Coyotes at center of ‘cancel culture’ debate after cutting ties with draft pick Mitchell Miller

  • Slug: Sports-Coyotes Cancel Culture, 890 words
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By Michael Gutnick
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The Arizona Coyotes’ decision to part ways with a draft pick accused of bullying a classmate with developmental disabilities has put the organization at the center of a national debate about forgiveness and cancel culture.

The Coyotes on Thursday renounced the rights to their 2020 fourth-round draft pick Mitchell Miller, 18, after more details surfaced about his role in the bullying of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers at an Ohio junior high school that led to a charge of assault in 2016. The Arizona Republic reported that Miller directed racial taunts at Meyer-Crothers, who is Black, and also forced him to eat candy that was in a urinal, according to a police report.

“We have decided to renounce the rights to Mitchell Miller, effective immediately,” Coyotes President & CEO Xavier Gutierrez said in a statement. “Prior to selecting Mitchell in the NHL Draft, we were aware that a bullying incident took place in 2016. We do not condone this type of behavior but embraced this as a teachable moment to work with Mitchell to make him accountable for his actions and provide him with an opportunity to be a leader on anti-bullying and anti-racism efforts. Continue reading “Coyotes at center of ‘cancel culture’ debate after cutting ties with draft pick Mitchell Miller”

Humans (and dogs) grateful Phoenix parks have reopened during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Slug: Sports-Revisiting Phoenix Parks, 671 words
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By Frida Mata
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – On Friday nights at Cesar Chavez Skate Park, Atlético Arizona United Latinos SC is one of the many groups seen playing soccer and enjoying the field’s recent reopening.

“It’s very important for us to be out here. I think sports in a child’s youth is very important for them both physically and mentally,” said Manuel Bonilla, who formed the Valley soccer club in 2003 and has been anticipating a safe place for his players to play ever since the COVID-19 pandemic forced area fields and parks to shutter.

Since the Phoenix City Council voted to reopen its athletic fields and parks On Oct. 7, residents and sports teams have begun to enjoy some of the amenities. So have animal lovers, who have returned to one of the city’s 13 off-leash dog parks. Continue reading “Humans (and dogs) grateful Phoenix parks have reopened during COVID-19 pandemic”

7 common mistakes to avoid when voting

  • Slug: BC-CNS Common Voting Mistakes, 1,150 words.
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By Alicia Moser
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – As Election Day looms, the biggest worry for many Arizona voters is whether their votes will be counted.

Ballot rejection is a possibility. Voters may forget to sign mail-in ballots, use the wrong color ink to mark the ballot and mail an early ballot too late for delivery by Nov. 3.

Thousands of Arizona residents have already voted, but it’s not too late for those who haven’t yet turned in early ballots or plan to vote in person Nov. 3. Data Orbital shows that nearly two million early ballots have been returned so far.

Sophia Solis, spokesperson for the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, Pam Fessler, a voting issues correspondent with NPR, and Diana Solorio, spokesperson for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, said common mistakes can be avoided. Continue reading “7 common mistakes to avoid when voting”

Cronkite News Digest for Thursday, Oct. 29

Here is your Cronkite News lineup for Thursday, Oct. 29. If you have questions on news stories from the Phoenix bureau, please contact Executive Editor Christina Leonard at 602-361-5893 or christina.leonard@asu.edu, while questions about stories from our Washington bureau should go to Steve Crane at 202-684-2398 or steve.crane@asu.edu. Sports story questions can be directed to Paola Boivin at paola.boivin@asu.edu. Clients who want to use Cronkite videos can find clean versions, and scripts, for download in a Dropbox – if interested, contact Executive Editor Christina Leonard at christina.leonard@asu.edu for access. Stories promised for today, along with photos and links to multimedia elements, will post to our client site at cronkitenews.jmc.asu.edu/clients. Continue reading “Cronkite News Digest for Thursday, Oct. 29”

Los Angeles just won NBA, MLB crowns, but COVID-19 has parades on hold

  • Slug: BC-CNS LA Fans React, 840 words.
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By Johnny Messiha
Cronkite News

LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers won their first World Series since 1988 Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, leaving Los Angeles sports fans eager for an official celebration despite the rising cases of COVID-19 in the county.

Thousands of fans gathered downtown, at Dodger Stadium and in other parts of LA to watch Mookie Betts and the Dodgers clinch the World Series with a 3-1 Game 6 win over the Rays. Scottsdale native Cody Bellinger was an important piece of the championship run, with four home runs and 13 RBIs in the postseason.

The tense win sent fans into a frenzy before police intervened, arresting eight people suspected of looting and vandalism. Three officers were injured, according to ABC7 in Los Angeles.

The celebration – and a similar one Oct. 11 after the Los Angeles Lakers won their first NBA championship since 2010 – has health experts concerned. Continue reading “Los Angeles just won NBA, MLB crowns, but COVID-19 has parades on hold”

As COVID-19 cases surge anew, some towns lift mask mandates

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Masks COVID,920
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By Josh Ortega
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Payson Mayor Tom Morrisey thinks mask-wearing is one of the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 in his town – but he doesn’t want to force residents to do it.

Payson is one of a number of local governments that have lifted facemask ordinances in recent weeks, even as infections in the state have started to surge again, adding almost 4,500 new cases just since Sunday.

One health expert said relaxing mask mandates now is “foolish” for local officials that want to reopen their communities because it could lead to a surge that might bring on new, harsher shutdowns. Continue reading “As COVID-19 cases surge anew, some towns lift mask mandates”

Arizona’s status as a toss-up gives voters clout, draws Trump, Harris

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Hotspot Arizona,690
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By Rob Winder
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris were back stumping in Arizona Wednesday, evidence of what one report calls the high “voter power” of residents of the swing state.

The WalletHub report, “2020’s States with the Most and Least Powerful Voters,” rated Arizona the state with the fifth-most powerful voters, based largely on Arizona’s relatively newfound status as a toss-up state. Continue reading “Arizona’s status as a toss-up gives voters clout, draws Trump, Harris”

Voters at Gila River Arena among million-plus in county to cast early ballots

  • Slug: Sports-Coyotes Arena Voting, 800 words
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By Michael Gutnick
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Nearly eight months ago, 17,125 hockey fans filled the seats of Gila River Arena to watch the Arizona Coyotes in their final home game of the season before a league-wide shutdown due to COVID-19 concerns.

On Wednesday, the Coyotes and the community returned to Gila River Arena not to watch a hockey game, but to do their civic duty.

Vote. Continue reading “Voters at Gila River Arena among million-plus in county to cast early ballots”

Brophy enters boys state golf tournament with confidence after Hamilton victory

  • Slug: Sports-Brophy Golf Favored, 1,200 words
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By Brandon Jones
Cronkite News

TUCSON – The Brophy Prep boys golf team enters this week’s state tournament with an extra dose of confidence after winning the Duke Open at Rancho El Dorado in Maricopa recently and defeating rival Hamilton by five strokes.

It was the Broncos’ first victory over the defending state champions this season after losing to Hamilton at the Antigua Invitational by 12 strokes and the Dobson Invitational by one shot.

“We kind of think we proved to ourselves that we could beat Hamilton, which is our competitor going in the state,” Brophy senior Cameron Kaiser said. “The fact that our worst score on our team was 3-under-par just gives us a lot of momentum going into state and just more confidence in what we can do at state.” Continue reading “Brophy enters boys state golf tournament with confidence after Hamilton victory”

#ChalkTheVote: Arizona families hit the sidewalks to encourage voting

  • Slug: BC-CNS Chalk the Vote, 610 words.
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By Mitchell Zimmermann
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Divya Yoder and her family were out on the sidewalk in front of their home one recent Sunday, writing chalk messages to encourage their neighbors to vote.

“Vote early,” one read. “United we stand,” read another.

The Yoders weren’t the only family taking chalk to concrete with similar messages in recent days. Hundreds of Arizonans were doing the same, along with thousands of families across the country as part of #ChalkTheVote, which was created by the non-profit organization ParentsTogether to urge families to vote Nov. 3.

Yoder, who’s of East Indian descent and the mother of two young boys, wanted them to understand the importance of voting – a right that isn’t available to everyone.

“You know, we live in a community with our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and children, and some of them don’t have the privilege and we make the decisions to vote for ourselves and for the ones around us,” said Yoder, who became a U.S. citizen six years ago and voted for the first time in 2016. Continue reading “#ChalkTheVote: Arizona families hit the sidewalks to encourage voting”

Neither youth nor pandemic can stop Xavier girls golf from winning 37th state title

  • Slug: Sports-Xavier Wins Title, 900 words
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By Brandon Jones
Cronkite News

TUCSON – The dynasty continues.

The Xavier Prep Gators took home the girls golf state title at Omni Tucson National Tuesday, one year after being handed only their fourth championship loss since 1979 by the Pinnacle Pioneers.
“This is our 37th state (title), and this was very satisfying. It came down to the end,” Gators coach Sister Lynn Winsor said. “It was good to see a little freshman, Kate Hauptman, make that last putt to win it. COVID-19 (changed a lot) this year, but it didn’t change the enthusiasm, and I think that’s what it’s all about. They love their school, they love the team and they love each other.”

The pandemic made this year’s tournament feel much different. Continue reading “Neither youth nor pandemic can stop Xavier girls golf from winning 37th state title”

Air Trump: Cost of trips to campaign events still hard to pin down

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Air Trump,830
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By Josh Ortega
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – When Air Force One touches down in Arizona for President Donald Trump’s campaign visits to Bullhead City and Goodyear on Wednesday, it will be at least the 20th campaign stop for the jet in the past eight days.

Who pays for those trips? You do. Maybe. Or maybe the Trump campaign does. Or a little bit of both. Government watchdog groups say they have not been able to get a full accounting of the expenses related to the president’s use of Air Force One, despite years of trying. Continue reading “Air Trump: Cost of trips to campaign events still hard to pin down”

Arizona natives Cody Bellinger, Aaron Slegers represent opposite sides in World Series

  • Slug: Sports-Pac-12 Patience, 1,100 words
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By Cierra Luna
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Two Valley natives are representing teams on opposite sides of the World Series this year.

Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who was born in Scottsdale and attended Hamilton High School, is no stranger to the big stage, batting his way to a third Series appearance at the ripe age of 25.

“You know, it sounds crazy, but it’s nothing new. … At this point there have been so many great moments, it’s hard to keep them straight,” said Mike Wood, Bellinger’s coach throughout high school. Continue reading “Arizona natives Cody Bellinger, Aaron Slegers represent opposite sides in World Series”

The problem with plastics: Production outpacing efforts to keep it out of rivers and oceans

  • Slug: BC-CNS Plastic Pollution Study, 1,265 words.
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By Alison Cutler
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The ugly truth was laid bare when an international team of researchers ran their final model on plastic pollution in the Pacific. The results would reveal just how much the world would have to reduce plastic waste to prevent more than 8 million metric tons from entering the oceans, lakes and rivers every year – and whether that was even possible.

Three words came to mind for Arizona State University graduate student Erin Murphy, who was part of the team.

“Not even close,” Murphy said.

No matter what hypothetical the researchers punched into the module to reduce plastic production and increase global waste management, the conclusion was the same: The production of plastic worldwide continues to drastically outpace efforts to reduce it.

Even with ambitious and rigorous global standards of recycling, managing and reducing waste, the amount of plastic produced around the world could grow to six times the current amount by 2030, the researchers found. Continue reading “The problem with plastics: Production outpacing efforts to keep it out of rivers and oceans”

Kyler Murray welcomes primetime with open arms, delivers another rich performance

  • Slug: Sports-Cardinals Follow, 1,000 words
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By Rob Kleifield
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Kyler Murray reportedly spent $95,000 on a gemstone-encrusted pendant in the likeness of martial artist Bruce Lee in March.

While the Arizona Cardinals quarterback wasn’t wearing the pricey trinket during Sunday night’s sparkling 37-34 overtime victory against the previously unbeaten Seattle Seahawks, he produced a performance just as dazzling as his jewelry and as efficient as a Lee takedown.

In Arizona’s second primetime game in as many weeks, Murray threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, marshalling a Cardinals offense that rolled up 519 total yards in a roller coaster ride of a game against their NFC mega-rival. Continue reading “Kyler Murray welcomes primetime with open arms, delivers another rich performance”

Delay of game: Pac-12 players focus on learning while awaiting start to pandemic-shortened season

  • Slug: Sports-Pac-12 Patience, 1,100 words
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By Nick Hedges
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Saturdays on the West Coast look and feel a lot different this fall.

In a time when college communities from Tucson to Seattle, and everywhere in between, are accustomed to college football Saturdays, the COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out nearly half of the typical season. And for a time, it appeared as if there would be no Pac-12 Conference football at all.

With their season in limbo, the conference’s players were forced to watch as some of the country’s other premier leagues played actual games. Continue reading “Delay of game: Pac-12 players focus on learning while awaiting start to pandemic-shortened season”

As COVID adds hours and challenges, teachers look to Proposition 208 for more school funding

  • Slug: BC-CNS Prop 208, 1,040 words.
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By Anthony J. Wallace
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Amid a pandemic that has prompted some teachers to leave their profession, Arizonans are considering a proposal to raise taxes for high earners to help schools pay for salary increases and hire more staff.

Proposition 208 would add a 3.5% surcharge to taxable income above $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for couples, increasing the overall tax rate on any income over those thresholds to 8%. The move would potentially raise $830 million a year dedicated to the state’s Student Support and Safety Fund.

With Election Day next week, debate over the proposal has intensified, with supporters saying education funding is more important than ever, given Arizona’s dismal spending on public schools and a pandemic that’s increased hours and brought new challenges teaching virtually. Critics agree that funding is needed but argue the surtax would derail the economy. Continue reading “As COVID adds hours and challenges, teachers look to Proposition 208 for more school funding”

Arizona senators split as divided Senate puts Barrett on Supreme Court

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Border Deaths,870
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By Claire Chandler
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona conservative groups hailed the confirmation of “capable, brilliant” Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, after a rushed vote Monday that split the Senate along party lines.

Barrett’s confirmation comes less than six weeks after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and cements a conservative majority on the high court for years to come – what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called a “decades-long effort to tilt the judiciary to the far right.”

No Democrats voted for Barrett, who was sworn in Monday night at the White House by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas within hours of the 52-48 Senate vote. Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the only Republican to vote no on the nomination. Continue reading “Arizona senators split as divided Senate puts Barrett on Supreme Court”

Judicial Performance Review is a tool for Arizona voters, but it’s not often used

  • Slug: BC-CNS Judicial Retention Elections, 630 words.

By Kenechi Anigbogu
Special for Cronkite News

With the election just days away, Cronkite News is profiling issues on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Voters in Arizona’s four largest counties have the right to decide whether to retain Superior Court judges, but how can they know whether a judge is fit to remain on the bench?

In Maricopa, Coconino, Pima and Pinal counties, which each have populations of more than 250,000 people, judges are chosen for the bench through merit selection rather than direct election, as they are in Arizona’s 11 smaller counties. After being appointed, judges must go through periodical retention elections to continue serving. Supreme Court justices and appellate court judges also are subject to retention elections statewide.

In Maricopa County, there are 40 Superior Court judges, 11 Court of Appeals judges and three Supreme Court justices on the Nov. 3 ballot. Continue reading “Judicial Performance Review is a tool for Arizona voters, but it’s not often used”

Even against backdrop of pandemic, Pinnacle girls take aim at state golf title

  • Slug: Sports-Girls Golf Preview, 1,100 words
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By Brandon Jones
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Led by senior Katie Stinchcomb, Pinnacle High School beat some of Arizona’s best girls golf teams at the State Preview tournament in Laveen recently and served notice the Pioneers were ready to defend their Division I state championship Monday and Tuesday in Tucson.

They will try to do it at an event that will have a decidedly different feel.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, safety measures are in place. Spectators at the Omni Tucson National Resort are limited to two per player, and they are required to wear masks. Players must also wear a face covering before and after competition and remain at least 6 feet away from other players or spectators. Continue reading “Even against backdrop of pandemic, Pinnacle girls take aim at state golf title”