East Valley Tribune

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  • Lawyers to begin making case to spare Arias' life

    Lawyers for Jodi Arias will begin making their case Thursday that the convicted murderer should be spared the death penalty for the brutal 2008 killing of her former boyfriend.Prosecutors spent about a week portraying Arias as a callous killer who attacked former boyfriend Travis Alexander in a jealous rage after the victim wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman.Arias has acknowledged killing Alexander but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her.Last year, a jury convicted Arias of murder but deadlocked on whether she should be sentenced to life in prison or death.A new jury was picked for the purpose of determining her sentence.The sentencing retrial is expected to last until mid-December.

  • Two composite sketches released of man suspected in multiple sexual investigations

    Authorities for asking for the public's help in identifying a man suspected of committing multiple sexual offenses in the Valley, including the sexual assault of an elderly woman in Tempe.The Tempe Police Department released two sketches of the suspect on Wednesday based upon two victims' descriptions.Most recently, the suspect is believed to have sexually assaulted an elderly woman on Oct. 18 inside her home near Southern and Rural in Tempe.Police said DNA samples collected during the Tempe incident matched more than one case in Mesa, some dating back to January 2012. Authorities said those cases involve one attempted sexual assault and many indecent exposure cases.Tempe police said the investigation is ongoing and the suspect is unknown. Anyone who knows the suspect should contact police or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

  • Voters to decide on fate of Mesa Public Schools' override

    Supporters of the Mesa Public Schools override say the $31.8 million dollars at stake are vital to keep the school district afloat, but opponents say the district would use those funds inefficiently.Voters will decide on Nov. 4 if they want to continue the 10-percent override, which allows the district to overspend its budget by that percent through a property tax, already on the books. The district would cut its budget by $10.6 million per year for the next three years if voters declined the override.Funding from overrides goes to operational expenses such as teacher salaries, unlike bonds, which go to capital items like buildings.Governing board candidate Jenny Richardson said it’s necessary for the district to compensate for the lack of state funding.“Arizona funds 48th in the nation in education, so our educators are looking for other ways [to increase school funding], because they are nationwide given less money to do basic things with,” she said.Richardson added 8.8-percent of the override funding would go to the salaries of Mesa Public Schools employees.

  • Green Acre owners plead not guilty in Gilbert dog deaths

    The owners of a Gilbert kennel have pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges stemming from the June deaths of 21 dogs.A Maricopa County Superior Court spokesman says Green Acre Dog Boarding owners Jesse Todd and Malesia Maurine Hughes entered their not-guilty pleas Wednesday.The Hugheses said the animals died of heat exhaustion on June 20 in an 8- by 12-foot room because one dog chewed through the air conditioner's power cord after the caretakers left the facility for the night.Sheriff's investigators said they found no evidence that a chewed-up wire had cut power to a cooling unit, and a veterinarian said some of the dogs likely suffocated.The caretakers -- including the couple's daughter and her husband -- also are charged in the case.

  • Feds cite profiling ruling in case against Arpaio

    The U.S. Justice Department wants a racial profiling ruling against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office to stand as the judgment on some of the federal government's allegations in a broader civil rights case against the sheriff's office.Federal officials have asked U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver to let another judge's 2013 racial profiling ruling against Arpaio's office stand as the judgment on the Justice Department's discriminatory policing allegations against the agency.If the request is granted, the agency would still face other pending claims by the Justice Department, such as allegations that the agency retaliates against Arpaio's critics and punishes Latino jail inmates with limited English skills for speaking Spanish.Arpaio's attorneys say Silver lacks jurisdiction on the Justice Department's discriminatory policing allegations.

  • Gilbert Public Schools board votes to redact textbooks for abortion content, cite possible violation of state law

    Citing concerns it broke state law – and despite insistence from its superintendent to the contrary – the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board voted to redact pages from its textbooks tied to abortion and reproduction.The board voted 3-2 at its meeting on Oct. 28 to redact pages from its textbooks given to students that do not offer childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortions, which falls under Arizona Revised Statute 15-115. The move came after both a community member and the Alliance Defending Freedom – a faith-based legal organization – expressed concerns the district violated the statute by using a biology book they said mentions abortion without emphasizing childbirth or adoption.The textbook, the seventh edition of “Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections” used in high school honors biology classes, presents information about morning after pills like mifepristone that the book states can induce abortion. That section of the text, which also encompasses other forms of contraception, is preceded by information stating abstinence is the “only totally effective form of birth control.”Board President Staci Burk said during the meeting she didn't think “it requires rocket science” to understand the textbook goes against revised statute.“We are running the risk of being sued for being out of compliance with the law,” said Boardmember Julie Smith. “I'm really upset that happened; I'm really upset.”Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, however, said the district's attorneys and the Arizona Department of Education reviewed the textbook and accompanying curriculum and determined the district is not breaking statute. She said the district also had not received notification it was not following state law from any other source aside from the community member and ADF.

  • Photos: AZ State Fair

    The Arizona State Fair on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014.

  • Win tix to 'Interstellar'

    Looking for thrills that are out of this world? How about tickets to see Christopher Nolan's much-anticipated space thriller "Interstellar," starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, at Arizona Mills IMAX Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.? Rumor has it that the visuals are impressive and the quantum physics references abundant.To win one of five pairs of tickets, email your name and phone number to us at GetOutAZ@GetOutAZ.com, subject line: SPACE CASE, before midnight Friday, Oct. 31.

  • Photos: The Crypt Haunted Attractions

    The Crypt Haunted Attractions in Mesa on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.

  • ‘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.

  • 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.

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  • Gangplank Studios hosting open house

    Gangplank Studios in Chandler has scheduled an open house to take place on Nov. 6.The free event will allow visitors to see what the business has to offer, which encompass photography, podcasting, music, art, performances and craft. Mentors will also be available to discuss their work.The open house is from 6 to 9 p.m. at 260 S. Arizona Ave. Visit gangplankhq.com for more information.

  • House of Refuge East undergoes home improvement from Renewal by Andersen

    Renewal by Andersen recently renovated the House of Refuge East in Mesa as part of National Make A Difference Day.The project, which occurred on Oct. 22, had volunteers renovate a resident’s home and the donation center at House of Refuge East, which provides transitional housing for victims of domestic violence and homeless families.

  • Nabers in Chandler offering free meal to vets on Nov. 11

    Nabers in Chandler will provide veterans a free meal to active and retired veterans on Nov. 11.Veterans who show military identification on Veterans Day will receive a free item from a special menu in celebration of their service. People who visit the restaurant on that day can also nominate a veteran for a free two-night trip to San Diego.The event runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Nabers, located at 825 N. 54th St. Visit nabersaz.com for more information.

  • Report says more physicians needed

    Changing the available resources in local health care markets may help drastically to improve overall health in spite of health care service shortages, according to a report by the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization.The report, released in September, talks about the lack of primary care physicians in the same areas where the most people are uninsured. Of the estimated 50 million Americans without health insurance, the majority live in rural areas, where primary care doctors are scarce.The report pieces together several key factors such as rate of insured persons, location of primary care physicians, reasons for emergency room visits, along with other details to show that an increase in the number and dispersal of primary care physicians could greatly improve the general health of the general population and lower costs for many.“One of the things that comes up a lot is ‘Where do I go when I’m sick?’ ” said Dr. Robert Beauchamp, senior medical director for UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “It’s usually quite a surprise. Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about ‘Where do I go when this happens?’ ”The report points out that an estimated 70 percent of emergency room visits by insured patients are for nonemergencies that would be better handled by a primary caregiver.“One of the things that we find is that a lot of young relatively health young (people) don’t have a primary care provider and so they are more likely to use an urgent care center,” Beauchamp said. “I wouldn’t want the kids I take care of to end up in an emergency room … when what they need to have taken care of is a rash or an earache.”

  • Reports offer contrasting view on economic recovery

    Two new reports Tuesday show some bumps in the state's recovery from the recession.One finds that Arizona consumers are spending more, at least in certain areas, but not a lot. The other shows that, for the first time in three years, Arizona is not among the Top 10 states in job growth.Reports from retailers, released Tuesday by the state Department of Revenue, put total taxable sales at $4.47 billion. That figure comes from reports filed last month which actually reflect sales made in August.That is up 5.2 percent from the same time a year earlier.But economist Dennis Hoffman from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, said it's hardly a number to cheer about.“It’s OK,” he said. “It's not gangbusters.”

  • Local charity raising funds for food truck for homeless

    A local outreach group established by Mesa residents may soon be able to significantly expand its aid to the homeless population of downtown Phoenix. ONe TRUe LOVe (OTL) is completing work on a food truck from which its founders hope to vastly increase the number of people they can serve in the future.The two women who run the organization, Ann Cabano and Krysten Aldridge, met at a charity event in 2010 with nothing more than a simple plan to feed people and film them answering questions about love. The resulting documentary spurred the creation of OTL and the feeding of some 12,000 people since that time.“The whole idea behind what we do … is getting close to people’s hearts who are living out there on the streets,” Aldridge said. “Food is a big part of it but it’s just a vehicle to shake somebody’s hand or give them a hug.”But Cabano and Aldridge have been fairly limited in the scope of their operations to this point, being able to hold events once a month at most, serving about 1,000 people each time. With the truck, they hope to increase that rate to as much as three times per week.“It’s super exciting to be going in the direction we are right now,” Cabano said. “We serve individuals living on the street … it just made more sense to continue going to them.”Part of the funds for completing the work on the truck may come from winning a contest hosted by KIND, a snack food producer. The contest, called KIND Causes, gives $10,000 each month to the organization that receives the most votes. In September, the winner was a camp in north Louisiana for foster children. If OTL wins, it will need only $11,000 more to complete the truck before its scheduled debut at a fundraising event in December.

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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?

  • Wilmot: Watermarks of faith empower us to change the world

    The word watermark doesn’t tend to come up in casual conversation. Yet consciously or unconsciously, watermarks are a big part of daily life and faith. Here are a few examples. High-quality stationery has long been associated with watermarks. I can still remember my mom’s special bond-quality writing paper, with the curious watermark on every page. We all handle money regularly, but if you work in retail, banking, or any profession that deals with money frequently, then you’ll be more than familiar with the watermarks used in paper currency to help stop counterfeiting. The same is also true of those who work in airport security checking passports for the safety of all travelers. If you’re in any kind of construction work, home or building repair specialist, then watermarks have a whole different meaning, especially if you’re called in to deal with the aftermath of a flood or some other type of water damage. Then there’s digital watermarking used in audio or image data for copyright purposes. Other types of digital watermarks protect data integrity and computer security. Last, but not least, from a spiritual perspective, the word watermark reminds us of our baptism.Baptism is a unique spiritual watermark written on our hearts that doesn’t wash off, and can’t be faked. Our baptismal watermark confirms our identity in Christ, and marks us as Christ’s own forever. In many ways, it protects and transforms us in the power of the Holy Spirit. In my own faith tradition, baptism is one of the two great sacraments (Holy Eucharist being the other one). At baptism we die with Christ and are raised to new life in Him. The waters of baptism serve as an outward and visible sign of an inward spiritual grace. The newly baptized receive forgiveness for sins, new life in the power of the Holy Spirit, and adoption into Christ’s body, the church. Within the body of Christ, there’s a broad spectrum of baptismal beliefs, including whether baptism is sacramental or symbolic; whether baptism is, or isn’t considered necessary for salvation; whether infants can be baptized; and even how the waters of baptism are used in immersion or affusion. Beyond the baptismal event, there’s an important common factor for all Christians. That is the expectation of transformation associated with this spiritual watermark. Living into our baptismal covenant involves living faithfully and growing in discipleship.The watermarks of our living faith become the outward and visible signs of how God transforms us in the ongoing process of making all things new. Tapping into the wellspring and source of all life is essential to keep the living water flowing. The key elements are worshipping in a loving and supportive community of faith, staying connected to God in prayer, as well as seeking a deeper understanding of God’s will and God’s ways by studying Scripture. As the living water flows in filling and cleansing us, revitalizing and refreshing us, it must also flow out, or become stagnant and useless. The water keeps flowing as we use our time and resources for good, making Christ visible in the world by our words and actions. It also helps to discern our spiritual gifts, listen to God’s will for our lives, and then follow through by connecting and committing to a meaningful ministry.As we share God’s love in practical ways, that gracious outpouring of living water leaves a kind of watermark on those we meet and serve. A few drops of water often invites a deep longing to quench the thirst of a parched soul. Ultimately Christ’s living water is the only water that can satisfy. Jesus cries out to the crowd, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water,’” (John 7:37-38). Seeing streams of living water flowing in our ministries, can stir up slow-moving waters or stagnant pools that have formed in the hearts of the weary, and all who need encouragement. When many small tributaries join together, they create a great river flowing into an ocean of loving service, and a sea of change. Our spiritual watermark empowers us to change the world for Christ!• The Rev. Susan E. Wilmot is priest-in-charge at St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church, 975 E. Warner Road, Tempe. Reach her at rector@stjamestempe.orgor or at (480) 345-2686.

  • New shelter in Mesa hosts Westie terriers

    The small, white animals flood into Sharon Hampton’s living room in an instant. It’s Thursday morning at the Westie and Friends AZ Rescue dog shelter in Mesa.“It doesn’t take much to get them going,” she said. She intentionally neglected a doorbell for the sake of quietness, but the mob of 16 yelping terriers clamber up legs of any human visitors who enter.“They settle down once the newness has worn off,” she said.Hampton has hosted approximately 300 dogs in her lifetime. She started as a foster volunteer seven years ago and later formed a shelter with another woman.They parted ways this year, and Hampton founded the nonprofit Westie and Friends in August. The namesake of the organization is the West Highland white terrier, but other breeds reside in Hampton’s home.“There’s a lot of dogs out there that need help,” she said.

  • Keeping the Faith: The trick to the treats

    That faint noise you hear is the sound of pint-sized spooks, banshees, and vampires gathering on your lawn. They will soon be knocking at the door plastic pumpkins outstretched. Spare yourself the tricks and go ahead and give up the treats - the unhealthy, sweet, nougat-filled goodies in your cupboard.Keep your stinking apples, raisins, toothbrushes, and granola bars. Cavity creating sugar; hyper-activism inducing chocolate; gut busting high fructose corn syrup: This is what the ghosts and ghouls want. In a few short years the tykes will have to turn in their costumes, so don’t deprive them of this rite of childhood passage.This doesn’t mean adults don’t get in on the fun. Americans spend nearly $3 billion each Halloween, not on adorning their children for the festivities, but on themselves. Adults love to play dress-up, it would appear, and not just in October.We all hide behind masks, masks we have worn for so long, we forget the real person who lurks beneath. We so over-identify with our dress-up characters, that is the roles we play in life, that when the roles change — and they will change — we experience miserable frustration.How many middle-aged men and women do you know who are in wretched condition because they are no longer the young, athletic, studs and cheerleaders on campus? That used to be their identity, but now it is gone, and they don’t know how to live without it. If you are an athlete, you are not going to be unable to compete forever; what then? If you are an accountant, one day you will lose your mental fortitude; who are you then? If you are a teacher, budget cuts could put you out of job; what is beneath your mask?On and on it goes. Mother, husband, Methodist, physician, American, artist: We can play any of these roles, healthily and with fulfillment, so long as we remember that they are temporary. These are all just masks we wear. If we are shackled to these masks, mistaking them for the real person beneath, we will be shattered to pieces when the time comes to put them away; or when life inevitably takes them from us.

  • Take me Home: Star’s the entire kitty package

    Star, 4, is the entire kitty package. First, she is a very pretty cat with cool coloring. Star has lovely light green eyes that complement her beige coat. Further adding to her charming looks is a purrfectly white muzzle and dark brown coloring at the top part of both hind feet that provides a neat contrast with her beige coat.Second, Star is incredibly affectionate and is not shy about asking for love by giving you gentle head butts, by rubbing up against you, or by simply talking to you. She loves attention from her people, happy to receive petting while either sitting in your lap or right next to you. She also enjoys being picked up and held. Star loves to be pet, especially if it includes head, ear, and chin rubs. As her strong, steady purr motor starts to hum there can be little doubt in your mind as to how happy Star is to be spending time with you.Third, her sweet nature extends to other kitties as well. She loves her kitty friends and is in fact quite motherly toward the other kitties she is currently rooming with … she has been seen grooming all of them at one time or another.Star likes to engage her kitty friends in playtime as well. If they aren’t in the mood to play, Star is happy to have her favorite person wave a feather wand around for her to bat or throw some balls for her to chase — she loves to run around and stretch her legs. Star is a very adaptable, easy-going gal who will do fine in any household. She is a great cat who will bring a lot of love to the family that is lucky enough to bring her home.If interested in learning more about Star, fill out an application for her today at www.azrescue.org

  • 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.”

Attorney General Forum - Question 1

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


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