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Weekend wrap-up: Biggest Arizona stories over this past weekend


PHOENIX — It’s that time again: The time when we take a moment to reflect on the previous weekend before jumping into the next week.

There were several big Arizona-related stories from this weekend, including the opening of the temporary site for the Burton Barr Central Library, a new facility at Mesa Gateway airport and the chance of rainfall in the Valley.

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

Social media shows intense so-called ‘bomb cyclone’ storm on East Coast

A massive winter storm roared into the East Coast last week, dumping as much as 17 inches of snow in some areas and unleashing hurricane-force winds and historic flooding that closed schools and offices and halted transportation from the Carolinas to Maine.

Forecasters expected the storm to be followed immediately by a blast of face-stinging cold that could break records in more than two dozen cities and bring wind chills as low as minus 40 degrees this weekend.

The so-called “bomb cyclone” storm took the East Coast by storm — for lack of better words — with many turning to social media to document the extreme weather conditions.

Phoenix welcomes in new year with fewer ‘shots fired’ calls vs. 2017

As the clock struck midnight, more Phoenix residents welcomed in the new year in a safer way.

According to Sgt. Vince Lewis with the Phoenix Police Department, there was a more than 33 percent decrease in “shots fired” calls made around midnight on New Year’s Day.

There were 240 “shots fired” calls placed between 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day this year, compared to 362 calls during the same time period during the 2017 holiday.

Temporary site for Burton Barr library opens in Phoenix

Nearly six months after a pipe break flooded a downtown Phoenix library, forcing it to close for a year, city officials have opened a temporary site right down the street.

The city launched its satellite location for the Burton Barr Central Library in the former Park Central Mall near Central Avenue and Catalina Drive in Phoenix last week.

Grand Canyon University again files for nonprofit status

Grand Canyon University officials said the school has again submitted an application for nonprofit status.

The university reapplied after it moved to purchase “certain academic-related assets” from its ownership group, Grand Canyon Education, Inc.

The school also applied for nonprofit status a few years ago but was turned down, in part because GCU intended to outsource some of its services, such as marketing.

Facility will turn Mesa Gateway into hub for trade with Mexico

A facility that inspects goods being sent from American companies to Mexican consumers will open at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway International Airport, Gov. Doug Ducey announced, setting up the airport as an e-commerce hub.

A timeline for the facility to open was not given, but Ducey said $230 million will be spent to develop about 360 acres adjacent to the airport near the Loop 202 and Power Road.

The new facility will directly and indirectly employ about 17,000 people.

Arizona DPS director would like Supreme Court ruling on marijuana

The director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety said he would like to see the Supreme Court rule on marijuana, if only to give law enforcement agencies some clarity.

“I think there needs to be some nationwide direction,” Col. Frank Milstead told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes.

However, Milstead was not holding out hope that a ruling would come soon, particularly one that would fully recriminalize the drug.

Arizona board will review APS rate hikes after petition filed

The Arizona Corporation Commission will review a recently approved rate hike for APS customers after a petition was filed.

The online petition has nearly 500 signatures and said the rate hike will hurt families.

“The difference of $50 or $100 extra a month makes a really, really big difference to people as to whether or not they can buy more groceries or do they need to make the choice to pay their energy bill,” Stacey Champion, the Phoenix resident who began the petition, said.

The hike will raise the power bills about $6 per month for the average homeowner.

Nearly 8,000 Arizonans diagnosed with flu in 2017, large spike over 2016

The number of flu diagnoses in Arizona has increased dramatically over the last year.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there were 7,978 total cases of influenza, also known as the flu, reported in 2017. There were just 834 cases in 2016.

Of those numbers, 2,453 influenza cases were diagnosed in the last week of December alone, compared to 282 cases during the same time period the year before.

Trump seeks $18 billion to extend border wall over 10 years

The Trump administration has proposed spending $18 billion over 10 years to significantly extend the border wall with Mexico, providing one of its most detailed blueprints of how the president hopes to carry out a signature campaign pledge.

The proposal by Customs and Border Protection calls for 316 miles (505 kilometers) of additional barrier by September 2027, bringing total coverage to 970 miles (1,552 kilometers), or nearly half the border, according to a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the matter.

Emma Stone to highlight sexual harassment problem at Golden Globes

Arizona native and Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone will be among a handful of actresses joined at the Golden Globes by activists in an effort to highlight the ongoing sexual harassment problem.

According to The New York Times, Stone will be joined on the red carpet by Billie Jean King, a tennis champion who founded the Women’s Tennis Association. Stone has also been nominated for a Golden Globe award for her role as King in “Battle of the Sexes.”

Pull out your umbrellas: Phoenix could see first rainfall of 2018

Phoenix could see rainfall this week for the first time since the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Day and everyone changed their calendars to 2018.

According to The Weather Channel, there is at least a 60 percent chance that Phoenix could see about a quarter of an inch of rainfall on Tuesday night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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