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  • Oakland A’s, Mesa eager for team’s spring training return to city

    Hohokam Stadium and Fitch Park are nearing the end of renovations as preparations are made for the return of Oakland Athletics, the Major League Baseball team that once held spring training in Mesa back in the 1970s.“I can’t tell you, really, how excited I am,” Mayor John Giles said, recounting watching the A’s as a kid. “One of the most vivid memories I have with my dad … is sitting at Rendezvous Park. And that’s a special experience for a kid. At the base of all this hopefully we cannot forget that this is about baseball and about having quality experiences with family and friends in a great environment.”But Oakland is bringing much more than the major league squad to Mesa with them. Fitch Park will host the club’s minor league teams during spring training as well in a facility with a great deal of new construction that has expanded it to include therapy, training, and dining facilities far beyond the locker rooms of the old building there. The new facility is more than 55,000 square feet, more than double the original size.“I think we are already a fairly successful team, but I think this is going to boost us a lot,” said Lew Wolff, owner of the Oakland A’s.The fields at Fitch Park have been almost completely reconstructed and to the organization’s exact specifications. Ted Polakowski, a Mesa resident and also the director of minor league operations for the A’s, said locals have been very excited to know when they will be able to watch baseball games at the complexes.“We’re growing some fans here in Mesa as well,” Polakowski said.

  • Sun Valley High School in Mesa remembers beloved teacher

    Mesa’s Sun Valley High School is mourning the loss of a beloved friend after teacher Marcus Reid was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier this month. Students and faculty at the school worked together to plan funeral services for the man who had no legal family but counted his peers and students as such.Reid served in the Marine Corps and then worked as a computer technician, eventually making his way from Illinois to Arizona some 10 years ago. He spent the last eight years as a computer, game design and graphic novel teacher at Sun Valley.Students said Reid was unlike any other teacher, helping sort out individual problems, teaching concepts and life lessons from the students’ level rather than from above them. He was described as a father figure by some, a good friend by others.“Personally, I would go to him for advice and he wouldn’t talk to me just like a teacher, he talked to you like he really knew you. He would get to know you so well,” said Sarah Parker, a student at Sun Valley.Students said Reid will be missed most for his demeanor, the playful way in which he taught and mentored students.“He was sort of like a grown man, but he had that sort of childish sense,” Eric Aguirre, another Sun Valley student, said.

  • Campo Verde pulls off upset, blanks Poston Butte on the road

    Poston Butte’s golden season took an unexpected turn Friday night when the Broncos put up a goose egg on senior night.Winners of their last seven games entering Friday night’s contest and headed for a top seeding in the Division II playoffs, the No. 5 Broncos (7-2, 2-1) came out flat against a Gilbert Campo Verde squad that was more dialed in from the opening kick. The Coyotes' defense bent but never broke, and backup quarterback Dylan Wright spurred the No. 23 Coyotes (5-5, 1-2) on to a 16-0 upset victory.Neither team could get much going in the first half, with Campo Verde and Poston Butte putting up 72 and 71 yards of total offense, respectively. That total was made worse for the Coyotes given that they had the ball in Bronco territory four times and came away empty on three of those drives.The fourth time, however, resulted in points, as Wright came off the bench to relieve starter Cole Pineda, and throw a 30-yard touchdown to senior receiver Josh Barro just minutes before the end of the half.It hasn’t been an unusual combination for head coach Max Ragsdale to use both Wright and Pineda – Wright has played in eight of the team’s 10 games and has added nearly 500 yards passing to Pineda’s 900-plus.“We give them both equal reps in practice for this very reason,” Ragsdale said.

  • Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill closing in Mesa

    Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill will close its Mesa location and move to a new spot in Phoenix.Bar parent company Boomtown Entertainment announced in a statement it will close the Mesa spot located in Riverview and reopen it on High Street in North Phoenix in November.“In efforts of focusing on Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill as a premier dining and entertainment venue, we made a business decision to close our Mesa location,” said Boomtown President Frank Capri in a statement, “we really appreciate the support from the City of Mesa and the Mesa Riverview development for believing in us when we first introduced this concept and are excited for the strategic growth into a new market like High Street.”The Mesa location of Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill was the first one the company opened; the Phoenix opening will give Boomtown 17 locations across the country.

  • Arizona drivers see huge decline in fuel prices

    The price to fill the pump in Arizona sustained a significant decline thisweek, especially at East Valley stations.AAA Arizona reports the average in Arizona has dropped just shy of 10 cents to $3.049 a gallon. East Valley drivers once again have the lowest average at $2.939, while Flagstaff is at the high end at $3.361.The national average has dipped by more than 8 cents to $3.049.

  • Glass maker deals to exit Apple, Arizona plant

    A deal between Apple Inc. and a synthetic sapphire glass maker that was gearing up to produce huge amounts of the product for Apple in an Arizona factory allows for the sale of more than 2,000 furnaces to repay Apple.The documents released by Merrimack, New Hampshire-based GT Advanced Technologies Thursday show the company will exit the glass-making business and try to sell the furnaces. GT filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Oct. 6 and says it will use the sale proceeds to repay $439 million Apple advanced GT to outfit the Mesa, Arizona, plant.GT is laying off 724 workers at the plant.Apple bought the facility last year and announced a deal to lease it to GT to produce super-hard glass the tech company uses on iPhones.

  • Nothing new or scary about 'Ouija'

    I never used a Ouija board as a kid, but I gather the thrill of the experience corresponds with the fun gleaned from reciting “Bloody Mary” in front of a mirror three times. It's the fear struck from anticipation from what could happen, from the simple potential that there is something beyond the ethereal plane a person can summon with little thought put behind it.“Ouija” — the movie based off the board game by Hasbro — kind of, sort of, tries to follow the concept of fear through anticipation, but it lacks two key ingredients to turn the concept into reality: any idea of how to create and sustain tension and anything worth being afraid of in the first place. “Ouija” is a horror film without the horror, which is a moderately nice way of calling it an idiotic muck of accidental comedy.“Ouija” features a collection of 20-something actors with minor resumes (default lead Olivia Cooke stars in the much more interesting “The Signal” that came out this summer) paid to look and act like high school students before dying a terrible, terrible death. Spirits are involved somehow, and the eponymous preteen slumber party staple is used as a means of communicating with those dead spirits. Respected mediums Haley Joel Osment, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Patricia Arquette apparently were unavailable to moderate peacefully the discussions between the dead and the dull living. Also, many a shenanigan involving ghosts, games, geriatrics and gas lighters ensue to pad out the runtime.“Ouija” is a terrible film on so, so many levels for so, so many reasons. Horror, though, is one of the more flexible genres, so usual deal breakers like bad acting, dialogue and even special effects – all on display here – can be glossed over with a solid atmosphere and a couple of decent jump scares to provide at least one frightening viewing.That could have been the case had the filmmakers — writer/director Stiles White and co-writer Juliet Snowden — been able to, you know, throw in a few horrors every then and now to give contrast to the hilarious awful. What the filmmaker don’t possess (aside from way to break through the horror death knell that is the “PG-13” rating) is a talent for cultivating good horror. It seeps out during every moment of murderous climax, which they sell short by explaining the impending moments of doom and fear to the audience first. Take a scene in which a shadow just appears behind a character; instead of having the shadow jump at the poor schmuck that occurs anyway, White lingers on the image for several beats too long and allows another character to point out that it's right behind him before the attack begins.Also, perhaps setting a large amount of action to happen in the daytime in lieu of the evening or night would do a better job of establishing mood, as would a more discomfiting opening death and a plot that doesn't hinge entirely on people behaving like idiots. Those moments coincide with the multitude of plot holes that rise and flow like the waves on a beach of stupidity.

  • Exhibit takes visitors to the Arctic and beyond

    Explore the polar regions, oceans, rain forests, mountains and caves without even leaving Phoenix at the Arizona Science Center’s National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers exhibit, open until Jan. 4.When you walk into the exhibit, you have an opportunity to download an app to your mobile device that activates information throughout the exhibit. There are also plenty of selfie opportunities with life-sized replicas of a polar bear, a dog sled and a great white shark.The kiddos will love the opportunities to explore an arctic cabin, descend into the deep ocean in a 3-D submersible and take a hot air balloon ride over the African savanna.Tickets for the National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers exhibit are $7 plus general admission for adults, seniors and children. Arizona Science Center members are able to enter for $5 per person.• Read more at TheHotSheetBlog.com, a source for Phoenix locals and visitors that sheds some light on all the fun things to do in the Greater Phoenix area.

  • 10 things to do this weekend and beyond...

    Phoenix Mud RunHere’s mud in your eye (and nose, ears and everywhere else). The Phoenix return of Terrain Racing’s Mud Run provides a chance for some dirty fun, as participants will maneuver around, through, under and over the many obstacles on the mud-filled course.DETAILS>> 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. Rawhide Western Town, 5700 N. West Loop Road, Chandler. $35-$70; parking is $10 per vehicle. (503) 974-4683 or TerrainRacing.com/register/phoenix-fall-2014.Luke BryanThe country superstar brings his That’s My Kind of Night Tour to Phoenix. Fans can expect to hear many of his 10 country-chart-topping singles, such as “Crash My Party,” “Play It Again” and “Drunk On You.”DETAILS>> 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23. Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 N. 83rd Ave., Phoenix. $29.50-$59.25. (602) 254-7200 or LiveNation.com.

  • ‘Migrant Series’ exhibit debuts at Phoenix Art Museum

    After over a decade of work on incredibly detailed paintings, Don Coen’s “Migrant Series” is making its world debut at the Phoenix Art Museum.Using photography to study migrant workers and then replicating his photographs with numerous layers of airbrushed paint, Coen created 15 large, 10-foot-tall paintings.“I spent a lot of time 20 feet away with a coffee cup deciding what to do. I can’t make corrections. People who make opaque paintings can correct their mistakes. With airbrush, you can never really cover it up,” he said.Coen spent many days of his childhood on his family farm in Colorado, which cultivated his respect for migrant workers and the difficult labor they complete every day.“People go into Whole Foods and pick up flour and they don’t know where it came from. I am trying to show people what an incredible thing they do for your country,” Coen said.Originally intending to photograph fields and cows, one day Coen turned around and saw a migrant worker. He said that he was amazed by the way the sun shone through the migrant’s bandana and photographed him.

  • Football Friday Night Out

    With only two weeks of regular-season play to go, your chances to catch a high school game along with some good eats is winding down, so make your plans now to cheer on your local team.Corona del Sol at Desert VistaCorona del Sol didn’t have a lot of highlights during a 3-7 campaign a year ago, but its impressive 41-28 win over the Thunder was the high point. This year has been worse for the Aztecs, who are in the midst of a 1-7 season. But, as bad as things have been for Corona del Sol, they’ve been just as bad at Desert Vista, which is 2-6, but coming off a win against Dobson. Both teams will be fired up for this one, so expect a high-intensity showdown.CK’s Tavern & Grill(480) 706-5564 or CKGrill.com4142 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix (2 miles from Desert Vista HS)

  • ‘Book of Life’ offers subpar, overwrought story with dazzling animation

    “The Book of Life” has most of the same pros and cons as “The Boxtrolls” from a couple of weeks ago. Both films are absolute joys to watch for their delightful characters, unique worlds and dazzling animation. As creative as they are in terms of presentation, neither film is all that original when it comes to storytelling. “The Book of Life” isn’t just a familiar story like “The Boxtrolls,” though. It’s also a very overstuffed and awkwardly paced one too.Deriving inspiration from the Day of the Dead, “The Book of Life” implies that the afterlife is made up of two worlds. There’s the Land of the Remembered, ruled by the kind and colorful La Muerte (Kate del Castillo), and the Land of the Forgotten, ruled by the grim and dark Xibalba (Ron Perlman). In the land of the living reside three children trapped in an age-old love triangle. Manolo, who grows up to be voiced by Diego Luna, is a free spirit who wants to be a musician, but is told by his father that he must follow in his family’s tradition of bullfighting. Joaquín, who grows up to be voiced by Channing Tatum, is the cocky son of a war hero with a medal that gives him eternal life. They’re both in love with María, who grows up to be voiced by Zoe Saldana, a spunky señorita reminiscent of Catherine Zeta-Jones in “The Mask of Zorro.”The spirits make a bet. If María marries Joaquín, Xibalba gets to take over the Land of the Remembered. If María marries Manolo, La Muerte holds onto her turf. Without giving too much away, one of the three lovers is killed. To get back to the land of the living, they must confront their greatest fear and choose their own path. Oh, and there’ also a pig, a candle maker voiced by Ice Cube, a bandit who wants to steal Joaquín’s medal of eternal life, and a framing device with a museum guide telling this needlessly complicated story to a group of kids.Phew … as you can see, that’s a lot of characters and ideas to take in. It doesn’t help that “The Book of Life” rushes from scene to scene without ever taking a breather. Fortunately, the story is the last thing you’ll be thinking about when observing the film’s stunning visuals. This is one of the best-looking animated features you’ll ever see. The characters are all cleverly designed like wooden Mexican Day of the Dead figurines. The Land of the Remembered is a spectacle of art direction with the appearance of a fiesta Baz Luhrmann would throw. Every frame is just pure eye candy and it tastes great, even if it is mostly empty calories.While the narrative isn’t on par with the craft, that doesn’t mean “The Book of Life” is purely style over substance. Director Jorge Gutierrez and company obviously put a ton of effort into the film’s music, humor, and, most of all, culture. It’s actually quite encouraging to see an American family film put emphasis on a culture that isn’t white. I’m not sure how much of the culture, legends and fables presented in the film are accurate, but they’re still absorbing. When all’s dead and done, “The Book of Life” has just enough substance to check out, although you may want to hold out for the upcoming Pixar Day of the Dead film or rent Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” instead.• Nick Spake is a college student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for the nine years, reviewing movies on his website, NICKPICKSFLICKS.com.

Tech Data Doctors Deals

  • Oakland A’s, Mesa eager for team’s spring training return to city

    Hohokam Stadium and Fitch Park are nearing the end of renovations as preparations are made for the return of Oakland Athletics, the Major League Baseball team that once held spring training in Mesa back in the 1970s.“I can’t tell you, really, how excited I am,” Mayor John Giles said, recounting watching the A’s as a kid. “One of the most vivid memories I have with my dad … is sitting at Rendezvous Park. And that’s a special experience for a kid. At the base of all this hopefully we cannot forget that this is about baseball and about having quality experiences with family and friends in a great environment.”But Oakland is bringing much more than the major league squad to Mesa with them. Fitch Park will host the club’s minor league teams during spring training as well in a facility with a great deal of new construction that has expanded it to include therapy, training, and dining facilities far beyond the locker rooms of the old building there. The new facility is more than 55,000 square feet, more than double the original size.“I think we are already a fairly successful team, but I think this is going to boost us a lot,” said Lew Wolff, owner of the Oakland A’s.The fields at Fitch Park have been almost completely reconstructed and to the organization’s exact specifications. Ted Polakowski, a Mesa resident and also the director of minor league operations for the A’s, said locals have been very excited to know when they will be able to watch baseball games at the complexes.“We’re growing some fans here in Mesa as well,” Polakowski said.

  • Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill closing in Mesa

    Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill will close its Mesa location and move to a new spot in Phoenix.Bar parent company Boomtown Entertainment announced in a statement it will close the Mesa spot located in Riverview and reopen it on High Street in North Phoenix in November.“In efforts of focusing on Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill as a premier dining and entertainment venue, we made a business decision to close our Mesa location,” said Boomtown President Frank Capri in a statement, “we really appreciate the support from the City of Mesa and the Mesa Riverview development for believing in us when we first introduced this concept and are excited for the strategic growth into a new market like High Street.”The Mesa location of Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill was the first one the company opened; the Phoenix opening will give Boomtown 17 locations across the country.

  • NextCare locations in Chandler, Mesa to scan Halloween candy for free

    NextCare Urgent Care locations in Chandler and Mesa will provide parents free X-ray scans of their children’s Halloween candy.The screenings will check to see if the items children receive were tampered with or contain items like safety pins and razors. The East Valley locations that will scan the candy are at 600 S. Dobson Road Suite C-26 in Chandler; 3130 E. Baseline Road Suite 105 in Mesa; 1066 N. Power Road Suite 101 in Mesa; 4401 E. McKellips Road Suite 102 in Mesa; and 535 E. McKellips Road Suite 101 in Mesa.NextCare also recommends parents throw out unwrapped candy, search for choking hazards like hard candy and gum, and look at the ingredients for allergy purposes.

  • Arizona drivers see huge decline in fuel prices

    The price to fill the pump in Arizona sustained a significant decline thisweek, especially at East Valley stations.AAA Arizona reports the average in Arizona has dropped just shy of 10 cents to $3.049 a gallon. East Valley drivers once again have the lowest average at $2.939, while Flagstaff is at the high end at $3.361.The national average has dipped by more than 8 cents to $3.049.

  • Walmart to add employees for holidays

    Walmart is set to hire 60,000 employees to compensate for the upcoming holiday season.The company expects to hire 60,000 seasonal associates — a 10-percent increase from 2013 — to cover the stretch between Black Friday and Christmas. Walmart anticipates the hirings will open up more registers during peak hours.

  • Glass maker deals to exit Apple, Arizona plant

    A deal between Apple Inc. and a synthetic sapphire glass maker that was gearing up to produce huge amounts of the product for Apple in an Arizona factory allows for the sale of more than 2,000 furnaces to repay Apple.The documents released by Merrimack, New Hampshire-based GT Advanced Technologies Thursday show the company will exit the glass-making business and try to sell the furnaces. GT filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Oct. 6 and says it will use the sale proceeds to repay $439 million Apple advanced GT to outfit the Mesa, Arizona, plant.GT is laying off 724 workers at the plant.Apple bought the facility last year and announced a deal to lease it to GT to produce super-hard glass the tech company uses on iPhones.

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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?

  • Keeping the Faith: Make your home with me

    Lately, one of Jesus’ more cryptic phrases has been making laps inside my head. I came back across his words while reading the Passion accounts in the Gospels, this year quickly speeding toward the Lenten season as it is. These words were spoken on the last night Jesus was with his disciples: “Abide in me, and I will abide in you.”Abide. That’s not a word we use every day. Personally, the word “abide” reminds me of the old Stamps-Baxter hymns I grew up singing in church. Those hymns were loaded with phrases from the old English, and we were forever singing about abiding, bringing in the sheaves, or that glad reunion day. The word “abide” also conjures up images of Jeff Bridges and Sam Elliot at the conclusion of “The Big Lebowski,” but I think I should stick with Jesus here.With the invitation to “abide,” Jesus was welcoming his disciples to remain connected with him and to spiritually rely upon him. Jesus was simply saying, “Stay put. Don’t move away. Don’t abandon your relationship with me.” Eugene Peterson gets right to it when he translated Jesus words like this, “Make your home in me just as I do in you.”Now, that’s not so cryptic after all; we understand home quite well. Home is where each day begins and where each day ends. Home is where we eat, rest, relax, take shelter, play, and love. Home is where we go when there is no other place left, and where we always return.Home is that glorious place where we can walk around in our socks and underwear, scratch our backsides without worrying about who is looking, and lounge around on the weekend without showering or shaving if we so choose. Home is where we can drop all our burdens, barriers and coping mechanisms.Home is sweet, it is where the heart is, and it is our castle. It is where we bring the bacon and where we wait for the cows to arrive. Home is like no other place in the world, and no matter where or how far we travel, home is where we always call, well, home. It is where we feel safe, secure, and ultimately, where we can be ourselves. Jesus said, “Make your home” – relax and be yourself – “with me.”

  • Keeping the Faith: Dancing, not marching

    There is a story about two monks walking along the road when they come to a shallow, muddy river. A beautiful woman in a long white dress is standing there. She can’t figure out how to continue her journey without ruining her outfit.So one of the monks picks her up in his arms - something he was absolutely forbidden to do, for touching a woman was against his vows — and he carries her across to the other side. Then, all parties continued on their journey.After a few hours, the second monk was unable to remain silent about this breach of conduct. He blurts out, “How could you pick up that woman when you knew it was against the rules?” The first monk replied, “Are you still carrying her around? I put her down hours ago.”This is an instructive tale about two different approaches to spirituality. One can view faith as a tightly controlled, carefully managed list of “dos and don’ts,” or one can move with the spirit, so to speak. While the latter is not without its pitfalls, the former is certainly rife with peril. Managing our spiritual lists becomes a heavy, taxing burden.This point is eloquently driven home by pastor, author, and scholar Eugene Peterson. When he discovered that his congregation was failing to connect with the Bible, he did something radical. He rewrote it. Technically, he paraphrased the original language, crafting a translation for the contemporary context called “The Message.”Beginning with the book of Galatians, and taking more than a decade to work his way through both Testaments, Peterson “hoped to bring the Scriptures to life for those who hadn’t read the Bible because it seemed too … irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become ‘old hat.’”

  • Catholic Charities offers counseling to Valley residents

    Catholic Charities of Arizona is offering a variety of counseling services to those who might not previously have been able to afford them. Holy Cross Catholic Church, on Power Road in Mesa, is one of many locations where East Valley residents can seek help for a variety of needs.Rebecca Sauer, a program manager for Catholic Charities, supervises a team of paid and intern counselors who are available to the general public at reduced rates, based on the individual’s ability to pay.“I’m very passionate about this program,” Sauer said. “Catholic Charities has a mission statement to help the most vulnerable of the population. We have made an effort to keep our fees very low so that those who would never be able to come to counseling can come.”She estimates the program has served some 4,000 people directly or indirectly connected to the 902 families who have sought counseling in the last year. Counseling is also available for individuals as well as couples, with marriage counseling being common as well. Spanish-speaking counselors are available and the program operates on Saturdays as well as evenings to meet busy schedules.Hourly rates range from $25 per hour for an intern to $35 per hour for a licensed counselor and move on a sliding scale from there based on income.Where the program really distinguishes itself is in Sauer’s work with the interns. Most of the time, she said, interns are supervised by other counselors who struggle to deal with their own caseloads and help their charges succeed as well. Sauer is able to devote her time to case reviews and mentorship, ensuring that the program’s interns are well-served, as well as those they counsel.

  • Take me Home: Handsome Jax is playful, sweet

    Jax is a big beautiful boy, about 3 years old. He’s very playful and sweet. Thus far he’s gotten along with most cats he’s met. It isn’t sure if he’d be happy living with dogs. Jax has been at the shelter for quite some time so when he does get adopted, the family should understand it might take him some time to adjust to a home environment. His last person ended up having to return him due to allergies. Jax would like to be brushed sometimes to keep that wonderful mane of his looking its best. He seems to understand there’s a price to pay for being so handsome so he doesn’t mind it.Jax is neutered, up to date on vaccinations and tested FELV/FIV negative. His adoption fee is $85. If interested in adopting Jax, contact Friends for Life Animal Rescue, 143 W. Vaughn Ave., in downtown Gilbert at (480) 497-8296 or visit www.azfriends.org.

  • Shapiro: Love deserves society’s support

    Love always wins. It may be denied for a time, but not forever. When it can’t flourish, it burns and breaks us. When love is allowed, it transforms, improves and heals. It makes us deeper, kinder, more caring people. When we love, we see beyond ourselves, and come to experience another person’s full humanity. When we recognize another person’s full humanity, we can see it in everyone else, too. The more love the better.What’s true for individuals is also true for societies. Love strengthens the bonds between people. In so doing, it transforms us into more caring communities. That’s why love deserves society’s support in all the many ways a culture can promote and protect it. The more love the better.How magnificent, then, that marriage equality is coming to Arizona. When all couples share in the joy, security, and context of marriage, love is allowed to flourish, individuals fuse into families, and our society becomes warmer, more caring, more inclusive. This is a change that’s been dreamt about for decades. I didn’t expect to see it in my lifetime.Some people are thrilled by marriage equality; others are terrified. What does it mean to us?I can tell you one thing it does not mean: I, as a clergyperson, will not be required to officiate at any wedding I don’t support. I have always had the right and ability to decline to perform marriages. That will remain the case under this change in law. I would decline to officiate at a wedding if I don’t believe the relationship to be a healthy one. I would decline to do so if I feel that Judaism isn’t at the heart of the new home — after all, I’m a rabbi, not a Justice of the Peace. The state does not and will not tell me whom to marry. In this way, neither my religious beliefs, nor those of any other clergyperson, are infringed by marriage equality. Our individual moral compasses remain intact.What I won’t have, and neither will you, is the right to deny what the state has called legal and binding: the self-declared relationship between two other people. You don’t need to bless it, but you aren’t allowed to trample it, either. Why would you? Like a sapling, love is tender and fragile and good, and therefore merits support.

Attorney General Forum - Question 1

Attorney General candidates Republican Mark Brnovich and Democrat Felecia Rotellini debate at ...

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