Ahwatukee Foothills News

  • New Ahwatukee medical marijuana dispensary in the works?

    Efforts to bring a medical marijuana dispensary to Ahwatukee Foothills have been quiet for about a year, ever since a city zoning official denied one company’s request to put a dispensary at 48th Street and Warner Road, but the company may have found a new location on a county island in Ahwatukee.A sign outside of 10827 S. 51st Street, next door to Four Points by Sheraton and the former McDonalds location, says work is being done to put a medical marijuana dispensary in the building. While the broker for the building, Grace Capital Investment Corporation, says there is a dispensary moving in, they would not disclose the company’s name.Peter Valenzuela, president and CEO of Genesis Group Public Relations, said it’s too premature to be announcing any possible new location, but his client, Mike Richards of Nature’s Healing Center, does still hold the certificate needed to open a dispensary in the Ahwatukee Foothills Community Health Analysis Area. Only one dispensary will be allowed within that area according to state law.The Community Health Analysis Area includes all of Ahwatukee Foothills and the county island.Nature’s Healing Center has had trouble in the past finding a location that meets all city and state zoning requirements. Its last attempt was to put the dispensary at 4902 E. Warner Road, which city zoning officials denied. That space is now back up for rent.Nature’s Healing Center has also been accused in the past of altering the paperwork that allowed it to get its certificate, though those claims have never been fully vetted by the county. The company has been fairly transparent in its previous attempts to find a space for the dispensary, even holding an open house to answer questions about the business.

  • Ahwatukee Foothills Police Blotter July 14-20

    1. On July 14 at 4 a.m., police took an assault report in the 4300 block of East Tanglewood Drive.2. On July 14 at 3:15 p.m., police took a theft by fraud report in the 3600 block of East Ray Road.3. On July 14 at 10 p.m., police took an identity theft report in the 4000 block of East Sacaton Street.4. On July 17 at 5:58 p.m., police took a shoplifting report in the 4600 block of East Chandler Boulevard.5. On July 17 at 9:38 p.m., police took a criminal damage report in the 5100 block of East Guadalupe Road.6. On July 17 at 9:30 p.m., police took a shoplifting report in the 4000 block of East Chandler Boulevard.

  • Parents’ and kids’ nerves assuaged as Horizon enters 2014-15 year

    Monday morning was, not surprisingly, quite a busy one at Horizon Community Learning Center as parents and children bustled about on the first day of the 2014-15 school year.Classes didn’t begin until 8 a.m., but parents arrived at the school 15 minutes early to ensure that their child was early for their first day back.Horizon Executive Director Betsy Fera greeted new and old families near the school’s crosswalk as they ventured onto the school grounds.Crowds of new families at Horizon gathered near the kindergarten classes to walk their child into their classrooms.Once parents and students were inside, parents sat with their child for a brief moment to familiarize them with a classroom setting,Many of the students adjusted well to their new surroundings, but some students had a hard time letting go of their parents.

  • LD 18 Republicans focused on improving education, economy

    Republican candidates for Legislative District 18 come from varied backgrounds and experiences but have similar views on Common Core, Medicaid and the economy.All four Republican candidates, John King, Jill Norgaard, Bob Robson and David Pheanis sat down with the Ahwatukee Foothills News on July 16 to answer questions about these topics. Two of the four will go on to face Democrat Mitzi Epstein in the Nov. 4 general election for the state House of Representatives.King is a Kyrene School District Governing Board member and small-business owner. He said he’s running for office because he realized while on the school board how much control the state Legislature had over education. When a seat opened up, he decided now was the time to run for the office.Norgaard is an engineer in the aerospace and defense industry. She has spent time in several companies over the years managing large and small teams and working with other companies on various projects. She said she decided to run for office because she wants to help keep high-tech jobs in Arizona and build the economy.Pheanis is an engineer, small-business owner and retired Arizona State University professor. He said he decided to run because he’s concerned about the economy and education and has solid ideas to help.Robson has been a state representative for several years. Before his time in the Legislature, he served on the Chandler City Council during a time of great growth for the city. He said he’s running again because he enjoys being a part of solving the complex issues the state faces.

  • Preparing for the primary: Early voting begins July 31

    Early voting for the primary election begins Thursday and the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office is making sure everyone, even independents, take advantage of their right to vote.The recorder’s office has launched a public campaign to remind independents that they can vote in a primary, but they must let the county know which ballot they want to receive. Maricopa County residents can request a ballot at recorder.maricopa.gov.Helen Purcell, Maricopa County recorder, said commercials from her office will be showing up on local stations and county officials also plan to piggyback on campaigns the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission is doing to make sure independent voters select a ballot for the primary. They’re also sending out a reminder by mail on July 24, which is one more reminder than required by law. Independent voters that do not select a ballot will not be sent one.Each year, the recorder’s office tries something new to improve voter turnout and election turnaround, Purcell said. This year, the office has also changed up some technology. The new recorder’s website is viewable from any device and has more interactive features.Residents can use the new site to find their polling place, get photos of the building and directions and even view a sample ballot.Once people arrive at their polling place on Election Day, they’ll swipe their voter ID or driver’s license through an electronic poll book, which will tell them if they are in the right place. If they are not, the book will print a receipt with directions to the correct location. In the past, if voters showed up to the wrong polling place, they had to fill out a provisional ballot, which takes more time and money to verify, or guess on where the correct polling location was for them.

  • Walter says he’s running for Congress to build the nation’s economy

    Andrew Walter sat down with the Ahwatukee Foothills News and East Valley Tribune on July 11 to answer questions dealing with the economy, education and the Veteran Affairs scandal.Wendy Rogers, Walter’s Republican primary opponent in the U.S. House of Representatives District 9 race, was also invited but chose not to attend. Whoever wins the primary will face incumbent Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the general election Nov. 4.Walter, a former Arizona State University and NFL quarterback, says he’s running for Congress because of this unique point in the nation’s history where the nation’s debt is larger than the entire economy and a great number of Arizona kids attend underperforming schools.“These are bipartisan problems,” Walter said. “I’m of the thought that the next generation of leaders, hopefully I’m in that category, need to be able to come to the table and discuss how we solve these problems. At the end of the day, it’s not about me. It’s about the families we represent.”To help with these issues, Walter said we need to build the nation’s economy by embracing pro-growth policies.“When I consider my role in Washington, I think it’s to make their job easier, to allow them to do what they do best,” Walter said about small businesses. “How does that happen? It’s siding with them. If you’re ever faced with a decision and you have to side with Wall Street or Main Street, I will side with Main Street.”

Ask Mikey Book Reviews Movie Reviews Recipes

  • Ahwatukee woman shares struggles, redemption with book of poems

    The period between Thanksgiving of 1974 and December 1975 was the toughest year in the life of Diana Fisher.Now anticipating her 70th birthday, the Ahwatukee Foothills resident looks to share her message with her newly published book that has been 36 years in the making.“Peace from Within,” a collection of short poems, describes Fisher’s release from a triad of death, divorce and alcoholism.Fisher originally composed the book during the 1980s while living in Loveland, Colo., but she had refrained from publishing until recently.“It was just this manuscript sitting there on my dusty closet shelf,” Fisher said. “I looked at it, and I started reading [it] and thought to myself, ‘Boy, there’s a lot here I’d like to pass on to other people.’ ”Fisher grew up loving music, particularly the piano. She enrolled at the University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated with a degree in piano performance.

  • Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre to host interactive zombie show

    The Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre has been chosen to host a special zombie-themed show that has been produced in 11 cities, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The show — part of Room Escape Adventures, a live interactive theater production — is titled “Trapped in a Room with a Zombie” and allows guests to put their detective hats on in order to solve clues that will help them escape the chained, man-eating zombie.“This is a really exciting show. It will be a fun night out and a great way to bring the community together,” said Michele Rubino, executive director of the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre.“Trapped in a Room with a Zombie” is a one-hour show in which 11 guests will have to find a way to escape the zombie before they are touched. Despite the zombie being chained, its restraints will slowly lengthen as the show progresses and once a guest is touched by the zombie, they will have been “eaten” and required to sit and only participate verbally.If the guests are unable to solve the clues and escape in the allotted 60 minutes, they will all be devoured by the zombie. While the show can only allow 11 guests at a time, it will be available to be reserved by a group.The Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre’s production of “Trapped in a Room with a Zombie” is still in its early stages, so a set price has not yet been confirmed, but it will be approximately $25 per person. The theater is looking to partner with local businesses and is also considering including a meal deal.“This show has been running for 18 weeks in Chicago, and we hope to host it as long as we can,” Rubino said.

  • ‘Lucy’ is dumb delivery of smart idea

    “Lucy” is a completely inconsequential movie. You watch it, shrug your shoulders with a “meh,” walk away, and forget about it the next day. That’d be all well and good if “Lucy” was simply aspiring to be another run-of-the-mill blockbuster. The film actually seems to have greater ambitions, though, trying hard to tackle a number of complex ideas and theories. On one hand, the film’s ambition at least makes it more admirable than mindless entertainment. On the other hand, the fact that the film can’t deliver on its ambition ultimately makes it more disappointing.Scarlett Johansson has undoubtedly been on a roll as of late. She gave a voice-over performance worthy of an Oscar nomination in “Her,” stole the show in “Captain America: The Winter Solider,” delivered some transcendent work in “Under the Skin,” had a charming supporting role in “Chef,” and now that winning streak comes to an end with “Lucy.” To Johansson’s credit, she does bring a lot of spunk and finesse to the film’s otherwise one-note title character. Her performance might not save “Lucy,” but Johansson does make it a better movie than it would have been. That’s a true testament to a movie star’s talent.Lucy herself is an ordinary American woman who accidentally ends up as a drug mule for the Taiwanese mob. The drug has the appearance of Walter White’s baby-blue crystal meth, but that’s irrelevant. What it relevant is the effect of the drug, which allows Lucy to use more than the supposedly typical 10 percent of her brain’s capacity. This turns her into a super-smart, all-knowing being that’s more incredible than all the Avengers combined. It’s about as plausible as the science in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”This is actually a potentially ingenious idea for a science fiction story. But unlike a Christopher Nolan or Wachowski brothers picture, “Lucy” has nothing to offer other than ideas and philosophies. There isn’t a story or a character for the audience to become invested in. A majority of the movie is just Johansson and Morgan Freeman spewing out exposition as quickly as possible, taking no time for these fantastic ideas to blossom into something more meaningful. Maybe that’s why the film rushes through its narrative in just less than 90 minutes.Even as a purely philosophical film, “Lucy” doesn’t work as it only takes a break from the improbable exposition for cliché shootouts with stock villains. This makes “Lucy” feel like watching two different movies, one smart, the other stupid, and both pretentiously full of themselves. Whatever writer/director Luc Besson was going for, his film isn’t smart or stupid enough to be a success. It’s just a confused mess that doesn’t know what it wants to be or what it wants to say.The tagline for “Lucy” reads, “The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100%.” The tagline just as easily could have read, “Imagine what the filmmakers could have done if only had used 10% of their own brain capacity.”

  • Ahwatukee man’s board game lets players explore national parks

    Ahwatukee resident Charlie Binkele and his family have collaborated together to create “Trekking the National Parks,” a board game that focuses on exploring America’s different national parks.“The idea behind ‘Trekking the National Parks’ was to create a themed board game that would be entertaining, educational, engaging and inspiring,” said Binkele. “We wanted to develop a game that would captivate the interest and enjoyment of those who play it for many years to come, a strategic game with an infinite number of replay possibilities, with the central focus being our country’s 59 major national parks.”In a combination of Binkele’s design skills as a freelance artist and his parents’ extensive knowledge on the national parks, they created a game that shared the wonder of visiting some of America’s natural wonders.“My family has been visiting the parks since I was a small child. In 2009, my mom and dad set out to visit all 59 of our country’s major parks. So far, they’ve had the pleasure of trekking about 43 of them!” said Binkele. “A little over a year ago, my father suggested we combine our passion for the parks with my artistic and game design abilities and let others share in experiencing the parks in a fun and competitive way by creating an engaging game centered on these incredible landscapes.”The game can be played by two to six players and takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete, but can be replayed an unlimited amount of times.“Those who have helped us play-test ‘Trekking the National Parks’ say the game is fun to play, easy to learn and requires strategic and tactical thinking in order to master,” Binkele said.

  • Don’t judge unless you’ve walked a mile in another’s shoes

    Dear Mikey,Lately, I have witnessed a family member go through some very difficult circumstances in her life. I as well as a few of my other family members have offered her help throughout the last few years off and on, and whether she has taken it or not, she always ends up just burning more bridges than she did before we offered our help. It got so bad to where she has burned so many bridges that we do not want to offer her help anymore because we feel like she would just continue to take advantage of us.This time, she got herself in a real mess to where there is nothing we can do for her except pray. Although she burned her bridge with me, it is extremely difficult to watch someone that I care about finally hit that brick wall we have all been trying to prevent her from hitting for all of these years.Some family members are being very judgmental with how her choices have led her up to this point in her life; however, I will have to disagree with their judgment. Lately, although I am very frustrated with the family member, I have tried to put myself in her shoes to try to attempt to grasp an understanding as to why she made all of the choices she did.Do you think it is wrong for all of us to judge her? Or do we have a right because we have witnessed her downfall all of these years?— Looking for empathy in the family

  • ‘Boyhood’ ambitiously condenses 12 years of youth

    If there’s one movie that every new adult should see this year, it’s “Boyhood.” While we’ve gotten a lot of great coming-of-age stories in the past couple years like “The Spectacular Now” and “The Way Way Back,” Richard Linklater’s extraordinary film takes the genre to unfeasible new levels.In 2002, young Ellar Coltrane was cast to play the film’s protagonist, a little boy named Mason. “Boyhood” was then filmed and written over a 12-year period, following Mason from age 5 to age 18. Throughout this entire process, Coltrane continued to reprise his role as Mason.Not only is “Boyhood” one of the boldest coming-of-age stories ever put on film, it’s one of the absolute boldest experimental films ever made. The fact that a picture like this got off the ground at all is an achievement in itself.Anyone who grew up this previous era will connect with “Boyhood” in some way, shape, or form. The film perfectly captures a generation consumed by iPods, Facebook, “Dragon Ball Z,” Britney Spears, “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “High School Musical,” “The Dark Knight,” “Halo,” and “Wii Sports.”“Boyhood” does so much more than merely reference popular culture highlights from the past decade, however. It’s a picture-perfect slice of life that feels all too real to be fiction. Had it only cast unknown actors, it probably could have been mistaken for a documentary.Of course, then we would have been deprived of a couple of career-best performances.

  • Local students named to Washington University dean’s list

    Sara Elizabeth Matsumoto and Kathering Nichole Worley, both of Ahwatukee, were named to the dean’s list for the spring 2014 semester at Washington University in St. Louis. Matsumoto is enrolled in the university’s College of Arts & Sciences. To qualify for the dean’s list in the College of Arts & Sciences, students must earn a semester GPA of 3.6 or above and be enrolled in at least 14 graded units.Worley is enrolled in the university’s John M. Olin School of Business. To qualify for the dean’s list in the Olin Business School, students must earn a semester GPA of 3.6 or above and be enrolled in at least 14 graded units.

  • American Lung Association names new officers for national board of directors

    The American Lung Association recently announced that Kathryn A. Forbes, CPA, has been elected chair of the organization’s national board of directors. Forbes will serve a two-year term in that position, providing leadership and support to Lung Association staff working nationwide to drive forward a strategic plan to achieve their vision of creating a world free of lung diseases, including lung cancer.Joining Forbes as officers on the board are John F. Emanuel as vice chair and Penny J. Siewert as secretary and treasurer. Emanuel and Siewert will serve one-year terms.Newly elected chair Forbes, a Phoenix resident, has served as vice president and controller for Arizona Public Service Company, senior vice president and western operations manager for Bank One Services Corporation and as CFO of eTec. With more than 30 years of experience in accounting, finance, executive management and auditing, she has led large organizations and managed several business ventures. She has been a member of the Lung Association’s national board since 2009.

  • Clean ‘n Fresh receives Women’s Business Enterprises recognition

    Clean ‘n Fresh Cleaning Service, LLC, a business specializing in commercial office cleaning and carpet cleaning in Ahwatukee, received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise Council-West, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).WBENC’s national standard of certification implemented by the Women’s Business Enterprise Council-West is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.Clean ‘n Fresh Cleaning Service is owned by Norma McCormick, a 20-year veteran of the cleaning industry.

CD9, Q1: Why are you running?

The Ahwatukee Foothills News hosts a forum with the 9th Congressional District US House of Rep...


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