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  • Helping your loved one with a new gadget

    Have you noticed an edge in your mother's voice when she says she couldn't open a picture you emailed her? Or is there more of an anxious tremor when she asks how to open “the text messaging.” There are good reasons for these edgy and anxious moments. Our loved ones know they're missing precious places to connect with us and they want to stay in the loop!To properly engage your loved one using technology, start by recognizing desperation. Gadgets that we consider necessary for bridging communication can inadvertently create an enormous gulf. The situation is akin to pioneering families who couldn't access a photograph from far-flung relatives because they couldn't read the directions for opening a trunk that holds it. They know the precious contents are there, but getting to them seems nearly impossible.Making this basic shift in recognizing frustration goes a long way in bolstering your patience with a loved one’s technology helplessness.The next step is to synch up with the loved one in some thoughtful way. For example, if your parents have a Gmail account, get a free one for yourself. That way, a missing email can be tracked down more easily. You’ll be able to give specific directions, like “Click on the folders” on the left side, “Do you see the folder called ‘Spam’?” “No?” “Click the word ‘More’ and ‘Spam’ should come up below the line.” These specific instructions are more useful when you can see an identical screen.They are a big improvement over issuing general directions like, “Check the Junk mail folder.” Your loved one might not be familiar with these terms or use the same synonyms that you attach to technology, “spam” and “junk,” etc. Even though your general directions make perfect sense, they will be more effective when they’re tied directly to the screen that your loved one is viewing.

  • Hop to it: 5 free Easter egg hunts in the East Valley

    Easter is this coming Sunday, April 20, and there are tons of Easter egg hunts happening all over the East Valley all weekend. These five hunts have free admission, but some do have parking or additional activity fees.Chandler’s Family Easter CelebrationJoin the annual Easter Celebration in Chandler for egg hunts, performances, information booths, coloring contests and more. Egg Hunts are by age group ranging from 0-9.When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 19Where: Snedigar Sportsplex, 4705 S. Basha Road, ChandlerCost: Free (Some additional food and activities have a fee.)

  • Gas prices bump up by 3.6 cents

    Pump prices increased again this week by just less than 4 cents, although the state remains one of the cheapest places to purchase fuel.Triple-A Arizona reports the national average went up by 3.6 cents to $3.461 a gallon. Tucson was at the low end at $3.343 a gallon while Flagstaff remained the most expensive place in Arizona to purchase gas at $3.595 a gallon.Even with the jump, Arizona is still the ninth-cheapest state to fill the tank. The increase was also almost a penny less than the 4.5 cent increase in the national average, which is up to $3.657 per gallon.

  • House moves forward with Medicaid cap

    More than 140,000 of the state's long-term unemployed could eventually find themselves without health insurance.The state House on Thursday gave final approval to legislation designed to pave the way for a five-year lifetime limit on Medicaid benefits. HB 2367 also would require those who are still eligible to be employed, looking for work or in a job-training program.here's a catch of sorts, though: Federal Medicaid regulations currently do not allow such limits. But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which funds the majority of Medicaid costs, does allow states to seek waivers to find more cost-effective ways of providing care. This legislation requires state officials to seek those waivers, not just this year but every year from now on.The measure was crafted by House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden. Tobin was a foe of the decision by Gov. Jan Brewer to take advantage of the federal Affordable Care Act which allows states to expand eligibility for their Medicaid programs to those up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That is $26,951 for a family of three. Brewer prevailed, over the objections of Tobin and most Republicans.So Tobin, who also is running for Congress, said his legislation would help control future costs.Tobin said while the federal government is picking up virtually all the costs of the expansion from current limits of the federal poverty level, that won't last forever. That, he said, means the state needs to start looking now for ways to trim the price tag.

  • Motorcyclist dead after crash in Chandler

    A motorcycle rider is dead after losing control in Chandler Wednesday evening.According to Chandler Police, a 27-year-old male was traveling southbound on Price Road near Armstrong Way. Evidence shows the motorcyclist struck the median curb and then struck a tree.The crash happened just before 5:30 p.m., according to police.The man was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

  • Chandler-based Storynamics helping low-literacy groups learn life, health issues

    Working in the financial industry a decade ago, Miguel Lopez was reminded of a longtime practice in Mexico where banks use graphic novels to help customers understand saving and investing.“It was a really powerful approach to teaching,” Lopez said.Lopez and his wife, Helen Anaya, decided to bring the comic method to the U.S. to reach low-literacy groups. They partnered with different organizations in 15 states and the couple’s Chandler-based Storynamics recently launched its first online service, kidsinmc.org, by partnering with the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.Comics on the site, as well as in printed comic book format, teach children about caring for their pets and dog-bite prevention sterilization.“It’s about reaching low-literacy populations who need the information,” Lopez said. “The comics engage the reader and take them all the way to the end. It’s a new iteration on what a brochure is.”Lopez and Anaya originally stated the company in 2006, then called Hispanic Value, but “life put it on hold,” Lopez said. The couple came back to it last year and rebranded it Storynamics earlier this year. Maricopa County is its biggest client.

  • See “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”

    Valley Youth Theatre stages a musical comedy based on the classic fairy tale.DETAILS >> 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 18, 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 19, 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, April 20; runs through April 27. Valley Youth Theatre, 525 N. First St., Phoenix. $18. (602) 253-8188 or VYT.com.

  • Review: 'Heaven is for Real' heartfelt but dull

    AP- Jessica HerndonContinuing the recent trend of faith-based films, including "Noah" and "Son of God," ''Heaven Is for Real" is a sweet tale based on a 4-year-old boy's account of his trip to heaven that's likely to please the devout, but won't entice religious cynics. There's little doubt the T.D. Jakes-produced adaptation of Todd Burpo's Christian non-fiction best-seller will have a built-in audience, especially on Easter weekend. After undergoing harrowing surgery for a ruptured appendix, young Colton Burpo (Connor Corum) begins recalling his journey for his family: Angels carried him to heaven where he met Jesus (played by Mike Mohrhardt, whose face we never quite see), as well as God, Colton's great-grandfather and the miscarried sister he never knew he had. Such talk frightens his older sister (Lane Styles) and worries his pastor father, Todd (Greg Kinnear), and mother, Sonja (Kelly Reilly). As Colton becomes more verbal about his supposed encounter, the local paper in the small Nebraska town starts reporting the story. This leads some members of Todd's congregation (Thomas Haden Church and Margo Martindale) to turn against the Burpo family. Though Todd sticks up for his son, his faith is also tested. "We ask these kids to believe this stuff," he says to his wife, "but I don't even know if I believe it myself." But Todd is captivated, as we are, by his son's innocence — especially when Colton tells him things he couldn't possibly know, such as how he saw his parents cope, each in their own way, during his near-fatal surgery. As Colton, Corum does an excellent job of speaking softly, yet with conviction, and holding his gaze so we have time to study his sparkling blue eyes. But it's the casting of Kinnear that offers the film's strongest chance at transcending the faith-based demographic, as the actor never fails to embody the everyman. Kinnear's Todd is not just an inaccessible preacher. He's also a volunteer firefighter, coaches high school wrestling and is a garage door repairman. His family is also in debt. Their house, which was offered as "part of his salary," sits near railroad tracks and shakes with every passing train. Thus, many of the Burpo family's struggles mirror those of others in the heartland, and effectively so. But in the way of gripping dialogue, Kinnear doesn't have much to work with. We might have expected more from writer-director Randall Wallace, who brought us the Oscar-nominated "Braveheart." But the material is pretty cookie-cutter and more typical of an afterschool special. However, Wallace and co-writer Chris Parker do a good job of weaving in moments that should appeal to a mass audience. Just when it seems we're being subjected to too much of "the Word," Colton cutely diverts our attention. During a road trip, he suggests the family sing "We Will Rock You" instead of a hymn. Kinnear and Reilly's chemistry also offers a favorable element. They appear genuinely sweet on each other and subtle sexual innuendoes add a bit of adult flavor. With the impressive computer-generated effects available today, this film could have used a more sophisticated depiction of heaven. OK, so it's hard to imagine what heaven would look like, but this version looks far too generic, awash with glaring light and blurred angels. It's no surprise that faith, hope and family prevail in this one. After all, says Todd in one of his sermons, "In the end, it's about not feeling alone." "Heaven Is for Real," a Sony release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for "thematic material including some medical situations." Running time: 100 minutes. Two stars out of four. ___

  • Soweto Gospel Choir rocks SCPA

    This award-winning African choir has collaborated with the likes of U2 and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and tours the United States in honor of the late Nelson Mandela, who supported the choir.DETAILS >> 8 p.m. Saturday, April 19. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St. $39-$69. (480) 499-8587 or ScottsdalePerformingArts.org.

  • Review: Transcendence like a 'Clunky Ted Talk'

    AP-Jake CoyleHAL has come a long way.First, we had Scarlett Johansson as a human-like operating system. Now, Johnny Depp has been uploaded. If the singularity — when artificial intelligence surpasses human smarts — is indeed coming, at least it has decent taste in movie star avatars.First-time director Wally Pfister's "Transcendence" isn't so much the "Him" to Spike Jonze's "Her" as it's a more dystopian vision of the meeting of human consciousness and computer intelligence. It turns out that when computers get sophisticated, worse things can happen than Joaquin Phoenix getting his feelings hurt.But whereas "Her" was playful and personal about familiar futuristic concepts, "Transcendence" is clunky and lifeless. It's like the movie version of a paranoid TED talk.In the early scenes of "Transcendence," Dr. Will Caster (a disappointingly sleepy Depp) is a TED-style master of the universe, speaking confidently in front of large video screens to eager listeners about neurology and artificial intelligence. But there are also protesters to his potentially all-powerful invention: the Physically Independent Neural Network (PINN), an early artificial intelligence propelled by a room full of computers that Caster believes could, among other things, cure cancer.

  • Hop to it: 5 free Easter egg hunts in the East Valley

    Easter is this coming Sunday, April 20, and there are tons of Easter egg hunts happening all over the East Valley all weekend. These five hunts have free admission, but some do have parking or additional activity fees.Chandler’s Family Easter CelebrationJoin the annual Easter Celebration in Chandler for egg hunts, performances, information booths, coloring contests and more. Egg Hunts are by age group ranging from 0-9.When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 19Where: Snedigar Sportsplex, 4705 S. Basha Road, ChandlerCost: Free (Some additional food and activities have a fee.)

  • Free-Wheelin’ at Skateland Chandler

    Skateland loves Chandler, and to show its appreciation, the 13-year-old roller rink is inviting Chandler residents to skate for free all weekend long. Just bring proof of residency, and you’re in.DETAILS >> Friday, April 18, through Sunday, April 20. Skateland Chandler, 1101 W. Ray Road, Chandler. Free admission; skate rental is $3.50 for roller skates, $4.50 for roller blades. (480) 917-9444 or UnitedSkates.com/public/chandler.

Tech Data Doctors Deals

  • Gas prices bump up by 3.6 cents

    Pump prices increased again this week by just less than 4 cents, although the state remains one of the cheapest places to purchase fuel.Triple-A Arizona reports the national average went up by 3.6 cents to $3.461 a gallon. Tucson was at the low end at $3.343 a gallon while Flagstaff remained the most expensive place in Arizona to purchase gas at $3.595 a gallon.Even with the jump, Arizona is still the ninth-cheapest state to fill the tank. The increase was also almost a penny less than the 4.5 cent increase in the national average, which is up to $3.657 per gallon.

  • Brewer vetoes new law against begging

    Arizona is going to be without a legally enforceable begging law for perhaps another year.Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday vetoed a measure designed to recraft a law that a federal court last year declared unconstitutional. That was based on the finding by the judge that the century-old law was overly broad and an unconstitutional infringement on First Amendment rights.Brewer, in her veto message, did not dispute finding by U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake, but the governor said she's not convinced the fix crafted by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, is the answer.“It is unclear what statewide concern this legislation intends to address,” the governor wrote. And she said if local governments see a need to regulate begging they remain free to adopt their own ordinances.The old state law said those who approach people to seek a handout are guilty of the crime of loitering. But the issue did not come into focus until the city of Flagstaff used that law and its local version to try to clear the downtown business district of beggars and other homeless people.Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law. They argued it is unconstitutional to make it a crime to ask people for money when the law had no similar penalties for things like politicians seeking support on the same public streets.

  • School voucher program falls in House

    A proposal to sharply expand a program to use tax dollars to send students to private and parochial schools suffered a severe – and perhaps fatal – setback today.The House, on a 27-31 vote, killed the proposal to open up the voucher-like program to any children living in areas of the state where the average income is less than about $44,000 a year. The vote came despite arguments by proponents that it would provide parents of needy children with additional educational opportunities.But Rep. Ethan Orr, R-Tucson, one of the foes, said talk of additional funding of private schools is premature.“Parental choice starts with well-funded and well functioning public schools,” he said. Orr said that discussion can occur “once we fix our funding formulas, once we make our public school system one of the best in the nation.”Today's vote may not be the last word, as proponents can ask the measure be reconsidered next week. But it remains unclear whether they can convince enough of their colleagues to change their minds.

  • 10/13 Communications to acquire Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business

    TUCSON – Wick Communications has entered into a preliminary agreement to sell its Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business publications to 10/13 Communications. Terms of the transaction were not announced.Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger and acquisition firm in Santa Fe, N.M., is representing Wick Communications in the transaction.Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business are the leading alternative and business publications in the greater Tucson marketplace. Tucson Weekly has distribution of approximately 40,000 in the greater Tucson area and 2.4 million annual unique website visitors. Inside Tucson Business is published weekly and has total qualified circulation of nearly 5,000.Earlier this month 10/13 Communications LLC acquired three other local publications, Marana News, Foothills News, Desert Times and related websites from Tucson West Publishing, Inc., a division of News Media Corporation.“The addition of Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business is great for our company and for increasing our reach and effectiveness for advertisers in the Tucson market,” said Randy Miller, president of 10/13 Communications. “With these publications and websites, along with the Explorer that dominates the northwest area and our other recent acquisitions, our Tucson Local Media group is positioned to be the number one media company in Tucson.”10/13 Communications publications boast hyper-local reporting and an innovative distribution model. Its Arizona Local Media group includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning East Valley Tribune, the Daily News-Sun, Glendale Today, Peoria Today, Surprise Today, Ahwatukee Foothills News, Clipper Marketplace and U and Your Home in Phoenix, together with the Arizona Interactive Media Group, and the Explorer, Marana News, Foothills News and Desert Times in suburban Tucson. 10/13 Communications also publishes 40 newspapers in Texas through Star Local Media in Dallas and its Houston Community Newspapers group.

  • House moves forward with Medicaid cap

    More than 140,000 of the state's long-term unemployed could eventually find themselves without health insurance.The state House on Thursday gave final approval to legislation designed to pave the way for a five-year lifetime limit on Medicaid benefits. HB 2367 also would require those who are still eligible to be employed, looking for work or in a job-training program.here's a catch of sorts, though: Federal Medicaid regulations currently do not allow such limits. But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which funds the majority of Medicaid costs, does allow states to seek waivers to find more cost-effective ways of providing care. This legislation requires state officials to seek those waivers, not just this year but every year from now on.The measure was crafted by House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden. Tobin was a foe of the decision by Gov. Jan Brewer to take advantage of the federal Affordable Care Act which allows states to expand eligibility for their Medicaid programs to those up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That is $26,951 for a family of three. Brewer prevailed, over the objections of Tobin and most Republicans.So Tobin, who also is running for Congress, said his legislation would help control future costs.Tobin said while the federal government is picking up virtually all the costs of the expansion from current limits of the federal poverty level, that won't last forever. That, he said, means the state needs to start looking now for ways to trim the price tag.

  • Wimpy’s Paradise provides another dining option in downtown Chandler

    Wimpy’s Paradise opened its doors Feb. 14 in downtown Chandler, providing another dining option for visitors to the downtown area.Owner Randy Walters decided to open his restaurant in downtown Chandler because of its distinct location and his love for the city.“Wimpy’s is a unique restaurant spot and brings a unique environment to the downtown area. He has been involved in the farmers market for years and it was a natural fit for him,” said Jennifer Lindley, executive director of the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership.The idea of Wimpy’s Paradise has been part of the Walters family for years. The restaurant goes back to when Walter’s father, Ken, opened the first of two restaurants in 1939, 15 miles south of Pittsburgh.“After World War II they closed and I thought that it would be cool to reopen the restaurant,” said Walters, who is no stranger to the Chandler community. He is the owner of Pittsburgh Willy’s Gourmet Hot Dogs, which has been located in Chandler’s Merchant Antiques Square Marketplace for the past five years.After five years in the Merchant Antique Square, Walters has relocated his Pittsburgh Willy’s Hot Dog House into downtown Chandler behind the San Tan Brewing Company, and it’s scheduled to open in the next couple of months.

Pets Food Health TV Travel

  • Helping your loved one with a new gadget

    Have you noticed an edge in your mother's voice when she says she couldn't open a picture you emailed her? Or is there more of an anxious tremor when she asks how to open “the text messaging.” There are good reasons for these edgy and anxious moments. Our loved ones know they're missing precious places to connect with us and they want to stay in the loop!To properly engage your loved one using technology, start by recognizing desperation. Gadgets that we consider necessary for bridging communication can inadvertently create an enormous gulf. The situation is akin to pioneering families who couldn't access a photograph from far-flung relatives because they couldn't read the directions for opening a trunk that holds it. They know the precious contents are there, but getting to them seems nearly impossible.Making this basic shift in recognizing frustration goes a long way in bolstering your patience with a loved one’s technology helplessness.The next step is to synch up with the loved one in some thoughtful way. For example, if your parents have a Gmail account, get a free one for yourself. That way, a missing email can be tracked down more easily. You’ll be able to give specific directions, like “Click on the folders” on the left side, “Do you see the folder called ‘Spam’?” “No?” “Click the word ‘More’ and ‘Spam’ should come up below the line.” These specific instructions are more useful when you can see an identical screen.They are a big improvement over issuing general directions like, “Check the Junk mail folder.” Your loved one might not be familiar with these terms or use the same synonyms that you attach to technology, “spam” and “junk,” etc. Even though your general directions make perfect sense, they will be more effective when they’re tied directly to the screen that your loved one is viewing.

  • House moves forward with Medicaid cap

    More than 140,000 of the state's long-term unemployed could eventually find themselves without health insurance.The state House on Thursday gave final approval to legislation designed to pave the way for a five-year lifetime limit on Medicaid benefits. HB 2367 also would require those who are still eligible to be employed, looking for work or in a job-training program.here's a catch of sorts, though: Federal Medicaid regulations currently do not allow such limits. But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which funds the majority of Medicaid costs, does allow states to seek waivers to find more cost-effective ways of providing care. This legislation requires state officials to seek those waivers, not just this year but every year from now on.The measure was crafted by House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden. Tobin was a foe of the decision by Gov. Jan Brewer to take advantage of the federal Affordable Care Act which allows states to expand eligibility for their Medicaid programs to those up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That is $26,951 for a family of three. Brewer prevailed, over the objections of Tobin and most Republicans.So Tobin, who also is running for Congress, said his legislation would help control future costs.Tobin said while the federal government is picking up virtually all the costs of the expansion from current limits of the federal poverty level, that won't last forever. That, he said, means the state needs to start looking now for ways to trim the price tag.

  • White walls? The trick is choosing the right white

    NEW YORK — So you want to paint a room white. Sounds easy, until you go to the hardware store to buy paint and discover there are dozens of whites to choose from.Many have familiar yet poetic names that conjure up ever-so-slightly different hues: cream, pearl, vanilla, snow, chalk, ivory, jasmine, bone. But the closer you look, the more confusing the choices are. You want a plain, basic white, but the purest white on the color chart looks a little harsh next to all those soft shades with just a hint of something else — beige, gray, peach, rose, yellow or the palest-ever blue or green.Often people default to white because they don't want strong colors in their home. But as it turns out, "it's harder to choose white than any other color," said Sharon Grech, a color design expert at Benjamin Moore Paints.She says Benjamin Moore alone offers more than 150 whites, and "when people are choosing white, I see more people unhappy or making a mistake or being shocked at the color than when they choose other colors."And watch out if you go with a pure white untinted by any other hue. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, which maintains color standards, says "the purity and cleanliness" of the purest whites "can also make them feel very sterile and cold. And you can literally get eyestrain from too much dazzling white. So you've got to be cautious. Most people don't want to live with hospital white."More so than with other colors, whites are also more influenced by colors around them, so Grech says it's crucial to try a sample to see how it looks in the room. Buy a pint and paint a 2-by-2-foot board that you can move around your home. "Sometimes the sun hits it one way or another at different times of day, or it looks different against the rug, or you realize it's got a lot of pink in it or green in it," she said. "It might look totally different in the morning than at night."

  • Louisville: 5 free things for visitors to do

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When it's Kentucky Derby season in Louisville, money seems to flow faster than the Ohio River. Hotels and restaurants fill up; bars serve mint juleps and fine Kentucky bourbon. Shopping includes a hunt for the colorful hats worn as a Derby tradition. Parties are thrown, and wagers are plunked down on can't-miss colts and longshots alike as fans guess which horse will win the famous race at Churchill Downs.Yet there are other sure bets for relaxation and entertainment that don't cost a thing as folks head to bluegrass country for the Derby, which takes place May 3. Kentucky's largest city offers a mix of free contemporary and historic sites — along with blooming dogwood trees.CAVE HILL CEMETERYThe final resting place for many of Louisville's most prominent citizens of the 19th and 20th centuries, the nearly 300-acre (120-hectare) cemetery opened in 1848. It features ornate marble and granite monuments, shaded by trees seemingly as distinctive as the headstones dotting the landscape. Trees of many varieties loom over the rolling grounds situated east of downtown. Each spring and fall, the cemetery is ablaze in colors. It draws tours from groups of garden, Civil War and history buffs. About 5,500 soldiers are buried here, mostly from the Civil War.Luminaries buried in the cemetery include politicians, business leaders and bourbon barons. Two of the most notable are George Rogers Clark — an early frontiersman and soldier and the brother of William Clark, who co-led the Lewis and Clark expedition — and Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Sanders' granite memorial features a bust of the goateed entrepreneur, whose likeness is still synonymous with the chicken chain he started. Visitors sometimes place a bucket of chicken at his grave.WATERFRONT PARK

  • Moving asparagus to the center of your plate

    Asparagus has been a delicious symbol of spring since at least as far back as the Greeks, who called it asparagos — literally, "to spring up." But however it is spelled, it makes me happy.Most grocers sell asparagus in a range of sizes, from thin and willowy to thick and stocky. Whatever the size, look for stalks that are firm and smooth from top to bottom, with tight, un-feathery tips. Also check that the grocer stored it properly, because asparagus is quite perishable. It should be stored stem down in ice or a bit of water.Once you get the asparagus home, arrange the stalks standing on their bottoms in a glass jar filled with 1/2 inch of water, or in a zip-close plastic bag with damp paper towel wrapped around the bottoms of the stems. And try to eat your beautiful asparagus within a day or two of purchase, when it's still at its peak of freshness.When it comes to prepping asparagus, I have one rule: If the stem is more than 1/3 inch thick, it must be peeled. Doing so ensures the spear will cook evenly. If you don't peel it, you'll overcook the tip before the stem becomes tender. Another reason to lose the peel on a thick stalk is that it's tough.If, however, it strikes you as wasteful to lose those peels, you can gather them up (along with the tough bottoms of the stalks, which you also need to discard) and simmer them in chicken or vegetable broth to make a clear and flavorful asparagus soup.Once prepped, there are any number of delicious ways to cook asparagus. To start, there's the old tried and true — briefly boiling or steaming the spears, then topping them with butter or vinaigrette. Simple and wonderful. It also can be grilled, broiled or roasted at high heat, all of which amplify its natural sugars. By the way, I think it is asparagus' natural sweetness that persuades usually veggie-averse children to make an exception.

  • Frozen food makers plan PR push as sales slip

    NEW YORK — Frozen foods are about to get some badly needed image therapy.With sales slipping in the category, frozen food makers are in the final stages of preparing a major public relations campaign to defend the nutritional reputation of their products. The push will include what are said to be the first national TV ads on behalf of the industry as a whole, as well as social media and in-store promotions.Kraig Naasz, president of the American Frozen Food Institute, confirmed that the industry trade group plans to launch the "multiyear, multimillion dollar" campaign in early May.He declined to provide details but said the thrust of the campaign would be to educate people that the freezing process is just a way to hit the "pause button" to lock in the nutrients, quality and taste of fresh food. It's the biggest marketing push on behalf of the industry to date and the first to include national TV ads, according to the American Frozen Food Institute.The group, based in McLean, Va., represents companies including Nestle USA, which makes Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine and Stouffer's, and ConAgra, which makes Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's.The campaign comes as Americans are increasingly reaching for foods they feel are fresh. That has hurt the performance of many frozen foods, which are often seen as being processed and full of preservatives or sodium.

Local Guitar Group Meets in Downtown Mesa

A local guitar group based in Mesa, Ariz. meets every other sunday for musical fun, community,...

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