East Valley Tribune: Mesa Chamber News

Mesa Chamber News

  • Chandler program offers education about native fauna

    The desert and all its wildlife find themselves mixed into the Chandler city life. That’s why the Environmental Education Center at Veterans Oasis Park works to educate people on the animals they may come across.Recreation Coordinators Michael Ballard and Daniella Rodriguez, of the Environmental Education Center in Chandler, want to make sure residents and visitors are aware of what animals make their home there and know where they can go to enjoy the animals as they live in their natural habitats. With 117 species of birds, coyotes, jackrabbits and cottontails, gophers and reptiles making their homes in the 113-acre park, the center has on their doorstep an opportunity to provide the public with firsthand experience about how animals behave in the wild.Originally designed to be a site for water distribution to use at a recharge facility, Veterans Oasis Park ended up as an education center, a wildlife preserve and a location for a Chandler Police Department substation. While water distribution had the place blocked off, it decided it would be a great place for something like the Gilbert Riparian instead of only having recharge basins, Ballard explained.“This park is a really neat example of city cooperation and partnership,” said Ballard. “Three different divisions within the city worked together to make it what it is today.”What to see at Veterans Oasis ParkVeterans Oasis serves as a park, fishing spot and wildlife preserve. Part of the park is kept well trimmed and clean for visitors who would like to enjoy picnics, games and nice walks around the lake. The rest is more of a preserve and is left to grow as it would in nature, and groundskeepers only trim when the brush begins to cover the paths. In this area, visitors are able to see the animals in their natural habitat.

  • Valley Metro holiday service

    Valley Metro has released its schedule for the upcoming holiday season.The transportation company will operate its bus and light-rail services on a Sunday schedule on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Customer service will remain open on Christmas Eve from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but will close on Christmas Day.Valley Metro will offer free rides for its bus, light rail and Dial-a-Ride services for New Year’s Eve, beginning at 7 p.m. and until the end of the service day. Buses will operate on a regular weekday schedule, while the light rail will operate a weekday schedule, but remain in use until 2 a.m.

  • School comes through for Tribune toy drive

    A community-based gift drive organized by the East Valley Tribune ended this week with more than 450 donations to Cardon Children’s Medical Center.Sponsored by the Tribune, Ahwatukee Foothills News, Clipper Marketplace and San Tan Ford, community members, students and staff contributed a total of 463 gifts to give to children at the Mesa hospital this holiday season. Items ranged from toys and stuffed animals to movies, games and clothes.The Tribune and Ahwatukee Foothills News also sponsored a toy drive in 2013 to benefit Cardon.Approximately 300 of the presents came from contributions by students at Centennial Elementary School in Gilbert. Fifth-grade students at the Higley Unified campus spent more than a month organizing the drive among Centennial students.“Students went above and beyond and brainstormed ideas to raise money outside of school in order to purchase toys to donate themselves,” said fifth-grade teacher Colleen Costello.Costello said the initial goal was to collect 212 items as part of the school’s motto, “A.C.T. 212.” But the fifth-grade students’ ability to gather toys and donations for purchases enabled them to go beyond that mark.

  • Bistro A’la Mode brings new menu style to Mesa

    There’s an exciting new eatery in north Mesa, where a bistro has opened in one wing of Stonebridge Manor, an event venue which has, for some time, been a local favorite for weddings and receptions.Bistro A’la Mode opened Dec. 2, serving lunch in a “revolving menu” style intended to keep an interesting, ever-changing menu.Owner Michael Mills said, after 17 years of weddings and other events, he felt there needed to be a good reason for folks to visit the stately property during the day time. Opening a small restaurant accomplished that goal perfectly.“It just occurred to me years ago that we are here all the time ... we should be doing something during the day,” Mills said.Mills had already started his own catering company to serve the location, Palm Street Culinary, so expanding to a bistro was as simple as setting up the area for food service, something the location was already primed for.Mills said he had always been inspired to open a sort of ice cream shop “A’la Mode” and so that idea carried over into the bistro, where he asked his chefs to make sure the main dishes would always have something beside or on top of them. Being a big fan of restaurants, he often returns to Stonebridge with ideas (bacon jam) that are faithfully translated to the menu in one form or another.

  • School comes through for Tribune toy drive

    A community-based gift drive organized by the East Valley Tribune ended this week with more than 450 donations to Cardon Children’s Medical Center.Sponsored by the Tribune, Ahwatukee Foothills News, Clipper Marketplace and San Tan Ford, community members, students and staff contributed a total of 463 gifts to give to children at the Mesa hospital this holiday season. Items ranged from toys and stuffed animals to movies, games and clothes.The Tribune and Ahwatukee Foothills News also sponsored a toy drive in 2013 to benefit Cardon.Approximately 300 of the presents came from contributions by students at Centennial Elementary School in Gilbert. Fifth-grade students at the Higley Unified campus spent more than a month organizing the drive among Centennial students.“Students went above and beyond and brainstormed ideas to raise money outside of school in order to purchase toys to donate themselves,” said fifth-grade teacher Colleen Costello.Costello said the initial goal was to collect 212 items as part of the school’s motto, “A.C.T. 212.” But the fifth-grade students’ ability to gather toys and donations for purchases enabled them to go beyond that mark.

  • Phoenix police chief let go over forbidden press conference

    Hours after conducting a press conference he was repeatedly asked not to host, Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia was fired Thursday afternoon.Garcia has been in the news over the past month for his relationship with city police unions. Last month those unions called for a “vote of no confidence” in the chief because of the way he handled post traumatic stress disorder in his officers.City Manager Ed Zuercher said the decision to fire the chief was made not because of the tension between Garcia and the unions, but because of his action going directly against his supervisors and conducting a press conference.“Today the police chief disobeyed a direct order, given to him, by me, through his supervisor, assistant city manager Milton Dohoney,” Zuercher said. “As a result, I fired him. I asked the chief to work collaboratively, and cooperatively, and respectfully, and to communicate with me and my office. That is the Phoenix way. He did not do that. We cannot expect our police officers to follow orders if the chief cannot do the same and lead by example.”Zuercher said there was no plan to fire Garcia before that press conference.During the press conference Garcia spoke out against the union’s vote of no confidence and against City Councilman Sal DiCiccio of Ahwatukee, who he says broke city charter by asking for his firing. He also asked for a two-year contract from the city of Phoenix. Zuercher said he never received a request for a contract from the chief.

  • Meet MACFest artists Phyllis Derosett and Nancy Niemeyer

    Thirty years ago sisters Phyllis Derosett and Nancy Niemeyer started crafting together, making gifts, kids clothes and stuffed animals. Friends and family enjoyed their creations so much that they started a business — Sew Many Friends. The company is one of Mesa Arts and Crafts Festival’s newest vendors.“We currently use cotton and vintage chenille bedspreads for our creations, making quilts, pillows, baby items, jackets and much more. American Girl Doll clothes are the newest addition to our handmade selections,” says Derosett, who makes her home in Gilbert.“We began over 30 years ago as a collaboration between three sisters who love to sew and create.  In the beginning we made soft dolls, Santas, angels, snowmen, bunnies and also items for children and kitchen gifts.  Sharing our ideas increased our selection over the years.  Before doing craft shows we organized a boutique and opened up our homes semi-annually to friends, relatives and the general public,” she says.While they miss their sister, Janet Gregory, who sells her creations from Hawaii, Phyllis and Nancy enjoy being part of the many craft show opportunities here in Arizona, including the Mesa Arts and Crafts Festival.The next MACFest is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 20 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in downtown Mesa on North MacDonald near the Arizona Museum of Natural History. This is a free event.  Booth registration is available for $20.  More information is available at (480) 644-6500 or MacFestMesa.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.New this weekAnnieAnnie is a young foster kid tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan. But everything’s about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks - advised by his brilliant VP, Grace and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy - makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it’s the other way around. Starring: Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Zayas, Cameron Diaz. PGCometHurtling back and forth in time over six years of a passionate, complicated relationship, the bright, skeptical Kimberly, and the tightly-wound Dell meet at Hollywood Forever, where they’ve both come to watch a meteor shower. It’s the start of a romantic roller coaster ride that leaps from a Paris tryst to a squabble in New York to the Hollywood Hills, taking risky and unexpected emotional turns with daredevil aplomb. Starring: Emmy Rossum, Justin Long, Eric Winter. R

  • KidReporter: Lots of laughs in ‘Junie B. Jones’

    I just saw the play “Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!” I thought it was really funny because all the actors were super old, but they had to act like first-graders. But they used high school desks for them so that they could fit. It was also funny because Junie B. kept saying words wrong like first-graders do a lot.The play was mainly set in an elementary school classroom and was about Junie B. Jones (Kate Haas) and how she had to deal with another girl named May (Kaleena Newman), who was her archenemy and the worst tattletale in first grade. Worst of all, Junie B. had picked May’s name for the Secret Santa Party. Oh, no!The funniest prop of all was the squeeze-a-burp. It was made from a piece of plastic that the actors pretended to squeeze to make the noise, but actually the noise was made by the sound guy who recorded a bunch of giant burps and used a button to make it come over the speakers whenever the actors squeezed it.There were lots of characters in the play including Classroom One teacher, Mr. Scary (Dwayne Hartford) and the music teacher (Jon Gentry), whose name was really funny — he was called Mr. Toot!  There was a cool part of the play that they added, which was a flashback to another Junie B. Jones book called “Shipwrecked.” In that part, we learned how Junie B. and May had argued and fought over whose ship was the fastest. This was the beginning of how they grew to not like each other very much.So, why should you go see this play? Well, first of all, the play happens around Christmas, the season of giving. There’s lots of laughter and fun, and cool characters and sets, and in the end Junie B. learns some valuable lessons about how it’s better to give than receive and not be mean.

  • 5 ways your family can experience the joy of giving back

    Between the beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, the candy, and Santa’s midnight trip, it is easy for kids to miss the message of Christmas. Why not shake things up a bit and get your children focused on the spirit of Christmas?It is never too late to start a family tradition of Christmas giving. Serving others is an easy and rewarding way to teach your children compassion and grow closer as a family. It also teaches your children a life-long habit that makes a difference in the lives of others. Here are five ways your family can give back this Christmas that your kids will love.Salvation Army Christmas Angel TreeStop by your local mall, Walmart, or other participating retailer and look for the Salvation Army Angel Tree. The trees are decorated with Christmas Angel tags that have the name and gift wishes of a boy or girl 12 years of age or younger. Selecting a child’s tag and shopping for his or her gifts makes for a meaningful and fun family outing. You can also pick an angel at SalvationArmy.christmas/phoenix.Feed My Starving ChildrenVolunteering at Feed My Starving Children in Tempe is an experience your family will enjoy and won’t soon forget. You will spend about two hours assembling and packing life-saving food packs that will be shipped all over the world to malnourished children. Gather a group (children must be at least 5 years old) and register for a packing session this holiday season. Hours and information are available at (480) 626-1970 or Fmsc.org/locations/tempe.

  • Sweet holiday treats put spin on favorite flavors

    Gingerbread cupcakesEach miniature spiced ginger cake is topped with cream cheese frosting, dusted with cinnamon sugar and decorated with a gingerbread man. They’re available, along with another seasonal flavor, chocolate-peppermint, through Dec. 24.$2.16-$4.05 per cupcake; $45.34 for a JOY box of 12 in gingerbread, chocolate-peppermint, red velvet and vanilla flavorsSprinkles: 4501 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. (480) 970-4321 or Sprinkles.comPanettone gelatoPanettone — an Italian sweet bread traditional at Christmastime — is one of many seasonal flavors on rotation here. Eggnog, peppermint, chocomint, pear and cinnamon, gingerbread and cannoli are among the offerings, but the selection changes daily. The attached Italian grocery carries authentic imported ingredients fit for a holiday feast, too.

  • 3 to Try: Food gifts for your fella

    Wondering what to get the men in your life this holiday? Instead of another tie or T-shirt, give him something that he can sink his teeth into. These locally owned East Valley businesses for sweets, suds, and savory food gifts will satisfy your sir this season.Von Hanson’s Meats2390 N. Alma School Road, Chandler(480) 917-2525 orVonHansonsMeats.netVon Hanson’s Meats in Chandler is a full service, old-fashioned meat market and butcher shop. These experienced butchers offer good, old-fashioned customer service and are happy to offer advice on selection and preparation of your purchase. Bundles and variety packs are prepackaged for a quick and easy way to deliver the meat lovers on your list something to sink their teeth into. Check out the Cattleman’s Choice Pack for an extra hearty deal.

  • Photos: Moon Valley Wrestling Tournament

  • Seton football coach Bowser reflects on 40-year career

    Rex Bowser sits down at a small table in the corner of a Starbucks in Chandler. The longtime Seton Catholic football coach sips his coffee in a laid-back, relaxed manner and begins to tell the story of his more than four-decade-long career.At first, Bowser wanted to be a basketball coach — football was a secondary option. He said he only received a single job offer after graduating college in 1972 and, along with being a basketball coach, part of the job included coaching eighth-grade football.Two years later, he left the hardwood for the gridiron.“The football, I don’t know, it just struck a cord or something,” Bowser said. “And I just went from there.”For 33 years Bowser coached and taught in Indiana and he had decided, at least for the first time, he was ready to retire. His eldest son had graduated from Purdue and taken a job with Intel in Arizona. Then his youngest son moved to Arizona and Bowser soon became a grandfather.He had a decision to make.

  • Hamilton trying to get back to title game, but will have plenty of challenges on the way

    When it comes to boys soccer, the East Valley is loaded in Division I, while Division II and III look to catch up and represent the Valley in the playoffs.Last year, eight East Valley high schools qualified for the Division I playoffs while only two teams from the East Valley qualified for the division II or III tournament. Here’s a look at how the divisions shake out.Division IAt the highest division, Hamilton appears to be the team to beat once again. After snagging the No. 1 seed in last year’s playoffs, the Huskies made a run all the way to the state title game before falling to Brophy 1-0.Although coach Nick Markette says his team isn’t necessarily playing with a chip on its shoulder, the players are using last year’s championship defeat as motivation.“It provides fuel. It provides a sense of urgency,” he said. “In our vision we should have won it and our vision we play every year to win it so it certainly provides a level of cognitive dissonance if you will to put in that sense of urgency to continue to work and progress.”

  • Highland probation gives end of season a strange feel

    Highland High School’s boys golf team was placed on a one-year probation by the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) for violating a regulation that disallows players from playing on the state championship venue course after a certain dateHighland boys sophomore golfer Brock Goyen played on the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen, the site of the state boys golf championship, after he was no longer allowed to play the course prior to the state tournament.Goyen won the boys Division I state championship at last month’s tournament. But now he has been stripped of his title and the program has been placed on probation after an appeal by the school.According to AIA bylaw 24.9.3.1 states, “A practice (including walking of the course) or competition on the site of the state tournament, is not permitted beginning with the day after the posted last state qualifying date.”That date was Oct. 25 and, after learning that Goyen had played the course after Oct. 25, he was disqualified from the tournament. The title was given to Hamilton’s Jino Sohn, who finished two shots behind Goyen.Goyen initially won the individual boys state title by shooting an eight-under 136 over the two-day event Nov. 5-6.

  • Seton Catholic football coach Rex Bowser stepping down

    Seton Catholic football head coach Rex Bowser has stepped away from his duties head coach after seven seasons.Bowser confirmed on Thursday he has retired from his position as head coach and will leave his post as a physical education teacher at Seton Catholic following this school year."It's just time," Bowser said, calling his job as head coach, "the best I ever had." Seton went 12-1 this year and ended the regular season undefeated before losing to Snowflake 33-20 in the state semifinals. Seton Catholic had a 62-24 overall record during Bowser's seven seasons and went 48-5 in the last four years, winning the state title in 2012.

  • Photos: Chandler vs Desert Vista wrestling

Tech Data Doctors Deals

  • Tick-tock: Tips for last-minute shoppers

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The clock is ticking, and your holiday shopping list isn't complete. Don't fret — you aren't alone. The National Retail Federation found that only about half of shoppers had finished shopping as of Dec. 10. That means tens of millions will be ticking those final items off their lists in the coming days. But procrastination doesn't have to mean desperation. Here are a few tips to help survive last-minute shopping: —SEIZE THE DAY: Retailers know the rush is coming, and they are doing everything they can to attract last-minute shoppers. This includes extended shopping hours, expedited shipping and exclusive promotions. That opens up lots of strategies for shopping that will keep you out of the crazy lines in stores at noon on Christmas Eve. One tactic is to become a night owl. Many retailers are open longer in the week before Christmas. For example, Wal-Mart says its stores are open 24 hours a day up until 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and it is offering shipping options up until Dec. 23. Toys R Us stores are open around the clock from the morning of Dec. 23 through 9 p.m. Christmas Eve; it also is extending its hours in the days preceding. And many retailers, such as Best Buy, allow shoppers to find an item online and pick it up at a store. Even 7-Eleven is targeting shoppers, offering gift cards, toys and stocking stuffers in its stores. The bottom line: Take advantage of those last-minute discounts and other deals. — DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at market researcher NPD Group, says many people do not yet know what they want to give, or get. "These consumers are the ones who put themselves in a stressful situation," he said. "The one saving grace is online (shopping) is a chance for a lot of people to do their homework." He said shoppers can narrow down their options ahead of time by looking online. You can also check Amazon.com to see if the person has a wish list you didn't know about, or study Facebook or Pinterest pages for ideas. Such prep work can save a lot of headaches and potentially limit last-minute impulse purchases that can prove costly. — WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES: Seriously, this is a common-sense step many shoppers skip. "Wear comfortable shoes for goodness sake," Cohen said. "It (shopping) is exercise and it's not very comfortable." Don't waste time cruising to find the closest spot to the store either, he said. Those comfortable shoes will make it easier to just park and walk.

  • Let Joe Know: Read the fine print before booking your next airline flight

    Are you traveling over the next couple of weeks?If so, have you thought about what happens if the airline overbooks or your flight is canceled?Linda Tableman learned firsthand.“It was raining really hard when we got to the airport and they told us the flight would be delayed,” Tableman said.She said the flight was delayed two and a half hours, and that forced her to miss a connecting flight back to Phoenix. And she says the only flight offered by the airline to get home, was three days later!“That’s a lot to ask for a person, people work, have lives, family,” Tableman said.

  • Martial arts training facility opens in Mesa

    There’s a new kind of workout available in Mesa, for those who think they are up to the task. Fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world’s largest promoter of the sport of mixed martial arts, will recognize immediately the brand name association of UFC Gym Mesa, on the corner of South Ellsworth and East Broadway roads.“It’s the way that we train,” assistant manager Tisha Byers said. “We train different.”Partnered with New Evolution Ventures, a fitness brand developer, the UFC is expanding its brand to bring MMA-style training to everyone. The gym rebranded from LA Boxing in 2012 and has been going strong ever since.“It’s a great vibration,” trainer Ty Upshur said. “It’s a family atmosphere. It’s a great place where the parents can come and work out and the kids can work out. Not only that but we produce professional fighters here.”Beginners can train in boxing, kickboxing and MMA, while advanced students can train in all of that as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai, a form of kickboxing originating in Thailand. The gym also offers youth training, versions of most classes scaled for younger athletes.“It all depends on the person, on what their main interest is,” Upshur said. “As the trainers, we recognize that. It really does depend on the individual.”

Pets Food Health TV Travel

  • Boessling: First Christmas questions

    Have you ever been to a church Christmas program to see Mary and Joseph riding on a donkey, barn yard animals around the manger, a baby Jesus with no hint of crying, and wise men in the background, but you thought, “I wonder if that is really how the first Christmas scene looked?”My wife and I were in Scottsdale this week on a Christmas light tour in a double-decker bus. The bus stopped at a house where the owner had literally 50 different manger scenes in their garage. It was incredible. They had large ones, small ones, antiques and foreign made ones. By the way, all of you should drive up to visit that house (Checkout “Christmas Phoenix” on Facebook) to get in the Christmas mood. But as I pondered those amazing manger scenes, I wondered, is everything I see there described in the Bible? For the remainder of this column, I am going to pose questions to you about the first Christmas and then we will investigate what the Bible states to answer that question, letting the “text” of the Word of God speak for itself.1) How did Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem?A) Camel, B) Donkey, C) Walked, D) CP30, E) Joseph walked, Mary rode a donkey, F) Who knows?Now in our Sunday school programs, many times we have to play it out with B) or E) because to think of Mary as nine months pregnant walking over 70 miles from Nazareth through Jerusalem to Bethlehem, we just won’t have it. But the Bible actually never says anything about how they traveled. There is good reason contextually to think they might have used a donkey but all we have in Scripture is the purpose of their travels rather than a detailed description of the mode of transportation. The purpose of the trip was for Joseph to go back to town of his family, Bethlehem, to be counted in the census issued by Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1-5). Therefore, taking just the Bible into account, the answer is F) Who knows!2) What did the innkeeper say to Mary and Joseph?

  • Take me Home: Tessa’s charms are subtle, but irresistible

    Tessa, a 3-year-old sweet, gentle, affectionate gal, is happiest when spending time with her people. She has beautiful, bunny-soft fur that you just can’t keep from petting over and over again. That’s OK though — this type of behavior is encouraged by Tessa, considering she loves attention and loves to be petted. Tessa especially enjoys petting if it involves ear rubs, chest rubs, chin scratches, or all of the above. It is fun to watch how much she appreciates being pet. Don’t be surprised if Tessa climbs into your lap for cuddle time. She’s hoping to not only score additional petting, but brushing as well.She is a big time lap kitty and will come right over if you pat your lap and call to her. Of course, she’s totally OK with making herself at home in your lap without being explicitly invited. Tessa expresses contentment with soft purrs and occasional kitty kisses. If your lap suddenly becomes unavailable, Tessa is happy to retire to a high perch on the nearest kitty condo, where she is content to keep an eye on her surroundings. Tessa doesn’t really seem interested in toys — she’s much more interested in getting attention and affection from her people.Tessa doesn’t mind other calm, friendly kitties; however, she prefers observing kitties as opposed to interacting with kitties. People on the other hand, she adores — no observation there. Tessa not only makes a great snuggle buddy; she’d also be a great reading companion and would be happy to warm your lap as you watch your favorite movies and TV shows together. This mellow, laid-back kitty will do well in a variety of homes and is hoping you consider adding her to your home.If interested in learning more about Tessa, fill out an application for her today at www.azrescue.org.

  • Gilbert church provides carnival for sick children

    Life Community Church hosted a holiday event to entertain more than 100 kids with life-threatening illnesses.The Gilbert church’s Christmas Carnival had children arrive from across the state to celebrate the holiday with boat races, puzzles, dancing, face painting, golf, crafts, a snowball fight and a visit from Santa.

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