Your West Valley News: Local news from Phoenix's West Valley communities - Sun City West, Sun City Grand, Surprise, Glendale, Peoria, El Mirage, Youngtown

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  • Surprise Police partner for drug awareness symposium at CCV

    From 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 13 the Surprise Police are partnering with the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, Drug Free AZ Kids and Christ Church of the Valley to host a community drug awareness symposium, “The 2016 Drug Symposium.”This informative program will be hosted at the CCV Church Surprise campus, 14787 West Cholla St.The department has learned by past experiences how very important it can be to increase the public’s awareness of drugs and how drugs can negatively impact the community.This particular program is aimed at providing a clearer understanding of the dangers of drugs and providing those in attendance with tools on how to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with drug abuse. This is a community problem and all need to work together to solve.The public is welcome to join the police department and their community partners at the symposium. This is a free program.Call 623-222-4422 for information.

  • Glendale wants resident input on downtown entertainment area

    The city of Glendale is considering the adoption of a designated Entertainment District pertaining to the issuance of liquor licenses in the Downtown Glendale area and is conducting a public input meeting to gather community feedback.Residents are welcomed and encouraged to provide input at a public meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 31 in City Council Chambers, 5850 W. Glendale Ave.Resident feedback counts For information or to take a brief online survey  visit by Sept. 2.

  • Sun Health Foundation awards $200,000 in scholarship funds to aspiring nurses

    Glendale resident Emily Florence is a multi-tasking marvel as she prepares and serves liquid refreshments to a stream of customers at the coffee stand in the lobby of Banner Boswell Medical Center.Amidst the flurry of activity, she manages to make small talk with each customer, calling many by name.Most if not all of these skills will come in handy in the not-so-distant future when Ms. Florence becomes a registered nurse, a lifelong dream. Her mother and grandmother are nurses.Thanks to a $2,500 scholarship provided by Sun Health Foundation donors, that dream is edging closer to reality. Florence is in her last year of a three-year bachelor’s of nursing program at Chamberlin College of Nursing.“This has really helped so much,” she said of the award. “Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”She’s not alone. Sun Health Foundation recently gave $200,000 in scholarship funds to nurses and aspiring nurses at Banner Boswell and Banner Del E. Webb medical centers. Each medical center received $100,000 in funds. Banner Boswell awarded 38 scholarships while Banner Del E. Webb awarded 40 scholarships.

  • Surprise opens registration for adult sports leagues

    The city of Surprise is now registering for several Adult Sports leagues, including:• Adult Basketball League – Games are scheduled to take place on Tuesday evenings beginning Sept. 13. League Play: 5 on 5. Team registration cost is $400.• Adult Kickball League – Games are scheduled to take place on Saturday evenings beginning Oct. 1. League Play: 10 on the field. Team registration cost is $200.• 4 on 4 Adult Flag Football League – Games are scheduled to take place on Sunday evenings beginning Oct. 3. League Play: 4 on 4. Team registration cost is $300.• Women’s Indoor Volleyball League – Games are scheduled to take place on Sundays beginning Oct. 2. League Play: 6 on 6. Team registration cost is $200.• Co-Ed 4 on 4 Sand Volleyball League - Games are scheduled to take place on Thursday Nights beginning Sept. 29. League Play: 4 on 4. Team registration cost is $160.

  • SCW Rec Centers launches new golf website

    The Recreation Centers of Sun City West will launch a new golf website on Wednesday night, so golfers will find a vibrant and colorful new presence awaiting them Thursday morning if they hit the web seeking information about the Association’s seven courses.The Rec Centers’ websites (, and have not been updated for a few years, so they are due for a makeover. Although the golf site is being updated first, the others will follow soon.The site is not to be confused with the new golf portal that was launched in June. The portal ( allows residents to log in and book tee times. A link to that portal will be available on the new site. Additionally, for Snowbirds who have been gone for the summer and missed the portal’s launch, instructions on how to set up an account on the new portal will be available on the site as well.Residents and guests are encouraged to check out the new site on Thursday morning. Once you’ve browsed through just some of the photos, we think you’ll agree, Sun City West sure has some gorgeous golf courses to flaunt!

  • Peoria offering outdoor programs at Lake Pleasant

    The city of Peoria’s Outdoor Recreation Program is sponsoring guided outdoor and nature education trips to Lake Pleasant’s Desert Outdoor Education Center. The half-day trip is for kids ages 8-12 and will be on Saturday, Sept. 17 from noon-4:45 p.m.Transportation is provided and a recreation leader chaperone is included. Cost is $45 for Peoria residents, and $54 for non-residents.Students will visit the Desert Outdoor Education Center, where they will rotate through three, hands-on 45-minute classes, led by professional park rangers:• Aquatic Life — Discover “invisible” aquatic communities living in our lakes and ponds as you examine living specimens under a microscope.• Desert Survival I — Learn lifesaving skills, such as how to build a fire, emergency shelter, and how to signal for help if ever lost in the desert.• Animal Adaptations — Learn how mammals use their physical characteristics to survive in the desert and how their adaptation differ from other creatures. Students will examine real mammal pelts, skulls, and tracks.

  • Sheriff: Man killed 5 with ax and gun in middle of the night

    CITRONELLE, Ala. (AP) — A man accused of slaying five people at an Alabama home brought an ax to attack his victims, striking one who had been sleeping in a reclining chair, and also used guns he took from the house to shoot them, an Alabama sheriff said Tuesday.Derrick Dearman entered the house in Citronelle before dawn Saturday, Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran told The Associated Press."They were down for the night sleeping, and he had enough familiarity with the house when he entered — I guess you could say in a rage — and he's disabling people as he's in there," Cochran said. "He was able to overpower them before they were able to protect themselves."An ax and a gun were used in the killings of each of the five adult victims, police allege in criminal complaints filed Tuesday in Mobile County District Court.On Monday, as Dearman was led to jail in shackles, he professed his love for the estranged girlfriend whose family and friends were massacred and blamed the killings on drugs.Speaking with reporters as he was escorted to jail by deputies in Mobile, Alabama, Derrick Dearman said Monday that he was on methamphetamine when he went to the house, on a dead-end dirt road.

  • California firefighters stretched thin as blazes sweep state

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's state fire department is stretched thin just as the bone-dry state enters the peak of its wildfire season, with vacancy rates exceeding 15 percent for some firefighters and supervisors. The vacancy rate is more than 10 percent for some fire engine drivers, according to statistics provided to The Associated Press.A five-year drought and changing weather patterns have transformed what once was a largely summertime job into an intense year-round firefight, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Janet Upton."It's not the old days where we were a seasonal department with a season that lasted a few months," she said. "It's an increasingly challenging job, no thanks to Mother Nature and climate change."The shortage means that the state firefighting department is forced during weather conditions fanning large blazes to keep firefighters on duty for long hours as they do backbreaking, dangerous work trying to put out massive wildfires that have become bigger and more frequent in recent years.Nearly 25 percent of departing employees over the last two years have told officials they quit for better-paying jobs with other firefighting agencies, according to the statistics provided to the AP by CalFire.The union that represents the state firefighters who fight fires outside urban and suburban areas blamed low pay, as more than 100 members, families and representatives of other unions protested in Sacramento on Monday.

  • Private lives are exposed as WikiLeaks spills its secrets

    CAIRO (AP) — WikiLeaks' global crusade to expose government secrets is causing collateral damage to the privacy of hundreds of innocent people, including survivors of sexual abuse, sick children and the mentally ill, The Associated Press has found.In the past year alone, the radical transparency group has published medical files belonging to scores of ordinary citizens while many hundreds more have had sensitive family, financial or identity records posted to the web. In two particularly egregious cases, WikiLeaks named teenage rape victims. In a third case, the site published the name of a Saudi citizen arrested for being gay, an extraordinary move given that homosexuality is punishable by death in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom."They published everything: my phone, address, name, details," said a Saudi man who told AP he was bewildered that WikiLeaks had revealed the details of a paternity dispute with a former partner. "If the family of my wife saw this ... Publishing personal stuff like that could destroy people."WikiLeaks' mass publication of personal data is at odds with the site's claim to have championed privacy even as it laid bare the workings of international statecraft, and has drawn criticism from the site's allies.Attempts to reach WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange were unsuccessful; a set of questions left with his site wasn't immediately answered Tuesday. In a tweet responding to AP's story, the organization said the privacy allegations were "recycled" and "not even worth a headline."WikiLeaks' stated mission is to bring censored or restricted material "involving war, spying and corruption" into the public eye, describing the trove amassed thus far as a "giant library of the world's most persecuted documents."

  • Surprise sends 5 firefighters to battle California blazes

    Surprise Fire-Medical Department has sent five firefighters to two of the six major wildfires burning in the state of California.A captain from Surprise Fire-Medical was deployed along with four Avondale firefighters and a wildland fire engine from Avondale to the Rey Fire located in southern Santa Barbara County.The fire was reported to have started Aug. 18 and as of Sunday evening, has grown to 10,000 acres and is only 10 percent contained. The firefighters join 770 firefighting personnel currently assigned to the fire.Four Surprise Fire-Medical firefighters along with a SFMD wildland fire engine have been deployed to the Cedar Fire which has burned from Kern County into Tulare County.The Cedar Fire is located northeast of Bakersfield, and near the Sequoia National Forest and was reported to have started on Aug. 16. As of Sunday evening, the Cedar Fire has grown to 18,000 acres with numerous homes and structures threatened and is only 5 percent contained.About 1,200 firefighting personnel are currently assigned to this fire.

  • Fists not football: Brain injuries seen in domestic assaults

    CHICAGO (AP) — There are no bomb blasts or collisions with burly linemen in Susan Contreras' past. Her headaches, memory loss and bouts of confused thinking were a mystery until doctors suggested a probable cause: domestic violence.A former partner repeatedly beat her, she says."He would hit me mainly in the head so that nobody would see the injuries. He'd hit me in the back of the head so the bruises wouldn't show," the Phoenix woman said.The abuse from her ex-partner took a heavy emotional toll, Contreras says. But even though he sometimes knocked her out, she hadn't considered that her brain might have been as damaged as her psyche."Honestly, there's so many holes in my memory, thinking problems," she said. "My memory is really gone."Brain trauma in domestic violence survivors has been overshadowed by concerns about injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan war vets, and by effects of repeated head blows in football players. Experts believe many cases go undetected and untreated in abused women, making them vulnerable to problems with thinking, mood and behavior.

  • Some vacation spots quietly benefit as travelers avoid Zika

    NEW YORK (AP) — With government officials now warning pregnant women to avoid Miami Beach in addition to Puerto Rico, some sun seekers are desperately scrambling for a Zika-free vacation.And that has left other tourist destinations to capitalize — quietly.Travel experts say families worried about Zika are now looking to Arizona and Southern California to get some sun, along with cooler weather locales such as New England and Canada.The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes or through sex with an infected person. In pregnant women, a Zika infection can cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, where babies are born with a dangerously small head. In others, it can lead to Guillain-Barre, which can cause temporary paralysis and in rare instances, death. That was the case earlier this month of a man between 35 and 45 years old who died in Puerto Rico after being infected.Given that background, many would-be vacationers don't want to take the risk.Jen LeFante and her husband Chris are expecting their first child in March. The New Jersey couple had wanted to escape to Puerto Rico or the Florida Keys for some relaxation before the baby arrives.

  • Glendale wants resident input on downtown entertainment area

    The city of Glendale is considering the adoption of a designated Entertainment District pertaining to the issuance of liquor licenses in the Downtown Glendale area and is conducting a public input meeting to gather community feedback.Residents are welcomed and encouraged to provide input at a public meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 31 in City Council Chambers, 5850 W. Glendale Ave.Resident feedback counts For information or to take a brief online survey  visit by Sept. 2.

  • 'Miss Saigon' to appear on movie screens before Broadway

    NEW YORK (AP) — American audiences will get the rare chance to catch a sneak peek of the new "Miss Saigon" before it opens on Broadway next spring. They just have to go to a movie theater.A filmed version of the musical's live 25th-anniversary celebration in London will make its world premiere on some 175 U.S. movie theaters on Sept. 22, some six months before the same production with the same leading actors lands on Broadway.The show captured the performance at the Prince Edward Theatre in London's West End in September 2014 and was augmented by close-ups recorded a few months after the show closed there earlier this year.The same stars — Jon Jon Briones as The Engineer and Eva Noblezada as Kim — are slated to appear when the show opens at the Broadway Theatre in March, but mega-producer Cameron Mackintosh isn't worried the broadcast will cannibalize fans."It encourages business," he said. "This is the greatest cinematic trailer for a theatrical production that's ever been produced. I could be wrong, but I defy anybody who loves the show and isn't bowled over by the film not to want to go.""Miss Saigon," a tragic Vietnam War love story inspired by Giacomo Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly," has songs by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, who also wrote "Les Miserables."

  • Counterfeit pain pills likely came to Prince illegally

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The disclosure that some pills found at Prince's Paisley Park home and studio were counterfeit and contained the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl strongly suggests the pills came to the superstar musician illegally.But exactly how Prince obtained the drugs is still unknown, four months after he collapsed in an elevator on April 21 and died of an accidental fentanyl overdose. Authorities have so far revealed little about their investigation, saying it's active and moving forward.Former prosecutors and defense attorneys who are familiar with drug investigations say it's likely someone will be prosecuted, whether or not Prince knew he was consuming illegal drugs."They will not say it was just Prince's fault and let it go at that," said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago now in private practice.An official close to the investigation told The Associated Press on Sunday that some of the pills found at Paisley Park were falsely labeled as a common generic painkiller similar to Vicodin but actually contained fentanyl. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, also said that records show Prince did not have a prescription for any controlled substances in Minnesota in the last 12 months.The only way to get fentanyl — a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more powerful than heroin — is through a legal prescription, or illegally from the black market, said Joe Tamburino, a Minnesota defense attorney.

  • Mormon church opposes plan for futuristic, green communities

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The utopic communities envisioned by a wealthy Mormon businessman near religious landmarks in Utah and Vermont would feature small homes clustered around community gardens and focus on walkability to reduce the need for cars.David Hall's effort to build sustainable communities is years away from reality but took a hit this week when the Mormon church denounced his plans, modeled after church founder Joseph Smith's vision from 1833. Hall is unfazed, vowing to press ahead with the developments that will welcome non-Mormons and urge people to consume less.The Church of Jesus Christ of Christ of Latter-day Saints has concerns about the communities affecting existing neighborhoods and the longstanding relationships the religion has with those residents, spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement. The project is not associated with the church in any way, he said."The church makes no judgment about the scientific, environmental or social merits of the proposed developments," Hawkins said. "However, for a variety of reasons, we are not in favor of the proposal."Hall said he's not surprised because he believes church leaders are not forward-thinking and worry about their image. Their stance allows him to tout that his communities are not influenced by the church and not designed to be Mormon enclaves, he said."I'm not running for office and I'm not trying to be a missionary, so I don't care what people think," Hall said. "I'm looking for long-term good."

  • Old steel mill will soon be world's largest vertical farm

    NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Stacks of leafy greens are sprouting inside an old brewery in New Jersey."What we do is we trick it," said David Rosenberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of AeroFarms. "We get it thinking that, if plants could think: 'All right, this is a good environment, it's time to grow now.'"AeroFarms is one of several companies creating new ways to grow indoors year-round to solve problems like the drought out West, frost in the South or other unfavorable conditions affecting farmers. The company is in the process of building what an industry group says is the world's largest commercial vertical farm at the site of an old steel mill in New Jersey's largest city.It will contain 12 layers of growth on 3½ acres, producing 2 million pounds of food per year. Production is set to begin next month."We want to help alleviate food deserts, which is a real problem in the United States and around the world," Rosenberg said. "So here, there are areas of Newark that are underprivileged, there is not enough economic development, aren't enough supermarkets. We put this farm in one of those areas."The farm will be open to community members who want to buy the produce. It also plans to sell the food at local grocery stores.

  • Hiring was healthy in past year in many US swing states

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring has been strong in the past year in many presidential campaign swing states, a possible hurdle for GOP candidate Donald Trump, who has sought to capitalize on economic distress.Employers have added jobs in the past 12 months at a faster pace than the national average in Colorado, Florida, Michigan and North Carolina, the Labor Department said Friday.Job gains have been solid but slightly below the national rate in other battleground states, such as Ohio and Virginia.On a monthly basis, hiring rose significantly in 15 states in July compared with June, the government said. The biggest percentage gains were in North Dakota, Vermont and Maine. The only state to lose a large number of jobs in July was Kansas, which shed 5,600.Hiring was healthy nationwide in July, with employers adding 255,000 jobs, following a gain of 292,000 in June, the most in eight months. The U.S. unemployment rate is 4.9 percent.Nationwide, total jobs rose 1.7 percent in July from a year earlier. That is down from a 2 percent pace in 2015 and 2.2 percent in 2014, which was the healthiest two-year increase since 1998 and 1999.

Featured columns

  • LETTER: Williams pledges to bring in jobs

    It has been an honor to serve the city of Surprise since 2008 as your District 3 councilman. My pledge today, as I humbly ask for your vote, is to ensure we have opportunities to continue to build a skilled workforce, improve transportation in and out of our city, assure we have a safe city, support excellence in education, and provide quality of life amenities for families. Ninety percent of the Surprise workforce leaves our city every day. This is characteristic of a bedroom community, not who we want to be.For the sake of residents today and in the future, whether you’re retired or beginning a career, building a community that will drive the development of head of household opportunities must be a top priority. Every politician seems to preach promises of connectivity to residents, bridging the gaps, and bringing in jobs. This is the essence of the role as council member.However it cannot be campaign rhetoric, it has to be backed up with action, otherwise it simply becomes empty promises. I know what needs to be done in the role of a strategic policy maker to improve our entire community.We live in a great city with clean streets and safe neighborhoods. We offer great opportunities for all ages, thanks to affordable housing and low taxes. Whether you’re starting a family, or looking to enjoy retirement, Surprise is a great place to invest.However, the investment that many of us made over a decade ago, has not quite come to fruition. We are looking for more, we need more, want more from our city. After righting the ship through some tumultuous financial times, we now have some incredible opportunities to improving the quality of life for all. My commitment is to bring our community together and make decisions that will continue to improve quality of life for all.For working families like mine, for military families, for all engaged families, the daily grind gives us perspective on what the city needs and gaps we must fill. Life is busy for all of us, and I’m no different from any other family in Surprise.

  • LETTER: Resident criticism of Remley misguided

    At the last City Council meeting, a resident (Editor’s note: Olga Perez) gave an address to council, in which she admonished council candidate for District 4, Ken Remley, for his lack of taking action on the lighting issues in the Original Town Site.She stated that perhaps the children on the OTS are not as important as those in Litchfield Manor. She failed to realize that, as a candidate, Ken Remley has no authority over the council, or any of the city departments. In short, you cannot blame the candidate for the sins of the incumbent.What I can say, with confidence, is that Ken has great plans for the OTS.He wants to fix what is broken, and develop a renewed sense of community pride. He wants to represent all of District 4.Early ballots have been mailed out, and I am marking mine for Ken Remley….how about you?Ed Hanzel

  • LETTER: Resident objects to consolidation

    As a customer of EPCOR Water Co. and resident of Sun City, I strongly object to EPCOR’s recommendation for full consolidation of their water districts.We should not be expected to subsidize any other district. That is totally unfair. It would be like asking other districts to pay for our electricity.Sun City and Youngtown readers, write your commissioners. Refer to Docket No. WS-0130A-16-0145. Don’t waste time. Don’t let them waste your money.Sharon BartlettSun City

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