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Farmers, ranchers fear budget cuts to Agriculture Dept. (access required)

As Arizona continues to grapple with declining government revenue, the state's farming and ranching communities are warning that the Arizona Department of Agriculture has stretched its dollars to the limit. And the situation could grow worse, as Gov. Jan Brewer in September ordered state agencies to draft plans that predict the immediate effects on departments if their budgets are cut another 15 percent.

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Vanderpool wants to keep leading DPS (access required)

Roger Vanderpool hopes his performance as director of the state's largest police force will speak louder than his political history - two elections as Pinal County Sheriff as a Democrat and an appointment to his current post by a Democratic governor - when Arizona's Republican governor decides who will lead the department for the next five years.

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Bad blood over bad check leads to indictment of boxing promoter (access required)

Boxing manager Joe Diaz hopes the indictment of a Phoenix fight promoter leads to bigger fish - namely, former boxing commissioner and Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. Promoter Peter McKinn III was indicted Sept. 30 on five counts of forgery, theft, fraud and perjury stemming from a five-year-old dispute with Diaz. McKinn pleaded not guilty in an Oct. 8 arraignment.

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Feds mum on Arpaio’s upcoming crime sweep (access required)

In response to the loss of his agreement with the federal government that authorized his agency to enforce immigration law on the streets, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio pushed up the date of his next crime suppression sweep to Oct. 16 and said he would deliver any illegal immigrants found by his deputies to the Border Patrol. Federal officials aren't saying how they will react if he makes good on his vow.

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Authorities investigate Kartchner Caverns break-in

Intruders broke into the crown jewel of Arizona's state park system over the weekend, leaving a trail of minor damage in one of Kartchner Caverns' most fragile caves, authorities said Oct. 13. Suspects forced a door open through the lower portal of the cavern sometime during the night on Oct. 11, officials said.

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Bare-bones Revenue Department would eliminate audits (access required)

An unintended consequence of a veto last month means the state agency tasked with collecting taxes is on the verge of laying off more than half of its staff, barring a budget fix to allow access to all of the money lawmakers gave it earlier this year. Anthony Forschino, the agency's assistant director, said the layoffs would still allow the Department of Revenue to function, but in a bare-bones manner.

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Arizona raided water funds that held money deposited by Nevada (access required)

The Legislature is getting sued, again, over fund sweeps initiated earlier this year to close the state budget gap. A commission charged with delivering water from the Colorado River to several Arizona counties and Native American tribes has filed a lawsuit with the Arizona Supreme Court to challenge the Legislature's decision to sweep millions of dollars held by the Arizona Water Banking Authority.

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