Category: Cronkite News

Work by Arizona women earns White House nod as ‘champions of change’

Adriana Barajas Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 Work by Arizona women earns White House nod as ‘champions of change’ WASHINGTON – When she moved from Mexico to the U.S. at age 11, Diali Avila could not know that it was the first step toward a trip to the White House. “When I moved here I didn’t expect it,” said Avila, now 26. “It wasn’t in my head, you know, ‘Oh I’m going to get to the White House.’” But that’s where she was Tuesday, one of 11 women – and one of two from Arizona – who recognized as White House Champions of Change, an administration initiative that brings attention to “ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things in their communities.” Avila, of Phoenix, was cited for her work with the Hispanic community while Ganado resident Amanda Tachine was there for her work with Native American youth. “It was just a feeling of, wow!” said Tachine, 37. “I’m here with my family at the White House to receive an award for our native communities.” The White House regularly selects a variety of recipients for the program, ranging in the past from faith leaders on climate issues to immigrant innovators, from educators to entrepreneurs, and more. The goal of the program is to inspire young people to continue working to make a difference in their communities. Avila has worked for the Affordable Care...

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Audit finds deficiencies in Arizona Department of Real Estate’s operations

Jason Axelrod Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 Audit finds deficiencies in Arizona Department of Real Estate’s operations A state audit of the Arizona Department of Real Estate revealed it overcharged customers, and the report also highlighted deficiencies in the department’s cash collection and reporting processes. The Office of the Auditor General reviewed the department’s internal controls between March 2014 and February 2015. It released its findings on its website this month. “These are very routine reviews,” said Kathleen Wood, financial audit manager at the auditor general’s office. “We do them periodically with various state agencies.” The Department of Real Estate oversees real estate educators, brokers and licensees’ activities, while regulating the sale of certain real estate, among other duties. It received $3.9 million in revenue between March 2014 and February 2015, according to its website. The audit revealed the department didn’t charge fees according to state statutes, and that it didn’t always follow the state’s requirements specifying how state agencies receive, record and reconcile daily cash receipts. For example, a state law requires that “the department charge $250 for applications to amend public disclosure reports for unsubdivided land,” according to the audit. However, between July 2010 and July 2014, the department charged $500 for those applications, receiving $2,750 more for the applications than it should have. Department officials adjusted the fees in July 2014. In another instance, the department charged...

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Vemma CEO confident after Tempe company’s court hearing on pyramid scheme allegations

Devin Conley Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 Vemma CEO confident after Tempe company’s court hearing on pyramid scheme allegations B.K. Beroyke on Tuesday said he felt confident in his team’s work defending Vemma Nutrition Co. against federal regulators who accused them of running a pyramid scheme. The Tempe-based company’s CEO spent the day listening to arguments in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. “I feel like we got the facts out,” Beryoke said. “The facts support our cause, and I believe in the justice system.” Vemma, which markets energy, nutrition and weight-loss drinks, has shut down operations after the court earlier this month agreed to a temporary injunction against the company and seized its assets. The Federal Trade Commission had filed a complaint against the company, claiming it’s a pyramid scheme that “lures college students and other young adults with the prospect of getting rich without having a traditional 9-to-5 job.” Read more Vemma stops operations after FTC calls it a pyramid scheme, student ‘affiliates’ lose money After listening to testimony Tuesday, a judge will decide whether to lift the injunction, allowing Vemma to continue operations. Attorneys for the FTC presented information gathered over two years outlining the sales strategies of Vemma. The nutrition company visits college campuses and recruits what it calls “affiliates” to promote its juice drinks and other nutritional products, according to the initial complaint. The consumer protection...

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Cronkite News: Sept. 15, 2015

Staff Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 Cronkite News: Sept. 15, 2015 This edition of Cronkite News focuses on how Arizona is recovering from another round of storms, and how authorities are approaching the I-10 shootings...

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Board of Education authorizes suits against Douglas

James Anderson Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 Board of Education authorizes suits against Douglas The Arizona State Board of Education voted Tuesday to sue Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas if she doesn’t comply with longstanding directives on access to data and the board’s website. “This board has given the superintendent the opportunity to correct her actions, and her response has been to just politically grandstand and continue that as we move forward,” board member Charles Schmidt said at a special meeting. The board voted unanimously to take “any and all necessary steps” to ensure the superintendent gives board investigators remote access to Arizona Department of Education files and directories and redirects Web traffic to the board’s independent website. The board’s order to give remote access came in May, when board employees were moving out of the Department of Education building to space in the Arizona State Capitol’s Executive Tower as tensions with Douglas flared. Douglas has refused to give the board’s Investigative Unit virtual access to documents and records in the Department of Education, citing her authority as the superintendent. “The current situation is unconscionable in my opinion, in excluding our investigators from full access to the needed information and possibly endangering students that we serve, as well as the integrity of this board,” Schmidt said. Douglas didn’t attend the meeting and instead released an emailed statement that criticized...

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