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Entries in Arizona (224)

Saturday
Nov132010

Family Loses Home to Foreclosure, Neighbors Bring Them In

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PHOENIX) -- After Michael Toczko lost his job in June as a stock broker near Phoenix, he and his family watched their home fall into foreclosure. Toczko and his wife, Kristin Hailstone, swallowed their pride and knocked on their neighbors' doors to tell them the news.

"We went to everyone and apologized for hurting their home values. We wanted them to know that we'd done the best that we could, truly, and everyone was just so gracious and all they cared about was keeping our family safe," Hailstone said.

One family did more than keep the Toczkos safe. Liz and Joe Larger, a few doors down, took them in.

"Losing a house is a big thing, but it's just stuff. It's not important...We're together, we're a family and we're enjoying each other and that's what's really important," Joe Larger said.

Today, the Toczkos pitch in with what rent they can afford and together, the two families are a kind of experiment in generosity. The Toczkos' and the Largers' decision to consolidate their family homes is becoming less and less unusual. In the cul-de-sac where they live, three of the five homes have two families per address.

Phoenix is a hotspot for foreclosures. According to RealtyTrac, in the third quarter of this year, one out of every 69 homes in the area went up for auction.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov022010

Is Arizona Channeling State Money to Religious Schools?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court will hear a challenge from Arizona taxpayers Wednesday who argue that a tax policy aimed at helping disadvantaged children is violating the Establishment clause of the Constitution, which prohibits government actions from favoring one religion over another.

The law, established in 1997, is aimed at encouraging greater educational choice for disadvatanged elementary school children.  It allows state residents to receive a tax credit for contributions to nonprofit organizations that, in turn, give scholarships to public school students who want to attend private schools.

But critics say that in practice, most of the School Tuition Organizations (STOs) receiving the funds are religious.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the taxpayers, argues in court papers that the policy amounts to a "program in which the majority of state aid is given on the basis of religion to relatively very few students, most of whom are chosen by religious organizations."

Supporters of the tax policy, including the state of Arizona and one of the STOs, the Arizona Christian Tuition Organization, counter that the law is constitutional because the government steps out of the equation when the money is disbursed.  From there it becomes an issue of private choice of the parent.  Lawyers for the state of Arizona write in court papers that it is a neutral government program. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov012010

Showdown over Arizona Immigration Reaches Federal Appeals Court

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Lawyers for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and the U.S. Justice Department faced off before a panel of federal appeals court judges in San Francisco Monday over the fate of Arizona's controversial immigration law.

Key parts of the law, known as SB 1070, including a provision that would allow police to arrest and detain suspected illegal immigrants based on "reasonable suspicion," were ruled unconstitutional by District Court Judge Susan Bolton in July and blocked from taking effect. The three-judge panel now will decide whether all or parts of the law should be reinstated or struck down. The case ultimately could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Brewer, a Republican who is up for re-election on Nov. 2, has been leading her Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Terry Goddard in polls. Goddard opposes SB 1070.

Sixty percent of Americans support the Arizona law, according to the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll. But fewer - 46 percent - think the states should have power to make and enforce their own immigration laws, one criticism of the Arizona statute.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct272010

Arizona Carries Out Execution of Convicted Murderer

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FLORENCE, Ariz.) -- The state of Arizona executed Jeffrey Landrigan Tuesday night for murdering a man during a robbery in Phoenix in 1989.  Landrigan was put to death by lethal injection.

A prison official said Landrigan acknowledged his home state of Arizona before he died.

"His last words were, 'Well I'd like to say thank you to my family for being here and all of my friends,'" according to the prison official.  Landrigan finished off by adding, "Boomer sooner."

An eyewitness to the execution told reporters, "He didn't move during the procedure that I could see.  His lips parted slightly once...he was unconscious."

This is the first execution Arizona has carried out since 2007.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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