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Endangered Species Act under fire from lawmakers

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Recently, a Senate hearing was held to discuss the possibility to change or modernize the Endangered Species Act.

Republican lawmakers including Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said that the act wasn’t working and went on to say that it was hindering job growth and keeping protected lands from mining and development.

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There are other Republican lawmakers who want to see the act changed to only allow one species on the list at a time. Currently, there are over 1,600 species on the list.

Here in Arizona, the state is home to more than 70 species that are endangered or threatened. Conservation efforts have been able to help some populations including the Black Footed Ferret. The small, cute creature is the most endangered species in North America. In the early 1980s, it was believed the species had gone extinct, but 24 were found and saved.

Today, 1,000 live in facilities, and another 1,000 are in the wild. The population is slowly recovering, and it’s all thanks to the Endangered Species Act.  It helped to fund research, staff and studies to find the best ways to save the Black Footed Ferret.

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There are several facilities across the country that help to build the population, and one of them is at the Phoenix Zoo. The Black Footed Ferret’s population declined dramatically when its primary food source, the prairie dog, was being killed off by land development and farmers.  It also experienced a terrible plague that nearly wiped them out.

Conservationists say that with their help, the population of the Black Footed Ferret could reach stable levels in a decade and it could be taken off the endangered species list.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Posted: Feb 17, 2017 11:09 AM TST

Updated: Feb 17, 2017 2:20 PM TST

By Jeff Van Sant

Drug catapult found at Arizona-Mexico border fence

A catapult was being used to throw bundles of marijuana over the Arizona-Mexico border into Douglas.

 

U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered a catapult used to throw bundles of marijuana over the Arizona-Mexico border into Douglas, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

While patrolling an area near the Douglas Port of Entry on Feb. 10, agents saw several people quickly retreating from the fence as the agents approached, officials said.

When agents arrived, they searched the area and located two bundles of marijuana, weighing more than 47 pounds combined, as well as a catapult system attached to the Mexico side of the border fence.

Mexican law-enforcement authorities responded to the area and seized the catapult system, which was dismantled by the U.S. Border Patrol, officials said.

DPS: Carjacking suspect fires at troopers; ends in crash with semi

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CAMP VERDE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) –

A carjacking suspect fired at troopers on Interstate 17 near Camp Verde Sunday morning, Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead tweeted.

All troopers are OK, he tweeted.

Authorities said they began getting reports of a vehicle driving recklessly southbound along I-17 north of Camp Verde just before 10 a.m.

The Mustang collided with another vehicle.

“The suspect then took a white GMC SUV from that crash scene with a rifle and fled,” troopers said.

Troopers pursued the suspect who began firing at them, DPS said.

At around 10:20 a.m., the suspect plowed head-on into a commercial semi-truck about 15 miles south of Munds Park, troopers said.

“The suspect suffered serious life-threatening injuries and was flown to a hospital,” DPS said.

Earlier, DPS tweeted that the suspect had died.

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DPS said in a tweet their detectives, troopers and Yavapai County sheriff’s deputies were investigating two crime scenes southbound along I-17 between Munds Park and Camp Verde.

The southbound lanes of I-17 were closed south of Munds Park at milepost 317 for about 10 hours, the Arizona Department of Transportation said.

The northbound lanes remain open.

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Motorists on Interstate 40 eastbound were advised to use State Route 89 to State Route 69. For those on I-40 westbound, use State Route 87 to State Route 260 to I-17, ADOT said.

[ADOT map of alternate routes]

Milstead said it may be a long closure while DPS investigates what happened.

No other details were provided. We’re working to gather more information.

Posted: Feb 13, 2017 2:04 AM TST Updated: Feb 13, 2017 12:24 PM TST

UPDATED: ‘All-Clear’ Given After Flight Diverted to Lambert for Security Check

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)(UPDATED 10:52 a.m.) Passengers on an American Airlines flight were unloaded on the tarmac at Lambert – St. Louis International Airport when the airline requested a landing for a security check.

Lambert Airport spokesman Jeff Lea says flight No. 534 left Columbus, Ohio, at 7:09 a.m., headed for Phoenix, Arizona.

The airline requested a security check, and when the plane landed, passengers were unloaded and placed on a bus.

Emergency vehicles were on the scene, and a police dog was seen sniffing passengers as they exited the plane.

KMOX’s Michael Calhoun was on the scene.

(TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Arizona’s newest roadside oddity looks like it fell from space

An abandoned concrete mixer along I-10 has been transformed into a space capsule.

Adding to roadside attractions such as concrete tepees and dinosaurs, Arizona added its newest oddity Sunday with a space capsule between Phoenix and Tucson.

The artwork made use of an abandoned concrete truck off Interstate 10 near Casa Grande.

“I think its going to be known as the ‘Casa Grande Capsule,’ ” said artist Jack Millard, 53, of Scottsdale.

“The cement mixer was abandoned there for 30 years just rusting in the field,” Millard said.

He was driving by on his way to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show when he said he saw the mixer and was inspired. He chuckled to himself and thought it looked like the capsules astronauts use to return to Earth after space missions.

Arizona drivers traveling from Phoenix and Tucson along I-10 are noticing a peculiar sight for the desert. Artist Jack Millard repurposed an abandoned cement mixer to look like a spacecraft had crashed in the Casa Grande field.  Tom Tingle/The Republic

“I just get these impulses to create,” he said.  “Its a glorified yard ornament.”

The capsule is two miles north of Florence Boulevard on a ranch on the west side of Interstate 10.

He reached out to the owners to ask about the project.

“At first they were skeptical,” he said. But he convinced them.

“I think they were tickled by the idea,” he said.

On Feb. 2, Millard started transforming the concrete mixer into a space capsule. He had help from another artist, Ren Eide.

The capsule was made to look like it descended from space, with a used cargo parachute that Millard bought at a military surplus store attached for effect.

About 10 cars pulled over as he worked on the piece, and some thought it was authentic, he said. He explained that it was an art project to the commuters as well as to the police who stopped by.

“I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “If they enjoy it, that’s great. We live in such a cynical, jaded world. If it distracts them for a moment, that’s a wonderful thing.”

But Millard said sometimes art speaks deeper to people, saying he imagines one day someone might look at it and see “hope or pride,” or think about America and putting men on the moon.

“It certainly will outlive me,” Millard said.

Millard has been working as a professional actor for 25 years, and had minor roles in “The Big Short” and “Star Trek.”

To find the capsule, if heading to Tucson from Phoenix, it will be on the right side south of McCartney Road. If heading towards Phoenix it will be on the left side, north of Florence Boulevard/State Route 287.

, The Republic | azcentral.com

Body of missing Casa Grande man Cody Virgin found

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2013 Dodge Dart was found abandoned in a desert area near Silver Bell Estates, outside of Arizona City. When he did not show up for work, he was declared a missing person, officials said.

Virgin had worked as a correctional officer at La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy beginning in June 2015, according to Jonathan Burns, the public-affairs director of CoreCivic.

In a Facebook video posted Friday, Lamb said Virgin had met a girl on Facebook and was planning to meet her in Arizona City the night he went missing.

“We began looking into Facebook. We received information that led us to William Randolph. He agreed to come down to the station in Arizona. Detectives found several inconsistencies with William’s statements and William gave several different accounts of his whereabouts.”

Lamb said they recovered a handgun at Randolph’s place of work and found blood at the scene. Randolph was then arrested. Lamb on Friday said they were still working to determine Randolph’s connection to Virgin.

The investigation is still ongoing, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office at 520-866-5111.

Republic reporter Eric Newman contributed to this article. 

, The Republic | azcentral.com