Category: Cronkite News

Purchase opens 32,600 acres near Coronado Forest to hiking, hunting

Isaac Windes Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 Purchase opens 32,600 acres near Coronado Forest to hiking, hunting WASHINGTON – The Interior Department’s purchase of a plot of private land will allow public access to 32,600 acres of previously isolated forest land, a move that drew praise from wilderness advocates and hunters alike this week. The deal announced Wednesday opens up two parcels of public land, one in the Coronado National Forest and one northwest of Safford, that had been inaccessible because they were surrounded by private property. It was pulled off through a collaboration between state, federal and private organizations. Mike Quigley, Arizona Director for the Wilderness Society, said the society is “very much about having people enjoy the public lands” and that the newly accessible parcels in the Santa Teresa Mountains offer “some of the most pristine backcountry experiences” in the nation. The Bureau of Land Management worked with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the South Eastern Arizona Sportsmen Club and the Trust for Public Land over several years to acquire the land needed for access. Michael Patrick, the trust’s Arizona program manager, said the collaboration aligned with the trust’s mission, which is “not only to protect public lands, but to put people in touch with that land.” After years of planning by those groups, the deal came together this year when a 600-acre ranch bordering the forest...

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A cleaner Santa Cruz River helps Tucson community connect

Angelica Cabral Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 A cleaner Santa Cruz River helps Tucson community connect TUCSON – Jason Ground has two main reasons to enjoy the stretch of the “new” Santa Cruz River that runs through Tucson. As a communications specialist with Pima County , he’s been involved with the project to make the river healthier and stronger in the last few years, but on a more personal level as a Tucson native, he said it’s been great for him to see it become a place the community can truly enjoy. Ground said he sees the river as the main reason Tucson was founded all the way back in 2100 BC . And now, instead of being notable for its bad smell, the river and the surrounding trails can actually connect the community. A stretch of The Santa Cruz River in Tucson. The river has shown significant improvement after upgrades to a nearby water treatment facility. (Photo by Angelica Cabral/Cronkite News) “A lot of these neighborhoods would be really isolated pockets, but the loop provides this sort of artery to the rest of the community,” Ground said. He said the river represents Tucson in an appropriate way; it’s a place where people, including himself, can take part in recreational activities, thanks to the mentioned new trails, which also serve to help with maintenance upkeep. “When I was growing up,...

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Challenger Space Center exhibit to highlight Diamondbacks STEM Showcase

Eddie Poe Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 Challenger Space Center exhibit to highlight Diamondbacks STEM Showcase PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks will welcome more than 5,000 Arizona K-12 students and their families to Chase Field on Friday as part of their fourth annual Science of Baseball STEM Showcase. Throughout the ballpark, fans will have the opportunity to visit interactive exhibits and meet with experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. One of those exhibits will come courtesy of the Arizona Challenger Space Center. “It’s been a project of ours for several years,” said Beverly Swayman, executive director of Challenger Space Center. “The thing that (they) love about what we bring is that we have huge inflatable planets that show the difference in sizes between all of the planets and how they relate to Earth.” An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the space center opened in Peoria in 2000 and pays tribute to space exploration and the astronauts lost in the 1986 Challenger disaster. It is one of four centers that are independently funded and the only one in Arizona. The mission of Swayman and those at the space center has simply been to educate and inspire children and to help them understand the world they live in and the universe beyond. This year’s exhibit will include a robotics section to go along with its giant replica of...

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Tribal leaders urge colleagues to consider marijuana businesses to boost revenue

Shayla Hyde Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 Tribal leaders urge colleagues to consider marijuana businesses to boost revenue PHOENIX — Tribal leaders from California and Washington discussed Thursday the potential opening of legal marijuana businesses on tribal lands. Several members of the National Indian Gaming Association attended the meeting and touted the financial and health rewards. David Vialpando, Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission chairman in Southern California, said the Iipay Nation has a marijuana enterprise that didn’t require a financial investment but reaps revenue. Vialpando said the tribe creates revenue by leasing tribal land for growing marijuana, taxing licensed dispensaries and charging regulatory fees. The tribe has six cultivators, one testing lab and one distillation facility that are all run by non-tribal tenants. The business takes up approximately ten acres. The marijuana is strictly for medical use and goes to licensed dispensaries outside of tribal land. Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, but attempts to legalize recreational marijuana have failed at the ballot box. Recent moves to legalize medical marijuana on the Navajo Nation reservation have been stymied, according to the Navajo Times. Vialpando mentioned at the conference that marijuana businesses have the potential to be more lucrative than running a casino. Arizona has several casinos owned and operated by Native American tribes, including Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community and Tohono O’Odham Nation under agreements the state....

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