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Administrators start conversation to dedicate Buena's press box

SIERRA VISTA — Buena High School and district administration initiated conversation Tuesday night regarding naming the Loveless Field press box after long-time sports journalists Steve Kurtz and Kevin Carolan.

Carolan and Kurtz passed away this year after dedicating a combined 90 years to covering Buena athletics. Kurtz called the Colts’ football games on the radio for 45 years while Carolan assisted Kurtz in the booth and wrote for the Herald/Review.

Kurtz first started calling Colt football games more than 45 years ago, and also served as a PA announcer for the Sierra Vista high school’s basketball and baseball teams.

“He was very focused on his family and community, but he loved sports,” Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, who shared airways with Kurtz, told the Herald/Review shortly after Kurtz’s passing. “He was very good at what he did. He was very smart and analytical. He could remember names, numbers and stats. He was just devoted.”

It’s due to Kurtz’s and Carolan’s dedication to all of Buena’s athletic programs that Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Greg Duce believes they deserve the recognition.

“No matter where the (football) game was in the state, Steve and Kevin would go ...,” Duce told the Sierra Vista school board Tuesday night. “I believe they are worthy.”

No action was taken Tuesday in regards to the dedication as it was only a discussion item for the board.

SVUSD School Board President Barbara Williams told Duce in order to continue the conversation, a letter from people in the community needs to be submitted.

According to district policy “In naming facilities, the district will consider names derived from significant geographic locations, historical events, or events of community significance, as well as individuals who have made unique contributions to the district.

“All nominations must include justification and rationale.

Nominations with respect to deceased persons maybe submitted three (3) years after death. ...”

Williams noted the board does have the authority to waive the three-year limit if they see fit.

In other business, Christine Stone, director of finance for SVUSD, presented a brief update on the bond projects occurring across the eight schools. Stone said this month’s presentation was required by the state as the district must provide an annual presentation — to be done in September and October.

Superintendent Kelly Glass provides updates to the board monthly, so there weren’t many changes since the last presentation.

Board Vice President Connie Johnson asked about the progress about the restroom renovations, which is a districtwide project, as she has heard concerns.

Glass said the restroom renovations will take between a year to 18 months to complete, but the progress is coming along nicely.

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Local gun sales increase as Democrats push for restrictions

SIERRA VISTA — After Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke declared last week that AR-15s and AK-47s would be seized from people who own them, it’s been a dash to local gun shops to stock up, some store owners around Cochise County said Tuesday.

That follows a national trend, which has seen a 15 percent jump in gun sales in August over the previous year, according to the National Review.

Gun shop owners in Sierra Vista, Bisbee and Pearce said they have all experienced an uptick in inquiries and sales since O’Rourke uttered, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47, and we’re not going to allow it to be used against your fellow Americans anymore,” at the Democratic debate on Sept. 12.

“I’ve been through this cycle at least three times,” said David Greenberg, owner of Second Amendment Family Gun Shop in Bisbee. “When a Democrat gets elected (or proposes gun control) it’s a panic market. People think their guns are going to be taken away, so they run out and buy guns.”

Greenberg said he has sold two AR-15 rifles in the last two weeks. His main focus though is the sale of older firearms.

His business has been brisk, regardless.

“My sales have definitely been up,” Greenberg said. “Handguns are selling. Rifles are selling.”

At West End Pawn and Gun in Sierra Vista, co-owner Vernon Dancy said he has seen a five to 10 percent jump in the sale of semiautomatic weapons since O’Rourke made his comments.

“The AR-15 is the most popular,” said Dancy, who refers to the weapon as a “tactical rifle.”

But O’Rourke’s comments have soured some Democrats in Congress. Many have criticized the El Paso, Texas native, saying he played into the hands of the NRA by fueling gun sales across the country. Others have also said that their intent is not to seize the guns of law-abiding citizens.

In an interview with CNN that appeared in a Sept. 14 article in the Washington Post, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, said: “I frankly think that that clip (O’Rourke’s comment at the Democratic debate) will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations that try to scare people by saying Democrats are coming for your guns. I don’t think a majority of the Senate or the country is going to embrace mandatory buybacks. We need to focus on what we can get done.”

At least one local gun shop owner — Neil Anderson of The Gun Garage LLC in Sierra Vista — has capitalized on O’Rourke’s words. Anderson is offering “No Bueno Beto” discounts on select purchases.

The same goes for Matt Boggs, owner of Alpha Dog Firearms in Tempe, who offered “Beto Specials” on AR-15s and AK-47s. He said he sold 200 rifles in two hours.

Boggs posted this message on his website: “Beto O’Rourke said, ‘Hell yes we’re taking your ARs.’ Well Beto, we’re discounting AR15s to such a low price that EVERY AMERICAN can afford one.”

The National Rifle Association also responded to O’Rourke’s statements on the organization’s Twitter page and its Institute for Legislative Action website, said NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter.

“Last night proved Beto would do anything to get ahead. He promised confiscation of commonly-owned rifles — leaving law-abiding Americans defenseless,” the NRA said on Twitter. “Beto is so desperate he‘s fundraising by selling t-shirts with his confiscation promise on it — DISGUSTING. Beto will fail.”

Second Amendment Foundation founder and executive vice president Alan Gottlieb shot back at O’Rourke and seemingly all Democrats in the Washington Post: “This is what their goal is. We’ve always said it, now they’re saying it. Now they’ve said it, and we’re going to make them eat it.”

Local gun shop owners are not complaining though.

Anderson of Gun Garage LLC, said he’s had customers come through his business and order an AR-15 because of O’Rourke. Alan Baker, who owns Baker Precision Firearms-Gunsmith in Pearce, said he doesn’t sell semiautomatic weapons, but he has had people call and ask if he can order them.

“We’ve had an increase in interest,” Baker said. “We sell competition guns, but we can order anything.”