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Chandler june 2014











a local community

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Connecting Young Through PhoenixONE Fluff It! Marshmallows Makes Local Taste Yummy. Which National Park is in Your Backyard?

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Editor’s Letter

Keep it local. “The local community is very important in one’s life; the feelings of identification with a place and people.” – Alexander McCall Smith, author


his month’s issue is all about “Keeping it Local.” This theme goes hand in hand with our magazine’s motto, “Inspired by Community,” which drives our monthly focus on what’s going on in our wonderful hometown. This month, we have honed our attention even more to the businesses, families and activities that make our community so great. Our feature story this month is about an amazing gathering of young professionals that takes place twice a month. PhoenixONE is dedicated to helping young people who are out of college discover their connection to the community, their own local church, and Christ. At each gathering close to 1,000 young people come from more than 200 churches around the valley. Read about how PhoenixONE got started and how it is impacting the lives of young professionals. You’ll find another great local story in our Hot Spot article about Chao. Located in Pecos Ranch Shopping Center, this amazing Asian restaurant is sure to knock your socks off. Owner David Fliger, a native to Thailand, shares how he arrived in Chandler to start a restaurant. With some help from his own mom’s recipes, Fliger has found success with his fresh, Thai inspired meals. Did you know that Arizona is home to more than 20 national parks? It is obvious that Arizona is known as the Grand Canyon State, however within these borders lie many national parks that are home to some remarkable untold secrets. You don’t have to travel far as some of these parks are in your own backyard. Take a weekend or even just a day to stop by your favorite local sandwich shop before heading out to explore. If you are looking for a “sweeter” way to celebrate “Locally Owned” treasures, be sure to check out the unique Fluff It! Marshmallow shop. Owner Tricia Medina has found a unique way to turn a childhood treat into something for even the most sophisticated pallet. As always, please be sure to keep your pages open to our exciting monthly calendar. You can be sure to find all kinds of local events and activities for you and your whole family to enjoy. Local to me means finding things to do and places to go in my immediate community. I especially love when I can visit a local farmer’s market or hear the story of how a local entrepreneur got started in their business. There is so much that can be learned even at the local coffee shop down the street. Discovering the local in your community is a great way to meet new people, find new passions and explore new hobbies.

june 2014 publisher Steven Schowengerdt sales director Eric Williams |


Moriah Schowengerdt |

contributing writers Meghann Finn Sepulveda, Erica Forst, Seth Conway, Rachel Hawkinson, Kathleen Blair, Kory Kilmer, Michelle Guerrero, Cate Ritter, Suzette Zara

contributing photographers Derek Natzke, Joy Reynolds Published monthly, subscriptions are available: 1 year for $22 or 2 years for $39. Details at

corporate team chief executive officer | Steven Schowengerdt chief sales officer | Matthew Perry chief financial officer | DeLand Shore national editor | Lisa Cooke Harrison director of marketing | Brad Broockerd national art director | Carrie Brophy advertising director | Mike Baugher production director | Christina Sandberg regional art director | Sara Minor ad coordinator | Cyndi Vreeland national copy editor | Kendra Mathewson executive assistant | Lori Cunningham application architect | Michael O’Connell it director | Randy Aufderheide

by Community ™

Moriah Schowengerdt, Editor

| |

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Chandler Lifestyle™ is published monthly by Lifestyle Publications LLC. It is distributed via the US Postal Service to some of Chandler’s most affluent neighborhoods. Articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect Lifestyle Publications’ opinions. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Lifestyle Publications does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. Information in Chandler Lifestyle™ is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.

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June 2014




Good Times


Family Feature


Field Trip


Giving Back


Star Student


Hot Spot


Hometown Hero


Locally Owned

30 Lifestyle Calendar

14 Revealing Some of Arizona’s Untold Secrets

Explore our state’s more than 20 national parks.


Parting Thoughts

20 PhoenixONE is Creating Community

Young professionals are finding where they belong.

28 Fluff It! Marshmallows

This local entrepreneur turns a childhood favorite into a sophisticated treat.




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Good Times

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El Tour de Mesa Cyclists of all ages and sizes gathered for this year’s El Tour de Mesa. Participants cycled around Red Mountain with Tonto National Forest in the background.

To share photos of fun events that you have attended, email

June 2014 | Chandler Lifestyle 9

Around Town and friends, and a summer camp t-shirt. There are limited spaces available and the camp is only one week long, so reserve your spot now. Dates included are June 23 -27, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and the cost is $185. Camp will take place at the Desert Cross Lutheran Church Community Center at 8600 S. McClintock Dr. in Tempe. To learn more about the program, visit


HUGH LAURIE Plays the Piano Best known for his unconventional and often humorous performance on the Fox series, House, Hugh Laurie reveals a different set of skills in his new stage show. Laurie has played the piano for most of his life and put out the New Orleans Blues album, “Let Them Talk” in 2011 and Southern American blues album, “Didn’t It Rain” in 2013. Hugh will be performing with The Copper Bottom Band on Tuesday, June 3, at The Mesa Arts Center. For more information, visit

METAL AND BEYOND: A LIFE WORK OF CREATIVITY Arizona icon Betsy Douglas will be exhibited at Mesa Arts Center. Her impressive work in the metals field led to a career spanning more than five decades. Based in Arizona, Douglas’ work ranges from sleek, modern silver designs to computer circuit board jewelry. The exhibition, showing through August 10, will capture the last 35 years of her career, displaying her expert craftsmanship. View the exhibition at the Mesa Arts Center at 1 E Main St in Mesa. Learn more at

BORN TO PERFORM SUMMER CAMP Are you ready to perform? Were you born to star in the lights of Broadway? Then get ready for the Born to Perform Summer Camp. The camp is open to students age 6-15 and practice groups are put together according to similar age. The camp will be a fun-filled week of music and dance where your Broadway-bound kids can shine.! Chandler’s Children Choir Summer Camp 2014 has been completely made over by camp directors, Aimee Stewart and Kim Tait. Campers will sing and dance to a variety of hits from Broadway and film, including Wicked, Hairspray, Pitch Perfect and Frozen. Some of the highlights include: vocal, choreography and acting instruction from the CCC artistic staff, an exciting Friday performance for family 10 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

Marie (Little Red) is a favorite of the village children and a very studious, kind child. She takes goodies to her grandma because she is ill. However, in doing so, she takes all the supplies that the wolf wanted to purchase when he came into town. Upset, he decides to foil Marie’s plans. With the help of a woodsman, a blue parrot and Le Petite Pirate, Marie is able to triumph over the wolf’s plan, and all ends well. This terrific new version of a classic tale is written by Bradley G. Carter with music by Kathie McMahon. The show runs from June 19 - 29th at The Mesa Arts Center, and is presented by The East Valley’s Children’s Theatre. For more information, visit

FATHER’S DAY FEASTS Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte Casinos has options to treat all the fathers out there. Café 24/7 has a special meal set up for the big day. It includes, a spring salad, choice of 8-ounce grilled rib-eye, brown sugar compound butter, au gratin potato and seasonal vegetable, or sautéed chicken breast, masala mushroom demi-glace, parsley and garlic angel hair pasta. This delicious meal will be complete with a salted caramel chocolate layer cake. Café hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and is $16.95 per person. Shula’s Steakhouse has an evening meal for dads to enjoy. The meal will include French onion soup, either a 14 oz. Shula Cut® New York strip with sautéed mushrooms and onions or 10-ounce salmon Oscar style with jumbo lump crab, asparagus and hollandaise sauce. For dessert, bourbon chocolate pecan tart with vanilla ice cream. Dinner is from 5 – 10 p.m. and is $55.95 per person. For more information about these meals and others, visit or call 800.946.4452.

CAMP BROADWAY AT THE M.A.C. Join Camp Broadway for two, four or six weeks of exhilarating theater activities. Boys and girls ages 8 through 15 can join in this fun-filled summer program, which aims to build self-confidence and creative thinking through music, dance and acting. Students

who take part in session I and II will rehearse for a final performance, which takes place at the end of the sessions. Sessions are non-competitive, educational and most importantly fun. Students will learn from experienced and highly-trained theatre professionals, staff and volunteers. The final day of camp features a workshop with a talent agent. The camp is put on by the East Valley Children’s Theatre, and will take place at the Mesa Arts Center, which is located at One East Main Street in Mesa. Dates for the camp are June 2 -13 and June 16 -27 . For more information, visit MesaArtsCenter. com or call 480.756.3828.

THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS Performing their well-known songs, “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and “I Got Plenty of Nothing” with an accompaniment of a lush 23-piece orchestra, Porgy And Bess comes to ASU Gammage. The winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical has brought in fabulous new staging. George and Ira Gershwin’s legendary work has come back to the stage

for the first time in more than 35 years. Set in Charleston’s fabled Catfish Row, where a beauty named Bess tries to break free from her disgraceful past. A scandalous former lover threatens her freedom, but Bess and Porgy’s romance triumphs in this exciting love story. The show will show from Jun 3 -8. ASU Gammage is located at 1200 South Forest Avenue in Tempe. For more information, visit or call 480.965.3434.

BOUNDLESS For years books have brought reading joy to the masses. They are considered tangible relics that preserve our literary culture. Boundless: The Book Transformed In Contemporary Art will challenge the way that you see books. You will see them in three-dimensional sculptures, ways you’ve never seen them before. By physically changing their form, the books come to life in a whole new way. Some of the artists featured in this exhibit are Doug Beube, Melissa Jay Craig, Liz Hamman, Jacqueline Rush Lee, Alex Queral and Isaac G. Salazar. The exhibit will run through August 10 at the Mesa Arts Center at One East Main Street in Mesa. For more information, visit

June 2014 | Chandler Lifestyle 11

Family Feature

Armed and Ready for Life’s Adventures One Chandler family is preparing to call a new place home Article Meghann Finn Sepulveda | Photography Provided


f you were to drive past the small, tightknit Chandler neighborhood where Brad and Melody Niese reside with their two daughters, Katherine, 8, and Charlotte, 5, you’d see a bunch of happy kids riding their bikes and parents sitting outside talking about weekend barbeque plans. It’s what makes moving hard, especially when you have to say goodbye to a great community and family and friends. But the Nieses are positive that Dallas will be just as welcoming as Chandler was three years ago.

On the Move

Leading the reservations planning team at US Airways, now part of American Airlines, Melody realized she needed to be closer to corporate headquarters in Dallas, following the completion of the business merger. For the past year, Melody has been commuting nearly every week to Dallas to attend meetings and connect face-to-face with colleagues. Typically her trips are between one and two days. “Brad and I both agreed that it would make more sense for us to be in Dallas so I wouldn’t have to commute,” says Melody. “It’s hard on Brad and especially the girls when I’m away.” Brad, a mechanical engineer in the medical device industry, will work remotely. The family will permanently head to Dallas this month. Growing Their Girls

The Nieses are grateful for the strong bond their daughters share and are certain they will adjust to their new life. Katherine will be a third grader and Charlotte will start kindergarten in the fall. 12 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

The girls are very active in gymnastics. Katherine also plays softball and Charlotte takes up soccer. Melody coaches the team. It’s rare the sisters argue. “They get along great,” Melody says. “They love each other very much and watch out for one another. I want them to have a good relationship and become each other’s best friends.” Life’s Small Challenges

Charlotte was diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin disease that attacks hair follicles, when she was 2. Charlotte is bald, but completely healthy. “Normally her hair grows a bit in April and lasts through the summer, but usually in November it all falls out,” Melody says. “It’ll probably be that way for her entire life.” It may be the reason why Katherine is so protective of her little sister. “She has an overwhelming sense of empathy for people,” Melody says. “She feels a need to keep her safe.”

homeless person or donate gifts to the children’s hospital.”

Paying It Forward

Because of Charlotte’s appearance, strangers sometimes think that she is terminally ill, and often offer to buy her gifts, pay for dinner, or even give the family money. “We have tried to train ourselves not to let the act of kindness dampen our day,” says Melody. “We privately step away from the kids to say thank you for the gesture and explain that she’s not sick.” Sometimes people won’t accept a “no thank you.” That’s when the Nieses pay it forward. “We know that people have good hearts and want to make a difference,” says Melody. “We give the money to a

Bright Outlook

Charlotte doesn’t let anything slow her down, especially at preschool where she enjoys playing with friends. She isn’t bothered by questions about her hair loss either. “We just tell people that’s how she was made,” Melody says. While the Nieses worry a little about how Charlotte will adapt in her new environment, they are confident she will thrive. “She’s a tough little kid,” Melody says. “She’ll be ok.” To learn more about alopecia areata, go to


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Field Trip

Arizona’s Overshadowed National Parks Discover the many OTHER amazing places the Grand Canyon State offers Article Kory Kilmer | Photography Provided


rizona is known as the Grand Canyon State, after all, so it is hard to blame anyone with a case of tunnel vision for one of the seven natural wonders of the world if they happen to overlook many of the other

14 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

national parks and monuments scattered across the state. But in fact, Arizona is home to 22 national parks, each of which possess a unique insight into its landscape as well as the history of its inhabitants Just south of the Four Corners region in Chinle is Canyon De Chelly National Monument. Due mainly to its mineral-rich soil and reliable water sources, people have continually resided in the canyons longer than anywhere in the region – more than 5,000 years – and are still inhabited today. The park actually sits on Navajo lands and is operated jointly by the National Parks Service and the Navajo Nation in an effort to manage and maintain the canyon’s bountiful resources. A little south of Canyon De Chelly in Ganado is another piece of living history. Established in 1878, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is the oldest operating trading post in the Navajo Nation. The post is best known for their semi-annual Native

American Art Auctions, held each May and September. The auctions usually include both contemporary and traditional Navajo art, including textiles, Katsina dolls, carvings, baskets and pottery. Often there is something for everybody at the auctions, as typical price ranges start at around $20 and can go well into the thousands. Cutting through more than 1,200 miles from Nogales to the San Francisco Bay, the Juan Batista de Anza National Historic Trail is one of two national historic trails winding through Arizona, and follows the route taken in the latter half of the 1700’s by families as they traversed New Spain in an effort to be the first to settle Alta California. Hikers of the Anza will want to make sure to stop at Tumacácori National Historic Park just north of Nogales. A Jesuit mission established in 1691, Tumacácori possesses a rich history rife with political scandal and military warfare. What remains, however, are the ruins of the San

José de Tumacácori, a Franciscan church whose construction began in 1800 and never quite finished. In fact, staff members at the park spend over 2,500 hours a year just maintaining the adobe and plaster of the park’s structures. Considered one of the truly underrated parks in the entire system is Chiricahua National Monument in Wilcox. Known by the Apache as “The Land of the Standing-Up Rocks,” Chiricahua is regarded for its concentration of pinnacles, columns, spires and balancing rocks that have taken shape after millions of years of extreme geological activity. Faraway Ranch can also be found in Chiricahua, which is a late 19th-century homestead, which was eventually transformed into a guest ranch operation. The beauty of Chiricahua does not end when the sun sets, however, as the park re-



sides under some of the darkest skies found in the area. This helps explain why some of the largest and most powerful telescopes in the world can be found just miles away. The secret of Arizona’s “other” national

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parks must be starting to get out, as they all combine to host more than 10.1 million visitors in 2013. The parks also play a key role in the state’s economy, with estimated economic benefits upwards of $750 million. But their true benefits go far beyond just dollars and cents. Arizona’s national parks are home to nearly 12,000 active archeological sites which are helping researches open doors into a glimpse of the past as well as home to 21 different species of threatened and endangered species in an effort to secure the future. Anyone interested in information about any of Arizona’s national parks or its 1,400+ National Register of Historic Places, including fees, recommended things to do, or travel information, should consult the National Parks Service website at Now get out there and explore!


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Giving Back

Chandler Leaders in Training Program Chandler Teens Acquire Work Experience through the City Article Michelle Guerrero | Photography Provided


uick talking Davis Allen is a City of Chandler employee working in both the Environmental Education Department and the Community Center, under youth programing. He’s a bright and eloquent young man. Only 19 years of age, he juggles work at the City and school at Arizona State University. He’s majoring in environmental sciences. He attributes his success to the City of Chandler’s Leaders in Training (LIT) program he attended when he was in high school. The LIT summer program began 14-years-ago and provides an opportunity for Chandler teens to acquire work experience. Typically this is their first work experience. The teens accepted into the program volunteer their time, and in return, they receive a summer job working in various city roles to add to their budding resume, job training and five work related workshops. They also receive a mentor to help them on their path. Sometimes the mentor/mentee relationship is one-on-one, and other times there are four teens to a mentor. It depends on the job. After being interviewed and hired, Allen was placed with a mentor who implemented all the summer programs for the City. Allen became a camp leader and helped with arts and crafts, and games, and assumed an authoritative role with the younger kids. 16 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

On an average, teens volunteer 12 hours a week, during the sixweek program. They must complete 72 hours to graduate, but often times the teens volunteer more hours because they enjoy what they do. “At the time I only had club sports behind me; through the LIT program, I got a real life work experience,” says Allen. “I have learned a lot within city programming, youth programming and teen programming as well.” Allen first became involved with the LIT program when he was 14. He now works under Tony Baumann, Community Center recreation coordinator II for the City. Baumann is also functioning as the LIT program planner. He recruits teens and volunteers and helps set up guest speakers. He also coordinates orientation for teens and mentors, sets up the group field trip at the end of the summer and organizes graduation. Last year the teens went to Wet & Wild as a thank you for their hard work. “Every child has to have an interview, and not everyone gets into the program, they have to qualify,” says Baumann. Mentors submit their support needs and the teens are matched up based on their skills and personality type. For example, they might need someone who is outgoing to help with the camps, someone who has good organizational and computer skills to help

in the Special Events Department or someone who has office skills might be placed in Transportation. They also fill jobs in the Fire Department, Municipal Utilities, Economic Development and Community Service, just to name a few. Businesses outside of the City can apply to participate as well. Two Chandler businesses involved are ICAN, an East Valley youth program, and Xtreme Air, an indoor jump park. “It is a phenomenal program because of the leadership and work skills the kids get and they also get to see how the City works,” says Baumann. “Teens receive responsibility and accountability they might not otherwise get.” The teens are placed in a business environment and they are expected to display a mature and good attitude. As with any job, punctuality and attendance is important. When Allen was asked his thoughts on the program and if he’d recommend it to other teens, he says it’s definitely worth it. “It’s still work, it is volunteer work with the City, but it’s fun. You aren’t going to be wasting your summer,” says Allen. “Anyone that’s considering getting a head start in the workforce, or going to college, this is a great work program to get involved with.” Last year, more than 50 teens participated and logged an astonishing 4,000 plus hours. That’s equivalent to 16 full-time employees. Not only are the teens doing great things for themselves by preparing for their first interview and their first job, they are making a real impact on their city. At the end of the program, the City holds a graduation for the teens and present each of them with a certificate of completion, a different type of key to the city that has the real potential to open doors for them. For more information about the Chandler Leaders in Training program visit To submit your favorite nonprofit organization, or a special person involved in the community, for our Giving Back department, send an email to

A life-long love of learning

Bright Beginnings is a preschool and elementary-middle charter school serving bright and curious children three years old through 8th grade. It’s an excellent place to start your child’s education and is an A+ excelling school as determined by the Arizona Department of Education. Receive a “private education” for free at our charter school which ranks among the top elementary schools in the state. We’re creating wellrounded students through accelerated curriculum developed to prepare students for higher learning. Specialized Art, Music, Spanish and Physical Education classes. Highly qualified teachers and low student-teacher ratio. Honors classes offered for those who qualify. Spanish classes designed for student success on the National Spanish Exam. ElEmEntary Campus 400 N Andersen Blvd Chandler, Arizona 85224


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Cool off at one of six Chandler aquatic centers this summer

Unique water features and certified lifeguards make for a fun family outing. Article Meghann Finn Sepulveda | Photography Provided


rab your goggles and sunscreen, swim season is here. Chandler’s aquatic centers not only provide relief from the hot sun, but can be an affordable activity your entire family can enjoy.

Operating six pools

Would you believe that it takes more than 2.4 million gallons of water to fill Chandler’s six pools? Using granular and tabular calcium hypochlorite, the city of Chandler employs four full-time water technicians and one pool vacuum position to keep the water sparkling and clean. The pool utilizes a sand filtration system, pumping dirty water from the pool and passing the water through a sand filter which traps dirt. The clean water is then sampled for proper oxidation and PH levels, and, if necessary, adjustments are made. 18 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

Next, the water travels over a UV light system, which provides additional sanitation. Finally, the water returns to the pool and distributes evenly. Pools are vacuumed several times each week and the bottom and sides are brushed daily. “Lifeguard and pool management staff is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the pool deck, restrooms and all public areas,” says Traci Tenkely, aquatic coordinator. “New this year is the addition of a janitorial service, which will assist during busy summer hours.” Water safety

Pools are designed to be appropriate for families with children of all ages, including water features such as diving boards, slides, play structures and splash zones. Some offer a lazy river or zero depth

entry. American Red Cross certified and trained lifeguards staff all the pools. “Guests are welcome to bring in their own flotation devices or, based on availability, can check one out to borrow if needed,” says Tenkely. “Every floatation device must be U.S. Coast Guard approved.” Children wearing a floatation device must be accompanied and supervised by an adult who stays within arm’s reach at all times. Swim lessons are also available at all facilities during summer months and vary between session frequency and cost. Spending the day at the pool There are a few rules you’ll need to be aware of before heading out to swim. Be sure to always follow lifeguard instructions and walk, don’t ever run, on pool deck, which could be slippery. “Outside food is permitted but pizza or any other food in a box is restricted,” says Tenkely. “Each person can bring one sack lunch, and coolers no larger than a six-pack size are welcome. No alcohol or glass containers are allowed.” Every facility has vending machines on site and certain locations offer concessions from Angelo’s Italian Ice. Family dressing rooms and coin operated lockers are available to store and secure your belongings.

Shade structures and patio seating is available but fill up quickly. If you’d like to celebrate a birthday at one of the aquatic centers, you can do so by booking online at

Swimming in Pools Visit any of Chandler’s many options operated and maintained by the City: Arrowhead Pool

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Bringing Young Professionals Together

Article Moriah Schowengerdt | Photography Derek Natzke


hen it comes to “Keeping it Local,” there is a program that knows the ins and outs of connecting young professionals to their community, local church and Christ. From around the Valley, young people gather together twice a month to discover their place in their community, local church and in Christ. As a former pastor in Chandler who recently resigned, Jeff Gokee was looking for another pastoral opportunity at other churches around the country. It wasn’t until his mentor told him about what was going on in Charlotte, N.C., that Jeff’s wheels got to turning. His mentor’s son was attending a local group there called CharlotteONE. CharlotteONE had been going for about five years when Jeff went to check it out. After seeing what CharlotteONE was doing, Jeff decided that he needed to partner with them to start these groups in other cities. Together they formed an umbrella organization called CityONE whose sole purpose was to plant “ONE’s” in other cities around the country. As a result, PhoenixONE came to be. Jeff Gokee started as the executive director of PhoenixONE in December of 2010 and they had their first official gathering in April of 2011 at the Historic First Presbyterian Church. There were 250 people from more than 60 churches around the valley who attend20 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

ed the first gathering. That number has since grown to between 700 and 1,000 young professionals from more than 200 churches around the Valley. PhoenixONE has a vision to connect people who are in the post college stage of life. Often times, once the days of college are over, young people find it hard to transition from the college community into the community of their new, everyday, young professional life. “John 17:23 is our banner verse which says ‘That we may be perfectly one, so the world will know the love of Christ,’” explains Gokee. “We believe when Christians love each other that it shows people the love that God has for them.” The goal is not for PhoenixONE to become church to these young people but rather a place of connection. They meet twice a month to encourage each individual to find a local church outside of PhoenixONE. When it comes to speakers and worship leaders, Jeff and his team work hard to get a variety of different speakers in front of the young crowd. Often times the speakers come from local churches yet even some big named speakers like Francis Chan and worship leaders like Kari Jobe lead the group on occasion. “We don’t have anyone out to speak or lead worship unless we can build a relationship with them,” he explains. “The relationship with the leader is what’s most important to us. We don’t do any marketing, so we don’t try to get big name people to come out for that purpose.” Getting involved with the community and local charities is highly encouraged by the PhoenixONE staff. Last season, PhoenixONE partnered with Christian Family Care and encouraged their young professionals to get involved and do something about the 15,000 children in the system. It’s also encouraged for these young people to find out what kinds of charities their own local churches are apart of. “One of the ways we give back is by partnering with organizations that provide lunch for Phoenix Children’s Hospital,” says Jeff. “We also partner with organizations that allow pastors an opportunity to relax with their staff and families, like seeing a sports game.” The word, ‘connect’ means “to join, link, or fasten together.” This is the essence and heartbeat of what PhoenixONE wants to do for young professionals all over the Valley. There is such a profoundness to being connected somewhere in this world. Jeff and his team hope that all who attend the gatherings will find their own way to connect to their community, local church, and most importantly to Christ.

PhoenixOne meets twice a month of the first and third Tuesdays. The service starts at 6:52 pm. There are many testimonials of how PhoenixONE has affected the lives of so many young people. More information and videos of these amazing testimonies can be found at

June 2014 | Chandler Lifestyle 21

Star Student

Turning a Day of Hope Into a Legacy of Saving Lives Article Rachel Hawkinson | Photography Provided


ost college students worry about things like getting a cool professor or trying to avoid early-morning classes at all costs. But for Aimee Johnson, a student at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC), her worries aren’t just about getting good grades, they’re about finding a way to save her daughter’s life. Johnson, a mother of four and graduating sophomore of the public policy program at CGCC, found her degree path inspired by the medical issues that have plagued her family. In addition to her two sons (Tyler, 14, and Logan, 8) having autism, her youngest daughter Maddie, 6, was diagnosed at three-weeks old with a disease called Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a rare genetic blood disorder that results from bone marrow failing to make red blood cells. Faced with the need to find a bone marrow donor to allow Maddie a life-saving transplant, Johnson quickly discovered that only 0.2 percent of the people who could be a genetic match for Maddie were registered bone marrow donors. The odds were truly against them. Johnson’s optimism and enthusiasm is apparent in her tone when speaking with her, so it was no surprise that she would find a way to fight back – and even try to save a few lives along the way. Having recently been selected as the CGCC representative for the Student Public Policy Forum, Johnson was required to ex-

22 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

ecute a capstone project related to her field of study. In February of this year, Johnson coordinated the “Day of Hope” bone marrow registry and blood drive at the CGCC Pecos campus. Johnson worked with Be the Match and United Blood Services on an event that encouraged students, staff and visitors of all kinds to donate blood and join the bone marrow registry. Even 104.7 KISS FM’s Johnjay Van Es (from the hit morning radio show “Johnjay and Rich”) made an appearance to participate. The day resulted in 32 donors giving blood and 152 new candidates being added to the bone marrow registry – a big success for Johnson’s first campus event and huge possibility for those in need of life-saving blood and bone marrow services. “I have already seen the impact it has had on faculty and my fellow students,” she says. “They are informed and better equipped to understand the importance of helping their communities around them.” Though Johnson and her family face an uphill battle with Maddie’s condition, she remains hopeful and steadfast in her quest to help others in similar situations, both through coordinating future events and her plans to continue her education and pursue internships at medical research institutions such as T-Gen. She hopes eventually pursue a master’s degree in health science and eventually open her own advocacy and lobby firm so she can aid others in healthcare and education. Johnson hopes to host future “Day of Hope” events, both at CGCC campus and at local Chandler community churches. “I want to make those connections and plug them into places they would otherwise have a hard time gaining access to,” she says of her relationships with both United Blood Services and Be the Match. Johnson also remains hopeful that more people will continue to hear Maddie’s story and be proactive in donating blood and signing up for the bone marrow registry. It’s hard not to be amazed by the poise Johnson has as she faces such struggle in her personal life, and by how she is using her journey to fuel her future education and career. And while Maddie’s face, and the faces of her other children, that may be the ones lighting her path, it’s inspiring how Johnson chooses to uplift others along the way. “Just because it’s not happening to you does not mean it’s not happening around you,” she says. If her time at CGCC is any indication, Johnson’s “Day of Hope” is going to turn into a lifetime of inspiration for us all. Want to help? Join the bone marrow registry at Join.Marrow. org/Maddie. Follow Maddie’s journey on Facebook at MaddiesMarathon.

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June 2014 | Chandler Lifestyle 23

Hot Spot


An Urban Asian Eatery Article Kathleen Blair | Photography Provided


s I entered Chao, in the Pecos Ranch Shopping Center in Chandler, I was pleasantly surprised how spacious and tastefully designed the restaurant is. As you enter there is a large bar area, with a bar that opens up to the outdoor patio, on your left and a lounge area, with comfy chairs, just pass the hostess station to your right. The main dining room includes a large private dining area that is equipped with WIFI and two large screen televisions is perfect for private parties and meetings as it can be closed off by two sliding sound proof doors. There is a large wrap around, patio which seats 140, that is very inviting with tables surrounding two large fire pits that quickly get reserved during the cooler months. Only open a few months, success has followed David Fliger from his six years as owner of Latitude 8 Thai Grill in downtown Chandler.which he closed last year so he could dedicate himself to opening this new, neighborhood restaurant. Fliger was born in Thailand, raised in Kansas and lived in L.A. before he moved to Phoenix in 2001. With a prior career in advertising, Fliger’s travels and love for food inspired him to the restaurant industry. 24 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

I was impressed with Fliger’s attention to detail. Nothing is overlooked from the quality of silverware to the fine glassware. And, the dog friendly patio inspired him to create a dog dish called “Dog Chao” that consists of chicken and rice. A Touch of Thai

David’s Tmom, Nicha, had also worked in the advertising business in L.A. After she retired, she soon became bored and because she was known for her delicious Thai recipes she decided to open a Thai restaurant in L.A. and hired Chef Joe. Chef Joe trained in Thailand and had worked on cruise ships and some top L.A. restaurants. When Fliger decided to open Latitude 8, his mom and Chef Joe left the city

Details CHAO

1890 W. Germann Road Chandler, AZ 85286 480.855.0522

and joined him. Both are credited for the Asian inspired recipes found on the menu. “I wanted to convey that Asian people, in Asia, are extremely picky when it comes to their food,” states Fliger. “Like Italians, food is an important part of their culture. I wanted to offer an urban, approachably priced neighborhood restaurant that served quality food where people could walk or ride their bikes.” Fliger wanted a name that would convey the freshness of the food. Chao is named after the Chao Phraya River that is the main river in Thailand, which feeds into the local river markets. There are touches of rope fixtures, artwork, wood and metal that carry the theme of this urban designed restaurant. Let the Tasting Begin

I began by tasting three of the twelve appetizers on the menu. The first was the Pan Fried Pork Dumplings that are house made with pork, water chestnut and served with a sweet soy sauce which were very tasty. Next I sampled the Spicy Thai Lettuce Wraps, which are four bundles of lettuce filled with ground chicken, mint, chili, red onion and lime. They were very good and spicy, a large enough portion to share. The third appetizer was the Stuffed Chicken Wing. It is a large chicken wing that has been deboned and then

stuffed with minced chicken, glass noodles and Thai herbs. It’s coated and then fried--a winner. Three salads are available – the Thai Beef Salad that is a grilled flank steak, toasted rice, red onion, cilantro, Thai chili and cucumber. This salad can be ordered with duck instead of beef. The Papaya Salad has grilled prawns, green papaya, carrot and spicy lime dressing and the Sweet Thai Sausage Salad tossed with cucumber, scallions, ginger, fresh greens and spicy lime dressing. I also tasted three of the wide selection of Asian and Thai entrees on the menu. There are favorites like Pad Thai, Orange Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken and Sweet and Sour Chicken. I enjoyed one of the specialty dishes Seared Ahi Tuna, a wonderful Sashimi grade Ahi, served over fresh veggies with dueling yellow curried and red curried mashed potatoes and baby bok choi. The tuna was excellent and I also liked the curry style mashed potatoes. Next I tried the Mahi Mahi Kra Pow served with a spicy basil sauce, Thai chili and topped with crispy basil and Jasmine rice. It was delicious. I can see why it is one of the best sellers. Another popular dish is the Pineapple Fried Rice. I enjoyed the combination of sweet and sour of this dish combining chicken, shrimp, sweet pork sausage, pineapple, raisins, curry and cashews. Once you try this fried rice, you’ll be hooked! All the dishes were beautiful in their presentation, which confirms the fact a diner tastes the food with their eyes before it meets their mouth. I found the price points to be very reasonable. Yes, Fliger has the knack of creating an environment where people can come to enjoy themselves and eat good Asian inspired food. For more information and specials, visit their website and them on Facebook. Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Fri – Sat 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Happy Hour – Daily 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Live music Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 10 p.m. Hours:

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E-mail: June 2014 | Chandler Lifestyle 25

Hometown Hero

Paying It Forward Joey Trisko Finds Satisfaction in Serving Others Article by Seth Conaway | Photography Provided


t was while visiting her mother in Minneapolis a few years ago that Chandler resident Joey Trisko experienced an “aha moment.” She witnessed firsthand a special bond that had developed between her mother and the volunteer caregiver who provided her with assistance and companionship. They shared a common interest in crocheting, and Trisko could see that their volunteer/ client connection had developed into genuine friendship. With so many miles separating them, Trisko was overjoyed to see what an impact the volunteer was making in her mother’s life. After returning home, she wondered how she could take her gratitude and somehow pay it forward. In October 2011, after searching for local volunteer opportunities, Trisko made contact with the Chandler based non-profit organization About Care, which provides support services for the elderly and physically challenged residents of Chandler and its surrounding communities. “I found their administrative and support staff to be such a loving group of people,” Trisko says. “Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?” Trisko began making what are called “friendly visits” to About Care clients, providing companionship as well as transportation to and from appointments. Before long, she was also visiting new

26 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

clients and assessing their medical needs as well as making personal connections. “I realized that volunteers get more benefits out of these visits than the people they serve,” Trisko says. “There’s no better feeling in the world than knowing you have done something today for someone else.” Trisko began serving others in 1976, initially working in neuro-surgical nursing. After losing a brother-in-law to an alcohol related death a few years later, she became interested in treating victims of chemical dependency, training at St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Center in Phoenix. By 1982, Trisko had opened and become director of the chemical dependency unit at Tempe’s St. Luke’s hospital until the unit was closed in 2003. She then transferred back to St. Luke’s in Phoenix until retiring in 2011. She and her husband Stan, a retired ASU Biology and Plant Physiology professor, have made Chandler their home since 1991. “Chandler is a wonderful place to live for many reasons,” says Trisko. “The city is clean and modern and has that hometown feel to it. Everything we could possibly want or need is within three miles of home. Residents here are culturally diverse which makes the neighborhoods interesting and educational. The people here are so warm and welcoming.” To About Care’s Executive Director Ann Marie McArthur, Trisko is nothing less than an angel. “Joey is a wonderful volunteer and truly makes a difference in Chandler,” McArthur says. “Her generous nature and kindness make people feel valued and welcomed. We are truly blessed to have her as part of our family.” “I’m not an angel,” Trisko responds. “I’m a woman who has been very fortunate and blessed to have such a wonderful husband. He gives me all the freedom and support in the world. I couldn’t do any of this without him.” Trisko can’t think of a single drawback to her role at About Care, though she and McArthur agree that the demand for more volunteers is increasing. “We currently help more than 400 individuals in Chandler and Gilbert but have only 150 volunteers,” McArthur explains. “We are always looking for volunteers to help out. Think if your mother or grandmother were unable to get to their doctor’s appointments or just get groceries, wouldn’t you want someone to help them? It’s a wonderful way to teach your children and grandchildren about the benefits of volunteering and helping your neighbors.” “Give as much or as little time as you can,” Trisko adds. Trisko remembers a client who, while visiting with her during an assessment, said that all she really needed was someone to play cards with. “To that client, having someone sit and play cards with her made a big difference,” Trisko explains. “It’s not always a debilitating illness affecting someone’s quality of life. It’s the isolation.” When asked what gives her the most satisfaction from volunteering, Trisko is quick to respond. “I’m the one who is grateful, and my reward is: I always get hugs.”


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Locally Owned

BIG, FLUFFY AND DELICIOUS Fluff It! Marshmallows Are The New Cupcake Article Seth Conaway | Photography Provided


little over a year ago, Tricia Medina followed a whim that has turned into a sweet dream come true. Medina’s Chandler-based business, fancifully named Fluff It! Marshmallows, has reinvented a familiar childhood treat for the modern palate. Entirely homemade, Fluff It! offers marshmallow “fluffs” in flavor combinations that rival even the most exotic of sweets. In fact, according to Medina, “marshmallows are the new cupcake.” Medina’s is a modern American success story. Early in 2013, rather than purchasing marshmallows to make a dessert for a friendly work competition, she decided to challenge herself to make her own marshmallows from scratch. The results were delicious and made quite a hit at the office. “They just taste better when they’re homemade,” Medina explains. “The texture is creamier. Store bought marshmallows taste stale, almost like Styrofoam.” Medina then began selling her homemade creations at work, and the response was so positive that in March 2013 she started 28 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

her own online Etsy store. Though her menu was then limited to six flavors, Medina’s marshmallows were such a success that she decided to think even bigger. In August 2013, Medina turned to Kickstarter with the hope of taking Fluff It! to the next level. “I’ve always wanted to open my own store,” Medina says. “I’d like to have a marshmallow café, a place where people can buy dessert, listen to some cool jazz, drink coffee and just relax.” Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter is an online crowdfunding platform that has reinvented the way small entrepreneurial projects come to life in the modern age. Project creators set their own funding goals and deadlines in the hope that others will pledge the necessary funds it will take to make their project succeed. Medina set about creating her own project page on the Kickstarter website and launched her campaign. The pledges came rolling in. Before month’s end, not only had she met her goal, but Fluff It! Marshmallows were being shipped all over the country. Medina was thrilled. In less than 5 months, her whim had grown wings. Medina’s “fluff” conceptions run the gamut. Flavors include the S’more, Strawberry Banana, Coffee Mocha, Apple Cinnamon, Lemon Bar and the ever popular Butterfinger. Medina also offers gluten-free options. For those with something special in

mind, Medina custom makes her marshmallows for weddings, showers, birthday parties, graduations and other events. She even designs special marshmallow buffet bars so guests can make their own creations. Medina, an Albuquerque native who moved to Chandler 15 years ago, believes in sharing her success. Fluff It! has contributed to the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer awareness as well as local AIDS awareness groups and area food banks. She also provides donations for local raffles. Fluff It! Marshmallows’ relevance in the Chandler community is something that she takes very seriously. “The reason I would love to build my business in Chandler is because of the sense of family it portrays with all the activities and events that go on through the year,” Medina says. “Since starting I haven’t met one person in Chandler that has not been supportive of my endeavor, which includes the Chandler Farmers Market. That gave me my start with the public and it continues to support us through social media. Chandler has a sense of loyalty to those that want to better the community and make it thrive.” It is no surprise that locally owned businesses like Medina’s not

only encourage local prosperity, but also make Chandler a unique place to live. Local small business owners are not only more likely to support community groups, but they also actively invest in the future and quality of life of their fellow neighbors and residents. “My kids grew up near Desert Breeze Park and we have always felt safe and welcomed in this neighborhood,” Medina says. “We actually moved to Gilbert for a year but moved back to Chandler because of the community. I have always loved the family feel of Chandler.” Recently, Fluff It! Marshmallows received accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, and Medina made another life changing decision. After working more than 20 years in retail management, she gave notice to her employer. Fluff It! is now her fulltime job, and realizing her dream of having a cozy café may be just around the corner. “It’s time to take another leap of faith,” Medina says. “No regrets.” In the meantime, Medina stays busy filling wholesale orders and selling her product at local music and art festivals. She’s also a common fixture at the Chandler Farmers Market. A full list of flavors and information about purchasing Fluff It! Marshmallow’s may be found at

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June 2014 | Chandler Lifestyle 29

June Lifestyle Calendar

dance to the theme of “music from the movies.” This annual recital is choreographed by the teachers from the school. For more information, visit

as well as the hit movie, “Jingle All the Way,” and has been entertaining audiences for years with his stand-up routines. For more information, visit







Kathy Piazza of the Alzheimer’s Association will lead a discussion about the behavioral challenges for caregivers and family members taking care of those with Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit

Career Connectors, a nonprofit organization connecting professionals to high quality resources and hiring companies, is holding events four times a month for job seekers. All events are available at no cost. For more information, visit or call 480.442.5806.







Come see beauty and grace in action, as students from Ballet Etudes School of Dance present their training and skills in the annual Showcase. For more information, visit



Bringing romance to the stage, Bobby Vinton sings his hits, including “Roses are Red” and “Blue Velvet.” Come share the love as he performs at Gila River Casino. For more information, visit





Enjoy free concerts at Freestone Park amphitheater! Adrenaline, showing on June 5 , brings soul and power, as a variety of jams are performed. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs, as well as your dance moves. For more information, visit


Ken Kaz’s one man show, “Unplanned Parenthood,” was one of Arizona’s longest running shows. He comes to the Tempe Center for the Arts to perform a special show for all the dads out there. For more information, visit


With some of the most memorable hits of the ’70s and ’80s, Air Supply comes to Chandler to perform their huge hits like “All Out of Love,” “Lost in Love,” and “The One That You Love.” For more information, visit





Enjoy viewing beautiful pieces, like jewelry, fused glass, and woodworking in Downtown Chandler! These arts and crafts will be displayed at the Art Walk on Boston and San Marcos streets from 6-10 p.m. To learn more information, please visit


The exciting world of the marching arts comes together with the charisma of Broadway in this once-a-year show. Over 150 dancers and musicians of The Academy will perform in the show, which includes solo dancers, drum-line routines, and marching drills. For more information, visit


Students age three and up will perform classical ballet, jazz, Broadway, and tap as they 30 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014







Megastar comedian Sinbad takes the stage at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino to make you laugh and not let you stop. Sinbad was a part of the TV sitcom, “A Different World,”

The eight-time Grammy nominees bring their energizing music to the stage. Los Tucanes de Tijuana came from humble beginnings and quickly rose to become one of

the most successful Norteño bands in Latin America and the United States. For more information, visit


entertained beginning to end. For more dates, visit





Stay cool in the summer heat with a fun day of swimming! Join those from your community for this free family event. For more information, visit

Playing custom accordions, AJ Castillo brings his unique sound to Chandler. His energetic performance of Tejano music will have you on your feet. For more information, visit



Follow the story of Annie Oakley, a sharp-shooter of Cincinnati, Ohio, as she takes on the star from the traveling Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, Frank Butler. She soon takes over as the star of the show to the dismay of her new love, Frank. This is a musical for the ages and will have you


Don’t let the heat stop you from getting your run on. Take part in this 5K course at Water Ranch Park in Gilbert. The race will include extra water stations, as well as an event Dri-Fit T-shirt. For more information, visit or call 480.338.7041.

June 2014 | Chandler Lifestyle 31







Market p



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Art & Photography LD Vinci (480) 726-7382

Dentists & Orthodontics Crossroads Dental Group and Orthodontics (480) 821-5444 Harris Dental (480) 878-5570


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Fashion & Accessories London Gold Jeweler (480) 367-1717

Financial Services & Planning Netzel Financial (480) 219-0657

Health & Wellness Funktional Fitness (480) 855-0204

Mathnasium- Chandler (480) 895-6700

Sozo Physical Therapy (480) 895-0965

Entertainment & Recreation

Home Builders & Remodelers

Chandler Center For The Arts (480) 782-2680

32 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

Jose Diaz Tile (480) 820-9441

Home Design & Furnishings Jen@home (480) 883-2292

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Kinetico Home Water Systems (602) 437-2474 Phoenix Patio Systems (480) 812-0100 Phoenix Wholesale Inc. (602) 353-4137

Evolution Hair Loss Institute (480) 222-4247 Eyes On Site (480) 626-8925 Moretsky Cassidy Lasik Vision (480) 610-1252 Ocotillo Foot and Ankle (480) 895-0276

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June 2014 | Chandler Lifestyle 33

Parting Thoughts

There’s No Place Like Home Words Rachel Hawkinson


t seems like it was just yesterday that I was driving to ASU’s East Campus for class, hitting every stoplight on Chandler Boulevard because the 202 was just a lil’ fella whose expansion was still a twinkle in our urban planners’ eyes. The city was full of plots cleared for development and promises of rush hour relief for valley commuters. Like a newly planted seed in a flower pot, I couldn’t help wondering if it was really going to grow. Fast forward more than ten years later, and we have our answer. Chandler has become one of the most progressive cities in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, boasting a progressive development while retaining its neighborhood feel. It prides itself on being the perfect blend of regional and chain favorites and locally-owned endeavors. It’s a city full of local business owners at the helm of restaurants, service providers and boutiques, yet it still satisfies those random In and Out burger cravings or a Saturday saunter through Target. Whether it’s a new outfit for the weekend, a night out with friends, or takeout for the family on the way home from work, Chandler offers a variety of options that allow you to truly keep it local. The local lifestyle that Chandler has to offer isn’t just limited to shopping or restaurants either. Family fun can be had at events

34 Chandler Lifestyle | June 2014

like the Annual Ostrich Festival or other City-sponsored events. Spend an afternoon staying active at Tumbleweed Recreation Center or golfing on a championship (yet affordable) course like Bear Creek Golf Course. Craving some culture? Chandler Center for the Arts has performances that can compete with any other major venue in the state. Perhaps the best part about living in Chandler is the neighborly feel you get from working with local business owners – your own neighbors whose dreams are to serve the Chandler community and beyond with their goods and services. It’s the friendly greeting from the butcher at Von Hanson’s Meat & Spirits on Alma School Road when you go in to stock up for the weekend barbecue. It’s the owner of Dance Connection Too who knows your entire family’s names and greets you all with big smile, even though only one of your three kids takes classes there. It’s the pastor who asks you if you’re feeling better because he recalls you were struck with the flu and missed last Sunday’s services. It’s the school teachers who take a break from their own families to say hello when you spot them out getting ice cream. And it’s the neighbors that wave to you, take your recycle bin in from the street when you have to work late, and expand that feeling of “home” well beyond the four walls that you live within.

Buyers and sellers of diamonds, fine gold and estate jewelry.

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scottsdale (480) 367-1717

Chandler Lifestyle June 2014  

June 2014 Issue of Chandler Lifestyle

Chandler Lifestyle June 2014  

June 2014 Issue of Chandler Lifestyle