December 2013

Gas Prices Stay The Same This Week

The cost of filling up the gas tank is about the same as it was a week ago. AAA Arizona said the statewide average price is $3.15 a gallon on Friday morning, but spokeswoman Stephanie Dembowski said there is no reason to expect any increases between now and the end of the year.

“We’re right on par with prices last year and AAA anticipates that prices are going to continue to trickle down through the end of the year, barring unforeseen circumstances,” Dembowski said.

Valley Retailers Optimistic About A Sales Upturn

With less than a week to go before the holiday, retailers in the Valley said they are cautiously optimistic about a sales upturn this year. Michelle Ahlmer of the Arizona Retailer’s Association said sales are up over last year. The question is, how much?

“The higher the better, but we’re not unhappy with a 3 to 4 percent increase, although it’d be great if it was 10 percent,” Ahlmer said.

She said hot items this year are electronics, like tablet computers and toys, with traditional favorites like Legos selling well.

Former Suns Player Among Those Arrested In Roundup

A three-day roundup of robbery, theft and burglary suspects has led to 151 arrests in the state’s urban areas. 
The U.S. Marshals Service said 27 agencies took part in “Operation Grinch Stopper-2.” The arrests included 112 in Maricopa and Pinal counties, with the others in the Tucson, Yuma and Flagstaff areas. U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said the operation is a response to the November 2012 wounding of a Tucson police sergeant who was shot while responding to a burglary alarm.

Arizona Gets $20.7 Million In Mortgage Settlement

Tens of millions of dollars are coming to Arizona borrowers as part of a settlement with Ocwen Financial Corporation. Arizona was one of 49 states, plus the District of Columbia, that took part in the lawsuit, and it is getting $20.7 million in return.

More than 10,000 Ocwen customers across the state could receive at least $1,000. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said the Atlanta-based mortgage company is paying for unfair practices, like premature and unauthorized foreclosures.

Federal Agency Denies Protection For Orchid

PHOENIX (AP) — A purple orchid found in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico will not be added to the federal endangered species list.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its decision on the Coleman's coralroot Wednesday. It found that while mining, off-road vehicles, livestock grazing, disease and drought threaten the flower, the continued existence of the species is not threatened.

Valley Food Banks In Demand This Holiday Season

Arizonans are again being asked to be as generous as possible, to provide food for the less fortunate, during the holidays. Jerry Brown, of St. Mary’s Food Bank, said while we may be in the middle of an economic recovery, it is hard to tell, judging by the demand for their services.

"Thanksgiving was every bit as busy as what we saw in 2008 and 2009, when the economy really went sideways, so, while I think the economy is improving for some folks, there’s still going to take quite a while before it trickles down to the folks who really need it at the low levels," said Brown.

Phoenix OKs Ordinance Against Puppy, Kitten Mills

PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix City Council has voted to prohibit the sale of dogs and cats from large commercial breeders in most cases.

The ordinance approved Wednesday bans shops from selling dogs or cats unless they are rescues from a shelter or pound. Violators could face up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Pet stores will be required to keep records for up to a year showing the source of all dogs and cats.

Plane Makes Emergency Landing In Tucson

The occupants of a small plane were able to walk away Wednesday after an emergency landing near the airport in Tucson. Courtney Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, said the pilot did a good job of putting down in an area where there were no structures.

“A Cessna-182 had to make a landing because they ran out of gas. There were three people on board," Rodriguez explained. "There were no injuries and no damage was done to the airplane.”

New Alaska Airlines Flights From Anchorage

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Airlines is starting new flights this week between Anchorage and Phoenix and between Anchorage and Las Vegas.

The Phoenix service started Wednesday and the Las Vegas service on Thursday.

Flights will operate on each route three times a week. Anchorage-Las Vegas service will be offered year-round. The Anchorage-Phoenix flights will be offered into mid-April.

The Seattle-based airline said the seats on the planes, along with most others in the Alaska Airlines fleet, will be upgraded with 110-volt power and USB power outlets.