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  • Chandler QB Perkins ends high school career on highest note

    Chandler High senior quarterback Bryce Perkins does a lot on the football field. He throws. He runs. He leads.These are all the same things a famous former Chandler High standout did: UCLA’s redshirt junior quarterback Brett Hundley.But on Friday night Perkins did something that Hundley never did. Perkins delivered Chandler a state football title.At first the comparisons are obvious. Hundley and Perkins are dual-threat quarterbacks who are equally deadly with either their throwing arms or their legs. But Perkins has a ring, and Hundley does not.Looking at their stats helps tell some of the story.Perkins, who is committed to Arizona State University to play football, threw for 5,198 passing yards and 69 touchdowns in his career coming into Friday night’s matchup with Hamilton. Hundley only threw for 4,041 with 36 scores. Coming into the game, Perkins rushed for 1,535 yards and 24 touchdowns. Hundley ran for more yards (2,152) but fewer touchdowns (21).

  • The wait is over: Chandler downs Hamilton 28-7 for first title in 65 years

    After 65 years of futility and frustration, Chandler High School finally earned its way to the promised land on Friday night.The Wolves captured their first state title since 1949, beating rival Hamilton 28-7 in the Division I state final.Chandler’s defense held Hamilton to 167 total yards, while the offense tacked on 343 of its own.“I thought the defense won the championship for us in all the games,” Chandler coach Shaun Aguano said.Both Chandler and Hamilton started slow, going three-and-out on their first possessions. After that, however, Chandler started to find its stride.Chandler quarterback Bryce Perkins, who finished 13-of-17 for 138 yards and a touchdown with one interception, gave Chandler an early 7-0 lead after he took off to the right for a 21-yard scoring run. On the ensuing Hamilton possession, the Huskies drove inside the Chandler 10-yard line, but, on a rollout, Hamilton senior quarterback James Sosinski fumbled. It was recovered by Chandler senior safety Jaray Mills at Chandler’s two-yard line.

  • Trial set for Mesa boy accused of killing mother

    A March 2 trial has been set for a 17-year-old Mesa boy charged with fatally beating his mother with a frying pan and a hammer during a dispute.The teen has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the October 2013 death of his mother and a subsequent nonfatal attack on his stepfather.The boy's name is being withheld by The Associated Press because he is a juvenile. He was 16 at the time of his arrest.Authorities say the teen struck his mother with the pan and hammer, chocked her, dragged her body to a backyard shed and cleaned up the scene.He is accused of later striking his stepfather with a frying pan and choking him.The stepfather managed to break free and call police.

  • Gas prices in state down again

    Thanksgiving drivers who took a trip to see their families or friends last week paid much lower gas prices than they did the week before.A report from AAA Arizona indicates Arizona drivers paid an average of $2.731 a gallon, which is a drop of almost 6 cents from the week prior. Peoria and Flagstaff held down the lowest and highest averages again at $2.594 and $3.040, respectively.Arizona is one of 40 states in which the average has dipped below $3; the national average is now $2.81.

  • 13th annual Operation Santa Claus charity drive in full swing

    There is truly an excitement in the air as the holiday season begins, but what about the families that need a little extra help?ABC15 is proud to once again partner with Sanderson Ford and Sanderson Lincoln for the 13th annual Operation Santa Claus charity drive.Our 2014 charities are Military Assistance Mission (MAM), Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) and St. Mary’s Food Bank.All donations will be split among the four charities once Operation Santa Claus concludes on Thursday, Dec. 18. Those charities will then distribute the goods and monetary gifts to local families who are struggling this holiday season.To help the cause, we hope you can bring a new unwrapped toy, children’s clothing item, packaged food or a monetary donation to:• ABC15, 515 N. 44th St., Phoenix, 85008

  • Mesa officials, schools collecting toys for Cardon Children’s Medical Center

    A SWAT team will help Mesa police officers and firefighters break down the doors of Cardon Children’s Medical Center on Dec. 10. Their mission: deliver toys to ill children of the East Valley.The city’s Sixth Annual Holiday Toy Drive and Pancake Breakfast started Nov. 3 and concludes with the titular meal completed Dec. 6.“It’s really nice,” said Mesa City Councilmember Dennis Kavanaugh, who represents District 3. “The kids and parents are having a tough time, and we like to come early in the month of December to bring a little holiday cheer and take their minds off what they’re dealing with.”Kavanaugh first organized the holiday toy drive when the hospital opened in 2009.“I was really pretty deeply aware of the kind of work that they did and the needs that they had, and so, to coincide with the opening of the hospital, that’s when I decided to do this community toy drive, and it’s expanded ever since,” he said.He said the first drive collected 250 items, and its donations surpassed 1,000 last year. The young Cardon patients will descend to the hospital’s first floor see the jolly, old man and pick out their presents. But it’s not as traditional as one might expect it to be: This Santa will wear blue.

  • 10 holiday performances not to miss

    ‘Elf: The Musical’Based on the Christmas movie starring Will Ferrell, this colorful production follows the adventures of a very large elf who travels to New York to uncover his real ancestry, helping New York rediscover the spirit of Christmas in the process.DETAILS >> 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, and Wednesday, Dec. 3. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. $40-$80. (480) 644-6500 or MesaArtsCenter.com.‘Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells’Childsplay presents the holiday hijinks of the titular character from Barbara Park’s popular children’s books. After Junie B. draws May’s name for the Secret Santa giveaway, she devises a plan to leave her nemesis with a lump of coal.DETAILS>> Weekends, Nov. 22 to Dec. 28; Saturdays 1 and 4 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m. Tempe Center for the Arts Theater, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. $15-$25. (480) 350-2822 or TCA.ticketforce.com.

  • Get your fix of fall foliage and snow even here in Arizona

    I can hear the music playing in my head now and I’m singing along: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”In the Valley of the Sun, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Temperatures have finally cooled down enough that I don’t have to worry about my emergency chocolate bar melting in the car.After a summer of sizzling, skin-frying heat, don’t we deserve it? That said, I hear you. You miss the fall colors and you miss the snow. Not the shoveling part, but the fun, playful, building snowmen part.Well, never fear! The high country is here.That’s what is so amazing about our state. In just a matter of hours, the terrain transforms into something first-time visitors could never imagine in a “desert” state like Arizona. It’s magical!So gas up the car, make some memories and get to know Arizona’s gorgeous diversity.

  • Mesa Temple lights up Christmas display for 35th year

    The Christmas season is coming around again and, as in years past, the highlight in Mesa will be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Mesa Temple Garden Christmas Lights.“This is our 35th year of lights on the Mesa Temple grounds,” said Beckie Jackson, Christmas lights director, in a statement. “They began with 5,000 blue lights in the trees the first year. There are now too many lights to count!”Hundreds of volunteers have been working to set up the display, consisting of thousands of lights, which will be open to the public from Nov. 28 through Dec. 31.The display features nightly concerts from Dec. 1 to 25 and performances by local music groups. Inside the visitors center are between 75 and 100 nativity sets from as many as 50 countries. Outside there is a large nativity scene.Last year, the display had 1.5 million visitors, according to Jackson, and she hopes to see as many or more this year.“This is our gift to the community,” Jackson said in a statement. “The event is free of charge. Our hope is that all who come visit will feel peace on the temple grounds and remember the true meaning of Christmas.”

  • Tumbleweed tree illuminates Chandler’s holiday spirit

    Since 1957, the lighting of the tumbleweed tree at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park has been a time-honored tradition for Chandler residents.That tradition will continue once again this year at 8 p.m. Dec. 6 following the Parade of Lights at 7 p.m. “Because of the uniqueness of the tumbleweed tree, it’s just a special piece of our heritage,” said Jean Reynolds, Chandler public history coordinator.The customary tree lighting was started by a man named Earl Barnum who saw a similar practice done in Indiana with cone-shaped chicken wire. From that, Barnum hatched the idea to use tumbleweeds to make the tree.The collection of the tumbleweeds starts around October as the temperature starts to drop and the air grows colder. Members of Chandler’s Park Operations Division round up tumbleweeds from all around the city and are very selective as to the ones they choose.“They have to start at least a couple of months early because they’ve got a lot of scavenging (to do) just to see what’s out there,” Reynolds said. “… They’ve got to get particular types of sizes and a certain shape — they’re pretty particular, it’s funny — about the ones that they get.”Once all of the tumbleweeds are gathered, they are placed into the 25-foot-tall framework. After being placed, the tumbleweeds are painted with approximately 25 gallons of white paint, an additional 20 gallons of flame retardant and then dusted with over 60 pounds of glitter. Finally, the tree is adorned with more than 1,200 lights to create the final holiday monument.

  • Chabad Jewish Center of Mesa spreads Hanukkah cheer

    Hanukkah, the Jewish “Festival of Lights,” is conspicuous for a couple of reasons, namely the interesting lights and decorations and the eight-day length of the holiday.Rabbi Laibel Blotner, executive director of Chabad Jewish Center of Mesa, said the holiday is primarily about spreading the news of the miracle the holiday celebrates.A little back story: Hanukkah celebrates the freeing of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. and the story of the way in which a small amount of oil used in the menorah (the giant candelabra, an easily recognized symbol of Judaism, which was kept lit in the Temple) lasted for eight days when there only appeared to be enough oil for 24 hours.“One of the main themes of Hanukkah … is the uniqueness of fire, that you could go into a room that’s dark and you light a match and the room lights up and that teaches us that evil and negativity is not necessarily an entity for itself but a little light has the ability to disperse a lot of darkness and bring light and every human being … ultimately, can be considered a candle, they can bring light into a dark world,” Blotner said.To memorialize the story, Jews light a candle each night of the holiday until, on the last night, all eight candles are lit in a special menorah called a Hanukkiyah.The Chabad Jewish Center of Mesa organizes several local events in the East Valley to highlight the holiday, including displays at Dana Park, Mesa Riverview and Superstition Springs Center. The Chabad Jewish Center’s children’s choir performs local events, singing for the Jewish, as well as non-Jewish, residents of local senior living facilities and RV parks, one of which hosts a massive event where as many as 500 people eat latkes (a traditional Hanukkah food, akin to hash browns) and spin dreidels.

  • ZooLights opens 'bigger and brighter’ this year

    ZooLights, one of the most popular attractions of the holidays in the Valley, opened for its 23rd year on Nov. 24.Visitors are able to experience even more lights than last year, over 3.5 million. Phoenix Zoo features more than 700 displays and hosts a variety of activities.There will be two pricing options available this year. Attendees can choose between an “Any Night” ticket ($18 general admission/$16 for members) and a “Value Ticket” ($12 general admission/$10 for members). The zoo is also offering $2 off tickets purchased online, according to the Phoenix Zoo website.Linda Hardwick, director of communications at Phoenix Zoo, says that “we have had certain nights every year that get extremely congested.” Hardwick says the different ticket options are offered this year in order to spread out the congestion and to allow more people to freely move about the park.ZooLights will also feature longer hours this year along with being open three days longer than previous years.Hardwick says that every year, ZooLights hosts close to 300,000 people, but they are hoping that between offering the different ticket prices, opening three days earlier than they usually do, and extending ZooLights operating hours by one hour will encourage more people to come out and see the lights.“We like that say that ZooLights gets ‘bigger and brighter’ every year,” Hardwick said.

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  • Gilbert Town Council approves vendor opportunity policy

    The Gilbert Town Council unanimously voted to open up the local vendor opportunities to Gilbert businesses.The new policy requires town government employees to include at least one Gilbert business when notifying vendors of a request for quote or proposal for goods and services.Business must register with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce to reserve a place on the town’s vendor list. In the next few months the Chamber and Gilbert’s purchasing department will organize a vendor open house so local businesses can learn the registration process and how to receive RFQ and RFP notices from the Chamber.For more information about the vendor list and on how to join the Chamber, call (480) 892-0056 or visit www.GilbertAz.com.

  • Gas prices in state down again

    Thanksgiving drivers who took a trip to see their families or friends last week paid much lower gas prices than they did the week before.A report from AAA Arizona indicates Arizona drivers paid an average of $2.731 a gallon, which is a drop of almost 6 cents from the week prior. Peoria and Flagstaff held down the lowest and highest averages again at $2.594 and $3.040, respectively.Arizona is one of 40 states in which the average has dipped below $3; the national average is now $2.81.

  • Tempe boutique owner creating haven for local artists

    Julie Kent, an ASU alumna with a supply chain management background, said she never imagined herself entering the fashion world after college. Now, however, she’s become a local fashionista and the owner of a boutique in downtown Tempe.Kent was a regular customer at Here on the Corner Boutique — a clothing shop with items and accessories for men and women that first opened in 2002 — when the owners discussed selling it in 2011. Owning a business, a boutique especially, wasn’t in her plans, but it just made sense. And she’s adapted to that role and what it means to the downtown area.“Owning a business, like it or not, you’re part of a community,” Kent said. “You have a responsibility in your community to the businesses around you, to the people around you.”Kent said she takes her role as an employer very seriously and her top priority is making sure her five staff members have opportunities to use their talents and feel fulfilled in their jobs.Kent’s passion for helping others goes beyond her staff. She has turned Here on the Corner to a central place for local artists and designers. The boutique sells products by local designers, such as State Forty Eight and Woman’s Touch Apparel, and also hosts multiple charity and fundraiser events throughout the year.“I take it very seriously, and being a good neighbor, being a good citizen because once you own a business, you have a slightly bigger voice,” she said. “I try and help out as much as I can.”

  • Gilbert to open new parking structure

    Gilbert officials will celebrate the opening of a new parking structure with a two-hour event on Dec. 6.The celebration will feature music, a ribbon cutting and food from restaurants like So Cal Fish Taco Company, Postino East, Joyride Taco House, High Tide Seafood Bar and Grill, Flancer’s Café, Bergies Coffee, and several other places. The event will also serve as a collection point for the toy drive coordinated by the Gilbert fire and police departments.The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon, and more information is available by visiting gilbertaz.gov/DiscoverDeliciousGilbert.

  • Earnhardt Auto Centers adds new dealerships in Gilbert

    Earnhardt Auto Centers purchased another auto dealership in the Gilbert San Tan Motorplex on Nov. 24.Hal Earnhardt, the son of Tex Earnhardt, bought a Volkswagen dealership month, which comes a few months after he purchased a Maserati dealership in the same vicinity.The San Tan dealership is located on 1489 E. Motorplex Loop.

  • Home price recovery slowing down in Arizona

    The recovery of home prices in Arizona appears to have all but stalled.New figures Tuesday from the Federal Housing Finance Agency show prices paid for Arizona homes during the third quarter of this year were, on average, seven-tenths of a percent higher than the second quarter. That compares with 0.9 percent nationally.The increase, though, brought the annual appreciation to 6.6 percent — two full points better than the national average.Michael Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, said virtually all of that occurred very early this year.“I don't think we've really seen any significant price movement over the last 10 months or so,” he said.Potentially more concerning is that Orr does not believe the sales price numbers used to put reports like this together are actually accurate.

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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?

  • 12 Days of Holiday Cookies: Day 7 inspired by 3 Musketeers

    Sometimes you crave a caramel sugar bomb sort of candy bar, and sometimes you want something a bit more refined.And by refined we mean the pillowy softness of whipped nougat shrouded in milk chocolate, also known as a 3 Musketeers bar. To satisfy that craving with an even more refined hit of sweetness, we turned that candy bar into a delicate meringue-based cookie. And if you need your milk chocolate coating, fold in some finely chopped chocolate before baking.TRIPLE MUSKETEER PUFFSStart to finish: 1 hour (15 minutes active)Servings: 5 dozen4 egg whites

  • Let the sales begin!

    It’s Black Friday shopping season, and here we go again! Retailers are playing their games so they can get your dollars. As it was last year, Black Friday is not just one day, it is a season and it started in early November this year. There will be plenty more deals to come, but how do you know if a deal is a deal?One way retailers attempt to get your dollars is with sales. Often this time of the year, you will see phrases like “Black Friday” and “Door Buster Deals” being used to entice you. Are all of these sales really that good of a bargain?You must arm yourself with tools to combat between the dud and stud deals. Use your fingers to help you do the research. Don’t let retailers convince you it is a deal, prove it to yourself. Use websites like Amazon.com or Amazon’s price check app. In addition, use eBay to help you do your research and even the shopping section of Google too. These sites will help you to find out whether or not the item on sale is a door buster deal, a really good deal, or an everyday price. Amazon sells everything you can possibly think of and using their website, and it’s a good way to help you do your research. EBay allows you to find out what things are being sold for in their auctions. All you have to do is go to the search bar and click on the advance tab and type in what you are looking for. Then check off “sold listings below.” This will pull up the actual price the item sold for, giving you a current real price of what folks are willing to pay for an item. As for Google, simply type in what you’re looking for, click on “shopping” and you’ll see what everyone is selling the item for.THIS WEEKEND is a great time to find Door Buster DealsAccording to Dealnews.com, their research shows that in 2013, Thanksgiving Day had the most overall of deals for the shopping season compared to the actual Black Friday day. To top it off, Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, actually beat Black Friday in sales.At the end of the day, I really think you will see a tremendous amount of deals and a lot of aggressive and competitive pricing, especially for online deals. Let’s not forget one of the biggest online retailers, Amazon. They have been offering their Lightning Deals since the early weeks in November. Plus, if you are a Prime Member you get 30 minutes early access on their Lightning Deals. There are plenty of bargains for us all to score, just use these apps and websites to help you. Plus, if you want to see those ads in the newspaper you can for free. Just download the Flipp App on your smartphone.

  • 12 Days of Holiday Cookies: Day 6 inspired by 100 Grand

    So what would you do with 100 Grand?Obviously, the only appropriate answer is to eat it. But if you don't have one of those bars of chocolate, caramel and puffed-crisped rice handy, we've got you covered. These bar-style cookies capture everything we love about 100 Grand bars in a home-baked treat.CARAMELIZED CRISPY BAR COOKIESStart to finish: 45 minutes, plus coolingServings: 24For the cookies:

  • A holiday welcome

    As we open our homes to friends and family this holiday season, why not set the mood at the front door? I have designed these super cute door mats. They are really inexpensive and easy to make.The half-moon rugs come in several colors and are perfect for decorating. You can find them now at IKEA. They are called Tvis. I used permanent markers and acrylic paints to decorate.For the pumpkins, I used a variety of acrylic paints in burnt orange, brown, green and umber. I wish I could say I have a pattern, but I basically just did it free hand. Honestly, it’s easier than you think!With the string of lights, I used permanent markers and acrylic paint for the bulbs. Simply start with a black marker and loop it around like a string. Remember this is YOUR art so anything goes. About every couple of inches, create a socket for the light bulb with the black marker. Make sure you twist and turn them so they are facing in different directions. Then pick four or five colors for bulbs and alternate so the same colors aren’t next to each other.The good news is that these rugs are very durable and washable. Because they are so inexpensive to make, you can make a new one every year.From my family to yours, I wish you all the very best and that is special to you this holiday season!

  • A season of ‘thanks’ and ‘giving’

    The holiday season is my favorite time of year. As a mother, it’s even more special to see the sparkle and joy of this festive season through the eyes of my precious twin daughters.Growing up as a proud military brat, I cherish celebrating the holidays with family members near and far. My parents always threw huge holiday parties in our home filled with lots of homemade food, desserts, and plenty of holiday cheer. These incredible memories which are still enriching my life today.Today, I am enjoying the excitement of making new memories with our girls, which is truly the most special gift a mommy could ever ask for. Over the years, our family has graciously adopted some very special traditions. We enjoy baking and decorating sugar cookies, trimming our Christmas tree, and transforming our home into a winter wonderland.On Christmas morning, it is so funny to watch our angels precociously creep down the stairs in hopes of spotting Santa nibbling on the treats they left on the mantle, or seeing their eyes light up when they receive that ONE special gift they so desperately wanted.But the most important tradition we share each year is donating to Valley non-profits. Before our angels even think about writing a wish list for themselves, they collect gently-used clothes, shoes and last year’s “must have” gadgets for those less fortunate. They can hardly contain themselves while boxing up their items. It is truly wonderful to see their little hearts fill with so much joy as they get out of the car and walk their boxes into the donation center. Every year, their kindness and generosity move me to tears.This year, I asked them what makes the holidays so special. Each one quickly replied, “Donating to other kids who don’t have as much.” My husband and I confidently smiled at one another, thankful we are raising our girls the same we were brought up with humility and respect.

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