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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from March 26-28

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

PHOENIX– The city of Mesa released details of a plan to assist its homeless community, a man has been sentenced to 120 days in jail under Arizona’s stricter animal cruelty law and a father and son were arrested for meth possession after a trip to the hospital.

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

City of Mesa announces path-to-recovery plan for homeless community

The city of Mesa released details Wednesday of its latest plan to assist its homeless community through a housing path to recovery plan.

The new plan called Mesa’s Strategic Action Plan for Addressing Homelessness will prioritize public safety, access to housing and recovery resources, invest federal funding to ensure strong infrastructure, work regionally with neighboring communities and pursue partnerships with nonprofits.

“Mesa is a compassionate community, and this plan provides a balanced approach to support those most in need while also working toward community safety in public spaces, like our parks and libraries,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles in a press release. “This is a strong plan for Mesa.”

The 2021 Point-In-Time observation count included 467 unsheltered homeless individuals in Mesa, while the Homeless Management Information System reported as many as 3,200 individuals experiencing homelessness as of 2018.

Arizona man sentenced to 120 days in jail under stricter animal cruelty law

The Arizona Humane Society announced on Wednesday that a man pled guilty to Class 5 animal cruelty 18 months after severely injuring a dog.

As part of a plea agreement, Netzer Villagomez will serve 120 days in jail, three years of supervised probation, do 360 hours of community service and pay restitution to AHS, according to a press release.

He will not be allowed to have contact with the victims, nor be in possession of an animal while on probation.

Villagomez will also undergo drug monitoring and counseling, a mental health assessment and attend anger management counseling.

The case is the first Arizona Humane Society animal abuse case booked and sentenced as a Class 5 felony under HB2671, according to the release.

Having gone into effect August 27, 2019, the bill strengthens the state’s animal cruelty laws to “ensure that the punishment for the most heinous acts of animal cruelty now more appropriately fit the crime.”

Raising the charges from Class 6 to Class 5 means that those cases can no longer be dropped to a misdemeanor and could possibly include both jail time and supervised probation and treatment.

Father, son busted for meth possession after hospital visit in Yavapai County

A father and son have been arrested after a trip to the hospital led to the discovery of half a pound of methamphetamine, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

Officials say detectives were called to Verde Valley Medical Center on March 14 to investigate a possible discovery of meth from a person at the hospital.

Over the course of conversation with the detectives, 68-year-old Warren Domenick and 24-year-old Christian Domenick admitted to making at least three trips to Phoenix to purchase meth in recent months.

Warren also admitted to selling the drugs in their home state of Utah.

Talking Stick Resort, Casino Arizona hosting job fair to hire 200 positions

Talking Stick Resort and sister property Casino Arizona will be hosting a job fair on April 6 to fill approximately 200 positions.

The job fair will be held outside at the resort’s Fire Garden, between the Blue Coyote Cantina and the main pool.

Among the positions to be filled include bartenders, front desk attendants, hotel concierge, housekeepers, security officers and more, according to a press release.

1st cases of South African COVID-19 variant detected in Arizona

Two cases of the South African COVID-19 variant have been detected in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

ADHS, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Translational Genomics Research Institute reported their findings in a press release on Friday.

The discovery comes two weeks after the Brazilian variant was detected in the state.

The B.1.351 COVID-19 variant strain — commonly referred to as the South African variant — was first detected in the U.S. at the end of January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The UK variant was also found in Arizona in January.

The CDC says that the currently authorized vaccines appear to be effective against this variant.

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