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  • ASU professor sentenced to probation for Tempe incident

    An Arizona State University professor who accused campus police of excessive force when they arrested her has been sentenced to nine months of supervised probation.A Maricopa County Superior Court commissioner in Mesa sentenced Ersula Ore on Friday.Ore on July 9 pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest under a plea deal.Under the plea deal, a felony count of aggravated assault and two other charges were dismissed.University police say Ore was stopped May 20 for walking in the middle of a street near campus and refused to show identification. They say she kicked an officer in the shin after being handcuffed.

  • Social Security numbers, other personal information found in dumpster behind Gilbert business

    A “mistake” is what led to the discovery of people’s names and Social Security numbers in a Gilbert dumpster.A tipster told ABC15 to look in the trash adjacent to Desert Title Service near Baseline and Lindsay roads.The dumpster was accessible to anyone and was not behind a locked gate; its top door was closed.ABC15 found thousands of loose papers, not shredded and not redacted, which contained identifying information about people including their Social Security number.I feel “irate,” said Robert Gomez, whose information was in the dumpster.Gomez said he is upset “that people can be so careless and lazy in their jobs and not… shred [the papers].”

  • Average fuel cost drops to six-week low

    Arizona drivers who filled the tank this week paid the lowest price to do so in more than a month and a half.AAA Arizona reports the average cost in Arizona fell by just less than 2 cents to $3.534. As usual, Tucson drivers have the lowest price at $3.369 and Flagstaff have the most expensive average at $3.777.The national average also decreased this week, with the 3-cent drop pushing it to $3.517.

  • ASU bans kegs, drinking games during tailgating

    Fans planning on tailgating ASU football games will no longer be able to bring kegs, use alcohol-related paraphernalia or engage in beer-heavy activities at certain tailgating parking lots per a new university policy.According to a statement released by the school, the university will ban kegs, drinking apparatuses like beer bongs and drinking games like flip cup and beer pong in designated tailgating areas. The school cites safety concerns for its motivation for the changes, which align with policies enacted by Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona.Visit sundevils.com/parkingcentral for a full list of tailgating procedures.

  • Man indicted in deadly freeway crash in Gilbert

    A man has been indicted in a freeway crash last year that killed a passenger in his car and injured an Arizona Department of Public Safety worker.Court records show 36-year-old Joaquin Daniel Ballesteros-Carpio was indicted on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, possession or use of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.Authorities say Ballesteros-Carpio was found with a drug pipe in his front pocket at the scene of the Oct. 25 crash in Gilbert.They say Ballesteros-Carpio was driving on the Santan Freeway when he and suddenly swerved and hit a DPS service vehicle parked on the shoulder.Authorities say Ballesteros-Carpio was driving on a suspended license at the time. He needed to be extricated from his car and a passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.

  • Allstate to host pool safety party in Mesa

    Allstate will host a pool safety event next weekend in Mesa focused on drowning prevention and general tips for keeping kids, as well as others, safe during the summer pool season.“Swimming pools can bring a lot of fun to the summer months, but they can also bring a lot of risks into the picture,” said Mesa Allstate agent Ramon Henriquez in a statement. “It’s important to go through a checklist of safety measures and legal liabilities well before you invite your first guest over to enjoy the pool.”The event features a presentation on water safety from the American Red Cross as well as a raffle and water safety swag.Water safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission include keeping a careful eye on children and others in a pool environment at all times, exercising caution when dealing with pool toys or implements, and thoroughly educating children and adults in swimming, first aid, CPR and other water safety practices.The event, which is open to the public and free of charge, is scheduled to run from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Rhodes Aquatic Complex located at 1860 S. Longmore.

  • Plenty of places in Valley to laugh the night away

    There’s no shortage of Valley comedy clubs to visit when you’re looking to yuk it up for a night.Nationally known acts bring their star power to the stage at venues such as Stand Up Live and the Tempe Improv. See up-and-coming amateurs and improv troupes hone their skills at the National Comedy Theatre, The Torch Theatre and more. You can even set yourself on the path to comedy superstardom with classes and workshops at the Outliars Comedy Club.Stand Up LiveEnjoy a cold cocktail and some national headlining comedians at the Stand Up Live venue in downtown Phoenix. Guests never have to worry about missing part of an act to head to the bar since servers can be found quietly taking orders and making sure you have everything you need.DETAILS: 50 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix. (480) 719-6100 or StandUpLive.com.The Torch Theatre

  • Artist Balmond picked to design Mesa Arts Center shade sculpture

    Mesa Arts Center announced on July 28 the selection of internationally acclaimed artist Cecil Balmond to design its 21st Century Café Society shade sculpture project. This work will provide permanent shade over a community gathering place and connect the Mesa Art Center campus (1 E. Main St.) with Main Street in downtown Mesa. Jurors chose Balmond’s winning concept from a group of three finalists who were invited to submit designs.“Balmond’s design for the shade sculpture, called ‘The Cloud,’ will create enhanced pedestrian interest, particularly given its location opposite a major new light-rail station and across the street from Mesa’s City Hall,” said Cindy Ornstein, executive director of Mesa Arts Center and director of arts and culture for the city of Mesa. “The gathering place and the pedestrian activity will support growth of public activity on the adjacent blocks, and extended visits to downtown Mesa by thousands of MAC patrons.”The suspended cloudlike structure, designed to align with the existing MAC architecture and landscape, will have three main components when complete: tensile fabric, which matches the existing shade sails; columns with trapeziums, angled to create an inhabitable field; and glass oculi covered with dichroic film, the shadows of which change color with the movement of the sun. Nighttime lighting will make “The Cloud” a beacon welcoming visitors to the center after dark. It will also provide shade for a new outdoor seating area just north of MAC’s Theaters Building.“The aim of the sculpture is to surprise and inspire, in addition to providing a cool place to take cover and for visitors to meet and collaborate,” said Balmond of his design. “I wanted to create an environment that changes your perception of space and is completely capable of being used for different purposes, in alignment with Mesa Arts Center’s needs.”Balmond will collaborate with MAC’s original design architect to ensure the design is compatible with the site and with the original design intentions of MAC’s architecture.Balmond will invite feedback and an exchange of ideas from the community during the design phase.

  • Four Seasons’ music, story captivates audience at ‘Jersey Boys’

    “Oh, What a Night” was had Wednesday, July 23, by the enthusiastic ASU Gammage audience reveling in the musical magic of “Jersey Boys” — the Tony Award-winning story of four blue-collar kids who became the 1960s chart-topping The Four Seasons. In just two and a half hours (including a 15-minute intermission), the talented 21-member cast transforms Klara Zieglerova’s simple, fluid, multilayered set into the sinister back streets of New Jersey townships, the smoky interiors of no-name bars, and the brilliant television stage of “The Ed Sullivan Show.”The captivating production’s dynamic pace, remarkable artistry and authenticity are the product of the creative collaboration of director Des McAnuff and writers Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman, who’ve employed the music of Bob Gaudio and the lyrics of Bob Crewe — the composer and producer, respectively, for The Four Seasons — to tell a story that’s been captivating audiences all over the world since its 2005 Broadway premiere.Choreographer Sergio Trujillo validates the historical setting by reproducing the band’s original hallmark dance moves and uses precisely timed combinations that allow the multitalented, multirole-playing actors and actresses to seamlessly change costumes or move sets on stage in the midst of monologue, dialogue or rock ’n’ roll music.“Jersey Boys” is an incredibly refreshing show bursting with 34 musical numbers that include “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Oh, What a Night,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Rag Doll,” and a show-stopping rendition by Hayden Milanes of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”The show reminds us that there’s still hope — anyone with true grit can make their own American dream into a reality, that real life is hard work, that the bad will pass — but the good will too, that family is everything, and that fame has a price.It was the working-class people of the 1960s who made The Four Seasons famous — their music was and is the soul of the common man — and the only thing missing during Wednesday’s show was a dance floor.

  • Phoenix DinoCon stomps back for second year

    This weekend, dinosaurs will once again roam the earth as Phoenix DinoCon — the nation’s only pop culture dinosaur convention — returns for its sophomore year. It promises to be bigger and better than before.Having outgrown its hatchling phase at Arizona Museum of Natural History, which featured three vendors and 100 attendees, this year’s convention takes place Saturday, Aug. 2, A.D. 2014, at Phoenix Center for the Arts, which accommodates up to 400 guests who will experience a whole new level of dinosaur awesomeness.According to Julia Zolondz, founder of Phoenix DinoCon, the convention will include a Velociraptor Vendor Room with 14 local artists, crafters and business owners with a variety of content “that must be at least 75 percent dinos,” a Diplodocus Demo Room with interactive activities, and a Tyrannosaurus Theater that features a series of speaker panels covering new topics such as kaiju — giant Japanese dino-monsters — and the Dinobots from the “Transformers” franchise. Although the event is suitable for those 12 and up, Phoenix DinoCon is truly geared for adults.“The panels are not just a discussion about why dinos are so great, it’s debate,” Zolondz said. “We say the event is for those 12 and up, but the attendees that are 21 and over will have the most fun. We go into the who, what, where, why and when.”The convention tries to accommodate what attendees want to get out of Phoenix DinoCon while maintaining its unique niche as a pop culture convention. As a result of a survey conducted at last year’s event, Phoenix DinoCon has increased its price from free to $5, the amount attendees said they would pay for a convention of last year’s size.Phoenix DinoCon 2014 provides opportunities to discuss dinosaurs with like-minded fans and pop culture dinosaur experts. Attendees will get a first-hand look at the “Jurassic Park” T-rex from Sedona sculptor and VFX artist Michael Trcic, talk with geologist Melanie Dolberg about why dinosaurs are so appealing, and investigate with author Khurt Khave the steampunk dinosaurs that have stomped their way into Victorian-era science fiction.

  • Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ serves up silly, summer superhero fun

    "Guardians of the Galaxy” (PG-13) is the 10th film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also probably the silliest. The good news is that director James Gunn’s film is silly in all the right ways. It’s never insultingly silly like “Batman & Robin” or unknowingly silly like “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” Rather, “Guardians of the Galaxy” basks in its silliness and has a blast with its outlandish premise. Since the film never takes itself too seriously, the audience is ironically able to take it more seriously than most straight-faced science fiction epics. In a summer of dark, gritty blockbusters, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the life of the party.Chris Pratt of “Parks and Recreation” is the perfect blend of goofball and unlikely action star as Peter Quill, a human who was abducted by a band of alien outlaws as a child. Now he roams the galaxy under the self-appointed title of Star-Lord, dodging space cops and looking for his next big score. Peter stumbles upon a powerful orb that will sell for 4 billion units. Before he can find a buyer, however, the military catches up to Peter and throws him in the slammer. There, Peter assembles a ragtag team of misfits to help him break out and hit it big.Zoe Saldana goes from playing a sexy blue chick in “Avatar” to playing a sexy green chick as Gamora. A character such as this could have solely existed to provide eye candy like the women in Michael Bay’s productions, but Saldana gives this deadly assassin a heart of gold in her pursuit for redemption. Bradley Cooper does hilarious voiceover work as Rocket, a talking raccoon with an attitude, and Vin Diesel is in his sincere “Iron Giant” mode as Groot, a treelike creature with a limited vocabulary. Dave Bautista, meanwhile, undergoes one of the most fitting transitions from professional wrestler to actor as Drax the Destroyer, an alien seeking revenge for his family and taking everything literally.“Guardians of the Galaxy” is a film that understands the best sci-fi and superhero pictures aren’t about visuals, although the effects and makeup here are first-rate. Movies like this are all about great characters, and “Guardians of the Galaxy” has more than enough to go around. Having an awesome soundtrack to back them up doesn’t hurt either. The banter between the five leads is always wonderful, making for one of the wittiest ensemble pieces of its kind since Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” and “Serenity.” Even if you took out all the space battles, these guys would still be just as interesting if they had a conversation in a room for two hours.We also get some solid supporting work from Michael Rooker as Peter’s mentor of sorts, Glenn Close as the head of the Nova Corps, and John C. Reilly as a corpsman who believes Peter might be more than just a scruffy-looking nerf herder. The only one who comes up a little short is Lee Pace as Ronan, the villain who wants to use the orb to take over the universe. Pace at least supplies the character with an intimidating degree of menace, but he’s really no different than any of the other alien tyrants that just want power. Some of the introductions to these characters can also feel sudden with little buildup. This cast grows on you so quickly, though, that this is easy to overlook.In the midst of all its silliness, “Guardians of the Galaxy” manages to be something more. It’s a picture about people, or aliens, that we care about and become emotionally invested in. The film even takes time for moments of legitimate drama that are surprisingly effective. Interestingly enough, this is the only comic book movie that comes to mind that puts an emphasis on a mother’s death as opposed to a father’s death.

  • Bag deals at My Sisters’ thrift store grand opening

    Ann and Jenny Siner, the sibling duo behind My Sister’s Closet, My Sister’s Attic and Well Suited, are turning their energy toward a charity endeavor — opening the 3,200-square-foot My Sisters’ Charities Thrift Store in Chandler’s Promenade at Fulton Ranch (also home to one of the My Sister’s Attic locations).The thrift store carries everything from clothing and shoes to household items and furniture and is hosting a special grand opening celebration at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 1; Shoppers will want to get in line early, as the first 50 guests receive 50 percent off everything.“We have poured so much love and good ol’ fashion sweat equity into My Sisters’ Charities Thrift Store. I think our shoppers will be really surprised at how inexpensive these items will be and even more impressed to know their dollars will go back into the community,” said Ann Siner.My Sisters’ Charities Thrift Store is the 15th location for the Valley sisters who founded Eco-Chic Consignments in 1991. First there was My Sister’s Closet (1991), then My Sister’s Attic (1997) and Well Suited (2001), and now My Sisters’ Charities Thrift Store, which opened in July.This past year, Ann Siner and her sisters, co-founder Jenny Siner and head stylist Tess Loo, donated 32 percent of the net profits from the My Sister’s Closet stores to charity.“There are so many worthy organizations out there to support, and we believe focusing on a few areas at once makes the most meaningful impact,” Ann Siner said. “This is why we are very proud and excited to share with you the formation of My Sisters’ Charities foundation, a 501(c)3 organization. My Sister’s Closet, My Sister’s Attic and Well Suited contribute revenue, manpower and unsold merchandise to the foundation, which in turn helps to protect wildlife in peril, heal women leaving abusive relationships and end the euthanasia of unwanted dogs and cats.”

Tech Data Doctors Deals

  • State milk organization offering scholarship money for milk-mustache selfies

    Arizona Milk Producers is offering students a chance to win thousands of dollars in scholarships by taking a selfie.College students can earn scholarship funding by uploading their best milk mustache photo to Instagram by tagging @azmilkproducers and using the hashtag #ampscholarship. The first place winner earns a $12,000 scholarship, second place gets $10,000 and third place takes home $8,000. Students can also win tickets to Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona football games.For official rules, details and drawing dates, visit www.dairycouncilofaz.org.

  • Average fuel cost drops to six-week low

    Arizona drivers who filled the tank this week paid the lowest price to do so in more than a month and a half.AAA Arizona reports the average cost in Arizona fell by just less than 2 cents to $3.534. As usual, Tucson drivers have the lowest price at $3.369 and Flagstaff have the most expensive average at $3.777.The national average also decreased this week, with the 3-cent drop pushing it to $3.517.

  • Arizona, E.V. cities show slow recovery from recession

    It's probably no surprise to those living here, but several of Arizona's largest cities are among the worst in the nation in recovering from the recession.A new study by Wallet Hub, a finance-advisory firm targeting small businesses, ranks Tucson as 143 out of the Top 150 communities for getting back to normal following the recession.But Glendale did little better at 142, with Tempe just a notch above that.Among all Arizona communities ranked, Chandler fared better than all the others, but that still placed it only 91st on the list, followed by Gilbert at 92 and Scottsdale at 96.Peoria came in at 123, with Mesa at 135 and Phoenix at 138.The rankings are based on a scoring system the company crafted.

  • Queen Creek Olive Mill: Domestic olive oils often trump imported ones

    The quality of imported oil, of the olive variety, is under scrutiny after a 2010 report by the University of California, Davis Olive Center determined most “extra-virgin” olive oils fail to meet U.S. or international standards regarding the content and taste.There is hope for the bread-dipping/pasta-loving consumer — domestic olive oils tend to be fresher.Subpar oilNine out of the 10 tested California extra-virgin oils passed the International Olive Council (IOC) and United States Department of Agriculture. Of all the brands tested, data provided by the Australian Oils Research Laboratory shows Kirkland Organic, Corto Olive, California Olive Ranch, McEvoy Ranch Organic and Lucero passed all IOC and USDA extra-virgin tests.UC Davis and the Australian Oils Research Laboratory examined the quality of retail olive oil sold in California and found that 69 percent of the imported products and 10 percent of domestic oil samples failed to meet USDA/IOC sensory standards because they may have been cut with lesser, refined quality oils such as hazelnut oil, became rancid or were made with damaged olives.‘Pure’ oil

  • Goodnight Pediatrics opens new location in Gilbert

    Goodnight Pediatrics has added a fifth location with the opening of a facility at the Gilbert Tuscany Village Property.Goodnight Pediatrics, an all-night children’s urgent care center, has two locations in Phoenix, one in Peoria and one in Avondale. It moves into a complex that includes Salon Di Bella, Rise Up Bread Co., and other businesses.

  • Desert Car Care of Chandler offering free oil change to teachers

    Desert Car Care of Chandler will offer teachers with school IDs a free oil change on Aug. 9 from 8 a.m. to noon.The service includes 5w20 semi-synthetic oil and filter, and a 15 point safety evaluation. Teachers may also enter to win a Keurig coffee maker, gift cards and car services.Desert Car Care of Chandler is located at 95 N. Dobson Road, and more information is available by visiting www.desertcarcare.com.

Pets Food Health TV Travel

  • 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?

  • Go For the Food: Traverse City, Michigan's Harvest

    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Let's face it: In today's hurry-up culture, there always will be a need for fast food. Even when you're enjoying a leisurely vacation in a place like Traverse City, a Lake Michigan resort community with a nationwide reputation for restaurants serving high-quality, farm-to-table fare.You could head for the outskirts and one of the chain eateries your kids so cherish. But if you're sunbathing on the Grand Traverse Bay waterfront, shopping in downtown's many boutiques or taking in a film at the glamorous State Theatre, chances are you'll have no appetite to navigate the traffic for another assembly-line lunch.Mom-and-pop diners and brew pubs within walking distance can satisfy cravings for burgers and fries. But how about a quick, inexpensive meal consisting of Korean beef tacos with sambal slaw and Sriracha mayo? Or udon noodles with carrot, onion, green beans, bok choy, crushed peanuts and fresh herbs? Could fresh hummus with pickled carrot and feta tempt your palate?You'll find such treats at Harvest, a recently opened restaurant tucked into an alley off Front Street, the main drag a block from the bayshore. It's the brainchild of Simon Joseph, an entrepreneurial chef who cruised into town three years ago aboard Roaming Harvest, the city's first food truck."Traverse City was becoming known as a food-centric place," says Joseph, "but we were missing a vibrant street food scene."No longer. His truck is among up to eight at a time crammed onto the parking lot of a popular Front Street bar called The Little Fleet. Wanting to expand, Joseph decided to open a brick-and-mortar version of Roaming Harvest with more items on the menu. He renovated the building in the alley, giving it what Joseph describes as an "open industrial" look with high ceilings, exposed joists, birch table tops, and stools with galvanized steel legs and teak seats.

  • Keeping the Faith: When enough is enough

    More than a century ago Leo Tolstoy wrote about a greedy farmer in his tale, “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” This farmer was discontent with his life because he never seemed to have enough. He moved town to town looking for greener pastures and greater opportunity. On his journeys he heard rumors of a far-away place where a distant tribe possessed more land than anyone could walk over in a year; and it was all there for the taking. He went to investigate and found the rumors to be true. The farmer met with the tribal chief who informed him that he could in fact have all the land he wanted.“Pay a thousand rubles and begin walking in a circle,” the chief instructed. Everything within that circle, so long as the circle was completed by sundown, would be his. So early the next morning, the farmer began his grasping acquisition of land. He began running, as quickly as he could, trying to make as large a circle as possible. Late in the day the farmer realized how far from the starting point he was and began the desperate return trip. He ran with all his waning strength back to the beginning of his circle. Just as the sun was setting he arrived, sweating and wheezing, at where he had begun. The people cheered and celebrated. Never had anyone acquired so much land in a single day!In joy they bent down to rouse the farmer from his exhaustion, but he did not stir. He was dead. Tolstoy concludes the story by saying: “The farmer’s servant picked up a spade and dug a grave and buried him. Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed.”How much land — you can insert different words here like “square footage” or “cars in the garage” or “clothes in the closet” or “number of gold certificates” — how much of all this stuff do you really need? Probably not as much as you think. Any observer of culture would have to admit that our society is filled with greedy Tolstoy-like farmers, killing themselves in the chase to get just a little more, hoping that one more acquisition, conquest, accomplishment, beach house, or success will bring some satisfaction.Beyond the obvious physical toll it takes, there is the not as obvious but just as real impact this land grabbing lifestyle has on our emotional and spiritual well-being. David Gushee calls this American way of life, “Affluenza:” Materialism, commercialism, and consumerism drive us, he says, to get the latest and greatest with no thought for the least of these, no thought for what it does to our own souls, and no thought for what it does to God’s good world.When we chase after just more and more stuff, we are chasing a mirage. It is a lie to believe that having enough money in the bank, obtaining the most expensive piece of property, making the investment with the highest return, shaping the most clever fiscal policy, or acquiring the best performing stock will lead to economic safety, security, and some kind of relaxation and peace of mind. Not so. Such thinking is a death-spawning run in a circle.

  • Allstate to host pool safety party in Mesa

    Allstate will host a pool safety event next weekend in Mesa focused on drowning prevention and general tips for keeping kids, as well as others, safe during the summer pool season.“Swimming pools can bring a lot of fun to the summer months, but they can also bring a lot of risks into the picture,” said Mesa Allstate agent Ramon Henriquez in a statement. “It’s important to go through a checklist of safety measures and legal liabilities well before you invite your first guest over to enjoy the pool.”The event features a presentation on water safety from the American Red Cross as well as a raffle and water safety swag.Water safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission include keeping a careful eye on children and others in a pool environment at all times, exercising caution when dealing with pool toys or implements, and thoroughly educating children and adults in swimming, first aid, CPR and other water safety practices.The event, which is open to the public and free of charge, is scheduled to run from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Rhodes Aquatic Complex located at 1860 S. Longmore.

  • Celebrate the season with a triple-tomato salad

    At the peak of ripeness, an in-season tomato is one of the things that makes life worth living. Happily, that season is upon us. And this recipe is my ode to that summer tomato.All kinds of tomatoes are at the best just now, big and small, beefsteak and cherry. At the base of this salad are sliced beefsteak tomatoes, which are topped with chopped small tomatoes and drizzled with a tomato-based vinaigrette.Given that this is an essence-of-tomato salad, it's crucial that all of the tomatoes in the line-up be as ripe as possible. The best place to find them is at a farm stand or farmers market. How do you know if a tomato is ripe, ripe, ripe? Smell the stem end; its perfume should fairly shout, "Tomato!" And once you get them home, do not put them in the fridge. It will kill both flavor and texture.You also can heighten that flavor by pre-salting your tomatoes and letting them drain for 15 to 20 minutes, as I have done here. The salt not only seasons them, but also pulls out water, thereby concentrating their tomato-ness.I've teamed up the tomatoes with one of their best friends, an avocado, the creaminess of which contrasts beautifully with the tomato's acidity. Come to think of it, tomatoes have many best friends. Certainly, there's not a fresh herb that doesn't play nicely with tomatoes. So if you don't have mint in the house, feel free to substitute basil, cilantro, chives, oregano, dill, parsley, tarragon or any other fresh green herb.I took the dressing in an Asian direction, adding ginger, soy sauce and rice vinegar to a small chopped tomato. Because the chopped tomato adds so much body to the dressing, you can cut back on the usual amount of oil without any problem. The dressing still seems rich.

  • Escaping email: Inspired vision or hallucination?

    SAN FRANCISCO — Dustin Moskovitz is plotting an escape from email.The 30-year-old entrepreneur has learned a lot about communication since he teamed up with his college roommate Mark Zuckerberg to create Facebook a decade ago, and that knowledge is fueling an audacious attempt to change the way people connect at work, where the incessant drumbeat of email has become an excruciating annoyance.Moskovitz is trying to turn that chronic headache into an afterthought with Asana, a San Francisco startup he runs with former Facebook and Google product manager, Justin Rosenstein.Asana peddles software that combines the elements of a communal notebook, social network, instant messaging application and online calendar to enable teams of employees to share information and do most of their jobs without relying on email."We are trying to make all the soul-sucking work that comes with email go away," Rosenstein says as Moskovitz nods sitting across from him in a former brewery that serves as Asana's headquarters. "This came out of a deep, heartfelt pain that Dustin and I were experiencing, along with just about everyone around us."The misery keeps mounting in the corporate world, which remains an email haven. This year, each worker using a business email account will send and receive a daily average of 121 mail messages, a 15 percent increase from 105 per day in 2011, according to The Radicati Group, which tracks email usage.

Video: Wilkins Learning Center's Success with Best of Gilbert

Business has soared at the Wilkins Learning Center after being named "Best Preschool" in the E...

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