Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ariz. journalist shows how to localize budget cuts

State budget cuts offer many opportunities for rural journalists to localize the topic. Joanna Dodder Nellans of The Daily Courier in Prescott, Ariz., starts her story this way: "Deep state budget cuts are affecting a vast array of Prescott-area citizens, from toddlers to the elderly."

The Arizona Department of Health Services is set to increase its licensing fee for preschools, raising local Cornerstone Christian Preschool and Daycare's fee from $150 to $14,000 annually. The director tells Nellans she will struggle to pay the fee without passing a portion of the price onto already struggling parents. If the daycare operated at full capacity, Nellans reports, the $14,000 would equate to a $6.50 per child per month fee for parents.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Nellans reports many elderly locals will soon lose free services as the Northern Arizona Council of Governments' (NACOG) Area Agency on Aging cuts support for home services. Several set to lose those benefits voiced concerns to Nellans that they would end up in nursing homes or emergency rooms without the services they're used to receiving. (Read more)

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