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  • Glendale residents sound off on chickens in residential areas

    Some say chickens make good pets and provide for healthy eating while others say they are noisy and dirty.Now it is up to Glendale to decide if residents in single-family homes can raise hens in their backyards. Currently the city allows for hens in areas zoned for agriculture, residential rural and suburban residence lots 12,000 square feet and larger. Roosters are not allowed.“I have not made a recommendation,” Planning Director Jon Froke told a crowd of about 80 at a neighborhood meeting last week. “We are still vetting this.”How many hens would be allowed on a property also has not been decided yet.Whether to amend the zoning ordinance to allow for the hens is tentatively expected to go to a Planning Commission workshop Sept. 1 for discussion. The City Council will have the final say on the issue.A majority of the audience members did not want backyard chickens, voicing concerns with attracting predators such as coyotes, effectiveness of city’s code compliance should there be a problem with a chicken owner and allergies to chicken feathers.

  • Surprise Police, Fire train at Valley Vista Saturday night

    Surprise Police and Fire Departments will be using Valley Vista High School on Saturday evening to conduct training activities.The large public safety presence is part of their ongoing training. The public can expect to see a number of vehicles in the Valley Vista High School parking lots and occasional noises from within the facility.Training will include students from Valley Vista’s Law Enforcement Career and Technical Education program and the Surprise Police Department’s Explorers program.No other students or staff will participate in the exercise and no other events will take place during this time.Dysart Unified School District continues to appreciate the continued partnership with the city of Surprise.

  • Surprise resident claims senior spelling bee

    S-I-N-E-C-U-R-E.Surprise resident Sharon Kapuscak spelled “sinecure” correctly to win the fifth annual Senior Spelling Bee, continuing the city’s hold on the title for a second straight year. And the United Kingdom’s as well.“That was so much fun,” Ms. Kapuscak said. “That logorrhea. I’m not sure even now if I would have got it right. So I was very pleased it stopped before me. Uxorious, I’m pleased that went.”Ms. Kapuscak was born and raised in London. Last year’s champion, Sally Charalambous, came from Yorkshire.Contestants went through 59 of the 140 words provided by Grace Bible Church Pastor Bill Bjork, two church members and Independent Newsmedia’s Jeremy Carr. Not quite half, but the format of the bee played a role in the use of few words.If a word were misspelled, the next person in order had to spell it as well. Once a person misspelled two words, they were eliminated.

  • Missing Glendale baby found safe, father arrested

    Friday morning Phoenix Police located the vehicle of a missing 32-year-old Glendale man near Third Ave and Indian School Road.Both Ramon Salas and his 10-month-old son, Abraham, were found in good health. They were reported missing Thursday afternoon and had been unaccounted for since about noon Wednesday.Mr. Salas was driving to pick up his girlfriend and mother of Abraham from work in East Phoenix and never arrived.He was found in possession of dangerous drugs when contacted and was subsequently arrested for the drugs and an endangerment charge for possessing the drugs while caring for the baby.The baby has been reunited with the mother and she did not seek any charges against the father, because she felt the baby was cared for while with the father.

  • First Things First applauds grandparents raising Arizona’s next generation

    The first Sunday after Labor Day is recognized as Grandparents’ Day in the United States.This year, the day falls on Sept. 11. As the nation celebrates Grandparents’ Day, First Things First applauds those grandparents who are parenting a second time around.Earlier this year, the Arizona Legislature proclaimed September as Grandfamily/Kinship Care Month, a time to recognize grandparents and other family members raising children who cannot be cared for by their own parents. State Senator Debbie Lesko sponsored the bill.In Arizona, 14 percent of Arizona children ages 0 to 5 live with grandparents, compared to 12 percent nationally. Of those 14 percent, 30 percent of these households have no parent of the child present, meaning grandparents are responsible for most of the basic needs of children living with them.For many grandparents, it can be challenging when it has been decades since they cared for young children. So much has been learned about brain development and the impact of early experiences. Now we know that about 90 percent of a child’s brain develops before age 5. More and more evidence shows quality early interactions are crucial for a young child’s success in school and later in life.FTF provides funding for various programs that are having positive impacts on grandparents and Arizona’s children. In the Northwest Maricopa region, FTF funds Chicanos Por La Causa Parenting Arizona, which offers parenting classes to grandparents who have grandchildren in their lives.

  • Surprise enrolls all ages for variety of classes

    The city of Surprise is now enrolling for fall session special interest classes, including dance, gymnastics, music, martial arts and more.Classes are available for ages 2 through adult and will be held at various locations throughout Surprise, including Countryside Recreation Center located at 15038 N. Parkview Place and Sierra Montana Recreation Center located at 14861 N. Spring Lane.For a full list of classes, course dates and fees, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation and click on the Rec-Connect link or contact the Community and Recreation Services office at 623-222-2000.Virginia Mungovan is public information officer for the city of Surprise

  • Trump immigration waffle reflects voter confusion on issue

    AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Dean Green supports Donald Trump partly because of the GOP presidential nominee's tough, deport-them-all stance on illegal immigration. But the 57-year-old Republican paused as he complained about U.S. immigration policy and acknowledged that deporting all 11 million people in the U.S. illegally would separate families."I don't want to break up families," Green said.It has been 30 years since the country embarked on an immigration overhaul, and the ambivalence of voters like Green is one reason why. Polls often show that majorities favor letting people illegally in the U.S. stay and also back tougher laws to deport them."The electorate is conflicted and that's a fundamental problem," said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. "This is such an emotional issue that reason and facts have very little to do with how people stand."Trump is now either caught up in, or trying to exploit, that contradiction as he considers "softening" his controversial immigration stance. He won the GOP primaries on the strength of an aggressive immigration policy, calling for the immediate deportation of the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally and construction of a Mexican border wall. But as he trails in the polls and struggles to overcome record lows with minority voters, he has sounded a softer tone."To take a person who's been here 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it's so tough," Trump told a Fox News town hall, quoting what some "really strong" supporters had said to him. He even polled the audience on whether to allow some people in the country illegally to stay, a key part of President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's agendas.

  • Grief overcomes Mississippi community after slaying of nuns

    LEXINGTON, Miss. (AP) — The two nuns who were killed in Mississippi were by all accounts some of the most friendly, helpful people in town, cooking and caring for anyone in their poor community — making the slayings all the more puzzling.Their car was found abandoned a mile away from their home, and there were signs of a break-in, but police haven't released any leads or suspects in the investigation.The women, both 68 and nurse practitioners, were found dead Thursday morning when they didn't report to work at the nearby clinic where they provided flu shots, insulin and other medical care for children and adults who couldn't afford it.They were identified as Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill.Joe Morgan Jr., 58, went to Lexington Medical Clinic on Friday in hopes of talking to grieving staff members, but a handwritten sign in the front door said the clinic was closed until Monday.Morgan, a diabetic who has been on medical disability for the last decade, was Merrill's patient and last saw her about four months ago.

  • Bold moves, tepid gains: Have central banks met their limit?

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The world's key central banks have worked themselves into contortions to try to rev up economic growth, raise inflation and coax consumers and businesses to borrow and spend more.They've pumped trillions into financial systems and driven interest rates about as low as they can go — even below zero in Europe and Japan. Yet after several years, the results are ... meh.As central bankers meet this week at an annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the global landscape remains bleak. Growth is sluggish. Inflation barely registers. Businesses won't invest. And consumers remain mostly hunkered down eight years after a financial crisis that jolted central banks to take radical steps in the first place.Far from stepping up spending, many people and businesses have instead been saving money despite essentially zero interest. Economists warn that the easy-money policies are losing effectiveness over time — and might even make things worse."It's pushing on a string if you're trying to get people who are already living in a borderline recession economy, who are already up to their eyeballs in debt, to borrow more," says Mark Blyth, a professor of international political economy at Brown University.The central banks' extraordinary efforts weren't meant to be permanent. They were designed to restore confidence in a banking system that was teetering in 2008 and then to counter the deepest recession since the 1930s.

  • Mylan boosts EpiPen patient programs, doesn't budge on price

    Mylan is bulking up programs that help patients pay for its EpiPen emergency allergy treatment after weathering heated criticism about an average cost that has soared over the past decade.But the drugmaker didn't budge on its price hikes Thursday, which have drawn ire both in Congress and from families that have had to shell out increasingly large sums for the potentially life-saving treatment.That means the insurers and employers that pay the bulk of the EpiPen cost for many patients will continue to do so, contributing to higher health insurance costs."That's just going to come out in the premiums," said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at the Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. "Everybody suffers, except the Mylan investors."Mylan joins a growing list of drugmakers, Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. among them, that have been called out after mammoth price hikes for the drugs they sell, with little or no innovation.Turing's former CEO Martin Shkreli became the poster child of pharmaceutical-industry greed last fall for hiking the price of a life-saving drug, Daraprim, by more than 5,000 percent.

  • WhatsApp is going to share your phone number with Facebook

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Global messaging service WhatsApp says it will start sharing the phone numbers of its users with Facebook, its parent company. That means WhatsApp users could soon start seeing more targeted ads and Facebook friend suggestions on Facebook based on WhatsApp information — although not on the messaging service itself.The move is a subtle but significant shift for WhatsApp, used by more than 1 billion people around the world. When it was acquired by Facebook for an eye-popping $21.8 billion two years ago, executives promised privacy would be safeguarded."This is a strong-arm tactic on the part of Facebook," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy in Washington, D.C. "They continue on a campaign on to run roughshod on our privacy rights."WhatsApp is giving users a limited time to opt out of sharing their information with Facebook, although they must take the extra step of unchecking a box to do so. It also says Facebook won't post phone numbers online or give them out to anyone.But the giant social network has been looking for ways to make money from WhatsApp since it bought the service two years ago. At the same time, Facebook has pledged not to interfere with a longstanding promise by WhatsApp's co-founders to respect users' privacy and keep ads off its messaging platform.WhatsApp on Thursday offered a glimpse of its plans for turning on the money spigot, releasing new documents that describe the company's privacy policy and the terms of service that users must agree to follow. The documents are the first revision of those policies since 2012, before Facebook acquired WhatsApp.

  • Quake damages scores of Myanmar's heritage Bagan temples

    BAGAN, Myanmar (AP) — It was a time of conquest and conversions. Above all, it was a time of construction, on a scale never seen before. Over 250 years, from the 11th century onwards, the rulers of Bagan built more than 10,000 magnificent religious monuments.The stupas, temples and monasteries became the defining emblems of Bagan, the capital of the Pagan (pronounced PUH'-gahn) empire that ruled Myanmar from roughly 1044 to 1287.On Wednesday, scores of the monuments — of which only about 2,200 remain — were damaged in a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake. Yet much of what fell was modern material, sanctioned by Myanmar's former army rulers who had put top priority on restoring the temples with little regard for the original architectural styles.King Anawratha, who unified the country formerly known as Burma, and his successors built the temples in a frenzy, believing they would gain spiritual merit. Still, piety didn't stop them from making war or killing to gain power.One king, Narathu, slew his father, elder brother, and one of his wives. He also killed the architect of the magnificent Dhammayangi temple so he couldn't repeat the feat, and chopped off the hands of sloppy workmen.As more and more monuments rose in the dusty plains of central Myanmar, Bagan became the political, economic and cultural center of the empire, promoting religious as well as secular studies, including philosophy, astrology, medicine, law and Pali, the language of Buddhist scriptures. The city became an educational destination for monks from as far away as India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.

  • Best-selling author J.A. Jance returns to Sun City West Sept. 7

    New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance will present her new book, “Downfall,” in a book talk and signing 3 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Palm Ridge Recreation Center, 13800 Deer Valley Drive.Doors open at 2 p.m. and “Downfall” and other Jance books will be sold at the venue. Complimentary tickets are required and are available on a first-come,first-served basis at the R.H. Johnson Library, 13801 W. Meeker Blvd.Library hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.“Downfall” continues with one of Ms. Jance’s favorite characters, Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady. With a baby on the way, sudden deaths in her family, a re-election campaign looming, and a daughter heading off for college, Sheriff Brady has her hands full when a puzzling new case hits her department, demanding every resource she has at her disposal. Two women have fallen to their deaths from a small, nearby peak, referred to by Bisbee locals as Geronimo. What is the connection between these two women? Is this a case of murder/suicide or is it a double homicide? If someone else is responsible, is it possible that the perpetrator may, even now, be on the hunt for another victim?

  • Michael Phelps, Final Five gymnasts to present at MTV VMAs

    NEW YORK (AP) — Recent Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps and the Final Five are heading to the MTV Video Music Awards.MTV said Thursday that Phelps, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian will present awards at Sunday's show in New York City.Jimmy Fallon, Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and Puff Daddy will also present awards, while attendees at Madison Square Garden will include Kanye West, Bryson Tiller, 2 Chainz, DNCE, Desiigner and Troye Sivan.Britney Spears, Rihanna, Future, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas and the Chainsmokers will perform during the live show.Beyonce is the leading nominee with 11, followed by Adele with eight nominations. Adele won't attend the show; a representative for Beyonce didn't immediately say if the singer would attend.Beyonce, Adele, West, Justin Bieber and Drake will compete for video of the year.

  • 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 www.glendaleaz.com/feedback.cfm by Sept. 2.

  • Bold moves, tepid gains: Have central banks met their limit?

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The world's key central banks have worked themselves into contortions to try to rev up economic growth, raise inflation and coax consumers and businesses to borrow and spend more.They've pumped trillions into financial systems and driven interest rates about as low as they can go — even below zero in Europe and Japan. Yet after several years, the results are ... meh.As central bankers meet this week at an annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the global landscape remains bleak. Growth is sluggish. Inflation barely registers. Businesses won't invest. And consumers remain mostly hunkered down eight years after a financial crisis that jolted central banks to take radical steps in the first place.Far from stepping up spending, many people and businesses have instead been saving money despite essentially zero interest. Economists warn that the easy-money policies are losing effectiveness over time — and might even make things worse."It's pushing on a string if you're trying to get people who are already living in a borderline recession economy, who are already up to their eyeballs in debt, to borrow more," says Mark Blyth, a professor of international political economy at Brown University.The central banks' extraordinary efforts weren't meant to be permanent. They were designed to restore confidence in a banking system that was teetering in 2008 and then to counter the deepest recession since the 1930s.

  • WhatsApp is going to share your phone number with Facebook

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Global messaging service WhatsApp says it will start sharing the phone numbers of its users with Facebook, its parent company. That means WhatsApp users could soon start seeing more targeted ads and Facebook friend suggestions on Facebook based on WhatsApp information — although not on the messaging service itself.The move is a subtle but significant shift for WhatsApp, used by more than 1 billion people around the world. When it was acquired by Facebook for an eye-popping $21.8 billion two years ago, executives promised privacy would be safeguarded."This is a strong-arm tactic on the part of Facebook," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy in Washington, D.C. "They continue on a campaign on to run roughshod on our privacy rights."WhatsApp is giving users a limited time to opt out of sharing their information with Facebook, although they must take the extra step of unchecking a box to do so. It also says Facebook won't post phone numbers online or give them out to anyone.But the giant social network has been looking for ways to make money from WhatsApp since it bought the service two years ago. At the same time, Facebook has pledged not to interfere with a longstanding promise by WhatsApp's co-founders to respect users' privacy and keep ads off its messaging platform.WhatsApp on Thursday offered a glimpse of its plans for turning on the money spigot, releasing new documents that describe the company's privacy policy and the terms of service that users must agree to follow. The documents are the first revision of those policies since 2012, before Facebook acquired WhatsApp.

  • Apple boosts iPhone security after Mideast spyware discovery

    PARIS (AP) — A botched attempt to break into the iPhone of an Arab activist using hitherto unknown espionage software has trigged a global upgrade of Apple's mobile operating system, researchers said Thursday.The spyware took advantage of three previously undisclosed weaknesses in Apple's iPhone to take complete control of the devices, according to reports published Thursday by the San Francisco-based Lookout smartphone security company and internet watchdog group Citizen Lab. Both reports fingered the NSO Group, an Israeli company with a reputation for flying under the radar, as the author of the spyware."The threat actor has never been caught before," said Mike Murrary, a researcher with Lookout, describing the program as "the most sophisticated spyware package we have seen in the market."The reports issued by Lookout and Citizen Lab outlined how an iPhone could be completely compromised with the tap of a finger, a trick so coveted in the world of cyberespionage that in November a spyware broker said it had paid a $1 million dollar bounty to programmers who'd found a way to do it. The weaknesses could allow hackers to take control of targeted iPhones to spy on calls and messages.Apple said in a statement that it fixed the vulnerability immediately after learning about it.In a statement which stopped short of acknowledging that the spyware was its own, the NSO Group said its mission was to provide "authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime."

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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