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  • SC Lifelong Learning Club offers 40 fall programs

    The Sun City Lifelong Learning Club will offer 40 different programs to its members this fall.• The club will have its membership meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday in Arizona Room No. 4 at Fairway Recreation Center, Peoria and 107th avenues.There will be registration for all classes until 2 p.m. following the membership meeting.Members of Sun City recreation centers should have a current RCSC card with picture and are entitled to attend as many courses and lectures as they wish.Club dues for the 2014 calendar year are $20.Some classes may require the purchase of supplies.

  • Sun Health seminar promotes exercise

    Sun Health will host a free exercise seminar from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Friday at The Colonnade, Recreation Village, 19116 Colonnade Way, Surprise.Linda Hall, an expert in exercise physiology and lifestyle management, will lead “Exercise: The Magic Bullet,” a seminar designed to help seniors integrate exercise — particulary strengthening exercises — into their daily lives.To register, call 623-455-5633.For information, visit www.sunhealth.org and click “Community Education” at the top of the page.The Sun Health Community Education Series presents free ongoing health and wellness programs on a variety of health care, healthy living and personal and financial safety topics focused on seniors.Events occur several times each month at locations across the Northwest Valley and are presented as a community service. Events with fewer than 10 reservations are subject to cancellation.

  • Glendale Police participate in National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

    Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and the City Council have proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.This month provides the Glendale Police Department with additional opportunities to educate the community, emphasize that domestic violence is a crime, warn abusers that they will be prosecuted and offer victims aid and support. “We take all facets of domestic violence seriously; prevention, education, enforcement, prosecution and victim’s rights," Weiers said. "We encourage the residents of Glendale to be informed about signs of abuse, city resources that are available to help victims, and understand the overall impact domestic violence has in all communities.”The Glendale Police Department’s Family Violence Unit will be presenting information about the dangers of domestic violence and what resources are available to help with leaving an abusive relationship to residents of several local domestic violence shelters, medical students at Midwestern University, and Child Development students at Kellis High School during the month of October. They will also be providing patrol officers additional training for handling domestic violence calls for service and will be providing advanced domestic violence training for outside law enforcement agencies. The public is invited to three opportunities to learn more about domestic violence as well during “Awareness Presentations” being held in conjunction with the Glendale Public Library on the following dates and times: Velma Teague Library (7010 N. 58th Ave., Glendale, AZ 85301)  – 3 to 4 p.m. Oct. 2. Main Library (5959 W. Brown Street, Glendale, AZ 85302)  – 11 a.m. to noon Oct. 9. Foothills  Library (19055 N. 57th Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85308)  – 3 to 4 p.m. Oct. 10.

  • Replica of Vietnam Veterans Memorial arrives in Goodyear Oct. 2

    Estrella by Newland Communities will host “The Moving Wall,” a half-size traveling replica of the Washington, D.C., Vietnam Veterans Memorial beginning at noon Oct. 2 through noon on Oct. 6 and is free to the public.The exhibit will be open 24 hours a day with volunteers stationed at The Wall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily with a directory to assist guests in finding names. The monument was created by John Devitt, Norris Shears, Gary Haver and other Vietnam veterans to share the powerful experience of visiting the memorial with those who may never have an opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. Standing 6-feet tall and 252-feet long, The Wall’s memorial site will encompass approximately half an acre of land just to the west of Starpointe Residents Club at 17665 W. Elliot Rd in Estrella.“The Estrella community is both humbled and honored to host The Moving Wall Exhibit,” said Bill Olson, Senior Vice President and Division Manager for Newland Communities. “We encourage everyone across the Valley to attend one of the many ceremonies being held in remembrance of our Vietnam veterans.”The Moving Wall was specifically designed to honor the 2.7 million men and women who served in the U.S. military in Vietnam. As of January, The Wall contains approximately 58,283 names -- 1,300 of those are still unaccounted for prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA). It takes 66 hours to read every name on the wall, and volunteers will be reciting these names over a P.A. system 24 hours a day from the start to the finish of the exhibit.A series of ceremonies will be held, including:Opening Ceremony – 9 a.m. Oct. 3.

  • Peoria home sustains serious damage, family safe

    PEORIA, AZ - A family was able to escape from their Peoria home after a fire apparently started in the garage Monday morning. Peoria Public Safety spokeswoman Amanda Jacinto said that just after 5 a.m. a neighbor called to report that a garage and vehicle inside were on fire near 87th Avenue and Deer Valley Road. Everyone inside the home was already outside safely when fire crews arrived, Jacinto said. Jacinto said the fire started in the garage and spread into the home, causing extensive damage. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

  • Downed power lines to shut down 59th Avenue and Greenway until Tuesday, official says

    GLENDALE, Ariz. - Power crews and emergency officials were hard at work Sunday cleaning up the mess Mother Nature left behind the day before.The area of 59th Avenue and Greenway was hit especially hard with winds toppling power lines into the roadway knocking out power to those nearby.Kim Larson, spokeswoman for Glendale, said due to APS repair work, the intersection is anticipated to be closed through Tuesday morning. Fifty-ninth Avenue is closed between Greenway Road and Paradise Lane. Greenway Road is closed between 55th and 59th avenues.APS said temporary power lines were installed in the area restoring power to all, but about 100 people.Residents in the area have been spending the day cleaning up downed trees, limbs and debris that was blown around."I'm just trying to nip some of these little branches so I can get into the big heavy limbs with the chainsaw," said Daniel Densmore. "You can't see what damage you've got until you get rid of this little stuff."

  • Personal wealth website rates Ariz. among nation's worst for teacher pay

    PHOENIX -- If the ongoing political debates about education funding have not convinced you, a new study might: Arizona is the sixth-worst place in the nation to be a teacher.The report by WalletHub says the average starting salary for teachers, listed as $31,874 for 2012-13 school year by the National Education Association, is the 44th lowest of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. And that ranking comes even after accounting for the lower cost of living here than many other places.It's also not great for those who stay in the profession, the study says, with median salaries for all Arizona teachers at No. 48, also measured against the cost of living.The pupil-to-teacher ratio, listed at 21.3 according to the National Center for Education Statistics, is worse than anywhere but Utah and California. It compared with a national average of 16.7.And WalletHub cites NEA figures showing that Arizona spends only about $1,250 per state resident on education. Only Idaho comes in lower.About the only thing in the WalletHub rankings that kept Arizona from being lower than 46th overall is that there's probably good job security here.

  • Schools scramble to help teens who crossed border

    FRANKFORD, Del. (AP) — American schools are scrambling to provide services to the large number of children and teenagers who crossed the border alone in recent months. Unaccompanied minors who made up the summer spike at the border have moved to communities of all sizes, in nearly every state, Federal data indicates, to live with a relative and await immigration decisions. The Supreme Court has ruled that schools have an obligation to educate all students regardless of their immigration status, so schools have become a safe haven for many of the tens of thousands of these young people mostly from central America living in limbo. Delaware's rural Sussex County has long attracted immigrants, partly because of work in chicken factories, and soybean and corn fields. The district's population is more than one-quarter Hispanic, and for years has offered an early learning program for non-English speakers. Still, officials were caught off guard by about 70 new students mostly from Guatemala — part of the wave crossing the border — enrolling last year, mostly at Sussex Central High School. The Indian River School District over the summer break quickly put together special classes for those needing extra English help. On a recent school day, a group of these mostly Spanish-speaking teenage boys with styled spiky hair and high-top sneakers enthusiastically pecked away on hand-held tablets at the G.W. Carver Education Center, pausing to alert the teacher when stumped. "If you don't know what you're supposed to write on the line, look at my examples, OK?" Lori Ott, their English language teacher, told one. The students are eager but face barriers. Some can barely read or write in their native language. The district's goal is to get them assimilated — and eventually into a regular high school. There, they can earn a diploma, even if that means participating in adult education programs and going to school until they are 21. "They just crave it, and they will come and ask questions," Ott said. "How do you say this? And, how do you say that? They just participate and you can't say enough about them." Donald Hattier, a school board member, said advance warning would have helped with planning. The federal government, he said, "just dropped this on us." He wonders what's next. "The kids are still coming across the border. This problem has not been solved," Hattier said. Educators in Delaware and elsewhere say many of these students, who fled poverty and violence, have years-long gaps in schooling. For teenagers, learning in English can prove more difficult than for younger students. They also may be living with relatives or others they didn't know, and the workings of an American school can be confusing. Others experienced trauma, either in their home country or while crossing the border, and may need mental health help. "It's a new culture and they already feel that they are alone. ... Some of them don't have their parents here," said English language instructor Alina Miron at Broadmoor High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The school has about a dozen of these students enrolled In districts like hers, the influx means hiring new English language instructors. Two foundations donated money to the Oakland Unified School District in California to help fund a person to connect about 150 unaccompanied students with legal and social services; many didn't have legal representation at immigration hearings. "We feel that we have moral obligation to serve these students as long as they are in the United States," said Troy Flint, a district spokesman. "Until their fate is decided, we're responsible for ensuring they get an education and we embrace that opportunity." In Louisiana, the Broadmoor principal, Shalonda Simoneaux, said attending high school and learning English is a motivating factor for teenagers who want "want to blend in." "Whatever is being said, whatever is going on, they are really learning more from listening from other teenagers, even more so than from the teachers because it's high school," Simoneaux said. For cash-strapped districts, providing for these students' needs can be arduous, particularly if they arrive after student headcounts are taken to determine school funding. In Miami, the school board voted to seek federal help after 300 foreign-born students, many from Honduras and traveling alone, enrolled toward the end of the last school year. Margie McHugh, director of the nonprofit Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration, says it's critical that children allowed to stay are integrated into American life and educated. Indian River School District officials say that's their plan. "We do have a very open heart and an open mind and any student who comes in our system, we're going to give the most appropriate services that we can," said the Delaware district's superintendent, Susan Bunting.

  • ATM fees keep climbing, survey says

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The penalty for using an ATM that is not affiliated with your bank rose 5 percent over the past year. The average fee for using an out-of-network ATM climbed to a new high of $4.35 per transaction, according to a survey released Monday by Bankrate.com. That figure includes $2.77 that banks charge non-customers and $1.58 that banks levy against their own customers for using an outside ATM. Overdraft fees also surged, rising on average over the past 12 months to $32.74. That's the 16th consecutive record high, the firm said. Checking account fees have been increasing as lenders adjust to federal banking laws and regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis. Among the changes: limits on when banks can charge overdraft fees on ATM and debit card transactions and a reduction in the fees that banks charge merchants for each customer who uses credit or debit cards for their purchases. Lenders have responded by hiking overdraft and ATM fees, as well as increasing how much money customers must maintain in the bank to avoid checking account fees. "I expect fees to continue increasing in years to come, but at a modest pace consistent with what we saw this year, just as was the case prior to the onset of these regulations," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. Using another bank's ATM will usually lead to two fees. One is charged by your lender; the other is charged by the owner of the ATM. That's the fee that's risen most consistently and at a faster rate, McBride said. All told, the average fee for using an out-of-network ATM has vaulted 23 percent over the past five years. It has notched a new high for eight years in a row, according to Bankrate. The firm surveyed the 10 largest banks and thrifts in 25 large U.S. markets. The average ATM fees vary across the markets in Bankrate's survey. Phoenix had the highest average fee for users of ATMs outside their bank's network at $4.96 per transaction. Cincinnati had the lowest average at $3.75. Philadelphia had the highest average overdraft fee at $35.80. San Francisco had the lowest at $26.74. The largest U.S. banks all offered free checking with no strings attached until 2009, when the share of all noninterest checking accounts that were free peaked at 76 percent, according to Bankrate. It's now at 38 percent; that's unchanged from last year and only slightly lower than 39 percent in 2012. Even so, consumers looking for checking accounts without monthly fees have plenty of options. Many credit unions, smaller community banks and online banks offer no-strings checking accounts. Many banks that do charge a monthly fee will often waive it if the accountholder has their paycheck deposited directly into the account. Not all bank fees rose this year. The average monthly service fee for a noninterest checking account fell 5 percent to $5.26 over the past 12 months, Bankrate said. Despite the increased fees, there are ways savvy bank customers can avoid them altogether. Use your bank's website to find fee-free ATMs or, if available, get cash back at the register when using a debit card to shop. Avoiding overdrafts is a matter of keeping tabs on your available checking account balance, something that's easier than ever with mobile banking apps. You can also sign up for email or text alerts if your balance gets below a certain level.

  • Prosecutor urges judge to let smuggling law stand

    PHOENIX (AP) — The top county prosecutor in metropolitan Phoenix is urging a judge to reject the Obama administration's request to throw out Arizona's law banning immigrant smuggling.Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's office has filed a friend-of-the-court brief saying the 2005 state law isn't trumped by federal statutes. Gov. Jan Brewer also has opposed the request.The administration made the request to block the smuggling law as part of its challenge of Arizona's broader 2010 immigration enforcement law, which made a minor change to the 2005 statute.The dispute over the smuggling law is all that remains of the administration's challenge of the 2010 law.The Obama administration says the 2005 law should be struck down because it's trumped by a similar federal law.Immigrant rights advocates complained that the law that was intended to target smugglers had been misused because authorities were using it to also arrest the customers of smugglers.

  • Cancer doctor given 10 years for poisoning lover

    HOUSTON (AP) — A jury Monday sentenced a Texas cancer researcher to 10 years in prison after she was convicted of poisoning her colleague, who was also her lover, by lacing his coffee with a sweet-tasting chemical found in antifreeze. Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, 43, a breast cancer doctor based at Houston's famed Texas Medical Center, had been involved in a sexual relationship with her fellow researcher, Dr. George Blumenschein. Prosecutors said the affair turned into a "fatal attraction" and she poisoned him with ethylene glycol after Blumenschein spurned her in favor of Evette Toney, his longtime live-in girlfriend with whom he was trying to start a family. Blumenschein survived the 2013 poisoning. A jury on Friday convicted Gonzalez-Angulo, who is originally from Colombia, of aggravated assault. While prosecutors had asked jurors to sentence her to at least 30 years in prison, they said they were pleased with the jury's decision. Defense attorneys had asked for probation. Prosecutor Justin Keiter said the prison sentence sent a message that whether you are a doctor or anybody else, you will not be treated any differently if convicted of a crime. "It doesn't matter who you are. It matters what you do," he said. Defense attorney Derek Hollingsworth said he was disappointed with the sentence. Gonzalez-Angulo did not have any visible reaction after the sentence was announced. Hollingsworth said she was "incredibly upset" and emotional when he spoke with her after she had been taken into custody. Hollingsworth said he anticipates that as a result of her conviction, Gonzalez-Angulo will lose her medical license. "The medical world has lost a shining star today," he said. Defense attorneys had hoped that Gonzalez-Angulo's work treating patients and as a cancer researcher would have swayed jurors to keep her out of prison. "She saved my life and the lives of so many other people," Silvia Pubchara, one of Gonzalez-Angulo's former patients, said after the sentence was announced. "It was heartbreaking for me to see her placed in custody and taken to jail. She doesn't deserve it." Gonzalez-Angulo will have to serve at least five years before being eligible for parole. Keiter said Gonzalez-Angulo has no one to blame but herself. "Our society ... should be more angry at her for taking herself away from all those (patients) who she could have done amazing things for," the prosecutor said. Blumenschein and his girlfriend, who were in the courtroom when the sentence was announced, left the courthouse without speaking to reporters. Last week, Blumenschein testified that his life span was shortened by the poisoning as he now has only 40 percent of his kidney function. The trial, which began Sept. 15, was filled with plot twists that could have come from a soap opera, including prosecutors' saying that Gonzalez-Angulo lied about being attacked outside her home in an effort to get Blumenschein to leave his girlfriend. Prosecutors also said Blumenschein secretly recorded calls in which he tried to get Gonzalez-Angulo to confess to poisoning him. Blumenschein told jurors that he became sick on Jan. 27, 2013, not long after he and Gonzalez-Angulo had been intimate, and that he immediately suspected his lover of spiking his coffee. Witnesses testified that Gonzalez-Angulo had access to ethylene glycol at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where she and Blumenschein worked. Gonzalez-Angulo's attorneys had argued during the trial that other people, including Toney, might have been responsible for the poisoning, an allegation that Toney denied. Toney says she and Blumenschein are working on their relationship.

  • Ducey and DuVal wrangle in 4th governor's debate

    PHOENIX -- Calling her action "mean spirited'' and a "mistake,'' Fred DuVal promised Monday if he is elected to rescind the executive order by Gov. Jan Brewer denying driver's licenses to "dreamers.''"Forty eight states allow dreamers to drive,'' the Democrat gubernatorial candidate said during a debate. "We should join the rest of the nation.''But Republican Doug Ducey said during the hour-long event broadcast on KAET-TV, the Phoenix PBS affiliate, that he sides with Brewer's 2012 decision to deny licenses to the nearly 21,000 Arizonans who have been accepted into the federal government's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program."I am going to have respect and compassion for everyone,'' Ducey said."But I don't think anyone gets the privileges and benefits of hardworking Arizona families that are paid for by hardworking Arizona taxpayers,'' he said. "We're a nation of immigrants and we're a nation of laws.''Other highlights in the fourth of the five debates the pair have agreed to include:

  • Clooney marries human rights lawyer in Venice

    VENICE, Italy (AP) — George Clooney married human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Saturday, the actor's representative said, out of sight of pursuing paparazzi and adoring crowds. A smiling Clooney traveled up the spectacular Grand Canal to his wedding standing coolly aboard a water-taxi, waving to hundreds of well-wishers on shore and a flotilla of photographers chasing a glimpse of his final moments of bachelorhood. With the pink sunset casting a gleam on Venice's most picturesque canal, Clooney rubbed his hands in sweet anticipation and disappeared into the luxury Aman hotel's tent-covered pier, where celebrity friends including Cindy Crawford and Matt Damon had passed moments earlier. The bride was nowhere to be seen. Clooney's long-time representative Stan Rosenfield announced in one sentence some 2 ½ hours later that the wedding had taken place. It is expected to be the only communication on the much-anticipated marriage of the actor who long reigned as Hollywood's most-eligible bachelor. Clooney and friends had coolly sipped champagne before at the five-star Cipriani hotel before forming a procession to the Aman that included Damon, Crawford, her husband Rande Gerber and Bill Murray from the five-star Cipriani hotel opposite St. Mark's Square up the Grand Canal to the luxury Aman Hotel. Crawford wore a purple floor-length halter dress; Clooney and the other men were all dressed in tuxedos. En route, Clooney's boat was momentarily blocked by a passing cruise-liner and then by a water bus, giving time for dozens of boats carrying photographers to catch up. A police boat swerved in vain to try to keep the paparazzi away. The star, standing in front of the taxi, maintained his ever-relaxed demeanor and waved to hundreds of people who crowded the arched Accademia bridge, canal banks and passing water taxis to see the Hollywood star before he took the plunge he long vowed never to take. Alamuddin was last seen publicly on Friday riding a water-taxi down the Grand Canal with Clooney's arm resting comfortably around her. The bride, wearing a bold black-and-white striped Dolce & Gabbana dress, beamed. Clooney, 53, and Alamuddin, 36, who were engaged in April, have not publicly divulged details of the weekend-long celebrations — leaving plenty open to speculation. Venice city officials have announced the closure of a 50-meter (yard) length of pedestrian way along the Grand Canal near the 16th-century Cavalli Palace, used for civil marriage ceremonies, for two hours on Monday, citing the Clooney nuptials. The Cavalli Palace is just opposite the Aman hotel. Media have speculated that the couple will have two ceremonies — one on Saturday followed by a civil ceremony Monday. Clooney started the day Saturday relaxing over coffee with Crawford and her husband on the Cipriani hotel terrace, seemingly unfazed by photographers hovering in boats off-shore. Cipriani staff formed a protective barrier blocking the view of Clooney and his guests, but then Clooney apparently waved them away. The actor even interacted briefly with the paparazzi. After someone yelled "Is this really happening, George?" the actor feigned looking at a watch on his bare wrist and yelled back: "Yeah, right now." Clooney had vowed he would never marry again following his 1989-93 marriage to Talia Balsam. He dated a series of models and actresses that made his love life tabloid fodder, until meeting his match in Alamuddin. Venice is perhaps a natural setting for Clooney's wedding. The star owns a villa on Lake Como north of Milan, feels at home in Italy and is a frequent visitor to Venice, often to promote his films at the Venice Film Festival. While the Venetian waterways offer stunning views of the city's Byzantine and Renaissance architecture, where East truly meets West. Its islands and maze of canals also permit privacy and easily restricted access. Singer Bono and his wife were among the late arrivals on Saturday, joining Clooney's cousin Miguel Ferrer, Ellen Barkin, Anna Wintour and Richard Kind, among those who arrived on Friday. Clooney and Alamuddin are among thousands of non-Venetian couples, foreign and Italian, who choose each year to marry in Venice, and the city administration smooths over the process with an on-line application form and list of documents needed to make the ceremony legally binding. In St. Mark's Square, a bride dressed in white was kissing her groom as photographers snapped away. The couple said they didn't mind sharing the spotlight with the Hollywood star and his bride. "It is a pleasure for us that a person as famous as him is celebrating his wedding here just like us," said Michele Santoriello. Alamuddin, a London-based human rights lawyer, is of Lebanese origin, and her wedding was also being celebrated Saturday in her family's village of origin, Baakline in the Chouf district. Alamuddin left Lebanon during the civil war and was raised in the United Kingdom. She met Clooney, who is active in many political causes, through her work. As the wedding party descended on Venice, the Alamuddin family house in Baakline was empty. Her neighbors said the bride's cousins departed the night before. Many villagers welcomed the news of the impending nuptials. "We congratulate them and we hope that the happiness will be international," said shopkeeper Ghassan Bou Hatoum.

  • Sedona Arts Festival attracts artists from across country

    The Sedona Arts Festival celebrates its 24th anniversary with 125 juried artists from across the country from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 12 at Sedona Red Rock High School, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road.Returning this year are 2013 Best of Show artist Kim Chavez (sculpture) and honorees Donna and Jeff Tousley (ceramics), Karen Clarkson (drawing), Lisa Gastelum (jewelry), Ed Kolle (metal) and Jeff Davison (wood).  Rounding out the categories of fiber art, glass, mixed media, painting and photography will be artists both familiar and new, selected from a pool of nearly 300 applicants by a jury of esteemed Sedona artists and gallery owners.  While the largest percentage of artists call Arizona home, the Sedona Arts Festival is well known nationwide and this year will include artists from California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.Joining them will be Lila Silveira, a second-generation Mata Ortiz artist who learned her pottery style from self-taught artist Juan Quezada.  Quezada is credited with reviving an ancient art form creating thin-walled Mata Ortiz pottery from natural materials with different color clays dug in the mountains and river valleys near the remote village on the high plains of Northern Mexico, about 150 miles south of the Arizona border.  

  • 'Gone With the Wind' at 75: Celebration, censure

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — As its 75th anniversary approaches, "Gone With the Wind" is again being celebrated as a timeless movie classic. But now, even the film's distributor acknowledges the Civil War epic's portrayal of slavery is dated and inaccurate."Gone With the Wind" will be screened this weekend in 650 theaters nationwide, broadcast Monday by Turner Classic Movies and reissued Tuesday in a lavish home-video box set, including a music box, an embroidered handkerchief and more than 8 hours of bonus features.To produce something new for yet another "GWTW" box set, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brought in filmmaker and historian Gary Leva. "'There's been a ton of stuff about the making of the film,'" Leva recalls the studio telling him. "'Can you give us a deeper look at how the movie portrays the Civil War?'"Leva responded with the 30-minute documentary "Old South/New South," which drew a surprisingly frank conclusion for a studio-commissioned commemorative project: One of the world's all-time great films also has great shortcomings.In the documentary, which is included in the box sets out Tuesday, historians discuss how the film has perpetuated mythology dubbed "The Lost Cause," which proposes Southern involvement in the Civil War was solely for noble reasons, including defense of states' rights."But when you get right down to it, what state right are you talking about?" asks University of North Carolina history professor David Goldfield in the Leva film. "You're talking about the right of individuals to own slaves."

  • ATM fees keep climbing, survey says

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The penalty for using an ATM that is not affiliated with your bank rose 5 percent over the past year. The average fee for using an out-of-network ATM climbed to a new high of $4.35 per transaction, according to a survey released Monday by Bankrate.com. That figure includes $2.77 that banks charge non-customers and $1.58 that banks levy against their own customers for using an outside ATM. Overdraft fees also surged, rising on average over the past 12 months to $32.74. That's the 16th consecutive record high, the firm said. Checking account fees have been increasing as lenders adjust to federal banking laws and regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis. Among the changes: limits on when banks can charge overdraft fees on ATM and debit card transactions and a reduction in the fees that banks charge merchants for each customer who uses credit or debit cards for their purchases. Lenders have responded by hiking overdraft and ATM fees, as well as increasing how much money customers must maintain in the bank to avoid checking account fees. "I expect fees to continue increasing in years to come, but at a modest pace consistent with what we saw this year, just as was the case prior to the onset of these regulations," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. Using another bank's ATM will usually lead to two fees. One is charged by your lender; the other is charged by the owner of the ATM. That's the fee that's risen most consistently and at a faster rate, McBride said. All told, the average fee for using an out-of-network ATM has vaulted 23 percent over the past five years. It has notched a new high for eight years in a row, according to Bankrate. The firm surveyed the 10 largest banks and thrifts in 25 large U.S. markets. The average ATM fees vary across the markets in Bankrate's survey. Phoenix had the highest average fee for users of ATMs outside their bank's network at $4.96 per transaction. Cincinnati had the lowest average at $3.75. Philadelphia had the highest average overdraft fee at $35.80. San Francisco had the lowest at $26.74. The largest U.S. banks all offered free checking with no strings attached until 2009, when the share of all noninterest checking accounts that were free peaked at 76 percent, according to Bankrate. It's now at 38 percent; that's unchanged from last year and only slightly lower than 39 percent in 2012. Even so, consumers looking for checking accounts without monthly fees have plenty of options. Many credit unions, smaller community banks and online banks offer no-strings checking accounts. Many banks that do charge a monthly fee will often waive it if the accountholder has their paycheck deposited directly into the account. Not all bank fees rose this year. The average monthly service fee for a noninterest checking account fell 5 percent to $5.26 over the past 12 months, Bankrate said. Despite the increased fees, there are ways savvy bank customers can avoid them altogether. Use your bank's website to find fee-free ATMs or, if available, get cash back at the register when using a debit card to shop. Avoiding overdrafts is a matter of keeping tabs on your available checking account balance, something that's easier than ever with mobile banking apps. You can also sign up for email or text alerts if your balance gets below a certain level.

  • A question of economic impact: What if Cardinals make Glendale’s Super Bowl?

    PHOENIX – Come February, thousands upon thousands of fans and their wallets will flock to the Valley for Super Bowl XLIX and activities surrounding it, buying hotel rooms, meals and more in the process.But what becomes of the estimated $600 million economic impact from all of those visitors if the Super Bowl becomes a home game for the Arizona Cardinals, whose fans don’t necessarily have to travel?With the team at 3-0, the postseason certainly is a possibility. And a trip to the Super Bowl would make the Cardinals the first team to play the big game in its home stadium. The closest has been the San Francisco 49ers, who played Super Bowl XIX in Stanford Stadium.Ray Artigue, founder and president of sports marketing firm the Artigue Agency, said having the Cardinals in Glendale’s Super Bowl could significantly cut into the game’s economic impact locally. If only half the fans have travel expenses, he said the area likely would see less spending.“When you look at the fact that the great majority of those attending the game are the fans from the two participating teams, in this case you would lose a lot of that visitation because only one team would be bringing their fan base with them,” he said.However, Artigue said it’s hard to predict the economic outcome of an event like the Super Bowl, especially when there are so many other factors at work.

  • Apple's response to iPhone glitches considered key

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple's response to a high-profile gaffe involving its iPhone software may be more important than the glitch itself. As the giant tech company scrambled to fix a software glitch that left some of its new iPhones unable to make calls, some analysts said Thursday that Apple is doing the right thing by quickly acknowledging and apologizing for the problem — which it was slower to do with earlier iPhone problems. Apple released a new update late Thursday that the company said would repair the problems caused by software it released Wednesday morning. And it repeated an earlier apology to owners of its newest iPhones who were affected by that buggy release. "There's a certain perception that Apple has to get things right, and when they don't, the whole company gets questioned," said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel. "But they came out and said 'We apologize; we're working 24/7 to fix it.' I think that's what matters." Apple's stock fell nearly 4 percent Thursday, leading a broader decline in technology shares, a day after the company was forced to withdraw an update to its new iOS 8 mobile software because of glitches that primarily affected customers who had purchased its new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models. The 6 Plus phone has also been the subject of social media reports that its extra-large shell is vulnerable to bending. In a statement Thursday, Apple defended its manufacturing standards and said bending "is extremely rare" with normal use of an iPhone. The company said just nine customers had contacted Apple to report a bent iPhone 6 Plus since they went on sale Friday. Later in the day, Apple released a new update, dubbed iOS 8.0.2, which it said would fix the problems caused by the iOS 8.0.1 update that it released on Wednesday. "We apologize for inconveniencing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users who were impacted by the bug in iOS 8.0.1," the company said in a statement. A day earlier, the company had also apologized "for the great inconvenience experienced by users" and vowed to work "around the clock" to fix the problem. Cupertino-based Apple has said it sold a record 10 million of the new iPhone models over the weekend, in what the company has called one of the biggest product launches in its history. It also reported this week that nearly half of all iPhone and iPad users had upgraded to the new software known as iOS 8. That new software contains a number of new features and is more complex than earlier versions of iOS, analysts said. Apple released the 8.0.1 update on Wednesday to fix some flaws that were detected after iOS 8 was released — only to find the 8.0.1 update created problems of its own. The new problems included interference with calling and with a feature that lets people unlock their phones with their fingerprint. That's not uncommon, according to veteran tech analyst Ross Rubin of Reticle Research. "All major companies have released fixes that they've had to pull because of unforeseen side-effects," he added. As for the bending issue, Rubin said the iPhone 6 Plus is "a large, thin device. That's not to say customers should treat it gingerly, but it's still an electronic product and it's an investment, and it should be treated as such." Apple is held to a higher standard by many consumers, analysts said. But Milanesi said she thought the company suffered more harm a few years ago, when it was slow to acknowledge complaints about poor reception and dropped calls that affected new iPhone 4 models when they were released in 2010. The company eventually offered a fix for the problem, after then-CEO Steve Jobs initially suggested users just needed to hold the phone differently. "There wasn't any of that this time," Milanesi said. She noted that Jobs' successor, CEO Tim Cook, had also taken responsibility and apologized for initial problems with Apple's Maps software when it was first released. Meanwhile, one analyst said Thursday's stock sell-off was more likely related to broader market concerns than investor unease about the new iPhones. "Earnings is what drives the stock the most," said Walter Piecyk of BTIG Research. "It's too early to say what the impact's going to be, but it does not appear to be something that would impact the company's ability to deliver on earnings" in the next two quarters. Apple said users affected by the software glitch can connect their phone to a Mac or Windows computer and download a file to restore an earlier version of the iOS 8 software. Apple offered a Web page with instructions: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6487 . The company's stock ended Thursday down $3.88 at $97.87. Earlier this month, it hit an all-time high of $103.74.

Featured columns

  • OPINION: Burns’ ‘The Roosevelts’ just another whitewash

    For logic-minded Americans still genuinely puzzled as to how it could be that our presidents and secretaries of state and generals and pundits keep hammering home the big lie that Islam has nothing to do with jihad, that the religion of conquest is a “religion of peace,” I have a special warning. Such widespread, politics and mass-media-driven brainwashing is nothing new.Just as today’s opinion-makers seek to divorce Islam from its impact — for example, brutal conquest, forced conversion, religiously sanctioned sex slavery, beheadings — past opinion-makers worked equally hard to divorce communism from its impact — for example, brutal conquest, forced collectivization, concentration camps (Gulags) mass murder.It worked. Unlike Nazism, communism has never been judged guilty or even held responsible for the carnage and suffering it has caused. On the contrary, it remains a source of “liberal” statist ideas such as Obamacare.There are no such trendy portraits of Hitler, and who would want them? Who would want to swig a bottle of Hitlerpop, decorated with a swastika? So, why Leninade? Not only does the stench of death not follow the Communist murder-cult, the brand lives.Barring a groundswell of common sense, I predict that Islam, the brand, will most likely remain separate in the public mind from the violence and repression it causes and has caused for more than a millennium. That’s certainly the direction leaders from both political parties have been relentlessly herding us in for over a decade, insisting against all reason — against all sacred Islamic texts — that “Islam is peace.”This means that not only must we contend with this cycle of expansionist jihad — a recurrence that should be familiar from Islamic history were it, too, not subject to whitewash — we must simultaneously withstand a campaign of lies designed to subvert our understanding of how Islam, in fact, has everything to do with beheadings and other violence both in the Islamic world and in the West.

  • Series EE bonds aid college funding

    Dear Bruce: When our children were born, we started purchasing Series EE bonds to have for their education. Once the 529 plans came into existence, we stopped purchasing bonds and put our funds into the 529 plans.My oldest son has completed his freshman year of college and the funds in the 529 plan were applied for his entire first year. We now want to use the bonds to pay for his next semester.I have always heard that if they are used for education, there should be no or very little tax implications of cashing them in. They are in my wife’s and my son’s names as her “or” my son. Most all have matured. Can you shed any light on the tax implications of doing this? — J.M.Dear J.M.: If the money is being used for educational purposes, there will be no taxes due upon cashing in the bonds. As they are in your wife’s name or your son’s, you should have no difficulty.The best place to begin is with your local bank. It can take care of this for you, although, it doesn’t have any obligation to help you, as it once did.Dear Bruce: Does the government insure money market funds or does the broker/investor? — Reader

  • Home-care workers can ease stress

    Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of advice columns from Benevilla’s caregiver coach, Regina Thibideau.Dear Caregiver Coach: My family, my doctor, my friends have all suggested that I employ some professional home care workers to assist me in caring for my wife, who has difficulty bathing, walking, feeding herself, dressing. How do I prepare myself, my home and my wife for this kind of help?Dear Caregiver: Thank you for your letter. I get this question a lot. Professional home-care workers can help to alleviate stress for family caregivers and can give some much needed personal time back to the family caregiver.Here are some ideas for you:  First, be completely honest about your needs.Overcome any embarrassment or guilt associated with describing why you need help and what kind of help you need. Remember that you are dealing with professionals who have helped a variety of clients. They are experienced in meeting the needs of people just like you. Home Health Care professionals are prepared to deal with tough situations such as Alzheimer’s, alcoholism, Parkinson’s, strokes, incontinence and stressful family circumstances.

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Sun City West Library "Yarn Bombing" Timelapse

The Mac-Cro-Knit Club of Sun City West set up a surprise "yarn bombing" at the RH Johnson Libr...

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