Volcanic soil, old artillery shells challenge crews managing the Maroon Fire

  • Slug: BC-CNS Maroon Fire. 830 words
  • 6 photos and captions below.
  • Video by Amanda Slee here.

By Dylan Simard
Cronkite News

FLAGSTAFF – Amidst the sweet-smelling smoke of ponderosa pine, wildland firefighters are laboring to maintain – not extinguish – a wildfire burning in the Coconino National Forest northeast of Flagstaff.

Their work is made more complicated by two factors: unusual volcanic soil and a “no-go zone”: a decommissioned artillery range the Army suspects contains unexploded ordnance from the 1940s and ’50s. On the firefighters’ 15,000-acre planning map, the zone is marked with a large black circle.

After the lightning-caused Maroon Fire was detected May 16, the U.S. Forest Service decided to control and manage the fire rather than put it out. About 8,600 acres had burned as of this week.

The Forest Service has been letting wildfires burn more often, when humans aren’t endangered. Continue reading “Volcanic soil, old artillery shells challenge crews managing the Maroon Fire”

7-year-old girl dies crossing border; authorities blame smugglers

  • Slug: BC-CNS Desert Death. 490 words.

By Taniyah Williamson
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The death of a 7-year-old girl  whose body was found near the Arizona-Mexico border Wednesday is a tragedy that immigration officials blame squarely on smugglers. .

“The reason why this happens is the unscrupulous smuggler organizations went and dropped these people in the border in a very remote area,” said Jesus Vasavilbaso, a spokesman for the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector. “They were dropped about 17 miles west of the port of entry of Lukeville.

“The smuggler organizations are lying to these people, promising that they’re going to be able to get legal status when that’s not the case.”

After finding the remains of the girl, who is thought to be from India, authorities searched the desert for the girl’s mother and 8-year-old sister, who had separated from a larger group of border-crossers. The mother and daughter turned themselves in to agents Friday morning, according to azcentral.com, and were hospitalized for dehydration. Continue reading “7-year-old girl dies crossing border; authorities blame smugglers”

Coming of age: ASU golf coach Thurmond takes daughters on trips of a lifetime

  • Slug: Sports-ASU Coach Trip, 500 words
  • Photos available.

By Sebastian Emanuel
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – A book inspired a father’s promise to his daughters to see the world.

In “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know,” Meg Meeker writes about the importance of fathers setting examples for their daughters over the course of their lives.

ASU men’s golf coach Matt Thurmond made a promise to his three girls when they were young that they could pick anywhere in the world to visit for their 14th birthday.

“I was just thinking about it and I love to travel,” Thurmond said. “It’s kind of a time in a girl’s life when … it’s not so cool to be around your dad. They go from being your best bud to not wanting to be around you.

Continue reading “Coming of age: ASU golf coach Thurmond takes daughters on trips of a lifetime”

Cronkite News Digest for Friday, June 14

Here is the Cronkite News lineup for Friday, June 14. 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: Executive Editor Christina Leonard at 602-361-5893 or christina.leonard@asu.edu or Content Editor Venita James at venita.hawthorne.james@asu.edu. Direct borderlands story questions to Vanessa Ruiz at 305-431-3082 or vanessa.ruiz.2@asu.edu. Sports story questions should go to Paola Boivin at paola.boivin@asu.edu or Brett Kurland at bkurland@asu.edu or 602-496-5134. Clients who want to use Cronkite videos can find clean versions, and scripts, for download at this Dropbox link for stories from June. Stories promised for today, along with photos and links to multimedia elements, will move on our client site at cronkitenews.jmc.asu.edu/clients. Continue reading “Cronkite News Digest for Friday, June 14”

Ducey, at White House, touts benefits of new occupational licensing law

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Ducey Licenses,520
  • Photo, video story available (thumbnails,  captions below)

By Miranda Faulkner
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Gov. Doug Ducey touted Arizona’s first-in-the-nation universal licensing recognition law at the White House Thursday to a receptive audience of governors and the president, who were there to talk about workforce mobility.

Ducey, sitting to President Donald Trump’s immediate left at a large table in the Cabinet Room, said the state’s universal licensing recognition law removes barriers for people who want to work. Continue reading “Ducey, at White House, touts benefits of new occupational licensing law”

Report: Undocumented immigration into U.S., especially from Mexico, is down

  • Slug: BC-CNS Pew Immigrant Report. 795 words.
  • 1 graphic, 1 file photo and caption below

By Tim Royan
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Undocumented immigration from Mexico has dropped so significantly over a decade that Mexicans no longer make up the majority of those living in the U.S. illegally, according to a Pew Research Center report.

Mexicans make up less than half the total undocumented immigrant population for the first time in more than half a century, the report says.

Arizona is among more than a dozen states showing a decline, with 220,000 fewer undocumented immigrants in 2017 than 2007.

More undocumented people are leaving the U.S. than staying, the report says. Continue reading “Report: Undocumented immigration into U.S., especially from Mexico, is down”

With guidance of ASU greats, Chun An Yu makes second consecutive appearance at US Open

  • Slug: Sports-Open ASU Yu, 1,000 words
  • File photo available.

By Sebastian Emanuel
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Chun An Yu knows the benefits of attending a school with a rich history of golf success.

The Arizona State amateur is playing in his second straight U.S. Open. Last year at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York, he played a practice round with ASU product Jon Rahm. This year, he played and learned from former Sun Devils great Phil Mickelson as well as his good friend Cheng-tsung Pan, also from Chinese Taipei.

He took their messages to heart. After a rocky start Thursday with a bogey and double bogey, he rebounded nicely on the front nine and posted birdies on holes 6, 7 and 9 and finished even on the front nine at Pebble Beach in Monterey, California. He struggled on the back nine with four bogeys and a birdie and ended the day at 3 over.  He hopes to use the guidance of his ASU mentors to bounce back on Friday. Continue reading “With guidance of ASU greats, Chun An Yu makes second consecutive appearance at US Open”

Pima official defends clean-water rule that farmers blast as burdensome

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Water Fight,790
  • Photos, video story available (thumbnails,  captions below)

By Miranda Faulkner
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – A Pima County supervisor told lawmakers Wednesday that a plan to limit the so-called Waters of the United States rule would end up eliminating clean-water protections for “rivers like the Santa Cruz, the Salt, the Gila.”

Pima Supervisor Richard Elias told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that states like Arizona need strong federal oversight of the Clean Water Act, which he said would not come under the Trump administration’s proposed revisions to the “WOTUS” rule.

But other witnesses, and GOP senators on the committee, said the old rules unveiled under the Obama administration need to be replaced. Those rules were confusing and imposed an unfair burden on farmers, ranchers and local officials who know best how to protect local waterways. Continue reading “Pima official defends clean-water rule that farmers blast as burdensome”

Turning children into animal caregivers at summer camp

  • Slug: BC-CNS Animal Citizenship. 315 words.
  • 3 photos and captions below.

By Abbagail Leon
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – As summer camps kick off around the nation, some young people in metro Phoenix are learning about the compassionate care of animals.

At the Animal Ed-ventures Summer Camps, it’s not just snuggling puppies all day.

The Arizona Humane Society educates children about animal advocacy while working with animal professionals and kittens, dogs and rabbits. The society offers five summer camps for children of different age groups, with career interests ranging from animal first responders – who provide rescue services and medical care – to opportunities in the veterinary field. Continue reading “Turning children into animal caregivers at summer camp”

These point guards might be in mix for Suns in NBA Draft

  • Slug: Sports-Suns Guards Draft, 1,100 words
  • Photos available.

By Jacob Rosenfarb
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The dichotomy within the NBA could not be clearer than in the month of June. While the final two teams battle for supremacy in the NBA Finals, the remaining 28 franchises must wait for the league’s annual draft later in the month to inject a sense of optimism into their organizations.  For the Phoenix Suns, who haven’t suited up for a June game in 13 seasons, this year’s draft holds even more significance as the franchise prepares to make its fourth straight top six pick.

With starters Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton likely entrenched long-term at their positions, the onus lies with the general manager James Jones and the Suns’ front office to find complementary pieces to pair with its budding superstars. One position of need is point guard, a spot the team likely will address June 20 in the 2019 NBA Draft. Continue reading “These point guards might be in mix for Suns in NBA Draft”

Hung jury in trial of No More Deaths volunteer charged with harboring migrants

  • Slug: BC-CNS No More Deaths Trial. 725 words.
  • 1 photo and caption below.

By Melissa Robbins and Abbagail Leon
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The trial of No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren ended Tuesday without a verdict. Warren faced 20 years behind bars on charges of conspiring to transport and harbor two undocumented immigrants he encountered in the desert of southern Arizona last year.

Judge Raner C. Collins of the U.S. District Court in Tucson declared a mistrial after jurors told him further deliberations would not lead to a verdict. He set a status hearing for July 2.

“A hung jury means the government could not prove its case,” Warren defense attorney Amy Knight said. “Scott remains innocent and admirable.”

Chris Fleischman, a volunteer with No More Deaths, said the organization plans to continue its humanitarian aid work following the announcement.

“It’s still good to know that the Trump administration’s attempt to criminalize humanitarian aid has failed,” he said. “But we will still be working to end death and suffering in the borderlands.” Continue reading “Hung jury in trial of No More Deaths volunteer charged with harboring migrants”

Beer factor: Phoenix Rising’s recipe for success includes hops, barley

  • Slug: Sports-Rising Dollar Beers, 600 words
  • Photos, graphics available.
  • https://infogram.com/phoenix-rising-dollar1-beer-night-1hmr6g38wrqq4nl
  • https://infogram.com/phoenix-rising_jason-johnson-dollar1-beer-night-1hxj48jpywy72vg

By Owain Evans
Cronkite News

SCOTTSDALE – To Phoenix Rising, beer means wins.

The team is a perfect 11-0-0 on Dollar Beer Nights, something that has drawn considerable attention.

The lesser heard story is that those Friday nights are just as much of a success off the field as they are on it. Since 2018, Rising averages almost 600 fans more per game compared to Saturdays. Both Dollar Beer Nights this year top the 2019 attendance list. Continue reading “Beer factor: Phoenix Rising’s recipe for success includes hops, barley”

Efforts to protect butterflies, desert fish would get millions under Extinction Prevention Act

  • Slug: BC-CNS Extinction Prevention Act.  1,100 words.
  • 1 photo and caption below.

By Melissa Robbins
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Arizona is home to a number of species that are threatened by climate change and human activity. Under legislation proposed by Rep. Raul Grijalva, Arizona fish and butterflies may get additional federal funds for conservation efforts.

The Tucson Democrat, who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, last month introduced the Extinction Prevention Act of 2019 to fund conservation efforts for butterflies in North America, fish that live in the desert Southwest, Pacific Island plants and freshwater mussels in the U.S.

The bill would authorize $5 million annually for each of the listed groups from 2020 until 2025. These funds would be distributed nationally or regionally to aid various preservation projects, including habitat restoration and research into at-risk populations. Continue reading “Efforts to protect butterflies, desert fish would get millions under Extinction Prevention Act”

Hepatitis A outbreak reaches 8 Arizona counties

  • Slug: BC-CNS Hep A Outbreak. 405 words.
  • 1 photo and caption below.
  • Video by Jessie Jo Pauly here.

By Abbagail Leon
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – A national outbreak of hepatitis A, which can cause nausea, jaundice and, in rare cases, kill, is sweeping through the state, Arizona health officials report.

Two people have died of the liver disease in Arizona. Since November, 353 cases have been reported, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Nearly 90 of those cases were reported in May in eight counties, including Maricopa County, the state’s most populous.

The best ways to protect against the highly contagious virus are through vaccination and regular handwashing, DHS said. Hepatitis A is contracted by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the virus through feces. That happens when an infected person does not wash his or her hands properly after using the restroom. Continue reading “Hepatitis A outbreak reaches 8 Arizona counties”

Supreme Court to hear murder appeal that could affect 20 death-row cases

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Murder Mitigation,730
  • File photos available (thumbnails,  captions below)

By Julian Paras
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear the appeal of an Arizona death-row inmate who claims state courts wrongly used old law to reaffirm his death sentences for two 1991 murders.

A ruling in James Erin McKinney’s case could affect as many as 19 other Arizona death-row cases, said his attorneys. They argue that a Supreme Court ruling since McKinney’s crimes were committed requires that he be resentenced by a jury, not a judge.

But the Arizona Attorney General’s Office argued that McKinney’s case was final when it was first affirmed in 1996 – long before the Supreme Court issued the ruling in Ring v. Arizona that defense attorneys are invoking now. Continue reading “Supreme Court to hear murder appeal that could affect 20 death-row cases”

Excessive heat, high fuel loads in Arizona have experts predicting wildfires through fall

  • Slug: BC-CNS Wildfires. 615 words.
  • Photo and caption below.

By Melissa Robbins
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – At least nine wildfires are burning around Arizona, only three of which are prescribed burns. Fire experts say with high temperatures, combined with an increasing amount of brush drying up from the abnormally wet winter, the fire danger is high – particularly in southern Arizona, where the threat is above-average.

Two of the fires burning in the Tonto National Forest northeast of Phoenix were human caused, officials said, but they’re burning away from structures.

Bryan Henry, assistant predictive services program manager with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, said this year’s monsoon season may be delayed, meaning the danger for wildfires will likely continue further into the fall than usual. Continue reading “Excessive heat, high fuel loads in Arizona have experts predicting wildfires through fall”

A natural path: Mother chooses midwife over hospital for second birth

  • Slug: BC-CNS Midwives. 680 words.
  • 16 photos and captions below.

By Nicole Neri
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – When Katrina Huynh gave birth for the first time four years ago, she chose a modern tradition – a local hospital. But she chose a Phoenix birthing center when her daughter was born in October.

Huynh, an executive at a health-insurance company in Arizona, said it was an unconventional and, for her, perhaps surprising choice.

“The first time, I had a really great OB (obstetrician). It was actually a really hard process to go to a birthing center because I liked him so much,” she said. “It was almost a little bit scary, switching to the birthing center, especially coming from someone who is very science-based, medically based – that’s my education, that’s my career.”

But Huynh became convinced it was the right move. She was seeking a more “naturopathic path” after she became pregnant again. She’s happy she did. Continue reading “A natural path: Mother chooses midwife over hospital for second birth”

Through injury, motherhood and doubt, Jessica McDonald ready to represent Arizona at World Cup

  • Slug: Sports-McDonald World Cup, 1,200 words
  • Photos available.

By Brady Vernon
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Although more than 5,000 miles separate Phoenix and Reims, France, a few flights makes the path reasonably simple for most. For Jessica McDonald, her journey to the pitch of Stade Auguste Delaune was anything but simple.

McDonald, 31, is one of 23 athletes on the United States Women’s National Team that will represent their country in the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019. The U.S. will start its defense of the 2015 World Cup title on Tuesday in a Group F game against Thailand.

The soccer-filled adventure started in the desert for McDonald. Born in Phoenix, she played  seven years with the Arizona-based Sereno Soccer Club and attributes her growth to a coach, Les Armstrong, who is now the Girls Development Academy Director at SC del Sol. Continue reading “Through injury, motherhood and doubt, Jessica McDonald ready to represent Arizona at World Cup”

Timely tips for staying safe during Arizona’s monsoon season

  • Slug: BC-CNS Monsoon Safety. 855 words.
  • 2 photos and captions below.
  • Video here.

By Amanda Slee and Tanner Puckett
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The towering, often terrifying thunderstorms that signal the start of Arizona’s monsoon season typically begin in mid-June and last through the end of September, but meteorologists say we’ll likely see a delayed start this year. The meteorology department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott this week predicted a much later start to the summer rainy season.

Monsoons in northern Arizona, for example, usually show up around the Fourth of July, but that could be delayed a couple of weeks, Embry-Riddle meteorologists said.

The word monsoon means a “seasonal reversal of wind.” For most of the year, winds in Arizona blow from the west, bringing mostly dry air, but during the summer, meteorologists say, the winds come from the south, bringing warmer and more humid air over the state.

But according to Embry-Riddle meteorologists, cooler waters in the Sea of Cortez – also called the Gulf of California – will likely delay the start of the 2019 monsoon.

With a delayed start comes more time to prepare for these storms, which can produce dangerous lightning, destructive winds and torrents of rain in mere minutes. Here are a few tips from utility companies, city officials and law enforcement officials for having a safe monsoon season. Continue reading “Timely tips for staying safe during Arizona’s monsoon season”

VA expands veterans’ access to health care from private providers

  • Slug: BC-CNS VA Changes. 720 words.
  • 2 photos and captions below.

By Dylan Simard
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The more than 500,000 military veterans in Arizona now have greater access to health care options beyond those available from the Department of Veterans Affairs. A nationwide program that took effect Thursday expands the circumstances under which veterans can access care outside the VA system.

“It’s going to allow veterans to access the health care that they need faster,” said Army veteran James Denton, who’s among more than 72,000 veterans in Phoenix.

The new Veteran Community Care program, which was outlined in the 2018 MISSION Act, sets new criteria for veterans to get treatment from private-sector providers. For example, if a veteran needs specialty care not offered through the VA, he or she can go to a specialist outside the system.

“The changes not only improve our ability to provide the health care veterans need, but also when and where they need it,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “It will also put veterans at the center of their care and offer options, including expanded telehealth and urgent care, so they can find the balance in the system that is right for them.” Continue reading “VA expands veterans’ access to health care from private providers”