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News for Southeastern Arizona, provided by the University of Arizona School of Journalism

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Cornucopia of holiday foods traditional for Arizona

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Tamales are on the tip of everyone’s tongue when thinking of holiday traditional foods in Southern Arizona, but they are not the only thing to adorn local tables. Traditions from a cornucopia of cultures will be celebrated across the Southwest this holiday season. From tamales to lasagna, Arizona is gearing up for a holiday feast. Tamales, wrapped and tied in a bow are the perfect culinary present to rip into over the holidays. La Mesa Tortillas and Tamales is a local family owned shop that gets extremely busy this time of year. “Get your orders in early,” said Danielle Aguilar, daughter of the owner of La Mesa. “My dad had a dream of opening up a tortilla shop,” Aguilar said. After its humble beginnings the shop has now been around for 21 years and has three locations around Tucson. Tamales have always...

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Justice on the horizon for Mexican-American Studies

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Curtis Acosta was concerned. An English teacher at Tucson High School, he noticed an unsettling trend. Latino students were dropping out at a higher rate than their peers. He knew they were capable. But for some reason, they lacked the scholar’s appetite. So, he called a meeting with fellow educators from Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) to design a new curriculum, one that would instill academic pride by teaching Latin-American culture through literature, history, government and art.   In the fall of 1998, Mexican-American Studies (MAS) began at Tucson High. The classes quickly became ingrained in the student’s cultural identity. Test scores improved. Dropout rates fell. It did not take long before the troubles began, first from in-house and soon after from the state’s more conservative politicians. Public opposition to the MAS program grew as the state school superintendent...

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Why failure can be beneficial for an increasingly anxious generation

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College students are more anxious now than they have ever been. Based on a Spring 2017 survey done by the American College Health Association 60.8 percent of college students said they felt overwhelming anxiety in the last year. This was nearly a 10 percent increase from the assessment back in 2008 and a 3 percent increase just from the previous year. In the last decade, anxiety has surpassed depression as the No. 1 reason college students seek professional help or counseling. The trend remains the same at the University of Arizona, according to student surveys administered at the University Campus Health Services. Anxiety was listed as student’s top concern with depression following as a second in an annual self-reporting survey. Leslie Ralph, a psychologist at Counseling and Psych Services at the University of Arizona, said social media and the...

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Unwanted horses of the West

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  President Trump’s 2018 appropriations bill suggests changing a 1971 act of Congress protecting wild horses from slaughter, and cuts the Wild Horse and Burro program by 12 percent. If passed, it will allow for the unlimited sale and slaughter of these American icons of the West. Wild horses are protected by an act of Congress from 1971, deeming them “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” that “enrich the lives of the American people.” Yet, the U.S. government is rounding them up by the thousands and holding them on government storage lands, and spending millions to do it. The biggest opponent of wild horses is livestock farmers, who want them to stop grazing on the public lands so their cattle and sheep will have more grass to eat. The Bureau of Land Management spent over...

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For Native Americans, racism hits home

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  After over 500 years of broken treaties and forceful domination from European settlers and the U.S. government, Native Americans in Arizona today still face racism in the most intimate part of their religion and identity: their home. Today, a border wall, a copper mine and a reversal of the previous administration’s policies are a few examples of recent federal threats to the sacred native land and way of life. OAK FLAT: “All we have left is our spirit and how it ties to the earth,” said Wendsler Nosie Sr., a 65-year-old former councilman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. “We have to migrate back (to Oak Flat) regardless of what the federal government says or what anyone says. It’s rooted in our songs, our language, and the way we are every day.” Native lands in the U.S. have...

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Blacks, Latinos face heftier prison time

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Nationwide, for every one white person imprisoned, roughly five black people are, according to the Sentencing Project. In Arizona, those ratios are similar for African Americans, with Hispanics being imprisoned roughly twice as much as whites. Yet, the U.S. Census Bureau’s data show that black people only take up about 5 percent of the total population of the state and Hispanic or Latino people make up about 31 percent. In a report by the American Civil Liberties Union, “Black and Latino offenders sentenced in state and federal courts face significantly greater odds of incarceration than similarly situated white offenders.” Additionally, in some jurisdictions, they might “receive longer sentences than their white counterparts.” Ashley Nellis, a senior research analyst of the Sentencing Project, said – in accordance with data for Arizona – the white imprisonment rate per 100,000 people in...

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From fighter pilot to to fighter for justice

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  A military hero. An activist for equal housing and job discrimination. A man who fought for civil rights so valiantly he is now considered to be the Martin Luther King Jr. of Arizona. Lincoln Ragsdale was born July 27, 1926, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His parents, Hartwell and Onlia, were middle-class African-Americans who owned a mortuary passed onto them by Lincoln’s grandfather. After the Ku Klux Klan lynched his uncle, William Ragsdale Jr.,  the family moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma, to start anew. Onlia was the president of the  National Association of Colored Women’s Oklahoma chapter. At separate times, his older brother and cousin served as president of the NAACP in Oklahoma. In 1945, Lincoln broke the glass ceiling when he trained to become a Tuskegee Airman at the Tuskegee Army Air Corps Field in Alabama. This program was the...

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A message to this generation: Get bored

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BUZZZZZ. Alarm goes off. Check emails. Get dressed. Check Twitter. Eat breakfast. Scroll through Instagram. Technology disrupts and controls thinking. It has created a need to be connected, and scientists say this generation has a problem; there is a benefit to being bored. Whether it is to avoid awkward elevator rides, seek information about the news, or look at the latest posts from family and friends, social media is turning into an avid routine for many people. This is a generation that does not know how to be bored. According to experts, 7 in 10 Americans use social media and spend over seven hours on their smartphones. Every. Single. Day. Experts say not being bored is interrupting creativity, memories and productivity. Excessive social media use is detrimental to not only our relationships, but our physical and mental health. Sitting...

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Why late Edith Head’s doppelgänger will never leave Tucson

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Each Thanksgiving Day, one of Arizona’s “48 Most Intriguing Women” becomes a clown. But when it comes to her career, the 5-foot Tucsonan is anything but clownish. Susan Claassen’s energy, style and taste makes her an all-around class act. She not only runs Tucson’s Invisible Theatre, but she acts, writes and directs. “She’s not afraid of big projects,” said Molly McKasson, Claassen’s lifelong friend. “She’s willing and able to take on all of the work.” Claassen’s surreal physical resemblance to late Hollywood designer Edith Head changed her acting career forever. Years ago, she did a double take while watching a television biography of Head and knew there was a story to be told. In 2002, her one-woman show A Conversation With Edith Head was born and has been running ever since — earning her an Ovation Nomination, the Los...

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Glenn’s War

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SIERRA VISTA — Glenn Spencer is a general fighting a one-man war. It’s a war that, according to him, the American government doesn’t want but one he is duty-bound to wage.  His battlefield is the border and his soldiers are drones, guided by seismographs. He has an almost-fanatical drive to develop a cheaper, more-secure system to “lock down” the U.S.-Mexican borderland. Spencer’s enemies are elusive, wily, and to him, alien. They are Latino border crossers, and whether they are children fleeing conflict, families seeking a better life, or suspected drug smugglers, it makes no difference to him. Spencer believes they constitute a threat large enough to warrant years of his life struggling to combat. Fifteen years into the project, Spencer spends his time fine-tuning a drone system capable of snaring crossers. He claims his combative stance and skepticism about...

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Oldest saloon in Arizona receives a makeover

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Outside and patio dining is becoming a new amenity in Tombstone, Arizona. Kim Herrig, owner of the Crystal Palace Saloon has known since taking over the saloon in 2002 that this was the perfect addition to the historical building. The Crystal Palace will be the only restaurant/bar in Tombstone to have outdoor and rooftop dining. The renovations being made will bring in more revenue, a second floor and deck is being added to the saloon. Construction began in June 2017, starting with the replacement of support beams. All construction should be finished by Thanksgiving, the 16-foot high ceilings make for extra difficulty with placing the mezzanine outside. The Crystal Palace will be the first restaurant/bar in Tombstone to have outdoor and rooftop dining. A second floor and deck is being added to the saloon. In June of this year...

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Vigilante justice paves a centuries long history for Tombstone

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A gunfight that happened in less than a minute in Tombstone on Oct. 26, 1881, left the town with an immortalized piece of history, and a place on the map. The shootout between Wyatt Earp, his brothers Virgil and Morgan, Doc Holliday against Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy Claiborne became the picture of vigilante justice in the Old West. It became good vs. evil, cowboys vs. the law and a shootout in a soon-to-be washed up silver mining town. News of the shooting at the O.K. Corral reached far beyond the town of Tombstone. This less than a minute of western warfare spurred the potential of Tombstone to evolve into a tourist destination today. “A face down, gunfight between men on both sides, the law and the cowboys, there were very few facedown gunfights in the...

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Hunger persists in Cochise County

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Hunger gnaws at Cochise County citizens more than the average American. The poverty rate in Cochise County is 18.7 percent, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau compared to the national rate of 12.7 percent. This difference makes food banks and aid organizations increasingly important in Cochise County communities.  Walking around the town of Tombstone tourists see horse drawn waggons, wild west saloons and historic gunfight reenactments. They smell country air, dust, and sweet fudge from one of many gift shops, but they might not know that hunger lives here, too. With little opportunity for well paying jobs many in the Tombstone community go hungry. This becomes evident at the end of the town’s famed O.K. Corral gun show when the actor playing Doc Holliday asks for donations for the Starving Actors Fund.  Tombstone Community Food Bank, hidden behind...

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Arizona basketball nets big bucks, players shortchanged

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The University of Arizona profited more than $9.8 million on the play of 13 scholarship basketball players last year. The athletes earned a $36,000 scholarship and $1,500 every month for food and housing. Their work generated $22.7 million of revenue for the university. They received 4 percent. Critics say the pay is paltry and the ongoing under-the-table pay scandal involving Arizona basketball occurred because athletes are not paid a fair wage for their labors. The huge gap between profit and pay resurfaced last month when the FBI revealed a massive payoff scandal in college basketball that ensnared Arizona and three other universities. Payouts for future players with shoe company money — long common knowledge in college basketball — are now seeing the light of day. Scholars and labor experts call for a fair market value system that would end...

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How farms cope with a closed border

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With winter lettuce season starting in November, farms and the agriculture industry are rushing to find workers for harvest. A difficult task, made more difficult with the anti-immigration rhetoric coming from the current administration. For Arizona, the stakes are high, especially for the Yuma area, where roughly 90 percent of national lettuce and leafy greens are produced in winter. With the immigrant labor supply already drying up in the United States, farm operators have had to turn to controversial H2-A visas to import and employ temporary agriculture workers. A program that, as it stands, is not popular. “The farmworkers, especially H2-A guest workers, generally don’t have any bargaining power to demand a better wage,” said Bruce Goldstein, president of Farmworker Justice, a nonprofit migrant worker rights group based in Washington D.C. “If they want to come back in a...

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