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Supporters of competency-based education say it has the potential to let veterans, working students and others get a degree faster, keeping their student debt down in the process. The House this week passed a bill calling for 30 pilot projects in competency-based education.

Congress this week approved a bill which calls for the Department of Education to authorize up to 30 pilot programs in competency-based education at colleges across the country. NAU is one of only a handful of accredited schools nationwide to offer a “competency-based” option to students. Read more»

The Peace Corps is working to streamline a cumbersome application process, and reaching out to potential volunteers who abandoned the old 60-page application. ASU routinely ranks in the top 25 of large schools whose students volunteer. Read more»

Willow Canyon High School Marching Band members tour the U.S. Capitol during their visit to Washington, where they will be marching in the Fourth of July parade.

Lots of high school bands will march in Fourth of July parades Friday, but not many will have flown 2,000 miles to do it. When a marching band from Surprise, Ariz., steps off Friday for the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C, it will be a long from home. Read more»

A sow and one of her piglets. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus can infect any age pig, but has only proven fatal to piglets, who have a mortality rate of at least 50 percent once infected.

A swine virus that has already caused a nationwide hog shortage has turned up in Arizona, where one farm official worries it could have “catastrophic effects on the pork buying and producing industry.” The virus is harmless to humans, but the mortality rate for infected piglets has been at least 50 percent. Read more»

Pro-life protesters celebrate outside the Supreme Court after it ruled that business owners cannot be forced to provide certain contraceptive coverage to employees if it conflicts with their religious convictions.

Reaction was swift to the Supreme Court's ruling that businesses cannot be forced to provide workers' contraceptive coverage, if it conflicts with the owners' religious beliefs. Supporters hailed it as a victory for religious rights, while opponents saw it as a setback for women's rights. Read more»

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords grabs a softball autographed by breast-cancer survivors before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in the Sixth Annual Congressional Women’s Softball game against women reporters.

She didn't play, but she did something for her former colleagues. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords threw the ceremonial first pitch at an annual charity softball game pitting women in the Washington press corps against congresswomen - who won for the first time in four years. Read more» 1

Products made from Yulex Corp.’s alternative rubber including a rubber glove, shoe sole, and building materials.

Phoenix-based Yulex Corp.was one of 35 companies, from 25 states, invited by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., to show the promise of bio-based manufacturing at a congressional event in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Read more»

Scottsdale resident Stan Dale said he got idea of taking U.S. soil to the beaches in Normandy on the 70th anniversary of D-Day to bring American soldiers who died there a little bit of home.

Scottsdale resident Stan Dale hopes to help the men who gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy 70 years ago by trying to “bring them home one last time.” Dale will be at Normandy on the 70th anniversary of D-Day to scatter soil he collected from all 50 states. Read more»

Protesters gathered outside the Arizona Capitol at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session urging lawmakers to turn back abortion restrictions, like the one a federal court blocked Tuesday.

A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld its decision to block an Arizona law restricting access to a popular abortion drug, a law critics said would unduly burden a woman’s right to an abortion. Read more»

A decades-old surveying error misplaced the boundary line of Coconino National Forest. When the government discovered the error, the new boundary line cut through some people’s homes.

It took a wildfire, three Congresses and years of work, but some Coconino County residents may soon be able to make their properties whole again. The Senate has approved a bill correcting a 50-year-old surveying error that had put some private homes in the national forest. Read more»