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Jeff Williams
Needles casts an envious eye elsewhere

Depending on their mood and whom you talk to, people in this parched railroad town clinging to the eastern edge of California call it the poor stepchild, the redheaded stepchild, the ugly stepchild of San Bernardino County. They grouse about not getting their roads paved, about being 220 miles from the county seat, about being a dumping ground for parolees and sex offenders -- all the while gazing enviously across the Colorado River at boomtowns in Arizona and Nevada. "The building codes are stricter here, the taxes are higher," said Patricia Scott, a nurse. "I cross into Arizona and it's growing by leaps and bounds. We are the only community in the tri-state area...

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