Category: Cronkite News

Supporters of same-sex marriage urge AG to stop defending state’s ban

PHOENIX – Delivering more than 5,000 petition signatures in a little red wagon, supporters of gay marriage called Thursday for Attorney General Tom Horne to drop his defense of the state’s ban. The wagon belonged to the daughter of Phoenix couple Kevin Patterson and David Larance, plaintiffs in one of two pending lawsuits challenging the ban. The couple said they joined the petition effort because they want equal rights as parents. Larance was unable to formally adopt their two daughters because of state law. “For their safety and the right to protect their future, it really does hinge upon us being able to raise them as a cohesive family,” Patterson said. The petition drive came a day after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy granted a temporary hold on Tuesday’s ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court overturning Idaho’s ban on gay marriage. Kennedy gave the plaintiffs until Thursday evening to file a response. Arizona is part of the 9th Circuit, so the outcome of the ruling would affect this state’s cases. Jeremy Zegas, project director of Why Marriage Matters and organizer of the petition drive, said a vast majority of the signatures came in the last day. “Right now Attorney General Horne is the biggest impediment towards allowing committed, loving same-sex couples the freedom to marry,” he said. “We’re hoping he’ll step aside as the attorneys general of...

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Appeals court upholds convictions of former Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi

WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court Thursday upheld the fraud, racketeering and public corruption convictions of former Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi, rejecting a slew of challenges from him and co-defendant James Sandlin. Renzi, who represented Arizona’s 1st District in Congress from 2003 to 2009, was convicted of siphoning money from his insurance business to his campaign and of trying to engineer a land deal in exchange for his support of a bill. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals flatly rejected the co-defendants’ claims that the evidence was insufficient to convict them. The panel also rejected Renzi’s claim that testimony about his actions violated the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits members of Congress from being arrested or questioned outside the Congress for their legislative activity. “Congressmen may write the law, but they are not above the law,” said the opinion , written by Circuit Judge Richard C. Tallman. One of Renzi’s attorneys said in an email Thursday the defense team was “disappointed in the court’s ruling.” Kelly Kramer added that the defense team plans to “seek further appellate review” in the case. Calls seeking comment Thursday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona and the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department, which prosecuted the case, were not immediately returned. Renzi’s troubles began the day after he announced his candidacy for...

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With an aging population, Prescott police trained to identify those with Alzheimer’s

PRESCOTT – When a police officer here stops an older driver for erratic driving or a poor decision such as cutting off another car, he or she will look for signs of disorientation, agitated behavior or a shuffling gait, along with other signs of Alzheimer’s. If drugs and alcohol don’t appear to be factors, the officer will run the vehicle’s registration to make sure the driver hasn’t been reported missing, take steps to arrange a safe trip home and follow other steps that are part of a revised policy for dealing with those with the disease. “If you write them a ticket and let them drive away and they cream a family or something or they cause a further traffic problem, then we haven’t done our job,” said Sgt. Ben Scott, who trains fellow Prescott Police Department officers on the policy. With a growing population rich in retirees, Yavapai County is estimated to have 6,000 residents with Alzheimer’s. That number is expected to rise to 9,400 cases by 2020, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Prescott office. Recognizing that Alzheimer’s is an increasing problem here, the police department applied for and received a $50,000 grant in October 2013 from the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. That’s gone toward training officers to recognize if someone has the disease and how to interact with someone who may have Alzheimer’s or...

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McKissic, other transfers, big part of ASU men’s basketball plans

TEMPE ­– Just over five years ago, Shaquielle McKissic’s life was in turmoil. First, he was arrested for attempted residential burglary in his native Washington state and served two years’ probation following three months in jail. The following year, his closest friend was shot and killed outside a party. After garnering major college attention his senior year of high school in Kent, Washington, in the 2008-2009 season, he was unable to play collegiate basketball for two years until he saved enough money to register for classes at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Washington. Set to begin his second season starting at guard for the Arizona State men’s basketball, McKissic said he looks to get past his hard times and struggles. “That was a lot of last year’s talk, you know?” he said. “I‘m just kinda focused more so on the team.” In his first year with the Sun Devils, McKissic averaged 9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game as ASU finished 21-12 and made its first NCAA Tournament since 2009. “I feel like it’s a dream come true,” he said. “To play last year, to go to the tournament, to have that feeling from where I was at two years ago to now, you know, it’s just excitement.” McKissic’s road to ASU began when assistant coach Stan Johnson, as part of an effort to recruit more junior college transfers,...

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Competition asks innovators for ways to conserve Arizona’s water future

PHOENIX – COLTON KROLAK/CRONKITE NEWS: A new contest is challenging people to conserve water – with a chance to $100,000. As Katrina Arroyos reports, the Arizona Community Foundation, Republic Media and Morrison Institute for Public Policy are teaming up to look for the best ideas. KATRINA ARROYOS/CRONKITE NEWS: The Water Consciousness Challenge is aimed to create the Arizona of tomorrow and raise awareness for water supply in Arizona. STEVE SELEZNOW/ARIZONA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: In Phoenix and the Valley we’ve done a great job of managing our water and banking out water, so we have plenty of water today. KATRINA ARROYOS/CRONKITE NEWS: But the challenge is to focus on the future. There seems to be a lot of water right now, but the Arizona Department of Water Resources says by 2030 the state will see a greater imbalance of water supply and demand if changes aren’t made. For this reason, agencies say the community has to take action today to conserve water for the future, especially over the next few years, as Phoenix grows in population. STEVE SELEZNOW/ARIZONA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: We are anticipating continued growth in Arizona. KATRINA ARROYOS/CRONKITE NEWS: Groups who choose to participate in the Water Consciousness Challenge will create a strategic plan to raise public awareness of the water scarcity in Arizona’s future. The winning group of the challenge will receive $100,000 to implement their idea in Maricopa County. This challenge...

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