East Valley Tribune

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  • Ex-NFL QB Max Hall arrested in Gilbert

    Authorities say former NFL quarterback Max Hall has been accused of shoplifting and narcotics possession near his Arizona hometown.Gilbert police say the 28-year-old Hall was arrested Friday for allegedly shoplifting from a Best Buy store in Gilbert.Officers say they searched Hall's backpack and found several stolen items from Best Buy and a nearby Walmart along with a "personal-use quantity of cocaine."Police say Hall was released shortly after his arrest. It was unclear Tuesday if he has a lawyer yet.In a statement, Gilbert Public Schools Chief of Staff Alex Nardone said the district is aware of the allegations made against Hall and will respond "in the best interest of our students."Hall, who grew up in Mesa, played college football at Arizona State and BYU before being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Arizona Cardinals.

  • 5 things to watch in Arizona's November elections

    Electing a replacement for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer tops the list of items to watch in Arizona's November general election. Voters also will choose a new secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and top schools official.BREWER'S SUCCESSORThe incumbent Republican governor is termed out, and voters will choose between GOP state Treasurer Doug Ducey and former Board of Regents Chairman Fred Duval in the election, with Libertarian Barry Hess and another minor party candidate also running. Ducey will try to cast himself as the front-runner with broad backing while DuVal tries to convince independents and moderate Republicans to vote Democratic because of his moderate political views.ATTORNEY GENERALExpect aggressive campaigns from Democrat Felecia Rotellini and Republican Mark Brnovich in the two months before the election. Rotellini has amassed a war chest of more than $800,000 for the general election after running unopposed in the primary. Brnovich knocked off incumbent Republican Tom Horne in the primary while running with little cash — less than $100,000. Expect him to do better raising money for the general, but Rotellini has general election experience, losing by a narrow margin to Horne in 2010.SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

  • East Valley looks to continue strong run in girls volleyball

    The East Valley has been home to some of the state’s top girls volleyball programs for years and that doesn’t look to change this season.In Division I, Gilbert and Hamilton will return as bona fide contenders for a state crown while Perry looks to continue its upward trend. A level lower at Division II, Campo Verde prepares to improve on last year’s run to the state finals.Coming off a 37-8 season in 2013 that saw it come within one set of winning a state title, Hamilton will enter the season as a clear-cut favorite due to all of the returning talent on its roster.The Huskies are paced by junior Olivia Hallaran and senior McKenna Woodford, who led the team in kills last year (237 and 236, respectively). Including Hallaran and Woodford, Hamilton returns its top four kill producers from 2013 as well as its top three blockers.“I think this group of kids has worked really hard,” coach Sharon Vanis said. “We only have two seniors again, so that leadership is going to be important. A couple of younger kids are going to have to play bigger roles.”No other team may need its younger players to step up more than Gilbert.

  • Mesa to host Open Data Roadshow

    On Sept. 4, Mesa will host the “Open Data Roadshow,” along with Arizona State University and Code for America, at the Mesa Arts Center’s Piper Theater. The exposé will focus on the ways that everyone can benefit from increased transparency in local government.The idea began at the Inland Empire Data Forum in San Bernardino, Calif., earlier this year and sparked a series of events dedicated to spreading the word about open data.“The Roadshow will provide city officials and community partners with an understanding of what open data is and the myriad benefits it can provide,” said Ian Linssen, City Council assistant, in an email. “Attendees will be exposed to open data best practices and experiences from organizations currently either hosting open data portals and/or using open data in their applications and other tools.”Open data is a concept where certain data is available to everyone, easy to access and open for sharing. When administrators and other employees of the government can use and add to an open data stream, everyone can benefit from the shared knowledge.“Open data has the potential to benefit residents in numerous ways,” said Code for America’s Wendy Fong in an email. “At the core is an accessible channel to empower citizens to make better decisions. Publishing data on education, crime, public health, transit, water quality, parks and recreation and other areas creates opportunities conducive to informed decisions by people that live in, work in or visit a city.”Fong cited Mark Headd’s Open Data Policy, written for the city of Philadelphia, in which he explained the direct and indirect output of many city functions is data, and that data can be used effectively to better understand city operations, how policies are made and the effectiveness of those policies.

  • Gilbert Days to incorporate long-distance running into festivities

    This year’s annual Gilbert Days festivities will include a new attraction for avid runners, one that could expand even more for the 2015 town celebration.The event is the Gilbert Marathon, which is technically a half-marathon that starts on Warner Road and includes trips through the Heritage District, past SanTan Village and right by Freestone and Crossroads parks and ends at the Civic Center for a 13.1-mile trip. The event also features a 10K race for runners looking for a shorter challenge, and the traditional 5K and 1-mile race, the former of which will enter its 30th year, are set for Nov. 14 at Freestone Park.Money raised from the races associated with the Gilbert Marathon, which is not affiliated with the town, goes to support the Shun the Sun Foundation that advocates awareness for skin cancer.Race coordinator Yvette Rangel said participants receive a few fun items for participating, including a bag filled with swag, an official T-shirt, awards for top finishers in their respective age and gender classifications, and a pyramid-shaped medal for finishing the race. The latter prize has a little quirk to it, as collecting five of the medals in five consecutive years results in the formation of a sun to that ties into the foundation the event supports.“There are lots of races, so we wanted to be a runner-friendly race that gets them coming back,” she said.Runners will start their race at 7 a.m. on Nov. 22, which is two hours before the start of the annual Gilbert Days parade. The reason for that is twofold, with the first being the simple practicality of having the streets closed down for the parade.

  • A look back shows Tempe's growth from farm town to urban center

    Arizona State University. Mill Avenue. Arizona Mills and Tempe Marketplace. These are some of the places and institutions most associated with Tempe today. While ASU and Mill Avenue both have deep roots in our town’s history, there is much more history to this desert city than we see at first glance.The Tempe we know today was established not long after the close of the American Civil War. Freight outfits like that run by Charles T. Hayden often crossed the Salt River in the area that became Tempe to supply ranches, forts, and mining towns in central and northern Arizona. Other enterprising businessmen like William Kirkland and James McKinney worked with Mexican farmers in the area to build canals that would form the core of Tempe’s irrigation and water system for decades to come. By the early 1870s, Hayden decided to invest in the community by building a flour mill, blacksmith and carpentry shops, and a mercantile business. For times of high water on the river, Hayden provided a ferry service that gave the town its first name — Hayden’s Ferry. Eventually, a friend of Hayden pointed out that the area reminded him of the Vale of Tempe in Greece, and the name Tempe stuck.The focus of Tempe’s early history was on agriculture. Irrigation and farming had been practiced in the area for at least 1,500 years prior to the establishment of Tempe in the 1870s. The early Native American farmers were known as the Hohokam and were ancestors of the present-day Akimel O’odham (also known as the Gila River Pimas). These Native American farmers grew a variety of crops, including corn, squash, melons and cotton. By 1450 A.D., most of these Native American communities relocated south along the Gila River, but traces of their old canal systems remained. When American and Mexican settlers arrived to the area in the late 1860s, they were aware of the potential to farm based on the old Native American canals and the success of farmers along the Gila River. Tempe grew slowly at first, but a number of factors would lead to major growth booms later on. The arrival of the railroad in 1887 was a major boost for the town. Now agricultural goods and livestock could be shipped out to wider markets and new settlers and manufactured goods could be brought in. Just a year prior to the arrival of the railroad, the Territorial Normal School opened in Tempe in February 1886. From a single building that taught teachers for the territory, the school grew over many decades and name changes to become Arizona State University, one of the largest universities in the country today and one heavily driven but cutting-edge in high-tech research. In 1911, the completion of Roosevelt Dam led to a more secure and abundant water supply for farming. As a result, agriculture soared as never before, especially with the introduction of long-staple cotton around that time. Eventually, citrus packing plants and other agricultural businesses came along to speed agricultural goods to markets around the United States and beyond.With the economic and infrastructure groundwork in place, Tempe was poised for the most massive period of expansion the city had even seen. From a population of 2,906 in 1940, Tempe more than doubled by 1950 and the number of people calling Tempe home reached 24,897 in 1960. Two decades later, Tempe had well over 100,000 residents and by 2012 the population reached 166,842. From an incorporated area of 1.9 square miles in 1940, Tempe has reached over 40 square miles today. Although much of this growth centered on residential subdivisions, retail centers, and the infrastructure to support those places, Tempe’s expansion included the industrial sector with steel mills (like Marathon Steel), textile plants (PennMor Manufacturing Corporation), and construction industry businesses (Superlite Builders Supply).As with its past, much of Tempe’s future seems likely to include growth and reinvention. With the completion of the light rail through Tempe in 2008, connecting the city with Mesa to the east and Phoenix to the west, the old frontier farm town was ready for yet another transformation to a more commuter-friendly urban corridor. As far back as the 1970s, Tempe had begun a process of redevelopment that profoundly impacted its historic downtown. As many of Tempe’s territorial buildings disappeared, a newly envisioned city sprang up that eventually culminated in the massive Tempe Town Lake project, the construction of the Tempe Arts Center, and the appearance of high-rise residential and commercial development around the edges of the urban lake along the Salt River. Along with ASU’s continued expansion into the downtown area and even other cities in Arizona, Tempe’s future will continue to be one of redevelopment and reinventing itself for many years to come.• Jared Smith is with the Tempe History Museum.

  • Tucson staycation guide: A new take on the Old Pueblo

    When East Valley residents are looking for a brief getaway to decompress and escape the sweltering summer heat, they usually turn their eyes northward to the cooler climes of Prescott, Flagstaff or the Mogollon Rim. However, they’re doing themselves a disservice if they chose to ignore our neighbor to the south.Tucson is a quick 90-minute drive down Interstate 10, yet it’s often overlooked as a vacation destination by many folks in the Valley. The Old Pueblo offers a plethora of locations, entertainment and activities for anyone seeking to break up the monotony of life at home.Looking for a place to kick back and relax? It’s hard to beat the Casino del Sol Resort (5655 W. Valencia Road). Owned by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, the casino, located just southwest of Tucson, boasts a 10-story resort tower constructed in 2011 and has garnered ratings of four stars from Forbes Travel Guide and four diamonds by AAA.Casino del Sol features seven restaurants and five bars/lounges, including PY Steakhouse, which recently earned its third consecutive nod from Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Wine List Awards for its wine program that offers more than 400 varietals. A recent trip to the fine-dining establishment yielded a succulent 14-oz. ribeye steak cooked perfectly to medium with a side of well-seasoned roasted Brussels sprouts. Along with its wine program, PY Steakhouse features several reasonably priced flights of fine Scotch whiskey and bourbon.Along with trying their hand with Lady Luck on the gaming floor, Casino del Sol guests can take to the links at the resort’s Sewailo Golf Club. Designed by former PGA golfer Notah Begay III, Sewailo — which means “flower world” in the Pascua Yaqui language — opened in December 2013 and measures 7,400 yards from the championship tees.Casino del Sol also includes amenities such as the full-service Hiapsi Spa and Fitness Center, and the Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater, which seats 5,000 and often hosts national acts.

  • Wisconsin-based hoagie shop to open in Tempe

    Erbert and Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop, a national fast-casual sandwich chain offering subs and gourmet soups, is opening its first Arizona location at 117 E. Fifth Street in Tempe in mid-September. Entrepreneurs Brad and Gillienne Budde, ages 26 and 21, will be co-managing the store. The husband-and-wife duo hope to open two more Erbert & Gerbert’s locations in the area by the end of 2015.“We look forward to getting involved with Arizona State University as much as possible,” Budde said. “Whether it’s catering events or just serving students who are taking a break from a late night of studying, we plan on being open until 3 a.m. We look forward to being a fixture of the Tempe community for years to come.”Brad Budde was first introduced to Erbert & Gerbert’s during his college years at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he majored in business. His parents moved to Arizona and asked him to help them run their family’s business in Phoenix, and he left school in 2009 to work as a manager at the Culver’s restaurant the family owned. Now, he and his wife have decided to go into business for themselves.“I had fond memories of Erbert & Gerbert’s from when I lived in Wisconsin,” Budde said. “I remembered the quirky sandwich names, the good-tasting bread and quality meats, and the general atmosphere of the restaurant. I really wanted to bring the brand into Arizona and introduce Erbert & Gerbert’s quality food and quick service to a whole new market.”Plans call for 15 Erbert & Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop locations in the Valley area with five in Tucson by the end of 2018.Search Facebook.com for Erbert & Gerbert’s-Tempe for more information.

  • And all that Mraz

    Touring in support of his new album “Yes!,” Jason Mraz — the two-time Grammy-winning artist known for tunes like “I’m Yours” and “Love is a Four Letter Word” — takes the stage at Comerica Theatre along with the group Raining Jane.DETAILS >> 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix. $41.50-$89.75. (602) 379-2800 or LiveNation.com.

  • Quick look: New this week at the movies

    >> This information is provided in community partnership with Harkins Theatres. For showtimes, theater locations and tickets, go to HarkinsTheatres.com.As Above, So BelowA thriller centered on two archaeologists in search of a lost treasure in the catacombs below Paris. Starring: Ben Feldman, Perdita Weeks, Edwin Hodge, James Pasierbowicz, Oscar Zhang, Josh Kervarec. RCantinflasCantinflas is the untold story of Mexico’s greatest and most beloved comedy film star of all time. From his humble origins on the small stage to the bright lights of Hollywood, Cantinflas became famous around the world — one joke at a time. The film relives the laughter that charmed generations. Starring: Michael Imperioli, Óscar Jaenada, Joaquín Cosio, Teresa Ruiz, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Gabriela de la Garza, Giovanna Zacarías, Ana Layevska, Cassandra Ciangherotti. PGFrank

  • Football Friday Night out

    High school football season, that annual rite of fall, is upon us. The game is only part of the experience for football fans. It’s also about getting together with people in your community, before, during and after the contest.Each week, GetOut will highlight five games worth watching, along with a nearby restaurant to visit for a pregame meal or a postgame celebration. All the games begin at 7 p.m. Here are our picks for Week 1:Highland at Queen CreekQueen Creek Cafeand Sports Lounge(480) 888-9241 or

  • Territorial Days and Wildlife fest are Worth the Trip

    CHINO VALLEYTerritorial Capital Days Pancakes & ParadeIn need of some small-town Americana? Take a Saturday morning jaunt to Chino Valley’s annual Territorial Days celebration — themed this year around the town’s railroad history — which kicks off with a down-home pancake breakfast (served from 6 to 11 a.m.), followed by a parade (starting at 9:15 a.m.) and a day full of activities, food and vendors at Memory Park. If you’re an early riser, you can also participate in the 7:15 a.m. 2-mile or 10K races that benefit the Chino Valley High School cross country team. The Chino Valley Lions and Lionesses sponsor the event in conjunction with the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce.DETAILS >> Pancake breakfast from 6 to 11 a.m., parade at 9:15 a.m., with activities and food available until 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30. Parade begins near the Heritage Middle School, 1076 N. Road 1 W. with festivities continuing throughout the day at Memory Park, 1020 W. Palomino Road. (928) 636-2493 or ChinoValley.org.PINETOP-LAKESIDEWildlife and Science Festival

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  • McDonald's location in Tempe hosting fundraisers for schools

    Tempe McDonald’s restaurant will host fundraisers for five elementary and middle schools this month.The participating schools in McTeacher’s Night are Kyrene de los Niños (Sept. 4), Kyrene del Norte (Sept. 9), C.I. Waggoner (Sept. 11), Kyrene Aprende (Sept. 16) and Center for Educational Excellence (Sept. 23). School staff will be at the store from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on their respective days, and McDonald’s will donate to their schools a portion of its sales.Tempe McDonald’s is located at 1740 E. Elliot Road.

  • Mesa to host Open Data Roadshow

    On Sept. 4, Mesa will host the “Open Data Roadshow,” along with Arizona State University and Code for America, at the Mesa Arts Center’s Piper Theater. The exposé will focus on the ways that everyone can benefit from increased transparency in local government.The idea began at the Inland Empire Data Forum in San Bernardino, Calif., earlier this year and sparked a series of events dedicated to spreading the word about open data.“The Roadshow will provide city officials and community partners with an understanding of what open data is and the myriad benefits it can provide,” said Ian Linssen, City Council assistant, in an email. “Attendees will be exposed to open data best practices and experiences from organizations currently either hosting open data portals and/or using open data in their applications and other tools.”Open data is a concept where certain data is available to everyone, easy to access and open for sharing. When administrators and other employees of the government can use and add to an open data stream, everyone can benefit from the shared knowledge.“Open data has the potential to benefit residents in numerous ways,” said Code for America’s Wendy Fong in an email. “At the core is an accessible channel to empower citizens to make better decisions. Publishing data on education, crime, public health, transit, water quality, parks and recreation and other areas creates opportunities conducive to informed decisions by people that live in, work in or visit a city.”Fong cited Mark Headd’s Open Data Policy, written for the city of Philadelphia, in which he explained the direct and indirect output of many city functions is data, and that data can be used effectively to better understand city operations, how policies are made and the effectiveness of those policies.

  • List tabs Gilbert as No. 1; Chandler, Mesa in top 10 for working parents

    A list compiled by a financial website and a business publication has listed three East Valley cities as among the nation’s best places for working families.Nerdwallet — a site that analyzes areas like banking, real estate and other fiscal topics — and Business Insider compiled a list of the best cities in the United States for working parents to live.The publications formed the list by ranking cities by four metrics weighted evenly, starting with the affordability to live there. The affordability is based on median income and other costs like real estate taxes, utilities and fuel costs.Also evaluated were child care costs based on state averages, and the final two areas were the quality of a city’s schools based on metrics by the website GreatSchools.org and the number of households with children in the municipality.The resulting list of 25 top cities featured five cities in Arizona, with Chandler and Mesa finishing in the top 10 and Gilbert placing first by a sizable margin.“It’s another great feather in the cap of Gilbert,” said Gilbert Councilmember Jordan Ray.

  • Let Joe Know: If you get a check in the mail and did nothing for it, it’s a scam

    People send checks to me every day. Sometimes they are for hundreds of dollars. Other times, they’re written for more than $5,000. But I can’t cash them. And neither can the people who send them to me.The checks end up in their mailbox from senders they don’t know, seemingly for no reason. They’re actually being sent from scammers. I’d like to tell these people something different, that the checks are good and they would call me “the maker of fortunes!”Instead, I’ve become “the dream killer.”Scammers send these checks and ask that part of the money be sent back to them. Or they ask that the person perform some “job” by wiring money to other people. By the time you find out the scammers’ check is bad, you’ve already spent your good money in their scheme. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that I get questions about different checks EVERY DAY.For years, I’ve told people that if they did nothing to earn the check, it’s a scam. But I don’t think the message is getting through. So, with the latest batch of checks, I did something different. I called the banks listed on the check, and asked if there was any money available. Each time, I’d hear the same thing, in different ways: “the funds are not available at this time” or “it won’t clear” and even “it’s a scam.”One time I did hear that the account was legitimate, but the banker couldn’t tell me for sure that there was money there for this check. She seemed confused. I understand why hope can sometimes trump reason. But I have seen these things end horribly for some consumers. One man lost more than $9,000. Other people had their bank accounts closed because of depositing a fraud check.

  • Chandler teen finishes 2nd in national essay contest

    The stock market is a cruel and complicated thing. It has made millionaires of some and broken the spirits of countless others. Yet, despite all of its intricacies, an eighth-grader from Chandler managed to make sense of it all.Emma Baier, now a freshman at ASU Polytechnic Prep High School, wrote an essay while still in eighth grade at Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School that looks at the investment potential of automobile manufacturers Ford and Tesla.The essay was part of a class stock market game project, Baier’s teacher Kimberly Meyer said in an email.“I had the students keep a running journal of their experiences with the game, including current events, trends, profits and losses,” she said.At first, Baier, 14, was anything but excited about the prospect of detailing financial investments.“When I heard we were going to do the stock market game at the beginning of the year, I panicked,” Baier said in an email. “The stock market is always seen as this giant, looming, intimidating beast hanging over a student’s head. It’s presented as incredibly complicated and scary,”

  • Final concepts selected for downtown Mesa redesign

    While the concepts differ, the three finalists for the redesigned City Center in Mesa all have one thing in common: a reinvigoration of the heart of Mesa.The city has spent the last year accepting requests for qualifications from designers to remake an 18-acre plot surrounded by Main Street, Center Street, First Street and Centennial Way that encompasses City Hall and the City Council chambers. The project was part of a 2012 bond package with a total projected cost of $70 million.A total of 18 teams applied to redesign the downtown area, and the city ended up selecting three designs, each with a different view of how to better the downtown area.“We’re building a neighborhood here, not just a park,” said Carol Meyer-Reed, partner at the landscaping firm Meyer/Reed.She and the members of the design firm Otak presented their view of that design at an event hosted by the Mesa Arts Center on Thursday. The team’s design, called the Living Room Plaza, would feature a mirror pond, courtyards, housing choices, a multitude of parking spaces, offices and even a light bar Meyer-Reed said could become “Mesa’s Time Square.” The design team anticipates the cost at $50 million, but said the investment could produce between $200 million and $250 million in private investment and approximately $2.5 million in tax funding.The second design, from Woods-Bagot and Surface Design, called Mesa Central, blends in the surrounding natural aesthetics like the buttes and foothills into the design, said Urban Designer Riki Nishimura. Landscape architect James Lord added the design also has several parking lots both above and below ground, a hydro room that connect with mist and rain, and the potential to add sports fields, a theater and exhibition space right in the middle of the area.

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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?

  • Keeping the Faith: Keep it simple

    The Old Testament Law contains 613 individual commandments. The majority of these are negative: “Thou shalt not” do such or so. These commandments prohibit activities ranging from coveting your neighbor’s cow to wearing pants made from two different materials. The remaining commandments are positive: “Thou shalt.” These order adherents to perform in determined ways and means.Such a corpus of legal code is incredibly lengthy. Yet, it’s just the beginning. The oral tradition that supplements the Law (acting as commentary and explanation) is also extensive. Translated into English, it is a multi-volume set of more than seven thousand pages. For perspective, the largest dictionary at the local library has only – only – about fifteen hundred pages.So it’s no surprise that Jesus was once asked this pertinent question: “Which is the most important commandment in the Law?” The questioner was looking for Jesus to throw him a bone. With so much material to sift through, where should obedience begin?Jesus’ answer was legendary: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind,” he said. “This is the first and greatest commandment.” He then added, “The second most important is similar: Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.” This caused Augustine to say later, “Love God and do whatever you please. For the soul trained in love will do nothing to offend the Beloved.” If only practical faith could stay on this level of holy simplicity.Christians are a verbose group. We always have something to say, prove, defend, attack, clarify, protect, or explain. As if the massive religious codex that came before us is not enough; as if centuries of creeds, confessions, and commentaries haven’t rounded out the picture, yet; as if elaborate statements of faith will improve upon our Founder’s humble words.In the practice of our faith, complication and baggage just seem to naturally collect like barnacles attaching themselves to a ship. It requires vigilance – the closest and most careful attention – to keep faith concentrated along the lines of which Jesus spoke. To do otherwise, to let faith go where it will, seems to lead to more words, more demands and commands, and more impediments to actually practicing the way of Christ.

  • Take Me Home: Missy

    Missy is an incredibly adorable, scruffy terrier mix who is sweet and affectionate. Shy at first, she warms up quickly, especially if treats are involved. It turns out Missy loves attention from her people and is so appreciative of the love and kisses you give her. She enjoys being held, being pet, cuddling on the couch, and once in a while will even find her way into your lap.Missy reciprocates your affection by giving some kisses of her own. Being less than a year old, Missy is very playful. Combine that with a terrier’s natural curiosity and you get an active dog that is happy to share all the adventures that life has to offer with her people. Missy rides well in the car, does fine on a leash, and loves to go on walks. She has a very cute habit of “walking herself” by walking with her leash in her mouth so she can feel like she is running the show. When she is being walked with other dogs, she’ll even take their leashes in her mouth so she can “walk them” as well.Missy likes just about any dog she’s ever met, giving kisses, engaging them in playtime and wrestling matches, and, of course, “walking” them. She would do best in a home with another canine brother or sister so she can watch and learn what it is like to be a happy dog and continue to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Missy is cautious of fast movements and loud noises, so she will need a family that is willing to give her the time she needs to feel comfortable and to let her know she is safe. Missy is looking forward to the day she has a family to love and call her very own.If interested in learning more about Missy, please fill out an application for her today at www.azrescue.org.

  • Living boldly in our bodies, whatever shape, honors God

    Words are powerful creatures. Sometimes sleek and smooth, sometimes coarse and rough. Once they’re out there, we can’t snatch them back, tame them, or change them. Of course, not all words are hurtful or intended to wound. But words that hurt can kill us slowly and painfully, like a torturer. They cut away at our confidence, they eat up our self-esteem. While we might be able to maintain outward façade of normality, we inwardly shrivel and die. In those hidden depths, we can look and feel like “The Scream,” by Edvard Munch.One of the saddest times of my teen years was the utter helplessness of seeing one of my best friends waste away to a skeletal shadow of her real self. With a normal weight for her age and height, her 14-year-old world caved in when a teenage boy told her she was fat. Chalk up another victim of cruel words, as well as the evils of anorexia, one of the three major eating disorders, along with bulimia, and binge eating. She could have died. Thanks be to God that she didn’t. After months of medical intervention and loving care, she regained a healthy weight, but no doubt the psychological scars lingered like unwelcome specters, for a long time afterward.Since my husband and I have been doing a fair amount of early-morning mall walking to get some exercise without fainting in the summer heat, I couldn’t help but notice the store mannequins serenely advertising their wares, lips sealed but seemingly smugly upturned behind the store windows. Each circuit left me feeling increasingly irritated by the evidently unrealistic body images being portrayed, and marketed to the naïve and vulnerable. With every passing step, I was left wondering how many more impressionable women will be unduly shaped and influenced by some improbable ideal of the “right” body image.As Christians, we’re obviously part of the world, but our faith informs our choices, including where we shop, and how we understand our bodies in a healthy and faithful way. The fact that God sent His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to live amongst us as the Word made flesh, tells us just how important our natural human form is to God. We are beautiful creatures of flesh and bone, blood and guts, hearts and minds. The fact that Jesus is resurrected in bodily form confirms that we’ll also have recognizable bodily forms in the resurrection. Our bodies will be healed, but our identities will remain intact. Since our bodies matter to God, in faith, we have good reason to take care of ourselves. It’s yet another aspect of being a good and faithful steward. It’s another way we can honor God with gratitude, and enjoy God’s gift of life in and through our beautiful bodies. Honoring God embraces a heartfelt desire to be as healthy in body, mind, and spirit as the constraints, or blessings, of our genetic makeup, and parentage will allow.Our bodies are, after all, the means by which we love and serve God and our neighbors during our all-too-brief earthly sojourn. For many of us, it’s tough to love our neighbors, because we have a hard time loving ourselves. The only body image that’s worth our time and effort is having a clear and realistic picture of how we’re fulfilling our part in Christ’s body, as a mirror of God’s love and peace in the world. That is, how we’re using our bodies to share the good news of Jesus Christ, in word and deed. Live boldly and confidently, in the sure promise of God’s unconditional love. Whatever the world might say or do to shape our body image, God’s love is shaping and empowering us in much more important ways; the kind of ways that make an eternal difference. Fortunately, in the world of marketing, there’s a glimmer of hope emerging through advocacy and medical groups. Voices are speaking up, inviting stores to display a greater variety of mannequin sizes, with a more realistic range of body images. Eating disorders affect millions of God’s children of all ages in the U.S. and across the world. Eating disorders are serious, even life threatening. If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, I pray that you will seek medical help as well as spiritual counsel.• The Rev. Susan E. Wilmot is priest-in-charge at St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church, 975 E. Warner Road, Tempe. Reach her at rector@stjamestempe.org or or at (480) 345-2686.

  • Keeping the Faith: Belief, not belligerency

    “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” These are the words of Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ first disciples, written to some of the first and earliest Christians. And like most words put down on paper, these instructions have not always honored the intent of the author.Peter wrote this during a time when Christianity was new, unheard of in most places, and very often viewed with suspicion. Thus, a graceful and thoughtful explanation “for the hope that you have” was absolutely required. Thousands of years later, Christianity is still handled with suspicion by many. Not because it is a novel invention, but because a large core of its adherents have misapplied Simon Peter’s good words.Having a “prepared answer” — that is a ready opportunity to interact, dialogue, and discuss beliefs with others — has been replaced with defensiveness, anger, and out-and-out hostility toward those who see things differently. Many have forgotten to read the second half of old St. Pete’s instructions: “But do this in a gentle and respectful way,” he said.Yes, I am a follower of Jesus. Yes, I consider myself a Christian (on most days). Yes, there are a number of essential beliefs important to me and to which I hold. Yes, some of these beliefs are in conflict with the beliefs of others, and these conflicts are not easily dismissed. But my beliefs, as important as they may be, do not give me the right to be belligerent toward others who do not share my beliefs.I will allow that Christians aren’t the only ones who behave this way. Devotees to other faiths, politicians of all parties and persuasions, soccer fans, college alumni, and those with all manner of competing opinions will attack, degrade, and smear those they consider their opponents. The intent, it seems, is clear: Win the argument at all costs.This cutthroat way of life is consuming every facet of our society, resulting in a complete collapse of common civility — that’s a column unto itself — and there is no relief on the near horizon. Anywhere there is an “us” versus “them” attitude there will be nothing but antagonism and disappointment until “them/they” are somehow rehabilitated or totally vanquished in favor of “us/we.”

  • Take me Home: Beautiful Hannah is a great companion

    Hannah is a beautiful girl, estimated to be a 2-year-old Shepherd blend. She originally was found as a stray in Yuma. She weighs more than 60 pounds. Hannah is a great companion for humans, however, not so much for other animals. She becomes possessive if dogs are around and want her toys or her food. She’ll need to be the only animal in the home because of this. She can and does, however, interact with other dogs when there are no toys or food around.Hannah isn’t too great with her doggy manners upon meeting new dog friends. Volunteers at the shelter say she’s an awesome dog with people and they have no doubt that even though she needs to be the only animal in the home she’ll be enough to fill the role of companion. She’s been spayed, microchipped and is up to date on vaccinations. Her adoption fee is $125. Hannah calls Friends for Life Animal Rescue in downtown Gilbert home for now until a forever family is found.To learn more about Hannah, contact Friends for Life at (480) 497-8296 or visit www.azfriends.org.

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