Category: Cronkite News

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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Court: Cops can be ordered to provide DNA in probe of officer’s death

Tom Blanton Monday, Aug. 31, 2015 Court: Cops can be ordered to provide DNA in probe of officer’s death WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court said Monday that Phoenix police were within their rights to take DNA samples from officers responding to the 2010 shooting death of a fellow officer, Sgt. Sean Drenth, near the State Capitol. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the claims of three officers that forcing them to provide genetic samples violated their Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure, calling it “hardly unreasonable” to ask for the DNA. The ruling upholds a 2013 district court decision tossing out the officers’ lawsuit. The Phoenix City Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday’s ruling. But an attorney for the officers said he was disappointed in the court’s opinion. “We’re reviewing the decision and considering the next steps,” said Michael Bekesha, an attorney with Judicial Watch, which represented the three officers before the appeals court. The case began on Oct. 18, 2010, when Drenth was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in an empty lot near the State Capitol. A shotgun was across his chest, a second gun near his feet and his service weapon was just beyond the lot, with his patrol car in the center of the lot, according...

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Spring rains boosted Lake Mead, heading off water emergency – for now

Charles McConnell Monday, Aug. 31, 2015 Spring rains boosted Lake Mead, heading off water emergency – for now WASHINGTON – Unusually high rainfall in the Colorado River basin this spring helped boost Lake Mead water levels, averting a possible water emergency that would have triggered cuts in water allocations next year. Officials had warned as recently as June that there was a 33 percent chance of a “Tier 1″ water shortage in 2016, which occurs when the water level in Lake Mead drops below an elevation of 1,075 feet. A Tier 1 declaration would result in a cut of 320,000 acre-feet to Arizona’s share of Colorado River water, about an 11 percent reduction. But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation earlier this month reported that there would not be an emergency declaration. Lake Mead’s elevation was at 1,078.24 feet on Sunday. “In May and June of this past year … we had unusually high rainfall in the basin,” said Tom Buschatzke, the director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources. He said it was the second-highest level of rain during that period in the past 108 years, trailing only 1983. In addition to dropping the chances of a Tier 1 declaration to zero for 2016, the Bureau of Reclamation lowered predictions for 2017 from the 75 percent chance it was looking at this summer to just 18 percent in the...

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