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A relative of the desert haboob: The less predictable dust-channel

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By MIKAYLA MACE Arizona Sonora News [UPDATED] Everyone in Arizona knows what haboobs are: A towering wall of dust, sometimes a half-mile high and a hundred miles wide, caused by summer monsoons rolling in over Tucson and southeast Arizona, and slamming the dry, loose dirt into the air. This monster sweeps across the desert northward toward Phoenix. These large dust storms can be predicted, seen and avoided. The haboob’s lesser known cousin, the sudden dust-channel, is much smaller but more unpredictable and dangerous. The most dangerous dust-channels pop up quickly next to freeways and are borne out of the dry, loose dirt from devegetated land or fallow fields. On windy days, this dirt is easily blown in thick curtains across freeways, cutting visibility down to as low as five feet. In 2015, 47 crashes were caused blowing dust statewide....

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USS Arizona monument dedicated on UA mall for Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary

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By KYLE KOCHEVAR Arizona Sonora News UPDATE: The USS Arizona memorial on the University of Arizona mall was dedicated on Sunday, Dec. 4, as the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack arrives on Dec. 7. Story and a photo gallery at the Arizona Daily Star. Link.   And a report on CBS News. Link. A full-size-outline monument to the USS Arizona, the battleship that was the most famous casualty of the attack on Pearl Harbor that launched America into World War II,  was dedicated on Sunday  on the University of Arizona mall in time for the 75th anniversary of the surprise Japanese air raid on the base in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The memorial and a related exhibit do not just serve to memorialize the 1,177 American sailors who died aboard the Arizona, whose crew fought ferociously to shoot down...

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In Tombstone, memories of a famed clown who was sad, not ‘creepy’

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  By KYLE KOCHEVAR Arizona Sonora News We’ve had a lot of “creepy clown” news since the end of summer. In a craze spreading through the country, pranksters and hooligans wearing leering white-face clown costumes were popping out of the woods to scare school children and created a wave of social-media hysteria that wasn’t the least bit funny — including in southern Arizona. But there was news of another kind of clown in this region late last month. In Tombstone, November 29 marked the 10th anniversary of the death of one of the town’s most famous residents: Emmett Kelly Jr., who had retired there.  While Tombstone is best known for the 1883 shootout at the O.K. Corral, Emmett Kelly Jr. was the opposite of what made Tombstone famous. He was a clown –and for a time he was the most...

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All aboard the celebration of Tucson’s railroad heritage

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BY ALEXIS WRIGHT Arizona Sonora News Chug, chug, chug, chug. Whoosh. You can hear a rumbling beast in the distance. Children enjoying warm a Saturday afternoon run to catch a glimpse of it as it speeds by. Screech. Choo Choo! The train roars down the tracks, coming to a shrieking halt in front of sightseers and restaurant goers perched on rod-iron and wooden chairs under sun shades. What unaware onlookers may not know is that this big machine was vital in the development of Tucson as a southwestern haven all those years ago. The Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N Toole Ave., houses artifacts and tools of all shapes and sizes that educate visitors about the relevance of the train to Tucson’s development. Just a few steps away from the museum is the last steam engine used in the...

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In Southern Arizona cowboy country, the seasons and years add up

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By SYDNEY RICHARDSON Arizona Sonora News A cowboy, at least as the stereotype suggests, is a young, muscular man, riding a horse into the sunset. But at the Santa Lucia Ranch, 55 miles south of Tucson and 40 miles from the U.S-Mexico border, the cowboys are all above 60 years old out on the range doing the day-to-day dirty work to produce a yearly crop of cattle and make a living. The secret for cattle ranching is timing, and after forty years of full-time cattle-ranching Jon and Peggy Rowley, owners of the Santa Lucia Ranch, have their timing down. If the Rowleys had four hundred cows at the end of a year, the goal would be to have all those cows produce a calf at exactly the same time. In a perfect world all these calves would be born...

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The Space Race of the past launched astronomy’s future in Tucson

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By MIKAYLA MACE Arizona Sonora News On July 20, 1969, 600 million people watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon and say, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Little did NASA scientists realize at the time, but their historical feat had just inspired a new generation of scientists. Those children of the space race are today’s established researchers and professors, and many of them are here at the University of Arizona. On the other hand, today’s graduate students, the next batch of space scientists, have never experienced the national enthusiasm of the space program first-hand. Instead, they’ve seen the Shuttle program canceled, funding cuts to NASA, and private companies take over cargo deliveries to the International Space Station. Ultimately, their motivations for becoming astronomers, and their plans for the future of astronomy, differ...

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Military retirees in Tucson: 4,000 planes at the Air Force ‘Boneyard’

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BY LUKE SOROKO Arizona Sonora News Every Fall, snowbirds join locals and other visitors to experience  Tucson’s hidden gem. The Air Force Boneyard has become a fascination for plane lovers throughout the country, and even for foreign tourists. The Davis-Monthan 309 Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group started the beginning of what people now refer to as ‘The Boneyard’ when it welcomed in 400 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses and 300 Douglas C-47 Skytrains shortly after WWII. There is one B-29 still on display nearby at the Pima Air and Space Museum.  The plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August 1945, effectively ending the war in the Pacific, was a B-29.  In all, nearly 4,000 B-29s were produced by the United States in the final years of the war. Only a small number remain. Today, the Boneyard has about 4,000...

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A new movie’s perspective (actually 6 perspectives) on the O.K. Corral gunfight

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Arizona Sonora News Like most Americans with an interest in Old West history, you probably think you know the basic story of the Gunfight at O.K. Corral that made Tombstone famous in the late 19th century, and continues to be the centerpiece of Tombstone’s attraction for visitors today. But like many fables, there are various ways to look at things. Was the shootout a heroic, deadly confrontation between law abiding townsfolk led by the Earp brothers against cowboy ruffians and cattle rustlers personified by the Clanton brothers? Was it a dramatic metaphor for post-Civil War conflicts between monied northern mining interests represented by the likes of the ruthless Wyatt Earp, against outlaws defending their lucrative cross-border smuggling commerce, all culminating in a 30-second explosion of gunfire on Oct. 26, 1881? Almost immediately, the shootout became famous as big city newspapers,...

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For Syrian refugees in Tucson, the fog of war yields to a struggle to persevere

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By NOUR HAKI Arizona Sonora News A young girl shrieks  to her mother for help. She is trapped underneath the rubble of what was once her home. The boom of the air missiles echo in the air, overpowering the screams of Samira and her children. She is scrambling to save their lives; the bombs explode through her ability to scramble. Dark clouds hang above the remnants of their neighborhood in the Syrian city of Daraa, near the Jordan border. Those are still fresh memories. After a year of struggling to survive, Samira and her children have been on a very long journey from Syria to southern Arizona. Their connections to get here were a lot more harrowing than any typical long-distance airplane trip. The flashbacks and memories of traumatic moments reverberate through their minds as they gain physical and cultural traction in a new land...

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Vintage Cochise County: Arizona wines come into their own

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By NATALIA V. NAVARRO Arizona Sonora News Small groups of families and friends wandered among the dozens of local wine, art, and food tents at the Willcox Wine Country Festival on a Sunday in October. A blues band jammed amid lively conversations and clinking glasses. The annual fall festival was notable this year because of the city’s new federal designation as an American Viticultural Area, or AVA, which officially recognizes the small Cochise County town as “wine country.” “Basically, the federal government has recognized that there is something very unique about this area that is different than anyplace else,” said John McLoughlin, owner of Willcox-based Cellar 433 and driving force behind the AVA application. Though Arizona is far from being known as a major wine producing state, the wine industry is booming. In the last 11 years, the number of...

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