Arizona standout Gile Bite Starkute putting golf on Lithuania’s map

  • Slug: Sports-Lithuanian golfer, 1,200 words.
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By Randee Romero
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Tucson, Arizona and Vilnius, Lithuania are separated by nearly 6,000 miles on a world map. They’re even further apart in the world of golf.

While they’re both cities of about 540,000 people, there are more than 40 golf courses in and around Tucson. Vilnius has more disc golf courses – five – than real golf courses – three – and the entire country has just seven golf clubs.

Which all explains why University of Arizona junior Gile Bite Starkute, while ranked among the nation’s Top 100 players in women’s collegiate golf by Golfweek, is an even more important piece of the Lithuanian golf community than Arizona’s vast golf landscape.

Continue reading “Arizona standout Gile Bite Starkute putting golf on Lithuania’s map”

Arizona law allows Indigenous students greater cultural expression at graduation

  • Slug: BC-CNS Regalia at Graduation, 810 words
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By Chad Bradley
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Just minutes before her high school graduation in Gallup, New Mexico, three years ago, Dakotah Harvey was told to remove the eagle feather from her mortarboard or she would be escorted out of the ceremony and her diploma would be withheld.

Her grandfather had tied the feather to the cap’s tassel earlier that day, Harvey told Cronkite News. He loaned it to her after performing a Navajo prayer in celebration of her achievement.

“I didn’t have the heart to tell him I couldn’t wear it,” Harvey said.

Continue reading “Arizona law allows Indigenous students greater cultural expression at graduation”

Buttigieg visits Phoenix to sign grant for light-rail expansion, tout infrastructure bill

  • Slug: BC-CNS Buttigieg Light Rail, 400 words.
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By Michael Patton
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Light rail in metro Phoenix will get a funding boost from federal coffers, which is in addition to millions of dollars headed to Arizona under the infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed this week.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and others met at the partially shuttered Metrocenter mall on Friday for the signing of a federal transit grant, which will provide $158 million toward the second phase of the Valley Metro Northwest Extension project. Continue reading “Buttigieg visits Phoenix to sign grant for light-rail expansion, tout infrastructure bill”

Tribal members across Oklahoma reflect on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

  • Slug: BC-CNS Indigenous Peoples Day, 955 words.

By Nancy Marie Spears
Gaylord News

Eli Grayson has a sovereignty issue with the notion of an Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Grayson, 59, a Muscogee Nation citizen and Freedman descendant who lives in Tulsa, calls himself an “unabashed advocate and financial supporter of the rights of the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes.”

He said he doesn’t concern himself with what Oklahoma, other states or even President Joe Biden are doing – although Biden was the first to issue a presidential proclamation acknowledging the holiday – because Grayson thinks this celebration and honor should fall on the tribes.

His tribe doesn’t have a separate day officializing the holiday, nor any holidays commemorating its warriors or heroes, something Grayson finds hypocritical. Continue reading “Tribal members across Oklahoma reflect on Indigenous Peoples’ Day”

House approves $1.9 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ social spending plan

  • Slug: BC-CNS-BBB AZ,1100
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By Simon Williams, Diannie Chavez and Ulysse Bex
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – The House on Friday approved the 10-year, roughly $1.9 trillion “Build Back Better” bill, a plan supporters say would extend tax credits, child care, health care and more to tens of thousands of Arizonans.

The Arizona delegation split on party lines on the bill, which passed early Friday on a 220-213 vote. All Republicans opposed the bill, joined by just one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine. Continue reading “House approves $1.9 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ social spending plan”

Nonprofits, business groups help Latino-owned businesses hit hard by pandemic

  • Slug: BC-CNS Nonprofits Help Restaurant, 775 words.
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By Christian Serrano
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The walls of Salvadoreño Restaurant No. 3 in north Phoenix are a magnet for your eyes: shades of orange, blue and green – like the feathers of a tropical bird. The scene depicts women serving pupusas in the streets of El Salvador.

Then there’s the aroma of pupusas – corn dough stuffed and fried with beef, chicken, cheese, beans, bacon, pepperoni or vegetables. They are the national dish of El Salvador and the restaurant chain’s specialty. Continue reading “Nonprofits, business groups help Latino-owned businesses hit hard by pandemic”

Grant helps Phoenix clinic expand mental health, substance abuse treatment for the underserved

  • Slug: BC-CNS Mental Health Grant, 795 words.
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By Nicholas Johnsen
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – A west Phoenix clinic is expanding treatment for mental health and substance use disorder for underserved individuals and veterans after securing a $4 million federal grant.

Terros Health was awarded the funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to improve access and care for complex mental health and substance use disorders.

The grant allows Terros to adopt what’s known as the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic model of care. The model focuses on “whole-person” care with a goal of improving coordination to get patients fast and thorough treatment through a single point of entry, instead of having to go through numerous specialists or agencies. Continue reading “Grant helps Phoenix clinic expand mental health, substance abuse treatment for the underserved”

Fast food workers strike in LA, push for better pay and safety standards across industry

  • Slug: BC-CNS LA Fast Food Strike, 920 words.
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By David Rodish
Cronkite News

LOS ANGELES – Anneisha Williams works six days a week to support her six children, taking shifts as an in-home care provider and a fast food worker at Jack in the Box. She wishes she could do more to support all her children, ages 17, 14, 12, 9, 4 and 2. She needs the money.

“It’s very challenging” to raise a child on $15 an hour, said Williams, a longtime Los Angeles resident. “I might not have enough to cover the things they want to do. I shouldn’t have to work two jobs just to make ends meet. I really wish I could work two more jobs, but I can’t.”

As a Black woman struggling to get by in an industry that relies on low-cost products and worker efficiency to keep drive-thrus humming, her story is common. The fast food industry is predominantly staffed by women of color. A study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that of California’s 550,000 fast food workers in 2019, 80% are people of color and two-thirds are women. Continue reading “Fast food workers strike in LA, push for better pay and safety standards across industry”

House censures defiant Gosar for violent video, strips committee posts

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By Ulysse Bex
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – The House censured Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, Wednesday and stripped him of his committee assignments as punishment for a violent cartoon he posted that appeared to show him killing a liberal Democratic member and threatening the president.

Gosar, speaking to the full House, said he does “not espouse violence toward anyone” and repeated his insistence that the video was intended as a critique of Biden administration immigration policy – an issue he said he will not stop speaking out on.

But Democrats said that the House had to take a stand against members “joking about murdering each other, and the president,” and that failure to do so would lead to actual violence, like the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Continue reading “House censures defiant Gosar for violent video, strips committee posts”

‘Q-Shaman,’ face of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, sentenced to 41 months

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Chansley Sentenced,870
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By Diannie Chavez
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – A contrite Jacob Anthony Chansley, the self-described “QAnon Shaman” who became the face of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison for his role in the assault.

Chansley, who pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing an official proceeding, told U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth that he accepts his guilt but that he is a changed man who would “try with all of my heart and soul to stop people” if the assault occurred today.

But Lamberth said that while he believed the Arizona man’s remorse was genuine, what he did was “horrific” by making himself the “epitome of the riot.” Continue reading “‘Q-Shaman,’ face of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, sentenced to 41 months”

As COVID cases rise, officials push vaccinations and masks for the holidays

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By Michael Patton
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – As hospitalizations rise and the holidays approach, health officials concerned about a new wave of infections are urging Arizonans to take preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza.

Maricopa County last week experienced the biggest spike in daily cases since August, peaking at 4,708 on Nov. 8. COVID 19 hospitalizations and ICU cases also are up at the state’s largest hospital systems, placing strain on a workforce already struggling with staff shortages. Continue reading “As COVID cases rise, officials push vaccinations and masks for the holidays”

Pack your patience: Holiday travel could reach pre-pandemic levels

  • Slug: BC-CNS Thanksgiving Travel Outlook, 695 words.
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By Sara Edwards
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Thanksgiving is historically the busiest time of the year for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and despite the lingering effects of the pandemic, airport officials expect that to be the case again next week.

“Our passenger numbers have been steadily going up since the start of the pandemic,” Sky Harbor public information officer Greg Roybal said. “We’re expecting plenty of travelers on Thanksgiving, and hopefully that means plenty of traffic for Christmastime, too.” Continue reading “Pack your patience: Holiday travel could reach pre-pandemic levels”

Tribal leaders welcome return of White House meetings after four years

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Tribes Biden,730
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By Ulysse Bex
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Tribal leaders said the just-ended White House summit on tribal affairs “shows promise” for the federal commitment to solving problems in Indian Country and to giving Native Americans a voice in the process.

The two-day “Nation-to-Nation dialogue on critical issues in Indian Country” revives what had been an annual gathering under the Obama White House that was suspended during the Trump administration. Continue reading “Tribal leaders welcome return of White House meetings after four years”

‘Historical’ infusion of dollars resuscitates marginalized arts and cultural groups

  • Slug: BC-CNS Hispanic Arts Grants, 840 words.
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By Christian Serrano
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – The stage is pitch black. A spotlight shines on a corner, illuminating for the audience the scene of a filthy basement. A woman in dirty, ragged clothes enters, and after her come four more. All have been kidnapped.

These brutal true stories of human trafficking are re-created in the play “Luna Rojiza,” which was written and produced by the west Phoenix theater company Teatro Meshico.

Because of COVID-19, this is the first show for Teatro Meshico since 2019. Like so many other arts organizations, the company – which also offers classes in literature, poetry and baile folklorico – went dark during the pandemic. And the comeback was anything but certain for Meshico, which even in good times relies on a patchwork of funding to stay alive. Continue reading “‘Historical’ infusion of dollars resuscitates marginalized arts and cultural groups”

‘Becoming Jane’: LA exhibit explores the evolution of anthropologist Jane Goodall

  • Slug: BC-CNS Becoming Jane Exhibit, 665 words.
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By David Rodish
Cronkite News

LOS ANGELES – Jane Goodall, who dedicated her life to understanding human beings’ closest primate relatives in Tanzania, is the subject of a new exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County that examines her evolution as a scientist and environmental activist.

Goodall, as a 26-year-old British woman with no scientific training, famously lived among chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, where she became the first to discover that chimps are able to use tools, a skill the scientific community thought only humans possessed. Continue reading “‘Becoming Jane’: LA exhibit explores the evolution of anthropologist Jane Goodall”

Arizonans on hand as Biden signs bill worth billions in state projects

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Arizona Infrastructure,910
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By Genesis Sandoval
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona lawmakers joined hundreds on the White House lawn Monday as President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that includes billions of dollars for road, transit, environmental cleanup and other projects in the state.

Biden hailed the bill as “consequential,” even though the final version is far less than the $2.2 trillion he originally requested in March.

“Too often in Washington, the reason we don’t get things done is because we insist on getting everything we want – everything,” Biden said. “With this law, we focused on getting things done.” Continue reading “Arizonans on hand as Biden signs bill worth billions in state projects”

Arizona schools address COVID’s impact on student mental health

  • Slug: BC-CNS Student Mental Health, 1,420 words.
  • 1 graphic available.

By Natasha Yee
Cronkite News

CHANDLER – In a small classroom with brick walls and dimmed lights, six students at BASIS Chandler sit quietly as they watch a presentation about mental health.

“What could happen if someone with a mental health issue doesn’t get treatment?” asks Katy-Marie Becker, a behavioral health nurse educator for Banner Health.

A student raises her hand. “Um, it’s probably going to get worse.” Continue reading “Arizona schools address COVID’s impact on student mental health”

Court: Higher water charge for public housing is not discriminatory

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EDS: An earlier version of this story accidentally dropped a word in 17th graf, in a quote from the court ruling. It said the upfront fee was meant to cover for tenants’ unpaid bills that the water district “could not recover from Pinal County.” The story below is correct, but clients who used previous versions are asked to run the correction found here.

By Diannie Chavez and Kimberly Silverio-Bautista
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court said Friday that an Arizona water district can charge more in upfront fees to public housing residents, even though the policy disproportionately affects minority customers and single mothers.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that the policy by the Maricopa Domestic Water Improvement District does have a discriminatory effect. But the court said the policy is not “impermissibly discriminatory” because there is a legitimate business reason for it – covering unpaid bills that Pinal County, which owns the Edwards Circle public housing, has refused to pay. Continue reading “Court: Higher water charge for public housing is not discriminatory”

Democrats continue to press for action against Gosar, call for censure

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Gosar Censure,920
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By Diannie Chavez
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – House Democrats continued to press for action Friday against Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, over a violent cartoon video that appears to show him attacking the president and killing a liberal House Democrat.

Close to 30 Democrats said they plan to introduce a censure resolution chiding Gosar for the video, which was posted to his congressional social media accounts, and another 10 wrote the House GOP leader, urging him to call for a House Ethics Committee investigation. Continue reading “Democrats continue to press for action against Gosar, call for censure”

Cindy McCain, Charles Barkley, others celebrate ‘extraordinary life’ of Grant Woods

  • Slug: BC-CNS Grant Woods Memorial, 665 words.
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EDS: An earlier version of this story misstated Cindy McCain’s ambassador title in the fifth graf. She was recently named U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. The story below has been updated, but clients who used previous versions are asked to run the correction found here.

By Michael Patton
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Hundreds of people both famous and not gathered Friday morning for a celebration of the life of Grant Woods, a politician known as much for his maverick streak as for his passions: his family, music, sports and democracy.

The Rev. Warren Stewart of First Institutional Baptist Church opened by noting that any memorial service to properly honor Woods had to be “celebrative, sincere, sacred, somewhat serious, silly at times and certainly sensational.”

His words were met with a standing ovation from those who packed the Orpheum Theatre downtown. Continue reading “Cindy McCain, Charles Barkley, others celebrate ‘extraordinary life’ of Grant Woods”