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Weekly wrap-up: Biggest stories from this past week in Arizona, nation

This Nov. 16, 2017 photo released by NBC shows Matt Lauer during a broadcast of the "Today," show in New York. NBC News fired the longtime host for "inappropriate sexual behavior." Lauer's co-host Savannah Guthrie made the announcement at the top of Wednesday's "Today" show. ( Zach Pagano/NBC via AP)

PHOENIX — This past week was a busy one.

We said goodbye to November and ushered in a new month, witnessed the U.S. Senate pass a $1.5 trillion tax bill and saw one of the most popular television anchors get fired from his post due to “inappropriate sexual behavior.”

Here are some of the biggest stories from the past week, both in Arizona and across the nation.


I-17 named one of the most dangerous highways in the US

Interstate 17 in Arizona was recently included in a report by Teletrac Navman as one of the most dangerous highways in the U.S.

Based on the analysis of fatality data between 2011 and 2015, the report found that the popular Arizona highway had 123 fatalities over the course of the five year period — the fourth most in the country.

The total amount of deaths resulted in an average of .843 deaths per mile. Of the numerous fatalities, 49 came from within the city of Phoenix.

Jay-Z tops Grammy nominations with 8, Kendrick Lamar follows with 7

Jay-Z led the 2018 Grammy Award nominations with eight, in a year where the top four categories were dominated by rap and R&B artists, giving the often overlooked genres a strong chance of winning big.

The Recording Academy announced that Jay-Z’s nominations included album, song, and record of the year.

Bruno Mars was also nominated for the big three, while Kendrick Lamar, who earned seven nominations, and Childish Gambino, were also up for major awards.

Arizona-based chain Massage Envy faces sex assault lawsuits

A popular Scottsdale-based massage chain is facing sexual assault lawsuits and other allegations from nearly 200 women, according to an investigation by an online news site.

BuzzFeed News reported that Massage Envy has been accused of ignoring and mishandling years of clients’ formal complaints of sexual misconduct they endured at the hands of masseurs.

Buzzfeed reported 180 women had filed complaints and/or police reports that included allegations of massage therapists groping their genitals and breasts, and even more explicit violations of their bodies.

NBC fires ‘Today’ anchor Matt Lauer for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’

NBC News fired longtime anchor Matt Lauer of the “Today” show after allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior at the workplace surfaced.

The New York Times reported that network news president Andrew Lack said in a memo that they had received a detailed complaint about Lauer’s “inappropriate sexual behavior” at work.

The allegations, the memo continued, “represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.”

Lauer apologized for his actions in a statement, but claimed some of the allegations were not true.

Doctors find second tumor in Sen. John McCain’s brain

Doctors found a second tumor in the brain of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the same place as the surgically-removed original growth.

The 81-year-old senator told People magazine he was feeling fine despite the second tumor that was discovered during chemotherapy.

McCain underwent at least one round of chemotherapy at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale and another at the National Institutes of Health. It was not clear which facility found the second tumor.

Phoenix council advances renaming Sky Harbor terminal after McCain

The Phoenix City Council voted to consider naming a terminal at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport after McCain.

The council voted unanimously to begin the process of renaming the airport’s Terminal 3 as the John S. McCain III Terminal.

However, the vote did not mean the name change was set in stone: The discussion will now go to a commission, who will hold a hearing and will pass on a recommendation to the council.

Arizona Treasurer Jeff DeWit to be nominated for key role at NASA

Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit is expected to be nominated to a key position at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the White House announced.

The White House said the president intends to nominate DeWit as NASA’s chief financial officer.

Sen. Jeff Flake to hold floor speeches on importance of facts, truth

Sen. Jeff Flake is reportedly planning to hold a series of speeches on the Senate floor that will address the importance of facts and the truth.

According to NPR, the Arizona senator said he will talk about the “critical importance of facts and truth to American democracy.”

“These speeches aren’t necessarily just on the president, but on certain issues,” Flake told the radio station. “The first one will be on the need to have shared facts that we all agree on.”

Phoenix residents, FAA negotiate plan in flight path argument

Residents and the Federal Aviation Administration have decided on a plan more than three years after flight path changes sent jumbo jets roaring over once-quiet historical neighborhoods in Phoenix.

In a press release, the city said the FAA agreed to create temporary departure routes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport that mirror those used prior to the 2014 rerouting.

Once the temporary routes are in place, the FAA will develop satellite-based departure plans and will take public input.

Phoenix, Tucson see warm, dry weather in November

This November was a warm — and dry — one for two major Arizona cities.

Both Phoenix and Tucson set marks for the warmest Novembers on record, the National Weather Service said.

The average temperature in Phoenix this month was 71.2 degrees, breaking the old record of 70 degrees. In Tucson, the average was 69 degrees. That topped the decade-old record of 65.7 degrees.

In addition, zero measurable rain fell in Phoenix during the months of September, October and November for the first time in 79 years.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital dropped by Obamacare provider for 2018

Patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital could soon find themselves in trouble after the only insurance provider in the Affordable Care Act marketplace insurance plan dropped the hospital from its network.

Health Net announced that it would not cover services under its Ambetter plan at the children’s hospital starting on Jan. 1.

Police documents show more possible victims in Hamilton hazing

A massive number of documents released by the Chandler Police Department showed there may be as many as five additional victims in the Hamilton High School football hazing case.

If all of them are added to the case, that would bring the total number of victims to 11. Even more could be added.

The nearly 700 pages released by police detail many of the students’ allegations, including some that claimed they were sexually assaulted in the football locker room by groups of players.

Senate OKs tax bill as Trump, GOP near big legislative win

Republicans pushed a nearly $1.5 trillion tax bill through the Senate after a burst of eleventh-hour horse trading, as a party starved all year for a major legislative triumph took a giant step toward giving President Donald Trump one of his top priorities by Christmas.

Both Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake voted for the bill.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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