October 2013

Studying Wolves Up Close

When you think of wolves, you probably think of pack animals that are predatory and have a tiny bit in common with the dog that is sleeping right now on your living room couch. With Halloween approaching, you might even picture werewolves.

But Jim and Jamie Dutcher have studied wolves up close. From 1990 to 1996, they formed an intimate bond with one group of wolves that was documented in the award-winning film “Wolves at Our Door.” The two also founded the non-profit Living With Wolves. Their book, "The Hidden Life of Wolves," was published earlier this year.

Allowing Cameras In The Courtroom

To film or not to film. Cameras in the courtroom have been a controversial subject. Earlier this week in the midst of discussing the sentencing of Jodi Arias, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery talked about how huge a media circus had been created by people eager to be on hand for the trial's verdict, because so many of them had watched the case unfold on television.

Many observers are concerned that filming in the courtroom also makes it difficult to choose unbiased jurors, and what about the U.S. Supreme Court? Why do we not see the justices in action?

Great Arizona ShakeOut Raises Awareness About Earthquakes

Arizona is not a place widely known for earthquakes, even though they are quite common in some of our neighbor states, including California and Nevada.

The most recent quake in the state that had a magnitude of at least 2.0 was on July 7 that affected the towns of Fredonia and Havasu in Arizona’s far northern part. Its magnitude was 3.5, but even though we have not faced overly destructive temblors, the state is holding the Great Arizona ShakeOut Thursday at 10:17 a.m.

Geologist Michael Conway of the Arizona Geological Survey explained what the event is all about.

State To Keep Grand Canyon Open

Even as the U.S. Senate moves toward a deal to re-open the federal government the state of Arizona has announced it will keep the Grand Canyon open for an additional nine days.
Gov. Jan Brewer says the canyon’s importance to Arizona’s tourism industry and overall economy cannot be ignored, so it will remain open.

The state last Friday negotiated a deal to keep the canyon open for seven days with state and local money. But it had to let the National Park Service know by the end of the day Wednesday if it planned to continue funding park operations beyond this Friday.

Temporary Highway On Navajo Nation Completed

The Department of Transportation says it has completed the bypass on the Navajo Nation, near Page, after US 89 was damaged by a landslide.

Spokesman Dustin Krugel says the $35 million, 44-mile highway will be used on a temporary basis until repairs can be made to the main roadway, but the speed and daytime-only use restrictions that had been in place have been lifted.

“We spotted horses, goats and cows and dogs near the roadway the last several months,” Krugel said. “So that’s why it was so important that we got the fencing completed along this corridor.”

Navajo Nation To Vote On Coal-Related Energy Bills

The Navajo Nation Council is scheduled to vote on two coal-related energy bills on Wednesday. Coal is one of the tribe's most abundant natural resources. 

One of the bills would invest money in a company the tribe formed to purchase a coal mine in northwestern New Mexico. The other updates the tribe's energy policy that includes support for cleaner coal technology. 

Coal and the power plants it feeds make up a significant portion of the Navajo Nation’s general fund.

Roadblocks Removed For Marijuana Dispensary

A medical marijuana dispensary could be about to open in Sun City now that a Superior Court judge has found Maricopa County’s zoning ordinance a transparent attempt to keep dispensaries out of county islands, those areas that have not been incorporated as cities or towns.

White Mountain dispensary attorney Jeffrey Kaufman says the judge has ordered further briefings Oct. 31, and he’s optimistic there will be no further roadblocks to its opening.

Ruling Restores Lower Campaign Contribution Limits

The Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday blocked candidates from taking the sharply higher campaign contributions approved earlier this year by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The old law limited legislative candidates to taking a maximum of $440 from any individual or Political Action Committee. The new law raised that to $4,000. It also scrapped the old maximum from all PACs of just under $15,000.

Tuesday’s ruling restores the old limits for now. But Mike Liburdi, representing Republican legislative leaders, says the ruling is not the final word.

Group Of Doctors Seek To Ban All Wood Burning In Urban Areas

Residents of Maricopa and Pinal Counties are typically unhappy when officials announce it’s a ‘no burn day.’ That means burning logs in the fireplace is illegal 

But a doctor’s group in Utah is pushing for a complete ban on wood-burning in urban areas, saying wood smoke is more toxic than cigarette smoke. Dr. Brian Moench of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment says studies suggest wood smoke may contribute up to 40 percent of the particulate pollution in Western cities like Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

Members Of Suspected White Supremacist Family Arrested

Members of an Arizona family with ties to white supremacist groups were arrested Monday on firearm charges. Authorities seized weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Kirby Kehoe is the patriarch of a family believed to have equipped white supremacist groups with guns since the 1990s. He was also allegedly involvemed in plots to overthrow the government. Kehoe and his son were arrested this week.