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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The federal government is one step closer to giving the green light to a proposed $2 billion transmission line between Arizona and New Mexico that has become a priority for the Obama administration.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Federal officials have proposed more than tripling the current number of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest and greatly expanding the area they can roam.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday it would finalize a decision in January for changes to a reintroduction program that has stumbled through legal battles, illegal shootings, politics and other programs. The agency said its favored proposal aims to increase the genetic diversity of the wolves, and lessen impacts to ranchers and potential prey on tribal lands.
The wolves currently roam about 7 million acres of federal, tribal and private land in far eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. The proposal increases the number of sites where wolves could be released and eventually will allow the animals to disperse throughout Arizona and New Mexico south of Interstate 40 to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Ranchers and community leaders in rural areas have opposed expansion efforts, saying that wolves that don't find deer and elk to feed on could turn to livestock and domestic animals instead, said Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association.
"It's cruel to the animals because there is no prey base," she said. "They are doomed to failure."
Under the Fish and Wildlife proposal, livestock owners could kill any wolf that is biting, wounding or killing livestock on federal land. Pet owners could do the same on on-federal land. Deer and elk on tribal lands also would be protected.
Sherry Barrett, Mexican wolf recovery coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said the proposal creates a balance between growing the wolf population and the impacts that wolves might have on local communities.
The last count of wolves showed there are a minimum 83 in the wild. Wildlife officials said they would work toward managing a population of 300 to 325 wolves under the proposal that increases the habitat suitable for wolves by nearly four times what's available now. If the population exceeds that number, wolves could be relocated to Mexico, be placed in captivity or killed as a last resort, Barrett said.
"We have several options available," she said.
The target population likely will go up once the Fish and Wildlife Service develops a recovery plan, Barrett said. A coalition of environmental groups recently sued the agency for not crafting and implementing a valid recovery plan with measurable goals for recovery of the wolves in the Southwest.
The proposal to expand the territory for wolves was welcomed by environmentalists who said that wildlife managers need to do more to help the wolves repopulate. But it falls short of including the territory they wanted around the Grand Canyon and in the Southern Rocky Mountains, and short on the target population, said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.
"Putting them at 325 is still going to put them in grave danger," he said. "There's no science behind that."
So as you pull out that credit card for that holiday purchase, you might ask yourself if you're already overextended.
If you’re looking for a job, you may have posted your resume on the state website, azjobconnection.gov. It’s required if you collect unemployment benefits in Arizona.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Federal officials opened the floodgates at Glen Canyon Dam on Monday, sending water rushing through the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The five-day flood is meant to mimic conditions of the river before the dam was built, because the dam now blocks a majority of the sediment from traveling downstream.
Last month, the Chandler City Council approved the demolition of Elevation Chandler after approving a development agreement with Hines Interests Limited Partnership, a Houston-based construction firm.
The Chandler-based Ocotillo Village Health Club & Spa opened its sales office and hired multiple leadership positions.
Flu season is well on the way and doctors are urging everyone to vaccinate in order to be protected from the illness this fall and winter. Dr. Michael A. Kaplan, MD, national medical director for NextCare Urgent Care, cleared up some questions and confusion surrounding the vaccine.
Democrat Fred DuVal used the last gubernatorial debate Tuesday to essentially accuse Doug Ducey of class warfare, robbing from schools to give tax breaks to the rich.
PARADISE VALLEY -- Democrat Fred DuVal used the last gubernatorial debate Tuesday to essentially accuse Doug Ducey of class warfare, robbing from schools to give tax breaks to the rich.
Ducey has centered his gubernatorial campaign on his theme of "kick-starting'' Arizona's moribund economy. Central to that is his promise to work to eliminate the state income tax. But DuVal told an audience of two different women's groups such a move would be irresponsible.
He cited the anticipated deficit of $500 million this fiscal year and more than $1 billion next year. That includes a court order to immediately boost school funding by $331 million, a decision DuVal said he will accede to and that Ducey wants to appeal.
"This is a choice you get to make,'' DuVal said.
"Doug's priority is to lower taxes for the wealthiest among us,'' he continued. "My priority is to assure that we adequately fund schools.''
But Ducey appears to be backing away -- or at least finessing -- his position on tax cuts.
During both the Republican primary and since then, Ducey has said he wants to move toward eliminating the tax, or at least making it "flatter and fairer.'' Tuesday, however, he had a different message.
"No one's ever talked about eliminating the income tax,'' he told the audience. Instead he said his goal is simply to drive it "as close to zero as possible.''
And he even added some conditions Tuesday to pursuing that goal which has been a cornerstone of his campaign.
"It's where I would like to take the state,'' he said.
"But I've got to deal with the financial situation of the state as I find it as governor,'' Ducey explained. "And I'll do what's responsible and in the best interest of all of our citizens.''
Ducey disputed that cutting income taxes necessarily means there will be less money for public schools. And Ducey said that he does not necessarily believe that restoring school funding to where it would have been had lawmakers not ignored a voter-approved mandate to adjust annually for inflation will lead to better schools.
The key, he said, is finding better ways to educate children.
"We are underperforming across the state,'' Ducey told the audience.
"But we have pockets of excellence in the state,'' he continued, citing reports that three of the Top 10 high schools in the nation as ranked by U.S. News and World Reports are located here: two Basis charter schools and University High School in Tucson.
Ducey said he would look at the "best practices'' of those schools "so more of our children have a better opportunity.''
Ducey also cited reports from the Auditor General's Office which for the past decade have shown that an ever-smaller percentage of tax dollars is actually winding up in the classroom.
The most recent report shows that less than 54 cents of every education dollar was put into things like teacher salaries. That compares with 58.6 cents a decade earlier, a trend Ducey said he wants to reverse.
But DuVal said the rest of the report found that administrative costs for things like superintendents, principals, business managers and clerical staff is below the national average. Instead, the report said what's making up the difference are fixed non-instructional costs like heating, cooling and running school buses.
And Auditor General Debra Davenport specifically said that's a direct function of less money overall for schools. She said the only place to cut was the classroom, citing figures that while the number of children attending Arizona public schools has dropped by 3 percent since 2009, the number of teachers dropped by 8.6 percent.
"The reason there isn't more money going into the classroom is there isn't enough money,'' DuVal said.
That still leaves DuVal's contention that Ducey's plan to cut income taxes is designed to favor the wealthy.
"The income tax is paid disproportionately by wealthy,'' DuVal said, acknowledging that, by definition, people with more income pay more tax on that income. But he said all this comes as Arizona has one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation -- 5.6 percent plus all local levies -- a tax he called "regressive.''
"Our tax structure is clobbering working Arizona families,'' he told reporters after the debate.
"They're paying significantly more of their income in taxes than upper-income Arizonans,'' DuVal said.
Ducey said what will help businesses come to and expand in Arizona are things he promises like lower taxes and less regulation. But DuVal said some business leaders have suggested otherwise.
He cited comments made in 2011 by the former chief executive of Intel.
"The educational system in the United States and in Arizona in particular is not particularly attractive,'' Craig Barrett told the Arizona Commerce Authority. In fact, Barrett said the situation is so bar that if Intel were looking for a site to build an entirely new operation, as to expanding its $10 billion Arizona presence, the state would not even be on the list of Top 10 choices.
He was not alone in his comments.
"The education system here is very weak,'' said Doug Pruitt, at the time the chief executive of Sundt Construction.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Former University of Arizona basketball star Steve Kerr and his wife have pledged $1 million toward the ongoing renovation of McKale Center and future academic facility enhancements.
McKale's renovation will impact all 20 of the Tucson school's sports programs and specifically men's and women's basketball, volleyball and gymnastics, which use McKale as their competition site.
Renovations are expected to be complete by the start of the basketball regular season for the Wildcats.
The first aspect of the renovation project was completed at the beginning of 2014 with the installation of a high-definition scoreboard.
Kerr now is the Golden State Warriors' coach and was the Phoenix Suns' general manager from 2007-10. His wife, Margot, also is a UofA alum.
Gilbert’s continued expansion has grown in tandem with its reputation as a friendly place for families to live.
Comerica Bank and storage and information management services company Iron Mountain Incorporated will team up to host the first Shred Day Phoenix, a free document shredding event, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
The secure document shredding event, to be held in front of Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., in downtown Phoenix, is offered as a public service to the Phoenix community and is designed to raise awareness of identity theft prevention, hunger and recycling.
Free of charge and open to the public, the event will allow Phoenix consumers and business owners to securely destroy up to four boxes or bags of sensitive paper documents per vehicle. Additionally, volunteers from St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance will be on site to collect suggested donations of non-perishable food items. All of the paper collected at Shred Day Phoenix will be turned into pulp and recycled after being securely destroyed.
To learn about the event, and what types of documents should be shredded or retained, visit www.comerica.com/ShredDayPhoenix
A state hearing officer on Wednesday recommended rescinding a permit given to a company to extract copper from the ground underneath Florence using chemicals.
A new report appears to confirm what Tucsonans have always thought: They're smarter than Phoenicians. Or at least better educated.
Attorney General Tom Horne used more than $300,000 worth of state employee time and office rent in his unsuccessful bid to get reelected, the executive director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission concluded Tuesday.