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News for Southeastern Arizona, provided by the University of Arizona School of Journalism

Ending the epidemic by slapping wrists

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PHOENIX — Gov.Doug Ducey, true to his pledge, now has a plan he hopes will stop the preponderance of opioids and reduce addiction rates. How? By giving bad doctors a slap on the wrist and locking up addicts. Ducey called for an end to Arizona’s opioid epidemic in his 2018 State of the State address, promising that the plan would be aggressive and controversial. That plan was announced today and is called the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act. Part of it targets the doctors who prescribe opioids for pain management by permitting medical regulatory boards to access the prescription monitoring database that all opioid prescriptions are entered into. The punishment for doctors writing dangerous prescriptions? Training classes, suspension of their medical license, and at worst, license revocation. While that means Dr. Opioid has to find a different career, it doesn’t mean...

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Legislative Roundup: Hemp, Bitcoin, and Service Dogs

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PHOENIX — If your tax evasion scheme involved bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, the Arizona State Legislature would like to have a word with you. That’s because a Senate bill would make everyone’s favorite internet money subject to capital gains taxes at the state level. This is the second week of the session, and the Legislature has a number of bills floating around that penalize fake service animals, start a hemp production program, banning conversion therapy, as well as the aforementioned bitcoin bill. Now who said government isn’t responsive to the times? Dispelling “Magic Internet Money” Virtual currencies, known as cryptocurrencies, have surfaced into the public consciousness due to the meteoric rise of bitcoin (though the value has been very volatile — dropping several thousand dollars in the last couple days). Bitcoin and other cryptos have earned a reputation as...

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Legislative Roundup – New Year, New Bills

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PHOENIX — The Arizona State Legislature started this week with Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State address, followed by the reading of over 100 bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and then finally the unveiling of the executive budget for fiscal year 2019. Doug Says No to Drugs and Yes to School Spending In his State of the State address, Ducey highlighted some of the goals of the state government for the upcoming year. He mentioned several issues such as opioid abuse, child abandonment, impaired highway driving — with a plan of action on how to deal with each of them. Details were light on what that would entail. He also pledged to increase education funding and restore money that was cut as part of the recession. “We can always do more for kids and...

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How to build a 27-foot mirror under a football stadium

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Beneath the east bleachers of  Arizona Stadium, the most delicate and perfected mirror-making process takes place. The University of Arizona’s Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory is famous for building mirrors for some of the world’s most powerful telescopes. Engineers at the mirror lab are working on mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope; each mirror is about 27-feet in diameter.Upon completion, the GMT will be the largest telescope in the world and will revolutionize the way astronomers study the universe. “It will allow astronomers to study earth-like planets around other stars,” said Thomas Fleming, an astronomer and senior lecturer at the University of Arizona. “Also, the further away you can see in space, the further back in time you’re looking.” Five of the seven GMT mirrors are at some point in this engineering process. But how are these massive mirrors made?...

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University of Arizona climate researchers worried about funding cuts for future projects

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One month ago, a forest fire in California burned over 200,000 acres, destroyed 2,800 homes and killed 41 people. Two months ago, Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico and left millions of people without electricity, fresh water or ways to communicate. This year, Arizona and 38 other states, experienced above-average temperatures for the first 10 months of the year. Across the globe, climate change research is being used to prepare for natural-disaster response, sustainability and the future. But the research that helps prepare, save lives and preserve the economy is under attack. The Trump administration has promised to eliminate or greatly reduce all climate change research funding in the next four years. “At this point, we haven’t seen a real budget from this administration. So we don’t know yet what they’re going to do,” said Daniel Ferguson, director of...

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A statue’s hidden story

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A story that began over 30 years ago in Tucson comes back to life today through the personification of a statue. Marge Pellegrino and Marianna Neil wrote “The Sculpture Speaks: A Story of Survival” after they discovered a statue in the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson. Their story follows events in the 1980s involving the persecution of refugees in the United States. Only their story stemmed from a bronze statue. Artist John Howser created the statue and used refugee Juana as his model. During this time, the government handed down indictments that went after sanctuaries. Because of this, Carmen Duarte of the Arizona Daily Star, shared Juana’s story of her journey from Mexico City to Tucson. This caught the eye of government officials, who began trying to track her down. Juana, at this time, was posing for Howser’s sculpture....

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Guest farm workers do not always understand the rules

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With almost no one in the U.S. willing to work harvest jobs, farms have imported workers via temporary visas, a program widely criticized for the extensive bureaucratic requirements including housing workers. This winter Yuma area farms are expected to produce around 90 percent of the nation’s lettuce and green crops, meaning these farms need to find enough labor to harvest their crops. This year, 77 Arizona worksites requested temporary workers, of those four were denied. A total of 5,676 imported workers have so far worked or will work in Arizona this year. Arizona had six housing violations filed since the beginning of 2016, two of which were the same farm. The housing inspections are conducted by the Arizona Department of Economic Security. G farms was listed among the violators for “job order specification” and “misrepresented terms and conditions of...

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Good Enough Mine back in business

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The recent sale of the Good Enough Mine Tour restores a popular tourist site in Tombstone. The tunnels in the mine go more than 700 feet deep. Andre and Shirley DeJournett purchased the mine in 2003 (Tombstone Consolidated Mines Incorporated)  and recently sold the land for about $299,000. After being on the market since June, the deed was signed over to the new owners late November. A couple from Alabama bought the property. Paul Rahricht, realtor for Tombstone Real Estate, said this is the first purchase for the couple, Patricia and Richard Jones in the town of Tombstone. The couple received a warm welcoming from fellow town members on the Old Tombstone Gazette Facebook page. The Joneses are from Alabama and recently stumbled upon the Good Enough Mine Tour during a belated honeymoon and overheard the mine was out...

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The effects of plastic bags in our environment

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The City of Bisbee is economically fueled by tourism, and the problems caused by plastic bags makes it harder for tourists to enjoy. Plastic bags are made of an ethylene byproduct like natural gas and petroleum, that damages ecosystems in the ocean and on land killing numerous animals. “They get caught in waterways and block the flow of rainwater runoff, they disintegrate into little tiny pieces and animals get them caught in their stomach,” said Jill Bernstein, executive director of Keep Arizona Beautiful.  “There’s just about a 100,000 different ways plastic bags are damaging the environment.” As plastic bags are vastly distributed in retail and grocery stores, they continue to cause large environmental problems that destroy marine and land habitats. In the beginning, as an effort to eliminate the problem, citizens of Bisbee volunteered to clean up the mess,...

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Bisbee Festival of Lights glows another year

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From the ashes of a fire at City Hall, the City of Bisbee comes together as a community to kick off the holiday season, even if it’s with fewer twinkling lights. The Bisbee Festival of Lights, now in its 29th year, brought its annual holiday spirit to the City of Bisbee on Nov. 24, despite the challenge of losing nearly all the decorations the city has gathered over the years. “We had a lot of stuff that is now gone,” said Lorena Valdez, an administrative assistant for the City of Bisbee Public Works department and one of the event organizers for the Festival of lights. Valdez said when she took the role of organizing the event six years ago, she “started with very little, but did whatever [she] could” with the decorations the city had at the time. Over...

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