Hot Links: Plastic Bags, Olympic Medals, and Indecent Exposure

Mesa is considering a surcharge or a ban on plastic bags in retail stores. The Neighborhood Services Committee is reviewing options for eliminating use of non-biodegradable bags, including a five-cent surcharge per plastic bag. The Mesa City Council wants to know how well restrictions have worked in other cities, and will be considering the issue after a presentation from Rhodes Junior High students next Tuesday...A Valley resident who won three gold medals at the 1972 Olympics is asking whoever stole them from her home to please return them. Melissa Belote Ripley won the medals in swimming at the Olympic games in Munich, and had them in her Tempe home after speaking at a school. Ripley's home was burglarized while she was out watching her daughter compete in swimming at the Big 12 Championships. The gold medals have the name Belote engraved on them, and her husband says they have no monetary value if melted down...The  Apache Junction Unified School District governing board has decided to close two schools after this year: Thunder Mountain Middle School and Gold Canyon Elementary School. The district is suffering from budget cuts and declining enrollment, and students at the closing schools will be moved to other schools in the district...

A month after their area was decimated by flood waters, some Black Canyon City residents are still homeless. Many of the homeless had mobile homes on the Agua Fria river bank that were destroyed and now live out of vehicles. The state has ordered new trailers for some of the displaced, but there's nowhere to put them, as the county hasn't decided whether to let people live on the river bank again...Police in Scottsdale are warning residents to watch out for a man exposing himself to women in the of 94th street and Thunderbird Road area. According to police, the suspect exposed his genitals on separate occasions to at least three women before running away. Victims describe the suspect as a black male, 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet tall, 150 to 185 pounds, and 20 to 30 years old...Despite filing for bankruptcy, Arizona-based grocery chain Bashas' Inc. has refused a $260 million buyout offer from rival chain Albertson's. Lenders for Bashas' presented the letter in bankruptcy court, saying Bashas' had not disclosed Albertson's offer. An attorney for Bashas' says the offer was insufficient and that the company expects to recover from the bankruptcy by April.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea