Published: Nov 03, 2011 8:08 PM EDT

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) - As the sun dips below the rooftops each evening, parts of the Detroit enclave of Highland Park turn to pitch black. The only illumination comes from a few streetlights at the end of the block or from glowing yellow yard globes.
It wasn't always this way. But when the debt-ridden community could no longer afford its monthly electric bill, elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out - bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness.
It's one of the nation's most extreme austerity measures, even among the scores of communities that can no longer afford to provide basic services. And unlike many other cutbacks, such as postponing roadwork or reducing trash collection, this one appears to be permanent.

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