Valley real estate firm showcases virtual reality technology

  • Slug: Virtual reality, 520
  • Video available here
  • Example of virtual reality video here
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By ZACK MORAN
Cronkite News

PEORIA – Walk into the Peoria offices of DeLex Realty, and you’ll find something unusual – virtual reality headsets.

Put them on, and you can “virtually” tour a $296,000, 2,000-square-foot home several miles away in Sun City.

DeLex Realty is starting to incorporate virtual reality into buying homes, designed to make the experience faster and easier for homebuyers.

“You’re talking about literally taking homes and creating an atmosphere where people can tour them comfortably on a headset from home,” said Daniel McCarthy, the CEO of DeLex Realty. “You can definitely eliminate homes from your home search easily and save yourself a lot of time.”

You also can tour the houses for sale at home. The virtual reality experience works by playing virtual reality content on a smartphone and inserting the phone into a headset. From there, the user can interact with the virtual environment by looking around just as they would as if they were there.

Continue reading “Valley real estate firm showcases virtual reality technology”

Cronkite News Digest for Friday, Sept. 30

Here is the Cronkite News lineup for Friday, Sept. 30. If you have questions on news stories, please contact Steve Crane in the Washington, D.C., bureau at 202-684-2398 or steve.crane@asu.edu, or call the Phoenix bureau for Kevin Dale at 602-496-5168 or kevin.dale@asu.edu or Venita James at venita.hawthorne.james@asu.edu or 602-496-5280. For business story questions, please contact Christina Leonard at 602-361-5893 or christina.leonard@asu.edu. Questions on sports stories should be directed to Brett Kurland at bkurland@asu.edu or 602496-5234. Stories promised for today along with photos and links to multimedia elements will move on our client site at cronkitenews.asu.edu/clients.

Continue reading “Cronkite News Digest for Friday, Sept. 30”

AZ educators get creative in finding solutions to growing teacher shortage

  • Slug: Teacher shortage, 1,000
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By PETER CHENG
Cronkite News

GILBERT – Suzanne Zentner stood in front of the high school students and their parents gathered in the library of Gilbert High School on a recent evening and got right to the point.

“Instead of dancing around issues, I’m going to find the elephant in the room, and I’m going to hit it,” Zentner told them. “The biggest myth out there, and I’m going to challenge that myth, is that there is no way you can make a living as a teacher.”

The crowd had gathered because the students had expressed interest in teaching. They are taking part in Aim2Teach, a program aimed at identifying students who may want to teach and helping guide them into professional teaching programs.

But Zentner, chief talent officer for Gilbert Public Schools, and her colleagues face an uphill battle. And they’ve realized one of the obstacles they must overcome is not just convincing the students to pursue the profession – but they must win over their parents as well.

Local administrators and educators are utilizing creative techniques to deal with Arizona’s chronic teacher shortage from a recruitment perspective as well as how to use the limited supply of qualified teachers in the most effective way.

Continue reading “AZ educators get creative in finding solutions to growing teacher shortage”

Election coverage reflects fractured media landscape, experts say

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By CLAIRE CAULFIELD and ADAM DeROSE
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – A 24-hour news cycle. Social media giving newsmakers a direct connection to the public that can bypass the press. The blending of political pundits and reporters analyzing day-to-day political dramas.

Americans consume news much differently in 2016 than they did when families gathered around the television to hear Walter Cronkite explain “the way it is” on the CBS Evening News.

Confidence in the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” is at an all-time low, according to a September Gallup poll that found less than a third of Americans have “a great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence in the industry. Those were the lowest marks for media since Gallup began asking the question in 1972. Continue reading “Election coverage reflects fractured media landscape, experts say”

CORRECTION to Sept. 28 story on Arizona racing museum

EDS: Clients who used a Cronkite News story slugged Sports-Arizona Racing that moved Wednesday,  Sept.28, under a PHOENIX dateline, are asked to use the following correction. The error appeared in the fourth graf of the original story. A corrected version of the story has been posted here.

PHOENIX– A Sept. 28 Cronkite News story about the Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum misstated the size of the facility. The museum is in a 15,000-square-foot facility in east Phoenix.

CDC: Adults more likely to smoke marijuana than teens

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  • Video available here
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By DANIELLE KERNKAMP
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – When people used to ask Lilach Power about her profession, she would tell them she owns a wellness center in Phoenix. Now, she’s far more open about what she does.

“Now I say, ‘I operate a medical cannabis facility,’” said Power, the managing director of Giving Tree Wellness Center.

Power’s candidness about her job mirrors changes in the nation’s attitude toward marijuana. According to the Pew Research Center, support for the legalization of marijuana is “rapidly outpacing opposition” – a major change from the 1970s.

In fact, another recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that middle-aged parents are more likely to smoke marijuana than their teenage children.

The data shows that marijuana use in teens has declined while usage in adults has surged.

The CDC study shows that 8 percent of adults age 35 to 44 reported smoking marijuana regularly. In addition, marijuana use has doubled in U.S. adults age 45 to 55, quadrupled for those 55 to 64 and tripled for those 65 and older from 2002 to 2014.

Continue reading “CDC: Adults more likely to smoke marijuana than teens”

Franks urges action on pro-life bill stalled in Senate for a year

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Born Alive,690
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By SABELLA SCALISE
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – More than a year after his Born Alive Protection Act passed the House, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Glendale, called on senators to act on the bill before the legislative calendar runs out.

The measure, passed last September at the peak of fighting over funding for Planned Parenthood, would make any doctor who is present during a failed abortion to admit the “born alive” infant to a hospital or face criminal charges.

Critics at the time called it just another “attack on women’s health,” saying that current federal law already has protections for infants in such situations and said Franks’ bill was a solution in search of a problem. Continue reading “Franks urges action on pro-life bill stalled in Senate for a year”

Coconino official says communities must act to fight opioid abuse

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Opioid Locals,540
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By JESSICA SUERTH
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona communities need to do more to combat and treat drug addictions or face potentially devastating long-term consequences, Coconino County’s chief health officer said during a national conference call this week.

Dr. Marie Peoples said cities and towns in Arizona are “behind the eight ball” in terms of providing treatment for opioid addicts. Among possible solutions, she said, are implementing a prescription monitoring system and tracking data from medical examiners and emergency rooms.

If local officials do not fix the problem, Peoples said during a call on what local communities can do to fight the drug epidemic, they could face long-term consequences, including rising child care and emergency room costs.

“These are real-world problems facing us today,” Peoples said during the International City/County Management Association call. “It’ll be even more difficult to deal with in the upcoming years.” Continue reading “Coconino official says communities must act to fight opioid abuse”

From Alaska to Arizona, summer league baseball prepares ASU players for upcoming season

  • Slug: Sports-Summer League,500
  • Photos included (thumbnails, captions below)

By GABRIEL VASQUEZ
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Fourteen Arizona State baseball players recently participated in summer leagues in various states, leading to some long days for some. Literally, in the case of pitcher Connor Higgins.

Higgins traveled farther than any of the Sun Devils, playing with the Mat Su Miners in the Alaska Baseball League.

“The biggest shock was definitely the 22, 23 hours of sunlight every night in the summer,” Higgins said. “I think I got maybe 15 hours of sleep in the first five days there.”

He also had to adjust to a big change in weather, pitching a league semifinal game in a downpour.

“I really had no clue what to expect going up there, especially coming from Phoenix,” Higgins said. “Going up there it was weird because my first day up there it was about 55 degrees, but I really just fell in love with the overall experience.”

From Alaska to Arizona, summer leagues are available to college baseball players in different parts of the country, offering the chance to develop new skills or hone old ones.

With Sun Devils playing in seven different leagues over the summer, each player had their own unique experience. Sophomore outfielder Tyler Williams played for the Academy Barons in the California Collegiate League.

“It was just a great experience being out there, being able to play against pretty good competition,” Williams said. Continue reading “From Alaska to Arizona, summer league baseball prepares ASU players for upcoming season”

ASU hockey looks to show improvement in first full NCAA season

  • Slug: Sports-ASU Hockey,525
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by RYAN DECKER
Cronkite News

TEMPE – Arizona State was expected to struggle last season, its first as an NCAA hockey program. And the Sun Devils did, winning only five games against NCAA teams.

But with a year of experience and an influx of new talent, the Sun Devils hope to improve despite a far more difficult schedule in their second season in Division I.

“Last year was a trial year in every way: figuring out what worked, how we wanted to play and how we wanted to coach and communicate,” said ASU coach Greg Powers. “We learned a lot through a kind of trial by fire last year.”

The Sun Devils played a combination of NCAA teams, Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) teams and American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) club teams in their first season.

In 2016-17, the team will play a full slate of NCAA opponents, beginning Oct. 7-8 with a pair of games against Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

The Sun Devils went 5-22-2 last season against NCAA competition, while going 5-0-0 against the ACHA and 0-0-2 against CIS teams.

“We had some ups and downs against the NCAA competition,” Powers said. “We got a few big wins but, for the most part, we just didn’t have the depth and the experience to get through an entire season.” Continue reading “ASU hockey looks to show improvement in first full NCAA season”

Legacy lives on at Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum

  • Slug: Sports-Arizona Racing,800
  • Photos included (thumbnails, captions below)

EDS: A previous version of this story misstated the size of the Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum. It is housed in a 15,000-square-foot facility. The error occurred in the fourth graf of the original. The story below has been corrected, but clients who used an earlier version of this story are asked to run the correction that can be found here.

By TYLER RUBIN
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – There is a lot of racing history packed within the walls of the Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum in east Phoenix, and it all started as a gimmick that a local businessman cooked up to draw racing fans into his stores.

“A gentleman named Steve Stroud, a local business owner, came to me and wanted to display some cars in the lobbies of his local stores,” said Mickey Meyer, director of operations for the museum.

“At first he didn’t realize how much exposure it would bring him and how many people would come in just to look at the cars and leave.”

Stroud, 66, recently passed away after a battle with cancer, but his legacy lives on in the 15,000-square-foot facility that houses memorabilia and race cars from dirt tracks where many of the country’s best drivers learned their craft. Continue reading “Legacy lives on at Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum”

Gilbert company tests job candidates’ empathy to improve customer service

Slug: Empathy test, 370

By DANA LEWANDOWSKI
Cronkite News

GILBERT – We have all had our fair share of horrible experiences with customer service. One Arizona company has implemented a method its founders believe helps combat those negative interactions – and it starts before managers even hire their employees.

Rocky Mountain Restoration, a Gilbert-based company that helps repair damage from events like storms and fires, has gone beyond asking for job history and skills during interviews.

They perform a screening to test the applicant’s level of empathy.

Adam Webster, president and one of the co-founders of the company, came up with the idea while thinking about ways to improve the industry.

“What I tell our employees is that being right doesn’t matter,” Webster said. “It doesn’t matter that you’re right. It doesn’t matter that you have the experience and you know how things ‘should’ be done or whatever. It’s getting into the world of the customer.”

Continue reading “Gilbert company tests job candidates’ empathy to improve customer service”

CORRECTION to Sept. 15 story on Verde River conservation

EDS: Clients who used a story slugged Verde water conservation that moved Sept. 15, under a VERDE VALLEY dateline, are asked to use the following correction for a photo caption that accompanied the story. A corrected version of the story and caption has been posted here.

VERDE VALLEY – A Sept. 15 story about a Verde Valley water-conservation program incorrectly identified the name of a waterway in the area. Oak Creek, pictured in the photo, is a tributary of the Verde River.

 

Coyote goalie’s mask a canvas for Canadian artist

  • Slug:  Sports-Goalie Masks,950
  • Photos included (Thumbnail, captions below)

BY MADALYN HEIMANN
Cronkite News

GLENDALE – Every hockey goaltender must wear a protective mask, but the masks often do more than protect the goalie from slap shots flying toward the net at more than 100 mph.

Today’s masks, with their elaborate artwork, can also tell a story about the people behind them.

David Arrigo, David Gunnarsson and Diel Leroux are artists who have told many of those stories, designing and painting masks for many of the game’s best goalies.

Arrigo is responsible for some of the most famous NHL masks and got his artistic start crafting murals on walls for bars and restaurants more than 25 years ago. Continue reading “Coyote goalie’s mask a canvas for Canadian artist”

Navajo, feds sign agreement giving tribe greater control over schools

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Scattered Schools,570
  • Photos, video story and video clip available (thumbnails, captions below)

By JESSICA SUERTH
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Federal officials signed an agreement with Navajo leaders Tuesday giving the tribe the authority to implement a single set of standards, assessments and accountability measures for tribal schools that are scattered over three states.

Before the agreement between Navajo officials and the secretaries of Education and the Interior, the tribe’s 66 Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools were subject to regulation by Arizona, New Mexico, Utah or the BIE.

“You’re not dealing with the complexities of three different states and three different sets of rules as you take on how to instill a great education … that honors the rich culture and language of the Navajo Nation,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said at the signing ceremony.

Jewell said that has not always been the “case over the hundreds of years of education that was done to you, as opposed to with you.” Continue reading “Navajo, feds sign agreement giving tribe greater control over schools”

Study: Influx of immigrants is overall boost to U.S. workers, economy

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Immigrant Impact,680
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By JESSICA SUERTH
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Immigration has risen sharply over the past 20 years and immigrants have accounted for a larger portion of the workforce in that time, but that competition is actually helping Americans in the long run, a new report says.

The report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that immigrant workers in the U.S. – both legal and illegal – have the effect of increasing both wages and jobs for educated native-born workers over a decade or more.

The report, Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, also found immigrant workers reduce the prices of goods and services in specific industries, including childcare, food preparation and construction. Continue reading “Study: Influx of immigrants is overall boost to U.S. workers, economy”

Phoenix Mercury embrace underdog role heading into series against top-seeded Lynx

  • Slug: Sports-Mercury Lynx,700
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By LINDSEY WISNIEWSKI AND GISELLE CANCIO
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Mercury have entered uncharted territory.

Every time they’ve brought home a WNBA championship in the past, the Mercury were the top-seeded team in the playoffs. This year, the eighth-seeded Mercury snuck into the playoffs during the final week of the season, despite a losing record (16-18).

And now, the Mercury hope to make history as the only WNBA team to win a championship after finishing below the .500 mark during the regular season. Only the Chicago Sky in 2014 even made it to the Finals with a losing record.

But first, the Mercury have a date with a longtime rival.

For the fourth straight year, the Mercury and Minnesota Lynx will square off with a berth in the WNBA Finals at stake. The Chicago Sky and the Los Angeles Sparks meet in the other semifinal. Continue reading “Phoenix Mercury embrace underdog role heading into series against top-seeded Lynx”

Voter Registration Drive Focuses on Students

  • Slug: BC-CNS- Voter Registration,
  • with photos below

 

By Mindy Riesenberg
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Actor and activist Edward James Olmos encouraged about 100 high school students to register to vote at Central High School Tuesday morning as part of National Voter Registration Day.

“The single most important aspect of being a part of this community and this country is using your voice to vote,” said Olmos, who is working with Mi Familia Vota to get members of the Latino community to vote. Continue reading “Voter Registration Drive Focuses on Students”

Tribal leaders give Obama high marks for Native American relations

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By ALLIE BICE
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama told tribal leaders Monday that they and his administration had come far since he took office eight years ago, but that there is still work to be done to solve problems in Indian Country.

“We haven’t solved every issue, we haven’t righted every wrong,” Obama told the hundreds gathered for the 2016 White House Tribal Nations Conference. “But together we’ve made significant progress in almost every area.”

Obama promised to keep working with tribes even after he leaves office – while tribal officials said they will look closely to see if the next president continues what they consider to be a productive relationship that has developed with Washington under this administration. Continue reading “Tribal leaders give Obama high marks for Native American relations”

Palmer leaves lasting imprint on Arizona golf courses

  • Slug: Sports-Palmer Arizona,750
  • Photo, video story available (thumbnail, caption below)

By NICOLE VASQUEZ and ALEXIS RAMANJULU
Cronkite News

SCOTTSDALE – In the entrance of the Starfire Golf Club, legend Arnold Palmer smiles in a blue beret while sinking his winning putt in the 1961 British Open – his first of two.

“It’s Palmer by a Stroke,” the “New World” headline reads, one of many documenting the victories he achieved in his 52 years striding the fairway as a “determined, bronzed giant with a Marlon Brando profile.’’

At age 87, the King, as he was fondly known, passed away in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. Yet he still beams that boyish grin at golfers headed to the course that he designed.

“He’s a father figure to golfers,” said Mike McGuire, the assistant pro at Starfire.“Even those who drink his drink now know his legacy and what he’s left behind.” Continue reading “Palmer leaves lasting imprint on Arizona golf courses”