Category: Cronkite News

Douglas recall petition launches; needs 366,000 signatures

Douglas recall petition launches; needs 366,000 signatures An organization seeking to recall Diane Douglas filed paperwork Tuesday to start gathering signatures, with its chairman saying the state schools superintendent has done nothing to improve education. “Her entire candidacy and her entire superintendentship has been spent in a battle to increase her own power and her position,” said Max Goshert, chairman of the Coalition to Recall Diane Douglas. “She has done nothing to help schools. She has done nothing to improve education in Arizona.” Goshert submitted the petition paperwork to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. The group now has 120 days – until Dec. 30 – to collect 366,128 signatures from registered voters.   Read more: Goshert said Douglas has no plan to fix Arizona’s low national education rankings and has focused on trivial issues instead. “The more Arizona is aware, the more they realize they need a better superintendent of public instruction to improve public education in the state of Arizona,” he said. Douglas’ 10-month tenure as superintendent of public instruction has seen repeated clashes between her and the Arizona Board of Education. She fired two board employees, Executive Director Christine Thompson and Deputy Director Sabrina Vazquez, in February. Thompson and Vazquez returned to work after Gov. Doug Ducey said Douglas didn’t have the authority to fire board staff. Douglas reported Board President Greg Miller to the Department...

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Traffic jamming: That time spent behind the wheel adds up

Tom Blanton Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 Traffic jamming: That time spent behind the wheel adds up WASHINGTON – What could you do with the 51 hours that you spent stuck in traffic last year if you were a typical Phoenix commuter? Or even the four hours that the average Lake Havasu commuter spent in congestion on the other end of the state’s traffic jam spectrum? See related story: Paying a price for going nowhere: Traffic hits Arizona commuters’ wallets For its 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard released last week, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute tracked traffic trends in 470 cities across the country and published findings on the time spent stuck in traffic and the costs of that congestion on 101 cities. Nine of those cities were in Arizona. The worst were Phoenix and Tucson, where commuters averaged 51 and 47 hours, respectively, stuck behind the wheel in 2014. That was good for 13th- and 23rd-worst in the nation. It’s not exactly time well-spent. But how could that time be spent if not behind the wheel? Baking brownies, riding every ride at Disneyland, reading “The Old Man and the Sea,” running every leg of the Triple Crown and more, depending on the city. Cronkite News laid out the options in the interactive graphic below. Click on the arrow at right to see what you could have done last year if...

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State official questions CDC report listing Arizona last for early childhood MMR

Claire Cleveland and Jessi Schultz Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 State official questions CDC report listing Arizona last for early childhood MMR Arizona vaccination rates for MMR are lowest in the country, according to the recently released National Immunization Survey. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey estimating early childhood vaccination rates lists Arizona as last for MMR coverage, at 84.1 percent. While the state’s top health official noted that the survey has a large margin for error and questioned its methodology, a leading immunization advocate said that over time the state has seen a “downward trend.” “Arizona was identified as the state with the lowest coverage levels on MMR, and that’s concerning,” said Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix, director of The Arizona Partnership for Immunization (TAPI). However, McCune Davis said that comparing the survey results from one year to the next results in “a wide range of possible error in the statistics.” Arizona’s 2014 result, reported in late August, was down from 91.4 percent in 2013 and 88.3 percent in 2012. The randomized phone survey covers about 15,000 children nationwide. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said the state’s results were based on information covering about 300 children, which she said leaves room to speculate as to whether the survey is representative of the population. The survey relies on parents’ responses about their children’s...

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Aftermath of Phoenix storm rages on social media

Brooke Stobbe Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 Aftermath of Phoenix storm rages on social media With flash flood warnings beginning early Monday evening, the National Weather service reported short of one inch of rain by early morning Tuesday, September 1. Social media boomed during the night as the monsoon progressed from thunder and lighting to rain and hail. [View the story “Aftermath of Phoenix storm rages on social media” on...

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New Arizona special license plates feature Coyotes, firefighters, more

Becca Smouse Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 New Arizona special license plates feature Coyotes, firefighters, more Arizona drivers looking to sport some personality on their rides have more options thanks to four new special license plates. The Arizona Coyotes, Midwestern University, U.S. Marine Corps and Firefighter Safety Training join dozens of other organizations and causes with plate designs available through the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division. Of the $25 annual price, $17 goes toward a charity of the sponsoring organization’s choice. Proceeds from the Marine Corps plates will help fund scholarships for children of killed or wounded Marines and Navy personnel. “It’s supporting students in your backyard,” said Jeanette Casselano, vice president of advancement for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation . “It’s a great cause.” Casselano said the foundation provided scholarships for roughly 23,000 students nationwide in the past year, 87 of which went to students in Arizona. The Arizona Coyotes join the state’s other major sports teams with special plates, including the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks. “It’s something our fans have wanted for a long time,” said Liz Kaplan, executive director of the Arizona Coyotes Foundation. “I think it’s the best thing going because you get to show your Coyote pride and you get to give back.” Proceeds go to the Arizona Coyotes Foundation , which supports organizations benefiting members of the armed forces...

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