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The Range

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Doggone!

The Pima County Sheriff's Department is looking for information on the truly sick scumbuckets who spent their Christmas holiday using a pitbull mix for target practice. The dog, now known as Bullet, was found riddled with multiple gunshot wounds, apparently thanks to a pair of motorcycle riders, in the Redington Pass area on Dec. 26.

Based on an anonymous tip, sheriff's deputies last week arrested Justin Daniel Curran, 19, but charges were dismissed for lack of evidence. Curran, who denies involvement in the shooting, remains a suspect.

Marsh Myers of the Animal Cruelty Taskforce reports that Bullet, estimated to be 2 years old, is expected to make a full recovery. Although he still has shrapnel in his body, "he's in good spirits and doing well," says Myers, who adds that Bullet has overcome some heart problems. To make a contribution to Bullet's medical bills, call the Humane Society at 321-3704, ext. 141.

Myers adds that he's been informed that information on the shooting continues to come in on the 88-CRIME tip line. Authorities are offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the reprehensible SOB(s) who shot the dog.


Teach Your Children

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne last week delivered his annual State of Education speech, proposing that the state pay teachers more and get more students into a rigorous curriculum.

"By working hard, using our most successful teachers and principals as models to improve Arizona schools, teachers and curriculum, I believe we can ultimately bring success to every Arizona student," Horne said.

Horne also announced a massive effort to help high school students pass the AIMS test so they can graduate this spring. He said the state had established a new AIMS hotline, (866) 688-AIMS, which will answer questions about the test and point students in the direction of tutors.

Earlier this week, Horne took issue with Gov. Janet Napolitano's claim in her State of the State address that the state didn't have a system for professional development for teachers.

"The Arizona Department of Education is the hub of the statewide system for professional development for Arizona teachers, and every division in the department has a professional development component," said Horne in a statement. "One unit alone had 24 academies serving more than 2,000 teachers, and that's just the tip of the iceberg."


Alcohol Enhanced

Watch out, drunk drivers! Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor last week announced plans to speed up processing of DUI cases so that 98 percent of all cases are resolved within 180 days by various means, including "not allowing for unnecessary case delays."

The courts will also work to identify "effective treatment models" and work with various agencies to "identify the best way to handle DUI cases and enhance public safety."

"This is the first time anyone has taken a comprehensive look at how DUI cases are processed statewide," McGregor said in a statement. "This comprehensive approach allowed us to examine how the courts and law enforcement can work together better and move the Arizona's judicial branch from 'Good to Great.'"

We'll drink to that!


Retails Politics

The Tucson City Council continued sweeping wealthy special interests out of City Hall last week by voting unanimously to speed up the collection of commercial impact fees. But instead of charging the full amount beginning this summer, as new Democrats Nina Trasoff and Karin Uhlich originally proposed, the city plans to begin collecting 50 percent of the fees beginning in July and charge the full amount in 2008.

Under the previous schedule, full commercial impact fees would not have been collected until 2011.


Oh, For Christ's Sake!

Religious nut Pat Robertson is back in the headlines, saying that God struck down Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with debilitating strokes because he divided God's land.

"The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, 'divide my land.' God considers this land to be his," Robertson told viewers of The 700 Club. "You read the Bible, he says, 'This is my land.' And for any prime minister of Israel who decides he's going carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No. This is mine.'"

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