Cronkite News Service

Governor signs measure aiming to combat human trafficking in Arizona

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Human Trafficking,450
  • Photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – The help that Gov. Jan Brewer promised victims of human trafficking in her State of the State address became law Tuesday, increasing penalties and establishing being a victim of sex trafficking as a defense in child prostitution cases.

“The goal of this legislation is to further discourage criminals from further inflicting this horror on people of Arizona, particularly our children,” Brewer said as she signed HB 2454.

Among other provisions, the bill sets the penalty for prostituting a child age who is 15-17 at between 10 years and 24 years in prison. It also targets those who recruit sex trafficking victims from high-risk places such as shelters serving runaways, foster children, homeless people or victims of domestic violence.

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Cronkite News Service Digest for Tuesday, April 22

Here is the Cronkite News Service lineup for Tuesday, April 22. Please contact Steve Crane in the Washington, D.C., bureau at 202-684-2400 or or Steve Elliott in the Phoenix bureau at 602-496-0686 or if you have questions. Stories promised for today along with photos and links to multimedia elements will move on the CNS client site at

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Advisory: Dogs-Pot

The story on dogs eating marijuana edibles will move Wednesdays.

Law will allow state to inspect abortion clinics without warrants

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Clinics-Inspections,550
  • Sidebar: About HB 2284.

Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – Supporters of a new law that will allow state officials to conduct unannounced inspections of abortion clinics say it will hold abortion providers to standards that already apply to other health care facilities.

“Abortion clinics should not be treated differently than any other health care institution in Arizona,” said Josh Kredit, legal counsel for the conservative advocacy group Center for Arizona Policy, which helped craft the legislation signed last week by Gov. Jan Brewer. “I think from a broader perspective we’re almost saying that we hold abortion clinics to a lesser standard.”

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Supreme Court rejects state’s appeal of law on harboring immigrants

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Harboring Ruling,550
  • Video story available on YouTube.
  • File photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

Cronkite News Service

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling Monday that blocked an Arizona law that would make it a crime to harbor, transport or conceal an illegal immigrant.

The high court denied, without comment, Arizona’s appeal of a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the law was too vaguely written and was pre-empted by federal law.

The circuit court’s October decision upheld a federal district court ruling that enjoined enforcement of the law in September 2012. Monday’s Supreme Court decision is the latest in a series of court battles over parts of SB 1070, the state’s controversial immigration enforcement measure. Read More »

Federal study finds mercury in trout caught in three Grand Canyon creeks

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Mercury-Parks,850
  • Sidebar: The study.
  • File photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – With their natural beauty and protected environments, the Grand Canyon and other national parks in the West would seem removed from having mercury in their streams and rivers.

But a federal study found small levels of the contaminant in rainbow trout and brown trout at three Grand Canyon creeks – Bright Angel, Havasu and Shinumo – as well as in fish at 20 other parks.

While none of the levels found by the U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service exceeded standards for mercury set by the Environmental Protection Agency, Colin Eagles-Smith, the lead author, said the findings provide the first comprehensive look at mercury levels in western national parks.

“We often hear the negative side of the story with things like mercury,” Eagles-Smith said. “The positives from this study were that we studied a lot of parks and a lot of lakes and in the majority of those systems, mercury concentrations were low.”

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Digital book program aims to prevent summer reading slide

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Summer Reading,450
  • Sidebar: Accessing the materials.
  • Photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – Summer vacation often means a break from schoolwork for students, but to Terri Clark it means the potential for the summer slide – and not the one at the local water park.

That’s because it can be a time when kids lose reading and literacy skills they learned during the school year because they don’t read over the summer.

“They actually backtrack, and when they come into the school next year in the fall they’re having to make up some gains that they had last year,” said Clark, literacy director for the group Read On Arizona, a partnership of groups committed to literacy and improving language skills.

To combat this, Read On Arizona, the Arizona Department of Education and other partners are making it easier for kids to access digital books when the library isn’t convenient.

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State’s tribal casino revenues grew faster than national rate in 2012

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Indian Gaming,550
  • Sidebar: Numbers from the report
  • File photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

    Cronkite News Service

    WASHINGTON – Indian gaming revenue in Arizona grew by 3 percent in 2012, even though no new facilities came online and the number of games in the state actually declined that year.

    The numbers were included in a recent report by Casino City Press, which said revenue at Arizona’s 22 tribal casinos grew by about $50 million, from almost $1.75 billion in 2011 to $1.8 billion in 2012.

    That was a faster growth rate than the average for the nation, where tribal casinos saw a 2 percent increase in revenues, rising $500 million to $28.1 billion in 2012. Arizona was sixth among states for overall revenues in tribal casinos and 14th for the rate of growth, the report said. Read More »

    Providers of animal massage in legal battle with state veterinary board

    • Slug: BC-CNS-Animal Massage,990
    • Sidebar: State law’s definition of veterinary medicine.
    • Photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

    Cronkite News Service

    TUCSON – Celeste Kelly moves her hands over the back leg of Bend N’ Snap, or Bend, a 12-year-old jumping horse that sustained an injury a few years ago, pressing her fingertips on his sore muscles. The horse closes his eyes and lowers his head, as if to say he is enjoying the massage.

    Bend’s owner has hired Kelly for the past four years to give the horse massages as part of his recovery plan, similar to how an injured athlete might receive massage therapy.

    “A sore, tight muscle is a sore, tight muscle whether it’s on a person, a horse, a cat, a dog, whatever,” Kelly said.

    She has been making a living as a horse massager for more than a decade and is certified by three private schools as an equine massager, but 18 months ago the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board sent her a cease-and-desist letter for diagnosing and treating an animal without a veterinary license. Read More »

    CDC report: Big increase in nicotine exposure from e-cigarette liquid

    • Slug: BC-CNS-E-Cigarette-Poisonings,495
    • Sidebar: Figures for Arizona.
    • Graphic and file photo available (thumbnails, captions below)

    Cronkite News Service

    PHOENIX – A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a nationwide rise in nicotine exposure from the liquid in e-cigarettes, mirroring increases seen by Arizona’s poison control centers.

    The number of calls nationally rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 calls per month in February 2014, according to the study released in early April. The study reported 2,405 exposures related to e-cigarettes in this time period but suggests that the number of cases could actually be higher.

    “What you see is a pretty constant increase upward of exposures,” Kevin Chatham-Stephens, an epidemiologist with the CDC, said in a telephone interview.

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    Sailing through the desert: High schoolers try a different tack

    Cronkite News Service

    TEMPE – On a breezy spring day, high school sophomore Maddie Cordova is doing everything she can to make sure the wind doesn’t tip over her one-person sailboat.

    She’s racing a fellow student and has less than three minutes to sail through several sets of white buoys on Tempe Town Lake.

    Her face wrinkles in concentration as she grips a red rope to manipulate her sail against the wind, hoping to steer her way through without any sudden gusts that would throw her off course.

    “Madison’s doing pretty darn good,” says one of her sailing instructors, Don Hubele.

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    Census: Coconino led nation in rate of births to unmarried moms

    • Slug: BC-CNS-Single Moms,650
    • Sidebar: Highest, lowest metro areas
    • Graphics available (thumbnails, captions below)

    Cronkite News Service

    WASHINGTON – Almost three of every four babies born in Coconino County in 2011 were born to unmarried women, the highest rate in the nation, if Census Bureau estimates are correct.

    That’s a critical question for experts in Arizona, who said the Census estimates have to be treated with caution.

    But most experts agreed that births to unmarried women are a problem for Coconino and for Arizona as a whole, which was one of 14 states with rates “significantly higher” than the national average in 2011.

    “The overall state percentage is not too surprising,” based on teen births, said Sheila Sjolander, assistant director of public health prevention services at the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Arizona has historically had higher rates of teen births than the rest of the country.” Read More »

    Advisory: Abortion Law

    The story slugged BC-CNS-Abortion Law won’t move today.

    Investigation nabs alleged members of south Phoenix drug gang

    • Slug: BC-CNS-Drug Arrests,290
    • Photo available (thumbnail, caption)

    Cronkite News Service

    PHOENIX – Authorities arrested 28 people Wednesday accused of being part of a south Phoenix gang distributing the hallucinogen PCP shipped in from Los Angeles.

    About 300 members of law enforcement participated in the culmination of a five-month investigation dubbed Operation Southland, serving 18 search warrants and seizing marijuana, cocaine, weapons, vehicles, prescription pills and $27,000, according to Sgt. Chas Clements of the Phoenix Police Department.

    Clements said during a news conference that authorities were looking for about 15 other suspects who were likely affiliated with the gang.

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    Congressman: Startups’ innovations threatening to established markets

    • Slug: BC-CNS-Schweikert-Startups,450
    • Photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

    Cronkite News Service

    PHOENIX – U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, R-Scottsdale, warned a group of entrepreneurs Wednesday that established companies and their lobbyists will fight to keep startups’ innovations from disrupting their markets.

    “Legacy manufacturers are scared to death of you because of the chaos the new economy is creating,” Schweikert said during a visit to Seed Spot, a Phoenix business incubator.

    As examples, Schweikert said taxicab companies are trying to prevent ride-sharing programs from taking too much of their business, while the hotel industry is fighting, which connects travelers with short-term rentals offered by individuals.

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    Coconino County aims to put more teeth in ban on e-cigarettes in public places

    • Slug: BC-CNS-E-Cigs-Coconino,775
    • Sidebar: About the ordinance.
    • Photos available (thumbnails, captions below)
    • Videos story in YouTube

    Cronkite News Service

    FLAGSTAFF – Chris Azimi lounges on a park bench in Heritage Square, taking a puff from a white and green stick. It looks like a cigarette, but rather than burning tobacco it emits an odorless vapor laced with nicotine.

    Thanks to e-cigarettes, Azimi, a Northern Arizona University student, has been tobacco-free for two months, the longest he’s ever gone in his many attempts to quit smoking.

    “Even though it’s not healthy, it’s still healthier in my opinion than regular cigarettes,” he said.

    But if he smoked his e-cigarette on a park bench outside of Flagstaff, he could face a fine of up to $50.

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    Correction to Cronkite News Service story on ticket scalping

    • Slug:BC-CNS-Ticket Scalping, CORRECTIVE,045
    • Note: Clients that used BC-CNS-Ticket Scalping, which moved April 9 under a PHOENIX dateline, are asked to use the following story:

    An April 9 Cronkite News story on ticket scalping erroneously characterized the terms of a state law limiting resale of tickets within 200 feet of a venue’s entrance or connected parking lot. The law stating that limit applies only to the sale of tickets at more than face value.

    Jump in fatal train accidents during 2013 prompts national safety campaign

    • Slug: BC-CNS-Trains-Safety,445
    • Note: LEADS with four graphs to UPDATE with Arizona’s ranking among states for train accidents involving trespassers and to ADD 2013 ranking for train accidents involving trespassers.
    • Sidebar: Safety tips.
    • Photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

    Cronkite News Service

    PHOENIX – A nationwide spike in fatal train accidents involving trespassers and motorists in 2013 has prompted a national safety campaign urging people to think trains when they see tracks.

    While Arizona didn’t follow the trend in 2013 – eight deaths among trespassers equaled the 2012 total, and there were no reported deaths involving motorists – it wasn’t that long ago that the state was among the nation’s worst in terms of accidents involving trains and trespassers, said Doug Farler, state coordinator for Operation Lifesaver, which is directing the campaign.

    “We’re just trying to tell people to do smart things, make good choices,” Farler said, “and being on the railroad tracks and railroad bridges isn’t one of the smart choices, ever, because you never know when the trains are going to come.”

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    From sink to garden: Gray water systems catching on in Tucson

    • Slug: BC-CNS-Gray Water,700
    • Sidebar: Gray water tips.
    • Photos available (thumbnails, captions below)
    • Video story in YouTube

    Cronkite News Service

    TUCSON – The green tree python on display in the Reid Park Zoo’s Lee H. Brown Family Conservation Learning Center coils to collect rain.

    Visitors who come to this building to learn how such animals adapt to their surroundings, some by conserving water, may not know that they are doing the same when they use the sinks and water fountains.

    In addition to cisterns that collect rain that hits the roof, channeling it to be used for irrigation, the center that opened in 2008 features a gray water system that sends water through underground pipes to water plants outside.

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    Organizer ready to try again to create top-two primary system

    • Slug: BC-CNS-Top-Two Primary,710
    • Sidebar: States with top-two primaries.

    Cronkite News Service

    PHOENIX– With independents now the state’s largest voting bloc, former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson said he’s getting ready for another attempt at establishing primary elections that have the top two vote-getters advancing regardless of party.

    “I think it’s a process of when you’re asking for change it never happens on the first time,” Johnson said. “You have to keep going back.”

    Voters overwhelmingly defeated the idea in 2012. The state Republican, Libertarian and Green parties opposed Proposition 121, while the Arizona Democratic Party didn’t take a stand but made its concerns clear. Meanwhile, the campaign against the measure was funded in large part by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a conservative dark money group.

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