Category: Cronkite News

Dodging an Army bullet: State gets only a fraction of service’s 40,000 job cuts

Nick Wicksman Thursday, July 16, 2015 Dodging an Army bullet: State gets only a fraction of service’s 40,000 job cuts WASHINGTON – Arizona may have averted disaster in the Army’s plan to trim 40,000 jobs, but the announcement that Fort Huachuca will lose 114 positions over the next two years still is “not welcomed news,” officials said this week. The Sierra Vista base is the only one of the three Army facilities in the state that will see reductions, as the service works to cut personnel to a pre-World War II level of 450,000. Fort Huachuca currently employs nearly 8,000 personnel, 2,468 of whom are active-duty troops, so the cuts ordered last week will account for less than 5 percent of the soldiers on base. By contrast, Fort Benning in Georgia will lose the nation’s most jobs, with 3,402 positions slated to be cut over the next two to three years. Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska will lose the biggest share, with the 2,631 positions it is scheduled to lose accounting for 59 percent of jobs there. While Arizona is taking a fraction of the overall cuts, local officials were still feeling the pain. This is “certainly not welcomed news,” said Mary Tieman, executive director of the Sierra Vista Area Chamber. “We know the effects will be greater than 5 percent … when we measure the impact to our...

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Navajo reject House bill that would divide former Fort Wingate land with Zuni

Aubrey Rumore Wednesday, July 15, 2015 Navajo reject House bill that would divide former Fort Wingate land with Zuni WASHINGTON – The Navajo Nation cannot support a plan to divide more than 20,000 acres of the former Fort Wingate with the Zuni tribe, a Navajo official told a House committee Wednesday. Navajo Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates said a House bill that spells out what had been informally agreed to two years ago contains mistakes. The 2013 proposal to divide roughly 20,000 acres of Fort Wingate in New Mexico, with green areas going to the Navajo and blue to the Pueblo of Zuni. The tan area would be retained by the Army. (Map courtesy House Natural Resources Committee) He said there are also questions about the deal’s impact on gaming rights, about sacred sites on the land and concerns about hazardous waste left behind by the Army. “Our land is everything to our people, my people,” Bates said in testimony to a House Natural Resources subcommittee. The tribe’s position appeared to irritate Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, who was part of the 2013 negotiations between the Zuni and Navajo that resulted in the bill heard Wednesday. “I want to get this done,” said Young, the chairman of the subcommittee. “It’s my intent to go forth with this legislation.” Zuni Gov. Val Panteah urged the committee to do just that, saying both...

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New downtown Phoenix arena could bring end to Coyotes’ bumpy desert road

Michael Nowels Wednesday, July 15, 2015 New downtown Phoenix arena could bring end to Coyotes’ bumpy desert road When the Winnipeg Jets moved to the desert and became the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996, it was a bold statement, part of the NHL’s efforts in the 1990s to place hockey in markets previously believed untenable. Ice hockey in the desert? To some, it seemed totally unsustainable. “To support four major franchises is not the easiest thing in the world, and I think it’s going to be a little bit more difficult than people estimate,” then-Suns star Charles Barkley told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. before the Coyotes arrived in Phoenix. The Coyotes’ 19-year odyssey in the desert has indeed been difficult, especially since the team moved to Glendale in late 2003. While the franchise’s ownership group says it is committed to the Valley, criticism of the team’s long-term viability in Arizona has grown. With the Glendale City Council having voted to void its 15-year, $225 million lease agreement with the team, the Coyotes could be left searching for a new home, pending the outcome of an ongoing legal battle. How we got here The Coyotes played at US Airways Center, along with the Suns, from the time they arrived in the Valley until partway through the 2003-04 season, when they moved to a new arena in Glendale with an agreement that...

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When keeping secrets is your job, getting help is a problem for some veterans

Soyenixe Lopez Tuesday, July 14, 2015 When keeping secrets is your job, getting help is a problem for some veterans WASHINGTON – Sgt. Daniel Somers’ work in Iraq was classified, so when he returned from the war and sought treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder he balked at a care in a group setting. Somers, afraid he might reveal classified information, asked the Department of Veterans Affairs in Phoenix for individual care. After two years with no resolution from the VA, Somers took his own life in 2013. “No veteran or family should go through the same tragedy that the Somers family experienced,” said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, testifying in support of a bill aimed at helping veterans like Somers get the care they need. The Classified Veterans Access to Care Act would require the VA to ensure that covered veterans have access to mental health treatment, and that VA employees get guidance on how to properly deal with veterans in classified settings. It would also let veterans with classified experiences identify themselves so they can get the appropriate care as quickly as possible. Sinema’s bill was one of 13 bills heard Tuesday by a friendly House Veterans Affairs subcommittee, two leaders of which are co-sponsors on her bill. Sinema choked up briefly as she told the story of Somers, a Humvee machine-gunner who “ran over...

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Reaction to proposed Iran deal is swift, and split, from Arizona lawmakers

Nihal Krishan Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Reaction to proposed Iran deal is swift, and split, from Arizona lawmakers WASHINGTON – It took more than 20 months of negotiations to reach agreement on an Iranian nuclear deal, but it took mere hours for Arizona lawmakers to respond to the plan, with support falling along party lines. What Democrats heralded as a historic breakthrough in diplomacy, promising a safer, more peaceful Iran in years to come, Republicans called a “historic mistake” that would only fuel, not restrict, Iran’s nuclear and violent ambitions. President Barack Obama early Tuesday announced the multination agreement that he said would significantly decrease Iran’s nuclear capabilities for the next 15 years in exchange for gradually lifting trade and financial sanctions against that country. The plan also calls for Iran to give up large parts of its uranium stockpile and uranium-enrichment capabilities, which will constantly be monitored by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Congress will have 60 days after it receives the agreement to review it, but cannot amend it: The deal is only subject to an up or down vote. Congress is scheduled to be on recess for the month of August. Critics note that the restrictions on nuclear power would end within 10 to 15 years and that the Iranian government fundamentally cannot be trusted regardless of its promises. “Ultimately, the problem with this...

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