After tonight’s State of the Union Address, President Obama heads west to five states that will be key to his re-election next year. One of his first stops - Wednesday afternoon -- will be in the Phoenix area. In 2008, the president largely ignored the home turf of his opponent, John McCain. But as Peter O’Dowd reports, the political winds in this historically conservative state are swirling.
Call it volatility. Call it turmoil. Or just call it momentum. Whatever it is, President Obama, and a less famous guy named Mike Stauffer, want to build on it.
A coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation may be forced to increase water rates to afford required federal pollution controls.
Initially the utility that runs the Navajo Generating Station thought it might have to shut down. But a new Interior Department study says it has another option. The Generating Station could remain open if it raises water rates for agricultural users and tribes by up to 16 percent.
Saying it will boost the economy near Farmington, New Mexico, tribal officials from the Navajo Nation have opened its third casino.
For several years the tribe was reluctant to build casinos. Many were concerned about compulsive gambling and the potential for increased crime. Raymond Etsitty runs Navajo Gaming Enterprise. For him it’s about the jobs.
"They now have a paycheck," said Etsitty. "They’re now buying things. Seeing a family who the employee works here they’re going out on the town buying some food, buying a car. That’s nice."
The Tucson Unified School District voted four-to-one to end its Mexican American Studies Program late Tuesday night. The school district risked losing $15 million if it continued teaching ethnic studies as they were being taught. From Tucson, Michel Marizco reports.
It’s the final blow against the program. Using a new state law, Arizona school officials outlawed Mexican American studies at TUSD. They said the courses were divisive and advocated overthrowing the government. Then the teachers appealed to a federal judge to stop Arizona from ending the courses.
The Department of Justice’s report alleging civil rights abuses in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office had immediate repercussions. Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, announced that her department had severed its cooperative agreements with the sheriff’s office. The decision strips Sheriff Joe Arpaio of the ability to enforce federal immigration laws.
The Department of Justice on Thursday leveled charges of unconstitutional policing against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation into civil rights abuses by Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been going on for more than three years.
The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department accused the sheriff’s office of racially profiling Hispanics and unlawfully arresting them. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez called the sheriff’s office "broken" as he laid out the allegations.
Attorney General Tom Horne says he believes Arizona has a good case when the U.S Supreme Court hears arguments in late April, on the constitutionality of Arizona’s immigration law, known as 1070.
The Supreme Court hearing comes at the request of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. It follows a decision by the 9thU-S Circuit Court of Appeals upholding an injunction against key sections of the law. Among those sections is a requirement that police, while enforcing other laws, check the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally.
Crews are dredging a channel through a sandbar where the Colorado River meets Lake Havasu this week. The swift current of the Colorado River slows dramatically and dumps sand where it meets the lake . Lake Havasu Marine Association director Jim Salscheider says crossing the three-mile-long sandbar is dangerous and has cost many boaters their propellers.
The U.S. census has released data showing a 15 percent increase in the population age 65 and over. That amounts to more than 40 million Americas. Western states like Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico had the fastest growth of older residents. A number of counties across the southwest experienced a more than 70 percent increase in the number of seniors. Scottsdale, Arizona is the country's oldest city, where 20 percent of the population is over age 65. The census bureau attributes most of this growth to people who move south after retirement. As a whole, the nation is getting older.
U-S Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico says the grants will expand much-needed services in rural and often remote communities. The federal program has awarded almost half a million dollars to the Navajo Nation to meet increasing transportation demands within the country’s largest reservation that’s the size of West Virginia. Many tribal members live far from medical or veterans services. And many tribes bus students a hundred miles or more to and from school. One tribe in Nevada, the Duckwater Shoshone, lives 75 miles from the nearest town.