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Valley & State

  • Arizona economy looks ascendant in 2017, but Trump policies could throw curve

    PHOENIX — Arizona should see continued job growth and a lower unemployment rate this coming year according to two economists.But some of that could depend on whether the Donald Trump who ran for president is the same one who takes office on Jan. 20.Lee McPheters, economics professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University said that when the final figures are in for this year the state will have added about 76,000 jobs. And he figures Arizona should create another 81,000 in 2017.McPheters, one of the presenters Monday at the school's annual economic forecast luncheon, said that should be good enough to drop the seasonally jobless rate by the end of next year to 4.8 percent. The most recent report has the state at 5.2 percent.But McPheters cautioned that much of the state's future is tied to what policies the Trump administration puts in place. And key to that is trade, with Trump having campaigned on policies of blowing up existing agreements, notably the North American Free Trade Agreement, and renegotiating them on terms he believes are more favorable to the United States."Certainly, Arizona being a border state would be affected by restrictions on trade,'' McPheters said. "I mean, this just seems to be going in the wrong direction.''

  • Amber Alert canceled after 12-year-old girl found with man

    A missing 12-year-old girl from southeastern Arizona who was the subject of an Amber Alert was found walking along a rural highway in southwestern New Mexico with a 34-year-old man who had been sought in her disappearance, authorities said Tuesday.A sheriff's sergeant in New Mexico's Grant County picked up Savinya Kimball and Lawrence James Halamek after several motorists Tuesday morning reported seeing them walking along State Route 78 several miles into New Mexico, said Graham County Undersheriff Jeff McCormies.The location is about 40 miles northeast of Safford.Both the girl and Halamek had last been seen at or near their respective homes in the Safford area Monday morning, when she went to a school bus stop and he a bit earlier when he told his wife he was going to go out to get them some breakfast, McCormies said.Circumstances of what happened and why remained unclear, McCormies said. "We still have hours left of investigation to do."The Amber Alert said Halamek was a "person of interest" in the girl's disappearance but McCormies later said Arizona authorities were sending their New Mexico counterparts a warrant charging Halamek with custodial interference.

  • Amber Alert issued for missing 12-year-old Safford-area girl

    SAFFORD, Ariz. (AP) — An Amber Alert has been issued for a 12-year-old Safford-area girl last seen Monday morning at a school bus stop.The Graham County Sheriff's Office says Savinya Kimball is white, 4-foot-10, 70 pounds, with blue eyes and black shoulder-length hair shaved on the left side. She was wearing black pants and a black sweater.County Undersheriff Jeff McCormies says a person of interest is 34-year-old Lawrence James Halamek. He drives a blue 2001 Dodge pickup truck with temporary Arizona license plate T941407.Halamek is described as white, 6-foot, 182 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a red shirt, black pants and a camouflage jacket.McCormies says the girl and Halamek aren't related but that she knows Halamek and his wife.


  • US life expectancy falls, as many kinds of death increase

    NEW YORK (AP) — A decades-long trend of rising life expectancy in the U.S. could be ending: It declined last year and it is no better than it was four years ago.In most of the years since World War II, life expectancy in the U.S. has inched up, thanks to medical advances, public health campaigns and better nutrition and education.But last year it slipped, an exceedingly rare event in a year that did not include a major disease outbreak. Other one-year declines occurred in 1993, when the nation was in the throes of the AIDS epidemic, and 1980, the result of an especially nasty flu season.In 2015, rates for 8 of the 10 leading causes of death rose. Even more troubling to health experts: the U.S. seems to be settling into a trend of no improvement at all."With four years, you're starting to see some indication of something a little more ominous," said S. Jay Olshansky, a University of Illinois-Chicago public health researcher.An American born in 2015 is expected to live 78 years and 9½ months, on average, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An American born in 2014 could expect to live about month longer, and even an American born in 2012 would have been expected to live slightly longer. In 1950, life expectancy was just over 68 years.

  • Former astronaut, US Sen. John Glenn of Ohio has died at 95

    WASHINGTON (AP) — John Glenn, whose 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate, died Thursday. The last survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts was 95.Glenn died at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, where he was hospitalized for more than a week, said Hank Wilson, communications director for the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.John Herschel Glenn Jr. had two major career paths that often intersected: flying and politics, and he soared in both of them.Before he gained fame orbiting the world, he was a fighter pilot in two wars, and as a test pilot, he set a transcontinental speed record. He later served 24 years in the Senate from Ohio. A rare setback was a failed 1984 run for the Democratic presidential nomination.His long political career enabled him to return to space in the shuttle Discovery at age 77 in 1998, a cosmic victory lap that he relished and turned into a teachable moment about growing old. He holds the record for the oldest person in space.More than anything, John Glenn was the ultimate and uniquely American space hero: a combat veteran with an easy smile, a strong marriage of 70 years and nerves of steel. Schools, a space center and the Columbus, Ohio, airport were named after him. So were children.

  • Attorney: Dylann Roof's mom had heart attack during trial

    CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Dylann Roof's mother suffered a heart attack not long after prosecutors described how her son planned a cold and calculated killing of nine black church members in a racially motivated attack, the white man's attorney said in court documents Thursday.Roof's mother collapsed and said "I'm sorry" several times on Wednesday as family members and court security came to help her during the opening of her son's federal death penalty trial. Roof's attorney mentioned the heart attack in court documents asking for a mistrial, saying a survivor's testimony was so emotional that "spectators and even court personnel — including members of the prosecution and defense — were crying with her."The documents didn't give the mother's current condition.Roof's attorney argued that the testimony from shooting survivor Felicia Sanders was inappropriate because it contained a statement on what Roof's sentence should be.Sanders told jurors about the horror of seeing her son and her aunt shot to death and sheltering with her granddaughter beneath a table. At one point, she looked across the courtroom toward Roof and called him "evil, evil, evil."Defense attorney David Bruck asked her on cross-examination whether she remembered Roof saying anything in the aftermath of the shootings.

Featured columns

  • Post-election hoaxes should be cast off

    In this election, neither of the two major party candidates were warmly embraced by their respective party. Long counts, delays in announcing the official results weeks after the election, old-fashioned voting machines — all contributed toward the questionable validity of the results of our election.Yet current national bickering was triggered by National Green Party candidate, Jill Stern, who garnered only l.04 percent of the total vote, but had the unmitigated gall to pursue a recount in three key states.Amazingly, the costly $7 million filing fee seemed to be pouring in at a rapid rate, approaching $5.9 million.A reasonable person might question how this vast sum was so quickly raised since during her 18-month national campaign she had only amassed $3.5 million.Adding to the speculation was the announcement that Hillary came out of the woodwork to jump on Stein’s bandwagon but with the qualified position that,“she had no evidence of sabotage but the campaign was committed to helping ensure a fair recount.”

  • Gender plays role in charitable giving

    Researchers studying differences in the patterns of women and men’s levels of charitable giving show that not-for-profit organizations would be wise to concentrate on women in their fundraising activities.Dr. Debra Mesch, the Eileen Lamb O’Gara chair in women’s philanthropy and director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, has been actively researching this issue and publishing findings.Studies of households, headed by a single man or woman with similar income, age, education, and number of children, found that women give more frequently to charity, and often more generously.According to the study, at the higher the levels of income (earnings of $103,000 and more), women exceeded men in the percentage of giving and the amounts donated. Ninety-six percent of women made contributions compared to 75 percent of men.These women gave an average of $1,033; men averaged $984.Interestingly, the only group in which men’s giving outstripped women was when the average annual income was between $23,510 and $43,499.

  • “For you are with me….

    ... Your staff is there to support me.” These words written by King David during a very trying time in his life indicates his faith and devotion to the salvation offered by God in times of distress. December is a time to concentrate on these immortal words because they offer us the opportunity to search within to understand our place in the Universe.There are times when we seem to believe that all is lost. We search for light only to find darkness all around us. At this season lights play a significant role in creating an atmosphere of peace and contentment. Not only do the lights of the season help us find our way, but they also help us find the inner peace we search for as we journey through life’s joys and sorrows.There are the lights of Hanukkah, an eight -day celebration of freedom, both physically and spiritually. There are the lights of the Star welcoming a new chapter in the salvation of mankind. Darkness is all around us. It is winter. Life withers, we sleep, as does nature. The lights are there to remind us that God is the light we all look for and need.Perhaps this season can also afford us the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to each other and the celebration of life. Perhaps these lights can serve as a reminder that they are beacons toward an understanding of each other. Perhaps this is what the Psalmist is trying to illustrate when he writes about God’s staff supporting us as we venture into the unknown.And as the year ends, perhaps we should concentrate on reconnecting to a loved one. After all it is the connection to each other that leads to our connection to God. It is this completion of oneness that is the everlasting example of faith, because as God so loved us, we too need to love one another.Maybe, just maybe, the last words written in this Psalm will be a constant reminder of the light of redemption – “And I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”

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