Health officials ramp up COVID-19 vaccines with new sites, eligibility

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By Haleigh Kochanski
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – The Arizona Department of Health Services said Friday it is expanding its COVID-19 vaccination programs, adding distribution at pharmacies and at a second state-run site in the East Valley and broadening the number of people eligible for the vaccine.

The expansion comes as the state has already administered well over 200,000 doses of vaccine, what health department Director Dr. Cara Christ called “an exciting milestone for Arizona.” Continue reading “Health officials ramp up COVID-19 vaccines with new sites, eligibility”

Officials prep for possible inauguration protests at Arizona Capitol

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By Ryan Knappenberger
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – The Arizona Capitol is surrounded by two rows of chain-link fence and police presence has been increased, as authorities brace for possible violence in response to the inauguration next week of President-elect Joe Biden.

The preparations come amid reports that the FBI has warned of possible armed protests at all 50 state capitals next week, on the heels of the violent mob that breached the U.S. Capitol as Congress was certifying the election of Biden. Five people died in that attack, including a Capitol Police officer. Continue reading “Officials prep for possible inauguration protests at Arizona Capitol”

Reading, listening, learning: ASU Libraries provides public BLM resource guide

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  • Video here, credit ASU Libraries

By Haillie Parker
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – During months of public demonstrations spurred by the death of George Floyd last spring and centuries of injustices against Black lives across the globe, Arizona State University Libraries created a digital resource guide focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, justice and equity.

The elements of the Black Lives Matter guide extend beyond those of a typical book list. The online collection of literature, podcast episodes, academic courses, police violence data, and archival information, built on the tumult of 2020, is continuously evolving. It’s a chronicle of a year plagued by historic milestones, including a global pandemic, brutality toward the Black community and a polarizing election that continues to shift societal norms. Continue reading “Reading, listening, learning: ASU Libraries provides public BLM resource guide”

Cronkite News Digest for Friday, Jan. 15

Here is your Cronkite News lineup for Friday, Jan. 15. 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 Friday, Jan. 15”

‘Kill the Indian, save the man’: Stories of Indian boarding schools still echo

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By Addison Kliewer, Miranda Mahmud and Brooklyn Wayland
Gaylord News

WASHINGTON – About 180 white tombstones – each belonging to a child who died while attending the Carlisle Indian Industrial School – stand row-by-row in the dewy grass of central Pennsylvania, bearing the names of those who died while being forced to learn the white man’s way.

From 1,500 to 1,800 Native American students from Oklahoma attended the Carlisle school, said Jim Gerenscer, co-director of the Carlisle Indian School Project, a database that provides information about the school and the students who attended. But some never made it back home, dying from unknown causes at Carlisle.

The purpose of school, as well as others across the nation, was to remove Native Americans from their cultures and lifestyles and assimilate them into the white man’s world.

Carlisle, which opened in 1879 and operated until 1918, was among the first and best-known boarding schools for Native children, and its operational model set the standard for most that came after.

For many tribes in Oklahoma, the horrors of the Carlisle model were experienced closer to home. Continue reading “‘Kill the Indian, save the man’: Stories of Indian boarding schools still echo”

Arizona lawmakers split as Trump impeached by House for a second time

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By Haleigh Kochanski
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – No Arizona lawmakers broke party ranks as the House Wednesday impeached President Donald Trump on a mostly party-line vote, just one week after a deadly mob attack on the Capitol that critics said was incited by the president.

The 232-197 vote also comes 13 months after Trump was first impeached by the House, making him the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Unlike the earlier vote, however, 10 Republicans joined all Democrats Wednesday to impeach.

But all four Arizona GOP lawmakers stood by Trump, who leaves office in a week. And the articles of impeachment still must be heard by the Senate, which is not expected to take them up until after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in to replace Trump Jan. 20. Continue reading “Arizona lawmakers split as Trump impeached by House for a second time”

‘Life Is …’ documentary confronts youth suicide in Arizona

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 Credit:  Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications

What can be done about the alarming rate of suicide among young people? Student journalists at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication have sought answers to that question, seeking workable solutions to what has become a public health crisis. Continue reading “‘Life Is …’ documentary confronts youth suicide in Arizona”

For the love of animals: High suicide rates reflect the many stresses of veterinarians

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By Alison Cutler
Cronkite News

In 2014, veterinarian Jason Sweitzer started his 10-minute drive home from the clinic in Conejo Valley, California, where he routinely treated animals that had been stabbed, shot, abused and made to suffer other horrors.

This time, his thoughts drifted to suicide.

“No one else was on the road. What if my car just veered off the highway?” Sweitzer recently recalled, his voice wavering.

Although he was alone that night, hundreds of other veterinarians have traveled the same path as Sweitzer. Many veterinarians face a mountain of debt after medical school and struggle to cope with the trauma endured by pets, the emotional distress and stressful social interactions in a line of work where the patient can’t speak, and pet owners facing life and death decisions.

Veterinarians are 2.7 times more likely than the general public to die by suicide, according to a 2020 study from Merck Animal Health in partnership with the American Veterinary Medical Association. Female veterinarians have higher levels of suicidal thoughts, but male veterinarians have a higher rate of suicide attempts, the study found. Continue reading “For the love of animals: High suicide rates reflect the many stresses of veterinarians”

Agencies seek plasma donations to treat COVID-19 patients

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By Harry Croton
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – As vaccinations for COVID-19 continue nationwide, blood donation agencies are stepping up efforts to encourage those who’ve had the disease and recovered to donate their plasma to help treat the sick.

January is National Blood Donor Month, a time when agencies typically work to recruit more donors as bad winter weather and seasonal illnesses reduce donations. This year, the American Red Cross and other groups are heightening calls for donations of blood and plasma, the liquid portion of blood, which contains antibodies that can fight off infections.

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 on an emergency basis. Some studies show that plasma therapy may speed recovery time for COVID patients, but research is ongoing, and one study published in November in the New England Journal of Medicine found no significant differences between those who received plasma and those who did not. Continue reading “Agencies seek plasma donations to treat COVID-19 patients”

House votes on removing, possibly impeaching Trump after mob attacks

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By Sarah Oven
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona lawmakers split along party lines late Tuesday as the House passed a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to remove President Trump from office – or face the threat of a second impeachment.

The 223-205 vote came a week after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a deadly attack that critics say the president incited, and just one week before Trump is scheduled to leave office and be replaced by President-elect Joe Biden. Continue reading “House votes on removing, possibly impeaching Trump after mob attacks”

Female inmate firefighters build character but often can’t use fire skills after release

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By Catie Cheshire, Sinead Hickey and Miles Green
Special for Cronkite News

PHOENIX – May Tiwamangkala remembers mornings at Perryville Prison west of Phoenix, when the Wildland Fire Crew members began chanting and stomping their feet on concrete to let the rest of the prison know it was 5 a.m.

On their training runs, she recalls, one veteran on the all-women crew would shout, “Who are we?”

“Fire crew!”

Her next shout: “Be phenomenal!”

“Or be forgotten!”

The Perryville crew is one of 12 17-person crews of incarcerated firefighters in Arizona, and the only crew of all women. But once crew members leave prison, they often face difficulty getting hired as firefighters, typically because they lack documentation of their work or can’t get required certification as emergency medical technicians because of their criminal records. Continue reading “Female inmate firefighters build character but often can’t use fire skills after release”

Research finds COVID-19 may worsen symptoms of those with Tourette’s

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By Endia Fontanez
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Stress, isolation and face mask requirements related to COVID-19 may be worsening symptoms for the estimated 1% of the world’s population who suffer from Tourette syndrome, research shows.

The neurological disorder, named for a French doctor who first described the condition in 1885, is characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements or sounds. Common motor tics include repeated blinking, shrugging, twitching and nodding, while vocal tics may include grunting, throat clearing, humming or repeating words or phrases.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also are common among those with Tourette’s.

An estimated 200,000 Americans have a severe form of Tourette’s, and as many as 1 in 100 exhibit milder symptoms, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Average onset occurs from age 3 to 9. Continue reading “Research finds COVID-19 may worsen symptoms of those with Tourette’s”

At Teen Lifeline, teens help in ways only they can

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By Jordan Elder
Special for Cronkite News

A group of teenagers huddled around a table, some typing essays, others binge-watching a favorite Netflix series. One teen pored over “Frankenstein” for her English class.

Each was deeply immersed in their tasks, but when a phone rang, the mood of the room quickly switched. Red lights blinked on each landline and a tri-tone melody echoed in the lounge. One of the teens hustled through a glass door into the hotline room, pulled out a notepad and took a deep breath.

“Teen Lifeline, this is …”

Relationship problems. Parental issues. Thoughts of suicide.

These are the sorts of calls fielded by volunteers at Teen Lifeline, a peer-to-peer crisis call center in the Phoenix area that regional health experts consider the gold standard of youth crisis communications. Rather than reaching an adult health professional, distressed callers talk to teens their own age. Continue reading “At Teen Lifeline, teens help in ways only they can”

The other pandemic: Loneliness widespread with loss of social connections

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More than 25 television stations on Jan. 12 will air a half-hour, commercial-free student-produced documentary about youth suicide in Arizona and what can be done prevent it. The program will air at 5 p.m. on Spanish-language stations and at 6:30 p.m. on English-language stations. Find more information here.

By Chloe Jones
Special for Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The pandemic has affected different people in different ways, causing financial stress due to job loss, sliding grades, relationship pressures and worries that vulnerable loved ones could contract COVID-19.

But one factor that has affected Americans across the country is the loss of social connectedness. Even before the pandemic shuttered schools, restaurants and workplaces last spring, an estimated 3 in 5 Americans reported a growing sense of loneliness, according to Cigna’s 2020 Loneliness Index. Roughly 73% of those surveyed said they sometimes or always feel alone, up from 69% in the previous year.

But since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March, clinicians fear that number is increasing. Continue reading “The other pandemic: Loneliness widespread with loss of social connections”

Independent music venues struggle to stay afloat during pandemic

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By Lauren Hernandez
Cronkite News

LOS ANGELES – Like music venues around the world, the Paramount ballroom has been forced to endure months of limited work, reduced revenue and a forced transition to the digital world – no easy task for the venerable Boyle Heights venue, which is nearly 100 years old and has a legacy of supporting underdog artists. Live-streaming is one option, but the expense is prohibitive, said Vicky Cabildo, the ballroom’s booker and production manager. Determining a price for the tickets is another issue faced by venues across the U.S.

“Aside from the location, you still need sound people, you still need to clean,” Cabildo said. “We have to pay the bands; you can’t ask people who aren’t working right now to do stuff for free, it’s just not fair. It’s also like how do we charge for these things? Not everyone is Katy Perry or Pearl Jam.”

Concert venues in the U.S. have received no government relief and were among the first businesses to close last spring and will be one of the last to reopen, even though their expenses continue. Many of the venues at stake are smaller clubs that pave the way for up-and-coming artists and their development in a live concert industry that a 2018 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers had estimated would be worth $31 billion worldwide by next year. Continue reading “Independent music venues struggle to stay afloat during pandemic”

The fight at home: Suicide rates highest among younger military veterans

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More than 25 television stations on Jan. 12 will air “Life Is …,” a half-hour, commercial-free student-produced documentary about youth suicide in Arizona and what can be done prevent it. The program will air at 5 p.m. on Spanish-language stations and at 6:30 p.m. on English-language stations. Find more information here.

By Chase Hunter, Helena Wegner, and Lilia Stene
Special for Cronkite News

Alex Martinez looked over his Air Force dress blues, the uniform he wore when he graduated from boot camp. He touched his insignia – a circle with a star in the center and a striped wing flaring from either side – that signified his rank of airman second class.

“I was in the military for three years, 11 months and 13 days,” said Martinez, 25, of Arizona. “From the day I got out of basic training, I was ready to get out” of the Air Force.

During his time in uniform, Martinez contemplated suicide, a phenomena that increasingly affects younger veterans. In fact, veterans ages 18 to 34 experience a higher rate of suicide than all other age brackets. The suicide rate for young veterans swelled by 76% from 2005 to 2017, according to the Veterans Affairs’ 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Report. Continue reading “The fight at home: Suicide rates highest among younger military veterans”

Making their pitch: Women on Angel City soccer club forging bonds with community

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EDS: A previous version of this story misquoted Angel City Founder and President Julie Uhrman in the fifth graf. She said the team wants “to have an impact on equality.” The story below has been corrected, but clients who used earlier versions are asked to run the correction found here.

By Patty Vicente
Cronkite News

LOS ANGELES – Angel City Football Club is looking to make an impact on women’s sports and soccer with new community initiatives as the team prepares to join the National Women’s Soccer League in 2022.

With a star-studded ownership group that includes actress Natalie Portman, former U.S. national team player Abby Wambach and tennis legend Billie Jean King, Angel City hopes to attract LA’s rabid soccer fans to women’s games. Continue reading “Making their pitch: Women on Angel City soccer club forging bonds with community”

California phases out Division of Juvenile Justice, creating chance for real reform

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By Kiara Quaranta
Cronkite News

Next summer, California will begin closing its three youth detention centers and shift the responsibility of juvenile justice onto the state’s 58 counties, ending an 80-year history of detention facilities that have been criticized for wanton violence and widespread racial disparities.

Under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in September, three Division of Juvenile Justice youth correctional facilities will be closed. California will join Connecticut, Wisconsin, South Dakota and several other states that have closed state-run youth prisons in recent years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Continue reading “California phases out Division of Juvenile Justice, creating chance for real reform”

Cherokee Trail of Tears just one of many forced removals of Eastern tribes to Oklahoma

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By Addison Kliewer, Miranda Mahmud and Sarah Beth Guevara
Gaylord News

WASHINGTON – The Trail of Tears, the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation to Oklahoma, was one of the most inhumane policies in American history – but it wasn’t an isolated incident.

In 1831, nearly 16,000 members of the Cherokee Nation were forced under armed guard to leave their native lands in the southeastern United States to trek more than 1,000 miles to what eventually would become the state of Oklahoma.

Almost 4,000 Cherokees died along the way, never making it to the land designated by the U.S. government as Indian Territory. Continue reading “Cherokee Trail of Tears just one of many forced removals of Eastern tribes to Oklahoma”

Report: ‘Child care deserts’ hit poor, rural Arizona families hardest

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By Olivia Munson
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona has 304,180 infants and toddlers who need child care but only 234,270 slots to accommodate them, with poor and rural families most likely to be left out, a recent study said.

Arizona child care advocates said they were not surprised by the numbers in the Bipartisan Policy Center study, which they said has inspired them to push harder for accessible care. Continue reading “Report: ‘Child care deserts’ hit poor, rural Arizona families hardest”