Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on June 28, 1997 · Page 1
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 1

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Saturday, June 28, 1997
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MEMM : A place Mostly sunny ringing Check keep your of worship the '50s back out or the deaf . HIGH 106 10W 79 Page B6 llLirirrspQrts The Ammm Eepub State Edition 500 Copyright 1997, The Mrona Republic . Slow to COOL m Saturday, June 28, 1997 Phoenix, Arizona www.azcentral.com 108th year, No. 41 SELLING THE ENVIRONMENT Number of environmental license plates sold each year since the program began 20 15 10 EI EH m 92-93 93-94 94-95 95-96 From October to June Source: Department of Motor Vehicles The Arizona Republic Success turns into 142 years for fraud , By Eric Miller The Arizona Republic In the end, perhaps success was Arnie Zaler's worst enemy. As a young man, he persuaded then-President Carter to., dedicate $1.5 million for a memorial park in Aurora, Colo., for Soviet Jews who survived the Holocaust. By age 30, he already had an impressive list of community and political accomplishments under his belt, including a run for the Denver City Council. Nearly a decade later, he had built a successful and high-profile Phoenix computer software company, had his eye on a Congressional seat and . had launched a statewide drive for a holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Now Zaler, who cheated 50 to 60 of his business lenders some of them close friends of roughly $3 million, is headed to state prison. "I've always been very, very lucky," Zaler said in a jailhouse interview earlier this week. "I've pulled off things that were almost impossible." ; Please see BUSINESSMAN, Page A 18 Defense puts focus on accountants By Pat Flannery, Charles Kelly and Jerry Kammer The Arizona Republic . Fife Symington's defense began building its case Friday that Symington made honest mistakes on his financial statements and then was tripped up by accountants who should have caught the errors. Katherine Wrigley, a former partner at Coopers & Ly- brand, conceded that it was Symington himself who had supplied information that led her to discover the discrepancies between his 1991 financial report and previous ones. Symington faces 22 felony charges, most of them asserting that he defrauded lenders by deliberately mprctatiniT hie nft wnrth tn nrnnirp ..... .v, development loans. . Under questioning from Symington lawyer Terry Lynam, Wrigley Please see DEFENSE, Page A16 'Emviroplate' revenue idled $1.3 million awaits dole to Phoenix, Tucson schools By Kris Mayes The Arizona Republic Revenues from the state's environmental license plates are supposed to be funding environmental education in schools. But more than $1.3 million generated by sales of the plates is sitting idle, shutting off environmental programs for children in the state's urban areas. "I see these license plates and they say 'Protect our environment,' " said Sen. Chris Cummiskey, D-central Phoenix. "But the bulk of the money is just sitting there." Cummiskey on Friday released the results of Democratic legislative inquiries into the agency that oversees the program. More than 18,00tf of the license plates costing $25 each were sold from July 1995 to June 1996. The money is supposed to flow into environmental education programs throughout the state. Arizona sells its environmental license plates for $25 each. But no school environmental programs are being funded in Phoenix or Tucson. Up to $65,000 was allocated last year for educational programs, all of it going to rural areas of the state. The remaining. $1.3 million is sitting in the Environmental Special Plate Fund while state officials figure out how to allocate it. THE syriiiigtgii TRIAL a X fi : k 1 K. 11 ),'' I V - ' . hi M ' Justices rule agamsi tod y law 7 A i i V By Jeff Barker Republic Washington Bureau WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court, upholding former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack's appeal, ruled Friday that the federal government can't continue to force states to conduct criminal-background checks on handgun buyers. The 5-4 ruling, striking down a key portion of the Brady gun-control law as unconstitutional, placed Arizona's instant background review system in legal limbo. Officials said checks on would-be gun buyers will continue pending an analysis of the high court's decision by the state Attorney General's Office. That review is expected to be completed early next week. Since 1994, the Arizona Department of Public safety has performed 213,720 background checks and denied handguns to 5,633 felons, fugitives and others ineligible to possess firearms. The court's decision would permit law-enforcement agencies to continue to conduct background reviews voluntarily, and President Clinton urged them to do exactly Please see JUSTICES, Page A 18 'BRADY BILL STATES Twenty three states, including Arizona, are affected by the Supreme Court decision. The other 27 states have passed their own "Brady alternative" bills. Ore. ! luaiiu Vt LtL.' .".. ""'j iT:l MinnX-74K?)rMa. Ore. ,h ' ,.1 tWis.P,7ks J A Idaho f. i (AfliCh) LSconn. " ' ' ill Y Tom I mgleihe Arizona Republic Shooter's World General Manager Greg Goodrich (left) and customer Ken Knowles talk about a handgun purchase. ';" Hawaii Note: 01 the 23, only Ohio has said it will stop doing background checks. In Arizona, officials will continue to do checks until Fridays decision is studied further. Source: Associated Press The logjam dates to 1995, when conservative Republican lawmakers revamped the license-plate program, requiring that new guidelines be written for schools wanting to apply to use the funds for environmental education. The program began in 1990 as a bipartisan plan approved by then-Gov. Rose Mofford, a Democrat, that required environmental education in Arizona's public schools. The GOP lawmakers also slashed the requirement that schools provide Please see 'ENVIROPLOTF, Page A2 i SC0TTSDALE PHOENIX 6 miles Ckm Phoenix Verde K Water Treatment I Plant SALTMER riMA MAN lb Urf ' - . 1 The Arizona Republic The Arizona Republic EPA eyes tainted city plant Toxic brew remains at water filtering site By Dennis Wagner The Arizona Republic The Environmental Protection Agency has stepped in to. investigate 30,000-gallon acid mess that has plagued a Phoenix water treatment plant for more than 1 1 months. EPA spokesman David Schmidt said his agency has concerns about the handling and storage of hazardous wastes at the Verde Water Treatment Plant, northeast of Mesa. "It's definitely something we're going to look into," he said. The saga of bad acid began last May when a supervisor at the plant mistakenly combined a truckload of ferric (iron) chloride with hundreds of gallons of sulfuric acid. The mixture created an intense heat reaction that spewed vapors, caused leaks and destroyed equipment at one of the city's five water plants. Emergency officials were not called, nor were environmental inspectors notified. The brew has remained in a seeping concrete pond at the confluence of the Salt and Verde rivers ever since. The EPA was contacted by Valley environmental activist Steve Brittle after The Arizona Republic reported on the mess Monday. Brittle, President of Don't Waste Arizona, said he believes city officials broke the law by failing to dispose of hazardous wastes, and by attempting to slowly feed them into a water treatment system that serves thousands of people. "1 told EPA it looks like criminal intent to violate environmental laws," Brittle said. "I disagree," said Steven Schebler, Phoenix's assistant superintendent of water production. "We're trying to be aboveboard. We don't believe there's any problem." This week, inspectors from the state Department of Environmental Quality, Maricopa County and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community visited the plant, which is on the reservation. Janet Johnson, a tribal spokeswoman, said the council is consulting with regulators and looking into options. Please see EPA, Page A2 M s We take nsStS2tIlD CSS tobacco talks Great coop in the sky awaits late Mr. Chicken Associated Press JACKSON, Mich. Mr. Chicken died with his artificial legs on, defending his hens to the end, and that's the way he'll be buried. . Veterinarian Tim England said his plucky rooster was mauled to death, probably by a raccoon, as he tried; to protect the chickens who shared his pen. "Something chewed him up real good," England said Friday. "The other chickens were OK, Jthough. He was very protective of them." Mr. Chicken was rescued last December, his feet frozen beyond repair. England adopted the bird and had a physical therapist make Mr. Chicken a new pair of legs-.. The plastic legs fit snugly over the stumps, with squarish "feet" that curved up at the toe like skis. "It's a glum day," England .said. "We will bury him in the flower garden with his legs on. He will get a headstone because he was a famous little guy." 3 . . 1 . Bob KeyesJackson Citizen Patriot They'll bury plucky Mr. Chicken in the garden with his fake legs on. 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