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  • Elks Ladies Auxiliary installs officers

    The Ladies Auxiliary of the Sun City Elks Lodge No. 2559 installed new officers for the 2014-15 fiscal year on March 30.Installing officer and president Leona Kankiewicz reported the auxiliary had contributed more than $12,850 to various charities, including Sun Health Foundation for Nursing Scholarships, the Valley View Community Food Bank, Arizona Elks Association Major Projects, Christmas Children’s Shopping Spree, VA Bingo, Literacy Program at Park Ridge Elementary School and the DOVES, who support battered women. The auxiliary also documented more than 81 hours of voluntary service in community projects.• Micki Fischer profiles Northwest Valley residents and organizations in Your Turn. Email Your Turn submissions to her at mfischer@yourwestvalley.com.

  • West Valley gas prices soar

    Gas prices in the West Valley shot up more than any other area of the state in the last week, AAA Arizona reported Thursday.The 8-cent-per-gallon rise was 4 cents more than the statewide average increase and brings prices at the pump in the region to $3.45 cents a gallon. The statewide average is $3.46 per gallon, while the national average is up 5 cents to $3.66 per gallon, according to AAA.Two weeks remain before refiners must switch to producing summer gasoline on May 1, AAA officials said, and the changeover itself increases the chances that an unplanned disruption to production may take place.AAA stated in a release that those issues have been minimal so far this spring, and have not affected Arizona fuel prices. Suppliers also tend to draw down their supplies of gasoline at this time of year so as not to be left with fuel they can no longer sell after May 1, according to AAA.“Despite recent increases, current fuel prices are below year-ago levels,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “Arizona is in a pretty decent position with the ninth-lowest fuel average in the country.”

  • Peoria offers summer sports

    Peoria is registering participants for upcoming summer adult programs in basketball and flag football.Registration for both sports runs through May 14.The basketball season begins June 2 and flag football starts June 4.Basketball teams will play nine regular-season games followed by single-elimination playoffs.League play is available on Sunday mornings and Monday and Wednesday evenings.Cost per team is $450.

  • Police report drop in crime in Glendale

    The Glendale Police Department this week reported “significant decreases” in violent and property crimes.The Uniform Crime Reporting statistics provided to the FBI by the Glendale Police Department for 2013 revealed the drop, which Glendale Police Chief Debora Black attributed to “the efforts of the men and women of the department dedicated 24/7 to the safety of all members of our community.“We cannot, however, rest on our laurels. We will continue to evaluate our methods and effectiveness in an effort to continue this downward trend and reduction in crime, continuing to make Glendale a safe community.”Part 1 Violent Crimes (which include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) for the period of Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013 showed an overall 19 percent decline from the same time period in 2012, with dramatic decreases shown in robbery (down 19 percent) and aggravated assault (down 20 percent). Overall Part 1 violent crimes in Glendale are at the lowest level they’ve been in the past five years for the same time period, the statistics show.In addition, Part 1 Property Crimes (which include burglary, theft, auto theft and arson) for the period of Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013 showed an overall 9 percent decline from the same time period in 2012, with even larger increases shown in burglary (down 14 percent) and auto theft (down 15 percent).Michael White, an associate professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, attributes the crime declines in Glendale to the police department’s commitment to innovative policing strategies.

  • PUSD picks 4 new principals

    The Peoria Unified School District welcomes new administrators recently approved by the governing board for the 2014-15 school year:  • Becky Berhow will take the helm as principal at Desert Harbor Elementary School. Berhow has served as the Assistant Principal at Desert Harbor since 2011. She began her employment in the district in 1997 as a teacher at Copperwood Elementary School. Berhow taught sixth- through eighth-grade reading, social studies and math. She was promoted to Assistant Principal in 2007 at Frontier Elementary and then transferred to Desert Harbor.• Kristen Balthis will join Canyon Elementary School as the principal. Balthis is an Assistant Principal in the Glendale Elementary District. She began her teaching career in Peoria Unified, first at Oasis Elementary School, in 1998. After six years as an elementary teacher at Oasis, Balthis transferred to Sahuaro Ranch Elementary where, in addition to teaching sixth-grade, she was grade-level chair and student council adviser.• Curtis Smith will join Peoria Elementary School as the principal. Smith currently serves as Principal in Vancouver, Wash., at ALKI Middle School. Smith began teaching in Vancouver at the Roosevelt and Harney Elementary Schools in grades first- through fourth as well as gifted. He was promoted to Principal at Ogden Elementary School in 2002 and transferred to ALKI Middle School where he implemented instructional support for math, specifically at the sixth-grade level, which resulted in a 10 percent increase in test scores the first year.• Tom Green will take the position of Principal at Lake Pleasant Elementary School. Green is a principal in the Davenport Community School District in Iowa. Green began his career as an elementary school teacher. His development into administration included being a Title I Grant Manager, a District Trainer of Mentors and a Curriculum Facilitator. In 2005, Green accepted his first Principal assignment at Harrison Elementary School. In 2007, Green moved to Arizona and was the Principal at Copper Trails in the Avondale School District. He returned to Iowa in 2012.

  • 10/13 Communications to acquire Tucson Weekly, Inside Tucson Business

    Wick Communications has entered into a preliminary agreement to sell its Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business publications to 10/13 Communications. Terms of the transaction were not announced. Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger and acquisition firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is representing Wick Communications in the transaction.Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business are the leading alternative and business publications in the greater Tucson marketplace. Tucson Weekly has distribution of approximately 40,000 in the greater Tucson area and 2.4 million annual unique website visitors. Inside Tucson Business is published weekly and has total qualified circulation of nearly 5,000.Earlier this month 10/13 Communications LLC acquired three other local publications, Marana News, Foothills News, Desert Times and related websites from Tucson West Publishing, Inc. a division of News Media Corporation.“The addition of Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business is great for our company and for increasing our reach and effectiveness for advertisers in the Tucson market,” said Randy Miller, president of 10/13 Communications.  “With these publications and websites, along with the Explorer that dominates the northwest area and our other recent acquisitions, our Tucson Local Media group is positioned to be the No. 1 media company in Tucson.”10/13 Communications publications boast hyper-local reporting and an innovative distribution model.  Its Arizona Local Media group includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning East Valley Tribune, the Daily News-Sun, Glendale Today, Peoria Today, Surprise Today, Ahwatukee Foothills News, Clipper Marketplace and U and Your Home in Phoenix, together with the Arizona Interactive Media Group, and the Explorer, Marana News, Foothills News and Desert Times in suburban Tucson. 10/13 Communications also publishes 40 newspapers in Texas through Star Local Media in Dallas and its Houston Community Newspapers group.

  • Hospital visits fell after seniors secured drug coverage

    Eleven years ago Bob Bennett, then a Republican senator from Utah, made a fiscal sales pitch for including prescription drugs in Medicare coverage for seniors.“Medicare says if you go to the hospital and run up a bill of however many tens of thousands of dollars to stay that many days, we will pay for it,” he said in June 2003. “But if you take the pill that makes the hospital visit unnecessary, we will not. That clearly doesn’t make sense.”Researchers at the University of Illinois and the Johns Hopkins University have made the broadest test yet of Medicare Part D prescription drug program’s promise — that covering drugs would keep seniors out of the hospital.Comparing national records from before and after 2006, when Part D kicked in, they found that drug coverage was associated with an 8 percent drop in hospital admissions and nearly as much in hospital-cost savings — an amount they calculate to be $1.5 billion a year.But here’s what they didn’t find: any difference in death rates between the seniors who had access to drugs under Part D and those who didn’t. They thought broader drug coverage might reduce mortality.“It’s somewhat surprising that we didn’t see a mortality effect, given that we did see decreases in hospitalization,” co-author Robert Kaestner, an economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in an interview.

  • Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

    ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets, where broken windows and debris fell, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday. The quake was felt strongly in the resort city. "There is a crisis of panic," said Alicia Dominguez, who answered the phone at the civil protection office. "It's mainly the tourists who are shaken." Civil protection officials were patrolling the city to check for damage and casualties. The quake struck 170 miles southwest of Mexico City, which shook for at least 30 seconds as people were enjoying a day off. People fled high rises and took to the streets, where some were seen in bathrobes and pajamas talking to relatives on their cellphones. "I started to hear the walls creak and I said, 'Let's go,'" said Rodolfo Duarte, 32, who fled his third-floor apartment. "This is really strong," said Gabriel Alejandro Hernandez Chavez, 45, an apartment building guard in central Mexico City. "And I'm accustomed to earthquakes." The USGS initially calculated the quake's magnitude at 7.5, but later downgraded it to 7.2. It said the quake was , the quake's center was 15 miles deep. Federal civil protection officials said the quake was felt across at least a half-dozen states. "There are some broken windows, but so far we have no dead or injured," said Ricardo de la Cruz, director general of the Civil Protection Agency. Mexico City is vulnerable even to distant earthquakes because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds that quiver as quake waves hit. The magnitude-8.1 quake in 1985 that killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in Mexico City was centered 250 miles away on the Pacific Coast.

  • Phoenix Art Museum director to retire

    PHOENIX (AP) — The longtime director of the Phoenix Art Museum is retiring after more than 30 years at the helm. James Ballinger informed museum board members and staff of his decision to retire Thursday. Ballinger says he will stay on until a successor is found. But he will likely remain through December, which would mark his 40th anniversary with the museum. Ballinger started as a curator in 1974 at the 285,000-square-foot facility and became director in 1982. A committee will retain a national search firm to help look for a successor. Museum officials say Ballinger has helped oversee nearly 500 exhibitions and expanded the collection to 10,000 objects.

  • Progress reported with blaze in southern Arizona

    SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) — Progress is being reported in the fight against a wildfire burning near Sierra Vista in southeastern Arizona. Fire managers report that the Brown Fire in the Huachuca Mountains is now 25 percent contained. That's after low fire behavior Thursday allowed firefighters to strengthen containment lines as helicopters dropped water on the fire. More than 400 people are assigned to the fire, including 10 ground crews. Helicopters and air tankers also are available. Fire managers say no structures are currently threatened but residents of canyon areas have been told to be ready to evacuate. The fire is estimated at 240 acres. It's burning in brush and timber in steep and rugged terrain, mostly on Fort Huachuca, an Army base, and in the Coronado National Forest. The fire started April 13.

  • Sharper loses Arizona bid to be released on bail

    PHOENIX (AP) — Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper lost his bid Thursday to be released on bail in a sexual assault case after an Arizona judge found there's enough evidence to move forward with charges against him in that state. Sharper's lawyers had questioned the evidence authorities are using to justify keeping him in jail in California, where he faces separate charges that he drugged and raped two women in October after meeting them at a West Hollywood nightclub. A California judge had set Sharper's bail at $1 million but ruled in March that Sharper should remain in jail without bail after the Super Bowl champion was indicted in Arizona on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted two women in November. His lawyers had hoped to win a favorable ruling from the Arizona judge to persuade the California judge to set him free on bail. But after two days of arguments in Phoenix, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville found there is sufficient evidence to pursue the Arizona case against Sharper. The Arizona Constitution automatically denies bail to people charged with sexual assault if the proof against them is evident or the presumption of guilt is great. The move was the latest development in several ongoing sexual assault investigations involving Sharper in Louisiana, California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada. The indictment filed last month in Arizona alleges that Sharper gave the sedative zolpidem to three women and then had "sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact" with two of them without their consent on Nov. 21 at an apartment in Tempe. The drug is commonly sold under the brand name Ambien. Sharper has not yet entered a plea in the case, although one of his attorneys has said Sharper will deny those allegations. He has pleaded not guilty in the California case. Earlier this month, Granville denied a request from Sharper's attorneys to set bail, ruling that he didn't have jurisdiction until the former player was in Arizona. But Sharper's attorneys argued that the former player was entitled to a hearing to determine whether Arizona prosecutors have enough evidence to deny him bail. On Wednesday, Tempe police detective Kevin Mace said Sharper's DNA was recovered from the clothing of one of the two sexual assault victims in Arizona, but none of his DNA was found during an exam of the other woman. The detective also said a police search of the apartment turned up a shot glass with a white residue that turned out to be zolpidem, and California investigators discovered that Sharper had a prescription for the drug. On Thursday, Sharper's attorneys said their client did not make the drinks that authorities say he used to drug the women, and that neither woman suffered physical injuries. Prosecutors pointed out that sexual assault victims sometimes don't suffer physical injuries, and that both women were assaulted while unconscious after being drugged.

  • Judge: MCSO staff to get corrected on Arpaio case

    PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge has ordered Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to immediately issue a statement correcting mischaracterizations his staff made about court findings in a racial-profiling case, according to court documents filed Thursday. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow said a new summary of key findings would be given to employees in Arpaio's office without the sheriff's signature of approval. Snow last year concluded Arpaio's office systematically racially profiled Latinos in its immigration and regular traffic patrols. Arpaio has appealed the ruling. The judge said he could no longer wait for Arpaio to help write a corrective statement. "The misinformation, misunderstanding, and confusion caused by the inaccurate statements and inappropriate training that has occurred throughout the MCSO cannot wait until such future training or briefing may be approved and implemented to be corrected," Snow wrote. "They require immediate attention." Arpaio said Thursday he has already directed all personnel to read the seven-page statement. He said "the court should have every confidence that I will direct this activity to its timely completion." In the past month, two sheriff's officials admitted to erroneously summarizing Snow's findings. Deputy Chief David Trombi was summoned by Snow after a video showed Trombi making several misstatements at a March 15 community meeting, such as saying the judge found deputies had detained Hispanic drivers 14 seconds longer than non-Hispanics. Trombi also said that Snow based his court findings on the fact that only two sheriff's deputies used race as a factor in determining whether to arrest someone. Snow last month chided Arpaio and Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan for similar errors. Arpaio and Sheridan had initially agreed to join with the plaintiffs in the case to draft a document accurately correcting all the misstatements. However, in court documents, Snow says the sheriff backed off signing the statement because of subsequent news coverage. In addition, Arpaio said he would only give signed approval if certain changes were made, according to Snow. The judge said Arpaio submitted changes he wanted but past a court-mandated deadline to get approval from the court and the plaintiffs. However, Arpaio said he was satisfied that the statement was being issued without his signature. "The court previously requested my signature to be part of this statement, which I opposed. So I am pleased that today the court recognized my position on the matter and my signature will be not a part of this statement," Arpaio said. The judge ordered that all Marciopa County Sheriff's Office personnel, including volunteer posse members, read the summary within the next two weeks. Employees then must sign a form stating that they read and understand the summary. The Sheriff's Office will provide copies of the forms to a court-appointed monitor who is also tasked with overseeing new training. Under Snow's ruling, Arpaio's office is required to install video cameras in hundreds of patrol vehicles, set up a seven-person team of sheriff's employees to help implement the judge's orders, and carry out additional training to ensure officers aren't making unconstitutional traffic stops. Snow also ordered all Sheriff's Office command staff with a ranking of sergeant or higher to read the judge's initial 142-page order outlining the findings of the case. They will also have to sign a form stating that they read and understood it. The monitor will verify everyone's compliance, even if it means questioning Marciopa County Sheriff's Office personnel, Snow said. Snow set a status conference in the case for May 7. He said if this order has still not been fully implemented, he may require Arpaio to appear for questioning.

  • Summer Movie Fun for kids returns to Harkins

    Harkins Theatres’ annual kid’s movie program, Summer Movie Fun, kicks off May 26.Season tickets are on sale at the box office. Season tickets are $7 for all 10 movies -- that’s 70 cents per movie. Individual tickets can be purchased on the day of show for $2 each. Doors open at 9 a.m., and all shows begin at 9:45 a.m. The program runs through Aug. 1.This summer’s roster of movies is: “Escape from Planet Earth,” “Epic,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” “The Smurfs 2,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Turbo,” “The Croods,” “Horton Hears a Who,” “Lego Movie” and “Free Birds.”Participating theaters are:Arrowhead Fountains 18Park West 14    

  • Desert Foothills Theater presents ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

    Desert Foothills Theater, a division of the Foothills Community Foundation, presents a special youth theater production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” running May 2 through 11 at the FCF-Holland Cabaret Theater, 34250 N. 60th St., Building B, in north Scottsdale.Directed by Amy Serafin, the DFT production of William Shakespeare’s comedy follows the (mis)adventures of assorted royals, wood spirits and actors over the course of one long night in a mysterious forest.“This is not your musty, dusty Shakespeare,” Serafinsaid. “It’s the timeless tale re-imagined, re-thought and re-envisioned for today’s audience. It’s a fresh new take, brought to life by an exciting and energetic young cast and crew who challenge you to put aside your notions of what it means to be a ‘classic.’”Performances are May 2 and 9 at 7 p.m.; May 3 at 2 p.m.; May 10 at 7 p.m.; and May 4 and 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $21 for adults and $11 to $16 for youth and students. A special 2 p.m. performance featuring a Q&A after the show will take place May 4. Purchase tickets before midnight Friday and receive an early-purchase discount.Group sale discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Visit www.dftheater.org or call 480-488-1981.

  • Chamber orchestra, All Stars plan blended concert

    For the fourth consecutive year, the Sun City Chamber Orchestra, under the musical direction of George Zoske, and the 20-piece All Stars Stage Band, under the musical direction of Dan Reed, will present a joint concert at 7 p.m. April 29 at the Congregational Church of Sun City, 18401 N. 99th Ave.For information, call 623-977-4241.The orchestra will feature beloved pops music and other favorites to begin the program.Following the Sun City Chamber Orchestra portion of the concert, the All Stars will finish the program in their typical “barn burner” Big Band style of dance/stage music.The concert is free and open to the public with open seating. Baskets will be available for contributions showing appreciation to these two musical groups after the concert.

  • iPhone edges Samsung in smartphone study

    New York • Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year’s model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s outperformed all of them in part because of its smaller size, a new study finds.The S5 scored well given its water resistance and a sturdy back panel made of plastic, according to SquareTrade, a provider of extended protection plans. The iPhone 5s won points for being just 4 inches diagonally, compared with about 5 inches for the Android phones. That makes the iPhone easier to grip and thus less likely to slip out of one’s hands.Nonetheless, all the smartphones tested had a medium risk of breakage, and differences between the various phones weren’t major.SquareTrade evaluated the phones based on such criteria as size, weight, grip and the quality of the front and back panels. The company measured how far the phones slide when pushed across a table on their backs and how well they withstand drops from 4 feet and being dunked in water for 10 seconds. Robots were used to ensure consistency.SquareTrade provided The Associated Press with the results ahead of this week’s announcement.The S5 scored a 6 on a 10-point durability scale, with 10 having the highest risk. The new HTC One phone scored a 6.5, while Google’s Nexus 5 had a 7. The iPhone 5s was at 5.5.

  • Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

    NEW YORK (AP) — Airline executives frequently complain about fuel costs. But the truth is higher prices actually have been good for business. In the past six years, airlines have overhauled the way they operate to adjust to this new reality. They've shown more discipline by offering fewer seats, which ensures airfares are high enough to cover costs. Unprofitable routes have been eliminated. And every expense has been scrutinized. These changes, along with high oil prices, have created an insurmountable roadblock to startup airlines that hope to undercut established carriers. "Traditionally, it was too easy to start an airline and too difficult to kill one off," says Jamie Baker, an airline analyst with JPMorgan Chase. No more. A decade ago, airlines were paying just $1.42 a gallon for fuel, when adjusted for inflation. Last year, they paid an average of $3.03 a gallon, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Fuel now accounts for more than a third of airlines' expenses, overtaking salaries, wages and benefits as the single biggest line item. U.S. carriers burned through 16 billion gallons of jet fuel last year at cost of $48.4 billion. That's up nearly $23 billion from 10 years ago — when the airlines consumed 2 billion more gallons of fuel. So why is this good? High oil prices forced the major airlines to do business differently. They grounded older, gas-guzzling jets. Then they charged extra for checking baggage and raised other fees. More passengers were packed into planes and mergers helped push airfares higher. The average cost of a roundtrip domestic ticket — including baggage and reservation change fees — grew to $378.62 from $351.48 in the last five years, when adjusted for inflation. All of that has them on pace for a fifth consecutive year of profits. A big reason for the streak: The majors aren't facing the myriad of fly-by-night start-ups that disrupted their business in the past. Low-cost carriers like PeopleExpress and ValueJet used to be able to enter markets, charge a lot less to fly and push the established carriers out. 'An equalizer' Now — since fuel is such a great expense — that doesn't happen anymore, said Scott Kirby, president of American Airlines, at a recent aviation symposium in Phoenix. "It's an equalizer," Kirby said. Skybus Airlines launched in May 2007 promising to sell at least 10 seats on each of its flights for $10. By the following April, a spike in fuel prices proved fatal and the airline shut down operations overnight. Without that competition, legacy carriers have avoided fare wars and kept ticket prices high. "This represents the longest post-deregulation stretch that nobody has started a new airline in the United States," Baker says. Virgin America was the last major new U.S. carrier. But since it started flying in August 2007, the San Francisco-based airline has lost hundreds of millions of dollars. It didn't post its first annual profit until last year and that was only after it stopped its rapid expansion. Efficiency in the skies Jeff Knittel, president of transportation and international finance at CIT, which leases planes to airlines, says the high fuel costs has created a financial discipline among carriers that has made them look closely at every expense — in the air and on the ground. As part of their quest to reduce fuel consumption, airlines have replaced drink carts with new, lighter ones. Planes now taxi with only one engine running. And wingtips have been redesigned to reduce drag. "It has forced efficiency throughout the entire organization," Knittel says. High oil prices have also caused lenders to take a closer look at business models. In the past, they just considered the collateral — the airplane — that they were lending against. "It makes the merits of the airlines matter more than they have in the past," says Hunter Keay, an airline analyst with Wolfe Research. Airlines are only expanding to cities where they know they can make money, limiting competition and keeping everybody's flights profitable. Instead of fighting to become the largest airline in a city, airlines are now making rational decisions based on profitability. "The only universal disciplinarian across the entire global airline industry is high oil prices," Keay says. "It makes even the bad actors make hard choices."

  • Extended car warranties are expensive gamble

    Looking for an easy way to save hundreds on your next new car and simplify the buying process at the same time? Skip the extended warranty, says Consumer Reports.The dealer will probably try hard to sell you one, telling horror stories about the thousands of dollars it can cost to replace an engine or transmission. But the odds are you’ll never need the coverage, and even if you do, the money you’ll save in repairs won’t come close to what you paid for the added warranty.A recent Consumer Reports survey found that 55 percent of owners who purchased an extended warranty hadn’t used it for repairs during the lifetime of the policy, even though the median price paid for the coverage was just over $1,200. And, on average, those who did use it spent hundreds more for the coverage than they saved in repair costs.Among survey participants who used their policy, the median out-of-pocket savings on repairs covered by extended warranties for all brands was $837. Based on a $1,214 average initial cost, that works out to a net loss of more than $375. Factoring those who didn’t use their policy, the median savings was zero. And that may have something to do with why satisfaction with automobile extended warranties is among the lower Rated of all products and services surveyed by Consumer Reports, and why only about a quarter of respondents said they would definitely get it again.Conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center in late 2013, the survey included responses from more than 12,000 Consumer Reports subscribers who purchased an extended warranty. The survey covers vehicles built during model years 2006 to 2010. Consumer Reports targeted those years to focus on vehicles that are typically no longer covered by a traditional three-year new-car factory warranty.RELIABILITY AND SATISFACTION

Featured columns

  • OPINION: Ike had it right

    ‘Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H.L. Hunt ... a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible, and they are stupid.”- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a 1954 letter to his brother Edgar.Pity the poor plutocrats, victims of the envious mob. You can hardly open the Wall Street Journal these days without reading a self-pitying screed by some billionaire hungry for love.A while back it was venture capitalist Tom Perkins, who equated criticism of the wealthy with the Holocaust.“I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich,’” he opined in a letter to the newspaper.Makes sense to me. One day they’re saying Wall Street bankers should pay the same tax rate as the guys who rotate their tires; next day they’re flinging them into concentration camps. Soon billionaires will be hiding in attic penthouses, quietly fondling stock certificates. Their limos will be disguised as UPS trucks, their yachts as humble tugboats.

  • OPINION: 2 words can can be time consuming in court

    Debt collection. These two words can conjure images of a time-consuming and potentially complicated process for either party involved — the plaintiff seeking to recover monies owed, or the defendant who is disputing such an allegation.That being the case, this is one of the most common types of civil actions filed in the Arrowhead Justice Court.The jurisdictional limit for a civil action in an Arizona justice court is capped at $10,000.  Frequent subject matters involve health care, auto loan and credit card debt. If a party, be it an individual or business entity, is of the opinion that the terms of a contractual agreement were violated and it is in default, they may file a complaint in justice court seeking a monetary judgment in their favor for the amount owed and/or return of physical property. Forcible Detainer actions (evictions) commonly involve both matters, but that will be the subject of a future column.In the pleadings, the plaintiff must specifically identify the terms of the financial contract and the manner in which it has been breached. Appropriate efforts must be made to serve the pleadings document upon the opposing party. If this is accomplished, the defendant, within a brief period of time, is required to submit his or her answer to the court and likewise provide a copy to the plaintiff. Failure to do so may result in the plaintiff pursuing a Default Judgment against the defendant.  Should the defendant properly contest the case, a mediation session will be scheduled in which both parties must come together in an effort to reach a mutually agreed upon settlement.The mediation session is oftentimes conducted by an objective individual with extensive training and valuable experience in these matters. It should be noted that failure by the plaintiff to take part in mediation could result in the defendant petitioning the court for a dismissal of the case. If the defendant fails to participate the plaintiff may, once again, petition the court for a default judgment.

  • A few of our favorite myths

    One of today’s big complaints is about how little the schools are teaching our children. Perhaps it’s time to examine how much of the historical facts we learned in school we would be better off not knowing.Columbus didn’t prove the earth was round. The earth had stopped being flat almost 2,000 years earlier, when Aristotle pointed out during an eclipse that the earth casts a spherical shadow on the moon. Sailors knew the earth was round because they could see the masts of ships disappear over the horizon, and land rise over the horizon as they approached it. His request of scholars at the University of Salamanca for assistance in obtaining funding for his voyages was turned down, not because of questions of the shape of the earth, but because his mathematics was wrong. He underestimated the circumference of the earth by about half. He never actually set foot on the continent of North America, did not know he had discovered a new continent, and thought the islands he discovered were off the coast of Asia.Most of the myths about Columbus originated in a biography by Washington Irving. Even discounting the Norsemen centuries earlier, Columbus may not have been the first to set foot in the New World. The English claim it was done a year earlier under their flag by John Cabot, who was actually an Italian named Giovanni Caboto, who kept such poor records that the claim remains in dispute and cannot be settled.The continents are named after Amerigo Vesucci, who is regarded as the first European to touch the American mainland, and the first to realize that it was a new continent not part of Asia. Unfortunately, his claims are also not accurate. He lied about beating Columbus to the mainland in an account of a voyage that was completely fabricated, and did not realize he was exploring a new world any more than Columbus did.In his poem “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” John Keats tells of “stout Cortez ... silent, upon a peak in Darien” discovering the Pacific Ocean. It wasn’t Cortez, it was Balboa who first saw the Pacific from the peak in Darien. Balboa wasn’t really the discoverer of the Pacific, he was the first to see it from the American side. The Asians, of course, certainly knew it, as well as numerous other Europeans for over 200 years before Balboa. Marco Polo is said to have sailed on the Pacific on his way to Java in the 13th century.Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan is credited with being the first person to circumnavigate the globe. He really didn’t. Partway through the trip he was killed in battle in the Philippines, and the voyage was completed without him.

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