Hot Links: Wittmann Standoff, Newsweek, and Drug Tunnels

Following President Obama's decision in April to lift travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans, many Valley residents who have family in Cuba are taking trips to the country. Phoenix has a small but burgeoning Cuban-American community. Most other Americans are still barred from visiting Cuba or purchasing Cuban goods...A man in Wittmann is in custody after an armed standoff with police. An MCSO SWAT team arrived on the scene after receiving reports of shots fired, and negotiated with the man for several hours before entering the house he'd barricaded himself inside. There were no injuries reported in the standoff...Thirteen Arizona high schools have made Newsweek's list of the nation's 1,500 best schools this year. The list includes Basis Charter of Tucson, Flagstaff's Northland Prep Academy, and Pinnacle High School in the Valley...Border patrol agents near Nogales discovered a massive drug-smuggling tunnel after citizens called to report construction sounds through the walls of buildings. The tunnel runs 48 feet into the United States and 35 feet through Nogales, Mexico, and includes a hose for ventilation...The City of Mesa will pay a $3 million settlement to the family of Mario Madrigal Jr., a 15 year-old boy who was shot and killed by police in 2003, after they were called to the home because the teen was threatening suicide with a knife. Mesa police chief George Gascon said the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing, but a move to end a difficult time for everyone...Health officials in Los Angeles County are offering free STD kits in the mail to all women in the county. The program is intended to eliminate clinic costs, and 10,000 kits will be available immediately.

Lift of ban sends wave of Valley relatives on visits to Cuba

Armed standoff in Wittmann ends peacefully

Thirteen Arizona high schools make Newsweek list

Large Elaborate Drug Tunnel Discovered

Mesa pays millions in shooting death

LA County officials mailing out free STD kits

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea