Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on March 28, 1993 · Page 1
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 1

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Sunday, March 28, 1993
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VALLEY B STATE i OBITUARIES B12 SUNDAY MARCH 28, 1993 Tovrea slaying still Valley mystery E) I 1 , '4- ' r E.J. MONTINI Republic Columnist Fans jump to defense of Suns It's early Friday afternoon, and I'm on the telephone with Cotton Fitzsimmons, the former coach and current vice president of the Phoenix Suns. I'm talking to Fitzsimmons for two reasons. First, it's a way to get his perspective on the big blowup last week between the Suns and the New York Knicks. Second, and even more important, as long as I'm on the phone, I can't take any more calls from Suns fans wishing to discuss comments I made Friday about the Suns-Knicks confrontation. "Discuss," in this context, must be divided into two parts. Of the 160 calls and telephone messages I've gotten by noon, about 30 were very friendly. Sixty or so, however, wanted to "dis" me, in the most severe hip-hop sense. About 50 others wanted to "cuss." As for the remaining 20 callers, they can expect visits soon from Phoenix police, the FBI, the CIA and the 3rd Armored Division. Unless, of course, it was members of these organizations who made the calls. Which wouldn't surprise me. These days, criticizing the Suns is roughly equivalent to voicing support for Saddam Hussein. Or the World Trade Center bombers. Or Adolf Hitler. Or Lucifer. Or all of them at once. The only difference being, you'll take more nasty calls by criticizing the basketball team. Honesty is conditional "The Suns are a little popular here," Fitzsimmons says, laughing. "Or, maybe there's just not enough to do." One potential new recreational activity, ; as suggested to me by a caller named Bill, would be "for all us Suns fans to invite you to the (America West) Arena, E.J., then pretend you're the Knicks. Afterwards, we could ship you back east. In PIECES. You little..." It went on for several minutes. And he was one of the more friendly callers. The confrontation between the Suns and the Knicks began when Kevin Johnson knocked a Knicks player to the floor when he wasn't looking. On March 7, 1 wrote a column about KJ in which I said he was the ; most valuable player on the Suns team. Not ; because of the way he played basketball, but because of how he lived his life. I was being honest, and that was OK with Suns fans and with the Suns. But, it turns out that honesty is only acceptable if it involves praise. . That's one lesson I learned from all this. Another is that it's acceptable to criticize losers like the Phoenix Cardinals, but not winners like the Suns. "I guess a winner can't be wrong, no matter what," I say to Fitzsimmons. I "You got that right," he says. "That's the name of it." Winners aren't sinners S If a Phoenix Cardinals football player had committed the same type of flagrant foul KJ did, do you believe for a second that local fans would have reacted the same way? No. For one thing, there wouldn't have been any local fans in the stadium to see the infraction. But, if there were fans on hand, the ' blame would have fallen on the Cardinals, not the opposition. Losers can do no right. Winners can do no wrong. I asked Fitzsimmons how Kevin Johnson was doing. "Being the devout Christian that he is," I Fitzsimmons said, "he has to have a little ' turmoil inside of him about losing control and being involved in something no matter who's fault it was. He said to me he was fine. But I know he has a little turmoil inside." Fitzsimmons was quick to add, though, "I don't take any of this too seriously. I take life seriously, but I don't take any of this too seriously. You've got to have fun with it. It's only basketball." "I tried to tell a few callers that," I say. "But I don't think they heard me over the shrieking." , "Oh," Fitzsimmons says, "I see this blowing over in no time. In fact, I'm surprised it's lasted this long." After that, we hang up. It's now shortly after lunchtime, and I decide to check my answering machine for new messages. There are 47. Socialite's homicide lacks motive, suspect 5 years later By Gail Tabor The Arizona Republic An almost full moon floated through a clear sky the night of April 1 five years ago when police were sent to investigate a possible burglary in a posh residential community in north Phoenix. Arriving shortly before 1 a.m., police with dogs found the body of 55-year-old Jeanne Tovrea, the socialite widow of livestock heir Ed Tovrea, with a blood-stained pillow on her head. Somehow skirting the home's double-alarm security system, at least one gunman had entered Jeanne Tovrea's bedroom, put a pillow over her head and pulled the trigger five times. One of the alarms, possibly activated by the gunshots, was still ringing when police arrived. An autopsy showed the three fatal wounds were closely grouped on the left side of Tovrea's head, with one entering the left ear and two others entering the left scalp. The other two shots would not have been fatal, the report added. One grazed her left forehead, and the other passed through both cheeks. TOVREA LAWSUITS: Jeanne Tovrea's stepchildren are suing her estate. B9 At first, police surmised it was an interrupted burglary, but that idea was dismissed when it was discovered nothing was stolen. Despite an intensive investigation, who fired the shots and why remains a mystery today. The first question was, and still is: How did the killer get in and out of the development at 3500 E. Lincoln Drive? There is only one gate, and it is manned by a guard 24 hours a day. The only other possible access is across rugged mountain terrain and a small ridge leading east to 36th Street, about 100 yards away. Tracking dogs, which were on the scene within minutes, were unable to pick up a scent. The prominence of the Tovrea name, one of the most illustrious in Arizona history, coupled with the wealth of Jeanne Tovrea's friends, led to a $35,000 reward being offered for any clues leading to an arrest. There still hasn't been one. Investigators thought a break was imminent last August. A former Phoenix restaurateur pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree murder and entered a plea bargain with prosecutors in which he allegedly agreed to help solve several local homicides, including See TOVREA, page B8 Jeanne Tovrea On April 1, 1988, she was shot five times in the head. LUKE DAY SALUTES THE PUBLIC By Judd T. Williams The Arizona Republic Julie Thiel's first husband was killed 14 years ago while he was preparing for a routine mission in the U.S. Air Force. He was killed when the rotor blades of a helicopter he was servicing came down on him. Thiel was eight months pregnant at the time with their first child, a son, who accompanied his mother to Luke Day '93 at Luke Air Force Base west of Phoenix on Saturday. "One of the reasons we came down is to see what his father did," she said. "A majority of the people that come out here are former military. I spent time (serving in the Air Force)." Thiel, who works for Phoenix, also did something she never thought she would do. Saturday was the first time since her husband's death that she was able to go near the type of aircraft whose blades killed him a "Jolly Green Giant" transport helicopter. She also had the courage to walk through it. "It wasn't easy," she said. Thiel said another reason she was at the open house was to show her appreciation to those who now serve in the Air Force. In turn, Luke Day is the annual way for the Air Force to thank the public for its support. It is the one day each year that military aircraft are on display for the public to look at, take pictures of, and climb into. "The main reason is to give our neighbors the opportunity to come see what we do," Tech. Sgt. Rob Sexton said. He added that, in spite of budget cuts and base closings, Luke Day will only grow. Old Glory accompanies a parachutist as he descends with style. The annual Luke Day allows the Air Force to thank the public for its support. Sexton said. "As Williams (Air Force Base) is shrinking, Luke is emerging into a greater prominence." About 225,000 people were on hand Saturday, said Capt. KellyAnn Thompson, Luke's public-affairs officer. Eleven of the 12 squadrons stationed at Williams in Mesa will cease operations Wednesday, Thompson said. Also on hand Saturday were the Thunder-birds, the Air Force's precision flying team, which was created 40 years ago at Luke. The Thunderbirds moved their home to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada three years later. "This is kind of our homecoming," said Capt. Eric Schnaible, public-affairs officer for the Thunderbirds. "A lot of our guys have come through Luke to train." Schnaible said Luke's is the third of 73 shows scheduled this year, seven less than last year. "With the new (Clinton) administration, there are a lot of changes coming," Schnaible said. "As the budget gets smaller, what we do gets smaller." But, he said, he doesn't foresee the shows stopping altogether. "We're the window to the Air Force," Schnaible said. "There is a misperception the Air Force is no longer hiring. That's not true." The Thunderbirds are used to "plant a seed of enthusiasm" in teens who might want to pursue a career in the military, Schnaible said. Thunderbird pilots volunteer for the two-year special-duty assignment, Schnaible said. They must have logged 1,000 hours of flight time and must receive recommendations from senior officers. After the two years, pilots go back to regular duty. "There's a lot of people from the east end of the Valley (here)," "We call it living in the fishbowl," Schnaible said. ,1 I ' A - 4' i t ( y f , 1 V k fflvs ' All I" , Photos by Christine KeithThe Arizona Republic Spectators' at Luke Air Force Base gaze at the sky as the Wings of Blue parachute team performs Saturday during Luke Day '93. Measure targets clean-air issues Changes necessary to keep highway funds By Bob Golf en The Arizona Republic Under the gun from the Environmental Protection Agency, lawmakers and state officials have hammered out a draft of air-quality measures designed to keep the federal agency from delaying highway funding to Arizona. The measures, which relate specifically to motor vehicles, focus on changes in the current oxygenated-fuels program and emissions testing and would increase the authority given to the head of the state's Department of Environmental Quality to enact additional programs. To avoid a funding delay of up to 10 months for about 50 miles of Valley road projects, Arizona has until May 1 to enact pollution-fighting programs. "We have a tight time line as to when we need to get this done," said state Rep. Sue Grace, R-north Phoenix, the prime sponsor of House Bill 2129 and chairwoman of the House Environment Committee. "What we have to do is figure out which measures get us the most reduction (in pollution) the most efficiently." "If we don't comply with federal law, we lose everything," said Sen. Chuck Blanchard, D-central Phoenix. "This is serious." The measures, which will receive a hearing Monday morning before a Senate environmental subcommittee, could result in increased oxygen content in the ethanol and methyl-tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE. fuel blends sold Oct. 1 through March 31 in the Phoenix and Tucson areas; removing an oxygen-content exemption for ethanol; and enacting more-stringent emissions testing. A controversial part of the proposal would give the head of the DEQ the authority to impose additional pollution-control programs if EPA standards See STRINGENT, PageB3 'Bring the toll roads on' Poll reflects frustration in the Valley By Mark Shaffer The Arizona Republic Herbert Peters had just completed a one-hour, 15-minute commute from north Mesa to his engineering office north of downtown Phoenix, most of it without the benefit of freeways. "It was disgusting," Peters fumed, referring to clogged intersections and other delays along the route. "Bring the toll roads on. Anything is better than this." Most Valley residents agree. With the coffers nearly dry for new freeway construction, toll roads are being viewed as a viable alternative for building new roads. According to an Arizona Republic Poll, nearly twice as many Maricopa County residents 52 percent to 31 percent would rather pay tolls than have a tax increase for new-freeway construction. The poll, which surveyed 500 Mari copa County residents March 4-7, also found that if tax increases were needed for freeway construction, seven of 10 would prefer a gasoline tax and only four of 10 would support a sales tax. Fifty percent also said they would favor having a toll road built close to their neighborhood if it meant the highway could be built quicker than a taxpayer-supported freeway. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Three private consortiums have proposed toll-road construction in the Valley for parts of the Squaw Peak Parkway and Pima Freeway. One consortium has proposed toll roads for all planned Valley expressways. "Many people had said it was obvious that there is no support for toll roads," said Jim West, a lobbyist for one consortium, the National Transportation Authority. "But the community at large sees this as a viable way to get the highways funded." County voters approved a half-cent sales tax in 1985 to build 231 miles of See TOLL, page B6 TOLL ROAD THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC POLL Based on 500 telephone interviews with adults living in Maricopa County. Poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4. "Would you favor having a freeway that serves your neighborhood be a toll road, if this meant it could be built faster than normal freeway construction?" Don't know i Yes i No 50 J V 41 The Arizona Republic More rain coming after brief respite Sunshine prevailed for much of Saturday after the last of a short series of storms produced drizzles and a few funnel clouds in parts of the Valley. But don't put away the raincoats just yet rain is expected to make another appearance later today. A cool-weather pattern from southern California likely will blanket much of central and northern Arizona by this afternoon and heighten chances of more thundershowers. "But it won't be as potent of a system as the one we just had," said a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. A powerful storm that first struck Friday afternoon fizzled out early Saturday. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport registered 0.54 of an inch of rain, pushing the rainfall level to 8.13 inches for the year. The storm also spawned several funnel clouds, including one witnessed by Paul Dong of west Phoenix. "It looked like a tail dropping do n. then grew several times in length before dissipating," he said. Neither that funnel cloud nor the others spotted touched down, authorities said. The rain spurred Salt River Project officials to slightly raise the water-release level at Granite Reef Dam. But that level was expected to drop by today to 5,300 cubic feet per second from 6,300 cfs.

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