East Valley Tribune

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  • Hamilton defense fends off Brophy, vaults Huskies to 7th-straight championship game

    Some things don't change.Not only is Hamilton back in the state championship game, but the Huskies on Friday used a familiar recipe to get there.Top-seeded Hamilton dominated the second half behind its stingy defense and hard-nosed run game to beat Brophy 24-7 in the Division I semifinals at Chandler High.The Huskies will face rival Chandler in next week's championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium. It will be Hamilton's seventh straight title game appearance and its 11th in 12 years. The only time since 2003 Hamilton didn't make the championship game was in 2007, when Brophy knocked off the Huskies in the semifinals.The fourth-seeded Broncos appeared ready to do so again on Friday but missed multiple scoring opportunities in the first half. That was all Hamilton needed.After it veered from its tried-and-true formula a bit too much in the first half — which resulted in two interceptions and a mere 69 yards — the Huskies came out of halftime and marched down the field in nine plays to, for all intents and purposes based on their defense, put the game away on a 19-yard pass from James Sosinski to Ian Anderson.

  • Kirk leads Saguaro past Queen Creek, into D-III title game

    Christian Kirk scored touchdowns on both sides of the ball as he led Saguaro to a 49-21 rout over Queen Creek in the D-III semifinals Friday night at Arcadia High School.Kirk, sporting bright, neon-green shoes, fueled both the offense and defense for the Sabercats. On the offensive side, he eclipsed the 100-yard rushing and receiving marks along with three touchdowns on the ground and two through the air. Defensively, Kirk shined in pass coverage and returned an interception for a touchdown to add an exclamation point in the middle of his six-score night.Saguaro Head Coach Jason Mohns praised Kirk’s effort and focus on leading his team to the state championship game.“He’s a phenomenal player,” Mohns said. “Christian could’ve hung it up this season … but this team, this family, this program means something to him. He’s laying it on the line. He’s laying his body, his heart and soul for this team and that’s hard to do when you’re a five-star kid and you’ve got bigger and brighter things ahead of you.”Throwing Kirk those two 30-plus yard touchdowns was junior quarterback Kare Lyles, who spread the ball around in his more than 250 yards and two touchdown performance.Queen Creek’s offense drove down the field with ease on their first few drives of the game, but failed to turn that momentum into points.

  • Williams Field drops Tempe, advances to D-III finals

    Williams Field may spread things out on offense — a look that is more of a new-school invention — but there was a certain old-school feel to its style on Friday night.No.2 seed Williams Field relied on stout defense and a bruising running game to knock off No. 3 seed Tempe 45-3.Holding a 10-3 lead with less than six minutes to go in the half, quarterback Weston Murphy uncorked an 84-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenny Owens to put the Black Hawks up 17-3 going into the half. While Williams Field had the lead, a slew of personal foul penalties held it back in the first half. Coach Steve Campbell made sure to address it at halftime.“Little bit of excitement for the game. Little too over anxious,” Campbell said of why his team had some many penalties. “That was what our halftime was about was ‘this needs to clean up and it will clean up.’”Campbell also said that he wanted to establish the running game better in the second half. Williams Field did just that, putting up 21 points in the third quarter.It was the running game that set up another touchdown pass in the third quarter from Murphy to Owens, this time for 26 yards. On top of that, Williams Field scored on a rumbling 18-yard run from running back Aaron Mason and a 62-yard punt return score by wide receiver Isaiah Bennington to give it a 38-3 lead going into the final quarter.

  • Local Republicans call for immigration legislation by Congress

    A small group of local Republican lawmakers gathered outside the Mesa Arts Center on Wednesday morning for a press conference on immigration reform ahead of President Obama’s speech on Thursday.State Sen. Bob Worsley hosted the event in which he called for congressional action on the issue in the face of an impending executive order from the president.“Allowing this situation to continue is de facto amnesty,” said Worsley. “An executive order is woefully inadequate.”The delegation expressed dissatisfaction with the administration’s plans to use an executive order to defer deportations and allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country. Rather, they said, any decision should come in the form of legislation.In a speech on Thursday, President Obama announced his executive action, which does grant some protection to an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants. He answered criticism from the GOP with a simple challenge: “Pass a bill.”The commentary from Republicans on a national level has, by and large, matched what Worsley and his delegation called for, an act of Congress including more detail as to streamlining immigration and increasing law enforcement initiatives.

  • Lawsuit filed over Mesa neighborhood flooding

    A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of nearly 100 plaintiffs after a Mesa neighborhood was submerged by floodwaters two months ago.The Phoenix law firm that filed the suit Wednesday says neighbors now are seeking a class-action certification for the more than 300 homeowners and residents whose property was damaged.Mesa recorded nearly 4 1/2 inches of rain on Sept. 8 -- a single-day record -- as the remnants of Hurricane Norbert rolled through Arizona and caused flash flooding across the state.Up to 400 Mesa homes lost electricity after crews disconnected power to submerged transformers and retention basins and channels along the U.S. 60 were at or over capacity.The suit claims contaminated water was released into Emerald Park and the surrounding neighborhoods by city and state workers.

  • Gilbert attorney wants Supreme Court to rule against church in sign case

    The town of Gilbert is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to quash a bid by a tiny religious congregation to be able to post and leave up year round its signs directing people to its worship services.Attorney Philip Savrin, representing the town, said there are legitimate reasons for time limits on the signs, ranging from public safety to blight. He said the court should reject claims by the church that its First Amendment rights are being violated.But the case is about more than a spat between one community and a pastor. There are statewide and national implications on the ability of communities to enact restrictions on certain kinds of signs. The stakes are so high that even the Obama administration has weighed in on the side of the church, asking the justices to void the town's restrictions.The Good News Community Church has no building of its own, conducting services in rented spaces. It currently meets in a senior living center. It regularly posts signs directing would-be worshippers to the site.But Gilbert regulations, which were amended in 2011 by the Gilbert Town Council, said temporary directional signs can be erected no earlier than 12 hours before the event and must be removed one hour after the services end.The signs were limited to six square feet, versus 20 square feet for ideological signs and 16 feet for political signs in residential areas, and those signs could be kept up longer.

  • Score affordable art at ASU Student Art Market

    It’s hard to be an art collector on a budget, but this weekend, you can purchase original works of art, crafted by local student artists, for as little as $30, at a student art market in downtown Tempe.The market (nicknamed SAM) is the creation of five Arizona State University School of Film, Dance and Theatre graduate students in an Arts Entrepreneurship seminar. The market will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at Casey Moore’s, a restaurant and bar at the corner of Ninth Street and Ash Avenue in Tempe.The five ASU grad student entrepreneurs — Kara Chesser, Mollie Flanagan, Shelby Maticic, Ashley Laverty and Emily May — are working together to help student artists support themselves through their art.“It wasn’t until we did our research that I realized how enthusiastic people would be about a student art market”, said May. “It really helped us to understand what appeals to the people we hope to draw to the market.”Linda Essig, professor of the Arts Entrepreneurship seminar at ASU, wrote the following in her blog, CreativeInfrastructure.org: “How can young artists learn not just about ‘marketing,’ the skill, but about ‘market’ as a social system? Without realizing they were doing so, the students in my graduate seminar have created an opportunity to do just that.”SAM (Student Art Market) was created to connect the local community to student artists. Offering student art to the community allows the local public to interact with artists while enjoying their work.

  • Shuttered Monti’s in Tempe to auction off decor, other items

    Monti’s La Casa Vieja on Mill Avenue in Tempe closed on Nov. 17 after nearly 60 years in business — and now dozens of items and memorabilia from within the historic home-turned-restaurant will be sold in a live auction on Thursday, Dec. 4. The auction will be held at Monti’s starting at 7 p.m. A preview of the memorabilia begins at 5 p.m.“This is bittersweet. Monti’s has been Tempe’s most historic home for decades, and all of these items are personal and very special to my family,” said Michael Monti, the restaurant’s owner, in a press release. “We never imagined we would have so many people reaching out and wanting the same special keepsake from the restaurant. So we decided it is only fitting we open this up to a community auction and allow all of our friends and customers, who have supported us over the years, to take part in the auction and take a piece of Monti’s home with them.”Surplus Asset Management will conduct the auction. Auctioneer Daren Shumway will give bidders the chance to score dozens of historic framed pictures, like a large carved frame by renowned artist Dee Flagg, as well as maps, vintage menus and sports memorabilia.Additionally, a second auction of furniture, fixtures and equipment will held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 8, at Monti’s. The preview for that event begins at 8 a.m.A full catalog of the auction items is available online at SAMAuctions.com. Bids may be made in person or online. To register to bid, call (602) 442-4554.

  • Reel deals: Stretch your dollars at the theater

    AMC offers unlimited ‘Interstellar’ ticket to loyalty membersIf you’re an AMC Stubs member and a fan of Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” you can purchase an unlimited ticket to the space thriller starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. The ticket, which ranges in price from $19.99 to $34.99 depending on location, allows AMC Stubs members to see the film as many times as they’d like, as often as they’d like. Stubs members who have purchased a ticket to the film can upgrade to an unlimited ticket for $14.99. There are a limited number of tickets available. Contact your local AMC Theatre for details.Harkins 2015 Loyalty Cups now on saleLooking for a gift for that difficult-to-buy-for friend or family member? Why not pick up a Harkins Theatre loyalty cup and T-shirt, which reward the owner with $1.50 soft drink refills (loyalty cup) and a free medium popcorn (T-shirt). The cups and shirts are $5.25 and $25, respectively, and can be purchased at any Harkins Theatre or online at HarkinsTheatres.com/store. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the 2015 Harkins Loyalty T-shirt will be donated to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

  • Copperstar Repertory Co. closing its doors

    After over six years of producing and teaching theater skills to local youth, Copperstar Repertory Co. in Chandler has one show left before it permanently drops the curtain.The nonprofit theater company has staged numerous shows over the years that were showcased at the Mesa Arts Center, but Copperstar closed suddenly at the end of October due to limited funding.“They just couldn’t keep going, as their expenses far outweighed their income,” said Katy Henthorne, a parent volunteer at Copperstar Repertory Co.The theater is selling its props and costumes as well as looking for another company to take over the Chandler location’s two-year lease.The sudden closing of Copperstar Repertory Co. was a shock to those involved with the theater.“They had such a great season of shows lined up too that my daughter Leah was looking forward to being a part of. In fact, she had already rehearsed and performed in two numbers from two of the shows during a season opener at the Mesa Arts Center back in September,” said Henthorne.

  • Ageless Don Rickles dishes on seven-decade showbiz career

    Don’t let the act fool you; Don Rickles is actually a very nice man.The world’s most famous insult comedian is engaging, studied and surprisingly low-key. His humor, however, is still bombastic as ever.Rickles took his first step toward national fame in 1957 when he spotted crooner Frank Sinatra in the audience at a Miami Beach nightclub. Sinatra enjoyed Rickles’ act so much that he encouraged all of his celebrity friends to see him. Sinatra’s continued support helped Rickles become a popular performer in Las Vegas in 1959; he has been a headliner ever since.The 88-year-old Rickles spoke to GetOut from his Beverly Hills home to promote his Nov. 21 show at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino. Rickles was forthcoming about his seven-decade career, his friendship with Sinatra, and why he’s still on the stage.Q: Was there a lot of laughter and joking around in your household growing up?DR: Oh, yes. My mother was fun and my father, who was from Russia, was what we called a ‘kibitzer.’ He told a lot of great stories and was easy to talk to. Ours was a happy home.

  • Quick look: New this week at the movies

    >> This information is provided in community partnership with Harkins Theatres. For showtimes, theater locations and tickets, go to HarkinsTheatres.com.The HomesmanWhen three women living on the edge of the American frontier are driven mad by harsh pioneer life, the task of saving them falls to the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy. Transporting the women by covered wagon to Iowa, she soon realizes just how daunting the journey will be, and employs a low-life drifter, George Briggs, to join her. The unlikely pair and the three women head east, where a waiting minister and his wife have offered to take the women in. But the group first must traverse the harsh Nebraska Territory marked by stark beauty, psychological peril and constant threat. Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, Hailee Steinfeld, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, John Lithgow, James Spader. RThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1Katniss Everdeen is in District 13, after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage. Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone. PG-13Low Down

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  • Montessori School opens in Gilbert

    Creo Montessori School opened its doors in Gilbert with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 17.Creo is a private Montessori school for students in Gilbert and the surrounding area from age 15 months to elementary school. Information about it is available by visiting (480) 208-0256 or visiting creoschool.org.

  • Horne files suit against GM

    Claiming consumers here were misled, Attorney General Tom Horne has filed a $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors alleging it sold vehicles to Arizonans the company knew were unsafe.“Manufacturers of any product, from toys to automobiles, must make and sell products that are, above all else, safe to use,” Horne said in the complaint filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, the first one filed by a state against the auto giant. And he said manufacturers are required to tell the truth about the safety of their products.“When a safety defect does occur, manufacturers must promptly initiate some form of recall to address the problem,” he said.There have been some recalls — Horne says belatedly — of GM vehicles because of ignition problems. But Horne said federal regulators found an “astounding” number of other “concealed defects,” ranging from airbags and seat belts to brakes and electronic stability control.Those defects, Horne said, affected more than 27 million GM vehicles, including “hundreds of thousands in Arizona.”He said that includes not just those made after the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 but older vehicles with serious defects, and Horne said the reborn company was aware of the problems, making it liable for the problems.

  • Fuel prices keep dropping

    Gas prices across the country and in Arizona continue to dip, with the state average declining by more than a nickel this week.AAA Arizona reports the state average has dipped by just shy of 6 cents to an average of $2.783 a gallon. Flagstaff’s average is the state’s highest at $3.084, while Peoria drivers have the least expensive prices at $2.655. The national average is down by nearly 7 cents to $2.85.

  • Organization expected lower candy sales for Halloween

    An annual survey from National Retail Federation showed an anticipated slight decrease in consumer spending on Halloween candy this year, compared with 2013.According to the 2014 Halloween Consumer Spending Survey from National Retail Federation, consumers planned to spend $2.2 billion solely on Halloween candy this year, which is about $1 million less than last year’s $2.1 billion figure.The survey, conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, was based on a poll of 6332 consumers from Sept. 2 to Sept. 8. Out of all the surveyed consumers, 94.9 percent plans to spend on candy this year.Tempe resident Lisa Bayne said she spent $10 on Halloween candy and expected to spend another $20, which sums up to about the same amount she spent last year when interviewed before Halloween.“I’m planning to spend a little bit more, because I have kids,” she said.Like Bayne, Tempe resident, Jesse Howell, who had already spent $15 on candy when he was interviewed, does his Halloween shopping at stores that are convenient for him.

  • State unemployment rate dips, wage gap between Arizona and nation widens

    Arizona gained 24,700 private sector jobs last month, enough to push the state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate down a tenth of a point, to 6.8 percent. But all indications are that many of these aren't necessarily the best jobs in the world.A new report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, also released Thursday, finds that per capita personal income in Arizona grew between 2012 and 2013 at a rate just 1.0 percent. That takes the average up to $36,983. The prior year's growth was 3.1 percent.By contrast, the BEA lists national average per capita income for 2013 figure at $44,765, an increase of 1.3 percent in 2013 and 4.4 percent the year before that.And if there's any doubt that the trend is continuing, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its own figures of wage growth in the major metropolitan areas between this past September and a year earlier. It found just a 1.2 percent increase in wages and salaries for the Phoenix metro area, versus 2.3 percent nationally.What all that means is the wage gap between Arizonans and the rest of the country continues to widen, with workers here falling behind.Aruna Murthy, director of economic analysis for the state Department of Administration, said the sluggish wage growth in Arizona does not surprise her.

  • Emotions, memories abound at final night for iconic Monti’s restaurant

    Two teary-eyed servers embraced. A sign was taped to the inside of the door, directing the remaining stragglers to exit out the side entrance. This door would never open to the same place again.Monti’s La Casa Veija, translated in Spanish to “The Old House,” ended its 58-year reign in the restaurant business Monday night. Michael Monti, owner of the Tempe restaurant that served over 500,000 customers annually, said it is hard to let something go that has been in his family for so long.“I grew up around it and it’s very hard to see something I love finally be put down, taken off life support in a way,” Monti said. “But it’s been good because this crew has stuck with us to the very bitter end. It’s a sense of accomplishment but also very sad.”Inside its front door, Monti’s La Casa Vieja welcomed guests to the story of its rich history. Plaques, awards and clippings of yellowing newspapers adorn the walls, while customers walk over a slightly uneven red-stone surface that is paved over the house’s 40-year-old cobblestone. The Hayden Room lies ahead, preserving the birthplace of Carl Hayden, the state’s first U.S. representative.The building, originally Hayden’s childhood house, has been nestled on a corner of Mill Avenue for 140 years, the oldest one on the iconic street.Monti’s La Casa Vieja prided itself in serving great, affordable food amidst a family atmosphere for nearly 60 years, Monti said. It was when Monti realized that he could no longer hold his beloved gem to the same high standard his family had for all these years that he decided to let it go.

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  • Engineering for Kids Summer Camp

    Engineering for Kids offering STEM Based Summer Camps at Primavera in Chandler. Announces Summer Camp Open House on May 17thWhat is East Valley Engineering for Kids?Engineering for Kids is an enrichment program that teaches concepts on a variety of engineering fields in classes and camps for kids’ ages 4-14. We want to spark an interest in the kids for science, technology and engineering. The camps are all themes based and require the kids to work in teams to address engineering challenges and problems. All programs meet national education standards for STEM and align with Common Core for math and science. Engineering for Kids has operated since 2009, is in 26 states and 4 countries. When and what is the open house for?The open house on May 17th is an opportunity for parents to come and see the facility, meet the staff from Engineering for Kids, and get their questions answered. The summer camps will be offered at Primavera Blended Learning Center at 2451 N. Arizona Avenue in Chandler. The open house is from 11 am to 3 pm.  From 1-2 pm we’re having our popular robotics workshop where the kids will build, program, test and improve the robots. At the end of the workshop, the kids will compete against each other in a Sumo Bot tournament. An RSVP is highly recommended as seating is limited. Please email your RSVP to eastvalley@engineeringforkids.net. What is Primavera Blended Learning Center?

  • Dreams of drone-assisted farming are taking flight

    NAPA, Calif. — Hot air balloons drifting in multicolored splashes against a blue heaven are a common sight in the Napa Valley. But lately, more than balloons have been taking to the wine country skies.A few pioneers are experimenting with unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, exploring their potential for such agricultural chores as monitoring, irrigation and crop spraying.Drones make sense for wine country, especially on the steep slopes associated with high-end wines, says Steve Markofski, spokesman for Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, which has been testing its RMAX remote-controlled helicopter for spray applications with the University of California, Davis.Tractors may be defeated by the narrow rows and hilly terrain, but a drone can skim over the rows no problem. They also don't tamp down on the earth like tractor tires, a problem that can starve roots of oxygen among other things.Once strictly a military machine, drones have been slowly moving into civilian life. Civil rights groups have raised concerns over possible invasions of privacy, especially in the context of law enforcement use, but the Napa Valley test flights, limited to private property, didn't encounter opposition.Yamaha, which has used its RMAX drones for agriculture spraying in Japan for over 15 years, isn't the only company interested in viticulture. A Canadian company, PrecisionHawk, has modified a drone to resemble a hawk, initially using it to scare away grape-eating birds from vineyards in the Niagara wine region. They later realized they also could collect useful data on things like insect populations and diseased vines during the flights.

  • Turkey production down, wholesale prices up

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Turkey production is at its lowest level in nearly three decades and wholesale prices are at an all-time high, but Thanksgiving cooks probably won't see much difference in the price they pay at the stores for their frozen birds.This year's anticipated stock is 235 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service — the lowest since 1986, when U.S. farmers produced roughly 207 million birds.While the estimated 2014 number doesn't indicate a shortage of turkeys, which can remain in cold storage for a year or longer, it does reflect a pullback in recent years by poultry producers who were forced to reduce their flocks to remain afloat."Last year was a bloodbath. It was bad," said John Zimmerman, a farmer in Northfield, Minnesota, who produces about 300,000 turkeys a year. He said scaled back his numbers in recent years because higher feed and transportation prices, among other things, cut into his bottom line. Even the price of soybean meal — which accounts for about 30 percent of turkey feed — is at a historical high, he said.All areas of livestock production — poultry included — were drastically cut after the widespread 2012 drought in an attempt to stifle losses, says Corinne Alexander, a Purdue University agricultural economist. Plus, many farmers are using feed that they bought in the wake of the drought, which cost more than the current market price."What's happening in the turkey sector is a mini-story of what is happening in other sectors, where the impact has been really dramatic," Alexander said. "If you look at beef cattle, we have the smallest beef cattle herd since 1951, and prices for beef are up 17 percent this year."

  • Town organizing interfaith Thanksgiving event

    The town of Gilbert will have its annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration at 7 p.m. on Nov. 25.The event will include music from local artists and church choirs as a means of promoting understanding and unity among the town’s diverse population, along with the implementation of the Golden Rule.Admission is free, although people can provide a voluntary cash donations to support the House of Refuge and Family Promise. The event is at First United Methodist Church, located at 331 S. Cooper Road.

  • Keeping the Faith: I know ... less than ever

    A few years ago I returned to speak at the church that was my first pastorate. The church was celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, and it had been more than a decade since I had stood in their pulpit. They welcomed me back with incredible grace and affection, and I was truly glad for the reunion.When I first went there as pastor, I was a green, naïve, ignorant child, still in my early twenties, full of piss and vinegar, ready to extinguish hell with a water gun. Equipped with a fresh diploma, a certificate of ordination with the ink still wet, and a new red Bible, I worked hard to justify my position and demonstrate to all that I knew everything there was to know about leading a congregation. Heck, I wanted people to see that I knew everything about everything.When it was whispered in the gossip parlors of the church Sunday school rooms and in the beauty salons of the greater community that in fact I did not know everything about everything, and that I was far too young for the responsibility now thrust upon me, I worked all the harder to prove my critics wrong and my youthful abilities underestimated.This hard work paid off, because in the process of proving myself, the membership rolls did indeed grow. The coffers of the church swelled like never before, acres of land were purchased, buildings were built, mission trips were taken, baptisteries were filled, other congregations were planted, the church became a rising sensation, and the critics quieted their murmuring assaults. Yes, by the end of my tenure there, I had gained a great deal of success. But I also lost a few things along the way. I lost my youthful idealism; my religion; my marriage; my way, and almost my mind. Most of all, I lost touch with the very reason I had entered the vocation in the first place: The love of Christ.See, I became more concerned with growing a bigger church than with the well-being of individual people who needed to know grace. I worked tirelessly to keep the “right” people happy and tithing, and neglected those on the “wrong” side of the tracks, those that Christ sought more than any other. I wanted a prosperous religious career by building the next religious edifice, by impressing the suits at the denomination’s headquarters, and by meticulously managing my public image. Only years later did I realize that Jesus was not very much involved in any of this.It was a hard lesson to learn, but I take some comfort in the fact that I am not alone in learning it. Another hard-striving, pompous, know-it-all once wrote, “Christ has shown me that what I thought I knew is worthless…Nothing else matters but this: To know Christ and to know that I belong to him” (Philippians 3).

  • Go For the Food: Hole in the Wall in Des Moines

    DES MOINES, Iowa — There's a hole in the wall in Des Moines that's just that: a food joint called Hole in the Wall.A small room inside a bar a few blocks from downtown, Hole in the Wall is the kind of place you could easily miss if you walked by. It's less than a mile from my apartment, yet for months I didn't know it existed. But it's there, with food for both indoor patrons at the Gas Lamp bar and customers ordering outside a window. A few plastic chairs lined up against an exterior wall are about all you'll get if you ask for a reservation.But if you're expecting lukewarm hot dogs or overcooked burgers, you've come to the wrong place. As chef Zach Gutweiler explains it, Hole in the Wall offers high-end street food. And it's served on paper plates and in plastic baskets that you can munch on while sipping a beer and listening to live music at the bar.Gutweiler launched Hole in the Wall nearly two years ago following several restaurant stints in Denver. He wants to change how customers view the quality of bar food and meals on-the-go. And he's doing it in Des Moines, which has recently gotten some buzz for an emerging hipster scene complete with a resurgence of younger residents and several new restaurants with eclectic menus.Gutweiler's dishes bridge the gap between fine dining and what people think of as bar food. On the menu recently were bay scallops with speck that had fennel puree, smoked pecan nage (broth), daikon and apples. A few weeks ago, a plate included beef cheeks, hen of the woods mushroom powder, smashed potatoes, soy pickled mushrooms, grilled frisee, aronia berry gastrique (caramelized sugar) and blue basil. A few months ago, there was squid and shrimp ceviche with corn milk foam, mojo verde, chili oil and fresh herbs.But what's there one day may not be there the next, and that's the beauty of Hole in the Wall. The dishes change all the time. Gutweiler often tinkers with them based on fresh ingredients available at local farms near Des Moines, and he uses organic options whenever he can.

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