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Arizona Prime Cuts 2011

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Stem Cells, Uranium, Occupy Phoenix, and Russell Pearce’s Recall: Which Is The Top Arizona Story Of 2011?


By Staff Report
Modern Times Magazine

Dec. 31, 2011 — This past year started off with a tragedy of historical proportions: the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Jared Lee Loughner killed six that morning at a suburban Tucson Safeway and wounded 12, including Giffords.

The fact that Giffords — the impetus for the attack who was shot point blank in the head — recovered to the point that she made an appearance on the House floor less than eight months later was nothing but a miracle.

Business as usual mostly reigned Arizona’s 2011 with some notable exceptions, including the first recall of a state legislator — Russell Pearce — and the rebirth of the protest movement in Phoenix. Here are the Prime Cuts: the seven most read, Arizona centered, bits of content from the pages of

No. 7 — Arizonan Guilty In Stem Cell Smuggling

In August, Fredda Branyon, 57, a Scottsdale-based operator of a laboratory and clinic, was convicted of manufacturing, selling, and transporting across state lines, adult derived human stem-cells. According to the factual basis filed of record with the plea agreement, Branyon sold approximately 183 vials containing stems cells to an individual in Brownsville, Texas, on 27 separate occasions between April 2009 and February 2010 and received approximately $300,000. Read full story —>

No. 6 — The Grand Canyon’s Uranium Question

Early in 2011, the U.S. Department of the Interior was considering whether to allow Uranium mining to resume around Grand Canyon National Park. Although it was decided in June that a moratorium on mining would be extended, it was unsure just how the result would turn out, in May, even in light of the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster. Read full story —>

No. 5 — Palo Verde Nuclear Plant Set For 20 More Years

There can be no denying that nuclear power plants such as Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station just outside of Phoenix produce no greenhouse gases and are therefore “clean.” But after the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster, it was especially notable when the plant received Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval to continue generating power past 2040. The plant provides nearly one-third of the base-load power for the state. Read full story —>

No. 4 — Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Brouhaha A Political Ploy

Image by Laurie Avocado and used under the terms of a Creative Commons license.

When voters passed Proposition 106 the previous November, it appeared Arizona would finally get medical marijuana dispensaries. But in early May, and after holding months of public hearings and issuing patient cards, Gov. Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne suspended the program. Read full story —>

No. 3 — Stars Align For Lewis In Pearce Recall

When Jerry Lewis — perhaps the only candidate that would have been able to knock off former Senate president Russell Pearce — declared his candidacy this summer, hope reigned supreme. Everyone in Arizona already knows how this one turned out, but early on, Lewis’ bid was still an uphill battle. Read full story —>

No. 2 — Serial Killer Zamastil Down, Many More To Go

Serial killer William Zamastil, a scourge who ended lives in the late 1960s and 1970s from his home state of Wisconsin and throughout the west, was convicted this summer of the kidnapping, rape and murder of Leesa Jo Shaner, who he abducted from Tucson International Airport in 1973. But the conviction was also a stark reminder that, according to a Scripps Howard News Service study of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, roughly 185,000 cases of murder in the U.S. went unsolved from 1980 to 2008. In Arizona during that time, there were 9,827 murders and only 61 percent of them were solved. Read full story —>

No. 1 — Occupy Phoenix Busted Up By Police

When thousands gathered at Cesar Chavez plaza Oct. 15 for the first day of Occupy Phoenix, few realized what would transpire that night: Hundreds of police in riot gear arresting approximately 50 people as they stayed in Margaret T. Hance park after it had closed. Although crowds at Cesar Chavez plaza have never again reached the thousands on Oct. 15 — which might have been influenced by heavy-handed police tactics — Occupy Phoenix continues to thrive and has now been organizing and evolving for more than 75 days. Read full story —>
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