Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Jan. 21-23

Jan 23, 2022, 6:00 PM
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) walks to her office in the basement of the ...
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) walks to her office in the basement of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 19, 2022 in Washington, DC (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was censured by the state’s Democratic party, Phoenix got a $920,000 grant to manage the planning of stations along a 5-mile streetcar route, and a weekend storm brought rain and strong wind gusts to the Valley.

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

After voting against changing Senate filibuster rule, Sinema is censured by Arizona Democrats

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was censured by the state’s Democratic party Saturday after she voted against changing the Senate filibuster rule earlier this week.

Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia were the only two Democrats to vote against changing Senate rules to overcome a Republican filibuster Wednesday night.

“While we take no pleasure in this announcement, the ADP Executive Board has decided to formally censure Senator Sinema as a result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy,” Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Teran said in a statement.

“As a party, our job is to support our Democratic candidates, and we appreciate Senator Sinema’s leadership in passing the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

Phoenix receives $920K for 5-mile streetcar route development in Mesa

The city of Phoenix Public Transit Department on Friday received a $920,000 grant to manage the planning of 11 stations along a 5-mile streetcar route that would connect four activity centers within the city of Mesa.

The funding will be used to conduct extensive planning efforts, determine design guidelines and establish economic strategies, Mesa city officials said in a press release. 

“Enhancing the mobility of our residents is crucial to attract businesses, revitalize communities and strengthen our economy,” District 3 Councilmember and Valley Metro Chair Francisco Heredia said in the release.

“The pilot program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning grant will allow us to develop the strategies to maximize economic opportunities around the streetcar route.”

When completed, the route would connect Riverview Marketplace, Asian District, Fiesta District and downtown Mesa.

Storm brings rain, strong wind gusts to metro Phoenix Saturday night

A storm rolled through metro Phoenix Saturday night, bringing rain and wind across the Valley.

A majority of the rain occurred in the East Valley with parts of Chandler seeing up to 0.16 inches, while Gilbert got 0.12 inches and Mesa received 0.08 inches, according to Maricopa County Flood Control District rain gauges.

Sky Harbor Airport and most of the West Valley recorded 0.04 inches.

The storm also brought high wind speeds to parts of metro Phoenix, with some areas receiving upwards of 30-40 mph wind gusts. Sky Harbor Airport also recorded a 46 mph wind gust just before 10 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Phoenix police involved in fatal shooting Saturday morning

A man is dead after police officers were involved in a shooting in Phoenix Saturday morning, authorities said.

The incident started around 4:40 a.m. when police spotted a vehicle speeding and committing other traffic violations near 24th Street and Indian School Road, the Phoenix Police Department said in a press release.

Officers found a man laying in the back seat of the vehicle after it pulled into the driveway of a home near 23rd Street and Fairmount Avenue, authorities said.

After an hour of trying to get the man in the vehicle to respond, officers broke a window when they noticed the man had a handgun in the car.

The man grabbed the gun and officers responded by shooting, according to authorities.

The man, identified Sunday as 37-year-old Dedrick Garcia, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Steam locomotives to pull Grand Canyon Railway trains 11 times this year

The Grand Canyon Railway announced 11 dates for 2022 when vintage steam locomotives will lead the way to and from Arizona’s top tourist attraction.

Steam-powered journeys are set for the first Saturday of each month for March-October, as well as on Feb. 21 for Presidents Day, April 23 for Earth Day and Sept. 17 for the Grand Canyon Railway anniversary. The steam schedule is subject to change.

The Grand Canyon Railway fleet includes two steam engines purchased in 1989 that have been restored for use on a limited basis over the years.

The ride takes two hours and 15 minutes each way, with 9:30 a.m. departures from Williams in January-October and 8:30 a.m. starts for November-December.

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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Jan. 21-23