Advocates urge colleges to aid DACA students, lawmakers urge restraint

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WASHINGTON – Colleges and universities may not be able to change immigration law, but they can do more to help those students faced with losing their protection from deportation.

That was the message from a panel of immigration advocates this week who urged college students across the nation to push school administrators for policies that support and ensure the well-being of all undocumented students, with or without DACA protection.

Those policies could include safeguarding students from immigration enforcement, offering financial aid, and providing free legal services and consultation. Continue reading “Advocates urge colleges to aid DACA students, lawmakers urge restraint”

Plan keeps most of Sonoran Desert National Monument open to shooters

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WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management on Friday recommended closing 53,300 acres of the Sonoran Desert National Monument to recreational shooting, but keeping the remaining 443,000 open to shooters.

It is the latest twist in a years-long legal and administrative fight that saw federal officials at one point trying to prohibit shooting over the entire monument, only to reverse course and propose shooting throughout the site. That decision was subsequently halted by a federal court, which allowed shooting over much of the monument while ordering a bureau review.

The latest plan, posted Friday in the Federal Register, calls for making 11 percent of the monument’s land off-limits to shooting. Hunting is not affected by any of the proposals considered by the bureau, and would be allowed anywhere in the monument with the proper permits. Continue reading “Plan keeps most of Sonoran Desert National Monument open to shooters”

Coyotes off to worst seven-game start in team history

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GLENDALE — After Thursday night’s loss to the Dallas Stars, the Arizona Coyotes are off to their worst seven-game start in team history.

The Coyotes scored four goals coming from two players, Derek Stepan and Clayton Keller. It was not enough, however, to contain the Stars who scored five.

Arizona now ranks last in the NHL in point percentage (.071) and goals against per game (4.29).

Continue reading “Coyotes off to worst seven-game start in team history”

‘The Hawk’ remembered fondly at Suns memorial service

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PHOENIX — Standing a full 6 feet 8 inches tall, Connie Hawkins’ impact on Phoenix Suns basketball was as large

Hundreds of fans, staff, family and friends gathered at Talking Stick Resort Arena Friday to honor the life of “The Hawk,” who died on October 6 at 75.

Hawkins, who played for the Suns from 1969-1973, was a four-time NBA All-Star after multiple years with the Harlem Globetrotters and the ABA. He was the first-ever Suns player inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a 1992 inductee. He had his jersey No. 42 retired and was inducted into the Suns ring of honor in 1976.

Continue reading “‘The Hawk’ remembered fondly at Suns memorial service”

Maryvale residents express concerns about hospital closure

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PHOENIX – Maryvale residents said they were concerned about the recent announcement their nearest hospital would close, leaving some to question where they will go in an emergency.

Abrazo Community Health Network on Wednesday announced it will close its Maryvale campus on Dec. 18.

Leslie Jones, 64, said as a longtime resident of the West Phoenix neighborhood, she wasn’t surprised by the announcement. In fact, she sees it as just one more blow to a struggling area.

“We’re kind of the stepchild of the city of Phoenix,” Jones said Thursday. “We’re on the bottom of the to-do list.”

In a statement, Abrazo said the hospital has faced “significant decline” in the demand for services at the location. The facility sees about 43,000 emergency room visits a year.

Continue reading “Maryvale residents express concerns about hospital closure”

Arizona Humane Society encourages fostering to reduce ‘astronomical’ cost of caring for kittens

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PHOENIX – Tiny meows echo through the room as volunteers in yellow smocks feed, weigh and record every kitten in the Arizona Humane Society’s Bottle Baby Intensive Care Unit.

When a rescue worker showed up at the nonprofit’s Phoenix facility with a cardboard crate in her hands on a recent Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman looked over and said, “Don’t bring them more kittens. They can’t (take them).”

The worker hesitantly replied, “Just one.”

From the time newborn kittens arrive at the ICU until they qualify for adoption, it costs the Arizona Humane Society an average of $1,149 per kitten, spokeswoman Bretta Nelson said.

“The cost for these little guys is astronomical,” Nelson said. “We don’t euthanize for space or resources, so these guys can stay as long as they want.”

The ICU takes care of kittens that range in age from newborns – which require 24-hour care – to older kittens that need socialization while they gain weight in preparation for adoption.

Continue reading “Arizona Humane Society encourages fostering to reduce ‘astronomical’ cost of caring for kittens”

Wildfires hit home for 2 GCU players; team to participate in fundraiser

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PHOENIX — For two Grand Canyon men’s basketball players, the wildfires in Northern California have hit home.

That’s why freshman guard Damari Milstead, who is from Hayward, and sophomore guard Oscar Frayer, from Oakland, are grateful their team’s exhibition game against Nevada Sunday will be a fundraiser for the North Bay Fire Relief, a fund to help victims affected by the recent fires.

“I’m glad the NCAA gave us the opportunity to give back and help my community,” Milstead said.

Continue reading “Wildfires hit home for 2 GCU players; team to participate in fundraiser”

Candlelight vigil in Phoenix brings awareness and lights up the topic of mental illness

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“Let’s all take one deep breath together, and I’d like you to turn to the person to the left, or right of you and I’d like you to say to them, ‘I’m glad you’re here and I will not forget this moment,’” said Jenny McLellan, in front of those who attended the 22nd Annual Candlelight Celebration for Mental Health Awareness in downtown Phoenix.

McLellan, a representative of the Mental Health Awareness Coalition, asked the audience to ‘embrace the journey’, which was also the theme of this year’s celebration.

A celebration at times marked by the stigma that comes with mental illness. The subject has come to the forefront of the national conversation in recent times, especially after incidents like Jared Loughner, who shot U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and Adam Lanza, who shot and killed 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, among others.

Terry McDermott, education coordinator with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, shared his own journey, one which entailed confronting suicide.

“My father died by suicide when I was 30 years old, and that was when my suicidal issues started, and nobody ever knew it, and every time I’d become suicidal I would think about a plan….I never had a clue that maybe there was mental illness involved with that,” said McDermott.

Continue reading “Candlelight vigil in Phoenix brings awareness and lights up the topic of mental illness”

Despite location, lack of exposure, Desert Edge football continues to excel

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GOODYEAR — Twenty miles from downtown Phoenix, 40 miles from Chandler and 30-plus from Tempe and Scottsdale. That’s how far Goodyear Desert Edge High School is from some of the Valley’s highly populated high school football cities.

For Desert Edge’s football program, however, the distance has not prevented the Scorpions from being successful on the field. Since 2010, the team has compiled an 80-18 record, making the playoffs every year, winning a state title in 2015 and being the state runner-up in 2012. The team is 6-2 as it heads into Friday’s matchup against Deer Valley.

To put into perspective, from 2005 to 2009 Desert Edge compiled a 16-37 record, with its best season coming in 2009 when it finished 5-6. The change is dramatic, and coach Jose Lucero has been along for the ride nearly every successful year the program has had since.

Continue reading “Despite location, lack of exposure, Desert Edge football continues to excel”

Officials hope new traffic light technology will reduce congestion on Bell Road

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SCOTTSDALE – Fifty thousand vehicles drive on Bell Road every day, making it one of the busiest roads in the Valley. The road spans about 34 miles and crosses through several cities, from Surprise to Scottsdale.

It’s often a source of frustration for those who must travel on it.

Transportation departments across the Valley recently launched a pilot program to make traffic run more smoothly on Bell Road. They are installing a system, called Adaptive Signal Control Technology, that analyzes traffic conditions and adjusts the timing of the traffic lights at intersections.

Continue reading “Officials hope new traffic light technology will reduce congestion on Bell Road”

New season, same goals: Defending state champ Basha takes on season with no returning starters


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CHANDLER – Just seven months ago, the Basha High School boys basketball team hoisted the gold ball trophy after defeating Corona del Sol in the 6A Conference state championship game. In capturing the title, five starting seniors fulfilled a promise they made four years earlier to coach Mike Grothaus.

From the time they arrived at Basha as freshmen, the group vowed it would bring home a state title in its senior season.

“When they came in as a group of freshmen, they were just 14-year-old kids,” Grothaus said. “They were a competitive bunch and that’s what they always told one another. They were not afraid to back down from that. They told everyone they were going to win it their senior year and they were able to uphold it.”

Continue reading “New season, same goals: Defending state champ Basha takes on season with no returning starters”

Cronkite News Digest for Friday, Oct. 20

Here is the Cronkite News lineup for Friday, Oct. 20. 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; direct borderlands story question to Vanessa Ruiz at 305-431-3082 or; and sports story questions should go to Brett Kurland at or or 602-496-5134 . 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 Friday, Oct. 20”

Three Arizona military bases now being tested for water contamination

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WASHINGTON – The Air Force will begin testing the groundwater at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for contamination from dangerous chemicals in firefighting foam that was used at the base, according to the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center.

The Davis-Monthan inspection follows similar testing at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale and the former Williams Air Force Base in Chandler. They are part of a systematic nationwide testing program the Pentagon announced in March to look for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), which the Environmental Protection Agency has said may be hazardous to human health.

Testing for the chemicals is also scheduled early next year at Air National Guard locations on Sky Harbor International Airport and Tucson International Airport. Continue reading “Three Arizona military bases now being tested for water contamination”

Senators say feds leave local officials on their own on cybersecurity

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WASHINGTON – An empty chair fielded question after question from an angry Senate panel Thursday, after a White House cybersecurity coordinator invoked executive privilege and skipped the hearing.

Representatives from the FBI, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security testified beside the empty chair, telling the Senate Armed Services Commitee they are working to increase coordination and communication.

But much of the hearing was focused on Rob Joyce’s empty chair, which Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said showed “a fundamental misalignment between authority and accountability” in cybersecurity efforts at a time when Russians are meddling in an attempt to “destroy the fundamentals of democracy.” Continue reading “Senators say feds leave local officials on their own on cybersecurity”

ASU football brings momentum into important matchup with Utah

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By Joshua Clark
Cronkite News

TEMPE — The Arizona State football team is coming off its biggest win since the 2015 upset over the seventh-ranked UCLA Bruins in Pasadena, and its first win over a top-five team since 1996.

Coincidentally, that 38-23 win over UCLA also marks the last time this program was able to emerge victorious on the road against a conference opponent.

The Sun Devils hope for another Pac-12 road win Saturday against Utah. They’ll have momentum on their side.

Continue reading “ASU football brings momentum into important matchup with Utah”

Losing Lake Powell’s quagga mussel invasion battle, but trying to win the war

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PAGE –  Ecologist Mark Anderson still sometimes tears up thinking about March 3, 2013, when an adult quagga mussel was discovered — the definitive sign of a possible aquatic apocalypse — clinging to a boat hauled from the waters of Lake Powell.

“We had finally lost the long-fought battle,” Anderson said.

The adult quagga mussel finding, coming less than a year after microscopic mussels were first spotted, marked the end of more than a decade of attempts to keep the invasive species from taking over Lake Powell and cued the beginning of a new fight. Continue reading “Losing Lake Powell’s quagga mussel invasion battle, but trying to win the war”

Kitchen on the Street bridges weekend gap in childhood hunger

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PHOENIX – Kitchen on the Street works to close a gap in childhood hunger by giving students bags of nutritious food to eat over the weekend – enough to feed them until they return to school to get meals.

The nonprofit, inspired by the story of a student who had to comb through school trash to find food, provides food to more than 30 schools in the Valley.

Bags of Hope are food backpacks that students pick up on Friday at school, carry home and consume the contents over the weekend,” said Lisa Scarpinato, chief executive and co-founder of Kitchen on the Street. “That, in conjunction with the federally funded breakfast and lunch program, allows these kids access to food seven days a week.”

Foods such as red beans, rice and fruit snacks are in the bags, with a letter explaining the nutrients and places for a family to find more food in case supplies run out.

Scarpinato started the organization in 2007 after a dinner with family friends. One friend was a new principal, and she asked about his work.

“He looked down at his dinner plate, pushed it away and let the tears fall down his face,” Scarpinato said. “He had just been in the school cafeteria and he basically watched one of his students go through the trash and pull food out she thought was acceptable to eat.”

Continue reading “Kitchen on the Street bridges weekend gap in childhood hunger”

Replacing a legend: ASU kicker Ruiz handling big expectations

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TEMPE — True freshman Brandon Ruiz is replacing a legend.

Following Arizona State standout  Zane Gonzalez — the NCAA leader in field goals made and a kicker for the Cleveland Browns — sounds like a daunting task because of pressure and inevitable comparisons. Ruiz, however, is up to the challenge.

He proved that Saturday, connecting on two big field goals, including one for 52 yards, that helped ASU upset No. 5 Washington 13-7.

“I don’t want to go out there and disappoint them,” Ruiz said. “So I go out there and try my best, and my best is their expectation so it all works out.”

Continue reading “Replacing a legend: ASU kicker Ruiz handling big expectations”

Sessions: DACA bill needs border security, ‘more than just amnesty’

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WASHINGTON – Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a Senate panel Wednesday that he could accept a DACA replacement bill if it is coupled with border security measures, and that any deal has to be “more than just an amnesty.”

Sessions also defended the administration’s decision to rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that DACA “could not be sustained” and that it was “unlawful.”

The comments came in a sometimes testy five-hour hearing during which Sessions clashed with his former colleagues, who asked about contacts with Russia during the 2016 election, sanctuary cities, the travel ban and President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, among other topics. Continue reading “Sessions: DACA bill needs border security, ‘more than just amnesty’”

Through crafts, community spreads Dia de los Muertos tradition

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By Fortesa Latifi
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – A woman sat at a table, patiently sewing an orange sugar skull with blue eyes and a pink button nose. She untangled a ball of yarn and worked nimbly, adding a flower bow and a black mouth.

At a different table in the same room, someone cut purple paper and taped it to a six-inch cardboard box to create a mini shrine. The words ‘feed your soul’ were written across it. At the front of the room, a woman blotted a damp sponge into a pot of white face-paint. Continue reading “Through crafts, community spreads Dia de los Muertos tradition”