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Two More Local Heroes: Norma Helentjaris and Ginny Daversa

There are a couple of women who really deserve acknowledgement as Local Heroes.

Early every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, Norma Helentjaris and Ginny Daversa show up at the Pima Animal Care Center, take inventory of all adoptable dogs, photograph the new ones to upload to Petfinders and Craigslist, and walk all of the adoptable dogs with a small posse of volunteers. It is hard, and given the conditions there, chaotic work.

The two start at 7 a.m. and end whenever the job is done, usually between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., after which they go to the cat room and photograph the adoptables there. They've done this every week for more than two years now. Adoption rates have soared thanks to their work (they also go in on other days to take pictures of "rescue dogs"--the ones PACC intends to put down unless they're rescued within 24 hours). It's amazing how much time these two clock up at PACC, for no pay, with no fuss. What's more, they are utterly normal and down-to-earth folks.

Ginny and Norma do so much to keep everything together. They should be sainted, but I figured a nod in the Tucson Weekly might be nice, too.

Caryl Flinn


A Glowing Endorsement of the Far-Reaching Impact of the 'Weekly'

The reach of Tucson Weekly continues to amaze me. Once again, you have proven how important you are as a Tucson media platform and as a tool for community engagement.

More than 100 visitors to the Dec. 5 Rooted in Place exhibit opening in downtown Tucson (some of whom said that this trek downtown on a Friday night was new for them) were the result of Claire Conrad's wonderful coverage of Imaging 123 and the exhibition opening ("Stand in the Place Where You Live," City Week, Dec. 4). It was great to see the mix of artists, professionals, retirees, old and young enjoying the show and walking downtown. A raffle of downtown items gave attendees a look at local merchant offerings (and hopefully an impetus to shop local more often). A map/journal allowed people to contribute their thoughts about place and its importance. I can say that the exhibit opening was a fabulous success--and the Tucson Weekly had a hand in that achievement. Also, the Tucson Main Street Web site you mentioned in the story had contact from at least three community groups that wanted to be included in "the discussion." People of all types, business, residential and nonprofit, all seem hungry to work together, and they all seem to get their news from the Tucson Weekly.

Thank you. I'll continue to be a fan of your great publication, and please continue to do a good job reporting on and engaging our community. Who knows? Maybe someday, all the effort will result in good things (economically, architecturally and culturally) for our downtown. We each must do our part.

Monica Surfaro Spigelman


A Different Version of Boys R Us History

I would like to respond to the article "Drag Dudes and Divas" (City Week, Dec. 11).

I am the original founder of the Boys R Us, and I believe that the article is inaccurate in some minor but significant ways. Dante Celeiro did not "discover" the Boys R Us, but was invited to join the group on a number of occasions, which he refused to do until I left as the group's primary figure. When Dante joined the group, the group went from being a collective that made decisions by rough consensus to having a group with a "manager" and a hierarchy. Although Dante runs the Boys R Us, I would not want your readers to get the impression that the Boys R Us was Dante's idea.

At the point when Dante took over, some members of the group were female UA students, but not all. Many of us were not students but were working in the community. Some of us were transgender; some of us were male. We were not performing "drag skits" but were doing full-length cabaret-style shows incorporating drag as well as a number of other genres.

To be fair, Dante's leadership as a manager has resulted in shows with bigger audiences and greater profits. However, it is my belief that the Boys R Us has long since stopped "pushing the envelope" and, in its form (following a hierarchy with Dante as leader) as well as content, has become much less political.

Teresa Simone


And Now, an Alternate Headline Suggestion

Regarding "The Power of Poetry" (Dec. 4): This headline is powerful and provocative, our higher selves synchronistic with muses.

However, for a cheeky foil, this Saturday Night Live skit (circa early '80s, with Eddie Murphy) came to mind: "Prose and Cons."

Jeff Calabrese


Corrections

In "Comfy Café" (Chow, Dec. 11), we reported that the price of chips at Sertinos Café is $5.99; the owner reports that the price is actually 99 cents. And in "Reasons to Smile" (Editor's Note, Dec. 18), we reported that there were two weeks or less left in 2009; that year should be 2008, and now, there's only a week left--or less. We apologize for the errors.

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