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  • Grand Opening for the Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West

    The Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West is hosting its grand opening Tuesday, May 26 from 5pm to 8pm. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony there will be a tropical-themed reception with food, drinks and live entertainment. The reception will be poolside and indoors as well. Tours will be available as well. The new hotel is located at 860 N. Riverview, Mesa, Ariz., 85201. 

  • Community care unit aiding Mesa residents, aims to expand across the Valley

    Waiting to get in to the emergency room is a pain, quite literally. Sitting in a waiting room for hours in the hopes that a room might open up soon and you can see a doctor soon.However, Mesa Fire and Medical Department, Superstition Fire and Medical Department and Mountain Vista Medical Center are teaming up to provide care to those who need it, but might not need a trip to the emergency room.The departments and the hospital have been operating a community care unit to provide in-home care to those in need instead of forcing those people to have to come to an emergency room when it may not be necessary.“We decided, ‘You know what, we need to start another level of response here to deal with those lower acuity calls,’” said Mesa Fire and Medical Chief Harry Beck.After a rash of flu calls backed up the emergency rooms a few years ago, Beck teamed up with Mountain Vista Medical Center and decided to start the community care unit.The unit is made up of transportation provided by the Mesa Fire and Medical Department and a registered nurse provided by the medical center. Once they arrive on scene, they will stay with the patient until they are sure they are safe and able to care for themselves.

  • United Food Bank raising cash with Harley raffle

    Fundraising efforts for the United Food Bank never ends.Although the food bank receives a tremendous amount of donations of food and time, money is always needed.So, this summer the food bank is conducting a raffle for a 2015 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special. The grand prize winner gets to choose between the bike or $20,000 cash. Second place is awarded $2,500; third and fourth each receive $1,000, fifth through 14th places each get $500, and 15th through 50th places each receive $100.Just 5,000 tickets, at $40 each, will be sold, food bank Communications Director Sergio Paris said.Tickets can be purchased through the website at www.unitedfoodbank.org.The winners are to be selected at the food bank’s Paint the Town Orange Ball, set for Sept. 12 at the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa.

  • Seton’s senior class celebrates graduation

    Seniors at Seton Catholic Preparatory in Chandler gave their final farewells to the high school/home they have grown to cherish for the past four years during the school’s graduation ceremony on May 19. It was a time for celebrating their accomplishments, and focusing on the future.This year, Seton graduated 119 within the Class of 2015, and 62 percent of the graduates received one or more scholarships.The combined total of scholarships received by the Class of 2015 was approximately $4.4 million to private, national and state universities. Some institutes consisted of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Creighton University, University of Rochester, Gonzaga University, George Washington University, and AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts.Although Seton graduated a number of talented scholars, there were three that stood out from the crowd for their commitment of being top students at the school.William Hietter was named this year’s valedictorian, and plans to attend Gonzaga University in the fall.Hietter, a Gilbert resident, earned multiple scholarships to Gonzaga, which include the Trustee Scholarship, Entrepreneurial Leaders Scholarship, Joseph M. Cataldo S.J. Scholarship and the James L. Alexander Scholarship for Excellence, according to a statement released by Seton.

  • USDA offers summer food safety tips

    Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer, and many Americans will celebrate with cookouts, camping, road trips and other activities that involve food.The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is reminding families to take extra care not to let foodborne bacteria, which grows more quickly in hot weather, ruin the fun.“This Memorial Day weekend and all summer long, I encourage families to get outside and enjoy our natural resources, national parks and forests, and the variety of food America’s farmers are able to provide,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “It’s important to remember that bacteria grow faster in the same warm temperatures that people enjoy, so extra care needs to be taken to prevent food poisoning when preparing meals away from home. USDA reminds everyone to use a food thermometer, and take advantage of resources like our FoodKeeper app to help with any food handling questions.”Last month, USDA launched its FoodKeeper mobile app, which contains specific guidance on more than 400 food and beverage items, including safe cooking recommendations for meat, poultry and seafood products. The app provides information on how to store food and beverages to maximize their freshness and quality. This will help keep products fresh longer than if they were stored improperly, which can happen more often during hot summer days. The application is available for free on Android and Apple devices.Due to a variety of factors, including warmer temperatures, foodborne illness increases in summer. To help Americans stay healthy and safe, USDA offers the following food safety recommendations.Bringing food to a picnic or cookout:

  • Young innovators participate in Pearson’s Kids CoLab

    Each week, a team of young innovators throughout the Valley put their smarts and imaginations together and work in Pearson’s iDEA Innovation Center in Chandler to co-design digital-learning tools.The collaboration of innovation is in conjunction with Pearson’s Kids CoLab, which is made up of a team of eight second- and seventh-graders, where they work side by side with the company’s designers and developers.The team of innovators include Saathvik Chandupatla, Ava Dorais, Michael Frantz, Briana Jamerson, Tatum Kahrs, Matthew Mularoni, Lucy Rockwell and Brandon West.“Kids CoLab is part of Pearson’s research and innovation network. Our mission is to research and invent new capability and tools for educators to help ensure that they create engaging, meaningful and personalize learning,” said Lisa Maurer, product designer and research manager at Pearson. “It’s in support of students’ success.”Some of the learning tools the young innovators created within Kids CoLab consisted of a better understanding in mathematics, reading and environmental awareness.Students participated in circle time each day, where they shared their ideas about a new application or learning tool they felt could be used in an educational setting.

  • Gettin’ Jazzy: summer workshops at The Nash

    Annual summer jazz workshops for students of all ages and skill levels will begin June 1 at The Nash, 110 E. Roosevelt St., Suite 110, Phoenix. The live jazz club will host numerous workshops that are taught by instructors comprised of leading jazz artists from the Valley. Following the interest in developing new jazz musicians and building the skills of existing musicians, The Nash’s roster of workshops have been extended to August.Workshops include Vocal Improvisation, Latin Percussion, Exploring Modal Jazz in the ’60s, Jazz Composition and more. The Nash/ASU Latin Jazz WorkshopInstructor: Michael KocourJune 1-4, 1-4 p.m. Registration fee: $100

  • Cocktail of the Month - Nabers Peachy Rita

  • Give mom a ‘Girls Night Out’ this Thursday

    Tell mom to grab her gal pals for an evening of culinary instruction and wine, Italiano style. Chef Carmella Dodge will show local ladies how to create mouth-watering caponata and crostini and Tuscan chicken and pasta with butternut squash puree at the event, to be held 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 7, at Allstate Appliance Showroom in Scottsdale.The cost is $35 for VOSJCC members, and $50 for non-members. Register at vosjcc.org/girlsnightout.

  • May the fourth just got a whole lot tastier

    A brand new Pita Pit is opening at 21202 South Ellsworth Loop Road, Suite 110 in Queen Creek on Monday, May 4th. To celebrate the auspicious opening on this important Star Wars day the first 38 people who come in full Star Wars cos-play will get their meal free. And anyone who comes in wearing anything Star Wars related will get a free cookie. With a huge selection of meat, veggie, and breakfast options, Pita Pit is sure to satisfy every Jedi warrior, Sith Lord, or lowly Jawa. 

  • Indie book publishing company breaks down publishing barriers

    Anyone who has tried to get a book published knows that it’s an arduous process filled with more rejections than a telemarketer’s Monday. Not to mention it’s scary putting yourself out there. Yet after you’ve spent countless hours, sweat and tears creating your manuscript, you find the doors to making your book a reality closed and barred. The barriers entry-level writers experience seems to grow taller and thicker with each passing year.While self-publishing is an alternative — and a good way to utilize technology — it doesn’t guarantee that people will pick up your novel. What’s more, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get your book into traditional bookstores.It’s not uncommon that editors are forced to set aside promising manuscripts in favor of assured lucrative books. In other words, it’s riskier to print a little-known author’s amazing novel than Snooki’s “A Shore Thing.”But all is not lost. Enter in She Writes Press: a new kind of publishing company. Founded by Kamy Wicoff (“Wishful Thinking” and “She Writes” blog) and Brooke Warner in 2012, She Writes Press (SWP) took a hint from the various indie companies popping in other industries, like music and film, and applied it to book publishing.“I say that I started the thing I needed. And I think a lot of times books also come from that place. The best books are the books you need, that you want — the story that you wished was in the world — and that you have to go and create.” Wicoff said.The idea behind SWP was to tear down the barriers that traditional publishing erected, and help aspiring women writers get published based on merit, instead of name recognition or other barring factors.

  • East sushi, help kids: RA’s “Nicky’s Week” starts Monday

    RA Sushi is hosting its 11th annual Nicky’s Week, a week-long fundraiser benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, from Monday, May 25 through Sunday, May 31. Dedicated to the memory of Nicholas “Nicky” Mailliard, nephew of one of RA Sushi’s founders, Nicky’s Week will be going on at all five Valley RA locations, where 100 percent of sales for select items will be donated. Since it began in 2005, Nicky’s Week has raised over $1.5 million for St. Jude, where, thanks to these and other generous donations, no family ever has to pay for treatment. RA Sushi has locations in Ahwatukee, Mesa, Tempe, North Scottsdale and Old Town Scottsdale. So find the RA in your neighborhood and head down for a great cause and more sushi than you can shake a chop stick at!The Nicky’s Week special menu includes: Edamame, Tootsy Maki, Shrimp Nigiri, Pork Gyoza, Sesame Garlic Chicken, and Garlic Citrus Yellowtail, as well as a variety of select beverages.For more information visit rasushi.com, call any of the Valley locations.

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  • Financial Focus: Outlook for today’s investors: less certainty — but potential opportunities

    The world of today is vastly different from the one that existed in, say, 1974. Innovations such as the Internet, smartphones, tablets, Facebook, Twitter and so on have made our lives more enjoyable. Yet when it comes to one important area of our lives — investing for the future — many of us may actually face more challenges today than we might have in the past.At least two main factors are responsible for this apparent regression. First, following a quarter century during which U.S. workers’ income rose fairly steadily, “real” wages — that is, wages after inflation is considered — have been flat or declining since about 1974, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Secondly, during this same time period, we’ve seen a large drop in the percentage of private-sector workers covered under a “defined benefit” plan — the traditional pension plan in which retired employees receive a specified monthly benefit, with the amount determined by years of service, earnings history and age.What can you do to improve your prospects for eventually achieving a comfortable retirement?First of all, in the absence of a formal pension, you will need to create your own retirement plan. That means you will need to consider all the opportunities available to you. If your employer offers a 401(k) or similar account, such as a 403(b), contribute as much as you can afford. And even if you participate in your employer’s plan, you may also be eligible to open an IRA. If you’re self-employed, you still have options such as a SEP IRA or a “solo 401(k).” While these accounts may differ from each other in terms of eligibility, income restrictions and contribution limits, they both offer the same key benefit: the ability to defer taxes on your earnings for many years, typically until retirement.As for your next main challenge — the need to compensate for stagnant real wages and the subsequent difficulty of boosting your savings — what can you do? For one thing, you will need a reasonable percentage of your portfolio — both inside and outside your IRA, 401(k) and other retirement plans — devoted to growth-oriented investments. It’s true that the value of growth vehicles, such as stocks and stock-based instruments, will always fluctuate.• This article was written by Edward Jones for use by Ahwatukee Foothills Edward Jones Financial Advisor Joseph B. Ortiz, AAMS, CRPS. Reach him at (480) 753-7664 or joseph.ortiz@edwardjones.com. Accredited Asset Management Specialist and AAMS, Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist and CRPS are registered service marks of the College for Financial Planning.

  • Google’s driverless car set to hit public roads

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — The latest version of Google’s self-driving car — a pod-like two-seater that needs no gas pedal or steering wheel — will make its debut on public roads this summer, a significant step in the technology giant’s mission to have driverless cars available to consumers in the next five years.This prototype is the first vehicle built from scratch for the purpose of self-driving, Google says. It looks like a Smart car with a shiny black bowler hat to hide its sensors, and it can drive, brake and recognize road hazards without human intervention. It has more capabilities than the prototype Google introduced last May, which was so rudimentary it had fake headlights.The new pod isn’t designed for a long trip, or a joyride. It lacks air bags and other federally required safety features, so it can’t go more than 25 miles per hour. It’s electric, and has to be recharged after 80 miles. And the pod can only drive in areas that have been thoroughly mapped by Google.At first, it will likely even have a steering wheel and gas pedal — current California regulations require them. Those regulations also require a driver to be able to take back control of the car at any time. But Google is lobbying for more flexible regulations.Google will initially build and test 25 pods, mostly in neighborhoods surrounding its Mountain View headquarters. It will eventually build between 50 and 100, and will broaden testing to sites that are hillier and rainier.

  • Ahwatukee resident helps turn business dreams into reality

    Judy Stoleson had a nice cushy job in corporate America. She loved her work but was looking for a fresh start, to do something new.That was 15 years ago, and now she is taking her wealth of business knowledge and passing it on to a new generation of business owners and entrepreneurs.Stoleson, who works out of her home office in Ahwatukee, is a business coach for, and also owns, The Entrepreneur’s Source, a franchise that offers business coaching to those looking to strike out on their own.After looking into The Entrepreneur’s Source franchise, Stoleson knew what she wanted to do — she wanted to be a business coach.“I really like capitalism,” she said. “I wanted to help other people achieve that in their life if it was right for them. I felt like after many years in corporate America I wanted to give back.”Essentially, Stoleson offers advice and counsel to people who are looking to get into business. The first step, she said, is to find out what is important to her client and develop a plan of action from there.

  • Mesa’s Fiesta District undergoes yet another revitalization

    The Fiesta District is not what it once was — it is not the big financial office center like it was in the ‘80s, nor is it the ultimate attraction for retailers and restaurants as it was 20 years ago.Yet, efforts to revitalize the area have prevailed and are expected to continue for the next several years.The Fiesta corporate campus in the Fiesta Mall and Southern Avenue streetscape improvements are part of the city of Mesa’s plans to revitalize the district.“The revitalization of the area is being done to basically bring back or make the Fiesta District more of an inviting destination place,” said Michele Arrollado, communications specialist for the city of Mesa.As retail competition in the East Valley grew, changes in population resulted in retailers closing or moving to other locations, Mesa Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh said. As big-box retailers, such as Big Lots, moved out, the city of Mesa decided something needed to be done.The city started hosting meetings in 2003 to discuss the Fiesta Mall and the area, Kavanaugh said. The city began to work with redevelopment and transportation consultants to brand the area’s infrastructure, he said.

  • Should strong dollar affect investment choices?

    A “strong dollar” sounds like a good thing. And, in some ways, it may be. But what does it mean to you, as an investor?Before you can answer this question, you need to be familiar with what the phrase “strong dollar” really means. The worth of the U.S. dollar can’t really be assessed in isolation. Instead, the dollar’s value is determined by its constantly changing strength relative to other currencies.And right now, the dollar is flexing its muscles. In fact, earlier this year, the dollar hit a 12-year high versus the euro, and it’s also strong against almost every other major currency in the world.A number of factors seems to be driving the strength of the dollar. First of all, the U.S. economy has been relatively robust, making the U.S. a more appealing destination for foreign capital.Also, we’ve reduced imports and increased exports, thanks in part to the boom in U.S. energy production and subsequent drop in oil prices. This smaller trade gap has helped shore up the dollar.And even though interest rates in the U.S. are quite low, by historical standards, they are still higher than those being paid in Europe and Japan. These higher rates have made U.S. bonds more attractive to foreign investors, consequently increasing the attractiveness of the dollar. In some aspects of your own life, you may also find the strong dollar to be beneficial.

  • Kennedy: Protecting your most important asset

    What’s your most important asset? Your home? Other property? Savings? For most Americans, one particular asset – your income – is more important than any of these. Everything most people own is dependent on their ability to earn an income. It’s that steady paycheck that allows you to hold on to what you have.If you became unable to work because of sickness or injury, how would you pay your monthly bills? Generations of Americans continue to depend on disability income insurance, which was introduced by Mutual of Omaha and other companies in the early 1900s. Disability income insurance provides protection for your income. It’s an affordable solution that pays a monthly benefit while you are disabled due to a covered sickness or injury and can’t work.Nobody wants to think about becoming disabled, but ignoring the risks could result in a catastrophe. Can you afford to miss more than two months of work without having to borrow money? The problem is borrowing often isn’t feasible because it can be tough to get approved for a loan without an income. Social Security will pay disability benefits, but only after a lengthy waiting period. You can tap your savings, but that will exhaust most workers’ savings in about two months. Selling your assets is a last resort – but you may not get fair value for your assets and then you’ll have nothing.Disability income insurance provides a bridge over times of trouble. Disability income insurance can be designed to provide a significant portion of your regular monthly income (generally 60 percent) and benefits can be timed to begin according to need. Disability income policies also could continue to pay benefits during rehabilitation, job re-training and part-time employment. A survivor benefit would pay a lump-sum benefit to your beneficiary if you die during a period of disability. Optional features (riders) could be added to most disability income policies at extra cost. These may include a cost-of-living adjustment to compensate for inflation and a return of premium rider. This latter feature may allow the consumer to specify that a portion of the premiums (sometimes up to 80 percent) will be paid back – less any claims paid – after the insurance has been in force for 10 years. Owners of small businesses who select disability income insurance could have business overhead expense coverage that will help pay business costs including rent, utilities and interest on business loans.Disability income insurance also provides some benefits that are intangible, but still very important. Your most important reason for purchasing disability income insurance could be the “peace of mind” that comes with knowing that bills will be paid in the event of a disabling illness or injury.And don’t underestimate the boost in confidence and sense of self-worth that comes from providing for your family even though you’re experiencing a disability.

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  • Shapiro: The gift of Torah

    The call went forth in fire and thunder: I AM. The people trembled in awe. All the souls of all the people who would ever be Jewish gathered in awe. At the mountain’s summit, Moses transcribed furiously. Thus did the Torah come into the world.The Torah is the Hebrew name for the Five Books of Moses, the core of our Bible. We tell a tremendous tale of how the Torah was given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The story serves to enforce the text’s sanctity and the eternal bond between God and the Jewish people. We reenact this story every time the Torah is taken from the ark to be read. We revel in this account of revelation even though we know that the reality of the Torah’s creation was likely far more prosaic.We celebrate the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people during the Festival of Shavuot, known by Christians as Pentecost because it takes place 50 days after Passover. This year, it falls on the evening of May 23. It’s a celebration for words and the gift of a book from On High. How strange! How did that come about? What purpose could it possibly serve today?Shavuot is one of the Shalosh Regalim, the three Pilgrimage Festivals of ancient days, when Israelites would travel to Jerusalem to offer the first fruits of the season at the Temple. What started as a harvest holiday morphed into a celebration of Torah as the early rabbis affirmed it as the central story of our people. Still later, Shavuot became an opportunity to honor Jews by Choice, those special individuals who have chosen to throw their lot with the Jewish people. They walk the path of Ruth, and live her words of commitment: “Wherever you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried” (Ruth 1:16-17).Nowadays, active Jews attend late night study sessions on Shavuot. These nights can be exhilarating opportunities to engage more deeply with Torah through study. We learn from multiple teachers and share our insights with each other. In addition to the Torah, on Shavuot we especially read the Book of Ruth, that tender account of desperation and devotion.The Torah is the symbol of the love shared between God and the Jewish people. Because Shavuot marks the night that symbol was given, the Kabbalists taught that it is our marriage night as well. We study into the night to achieve a mystical union with God. Just as Ruth bound herself to Naomi and her tribe, so do we bind ourselves, over and over again, to our God and our Torah. This is precisely what converts to Judaism do through the choices of their lives, and we honor and learn from their commitment.

  • Keeping the Faith: Good all the time

    I heard humorist Jack Handey say that you should never criticize someone until you walk a mile in his or her shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, “You are a mile away and have their shoes.” That’s not bad advice, especially when it comes to telling others how to parent their children. If you want to kick over that notorious hornet’s nest, do it from miles away, or at least make sure those shoes on your feet are running shoes.While this is one of the quickest ways to get into serious trouble, this doesn’t stop the practice from being all the rage these days, however. Websites, blogs, reality shows, that crazy old blue-haired lady at the park, the priest who has never had the experience of being an actual father, your grouchy neighbor whose own children are now on Social Security themselves: Everyone has an opinion – and words of instruction – for what to do and not do with your children.Personally, I don’t appreciate very much of this unsolicited counsel (I don’t know many who do). Yes, when we need advice we should seek it, and we should all bend listening ears to those people we genuinely trust and respect. But armchair parenting? No thanks.That’s why I couldn’t believe that I became one of “those people,” one who stuck his big nose into someone else’s parental business. It happened so quickly, so impulsively, that I have gained a new understanding for those who sometimes rush in with uninvited guidance.I was sitting at my son’s mid-week football practice, watching with a group of other parents when a mother stood to leave and called to her young lad: “It’s time to leave; we have to go to church.” Her son, not more than five-years-old, had been busy playing with his friends. He was not happy with the interruption. He popped off, “No! I don’t want to go to church!”His mother answered, “Well, then God will send you to hell with the devil and his angels if you don’t go to church.” And that is where I stopped being an observer and became an interfering, meddlesome busybody. “Don’t you ever say that to your child again!” I snapped, not realizing at the time how loud my voice had become.

  • The Constant Traveler: Nashville

    Visiting Nashville can be daunting. You know you’re surrounded by country stars, but they have been invisible to you. Other than a night at The Grand Ole Opry, you feel you missed out. You just didn’t get close enough to absorb the energy and the tradition of the town.So, let me give you some suggestions for picking up the Nashville vibe.First of all, I should tell you that the C&W music influence is not confined to the city of Nashville, but is spread throughout the region and you might just be a lucky devil if you plan a day in the nearby towns of Clarksville, Hendersonville or Franklin.This is where my last trip to Nashville began -- in Clarksville. Now I’m not going to say this Clarksville is the one made famous by the song Last Train to Clarksville, but Tommy Boyce, who co-wrote the record, did spend his last years in Nashville. While I was Clarksville, the city was throwing itself a party, its annual Rivers & Spires Festival, which spreads across the whole downtown. The main headliner on the day I was there was Love & Theft, a duo with a No. 1 hit, Angel Eyes. I guarantee, you won’t get any closer to the stage than you will in Clarksville. Not only that, but there are all sorts of local contests or contacts to meet the stars.I hung out with Eric and Steve of Love & Theft before their show and they must have had their picture taken with a dozen locals, who were very happy to be there.Not far away in Hendersonville look for the cemetery called the Hendersonville Memory Gardens. This is where Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash are buried, and many a fan will make the trek here to pay their respects. Take a look around, just behind the well-marked graves of Johnny and June Carter are the graves of the Carter Family, stars in the firmament of that first generation of the great country-western singers. Nearby is the showy grave of Merle Kilgore, who wrote the country standard, Wolverton Mountain, and co-wrote with June Carter Cash, Ring of Fire. Also, buried at Hendersonville Memory Gardens are Johnny Cash’s parents and the singer Sheb Wooley, who had a number one hit in 1958 with the novelty song Purple People Eater.

  • Got a grilling question? Call the LongHorn Steakhouse Grill Us Hotline

    LongHorn Steakhouse will ignite summer grilling season with the third annual LongHorn Grill Us Hotline this weekend.LongHorn’s certified Grill Masters will be available May 22 through 24, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide tips for making holiday grill-outs a success via phone and text.Grilling season officially kicks off this weekend with 57 percent of U.S. households firing up their grills and 71 percent grilling steak. With LongHorn’s new live text component, at-home grillers can easily get the advice they need to start the season with a victory and impress their guests.At the LongHorn Grill Us Hotline with its new live-texting component, the LongHorn Steakhouse Grill Masters are providing real-time professional grilling advice via phone or live text.“We want to guide grillers to become masters of their summer backyard grill-outs,” said Kurt Hankins, executive chef at LongHorn Steakhouse. “Whether you’re trying a new recipe or perfecting an old favorite, we’re here to help everyone become a grill hero.” The Grill Us Hotline

  • Don’t let the slobber fool you, your dog could be brainiac

    Los Angeles • When her muscles locked and left her unable to move or speak, Wallis Brozman was glad she had a genius for a service dog.Brozman, who has a movement disorder called dystonia, had taken her golden-Labrador retriever mix, Caspin, outside for a potty break without attaching the pulling harness he wears to guide her. Suddenly, she couldn’t move.“I couldn’t talk or yell. I had no phone to text a message. I thought I would be stranded until someone found us,” said Brozman, who lives on her own in Santa Rosa, Calif., with a wheelchair and Caspin, who understands English and sign language.Caspin put his neck under her hand until she got a finger looped on his collar.“Then, very slowly, he started to pull me forward. He pushed the door open. Then he stayed by me until I could function enough to get into bed,” she said.Caspin ranks as a Protodog, a spontaneous pooch that bonds easily and can solve problems on its own or with people, according to dog intelligence measures created by scientists and trainers. The Dognition Assessment uses 20 games to determine a dog’s level of empathy, communication, cunning, memory and reasoning.

  • ABC faces credibility crisis over Stephanopoulos donations

    NEW YORK (AP) — George Stephanopoulos apologized to viewers Friday for donating $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation and failing to disclose it earlier, as ABC News now finds its chief anchor in a credibility crisis on the eve of a presidential campaign.Stephanopoulos said on “Good Morning America” that the donations, made in three increments to the foundation started by his one-time boss, former President Bill Clinton, were a mistake.“I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict,” the “GMA” and “This Week” host said. “I apologize to all of you for failing to do that.”Stephanopoulos rose to the top ranks at ABC over 18 years and worked to establish himself as an independent journalist despite skepticism by some in politics because of his background as a top aide to Clinton’s 1992 campaign and later in the White House. The donations brought that issue back to the fore just as Hillary Rodham Clinton is launching her presidential campaign.ABC News President James Goldston has not addressed whether Stephanopoulos will be disciplined. The network said in a statement Thursday that it stands behind Stephanopoulos and that the anchor made an honest mistake. ABC said Stephanopoulos voluntarily removed himself as a moderator for ABC’s planned coverage of a GOP presidential debate next February.Peter Schweizer, author of “Clinton Cash,” a book that traces the public involvement of organizations that have donated to the Clinton Foundation, said Friday that Stephanopoulos’ donations “highlight precisely the lack of transparency and cronyism that I report on.” Stephanopoulos interviewed Schweizer recently on the Sunday public affairs program “This Week” without revealing the donations.

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