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Eliminating NEA could be detrimental to Arizona communities

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            For small towns like Douglas, grants for the arts can be deeply influential. With the election of a new mayor in 2016, Douglas is looking at a future that thrives on arts and culture, and is using National Endowment for the Arts funding to bring back life to this troubled border town in Arizona’s southeast corner. Mayor Robert Uribe and his wife, Jenea Sanchez, have been working diligently to find a way to rebuild Douglas as a historic city that can be recognized as a cultural center and supporter of the arts. “For our state arts organization to come into our local community and contribute funds towards our arts refinement, it very much legitimizes the work that we have started on, and we are so grateful for that,” Sanchez said.   The Trump administration plans to eliminate...

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Lack of pay for Arizona teachers problematic

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  A decrease in teachers and shortage of money will have an impact in Cochise County as retention rates continue to plummet in Arizona. The state hosts a myriad of poor working conditions for teachers, ranking in the bottom five in the following categories nationwide, according to a statistical analysis by Wallethub: Lowest annual salary, fewest teachers per student and lowest public school spending — all with an overall ranking of 48th, ahead of only West Virginia and Hawai’i. About a half-million U.S. teachers either move or leave the profession each year — attrition that costs the United States up to $2.2 billion annually — according to the Alliance for Excellent Education. The high turnover rate disproportionately affects high-poverty schools and compromises the nation’s capacity to ensure all students have access to skilled teaching, the Alliance report says. The cost to...

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A border wall could dry up profits for two border town bars

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In two quirky border town bars 160 miles apart, the concerns are the same. Will Donald Trump building a wall on the Mexican border hurt their towns? First in Sasabe… “Cinco pesos?” says Deborah Grider, as she rings up customers in her general store, which lies less than a mile from the Mexican port of entry. Though many travelers come for the general store, there is a hidden gem stashed between the various aisles of laundry detergent and canned foods. A tiny bar with a small blue and purple door sticks out from the back. A green Christmas wreath adorns the door. “Hill Top Bar” is written on the small sign above the door. It only opens on Saturdays from 1 to 6 p.m. and serves beer for $3 dollars and cocktails for five. “I have a list of people...

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Remnants of Benson Highway still standing

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Dusty roads, flickering motel neon lights and old cafes fill the empty region that used to be an attraction to visitors all over the country – old Benson Highway. Connecting the country from the Pacific in San Diego to the Atlantic in Tybee Island, Georgia, U.S. Route 80 was one of the early transcontinental highways in the United States. Like other highways of the time, much of it became decommissioned with the introduction of the interstate system in the 1950s. Those looking for a small, historical detour between Pima and Cochise counties can find traces of the old – sometimes lonely – road. Follow the signs as if you are going to the Tucson Airport. Keep going forward, the signs urge, down Kino Parkway. Hit the turn signal and turn left at the diagonal street — Benson Highway. Start by turning onto the highway where the...

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Risk takers taste their luck in Tombstone

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John Marshall and Laure Johnston are hoping their new businesses are lucky in the town too tough to die. The odds of their success could be small ,according to experts, but this is a risk worth taking in order for their dreams to become reality. Marshall and Johnston are striving for the ventures not to known as the  restaurant that never was.  While old-timer restaurants continue to thrive, on Allen Street, smaller and newer restaurants fear slow business. According to CNBC, 60 percent of new restaurants fail within the first year while 80 percent shut down before their fifth. Location, technolog, and bills are three of the biggest risks that owners face when running a business. Marshall, the owner of Puny John’s BBQ, which opened in October, explained why he unwrapped his vision of a business in town. “My...

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Cascabel rejects development

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CASCABEL —  A proposed residential community would mean big business for Benson but the people living north along the San Pedro River in Cascabelwant none of it. The Villages at Vigneto, sited just south of Benson, would potentially boost the population of the small town of 5,000 people to over 70,000 in the space of 20 to 25 years. The development has come under fire for the potential damage it could cause to the water resources of the area, chiefly to the San Pedro River and the habitats that rely on it. For the people living north of the city like Anna Lands and Alex Binford-Walsh, it means so much more than that. “We are really going to get squeezed,” said Lands. “The people from there are going to want to come here.” The area around Cascabel is very...

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Gasolinazo: Gas crisis in Mexico crosses the border

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Angela Ayala Gonzalez, like many other residents in San Luis, Sonora, and Nogales, Sonora, is struggling even more to make ends meet in Mexico after a 20 percent increase in gas prices following a decision to eliminate state oil subsidies by the Mexican government. Gas stations across the Mexico border have shut down their pumps in reaction to the gasolinazo, or gasoline blow as it is being called. The increase in gas prices sparked major protests across the border towns, including San Luis Rio Colorado and Nogales. President Enrique Peña Nieto said in a message to the nation that the rise in fuel prices is a result of the rise in international prices and that it is “a difficult change” but necessary to guarantee economic stability. However, during Nieto’s 2015 New Year speech, Nieto promised there would be “…. no...

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Arizona’s toughest captured Dillinger from right field

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Let us remember Frank Eyman, considered to be one of the toughest individuals to ever put on a badge. The former Bisbee baseball player and long-time Arizona lawman is most known for his capturing of notorious “Public Enemy Number One,” John Dillinger and his gang, but beyond the badge he was much more. Baseball enthusiast and Bisbee native Mike Anderson first came upon the name Eyman during his 10-year career working for the Pima County Sheriff’s Office. “Knowing there was a baseball player in Bisbee by the name of Frank Eyman, I decided to look at records,” Anderson said. He became the foremost expert of Eyman and his effort in capturing of Dillinger. Eyman was born on March 8, 1898, in Lemont, Illinois. At 19 years old, he joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 17th Calvary...

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House development challenges Benson, San Pedro River

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BENSON — The future of the 70,000-person residential community Villages at Vigneto lives or dies on a single decision by the Army Corps of Engineers, potentially dooming the San Pedro River or reversing the fortunes of Benson.  However, not a single person lives in the community, because it doesn’t exist just yet and the San Pedro and Benson are dependent on one big “if.” That “if” reaches much farther than the just the city limits or banks of the river, as this development south of Benson would make it the largest city in Cochise County and transform the area from a sleepy, rural county to Arizona’s newest housing goldmine. For those who see a change in fortune, it is a huge boon. For those who appreciate the status quo, it’s a travesty. The crux of the issue lies underground....

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Tourism provides life support to town

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  For the 32nd time last month people come from all over to learn and see what Tombstone is all about as part of  Vigilantes Days. “It’s a chance to party and have gunfights in the street” Lewis Snow, a cowboy re-enactor explains. For others it is a more defining weekend. John Marshall opened his restaurant , Puny John’s BQ in Tombstone last year after falling in love with the town. The family run restaurant has done well since their opening but they say its weekends like Vigilantes Days that keep them afloat. According to Marshall his restaurant, Puny Johns BQ,  gets double the business during Vigilantes Day. “Our business needs the tourism from the event to survive” Marshall says. Over at Chuckwagon, another newly opened restaurant, the workers have to take a lot of extra time to prepare...

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