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Latest News in Maricopa, AZ

Maricopa County elections officials hiring about 3,000 temporary workers for the general election

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The General Election is less than two months away and the Maricopa County Elections Department wants to fill about 3,000 temporary positions.Jobs range from poll workers to warehouse workers, truck drivers and ballot processors, and more. Megan Gilbertson with the department says every temporary position has job-specific and unique training with varying commitment options.Pay starts at minimum wage for some, Gilbertson tells Arizona’s Family, and goes up to $19 to $20 an hour depending on the...

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The General Election is less than two months away and the Maricopa County Elections Department wants to fill about 3,000 temporary positions.

Jobs range from poll workers to warehouse workers, truck drivers and ballot processors, and more. Megan Gilbertson with the department says every temporary position has job-specific and unique training with varying commitment options.

Pay starts at minimum wage for some, Gilbertson tells Arizona’s Family, and goes up to $19 to $20 an hour depending on the position. There was a $1,000 bonus offered for those who could work 240 hours between the primary and general elections.

This week at the elections warehouse, workers were making sure the printers were outfitted and ready to print your ballot. It’s just an example of the help that’s needed. “If you think about a voting location and everything that goes into it, they need power cords, they need chairs, they need printers, they need ballot paper,” Gilbertson said. “There are so many items. And so we have workers that come in, and they build those kits to make sure every voting location has everything they need.”

“It takes an entire community in order to run elections. In Maricopa County, we are the second largest voting jurisdiction in the country and we really rely on community members, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, to come in and work elections,” Gilbertson said.

For some, working elections is a chance to get a firsthand look at the election process and get involved in the community. Rosetta Walker, who lives in the Valley, has been a poll worker in the area for about 20 years. She is typically stationed at one of the voting centers at Arizona State University.

Walker likes it because she gets to meet a whole new batch of people every year, making new friends and connections. “It’s very invigorating being around the young people because you get to see the younger generation,” she said. “Some of them are first-time voters, 18 years old.” Walker says there are also staff and faculty who are able to cast their ballot at their workplace.

If you’d like to get involved, click here. Election Day is November 7th.

Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.

Arizona must develop new water supplies now

Arizona is at a crossroads. Nearly 40% of Arizona’s annual water uses are supplied by the Colorado River. However, the outlook for Colorado River water availability – and Arizona’s junior allocation, in particular – is deeply concerning.The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) has determined that there is insufficient water to support various projects in Central Arizona where development would otherwise naturally occur over the next several years (west Maricopa County and Pinal County). Additional water...

Arizona is at a crossroads. Nearly 40% of Arizona’s annual water uses are supplied by the Colorado River. However, the outlook for Colorado River water availability – and Arizona’s junior allocation, in particular – is deeply concerning.

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) has determined that there is insufficient water to support various projects in Central Arizona where development would otherwise naturally occur over the next several years (west Maricopa County and Pinal County). Additional water supplies will be needed to support the growth and economic prosperity we all want for our children and our grandchildren. Arizona must start today.

The present water crunch occurs alongside a historic budget surplus that allowed Arizona to make a substantial investment in water augmentation. In July, Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill directing $1 billion to a water augmentation fund over the next three years. The fund will be administered by the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA). A minimum of 75% of these dollars must be devoted to projects that import water from outside of Arizona.

The new law does not direct WIFA to implement any particular projects. Instead, WIFA is authorized to select importation projects based on a variety of considerations. WIFA has been vested with significant discretion, and it is critical that WIFA make wise investment decisions.

We must hope that WIFA will resist pressures to invest in stop-gap measures. WIFA should focus on projects to provide direct delivery of desalinated ocean water, likely in partnership with Mexico. The technology is proven. More than 15,000 desalination plants operate today in hundreds of countries, and Israel is on the verge of satisfying approximately 90% of its municipal and industrial water demand through desalination.

The previous desalination concept involved a water exchange with Mexico. Arizona would have helped fund treatment plants to provide desalinated water to users in Mexico. In exchange, Arizona would have received a portion of Mexico’s supply of Colorado River water. Investing billions of dollars in an increased Colorado River allocation is now a questionable strategy. Would that water be physically available on a reliable basis?

Arizona should think bigger. The Gulf of California is Arizona’s closest ocean water source, and Arizona’s partnership with Mexico should include a water pipeline to provide direct delivery of desalinated ocean water to Arizona. This would involve more legal issues and land use complications, and it would be significantly more expensive. However, this solution would provide a significant, long-term infusion of additional water to Arizona. It would be drought-proof, and therefore far more reliable than a Colorado River exchange because the source would be ocean water. An international water pipeline would be a large project, but that’s what’s required to adequately address Arizona’s water shortage.

Sean Hood is a litigator and water lawyer at Fennemore. He chairs Fennemore’s largest practice group, business litigation, and has nearly 20 years of experience advising and litigating on a broad range of water rights issues and business disputes.

Maricopa County planning next monkeypox vaccine clinic for September

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Maricopa County Department of Public Health says it will host another monkeypox vaccine clinic on Thursday, Sept. 1.This comes after 1,000 appointments were booked in three hours for the Thursday, Aug. 25 clinic. If you’re interested in getting the vaccine, county health officials have an...

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Maricopa County Department of Public Health says it will host another monkeypox vaccine clinic on Thursday, Sept. 1.

This comes after 1,000 appointments were booked in three hours for the Thursday, Aug. 25 clinic. If you’re interested in getting the vaccine, county health officials have an interest survey up online to gauge community interest. So far, the department says 10,000 of those surveys have been completed. Here’s more on who is eligible for the vaccine and how to sign up.

“It’s important to remind everyone that the way that monkeypox is transmitted is close contact of skin to skin contact, with intimate skin contact,” said Dr. Nick Staab, a medical epidemiologist with Maricopa County. “If you’re not having that kind of contact with others that you’re not familiar with, then you’re really at low-risk for monkeypox at this time. You do not need to be vaccinated.”

For the next planned clinic, those who have filled out the online survey and are determined to be eligible will get information on how to sign up for an appointment. Dr. Staab says they have reached out to other partners in the community to get the vaccine to high-risk populations, so we may start to hear about more vaccine events around the county in the near future. The Arizona Department of Health Services now has a section on its website dedicated to monkeypox information. So far it’s received about 14,000 doses from the federal government, which it then allocates to local jurisdictions.

“We’ve been working with our federal partners to identify the allocations that are determined for our state. And so in order to identify how many of the limited vaccines come to Arizona, the federal government is using a formula around how many monkeypox cases we currently have, and the individuals that we have that would most benefit from that vaccine,” said AZDHS deputy director Carla Berg. “And so that in with that same approach, we’re then allocating to our local health departments, leveraging that model.”

Berg says while anybody can be exposed to monkeypox, the overall risk remains low. “Key pieces to know is that public health is working, and really working hard, to best leverage our data that we do have to maximize the resources including vaccine, testing, and then making available treatment for those individuals who do have monkeypox and met the criteria for that treatment,” Berg said.

The Navajo Nation is also staying alert to the monkeypox infection rates. On Wednesday, the Navajo Department of Health and the Navajo Epidemiology Center said that it had its first confirmed case of Monkeypox in the nation from an individual living in McKinley County, New Mexico. Pesident Nez said that the nation has established a Monkeypox Preparedness Team, with the help of federal health officials and the White House.

“Through these efforts, we’ve been able to secure doses of the Monkeypox vaccines and they will be available to the Navajo people soon. As cases of Monkeypox began to spread across the country and into the southwest, we knew we had to prepare,” the president said. “Just as we saw with COVID-19, it came to a point where every region surrounding the Navajo Nation was affected.”

Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.

Appeal Challenges Arizona Fort’s Fake Groundwater Pumping Credits That Threaten San Pedro River

TUCSON, Ariz.— Conservation groups have appealed a federal court ruling to challenge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s granting groundwater credits to the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca that fail to return water to the imperiled San Pedro River.In last week’s filing with the 9th U.S. Circuit Co...

TUCSON, Ariz.— Conservation groups have appealed a federal court ruling to challenge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s granting groundwater credits to the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca that fail to return water to the imperiled San Pedro River.

In last week’s filing with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Center for Biological Diversity, Maricopa Audubon Society and the Sierra Club said the lower court’s March ruling wrongly gave the Army base credit for ending groundwater pumping in an area where it had been terminated a decade earlier. The court approved the mitigation credits based on its belief that groundwater pumping was “likely” to restart in that area, even though previous court rulings require it must be “certain to occur.”

“This is like giving a hemorrhaging patient an IOU for future blood transfusions,” said Robin Silver, an emergency room physician who was also a cofounder of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Fish and Wildlife officials are failing to protect the San Pedro River from Fort Huachuca’s insatiable water guzzling. If the Fort’s off-post groundwater pumping isn’t controlled by downsizing, the San Pedro River and the plants and animals that depend on it are doomed.”

The San Pedro River and its endangered species are in trouble because of excessive, uncontrolled groundwater pumping in the Fort Huachuca and Sierra Vista areas.

Fort Huachuca's off-post groundwater pumping is the single greatest contributor to the San Pedro River's demise. In 2013 Fort Huachuca was facing inevitable downsizing because of its inability to mitigate its excessive, unsustainable groundwater pumping. Fort Huachuca intelligence operatives carried out a successful scheme to convince Fish and Wildlife officials to grant fake water credits.

The conservation groups’ appeal says Fish and Wildlife officials violated their own their water credit policy, as well as a directive to the Fort that “[t]o adequately address the overdraft of groundwater in the Upper San Pedro Basin and insure the health of the San Pedro River and the species that depend on it, some current uses of water must cease.”

Agency officials also went against their own biological opinion that conservation easements do not increase water flows in adjoining streams “unless an active water use is retired.”

“It’s outrageous that Fish and Wildlife officials have allowed themselves to be manipulated into granting Fort Huachuca water credits that add no water to the river,” said Maricopa Audubon Conservation Chair Charles Babbitt. “The San Pedro River is the last free-flowing desert river in the Southwest. It’s an international treasure and birdwatching mecca. It deserves better.”

The district court ruled that Fort Huachuca ignored a hydrological study on the effects of Fort-attributable groundwater pumping on local groundwater levels, which declined more than 60 feet in some areas. This study’s finding is consistent with a Fish and Wildlife biologist’s conclusion that “groundwater pumping at Fort Huachuca alone… results in jeopardy” to the San Pedro River. This same biologist said Fort Huachuca intelligence officers believed Fish and Wildlife officials “will roll over and accept whatever the Fort proposes.”

Based on a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Army has known for more than 50 years that large staffing numbers at Fort Huachuca are unsustainable because of depleted groundwater supply and harm to the San Pedro River.

As the last free-flowing desert river in the Southwest, the San Pedro River is home to endangered species that rely on it to survive, including southwestern willow flycatchers, Huachuca water umbel, desert pupfish, loach minnows, spikedace, yellow-billed cuckoos, Arizona eryngo and northern Mexican garter snakes.

Earthjustice represents the Center, Maricopa Audubon and Sierra Club in this lawsuit.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

1-year-old boy in critical condition after family found him in backyard pool in Maricopa, officials say

Officials say the family found the boy in the backyard pool and he was transported to the hospital in critical condition.MARICOPA, Ariz. — A one-year-old boy is in critical condition after a family found him in the backyard pool in Maricopa Friday evening, officials said.Maricopa fire crews say they were initially dispatched to the area near Maricopa Grand Highway and Porter Road for a pediatric code but it was updated to a drowning call while en route to the scene.Officials say the family found the boy in the back...

Officials say the family found the boy in the backyard pool and he was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

MARICOPA, Ariz. — A one-year-old boy is in critical condition after a family found him in the backyard pool in Maricopa Friday evening, officials said.

Maricopa fire crews say they were initially dispatched to the area near Maricopa Grand Highway and Porter Road for a pediatric code but it was updated to a drowning call while en route to the scene.

Officials say the family found the boy in the backyard pool and he was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

It is unclear how long the boy was in the pool.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to 12News for updates.

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Drowning is the leading cause of death for children between ages 1-4 aside from birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three children die every day as a result of drowning. Here are some tips from the CDC on how to protect children around water:

Learn life-saving skills.

Everyone should know the basics of swimming (floating, moving through the water) and CPR.

Fence it off.

Install a four-sided isolation fence, with self–closing and self–latching gates, around backyard swimming pools. This can help keep children away from the area when they aren’t supposed to be swimming. Pool fences should completely separate the house and play area from the pool.

Life jackets are a must.

Make sure kids wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water, such as lakes or the ocean, even if they know how to swim. Life jackets can be used in and around pools for weaker swimmers too.

Keep a close watch

When kids are in or near water (including bathtubs), closely supervise them at all times. Because drowning happens quickly and quietly, adults watching kids in or near water should avoid distracting activities like reading books, talking on the phone, or using alcohol and drugs

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