These 9 developments could transform downtown Mesa; 10 Chinese restaurants open Christmas Day; Flights from Phoenix

A look at some of today’s top stories, the weather forecast and a peek back in history.

Here’s why Phoenix won’t allow civilians to investigate claims of police brutality.

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Arizona has 8% of hospital beds available as the state reports 7,748 new COVID-19 cases and 1 death.

Why is Arizona’s largest Christmas tree at the Outlets at Anthem? Valley 101 found out.

Today, you can expect it to be sunny, with a high near 70 degrees. Mostly clear at night, with a low near 42 degrees. Get the full forecast here.

Downtown Mesa apartments are under construction, with more planned in 2021. Here’s where 9 projects stand

Hundreds of apartment units are under construction or coming soon in downtown Mesa, which should bring what the city’s downtown development chief says is needed to help transform the area into the innovative and busy urban core city leaders have long envisioned.

The sprawling city of more than 500,000 people already has an arts center, light rail that connects to downtown Phoenix and unique small businesses along a quaint Main Street. But compared to downtowns in neighboring — and far smaller — Tempe and Gilbert, Mesa’s still is quieter. 

The key is to bring in more people to live and visit downtown, and numerous diverse developments under construction now and in the coming years should do just that, said Jeff McVay, Mesa’s manager of downtown transformation.

a plate of food with broccoli: Mongolian Beef from China Chili in Phoenix.

© David Kadlubowski/The Republic
Mongolian Beef from China Chili in Phoenix.

Read more about the planned downtown Mesa apartments.

a train is on the side of a building: Construction work continues at ASU at Mesa City Center, Dec. 21, 2020, 50 N. Centennial Way, Mesa.

© Mark Henle/The Republic
Construction work continues at ASU at Mesa City Center, Dec. 21, 2020, 50 N. Centennial Way, Mesa.

10 Chinese restaurants open for takeout on Christmas Day in Phoenix

Eating Chinese food on Christmas Day has been a well-documented Jewish-American tradition since the early 20th century. More recently, celebrating Christmas with specialties like Peking duck, noodles and dumplings has become even more mainstream. Google searches for “Chinese food” peak on Christmas Day, and GrubHub reports that Chinese takeout orders surge on Dec. 25.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of Chinese restaurants in Phoenix. If you’re planning to dig into some Chinese food this Christmas, here are 10 great places that will be open on Christmas Day. Hours are subject to change, so make sure to call ahead. 

Several restaurants are operating takeout-only because of the coronavirus pandemic. Health experts strongly recommend wearing a mask when entering areas to pick up or pay for food.

See the list of Chinese restaurants open on Christmas Day.

Dreaming of a vacation in 2021? Here are the new destinations you can fly to from Phoenix

While the COVID-19 pandemic hammered passenger traffic for airlines, causing many to reduce route frequencies and end some service altogether, the news for air service in Phoenix hasn’t been all bad this year.

Airlines also have used the pandemic to reposition their service to not just survive the downturn in business but to be poised for a successful rebound once people feel safe to travel again.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has benefited in recent months from airlines anticipating that people in cold climates would seek sunny winter escapes. Airlines also opened up new nonstop routes to destinations of interest to Phoenix residents. 

Find out the destinations you can travel once it’s safer.

a large body of water with a mountain in the background: A view of downtown Anchorage Alaska.

© Lance King, Getty Images
A view of downtown Anchorage Alaska.

What to watch

What does $230 million buy? The Suns are going to show us whenever fans are allowed into their renovated arena. Listen as Okland Construction project executive Matt Richards describes some of the new features of PHX Arena.

Take a look inside the newly renovated Phoenix Suns arena



Today in history

  • On this date in 1902, certain parts of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation were restored to public domain by executive order.
  • In 1929, several boys, all under age 13, broke into a railroad car belonging to the Arizona Packing Co. in the Southern Pacific yards in Tucson and stole several whole hogs and assorted packages of pork. For most of the night, the Tucson Police Station resembled a packing house storage room as officers recovered and brought in loads of meat.
  • In 1936, the announcement was made that The Associated Press trunk line would establish a mainline office in Phoenix.
  • In 1858, opera composer Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca, Italy.
  • In 1894, French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. (Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.)
  • In 1940, author Nathanael West, 37, and his wife, Eileen McKenney, 27, were killed in a car crash in El Centro, Calif. while en route to the funeral of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who had died the day before.
  • In 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington for a wartime conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • In 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, U.S. Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe rejected a German demand for surrender, writing “Nuts!” in his official reply.
  • In 1968, Julie Nixon married David Eisenhower in a private ceremony in New York.
  • In 1984, New York City resident Bernhard Goetz shot and wounded four youths on a Manhattan subway, claiming they were about to rob him.
  • In 1989, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, the last of Eastern Europe’s hard-line Communist rulers, was toppled from power in a popular uprising. Playwright Samuel Beckett died in Paris at age 83.
  • In 1991, the body of Marine Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, an American hostage slain by his terrorist captors, was recovered after it had been dumped along a highway in Lebanon.
  • In 1992, a Libyan Boeing 727 jetliner crashed after a midair collision with a MiG fighter, killing all 157 aboard the jetliner, and both crew members of the fighter jet.
  • In 2001, Richard C. Reid, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and fellow passengers. (Reid is serving a life sentence in federal prison.)
  • In 2003, a federal judge ruled the Pentagon couldn’t enforce mandatory anthrax vaccinations for military personnel.
  • In 2008, five Muslim immigrants accused of scheming to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix were convicted of conspiracy in Camden, N.J. (Four were later sentenced to life in prison; one received a 33-year sentence.)

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: AZ Memo: These 9 developments could transform downtown Mesa; 10 Chinese restaurants open Christmas Day; Flights from Phoenix

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