APS wants $460 million more per year.
should be asking questions.By Erick O’Donnell
The simplest and most effective way to ensure you’re getting a good deal is to ask plenty of questions. That’s exactly what our customers do when talking with our sales representatives. It’s what we do when talking to our panel suppliers and prospective new hires. It’s what anyone should do before making an investment or purchase, especially in cases where the seller isn’t volunteering much information up front.
Since late October, when APS proposed a $460-million increase to its total yearly revenue, customers of Arizona’s largest power supplier have found themselves in just such a situation. APS has stated that the increase is necessary to maintain grid reliability and make investments in clean power. And it says it would produce only a modest cost increase for customers, increasing electric bills by 13.6 percent.
Yet, despite amounting to a file almost half a gigabyte in size, the official proposal document that APS submitted to the Arizona Corporation Commission neglects to address some questions that must be answered before we can feel the increase is warranted and fair. We would like to share those questions with you here.
First, how widely will that “average” increase vary among different types of household, especially when it comes to size? All things equal, a bigger home is less energy efficient than a smaller one. Therefore, owners of larger houses are likely to see cost increases out of proportion to how much their house’s size exceeds the average.
That’s bad news for homeowners in the northern reaches of APS’s service area, which have a high concentration of newer—hence, bigger—houses. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, three of Surprise’s four ZIP codes have a bigger median home size than the statewide median of 1,878. The median floor space of a home in ZIP code 85383, in Peoria’s far northwest region, is 2,537 square feet—35 percent more than the state median. (Bear in mind that a home’s interior space is a three-dimensional quantity and therefore increases alongside floor space—a two-dimensional quantity—at a greater exponential rate, so we’re likely understating the magnitude of the size variation.)
If APS has tried to calculate more detailed estimates for different households, they’re nowhere to be found in its gargantuan proposal—which, despite amounting to an eye-watering 2,648 pages, has no index or table of contents. (Thank goodness for the word-search tool on digital document viewers, at least.)
In that case, if the commission approves the increase, then ratepayers will just have to wait for their bills to come in December of next year (when the hike is proposed to take effect). If the past is any guide, then there could be some nasty surprises in store for ratepayers—surprises like the $50 increase to Phoenix APS customer Ron Geddling’s bill in 2017 after that year’s hike, which the company had predicted would boost monthly bills by just $6. What he wrote to the commission that year conveys the impact more effectively than any set of numbers, so we’ll just reproduce his message (which was originally quoted by The Arizona Republic) here:
“This is literally taking food directly out of my mouth,” Geddling wrote to the commissioners. “This is absolutely the worst robbery of my money I have ever seen […]. I will now be going hungry in order to make APS a little richer.”
Given the history of wide gaps between the official estimates of “average” bill increases and actual ratepayer charges, should we be confident that this latest estimate reflects what is actually coming to the typical homeowner in Surprise, Peoria, or Scottsdale? It’s not just customers’ individual experiences that give us pause. In 2017, a third-party audit commissioned by APS’s regulator found that the company, in citing the $6 figure as its estimate of the average bill increase, did not mention important changes to several surcharges. That finding and others are described in an article from Arizona’s NBC affiliate, 12 News: “Audit report: APS earned $77 million more than expected in 2018, 80% from customers”.
Here are a few more questions we would like to hear answered: Why, if APS is committed to clean energy, has the company repeatedly slashed the buyback rate for solar power (the means by which distributed solar is financed)? Why has it spent its money (ratepayers’ money) to elect commissioners favorable to its views on solar-energy policy? (That, by the way, is according to its own admissions and its own documents, which it released to the Corporation Commission in 2019; see “APS admits spending millions in 2014 election of energy regulators,” Arizona Capitol Times.)
There’s more than a year to go until the commission is due to vote on this proposal. Who knows? If, between now and then, some ratepayers show up to the agency’s meetings (or write emails) and share what’s on their mind, then maybe we’ll see a little further into this black box. Until then, all we can do is ask questions.
But that’s not all you can do. You can help offset some of these increases by adding solar to your home. Call SunSolar Solutions today at 623-562-9009 to have a design prepared for your home free of charge.
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PEORIA 411: The Latest Local News You Need to Know City News
RESERVE PEORIA’S FREE BLOCK PARTY TRAILER
you to enter a few pieces of information about your household’s water use habits. This tool will estimate how much water you need for optimal monthly water usage based on the information you provide. Get started here: amwua.org/water-use-calculator.
Did you know the city of Peoria has a free Block Party Trailer that may be reserved by Peoria residents? Block parties are a great way to build relationships and this program was designed to help strengthen connections between neighbors. The program features a trailer that can be reserved online for a four-hour window on a Friday or Saturday from October through May, excluding blackout dates and major holidays. The trailer includes items that will help residents have a successful block party including tables and chairs, an ice chest, giant Checkers and Jenga, a flag football set, and more. For additional information about the Block Party Trailer, visit peoriaaz.gov/engage or call 623-773-7090.
MONITOR HOUSEHOLD WATER USE
Another easy way to track water use is to monitor your monthly water bill to spot any increases in usage. If you notice a spike in usage with no known cause, reach out to conservation for information on how to check for leaks at email@example.com. For more information on the city of Peoria’s water conservation efforts, including water saving rebates, visit peoriaaz. gov/droughtready.
WINTER READING PROGRAM
The Friends of the Peoria Public Library will be hosting a Winter Reading Program at the Peoria Public Libraries. The program runs through Dec. 31. This year’s theme is “Candy WorldHow Sweet It Is!”
Participants will be encouraged to read for 20 minutes a day for at least 20 days, which can be tracked on the winter reading game board. Prizes will be provided by the Friends of the Peoria Public Library for signing up and completing the program. For more information, visit peoriaaz.gov/library.
MERRY MIX AND MINGLE
Join Adult Services Librarian Tonya Stuempfl and the Friends of the Peoria Public Library for a night of holiday music with the stylings of Garland Miller, a holiday book celebration, and a retro take & make craft.
program going on that night and enjoy many treats to eat! Enjoy mingling with library patrons and celebrate all the building’s new renovations.
Registration is required. To register, visit https://bit. ly/3gzuw54
BULK TRASH COLLECTION IS CHANGING TO ON-DEMAND FOR 2023
Beginning, Feb. 6, 2023, Peoria’s bulk trash service will be available twice a year “by appointment” for Peoria residents with active Solid Waste accounts. Residents can schedule up to two free bulk collections per calendar year. Additional collections may be scheduled for a fee. Residents can begin scheduling bulk trash appointments online starting Dec. 5. Visit peoriaaz. gov/bulktrash, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 623-773-7030 for additional information.
As part of the city of Peoria’s continued efforts to help residents increase water savings, residents are encouraged to learn more about how their household uses water. The AMWUA water calculator allows
The Merry Mix and Mingle event is on Wed. Dec. 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at the Peoria Main Library, 8463 W. Monroe St
You can also visit the Read It & Eat It Cookbook Club
Peoria’s Old Town Holiday Festival Returns
Join Neighbors for Peoria’s annual holiday festival, featuring Second Saturdays!
PEORIA’S OLD TOWN HOLIDAY FESTIVAL, FEATURING SECOND SATURDAYS, RETURNS ON SAT., DEC. 10. Two Peoria events are coming together for a night of free holiday fun in Old Town Peoria from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., near 83rd and Grand Avenues.
Old Town Holiday Festival attendees can stroll through the historic streets of Old Town Peoria, between Peoria and Grand Avenues, with sweaters and hot cocoa and experience live entertainment and festivities. Event entertainment will include live, local music performances, horse drawn carriage rides, a giant interactive snow globe, high school choir performances, gingerbread house displays, and holiday
photo opportunities. The Mujeres Mercado and several other local craft vendors will be selling gift items, and a variety of food and beverage trucks will be onsite. Entries for the annual Gingerbread House Contest must be submitted by Dec. 7 at the Peoria Community Center, located at 8335 W. Jefferson St. The grand prize for the Best Overall Large House is $100 and $50 for the Best Overall Mini House.
The highlights of the evening will be a tree lighting ceremony in the heart of Osuna Park, and a special appearance from Santa Claus. Every year, members of the Peoria City Council gather with residents to turn the holiday lights on in the park at 7:15 p.m. In addition,
the Peoria Fire-Medical Department will deliver Santa to the festival by firetruck for meet-and-greets and family pictures. Photo prints with Santa Claus are free.
“This annual event includes many celebrated holiday traditions, with a variety of new elements from our Second Saturdays event,” says Director of Arts, Culture, and Library Services Marylou Stephens. “We are delighted to bring the community together once again to celebrate the holiday season.”
For more information about the Old Town Holiday Festival, including the Gingerbread House Competition entry form, visit peoriaaz.gov/specialevents.
4th Annual Innovation Night a SuccessPhotos by Nick Serpa Photos Courtesy of the city of Peoria
INNOVATION NIGHT, A YEARLY CELEBRATION OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION HAPPENING IN THE WEST VALLEY, WAS A SUCCESS AND ONE OF THE LARGEST ONES TO DATE.
Held at the Colonnade at Peoria Sports Complex last month, this year they ramped things up to highlight the amazing things happening in the West Valley with high school entrepreneurs, a local business pop up market, free food, and drink tickets and the first Ampie Awards!
The Ampie Awards were created to celebrate local entrepreneurship and highlight innovation in the West Valley.
THE WINNERS AND FINALISTS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
• The Out of the Box category was awarded to Hurshneet and Pravneet Chadha of Project Smile AZ. A nonprofit, Project Smile AZ is helping spread smiles with simple acts of kindness that anyone, anywhere can do. projectsmileaz.org.
online initiative to help re-brand the northwest Valley was created by Roe to help revitalize the area with non-chain appeal. facebook.com/ upperwestsidephx
• The Entrepreneurship Champion category was awarded to Gabriela Zazueta of Tassels Poms & Love. Tassels Poms & Love offers handcrafted items like tassels, charms, and eco friendly handbags. tasselspomsandlove.com.
• The Best Pitch category was awarded to Chris Damron of MyLifeMobile. MyLifeMobile is a platform to make your life easier by using artificial intelligence to automatically create a list of things to do near year. mylifemobile.net.
Finalists for the Entrepreneurship Champion category included Bruce Lev, Mahesh Vinayagam, Misty Stachel, Jenavi Kasper, Cayden Wilheim, Haley Westfall, Tish Times, Caron Sada, Melissa Drake, and Devarshan Patel.
Finalists for Out of the Box category included Tony Souris, TheaterWorks, Gastromé Market, Brandon Lev, Misty Stachel, Shantoya Thomas, and John Avila.
Finalists for Creator category included Kahlil Muhammad, Jose and Brittany Acevedo of Finding Arizona Podcast, Gabriela Zazueta, and Isaac Easley.
Peoria Receives International Economic Development Award
THE CITY OF PEORIA WAS PRESENTED WITH AN EXCELLENCE IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AWARD FROM THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (IEDC) FOR THE CREATION OF PEORIA’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROFILE 2.0 RECENTLY. The comprehensive profile was recognized with a Silver Award in the Promotional Brochures category at the annual IEDC Conference.
“Peoria’s Economic Development Profile 2.0 is a professional, modern brochure that represents the spirit and energy of our city while showcasing all that Peoria has to offer,” says Mayor Cathy Carlat. “Thank you to Economic Development, the Office
of Communications, and our regional partners for creating this award-winning marketing piece.”
The Profile features key development opportunities, city information, and important data sets to aid in the strategic marketing and promotion of the city of Peoria. Since its creation, the profile has been presented to a wide range of audiences including site selectors, brokers, and prospects, and at multiple activities and events. The profile is available in print and digital formats at peoriaed.com.
“Peoria is incredibly focused on attracting companies from key industries that will result in high-quality job creation, aligning with our workforce,” says Peoria Economic Development Director Jen
Stein. “This brochure directly assists with our business attraction efforts, and we are honored to accept this esteemed award.”
The International Economic Development Council is the largest nonprofit association for professional economic developers in the world, with more than 4,800 members. The annual IEDC Excellence Awards recognize organizations for exemplary economic development marketing campaigns, projects, and programs in 25 award categories. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world. IEDC received over 500 submissions from the United States and four additional countries around the world.
Learn more at iedconline.org.
December Activities Abound at Peoria Public LibrariesPhotos Courtesy of Peoria Public Libraries
THE COUNTDOWN TO WINTER BREAK IS ON AND PEORIA PUBLIC LIBRARIES INVITE FAMILIES AND FRIENDS TO CELEBRATE THE SEASON BY SPENDING TIME TOGETHER ENJOYING FREE HOLIDAY-THEMED ACTIVITIES FOR ALL AGES.
Throughout the month of December, Peoria Main (8463 W. Monroe St.) and Sunrise Mountain (21109 N. 98th Ave.) libraries will host several free events. Programing includes:
WHAM TEEN ART NIGHT
Sunrise Mountain Library, please e-mail email@example.com or call 623-773-8650.
“FANCY NANCY: SPLENDIFEROUS CHRISTMAS”
Each month, teens ages 12 to 17, learn and create with WHAM (What’s Happening Art Movement), thanks to Peoria’s Arts Grant Program! In December, Peoria Main’s WHAM Teen Art Night is Dec. 5 and Sunrise Mountain’s is Dec. 12. Space is limited. To register for Teen Art Night at Peoria Main Library, please e-mail cara. firstname.lastname@example.org or call 623-7737656. To register for Teen Art Night at
ABT’s Theatre for Young Audiences presents “Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas” at Peoria Main on Tues. Dec. 6, at 10:30 a.m. and Sunrise Mountain on Wed., Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. After selling some of her old gowns and accessories, Nancy finally has enough money to buy a brand-new sparkly tree topper! When things don’t turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous? Find out at this special holiday production, perfect for the whole family. Watch the show, stay for a Q&A session, then browse the shelves and checkout a Fancy Nancy story!
PRESENTING JAN SANDWICH AS “THE GINGERBREAD LADY”
Everyone loves gingerbread and everyone loves “The Gingerbread Lady!”
This holiday season, “The Gingerbread Lady” is cooking up some wonderful stories, magic, songs, and fun – all with a
holiday theme at Sunrise Library on Fri., Dec. 9 at 11 a.m. Parents and children will enjoy this new show! For more information, contact Sunrise Mountain Library at 623-773-8650.
Parents/guardians, looking for something for the kids to do after school? Elementary students are invited to join participants for various fun and interactive activities every Monday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Peoria Main Library. LEGO building and challenges, all kinds of crafts, board, and card games, and much more will foster students’ creativity, exploration, and team working skills.
Activities will vary from session to session. For more info, call the library at 623-773-7578.
• Dec. 5 - Winter Crafts.
• Dec. 8 - Candyland (Friends of the Library Event).
• Dec. 12 - Tabletop Games.
• Dec. 15 - LEGO Building.
• Dec. 19 - Winter Crafts.
• Dec. 22 - Christmas Special Triple Feature (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown, Christmas,” and “Frosty the Snowman”).
READ IT & EAT IT COOKBOOK CLUB
Join the book club for foodies at Peoria Main the second Wednesday of the month from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Each month participants take cookbooks from a particular chef or cooking theme and try them at home. This month, on Dec. 14, bring in cookies from any cookbook to discuss and enjoy. Once you have chosen your cookie to bring, contact Tonya by email at email@example.com or phone 623-773-7578 to let her know what recipe you will be trying so they don’t have a lot of duplication in the dishes to be sampled on meeting night. Bring in a dish to share from the cookbook on the evening of the meeting. At the meeting, participants will discuss what was liked/disliked about the cookbooks while eating. The specific cookbooks will be held at the upstairs reference desk for club members to check out a month before the meeting day.
Glendale Glitters Through the Holidays
THE EXCITEMENT OF GLENDALE GLITTERS INCLUDES THE MURPHY PARK LIGHTS AND DISPLAYS, PERFORMANCES IN THE AMPHITHEATER, THE HOMETOWN CHRISTMAS PARADE, MOVIES BY MOONLIGHT, AND ADDITIONAL EVENTS
HELD BY THE DOWNTOWN MERCHANTS. Free parking all season long is available at the City Hall Parking Garage and the Bank of America Parking Garage. Events include:
LIGHT THE WORLD GIVING MACHINES
Through Jan. 7
Daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Murphy Park, 58th Ave. & W. Glendale Ave.
Coming to the West Valley for the first time are the Light the World Giving Machines. This innovative and fun international initiative uses vending machines to provide people an opportunity to donate to carefully selected local and global charities.
HOMETOWN CHRISTMAS PARADE Dec. 10 11 a.m. Downtown Glendale, 5835 W. Palmaire Ave.
Glendale’s Hometown Christmas parade is an opportunity to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by gathering as a community of families, businesses, churches, organizations, and schools to encourage each other with a great parade experience. The parade not only shares the reason for the season but also facilitates a canned food drive supporting Hope for Hunger.
MOVIES BY MOONLIGHT
Pre-movie activities begin at 5 p.m. The movie begins at 6:30 p.m. Murphy Park, 58th Ave. & W. Glendale Ave.
The Harkins Popcorn Truck and Elote Man food trucks will be on site for “The Grinch” movie.
COMMUNITY & ARTS PERFORMANCES
E. Lowell Rogers Amphitheatre, 5850 W. Glendale Ave. Dec. 6 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Ridgeline Academy Dec. 7 7 p.m. Megabasic Dec. 8 7 p.m. Chelsea Dec. 9 7 p.m. Kaimikahu Hale O Hula Dec. 10 7 p.m. The Dance Shoppe Performing Group
Dec. 11 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Books and Blues
Dec. 12 7 p.m. Dave Higgins Dec. 15 7 p.m. Cole Family Band Dec. 17 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bravo Dance Family Dec. 18 7 p.m. North Star Company Dec. 20 7 p.m. Kellis High School Choir Dec. 21 7 p.m. Dave Higgins
Dec. 22 7 p.m. Later Dayz
The serve is the only shot required to start every point. The most critical component is that the serve must be in the court. A helpful way to think about it is to try to hit the serve in the middle of the court directly down the service line.
The next thought about the serve is depth and placement. Once we start hitting the ball consistently in the court, we now need to think about keeping the returning player back. We do this by hitting the serve deep in the court. This means we would like the ball to land about 2 to 3 feet from the baseline.
The serve, just like real estate, needs to be about location location location. Ideally, you really want to be pushing your serve to your opponent’s non-dominant stroke. For most players this is their backhand. A heavy, deep serve to your opponent’s backhand, is difficult to return and is the best way to start a winning point!
City News Peoria Teams up with Development Partner to Revitalize Old Town
detailed development plan. This plan will incorporate community feedback from the area, including more than 300 resident responses recently received from the 83rd Avenue Streetscape––Design Concept Report. The new development project will ensure this area continues to reflect the character of Peoria’s cherished Old Town, which has long been identified as an important revitalization and redevelopment zone. Learn more about Peoria’s Economic Development efforts at peoriaed.com.
Peoria Adopts Code and Design Updates to Increase Water Savings
Updates to Peoria’s Landscape Code and Community Design Guidelines aim to reduce water use.
AS PART OF THE CITY OF PEORIA’S COMMITMENT TO THE PRINCIPLES OF SOUND WATER MANAGEMENT AND SMART GROWTH, THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL RECENTLY ADOPTED UPDATES TO PEORIA’S LANDSCAPE CODE AND COMMUNITY DESIGN GUIDELINES TO FURTHER REDUCE WATER USAGE. These targeted and practical modifications are intended to have a measurable impact on water savings, while maintaining the high-quality development standards that define Peoria.
“Over the past several years, council and I have implemented strategic and smart water policies to further position our community for long-term sustainability and prosperity,” says Mayor Cathy Carlat. “These updates will offer our development community an opportunity to save water and money, and these updates will ensure we further protect our water resources.”
• Adjustments to shrub and groundcover (e.g., lantana) density, which promotes proper tree canopy coverage and spacing of shrubs to allow plants to better thrive and will require less maintenance over time. This adjustment has negligible visual impact but yields a significant water savings. It has the additional effect of lowering initial development costs and on-going maintenance expenses.
• Reduction in total amount of turf that can be utilized in new development or redevelopment projects and limiting placement of turf to functional and accessible open space areas such as in sports fields and play areas. This alteration does not diminish or reduce the amount of open space required within development projects; rather, it is intended to eliminate turf in areas where ineffective watering occurs and
maintenance is problematic for HOAs and property management companies.
• Promotion of a greater range of development techniques that are appropriate for our climate, such as building placement that works with surrounding topography, careful selection of building colors and materials to reduce heat retention, and utilization of Low Impact Development (LID) strategies and techniques for increased water and energy conservation.
“These sensible and meaningful updates are a reflection of Peoria’s commitment to smart water policy,” says Water Services Director Cape Powers. “These updates are a win economically, a win environmentally, and a great step forward as we remain diligent stewards in meeting our community’s water resources needs.”
To see Peoria’s Landscape Code and Community Design Guidelines, visit peoriaaz.gov/planning. To learn more about Peoria’s diverse water portfolio, conservation efforts, and rebate programs, visit peoriaaz.gov/ conservation.
Deputy City Manager Erik Strunk Announces Retirement
CITY MANAGER ERIK STRUNK ANNOUNCED HIS RETIREMENT IN NOVEMBER
AFTER FIVE YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE CITY OF PEORIA. Strunk retires with more than 30 years of public service in Arizona local government.
“Erik’s easy-going style is a clever disguise for his vast knowledge, sharp perception, and ability to move mountains,” says Mayor Cathy Carlat. “It has been an absolute pleasure working with him, and I appreciate everything he has done for the city of Peoria. I wish him well in his retirement.”
In his time at Peoria, Strunk has overseen numerous outward facing operations and departments. He led the reorganization of Peoria’s operating structure to create the Neighborhood and Human Services, Water Services, and the Arts, Culture and Library Services departments. Strunk also worked closely with department leaders to enhance many service-oriented operations, including Peoria’s solid waste and recycling divisions,
pavement management functions, and parks and recreation. In addition, Strunk guided much of the city of Peoria’s operational response and adjustments to support community members during the pandemic.
“Erik has been instrumental in positioning Peoria toward organizational excellence,” says City Manager Jeff Tyne. “He is a trusted role model and mentor, and he is a greatly respected leader by those inside and outside of the organization. Erik has been essential to my executive team; and, while he will be missed dearly, I wish him all the best as he begins this next chapter.”
Prior to the city of Peoria, Strunk was a long-time employee at the city of Glendale, where he served in several leadership roles. Strunk received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, and his master’s degree in public administration from Bowling Green State University. A successor has not been announced.
ARIZONA-BASED M CULINARY CONCEPTS, THE STATE’S LARGEST EVENT CATERING COMPANY, WILL HIRE HUNDREDS OF HOSPITALITY PROFESSIONALS AHEAD OF THE VALLEY’S BUSTLING EVENTS SEASON, INCLUDING SUPER BOWL LVII-RELATED EVENTS AND THE WM PHOENIX OPEN.
M Culinary Concepts will hire for frontof-house, back-of-house, warehouse/ facilities, transportation, and cafe support. Permanent full- and part-time opportunities are available, as well as seasonal positions.
“This is a great way to be at the center of what makes the Valley so special at this time of year,” says Director of Culinary Operations at M Culinary Concepts, Chef Jon Clancy. “You’ll gain valuable experience in your chosen hospitality profession and catapult your career to the next level. Advancement opportunities abound for the right candidate.”
Named one of BestCompaniesAZ’s Top Companies to Work for in Arizona, a distinction earned by M Culinary in 2021 and 2022, M Culinary Concepts offers competitive pay, flexible schedules,
and a fast-paced, exciting environment perfect for learning the ins and outs of the hospitality industry. Full-time positions include 100% companypaid medical, dental, life and disability insurance, along with elective vision insurance and 401(k) match. No experience required.
M Culinary Concepts emerged in the Valley 25 years ago. In that time, the business has become the go-to caterer for some of the Valley’s marquee events including the WM Phoenix Open, BarrettJackson, Innings Fest, and charity galas, as well as a top choice for weddings and corporate events throughout the state.
to 89743 to apply.
City News FACE FOUNDRIÉ Opens at Park WestPhotos Courtesy of FACE FOUNDRIÉ
FACE FOUNDRIÉ, A FOCUSED FACIAL BAR, OPENED AT PARK WEST, 9788 W. NORTHERN AVE., ON BLACK FRIDAY, NOV. 25.
The bright and airy facial spa helps customers to look and feel their best by providing cutting edge services, accessible pricing, and an extensively trained staff of beauty experts. According to the website, the company’s goal is to offer efficient and effective services for all things face: facials, lashes, brows, and skincare, coupled with an impeccable service experience and 100% customer satisfaction with affordable, approachable, and accessible beauty services.
The all-inclusive focused facial bar offers services starting at $45. Monthly membership options are also available, as well as Face Parties. To learn more, call 602-399-9786 or visit facefoundrie.com.
Westside Hot Spot, Cantina Gueros, Offers Mouthwatering Mexican DelightsBy Gretchen Pahia Photos Courtesy of Cantina Gueros
Cantina Gueros, located at the Four Corners in North Peoria, is the newest spot offered by Westside Concepts. The restaurant company is behind such greats in the Valley including Haymaker, NW Coffee, and Fire House Event Center. There are now two locations for Cantina Gueros, the original being the North Peoria spot.
The cool interior décor offers a great spot for a solo dinner, dinner with a significant other, or with family and friends.
The enticing menu is what keeps people
coming back time and time again. The experience starts with the complimentary chips and salsa, brought to the table upon guests being seated. The salsa tastes homemade and fresh and offers a great kick-off to your meal. Then there is an amazing cocktail menu. Several beer, wine, and sangria options are available, as well as several specialty cocktails that bring together delicious flavors to accommodate any meal. There are several non-alcoholic options as well including soda, tea, horchata, Mexican soda, frescas, and more.
For food options, be sure to bring an appetite and be ready to enjoy several unique and tasty flavors. There are plenty of appetizer options such as ceviche,
nachos, quesadillas, and more. There are also salad and soup options, including homemade ramen pozole. Several street taco options are on the main menu, such as carne asada, barbacoa, al pastor, and diablo shrimp – just to name a few.
If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial than street tacos, check out one of the enchilada dishes, burritos, or bowls. There are cheese and meat options including barbacoa, carnitas, and green pork chile, among others. One of the most popular dishes on the menu is the fire roasted poblanos stuffed with Spanish rice and black beans with your choice of sauce and options including chicken, barbacoa, or vegetarian.
If the main dishes and appetizers aren’t enough to fill you up, save room for dessert. Desserts include caramel filled churros, fried ice cream, and a traditional horchata capirotada (bread pudding) made with almonds, raisins, and horchata crème, and served with butter pecan ice cream.
If you’re looking for a great spot with tasty food and quick and friendly service, Cantina Gueros should be on your must-try list. Cantina Gueros is located at 25315 N. Lake Pleasant Pkwy.
For more information on their menu and dining room hours, visit cantinagueros. com, or call 623-440-3680.
89-year-old Artist Inspires her Hospice TeamBy Lin Sue Flood
Avinell MacDonald isn’t kidding when she says, “it’s never too late to try something new.” She was 60 years old when her husband asked if there was anything in life she wanted to do but hadn’t tried. MacDonald chose two things: play the piano and take up painting. Before she knew it, he’d bought her a piano and paint supplies.
She learned to play a few tunes before giving the piano to her granddaughter but has never put down the paintbrush in nearly three decades. “I didn’t think I had any talent,” the Hospice of the Valley patient confesses, “but my husband had faith in me, so I kept going. I bought some books and taught myself to mix colors and suddenly, I just took off.”
Her determination ignited something in hospice chaplain Ken Collins, who is quite possibly her biggest groupie. At 63, he decided to give painting a try.
“Avinell is one incredible artist and one incredible person!” Collins says. “The beauty of her paintings is only matched by the beauty of her inspiring life. She’s my biggest encourager and has unleashed in me a long-held passion.” The two enjoy sharing their latest projects and discussing color and technique. “I never dreamed what I was doing would get him so excited,” MacDonald laughs. “He’s got talent and if he pursues it, he’s gonna be a lot better than I am someday!”
The 89-year-old loves sharing the framed collection that fills her bedroom studio. Her hospice care team, which includes Collins, nurse Cheryl Adams, and social worker Susan Dabreo, enjoy watching the creative process unfold, as MacDonald transforms a blank canvas into a beautiful landscape, floral arrangement, or family portrait.
Right now, she’s painting a mountain scene from one of her favorite photographs. “I used the same colors of the photo, but it doesn’t suit me, so I’m going to change them,” she quips. “Don’t know what I’ll end up with, but when I finish, I hope I like it.”
“We always say that hospice care includes making the most of life, enhancing it with what you love,” Collins says. “With Avinell, that means nurturing her artistic side too.”
peek at Avinell’s studio, filled with works she’s painted over the last 29 years
Her fan club can’t wait to see what she paints next.
“They all encourage me, especially when I mess up. They’re just so kind and generous and don’t make me feel old,” she jokes. “I’ll be 90 in a few months and look at me. I’m still at it!”
To learn about Hospice of the Valley programs and services, call 602-530-6900, or visit hov.org.
Tired of Being Tired? How to Combat Fatigue with Naturopathic MedicineBy Dr. Jenna Dye, Naturopathic Physician
Fatigue is a common discussion in my practice. Patients report fatigue upon waking in the morning or they feel an afternoon slump around 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Many also crave sugar or find themselves needing caffeinated beverages to get them through the day. There are many factors that may contribute to fatigue, but it does not have to be a daily struggle. As a naturopathic physician, my job is to investigate the root cause of a patient’s underlying fatigue.
This may seem like a no brainer; however, many patients do not get quality sleep. Sleep is often sacrificed in high stress situations, but it is crucial in our underlying health. I recommend good sleep hygiene routines. Eliminating screens 30-60 minutes before bed can help those who have trouble falling asleep. Chamomile tea, yoga and a simple quick meditation prior to sleep can also be very supportive.
The thyroid gland can affect our energy levels and it is an important screen when there is fatigue present. It plays a role in metabolism, temperature regulation, and digestion. Many factors can affect the thyroid, including stress and nutrient deficiencies. I always recommend a full thyroid panel, which can be tested via blood. Supportive therapies can vary but include herbal supplementation, nutritional support, and medication if indicated.
The adrenal glands are small glands that produce cortisol. Cortisol is released in response to stress; the more stress we have, the more cortisol is needed. After long periods of chronic stress, the response to stress gets weaker and cortisol levels can drop. This is called adrenal fatigue. It is important to know what your levels are in order to support the adrenal glands correctly. This can be obtained by a simple blood test. Treatment varies depending on the severity of adrenal fatigue. Diet, lifestyle, and stress reduction are great
starting points along with nutrient and herbal support.
Nutrient deficiencies can be a common cause of fatigue. Deficiencies can be determined by a blood test, which is important to ensure proper supplementation, if needed. Diet changes can also be a great way to improve nutrient absorption. Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and iron are just a few common nutrients that can affect our energy levels.
Our digestive system is the key player for nutrient absorption and elimination of waste products. If there is digestive disruption it will affect our overall wellbeing and lead to fatigue. It is important to find out the root cause of any digestive issues. Food sensitivities, imbalanced gut flora, and chronic constipation are just few things to investigate with fatigue.
CONSULT A NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIAN
When you are tired it can be hard to focus
or even know where to start to improve your health. Fatigue does not need to be your “normal” and you can be supported. A naturopathic physician will work with you to find the root cause of your fatigue and, with proper support, improve your energy level.
Dr. Jenna Dye is a licensed naturopathic physician. Her role is to support the body’s foundation to restore and maintain optimal health. Together with her patients, this is achieved by identifying and removing barriers that may be impacting health while creating a healing environment. For more information visit drjennadye.com.
It’s been a beautiful year for Linda Awdisho and her husband Steve, owners of the popular Salon Blissful Med Spa - Happy Valley location. Their fourth location in the Salon Blissful family of med spas (three in Peoria, one in Mesa), the Upper Westside locale has been hopping ever since its grand opening in March.
“The Salon Blissful Happy Valley location is a great location! We’re now at full capacity staff-wise and always have a full house of amazing customers excited to try all our services,” Linda Awdisho says. “Local residents are really loving the one-stop facility where you can have hair, skin, injectables, and so much more done. The setting is very warm, inviting, and welcoming.”
THE MED SPA DIFFERENCE
Salon Blissful is unique in that it’s a full-service hair, skin, and medical spa. “By opening our third Peoria location in Northwest Peoria we gave the community what they asked for—a locally owned medical spa right where they live, work, and shop,” Awdisho says. “We live here too and are so excited for the success of this location.”
Awdisho notes that the Northwest Peoria location of Salon Blissful is not a day spa, but a medical spa focused on making a results-driven difference in the lives of its customers. What’s the difference? At Salon Blissful’s med spa location, not only do they offer haircut and color services, but also professional medicaloriented services such as microneedling, dermaplaning, hydrafacials, Botox injections and fillers, and more.
“All of our service providers have at least three or more years of experience and there is always a nurse or esthetician on staff,” Awdisho explains. “Our front desk staff is also very knowledgeable, and we are always open to giving potential new clients and interested community members a free consultation and tour of the new location at their comfort level.”
EXPERT BEAUTY SERVICES
Shelly Fredericks is a medical esthetician at the Happy Valley Salon Blissful location and has been working with Awdisho at her other locations since 2018. “Working with Linda and at the different Salon Blissful locations has been a great journey—it’s with Linda’s encouragement and support that I received the extra training needed to move from day spa services to medical spa services,” she says.
Fredericks explains that the difference between a day spa and a medical spa is that a doctor has a license over the med spa practice. Under this license, trained staff can offer bumped up services such as medical grade peels, PRF microneedling, and more.
She adds that some of the stand-out offerings include
the hydrafacial, which combines the ability to cleanse, exfoliate, extract, hydrate and replenish the skin’s antioxidants with just one procedure. One of other popular medical grade services is microneedling, which is a highly advanced technique that triggers collagen production.
“Our med spa is unique because it offers cutting edge services, but in a familiar, neighborly environment,” Fredericks says. “This helps clients, especially new clients, because then the services aren’t overwhelming and it’s a relaxing, enjoyable process.”
When it comes to med spa services, Fredericks shares a tip for curious potential clients—it’s all about being proactive with these types of procedures. “Our services are non-invasive and great for even those in their 30s or 40s who are looking to age well. It’s a cumulative process that slows down the aging process and we emphasize the best customer service so that clients feel comfortable being long-term clients and keep us in mind for all their beauty needs.”
Dalida Elias, RN, is a nurse injector at Salon Blissful. She explains that this means she uses her medical expertise to perform injectables and in-depth cosmetic treatments. Some of Salon Blissful’s injectable services include Botox, Dysport, Juvederm, PRP injections, Kybella, Sculptra, and more.
“Many of our first-time clients worry about having an unnatural look but we are all about natural-looking esthetics—we just enhance your already gorgeous features,” Elias explains. “Some of our most popular services include Botox—which is a go-to to help prevent aging—and lip fillers.”
WHAT MATTERS MOST—YOU!
Looking to the New Year, Awdisho shares that Salon Blissful’s Happy Valley location will continue to expand—including the addition of medical weight loss services.
Awdisho, Elias, and Fredericks all echo the same sentiment when talking about what matters most to them: their clients and quality customer service.
“We are well known in the Peoria community,” says Awdisho. “Like our other two Peoria locations, we strive to provide the best customer service experience for our clients. We want them to leave loving the service they received.”
“The Northwest Peoria community is amazing, I truly look forward to coming to work daily,” Fredericks adds.
“My advice for those who are curious about medical spa services is to do your research, trust us, and give our experts at Salon Blissful a chance,” Elias says. “We’re easy to talk to, easy to work with, and hope to make you feel comfortable and turn new clients into lifelong patients.
Salon Blissful’s new Northwest Peoria location can be found at 8265 W. Happy Valley Rd., Suite 105. To view available services or book an appointment, visit salonblissful.com. To keep up with the latest news and updates, follow Salon Blissful’s North Peoria location on Facebook @salonblissfulhappyvalley and Instagram @salonblissful_happyvalley.
This content is sponsored by Salon Blissful.
Arizona Teachers Receive $1
Million Through Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes
for Teachers Draft Day
Wishes for Teachers’ seven-year total at $5.7 million following 2022 Draft Day.Photos Courtesy of Fiesta Bowl Charities
Continuing the Fiesta Bowl Organization’s annual tradition of honoring, supporting and celebrating educators throughout Arizona, Fiesta Bowl Charities granted 400 teachers with $2,500 each through the Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers Draft Day presented by Salt River Project (SRP).
The wishes were spread throughout the state this year with 72 cities and towns represented amongst the 400 teachers selected. Nearly 212,000 students across 321 schools and 95 districts will be positively impacted by their teachers’ wishes with this year’s group combining for more than 5,300 years of experience in the classroom.
Recipients included those teaching the arts to science, both gifted and special education, and languages and life skills amongst a diverse group of subjects. The 400 wishes granted will benefit teachers who will aim to enrich the lives of their students through technology improvements, addition of educational programs, fitness equipment, and more.
LOCAL RECIPIENTS INCLUDED:
• Lydia MacKay, a speech therapist at Sequoya Elementary in Scottsdale, will purchase iPads for their students.
• Mary MacKay, an English language arts teacher at Sunrise Middle School in Scottsdale, will purchase tables for their classroom.
• Christine Nobley, an English language arts teacher at Desert Shadows Middle School, will provide new books for their classroom.
“Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers is one of the most impactful
teacher support programs in Arizona donating $1 million dollars to benefit thousands of Arizona students. Adding to the excitement this year is the return of our in-person Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers Draft Day presented by SRP which further enhances the experience for our recipients,” says Fiesta Bowl Board Chair Randal Norton. “Teachers are truly selfless individuals who help shape the futures of our students here in Arizona and we are proud to play a part in supporting our teachers to do more in the classroom for the leaders of tomorrow.”
This year’s $1 million total donation brings the Wishes for Teachers’ sevenyear cumulative grant total to $5.7 million awarded to 1,600 teachers, impacting more than 700,000 students across Arizona.
Created in 2016, the Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers program grants classroom wishes to Arizona teachers. Public and charter school K-12 teachers across the state are invited to apply each fall with the recipients verified and selected by a random drawing during the Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers Draft Day presented by (SRP).
Education Voters Pass Prop 308 Allowing DACA Students to Receive In-State College Tuition
The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) joins education leaders across the state in applauding Arizona voters for their support and passage of Proposition 308, providing instate tuition to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students.
“Throughout the years, MCCCD has fought to provide Arizona’s most affordable tuition for high-quality associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and workforce training to all in-state students regardless of their immigration status,” says MCCCD Chancellor, Dr. Steven R. Gonzales. “The passage of Proposition 308 will allow thousands of Arizona DACA students to pursue their dream of obtaining a higher education, and we look forward to serving them.”
Proposition 308 ensures that any Arizonan, regardless of their immigration status, who has graduated from an Arizona high school and has lived in the state for two consecutive years, is granted in-state tuition at its
Each year, thousands of undocumented students graduate from Arizona high schools. Unable to access in-state tuition rates, many forgo their education aspirations due to the financial barrier. The passage of Proposition 308 will strengthen MCCCD’s growing dual enrollment pipeline, which has been vital in the recovery of the system after the initial impact brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I believe that Proposition 308 is not only an investment and commitment to our DACA students but to the future of Arizona’s workforce development. Arizona has a serious current labor shortage, Proposition 308 will aid in jumpstarting our labor market by providing much-needed skilled employees to the current job market,” says Gonzales.
Proposition 308 makes higher education more affordable and attainable for DACA students entering college for the first time or returning to college to learn new skills and re-enter the workforce. Developed with local industry partners and economic development
leaders, Maricopa Community Colleges offers sixty individual Fast Track Certificates that prepare students for a new career in as little as a few weeks or six months. The highly-specific training certificates meet the needs of current and future Arizona businesses, whether it’s precision manufacturing, healthcare, or advancing IT professional skills.
Arizona now joins the growing list of states that grant in-state tuition to undocumented students.
Epic Family Fun pass
Kids’ Corner BATH BOMBSBy Sari Custer, Chief Curiosity Officer at Arizona Science Center
What’s more fun than bathtub bubbles? Bath bombs have been around since 1989 and have recently found a resurgence in popularity. With this activity, you can customize all your scents and colors for custom science gift-giving!
• Silicone molds (soap/candy molds, muffin tins, or plastic eggs also work well)
• Mixing spoons
• Wax paper
• Large bowl
• Small bowl
• Measuring spoons
• Measuring cups
• Eye protection
• ¾ cup baking soda
• ½ cup cornstarch
• ½ cup powdered citric acid (buy online, at a local craft store, or local grocer with canning supplies)
• ½ cup Epsom salt
• ½ tablespoon water
• 2½ tablespoon oil (coconut, olive, or other vegetable oil)
• Optional: portable fan
• Optional: 4 to 6 drops of food coloring (powdered food coloring works well)
• Optional: 2 teaspoons skinfriendly scented essential oils (lavender, eucalyptus, rose, lemongrass, coffee, cinnamon, vanilla, peppermint … whatever you like! Available online or at your local craft store).
1. Put on your safety gear, including gloves and eye protection. Powders can be irritating.
2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (baking soda, Epsom salt, citric acid, and cornstarch) and mix until combined and clump-free.
3. In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients (oil, water, scented oil, and food coloring). If you use scented oil, stick to about two
teaspoons. Roughly five drops of food coloring work well, but feel free to mix up different pigments and experiment with the color.
4. Very slowly add the liquid to the dry mixture — about one teaspoon at a time. Use the whisk to mix as you go. Slow down if you start to see the mixture fizz. The final mixture shouldn’t clump together and should have the texture of damp sand.
5. Spread the mixture into the silicone molds (or plastic eggs) and press firmly until it is fully and evenly packed in each section. Depending on size, this can make about 10 bath bombs.
6. Place the packed molds in front of the blowing fan or just set them out to dry. This can take up to a day.
7. When your molds are set, flip them over and very gently press the fizzies out onto a piece of wax paper. If they start to crumble as you do this, flip them back over and let them continue
to set in the molds for a while longer.
8. Test them! Once the bath bombs are set, try one out by tossing it into a tub of water. What do you observe?
9. To gift them, gently wrap your bath bombs in decorative bags. If the fizzy does crumble, have no fear! The mixture can be poured into a bath and produce the same great effects.
The key ingredients here are citric acid (a weak acid) and baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate, a weak base). When the two ingredients are dry in their powdered form, they don’t react. But when you put the bath bomb into the tub, water causes the two key ingredients to mix, resulting in an acid-base reaction. Is there any change if you put the bath bomb in cold water versus hot water? How does the size of your bath bomb affect its fizziness? How does the color of the bath bomb affect the water?
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our stories, our adventures
HI, MY NAME IS… Shelly Fredericks
I’VE LIVED IN NORTHWEST PEORIA FOR 18 YEARS AND I LOVE IT BECAUSE… it is a family-oriented, close-knit community that has so much to offer.
A TYPICAL DAY IN MY LIFE INCLUDES… enjoying a hike outside or completing a workout in the gym before spending my day enjoying corrective skincare with my clientele at Salon Blissful.
MY FAMILY IS… everything. I have two
amazing daughters who are 23 and 25. We love, support, and guide each other. I am thankful for our strong connection and relationship.
ONE THING I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IS… my skincare routine!
MY FAVORITE MOVIE I COULD NEVER GET TIRED OF WATCHING IS AND WHY IS… the Harry Potter series. My girls grew up loving them and it is our go-to when we’re together.
WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I WANTED TO BE… a ballerina.
THE SONG I WOULD SING AT KARAOKE IS… “Levitating” by Dua Lipa.
THE ONE PERSON WHO MOTIVATES ME IS… myself. I wake up in the morning and work hard to be intentional and give each day my all. At the end of the day, I am the person accountable for meeting my goals and putting in the work to do so.
THE LAST THING THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD WAS… a relatable TikTok my daughter sent me.
THE PERFECT DAY IS… sipping coffee
and snuggling my cat Rocco, hiking, shopping, and having lunch with a friend or family member.
MY FAVORITE LOCAL NONPROFIT IS… the Arizona Humane Society. I am a big advocate for pet rescue adoptions only.
MY LIFE IS… rewarding.
THE BEST GIFT I’VE EVER RECEIVED WAS… a summer family vacation cruise to Mexico from my dad.
MY DREAM VACATION WOULD BE… Santorini, Greece.
The End is Near
A new year provides fresh opportunities for buyers—and sellers!By Frank May, Real Estate Agent
The end of the year is here and what a year it has been! We started the year with homes getting multiple offers and we are ending it with homes being on the market for multiple weeks, and sometimes multiple months. The main culprit was a very fast rise in interest rates. Suddenly buyers couldn’t afford what they could a month earlier and, as a result, home prices started to come down to what those buyers could afford. Add to that our record inflation and it became hard for a lot of people to afford a new home. This did cause prices to drop. And, as bad as that is for a seller, it was good for the buyers, as it helped compensate for the higher interest rates.
The good news for sellers is the same good news I’ve been writing about for the past few months––the increase in inventory slowed way down. We started April at about 5,000 homes and were up to over 20,000 by the end of September. Since then, we have fluctuated between 20,000 and 21,000 houses on the market. I have been very thankful for that slowdown in inventory.
The other good news is that the Fed’s
increase in interest rates has also slowed down. We saw mortgage rates drop in the middle of November by about a half of a percent and that helped a lot of buyers (and in turn it helped the sellers). Right after that drop we had a listing that ended up with two offers, which is unheard of right now. It’s amazing how making interest rates a little more affordable can stimulate buyers (insert sarcasm). If we see a more permanent drop in interest rates, we will most certainly see our inventory drop as well. I’m impatiently waiting for this!
The beginning of each year begins with an increase in inventory, as a lot of sellers want to wait until after Christmas to put their homes on the market. So, I’m fully expecting that I will be writing about an increase next month, but that will be normal for the time of the year, so just be ready.
Now, about our community…the Upper West Side PHX Facebook ladies, Katie, and Kristi (they do an incredible job!), recently posted updates on over 20 businesses that have either opened or are opening in the area, so make sure you are following that group! We have a thriving community in the Upper Westside, and
our real estate, as so many people want to be close to a variety of shopping, restaurants, and more. As a part of the Facebook group, you will have the opportunity to vote for new businesses you want in our area, so don’t miss out!
As always, if you ever have real estate questions please don’t hesitate to reach out. See you next year!
ern Arizona University. He is a real estate agent with RE/MAX Fine Properties and has been helping both buyers and sellers for over 20 years. He has been a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) since 2003. Learn more at mayteam.com.
50TH ANNUAL FLAGG GEM & MINERAL SHOW
FANTASY OF LIGHTS BOAT PARADE
“‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE…” BY CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
“A WINNIE THE POOH CHRISTMAS TAIL”
When: Through Dec. 23
Where: Valley Youth Theatre, 526 N. First St., Phoenix
What: A friend tells Christopher Robin a story of a Christmas Eve very long ago when Eeyore, the old gray donkey who lives by himself in the thistle corner of Hundred-Acre Wood, was miserable. It seems that he lost his tail and Winnie-thePooh and Piglet got all their friends and a search was organized. There is a great deal of fun and excitement, plus delightful songs, in the adventure that follows.
CHILDSPLAY “RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER”
When: Through Dec. 24
Where: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix
What: This musical adaptation of the classic special features a host of favorite characters including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Sam the Snowman, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and Rudolph. Info: childsplayaz.org/rudolph
“A CHRISTMAS CAROL”
When: Through Dec. 24
Where: Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 10580 N. 83rd Dr., Peoria
What: Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future in this tale of greed, growth, and love, and see Ebenezer Scrooge face a life-changing choice that could be his greatest savior or his gruesome demise. Delight in extraordinary visuals, gorgeous costumes, and eye-popping effects bringing to life the story of generosity’s triumph over greed in the best Christmas tale ever told.
When: Through Jan. 15
Where: Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix
What: You’ll find adventure everywhere at the Valley’s favorite holiday tradition, ZooLights! This season promises to be bigger and brighter than ever before, with all new animal lanterns and light displays, an enhanced Santa experience and a brand-new music and light show that will take you around the world!
HOLLY DAZED: A FESTIVELY CONFUSED CABARET
When: Dec. 9 - 18
Where: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix
What: Lee has planned every detail of his classical piano holiday recital, and he is determined to put on a polished (if somewhat boring) show for his
PHOENIX FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
friends and family. What he didn’t plan on is a very lost Holly crashing his stage, but it turns out, everyone could use a little Holly Dazed spirit in their lives!
BALLET ARIZONA PRESENTS “THE NUTCRACKER”
When: Dec. 9 – Dec. 24
Where: 2835 E. Washington St., Phoenix What: Celebrate the joy and wonder of the season with Ib Andersen’s “The Nutcracker,: as Tchaikovsky’s cherished score is masterfully performed by The Phoenix Symphony. Follow Clara’s wintry adventures as she battles mischievous mice and charms the Sugar Plum Fairy. Whether this is your first Nutcracker or your 101st, this heartwarming tradition never fails to enchant and draw smiles from all!
FANTASY OF LIGHTS BOAT PARADE
When: Dec. 10
Where: Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe
What: As the sun sets, the evening lights up at one of the Sonoran Desert’s most unique holiday events. Gather along the shore of Tempe Beach Park for Tempe’s Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., followed by fireworks. Info: downtowntempe.com/events/boat-parade
PHOENIX FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
When: Dec. 10 & 11
Where: Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 N. 3rd St., Phoenix
What: This community event is a Phoenix favorite for the holidays with a weekend of free arts and culture activities, vendors, demonstrations, performances, and more. Featuring over 150 art vendors, local music, and food trucks, it’s the perfect occasion to bring friends and family out to connect with the local arts community. Info: phoenixfestivalofthearts.org
When: Dec. 10
Where: Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, 20000 S. Maricopa Rd., Chandler
What: Where passion meets art through cars and music, FuelFest blends the enthusiast’s passion for the automotive world with live musical performances, racing, and art, giving fans the music festival and car show experience all at once. The car show features top modified, exotic, performance built, and rare cars from all over the world. Fans and drivers can enjoy live drifting with ride alongs, 1/4 mi drag racing, demos by pro drivers, karting, gaming centers, and more! Info: fuelfest.com
“‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE…”BY CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
When: Dec. 16 - 24
Where: 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix
What: An exhilarating spin on the beloved Christmas tale,
this festive show brings a flurry of love, Christmas cheer, thrilling acrobatics, and hugely lovable characters to the stage for a new holiday tradition for families to cherish. Info: ticketmaster.com
SESAME STREET LIVE
When: Dec. 29 & 30
Where: Desert Diamond Arena, 9431 W. Northern Ave., Glendale
What: Join your favorite furry friends in your neighborhood at one of our three fun-filled Sesame Street Live! interactive show experiences that unfold on one of the world’s most famous streets. Info: sesamestreetlive.com
ON DECK: JANUARY
50TH ANNUAL FLAGG GEM & MINERAL SHOW
When: Jan. 6, 7, & 8
Where: Mesa Community College, 1833 W. Southern Ave., Southwest parking lot
What: A free, outdoor, family-friendly event featuring gold panning, a fossil dig, free mineral samples for children and teachers at MCC Geology Club’s booth, and other children’s activities as well as 100 dealers who will showcase and sell a variety of minerals, fossils, gems, beads, jewelry, and lapidary materials. Info: flaggmineralfoundation.org.
Entertainment Movie Reviews and Upcoming Release DatesBy Tony Beal ON NETFLIX
more engaging experience and grabs your attention. It’s overall a more ambitious, yet still entertaining film.
to an abrupt ending to the film. But overall, this film is an important and informative look at a side of cinema’s history not commonly seen.
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
Benoit Blanc returns with a new group of suspects after a murder occurs on a private island.
Despite still being a solid thriller, “Glass Onion” doesn’t come close to the quality of the first film. Much of that has to do with the first half of the film, which is mostly used to establish the connection our suspects have, while Blanc is more of an observer. However, unlike the first film’s charmingly detestable Thrombey family, these friends of influencers are, for the most part, merely annoying. If it weren’t for the performers, they would end up as mere archetypes. They’re also the subjects of the social commentary, which because of the issues with our characters, is less engaging or funny. Blanc himself is more clownish this time and doesn’t take an interest in exploring why he’s at the island until later. The second half, where we get more into the mystery, is a much
That Black Enough For you?!?”
Film critic Elvis Mitchell examines the craft and power of African American films released from the landmark era of the 1970s.
Elivs Mitchell’s documentary has a style that goes back and forth between traditional documentary and personal essay, and those two formats can feel conflicting at times. However, the film still gives an informative look at early cinema’s struggle with proper representation and how the 1970s underground movement was the steppingstone for a greater push in modern blockbusters. The best parts of the films are interviews with actors of that era like Harry Belafonte and Margaret Avery, as you see their emotions and reflection on their work. One wishes for a look into the 1980s through modern day films to truly see the impact made, which also adds
Jonah Hill has a candid conversation with his therapist Phil Stutz about mental health.
Hill’s first documentary is a simple, but resonant film. Getting into the psychology of Stutz’ worldview and how he became a psychologist is fascinating, along with Hill’s own insight. Essentially, it’s just two guys talking for a long while (save for a standout scene featuring Hill’s mother). It’s not a very critical or in-depth piece. The movie merely attempts to showcase the benefits of therapy and its impact on these two. And it works in that form.
ON APPLE TV+
during the 90 minutes spent with the characters, which I suppose is the point. There’s no real sign of interest in the directing. Jennifer Lawrence does a good job, but Brian Tyree Henry offers the best performance here. I appreciate how it does have a neutral approach to the lead’s journey, no real melodrama, just a quiet walk with her and the people she knows. But in the end, it doesn’t leave any real impact. It’s more like a stage show (which makes sense given the director has stage history). The stage might have been a better medium for this film.
• “Violent Night”
• “Women Talking” (Limited)
• “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (Limited)
• “The Whale” (Limited)
• “Empire Of Light” (Limited)
• Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” (Netflix)
• “Emancipation” (Apple TV+)
• “Avatar: The Way of Water”
• “Bardo, False Chronicles of a Handful of Truths” (Netflix)
• “Nanny” (Amazon Prime)
• “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish”
• “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”
A soldier struggles to adjust to ordinary life after returning home.
“Causeway” doesn’t really have much new to offer in the “war PTSD” genre, and its short runtime and disconnected lead don’t help. It’s like the viewer is meandering around inside their head
• “A Man Called Otto” (Limited)
• “White Noise” (Netflix)
THE LINKS NEIGHBORHOOD GRILL
ADDRESS: 18823 Country Club Pkwy., Peoria
CUISINE TYPE: American
With change all around us, The Links is truly your neighborhood grill and we are offering takeout. We have changed our menu slightly due to product availability... So, welcome to the AntiVirus Menu! We are still serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Have a hankering for small plates? Our appetizers are the best in the business. Call or order online. We will have it ready when you get here! We are also available for catering.
LAKESIDE BAR & GRILL
ADDRESS: 9980 W. Happy Valley Pkwy., Ste. #1101, Peoria
CUISINE TYPE: American & Southwest NFL Sundays are back at Lakeside Bar & Grill, a NW Valley favorite since 2008! We’ll be open early at 9am on NFL Sundays with breakfast 9-11 a.m., all-day drink specials, NFL Sunday Ticket, and wall-to-wall TVs to watch all the games. Plenty of seating for groups of all sizes, two dogfriendly patios, and the best burgers, brews, American and Southwest favorites. Daily Happy Hour and specials, including our All-You-Can-Eat Fish Fry. Order carry out or Door Dash at lakesidebarandgrillaz.com.
ADDRESS: 6791 W. Happy Valley Rd., Ste. 100, Peoria
CUISINE TYPE: Mexican Open 7 days a week!
Weekend Brunch Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Mochilero Kitchen prides itself on preparing meals with the highest-grade ingredients with every dish made from scratch. From prime meats and poultry to farm-harvested produce, each meal is made by hand with the same care as we do for our families.
Book your next party with us! Each event is bespoke to your needs to provide a memorable experience.
CHARLEY’S SPORTS GRILL
ADDRESS: 8110 W. Union Hills Dr., Glendale
CUISINE TYPE: All American, Cocktails and Draft Beer Open since July 2020, we fashioned Charley’s to be a comfortable and welcoming neighborhood sports grill where you can meet family and friends while enjoying great house-made food, sports on 36 TVs, off-track betting, and live music every Friday and Saturday night. We have 23 beers on tap, including our Guinness, Smithwicks and Harp Towers. We are the proud winners of 18 Best of the West Valley awards including Best All-Around Restaurant, Best New Restaurant, Best Sports Bar and Best Bloody Mary.
Bites Y our Guide to Local Dining
Part of B.Y.O.
Master of ceremonies
Prepare carrots, sometimes
Bruce Willis’ ex
Use the blunt pencil tip
Lots and lots
Regale with a tale, e.g. 33. *Human from North Pole comes to NYC
*Bill Murray movie, inspired by Charles Dickens
In the buff
Dryest, as in humor
Katy Perry’s 2013 hit
ESCAPE TO SEDONA
Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is a premier Sedona retreat that offers a full calendar of activities and amenities geared towards Sedona adventures, discovery and recovery.
Located less than a mile from Bell Rock, one of the most iconic rock formations and vortex sites, Hilton Sedona offers expansive suites, private balconies/patios and fireplaces in each guest room, and a collection of signature red rock view accommodations. Adventure awaits, from 18 holes of championship golf to off-road Pink Jeep adventures, and over 200 scenic hiking and biking trails. Guests are invited to enjoy chef-led culinary programs, curated mixology offerings, and a variety of energy-based therapies and workshops.
This season, Hilton Sedona transforms into a beloved winter wonderland. At the center of the action is an illuminated igloo village featuring igloo dining under Sedona’s award-winning sky, holiday décor, a wealth of culinary offerings, seasonal sips, and much more.
Located in the resort’s scenic outdoor garden at ShadowRock Tap + Table, igloo village is available now through the end of February. Perfect for individuals,
friends, families, and private groups, the village consists of five igloos that can accommodate groups of two to six guests in addition to two expansive holiday chalets that seat up to eight guests for private parties. Frosted with festive holiday décor, the igloos are available to resort guests and locals for nightly seating times between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
In addition to the resort’s igloo village, guests can indulge in a full calendar of winter wonderland activities, featuring a variety of annual traditions for locals and visitors traveling to red rock country.
SEDONA’S WINTER WONDERLAND ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:
• Holly Jolly Happy Hour - offered daily from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at ShadowRock Tap + Table.
• Live Musical Performances - hosted in the outdoor garden at ShadowRock overlooking the igloo village, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Star Gazing - hosted in the igloo village every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
• Holiday Dining - resort guests and locals are invited to indulge in Chef Hector’s seasonal menu and delectable holiday offerings including a traditional Thanksgiving buffet, Christmas Day specials, and a four-course New Year’s Eve pairing.
• Seasonal Sips - festive cocktails include an apple crisp old fashioned, a beet martini, and a pecan pie Manhattan.
• Holiday Inspired Spa Offerings - from energy rituals that help restore balance and promote relaxation during the stressful holiday season, to eforea spa’s create your own body scrub class, guests are invited to participate in a variety of thematic wellness activities and therapies.
• Calls from Mrs. Claus - Mrs. Claus is just a phone call away, and she can’t wait to hear all about holiday wishes and Christmas traditions. Calls are available Dec. 20 to 23.
• Fit-mas Classes - More than 40 weekly fitness classes are available this season at the Sedona Athletic Club, including elf boot camp, trim-the-tree yoga, and more.
• Letters to Santa - activity available in the resort lobby.
Hilton Sedona also participates in Hilton’s award-winning guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors, which offers guests access to instant benefits and exclusive member discounts. Members can register at hiltonhonors.com/ powerup/gb or join Hilton Honors for free by enrolling online at hiltonhonors.com.
Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is located at 90 Ridge Trail Dr. For questions or to book a reservation, please contact the hotel directly at 928-284-4040 or visit hiltonsedonaresort.com.
Thankful for the Frank May team and speciﬁcally to Frank, I connected with him 3 years ago by looking up certiﬁed Dave Ramsey real estate agents. Meeting Frank has been a blessing all along. From buying my new home to selling as well the entire team was amazing. They gave my wife and I a personal and intentional service and informed us every step of the way. If you want peace of mind with the process of selling or buying a home I recommend the Frank May team one thousand percent.