Patagonia flute maker spreads music worldwide

[caption id="attachment_47" align="alignright" width="600"]Odell Borg, owner of High Spirits Flutes, says anyone can learn to play the Native American flute. (Photo by Sandra Westdahl/ASNS)Odell Borg, owner of High Spirits Flutes, says anyone can learn to play the Native American flute. (Photo by Sandra Westdahl/ASNS)[/caption]For Odell Borg, one of the most elusive qualities of a good flute is consistency.

“Nowadays, when you’re playing with other instruments, be it guitar, piano or any other instrument, it has to be in a certain key,” said Borg, owner and chief craftsman at High Spirit Flutes in Patagonia. “That’s always a challenge, to get consistency in tuning.”

Borg has been making and selling handcrafted flutes for more than 20 years. He and his staff of 14 work hard to achieve the kind of consistency expected by their discerning customers. He said the current process of making a flute has been honed through trial and error. It takes between two and three weeks to transform blocks of wood into musical instruments.

Though it began in a one-car garage in California, High Spirits Flutes has expanded year by year and now offers 65 Native American-inspired flutes of differing keys and pitch ranges. All of the instruments are crafted onsite and then sold locally and internationally.

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Saddle making an art in Magdalena, Sonora, shop

One of the craftsmen at Talabartería Rancho Grande in Magdalena, Sonora, works on cowhide that ultimately will become part of a custom saddle. (Photo by Samantha Sais/ASNS)It takes thousands of taps from a small wooden hammer onto cowhide to make a fancy saddle, and Talabartería Rancho Grande in Magdalena, Sonora, has been doing it for more than 60 years.

Strips of leather are piled in one corner of the saddle shop, which occupies a corner of a narrow one-way street in the Mexican town about 50 miles south of the border. The smell of leather is distinct throughout the shop.

Luis Molina founded Talabartería Rancho Grande in 1949 after he heard ranchers complaining that they didn’t have a comfortable saddle to ride in for hours, or the saddles they did have weren’t durable and broke too easily.

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Real estate investor still has Tombstone dream

Real estate investor Ruben Suarez still has high hopes of contributing toward Tombstone’s history despite an ongoing bankruptcy. The Bella Union, background, is his most treasured asset, one he says aligns with his love of the town’s history. (Photo by Kevin Zimmerman/ASNS)Ruben Suarez’ dreams are too tough to die.

The real estate investor owns the historic Bella Union at 401 E. Fremont St. and the Adobe Lodge Motel at 501 E. Fremont St. in Tombstone, and even though both of the businesses are forcibly up for sale because Suarez is in the midst of a bankruptcy proceeding, he still has his dreams.

Suarez, a father of three and Tucson native, said he was drawn to Tombstone because “the history thing kind of made my business judgments a little fogged. It was a little emotional thing. You can’t get emotional.”

Despite his problems, Suarez said he hopes to keep the Bella Union, which he called his second home and the gem of all his holdings, which also include a motel and bowling alley in Benson and various lots in Tombstone.

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New wilderness areas could be created in Southern Arizona

An order from the U.S. Department of the Interior allows the Bureau of Land Management to review lands within the Ironwood Forest National Monument northwest of Tucson for possible protection as wilderness areas. (Photo by Stephen Varga/El Independiente)

An order from U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar makes it easier to deem lands near Tucson as wilderness areas, which could make it easier to restrict motorized access and new mining claims.

The new order, which was issued in December, requires the Bureau of Land Management to review designated lands and possibly classify them as protected wilderness areas.

This policy reverses a 2003 decision that halted the Bureau of Land Management’s ability to create new wilderness areas. The Interior Department entered into the 2003 settlement with the State of Utah, agreeing that the BLM had no authority to designate wilderness areas.

Under the latest order, however, the BLM will review the wilderness status of 12.2 million acres in Arizona, including more than 35,000 acres in Ironwood Forest National Monument northwest of Tucson and more than 100,000 acres of Sonoran Desert between Phoenix and Tucson.

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Homeless farm animals safe at Lakota Ladies Haven near Florence

[caption id="attachment_34" align="alignleft" width="500"]Terry Abbott makes sure one of the goats at Lakota Ladies Haven gets plenty of loving. (Photo by Sam Sais/ASNS)Terry Abbott makes sure one of the goats at Lakota Ladies Haven gets plenty of loving. (Photo by Sam Sais/ASNS)[/caption]Ronald Campbell and Terry Abbott are always looking for more farm animals. The latest count at their Lakota Ladies Haven near Florence is eight chickens, one rooster, three goats, three dogs, four cats, two horses and a cockatoo.

But the animals are only there until they can be placed in good homes.

The couple started the shelter to rehabilitate abandoned farm animals after a car collided with a wandering horse in Three Points, 25 miles west of Tucson, in November, killing both the animal and the driver.

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