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VIRUS OUTBREAK-HOSPITAL THEFT

Police arrest hospital aide in thefts of equipment, supplies

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — Police in Arizona say a housekeeping employee has been fired from his hospital job after being arrested on suspicion of stealing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies in recent weeks as the coronavirus outbreak unfolded. A Prescott Police Department spokesman says 49-year-old Keith Brown of Prescott was arrested Friday at Yavapai Regional Medical Center on suspicion of one count each of theft and fraud . The spokesman says that was after police found numerous items valued at $1,700 in Brown’s vehicle and residence. The items recovered included gloves, hand sanitizer, surgical scrubs, wash clothes, paper towels,, masks, bleach cleaner, toilet paper and an automatic hand sanitizer. Online court records don’t list an attorney for Brown.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ARIZONA

Arizona coronavirus cases exceed 2,000 as deaths top 50

PHOENIX (AP) — Health officials report that Arizona now has over 2,000 cases of the new coronavirus, and the state’s death toll from the disease has topped 50. The Department of Health Services on Saturday reported 52 deaths. All 15 Arizona counties have diagnosed coronavirus cases. Over half of the state’s cases and deaths were in Maricopa County, which includes most of metro Phoenix. Gov. Doug Ducey announced Saturday that President Donald Trump had approved a major disaster declaration for Arizona. Ducey also said Arizona has an agreement with Honeywell to produce over 6 million N95 face masks for the state over the next 12 months. He said counties would distribute the masks to health, safety and emergency response workers.

AIR NATIONAL GUARD

Tucson-based Air National Guard unit getting new commander

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — One of the Arizona Air National Guard’s two major units is getting a new commander. Guard officials announced Friday that Col. Col. Jeffery L. Butler on Monday will assume command of the 162nd Wing based at Tucson International Airport from Brig. Gen. Andrew J. MacDonald. The wing has approximately 1,800 personnel and its main mission to train pilots to fly F-16 fighters. Butler is an Air Force Academy graduate who served for 10 years with the U.S. Air Force before joining the 162nd in 1998. He recently has been the wing’s vice commander. The 162nd normally would have a formal ceremony for the change of command but none is planned in this instance due the coronavirus outbreak.

ELECTION 2020-SENATE-ARIZONA

Arizona Senate campaigns get creative amid virus scare

PHOENIX (AP) — Martha McSally is volunteering at the Salvation Army. Mark Kelly is using his background as an astronaut to entertain kids stuck at home. The global pandemic that is shaking up life is also forcing Arizona’s U.S. Senate candidates to reinvent the political playbook when voters are much more concerned about staying healthy and paying the bills than they are with politics. Rallies and door-to-door campaigning have been replaced by telephone town halls and pleas to donate to charity. The race is a top-tier contest that will help determine control of the U.S. Senate.

AP-US-GRAND-CANYON-NATIONAL-PARK-SUPERINTENDENT

Government lawyer named as new Grand Canyon park leader

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) — A veteran lawyer for the U.S. Interior Department has been appointed as the new superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park. The National Park Service announced Friday that Edward Keable will assume his new post in northern Arizona within 60 days. Keable is currently assistant solicitor of general law for the Office of the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior. He replaces Christine Lehnertz, who resigned as the park’s superintendent in early 2019 after being cleared of allegations she created a hostile workplace. The park is closed to the public because of the coronavirus outbreak.

POLICE SHOOTING-MESA

Mesa police officer fatally shoots man during traffic stop

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Mesa police say an officer fatally shot a man during a traffic stop late Thursday night. Police say the shooting occurred after the officer pulled over a man riding a moped and then requested emergency backup. The man’s identity wasn’t released and additional details on circumstances of the incident weren’t immediately available. The officer was not injured..

NEAR FULL PHOENIX RESERVOIRS

Phoenix area water reservoirs near full after wet winter

PHOENIX (AP) — Reservoirs have reached near capacity along the Verde and Salt rivers after a wet season caused rain and snow runoff across central Arizona mountains. The Arizona Republic reported that the Salt River Project’s system of six reservoirs is now 98% full, its highest level since 2010. In comparison, the reservoirs stood at 79% of their full capacity in 2019 and 60% full in 2018. The Republic reported that the reservoirs suffered a series of dry years in the 2000s and mid-2010s, but three of the past four winters were wet. The Salt River Project services the Phoenix metropolitan area, including Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale, Peoria, Chandler and Gilbert.

BUCKEYE DRIVE-BY SHOOTING-SUSPECT

Police: Suspect arrested in Buckeye drive-by shooting case

BUCKEYE, Ariz. (AP) — Police in Buckeye say a man has been arrested in a drive-by shooting case. They say 22-year-old Jahvaun Rodgers has been booked into jail on suspicion of drive-by shooting, aggravated assault, misconduct involving weapons and criminal damage. Rodgers allegedly fired three shots into two parked cars at a home in Buckeye on Feb. 25. Surveillance video linked Rodgers to the case along with a witness who gave police a suspect description. Police say when Rodgers was arrested Wednesday, he had a handgun in the driver door panel of his car. They say the gun was test fired and the rounds matched shell casings found at the shooting scene.