Cronkite News Facebook Instant Articles Feed http://cronkitenews.azpbs.org This feed is for consumption by Facebook Instant Articles. en-us 2017-05-23T02:38:13+00:00 2017-05-23T02:38:13+00:00 cronkitenews@asu.edu Homeland Security: More than 600,000 overstayed U.S. visas in 2016 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/22/homeland-security-more-than-600000-overstayed-u-s-visas-in-2016/ WASHINGTON - Nearly 629,000 people who came to the United States on a visa in fiscal 2016 stayed after it expired and were still here at the end of the year, the Department of Homeland Security reported Monday. 2017-05-23T01:21:10+00:00 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/22/homeland-security-more-than-600000-overstayed-u-s-visas-in-2016/ Homeland Security: More than 600,000 overstayed U.S. visas in 2016

Homeland Security: More than 600,000 overstayed U.S. visas in 2016

Megan Janetsky

Borderlands

Visa Reprieve
The EB-5 visa program, which gives visas to immigrants who invest in U.S. businesses, was extended beyond a Sept.30 exipiration date - but without reforms critics say are needed. (Photo by Allan Caplan/Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON - Nearly 629,000 people who came to the United States on a visa in fiscal 2016 stayed after it expired and were still here at the end of the year, the Department of Homeland Security reported Monday.

The “overstayers” made up only a fraction of the 50 million people who entered the country on a visa last year through a seaport or airport. But they still accounted for as much as 42 percent of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. by 2014, according to one advocacy group.

The number of overstayers in the DHS report did not include people who entered at land ports of entry, a number that the department said was “more difficult” to track.

William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the numbers indicate a need to reprioritize efforts of immigration enforcement agencies.

“It seems to me that a significant priority should be spent on looking at this overstay question,” Stock said. “In other words, does building a wall stop anyone from taking an airplane to the United States? No.”

A report by the Center for Migration Studies said that people overstaying their visas have exceeded people crossing into the U.S. illegally every year since 2007.

The number of people overstaying their visas calls for tighter regulation of visas and things like a nationwide eVerify system to check the citizenship status of job applicants, which would cut employment opportunities for undocumented populations, said a spokesman for group that advocates for immigration reduction.

“That’s concerning, when you have that many people who are entering the country under false pretenses,” said Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which has also called for tougher enforcement of illegal border crossers.

“It’s obviously a substantial contributor to illegal immigration. We’ve known that for a long time,” Mehlman said. “The estimates are that 40 percent of the people in the country illegally arrived on visas and overstayed.”

DHS said in a statement following release of the report that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will ramp up enforcement of visa overstays.

“To protect the American people from those who seek to do us harm, and to ensure the integrity of the immigration system, ICE has recently increased overstay enforcement operations,” the statement read.

It specifically mentioned a plan to expand the use of biometric data – things like facial recognition and fingerprint scans. That data, currently collected from travelers entering the country, would be checked against those leaving, under the DHS plan.

Monday’s report was the second annual by DHS on the question of people overstaying their visas, following one in January 2016.

But Stock said that U.S. policy regarding visa overstayers has been relatively tight since 1996. People who overstay a visa for 180 days can be barred from re-entering the United States for three years, he said, while those who stay a year or more beyond their visa’s expiration can be barred for 10 years.

“The 10-year bar creates a perverse incentive for someone who has violated their status, it’s an all-or-nothing kind of situation,” said Stock, who said it gives less of an incentive to leave legally given the stiff restrictions on re-entry.

The report showed that a significant number of those who stayed in the U.S. after their visas expired left before the year ended. In all, 739,470 people were reported to have overstayed their visas in fiscal 2016, but only shortly 628,799 remained by the end of the fiscal year.

Stock, an immigration lawyer who works with visa overstayers, said a big chunk of the 110,671 people who violated the terms of their visa but left the U.S. often overstay their visas by short periods like a few days.

Rather than focusing on policy crackdowns on visas, especially for short-term overstayers, he said a pathway back to legal status would be a more desirable alternative.

“Some people will abuse the privilege,” Stock said. “Does that mean that we should cut ourselves off from the economic benefit of 24 million tourists, for example, over the course of the year?”

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Supreme Court sends second divorce settlement case back to Arizona https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/22/supreme-court-sends-second-divorce-settlement-case-back-to-arizona/ WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Arizona Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling in a divorce settlement between a retired member of the military and his ex-wife, the second time in a week it has done so. 2017-05-23T01:20:54+00:00 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/22/supreme-court-sends-second-divorce-settlement-case-back-to-arizona/ Supreme Court sends second divorce settlement case back to Arizona

Supreme Court sends second divorce settlement case back to Arizona

Nathan J. Fish

Justice | Money

Supreme Court facade
The Supreme Court let stand a lower court's ruling that rejected Arizona's ban on bail for criminal suspects who are in this country illegally. (Photo by Nathan O'Neal)

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Arizona Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling in a divorce settlement between a retired member of the military and his ex-wife, the second time in a week it has done so.

The action by the justices followed their ruling last Monday in a sister case from Arizona, in which the high court said the state was wrong to order a veteran to compensate his ex-wife for money lost when he converted part of his pension to disability benefits.

The opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer acknowledged “the hardship” that the ruling could impose on ex-spouses who may have counted on a certain amount of pension, but that Congress specifically put disability benefits off limits in divorce settlement.

That case pitted Air Force veteran John Howell against his ex-wife, Sandra. The second case, which the court Monday ordered returned to Arizona for reconsideration in light of its ruling in the Howells’ case, was a nearly identical fight between military retiree Robert and Diane Merrill.

In both cases, the wives got a share of the husband’s military pension as part of their divorce settlement, as allowed under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act of 1982. But that law specifically protects a veteran’s disability payments from being part of a divorce settlement – which the Supreme Court upheld in a 1989 case known as Mansell.

Both Howell and Merrill, however, gave up a portion of their pension in order to get a tax-free disability payment related to their military service. That had the effect of reducing the income of their ex-wives.

Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled that the husbands were obligated to compensate their former wives for the lost income, but the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, saying states did not have the power to order what Congress prohibited.

“State courts cannot ‘vest’ that which (under governing federal law) they lack the authority to give,” Breyer wrote in the Howell decision. “We recognize, as we recognized in Mansell, the hardship that congressional pre-emption can sometimes work on divorcing spouses.”

Charles Wirken, an attorney for Sandra Howell, said they were disappointed “to say the least” and taken aback by the decision that he said would put military spouses at a disadvantage.

“The solution that the court proposes … is to say to family courts, ‘At the time of a divorce the court is free to take into account the contingency that some military retirement pay might be waived later,'” Wirken said. “That is of no help to the many, many former spouses that are already divorced, such as Mrs. Howell.”

Wirken said that a veteran taking disability benefits in lieu of part of his pension, “would be better off economically because he’s getting more dollars than he got before and some of those dollars are tax-free,” he said.

“It does nothing for the wife and it puts the husband in the driver’s seat. The husband can unilaterally waive without any consequences,” he said.

But Keith Berkshire, an attorney for Robert Merrill, said that when a service member “takes disability pay, since they have to give up part of their pension, their ex-spouse (will) lose part of the pension money,”

Berkshire said a Supreme Court ruling was needed because states had split on the question.

“The issue on it was whether there was federal supremacy. It was a pretty even split in the states that had dealt with it,” Berkshire said.

“This was basically the next step in a series of cases over the past 25 years on this issue. This was the next logical step that we figured that they’d have to take,” he said.

Wirken said that the court’s decision put his client, whose divorce went through in 1991, at a disadvantage.

“It throws out the solution of indemnification in favor of different solution,” Wirken said. “The time for that solution passed this woman by 27 years ago.”

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May 22, 2017 Newscast https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/22/may-22-2017-newscast/ Cronkite News government and justice special 2017-05-23T00:14:17+00:00 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/22/may-22-2017-newscast/ May 22, 2017 Newscast

May 22, 2017 Newscast

Staff

Government | Justice | Newscast

Cronkite News government and justice special

Cronkite News government and justice reporters explore Arizona’s firearms laws, bomb-squad training, the legislature’s take on student press freedom and pedestrian safety.

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Arizona universities push for gender equality when hiring faculty https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/22/arizona-universities-push-for-gender-equality-when-hiring-faculty/ PHOENIX -- Usha Jagannathan applied for a full-time community college teaching position year after year for more than a decade. Within 13 years of graduating from her doctoral program in Technology and E-learning from Northcentral University, she worked as many as three jobs at a time. 2017-05-23T00:08:27+00:00 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/22/arizona-universities-push-for-gender-equality-when-hiring-faculty/ Arizona universities push for gender equality when hiring faculty

Arizona universities push for gender equality when hiring faculty

Desiree Pharias

Education | Money

Two women walk through the mall at Arizona State University’s downtown campus on April 27, 2017. (Desiree Pharias/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX -- Usha Jagannathan applied for a full-time community college teaching position year after year for more than a decade. Within 13 years of graduating from her doctoral program in Technology and E-learning from Northcentral University, she worked as many as three jobs at a time.

Jagannathan worked in part-time university teaching in Michigan and Iowa, in addition to her full-time position as a senior IT consultant serving corporate clients nationwide through a subsidiary of The Washington Post Co.

With the multiple positions becoming increasingly difficult to juggle with her family life, she applied numerous times for full-time teaching positions, and despite meeting the stated requirements, she never received a position.

Often, Jagannathan said, the position would go to a man, and often they had less experience than she did.

Jagannathan pointed out that she could not say for certain if it the decisions were based on her gender, and that hiring could be based on other decisions made by the hiring committees, but she could not help but feel that her gender could be a main reason.

Across the nation, 46.5 percent of post-secondary educator positions are held by women.

Arizona percentages vary, but generally follow the national trend, with the University of Arizona at 43.2 percent women, Arizona State University at 45.4 percent, and Northern Arizona University at 49.9 percent in Fall 2016, according to the records of each university.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, nationally 96.8 percent of preschool and kindergarten teachers are women, 80.7 percent of women make up elementary and middle school teachers and 60.5 percent of women make up high school teachers according to the United States Department of Labor.

Lynda Ransdell, who is the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs of the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University as well as an administrator and educator at the university level for multiple institutions over a number of years, emphasized the importance and expressed the need for training hiring committees and upper-division leadership roles in education to combat gender biases.

Ransdell also authored the paper, “Women as Leaders in Kinesiology and Beyond: Smashing Through the Glass Obstacles.” The paper includes a study exploring whether job applications submitted under the name “John” did better or worse than applications submitted under the name “Jennifer” for a lab manager position, decided by professors in chemistry, physics and biology.

The male applicant was rated higher in areas of competence, was more likely to be hired, and was offered more than the female applicant, despite having an identical resume in the study. The study showed that this bias was shown by both men and women.

In her position, Ransdell helps make sure that appropriate hiring processes are followed.

In areas that lack diversity, Ransdell said it is important to ensure that positions are advertised where they can reach a wider audience and receive a wider range of applicants.

“I think it’s important, I think you have to have higher diversity in leadership roles so that everybody that comes along after you has an opportunity to see that person in that leadership role,” Ransdell said.

Ransdell also noted that she believes diversity should come from race, nationalities and sexuality in addition to gender.

“It should be who our students see as leaders, because it is real life, it is real world,” she said.

Ransdell said in her time throughout academia, she has felt encouraged and rarely felt discriminated against. She also noted that she has been inspired by women in administrative positions throughout her career.

Regarding her noticing gender gaps at the university level Ransdell said, “I think it is a problem nationally, I don’t think it is just an institutional thing,” Ransdell said, “I think any institution can improve their ability to be equitable.”

Ransdell noted that she has seen this topic discussed at the universities she has worked at, but there is always room for improvement.

“I think the problem that I see is there is so much implicit bias, there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes, there are so many assumptions that are made that aren’t really discussed openly,” Ransdell said, “I think we need to do a better job discussing it openly and coming up with strategies.”

University organizations look to halt gender bias

Federal laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate against applicants or employees because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability or genetic information.

But each Arizona university has also made efforts to bring more women into positions in education through university policies and campus organizations.

The Office of Equity & Inclusion at Arizona State University “promote(s) and assist(s) with equal opportunity and diversity initiatives,” not only in regards to gender, but also pertaining to “race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability and qualified veteran status.”

ASU has extensive recruitment procedures put into place to ensure equal opportunity at every stage of the hiring process.

In addition, an association specific to faculty gender equality has been on campus since 1954. The ASU Faculty Women’s Association advocates for women faculty across the university and is a voice for gender equality in employment. Similarly, The University of Arizona has similar initiatives for faculty and development support within the university’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. At Northern Arizona University The Commission on the Status of Women advocates for advances in equitable pay, promotion and workload for faculty and staff.

Diversity in STEM education

Each university’s gender percentages have increased. In 2007, NAU’s faculty were 44.9 percent female, ASU’s percentage was 41.8 percent and U of A’s was 40.9 percent, according to each university’s website.

Although the numbers are improving, there is still a gender disparity in higher education.

Ransdell also emphasized the importance of diversity in STEM education, and has been involved in organizations to emphasize the importance of STEM education. In 2013, just 39.4 percent of faculty members in STEM education were women, according to Association of American Universities Data Exchange.

Arizona State University’s Center for Gender Equity formed The National Stem Collaborative, which includes 12 higher education institutions and 15 non-profit partners across the country, in order to increase knowledge, research, resources and workforce development for women of color in STEM.

Finding a place with little bias

After overcoming her trials of finding a full-time faculty position, Usha Jagannathan has worked hard to promote diversity within STEM fields.

She is currently teaching Information Technology courses for ASU undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the IT program, and she serves as a capstone co-chair and an applied project chair for iProjects, which places senior undergraduate and master’s program IT students at client sites for real-world applied projects.

“When I applied to ASU, it was very welcoming. … I am the one woman faculty in my department, and I never feel that I am out of place, “ said Jagannathan “I really credit ASU because I don’t see that bias, I see the gender equality.”

Jagannathan said she rarely saw these opportunities growing up in India.

“When I moved out of my rural town and came to the U.S., I felt like I also could be a part of a change,” Jagannathan said. She wants to see her students, and other women, given more opportunities.

Jagannathan assists in STEM programs for young people, and especially as a mother of two daughters, she said she wants to ensure children have opportunities to explore their fields of interest.

Jagannathan also judges science fairs across the nation and said she often she sees more boys than girls at the fairs.

To this, Jagannathan said, “given the right opportunity, any girl can shine.”

Female professors experience varying levels of bias

Not everyone has had such a positive experience with diversity at ASU.

Rachel Reinke, who is a professor of Women’s Studies at the school, said she has had a range of experiences regarding gender within her time as a student and as a professor.

Originally from Atlanta, Reinke earned her bachelor’s degree in English in Charleston, South Carolina.

“ASU is interesting because it is a very diverse population, especially compared to the area I grew up in, so I would expect a lot of good attitudes about gender diversity especially,” Reinke said.

Reinke, 29, started teaching courses as a graduate student, and although she noted ASU as a diverse institution, said she felt some level of discrimination.

“I had a lot of trouble being taken seriously when I was starting to teach my own classes. Because, I look younger than the average professor, and I am a woman, and I believe that has impacted people’s view of me,” Reinke said.

She said she often felt that her students would view her as inexperienced or under qualified because of her age and sex. This also occurred off campus. When telling people she had a Ph.D. and was teaching classes, they would be surprised.

“I’m not sure if that has so much to do with my age, but I definitely know that it has to do with my gender,” Reinke said.

In regards to faculty, Reinke said the experience is different. “I have a unique experience because there wasn’t much gender diversity in my department since the Women’s Studies department is almost all women.”

Reinke was inspired to go into Women’s Studies from inspirational mentors she had come into contact with in the same field, as well as the experience she received when earning her undergrad.

“I went to undergrad in the south, in Charleston, South Carolina. The English department there was majority white, majority male professors, and even if those weren’t my professors the materials they were teaching were definitely along those lines,” Reinke said.

Additionally, Reinke became increasingly inspired by Women’s Studies.

“When I thought about how much I had gained in my Women’s Studies classes and how important it was for me to have that critical aspect and be able to critique things from a perspective of gender, because that is such a formative experience for me both in school and out of school,” said Reinke. “I was lucky enough to be alive in a time where I could get my Ph.D. in Women’s Studies because it is a relatively new doctoral program.”

Throughout her education, Reinke explored Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning studies as well, and incorporates this into her classes, saying, “Race and class and sexuality all of those things are deeply connected to gender.”

“My experience is definitely shaped by being in the humanities,” said Reinke. “My experience is probably different from someone that is a professor in say, engineering, or something like that.”

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Parker saloon owner turns to solar for power, but keeps other technology at bay https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/22/parker-saloon-owner-turns-solar-power/ PARKER – The moment you take a sharp right turn off State Route 95 and onto Cienega Springs Road near Parker, there’s no such thing as a pit stop along the 5-mile journey. The bumpy, winding road leads to The Desert Bar, a secluded, booze-friendly landmark that’s been a staple in the area for more than 34 years. 2017-05-22T23:02:38+00:00 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/22/parker-saloon-owner-turns-solar-power/ Parker saloon owner turns to solar for power, but keeps other technology at bay

Parker saloon owner turns to solar for power, but keeps other technology at bay

Farai Bennett

Future | Money | Sustainability

Ken Coughlin, who owns The Desert Bar near Parker, added a saloon, two bars, a gift shop, two stages and hundreds of solar panels to power the establishment. (Photo by Farai Bennett/Cronkite News)

PARKER – The moment you take a sharp right turn off State Route 95 and onto Cienega Springs Road near Parker, there’s no such thing as a pit stop along the 5-mile journey. The bumpy, winding road leads to The Desert Bar, a secluded, booze-friendly landmark that’s been a staple in the area for more than 34 years.

“Where else do you find a place like this?” said Jim Rapton, a local patron who’s been enjoying cold brews at this bar for more than three decades.

Rapton has essentially watched the place expand before his eyes. He recently celebrated a birthday at The Desert Bar before the bar closed for the summer.

“I come here for my friends,” he said, adding that most of the employees are neighbors. “Kenny is striving every year to improve the place and make it more of a community.”

The Desert Bar owner Ken Coughlin opened a small bar in 1983, and it has grown since then. (Photo by Farai Bennett/Cronkite News)

Owner Ken Coughlin had originally planned to build his own house on the property, a former mining camp, but he decided to open a bar after he lost the lease to another establishment he had been running.

“Time went by, and I had to do something or else I would’ve lost my liquor license,” he said. “I had the land and the license and thought, ‘OK, I’ll give it a try,’” he said.

In the beginning, he relied on the desert aesthetic and the simplicity of his bar to draw people. The original structure was about 600 square feet and had no bathrooms, refrigeration or way to keep ice cool.

Ken Coughlin’s original structure was about 600 square feet and had no bathrooms, refrigeration or way to keep ice cool. (Photo by Farai Bennett/Cronkite News)

Eventually, Coughlin’s tiny bar grew. He added a saloon, two bars, a gift shop, two stages for live music and his biggest accomplishment: hundreds of solar power panels covering nearly all of the outside bar and patios roofs.

“Solar is something that should’ve happened in the ‘70s,” he said. “Some people want to stay in the 19th century and the 20th century, but you can make as much money making things right than doing it the wrong way.”

Coughlin said he made the same mistake. For years, he used an old-fashioned generator and realized that it wasted lots of power and cost more to maintain.

Although Coughlin said he wasn’t sure how many solar panels he has installed or how much he’s spent, he believes he’s received more value than energy produced from a generator.

Coughlin said the solar panels became a game changer for the bar because they could power air conditioning, lights and appliances.

People from all over the U.S drive out – typically in their four wheelers or ATVs – and find the same canned American beer the bar began serving in 1993, along with liquor and American-style food they now serve.

The bar can hold about 250 people, and on average, about 100 people visit every weekend, Coughlin said.

“Whether you’re an athlete, movie star, rich person, poor person, a person from Europe … today we had people from Australia, every type of people come here,” said bartender Tina Rose, who has worked at The Desert Bar for seven years.

The Bar was listed as the No. 1 thing to do in Parker on TripAdvisor. Rose described the spot as the place your grandma drags you to with the rest of the family.

With all the advancements the bar has made over the years, it’s still a simple place. They only take cash. Cell service is rough. And they don’t even carry cheese. But they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The greatest thing here, is no electronics,” Rose said. “Anywhere else, everyone’s on their (phone) … not here.”

The bar has begun its summer hiatus, and it won’t open again until the fall. In the meantime, Coughlin plans to add additions, which they’re keeping secret until October.

(Video by Alexa Armes/Cronkite News)

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Influx of Australian punters changing landscape of college football https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/19/influx-australian-punters-changing-landscape-college-football/ TEMPE — Imagine a hot August night at Sun Devil Stadium. The Arizona State football team is squaring off with New Mexico State in its 2017 season opener. Punter Michael Sleep-Dalton, in his first career start, stands 15 yards behind long snapper Mitchell Fraboni. 2017-05-20T00:34:41+00:00 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/19/influx-australian-punters-changing-landscape-college-football/ Influx of Australian punters changing landscape of college football

Influx of Australian punters changing landscape of college football

Ryan Clarke

Consumer | Sports

Arizona State punter Michael Sleep-Dalton, one of a growing number of Australians kicking for U.S. college teams, stands on the sideline at the Sun Devils’ spring game on April 15 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. (Photo by Ryan Clarke/Cronkite News)

TEMPE — Imagine a hot August night at Sun Devil Stadium. The Arizona State football team is squaring off with New Mexico State in its 2017 season opener. Punter Michael Sleep-Dalton, in his first career start, stands 15 yards behind long snapper Mitchell Fraboni.

The ball is snapped and Sleep-Dalton senses trouble as it slips off Fraboni’s fingers and skips before landing at the punter’s feet. Thinking quickly with defenders closing in, the right-footed Australian moves the ball to his left foot and boots it to the other end of the field.

Crisis averted.

This fictional scenario could become real for the Sun Devils when the season starts. Australians’ unique punting style is a game-saving weapon for college football special teams units, and they are revolutionizing the position.

“If I get a bad snap, I don’t have to reassess myself. I can just go straight on with my left foot,” Sleep-Dalton said. “It’s good to be confident, to kick it on my other foot and be able to place it.”

Sleep-Dalton is the latest Australian-born punter to play college football in the United States, verbally committing to ASU in November 2015 after playing at City College of San Francisco. He is taking a path similar to ones forged by Tom Hackett at Utah and Sleep-Dalton’s cousin Cam Johnston at Ohio State.

Australia has become a training ground for punters looking to make the jump to American football. At the helm of that training ground is former punter Nathan Chapman, who founded the academy Prokick Australia with the hope of helping former Aussie rules football players transition into the American game.

Chapman and his academy are responsible for dozens of punters entering the college football ranks. The last four Ray Guy Awards, given to the nation’s top punter, have gone to Australians, including Tom Hornsey at Memphis, Hackett — twice — and Mitch Wishnowsky at Utah.

“As we put more over there and put guys through the system, it’s a lot easier for newcomers to transition because you’ve got a lot more of a knowledge base,” Chapman said. “Those guys can give them insight into what they’re up for so they can train back here (in Australia).”

Switching from Australian rules to American football isn’t easy. Aussie rules football is rugby’s more technical counterpart, and it requires players to kick and “hand pass” the ball around the field and through goal posts. Experience kicking a similarly shaped ball makes the transition to the American game easier.

But Aussie rules is far more physical than American football, at least for punters. Players spend their whole lives walloping each other, so punting provides a totally different learning curve.

“I love the game now,” Sleep-Dalton said, smirking. “It’s very different from Aussie football. I have to do a lot less, which is fun.”

Chapman will be the first to say the transition requires more effort. He joked that Sleep-Dalton, who was a redshirt last year, should “get in the f—ing gym” and holds his students to an extremely high standard. He took a break from a phone interview to scream through the Australian wind at one of his students for horsing around.

Chapman is serious about helping them find their opportunity in the United States. After eight years in the Australian Football League, he trained for three years before trying out for the Green Bay Packers in 2004. After not making the final roster, he returned home to Melbourne and founded Prokick Australia to pass on his knowledge to the next generation.

“Mine was quite a long hard slog and a long journey,” Chapman said. “I was fortunate enough to get on with Green Bay, but after I didn’t make the final roster I just knew I had to stick around the sport.

“It became about how I can get more blokes the opportunity to get across and play.”

The allure of the Aussie punter lies in their versatility. Given their backgrounds in Aussie rules football, the Australian punters have the ability to kick with either foot and roll out to either side. They’re also good with their hands in case of emergency.

All the Aussies have a dominant foot — Sleep-Dalton said he is far more comfortable with his right — but having a punter who can find his way of a jam quickly is useful for college special team units. Although Australians might not have the same type of power as American pro-style punters, they have become legitimate weapons that intrigue coaches.

ASU coach Todd Graham said Sleep-Dalton has big shoes to fill with the departure of pro-style punter Matt Haack.

“We’ve got to get him kicking it good with one foot first,” Graham joked. “I like the fact that he can roll punt and do all the things that he does, but he’s just got to get consistent.”

That’s the great challenge for Australians once they make it to college: remaining consistent and fitting the mold that American coaches have in place. Versatility is one thing, but the game more often calls for pro-style punting due to the increased distance and accuracy of those punts.

Chapman believes that the influx of Australians has motivated American punters to improve their games, while simultaneously motivating Australians to achieve level footing with the Americans.

He said the healthy competition has created a newfound appreciation for punters.

“Punting has been the last position chosen and no one really cares unless you have a bad kick. Then they boo and carry on,” Chapman said. “But I think people have started to notice that having a really good punter helps your team.”

In order for Sleep-Dalton and other Aussies to truly help their teams, they need to perfect the pro-style punt while not losing sight of their versatile play style. Sleep-Dalton spent time training with Chapman to improve his pro-style punt and had an entire redshirt season to work on it, while also learning different strategies and techniques from Haack and ASU special teams coach Shawn Slocum.

“He’s one of the main reasons I came (to ASU),” Sleep-Dalton said of Slocum. “Having an ex-NFL coach is such (an) experience and it’s been great having him at practice.

“He teaches me things I don’t think about, and I can just teach myself.”

Australians have yet to solidify their place in the NFL. The rollout punt is prevalent in the Pac-12, but it’s almost non-existent at the professional level where field position is far more important than tricking the opposition. NFL coaches occasionally run fakes, but a great pro punter has a consistent, powerful boot every time.

Only a handful of Aussies have spent significant time in the NFL, including Mat McBriar, Sav Rocca and Brad Wing. They set the foundation for future Australians to find their place in professional football.

Even if they don’t have successful NFL careers, the impact of Aussies at the collegiate level is significant and growing. That has a lot to do with the brotherhood that has developed over the years as more and more graduates of the Prokick program find scholarships and recognition.

Chapman’s proudest moments are when players he has trained compete against each other. Last season’s matchup between Penn State and Ohio State pitted Cam Johnston against Daniel Pasquariello, and although Pasquariello didn’t play, Chapman was there to watch them kick the ball to each other at halftime.

With family and friends on the other side of the world, many of the Aussies spend their breaks with each other and strengthen a bond that goes beyond country of origin. It’s a fun-loving fraternity that represents the future of the college game.

“It’s a good feeling to know that they’re enjoying what they’re doing,” Chapman said. “It’s just a proud moment to know that they’re taking the time to hang out with their mate, and I love when they take a picture and send it back to Australia.”

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Teachers speak out about working conditions, and they’re not happy https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/19/teachers-speak-out-about-working-conditions-and-theyre-not-happy/ WASHINGTON - For the past decade, the vast majority of Arizona counties have faced a teacher shortage at the beginning of the school year, and as school districts head into the summer many teachers expect more of the same. 2017-05-20T00:31:26+00:00 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/19/teachers-speak-out-about-working-conditions-and-theyre-not-happy/ Teachers speak out about working conditions, and they’re not happy

Teachers speak out about working conditions, and they’re not happy

Kendra Penningroth

Education

Arizona teachers who were asked by the Public Insight Network why they think the state has trouble finding and keeping teachers responded with a flood of unhappy, sometimes irate answers. (Photo by Naive Photography/Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON - For the past decade, the vast majority of Arizona counties have faced a teacher shortage at the beginning of the school year, and as school districts head into the summer many teachers expect more of the same.

And they’re not surprised.

A Public Insight Network query asking the state’s schoolteachers why they think Arizona cannot attract or keep teachers brought an outpouring of responses and one thing quickly became very clear: The Arizona teachers who responded to the query are not happy.

In more than 160 responses to the seven-question, short-answer query for Cronkite News, teachers complained about being overworked, over-evaluated and undercompensated. They felt underappreciated by parents and legislators and run roughshod over by administrators who they feel are underqualified and ill-equipped.

Joe Thomas, the president of Arizona Education Association, said the responses look a lot like responses AEA has collected from members in surveys it has done in the past.

“It’s an accurate understanding of the current reality of public school teachers,” Thomas said of the PIN responses.

The query was published on Cronkite News’ website and then shared on the Arizona Education Association’s Facebook page.

Some responses featured expletives, others were written in all capital letters and littered with exclamation points. Several respondents wrote pages worth of statistical explanations for their discontent, and others outlined very personal issues they had with their districts, schools, colleagues or students.

Cronkite News reached out to at least half of the educators who completed the query, but many were unwilling to talk to a reporter on the record. Others who were contacted had used a fake name on the questionnaire. Almost all said that they feared losing their jobs if they said anything negative about their school or district.

Editor’s note:

A previous version of this story misstated the number of teacher vacancies in the state. Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas says there are 50,000 to 55,000 total teaching positions in the state. The story here has been corrected, but clients who used an earlier version are asked to run the correction found here.

A significant number of teachers did think there was disconnect between administrators and teaching staff – and respondents said it was negatively impacting their work environments and students.

Some longtime educators said that while student behavior is growing increasingly worse, parents’ and administrators’ willingness to support school policies is simultaneously decreasing.

Some wrote that as state standards have become stricter, they have lost control of their teaching style. Others said they feel like teachers spend too much time following administrative protocol that takes away from their classroom preparation, and often has them working out-of-contract hours.

“They are running schools like a business and not a place of learning,” said Kirk Hinsey, an educator of 31 years, in his PIN response.

They feel that their workload and classroom sizes continue to grow – but their compensation does not. According to the Arizona Department of Education, the average teacher salary in January 2016 was less than $40,000.

Salaries vary from district to district, but many teachers reported salary freezes and no sense that they will advance on the career ladder, or pay scale, regardless of their experience.

The most resounding sentiment was that teachers are doing too much to be paid as little as they make.

A spokesman for Superintendent Diane Douglas said that is a concern for the Arizona Department of Education, which is working to make teaching a more reasonable profession.

“Right now the best way to get more teachers in the classroom is to pay them … if you pay them, they will teach,” Stefan Swiat said.

But some teachers noted more emotional reasons for the shortage and their own discontent. Matthew Lentz has been an educator for 23 years, and he said the state government is responsible for the teacher shortage.

“There is a shortage because there is a mentality of the state government to discredit, demoralize, and de-fund public education,” Lentz said in his response.

Many respondents said they consider new state education legislation, like Proposition 123 and voucher program expansion, to be a slap in the face. Prop 123, approved narrowly by voters last year, would dedicate $3.5 billion to education over 10 years, but it leaves it to local schools to decide how to spend the money, which critics say will still leave Arizona trailing most states.

Melissa Girmsheid said in her response that every time legislative decisions regarding education are made without teachers, “it chips away at the professionalism of the teacher profession in Arizona.”

The AEA’s Thomas said qualified teachers exist – they just have no interest in working in Arizona schools in their current state.

Thomas said that Arizona has more than 90,000 active teacher certifications, and just 50,000 to 55,000 teaching positions at any one time. While some of those certifications belong to administrators, or to people who earned online degrees while living in another state, there is not actually a “teacher shortage,” he said, but the disrespect, low pay and lack of support lead to vacancies in the classroom.

Misty Arthur, director of the Arizona Federation of Teachers, did not respond to the query but offered many of the same concerns in a telephone interview. She said she does not anticipate the teacher shortage to improve this fall because administrators are under-qualified and ill-equipped.

“Teachers are not feeling supported administratively in the classroom,” Arthur said. “They’re losing control, so they’re leaving the classroom.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sources in the Public Insight Network informed the reporting in this story through a partnership with the Cronkite PIN Bureau. To send us a story idea or to learn more about PIN, click here.

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May 19, 2017 Newscast https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/19/may-19-2017-newscast/ Cronkite News special: Sustainability initiatives in Arizona 2017-05-19T20:50:27+00:00 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/19/may-19-2017-newscast/ May 19, 2017 Newscast

May 19, 2017 Newscast

Staff

Newscast | Sustainability

Cronkite News special: Sustainability initiatives in Arizona

Cronkite News reporters on the Sustainability beat bring you stories of Arizona water conservation, recycling efforts, energy innovations and new initiatives to protect the environment.

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Power official backs transparency bill, after questions about spending https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/18/power-official-backs-transparency-bill-after-questions-about-spending/ WASHINGTON - A Western Area Power Administration official told a House subcommittee Thursday that he is committed to transparency at the agency, where audits found as much as $6.8 million in questionable purchases by employees in recent years. 2017-05-19T03:51:45+00:00 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/18/power-official-backs-transparency-bill-after-questions-about-spending/ Power official backs transparency bill, after questions about spending

Power official backs transparency bill, after questions about spending

Joe Gilmore

Consumer | Money

This substation in Pinal County is just part of the Western Area Power Administration network that tranmits electricity from 56 federally owned power plants to more than 40 million people in 15 central and Western states, including Arizona, (Photo by Todd Rhoades/Western Area Power)

WASHINGTON - A Western Area Power Administration official told a House subcommittee Thursday that he is committed to transparency at the agency, where audits found as much as $6.8 million in questionable purchases by employees in recent years.

Dennis Sullivan, interim chief financial officer for WAPA, was testifying in support of legislation that would require greater transparency from the agency that delivers power to more than 40 million people in 15 central and Western states, including Arizona.

The bipartisan bill – sponsored by Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, and co-sponsored by six other Arizona lawmakers – was introduced after rate increases that followed lax controls on spending and poor management of WAPA funds.

Gosar pointed to investigations that found WAPA’s government purchasing cards paid for $3,000 in ammunition and thousands more for specialized weapons and equipment for an agency whose “employees don’t have government-issued guns.” He said one employee spent $14,000 on an off-road vehicle, another employee amassed $50,000 a month in other questionable expenditures.

A March report by the Department of Energy, WAPA’s parent agency, said a 2014 audit of spending in WAPA’s Desert Southwest region found almost 2,500 questionable purchases by 74 cardholders totaling approximately $1.9 million. Later audits that looked at all four regions and the agency’s Western headquarters found a total of $6.8 million in purchases from December 2014 to October 2015 that merited further review.

The questionable spending comes as WAPA, which delivers power from 56 federally owned power plants, is increasing charges to customers.

Patrick Ledger, the CEO of Arizona Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperatives, told the House Natural Resources subcommittee Thursday that he has seen a 32 percent rate increase from WAPA over the past five years.

“The issue’s important because for the last 10 years or so we’ve seen WAPA cost increases year after year and we haven’t really gotten a straight answer” as to why, Ledger said.

As a nonprofit wholesale power transmission provider for more than 400,000 people in Arizona, California and New Mexico, Arizona Electric G&T is fully accountable to its members for its own cost increases, Ledger said. But when it comes to explaining WAPA charges, Ledger said he feels “underequipped.”

He said increased staffing and security concerns are driving up costs for many utilities, but his company has taken “bold steps” to streamline operations and keep rates as low as possible in its largely rural service area where many customers live below the poverty level.

“Why have Western (WAPA) rates increased?” Ledger asked. “I can’t answer this question because the answer is not readily available.”

That would change under the bill, which would require a public website where detailed accounts of WAPA rates, expenditures, staffing and other operational and financial dealings could be found easily.

“It ensures that transparency of the expenditures so that we know that we’re getting the lowest cost to the ratepayer and those are the consumers,” Gosar said after the hearing. “And it’s all about customer service and transparency, and that’s not been what we received in the past from WAPA.”

Sullivan told the subcommittee during his testimony that WAPA has already “proactively taken multiple steps to evolve and increase our transparency efforts and will continue to do so.”

When Gosar directly asked whether the agency supports the transparency legislation, Sullivan said it does.

“It’s aligned with our commitment to business excellence and sound business practices,” Sullivan said. “We are committed to sharing information openly and honestly.”

The 10 co-sponsors on the bill include Arizona Democratic Reps. Kyrsten Sinema of Phoenix and Tom O’Halleran of Sedona, and Republican Reps. Andy Biggs of Mesa, Trent Franks of Gilbert, Martha McSally of Tucson and David Schweikert of Fountain Hills.

Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake have also introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

“This is not controversial as you can see,” Gosar said. “It’s based upon good customer service and allowing the consumer to actually know what they’re paying for.”

Ledger called the transparency bill “a good first step,” but said more needs to be done.

“We’re going to need leadership of WAPA to be better about sticking to their statutory mission … (operating) at the lowest possible cost,” he said.

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Court: Reading death-row inmate’s outgoing mail violates his rights https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/18/court-reading-death-row-inmates-outgoing-mail-violates-his-rights/ WASHINGTON - The Arizona Department of Corrections violated a death-row inmate's rights to an attorney and to free speech when officers read mail the prisoner was sending to his lawyer, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. 2017-05-19T03:07:44+00:00 https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/05/18/court-reading-death-row-inmates-outgoing-mail-violates-his-rights/ Court: Reading death-row inmate’s outgoing mail violates his rights

Court: Reading death-row inmate’s outgoing mail violates his rights

Ben Moffat

Justice

The Arizona Department of Corrections headquarters in Phoenix.

WASHINGTON - The Arizona Department of Corrections violated a death-row inmate's rights to an attorney and to free speech when officers read mail the prisoner was sending to his lawyer, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that while guards are allowed to scan outgoing mail for contraband, the department’s definition of “contraband” was so broad – any “non-legal written correspondence or communication” – that it invited “page-by-page content review.”

It is the second time the appeals court has sided with Scott Nordstrom, a death-row inmate convicted for robbery, burglary and six murders in the Moon Smoke Shop and the Firefighters Union Hall in Tucson in 1996.

The court framed its latest ruling as a matter of attorney-client privilege – a decision that Nordstrom’s attorney Gregory C. Sisk agrees with.

“The 9th Circuit now has reaffirmed that confidentiality in attorney-client communications is essential to the effective assistance of legal counsel to a prisoner,” Sisk said.

“While the prison has legitimate security concerns in certain circumstances, those have to be appropriately balanced with the essential nature of confidentiality in the attorney-client relationship,” he said. “Reading of a prisoner’s outgoing letter to his attorney, including skimming of that letter as a form of reading, is not constitutionally permitted.”

Arizona death-row inmate Scott Nordstrom said prison guards violated his rights by reading letters he was sending to his lawyer. A federal court has twice sided with Nordstrom. (Photo courtesy Arizona Department of Corrections)

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday on the ruling.

Benjamin A. Schaefer, the lead attorney with the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative, which filed a brief in support of Nordstrom, said confidential mail is a practical issue for prisoners.

“It’s easy, in these complicated legal issues, for some of the day-to-day policy implications to get lost,” he said.

That is particularly true in what Schaefer called this “age of mass incarceration,” when a lack of resources often prevents public defenders from making regular visits to their clients. Confidential mail is a vital tool in providing an adequate legal defense in such situations, he said.

“Some of the letters we receive are about guards sexually assaulting or killing inmates, and the idea that an inmate would feel comfortable writing that if they knew that the guards would be reading it before it got sent,” Schaefer said, “it would have quite a chilling effect on the ability for organizations like ours to respond to those kind of prison conditions.”

Nordstrom first challenged the Corrections Department’s policy on outgoing legal mail in May 2011, when he filed suit in U.S. District Court after a prison employee read an outgoing legal letter rather than doing a cursory inspection for illegal materials.

The lower court ruled against him, but the circuit court overturned that decision in 2014 and sent the case back to the district court – which ruled against Nordstrom for a second time, prompting this latest appeal.

The circuit court said that prison policy allows guards to scan mail in the presence of the inmate to “make sure it does not contain, for example, a map of the prison yard, the time of guards’ shift changes, escape plans, or contraband.” It specifically says they cannot read the mail and must reseal the letter in front of the prisoner.

But the practice was more of a line-by-line reading, the court said, which violates its standard.

“There is ‘an obvious, easy alternative’ to ADC’s policy,” Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. wrote in the opinion: Scan the letter for obvious contraband and check the name of the recipient against the American Bar Association’s website to make sure it’s going to an attorney.

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