Category: Cronkite News

Douglas: It’s Board of Education’s prerogative to sue

James Anderson Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 Douglas: It’s Board of Education’s prerogative to sue Despite the threat of lawsuits from the Arizona State Board of Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas insisted Thursday that she and the board are maintaining a professional working relationship. Douglas was in Glendale to lead an Arizona Department of Education civic engagement event. After giving a speech and handing out awards, she stopped to take questions from the media. “That’s their privilege,” she said of the board’s vote to authorize litigation. “The law is very clear. I’m not sure why they’re doing that, but that’s their prerogative.” Douglas and the board have been locked in a battle all year over the role that the superintendent has in relationship to the board. On Tuesday, the Arizona State Board of Education voted to pursue all steps — including litigation — to make Douglas give board investigators remote access to department data and fully redirect traffic to the board’s independent website. Arizonans: What should happen to Diane Douglas? Board members allege that the lack of virtual access to data has kept the board’s Investigative Unit from doing its job. “The current situation is unconscionable in my opinion, in excluding our investigators from full access to the needed information and possibly endangering students that we serve, as well as the integrity of this board,” board member Charles...

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Report gives Arizona C-minus for kid dental sealant programs

Claire Cleveland Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 Report gives Arizona C-minus for kid dental sealant programs At Native Health in central Phoenix, dentist Anh Thu Becker uses a 3-D model of molars to explain how she’s going to apply a thin layer of plastic resin to 10-year-old Suzette’s teeth. With dental sealant on her molars, Suzette – Cronkite News agreed to use only her first name because she’s a minor – is far less likely to get cavities over the next five years. On average, dental sealants cost about $48. Most private insurance plans cover the entire cost, but that isn’t the case for Suzette and other children covered by the state’s Medicaid system. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System will reimburse $25, leaving parents – or, in this case, Suzette’s grandmother Rose – to come up with the rest. For the working poor, those who don’t qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance, dental sealants can be unaffordable. A report card this year by the Pew Charitable Trusts gives Arizona a C-minus for its efforts to help children from low-income families get dental sealants. That grade was an improvement from the previous report card, which gave Arizona a D. The report card faults Arizona in two areas: • Not providing dental sealant programs at 75 percent or more of schools with significant percentages of children receiving free...

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Adulthood for foster care teens delivers a new world with new woes

Sydney Glenn Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 Adulthood for foster care teens delivers a new world with new woes Just a few months after foster teen Jaquelyn Cedillo turned 18 and enrolled in the Department of Child Safety’s independent living program, she was sleeping in a park with a boyfriend, having already spent the monthly stipend the state gives her to live on her own. “About three months ago, for about a month I didn’t have a place to go,” she said. “We ended up going to the motel and getting stuck at the motel. And then sometimes … we had to sleep at the park because we couldn’t afford the next day for the motel.” As of April, more than 500 Arizona foster teens who had turned 18 were participating in a DCS independent living program meant to get them ready for jobs and stability. Once 18, they have a choice: stay in an independent living program or leave the system and go it alone. About 350 teens, according to a DCS report released earlier this year, “aged out” and left. Either way, the road to independence is often fragile and costly. Cedillo said her parents, both alcoholics, died when she was 12. She had a baby at the age of 13. At one point, Cedillo’s daughter also was in CPS’ custody. “Growing up, I had a rough life....

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EPA agent: ‘This is not good’

Sara Weber Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 EPA agent: ‘This is not good’ The Environmental Protection Agency recently released videos of the Gold King Mine spill in Colorado. The spill resulted in 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater spilling into the Animas River. The videos are a candid look into what EPA workers saw when they arrived at the scene. “This is not good,” one man says off camera as thick, yellow sludge flows from the mine. “What do we do know?” another one asks in a separate clip. Since the August 5 spill, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and the Navajo Nation have reported finding traces of contaminated water . Environmentalists in Arizona are beginning to worry that a similar accident could happen in one of the numerous abandoned mines throughout the state. In efforts to inform the public and “maintain the greatest degree of transparency,” the EPA has released nearly 20 videos taken shortly after the spill. The videos, taken by agency staff, depict the severity of the spill and include explanations by staff on the scene. Warning: Some of the videos contain profanities. The rest of the clips can be found at the EPA’s website. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Source: Environmental...

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Mercury’s Christon cultivating confidence in her hometown’s youth

Chris Caraveo Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 Mercury’s Christon cultivating confidence in her hometown’s youth PHOENIX — In the midst of a playoff season in her first summer with the Phoenix Mercury, guard Shameka Christon sat courtside after practice and unlaced her shoes as she planned for the offseason. “I definitely want to go to the Grand Canyon,” Christon said. “Never been there. I want to go and hike …” “Sedona!” one of her teammates interjected as she ran onto the court. “Go to Sedona,” Christon continued. “There’s a lot of things I want to see and a lot of things that I want to do. Phoenix especially, or right around the area, is so beautiful. There’s so much to see.” After exploring the Grand Canyon State for a week or two, she will head back home to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where she owns her own company, Shameka Christon Enterprises, which she started in 2009. Her business includes a day care and basketball camps, both of which she is a constant part of after the WNBA season ends. “I feel like whenever you have the success that I’ve had, as well as any other player that’s played in this league, especially as long as I have been, you know we have a gift and that’s to go ahead and give back and hopefully teach others,” Christon said. Since entering the...

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