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The power and infamy of Dusty Escapule

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Many love him, many hate him and the ones who dislike Tombstone Mayor Dustin Escapule don’t talk about him because they fear him. The man known as Dusty has made the “town too tough to die” his town. His strong local support and service over five terms in 10 years delivers the last name Escapule as immense authority in Tombstone. He’s a fourth-generation native. His great grandfather settled in Tombstone in 1877, two years before the town was established. Because of similar facial features, his grandfather, John Henry Escapule, was often mistaken as Doc Holliday from the O.K. Corral gunfight. The Escapule roots are deep in Tombstone, but Dusty is a different breed considering his political prowess. Escapule is a good ole’ country boy who looks out for his own. Occasionally he’ll be seen driving his truck around Allen Street sporting...

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El Jefe: Missing in action

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El Jefe, Tucson’s lone male jaguar, caught the attention of Arizonans while residing in a tree in Southeastern Arizona. For three years, pictures from trail cameras flooded conservationists’ computers and proved that El Jefe had created his home in the Santa Rita Mountains. It’s been a year since trail cameras caught footage of the wandering jaguar, and the news is not good. El Jefe is missing. It began in 2011 when hunting guide Donnie Fenn and his hunting dogs spotted and captured a picture of a jaguar while searching for mountain lions. Since then, conservationists and volunteers have been working to conserve El Jefe and his habitat in hopes of repopulating the species in the United States. A government-funded research project held by the University of Arizona placed trail cameras in remote locations in the mountains and accepted trained volunteers...

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Child poverty in Southern Arizona runs rampant

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Children in Southern Arizona are more likely to be living in poverty than anywhere else in the state. This discrepancy has far-reaching consequences beyond simply a bad childhood, and is the primary reason for Arizona having the sixth worst poverty rate in the country. This is despite the fact that statewide, the rate of poverty in most metro areas is declining. A 15-year longitudinal study published by Cornell University in late 2016 showed that children raised in poverty were susceptible to a series of psychological distresses, spurred by the stress and environment, ultimately bleeding over into their adult lives. Tucson’s poverty rate has leveled out at 25 percent over the past three years, posing potential long-term effects. The Cornell study, authored by Gary Evans, a professor in human ecology and in the departments of design and environmental analysis, found research...

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Homeless youth invisible in Southern Arizona

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They are the hidden ones living under a different roof each week. By no fault of their own, they are outcasts without a home. They are teens missing football games and school dances to work extra shifts to pay for another meal. They are poor and battling the world alone. “Homeless youth, is one of those things that sort of perplexes people,” said Kristyn Conner, director of development at Youth On Their Own, a dropout prevention program in Tucson. “It is out of sight and out of mind. With adult homelessness, you can see it. But with homeless youth, it is different because they aren’t actually living on the streets as much as their adult counterparts.” In its most recent report, the state Department of Education reported 28,391 enrolled homeless children and youth in grades pre-kindergarten through 12th grade....

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Arizona law enforcement might not back up Trump’s immigration order

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PHOENIX – Arizona law enforcement agencies mostly say they won’t participate in widespread immigration raids that target long-term undocumented immigrants no matter what President Trump’s new executive order says. The Phoenix, Tucson and Nogales police departments, and Yuma, Santa Cruz and Maricopa sheriffs say officers will not target long-term undocumented immigrants who have no violent felony offenses. Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said his officers would not target people simply for being long-term undocumented, yet if they commit any crime officers will turn them over to immigration officials. An earlier version of this story stated his office would target long-terms whether criminal or not. He called after publication and said he never made that comment and to clarify his department’s position. Dannels said Cochise County pursues all lawbreakers equally. “We’re not going to just target the illegals,” Dannels said. “Those [who] break the state law, we...

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A wall being built in Naco’s backyard stirs up emotions

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NACO, Arizona — Sonia Urcadez woke up one October morning to the sound of cement trucks lining the street in front of her house, kicking up clouds of dust that obscured the sunrise and her view of the San José Mountains.  It was 6 a.m., and 100 feet from her door, construction on a new border fence had just begun. The U.S. Border Patrol announced in January that the section of border fence in Naco will be replaced with a more modern barrier by June. That announcement was months overdue for the residents of Naco, who had been living with the disruptive construction since last October. Cement trucks and construction workers had been coming and going seven days a week as they prepared the work site for the removal of the old fence and the replacement of the new. Nobody living...

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