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”

NAU linebacker has spotlight in Biden ad during Monday Night Football

  • Slug: BC-CNS NAU Biden Ad,  840 words.
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By Shane Dieffenbach
Cronkite News

LOS ANGELES – The intersection of sports and politics will take center stage again Monday night when a campaign ad featuring a Northern Arizona football player will air during ESPN’s broadcast of the Arizona Cardinals-Dallas Cowboys game.

Tristen Vance, a Hamilton High School graduate and linebacker for the Lumberjacks, expected to play his final season this fall before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Big Sky Conference postponed its football season until the spring, pushing Vance’s true senior season back to next fall. Continue reading “NAU linebacker has spotlight in Biden ad during Monday Night Football”

Magic Kingdom fans impatient over continued closure of Disneyland

  • Slug: BC-CNS Disney Shutdown, 1,230 words.

By Johnny Messiha
Cronkite News

ANAHEIM, California – Guidelines for theme park reopening are coming “very shortly,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in mid-September, but the Magic Kingdom remains closed and Disney fans, laid-off workers and city officials are pleading for tourism’s return to Orange County.

Newsom last week pointed to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and told reporters the state “is in no hurry” to reopen theme parks. California has the second-highest weekly rate of new infections in the country after Texas, according to the CDC, and Newsom chooses to err on the side of caution. Disneyland has been closed since March 14.

“We are going to be led by a health-first framework,” he said in an Oct. 7 news conference. “We’re going to be stubborn about it and that’s our commitment.”

Theme parks across the country are already welcoming people back, including Castles N’ Coasters in Phoenix and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the only other Disney park in the U.S. For Disney fans in Arizona, the proximity of Disneyland means many are growing impatient to see Mickey Mouse and plummet down Splash Mountain. Continue reading “Magic Kingdom fans impatient over continued closure of Disneyland”

Proposition 207 would legalize recreational marijuana for those 21 or older

  • Slug: BC-CNS Proposition 207, 1,090 words.
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By Emily Schmidt
Special for Cronkite News

With the election just days away, Cronkite News is taking a closer look at some of the measures on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Four years after Arizona voters rejected legalizing recreational marijuana, the issue is back, appearing on November’s ballot as Proposition 207.

Eleven states have legalized recreational marijuana. Arizona joins three others – Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota – with the question on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, would legally allow people 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, although smoking it in public places and open spaces would be prohibited. Arizonans would be allowed to grow up to six plants in their personal residences, and anyone arrested for, charged with or convicted of less serious marijuana-related offenses would be allowed to petition to have their criminal records expunged beginning July 21, 2021. Those offenses include possession of 2.5 ounces of marijuana or less and possessing paraphernalia used to smoke marijuana. Continue reading “Proposition 207 would legalize recreational marijuana for those 21 or older”

Hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness still debated after Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis

  • Slug: BC-CNS Hydrochloriquine Debate, 895 words.

By Kiara Quaranta
Cronkite News

President Donald Trump repeatedly has touted hydroxychloroquine as a possible “game changer” in the fight against COVID-19, and in May he told reporters he has taken it as a precaution. But his physician did not prescribe the antimalaria drug after the president tested positive on Thursday, instead giving him an antibody cocktail, according to White House officials.

Late Thursday, Trump tweeted that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. On Friday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted an update from Trump’s physician, describing the president as “fatigued but in good spirits” and listed his course of treatment. Hydroxychloroquine was not listed.

In a development Friday afternoon, Trump was flown to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Maryland, for undisclosed treatment. He’s expected to stay a few days, White House sources told CNN. Continue reading “Hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness still debated after Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis”

State trooper who killed Dion Johnson will not face charges, county attorney says

  • Slug: BC-CNS Johnson Charges Declined, 955 words.

By Adianna Bermudez
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The state trooper who shot and killed Dion Johnson will not face criminal charges, Maricopa County’s top prosecutor announced Monday, saying the trooper feared for his life.

“Please know these decisions are not made lightly,” County Attorney Allister Adel said at a news conference.

The May 25 death of Johnson, a 28-year-old Black man who had fallen asleep along a freeway in Phoenix, led to protests that mirrored those around the globe over the shootings of Black Americans at the hands of police. Authorities have said Johnson struggled when Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper George Cervantes attempted to detain him.

Johnson’s death has not captured the national attention drawn to the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, but it has driven protests in Arizona. Continue reading “State trooper who killed Dion Johnson will not face charges, county attorney says”

Trump courts Arizona Latinos, considered critical in this battleground state

  • Slug: BC-CNS Trump Arizona Latinos, 965 words.
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By Daja Henry
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – With polls showing him trailing in the state, President Donald Trump stopped in Phoenix on Monday to woo a key demographic that could make or break the November election and determine whether Arizona flips from red to blue: Hispanic voters.

His appearance at a Latinos for Trump roundtable at Arizona Grand Resort & Spa came just days after Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, virtually addressed Hispanic business owners in the state.

The back-to-back events illustrate just how big a role Arizona’s Hispanic voters – and the state itself – are expected to play on Election Day.

“Hispanic Americans strengthen our nation beyond description,” Trump told hundreds in attendance – most of whom did not wear face masks. “You protect our nation as brave members of the military and as members of law enforcement. You uplift the communities and promote our shared values of faith and family, community, hard work and patriotism.

“You’re an amazing group of people.”

The president’s words stood in stark contrast to some of his policies and past portrayals of Latino immigrants. When he announced his candidacy in June 2015, Trump portrayed immigrants from Mexico as “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.” Continue reading “Trump courts Arizona Latinos, considered critical in this battleground state”

Phoenix city manager rejects Black Lives Matter street mural near arena

  • BC-CNS BLM Mural Rejected, 550 words.
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By Isabella Martillaro
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – City Manager Ed Zuercher has rejected an organizer’s proposal to place a Black Lives Matter street mural in downtown Phoenix, similar to those that have popped up across the country in the wake of demands for racial justice.

Zuercher on Wednesday rejected the proposal by Gizette Knight to place a BLM mural next to Talking Stick Resort Arena, home of the NBA Phoenix Suns and WNBA Phoenix Mercury. In a letter to Knight, Zuercher wrote that “based on existing regulations governing allowable marking in the street, as well as overriding concerns with safety, risks, and federal guidelines for marking on streets, the City of Phoenix cannot accommodate your request.”

Black Lives Matter murals in such cities as Washington, D.C., New York and Minneapolis inspired Knight, a Phoenix native, to take the initiative. Continue reading “Phoenix city manager rejects Black Lives Matter street mural near arena”

Fleeing chaos, Venezuelans flock to Panama but struggle to find work

  • Slug: BC-CNS Venezuelans in Panama, 3,885 words
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By Anthony Wallace
Cronkite Borderlands Project

PANAMA CITY, Panama – In Venezuela, Nelson Diaz worked as a pharmacist and lived in the suburbs in an “American-style” house with a big backyard covered in lush grass.

Now he shares a cramped, dimly lit home with his brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew in a dangerous part of Panama City. Diaz, 27, makes $1,000 a month selling homemade empanadas to neighbors. His business enables him to send $100 each week to his mother; his greatest wish is to go home and “hug her for a month.”

Emmanuel Viloria and his wife, Edmily, both 27, left their young daughter behind with family when they immigrated to Panama four years ago. Seven days a week, Emmanuel darts through Panama City’s busy streets on a motorcycle delivering food. His earnings provide for his daughter in Venezuela. Continue reading “Fleeing chaos, Venezuelans flock to Panama but struggle to find work”

Chadwick Boseman’s death reveals cancer disparities in the Black community

  • Slug: BC-CNS Boseman and Colorectal Cancer, 1,125 words.
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By Lauren Hernandez
Cronkite News

LOS ANGELES – The death of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman, 43, after a four-year private battle with colon cancer has raised fresh concerns about how the illness disparately harms Black men, and it highlights what some experts call a shocking rise in the number of younger patients.

For fans who emulated the man and the superhero he portrayed, Boseman’s Aug. 28 death raises tough questions.

“If it happened to Chadwick Boseman, who had access to probably the best health care his money could buy, what about the average Joe?” asked Rhonda M. Smith, the interim executive director at California Black Health Network, a nonprofit based in Sacramento.

Boseman’s death highlights disparities in the Black community for colorectal cancer and death rates from all cancers, and it’s part of a recent trend, experts say. Although diagnoses of colorectal cancer in Americans 65 or older have been dropping in recent years, they have been rising in younger age groups for more than three decades, according to a March report from the American Cancer Society. In 2020, it said, 12% of colorectal cancer cases will be diagnosed in people younger than 50 – about 18,000 cases. Continue reading “Chadwick Boseman’s death reveals cancer disparities in the Black community”

COVID-19 cases on reservation at lowest point since May, but Navajos urged to remain vigilant

  • Slug: BC-CNS Navajo COVID Cases, 670 words.

By Haillie Parker
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Only one new case of COVID-19 was reported across the Navajo Nation in the previous 24 hours, the lowest number of daily cases on the reservation since an initial spike in May, tribal leaders said Tuesday in a virtual town hall.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the sole case was in the period Sunday to Monday, and he congratulated Navajos for following safety guidelines, such as social distancing, hand-washing, wearing a fast mask and staying home. But he warned of a potential new spike in the wake of a long Labor Day weekend and urged members of the nation to remain vigilant.

“Let’s help out, let’s end this endeavor, “ Nez said, speaking first in Navajo and then in English. Continue reading “COVID-19 cases on reservation at lowest point since May, but Navajos urged to remain vigilant”

To reach freedom, migrants risk Panama’s Darién Gap, the most dangerous jungle in the world

  • Slug: BC-CNS Panama Video Story, 80 words.
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By Delia Johnson
Cronkite Borderlands Project

Desperate migrants from across the globe are increasingly braving Panama’s Darién Gap – considered the most dangerous jungle in the world. Most come from the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, starting in South America and traveling north, funneling through the gap in hopes of eventually reaching the United States by land.

Many die en route, and those who survive describe a nightmarish journey of robbery and assault, starvation, exposure, snake bites and drowning. Continue reading “To reach freedom, migrants risk Panama’s Darién Gap, the most dangerous jungle in the world”

COVID-19 in Arizona: Navajo leaders consider phased reopening as soon as next week

  • Slug: BC-CNS Arizona COVID Update, 655 words.
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By Jacqueline Robledo
Cronkite News

Navajo leaders said the tribe could begin moving toward the phased reopening of the reservation as early as next week, but they continued to urge members to take precautions to keep the number of COVID-19 cases trending downward.

Despite the optimism, the Navajo Nation already announced it will continue a reservation-wide weekend lockdown for at least the next two weekends, which would be the 16th and 17th such lockdowns.

“July 27 is the day” leaders expect to announce a decision, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said Tuesday during an almost two-hour virtual town hall meeting. “We’ve got health care experts that are going to give us updates about what’s happening all around us, and we’re going to make an informed, data-driven decision.”

Nez issued a challenge, saying that if residents can get the number of new infections down to fewer than 50 a day for 14 days “that will support reopening certain places for Navajo usage.” He said the number of cases has been below that level since July 15; the Navajo Department of Health reported 24 new positive COVID-19 cases Monday. Continue reading “COVID-19 in Arizona: Navajo leaders consider phased reopening as soon as next week”

COVID-19 in Arizona: Ducey extends eviction moratorium until Oct. 31

  • Slug: BC-CNS Arizona COVID Update, 725 words.
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By Jonathan Hernandez Morales
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Gov. Doug Ducey extended the state’s eviction moratorium and announced an additional $5 million for renters and measures to prevent foreclosure as the state continues to grapple with unemployment and housing problems caused by COVID-19.

“Today’s plan protects families and individuals impacted by COVID-19 while empowering them to keep making rent payments,” Ducey told a news conference Thursday. “We’ll continue working with our partners at the county and local levels to make resources and assistance available for all those impacted by COVID-19.” Continue reading “COVID-19 in Arizona: Ducey extends eviction moratorium until Oct. 31”

COVID-19 in Arizona: State leads U.S. in growth of new cases, analysis says

  • Slug: BC-CNS Arizona COVID Update, 1,110 words.
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By Chance Dorland
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Arizona led the U.S. in the growth of confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday, and if states were viewed as their own countries, the Grand Canyon State would lead the world, according to an alarming analysis by The New York Times. State officials pushed back against that characterization Wednesday, but Arizona doctors fear the situation could worsen.

For every 1 million Arizona residents, 3,300 cases of COVID-19 have been detected over the past seven days, the Times reported.

Relying on data from Johns Hopkins University, the analysis also revealed that Arizona has the country’s highest daily percentage of positive coronavirus cases, with more than 25% of tests showing a positive result. Continue reading “COVID-19 in Arizona: State leads U.S. in growth of new cases, analysis says”

Right to legal counsel for minors grew out of Arizona case from 1964

  • Slug: BC-CNS Juvenile Justice,  920 words.
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By Katherine Sypher
News21

PHOENIX – One June day in 1964, Gerald Gault and a teenage friend made a bad decision. They made an obscene phone call to Ora Cook, Gault’s neighbor. She called the police, and both boys were arrested and taken to a juvenile detention facility in Gila County.

The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose ruling established the right of minors to be represented by attorneys. But today, 53 years later, legal representation remains uneven, children’s advocates say.

The juvenile justice system was bewildering to Gault, who was 15 when he was taken into custody, and his family, according to Supreme Court testimony. Police made no attempt to notify Gault’s parents of his arrest – they only found out months later. As Gault’s case made its way through the court, the judge questioned Gault, never with a lawyer present and sometimes without even his parents, and no transcript or recordings were made. The judge sentenced Gault, who was on probation at the time of his arrest, to six years in juvenile detention. Gault’s parents challenged the sentence.

Had Gault been 18, he would have been provided legal counsel automatically, a right afforded by the 14th Amendment to all adults who are arrested. But Gault was a minor, and the criminal justice system treats minors differently from adults.

In re Gault – as the court’s 1967 ruling is known – for the first time officially recognized that children have the same legal rights as adults. But 53 years later, legal experts say the goal of Gault’s case has not been met: Children across the states still aren’t automatically provided their right to legal counsel. Continue reading “Right to legal counsel for minors grew out of Arizona case from 1964”

‘Help is on the way’: Pence makes house call to Arizona amid COVID-19 surge

  • Slug: BC-CNS Arizona COVID Update, 665 words.
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By Caleb Bouchy
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – As Arizona broke records Wednesday for new COVID-19 cases and deaths reported in a single day, Vice President Mike Pence flew in to assure Gov. Doug Ducey that the federal government “will spare no expense” in helping the state.

Pence’s trip originally included a visit to Tucson and a rally with supporters, but those events were canceled as the vice president continues to tour states hard hit by COVID-19, including Texas last weekend and a trip to Florida on Thursday.

“We say to the people of Arizona, we are with you and we are going to make sure that Arizona has whatever it takes to meet this moment, to slow the spread and flatten the curve to save lives,” Pence told reporters, standing on the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

On Wednesday, July 1, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported a record 4,878 new cases of COVID-19 and 88 deaths in the state, bringing total deaths to 1,720. It said 20,151 tests for COVID-19 have been completed in public and private labs in Arizona, and 24.2% of tests have come back positive for the virus that causes the disease. Continue reading “‘Help is on the way’: Pence makes house call to Arizona amid COVID-19 surge”

COVID-19 in Arizona: Ducey stands firm on staying open, urges Arizonans to ‘do the right thing’

  • Slug: BC-CNS Arizona COVID Update, 1,150 words.
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By Jackson Lautaret
Cronkite News

PHOENIX –  A somber Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday addressed Arizona’s record surge in COVID-19 cases, urging individuals to slow down and “do the right thing” but taking no new actions.

“This is Arizona’s first wave and it will not be our last wave,” he said in a teleconference. “Where we are right now and what we expect is manageable, but we need to shift now. We expect that our numbers will be worse next week and the week following in terms of cases and hospitalizations.”

Ducey remained firm on his stance of keeping businesses open, but also called for accountability when individuals step out of line.

“This is not another executive order to post. This is not about closing businesses. This is about public education and personal responsibility,” the two-term Republican governor said.

Ducey faced criticism for inconsistent mask use and failing to social distance while attending a rally hosted by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, where 3,000 people gathered in a north Phoenix megachurch.

“We are going to protect freedom of the press and the right of the people to peacefully assemble in an election year or in any year, it’s in the amendment,” the governor responded. Continue reading “COVID-19 in Arizona: Ducey stands firm on staying open, urges Arizonans to ‘do the right thing’”

Bush Fire near Mesa, now the largest in the country, forces evacuations

  • Slug: BC-CNS Wildfire Evacuations, 790 words.
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By Caitlynn McDaniel
Cronkite News

PHOENIX — Nearly 1,500 people living west of Roosevelt Lake have been forced to evacuate because of the fast burning Bush Fire, which now is the largest in the country at 89,059 acres, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center.

The wind-blown wildfire, which was ignited by a burning vehicle Saturday, is moving fast through tall grass and brush in a section of the Tonto National Forest about 40 miles northeast of Mesa, and Tuesday night it crested the iconic Four Peaks.

“It’s just been a real wind-driven event,” said Dee Hines, a public information officer on the Bush Fire. “This time of year, at the height of fire season, the fields are very dry, and I really think the size is primarily due to the wind.”

Those conditions have set the stage for what’s already an above average fire year in Arizona. Wildfire experts say the state already has surpassed the number of fires during the same period last year. The Bush Fire, which has scorched 139 square miles and is only 5% contained, is just one of 11 fires actively burning across the state. Continue reading “Bush Fire near Mesa, now the largest in the country, forces evacuations”

COVID-19 in Arizona: Case numbers shatter daily record set four days earlier

  • Slug: BC-CNS Arizona COVID Update, 860 words.
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By Bree Florence
Cronkite News

PHOENIX –  Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose by nearly 2,400 on Monday alone, breaking Friday’s record of 1,600 by almost 50%, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

As of Tuesday, June 16, health officials reported 39,097 cases of COVID-19 and 1,219 deaths in the state. There have been 489,286 tests for COVID-19 completed in public and private labs in Arizona, and 7.1% of them have come back positive for the virus.

The spike in positive cases comes several weeks after the May 15 lifting of Arizona’s stay-at-home orders, when businesses began reopening, and Memorial Day weekend, when many Arizonans left their homes to celebrate.

“It would be preposterous to think that people going out aren’t increasing the positive cases,” Dr. Murtaza Akhter of the University of Arizona College of Medicine told Cronkite News on Tuesday. “One of my concerns is whether people are ever going to take public health emergencies seriously.” Continue reading “COVID-19 in Arizona: Case numbers shatter daily record set four days earlier”