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  • Ground broken on Mesa Riverview office project

    On Wednesday, Lincoln Property Management broke ground on the Class A office space in Mesa Riverview, which it announced back in June.The development, now called Waypoint, is located at 1138 Bass Pro Drive and is scheduled to move in its first tenant, the headquarters of American Traffic Solutions, along with some 500-plus jobs, in November.“Three years ago, Harvard didn’t have any projects in the city of Mesa,” Craig Krumwiede, president and director at Harvard Investments, said. “We wouldn’t be in Mesa without the city’s commitment to responsible development.”Krumwiede went on to say that the city’s fast tracking of development permissions and other aid allowed the project to meet the deadline necessary to attract ATS to the site.“It’s a great collaborative effort to build something that purposeful, that fits with our culture,” James Tuton, president and CEO of ATS, said. “It’s a beautiful property. I’m excited about it.”Tuton went on to express his satisfaction in setting up his company’s headquarters in Mesa.

  • High school students get tour of ASU, learn about military service

    Every year college seems to get more and more expensive. Finding ways to pay for it continues to be a tricky proposition. But a partnership between the U.S. Army and Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) is showing students a potential way to tackle their post-high school education.This week, the Army and the HACU gave students from Phoenix and Tempe high schools an informational lecture at Arizona State University about getting in to college, paying for college as well as a tour of ASU’s Tempe campus.The HACU and the Army first joined forces in 2009 during the economic downturn as a way for the Army to try and diversify its ROTC program. During the economic slump, schools were taking fewer and fewer field trips to universities to allow students to get a feel for the college atmosphere.Jeanette Morales, the HACU’s assistant director of the HACU’s K-12 initiatives, said the experience is about getting kids on campus and helping them ask the right questions, especially for first-generation college students.“What we’re trying to do is get students on campus,” she said. “Empower them with the information about admissions and financial aid and scholarships, give them a tour of the university, get them comfortable on campus and at the same time let them know about opportunities on how to pay for that education and one of those being a career in the military.”Although the military is one way to pay for college, the tour is not strictly a recruitment tool to get young men and women to join the military.

  • Tempe man reflects on 104 years of life

    John Andes has countless stories to tell about his 104-year journey. Whether joy or heartbreak, he offers a smile and a silver lining in everything the world has brought him through a century and beyond.EducationOne of Andes’ greatest personal accomplishments is heading a team that opened two schools in Monrovia, Liberia. The school conditions in Liberia were rough, prompting him to lead a group from the University of San Francisco that was determined to create a better education environment in the region.“One might find a first grade in one of these area schools with a dirt floor, some just benches with no chair backs … no blackboard,” Andes said. “Only 10 percent of the kids were in schools. When we left, that had improved about 15 percent.”Andes decided to dedicate his life to education after suffering financial hardships on his Kansas wheat farm during The Great Depression. He quickly moved up the ranks from a teacher making $120 a year in 1933 to a principal making $100 a month in 1934. Eventually, he led an entire district in San Mateo, Calif., as the superintendent.Tragedy

  • Revenue from the sky lifts Valley airports this week

    As fans and visitors descend upon the Valley for the week leading up to the biggest sporting event of the year, so are dollars for the area’s private airports.Falcon Field in Mesa, Glendale Municipal Airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Goodyear Airport, Chandler Municipal Airport and others are part of a coordinated program established by the federal government to handle anticipated traffic into and out of the area via charter and private craft.“We are affected quite a bit by the Super Bowl,” said Glendale Municipal Airport manager Walt Fix.While Federal Aviation Administration planning was months in the making, the execution has only ramped up in the past week or so, Fix said. The timing is attributed to the fact the Super Bowl’s participants — Seattle and New England — were decided Jan. 18 with the conference championships. “After last Sunday, reservations accelerated,” Fix said.The uptick in activity will raise revenues for the operators of these airports, and by extension, the municipalities where they are located.Falcon Executive Aviation, the company in the industry referred to as the fixed-base operator of Mesa’s Falcon Field, will reap a yield from the services it provides aircraft operators, said Dee Ann Thomas, the airport’s marketing and communications specialist.

  • Headed out this week? Bring time and patience, say law enforcement

    Whether one is heading to the big game or just about town this week and especially next weekend, there are a few of watchwords to remember, according to Valley public safety and transportation officials: Plan ahead and leave early — well before the scheduled 4:30 p.m. kickoff.That includes trips that will not just take drivers near University of Phoenix Stadium, as traffic is expected to affect areas of the East Valley.While Tempe has no major events planned the week of Jan. 25-Feb. 1, professional golf’s Waste Management Phoenix Open will take place from Jan. 29 through Feb. 1 at TPC of Scottsdale on North Hayden Road. Tempe police Lt. Michael Pooley said motorists cannot discount the possibility of traffic in that area during those days. In addition, Scottsdale is the location for an ESPN Fanfest Zone during Super Bowl week, Pooley said.Most of the delays, closures and restrictions on the roads will be on local streets in Glendale near the stadium and Westgate Sports and Entertainment District and the major highways in the vicinity.“Drivers have become familiar with the areas that become most congested before Arizona Cardinals games, and those same roads are the most likely to experience delays before the Super Bowl. Drivers might expect more congestion than on a typical football Sunday, but the same areas are likely to be busy,” stated Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Herrmann in an email.In addition to Loop 101 throughout the West Valley, especially near the stadium, Interstate 10 leading to Loop 101 and surface streets near the stadium are likely to see some type of additional volume.

  • Dive in fuel prices continues

    Once again, drivers across Arizona have paid less to fill up their gas tanks than they did the week prior.A report from AAA Arizona states the average pump price has fallen by more than 7 cents to $1.915 a gallon in the state. Peoria again owns the low end of the spectrum at $1.786 per gallon, while Flagstaff continues to pay the most to fill the tank with an average of $2.206.The national average is down once again, this time by 4 cents to $2.041.

  • 'Boy Next Door' is occasionally fun-ish trash

    Have you ever played the license plate game, the one where you try to find plates from different states, to pass the time during epic car trips? Watching “The Boy Next Door” evokes a similar reaction; there's really nothing you can do but count the differing clichés and try to remember the last time a Jennifer Lopez movie was a sign of excitement.Directed with a barely a skosh of confidence by “The Fast and the Furious” director Rob Cohen, Lopez slouches through the motions as a high-school classics teacher waffling on a decision to divorce her straying husband (John Corbett). She's been alone for months, taking care of her teenage son (Ian Nelson) and receiving useless relationship advice from sassy best friend cum school vice principal Vicky (Kristin Chenoweth).All of that changes when hunky young Noah (the ab-tastic Ryan Guzman) moves in next door to fulfill the destiny the title evokes. A little flirting leads to a night of passion, one Lopez regrets instantly. Guzman, however, has different ideas, and begins to stalk the Latina singer and her family with greater and greater menace until the inevitable showdown involving fire, a gun and other violent shenanigans.I'm trying to think of something legitimately positive to say about “The Boy Next Door” without devolving into snark, but I just keep coming up empty. It's a catastrophe of a film, a product that lacks regard for plot machinations, logic and any true motivation from the actors to do anything besides recite their lines and hope the paychecks don't bounce.Not that they deserve the onus of the blame for this film, as the problem rests in part to some rather weak casting. Guzman, though very pretty, doesn't bring the menace his role requires; he's more moderately perturbed than volcanic. Nelson pouts and rages softly against the dying of his night light, while Corbett and Chenoweth can and have done much better than this. Lopez's performance serves as a reminder that Lopez is still paid to act every then and now, and makes viewers long for the days when performances in “Selena” and “Out of Sight” were the norm.The film's real faults lie in the efforts of Cohen and screenwriter Barbara Curry, who combine to forge a thriller that doesn't excite or engage the audience. Cohen, better known for films like the aforementioned original “Furious” flick, “Daylight,” “xXx” and the Bruce Lee biopic from 1993, doesn't possess the patience to craft the atmosphere needed for this genre. He's an action director at heart, and even slips in a hilariously unnecessary car explosion because why not.

  • Sit down to ‘Seasonal Table’ at new dinner series

    Desert Botanical Garden is rolling out a new way to dine al fresco.The Seasonal Table, a series of four-course dinners, will feature fresh, locally sourced cuisine set amid three picturesque venues within the verdant Phoenix attraction.Each dinner will start with a welcome drink and hors d’oeuvres and include live entertainment. Matthew Taylor, executive chef at DBG’s restaurant, Gertrude’s, will share the story behind each meal.Seasonal Table events will take place 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the following dates:Saturday, Feb. 7: Wine & Dine at Boppart CourtyardEach dinner course will incorporate wine as a special ingredient. Local jazz favorite The Dmitri Matheny Group will perform.

  • TRAIL MIX: This and that from the great outdoors

    Learn to live with urban wildlifeEvery few years, a bear makes headlines by shambling through a Mesa alfalfa field, or mountain lions show up on a Scottsdale golf course. Most days, though, you’re far more likely to cross paths with a smaller critter, like a javelina or coyote.Learn about the animals that share our Valley and how to avoid or deter them during Living With Urban Wildlife, an informative presentation slated for 2 p.m. Jan. 24 inside the Nature Center at San Tan Mountain Regional Park in Queen Creek.There is a $6 per vehicle park entry fee. For information, call (480) 655-5554 or visit Maricopa.gov/parks/santan.Look to local website for AZ archery helpKids — or anyone, really — with a case of archery fever thanks to “The Hunger Games” series of movies and books can get some reliable info on the sport for free courtesy of Arizona Game and Fish Department.

  • Local teen sings songs of hope for troubled children

    While most teenagers spend their time just trying to get through junior high and high school in one piece, 13-year-old Mesa resident Kayli Merwin is giving a voice to children facing adversity through hope-filled songs in her latest EP “Tapestry.”The EP is set to release on Jan. 24 and follows three girls’ stories of hardships and perseverance, but the name “Tapestry” also doubles as the title of the online movement Kayli started at TapestryMovement.com, where children can submit their stories for a chance to have Kayli write and sing a song about them.Kayli said her goal for Tapestry is to give kids hope.“I want to help kids…because so many kids go to suicide and drugs and alcohol when they feel like they don’t have a voice, or when they feel like nobody understands them,” she said.Kayli started Tapestry because she wanted to sing about something that mattered, and when she brainstormed song ideas with her mom, Kristin Merwin, she thought of three girls she knew who had faced uncommon life challenges such as disease and auto accidents.“(Kayli) has always been really concerned about others and really kind and wise beyond her years,” Merwin said, “So it doesn’t surprise me to see her do this. I’m really proud of her.”

  • Average White Band is anything but

    The Grammy-nominated Average White Band is headlining the inaugural Talking Stick Festival concert on Jan. 24, bringing with them a slew of hits and a one-of-a-kind Scottish soul sound.The festival runs from Jan. 22-24 and also features a Native American Chalk Walk, a film festival produced by the Native American Film Institute and artists, craftsmen, and dance groups.Best known for “Pick Up The Pieces,” a million-selling single from 1975, the Average White Band is considered by critics and fans alike as an influential act in modern music.Founding member Alan Gorrie spoke to Get Out about the band’s success, its unique sound and how consistency has maintained the band for more than four decades.Q: It took the Average White Band a few years after you first formed to become famous, which doesn’t seem to happen today. The record labels allowed bands back then to breathe and find themselves.AG: That’s true. Today’s new music seems to be formulaic. I suppose the pop music side of things has always been that way but we were fortunate enough to live in the R&B world. We were indeed allowed the freedom to develop music our own way. Producers back then were skillful and learned enough to allow artists to express themselves and their job was to put what the artist already had onto vinyl rather than imposing their stamp or style on things. That’s not the way producers work today. You’ll probably find now that artists are wheeled in for a half-hour and the rest of it is done by the producer and his cronies.

  • Behemoths collide at Monster Jam 2015

    It’s January and that means 16 huge monster trucks will be taking over Chase Field as Monster Jam returns to Phoenix for one night only. My family has gone every year for the last five years and it just keeps getting better and better. Recently, I had the chance to chat with Carl Van Horn, driver of one of the Grave Digger trucks.  Van Horn started competing with Monster Jam in 2002 and has been driving Grave Digger for the last 5 years.  He started off as a mechanic for another team, but the driving bug caught up with him, and he won a chance to try out to drive a big truck.The Grave Digger Team has a huge following, even by the youngest monster truck fans.  Van Horn attributes this to the fact that the team does more than just drive.  The Grave Digger Team has some amazing drivers plus they love spending time with their fans and going crazy during their freestyle time.  The original driver of Grave Digger, Dennis Anderson, drove so crazy that it was hard not to be a fan.Van Horn is already planning his win and is getting focused for the Phoenix race.  He says to win, he needs to stay focused and get the fastest lap possible.  He also plans out his first three or four freestyle tricks and then just goes crazy.  He said he’s ready to win and is excited for the competition here in Phoenix.There are six trucks headed to Phoenix for the first time and Van Horn says that Freedom Keeper is definitely one to watch out for.  The other trucks coming to Phoenix include Dragon, Scooby-Doo, Monster Mutt Dalmatian, Heavy Hitter, River Rat and Northern Nightmare; along with other fan-favorite trucks including El Toro Loco, El Diablo, Felon, Scarlet Bandit, Bounty Hunter, Menace and McGruff.Van Horn’s favorite part of driving Grave Digger and being part of Monster Jam is his love of the competition and the fans.  So, head out to Chase Field on Saturday, January 24th and stop by his truck for an autograph.  All the teams will be down on the track during the Party in the Pits for autographs and pictures with their fans.  It’s one of my family’s favorite parts of going to Monster Jam every year.

Tech Data Doctors Deals

  • Ground broken on Mesa Riverview office project

    On Wednesday, Lincoln Property Management broke ground on the Class A office space in Mesa Riverview, which it announced back in June.The development, now called Waypoint, is located at 1138 Bass Pro Drive and is scheduled to move in its first tenant, the headquarters of American Traffic Solutions, along with some 500-plus jobs, in November.“Three years ago, Harvard didn’t have any projects in the city of Mesa,” Craig Krumwiede, president and director at Harvard Investments, said. “We wouldn’t be in Mesa without the city’s commitment to responsible development.”Krumwiede went on to say that the city’s fast tracking of development permissions and other aid allowed the project to meet the deadline necessary to attract ATS to the site.“It’s a great collaborative effort to build something that purposeful, that fits with our culture,” James Tuton, president and CEO of ATS, said. “It’s a beautiful property. I’m excited about it.”Tuton went on to express his satisfaction in setting up his company’s headquarters in Mesa.

  • Gilbert resident recognized as a visionary by Specialty Food Association

    Gilbert resident James May was recently awarded the Vision award by the Specialty Food Association for his extensive work with stevia and his dedication toward bettering lives.Stevia is a plant that is commonly found in South America and can be used as a substitute for sugar as a sweetener.Although May was recognized for his leadership and his work, it didn’t come quite that easy for him.Originally, May was considered one of the founders of the kidney and dialysis transplant programs in Arizona, and was involved with the program for 15 years.“I was considered the foremost expert in my field in America,” he said.May was introduced to the world of stevia by a friend who had returned from being in the peace core in Paraguay and brought back a few stevia leaves.

  • Private rentals can still be found for a price

    Still looking for a place to stay during Super Bowl week?Renting private homes rather than staying in hotels is an option for some of those visiting Arizona for Super Bowl week, but several Valley real estate agents said they are not reeling in clients with the game just a week away.Three realtors with offices in the East Valley and West Valley said they have fielded a minimum amount of inquiries about short-term rental properties for the final week of January.“I’ve had a couple calls from people asking about staying a day or two, but we don’t do anything like that,” said Jude Poteet, front-desk manager for Coldwell Banker’s north Scottsdale office.Poteet said the office usually suggests a hotel or an extended-stay hotel for the potential short-term renter.But with lodgings reportedly scarce throughout the Valley just over a week before the NFL championship showdown, those planning a stay may have to look for a private residential rental.

  • Revenue from the sky lifts Valley airports this week

    As fans and visitors descend upon the Valley for the week leading up to the biggest sporting event of the year, so are dollars for the area’s private airports.Falcon Field in Mesa, Glendale Municipal Airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Goodyear Airport, Chandler Municipal Airport and others are part of a coordinated program established by the federal government to handle anticipated traffic into and out of the area via charter and private craft.“We are affected quite a bit by the Super Bowl,” said Glendale Municipal Airport manager Walt Fix.While Federal Aviation Administration planning was months in the making, the execution has only ramped up in the past week or so, Fix said. The timing is attributed to the fact the Super Bowl’s participants — Seattle and New England — were decided Jan. 18 with the conference championships. “After last Sunday, reservations accelerated,” Fix said.The uptick in activity will raise revenues for the operators of these airports, and by extension, the municipalities where they are located.Falcon Executive Aviation, the company in the industry referred to as the fixed-base operator of Mesa’s Falcon Field, will reap a yield from the services it provides aircraft operators, said Dee Ann Thomas, the airport’s marketing and communications specialist.

  • Headed out this week? Bring time and patience, say law enforcement

    Whether one is heading to the big game or just about town this week and especially next weekend, there are a few of watchwords to remember, according to Valley public safety and transportation officials: Plan ahead and leave early — well before the scheduled 4:30 p.m. kickoff.That includes trips that will not just take drivers near University of Phoenix Stadium, as traffic is expected to affect areas of the East Valley.While Tempe has no major events planned the week of Jan. 25-Feb. 1, professional golf’s Waste Management Phoenix Open will take place from Jan. 29 through Feb. 1 at TPC of Scottsdale on North Hayden Road. Tempe police Lt. Michael Pooley said motorists cannot discount the possibility of traffic in that area during those days. In addition, Scottsdale is the location for an ESPN Fanfest Zone during Super Bowl week, Pooley said.Most of the delays, closures and restrictions on the roads will be on local streets in Glendale near the stadium and Westgate Sports and Entertainment District and the major highways in the vicinity.“Drivers have become familiar with the areas that become most congested before Arizona Cardinals games, and those same roads are the most likely to experience delays before the Super Bowl. Drivers might expect more congestion than on a typical football Sunday, but the same areas are likely to be busy,” stated Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Herrmann in an email.In addition to Loop 101 throughout the West Valley, especially near the stadium, Interstate 10 leading to Loop 101 and surface streets near the stadium are likely to see some type of additional volume.

  • East Valley cashes in on Super Bowl

    Super Bowl Sunday and the week heading into it are expected to increase consumer spending exponentially and not just in the region surrounding University of Phoenix Stadium.The Feb. 1 title game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks marks the first time since 2008 Arizona has hosted the Super Bowl, and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee anticipates the game will have a $500 million economic impact. The most obvious location that will benefit from the game and complementary events is the Westgate Entertainment District just outside the host stadium.“I think there’s no question the Super Bowl will be the best sales day of the year for the Westgate Entertainment District,” said Jeff Teetsel, Westgate’s development manager. “The Super Bowl will be another level of sales.”He attributed the boost in sales not just to the people attending the game, but to the thousands of people who are willing to pay $60 to park and visit one of the district’s restaurants, along with people who linger after the game to celebrate or mourn the result.“It will truly be an all-day peak demand,” he said.Business leaders throughout the region say that demand will extend to the East Valley as well.

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  • Wilmot: Keeping our spiritual lives flexible

    Spandex and spiritual workouts — this may be the stretch you’re looking for.There was a time when I would have avoided pants with the word spandex on the label in the same way that I try hard to avoid catching the flu! My short-lived experience of spandex was to try some nifty spandex leggings to get in the right frame of mind for a workout. That lasted about as long as most people’s New Year’s resolutions. It took some time, but I finally got to a place in my life where I was willing to give spandex another chance. Fortunately, spandex was not the only fiber listed on the label, just one of them. Plus, it became increasingly difficult to find any pants that didn’t have spandex in them. Anyway, the new stretchy and forgiving pants turned out to comfortable and pretty flattering (yep, that’s my opinion). Sometimes change really is good.No good shopping experience, including actually finding pants that are comfortable, fit well, and look good should never go unexamined for a spiritual connection. In fact, if we embraced more of the qualities of the expansive give and forgive of spandex, our lives would be easier, simpler, and a lot more peaceful. Looking back at our Judeo-Christian history for a moment, it seems that there’s not much give in the attitudes of some religious leaders we come across. With few exceptions the message from the Scribes and Pharisees was pretty much my way or the highway. Jesus recognized their problem in the parable of the new wine and old wineskins from Luke 5:37-38: “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.” Those old wineskins just couldn’t handle the new wine that Jesus embodies, teaches and is ultimately willing to die for in order to fulfill God’s plan of salvation. God’s hands are always stretching out to touch us. God’s gifts are always available to bless us expansively and abundantly. Through our faith in Christ Jesus, our earthly lives expand beyond time and space and into everlasting life in Him.Old ways and old habits can become so comfortable that we’re not willing to risk faith, or stretch ourselves. Our mindset can become precisely that: set, fixed, immovable and unchanging. If our thinking is atrophied and our hearts hardened, then we’ve stopped allowing the Holy Spirit to keep our hearts supple and our minds exercised in God’s word, and stretching to discern God’s will. If that’s happened or happening, is it an issue of who’s in control? How stubborn are we being in holding tightly onto some aspect of our lives, shutting out God’s healing and cleansing light? Is ego getting in the way of the Way? Or perhaps it’s about fear. Are we frightened to look at the new gifts God is offering, or worried about the new opportunities God is preparing us for?Trusting in the Lord is one important element to keeping ourselves open to God’s will for our lives, and prayer is the key to building that trust. If prayer isn’t a regular habit yet, this may be a stretch, yet prayer is a kind of spiritual spandex. It helps us to stretch ourselves toward the Lord, and gives us the kind of flexibility and strength we need to reach out to serve others. Prayer is an awesome way to keep us in shape. Dwelling in God’s word, otherwise known as stretching the horizons of our understanding of God’s living word, is another great way to get a spiritual workout. It helps to be part of a community of faith to explore the real shape of some of the strange dips and bumps in our spiritual journeys that we all experience from time to time. Finding a community of faith is equally important when (notice I didn’t say “if”) we’re feeling stretched to the max by life’s demands — work, career, family, financial pressures, time constraints, or spiritual discontent — and can’t seem to find answers to our most pressing questions or issues. Keeping our spiritual lives flexible, helps us to grow in all the right ways!• The Rev. Susan E. Wilmot is priest-in-charge at St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church, 975 E. Warner Road, Tempe. Reach her at rector@stjamestempe.orgor or at (480) 345-2686.

  • Take me home: Sweet Bubba is a typical hound dog

    Bubba is a 2-year-old Basset blend. He landed at Friends for Life Animal Rescue in Gilbert by way of the Yuma Humane Society, where he was considered a stray.Bubba is a “typical hound,” He’ll follow his nose anywhere (which might explain how he got lost in the first place).His ideal home would be one with some knowledge of hound behaviors. Bubba likes to cuddle with his people. He’d probably do fine with older children. He has met a few dogs and is vocal (like hounds are) when he meets them, but he does play with other dogs.Bubba is neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and licensed. He has tested negative for heartworm. Bubba’s adoption fee is $225 and he’s patiently waiting for his new family at Friends for Life’s adoption center.For more information, call (480) 497-8296 or visit www.azfriends.org.

  • Valley churches have differing opinions on performing same-sex weddings

    Under an Oct. 17 federal court ruling, gays and lesbians have the right in Arizona to marry, but homosexual couples may still find themselves unable to wed here in the church of their choice and ahead of a pending decision on the issue from the U.S. Supreme Court.Some denominations and individual houses of worship reserve their decision against performing the services, citing the Bible — the very source other churches use to support their decision to marry same-sex couples. As confusing as it may seem, the dueling positions are part of the landscape upon which the state is forging ahead in the new era of homosexual rights in what’s considered one of the most fundamental of those rights — that of two people who love each other to be legally united.“We continue to live in the dichotomy of that truth,” said Debra Peevey, a retired pastor who served as faith director for Why Marriage Matters Arizona, an organization formed to promote and facilitate marriage equality prior to last fall’s ruling.“There are plenty of churches that won’t do it. The good news is there are plenty of churches that would,” she said.Generally speaking, churches or denominations that have more freely performed services include United Universalist, the United Church of Christ, Episcopalian and a number in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). Roman Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, and Church of Christ (different from the United Church of Christ) churches are unlikely to conduct weddings.But the lines do blur. Certain Lutheran churches, such as Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Tempe, don’t perform same-sex weddings.

  • Take me Home: Well-mannered Riley is sweet and snuggly

    At 5 years old, Riley the terrier mix has grown into a well-mannered gentleman. This sweet, mellow, friendly guy has an honest face you can read like a book. Scratch his ears and the adoring look on Riley’s face will make you blush. Give Riley the belly rubs he enjoys so much and you’ll witness a dog turning into putty right before your eyes. Riley is an incredibly snuggly dog — all he wants in life is to be as close to his people. He likes being held, hugged, and kissed and will return the favor. He loves to curl up in the curve of your stomach to snuggle. Riley likes sitting on your lap. He enjoys outings with his people and rides well in the car. Riley would also be more than satisfied with a 20-minute daily walk. He walks great on a leash as long as you don’t mind giving him opportunities to roll around on the grass.Riley does fine with dogs and cats alike. He’d also be just as happy having his people all to himself. He is a great fit for a variety of families. All Riley asks is his new family spend lots of time with him and look forward to having him snuggle on their lap after the days’ activities are done. The family that brings Riley into their home is hitting the jackpot ten times over.If interested in learning more about Riley, fill out an application for him today at www.azrescue.org.

  • Marz: Mission: What is your purpose?

    As a parent, we find purpose in caring for children. Our mission might be to raise children who grow up healthy, who are loving, and who contribute to the world. Many people are fortunate to live their lives finding purpose in their work. Their mission might be to help others or to make it a better world by solving problems at work. Others might see work only as a means to achieve a purpose of leisure or providing for one’s family. Regardless of who we might be, we all give effort to achieve goals. We all dream. We all seek to live with a purpose — a mission.Mission can be defined as our reason for being — our purpose.Faith communities can help people to live a mission-focused life. By her very nature a church community is mission. Mission is not one thing the church does among a plethora of other programs. Mission is her very being and her everyday doing.Mission in the church is rooted in what God is doing to reconcile the world to God. The church has a unique purpose. While lots of places can provide friends, help meet people’s felt needs, provide a place for people to use their gifts, or even provide services to people, the church community’s missional purpose is to be the reconciling presence of God in the world. That is unique.What is your unique mission?If it is hard for you to align your daily activities in life to what you really see as your missional-purpose, begin by asking some questions. In the church community, we ask future-thinking-vision questions. Since our mission is to be a community that invites all people into a love relationship with God, how are our current actions living this out? If we do things that do not fit that mission, we probably should stop doing that. If we are doing things that really further the mission, we put more time into those areas. It is bad when we say that our mission is one thing and do things that are opposite. This is hypocrisy. Whether in our church or individual lives, could it be that we say this is what we want to do, but we are just hoping it will happen without much thought or strategy? All talk and no walk.

  • East Valley religious coalition receives $100K grant to help homeless

    An East Valley religious coalition received a $100,000 grant from Dignity Health to provide aid for the homeless.Dignity Health’s grant, which covers the 2014-15 fiscal year, is divided equally among the three organization — Tempe Community Action Agency, Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, and the Chandler Christian Community Center — to provide case management services for homeless individuals. The three churches created a coalition, The East Valley Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (I-HELP) in 2010 to provide shelter, food and necessary life skills to indigent people.“These churches and religious establishments are kind enough to open their doors and provide crisis shelter and food for the underprivileged and homeless community,” said Deborah Hutterer, director of congregational relations and volunteers at Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest.Hutterer said Dignity Health’s grant provides a sizable amount of funding for case management services. Case managers are assigned to review the needs of their clients once a month to find trends about what resources the organization should offer.In addition to the professional supervision, I-HELP searches for peer monitors who will mentor its clients and support them as they continue down their desired path. Peer monitors receive a stipend from the coalition for their assistance.I-HELP’s case management initiative is a major reason for receiving its second consecutive grant from Dignity Health. Kathleen Dowler, director of community integration at Dignity Health, admires its long-term focus.

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