East Valley Tribune

Mesa Gilbert Chandler Tempe Queen Creek Arizona Education

  • Mesa firm donates windows to housing program

    A Mesa company is helping out with national Make a Difference Day and Domestic Violence Awareness Month by installing new windows in three House of Refuge homes.Renewal by Andersen employees will install about $75,000 worth of windows in the homes. House of Refuge in Mesa is a transitional housing program for homeless families and victims of domestic violence.The work is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Oct. 21. The official Make a Difference Day is Oct. 24. Other Mesa groups have plans to conduct service projects that day. City officials say about 1,500 people are expected to volunteer on Oct. 24. The city of Mesa offered grants to help with some projects.The window rehabilitation project is made possible by the Windows for a Change program founded by Renewal by Andersen. The program’s goal is to renovate all 88 homes owned by House of Refuge.Renewal by Andersen personnel point out that one in four women are victimized at some point in their lives. More than 2.5 million American women and 10 million U.S. children are victims of domestic abuse every year.Make a Difference Day is observed across the U.S. the fourth Saturday of October each year. It’s billed as a community service day designed to make a difference in the lives of other people.

  • Watergate figure speaks at ASU

    John Dean, an attorney for President Richard Nixon, and a key figure in the Watergate scandal, is to speak at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15.Dean is to discuss Watergate’s influence on American politics and journalism. He will be interviewed by Cronkite faculty member and former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., who was the Post’s deputy metro editor during Watergate.Dean is ASU’s Barry Goldwater chair of American institutions this year.Dean was Nixon’s attorney from 1970 until 1973. He implicated the president, administration officials and himself in the cover-up. He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for his role and testified at trials of White House aides. Dean was sentenced to four months in prison.

  • Mesa plans early Halloween party

    A free party is scheduled from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17 at the Red Mountain Soccer Complex. 905 N. Sun Valley Blvd.Georgia Chrome, a country rock band, performs from 6-8 p.m. A superheroes training camp is set for 5:30 p.m.Some carnival rides and games are free. A $5 pass gets kids unlimited access to other rides.The city’s parks and recreation staff will give away treats, city departments will have trick or treat booths set up and vehicles from the police and fire departments will be on display, along with a “haunted bus.”The movie “Monsters University,” will be shown at 8 p.m.People are encouraged to dress in costumes.

  • Kyrene Traditional Academy recognized as Blue Ribbon School

    In just its fourth year offering structured education to East Valley students, Kyrene Traditional Academy (KTA) in Chandler has been selected as a Blue Ribbon School. The prestigious designation, given by the Department of Education to only four Arizona schools this year, is bestowed on elementary, middle and high schools that either achieve high levels of performance or succeed in closing the achievement gap – Kyrene won in the latter category. It is the first school in the Kyrene School District to be selected as a Blue Ribbon School.This achievement gap refers to the gap in success between certain subgroups where children, due to a disadvantaged upbringing or disability, often perform poorer as a whole than their peers. Schools where 40 percent or more of students are from these disadvantaged groups that are able to close this gap in achievement are eligible to be nominated as a Blue Ribbon School.“Closing the gap involves getting these students to where they need to be at grade level by providing targeted intervention for those students that are performing at a lower level than their peers,” said Dr. Marianne Lescher, principal at KTA.This targeted intervention is chief among the programs to which Lescher attributes KTA’s success. The program, meant to raise the performance of students who have not met the school’s standards, is used in conjunction with benchmark baseline data that tracks the performance of students over the course of the year. Above all, it is a program that is adaptive and caters to what each student requires.“We give small group intervention aimed at their specific needs,” Lescher said. “If a child is in fifth grade but reading at a third-grade level we will have daily meetings with them to slowly bring them up to level and provide individual support when needed.”These high standards the students are expected to meet are formed around KTA’s adherence to the Spalding Method, a child-centered educational philosophy based in an interactive and multi sensory approach to instruction. Teachers at KTA must undergo more than 80 hours of additional and on-going training in order to teach using the Spalding Method.

  • Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park to host Halloween Havoc event

    Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is hosting a Halloween event for all ages on Oct. 17 with trick or treating, costume contests, and the loud racing and riding the venue is known for.Halloween Havoc has been a tradition at the motorsports park for several years, but with new ownership and management the group really wanted to grow the event and make it something for everyone.“We’re back and we’re open and we’ve got lots of events coming in this year,” said Debra Stokes, director of sales and marketing for Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. “We’re going to have something for everyone. We’ll have traditional racing events, but also monster truck events this spring and some other stuff coming in.”The Halloween Havoc event on Saturday, Oct. 17 will begin at 4:30 p.m.More than 200 show cars will be on scene passing out candy to guests as part of the event’s trunk or treat. SugarRush Arizona is sponsoring a kids zone for the event with games, activities and pumpkin decorating. Participants of all ages can win prizes through a costume parade and contest.The main attraction will take place on the venue’s drag strip where the crowd can enjoy some racing of ET Bracket Cars, Junior Dragsters, and a Top Dragster/Top Sportsman shootout. The crowd will also have the chance to see racing of Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars and Western Fuel Altereds topping speeds of 250 mph. If the racing isn’t enough the event will also include a motorcycle stunt show and fireworks beginning at 10:30 p.m. to close out the night’s entertainment.

  • French Fry Heaven is heaven on earth for ASU students

    Eating French fries for dinner is the new norm for Arizona State University students thanks to the new French Fry Heaven restaurant at Vista Del Sol marketplace.French Fry Heaven is revolutionizing the way Americans see French fries and the new Tempe restaurant is the first in the state, and is now one of 14 French Fry Heaven locations nationwide. French Fry Heaven owner, Scott Nelowet, is an ASU alumnus and opened his first location in Florida in 2011. Nelowet came up with the concept of French Fry Heaven after traveling to Europe and seeing French fry stands on nearly every street.Savannah Miller manages the Tempe location and has been there since the beginning.“I started working here right when we opened up,” Miller said. “I was in the back unloading boxes of all the fryers and putting stuff together.”Unlike other restaurants that serve French fries as a side dish, French Fry Heaven makes French fries the main entrée.“You’re not coming in here for pizza, you’re not coming in here for a deli sandwich, you’re coming in here for French fries, something that usually just comes on the side of a meal with a drink,” Miller said.

  • Movies On Screen: Opening this Week

    PanThe story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny -- to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan. Starring: Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Adeel Akhtar, Levi Miller, Amanda Seyfried, Jack Charles, Taejoo Na, Nonso Anozie, Kathy Burke. PGThe WalkTwelve people have walked on the moon, but only one man has ever, or will ever, walk in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. Guided by his real-life mentor, Papa Rudy, and aided by an unlikely band of international recruits, Petit and his gang overcome long odds, betrayals, dissension and countless close calls to conceive and execute their mad plan. The film is a love letter to Paris and New York City in the 1970s, but most of all, to the Towers of the World Trade Center. Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, Steve Valentine, Sergio Di Zio, Mark Camacho, Kwasi Songui, Clément Sibony. PGKnock KnockWhen a devoted husband and father is left home alone for the weekend, two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture results in a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse. Starring: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Ignacia Allamand, Aaron Burns, Colleen Camp. R

  • All you need is faith, trust and a pinch of pixie dust

    Take a journey in three classic Disney fairy tales through acting, dancing and music at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix (formerly US Airways Center).In Disney Live! Three Classic Fairy Tales, patrons will get to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast on Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Oct. 11 at noon and 3 p.m.Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy will narrate the stories in a 90-minute show filled with music, laughter, love and friendship.Cinderella is brought to life by Maggie Woodard, who plays the pauper-turned-princess, and Tim Keogh, who plays Prince Charming.“It’s great every time I get to dance with him. When I see him walking towards me on the grand staircase at the ball, we lock eyes and we fall in love every time we dance,” Woodard said.The princess’ iconic blue ball gown was designed by Tony award-winner Greg Barnes and is made to look like it’s lit from within, Woodard said. The transformation of Cinderella’s dress is just one of many magical effects that capture the spark of Disney. It’s a moment that Keogh never tires of.

  • Driving with Gass...Man!

    Our first station fundraiser is finally here, this Saturday, Oct. 10, at Pho Cao in Scottsdale. The night will be filled with great music and prizes for our raffle as we raise money for KQCX 99.1FM and “Don’t Be a Chump! Check for a Lump!” breast cancer awareness campaign. They provide free mammograms and wigs for women undergoing chemotherapy. Founder Holly Rose is a breast cancer survivor of over six years now. She’s been giving back to the community with her charity, helping many women receive custom wigs. Every year they hold their “Wig Out” event in July. Their mission is clear to both men and women, that self-examination is extremely important for early detection. Know your body: checkforalump.org.The event is called the 10 for 10 show and it will cost $10 at the door. The first 100 people who pay will receive a free car wash courtesy of Clean Freak Car Wash. They have eight locations across the Valley too and they can be found online at cleanfreakcarwash.com. By the way, that’s a $9 car wash.The night’s entertainment will be provided by four bands and an acoustic act. Starting the night will be Truckers on Speed. This will be my first time seeing them as they came highly recommended. Carol Pacey and the Honeyshakers will follow. Their brand of rock and roll will get you off your feet and moving. Pacey is one of the hardest working women in rock we have here in Phoenix and her energy and performance prove it every show. Johnny Lee will provide the acoustic guitar. He’s been writing songs his whole life and he is my personal favorite. There’s just something about his lyrics that are both real and uplifting that just grab your attention. The way he constructs his songs are relatable to everyone, along with the rhythm he brings with his six-string. No doubt you’ll remember one of his songs after watching him play.The headliner is The Pleasure Victims. They were my first choice to play this event. Not only is their name taken from Berlin’s second album, but this sexy group brings a new dimension to rock music that brings in a slice of late ’70s punk to ’80s synth rock with today’s mind splashed all over. Their suggestive songs and likewise performance from lead singer Ginger Fields will lighten up the room. She’s on synthesizer and acoustic guitar, too.Outlaw Cody James brings an amazing talent to the guitar that will be on display in every song, which is a true treat to behold. Nigel L’Amour is the four-string lover laying down the groove that gives the band its jive. He also plays the synthesizer. And keeping it all in place on the skins is Randalite. What I also like about the band is that everyone sings along. They’re a real fun band to watch and even the way they describe themselves plays into what you can expect to see and hear Saturday night. They refer to themselves as progessive-alternative, drama rock and theater rock.Closing the night will be a new band to my ears called, Why Ask Why. As they like to say about their music: “Straight up and down rock ‘n roll.”

  • Gunfights, Brawls, and Adobe Walls

    Saddle up and get ready for Jeff Guinn’s newest edition to the Cash McLendon series, Buffalo Trail. With his talent for seamlessly merging history with fiction, the Old West has never felt more alive.Originally working as a journalist, an interest in writing sparked at an early age for Guinn as a career fair in his elementary school opened his eyes to how reporting could be a path of creativity and adventure.“For a lot of us, we went into journalism because it was exciting back in those days. I remember that I was 11 years old in elementary school and we had a career day where dads would come in and speak about how if you worked hard enough, you too could manage a grocery store or become an accountant.At that point, I was just about snoozing through it when all of a sudden a sports writer came in and spoke about an interview he had just had with Muhammad Ali, I was pretty much hooked then.”After a long career as a celebrated and award-winning investigative journalist, Guinn was picked up by Simon and Schuster to continue with his nonfiction writing.Following the release of numerous notable nonfiction and New York Times Bestselling novels including, Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson and The Last Gunfight, Guinn was offered the chance by Penguin Books to delve into the world of fiction.

  • ASU exhibit puts face on migrant deaths

    An exhibit on the Arizona State University campus addresses “a real human issue,” the university’s director of museums and museum studies says.Richard Toon, a research professor and also co-director of the Center for Archaeology and Society at ASU, says the exhibit that runs through the end of October at the Innovation Gallery in the Center for Archaeology and Society melds art, information, tools and science to tell the story of migrant deaths in Arizona.The exhibit presents a case study of migrant deaths to help people understand the science behind identifying human remains. It also uses works from local Latino artists to humanize the victims. It’s designed to demonstrate the human costs associated with migrant journeys, Toon said.A key participant in creating the exhibit, Toon said, was Laura Fulginiti, a forensic anthropologist who works at the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office and teaches at ASU.On a video that runs on a continuous loop, Fulginiti says she speaks for the dead by finding and telling their stories.She says her job is “to create the emotional component and speak for them,” because she’s one of the last people who can speak for the dead.

  • A touch of magic

    Eric Goldberg knows how to make us laugh and cry. His animation has developed characters that have made us smile and taught us lessons with a dash of Disney magic. Since 1990, the animator has worked on beloved films to create original characters in Aladdin, Pocahontas, Hercules, Fantasia/2000 and The Princess and the Frog. Goldberg was the lead animator for Genie in Aladdin and helped transfer the character from sketches to the screen. People can experience the laughter, adventure and magic of Aladdin on the Diamond Edition now available digitally, on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack with exclusive bonus features Oct. 13.Aladdin has entertained people of all ages worldwide; credit to the direction, animation, production and cast that brought the world of Agrabah and the characters within it to life.“I was on Aladdin for a year before anybody else jumped on, so John Musker and Ron Clements, who directed it, gave me an awful lot of freedom to start exploring and experimenting,” Goldberg said. “One thing we found as I was designing Genie, is the more we stripped him down almost no detail whatsoever, the better he got.”Goldberg said originally, he had designed some genies with more physical attributes like horns or clothing such as a vest or turban, but the Genie needed more freedom to move about given his nature. A more simplistic character design allowed Genie to work in that world and people could focus on his role.“What you have to do with a comic character (is) ... you have to design the character to be able to carry the comedy but be able to use those forms and shrink them down for the subtly in the performance when you need it, too.”It takes talent to balance the comedic aspect and the solemn parts and interactions that impact the story. One such performer was comedian and actor Robin Williams, who brought laughter to audiences worldwide with his candid, larger-than-life portrayal of Genie.

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  • H&M opening at Tempe Marketplace Oct. 8

    H & M, Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) fashion retailer will open its new store at Tempe Marketplace at noon Thursday, Oct. 8.In celebration of opening day, the first 200 shoppers in line will receive an H&M T-shirt and Access to Fashion Pass, valued from $20 to $200, in addition to other opening offers and giveaways.H&M is the first fashion company to roll out a global garment recycling program. H&M customers at Tempe Marketplace can help by donating unwanted pieces of clothing from any brand while in the store. Customers will receive a voucher for 15 percent off their entire next purchase for each bag of donated clothing.To kick off the recycling program on opening day, customers who bring garments to be recycled before the store opens at noon will also have the chance to win H&M gift cards valued between $20 and $200 in addition to receiving the voucher.The new location will offer collections for ladies, men, young ladies, young men and separate “store within a store” sections for accessories and lingerie. The Tempe Marketplace location will also carry H&M’s children’s collection, from newborn to 14 years.The retailer has hired about 30 people for the store at Tempe Marketplace, almost all of them hired locally.

  • French Fry Heaven is heaven on earth for ASU students

    Eating French fries for dinner is the new norm for Arizona State University students thanks to the new French Fry Heaven restaurant at Vista Del Sol marketplace.French Fry Heaven is revolutionizing the way Americans see French fries and the new Tempe restaurant is the first in the state, and is now one of 14 French Fry Heaven locations nationwide. French Fry Heaven owner, Scott Nelowet, is an ASU alumnus and opened his first location in Florida in 2011. Nelowet came up with the concept of French Fry Heaven after traveling to Europe and seeing French fry stands on nearly every street.Savannah Miller manages the Tempe location and has been there since the beginning.“I started working here right when we opened up,” Miller said. “I was in the back unloading boxes of all the fryers and putting stuff together.”Unlike other restaurants that serve French fries as a side dish, French Fry Heaven makes French fries the main entrée.“You’re not coming in here for pizza, you’re not coming in here for a deli sandwich, you’re coming in here for French fries, something that usually just comes on the side of a meal with a drink,” Miller said.

  • Mesa employee earns vet tech award

    Julie Carlson, a Pima Medical Institute employee in Mesa, received the hero veterinary technician award from the American Humane Association. She was chosen from a field of five nominees.Carlson teachers CPR at the Mesa campus and is a certified veterinary technician. In 2008 she started Vets for Vets’ Pets, a group which coordinates veterinary services for military veterans’ pets during the Arizona StandDown, an event that provides services to homeless veterans.Carlson trains, organizes and oversees more than 100 volunteers who provide boarding, foster care, spay and neuter surgeries, vaccines, wound care, grooming, food and supplies for veterans’ pets.A tribute video featuring Carlson can be seen at www.herodogawards.org.

  • Travel agent offers new phone app

    Dave McNeill, a travel adviser with American Express Travel in Mesa, can help travelers with a new phone application for cruises.Cruise Planners Mobile is a free application and can be downloaded to either Apple or Android phones. The application allows customers to access all the details of their cruise once it’s booked. And, people can book cruises through the app. It also includes a direct connection to the travel adviser who booked the trip.McNeill can be reached at 602-592-8644 or online at www.fstopngotravel.com.

  • The Huntington Apartments acquired for $34.6M

    Cushman & Wakefield announced Thursday the $34.6 million sale of The Huntington Apartments on behalf of owner Gelt Inc.Located at 4130 S. Mill Ave., the complex was constructed in 1973 and 1980 and features 442 apartment units totaling 347,460 square feet. The property, which includes 37 buildings, is 96 percent occupied. It was built in two phases and previously operated as two separate propertiesThe successful merger of Cushman & Wakefield and DTZ closed Sept. 1.

  • House of Barbers opens in Chandler

    House of Barbers, a full-service salon that serves men, women and children, had its grand opening in Chandler Sept. 22.Owner Richard Moonsammy and his crew of five full-time stylists hosted the Queen Creek High School Orchestra, whose renditions of Journey, Michael Jackson, and other pop favorites were played during the grand opening.House of Barbers is located at 961 W. Ray Road.

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  • Spiritual Side: You will add value

    When a person commits violence that takes a life it does not matter if it happened close to home or not. We are all affected and it always hits close to home. After the recent slaying of innocents that occurred in an Oregon community college, we all mourn because of the senseless loss of life. There is much discussion in our country about what and who is to blame. We demonize the perpetrators. We argue about gun laws. We wait to see when it will happen next and worry about our own children, schools, and communities. We often feel helpless and do not know what to do. Often times, the blame game allows us to escape from taking any personal responsibility.In this column, I seek to place the possibility that each of us can contribute and take personal responsibility in potentially preventing such nonsensical, violent behavior. I have worked in and studied systems for more than 20 years. Systems theory reminds us to take notice to the integration of all the parts of a problem. No societal problems can easily be solved if all the parts are viewed in isolation from the interconnected components of the whole society. That is what makes solving the problem about killings with guns so difficult. One party might argue that it is about getting rid of the guns. Another might advocate for greater tracking of psychological illness, etc. Another says it is not guns, but people that kill. Each of these parties usually focuses on a part of the problem and it becomes a blame game. Thus releasing our party from responsibility. Systems thinkers see a world where we need a new system — a system (community) where all the parts (people) work together to obtain a common solution to a societal problem. Each person asks what they can do to contribute to the benefit of the whole.My faith leads me to believe that we are all created by God (we are all interconnected) and that God loves all people (we all have great value). Even for those who do not maintain such a belief, we can all agree that as humans we are all a part of the same system — the human race. None of us exist in isolation. We are all living with interdependence. If you can believe that we are interdependent, then we all have the possibility to be a part of the solution to any human problem. Instead of passing blame, what if each person in our communities took action and personal responsibility? Maybe, just maybe, we could prevent at least some of the reoccurring acts of violence.One of the government’s responsibilities is to keep people safe or secure, but it is obvious that at the government level we are not making much headway. What if we each took up arms? I am not arguing that we all arm ourselves with weapons, but rather inviting all of us to open our arms to people in our lives. If each human in our community took responsibility by opening our arms to coach, mentor, encourage, train, validate or even love our neighbors, we would definitely prevent at least some of these senseless acts. We have learned that the perpetrators of these acts are often lonely or radical groups that give them meaning influence them in negative ways. Maybe each of us as humans could give them healthy meaning or meet them in their loneliness.Some of us might choose to put on a coaching hat with people in our lives. As a coach we practice the gift of generosity. Generous coaches look for people who they wish to invest time in for the purpose of adding value. As a coach you do not need to have all the answers in life. You do not need to tell people what to do for their lives. Coaches simply walk with others as they play out their life and you encourage them. You ask questions. You invest in them. You allow them to come up with solutions to their life problems, but you show them you are there for them and that they are not alone.Sometimes we might be able to be more of a mentor. As a kid, car enthusiasts mentored me. As a kid, I had no idea about cars except that I thought they were cool. Men who knew a lot about cars took me under their wing and taught me. I was more of a student. As a mentor, you might have a love for something. You might have a certain expertise that you could help teach to other people in your life. This mentoring will give meaning. The encouragement and knowledge you pass on can add so much healthy value to others. It sometimes will last a lifetime. To this day, I love old cars. I thank those that took an interest in me and mentored me as a kid.

  • Spiritual Side: The other Francis

    The visit last month by Pope Francis rightly captured a great deal of attention in the country. In some very visible ways, he seems to be a different kind of Pope that has inspired Roman Catholics, other Christians, and non-Christians as well.Oct. 4 was the feast day of the Pope’s namesake, Francis of Assisi. Born Giovanni di Bernadone in 1182, Francis was the son of a wealthy silk merchant in central Italy. His father, who had been travelling on business when he was born, was angry that his mother named him for John the Baptist, and called him Francesco because he had made a great deal of money in France.Much of his privileged youth was spent on high and carefree living. Typical of young noblemen, Francis joined the military as an officer in 1201 hoping to earn knighthood. In a skirmish with a rival town, most of Assisi’s army was killed while the sons of nobles were held for ransom. Francis spent a year in a dungeon.Following his imprisonment, Francis returned to his lavish lifestyle and again sought military glory by joining the Fourth Crusade. Barely a day’s ride from his hometown, Francis had a dream in which God told him to return home. He did so and found shame rather than glory. Ultimately he renounced his wealth, returned all of his money and clothing to his father and lived the life of a beggar.I first met Francis by accident over 50 years ago. I lived across the street from Marian College in northwest Indianapolis. I had no idea what a Franciscan was then, but the college campus had a large woods with a pond and a swamp that was a kid’s paradise. One day while playing in the woods, I came to a small previously unknown clearing where there was a statue of Francis, surrounded by deer and squirrels with birds, both real and in stone, perched on his head. Seated on the bench nearby was a nun, in full black habit.We often saw nuns at the school buildings, but never in the woods. I had been instructed by my Catholic friends to say, “Good afternoon, Sister,” which I did, and then began a hasty retreat. I don’t remember her name, but she invited me to stay and told me the story of St. Francis and how he preached to the birds and once made a pet of a wolf the townspeople wanted to kill. She invited me to come back to the clearing anytime, adding that it was her favorite quiet place on the campus.

  • The Constant Traveler: Malibu Beach Inn

    I was sitting on the high terrace of the Malibu Beach Inn waiting for breakfast to be served when I spotted a flock of paddle-boarders madly striving against the tide to get out to sea. It reminded me of that last line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”I supposed it was the hard paddling and crashing through the surf that made me flash on the Gatsby quote, but it could have been the local ambiance as well. Below me was the sandy stretch of Malibu called Carbon Beach, or in the vernacular of locals, Billionaire Beach. Gatsby, if he was living in Malibu today instead of East Egg, New York, in the 1920s, would probably be considered a billionaire.While one doesn’t have to be a billionaire to stay at the Malibu Beach Inn, it did take a billionaire to create it. For about 30 years, until the 1980s, the stretch of coast where the hotel stands today was a Polynesian restaurant called Tonga Lei. It was replaced by the tiki-tacky Don the Beachcomber Inn. Then about eight years ago, music and film mogul David Geffen bought the property and rebuilt and redefined it as the Malibu Beach Inn. Recently, he sold it to The Mani Brothers, a Los Angeles real estate group. I don’t’ know if the Mani Brothers are billionairesActually, that’s not important, what is important is that the Malibu Beach Inn is the most unique hotel in all of Malibu because it is the only hotel on the ocean side of the Pacific Coast Highway, the main thoroughfare through the city. Just from a quick perusal of Malibu properties, it is probably the only luxury hotel in a city of luxury homes.The Malibu Beach Inn is not a big property, just 45 rooms, plus a spa suite and meeting space. I visited on an early summer weekend and the place was completely sold out. Since the property fills a sliver of land between the highway and the Pacific, the rooms are not large, but they do boast some of the best views along the coast.One of the big treats for guests is to book a spa treatment, which is done through local skin care legend, Veronica. Don’t ask, everyone in Malibu is a legend and many have just one name, such as David Geffen’s former wife, Cher. The list of spa treatments isn’t extensive, mostly facials and massages, but the view over the Pacific from the spa room is to-die-for. I’m told couples massages are very popular.

  • Spiritual Side: High Holy Days -- Asking essential questions, reaching for new heights

    The Jewish New Year is here. Rather than celebrate, however, my people gather to contemplate and pray. We perform t’shuvah – the act of introspection that prompts us to make improvements in our lives.The High Holy Days help us return to our true selves. We are prompted, through liturgy, quiet and fasting, to ask and answer questions we suppress during the daily grind of payroll and car pool. We ask ourselves the essential questions we’ve forgotten to ask – or have been too busy to ask – about who we are and how we are to live. We remember that we are powerful, vulnerable, curious and complicated human beings.We are beings who love. We are beings who mourn. We are beings who crave and wonder. We are beings who give life and care. We are beings who fail. We are beings who die. It’s astounding how we forget what’s essential, and live our days largely unaware of those core truths. Because they are awkward and uncomfortable. Because they are slippery as moss. Because they don’t make anybody any money.During the High Holy Days, we move away from all the important but transient relationships that fill our days and years. We go to the essential place, the rock on which we stand, and tend to the hurts within us, the joys that fill us, the dreams that inspire us, the questions that plague us. The prayer book, called a machzor, is a technology that reminds us of those essential aspects of ourselves that are so regularly shunted aside, taking their place in the queue after the laundry that needs doing and the papers that need grading and the nose that needs wiping. The High Holy Days themselves are technologies that allow us to set those concerns aside for just a few hours, knowing that we’ll get back to them, and get back to the fullest dimensions of our humanity: our loss, our joy, our guilt, our shame, our hopes, our relationships. We tend that inner garden for just a while.It is official: The New Year has begun. Each of us has taken the first step on a 365-day-long path. Standing at the end, waiting for you to arrive, is a welcoming party … a welcoming party of one. There you are, exactly one year older than you are now. Who will you be? Will you be glad to meet that new self, or will you be disappointed? The answer is entirely up to you.• Rabbi Dean Shapiro is the spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel of Tempe. Contact him at rshapiro@emanueloftempe.org and visit his “Rabbi Dean Shapiro” page on Facebook.

  • The Constant Traveler: Angama Mara, Kenya

    One of the most famous opening lines of a book reads: “I had a farm in Africa at the foot of Ngong Hills.” The book is Out of Africa, written by Isak Dinesen, which was a pseudonym for Danish writer Karen Blixen. It was written in the 1930s and the Academy Award-winning movie from the book was filmed in the mid-1980s. The very handsome couple, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, starred.The director of the award-winning film was Sydney Pollack, who had to overcome a significant obstacle when filming on location in Kenya. The once rural Ngong Hills was, even in the 1980s, a populated suburb of Nairobi. So he needed to find a location to substitute for the original Ngong Hills and he found a stunningly beautiful site in an area of the country called Masai Mara, about a 45-minute, bush-plane ride from Nairobi.The Serengeti grasslands stretch north from Tanzania into the Mara Triangle of Kenya until it meets the Oloololo Escarpment. The unusual word, “Oloololo” is Masai for zig-zag because the escarpment runs erratically along the topography of southwestern Kenya. The escarpment is distinctive but not a true wall, because at some points the land simply rises not dramatically but in a perfectly gradual slope from the plains to the top of the escarpment as if the Creator decided the migrating beasts of East Africa needed a pathway from the lowlands to the highlands. Indeed, if you are lucky enough to be in the Masai Mara, you will see all means of animals migrating along the slopes of the escarpment, from the grazing impalas and elands to the bulky elephants and ungainly giraffes.When Sydney Pollack and crew arrived, they found a perfect location atop of a rocky promontory, where the view of the plains below was clear, unobstructed and seemingly unending. Not all the movie was filmed there, but many key moments. For example, when Blixen’s paramour, Denys Finch Hatton, died and was buried near the Ngong farm, that scene was shot atop the promontory under a tree that still stands. Broken cement marks the setting of the cinematic funeral. In addition, the famous poster for Out of Africa, featuring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, was shot here in a bridge between two koppies. My wife and I thought we would capture that moment anew and sat in the very places where Meryl and Robert posed some 30 years ago. It was a great photo -- and it was such a surprise to me that no one mistook us for that original couple!We were there at the point on the escarpment because a lucky, South African couple, Nicky and Steve Fitzgerald, had gained the lease to the Masai land and built a beautiful camp – I would call it a resort – called Angama Mara. I had run across Nicky and Steve many years before when they were in the process of building out a chain of glamorous safari camps across Africa and India. They retired, but upon hearing the property was available for lease decided to go back into the tourist world because this was the location Steve most desired in Africa.Safari camps of Africa come in all types of flavors and I’ve tasted a few of the best over the years, but Angama Mara is the endgame for Nicky and Steve and they put all their dreams and desires into it. Now I could rave about the beautiful, semi-tent accommodations of the architecturally significant common buildings, but the truth is Nicky and Steve had something few other safari camps have, the most stunning location atop the escarpment with nothing but the endless African plains below.

  • Spiritual Side: Family investments are important

    We are blessed to live in a community that is rich with diverse family units. Families are made up of children, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents, and other extended family. If we look deeper, we realize that our families have many other impact members who might not be a part of our blood, yet these people are truly a part of the family. These teachers, coaches, friends at church, and in the neighborhood all have an impact in our lives. Living in this context it is no wonder that when parents are asked what they value most in life — the top answer is family.As a parent, this is true for me. A top priority in my own life is my family. However, I often question how this top value gets my attention, my time, and my full, undivided attention. Sure I see my family, yet am I engaged? Recently, I asked some youngsters what they wish their families would do for or with them. This informal research taught me a lot about my own hunger for meaningful family relationships. The summary below is an action plan for families who seek to truly connect with one another.Sacred presenceOne of the greatest gifts we can give to another is to be there for them. There is great value in just being in close proximity with another person. In our modern way of life we often spit up. We have multiple rooms in the house with multiple TVs. We run in different directions. We might not sit together for meals. Being present is a gift. One of the greatest gifts we can give to one another in families is a caring sacred presence. The word sacred, related to being holy, is often thought of as a word reserved for religious vocabulary. Being sacred means to be set aside or special. Our willingness to set aside special time to simply be present with one another is a powerful gift in and of itself.Did you have a good day?As parents we ask a lot of questions. Most of these questions are about practical matters of school or chores. Many times these familiar, rather redundant questions, get answered by our children in short, one word, replies. What would happen if in our investment in being present we made the time to engage in conversation in what our children want to talk about? We all would benefit by asking more open-ended questions. Questions on topics that our kids love to talk about. Think about how you get excited when you get to talk about things that are important to you. The key is to value what our children value. Then show interest in letting them teach you about their passion.

Scientists Try Radical Move To Save Bull Trout From A Warming Climate

Bull trout are running out of time in Montana as their traditional waters heat up, biologists say. By moving more than 100 fish to higher elev…

Published: October 9, 2015 - 9:43 am @ http://www.npr.org/2015/10/08/446354927/scientists…

Scottsdale galleries try to shut down Artisan Markets, say vendors are hurting their business

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Scottsdale’s arts district has been a centerpiece of the city for decades. But, the gallery scene has declined in recent year…

Published: October 9, 2015 - 9:13 am @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-northeast-valley/…

Barry P.

Barry P. runs the eclectic movie blog Cinematic Catharsis, focusing on the little films that slipped through the cracks, with an emphasis on g…

Published: October 9, 2015 - 7:12 am @ http://www.rupertpupkinspeaks.com/2015/10/underrat…

Arizona tourist attractions top national lists

Generating more than $20 billion last year, tourism is one of Arizona's most important industries, and a handful of well-known Arizona tourist…

Published: October 9, 2015 - 5:40 am @ http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/business/2…

We reveal the largest office buildings across greater Phoenix

Chase Tower, already the tallest building in Arizona with 38 floors, added a third story to its portfolio with another No. 1 ranking in the Ph…

Published: October 9, 2015 - 5:40 am @ http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/business/2…


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