Treasure-hunting diver finds a phone and returns it to its owner

Arizona-based scuba diver Dallas, the guy behind the YouTube channel Man + River, has a fun hobby. He dives with his buddies at local creeks, rivers, and lakes looking for lost treasures, recording these underwater scavenger hunts on his GoPro. He's found all kinds of things, including sunglasses, pocket knives, coins, jewelry, cameras, lots of phones, and even a gun.

In this video from late last year, watch as Dallas unearths an iPhone 6 buried eight inches deep using an underwater metal detector and a metal sand scoop.

The phone was found dry inside an inexpensive waterproof case, so Dallas brought it home and started charging it.

Long story shorter: The phone works, he contacts its owner and returns it to him. Watch!

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Arizona may end draconian feminine hygiene rationing for prisoners

Right now, if prisoners use up their 12 allotted pads for the month, they have to work 27 hours to afford a $4 box of tampons. Read the rest

A $3.50 hot dog won a James Beard Award

Daniel Contreras, the owner of El Guero Canelo restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, recently learned that his $3.50 Sonoran hot dog took one of the James Beard Foundation's five 2018 America’s Classics awards this year.

The Sonora, Mexico native confessed to Tucson Weekly that he was unfamiliar with the James Beard Foundation (JBF) and its award prior to winning:

"First of all, like I told everybody else, I didn't even know who they were... I said, 'Well, I don't know who you are.' We miscommunicated because of my English, or I didn't understand exactly what they wanted from us. This is incredible what we have been honored."

The JBF writes that the "honor is given to regional establishments, often family-owned, that are cherished for their quality food, local character, and lasting appeal" and describe the winning dog as such:

The Sonoran hot dog evinces the flow of culinary and cultural influences from the U.S. to Mexico and back. Decades ago, elaborately dressed hot dogs began to appear as novelty imports on the streets of Hermosillo, the Sonoran capital. Today, Tucson is the American epicenter, and Daniel Contreras is the leading hotdoguero. A Sonoran native, Contreras was 33 in 1993 when he opened El Guero Canelo. The original stand is now a destination restaurant, outfitted with picnic tables and serviced by a walk-up order window. Fans converge for bacon-wrapped franks, stuffed into stubby bollilos, smothered with beans, onions, mustard, jalapeño sauce, and a squiggle of mayonnaise. Contreras operates three branches in Tucson, one in Phoenix, and a bakery to supply the split-top buns.
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Inmate, denied health care in an Arizona private prison, chews his own fingers off

An unnamed, paralyzed prisoner in one of Corizon Correctional Healthcare's for-profit prisons in Arizona chewed part of his left hand off because Corizon refused to give him the correct medication for his pain. Read the rest

A stunning timelapse of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch flying over Arizona

Last Friday night, my Facebook feed blew up with images of "UFOs." It took a beat before my concerned SoCal friends got the news that the big illuminated streak they saw across the sky was actually Elon Musk's latest rocket launch on its way to space, and not something nefarious.

Shortly after, my brother Andrew texted me in excitement from Arizona, saying that he and his family had caught the rocket launch from Scottsdale. I was surprised to hear that it was visible in Arizona, as I had already learned it was launched from Vandenberg in California. Then today I came across this gorgeous timelapse video shot by photographer Jesse Watson and I can see what all the fuss was about.

Watson writes:

This particular launch was close to my hometown in Yuma, Arizona, roughly 400 miles away but perfectly viewable for people in Arizona. I’ve one previous rocket launch years ago from White Sands Missile range in the morning time at sunrise and knew with the correct lighting from sunset that this launch had the opportunity to pop in a dramatic fashion.

I scouted four locations that had foregrounds to add depth to the imagery and was uniquely inspiring to my hometown. Location choices were between a favorite local hiking mountain, the Imperial Sand Dunes, or a small hill that resides in the historic downtown area overlooking the city. I ended up choosing the location that overlooked the city, partially because it was the easiest to access with all of my time-lapse gear.

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Congressman Trent Franks [R-AZ] resigns amidst accusations that he pressured his female staff to bear his children as surrogate mothers

The "inappropriate behavior" that caused Rep Trent Franks [R-AZ] to resign from Congress wasn't fondling or hugging or pressuring his staffers for sex: it was pressuring his female staffers allow him Franks and his wife to use their uteruses to gestate their children. Read the rest

See you tonight, Scottsdale, AZ! (then San Diego, Portland, Seattle...) (!)

Thanks to everyone who came out to last night's Walkaway tour-stop at Houston's Brazos Books; I'm just arriving at the airport to fly to Phoenix for tonight's event at Scottsdale's Poisoned Pen Books with Brian David Johnson. Read the rest

Mystery hole in Arizona quickly sealed up

A couple days ago, a woman and her son on a walk near their home in Tonopah, Arizona found a very strange and deep concrete-lined hole. A representative from the American Pump and Well Service Repair said it doesn't appear to be a well. Local news 3TV dropped a camera into the hole, and at the bottom, around 30-feet down, the saw "mostly trash, a box and a bucket." The Bureau of Land Management has since filled in the hole. From 3TV:

A BLM spokesperson says the land was owned by the Federal Aviation Administration back in the 1950s. The property was later turned over to the BLM...

The BLM says the FAA still has access to the land as part of a 'right of way' grant, but says the hole has nothing to do with their operations. BLM says it had permission to cover it.

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Arizona House of Reps kills bill that would let cops take your home if you planned a protest that turned violent

SB 1142 is a bill introduced last week in the Arizona Senate that would allow the cops to charge participants in demonstrations with racketeering -- and confiscate their assets, including their homes -- if they attended a protest that turned violent, even if they did nothing violent and were not involved in planning any violence. Read the rest

Arizona Republic editor responds to death threats following Clinton endorsement

For the first time in more than 125 years, the Arizona Republic endorsed a Democrat: Hillary Clinton. Some of the paper's readers responded with death threats -- and worse. Editor Mi-Ai Parrish's response is as classy a civics lesson as you could ask for. Read the rest

Unarmed man begged for life before AZ cop with "YOU'RE FUCKED" sticker on rifle shot him to death

Daniel Shaver said "please don't shoot me" moments before Officer Philip Brailsford shot him five times. Shaver was unarmed. Read the rest

Arizona high school students' racism even offends Arizona

Six Arizona HS students at Desert Vista High School decided to re-arrange the letters of a slogan spelled out on t-shirts to offend their fellow classmates, teachers, administrators, local congress person, and pretty much everyone else who sees the story.

Seems they got a single day suspension.

AZCentral shares the story:

A photo shows six smiling girls standing with their arms around each other, wearing black shirts with letters written on them in gold tape that, even with asterisks in the middle, unmistakably spell out the n-word.

The photo has a small circle in the corner, indicating it was originally posted to Snapchat, where photos disappear after 24 hours.

A different photo on Instagram shows 36 girls lined up wearing the same style of shirts that read "BEST*YOU'VE*EVER*SEEN*CLASS*OF*2016."

The photos went viral on Twitter and Facebook by Friday afternoon, where many people, including parents of Desert Vista students, called the photo racist and asked for the students to be suspended or expelled.

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Arizona starts using Facebook and Twitter to publicly shame 'Deadbeat Dads'

Fathers in Arizona who aren't delivering court-ordered child support payments may discover their mugs plastered all over social media soon. Arizona governor Doug Ducey this week unveiled a bizarre new name-and-shame campaign to publicly mock so-called “deadbeat dads,” a crackdown on "the worst of the worst" parents who fail to make child support payments.

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Intel futurist Brian David Johnson heads to ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination

Brian David Johnson (previously) is the futurist and theorist who used design fiction to help the company think about how its products would work in the future (I wrote him a story about the painful death of passwords). Read the rest

Young Earth Creationist will run Arizona Senate education panel

Sylvia Allen, the GOP state Senator from Snowflake, AZ, believes the Earth is 6,000 years old. She will run the state Senate's committee to oversee educational legislation. Read the rest

Arizona tried to illegally import an execution drug not approved for use in U.S.

Arizona tried to illegally import a lethal injection drug that is banned in the U.S., but the state never got the drug after federal agents halted the shipment at Phoenix airport. The Associated Press has the documents, and the resulting scoop.

Arizona paid nearly $27,000 for sodium thiopental, an anesthetic that has been used to carry out executions but is no longer manufactured by FDA-approved companies, the documents said. When the drugs arrived via British Airways at the Phoenix International Airport in July, they were seized by federal officials and have not been released, according to the documents.

"The department is contesting FDA's legal authority to continue to withhold the state's execution chemicals," state Department of Corrections spokesman Andrew Wilder said Thursday.

Arizona and other death penalty states have been struggling to obtain legal execution drugs for several years after European companies refused to sell the drugs, including sodium thiopental, that have been used to carry out executions. States have had to change drug combinations or, in some cases, put executions on hold temporarily as they look for other options.

The Arizona documents obtained by the AP were released as part of a lawsuit against the corrections department over transparency in executions. The AP is a party in the lawsuit.

"Documents: Arizona tried to illegally import execution drug" [AP] Read the rest

Airport workers, including TSA, raid unlockable luggage for valuables

Airport stings keep catching insiders pilfering millions of dollars worth of passenger property from bags that can no longer be effectively locked, thanks to a TSA rule that insists on luggage being equipped with locks that are all vulnerable to the same passkey. Read the rest

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