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Don't cut EPA funds

Don’t cut EPA funds

By RENE ESCOBAR

Since his presidency began, President Donald Trump has signed 19 executive orders for varied reasons. One stands out to me as the destroyer of former president Barrack Obama’s legacy.

That action came March 28, when Trump signed an order to cut Environmental Protection Agency funds by one fourth. He would trim roughly 24 percent from an $8.1 billion budget.

“We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country,” Trump said during the signing ceremony.

Many jobs would be cut under the budget plan Trump has proposed. If Congress approves the budget, American resources will be hurt.

The EPA not only combats climate change but also helps the country protect its natural resources from harmful contamination.

I recently had an opportunity to talk with hydrologist Gregory Olsen from Tucson Water. His job is to make sure city tap water is as clean as possible for consumption.

Olsen develops ways to keep our drinking water clean. His work helps prevent disasters like the one in Flint, Michigan, where insufficient water treatment exposed residents to high levels of lead.

Although Olsen is not directly employed by the EPA, he works alongside the federal government to preserve the cleanliness of Tucson tap water. And yes, the EPA does play a role in our water treatment center.

“The EPA is like a big brother to what we’re doing at Tucson Water,” Olsen said.

The federal role is to conduct inspections every six to eight months, to make sure the city is doing its job right.

“I fear the inspectors will not show up anymore and force us to deal with a, god forbid, Flint-like problem, under-supervised and under-equipped,” Olsen said.

The EPA is not an organization where all employees are tree-huggers. They’re people who play a vital role in our society and help make modern life more livable. To remain a sustainable country, we need agencies like the EPA. 

Rene Escobar is a journalism major who has aspirations to be a voice of reason in a confused world. He is one who wants to be heard.

Rene Escobar

BASEBALL: Inconsistency plaguing Pima at end of season

BASEBALL: Inconsistency plaguing Pima at end of season

By RENE ESCOBAR

The Pima Community College baseball team (18-28, 9-25 ACCAC) has seen better days this  season.

In their game against Paradise Valley CC, April 18, both sophomore Miguel Figueroa and head coach James Hisey were ejected after arguing with the umpires about a call.

April 8: PCC 5, AWC 11/ PCC 4, AWC 9

The Aztecs faced an early deficit at West Campus in game one of a doubleheader against Arizona Western College.

Down 6-0 after the first inning, sophomore Erick Migueles hit a leadoff two-run home run to cut the deficit. Sophomore Shawn Bracamontes later dinged another two-run home run, bringing another Aztec in.

“We just need to make adjustments,” assistant coach Ernie Durazno said of the 11-5 loss. “We’ll get them next game.”

In game two, the Aztec offense came out hot, grabbing a quick early lead, but had no answers when the Matadors brought in six runs.

Migueles tried to spark his teammates for a comeback, hitting another two-run home run. However, the Matadors continued to bring in runs and pushed the score out of reach.

April 15: PCC 3, Mesa CC 2 / PCC 3, Mesa CC 4

Sophomore Anthony Felix got the ball rolling in the first game of the series with a two-run RBI in the top of the second inning.

Migueles locked up the win with a moon-shot home run in the seventh.

Freshman Jose Contreras was on the mound for the win, going for six and one-third innings while forfeiting one earned run, off seven hits, with five strikeouts.

In the second game, it took extra innings to declare a winner.

Down 0-3, the Aztec’s rally began with Felix getting another two-run RBI, the game was tied off a wild pitch.

The Aztecs rally was shut down as the game was won off an error committed by the Aztecs in the bottom of the 11.

April 18: PCC 3, Paradise Valley CC 7 / PCC 3, Paradise Valley CC 7

After the Paradise Valley Pumas got an early lead, the Aztecs tied the game in the bottom of the first inning, but the Pumas bounced back with two home runs in the third and fourth.

Freshman Austin Treadwell attempted  a rally, but was halted by the Pumas. Figueroa took the loss, only pitching two and one-third innings. He had one strikeout and a walk.

The second game started with the Aztecs getting an early lead, but the game ultimately fell to the same score as game one.

Sophomore Andres Hackman took the loss, giving up five runs on four hits, with four strike outs and three walks.

OPINION: Drug cartel will always find a way

OPINION: Drug cartel will always find a way

Who or what can stop the drug flow into our country? President Donald Trump? Border Patrol agents? A wall? The answer is simple: nothing.

Trump has vowed to “destroy criminal cartels.” How is he going to accomplish such a feat? Hell, I don’t even know how any country can.

Cartels are an intricate and complex infrastructure with multiple leaders supervising numerous aspects of their trade.

A basic business plan for any cartel is  drugs go in, money and guns come out. At the peak of his reign, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was worth $3 billion and made $8 million per day, according to forbes.com. Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel supplied 25 percent of all illegal drugs in the United States.

Trump wants to dismantle a multi-billion-dollar industry, but how? A border fence is useless and upping the number of Border Patrol agents won’t work either. The drug flow cannot be stopped when the Border Patrol is getting tricked into al lowing drugs to flow through checkpoints.

I met a man from Nogales, Arizona, who once packed for an associate of the cartel.  He knows first-hand how cartels get drugs into the U.S. Using a tactic called “pick and roll,” the cartel recruits some poor person from the

street and offers $100. Cartel members fill a van with unconcealed marijuana and tell the driver to cross the border.

While the Border Patrol is unloading  100 kilos of cheap, renewable marijuana and celebrating the “biggest bust of the century,” the cartels are driving by in four more vans filled with meth, heroin and cocaine. Will a war on drugs work? Not likely. Just ask former Mexican President Felipe Caldron.

Caldron sent 6,500 soldiers to Michoacán in 2011. The action didn’t end cartels. Instead, 1,400 soldiers, cartel members and civilians died in April alone, according to PBS.

Trump wants to expand the border wall. That may slow the drug flow, but it won’t stop it. Cartels use a variety of inventive ways to get drugs into the U.S., including ramps, underground tunnels and catapults.

No matter what anyone does, they can’t stop cartels. As long as there’s money to be  made, there will always be drug trafficking.

Rene Escobar is a journalism major. This is his first semester at the Aztec Press and  his fourth semester at Pima.

Rene Escobar

BASEBALL: Baseball struggles to find constant wins

BASEBALL: Baseball struggles to find constant wins

 By RENE ESCOBAR

The Pima Community College baseball team (17-23, 8-20 AC CAC) has ridden an up and down wave as they split twice and lost twice in a row

March 25: PCC 10, South Mountain 9/ PCC 8, South Mountain 9

The Aztecs won in extra innings in a high-drama match up at South Mountain.

Freshman Jesus Solis drew a lead-off walk at the top of the 10 inning, and  fellow freshman Marcus Mendez reached base on an error to bring Solis home for a run.

Sophomore Manny Ramirez hit  a two-run home run to tie game one at 2-2 in the fourth. After South Mountain  regained the lead, sophomore Anthony Felix tied the game again in the fifth with a two-run RBI double.

Sophomore Miguel Figueroa  hit a solo home run to put the Aztec at 7-4 in the sixth inning. In game two, the  Aztecs surrendered a 7-3 lead as South Mountain came back in the seventh innings to steal the win.

The Cougars matched Pima’s lone run, then scraped ahead to a  3-1 lead in the second. In the fourth inning sophomore Oscar Larranaga brought four runs in with a grand slam.

March 28: PCC 0, Eastern Arizona, 8/ PCC, 3 Eastern Arizona 2

Pima split a doubleheader against Eastern Arizona.

Disappointment was evident throughout game one as the Aztecs managed only three hits.

Figueroa took the loss. He pitched four innings giving up five earned runs on eight hits,  with one strikeout.

Game two was a defensive stalemate until the bottom of the ninth. Freshman Martin Garcia came up big with a  walk-off single to win the game.

Earlier in the game, Migueles opened the game with an RBI  double.

April 1: PCC 2, Cochise College 3/ PCC 3, Cochise College 5

Aztec rallies were cut short on the road at Cochise.

Trailing in the sixth inning of game one, the Aztecs cut into the lead, but fell short of the win. Sophomore Trevelle Hill took the loss after five innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, with two strikeouts.

Sophomore Anthony Felix grounded out to end the rally and the game. Freshman Greg O’Brien took the loss tossing four and one-third innings, giving up three runs with seven strikeouts.

April 4: PCC 6, Central Arizona 7/ PCC 6, Central Arizona 7

After starting game one in a tight 2-2 battle by fifth inning, Pima was able to take the lead by one until Central Arizona scored five runs in the top of the six to make the score 7-3.

Their rally fizzled out in the seventh inning when bases were loaded with one out and an Aztec was struck out.

Figuero took the loss, he pitched five and two-thirds innings giving up six runs, two strikeouts and five walks.

Game two had the Aztecs down 5-0, until the fifth and sixth innings when the lead was cut to 7-4. After drawing three straight  walks in the eighth Figueroa hit a two-run RBI single.

Rene Escobar/Aztec Press Freshman Martin Garcia eyes pitch during game against Eastern Arizona on March. 28 at West Campus field.

Freshman Jose Contreras took the loss as he pitched three innings, giving up three runs, one strikeout and two walks.

ON DECK

April 8: at Arizona Western College, Yuma, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

April 15: at Mesa, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

April 18: vs. Paradise Valley, West Campus, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

BASEBALL: Aztecs go even in four-game series

BASEBALL: Aztecs go even in four-game series

By: RENE ESCOBAR

The Pima Community College baseball team trounced its way into the season, picking up three straight wins against the University of Arizona Club team.

 

Feb. 3: PCC 2, El Paso 5 /

PCC 14, El Paso 8

In the first game, the Aztecs scored their only two runs in the second inning.

“It’s one game,” assistant coach Britt Echols said. “We have another coming up. We’ll get it next game.”

The Aztecs trailed El Paso 8-1 in the bottom of the third. They scored in three consecutive innings to tie the game, then sealed it with runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

 

Feb. 4: PCC 0, El Paso 3 /

PCC 5, El Paso 0

On the second day, El Paso shut out the Aztecs. Four errors, mixed with four hits throughout the game doomed PCC.

After the dismal loss, PCC answered back with a shutout of their own. The Aztecs brought in two runs in the first inning, two more runs in the third and one more in the fifth.

 

Feb. 11: PCC 3, Scottsdale 2 /

PCC 3, Scottsdale 2

The conference opener saw sophomore Manny Ramirez hit a walk off to steal the win.

The Aztecs first scored off an error to go up 1-0.

Scottsdale answered back with a two-run home run. Freshman Martin Garcia and sophomore Oscar Larranaga hit back-to-back singles leading up to Ramirez’s theft. Down 2-1 in the ninth, the Aztecs capitalized on a wild pitch to finish their two-game series.

 

Feb. 14: PCC 2, GateWay 5/

PCC 4, GateWay 5

The Aztecs’ traveled to Phoenix for their first season road game on Feb. 14.

Valentine’s Day was not sweet as the Aztecs were swept in a doubleheader against GateWay

In the first game, they mustered two runs, scoring in the first inning. In the second, they went up 4-0 in the first inning but their on-fire offense was smothered, as they were unable to score again in a 5-4 loss.


ON DECK

Feb. 18: Mesa CC, West Campus, noon & 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 21: Phoenix College, Kino Memorial Stadium, 4p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 24: White Rock Tritons (Canada), West Campus, noon & 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 25: Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, noon & 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 28: Chandler-Gilbert CC, Kino Memorial stadium, 4 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

 

Pima Community College player Martin Garcia awaits a pitch from El Paso in the third game on Feb. 4. The Aztecs lost the game by three runs.
Rene Escobarb/Aztec Press

Which pro dunk was best?

Which pro dunk was best?

Rene Escobar

By RENE ESCOBAR

The NBA Slam Dunk Contest, one of the greatest athletic competitions, will feature the best dunkers the league has to offer on Feb. 18 in New Orleans.

The dunk contest has showcased some of the most spectacular feats in sports, but which was the greatest ever?

We’re not talking one dunk but competition as a whole, from final contestants to star power.

Some defining moments will not be included in this debate. They include:

  • 2009, when the little man, 5-foot-9-inch Nate Robinson, jumped over 6-foot-11-inch Dwight Howard.
  • 2011’s car jump by Blake Griffin.
  • Michael Jordan’s dunk from the free throw line in 1988.
  • The no-look dunk by Dee Brown in 1991.

Only two contests come to mind: the ones in 2000 and 2016.

2000 featured the two best dunkers the NBA had to offer, cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady. They dueled it out with flashy awe-inspiring dunks.

Carter assisted McGrady with a bounce into a windmill dunk.

Carter answered back with the game-changing dunk, his famous arm-through-the-hoop dunk that scored a perfect 50.

2000 propelled Carter to stardom. The dunks he displayed helped advance his reputation, and he’s now acknowledged as the greatest dunker in NBA history.

The 2000 contest made the NBA’s All-Star Weekend a must-watch, something that Jordan and Dominique Wilkins could not accomplish in 1987.

Last year’s contest featured a finals duel for the ages, showcasing Zach LaVine and the University of Arizona’s own Aaron Gordon.

The two traded perfect scores like heavyweight boxers trading haymakers.

Gordon rocked the rim with a middle-of-the-air sitting dunk over a mascot. LaVine shot back with a windmill from the free throw line.

LaVine made the deciding shot with a through-the-legs dunk.

The 2016 contest gets my vote for the best of all time. It did not have the star power of 2000, but the finale came down to one dunk. Drama was present, and the participants displayed amazing creativity.

This year’s contest has potential to become one of the greatest ever.

New names have lots to live up to, and must make the most of their opportunities to prove themselves in the Crescent City.

Which Slam Dunk Contest gets your vote for best ever? Comment down below!