SKELETAL REMAINS-CHILD ABUSE
More abuse charges against couple accused of concealing body
PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix couple charged with child abuse and concealing skeletal remains at their home two years after their daughter was last seen alive has been indicted on additional charges. The indictment that became public Friday adds two child abuse charges each against Rafael Loera and Maribel Loera. The couple hasn't been charged in the death of Ana Loera, who hadn’t been seen since 2017. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said prosecutors will decide whether to file additional charges once the cause of death has been determined. Court records didn't list attorneys who are representing the Loeras.
ASU REAL ESTATE LAWSUIT
Regents win fees, costs in court case over real estate deal
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona judge has ordered one part of state government to pay over $982,000 to another part of state government for attorney and legal fees in a case stemming from a real estate development. Tax Court Judge Judge Christopher Whitten's ruling in favor of the state Board of Regents follows Whitten's November ruling against Attorney General Mark Brnovich's lawsuit challenging a deal between Arizona State University and hotel developers. The Board of Regents prevailed in November when Whitten ruled that Brnovich’s office filed the lawsuit after a one-year statute of limitations expired. Brnovich argued the deal was an unconstitutional gift to developers.
Environmentalists drop lawsuit over federal oil, gas leases
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — An agreement to drop a lawsuit over federal oil and gas leases in eastern Arizona won't do much to stop companies from exploring for helium in the region. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved a trio of leases last September in Navajo and Apache counties. The agency later suspended them after environmentalists went to court and argued the bureau failed to adequately analyze the potential impacts. A bureau spokeswoman says the agency hopes to start environmental reviews this year. Meanwhile, the companies that won the leases say they'll work on other nearby parcels.
Immigrants embrace activism awaiting word on DACA's future
PHOENIX (AP) — Many immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as young children say they have become political activists because they consider themselves Americans. They're assuming a prominent role in the presidential campaign and working to get others to vote even though they can't themselves. At the same time, a Supreme Court decision looms over whether to lift protections from deportation provided by the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival. The politically involved DACA recipients say they want people engaged in an election that may shape their future more than any other in their lifetime.
BORDER WALL-MONUMENT DESTRUCTION
Arizona crews blast national monument hill for border wall
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Construction crews have started blasting hills at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona to clear space for a new border wall system. The Arizona Daily Star reports that crews are bulldozing through Monument Hill to construct a 30-foot steel wall along the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the targeted blasting is expected to go on intermittently for the rest of the month. Environmental advocates, elected officials and Tohono O’odham Nation leaders have raised concerns about the project. They cite the destruction of saguaros, the potential impact on migrating animals and the destruction of land consider sacred by some Native Americans.
Arizona DPS: Trooper among injured in Sun City collision
SUN CITY, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities say a state trooper was among several people injured in a collision in Sun City. The state Department of Public Safety says the trooper suffered minor injuries in the collision Friday at the intersection of Grand Avenue and RH Johnson Boulevard. No details about the trooper's injuries or circumstances of the collision were released but the Surprise Fire-Medical Department told KNXV-TV that five people were injured, one seriously.
Accusations follow EPA's ouster of California regional boss
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has pushed out its regional boss for California and other points West. And that's touched off an unusual public dispute between the two about the reason why. Ousted San Francisco-based EPA head Mike Stoker had been a fervent supporter of Donald Trump. He'd been best-known for coming up with the chant “Lock her up" about Hillary Clinton at Trump rallies. In a statement, Stoker suggests he drew unfavorable Trump administration attention because Democratic lawmakers praised his work on environmental issues in the West. An EPA spokeswoman says excessive travel and incompetence led to his abrupt ouster.
Scottsdale man, mother indicted in restaurant fraud scheme