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SPRING BREAK: Getaways close to home

SPRING BREAK: Getaways close to home


Spring Break offers a time for fun and taking a week to forget about school.

If you’re a typically broke college student, you probably can’t even afford to look at top destinations such as Cabo or Miami.

Never fear. If you want a good time without spending too much, you’re reading the right article.


The park is located in Santa Cruz County about an hour and a half south of Tucson. Options include visiting for the day or camping near its namesake Patagonia Lake.

Enjoy scenic water views from a boat, with rentals available. You can also fish, swim or take a half-mile hike to Sonoita Creek.

The park is open for day use from 4 a.m.-10 p.m. Admission costs $15- $20 per vehicle for up to four people, and $3 for individual walk-ins or bicyclists.

Tips for day visitors:

• Arrive early, like at 6 a.m., to maximize fun and to nab a spot that includes a picnic table and great view.

• If you get tired, take a nap in the sun. Just make sure to layer on the SPF.

• Pack a picnic. Fast food and restaurants are not readily available.

• Compile a playlist and make sure you’re able to use offline mode, because service is spotty.

• Take a sweater. It can be chilly in the morning and is often windy.

Make reservations for tent or RV camping at 877-MY-PARKS from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., or reserve online.

For more information, visit https://azstateparks. com/patagonia-lake.


The Mexican beach resort is roughly three hours south of Tucson. Bring your passport or birth certificate.

Most hotels require a person over 25 years old to make the reservation but some allow guests under age 25 to stay at their properties. Many also offer Spring Break deals.

A sampling includes Las Palmas, Princesa Penasco, Casa Blanca, Bella Sirena, Playa Bonita, Laos Mar and Peñasco del Sol.

Daytime activities can be just as fun as the nightlife. Options include day bars, ATV and jet ski rentals, horseriding on the beach, golf, fishing, sunset cruises and banana boats. You’ll see banana boat rides available all over Rocky Point’s beaches.

Rides usually cost $5-$20, depending on how long you ride and how far you go. The boats normally carry six to eight people per trip.

For more information, visit sites such as


Visit Arizona’s west “coast” if you’re looking to get out of town but not out of state. Havasu is located along the Colorado River, four and a half hours from Tucson.

Known for its year-round sunshine and huge Spring Break crowds, Havasu offers tubing, boating hiking, cycling, fishing, offroading and much more. You won’t run out of things to do.

For additional details, visit the Spring Break Section of


Tucson offers fun, touristy and scenic spots that won’t hurt your wallet too much.

It’s free to hike Tumamoc Hill, located off West Anklam Road. Just follow the three rules: no pets, no hiking between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and don’t mess with the wildlife and plants. Carpool with friends and then go for brunch.

For an overview of Tucson’s many other hiking trails, see visittucson. org/things-to-do/hiking.

If you want an adrenaline rush, consider Get Air, Rocks and Ropes or Autobahn Indoor Speedway.

Get Air trampoline park, 330 S. Toole Ave., costs $12 for one hour and $18 for two hours. You’ll pay an extra $3 for jump socks. Hours are Monday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m.; Friday, noon-11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. For more information, visit

Rocks and Ropes, also located at 330 S. Toole Ave., offers indoor rock climbing. Admission costs $15 for adults, $10 for ages 12 and under. Other options: pay $12 for a first-time lesson with orientation, $6 for equipment rental or $30 for a full firsttime package. Hours are Monday-Friday, 3-10 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. For more information, visit https://rocksandropes. com/downtown.

Autobahn Indoor Speedway, 300 S. Toole Ave., lets the kid in you live out your Mario Kart dreams. Prices vary from $19.99 to $100. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Saturday, 10 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. For more information, visit autobahnspeed. com/locations/tucson-arizona-indoor-gokarts.

If you prefer a calmer pace, consider one of the 10-plus museums located in Tucson area. One example: the Tucson Museum of Art, 166 W. Alameda St. For more information, visit

Daniella Campuzano and Ashley Muñoz contributed to this article.

THE WORD: What are your plans for Spring Break?

THE WORD: What are your plans for Spring Break?

Interviews and photos by Erik Medina at Desert Vista Campus

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

Bella Caballero

Major: Equine veterinarian

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

Chantia Kinsey

Major: Hospitality

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

Pablo Medina

Major: Pre-med

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

Francisco Flowers

Major: Mechanical and nuclear engineering

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

Cindy Fragozo

Major: Liberal arts

ROAD TRIP: Five getaways for spring break

ROAD TRIP: Five getaways for spring break



Ah, spring break. The weather is at its finest in Tucson. You’ve got the time, so here are five road trips in Southern Arizona for you to take each day of the break.

1. Tubac and Tumacacori

Head south on Interstate 19 towards Nogales. After you pass Green Valley, you will get to Tubac.

Spanish settlers first settled Tubac in the mid 1700s. Today Tubac is known as much for its arts and crafts as for its history.

During your visit, you can cruise shops and galleries with a full array of arts and artisan creations. Enjoy a vast variety of paintings, ceramics, sculptures and photography. Find unique antiques, jewelry and all sorts of crafts.

You can also take a gentle walk on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, which is filled with colorful natural beauty and unique flora and fauna.

This 1,200-mile trail goes all the way to San Francisco, but you can save that trip for another school break.

When you are done with Tubac, head further south on I-19 to another historical site, Tumacacori National Park. Father Kino, a Spanish priest, settled here in the late 1600s and built one of many missions he established in southern Arizona and northern Mexico.

A vintage car and jewelry displays lure visitors to a gallery in Tubac. The artsy-crafty town south of Tucson is filled with shops suited for all budgets. (Photos by C. J. Lancaster)

A vintage car and jewelry displays lure visitors to a gallery in Tubac. The artsy-crafty town south of Tucson is filled with shops suited for all budgets. (Photos by C. J. Lancaster)

2. Mount Lemmon 

Following a long, winding road known as the Catalina Highway, you will get to the top of Mount Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains located north of the Tucson valley. This is where the locals go to get cool in the summer and where some go to ski in the winter.

Near the summit is a small town, Summerhaven, where you can enjoy lunch and visit the shops.  If you want to go higher, continue on to Ski Valley. In mid-March it’s not likely to have enough snow to ski, but who knows?

3. Tombstone and Bisbee 

Tombstone claims to be “the town too tough to die.” Known for the famous Shootout at the OK Corral, the town feeds off an extensive tourist industry with shows, restaurants, saloons and stagecoach rides.

On the way into town, check out the Boothill Cemetery. One grave marker says, “Hanged by mistake.” I guess he wasn’t “too tough to die.”

From Tombstone, head down the road to Bisbee for another mix of art and history. The main streets downtown have a plethora of craft and art shops.

My personal favorite is to visit the lobby of the Copper Queen Hotel and read journals of guests who have had haunting experiences for the last few decades. Or be brave and spend the night.

A marker at Tombstone’s Boothill Cemetery honors “hanged by mistake” George Johnson.

A marker at Tombstone’s Boothill Cemetery honors “hanged by mistake” George Johnson.

4. Madera Canyon

Nestled in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson is a beautiful canyon with numerous hiking trails. Along the way you can marvel at a variety of flora and fauna from desert to mountain habitats.

As always, when the weather is warm in the desert, be aware of your surroundings and stay on the lookout for rattlesnakes and other critters. Be sure to bring food, water and a phone in case of emergencies.

5. Silver City, New Mexico

Located just a three-hour drive east from Tucson, Silver City offers more shops, plus hot springs and ruins to explore in the surrounding area. It is worth it to spend one or two nights here to take it all in.

While there you may want to check out Western New Mexico University, where students from Arizona can get in-state tuition prices.

Be careful of the speed traps on the main highways at all times of the day and night.

By the numbers: Spring break


1.5 million*

Number of students who go on spring break each year.


Ranking for Panama City Beach, Fla., as the top U.S. spring break destination.


Number of drinks consumed daily by both men and women on spring break.


Number of students who spend their spring break in Cancun, Mexico.


Minimum number of spring breakers who die each year after falling off a balcony.


Number of Americans arrested overseas during spring break.

1 billion+**

Dollars spent by students annually during spring break.


Percentage of annual income that local businesses earn from spring break.


Number of students who spent their spring break building houses with Habitat for Humanity.






THE WORD: What are your plans for Spring Break?

THE WORD: What are your plans for Spring Break?

Pg03-Word-Jared Phillips

“I’m off to New Mexico to relax and visit friends and family.”

Jared Phillips, 25

Major: Biology


Pg03-Word-Alexandra Miller

“My friend and I are going to Rocky Point, Mexico. Jet skiing, horseback riding and a sunset cruise are all on the agenda.”

Alexandra Miller, 19

Major: Nursing


Pg03-Word-Andrew McGlaughlin

“I’m going boating with family and friends at Lake Pleasant and Lake Roosevelt. We’re going to get some wakeboard time in.”

Andrew McGlaughlin, 20

Major: Business


Pg03-Word-Amerillis Beager

“I’m taking my dogs to San Diego so we can run on the beach.”

Amerillis “Emmy” Beager, 19

Major: Liberal Arts


Pg03-Word-Allen Ganuelas

“Some friends have a cabin in Idaho, so I’m joining them to go snowboarding.”

Allen Ganuelas, 19

Major: Aerospace Engineering



Photos and interviews by Emery Nicoletti on Northwest Campus

Check out video versions of The Word at

Is your skin Spring Break ready?

Is your skin Spring Break ready?


The rising temperatures of Spring Break bring with it a desire to let the sun warm our skin and give us that youthful color we admire — a tonic against what we perceive to be an aging pallor.

However, that youthful glow is a bit of a paradox when it comes to healthy and wrinkle-free skin.

Exposing our skin to the harmful rays of the sun can lead to advanced aging, and a very real and dangerous increase in the risk of skin cancer.

Over the past few years, there has been a concerted effort among public agencies and health care professionals to educate sun worshippers to protect themselves against overexposure to the sun.

There are a number of very simple but effective measures that will significantly reduce your risk of skin cancer, or melanoma.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends these easy options:

• Stay in the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These are hours when the rays are most dangerous. Also, ultraviolet rays from sunlight are greatest during the late spring and early summer in North America.

• Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs, and a hat with a wide brim to protect your face, head, ears and neck. Don’t think UV rays can only reach you on bright and sunny days.  UV rays can also reach you on cloudy and hazy days, and reflect off water, cement and snow.

• Wear sunglasses that block both UV-A rays (Long-Term rays) and UV-B rays (Short-Term rays). Choose a wrap-around style.

• Use sunscreen with at least a skin protection factor of 15; one that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

• Avoid indoor tanning beds. You are still exposed to UV radiation when using indoor tanning devices, no matter how sophisticated the technology.

Whether you choose to spend spring break in Tucson or on the beaches of Rocky Point, Mexico, or San Diego, Calif., remember this: The American Southwest is No. 2 in the world for malignant melanoma. The desert regions of Australia’s outback are No. 1.

Most of the skin damage adults see in their 40s was already set in motion in their 20s, and there’s no turning back the clock.

It is especially crucial now to ensure proper protection before going out in the sun to guarantee younger looking skin in the future.

Additionally, do not get caught up in the SPF web. If you find an over-the-counter sunscreen with zinc oxide, you already have the most SPF coverage you need, regardless of the claimed SPF level of protection.

Yes, there are SPFs that climb to 200 but that is overkill. The additional SPF is the manufacturer’s attempt to generate revenue from unsuspecting clients. A maximum SPF15 is the most protection an OTC sunscreen provides.

Your skin is very elastic, durable and complex, and is the largest organ on your body. On your eyelids, your skin may be as thin as a piece of paper. On your feet, it could be a quarter-inch thick.

Referred to as “the mirror of the body,” good looking skin is generally a reflection of overall good health. On the other hand, infections or other health disorders sometimes first make their presence known on the surface of the skin.

When having a friend apply sunscreen to your back, ask them to conduct a quick check to look for spots you can’t see yourself on your neck, back or scalp.

Sites online show you what irregular skin conditions look like. For the best preventive measures, see your doctor for questions regarding health.

Your skin has a variety of functions. The most obvious is to serve as an enclosure for all your other organs. Other functions include temperature regulation, protection, absorption, sensation, secretion and excretion.

Plenty of water keeps these functions working properly and efficiently. Keep your skin’s eliminating metabolism working as best it can.

While others around you may indulge in tasty beverages, keep water as one of your favorites during Spring Break.

Your skin is very tough and waterproof. This helps the skin to protect the body from harmful bacteria and to prevent the absorption of many harmful substances.

Remember these helpful outside tips and help your skin help you.

Spring break on a budget

Spring break on a budget


Pima Community College’s spring break is March 17-23, which means we’ll all soon be jetting off to Cancun, Honolulu or some other resort destination.

What? You’re not going to Hawaii or Mexico? Neither am I.

I can’t afford to go anywhere exotic, and I’m not alone. What I can do is offer ideas for spring break outings that won’t leave you broke. Some are free and some cost a bit of money, but they’re all good deals.

I’ve also suggested a movie for each destination, either to provide a little context or just to get you in the mood.


Is there anybody out there?

Close to home and yet out-of-this-world, the planetarium and observatory at the University of Arizona’s Flandrau Science Center has something for aspiring astronomers of all ages.

The observatory is generally open Thursday-Saturday from 7-10 p.m. It is staffed entirely by volunteers, so call ahead to confirm they’ll be open. Visitors can experience the 16-inch telescope (weather permitting) and ask questions about the night sky.

The observatory is free to visit, though donations are appreciated.

The center also offers traditional planetarium shows, ranging from “Legends of the Night Sky” to “Touring the Planets.” Laser shows are mostly “Family Friendly Music Shows” or Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and “Dark Side of the Moon.”

Tickets for the planetarium and laser show cost $5.

Details: or 621-7827.

Movie suggestions: “Contact” (1997). If you’re feeling ambitious, a double feature of “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) and its underrated sequel “2010” (1984).


Catch a show at the Flandrau Science Center on the University of Arizona campus. (Aztec Press photo by Michael Anderson)

Catch a show at the Flandrau Science Center on the University of Arizona campus. (Aztec Press photo by Michael Anderson)


Mosey through the Boneyard

Back on Earth, Tucson is home to the largest aircraft storage facility in the world. Officially known as the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, most people know it simply as the Boneyard.

The 309th AMARG is home to several thousand aircraft from all military branches. Most are waiting to be scrapped, cannibalized for parts or to eventually be re-fitted and returned to active duty.

Bus tours are available Monday-Friday for $7 through the Pima Air and Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road. A tour requires government-issued identification. The museum itself is a very cool place, too, but a little pricier at $12.25 for Pima county residents.

There’s nothing quite like the Boneyard anywhere else in the world, and the tour is a surreal trip through the history of NATO “Cold War” aviation.

Details: or 574-0462.

Movie suggestion: “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1987). Oddly enough, the Boneyard is an important theme in this excellent teen comedy, which also features Tucson High School.

A row of F-16 Fighting Falcons at the Boneyard await visitors who take a weekday tour. (Photo by John Sanders)

A row of F-16 Fighting Falcons at the Boneyard await visitors who take a weekday tour. (Photo by John Saunders)


Take me out to the ballgame

Arizona has been synonymous with spring baseball for almost 100 years. Recently, most spring training stadiums have become overcrowded and shockingly expensive. (I’m looking at you, Scottsdale Stadium.)

One exception is Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, spring home of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Unlike the Giants and Dodgers, the Brewers don’t have hordes of fans. That means tickets are reasonably priced and not impossible to get. Lawn seating is $8 and some reserved seats cost $13. Maryvale Park, located at 3600 N. 51st Ave., hosts four games during PCC’s break.

If you want baseball without the drive north, the Pima Aztecs play at West Campus on March 15 and 18. The softball team plays at home on March 20 and 22.


Movie suggestions: “Major League” (1989). Spring training scenes were shot at Hi-Corbett Field. Or try “Bad News Bears” (1976). Rent the original only; accept no substitutes.


What do you want on your Tombstone?

The most famous gunfight in American history took place just 70 miles from Tucson, at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone. As one of the last boomtowns of the Old West, Tombstone has a colorful history of miners, gamblers, prostitutes and gunfighters.

The downtown has been relatively well preserved. It is well worth a visit for those interested in local or western history.

The best attraction is the O.K. Corral itself, which is now a museum. It’s located at 326 E. Allen St. and is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. It features a re-enactment of the 1881 shootout between the Earps and the McLaury-Clanton crew every day at 2 p.m.

Most historians agree the gunfight actually occurred a few doors down the street, but the O.K. Corral is a must-visit attraction nonetheless. Tickets for the museum and re-enactment cost $10. Get them early because the show will probably sell out.

The most authentic site in Tombstone is probably the Bird Cage Theatre. It was a one-stop-shop for miners and gamblers, functioning as a theater, saloon, gambling hall and brothel.

It’s not as cool as the O.K. Corral and it costs $10, but check it out if you need the full Tombstone experience. It has a dark and violent past, and is undeniably spooky.

On your way out of town, stop by Boot Hill Graveyard, the final resting place for victims of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Many headstones have humorous inscriptions reflecting gallows humor.

It is a free and fitting way to end a trip to the “Town Too Tough to Die.”


Movie suggestion: “Tombstone” (1993). Kurt Russell is great as the legendary Wyatt Earp.

Boot Hill gravesites honor the three men killed in the famous Shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone. (Photo by Cynthia Lancaster)

Boot Hill gravesites honor the three men killed in the famous Shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone. (Photo by Cynthia Lancaster)


Put down ‘Angry Birds’ and go see some real ones

Madera Canyon, east of Green Valley off Interstate-19, is a bird-watching paradise. It contains beautiful hiking trails and hosts at least 200 species of birds as a waypoint on migration routes.

The canyon is open daily from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. and is a wonderful place for a picnic. Parking costs $5.

A male Elegant Trogan is one of the rare birds that can be spotted in Madera Canyon. (Photo by Alan Stankevitz)

A male Elegant Trogan is one of the rare birds that can be spotted in Madera Canyon. (Photo by Alan Stankevitz)

If birds aren’t your thing, you can hike or picnic on Mount Lemmon, watch a sunset at Gates Pass, ramble through Sabino Canyon or check out Saguaro National Park.

Tucson is virtually surrounded by cool places to experience nature. Go out and find your favorite.

Details: or 281-2296

Movie suggestion: “Winged Migration” (2001). An excellent if slightly slow documentary on the worldwide migration habits of birds. Not a fan of documentaries? Have a dark sense of humor? Check out Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” (1963) and then go bird watching.

Gates Pass west of Tucson offers sweeping views of the Tucson Valley. (Aztec Press photo by Rachel White)

Gates Pass west of Tucson offers sweeping views of the Tucson Valley. (Aztec Press photo by Rachel White)


Go to prison

Many people have heard of the Yuma Territorial Prison, but how many have actually been there? Yuma is four hours from Tucson, so a visit should be part of an overnighter or a pit stop on the way to California.

The prison was one of the most notorious in the Southwest, housing Arizona’s worst criminals from 1876-1909. It was built on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River and much of it is well preserved.

It has a fascinating museum and original cellblocks that give you a sense of how horrible it must have been to do time there and how daunting the prospect of escape would have seemed.

The museum costs $6 and is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. There is also a hiking trail that runs along the river.

Details: or

Movie suggestion: What else? “3:10 to Yuma” (2007). An entertaining western action film starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.

Visitors investigate the original cellblocks preserved at the Yuma Territorial Prison. (Photo by Debbie Weber)

Visitors investigate the original cellblocks preserved at the Yuma Territorial Prison. (Photo by Debbie Weber)

The Word: What are your plans for spring break?

The Word: What are your plans for spring break?

Christopher Corrington

“I’m going to Disneyland with friends.”

Christopher Corrington

Major: Business

Christina Andrews

“I will be studying for my veterinary tech exam.”

Christina Andrews

Major: Veterinary Technician

Eric Mcneely

“I will probably spend some time with my girlfriend.”

Eric McNeely

Major: Anthropology

Tyrene Daoey

“I’m going to SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park.”

Tyrene Daoey

Major: Nursing

Steve Smith

“Calculus and chemistry homework, then I might see the movie ‘Divergent.’”

Steve Smith

Major: Aerospace Engineering

Interviews and photos by Will Willcoxson at Northwest Campus

TOP 10: Best tracks for spring break road trips


Chances are you’ll take advantage of spring break by going on vacation with your friends. To help you clear the otherwise awkwardly quiet car ride, here are suggestions for your #SpringBreak2k14 playlist.

10. “Playboy Girl” by Holychild

While Holychild is the least known group on this list, indie radar spotlights them for their unique brat pop sound. The Los Angeles-based duo has made heads turn since their early success in 2013 and has been grouped into Billboard’s “14 artists to watch in 2014.” This track will make you feel like you’re drinking a sugary cocktail on Venice Beach in a bikini. Their EP “Mindspeak” is available now on iTunes.

9. “Can’t Remember to Forget You” by Shakira featuring Rihanna

The Latin pop rock queen from Barranquilla, Colombia, is back to remind us that her hips definitely do not lie. The fun-fueled track is filled with Latin spice while Rihanna adds to the mixes by bringing in Caribbean flavor. Shakira’s new album is set to release March 25.

8. “Girls” by The 1975

Coming from the boys who brought you “Chocolate,” the second single off The 1975’s self-titled album is again making us fall in love with their quirky attitudes. Anyone can relate to that awkward encounter with a first crush. This song keeps the memories fun without having to relive the social anxiety.

7. “Treasure” by Bruno Mars

This is the third single off Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” album. Its funk and post-disco elements are sure to keep you dancing. Listening to this care-free track, you can understand why it has hit the top 10 in 18 countries.

6. “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic

OneRepublic’s third album, “Natives,” proves they are once again going in the right direction. This is the third single released off the album. It has already topped several charts, including hitting No. 1 on American Top 40.

5. “XO” by Beyonce

Mrs. Carter is back and prepared to put everyone in the music industry in their place. On this single from her latest self-titled album, Beyonce’s soulful voice will have you ready for anything to happen.

4. “Luna” by Bombay Bicycle Club

The four members of this British band have come back after three years and don’t disappoint with their much-anticipated fourth album, “So Long, See You Tomorrow.” This is the second single released so far. Its melodic marimba sounds are guaranteed to put you in a spring break kind of mood.

3. “We Come Running” by Youngblood Hawke

Youngblood Hawke made a name for themselves in the Los Angeles music scene, selling out a string of shows at venues such as The Roxy and Satellite before they were signed to Universal Republic. Even if your travel plans don’t involve going to the beach, you will feel like it when listening to this single off of their “Wake Up” album.

2. “Crystallized” by Young the Giant

Young the Giant keeps it fun with this second single off their long-awaited sophomore album, “Mind Over Matter.” From beginning to end, you’ll be mesmerized by the dancing organ and synth tunes.

1. “Goodness Gracious” by Ellie Goulding

Known for her upbeat electronic sound, Ellie Goulding is a great way to start spring break. The house singer co-wrote this song with the lead singer of the band Fun, Nate Ruess. This track is exclusive to Goulding’s “Halcyon Days” album.

What tracks get your vote for spring break? Comment online at