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PHOENIX (AP) — A state lawmaker is renewing efforts to establish a lieutenant governor position in Arizona.
Sophomore LaBrittney Jones came off the bench to score a career-high 30 points as the Arizona women's basketball team hung on to defeat Oregon 81-78 in overtime Sunday afternoon at McKale Center.
Jamie Weisner scored 21 points to help No. 9 Oregon State beat No. 13 Arizona State 67-54 on Sunday to take sole possession of first place in the Pac-12.
Gilbert resident Jane Ysadora has embraced a form of therapy with clients that entails, well, embracing her clients for 60 minutes or more.
The Surprise Recreation Campus Box Office opens 7 a.m. today with tickets available for a variety of events, including 2015 spring training, the Celebrity Flag Football Challenge and two college baseball tournaments.
It’s a task — wrapping up the last 365 days in the sports scene in just 700 words — that seemingly is getting more difficult each year.
It isn't just the quality of the teams that make the best bowl games so intriguing. Each of these spotlight games also offers plenty of compelling individual matchups.
Florida State wide receiver Rashad Greene (80) runs through a drill during NCAA college football practice in Carson, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. Florida State is scheduled to play Oregon in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal on New Year's Day. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — No Albertsons or Safeway stores in the Northwest Valley are in line to be sold following an announcement by Washington state-based grocery chain Haggen Inc. that it plans to buy 146 Albertsons and Safeway stores in Arizona, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada.
Boys Runner(s) of the Year:
The Chandler Police Department has released a notification for a sex offender who now resides in the city.
The Chandler football program is doing things on the football field it has never accomplished since the AIA started running the playoff format in 1959.
PHOENIX -- The number of people in Arizona illegally dropped by close to 12 percent between 2009 and 2012 according to a new study.
Months of uncertainty for state educators concluded on Nov. 3 with the selection of a new state assessment test, although the details concerning the implementation of the exam remain up in the air.
Nov. 1, surrounded by her family, Brittany Maynard fulfilled her desire for a physician-assisted death. The world has watched her story and many, of course, have weighed in, some in support, others wishing she would have found another way.
It is rare in high school sports to be able to watch and appreciate greatness before it moves on. Most often, a great athlete is long gone before folks truly appreciate just how special they were.
PHOENIX -- Two new reports Tuesday show some bumps in the state's recovery from the recession.
One finds that Arizona consumers are spending more, at least in certain areas. But not a lot. The other shows that, for the first time in three years, Arizona is not among the Top 10 states in job growth.
Reports from retailers, released Tuesday by the state Department of Revenue, put total taxable sales at $4.47 billion. That figure comes from reports filed last month which actually reflect sales made in August. That is up 5.2 percent from the same time a year earlier.
But economist Dennis Hoffman from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, said it's hardly a number to cheer about.
"It's OK,'' he said. "It's not gangbusters.''
He said a state such as Arizona should be showing year-over-year growth in the 7 percent range.
The numbers represent more than just an academic exercise.
Close to half of the state budget is built on taxable retail sales. And when these figures lag, so do state revenues -- and the ability of lawmakers to meet the spending demands.
In fact, the staff of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which advises state lawmakers, is predicting that, for the entire fiscal year, retail sales will grow just an anemic 3.7 percent.
The job-growth figures come from a separate study by Lee McPheters, also an economist at ASU.
There are signs the state is making some progress at recovery.
Sales at motor-vehicle dealers hit $719.9 million in August. That's 8 percent higher than the same time a year earlier. But it's still far below the $833.8 million figure for August 2005, even with vehicles now costing more than they did back then.
Sales of furniture and other home furnishings increased just 3.1 percent from 2013 and also remain below pre-recession levels. Purchases of clothing and accessories actually dropped by nearly 1.6 percent year over year.
Hoffman said the really shocking number is in the category of residential construction. Total sales there for August tallied $285.5 million. In August 2004, the same category posted $604.7 million in sales. "And that was before the real ratchet-up that we had,'' Hoffman said, with the real estate bubble reaching its peak in 2006 before it burst.
That lack of home construction is reflected in the separate employment report by Lee McPheters, also an economist at ASU. He said that so far this year, the state's already beleaguered construction industry has lost jobs. That sector of the Arizona economy remains at half of what it was before the recession. Manufacturing employment also has shed jobs so far this year.
He did find some bright spots.
For example, for the first nine months of the year, only two states hired a greater percentage of new workers in the health-care field than Arizona. And Arizona is No. 5 for jobs in the financial sector. But that was not enough for Arizona to maintain its Top 10 status of job growth.
McPheters puts year-to-date job growth at just 14th in the nation. And when government jobs are removed from the picture, the state drops to 15th.
"And it appears that unless something very unusual happens, we're going to end up this year as not a Top 10 growth state,'' he said. "That's just one other disappointment to go along with the fact that the economy is losing construction jobs.''
McPheters said the state will likely add no more than 55,000 jobs this year, about the same as last year.
"So that means we're kind of in a three-year period where the economy appears to have plateaued and we're just waiting for something to happen to either spur population growth or get some other sectors to drive the economy,'' he said.
Hoffman said, though, that the sales figures may not be as bad as they seem -- if not from the perspective of state revenues, then at least in terms of the strength of the economy: The numbers reported by retailers to the Department of Revenue obviously do not reflect some purchases made by consumers online or by phone.
Online retailers who have a physical presence in Arizona, like Target.com or Walmart.com, are required to collect the state sales tax. But those based solely elsewhere do not.
Arizona law technically requires buyers to report these purchases and pay an equivalent "use tax'' to the state. But with no real enforcement mechanism for the average consumer, that law goes largely ignored.
September reported taxable sales in billions of dollars
(Reflects August sales)
2004 -- $3.51
2005 -- $4.22
2006 -- $4.44
2007 -- $4.27
2008 -- $4.02
2009 -- $3.53
2010 -- $3.45
2011 -- $3.75
2012 -- $3.87
2013 -- $4.25
2014 -- $4.47
-- Source: Arizona Department of Revenue
Key elements of taxable sales
Element / Amount in millions of dollars / Year-over-year change
Motor vehicle dealers / $719.9 / 8%
Furniture and home furnishings / $274.3 / 3.1%
Building materials, lawn & garden / $270.7 / 2.3%
Taxable food and liquor / $288.3 / 1%
Miscellaneous retail / $684.1 / 10.3%
Clothing and accessories / $235.4 / (-1.6%)
Bar and restaurant sales / $896.3 / 7.1%
Hotel and motel rentals / $157.7 / 14.9%
Residential construction / $285.5 / 9.2%
Nonresidential construction / $192.2 / (-6.4%)
Heavy construction (roads, bridges) / $65.6 / (-4.9%)
-- Source: Arizona Department of Revenue
Private sector job growth, first 9 months of 2014
Rank / State / Number of jobs added / Growth percentage
1 / North Dakota / 19,590 / 5.4%
2 / Nevada / 41,270 / 4.1%
3 / Texas / 329,780 / 3.5%
4 / Florida / 221,520 / 3.4%
5 / Utah / 34,660 / 3.3%
6 / Oregon/ 42,280 / 3.1%
7 / Colorado / 59,510 / 3.0%
8 / Delaware / 9,980 / 2.8%
9 / California / 327,890 / 2.6%
10 / Georgia / 83,970 / 2.5%
11 / North Carolina / 83,000 / 2.5%
12 / Tennessee / 57,690 / 2.5%
13 / Washington / 59,790 / 2.5%
14 / Arizona / 49,630 / 2.4%
15 / Oklahoma / 29,400 / 2.3%
-- Source: W.P. Care School of Business, Arizona State University
This undated photo taken from an Instagram posting shows an overlook of Crater Lake in Oregon with a rock painting. The National Park Service is investigating paintings and drawings of eerie faces found on rocks across the West in some of the country’s most recognizable wilderness areas, including Crater Lake. (AP Photo/Instagram)
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A series of colorful, eerie faces painted on rocks in some of the West's most famously picturesque landscapes has sparked an investigation by the National Park Service and a furor online.
Agents so far have confirmed the images in Yosemite and four other national parks in California, Utah and Oregon. Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson said the vandalism could lead to felony charges for the person responsible.
The images appear to come from a New York state woman traveling across the West this summer and documenting her work on Instagram and Tumblr, said Casey Schreiner of modernhiker.com, whose blog post tipped off authorities.
The investigation is the subject of well-trafficked threads on the website Reddit, where people railed against the drawings as the defacing of irreplaceable natural landscapes.
"You're seeing this emotional response of people who feel like they've been kicked in the gut," Schreiner said.
It's not the first time vandalism in parks has been documented on social media. Last year in Utah, two Boy Scout leaders caused an online uproar when they recorded themselves toppling an ancient rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park and posted it on YouTube.
But in this case, the woman appears to consider the work an artistic expression, Schreiner said.
One photograph online showed a painting of a woman's face on a rock outcropping against the panoramic sweep of Oregon's Crater Lake National Park. In another, a backpack-size line drawing of a woman smoking a cigarette appears on red rock in Utah's Zion.
The images appear to have been painted with acrylic paint or drawn with marker, Schreiner said.
He took screen shots Tuesday of seven images that appeared on Instagram and Tumblr accounts under the handle "creepytings." The accounts later were made private or taken down.
The Associated Press is not naming the woman associated with the accounts because she hasn't been charged with a crime. Efforts to reach her Thursday were not successful.
Artists who work in natural environments typically consider who owns the land and get permission to work there, said Monty Paret, an associate professor of art history at the University of Utah. The earthwork "Spiral Jetty" sculpture on the shore of the Great Salt Lake, for example, is on land leased from the state.
The images that surfaced this week look more like graffiti, Paret said.
"As opposed to tagging in a back alley, it's like tagging an iconic building," he said. "It's going to get a lot more attention."
National parks agents have confirmed the vandalism in Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks in California, Canyonlands and Zion in Utah, and Crater Lake in Oregon.
Investigators also are looking for vandalism in other places the woman's social media trail indicates she visited: Joshua Tree, Sequoia and Kings Canyon in California; Rocky Mountain in Colorado; Bryce Canyon in Utah; and Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Crater Lake superintendent Craig Ackerman said bad weather has kept staff from going to the painting there, which is at an elevation of about 9,000 feet. Though rangers typically remove graffiti to discourage others, sometimes cleaning it causes even more damage, he said.
Vandalism is a small but persistent problem for the Park Service, which welcomes about 280 million visitors a year, Olson said.
It typically is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and a year in prison. But vandalism in national parks can be a felony if the damage is extensive or in specially protected places, he said.
Associated Press writer Jeff Barnard in Grants Pass, Oregon, contributed to this report.
Maria Tallchief was considered America’s first major prima ballerina and was the first Native American to hold such a distinction.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords will begin a nine-state tour in Maine, where she will advocate for tougher gun laws that she says will help protect women and families.
The former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona, who was severely wounded in a 2011 shooting in Tucson that killed six people, will seek to elevate the issue of gun violence against women and push for state and federal action to make it more difficult for domestic abusers to access firearms.
Giffords, who was shot in the head, remains partially paralyzed and continues to have difficulty speaking.
On the first stop of the "Protect All Women Tour" in Portland, Maine, on Tuesday, Giffords planned to meet with state domestic violence advocates, law enforcement officials and others.
Giffords' gun-control advocacy group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, calls guns and domestic violence "a lethal mix," noting that abuse victims are more than five times more likely to be killed if the aggressor has access to a gun.
Among the changes Giffords has sought is to include people with misdemeanor-level stalking crimes among those who are prohibited from buying firearms and to expand background checks to ensure that domestic violence abusers can't buy firearms at gun shows.
After visiting Maine, Giffords will travel to New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Minnesota, Iowa and Oregon. The last stop of the tour will be in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 22, according to details a Giffords aide provided to The Associated Press.
Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, did a similar tour across the country last year, focused on garnering support for expanded background checks.
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona will get flexibility from some requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.
Federal officials notified state Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal by letter that Arizona's request for a one-year extension of flexibility was approved. Massachusetts, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Utah also received extensions.
The legislation, also known as the No Child Left Behind law, expired in 2007. The Obama administration allowed states to apply for waivers from some provisions in exchange for proposals for improving student achievement.
Chris Kotterman, the Arizona Department of Education's deputy director of government relations, said schools will be able to maintain their current programs through the 2014-15 school year.
Some of the implemented reforms include assisting underperforming disabled students and an initiative to assess whether students are prepared for college.
Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards was the name issued by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer for state education standards taken from Common Core. Brewer renamed the standards after an outcry from conservatives last year. Brewer has tried to defuse criticism and has said that Arizona is acting independently from the federal government.
Federal officials declared Arizona a high-risk state in November 2013 for failing to meet various No Child Left Behind requirements to qualify for flexibility in adopting the standards.
Their plans to fix Arizona's economy may be hard to decipher, and neither Democrat Fred DuVal nor Republican Doug Ducey is precise on exactly how they think the state will permanently come up with more money for schools.