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How farms cope with a closed border

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With winter lettuce season starting in November, farms and the agriculture industry are rushing to find workers for harvest. A difficult task, made more difficult with the anti-immigration rhetoric coming from the current administration. For Arizona, the stakes are high, especially for the Yuma area, where roughly 90 percent of national lettuce and leafy greens are produced in winter. With the immigrant labor supply already drying up in the United States, farm operators have had to turn to controversial H2-A visas to import and employ temporary agriculture workers. A program that, as it stands, is not popular. “The farmworkers, especially H2-A guest workers, generally don’t have any bargaining power to demand a better wage,” said Bruce Goldstein, president of Farmworker Justice, a nonprofit migrant worker rights group based in Washington D.C. “If they want to come back in a...

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New weapon in war against climate change: Surprise! It’s a camera

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Last June, a jaguar named “Sombra” wandered in front of an isolated wildlife camera in the Chiricahua Mountains. Detecting motion, the camera began recording an infrared video. Sombra stopped in front of the camera. Crickets clicked in the darkness while the big cat looked around before wandering off. These wildlife cameras, often used by hunters to track game, change the way conservationists and biologists discover, monitor and view wildlife. The data collected over years of the National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring programs will provide substantial data for scientists to better understand the future effects of climate change. Data and footage from the cameras have been used in climate-change arguments, litigation and even spurred solutions such as the Oracle Road wildlife-crossing bridge in Oro Valley. Randy Serraglio, southwest conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, oversees the wildlife cameras...

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Test scores reflect education inequality in poor areas

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State test scores highlight educational inequality in rural areas with high percentages of poor students. On the 2016-17 AzMERIT test, 39 percent of Arizona students passed the English section of the test. Across the state, students with an economic disadvantage (qualifying for free or reduced lunch) tested nearly 10 percent lower on the AzMERIT test, passing at 28 percent. Homeless students tested almost 20 percent lower than the average; only two out of every 10 homeless students passed the test. As a result, counties with higher percentages of poor students came in further below the statewide average on the test. For example, in La Paz County, where 80 percent of the tested students qualified as disadvantaged, only 22 percent of students passed the exam. Vincent Roscigno, a professor of sociology at Ohio State University who has studied education inequality...

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UA valley fever research could save sick dogs

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Brinkley is only 1 1/2 years old. She takes six medications a day. One combats the infection in her bones. Three suppress her pain. One supplements her joints, and the last is an antibiotic that fights her additional health threats. Brinkley suffers from a severe case of valley fever, a disease that is crippling dogs all over Arizona. There is nothing that could have prevented Brinkley from contracting the disease, but research at the University of Arizona could change that, with a vaccine that would eliminate the threat of valley fever in dogs, possibly within the next five years. “We’ve had some good lucky recently,” said John Galgiani, Director of the UA Valley Fever Center for Excellence. “We have a (potential) vaccine that has been very productive in mice.” Researcher and veterinarian Lisa Shubitz said vaccine tests on dogs should...

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Drug trafficking in southeast Arizona declining but still national crisis

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Drug trafficking across the U.S. and Mexico border continues to be an epidemic, not just for Southeast Arizona, but the nation as a whole. Cochise County is one of the primary points of entry. Since 2013, six different drugs have been commonly smuggled into the U.S.: methamphetamine, powdered cocaine, marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin and oxycodone. According to the U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector, agents seized 727,367 pounds of marijuana last year; nearly 22 times the 32,608 pounds confiscated by Yuma’s sector. The Tucson sector haul accounts for more than half of the total amount of marijuana seized in the southern sector of the U.S. Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre, who has been with the county attorney’s office for 12 years and served as a drug and violence prosecutor for five years, said heroin and cocaine use is on the...

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Rural community theater’s across Arizona struggle to survive

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In a world with limited arts funding, community theaters across the state of Arizona struggle to sustain themselves. According to Arizona Commission on the Arts, in rural areas only 52 percent of students have access to arts education programs in their school. The value community theaters bring to students and schools is being completely diminished due to lack of funding. Over 20 nonprofit community theaters in Arizona look to Arizona Commission on the Arts, which is funded in part by National Endowment for the Arts, to help fund their programs. The agency released $2,354,500 in grants for fiscal year 2018. In 2013, Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Department of Education conducted an arts education census that revealed that out of the 2,261 schools in Arizona, only 91 offer theater. That is only 4.9 percent. “Fortunately, we haven’t...

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Suzanne Moody and her 23 year love affair with Chiricahua National Monument

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    Park Ranger Suzanne Moody has lived at Chiricahua National Monument for 23 years, and she finds something new in the park to fall in love with each day. “You would think after working here all these years I would have more than enough photos, but there’s always something slightly different,” Moody said in between snapping pictures, “This is a view I could never get tired of looking at.” Chiricahua National Monument in Wilcox, Ariz., was established by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924 for its unique rock formations and the wide variety of plant and animal species. Per its website, Chiricahua is just under 12,000 acres, and the national monument attracts around 55,000 to 60,000 thousand people each year. The summer after Moody finished her degree in social work, she found an ad in Backpacker magazine for the...

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Cochise College joins nation’s top-ranked schools

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Who would have thought a small community college out of Cochise County would be named the second-best community college in the country. Cochise College has six collegiate teams, over 11,000 students and over 50 major’s to choose from. These power-house campuses have a lot of hard work and dedication that has now been proven over time. More than 700 community colleges all over the country were analyzed and ranked from worst to best conducted by WalletHub, a financial advising website that provides free credit scores online and financial advice daily. The community colleges were ranked on multiple factors: cost and financing, education, financing and career outcomes. J.D. Rottweiler, President at Cochise College since 2009, has seen the college grow in more ways than one in the last 10 years. “Cochise College has always had a solid foundation and board. I...

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Wine industry bubbling up fast in Arizona

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Toast this: Arizona’s wine industry grew 1,940 percent in 14 years. New wineries are bursting onto the map with vineyards and tasting rooms popping up statewide, concentrated in the southeast growing region. Arizona wine is making a name for itself and pouring onto the national scene from grape to bottle. In 2003 there were five wineries in the state, in 2011 there were 42 and now there are 102 active small wineries and vineyards across Arizona. According to a 2017 survey done by Northern Arizona University and the Arizona Tourism Office, the Arizona wine industry supports 640 jobs and has a statewide economic impact of $56.2 million, up from $37.6 million in 2011. Access an interactive map that shows all wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms here. The growing success is partly due to the climate. Southeast Arizona is one of...

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Arizona Republicans say Flake vulnerable in next election

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  At a Cochise County Oktoberfest event earlier this month, Sen. Jeff Flake received zero ballot petition signatures, according to Cochise County Republican Precinct Commiteeman, David Dolge. Dolge said a ballot petition was circulated around the event, where about 70 people signed for Kelli Ward. He said many republicans in the county feel underrepresented by the senator, which may be why he didn’t receive any signatures.  Flake speaks out about his beliefs, which has landed him in hot water with many of his constituents throughout the state. With Republican challenger, Kelli Ward already announcing her run to take the Senate seat, Flake is vulnerable.  But University of Arizona Professor Chris Weber said it is too early to tell just how vulnerable he is. Weber, who specializes in political psychology and political behavior pertaining to American political campaigns, said there...

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Women’s pay shortchanged

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Eighteen cents. That is the difference between a woman and a man working in Arizona. According to data by the Institute of Women’s Policy Research’s (IWPR) project Status of Women in the States, Arizona ranks 17 out of 51, which includes the 50 states and D.C. For every dollar a man earns in Arizona, a woman earns 82 cents. This means that the wage gap is narrower in Arizona than most states, but it might not be because the situation is better here. Julie Anderson, a senior research associate who manages the Status of Women in the States project in D.C., said that in some states the wage gap might appear smaller due to factors like men not particularly having higher earnings so it just seems like the wage gap is narrower. While the gap continues to narrow, if...

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Arizona looks to make a penny on copper industry

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Copper’s value is on the rise, and equipped with new mining technology, Arizona has a promising future in producing the nation’s copper. The value of copper hit $3.20 in mid 2014, before taking a dive to $2.50 in early 2015. It took a significant dip into an all time low of $1.60 in 2016. Now, copper value is rising again, passing $3 for the first time since 2014, according to the NASDAQ stock exchange. Arizona produces 65 percent of the nation’s copper, leading the copper industry in the U.S. As mining continues to become economically feasible, new mine sites have been proposed across the state. New technology for mining had made the production process more sustainable after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set the Clean Air Act into place in 1970 and the Clean Water Act in 1972.  “We...

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World’s largest rose tree can be yours for $1.6M

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  The Lady Banksia Rose. The world’s largest rose tree. Thousands of blooms each spring. Yours for $1.6 million. The Shady Lady — labeled by Guiness as the World’s Largest Rose Tree — is for sale. A tree this big takes work, especially for an older couple. Burt and Dorothy Devere have reached a tough decision: sell the property that has always been in the family to someone who isn’t family. “The problem is that the next generation of our family lives elsewhere. They all have careers and are nowhere near retirement,” Burt said. The property includes the Rose Tree Museum, along with its artifacts, and the rose tree itself. The couple have taken care of the tree for 25 years in retirement and have “never worked so hard” to maintain it. “The rose bush will be here. And...

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Gaps in Clery Act create appearance of safe colleges

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The number of sexual assaults against University of Arizona women is five times greater than what the university reports to federal authorities as required by law. The Clery Act provides an accurate representation of rapes occurring on-campus, but misrepresents the bigger picture of rape statistics by not including rapes that occur even just one mile off campus. Tucson Police Department investigated 717 cases of sexual offense and assault cases in a one-square mile radius of the UA campus between 2007-2017. The UA Police Department investigated 187 on-campus rapes in the same 10 years. Of TPD’s 717 cases, 131 of them were reported from victims on campus, but not all occurred on campus. Luis Puig has been with UAPD since 1996, and is now the record’s program coordinator and custodian. Since the agencies use the same system, he was able...

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Anxious? Just breathe

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Close your eyes. Place your left hand on your abdomen and your right hand on your chest. Take a deep breath in from your lower lungs through your nose. Hold that breath for four seconds. Calmly exhale through your mouth. Repeat. Feel calmer? Many studies have indicated that you should. However, a recent study done on mice may have found the exact reason as to why deep breathing can calm someone down and reduce anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common illness in the United States affecting 40 million people age 18 or older. At the University of Arizona, 16 percent of students have been diagnosed with anxiety while 36 percent have said that anxiety has made it somewhat or very difficult to work on their studies. Fifty percent of students...

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