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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Feb. 22-24

(Twitter Photo/@APS_Darla)

A winter storm for the record books, plans for a water park in Gilbert and Arizona’s biggest sins.

Here are some stories that headlined the news cycle, both locally and nationally, over the weekend.


Winter storm dumps record amounts of snow and rain on Arizona

A giant winter storm dumped snow, hail and rain all over the state throughout the weekend.

Northern Arizona received the most snow, with Flagstaff setting its all-time daily record, but the white flakes also fell in parts of the Valley and southeastern cities, including Tucson.

The winter weather wreaked havoc on Arizona roads, leading cities to close schools and agencies and shut down events. Flagstaff was forced to close down its airport.

The Valley mostly saw rain and a little bit of hail, with Phoenix setting a rainfall record for the date on Thursday at 1.01 inches.

Phoenix also set a record for the lowest temperature for the date on Friday at 47 degrees.

Weather experts are optimistic that all the rain and snow will help reduce drought conditions.

Not everyone enjoyed the rare weather, though — the Scottsdale Wildlife Conservation Center was severely damaged from the snow and is asking for donations.


Water park with surfing, skiing, wakeboarding, more coming to Gilbert

Life will be a beach in the East Valley starting next year.

The Strand @ Gilbert, billed as an innovative water park resort, is scheduled to open in summer 2020 at Higley and Queen Creek roads.

Gilbert’s first recreational water park will feature a sand beach, surfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, inflatable play structures, bungalows, cabanas and a full-service restaurant and bar.

“We are excited to bring this new amenity to not only Gilbert but to the entire region,” Mayor Jenn Daniels said in a press release.

“We look forward to working with our partners on The Strand @ Gilbert to ensure that we all have a fun and safe place to play and enjoy for all ages year-round.”


Arizona ranked among the most sinful states in the country

When it comes to vice, Arizona isn’t so nice.

That’s according to sin rankings done by a personal finance website with Mardi Gras just around the corner.

Arizona checked in at No. 10 in WalletHub’s list of the most sinful states for 2019.

WalletHub compared the 50 states across 43 key indicators of immorality broken down into categories representing the seven deadly sins: anger/hatred, jealousy, excesses/vices, greed, lust, vanity and laziness.

Arizona’s biggest sin lied in the jealousy category, and the state ranked within the top 20 for anger/hatred, vanity and laziness.


New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft denies soliciting prostitution

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft denies misdemeanor charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at a Florida massage parlor, police said Friday in a case that could get him in trouble with the NFL.

The 77-year-old Kraft denied any wrongdoing.

He was not immediately arrested. Jupiter police said a warrant will be issued and his attorneys will be notified. They said details about the charges against the owner of the Super Bowl champion team will not be released until next week.

The charge comes amid a crackdown on sex trafficking from Palm Beach to Orlando in which police planted cameras in massage parlors.


Bill offering DACA recipients lower college tuition passes Arizona Senate

A bill designed to offer a more affordable university tuition rate for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients passed the Arizona Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 1217 was approved with a vote of 18-12.

Republican Sen. Heather Carter, the bill’s sponsor, said it’s critical to our economy that these students have access to higher education.

“Many times (they) are choosing to not continue their education, because they can’t afford it or they’re taking a longer time to graduate,” she said.

Carter said the bill will also allow for those who move away for a short period to be able to return and still qualify for in-state tuition.

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