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Appeals court upholds conviction in El Grande Market triple murder

The divided court upheld Martin Fong Soto’s convictions in a 1992 Tucson robbery that killed three. Fong claimed his trial was tainted, noting two co-defendants whose convictions were overturned after it was learned that a detective gave false testimony in their cases.

As Congress eyes ‘competency-based’ degrees, NAU already claims success

Jeremy Dodd plans to be first in his family to get a four-year college degree - and he plans to do it in just 2.5 years. He is part of a Northern Arizona University "competency-based" program, that lets people test out of some classes. Congress has called for such programs elsewhere.

Acting VA chief: Phoenix was ‘most troubled’ site, but is improving

Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson told a House panel that the agency has called all 1,700 Phoenix-area veterans who were not even on a waiting list for medical care, scheduling visits for 1,000 of them. It's just one of the "decisive" actions being taken to fix the VA, he said.

Feds grant endangered species status to Zuni bluehead sucker

The Zuni bluehead sucker has been called beautiful for its bluish head and torpedo-shaped silvery body. Now it’s called endangered, too. The government has granted endangered species status to the once-common fish,now only found in the Little Colorado River watershed.

Tribal, Glendale officials in West Valley Casino fight testify to Senate panel

Tohono O'odham leaders "looked us in the face and lied" about a planned Glendale casino, and Congress must step in to stop it, opponents told a Senate panel. But casino backers called such legislation "mean-spirited," noting that their plan has survived every challenge.

ADEQ: Modernization, private-sector practices boost efficiency

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has cut the time to process a permit by 60 percent, doubled the number of tank cleanings and made other gains by embracing private-sector policies where possible, Director Henry Darwin testified before a House committee.

Arizona officials call for a halt to ‘devastating’ hatchery changes

Arizona officials said they were not consulted on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to end a rainbow trout program at the Willow Beach hatchery. In a sometimes-testy hearing, they said the changes could threaten sport-fishing that is worth $1.5 billion a year to the state.

Homeland Security claims progress on Central American immigrants

Homeland Security officials said they have cut the time it takes to deport Central American adults and seen a sharp drop in the number of kids crossing the Southwest border. But Secretary Jeh Johnson repeated calls for Congress to act on $3.7 billion in emergency funding.

Report: Driving drops in Arizona as public transit ridership grows

Public transportation use is up in the state, as older and younger Arizonans forsake their cars and take advantage of options like light rail, said the Arizona Public Interest Research Group report. It called for a corresponding shift in funding from highway projects to mass transit.

Along the route north, shelter operators heed calling to aid 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.

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