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Will wall stop resilient San Pedro River from crossing the border?

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The mighty San Pedro River in Southeastern Arizona and Northern Mexico has survived droughts, floods, fires and wars, but will the Trump Administration’s proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border threaten one of the last undammed rivers in the United States? The river flows north out of Mexico and across the border into the United States near Hereford. The river has a rich cultural, ecological and historical record, and is the lifeblood to the small communities that have sprouted up along its banks. It also impacts a riparian area that is home to more than 250 migratory birds and more than 100 species of breeding birds, including the yellow-billed cuckoo. The riparian area of the San Pedro is also home to 84 species of mammals such as jaguars, coatimundi, beavers and bats. It is here in Southern Arizona where concerns...

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Arizonans share harm of racial profiling

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Racial profiling happens. It happens inside a classroom, at the market and in the streets. And to those to whom it happens, the hurt is real. Here are five stories. Chelsea Kiki With her husband driving, and the brand-new scent of the car freshener coming from the little tree hanging inside their car, Chelsea Kiki and her husband were having a quiet drive on the freeway. Chelsea Kiki, 25, is 5 feet 6 inches tall and is African American. She is from San Francisco and raises funds for the Arizona Charity Foundation. Kiki and her husband were on their way to Phoenix. She knew they were going the speed limit with their seat belts on. She was surprised when a policeman pulled them over. “They told my husband to get out of the car and took him to the squad car,” she said....

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Legislative Roundup: A retired justice, minimum wage and drunken hair cuts

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  PHOENIX – On Wednesday this week, Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Glendale, brought former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to the Arizona State Senate to speak about civics. Yee pointed out that O’Connor was the first female senate majority leader. Some 40 years later, Yee is the second. O’Connor also visited the Arizona House of Representatives later that day. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, introduced her guest on Wednesday as well: former state senator and minority leader Alfredo Gutierrez. Later on Wednesday, over at the House of Representatives, Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Dist 6, gave a pretty weird apology on the House floor. In the beginning of the session, he publicly apologized for his treatment of a fellow lawmaker, saying “I overstepped my authority.” He didn’t name who he over stepped his authority with, but he asked Rep. Isela...

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Legislative roundup: Women, fake news and money

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PHOENIX – Wednesday was International Women’s Day and it was clear across the capitol who supported it and who didn’t. Some women across the world took the day to strike, wear red and blue, or not buy anything, while others kept their nose to the ground. Women packed both the House and Senate galleries. #AZLeg House gallery is packed with women for #InternationalWomensDay! #WomeninBlue pic.twitter.com/cNEdqvJRbb — Athena Salman (@athenasalman) March 8, 2017 The strike was labeled “A Day Without Women” and plenty of protestors shared their stories . Fake News On Monday, the House Education Committee met to vote on Senate Bill 1384. The bill passed through the Senate, committees included, without a single vote against it. And then it went to the House. Discussion got pretty heated as a bill aimed to expand Freedom of the Press protections for student journalists at...

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Lack of pay for Arizona teachers problematic

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  A decrease in teachers and shortage of money will have an impact in Cochise County as retention rates continue to plummet in Arizona. The state hosts a myriad of poor working conditions for teachers, ranking in the bottom five in the following categories nationwide, according to a statistical analysis by Wallethub: Lowest annual salary, fewest teachers per student and lowest public school spending — all with an overall ranking of 48th, ahead of only West Virginia and Hawai’i. About a half-million U.S. teachers either move or leave the profession each year — attrition that costs the United States up to $2.2 billion annually — according to the Alliance for Excellent Education. The high turnover rate disproportionately affects high-poverty schools and compromises the nation’s capacity to ensure all students have access to skilled teaching, the Alliance report says. The cost to...

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Cascabel rejects development

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CASCABEL —  A proposed residential community would mean big business for Benson but the people living north along the San Pedro River in Cascabelwant none of it. The Villages at Vigneto, sited just south of Benson, would potentially boost the population of the small town of 5,000 people to over 70,000 in the space of 20 to 25 years. The development has come under fire for the potential damage it could cause to the water resources of the area, chiefly to the San Pedro River and the habitats that rely on it. For the people living north of the city like Anna Lands and Alex Binford-Walsh, it means so much more than that. “We are really going to get squeezed,” said Lands. “The people from there are going to want to come here.” The area around Cascabel is very...

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Gasolinazo: Gas crisis in Mexico crosses the border

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Angela Ayala Gonzalez, like many other residents in San Luis, Sonora, and Nogales, Sonora, is struggling even more to make ends meet in Mexico after a 20 percent increase in gas prices following a decision to eliminate state oil subsidies by the Mexican government. Gas stations across the Mexico border have shut down their pumps in reaction to the gasolinazo, or gasoline blow as it is being called. The increase in gas prices sparked major protests across the border towns, including San Luis Rio Colorado and Nogales. President Enrique Peña Nieto said in a message to the nation that the rise in fuel prices is a result of the rise in international prices and that it is “a difficult change” but necessary to guarantee economic stability. However, during Nieto’s 2015 New Year speech, Nieto promised there would be “…. no...

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Arizona’s toughest captured Dillinger from right field

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Let us remember Frank Eyman, considered to be one of the toughest individuals to ever put on a badge. The former Bisbee baseball player and long-time Arizona lawman is most known for his capturing of notorious “Public Enemy Number One,” John Dillinger and his gang, but beyond the badge he was much more. Baseball enthusiast and Bisbee native Mike Anderson first came upon the name Eyman during his 10-year career working for the Pima County Sheriff’s Office. “Knowing there was a baseball player in Bisbee by the name of Frank Eyman, I decided to look at records,” Anderson said. He became the foremost expert of Eyman and his effort in capturing of Dillinger. Eyman was born on March 8, 1898, in Lemont, Illinois. At 19 years old, he joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 17th Calvary...

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House development challenges Benson, San Pedro River

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BENSON — The future of the 70,000-person residential community Villages at Vigneto lives or dies on a single decision by the Army Corps of Engineers, potentially dooming the San Pedro River or reversing the fortunes of Benson.  However, not a single person lives in the community, because it doesn’t exist just yet and the San Pedro and Benson are dependent on one big “if.” That “if” reaches much farther than the just the city limits or banks of the river, as this development south of Benson would make it the largest city in Cochise County and transform the area from a sleepy, rural county to Arizona’s newest housing goldmine. For those who see a change in fortune, it is a huge boon. For those who appreciate the status quo, it’s a travesty. The crux of the issue lies underground....

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Contamination from decades of uranium mining lingers on Navajo land

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  On Navajo Nation land, the ghost of the mining industry’s past still haunts the native people who live there. It began in the 1940s when the Navajo land was — and still is — a hotbed for uranium.  The new weapon-manufacturing industry brought a new opportunity for jobs among the natives living on the land, but it came at a cost. Now, government agencies and researchers from across the country work toward cleaning the hundreds of abandoned mines left after four decades of mining ended in 1986. A goal is to understand the effects that decades-long uranium contamination has on the Navajo people. The contamination effects over half of the tribe’s population. With 300,000 people, the Navajo tribe is the second largest Native American group in the U.S., according to recent U.S. Census data. Of those 300,000, some 156,000...

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