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By Allison Hurtado
The holiday season is here, and that means it’s party time. Allstate’s new “Holiday Home Hazards” poll found that 83 percent of Americans plan to party this season, but beware: that sweater you plan to wear isn’t the only thing that can get ugly during the holidays.
The Arizona Highway Patrol Association wants to ensure all families make it to and from their holiday destinations safely.
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona lawmakers are considering taxes on electronic cigarettes as a way to help cover a $1 billion budget shortfall, a central Arizona weekly has reported.
"It's one option of many that we should look at at the Legislature," said state Democratic Rep. Stefanie Mach of Tucson, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee. "It certainly isn't going to come close to the amount of money that we need to make up the deficit, but any little bit helps."
Some legislators are lighting up at the idea of taxing e-cigarettes to cover a huge deficit expected by fiscal year 2017, but how to regulate the devices has been a source of debate.
Legislators in dozens of states last year were faced with bills related to electronic cigarettes. Two states have already enacted "sin taxes" on them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. On the federal level, the Food and Drug Administration has struggled since 2011 to implement rules on how to categorize and regulate them as well as liquid nicotine.
Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, of Fountain Hills, told the Arizona Capitol Times taxing e-cigarettes could discourage people from using them in an effort to quit smoking.
"The e-cigarettes, I am told, are not nearly as damaging to the body as tobacco is, and part of the reasoning for the tobacco tax is to compensate society for the additional costs in medical care that smokers cause," said Kavanagh, who also serves on the House Appropriations Committee and running for a Senate seat.
The financial impact for Arizona from e-cigarette taxes is difficult to determine since proposals vary and cigarettes have about $2 in additional taxes per pack.
Arizona so far hasn't enforced many restrictions on the electronic devices. Last year, the state made it illegal to sell them to minors. But Attorney General Tom Horne recently said e-cigarettes do not fall under the Smoke Free Arizona Act. Thus, patrons can smoke them inside restaurants, bars and other public places. However, cities such as Tempe have banned them.
The battery-powered devices heat liquid nicotine and create a vapor that the user can inhale. They are available at most convenience stores and "vape shops."
Ben Denny, who works at a downtown Phoenix vape shop called Butt Out, said the industry would be open to some reasonable taxes but not to the same degree as cigarettes. The growing e-cigarette community would likely fight any legislation that advocated otherwise.
"Nobody serious is even getting close to claiming that (e-cigarettes) do similar harm (as smoking tobacco), so by attempting to tax them the same way, lawmakers are making a claim nobody else is making. And really, they're just saying they want to bring in more money," Denny said.
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona prison teacher has blamed state officials over an attack in which she says she was stabbed and raped by a convicted sex offender she was left alone with in a penitentiary classroom.
Her attorneys filed a lawsuit Tuesday saying the Arizona Department of Corrections failed to provide adequate security and the prison's health care provider didn't properly evaluate the prisoner charged in the assault.
The January attack has raised questions about prison security after reports showed she was put into a room full of inmates with no guards nearby. Authorities say the 20-year-old blamed in the assault had lingered behind after others left the room, then repeatedly stabbed the victim with a pen before raping her.
Arizona's workplace safety agency launched an investigation of prison policy after The Associated Press reported the details in June. The review is ongoing, a Division of Occupational Safety and Health spokeswoman said.
Corrections Director Charles Ryan, who is named in the lawsuit, was not immediately available, but prison officials have said they cannot comment on the lawsuit.
Corrections spokesman Doug Nick has called the attack "a cowardly and despicable crime, for which the inmate is rightfully facing prosecution."
He says the safety of all staffers is the department's "paramount priority, and we have reached out to the victim to offer our full assistance and support."
The lawsuit filed in Pinal County Superior Court doesn't seek specific damages. In a precursor July legal claim, attorney Scott Zwillinger asked for $4 million and wrote that the state could lose $10 million if the case went to trial.
Nick has said previously that "the department vigorously disputes allegations made in the employee's claim against the state, and new allegations being made to the media."
The lawsuit says Corizon Health, the state prison system's health care provider, improperly assessed Harvey's mental health. The lawsuit said that led prison officials to classify him as a relatively low-risk offender, allowing him access to the classroom. A Corizon spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment Tuesday.
In an AP interview, the 34-year-old teacher said she mainly blames Ryan, who she says allowed lax training, staffing shortages and poor security at the Eyman prison in Florence, south of Phoenix. The AP does not identify those who say they are victims of sexual assault.
Jacob Harvey, 20, has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault in the case. His lawyer has declined comment on the case.
At the time of the attack, Harvey was being held in a unit that holds about 1,300 rapists, child molesters and other sex offenders.
He was in the first year of a 30-year sentence after being convicted of raping a Glendale woman in 2011. Prosecutors said Harvey, who was 17 at the time, knocked on a woman's door asked for a drink of water, then pushed his way in and repeatedly forced himself on the victim, whose 2-year-old child was in the apartment at the time.
The prison teacher also describes a violent attack and says the department left her vulnerable and unprepared for it.
"I remember trying to fight him off," she said. "The only thing I remembered from self-defense was to tuck my head so he would not choke me."
She said she also remembers getting stabbed, screaming and being unable to activate a panic button on her two-way radio.
She said she had received only four hours of self-defense training before being placed in classrooms, which guards did not regularly monitor, despite regulations calling for three checks each hour.
During the interview, she said radios were prone to battery problems and in short supply. If one wasn't available, she'd be pressured to hold class anyway, she said.
The teacher says she feels traumatized by the attack.
"There's times where I think I'm doing good," she said. "Then I just come crashing down. I haven't been sleeping well."
While Chandler has received recognition as one of the safest municipalities of its size in the country, officials admit it can do more about the fight against domestic violence.
The chief attorney for the city of Tucson is telling a judge that national security could be compromised if it is forced to disclose some documents about how it uses equipment it has purchased to track cell phone users.
A federal jury in Phoenix has convicted an Oklahoma man accused of mailing an inoperable homemade bomb to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
A prosecutor says an Oklahoma man charged with mailing an inoperable homemade bomb to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio wasn't motivated by animosity toward the sheriff and instead sent the explosive package in hopes of framing a former business partner.
During National Preparedness Month in September experts, are warning people everywhere to get prepared for the unexpected.
Tesla Motors has chosen Nevada as the site for a massive, $5 billion factory that will pump out batteries for a new generation of electric cars, a person familiar with the company's plans said Wednesday.
Take a walk down the toothbrush aisle and you will likely see dozens of choices, varying in type, price, and brand.
As a former fire captain in the Salt Lake City area I offer the following advice:
It may look like a cigarette, and it certainly delivers a dose of nicotine like a cigarette.
In this photo taken on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, Christine Choi takes a puff on her e-cigarette at the Sepulveda Basin Dog Park in Los Angeles, as she accompanies her dog, Po, at right. Recent surges in the use of e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco raised questions about those products on pets. The greatest danger is the trash, if dogs find discarded tobacco or nicotine cartridges from e-cigarettes. Despite how rancid they seem to us, dogs will eat batteries and cartridges. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, Christine Choi takes a puff on her e-cigarette at the Sepulveda Basin Dog Park in Los Angeles, as she accompanies her dog, not pictured. Recent surges in the use of e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco raised questions about those products on pets. The greatest danger is the trash, if dogs find discarded tobacco or nicotine cartridges from e-cigarettes. Despite how rancid they seem to us, dogs will eat batteries and cartridges. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Regarding Mr. Maruca’s column from June 17: “What higher standards mean for the students in my classroom.” Re: Common Core.
As monsoon season approaches, Chandler wants residents to help reduce stormwater pollution by bringing their household hazard waste to the city’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility on the southwest corner of McQueen and Queen Creek roads.
The lakes on the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course will be drained this week and animals moved to another site, according to a public letter from golf course owner Wilson Gee.
A tour of Michael Pollack’s three museums show a man who revels in a past that started well before his entry into the world. One is loaded with memorabilia from bygone days, things that used to linger behind the glass panes on department storefronts to convert window shoppers into spenders. A couple other pieces have a “one of these things is not like the others” ring to it given their relative modernity, like the mini statue of Sonic the Hedgehog.
From blazing wildfires in Colorado to Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast, natural disasters have been front-page news in 2012. Less headline-worthy are the financial repercussions that follow, which tens of thousands of people are dealing with right now. These types of tragedies are unavoidable — the most you can do is prepare to minimize the time it takes to put the pieces of your life back together. Creating a plan that addresses your finances and insurance beforehand can make it easier to recover from a devastating event.