Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from July 19-21
A dispute over the status over a disabled veteran’s home, Hacienda HealthCare to shut down its specialty children’s hospital and an impressive performance from a Tempe Police Department detention officer on “America’s Got Talent.”
Here are some stories that headlined the news cycle, both locally and nationally, over the weekend.
Disabled veteran ‘appears’ to be getting back home following auction sale
It appears a disabled veteran will keep his Mesa home after a mix-up over tax payments led to it being sold in an auction, Deputy Maricopa County Treasurer Ron Bellus told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.
James Boerner, 49, owed taxes from 2017 and 2018 and was told they were due by June 30, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
But the home was sold at an auction to a new owner on June 20.
On Friday, however, the new owner was contacted and agreed to sell back the home for $25,000, which Boerner did not possess, according to Bellus.
In an effort to keep the veteran in his home, Maricopa County Treasurer Royce Flora had agreed to pay the amount with his own money.
But a resolution between Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, the Arizona Treasurer and the MCSO has been agreed upon, according to Bellus.
Hacienda HealthCare to shut down Mesa-based children’s hospital
Hacienda HealthCare announced plans Friday to close its specialty children’s hospital.
According to a statement from the Hacienda Children’s Hospital, located at Baseline and Extension roads in Mesa, is expected to shut down due to finances, citing last year’s rape of a patient at Hacienda’s intermediate care facility as a reason for the closure.
“As a non-profit, Hacienda HealthCare doesn’t have a surplus revenue to sustain Hacienda Children’s Hospital in the face of difficult circumstances,” Hacienda’s interim chief executive officer Perry Petrilli said in the statement.
“The tragic events of the past year have hit hard for so many people – everyone from the victim and the families impacted to Hacienda’s employees to the communities we serve. At the same time, there also has been a substantial impact to our business. This hard, but necessary decision is one more example of that.”
The hospital, which opened in 2015, gives non-emergency, non-surgical “step down” care to medically fragile children who are ready to leave surgical or ICU hospital environments, but are not able yet to return home.
Meghan McCain opens up about miscarriage in New York Times piece
McCain, daughter of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain and host of the “The View,” found out about the miscarriage while doing a photo shoot with the publication a few weeks ago.
“I look back at those pictures now, and I see a woman hiding her shock and sorrow,” McCain wrote. “I am posed for the camera, looking stern and strong, representing my fellow conservative women across the country. But inside, I am dying. Inside, my baby is dying.”
McCain went into detail on the miscarriage, explaining she felt something was wrong. The doctor later confirmed her fears.
The miscarriage resulted in her missing a few days of work, sparking rumors as to why she was not on “The View.”
“This was not supposed to be public knowledge,” McCain said. “I have had my share of public grief and public joy. I wish this grief — the grief of a little life begun and then lost — could remain private.”
Cellar Fire near Prescott grows to 7,500 acres as firefighters make progress
The Cellar Fire grew to 7,500 acres on Sunday, but firefighters are making good progress on the fire blazing south of Prescott.
The Prescott National Forest said in a release that fire activity is “minimal” despite no change in containment — 18% — from Saturday.
Firefighters are holding and securing the perimeter and are beginning suppression repair efforts in the area, the release said.
An evacuation of the Pine Flat community was lifted Saturday almost 48 hours after it was called.
The Cellar Fire was burning 7,418 acres with 18% containment as of Saturday afternoon, according to an update from InciWeb.
On Friday, it grew to nearly 7,300 acres.
The fire started last Sunday because of a lightning strike.
Tempe detention officer impresses on America’s Got Talent stage
A Tempe Police Department detention officer stole the show recently on one of the country’s biggest stages.
Olivia Calderon blew the crowd away with her rendition of “Mi Manera” on an “America’s Got Talent” audition.
“Singing is how I just de-stress from the stress of work,” Calderon told host Terry Crews before her performance. “I always dreamed of singing on a big stage. If you don’t try you never know and you’ll be left with wondering ‘what if?’”
Earning three stars from judges Gabrielle Union, Simon Cowell and Julianne Hough — with Howie Mandel being the lone exception — Calderon cruised through her performance, crushing her final note.
It didn’t take long for Calderon to leave her mark on the judges, sucking them into her performance as soon as she started. She received a standing ovation for her efforts.
Show Podcasts and Interviews
- Here’s how things have changed for people with disabilities after Hacienda
- Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family
- Prescott BAER team to assess impact of Cellar Fire
- Activity winds down on Cellar Fire south of Prescott
- Cellar Fire near Prescott grows to 7,500 acres as firefighters make progress