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Monday’s Top 10 news digs

Today’s Top 10 news stories I’m digging from the Arizona Daily Star, the Arizona Republic and the USA Today:

1. Don’t let people buy way out of traffic school – Arizona Daily Star  A measure approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee recently would let ticketed motorists buy their way out of trouble, as Capitol Media Services reported. They could pay a flat fee of, say, $255 and walk away with no driving school time or tuition, no points on their license, no record, no ticket.

Traffic school is a joke. There is little evidence it plays any role in reducing speeding or improving traffic safety. I disagree that a buy out option would unfairly penalize lower income drivers.  Traffic school fees are almost as expensive as tickets, if not more so.
The key to safer driving is tougher and more frequent driver’s tests.

2. Living without a voice in Foothills – Arizona Daily Star  The reasons we’re not part of the city? It depends upon to whom one talks. According to some, Democratic City Council members don’t want us Foothills residents to vote in the city because we’re all Republicans. Nonsense. Not only are not all Foothills residents Republicans, some of us are, shudder, liberals.

I know how she feels. I live in unincorporated Pima County but get Tucson Water. I have no say over my water rates. If I got my water from a private water company, my rates would regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission, but because Tucson’s municipal system was allowed to extend beyond city limits, I’m a disenfranchised user. The ACC should be empowered to regulate municipal systems outside of city limits or municipalities should be forced to divest themselves of their extraterritorial systems. As for the guest opinion writer’s concerns about living in the Foothills and having no say in the city, there have been multiple attempts to either incorporate the Foothills or the city annex it and all have failed. If she wants a say in Tucson, she can lead a successful annexation drive or move.

3. Hot Wings leave Pens in cold again – Arizona Daily Star  The Red Wings are tired, beat up, and just two wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup again.

They still play hockey in this country? I could care less about the story, I just thought the headline was cool.

4. They won two titles but Banister, Leles end careers in tears – Arizona Daily Star  In 2008 and 2009, the Wildcats went 0-4 in Oklahoma City, losing by a total score of 23-1. The UA’s only run — scored last year against Alabama — was unearned.

A tough way for seniors to go out, but 10 years from now, all they’ll remember are the two championship rings. Plus, they played in four straight WCWS. Few softball players in this country outside of Arizona can say that.  As for the returning players, you need pitching help. Hang in there, Kenzie’s on her way.

5. Slipshod health-records system puts welfare of inmates at risk – Arizona Republic  An Arizona Republic investigation into Correctional Health Services reveals a system with chronic problems and top county officials who seem unwilling to fix them.

Excellent investigative series. There’s a link back to day one from this day two story.

6. Students to build raft motors – Arizona Republic  Mark Grisham, executive director of the association, which represents 16 rafting companies, said he has been “immensely impressed” by the “innovative efforts” of the students. He said what his group calls the Alternative Motorboat Project was part of renewing the contract with the Park Service to allow outfitters to run trips in the canyon.

Great example of private-public partnership. Hope it works.

7. Sunscreen isn’t just about SPF – USA Today  Consumers who want to save their skin this summer need to be vigilant, sun protection experts say, because confusing, sometimes misleading labels still line drugstore shelves nearly two years after the Food and Drug Administration proposed new labeling rules.

Caveat emptor. Read the fine print. Then get degrees in chemistry and biology to understand it.

8. Gay’s smoking 200 a message to Bolt – USA Today   In his first 200 since pulling a hamstring muscle at the Olympic Trials 11 months ago, Gay ran 19.58 seconds — the third-best time in history behind Usain Bolt’s 19.30 at the 2008 Olympics and Michael Johnson’s 19.32 at the ’96 Games.

I love track and field but it’s a snore on TV, so you rarely get to watch it in the U.S. But that’s not why I dug this story. Great headline, especially if you don’t know shucks about track, it reads like a double entendre.

9. Cuba set to resume talks with the U.S. – USA Today  There has been no direct mail link with Cubans since 1962. Congress voted to resume direct mail delivery in 1992, but the Cuban government has not allowed it.

Time to end this anachronism of the Cold War. If we want to reform the Cubans, expose them to the benefits of capitalism and democracy. If we can do trillions of dollars of business with the Chinese, an ostensibly communist country with a horrible human rights record, than what’s wrong with the Cubans?

10. Funds that bet against bull get gored – USA Today  The average stock mutual fund has soared 36.7% since the market’s first-quarter low, but the 100 worst-performing funds plummeted an average 45.8%.

The stock market’s a scam. Unless it makes you money, then it’s great.

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