The West Aint Dead

Its often said that the “Wild West” is dead, wrong. If you live in Tucson, Arizona, you know that the West is not dead, its alive and well, and it aint going nowhere.

I get paid to read the news, and after just a couple of days I’ve pulled out some stories that come close to something that you could have pulled from the papers of the 19th century.

Arizona Daily Star 2/18/2010:

FBI: ‘High Country Bandits’ target Marana bank, others throughout Southwest:

A two-man crew has been holding up rural banks throughout the Southwest over the past five months, including one in Marana, according to the FBI. The duo, dubbed the “High Country Bandits,” by the FBI are believed to be responsible for at least 12 heists in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico between September and earlier this month, according to an agency news release. The first stickup occurred Sept. 8 in the White Mountains community of Heber, while other Arizona locales allegedly hit include Flagstaff (twice), Gold Canyon, Payson, Phoenix, Pinetop and Prescott Valley, the release said. The men are described as white or Hispanic, in their 30s or 40s, with one between 5-foot-3 and 5-foot-6 and the other around 6 feet. They have been spotted making their getaways on a green or maroon all-terrain vehicle, according to the release.

Arizona Daily Star 2/19/2010:

FBI: Serial bank robber targeting Tucson area

The FBI has determined five recent bank robberies in the Tucson area are the work of the same man, who is being dubbed the Chameleon Bandit. The Chameleon Bandit – presumably given that moniker for his varied of clothing and facial hair assortments. The suspect is described as an Hispanic male in his mid-30s with a light to medium complexion. He is between 5-foot-1 and 5-foot-3 and weighs between 140 and 150 pounds with a shaved head, a dark mustache or goatee and deep facial acne scars. The suspect has worn glasses and a beanie cap as well as a gray hooded sweatshirt, jeans or khakis, according to the release. He has been seen fleeing in both a 2006 silver Dodge Durango and a late model gold or brown Nissan sedan with Sonora, Mexico plates, according to the release.

Arizona Daily Star 2/19/2010:

10,000 of Vail’s proudest people expected at fest

The Vail School District will host its annual Vail Pride Day Saturday at the Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road. School district officials expect more than 10,000 people to attend the festival, which will include classroom displays, student artwork, jumping castles and a petting zoo, according to a district press release. The event will last from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m..There will be Academic Jeopardy, a math bowl and science fair competitions. Gov. Jan Brewer will speak and present awards at a ceremony during the festival.

Arizona Daily Star 2/19/10:

Striking Sonora miners ready for face-off with government, Grupo Mexico

A two-year-old labor conflict in Cananea, Sonora has reached a crisis point, and miners there are preparing for the possibility of violence. On Feb. 11, a labor court rejected an appeal by miners at Grupo Mexico’s Cananea mine, confirming an earlier decision that the longstanding strike is illegal. It was the final word on a strike that has kept the mine shut down since July 30, 2007. Now, miners expect that the Mexican government will send in troops or security forces to dislodge them from the entrances to the mine. It is common and legal for striking Mexican workers to occupy their workplace, effectively shutting it down, but the occupation becomes illegal if the strike is declared illegal. The Cananea miners “will defend their workplace and their collective bargaining agreement even with their lives,” said Javier Zuniga, a mining union official, by phone today from Cananea. The miners were in the first of two days today of demonstrations, and the sound of a large, chanting crowd nearly drowned out Zuniga’s voice. Manny Armenta, a United Steelworkers officials from Arizona, also was in Cananea, among a group of international observers who have shown up in the town. The Steelworkers, who represent more than 1,000 employees of Tucson-based Asarco LLC – also a Grupo Mexico-owned company – have long supported the Cananea miners. “We’re all fearful that there’s going to be bloodshed,” Armenta said. Cananea is about 110 miles southeast of Tucson.

Miners, bandits and 10,000 people expected to celebrate the town of Vail. It sounds like the West is alive and well.


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