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Along the route north, shelter operators heed calling to aid desperate migrants

Carlos Solis was training to be a priest when he got a new calling – to help the Central American migrants who show up at his southern Mexican shelter on their way toward the U.S. The House of Mercy is one of 52 shelters on the route north, run by people, like Solis, called to help.

Court upholds conviction of smuggler who held migrant for ransom

An appeals court said testimony from ICE agents did not violate Jose Antonio Liera-Morales' right to confront his accusers. Liera-Morales, working off his own debt to smugglers, picked up a Honduran here illegally, held him hostage and demanded ransom from the teen's mother.

Congress takes another step toward saving A-10 fighter from budget ax

A Senate panel passed a defense funding bill that included $338 million to keep the embattled A-10 “Warthog” flying for another year, after the House did the same. Plans to retire the plane worried officials near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which is home to 83 of the jets.

First fallout nears for Arizona’s refusal to comply with Real ID Act

Arizona said in 2008 that it would not comply with the Real ID Act, a post-9/11 law aimed making it harder for would-be terrorists to get fake IDs. Now, the act is about to get real: The federal government will start phasing in limits on where non-compliant licenses can be accepted.

Arizona kid cooks up a White House invitation with healthy lunch recipe

Cory Vazquez handles questions with a calm of someone twice his age. But get him talking about food and the Gilbert 12-year-old struggles to keep his his hands and feet still. That enthusiasm for cooking got. and a healthy original recipe, got Cory invited to the White House.

Experts: Water-safety message needs to reach all ages, bodies of water

It may seem odd that there are many ways to drown in a desert state, but safety experts are trying to spread the word about pools, lakes, canals - all bodies of water. It comes as Arizona has seen a relatively typical number of drownings and water incidents so far this year.

Cold-calls for the corps: Peace Corps reaches out to recruits, eases process

It used to be that the Peace Corps was a calling. Now, the Peace Corps is calling, working phone banks to call more than 30.000 would-be volunteers who bailed on its lengthy application. The calls, and a new streamlined form, are part of an effort to increase Peace Corps recruits.

Acting VA secretary tells Senate $17.6 billion is needed to fix faltering agency

Sloan Gibson testified that the VA would need $17.6 billion in additional funding over the next three years to cut medical care waiting times for the rising number of veterans. It comes as Congress weighs a bill that some analysts said could cost almost twice that amount to fix VA problems.

Come fly with me: Lawmakers took 21 privately funded trips this Congress

Arizona members of Congress took an average of just under two privately funded trips each since January 2013, ninth-most in the nation, but relatively cheap when compared to other states. While critics call the trips “influence peddling," supporters say they help lawmakers do their jobs.

Navajo County supervisor urges Senate to focus on wildfire prevention

Navajo County Supervisor David Tenney told a Senate panel that forest thinning is the “smart and responsible” way to curb wildfires, rather than just trying to fight fires after they’ve started. The hearing came one week after the president asked for $615 million in wildfire funding.

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