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Sun, Dec. 15

State Briefs | Activists to protest wall along Arizona-Mexico border

Protests are planned at the site of a proposed segment of border wall at Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. (Photo by Tomascastelazo, cc-by-sa-4.0, https://bit.ly/2NRFAIu)

Protests are planned at the site of a proposed segment of border wall at Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. (Photo by Tomascastelazo, cc-by-sa-4.0, https://bit.ly/2NRFAIu)

LUKEVILLE (AP) – Environmental and other activists say they’ll gather on the U.S.-Mexico border at Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument over the weekend to protest U.S. government plans to build a wall there.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the 30-foot barrier will hinder migrating wildlife, destroy sacred archaeological sites and further threaten already endangered species. The area’s rare desert oasis Quitobaquito Springs is home to the endangered Sonoyta mud turtle and Quitobaquito pupfish.

The activists will gather at noon Saturday at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Visitor Center before launching the protest.

More than 60 miles of new border wall construction are planned or have been started across Arizona.

AZ grassland may be landing site for spacecraft

WILLCOX (AP) – A flat desert grassland in southeastern Arizona is being considered as a potential landing site for a new reusable spacecraft.

Boeing representatives plan a public meeting Wednesday evening at the Willcox Community Center to discuss the Starliner spacecraft potentially touching down in the Willcox Playa area.

Other possible landing sites include White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Dugway Proving Ground in Utah and Edwards Air Force Base in California.

About 65 miles east of Tucson, Willcox Playa is winter habitat for thousands of migratory sandhill cranes.

The Starliner capsule made a safety test flight Monday at White Sands.

The capsule is due for a test flight next month to the International Space Station with a dummy and some cargo on board.

Jail officer remembered as selfless man

PHOENIX (AP) – A Maricopa County sheriff’s detention officer who died following an attack by an inmate is being remembered as a selfless man of integrity.

Sixty-four-year-old Gene “Jim” Lee was celebrated Friday at a memorial in Phoenix.

His nephew William Gutierrez says Lee would often tinker with radios, his dining room table and even took cars apart. He also loved a good bargain at Goodwill.

The Arizona Republic reports that Lee had a career as an electrical engineer before he went to work in the Maricopa County jails.

Sheriff’s officials said Lee died after suffering a head injury when he was knocked to the ground by a 59-year-old inmate.

Chandler man pleads not guilty in crash that burned woman

PHOENIX (AP) – A Chandler man has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a car crash at a gas station that left a woman with burns.

Clemente Torres entered his plea during Thursday’s arraignment in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Prosecutors say the 21-year-old Torres was driving impaired at the time of the Oct. 24 incident.

He’s accused of aggravated assault, endangerment, leaving scene of a serious injury accident and criminal damage.

Authorities say Torres filled up his car and lost control of the vehicle after making a U-turn as he pulled out of the gas station.

They say Torres’ car crashed into another vehicle and a gas pump, which caught fire.

A woman pumping gas suffered second-degree burns.

Chandler police say Torres fled the scene but was tracked down and arrested.

Searchers find body of man who drowned in Yuma canal

YUMA (AP) – Authorities in Yuma County have located the body of a man who fell in a canal and drowned nearly two weeks ago.

The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office says the body of 54-year-old Woodley Mason was found Friday. Mason fell in the Gila Gravity Canal while fishing on Oct. 28.

Rescuers and divers from Yuma police, the sheriff’s office and the Yuma Proving Ground were involved in the search.

Arizona gambling agents raid Northwest Valley internet cafes

PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona authorities say they’ve uncovered two illegal gambling operations in the Northwest Valley.

The Arizona Department of Gaming says agents raided internet cafes in strip malls in Surprise and Peoria on Thursday.

Agents seized two Dragon video game tables, 24 computers and $5,500 in case.

Gaming Department authorities say the internet cafes allowed customers to play and bet using suspected illegal gambling devices. They also allegedly allowed customers to create and use online user accounts to bet on illegal internet sweepstakes video games.

Three people were arrested and released pending charges that may include promoting and benefiting from gambling and possession of gambling devices and records. The people were not identified.

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