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Destination Arizona

Arizona Travel, Recreation, Adventure, History and More. Join us along the scenic backroads, rivers and lakes of this Amazing state.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Artisan tackles restoration of historic copper school doors

Destination Arizona B. Thomas Cooper

When renowned copper sculptor George Green caught wind the town of Bisbee Arizona intended to pay an out-of-state company to restore the historic, seventy-five year old copper clad Lowell school doors, Green, a Bisbee resident, contacted the local school board with a better idea. By George, just have Green do it!

Green is one of many talented artisans who call the scenic town of Bisbee home. In recent years, the former turn-of-the-century mining town has become somewhat of an artist’s enclave. Green, who moved to Bisbee from phoenix to be near his family a few years ago, speaks fondly of Bisbee and is eager to contribute to the town he loves.

So when Green learned the Lowell school board was preparing to pay a San Diego firm $26,000 to restore the massive ten-foot by five-foot doors, Green stuck his foot in the door, offering to restore the copper laden doors for about half the price. “It seemed to me a large sum of money for the school board to raise”, Green remarked of the original $26,000 price tag when interviewed for this article. “I just thought I could do the job a lot cheaper, and perhaps better.“ The Lowell school board agreed.

The historic doors were moved to Mr. Green’s basement, where the artist has begun the process of meticulously disassembling the copper plates, careful to document and preserve as much original detail as possible. Green, who has a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, is being assisted with the restoration by two other prominent local artisans. Chris Flager is handling repairs to the door’s heavy wooden cores, while Steve Wilkes assists with the bending and straightening of the copper.

Green calls the restoration process painstaking, predicting it will take months to complete, but no one seems in a hurry. The School board is actively seeking financial contributions to offset the cost of the process, including hosting a fundraiser billed as ‘Copper Pennies for the Copper Doors’. So far, about two thousand dollars has been raised for the project.

As can be expected, the aging doors have endured seventy-five years of abuse and neglect. Two years ago, the massive doors, weighing nearly five hundred pounds, were removed from their hinges and placed in storage. Long time Bisbee residents are thrilled with the prospect of having the unusual copper-plated doors swinging back into action. Most expect the restoration to be well worth the wait.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Manhunt continues for suspected Utah cop killer

Destination Arizona
B. Thomas Cooper

The search for an alleged cop killer continues in the high desert along the border between Arizona and Utah, as the suspect, 23 year old Scott Curley, proves more elusive to authorities than anticipated.

A ten thousand dollar reward has been offered for the capture of Curley, with over three hundred law officers participating in the search. The manhunt began after Curley shot and killed Deputy Brian Harris with a rifle while the officer was pursuing the suspect on a separate charge. Curley is accused of burglarizing a nearby high school in Fredonia the night before.

Curley, a native American, is believed to be on foot, but has been successful in giving authorities the slip, leading searchers through unusually rugged terrain. During the cover of night, the suspect was apparently able to slip away from a police dragnet, covering greater distance than expected. It is believed Curley may have stashed some supplies in anticipation of his escape, suggesting the killing may have been planned well in advance.

Experts also suspect Curley may be getting assistance from friends or family. “We know someone is out there who knows where this individual is and we hope they will step forward,” U.S. Marshal David Gonzales was quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune.

According to individuals familiar with Curley, rumors had been swirling for days that the suspect might be planning an attack. Others suggest the troubled young man may be delusional, and friends feared he could be reaching “the breaking point“.

Searchers, rotating in shifts, are currently focusing their efforts on an area between Fredonia and Kanab, Utah, just north of Arizona. Authorities deny they have given officers orders to shoot Curley on sight, but admit tensions are high. Still, they claim they maintain hope of capturing the troubled killer alive.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

National Guard troops prepare to deploy along Arizona border

Destination Arizona B. Thomas Cooper Editor

On Monday, the initial deployment of National Guard troops will begin arriving along the porous Arizona border separating the United States and northern Mexico. With border violence on the rise, area residents await troop arrival with measured optimism.

National Guard troops will begin arriving along the Arizona side of the border in small groups and without fanfare. It is anticipated that over five hundred troops will be deployed to the region by the end of September. Their effectiveness however, is hard to predict as the troops, although armed, will only operate as observers, lacking authority to make arrests themselves.

Still, the extra boots on the ground are expected to create an additional deterrent for would be smugglers and others who may attempt to cross the border illegally. Some experts however, believe the drug cartels will simply move their operations elsewhere, such as southern Texas, which is already experiencing an increase in drug related violent crimes.

Illegal immigration has become a key hot-button issue in recent months, especially among Republicans and Tea Party supporters. However, even long time Arizona senator and Republican presidential candidate John McCain has acknowledged that the situation is not as simple as erecting a two thousand mile fence through the rocky desert or deploying troops along the border.

Arizona governor Jan Brewer has criticized the Obama administration for not doing enough to stem the flow of illegal activity along the border. Brewer recently enacted new laws designed to mitigate the situation, but several sections of the new bill, SB-1070 were ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. Brewer and her attorneys filed a brief addressing the matter earlier this morning.

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