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The Four Forests Restoration Initiative, or 4FRI, encourages limited logging in national forests – Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab and Tonto – to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire by reducing the available fuel for fires. After a two-month pause to sort out challenges, the U.S. Forest Service said planning for the next phase of 4FRI is back on track.

The popular 4FRI forest maintenance program is back on track after a two-month pause to sort out challenges with a more focused, “more realistic approach” that appears to have government, industry and environmental officials in rare agreement. Read more»

Job growth was experienced in almost every area of the economy as the employment picture continued to improve in Arizona, including the construction sector which grew a scant 1.3% over the last year. The biggest increases were in leisure and hospitality jobs, which grew 17.6% as the sector bounced back from pandemic shutdowns, helping drive the drop in unemployment.

Arizona’s unemployment rate continued its steady decline in October, falling to 5.2%, down a full percentage point from just two months earlier and almost one-third of the state’s pandemic high, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Read more»

International travelers wait to pass through customs at Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia in this March 2020 file photo. After travel and holiday gatherings were largely canceled by COVID-19 last year, health experts say holiday get-togethers could be much more normal this year.

Health officials said this week that it should be OK for families to gather over the holidays, as long as people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and take other precautions against the spread of the disease. Read more»

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez poses with President Joe Biden at the signing ceremony for a massive infrastructure bill Monday, the same day the White House opened a two-day Tribal Nations Summit. Tribal leaders welcomed the resumption of the nation-to-nation meeting, which had been an annual event in the Obama administration.

Tribal leaders said the just-ended White House summit on tribal affairs “shows promise” for the federal commitment to solving problems in Indian Country and to giving Native Americans a voice in the process. Read more»

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, came under intense criticism for a tweeted video that appeared to show him and other House conservatives killing a House liberal and attacking the president. But Gosar did not back down from the video, telling critics it was just a cartoon and they should relax.

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, refused to back down Tuesday from his weekend tweet of a violent cartoon that appeared to show him and other House conservatives attacking President Joe Biden and a liberal House Democrat. Read more»

Rep. Andy Biggs, center, looks on as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., attacks the Democrats’ proposed $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan, during a Freedom Caucus news conference . Biggs, R-Gilbert, said the plan was too costly and invaded taxpayers’ privacy, among other problems.

Democratic leaders announced Thursday that they reached agreement on a $1.75 trillion “framework” for the Build Back Better plan, but few were rushing to embrace it, with many progressives pointing instead to what was left out and conservatives complaining about costs. Read more»

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told a Senate committee Wednesday that, nearly a year after the 2020 election, her staff has been subject to 'near constant harassment' over the election, and she urged passage of federal voting rights legislation that would protect workers and restore confidence in the process.

It’s been almost a year since the 2020 elections, but Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told a Senate panel Tuesday that it’s not over for her staff, who have been subject to “near constant harassment” from election deniers. Read more»

Woods (left) was a close friend of the late Sen. John McCain, and the two enjoyed Diamondbacks games together.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods was remembered Monday as an “incredibly active public servant” whose sudden death over the weekend had the potential to deal “a pretty big blow” to moderates in the state. Read more»

Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls, center, said the rise in illegal immigration is stressing health care and nonprofit aid services in his town. Nicholls was taking part in a forum organized by GOP lawmakers in Washington, along with former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan, left, and Bristol County, Mass., Sheriff Tom Hodgson.

Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls told a Washington forum this week that the rise in illegal immigration is stressing health care and the nonprofits that help migrants in his town, and he’s worried the situation will only get worse. Read more»

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., in a 2019 photo, has drawn fire from party progressives, but leveraged her position in the Senate, by wrangling over the Biden administration’s latest spending plan.

Two Arizona lawmakers, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Rep. Tom O’Halleran, were among the House and Senate moderates who met with President Joe Biden this week, as negotiations on the administration’s Build Back Better plan heated up. Read more»

Colin Powell, who was first Black secretary of state and the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks at the 2011 National Memorial Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol. Powell, who died Monday, was praised by Arizona officials for his legacy of firsts.

Arizona politicians from both sides of the aisle praised former Secretary of State Colin Powell as a dedicated public servant who will inspire “generations of Americans,” but who also leaves behind a mixed legacy. Read more»

Crews demolish the last of six buildings in this 2019 file photo, to make way for a new Maswik South lodging at the Grand Canyon National Park. Despite an infusion of new funds, the park has more than $300 million in deferred maintenance.

Arizona projects got $110 million last year and will get another $159 million in the fiscal year that started this month, or more than 9% of all funding nationally under the Great American Outdoors Act for those two years. Read more»

A study of Medicare beneficiaries by the Department of Health and Human Services found that COVID-19 vaccinations may have saved as many as 39,000 lives across the country – about 1,000 of them in Arizona – and cut into the number of new cases and hospitalizations as well.

COVID-19 vaccinations have saved an estimated 1,000 lives in Arizona and have prevented as many as 2,800 hospitalizations for the disease, according to recent estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services. Read more»

Pro-choice protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in June 2016 for a ruling in an abortion case from Texas. Since then, the makeup of the court has become much more conservative, and analysts say a Mississippi case the justices will hear this fall could the case that finally upends Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that recognized a woman’s right to an abortion.

An abortion rights case that is a top issue in the U.S. Supreme Court term that began Monday has already drawn scores of legal filings – including from dozens of Arizona lawmakers, activists and advocates on both sides of the issue. Read more»

Bison congregate around water next to State Route 67 in Little Park in the Grand Canyon. There are about 600 bison across the North Rim now, but experts fear the herd could grow to 1,500 in 10 years if it is not managed.

A planned hunt of bison on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon this week appears to be moving forward, despite last-minute pleas by lawmakers in Colorado to move the animals there instead. Read more»

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