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  • Basic toys, not electronics, help remote learning for preschoolers

    When it comes to promoting learning for children 5 and younger, basic toys and quality time with adults are the best gifts an infant, toddler or preschooler can receive.But what about all those flashy, electronic toys with lights and sounds that we see advertised so much this season? One Northern Arizona University researcher has studied whether they provide an advantage to a young child’s learning.Anna Sosa, director of the NAU Child Speech and Language Lab in Flagstaff, set out to see which everyday activities promote the best environment for babies and toddlers to learn language.Early language development is critical to a child’s learning. And babies, toddlers and preschoolers need to hear a lot of language in order to best learn how to speak and eventually transfer those skills into reading and writing.Turns out, parents and family members talk the most to babies when they are engaging their child with books and traditional toys, rather than electronic toys that claim to promote language development.“Young children learn through play, through experimenting with the world around them and through interaction with other kids and adults,” said Ginger Sandweg, First Things First senior director for early learning.

  • Two dogs seeking new masters

    Animal rescuers are hoping new masters will step forward to take ownership of a couple of dogs.Jannelle Cosgriff of Friends for Life Rescue said “very handsome” Romeo is a “pocket Chow” because its 40-pound weight is less than the average weight for that breed.“Romeo is about 1-1/2 years old and has the typical energy level of a dog his age,” she said, describing him as a “good hiking buddy who will do well in an active home where he will get lots of walks.”Romeo is neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, licensed, and he tested negative for heartworm. His adoption fee is $150. Information: Friends for Life Animal Rescue at 480-497-8296,  ffldogs@azfriends.org, or azfriends.org.Meanwhile, Cowgirl is a 2-year-old Cattle Dog/Staffordshire Terrier mix, available for adoption at Arizona Animal Welfare League’s main adoption center, 25 N. 40th St., Phoenix. figure.inline-child .toggle{ text-indent:-99999px; position:absolute; right:5px; top:5px; z-index:1; cursor:pointer; } figure.inline-child.image { margin-bottom: 15px } figure.inline-child.image .image-box { position: relative; display: block; } figure.inline-child.image .image-box figcaption { display: none } figure.inline-child.image img { display: block; margin: 0 auto; width: 263px; } figure.inline-child.image img:hover { cursor: pointer } /* inline image expanded */ figure.inline-child.image.expanded .image-box { z-index: 2 } figure.inline-child.image.expanded .image-box figcaption { display: block; position: absolute; bottom: 0px; left: 0; right: 0; padding: 5px; background: #000; color: #fff; box-shadow: 0px 3px 5px #000; } figure.inline-child.image.expanded .image-box figcaption .description { display: block; font-weight: bold; } figure.inline-child.image.expanded .image-box figcaption .credit { float: left; clear: both; } figure.inline-child.image.expanded .image-box img { position: absolute; width: 100%; display: inline; left: 0; top: 0; box-shadow: 0px 3px 5px #000; } .presentation-long-form figure.inline-child.image img { width:90%; }

  • Looking for Santa? Check out the businesses in your backyard

    The closing of two restaurants and two clothing stores in less than a month in Ahwatukee casts a sobering note smack in the middle of the community’s holiday preparations.The two clothing stores, Adelaide and Clothes Minded, operated in the same location in an effort to survive the twin challenges of online and big box shopping.The two restaurants, Loco Patron and Unwined, didn’t face the same challenges.The ecosphere of the bar and restaurant business has always been fragile. It has become perhaps more so amid steadily increasing competition and the disproportionate power of social media, where a few bad reviews by strangers can doom all but the sturdiest venues.And yes, it’s true that businesses come and go. It’s the nature of the beast.But the closings here come at a time of year when residents can do a few things to keep the beast a bit at bay in their backyard.

  • Bowie outlines plans for his first year in the Arizona Senate

    To everyone in Ahwatukee and Legislative District 18: I am honored to be your new State Senator-elect. Thank you for your support and your show of confidence in me. To have the opportunity to represent my hometown community at the state capitol is a true honor and a privilege.I am very eager to get started in January and work on the two things I talked about most on the campaign trail —restoring education funding and bringing some bipartisanship back to the state capitol.I will serve on the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee—two vital committees that impact education, tax policy, public safety, and the economy.My three top priorities this upcoming session will be:Restoring Education Funding. It is critically important that we increase our investment in our state’s education system. It is crucial to building a strong, sustainable economy that will bring good paying jobs to Arizona and keep our communities strong.We have the resources, and the governor has indicated he supports additional investment. This needs to be a multi-faceted approach, with targeted investments in our K-12 system, our universities and community colleges, and technical training programs. These resources need to be going into the classroom, not more administration.

  • Mom beams ‘with Pride’ as son wins kudos for conduct on field

    Jennifer Lynch has had a lot of proud moments watching her son on the gridiron, but none might surpass the pride she read an email from a Chandler man who watched the State 6A Championship football game Nov. 26.Her son, Michael Washington, a linebacker for Mountain Pointe High School, won kudos from Jeff Shaw for the good sportsmanship he demonstrated on the field during the game.In an email to Mountain Pointe Principal Bruce Kipper, Shaw wrote that he didn’t know the player’s name but was impressed by Michael’s conduct, adding it “showed me something I rarely see anymore, and I have been watching and officiating football for many years.“At the end of any play he was involved in or near, he was quick to give the Chandler player a hand getting up, as well as a pat on the head, in a ‘nice play’ kind of way,” Shaw said. “This happened multiple times.“He was also the first player to extend a hand shake at the end of the game,” he added, then saying in a message he wanted Kipper to convey to Washington directly:“Thank you, young man. You give me hope that young players still play the game with respect, instead of self-glorification and a ‘look at me’ or ‘take that you chump’ manner. I am glad you don't use the players as an example of how the game should be played.”

  • Mountain Pointe alum aims at social issues through dance

    In the waning years of the 20th Century, Jessica Starr was, well, a star at Mountain Pointe High School.She was involved in the Mountain Pointe Dance Company, Senior Company all fours years of high school, part of an award-winning cheer squad, a Key Club member and even choreographed a student presentation of the classic musical “Grease.”Today, she heads two Los Angeles-based organizations—a professional dance company, Muse Dance, and a nonprofit called MusEffect, which aims at a multimedia approach “to empower social consciousness and healing” with its performances.This week is a homecoming for Starr, whose dance company will perform “The Divine Direction” in workshops and public performances today through Saturday at the Phoenix Center for the Arts. She also hopes to give special performances at area high schools.“The Divine Direction” focuses on a wide variety of issues—marriage equality, domestic abuse, cyberbullying, addiction, depression, female empowerment, deception, forgiveness and patience—in furtherance of her company’s mission: “fostering a constructive dialogue on social issues through performance art, while enriching and empowering audiences of all socioeconomic backgrounds.”MusEffect, which she founded three years ago, aims to have its audiences “feel the synergy between art, intellect and intention. These three principles, woven together, cultivate positive and permanent changes that elevate the quality of life among our participants.”

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  • Mesa temple lights up for the holidays

    Again this holiday season, the bright lights are shining at the Mesa temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.For the 37th straight year, the lights were turned on the Friday after Thanksgiving and will be on from 5 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 31.Adding to the festivities are nightly concerts at 7 from Dec. 1-25 in front of the church’s visitor center at 525 E. Main St. Performers range from bell ringers to soloists to children’s choirs to quartets and everything in between, said Stacey Farr, director of the Mesa temple Christmas lights project.Also staying on display through Dec. 31 are 100 nativity sets inside the visitor center. People can view those from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.Years ago, the display included a “forest,” Farr said. That had been discontinued, but is back for 2016. Artificial trees are decked out with lights and decorations and clustered together on the west side of the visitor center, offering people a chance to feel like they’re in a forest, she said.“It makes it feel a little bit more wintry,” Farr said. “It’s magical.”

  • Mountain Pointe alum aims at social issues through dance

    In the waning years of the 20th Century, Jessica Starr was, well, a star at Mountain Pointe High School.She was involved in the Mountain Pointe Dance Company, Senior Company all fours years of high school, part of an award-winning cheer squad, a Key Club member and even choreographed a student presentation of the classic musical “Grease.”Today, she heads two Los Angeles-based organizations—a professional dance company, Muse Dance, and a nonprofit called MusEffect, which aims at a multimedia approach “to empower social consciousness and healing” with its performances.This week is a homecoming for Starr, whose dance company will perform “The Divine Direction” in workshops and public performances today through Saturday at the Phoenix Center for the Arts. She also hopes to give special performances at area high schools.“The Divine Direction” focuses on a wide variety of issues—marriage equality, domestic abuse, cyberbullying, addiction, depression, female empowerment, deception, forgiveness and patience—in furtherance of her company’s mission: “fostering a constructive dialogue on social issues through performance art, while enriching and empowering audiences of all socioeconomic backgrounds.”MusEffect, which she founded three years ago, aims to have its audiences “feel the synergy between art, intellect and intention. These three principles, woven together, cultivate positive and permanent changes that elevate the quality of life among our participants.”

  • AFN Christmas Lights Contest in full gear

    The Ahwatukee Foothills News’ Holiday Lights Contest is open to nominations for only one more days.The contest is for all of the residents who go that extra mile and festoon their homes with the glitz and glitter of Christmas. The deadline is midnight tonight.Have you noticed a neighbor's elaborate decorations for the season? Have you been inspired by them—or more than a little irritated? Do you think yours are more tasteful?You don't even have to know the homeowner's name. Just send in the address and whip out your smartphone to snap a photo just to give us an idea of what's special about it.Go ahead and write a note about why you nominated it. And, yes, you can nominate yourself as well. We do need your name, address and phone number as "official nominator" for any contenders you send along.What makes for the best lighting display? We'll be the judge of that. The AFN will award prizes in a few different categories. (And we'll figure out what those are after we look at the nominees.)

  • Holiday win-win: Get decorating ideas and help others

    When you need holiday home decorating ideas, turn to pros who offer more than half a century of experience. This week, Desert Club unveils its 59th annual Christmas Idea House.If you aren't familiar with this popular tradition, the all-volunteer women's service organization Desert Club selects a luxury home in the East Valley and decorates it from top to bottom in the latest holiday style.“Every year, we take a different house and in essence turn it into a boutique,” Desert Club member Michelle Tetschner explains. “We have thousands of items from candies in the kitchen to throws in the master bedroom to dining- and serving-ware in the dining room.”The Desert Club members make many of the items themselves from ideas on Pinterest and other sources. Even store-bought items get a touch of glitter or other custom holiday enhancement to match the theme, which for 2016 is “Wrapped in Red.”To hold this year's decorations, Desert Club selected an 11,000-square-foot custom home in Gilbert. The massive multi-level home even includes an indoor basketball court.“They're huge U of A fans, unfortunately,” Tetschner jokes about the owners.

  • Movies on Screen

    Man Down– Opens Friday, December 2When U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer returns home from his tour in Afghanistan, he finds that the place he once called home is no better than the battlefields he fought on overseas. Accompanied by his best friend Devin Roberts, a hardnosed Marine whose natural instinct is to shoot first and ask questions later, he searches desperately for the whereabouts of his estranged son, Johnathan, and wife, Natalie. In their search, the two intercept Charles, a man carrying vital information about the whereabouts of Gabriel's family. As we revisit the past, we are guided in unraveling the puzzle of Gabriel's experience and what will eventually lead us to finding his family.Rated R Ali & Nino – Opens Friday, December 2Ali Khan and Nino Kipiani live in Baku, the cosmopolitan, oil-rich capital of Azerbaijan, which, at the beginning of the twentieth century, is a melting pot of different cultures. Ali is a Muslim, with his warrior ancestors' passion for the desert; and Nino is a Christian Georgian girl with sophisticated European ways. The two have loved each other since childhood and Ali is determined that he will marry Nino, despite their cultural differences, but there is not only the obstacle of their different religions and parental consent to overcome. The First World War breaks out and Baku's oil becomes the focus of Russia's vie for power. As the war plays out and control of the Caucuses changes hands, Ali and Nino find themselves swept up in Azerbaijan's fight for independence.Not Rated

  • Mt. Pointe students to present holiday comedy this weekend

    The Mountain Pointe Theatre Company aims to start the holiday season on a fun note by presenting “Inspecting Carol,” a comedy that was described as “’A Christmas Carol’ meets “The Government Inspector’ meets ‘Noises Off’” when it debuted in Seattle.It will be presented at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Mountain Pointe High School, 44th Street and Knox Road, Ahwatukee. Tickets are available at the door and are $7 for adults, $5 for students.The play is about a small professional theater company in a midsized city that strives to maintain funding and learns it will be inspected for a possible grant as it is preparing to produce “A Christmas Carol.”The quirky theatre troupe includes a child who is a little too old to be playing Tiny Tim, a visionary Ebenezer Scrooge who has a few too many ideas, and an emotional, eccentric director. Confusion sets in when a mysterious "actor" arrives to audition.A variation on a play by Nikolai Gogal, "Inspecting Carol” was described by Seattle critics as a “razzle dazzle of funny characters and ingenious jokes” and a “rollicking farce.”Mountain Pointe alumus Corey Quinn, now a biology teacher at the school as well as one of the student troupe’s mentors, is directing.

  • In Your Neighborhood: Ahwatukee dentist helps smiles of needy Jamaicans

    An Ahwatukee dentist has helped close to 3,000 smiles in Jamaica.Dr. Harvey Arnce has traveled to Jamaica every year for the last 10 years with Great Shape Inc., a humanitarian organization that provides education and healthcare services to the people of Jamaica and the Caribbean.Arnce said that about 700 volunteers travel to the Caribbean each year.“About 15 years ago, some dentists decided to go down and see what they can do,” said Arnce.The mission has grown every year since. Although the organization also provides eye care, surgery and literacy and computer training,  Arnce said dentistry is by far the biggest service.Clinics are open across the Caribbean island, with the organization bringing their own equipment, including chairs, tables and dental materials.

  • Ahwatukee teen musician wins a nod in Alice Cooper contest

    Joe Vitagliano of Ahwatukee earlier this month almost won rock legend Alice Cooper’s Proof is in the Pudding talent search for a soloist under age 25 to perform in his annual Christmas season concert.But the 17-year-old Horizon Honors High School senior is pretty content with his second-place prize because it helps him continue developing his ambition to become a professional songwriter/performer.Joe, who has adopted a stage name of Joe Vito “because it’s easier to pronounce and remember” than his family name, won a spot on Cooper’s Christmas CD, a photo session and two hours of professional studio time.He competed with scores of musicians over a period of several months and had to perform his own songs, cover tunes and even some holiday music.Placing second was a great accomplishment, he said.“I’ve been lucky to have a lot of opportunities given to me by my family and family,” said Joe, the son of David and Jennifer Vitagliano. “I have a home studio but it’s going to be very nice to go into a professional studio and not to do the post-production work.”

  • Ahwatukee’s share of billions in street improvement money: No one knows

    Phoenix officials plan to spend over $2.3 billion on street improvements over the next 35 years, so what can Ahwatukee residents expect as their fair share?Turns out the Street Transportation Department doesn’t think of allocations that way.“It’s not necessarily based on fair share but rather on our data on the condition of the streets,” department special projects administrator Eileen Yazzie told the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee on Monday.That didn’t sit too well with several committee members.Yazzie gave an overview of the street-repair portion of the city’s Transportation 2050 plan, which is built on the projected $17.7 billion in total revenue expected from the 0.03 percent increase in the sales tax voters OK’d last year. That brought to 0.07 percent the total fraction of sales tax that goes to transportation-related expenditures.Committee Chairman Chad Blostone and member Michael Hinz both complained about the absence of data showing either the amount of money or total miles of improved roadway that local residents will see from the program—especially since spending decisions are made without any public input.

Environment Canada shy about announcing contract for upgraded weather radar

The federal government has quietly awarded an $83-million contract to outfit Environment Canada with a new national network of weather radar s…

Published: December 8, 2016 - 6:36 pm @ http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/environment-canada…

Pearl Harbor survivor: What I saw aboard the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941

Editor's note: The following column is adapted from "All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor's Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor." I was aboar…

Published: December 8, 2016 - 1:55 pm @ http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/12/06/pearl-ha…

Pearl Harbor: 5 survive; 2 will join fallen USS Arizona shipmates

HONOLULU — As the afternoon shadows lengthen at Pearl Harbor on Wednesday, four Navy veterans will gather aboard the USS Arizona Memorial for …

Published: December 8, 2016 - 12:54 pm @ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016…

Scottsdale Fashion Square announces big renovation plans

Enhancements to Luxury Offerings Will Be First Phase; Louis Vuitton Announces Major Store Renovation in 2017   Macerich, one of the nation’s l…

Published: December 8, 2016 - 11:47 am @ http://azbigmedia.com/azre-magazine/scottsdale-fas…

Speaker Ryan Retreats on H-2B Visa Outsourcing Program

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER The quiet reversal by Ryan comes as President-elect Donald Trump moves forward with his very popular campaign promi…

Published: December 8, 2016 - 11:24 am @ http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/12/07…

Climate Change Expected To Hit Arizona At Higher Intensity

Published: Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 11:06amUpdated: Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 11:05am

Published: December 8, 2016 - 11:23 am @ http://kjzz.org/content/405400/climate-change-expe…

Masked man sought after armed robbery at Mesa Econolodge Inn and Suites

MESA - Mesa police are looking for the man behind a Halloween mask during an armed robbery of a hotel last week. According to police, the mask…

Published: December 8, 2016 - 11:17 am @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-southeast-valley/…

The Top Travel Specialists in the World

If you read Condé Nast Traveler, chances are you want to go somewhere and do something most people haven’t. And to turn a vacation into an I’l…

Published: December 8, 2016 - 11:16 am @ http://www.cntraveler.com/story/top-travel-special…

Broadway actor to headline Arizona Musicfest benefit performance

Broadway actor Brent Barrett will highlight an evening celebrating and supporting Arizona Musicfest’s excellence in artistry and philanthropy …

Published: December 8, 2016 - 8:48 am @ http://www.scottsdaleindependent.com/news/broadway…

US Border Patrol uses desert as ‘weapon’ to kill thousands of migrants, report says

The US Border Patrol agency has engineered the death and disappearance of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants by using the desert wil…

Published: December 7, 2016 - 5:22 pm @ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/07/re…

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