Cronkite News Digest for Friday, Aug. 16

Here is the Cronkite News lineup for Friday,  Aug. 16. 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 Clients who want to use Cronkite videos can find clean versions, and scripts, for download at these Dropbox links for stories from June and from July and from August. Stories promised for today, along with photos and links to multimedia elements, will move on our client site at


‘Deaths of despair’ grew slowly in Arizona, but still higher than U.S.

WASHINGTON – “Deaths of despair” have grown more slowly in Arizona than in the nation as whole since 2005, but death rates in the state still exceed the nation in every category, according to a recent national survey. Deaths of despair – the catchall name for deaths from drug overdoses, alcohol and suicide – have seen “alarming” increases across the country since 2005, said the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance for 2019. The report, released in June, said those increases have come as access to health care has started to level off after several years of improvement when states were expanding access to Medicaid.

Slug: BC-CNS-Despair Deaths. 710 words. By Miranda Faulkner.

File photo available.

Tiny terrors: Mosquitoes in Arizona and how to avoid them

ARIZONA – Monsoon storms, haboobs, scorching temperatures: Summer in Arizona comes with some big hazards. So it could be easy to forget one of the tiniest perils. Mosquitoes, those buzzing, blood-sucking little demon insects that are more than just a backyard annoyance. Worldwide, mosquitoes kill more than 700,000 people a year – more than any other animal by a large margin – by transmitting diseases. Several kinds of mosquito live in Arizona. Some can be dangerous, spreading West Nile virus, some are merely annoying. We tell you which is which and what you can do to protect yourself.

Slug: BC-CNS-Tiny Terrors. 980 words. By Tim Royan.

3 photos available.

Without federal disaster aid, states are left to fend for themselves

BONDURANT, Wyo. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides two main types of disaster aid. Public assistance is used to restore public areas and buildings, and individual assistance gives financial help or services to people impacted by disasters in certain counties for things like housing and personal property. But unless the incident is declared a major disaster by federal authorities, public and individual assistance aren’t available. Instead, FEMA recommended in a March 21 report, states should create and pay for their own individual assistance programs for disaster recovery. Eds: This is our third offering from the News21 project for 2019, “State of Emergency.” Find more details on the project below.

Slug: BC-CNS News21 FEMA Contracts. 2,465 words. By Drew Hutchinson and Bailey Lewis | News21.

Video and 19 photos available.


The Carnegie-Knight News21 investigative project for 2019, “State of Emergency,” has been released. This national project brings together student journalists from across the country to produce a major multiplatform investigative project each year. This year, 37 student reporters from 19 universities reviewed thousands of pages of documents and traveled across the country to investigate how local and federal agencies respond to natural disasters. They talked to the victims, survivors and first responders in affected communities and produced multimedia stories, original data and documentary videos to tell their stories – all available for your use.

We will post select stories on the Cronkite News site, but all of the content can be found in this Dropbox: You are also welcome to pick up any of the content published on the News21 blog, where you’ll find additional text stories and photos from across the country. The only requirements are that you include News21 bylines and credit information. For questions, please contact Alex Lancial at

Out of sight is out of mind: Small communities across U.S. struggle in shadow of larger disasters

OSO, Wash. — Katrina. Sandy. Harvey. Maria. Each was a disaster of shattering magnitude, battering America’s shores over the past two decades. But between these pivotal storms lie hundreds of smaller disasters that garner a fraction of the national attention and the billions of federal dollars that accompany them. A News21 analysis of Federal Emergency Management Agency data shows those smaller disasters accounted for more than 60 percent of all federally declared disasters between 2003 and 2018. Yet they received at least $57.3 billion less in public assistance from FEMA. The federal government provided disaster survivors at least $23.2 billion in individual assistance from 2003 to 2018, but those dollars did not go to communities with smaller disasters or higher insurance coverage, according to FEMA data, and 651 declared disasters since 1999 did not receive individual assistance. Eds: This is the first offering from the News21 project for 2019, “State of Emergency.”

Slug: BC-CNS-Emergency Overview. 2,840 words. By Justine Coleman and Isaac Windes | News21

15 photos, video story available.

Wildfire-vulnerable communities search for ways to live with growing threat

SHINGLETOWN, Calif. –Kelly Loew has driven the same mail route in Shingletown six days a week for the last seven years. But Loew delivers less mail these days as California’s persistent wildfires drive residents away. Shingletown, nicknamed Little Paradise, is one of the most wildfire-vulnerable communities in a state that just experienced its deadliest and most destructive wildfire season. “The fear is palpable,” Loew said. “When I drive home through my neighborhood, I see tinderboxes everywhere.” Despite the National Interagency Fire Center recording federal fire suppression costs quadrupling since 1989, the damage caused by wildfires has increased fivefold as cities expand and people move into “what had been rural landscapes and making them an urban environment,” in the words of one historian. Eds: This is our second offering from the News21 project for 2019, “State of Emergency.” 

Slug: BC-CNS-Emergency Wildfires. 2,070 words. By Anton L. Delgado and Dustin Patar | News21

9 photos available.

Developments in disaster-prone areas mean big bucks for builders but can put homeowners at risk

ELFIN FOREST, Calif. – The U.S. has spent more than $500 billion over the past five years cleaning up after a spate of record-breaking hurricanes and wildfires – climate-related disasters the government expects to become more frequent and more furious. Federal firefighting costs now consume more than half of the National Forest Service’s budget. The National Flood Insurance Program is $20.5 billion in debt. Critics say these programs have subsidized risky land-use choices for decades, and now the bill is coming due.  Yet, from coast to coast, homes continue to go up in floodplains and areas frequented by fire. An emboldened alliance of experts, environmentalists and concerned citizens is pushing back against business-as-usual development. Eds: This is our third offering from the News21 project for 2019, “State of Emergency.” 

Slug: BC-CNS News21 Building. 2,925 words.  By Anna Huntsman and Jake Steinberg | News21

Video and 11 photos available.


Rosie the Riveter 2.0: Welding, wielding power in male-dominated industry

GOODYEAR – Rachel Miller’s chestnut hair is tied up in a ponytail that slides halfway down her back. She’s wearing steel-toe boots that are ripped at the seams and a plaid button-up over a gray T-shirt. Her clothing reflects a gap in women’s wear, where trade uniforms are rarely made for them.  Through safety glasses, Miller surveys her workplace, a warehouse next to the Goodyear Airport.  She’s a welder, and she’s ready for the day. Miller is a modern-day Rosie the Riveter, who became the face of thousands of American women who worked defense-industry jobs so that men could fight World War II. Miller, too, is doing a job that’s mostly done by men.

Slug: BC-CNS Women Welders. 1,130 words. By Thalia M. España.

3 photos, video and three photos available.

Resource centers nourish parents, young children with food and education

PHOENIX - Jessica Sauter moved from San Diego to Phoenix in November, and like many young mothers, she searched for ways to keep her 3-year-old occupied. She and Bodey spent many days at the park until a neighbor told her about the Creighton Family Resource Center. It’s one of 30 such centers in Maricopa County where kids and their parents can learn how to thrive.

Slug: BC-CNS Child Development Centers. 1,015 words. By Abbagail Leon.

2 photos and a GIF available.

Monsoon madness: You say dust storm, I say haboob

PHOENIX – The monsoon thunderstorms have finally arrived after a delayed start to the season, and with them comes the familiar – or, to new arrivals, terrifying and apocalyptic – dust storms also called haboobs. These fast-moving walls of dust can quickly transform the streets into a scene ripped from a “Mad Max” movie, make you regret yesterday’s car wash and may even spread the nasty fungal infection known as Valley fever. Whether you’re new transplant or a long-time metro Phoenix resident, you may wonder how haboobs got their name, what causes them or how you can steer clear of their dusty wrath. We provide the answers.

Slug: BC-CNS-Haboob Explainer. 960 words. By Tim Royan.

9 photos available.

Vulnerable communities adapting to ever-present threat of wildfires

PINETOP-LAKESIDE – Learning to live fire-wise is a cause for celebration in areas that are vulnerable to wildfires. Especially in this White Mountains community, which is becoming one of the country’s next fire adapted communities with the help of the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire program. Since 2015, the federal-private effort has partnered with 30 communities in 13 states in the wildland-urban interface to become “fire-adapted” through  fire-safety training, land-use planning, hazard assessments and wildfire risk trends. Kelly Johnston, lead of the Pinetop-Lakeside project, called the project a “no-brainer” here, where residents have been forced to evacuate by the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire and the 2011 Wallow Fire, which together burned more than 998,000 acres.

Slug: BC-CNS-Firewise Communities. 770 words. By Anton L. Delgado | News21

2 photos available.

Native American history in Washington – it’s more than just a museum

WASHINGTON – The National Museum of the American Indian may be the first – and possibly only – site that comes up with an internet search for “Native American landmarks” in Washington. But with a little more exploring, visitors can find Native American history everywhere from the White House to the Capitol, from Arlington National Cemetery to Congressional Cemetery. And, of course, there’s now an app for that. The “Guide to Indigenous DC” takes users on a tour of D.C. sites that link to Native American prehistory all the way to modern history. Contact Steve Crane with questions.

Slug: BC-CNS-Indigenous DC. 540 words. By Julian Paras.

3 photos, video story available.

Tolleson opens new high school with state facilities funds

PHOENIX –  The Arizona School Facilities Board helps fund new school buildings and renovations in Arizona to relieve outdated and overcrowded classrooms throughout the state. Since 2000, the board has used their funds to help build more than 320 new schools, according to Kerry Campbell, the deputy director of operations for the board.

Slug: BC-CNS-School facilities board. 450 words. By Abbagail Leon.

2 photos available.

Taliesin West added to World Heritage List after 15-year wait

SCOTTSDALE – The slanted roofs of Taliesin West mimic nearby ridgelines in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains. Its massive stone walls, long and low-slung, almost blend into the surrounding desert. When he began construction on Taliesin West in 1937, legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision was to create a structure that reflected the expansiveness of the Sonoran Desert. Eight decades later, the complex is one of eight Wright-designed landmarks designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, putting Wright’s work alongside sites like the Great Wall of China, the Pyramid Fields of Giza, the Taj Mahal, the ruins of Pompeii and other “irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration” to be protected for future generations. And it doesn’t hurt that the designation might boost tourism at Taliesin West and generate more funding to preserve the 380 Wright-designed buildings that are still standing.

Slug: BC-CNS-Taliesin Heritage. 1,230 words. By Melissa Robbins.

11 photos available.


27 seasons and counting: Despite competition for sports dollar, Arizona Rattlers endure

PHOENIX – Despite a sports market with little elbow room, limited media coverage and obstacles that included a canceled season, the Arizona Rattlers have stiff-armed adversity and remain a player in the Arizona sports scene. Proof? They just completed their 27th season. That’s longer than Major League Baseball’s Diamondbacks, the NHL’s Coyotes, the WNBA’s Mercury and the USL Championship’s Phoenix Rising. Only the NFL’s Cardinals and the NBA’s Suns have stronger footholds in the Valley’s pro sports world. The team, which averaged 13,684 fans this season at Talking Stick Resort Arena, mixes affordability, entertainment and on-field success.

Slug: Sports-Rattlers Role. 1,300 words. By Sebastian Emanuel.

5 photos available.

Marvin Lewis hopes to ease ‘amigo’ Herm Edwards’ transition to second season as ASU coach

TEMPE – Marvin Lewis had options. Rejoining his old friend Herm Edwards felt like the best one. With Arizona State’s opener just weeks away, Lewis, the longtime Bengals coach, said joining the ASU staff in the offseason had a lot to do with the goals he shared with Edwards. “I had a few opportunities, but I thought this worked the best with my relationship with Herman and his vision,” Lewis said. “It was important for me to come over and talk with what his vision was and then come back and speak with coaches.”

Slug: Sports-ASU Marvin Lewis. 715 words. By Sebastian Emanuel.

Photo available.