Category: Cronkite News

As national news groups react, House won’t back down over press access

Madison Alder Friday, April 8, 2016 As national news groups react, House won’t back down over press access WASHINGTON – As state and national press advocates reacted Friday to what they called “invasive” background checks for media at the Arizona Legislature, House Republicans were refusing to back down on an issue they insist is being blown out of proportion. “It’s not about banning media from the floor,” but about the need for increased security in the Capitol, said Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the Republican Majority Caucus. She said recent news reports that charged reporters had been barred were “completely inaccurate.” The dispute began Monday when House administrators asked nonstaff to submit to a lengthy background form that included Social Security numbers and other personal information, information that was taken off the form later in the week. But Capitol press refused to comply with the revised form, which House officials are requiring for anyone with access to a nonpublic part of the Capitol. As a result, more than a dozen photographers and reporters were turned away from the House floor Thursday and forced to cover that day’s session from the gallery. National free-speech organizations said Friday they were concerned about the background check, some more than others. “It’s certainly very troubling to hear that reporters would lose that kind of access to lawmakers,” said Melissa Yeager, senior staff writer...

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Detective’s actions earn a new hearing for Arizona death row inmate

Madison Alder Friday, April 8, 2016 Detective’s actions earn a new hearing for Arizona death row inmate WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court ordered a lower court to consider whether an Arizona death row inmate’s trial for the 1990 sex assault and murder of an 8-year-old girl may have been tainted by the actions of a detective. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected all of Michael Gallegos’ claims that he was poorly represented by his attorney at his trial and at sentencing in the death of Kendall Wishon. But the divided panel said a federal district judge should consider whether Gallegos can raise a new argument in state court that Armando Saldate, a Phoenix police detective, failed to advise him of his rights before he confessed to Wishon’s murder. Gallegos said in court documents that Saldate “had a history of both lying in judicial proceedings and ignoring defendants’ constitutional rights,” facts that prosecutors knew but failed to tell the defense. Michael Gallegos, on death row for the 1990 murder and sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl in Phoenix, could get a new hearing on claims a detective in his case may have lied. (Photo courtesy Arizona Department of Corrections) Prosecutors did not respond to requests to comment on the decision. But an attorney for Gallegos welcomed the court’s order, which was handed down...

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Officials tell Congress infrastructure needs help to keep water safe, reliable

Katie Bieri Friday, April 8, 2016 Officials tell Congress infrastructure needs help to keep water safe, reliable WASHINGTON – The president of a Phoenix-based water company joined other officials from around the country to tell a Senate panel Thursday that the nation’s aging infrastructure needs help if Americans want a reliable, safe source of water. “It’s unfortunate that our aging and deteriorating public water systems threaten economic viability and public health,” said Joe Gysel, the president of EPCOR Water USA, in testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Affairs Committee. The committee was looking at the federal government’s role in supporting water infrastructure, in the wake of problems that resulted in lead-tainted water in Flint, Michigan. “The American people have a right to expect safe, clean water when they turn on their faucets,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, in her opening statement. “Yet millions of homes across America receive water from pipes that date to an era before scientists and public health professionals fully understood the harm caused by lead exposure. “The health and safety of our children and families depends on modern infrastructure, that provides safe drinking water and assures clean rivers and streams,” Boxer said later. Witnesses at the hearing included representatives from public and private water operations, large and small, from across the country. For most of them, the message to lawmakers was clear: Local governments...

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El Niño’s dry conditions may spur bad Arizona wildfire season

Kendall Bartley Friday, April 8, 2016 El Niño’s dry conditions may spur bad Arizona wildfire season FLAGSTAFF – Fire officials in Flagstaff are preparing for wildfire season as El Niño unexpectedly left Arizona with dry conditions that can spark fire danger. Read more: 10 Worst Wildfires in Modern Arizona History Southwest dry this fire season “El Niño was expected to bring wetter than normal conditions to the Southwest but that’s not what happened this year,” said Brian Klimowski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff. “Many locations in northern Arizona have had less than 25 to even 50 percent of the normal expected precipitation,” Klimowski said. Fire season extends from April through June because those are the driest months of the year with windy and warm conditions. Just how bad the fire season will be depends on whether the state is doused with rainfall, Klimowski said. Wildfire preparations in Flagstaff Fire officials in Flagstaff are preparing for a rough fire season, just in case. “We have been doing a lot of fuel treatments and thinning (of vegetation) around the city to prepare for that eventuality,” said Jerolyn Burne, a specialist with Flagstaff Wildland Fire Management. “It has proven successful with many wildfires that have been in our area.” One resident’s wildfire story The Schutlz Fire in 2010 led to evacuations of more than 700 buildings in Flagstaff....

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Salt lounges could be the latest trend in allergy relief, relaxation

Elena Mendoza Friday, April 8, 2016 Salt lounges could be the latest trend in allergy relief, relaxation SCOTTSDALE – Some allergy sufferers are beginning to turn to salt therapy to alleviate their symptoms instead of over-the-counter or prescription medicines. The treatment, also known as halotherapy, is a form of alternative medicine that requires the patient to breathe in micro-sized salt particles dispersed through a halogenerator. “You find yourself sitting for 45 minutes in this kind of cloud of salt and your only job is to breathe,” said Suzi Provenche, owner of Salties Mind and Body Spa. “You can breathe better, you just feel healthier and stronger,” said Alice Gilbert, a frequent spa customer. “It’s so relaxing, you can go to sleep in here.” In addition to the calm atmosphere, some people also enjoy the lack of allergic reactions that they can have with medications. “I’ve lived in Arizona all of my life and I’ve tried everything… the pills and everything. They have some side effects that are tough,” said Cherie Cordova, another customer. Provenche said the salt has natural anti-microbial properties that kill bacteria in the sinuses. “It doesn’t change the mediators or the chemicals that we release in our body that cause the allergic symptoms, but it helps alleviate the symptoms that you develop,” said Dr. Michael Manning of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Associates. Dr. Manning compared the...

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