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Valley & State

  • Young immigrants allowed to get driver's licenses

    PHOENIX (AP) — A judge cleared the way Thursday for thousands of young immigrants in Arizona who are protected from deportation under an Obama administration policy to get driver's licenses. The preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge David Campbell bars the state from enforcing Gov. Jan Brewer's policy of denying the licenses to about 20,000 immigrants. The injunction that takes effect on Monday was a formality that carries out instructions issued in July by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Nora Preciado, one of the attorneys who pressed the challenge of the state policy, said the injunction eliminates the rule change that made it difficult or impossible for young immigrants to do essential things such as go to school and stores, and find and hold a job. "This has been a terrible harm to them and has really stunted their ability to contribute to Arizona and their communities," Preciado said. The governor's office had no immediate comment on the injunction. The move in Arizona to deny the licenses was a reaction to steps taken by the Obama administration in June 2012 to shield thousands of immigrants from deportation. Brewer's move marked the nation's most visible challenge to the Obama policy. The governor is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review her appeal of the 9th Circuit decision. Nebraska is the only other state to have made similar denials, and a federal judge this year dismissed a lawsuit contesting that state's policy. The move by Obama applied to people younger than 30 who came to the U.S. before turning 16; have been in the country for at least five continuous years; are enrolled in or have graduated from a high school or GED program; or have served in the military. Applicants also were allowed to pursue a two-year renewable work permit. Brewer issued her executive order in August 2012 directing state agencies to deny driver's licenses and other public benefits to immigrants who get work authorization under the deferred-action program. Brewer's attorneys argued the move grew from liability concerns and the desire to reduce the risk of the licenses being used to improperly access public benefits. In July, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded there was no legitimate state interest in treating the immigrants differently from other noncitizens who could apply for driver's licenses. Instead, the court suggested Brewer's order was intended to express hostility toward the immigrants, in part because of the federal government's policy toward them. Last month, Obama issued a broader executive order on immigration that lifts the threat of deportation from millions of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. A group of 24 states, including Arizona, joined in a federal lawsuit alleging Obama overstepped his constitutional powers in a way that will only worsen the humanitarian problems along the southern U.S. border.

  • Sheriff to halt squad targeting immigrant ID theft

    PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona sheriff known for arresting hundreds of immigrants in the country illegally on charges of finding work using fake or stolen identities is planning to close the controversial squad that investigates such cases. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's decision to disband the criminal employment squad will end his last major foothold in immigration enforcement after the courts and federal government have gradually reined in his powers in recent years. Since 2008, Arpaio has raided 83 businesses, leading to more than 700 immigrants being charged with using fake or stolen IDs to get jobs. The raids have been criticized as focusing too heavily on the workers instead of employers. "Here is guy who abused these laws and twisted them in such a sick way to do it for political gain. But I am glad that the reign over immigrants is over," said Lydia Guzman, a civil rights advocate who documented many of Arpaio's business raids and immigration patrols. The agency didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning. The sheriff's office announced the squad's planned closure late Wednesday as part of a legal challenge to the immigrant ID-theft cases. The squad will close in January or February after it completes an investigation. A memo by a sheriff's official said the agency will be voluntarily halting its work-related ID theft enforcement and that the decision was made after the courts have shelved certain Arizona immigration laws. The ID theft laws were part of a package of legislation that sought to confront employers who hire immigrants in the country illegally. Only one employer has been criminally charged in those investigations. But the immigrants arrested for ID theft typically plead guilty to a felony, frequently face deportation and are unable to re-enter the U.S. legally. Arpaio's immigration powers have dwindled as the federal government curtailed his authority or courts struck down several Arizona laws seeking to confront illegal immigration. In late 2009, Washington stripped some of his deputies of their power to make federal immigration arrests. The restrictions continued when a judge ruled in May 2013 that Arpaio's office had systematically racially profiled Latinos in regular traffic and special immigration patrols. Arpaio vigorously denies the court's conclusions. Another squad, focused on enforcing an Arizona immigrant smuggling law, has come under scrutiny from the judge in the profiling case after allegations of misconduct surfaced earlier this year, including whether a squad member had been shaking down immigrants who were in the country illegally. A federal judge last month struck down the state's smuggling law, which was the legal underpinning for Arpaio's immigration patrols. Still, a small number of Arizona's immigration laws have been upheld, including a key section of the state's landmark 2010 immigration law that requires police to check people's immigration status under certain circumstances.

  • ASU tops UA, NAU for college students in WalletHub study

    PHOENIX -- The University of Arizona may have won this year's Territorial Cup.But as far as WalletHub is concerned, the bragging rights for a better place for students to live is in Tempe, home of Arizona State University. And in fact, the financial advice web site says even Flagstaff, where Northern Arizona University is located, is a better place for young people.The report has nothing really to do with academics. And it is concerned only peripherally with what job opportunities await graduates in any of the communities.Instead, it is built largely on the things that students care about most, at least in the short term.There's things like rent. WalletHub finds that, among the three communities, the cheapest place to get a two-bedroom apartment is in Tucson.But there are other things to consider.


  • Two states challenge Colorado marijuana legalization

    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska and Oklahoma Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare Colorado's legalization of marijuana unconstitutional, saying the drug is being brought from Colorado into neighboring states. Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said the states have filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to prevent Colorado from enforcing the measure that was approved by voters in 2012. The complaint says Colorado's Amendment 64 runs afoul of federal law and therefore violates the Constitution's supremacy clause, which says that federal laws trump state laws. "This contraband has been heavily trafficked into our state," Bruning said at a news conference in Lincoln. "While Colorado reaps millions from the sale of pot, Nebraska taxpayers have to bear the cost." Some law enforcement agencies in western Nebraska, along the Colorado border, have complained that marijuana from the neighboring state has drained their resources. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said Thursday that Colorado's decision has hindered his state's efforts to enforce its anti-marijuana laws. Pruitt said marijuana poses health and safety risks to children and teens. "As the state's chief legal officer, the attorney general's office is taking this step to protect the health and safety of Oklahomans," Pruitt said in a statement. Washington state also has legalized marijuana, but Bruning said Washington wasn't included because it doesn't share a border with Nebraska or Oklahoma. In a statement, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said the lawsuit was without merit but that he was not totally surprised by it because neighboring states have expressed concerns about Colorado marijuana crossing the border. "However, it appears the plaintiffs' primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of federal laws regarding marijuana, as opposed to choices made by the voters of Colorado," said Suthers, who said Colorado would vigorously defend its law. Bruning, a Republican, blamed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for failing to enforce the federal law's ban on drugs in Colorado. Bruning leaves office in January but said he coordinated with Nebraska Attorney General-elect Doug Peterson, also a Republican, who will continue to pursue the case.

  • 'Pretty horrible' scene; car slams into crowd

    REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Pedestrians were filing out of a church Christmas service when a car sped around other vehicles at a red light and plowed into the crowd before hitting another car head-on, police and witnesses said. Three people were killed, and several more were injured, California authorities said. "Someone ran the red light, and bodies started flying. It was pretty horrible," witness Marco Zonno told KNBC-TV. Within moments of the crash Wednesday night along California's famed Pacific Coast Highway, people were at the sides of victims lying in the street, said Mark Milutin, 26, who was in one of the cars stopped at the light. "It was a very fast reaction," he said. "Two or three people were around each victim." Margo Bronstein, 56, was arrested after the crash on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter, Redondo Beach police Lt. Shawn Freeman said. Five children and eight adults, including the suspect and the other driver, suffered injuries including broken bones, abrasions and head trauma, Freeman said. Three people, Mary Anne Wilson, 81; Saeko Matsumura, 87; and Martha Gaza, 36, all of Torrance, later died, police said. At least two people remained in critical condition Thursday morning, Freeman said. Members of the crowd had just attended a Christmas program at St. James Catholic Church put on by students at the church's school. Alan Wells, who lives in the apartment building at the corner, heard the crash and ran outside. "I saw people lying all over the street, and people in the crosswalk were screaming and yelling," he told the Daily Breeze. One boy who was struck was flung across the intersection, ending up beneath an SUV's tire, according to witnesses. "The car is on the little boy. And we finally rolled it off the little boy. He had a little tie on. It was scary. It looked like he was in heaven at that point," Michael Tovar told KTTV. The condition of the boy was unknown Thursday. St. James Msgr. Michael Meyers said church officials led prayers at the scene. "Nobody knew the condition of any of the victims so we simply went and prayed for each one and prayed over them and anointed them and just asked God's grace to be with them," Meyers said. Bronstein was held on $300,000 bail and scheduled to appear in court on Friday. It wasn't immediately known if she has an attorney. Officials said they do not have information linking her to any prior arrests or DUI-related incidents. She had a perfect driving record but was restricted to driving a vehicle with hand-controlled brakes, an additional right-side mirror and adequate signaling device, according to Department of Motor Vehicle records. The DMV had no record listing her as handicapped, however. Milutin said the woman who hit the pedestrians, "just looked completely out of it." "It was just a reaction I wouldn't have ever thought someone would have after a situation like that," he said. A message seeking comment left at a phone number listed for Bronstein was not immediately returned Thursday. The crash comes three days after another driver now charged with drunken driving injured 11 people who were parked and looking at a holiday light display in the Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra.

  • American Kennel Club adds 4 new dog breeds

    NEW YORK (AP) — A Spanish farm and fishing dog, a Sicilian rabbit-hunting breed, an Italian sheepdog with a distinctive matted coat and a rugged South African watchdog are joining the American Kennel Club pack. The kennel club announced Wednesday that the Spanish water dog, the Cirneco dell'Etna (cheer-NAY-koh-dehl-eht-nah), the Bergamasco and the Boerboel (BUHR'-buhl) will become recognized breeds Jan. 1. They'll be eligible to compete in many AKC-sanctioned dog shows next year, though not in the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show until 2016. The newcomers range from medium-sized, curly-haired Spanish water dogs to the big, mastiff-style Boerboels. The Cirneco dell'Etna is keen and sleek. The sociable Bergamasco is hard to miss with its long locks. With them, there will be 184 AKC-recognized breeds. Criteria include having several hundred dogs of the breed nationwide.

Featured columns

  • Cause marketing draws consumer skepticism

    According to Consumer Reports, the end of the year — which accounts for, on average, 41 percent of Americans’ charitable giving — is often a prime time for cause-related marketing: when companies push items with the promise that part of the purchase price will go to a nonprofit.Also known as cause marketing, this phenomenon has grown into a $1.78 billion, year-round way for companies to support charities using your dollars.But is it really the best way for you to support your favorite cause?Cause marketing has been around since at least 1983, when American Express offered to donate a portion of a particular credit card’s revenues to the renovation of the Statue of Liberty.Today, countless companies link up with charities.Nonprofits “are always short of cash,” says Renee Irvin, director of the Nonprofit Management Program at the University of Oregon. “The need is always outstripping their resources.”

  • OPINION: Don’t just approach the bench, approach the judge

    After two years serving as the Arrowhead Justice of the Peace, I remain perplexed by the fact that members of the public possess a certain misconception about judges — that they are unapproachable.By unapproachable I mean that they won’t take the time to speak with defendants who appear in court on a walk-in basis or respond to written inquiries and requests for assistance in order to comply with court orders. As an illustration, just this past week someone visited the Arrowhead Justice Court and asked staff for the opportunity to talk with the judge — me — concerning his failure to comply with court orders. Specifically that, pursuant to the sentencing recommendation of a plea agreement and in compliance with state statutes, that he complete an alcohol intake and assessment session as well as install an ignition interlock device on a vehicle that he operates.He was also in arrears on court ordered payments to satisfy the financial component of his sentence. He was due to appear in court in the near future but, for reasons of his own choosing, elected to report ahead of schedule.Seeing as the matter at hand did not conflict in any substantial way with items on the court calendar, I granted his request. He explained his position, citing unforeseen circumstances of significant importance, I informed him of my opinion, gave him some specific instructions and deadlines to complete the sentencing requirements and issued a modified court order.At the conclusion of this exchange I asked him why there wasn’t any correspondence in the file from him advising me of the change in his state of affairs. He responded that he didn’t think that it was possible to write to a judge. He also stated that he was surprised that I saw him without an appointment.  Proactive interactions with the court initiated by defendants occur very infrequently. What occurs more often than not is that I see individuals who have already defaulted on their outstanding debt obligations to the Arrowhead Justice Court or, again, failed to comply with court orders. And they mistakenly assume that they are powerless to seek any sort of relief from a judge in order to correct their transgressions.

  • Nutrients, weight need not compete

    Dear Dr. Blonz: I find that even with 30 to 60 minutes of strenuous activity a day, I have trouble keeping my weight where I want it. I recently lost 20 pounds and now weigh 125 pounds, but if I were to eat the amount of food needed to supply all the Recommended Daily Allowances, which I assume are required for optimal health, that weight would come back. I also know that recent research shows that restricted caloric intake may actually improve health and extend life expectancy. So this is my question: Is it healthier to be slightly undernourished (not starving) as I am, or to be properly nourished (according to Food and Drug Administration guidelines) but somewhat overweight? — F.S., Hayward, CaliforniaDear F.S.: My thoughts are that it is better to be well-nourished (along with being active) and slightly overweight. But I want to point out that the research you mention about caloric restriction and extended life expectancy does not involve any nutritional deficits. Your question needs to be reframed: Undernourishment or being overweight should not be embraced as your only options. Meeting the RDAs need not be a burdensome task.Those who have been successful at losing weight have experienced the annoying tendency to regain at the slightest provocation. Just looking at food seems to make the numbers on the scale go up. With weight loss, you need to maintain your activity level and stick to a conservative eating pattern to, in effect, establish a new status quo. According to the Calorie Control Calculator (, a moderately active woman weighing 125 pounds needs approximately 1,900 calories per day. There should be no problem meeting your nutrient goals within that allotment.Eating is one of life’s great pleasures, and it makes no sense to get frantic about occasional nutrient lapses. The “R” in RDA stands for “recommended,” not “mandatory.” If you happen to fall short of your RDA every now and then, your body is not going to degenerate into a slab of broken bones or a mass of oxidized flesh. Just as it does with calories during a diet, the body becomes more efficient at nutrient conservation during times of disease, famine or nutrient inadequacy.Know the good foods that your body needs, and keep your nutritional house in order as best you can. Healthful eating involves a plant-based diet that is rich in fruits and has plenty of greens and other vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and dairy products, and an occasional meal with low-fat meat products. I have written an aisle-by-aisle guide of the best choices at the market, and it is online at no charge ( helpful strategy is to have some nutrient-rich power foods in your diet. For example, a vitamin/mineral-fortified whole-grain cereal is a great way to start the day. You can opt for some blended vegetable juice instead of a diet soda, and some fresh fruit and nuts instead of chips. A cup of yogurt provides a calcium boost. Have a green salad with carrots and other fresh vegetables with one of your daily meals. For those on a weight-loss regimen in which fewer foods are eaten, or if there are special needs, it is reasonable to take a dietary supplement to help bolster the intake of certain nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D.

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