[ {"id":"4501d44c-0631-5325-9b2a-949ba082ffd3","type":"article","starttime":"1474769820","starttime_iso8601":"2016-09-24T19:17:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1474801291","priority":41,"sections":[{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"},{"crime":"news/local/crime"}],"flags":{"web_only":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"2 ex-Tucson cops, 2 recruits facing loss of state certification","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/article_4501d44c-0631-5325-9b2a-949ba082ffd3.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/ex-tucson-cops-recruits-facing-loss-of-state-certification/article_4501d44c-0631-5325-9b2a-949ba082ffd3.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/ex-tucson-cops-recruits-facing-loss-of-state-certification/article_4501d44c-0631-5325-9b2a-949ba082ffd3.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board voted recently\u00a0to initiate proceedings against them.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#watchdog","#latest","#top5"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"067c7d55-a77e-59c2-96af-8403eafc32b2","description":"","byline":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/png","width":"620","height":"457","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/67/067c7d55-a77e-59c2-96af-8403eafc32b2/57e755cc297a2.image.png?resize=620%2C457"},"100": {"type":"image/png","width":"100","height":"74","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/67/067c7d55-a77e-59c2-96af-8403eafc32b2/57e755cc297a2.image.png?resize=100%2C74"},"300": {"type":"image/png","width":"300","height":"221","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/67/067c7d55-a77e-59c2-96af-8403eafc32b2/57e755cc297a2.image.png?resize=300%2C221"},"1024":{"type":"image/png","width":"1024","height":"755","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/67/067c7d55-a77e-59c2-96af-8403eafc32b2/57e755cc297a2.image.png"}}}],"revision":15,"commentID":"4501d44c-0631-5325-9b2a-949ba082ffd3","body":"

Two former police officers and two recruits at local law enforcement agencies are facing the loss of their state licenses, officials said.

The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board voted recently to initiate proceedings against Virgilio N. Marshall, Gabriel A. Rivera, Kyle D. Lovett and Matthew D. Moon, said spokeswoman Sandy Sierra.

The board can choose to revoke or suspend their peace officer certifications, which allow them to work in law enforcement in Arizona.

Marshall and Rivera worked at the Tucson Police Department, but Marshall was fired in March and Rivera resigned in April 2015, AZPOST records show.

Lovett applied to the Marana Police Department and Moon to the Pima County Sheriff\u2019s Department in June, and while both men were participating in training at the academy, neither had been certified by AZPOST, according to the records.

All four will receive formal letters from the board and will have the option of a hearing with an administrative law judge, Sierra said.

Tucson police cases

Marshall was hired by TPD in December 2014 and graduated from the academy last April, AZPOST documents show.

In October, he responded to a burglary, and \u201cfailed to adequately process the scene, mishandled evidence, failed to properly document the victims\u2019 information and listed inaccurate information as it pertained to the suspect vehicle,\u201d the document said.

During his investigation, Marshall was conducting a walk-through of the residence, but repeatedly refused to take fingerprints off various surfaces the homeowner indicated had been disturbed during the burglary, including a pamphlet the burglar dropped on the floor, the document said.

The homeowner contacted Marshall\u2019s sergeant, who returned to the residence to collect evidence that Marshall had missed, including cigarettes that had been dropped by the burglar, the document said.

During interviews with internal affairs, Marshall said he had collected the items, until he was shown an evidence list that refuted his claims.

Marshall was assigned to work the department\u2019s front desk while the incident was investigated. In December, he fielded a call from a Department of Child Services employee, the document shows.

The caseworker asked Marshall to take a police report regarding two children who had been taken into DCS custody and tested positive for morphine, heroin and marijuana.

Marshall told the employee he would not take the report since no police officers were present during the initial contact. The employee explained the police report was necessary in order to prevent the parents from being reunited with their children, but Marshall still refused, the document said.

The employee transferred Marshall to a DCS supervisor, but he again refused to take the report. She finally gave up and was able to give the report to a sergeant in the child-abuse unit, according to the document.

During his interview with internal affairs, Marshall \u201ccontinually questioned why DCS waited so long to make the report\u201d and claimed he told both employees he would take the report, the document said.

As a probationary employee, Marshall was fired for failing to meet standards.

Rivera, a 15-year veteran, resigned in lieu of termination after he was accused of failing to take basic steps when investigating three separate sexual assaults of juvenile girls, according to an AZPOST document.

The first incident took place in 2012, involving the rape of a girl at a party by multiple males.

Internal affairs officers documented more than 15 steps that Rivera \u2014 who was a detective at the time \u2014 failed to take while investigating the case.

\u201cThe court recognized police failure as a primary reason that only three of the alleged five rapists were arrested and that the males were ultimately charged with a lesser charge for their criminal acts,\u201d the document said.

Because of the \u201ccritical errors\u201d discovered in Rivera\u2019s work, an administrative investigation was conducted, and two more cases were located where \u201che failed to accurately document pertinent facts, recall basic investigative details and complete necessary investigative processes.\u201d

Rivera resigned in lieu of termination.

Marana police recruit

During a routine new-hire audit in July, the AZPOST discovered that Lovett, an applicant to the Marana Police Department, had lied about a theft case and drug use on past applications to multiple law enforcement agencies.

The case was referred by AZPOST auditors to director Jack Lane, who advised Marana police to remove Lovett from the academy, pending the outcome of his AZPOST case, the document said.

Pima County sheriff\u2019s recruit

Moon applied to the Sheriff\u2019s Department in June, when a new-audit hire by AZPOST discovered that he lied on previous TPD applications about a theft case against him and drug use, documents show.

The audit discovered that Moon had been permanently disqualified from TPD in 2009 for admitting he lied on the application and during a polygraph.

Moon was employed as a corrections officer at the Pima County jail when he applied to become a deputy and entered the sheriff\u2019s academy last fall. He was removed from the academy in August and returned to his position as a corrections officer, the document said.

"}, {"id":"e2d764c8-8ecc-582b-9ed0-000d1b8b2041","type":"article","starttime":"1474754160","starttime_iso8601":"2016-09-24T14:56:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1474801288","priority":35,"sections":[{"weekend":"entertainment/weekend"},{"lifestyles":"lifestyles"},{"travel":"travel"}],"flags":{"web_only":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Travel Solutions: 'Airline math' cuts traveler's refund","url":"http://tucson.com/entertainment/weekend/article_e2d764c8-8ecc-582b-9ed0-000d1b8b2041.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/entertainment/weekend/travel-solutions-airline-math-cuts-traveler-s-refund/article_e2d764c8-8ecc-582b-9ed0-000d1b8b2041.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/entertainment/weekend/travel-solutions-airline-math-cuts-traveler-s-refund/article_e2d764c8-8ecc-582b-9ed0-000d1b8b2041.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Christopher Elliott\nThe Travel Troubleshooter","prologue":"When American Airlines downgrades John Rodda on all but one leg of his trip, the airline offers him nothing. Can it do that?","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#columnist","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{},"revision":7,"commentID":"e2d764c8-8ecc-582b-9ed0-000d1b8b2041","body":"

Q: I had round-trip tickets to fly from Cleveland to Bangor, Maine, via Philadelphia on American Airlines recently. Three of the four flights were in first class. I paid a total of $957.

American made unrequested changes to my flights several times, resulting in a downgrade to economy class for all but one leg. There was no offer of a refund for the difference between the cost of the three first-class flights that I paid for and the one first-class flight that I received.

I contacted customer service, and they directed me to the refunds department. An airline representative told me to submit the request again after I completed the flights, which is not the response that I expected.

I submitted a request after my last flight, but after waiting several weeks and then resubmitting it, I\u2019ve received no response. I\u2019d like an apology and a refund of the fare difference. \u2014 John Rodda, Rocky River, Ohio

A: This one\u2019s simple. American Airlines sold you three flights in first class; it should have delivered them. If it didn\u2019t, it should have refunded the difference between economy class and first class on the day you purchased the tickets.

But that\u2019s not how airline math works. Airlines calculate the fare difference on an involuntary downgrade based on the price the day of the flight, not the day you booked the flight. As you probably know, the price of an airline ticket changes right until the moment of departure. The numbers work to the airline\u2019s advantage in a big way, because an economy-class ticket is much more expensive on the day of travel.

So the difference between first and economy class may be only a few dollars or, strangely, it may have a negative value. That\u2019s right, unbelievably, the economy-class fare to which you were \u201cdowngraded\u201d could cost more than your advance-purchase first-class ticket.

When we spoke, your estimate of the fare difference was about $200. By American\u2019s estimate, it was $112. That\u2019s airline math!

I have no idea why American ignored your repeated efforts to obtain a refund. You could have contacted a customer-service executive at the airline.

I list their names, email addresses and phone numbers on my consumer-advocacy site: elliott.org/company-contacts/american-airlines

I think this kind of airline math is morally wrong and opportunistic. But American is hardly alone. This is how virtually all airlines do it.

I contacted American on your behalf. It refunded the $112 fare difference.

It\u2019s not quite the $200 you were hoping for, but it\u2019s better than nothing.

"}, {"id":"dd1e985d-dd39-525a-b9ab-3e08b2378855","type":"article","starttime":"1474596720","starttime_iso8601":"2016-09-22T19:12:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1474755253","priority":45,"sections":[{"college":"news/local/education/college"}],"flags":{"web_only":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Hart to get full salary after leaving University of Arizona presidency","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/education/college/article_dd1e985d-dd39-525a-b9ab-3e08b2378855.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/education/college/hart-to-get-full-salary-after-leaving-university-of-arizona/article_dd1e985d-dd39-525a-b9ab-3e08b2378855.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/education/college/hart-to-get-full-salary-after-leaving-university-of-arizona/article_dd1e985d-dd39-525a-b9ab-3e08b2378855.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":3,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Carol Ann Alaimo\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Will then take sabbatical before returning as faculty member.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["ua president","ann weaver hart","arizona board of regents","ua president's search"],"internalKeywords":["#bestof","#top5","#latest","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"30b8b55f-b4e3-542f-a2f8-131cc07a0695","description":"Ann Weaver Hart University of Arizona president","byline":"A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"415","height":"620","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/0b/30b8b55f-b4e3-542f-a2f8-131cc07a0695/5743f8350d843.image.jpg?resize=415%2C620"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"149","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/0b/30b8b55f-b4e3-542f-a2f8-131cc07a0695/55ea173f4024a.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/0b/30b8b55f-b4e3-542f-a2f8-131cc07a0695/5743f8350d843.image.jpg?crop=1177%2C662%2C0%2C482&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/0b/30b8b55f-b4e3-542f-a2f8-131cc07a0695/5743f8350d843.image.jpg?crop=1177%2C662%2C0%2C482&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":18,"commentID":"dd1e985d-dd39-525a-b9ab-3e08b2378855","body":"

The board that oversees the University of Arizona has approved \u201ctransition terms\u201d for President Ann Weaver Hart that will force taxpayers to cover two presidential salaries next school year.

Hart\u2019s deal with the Arizona Board of Regents also grants her an immediate year-long sabbatical when she steps down as president and becomes a professor \u2014 even though Hart doesn\u2019t qualify for a sabbatical under UA policy.

Hart will continue to receive $475,000 a year in presidential base pay until June 2018, but will surrender the presidency in 2017 under what a regents official described in a Thursday email to the Arizona Daily Star as a \u201cTermination by Board without Cause.\u201d

Regents general counsel Nancy Tribbensee told the board that Hart \u201chas agreed to terminate (her) contract\u201d to allow her successor to start work in 2017.

Hart\u2019s June announcement that she planned to step down as president when her contract ends followed months of controversy and mounting donor outrage over her decision to join the board that oversees DeVry University.

The for-profit college, which pays Hart $170,000 a year in salary and stock to serve on its board, is facing a federal government lawsuit for allegedly deceiving students, claims the company denies.

The Regents have launched a search for a new UA president and hope to have one in place by mid-2017.

Hart will face a big drop in income when her presidential paychecks stop.

Her transition deal calls for her to receive a salary thereafter equivalent to the highest salary paid to any faculty member in the College of Education, where she\u2019ll work as a professor. The Regents agreed to the professorship when they hired Hart in 2012.

The Star asked UA officials Wednesday to provide Hart\u2019s new salary figures by Thursday, but they didn\u2019t provide them.

The UA\u2019s 2015 salary database suggests the figure is in the neighborhood of $120,000 to $130,000 a year \u2014 less than one-third of Hart\u2019s current base pay.

The transition term that grants Hart an automatic sabbatical when she steps down as president varies from UA rules governing such leaves.

Employees must have at least six years on the job to qualify for a sabbatical, but Hart will only have five when the deal kicks in next school year.

UA policy also requires sabbatical hopefuls to submit written plans for how they\u2019ll spend their time off, which then must be reviewed by an internal committee to see if they benefit the university.

Hart avoided those requirements by receiving the Regents\u2019 guarantee of time off.

The Star asked Regents by email how they could approve a sabbatical for Hart when they don\u2019t have any sabbatical-granting power under UA policy.

\u201cThe board is not limited by the university sabbatical leave policy in negotiating individual contract terms for the presidents,\u201d Regents spokeswoman Sarah Harper responded.

\u201cThe board is the governing body for the universities and as such it retains the authority over employment related decisions,\u201d she said.

Hart helped develop her transition terms in consultation with former regents chair Jay Heiler of Paradise Valley and current chair Greg Patterson of Scottsdale.

The board approved the deal unanimously at its meeting in Flagstaff on Thursday.

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Liz Martinez couldn\u2019t contain her frustration during a public forum hosted by behavioral health insurer Cenpatico Integrated Care last week.

As CEO Terry Stevens described, to a crowd of about 40 people, Cenpatico\u2019s success in stabilizing members who are in crisis, Martinez raised her hand.

\u201cI don\u2019t believe that to be true,\u201d she said. The victims advocate described months of struggling to get help for her then-fianc\u00e9 as he descended into a full-blown manic crisis this spring.

The man, who has bipolar disorder, began saying in March that his medications weren\u2019t working anymore. He went days without sleeping and couldn\u2019t sit still. He once tried to open the car door as she was driving 55 mph. But the agency treating him said he had to wait for his May appointment to get a medication review, Martinez said.

In the meantime, he deteriorated mentally and physically. He lost 30 pounds. At one point he approached police officers on the street and asked to be arrested. Yet Martinez couldn\u2019t convince crisis responders or behavioral health providers that he was a danger to himself and needed to be hospitalized.

He was eventually hospitalized and put on new medications, but he\u2019s not the same, Martinez said in an interview. He lost his full-time job as a cook during the breakdown and is still trying to get back to a place of stability. After nearly having a breakdown herself, Martinez ended their engagement; she said she didn\u2019t feel she could marry him, knowing he was completely at the mercy of a broken system.

\u201cI still feel like he\u2019s my best friend. I just can\u2019t trust what would happen if he had another episode,\u201d she said.

Mental health advocates say vulnerable patients are bearing the brunt of upheaval in the public behavioral health system since Cenpatico, the for-profit subsidiary of publicly traded insurance giant Centene Corp., became Southern Arizona\u2019s regional behavioral health authority last October.

In Arizona, RBHAs contract with the state Medicaid agency, AHCCCS, and administer Medicaid dollars to contracted behavioral health providers who treat low-income patients. This is Cenpatico\u2019s first foray into Pima County after 10 years in rural parts of the state.

Some patients are in turmoil after the closure of Pasadera Behavioral Health Network, a provider that shut down this month in the face of mounting financial strain. The pressures included Cenpatico\u2019s recruitment of other providers whose services would replace Pasadera\u2019s, along with reduced reimbursements.

For Johnny Hostetler\u2019s 27-year-old daughter \u2014 a Pasadera patient who didn\u2019t want her name used \u2014 the agency\u2019s closure meant a transition to CODAC Health, Recovery & Wellness and another round of intake interviews and psychiatric evaluations.

But Hostetler said her daughter\u2019s transition was beset by confusion and delays. That was likely worsened by an increase in volume at CODAC, as it received patients moving from the shuttered Pasadera, a CODAC spokeswoman said.

It took weeks for Pasadera to transfer medical records to CODAC and more time to get an appointment with CODAC. In the meantime, Hostetler said her daughter ran out of the medication that keeps her stable. Her former Pasadera psychiatrist couldn\u2019t write her another prescription because she was no longer his patient, but she wasn\u2019t yet a CODAC patient, Hostetler said. Her daughter has bipolar disorder and severe anxiety.

\u201cShe was holding on without the Zoloft, but I could see her spiraling,\u201d Hostetler said. She resorted to buying Zoloft for $9 a pill on the black market after her daughter had a breakdown. They cut the pills in half to make them last longer.

\u201cI\u2019ve never done anything like that in my life, but you get desperate,\u201d she said.

Once the Pasadera records were transferred, CODAC told Hostletler\u2019s daughter to show up in the early morning for the chance to get a same-day appointment \u2014 if there was an opening and she is at the front of the line. She showed up between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. for three days in a row before she was seen by an intake specialist.

Hostetler said her daughter still hasn\u2019t had an appointment with a psychiatrist, which was scheduled for 90 days after her initial visit last month.

Early-morning waits for patients desperate for treatment aren\u2019t unusual these days, providers say. Overburdened intake agencies commonly tell patients to show up early for a chance at getting seen that day \u2014 for some, that\u2019s the only way to initiate treatment for specialty services that require a referral, said Deb Seng of Our Family Services. The agency\u2019s therapists often end up providing their services unbilled, because it can take six to 10 weeks to get the referral that allows them to bill Cenpatico, she said.

Seng said caseworkers are spending hours, day after day, waiting alongside their clients, hoping for an appointment with an intake specialist. In the meantime, patients are nearing the point of crisis, she said.

\u201cNot only are they breaking into psychosis, they\u2019re devolving into suicidal and homicidal thoughts,\u201d she said at the public forum. \u201cOur therapists are sitting in the homes of members who are saying, \u2018I am going to kill someone if I don\u2019t get help today.\u2019\u201d

CENPATICO OUTREACH

After Martinez spoke up at the forum last week, Cenpatico\u2019s CEO listened and said the insurer would investigate her then-fianc\u00e9\u2019s treatment, reviewing records and conducting interviews with the providers involved.

CEO Stevens acknowledged that Cenpatico hasn\u2019t managed a smooth changeover from Pima County\u2019s last RBHA, the nonprofit Community Partnership for Southern Arizona. She said she takes to heart the criticisms aired last week during the forum.

\u201cI\u2019m not unfamiliar or unwilling to look at the challenges,\u201d she told the crowd. The transition \u201cwasn\u2019t as smooth as I would have anticipated or I wanted, but it\u2019s not for lack of trying and we continue to do that.\u201d

Martinez\u2019 concerns were among many raised at the event, the first of three public forums to be hosted by Cenpatico this month. Attendees painted a picture of an underfunded and chaotic public mental health care system, with deep-seated problems exacerbated by a tumultuous transition to Cenpatico.

One mental health provider described case managers\u2019 impossibly high caseloads of more than 200 patients. Constant turnover due to burn-out means patients rarely have the same case manager for long, contributing to fractured care, patient stress and delays. Behavioral health agencies are facing high demand for services, while dealing with new stringent reporting requirements and contract cuts from Cenpatico.

Another provider spoke up in support of Cenpatico\u2019s ambitious goals and efforts to reform the public mental health system.

\u201cI think you\u2019ve bitten off a lot, but it needed to be tackled and attempted,\u201d said Margaret Higgins, executive director of The Haven, a residential treatment facility. \u201cWe\u2019ll come out at the other end stronger and better.\u201d

One woman questioned when the public could see the mortality and morbidity patient data that RBHAs collect, which could illuminate how patients are faring under Cenpatico. Cenpatico\u2019s Stevens said that data would be posted on Cenpatico\u2019s website after it\u2019s calculated, following the end of the first contract year.

This is the second year Cenpatico has hosted community forums in Pima County. Those sessions are a crucial way for the insurer to engage with the community and provide updates on services, Stevens said in a emailed statement.

PATIENTS IN CHAOS

To serve their patients in a reasonable time frame, local behavioral health agencies need more funding and more staffing, said Stephania O\u2019Neill, the former CEO of behavioral health agency Compass, which merged with another agency in 2013 to become Pasadera.

\u201cIt\u2019s not like the provider doesn\u2019t want to do the job,\u201d she said at the forum. \u201cIt\u2019s a workforce issue. It\u2019s a resource issue. \u2026 I\u2019m tired of people telling me, \u2018It\u2019s just the way it is, there\u2019s nothing you can do.\u2019 I won\u2019t accept it.\u201d

In an interview, Seng said Our Family\u2019s clients are some of the community\u2019s most vulnerable, and barriers to getting them treatment must be torn down for everyone\u2019s sake.

\u201cIf we don\u2019t find solutions to get timely services for these folks, they will disengage completely and are likely to live out their lives on the streets,\u201d she said.

After the forum, Stevens said she\u2019d heard about patients having to wait in the morning for appointments even before Cenpatico entered Pima County. But she acknowledged that access issues for patients may have been compounded by the transition.

O\u2019Neill suggested establishing an independent community task force comprised of experts without a financial stake in the system to help address fundamental problems. Stevens said that was a good idea.

\u201cI truly can\u2019t express how thankful I am that you\u2019re being honest,\u201d she told the crowd. \u201cThe only way we can fix things is if we know that they\u2019re happening.\u201d

INTEGRATED CARE

Other Pima County patients are frustrated with the limitations of Cenpatico\u2019s network for medical providers.

Cenpatico\u2019s medical coverage is part of AHCCCS\u2019s broader plan to integrate behavioral and medical coverage for people on Medicaid with serious mental illness. The goal is to better coordinate care for people in that group whose life expectancy is, on average, nearly three decades shorter than that of the general public.

But that means patients in the behavioral health care system no longer have a choice about which AHCCCS plan they enroll in for their medical care \u2014 they are automatically enrolled in Cenpatico\u2019s plan, which might not contract with their long-time doctors.

Megan Gregory, 25, has bipolar disorder, OCD and anxiety, as well as a rare heart condition that causes an abnormally high resting heart rate. Her cardiologist of seven years isn\u2019t in Cenpatico\u2019s network.

Gregory said she wanted to opt out of Cenpatico\u2019s medical plan to stay with her doctor, but Cenpatico told her since other cardiologists were in their network, she couldn\u2019t opt out.

\u201cOpting out is reserved for occasions where there may only be one specialist that provides the service that the member needs and that provider has elected not to contract with the RBHA,\u201d AHCCCS spokeswoman Monica Coury said in an email.

Gregory is now planning to disenroll from Cenpatico behavioral health care coverage and pay for her mental health needs out of pocket so she can stay with the doctor who knows her heartbeat so well that he can hear the slightest anomaly, she said.

\u201cShe\u2019s having to choose between her medical and behavioral health care,\u201d said her mother, Angela Lane, a social worker.

Coury said patients in active treatment with an out-of-network doctor \u2014 such as for cancer treatments or pregnancy \u2014 can stay with the doctor for the duration of their treatment. For patients who aren\u2019t in active treatment but have an established relationship with the doctor, AHCCCS requires the RBHA to reach out to the doctor and offer a contract. If the doctor declines, that\u2019s his or her choice, she said.

\u201cThis is common in any type of insurance,\u201d Coury said in an email. \u201cYour commercial carrier will not pay out of network for care you can receive from one of their contracted providers.\u201d

Cenpatico has more than 6,500 specialty and behavioral health providers in its Southern Arizona network, and plans to continue adding doctors, Stevens said.

\u201cOur provider network is robust and continues to expand as our membership grows,\u201d she said.

There\u2019s only so much Cenpatico can do in the face of a chronically underfunded public mental health system, Clarke Romans, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Arizona, said at the forum.

Real change will require the political will to devote more resources to mental health, he said. More than 650,000 people in Arizona have serious mental illness, he said. That\u2019s a large constituency and they \u2014 and their loved ones \u2014 must exercise their right to vote, he said.

\u201cThis is a political problem,\u201d he said. When it comes to mental health in the U.S., he said, \u201cWe\u2019re big, we\u2019re rich, and we\u2019re doing a terrible job.\u201d

"}, {"id":"56ba50f0-7c30-11e6-8d00-033d88fb7af2","type":"article","starttime":"1474052400","starttime_iso8601":"2016-09-16T12:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1474583988","priority":40,"sections":[{"football":"sports/arizonawildcats/football"},{"blog":"sports/arizonawildcats/football/blog"},{"crime":"news/local/crime"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Ex-Wildcat Orlando Bradford faces new domestic violence charges","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/article_56ba50f0-7c30-11e6-8d00-033d88fb7af2.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/ex-wildcat-orlando-bradford-faces-new-domestic-violence-charges/article_56ba50f0-7c30-11e6-8d00-033d88fb7af2.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/ex-wildcat-orlando-bradford-faces-new-domestic-violence-charges/article_56ba50f0-7c30-11e6-8d00-033d88fb7af2.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":2,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"A second victim came forward Thursday, saying he had previously abused her.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":["university of arizona","tucson","crime","orlando bradford"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog","#editorspick"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"7895f257-552f-5e3d-a95e-a6a88ff7a361","description":"Orlando Bradford","byline":"Courtesy Tucson Police Department","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"480","height":"600","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/89/7895f257-552f-5e3d-a95e-a6a88ff7a361/57db39044fbbb.image.jpg?resize=480%2C600"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/89/7895f257-552f-5e3d-a95e-a6a88ff7a361/57db39044fbbb.image.jpg?crop=480%2C270%2C0%2C201&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/89/7895f257-552f-5e3d-a95e-a6a88ff7a361/57db39044fbbb.image.jpg?crop=480%2C270%2C0%2C201&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/89/7895f257-552f-5e3d-a95e-a6a88ff7a361/57db39044fbbb.image.jpg?crop=480%2C270%2C0%2C201"}}}],"revision":27,"commentID":"56ba50f0-7c30-11e6-8d00-033d88fb7af2","body":"

Former Arizona Wildcats running back Orlando Bradford has been arrested on four new charges of domestic violence after a woman came forward Thursday with new allegations, police say.

The woman contacted police Thursday following news reports of Bradford\u2019s arrest on suspicion of seven felony counts of domestic violence, said Sgt. Pete Dugan, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

\"Detectives investigated all day and determined that this definitely did happen, and there was enough probable cause to obtain a warrant,\" he said.

Bradford, 20, was already being held at the Pima County jail in connection with the first victim's claims when police \u201cre-booked\u201d him on four new charges stemming from their investigation of the second woman\u2019s claims, Dugan said.

The woman told police she was abused while in a relationship with Bradford. No details were immediately available Friday morning.

Bradford's bond was initially set at $20,000, but has been increased to $40,000 in light of the news charges, jail records show.

The victim in the first case, a fellow UA student, told police that Bradford first struck her at his home Monday night after they argued over a scratch on his car, the police report stated.

Newly released court documents show that Bradford strangled her several times, at one point telling her, \"say bye to your mom.\"

He proceeded to drag her upstairs to his bedroom and begin punching her in the ribs, saying, \"tell me the truth or this is going on all night long,\" according to the court documents.

She told police that she stayed the night at his house out of fear, and he took her home in the morning.

Tuesday night, Bradford picked her up from work and took her back to his apartment, the documents says.

Bradford struck the victim again Tuesday night, according to reports, after they fought over a Frosty he brought her back from Wendy's. She said she did not want to eat the Frosty because she was cold, and Bradford became angry.

Bradford\u2019s roommate told her she should have some, since Bradford had purchased it for her. She then ate a few bites, at which point Bradford became upset that she was listening to another person instead of him, according to the police report.

The victim went outside, telling him she was leaving, but instead he pulled her into his car and slapped her on the face, causing her nose to bleed, according to the complaint.

Bradford then pulled her head into his lap and told her, \"go upstairs, don't look or talk to anybody.

After they returned to his bedroom, Bradford asked the victim if she was texting \"another dude,\" pushed her onto the bed and began choking her, saying that if she didn't tell the truth he would choke her until she blacked out, the court document said.

The woman told police that Bradford let go of her neck, locked the bedroom door and took his shirt off, before punching her in the ribs.

She told him he was sorry for lying, and the pair went to sleep, according to the court document.

In the morning, the victim called her mother, who called the police.

When they arrived, investigators noted bruises and marks on her neck, arms, ribs, stomach and head, the court document says.

Bradford was arrested Wednesday afternoon and dismissed from the team shortly after.

After Bradford was read his rights, he told investigators that he grabbed the woman by the neck once, and moved her against her will twice, saying that he caused the her injuries, according to the court documents.

No court date has been set, but Bradford will likely make an appearance before a judge by the end of the month.

"}, {"id":"514127f4-81b2-5eba-86fd-b11eed0479c3","type":"article","starttime":"1473907140","starttime_iso8601":"2016-09-14T19:39:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1474482485","priority":30,"sections":[{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"}],"flags":{"web_only":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Shield sought on records of woman in alleged rape by former University of Arizona dean","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/article_514127f4-81b2-5eba-86fd-b11eed0479c3.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/shield-sought-on-records-of-woman-in-alleged-rape-by/article_514127f4-81b2-5eba-86fd-b11eed0479c3.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/shield-sought-on-records-of-woman-in-alleged-rape-by/article_514127f4-81b2-5eba-86fd-b11eed0479c3.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Private investigator has requested information about alleged victim from Sheriff's Department.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"79c40e1a-345e-5327-848b-b61ebefb231b","description":"Pima County sheriff","byline":"A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"452","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/9c/79c40e1a-345e-5327-848b-b61ebefb231b/57d99c613d75f.image.jpg?resize=620%2C452"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"73","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/9c/79c40e1a-345e-5327-848b-b61ebefb231b/57d99c613d75f.image.jpg?resize=100%2C73"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"219","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/9c/79c40e1a-345e-5327-848b-b61ebefb231b/57d99c613d75f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C219"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"747","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/9c/79c40e1a-345e-5327-848b-b61ebefb231b/57d99c613d75f.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C747"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"514127f4-81b2-5eba-86fd-b11eed0479c3","body":"

Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos is asking a judge to allow his department to withhold records related to the victim of an alleged sexual assault involving the former UA pharmacy dean.

In a Sept. 8 filing in Pima County Superior Court, Nanos\u2019 attorney, Daryl Audilett asked Judge Sarah Simmons to block requests for information by a private investigator working on behalf of Jesse Lyle Bootman.

Last October, Bootman, then dean of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, was indicted on felony charges related to the alleged rape of an unconscious woman in his Foothills home, court records show. He has since been indicted on additional charges of kidnapping and drugging the woman.

Nanos\u2019 request says that since a gag order was issued no other records requests have been made for information about Bootman, but Bootman\u2019s private investigator has instead requested information about the victim.

In an Aug. 11 public-records request, Randy Downer Jr., of Inter-state Investigative Services, asked for an index of all contact with the victim by the Sheriff\u2019s Department, saying the information was \u201cessential to mounting an effective defense.\u201d

The Sheriff\u2019s Department disagreed.

\u201cThe public records request in question is simply designed to dig up \u2018dirt\u2019 on a sexual assault victim,\u201d Audilett wrote in the complaint. \u201cThe public-records request in question is not an appropriate use of the laws surrounding freedom of information.\u201d

Audilett was unable to comment to the Star as the case is pending litigation. Downer was unable to discuss the case since Judge Scott Rash issued a gag order in March.

\u201cMr. Downer, being a diligent private investigator, of course accesses public records constantly as part of his job,\u201d Michael Bloom, Downer\u2019s attorney, wrote in an email. \u201cAn individual or his investigator does not need a \u2018reason\u2019 to access public records.\u201d

Joshua Hamilton, one of Bootman\u2019s attorneys in the criminal case, also declined to comment because of the gag order.

Dan Barr, counsel to the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, said asking a judge to allow an agency to withhold documents is fairly standard.

This is a \u201ctactic employed by public bodies to discourage people from making requests, and getting the person to drop it,\u201d he said.

Typically, the public agency responds directly to the requester, either providing the information or denying it. If the requester is unhappy with the response, he or she has the option to file suit in court to challenge the denial.

It\u2019s unclear if Nanos responded directly to Downer\u2019s request before filing the complaint in court.

\u201cThe request (for public records) doesn\u2019t violate victim\u2019s rights laws, and it has nothing to do with this crime or the person\u2019s status as a victim,\u201d Barr said. \u201cThe records may not produce anything of value, but what they\u2019re asking for are still public records.\u201d

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At 8 years old, Holland Barr was a dancer, a swimmer, a horseback rider and a cyclist. She loved Brussels sprouts and salmon and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.

Then one day \u2014 Sept. 17, 2014 \u2014 Holland changed.

The child who had slept through the night since infancy was suddenly afraid to go to bed.

The girl who had always been a good eater refused food.

And though Holland had never been seriously ill, she was now in terrible pain. Her head ached. Her stomach hurt.

Eventually she became so weak she required a wheelchair. She needed sunglasses because even ambient light was brighter than she could stand. Small noises seemed ear-piercing.

\u201cMake them go away!\u201d she said at the sound of chirping birds. \u201cThey are hurting my head.\u201d

But as horrifying as it was for her parents and older sister to watch Holland suffer, the worst part was trying to find out what was wrong with her.

For more than a year, the family, who lives in Scottsdale, listened to doctor after doctor say they didn\u2019t know what was wrong with their little girl. Occasionally providers would claim they had pinpointed the problem, but their diagnoses were always incorrect.

Not every doctor
has right answer

Diagnostic errors \u2014 generally defined as delayed, missed and inaccurate diagnoses \u2014 account for an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 U.S. deaths each year. Yet diagnosis is an aspect of medicine that gets little attention and minimal research dollars, says patient safety expert Dr. Mark L. Graber, president and founder of the national nonprofit Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.

While advocates like Graber are working to bring attention to misdiagnosis and its role in patient safety, it remains what a 2015 Institute of Medicine (now National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine) report calls a \u201cblind spot\u201d in medicine.

\u201cDiagnosis is a conversation, that is for sure. It takes both parties and, particularly if the health-care provider isn\u2019t heading the right way, it is absolutely incumbent on patients to do their own research,\u201d says patient safety advocate Helen Haskell of Mothers Against Medical Error. \u201cMost of the people I know with a difficult diagnosis found the answer themselves.\u201d

With more than 10,000 diagnosable conditions plus an estimated 200 new ones each year, and more than 5,000 laboratory tests, not every doctor can have the right answer. The September 2015 report, \u201dDiagnostic Error in Health Care,\u201d using postmortem analyses, implicates inaccurate or delayed diagnoses in one of 10 patient deaths that required an autopsy.

Yet autopsies are conducted in fewer than 6 percent of hospital deaths, down significantly from the mid-1900s. Patient safety advocates say doing more of them could help doctors better spot patterns in diagnostic errors.

Improved communication between providers and patients also could prevent another problem in U.S. medicine: overtesting, overscreening and overtreatment.

\u201cThere are three major players \u2014 the patient, the doctor and the health-care system \u2014 and for sure a lot of the onus is on the patient,\u201d says Graber, who is a professor emeritus of medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a senior fellow at RTI International, a nonprofit research organization based in North Carolina.

\u201cIn an ideal world, and with a terrific health care system that would not be the case. But we are a long, long way from that. In the meantime, you really have to watch out for yourself.\u201d

It wasn\u2019t Crohn\u2019s

Tim Bentley\u2019s first clue, in retrospect, came from his visit to a Tucson physiatrist \u2014 a nerve doctor \u2014 in the spring of 2007, when he couldn\u2019t move his left big toe. Bentley, 40 at the time and working in commercial real estate, was a long-distance runner logging 30 to 40 miles per week.

A series of tests didn\u2019t turn up with anything except that Bentley was low on vitamin B12. That could be due to a number of things \u2014 trauma, poor diet, extreme alcoholism, irritable bowel syndrome and, in rare cases, lymphoma.

Bentley never did resolve his toe problem. But learning that he was low on B12 made him wonder about his health.

By the fall of 2007 he told his wife about some other problems he\u2019d been having \u2014 watery diarrhea three or four times a day, pains in his abdomen that felt like spasms, and a hard mass in his lower abdomen.

She told him to go to the doctor, and a local gastroenterologist diagnosed Crohn\u2019s disease. Bentley began keeping a diet diary and started two prescription drugs for the Crohn\u2019s \u2014 Entocort and Asacol.

As it turned out, he did not have Crohn\u2019s disease. But it would not be until April 2009 that he learned what was really wrong.

\u201cGuys can be dumbasses sometimes,\u201d he says. \u201cI was in shape and I downplayed my symptoms. When my symptoms didn\u2019t resolve, I eventually did speak up but I didn\u2019t do it right away, and I didn\u2019t ask enough questions.\u201d

While on the Crohn\u2019s disease drugs, Bentley felt increasingly lethargic. He still had abdominal cramps and was battling sinus infections and shortness of breath. Then his bowel movements turned black.

More than a year after the Crohn\u2019s diagnosis, Bentley went back to the same Tucson gastroenterologist, who ordered a CT scan. Finally Bentley got the correct diagnosis \u2014 Stage IV non-Hodgkin follicular lymphoma.

Chemotherapy and radiation sent the disease into remission by March 2010.

As retail manager for The Core, Tucson Medical Center\u2019s wellness center at La Encantada, Bentley now shares his experience with other cancer patients and tells anyone who asks to be proactive. Bring a notebook, document what the doctor says, and write down both questions and answers, he advises.

\u201cIf you are an active and engaged patient, you are going to be a great patient,\u201d says Bentley, 50, who is also president of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners.

\u201cDoctors are smart, but so are you. Doctors go to school for a long time and know a lot of big words. But don\u2019t be intimidated by this. Patients have to be engaged. They have to ask the questions.\u201d

Indeed, Graber of the Society to Improve Diagnosis, says problems with communication are often at the root of diagnostic errors.

\u201cDoctors have so little time and patients feel like they are not being listened to,\u201d he says. \u201cPart of it is saying, \u2018I don\u2019t think you are listening to me. I don\u2019t think you are getting this. I think I need a second opinion.\u2019\u201d

Doctors should welcome patients who seek second opinions because fresh eyes catch mistakes, Graber says.

\u201cTrying to get an expert as soon as you can is very important,\u201d he says.

As medicine evolves, new discoveries change old assumptions. The New England Journal of Medicine just last month published a study led by Harvard researchers who found some patients are at risk for being misdiagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

The researchers, calling their findings a \u201ccautionary tale,\u201d found genetic testing was misdiagnosing some patients as having the condition when they didn\u2019t. The testing was based on studies that did not account for racial variants, the study concluded.

Patient profiles for certain diseases can change over time, too. Throat cancer, for example, was historically linked to smoking and alcohol use and seen in older patients. It is now being seen in seemingly healthy middle-aged men who have never smoked.

Tucson head and neck surgeon Dr. Steven J. Wang says the younger demographic is getting cancers of the oropharynx from HPV \u2014 the human papillomavirus. But the symptoms could be easily missed by a primary-care doctor unfamiliar with that shift.

Not a hypochondriac

The Coalition to Improve Diagnosis, which includes several leading health-care organizations and medical societies, is raising awareness about how to be a better patient and advocating for more research funding of diagnostic error.

Among tips for patients \u2014 no news about a test result is not always good news. In other words, follow up. Also, test results aren\u2019t always right \u2014 and even if they are, they don\u2019t tell a complete picture.

\u201cTests should not be treated as an answer, but an aid,\u201d says Haskell, who in addition to her work with Mothers Against Medical Error is co-chair of the patient engagement committee at the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.

Holland Barr\u2019s parents say their daughter\u2019s primarycare physician provided much-needed support during the two years they visited dozens of doctors, including kidney specialists, gastroenterologists, psychiatrists and pain management specialists in Arizona and California trying to find help for their daughter. She listened, and it helped.

But Karen Blandini, Holland\u2019s mom, was surprised that so many specialists they saw did not seem to consider her daughter\u2019s history, which included no chronic illnesses, sleep problems or emotional issues.

Among the diagnoses they heard were Lyme disease, lactose intolerance, babesia, abdominal migraines, a possible brain tumor, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety. One doctor said Holland was feigning illness to get attention, Blandini says. Another told Blandini to see a psychiatrist.

\u201cYou don\u2019t know my daughter,\u201d Blandini found herself repeating. \u201cShe has no history of hypochondria.\u201d

Holland\u2019s obsessions mounted. She used a measuring tape to determine whether anyone had moved the carefully organized belongings in her bedroom. If she thought someone had been in her room, she got hysterical and would tell her family her room was contaminated. Holland\u2019s muscles were atrophying and her parents begged her to eat. Blandini, who owns her own financial consulting business, had to stop working.

Blandini\u2019s entire family, including older daughter Halston, was in a constant state of stress.

Their experience isn\u2019t unusual, says Haskell, of Mothers Against Medical Error.

\u201cWhen doctors can\u2019t reach a diagnosis they are far too quick to jump to a psychiatric diagnosis,\u201d she said. \u201cThey say, \u2018If I can\u2019t figure out what this is, it must be imaginary.\u2019\u201d

Cancer that wasn\u2019t

Diana Wilkinson still remembers standing in her Tucson kitchen in December 2008 and getting the call that changed her life. Her primary care doctor, reading from the results of a scan, told her she had lung cancer.

Wilkinson, who was then 58 years old and had never smoked, put out the word that she was looking for any and all resources about non-small cell lung cancer. She got her affairs in order. Her daughter flew in from New Mexico, her son and mother from Kansas, and her sister from D.C.

But when surgeons removed what they believed was cancer from the upper left lobe of her lung, the pathology did not show cancer. Rather, it was coccidioidomycosis, a respiratory disease endemic to Arizona that\u2019s commonly known as valley fever.

The disease is frequently misdiagnosed by doctors from other parts of the country who are not familiar with it, says Dr. John Galgiani, a physician who directs the UA\u2019s Valley Fever Center for Excellence.

Wilkinson harbored no anger for her doctor, who didn\u2019t attend medical school in the Southwest. In fact, some good came out of the ordeal. Her relationships improved. She got out of a marriage that was no longer working and she began doing Pilates. One of the most important things she did, she says, was to begin volunteering with the Valley Fever Center for Excellence, doing education and awareness.

Her experience and outreach already are helping others. When one of her friends, who lives in Tucson during the winter, fell ill back home in the Midwest, she knew to ask for a Valley fever test because of Wilkinson. She tested positive and was successfully treated with anti-fungal medications.

Deadly sepsis

Diagnostic errors are the leading type of paid medical malpractice claims, the 2015 Institute of Medicine report says. The report also found that such errors are almost twice as likely to result in death compared to other claims, and represent the highest proportion of total payments.

Three misdiagnosed conditions most commonly leading to insurance claims are cancers, infections and cardiovascular conditions, says Graber, of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.

The CDC recently launched a public awareness campaign about sepsis, which can get missed in emergency rooms. Sepsis happens as the result of the body\u2019s overwhelming response to an infection, and in 80 percent of cases the infection originates outside of the hospital.

Four types of infections are most often associated with sepsis, which the CDC calls an \u201cunrecognized killer\u201d because its symptoms often go unrecognized until it\u2019s too late \u2014 lung, urinary tract, skin and gut. Symptoms include shivering, extreme pain or discomfort, clammy or sweaty skin, confusion or disorientation, shortness of breath and a high heart rate.

In May, Tucson resident Sheri L. Hill filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Tucson Medical Center over the sepsis-related death of her 30-year-old son, Jared Dustin Hill. The hospital denies wrongdoing.

On March 17, 2015, Jared went to the TMC emergency department, which was unusually busy. Jared had a sore red leg and described the pain to hospital officials as a 10 out of 10, state records show.

Sheri called the hospital several times while Jared waited, saying her son was in pain and needed help. The state report indicates hospital officials told her that sicker patients needed to be seen first, and that he was being checked on.

The father of two waited for seven hours and left without being treated, a state report and court documents say. About 11 hours after leaving, the state report says Jared went to another hospital and was admitted to the intensive-care unit with sepsis. He died March 23.

Tucson Medical Center paid a $1,000 fine to the state for failing to ensure that three patients, including Jared, received emergency services the night of March 17.

The incident prompted TMC, which has the state\u2019s third-busiest emergency department, to make several changes to its emergency-room processes and procedures, including ensuring it checks the vital signs of patients in the waiting room every two hours.

TMC and other local hospitals are also working on ongoing programs to improve sepsis detection, particularly in the emergency department.

An answer for Holland

Dr. Sue Swedo saw her first case of an autoimmune encephalitis known as PANDAS \u2014 pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections \u2014 30 years ago when she was a new fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health.

The patient was a 12-year-old girl who described having obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD. But unlike a typical OCD case, the girl said she could pinpoint the hour and day her symptoms began.

She had been at the pediatrician and, on the way out, picked up a wrapped and unused hypodermic needle someone had dropped in the parking lot. She put it in the garbage and by the time she got home she was convinced she had rabies from touching it.

On further questioning, Swedo and her colleagues discovered the girl was at the pediatrician for her third strep infection in a month. Her obsessions had been brought on by her body\u2019s misdirected reaction to the strep infections.

It was a similar story for Holland Barr, whose symptoms left her so sick earlier this year that she said goodbye to her family. She told her mother that life was too hard, that she wanted to die.

In the end she was saved by a correct diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis, more specifically PANS \u2014 pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome.

One of Blandini\u2019s friends had suggested Holland\u2019s problem might be with her immune system. Blandini brought the friend to her daughter\u2019s pediatrician, who listened and, at Blandini\u2019s request, ordered a blood test called the Cunningham panel. The panel confirmed Blandini\u2019s suspicions.

PANDAS and PANS occur when a child\u2019s body, while fighting off a virus or infection, mistakenly targets or disrupts a part of the child\u2019s own body. The illness causes the immune system to attack the brain and results in a range of neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Treatments can include antibiotics, immunosuppressants and, for serious cases, infusions called IVIG, which stands for intravenous immunoglobulin. Parents of children with the disorders describe how receiving IVIG is like \u201cturning the light back on.\u201d

After Holland had just one IVIG treatment, Blandini felt like she had her daughter back. Holland is now 10 and is being treated at a new pediatric postinfectious autoimmune encephalitis center that the UA and Banner Health opened in Tucson this month.

Throughout her daughter\u2019s journey, Blandini recorded each doctor visit. If not for her diligence, Holland could have died, she says.

Her advice to other parents with a sick child: Trust your instincts, be persistent and do your own research.

\u201cThe doctors aren\u2019t magicians,\u201d she says. \u201cThey are human beings like us. They can make mistakes.\u201d

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Students in Pima Community College\u2019s prestigious aviation program are taking extreme measures to stay in school in the midst of an ongoing financial aid freeze.

Some of them have agreed to spend more than 50 hours a week in class to try to work around a federal rule that has had them in financial limbo for months.

\u201cIt\u2019s a huge mess,\u201d said aviation student Dennise Ponce, 27, who was among those cut off from aid in May through no fault of their own.

\u201cThey waited until Sept. 6 to tell us we wouldn\u2019t be getting aid for classes that start on Sept. 12,\u201d she said.

PCC spokeswoman Libby Howell said college officials are doing their best to deal with a complex problem that occurred years ago and only recently came to light.

It arose after PCC discovered in January that someone neglected to get accreditor approval to run the aviation program at Tucson International Airport. The oversight made students ineligible for aid until the matter is sorted out. The accreditor has since approved the airport site but federal aid officials have yet to follow suit.

Ponce and some others have agreed to an interim solution proposed by PCC that adds 16 hours a week to their 38-hour-a-week class schedules.

Adding class hours at a regular campus makes students eligible for aid again because it changes the percentage of schooling they receive at the unapproved airport site.

Ponce, who quit a bartending job and relocated from Nogales, Arizona, to attend PCC, relies on financial aid for her living expenses and well as her college costs. She said she agreed to the extra hours because her only alternative was to drop out \u2014 a prospect she couldn\u2019t abide.

\u201cI really want this,\u201d she said, her voice breaking.

\u201cI\u2019m single so I can go to school for 12 or 13 hours a day and do what I have to do. But what about students who work, or students with families? It\u2019s not fair to them.\u201d

About 150 students are enrolled in the college\u2019s aviation program. It wasn\u2019t immediately clear Wednesday how many are affected by the ongoing aid freeze.

Howell said PCC has been on the phone daily with federal aid officials. But sorting out things is time-consuming and so far the college doesn\u2019t know for sure when things will be back to normal for affected students.

Howell said PCC is \u201chopeful\u201d a solution will be in place before Sept 28.

Students who aren\u2019t in a position to take extra classes have the option to stay home from school for five weeks and make up the missed work later by delaying their graduation for that amount of time, Howell said.

Aviation student Mike Hazen, 30, said he no longer trusts the college\u2019s pronouncements on the situation.

Like Ponce, he intends to take classes for more than 50 hours a week until the problem is cleared up.

He finds it shocking, he said, that students have encountered such difficulties in what is widely regarded as a premier program at PCC.

\u201cI\u2019m mad and frustrated. I\u2019m so sick of all this that I\u2019ve thought about quitting,\u201d Hazen said.

\u201cIt\u2019s sad to say, but right now I wouldn\u2019t recommend Pima College to anyone.\u201d

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Prominent Marana businessman John Kai Jr. was shot twice in May by a disgruntled former employee during a meeting at which the man complained about his severance package, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

Kai, 69, was wounded in the chest and head. He lost his right eye to trauma and will require further medical treatment, say documents filed in Pima County Superior Court. Few details about the shooting have been made public until now.

An arrest warrant was issued soon after the May 4 morning shooting for Ruben Duran Mu\u00f1oz, 63. Mu\u00f1oz turned himself in to authorities at a port of entry in Nogales on May 24.

On June 6, Mu\u00f1oz was indicted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with serious physical injury and burglary.

According to court documents, which were filed by the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office:

Mu\u00f1oz worked for the Kai family for years, and after he retired he \u201chas subsisted on disability since 2013.\u201d

He told his now ex-wife that he was going to hurt Kai because he was not happy about his severance package.

On the morning of the shooting, Mu\u00f1oz went to the offices of Kai Enterprises at 6088 W. Arizona Pavilions Drive near Interstate 10 and North Cortaro Road, and spoke to the office manager. He told her that \u201csomeone at the University of Arizona had told him that he should be further compensated for his work for the Kai family.\u201d

Mu\u00f1oz said he was angry about his disability earnings, and the amount that was being deducted for back child support. He told the office manager that he wanted to talk to Kai and he asked her to translate for him.

The three sat at a large table and Mu\u00f1oz told Kai that \u201che should have been paid more for his years of service.\u201d Kai and the office manager explained to Mu\u00f1oz that \u201che had been fully paid out upon his retirement, including for vacation and sick time and that the business didn\u2019t owe him money.\u201d

Mu\u00f1oz then asked for a $500 loan, and Kai told him he did not have the cash and showed him \u201cthe limited amount of cash in his wallet.\u201d

Mu\u00f1oz then stood up, and Kai and the office manager saw that Mu\u00f1oz was holding a semi-automatic handgun. He said no one was going to laugh at him and that he was going to kill them both.

Mu\u00f1oz then pointed the gun at them, pushed the office manager \u201cslamming her into a partition between areas in the office.\u201d He then shot Kai twice, concluded the documents.

The Kai family \u2014 considered a founding family in Marana \u2014 has agricultural, real estate, construction and other interests in the area, and is one of Marana\u2019s largest landholders. John Kai is the brother of Marana Town Councilman Herb Kai.

Prosecutor Victoria Otto, a deputy county attorney, said no trial date has been set in the case to be heard before Judge Howard J. Fell.

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Four shootings this year involving police or deputies in Tucson have been deemed justified by the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office, documents show.

In a fifth shooting, while not declaring the shooting justified, the County Attorney\u2019s Office declined to file charges against the deputy involved because the state would not be able to prove his actions were not justified, according to a letter written by Kellie Johnson, chief criminal deputy, to Sheriff Chris Nanos.

Prosecutors believe a jury \u201cwould almost certainly find\u201d the shooting \u201cwas reasonable given the circumstances,\u201d Johnson wrote.

\u201cA person can be incorrect in their evaluation of a situation but still be justified,\u201d Johnson wrote about Deputy Kurt Dabb\u2019s shooting of Kyle Montgomery.

The five shootings reviewed \u2014 one fatal \u2014 happened from January to March. Three cases involved Tucson Police Department officers and two cases pertained to Pima County sheriff\u2019s deputies.

All police- and deputy-involved shootings are reviewed by the County Attorney\u2019s Office to determine if the actions of the law enforcement officers were justified. Prosecutors can clear an officer of wrongdoing or pursue criminal charges.

Man threatened
to kill only himself

On Jan. 6, Deputy Dabb shot and wounded Montgomery during an attempt to take Montgomery into custody after Dabb responded to a report of a suspicious person at the Family Dollar on North Sandario Road in the Picture Rocks community.

Dabb saw Montgomery \u201ccrouched down in the middle of the thick brush\u201d near the store and Dabb drew his firearm and ordered Montgomery to come out. Montgomery \u201cindicated he hadn\u2019t done anything and just wanted to kill himself,\u201d records state.

Sgt. Martyn Rosalik drove up and parked his patrol SUV next to Dabb. Rosalik walked with his stun gun out, and indicated he could see Montgomery\u2019s hands and he didn\u2019t have a weapon. He told Montgomery to come out of the brush, according to documents. Montgomery continued \u201cmaking threats to kill himself.\u201d

When Rosalik was closer, he saw Montgomery\u2019s hands move downward and when he raised his hands \u201che was holding a modified rifle.\u201d \u201cMontgomery put the gun underneath his chin and said \u2018Sorry guys,\u2019\u201d states the report.

Meanwhile, Dabb could not see Montgomery\u2019s hands, and heard Rosalik say \u201cNo! No!\u201d \u201cDon\u2019t do it!\u201d state documents. Dabb saw Rosalik back away and Dabb asked the sergeant if Montgomery had a gun, and Rosalik \u201cindicated that he did.\u201d Dabb feared that Montgomery was about to shoot Rosalik and Dabb fired at Montgomery five times, striking Montgomery in the shoulder, records state.

Johnson wrote she found that although Montgomery \u201cwas threatening to only kill himself\u201d and not Rosalik, \u201ca jury would almost certainly find\u201d Dabb\u2019s fear that Rosalik was in imminent danger of deadly harm.\u201d She found \u201cthe state would not be able to prove Deputy Dabb\u2019s conduct was not justified\u201d and declined to file criminal charges against him.

Shooting after pharmacy robbery

On Jan. 12, Deputy Jay Korza shot and wounded Masoud Madhoush after responding to a report of an armed robbery at Walgreens near North Oracle and West Ina roads. When deputies arrived, they saw a man later identified as Madhoush behind the pharmacy counter with a gun in his hand, state documents.

When Madhoush ran from the store and jumped over a wall near Ina Road, Korza fired a rifle once, striking Madhoush.

Korza said he feared that if Madhoush got to Ina he \u201cmay try to carjack someone\u201d or would endanger the public if he escaped, states the report. After the shooting, deputies discovered Madhoush was carrying a pellet gun.

It was found that Korza\u2019s actions were justified, Johnson wrote, because he reasonably believed deadly force was necessary to make an arrest of a person who committed a felony involving a deadly weapon, or believed that the person could endanger others unless caught without delay.

Fatal shooting during standoff

On Jan. 18, Officer Brandon Jimenez fatally shot Jordan Szymanski, who as armed with an AR-15 rifle, during a standoff for several hours at a north-side complex on West Roger Road, just east of North Oracle Road.

The Oro Valley Police Department passed on information to Tucson police that Szymanski\u2019s parents said their son \u201cwas making threats to kill them and police officers, and that he had access to weapons,\u201d documents state.

Tucson police officers went to Szymanski\u2019s duplex and Szymanski \u201crefused to answer the door\u201d and \u201cstarted firing rounds.\u201d Szymanski continued firing a rifle, and hostage negotiators were unable to persuade him to surrender, documents state. Szymanski said he would kill police and he fired more shots.

Jimenez saw Szymanski step out from a corner \u201cwith the rifle in his left hand, his hands pointing upward.\u201d

Szymanski yelled at police to shoot him, and he lowered the rifle and Jimenez fired two shots at Szymanski.

It was found that it was reasonable for Jimenez to believe that Szymanski \u201cposed an imminent threat of deadly physical harm\u201d to others and officers, and that the shooting was justified, Johnson wrote in her letter to Police Chief Chris Magnus.

Knife-wielding man shot

On Feb. 13, Tucson police Officer Troy Lansdale went to do a welfare check at a house on the city\u2019s west side near \u201cA\u201d Mountain. Lansdale fired his gun multiple times and wounded Owen Frank Herrera when Herrera came at Lansdale with a knife, police said.

The finding of the non-fatal shooting was that Lansdale \u201creasonably believed he was in imminent danger of deadly physical harm.\u201d The shooting was determined to be justified, Johnson wrote in her letter to Magnus.

Man pulls gun on officers

On March 15, Tucson police Officers Gary Rosebeck and Mark Molina shot and wounded Carlos Alegria near a duplex in the 5600 block of East Pima Street.

Officers went to the area for a report of a man with a knife confronting construction workers. Other officers, who also responded, said they saw Alegria walking with a knife and one said he saw Alegria had a gun in his waistband.

Officers ordered Alegria to drop the knife, which he did, but then he pulled the gun from his waistband. Officers yelled to Alegria to drop the gun. Molina and Rosebeck both told a superior they fired their guns because Alegria pulled a gun on them. Alegria\u2019s firearm turned out to be a BB gun.

The findings were that state law justifies deadly force by officers when they reasonably believe it is necessary to protect themselves or others.

\u201cGiven the evidence, it is likely that a jury would conclude that the officers\u2019 actions were justified, and the state declined to file criminal charges, Johnson wrote.

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It sounded too good to be true \u2014 an official forecast that 2016 water use in Arizona, California and Nevada will be the lowest since 1992.

That forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was too good to be true \u2014 by the bureau\u2019s own admission. It was widely reported recently as a sign of major progress toward conservation. But what the bureau calls its more accurate forecast, while still showing progress, is significantly higher, predicting water use in the states will be its lowest in 11 years \u2014 not 24.

For those three Lower Colorado River Basin states, the bureau predicts their 2016 total use will be 7.29 million acre-feet of water. That\u2019s enough to serve about twice that many homes with water for a year.

The forecast comes from the bureau\u2019s monthly study that looks up to 24 months ahead to predict how high Lake Mead and other reservoirs will be in a given month.

It\u2019s still good news, the bureau said \u2014 about 200,000 acre-feet less water out of Lake Mead this year than the states have the right to take. It\u2019s also about 150,000 acre-feet less than the states used in 2015.

That\u2019s due to conservation efforts by the three states, bureau officials say. Water officials across the West say the states need to conserve more to keep Lake Mead from dropping so low as to require severe cutbacks in water deliveries, including to Arizona\u2019s $4 billion Central Arizona Project that delivers Tucson\u2019s drinking water. The lake already has fallen more than 100 feet since 1999 due to drought and a chronic \u201cstructural deficit\u201d in which use exceeds supplies even in years of normal runoff.

The other bureau forecast, updated daily, has predicted since late July that the three states will use 6.9 million to almost 7 million acre-feet this year. That\u2019s around 500,000 acre-feet less than they have the right to take.

The last year the three states used less than 7 million was 1992 \u2014 the final year of George H.W. Bush\u2019s presidency. This lower forecast made news in the Las Vegas Review Journal and on the water news website Circle of Blue as a sign of how much progress the three states are making in conservation.

In a water-oriented blog, Albuquerque-based author John Fleck wrote that the 6.9 million forecast illustrated a central point of his new book, \u201cWater is for Fighting Over\u201d: That \u201cwhen people have less water, they use less water \u2014 that we have the ability to significantly reduce our water use in the arid West and still thrive, and that we are in fact already making significant progress.\u201d

But when asked by the Star why the bureau predicted such a dramatic decrease, bureau officials said recently that this forecast is likely to be wrong.

The discrepancy stems from the fact that the agency\u2019s two forecasts have different purposes and rely on different assumptions.

The higher-use forecast comes from a study the bureau uses to predict whether it will have to cut water deliveries to states the following year. That study relies on computer models to project future reservoir conditions and potential dam operations. Those models rely on a range of factors, including existing reservoir conditions and forecasts of how much water will flow into the reservoirs and how much the states will take out of them.

The other forecast helps the bureau\u2019s staff and water users monitor projected water diversions and use to avoid \u201coverruns,\u201d or the diversion of more water than they\u2019re allowed to take, said Paul Matuska, water accounting and verifications manager in the bureau\u2019s Boulder City, Nevada, office. It\u2019s based on the amount of water that users order \u2014 and that the bureau approves \u2014 to be diverted from the river to farms and cities in the three states.

But while the bureau considers the 24-month study forecast more accurate, it\u2019s not planning to abandon the daily forecasts. The two forecasts differ slightly during the year, but they\u2019ll dovetail by year\u2019s end, said Rose Davis, a bureau spokeswoman.

\u201cThe two forecasts begin with the same assumptions of water use for the year, but vary in how the changes in water use are recorded or observed,\u201d Davis said.

Some Lower Basin users are interested in both sets of data and understand their complexities, she said, although the information can seem confusing at times.

"}, {"id":"abd8a05a-6252-5a54-a2c1-dfbac537e99e","type":"article","starttime":"1472955600","starttime_iso8601":"2016-09-03T19:20:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1474659004","priority":45,"sections":[{"education":"news/local/education"},{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"}],"flags":{"web_only":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"One-fifth of Tucson-area kids chronically truant","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/education/article_abd8a05a-6252-5a54-a2c1-dfbac537e99e.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/education/one-fifth-of-tucson-area-kids-chronically-truant/article_abd8a05a-6252-5a54-a2c1-dfbac537e99e.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/education/one-fifth-of-tucson-area-kids-chronically-truant/article_abd8a05a-6252-5a54-a2c1-dfbac537e99e.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":3,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":1,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Yoohyun Jung Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"All while resources to lure kids back to school are diminishing.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["education","pima county","chronic absenteeism","chronic truancy","trunacy","pima county attorney's office","barbara lawall","tucson unified school district","u.s. department of education","office of civil rights","pima county community justice board","pima county juvenile court"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog","#top5"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"4523942b-b82c-516d-a9cb-980d6b326d24","description":"Tucson High School senior Perla Samaniego went from routinely ditching classes to joining the cheer squad in her junior year.","byline":"Ron Medvescek / Arizona Daily Star","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"413","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/52/4523942b-b82c-516d-a9cb-980d6b326d24/57ca00f3237ca.image.jpg?resize=620%2C413"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/52/4523942b-b82c-516d-a9cb-980d6b326d24/57ca00f3237ca.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/52/4523942b-b82c-516d-a9cb-980d6b326d24/57ca00f3237ca.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"682","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/52/4523942b-b82c-516d-a9cb-980d6b326d24/57ca00f3237ca.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C682"}}}],"revision":52,"commentID":"abd8a05a-6252-5a54-a2c1-dfbac537e99e","body":"

The single mother would say goodbye to her son before she left for work each morning and then \u2014 or so she thought \u2014 he would catch his bus to middle school.

\u201cHe was up when I left and he would go back to sleep,\u201d she says.

That school year, the boy missed three or four days of school a week, either because he was sleeping or because his worried mother was hauling him to doctor\u2019s appointments for his sleep and anxiety issues. The Star is not identifying them because the boy ended up in the juvenile criminal-justice system because of his chronic truancy.

Thanks to law enforcement intervention and medical help, he started attending classes regularly again and eventually graduated from high school.

He was one of the lucky ones. Education and justice officials say truancy is pervasive in Tucson-area schools \u2014 and there are fewer measures to push kids to show up for class or to lure them back if they become chronically truant.

About one in five Pima County students missed 15 or more days of the 2013-2014 school year, new data from the U.S. Department of Education\u2019s Office of Civil Rights show. That\u2019s higher than the national average of about 13 percent.

Most of the schools with the worst truancy rates are alternative district or charter schools, where half of all enrolled students missed 15 or more of the school year\u2019s roughly 180 days. Among those with the highest chronic truancy were Pantano High, Ombudsman \u2014 Charter Valencia, Project More Alternative, Marana Career-Technical and Sentinel Peak High schools.

But truancy is a problem at all types of Pima County schools. Even when the Star excluded alternative schools from the calculation, the county average was about 18 percent.

Most schools have mechanisms to alert parents when kids are missing school. TUSD and Amphitheater districts have mobile apps parents can download to keep an eye on their kids\u2019 attendance. But educators across the county say schools lack the resources to chase after every child who is chronically absent. And when parents don\u2019t actively participate in getting their children to school, the problem gets worse.

Abundant research connects chronic truancy to academic failure, dropping out and crime, but community intervention for chronically truant youths has declined in the past decade.

Truancy sweeps, which were facilitated by the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office and law enforcement partners that cooperated with schools to identify and find truant students, became infrequent as budgets were slashed. Since sweeps require patrol officers, detectives, school resource officers and school officials, the county attorney\u2019s office is able to conduct just two a year now.

Making matters worst, the Center for Juvenile Alternatives \u2014 a public-private case management agency that diverted youth offenders from detention to restorative programs \u2014 closed in 2012. Schools could refer chronically truant students to the center when it existed without having to report them to the County Attorney\u2019s Office. Now they can\u2019t.

\u201cWe are barely making a dent in the number of chronic truants across Pima County,\u201d says Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall. \u201cWe\u2019ve been dealing with this as an issue for so many decades.\u201d

Community leaders have taken notice. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild launched an attendance awareness campaign in 2013 and formed a partnership with local school superintendents to combat chronic absenteeism.

\u201cThis is a communitywide issue,\u201d he says.

A SNAPSHOT

It\u2019s about 8:30 a.m. when Connie Moore, a registrar and attendance tech at Utterback Middle School, gets a phone call from a parent whose child is refusing to go to school. This happens often, she says.

Some kids skip school without their parents knowing; in other cases, the parents are well aware.

The first bell at Utterback rings at 8:45 and the tardy bell follows 10 minutes later. By 9:10 a.m., each teacher should have entered class attendance into a computer system. If a student is marked as absent, an automated call goes out to the parent.

It\u2019s only been four weeks since school started, but Carlos Silva, Utterback\u2019s attendance liaison, is already seeing some red flags. He\u2019s keeping an eye on kids who have missed more than four or five days, or have been tardy several times. Sometimes counselors let him know who to watch out for.

\u201cIf you don\u2019t show up, you\u2019re already starting off on the wrong foot,\u201d he says.

Utterback is part of the cluster of middle schools with the highest rates of chronic absenteeism outside of alternative schools. About 42 percent of its students missed 15 or more days in 2013, data showed. Other schools in the cluster include Valencia, Secrist and Safford middle schools, all four of which are federally designated as schools with high poverty rates.

Silva wants to cut Utterback\u2019s rate in half.

When a kid misses school four or five times, Silva calls the parents. So far, he hasn\u2019t had to do that too many times.

A couple of parents have promised to talk to their children. If that doesn\u2019t work, Silva says he\u2019ll start \u201cbugging them a lot.\u201d If that doesn\u2019t work, he\u2019ll pay parents and students a visit at home.

When parents don\u2019t care, that\u2019s the hardest, he says. So he tries to be a good role model to the students, smiling a lot and reminding kids that it\u2019s never too late to straighten up.

\u201cThere has to be somebody that cares,\u201d he says.

LINKS TO DELINQUENCY

There are many reasons students are chronically absent: illness, lack of transportation, even a need to work and contribute to the family income.

With each absence, it\u2019s harder and harder for a student to get back on track.

Academic foundations cannot be laid properly if a child is constantly missing school, says Debbie Ferryman, a dropout prevention coordinator for Tucson Unified School District. \u201cThey can\u2019t build on that to read, build on that to have the math skills.\u201d

When that happens, students lose their connections to schools and education as learning gaps grow, and they are far more likely to fail. By high school, they could be so short of needed class credits that they see no choice but to drop out.

The risks extend beyond the school walls. School and criminal-justice officials say chronic truancy can predict students\u2019 eventual involvement in crime.

Jane Butler, a Pima County Juvenile Court Judge, always asks youths who come through her courtroom, \u201cWhere do you go to school?\u201d

\u201cIt concerns me when they say they\u2019re not in school or forgot the name of the school they were enrolled in,\u201d she says.

Thirty-four percent of youths who committed low-level crimes were not in school, Butler says, citing a 2007 report of Pima County Juvenile Court statistics. Of that group, 40 percent who reoffended within 90 days of being released were found not to be in school.

\u201cIf they don\u2019t go to school,\u201d she says, \u201cthey\u2019re on the streets and getting in trouble.\u201d

ENFORCEMENT, PREVENTION

State law requires parents and guardians to ensure that children between ages 6 and 16 go to school, whether at a district, charter, private or home school. If they don\u2019t, parents could be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor, a status offense.

But being punitive isn\u2019t the goal, says LaWall, the county attorney. \u201cMy goal is to get those kids back in school.\u201d

Between 1996 and 2011, when the Center for Juvenile Alternatives was open, the County Attorney\u2019s Office investigated nearly 1,700 truancy cases.

Just under 1,300 parents were prosecuted. But if parents agreed to participate in diversion programs, including parenting classes, charges were dropped. If they refused, they went to trial. That happened about 200 times over the 15-year period.

None of the children involved were charged, though state law says a child could be prosecuted as \u201cincorrigible youth\u201d for being habitually truant.

During its 15 years, Pima County schools referred an additional 6,500 cases to the Center for Juvenile Alternatives \u2014 and even that was \u201cbarely scratching the surface,\u201d LaWall says.

Since 2012, when the center shut down due to funding loss, a total of 267 cases have been referred to the Pima County Juvenile Court. LaWall says her office has dealt with only about 80 referrals.

But TUSD\u2019s dropout prevention team is not convinced that referrals to law enforcement or the courts are the answer to reducing chronic truancy. Ferryman, the dropout prevention coordinator, and John Kramkowski, a dropout specialist, both say punitive and threatening approaches have rarely worked at TUSD.

\u201cThey create more dysfunction than anything else,\u201d Ferryman says.

Instead, they say, TUSD\u2019s approach is to build a positive relationship between schools and families and to educate students and their parents on the importance of good attendance.

\u201cWe want to make sure that we\u2019re educating families that all absences add up to gaps in education,\u201d Kramkowski says.

A community issue

The mother whose son was chronically truant in middle school tried taking the boy for medical treatment to improve his mood and sleep. She tried working with the school to catch him up on his class work and modify his curriculum.

But when he kept skipping school to sleep, she knew she needed more help.

School officials had told her about a paper arrest for chronic truancy. He would be \u201carrested,\u201d but not handcuffed or taken to jail. Instead, he would be sent to the Pima County Community Justice Board, where volunteers help youths divert from crime.

She decided to give it a try. Over the course of 90 days, her son met with members of his neighborhood\u2019s justice board and completed several exercises intended to teach him about responsibility and accountability. Under board members\u2019 guidance, he wrote essays about his future and dreams, along with an apology letter to his mother.

\u201cIt was just making him more aware of his decisions and how they can impact others, how it wasn\u2019t necessarily a punitive measure and that there are programs and people in the community that want to see youths succeed,\u201d she says. \u201cI think he was thinking more that this was going to be awful and meaningless.\u201d

Chris Segrin, chairman of a midtown community justice board, says chronic truancy is often a family and community issue, rather than just about the youth who is skipping or missing school. The board focuses on \u201crestorative justice\u201d to help young people understand that actions have consequences.

\u201cIf they admit to their crime, we develop consequences and they are geared toward improving their lives and helping them to achieve their goals,\u201d Segrin says. Activities can include art projects, fixing bicycles, writing essays about college or career goals, going to the library and writing book reports and family-building exercises.

SCHOOL STRATEGIES

Her sophomore year, Perla Samaniego preferred practically anything to school.

She and her friends routinely ditched classes to hang out. Her grades suffered. Her mother was upset.

Then she had an epiphany: \u201cThis is not going to take me anywhere,\u201d she realized.

Samaniego, now a senior who dreams of becoming a pediatrician, joined the cheer squad in her junior year, which she says helped her stay engaged in school \u2014 she had to have good attendance and grades to be on the squad.

Fun and engaging electives and clubs can help boost attendance, says David Baker, superintendent of the Flowing Wells district, who attended an attendance awareness event Friday with colleagues from other districts. Such activities sometimes get shortchanged in favor of academic achievement, adds Steve Holmes, Sunnyside\u2019s superintendent. But schools are supposed to offer learning beyond academics and have a responsibility to identify why kids are missing school, Holmes says.

To that end, students at Amphitheater schools are connected to adult advisers who ask them about classes, attendance and life outside of school.

\u201cWe want kids to know that we want them there,\u201d says Monica Nelson, an assistant superintendent at Amphitheater.

That spirit should extend throughout the community, says Ferryman, of TUSD. For example, convenience store employees could call the nearby school if they see teens wandering during class time.

\u201cEverybody has to be on the same page,\u201d she says, \u201cand on the same team.\u201d

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A Tucson nonprofit that provides behavioral-health care and substance-abuse treatment will close its doors this week due to mounting financial pressures, the company\u2019s CEO said.

Pasadera Behavioral Health Network will transfer all of its services \u2014 and many of its employees \u2014 to Mesa-based Community Bridges Inc., and other providers. Patients shouldn\u2019t see any interruption in their services, said Chuck Burbank, Pasadera\u2019s CEO.

\u201cIt\u2019s a situation we\u2019re trying to make the best of,\u201d he said. \u201cI\u2019m very proud of the fact that we\u2019ve had a very successful transition of our services.\u201d

Pasadera\u2019s closure was the result of various fiscal challenges, including a legal battle with the city of South Tucson and reductions in reimbursements from insurer Cenpatico Integrated Care, Burbank said.

Cenpatico administers Medicaid funding for Southern Arizona\u2019s public behavioral-health-care system, contracting with providers like Pasadera and Community Bridges. Since its contract period began in October, Cenpatico has brought in nearly $6.4 million in net profit, its March 31 financial statement says.

Cenpatico is a for-profit subsidiary of publicly traded Centene Corp., based in St. Louis. Centene is the nation\u2019s largest Medicaid managed-care organization after its $6 billion acquisition of insurer Health Net, according to Forbes.

Cenpatico decided last year to stop funding Pasadera\u2019s crisis center on Dodge Boulevard, which made up one-fifth of the nonprofit\u2019s business, Burbank said. Pasadera tried unsuccessfully to reinvent it as an outpatient center but couldn\u2019t generate enough business. Most outpatient clients were transferred to Yuma-based Community Health Associates, another provider that contracts heavily with Cenpatico.

Then, earlier this year, Cenpatico asked Community Bridges to bring its crisis response services into Pima County, which would have cut into even more of Pasadera\u2019s business, Burbank said.

Cenpatico spokeswoman Maribel Barrios-Quezada said in an email that Cenpatico \u201cbelieves in the concept of voice and choice for our members.

\u201cAccordingly, Cenpatico IC is pleased to build upon partnerships with existing providers, as well as continually introducing new providers into our network,\u201d she wrote.

She didn\u2019t specifically address questions about the reasons for Pasadera\u2019s closure.

SOUTH TUCSON DISPUTE

Pasadera, which served 10,000 to 15,000 clients per year, was already experiencing financial problems related to a legal dispute with the city of South Tucson over a drug treatment center it intended to open.

Pasadera attorneys argued that, before the agency purchased and renovated the property at 2700 S. Eighth Ave., city leaders OK\u2019d the agency\u2019s plan to offer residential services there. The reversal left Pasadera stretched thin, unable to fully use its facility or close its other residential facilities.

Pasadera would have needed an extraordinary turnaround to survive in the competitive landscape under Cenpatico, said Bob Mohelnitzky, a Pasadera board member.

\u201cI compared it to jumping off a cliff with the idea that you\u2019ll build an airplane on the way down,\u201d he said. \u201cWe didn\u2019t get the plane built.\u201d

Some Cenpatico policies made even tougher for Pasadera, said Clarke Romans, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, in Southern Arizona.

Unlike how the system worked under Pima County\u2019s previous regional behavioral-health agency, Cenpatico does not allow its contracted agencies to subcontract with other providers for services \u2014 would-be subcontractors must contract directly with Cenpatico, Romans said. That means other Tucson agencies couldn\u2019t direct client flow to Pasadera to help it compete with new providers here, he said.

Romans said that, during monthly meetings with providers, Cenpatico officials have told agency leaders, \u201cWe\u2019re not responsible for your business\u2019s viability. Here\u2019s the criteria \u2014 meet it or not.\u201d

But Cenpatico has sway over whether providers survive or struggle, he said. For example, NurseWise \u2014 which, like Cenpatico, is a subsidiary of Centene \u2014 now handles the region\u2019s 24-hour mental-health crisis phone line, which directs patients to services, Romans said.

\u201cIf they\u2019re able to direct business away from you, it\u2019s a little bit of a disingenuous comment,\u201d he said. \u201cThey hold all the cards because they hold all the contracts.\u201d

MOUNTING PRESSURES

Pasadera wasn\u2019t always able to meet production quotas set by Cenpatico, resulting in the loss of a month\u2019s reimbursements this winter.

Cenpatico gives providers monthly upfront \u201cblock payments\u201d based on how much agencies expect to bill for their services. Cenpatico CEO Terry Stevens said in February that agencies that didn\u2019t bill for at least 75 percent of their monthly allocation wouldn\u2019t get their block payment for a month.

This summer, Cenpatico retroactively cut Pasadera\u2019s contract by one-third during widespread contract reductions, based on whether agencies were meeting billing expectations. The Star reported on those cuts in June.

Burbank said Community Health Associates and Community Bridges were eager to hire Pasadera staffers who are losing their jobs. Of Pasadera\u2019s 300 employees, about 90 percent have found work with one of the two agencies, he said.

Pasadera was created in 2013 by the merger of two longtime behavioral-health care nonprofits: Southern Arizona Mental Health Corp., or SAMHC, and Compass Behavioral Health Care.

Compass, previously known as Gateway, was \u201ctruly one of the founding organizations of the local behavioral-health system,\u201d said Tom Donovan, CEO of Cope Community Services, which also contracts with Cenpatico. \u201cSeeing this fine organization go out of business is sad and a tremendous loss to the community.\u201d

AMBITIOUS GOALS

In October, Cenpatico took over the $612 million contract with the state\u2019s Medicaid program, AHCCCS, to administer behavioral-health care coverage for low-income Southern Arizonans. Under a new \u201cintegrated\u201d care model, patients with serious mental illness also get their physical-health care covered by Cenpatico, one of three regional behavioral-health authorities \u2014 or RBHAs \u2014 that contract with the state.

Cenpatico has handled contracts for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System since 2005. Since its arrival in the eight-county Southern Arizona region, behavioral-health providers have struggled to meet the insurer\u2019s financial standards and stringent reporting requirements. Cenpatico replaced the Tucson-based nonprofit Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, which had been Pima County\u2019s regional behavioral-health agency for 20 years.

Romans, of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona, said at first he was inspired by Cenpatico\u2019s ambitious goals to improve health for people with mental illness. But he now worries those goals aren\u2019t realistic with so many providers struggling.

\u201cWith all the slicing and dicing, I\u2019m not seeing exactly how these goals are going to be achieved,\u201d he said.

PROVIDERS HURTING

At least two other behavioral-health agencies in Arizona dramatically reduced services after Cenpatico entered their market, including The Excel Group in Yuma and Benson-based Southeastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services, known as SEABHS.

After Cenpatico won the Southeastern Arizona RHRA contract in 2010, SEABHS went from receiving $35 million from former RBHA Community Partnership of Southern Arizona to about $7.9 million from Cenpatico, its 990 tax reports show.

Cenpatico brought in providers from other parts of the state who cut into SEABHS\u2019 market share, a move that coincided with state reductions in behavioral-health funding, the Star reported in a 2011 story. The agency had other problems as well: The Star\u2019s 2011 story noted questionable financial practices such as purchasing expensive cars for some officials and a $150,000 personal loan to the then-CEO.

Between 2010 and 2011, SEABHS\u2019 workforce dropped by 60 percent, from 435 to 170. The agency did not respond to requests for comment or for its current employment level.

The Excel Group held the RBHA contract for Yuma and La Paz counties until 2005, when Cenpatico took it over and Excel became one of its subcontracted providers. Excel relied on Cenpatico for 75 percent of its funding \u2014 about $14 million annually \u2014 when in 2009, Cenpatico opted not to renew the agency\u2019s contract, the Yuma Sun reported.

At the time, the agency employed 500 people and served about 3,000 patients. Soon after, Excel cut its workforce and stopped providing behavioral-health care, instead focusing on employment services and housing for people with mental illness.

Sen. Dave Bradley, D-Tucson, said he\u2019s heard concerns about Cenpatico from a number of mid-level staff at Tucson behavioral-health agencies.

Pasadera\u2019s closure \u201chas sent some fear through the system,\u201d said Bradley, who has worked in behavioral health for 20 years. He plans to bring up his constituents\u2019 concerns during a planned September meeting between state legislators and Cenpatico officials. Cenpatico extended the invitation to meet, he said.

Cenpatico will soon be renegotiating its one-year contracts with its providers. Last year, providers had to decide whether to sign the contracts before they got any details on reimbursement rates, Romans said. Most providers had little choice but to sign if they wanted to maintain the bulk of their business, he said.

\u201cIt\u2019s either take a gamble, or you\u2019re out,\u201d he said. \u201cCenpatico has the financial power and business relationships to pretty much replace anybody here. Cenpatico is perfectly capable of putting much bigger entities out of business, by just not contracting with them.\u201d

"}, {"id":"10ec1276-0443-559a-9e8f-3849e4d6dd12","type":"article","starttime":"1472350500","starttime_iso8601":"2016-08-27T19:15:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1474489043","priority":41,"sections":[{"local":"news/local"},{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"}],"flags":{"web_only":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"System failing Tucson father desperate to help his son","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/article_10ec1276-0443-559a-9e8f-3849e4d6dd12.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/system-failing-tucson-father-desperate-to-help-his-son/article_10ec1276-0443-559a-9e8f-3849e4d6dd12.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/system-failing-tucson-father-desperate-to-help-his-son/article_10ec1276-0443-559a-9e8f-3849e4d6dd12.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Patty Machelor Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"Young man refuses mental-health treatment, and forcing him into it is extremely difficult.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["crisis response center","schizophrenia","mental health","university medical center south"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#top5","#topread","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"08718eaa-989a-540a-af67-543531d0ccda","description":"David Walker poses for a portrait while holding up a photo of his 22-year-old son, who was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in his teens. Walker says he finds it hard to get any help for his son through the legal system.","byline":"Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"505","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/87/08718eaa-989a-540a-af67-543531d0ccda/57c0eb13499d1.image.jpg?resize=620%2C505"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/87/08718eaa-989a-540a-af67-543531d0ccda/57c0eb13499d1.image.jpg?crop=1595%2C897%2C0%2C309&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/87/08718eaa-989a-540a-af67-543531d0ccda/57c0eb13499d1.image.jpg?crop=1595%2C897%2C0%2C309&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/87/08718eaa-989a-540a-af67-543531d0ccda/57c0eb13499d1.image.jpg?crop=1595%2C897%2C0%2C309&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":33,"commentID":"10ec1276-0443-559a-9e8f-3849e4d6dd12","body":"

David Walker longs for what was \u2014 family camping trips, SpongeBob SquarePants and the life his son had before the voices began.

\u201cHe lives in a reality where there are snipers on rooftops, people\u2019s heads are being lit on fire, of being stabbed and feeling the pain but no injury,\u201d Walker said. \u201cLife for him has literally been like living a nightmare since his early teens.\u201d

Walker\u2019s own nightmare includes images of his child dying alone in some garbage-strewn underpass. He\u2019s haunted by the possibility that his 22-year-old son will unwittingly hurt himself or someone else.

Unlike many who successfully manage their mental-health diagnoses, Walker\u2019s son resists or refuses help for the paranoia and auditory hallucinations common to schizophrenia.

The problem is compounded, Walker said, by the mental-health system\u2019s growing tendency to encourage people to manage their own treatment \u2014 without enough supervision given to those unwilling or incapable of doing so. Walker, who tries to advocate for his son, said he keeps repeating the same requests and wonders sometimes if his son is remembered from one visit to the next.

\u201cWe\u2019re stuck in this position of not having anything to do,\u201d said Walker, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Arizona. \u201cYou can\u2019t kidnap somebody, and I totally get that. At the same time, if it\u2019s in society\u2019s and that person\u2019s best interest to require treatment, why is it so difficult?\u201d

The hamster wheel

During the last few years, two things have helped Walker\u2019s son. The first was being stabilized during a three-month stay at a facility in Washington state, where he landed after being imprisoned in Canada for illegal entry. Walker said his son, then 20, came back to Tucson determined to work and, for the first time, held a job for a few months.

The second followed, some months later, when his son started to regress and was court-ordered to follow a treatment plan that included injections of anti-psychotic medication. Walker said his son \u2014 who declined an interview request and is not being named to protect his privacy \u2014 stuck with that plan for a few months before deciding he didn\u2019t need the shots.

\u201cIf your world is driven by conspiracy and fear,\u201d Walker said, \u201cof course you\u2019re not going to like injections.\u201d

Over the last couple of years, if he hasn\u2019t wandered off to another state, the young man has cycled endlessly around what Walker calls the hamster wheel: He acts out, gets picked up by law enforcement and is evaluated before being released.

Then a new cycle begins.

\u201cHe\u2019s been kicked out and then caught within an hour doing the very same thing he was doing in the first place,\u201d he said.

Walker said his son has been taken in for psychiatric help at Banner-University Medical Center South or the county\u2019s Crisis Response Center eight times this year, either after a run-in with law enforcement or by a concerned family member.

Employees with the Pima County Sheriff\u2019s Department have grown familiar with the family.

\u201cIt\u2019s an extremely sad situation and very frustrating for the father,\u201d said sheriff\u2019s detective Maria Stengel, who works in her agency\u2019s mental-health unit. \u201cWe all agree with the dad that something more needs to be done.\u201d

The young man\u2019s infractions in recent years include pushing a shopping cart down the shoulder of Interstate 10, harassing and chasing a security guard, and pointing his fingers like guns to pretend he\u2019s shooting passing motorists.

There have been a couple of domestic violence calls, including one in which he warned his father about what the voices were telling him to do. Walker said that while all the auditory hallucinations and imagined atrocities have seemed so real to his son, he\u2019s never hurt anyone.

\u201cI can\u2019t deny he\u2019s displayed frightening behavior at times, but he\u2019s always pulled back or walked away,\u201d Walker said. \u201cI\u2019ve never been really afraid, but I know when I need to back off.\u201d

Court-ordered treatment

As one of the few exceptions to a person\u2019s constitutional right to refuse health care, a judge can force someone to receive mental health treatment. That only happens, however, if the person is found to be a danger to himself or herself, a danger to others or is gravely or persistently disabled.

While many people are able to manage their illnesses without court supervision, a small percentage need more oversight, either through hospitalization or as an outpatient, said Deputy County Attorney Paula Perrera, who heads the health-law unit at the County Attorney\u2019s Office.

Even then, it\u2019s far from easy.

\u201cFrankly, we don\u2019t have a lot of resources out in the community that provide the wrap-around and intensity of services for those individuals who struggle to stay in treatment,\u201d she said. \u201cThere\u2019s not a lot of placements and programming for them.\u201d

The number of people brought in to hospitals or the Crisis Response Center because they might need a court-ordered mental health evaluation has not changed much in recent years, averaging just about 2,000 annually. However, the number of people actually receiving those evaluations has dropped from a high of 43 percent between Jan. 1, 2013, and Aug. 1, 2013, to 34 percent last year, and then to 28 percent during the same period this year.

As a result, the number of people who go on to be court-ordered to receive treatment has also dropped, from 356 during those seven months in 2013 to 205 this year, county data show.

Part of the reason for that decrease is likely due to more patients being taken first to the Crisis Response Center. About 65 percent are released after they have been stabilized, usually to community treatment, detox or an outpatient provider. The rest are voluntarily or involuntarily hospitalized for a court-ordered evaluation.

\u201cBefore, there were too many people locked up and treatment was too coercive,\u201d said Dr. Margie Balfour, chief clinical officer at the Crisis Response Center. \u201cFor the vast majority of people, the move toward self-determination is a good thing, but there are always outliers.\u201d

What\u2019s needed isn\u2019t there

David Walker and Judy V. Kowalick have never met, but they have some important things in common.

Like Walker, Kowalick knows what it\u2019s like trying to help a family member whose sense of reality is disturbed by paranoia and hallucinations. Her son is troubled by the same things.

And as coordinator of Tucson\u2019s Family-to-Family program for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, she said she often hears from others with the same plight.

\u201cThere are a lot of family members who ask how to get their loved one court-ordered or into a hospitalized setting so they can be stabilized,\u201d she said. \u201cFamily members can\u2019t figure out why they can\u2019t be kept in the hospital longer. But it\u2019s not set up that way now and so what some people need is not available to them.\u201d

Kowalick\u2019s son, who is 36 and diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, has been in the Arizona State Hospital for the last 10 years. He needs 24-hour supervision, she said, and still thinks people are tampering with his medication and want him dead.

\u201cHe still has severe delusions that people are out to harm him,\u201d she said. \u201cWhen he stops taking his medication, he can get really aggressive.\u201d

While Kowalick is not advocating commitment to a hospital for anyone else, she said limiting that option should mean more resources in the community, including more supervised living facilities.

\u201cWe need better options,\u201d she said, \u201cand we need more of them.\u201d

Walker can\u2019t understand why his son doesn\u2019t fall under the category of chronically disabled since he has repeatedly cycled through the mental health system.

\u201cThey don\u2019t care about his history, what they care about is how he presents today,\u201d Walker said, explaining his son \u201cpresents well\u201d when he needs to. \u201cThen, while we\u2019re walking out the door, he\u2019ll start talking about people\u2019s heads being lit on fire.\u201d

The young man\u2019s caseworker and a psychiatrist who recently worked with him did not respond to interview requests.

Karl Sachs, a Tucson psychologist who got to know the family when Walker\u2019s son was a teenager, said he fears cases like this are a \u201cpotential tragedy waiting to happen.\u201d

Walker\u2019s son, he said, \u201cshares a profile of criteria seen in many if not most recent mass killings: young adult male, paranoid ideation, substance abuse and a history of violence including repeated involvement with law enforcement.\u201d

Lucifer, rooftop snipers

Walker said his son won\u2019t use a computer or cellphone now, fearing someone \u2014 particularly the government \u2014 could control him that way. But a couple of years back, he kept a blog. It\u2019s filled with musings on his own immortality, references to heaven and hell and some violent imagery about blood-soaked floors and people conspiring to harm him or kill him.

In one post he reflected on meeting Jesus at the Juvenile Court Center \u2014 a wonderful experience that left him with deep feelings of peace, until Lucifer took over and started using his body.

He wrote that he was afraid of nothing because of his own divine powers, and had walked in traffic to prove it. He said he knew half of Tucson was trying to kill him, including people on rooftops pointing sniper rifles at him.

He wrote about a former girlfriend he believed was trying to kill him \u2014 and so, he reasoned, if he killed her first, it would be justified.

In late spring of this year, Walker said his son was doing a bit better. After a brief stay at Sonora Behavioral Health, he was living in housing provided by CODAC and appeared to be taking his medication. But by mid-July, like so many times before, he\u2019d stopped taking his medications.

No one could force him because the treatment was not court-ordered.

A short time later, he was gone. He\u2019s called his father a few times from New Mexico but says he isn\u2019t ready to return home. They\u2019ve been here before, with calls from Colorado, Oregon, Canada and Washington D.C., where the young man went in search of some time with President Obama.

He\u2019s been hospitalized and jailed in several states, his father said. He\u2019s also been assaulted. He arrives home needing food and a bath.

\u201cIt is only by sheer luck,\u201d Walker said, \u201cthat he\u2019s lived long enough to get to this point.\u201d

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A Tucson football program geared toward helping high school graduates prepare for college had some major fumbles in its first season, former players say.

Arizona Prep Sports Academy has generated complaints from teenage athletes and their parents, who say organizers failed to deliver on promised offerings including SAT prep, a life-skills course and game film to help attract interest from college recruiters.

Some former participants say their time at Arizona Prep \u2014 now called Tucson Tech \u2014 left them in debt, with black marks on their credit reports or behind in their academic plans and worse off athletically. One parent has filed complaints about the school\u2019s practices with the Arizona Attorney General\u2019s Office and the Federal Trade Commission. Some former players are so demoralized they say they don\u2019t want to play football again.

\u201cIt\u2019s not for me anymore,\u201d said 19-year-old Gewann Frazier, a 2015 graduate of Chandler High School, whose football team was the state champion his senior year. He left Arizona Prep after about seven weeks when he was recruited to play for Scottsdale Community College, but then decided his heart wasn\u2019t in it.

\u201cMy passion for the game just went down so low from being in Tucson. I miss it, of course. It\u2019s been my lifestyle for eight years.\u201d

Arizona Prep athletic director Sharon Shalosky launched the program last year. Her husband, Jeff Pichotta, was head football coach to 70 high school graduates from across the country who enrolled last year. Both are certified educators in Arizona.

Shalosky said she and her husband are devoted to helping kids who may otherwise get left behind, and that they don\u2019t benefit financially from what they do.

\u201cWhen you stick your neck out, people will always try and tear you down,\u201d she said via email. \u201cWe have already seen many successes but we do not use students to try and defend us. They need to concentrate on their lives.\u201d

The Star asked to interview former players who were satisfied with their Arizona Prep experience or current players at Tucson Tech, but the couple did not provide them. The team was scheduled to play its first game Saturday at Phoenix College.

\u201cPREP SCHOOL\u201d definitions vary

Players say Arizona Prep billed itself as a post-high school \u201cprep school.\u201d Such schools typically help high school graduates boost their grades or take additional classes to qualify for college sports.

Some participants want an extra season of competition to get stronger and add to their highlight reel, hopefully catching the eye of a recruiter from a four-year school or junior college. As long as prep school players only take college courses part-time, they can delay starting their eligibility \u201cclock.\u201d NCAA Division I athletes are allotted five calendar years to play four seasons.

No governing body oversees prep schools, a term that can describe an amateur sports team whose players have the option to enroll in academic courses on their own and, like Arizona Prep, compete against junior colleges or Division III schools. It can also describe a competitive sports program that offers in-house academics and competition in a formal conference, such as Middlebrooks Academy in Los Angeles.

Middlebrooks offers classes for grades 6-12, boys and girls basketball teams, and a postgraduate prep program. Its founder established a regional conference to compete against other West Coast prep schools.

\u201cHow the school chooses to set itself up \u2014 the model runs the gamut,\u201d said founder William Middlebrooks, a music producer with a passion for coaching and a desire to give more kids a chance at college. He says he spent $250,000 to launch the prep school five years ago.

The Tucson Tech website says that, in 2015, Shalosky and Pichotta self-funded 40 \u201cfull-ride waivers\u201d covering school tuition, which they valued at $10,000. Other participants got partial scholarships.

\u201cI paid $3,000 and got nothing,\u201d said Cathi Mulroy of Goodyear, whose son, Zach, played for Arizona Prep last year. The scholarship funded 70 percent of the $10,000 tuition and was to cover SAT prep courses and a life-skills curriculum, valued at $5,000 on the program\u2019s website. Those classes never happened, Mulroy said.

\u201cMy son played the games, but they did not do anything they (described) in the contract,\u201d she said.

Shalosky and Pichotta have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy twice since 2000, but Shalosky said she is still able to fund the business personally.

\u201cAny reasons for personal bankruptcies have nothing to do with my business or my ability to fund the business, which I started from my retirement funds,\u201d she said in an email.

Overly generous financial aid can be a red flag that a coach underestimated the cost of running a prep school, Middlebrooks said. When that happens, promised benefits sometimes fail to materialize, he said.

For players and their parents, \u201cThe first question you better ask is, \u2018How can you afford to give me financial aid?\u2019\u201d Middlebrooks said.

EVOLVING PROMISES

Former students and their parents say Shalosky and Pichotta misrepresented Arizona Prep\u2019s relationships with local schools and athletic facilities to lend credibility to their program.

Last year, Arizona Prep touted an affiliation with Pima Community College, taking potential recruits on unofficial campus tours and telling them they would be playing on fields there, former players said.

For Frazier, it was a big selling point.

At the time, he figured, \u201cIf Pima\u2019s backing them, they must be doing something right.\u201d

Pima and Arizona Prep signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding laying the foundation for a partnership, but Shalosky and Pichotta never followed through, college spokeswoman Libby Howell said. The couple inquired about using the college\u2019s East Campus field, but was told it was in disrepair and would no longer be used for football, Howell said.

The partnership would have connected Arizona Prep students who enrolled at Pima with advisers and provided them extra support to improve the kids\u2019 chances of success, Howell said. It also let the program use a mailbox at Pima. But Shalosky and Pichotta never told Pima which of their players were enrolling, Howell said. The school heard from the couple \u201csporadically,\u201d but couldn\u2019t get in touch with them because their phone number didn\u2019t work and they didn\u2019t respond to emails, she said.

\u201cWe can\u2019t offer students anything if we don\u2019t know who they are,\u201d she said.

Shalosky said in an email that she provided the school with a list of Arizona Prep students at the beginning of the Pima partnership and multiple times afterwards. But she said it was up to students \u201cto take advantage of this opportunity.\u201d She said she met with students in her make-shift \u201coffice\u201d in the Pima cafeteria area.

\u201cAlthough there were many bugs to be worked through concerning this partnership, and much could be improved by the both of us, we are very grateful for all Pima East did for us,\u201d she wrote. \u201cThe fact is, the students in our program were given a great opportunity for success through this partnership and most chose to take advantage, while a few did not.\u201d

Problems with Arizona Prep were first reported by Ralph Amsden, publisher and high school sports reporter for ArizonaVarsity.com, an affiliate of recruiting news service Rivals.com.

SAT PREP

Eric Cohens, 18, flew to Tucson from Norwalk, Connecticut, a week after his high school graduation to play for Arizona Prep. Pichotta had contacted Cohens\u2019 football coach about offering the defensive end a \u201cfull ride,\u201d Cohens said.

Cohens said he regrets that he assumed that included housing, because he ended up paying thousands in rent. It was his first time away from home, and with no transportation, he had no way to get to Pima to take classes \u2014 he thought he\u2019d be living closer to campus \u2014 and could rarely get to the gym to work out. The SAT prep course his parents had expected never happened, either. He said the only benefit was the friendships he made with other players.

\u201cIt wasn\u2019t a good experience. I was mainly going out there thinking I was gonna get my grades better, get a little more exposure, but none of that happened,\u201d he said. \u201cHalf of the stuff they promised us was never delivered.\u201d

Shalosky said Arizona Prep determined it didn\u2019t have to offer the promised SAT courses and life-skills curriculum because Pima agreed to provide the same or similar programs to Arizona Prep kids who enrolled there.

\u201cAs the partnership progressed, Pima was so excited to partner with us that they included all of the above in the MOU agreement so we would not have to do it ourselves,\u201d she wrote.

The memorandum of understanding does not say that Pima would provide SAT prep courses, but it does say the college would offer workshops on topics such as \u201cstudent success tips, career exploration and financial planning.\u201d

Howell said Pima was unaware that Arizona Prep had told players they would get SAT help.

NO PHYSICAL LOCATION

The articles of incorporation filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission for Tucson Tech and Arizona Prep \u2014 two separate nonprofits \u2014 list the companies\u2019 physical address as Pima\u2019s East Campus, 8181 E. Irvington Road. Pima\u2019s general counsel recently told Shalosky to remove the address from the Arizona Prep listing, Howell said. Tucson Tech\u2019s address has already been changed.

Former players say organizers provided no space for studying, so they spent a lot of time hanging around their apartments \u2014 a far cry from the rigorous program they say was advertised.

\u201cThey boasted 5-to-1 teacher ratio,\u201d said Chris Crider of Orlando, Florida. His son, James, 19, played wide receiver for Arizona Prep last year. \u201cThere was no oversight, there was no guidance, there was no school. My son was just sitting in an apartment, waiting for practice.\u201d

In June, Crider filed an identity theft complaint with the FTC against Shalosky and Pichotta. He said Shalosky used his son\u2019s Social Security number to set up a TEP account in James\u2019 name when he was moving into an apartment, racking up $700 in unpaid electricity bills without his knowledge and marring his credit rating.

Crider also submitted a complaint to the Arizona Attorney General\u2019s Office, outlining what he described as Arizona Prep\u2019s misleading tactics and unfulfilled promises.

For Rafael Sanchez, who coached Crider at Arizona Prep last year, the electricity issue was disturbing enough that he decided not to coach for Tucson Tech this year.

\u201cIt left a bad taste in my mouth,\u201d said Sanchez, a Cholla High School alum who played football at Pima.

Sanchez said Crider has the talent to play Division I football and potentially to play professionally.

\u201cHe just has that factor \u2014 that \u2018I\u2019m gonna make it\u2019 factor,\u201d he said.

Shalosky declined to comment on the situation involving the Criders.

TUCSON TECH

The newer incarnation of Arizona Prep appears to be taking a different approach.

Tucson Tech is focused on preparing at-risk, disadvantaged kids for college, giving them \u201cthe life skills, academic training and athletic competition necessary for success during college,\u201d the website says. Targeted students include \u201coverlooked athletes,\u201d homeless students, those aging out of foster care and \u201cDreamers,\u201d children raised in this county by undocumented immigrants. Shalosky said she is starting the process for accreditation as a private college for culinary arts and hotel management.

She and Pichotta have leased the top floor of the Broadmoor Center at 181 S. Tucson Blvd., which the website refers to as the \u201clearning center\u201d for students taking online accredited classes. They have also leased a housing complex, complete with industrial-style kitchen and communal areas, at 1130 W. Miracle Mile. The Gospel Rescue Mission occupied the space previously.

The Pima County Health Department said the kitchen has been licensed as a fixed-food establishment, which allows Tucson Tech to cook food and serve it on-site.

The food served comes from donations to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Food bank CEO Michael McDonald said Tucson Tech signed an \u201cagency agreement,\u201d effective as of July, allowing it to take food for their low-income students.

HOUSING CONFUSION

For Arizona Prep students, the housing setup last year was rife with confusion. Most players stayed at an east-side apartment complex called The View at Catalina at the suggestion of Pichotta, who had contacted the apartment management about accommodating the athletes.

Some two-bedroom, unfurnished apartments housed six players, former players say. Multiple apartments had the electricity turned off because players didn\u2019t realize they were responsible for paying the utilities, resulting in players doubling up in the apartments that still had power. They were told to sign leases themselves, even those whose scholarship agreements specified their rent was covered.

At least two players who were on full scholarship, with rent covered, say they ended up with $2,000 in unpaid rental payments on their credit report.

Management at the apartment complex declined to comment on the housing arrangement. Shalosky said all students knew that utilities weren\u2019t covered.

PRACTICE FIELD

Arizona Prep practiced at Palo Verde Park, which has goal posts but no lines on the field. That was a disappointment to some players, who expected an official field.

\u201cIt was just embarrassing,\u201d said Zach Mulroy, 19, who was hoping his time playing at Arizona Prep would get him noticed by small colleges. \u201cThere were people walking around. We\u2019d have to leave when the Pop Warner team was there.\u201d

Mulroy, from Goodyear, is now working on his associate\u2019s degree in psychology at Estrella Mountain Community College and is putting last year behind him.

\u201cIt kind of made me not want to do football anymore,\u201d he said. \u201cThat one bad experience kind of just messed it up. It was kind of my last chance and so I was just like, this really did not work out at all.\u201d

\u201cWASTED\u201d SEASON

James Crider said academics were the only thing holding him back from playing collegiately straight out of high school. He accepted a full ride to Arizona Prep because he thought it would be an affordable way to address his academic ineligibility without starting his eligibility clock, he said. The letter of intent he signed said his scholarship would cover Arizona Prep\u2019s tuition, \u201croom rent\u201d and up to six credits at Pima.

But Crider never took those classes. Once he arrived in Tucson, Shalosky and Pichotta told him he\u2019d have to take online classes instead and pay for them himself, he said.

This year he enrolled full time at Pima and is playing for the football team. He\u2019s hoping to use only one year of his eligibility and still have three years to play Division I ball once he qualifies academically.

NO EXPOSURE

Player C.J. Edwards of Orlando said his main motivation to attend Arizona Prep was to get game film he could send to colleges that might recruit him. But he and other students said the website where Pichotta posted the season\u2019s film was shut down before he could access it.

\u201cI was promised exposure,\u201d said Nick Sweet, 19, who played wide receiver for Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe. \u201cThere was no exposure whatsoever. They weren\u2019t sending any film out.\u201d

Shalosky said every player had an account on the website Hudl, a video-hosting tool sports teams can use to analyze game film and promote their athletes. Shalosky said they kept the accounts active until one month after the season ended.

\u201cThe players that were deactivated were no longer on the team for reasons per our school policies,\u201d she wrote.

Ultimately, Edwards said, the experience at Arizona Prep Sports Academy didn\u2019t serve the players.

\u201cIt kind of pulled us back,\u201d he said, \u201cinstead of pushed us forward.\u201d

"}, {"id":"3e19d4ac-69f5-5ae9-8017-9b50aa2a5e9c","type":"article","starttime":"1472258700","starttime_iso8601":"2016-08-26T17:45:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1472852208","priority":42,"sections":[{"border":"news/local/border"},{"local":"news/local"},{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"},{"state-and-regional":"news/state-and-regional"}],"flags":{"web_only":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Border Patrol agent arrested, faces extreme DUI charge","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/border/article_3e19d4ac-69f5-5ae9-8017-9b50aa2a5e9c.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/border/border-patrol-agent-arrested-faces-extreme-dui-charge/article_3e19d4ac-69f5-5ae9-8017-9b50aa2a5e9c.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/border/border-patrol-agent-arrested-faces-extreme-dui-charge/article_3e19d4ac-69f5-5ae9-8017-9b50aa2a5e9c.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Curt Prendergast\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Alleged extreme DUI occurred while on duty at Ajo station.\u00a0","supportsComments":false,"keywords":["border patrol","ajo justice court","drunken-driving","dui"],"internalKeywords":["#watchdog"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"6a6a675b-c86c-5a54-84a7-8dfded29fe20","description":"","byline":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/png","width":"620","height":"457","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/a6/6a6a675b-c86c-5a54-84a7-8dfded29fe20/572bd704025fc.image.png?resize=620%2C457"},"100": {"type":"image/png","width":"100","height":"73","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/a6/6a6a675b-c86c-5a54-84a7-8dfded29fe20/55e633d749a12.preview-100.png"},"300": {"type":"image/png","width":"300","height":"168","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/a6/6a6a675b-c86c-5a54-84a7-8dfded29fe20/572bd704025fc.image.png?crop=620%2C348%2C0%2C54&resize=300%2C168&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/png","width":"1024","height":"575","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/a6/6a6a675b-c86c-5a54-84a7-8dfded29fe20/572bd704025fc.image.png?crop=620%2C348%2C0%2C54"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"3e19d4ac-69f5-5ae9-8017-9b50aa2a5e9c","body":"

A Border Patrol agent was charged with extreme DUI in connection with an incident where she crashed her pickup into two vehicles in the parking lot of the agency\u2019s Ajo station.

Tracy Hicks, 37, was armed and in uniform when a state trooper cited her around 1:30 p.m. June 8, Arizona Department of Public Safety records show. The results of a blood draw indicated a blood-alcohol content of 0.319, roughly four times the legal limit.

The trooper\u2019s report, obtained by the Star through a public-records request, said Hicks drove department vehicles during her shift, which began at 6 a.m. and was scheduled to end at 3 p.m.

An agent who was in the parking lot told the trooper he saw Hicks driving her pickup through the parking lot and heard a \u201cloud crash and screeching tires\u201d followed by \u201chearing the tires screech as if the person was trying to get unstuck.\u201d

The agent then saw the pickup had noticeable front-end damage and the right front tire was completely flat.

Hicks was detained on the shoulder of Arizona 85 near milepost 52, about one mile from the Border Patrol station, DPS records show.

Hicks told the trooper she had been drinking wine at home the night before and had not had a drink in the hour before the wreck.

She was taken to the Pima County Sheriff\u2019s Department office in Ajo for sobriety tests and released into the custody of a Border Patrol supervisor, the trooper\u2019s report stated.

Hicks was not injured in the wrecks, which caused about $3,800 in damages, DPS records show.

Ajo Justice Court records show Hicks was charged Aug. 18 on extreme DUI, failure to stop after striking an unattended vehicle and criminal damage charges, all of which are misdemeanors.

On June 15, the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office asked the judge, citing \u201cofficer request,\u201d to dismiss a charge for failing to stop after striking a vehicle. The request was granted two days later.

Hicks\u2019 next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 15. Court documents do not indicate whether she has hired an attorney.

Hicks, who has been an agent since 2003, will remain on \u201cnon-enforcement, restricted-duty status\u201d until her court case is adjudicated and an internal review is completed, according to a statement issued by the Border Patrol in response to an inquiry from the Star.

The agency takes seriously any allegation of misconduct and holds agents to high standards, the statement said. The Tucson Sector Border Patrol will cooperate fully with any investigations related to the June 8 incident.

The statement did not address questions from the Star about the circumstances of the alleged DUI.

In 2013, then-Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher launched a project to reduce the number of alcohol-related arrests of agents, which came to two arrests each week. At the time, Tucson Sector Chief Manuel Padilla told the Star the sector saw 10 such arrests in fiscal year 2013 and 22 in fiscal year 2012.

"}, {"id":"4dd7f9f8-15d2-54ad-bf6b-d5248411f668","type":"article","starttime":"1472004720","starttime_iso8601":"2016-08-23T19:12:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1474489043","priority":42,"sections":[{"local":"news/local"}],"flags":{"web_only":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Cuts threaten Arizona parent-child visitations, agencies fear","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/article_4dd7f9f8-15d2-54ad-bf6b-d5248411f668.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/cuts-threaten-arizona-parent-child-visitations-agencies-fear/article_4dd7f9f8-15d2-54ad-bf6b-d5248411f668.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/cuts-threaten-arizona-parent-child-visitations-agencies-fear/article_4dd7f9f8-15d2-54ad-bf6b-d5248411f668.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Patty Machelor Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"DCS Director Grey McKay\u00a0says overspending by some won't mean cuts for all.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["foster care","dcs","department of child safety"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog","#top5"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"f1c62e43-ab8e-5cdc-acf7-802053a20b0b","description":"Greg McKay, right, head of Arizona\u2019s Department of Child Services, with Gov. Doug Ducey.","byline":"Howard Fischer / Capitol Media Services 2015","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"223","height":"113","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/1c/f1c62e43-ab8e-5cdc-acf7-802053a20b0b/57bcc7662f073.image.jpg?crop=223%2C113%2C9%2C13&resize=223%2C113&order=crop%2Cresize"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/1c/f1c62e43-ab8e-5cdc-acf7-802053a20b0b/57bcc7662f073.image.jpg?crop=256%2C144%2C0%2C17&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/1c/f1c62e43-ab8e-5cdc-acf7-802053a20b0b/57bcc7662f073.image.jpg?crop=256%2C144%2C0%2C17"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/1c/f1c62e43-ab8e-5cdc-acf7-802053a20b0b/57bcc7662f073.image.jpg?crop=256%2C144%2C0%2C17"}}}],"revision":33,"commentID":"4dd7f9f8-15d2-54ad-bf6b-d5248411f668","body":"

Agencies that oversee visitations and help reunite foster children with their parents are being scrutinized in a statewide check on overspending.

Some agencies were spending too much on overhead costs, said Arizona Department of Child Safety Director Greg McKay, with employees receiving gym memberships and other perks while draining money he said could be going to other services.

But providers like Susie Huhn, executive director of Casa de los Ni\u00f1os, and Bob Heslinga, executive director of Aviva Children\u2019s Services, said what McKay sees as an inflated hourly rate is reasonable for these cases. They say McKay is pushing for cuts before meeting with professionals to establish standards and best practices.

The national hourly average for a supervised visitation is $80 \u2014 the same as Arizona\u2019s average, Huhn said.

That amount, used to provide children and their parents with opportunities to meet and work toward reunification, includes employee pay, benefits and training as well as transportation costs, utilities, facility rental and sometimes food.

\u201cIf they have a provider that\u2019s charging three times that much, then deal with that provider,\u201d Huhn said. \u201cDon\u2019t make everyone else pay, too.\u201d

McKay said not every agency is overspending, but there\u2019s been \u201ctoo much blind spending.\u201d He would not say whether the DCS plans to cut agency contracts, but Martha Gilliland, who serves on the board of Aviva Children\u2019s Services, said her agency was told the DCS plans to reduce the number of providers by half.

\u201cI have no doubt streamlining is possible without damage to services, possibly even improving services,\u201d Gilliland said. \u201cBut no analysis has gone into this approach. Moreover, it is abrupt and will no doubt cause things to worsen.\u201d

With roughly 19,000 Arizona children in out-of-home care, child advocates say spending high sums on these services is unavoidable.

\u201cPaying for high-quality services from experienced professionals is much less expensive than cutting corners and quality and leaving children in foster care far longer than they need to be,\u201d said Dana Wolfe Naimark, president of Arizona\u2019s Children\u2019s Action Alliance.

McKay said the goal is not a \u201cbroad brushstroke,\u201d but instead to provide better services more efficiently, and then have more money to spend on other services such as foster homes, in-home services and support for grandparents raising grandchildren.

\u201cThere was rampant waste going on,\u201d he said. \u201cThis was an area that was so blatantly ripe with opportunity to be more accountable.\u201d

The DCS recently received a $55 million increase in appropriations for out-of-home services, which includes parent aid and supervised visitation programs \u2014 money McKay said has \u201calready been spent\u201d on these services. In fiscal year 2015, the DCS spent $49 million for these services, while in fiscal year 2016, it rose to $74 million.

Over the last several months, some agency directors have been called to discuss spending. They are now waiting to see if they will have their contracts renewed.

Lowering rates to $40 or $60 per hour is not possible, said Huhn, referring to some of the sums she was quoted.

\u201cWe can\u2019t do the work for that cost,\u201d she said. \u201cI couldn\u2019t go to my board and say, \u2018We\u2019re going to lose $300,000.\u2019\u201d

Huhn said her agency already lost $81,000 during the last fiscal year toward these same services and had to fundraise to make up the difference.

Heslinga, Aviva\u2019s executive director, said he was called to Phoenix for two meetings over the summer, and each lasted about 20 minutes. Initially, he said it was proposed that they would receive 65 percent less than what they had been receiving for the services, and then that was adjusted to 40 percent less.

Like Huhn, he is now waiting to see if the contract will be renewed.

Aviva hires parent aides and trains them at an annual cost of about $1.5 million. During the last fiscal year, Aviva coordinated 6,700 visits and helped about 450 foster children with services that include parenting education and help with case management.

\u201cWe believe that if you create the right atmosphere and support, parents are more likely to stick with their case,\u201d Heslinga said.

If wages fall and employees are asked to do more work, it\u2019s going to get harder to fill jobs \u2014 and that, he said, won\u2019t benefit Arizona\u2019s most vulnerable families.

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Multinational biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. is bringing a small chunk of its highly influential \u2014 and controversial \u2014 seed operation to Pima County.

The company hopes to start building a facility later this year to grow corn and soybeans in at least one greenhouse on a 7-acre site in Pima County, a Monsanto spokeswoman told the Star Friday.

The main purpose will be for corn-breeding operations, which use few genetically modified organisms, Monsanto spokeswoman Christi Dixon said. But it also will do \u201ctrait integration,\u201d which combines genetic and biotech traits, Dixon said.

Word of Monsanto\u2019s Arizona plans became public Wednesday when the company announced in a news release \u201cits investment plans for greenhouses in Arizona.\u201d Dixon provided more details Friday, but didn\u2019t specify where the greenhouse would be built. More than one greenhouse could be built on the same site, she said.

Using new automated greenhouses, with robots watering and otherwise maintaining crops, the company hopes it can \u201cbetter manage risks \u2014 like insect, disease and weather variables \u2014 we may otherwise encounter in open field environments,\u201d Dixon said in an email.

The use of \u201csupport protected culture capabilities\u201d \u2014 indoor growing \u2014 will \u201cincrease the long-term rate of genetic gain in both corn and soybeans,\u201d she said.

The company picked Arizona because, while greenhouses can grow things year-round in most places by blocking out the elements, \u201cIt\u2019s easier in this kind of weather,\u201d Dixon said, referring to Tucson\u2019s mild winters and warm weather the rest of the year.

Local farmers aware

Monsanto\u2019s plans for Pima County are common knowledge in the local farming community, said Arnold Burruel, a longtime Marana farmer.

He has sold GMO-based seeds to Monsanto but hasn\u2019t talked to company officials about this venture, said Burruel, who said he\u2019s grown GMO and non-GMO cotton as well as GMO corn and non-GMO alfalfa in his fields.

Herb Kai, an owner of the Kai Farms in Marana, said his company\u2019s officials have talked with Monsanto about possibly selling the company land for the operation, but can\u2019t say more because of a confidentiality agreement the two parties have signed.

\u201cI\u2019m sure they\u2019re probably talking to other landowners in Arizona besides us,\u201d said Kai, a Marana Town Council member.

GMO, herbicide controversy

The St. Louis-based company is the world\u2019s largest manufacturer of genetically manufactured seed products for fruits, vegetables, cotton, corn and oilseeds. It calls itself \u201ca sustainable agriculture company\u201d that delivers products supporting farmers around the world.

It\u2019s also been called one of the world\u2019s most-hated companies because of its work with GMO seeds and crops, its production of the widely used herbicide Roundup and its past production of toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a long-banned compound that was once regularly used in electrical transformers.

It\u2019s also fought legal battles with some farmers who accused Monsanto of trying to monopolize control of seed production.

Roundup, in particular, has become hugely controversial. Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, concluded that glyphosate, Roundup\u2019s active ingredient, probably causes cancer in humans.

Monsanto has challenged that finding. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has long considered Roundup safe, but is now revisiting that conclusion.

On its website, Monsanto says, \u201cWe are focused on empowering farmers \u2014 large and small \u2014 to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world\u2019s natural resources such as water and energy.

\u201cWe do this with our leading seed brands in crops like corn, cotton, oilseeds and fruits and vegetables. We also produce leading in-the-seed trait technologies for farmers, which are aimed at protecting their yield, supporting their on-farm efficiency and reducing their on-farm costs. We strive to make our products available to farmers throughout the world by broadly licensing our seed and trait technologies to other companies.\u201d

In October, environmental, farming, food, anti-GMO and other groups will hold a mock trial in the Hague, Netherlands, to assess what they see as the company\u2019s negative impacts. Those include pollution, accelerated biodiversity loss and \u201cmassive\u201d production of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. The group also accuses Monsanto of crimes against nature and humanity and \u201cecocide.\u201d

Writing critically about this effort, Fortune Magazine journalist Marc Gunther quoted Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant as saying U.S. corn farmers generate yields of 150 to 160 bushels an acre, far more than what\u2019s generated in Mexico, India and Africa, where the range is 20 to about 100 bushels per acre.

\u201cI wonder what, exactly, the anti-GMO forces who are going to spend their time and money to put Monsanto \u2018on trial\u2019 intend to do for farmers in Africa,\u201d Grant wrote in a blog post late last year. \u201cLike all companies, Monsanto has made mistakes. Perhaps more than its share. But I honestly don\u2019t understand why this company is so maligned.\u201d

Marana farmer Burruel said his use of genetically modified seed to grow crops has been \u201cnothing but a win for us.\u201d He says Monsanto\u2019s greenhouse-grown seeds will probably use less water than outside field crops because it will be far easier to recycle it inside the greenhouse, where the water will be contained and won\u2019t run off into the soil.

Because GMO crops are insect-resistant, use of chemicals on Burruel\u2019s farm is down 95 percent, he said. That includes less use of residual herbicides on neighboring weeds that can seep into the underground aquifer.

"}, {"id":"cd44f2b9-7cc2-5d43-a4aa-6871884d3f4f","type":"article","starttime":"1471662000","starttime_iso8601":"2016-08-19T20:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1473355773","priority":43,"sections":[{"crime":"news/local/crime"},{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"}],"flags":{"web_only":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Court documents reveal details of prostitution probe of massage parlor","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/crime/article_cd44f2b9-7cc2-5d43-a4aa-6871884d3f4f.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/crime/court-documents-reveal-details-of-prostitution-probe-of-massage-parlor/article_cd44f2b9-7cc2-5d43-a4aa-6871884d3f4f.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/crime/court-documents-reveal-details-of-prostitution-probe-of-massage-parlor/article_cd44f2b9-7cc2-5d43-a4aa-6871884d3f4f.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Owners have filed a claim to have seized property returned.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"d445fefc-703f-5fb0-ba61-9e2399abbab7","description":"Wenjuan Krause, 61, and Charles Krause, 69.","byline":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"450","height":"288","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/44/d445fefc-703f-5fb0-ba61-9e2399abbab7/572bf040f1bfb.image.jpg?resize=450%2C288"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"64","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/44/d445fefc-703f-5fb0-ba61-9e2399abbab7/572bf041045e2.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/44/d445fefc-703f-5fb0-ba61-9e2399abbab7/572bf040f1bfb.image.jpg?crop=450%2C253%2C0%2C17&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/44/d445fefc-703f-5fb0-ba61-9e2399abbab7/572bf040f1bfb.image.jpg?crop=450%2C253%2C0%2C17"}}}],"revision":16,"commentID":"cd44f2b9-7cc2-5d43-a4aa-6871884d3f4f","body":"

The owners of a northwest-side massage parlor that is the subject of a prostitution and sex trafficking investigation are asking for their two homes, cash and other property, which authorities seized, to be returned to them.

Also, newly obtained court records described what investigators said was a criminal operation that brought in sex workers from other states to work at the massage business for 15 days at a time while being housed in one of the couple\u2019s residences.

Earlier this week, Charles and Wenjuan Krause, the owners of Tui-Na Massage, 2840 W. Ina Road, filed a claim in Pima County Superior Court, asking for property and money seized in the criminal investigation to be returned to them, the documents show.

In May, Tucson police arrested the Krauses, who are married, following a monthslong investigation into their business, according to court records.

On May 23, a state grand jury indicted the couple on charges of money laundering, operating a house of prostitution, transporting persons for the purpose of prostitution and receiving the earnings of prostitution \u2014 all felonies.

In July, the state seized two properties and two vehicles identified in the investigation after Tucson police served search warrants at Tui-Na, and the couple\u2019s two homes, located in the Marana and Oro Valley, according to court records.

Investigation details

Tucson police and federal Homeland Security agents began investigating Tui-Na last fall, after detectives learned that multiple women who worked at the business were performing sex acts for money, according to a court document filed by the Tucson Police Department.

\u201cThrough the investigation, it has been observed that the client base for Tui-Na consists of only males who are mainly 40 years of age or older,\u201d the document says.

Investigators learned the couple used the house in Marana as living quarters for the \u201crotating cast of Asian females that work and perform massage/sex acts at Tui-Na,\u201d according to the document.

Many of the women have prior arrests for prostitution in Arizona and other states and workers interviewed by police said they traveled from Mesa and Los Angeles to work at Tui-Na for 15 days at a time.

At the end of the 15 days, the women received a check from the Krauses and returned to their homes outside of Tucson, the report states

While conducting surveillance on multiple occasions, investigators saw Charles Krause and an unidentified person drop off three women at Tui-Na in the morning, then take them home at 11 p.m.

Undercover officers visited the business twice and received massages from employees, during which the women offered sexual services, the TPD complaint shows.

Although the officers were able to use credit cards to pay for the $60 massage, the women said the sex acts cost $40 extra and could only be paid by a cash tip.

An interview with the owner of a nearby business revealed it was common knowledge that Tui-Na provided sexual services. He also told police that a customer of his walked into Tui-Na by mistake and saw a naked women standing inside the business, the police document said.

After he was arrested, Charles Krause told police he is the business\u2019 bookkeeper, and deposits the previous night\u2019s earning at a bank each morning. The money was deposited into the business account, but later transferred to Wenjuan Krause\u2019s personal accounts, the documents state.

Charles Krause also told investigators he was aware that prostitution took place at his business, and that he monitors reviews on websites \u201cused by escorts to advertise, and \u2018Johns\u2019 to review their prostitution experiences with specific females.\u201d

A seizure warrant filed in court July 14 values the two homes, two vehicles and money that was seized at nearly $550,000.

The Arizona Attorney General\u2019s Office is prosecuting the criminal case against the couple in superior court. The office was unable to comment on the case, since it involves an ongoing criminal investigation, said spokeswoman Mia Garcia.

A status conference is set for September, and the Krauses\u2019 attorneys, Jeff Rogers and David Lipartito, have filed a motion to send the case back to the grand jury.

Rogers is representing Charles in both the civil and criminal case, while Lipartito is representing Wenjuan.

Lipartito said that he expects a good result in both cases.

\u201cThe discovery shows no evidence that the Krauses knew what was happening in their business,\u201d Rogers said.

Requesting property be returned

On Aug. 15, Rogers and Lipartito filed a claim in Pima County Superior Court, asking that the couple\u2019s homes, money and cars be returned.

\u201cNone of the property was the fruits, instrumentality, or locus of a racketeering offense or any criminal act \u2026 that would allow its seizure,\u201d according to the claim.

It goes on to say the homes and cars were acquired before the alleged criminal activity began and from lawful proceeds.

In addition, the undisclosed amount of money that was taken from his bank account in May had been acquired since the criminal charges were filed and after Tui-Na closed and \u201cthe end of any activity alleged to be illegal by the state,\u201d the claim said.

\u201cThis is one of the most abusive cases of civil forfeiture I\u2019ve seen in my career,\u201d Rogers said. \u201cVirtually every asset in the case was purchased before the business was opened.\u201d

A search of the Arizona Corporation Commission\u2019s website shows that Tui-Na was registered by the Krauses in 2008.

According to the claim, the Krauses purchased the house in Oro Valley in December 2014. The Marana house was purchased by Charles Krause in 2006.

\u201cOur case (to get the property back) is pretty solid,\u201d Rogers said. \u201cI don\u2019t see any reason that it wouldn\u2019t be returned.\u201d

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A Tucson man who defrauded a local nonprofit agency out of nearly $10,000 has been sentenced to four years of probation, court records show.

Rafael Arturo Zavala, 31, pleaded guilty in Pima County County Superior Court last month to two felony counts of forgery and one felony count of theft of property, according to court documents.

On April 7, a Pima County grand jury indicted Zavala on 31 counts of forgery, theft and fraudulent schemes.

On July 12, Judge Kenneth Lee sentenced Zavala to four years of probation for each offense, set to run concurrently.

While working for CODAC Behavioral Services from June 2014 to July 2015, Zavala forged his supervisor's signatures on nearly 90 percent of his mileage reimbursement forms and on-call pay requests, according to the Tucson Police Department's report of the incident.

In total, he defrauded the nonprofit out of more than $9,300, the police report shows.

Last June, Zavala was put on administrative leave from his job in the technical support department, when his boss became suspicious and opened an investigation. When Zavala was confronted about the situation, he maintained that the forms had been signed by his supervisor.

Zavala was terminated the next day, the police report shows.

Last August, CODAC's attorney began sending letters to Zavala, offering to let him pay the debt in installments in lieu of contacting law enforcement. After spending more than six months trying to contact Zavala, CODAC contacted Tucson police in March, the report says.

The Pima County Attorney's Office filed a motion for restitution earlier this month, asking the court to order Zavala to pay CODAC back $11,363 for the stolen money and their attorney's fees, court documents show.

A hearing will take place at a later date for Judge Lee to rule on the motion.

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