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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from September 13-15

(Union Pacific Photo)

A historic steam engine touring in Arizona, the launch of a Scottsdale technology and innovation center and a new Pita Jungle in the East Valley.

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


Big Boy steam locomotive to appear in several Arizona cities

A historic steam engine will make several stops in Arizona as part of its fourth and final 150th anniversary celebration.

There will be multiple opportunities to spot the newly restored locomotive in the desert during its journey eastward, including in Yuma, Casa Grande, Willcox and Bowie from Oct. 15 and running through Oct. 19.

The train is scheduled to arrive in Casa Grande, about an hour drive from Phoenix on Oct. 15 at 2:45 p.m. at First and Wilson streets and depart on Oct. 16 at 8 a.m.

The majority of these stops range from 30-45 minutes and give visitors the opportunity to capture photos of the historic Big Boy.

The Union Pacific Railroad said a public display period for Big Boy No. 4014, the largest steam operated locomotive in the world, is also scheduled in Tucson from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 18.


Infosys launches Phoenix-area technology and innovation center

Infosys, a global digital services and consulting firm, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday in Scottsdale to launch its technology and innovation center.

The center will be housed temporarily at the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center at SkySong, which is located at Scottsdale and McDowell roads.

A 60,000-square-foot permanent facility, with space for 500 employees, will be built by 2020 in ASU’s Novus Innovation Corridor south of Tempe Town Lake, according to a press release.

Infosys, which already started hiring, has pledged to add a total of 1,000 jobs in Arizona by 2023.

The company’s Arizona Technology and Innovation Center will focus on autonomous technology, the internet of things, full-stack engineering, data science and cybersecurity, the release said.


Pita Jungle to open new location in Mesa in the fall

Scottsdale-based Pita Jungle announced plans to open a new location in Mesa in November.

It will be located near McKellips and Recker roads.

The new site, the chain’s third in the East Valley city, will boast a large main dining area, an outdoor patio with dining room access and a full bar.

The location will offer a “bright inviting space flooded by natural light … there will be nods to Palm Springs in the decor and the design will incorporate local landmarks such as the Red Mountains and Falcon Field,” owner Jeff Bufano said in a press release.

The restaurant offers healthy Mediterranean cuisine and is open seven days a week for both lunch and dinner, while also offering a happy hour menu.


Trump’s plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes alarms Arizona retailers

Arizona vape-store owners were alarmed by the Trump administration’s announcement Wednesday that it plans to begin enforcing rules that would drive flavored e-cigarettes out of the market, an industry official said.

The surprise White House statement was in response to recent reports that vaping-related lung illnesses have been confirmed in 33 states and one territory – including six deaths nationwide.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ plan would target the flavored vaping liquids that critics say have led to an explosion of e-cigarette use among teens.

“Currently, about 8 million adults use e-cigarettes, but 5 million children are using e-cigarettes,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “This is exceptionally harmful to our children.

“An entire generation of children risk becoming addicted to nicotine because of the attractiveness, appealability and availability of these vaping products,” he said.


2 arrested in racist attack on black student at U of Arizona

Several dozen students at the University of Arizona on Friday protested campus police handling of a physical and racist attack on a black student this week.

The protests took place less than an hour after the university announced that the two assailants, who are white, had been arrested and faced a misdemeanor count of assault.

The students, who haven’t been identified, are white and had initially been directed to a social justice diversion training program instead of facing charges in the Tuesday attack, according to the protesters.

University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins said in a statement Thursday that he was angered and disappointed by the incident.

“We need to come together and let people know, without qualification, that intolerance and discrimination have no home here. Unless we have a safe environment, free from violence, discrimination and hate, students will not be free to learn and pursue their dreams,” Robbins said.

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