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Valley Fever's 12 Most Popular Arizona News Stories of 2012

Valley Fever's 12 Most Popular Arizona News Stories of 2012
Photo by Jamie Peachey

It seems like every year there's one local story that defines the news more than others. Last year, it was the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson (which we got a horrific reminder of with the recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary). This year, as far as actual readership goes, it was by far the scandal involving Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

But each month had it's own particularly popular story with readers. We've done the math and gathered those stories in one place for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

See Also:

- Sheriff Joe Arpaio: The 25 Most Read Stories of His Previous Term


January

Thurman McGriff Accused of Using Puppy's Mouth to "Pleasure Himself"...In Front of a 9-Year-Old

By James King

Where to start...

Well, the good news is there's an outside chance that Thurman McGriff didn't actually get a blowjob from a puppy. However, according to police, at the very least, he whipped out his penis in public and simulated oral sex, using the pooch's mouth as the (ahem) pleasure center, in front of a 9-year-old boy.

According to court records obtained by New Times, police were called to the 1100 block of West Pima Street in Phoenix about 4:15 Saturday afternoon in response to a report that a man was exposing himself in public.

When police arrived, they found two witnesses -- an adult and a 9-year-old boy -- each of whom told police they saw the suspect (later identified as McGriff) exposing himself while holding a black and brown puppy.

Read the full sick and twisted story here.


February

Paul Babeu, the Suddenly Openly Gay Pinal County Sheriff, Vows to Continue Congressional Run

By Monica Alonzo

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu turned a nearly hour-long press conference to address allegations of threats that he and his attorney made to Babeu's ex-boyfriend into a parade of people defending his right to be gay.

He asked a slew of his own employees and friends to the microphone to offer him their unyielding support, trying to spin the situation he finds himself in into a media attack on his homosexuality -- which until he confirmed it today was something he never talked about publicly. Indeed, many people New Times spoke with were amazed to learn that the tough-talking, right-wing Republican lawman is gay.

See the full story here.


March

Joe Arpaio Really Thinks President Obama's Birth Certificate is Fake

By Matthew Hendley

There you have it -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio actually thinks the President of the United States got into the White House using a forged birth certificate.

Yes, the year is 2012, and yes, New Times and several dozen other media outlets spent countless hours listening to and reporting on a "birther" conspiracy theory facilitated by Joe Arpaio.

Not only is the president's birth certificate a forgery, according to Arpaio, but his Selective Service card is also a fake, and his real immigration records have been hidden or destroyed as part of this conspiracy.

Get your fill of right wing "Birther" lunacy here.


April

Illegal Immigrants Shot, Killed After Being "Ambushed" by People in Camouflage Garb

By Matthew Hendley

Two illegal immigrants were shot and killed near Eloy after being "ambushed" by an unknown number of people in camouflage getup, police say.

According to the Pima County Sheriff's Department, the call came into the Eloy Police Department around 10:30 p.m. about shots being fired at an "illegal alien smuggling load."

The sheriff's department, along with Eloy police, Coolidge police, and Border Patrol agents, found one person dead in the bed of the pickup truck, and another person was found dead in a nearby wash.

See the full story here.

 

Valley Fever's 12 Most Popular Arizona News Stories of 2012
New Times photo illustration; photo by Jamie Peachey; Model: Gary Moyer

May

"Birther" Bill Is a Favorite of Arizona Voters, According to Poll

By Matthew Hendley

Of some of the more controversial ideas tossed around the Arizona Legislature, the "birther" bill is the most popular to voters, according to a recent poll.

The Morrison Institute for Public Policy quizzed Arizona voters on five of the more controversial bills brought up by the right-hand side of the Legislature, including the citizen militia, religious objections to contraception, bringing guns to public places, stronger abortion regulations, and of course, the "birther" bill.

Just one of those ideas had more support than opposition -- the "birther" bill.

What does this say about Arizona?


June

Catalina Clouser Put Her Baby in a Car Seat; Problem Is, She Left the Car Seat on the Roof and Realized it 12 Miles Later

By Matthew Hendley

Catalina Clouser put her 2-month-old baby in a car seat after smoking some weed with her boyfriend at a Phoenix park.

The minor detail she missed was that the 19-year-old left her kid on the roof of the car and drove away, and realized this mistake about 12 miles down the road, police say.

The kid was eventually found unharmed by another driver, sitting in the middle of the intersection at 45th Avenue and Cholla Street -- about two blocks away from where she had started her trip.

Read more on the hazards of teen pregnancy here.


July

Michael Marin, "Burning Man," Commits Suicide in the Courtroom

By Matthew Hendley

"Burning Man" Michael Marin died after his "medical emergency" in the courtroom, which came after a jury handed down a guilty verdict in Marin's arson case.

The Maricopa County medical examiner's office confirmed the expected -- Marin definitely ingested some of the cyanide that was later found in his car.

Fox 10 had its camera on Marin's face as the verdict came in, and it was clear that he put something in his mouth before he started having a seizure and fell unconscious in the courtroom.

CPR was performed on Marin before he was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Read the full story here.


August

Should Foreign Hells Angels Be Allowed in the United States?

By Matthew Hendley

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club filed a lawsuit against several federal agency heads -- including Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- claiming the group's foreign members have been wrongfully banned from entering the United States.

The federal lawsuit contends that several foreign Hells Angels members applied for visas last year to attend one of the club's major events in New Hampshire, and they were denied, based on their membership with the Hells Angels.

Weigh in on whether foreign Hells Angels be allowed in the United States.

 


September

Fox News Just Showed a Man Shoot Himself in the Head Outside of Phoenix on Live TV (Video)

By Matthew Hendley

A car chase that started in Phoenix ended with the suspect shooting himself in the head, and it was all broadcast live on Fox News.

The man had apparently stolen a car before heading west, and as you can see in the video -- despite host Shepard Smith's repeated requests to "get off it" -- it says on the screen that this is west of Tonopah, as the man shoots himself.

Again, before you press "play," you're about to watch a guy shoot himself in the head, so consider yourself warned.

Read the full story.


October

Light Rail Ninja Goes by the Name "Kairo"

By Matthew Hendley

The man who momentarily found local television fame by breaking up a fight on the Metro Light Rail using a samurai sword goes by the name "Kairo."

It's not his real name -- at least, not the name that government entities would refer to him by -- but he is a 26-year-old Phoenix resident.

See more of "Kairo" here.


November

Holly Solomon Blames Husband for Obama's Re-Election, Allegedly Rams Him With Her Car

By Matthew Hendley

Mesa resident Holly Solomon thinks it's her husband's fault that President Obama was re-elected, because he didn't vote.

Not only does Solomon, 28, have a thorough misunderstanding of our nation's electoral system, she also ran over her husband with her car because of this, according to Gilbert police.

In an e-mail to media, Gilbert police Sergeant Jesse Sanger says the argument started in a parking lot over Daniel Solomon's lack of voter participation.

See the full story here.


December

Sedona Man Plans on Jumping Off a Tall Rock on December 21, Believes He'll Land in a Portal

By Matthew Hendley

A Sedona man planned on jumping off a very tall rock on December 21, and he believes he will be landing in a cosmic portal.

Peter Gersten, a retired lawyer -- who, at one point, became "professionally involved with the UFO phenomenon" -- has been detailing his lead-up to the opening of a portal at the base of Sedona's Bell Rock for at least two years now.

Honestly, we don't really understand the thing. It has something to do with the Mayan calendar end-of-the-world theories, space, some stuff that sounds consistent with the Matrix movies, and big red rocks.

Read the full story here.


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