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  • Dysart candidates address top issues

    Two Dysart Unified School District four-year seats are up for grabs on Nov. 4, with incumbents Tracy Sawyer-Sinkbeil and Blossom Tande seeking re-election and facing off with Spencer Bailey. Their bios and some of their views on key key issues follow:NAME: Spencer BaileyYEARS IN DISTRICT: 9 yearsOCCUPATION: OrthodontistTHREE MAIN ISSUES IN THE DISTRICT: Since moving to the district, I have seen many positive changes and improvements made. As a governing board member I would like to help the district improve in all areas so as to make the Dysart district the envy of school districts in the state of Arizona. As a governing board member, the responsibilities are to serve every resident and student of the Dysart district by:1. Developing district policies with extensive community involvement and then enforcing the implemented policies.

  • Symphony quartet offers preview at Rio Salado

    A sneak peek at the West Valley Symphony’s 2014/15 season and a performance by the symphony’s quartet awaits those who attend a free all-day community event offered by RISE Learning for Life, a part of Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center in  Surprise.Join maestro Cal Stewart Kellogg at 10 a.m. Friday at 12535 W. Smokey Drive, Surprise, for an overview of the upcoming season, including Great Early Romantics, the Holiday Season concert, Going Places, Romance is in the Air and Shall we Dance?The West Valley Symphony Quartet begins its performance at RISE at 1 p.m.RISE offers this community event annually to give the public a chance to experience classical music in an informal educational atmosphere. Because of the popularity of the event, persons planning to attend should RSVP at 480-377-4296.• The 26 classes scheduled at RISE include a look at the birth of the United States by retired history teacher Mike Dubin. The American Revolution class meets from 1-2 p.m. Tuesday.• Immunologist Dr. Enoc Hollemweuger discusses the basics of allergies, how they affect our lives and different approaches to treating and managing allergies at a RISE Learning for Life class beginning at 10 a.m. Oct. 29.

  • Mountain Ridge vs. Pinnacle Volleyball

    Mountain Ridge defeats Pinnacle 3-0 on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. Photos by Jarod Opperman/West Valley Preps

  • El Mirage mayor takes post with Arizona League

    El Mirage Mayor Lana Mook has been appointed to a policy committee of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.Mook will serve on the General Administration, Human Resources and Elections Committee.Mook was one of several appointees announced this week by Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, league president.“These municipal leaders will be essential in setting the league’s legislative priorities,” Mitchell said. “I appreciate their willingness to serve and am confident their leadership will bring forth the types of proposals that will ensure success not only for the league but for the State of Arizona.”The League of Arizona Cities and Towns is a voluntary association of all the 91 incorporated cities and towns in Arizona.

  • Banner offers muscle and joint pain seminar

    Banner Health is offering a free seminar on a new pain treatment for muscles and joints.The seminar will be at the Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, 14502 W. Meeker Blvd., in auditoriums A and B, from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23.Banner CORE physicians Dr. S. Douglas Werner and Dr. Jeffrey McAlister will go through the latest procedures and treatments for hip, knee, foot and ankle diagnostics.The seminar is a part of the Banner Health’s Spirit of Women program, which provides the community with health information for women in all stages of life.For information or to register, visit www.bannerhealth.com/spiritofwomen or call 602-230-2273.

  • Theatre West begins season with ‘Social Security’

    Theatre West is back from summer hiatus and announced that the first play of the 2014-15 season will be “Social Security,” a Broadway comedy by Andrew Bergman.Directed by Darlene Olejniczak and Jim Reed, the story is about trendy Manhattan art gallery owners Barbara and David Kahn, who find their lives suddenly uprooted when Barbara’s nerdy housewife sister Trudy and her uptight CPA husband suddenly dump off the sisters’ archetypal eccentric Jewish mother, Sophie, on the way to rescue their precocious college student daughter in Buffalo.The plot gets more interesting when Sophie starts to hit it off with an elderly suave artist, who offers to paint her portrait and soon begins to brighten Sophie’s life in ways she never expected in her twilight years.  The cast includes Cheryl Posner, Bernie Meagher, Janice Lombardos, Tom Stratton, Judy Ross and Jim Reed. The show runs 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 30, 31 and Nov. 1, 5, 6, 7, 8 at 7 p.m. Matinees are 2 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 6 and 9.   Tickets are on sale for $7, cash or check only, at the box office in the Stardust Theatre from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday. Tickets are also available by sending a check and self-addressed, stamped envelope to Box Office Chair Jeanne Tarr at 19410 N. 143rd Drive, Sun City West, AZ 85375. For information, call 623-584-7025.For information, visit http://theatrewestscw.blogspot.com.

  • Missouri man's ashes to be scattered in fireworks display

    SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri funeral director is sending his father out with a bang. His father's ashes, anyway. Greenlawn Funeral Homes will hold its first Firework Memorial program on Saturday night, when fireworks packed with James Carver's cremated remains will be launched skyward as part of his family's goodbye. Carver's family is the first to try Greenlawn's new program. His son is funeral director Jim Carver. He says his father, who died in 2008, loved watching fireworks and would appreciate the unusual send off. The family will follow the eight-minute fireworks display with a cookout and memorial celebration. The Springfield News-Leader reports that Greenlawn's Fireworks Memorials range from a $300 "Sensational Celebration" to the "Ultimate Goodbye," costing between $8,000 and $10,000.

  • 2 dead in shooting attack at Canada's Parliament

    OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — A Canadian soldier standing guard at a war memorial in the country's capital was shot to death Wednesday, and gunfire then erupted inside Parliament, authorities said. One gunman was killed, and police said they were searching for as many as two others. People fled Parliament by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, while others took cover inside as police with rifles and body armor took up positions outside and blocked the normally bustling streets around the building. Witnesses said the soldier was gunned down by a man dressed all in black with a scarf over his face. They said the gunman then entered Parliament, where dozens of shots rang out. Ottawa police spokesman Chuck Benoit said two or three gunmen were believed to be involved in the attack. Gilles Michaud, assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, called it a "dynamic, unfolding situation." Ottawa Hospital said it received two patients, both listed in stable condition, in addition to the soldier. The attack came two days after a recent convert to Islam killed one Canadian soldier and injured another in a hit-and-run before being shot to death by police. The killer had been on the radar of federal investigators, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey. Canada had raised its domestic terror threat level from low to medium Tuesday because of "an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations," said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the public safety minister. On Wednesday, Tony Zobl, 35, said he witnessed the soldier being gunned down from his fourth-floor window directly above the National War Memorial, a 70-foot, arched granite cenotaph, or tomb, with bronze sculptures commemorating World War I. "I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honor guard in front of the cenotaph point-blank, twice," Zobl told the Canadian Press news agency. "The honor guard dropped to the ground, and the shooter kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle." Zobl said the gunman then ran up the street toward Parliament Hill. Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were heard inside Parliament, where Conservative and Liberal MPs were holding their weekly caucus meetings. "I'm safe locked in a office awaiting security," Kyle Seeback, another member of Parliament, tweeted. The top spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Harper was safe and had left Parliament Hill. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa was locked down as a precaution. Officials also canceled two events in Toronto honoring Pakistani teenager and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, including one in which she was supposed to receive honorary Canadian citizenship. The teenager was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for calling for schooling for girls. Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned people in downtown Ottawa to stay away from windows and rooftops. Scott Walsh, 21, a construction worker working in a manhole right in front of Parliament Hill, said he heard shots go off at the War Memorial. "We're in construction and we're used to loud bangs. When people started screaming and running, that's when I clued, and I saw this guy running" with a gun, he said. "It was intense. I didn't think it was real. " He said the gunman had long black hair with a scarf covering the bottom half of his face. ___ Gillies reported from Toronto. Associated Press writer Benjamin Shingler also contributed to this report.

  • AG's office warns of newspaper/magazine payment service scam

    Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is warning consumers and businesses to be aware of phony bills for newspaper and magazine subscription renewals.Consumers around the state have recently received mail claiming to be renewal notices or invoices for publications to which they regularly subscribe. The invoices claimed that the consumer’s subscriptions were about to expire and asked for a credit card account number to make the renewal payment.The invoices were sent by companies that have no affiliation with the newspaper or magazine company listed on the invoice. This appears to be a mailer scam intended only to obtain consumers’ credit card information.Here are some tips to avoid being scammed:1. Be wary of any mailers or phone calls asking for a payment. Check to be sure you owe the amount demanded.2. Research the name of the company that sent the mailer before sending them money. The Better Business Bureau’s website is a good place to start.

  • Mobile wallets offer different way to pay

    Ever stand at a cashier fumbling through your overstuffed wallet for the right credit, debit or loyalty card? An end to the frustration may be on its way, according to Consumer Reports.For several years, a number of companies have been trying to get you to input the details of your payment cards into a “mobile wallet” — an app that is stored in your smartphone. Then you can make a payment from the card of your choice and even accrue applicable loyalty points simply by waving your smartphone over a card terminal.Problem is, there haven’t been many merchants that can actually read the data stored inside mobile wallets. Google Wallet, which was introduced in 2011, and Isis Wallet, backed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless and launched nationwide in 2013, require merchants to have or buy equipment that includes a technology known as near field communication, which has not yet been widely adopted. As a result, Google Wallet and Isis Wallet work at only about 200,000 U.S. merchants compared with 12 to 15 million that take plastic.But now a new player, LoopWallet, launched in February, uses magnetic pulse technology that allows its mobile wallet to work with 90 percent of existing card readers. That might be enough critical mass for the technology to become a viable option. However, a lot of pieces still have to come together for mobile wallet technology. Allied Market Research, based in Portland, Oregon, projects that mobile payments will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 127.5 percent, reaching a global market size of more than $5 trillion by 2020.Should you consider making the switch to LoopWallet or one of the others? Here’s what Consumer Reports says to consider:• The benefit. More smartphone owners are finding that their handsets are a convenient payment device, with 30 percent using them to make online purchases, 24 percent to pay bills and 17 percent to pay for store purchases, according to a recent Federal Reserve study. Mobile wallets provide one more payment option in today’s cell-savvy world.

  • Pinal County: Smuggling investigation nets arrests

    FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — Pinal County authorities say a drug and human-smuggling investigation has netted nine arrests. The Sheriff's office says the two-monthlong investigation was conducted with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. According to the Sheriff's Office, the investigation also resulted in the seizure of vehicles used by smugglers as well as 276 pounds of marijuana.

  • DEA to launch Arizona prescription drug crackdown

    PHOENIX - The federal Drug Enforcement Administration plans to launch a new initiative in Arizona to crack down on the illicit sale and use of prescription drugs. The new DEA initiative will include efforts to stop the diversion of narcotic pain medications from legitimate uses. They include targeting prescription forgery and fraud, doctor shopping by patients, pharmacy robberies and diversions to the illicit market by rogue pharmacies and physicians. DEA spokeswoman Ramona Sanchez says details of the effort will be announced Wednesday by the special agent in charge of the DEA's Arizona operations, Doug Coleman. The agency says a lucrative market in illegally diverted prescription drugs and the ease they can be obtained has led to a sharp increase in prescription drug use and heroin trafficking in Arizona.

  • Symphony quartet offers preview at Rio Salado

    A sneak peek at the West Valley Symphony’s 2014/15 season and a performance by the symphony’s quartet awaits those who attend a free all-day community event offered by RISE Learning for Life, a part of Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center in  Surprise.Join maestro Cal Stewart Kellogg at 10 a.m. Friday at 12535 W. Smokey Drive, Surprise, for an overview of the upcoming season, including Great Early Romantics, the Holiday Season concert, Going Places, Romance is in the Air and Shall we Dance?The West Valley Symphony Quartet begins its performance at RISE at 1 p.m.RISE offers this community event annually to give the public a chance to experience classical music in an informal educational atmosphere. Because of the popularity of the event, persons planning to attend should RSVP at 480-377-4296.• The 26 classes scheduled at RISE include a look at the birth of the United States by retired history teacher Mike Dubin. The American Revolution class meets from 1-2 p.m. Tuesday.• Immunologist Dr. Enoc Hollemweuger discusses the basics of allergies, how they affect our lives and different approaches to treating and managing allergies at a RISE Learning for Life class beginning at 10 a.m. Oct. 29.

  • Art exhibit examines what is ‘Western’

    The Desert Caballeros Western Museum in historic downtown Wickenburg will host a solo exhibition by renowned artist Doug Smith.  Titled, “Is it Western?: Far from Somewhere, Paintings by Doug Smith,” this exhibition will incite dialogue about what it means to be “Western” and broadening perceptions of what is “Western” in the 21st century. The show is open to the public with paid admission and continues through Dec. 14.Born and raised in San Francisco, Smith was fortunate to have creative parents who recognized his talent from an early age and encouraged him to pursue his art. His mother, herself an accomplished impressionist painter, exposed him to the wealth of San Francisco’s art exhibitions as a youngster, introducing him to the masters in their regular visits to the city’s outstanding museums. By age 9, he had sold his first oil painting.Smith received his first formal artistic instruction at San Francisco City College as a fine art major. He then furthered his education at San Francisco Academy of Art University. At 19, he participated in his first group exhibition in the city’s Artist Cooperative Gallery.After service in the U.S. Army, Smith returned to San Francisco and joined a firm as a graphic designer. The company relocated to Southern California and he continued his training at the Art Center College of Design and the California Art Institute.Throughout his career in graphic design and art direction, Smith continued to paint and allowed his artistic “voice” to evolve. In 2000, he made the transition to focusing full time on his passion for painting.

  • Theatre West begins season with ‘Social Security’

    Theatre West is back from summer hiatus and announced that the first play of the 2014-15 season will be “Social Security,” a Broadway comedy by Andrew Bergman.Directed by Darlene Olejniczak and Jim Reed, the story is about trendy Manhattan art gallery owners Barbara and David Kahn, who find their lives suddenly uprooted when Barbara’s nerdy housewife sister Trudy and her uptight CPA husband suddenly dump off the sisters’ archetypal eccentric Jewish mother, Sophie, on the way to rescue their precocious college student daughter in Buffalo.The plot gets more interesting when Sophie starts to hit it off with an elderly suave artist, who offers to paint her portrait and soon begins to brighten Sophie’s life in ways she never expected in her twilight years.  The cast includes Cheryl Posner, Bernie Meagher, Janice Lombardos, Tom Stratton, Judy Ross and Jim Reed. The show runs 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 30, 31 and Nov. 1, 5, 6, 7, 8 at 7 p.m. Matinees are 2 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 6 and 9.   Tickets are on sale for $7, cash or check only, at the box office in the Stardust Theatre from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday. Tickets are also available by sending a check and self-addressed, stamped envelope to Box Office Chair Jeanne Tarr at 19410 N. 143rd Drive, Sun City West, AZ 85375. For information, call 623-584-7025.For information, visit http://theatrewestscw.blogspot.com.

  • Mobile wallets offer different way to pay

    Ever stand at a cashier fumbling through your overstuffed wallet for the right credit, debit or loyalty card? An end to the frustration may be on its way, according to Consumer Reports.For several years, a number of companies have been trying to get you to input the details of your payment cards into a “mobile wallet” — an app that is stored in your smartphone. Then you can make a payment from the card of your choice and even accrue applicable loyalty points simply by waving your smartphone over a card terminal.Problem is, there haven’t been many merchants that can actually read the data stored inside mobile wallets. Google Wallet, which was introduced in 2011, and Isis Wallet, backed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless and launched nationwide in 2013, require merchants to have or buy equipment that includes a technology known as near field communication, which has not yet been widely adopted. As a result, Google Wallet and Isis Wallet work at only about 200,000 U.S. merchants compared with 12 to 15 million that take plastic.But now a new player, LoopWallet, launched in February, uses magnetic pulse technology that allows its mobile wallet to work with 90 percent of existing card readers. That might be enough critical mass for the technology to become a viable option. However, a lot of pieces still have to come together for mobile wallet technology. Allied Market Research, based in Portland, Oregon, projects that mobile payments will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 127.5 percent, reaching a global market size of more than $5 trillion by 2020.Should you consider making the switch to LoopWallet or one of the others? Here’s what Consumer Reports says to consider:• The benefit. More smartphone owners are finding that their handsets are a convenient payment device, with 30 percent using them to make online purchases, 24 percent to pay bills and 17 percent to pay for store purchases, according to a recent Federal Reserve study. Mobile wallets provide one more payment option in today’s cell-savvy world.

  • Soured Apple, glass maker deal to remain secret

    PHOENIX (AP) — Apple Inc. has reached a deal with a synthetic sapphire glass maker that will allow details of contracts between the companies and the business problems that led GT Advanced Technologies to a financial crisis to remain secret. A Tuesday filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire shows a settlement that will allow sealed documents filed by GT's chief operating officer and Apple last week to be withdrawn and all copies destroyed. Apple hasn't commented beyond saying it was surprised by the bankruptcy filings and was working to retain jobs at the plant. GT is shutting down a new sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona, and laying off 724 workers. Apple advanced GT $429 million to outfit the plant under a contract announced last November.

  • New rules adopted in hopes of spurring home loans

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Buying a home may have gotten a little easier this week. With the financial crisis and subprime mortgage bust receding further into history, the government is loosening some financial rules, hoping to inject more life into the country's still-recovering housing market. Both banks and borrowers stand to benefit from the new rules unveiled Tuesday by six federal agencies. While banks will see relaxed guidelines for packaging and selling mortgage securities, fewer borrowers likely will need to make hefty down payments. The board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. voted 4-1 Tuesday to adopt the new rules, and two other agencies approved them as well. The Federal Reserve has scheduled a vote for Wednesday, and two other agencies are expected to adopt the rules soon. The regulators have dropped a key requirement: a 20-percent down payment from the borrower if a bank didn't hold at least 5 percent of the mortgage securities tied to those loans on its books. The long-delayed final rules include the less stringent condition that borrowers not carry excessive debt relative to their income. The rules for the multitrillion-dollar market for mortgage securities will take effect in a year. For other kinds of securities such as those bundling together auto loans or commercial loans, which don't allow banks an exemption from the 5-percent rule, the effective date is in two years. The rules, first proposed in 2011, were mandated by the overhaul law enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The idea was to limit the kind of risky lending that brought on the crisis. If banks have more of their own money invested in mortgage securities — so-called "skin in the game" — they won't be as likely to take excessive risks, the thinking goes. Some critics warned that abandoning the 20-percent down payment condition could bring a return to the dangerous days of borrowers taking on heavy mortgage loans that they aren't in a position to repay. After three years of interagency haggling, the regulators' final, compromise approach was to adopt the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's definition of a "qualified" mortgage. It excludes the kind of risky practices that fueled the crisis, such as mortgages issued without any supporting documents from borrowers. CFPB Director Richard Cordray, a member of the FDIC board, noted at Tuesday's meeting that conditions in the mortgage market have changed since the financial crisis, when anxiety over reckless lending gripped lawmakers. "Credit has dried up for a long period and (lending) standards have tightened dramatically," he said. Experts say it's hard to predict whether the regulators' move will actually boost mortgage lending and the housing market. Anthony Sanders, a real estate finance professor at George Mason University, also suggested that it could re-open the door to risky lending. "The problem facing the housing and mortgage markets is too few borrowers with sufficient income to pass debt-to-income rules," Sanders said. "Lowering the down payment requirement misses the point. So now we are putting poorer households in low-down payment loans — again?" Through the years since Congress called for a sweeping revamp of regulation for banking, derivatives trading, securities and more, regulators have slogged through scores of complex rules. The decision of the regulators to drop the 20 percent down payment requirement for banks to escape "skin in the game" for mortgage securities was a big win for finance industry lobbyists and advocates for affordable housing, noted Cornelius Hurley, a former counsel to the Federal Reserve who heads Boston University's Center for Finance, Law and Policy. The regulators' work on the rules "attracted the essence of the housing industrial complex," Hurley said. "They all came out of the woodwork." Industry groups talked up the potential impact on lending. The new rules "will give the financial services industry more confidence and certainty, enabling lenders to provide high-quality mortgage loans to creditworthy consumers," the Financial Services Roundtable, whose members include the largest banks, said in a statement. Ahead of the crisis, banks packaged and sold to investors bundles of risky mortgages with teaser rates that ballooned after only a few years. The banks had very little of their own money invested. Many borrowers ended up defaulting on the loans when the interest rates spiked. As a result, the value of the mortgage securities plummeted, and banks and investors holding them lost billions. The debacle helped ignite the financial meltdown that plunged the economy into the deepest recession since the 1930s and brought a taxpayer bailout of banks. The new rules will affect only a relatively small portion of the mortgage securities market, regulators say. Loans backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration aren't subject to the 5-percent rule. The two companies and the federal agency together stand behind about 90 percent of new mortgages, and own or back more than $5 trillion worth of home loans. On Monday, the head of the agency overseeing government-controlled Fannie and Freddie announced that the companies have reached an agreement with major banks that could expand mortgage lending. The deal clarifies conditions in which banks could be required to buy back mortgages they sell to Fannie and Freddie for misrepresenting the loans' risks.

Featured columns

  • Mobile wallets offer different way to pay

    Ever stand at a cashier fumbling through your overstuffed wallet for the right credit, debit or loyalty card? An end to the frustration may be on its way, according to Consumer Reports.For several years, a number of companies have been trying to get you to input the details of your payment cards into a “mobile wallet” — an app that is stored in your smartphone. Then you can make a payment from the card of your choice and even accrue applicable loyalty points simply by waving your smartphone over a card terminal.Problem is, there haven’t been many merchants that can actually read the data stored inside mobile wallets. Google Wallet, which was introduced in 2011, and Isis Wallet, backed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless and launched nationwide in 2013, require merchants to have or buy equipment that includes a technology known as near field communication, which has not yet been widely adopted. As a result, Google Wallet and Isis Wallet work at only about 200,000 U.S. merchants compared with 12 to 15 million that take plastic.But now a new player, LoopWallet, launched in February, uses magnetic pulse technology that allows its mobile wallet to work with 90 percent of existing card readers. That might be enough critical mass for the technology to become a viable option. However, a lot of pieces still have to come together for mobile wallet technology. Allied Market Research, based in Portland, Oregon, projects that mobile payments will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 127.5 percent, reaching a global market size of more than $5 trillion by 2020.Should you consider making the switch to LoopWallet or one of the others? Here’s what Consumer Reports says to consider:• The benefit. More smartphone owners are finding that their handsets are a convenient payment device, with 30 percent using them to make online purchases, 24 percent to pay bills and 17 percent to pay for store purchases, according to a recent Federal Reserve study. Mobile wallets provide one more payment option in today’s cell-savvy world.

  • Limit usage of sweeteners

    Dear Dr. Blonz: I continue to hear that high-fructose corn syrup is a dangerous food additive that is much worse than regular sugar. Is this true? — J.B., Walnut Creek, CaliforniaDear J.B.: Let’s take a look at high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and compare it to “regular” sugar, also known as sucrose. Both are composed of the same two simple sugars (monosaccharides): glucose and fructose. In the case of sucrose, the two simple sugars are bound together, but in HFCS, they are not.This is an important characteristic, because fructose on its own is about 1.4 times as sweet as glucose. When bound to fructose as part of a sucrose molecule, the sweetness is less potent. Honey is also a 1:1 blend of glucose and fructose, but with honey, as with HFCS, the two are not bound; this explains why honey tastes sweeter than sucrose.The creation of HFCS begins with cornstarch, which is not noticeably sweet. Cornstarch is made up of long chains of glucose molecules all bound together. Cornstarch gets converted to corn syrup by breaking apart the individual glucose molecules. This gets done using a starch-digesting enzyme, similar to what goes on in our body when we eat starches.Corn syrup then gets converted to HFCS through the use of a specialized enzyme that converts glucose into fructose. Not all the glucose is typically converted, and the percentage in the final product depends on its intended use. A typical HFCS is about 55 percent fructose, 45 percent glucose. It is called a “high”-fructose corn syrup because standard corn syrup is primarily glucose.How does HFCS compare to sucrose? A study in the July 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at whether HFCS might not satisfy like other sweeteners, which could then lead to excess consumption (and an increased risk of obesity), but it found no differences between HFCS and sucrose. In the same journal in May 2008, they looked at the effects of beverages sweetened with HFCS, sucrose, fructose and glucose. The study reported no differences in a number of physiological measures, including 24-hour blood glucose, insulin and triglyceride levels. Another study in the December 2013 issue of Nutrition Research reported no significant difference in the metabolic effects of HFCS versus sucrose at low, medium or high levels of consumption.

  • OPINION: The Romney revival

    Run, Mitt, run.” That was the chant as Mitt Romney appeared at a rally for Joni Ernst, the Republican Senate candidate in Iowa. The 2012 GOP standard-bearer hears those words a lot as he campaigns around the country this fall, and they trigger two questions.Will he run? Can he win?“I’m not running for office,” Romney insisted in Iowa. And his wife, Ann, reiterated this week that the family was “done, done, done” with presidential politics.And yet. Romney really believed that he would win two years ago, and there have to be long days — and late nights — when the dream comes creeping back and won’t quite die. Remember the adage popularized by the late Mo Udall, a candidate for the Democratic nomination in 1976 against Jimmy Carter: “The only cure for presidentialitis is embalming fluid.”And Romney has gotten a lot of encouragement lately. In a Des Moines Register poll, he was the only Republican to lead Hillary Clinton in Iowa, a state Barack Obama won twice.More seriously, a huge vacuum is starting to emerge in what might be called the PEC sector: the Pragmatic-Establishment-Centrist wing of the Republican Party. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey wants to run, but his brand has been blemished by the George Washington Bridge scandal. Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, seems gripped by a case of terminal indecision.

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