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  • Easier to climb tower of Pisa than find the right striped shirt for Wilsons

    ITALY -- The tour to Pisa is a half-day beginning at 1:30 pm, so we have the morning free to have breakfast, do some organizing toward packing for tomorrow and leave early to find the tour meeting point.We made a request at the concierge desk for a taxi to the airport tomorrow morning at 4:30 (yawn!) for our 7:05 fight to Paris. We walked to Santa Maria Novella church on the way to meet the tour, but our 72 hours were up at 11:00 and it is now just past noon, so we stopped at a small coffee shop for a drink and pastry. We have been looking for a black and white striped shirt for me. They seem all the rage here, but even though we have stopped in many shops, we cant find one to buy. I am very particular as I want horizontal stripes, not vertical, and all the stripes, both black and white need to be the same size. It seems if we find the right pattern, the garment is a dress, and if we find a shirt, the stripes are different sizes. We have searched so many places, it has become a joke between us.  We check out a few more shops while we wait, gradually moving nearer the tour meeting site. There is a small yellow sign above the sidewalk identifying our street-side meeting place. We check in with the tour guide, using David's cellphone to show the voucher. My, but aren't we becoming quite the digital travelers! There is a large number of tourists for this trip and we are relieved to see a double-decker bus pull up and everyone gets boarded.

  • 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!

  • Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with her at State

    WASHINGTON (AP) — More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.Among those granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton's help with a visa problem; and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm's corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.The AP's findings represent the first systematic effort to calculate the scope of the intersecting interests of Clinton Foundation donors and people who met personally with Clinton or spoke to her by phone about their needs.The 154 did not include U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives. Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton charity, but they were not included in AP's calculations because such meetings would presumably have been part of her diplomatic duties.

  • As Trump tries minority outreach, many blacks unconvinced

    AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Black Republicans cheer Donald Trump for a newfound outreach to African-Americans, but say the GOP presidential nominee must take his message beyond arenas filled with white supporters and venture into the inner cities.Many rank-and-file black voters, meanwhile, dismiss the overtures as another racially charged pitch from a campaign aimed exclusively at whites, from Trump's emphasis on "law and order" to his withering critiques of President Barack Obama, the nation's first black chief executive. It was Trump in 2011 who fiercely challenged Obama's U.S. birth."Any minority who would vote for him is crazy, ought to have their head examined," said Ike Jenkins, an 81-year-old retired business owner in the predominantly black suburb of East Cleveland.Foluke Bennett, a 43-year-old from Philadelphia, went further, labeling the GOP standard-bearer's remarks as "racist," pointing, among other things, to his referencing African-Americans as "the blacks."Trump is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Jackson, Mississippi, an 80 percent African-American city and capital of the state with the nation's highest proportion of black residents. It is unclear whether he will address black voters directly; so far, his appeal to them has been delivered before white audiences in mostly white cities.Mississippi is overwhelmingly Republican because of whites' loyalties, as opposed to battlegrounds such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, states Obama won twice and where the largest cities offer at least a theoretical chance for Trump to pursue marginal shifts among significant black populations.

  • Obama vows support for Louisiana after the 'cameras leave'

    ZACHARY, La. (AP) — Standing amid piles of waterlogged debris, President Barack Obama on Tuesday promised a sustained national effort to rebuild flood-ravaged southern Louisiana "even after the TV cameras leave" on a visit aimed in part at stemming campaign-season criticism that he's been slow to respond to the disaster.As he toured a battered neighborhood and spoke to local officials, Obama tried to buck up beleaguered residents of the water-soaked region."This is not a one-off, this is not a photo-op issue. I need all Americans to stay focused on this," he said. "I know how resilient the people of Louisiana are and I know that you will rebuild again."Eleven years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Obama's visit was a reminder of the political dangers and opportunities natural disasters pose for politicians. The president has been criticized for waiting until after he returned from his New England vacation to tour the Gulf Coast flooding. The timing, amid a heated presidential campaign, drew barbs from some local officials and Republicans political opponents, including GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.Trump visited Baton Rouge on Friday, enjoying a warm reception and allowing him to cast the president as golfing while Louisianans suffered. It was a sentiment echoed by many in the area, many of whom have said they feel their plight has been ignored by the media."Too little too late," Mona Gaspard said of Obama's visit. The resident of Ascension Parish said she saw her home filled with 4 feet of water and resented what she saw from Obama. "I saw him play golf, not helping out over here. Trump was over here, but he wasn't," she said.

  • How EpiPen's maker raised prices, and hackles, so much

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Sky-high price hikes for EpiPen, the injected emergency medicine for severe allergic reactions to foods and bug bites, have made its maker the latest target for patients and politicians infuriated by soaring drug prices.The company, Mylan, has a virtual monopoly on epinephrine injectors, potentially life-saving devices used to stop a runaway allergic reaction. Mylan N.V., which has headquarters in Hertfordshire, England, and Pittsburgh, has hiked prices as frequently as three times a year over the past nine years, pushing its list price for a package of two syringes to more than $600.A look at the situation:Q: Who uses EpiPens?Roughly 40 million Americans have severe allergies to spider bites, bee stings and foods like nuts, eggs and shellfish. They at risk for a serious reaction — anaphylactic shock. Symptoms quickly escalate from wheezing, hives and skin swelling to rapid heartbeat, trouble breathing and convulsions and, without treatment, possibly death.As a precaution, many carry EpiPens, which contain the best "antidote," the hormone epinephrine. Last year, more than 3.6 million U.S. prescriptions for two-packs of EpiPens were filled, according to data firm IMS Health. That earned Mylan nearly $1.7 billion.

  • 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.

  • 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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