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Close to one out of every seven votes cast this year will come from Hispanics, according to a non-partisan organization promoting Latino turnout. And group members predict that large percentage of them will vote for Democrats — but not necessarily because of what those candidates offer, but how Republicans are campaigning.
In high schools across the nation today, teenagers will dutifully shuffle in to their classes, take their seats, and learn facts that they could easily Google. In doing so, our schools waste both the teachers’ and the students’ time and energy (and the taxpayers’ money) by focusing too much on memorization, too much on information that anyone with an internet connection and a vague understanding of how to use it can find in less than ten seconds.
Renewal by Andersen recently renovated the House of Refuge East in Mesa as part of National Make A Difference Day.
For Emily Rudh’s ninth birthday in September, she told her friends that she didn’t want any presents. Instead, she asked them to bring items that she could in turn donate to the Humane Society.
This year’s Tucson 2014 Crop Hunger Walk to benefit world-wide and local anti-hunger programs is set for Sunday, Nov. 2. The 2.5-mile walk will begin and end at First United Methodist Church (915 E. 4th St., near the corner of Park Avenue and 4th Street). Free parking is available at the U of A parking garage on 4th and Tyndall. Registration is at 2 p.m. and the walk begins at 2:30 p.m.
The Golder Ranch Fire District will celebrate employees at the annual Employee Recognition event held on Nov. 7 at the Canyon Del Oro High School auditorium. At the event, both administrative and field employees will be recognized for their outstanding work. Additionally, a community recognition award will be given to a community partner who displayed exceptional collaborative efforts over the last year.
InJoy Thrift Stores opened a new 24,000-square-foot retail store on Oct. 3.
As a longtime volunteer at Pima Animal Care Center (PACC), I offer information that addresses some of the distortions that have been printed in recent letters. I volunteer weekly for 10-12 hours to walk dogs and serve as an adoption counselor.
Buying a home in Tucson just got easier.
Proposition 487, to be decided by Phoenix voters this November, has been clouded by a lot of confusion and misinformation. Unfortunately, one of the main perpetrators is Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who in an attempt to confuse voters, has once again attacked our city’s firefighters.
The small, white animals flood into Sharon Hampton’s living room in an instant. It’s Thursday morning at the Westie and Friends AZ Rescue dog shelter in Mesa.
Aimee Basye fell apart along Lake Mary Road in Flagstaff last summer. She was a broken woman training to complete a ridiculous feat at an uncomfortable atmosphere, and the hours of training had drained her spirit and determination.
Roughly two years ago, I came home from work to find a letter on my front door. That letter was to inform me about a junior high school in my neighborhood that was closing. As any community member would, I simply asked why?
The city of Mesa is accepting applications for volunteers who want to attend a green workshop on Nov. 1.
The Children’s Action Alliance is asking candidates for the state Legislature to focus on the children.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The number of people who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has dropped to the lowest level in 15 years as more immigrants turned themselves in to authorities in Texas and fewer took their chances with the dangerous trek across the Arizona desert.
The U.S. government recorded 307 deaths in the 2014 fiscal year that ended in September — the lowest number since 1999. In 2013, the number of deaths was 445.
The Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector finished the 2014 budget year with 115 deaths, compared with 107 in the Tucson sector, according to figures obtained by The Associated Press. It marks the first time since 2001 that Arizona has not been the deadliest place to cross the border.
Arizona has long been the most dangerous border region because of triple-digit temperatures, rough desert terrain and the sheer volume of immigrants coming in to the state from Mexico. But more immigrants are now entering through Texas and not Arizona, driven by a surge of people from Central America.
The Tucson and Rio Grande Valley both saw their numbers of deaths decline from 2013, although Arizona's drop was more precipitous.
Border enforcement officials say the lower numbers are in part due to increased rescue efforts as well as a Spanish-language media campaign discouraging Latin Americans from walking across the border.
Tucson Sector Division Chief Raleigh Leonard says the addition of 10 new rescue beacons that were strategically placed in areas where immigrants traverse most often has been a factor in the decrease in deaths.
"I think we can all agree that crossing the border is an illegal act, but nothing that should be assigned the penalty of death," Leonard said in an interview.
Immigrant rights advocates are skeptical that it is solely the Border Patrol's efforts contributing to the decrease in deaths.
"At best, what the Border Patrol is accomplishing is a geographical shift in where these deaths are happening — rather than adequately responding to the scale of the crisis," said Geoffrey Boyce, a border enforcement and immigration researcher at the University of Arizona and a volunteer with the Tucson-based nonprofit No More Deaths.
The Rio Grande Valley sector was flooded with a surge in unaccompanied minors and families with children who turned themselves in at border crossings in Texas. Most were from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where gang violence and a poor economy have driven out huge numbers of people. That surge has dwindled recently, however, as U.S. and Central American authorities have launched a public relations campaign warning parents against sending their children to the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Tucson Sector, once the busiest in the nation, has seen a steep decline in border crossers. Fewer Mexicans are crossing into the U.S. as the economy here has faltered and drug violence at home has improved.
The Border Patrol also responds to hundreds of cases each year of immigrants who need to be rescued while crossing the desert, long an issue in the Arizona desert. The Border Patrol conducted 509 rescues in the 2014 fiscal year in the Tucson sector, compared to 802 in 2013.
Some of the rescues are made with the help of beacons that were activated 142 times this year. The beacons are 30-feet tall, solar-powered and have sun reflectors and blue lights on top that are visible for 10 miles. The beacons also have signs in three languages directing users to push a red button that sends out a signal for help. Agents respond usually within 10 minutes to an hour.
The agency has a team dedicated solely to rescues, called Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue.
Agents in this elite group spend their days searching for immigrants and responding when one seeks help. They assist not only those who cross the border in search for jobs, but also drug mules and smugglers who become injured or dehydrated in the summer heat.
It was only 10 a.m. and already 95 degrees on a day in late June when the unit's agents provided medical assistance to a 28-year-old man suspected of smuggling drugs near Sells, Arizona.
The thin man had an ID from El Salvador and said he lived in Tucson. He oscillated between Spanish and English, but his message was the same: He was in extreme pain.
The agents gave him a gallon of a sports beverage. He was to drink it slowly, they told him, or else it would make him sick. Next, they connected a saline bag intravenously and checked his vitals.
The agents monitored him and re-examined his vitals, concluding that he wasn't dehydrated but suffering from muscle fatigue. Minutes later, agents who used a drug-sniffing K-9 to search the area found several bundles of marijuana and another suspected smuggler.
The men were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally, but were not charged with smuggling because the loads of marijuana were not found on them.
"To us, it could be a mule, an illegal immigrant. They're all the same. They're human beings," Leonard said.
PHOENIX (AP) — A coalition of Arizona advocacy groups defended its practice Wednesday of dropping off early ballots for voters.
The grassroots organizations are facing an outcry in the wake of surveillance video posted last week that shows a volunteer hand-delivering numerous ballots to a Maricopa County elections office a day before the Aug. 26 primary.
"It's a nonstory. Nothing that they did was illegal," said Tony Navarrete, a spokesman for immigration advocacy group Promise Arizona. "It was them making the promise to voters that they were going to turn in their ballots during the primary."
The video has been viewed more than 360,000 times on YouTube.
A.J. LaFaro, the Republican Party's chairman for Maricopa County, said he witnessed the man, who is a canvasser for Citizens for a Better Arizona, dropping off a box full of ballots.
Lafaro said "ballot harvesting" raises issues about the security of those ballots before they're counted, even though signatures on ballot envelopes are checked by election workers.
"From the time those ballots are mailed to the time they're turned back in, lots of things can happen," LaFaro said.
Ramiro Luna, Citizens for a Better Arizona field director, criticized LaFaro and others for referring to canvassers as "thugs." According to Luna, canvassers knock on doors —mostly in Hispanic communities — and encourage voters to participate. But they are trained not to touch a ballot or mark it in any way, he said.
"The ballot is something we keep as sacred. It is between the voter and the election department. All we are doing is providing a service to make sure the ballot is counted and is turned in on time," Luna said.
LaFaro acknowledged the Republican Party has been doing the same thing when it sends get-out-the-vote volunteers to canvass neighborhoods.
"On occasion we offer to take their ballot and deliver it for them," LaFaro said. "If it's not illegal, we're going to make that offer."
But he argued it was on a much smaller scale compared to Democratic-leaning groups.
"We don't comprehend, nor do we subscribe to what we see out there on the progressive-socialist side," LaFaro said. "That gentleman bringing in several hundred ballots, what function does that serve? We still cannot comprehend why they do it."
Maricopa County Elections spokesman Daniel Ruiz said there is no law covering how a ballot gets to the poll. What counts is whether the ballot is signed and the signature can be verified. However, voters who don't plan on mailing a ballot or dropping it off in person should make sure to give it to someone they trust, Ruiz added.
LaFaro said he will urge the Legislature to change the law when it returns in January to make the process illegal.
The collection of ballots by groups like Citizens for a Better Arizona has become an issue in the Arizona secretary of state's race. The practice would have been banned under a major 2013 election law rewrite that the Legislature repealed this year after opponents collected enough signatures to send it to the ballot.
"I see no reason why any individual, whether it's a candidate themselves, a campaign operative, a party individual, myself, you, anybody, should be in possession of an extraordinary number of ballots," Republican candidate Michele Reagan said at an Oct. 7 debate. "It creates a system where there is an opportunity for fraud, and that is not acceptable."
Democrat Terry Goddard agreed that banning mass collections should be considered, within limits.
"I agree that what Sen. Reagan occasionally calls harvesting is wrong and whatever that means should be abolished," Goddard said, while warning that not all collections should be banned. "Let's look carefully before we jump, because the thing at stake is your right and my right to vote, and it seems to me that under every circumstance we ought to protect that right."
Five candidates are seeking election for three open seats in this year’s race for the Metro Water District’s Board of Directors.
On Monday, Sept. 29, my friend and I went to the Pima County Animal Center on Silverbell. The PCAC now consists of a large tent that holds 100 kennels.
As a member of the Gilbert Town Council, I join with other current and former elected officials who fully endorse Ron Bellus for the Gilbert School Board. We understand the importance of building relationships when working with one another in the governing process. Those relationships aren’t created overnight; it takes time to build trust and mutual respect.
A family of four entered a local shelter with tattered clothes and tired eyes, carrying three old garbage bags holding their only belongings. A wave of relief washed over the family as they cautiously walked into the shelter, greeted by barking dogs, a clean playground and an onslaught of accommodating volunteers.