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Cochise: Arizona’s legendary Chiricahua Apache leader

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Edward R. Sweeney’s fascination with Cochise began at 10 years of age. As a little boy, Sweeney says he read a biography about the tribe leader and became captivated by him as a warrior, man and leader of his people. Now, the author of three books on Cochise, Sweeney has dedicated his own life to learning about Cochise’s life. Sweeney’s 40-year dedication to his studies on Cochise has impacted the legacy of one of the most controversial Native American leaders in Arizona. Today, Sweeney is nationally recognized and referred to by journalists, researchers, and other historians as the head authority of Cochise, who Sweeney calls one of the bravest and most courageous Chiricahua Apache of all time. Fascinated by Cochise, soon after graduating college, Sweeney decided it was time to seriously pursue researching the figure he had been intrigued...

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People who care lost in the border rhetoric

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Political contenders jockey for attention on how tough their immigration policies are or what can be done to reform the system, while everyday people in Arizona go into the desert to provide humanitarian aid to migrants. One couple, John and Diane Hoelter, volunteer with Humane Borders to provide water to migrants crossing the Southern Arizona desert, a dangerous journey that has claimed many lives. According to the 2014 Annual Report from the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner, they have received 2,330 recovered remains of suspected undocumented border crossers since 2001. There were 129 bodies recovered in 2014, the overall trend has been going down since a peak of 223 bodies were recovered in 2010. Because most of the bodies recovered are so badly decomposed or in skeletal remains only, 84 percent had undetermined causes of death. For...

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Senior drivers causing more crashes

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Senior drivers are causing a larger number of auto accidents, and the number is expected to increase in the years ahead. The number of licensed elderly drivers is the highest it has ever been, and that number is predicted to skyrocket as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age. Policymakers are worried that this growing elderly driving population will lead to surges in traffic accidents and, subsequently, injury to property and person. There were 36.8 million licensed senior drivers in 2013—a 27 percent increase from 2004. America’s 65-and-older population is expected to reach 83.7 million by 2050, almost double from the 2012 number of 43.1 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase remarkably beginning at age 70-74 and peak among drivers 85 and older. In...

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Campus police officers: trained for the best

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It was a routine traffic stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, in July that started it all. Former campus police officer Raymond Tensing pulled over Samuel DuBose because his car did not have a front license plate.  Tensing reached into the car to restrain DuBose and after Dubose refused to take off his seat belt and get out of the vehicle. Dubose started the car in an attempt to flee the scene. One to two seconds after the car started Tensing drew his weapon and shot Dubose in the head.  Body camera footage later revealed the shooting was not justified and unnecessary.  After the shooting at the University of Cincinnati, questions were raised about the training campus officers receive to prevent situations like this, but the three state schools in Arizona seem to have no problems.   At the three state schools:...

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Crumbling Tombstone buildings present problem

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It was supposed to be a busy Labor Day weekend for the Tombstone Oil and Vinegar Co. The holidays always brought a surge of tourists into the old western town. But when the wall of a next door business collapsed, so did the oil company’s revenue for the weekend. “We were forced to close because we were missing a side of our wall,” said Christine King, owner of the Oil and Vinegar Co. “It hurt us pretty bad because we lost out on a lot of profits.” But, the wall between the Vogan’s Alley Bar and the oil company isn’t the only neglected structure in town. Look around Tombstone and you’ll see dozens of weathered, abandoned buildings. Some like the Bella Union restaurant have been deserted for more than a decade. Others like the Tombstone Gourmet restaurant, located on Allen...

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No denying the green from marijuana

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The green being made from marijuana continues to grow across the country and state. Colorado reports nearly $24 million in marijuana taxes. Washington State predicts up to $190 million in four years. Arizona could generate up to $64 million in taxes from a fully phased adult-use marijuana program like Colorado, according to an independent analysis this year. Medical marijuana sales paid dividends last year in Arizona with 9.14 metric tons sold for about $200 million, funding nearly $20 million in state sales tax revenue, and foreshadows the green to be made in the pot industry. Now the push is on to join Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California as states that legalize all marijuana sales. Proponents are more than half way to gathering signatures needed to place adult-use marijuana legislation on the 2016 November ballot. In 2010, Arizona joined 19-states...

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Despite benefits, rural communities struggle to attract medical professionals

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When it comes to primary healthcare in rural communities, Arizona is falling short of health practitioners needed. Whether they’re located in the dense forests of Northern Arizona, the broad plains of the reservations located along the New Mexico border or in the remote eastern desert of the state, rural communities are subject to the least amount of practicing health professionals per capita. All throughout the United States, rural populations have a low percentage of health coverage and access to quality health services compared to economically thriving urban areas. Arizona’s estimated rural population in 2014 was 347,277, according to the Rural Assistance Center. Those lacking the most medical access in Arizona are the rural areas along the U.S./Mexico border and the Navajo and tribal reservations. Out of the 72 hospitals in Arizona, only 20 of them are in rural communities....

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Illegal drug spice leads to a spike in emergency calls

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Spice and its increased, widespread availability in smoke shops has led to a rise in emergency calls in Arizona and around the nation. Spice abuse is not just localized to Arizona; other states such as New York and Maryland have reported this as a national problem, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and other municipalities struggle to combat the addictive effects of the drug. Spice, better known by the street names “K2” or “Black Mamba,” was introduced as a synthetic substitute to marijuana. Spice consists of a blend of herbs sprayed with manmade chemicals. Although the formula for spice varies from brand to brand, most are possible of inducing a long list of dangerous symptoms in users such as hallucinations, paranoia, seizures, vomiting, kidney failure, acute psychosis, tachycardia, stroke and in some cases death. Additionally, the effects...

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Rocketing to space comes with a hefty price tag

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Booking beachfront villas on the Amalfi Coast and vacationing on private yachts for the 1 percent will soon be replaced by trips that rocket outside of Earth’s atmosphere as innovations in space tourism continue to flourish in Tucson and around the United States. Commercial space travel may become a realistic goal as early as 2017, according to the Tucson based company World View. And these trips do not come cheap. For $75,000 people can reserve their spot on a World View commercial launch vehicle and add to the soon to be growing number of people who have been to outer space. Around 20 commercial space companies in the United States are working to someday provide suborbital flights to space tourists. Although they vary on their methods from high-altitude balloons to small rockets, they all share one commonality: the hefty price...

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After gun show shooting Tombstone saying ‘no’ to blanks

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The town is noticeably quieter, the streets more empty. Allen Street hasn’t felt the same since the shooting in the Helldorado festival. “Tombstone just hasn’t felt like Tombstone without gun skits in the streets,” said Councilman Armando Villa. In a gun reenactment skit held by the Tombstone Vigilantes, a nonprofit that holds outdoor gun skits to honor the town’s rich history, live rounds were used instead of blank bullets. A report from the marshal’s office outlines what happened. Actor Tom Carter of the Vigilantes did not have his gun checked in at the staging area when he arrived late on set. Carter figured he had blank rounds in his .45-caliber pistol. It’s the same gun he uses for self-defense and he had not used the gun in over a month. During the skit, Carter fired five rounds. One struck...

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