Author: Jessi

Arizona school districts can’t find enough bus drivers

Chloe Jones Monday, July 22, 2019 Arizona school districts can’t find enough bus drivers PHOENIX – Bus driver shortages in Arizona districts are not a new problem, but in recent years the situation has become more dire. On any given school day, Mesa Public Schools, the largest district in Arizona, is short about 80 bus drivers, according to Scott Thompson, assistant superintendent. And Mesa isn’t alone. Glendale, Payson and Prescott school districts have confirmed shortages as well. [related-story-right box-title=”Related story” link=”https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2019/05/02/ganado-navajo-bus-driver/” image=”https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/busdriver1800.jpg” headline=”Bus of dreams: Ganado driver hopes to inspire students with snapshots, words of greatness”] Thompson said one of the biggest struggles when it comes to recruiting drivers is the low pay. Right now, Mesa Public Schools can only afford to pay $13 an hour. Arizona’s minimum wage will be $12 an hour next January. “It’s a job that has a lot of requirements to it,” Thompson said. “And when you can walk down the street and get a job at Circle K for $12 an hour, I look at that, and I might say, ‘I don’t want to go through all that training. I can go get a job for maybe a little less, but it’s an easier job.’” Thompson said routes for students in special education tend to be smaller, with just one or two students on each bus, making it a bigger challenge to transport...

Read More

Cheers: Rising tie win streak record, dominate Austin on Dollar Beer Night

Owain Evans Saturday, July 20, 2019 Cheers: Rising tie win streak record, dominate Austin on Dollar Beer Night TEMPE – Phoenix Rising’s not-so-secret weapon – Dollar Beer Night – struck again as the team tied the USL Championship win streak record with a 6-0 thumping of Austin Bold on Friday. It was a tale of two halves for Rising, as they also extended their perfect record on home Dollar Beer Nights to 12 matches. The victory also marks 10 straight league wins, tied for best in USL Championship history with FC Cincinnati’s run last season. Rising captain Solomon Asante got the scoring underway for the hosts, guiding his effort safely into the far corner past the hand of Bold’s goalkeeper, Diego Restrepo. Yet despite Rising looking healthier on the attack, Austin were never out of the game. They employed a very physical game plan, much to the ire of Rising’s fans. “I said at halftime we’re going to win this game if we match the physicality,” Rising coach Rick Schantz said. “If we come out and we match that with them, because I know we can play, and the guys, they came out and they were so committed to it.” The second half couldn’t have been any more different, as the Austin defense and midfield collapsed in front of Rising’s loud supporters – Los Bandidos and the Red Fury....

Read More

McSally, Kelly raise $13.9 million for anticipated 2020 Senate race

Miranda Faulkner Friday, July 19, 2019 McSally, Kelly raise $13.9 million for anticipated 2020 Senate race WASHINGTON – If there was any question that Arizona’s 2020 Senate race would be one of the nation’s hottest, it was answered this week with an emphatic “yes” when second-quarter Federal Election Commission reports were released. Republican incumbent Sen. Martha McSally and her likely Democratic challenger, Mark Kelly, reported raising a total of just under $13.9 million in the first six months of this year and had a combined $10.3 million on hand for an election that’s still 16 months away. “We’re going to have a front row seat to one of the most competitive races in the country,” Arizona political consultant Michael Noble said of the Senate race. Inside Elections rates Arizona as one of two “toss-up” Senate races next year, along with Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner’s defense of his seat. Arizona is seen as in-play after last year’s election of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema – a race in which she beat McSally and gave the state its first Democratic senator in more than two decades. Money poured into that race, with almost $118.7 million spent by the candidates and by political action committees on their behalf. The 2018 Arizona Senate race was the fourth-most expensive in the country, according to opensecrets.org. After narrowly losing to Sinema, McSally was appointed by Gov....

Read More

More Phoenix police officers trained to use Narcan in opioid overdoses

Sebastian Emanuel Friday, July 19, 2019 More Phoenix police officers trained to use Narcan in opioid overdoses PHOENIX – The Police Department is training more officers on how to use a medication that can counter the effects of an opioid overdose, and it hopes to half about half the patrol force trained by the end of next month. Although Narcan – a nasal-spray form of naloxone – is used by other Valley police departments, Phoenix has not widely trained its officers or distributed the medicine. Cronkite News reported that as of April, only 100 officers – out of a sworn force of 2,900 – had these kits. But the department recently trained about 30 more officers at its Maryvale precinct, and it plans to expand training through August with the goal of preparing about 1,200 patrol officers, spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson said in an email. The department recently received a grant from the Arizona Department of Health Services for 1,800 units of Narcan, allowing for a wider rollout across the city. [related-story-right box-title=”Related story” link=”https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2019/04/17/phoenix-police-narcan/” image=”https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/naloxone1-800.jpg” headline=”Mother urges Phoenix police to carry life-saving overdose drug”] “Right now, we are in the process of providing training and certification to our first-responding officers,” Thompson said after a recent training. “By that I mean the officers who are on patrol, who are the ones out on the street if a call comes...

Read More