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US: Immigrants can seek coronavirus care without fear

PHOENIX (AP) — The U.S. government says a new rule disqualifying more people from green cards if they use government benefits will not apply to immigrants who seek care for symptoms of the illness caused by coronavirus. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said late Friday that seeking treatment or preventive services won’t affect someone’s immigration status under the new public charge rule, which took effect last month. The announcement came after lawmakers and advocacy groups urged the government to suspend the rule during the coronavirus outbreak. Advocates say they have been fielding panicked calls from immigrants who are worried about the impact on their status if they seek health care.


Virus fears leave Arizona schools, lawmakers scrambling

PHOENIX (AP) — Concerns over the coronavirus pandemic has led some schools in Arizona to close while others are opting to remain open. There was also a tempest Friday over the decision to mail ballots before the Democratic presidential primary while the Legislature considered next steps in the crisis. The issue of school closures _ or not _ had some parents frustrated by what they saw as mixed messages. At least 15 districts have opted to close, according to the Arizona Department of Education. Together, confirmed closures will affect about 60,000 of Arizona's 1.1 million K-12 students.


Uproar over mailing of primary ballots in Maricopa County

PHOENIX (AP) — The top election official in Arizona's most populous county took the unprecedented step of ordering ballots for next week's Democratic presidential primary mailed to voters who normally casts ballots at the polls. But the move by Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes was blocked by a judge. It also drew criticism from Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. There is no law that allows Fontes' action, but he said the ongoing health emergency requires it and there is no legal prohibition. . Meanwhile, the county was closing 78 polling places after churches, nursing homes and others said they no-longer felt comfortable welcoming voters to cast ballots, and some poll workers backed out.


Commission nominates 10 for Arizona Court of Appeals vacancy

PHOENIX (AP) — A state commission has nominated five trial judges and five other attorneys for appointment by Gov. Doug Ducey to fill a vacancy on the Phoenix-based division of the Arizona Court of Appeals. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments' nominees include Maricopa County Superior Court Judges Cynthia J. Bailey, Christopher Coury, Daniel Kiley, Joseph Mikitish and Joshua Rogers. They're Republicans, as is Ducey. The other nominees include Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Sigmund Popko, Assistant Attorney General Michael Gottfried, private-practice attorneys Michael Catlett and Andrew Jacobs and Ann Ching, an Arizona State University associate professor of law. Popko, Jacobs and Ching are Democrats, Gottfried is an independent and Catlett is a Republican.


Election officials: Tuesday primaries on despite virus fears

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Elections officials in the four states holding presidential primaries next week say they have no plans to postpone voting amid widespread disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. They say they are confident voters will be able to safely cast their ballots on Tuesday. They have been scrambling to recruit replacements for poll workers who are dropping out over fears of contracting the virus, providing cotton swabs for voters to use on touchscreen machines and extending absentee voting deadlines. Only one state, Louisiana, announced plans to postpone its primary, which was scheduled for early April.


Southern Arizona man recovering after coyote attack

SUN CITY, Ariz. (AP) — A southern Arizona man is recovering after authorities say a coyote bit him in the leg.  The Arizona Daily Star reports the Sun City, Arizona, man was attacked Thursday while he was working on a bike or motorcycle in his garage. Arizona Game and Fish Department spokesman Mark Hart says the department is looking for a coyote with a hairless tail, likely caused by mange. Hart says the victim is in the Oro Valley Hospital being treated for rabies as a precaution. No further information was available.


Police: Man waved gun at drive-thru, asked for hot sauce

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona man is facing charges after police say he waved a gun at a fast-food drive-thru window and demanded hot sauce. The Yuma Sun reports is facing multiple charges in the case and was recently arrested earlier this month again _ this time on aggravated drunken driving. According to police, Lerma in June pulled a gun on an employee at a Filiberto’s Mexican Food restaurant and demanded hot sauce, which is given for free with every food purchase. Police say the episode was captured on video surveillance cameras. Lerma and the driver of the car were later arrested. Lerma was arrested on March 3 and has been charged with aggravated DUI.


Indictment: Ex-coach failed to report players were abused

PHOENIX (AP) — A former assistant basketball coach at Mesa’s Dobson High School has been indicted on accusations that he failed to report that two minors had been sexually abused by an ex-coach. The Arizona Attorney General's Office announced Thursday that Joshua Anthony Bribiescas faces two felony counts of failure to report. The Feb. 11 indictment says that while Bribiescas was the assistant coach for the girls' junior varsity team, he learned in 2018 that two minors were victims of sexual abuse. Bribiescas allegedly failed to report it to a peace officer or the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Authorities say the two minors were players on the team and victims of sexual abuse by an ex-coach, who was arrested last May.