depending on the number of customers, a performer can make anywhere from $100-$1,000 in one night, according to Pandora.

Along with the money they can potentially earn, dancers create their own schedules.

Serena, a UA student and a dancer for Curves Cabaret, started as a waitress. She switched to dancing when she faced a financial blow.

“The moment that actually pushed me into becoming a dancer and stop waitressing was when I had my camera, MacBook and external hard drive stolen from the trunk of my car,” she says.

“After weeks of dancing all sweaty and half naked for eight hours a day, I finally replaced all my stuff the next month.

“I wanted to make myself available to every event, show, concert, to take pictures, shoot video, do interviews and whatever else,” she says.

“I can’t think of any real 9-5 that would work with that hectic schedule. Dancing, just to take care of the bills, so I could focus on furthering my career seemed worth it to me.”

While the quick money and flexible schedules often draw people to exotic dancing, they seldom stay long-term.

Research related to exotic dancers has found women working in the sex industry are more susceptible to drug addiction, assault and mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress.

A study by the director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology program at the University of Pennsylvania found 55 percent of strippers are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and 60 percent experience depression.

Jessie Kosorok Mellor, a PCC psychology instructor and department chair, conducted informal research into the world of exotic clubs while pursuing her degree. She worked for a tanning salon that sold clothing and accessories for exotic dancers.

It became her job to load her vehicle with boots and clothing, and sell them to dancers inside the dressing rooms two nights a week. During her three years with the women, Mellor witnessed drug use, fights and tears. She believes she gained insight into the lives of the women.

“If anything, it gave me a real-life look at don’t judge,” she says. “We all have a story. We all have something.”

Mellor saw drug use, including the smoking of crystal meth, and noted some women were concerned about infections.

“I witnessed one girl who was so freaked out because some guy had a wound and she came in with blood on her,” she says. “She didn’t know where it came from. ‘What if he has HIV? What if he has something?’ I’ve seen them freak out over that.”

During her time spent within the inner workings of a strip club, Mellor came to believe that most dancers feel reasonably safe.

“Managers and bouncers have an investment for their own livelihood so there is a level of safety,” she says.

Employees always walked her to her car and helped her load her things, she says. “I never felt in danger and I wasn’t even any employee of that establishment.”

The inherent risks are not lost upon those within the business. Performers and club employees easily identify potential emotional and physical risks.

A former dancer who goes by the name Tank is currently pursuing a career in politics. His short time stripping at Dicks Cabaret, a male club in Phoenix, left him drained.

“I don’t recommend it to anyone unless you are a very strong-minded, strong-willed individual,” he says.  “I don’t think our society creates those types of people very much anymore.”

During the time he performed at the all-nude club, he found himself emotionally weighted by the experience.

“It eats away at you,” he says.  “I used to feel really drawn out and never wanted to be there. I only think there is a small window of people who can handle that type of experience and not get destroyed by it.”

Tank admits to gaining something from that time in his life. It wasn’t money, because he wasn’t making very much. Rather, it was a broadened perspective and acceptance of himself.

“It helped me find my own path,” he says. “It made me much more able to step away from societal norms and acceptance of who I am and accept people more readily as well. It made me realize it’s OK not to think like everyone else.”

Curves dancer Victoria also finds acceptance to be one of the best outcomes. “I think being on the pole alone is empowering,” she says. “I’ve worked really hard for my self-confidence and I’m doing this for my education and career.

“If you have a good reason for doing it, not drugs, it’s worth it and empowering. I’ve never loved myself and my body, and other women’s bodies, more since I started dancing.”

She acknowledges that drug use and risks are present but says that doesn’t mean you must or will engage in them.

“People think it’s this constant drug party, when its not,” she says. “A misconception is that once you start dancing you turn into a druggie or alcoholic. No. You are that person before you step into the club.”

Strip clubs can be dirty, and are sometimes the site of crimes such as murder and prostitution.

Dancer Serena spoke about the dangers of some clubs. “The strip club is a very dirty place and the girls that work there are not very clean,” she says. “The dirty strip club is also where the drug dealers like to hang out.”

Serena cautions, “It’s so easy to fall into that trap of being under the influence and someone takes advantage of you.”

Aside from the telltale stripper poles and stages, a strip club can cultivate a variety of environments.

At Eden Cabaret, the goal was to create a safe, fun party atmosphere and erase the negative perception of a former club at the location. Owner Jeffery Lindstrom, originally from Chicago, purchased the space five years ago and put a priority on remodeling and restructuring.

“We had to come in and kick everyone out and start fresh,” he says. “People know that it’s OK to come here again.”

Because it is a fully nude club, alcohol is prohibited.

“There are no drugs and there aren’t going to be any fights,” he says. “We wanted college kids to know they can come here, have a good time and feel safe.”

He runs the club as much like another business as possible, he says. “You need to create a party environment once the doors are open, but its preparing for business hours before that.”

Eden has a strict no-touching policy in place. Dancers are also walked to and from their cars, and prohibited from giving out personal information.

With the advancement of technology and social media, new safety hazards present themselves. Every cellphone has a camera that can share information instantaneously, making it difficult to enforce the no-camera rule.

One patron took a dancer’s naked photo and displayed it on a fake Facebook page created under her name.

Dak Frederick is a Ten’s Show club employee who trains new dancers. He says the safety precautions established by the club, coupled with the training that dancers receive, helps create an environment where women feel safe.

As a topless club, Ten’s Show can serve alcohol. Belligerent customers are asked to leave.

“Drunken guys are eighty sixed and called a cab,” Frederick says.

He admits to occasionally protecting dancers from their family, who might step in accidently or with the intent to retrieve their daughter.

“Sometimes the girls say, ‘you got to hide me, please, from my family,’” he says. “Some of the parents don’t know their daughters are strippers. Sometimes the dads come in, too.”

Though exotic dancers bare it all on stage, most keep their job secret to protect themselves from the disapproval of family and society.

“It really gives you insight into humanity,” Pandora says. “It’s not something I’m going to broadcast but anyone who finds out doesn’t need to hold it against me for any reason.

“It really comes down to your views on sexuality and nudity. It means a lot more to some people. It’s your body, you own it. I’m not letting anyone touch me or have sex, it’s not intimate.”

Though Tank hated his experience as a dancer, he believes improvements can and should be made to strip clubs.

“They are almost necessary,” he says. “If our society were to give more allowance to these things, it could make a much healthier environment. If certain aspects of stripping didn’t have such negative connotation, it would make it harder for the bad people to exist in those.”

For some, strip clubs serve a simple function within society.

“Rappers and just the ignorant public in general make strippers out to be drug addicts with daddy issues that are too lazy to get a real job, when in reality a lot of the girls I work with are fine,” Serena says.

“I feel like the purpose of these clubs are to just have some fun or to fill in some type of void in each customer.”

Mellor believes the role of a strip club is defined by the person who pays to be there.

“It’s a complicated nuance, as most aspects are in human sexuality,” she says. “When that role does not support the workers and truly allow for consent, then it becomes punitive and unacceptable.

“If the workers feel safe and are truly of sound body and mind and want to be there, I can’t tell them they can’t be.”

 

Aztec Press photo illustration by Larry Gaurano

Aztec Press photo illustration by Larry Gaurano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A SEARCH FOR TRUTH

At least 400,000 people work as strippers in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor.

Many have entered into the industry to fix money issues and to provide for themselves and for their families.

Despite the monetary benefits, there is no denying that risk factors exist.

Drug usage in clubs, long hours, unwanted physical or verbal contact and sometimes unclean work environments can all make exotic dancing potentially dangerous.

In a world where knowledge can help set us free, we need to look at a topic from all sides.

To gather information for this article, I visited two Tucson cabarets and interviewed five exotic dancers, plus two trainers, a Pima instructor and a club owner.

Only one dancer allowed her photo to be taken and each dancer provided only a stage name.

We met at coffee shops and strip clubs, and I transcribed hours worth of interviews.

I did not write this article to fill seats in the clubs or to enlist college students. I also didn’t write it to condemn the industry or the people who oppose these establishments.

I wrote it because I believe information and truth are the best way to handle a subject deemed taboo.

-By Jamie Verwys

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Nursing program off life support

Nursing program off life support

By DAVID J. DEL GRANDE

Pima Community College’s nursing program has made some progressive changes over the past year, and recently regained proper standing with its accrediting body.

On Sept. 19, the Arizona State Board of Nursing concluded that PCC had resolved governance issues and autonomy regarding its nursing program based on evidence submitted by the college.

During an email interview Pamela Randolph, AZBN’s associate director of education and evidence-based regulation, wrote that PCC had successfully corrected governance issues regarding its nursing program.

“The board found that Pima Community College had remedied all deficiencies and restored full approval status,” she wrote.

In July 2013, PCC received a notice of deficiencies from the AZBN.

The complaint said Pima undermined the governing authority of its dean of nursing, Marty Mayhew, and that undermining the authority of the nursing program administrator compromises nursing education and places patient safety at risk.

On Jan. 28, Mayhew resigned from her position following the completion of an internal investigation into claims of her misconduct.

Following Mayhew’s departure, Chancellor Lee Lambert wrote in email to employees that Brian Stewart, an academic dean from PCC’s Desert Vista Campus, would assume interim responsibility over the nursing department.

Stewart said the integrity of Pima’s nursing program was never in question, and that the autonomous governing of PCC’s nursing department needed to be restored to state-level policy.

“The notice of deficiencies wasn’t written in regards to the program itself,” Stewart said.

“The notice of deficiency was in regard to adherence to state regulation with the nursing director being recognized as the authorizing body for the program.”

He said the education provided to PCC’s nursing students has been consistently robust, which he said is exemplified in Pima’s nursing certification test scores, and the college’s open-enrollment policy.

According to AZBN website, PCC’s nursing certification scores rose to 92.06 percent in 2013, which is greater than the Arizona state average of 88.25 percent.

Stewart said he took the nursing dean position without any plans to assume its responsibilities long-term. He said expanding his skill-set and staying at PCC’s Desert Vista Campus are his goals.

“I’ve been a nursing director for a long time,” Stewart said. “I wasn’t interested in continuing that. I want to do something new that pushes me, and challenges me.

“Plus I committed to my faculty at Desert Vista,” he added.

Stewart said during the investigation, the AZBN looked at Pima’s policies and updates regarding its nursing program.

“They liked the direction the college was going under new administration,” Stewart said.

“They see a change in behavior and acknowledged that the new governance and reinforcement of policy was a good thing,” he said.

On July 29, Pima held candidate forums to fill the assistant dean and director of nursing positions.

But, after Joseph Gaw secured this new position, Stewart said the college recognized the nursing director position was a full-time position in itself. The college is still searching for someone to fill the role.

Gaw began his career at PCC as an adjunct instructor in 2010, while also working as an advanced registered nurse at Tucson’s Northwest Medical Center. His resume also includes nine years of advanced patient care at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital.

While working at St. Mary’s Hospital Gaw was enrolled in a mentor program that provided training for nursing graduates to transition into specialty care positions.

He was later offered bachelor degree classes from Grand Canyon University via the expansion of that program.

“Now, that’s important,” Gaw said. “Because what they did is they gave the entry point to a bachelor’s process that most people hadn’t even thought about doing at the time.”

For the past two semesters, Pima’s concurrent enrollment program has offered its students the chance to pursue associate, and bachelor degrees for nursing certification simultaneously.

Gaw said he will continue to work to help nurses get the education they need to progress in the workplace.

“As a community college we have to meet that need,” he said.

Furthermore, Gaw said his goals are to increase student-engaged learning, and community outreach which will be spearheaded by Pima’s dedicated nursing faculty.

“We have a fantastic team in this nursing department, and the students have to know that,” Gaw said.

“My faculty are my life-blood of this program, and this team is ready to serve and ready to help them be successful.”

Pg04-Nursing

From left, Deanna Merrill, Kaileen Martin, and Sharon Powell speak with Joseph Gaw in between their nursing skills lab examinations.

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ARIZONA UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL: Spelunking for hidden treasures

ARIZONA UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL: Spelunking for hidden treasures

By ZACK LEDESMA

Every filmmaker needs an audience and every audience needs a film to be made.

There are even audiences that crave strange ideas and unconventional approaches to old questions.

As long as there are filmmakers challenging the status quo, there will always be independent film festivals.

The Arizona Underground Film Festival, founded and directed by David Pike, lets filmmakers from all over the world showcase their film to Tucson indie film audiences.

From horror to documentaries to touching dramas, Pike makes it priority to show a variety of pictures for audiences to enjoy.

“I like the ones that are a little more edgy and a little more different, and that is what the festival encompasses,” Pike said. “It’s different filmmaking and different story telling than what you’re used to.”

The festival screened movies every night during its Sept. 19-27 run, including the world premiere of “The Badger Game” on Sept. 26.

“Killers,” “Time Lapse” and “Unsound” were a few of the movies that I was able to catch.

‘Killers’

The first night featured the Japanese horror-thriller “Killers.” The movie rotates between the stories of an Indonesian journalist whose life is in shambles and a successful Japanese business executive from Tokyo.

The journalist, Bayu Aditya, turns to a mysterious serial killer who films his victims being murdered to help find relief in killing people for his own justice.

Business executive Nomura Shuhei is just looking for someone to relate to with the same lust for blood.

“Killers” is an intense movie. What it lacks in exploding guts, it makes up for in sinister thoughts and the fetishes of Bayu and Nomura.

It’s a thriller that keeps you invested, hoping one of them wins over the other. All in all, it was a very entertaining, elegant horror film that made me assume everyone was a murderer on the way back to my car.

‘Time Lapse’

In “Time Lapse,” housemates Callie, Finn and Jasper discover that their deceased neighbor has been hiding an experimental camera that captures pictures 24 hours into the future.

Each has a motive to look into the future. They begin winning bets and painting pictures that have not yet been thought up, until paranoia, greed and jealousy eats at them with every picture.

“Time Lapse” has a fun premise. From the beginning, you take one look at the camera and think “This will be so silly.”

The movie was silly and fun in so many ways but it was also tied together so neatly that I could not help but think, “Whoa.”

It left me with lots of questions about the idea of the camera, and had me thinking about it well into the week.

Throughout the movie, seemingly obvious clues that felt like nails being banged into my head actually led to something unexpected. I did not think “Time Lapse” would keep me guessing and thinking, but to my pleasant surprise there was a lot more to it than a silly sci-fi premise.

‘Unsound’

Tucson director Darious Britt spent much of his own money directing, acting and producing “Unsound.”

“We’re talking loans and four or five charged-up credit cards that I still pay every month,” Britt said.  “I’m reminded of the ginormous financial risk that I made making this film. Nonetheless, I’m very proud of it.”

Based on events from Britt’s life, the film follows a protagonist as he tries to balance his break-through film project with his mother’s schizophrenic episodes.

Britt gets an all-too-real vision of his personal struggle onto the screen. Instead of feeling like a scripted movie, “Unsound” is like watching someone’s struggle unfold before an audience.

There is not much to complain about with this self-funded passion project other than the location being Tucson. Even then, Britt manages to make the setting visually inviting.

Actress To-Ree-Nee Wolf did an excellent job as the mother of the main character, Reginald Colbert, who is played by Britt.

He made the film to share his experience with an audience and with people who are dealing with similar situations.

I recommend “Unsound” to those people and to anyone looking for a sincere, well-directed independent drama.

Bigger and better for 2015

Pike strives each year’s festival better than the last, and plans to up the ante next year.

“It’s been growing from a three-day festival where I’ve played a few films here and there,” he said. “It’s grown to nine days and is one of the biggest underground film festivals in the country, if not the biggest.”

For more information about the festival and updates for next year, visit azuff.org.

Pg11-Main photo-Time Lapse

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CROSS COUNTRY: Teams place second at conference meet

CROSS COUNTRY: Teams place second at conference meet

By JAMIE MAESE

Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross country teams have been taking the lead in their last two meets.

Both teams placed second in the ACCAC conference meet on Sept. 26 at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix.

The women finished second out of six teams with 60 points.

Central Arizona College took first with a score of 23. The Aztecs beat Paradise Valley, Mesa Community College, Glendale Community College and Estrella Mountain Community College.

“The heat killed us this meet, me especially, but we did really well as a team,” freshman Desire Montenegro said. “Now we just look forward to getting third in the nation. That is our goal this season.”

In individual competition, sophomore Shanice Alchesay finished in fourth place out of 44 runners with a time of 20 minutes, 11 seconds in the 5K race.

Other top finishers were:

•Freshman Mariah Zavala was 10th with a time of 20:42.

•Montenegro took 14th at 20:53.8.

•Freshman Elizabeth Deaton placed 15th with a time of 21:05.

•Freshman Raelene Yocupicio took 17th at 21:21.5.

In men’s competition, the Aztecs finished second out of five teams with a score of 51 points. Central Arizona took first with 16 points. Pima beat Paradise Valley, Glendale and Estrella Mountain.

Central secured the first four placements of the race. Freshman Ahmed Mohamed took the top spot for the Aztecs out of 45 competitors with a fifth place finish in the 8K race at 27:18.9.

Other top finishers were:

•Sophomore Anthony Spendlove took 10th at 27:55.4.

•Sophomore Peter Gonzales finished right behind in 11th place at 27:57.4.

•Freshman Amanuel Logo was 14th at 28:07.7.

•Sophomore Estevan Gomez was 17th with a time of 28:12.5.

At the Dave Murray Invitational on Sept. 19, Pima’s men’s and women’s teams both finished as the top two-year college team.

The men’s team, which is ranked No. 8 in the nation, took fifth place out of eight teams with a score of 130. The finish marked the first time in more than 10 years that the Aztecs beat Paradise Valley Community College in points.

Paradise Valley tied for sixth with Mesa Community College at 147 points. Estrella Mountain Community College was eighth with 236 points.

Mohamed was the top finisher for the Aztecs with a 16th place finish out of 70 competitors. His time was 22 minutes, 36 seconds in the 4.25-mile race.

Other top finishers were:

•Gomez took 28th place with a time of 23:05.40,

•Gonzales was 33rd at 23:22,

•Spendlove was 34th at 23:23,

•Logo was 40th at 23:32.

The women’s team, which is ranked No. 5 in the nation, finished in fifth place out of eight teams with a score of 143 points.

The Aztecs defeated conference foes Mesa Community College (164) and Estrella Mountain Community College (235).

Alchesay was the top Aztec finisher for the first time this season. She placed 27th out of 66 competitors with a time of 19:04 in the three-mile race.

Other top finishers were:

•Sophomore Sarrah Boughan took 32nd place with a time of 19:57.

•Zavala was 35th at 20:11.

•Deaton was 41st at 20:54.

•Montenegro was 41st at 20:54.

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Women's soccer: Aztecs on a win streak with four big victories

Women’s soccer: Aztecs on a win streak with four big victories

By ADRIANNA BARRIENTEZ

Pima Community College’s women’s soccer team (8-2-1) notched four convincing wins and one tie in five games.

The Aztecs defeated Glendale Community College 5-1 on Sept. 30 in Glendale.

Sophomore Shannon Shields scored the first goal of the game for the Aztecs and had three assists. Freshman Prescilla Gonzalez also scored in the first half, to give Pima a 2-1 halftime lead.

The Aztecs broke away in the second half.

Sophomore Kathy Fisher scored a goal and had an assist. Shields also scored again, along with freshman Brandi Park.

Freshman goalkeeper Mason Howard finished the game with four saves.

On Sept. 27, the Aztecs dominated South Mountain Community College 6-0 in Phoenix.

They scored all six goals in the first half before the game was cut short due to weather conditions.

Freshman Devyn Hunley scored two goals and freshman Brandi Park had two assists.

Sophomores Rachel Ridlinghafer, Shields, Sarah Dunbar and Nikki Reed each netted a goal.

Sophomores Liz Valenzuela, Larissa Adams and Shields each had an assist.

Howard finished the game with four saves.

In a home game on Sept. 25, Pima rallied in the second half against Arizona Western College but couldn’t put it away. The game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Arizona Western scored a goal midway through the first half and led 1-0 at the break.

Shields tied the game when she took advantage of a misplayed ball to score her 11th goal of the season. Hunley put the Aztecs ahead with a goal in the 59th minute.

Each team had close calls at each other’s nets. Arizona Western scored with 26 seconds left in the game to tie it up.

Neither team scored in two 10-minute overtimes.

The Aztecs finished the game with 14 shots on goal and sophomore goalkeeper Angelica Gonzalez had four saves.

On Sept. 23, Pima defeated GateWay Community College 4-0 in Glendale. Ridlinghafer scored two goals while Park and Shields each contributed one.

On Sept. 20, the Aztecs defeated Mesa Community College 7-1 at Kino Stadium.

Shields scored three goals in the first half, and Pima had a 5-0 lead at halftime.

“Its awesome, scoring goals is great,” Shields said. “I’ve scored in almost every game but getting a hat trick is even better.”

Shields scored her first goal in the first minute with an assist from Hunley.

She hit another shot seven minutes later from in front of the net. Her third goal was a shot to the upper left corner off an assist from Valenzuela.

“We’ve really come together,” Shields said. “What puts us above other teams is we just work hard and we’re willing to put it all on the line for each other.”

Hunley and Ridlinghafer each scored two goals.

Hunley scored in the fifth minute with an assist from Dunbar and hit a penalty shot. Ridlinghafer hit her first goal in the 33rd minute after a cross-pass from Fisher. She scored again off an assist from Gonzalez.

“She was in a great position and it was a complete team effort,” Fisher said.

The Aztecs outshot Mesa 13-5. Howard had four saves.

Women's Soccer-Shannon Shields

Shannon Shields takes the ball past Scottsdale defenders. (Larry Gaurno/Aztec Press)

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‘THE MOUSETRAP’: Popular play catches audiences

‘THE MOUSETRAP’: Popular play catches audiences

By NICK QUIHUIS

Eight strangers in Monkswell Manor are in a race against time to discover the culprit of ongoing and mysterious murders.

Death waits around every corner, and one of the guests may be the killer.

Agatha Christie’s popular “The Mousetrap,” directed by Mickey Nugent, will run from April 17-April 27 in the Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre on Pima Community College’s West Campus.

“In a world of high-tech special effects, what is brilliant about ‘The Mousetrap’ is simply Christie’s astute and imaginative writing ability – impeccably crisp with all the British properness and sensibilities, yet extraordinarily entertaining,” Nugent said.

“Who doesn’t like a good old-fashioned murder-mystery?” he added.

Currently the longest running play in the world, “The Mousetrap” had its world premiere at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, England in 1952.

Tradition says the cast, crew and audience are sworn to secrecy about revealing the killer. This convention preserves the crime-solving mystery for future theater-goers.

Student Aeric Azana, who plays Mr Paravicini, said the PCC cast and crew wants it to be the best show possible, and takes steps every night toward that goal.

“What’s great is we have a solid cast of eight people who are so focused on making this show the best it can be,” said Aeric Azana, who plays Mr Paravicini.

“When you have eight people who come in every day wanting to see what we can try, how we can make a scene better or what we can flip around to make the dialogue or the scene more intriguing, it’s always fun,” he said.

Costume designer Cné Serrano praised the production team’s synchrony.

“It’s awesome,” Serrano said. “We have ideas that we just throw out and our ideas merge. We’re very in sync.”

Serrano said she and Maryann Trombino worked together to create many of the costumes.

“I’m actually usually acting, but this year I was more backstage,” Serrano said. “It’s different from acting. It’s very different.”

Nugent called “Mousetrap” the classic of all classics.

“It’s really fortunate that we get to do it and that they chose me to do it,” he said.

Nugent enjoys working with a smaller cast size.

“It’s so nice to have such an intimate cast,” he said. “All eight of them are so passionate about the show.”

“I always have to say ‘thank you’ to everyone that is involved,” he said. “The reason I’m here at Pima is because of all those people.”

Show times are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15, with discounts available. American Sign Language interpreters will be available at the April 24 showing.

For more information, contact the box office at 206-6896 or centerforthearts@pima.edu.

Pg11-Mousetrap

Taking a liberal puff from his pipe, Yelsin Rugamas (Major Metcalf) oversees an investigation as Pam Fowler (Mrs. Boyle) scrutinizes her tea-beaing toter, Anna Hagberg (Molly Ralston0. “The Mousetrap” murder-mystery play opens April 17 in the Black Box Theatre. (Nellie Silva/Aztec Press)

 

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Aztecs running and jumping to victory

Aztecs running and jumping to victory

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.

Pg16-Track

Pima freshman Maggie Prillaman, left, and sophomore Beca Harris jump hurdles at the Aztec Invitational. (Nellie Silva/Aztec Press)

 

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Nursing program getting triage

Nursing program getting triage

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.

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