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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Jan. 17-19

(Twitter Photo/PHXEconDev)

More praise for Phoenix as a livable city, the abrupt closure of a Tempe restaurant and the return to Arizona for Meghan McCain.

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

Ranking says Phoenix is a top 50 city in the world, top 20 large city in the US

It seems there is good reason so many people are flocking to the Valley, according to at least one tourism website.

Best Cities ranked Phoenix as the No. 49 best city in the world and the No. 18 best large city in the United States in its annual list.

The website applauded Phoenix as a “thriving desert metropolis” with a number of appealing dining, entertainment and outdoor options.

“Phoenix offers some of the best Mexican food this side of the border, a number of fine museums, a vibrant artist community and 300 days of sunshine,” the ranking said of the Valley.

Tempe Public Market Cafe abruptly shuts down after 2 years

A fresh market restaurant in Tempe has abruptly closed after two years.

Tempe Public Market Cafe shared the news on social media Friday morning that it was out of business.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we make the following announcement. Effective today January 17th, Tempe Public Market Cafe will be closed,” the note on Facebook and Instagram read.

Meghan McCain returns to Arizona first first time since father’s death

Meghan McCain is returning to her home state of Arizona for the first time since her father, former Sen. John McCain, died in August 2018.

People Magazine reported McCain was planning to head to Sedona on Friday after taping “The View,” the TV show she co-hosts in New York.

“I’m really looking forward to having some much needed family time,” she told the magazine.

The publication said she plans to go fishing and relax while she is home.

Education highlighted in Gov. Ducey’s proposed $12.3 billion Arizona budget

Gov. Doug Ducey proposed a $12.3 billion spending plan Friday that would send more money to Arizona’s best-performing and poorest schools while boosting the budget for repairing schools and building new ones.

Ducey’s budget would raise state spending by about 6% over the budget enacted last year, an increase of $727 million.

Arizona bill aims to close benefits loophole for firefighters with cancer

No ifs, ands or buts about it.

That’s the goal of new legislation introduced by state Sens. Heather Carter and Paul Boyer, who want workers’ compensation for Arizona firefighters fully protected when it comes to occupational cancer.

“It is absolutely time to stop the needless battles and provide them the benefits they rightly deserve,” Carter said during a press conference Thursday morning.

To bring awareness to the issue, Carter shaved Boyer’s head on the Capitol lawn in a sea of firefighters. Boyer plans to keep his head bald until the bill is signed into law.

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