Category: Cronkite News

Phoenix Dream Center seeks help for homeless recovering from floods

PHOENIX – ANALISE ORTIZ/CRONKITEE NEWS: Recent flash floods took a toll on many Valley residents, but some had no way to take cover from the storm. LIZ McCLENDON/HOMELESS: Us people on the street sleep outside next to the men’s overflow, so there’s a tent out there where we sleep on the ground so we all ran to the tent and we put on blankets on us that we sleep on to try and get the rain to not get on us as much as possible. ANALISE ORTIZ/CRONKITEE NEWS: But that didn’t stop the rain from destroying some of Liz’s belongings. LIZ McCLENDON/HOMELESS: I had a book I had just bought at the Dollar Store, it ruined the pages. ANALISE ORTIZ/CRONKITEE NEWS: Like many in the homeless community, Liz wasn’t ready for the storm. BRIAN STEELE/CEO OF PHOENIX DREAM CENTER: For them in that instance, they don’t have the weather Doppler there’s no cell phone beeping that an emergency’s coming. ANALISE ORTIZ/CRONKITE NEWS: So shelters ask the community to donate what they can to help with the aftermath. The Phoenix Dream Center says when the weather gets wet, the best thing you can donate are large garbage bags so the homeless community can keep their belongings dry. Other helpful items include food, water, raincoats and Ziploc bags. BRIAN STEELE/CEO OF PHOENIX DREAM CENTER: If you can imagine, you might go...

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Tonto National Forest weighs higher fees due to revenue shortfall

PHOENIX – ANGELIE MEEHAN/CRONKITE NEWS: Wes Herrmann is one of many city dwellers who heads to the great outdoors to take a break from the hustle and bustle. WES HERRMANN/FOREST PATRON: I like to come up here for the winter and spend several months. I’m planning on trying to spend longer up here this year. ANGELIE MEEHAN/CRONKITE NEWS: But if the cost of going to the Tonto National Forest goes up, he may have to cut back on the time he spends in the wild. The Forest Service identified a $2 million operating shortfall in 2012. In 2013, it released the information to the public in a series of open houses for input on what to do. One option: Reduce services and facilities to get expenses in line with the revenue. The other option… GREG SCHUSTER/RECREATION PROGRAM MANAGER: Was to raise the fees, and what we heard overwhelmingly from the public was that they did not want us to close sites and facilities, they actually wanted us to find a way to manage them. ANGELIE MEEHAN/CRONKITE NEWS: The proposed modifications to existing fees would continue to maintain campgrounds, picnic sites and boat launches here in recreation areas in Tonto National Forest. The proposed changes include raising the daily Tonto pass fee from $6 a day to $8 a day, installing fee machines for onsite Tonto pass purchases for $12...

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9th Circuit ruling could clear the way for same-sex marriage in Arizona

PHOENIX – Same-sex couples still aren’t able to marry in Arizona but took a major step closer to walking down the aisle Tuesday when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down gay marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho. “It doesn’t mean everybody is free to marry who they love in Arizona,” said Kelly Dupps, training director for HERO , or Human and Equal Rights Organizers. But Dupps said things are moving quickly for supporters of marriage equality here because Arizona is part of the 9th Circuit. The ruling came just one day after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear appeals against the legalization of gay marriage in five states. “It bodes extremely well for (Arizona) coming behind those states,” Dupps said. A 1996 state law bans same-sex marriage in Arizona, while in 2008 voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. A spokeswoman said the Arizona Attorney General’s Office had to carefully review Tuesday’s ruling before determining what the implications are for pending cases against Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage. “Until we can decide what the implications are for Arizona … today’s decision shouldn’t be treated as final,” Stephanie Grisham said. Nevada and Idaho could still petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a review, she said. There are currently two cases pending in U.S. District Court challenging Arizona’s...

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Forecast: Valley commercial real estate to improve slowly in 2015

PHOENIX – The Valley’s commercial real estate market will continue to improve slowly in 2015 with promising growth in residential rental housing, an Arizona State University real estate professor said. “We don’t see big changes in 2015 at all,” Mark Stapp with ASU’s Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice told those attending the SRP 2015 Economic Forecast on Oct. 2. However, Stapp said population growth in the metro area will increase demand for apartments over the longer term. “Obviously, the dominant form of housing in the metro area has been apartment,” he said. Stapp and other ASU researchers survey real estate brokers to develop quarterly forecasts of the commercial real estate market, which also includes offices, industrial spaces and retail rentals. He said the Phoenix area is still deemed as a recovery market by investors, though he said none of the respondents expected returns on investment to increase in the last half of 2014. Stapp highlighted a marked increase in respondents who expected rents to go up from the second quarter to third quarter. A July report from ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business cited a 7.5 percent rise in residential rents over the past year in metro Phoenix. He said he expects apartment rents to stabilize as the supply expands. Noting that the forecast calls for more than 7,000 luxury apartments to be built next year, Stapp...

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Boom in Pandora moths a bust for pines of far northern Arizona

FLAGSTAFF – The lab countertops at Northern Arizona University’s School of Forestry are covered with ponderosa pine branches that have several Pandora caterpillars munching away on the needles. Richard Hofstetter, a forest entomology professor, is studying a population boom among Pandora moths in the northern reaches of the Kaibab National Forest – the most seen in the past 20 years. It stems from a bumper crop of caterpillars last summer, before they burrowed underground and spent a year turning into moths. “It’s important to understand our native species, and especially one that has such a high abundance and can outbreak like this,” Hofstetter said. It’s especially important, he said, because as caterpillars the insects are prodigious eaters. In great numbers they can seriously damage a forest, as was the case last summer, when 1,000 acres of Kaibab National Forest north of the Grand Canyon wound up completely defoliated. Shayne Rich, who with her husband owns a gas station near Jacob Lake, said that during a peak in August hundreds of moths would swarm the lights each evening. “It was crazy. As soon as the sun went down and lights came on the moths came out. By the morning a lot of them had died,” she said. “The whole base where the cars drive was covered in moths. It took a couple hours to sweep up.” It’s thought that the...

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