Maricopa County residents eligible for free pool fences through Pool Fence Safety Program

PHOENIX – Child Crisis Arizona, the Salt River Project and the 493 Firefighter Foundation aim to decrease childhood drownings through the 2024 Pool Fence Safety Program that provides free pool fences to eligible Maricopa County residents.

A "Watch your children!" sign hangs on Sam Aguilar and Brandi Stoll’s pool fence on Feb. 21, 2024, in Phoenix. (Photo by Harris Hicks/Cronkite News)

Arizona lawmakers split as House overwhelmingly OKs bill to ban TikTok

WASHINGTON - Arizona lawmakers split Wednesday as the House gave overwhelming, bipartisan approval to a bill that would ban use of TikTok in the U.S. if the owners of the social media app don't first sell it to another company.

Horne calls for more funding for teachers, more discipline for students

PHOENIX - Arizona Schools Superintendent Tom Horne told lawmakers Tuesday that the state faces a crisis in teacher retention, with low salaries and a lack of support leading to a loss of thousands of teachers every year.

Pretty in pink: Phoenix Barbie exhibit highlights cultural, fashion icon

PHOENIX – Despite the “Barbie” movie’s snubs at Sunday night’s Academy Awards, the doll franchise has continued to influence the current cultural climate. Even prior to the movie’s release in 2023, Barbie has influenced fashion for decades since the doll’s launch in 1959. Phoenix Art Museum has an exhibit representing Barbie’s impressive collection and history.

A display case at the “Barbie: A Cultural Icon” exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum shows off some of the many career Barbies, including a camerawoman Barbie and an award-winning actress Barbie. Throughout her existence, Barbie has taken on more than 250 different careers. Photo taken in Phoenix on Feb. 21, 2024. (Photo by Emily Mai/Cronkite News)

Therapy dogs take on mental health support in schools

PHOENIX – Schools are utilizing therapy dogs for mental health support to students and faculty. Both K-12 and colleges are turning to furry friends for comfort.

Alan Amaro pets therapy dog Dash at Gateway Community College on Jan. 30, 2024. Dash is handled by owner Monica Buensuceso. (Photo by Marnie Jordan/Cronkite News)

As Arizona probes school choice fraud, advocates dismiss scheme as ‘inside job’

Prosecutors say the indictment of five people accused of defrauding the Empowerment Scholarship Account program shows the program lacks guardrails, but ESA supporters said the indictments show that safeguards are in place and working.

Phoenix continues outreach to struggling teens during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

PHOENIX – The city of Phoenix is using Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about a complex issue and to continue support and outreach for teens affected by dating violence.

Teen Lifeline counselors receive messages from teenagers who have called to express their gratitude. The organization keeps the messages and hangs them in their hotline room. (Photo courtesy of Teen Lifeline)

‘All I wanted to do was dance’: Ballet scholarship competition helps further dancers’ dreams

PHOENIX – Ballet dancers competed for scholarships at the Youth America Grand Prix international student ballet scholarship competition at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix in February.

Betzy Martinez, 19, performs at the Youth America Grand Prix international student ballet scholarship competition on Feb. 10, 2024. (Photo by Marnie Jordan/Cronkite News)

Feds OK state plan to expand KidsCare eligibility, pay parent caregivers

PHOENIX - Arizona will expand income eligibility for the state's KidsCare program, potentially adding10,000 children to the low-cost health care program, and will make permanent a pandemic-era program to pay parents who act as caregivers for their disabled children.

House panel advances bill for a Holocaust center, but holds back funds for now

PHOENIX - A House panel gave tentative approval Wednesday to a Holocaust education center, but not before stripping out funding for the project that supporters said will provide an "immersive experience for the next generation on hate and genocide."

As animal shelters exceed capacity, groups seek to keep pets with families

PHOENIX – As Maricopa County animal shelters work to handle more dogs than they can handle, local organizations seek to remind current and future pet owners of resources to help them keep their pets.

Kennels at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control's West Valley Animal Care Center are over capacity, and several hold two animals. “It's not the shelter's fault. They get a lot of heat from the community around these choices. But what do you do when you've got more animals coming in than you have kennels and adopters?” said Leanna Taylor, CEO of the Arizona Pet Project. Photo taken in Phoenix on Jan. 22, 2024. (Photo by Emily Mai/Cronkite News)

Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture teaches next generation farmers sustainable practices

AJO – Sterling Johnson from the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture is teaching the next generation of Indigenous farmers how to connect with the land and the culture through sustainable growing techniques.