November 2013

Valley Charities Need Donations This Thanksgiving

Valley charities are looking for donations to feed the hungry during the holidays. Nicole Pena of the Phoenix Rescue Mission said they are especially in need of canned foods that can make a meal, like chili or soup, but she said volunteers for the big day itself are not really needed.

“We have a big Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving, and we have plenty of volunteers to serve that. Everybody loves to serve Thanksgiving dinner," Pena said.

Arizona's Workforce Is Shrinking Since Recession

A state economist said Arizona’s labor force is shrinking ever since the recession ended. Aruna Murthy of the Department of Administration said the labor force has gone from 3.1 million in 2008 to 2.9 million this year. She said the downward trend has been underway since the end of the recession.

 “My hunch was people are retiring, and that’s what was causing decline in labor force.  In fact we found on the contrary, we found that people were staying in the labor force longer," said Murthy.

Jury Selection Process Differs In A Re-Retrial

Jury selection started this week in the second retrial of Jonathan Doody. He is the man charged in the 1991 killing of nine people at a West Valley Buddhist temple. Doody was originally convicted in 1993, but an appeals court threw that conviction out, ruling his confession had been coerced.

A retrial ended last month in a mistrial. Melissa Ho is an attorney with the firm Polsinelli and used to be a prosecutor in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. She said the jury selection process is different in a retrial, or a re-retrial.

Child Protective Services Hearing Raises Question Of What Went Wrong

Arizona’s Child Protective Services announced that 6,000 allegations of child abuse over the last three years have been ignored. Nearly half of the calls came in since January.

During a sometimes-emotional hearing Thursday afternoon of the committee that oversees CPS, child welfare officials discussed what went wrong and what they are doing to make sure it does not happen again. A team of highly experienced investigators was apparently going through and marking complaints as “NI” or “not investigated.” Those reports of abuse never made it to a case worker.

Rain To Continue This Weekend

Look up in the sky. It's a bird, it’s a plane, wait,’s just rain. The state has been getting wet since Thursday night.

Daniel Henz, meteorologist with the Maricopa County Flood Control District, said it will likely stay that way for at least the next 24 hours. Henz said storms will push northeast over the next day or so, bringing more rain.

Adriene Jenik: So Your Son Or Daughter Wants To Be An ART Major?!

Your college major has a bigger influence on your income, and the team at Planet Money looked at range of earnings for undergraduates. Based on research by an economist at Georgetown University, the most lucrative college majors are Petroleum engineering, pharmacy sciences and mathematics and computer sciences.  But consider this...

As students and parents are well aware, it is now very difficult to complete a degree without incurring some student loan debt. Given this fact, I am not surprised that I am increasingly asked, “What’s an art degree good for?”

Brown Cloud Over The Valley Signifies Greater Air Quality Problems

You may have noticed a brown cloud hanging over the Valley recently. That is not a metaphor, but it is a visible sign of some of the problems the region has with air quality.

Officials say the cloud is mostly a combination of vehicle emissions and fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5, that generally comes from burning wood, and they say it is worse this time of year, as temperatures drop and residents use their fireplaces.

Republican Governors Association Meets In Scottsdale, Draws Big Names

The Republican Governors Association has been meeting in Scottsdale this week and drew some pretty big gubernatorial names, including Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindall of Louisiana and the group’s newly elected chairman, Chris Christie of New Jersey.

"If we do our jobs, the way the people have told us to, that we’ll not only have success with the voters in our states, but we’ll be providing an extraordinarily effective contrast to what’s going on in Washington," said Christie.