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AZ End-o'-days

The Divine Administration’s headquarters sits on 165 acres in the Santa Cruz River valley south of Tucson. There, according to the Arizona Republic, Gabriel of Urantia oversees a religious order of about 100 followers, who believe that Adam and Eve were aliens placed on Earth – or Urantia – 38,000 years ago to help earthlings evolve. True believers, or star seeds, came to Urantia from other Universes where polygamy is acceptable, they say. (Come on, Colorado City, is hardly another universe.) Most worrisome, they believe the apocalypse is just around the corner.

It appears that life in Arizona has taken on a certain end-o’-daysesque quality lately. First, the state has been pummeled by one storm after another. In the south, locust-swarm-like rains swelled arroyos and streams high above flood levels, carrying away debris, cars and wrecking a trailer park. In the north, on the Hopi and Navajo Nations, snow drifts of up to eight feet were reported, stranding hundreds in remote homes. Military choppers hauled huge shipments of food, water and even wood to the stranded.

But weather is the least of Arizona’s problems. Thousands of homes have been foreclosed upon, and big desert developments remain mostly empty – the hangover from the state’s growth binge is becoming chronic. That has left Arizona’s budget in worse shape than any in the nation aside from California. The state park budget was slashed by nearly 75 percent, legislators sold of state buildings and cut services to children and the elderly. It’s gotten so bad that the posh Loews Ventana Canyon Resort near Tucson has dropped the “resort” from its name, a semantic nod to these austere times. (It has not, to our knowledge, dropped its rates, however.) 

 Meanwhile, the folks of Urantia are apparently doing their part to ease the real estate crisis: The order owns at least 20 properties in Arizona, at a value of over $10 million.

 

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HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor