17 Top Stories of 2017

Wildfires, water issues and growth—residential, commercial and retail—dominated the local news this year. Here are the most-read news on our web site in 2017.

17 The Solar Eclipse

“The frogs, just now, started singing, like frogs do in the evening.” That’s Anthem resident Steve Miller, texting from Wyoming during one of the most-watched events in history. Back home, a partial eclipse danced in and out of passing clouds.

amped coffee company owners
Keith, Austin and Jeanine Walashek have a set of plans, a vision and a lot of empty space to work with. In&Out Staff Photo

16 New Cafe Plans Gourmet Coffee, Craft Beer, Wine & Live Music

Amped Coffee Company, slated to open in early 2018, aims to be unique in the region, serving lite fare, Valley brews and featuring a serious stage for local and regional musicians.

15 A Pleasant Day on the Lake Turns Frightening

A July storm struck suddenly, ripping up docks and sinking boats. “It was terrifying… wasn’t sure we’d make it,” said Betsy Lee, caught on the water in a boat with her friends and kids.

A Sheriff Department helicopter circled an area around Gavilan Peak Parkway north of Anthem Way. In&Out Staff Photo

14 Suspect Arrested After 2-Hour Manhunt in Anthem

Residents were told to keep doors locked. But what started as a domestic violence situation ended peacefully when the suspect was found after a chase through the desert.

sonoran gate home construction
Construction began in summer 2017 on Sonoran Gate homes. In&Out Staff Photo

13 Sonoran Gate: 255 Homes in the Middle of Nowhere

A hotbed of housing development, NoPho sees expansion eastward to a spot surrounded by State Trust Land, sandwiched between two sections of the Sonoran Desert Preserve.

I-17 fire air tanker
An air tanker dropping retardant on the fire near I-17 June 18, 2017. Photo: DMFD

12 Wildfire Near I-17 & Bumble Bee Exit Burns 1,400 Acres

This brush fire on a hot, dry Sunday afternoon in June wasn’t the only one that closed I-17 in one of the busiest brush-fire seasons in memory.

11 Fast-Moving 303 Fire Scorches North Phoenix Desert

Frighteningly close to home, this June 22 blaze was stopped from reaching homes around Sonoran Foothills and Tramonto with the help of I-17 and the Carefree Highway.

farmers insurance now hiring

10 Thousands of New North Phoenix Jobs

Along with more new homes came a lot more jobs, from big companies like Farmers Insurance, USAA and Fry’s, to a slew of small businesses that opened or grew.

2017 azMerit scores revised

9 School Test Scores Compared (After State Botches Data)

The Arizona Department of Education released AzMERIT scores, which were widely reported. Then some schools noticed errors and the state recalculated the scores.

gore associates

8 Meet Your Neighbors: The (Very Quiet) W.L. Gore Company

Many NoPho residents had seen the Gore buildings, but few knew what went on inside the sprawling campus, and the company’s plans for expansion.  

casitas at tramonto exterior rendering
Casitas at Tramonto will offer single-family, detached rental units. Image: Snowdon Residential and Bollinger Consulting Architects

7 Upscale Casita Rentals Planned for Tramonto

Developers see strong demand for detached rentals. Casitas at Tramonto, across from Home Depot, will be gated and include access to all Tramonto community amenities.

grocery and retail center
Conceptual drawing of a the planned retail center. Image: City of Phoenix

6 Liv North Valley: Grocery & Upscale Apartments Planned

The as-yet-unnamed grocery store created intrigue around this development south of Sonoran Foothills. Also interesting: a dog park and a community garden.

happy valley ddi

5 Happy Valley & Pinnacle Peak Roads to Get New I-17 Interchanges

Love ’em or hate ’em, the roundabouts are giving way to a “diverging diamond interchange” that promises to move more traffic more efficiently. But oh, the construction ahead!

fire from new river
New River resident Cyndy Di Venti took this photo of the glow from one of the Brooklyn complex fires, seen from outsider her front door Friday night, July 7. Photo courtesy Cyndy Di Venti

4 ‘Brooklyn Complex’ Fires Scorch 36,957 Acres

This group of lightning-caused fires from near Black Canyon City to Sunset Point sent smoke into the North Valley in early July and lit up the night sky for New River residents.

Fry’s on Dove Valley Road back when it was under construction in early 2017. In&Out Staff Photo

3 New Fry’s Fills Grocery Gap

Residents along North Valley Parkway no longer have to trek to Tramonto, Anthem or Happy Valley Road to get milk. And they’ve gained some new restaurants and retail shops, too.

city hydrant
A City of Phoenix hydrant often used for filling water trucks. In&Out Staff Photo

2 Water Woes in New River & Desert Hills

Many rural wells have gone dry and the water table is dropping. Phoenix decided to stop supplying trucked water after Dec. 31. Residents found out in September. EPCOR agreed to build a water-hauling station on Anthem property. Phoenix announced an 11th-hour decision this month to extend the deadline. Water woes solved — at least for now.

union park at norterra community center
An artist rendering of the community center planned for USAA’s Union Park at Norterra neighborhood. Image courtesy USAA & Sunbelt

1 Union Park: Swanky New Development at Norterra

Main Street. Apartments above shops. Architecture ranging from territorial to mission revival and even Wrightian—all within walking distance of a major corporate center. Toss in boutique retail, specialty restaurants and a community center (and pickleball!), and developer USAA has all the ingredients planned for a new residential, retail and commercial hub.

Note: Some stories involved more than one article. Both Anthem News and North Phoenix News data were included.

Staff Writers
North Phoenix News staff writers and editors often work together to produce articles like this one.

Staff Writers

North Phoenix News staff writers and editors often work together to produce articles like this one.

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