Get your pet spayed or neutered for free

Get your dog or cat spayed or neutered at the Arizona Humane Society's low-cost spay, neuter and wellness clinic in May and it might be free.

To celebrate the south Phoenix clinic's re-opening on May 5, two pets will spayed or neutered at no cost on surgery days (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) all month.

Each pet owner will receive a raffle ticket upon check-in and two lucky winners each day will have surgery fees waived. Winners will be notified when they come to pick up their pets at the end of the day.

All pet owners will receive a 5 percent discount in May on any spay and neuter surgery at AHS' Campus for Compassion, Sunnyslope location and through the mobile clinic.

Both wellness clinics are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and offer a walk-in vaccination clinic each Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. Cat and dog vaccines are $18 and microchips are $30 including registration. Pets also can receive de-worming, testing for canine heartworm and feline leukemia and treatment for fleas and ticks.

For details, visit


Kitten season now on in Maricopa County

HALO Animal Rescue is teaming up with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control and the Maddie's Projects in Maricopa County to implore people to spay and neuter their cats and help bring an end to kitten season.

Kitten season is the dramatic increase in the number of kittens who find their way into shelters at this time every single year. MCACC sees at minimum an additional 5,000 kittens during the "season" on top of the tens of thousands of cats already within the Animal Care and Control system within a given year. States along the sunbelt are traditionally hardest hit since cats breed in warmer weather.

For more information, visit, or


Happenings at the Phoenix Zoo

The Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, is offering a variety of events, including:

- Walk in the Wild, Saturday, May 9. The inaugural event is a 5K run/walk (7:30 a.m.) or one mile family fun walk (8:30 a.m.). Each walker receives a commemorative T-shirt, entrance into the Walk in the Wild post-party and admission into the Zoo. Proceeds benefit the Phoenix Zoo. Register individually or as a team.

- Bashas' Mother's Day Brunch, Sunday, May 10, 11 a.m. to noon. The event features an exquisitely catered brunch courtesy of Santa Barbara Catering Company, all day access to the Zoo, sensational raffle prizes and more. For reservations, call (602) 914-4333.

For more information on all Zoo events, visit


Valley Diaper Bank gears up for annual diaper drive

Disposable diapers will be collected throughout May to help needy families during the Valley Diaper Bank's seventh annual Valley Diaper Drive.

Residents may drop off unopened packages of disposable baby and adult diapers at all Discount Tire Co. locations in Maricopa County, 4831 E. Chandler Blvd., locally. Each store will have a designated diaper donation bin near the front of the store.

The Valley Diaper Bank provides diapers to local nonprofits, government agencies and faith-based organizations because WIC, Medicare, food stamps and other safety-net social programs do not cover the cost of diapers. The Diaper Bank supplies diapers to agencies already working with people in need, and does not give diapers to individuals.

For more information on volunteering, making contributions or for tips and suggestions on staging your own drive, visit or call (602) 253-0050.



Goodwill needs donations now more than ever

Goodwill of Central Arizona is working to keep up with the increased demand for its job training programs and career services as national unemployment rates continue to rise. Goodwill cannot provide these critical services without community donations to sell in its stores. Goodwill is asking people to be generous this spring as they clean out their closets and donate gently-used clothing and house wares at one of its 42 donation drop-off centers.

For more information on Goodwill of Central Arizona, visit


Reading keeps summer from turning kids' minds into Jello

As another long summer away from school approaches, many parents are wondering how to keep their children busy doing something constructive.

Public libraries all over the country are busily gearing up for the 2009 summer reading program "Be Creative at your Library." The free program promotes parent/child involvement and also gives kids an opportunity to have fun while learning valuable skills. Program coordinators often incorporate puppet shows, crafts, skits and other fun activities to help children interact with the characters they read about and make various subjects come alive for them in a meaningful way.

To find out the details about dates, times, and registration for this summer's program, call or visit your local library. To learn more about effective and engaging children's educational materials, visit, and


Arizona Trail Assoc. needs your vote

Redwood Creek wines and Planet Green, a 24-hour eco-lifestyle network, have announced that the Arizona Trail Association has been named one of five finalists from across the nation vying for the annual Greater Outdoors Project $50,000 Grant.

The Arizona Trail is a continuous, non-motorized 817-mile scenic trail. Ninety-five percent of the trail is complete, and the grant would be used to build some of the most difficult remaining miles. Due to the remote location in a rugged wilderness area, these miles must be constructed by hand. Not only will the grant help complete the trail, it will allow access into backcountry near Tucson and protect a sensitive riparian area as well.

The public is invited to log on to through May 31 to review the five projects and vote for their favorite. For those on the trail, outdoor enthusiasts can simply text their vote to 39668 using the code that corresponds with the organization of their choice (the text code for the Arizona Trail is "trail"). After the votes are tallied, one worthy nonprofit will be awarded $50,000 and be featured in a Redwood Creek advertising campaign that will appear in leading outdoor magazines in December.


Red Hat Wednesday at The Ritz

Afternoon Tea at The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix takes on a scarlet twist this spring, as Red Hat Wednesday festivities will be offered through the end of May. Wednesday tea guests wearing red hats or affiliated with the Red Hat Society will receive a 10 percent savings on the price of their Afternoon Tea.

These guests will also receive a complimentary connoisseur's glass teapot and, if part of a group, a photo entry into a hotel competition to select the area's "Most Flamboyant Red Hat Club." The winning club will receive a complimentary Afternoon Tea experience for up to 25 people. Also included for all participants is an opportunity to win a designer Red Hat topper by local hat designer Melissa Ondo.

The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix offers Afternoon Tea Wednesday through Saturday at noon and 3 p.m., with Red Hat Wednesday activities offered on Wednesdays only through May 27. The event is $35 per person or $31.50 per person on Red Hat Wednesdays. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (602) 468-0700.


Chamber needs fireworks money by end of May

The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce is asking local businesses, community members and friends of Ahwatukee and the chamber to help raise the $20,000 needed to fund the fireworks. This year, the fireworks will be held on Friday, July 3, at the Ahwatukee Country Club, 12432 S. 48th St., so you can enjoy the fireworks on Friday and celebrate the rest of the weekend. The fireworks will start about 9 p.m.

To donate money to the cause, visit or stop in the office at 10235 S. 51st St., just north of Elliot. Donations are also being accepted by the Ahwatukee Board of Management at 4700 E. Warner Road. With every $25 or higher donation, receive an Ahwatukee Red, White and Boom fireworks decal to show your support. Corporate sponsorships are also available from $500 up to $5,000. The Community Banner Sponsor is only $100 and would put the resident's or company's name on a community banner.

Because of permits, the $20,000 will need to be raised by May 25.

For more information, call the chamber at (480) 753-7676. 


Ignite Phoenix invites community to submit presentation ideas

What would you say if you had five minutes to tell the story you are most passionate about to an eager audience? Ignite Phoenix and the Phoenix metropolitan area community wants to know.

The Ignite Phoenix program will host its fourth community presentation night from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe. The evening will feature 18 diverse speakers on a wide range of topics, each with five minutes to light a creative fire with the audience drawn from the business, creative and technical community in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

If you have a topic to share, complete a submission form before 5 p.m. May 22.

To learn more about Ignite Phoenix, to submit a presentation proposal or to get more details about attending the June 16 event, visit or call Roger Williams at (602) 380-2692.


Women's retreat offered in Sedona

The Sedona Meditation Training Company announces Writing as a Meditation: A Woman's Retreat scheduled for May 29 to 31 at the Briar Patch Inn in Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona.

For more information, visit, e-mail or call (928) 204-0067.


Cafe collects clothes for the homeless

Dolce Luna Italian Cafe is holding an underwear and sock donation drive to benefit CASS (Central Arizona Shelter Services), which provides services and housing for homeless families and single adults.

Donations of new, packaged underwear and socks may be dropped off at Dolce Luna, 4647 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 10, now and throughout the summer. All sizes are needed for children, women and men.

For more information, e-mail or call Dolce Luna at (480) 753-0007. For other ways to help, visit


KRC sets wave pool theme days

Wave pool theme days at Kiwanis Recreation Center, 6111 South All America Way, Tempe, run 1 to 3 p.m., and the wave pool hours are 1 to 5 p.m.

Theme days include Mother's Day Weekend, May 9 and 10; Armed Forces Weekend, May 16 and 17; Happy Birthdays Day (for birthdays in that month), May 23, June 27, July 25 and Aug. 29; Report Card Day, June 6; Father's Day Weekend, June 20 and 21; Grandparent's Day, Sept. 5; and Boy Scout's Day, Sept. 19.

For details, call (480) 350-5201, (480) 350-5050 TTY or visit gives new life to old books is a simple-to-use book-trading site with 42,000 members. The site allows members to swap books and DVDs by mail with no fuss. Membership is free - the only cost is postage, which is printed right from the Web site. In return for sending out their own items, members can pick from over 500,000 books and DVDs to get in exchange. is the only service of its kind to provide a money-back guarantee, so if you ever receive an item you are not happy with, Bookins will refund the shipping cost.


Summer savings at Kartchner Caverns

Kartchner Caverns State Park will lower the price of the Rotunda/Throne Room tour for the summer. When you book your tour for any day between June 1 and Sept. 4, cave tour tickets for adults will be reduced to $12, and tickets for youths aged 7 to 13 will $5 (children six and younger are always free). Ticket buyers will save $6.95 and $4.95, respectively, per ticket.

Kartchner Caverns State Park is located on Highway 90, nine miles South of I-10 near Benson.

For more information or to make a tour reservation, call (520) 586-2283. 


European river cruise series benefits local Public Broadcasting

Sunsational Cruises and well-known travel, culinary and cultural journalist Burt Wolf are teaming up in a new series of European river cruises to benefit Public Broadcasting. For each confirmed booking made through Sunsational Cruises, a significant donation will be made to help support the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) in our community.

Wolf will accompany all guaranteed departures, sharing his in-depth knowledge of each intriguing port and its culture and customs.

Prices start as low as $2,934 for the nine-day river cruise of Holland and Belgium. For more information, call Sunsational Cruises at (480) 753-6671 or visit


Farmers Market

The Arizona Community Farmers Markets Group hosts a farmers market on Sundays in the Ahwatukee Swim and Tennis Center parking lot at 4700 E. Warner Road, just west of 48th Street. Winter hours are 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The market features local growers and specialty food producers, bath and beauty products, as well as local artisans with arts and crafts. Wild caught salmon and grass fed beef are also currently available.

Admission is free. The market is family friendly, and canine good citizens are welcome.

For more information, visit


Classes offered for un- and under-employed

Training to YOU, a computer technology center located at 2200 N. Central Ave., Suite 100, is offering local un- and under-employed persons a unique opportunity to update their Microsoft Office skills. A number of half-day classes are available each week, and empty seats are available on a "pay-what-you-can" basis.

Class size is limited to 12, and each student receives instructor-led classroom training and a manual for ready reference. Fees are normally $120, but un- or under-employed people are only asked to pay what they can afford.

For more information or to register, visit or call (602) 266-1500.


Rabbi leading tour of Israel

Rabbi Irwin Wiener and his wife, Sandi, of Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation, will lead a tour to Israel May 10 to 24.

The tour is open to anyone of any religion, as well as singles, couples, friends, veteran travelers or first-timers.

The cost for an air and land package is $4,397 per person, and land only is $3,197 per person.

For more information, visit or call travel agent Sandra Friedson at (480) 491-2768.


Women offered 10-day retreat to Peru

This 10-day women's retreat, presented by A Woman's Way, will be held May 23 to June 2, 2009.

Experienced facilitator, Karen Ely, will lead participants on a quiet exploration back to themselves. Sitting in the quiet of the ancient, spiritual sites, the women will use journaling, meditation and special exercises to move them back into their old life in a new, more authentic way.

The cost is $2,985.

For information or to register visit or call (928) 254-1897.


Woodworkers looking for projects

The Ahwatukee Woodworkers Club gets together on Thursdays to work on charity projects and is currently looking for more projects to take on.

Past projects have included making plaques for Phoenix Children's Hospital, building tables and chairs for preschools and even making model MRI machines for doctors to explain the procedure to children to ease their fears. A model doll house kit was donated to the group, so members built it and held a raffle to raise money to support the club. In another project, models of homes in Tempe were built for the Tempe Historical Society that were raffled in a fundraiser for the society. The group is currently busy making cubbies for a local preschool.

The club is located near the Ahwatukee Recreation Center and is part of the Ahwatukee Retirement Community.

Projects are needed, and organizations such as schools, hospitals, churches or other charities in need of something built or made are asked to contact president Tom Rosenthal at (480) 275-6631.


Older children and larger sibling groups need adoption, too

Christian Family Care Agency hopes to draw attention to two very special groups of kids who need adoptive homes - children over the age of 10 and children from larger sibling groups (three or more children).

Louise Gonzales, of Christian Family Care Agency's Phoenix office, said while progress is being made in these two areas, the need for loving parents willing to adopt these kids is still tremendous.

Gonzales said parents willing to adopt children from these two areas often will move through the adoption process more quickly. She added that a parent's age isn't usually as big an issue when it comes to adopting an older child.

An adoptive parent's bank account also isn't necessarily a barrier. For more information, call (602) 234-1935 or visit


YMCA's OPAS program

Y OPAS (Outreach Programs for Ahwatukee Seniors) is a volunteer program of the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA providing support services for seniors, 62 years and older, who live in Ahwatukee Foothills. Transportation, shopping and errands, friendly visiting, caregiver relief, business help and household assistance are some of the services provided by Y OPAS volunteers.

If you, or someone you know would like to use its services, or if you are interested in volunteering, call (602) 212-6088. Volunteers that can help seniors with transportation and friendly visiting are especially needed.


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