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  • Westminster College shutting down Mesa campus due to low enrollment

    Westminster College has decided to close its Mesa campus at the end of the spring semester.Officials at the private Missouri-based institution say the decision announced Tuesday is in response to lower-than-expected enrollment and market demand.The Mesa campus opened last fall. It was the result of a partnership between the city and Westminster that followed a call by the city to attract liberal arts colleges to the growing community.After studying the market, Westminster joined with three other institutions to offer services for undergraduate students in Mesa.Westminster President George Forsythe says a number of colleges and universities have entered the Valley in the past three years, making for more competition.Westminster says it's working with the Higher Learning Commission to develop a plan to help current students continue their education.

  • Date Street expected to reopen this afternoon

    The portion of Date Street closed off yesterday due to a water main break is scheduled to reopen later today.A release sent by the city of Mesa states the section between Rio Salado Parkway and 8th Place should reopen in the midafternoon. Repairs to the water main break began on Sunday evening and required large amounts of asphalt repair work. Also scheduled to open this afternoon is the westbound right lane of Rio Salado Parkway.

  • SanTan set to expand to SoCal

    The long wait for SanTan Brewing Company’s out-of-state expansion is nearly over.The Chandler-based brewery announced this week it is teaming up with Reyes Beverage Group to introduce its uniquely southwestern style craft ales to the Southern California marketplace. Distribution is expected to begin later this month.SanTan Brewing, which in 2012 was rated the country’s 14th fastest growing craft brewery by The New Yorker, plans to begin distributing its core beers — Devil’s Ale, HopShock IPA, Mr. Pineapple Wheat Beer — as well as a SanTan variety pack.The Reyes Beverage Group will SanTan reach craft beer retail and tap accounts throughout San Diego and Los Angeles. Reyes Beverage Group California beer distributorships include Crest Beverage in San Diego, Gate City Beverage Distributors in San Bernardino, Allied Beverages in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties and Harbor Distributing in Orange County and Los Angeles.“We believe in true partnerships with friends that are committed to educating, serving and selling craft beer in America,” Anthony Canecchia, SanTan Brewing founder and brewmaster, said. “Reyes Beverage Group have undisputedly dedicated their houses to the development of the American craft revolution, which is part of our mission at SanTan Brewing.”Social media will play a key role in the launch. SanTan Brewing has set up a dedicated Facebook page to keep thirsty fans in SoCal updated on where to find SanTan beers on tap and in cans.

  • Mesa mother, daughter found after murder/suicide

    Police believe that a woman and girl found dead in a Mesa home Monday were part of a murder/suicide.Officers responded to a home on East Ingram Street Monday afternoon after a man arrived home from work and found his wife and daughter dead.Police have identified the 45-year-old woman as Marcia Wentzel and the 12-year-old girl as her daughter Caitlin.Both had reportedly been suffering from "debilitating, long-term medical conditions," according to Mesa police.Inside the home, officials also found two suicide notes.It appears that the cause of death may have been asphyxiation or prescription drug overdose, but a medical examiner has not yet confirmed the cause.

  • Gilbert High bringing music festival atmosphere to East Valley

    While music festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza are gaining popularity for their big names and indie vibes, teenagers have difficulty affording tickets or driving to any large festival.Gilbert High School marketing students, however, are bringing a smaller version of the music festival scene to the East Valley.G-Stock, an outdoor music festival with art and food trucks, is giving residents an opportunity to attend a local festival while teaching high school students like executive producer Kiara Perez about running entertainment events and how to do business.“I’ve learned that you have to plan things out,” said Perez, a senior at Gilbert. “It’s a process and you can’t just come up with an idea and have it work out right away.”The music festival will be on April 26 from 4 to 10 p.m. outside of Gilbert High School. This year the headlining acts will by The Tragic Thrills, formerly known as All-Star Weekend, and RadioDriveBy, which Perez said is a big draw for music aficionados.The shift outdoors is a large transition for the second-year marketing students that organize the event. When the event started nine years ago, it was focused on showcasing student talent, but the event has shifted gears over the years by bringing in outside talent.

  • Mesa resident guides others through cancer, surgery recovery

    This wouldn’t be about Sam Allen if the 71-year-old Mesa resident has his way. He doesn’t mind being part of it, but what follows wouldn’t focus as much on his efforts as much as it would the many people he works alongside during the week.Through whatever universal lottery exists, Allen found his way into the spotlight, and he earned it through his volunteer efforts at two Banner hospitals. His efforts aren’t Herculean or grandiose in nature, but they do provide patients at least a moment of ease during their hospital visits.What Allen does at Banner Baywood Medical Center and Banner Heart Hospital isn’t physically strenuous, nor does it require much physical activity beyond moving from one room to the next. Rather, Allen is an invaluable ear and soundboard, something akin to a translator for patients to understand the complications of “doctor speak.” He visits patients in their rooms, sits next to them and offers conversation that can last a few minutes or a couple hours.He said the chats oscillate in nature between sports, simply shooting the breeze or direct concerns a patient might have about his or her treatment. He can attest to the latter from time he spent at Baywood with his wife, who died of cancer in 2009, and his own treatment at the heart hospital for a heart attack he sustained and survived last October, two months after he first volunteered.“I started because I felt, like many people, I owed society a little bit of debt,” he said. “Now, I can’t quit because I get so much out of it.”Mondays are new days for Allen because the weekend activity brings in a new batch of patients for him to visit. His rounds on April 14th took him to two new Banner Heart Hospital patients: 88-year-old Larry Enger and 50-year-old Mesa resident Donna Jackson.

  • 'Dead Man’s Cell Phone' rings at MCC

    Mesa Community College’s Theatre Department stages “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” an imaginative new comedy and Pulitzer Prize finalist for Best Play about a woman forced to confront her assumptions about mortality, redemption and the need to connect in a technology-obsessed world.DETAILS >> 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 24-25, 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26. MCC Theatre, 1833 W. Southern Ave., Mesa. $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors. (480) 461-7172 or EZticketlive.com/mcc.

  • Family gaming events highlights scientific problem solving

    Parents and their kids ages 9-13 are invited to play video games that encourage and promote scientific problem solving at the state’s premiere family science venue. The event is free but pre-registration is required.DETAILS >> 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 26. Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix. Free. (602) 716-2000 or AZScience.org.

  • Fractured Prune Doughnuts to open in Chandler

    Chandler will welcome Fractured Prune Doughnuts — known for always-hot doughnuts, hand dipped and topped to order — on April 29.The first of many Fractured Prune shops expected in Arizona opens at 6 a.m. that day at the northeast corner of Ray and Rural roads. The first 100 customers in-store will be treated to a giveaway.Customers can choose from 19 glazes and 14 toppings, as well as a specialty doughnut menu with flavors like French Toast (maple glaze and cinnamon sugar), Blueberry Hill (blueberry glaze and powdered sugar) and Caramel Bliss (caramel glaze and mini chocolate chips).Founded in 1976 in Ocean City, Md., Fractured Prune Doughnuts are named after the spunky Prunella Shriek, known as “Fractured Prunella” for the broken bones she suffered from competing in traditionally men’s sports, even into her 70s.For information, visit FracturedPrune.com.

  • Laura Walsh gives free concert in Tempe

    Nashville recording artist and Arizona native, Laura Walsh, is actively involved in the Southwest music scene. Debuting her brand new album, Take Your Time, Laura has been featured as a pre-show opener for Miranda Lambert and Sugarland.

  • Live music at DVine's

    Grab a bite to eat while enjoying a live piano performance from John Burak.

  • 'In Living Color' comedians perform in Chandler

    Tommy Davidson and David Alan Grier bring the In Living Color Comedy Tour to Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino. Davidson and Grier gained notoriety on the wildly popular comedy show In Living Color with hilarious sketch comedy routines.

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  • Westminster College shutting down Mesa campus due to low enrollment

    Westminster College has decided to close its Mesa campus at the end of the spring semester.Officials at the private Missouri-based institution say the decision announced Tuesday is in response to lower-than-expected enrollment and market demand.The Mesa campus opened last fall. It was the result of a partnership between the city and Westminster that followed a call by the city to attract liberal arts colleges to the growing community.After studying the market, Westminster joined with three other institutions to offer services for undergraduate students in Mesa.Westminster President George Forsythe says a number of colleges and universities have entered the Valley in the past three years, making for more competition.Westminster says it's working with the Higher Learning Commission to develop a plan to help current students continue their education.

  • SanTan set to expand to SoCal

    The long wait for SanTan Brewing Company’s out-of-state expansion is nearly over.The Chandler-based brewery announced this week it is teaming up with Reyes Beverage Group to introduce its uniquely southwestern style craft ales to the Southern California marketplace. Distribution is expected to begin later this month.SanTan Brewing, which in 2012 was rated the country’s 14th fastest growing craft brewery by The New Yorker, plans to begin distributing its core beers — Devil’s Ale, HopShock IPA, Mr. Pineapple Wheat Beer — as well as a SanTan variety pack.The Reyes Beverage Group will SanTan reach craft beer retail and tap accounts throughout San Diego and Los Angeles. Reyes Beverage Group California beer distributorships include Crest Beverage in San Diego, Gate City Beverage Distributors in San Bernardino, Allied Beverages in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties and Harbor Distributing in Orange County and Los Angeles.“We believe in true partnerships with friends that are committed to educating, serving and selling craft beer in America,” Anthony Canecchia, SanTan Brewing founder and brewmaster, said. “Reyes Beverage Group have undisputedly dedicated their houses to the development of the American craft revolution, which is part of our mission at SanTan Brewing.”Social media will play a key role in the launch. SanTan Brewing has set up a dedicated Facebook page to keep thirsty fans in SoCal updated on where to find SanTan beers on tap and in cans.

  • Glendale won't receive state aid for Super Bowl security

    Glendale will not be getting help from the rest of the state to cover the cost of public safety at next year's Super Bowl.On a 16-10 vote the Senate rejected legislation to reimburse the city for half of its costs, up to $2 million. Opposition came from both sides of the political aisle.Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said the issue is strictly one of who should be responsible for paying for public safety for the 2015 event.“My constituents in Tucson will not see the benefits from this bill,” he said.“People may come to these big events in the Maricopa County area,” Farley said. “Chances are they're not going to spend their money in Southern Arizona, they're not going to spend their money in Northern Arizona.”He said if there's a financial benefit, whether to Glendale or the immediate area, that is where the cost should be borne.

  • State Senate votes to remove blocks to alternative transportation services

    State senators voted 20-8 Tuesday to remove what they said are legal impediments to alternative “transportation services” like Lyft and Uber, paving the way for them to compete with taxis in Arizona.In an often-heated debate, supporters agreed that the companies – and the individuals who drive for them – should not be subject to all the same regulations as traditional taxi firms. Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, who is championing these alternatives, said there is no reason for some of the insurance and drug-testing requirements to be applied.“They're different entities,” she said, even if both provide rides. HB 2262 now goes to the House which has not considered the issue.The two companies have a business model built on ordering up rides online. Companies then send out messages to individuals who, using their own vehicles, are willing to pick up patrons and, for a fee, take them to their destination.Passengers pay the fee online, with the company forwarding a share of that to the driver.One of the big concerns is the question of whether these motorists are actually insured.

  • Bill to allow residents to bring guns into public buildings quashed by Brewer

    Arizonans will not be allowed bring their guns into public buildings, at least not this year.Gov. Jan Brewer this afternoon vetoed HB 2339 which would have allowed those who have a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon to ignore a “no guns” sign posted at the door. The only way a government agency could keep out all weapons would have been to install metal detectors and place armed guards at each public entrance.Separately, Brewer vetoed legislation to add more teeth to existing laws that pre-empt the right of cities to enact their own gun laws.HB 2517 would have required a court to assess a fine of up to $5,000 against any elected or appointed government official, or the head of any administrative agency, if there is a knowing and willful enactment of a local gun law that exceeds the restrictions permitted by the state.That same measure also would have precluded the use of public funds to defend or reimburse someone found guilty of breaking the law for his or her legal costs. And it would have permitted individuals and gun-rights groups to sue local officials and, if they are successful, get reimbursed for actual damages of up to $100,000.But the measure with the larger impact would have been HB 2339

  • Pension legislation on hold in Legislature

    Legislation to limit how much future public employees can collect in pensions was dealt a setback on Monday.Existing law bases retirement pay on a combination of highest salary and years of service. Workers can collect up to 80 percent of their earnings.HB 2058 spells out that only up to $150,000 of earnings in any one year can be counted toward pension computations. Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria, said the measure is a no-brainer method of protecting the financial stability of the state's retirement plans.“This limits pensions for high income people,” he said. “And, by doing so, it helps protect people that get pensions with lower pensions.”Livingston said the measure is prospective only and does not apply to anyone currently employed and already accumulating benefits.The Senate approved the measure early Monday on a 16-7 margin. But the House came up two votes short of the 31 needed for final approval.

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  • Bee-friendly garden can help struggling species

    Bees are pulling a disappearing act. Honeybees are vanishing from their hives. Bumblebee numbers have crashed so radically that some species are believed extinct. Even native solitary bees are in decline. Food supplies dependent upon pollinators are threatened.But gardeners can help.There is no single explanation for what is causing the pollinator losses, said Matt O'Neal, an associate professor of entomology at Iowa State University."There are multiple sources of stress," he said. "There are your basic pests, also pathogens like viruses, pesticide exposure and land use practices reducing the kinds of forages bees can feed on. It looks like a combination of all those."As insect pollinators, bees broaden our diets beyond meats and wind-pollinated grains. An estimated one-third of all foods and beverages are made possible by pollination, mainly by honeybees, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. Pollinators also are essential for flowering plants and entire plant communities."Common species are disappearing at a dramatic rate. I'm terrified in the extreme," said Mace Vaughan, pollinator program director with The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, Ore. "I worry in particular about pollinator species with limited ranges and that have unique habitat requirements that are being threatened. A lot of species are dropping out of the landscape."

  • A springtime take on the classic crabcake

    As the weather gets warmer, I cook lighter. And in The Husband's taxonomy of food, crabcakes are relatively light. So I thought I'd employ of couple of seasonal stars — peas and radishes — to put a spring spin on them.I blithely went shopping for fresh crabmeat at my local market, but found to my horror that it's almost unaffordably pricey — and that pasteurized refrigerated crabmeat isn't much cheaper. In search of an ingredient with which to stretch the crab (I thought of it as Crab Helper), I settled on boiled shrimp, which are readily available, but not astronomically expensive. Happily, the crab and the shrimp played very nicely together.As this also is the season for fresh peas, I added some of them to the crab/shrimp mix. Their natural sweetness chimes in well with the shellfish, and they add a little crunchy pop to the texture of the cakes.Flavor and texture aside, I used to discount the nutritional value of peas, until I finally scrutinized the data and discovered that the little fellers are packed with protein, fiber and micronutrients. If you find fresh peas at the farmer's market, by all means scoop them up. But keep in mind that the sugar in fresh peas starts turning to starch the minute they're harvested, so be sure to bring them home, shell them and boil them right away.And if your only option is frozen peas, don't despair. Those guys are picked at the height of their ripeness and blanched immediately in water, which sets their flavor and texture.We bind up the cakes with eggs, mayonnaise and panko breadcrumbs, then season them with tarragon, which always teams up nicely with both shellfish and peas. If you're not a fan of tarragon, which is unpleasantly reminiscent of licorice to some folks, substitute some dill, chives or parsley. The panko does double duty, thickening the interior of the cakes and adding crunch to their crust. And as long as you brown the cakes in a nonstick or stick-resistant skillet, you won't have to use much oil.

  • New Americans turn to goats to address food demand

    COLCHESTER, Vt. — A bunch of kids in a minivan are solving twin challenges in northern Vermont: refugees struggling to find the food of their homelands and farmers looking to offload unwanted livestock.The half dozen kids — that is, baby goats — that arrived last week at Pine Island Farm were the latest additions to the Vermont Goat Collaborative, a project that brings together new Americans hungry for goat meat with dairy goat farmers who have no need for young male animals. Some dairy farmers who otherwise would discard bucklings at birth or spend valuable time finding homes for them now can send them to Colchester, where they will be raised and sold to refugees, some of whom have spent full days traveling to Boston or New Hampshire for fresh goat, or have settled for imported frozen meat.When community organizer Karen Freudenberger realized that the roughly 6,000 new Americans from southeast Asia, Africa and elsewhere living in the Burlington area were buying what amounted to 3,000 goats a year from Australia and New Zealand, she saw an opportunity. Since some of them had been farmers raising goats in their native countries, why couldn't they do it in Vermont, prized for its working landscape and locally raised foods?"People keep saying, are you sure you can sell all those goats? We are sure we can sell all those goats," said Freudenberger, who helped launch the project.Now in its second year, the collaborative includes two families from Bhutan and Rwanda who are raising about 200 baby goats that will be slaughtered on site and sold in the fall.While there are no federal statistics on goat meat consumption, the USDA says demand for it is increasing, driven in part by a growth in ethnic populations. The U.S. had 2.3 million head of meat goats in January 2013, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, with Texas producing the most, followed by Tennessee.

  • Philly's 13th St. brings good luck to great food

    PHILADELPHIA — Tourism officials will tell you the restaurant-rich area at the heart of downtown is called Midtown Village, but that moniker hasn't entirely caught on with the locals.The good news is that it doesn't matter what you call it. Philadelphia food-lovers just know 13th Street — which runs through the center of the neighborhood — as a vibrant area chockfull of great eateries and wine bars, a place to get anything from artisanal pizza and gourmet vegan to Asian fusion and modern Indian. And don't forget the freshly made prickly-pear gelato for dessert.While the city boasts many foodie destinations — from Fishtown in the north to East Passyunk in the south — Midtown Village is the most centrally located, sitting in the shadow of City Hall between the Liberty Bell and tony Rittenhouse Square.The once-seedy 13th Street corridor has been transformed in recent years in part through the efforts of chef Marcie Turney and her partner Valerie Safran. Their portfolio of restaurants, upscale gift shops and grocery store became core elements of the casually hip district.Among their properties: perpetually popular Barbuzzo, which offers a Mediterranean kitchen and bar; Jamonera, a Spanish wine bar with an extensive sherry list; and the relatively new Italian dining room Little Nonna's. Their innovative take on Mexican food, Lolita, was scheduled to reopen in April after undergoing renovations.Another Mexican outpost is the hard-to-miss El Vez, a gregarious emporium from hometown restaurateur Stephen Starr. And across the street is the eye-catching Sampan and its semi-hidden Graffiti Bar, both offering a contemporary Asian menu from chef Michael Schulson.

  • E-cig industry awaits looming federal regulation

    RICHMOND, Va. — Smokers are increasingly turning to battery-powered electronic cigarettes to get their nicotine fix. They're about to find out what federal regulators have to say about the popular devices.The Food and Drug Administration will propose rules for e-cigarettes as early as this month. The rules will have big implications for a fast-growing, largely unregulated industry and its legions of customers.Regulators aim to answer the burning question posed by Kenneth Warner, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health: "Is this going to be the disruptive technology that finally takes us in the direction of getting rid of cigarettes?"The FDA faces a balancing act. If the regulations are too strict, they could kill an industry that offers a hope of being safer than cigarettes and potentially helping smokers quit them. But the agency also has to be sure e-cigarettes really are safer and aren't hooking children on an addictive drug.Members of Congress and several public health groups have raised safety concerns over e-cigarettes, questioned their marketing tactics and called on regulators to address those worries quickly.Here's a primer on e-cigarettes and their future:

  • Court rules lawmakers can challenge Medicaid expansion

    In a major victory for the legislative minority, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that lawmakers on the losing end of last year's Medicaid expansion have a constitutional right to challenge the law and the levy it imposes.In a unanimous decision, the judges rejected arguments by Gov. Jan Brewer that only the hospitals subject to the levy have the ability to argue that it is a tax and therefore can be enacted with only a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate. The assessment got only a bare majority in each chamber.More significant, the court rejected Brewer's contention that a simple majority of lawmakers have the constitutional power to decide when a measure needs a two-thirds vote. Appellate Judge John Gemmill said that ignores the actual language of the Arizona Constitution.He pointed out that the voter-approved mandate for a two-thirds vote spells out that it applies to a host of changes in revenues, including the imposition of any new tax as well as the imposition of any new fee or assessment. It also applies to authorizing any state agency to set fees.Gemmill said the plan language dictates that if a measure does anything spelled out in that provision, it can be enacted only by a two-thirds majority. He said allowing a simple majority to decide when to impose that two-thirds requirement would undermine the constitutional language.“We reach this conclusion because the plain language of (the provision) reveals it is a limitation on the legislature's power to pass certain revenue raising measures,” Gemmill wrote. Any other interpretation, he said, eviscerates the ability of the constitutional's “ability to act as a limiting provision on the legislature's power.”

Local Guitar Group Meets in Downtown Mesa

A local guitar group based in Mesa, Ariz. meets every other sunday for musical fun, community,...

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