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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Sept. 25-27

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

PHOENIX – Five Arizona schools were recognized with National Blue Ribbon School honors, a police initiative to target crime spikes resulted in 140 arrests and a West Valley man has a new lease on life after undergoing facial surgery.

Here are some of the top stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.


5 Arizona schools earn National Blue Ribbon School honors

Five Arizona schools were recognized with National Blue Ribbon School honors Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education.

Arizona’s 2020 school winners were Horseshoe Trails Elementary School (Cave Creek Unified District), Lookout Mountain School (Washington Elementary School District), Mexicayotl Charter School (Mexicayotl Academy, Inc.), Phoenix Union Bioscience H.S. (Phoenix Union H.S. District) and Pima Butte Elementary School (Maricopa Unified School District)

Based on student testing scores and graduation rates, schools across the country receive the award for one of two different categories: Exemplary High Performing Schools and Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools.

Schools who received the award have been invited to a virtual celebration that will be held in November.


Operation Snake Eyes leads to arrest of 51 known gang members in Phoenix

A police initiative targeting crime spikes in the metro Phoenix area resulted in the arrest of 140 fugitives, including 51 known gang members.

The initiative, Operation Snake Eyes, involved multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa and Tempe police departments.

The operation also seized 131 firearms, $145,831 in cash and more than 3,000 counterfeit Fentanyl pills.

It lasted from Aug. 10 to Sept. 17.


West Valley man has new outlook on life after facial surgery

A West Valley man has a new outlook on life after undergoing facial surgery to correct several birth defects.

David Bufkin, 20, recently underwent surgery to repair a cleft lip and jaw misalignment that caused a speech impediment, difficulty chewing, sleeping troubles and more.

The surgery removed Bufkin’s upper jaw from the base of his skull and attached it to a rigid, halo-like device around his head.


Drive-in concerts coming to the Arizona State Fairgrounds this fall

A new socially distanced drive-in concert series called “Concerts in Your Car” is set to debut this October at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.

Staged by CBF Productions, the initial scheduled shows feature Tower of Power, The Beach Boys, Aaron Lewis & Sully Erna, and 311. Tower of Power will kick off the series on Oct. 16.

Each show will feature a 360-degree stage and large visual screens so fans won’t miss a thing. The audio will be broadcast from the stage as well as an FM frequency each car stereo can tune to, similar to a drive-in theater.


Mushrooms linked to salmonella outbreaks in Arizona, 9 other states

Federal officials are warning of salmonella cases in at least 10 states linked to dried mushrooms from a Southern California company.

More than 40 people have gotten sick and four have been hospitalized, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The product suspected in the outbreak is wood ear mushrooms distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods based near Los Angeles. The company has recalled all of its Shirakiku brand imported mushrooms that were distributed to restaurants in six packs of five-pound bags, the CDC said.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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