Lauren Kobley
Lauren Kobley LOHR-in CO-blee
News Reporter, Phoenix

Lauren Kobley expects to graduate in May 2024 with a master’s degree in mass communication. Kobley has reported for Arizona Foothills Magazine, The Arizona Republic, The State Press and ASU News.

Latest from Lauren Kobley

Cracks in the blacktop: How Peoria maintains basketball courts in spite of Arizona’s environment

PEORIA – Outdoor basketball courts in the Valley face unique circumstances when it comes to weathering and climate, which Peoria officials and specialists have to keep up with.

Sonoran Mountain Ranch Park in Peoria has three basketball hoops on its court and is nestled near the Eastwing Mountain Preserve trails. (Photo by Lauren Kobley/Cronkite News)

A new intermediary: How AI may impact libraries, research and information retrieval

PHOENIX – Cataloging and research are major areas in librarianship that artificial intelligence can automate and potentially improve. But librarians are grappling with the impact of AI on the fundamental role of librarians, user privacy and information literacy.

A computer used to find books and media at Litchfield Park Library on April 18, 2024. Integrating artificial intelligence into library services may change the way information is retrieved and categorized. (Photo by Kayla Mae Jackson/Cronkite News)

The Prom Closet and Valley Girl Dresses offer prom shoppers free or affordable options

GLENDALE – The Prom Closet and Valley Girl Dresses offer Arizona students options for prom shopping. The average prom dress can cost upward of $400, and many students are searching for more affordable options.

Dreamscape Learn provides virtual learning experiences for ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest students

PHOENIX – Dreamscape Learn is collaborating with ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest to provide students with the first K-12 opportunity to use its new immersive virtual learning pod. Students can experience virtual realities from King Tut’s tomb to 30 meters below the ocean’s surface.

Hassan Davis smiles as he immerses himself in virtual learning on March 28, 2024, in Phoenix. ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest unveiled its Dreamscape Learn Pod, the first virtual learning experience of its kind for K-12 students in the country. (Photo by Kevinjonah Paguio/Cronkite News)

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)

What Arizona and Maricopa County are doing to manage smoke, air quality

PHOENIX – The Maricopa County Air Quality Department and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality are working to maintain the health and prosperity of the environment and residents as it relates to air quality through no-burn days and prescribed-burn smoke dispersion.

The American Lung Association designated the Phoenix-Mesa area in the top 10 most-polluted cities by ozone and by year-round particle pollution in its State of the Air 2023 report. (File photo by Kasey Brammell/Cronkite News)

With traffic fatalities on the rise, Phoenix looks for safety solutions

PHOENIX – Phoenix, which had the most traffic deaths in the state in 2022, is working toward eliminating traffic fatalities using its Vision Zero Road Safety Action Plan.

Phoenix, which had the most traffic deaths in the state in 2022, is working toward eliminating traffic fatalities using its Vision Zero Road Safety Action Plan. (File photo by Andrea Jaramillo/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.

Arizona Heart Association lobbies for bill mandating cardiac arrest emergency plans in schools

PHOENIX – Supporters from the American Heart Association lobbied at the Arizona Capitol in support of requiring emergency cardiac response plans in schools. Pyper Midkiff, a child who experienced cardiac arrest at age 12, spoke about her experience.

Jennifer Stingley, middle, is a member of the American Heart Association’s southern Arizona board of directors. Stingley practices CPR at the Arizona Heart Association’s annual lobby day at the Arizona Capitol on Feb. 7, 2024. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

Our Ode to You nonprofit offers older adults in memory-care communities free therapeutic music, art programs

PHOENIX – Two Arizona high school seniors are using their talents to give back to older adult memory-care communities. Through free therapeutic music and art programs, Aani Nagaiah and Gage Samaddar are helping them evoke memories and de-stress.

‘We’re not just numbers, we’re not robots, we’re people’: Workers at Sky Harbor strike over job conditions

PHOENIX – SSP America employees at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport are on strike in hopes of obtaining safer and more equitable working conditions. UNITE HERE Local 11 filed unfair labor practice and discrimination charges against SSP America.

SSP America workers go on strike on Jan. 23, 2024, at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in protest of late paychecks and poor labor conditions. (Photo by Marnie Jordan/Cronkite News)

Phoenix nonprofit addresses need for children’s respite, hospice care

PHOENIX – One of three pediatric hospice homes in the United States, Ryan House provides respite, palliative and hospice care to children with chronic illnesses. The nonprofit addresses how to meet the needs of these children in a space with few solutions.

Jude Wentland plays with his mom, Madison Wentland, outside their home. (Photo by Lauren Kobley/Cronkite News)

Arizona Gives Day collects donations to benefit over 1,000 nonprofits

PHOENIX – Amid rising inflation rates and costs, Arizona Gives Day raises funds for over 1,000 nonprofits statewide. Inflation is not only affecting the nonprofits but donors, too.

Arizona Helping Hands is one of the nonprofits participating in this year’s Arizona Gives Day. The organization provides children in foster care with the things they need to thrive, whether it’s a new bed, diapers, clothes, toys, school supplies or basic necessities. (Photo courtesy of Arizona Helping Hands)

Phoenix community market creates space to support women entrepreneurs

PHOENIX - Heart and Soil People's Garden works to provide fresh produce for the south Phoenix community. The garden hosts monthly markets to support entrepreneurs, mostly women of color, and their businesses.

Kaila LePage picks an onion from the produce at the Heart and Soil People’s Garden in Phoenix on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Lauren Kobley/Cronkite News)

Maricopa County leads nation in population increase, surpasses 4.5 million

PHOENIX – Maricopa County remained the fastest-growing county in the nation with a population over 4.5 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Pinal County saw the second-biggest gains in Arizona, adding 16,010 people.

Maricopa County remained the fastest-growing county in the nation with a population over 4.5 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (File photo by Troy Hill/Cronkite News)

Inner-city students receive new space to play

PHOENIX – Kaboom, a nationwide nonprofit, and Fairytale Brownies, a bakery in Phoenix, sponsored a new playground for Loma Linda School in Phoenix. The playground will help Kaboom reach its goal of ending play space inequity.

Rebekah Gonzales, 11, plays on the monkey bars at Loma Linda Elementary School in Phoenix while she waits for the new playground unveiling. Her biggest wish for the new playground was for it to have a zip line, which it does. Photo taken on Feb. 23, 2023. (Photo by Evelyn Nielsen/Cronkite News)

Native hoop dance coaches preserve history, tradition with new generation

PHOENIX – Indigenous intertribal hoop dance combines tradition and history with individuality and creativity. We tell the story of three dancers who are sharing their passion for the dance with the next generation.

Gianna Begay, who is Navajo and Anishinaabe, is an intermediate student in the Native American Hoop Dance Class at Ballet Arizona in Phoenix. Photo taken Feb. 8, 2023. (Photo by Izabella Hernandez/Cronkite News)

HomeBase Surprise tackles rising homeless youth population in Arizona

SURPRISE – HomeBase, a transitional living facility for homeless youth, opens a second facility, this time in Surprise. The program works to combat the rising rate of unsheltered youth by offering them housing and education.

Diana Yazzie Devine, CEO of Native American Connections, right, introduces Michael Lafitte, director of HomeBase Surprise, at the grand opening of HomeBase Surprise on Feb. 2, 2023. (Photo by Logan Camden/Cronkite News)