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The Range

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You Go, Girls!

A big congrats to the UA softball team, which won its seventh national championship in Oklahoma last week. The Cats, led by pitcher Alicia Hollowell (who had two shutouts), won five of six games to take the trophy.

UA softball coach Mike Candrea has led the Wildcats to the Women's College World Series in 17 of the last 18 years, as well as coaching the USA softball team that won the gold in the Athens Olympics in 2004.

In other news from the diamond: Federal officials raided the home of Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley last week after he stopped cooperating with an investigation into doping in baseball.

Grimsley, who has played with the Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians, Anaheim Angels, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles and the D'Backs since 1989, came under investigation after a human-growth hormone was delivered to his home on April 19, according to an affidavit filed by IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitsky.

Before he lawyered up, Grimsley told investigators that he had used a variety of performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids, amphetamines and human growth hormone, according to the affidavit.

Among the choice excerpts:

· "Grimsley described himself as a former user of amphetamines, which he referred to as 'greenies' and 'beans.' ... He stated that 'everybody has greenies. That's like aspirin.' Grimsley stated that until last year, Major League Baseball clubhouses had coffee pots labeled 'leaded' and 'unleaded' for the players, indicating coffee with amphetamines and without."

· "Grimsley identified, in his words, 'Latin players,' as a major source for the amphetamines within baseball. He stated that it was common knowledge that you could get amphetamines from 'Latin players.' He stated that he got amphetamines from 'Latin players' whenever he needed them. He stated that 'Latin players' had boxes of them."

· "Grimsley stated that amphetamines also came from players on the California teams that could easily go into Mexico and get them."

Grimsley's attorney, Edward Novak, told The Arizona Republic that the ballplayer denied many of the allegations in the report. Novak said Grimsley stopped cooperating after federal agents asked him to wear a wire and get other players to talk about Barry Bonds using performance-enhancing drugs.


Hometown Pride

A bomb made right here in Tucson blew the living hell out of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.

The first 500-pound bomb dropped on al-Zarqawi's secret HQ northeast of Baghdad was a Paveway GBU-12, whose guidance system is designed by Raytheon Missile Systems.

"The Paveway family of laser guided bombs has revolutionized tactical air-to-ground warfare by converting 'dumb' bombs into precision guided munitions," notes Raytheon's Web site.

The Associated Press reported that Pentagon officials said Zarqawi survived for 52 minutes after the air strike before dying from "extensive internal injuries" while strapped to a stretcher by U.S. forces who arrived on the scene. The AP also noted that skimpy underwear and a leopard-skin nightgown were found at the bombing site, suggesting that al Zarqawi was far more kinky than previously realized.

"The death of Zarqawi is a momentous victory for the United States global war on terror," Congressman Jim Kolbe wildly overstated in a press release. "This individual was responsible for leading efforts to destroy the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, assassinate an American diplomat in Jordan, bomb a hotel in Amman and kill countless innocent people. With Zarqawi out of the picture, Iraq is one step closer to becoming a freer country."

Unfortunately, there are approximately 6.5 million steps to go, unless you count a rapidly developing theocracy as a freer country.


Rising Tide

The Tucson City Council voted 4-2 to increase water rates by an average of 1 percent, although the per-household hike will depend on the amount of water used by customers. Councilmen Steve Leal and José Ibarra opposed the increase.

The rate hike will make it possible for the city to take more Central Arizona Project water at its Avra Valley recharge facility. City officials worry that unless Tucson begins storing more of its CAP allotment, it could lose a significant percentage if federal officials declare a shortage along the Colorado River as a result of drought conditions.


Street Fight

The Arizona Auditor General's Office released a report saying that Pima County misspent more than $5 million in gas and vehicle taxes in the last fiscal year. Auditors said the money, which is limited to street and highway uses, was being spent on mass transit, insurance premiums and school-safety programs. They added that about $10,000 was spent on "promotional products such as key chains and stress balls, employee training, food for business meetings, employee college tuition reimbursements, employee dry cleaning services, canopy for awards ceremony, food for public meetings, travel costs, and employee recognition plaques."

Pima County Finance Director Tom Burke said the county "disagrees with the position taken by the Auditor General" regarding transportation spending.

"We believe that the county's transportation program expenditures ... are in full compliance with all applicable statutes and regulations," Burke wrote.

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