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

Apr 23, 2023, 6:00 PM

(Photo by SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP)...



PHOENIX — A Saudi-owned alfalfa farm had their water permit revoked, a black bear was sighted in southern Arizona and Democrats will not override a veto of a home-cooked foods bill.

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

Arizona revokes water permits for Saudi Arabia-owned alfalfa farm

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes announced that drill permits for a Saudi Arabia-owned alfalfa farm in La Paz County have been revoked.

Two deep-water wells were approved for Fondomonte Arizona LLC eight months ago, which Mayes called “unconscionable” given the state’s need to preserve water.

“For too long, our state leaders have been asleep at the wheel while this crisis has only grown,” Mayes said in a tweet. “Well, with new state leadership and the ever-increasing urgency of the issue, now is the time for the state government to get serious about regulating groundwater across Arizona.”

Mayes said last week in a letter to the Arizona Department of Water Resources that there were inconsistencies in the permit applications and urged the department to scrutinize any new applications from Fondomonte.

She called for improved coordination between the Arizona State Land Department and ADWR.

Officials warn Arizona residents about bears after sighting in southern part of state

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is warning the public to be aware of bears following its first confirmed report of a black bear for 2023 in the southeastern part of the state.

The bear, estimated to be two or three years old and to weigh 150 pounds, was spotted April 12 foraging garbage near Peppersauce Canyon, which is about 40 miles northeast of Tucson.

Black bears usually emerge from semi-hibernation in March, according to a press release issued by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Arizona Senate Democrats say they won’t provide votes for veto override of home-cooked foods bill

Arizona Senate Democrats on Friday said they would not supply the votes for a veto override of a home-cooked foods bill.

Gov. Katie Hobbs on Tuesday vetoed HB2509, which would have expanded the types of homemade food Arizonans could legally sell.

Hobbs cited food-borne illness concerns in her veto letter, sentiments echoed by Democrats.

“Senate Democrats will not be providing the required votes needed to override Governor Hobbs’ veto of HB2509,” Democratic leadership said in a press release.

Hot air balloon ride company moving Valley operations to new Glendale facility

A regional hot air balloon company is moving its local base to the West Valley as it completes its fourth decade in business.

The Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Company recently broke ground on a 14,000-square-foot facility near Northern and 103rd avenues in Glendale, the company said in a press release Thursday.

The entrance will feature a steel entry element inspired by a balloon burner, and the venue will include a gazebo space for hosting weddings and other special events.

Here’s what Phoenix says it’s doing about ‘Zone’ homeless encampment

The city of Phoenix on Friday released details about how it will address the downtown homeless encampment known as the Zone, which is the subject of a court order.

The Zone is the tent-filled area around the Human Services Campus, a collaboration of partner organizations that provide services to people experiencing homelessness at 12th Avenue and Madison Street.

Much of Phoenix’s unsheltered population is concentrated in the Zone, and the city has been accused of ignoring its responsibility to maintain the area and enforce laws there.

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