Maricopa County Homeless Advocates Demand Immediate Improvements in East Lot

Categories: News

Courtesy of Maricopa Alliance for Shelter and Housing

The Maricopa Alliance for Housing and Shelter, a grassroots organization advocating for the homeless, is demanding conditions improve at the Men's Overflow Shelter and adjacent East Lot immediately. The group sent a clear and strong message in a formal letter to local, county, and state officials this afternoon.

Included in the list of demands are basic necessities and fundamental human rights like potable water and sanitary bathroom conditions. Currently, nine portable toilets--cleaned once a week--are available and expected to serve upwards to 300 individuals per night. There are no hand-washing stations, and the only water available is accessed through a garden hose attached to a spigot, a few feet away from the toilets. MASH is demanding more garbage cans be placed in the area, and that something be done about the rats, mice, and bedbug infestation.

Recipients of the letter--which include Governor Doug Ducey, Mayor Greg Stanton, City Manager Ed Zuercher, and Mark Holleran, CEO of the Central Arizona Shelter Services--have until 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 9 to implement changes at the MOS and East Lot, and until March 11 to provide a detailed action plan for a new emergency shelter. A failure to do so will trigger "action," group leaders tell New Times. (The group is not revealing what specific action they have planned, but Amy McMullen, co-founder of MASH, says whatever they do will "involve and give voice to the city's homeless population.")

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With Cactus League Play Under Way, an Ex-Minor League Pitcher's Fair-Pay Lawsuit Is Scaring MLB

Categories: Sports

Andrew J. Nilsen
Bryan Henry was sitting in a business management class at Burlington County College when a number with an Arizona area code popped up on his phone. It was 2012, and Henry had just arrived home in New Jersey after his second season as a Diamondbacks farm hand. He darted for the door anxious to answer the call.

"This is either going to be really good news or really bad news," he thought.

The voice on the other end of the line was that of Mike Bell, director of player development for the D-backs organization.

"I just wanted to let you know we've decided to give you your release," Bell said. "We have to make room for the new draft picks."

Henry felt sick. Just like that, his dream of playing major-league baseball ended the same way it has for thousands of minor-league players -- with a phone call, an offer to help catch on with another team, and a dwindling bank account.

The plight of the minor leaguer has been well documented. Cramped and dilapidated living arrangements, poor diet, 14-hour bus rides, 11-hour days, and poverty-level wages. Until now, nothing has been done to improve minor-league pay, but a St. Louis-based attorney and former minor-league pitcher are trying to change that.

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Sound and Fury: Frustrated Phoenix Residents Are Roaring Ever Since the FAA Changed Sky Harbor Flight Paths

Categories: Cover Story

Evie Carpenter
Gerry McCue gets a kick out of describing the moment last fall when he first heard the airplanes over his house.

"I thought the city of Phoenix was being evacuated and I didn't get the memo," the 85-year-old says, opening his eyes wide for dramatic effect.

Like many residents in Phoenix's downtown historic area -- as well as those living in Laveen and certain parts of Tempe -- when Gerry and his wife, Marge, woke up on September 18, 2014, the house they had lived in since 1962 was suddenly under a major flight path out of Sky Harbor International Airport.

At the time, they had never heard of "NextGen," but that would change very quickly.

"They come in batches. You can hear it for four continuous hours -- rooooaaaar, rooooaaar, rooooaaaar," Gerry says, trying to imitate the drawn-out sound of an engine. "You hear it coming, and just as it peaks out, you hear the next one."

He likens it to Chinese water torture: "constant, chronic."

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Phoenix Voters to Decide on Major Public Transit and Street Upgrades

Categories: News

The Phoenix City Council yesterday approved a major plan for expanding public transportation -- including huge Light Rail extensions -- and upgrading city streets.

The transportation plan is estimated to cost $33 billion over the next 35 years, and would be partially funded through a sales tax increase of 0.3 (zero point three) percent. Phoenix voters will have the final say on approving the plan in August.

"Great cities need great transportation and an evolving Phoenix needs to adapt with the times," Mayor Greg Stanton says in a statement. "A robust public transit system and well-maintained roads are vital to building and growing our economy for the future."

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Arizona House Approves Cheaper Speeding Tickets

Categories: I'm Only a Bill

The Arizona House of Representatives yesterday passed a proposal to significantly cut the price of some speeding tickets.

On a 40-20 vote, the House voted to pass House Bill 2662, which would expand one of Arizona's lesser known laws -- a ban on the "waste of finite resources."

Currently, the law allows police to write up a ticket that costs about $15 for speeders going 10 mph or less over the speed limit, but that law only applies to 55 mph zone. These days, 55 mph are exceedingly rare in Arizona, so this bill would expand the law to apply to all highways and many streets.

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Poll: Marijuana Legalization Has "Strong Support" in Arizona

Categories: Poll of the Day

A new poll suggests marijuana legalization has "strong support" in Arizona.

The poll from Arizona State University Morrison Institute for Public Policy asked Arizonans what they'd like to see done regarding marijuana in Arizona, and found that 45 percent supported full legalization, while 42 percent support a medical-only program, and 13 percent want marijuana completely outlawed in the state.

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Family of Murdered Phoenix Teenager Calls for More Arrests

Categories: News

The family of a murdered 16-year-old Phoenix girl wants to know why people who had a role in the girl's shooting are still on the streets.

Niani Allen was in a car that was stopped at a red light the night of February 23, when an SUV pulled up alongside them, and a passenger in the SUV opened fire on the car, killing Allen. The alleged shooter, 18-year-old Jason Lindsey, was arrested by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, but five others in the car with him weren't.

"I haven't received a police report, I haven't got anything," says Allen's mother, Deshawn Oliphant. "I don't know what's going on at this point."

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Huge Homeless Overflow Shelter Closing, and County Has No Plan for Displaced Men

Categories: News

Courtesy of Elizabeth Singleton, Maricopa Alliance for Shelter and Housing
Last weekend, more than 50 people sat on folding chairs in the Andre House dining room to discuss, among other things, the upcoming closure of the Men's Overflow Shelter March 31.

The community event was hosted by the Maricopa Alliance for Shelter, and Housing and began with comments from Bruce Ligget, director of the Maricopa County Department of Human Services; Father Tom Doyle of Andre House; and Mike Trailor, director of the Arizona Department of Housing.

All three expressed concern about homelessness in Phoenix, a commitment to finding solutions, and disgust with the current conditions endured daily by hundreds of homeless men and women in Phoenix.

If you've ever been to Madison Street between 11 and 12 Avenues in the early evening, you know what they're talking about-- the long line of men waiting in line across the street from the Human Services Campus of the Central Arizona Shelter Services to get into the MOS. The queue starts by the front door, follows the length of the cracked sidewalk, and then snakes around the corner toward Jefferson Street.

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Proposed Tax Break for Religious Groups Protested at Arizona Capitol

Categories: I'm Only a Bill

Matthew Hendley
Despite the rain, demonstrators took to the state capitol today to protest a proposed tax break for certain religious groups.

The bill, pushed by the notorious Center for Arizona Policy, was vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer after it was passed by lawmakers last year. The House of Representatives already passed the bill this year, perhaps counting on a more favorable reception from the new governor.

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Top 10 Reasons Phoenix Is Better Than Los Angeles

Categories: List This

Massimo Catarinella
A beautiful day in Los Angeles.
If Phoenix has an arch-nemesis, it's obviously Los Angeles.

To that, we can tell you the top 10 reasons why Phoenix is much better than Los Angeles:

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ASU President Slams Ducey's Proposed Cuts to Higher-Education Funding

Categories: News

Arizona State University president Michael Crow released a public statement slamming Governor Doug Ducey's proposed cuts to higher-education funding.

Ducey was elected on a promise to get the state in better financial shape, and more than half of the money in budget cuts Ducey is proposing comes from higher education, which isn't making Crow happy.

"As presented, the Governor's recommendation for state investment in higher education signals to the state and the nation that higher education is a low priority in Arizona," Crow's statement says, later adding, "In other words, Governor Ducey has recommended that Arizona's public universities again shoulder the primary responsibility for balancing the state budget."

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National Youth Front's "John Hess" Cops to "Anti-White" Fliers Targeting ASU Professor

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A National Youth Front member, identifying himself as "John Hess," has admitted to fliering Arizona State University's Tempe campus with images of ASU English Professor Lee Bebout, labeling the teacher "Anti-White."

During a conversation we had via Facebook, Hess said he is the hooded individual seen in a video on NYF's YouTube account, passing out fliers targeting Bebout.

He also copped to being the person who filmed and posted to YouTube his debate with ASU PhD candidate Robert Poe, during Poe's recent teach-in at ASU to discuss Professor Bebout's controversial course on critical race theory, subtitled "The Problem of Whiteness."

Since Fox News reported on the course, Bebout has been the subject of intense criticism from conservatives and those further to the right.

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10 Stoner Myths About Marijuana

Categories: Weed

New Times
Prohibitionists have been creating a mythology around the dreaded "marihuana" since the Harry Anslinger days.

But we've found that even knowledgeable cannabis connoisseurs may harbor some magical thinking about weed. Here's our take on the Top 10 myths:

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New Tactic Emerges in Occupy Oak Flat Movement

Miriam Wasser
In the latest effort to foil the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange, activists are asking President Obama to designate Oak Flat a national monument. The area, which is part of Tonto National Forest, is a historically significant and sacred spot for many Native American tribes, as well as a well-known rock-climbing and recreation destination.

Wendsler Nosie, San Carlos Apache district councilman and leader of the Occupy Oak Flat protest, started the online petition earlier this week. And with over 600 backers already, the number of signatures is rising quickly. This new strategy comes three weeks after protesters took over a section of the popular campground, vowing not to leave until the Federal Government protects the land.

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Maricopa County Mugshots of the Week: All Walks of Life

At the end of the week, we bring you a roundup of visitors to the desert's own Fourth Avenue Jail. To be considered for our Maricopa County mugshots of the week, get arrested, strike a pose, and we'll take care of the rest.

This week, we've got folks from all walks of life. Enjoy.

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Arizona's Broken-Taillight Loophole May Be Closed by Lawmakers

Categories: I'm Only a Bill

Arizona lawmakers are looking to close a loophole that prevents police from pulling over drivers with a busted taillight.

This loophole was realized a few years ago, when a Tucson man beat a DUI charge after the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the state law is ambiguous when it comes to how many working taillights a driver needs.

The Arizona House of Representatives voted 57-2 yesterday to close that loophole.

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Internal Investigation Unit Disbanded at Arizona Child Safety Department

A shake-up is underway at the newly created Arizona Department of Child Safety two weeks after a new director was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey.

The move comes as rumors fly about how and why the new director, Greg McKay, replaced Charles Flanagan, who was fired earlier this month.

On Wednesday, McKay disbanded DCS' Office of Special Investigations, which had been at least partially involved in investigating staff members at the office.

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Video: Massive Funeral Procession for Hells Angels Member Shot and Killed in Phoenix

Categories: News

There was a massive funeral procession over the weekend for Patrick Eberhardt, a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club who was shot and killed earlier this month.

Eberhardt was among a group of six bikers wearing Hells Angels insignia on their clothing who were riding on Bell Road toward 15th Street when the shots were fired on the night of February 7.

Eberhardt and another man were hit, and Eberhardt, a member of the Hells Angels' Cave Creek chapter, died as a result of his injuries.

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Hundreds Rally Against Education Budget Cuts at Arizona Capitol

Categories: News

Elizabeth Stuart
Stacey Jenner has been teaching special education in Peoria for 13 years, but, because of repeated cuts to Arizona's K-12 education budget, her paycheck has grown just $8 since the day she signed on.

When the mother of two learned that Governor Doug Ducey's Fiscal Year 2015-2016 budget proposal slashes per-pupil spending by about $120 per student, something inside her broke.

"I love my job," she said. "But this makes me want to leave teaching."

Jenner and about 250 others rallied at the capitol doors Wednesday evening, marching around the palm-tree-lined courtyard shouting, "Education costs money! Ignorance costs more!" "No if ands or buts! No more budget cuts!"

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Enchanted Island Amusement Park, Formerly Kiddieland, Closing?

Categories: News

The Enchanted Island Amusement Park in Phoenix's Encanto Park may close on May 31.

The owners of the park -- which originally was called Kiddieland when it opened in 1948 -- posted the news on Facebook today.

However, city officials say it's not closing.

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