Your West Valley News: Valley & State

Valley & State

  • Cedar Fire slowly grows to 45,000+ acres, drones causing problems

    SHOW LOW, AZ - The Cedar Fire has increased in size to more than 45,000 acres.Fire officials said Thursday night the fire stands at 45,737 acres, and was 42% contained--mostly along its northern and southern edges. Nearly 1,000 personnel have responded to the scene, which is southwest of Pinetop-Lakeside in eastern Arizona.Pre-evacuation notices for several communities, including Cedar Creek and Carrizo, remain in effect as the fire is expected to continue spreading along its eastern and western edges.Also Thursday, officials said they were having issues with drones near the Cedar Fire.Navajo County said they have a Temporary Flight Restriction in place over the entire fire area. It is illegal to fly a drone within the fire area at any altitude.According to Navajo County, officials will arrest any drone pilots seen flying in the area and property will be seized.

  • Gasoline prices in Arizona remain unchanged this week

    PHOENIX (AP) — Gasoline prices around Arizona remain unchanged at the pumps this week.Officials with Triple-A Arizona said Thursday the average statewide price for unleaded regular gasoline is $2.22 a gallon.This week's national average is $2.31 per gallon, down by 4 cents from last week.Triple-A analysts say as supply appears more than capable of keeping pace with growing demand, prices should continue to fall nationally and may start to drop in Arizona, barring unforeseen circumstances.Tucson currently has Arizona's lowest average gasoline price at $2.06 a gallon and Flagstaff the highest at $2.41.South Carolina has the lowest average gas price among states in the continental U.S. at $2.02 a gallon and California has the highest at $2.87.

  • $229,000 donated to Granite Mountain Hotshots memorial

    PHOENIX (AP) — A utility has donated $229,000 to a memorial honoring the Granite Mountain Hotshots.The contribution from Arizona Public Service will be used for construction costs at Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park and plaques honoring the 19 firefighters who were killed while battling a June 2013 wildfire in Yarnell.State officials say the donation will help complete the work needed to open the park.The firefighters died when winds shifted during the Yarnell Hill Fire and trapped them in a brush-choked canyon.The park will be the first in the Arizona State Parks system that is a memorial to people who died.


  • Crews rescue the stranded in West Virginia flooding; 23 dead

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — All Karol Dunford has left is a dirty nightgown, caked in mud from the floodwaters that ravaged her West Virginia town and killed at least 23.She lost the trailer where she lived for 30 years. She lost her wheelchair, her medicine and her best friend, a little Chihuahua named Frankie.As the deluge swamped southeast West Virginia on Thursday evening, Dunford, 71, sat immobile in her wheelchair in her living room as the pitch-black floodwater rose past her ankles, to her knees, up to the armrests. She talked to her daughter, Randee Suzer, on the phone. She said it was silent but for the roar of the water. Dunford, an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War, screamed and screamed but feared no one would come to save her.Hundreds of others were stranded, too.Teams across the state rescued people from second-story windows, the hoods of cars, the tops of trees. They saved Dunford from her flooded trailer in the middle of the night, just as the water started licking her shoulders. More than 100 homes were destroyed, some torn from their foundations and carried away. The roaring water uprooted trees, tore down bridges, washed away roads and knocked out power and phone service to thousands of homes. Families were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.Dunford's tiny town of Rainelle in Greenbrier County took the brunt of the devastation. County Sheriff Jan Cahill described "complete chaos." At least 15 people were killed in the county and officials fear more will be discovered as they start sorting through the rubble the storm left behind."This was so violent," said Wayne Pennington, the fire chief in Lewisburg, the seat of Greenbrier County. "It removed structures. It swept cars away. It destroyed trees, guard rails. It churned up the earth. It exposed water lines and broke them. It was just mass destruction on a scale I've never seen."Pennington's crew searched into the night for people stranded. They waded through the swift current, sometimes up to their chests, to pull people to safety.They found a 97-year-old woman standing inside her front door, with water rushing up over her porch."She said, 'I thought I was all alone,'" he recalled. "And one of the team members says, 'Well honey, you're not alone no more.' And onto his back he put her and grabbed her walker and away we went."In White Sulphur Springs, some used heavy construction equipment to push through the debris and reach people trapped by high water. Joe Byers, a volunteer firefighter from nearby Lewisburg, drove a front-end loader into decimated neighborhoods early Thursday evening. They worked through the night, despite the darkness and fog, and rescued about 60 people. His team found people trapped, handed them life jackets then piled them into the loader's bucket, one-by-one, until the bucket was full. Then they hauled them to safety and drove back into the floodwaters for more.A 91-year-old woman took a ride in his bucket. They rescued a family of five with a child in diapers.Rescue crews went door to door to check on residents, a painstaking task that could stretch into the weekend. Once a residence was checked, a red or orange X' was marked on the home.About 500 people were stranded at Crossings Mall, a mix of restaurants, stores and a hotel in Elkview, about 15 miles northeast of Charleston. Some had to sleep in their cars or at businesses overnight. Some escaped down a hillside with help from the Pinch Volunteer Fire Department. Others waited as crews scrambled to build a new gravel road to reach them.Two-hundred National Guardsmen assisted in eight counties, helping local crews with swift water rescues, search and extraction efforts. Military helicopters hovered overhead and the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent in teams to assist. The governor declared a state of emergency in 44 of 54 counties and authorized up to 500 soldiers to assist.One of the dead included a 4-year-old boy who was found about a quarter-mile from where he fell into a creek, which usually runs about ankle deep but rose to about 6 feet when Jackson County was pounded with 9 inches of rain in 16 hours.Bob Bibbee with the Ravenswood Fire Department said the boy was outside with his grandfather, who jumped in after him. Neighbors, alerted by the sound of the family's screams, tried to help save the boy but were also unable to reach him.Local officials in Ohio County said the death of an 8-year-old boy, Emanual "Manny" Williams, who fell into Big Wheeling Creek on Thursday, was not due to flooding but was an accidental drowning. The area around Wheeling had no flooding and no severe weather, said Wheeling Police Sgt. William Nolan. But the death was among those counted by the state medical examiner, the governor's office said.The rest of the dead have not been identified.Some of the heaviest rainfall was in Greenbrier County, where the Greenbrier luxury resort and golf course is nestled among mountains. The 710-room resort announced Friday it would be closed to guests until further notice. The course, overrun by floodwaters, is scheduled to host a PGA tour event July 4-10.The PGA Tour says it is still assessing the damage to the Greenbrier and will have an update in the next few days on whether it's feasible to hold a golf tournament there in two weeks.On Friday, residents started to pick through the rubble to save what they could.Dunford was taken to a veterans hospital in Beckley. She'd had an open wound on her foot that sat in the dirty floodwater for hours and doctors are worried about infection, Suzer said. Once she's released, she doesn't know where she'll go."She got really upset when she realized she doesn't have any underwear, she doesn't have any food, she doesn't have any medicine, she doesn't have anything," Suzer said. "She lives on very modest means. That trailer was her home. She didn't have a lot. And she lost it all."

  • Britain, EU plunged into uncertainty by exit vote

    LONDON (AP) — Britain has jumped. Now it is wildly searching for the parachute.The U.K.'s unprecedented decision to leave the European Union sent shockwaves through the country and around the world Friday, rocking financial markets, toppling Prime Minister David Cameron and even threatening the ties that bind the United Kingdom.Britons absorbed the overwhelming realization that their anti-establishment vote has pushed the British economy into treacherous and uncertain territory and sparked a profound crisis for a bloc founded to unify Europe after the devastation of World War II."Leave" campaigners hailed the result as a victory for British democracy against the bureaucratic behemoth of the EU.Conservative former London Mayor Boris Johnson said "the British people have spoken up for democracy in Britain and across Europe," while Nigel Farage, leader of the hard-right U.K. Independence Party, said "the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom."But for the 48 percent of British voters who wanted to remain — and for the 2 million EU nationals who live and work in Britain, but could not vote — there was sadness, anger and even panic.At a London train station, commuter Olivia Sangster-Bullers called the result "absolutely disgusting.""Good luck to all of us, I say, especially those trying to build a future with our children," she said.The decision launches a yearslong process to renegotiate trade, business and political links between the U.K. and what will become a 27-nation bloc, an unprecedented divorce that could take a decade or more to complete.Cameron, who had led the campaign to keep Britain in the EU, said he would resign by October and left it to his successor to decide when to invoke Article 50, which triggers a departure from European Union."I will do everything I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months," a somber Cameron said outside 10 Downing St. "But I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers the country to its next destination."He also said he had spoken to Queen Elizabeth II "to advise her of the steps that I am taking."In a referendum marked by notably high turnout — 72 percent of the more than 46 million registered voters — "leave" won with 52 percent of the votes.Stock markets plummeted around the world, with key indexes dropping more than 12 percent in Germany and about 8 percent in Japan and Britain. Markets calmed and later recovered some of their losses after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney promised to take "all the necessary steps to prepare for today's events."The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 611 points, or 3.4 percent, its biggest fall since August.The euro fell against the dollar and the pound dropped to its lowest level since 1985, plunging more than 10 percent from about $1.50 to $1.35 before a slight recovery, on concerns that severing ties with the single market will hurt the U.K. economy and undermine London's position as a global financial center.The referendum result revealed Britain to be a sharply divided nation: Strong pro-EU votes in the economic and cultural powerhouse of London and semi-autonomous Scotland were countered by sweeping anti-establishment sentiment for an exit across the rest of England, from southern seaside towns to rust-belt former industrial powerhouses in the north.For many who voted "leave," the act was a rebellion against the political, economic and social establishment and the derided "experts" — including CEOs, artists, scientists and soldiers — who had written open letters warning of the consequences of an EU exit, or Brexit.Pro-Brexit voters were persuaded by the argument that leaving the EU meant taking back control of immigration — by abandoning the bloc's principle of free movement among member states — and reclaiming billions that the U.K. pays to Brussels each year."Remain" supporters said this was a fantasy of sovereignty in an interconnected world, one that ignored the benefits the EU, and EU workers, bring to Britain.But for many "leave" voters — who tended to be older, less well-educated and less well-off than the other side — the vote was reclaiming a birthright."It's a vindication of 1,000 years of British democracy," 62-year-old Jonathan Campbell James declared at the train station in Richmond, southwest London. "From Magna Carta all the way through to now, we've had a slow evolution of democracy, and this vote has vindicated the maturity and depth of the democracy in our country."The vote also represented a cultural and political populism stirring across Europe and beyond.Populist politicians including France's Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands' Geert Wilders hailed the result and called for similar anti-EU votes in their countries.Donald Trump praised the decision during a visit to one of his golf courses in Scotland, saying Britons "took back their country." He compared the vote to the U.S. sentiment that has propelled him to presumptive Republican presidential nominee, saying "people are angry all over the world."President Barack Obama said he talked to Cameron and believes the British voters' decision speaks "to the ongoing changes and challenges that are raised by globalization."The divisions exposed by the referendum threaten to unstitch the complex fabric of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said "Scotland has voted to stay in the EU," and a new referendum on independence from the United Kingdom is now "highly likely." Scotland voted in 2014 to remain a part of the U.K., but that decision was seen by many as conditional on the U.K. remaining in the EU.The EU exit would also complicate the status of Northern Ireland, which shares a border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member. Irish nationalists used the result to call for an all-island referendum to reunite the two parts of Ireland after 95 years of partition into an independent south and British north.But nothing matched the shock of many in the capital, London, where more than 10 percent of the population is from the EU, and which voted by a large margin to remain in the EU.Christine Ullmann, a German who worked on the campaign urging other Europeans to "Hug a Brit," expressed a widespread sense of sadness and loss."What about Brits who believe in the goodness of their society who find themselves in a society where they can't travel and work freely in Europe?" she said. "I feel really sad for them. They've lost more."London Mayor Sadiq Khan reassured the 1 million Europeans in the capital that they were "very welcome here.""We all have a responsibility to now seek to heal the divisions that have emerged throughout this campaign — and to focus on what unites us, rather than that which divides us," he said.Britain would be the first major country to leave the EU, which was born from the ashes of World War II as European leaders sought to build links and avert future hostility. With no precedent, the impact on the single market of 500 million people — the world's largest economy — is unclear.The result triggers a new series of negotiations expected to last two years or more as Britain and the EU search for a way to separate economies that have become intertwined since the U.K. joined the bloc on Jan. 1, 1973. Until those talks are completed, Britain will remain a member of the EU.Leaders from across the EU voiced regret inflected with anger at the British decision. Germany called top diplomats from the EU's six founding nations to a meeting Saturday, and the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said the bloc would meet without Britain at a summit next week to assess its future. Tusk vowed not to let the vote derail the European project."What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger," he said — but noted that there was "no way of predicting all the political consequences of this event, especially for the U.K."Cameron's largely self-inflicted downfall was a political tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. He called the referendum largely to silence euroskeptic challengers, then staked his reputation on keeping Britain in the EU, warning voters on the eve of the referendum that their choice would be irreversible: "You can't jump out of an airplane and then clamber back into the cockpit."His resignation announcement sparks a Conservative leadership battle in which Boris Johnson is a leading contender.Former Business Secretary Vince Cable said Cameron had made a monumental political misjudgment that would now haunt him."There was a chronic failure to understand what can happen when you just throw the cards in the air," Cable said. "Unpredictable things happen. People find an outlet for their grievances, whether it's got anything to do with Europe or not."The result also triggered turmoil in the left-of-center opposition Labour Party, whose traditional working-class supporters defied the party's call to vote "remain" in large numbers. Leader Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist who lent lukewarm support to the pro-EU cause, faces an incipient challenge to his leadership.But for many in Britain, the economy is the biggest and most pressing worry.Authorities ranging from the International Monetary Fund to the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England have warned that a British exit will reverberate through a world economy that is only slowly recovering from the global economic crisis.It will also affect the ability of professionals such as investment managers, accountants and lawyers to work in the EU, threatening London's position as one of the world's pre-eminent financial centers."The U.K. has woken up today a deeply divided society," said Megan E. Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management. "In the face of political instability and economic uncertainty, the British leadership must also figure out how to reunite society to avoid adding social unrest to the list of challenges the U.K. faces. This is a tall order."

  • UK vote adds uncertainty to an already shaky global economy

    FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Britain's vote to leave the European Union adds a heavy dose of uncertainty to a global economy that is still struggling to reach full speed years after the global financial crisis.The most immediate effects will be felt in Britain. But economists say the ripples could be felt much farther afield.Companies will wonder whether to invest or locate in Britain during the years-long negotiations to define new trade conditions with the EU, its biggest business partner. Across Europe, trade and immigration may lose ground to nationalism and protectionism. The EU itself, minus market-oriented Britain, may turn to more government intervention and regulation. Other countries may eventually seek to leave the bloc."A new set of economic circumstances has been created, which the world will have to deal with," said India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. "Volatility is the new norm. And therefore, economies have to learn to live with crisis after crisis."The global economy isn't in a crisis right at the moment, but growth is muted and uneven among countries. The International Monetary Fund forecasts growth of 3.5 percent for this year. The Chinese economy is slowing, the U.S. recovery has hit a slower patch, major emerging economies like Brazil are in recession, and Europe and Japan are stagnating.That's not good enough to bring people out of poverty or get them jobs. Unemployment remains at a high 10.2 percent in the 19 countries that use the euro; in the U.S. it's a lower 5.5 percent, but the labor participation rate has not recovered since the recession of 2008-9, indicating many workers have not benefited from the stronger U.S. recovery.Here's a look at what the vote means for the world economy.ECONOMIC GROWTHThe most direct economic pain will be felt by the U.K., while the direct consequences for the world economy are likely to be more moderate. Moody's Analytics estimates that global economic output would be 0.25 percent smaller after five years than it otherwise would have been, while the EU would be a full percent smaller and the U.K. 4 percent.Then there are indirect events. Stock market plunges can make people feel poorer and less likely to spend. Uncertainty can make executives put off investments in new production. "Uncertainty certainly impedes investment decisions, and with few signs of any pickup in the global economy we're probably going to see a slower rebound in capital spending," said Sara Johnson, senior research director of global economics with HIS Global Insight.CENTRAL BANKSThe market plunges following the vote are one reason for the world's central banks to keep their rock-bottom interest rates in place. In the case of the Federal Reserve, it makes it more likely that rate hikes expected this year will be put off. Low rates and monetary stimulus through bond purchases seem to have supported growth in Europe, the U.K. and the United States. But the long-term side effects of such policies are uncertain.THE LONDON LILY PADMany big companies use the U.K. as a base for their European operations. London's strength as a banking center is in part based on easy access to financial markets in Europe. Regulatory approval to do business in the British capital means an all-access pass to the other 27 EU countries, a process called passporting.Global banks like JP Morgan Chase have already said that they would have to move jobs from London to the European mainland if Britain leaves the EU.CONSUMERS, TRAVELLERSThe pound and euro both dropped Friday, which should make British and eurozone exports cheaper overseas. American travelers heading to Britain and the rest of Europe are going to find cheaper meals, hotels, souvenirs and museum admissions because the U.S. dollar will go farther against a weaker pound and euro. Airfare for peak summer months probably won't dip but any taxes and fees levied in Europe will be cheaper. For instance, all coach passengers leaving the U.K. for the U.S. pay 73 pounds for the Air Passenger Duty. That tax is now cheaper.TRADEThe impact on UK-EU trade would depend on how quick and amicable negotiations are on a new set of relations. Britain could wind up like Switzerland, which simply adopts EU requirements without having any say in how they are decided. Britain sends 44 percent of its exports to the EU, less than any other member country but still quite significant.The price for continued market access, however, could be allowing free movement of workers. A desire to control immigration was a major force behind the "leave" campaign, so it's unclear if such an agreement could ever be reached."If the U.K. takes a tougher stance on immigration, for businesses this will be a disaster as the EU will retaliate," said Christian Stadler, professor of strategic management at the Warwick Business School in Coventry, Britain. "Access to the EU will become difficult. For some companies this means doing business in Europe won't be attractive anymore.""Others will have to deal with complicated bureaucracy," he said. "In short: a nightmare."POLITICAL DOMINOESThe British vote have a much broader impact if becomes a political turning point away from trade and economic integration. In economic terms, free trade is considered a plus for growth. It should mean bigger markets, lower consumer prices and more competition. Yet those advantages can quickly be forgotten if people feel that the benefits are not fairly distributed, or that their jobs are left unprotected and move to other, lower-cost countries.Many a British exit could embolden anti-EU, anti-immigration political movements such as the Front National in France. Its leader, Marine Le Pen, is already considered likely to make the final round of presidential elections next year. Geert Wilders, head of the anti-Islam, anti-EU Freedom Party in the Netherlands, called Friday for a referendum on the EU there, too.And it goes beyond Europe. Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee for U.S. president, has described the free trade agreement among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico as "a disaster." Likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has said the U.S. should "renegotiate deals that are not working for Americans" and if necessary reject a proposed trade deal with Asian countries if it doesn't show clear benefits for raising wages and jobs."In the US there is a clear parallel between the rise of Donald Trump... and what is going on in the U.K. and the rest of Europe," said Rob Carnell, U.S. economist at ING-DiBa. "The recovery has left large swathes of the population behind, and this is their protest.""I think this vote has been a vote against open and integrated societies, quite frankly," said Guntram Wolff, director of the Breugel think tank in Brussel. "And I think the sentiment in many other European countries...would be to say, we will not counter that, we are so fearful, that we will basically try to counter populism by following the same road and be more protectionist."

Featured columns

  • OPINION: Larsen attack on Rec Centers Board unfair

    Former Director Darris Larsen made some specific allegations that are damaging to the Association, and as President of the Board next fiscal year I feel that we need to clear the air and start out on the right foot.He attacked certain people on the Board. It is imperative to respond to his allegations. It is not fair to attack the whole Board.The Governing Board of Sun City West is responsible to do the best for the community that we can do.We have a fiduciary responsibility to all of the residents of Sun City West. It is unfortunate when Board members come on with set agendas. Not all Board members might agree that their agenda is the best thing for the community.When certain Board members don’t accomplish their self-interests, they feel they are not being effective.Former Director Larsen came on the board with the agenda of wanting to close two of our golf courses and cut off ticket sales of events to non-residents.

  • OPINION: Rec Centers Board President addresses Darris Larsen allegations

    Last Friday, Director Darris Larsen submitted his resignation from the Governing Board of the Sun City West Recreation Centers (Association Board).  It was disappointing that former Director Larsen chose to submit his resignation in such a public way.This will not contribute to the harmony of the community that the Board and staff work so hard to achieve.I'd like to address some allegations of former Director Larsen. But before I do that, I would like to make a couple things clear. We, the Association Board, operate completely open and above board! We do not meet in secret. All our meetings are open to the community and the media. The meetings are publicized so you know what we are talking about at that meeting, even committee meetings. When we agree to volunteer for three years on the Association Board, we do that for the greater good of the community. We should never have an agenda, but unfortunately that is not always true. Former Director Larsen suggests that there is “an atmosphere of self-interest and intimidation” and further that the President and officers “are encouraging this.” Nothing could be further from the truth.Former Director Larsen speaks of “bullying.'' A good Board will have a diverse group of people serving on the Board, both men and women.

  • VENTS: Mitt Romney jealous, Muslims, President forever, Mail voting, Drivers

    “Mitt Romney is jealous of Donald Trump. Trump supported Romney and donated to his campaign. This is some payback. Romney was a spineless candidate who refused to fight during the campaign and refused to bring up Benghazi during the debates. Romney needs to go away.”“There are several states in this country where the textbooks have been strongly influenced by the Muslims. There are a great number of pages about the Muslim religion and about seven paragraphs about Christianity. Children are being forced in some schools to wear burkas, even Christian children. They want the teacher to be fully aware of the Muslim religion, the good points, not the bad points.”“President Obama threatened the British people with dire consequences if they left the European Union. Now his threats imply that he intends to be president forever. Just remember if he did declare martial law, he can make himself president forever.”“Why is Loretta O’Mallley (May 17, Daily News-Sun, A1) or anyone standing in line to vote and complaining about the wait? I have always voted by mail. You receive a booklet with all the issues that are on the ballot to study and decide, complete your ballot and drop it in the mail. No waiting or complaining, folks.”“We live between 107th and 103rd on Cumberland Drive, which is very wide and we have people in cars and golf cars going right down the middle of the street 95 percent of the time. Don’t they know when they were given their driver’s licenses that they are supposed to stay to the right side of the road. Someone is going to get killed and I hope it is not in front of my house.”

Wild Horse West

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