September 15, 2020 / Modified sep 15, 2020 4:27 p.m.

News roundup: Reaching Latino and young voters; Poll: 38% of Arizonans wouldn't get COVID-19 vaccine

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Sept. 15.

Arizona COVID-19 one-week snapshot, Sept. 18

This map tracks changes in reported COVID-19 numbers over a one-week period. Since last week, Arizona reported 5,419 new cases (3% increase), 163 more deaths (3% increase) and a statewide positive test rate of 6.3%. The state reported a daily average of 774 cases and 23 deaths. Choose a Layerlayer and click on a county to learn more.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: ADHS, county health departments, Census 2018 Quick Facts. *Test numbers are totals including diagnostic and serology tests. Positive test rate is calculated using reported case and test totals. Daily reports may not reflect recent data, the state says.

Cases 209,209 | Deaths 5,344

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, Arizona reported 484 new cases of novel coronavirus and 22 additional deaths. A new poll reveals that 38% of Arizonans would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if one were developed.

Campaign led by DACA recipients aims to engage youth, Latino voters


In Arizona and across the country, immigration policy is a forefront issue this election season. But many Arizona families hardest hit by those policies are left without a voice.

About 13% of Arizonans were born in another country, according to an August report from the American Immigration Council, nearly half of whom are naturalized citizens. Roughly 4% of the state's population is undocumented.

That's why this election, advocates like Deyanira Garcia, who works with Mesa-based immigrant advocacy group Aliento, is trying to ensure those who do get a vote, use it. The group’s campaign, Aliento Votes, is run by undocumented and DACA-recipient volunteers and aims to mobilize 25,000 young people and Latinos across the state.

Learn more here.

Nearly 40% of Arizonans would not get a COVID-19 vaccine


A new poll indicates Arizona residents are lukewarm about the idea of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The poll from OH Predictive Insights in Phoenix shows 38% of Arizonans would not take the vaccine. Thirty-eight percent of those polled also said they would take the vaccine, with 23% undecided.

People over the age of 55 are more likely to get the vaccine, according to the poll, with 43% in that group saying they would take it. The poll has a 4-point margin of error.

Farmworkers In Mexican Border State Seize Control Of A Dam

Fronteras Desk

MEXICO CITY — A 1940s agreement between Mexico and the U.S. has ignited a revolt in a Mexican border state southeast of Arizona. Farmworkers took control of a dam last week, demanding water.

Protesters in the state of Chihuahua argue that most of the water from a local river is being sent to the U.S. under the agreement, which affects their crops during a tough dry season.

The National Guard was securing La Boquilla dam, but it was outnumbered. Efforts to quell the protest with tear gas failed, and the Guard was forced to abandon the site.

The Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the protest is a political move from his opponents, including Chihuahua’s Gov. Javier Corral. But Corral said he rejects the distorted version from the president, accusing him of not attending the people’s demands and the proposals from the state government.

Sonoran Marriage Equality Measure Could Get Committee Hearing Soon

Fronteras Desk

A measure in the Sonoran Congress to end state prohibitions on marriage for same-sex couples could soon get a hearing.

It’s been over a year since the bill was first introduced, but it has yet to be considered by relevant committees. A hearing was to be held in February, but a number of members failed to show, preventing a quorum. Despite the difficulty it’s faced, Deputy María Alicia Gaytán, president of the gender equality committee, said it will likely be heard by a joint committee within the next couple weeks.

“We’re in talks, and I think we’re going to get to agreements,” she said.

The measure will get its hearing after they finish with an unrelated controversial bill known as the Ley Olimpia, according to Gaytán. As to its ultimate prospects of passage, Gaytán said that will depend on how strongly conservative opponents and the LGBTQ community and its allies make their respective cases.

Navajo Nation will participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials


PHOENIX — Navajo Nation officials say they will participate in the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine trials amid a steady decline in coronavirus cases.

The American Indian territory once had the highest coronavirus infection rate in the country, but has since seen a substantial decrease in community spread. Navajo officials reported zero new confirmed cases on Sept. 8 for the first time since the pandemic began. As of Friday, there have been 9,952 confirmed cases and 530 deaths from the coronavirus in the Navajo Nation.

The vaccine trials will be conducted at health care centers across the Navajo Nation. Participation is entirely voluntary.

Learn more here.

Inmate at state prison in Tucson dies in apparent suicide


Authorities say an Arizona prison inmate has died in an apparent suicide. Arizona Department of Corrections officials say staff at the state prison in Tucson found 25-year-old Eric Haag unresponsive in a shower area Sunday evening and paramedics pronounced him dead. They say Haag apparently died by hanging. However, all inmate deaths are investigated in consultation with the county medical examiner’s office.

Corrections officials say Haag was sentenced out of Yavapai County fin 2016 for aggravated assault, theft by means of transportation, unlawful use of transportation and trafficking in stolen property.

Learn more here.

Phoenix Union school district to remain online through year


PHOENIX — The largest high school district in Arizona has announced it will remain closed to in-person instruction until next year, continuing online learning through the district’s second term, which ends in December. The Phoenix Union High School District originally had plans to start in-person learning next month but health data still shows substantial COVID-19 spread in many of the schools’ regions.

District Superintendent Chad Gestson said Monday in a YouTube video aimed at parents that the district is relying on state health benchmarks, which signal when the spread has slowed enough to return to in-person instruction, in making the decision to remain closed.

Learn more here.

Backup driver in fatal Arizona Uber autonomous crash charged


PHOENIX — Prosecutors have filed a criminal charge against the backup driver of an autonomous Uber vehicle that fatally struck a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix. Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel’s office said on Tuesday that Rafaela Vasquez faces one count of negligent homicide in the 2018 crash in Tempe that killed Elaine Herzberg. Her death was the first fatality involving a self-driving vehicle.

Federal investigators concluded Vasquez’s failure to monitor the road as she watched a TV show on her mobile phone was the main cause of the crash. Prosecutors declined in 2019 to file criminal charges against Uber, as a corporation, in Herzberg’s death. Vasquez has pleaded not guilty.

Learn more here.

Shooting outside US court in Phoenix wounds federal officer


PHOENIX — Authorities say a drive-by shooting has wounded a federal court security officer outside the U.S. courthouse in downtown Phoenix and a person has been taken into custody. Police and the FBI say the officer was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover. T

he FBI says someone was detained later Tuesday and there’s no indication of a further threat to the public. It says it's not releasing more information as it investigates.

A law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity says the officer works for the U.S. Marshals Service and was struck in their protective vest.

Learn more here.

ASU president alleges some bars violating COVID-19 protocols


PHOENIX — Arizona State University President Michael Crow alleges several restaurant-bars near the school’s Tempe campus have violated the safety protocols businesses must abide by to operate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Arizona Republic reported Sunday that Crow sent a letter to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ and the head of the state Department of Liquor Licenses and Control about the alleged violations by some Mill Avenue eating and drinking establishments.

Meanwhile, Arizona health officials on Sunday reported 384 more confirmed coronavirus cases and seven additional deaths amid continued slowing in the coronavirus outbreak in the state. The additional cases increased the statewide total to 208,512 and the known death toll to 5,322.

Learn more here.

NCAA seeks to dismiss college athletes' federal lawsuit


EUGENE, Ore. — The NCAA is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by two college athletes in federal court. The lawsuit seeks to prevent the association from limiting the amount of money athletes can make off their names, images and likenesses. It was filed by Arizona State swimmer Grant House and Oregon women’s basketball player Sedona Prince. The Oregonian reports that attorneys for the NCAA filed their motion to dismiss the suit on Friday.

The legal fight comes as the NCAA is changing its rules to allow college athletes to earn money for things such as social media endorsements, sponsorship deals and personal appearances.

Learn more here.

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