Coronavirus, School Spending, an Officer’s Funeral: Here’s Your News From the Weekend

coronavirus test

By Jessica Swarner

March 2, 2020

Here are some of the top Arizona headlines from the weekend.

While the coronavirus continues to spread across the world, same-day testing is expected to begin in Arizona on Monday. 

Up until this point, the state had to send its tests to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. However, the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory ran into some issues before it could begin testing. 

On Friday, Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Phoenix, sent a letter to the CDC saying the tests sent to the lab on Feb. 11 were defective. 

“Officials in my state have been forced to wait upwards of nearly two weeks to receive coronavirus test results,” he wrote in the letter. “This is outrageous and unacceptable.” 

According to AZ Family, the Arizona Department of Health Services confirmed the faulty tests had not been used on any patients, and the tests the agency currently has are safe to use. 

Arizona has seen one confirmed case of coronavirus, but the health department says that number is expected to begin rising soon, possibly within weeks. 

Mesa School District’s Superintendent Struggles Cost $1M

Mesa Public Schools has spent over $1 million in the past three school years on its superintendents and finding replacements, according to The Arizona Republic.

The state’s largest school district spent $25,000 to find a successor to Michael Cowan, who retired in 2018. Cowan’s replacement, Ember Conley, also resigned less than two years later after allegations she mishandled funds, thus requiring the district to spend even more money to find someone to take her spot. 

According to The Republic’s report, this is how much the district spent each year on superintendents, including their six-figure salaries and the two searches:

  • 2017-2018: $419,025.
  • 2018-2019: $312,987.
  • 2019-2020: $422,473. 

Conley was paid more than $500,000 during her short time with Mesa Public Schools, including a $225,000 base salary and nearly $60,000 in “other earnings.” 

Funeral Held For Fallen White Mountain Apache Officer

Arizonans came together in Whiteriver on Saturday to mourn fallen White Mountain Apache Officer David Kellywood, who was killed in a shootout on Feb. 17. 

According to The Arizona Republic, hundreds of people attended the memorial at the Chief Alchesay Activity Center. 

The newspaper reported White Mountain Apache Police Chief Ted Shaw gave the eulogy.

“David loved this community and law enforcement, but more importantly he loved his wife Kamellia, his son Gabriel, David Jr., his mother Florence, his brother Kenny, his sister Delphina and his sister Rena,” he said. “Your husband, father, son and brother gave the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow man.”

On Feb. 17, Kellywood responded to a call near Hon-Dah Resort Casino in the early morning when he approached a man armed with a gun. The man shot Kellywood before another officer arrived and shot the suspect. Both were hospitalized and died from their injuries.

”A hero was taken, but he will not be forgotten,” said Pastor Marty Paxson of the Whiteriver Assembly of God Church during the service.

Kellywood was laid to rest at Chieftain Cemetery in North Fork, Arizona.


  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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