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Situational awareness: A judge declared a mistrial yesterday in the case against southern Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly, who is accused of fatally shooting a migrant on his property near the Mexico border.

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Today's newsletter is 938 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1. 1 big thing: Transforming Surprise

The future site of Surprise City Center, looking southeast from the Bullard Avenue and Bell Road intersection. Photo: Jim Todd/Courtesy of Surprise Center Development Co.

The initial construction phase of Surprise City Center could be the first step toward transforming the northwest Valley city from a quiet suburb into a vibrant regional hub.

The big picture: Surprise City Hall, which opened about 15 years ago, is in the middle of a square mile of almost completely undeveloped land.

  • The city center project calls for the long-term development of a downtown area around City Hall that would include retail, restaurants, higher education, medical facilities and apartments.

Why it matters: With a population of over 150,000, Surprise is Arizona's 10th largest city.

  • Despite massive growth, Surprise doesn't really have a downtown, economic development director Jeanine Jerkovic noted to Axios.

Catch up quick: The vision for the city center began in 1995, when developer Rick West and Surprise's city manager identified the land between Bell Road to the north, Greenway Road to the south, Bullard Avenue to the west and Litchfield Road to the east as their proposed site for a city center.

Zoom out: The goal of Surprise City Center is to create a downtown with an urban rather than suburban feel, with tall buildings and entryways right up against sidewalks, which West said would make it a unique concept in the Valley.

  • "We've always felt that (Surprise) should be the regional center for the northwest Valley. And that's how we're positioning it," he said.

The latest: The project's first three buildings, containing retail and restaurants, are set to finish construction later this summer.

Future phases are expected to include more residential and retail, along with a resort, medical complexes, a significantly expanded Ottawa University (which already has a presence in the area), additional civil court facilities and possibly a county government office.

  • The plans ultimately call for more than 30,000 housing units.

What's next: It'll be many years before Surprise City Center is complete.

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2. California abortion pipeline

California Gov. Gavin Newsom in February. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

When Arizona's near-total abortion ban takes effect later this year, women in need of care are likely to head to neighboring states. California officials are working to make it easier for Arizona women's doctors to assist.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed Sunday on MSNBC that state lawmakers there are working on a bill to ensure Arizona providers can perform abortions for Arizonans in his state.

  • Brandon Richards, a spokesperson for the governor, said in an emailed statement yesterday that Newsom's team was working in coordination with the Arizona governor and attorney general on the emergency legislation.

The intrigue: Newsom said the bill was inspired by Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake's suggestion that Arizonans could cross the border to California for abortion access following the state Supreme Court ruling.

Reality check: Even if Arizona doctors can provide care in California, there's no guarantee Arizona patients can get to them.

  • Abortion Fund of Arizona executive director Eloisa Lopez told 19th News traveling out-of-state for care could cost patients $1,500-$2,000.
  • The fund — the state's largest financial assistance program for abortion care — will not be able to afford to help every woman who needs an abortion at that price point, Lopez said.

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3. 📦 Amazon drone delivery incoming

Amazon's new MK30 Prime Air drone. Photo: Jason Redmond / AFP via Getty Images

Amazon will begin delivering packages to metro Phoenix customers via drone later this year, the company announced yesterday.

Why it matters: Amazon is betting big on drones to speed up its delivery services and improve its environmental impact by taking CO2-emitting trucks off the street.

How it works: Drones will deploy from a facility next to Amazon's same-day delivery site in Tolleson and deliver packages in less than an hour.

  • Amazon said it will begin reaching out to West Valley customers to encourage them to sign up for the service as soon as it has FAA and local permissions.

What we're watching: Amazon has developed a new MK30 drone, which it plans to deploy in Phoenix.

  • It's quieter and can fly farther and in more diverse weather conditions than Amazon's currently deployed drones.
  • It will allow delivery to customers with smaller backyards and in more densely populated suburban areas, according to the company.

Keep reading

4. Chips & salsa: High Court tells Lake "no"

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

🧑‍⚖️ The U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept Kari Lake and Mark Finchem's appeal of the dismissal of their 2022 lawsuit that sought to ban the use of tabulation machines to count ballots. (CNN)

🚫 Gov. Katie Hobbs effectively ordered a hiring freeze at state agencies. They're now barred from filling vacant positions to help alleviate the state's budget deficit. (Capitol Media Services)

🏊 The city of Phoenix plans to convert five difficult-to-staff pools in west and south Phoenix to splash pads. It will also build larger heated pools at Maryvale and Harmon parks. (KJZZ)

5. Bite Club: A side of history at MacAlpine's

Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

👋 Jeremy here. When I walked into MacAlpine's Diner and Soda Fountain last week for the first time, it felt as though I'd stepped into a time machine.

Why it matters: MacAlpine's, a local institution that opened in 1929, is trying to get back on its feet again several years after owner Monica Heizenrader closed the restaurant's doors during the pandemic.

  • After months of raising money, MacAlpine's is open again on a part-time basis, serving lunch Fridays through Sundays.

What I ordered: For now, MacAlpine's is offering a limited menu, with plans to expand down the road.

  • I ordered the pulled pork sandwich with fries.
  • To complete the experience, I couldn't resist an ice cream soda. I ordered the James Dean, which is wild cherry phosphate over vanilla ice cream.

The verdict: It was a great lunch. MacAlpine's tangy barbecue sauce went great with the pork, and the crispy fries were delicious too.

  • I hadn't had an ice cream soda in years, and it was as good as I'd remembered.

The pie secret...

🛼 Jeremy went roller skating for the first time in more than 30 years at his daughter's friend's birthday party. He's proud to report he didn't break anything.

🥩 Jessica had a fabulous anniversary dinner at Fat Ox.

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

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