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Stories by Maria Polletta

Valley fever research gets first major Arizona funding boost in 15 years

Researchers from Arizona’s three state universities will get $3.1 million to pinpoint hotspots and infection patterns for Valley fever, providing new tools to combat the fungal disease that sickens more people in Arizona than in any other state.... Read more»0

Report: Child care woes cost Arizona economy $1.8 billion per year

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»0

Arizona leaders’ decade of neglect imperiled fragile child care system. The pandemic nearly made it collapse.

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»0

Public information lacking as COVID-19 surges in Arizona classrooms

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»0

New rules promote exercise, nutrition at child care centers

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»0

Judge rejects Pearce’s attempt to join lawsuit against Glendale casino

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»0

Law helps blood donations flow from teenagers

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»0

Despite budget cuts, Tombstone refuses to let state park die

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»0

Board of Regents targets AIMS scholarship for cuts

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»0

Budget cuts mean fewer nurses working at Arizona schools

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»0

First Things First

Prop. 302 would sweep funds from early childhood program

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

Pearce, Arpaio: ‘Critics and activists’ threatening All-Star Game over SB 1070

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

SB 1070, economy could boost Latino turnout, say activists

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»0