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Valley & State

  • Gov. Ducey appoints Arizona education board members

    PHOENIX -- Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday tapped a Tucson school superintendent and a Paradise Valley teacher to serve on the state Board of Education. Calvin Baker, who heads the Vail Unified School District, will fill the slot reserved for the superintendent of a high school district. He replaces Roger Jacks of the Kingman Unified School District who was put on the board in 2012 by Ducey predecessor Jan Brewer. Janice Mak, a STEM teacher in the Paradise Valley Unified School District was named to the position that, by law, has to be filled by a public school teacher. She succeeds Amy Hamilton who had finished two terms on the board. Both appointments are subject to Senate confirmation. The move comes just a day after Greg Miller resigned not only as president of the board but entirely from the 11-member panel following more than a year of public disputes with state schools chief Diane Douglas. That creates another vacancy which Ducey will have to fill with someone who is the administrator of a charter school. Dawn Wallace, the governor's education adviser, said the two actions are unrelated. 

  • Board of Education president quits, blames schools chief

    PHOENIX (AP) — The president of the Arizona Board of Education resigned his post Wednesday, saying his departure was the result of an ongoing and bitter feud with the state's elected schools chief, Diane Douglas.Greg Miller issued a written statement blaming Douglas, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, for refusing to work with the board and preventing it from implementing the policies it has adopted or assigning staff to help it do its work. The board creates statewide school policies, which the superintendent is then charged with putting in place."The Superintendent is currently unwilling to fulfill her constitutional duties as it concerns this board," Miller said. "Hopefully this action will allow the board to move forward with the very important work on its agenda and fulfill its constitutional role by encouraging the superintendent to move beyond her personal issues with me."Miller said he's leaving the board immediately and said he's offered to resign in the past to end the feud.Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said the governor "recently asked him if he was willing to step down as President in order to provide fresh leadership."He added: "Greg's choice to resign his position on the board is one he made on his own, and one we respect."

  • UA president calls for investigation into medical school

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The president of the University of Arizona has joined a number of doctors in calling for an investigation into how public funds are being used by the university's two medical schools.The Arizona Daily Star reports ( ) that President Ann Weaver Hart released a statement on Monday calling for an independent third-party investigation with no university or Arizona Board of Regents employees involved.She had originally told the regents that the university was hiring a third party to check the general feeling at the health-sciences colleges and to do interviews with the high-profile College of Medicine Phoenix leaders who left.The statement comes after the Arizona Medical Association has requested an investigation by the state Board of Regents following the resignation of leaders at the school.___Information from: Arizona Daily Star,


  • Clinton aide Abedin dumps husband Weiner over new scandal

    NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is done playing the good wife to Anthony Weiner, announcing Monday she is leaving the serially sexting ex-congressman after he was accused of sending raunchy photos and messages to yet another woman.Abedin, who as vice chair of Clinton's campaign is destined for big things if the Democrat is elected president, stayed with Weiner after a sexting scandal led him to resign from Congress in 2011 and after a new outbreak of online misbehavior wrecked his bid for New York mayor in 2013. She didn't leave even when a recent documentary blew up tense moments in their marriage to big-screen proportions.But on Monday, she effectively declared she had had enough."After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband," she said in a statement issued by the campaign. "Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life."The New York Post published photos late Sunday that it said Weiner had sent last year to a woman identified only as a "40-something divorcee" who lives in the West and supports Republican Donald Trump. The photos included two close-ups of Weiner's bulging underpants.In one of the pictures, Weiner is lying on a bed with his toddler son while texting the woman, according to the Post. The tabloid also ran sexually suggestive messages that it said the two exchanged.

  • 2 slain nuns remembered for helping the needy

    DURANT, Miss. (AP) — Hundreds of people filled a cathedral in Mississippi's capital city on Monday to remember two nuns who spent decades helping the needy and were found stabbed to death last week in their home in one of the poorest counties of the state.Bail was denied during the initial court appearance for the man charged with two counts of capital murder in the slayings of Sisters Margaret Held and Paula Merrill, both 68. Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, was also charged with one count of burglary and one count of grand larceny. He was not represented by an attorney during his appearance Monday afternoon in Durant city court. City Judge Jim Arnold said the state will appoint an attorney for Sanders.Capital murder is punishable by execution or life in prison; the sisters' religious orders have issued a joint statement against the death penalty."We are going to consider the heinous nature of the crime and their wishes," District Attorney Akillie Malone-Oliver said Monday, referring to the families of the sisters and their religious orders.Sanders confessed to the killings but gave no reason, said Holmes County Sheriff Willie March, who was briefed by Durant police and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation officials who took part in Sanders' interrogation. Sanders had been living about 15 miles east of the sisters' Durant home. He has been held at an undisclosed jail since his arrest late Friday.Sander's wife attended the hearing and broke down afterward when addressing the family and friends of the nuns.

  • Clinton proposes plan to address mental health treatment

    SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Hillary Clinton rolled out a comprehensive plan to address millions of Americans coping with mental illness, pointing to the need to fully integrate mental health services into the nation's health care system.Clinton's campaign released a multi-pronged approach to mental health care on Monday, aimed at ensuring that Americans would no longer separate mental health from physical health in terms of access, care and quality of treatment."We've got to break through and break down the stigma and shame. We've got to make clear that mental health is not a personal failing. Right now it's our country which is failing people with mental health issues," she said.The Democratic presidential nominee's agenda would focus on early diagnosis and intervention and create a national initiative for suicide prevention. If elected, Clinton would hold a White House conference on mental health within her first year in office.Clinton's proposal would also aim to enforce mental health parity laws and provide training to law enforcement officers to deal with people grappling with mental health problems while prioritizing treatment over jail for low-level offenders.The former secretary of state held a town hall meeting by telephone with stakeholders on Monday during a three-day fundraising spree in the Hamptons on New York's Long Island. The policy rollout would overlap with a Clinton plan to address drug and alcohol addiction which she campaigned on in Iowa and New Hampshire after hearing frequently about the problems from voters.

Featured columns

  • LETTER: Council lacks clean hands

    The recent actions of the City Council to discredit the Mayor could have had a much different outcome if either lawyer involved would have used a principal of law known as Estople. I am not a lawyer, but like all business majors, I had to take a few semesters of business law, and a little of it stuck. Under Estople, is something called the clean hands doctrine. A simple web search brought this up:“Clean hands, sometimes called the clean hands doctrine or the dirty hands doctrine, is an equitable defense in which the defendant argues that the plaintiff is not entitled to obtain an equitable remedy because the plaintiff is acting unethically or has acted in bad faith with respect to the subject of the complaint.”Based on this, in my opinion, Councilmembers Winters and Villanueva would have had to excuse themselves from speaking or voting on the issue. Councilmember Winters, for his article in the newspaper in which he belittled candidate Jim Hayden, and signed it with his official title of “Councilmember”; Councilmember Villanueva, for her campaigning after one of her coffee meetings, which are held at the city’s Senior Center. When the meeting concluded, she began handing out the same literature she used in her campaign. I still have my copy.I feel that had either lawyer caught this and used it, the outcome would have been 3-2 in favor of the mayor…….But I’m not a lawyer. Ed HanzelSurprise

  • LETTER: Rebuttal to Councilman Winters’ letter

    Having just read an opinion titled, “Candidates does not know district he wants to serve” by Councilman Roland Winters in your Surprise Today issue of Aug. 10, 2016 I would like to state the following:It’s really strange when Mr. Winters joins Councilman Jim Biundo in his ethics complaint against Mayor Sharon Wolcott for using her free speech right by expressing opinions both vocally and financially for Mr. Biundo’s opponent.As I read Mr. Winters statement he appears to be publicly expressing his views as an elected councilman in support of Mr. Biundo by trying to downgrade and vilify candidate Jim Hayden who is running against Mr. Biundo.Mr. Winters stated that he smiles when he passes Happy Trail and he sees Mr. Hayden’s signs. Does Mr. Winters smile or frown when he sees Mr. Buindo’s signs in front of Happy Trails and across the street from it?I bet that Mr. Biundo then doesn’t know what district Happy Trails is in.Actually it’s District 1 which is Mr. Winters’ district and as such Mr. Winters should also know it’s Happy Trails and not Happy Trail.

  • LETTER: Set politics aside for good of city

    What a sad day for Surprise that apparently in order to boost a political campaign, Councilman Biundo has chosen to attack the mayor with an ethics charge. It was quite convenient for him to enjoy the mayor’s support when he was appointed – twice – to the City Council, and not without some controversy. This is indeed election season, but it is not the time for petty infighting. It also reaches the ears of investors who are watching, deciding whether to spread their treasure on this growing city at a crucial time for our development. It distracts us from the real issues our city must face, such as the coming water shortage and out-of-control utility rates, to name two. This is a tempest in a teapot. Let us move on to some real issues and put everyone’s hurt feelings aside. Mayor and Council and city staff need to work as a team, for the good of the people of Surprise.Leo MankiewiczFormer Surprise councilman

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