CORRECTION to April 28 story on doctor wait times

EDS: Clients who used a Cronkite News story slugged Doctor Wait Times that moved Thursday, April 28, are asked to use the following correction. A corrected version of the story has been posted here.  The error occurred in the eleventh paragraph of the original article. 

PHOENIX – An April 28 Cronkite News article about health care organizations working to reduce wait times for patients misspelled Ken Levin’s name.

Cronkite News Digest for Wednesday, May 4

Here is the Cronkite News lineup for Wednesday, May 4. If you have questions on news stories, please contact Steve Crane in the Washington, D.C., bureau at 202-684-2398 or, or call the Phoenix bureau for Kevin Dale at 602-496-5168 or or Venita James at or 602-496-5280. For business story questions, please contact Christina Leonard at 602-361-5893 or Questions on sports stories should be directed to Brett Kurland 602-496-5134 or Stories promised for today along with photos and links to multimedia elements will move on our client site at

Continue reading “Cronkite News Digest for Wednesday, May 4”

Teacher of the year uses White House visit to urge school support

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Teacher Speaks,550
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Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona Teacher of the Year Christine Marsh said education in the state is “under attack,” echoing President Barack Obama’s call Tuesday for more funding for education during a White House ceremony to honor teachers.

“In too many states, we are underfunding public education,” Obama told the supportive audience in the East Room, calling on state legislators and governors to keep in mind the importance of education in their communities.

Marsh, who teaches AP English to juniors and seniors at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, was one of the teachers of the year from every state and territory invited to the White House event.

“The longer I am (Arizona’s) Teacher of the Year – I’ve been in this position since the first of the year – the more I’m convinced that there are powers that are flat-out trying to destroy public education,” she said outside the West Wing after the ceremony. Continue reading “Teacher of the year uses White House visit to urge school support”

Book tells tale of Granite Mountain Hotshots who died battling Arizona wildfire

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Fire Line,1060
  • Related video by Cory Galvan: Granite Mountain Hotshots training in 2012
  • Photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

Cronkite News

PHOENIX – On June 30, 2013, members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots worked to protect the town of Yarnell from an approaching wildfire. Only one of the crew’s 20 firefighters survived. The tragedy of the Yarnell Hill Fire captivated grieving audiences and Fernanda Santos, Phoenix bureau chief for The New York Times. In her book, The Fire Line, Santos tells the story of how 19 men lived and died. Continue reading “Book tells tale of Granite Mountain Hotshots who died battling Arizona wildfire”

Community gardens cultivate life outside jail cells

  • Slug: TigerMountain gardens, 340 words
  • Photos available (thumbnails, captions below)


Cronkite News

PHOENIX – TigerMountain Foundation is trying to lower the recidivism rate in south Phoenix by cultivating community gardens.

Founder Darren Chapman came up with the idea after his own experience with the correctional system.

“I’ve been in and out of jail cells probably eight times in my life,” Chapman said.

Understanding the difficult road ahead once released from jail, Chapman wanted to help people who faced the same struggle forge a new path.

The Phoenix ZIP codes 85041 and 85042 have a 65 percent rate of return to jail or prison for women, according to the Social Intelligence Institute. The foundation program is for girls and boys, men and women.

Continue reading “Community gardens cultivate life outside jail cells”

Children living in lower-income areas are more susceptible to asthma

Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Children in the state’s lower-income urban communities suffer more serious bouts of asthma caused by dirty air and other pollutants – despite decades of state and local monitoring and repeated concerns that air in their neighborhoods is dangerous to their health.

A Cronkite News analysis of hospital emergency room admissions by ZIP code between 2009 and 2015 shows that children living in areas like south and west Phoenix, Maryvale or neighborhoods along Interstate-17, to name a few, were more likely to need urgent medical care for asthma than children living elsewhere in the Valley. Continue reading “Children living in lower-income areas are more susceptible to asthma”

Yuma farmers grow more with less water during drought

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Yuma Water,410
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Cronkite News

YUMA – As Arizona copes with a 15-year drought, farmers in Yuma are learning to do more with less, and leading the way in water conservation in the process.

“We’re very good stewards of what we have here,” said Bruce Gwynn, executive director of the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association. “We’ve got soil. We’ve got water, and we’ve got sunlight…. And we’ve sustained it. We’ve done well with it, and the city has profited from it.”

The development comes as Arizona faces a steady decline in the supply of water available for crops or other needs.

According to the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association, farmers in the lettuce capital of the country have successfully implemented irrigation techniques that have cut their water usage by 20 percent, while increasing crop production by 30 percent. Continue reading “Yuma farmers grow more with less water during drought”

Coffee shops bring growth and community to downtown Phoenix

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Downtown Coffee,1160
  • Coffee facts infographic available (embed code below)
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Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Late on a Sunday morning, Lola Coffee Bar can expect an eclectic group of people, from college students gathering to gossip, to businessmen meeting to discuss the week ahead, to dedicated readers with books open on their laps. The dining area is small, with several community-style tables that brings all of these different people together.

A few people sit in the armchairs by the window, and several sit on the other side of that window, enjoying the weather that Phoenix is so well known for. There’s a small patio in the back that borders the Pita Jungle next door, along West Roosevelt Street, and when all the spots in front are full, the overflow comes out here.

The baristas behind the counter smile and chat with everyone, whether they are the college students or business people or readers. Continue reading “Coffee shops bring growth and community to downtown Phoenix”

Maricopa County’s chain gang helps put the indigent to their final rest

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Indigent Burial,1060
  • Funeral  infographic available (embed code below)
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Cronkite News

PHOENIX – A small white plastic box is lowered into one of the seven graves made the day before. Fifteen prisoners look down into a hole much too large for the tiny infant box it contains.

The group of prisoners, known as the chain gang, is linked not only by the chains on their dusty black boots, but the weight of burying the county’s indigent. It falls to them to put to rest the destitute with no financial means to make arrangements for their burial. Continue reading “Maricopa County’s chain gang helps put the indigent to their final rest”

Free art classes for veterans ease pain

  • Slug: Veterans art therapy. About 350 words.
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Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The Arizona Art Alliance offers free art classes to provide a creative escape and supportive environment for war veterans.

“I was really amazed that the class and the things that they can teach you actually takes your mind off of what’s normally going on,” said David James, a Vietnam war veteran who lives at a local hospital five days a week because of severe osteoarthritis. “You put your concentration into something else and you forget all about your body hurting.”

The “Enriching Veterans’ Lives Through Art” program gives back to veterans like James to show appreciation for their years of public service.

“It allows your attention to focus on something other than your illness and your pain,” said volunteer Lisa Wayman.

According to data collected by News21, the suicide rate of those who have served in the military is 50 percent higher than the general population.

Continue reading “Free art classes for veterans ease pain”

It may be a new downtown, but vintage culture expanding in the Valley

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Downtown Vintage,1060
  • Infographics on resale business, map of vintage shops available (embed codes below)
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Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Anyone who has driven through downtown Phoenix recently has seen the construction on every corner and dozens of new restaurants and coffee shops. But drive four miles north of downtown along Seventh Avenue, and they will encounter a neighborhood with a rich history and 20-year-old small businesses.

The Melrose District, nestled between Camelback and Indian School roads, is a place to shop for vintage clothing and antiques, eat at locally owned restaurants and service your car at an old-school auto body shop. It might stick out like a sore thumb in comparison to the new developments downtown, but that’s exactly what has made the district so successful over the years.

Melrose prides itself on being “a shining star in the metro Phoenix area,” but what really shines is the rich vintage culture there. Why does vintage work so well in the Valley? Some store owners in the district say it’s because of Phoenix’s unique history, the supportive community and the ability to adapt to change. Continue reading “It may be a new downtown, but vintage culture expanding in the Valley”

WNBA jersey ads bolster revenue for Phoenix Mercury but lead to controversy in NBA

Slug: WNBA jersey ads. About 550 words.

Video story available

Photo available (thumbnail, captionsbelow)

Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The four major professional sports leagues have shied away from placing sponsored advertisers on players’ jerseys but the Women’s National Basketball Association has capitalized on the practice since 2011. And the NBA will soon follow the WNBA’s example.

The revenue-generating move helps a league struggling to grow a fan base: game attendance is half that of the men’s league. Even for successful franchises like the Phoenix Mercury, who have won three WNBA titles, the jersey ad displays are arguably the reason they are still around the Valley.

“It’s kind of a game changer in terms of teams and making their path towards profitability. It’s just sort of a business reality for us,” said Vince Kozar, vice president of operations for the Mercury.

The WNBA has struggled with fan attendance since it began 20 years ago. During the 2015 season, the WNBA averaged 7,318 fans per game, down 3.4 percent from 2014. In comparison, the NBA averages 17,826 people per game with significantly higher TV ratings. The jersey ads are a financial boost to the WNBA.

Continue reading “WNBA jersey ads bolster revenue for Phoenix Mercury but lead to controversy in NBA”

ASU professor tests preventive cancer vaccine

  • Slug: Cancer vaccine, 360
  • Video available here

By Ziyi Zeng
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – For more than 10 years, professor Stephen Johnston and a team of researchers at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute have been developing a cancer vaccine aimed at preventing all types of cancer.

Johnston said his vaccine has passed safety trials and is moving on to efficacy trials in dogs.

Johnston said one of the biggest challenges in developing a preventive cancer vaccine is finding common mutations in different tumors. For example, tumors presented in melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer, can have thousands of variations.

He said this has led many researchers in the medical community to view creating a universal vaccine as impossible.

Continue reading “ASU professor tests preventive cancer vaccine”

In limited market, Phoenix teams turn to Native American communities to sponsor arenas

  • Slug: Sports-Venues Sponsors,1,100

By Tommi Goodman
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Four major professional sports teams. Four professional sports venues. Nine different names.

Phoenix is one of 13 metropolitan areas across the U.S. that is home to a team from each of the four major professional sports leagues.

But thanks to corporate consolidation, increasing scrutiny on the return on sports marketing and a narrow market for title sponsorships in Arizona, the four buildings that host these teams have had revolving titles on their marquees.

Bank One Ballpark became Chase Field. The Cardinals went from Cardinals Stadium to University of Phoenix Stadium without moving the NFL team a single yard. Glendale’s NHL hockey home that was once known as Arena is now Gila River Arena. And the oldest of the four professional sports venues, Talking Stick Resort Arena, is now on its third name, following America West Arena and US Airways Center. Continue reading “In limited market, Phoenix teams turn to Native American communities to sponsor arenas”

Team owners starting to demand new stadiums sooner

  • Slug: Sports-Venues Life,1,000

By Bill Slane
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – In its short, 20-year life, Atlanta’s Turner Field played host to one of the highest attended playoff games of all time when more than 54,000 fans crowded in to watch the Atlanta Braves play the Chicago Cubs in 2003.

Eight years later, it hosted the tenth longest Major League Baseball game in the last 100 years, a six-hour and 39-minute marathon against the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to

The stadium, originally built for the 1996 Olympics but converted into a baseball park in 1997, is younger than 14 of Major League Baseball’s 30 stadiums.

But it is headed for an early grave. When the last out is made against the Detroit Tigers on Oct. 2, the Braves will say goodbye to their stadium as they move into a new home in Cobb County. Continue reading “Team owners starting to demand new stadiums sooner”

Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum remains relevant without pro team

  • Slug: Sports-Venues Coliseum,900

By Jake Gadon
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Once known as “The Madhouse on McDowell” when it shook during Phoenix Suns games, Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum leads a quieter existence these days without a professional sports franchise.

Today, it plays host to concerts, roller derby, gun and boat shows, cheerleading competitions and other events. National and international recording artists often use the facility to stage and rehearse shows before going on tour.

Changing the business model has kept the Coliseum, which opened in 1965 to serve as the home of the Arizona State Fair, operating since the Suns departed in 1992 and the Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey club left in 1997. The Suns had called the Coliseum home dating to when the NBA expansion franchise began play in 1968.

“We are lucky because we have withstood the test of time,” said Jen Yee, assistant executive director of the Arizona Exposition and State Fair, which manages the property. “We adjusted . . . and we figured out how to make money in other places on these grounds.” Continue reading “Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum remains relevant without pro team”

TGen researchers looks to canines to advance treatment of cancer

  • Slug: Cancer dogs, 1,400
  • Photos available
  • Video available here

Cronkite News

SCOTTSDALE – Keith and Marna McLendon thought their 9-year-old Scottish terrier, Molly, had a mere bladder infection.

But after a visit to the veterinarian and an ultrasound exam, the McLendons learned Molly had a tumor.

“We were actually surprised at the diagnosis of her first ultrasound,” said Marna McLendon, a Scottsdale resident. “We were just thinking that somehow everything would be fine. So, it hit hard.”

The scottie’s owners take her for chemotherapy treatment every three weeks at Arizona Veterinary Oncology in Scottsdale.

Despite undergoing nearly 10 months of chemo, Molly hasn’t lost her energy – or even her fur.

“Chemotherapy for people is an incredibly tough thing. There’s a lot of side effects, the challenges with it are very difficult,” said Dr. Rachel Venable, veterinary oncologist and Molly’s primary doctor. “But in dogs, they actually do extremely well. We see minimal side effects. Most the time, you would never know a dog was on chemotherapy.”

That’s just one reason doctors are looking to canines to advance cancer treatment for humans.

Researchers at the nonprofit Translational Genomics Research Institute in downtown Phoenix are growing their knowledge of canine cancers. They’re building a database of DNA samples from canines to compare the genetic makeup of healthy dogs to dogs with cancer. They hope this will lead to more targeted treatment options and potential cures.

Continue reading “TGen researchers looks to canines to advance treatment of cancer”

Suns, Coyotes, Diamondbacks wandering in the desert, pondering new homes

  • Slug: Sports-Venues New,1,600
  • Video available here 

By Cuyler Meade
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Arizona’s professional sports teams have wandering eyes.

Three of the state’s four major clubs – the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Coyotes and Arizona Diamondbacks – want to move into new, swankier venues, and all three are getting antsy.

The Suns have told the city they will seek a new home when their lease at downtown’s Talking Stick Resort Arena ends in 2022. They moved into the arena in 1992.

The Coyotes, whose lease is up next year, have had tense relations for years with the city of Glendale, to the point the team almost broke its lease and left the state several times in the past few years. They want a new arena as well and are looking elsewhere.

The Diamondbacks saw their discontent with Maricopa County, which owns Chase Field, bubble over in the past month, leading to public disagreements and a course seemingly set for litigation.

What triggered this chain of events that could end with all three teams vacating their current locations within the next decade? Here’s a closer look at each team’s situation – something the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which has land ready for development, is watching closely as well.

“We absolutely (are),” the community’s marketing project manager Blessing McAnlis-Vasquez told Cronkite News. Continue reading “Suns, Coyotes, Diamondbacks wandering in the desert, pondering new homes”

Grijalva, Gallego join call for more minority inclusion in public lands

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Diverse Parks,600
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Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego joined other lawmakers and civil rights groups Thursday urging President Barack Obama to implement more inclusive policies on the nation’s public lands.

Despite growing minority populations in the U.S., 73 percent of Americans who participated in outdoor activities in 2014 were white, according to a coalition of minority groups, including Valley-based Valle del Sol. The coalition also cited a separate study that said only 24 percent of the 460 national parks and monuments recognize or are dedicated to diverse peoples and cultures.

“Unfortunately, many families don’t have access to the parks, they don’t visit the parks, and some don’t feel welcome,” said Grijalva, of Tucson. “They don’t see their culture, their history reflected and presented in their public parks and their public lands.” Continue reading “Grijalva, Gallego join call for more minority inclusion in public lands”

Border residents tell Congress something must be done, disagree on what

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Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Southern Arizona residents Nan Stockholm Walden and Sue Chilton didn’t agree on much in their testimony to a House subcommittee Thursday, but they did agree on one thing – something needs to be done to better protect border communities.

The two were part of a hearing by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations into the impact that federal management of public lands has on border communities.

“In reality, many parts of the southern border … are already covered in fences and barriers – 700 miles worth,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson. “The approach we need is pro-family, pro-environment, pro-business and, indeed, pro-security.” Continue reading “Border residents tell Congress something must be done, disagree on what”