Ariz. in grips of freezing, near-freezing weather
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - A storm rolling in over the weekend will keep northern Arizona in the grips of freezing temperatures, bringing more snow and making travel a little tricky.
Phoenix residents could see a dusting of snow in the surrounding mountains as snow levels drop to 3,000 feet Saturday into Sunday. Several inches of snow could fall in the higher terrain.
The cold, low pressure system that has settled over the West will keep residents bundled up until early next week.
Officials are reminding folks to protect plants, pipes and pets in the meantime.
Residents in northwestern Arizona and other desert areas of the state will experience the first freezing temperatures of the season.
Tucson crews were busy Thursday coating bridge decks with magnesium chloride to keep ice from sticking to roadways.
Suits likely after AZ cited for firefighter deaths
PHOENIX (AP) - Citations issued to the Arizona Forestry Division by the state's workplace safety agency for the deaths of 19 firefighters could bolster efforts by their families to sue the state.
But employment law attorneys said Thursday the bar remains very high for suits in workplace deaths.
The state Industrial Commission levied nearly $560,000 in fines Wednesday after finding willful and serious lapses of workplace safety rules during the June fire northwest of Phoenix.
A lawyer for one family that has filed a claim and a lawyer not involved in the case say the citations make it easier to sue.
But others say the bar is extremely high, and a judge might block any lawsuits.
At issue is the state's workers compensation law, which generally bars lawsuits for on-the-job injuries or deaths.
Arizona agents find ecstasy factory inside dorm
MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Detectives with the Arizona Department of Public Safety say they have uncovered an ecstasy manufacturing operation inside a student apartment at Arizona State University.
The bust stems from a traffic stop Wednesday along Interstate 17. A search of the vehicle turned up a backpack that was loaded with ecstasy pills and cocaine.
DPS officials say they were able to secure search warrants for the 20-year-old driver's home in Goodyear and for his apartment near the ASU campus.
According to investigators, the room was essentially a pill factory. Detectives found 30 pounds of product used to make ecstasy pills in the apartment along with thousands of pills and a motorized pill press.
The DPS says the suspect is facing numerous drug charges. His name was not immediately released.
GLENDALE-BUS STOP DEATH
Man found fatally wounded near Glendale bus stop
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Police are investigating the death of a man who was found shot near a Glendale bus stop.
Police spokeswoman Tracey Breedan says officers got a call early Thursday from a person who spotted a man on the ground, bleeding near 59th Avenue and Colter Street.
The man, identified as 40-year-old Malcom Crittendon of Phoenix, was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Breedan says no witnesses have come forward and detectives have no leads or suspects. She says they're still trying to piece together what may have happened.
No weapons were located in the area where Malcom was found.
Proposal reignites passions over Mexican wolves
PINETOP, Ariz. (AP) - A regional official with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the limited area set aside in New Mexico and Arizona for recovery of the Mexican gray wolf is tying the agency's hands.
Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle says the agency can't maintain the species' genetic viability in such a small area.
A plan to expand the range of one of the Southwest's rarest animals has reignited passions about whether and where humans should coexist with the predators.
The Arizona Republic reports that ranchers and rural families were outraged as the expansion plan was discussed at a public meeting Tuesday in Pinetop. A similar meeting was held last month in Albuquerque.
Biologists say there are at least 75 Mexican gray wolves in the two states.
US approves Southwest, Virgin for LaGuardia slots
DALLAS (AP) - The government will let Southwest Airlines and Virgin America buy takeoff and landing rights at New York's LaGuardia Airport that American Airlines and US Airways agreed to sell to win approval for their merger.
The airlines said Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration has approved transfer of the rights, which are also called slots.
Slots are limited at the busy airport near Manhattan, making them a coveted item when they go on the market.
Last month, American and US Airways agreed to give up some of their slots at LaGuardia and Washington's Reagan National Airport to settle an antitrust lawsuit that the Justice Department filed to block their merger.
Wage protesters rally in Arizona, New Mexico
PHOENIX (AP) - Workers, labor activists and supporters are gathering at fast-food restaurants around Arizona and New Mexico as part of a national effort calling for higher wages.
About 30 protesters gathered before noon Thursday outside a McDonald's in the heart of Phoenix. In New Mexico, protesters braved snow and frigid temperatures as they rallied in Albuquerque and Las Cruces.
They held signs that read "Raise the Wage" and "Respect Workers."
Ileana Salinas is a case worker at a labor rights center in Phoenix. She says she sees many cases in which fast-food workers don't make enough money to get by.
Salinas says the problem is fast-food workers are no longer just young people in their first job. She says the economic recession has forced breadwinners to take such jobs to provide for their families.
Arizona football player died of blunt force trauma
POLACCA, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona officials have determined that a high school football player who collapsed on the field last month died of blunt force trauma to his head.
Charles Youvella took a hard fall during the fourth quarter of a Nov. 9 state playoff game and later died in Phoenix hospital. The 17-year-old Hopi High School senior had scored his team's only touchdown in a 60-6 loss to Arizona Lutheran Academy.
The Maricopa County medical examiner's office said Thursday that the cause of death is listed as accidental and that the full autopsy report isn't yet complete.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association has said Youvella died of a traumatic brain injury.
Arizona burned by tight end catches in every loss
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - The Arizona Cardinals' defense ranks in the upper reaches of the NFL.
Except when it comes to defending the tight end.
That problem has been a common theme in every defeat for the Cardinals this season.
In those five losses, tight ends have caught 11 touchdown passes. In Arizona's seven wins, opposing tight ends have three TD catches.
Last week in Philadelphia, tight ends had three touchdown catches in the Eagles' 24-21 victory.
Not that Arizona is alone in this concern. The advent of the big, mobile, sure-handed tight end has presented problems for every NFL team.
Stanford's Trent Murphy traces toughness to family
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - The tough and tenacious way Trent Murphy plays football can be traced to his early years growing up just a few miles away from where the outside linebacker will take the field for Stanford against Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.
Murphy, who leads the nation with 13 sacks, grew up in a rural area of Mesa, Ariz. He comes from a large family of large people who raised him to work hard and fight for everything.
Murphy's menacing ways earned him the nickname "Yeti" among his Stanford teammates. Cardinal coach David Shaw has called Murphy the nastiest player on his defense.
For Murphy's family, though, he will always just be Trenton - an All-American kid from the Arizona desert who learned the values of tough love.
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