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Presley Nassise explains the rules of a class exercise to children at Premier Children's Center in Phoenix on Oct. 20, 2021.

Instability in Arizona’s child care system is costing the state an estimated $1.8 billion in economic activity a year, according to a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation report, as gaps in care force parents to forgo professional and educational opportunities. Read more»

Child care provider Missaaliyah Jackson uses flashcards with Remi Goff, 2, at Premier Children's Center in Phoenix on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.

A $1.2 billion infusion of federal funding has kept an already fragile Arizona child care sector from failing, giving state leaders a shot at reforming a broken system of their own making, and perhaps bringing hope for the stability that parents and providers have craved for years. Read more»

Of the state’s 15 county health departments, only Pima County publicly monitors active COVID-19 cases by district.

As COVID-19 infections surge in Arizona schools, sickening thousands of students and staff and forcing thousands more into quarantine, parents—and the public at large—have been left without a comprehensive picture of where students and educators are contracting the virus. Read more»

Eric plays on a slide at a child care program offered by the Avondale YMCA.

Provisions encouraging at least an hour of physical activity per day are part of a revamped set of state rules for child care centers that aim to promote health and fitness. Read more»

State Sen. Russell Pearce discusses a filing a group of Republican lawmakers entered Thursday supporting Glendale’s efforts to block a tribe’s plan to build a casino in the West Valley.

Hours after a group of state lawmakers vowed to join a lawsuit aimed at blocking a Tohono O'odham casino in the West Valley, a federal judge Thursday rejected one state senator's attempt to do so. Read more»

Anthony Palazzetti, giving blood during a drive at Arizona State University, said his mother’s battle with leukemia taught him the importance of donating. At 19, Palazzetti belongs to the state’s largest blood donor group, according to United Blood Services of Arizona. Donations from the traditionally active 16- to 19-year-old demographic have surged since a 2008 law lowered the minimum legal age for donors from 17 to 16 with parental consent.

Teens have traditionally been active donors, but officials say donations from the age group have surged since a 2008 law lowered the minimum age for donors from 17 to 16 with parental consent. Read more»

Mary Evans, a volunteer at Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, says she can’t help but dream when she browses artifacts such as a wedding dress, children’s shoes and more. With Arizona State Parks pummeled by budget cuts, communities such as Tombstone have entered into agreements to keep their parks operating.

Since the city of Tombstone took over Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park in April, after state budget cuts threatened the park and 18 others, the number of visitors has jumped 20 percent. Read more»

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, shown after an Arizona Board of Regents meeting in Tempe, said he voted against a plan to scale back the AIMS scholarship because it would take away an incentive for students to achieve on the AIMS Test. However, regents overwhelmingly approved the plan.

The Board of Regents voted 9-1 to scale back the state AIMS scholarship, approving a proposal that would implement stricter academic standards for eligibility and cut the award from 100 percent to 25 percent of tuition. Read more»

Sharon Roland, a nurse at William R. Sullivan Elementary School in Phoenix, helps a student with sand in his eye. Budget cuts mean fewer nurses working at schools around Arizona.

Sharon Roland, who splits her time between two elementary schools, is spread thin overseeing the care of more than 1,200 children. However, she's one of the more fortunate school nurses in the state. Budget cuts have pushed districts across Arizona to eliminate nurse positions. Read more»

Rhian Evans Allvin, executive director of First Things First, says leaders of the early childhood development program and its supporters understand that the state faces unprecedented financial difficulties. But she notes that voters created First Things First in 2006 to help a specific population that will suffer if those funds are swept to shore up the state budget, as Proposition 302 would do.

But families could lose access to services offered by First Things First when voters decide in November whether to eliminate the program and funnel its $325 million to help address the state budget deficit. Read more» 2

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is swarmed by media seeking comment on a federal lawsuit filed against him after a news conference at which he and other conservatives said they are sending Major League Baseball 70,000 petition signatures against any plan to relocate the 2011 All-Star Game. MLB officials haven’t said anything to indicate they might move the game from Phoenix over SB 1070, but Arpaio and other said they worry that officials might heed the calls of critics and activists.

State Sen. Russell Pearce and other SB 1070 supporters are sending off 70,000 petition signatures urging Major League Baseball to ignore "critics and activists" they say are endangering plans to hold the 2011 All-Star Game in Phoenix. Read more» 1

Karina Guillen, Liang Flores and Francisco Garcia check voter registrations at the Arizona headquarters of Mi Familia Vota. Activists and pundits have different views about whether SB 1070 or the economy will make this the year that the state’s Latinos harness their voting power.

Activists say this will be the year Latinos, feeling the pressure of the recession and concerned about the effects of SB 1070, will flock to the polls and wield the influence of their numbers. Read more»