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Arizona sets news record for monthly organ donations in May

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Arizona sets news record for monthly organ donations in May


PHOENIX — A new record for monthly organ donations was set in Arizona for the month of May, officials announced Friday.

Arizona tallied 45 organ donors throughout May, the most in a single month in the history of the Donor Network of Arizona (DNA). From the 45 donors, 101 lives were saved through the successful transplant of 118 organs.

“A record number of 45 heroes is made possible first by the generosity of Arizonans in their most tragic moment—choosing life, altruism and the human endeavor that is donation,”
Abdulwahab Al-Saleh, director of the Donor Optimization department at DNA said in a news release.

“Organizationally it represents the strength we have in unity with our team, organ donors and their families. We’re our best when we work together to maximize the gift of life.”

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What was the previous record for organ donations?

The new record beats the previous record from July 2023 when Arizona had 39 organ donors. DNA says it demonstrates the ongoing commitment of the organization to save lives through organ donation, made possible by donors and their families.

DNA also highlights a steady growth since it’s inception in 1986. According to the organization, organ donation has increased by 180% over the past 15 years, and 121% in the last 10 years alone.

Arizonans can join the DonateLifeAZ Registry when they apply for or renew a driver’s license or state ID. People can do so at an ADOT MVD or authorized third party offices. They can also register online at DonateLifeAZ.org.

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Arizona border mayor endorses Ruben Gallego for Senate – Washington Examiner

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Arizona border mayor endorses Ruben Gallego for Senate – Washington Examiner


EXCLUSIVE — An Arizona mayor in a major border town is endorsing Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) for Senate as immigration and border security are at the forefront of both local and national politics.

San Luis Mayor Nieves Riedel announced her endorsement of Gallego’s bid for Senate on Wednesday. San Luis, a small border town near Yuma, has seen rising levels of migration.

“Ruben Gallego consistently demonstrates a deep commitment to the needs of the San Luis community, understands the unique challenges we face, and illustrates a willingness to work with anyone to get the job done,” Riedel said in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner

“His vision for a better Arizona aligns with the values we hold here in San Luis. I am proud to endorse Ruben Gallego for the U.S. Senate and am confident that his leadership will bring positive and practical change not only to our community, but to the entire state,” she added.

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Riedel, a Democrat who immigrated to the United States from Mexico, was elected in August 2022 for a second term. The city has a sizable majority-Latino population, and Yuma County, where San Luis is located, voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020.

Riedel’s endorsement comes after Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway, a Democrat who represents a dark blue county in the battleground state, endorsed the Arizona congressman earlier this spring. The sheriff oversees a county that includes Nogales, a critical point of entry with Mexico. Santa Cruz County is considered a Democratic stronghold in the Grand Canyon State and voted overwhelmingly for President Joe Biden in 2020 and Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“I am proud to have Mayor Riedel’s endorsement in this race,” Gallego said. “She has been a true partner in the work to support Arizona’s border communities, invest in our local economies, and break down the barriers to homeownership.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Even as Gallego appears to be making waves with border region officials, immigration politics has been a major weakness for Biden. The administration just recently unveiled an executive order to limit asylum-seekers, one of the most urgent political problems in his reelection push. The move comes weeks ahead of Biden’s first debate with Trump.

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Gallego has held a consistent lead over the leading Republican Senate candidate, Kari Lake, in recent polling. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election forecaster, changed its prediction from “toss-up” to “lean Democrat” recently, handing Democrats welcome news in the hotly contested race in the Grand Canyon State. The two are running for a seat being vacated by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), an independent who caucuses with Democrats.



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Arizona man indicted for planning mass shooting at Atlanta concert to ‘incite a race war’

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Arizona man indicted for planning mass shooting at Atlanta concert to ‘incite a race war’


PHOENIX (AZFamily) — A federal grand jury indicted a man from Prescott on Tuesday for selling guns for use in a planned mass shooting at a crowded concert in Atlanta.

Mark Adams Prieto, 58, is facing several charges relating to planning an attack at a Bad Bunny concert at State Farm Arena in May. He planned to target African American and other minority concert-goers in order to incite a race war before the 2024 US Presidential Election, an FBI Phoenix Field Office spokesperson said.

The indictment against Prieto alleges that he discussed the plan with two undercover FBI agents between January and May this year. He did not know the agents were undercover and instead thought they shared his extreme beliefs and wish for a race war.

His plan targeted performances by Bad Bunny on May 14 and 15 at State Farm Arena, Atlanta’s multi-purpose arena with a concert capacity of nearly 16,000.

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After further discussion with the undercover agents, the indictment alleges Prieto sold two rifles to one of them: an AK-style rifle on Feb. 25 and an AR-style rifle on March 24. The FBI was monitoring Prieto’s movements throughout its investigation.

Prieto was stopped by officers on May 14 while driving east on I-40 from Arizona through New Mexico. He had seven guns in his possession and was taken into federal custody. In a search of his Prescott residence, officers found additional weapons, including an unregistered short-barreled rifle.

His indictment includes charges of firearms trafficking, transfer of a firearm for use in a hate crime and possession of an unregistered firearm.

If convicted on the charges of firearms trafficking and transfer of a firearm for use in a hate crime, Prieto faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both. If convicted of possession of an unregistered firearm, Prieto faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.

The FBI Phoenix Field Office is investigating the case, along with assistance from several local and national agencies. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona with assistance from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

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EPA orders the Air Force, Arizona National Guard to clean up groundwater contamination

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EPA orders the Air Force, Arizona National Guard to clean up groundwater contamination


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PHOENIX — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is demanding the U.S. Air Force and Arizona National Guard take action as concentrations of toxic “forever chemicals” are increasing in the groundwater in a historically contaminated area in the south side of Tuscon, Arizona.

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The EPA found the pollution came from the nearby military properties and ordered them to clean up the contamination. High concentrations of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, were detected in Tucson’s groundwater near the Tucson International Airport at the National Guard base and at a property owned by the U.S. Air Force.

The contaminants threaten the groundwater extracted at a water treatment run by Tucson Water in the Tucson Airport Remediation Project area, known as TARP. That water was intended for drinking, the EPA said in its May 29 order.

Samples taken at the treatment plant showed concentrations of PFAS as high as 53,000 parts per trillion, which is 5,300 times the allowable amount. The limit allowed in drinking water ranges from 4 parts per trillion to 10 parts per trillion, depending on the type of PFAS.

To prevent the contaminations’ further migration towards city wells, the agency gave the Air Force and the Air National Guard 60 days to develop a remediation plan. The Morris Air National Guard Base leading the remediation project did not respond to the Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network, and its requests for comment.

Tucson Water, the city’s water utility, said the wells impacted by the contamination are not in service and customers are not being served contaminated water. But with concentrations of PFAS continuing to increase, the issue remains a concern for the city.

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“When we have an area where the water quality is impacted and we’re not able to serve that to customers, that is an added cost. It really diminishes the resource that we have available,” Natalie DeRoock, a Tucson Water spokesperson said. She noted that other than the Colorado River water the city pumps in, Tucson depends on groundwater, a finite resource.

The water utility stopped serving water treated at TARP to residents in 2021, when increased PFAS levels caused the plant to temporarily shut down as the filter system sequestering the contaminants could not handle the increase.

What are PFAS? ‘Forever chemicals’ are common and dangerous.

What will remediation look like?

DeRoock said the water treated at the TARP facility exceeds state and county standards for clean water, so the city decided to divert the water to the Santa Cruz River rather than use it as drinking water. She said the city wanted people to feel confident about their drinking water, and instead decided to use that water to maintain the water levels in the Santa Cruz River and to help with the riparian habitat restoration.

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As part of the EPA’s order, the remediation plan submitted by Air Force and National Guard must ensure the water is clean enough to be used as drinking water.

“With appropriate response, Tucson Water would be able to resume delivering water from the TARP facility to the drinking water system, as it was originally designed to do,” said Joshua Alexander, a spokesperson for the EPA.  

Alexander said remediation is a complicated process that could take years. It could require the creation of new water treatment facilities or the modification of current existing facilities to treat an increased volume of water.

He noted several technologies that successfully remove PFAS from water, including granular activated carbon, a filtration system that uses carbon to remove contaminants from drinking water. He pointed out that new technologies are also being developed worldwide to remove PFAS from drinking water.

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PFAS is a danger to public health

PFAS are long-lasting chemicals that have been used since the 1940s in a wide range of industries and products — from fire retardants and popcorn bags to personal care items and clothing — that can now be found globally in water. PFAS are considered hazardous substances that can cause severe health issues with long-term exposure, even in low traces.

Studies show PFAS exposure can negatively impact the body’s immune and cardiovascular systems, as well as vaccine response. Studies have also linked oral exposure to PFAS to adverse health effects on the liver, the kidneys, and the immune system, and cancer, according to the EPA.

Though residents in Tucson’s south side don’t receive water from TARP’s contaminated wells, past exposures and their effects worry residents. Many contend broader health screenings and compensation are still due.

Site has long history of contamination

The area has a history of contamination from decades of defense and industrial activities. The Tucson Airport Remediation Project area is a superfund site contaminated with several pollutants.

One of the primary contaminants is trichloroethylene, or TCE, formerly used as a general-purpose solvent and degreaser. Another contaminant found at the site is 1,4-dioxane, which was used as a stabilizer to enhance the life of the solvent bath for degreasing manufactured parts.

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These and other hazardous materials were disposed of at the airport and eventually began seeping into the groundwater, contaminating the regional aquifer. The area was declared a superfund site in 1983 and listed as a national priority area for long-term cleanup.

Other contaminants at the site include dichloroethene, chloroform, and chromium. A carcinogenic compound, polychlorinated biphenyls, and metals contamination were also found in some soils on the site. According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the “contaminants of concern” may change as new data becomes available.

Reach the reporter at sarah.lapidus@gannett.com. The Republic’s coverage of southern Arizona is funded, in part, with a grant from Report for America. Support Arizona news coverage with a tax-deductible donation at supportjournalism.azcentral.com.



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