Your West Valley News: Valley & State

Valley & State

  • Retired Phoenix officer arrested for child porn

    PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix police say a retired sergeant has been arrested for allegedly possessing images of child pornography in his home. Sgt. Steve Martos said Saturday that 61-year-old Robert Carrillo is facing 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. A police task force investigating Internet crimes related to children executed a search warrant at Carrillo's Chandler residence on Friday. Martos says detectives found "a large number of images" and detained Carrillo. He declined to answer questions from police. Martos says Carrillo was booked into jail but it was not known if he had an attorney. According to Martos, Carrillo retired this year after 37 years with the department.

  • Allen to replace deceased Arizona legislator

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Republican party officials have chosen a former Arizona legislator to run for a state Senate seat left vacant by a lawmaker's death. GOP precinct committeemen voted Saturday morning to have Sylvia Allen fill in as the candidate for the Legislative District 6 seat, which was held by Chester Crandell. Crandell, a Heber Republican, was killed Aug. 4 when he fell from a horse. His name remained on Tuesday's primary election ballot. Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham says Allen's popularity among voters gives the party an excellent chance at retaining the seat. Allen, who currently serves as a Navajo County supervisor, served in the Senate from 2008 through 2012. Tom O'Halleran, a former legislator who held office as a Republican, is running for the Senate seat as an independent.

  • Doug Ducey, Fred DuVal battle for Arizona governor

    PHOENIX (AP) — Republican Doug Ducey resonates confidence and positive energy, projecting an air that his election as the next governor of Arizona is a sure thing. Ducey's Aug. 26 victory over five other Republicans in a heated primary race cemented that confidence, and he's aiming to take the same campaign message that worked for Republican primary voters into the general election bid. "Our positive optimistic message of an Arizona that's reforming, job creating and welcoming is one that worked very well in the primary," Ducey said in an interview the day after his win. "And I just think that we need to amplify that message and talk about kick-starting our economy, improving our education system and being a state that reflects opportunity for all." But Ducey will face an opponent in Democrat Fred DuVal who will force him to give more details on his plans for changing the tax code and education funding — and is trying to send his own message that the Republican is not a candidate who has broad support. "Two-thirds of the Republicans chose someone else, so it's hardly a mandate considering the expenditure," DuVal said of Ducey's primary win. "I'm going positive with (former attorney general) Grant Woods and many other Republicans that say (I'm) a bi-partisan, collaborative centrist, and Doug is campaigning next week with Sarah Palin. That's the difference." Democrats hope to wrest away control of the governor's office for the first time since Gov. Jan Brewer succeeded Janet Napolitano in 2009. If DuVal succeeds, he'll still face a Legislature that is solidly controlled by Republicans, which would somewhat limit his ability to make major policy changes. Republicans hold a registration advantage over Democrats, but more Arizonans are registered as independents than either party. Stu Rothenberg, a well-respected political handicapper in Washington, calls DuVal a good candidate who could give Ducey a run for his money in Republican-leaning Arizona. Bruce Merrill, a longtime pollster and senior research fellow at Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy, gave DuVal less of a chance — but a chance. "It's not impossible that DuVal could win, in fact I thought getting Grant Woods to spearhead his campaign was a very smart thing. And if he runs a good campaign, he'll be competitive," Merrill said. "But I think it's fair to say that it's Ducey's campaign to lose." Of particular concern to DuVal is education funding, which was cut by the Legislature and Brewer when the recession hit. But Arizona's Supreme Court ruled last year that the Legislature violated the will of voters when it stopped annual inflation adjustments and said the funding must be restored. A Maricopa County judge court ruled on Aug. 21 that the Legislature must immediately boost funding for K-12 schools by about $317 million this budget year, and continue it into the future, an order that would cost the state treasury more than $1.6 billion over five years. Judge Katherine Cooper is also considering whether the state must repay schools another $1.3 billion they didn't get in the past five years, bringing the total to about $2.9 billion. Ducey said he supports an appeal of that ruling. But if the state loses, he hinted that schools should not expect to see the cash, at least not without major strings. "If the courts rule that there's going to be more money that's going to be put into K-12 education of course we will respect the courts," he said. "But I will use the opportunity to reform these funding formulas so that we are getting better results and outcomes from our schools for our children." Such proposals don't sit well with DuVal, who was a member of the state Board of Regents, which oversees universities, until 2012. He said an appeal is just postponing the inevitable. "The voters have spoken on school funding, and we've got to get on board and get on with it," DuVal said. "We've got to make this investment." The state is already facing a budget shortfall in the coming budget yet approaching $300 million, according to the Legislature's budget analysts. If the courts order full payments in the school funding case, that shortfall would be about $900 million — about 10 percent of state budget spending. If they also order back payments, that number soars to $1.4 billion by the 2015 budget year. That's why DuVal questions Ducey's proposal to overhaul income taxes and change the state's Medicaid program, which was expanded by Brewer over opposition from her own party. "It is not realistic — the notion of repealing the income tax, that's not realistic," DuVal said. "There's a lot of this that just doesn't add up."

Nation/World

  • Germany to send rifles, tank busters to aid Kurds

    BERLIN (AP) — Germany will send high-end rifles, tank-busting weapons and armored vehicles to aid Kurdish fighters battling Islamic extremists in Iraq, officials said Sunday. Germany's defense minister said the arms would be sent in three shipments, starting next month, and would initially be enough to equip a brigade of 4,000 Peshmerga fighters. "This is in our security interest," Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Berlin. Germany joins other European countries who have pledged to provide arms to the Kurds fighting the Islamic State group that has swept into northern Iraq in recent months. In total, the shipments will include 8,000 G36 assault rifles and the same number of G3 rifles, as well as ammunition; 200 Panzerfaust 3 and 30 MILAN anti-tank systems; and five heavily armored Dingo infantry vehicles. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the arms would complement humanitarian aid that Berlin is sending to help civilians uprooted by the fighting. The decision to send weapons had been criticized by some in Germany as a return to militarism 75 years after the start of World War II "This isn't an easy decision for us, but it's the right decision in a situation that is difficult in every way," Steinmeier said. He voiced hope that Iraq's new government would seek to bring together all ethnic and religious groups in the country, including the Sunni minority, to fight the extremist threat.

  • Islamist militia now guards US Embassy in Libya

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — An Islamist-allied militia group in control of Libya's capital now guards the U.S. Embassy and its residential compound, a commander said Sunday, as onlookers toured the abandoned homes of diplomats who fled the country more than a month ago. An Associated Press journalist saw holes left by small-arms and rocket fire dotting the residential compound, reminders of weeks of violence between rival militias over control of Tripoli that sparked the evacuation. The breach of a deserted U.S. diplomatic post — including images of men earlier swimming in the compound's algae-filled pools — likely will reinvigorate debate in the U.S. over its role in Libya, more than three years after supporting rebels who toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi. It also comes just before the two-year anniversary of the slaying of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya. A commander for the Dawn of Libya group, Moussa Abu-Zaqia, told the AP that his forces had been guarding the residential compound since last week, a day after it seized control of the capital and its international airport after weeks of fighting with a rival militia. Abu-Zaqia said the rival militia from Zintan was in the compound before his troops took it over. A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said the department is seeking additional information but believed the embassy compound "remains secure." The official said the U.S. had moved embassy staff from Tripoli to Valletta, Malta, because of "ongoing fighting between militias occurring very close to our compound." Those personnel "remain engaged," the official said, while the State Department continues to work with the Libyan government. Some windows at the compound had been broken, but it appeared most of the equipment there remained untouched. The AP journalist saw treadmills, weight benches and protein bars in the compound's abandoned gym. Forks, knives and napkins set for a banquet sat on one table, while a cantina still had cornflakes, vinegar, salt and pepper sitting out. Some papers lay strewn on the floor, but it didn't appear that the villas in the compound had been ransacked. Hassan Ali, a Dawn of Libya commander, said his fighters saw "small fires and a little damage" before they chased the rival Zintan militia out of the residential compound. "We entered and put some of our fighters to secure this place and we preserved this place as much as we could," he said. Abu-Zaqia said his militia had asked cleaners to come to spruce up the grounds. He added that the U.S. Embassy staff "are most welcome in God's blessing, and any area that is controlled by Dawn of Libya is totally secure and there are no troubles at all." Another Dawn of Libya commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to speak by his leaders, told the AP that the U.S. Embassy, about a kilometer (half a mile) away, also was under guard by his militiamen. "We've secured the location and the assets of the embassy," he said. "We've informed our command ... immediately after entering the place following the exit of the rival militia. The place is secure and under protection." The commander did not elaborate and the AP journalist could not reach the embassy. The Dawn of Libya militia is not associated with the extremist militia Ansar al-Shariah, which Washington blames for the deadly assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed Stevens and the three other Americans. A video posted online Sunday showed unarmed men playing in a pool at the compound and jumping into it from a second-story balcony. In a message on Twitter, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones said the video appeared to have been shot in at the embassy's residential annex, though she said she couldn't "say definitively" since she wasn't there. "To my knowledge & per recent photos the US Embassy Tripoli chancery & compound is now being safeguarded and has not been ransacked," she wrote on Twitter. She did not immediately respond to a request to elaborate. Typically, local forces provide security for diplomatic posts, but Libya's government has largely relied on militias for law enforcement since Gadhafi's ouster, as its military and police forces remain weak. In the past several weeks, the security vacuum in Tripoli deepened as militia violence worsened and the diplomatic security provided by Libya's Interior Ministry in the area apparently fled as well. It remains unclear who the U.S. left in control of guarding its facilities after its personnel evacuated under military escort on July 26. The State Department has said embassy operations would be suspended until the security situation in Libya improved. Libya's militias, many of which originate from rebel forces that fought Gadhafi, have become powerful players in post-war Libya. Successive governments have put militias on their payroll in return for maintaining order, but rivalries over control and resources have led to fierce fighting among them and posed a constant challenge to the central government and a hoped-for transition to democracy. The militia violence began after Islamist candidates lost parliament in June elections and a renegade general began a military campaign against Islamist-allied militias in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city. Now, Libya has two competing governments and two parliaments, deepening divisions and escalating the political struggle that's torn the country apart.

  • Iraqi forces break militant siege of Shiite town

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen Sunday broke a 6-week siege imposed by the Islamic State extremist group on the northern Shiite Turkmen town of Amirli, as a suicide bombing killed 14 people in Anbar western province, officials said. Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the operation started at dawn Sunday and the forces entered the town shortly after midday. Speaking live on state TV, al-Moussawi said the forces suffered "some causalities," but did not give a specific number. He said fighting was "still ongoing to clear the surrounding villages." Breaking the siege was a "big achievement and an important victory" he said, for all involved: the Iraqi army, elite troops, Kurdish fighters and Shiite militias. Turkmen lawmaker Fawzi Akram al-Tarzi said they entered the town from two directions and were distributing aid to residents. About 15,000 Shiite Turkmens were stranded in the farming community, some 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Baghdad. Instead of fleeing in the face of the Islamic State group's rampage across northern Iraq in June, the Shiite Turkmens stayed and fortified their town with trenches and armed positions. Residents succeeded in fending off the initial attack in June, but Amirli has been surrounded by the militants since mid-July. Many residents said the Iraqi military's efforts to fly in food, water and other aid had not been enough, as they endured the oppressive August heat with virtually no electricity or running water. Nihad al-Bayati, who had taken up arms with fellow residents to defend the town, said some army units had already entered while the Shiite militiamen were stationed in the outskirts. He said residents had fired into the air to celebrate the arrival of the troops. "We thank God for this victory over terrorists," al-Bayati told The Associated Press by phone from the outskirts of Amirli. "The people of Amirli are very happy to see that their ordeal is over and that the terrorists are being defeated by Iraqi forces. It is a great day in our life." State TV stopped regular programs and started airing patriotic songs following the victory announcement, praising the country's security forces. They have been fighting the militants for weeks without achieving significant progress on the ground. On Saturday, the U.S. conducted airstrikes against the Sunni militants and air-dropped humanitarian aid to residents. Aircraft from Australia, France and Britain joined the U.S. in the aid drop, which came after a request from the Iraqi government. The U.S. Central Command said another airstrike on Sunday damaged a tank used by Islamic State fighters. The Pentagon's press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said military operations would be limited in scope and duration as needed to address the humanitarian crisis in Amirli and protect the civilians trapped in the town. The Islamic State extremist group has seized cities, towns and vast tracts of land in northeastern Syria and northern and western Iraq. It views Shiites as apostates and has carried out a number of massacres and beheadings — often posting grisly videos and photos of the atrocities online. The U.S. started launching airstrikes against the Islamic State extremist group earlier this month to prevent the insurgents from advancing on the Kurdish regional capital Irbil and to help protect members of the Yazidi religious minority stranded on Mount Sinjar, in Iraq's northwest, where U.S. planes also dropped humanitarian aid. The U.S. also launched airstrikes near Mosul Dam — the largest in Iraq — allowing Iraqi and Kurdish forces to retake the facility, which had been captured by Islamic State fighters. The U.S. Central Command said another airstrike on Sunday near Mosul Dam destroyed an Islamic State armed vehicle. The latest airstrikes, carried out by fighter aircraft and unmanned drones, brought to 120 the total number of airstrikes across Iraq since Aug. 8. German officials said Sunday that their country would soon begin sending enough high-end rifles, anti-tank weapons and armored vehicles to equip a brigade of 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters battling Islamic extremists in Iraq. On Sunday night, Iraqi police officials said a suicide driver rammed an explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint in Ramadi city, killing 14 people, including nine policemen. About 27 people were also wounded in the attack. Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province, is 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad. Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Featured columns

  • Hit sand first to make splash in bunker

    What do you think about sand play on tour? If all you knew about the shot was what you saw on television, you might come to the conclusion that the shot was easy. After all, you see these touring pros go into the trap and hit these shots and the ball almost goes into the hole a great deal of the time. After watching that, you might think that the bunker was actually a desirable place to be.Sand play is an area of the game that is unique unto itself. There are very few shots that are anything like it. What makes the shot so unusual is that the objective is not to hit the ball. The objective is to hit the sand behind the ball. More specifically, the objective is to throw the sand the ball is sitting on and the ball out onto the green.If that is the objective, there are some imperatives that must be observed when hitting this shot.The first is that the club must go on through the sand and into a high finish on the follow-through. The reason for this is simple. The sand the ball is sitting on will not go out of the trap and onto the green if the club stops in the sand. The terminology is to “splash” the ball out of the trap. When you splash the sand, the sand goes flying. That’s what you want.The next imperative is one that is most often missed by my students. When they get into the bunker preparing to hit the shot, they square the clubface to the ball and the target line. This may be the most common and most devastating mistake golfers make. You want the club to skim on through the sand and out to a high finish. The more you dig, the less likely this is to happen. If you square the clubface, you will dig.What most golfers miss is the benefit of the bounce of the sand wedge. The bounce is the part of the sole of the wedge that extends down below the leading edge. You want to maximize this to keep the club shallow in the sand and not get hung up. You maximize the bounce by opening the clubface. This is crucial.

  • Wine-making experience leaves Valley mom crushed

    It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are just four months away.Yet, one Valley family has still been working on getting its Christmas gift from two years ago.That’s when Maggie Edmonson had a great idea for her two daughters.She says, “We decided on experiences.”Maggie bought them a wine-bottling experience at Casavino Winery in Fountain Hills.“You come back after its fermenting, label, bottle your own wine and take it home. I knew they’d love it,” she said.

  • Master Gardener’s Mailbox: September garden calendar

    Q: September is coming, I think that means fall is here in Arizona? I am not familiar with your seasons. In the Midwest, we are getting ready for winter. What should we be getting ready for here? This is our first winter here! — Jackie, Sun City WestA: Typically, September’s temperatures are still in the mid- to high 90s. We do not really experience autumn until late October or early November.  If you will be having a garden, now is the perfect time to solarize the garden soil. Irrigate your garden and then cover with clear plastic for six weeks. This procedure will kill or drive out many of the pathogens. When the solarization is completed, you can prepare your bed for fall planting by adding organic matter. It is time to plant: snap beans, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collard greens, cucumbers, endive, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce (head & leaf), leeks, mustard, green onions, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips.Resume full fertilizing of established roses as the weather cools. Toward the end of August and into September, add an iron supplement if roses show yellowing from iron deficiency. For citrus, a late summer application of nitrogen fertilizer probably helps fruit sizing. This is more significant for fall ripening (Navels and tangerines) than spring ripening (grapefruit and Valencia orange) varieties.Protect newly transplanted trees from heavy winds and dust storms by staking carefully. In addition, I feel that in late August or early September fertilization will benefit most plants struggling to have a flush of growth before slowing down for the winter. The growth put on before dormancy will store more energy during the winter that will be available to the plant when it pushes growth in the spring.If you have grass, remember to let it dry out between each watering. Do not increase opportunities for fungal disease on turf by over-watering or watering at night. It is still not a good time to prune citrus.

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