Friday, August 17, 2018

Banner - UMC Phoenix and Tucson Named Best Hospitals

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 4:19 PM

  • Banner - University Medical Center Tucson
Our local Banner - University Medical Center and it's counterpart in Phoenix have been recognized as "Best Hospitals" by U.S. News and World Report.

Banner - UMC Tucson was named number one in Tucson, number three in all of Arizona and ranked nationally in three specialties: number 36 for gynecology, 49th for pulmonology and 50th for nephrology.

"We are honored that U.S. News has recognized the hard work and dedication of our caregivers, educators and researchers at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. Our team's continuing commitment to our patients and our community is unparalleled," said Sarah Frost, interim CEO of Banner – University Medical Center Tucson.

This year U.S. News and World Report ranked more than 4,500 medical centers across the country, with 25 specialties.

Banner - UMC Phoenix ranked number two nationally, and placed among the best in five categories including geriatrics, pulmonology, nephrology, cardiology and heart surgery, and neurology and neurosurgery.

"To be among the medical centers recognized in five specialty areas is a significant accomplishment, and is a testament to the work that our team does every day in support of building the relationship between our college and Banner," said Guy Reed, dean of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. "Let us continue to raise the bar for our students and patients, the community, and one another."

Read the full report here.

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UA Research Finds Workplace Bias Differs for Single vs Married Parents

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 11:07 AM

  • DepositPhotos
There are many differences women and men experience in the workplace, including benefits or penalties for parenthood.

Research has shown that mothers are penalized in the workplace as it is assumed that they are less focused or dedicated because of their children.

According to the UA, research has shown that mothers in the U.S. are subject to a net wage penalty of 5-7 percent per child and they are often placed in "mommy-track" jobs, characterized by fewer opportunities for career advancement and financial security.

Men, on the other hand, benefit at work once they have children, as they are viewed as the family breadwinner.

This phenomenon is known as the motherhood penalty and fatherhood premium. Researchers at the University of Arizona studied how this changes for married versus single parents.

UA Sociology doctoral student Jurgita Abromaviciute conducted an experimental study and found that when parents are not married, the motherhood penalty and fatherhood premium disappear.

Abromaviciute discussed her research in a UA press release.
"When a woman is known to be single and when she has children, then in addition to being a caregiver, she's also a breadwinner. So, in addition to caregiving, she now also has to provide for her family and she has no one to fall back on. My research shows that single mothers are not perceived as less competent or less committed than single childless women, and they are not less likely to be hired or promoted compared to their childless counterparts. In other words, while the motherhood penalty holds for married mothers, it disappears in the subsample of single mothers."
It is important to note that while single mothers do not suffer from the motherhood penalty, they also do not receive the fatherhood premium. However, neither do single fathers, research found.

"Single fathers, in addition to being breadwinners, are caregivers to their offspring," Abromaviciute said in a UA press release. "Likely, this triggers an assumption that they are more focused on their family than a married father might be, which eliminates the fatherhood premium."

When conducting her research, Abromaviciute asked 160 college students to evaluate job applications including resumes and notes from a human resources interviewer, for fake applicants with comparable experience all applying for an upper management position with a communication company.

The students were aware of the applicants' gender, whether they were married and if they had children.

"For the subsample of single mothers and single fathers, there's no premium or penalty," she said, "which suggests that marital status operates as a strong status cue that, combined with gender and parenthood status, leads evaluators to make assumptions about one's anticipated performance at work.”

Abromaviciute said that she hopes to continue her research with a broader demographic of study participants and across a broader representation of possible jobs. 

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Arizona Runner Up on Worst Highway Upkeep

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 3:22 PM

  • Tucson Local Media File Photo

Arizona ranks second lowest on highway spending per driver, only beat by Michigan, according to a new report by financial news site 24/7 Wall Street. The state spends an annual $239 per driver on state highways.

"While the article doesn't draw a direct connection between per capita spending and the quality of state infrastructure, it does demonstrate how poorly Arizona funds its transportation infrastructure," wrote Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry in a memorandum, highlighting the report.

He also wrote that the Pima County is still looking at ways to fund transportation needs and that the state gas tax would be the best source. The tax that everyone pays when they fill up their tank is meant to fund road repair. But the state has been sweeping those funds for years to cover other needs, like paying for highway patrol.

As well, Arizona's gas tax is below the national average, and the state hasn't raised it since 1991. In the interim, 44 other states have, according to The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonpartisan nonprofit.

Huckelberry wrote that he will continue to advocate for increasing transportation spending at local, state and national levels.

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National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona Receives Funding for Youth Mental Health Programs

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 2:48 PM

  • DepositPhotos
The Southern Arizona chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness recently received a grant of $210,883 from the David & Lura Lovell Foundation to fund an initiative for reducing mental illness stigma in local youth.

This grant enables NAMI of Southern Arizona to expand stigma reduction education and advocacy for youth mental health statewide. The program also works to increase help-seeking for mental issues among youth ages 10 to 24.

“With suicide now the second leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24, we want young people to know they are not alone and there is hope for their future” said H. Clarke Romans, executive director of NAMI Southern Arizona. “Stigma is still the greatest deterrent to seeking help.”

This NAMI funding comes in addition to a recent block grant received from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The block grant is to bring an educational program called “Ending the Silence” to schools in Pima, Cochise, Santa Cruz and Pinal Counties.

Since 1983, NAMI has worked to treat mental illness in a professional and medical fashion, stating, “These mental disorders are like any other medical condition; they are common AND treatable.”

Schools and other youth-serving organizations can contact NAMI Southern Arizona to request the 50-minute “Ending the Silence” presentation for their students by calling 622-5582 or emailing

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Town of Marana Developing Plans to Treat Contaminated Water

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 1:23 PM

  • BigStock
During a standing room only study session on Tuesday, Aug. 14, the Marana Town Council members said they support building water treatment centers in response to recent news of contaminated wells.

Marana residents who live in the affected residential areas have been asking the Council to treat the tap water ever since news broke last month of two types of contaminants exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory levels. Marana had been sending out mailers informing Marana Water users of the contaminants since December 2016.

The contaminants, PFAs and 1, 4-Dioxane are unregulated compounds that Marana Water staff found in the two separate water systems that feed Saguaro Bloom and Continental Reserve. These compounds have been found in water sources all over the country, including elsewhere in the Tucson Metro Region.

According to the EPA, the risk exposure for the dioxane health advisory level is one in one-million, over a lifetime. Adverse effects include kidney and liver damage. Marana’s levels go as high as two-and-a-half times the advisory level.

Marana Water Director John Kmiec said the EPA is due to release new standards for soil and groundwater contamination this fall, but there’s no guarantee they will meet their deadline. Arizona currently has no set guideline, but some states have set their own, which vary widely. For example, the EPA’s health advisory level for 1, 4 Dioxane is 0.35 parts per billion, but Alaska set their standard at 77 parts per billion and New Hampshire’s is 0.25.

Several town residents spoke at the meeting, expressing concern over the water and satisfaction that the Council seemed on board for treatment as soon as possible.

Saguaro Bloom resident Joyce Reid called the contamination a health hazard and said she’s “happy to hear that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Shawna Larsen, a cancer survivor, said the low odds of risk exposure are no comfort to her.

“I heard the presentation using the phrase ‘one-in-million chance,’” she said. “Well my chance is over. That already happened. So what I’d really like to be able to tell my coworkers is, ‘I live in Marana. They had a problem. They put in a treatment facility. It’s working great. They’re testing it consistently. And we’re really happy where we’re at. We’re living in our dream home.’”

Vice Mayor Jon Post was the first council member at the meeting to say he thinks the town should build the treatment plants, followed by a chorus of applause. As far as a funding source, he suggested that an additional sales tax might be an option.

“Just one-tenth of a percent for the town of Marana is $1 million a year,” he said. “It’s not even something that people that shop in Marana would even notice. But yet, it would be a revenue stream that would guarantee us quality water for our residents.”

Two water treatment centers, built around the contaminated wells, would cost about $13.5 million to build and then run for 20 years, about $1.5 million less than a previous estimate the town manager shared with Tucson Local Media.

Marana and other local jurisdictions, along with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, are continuing to investigate whether the contaminants came from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base or another source, but so far no definitive source has been identified.

Councilmember Roxanne Ziegler said she’s definitely in favor of treating the water but not fond of creating a tax to pay for it. She suggested holding off on capital improvement projects to divert funds to cover the treatment centers right away, and hopefully recover the funds in the future.

“I don’t want to play the blame game right now, but I’m all for fixing this and then going back and recovering what we can if indeed it was Davis Monthan or some other area,” she said.

The contamination levels in a number of the wells has dropped since the town began testing the water in late 2016, though a few have slightly increased. Kmiec said there’s no way to know if the wells that are dropping will continue that trend.

Marana Water looked at other options besides treating the water, but advised against them. One of those options is “water blending,” which happens when a contaminated system is connected with a clean system.

One such project was already in the design stages, connecting the water systems that serve Continental Reserve and the Twin Peaks area, for the benefit of optimal water usage rather than to dilute contaminants. It should be completed in the next two years. But Kmiec said Marana Water found the blending technique had a low effectiveness rate at bringing the contaminants down to and maintaining a comfortable level.

The Northwest Recharge, Recover, and Delivery System is another project in the works, to be constructed in 2023. It’s a joint pipeline project with Marana, Oro Valley and Metro Water to transport water that all three jurisdictions have stored by the Marana Airport.

Another option is looking at accessing Central Arizona Project water, but would take a considerable amount of infrastructure, treatment and precaution. Kmiec said because of these challenges, this option “quickly fell off the radar.”

Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta said the town staff will put together a proposal on how and when to build the treatment centers, which should be ready to present to council sometime in late-September to early-October.

Mayor Ed Honea said the council wants to see the treatment facilities happen as quickly as possible.

“We have to work on financing and everything else, but that is not the most important issue,” Honea said. “The most important issue is cleaning up the water, and we’ll figure out the financing down the road. It may be from three or four different sources.”

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Ducey, Republicans Leave $56 Million For Child Care Sitting On the Table

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 9:49 AM

  • Courtesy of Bigstock

Doug Ducey and his Republican legislative cronies had $56 million in federal money waiting to be spent to help cover the cost of child care and early childhood education for low income families. They refused to spend it.

The state didn't have to put up a penny. All it had to do was add a $56 million line item to its budget, and more low income children would have access to child care services. Ducey and the Republican legislative leaders knew the money was there, they were urged to put it in the budget by child care advocates and by Democrats in the legislature. They just decided not to do it.

When a story in the Sunday Star brought the unspent $56 million to my attention, I contacted Michelle Crow, Southern Arizona Director of the Children's Action Alliance, for more details. Next I talked to Democratic Rep. Randy Friese, who represents LD-9, my legislative district, to find out why the money didn't make it into the budget. The more I learned, the worse things got.

In March the federal government included $5.2 billion in its budget to increase the quality of child care and early childhood education across the country. Arizona's cut of the funds is $56 million, which is supposed to be added to the $125 million Arizona already receives to subsidize child care and early childhood education for children from low income families.

Right now, there's not enough money to subsidize child care for all the children who need it. As bad or worse, the amount the state allocates per child doesn't cover the child care provider's costs. The state Department of Economic Security's "Reimbursement Rates for Child Care" schedule is based on what the services should cost. The problem is, the reimbursement rates haven't changed since 2000. The state is still using an 18 year old rate schedule created at a time when the minimum wage was $5.15 an hour. Today it's $10.50.

It's actually worse than that. The DES reimbursement is only 75 percent of going rate in 2000. It's no surprise Arizona has among the lowest reimbursement rates in the country.

Continue reading »

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Tired Of Those Annoying Political Phone Calls And Fliers?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 4:04 PM


Are you tired of all those political robocalls and calls from earnest volunteers? Did you know, they're tired of talking to you too?

Are you tired of all those glossy, oversized postcards from candidates touting their accomplishments — and maybe running down their opponents? Did you know, they're tired of sending them to you too?

Just vote. When campaigns find out you've sent in your ballot, they'll leave you alone. No more (or almost no more) calls. No more (or almost no more) oversized postcards. You can sit back with the beverage of your choice and watch the political circus unfold before your eyes, knowing you've done your patriotic chore. Better yet, volunteer for the candidate(s) of your choice and be one of those phoners or the doorbell ringers helping to get out the vote.

Send in your ballot!

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Friday, August 10, 2018

A Review of David Garcia's Book, "School Choice"

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 4:03 PM

  • Courtesy of BigStock
Full disclosure: I have already stated my support for David Garcia for governor on The Range. Today I sent in my ballot with the bubble filled in next to Garcia's name.

Thursday, a post on Blog for Arizona by Larry Bodine sent minor shockwaves through the Democratic primary race for governor. Bodine wrote a scathing review of a book David Garcia wrote titled School Choice, which will be published September 28. According to Bodine, Garcia's book is pro-school privatization and, in the words of the headline "a Blueprint to Dismantle Public Education."

Bodine's post was the first I heard of the book. I asked him if he would share his review copy with me, and he did gladly. I read the book — or to be completely honest, I read the beginning carefully, then skimmed the rest of the 196-page book attentively enough to understand its content.

Bodine's depiction of the book is, in a word, wrong.

Of the people who have had a chance to read the book and comment on it in the media, I probably have the most experience reading education books. I have amassed a significant number of postgraduate units in the field, and I've continued reading education works, ranging from blog posts to articles to books, on a daily basis. Though I have expressed my support for Garcia, I also know how to read these kinds of texts for content and possible political leanings without letting my personal opinions interfere.

What Garcia has written is a book on the history of school choice beginning in colonial days and continuing through 2017. It is meant to be an objective overview of the subject, and it succeeds in that regard. If I had never heard of David Garcia and read this book, I wouldn't know his personal opinions on the subject. Though it is written for general consumption, it would be a valuable book to assign in any college course on the history of education, from Education 101 through graduate school.

I'm not the only one to arrive at the conclusion that Bodine's post is a distortion of the contents of Garcia's book. Brahm Resnik, one of Arizona's top journalists, came to a similar conclusion. So did Maria Polletta of the Arizona Republic. I'll quote some of what they wrote at the end of the post.

Continue reading »

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Brew Haha Comedy Showcase Presents: Chris Thayer @ Borderlands Brewery

Brew Haha at Borderlands Brewery is Tucson's longest running independent comedy show. It features nationally tour headliners… More

@ Borderlands Brewing Company Mon., Aug. 20, 8-10 p.m. 119 E. Toole Ave.

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