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Nominees for 6 vacant Az judgeships get long-stalled hearings

Months of waiting – and more than two years in one case – were over in less than two hours Tuesday when a Senate committee breezed through nomination hearings for six Arizona judicial nominees. After a generally friendly hearing, the six nominees — including Tucson's Rosemary Marquez — will still have to wait at least one week for a committee vote, followed by a full Senate vote.... Read more»

Grijalva, House Dems call for 'cease fire' on deportations

Calling on the White House to use executive authority to expand a deferment program created in 2012, six congressional Democrats argued Monday that such a measure is necessary to deal with current immigrants and push Congress to action on the immigration reform measure passed by the Senate last year. ... Read more»2

ADOT: Those who alter special license plates face big fines

Buying special license plates doesn’t give drivers the right to customize or modify them, yet officials say many still do. Now the Arizona Department of Transportation is spreading the word that those who alter plates are risking fines of at least $300.... Read more»

Health Dep't warns of rabid skunk at Catalina State Park

Anyone who may have had contact with — or whose pet may have touched — a rabid skunk found Tuesday at Catalina State Park should call the Pima County Health Department, officials said. The sick animal was found surrounded by about 30 people and many pets, a spokesman said. The skunk tested positive for the life-threatening disease.... Read more»

Arizona again ranked among lowest states for traffic safety laws

Arizona continues to fall “dangerously behind” in its adoption of key traffic and vehicle safety laws, according to a national report that ranked states Wednesday. Although a texting-while-driving bill has garnered bipartisan support in past years, it has not passed — and a Tucson Democrat backing the measure says this year will be another tough fight.... Read more»

Commentary

Sonoran Ramblings: DEA & the cartels, BP shootings, and yes, Bieber

In our immigration news roundup and border media criticism column, Sonoran Ramblings,we look at DEA meetings with high-level Sinaloa Cartel members, Border Patrol shootings and surveillance, and Justin Bieber's recent spate of potentially deportable criminal allegations. ... Read more»

Border residents demand end to Arivaca checkpoint

Citing rights violations and economic fallout from an I-19 checkpoint operated by the Border Patrol, residents of Arivaca marched to Tucson Sector HQ to announce a community program to watch border agents. ... Read more»1

Homeland Security chief making first border visit

The head of the Department of Homeland Security is making his first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border since being confirmed. Jeh Johnson, sworn in less than a month ago, checked out the border in Texas on Tuesday, and spoke with border agents in Douglas on Wednesday morning, along with U.S. Rep. Ron Barber.... Read more»

Citing gun battles, State Dep't warns against Agua Prieta travel

A series of gun battles in the Mexican border town has led the State Department to warn U.S. citizens against traveling to Agua Prieta, Sonora, after dark.... Read more»2

UA grad killed in Kabul suicide attack

A 27-year-old graduate of the University of Arizona was killed in a suicide bombing Friday in Afghanistan. Chicago native Lexie Kamerman received a master's in Education from the UA, and was working at the American University in Kabul. ... Read more»

Man shot, killed in struggle with Border Patrol

A man was fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent Thursday night during a struggle in Cochise County near the U.S.-Mexican border, officials said Friday. ... Read more»2

Barber calls for bipartisan seating at State of the Union

Southern Arizona Democrat Ron Barber joined a bipartisan group urging senators and representatives to cross party lines — at least to sit together at President Obama's Jan. 28 State of the Union address. Barber, along with U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, an Arizona Republican; Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado; and Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, urged colleagues to repeat the aisle-crossing begun in 2011 after the Jan. 8 attack in Tucson.... Read more»

Marana police holding citizens academy

The Marana Police Department will conduct a 12-week Citizens Academy starting next Wednesday. Participants will get an inside look on the department's workings.... Read more»

Flake lifts long hold on judge nominations, including Marquez

Sen. Jeff Flake has lifted a block on five of six judicial nominees to the federal bench in Arizona, where the American Bar Association has said vacancies are “dramatically worse” than in other states. Among the nominees who will move ahead to Senate review are Tucson's Rosemary Marquez, first nominated in 2011.... Read more»

Mexico's gang-torn Hot Country about to boil over

Things are shifting quickly and bloodily in Mexico's western Michoacan state, as troops fight to disarm vigilante gangs intent on combating a dangerous drug cartel. A clash between soldiers and militiamen in one town Monday night ended with multiple deaths — reports vary on how many, but the government has confirmed two fatalities. That's apparently hardened the militia leaders' resolve to continue fighting.... Read more»

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