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Weekend wrap-up: Biggest Arizona-related stories from Easter weekend

Arizona teachers and education advocates shouts as they march at the Arizona Capitol highlighting low teacher pay and school funding Wednesday, March 28, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Easter Weekend followed a busy news week in Arizona highlighted by more teacher protests, more coverage of the Uber self-driving car crash and Opening Day for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Here are the top local stories from the weekend.


Former NHL player Jeremy Roenick slashes price of Scottsdale home

Former Coyotes center Jeremy Roenick continues trying to sell his Scottsdale home.

The National Hockey League All-Star, who played for the then-Phoenix Coyotes from 1996-2001 and again from 2006-07, cut the price of the house near Dixileta Drive and Pima Road by $500,000, down to $3.95 million. Originally listed in 2012 for $11.7 million, the residence has remained on the market over the last several years.

Its asking price was slashed to $8.5 million in 2014 and to less than $5 million in 2016, according to Realtor.com.

The 7,400-square-foot mansion has five bedrooms, sits on an 18-acre lot and comes with a two-bedroom guest house.

Roenick, who scored 141 goals with the Coyotes, bought the home in 2005 for $3.8 million.

Gilbert police link string of vehicle burglaries to East Coast gang

Gilbert Police have concluded that a rash of vehicle burglaries was executed by a gang that originated in Broward County, Florida.

At least 20 car break-ins in the Gilbert area since 2015 have been tied to the Felony Lane Gang, which has moved west across the country and has developed efficient tactics in stealing items from cars in busy parking lots.

“They’ll be in the area for a little while, trying to identify potential targets for car burglaries,” Sgt. Darrell Krueger of the Gilbert Police Department told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Foster on Friday. “And when they do they swarm in. These groups jump out of a car, break into vehicles, stealing items that are visible if they are valuable.”

Officials said no force has been used against victims of any of the burglaries, but police warn those in Gilbert to hide their valuables and lock their vehicles.

Award-winning Arizona teacher to leave profession due to low pay

Basha High School teacher Mallory Heath won’t return for her seventh year of teaching Chandler students.

Financial struggles have forced the winner of the 2017 Developing Leader Award, which is recognized by The Arizona English Teacher’s Association, to step away from the profession.

“I actually had gone into this year of teaching knowing that more than likely it was going to be my last year,” Heath told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos. “I can do the math and I know what trajectory I am on. It has been a really slow grieving process that has come to fruition.”

Heath’s decision comes as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a 20-year extension to Proposition 301 last week, providing $500 million annually for primary and secondary public education.

The 1 percent raise for Arizona teachers, however, did not do enough to satisfy many educators, who have asked Ducey for a 20 percent pay boost and more annual raises. The governor has refused to commit to that change.

The Potato Barn in Gilbert will undergo restoration project

A Gilbert home furnishing showroom called The Potato Barn will be restored by its new owners, who hope that the addition of two new buildings spanning 24,000 additional square feet will attract restaurants and family home improvement shops to the space.

“It will uphold the entrepreneurial spirit of our namesake by becoming a mercantile for goods, services, history, art music and the culinary celebration of our beloved potato,” said Jeremey Smith, whose family bought the building and surrounding properties.

The adaptive-reuse project will be named The Higley Barns and is located at Williams Field Road and Higley Road.

It’s expected to break ground in late 2018.

Smith’s Central Arizona Supply company, which is a wholesale plumbing and HVAC distributor, will occupy one of the new buildings, but the rest of the space will be leased to restaurants and other shops.

The Potato Barn was built in 1966 to, as the name suggests, store potatoes.

Four students, principal criminally charged for Globe school threat

Four students and a principal at High Desert Middle School in Globe, Ariz., were criminally charged on Wednesday after the students made threats toward the school.

The Globe Police Department charged the minors with interference with or disruption of an educational institution and terrorist threats, and the principal was charged with endangerment.

Police said the students made threats on Wednesday, but nobody notified them. A parent tipped off police Thursday after her children informed her of the possible threat.

The threats included potential hand guns and homemade bombs, and the investigation of it is ongoing.

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