Employers must comply with paid sick time law by July 1

If you have not yet put a plan in place to comply with Arizona’s new paid sick time law, you only have a few days remaining to do so, and the consequences for not doing so can be steep. The potential penalties for failing to comply with the law include:

• Three times the value of any paid sick time that was not provided to the employee, plus interest;

• Minimum civil penalties of $250 for a first violation, and $1000 for each subsequent or willful violation of recordkeeping requirements (including pay stub notices);

• A minimum penalty of $150 per day for practices that retaliate against or deter employees from exercising their rights to request or use sick leave or report or participate in investigations related to sick leave; and

• An award of attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by employees who successfully sue employers under the Act.

Because the statute imposes penalties that are mandatory and cumulative, with attorneys’ fees also available, plaintiff attorneys will be on the lookout to bring lawsuits against employers who are not in compliance.

Employers who have not yet done so must take immediate steps to augment their payroll practices to ensure complete and accurate reporting of accrued sick leave on pay stubs, preparation of required notices to employees, and updating of policies and procedures.

With the passage of Arizona’s Proposition 206 last year, Arizona joined a handful of other states to implement a mandatory sick leave law. Employers with employees in Arizona will be required to offer their employees mandatory “paid sick time” (PST) by July 1, 2017. Whereas small businesses are exempt from coverage under Arizona’s minimum wage law, the PST requirements of Arizona’s Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act (the Act) apply to all businesses, regardless of size.

The amount of required PST accrual varies depending on the number of employees in the employer’s workforce. For employers with 15 or more employees, employees must accrue a minimum of one hour of earned PST for every 30 hours worked, but employees are not entitled to accrue or use more than 40 hours of earned PST per year. For employers with fewer than 15 employees, employees still earn one hour of earned PST for every 30 hours worked, but employers can cap the accrual and use of PST at 24 hours per year.

Part-time and temporary workers are also covered by the Act and are entitled to accrue and use PST. Salaried employees who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements are presumed to work 40 hours in each work week for purposes of calculating PST accrual, unless their normal work week is less than 40 hours, in which case their earned PST will accrue based on actual hours worked.

Generally, unused earned PST must be carried forward to the following year consistent with the accrual limits of the Act. The Industrial Commission has issued a proposed rule that caps the carry forward amount at 40 or 24 hours (depending on the size of the employer), but the rule has not yet been finalized. Employers may forego this requirement by following a procedure specified in the Act, which includes paying out any unused PST.

The Act, however, does not require that accrued PST be paid out upon termination of employment. Under Arizona law, employers may maintain policies requiring employees to forfeit accrued and unused paid leave if the employees have the “reasonable expectation” that they will lose the accrued and unused leave upon termination of employment. Therefore, employers should maintain clear written policies informing employees about whether or not the employer pays out accrued and unused PST upon termination of employment.

Employees can use their PST hours for a variety of reasons, including: their own mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; the mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of a family member; absences related to abuse, stalking, sexual violence, or domestic violence of either the employee or the employee’s family member; and/or when a public health emergency causes the employee’s workplace to close, or the employee’s child’s school or daycare to close.

Critically, employers can only require reasonable documentation in support of an absence if an employee has used PST for three or more consecutive days. Under no circumstances may an employer require that an employee specify the relevant health condition or the details of domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse or stalking necessitating the use of PST.

Employers should also note that the new paid sick time law includes specific employee protections that make it unlawful for an employer to retaliate or discriminate against an employee for using accrued PST or exercising his or her rights under the Act. Notably, if an employer takes any adverse action against an employee within 90 days of a person’s use of PST, the Act provides a rebuttable presumption that the action was retaliatory.

Employers should promptly take the following steps:

• Update Policies. Arizona employers should consult counsel to ensure their policies are updated to comply with the Act. Many existing policies, including “use it or lose it” policies, will likely not be compliant.

• Notice Requirements. Employers must be sure to follow the Act’s specific notice requirements. This includes displaying the Industrial Commission of Arizona’s model workplace poster addressing PST, a copy of which is available to read here.

• Recordkeeping Requirements. Employers should coordinate with their internal payroll personnel or outside payroll administrators to ensure PST will be tracked and reported consistent with the Act.

The Industrial Commission of Arizona’s long-awaited proposed rulemaking regarding PST is available to read here:

https://www.azica.gov/sites/default/files/NoticeOfProposedRuleMaking05052017.pdf

  

Laura Pasqualone is an attorney at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP in Phoenix, where she practices primarily in the areas of employment law and business litigation. She regularly advises employers on compliance with a wide variety of federal, state and local employment laws.

3 tips for lengthening the lifespan of your bed linens

Consider this: 39 percent of Americans wash their sheets and bed linens weekly, and another 44 percent wash them bi-weekly or monthly.

Are Americans wearing their bed linens out by washing them too often?

Eileen Mockus, an expert in home linens and the CEO of Coyuchi [www.coyuchi.com]—pioneers in making organic, sustainable home textiles—says that, actually, weekly washings are recommended to keep sheets looking fresh and to minimize dust and allergens.

But Mockus says that linens have to be washed the right way to minimize wear and recommends three tips for keeping sheets fresh:

#1. KEEP IT GENTLE 

Wash linens on the gentle or delicate cycle with like colors, with cold water. 

#2. KEEP IT NATURAL

Use a natural, plant based laundry detergent and avoid fabric softeners, dryer sheets (they just coat your sheets in chemicals and make them less breathable). Avoid chlorine bleach in favor of peroxide whiteners; or use products like Vaska’s Spot Off, which use enzymes to pre-treat stains and are more effective than bleach for stain removal.

#3. KEEP IT COOL

Line dry, if you can, or tumble dry on a low-heat setting to avoid hardening the loops on towels and sheets, which can lead to them feeling crunchy.

Coyuchi [www.coyuchi.com] — pioneers in making organic, sustainable home textiles —conducted the Coyuchi Linen Lifespan Survey to see how often Americans were replacing their sheets, and why so many sets of old sheets were ending up in landfills.

But even the best cared-for sheets don’t last forever, and that’s why Coyuchi recently launched a sustainable linen subscription service Coyuchi for Life [www.coyuchi.com/subscribe] that ships new sheets to your door every 6 to 24 months—and keeps your used sheets out of landfills by upcycling or recycling them for you.

For more information on the “Netflix of Bedding,” watch this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK9T4RcQU6g

Arizona officials pitch state to foreign investors

President Donald Trump’s occasional tough talk on some international trade deals does not appear to have scared off foreign investors at the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which Arizona representatives called “probably the best yet.”

This year’s summit, which brings companies from around the globe together with government officials and economic organizations to promote foreign direct investment in the United States, had a record 3,000 participants and 1,240 foreign business representatives, organizers said.

The three-day summit, sponsored by the Commerce Department, ended yesterday when presentations by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and other administration officials were featured.

Hank Marshall, executive director of Phoenix’s Community and Economic Development Department, said that the Trump administration “hasn’t even been a topic of discussion” at this year’s summit.

Stephane Frijia, senior vice president of global investment for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, said the he was “confident that the summit was going to be properly supported” under the Trump administration, calling the mission “bipartisan.”

“The SelectUSA message and objective is very clear and rises above politics,” Frijia said. “It’s about jobs, it’s about investment and wealth in the U.S.”

Besides Phoenix, officials from Glendale, Chandler and the Arizona Commerce Authority were on hand at the Arizona booth, comparing the state’s low taxes and low cost of living, among other advantages, to other major markets in the U.S.

“I think it’s been a great show and we’re looking forward to closing some deals and bringing some people to Arizona,” said Bob Denny of the commerce authority.

Over the last three years of the summit, the SelectUSA website has announced $232.9 million in foreign direct investment in Arizona. The International Trade Administration reported that 88,600 jobs in Arizona were directly supported by foreign-owned companies in 2014.

Marshall said he has seen the summit gain “momentum” over the years.

This year saw “the largest group of foreign companies that has ever come to this event,” he said. Saying it “speaks a lot about the format, opportunity and the event itself.”

Frijia said a lot of effort and coordination has gone into this event and it is paying off, especially for Arizona.

“I think we booked over 50 meetings, there’s people are stopping by all the time asking questions. People are curious to see how each state, each region differentiates between one another,” said Frijia. “It’s a great opportunity for Arizona.

“I can attest that the quality of the summit has improved significantly,” said Frijia. There’s “still room to improve, but this is probably the best yet.”

Denny said speeches from Cabinet secretaries like Ross has “helped to stimulate the demand” for investment. But he added that, on the state level, Gov. Doug Ducey’s leadership has helped to create a business-friendly environment.

“He’s a businessman, and so he has a lot of experience in that world and understanding what it takes to make a business work, what regulations are stifling to businesses and is doing all he can to make it a pro-business environment,” he said.

Frijia said he looks forward to the fifth and subsequent summits.

“We are optimistic about the future of SelectUSA, that it will continue its mission,” Frijia said. “The U.S. continues to be a safe haven for investment.”

Maracay Homes closes on $12.42 million land purchase

Land Advisors Organization recently brokered the $12,420,000 purchase by Maracay Homes of 216 finished homesites in Gilbert, Arizona. Ryan Semro and Bret Rinehart of Land Advisors Organization brokered the cash transaction between Maracay Homes, a wholly owned company of the TRI Pointe Groupe, and the seller, Annecy Recovery Acquisition, LLC.

The East Valley is rapidly expanding and this notable purchase further fuels Maracay’s growth path tripling the company’s size and closing volume over the past five years. The gated residential community is located within walking distance of the San Tan Village area north of the Loop 202, east of Val Vista Drive. The Lakes at Annecy was first developed in the mid-2000’s with resort-like amenities, including lakes, three pool complexes, tot lots, sport courts and tree-lined streets. The partially developed master-planned community calls for a total of 930 homes with a mix of single-family detached homes, duplexes, triplexes and townhouses.

With a vision to open for sales in the fall of 2018, Maracay will unveil all new floor plans ranging from approximately 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. The community’s location near highly rated schools, major Valley freeways and the San Tan Village that is inclusive of dozens of shopping and dining options is an exceptionally desirable area.

For additional information regarding the transaction, contact the agents at 480-483-8100.

Redevelopment plans will transform Phoenix hotel into senior housing

A partnership between Bruckal Developments and Ridgeline Properties has purchased the former Country Inn & Suites property at 20221 N. 29th Ave. for a price of $8,336,000. The buyer plans to convert the property into senior housing — assisted living and memory care.

“This is one of the most creative and complex real estate transactions I have encountered in my career,” said Tim Dulany, vice president of Colliers International in Greater Phoenix. “Pent up demand for additional private pay senior housing units in this submarket motivated me to pursue that possibility as an alternate use for this asset.”

Built in 2000, the property offers four-stories of space and was configured as a 126-room hotel.  The 65,000-square-foot building sits on 3.33 acres of land and has 147 parking spaces, as well as an exterior pool and fenced patio area. The buyer/developer plans to reconfigure the building into a 119-bed senior housing community that is slated for opening in February 2018.

Delany said, “The endeavor involved finding a buyer/developer for the project, identifying creative and experienced operator for the facility, and find an architect/designer with senior housing expertise who was willing to take on this unique senior housing conversion.”

PV Deer Valley, LLC, a joint venture partnership between PacVentures LLC and RA Rauch & Associates sold the property to the buyer. Bruckal Developments is a family owned, Arizona-based company with real estate assets in the U.S. and Canada. Ridgeline Properties is a leading senior housing development and property management company based in Oregon. Dulany negotiated the sale transaction, which required 11 months of coordination.

“This hotel is an ideal conversion target as it has large suite size rooms and plentiful common area spaces to develop all the amenities being afforded new seniors facilities today. The pool side setting is especially attractive and sets it apart from most modern offerings in the Phoenix marketplace” says Steven Bruckal, president of Bruckai Developments.

Bruckal Developments, led by Steven Bruckal, has been active in added-value opportunities in the Phoenix market for the past 10 years focusing on apartment renovation and infill construction. The company has built and operated seniors facilities in Canada for a 10-year period from 1999 to 2009.  Bruckal will be responsible for all construction and conversion responsibilities. The general contractor for the project is Hawk General Contracting of Phoenix.

Ridgeline Properties, LLC is the acquisition and development arm of the Ridgeline Group of companies. Ridgeline Properties addresses the real estate aspects of the acquisition and development process, in order to effectively transition operations to Ridgeline Management Company. RMC currently manages more than 2,000 beds in 11 different states, with a focus on expanding in regionals with existing operations. RMC is based in West Linn, Oregon and will be responsible for daily operations once the facility is open.

childrens hospital

Singleton Mom’s offers support to children battling cancer

Singleton Mom’s announced the expansion of their organization with the new children’s program Singleton Peds. Prior to this program the local non-profit helped single parents battling cancer by providing them with support for their day-to-day needs. Singleton Peds is an extension of Singleton Mom’s that will offer support and services to single parents that have children with cancer.

“We couldn’t be happier to extend our services by welcoming children into the Singleton family,” said Jody Farley executive director and founder of Singleton Mom’s. “We have always wanted to help pediatric cancer patients and to finally start helping is a dream come true.”

Singleton Mom’s is currently working with four pediatric cancer families in the Valley. Children 21 and younger who live with a single parent are eligible to receive assistance including financial support, toiletries, household items and support groups.

“Singleton Moms was the answer to our prayers,” said Tracy Ayers mother of a pediatric cancer patient. “The everyday things they take into consideration takes a huge weight off. Just knowing that someone out there cares means so much.”

Singleton Mom’s is now accepting applications for pediatric cancer program.

To learn more about Singleton Mom’s and how to get involved visit their website at singletonmoms.org or like their Facebook page at facebook.com/SingletonMoms.

ABI brokers $43.5M sale of Chuparosas Apartments in Chandler

ABI Multifamily, the Western US’s leading multifamily brokerage and advisory services firm, is pleased to announce the $43,500,000 / $168,605 Per Unit sale of the Chuparosas Apartments located in Chandler, Arizona. Chuparosas is a two story, garden-style apartment community which rests on approximately 17.13 acres. The property was built in 2007 of frame construction with pitched, tile roofs and individually metered for electricity. The property boasts an attractive unit mix of 110 – 1 bedroom, 132 – 2 bedroom and 16 – 3 bedroom unit types with a weighted average size of 996 square feet.

“Chuparosas offered the buyer a number of strategic advantages,” states Rue Bax, Senior Managing Partner, lead broker for this transaction who represented both the Buyer and Seller. “First, the Buyer was seeking a property in a solid performing submarket with potential for increased rents. Second, the Buyer sees Chandler as a solid performing submarket with more room for growth, when compared to the Downtown Scottsdale, North Tempe and Downtown Phoenix which has experienced tremendous new construction activity. The property is located a few miles away from Intel and Phoenix’s ‘Silicon Desert’ epicenter. Since 2016, the area has witnessed over 5,000 new job and $7.5 billion in economic development announcements which the Buyer intends to capitalize upon.”

The Buyer, Acacia Capital Corporation, is a private investor based in California with over 3,000+ units owned across the Phoenix MSA.

The Seller, Farnam Realty, Inc., is a private investment/development company based in Arizona.

The multifamily brokerage team of Rue Bax, John Kobierowski, Alon Shnitzer, Eddie Chang and Doug Lazovick, represented both the Buyer and Seller in this transation.

ABI Multifamily is a brokerage and advisory services firm that focuses exclusively on apartment investment transactions. With offices in Phoenix, Tucson and San Diego, the experienced advisors at ABI Multifamily have completed billions of dollars in sales and thousands of individual multifamily transactions. ABI Multifamily incorporates a global approach with regional real estate expertise to successfully complete any multifamily transaction, regardless of size and complexity.

Quintero Golf Club ranks among ‘America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses’

Quintero Golf Club has been named one of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, making it the highest ranked course in Arizona according to the list.

Golf Digest panelists play and score the top courses based on seven criteria, including shot values, resistance to scoring, design variety, memorability, aesthetics, conditioning and ambience. The annual listing is considered a valuable resource for golfers because it showcases the golf course characteristics most important to avid players across the country.

“Perhaps no course in the greater Phoenix area provides a better experience of the area’s diverse topography,” stated the Golf Digest report. “Some holes are framed by mountain ridges; others are out in the Sonoran desert. Still others are edged by manmade irrigation lakes or natural desert washes. Quintero, a former private club, is a scenic and playable delight.”

“We are thrilled that Quintero has been included once again in this prestigious list of best courses in the U.S.,” said Mike Poe, General Manager of Quintero Golf Club. “We have always believed that we have the most beautiful and rewarding courses in the country, and it’s very fulfilling to hear the pros agree with us!”

Located just a short drive up the road in northwest Peoria, Quintero Golf Club is described as the “Purest Golf Experience” in the Southwest. Designed by master golf course architect Rees Jones, the course sits on a pristine piece of lush Arizona desert and tests players of every level. Quintero was ranked as the “Best Public Course” by both Golf Digest and GolfWeekly Magazines in 2016.

Quintero Golf Club is ranked number 86 on Golf Digest’s 2017-2018 list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses”. The only other Arizona course on the list is The Saguaro Course at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club in Fort McDowell, which came in at number 98. For the full list, visit the Golf Digest website: golfdigest.com/gallery/americas-100-greatest-public-courses-ranking

Chef’s Secret Garden Summer Series coming to Omni Montelucia

This summer, escape the heat with a culinary adventure alongside Omni Montelucia Executive Chef Marcos Seville during his monthly Chef’s Secret Garden Dinners. 

Nestled in the back of Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia’s sprawling 32 acres of trickling fountains and lush, verdant flora sits the Chef’s Kitchen. With incredible views of Camelback Mountain, this indoor/outdoor space features a grotto-style indoor kitchen with custom millwork, hammered brass finishes, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, as well as a 2,500 square-foot, outdoor herb garden with an array of citrus, herbs and exotic mints.

Limited to just 24 guests, during each Chef’s Secret Garden Dinner Chef Seville will bring the interactive kitchen space to life with a multi-course dinner featuring guest wine, beer and spirit makers. Reservations are $110++ per person and can be made by calling (480) 627-3161 or via email at sam.barraza@omnihotels.com.

Chef’s Secret Garden Dinners Summer Series

Torres Wine

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Chef’s Kitchen at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

Dinner starts at 6:00pm.

Four-course, prix-fixe dinner with Torres wine pairings.

First Course: Charred Octopus with Meyer Lemon, chickpea goat cheese mousse, watercress and warm chorizo mignonette.

Pairing: Torres “Pazo de Bruxas” Albariño, DO Rias Biaxas

Second Course: Venison Loin with honey Tempranillo glaze, roasted garlic, manchego saffron risotto and venison glace.

Pairing: Torres “Celeste” Crianza Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), DO Ribera del Duero

Third Course: Roasted Lamb Belly with papas bravas, white asparagus and smoked blackberry gremolata.

Pairing: Torres “Salmos” Garnacha Cariñena & Syrah, DOQ Priorat

Fourth Course: Cast Iron Torrijas Bread Pudding with desert honey frozen custard.

Pairing: Torres “Jaime I” Reserva de la Familia Brandy

National Scotch Day

Thursday, July 27

Chef’s Kitchen at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

Dinner starts at 6:00pm.

Four-course, prix-fixe dinner featuring a Scotch maker and menu to be announced soon.

Gluten-Free Dinner with Veuve Clicquot

Thursday, August 17

Chef’s Kitchen at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

Dinner starts at 6:00pm.

Four-course, prix-fixe dinner featuring gluten-free dishes and champagne pairings from Veuve Clicquot. Menu to be announced soon. “

Abrazo West Campus donates 55,000 bottles of water

To help those in need of relief during triple-digit temperatures, Abrazo West Campus and Abrazo Buckeye Emergency Center have collected more than 55,000 bottles of water for the homeless. 

The water bottles were donated on June 16 to All Faith Community Services Food Bank which serves the West Valley. The water drive included the Abrazo West Campus Medical Executive committee and The Partners for Health, a nonprofit organization that supports healthcare needs of the communities served by Abrazo West Campus.  Abrazo Buckeye Fire Department firefighters helped load the bottles of water for delivery to the food bank.

“Arizona’s harsh summer weather conditions can be devastating to people who are unable to avoid them for long periods of time,’’ said Dr. Brian Dursteler, medical director of the Abrazo West Campus Emergency Department.  “Dehydration is a major concern during the summer months. We collected water as a way to help keep people cool and hydrated as well as build awareness surrounding dehydration prevention.”

Abrazo West Campus surpassed last year’s donation of 36,000 bottles of water.

Cassie Wilkins, All Faith Community Services Chief Executive Officer, said that the water drive will help homeless individuals and others who are out in the sun for longer periods of time.

“With the severe heat we are now encountering, we have begun to already put it to work.  The water will in fact help those who are homeless and need to stop by our location to rehydrate and take some with them.  We will also be providing it in our emergency food boxes.  We serve more than 2,000 households per month or over 10,000 individuals.  We anticipate the water drive will help us get to the end of July when children will go back to school and the need will not be so great,’’ she said.

Other groups that helped with the water drive are Sysco Foods, Best Western Scottsdale and Girl Scouts. 

About Abrazo Community Health Network

Abrazo Community Health Network embraces patients with the compassion of a friend while delivering the best-in-class care of a comprehensive health network. Abrazo Community Health Network encompasses six acute-care hospitals – Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital, Abrazo Arrowhead Campus, Abrazo Central Campus, Abrazo Maryvale Campus, Abrazo Scottsdale Campus and Abrazo West Campus – along with freestanding emergency centers, urgent care centers, primary practices and specialty practices. With a network of physicians and other skilled caregivers, Abrazo Community Health Network is expanding its depth and breadth of resources to shape the future of health care in Arizona and remain at the forefront of cardiology, neurology, orthopedics and other highly specialized care. For more information, visit AbrazoHealth.com.

IPA sells 424-unit Green Leaf Promontory Pointe

Institutional Property Advisors (IPA) announced today the sale of Green Leaf Promontory Pointe, a luxury, 424-unit apartment complex in North Central Phoenix, Arizona. The asset sold for an undisclosed price.

“Green Leaf Promontory Pointe enjoys a coveted position within the submarket’s competitive landscape, particularly with its topography and striking mountain views,” says Cliff David, senior managing director. “New ownership has the opportunity to leverage the property’s one-of-a-kind location with an apartment interior upgrade effort primed to produce monthly rent gains that will work in conjunction with the asset’s already strong operating fundamentals.”

David, and Steve Gebing, senior managing director, represented the seller, Green Leaf Partners, and procured the buyer, Greystar Real Estate Partners.

Built in two phases in 1984 and 1996, the property is located within the 1,200-acre Pointe Tapatio master-planned community in Phoenix. The Bell Road retail corridor, State Route 51, and the Central Avenue Corridor, the state’s largest employment center, are four miles away. Paradise Valley Mall, a 1.15-million-square-foot super regional mall and Metrocenter Mall, a 1.2-million-square-foot regional shopping mall, are also close by.

How the proposed American Health Care Act could impact Arizona children

Robert Meyer is president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The impact of the Medicaid cuts proposed in the American Health Care Act (AHCA) have taken a backseat to political discourse surrounding pre-existing conditions and insurance subsidies. The American Health Care Act gained speedy passage in the House of Representatives and is now under deliberation in the Senate. While dialogue the past few months has focused on the impact the American Health Care Act will have on adults, it’s important to ensure the conversation moving forward encompasses Medicaid and the impact Medicaid cuts will have on children’s access to health care.

The current proposal slashes federal funding by $839 billion over 10 years. The cuts most certainly will affect millions of adults, seniors and those fighting complex or chronic conditions. Still, many Arizonans may not realize that Medicaid reform will also have a dramatic effect on our state’s sickest and most vulnerable children.

Currently, children comprise 50 percent of Medicaid enrollment, but account for less than 20 percent of the cost of the whole program. Children are not what principally drives up Medicaid costs, but the proposed cuts threaten to unravel health care for low-income kids as well as children who are fighting serious illnesses.

Consider:

• Approximately 636,000 Arizona children depend on Medicaid for health care coverage through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), and KidsCare, the crucial program that covers children in families whose incomes fall just above the Medicaid funding threshold.

• In addition to low-income children, the Medicaid program covers medically complex kids who are partially covered by commercial insurance but rely on Medicaid to subsidize the cost of life-saving treatments and services. These children are fighting pediatric cancer, congenital heart disease, and other chronic illnesses requiring highly specialized care.

• As it is now structured, the AHCA threatens to cut federal funds to Arizona by $1.487 billion, which would create a ripple of harmful consequences that put our state’s youngest residents at risk.

Certainly, it’s important for our government to evaluate federal spending, improve efficiencies, and ensure the long-term solvency of programs like Medicaid. But, Medicaid for children has already proven effective and efficient. Moreover, when it comes to proposals that reduce Medicaid funding, children are completely lost in the conversation. Kids are not just small adults; their needs and opportunities are unique, and their health care must be treated differently.

For example, Medicaid’s core benefit for children – Early Pediatric Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT)– is no longer required under the American Health Care Act. In fact, the bill doesn’t include any provisions that guarantee money intended for children will be spent on this population. Along with immunizations, mental health assessments, vision, eye and hearing exams, and other vital services provided by EPSDT, AHCA gives states the option of eliminating Essential Health Benefits and cost-sharing protections for families.

The non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research published a study in 2015 showing the government recoups much of its investment in Medicaid for children in the form of higher future tax contributions. Children with access to health care through Medicaid are more likely to attend school regularly, graduate from high school and go to college, thereby becoming healthier adults who will earn higher wages than children who do not have appropriate health care as they grow.

As Arizona’s only health care system focused exclusively on children, we believe the Senate must strike down any proposal threatening funding, coverage and benefits for children.

Most states, including Arizona, are heavily reliant on Medicaid to care for low-income and seriously ill children. With significant cuts in federal funding, states like ours will be forced to do more with less. To be sure, this poses a real a threat to our kids, but it also compromises our families, communities and the future prosperity of Arizona.

Arizonans have shown time and again their commitment to our children. Now, more than ever before, we must renew that commitment to protect our youngest residents – our state’s greatest asset – and we ask our elected leaders to lead the charge in safeguarding their health and well-being.

 

Robert Meyer is president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Lyft

As ridership triples, Lyft opens driver hub in Phoenix

The ride-sharing technology company Lyft — famous for its pink mustachioed cars — unveiled a hub for drivers in Phoenix as the company says it tripled its number of rides since last year.

In 2016, Lyft contributed $40 million to the Phoenix area economy, said Drena Kusari, the ride-sharing company’s southwest region general manager. Lyft expects its economic contributions to increase “meaningfully” this year, she said at the grand opening ceremony.

“We’re envisioning there to be a ton of growth, which is one of the reasons we’re continuing to invest (in Phoenix),” Kusari said.

The company hosted local political and economic development leaders at a grand-opening of the driver hub in Phoenix, outside of Sky Harbor International Airport near 40th Street and Broadway Road, on Thursday.

The hub currently houses 12 dedicated employees and will serve as a place for drivers to congregate in-between rides as well as a vehicle inspection facility and other internal services for Lyft.

At the hub, there were many places for drivers to meet, and enjoy free beverages in between rides. There were espresso machines, jars of pink-colored candies and healthy snacks available.

Vehicle driver inspections can also be conducted at Lyft’s Phoenix driver hub. The ride-sharing company currently has nine other facilities like this in the U.S., including in Boston and San Francisco, where it is based.

The full-time staffers at the facility work on day-to-day operations for the ride-sharing company, including marketing.

On the afternoon of the hub’s grand opening, Lyft drivers met with LinkedIn experts as part of a partnership between Lyft and LinkedIn to help the drivers with career services.

This is the second Phoenix event where drivers were able to get LinkedIn, interview and networking training.

“We want to make sure the drivers who ultimately want to go on and do bigger things, we want to help them,” Kusari said.

Recently, The New York Times reported that Lyft and the self-driving car company Waymo entered into an agreement. Through the agreement, both companies will “work together to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts,” The New York Times reported.

Waymo, which is a spinoff from Google, tests its self-driving cars throughout the Valley. Kusari was unable to comment on whether any operations stemming from the agreement would be conducted in the Valley.

How hot is too hot? What the heat does to you

How hot is too hot? You might not realize it, but you have a maximum operating temperature, according to a University of Arizona physician who knows an overheated person when she sees one.

When you heat up, your body has ways to keep you at a temperature where your enzymes work optimally, says Dr. Jaiva Larsen, Banner – University Medical Center Tucson emergency medicine physician and medical toxicology fellow. Enzymes are proteins that speed up specific chemical reactions in the body.

To help keep you cool, you begin to perspire and your blood vessels dilate. But if you begin to overheat, you can become dehydrated from all that sweating, or your electrolyte balance can be disrupted because you’ve taken in too much water and not enough salt. That, in turn, can lead to seizures and other serious problems, Larsen says.

When it comes to heat-related illness, Larsen says she most often treats people who have been exercising in the heat; those who are in vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, the elderly and infants; those on certain medications; or those who have been using street drugs or alcohol, both of which make them more vulnerable to heat-related illness.

How hot is too hot?

Signs of heat-related illness include dizziness, light-headedness, confusion, slurred speech and weakness. If these signs arise, it’s important to seek medical attention quickly, Larsen says.

Her advice to Arizonans in the days and weeks to come: Plan with the right equipment if you insist on doing physical activity. Even better, stay out of the heat during the hottest times of the day, stay in cool areas, seek out air conditioning or a pool, and look out for those who might be vulnerable.

“If you do have an elderly neighbor, or you’re friends with someone with small children, keep an eye out for them as well, because they might not be doing as well as you are,” Larsen says.

How hot is too hot?

The high temperature in Phoenix hit 119 on Tuesday. Tucson’s high temperature hit 115 degrees on Monday and 116 on Tuesday.

 

New pedestrian tunnel takes shape at Phoenix Raceway

As the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar begins to take shape, the construction crew is digging into the fan experience with the excavation of the new pedestrian tunnel. 

The pedestrian-only tunnel will provide quick and easy access to one of the centerpieces of the $178 million modernization project – a premium Fan Zone. The tunnel (located near current Turn 2), will take fans from the DC Solar Power Pavilion directly under the newly-constructed Allison Grandstand extension to the Fan Zone area on the infield.  

The completely redesigned Fan Zone will offer an experience unlike any other in the motorsports arena. Upon emerging from the tunnel, fans will enjoy new hospitality areas, food and beverage options, and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Garage – which will bring fans closer than ever before to their favorite drivers and teams. This milestone is the first step to a completely redesigned infield and Fan Zone experience for raceway visitors. 

About Phoenix Raceway

Since 1964, Phoenix Raceway has been the premier motorsports venue in the Southwest. Founded as an open-wheel racing mecca, Phoenix Raceway is proud to host the Phoenix Grand Prix Verizon IndyCar Series race under the lights in April. Phoenix is the only track in the West to feature two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekends a year, beginning with the Camping World 500 race weekend in March 17-19. The schedule is anchored by the Can-Am 500 race weekend on Nov. 10-12, the semifinal race in NASCAR’s Playoffs after which the field is reduced to the final four championship contenders. For more information, visit www.PhoenixRaceway.com.

Stantec will acquire RNL Design, with Phoenix office

Global design firm Stantec will strengthen the coast-to-coast reach of its US Buildings practice while broadening its civic and commercial capabilities through the acquisition of RNL, a Denver-based, 134-person integrated architectural, interior and urban design firm.  A recognized industry authority in transit facilities, urban design, workplace, civic, higher education, and mixed-use facilities, RNL also embraces a companywide strength in sustainable design. The company’s award-winning services are provided from offices in Denver, Los Angeles, Washington, Abu Dhabi and Phoenix. The transaction is expected to close in late July.

“RNL is an exceptionally-well respected company in the industry which brings both talent and presence to complement our continuously growing Buildings practice,” said Bob Gomes, Stantec president and chief executive officer. “RNL provides us with a critical geographic buildings design hub between our coasts with incredible service synergies to civic, transit, and commercial clients throughout the United States and Middle East.”

With six decades in operation, RNL services clients in a wide variety of sectors, including public transit, civic, federal, energy, software development, telecommunications, and aerospace, among others. Large-scale projects in the firm’s portfolio include the Research Support Facility (RSF) at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado. The 340,000-square-foot (31,587 square-meter) RSF is the first Net Zero Energy project of its kind, and RNL provided full design services – from architecture and interior design to site planning and landscape architecture – with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design provided by Stantec. Within public transit design, RNL provided architecture, interior and sustainable design for the 540,000 square-foot (50,167 square-meter) Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Division 13 Bus Operations & Maintenance Facility, the first ground-up bus operations and maintenance facility for Metro in 30 years. Sustainably designed, the structure features photovoltaic panels, a green roof and an innovative rain capture system that repurposes water for bus washing needs. RNL also provided architectural, interior, landscape, and lighting design for Spire, a 41-story, Denver high-rise residential project. In the Middle East, the firm provided master planning services for the Dubai-based Burj Khalifa development, which includes a high-rise workplace and residential towers, as well as retail and urban streetscape elements spanning roughly 415 acres (168 hectares).

“Combining talents with Stantec offers a tremendous opportunity for our team members to collaborate on projects within a larger, established global network while helping to elevate their continually growing buildings practice,” said H. Joshua Gould, RNL Chairman and chief executive officer. “We look forward to bringing our multidisciplinary expertise and our strong working relationships to the Stantec team, as well as providing our clients with the power of Stantec’s extensive global reach and resources.”

RNL represents the most recent in a series of strategic US-based buildings acquisitions for Stantec within recent years – including ADD Inc., SWH Group, and VOA Associates, among others – designed to strengthen the company’s capabilities to service clients throughout the United States and the globe. Stantec currently has roughly 4,000 team members within its global Buildings practice.

Kurt Warner will appear at West Valley Gives

Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner and his wife, Brenda Warner, will be the honorary speakers at West Valley Gives on June 24.

Organizations in the West Valley have teamed up to form a committee designed to give back to the community, titled “West Valley Gives.” This initiative, led by the University of Phoenix Stadium/SMG, Visit Glendale, WESTMARC, and featuring members from various businesses and organizations, will host its inaugural event on June 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium. Festivities will include live entertainment, a DJ, Arizona Cardinals cheerleaders, Big Red and other local sports mascots.

Entertainment at the West Valley Gives Rally and Treasure Hunt includes:

• The Rich Berra Band and DJ Christian Gama
• Performances by Dance Starz AZ
• Appearances by Arizona Cardinal Cheerleaders
• Meet the West Valley Treasure Pirates
• Games, face painting and a petting zoo
• Relentless Slam Dunk Show featuring International Slam Dunk Champions
• $5 Raffle tickets for a chance to win several prizes, including autographed Kurt Warner helmet or football , sideline tickets to see the Arizona Cardinals play the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 9, autographed #31 David Johnson Jersey, autographed #32 Tyrann Mathieu Jersey and much more.

Tickets to participate in West Valley Gives are $25 per person or $15 for children 6 to 12 years old. Children 5 and under are free; seniors and military are $15 per person. Advance tickets can be purchased at www.westvalleygivesaz.com and will be available at the stadium ticket office on event day.

The West Valley Gives committee was created based on a shared desire to showcase charitable efforts in the West Valley. Once this new committee was organized, members unanimously chose Treasure House as its first nonprofit recipient. Treasure House, co-founded by Kurt and Brenda Warner, is scheduled to open in January 2018.

Tempe town lake at dusk

Lee & Associates sells Tempe parcels for $3.2M

Three commercial land parcels that total 5.3 acres just east of the northeast intersection of Rural and Baseline roads, has sold for $3,200,000. Price per SF was calculated at $13.91 per SF.

The property will be developed featuring two retail components; Alamo Drafthouse, a movie theater and dining concept with another location in Chandler and a retail development dubbed, The Collective, a center featuring shopping and restaurants being developed by LGE Design Build and DBM Ventures.

Lee & Associates Bob Kling represented the buyer Lake Country Retail Partners of Tempe. Greg Valladao of Cushman & Wakefield represented the Seller, LVC Property, Inc., Tempe.

“This sale represents an exceptional opportunity for Alamo Drafthouse to be in a sought-after location which has limited land parcels for development and for the team at LGE Design Build. They are on the cutting edge of some of the top retail destinations in the Valley,” said Kling.

Phoenix Sky Harbor will offer nonstop flights to Frankfurt, Germany

As a result of tireless efforts by the Phoenix Mayor and Council, Phoenix Sky Harbor will soon offer nonstop flights between Phoenix and Frankfurt, Germany. Condor Airlines, part of the Thomas Cook Group, will fly on Mondays and Fridays from next May through September between Phoenix Sky Harbor and the Frankfurt Airport. 

The Phoenix City Council recently voted to approve an updated airline incentive program, allowing for funds to promote a new overseas flight, as well as fee waivers to offset airport costs when an airline starts new international service. This is standard procedure at most airports today and can tip the scales when an airline is choosing between cities. The funds are 100 percent from airport revenues and no tax dollars are utilized in the program. The Arizona Office of Tourism, along with the convention bureaus of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and Glendale are supporting the effort with $150,000 in funds to the airline, specifically to market the flight into Arizona.

“We are pleased to bring Condor’s award-winning, three-class service at attractive prices to Phoenix and the whole state of Arizona and to give the local people a unique choice for their travels to Germany and beyond,” said Christoph Debus, CEO Thomas Cook Group Airlines. “With our numerous partner airlines we offer flights beyond Frankfurt to over 120 destinations across Europe.”

Phoenix international flights from Sky Harbor add over $3 billion to the local economy each year per the Airport’s most recent economic impact study. Just the daily nonstop to London is responsible for $2.3 million a day being injected into the Greater Phoenix economy and the new Frankfurt flight is expected to have significant impact as well.

Condor will operate a Boeing 767-300ER with 259 seats in business, premium and economy classes of service on this long-haul flight. All Condor passengers receive complimentary checked baggage, beverages, meals and in-flight entertainment. Condor’s Business Class features lie-flat seats, a personal in-seat, premium touch-screen entertainment system, power and USB ports at every seat and gourmet, five-course meals with complimentary wine, beer and cocktails. Business Class passengers also have access to priority check-in and business class lounges at most airports. Premium Class features seats with added legroom, leg rests and adjustable headrests, a premium in-flight, in-seat entertainment system with an extended program, USB ports at every seat, premium meals and complimentary beverages.

Beginning May 18, 2018, Condor will leave Sky Harbor Mondays at around 11PM, arriving in Germany at 7PM the next day. The flight will leave Germany around 5:30PM, arriving Phoenix at 9PM.  On Fridays Condor will leave Phoenix around 5PM, arriving in Germany at 1PM the next day. In Germany it will leave at around 11:30AM on Fridays, arriving Phoenix at 3PM.  A grand opening ceremony and promotional activities will be planned for next year.

Tickets are on sale now at www.condor.com, or by phone at 1-866-960-7915.

Phoenix has had daily service to London on British Airways since 1996 and had service to Dusseldorf and Frankfurt Germany on LTU and Lufthansa Airlines for a limited period from 2001-2003. Additional international service is available to Costa Rica and throughout Canada and Mexico.

Mountain Shadows earns 4-Diamond Rating from AAA

Mountain Shadows, the $100 million new resort in Paradise Valley, was awarded with the esteemed AAA Four Diamond Rating this week. Luxury fashion and lifestyle magazine, Vogue, also named the resort to its list of “Best New Hotel Pools in America.” These accolades come only months following the resort’s opening on April 1.

“We are incredibly proud of Mountain Shadows’ AAA Four Diamond Rating, especially so soon after our opening,” said Andrew Chippindall, general manager of the resort. “Our team is dedicated to providing the best quality service to our guests and we are honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award.” 

Fewer than six percent of the nearly 28,000 properties approved by AAA achieve the prestigious Four Diamond designation. This achievement ranks Mountain Shadows as a premier establishment esteemed by AAA’s professional inspectors, the hospitality industry, and more than 57 million AAA/CAA members. 

The original Mountain Shadows opened in 1959, setting the benchmark for desert luxury before the town of Paradise Valley was even incorporated. Rebuilt from the ground up through a partnership between Westroc Hospitality and Woodbine Development Corporation, the new resort features 183 guest rooms, a presidential suite facing Camelback Mountain, a full-service restaurant, two pools, a high-tech fitness facility, an 18-hole par-3 golf course and grill, as well as 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.

Mountain Shadows is located at 5445 East Lincoln Drive in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

About Mountain Shadows

Mountain Shadows is the new boutique resort in Paradise Valley, Arizona, between Phoenix and Scottsdale. Set in the shadow of iconic Camelback Mountain, it features desert modern design, 183 guest rooms, a luxury wing with 42 condominiums and suites, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two pools, a high-tech fitness facility, a fully revamped 18-hole short course with a golf grill and lounge, and 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. www.mountainshadows.com

How to MacGyver your infill projects through the city

Adam Baugh

Adam Baugh, a zoning and land use attorney at Withey Morris, PLC, and pioneer of infill restaurant projects across the Valley, says these projects require “a lot of MacGyvering to get them through the city.”

When it came to repurposing and adapting older buildings like an old motorcycle/car dealership into a restaurant like The Yard, on Seventh Street in Phoenix, Withey Morris found a creative way to make it happen, and since then, other projects replicated the firm’s approach.

“Every idea needs a lot of massaging to get into the city,” explains Baugh. “It’s much like the duct tape and Swiss Army knife technique favored by MacGyver.”

Thus, Baugh was asked to provide behind-the-scenes insight into what it takes to make infill happen.

How do you make infill projects viable and feasible?

Baugh: It takes an uncanny approach to the code, considering possible interpretation options, and prior experience solving other similar issues. Sometimes you only have the metaphorical duct tape, paperclip, and Swiss Army knife, which is why I make the analogy to MacGyver. But I still believe there is always a way to make infill development succeed despite its inherent hurdles and challenges.

What were some of the issues faced at The Yard project on Seventh Street?

Baugh: There were a number of issues to overcome: getting approval for commercial access to the residential alley, parking variances for a small site, managing parking within residential areas, negotiating tenants and parking ratios, coming up with a valet parking solution, designing the site to accommodate the outdoor patio and game area, use permits for liquor licenses, managing liquor licenses and premise areas for the multiple tenants, building signage variances, overflow parking and acquiring the adjacent property, identifying off-site employee parking, noise management, etcetera.

How did you address those?  

Baugh: There is so much to explain. But in short, it requires knowing obscure provisions of the city code, interpretations of the zoning ordinance, technical appeals, variances and use permits, relationships at city hall, understanding intent of code vs. plain language, neighborhood outreach and coordination, managing expectations, identifying off-site parking opportunities, etcetera.

Have these solutions been replicated at other infill projects since?

Baugh: A number of infill restaurants have used the Yard as an example of success they want to replicate while also learning from the tough lessons it has incurred. For example, because of the perceived parking issues at the Yard, we identified an overflow parking solution for the Colony project next door long before it was built. Other times we’ve assembled extra parcels, created a managed parking plan, implemented a residential permit parking program, or secured parking agreements with nearby properties.

Why is your approach unique?

Baugh: Not all sites can easily comply with the strict requirements of the zoning code. It’s not uncommon for an architect or engineer to tell their client to pass on the site because it doesn’t meet every strict code requirement. We help developers find creative ways and alternatives to make a site work even when on its face it seems impossible. We help give greater certainty to an otherwise unpredictable process.

List of Baugh’s other infill projects:

  • NEC of McDowell and Seventh Avenue: Redeveloped the old My Florist Café center into a retail and dining center
  • The Colony project on Seventh Street and San Juan: Redeveloped old retail buildings and an abandoned assisted living center into a new retail and restaurant center
  • McKellips and Recker: Redeveloped an old Office Max into an indoor recreational facility called Urban Jungle
  • University and Extension: Converted an old Fry’s grocery into a Planet Fitness and retail space
  • SWC Gilbert and Baseline: Redeveloped an older convenience store into a new Starbucks
  • The Yard on Seventh Street: Converted old car dealership into a restaurant and destination place
  • SWC 16th Street and Bethany Home Road: Redeveloped old Bashas’ shopping center into retail center and dining
  • NWC 16th Street and Bethany: Working on redevelopment of Luci’s shopping center
  • Indian School and 20thStreet: Converted old Sam’s Club into Leslie’s Pool headquarters and retail store
  • NWC Dunlap and I-17: Redeveloping large shopping center near Metro Center Mall
  • 20th Street and Camelback: Obtained various zoning entitlements

Ranking Arizona: Top 10 Italian restaurants

Here are the Top 10 Italian restaurants in Arizona, based on public voting for Ranking Arizona, the state’s biggest and most comprehensive business opinion poll. Ranking Arizona is based purely on opinion and ranks companies based how voters answer this simple question: with whom would you recommend doing business? To make your vote count in the 2018 edition of Ranking Arizona, click here to vote.

Here are the Top 10 Italian restaurants in Arizona, as featured in the 2017 edition of Ranking Arizona:

  1. Tomaso’s Italian Cuisine

For more than 35 years, Tomaso’s has been a destination restaurant in the Central Camelback Corridor in Phoenix. As an Italian born and trained culinary expert, Chef Tomaso Maggiore’s mission has always been to address customs that are historically Italian, but have taken on their own identity in America by recognizing the centuries-old relationship that America has with Italy and the vibrant Italian-American culture here. His menu is passionately crafted and sparked by a commitment to Italian culinary excellence. Tomaso, through his frequent travels to Italy, has created a fresh approach to authentic Italian cuisine. He uses the finest ingredients, innovative recipes and the latest techniques  to incorporate the true essence of Italy in every bite.

2. Franco’s Italian Caffe

3. Marcellino Ristorante

4. Baci Italian Bistro

5. North Italia

6. Sassi

7. Evo Scottsdale

8. Babbo Italian Eatery

9. Arrivederci

10. Veneto Trattoria Italiana

Did University of Arizona scientists find undiscovered planetary body?

An unknown, unseen “planetary mass object” may lurk in the outer reaches of our solar system, according to new research done at the University of Arizona on the orbits of minor planets to be published in the Astronomical Journal. This object would be different from — and much closer than — the so-called Planet Nine, a planet whose existence yet awaits confirmation.

In the paper, Kat Volk and Renu Malhotra of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, or LPL, present compelling evidence of a yet-to-be-discovered planetary body with a mass somewhere between that of Mars and Earth. The mysterious mass, the authors show, has given away its presence — for now — only by controlling the orbital planes of a population of space rocks known as Kuiper Belt objects, or KBOs, in the icy outskirts of the solar system.

While most KBOs — debris left over from the formation of the solar system — orbit the sun with orbital tilts (inclinations) that average out to what planetary scientists call the invariable plane of the solar system, the most distant of the Kuiper Belt’s objects do not. Their average plane, Volk and Malhotra discovered, is tilted away from the invariable plane by about eight degrees. In other words, something unknown is warping the average orbital plane of the outer solar system.

“The most likely explanation for our results is that there is some unseen mass,” says Volk, a postdoctoral fellow at LPL and the lead author of the University of Arizona study. “According to our calculations, something as massive as Mars would be needed to cause the warp that we measured.”

The Kuiper Belt lies beyond the orbit of Neptune and extends to a few hundred Astronomical Units, or AU, with one AU representing the distance between Earth and the sun. Like its inner solar system cousin, the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the Kuiper Belt hosts a vast number of minor planets, mostly small icy bodies (the precursors of comets), and a few dwarf planets.

For the University of Arizona study, Volk and Malhotra analyzed the tilt angles of the orbital planes of more than 600 objects in the Kuiper Belt in order to determine the common direction about which these orbital planes all precess. Precession refers to the slow change or “wobble” in the orientation of a rotating object.

KBOs operate in an analogous way to spinning tops, explains Malhotra, who is a Louise Foucar Marshall Science Research Professor and Regents’ Professor of Planetary Sciences at LPL.

“Imagine you have lots and lots of fast-spinning tops, and you give each one a slight nudge,” she says. “If you then take a snapshot of them, you will find that their spin axes will be at different orientations, but on average, they will be pointing to the local gravitational field of Earth.

“We expect each of the KBOs’ orbital tilt angle to be at a different orientation, but on average, they will be pointing perpendicular to the plane determined by the sun and the big planets.”

If one were to think of the average orbital plane of objects in the outer solar system as a sheet, it should be quite flat past 50 AU, according to Volk.

“But going further out from 50 to 80 AU, we found that the average plane actually warps away from the invariable plane,” she explains. “There is a range of uncertainties for the measured warp, but there is not more than 1 or 2 percent chance that this warp is merely a statistical fluke of the limited observational sample of KBOs.”

In other words, the effect is most likely a real signal rather than a statistical fluke. According to the calculations, an object with the mass of Mars orbiting roughly 60 AU from the sun on an orbit tilted by about eight degrees (to the average plane of the known planets) has sufficient gravitational influence to warp the orbital plane of the distant KBOs within about 10 AU to either side.

“The observed distant KBOs are concentrated in a ring about 30 AU wide and would feel the gravity of such a planetary mass object over time,” Volk said, “so hypothesizing one planetary mass to cause the observed warp is not unreasonable across that distance.”

This rules out the possibility that the postulated object in this case could be the hypothetical Planet Nine, whose existence has been suggested based on other observations. That planet is predicted to be much more massive (about 10 Earth masses) and much farther out at 500 to 700 AU.

“That is too far away to influence these KBOs,” Volk said. “It certainly has to be much closer than 100 AU to substantially affect the KBOs in that range.”

Because a planet, by definition, has to have cleared its orbit of minor planets such as KBOs, the University of Arizona authors refer to the hypothetical mass as a planetary mass object. The data also do not rule out the possibility that the warp could result from more than one planetary mass object.

So why haven’t we found it yet? Most likely, according to Malhotra and Volk, because we haven’t yet searched the entire sky for distant solar system objects. The most likely place a planetary mass object could be hiding would be in the galactic plane, an area so densely packed with stars that solar system surveys tend to avoid it.

“The chance that we have not found such an object of the right brightness and distance simply because of the limitations of the surveys is estimated to be to about 30 percent,” Volk said.

A possible alternative to an unseen object that could have ruffled the plane of outer Kuiper Belt objects could be a star that buzzed the solar system in recent (by astronomical standards) history, the authors said.

“A passing star would draw all the ‘spinning tops’ in one direction,” Malhotra said. “Once the star is gone, all the KBOs will go back to precessing around their previous plane. That would have required an extremely close passage at about 100 AU, and the warp would be erased within 10 million years, so we don’t consider this a likely scenario.”

Humankind’s chance to catch a glimpse of the mysterious object might come fairly soon once construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is completed. Run by a consortium that includes the University of Arizona and scheduled for first light in 2020, the instrument will take unprecedented, real-time surveys of the sky, night after night.

“We expect LSST to bring the number of observed KBOs from currently about 2,000 to 40,000,” Malhotra said. “There are a lot more KBOs out there — we just have not seen them yet. Some of them are too far and dim even for LSST to spot, but because the telescope will cover the sky much more comprehensively than current surveys, it should be able to detect this object, if it’s out there.”

 

301-unit apartment community in Phoenix sells for $12.7M

Cushman & Wakefield announced the $12,742,000 sale of La Reserve at Forty-Fifth, a 301-unit apartment community located at 2627 N. 45th Avenue in Phoenix, to Phoenix-based Jevan Capital, PLLC.

Brett Polachek and Jim Crews from the Cushman & Wakefield Phoenix office represented the seller, CEGOP-PHX 1, LLC of Fort Collins, Colo.

Built in 1972, La Reserve on Forty-Fifth offers one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans with an average unit size of 908 square feet.

“La Reserve on Forty-Fifth boasts the potential for strong operations with a remaining value-add component including interior renovations. New owners have the ability reduce operating costs and improve the living experience for current and future residents,” said Polachek.

With high visibility on Thomas Road, the property is in close proximity to many local conveniences and employment centers. Residents benefit from convenient access to I-17, I-10 and US-60, as well as being on the METRO bus line.