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Valley & State

  • Arizona man convicted of marijuana trafficking in New Mexico

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A federal court jury has found an Arizona man guilty on marijuana trafficking charges in New Mexico.Prosecutors say 57-year-old John Wayne Hargrove, of Pearce, was convicted Tuesday after a two-day trial in Las Cruces.Hargrove and four Mexican nationals were arrested in February on a criminal complaint charging them with conspiracy and possession of nearly 298 pounds of marijuana.Border Patrol agents arrested Hargrove and another defendant near the Arizona-New Mexico border and seized six bundles of marijuana from their truck.Hargrove and two others were subsequently indicted and charged with participating in a marijuana trafficking conspiracy and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.At sentencing, Hargrove faces up to 40 years in prison. He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing that has yet to be scheduled.

  • Arizona highway clouded by smoke, causing numerous accidents

    Thick smoke from a blaze set to reduce wildfire risks blinded motorists Wednesday on the main highway across northern Arizona near the Grand Canyon, causing numerous accidents as haze clouded the freeway for hours and reduced visibility to 20 feet, officials said.The fire to burn dry brush and trees was set Tuesday in the Kaibab National Forest that surrounds Flagstaff, and officials knew that a wind shift overnight would send smoke toward Interstate 40.But they were surprised that it did not dissipate as predicted, said Brady Smith, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman.Multiple collisions with minor injuries to motorists and passengers were blamed on smoky haze that settled over the highway for about five hours. Authorities closed I-40 for hours to prevent more accidents.Police had not immediately determined whether the poor visibility was the cause of a fatal accident after a vehicle was sandwiched between two tractor-trailers before dawn, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said.Controlled burns are frequent events in Arizona this time of year as forest managers work to thin brush and trees that can present major wildfire risks in summer months.

  • Judge questions vow not to use sedative again in executions

    PHOENIX (AP) — A judge presiding over a lawsuit that protests how Arizona carries out the death penalty extracted promises in court from the state Wednesday that it won't use the sedative midazolam in future executions.Lawyers for the state are seeking to dismiss the lawsuit's claim that midazolam can't ensure that condemned inmates won't feel the pain caused by another drug in a three-drug execution protocol. The state said it won't use the sedative in the future even if it finds a new supply.U.S. District Judge Neil Wake said the state's decision to voluntarily end its midazolam use in executions could be changed in the future by a state prisons director or a governor."There is nothing to stop the director or a future director or a future governor from saying the world has changed," Wake said, marking the second time in recent months that he has questioned the solidity of the state's claim on finding midazolam.Arizona announced nearly four months ago that it was eliminating its use of midazolam after its supply expired and another supplier couldn't be found because of pressure from opponents of the death penalty. Attorneys for the state say the lawsuit's midazolam claim is moot because the drug won't be used in the future executions.Wake scheduled the hearing after learning that Ohio now has a supply of midazolam and plans to resume executions there in January.


  • Attack in Afghanistan killed Illinois soldier, Oklahoma man

    FAIRVIEW, Ill. (AP) — A decorated U.S. soldier from Illinois and an Army civilian employee from Oklahoma who both had been deployed multiple times to support military operations in Afghanistan were killed in an attack this week in Kabul, the Defense Department said.Army Sgt. Douglas J. Riney, 26, of Fairview, Illinois, and Michael G. Sauro, 40, of McAlester, Oklahoma, died of wounds received when they encountered hostile enemy forces in Afghanistan's capital, the military announced Thursday."Mike was the type of person who no matter what you asked of him, he was always willing to lend a helping hand to everybody," said Deborah Schreiner, chief of HAZMAT Training at the Defense Ammunition Center, Oklahoma, where Sauro was assigned. "He was such a joy to work with and always so upbeat."The Defense Department initially said in a statement that the men died Thursday, but later confirmed the deaths were Wednesday. NATO and an Afghan official said a man wearing an Afghan army uniform had killed a U.S. service member and an American civilian Wednesday in Kabul. NATO said another U.S. service member and two U.S. civilians were wounded in the attack.Riney entered active-duty service in July 2012 as a petroleum supply specialist, the military said. He had been assigned to the Support Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, since December 2012.Riney earlier was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from July 2014 to February 2015 and deployed in June of this year in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal.

  • Trump, Clinton spending furiously as Election Day nears

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Defying his notorious stinginess, Donald Trump more than doubled his campaign spending last month compared to August. He burned through roughly $70 million as his standing in polls and among fellow Republicans dropped.His Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, spent even more — almost $83 million.New finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission outlined their dramatically different approaches to the quest for the White House. Trump, while putting more money than ever into advertising, spent a fraction of the roughly $66 million Clinton poured into media buys.Clinton's payroll topped 800 people, coming in as her second-highest expense of the month, about $5.5 million. Trump paid roughly 350 employees and consultants. He has outsourced most of his on-the-ground voter contact to the Republican Party.The New York real estate mogul has bragged until recently about his low-cost campaign and dismissed the need for television ads and polling services. But in September, he paid $23 million for commercials.Perhaps a reflection of his newest campaign manager, pollster Kellyanne Conway, Trump appears to have a new interest in polling.

  • Photos show European Mars probe crashed, may have exploded

    BERLIN (AP) — Europe's experimental Mars probe hit the right spot — but at the wrong speed — and may have ended up in a fiery ball of rocket fuel when it struck the surface, scientists said Friday.Pictures taken by a NASA satellite show a black spot in the area where the Schiaparelli lander was meant to touch down Wednesday, the European Space Agency said. The images end two days of speculation following the probe's unexpected radio silence less than a minute before the planned landing."Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometers (1.4-2.4 miles), therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph)," the agency said.It said the large disturbance captured in the NASA photographs may have been caused by the probe's steep crash-landing, which would have sprayed matter around like a blast site on Earth."It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full," the agency said.Schiaparelli was designed to test technology for a more ambitious European Mars landing in 2020. The European Space Agency said the probe's mother ship was successfully placed into orbit Wednesday and will soon begin analyzing the Martian atmosphere in search for evidence of life.

Featured columns

  • IDENTITY THEFT: Emailed IRS bill frauds invoke Affordable Care Act

    The IRS recently issued an alert to taxpayers to be on guard against fake emails purporting to contain a bill from the IRS related to the Affordable Care Act.The IRS is receiving numerous reports from around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015.Generally, the scam involves an email that includes a “FAKE” CP2000 notice, as an attachment. The fraudulent emails include a “payment request” instructing taxpayers to mail a check payable to “I.R.S.”, to the “Austin Processing Center” at a post office box address.Additionally, there is a “payment” link, within the email itself. It also provides instructions for payment options if you are unable to pay.A CP2000 notice is only generated by the IRS when income reported from third-party sources, does not match the income reported on your tax return. It provides extensive instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or even if they disagree that additional tax is owed.These CP2000 notices are never sent as part of an email to taxpayers. They are instead always mailed to the taxpayer. Look for the following indicators in these fake emails:

  • LETTER: Retention is the real problem, not teacher shortage

    As I was walking and collecting signatures to get my name on the ballot for Peoria Unified School District, I had the opportunity to listen to some of the concerns on the top of teacher’s minds. While pay cuts and salary were still part of this conversation, it was the lack of support, value and training among the top reasons teachers were feeling disrespected.With 25 percent of our state’s teachers scheduled to retire within the next three years, recruiting and retaining teachers will be crucial to the continued success of the Peoria Unified School District. Teachers are leaving the profession, and leaving Arizona for bigger paychecks, according to a CBS 5 questionnaire sent to Valley school districts and interviews with current and former teachers.The questionnaire was sent to 40 Valley school districts. The 25 districts that responded reported a total of 1,089 open teaching positions. They include:• 85 open positions in the Deer Valley Unified School District• 102 open positions in the Gilbert Unified School District• 115 open positions in the Peoria Unified School District

  • LETTER: Senate, it’s time to boot McCain

    Sen. John McCain deserves our respect for not defecting when imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam. He, however, does not deserve to be returned to Washington as Arizona’s senator.  When Arizona veterans wrote or called McCain’s office to say they could not get services at the Phoenix Veterans Administration hospital, what did he do for his constituents?  Nothing — at least not until the whistleblower made the lack of critical services a public issue.  Then the senator was there criticizing as though he learned this for the first time.The senator voted maybe 40 times to overturn the Affordable Care Act, yet what plan did he offer to meet health care needs of uninsured and underinsured Americans?  He did nothing.Immigration is a vital issue for Arizona with families who came to this country without proper documents, constantly living in fear of deportation.Many families have American children who share the anxiety not knowing what will happen to their parents.  

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