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Jean Allen is ready for her first season as a vendor in Quartzsite, selling products including art and decorative boxes. She said he’s optimistic but still a little nervous about what the economy will bring.

Every winter, vendors descend on this remote patch of western Arizona desert. Right behind is a flock of RVs filled with retirees looking for a warm winter and good deals. Read more»

Creating a computer infrastucture and developing firm, fair regulations are key to establishing a successful medical marijuana dispensary system in Arizona, the state’s top health official said Monday. Read more»

A sign for a medical marijuana clinic in West Hollywood, Calif.

Proposition 203, which would legalize the medical use of marijuana in Arizona, was on track to pass Friday after provisional ballots counted by Maricopa County pushed the “yes” vote into a commanding lead. Read more» 2

Maricopa Community Colleges, which includes Phoenix College, is leading one group of Arizona community colleges pursuing $35 million grants offered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Two groups of Arizona community colleges are organizing to bid for $35 million in grants the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is offering to help more students complete their studies. Read more»

A ballot measure allowing medical marijuana was still too close to call Wednesday. Unofficial returns showed Proposition 203 trailing by a narrow margin. Read more»

U.S. Sen. John McCain speaks Wednesday at a news conference opposing Proposition 203, which would legalize medical marijuana. McCain, U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl and other GOP leaders spoke against the initiative.

U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl led a group of Republican officials Wednesday denouncing a ballot measure that would allow medical marijuana. Read more»

Soleil Dolce, vice president of Arizona Equine Rescue in New River, visits with her horse, Impressions. With many horses being abandoned by owners suffering in the down economy, Dolce’s shelter is the first listed on a state Department of Agriculture registry of where other shelters and state officials can turn when horses are abandoned.

Brandy needed urgent medical care, Rim Rock was abandoned and Priya had been abused. These three, now at Arizona Equine Rescue Organization Inc., represent the fate of many horses in Arizona these days. Read more»

The slow economy has taken a toll on lumber yards such as Woodlife Pine Inc., a Prescott business run by Joe Agosta. A dropoff in home construction is the biggest factor, industry leaders say.

In 2005, demand for mantlepieces, timbers and decorative wood braces had Joe Agosta's wood mill turning away business. Now a staff of eight has shrunk to three. Across Arizona, anyone working in the wood business, from small mills like Agosta's to larger lumberyards, has seen business drop because of the housing market collapse. Read more»

The Department of Agriculture, however, is concerned that people aren’t following commonsense advice and are misusing pesticides because of it. In the process, homeowners are harming the environment – and potentially themselves. Read more»

A U.S. Department of Education report lists Arizona has having the nation’s highest rate for student loan defaults. However, a review of the data found that the for-profit University of Phoenix, which has a nationwide student body, greatly affected that figure.

A U.S. Department of Education report lists Arizona as having the nation's highest rate of student loan defaults, but where the state really stands comes down to how you view the numbers. The University of Phoenix's national student body has a large impact on the data. Read more»

Amanda Kinnaird, a dance teacher at Maryvale High School in Phoenix, talks with her class before starting warmups. A census sponsored by the Arizona Department of Education and the Arizona Commission on the Arts found that despite funding cuts nearly all Arizona schoolchildren have access to at least one arts class.

Big cuts to public education funding over the past two years have fueled fears that dance, music, theater and other arts won't be as available to students. But a new report on Arizona schools suggests that isn't the case. Read more»

Cut and dried marijuana

Heather Torgerson wrote a college paper against the use of medical marijuana. Today, however, she says what once seemed so wrong then is the reason she's survived brain cancer. Torgerson says many Arizonans would benefit if voters approve Proposition 203, a ballot measure that would legalize the medical use of marijuana. Read more»

Laura Filip expected credit for the college algebra class she took in high school to follow her to Arizona State University. However, she said, ASU didn't recognize the class and told her to take a lower-level one. A law that took effect earlier this year aims to eliminate such confusion by requiring common course numbers for all 100- and 200-level classes. Read more» 1

A gray fox is shown in this U.S. Bureau of Reclamation photo. Rabies cases are down significantly so far this year, and officials say efforts to prevent the spread of rabies in gray foxes, shunks and other species at greatest risk for the virus deserve part of the credit. Favorable weather and diseased creatures dying off also have helped, officials say.

Rabies cases are down significantly this year around Arizona, a drop officials attribute in part to aggressive steps to control the virus in wildlife, favorable weather and diseased animals dying off. Read more»

A public information campaign at Arizona State University includes notices in bathrooms urging students, staff and faculty to wash hands.

A state health official says that the worst of H1N1 passed last flu season, but don't put away the hand sanitizer just yet. "We expect H1N1 to be back again this year because that's what happens when we have pandemics," said Dr. Karen Lewis. Read more»