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Budget spends millions for unwanted Border Strike Force

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The latest budget deal spends million of dollars on a new Border Strike Force created at Gov. Ducey’s request last year, but border county sheriffs say they want no part of it. The budget deal appropriates a total of $26.6 million to the Department of Public Safety specifically for the Border Strike Force under its command, which is about $5 million less than Ducey’s original $31.5 million bid. During his State of the State speech in January, Ducey called the Border Strike Force “a partnership between local, state and federal law enforcement that’s providing a force multiplier in the fight against drug cartels and border crimes.” That partnership was rocky from the start, spurring criticisms from border sheriffs in Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties. They remain skeptical about the Border Strike Force’s need, operational plan, effectiveness and...

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Foley’s War: Occupying the U.S.-Mexico Border

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Wind whips through the dry grass at the base of the U.S.-Mexico border fence where Tim Foley stands smoking a cigarette and surveying vast wilderness of the Altar Valley. Here, just west of the Sasabe border crossing, the 20-foot tall steel fencing abruptly gives way to straggling barbed wire as the physical border, so easily drawn on a map, cuts across rugged terrain into the Baboquivari Mountains and the Tohono O’odham reservation. Foley brings people to this spot to demonstrate what he considers a lack of border security. Places like this are wide open. Anyone can pass through. Not that the fence is stopping anybody anyway, he says. The founding member of the Arizona Border Recon, Foley, with his loyal pitbull Rocco, leads a group of well-armed volunteers who patrol the desert for people and drugs crossing illegally from...

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Cattle rustlers making hay again

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Cattle thieves took more than $100 grand from Doug Kuhn, and the state didn’t have the resources to seek justice. It’s impossible to know exactly how much Kuhn lost. He’s a rancher. Ranchers rarely know exactly how many animals they own. All Kuhn knew for sure, is that he was missing one-quarter of his herd. He estimates that thieves took 54 cows and their calves from one of his pastures just outside of Willcox. If each cow had a calf with her, which he believes they did, that’s 108 animals he potentially lost. According to Kuhn, each cow-calf pair is worth $3,000 today, so he would have lost about $162,000. From 2014 to 2015, livestock theft cases reported to the state rose by 120 percent. Already in the current fiscal year, 29 possible livestock theft cases have been reported. That’s more than half of...

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“This newest Mecca of the hopeful”: The fingerprints of John P. Clum’s legacy

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He was the only man to put Geronimo in chains. He gave witness to the most famous gunfight in the West. He was one of the most prominent publishers in Arizona. To some of his contemporaries, John Philip Clum was an “egotistical ass”. To others, he was an advocate for the Apaches, a capable editor of Pinal County’s first newspaper, and a champion of Tombstone, both as Epitaph editor and the town’s first elected mayor. The fingerprints of his legacy surround us today, thanks in part to 30 seconds of madness in 1881. If Arizona is critical to the Old West mythos, so Clum is critical to the realities of Arizona’s territorial days. But his journey began in New York, eventually taking him to Rutgers where he briefly played football. Clum had been studying for the ministry, but divinity was...

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A candidate hopes to be ‘Your Huckleberry’

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Mike Carrafa threw his foot on the brake, stuck his head out a Jeep door to give a shout to a city worker filling a pothole. The man with the shovel straightened defensively, sighed, recognizing the vehicle. He had an idea where the conversation was going. In the Old West narrative, the sheriff runs the town. Though, as Carrafa will point out, the mayor runs Tombstone. On April 5, outspoken resident Mike Carrafa announced over Facebook his intention to run for mayor of Tombstone. Ten days later, Dusty Escapule, the city’s present mayor, reacted in an article in his Tombstone News, “Mayor Escapule Responds to Mike Carrafa’s Allegations,” addressing in 1,900 words, and a few exclamation points, why he thinks Carrafa’s reasons for running are wrong. There’s long been bad blood between Carrafa and Escapule. The weather was windy, blowing dust...

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‘Beer n’ Balls’ puts new taste on the table

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Sliders, stuffed jalapeños and a bowl of chili made from mouth-watering bull calf testicles, also known as the Rocky Mountain Oysters. Wait … what? I have to eat those things to graduate? Why me? Yeah, you heard right, minus the mouth-watering part. The event is named Beer n’ Balls and has been held at the Four Deuces Saloon in Tombstone for the past six years. The drive from Tucson to Tombstone seemed to be one of the longest hour-and-a-half of driving I’ve ever done in my life. I was not at all thrilled to have a few mouths full of testicles. Not really the ideal way to spend my Saturday afternoon. But I will do what I have to do to get a good grade in this journalism class. When I arrived at the festival, I felt a bit like an...

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Navajo rugs: More than just a pretty base

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GANADO – Maggie Mannie, 83, assisted by her tall, strapping grandson, walked into Hubbell Trading Post with business on her mind. In one hand she held her cane and in the other, two rolled-up weavings, her own handwork. Edison Eskeets, the post’s trader, stepped up to the old oak counter and looked over Miss Mannie’s goods: one with the image of a sand painting, a stylized turtle; the other called Yei Bi Chei, human-like forms sacred to the Diné people. Eskeets got out his tape measure, and the work of the trading post commenced. Though many customers and tourists stood about observing and listening, there was almost no point, since the business was all conducted in Navajo. Finally, Eskeets drew out the post’s checkbook and Miss Mannie, check in hand, walked out the door. Eskeets said this is business as...

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Bare-handed baseball and Bisbee

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When the umpire yelled “strikers to the line,” it was clear immediately, this was not an ordinary baseball game. There is nothing ordinary about bare-handed baseball — or the town of Bisbee for that matter. The Copper City Classic vintage baseball tournament has been held annually at Bisbee’s historic Warren Ballpark for the past seven years. “This is what baseball is all about, it doesn’t get more authentic than this,” said Mike Anderson, captain of the Bisbee Black Sox. “A day at the park, band playing in the stands, and some really nice weather.” Vintage baseball is baseball for diehards, those who truly love and honor the traditions and history of the game. The perfect tradition for Bisbee, a town that still resembles a postcard of 1920s small town America. Games are played without gloves, which makes fielding a comedy...

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Meeting a growing demand subject to interpretation

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It’s a typical Monday morning in Judge Scott Rash’s courtroom at Pima County Superior Court. Family members fill the gallery. Emotions run high as defendants accompany their attorneys and anxiously wait their turn. Liliana Nido walks in and takes a seat near the defendants, some of whom are equipped with a single headphone. She covers her mouth with the daily court calendar already scribbled with notes, then speaks into a small microphone.  “¿Puedes escuchar?” Nido begins almost in a whisper, asking everyone if they can hear. This is her job. Nido is one of five interpreters employed by the Pima County Superior Court. According to a Pew Research study, close to 67 percent of Hispanics living in Arizona speak a language other than English. This leaves places such as hospitals and courthouses struggling to meet the growing demand for interpreters and translators. In Arizona...

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Tucson’s rising blues star: Arthur Migliazza

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Most people play an assortment of sports and musical instruments as children, but not many people end up turning these childhood hobbies into lifelong careers. Arthur Migliazza, on the other hand, began playing the piano at age 9. By 13 he was performing to a live audience and he is still performing today, at 35. “It was something that I kind of figured out as I went,” Migliazza said. “This is what I always wanted to do, I just didn’t think about it like that at the time. It’s where I feel the most comfortable.” Migliazza is one of the few who has managed to make a life for himself playing and teaching blues and boogie woogie. Among his many achievements, he was a finalist in the International Blues Challenge in both 2010 and 2014. He also starred in...

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More and more caregiving falls on the family

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Rosa Buelna supports her 75-year-old mother’s back as she walks around, pushing her walker in front of her. She does this for her mother every single day, and so much more. Ysidra Buelna had three strokes in the past, and her daughter Rosa Buelna, 47, tends to her needs from day to night. She has been her mother’s stay-at-home caregiver for 15 years. She starts her day at around 7 a.m., and prepares food for herself and her mother so they can eat breakfast come 8:30. Throughout the day, she helps her mother take a shower or use the bathroom, walk around the house, get up from her bed or her recliner in the living room, prepares her food and even takes her on walks to the park or just around the neighborhood. On top of that, she maintains...

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Roses that grew from concrete: The Dunbar School

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Just north of downtown, a wrought-iron fence surrounding a simple white building gives no clue of the historical importance of what’s inside. A barber academy in a small classroom and a dance academy in a standard school auditorium don’t hint at anything special, either. But behind an office door labeled “Staff Only” in the back of the auditorium, about 10 former students of the Dunbar School tend to the businesses of the Dunbar School Project, a reminder of one of Tucson’s most important contributions to the civil rights movement. If there were ever a perfect example of resilience, it would be embodied in the former Dunbar students and teachers scurrying around the office behind that door. For Dunbar, this all began on Sept. 18, 1913, when the Arizona Daily Star’s Thursday morning storyline read, “For the first time in the history...

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The squaw dress: Tucson’s controversial but unique fashion history

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In the 1950s, Tucson was a major fashion industry player, all thanks to one garment: the squaw dress. The dress’ skirt fans open like an accordion. Its lightweight style makes it perfect for hot summer days, but due to evolving silhouettes over time, it can often only be found in a vintage shop around town or preserved in a museum. The squaw dress’ reign spanned nearly 20 years. Its influences can still be seen today in square-dancing dresses, proving that despite a racially tinged name both then and still today, in addition to changing styles, the dress’ wide-ranging impact never truly faded. Though the dresses were representative of a niche market in Tucson, they exploded into mass retailers such as J.C. Penney and Woolworth’s, in addition to high end stores like Neiman Marcus. Dr. Nancy Parezo, professor of American Indian studies...

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Border road trip reveals desire for change

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One day, three cities, five people. The trip from Douglas to Naco to Nogales is a classic look into the American Southwest. The sun is hot, there is a sea of yellow grass, and each downtown vaguely emanates the Wild West. Along the endless stretches of highway, however, modernity breaks up the timelessness. U.S. Border Patrol cars — fleets of white SUVs, its purpose stated boldly in green, police lights fixed to the roof — race around the charcoal concrete, searching for interlopers. Driving through Arizona’s border towns, the picture can be deceptively simple. On a Sunday, there are people pouring out of churches, milling about in city green spaces, and squeezing in some work. Yet this lazy Sunday belies the hotbed of activity that these towns are fused with. Life in these cities is undeniably affected by its...

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Redesigned SAT has little effect on admissions process

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As more colleges drop standardized tests from their admissions requirements, the redesigned SAT features new elements that claim to better reflect a student’s ability to perform well after high school. The College Board’s new SAT, however, seems unlikely to influence the college admissions process any time soon. “Many schools have dropped test scores from admission requirements because studies have shown that the most important factors in predicting college success aren’t standardized test scores, but high school grades and course rigor,” said Arezu Corella, senior director of undergraduate admissions processing at the University of Arizona. The redesigned elements include a return to the 1600 scale, an optional essay, no penalty for guessing, a focus on areas of math that matter the most and the use of relevant vocabulary words in context, instead of obscure “SAT words.” “It’s nice to see that...

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