Latest Arizona news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. MST


46 Arizona corrections employees test positive for virus

PHOENIX (AP) — Officials say 46 state corrections employees in Arizona have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Arizona Department of Corrections had previously declined to specify how many workers had contracted the virus. Twenty-four employees who tested positive have since recovered. The agency didn’t immediately respond to a question about whether any employees had died as a result of COVID-19. Earlier this week, corrections officials declined to say whether any inmates who tested positive for the virus had died, even though medical examiners and a lawyer said three inmates had died. Corrections officials said Friday there have been four potential COVID-19 deaths among prisoners.


Jobless fret as rent comes due again amid virus outbreak

PHOENIX (AP) — Jason W. Still has been waiting six weeks for his first unemployment check since  losing his job as a cook at an upscale restaurant in Spokane, Washington. Out-of-work bartender Luke Blaine in Phoenix says he’s holding steady since getting his first unemployment check three weeks ago. But things are growing tighter as the rent comes due again as more than 30 million people around the U.S. have sought unemployment benefits amid shutdowns caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Eli Oderberg in Denver is among those in a later wave of layoffs affecting additional sectors like his, the oil industry.


Boyd Dunn removed from Arizona Corporation Commission ballot

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge has removed Arizona Corporation Commissioner Boyd Dunn from the Republican Party primary ballot after invalidating a large number of nominating signatures. The tossed signatures include 166 from a paid circulator who acknowledged in court she forged some signatures. The Arizona Republic reported that Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roger Brodman said Dunn was short 92 signatures to qualify for a spot on the ballot. Dunn is a Republican seeking a second term on the five-member commission and says he'll appeal. The elected panel has duties that include regulating utilities.


New Mexico takes more drastic measures against virus hotspot

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A modern-day trading post on the southern outskirts of the Navajo Nation was on lockdown under the watch of National Guard troops and state police to discourage nonessential travel and commerce as local coronavirus infections soar. Invoking provisions of the state Riot Control Act, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered residents of Gallup to remain home over the weekend except for emergencies and blocked roads leading in and out of town to nonessential travel and any vehicles carrying more than two people. The restrictions were welcomed by local and state officials who have watched COVID-19 infections spread to nursing homes, homeless populations and overwhelm hospital intensive care units.


Brnovich: Ruling for state in tax case stands with no appeal

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich says a court ruling in favor of the state will stand in a case that could have resulted in large requests for tax refunds. Brnovich said that an oil company didn’t appeal a January court ruling  in a case involving the taxation of dyed diesel fuel used by a quarry for trucks and machinery not used on state roads. The Court of Appeals’ January decision overturned a lower court’s ruling that if left intact could have triggered refund requests. Carter Oil sought less than $12,000 in refunds. But lawyers for the state said potential refund requests from the mining industry as a whole could have totaled over $100 million. Wednesday was the deadline to appeal.


Judge refuses to lower $1 million bail for missing kids' mom

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho judge has refused to lower the $1 million bail set for the mom of two kids missing since last fall. Magistrate Judge Michelle Mallard said Friday the challenges Lori Daybell may face in jail during the coronavirus pandemic are no different than the challenges faced by other defendants. Daybell was arrested in February and charged with abandoning 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, obstructing a police investigation and asking a friend to lie to authorities about the case. Police say the kids were last seen in September and that both Daybell and her new husband, Chad Daybell, have lied to police about the children’s whereabouts.


Metal tiger stolen from outside Tucson attraction returned

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A metal tiger stolen from outside a Tucson attraction earlier this week has been returned. The Arizona Daily Star reports that statue owner Jessica Bates Wills says a truck pulled up to Trail Dust Town on Thursday afternoon with the tiger inside. Wills says the driver told her he bought the statue at a junk yard without knowing its origin and decided to return it once he found out it was stolen. The tiger weighs up to 400 pounds and had been on the property for about 20 years. It was discovered missing early Monday. Wills says much of the statue’s paint has been removed, however. She says the statue now is in storage until it can be fixed up and displayed more securely.


Court tosses lawsuit against Arizona in cross-median crash

PHOENIX (AP) — A state appellate court has overturned rulings by a trial court and dismissed a lawsuit stemming from a cross-median crash that killed two women on Interstate 10 in southern Arizona in 2008. The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that family members of the victims didn’t file a valid notice-of-claim against the state before filing a negligence suit over the deaths of Pamela Humphrey and Ann Quinn. The ruling overturns a Maricopa County Superior Court jury’s 2008 verdict and award of $47 million in damages, including nearly $40 million against the state. The women's vehicle went across the median and collided with a tractor-trailer rig. The lawsuit contended that the state was negligent because the highway lacked barrier cables.