DOG DAYS OF AUGUST IN BISBEE

by Debrah on August 31, 2015

It’s been hot around here, but nothing like the temperatures in June. Most days, the temperature has stayed in the 80s. Everything looks green, as we’ve had rain almost every day. When I first moved here eighteen years ago, the rainy season meant rain every afternoon for almost three months. This year we’ve had just a couple days of flooding. However, one downpour last week sent water pouring down the street, into my yard, and fifteen inches up the ramp toward my front door. It took me twenty minutes to sweep dirt and pebbles off the walk the next day. A few hours later, it rained again, this time with hail.

Last February a sinkhole opened up near the Queen Mine Tour and Visitor Center. Less than two feet deep, the hole has grown to 25′ x 40′, and takes up much of the parking lot. It was caused by subsidence in the mine’s Czar Shaft. Now it will have to be plugged and the parking lot shored up. Again. Mining ended in that shaft in 1944. The shaft was back-filled in the 1950s, covered with a concrete cap in 1963, and in 1995, a sinkhole appeared near the current one.

There was a high speed chase of drug runners up Tombstone Canyon, our main street through Old Bisbee that twists around blind curves and at times is too narrow to allow street parking. Traveling about 65 mph in a 25 mph zone, the vehicle killed a dog, and crashed into a police vehicle blocking off the canyon. It was carrying over 200 pounds of marijuana.

The Bisbee football team won the Copper Pick football game against the nearby Douglas team, 49 to 19. This annual contest has been going on since 1906. The rivalry is part of the Great American Rivalry series, with 144 games played, this time in our 116-year-old ballpark. U.S. Marines sponsored the game this year, and marines presented the championship trophy. The copper miner’s pick will sit in the Bisbee High School until next year.

My home town of Defiance, Ohio, is also part of the Great American Rivalry series. The River Rock Rivalry between Defiance and nearby Napoleon has also been going on for at least 100 years. Both the Copper Pick and River Rock contests are featured on the GAR’s website, greatamericanrivalries.com.

In this past week, Bisbee and our border town of Naco were visited by Dr. Ben Carson, a Republican presidential nomination candidate. It’s rare for big time politicians to speak with anyone other than officials when they come here, preferring to sit in Washington and talk to each other. But Carson spent time with ranchers.

Only about 13% of Arizona is private land; the federal government manages the rest. However, Border Patrol agents are posted mainly in big cities, and we’re left with cameras, high walls, very expensive roads—perhaps $40 billion of infrastructure. The cameras spot maybe 10% of the illegal crossings and the Border Patrol agents give chase through the wilderness. According to one rancher, sometimes the crossers are chased to death.

He also said that Mexican cartels control both sides of the line, with the biggest problem being smuggling, not people. Despite the federal management of nearly 83% of the land, we have to rely on already overworked county sheriffs to patrol and handle problems. Worse, local officials are not permitted to be in some wilderness areas, so nobody is patrolling there.

And still, Bisbee is Bisbee, with lots of other issues troubling our police and sheriff departments as well. For instance, three trucks were parked outside of an apartment complex and a tenant called police because he was sure the drivers were out to get him. Neighbors in Brewery Gulch yelled at the owner of barking dogs, and she called the police to report the neighbors. Still another man called because a post online said a neighbor had left for Poland and the caller thought that was fishy.

Our Middle School suffered a bit of trauma, with youths throwing rocks. Not at the school, mind you. They climbed onto the roof and threw the rocks, at what, we don’t know. Then someone stole a dumpster, but was caught on tape by a security camera. Once located, he returned the dumpster. A woman reported a hole in her window caused by a BB pellet. Police investigations uncovered a man nearby running a weed-eater. An unidentified stone remains the chief suspect in the shooting.

West of town, a loose black stallion was reported for harassing people and other horses. Then four donkeys were reported running loose by the equipment yard in Naco. A pit bull and a border collie attacked a hog over in Palominas, ripping its ear off. Someone should have seen that one coming—the collie was wearing a bandana just like human bad guys.

That’s Bisbee—theater in the desert.

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