Cronkite News Digest for Friday, Dec. 3

Here is your Cronkite News lineup for Friday, Dec. 3. If you have questions on news stories from the Phoenix bureau, please contact Executive Editor Christina Leonard at 602-361-5893 or, while questions about stories from our Washington bureau should go to Steve Crane at 202-684-2398 or Sports story questions can be directed to Paola Boivin at, while audio story questions can be answered by Sadie Babits at 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 for access. Stories promised for today, along with photos and links to multimedia elements, will post to our client site at Continue reading “Cronkite News Digest for Friday, Dec. 3”

Arizona Rattlers Nation aims to create family atmosphere

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Cronkite News

PHOENIX — For the Kanez family, the only activity the trio can participate in together is attending Arizona Rattlers games.

Sandra and Frank’s son, Patrick, faces disabilities that require him to use a wheelchair. The family had gone to other sports in the Valley but no other organization welcomed and accommodated them like the Rattlers organization.

“With the other games, it’s like (the players) are untouchable. You can’t approach them. With the Rattlers, you’re able to approach them and ask them questions,” Sandra Kanez said. “It’s one-on-one but a family as well. It makes it exciting, and it’s acceptability.” Continue reading “Arizona Rattlers Nation aims to create family atmosphere”

CORRECTION to May 31 story on golf course irrigation

EDS: Clients who used a Cronkite News story slugged BC-CNS-Golf Water that moved Thursday, May 31, under a PHOENIX dateline, are asked to use the following correction. The error occurred in the 20th graf of the original story. A corrected version of the story has been posted here.

PHOENIX – A May 31 Cronkite News story on golf course irrigation a incorrectly stated the estimated cost of the pipeline. The estimated cost is $9.5 million.

How would a Suns backcourt of Devin Booker, Luka Doncic operate?

  • Slug: Sports-Doncic Booker, 1,800 words

Cronkite News

PHOENIX — People tend to like, and trust, what they’re familiar with and treading outside one’s comfort zone often raises doubts and sparks fear. For many Phoenix Suns fans, that queasy, skeptical observation revolves around a 6-foot-8, 228-pound mystery from Slovenia.

Luka Doncic’s possible NBA success, though, is no enigma for new Suns coach Igor Kokoskov. The longtime NBA assistant coached the 19-year old on the Slovenian national team during EuroBasket 2017. The pair, along with NBA All-Star point guard Goran Dragic, beat foreign powers Latvia, Spain and Serbia en route to the title.

Radovan Trifunovic, an assistant coach on that 2017 Slovenian national team who was recently promoted to head coach amidst Kokoskov’s departure, knew what his team had: a better one-two combination that nearly every other European foe. Continue reading “How would a Suns backcourt of Devin Booker, Luka Doncic operate?”

GCU’s profile continues to rise with doubleheader invite

  • Slug: Sports-GCU basketball, 750 words
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Cronkite News

PHOENIX — The last time a college basketball doubleheader landed in downtown Phoenix, Talking Stick Resort Arena was still U.S. Airways, the Suns were a perennial power in the Western Conference, and a duo of games was played featuring Arizona vs. Illinois and Gonzaga against the Kevin Durant-led Texas Longhorns.

Nearly 11 years later, another will come to town that includes the Wildcats plus Grand Canyon, who moves to Division I play this season, another symbol of the rising profile of the the basketball program and the university overall. BD Global’s Valley of the Sun Shootout will pair Arizona with Texas A&M and the Antelopes with St. John’s on Dec. 5 at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Although this doubleheader is nothing special for Sean Miller’s Arizona squad, it is another opportunity for the Antelopes under Dan Majerle to shine in the spotlight. Continue reading “GCU’s profile continues to rise with doubleheader invite”

Supersize me: ASU’s new video board looks to enhance fan experience

  • Slug: Sports-ASU VIDEOBOARD, approximately 500 words
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Cronkite News

TEMPE – Watching replays used to be a struggle for students seated in the south end zone of Sun Devil Stadium.

The video boards were behind them.

When they return to that same student section on August 31 against New Mexico State, they will be able to watch close plays on a new 5,400-square-foot video display behind the north end zone.

Continue reading “Supersize me: ASU’s new video board looks to enhance fan experience”

CORRECTION to May 10 story about renovation of historic buildings

EDS: Clients who used a Cronkite News story slugged BC-CNS-History Buffed that moved Wednesday, May 10, under a PHOENIX dateline, are asked to use the following correction. The errors appeared in the 15th graf of the original. A corrected version of the story has been posted here.

PHOENIX – A May 10 Cronkite News story about the renovation of historic buildings contained an incorrect title for Scott Jarson. He is an architectural real estate agent. The article also incorrectly stated the focus of his efforts. He focuses on marketing residential properties.

CORRECTION to Jan. 25 story about March Madness bracket sneak peek

EDS: Clients who used a Cronkite News story slugged Sports-Sneak Peek that moved Wednesday, Jan. 25, under a PHOENIX dateline, are asked to use the following correction. A corrected version of the story has been posted here.

PHOENIX – The byline on a Cronkite News story about the early glimpse the NCAA will provide to the men’s basketball tournament bracket gave an incorrect first name for the reporter. The story was written by Justin Toscano.

February bracket sneak peek to provide early glimpse at March Madness

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Eds: The byline on a previous version of this story gave an incorrect first name for the reporter. The byline here has been corrected, but clients who used previous versions of this story are asked to run the correction that can be found here.

Cronkite News

PHOENIX – When Arizona State men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley won back-to-back national championships as a point guard at Duke in 1991 and 1992, he didn’t know officially where his Blue Devils might be seeded until Selection Sunday.

That’s the way it always has been, until this year. Tuesday the NCAA announced that its Tournament Selection Committee will provide a sneak peek of March Madness by releasing the top four teams for each of the four regions — 16 total — on Feb. 11, a full month before Selection Sunday. Continue reading “February bracket sneak peek to provide early glimpse at March Madness”

‘Godfather’ of Saguaro HS football back for Fiesta Bowl as key member of OSU staff

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  • Video on YouTube

Cronkite News

SCOTTSDALE – It was a casual offseason afternoon Friday at Saguaro High School.

Seventeen players on the school’s varsity football team were in the gym lifting weights. It wasn’t mandatory; head coach Jason Mohns had given his team the final two weeks of December off, but some players wanted to come in.

“I had kids blowing me up and texting me, saying, ‘Hey coach, can you open up the weight room?’” Mohns said.

This type of culture and work ethic, which Mohns described as “a blue-collar school with a tough mentality,” was born in the 1990s when Tim Beck was the head coach at Saguaro.

“That was started back in those days of Coach Beck and I think that’s what makes this place special,” Mohns said. Continue reading “‘Godfather’ of Saguaro HS football back for Fiesta Bowl as key member of OSU staff”

Arizona familiar territory for Ohio State

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  • Video on YouTube

Cronkite News

SCOTTSDALE – The success of both Urban Meyer and Ohio State in Arizona is unparalleled.

Saturday marks Ohio State’s eighth visit to the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, the most all time. The Buckeyes are 6-2 and haven’t lost in the game in 25 years.

This is Urban Meyer’s fifth visit to the desert since becoming a head coach in 2001. He has one regular season victory, two Fiesta Bowl wins and a BCS Championship victory.

He’s hoping to go five-for-five. He doesn’t want to hear about it, though.

“You’re the guy who says in the seventh inning, ‘Hey dude, you’ve got a no-hitter going,’” Meyer said with a laugh when asked about his perfect record in Arizona. Continue reading “Arizona familiar territory for Ohio State”

Clemson eyeing different itinerary in return to Arizona

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Cronkite News

SCOTTSDALE – Clemson’s return to Arizona comes with bad memories of its last visit a little over 11 months ago.

The Tigers, who were ranked No. 1 at the time, lost in the College Football Playoff National Championship game to second-ranked Alabama at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11.

The game turned on an onside kick early in the fourth quarter that Alabama recovered after the Crimson Tide had tied it, 24-24, on a 33-yard Adam Griffith field goal. Two plays later Alabama scored on a 51-yard touchdown pass and never trailed again, ultimately going on to a 45-40 victory.

“There were like two to three plays in the game that if we could’ve had back, I feel like we could have won,” Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins said. “It left us with a bad taste in our mouth.” Continue reading “Clemson eyeing different itinerary in return to Arizona”

Tempe middle school teacher makes good on Olympic-sized promise to diver

  • Slug: Sports-Olympic diver, 579 words
  • Video planned

Cronkite News

TEMPE –  When diver Sam Dorman was in the eighth grade at the now-closed McKemy Middle School, Matt Tully made him a promise.

“If you make the Olympic team, I’ll be there,” Tully, Dorman’s physical education teacher at McKemy, told him.

It seemed unlikely at the time. Dorman was using crutches to get around because of a shattered foot.

“I’m like, all right, that’s a long ways away, but all right,” Dorman said. “I kind of brushed it off.”  

Fast-forward to August 2016, a 24-year-old Dorman stood on the deck at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center in Rio De Janeiro for the Olympic Games. It was the finals for the 3-meter springboard synchronized event.

He found Tully in the stands, sitting with his parents in the front row.  

“Most people say they’re going to go, but they don’t go,” Dorman said. “He followed through with everything, which is really cool. He was my favorite P.E. teacher, so to have him there was awesome.” Continue reading “Tempe middle school teacher makes good on Olympic-sized promise to diver”

Desert Vista’s Baumann follows unusual path to college basketball

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Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Each high school game is an opportunity for athletes to showcase their talent and prove that they have the skills necessary to play at the college level. Desert Vista’s Noah Baumann had to find another way to prove he can play.

As a sophomore, Baumann played spotty minutes in 15 games for Desert Vista’s varsity basketball team, averaging only 2.1 points per game. Then a back injury limited him to just two games during his junior year.

“I over used it,” Baumann said of his back. “I didn’t take care of my body as much as I should. It really came down on me during the beginning of the season. I had to miss out but with physical therapy and icing my back, everyday it got better.”

Fortunately for Baumann, he didn’t have to rely soley on his high school experience. San Jose State coach Dave Wojcik spotted Baumann during a summer club tournament when Wojcik was there watching his son play.

“He played against my son up in Anaheim,” Wojcik said. “I got to see him play there, and he played really well. I was like, ‘who is this kid?’”

Last month, the 6-foot-5 senior shooting guard signed to play for Wojcik at San Jose State. Continue reading “Desert Vista’s Baumann follows unusual path to college basketball”

Suns hope to ride momentum of victory over Hawks as they visit Golden State

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Cronkite News

PHOENIX — The Suns are approaching the quarter pole of the NBA season, and are hoping to use their recent victory over the Atlanta Hawks as a springboard that will get them out of the Pacific Division basement.

The club is off to a slow start, posting a 6-13 entering December.

But as valuable as the victory over the Hawks might be, the Suns would really get a boost by beating Golden State Saturday in the Bay Area. They are already 0-2 against the Warriors this season.

Suns forward P.J. Tucker said the Suns hope to make adjustments against a Warriors team that is loaded with stars like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and, now this season, Kevin Durant.

“We tweaked our coverages a little bit, (in terms of) how we’re going to guard certain things,” Tucker said. “We’re going to stick to our principles. We stick to our core of what we do.”

The Suns will try to adjust on the offensive end as well. Continue reading “Suns hope to ride momentum of victory over Hawks as they visit Golden State”

Suns look to break three-game home skid and build on Bledsoe’s career night

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By Andrew Chapman
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Suns coach Earl Watson said Tuesday that a key emphasis for his team is to play with consistency through entire games.

“We understand that in the first quarter and second quarter we find ourselves down by 20, and that can’t happen,” Watson said as the Suns prepare to play host to the Atlanta Hawks at Talking Stick Resort Arena Wednesday night.  “For us, it has to be consistent identity and effort throughout the entire game.”

The Suns hope to bounce back after dropping their 13th game of the season, a 120-114 home loss to the Denver Nuggets Sunday, despite a career-high 35 points from guard Eric Bledsoe.

“I feel unbelievable and confident,” Bledsoe said. “It’s still not too far of a reach for us to make the playoffs.”

For the Suns to reach the postseason, they’ll have to begin winning games on their homecourt, where they are just 2-5 this season. Continue reading “Suns look to break three-game home skid and build on Bledsoe’s career night”

CORRECTION to Nov. 16 story on impact on Westgate of possible Coyotes move

EDS: Clients who used a Cronkite News story slugged Sports-Coyotes Westgate that moved Wednesday, Nov. 16, under a GLENDALE dateline, are asked to use the following correction. A clarification has been made to the headline. A corrected version of the story has been posted here.

GLENDALE – A Nov. 16 Cronkite News story about the impact on the Westgate Entertainment District of the possible departure of the Arizona Coyotes included a headline that may have incorrectly represented reaction to the possible move.



Phoenix International Raceway waves the green flag on sustainability

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By Tyler Rubin
Cronkite News

AVONDALE – Jeff Carpoff, a racing fan and the owner of DC Solar, was at the Good Sam 500 NASCAR race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway last spring, and couldn’t help wondering if his company might be able to play a role in reducing the pollution the event was generating.

“I noticed that there was a lot of diesel burning around this place,” Carpoff said in an interview at PIR. “We made it a personal mission to get involved.”

Carpoff knew there was a place for his products in NASCAR. He had seen track after track with hundreds of light towers, and with diesel-fueled generators running 24 hours a day on race weekend.

So Carpoff’s DC Solar and PIR partnered to promote clean energy usage at the track.

Unlike solar companies that focus on selling or leasing rooftop solar panels, DC Solar produces products designed to replace products that burn fossil fuels. Continue reading “Phoenix International Raceway waves the green flag on sustainability”

ASU alumnus Ryan Bader closing in on UFC title

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by Jonathan Saxon
Cronkite News

Ryan Bader made a name for himself as one of the hardest workers on Arizona State’s wrestling team, posting an 88-34 college record during his career in the early 2000s. His former coach, Thom Ortiz, believes his work ethic and dedication are his greatest assets.

“He worked hard. Cain (Velasquez), Bader and CB (Dolloway), they worked hard for Arizona State,” Ortiz said. “I would watch Bader wrestle Cain; no one wants to do that. So I’d have to say what stood out about him was his work ethic.”

That same work ethic that helped him at ASU has him on the doorstep of a UFC title shot. But for that shot to materialize, which would be the realization of an eight-year quest for Bader, he has one more opponent to defeat.

Bader, who owns and trains at Power MMA and Fitness in Gilbert, is preparing for a rematch with mixed martial arts legend Antonio Rogerio Nogueira Saturday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The fourth-ranked UFC light heavyweight, Bader is coming off a second-round knockout victory over Ilir Latifi in September. Continue reading “ASU alumnus Ryan Bader closing in on UFC title”

Cactus League a big winner regardless of World Series outcome

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By Tamsyn Stonebarger and Alexis Ramanjulu
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – No matter who wins Wednesday’s climactic Game 7 of the World Series between the long-suffering Cleveland Indians and longer-suffering Chicago Cubs, Arizona wins.

Both teams’ spring training headquarters are in the Valley – the Cubs at Sloan Park in Mesa and the Indians at Goodyear Ballpark, which they share with the Cincinnati Reds.

“It being both Cactus League teams is great for the Cactus League,” said Debbie Diveney, the marketing and business operations coordinator at Goodyear Ballpark.

After the Kansas City Royals won the World Series in 2015, attendance at spring games in Surprise jumped from 7,519 per game to 8,407 IN 2016.

“It was actually our highest spring training attendance,” said Tara Combs, sports, tourism and special events division manager for the city of Surprise. “We had a huge out-of-state crowd and you could see that with our ticket sales, because a lot of our ticket sales were done online. Which shows people were purchasing out-of-state. We actually get reports through our ticketing system that they are coming from out of Arizona.

“It has put Surprise on the map.”

Goodyear Ballpark stands to benefit the most if Cleveland wins for the first time since 1948. Attendance this spring averaged 5,367 – just 54 percent of capacity. Continue reading “Cactus League a big winner regardless of World Series outcome”