It's not every day I end up in the bear enclosure at Reid Park Zoo with two members of the Weekly's hard-charging sales team, associate publisher Casey Anderson and silver-tongued ad rep Tyler Vondrak. But there we were, hiding herring under branches and shoveling bear shit—which, when you get right down to it, isn't all that different from the day job.
Zookeeper Chelsea Barber filled us in on Ronan and Finley, the grizzlies who make their home at Reid Park Zoo. They're rescue bears that came over as cubs after they had learned some bad behavior up at Yellowstone National Park. Normally, they would have been put down, but instead they now live their days here in Tucson, swimming in their pool and fighting off the birds that try to steal their breakfast.
"They are smarter than your average bears," Barber told me, "and they do like picnic baskets."
If you're interested in learning more about the bears, you'll get your chance during the inaugural Friday night Summer Safari at Reid Park Zoo. In the summer months, it's a bit hot during the day to visit the zoo for most of us, so the zoo opens up each Friday night with a focus on different creatures that make their home in Reid Park. You'll find all the details on Summer Safari, along with a whole bunch more fun you can have this week, in City Week.
Elsewhere in this week's Currents section: Logan Burtch-Buus shares a story about Grizzly Mom Barbara Anderson, who got just about the worst news imaginable a few years ago when her 18-month-old son Jude was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Little Jude, along with his family, has been been through hell and back—bone marrow transplants and experimental treatments at hospitals in Seattle, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and right here at UAMC's Diamond Children's Hospital. It's nothing short of a miracle that Jude is still with us—and he wouldn't be if it weren't for new treatments. (And not to drag politics into this, but it's appalling that we don't have more federal funding for this kind of research—and even more appalling that the funding we now have could be on the chopping block under the Trump administration.) Jude is now in remission, but Barb and her husband Aiden live in constant fear that the cancer could come back. Something as minor as an overnight nosebleed leaves them wondering if the blood monsters have returned.
Through it all, Barb has been a rock, approaching the struggle with a strength, courage and grace that is nothing short of extraordinary. Barb is trying to do her part to ensure that there is funding for the vital care that has saved her son's life by campaigning to be the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Woman of the Year. She gets there by raising more money than other folks in the competition and she's working her butt off to get there so the funds she raises will go toward pediatric research. Consider making a donation to her—or, hell, any of the other people in the competition who have had their lives shattered by a cancer diagnosis.
Lots more in the paper this week. Among the highlights: Arts writer Margaret Regan tells us about the winners of the ninth annual Curious Camera competition at ArtsEye Gallery at Photographic Works, Danyelle Khmara fills you all about the new cypher phenomenon all the kids are into these days in our music section and our interim assistant editor Nick Meyers wonders whether U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will successfully reignite the War on Drugs in our medical marijuana column.
Thanks for reading and we'll see you next week!