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  • Fifth house tops $1 million price tag on S. Presario Trail

    A 5,456-square-foot house has become the fifth property on S. Presario Trail in Ahwatukee to sell for more than $1 million this year.The 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom home at 14602 S. Presario Trail sold for $1.2 million, becoming the 10th million-plus house sale in Ahwatukee since June 1.The latest sale on Ahwatukee’s millionaire row sold for exactly half the highest sale price this year on Presario Trail. The highest sold price this year on that street – and in Ahwatukee – was $2.4 million for a 7,200-square-foot house that sold in February.The latest home sold on Presario is a 13-year-old, two-story house offering nearly 360-degree mountain views.Built by Kevron Custom Homes in the gated Summerhill neighborhood of Club West, it sits on a half-acre lot with a salt-water heated pool, fully equipped outdoor barbecue area and a one-hole putting green.The gourmet kitchen features high-end, handmade custom cabinetry by the Burdette Cabinet Co. with granite countertops, a walk-in pantry, two Subzero refrigerators, two dishwashers and other stainless steel appliances. It’s adjacent to a semi-circular informal dining area near the formal dining room.

  • Mountain Freeway will have Frank Lloyd Wright influences

    The Arizona Department of Transportation says the South Mountain Freeway will carry influences of the late pioneer of modern architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright.In the late 1920s, Wright planned to design a desert resort in what is now Ahwatukee.To produce drawings for the project, Wright and his colleagues built a temporary settlement, called “Ocatillo,” near what is now 32nd Street and two-thirds of a mile north of what will be the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway. The name intentionally misspelled ocotillo, the desert plant that grew in abundance there.While the stock market crash of 1929 ended Wright’s project, ADOT said in a release its freeway design team is honoring Wright as it fashions the aesthetics for bridges, sound walls and other elements.“Frank Lloyd Wright had a strong presence at the base of South Mountain before Ahwatukee was even built,” said Joe Salazar, ADOT’s roadside development, project landscape and architecture coordinator. “Frank Lloyd Wright was inspired by Arizona’s desert surroundings, and the South Mountain Freeway will tell that story.”One of the freeway’s five “aesthetic character areas,” between Ahwatukee Foothills and the Interstate 10/Loop 202 Santan Freeway interchange, is named for and influenced by Wright’s Ocatillo settlement, ADOT said.

  • New appeal delays former Ahwatukee man’s arrest in death of son, 5

    The re-arrest and retrial of a former Ahwatukee man for the 2004 death of his 5-year-old son has been delayed while the state Supreme Court considers his lawyer’s request for an appeal.The state Court of Appeals in September overturned a Superior Court’s decision to throw out Jeffrey Martinson’s case three years ago.Although Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said he will refile a first-degree murder charge against Martinson in the August 2004 drug overdose death of his son, Joshua Eberle-Martinson, a spokeswoman for the county attorney said that action has been delayed pending the Supreme Court’s decision.A re-arrest would mark the third time Martinson would face charges in his son’s death in a case that has had a number of legal twists and turns.Martinson had a scheduled weekend visitation with his son. When her son was not returned to her Sunday evening, the child’s mother called police to check on Martinson’s Ahwatukee apartment.Police discovered Martinson lying on his bed, unresponsive with his wrists cut. In another room they found the boy dead and a toxicology report later found evidence of a lethal amount of muscle relaxant in the child’s blood.

  • Ahwatukee author aims to help people heal with her books

    Despite two suicide attempts as a teenager and younger woman, Desraye Halon of Ahwatukee now embraces life.And the Ahwatukee author, 43, hopes her latest book, “The Soul Knows,” helps others to do the same.At age 37—slightly more than a decade after her second suicide attempt—she said she went through a “spiritual awakening.”“I know I am meant to be here and to help others who struggle, to let them know there is no need to have to go to extremes,” Halon said.Her book, which she describes part-autobiographical, deals with her two “deaths,” and the awakening she went through. She believes such an awakening is open to other people without dying or trying to die, and that her book details “the signs, the symptoms and how to deal with it.”Halon traces the roots of suicide attempts to her struggles in Indiana growing up gay and announcing to her family she was psychic.

  • Here are 10 questions to ask when applying for a mortgage

    Getting ready to buy a home? Make sure you ask these 10 key questions when you submit your mortgage application.What is the interest rate on this mortgage? Ask for the lender's loan estimate, which breaks down the interest rate and fees. It will include the annual percentage rate, or APR, which accounts for the interest rate, points, fees and other charges you will pay for a mortgage.How many discount and origination points will I pay? Lenders may charge discount points, origination points or both. One point is equal to 1% of the loan amount. For example, if you get a $162,000 mortgage and pay 1 discount point, you'll pay a fee of $1,620, because that's 1 percent of $162,000. (Divide the loan amount by 100 to calculate 1 percent.Discount points reduce the interest rate. They are prepaid interest and are tax-deductible. Origination points are fees charged by the lender to cover the costs of originating the loan.What are the closing costs? Borrowers pay fees at closing for services provided by the lender and other parties, such as title companies. Lenders are required to provide a written estimate of these costs within 3 days of receiving a loan application.When can I lock the interest rate, and what will it cost me to do so? Interest rates might fluctuate between the time you apply for a mortgage and closing. To prevent getting a higher rate, you can lock the rate, and even the points, for a specified period. Fees may apply, but not always.

  • 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.

Ask Mikey Book Reviews Movie Reviews Recipes

  • Movies on Screen

    The Bounce Back – Opens Friday, December 9A relationship guru and best-selling author finds himself falling for the licensed therapist who questions his methods.Rated PG-13 Evolution (subtitled) – Opens Friday, December 910-year-old Nicolas lives with his mother on a remote island, in a village inhabited solely by women and young boys. In a hospital overlooking the ocean, all the boys are subjected to a strange medical treatment. Only Nicolas questions what is happening around him. He senses that his mother is lying to him, and is determined to find out what she does with the other women at night, on the beach. What he discovers is the beginning of a nightmare into which he is helplessly drawn. But in Stella, a young nurse at the hospital, Nicolas finds an unexpected ally.

  • Ahwatukee wine expert to conduct classes at local restaurant

    Ahwatukee wine expert Darla Hoffman will start wine classes next month at My Wine Cellar, a staple in the community’s restaurant scene for more than a decade.Hoffman, a certified wine specialist and sommelier, said that since it came under new ownership in October, “subtle changes seem to enhance its already intimate vibe” and have made My Wine Cellar an ideal setting for the classes.Shannon Rush, the restaurant’s former general manager, bought the restaurant after its previous owner decided to go on to new ventures.Rush moved from South East Asia to Philadelphia, at age 17, and became immersed in the food-and-wine industry.  “Philadelphia is quite the foodie town and has received high marks from Travel & Leisure magazine regarding the new generation of young chefs,” Hoffman said. “She knew this was a fabulous place to gain restaurant experience and high quality service skills.”Rush moved to Arizona six years ago, and began working at House of Tricks in Tempe.

  • Ahwatukee author aims to help people heal with her books

    Despite two suicide attempts as a teenager and younger woman, Desraye Halon of Ahwatukee now embraces life.And the Ahwatukee author, 43, hopes her latest book, “The Soul Knows,” helps others to do the same.At age 37—slightly more than a decade after her second suicide attempt—she said she went through a “spiritual awakening.”“I know I am meant to be here and to help others who struggle, to let them know there is no need to have to go to extremes,” Halon said.Her book, which she describes part-autobiographical, deals with her two “deaths,” and the awakening she went through. She believes such an awakening is open to other people without dying or trying to die, and that her book details “the signs, the symptoms and how to deal with it.”Halon traces the roots of suicide attempts to her struggles in Indiana growing up gay and announcing to her family she was psychic.

  • 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.)

  • 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.

Thousands of people show support for kids hospitalized during the holidays in Phoenix

PHOENIX, AZ - About 2,000 people showed their support Saturday night for children battling an illness and are stuck at the hospital for the ho…

Published: December 10, 2016 - 10:46 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/cen…

On Kirk Douglas's 100th Birthday, Remembering His 1990 Visit to the Mexican Border

This is a tribute to Kirk Douglas. It has only a tangential connection to immigration. I'll explain that at the end. The world knows Douglas f…

Published: December 10, 2016 - 10:19 pm @ http://cis.org/kammer/kirk-douglass-100th-birthday…

Crews battling brush fire in Cochise County

COCHISE COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Firefighters are responding to a brush fire south of Sierra Vista, according to Coronado National Fores…

Published: December 10, 2016 - 9:38 pm @ http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/34024021/crews-…

NOW: Multiple people injured after multi-car accident in Phoenix

PHOENIX - Officials are investigating a crash involving multiple cars in Phoenix. Fire crews were called to 95th Avenue and McDowell Road Satu…

Published: December 10, 2016 - 8:45 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/wes…

Desert Botanical Garden

An exciting and diverse lineup of the best musical entertainment Arizona has to offer. Learn More Enjoy a Southwest Mexican-American menu, pre…

Published: December 10, 2016 - 8:37 pm @ https://www.dbg.org/

Hairspray Live! is event television at its sloppy finest

The nonsensical but utterly magical trend of major broadcast networks producing expensive and messy live musicals continued last night with NB…

Published: December 10, 2016 - 8:37 pm @ http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/8/13882382/hairspr…

Phoenix-area 12-year-old transgender child shares transition story

In an exclusive interview with 12 News, a Valley 12-year-old opened up about a very personal situation: He was born transgender, and now he’s …

Published: December 10, 2016 - 8:15 pm @ http://www.12news.com/news/local/valley/phoenix-ar…

Can A STEM Program Help Make Boy Scouts Relevant Again?

Michael Jurkowitz is a fifth grader in Tucson, Arizona. He—like most other kids his age—enjoys hands-on projects well enough, but probably isn…

Published: December 10, 2016 - 8:07 pm @ https://www.fastcompany.com/3066163/innovation-age…

Churches Vow to Offer Sanctuary to People in US Illegally

Hundreds of houses of worship are offering sanctuary to people who could face deportation if President-elect Donald Trump follows through on h…

Published: December 10, 2016 - 7:48 pm @ http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/churches-vo…

Satellites Record Antarctica’s Coldest Temperature Ever

Based on remote satellite measurements, scientists recently recorded that temperature at a desolate ice plateau in East Antarctica. It was the…

Published: December 10, 2016 - 7:46 pm @ http://www.thegwpf.com/satellites-record-antarctic…

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