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Morning Travels with the Walking School Bus

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On a brisk spring morning the sun shines, the birds chirp, and a slight breeze makes its way through the neighborhoods of Tucson. Kids lace their shoes to begin their walk to school with neighborhood friends, cracking jokes and playing games like I-spy along the way. For Laura Still, this is every Wednesday morning. As an adult leader and the Walking School Bus coordinator, she takes a group of kids once a week to Annie W. Kellond Elementary School on East Lehigh Drive. “Wednesdays are my favorite part of my week,” Still said. “It’s the best way to start your day – the kids are so cute and interesting.” The program currently serves six schools across Tucson and encourages exercise and togetherness while helping parents. Safe Routes to School Tucson and the Living Streets Alliance, an organization that promotes...

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Trump’s success lights spark in Latino community

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  Donald Trump’s presidential campaign not only hovers over the idea of a bigger wall, but it also lights a fire under the Latino community that hasn’t been ignited in a long time. Whether it is for humor on social media or political debates and violent rallies across the nation, Trump’s platform brings a level of fear into the Latino community. Unlike the average fear, it’s not pushing Latino people away but uniting them to oppose the presumptive Republican candidate. According to Chula Robertson, an organizer for Mi Familia Vota, a non-profit organization that urges Latinos to promote social and economic justice through civic participation, this is the wake-up call the voting community has been waiting for to get Latinos to vote. “Though we are nonpartisan, we hear it all the time, ‘We want to vote so this guy doesn’t win,’”...

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From war to racism: a refugee tale

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Noorullah Dawari and his family stood patiently in the checkout line at a Tucson Walmart when a white woman behind them snarled, proclaiming that there are too many of “them” in this country. Her words cut to the core. There he stood with his wife their 2- and 6-year-old boys. The sadness was overwhelming. A refugee forced from his home in Afghanistan for helping U.S. forces confronting the Taliban, Noor came to this desert town for his family’s safety and instead found hatred. The family has seen this ugliness too many times since they arrived in Tucson earlier this year. His wife, a slender slip of a woman with long dark hair partially covered with a loose headscarf, is often the signal that says “different.” Drivers thrust middle fingers at the family from passing cars. Angry stares populate public places. Noor, as...

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Rising stars of Pueblo High School

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While Pueblo High School may carry a generalization of  being in a rough southern Tucson neighborhood, where graduation rates are low, student retention is tough and student participation is lacking- these seven students hope to rebut the reputation of their school with their very own success stories.  Here are the stories of seven seniors at Pueblo who are defying the stereotypes of their school and graduating in May of 2016. Daniel Lopez, 19 His biggest motivator?  He says it’s his grandfather who he calls Tata José. “When I think of the American dream I think of him,” said Daniel, From the beginning of kindergarten to his final days at Pueblo, a hard work ethic has been drilled into his head. Seeing what his grandfather did for their family motivates him to be the best academic he can be. The “weird” one in...

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Lions Dance in Tucson, After Lots of Practice

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A dragon-like creature charges out from the side of the stage, his oversized red and yellow head sways back and forth to the beat of the drums. At the bang of a gong, the creature’s giant eyelids flutter as they reveal bright green eyes peering at the audience. The mythical animal jumps off stage and its body maneuvers through the crowded aisles, occasionally stopping and twisting its head as the ears flap and mouth opens. Underneath the costume are the legs of two people, the operators of the lifelike prop. “I think the lion dance is the event everyone waits for,” says Susan Chan, the treasurer of the Tucson Chinese Culture Center and the woman in charge of the 2016 Chinese New Year celebration at the center. Crowds came together at the celebration to watch the centuries-old dance. “Is...

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Support For Recreational Marijuana Hits All-Time High, Headed For Ballot

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Pot. Weed. Mary Jane. Ganja. Dope. Grass. Reefer. Herb. Bud. No matter the street name, marijuana is rapidly becoming a huge business across the country, with $5.7 billion in sales over the last year. In Arizona, a recreational marijuana legalization campaign is reaching its goal to appear on the November ballot. The current laws in Arizona make marijuana legal only for medicinal purposes, and it must be prescribed by a doctor. Proponents of the ballot initiative need to collect about 150,000 legitimate signatures by July in order for it to appear on the ballot. Almost 99 percent of them have already been collected, according to Jeff Schaeffer, executive director of PARC Dispensary in Phoenix. The Arizona Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana by people who are 21 and older, permit people...

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Killing the San Pedro

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  A colossal proposed housing development in Benson, Arizona, threatens to deplete the San Pedro River and the local water supply within five years of completion.       *Click the Image for Full Article*   Access a Microsoft Word version of the article and high-resolution photos click HERE Jordan Glenn is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service provided by the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona. Contact him at jglenn4@email.arizona.edu...

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Nogales Connection: Daily shuttle service delivers

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Inside the neon green and yellow shack on 6th Avenue, a few blocks outside of South Tucson, there are four rows of connected seats facing the entrance and a gray television set broadcasting an episode of Malcolm in the Middle dubbed in Spanish. A glossy Mexican national flag is painted across the wall behind the rows of seats, and candlelight reflects off of a porcelain figurine of La Virgen de Guadalupe placed on a small stool by the ticket counter. Luis Alberto Lopez Hernandez, a contracted shuttle driver for the family owned Sahuaro Shuttle service, pulls his 14-passenger van up to the side of the vibrantly colored building and plants a stool in front of its opened double doors. “Nogales! Quien va para Nogales? (Who’s going to Nogales?),” he announces in front of the shuttle. He jokes with the other drivers before attentively greeting the four...

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Budget spends millions for unwanted Border Strike Force

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The latest budget deal spends million of dollars on a new Border Strike Force created at Gov. Ducey’s request last year, but border county sheriffs say they want no part of it. The budget deal appropriates a total of $26.6 million to the Department of Public Safety specifically for the Border Strike Force under its command, which is about $5 million less than Ducey’s original $31.5 million bid. During his State of the State speech in January, Ducey called the Border Strike Force “a partnership between local, state and federal law enforcement that’s providing a force multiplier in the fight against drug cartels and border crimes.” That partnership was rocky from the start, spurring criticisms from border sheriffs in Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties. They remain skeptical about the Border Strike Force’s need, operational plan, effectiveness and...

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Seeking Safe Haven: Central American children hope to find refuge across U.S.-Mexico Border

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About an hour south of Tucson, on the other side of a fence that demarcates the United States from Mexico, a humanitarian crisis unfolds as tens of thousands of child migrants from Central America cross the border. Over the past five years, more than 140,000 children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have made the more than 2,000 mile, two-week minimum journey on foot without a guaranteed source of food, water or shelter all in hope of finding a safe haven in the U.S. Along the way, these children are vulnerable to human trafficking, exploitation and abuse in addition to innumerable hazards on the road. Every day, more children arrive from these countries, and surpassed the number of migrant children from Mexico for the first time in 2013. By 2014, the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border,...

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