Cronkite News Digest for Wednesday, Oct. 4

Here is your Cronkite News lineup for Wedmesday, Oct. 4. If you have questions on news stories from the Phoenix bureau, please contact Managing Editor of Digital Julia Thompson at 602-496-5050 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 should contact Allysa Adams at 480-580-5502 at for clean versions. Stories promised for today, along with photos and links to multimedia elements, will post to our client site at


Nearly a third of teacher slots vacant for this school year, highest in eight years

WASHINGTON – Nearly one-third of teaching positions in Arizona public and charter schools were still vacant one month into the school year, according to a new report, the most in eight years of data on school vacancies. The Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association report for the 2023-24 school said that 29.7% of teaching positions were still vacant in September, up from 26.6% at the same time last year, and 53.2% of teachers in the classroom do not meet the state’s standard certification requirements. Advocates said the report is further proof of the state’s failure to adequately fund schools. Contact Steve Crane with questions.

Slug: BC-CNS-Teacher Vacancies. 590 words. By Adrienne Washington.

File photo, graphic available.




Bringing heat to the Mullett: Partnership between Sun Devils and Coyotes gives hockey a new energy

TEMPE – The partnership between ASU and the Arizona Coyotes can be felt – and seen and heard – at Tempe’s Mullett Arena, the Valley’s hottest ice spot. “We’re very grateful that ASU allowed us to be on their campus,” Coyotes President & CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said. “It’s been great from the business perspective, what you saw last year was Mullett magic. Not only did we have the eighth-best record in the NHL in terms of a home record, and the best home record that we’d had in a very, very long time but off the ice, we had the highest ticket revenue we’d ever had.”

Slug: Sports-Coyotes, ASU Hockey Relationship. About 1,400 words. By Chase Beardsley.

2 photos available.

What is it like to be at the epicenter of college football? A weekend in Boulder highlights the Buffaloes’ wild surge

BOULDER – Nestled underneath The Flatirons, vibrant colors and natural beauty on the Boulder, Colorado, campus are being overshadowed by something nobody saw coming: college football. Folsom Field, home of the Colorado Buffaloes, is not only the heartbeat of the campus but also college football – and Deion “Prime” Sanders is at the epicenter of it all, turning the football program and college football landscape on its head.

Slug: Sports-Weekend in Boulder. 1,550 words. By Bennett Silvyn.

2 photos available.

Study reveals economic impact of 2023 Super Bowl, but some question if numbers tell whole story

PHOENIX – Super Bowl 57 in Glendale generated an economic impact that was 40% bigger than the last time Arizona hosted the big game, according to a study released by the William L. Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State’s W.P. Carey School of Business. But not everyone believes the numbers tell the whole story.

Slug: Sports-Arizona Super Bowl Impact. By Alex Wakefield.

2 photos available.


Playing with fire: Arizona high school football coaches double as firefighters

PHOENIX – For some, the  pressure of working as a first responder is overwhelming. But for others, running toward danger instead of away from it is a life mission. No matter the time of day, firefighters are ready to stop at any moment of the day to serve their community. And some of them are even willing to accept more pressure to serve their communities in a different way. Many firefighters in the Phoenix and Glendale fire departments also hold a second job title: high school football coach.

Slug: Sports-Football and Firefighters. About 2,700 words. By Sabrina McClain.

5 photos available.

Beating the heat: Arizona athletic trainers, sports medicine physicians take steps to protect athletes

PHOENIX – As the Valley recovers from what has been its hottest summer ever measured – Phoenix broke its own record in July with a 31-day streak of temperatures above 110 degrees – experts continue to search for the best ways to keep athletes safe as the mercury rises. From treats including peanut butter and chocolate milk, which have side benefits that help athletes stave off the heat, to modernized gadgets like heat stress monitors, athletic trainers have evolving options to help combat the relentless summer days in the desert. “In order to play football in Arizona, you can’t be a soft kid, and you can’t be a soft coach,” said Chandler football coach Rick Garretson.

Slug: Sports-Arizona Heat Effect. About 1,400 words. By Cody Marmon.

2 photos available.

‘Like a frying pan’: Extreme heat overwhelms Phoenix’s unhoused community

PHOENIX – Near the intersection of S. 11th Avenue and W. Jefferson Street in Phoenix, the heat is intense. For those who live along the street in tents and makeshift shelters, the heat can be deadly. After a summer of record-breaking heat, those practicing street medicine for the unhoused population The Zone and elsewhere in Phoenix see the effects of heat on their patients. As of Sept. 12, there were 202 confirmed heat-associated deaths in Maricopa County, compared to 175 for all of 2022.

Slug: BC-CNS-Unhoused Heat. 1,120 words. By Deanna Pistono.

7 photos available.

Los Angeles farmers markets team up with health department to fight food insecurity and support communities

LOS ANGELES – The L.A. County Department of Public Health works to provide low-income households with access to nutritious, healthy food. Its Market Match program gives people who are already receiving SNAP funds (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) extra money to spend at farmers markets.

Slug: BC-CNS-LA Fights Food Insecurity. 750 words. By Taylor Ens.

3 photos available.


Biggs, Crane join Democrats in historic vote to oust McCarthy as speaker

WASHINGTON – Arizona Reps. Andy Biggs and Eli Crane were among eight conservative Republicans who voted with all Democrats Tuesday to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the first time in history a sitting speaker has been removed. The 216-210 vote could paralyze the House – it took 15 ballots for Republicans to elect McCarthy speaker earlier this year – at a time when Congress has a little more than six weeks to pass a fiscal 2024 budget or face another potential government shutdown. Analysts said the vote boosts Democrats by leaving the GOP in disarray, but add that anyone claiming to know “precisely what the political fallout is going to be, after something happens for the first time in American history, is a captain of BS.” Contact Steve Crane with questions.

Slug: BC-CNS-Speaker Silenced. 680 words. By Renee Romo and Alexandria Cullen.

2 file photos available.

Smoke from the Salt River landfill fire could cause health problems

PHOENIX – On Saturday at about 4 p.m., a fire broke out at a landfill on the Salt River Indian Reservation, near N. Beeline Highway east of Scottsdale, Arizona. By Tuesday afternoon, the landfill fire had been reduced to a smolder. After firefighters were done combatting the blaze, said Chuck Kmet, emergency manager for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, a green waste contractor was hired to help further manage the remaining smolder. Though the flame has been stifled, one expert says the lingering smoke may cause or exacerbate various health concerns.

Slug: BC-CNS-Salt River Fire. 390 words. By Deanna Pistono.

Photo available.

Arizona veterans, state agencies battle over bingo machines deemed illegal under state gambling laws

PHOENIX – Arizona veteran groups, with the help of state Sen. Sonny Borrelli, called out public agencies for targeting them over bingo tabulation aids, but the state says the groups are using illegal bingo gaming machines. The Departments of Revenue, Gaming and Liquor denied that agents were carrying out “raids” and said they were only conducting routine inspections on bingo licenses.

Slug: BC-CNS-Veteran Bingo. About 600 words. By Reagan Priest.

Photos, video story available.

Supreme Court to hear appeal over expert testimony in Yuma drug case

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will hear the appeal of an Arizona man who said his right to confront his accuser was violated when the expert witness who tested the drugs in his case was replaced by another expert. Jason Smith was convicted in part on the testimony of Greggory Longoni, who testified on his interpretation of the other expert’s reports, testimony that was allowed by Arizona courts. Smith’s attorney said that different courts have interpreted Supreme Court rulings differently on the issue, creating “a giant mess … and this is finally an opportunity for the court to sort of clean that up.” Contact Steve Crane with questions.

Slug: BC-CNS-Witness Rejection. 600 words. By Renee Romo.

File photo available.

Shutdown would not affect food aid – for now – but pantries brace for surge

PHOENIX – If Congress doesn’t come to a spending agreement this weekend, the federal government will shut down Sunday, hating pay for millions of federal workers and active-duty military and shuttering services like passport offices and national parks. But officials say they have funding to keep food aid programs like SNAP and WIC going through October. Even so, officials at already-strapped area food banks said they expect a surge in customers if the government shuts down.

Slug: BC-CNS-Shutdown Food. 450 words. By Angelina Steel.

5 photos available.

50,000 federal workers, military, in Arizona spared as shutdown averted

WASHINGTON – Congress approved a stopgap measure to keep the government open with just hours to spare Saturday night, heading off a shutdown that would have meant the loss of a paycheck for close to 50,000 federal workers and active-duty military in Arizona – and they’re not the only ones who would have felt the pinch. Government contractors small businesses and anyone who needs a government service, from passports to national park visits, would have been affected. But extension only runs for 45 days – setting up the possibility of another shutdown showdown in mid-November. Contact Steve Crane with questions.

Slug: BC-CNS-Shutdown Economy Writethru. 940 words. By Renee Romo.

File photo, video story available.


EDITOR’S NOTE: These stories were translated from English to Spanish using ChatGPT. A Cronkite News editor reviewed the translations.

NOTA DEL EDITOR: Estos informes fueron traducidos del inglés al español usando ChatGPT. Un editor de Cronkite News revisó las traducciónes.

Biden rinde homenaje a McCain y condena a ‘extremistas MAGA’ en Tempe

TEMPE – El presidente Joe Biden evocó el espíritu del fallecido difunto senador John McCain mientras denunciaba a los ‘extremistas MAGA’ como una amenaza para la democracia durante un discurso el jueves en Tempe Arts Center. Find the original story here; encuentra el artículo original aquí.

Nombre: CN-BidenAZ. 1003 palabras. Por Regan Priest.

3 fotos disponibles.

Mala calidad del aire vinculada a problemas de salud

PHOENIX – El 30 de agosto, el Capítulo del Gran Cañón de Sierra Club emitió un informe ambiental de 2023 que citó el informe de la Asociación Americana del Pulmón que clasificó el aire de Phoenix como el séptimo peor de la nación en contaminación por partículas y el quinto peor en niveles de ozono. Esta mala calidad del aire ha llevado a un aumento en las preocupaciones de salud, especialmente para las comunidades marginadas. Find the original story here; encuentra el artículo original aquí.

Nombre: CN-MalSal. 1135 palabras. Por Caleb Scott.

2 fotos disponibles.

Calor extremo en Phoenix conduce a problemas de salud

PHOENIX – Cerca de la intersección sur de la avenida 11 y al oeste la calle Jefferson en Phoenix, el calor es intenso. Para aquellos que viven a lo largo de la calle en tiendas de campaña y refugios improvisados, este calor puede volverse mortal. Find the original story here; encuentra el artículo original aquí.

Nombre: CN-CalorX. 1429 palabras. Por Deanna Pistono

5 fotos disponibles,


CN2Go Weekly Update: Extreme heat affecting people living in ‘The Zone’

President Joe Biden visits Arizona for a second time in as many months; recent record-breaking heat is affecting those experiencing homelessness in Phoenix; Arizona has less water than it had anticipated; and NASCAR Accelerator Charities allows drivers to do laps around famous race track.

Slug: CN2Go Weekly Update. Runtime 12:17. With Kiersten Edgett.

Downloadable audio available.

The Sweet Spot: Basketball fever, a – literal – charity drive, a new kind of two-way player

Three local teams having big weeks, the NBA’s outlook on load management for the upcoming season, NASCAR partnering with the Phoenix Raceway to raise money and Mountain Pointe High School player taking the field for both tackle and flag football.

Slug: Sports-The Sweet Spot. Runtime 19:12. With Benjamin Yates.

Downloadable audio available.


Tommy Lloyd, Arizona Wildcats set stage for electric 2023-24 season at Red-Blue Showcase

TUCSON – A sea of red-clad students and fans entered historic McKale Memorial Center with a sense of anticipation as they came to get their first glimpse at their 2023-24 Arizona Wildcats Friday at the annual men’s basketball Red-Blue Showcase. The aroma of freshly popped popcorn, the chill of cool air conditioning and the bass thump from the song “Sandstorm” electrified the eager crowd that is anxiously awaiting the start of the college basketball season. Few fan bases compare to a sold-out college basketball crowd at the University of Arizona.

Slug: Sports-Arizona Basketball Scrimmage. About 1,000 words. By Addison Kalmbach.

5 photos available.

Can Joe Burrow, Bengals help turn struggling Cardinals’ fortunes around?

TEMPE – With injured quarterback Joe Burrow and the 1-3 Cincinnati Bengals coming to town, the Arizona Cardinals hope they can get back on track following a 35-16 loss to the the San Francisco 49ers. It was homegrown product Brock Purdy doing the most damage, completing 20 of 21 passes that left the Cardinals second-guessing how much progress they’ve made.

Slug: Sp0rts-Cardinals React to 49ers Loss. 800 words. By Jordy Fee-Platt.

Photo available.

New-look Phoenix Suns enter 2023-24 season with big-time expectations

PHOENIX – How different do the Phoenix Suns look? Think of it this way: Devin Booker is the final player remaining from the franchise’s run to the 2021 NBA Finals, less than three years ago. The new team met the media for the first Monday and expressed confidence that the dramatic changes in the offseason, including trading Deandre Ayton, would translate to a successful run.

Slug: Sports-Phoenix Suns Media Day. 600 words. By Alfred Smith.

3 photos available.

Grand Canyon men’s basketball embraces new size, toughness as season approaches

PHOENIX – Last March, 14th-seeded Grand Canyon University faced a demanding first-round test against third-seeded Gonzaga. It was Bryce Drew’s second NCAA tournament appearance in his third season as Lopes head coach, and GCU had momentum after winning four straight games to capture its second Western Athletic Conference tournament title. Drew seemingly learned from that opportunity in his offseason pursuit of a new roster, and now awaits the new season’s Nov. 1 start against Embry-Riddle with anticipation.

Slug: Sports-GCU MBB Team Overview. 930 words. By Jonah Krell.

4 photos available.

Prime viewing opportunity: Dillingham focused on strategy, not hype, when Colorado visits ASU

TEMPE – The hyperbole surrounding Colorado’s upcoming visit to Arizona State involves a flashy coach, a scrutinized program and top-notch skill players. By Sun Devils coach Kenny Dillingham is most focused on what his team can do to beat the Buffaloes.

Slug: Sports-ASU Prepares for Colorado. 650 words. By Thomas McDonald.

Photo available.

From Notre Dame to Highland, a decades-long friendship blooms in the Valley

GILBERT — Nearly 30 years ago, Bertrand Berry Sr. helped recruit Florida running back Autry Denson to Notre Dame. From that point on, a decades-long friendship took root. Three decades later, their paths have crossed again. Berry played six of his 13 NFL seasons in an Arizona Cardinals uniform, and Denson was recently hired as the running backs coach for the Cardinals. Their sons, Bertrand Berry II and Elijah Denson, are both seniors and play for Highland High School. Similar to their fathers, Berry II plays outside linebacker and Elijah is a running back. The longtime friendship expands generations.

Slug: Sports-Berry-Denson Friendships. 700 words. By Alexis Davis.

Photos, video story available.

Hold your horses: Turf Paradise to resume racing, extend off-track betting

PHOENIX – Turf Paradise is alive after all and will resume racing. Additionally, the Arizona Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has extended the contract for the track to simulcast races for wagering until Nov. 12. The extension avoids the shutdown of 37 off-track betting sites.

Slug-Sports-Turf Paradise Resuscitation. 550 words. By Caitin Fowble.

4 photos available.