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Arizona governor wants review of execution process

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is ordering a review of the state's execution process after a condemned inmate gasped and snorted for more than an hour and a half before he died.

Brewer said in a statement Wednesday that she's concerned by how long it took for the sedative and pain killer that were injected into Joseph Rudolph Wood's veins to kill him.

The governor says she's directing the Department of Corrections to conduct a full review, but she says Wood's execution showed justice was carried out.

Brewer says medical and eyewitness accounts indicate Wood did not suffer and died in a lawful manner.

His defense lawyers say the botched execution should have taken 10 minutes and should bring new scrutiny to the death penalty in the U.S.

Wood was convicted in the 1989 shooting deaths of 29-year-old Debbie Dietz and 55-year-old Gene Dietz.


DPS officers stop wrong-way driver on Mesa freeway

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - The state Department of Public Safety says officers successfully stopped a wrong-way driver on a Mesa freeway early Thursday morning.

The DPS says it received several 911 calls about the wrong-way driver traveling eastbound in westbound lanes of State Route 202. The first caller reported seeing a driver passed out behind the wheel of a car stopped at an intersection near the freeway.

Several DPS officers tried to stop the vehicle on the freeway, and one deployed stock sticks that flattened one tire of the wrong-way vehicle.

However, the DPS says the vehicle kept going for a ways before finally stopping just before going head-on with a DPS detective about five miles from where the vehicle apparently got on the 202.

The DPS says officers arrested the 24-year-old driver.


Phoenix again under excessive warning

PHOENIX (AP) - The Phoenix area, south-central Arizona and much of southwestern Arizona on Thursday are again under an excessive heating warning.

The warning issued by the National Weather Service runs until 8 p.m. Thursday.

Forecasters say highs Thursday will range between 110 and 115 degrees in many low desert locations.

Yuma on Wednesday set a record for the date at 117, surpassing the record of 115 set on July 23 in 1959.

Also on Wednesday, Phoenix tied the day's record of 114, which was set in 2006.


Coconino County crews to get communication tools

SEDONA, Ariz. (AP) - A relief fund established after a northern Arizona wildfire will pay for communication devices to assist emergency responders.

The Arizona Community Foundation said Wednesday it will award an $11,500 grant to the Coconino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team.

The money will go toward purchasing satellite communicators that will allow faster exchanges of information between responders and other personnel.

The communicators will allow responders to trade text messages with a command group, monitor responders' locations and receive alerts in emergency situations.

Officials say the devices will be deployed as personnel go into areas at risk for flash floods and rock slides.

The fund is mostly made up of donations in the wake of the Slide Fire that burned 31 square miles around Oak Creek Canyon in May.


Navajo judge orders joint trial in slush fund case

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) - A Navajo Nation judge has ruled that tribal council President Johnny Naize and four current or former council delegates will stand trial together on bribery charges stemming from alleged improper use of a discretionary fund.

The Daily Times reports that District Judge Carol Perry's ruling Tuesday grants a motion by the special prosecutor in the cases of Naize, Delegate David L. Tom and former delegates George Arthur, Leonard Teller and Ernest D. Yazzie Jr..

Each defendant is accused of providing money to family members from the council's discretionary fund and of developing a back-and-forth system to receive funding.

The discretionary fund was intended to allow delegates to help tribal members facing emergencies or financial hardship.

Perry said the court lacks funding to conduct separate trials for the defendants.


Grand Canyon urges visitors to stay away from bats

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) - Grand Canyon officials are encouraging visitors who came into contact with rabid bats at the national park to seek medical care.

One bat crawled on a woman for 10 minutes in front of the Tusayan Museum on July 16, drawing an afternoon crowd. The woman's identity is unknown.

Another bat was found dead about 4.5 miles up from Phantom Ranch on the North Kaibab Trail on July 12.

Both bats later tested positive for rabies, which can be deadly in humans if left untreated.

Health officials say rabies can be transmitted to humans through bat saliva, a scratch or a bite.

Grand Canyon spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge says rabid bats lose their fear of humans. She says visitors should stay away from the winged animals that normally are active at night.

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