Copyright 2012 - Independent News Media Lightning Community Engine RSS 2.0 Feed Lightning Community Engine Community Logo en-US Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:20:59 GMT editor@din.us1.dti Lightning Community AZ Game and Fish talk scorpions and more

We live with scorpions at my house. We find them constantly and two of my children were stung because they stepped on them.

Although we have a pest control man spray regularly, they have learned to breed in my neighborhood despite repellent. It's funny how the first couple of encounters I was afraid of them, but once it is a common thing I'm in control. Both times they were bark scorpions, which according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the bark scorpion is the most dangerous species in the United States. 

My oldest son had no reaction to his sting, but my daughter did. We had to call Banner Health's poison control line, which did a fabulous job checking on her all night making sure she did not need ER care. 

Here's a press release below from game and fish if you want to learn more about scorpions and other nocturnal wildlife in AZ.  Although scorpions are nocturnal, most of my encounters with them have been in the day. 


Explore the desert’s nocturnal wildlife with Arizona Game and Fish biologists


PHOENIX -- Did you know that Arizona is home to over 60 species of scorpions, including the most dangerous species in the United States, the bark scorpion? Join Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists for an easy evening hike to explore the hidden lives of nocturnal animals at the Hirsch Conservation Education Area, located at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is home to a variety of wildlife including coyotes, bobcats, mule deer, owls, mice, snakes, scorpions, and an abundance of other small animals. Biologists will use blacklights to look for scorpions, call for owls, and search for other wildlife such as snakes and mice that may be active. A blacklight will also be set up near the water of Biscuit Tank to attract moths and beetles for participants to view at the conclusion of the hike.
For a quality experience, this activity is limited to 50 people. Participants will be divided into groups of 10 and partnered with a guide for the hike.
The hike will be held on Friday, July 18 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the shooting facility, which is just west of I-17 on Carefree Highway in Phoenix. The cost to participate is $25 for adults and $10 for children 10 years and older. No children under 10 years of age will be permitted and all children must be accompanied by an adult.
To register or obtain more information, contact Joe Yarchin at (623) 236-7589 or  



editor@din.us1.dti Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:27:49 GMT
Spirit Day May 1 for Peoria's Parkridge at Chick-fil-A Arrowhead

If you like eating Chick-fil-A sandwiches then visit the Arrowhead location on Thursday, May 1 to support a local elementary school.

Spirit Day at Chick-fil-A Arrowhead, 83rd Avenue south of Bell Road, will benefit Parkridge Elementary School, 9970 W. Beardsley Road. People who present a flier during the day or night on May 1 will return 20 percent of their total sale back to Parkridge school. 

Those who need a copy of an electronic flier can e-mail me at 

All fliers returned will also be entered into a drawing to win dinner and desert for two with a total of five winners. One does not need to be present to win.

So if you like eating chicken, go to Chick-fil-A on May 1. Be sure to bring a flier. 

editor@din.us1.dti Tue, 29 Apr 2014 01:51:09 GMT
DPS releases distracted driving statistics; 10 people killed during AZ study


Many of us are making plans for summer travel, but be careful on roadways as distracted drivers are causing more than 10 percent of the accidents. According to DPS, distracted drivers killed 10 people from November 2013 to April 2014 on our roadways.

Please be safe this summer during your road trips.

Copied below is the press release in its entirety. For more information, visit


Distracted Driving Campaign Reveals the Significant Negative Impact of Distracted Driving

10 people killed in distracted driving related collisions from November to April

Friday, April 18, 2014 -

As part of its commitment to protecting human life and property, the Highway Patrol Division at DPS is focusing on deterring distracted driving. This effort, spearheaded by DPS Director Robert Halliday, has revealed some interesting and startling statistics about distracted driving and crashes related to distracted drivers.

The Highway Patrol began collecting crash and enforcement data in late November through April 1 on distracted driving. The most startling number revealed that 10 people were killed and 380 people were injured as a result of distracted driving during that time period.These numbers are saddening and are the exact reason why DPS is committed to enforcing existing laws on driving behavior related to distracted driving.

For many years, “texting and driving” has been the phrase used to essentially describe distracted driving. Over the past several months, the Highway Patrol has shown that texting and driving is not the only risky behavior drivers are engaging in.

During the months of November through April 1, there were a total of 10,166 crashes on state highways.Of those, 1,163 were related to distracted driving. The leading cause of distracted driving crashes was “outside distractions” which resulted in a total of 255 crashes, or 22 percent of the distracted driving crashes.The closest other distraction was “reaching for objects” within the vehicle. There were 130 crashes related to reaching for objects, or 11 percent of the distracted driving crashes. Cell phone use accounted for 127 crashes which was just behind reaching for objects.

From April 10 to April 15, DPS saw similar numbers during its concentrated educational campaign.During this campaign, seven of the 29 total distracted driving crashes, or 24 percent, were attributed to distractions from outside of the vehicle. Cell phone use accounted for five of the crashes and three were attributed to occupant distraction. When compared to the previous collection period, the numbers are very similar and support our premise that distracted driving is a significant issue.

DPS and its Highway Patrol Division will continue to enforce existing laws to ensure that people are safe on Arizona roadways. We encourage drivers to take an active role in distracted driving deterrence. Remember, all drivers have control of the wheel, and the lives of others.

Highways don’t kill, but distracted driving will.


November 27 through April 1

10,166 total crashes (100%)

1,163 distracted driver crashes (11.44%)

773 non injury crashes (66.47%)

380 injury crashes (32.67%)

10 fatal crashes (.086%)

April 10 through April 15

420 total crashes (100%)

29 distracted driver crashes (6.9%)

21 non injury crashes(72%)

8 injury crashes (28%)

0 fatal crashes (0%)


editor@din.us1.dti Tue, 22 Apr 2014 03:35:49 GMT
Get ready to Relay for Life

We have all had loved ones affecting by cancer. It may be a parent, a friend or a co-worker, but cancer takes millions of lives worldwide and 560,000-plus in America each year. 

The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life raises funds to help fight back against cancer. Teams are formed in various cities throughout the nation, and the Surprise relay is right around the corner.

The event is set for May 3-4 at Willow Canyon High School, 17901 W. Lundberg St., 85388. People are welcome to join in on the festivities starting at 6:30 p.m.

There will be plenty of fun activities, including food, a kids zone, entertainment and more. The Surprise Rotary Club will be selling glow products and cancer bracelets. 

Many teams have raised $1,000-plus already for the event. If you would like to donate to the Surprise Rotary Club team please click here.

I hope to see you at Relay for Life, Surprise. Cheers!

editor@din.us1.dti Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:10:26 GMT
Weekend happenings in Surprise, AZ



Those looking for fun activities in Surprise have a couple of city sponsored options this weekend.

The Surprise Community and Recreation Services presents Movie Night at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Surprise Stadium on Saturday, April 12, featuring Despicable Me 2 – rated PG. Gates will open at 6:30pm. Movie will begin at 7pm.

This event is free admission with a brand new toy donation to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital through the Surprise Teen Advisory Commission.  People can bring their blankets and pillows, stretch out on the stadium grass and enjoy!

The stadium food and beverage policy is in effect. Ice chests and lawn chairs are not permitted.

The spring finale of  “Second Sundays in the Park,” is 2-4 p.m. Sunday, April 13 at Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Ave.  People may enjoy  live 50’s and 60’s Doo Wop music from the “The Four Fifties,” face painters and balloon twisters. 

Families may bring a picnic or purchase food from the onsite vendors and enjoy the free entertainment.

The “Second Sundays in the Park” will take the summer months off and resume in the fall.

Call 623-222-2000 or visit

#aznewsmedia #Surprise



editor@din.us1.dti Fri, 11 Apr 2014 19:36:42 GMT
Road rage everywhere, including Sun City; Posse continues vacation watch

We've all seen it. Drivers getting upset because someone is tailgating or cutting them off on the road.

The recent Florida road rage video went viral onYouTube this month.

Usually I am by myself when I witness such behaviors, but on Wednesday April 2, I was sitting at the light on Del Webb Blvd. and Grand Avenue in Sun City when my children and I heard swearing. 

I could see in my rearview mirror a motorcyle rider banging on the passengerside window of a minivan -- yelling and swearing -- about how the man almost killed him. I got a little nervous when my kids got upset trying to figure out what was happening and pointing out that he was using bad words. Of course, I was ready to call police. 

Fortunately, the light turned green and the minivan driver went straight  while the other turned right. I could see why the motorcylcist was upset as he did almost get hit, but thankfully all worked out in the end.

Vacation Watch

On an unrelated subject, those of you ready to travel can call the Sun City Posse at 623-972-2555 to register for its vacation watch program. They will check to make sure your doors and windows are secure as well as remove any newspapers and advertisements that have not been stopped. 

If you would like to stop the Independent newspaper, please call 623-445-2894.




editor@din.us1.dti Fri, 04 Apr 2014 20:10:50 GMT
Surprise Rotary Club changing face of traditional thinking

If you have not thought about joining the Surprise Rotary Club -- you should. Not because I am a member, but because the group is changing the face of traditional thinking in Rotary.

We recenty hosted a new event that we hope to be annual Taste of Surprise. We were able to draw 500 people in the Northwest Valley area at $25 a ticket that will benefit several charities, including A New Leaf, Benevilla, Surprise Rotary Foundation, Arizona Charter Academy and At Risk Youth Connection.

The five groups are worthy of support and the monies raised will help with programming that constantly needs funding. 

We welcome all Surprise residents and community stakeholders to check out our monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. April 3 at The Links Restaurant.

Membership chairman Frank Dias said it best. "If you want to get anything done, ask a Rotarian!" Call 623-445-2828 for more information.

editor@din.us1.dti Tue, 25 Mar 2014 23:15:16 GMT
Charity tournament benefits Surprise Rotary Foundation



Golfers grab your clubs and return your registration for the Surprise Rotary Foundation’s summer golf classic slated for a 7 a.m. shotgun start Sept. 7 at Arizona Traditions Golf Club, 17225 N. Citrus Road, Surprise.

The charity event benefits the Surprise Rotary Foundation, a 501c3 organization, that supports selected local and international charities as well as grant scholarships to students.

Sanderson Ford presents a hole-in-one shot for a chance to win a new car. AMTrust Bank, Arizona Integrated Physcians, Bell Plaza Professional Building, Independent Newsmedia, Inc., USA, Moore Graphics, Sun State Components of Nevada, Inc., and Surprise Funeral Care are also sponsoring the event.

Las Fuentes Restaurant, 13621 N. Litchfield Road, Surprise, and Chick-fil-A, 13725 W. Bell Road, Surprise, are sponsoring breakfast and lunch respectively.

The Surprise Rotary Club invites the community to participate in the event. A foursome is $275, which includes breakfast, lunch and player goodie bags.

There will be lots of prizes, including longest drive and closest to the pin. A raffle and silent auction will also take place at the event. All proceeds benefit the Surprise Rotary Foundation.

For more information, call 623-680-6316 or e-mail

editor@din.us1.dti Wed, 24 Jul 2013 02:52:22 GMT
Peoria Chamber to host mixer at Firebirds


Happy Tuesday!

Independent Newsmedia Inc., is joining A Matter of Time, Positively Fitt and West Valley Women to host the first Peoria Chamber of Commerce's Co-op Mixer at Firebirds Wood Fire Grill, 16067 N. Arrowhead Fountains Center Drive.

This event is specifically for business professionals who would like to network and have fun. Firebirds has graciously offered to provide appetizers and the hosts will share a quick snapshot of their business. Business professionals can also learn more about the Peoria Chamber of Commerce.

People who attend may leave their business cards for a chance to win Diamondbacks tickets as well as a gift certificate to Firebirds. A value of $150.

Please remember to RSVP as registration is required at

I hope to see you there.

editor@din.us1.dti Tue, 07 May 2013 22:24:29 GMT
Golfers may help Surprise Rotary Club
If you like golfing then you will not want to miss the Surprise Rotary Club's summer golf classic. The event is filled with fun and friendship while benefitting a great charitable cause. The golf scramble sports a 7 a.m. shotgun start Sept. 7 at Arizona Traditions, 17225 N. Citrus Road, Surprise
As president-elect of the Surprise Rotary Club, I hope this event is our best one ever. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and we cannot be successful without support from the local businesses and community golfers.
Event details are here.  

We are wishing to sell out our fundraiser so we are asking golfers to register early for a foursome, which for $275, includes a continental breakfast, lunch, player bags and a chance to win a vehicle thanks to Sanderson Ford. We are collecting numerous prizes from businesses, including longest drive and closest to the pin. We also accept individual players to be paired with others to make new friends.

The charity event benefits the Surprise Rotary Foundation, a 501c3 organization, that supports selected local and international charities as well as grant scholarships to students and much more. 

I hope businesses and players will give me a call at 623-680-6316 or e-mail 

We cannot be successful without you, so please contact me to chat. 


editor@din.us1.dti Thu, 18 Apr 2013 06:09:33 GMT
West Valley Arts Council's 20th anniversary ball April 13


Those looking for a unique experience while helping charity may want to consider buying a ticket to West Valley Arts Council's 20th Anniversary Diamond Ball: Shanghai Soiree.

The hubbub surrounding the event has been positive.

"Traditionally a 20th Anniversary is celebrated by gifting fine china. Instead, we're celebrating by bringing China to you as the new year begins with promise and prosperity," said Cheryl Street, who is helping coordinate the event.

Gala proceeds will benefit the West Valley Arts Council's numerous programs.

The Asian or black-tie attire event, will feature a four-course feast, "stellar" auction items, dancing, entertainment and a one-carat diamond Jewelry giveaway, courtesy of Treasures Custom Jewelers.

"It will be a fabulous evening for all," Ms. Street added.

If you go:

West Valley Arts Council's 20th Anniversary Diamond Ball: Shanghai Soiree
6 p.m. Saturday, April 13, 2013
The Wigwam Resort, 300 E. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park, AZ
Reservations: West Valley Arts Council  623-935-6384



]]> editor@din.us1.dti Tue, 02 Apr 2013 20:34:37 GMT State parks director shares insights on camping, fun

It's gorgeous outside and everyone is talking about barbecues, picnics and park-outings. I've been visiting my neighborhood park nearly every day with my children. 

Executive director of the state parks department Bryan Martyn offers a guest column to the media below:

"As many of you know, our 28 Arizona State Parks are all open and still attracting more than 2.2 million visitors to Arizona. Even with high gas prices slowing campers in the rural western states, especially those with RV's, State Parks' visitation is holding steady. Because Arizona State Parks is treated like a business, we have had to reduce a few hours, make some parks seasonal, and have increased our reliance on communities and Friend's Groups.   Not surprisingly, we've seen an increase in our revenues and a decrease in our operational costs. The winds of positive change are definitely blowing our way.

The support we see every day from the public is stronger than it has ever been! I believe the aggressive efforts by the residents and visitors to protect the system of Arizona's State Parks reflects the sentiments of the majority of Arizona's residents.

Today, I'm inviting every Arizonan to get out and enjoy their Parks! The weather is perfect throughout the state. Arizona State Parks has a new program called 'Family Camping.' This program shows how easy and affordable camping can be. We give you a tent and fishing poles to use, and we even show you how to set up the tent and set your hook. We are "Camping Central" for campers looking for information. Call us during the week or check out our website 24 hours a day for ideas, camping tips and maps.

One of Arizona State Park's best qualities is our flush toilets, hot showers and easy access. Every one of our Parks is handicap accessible and a compact car won't have any our roads are paved. Campers will  be surprised to find upgraded areas like white sand on the Colorado River park beaches, huge shade trees and new campground loops.

The skills of our Rangers to manage volunteers and projects that enhance the Parks are one of our greatest assets. Our Rangers are experts at their Park and many of them are law enforcement officers. Our Parks are safe, convenient, affordable and provide untold opportunities to develop memories that last a lifetime.

See you at the Parks!"

Bryan Martyn

editor@din.us1.dti Mon, 25 Mar 2013 09:40:53 GMT
Scorpions, spiders, snakes slithering out from warm weather

The Arizona Game and Fish Department e-mailed a press release about venomous creatures emerging from their hiding places as temperatures begin to rise. (See press release below).

My oldest son recently encountered a scorpion after it crawled into his sock in our laundry room. Fortunately, he was fine, but it took him about an hour to realize it was in his sock. He thought it was sticks and that is why he was feeling discomfort. I still cannot believe it, but the incident ended well. 

Please be careful as you spring clean as you may find unwanted visitors. 




Venom begins to flow as the weather warms
Snakes and more ready to emerge


KINGMAN, Ariz. -- While spring continues to maintain its erratic grip on daytime temperatures, the inevitable emergence of snakes, spiders, scorpions, and lizards remains just around the next upward swing.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is reminding the public that some simple rules can help the public avoid a potential dangerous encounter.

"Probably the simplest rule is to always know where you are putting your hands and feet," said Zen Mocarski, information and education program manager for the Game and Fish Region 3 office in Kingman.

Mocarski said in the spring many snakes will be seeking the warmth of the daytime sun, but during the heat of summer will seek out shade during the day and do most of their hunting during the evening hours.

"Rattlesnakes are synonymous with Arizona," he said. "As well they should be. We have 13 species of rattlesnake in this state."

The most common throughout the state is the western diamondback, but where many rattlesnakes are found will depend on the existing environment. The dubious sidewinder is found in sandy areas while the black-tailed can be found from elevations ranging from nearly sea level to 9,000 feet.

"But the rules for all these snakes is to know where you are placing your hands and feet," Mocarski said. "While accidental bites can occur, following this one simple rule can help people avoid the majority of encounters."

If bitten, Mocarski said people should forget everything they've seen in old movies and seek medical attention immediately.

"There's no such thing as an ordinary rattlesnake bite," Mocarski said. "People often ask me which is the most dangerous rattlesnake and my reply is simple: 'The one that just bit you'."

While the Mohave is widely accepted as having the most potent venom, the diamondback, as the most common rattlesnake, accounts for the most bites and deaths.

While less common within city limits, Mocarski said rattlesnakes can certainly find their way into the urban environment, as can spiders and scorpions.

"There are two spiders considered a threat to humans in Arizona; the black widow and brown spiders," Mocarski said.

Most spider bites will not require medical attention, but individuals should pay attention to the reaction.

"Everyone reacts differently to venom," Mocarski explained. "The best course of action is to contact a poison control center and listen to the advice from medical professionals."

As for scorpions, Mocarski said the sting of most species is a bit more severe than that of a bee.

"But remember, there are people out there who can die from a single bee sting," he warned. "The bark scorpion is the only scorpion considered a threat to people in Arizona, but anyone stung should always pay attention to how they are reacting."

Mocarski said young children are of particular concern due to their natural curiosity. 

"They want to explore their environment, so it is important to begin their education at a young age," he explained. "Keep the message simple with those very young, such as 'come get mommy or daddy if you see anything in the house.' And teach them not to pick up anything."

As for lizards, Mocarski said the only one dangerous to humans is the same one that can be easily avoided: the Gila monster.

"It wants nothing to do with people," Mocarski said. "Leave them alone and they'll leave you alone. While I'm sure there has been an accidental bite somewhere throughout history, I've yet to hear about it.

"And remember, the Gila monster is protected in Arizona, so it is against the law to disturb, harass, or remove these animals from the wild."

editor@din.us1.dti Fri, 22 Mar 2013 09:54:36 GMT
Mystery novel unveiled at Roaring '20s bash to benefit Benevilla

When I was in high school, my best friend Justine and I dressed up for a Roaring '20s church dance. I dressed in a red flapper outfit while she was a "gangster" in a pinstripe suit accompanied by a beret and toy machine gun. We took the coolest photo that still sits on my family room bookshelf for all to view.

Those who miss dress-up parties have a chance to participate in a Roaring '20s bash that will benefit a local charity. Author E.K. Prescott, Five Star Publications, Gifts To Go, and Birt's Bistro Bookstore & Catering will take participants to 1923 New Haven, Conn., to celebrate the release of Dr. Prescott's "9 Squares."

The event is slated for 5-7 p.m. March 28 at Birt's Bistro, Bookstore & Catering at Benevilla, 16752 N. Greasewood St., Surprise.

There will be a costume contest, a local trio and a psychic on hand. Light appetizers will be served and those wishing for dinner can enjoy food at Birt's Bistro. Ten percent of book sales will go back to Benevilla, and all sales of food and drink at Birt's benefits Benevilla.

For more information, call Tammy at Gifts to Go at 602-403-0646.




editor@din.us1.dti Wed, 20 Mar 2013 20:00:15 GMT
West Valley Pops Band performs March 23 and March 26

The West Valley Pops Band will unveil a new song in honor of a local charity.

The West Valley Pops Band, a 70-piece band, formerly the Sun City Pops Band for 36 years, will host a one-hour concert 10 a.m. Saturday, March 23 at Valley View Community Food Bank, 10615 W. Peoria Ave., Sun City. This free concert takes place during Volunteer Recognition Day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the food bank's 200-plus volunteers.

In honor of Valley View Community Food Bank offering space for band members to practice, local band member and composer Joe Lynch wrote "The Valley View Community Food Bank March." A presention of the original music score will be presented to the food bank's president Jesse Ramirez.

Later in the evening, the band will perform 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 26 at Sunflower RV Resort, 16501 N El Mirage Road, Surprise. The songs feature will include remembering ones childhood with cowboy and space music, including a Star Wars medley and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Participants may bring a canned food item for Valley View Community Food Bank.

For more information, e-mail


editor@din.us1.dti Tue, 19 Mar 2013 02:55:44 GMT
Dinner on the Diamond tickets selling fast

It has been a pleasure for me to serve on the Peoria Chamber of Commerce's Dinner on the Diamond & Casino Night Las Vegas committee.

We are putting the final touches together for the second annual event set for 5-10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15 at the Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 N. 83rd Ave.

The Dinner on the Diamond sports a nine-inning themed-event featuring announcer and voice of the Mariners and Padres Bill Vreeke, keynote speaker Tony Pereira, senior director of ballpark operations for Safeco Field in Seattle, and guest speaker Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett. Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins will also be present.

Entertainment includes sports memorabilia silent auction to benefit the Peoria Diamond Club, a baseball themed photo booth, cash bar and music by Elvis. Centerplate Concessionaire is catering the event while Nothing Bundt Cakes is providing dessert. After dinner, participants may stroll over to Casino Night Las Vegas for a chance to win fabulous prizes.

Tickets for the two events is priced at $40 or $25 for each event. Seating is limited at the dinner so reserve soon. A free pair of general admission charity game tickets will be given to the first 50 preregistered and prepaid attendees. A drawing will be for everyone who preregisters & prepays! The prize will be a suite that seats 12 people for a 2013 Spring Training game (game TBD), as well as 4 VIP parking passes.

Detailed information on both events is available at

Independent Newsmedia Inc., USA is sponosring a casino table so you'll see us at the event.

I made several prize baskets for th casino night, including a two and foursome of golf, tickets to the Renaissance Festival, movie tickets to UltraStar Cinema Scottsdale, gift card to Hayashi Hibachi, tickets to the LGPA Legends tour in Sun City West, and four tickets to a Diamondbacks baseball game. My favorite so far is the garden basket donated by The Home Depot.

On behalf of the committee, we hope to see you Feb. 15.

editor@din.us1.dti Thu, 07 Feb 2013 22:37:57 GMT
Girl Scout cookies on sale; Making AZ safer conference set

My daughter's favorite day of the week is going to Daisies.

This week marks the traditional presale of Girl Scout cookies. If you are interested in pre-ordering cookies, please feel free to e-mail me at Pre-sale orders must be received by Saturday, Jan. 26.

In February, Girl Scouts is hosting conference on bullying, human trafficking and education.

Girl Scouts is the largest leadership organization for girls in Arizona, according to a press release. 

Girls Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council will host A Girl’s World is Different Conference 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 15 at Desert Willow Conference Center, 4340 E. Cotton Center Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85040. The event is bringing experts and the community together to understand some of the issues that most deeply affect Arizona’s girls, including bullying, human trafficking, and education. Cost is $50, which includes lunch.

Speakers include Carrie Severson, founder of the Severson Sisters, a bullying-solutions program for girls, who will address the impact of bullying; Rachel Lloyd, Executive Director of the New York-based “Girls Educational and Mentoring Services” and an anti-human trafficking advocate who will discuss how to keep girls safe from trafficking; and Kathy Hegberg, director of the Hawn Foundation, who will talk about the new MindUP curriculum being implemented in schools.

According to the Girl Scouts press release, 85 percent of the time, when a girl is bullied, no one intervenes? That the average age of girls who enter prostitution is 13? That 74 percent of fourth-graders are below proficient in reading and 69 percent of eighth-graders are below proficient in math in Arizona?

The A Girl’s World is Different Conference is for advocates, parents, and professionals who want to learn more about these issues and how to keep girls on a positive path to health, safety and success.

Register at Registration closes Feb. 13.

Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. GSACPC serves more than 24,000 girls ages 5-17 and more than 10,000 adult volunteers throughout central and northern Arizona. Through Girl Scouting, girls develop leadership skills and tools for success in an accepting and nurturing environment. Girl Scouts learn who they are and what they can accomplish through traditional troop activities, camps, product sales, and many other events and programs.

editor@din.us1.dti Mon, 14 Jan 2013 22:12:46 GMT
AZ school tax credit deadline midnight Dec. 31

Arizona taxpayers have four more days to receive a credit for the 2012 tax year.

The Arizona School Tax Credit helps public school districts pay for extracurricular activities, which in turn give taxpayers a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction when they file their state return.
Individuals filing single can donate up to $200 per year, while couples filing jointly can give up to $400. Dollar amounts can be less than the maximum donation.
The Arizona School Tax Credit also applies to charter schools since they are deemed public education (ARS 15-101). Private School Tuition Credit allows for up to $503 for singles and $1,006 for couples filing jointly for the 2012 tax year.

Peoria Unified School District taxpayers approved a plan Nov. 6 allowing for $180 million in bonds to fund maintenance needs. However, the statewide Proposition 204, which would have provided a permanent 1-cent sales-tax increase to help fund education and other programs, failed at the polls.
School district officials from Peoria and Dysart Unified School districts have noted they cannot predict the impact of the defeated ballot measure until the next legislative session when the education budget is determined. In the meantime, school officials hope to gain support from their communities to aid programs important to their teachers and students.

Parkridge Elementary School principal David Svorinic recently released a recorded phone message to community stakeholders requesting support for his school, 9970 W. Beardsley Road. "Please consider making a tax-credit donation to Parkridge before the end of the calendar year," stated Mr. Svorinic. "Couples filing jointly can make a contribution of up to $400. And the contribution to Parkridge is a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, which means the dollar amount is directly connected to your state income-tax payment or return once you file your 2012 taxes."

People may click on a direct link on PUSD's Facebook page and fill out an electronic form. Individuals have until midnight Dec. 31.

PUSD Administration Center will open its doors from 9 a.m. to  1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31 to accept donations from the public. The district office, located at 6330 W. Thunderbird Road, will have a yellow school bus parked in front to help advertise the event. Liberty High School jazz band will be performing and patrons will be treated to hot chocolate and a holiday cookie, courtesy of students and staff at Centennial High School.

Jim Dean, spokesman for Dysart Unified  School District, added tax credits can directly benefit specific schools and programs.
"The tax credit donation is a win-win for schools and parents and community members and is a vital part of the funding for extracurricular activities for students," Mr. Dean stated in an e-mail.
People may make donations through a tax credit drive-thru from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31 at Dysart Education Center, 15802 N. Parkview Place. Taxpayers may drive up, make their donation and receive a temporary receipt. Official receipts will be mailed in January 2013.

Nadaburg Unified School District

Nadaburg Unified School District, northwest of Sun City West, Surprise and the Peoria area, heavily relies on school tax-credit donations. The district also saw a failed bond override in early November.
"Let me stress that people who take the time to invest their tax-credit dollars directly to a school help fund programs that otherwise would go unfunded, hence be unavailable to the students of our schools simply because the state has cut the funds that they collect and distribute to education," stated CurtisMcCandlish, principal of Nadaburg Elementary School, 21419 W. Dove Valley Road, Wittmann.
Mr. McCandlish added that during his 5-year tenure, the state has decreased funding while the number of mandates has increased. Staffing and essential programming takes up most of the monthly operating budget. He stated most supplemental programs are funded by the Arizona School Tax Credit, including after-school buses for student tutoring, field trips and numerous clubs, such as art, band, choir, sports, cheer, dance, science, language, chess, yearbook and more.
"The use of tax-credit funds has been crucial to the turn-around at Nadaburg Elementary. We recently improved our school to a "B," and I can say without a doubt that the tax-credit funds used for before- and after-school tutoring was critical to our success," Mr. McCandish stated.
He noted his teaching staff volunteers to run the after-school clubs and programs.
Nadaburg officials noted that donations can be split between Nadaburg and Desert Oasis Elementary, 17161 W. Bajada Road.
Extracurricular activities are school-sponsored activities that require enrolled students to pay a fee to participate, according to Educational or recreational activities that supplement the school's educational programs are considered to be extracurricular activities. ARS 15-342.24 requires each district school board to determine which activities are extracurricular and what fees will be levied.

Arizona Charter Academy

Melissa Holdaway of Arizona Charter Academy hopes taxpayers will consider donating to her charter school.
"We really need tax credits," Ms. Holdaway stated in a text message. "They help fund programs that are above and beyond our budget, such as tutoring, sports, art and service learning projects, such as cleanup days, and our annual trip to San Carlos to build a home for a needy family."







editor@din.us1.dti Fri, 28 Dec 2012 23:49:39 GMT
Glendale Glitters to host rockin' block party

The most wonderful time of year ends with a dazzling display of lights and balloons.

Glendale Glitters concludes with a rockin’ block party 4-10 p.m. Jan. 12  in downtown Glendale.

People have a final chance to view 1.5 million lights along with more than 20 hot air balloons glowing brightly amidst the trees throughout 16 blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale, according to a city press release. The dazzling scene of vibrant glowing colors and twinkling lights, combined with musical performances and delicious food and beverages, will be a feast for the senses.

City officials anticipate thousands of people to stroll along the closed downtown streets and watch tethered balloons, enjoying ten different bands performing rock, blues, reggae, country and jazz music as well as vibrant street performers for a climactic finale to a festive season.

Glendale Glitters has been one of my favorite holiday outings.

A preview video of the Glitter & Glow Block Party on YouTube is at:

For more information, call the Glendale Special Events Hotline at 623-930-2299 or visit

editor@din.us1.dti Fri, 21 Dec 2012 01:19:44 GMT
Festival of Cheer this weekend

People looking for something neat to do this weekend may want to visit the Festival of Cheer 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 in Peoria.

The event, benefitting Benevilla, a nonprofit organization with services that include five adult day care centers, caregiver support, emergency response systems, support groups, information and referral, and various other senior services, includes free activities with admission tickets.

The Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 N. 83rd Ave., hosts the event.

Children 6 and younger are free, $5 for children and $7 for adults. A $20 family 4-pack is available.

People may enjoy numerous dance performances, games, crafts, vendor booths and more. There will be an official Warner Bros. booth that will showcase the upcoming movie, "The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey."

For more information, call 623-584-4999.

editor@din.us1.dti Wed, 05 Dec 2012 23:29:09 GMT
AZ dove hunting season begins Sept. 1-15

Dove hunting season is around the corner and my husband will surely be waking up early to bag some birds to eat. I personally do not like the taste of dove, but my husband and oldest son will eat it. Yuck!

Arizona Game and Fish Department stated dove hunters will have access from sunrise to sunset Sept. 1-15 to about a million more acres of open unihabited lands within municipal boudaries. Daily dove bag limits are any combination of 10 mourning and white-wing doves.

“This is a great opportunity for families to hunt closer to home and for youth especially to connect with nature,” stated Jim Paxon, chief public information officer for Game and Fish, in a press release.

In 2011, State Sen. Frank Antenori, District 10 (Tucson), sponsored SB 1334 that the Legislature passed giving the Arizona Game and Fish Commission authority over regulating the use of firearms for the take of wildlife within municipal boundaries. According to the press release, last year in light of the new law, the commission established the areas open to hunting, which have stayed the same again this year. The department has continued to work closely with municipal governments and police departments in coordination for safe hunting in the established areas.

Hunters can download the regulations at

Game and Fish law enforcement officers cautioned these changes do not allow hunting in developed communities or neighborhoods – it is still unlawful per state law to discharge a firearm while hunting within ¼-mile of an occupied building, or to trespass on posted private lands. Shooting from, across or into a road or railway is also still prohibited by state law, according to the press release.

So those of you who have friends and family who like to hunt, now is a good time to buy rifle ammunition as presents. My husband's birthday is this week so I wonder what I will be buying him.



editor@din.us1.dti Tue, 28 Aug 2012 04:09:14 GMT
Cowabunga event sports fun in fundraising

Thank you, Cheryl Street and volunteers, of the annual Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce's "Cowabunga" summer fundraiser and networking event July 20 at the Westbrook Village Lakes Ballroom in North Peoria.

About 200 business and community members attended the fun-filled event that benefits the chamber. (See photos in the Aug. 1 Independents)

Committee members are: Ms. Street, chairwoman, Fiona Blake, Penny Bruns, Margaret (Peg) Chittenden, Dolly Collins, Frank Dias, Cindy Ellis, Tammy Fraser, Pat Horton, Kristin Jovic, Phil Kennedy, Jill Knaak, Angie Kreger, Del Scrivner, Chuck and Rosie Strange, Susan Tarentino, Carol and Ben Weber.

Below, Katie Erickson, office coordinator for Independent Newsmedia Inc., USA, West Valley, and Greg Garcia, national accounts coordinator, for Independent Newsmedia, Inc., USA, Arizona, visit with David Heiferhoff of the Baywatch Bovines.

Thank you to all who participated and supported the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce event. Independent Newsmedia is a proud member. For more information on the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce, visit


editor@din.us1.dti Wed, 25 Jul 2012 00:53:34 GMT
Peoria chamber sets golf ball drop

The Peoria Chamber of Commerce is preparing for a fun-filled golf tournament.

The fourth annual event kicks off 7 a.m. Sept. 21 with a sunrise breakfast and a hot air balloon golf ball drop at Westbrook Village Golf Club (Lakes). The winning golf ball(s) splits the total raised with the chamber to benefit the Peoria Education Foundation. Golf balls are selling at one for $10, five for $20, 15 for $50 and 40 for $100. Those interested in purchasing golf balls should visit or call 623-979-3601.

The Peoria Chamber of Commerce requests donations of used golf balls for the fundraiser. The Independent is a drop-off location for the golf balls at 17220 N. Boswell Blvd., Sun City, 85373. Individuals do not need to play in the tournament to buy a golf ball.

For more information on Independent Newsmedia, Inc., USA, click here.



editor@din.us1.dti Tue, 26 Jun 2012 21:49:26 GMT
Teen makes early cancer detection breakthrough

Although this is not a community event, I couldn't resist sharing this heartwarming story of a boy who discovered how to detect cancers such as Pancreatic, Ovarian and Lung, "28 times cheaper and faster, and 100 percent more sensitive," according to Huffington Post reports.  

15-year-old Jack Andraka took first place, and a $75,000 prize, last month at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair. 

Mr. Andraka noted in a video he focused on Pancreatic cancer because his uncle had died from it. The paper detection method is patented, and for all parties concerned, hopefully will be in use sooner than later.

Statistics and research suggest earlier detection of cancer is crucial.   


editor@din.us1.dti Fri, 22 Jun 2012 17:48:17 GMT
Happy Birthday, Pat Horton!

Today I attended a birthday celebration for Sun City West’s very own Pat Horton, who turned 80. Those of you who know Pat, admire her for many reasons, including her willingness to give to others.

Each of us spoke about Pat, complimenting her on “being everywhere” (she is in about 22 networking groups), but also cheering for her as she supports many West Valley charities. Rather than receive birthday gifts, she requested that we make a donation to Eve’s Place.

Eve’s Place is a 501c3 nonprofit, providing emergency shelter to victims of domestic violence. People can support Eve’s Place by donating to Eve’s Treasures Thrift Store, 10765 W. Peoria Ave., Sun City, AZ. Call 623-583-1434. Proceeds benefit Eve’s Place. If you know someone who needs support, please give them the 24-hour local crisis hotline at 623-537-5380.

I recently spent several hours with Pat at the LGPA Legends Golf Tournament in Sun City West. She helped man our booth at the tournament. Pat shared several life experiences with me, but my favorite thought is what she tells retired people who are “bored” in the Sun Cities. Pat simply encourages them to volunteer for charities and organizations as there is always plenty to do.

Happy birthday, Pat.

editor@din.us1.dti Fri, 01 Jun 2012 01:26:44 GMT
Uptown Alley adds life to Surprise Pointe

My husband and I visited Surprise Pointe twice this weekend. We ate at Beef O'Brady's, and then saw "Marvel's The Avengers" at UltraStar Cinema. We were celebrating our anniversary a day early. When we arrived at Surprise Pointe the parking lot was packed. We thought it was for the movies, but quickly realized Uptown Alley had opened to the public. We highly recommend seeing "Marvel's The Avengers."
The next day, we continued our celebrating and brought our children to Las Fuentes and Uptown Alley. They absolutely loved it. We played laser tag and video games. We wanted to participate in bowling, but it was too busy. We'll visit again soon.
The official grand opening of Uptown Alley is Thursday, May 10 with a Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting 5-7 p.m..
According to Uptown Alley's website, it has something fun for everyone, including 40 lanes of bowling, an upscale restaurant, two bars, a sports theater, billiards, laser tag, more than 80 video and prize games, live entertainment, private party rooms and much more. There is a lounge experience for adults only.
We hope more businesses continue to lease space at Surprise Pointe and it becomes a mecca for entertainment.

editor@din.us1.dti Tue, 08 May 2012 02:11:55 GMT