News Briefs 06/20/18 — 06/26/18:
A lightning bolt illuminates the Tucson night sky during a monsoon thunderstorm on Aug. 11, 2014.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times featured an article quoting Antar Davidson, a former employee of Estrella del Norte, a “shelter” in Tucson for newly separated and unaccompanied undocumented minors.
The facility, located at 1601 N. Oracle Rd. — about three miles from UA’s Main Campus — is run by Austin-based non-profit Southwest Key, and is one of 27 similar facilities contracted with the organization across Arizona, Texas and California.
Davidson, who had been employed for a little over three months before quitting last week, said the facility had gone from “a transient facility with a staff that was strained and struggling,” to something “prison-like” now.
As evidence, Davidson pointed to a May 27 incident where three youths scaled a fence surrounding the facility in an escape attempt. According to Davidson, only one was apprehended, despite extra security measures such as security doors and cameras.
“I can no longer in good conscience work with Southwest Key programs,” Davidson wrote in his resignation letter. “I am feeling uneasy about the morality of some of the practices.”
While a representative for Southwest Key disputed Davidson’s accounts, in a statement, the company acknowledged it is looking to hire more help.
“We are hiring additional staff to meet an increase in all our facilities due to the number of children we are being asked to care for by [Office of Refuge Resettlement],” the statement said.
— Eddie Celaya
This Monsoon won’t be a wash
The 2018 Monsoon season started with a splash on June 15 as the weekend’s rainfall broke a National Weather Service record from six years ago and the fifth-longest drought.
Friday’s rain — 0.14 of an inch — brought an end to a 106-day rainless stretch. Saturday’s rainfall of 0.75 inches blew past the previous record for June 16, which was 0.29 of an inch in 2012, according to a Daily Star article.
All official readings for Tucson are taken at the Tucson International Airport, as rainfall levels can vary widely within the city. The TIA reading is taken by the National Weather Service. Also measured at that station is temperature, relative humidity, heat index and visibility, all of which can be found online. The readings are updated every hour.
If you’d like to see what the rainfall is like closer to your home, try Rainlog.org. Data is complied from citizens around Tucson who have set up rain gauges in their yards. On Saturday, the people around the city reported readings from 0.3 of an inch near Pima Community College to over an inch on the east side of town.
— Marissa Heffernan