Axios Phoenix

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Happy Thursday! We hope everyone isn't too busy to catch some March Madness basketball today.

☀️ Today's weather: Sunny and 83.

Today's newsletter is 888 words — a 3.4-minute read.

1 big thing: Spring heat is in the air

Change in average spring temperature from 1970 to 2023
Data: Climate Central; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Phoenix's spring seasons are getting warmer, more so than much of the rest of the country's, according to a recent Climate Central analysis.

Why it matters: The trend reflects human-caused warming, the group says.

  • Much of the seasonal climate change discussion is focused on summer and winter, when temperatures are typically at their annual high and low extremes.
  • But the "between seasons" are affected too.

By the numbers: Springtime in Phoenix warmed by 5.2°F on average between 1970 and 2023, per Climate Central, a climate research and communications nonprofit.

  • That's more than double the average warming of 2.2° across nearly 230 U.S. cities.

Stunning stat: Spring has gotten notably warmer in the Southwest, where average temperatures have risen by more than 6° in some places.

Zoom in: The highest average springtime temperature increases were seen in Reno, Nevada (+6.8°), El Paso, Texas (+6.3°) and Las Vegas (+6.2°).

What it did: The group's analysis is based on NOAA data during meteorological spring, which begins March 1 and ends May 31.

What it's saying: Warmer springtime temperatures cause a variety of effects, per Climate Central, including earlier snowmelt (which affects drinking water supplies), longer allergy seasons and changes in agricultural growing seasons.

The big picture: It's not just spring temperatures that are rising. Our notoriously hot summers set some unfortunate new records last year as well.

  • Phoenix last year shattered its previous record for consecutive days with high temperatures at 110° or higher, setting a new record at 31 days.
  • We also set a new record in 2023 of 19 consecutive days with overnight lows of at least 90° and a new record for highest low temperature at 97°.
  • There were at least 600 heat-related deaths in the Phoenix area last year, the deadliest on record.

Keep reading

2. Al Beadle home in jeopardy

A demolition request was posted outside the home near 44th Street and Camelback Road. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

The new owner of an iconic 1950s-era Camelback Mountain home designed by famed architect Al Beadle is trying to demolish it.

Why it matters: Community members are rallying to save the "floating rectangle" home, but weak historic preservation laws will make it difficult to protect the property against the owner's wishes.

Driving the news: A demolition request was posted last Friday outside the home on White Gates Drive, near 44th Street and Camelback Road.

  • The home is not designated historic, but its architectural significance makes it eligible for historic preservation.
  • That has enabled the city to place a 30-day hold on the demolition, Phoenix Planning and Development Department spokesperson Teleia Galaviz tells Axios Phoenix.
  • The Historic Preservation Commission will meet April 15 and may vote to initiate historic designation, she says.

Reality check: Even if the city gives the property historic designation, it would halt demolition for only one year, per city policies.

Zoom in: Still, temporary city protection would provide advocates and buyers time to persuade the owner to sell to someone else, Modern Phoenix's Alison King tells Axios Phoenix.

What they're saying: "My client intends to build his family's home on this land and live on the property," the new owner's attorney, Ben Graff, told the Arizona Republic this week.

Beadle's daughter speaks

3. 🏀 Cats are a good March Madness bet

UofA's Oumar Ballo and Keshad Johnson celebrate at last week's Pac-12 Tournament. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

Betting on the Arizona Wildcats in March Madness? The odds are at least somewhat in your favor.

The big picture: ESPN, FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM list Arizona, the 2-seed in the NCAA tournament's West region, as the fourth best bet to win the national championship.

  • And FanDuel lists the Cats as the favorite to reach the Final Four from the West region — which would have them playing on college basketball's biggest stage here in the Valley.
  • UofA plays its first-round game against 15-seed Long Beach State today at 11am.

Between the lines: Arizona is the third highest scoring team in college basketball this season.

  • They have Pac-12 Player of the Year Caleb Love, who scores 18.1 points per game.
  • They give up a lot of points to opponents, but their scoring differential of 15.6 points per game is fifth best in the NCAA.

Meanwhile, 12-seed Grand Canyon University is a popular pick in some quarters to upset 5-seed Saint Mary's in the first round.

  • Keep an eye on Lopes star Tyon Grant-Foster, who's one of the country's top scorers at 19.8 per game.
  • GCU plays tomorrow at 7:05pm.

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4. Chips & salsa: Barrio Cafe is closing

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

😭 Award-winning chef Silvana Salcido Esparza is closing her famous Barrio Cafe in the coming weeks to tend to a health condition.

  • "My last hurrah was feeding my community during COVID," she said. "That was my opus. That was my 'I love you' to Phoenix." (AZcentral)

🏒 The Arizona Coyotes posted new renderings online of the proposed arena and entertainment district online they hope to build in north Phoenix. (ABC 15)

🎒 Creighton Elementary School District faces a new lawsuit alleging it's violating a state law that mandates English-only instruction. (KJZZ)

The Fountain Hills City Council imposed unprecedented sanctions on council member Allan Skillicorn for ethics violations.

  • The sanctions bar him from becoming vice mayor, using city money to travel or meeting with city workers on his own. (12 News)
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5. Where in the Valley?

Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

Welcome to another edition of "Where in the Valley?"

How it works: We show you something cool. You tell us where it is.

  • The first reader who names the spot gets a shout-out in the newsletter.

You tell us: Where in the Valley can you find these unique decorations lining the top of a wall?

🏀 Jeremy picked Auburn, Baylor, Purdue and Kentucky to go to the Final Four. His heart says "pick Arizona," but picking with your heart doesn't win tournament pools.

🤷🏻‍♀️ Jessica picked Auburn, Alabama, Purdue and Wisconsin — but because she knows very little about NCAA basketball, her choices were almost entirely random.

This newsletter was edited by Emma Hurt and copy edited by Jay Bennett.

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