ARIZONA NEWS

Here are the most-read Arizona stories on KTAR.com for 2023

Dec 28, 2023, 4:25 AM

Zion William Teasley is accused of killing Lauren Heike. It was one of the most-read Arizona storie...

Zion William Teasley is accused of killing Lauren Heike. It was one of the most-read Arizona stories on KTAR.com in 2023. (Photos via Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Phoenix Police Department)

(Photos via Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX — With 2023 coming to an end, it’s time to look back on what interested readers throughout the year.

Here are the most-read stories on KTAR.com for 2023:

January

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs 2 executive orders on homelessness, elections

Katie Hobbs continued her First 100 Days Initiative with a pair of executive orders.

The first — and second signed since Hobbs took office — reinstated a commission on homelessness and housing that was abolished in 2020. The other order established a bipartisan elections task force.

Roads close around Arizona as storms pummel high country, Valley

For the second time in the new year, the Valley and much of the high country were pounded with rain and snow, respectively, causing road closures around the state.

Here’s why eggs, groceries are more expensive in Arizona and what to do

Egg prices in Arizona were rising just as grocery bills were getting more expensive.

The average egg price was about 50% higher now than a year ago, according to Julie Murphree, outreach director for the Arizona Farm Bureau.

February

Arizona to unveil new driver’s license design with updated security features

Arizona switched to a new driver’s license that has an updated design to prevent counterfeits and other potential security issues.

Suspect arrested in theft of $100K in production equipment for NFL Experience in Phoenix

A suspect accused of stealing $100,000 in production equipment for the NFL Experience in downtown Phoenix was arrested.

George Rodriguez, 36, was accused of stealing the items from a third-party vendor at a parking garage at Second and Washington streets.

Congregation buys 50-year-old Phoenix church for $1 million

A Phoenix congregation has a new home after buying a 50-year-old Baptist church for $1 million.

NAI Horizon’s Church Realty Solutions represented buyer Phoenix Chin Bethel Church in the transaction. First Southern Baptist Church of Phoenix was the seller.

March

Sen. Mark Kelly on possible Colorado River crash: ‘It’s not going to happen’

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly said he will not let the Colorado River crash amid water shortages.

In an exclusive interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM, Kelly said the nation can’t allow the water levels in Lake Mead to get to a level where water cannot be released from the Hoover Dam.

“Because if that happens, we don’t get water in California and in Arizona and Mexico. It’s not going to happen,” Kelly said.

Valley snakebite victim receives historic treatment while being airlifted

For the first time in Arizona, a snakebite victim received antivenom outside of a hospital setting.

Daniel Steininger, 77, was hiking with his wife in Mesa’s Hawes Trail System when a rattlesnake bit his left ankle.

Mountain lion attacks man camping along Salt River in Gila County

A 64-year-old man on a rafting trip was attacked by a mountain lion while camping on the edge of the Salt River.

A group of 10 rafters attempted to fight off the big cat with their paddles and managed to reach safety on their rafts.

April

Here’s what we know about Glendale’s blockbuster VAI Resort project

Developers have revealed new details about VAI Resort, the blockbuster hotel and entertainment destination taking shape in Glendale.

After several delays and a change in ownership, the venue on 60 acres just south of State Farm Stadium and the Westgate Entertainment District is now expected to open at some point in 2024.

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.

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.

May

Here are the 12 richest people in Arizona in 2023, according to Forbes

Arizona once again had double-digit representatives in Forbes’ annual list of world billionaires and this time, a new richest person.

Mat Ishbia, the new owner of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, topped the list for the Grand Canyon State with a net worth of $5.4 billion.

With suspect in custody, new details emerge about murder of Lauren Heike in Phoenix

The man accused of killing Lauren Heike while she was going for a walk near her north Phoenix residence was identified as 22-year-old Zion William Teasley.

Mesa sports park owner files for bankruptcy, looks to sell 320-acre venue

The owner of the venue formerly known as Bell Bank Park filed for bankruptcy Monday, just 16 months after the sprawling Mesa sports park opened to much fanfare.

Legacy Cares Inc., the nonprofit group that owns and operates Legacy Park: Arizona’s Premiere Sports & Entertainment Complex, also announced that it hired an investment banking firm to facilitate the sale of the 320-acre indoor-outdoor facility.

June

Buckeye police release new information on missing geologist Daniel Robinson

Buckeye police released new findings on the Daniel Robinson missing person case.

Robinson, a geologist living in Phoenix, has been missing since June 23, 2021, when he left a remote Buckeye work location.

Former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announces his future plans

Former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s future is clear five months after his eight-year run on the 9th floor came to an end.

The Republican announced on social media he was set to become the CEO of Citizens For Free Enterprise, which says it “exists to act against threats to economic freedom and to tell the story of free enterprise’s importance in achieving the American Dream.”

Republican Steve Kaiser submits resignation from Arizona Senate

Republican Steve Kaiser submitted his resignation from the Arizona Senate.

Kaiser turned in his resignation letter after the Senate voted on its final bills, a spokesperson for the Arizona Senate Republican caucus told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

July

Phoenix sets daily heat record for fourth time this week

Arizona’s capital broke a daily heat record on July 22, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures reached 118 degrees Fahrenheit at around 3:16 p.m., according to NWS weather reports. The previous daily high was 116 degrees back in 2006.

Attorney General sues solar company over illegal phone calls, dishonest savings claims

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes announced a lawsuit against a local solar company.

Mayes said that Vision Solar, which sells and installs solar panels, had been hounding residents with unlawful sales calls and outright lies.

Missing Glendale girl Alicia Navarro found safe in Montana 4 years after disappearance

Alicia Navarro, the Glendale girl who went missing four years ago, was safely located in Montana.

The Glendale Police Department said Navarro, now 18, was found in good health in a town about 40 miles from the Canadian border after she walked into a police department and asked to be taken off a missing person’s list.

August

California woman arrested on suspicion of trafficking over 110 pounds of drugs in Arizona

Deputies with the Arizona Department of Public Safety caught a California woman driving with over 100 pounds of drugs in late June.

Rescue team saves teen who fell 70 feet into the Grand Canyon

A 13-year-old boy fell at least 70 feet into the Grand Canyon, according to the National Park Service.

He fell over the edge of the North Rim, from 70 to 100 feet below Bright Angel Point.

Arizona woman who went missing while hiking found dead

Authorities confirmed they found the dead body of Jessica Lindstrom.

The 34-year-old Lindstrom was last seen in the area of 51st Drive and Deem Hills Parkway.

September

Say cheese: Rare jaguar sighting caught on camera in southern Arizona mountain range

Trail cameras have captured two rare photos of a wild jaguar in a southern Arizona mountain range earlier this year.

The photos, from March and May, show just the second jaguar to be detected in the Huachuca Mountains since 2016, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service database.

Arizona drug trafficking ring spanning multiple counties shut down

Authorities have shut down a drug trafficking ring that was operation in multiple Arizona counties.

Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking detectives conducted an operation that yielded over 10,500 fentanyl pills, 81 pounds of methamphetamine, 2 pounds of fentanyl powder, a half-pound of cocaine and 17 pounds of marijuana.

Arizona Senate president planning to sue over Biden’s Grand Canyon monument

The Republican president of the Arizona Senate is preparing to sue the Biden administration over the recently created Grand Canyon-area national monument.

Sen. Warren Petersen announced he has directed attorneys to identify citizens, industries and local governments impacted by the monument’s designation last month as part of fact-finding phase. He aims to file a lawsuit by the end of the year or in early 2024.

October

Eighth Street project in Tempe to move forward after archaeological site discovered

A Tempe street improvement project is back on track after operations were paused for several years following the discovery of a 1,200-year-old Native American site in the construction area.

Work on the Eighth Street Streetscape Project was expected to begin in 2019, but it was put on hold after the significant prehistoric archaeological discovery was made.

Arizona hospital becomes state’s 1st to implant new device to reduce stroke risk

Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital in Phoenix became the first health center in the state to implant a new device designed to reduce stroke risk.

Victims of fatal crash in Surprise identified as 2 sisters

The victims in a fatal crash in Surprise were identified as two sisters, authorities said.

Bea Cueto, 19, and Althea Cueto, 20, both of Surprise were killed in the crash on Deer Valley Road near the intersection of Williams Road.

November

Phoenix finishes cleaning up final blocks of The Zone homeless encampment

The city of Phoenix successfully finished cleaning up The Zone, where people experiencing homelessness have lived in tents and for years.

The sweep came after a judge in October imposed a Nov. 4 deadline to remove tents and other makeshift structures.

Arizona police officer arrested in fatal hit-and-run crash

Josh Anderson is accused of striking and killing Iris Billy with his White Mountain Apache Police Department patrol vehicle on State Route 73 south of Pinetop.

Arizona mostly holds ground, but plant hardiness zones get major national adjustments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “plant hardiness zone map” was updated for the first time in a decade, depicting the impact climate change will have on gardens and yards across the country.

December

Community activist believes closure of Lukeville Port of Entry could result in border town deaths

A community activist who works with border towns believes there could be deaths if the Lukeville Port of Entry in Arizona doesn’t reopen soon.

Here’s why Arizona National Guard sent to border by Gov. Katie Hobbs will be limited

Arizona National Guard members deployed to the border by Gov. Katie Hobbs will be more limited in their authority than if they’d been sent under federal orders, according to a former Border Patrol official.

Wildlife officials on alert after 3 people bitten by coyotes in north Phoenix

Three people were bitten by coyotes recently in separate incidents in the same area of north Phoenix, wildlife officials said.

Two people were bitten on Saturday, a 4-year-old who was walking with family members and a man who was jogging, the Arizona Game and Fish Department said Monday.

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Here are the most-read Arizona stories on KTAR.com for 2023