Filipinos make up 30% of COVID-19 deaths among nurses in U.S., study says

  • Slug: CNS-Filipino Nurses, 640 words.
  • 1 photo, video story available.

By Mitchell Zimmermann
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Filipino nurses make up just 4% of the national nursing workforce, but according to National Nurses United, 30.1% of registered nurses who’ve died of COVID-19 in the U.S. were Filipino.

Nurses of color make up about 61% of all RNs who have died of COVID-19, said National Nurses United, which represents 170,000 nurses. Continue reading “Filipinos make up 30% of COVID-19 deaths among nurses in U.S., study says”

Safer shopping: Scottsdale mother invents recyclable shopping cart liner

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Cart Safe,950
  • 4 photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Lilia Stene
Cronkite News

For Andi Barness-Rubin, the COVID-19 pandemic led to invention. The Scottsdale woman created a recyclable shopping cart liner to protect people from the germs and grime that cling to carts.

Barness-Rubin, who started Cart Safe in April 2020, points to an often-quoted study from University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba – also known as Dr. Germ – that found E. coli and other bacteria on a random check of shopping carts. Continue reading “Safer shopping: Scottsdale mother invents recyclable shopping cart liner”

Cronkite News Digest for Friday, May 14

Here is your Cronkite News lineup for Friday, May 14. 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, May 14”

Phoenix police keep tabs on social media, but who keeps tabs on cops?

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Police Social,2510.
  • 5 photos, video available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Nicole Sadek, Laura Kraegel, Jimmy Cloutier and Michael McDaniel
Special for Cronkite News

Phoenix police don’t follow Fe’La iniko on social media, but he knows they’re watching.

“They’re pretty hip to Instagram,” the racial justice activist said. “Sometimes they’ll pop up in my story views.”

Iniko, whose given name is Milton Hasley, often uses social media to share fliers on upcoming protests or speak out against police violence. So when officers surrounded his car last summer while he was leaving a demonstration against the killings of George Floyd and Dion Johnson, iniko worried he might have been targeted in advance for his views. As a handful of cop cars trained their spotlights on him, he was careful to keep his hands visible as he placed them on the steering wheel, a video he posted on Instagram shows. Continue reading “Phoenix police keep tabs on social media, but who keeps tabs on cops?”

Git-r-done delegation: State ranked OK on congressional effectiveness

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Making Law,790
  • File photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

By Ryan Knappenberger
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON — They didn’t have the high profiles or long tenure of some other members of Congress, but Arizona lawmakers in the last Congress ranked relatively high on a recent scorecard of congressional effectiveness.

The Center for Effective Lawmaking study, by researchers at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, ranked members on the amount of substantive legislation they introduced and how far it moved toward passage in the 116th Congress.

A compilation of those scores showed Arizona had the 10th-most effective House delegation and 14th-most effective senators. The report’s authors said an unusual number of freshmen and minority party members scored well, showing that “even in these politically challenging times, bipartisanship is still working and … viable.” Continue reading “Git-r-done delegation: State ranked OK on congressional effectiveness”

‘It was an open country’: Gadsden resident reflects on life along the border

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Border Life, 950
  • 8 photos, video story available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Samantha Byrd
Cronkite News

YUMA – Louie Gradias sits in front of his bright yellow house every day to watch the sun set over a tall border wall bristling with razor wire. He remembers vividly the times when he and his friends used to play in the Colorado River, when there was no wall between Arizona and Mexico and border crossers meant visiting family.

“We were controlled by the flow of the river, we played there, we enjoyed it,” Gradias recalled. “We would go to the river, swimming, water-skiing, fishing, hunting, whatever we wanted to do. It was an open country.” Continue reading “‘It was an open country’: Gadsden resident reflects on life along the border”

Another Hill to climb: Obscure law denies Dreamers congressional jobs

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Hill Hurdle,1030
  • 2 photos, video story available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Molly Hudson
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Gilbert resident Jose Patiño remembers the moment he knew he wanted to work in Congress: It was 2018 and he had just spent months in Washington lobbying to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“That’s where I saw how impactful it was to have people there,” Patiño said. “While I was not directly being employed, but just having those conversations, building those relationships.”

But he also knew that it was a dream that, for him, is “just not possible.” Continue reading “Another Hill to climb: Obscure law denies Dreamers congressional jobs”

Deadly street racing in Arizona outruns efforts to combat it

  • Slug: BC-CNS Street Racing, 1,830 words.
  • 8 photos and captions below.

By Zoha Tunio, Aydalí Campa, Sarah Suwalsky, Kenneth Quayle
Special for Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Ramon Angel Carrasco and his girlfriend were driving home from a Scottsdale bakery in a white BMW in August 2019 when Robert J. Foster pulled up next to them in a light blue Lamborghini.

According to a witness account provided to police, Carrasco and Foster revved their engines at a red light on Hayden Road before heading north, and within seconds they were traveling more than 100 mph.

Meanwhile, Cynthia Ann Fisher was driving south on the same stretch of Hayden. The 68-year-old hairdresser had just left the grocery store and was planning to make breakfast the next morning for a new roommate, said Leah Stenzel, her friend and boss. Continue reading “Deadly street racing in Arizona outruns efforts to combat it”

Native-owned SkyDance Brewing moving to its own location

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Native Brew,680
  • 2 photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Jazz M. Wolfe
Gaylord News

Oklahoma’s first Native American-owned brewing company, inspired by the recipes of the owner’s father, will open an independent location this summer.

Jacob Keyes, a member of the Iowa Nation, opened SkyDance Brewing Co. in 2018 in honor of his father. Since then, the brewery has been operating out of a co-op – a single location where multiple companies use the same equipment – in Oklahoma City. The new taproom and brewery are under construction in the historic Automobile Alley north of downtown. Continue reading “Native-owned SkyDance Brewing moving to its own location”

5 transgender military veterans discuss abuses, how political changes can alter lives

  • Slug: BC-CNS Transgender Veterans, 2,365 words.
  • 7 photos and captions below.

By Rachel Stapholz
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The status of transgender members of the armed forces has shifted dramatically in the past decade as President Joe Biden and his two predecessors issued conflicting orders defining and redefining the eligibility of transgender Americans to serve their country.

Five days after taking office in January, Biden signed an order to reinstate transgender servicemembers, reversing the Donald Trump’s 2019 order, which effectively banned transgender individuals from service. It was just one of a number of Biden reversals of Trump-era rules, the most recent coming Monday when the Department of Health and Human Services said it would again include gender identity as protected by anti-discrimination laws when it comes to delivery of health care.

The Trump administration’s order on military service was a reversal that would have blocked enlistment and expelled service members who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and any transgender medical procedures, such as hormones. Continue reading “5 transgender military veterans discuss abuses, how political changes can alter lives”

Wildfire prevention gets boost from behind bars with expanded program

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Fire Boots,740
  • 2 photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Haleigh Kochanski
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – It’s important to have boots on the ground when battling wildfires. And come July 1, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management will be able to start putting 1,400 more boots on the ground.

That’s when an expansion of a long-running program that lets the department use inmate crews to do forest maintenance will allow for the possible addition of 700 more inmates – or 1,400 more boots.

“This is a win-win for inmates and for the state and agencies that are benefitting from the work,” said Donna Leone Hamm, executive director of Middle Ground Prison Reform. Continue reading “Wildfire prevention gets boost from behind bars with expanded program”

Muscogee Nation drops colonial era name in branding

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Muscogee Rebranding530
  • Photo available (thumbnail, caption below)

By Keegan Williams
Gaylord News

Leaders of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation say they are dropping “Creek” from its name as part of a rebranding effort, but not all members are on board with the change. Some complain their identity is being stripped away from them and what they’ve known their entire lives.

“What are we, a symbol or a people?” tribal member Bill Davis asked Wednesday. “If that had some wording on it to identify who we are as a people, then I’m for it, but if you’re doing it as a symbol to be more invisible, then I’m against it.”

However, Brian OnTheHill, the tribe’s creative manager for marketing and tourism, said the new brand still will be rooted in history and tradition. Continue reading “Muscogee Nation drops colonial era name in branding”

Fight over Oak Flat mine draws support of diverse religious groups

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Sacred Suits,1160
  • 3 file photos available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Sarah Oven
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – The Sikh Coalition and the San Carlos Apache would not appear to have much in common at first glance, but they have found a shared interest in the fight over a patch of land in southeastern Arizona.

That’s where the federal government is considering whether to turn sacred Apache land over to a mining company, whose plans for the site would “obliterate” the ability of tribal members to worship there, in the words of one federal judge.

The prospect has turned an environmental fight over the mine into one over religious rights, and drawn a diverse cast of supporters to the Apache cause. In addition to the Sikh Coalition, court briefs supporting the tribe have been filed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, among others. Continue reading “Fight over Oak Flat mine draws support of diverse religious groups”

Laboring to remain healthy: COVID-19 takes toll on Arizona farmworkers

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Farmworkers COVID,800
  • 5 photos, videos on cases, economics and farmworkers available (thumbnails, captions below)

By Ryan Vlahovich
Cronkite News

YUMA – The workers swing their machetes, chopping vegetables under the heat of a midmorning sun.

When the migrant workers take a moment to swipe sweat from their masked faces, they can see the wall along the Mexican border, not a half-mile distant. But before long, they turn their attention back to a rainbow colored field of Swiss chard.

It takes more time to clear a field since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago. Where there had been 25 workers in the field, there are now 15, to create social distance. Continue reading “Laboring to remain healthy: COVID-19 takes toll on Arizona farmworkers”

Initial response strong to special Affordable Care Act open enrollment

  • Slug: BC-CNS-ACA Rush,980
  • File photo, enrollment, uninsured charts available (embed code, thumbnails, captions below)

By Jacob Holter
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Open it, and they will come.

A special open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act coverage drew 528,005 new enrollees nationwide in its first six weeks, with 9,569 of those consumers in Arizona, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Enrollment from Feb. 15 to March 31 was two to three times higher than the same period in previous years, although spring enrollment then was available only to those with qualifying life events like a birth or job change. But advocates were encouraged by the numbers from this spring, which they said show the underlying demand for coverage. Continue reading “Initial response strong to special Affordable Care Act open enrollment”

Wearing retro on your sleeve: Vintage T-shirts pop up in resale stores, markets across Phoenix

  • Slug: BC-CNS Vintage Resales, 1,715 words.
  • photos and captions below.

By Kiera Riley
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Noah “Nemo” Vizzerra, 22, manager and creative director of Wang’s Vintage in downtown Phoenix, hovered over two hefty Carhartt jackets and a pair of utility pants arrayed on the floor in front of him.

His small gold chain and shock of faded blond highlights dangled just above his phone screen as he set up his frame and took a photo.

Genuine vintage Carhartt work jackets go for as much as $190, and the pants an easy $30.

He shared the photo to the store’s Instagram story, where it sat sandwiched between vintage T-shirts embossed with pop culture icons and logos, each ranging from $25 to $300.

Continue reading “Wearing retro on your sleeve: Vintage T-shirts pop up in resale stores, markets across Phoenix”

A community’s response: Reflections from the White Mountain Apache Tribe a year into the pandemic

  • Slug: BC-CNS Apache COVID Response, 585 words
  • 6 photos and 6 audio files available (links, thumbnails, captions below)

By Alberto Mariani
Cronkite News

WHITERIVER – The COVID-19 pandemic hit Native Americans especially hard. But as the spotlight turned to larger communities, including the Navajo Nation, the White Mountain Apache Tribe quietly battled to save its 15,000 members.

Now, more than a year since the first COVID-19 cases were recorded in the U.S., the tribe in eastern Arizona has slowed the spread of the disease and helped curb death rates through a combination of intense contact-tracing, surveillance of high-risk individuals and, finally, vaccinations.

Last year, the reservation was considered a hotspot. By Sept. 1, five months after the tribe’s first recorded COVID-19 case, it had 2,400 cases and had lost 39 people. Over the next six months, there were 1,500 new cases and just 10 additional deaths.

Continue reading “A community’s response: Reflections from the White Mountain Apache Tribe a year into the pandemic”

Asylum seekers dropped off in towns that have few resources get help from nonprofits

  • Slug: BC-CNS Asylum Aid, 2,715 words.
  • 9 photos and captions below.

By Taylor O’Connor
Cronkite Borderlands Project

SOMERTON – After two years of waiting in Mexico and four days of detention in the U.S., Indira Diaz Cortina, 22, an asylum seeker from Cuba, found herself in a parking lot last month, waiting for COVID-19 test results.

She and 37 others were dropped off by Customs and Border Protection agents at a makeshift testing clinic. She had no change of clothes, no shoelaces, no money and no way to contact family members or friends with whom she hopes to reunite.

But Diaz Cortina wasn’t complaining. U.S. authorities finally allowed her entry into the United States with the right to seek asylum. The COVID-19 test was required before she met with church and nonprofit organization volunteers, who would help her connect with loved ones and find a place to stay pending her asylum hearing.
Continue reading “Asylum seekers dropped off in towns that have few resources get help from nonprofits”

Why this ‘radical librarian’ believes libraries, to address inequity, should keep buildings closed

  • Slug: BC-CNS Radical Librarian, 1,120 words.
  • 2 handout photos and captions below.
  • 1 video here.

By Brianna Alexander
Cronkite News

After more than a year of services limited to curbside pickup and drop-off services, the Phoenix Public Library has reopened some in-building services, including computer use, access to Wi-Fi hotspots and checking out materials.

The City Council this month unanimously approved a plan that will return in-building visits to 16 library branches. Other libraries in Arizona, including Maricopa County Libraries and the Glendale and Scottsdale city libraries, also restored some indoor services as pandemic restrictions eased.

Phoenix library representatives have said they’re happy to welcome back patrons and have worked with health officials to establish safety protocols for employees and visitors. Continue reading “Why this ‘radical librarian’ believes libraries, to address inequity, should keep buildings closed”