January 2014

City Of Phoenix And Maricopa County Services Combine At City Hall

The city of Phoenix and Maricopa County are kicking off a new service on Monday. Actually, they are combining services at City Hall.

In addition to existing permitting services in the city’s Planning and Development Department, Maricopa County Environmental Services and permitting functions for the Air Quality departments will be available at City Hall. City and county planners said combining the offices will streamline the development process.

CPS Report Discovers Systemic Failures in the Agency

Systemic failures, that is what an investigation of Arizona’s Child Protective Services Agency found. The final report on CPS was released Friday by the independent commission looking at the agencies problems. The investigation was launched after the agency failed to investigate 6,500 cases of possible child abuse.

Charles Flanagan is the director of the newly created Division of Child Safety and Family Services. He said the report found CPS had problems with transparency, communication and training. Flanagan said one major problem was the computer system in the call center.

Navajo Tribal Council Approves Junk Food Tax

Junk food might be getting more expensive across the Navajo Nation. The Tribal Council has approved an additional 2 percent tax on unhealthy snacks. That includes pastries, chips and soda. The 2 percent tax would be added to the tribe's current 5 percent sales tax.

Revenue from the new tax would be used by chapters to promote recreation and health and would fund everything from community gardens to basketball courts. Sponsors of the bill say they are trying to promote healthy living and stem the diabetes epidemic the reservation. Opponents say the bill burdens consumers.

Short Documentary Oscar Nominees Debut In Tempe

 This year’s Oscar nominees for short documentary debuted on Friday at the Harkins Valley Art in Tempe. One of them is “Cavedigger," about a very unusual artist in northern New Mexico.

“Sometimes I feel more like an archaeologist uncovering something that’s already there. It’s pretty down and dirty work. I’ve tried to tell young guys, ‘You could do this, you could have a cave of your own!’ Doesn’t register," said Ra Paulette in the film's trailer.

New Roosevelt Row Project Worries Some

This week, the Phoenix City Council approved a new project for the area of downtown known as Roosevelt Row. The development will include housing for low-income residents 55 years and older, and that has caused some concern among people who already live, work and play there.

Nicole Underwood is the director of operations for the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation. Her group shares some of those worries.

U of A Medical Surgeon Works To Speed Up Organ Transplantation Process

What if patients who needed new organs did not have to wait for their turn to come up on the organ donation list? Researchers are working to make that a reality.

Dr. Zain Khalpey at the University of Arizona Medical School is one of them. He is a cardiothoracic surgeon, among many other things there, and is trying to stop people from dying while waiting for a new heart or lung. He will be giving a talk about his work on Wednesday in Phoenix, as part of the school’s Mini-Medical School 2.0 series.

Arizona Federal Judicial Nominees Represent Diversity

Six nominees to the federal bench in Arizona had their long-awaited confirmation hearings this week. Among the group of potential new federal judges is Diane Humetewa, who would be the first American Indian woman on the federal bench. Paul Bender is a law professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He said the nominees overall represent a diverse group.