Thursday, October 02, 2014

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The Terrifying Ten

PHM1014Flash-1-HotTopicBoo! This Halloween season, PHOENIX magazine rounds up the angriest, vainest, freakiest, most altogether scary Arizonans.

Sure, zombies are scary. Backwoods axe-murderers, too. And hotels built on ancient Indian burial grounds? Always good for a fright.  

But you know what really makes our blood run cold? Gun-toting brain doctors. Dirty Scottsdale. Polygamists.

To be sure, Arizona has given America the heebie jeebies hard and often over recent years, from the blood-stained saga of Jodi Arias to the underage sister wives of Colorado City. So, in this season of vampires, killer clowns and sexy-pirate Halloween costumes, we pay our respects to the Arizonans we’d never want to meet in a dark alley. Figurative or otherwise.

 

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Stick and Move

arizona border, illegal immigrationAs children from Central America pour over U.S. borders, the debate about immigration reform and enforcement reaches pugilist-pitch in Arizona.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the verbal-sparring championships of the border! In this corner, wearing blue trunks and fighting for reform, are pro-immigration forces. In the other corner, wearing red trunks and fighting for border security, are pro-enforcement factions. And in the middle, weighing 800 pounds, is the “gorilla in the room,” accompanied by 60,000 children from Central America...

 

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Brain Drain

PHM0814Flash-1-1Has Arizona declared war on public education?

During the 2013-2014 school year, Peoria Unified School District superintendent Dr. Denton Santarelli held a series of “open chats” with administrators and teachers at each of the district’s more than 40 campuses. They were voluntary, after-hours, and Santarelli didn’t expect high attendance – people are busy, he figured. To his amazement, each discussion was packed with educators. After answering questions from students all day, they had many of their own.

 

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Ranking Jan

PHM0714Flash-1-1As the sun sets on Jan Brewer’s governorship, PHOENIX magazine looks to the past to put her work in perspective. 22 Arizona governors in all. Ranked for your edification.

Was Jan Brewer a good governor for Arizona? A bad governor? A fair-to-middling governor, maybe in the league of Ernest “Stumpy” McFarland? Meaningful questions to ask as she winds down her historic two-term governorship.

 

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Helter Shelter

0614PHMHT01Phoenix received national accolades for ending chronic homelessness among veterans. But did we take a victory lap too soon?

John Conneally joined the Navy in 1976 and spent five and a half years aboard an ocean-going mine sweeper. After his service, he enrolled at ASU and joined the Navy Reserve for an additional five years. It was 1981, and the future looked bright. He went on to have a career as a computer programmer, got married and had children, and bought a house and a boat.

But 14 years after his discharge from the military, everything fell apart. “I was once a high-dollar COBOL programmer, but when Y2K ended, guys like me became a dime a dozen. I lost my home, my wife, my kids, my truck, my boat and my dog in a few months,” Conneally, 55, says. “I remember standing in the Salt River bed one night, owning only the clothes I was wearing, and screaming at God.”

 

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Too Few Good Men?

The dearth of male volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Arizona reflects a gender disparity in Valley volunteerism at large. Where are all the men?

The unmistakable sizzle of meat hitting hot oil buzzes through the room as eight pairs of big hands help eight pairs of little hands gently present the chicken breasts they’ve just gleefully pounded to the olive oil-coated pans in front of them. The chicken browns to a pale caramel and the little faces look up into the big ones with pride.

 

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For the Pill of It

Potluck-style teen pharma parties may or may not exist, but Arizona’s pill problem is real. And growing.

"See ya, Mom," the teenage boy says, cheerfully. Too cheerfully.

Instantaneously, it seems, the suburban Valley home is packed with frolicking youths – splashing in the pool, draining beer bongs, delighting in the lack of supervision. It all takes a dark turn when Junior calls the party to order. "Awright," he declares, with no small degree of formality. "Who's holding?"

 

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