Rarified air: college runners flock to Flagstaff during pandemic

  • Slug: Sports-Flagstaff runners, 1,170 words.
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By Shane Fricke
Special to Cronkite News

FLAGSTAFF – One of the attractions of running is that it is sport that can be done anywhere, at any time and by almost any person.

But if all of that is true, why are collegiate runners from across the country traveling to this northern Arizona city to train?

It turns out Flagstaff, a city of about 65,000 people situated at 6,900-feet above sea level, offers runners the perfect combination of rarified air, forgiving trails and housing that fits a college student’s budget.

“We chose Flagstaff because it’s a great running town at high elevation with lots of remote trails and has a relatively low cost of living,” said Liam Anderson, a sophomore on Stanford’s cross country team.

Continue reading “Rarified air: college runners flock to Flagstaff during pandemic”

Lost on the front lines: Health care workers in Southwest who died fighting COVID-19

  • Slug: BC-CNS Frontline COVID Deaths, 1,030 words.
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By Hannah Foote, Caitlynn McDaniel and Haley Lorenzen
Cronkite News

Health care workers across the country have risked their lives to care for COVID-19 patients, and Cronkite News reporters teamed up with the Guardian and Kaiser Health News to tell some of the stories of those who died because of exposure to the novel coronavirus that causes the deadly disease. Continue reading “Lost on the front lines: Health care workers in Southwest who died fighting COVID-19”

Mayors again call for statewide mask mandate as COVID-19 cases surge

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Mayors COVID,630
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By Chase Hunter
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Democratic mayors from across the state urged Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday to implement a statewide mask mandate, as COVID-19 cases surged past 4,000 for a second straight day and state hospitals neared capacity in their intensive care units.

The call by mayors of Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Tolleson came two days after Ducey called on Arizonans to take steps to stem the coronavirus, such as wearing masks, avoiding large crowds and limiting Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings.

But he again declined to impose a mandate, a step the mayors said should no longer be an option. Continue reading “Mayors again call for statewide mask mandate as COVID-19 cases surge”

ASU basketball’s crowded backcourt gives ‘Guard U’ a preseason top 25 nod

  • Slug: Sports-ASU Hoops Outlook, 860 words.
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By Shane Dieffenbach
Cronkite News

LOS ANGELES – Eight months ago, Remy Martin threw his name into the hat that is the NBA Draft, leaving Arizona State basketball without its starting point guard. Two weeks after losing the poster child of “Guard U,” starting center Romello White followed Martin by declaring for the 2020 draft.

But the fog of uncertainty covering the Sun Devils’ future soon was dispelled by an unexpected source: guard Josh Christopher.

Just 12 days after the Sun Devils lost their starting big man, the five-star recruit shocked the college basketball world by choosing Arizona State over Michigan, Missouri, Southern Cal and UCLA. The All-American guard was ranked No. 11 in the nation by ESPN and is ASU basketball’s highest rated recruit ever.

The Sun Devils received more good news Aug. 2 when Martin withdrew from the NBA Draft. Suddenly, ASU looked dangerous. Continue reading “ASU basketball’s crowded backcourt gives ‘Guard U’ a preseason top 25 nod”

Phoenix reabre campos deportivos

  • Nombre: CN-Parques PHX,700 palabras.
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Por Frida Mata
Cronkite Noticias

PHOENIX – Los viernes por la noche en Cesar Chavez Skate Park, el Atlético Arizona United Latinos SC, es uno de los muchos equipos que llegan a jugar fútbol y a disfrutar de la reciente reapertura del campo.

“Es muy importante para nosotros estar aquí. Creo que el deporte, en la juventud de un niño, es muy importante tanto física como mentalmente ”, dijo Manuel Bonilla.

Bonilla formó el Atlético Arizona United Latinos SC en 2003 y ha estado esperando un lugar seguro para que sus jugadores regresen al campo desde que la pandemia forzó el cierre de campos de juego y parques. Continue reading “Phoenix reabre campos deportivos”

Football game cancellations rampant among Arizona high schools as COVID-19 cases rise

  • Slug: Sports-HS Football Cancellations, 1,274 words
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By Brandon Jones
Cronkite News

SCOTTSDALE – After shuffling their schedule a whopping four times, the 2019 Open Division State runner up Saguaro Sabercats can truly say they have had to hustle to reach the five-game minimum to be eligible for the 2020 AIA playoffs.

Sabercats athletic director Matthew Harris described the difficulties of replacing the four opponents that were forced to cancel their games against Saguaro, which is 4-1.

“We had four opponents cancel on us. Of those four opponents we were only able to reschedule two games,” Harris said. “One of those games we rescheduled was Horizon, which was a previous opponent that had canceled, so it’s great to be able to make that one up. We (also) had a game canceled with Campo Verde. That was a week that at the last minute, about 30 hours before game time, we made an agreement to play (against) Casteel. We were really appreciative that they stepped up and were willing to play on such short notice, so that was a great feeling. Continue reading “Football game cancellations rampant among Arizona high schools as COVID-19 cases rise”

California high school athletes travel to Arizona to keep playing through COVID-19

  • Slug: Sports-California Interstate Athletes, 1,135 words.
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EDS: A previous version of this story gave an incorrect name for the group Next College Student Athlete. The story below has been corrected, but clients who used earlier versions are asked to run the correction found here.

By Johnny Messiha
Cronkite News

SAN CLEMENTE, California – High school athletes can’t play competitively this fall semester due to California’s pandemic restrictions, so some elite players are traveling to Arizona and other states to maintain their skills and continue developing a scouting profile for colleges.

With some high school sports indefinitely on hold, California athletes on club or travel teams are willing to travel to states with fewer restrictions, just for the chance to compete. Although physically distanced conditioning has been allowed since the start of school, local California districts have set their own timetables.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a delay of the release of statewide guidance on the resumption of school sports, citing an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases, the Los Angeles Times reported. This makes it much tougher on sports families to keep their kids involved competitively, including the Luce family, with three boys all involved in sports. Continue reading “California high school athletes travel to Arizona to keep playing through COVID-19”

‘It’s creating a new normal’: A Navajo school district and its students fight to overcome amid COVID-19

  • Slug: BC-CNS-COVID Navajo Schools, 2,700 words.
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  • 1 video by Megan Marples here.

EDS: The different spelling of Begay and Begaye in the photos and video, in reference to members of the same family, is CQ.

By Anthony J. Wallace
Cronkite News

PIÑON – One student runs 85 feet up a hill every morning, just to get a cellphone signal so he can call in his attendance. Another moved to Phoenix by himself, after his only parent died of COVID-19, to work construction while going to school online.

Then there’s the high school senior who spends six hours most days doing homework in a car next to a school bus turned Wi-Fi hotspot – the only way some kids on the Navajo Nation can get assignments to their teachers.

These kids share a dream: to graduate high school, find a way to go to college, get a degree, land a dream job – get out of their small town, succeed and soar.

Even in the best of times, that dream is harder for Native American students to attain. And now COVID-19 has brought one of the greatest challenges yet to these young people. Continue reading “‘It’s creating a new normal’: A Navajo school district and its students fight to overcome amid COVID-19”

Another judge dismisses another GOP suit over election, ballot count

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Challenge Dismissed,650
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By Allen H. Awfe
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Arizona Republicans suffered another blow Thursday to their legal challenges to the election when a Maricopa County judge dismissed a suit claiming that Maricopa County officials’ audit of ballots was in technical violation of state law.

The ruling by Superior Court Judge John Hannah marked the second time in less than a week that the Arizona Republican Party’s claims of voting impropriety had been thrown out by a Maricopa County judge. A hearing is scheduled Friday on one more challenge, brought by plaintiffs who have already had their case dismissed once by a county judge. Continue reading “Another judge dismisses another GOP suit over election, ballot count”

Schools welcome state mandate for masks in classrooms, buses, events

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Masked Students,780
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By Joycelyn Cabrera
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Arizona health officials on Thursday mandated that students wear face coverings in school, on buses and at school activities, an emergency order that school officials called a step in the right direction, but not enough.

The order by Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ follows Gov. Doug Ducey’s order this summer that directed schools to implement policies requiring masks for students and staff to stem the spread of COVID-19. Christ’s order takes it one step further. Continue reading “Schools welcome state mandate for masks in classrooms, buses, events”

Suns’ addition of Chris Paul brings praise from former coach

  • Slug: Sports-Suns Addition Draft, 730 words
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By Averi Roberts
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – A new heat wave is headed to the Valley. Chris Paul, better known by his nickname CP3, brings with him a fiery attitude along with an impressive playoff resume.

After the Phoenix Suns acquired the point guard from Oklahoma City in a blockbuster trade earlier this week, one of his former coaches said the Suns will benefit from Paul’s leadership and be a role model for the team’s younger players.

“I think he understands when to bark at a guy and when to pat him on the back. He’s the type of guy at least, early on when we had him, you can’t ask for respect — you have to earn respect,” Dave Miller, the assistant coach for New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets when Paul was a rookie, said in an interview with Cronkite News. “And what he did in New Orleans being the Rookie of the Year on a veteran team, he earned the respect of the players. And I think he is going to do that in Phoenix.” Continue reading “Suns’ addition of Chris Paul brings praise from former coach”

AIA: Winter high school sports can resume on January 5

  • Slug: Sports-AIA Winter Sports, 485 words
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By Cole Cusumano
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Amid rising cases of COVID-19 in the state, David Hines met with state health officials recently to gain insight for the high school winter sports season. The executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association recommended delaying the start of basketball, soccer and wrestling until January 2021.

He got his wish.

The AIA announced Thursday winter sports can resume Jan. 5, with the last allowed day of competition Feb. 19. Practice will resume for a minimum of 14 days before competing. Continue reading “AIA: Winter high school sports can resume on January 5”

Flagstaff’s Snowbowl Ski Resort ready to open with COVID-19 restrictions

  • Slug: Sports-Arizona Snowbowl, 1,092 words
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By Cierra Luna
Cronkite News

Snow in the Valley? Unlikely, but Arizonans can make their way about two hours north from Phoenix to Flagstaff to get a taste of winter.

Snowbowl Ski Resort, the Alpine slopes on Northern Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks, opens for the winter season on Friday, with some slight changes due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Obviously we want people to have fun on the mountain,” said Li Cui, the marketing manager of Snowbowl Ski, “but health and safety is the most important thing for us because if you don’t feel safe then you’re probably not going to have fun.” Continue reading “Flagstaff’s Snowbowl Ski Resort ready to open with COVID-19 restrictions”

No average Guy: Apache Junction football player remembered for drive, compassion

  • Slug: Sports-Guy HS Death, 2,500 words
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By Michael Donohue
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Growing up, Alex Guy was called “Shock Collar” because his hits on the football field felt like an electronic dog collar. Throughout junior high school, his football pads acted as a Superman cape because he transformed into a different person on the field. When time came for Guy to undergo his fourth surgery for melanoma, however, the COVID-19 pandemic was raging, leaving him alone in the hospital, weak and battling a terminal disease.

Yet kept his smile.

Guy died in June at 23 years old, but he left a legacy that was cemented in Apache Junction in October when the high school retired his number. Continue reading “No average Guy: Apache Junction football player remembered for drive, compassion”

Community health centers struggle to serve and survive during pandemic

  • Slug: BC-CNS Community Health Crisis, 1,000 words.
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By Franco LaTona
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – On a sun-drenched afternoon, Ana Brito arrives for a doctor’s appointment at Desert Mission Health Center, greeting staff members in Spanish. Nestled on a quiet street in north central Phoenix, the clinic is a one-stop shop for some of the city’s most vulnerable.

Brito, 46, and her husband are uninsured, but the clinic provides medical and dental care at discounted rates. She doesn’t own a vehicle or drive, but the clinic is close enough that she can walk.

“I like the service,” she said, “and the people and staff are very friendly.” Continue reading “Community health centers struggle to serve and survive during pandemic”

Judge promises quick decision in latest Arizona GOP attack on election

  • Slug: BC-CNS-Ballot Audit,570
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By Allen H. Awfe
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – A Maricopa County judge said he would decide by Thursday morning whether to let the Arizona Republican Party proceed with its challenge to Maricopa County’s audit of ballots from this month’s election, an audit the party claims violated state law.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah Jr. appeared skeptical of GOP arguments that the county’s audit of ballots from its voting centers runs counter to state law, which requires an audit by precinct – even though the county did not have precinct-based voting this year. Continue reading “Judge promises quick decision in latest Arizona GOP attack on election”

In emotional Senate farewell, McSally thanks voters, wishes Kelly well

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By Mythili Gubbi
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – A sometimes emotional Sen. Martha McSally, R-Arizona, gave her farewell address on the Senate floor Wednesday, saying that “serving and fighting for Arizona as a U.S. senator has been the opportunity of a lifetime.”

McSally also wished “all the best” to Sen.-elect Mark Kelly, the Democrat who unseated her in this month’s elections and could replace her in less than two weeks when the election results are due to be certified.

“It’s been a true honor Arizona. We are an extraordinary state with extraordinary people,” said McSally, whose voice caught more than once and who had to pause and collect herself before settling in to her roughly 14-minute speech. Continue reading “In emotional Senate farewell, McSally thanks voters, wishes Kelly well”

Coconino official backs bill to burn forest waste for renewable energy

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EDS: ADDS new grafs 4-5 and 15-16 to previous story to include late response from environmental opponents. No other changes.

By MacKenzie Belley
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Coconino County Supervisor Art Babbott urged senators Wednesday to pass a bill that would let limbs and trees left over from forest maintenance be burned for renewable energy.

Babbott, testifying before a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee, said the lack of a market for forest waste has been a bottleneck choking efforts to clear national forests of undergrowth and halt the growth of catastrophic wildfires. Continue reading “Coconino official backs bill to burn forest waste for renewable energy”

Ducey acts to reduce COVID risks from Thanksgiving travelers and winter visitors

  • Slug: BC-CNS Ducey COVID Update, 885 words.
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By Adianna Bermudez
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – With Thanksgiving and the arrival of winter visitors drawing near, Gov. Doug Ducey announced new efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 from travelers and assist Arizonans most affected by the disease.

“I know many in our state are asking: When will it end? The answer is: That’s not on the horizon. Arizona and our nation remain in a public health emergency,” Ducey said.

In a news conference Wednesday, Ducey and Dr. Cara Christ, the director of Arizona Department of Health Services, addressed holiday travel, the steep rise in Arizona’s caseload and the issues facing schools and hospitals in months to come. Christ also announced new Thanksgiving guidelines that encourage families to celebrate outside, reduce the size of gatherings, wear masks, maintain social distance and wash hands often – or celebrate virtually if relatives are immunocompromised or have recently been exposed to COVID-19. Continue reading “Ducey acts to reduce COVID risks from Thanksgiving travelers and winter visitors”

Gobernador anuncia últimas medidas para combair COVID-19 

PHOENIX – Ocho meses después de que el gobernador Doug Ducey realizara su primera conferencia de prensa sobre COVID-19, este miércoles él y Cara Christ, directora del Departamento de Servicios de Salud, dieron a conocer los protocolos y regulaciones de seguridad para la próxima temporada de vacaciones.

Continue reading “Gobernador anuncia últimas medidas para combair COVID-19 “