Author Archives: Clarice Wziatek

Clarice Wziatek

About Clarice Wziatek

Clarice Wziatek has a degree in International Journalism from Dublin City University, Ireland. She enjoys traveling and has visited 10 different countries, but no matter where she goes, she always comes back to her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. She believes there is always a story to tell and that is just one reason why she enjoys writing.

Infrared Body Wraps - Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2012

Infrared Body Wraps Burn Calories, Erase Inches

Keeping it Under Wraps: Infrared body wraps burn calories, erase inches and melt the fat off your body


There’s a new type of body wrap in town, and it’s hot!

The infrared body wrap, offered at select spas and fitness facilities throughout the Valley, claims to firm skin, diminish cellulite, erase inches and melt the fat right off your body — no creams, pastes, bandages or indecent exposure necessary. You can even fall asleep with your clothes on while you burn approximately 1,400 calories in a one hour session.

How it works

The wrap burns calories, smooths skin appearance and detoxifies the body.

Skye Roberts, personal trainer and owner of Luna Fitness, a women’s-only gym in Tempe says, “During the infrared body wrap, your circulation increases by 300 percent, and you get blood flow through your heart as if you were running a marathon for an hour, which totally revs up your metabolism.”

Roberts explains that a session in an infrared body wrap heats up the lumpy, bumpy cellulite and allows the blood vessels to flow and break down the cold fat like it naturally would. When it comes to detoxifying the body, the heat of the infrared wrap creates a fever in your body, wherein the body works on flushing out all the toxins, impurities and lactic acid build up.

The perfect candidate

Roberts has been a personal trainer for more than 20 years and even with her sleek and toned physique, after she had her baby, she couldn’t eliminate the postpartum pooch.

Roberts says that she knows all there is to know about a healthy diet and proper exercise, and the only thing that eliminated the fatty pooch was completing infrared body wrap sessions.

Roberts recommends the infrared body wrap for individuals who want to jumpstart their weight loss goals, women looking to shed their pregnancy baby fat as well as those who need increased circulation to combat health conditions, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

“The body is designed to heal itself, but you’ve got to have the blood flow to do that, it will increase recovery time from injuries,” Roberts says. “We’ve got marathon runners coming in here post-race to remove the lactic acid, the soreness and treat the sprains and strains.”

Success stories

Roberts has had success stories from her clients when it comes to the infrared body wrap.

“We’ve been weighing and measuring women before and after [each infrared wrap] and monitoring their results,” Roberts says. “I had a lady [complete] three in a week and drop 10 pounds. I had another do two a week for a month ,and she didn’t really workout; she lost 19 inches in one month.”

She’s also had clients suffering from arthritis complete an infrared body wrap and leave with minimal to no pain.

Keep your eyes peeled

When looking for a facility that offers the infrared body wrap or any spa services, Roberts recommends ensuring that the facility is clean and sanitary and that you are comfortable discussing any fears and medical or personal concerns with the person wrapping you.

“We wipe the bed and the silicone pads down with sanitizer,” Roberts says. “We use a fresh sheet and a blanket to cover you with every single session. We are also a women’s only facility to ensure that our members are comfortable discussing any issues that may affect their health.”

Proceed with caution

There are certain people who should not get an infrared body wrap; this includes pregnant women, type one diabetics or diabetics taking insulin, or people with diseases such as multiple sclerosis because heat exacerbates the symptoms.

The client must take out any piercings between the knees and the breasts prior to the wrap. Roberts also cautions against using the machine if you have metal screws, rods, plates or implants for joints.

“We want people to be cautious if they have metal implants, there are certain titanium alloys that don’t heat up,” Roberts says. “Just check with your doctor first, because once the metal heats up there’s no cooling it down quick.”

At Luna Fitness, infrared body wraps are $75 for non-members; gym members are eligible to receive specials and discounts, and occasionally you’ll find a Groupon for the wraps as well.

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For more information about the infrared body wraps found at Luna Fitness:

Luna Fitness
975 E. Elliot Rd., Tempe
(480) 522-2490
lunafitnessoftempe.com

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Pros and Cons of Infrared Body Wraps

Benefits:

  • Burn up to 1,400 calories in just one treatment
  • Cellular detoxification
  • Increase blood circulation
  • Reduce muscle stiffness
  • Lose inches, weight, cellulite

Drawbacks:

  • You can’t receive the wrap if you have the following medical conditions:
  1. Type 1 diabetes
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Multiple sclerosis
  4. Metal implants (please check with your doctor)
  • You cannot receive more than one laser treatment in a day, which includes tanning and laser hair removal. This can produce skin burns. Separate the treatments by a day.
  • Don’t think you can beat the system by receiving an infrared body wrap at one facility and then get another at another facility. This is hazardous to your health and ultimately can cook your insides.
  • Hydrate yourself prior. This depends on your current diet and exercise regimen. You may see results after the second treatment rather than immediately after the first.
  • Though you don’t have to regularly exercise or stick to a specific diet to see results, doing so will improve your chances of maintaining the results after the body wrap.

Source: Skye Roberts, owner of Tempe-based Luna Fitness


What It Did For Me:

We’ve all heard of those body wraps where you take your clothes off; they smear a paste on your skin and wrap you up in bandages so you look like a mummy. I declined at bearing all to a salon attendant who didn’t even know my name, but I agreed to try the infrared body wrap because I was able to leave my clothes on during the wrap and read my book without getting detoxifying mineral clay all over it.

Before the body wrap, I filled out health and liability forms, then was weighed and measured to gauge the results of the infrared wrap on my body. I had the option to watch a DVD, read my book or fall asleep, and with the warmth of the wrap I was dozing off in minutes.

All wrapped up in the silicone heating pads and blankets, I was warm, comfortable and relaxed. The small fan on the table kept my face cool and sweat free while the rest of my body was becoming drenched. After the wrap, my skin felt firmer, and overall I felt revitalized; I couldn’t wait to know my results!

I did interval training on the elliptical machine for 20 minutes post wrap, and then I was weighed and measured. I was shocked when I got on the scale and gained a pound! The trainer said if I weighed and measured myself the next day I would see a difference.

Sure enough, the next day I weighed in and lost three pounds (this included the post-wrap pound I gained). Then I measured my waist, hips and thighs and lost a total of four inches. Combining a regular workout and healthy diet with the infrared wrap would supplement and most likely improve the results.

Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2012

Bébé EcoPosh

Bébé EcoPosh Keeps Your Baby’s Health In Mind With Eco-Friendly Products

Being a new parent can be daunting especially when it comes to choosing products that are good for your baby’s health and the environment. But thanks to the launch of Bébé EcoPosh, an online company that went live Dec. 2011, making “green” and healthy choices for your baby just got a lot easier.

Bébé EcoPosh was founded in June 2010 by Stephanie Lee, a mother and an entrepreneur. Lee was faced with the issue of finding earth-friendly items for her baby Sophia, who is the product tester and face of Lee’s company as Little Miss Bébé EcoPosh.

“There was not just one store a new parent could go to purchase them; so, I decided to create my own business,” Lee says. “[At] Bébé EcoPosh, we carry everything from clothing, strollers, skin care and toys; all products that contribute to society in ways that make our planet a better place to live.”

Bébé EcoPosh Products

“We are not just a store; we are a resource for new parents that educates and demonstrates the benefits and features of the products we carry,” Lee says.

One of the biggest choices parents make when trying to go green is the choice between disposable and cloth diapers. Lee was faced with the same decision, until she found gDiapers, a product that let her have the best of both worlds — a product she proudly sells on her website.

“I use [gDiapers] on my daughter Sophia and love that the gRefill liners are flushable; you can even compost them – so, no more smelly nurseries,” Lee says. “Even if you wanted to throw them out, they will break down back into the Earth within 90 days as opposed to the average 500 years a regular plastic diaper takes to break down in the landfill.”

The Bébé EcoPosh site even has an EcoPrinciple rating system that can help customers pick out the products that meet their needs. The online boutique uses the term “eco” to describe not just something that is beneficial to the environment, but also beneficial to the well-being of society, Lee says.

“Our team of posh professionals review and rate each product carried at our store,” Lee says. “The products will be given a score of one through 10 – four being the minimum score possible to be carried by our boutique and 10 being EcoPosh Perfect.”

Bébé EcoPosh Customer Perks

The biggest point Lee wants to make when it comes to promoting her new business is customer confidence and satisfaction. Bébé EcoPosh already has a tiered loyalty program, a 365 day return policy and the ability to live chat with a Bébé EcoPosh representative about products before a purchase.

With the loyalty program, a customer starts receiving points with their first purchase, one point for each dollar spent. When the customer reaches a certain level, one of the perks offered is opting to have $50 donated to a charity of their choice in addition to special promotions.

“We also include as many product demo videos on our website to provide detailed product descriptions,” Lee says.

But the best part is the personal touches used when packaging each customer order.

“When the customer receives their order it arrives wrapped in tissue and includes a ‘Thank You’ card as well as free samples of organic skin care items,” Lee says.

The most unique customer perk is Bébé EcoPosh’s 365-day return policy. The company even pays for the return shipping for the item.

“Having a 365 day return policy allows new parents the peace of mind in knowing that if they don’t use it or need it, they can return eligible items for a full refund,” Lee says. “Before you are a parent you purchase a lot of items, some you may never use; why not allow them to return it?”

While the thrill of being a business owner inspires and drives Lee to succeed, in the end it’s her daughter Sophia who is at the heart of the business.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that I am setting an example for my daughter as being a well-educated, hard-working, business woman,” Lee says. “I want her to grow up and think ‘I can do anything; look at my mom.’ ”

 

Game of Thrones

Shows To Watch In 2012: Game Of Thrones

“Game of Thrones” on HBO is based off No. 1 New York Times bestseller author George R. R. Martin’s series “A Song of Fire and Ice.”  Martin released book five, “A Dance of Dragons,” in the series July 2011 and is heavily involved in the production of the HBO show. Season two will depict the infamous Battle of the Blackwater that was scripted for the show by Martin himself.

Season 2, “The Cold Winds Are Rising,” will début in April 2012 as the war for the throne of Westeros begins. If you haven’t watched season one or read the books there are (minimal) spoilers ahead.

King Robert Baratheon is dead and without leaving a suitable (legitimate) heir to the throne, Baratheon’s two brothers Stannis and Renly are staking claim. However, as King Robert started a war 15 years prior to take the throne from the Targaryen family, other lords are rising up and proclaiming themselves king of the lands they rule and challenging King Joffrey Baratheon, who is a product of incest between Queen Cersei and her brother Ser Jaime (though this is not known to all the characters). Political alliances are made and broken as whispers change the course of events and death consumes the land.

Meanwhile, the last heir to the Targaryen dynasty is across the Narrow Sea learning to become a ruler and planning to take her place as the rightful heir. Season one left Queen Daenerys rising out of the ashes with three freshly hatched dragons, which also represents the crest of house Targaryen. Season two will focus on Dany’s ability to lead and make decisions for her own small group of Dothraki followers as well as set the foundation for her to take Westeros back.

Game of ThronesA plethora of major and minor characters are being introduced in season two and when it comes to casting; the actors in the “Game of Thrones” series are spot on. Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister on the show, won an Emmy as best supporting actor in season one of the series.

The “Game of Thrones” world created by Martin is a fantasy series for adults. Good battles evil, but good doesn’t always win; and as in real life – where there is trust, love and security – there is betrayal, hate and abandonment. Martin is an excellent in creating characters, fully developing personality, speech and background, which transitions well into the show’s portrayal of the penned series. It is shocking to see a prominent character snuffed out, but Martin knows what it takes to pull the story together, and I must admit, it is refreshing to see the typical “good guy wins” mold broken. It’s what keeps me wanting more.

“Game of Thrones: The Cold Winds are Rising”
airs April 2012 on HBO

SunPower Solar Power

SunPower Solar Power Plant Planned For ASU Polytechnic Campus

SRP and Arizona State University (ASU) have teamed up to build a 1-megawatt, solar power plant on the Polytechnic campus in Mesa. The plant will feature the first commercial deployment of SunPower C7 Tracker technology. This solar photovoltaic tracking system concentrates the sun’s power seven times and is designed to achieve the lowest-leveled cost of electricity for solar power plants available today.

The SunPower solar power plant will utilize the C7 technology, but it won’t be the first solar power plant on the ASU Polytechnic campus. Two plants have already begun construction thanks to the SRP EarthWise Solar Energy Incentive Program.

“There are two other solar systems in construction at this time by Ameresco Southwest, a 298 kWdc and 511 kWdc,” says Jean Humphires, director of design and support services in the ASU Capital Programs Management Group. “Design of these systems began in August 2011; they will be operational by the end of March 2012.”

The ASU solar plant will be the third commercial-scale solar facility in the Valley of the Sun to provide energy for SRP, producing approximately the energy needed to serve about 225 SRP customers’ homes. The Polytechnic solar power plant will require minimal water use and supports ASU’s renewable energy goal to achieve 20-megawatts by 2014.

SunPower is engineering and constructing the plant on the southeast corner of the ASU Polytechnic campus and will operate and maintain it. Under a purchase-power agreement, SRP will buy the entire output of the solar plant from SunPower and, in a separate agreement, ASU will purchase all of the energy attributable to the plant for use at its Polytechnic campus, estimated to be more than two million kilowatts per year.

According to Humphries, 17 percent of the ASU Polytechnic campus peak load will be covered by the solar power plant, and the SunPower solar plant will be operational by the end of 2012.

The C7 Solar Power Technology

The C7 Tracker combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors, reflecting light onto 22.8 percent efficient SunPower Maxeon solar cells. The technology uses mirrors to reduce the number of solar cells required to generate electricity and will lower the levelized cost of electricity by up to 20 percent compared to other technologies. For example, the 1-megawatt C7 Tracker power plant at ASU will require only 172 kilowatts of SunPower solar cells.

“The SunPower C7 Tracker leverages SunPower’s depth of experience developing reliable tracking systems and delivers bankable technology with guaranteed performance,” says Howard Wenger, SunPower president. “We applaud our partners on this project in selecting this advanced technology platform that will deliver cost-effective renewable energy for the long-term.”

Integrating Solar Power Into Polytechnic Programs

There are four related educational and research programs on the Polytechnic Campus:

  • Undergraduate and master’s programs in alternative energy technologies and environmental technology management
  • An alternative energy focus area in the Technological Entrepreneurship and Management program.
  • The Photovoltaic Reliability Lab, directed by Dr. Govindasamy Tamizhmani, which is focused on real-world and simulated-condition aging and testing of in-field PV components
  • The Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) test bed overseen by Milton Sommerfeld and Qiang Hu

“The learning environment at the College of Technology and Innovation on the ASU Polytechnic campus is distinguished by a hands-on, project- and team-focused curriculum developed and delivered by faculty with extensive real-world experience,” says Mitzi Montoya, Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Technology & Innovation at Arizona State University. “Existing and new facilities on campus, like the Polytechnic solar plant, give our students opportunities to become more deeply engaged in their learning by providing applied context to classroom lessons.”

For more information about SunPower, visit sunpowercorp.com.

Shameless

Shows To Watch 2012: Shameless

What do you get when you have six kids (the oldest raising the other five); a deadbeat dad, who’s only full-time occupation is to be a con artist and get hammered; a high-end car thief that is actually an ivy league drop-out, and an agoraphobic? The building blocks for the U.S. Showtime series Shameless.

There is nothing envious about how the Gallagher’s live. They are a lower-class family living in Chicago, fighting to get by financially and trying to figure out life.

But this is no pity party.

I can’t help but laugh at the absurd predicaments that the Gallagher’s find themselves in, usually all thanks (or no thanks) to Frank Gallagher a.k.a ‘Frank the Plank’ (William H. Macy), the single parent to the six Gallagher children.

Frank is constantly scheming ways to make a quick buck and support his addictions. This can involve pretending to be homeless, hurting himself on the job to continue collecting disability and even taking a woman with Alzheimer’s out of a nursing home to play as the Gallagher’s longtime deceased Aunt Ginger — all so he can continue to collect her social security check when the state comes calling. Macy gives the role the life and energy it demands without stealing the show.

Even though Frank is around, he is never really there for his kids – and they are probably better off.

So, Fiona (Emmy Rossum), the oldest of the Gallagher children assumes the role of mom and dad. Fiona works odd dead-end jobs to keep a roof over the heads of the five younger kids that live in the house. There is Phillip, who is academically inclined (and gets busted for taking the SATs for other kids); Ian, who is struggling with the secret of being homosexual (only a handful of people know); Debbie, the charismatic sister with a heart of gold (she only keeps a small amount of the money she collects for charity); Carl, if he’s not getting suspended he’s setting something on fire, and baby Liam.

Shelia Jackson (Joan Cusack) plays the kooky neighbor with a weird obsession with shoes in her home and is the agoraphobic mother of Karen (Phillip’s girlfriend) and wife to Eddie, a blue-collar worker that is obsessed with religion and clowns. In season one, Shelia and Eddie separate, and Eddie moves into the basement with his clown collection while Shelia and Frank develop a relationship (literally) over his head. Cusack and Macy have a loving and comedic relationship that is really blossoming in the show and something I cannot wait to see more of in season two.

Season two finds the Gallagher’s getting ready for summer, the kids are out of school, and they are all getting odd jobs to make extra cash to keep things afloat through the winter. Frank is up to his usual conman gimmicks that leave me laughing out loud; Shelia has overcome (mildly) her agoraphobia, and Fiona is dating around trying to forget Steve, who at the end of season one, took off for South America to hide from the law.

I’d tell you more, but I think they can do it best themselves.

Shameless Season 2 airs January 8, 2012 on SHOWTIME.

The Borgias

Shows To Watch In 2012: The Borgias

Showtime is known for producing hit series such as “The Tudors” and “The Sopranos.”
Now, Showtime has produced a combination hit with the original crime family, “The Borgias.”

The Borgias” first aired in April 2011 and had the highest ratings for a Showtime season premier in the past seven years. The show began to take shape in 2010 during the final season for “The Tudors” after four popular seasons.

The show is set in Rome and the Vatican in the year 1492. Rodrigo Borgia is in control of the papacy and holds this position through unscrupulous means and continues to use those around him to achieve advancement for the Borgia family.

The first season of “The Borgias” has Rodrigo Borgia a.k.a Pope Alexander, played by award-winning actor Jeremy Irons, winning the cardinal conclave of votes to become Pope of Rome through bribery and other “unholy” means. The newly elected Pope has three sons and a daughter from courtesan Vanozza dei Cattanei (Joanne Whalley), whom Rodrigo leaves for another mistress, Giulia Farnese (Lotte Verbeek).

Juan (David Oakes) the eldest son of Rodrigo, is a hot-tempered soldier with a deadly concern for his own interests; Cesare (Francois Arnaud) the second eldest son, has followed his father into the church as a cardinal but has hired an assassin to work for him in the Borgia family name; and Joffre (Aidan Alexander) the youngest son, is still too young to cause much trouble. The most famous Borgia, Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger), transforms from a young girl into a woman through the murderous death of her friend Djem (Elyes Gabel), an arranged marriage to an abusive husband and pregnancy out of wed-lock.

The season two promo trailer aired on Showtime in Dec., but as of yet is not available online. If you weren’t lucky enough to see it, it is fair to say that season two of “The Borgias” will be darker and more dangerous. The situations Lucrezia faced in season one has given her the fuel to develop her infamously dark reputation. We get a taste of the murderous Lucrezia as she lights a rope on fire that is attached to a chandelier. The metal chandelier hanging over the bed of a passionate couple falls fast. It doesn’t clearly show who she is murdering, but it definitely does its job plying fans with curiosity. Brothers Juan and Cesare appear to be even more at odds and I’m taking a historic guess that their rivalry may become deadly. The King of France has been “welcomed” into Italy and handed a plague infested Napels to rule, I’m sure he isn’t happy about that and in reality the Borgias want him gone. A war is on the verge.

Rodrigo is finding more lovers, as well as is his mistress Giulia Farnese; and from the trailer, it appears as though one of her lovers may even be Vanozza, Rodrigo’s previous paramour and the mother to his children …

Set your DVRs because this season will be nail biting and steamy.

For more information visit sho.com.

The Borgias Season 2 airs April 2012 on Showtime.

Photos: Starz

Shows To Watch In 2012: Spartacus

Spartacus is the Starz breakout original series that blew expected ratings out of the water. The electrifying, blood-soaked action-drama is based on the violent and grotesque gladiatorial fights of ancient Rome.

Season one grabbed my attention for its highly developed, cinematic action scenes and the dramatic relationship development between characters and story plot.

Lucy Lawless (Lucretia) and John Hannah (Batiatus) are an upper-class couple in the city of Capua. Batiatus owns a ludus and trains gladiators to fight in the city’s tournaments for money, household honor and glory. He purchases a slave as a gladiatorial trainee, and Spartacus is born. Andy Whitfield (Spartacus, season one) impressed audiences with his creation and development of the main character Spartacus. He transforms into a gladiator and a slave, while remaining a man with a grudge who will not be broken.

Fans have been waiting since 2010 for season two, and it is finally here.

The second season airs after unfortunate circumstances that led to recasting the lead role of Spartacus.

Shortly after the debut of season one, ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand,’ in early 2010, Whitfield was diagnosed with stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Starz worked with Whitfield. Whilst he received treatment for his cancer, Starz created a six-episode prequel titled ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’ that aired Jan. 2011. The prequel not only gave Whitfield time to heal, but also kept fans interested and tied the story together, giving greater depth to character backgrounds.

In June 2010, Whitfield was issued a clean bill of health and was ready to begin filming season two immediately, but unfortunately the cancer returned, and Whitfield decided that it was time to recast the part of Spartacus. Whitfield passed away Sept. 11, 2011.

Liam McIntyre is the new Spartacus and knows he has a large role to fill.

From the trailer, McIntyre plays the role convincingly; however, only the full release of season two will tell.

Season one concluded with Spartacus (Whitfield) leading the gladiators in a bloody rebellion against Batiatus in his ludus. Season two will open with the now free and violent gladiators seeking revenge. The Roman Republic in the city of Capua is terrified as the band of freed slaves, led by Spartacus (McIntyre), continues to grow. Spartacus needs to decide if his need for revenge is greater than the lives of his followers.

For more information visit starz.com/originals/spartacus.

‘Spartacus: Vengeance’ airs Jan. 27, 2012 on Starz

WARNING: Contains graphic violence, viewer discretion is advised.

Scottsdale Weight Loss Center - Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011

Avoid Weight Gain With Scottsdale Weight Loss Center Tips

Scottsdale Weight Loss Center’s Dr. Rob Ziltzer Dishes Out Some Weight Loss Tips

The holidays are the time to connect with family and friends, which means more parties, more food, late-night shopping and a lot less sleep.

After the festivities are over, you open your closet to find that all of your clothing has magically shrunk, and the days to achieve your beach body are slipping through your fingers.

Make your New Year’s resolutions easier by preventing holiday weight gain with some advice from Dr. Rob Ziltzer of the Scottsdale Weight Loss Center.

Q: What can be done to maintain one’s weight over the holiday season?

A: I’m a strong advocate of making changes now to prevent the weight gain.
The average person puts on four to six pounds during the holidays and that’s for a number of reasons. There are many more meals and in-between meal food opportunities, whether it be holiday meals or buffets, more cocktail parties, or cookies that people bring into work. All of those things ultimately mean more calories eaten.

When you compound that with people being out more and sleeping less, sleep deprivation also leads to weight gain. Getting a full seven to eight hours of sleep can help burn the equivalent of 400 more calories.

Q: Do you have suggestions for healthier options or substitutions if you are hosting a party or dinner?

A: Skewered beef, chicken or shrimp kabobs are going to be much more filling and nutritious with far fewer calories and carbs. If made properly, deviled eggs are a good choice because they are filled with protein.

If you are making cookies, you can use apple sauce instead of oil or butter. It changes the flavor a little bit, but it will certainly reduce the amount of calories. Personally, I recommend you eat a really good cookie you really like and just eat less of it.

Q: Alcoholic beverages are known for empty calories. With the increase of holiday cocktail parties, do you have any suggestions for low-calorie options?

A: One important fact is to stay well hydrated. Instead of having two alcoholic drinks back to back, have a glass of water or a diet soda in between. You will reduce your overall amount of alcohol intake. If you really want to drink, light beer is the best choice followed by wine.

Q: What do you think about pre-mixed, low-calorie drinks such as the Skinny Girl Margarita?

A: It only has 110 calories and five grams of sugar. Less sugar means fewer calories, so that’s actually a good choice.

Q: What do you suggest if people overeat or have too many rich items during a meal?

A: Prevention is key. Once you’ve overeaten, it’s too late. Don’t go into a meal hungry. We recommend pre-loading. Have a small meal, snack bar, a salad or 16 ounces of water before you get there.

Listen to your body. We use the 1-10 hunger scale — 10 being famished and 1 being totally full and bloated. Start eating when you are a 6 or 7, and stop when you are about a 4. Then, you will feel satisfied.

Q: The holiday rush usually means skipping exercising. Do you have tips to help boost energy and maintain weight without exercise?

A: Simply wearing a pedometer to track how many steps you are taking can be really effective. Try to do something every day, even if it’s only for five or 10 minutes. Take a brisk walk, go to the gym, or go dancing — anything to get you moving.

Even doing housework counts. It doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym if you are busy. If you are cleaning, preparing for a holiday party or putting a tree together, those are all physical activities and should be counted.

For more information about the Scottsdale Weight Loss Center:

Scottsdale Weight Loss Center
9989 N. 95th St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
(480) 366-4400
scottsdaleweightloss.com

 

Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011

 

Custom apps

itSynergy Creates Custom Applications For Companies

Local Arizona businesses are jumping on the tech wagon when it comes to commissioning a custom app, and this is where itSynergy, a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner, comes in.

itSynergy: Why Businesses Desire Custom Apps

Businesses look to streamline certain tasks and increase the productivity of their employees. The majority of custom apps created for companies are utilized by internal resources and employees, according to President and founder of itSynergy, Michael Cocanower.

Cocanower knows that decisions need to be made in time frames, and a custom app is the tool to help facilitate that. More often than not, the way information is presented comes in an off-the-shelf application and is not conducive to enhancing productivity and efficiency, Cocanower says.

“The comment we commonly hear from clients is ‘we know it’s in there somewhere, we just don’t know how to get it out,’ ” Cocanower says. “This relates to the ability, or lack thereof, to access important information that is crucial to decision making from existing systems.”

A secondary need when it comes to businesses needing custom applications is integrating more than one type of data source. The example Cocanower uses is the time that is needed when a business does something as simplistic as changing addresses.

itSynergy, custom apps

“Ask most companies, and they will tell you there are at least three or four places where they have to make that change — ordering system, vendor database, accounting system, etc.,” Cocanower says. “By putting a small piece of custom software in place, that can happen automatically, which increases efficiency, is more environmentally friendly and eliminates errors.”

Companies approach itSynergy for custom applications when they cannot find one to meet the business needs. The needs of a company include accessing important information and moving data into different formats, such as the Web or mobile devices, to allow new audiences to access efficient and timely information, Cocanower says.

Businesses Applying a Custom Application

Two Valley construction companies and a law firm have requested itSynergy to create a custom application. The custom applications are tailored to meet the individual company’s operational and network needs.  The result has been the development of applications that streamline safety issues and training, as well as project costs and timelines.

Glendale-based Levelline Framing works on custom and commercial building projects. A custom application developed for Levelline Framing by itSynergy tracks project timelines between the field and the home office. This custom app allows communication from a job site directly to the office server, and the transfer of real-time data now enhances the company’s communication and productivity on various projects.

Tempe’s FNF Construction is a leader in heavy highway and general construction. The company required a safety application to supplement the company’s top-rated safety and health program. itSynergy implemented Microsoft SharePoint to support safety training programs, accident reports and more, such as a direct impact on insurance and medical expenditures.

The Law Offices of Scott M. Clark, needed an app that streamlined billing and bookkeeping, while also tracking important data for clients. The firm focuses on residential property management Arizona, and so the application was created specifically to track and maintain the firm’s eviction notices, handling 2,000 cases a month and aiding the company in the terms of speed and efficiency. The application also includes a client portal where the firm’s clients can log in and review case statuses.

itSynergy is working on creating custom applications for other local companies (as well as those out of state) that will help them increase employee productivity and customer satisfaction. Cocanower recommends companies investigate custom applications when they have multiple data sources in their organization that could be better integrated and an off-the-shelf application isn’t conducive to enhancing productivity and efficiency.

itSynergy
7310 N. 16th St., #130
Phoenix, AZ 85020
(602) 297-2400
itsynergy.com

 

Thalia Event Design

Thalia Event Design Plans Local and Sustainable Events

Thalia Event Design is a local event planning company that keeps things green and local when planning events big or small.

Creating Thalia Event Design

Hollie Dunn, the owner and designer for Thalia Event Design, started her company in February 2011. Dunn says that there was a niche in the market for sustainably-planned events and for an event planner that supports local businesses. The goal is to limit transportation emissions and keep money flowing within the local economy in an effort to create more jobs in Arizona, Dunn says.

“Our events are designed to exceed all of our client’s expectations and requests while also being as close to zero waste as possible,” Dunn says. “We look at where items are sourced from and where they will end up in an effort to reduce waste; this entails the incorporation of recycling and composting programs for event refuse and incorporating reusable décor whenever possible.”

Thalia Event Design planned an event in October 2011 for the Environmental Fund for Arizona that was completely sustainable from beginning to end.

“The food was all made from locally grown, organic ingredients and was prepared and served by a locally-based catering company; the flowers used in the centerpieces were also sustainably grown and provided through a local florist,” Dunn says. “The venue itself was a historic building owned by the city of Tempe with an outdoor garden patio that, in and of itself, decreased the event’s energy consumption, and all fees paid to rent the venue were donated to help a Tempe-based, non-profit organization.”

Dunn adds that what she loves most about event planning with Thalia Event Design is helping them to create the event of which they dreamed while also contributing to a cleaner, greener environment.

Sustainable Doesn’t Mean Substitute

When it comes to making an event memorable, Dunn says that the most important aspect to focus on is the food.

“Make sure it’s amazing and that there is plenty of it,” Dunn says. “Guests will always remember an event that had plenty of amazing food, and you can be sure that they will also remember an event that did not.”

When it comes to a client requesting a certain type of food, flower or any other amenity that will make a client’s event just the way they want it, Dunn looks for sustainable or local alternatives, never asking the client to give up a desired aspect of the event to be sustainable.

“If a client wants to serve filet mignon, I would never tell them that it isn’t advisable due to the environmental damages that arise from the process of procuring the filets,” Dunn says. “I would instead look into sourcing filets that are locally raised, grass fed, and/or free range. This way we can plan for sustainable solutions to our client’s requests.”

How Thalia Event Design Keeps Events Sustainable

When it comes to meeting the goals of local and sustainable some items are easier to procure than others, but the most important point of creating a sustainable event is focusing on waste reduction.

Dunn says that this is achieved by eliminating individually packaged drinks, using a pitcher of water instead of individual bottles, providing recycling and composting bins at the event and communicating that to guests before or during the event; and if an item will be inevitably thrown out after an event, making sure it’s recyclable is always priority. Thalia Event Design always focuses on where an item comes from and where it will end up, reducing waste significantly events, Dunn adds.

But it isn’t always simple finding sustainable and local items; this includes disposable dinnerware alternative to china or glassware.

“Sometimes it isn’t always possible to get everything that’s needed for an event from a supplier that fits both the local and green criteria, and when that happens we compare the available purchasing options to determine what choice best meets the needs of the event, the environment and the economy,” Dunn says.

Making Your Own Event Sustainable

These tips are provided by Thalia Event Design and Hollie Dunn for making your get-together local and sustainable:

1. Procure all of your meal ingredients from a local market. Farmers markets are great for this.

2. If you need to, hire local vendors. This automatically lends itself to being green as less transportation is involved in getting items from Point A to Point B, and you’ll be sustainable keeping money in the local economy.

3. Compost and recycle all of your event’s refuse, and purchase your event products accordingly to ensure they can be either composted or recycled. Planning ahead is what it’s all about when making your event sustainable.

For more information about Thalia Event Design, visit thaliaeventdesign.com.

Sedona, Ariz.

Slide Rock And Red Rock State Parks In Sedona

Sedona is known for the natural beauty of  its stunning red rocks that the locals have affectionately named and shamelessly promote. You can enjoy the natural sculptures of Sedona by visiting a vortex, drinking in the beauty of Slide Rock State Park or hiking in Sedona’s Red Rock State Park.

Experience a Sedona Vortex

Sedona, Ariz.Ask any of the locals what to do in Sedona, and they recommend watching the sunset from Airport Mesa. Airport Mesa also happens to be a vortex location. Believers of the metaphysical consider a vortex a high-energy spot, and Sedona has a handful. The vortex is a common ground for the kinetic energy to influence the life in and around a particular area. Visitors to vortexes claim a tingling sensation, a refreshed outlook and inner peace. Is there an unseen force at work? Or are these feelings, commonly reported by visitors and locals, just a state of mind?

It can’t be denied that Airport Mesa has one of the best sunset views in Sedona. The limited parking fills up fast an hour before sunset. If you aren’t an enthusiastic outdoor athlete or hiker, this vortex and scenic look out is perfect. The 3.5 mile, circular trail is not too strenuous or difficult and offers easily accessible views of other popular rock formations such as Coffee Pot rock, Courthouse rock, Bell rock and Cathedral rock, just to name a few. It may be that the crowds at this easily accessible vortex throw off the claimed energy field that is found on Mini Mesa. Maybe, to feel the energy of a vortex, you have to feel as though you have escaped the crowds, alone and absorbing nature.

You can check out the Sedona vortexes with this vortex map.

Slide Rock State Park

This Arizona state park is one of the best summer destinations that offers natural beauty and fun in one. The smooth natural rock formations of the river bed and the rushing water offer a natural water slide, while the large flat stones on the bank provide a fabulous place for sunbathing and catching up on that latest novel. It can become extremely crowded during warmer weather, so if you want to escape the crowds, hike up the river and immerse yourself in a still-water pool or observe the wildlife stopping for a drink.

Sedona, Ariz.

In the winter it may be too cold to enjoy swimming in the creek, but the hikes and the views are breathtaking especially with a fresh snowfall. The Slide Rock State Park used to be the Pendley homestead, a 43-acre apple orchard that was developed by Frank L. Pendley in 1910. The Pendley Homestead Historic District was accepted onto the National Register of Historic Places in Dec. 1991. The Pendley apple farm is one of the few homesteads still preserved in Oak Creek Canyon. Enjoy the history of the apple farm as a scenic and cinematic destination, James Stewart’s “Broken Arrow” was filmed here along with others, and hike the Pendley Homestead Trail (.25 miles), Slide Rock Route (.3 miles), or Clifftop Nature Trail (.25 miles).

Summer or winter, plan your visit to Slide Rock State Park in Sedona.

Red Rock State Park

The Red Rock State Park is located on the south side of Sedona along the 89A and had numerous trails suitable for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The 286-acre nature preserve includes a 1.4-mile stretch of Oak Creek that flows through this amazing riparian habitat.

The park also features an environmental educational center with daily activities such as a daily guided nature walk at 10 a.m. and an educational presentation at 2 p.m. The guided nature walk is lead by a naturalist who explains the ecosystem and habitat of the Red Rock State Park and Oak Creek. The walk lasts about one-and-a-half to two hours and covers the wildlife, vegetation and archaeology of the area. The educational presentation led by a park ranger or a guest speaker can be a combined indoor/outdoor activity that includes a specific, special presentation and on occasion an outdoor hike. Bring water and your camera!

Check the Red Rock State Park website for a calendar of events.

Solar tariff

Debate Over Renewable Energy Tariff For Rebate Customers

Solar rebate customers may be faced with a higher renewable energy tariff that will supplement the solar rebate fund to help other customers install solar equipment.

Previous articles in the Green Scene section focused on the many available rebates for purchasing solar equipment for a home or business. These articles also focus on the savings that can be accrued after switching to a greener energy source. This post is a summation of the Dec. 20 Arizona Republic article and a personal commentary on the decisions to be made concerning a renewable energy tariff for rebate using customers.

The Renewable Energy Tariff

Before you switched to solar (or if you haven’t yet), you are charged with a renewable energy tariff. The tariff price is based on how much energy you use, so if you have installed solar energy equipment, you buy less energy from your utility company. Therefore, you reduce your monthly tariff. The APS renewable energy tariff is capped at $4 a month for residential customers that have not transitioned to solar energy. If you have a solar system on your home, you pay approximately half that, or less.

Arizona Corporation Commissioner, Brenda Burns, thinks it’s fair to charge those who used solar energy rebates a few extra dollars each month so that those who haven’t taken advantage of the solar rebates can have that same opportunity.

The reasoning behind this idea is that more people are going solar and fewer people are left paying the renewable energy tariff. So the Arizona Corporation Commission wants to ensure that there will be money in a fund to continue allocating rebates to customers that want to go solar.

It becomes an issue of fairness when people who are renting or those of lower income are paying the renewable energy tariff to its extent and supporting higher-income homeowners, living in affluent neighborhoods who want to use rebates to install solar in their homes, Burns says in the article. Burns also says that the implementation of the tariff will not be retroactive to those who have used rebates to install solar equipment in their homes, only those who utilize the rebates in the future.

I’m sure this has a lot of people asking, “Why should this come out of my pocket?”

Renewable Energy Tariff’s Effect On Solar Policy

Critics of this idea include solar companies and say that this is an attack on the industry. Arizona Corporation Commissioner, Paul Newman, wonders from where this idea stemmed in the first place and feels that it is a punishment for customers who were the first to make that transition to solar energy.

Different levels of rebates are available, but let’s say a customer utilizes a $4,000 rebate to install a solar system in their home. That person is already spending thousands of dollars to put this system on their roof; the rebate was a welcome relief and an incentive.

The political alignment with the move to go solar was constructed to make it easier to make the change, and by monetarily inviting homeowners to do so persuaded them. Now the policy with solar is still there, but it isn’t as motivating to homeowners.

I’m all for a greener future, and I love the idea of getting our power from the sun, but to entice homeowners with rebates and then make them pack back the rebates is comparable to false advertising.

In my mind, a rebate is a discount on a product that you don’t have to pay back. So, calling these solar rebates isn’t necessarily true. It’s like a loan that you borrow, but you pay it back interest free. And the next question is, how long? How long do clean-energy users continue paying the full rate of the renewable energy tax? Until they have paid back the amount of the rebate they used? Double the amount of the rebate they used?

Should solar rebate customers pay the renewable energy tariff so more customers can take advantage of solar energy? Should the idea of the rebate be eradicated completely and allow individuals to purchase their own solar equipment? Should the money just run out, with the utility companies instituted an early bird gets the worm policy when it concerns the solar rebates?

We’d like to know what you think, let us know in the comments.

 

First Press Fine Wine Auction

First Press Fine Wine Auction Benefits KJZZ Youth Media Project

The 10th Annual First Press Fine Wine Auction will benefit the KJZZ Youth Media Project. All proceeds from the auction go to the youth media program that allows KJZZ reporters to mentor high school students in the areas of journalism and reporting.

The 10th Annual First Press Fine Wine Auction

First Press Fine Wine AuctionThe 10th Annual First Press Fine Wine Auction, presented by Molina Jewelers, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012.

More than 30 wineries are scheduled to participate, including the Robert Craig Winery from Napa Valley. President Robert Craig will serve as this year’s honorary chair, and Peter Sagal, the voice of the popular NPR game show “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,” will be the evening’s host presented by National Bank of Arizona.

The evening will have live entertainment by Alice Tatum and the Alice Tatum Band, a gourmet five-course meal and a high-end live auction of rare vintages, culinary experiences and vacation packages.

But the most important part of the evening will be about the fundraising. Funds raised from the auction will benefit Friends of Public Radio of Arizona and the KJZZ Youth Media Project. Last year, the First Press Fine Wine Auction raised more than $170,000 for their benefiting organizations.

The KJZZ Youth Media Project

The KJZZ Youth Media Project is an educational outreach program designed to mentor “at risk” youths in the areas of broadcast journalism and digital media production. The program was started in 2007 and initially worked with 14 students from South Mountain High School. This year the program is expanding to approximately 20 students from all high schools who qualify.

The students complete an application and go through a verbal interview process to see if they can fit the six-month core curriculum into their time frame. The projects curriculum consists of elements developed by the Radio Television National Association.

“[The] kids will work in all aspects of digital media,” says Louis Stanley, the executive director of Friends of Public Radio Arizona. “Then they will specialize and continue to work on content development, while also helping to mentor new kids starting the program.”

The ultimate success of the students is what the program is all about. Stanley shares a success story from Ann Miles, an employee at the South Mountain High School Communications department.

“Ann Miles said, ‘Many of my students who a participate in the KJZZ Mentorship program at South Mountain have gone on to college to study journalism. They return to tell me how much the experience with KJZZ not only prepared them for college journalism classes, but they also feel that they are ahead of their peers,’ ” Stanley says.

KJZZ’s Youth Media Project

[stextbox id="info" caption="What To Know If You Go:"]
The 10th Annual First Press Wine Auction
When: Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 at 6 p.m.
Where: Westin Kierland Resort and Spa
Tickets: $250 per person or $2,500 for a table of 10. Guests seeking guaranteed table seating with a vintner and marketing exposure can purchase a table sponsorship starting at $5,000.
[/stextbox]

 

Air pollution

Air Pollution In Arizona: Hayden Seeks Long Awaited Relief

Air pollution is a national problem. Imagine leaving your house every morning and having to wear a face mask and gloves, worrying that the air you breathe and everything you touch is toxic. That is an example of the extreme, but it if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t regulate and control where factories are built and what they are dispersing into the ecosystem near towns and cities, wearing a face mask and gloves may become the norm.

National Air Pollution Problems

Lead and arsenic are being released into the air in Laureldale, Pa. by Exide, a company that recycles car batteries. Exide was recently cited with 161 violations and fined $436,000, but did that change its practices?

Residents are still complaining because of the smell, but it’s the unseen hazards that are putting this community at risk.

The EPA says toxic air has dropped by 40 percent when compared to 20 years ago, but there is still an issue with companies violating regulations. The EPA has a watch list of Clean Air Act violators and as recently as this summer the list capped at around 400 companies across the United States.

Poisoned Places: Toxics in the Air, on the Ground

Air Pollution in Hayden, Arizona

When it comes to companies being careless about toxic emissions, small Arizona towns are being affected by bad air. Residents of Hayden, Ariz. are are concerned about the health risks that come with living in Hayden and are afraid to let their children play outside.

One resident relocated after Asarco bought her home and demolished it after it was determined to be severely contaminated with chemicals emitted by the copper mining and smelting company.

The EPA tested the soil in Hayden and found that lead and arsenic contaminated dozens of family yards close to the smelting operations. The company was required to clean it up, but according to Hayden residents, ASARCO covered the contaminated soil with landscaping rocks.

The air pollution condition for the residents in Hayden, Ariz. is a catch-22. The community was created by the mining company and many residents in the community work for ASARCO. They don’t want to lose the jobs the company provides, they just want ASARCO to clean up its act.

License to Pollute: An Arizona Town’s Long Struggle With Hazardous Air

GPEC Forum

GPEC Hosts Forum For New And Expanding Businesses

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council ( GPEC ) hosted a forum on Dec. 8 to welcome three green and sustainable businesses to Arizona. While Arizona provides particular benefits for these businesses, including climate, educated workforce and tax credits, these businesses will provide benefits for Arizona and its communities by creating jobs, in addition to upholding the reputation of Phoenix as a leader in sustainability.

GPEC Introduces Clear Energy Systems, Maxwell Technologies Inc. and Bryan University to Arizona


Clear Energy Systems

GPECClear Energy Systems, is a research and design company based out of Tempe since 2001, but now that the company is ready to go into production mode, it was time to determine a home base.

Clear Energy Systems developed a clean burning, one-megawatt generator that is powered using natural gas, opposed to traditional diesel generators.

The Clear Energy Systems generator has been designed to meet or exceed the EPA and the CARB emissions requirements. The company expects to have its first saleable unit produced in 2Q of 2012, but even with the generator still in production, the company already has orders for 200 units.

Clear Energy Systems is gearing up to have a local workforce of 350 employees and represent five percent of the exports of the state of Arizona by 2016.

“We want Clear Energy Systems to be a place that people are banging down the doors to come work at,” says Joel Borovay, chief operating officer (COO) of Clear Energy Systems. “By 2014, we’ve committed to the state of Arizona that we will have 225 employees; today we have 11.”


Maxwell Technologies Inc.

GPECMaxwell Technologies Inc. representative, Earl Wiggins, the vice president of operations, was enthusiastic about expanding the company to Peoria.

Maxwell Technologies Inc. will be manufacturing Ultracapacitors in the Peoria plant. These Ultracapacitors are used in heavy transportation vehicles, such as buses, trains, trams and metros around the world. The mechanism stores the energy created when the vehicle stops and uses that energy for the vehicle to accelerate. This type of technology is also used in energy windmills to control the direction of the blades as the wind changes.

The Ultracapacitors have to be manufactured in a low- to zero-humidity environment, so choosing the Southwest was a no-brainer. Cities such as Albuquerque and San Antonio were competing for the patronage of Maxwell Technologies, but according to Wiggins, “Phoenix won out because of GPEC’s outstanding communication with our company and the current availability of facilities. The other cities were willing to build a facility for us, but time was a factor.”

Maxwell Technologies sells its Ultracapacitor model to 40 different countries and expects to bring 150 jobs to Phoenix in the next three years.


Bryan University

GPECBryan University is relocating its headquarters from Los Angeles to Tempe.

The online-based university offers a variety of courses for higher education seeking students. Eric Evans, chief technology/compliance officer for Bryan University, explained the high tech systems used to facilitate a successful and engaging learning environment that is available on the Internet.

The university uses programs such as Moodle, eDiscovery and Illuminate to facilitate a face-to-face learning environment with access to all the amenities that a student would receive if they attended a university in person, just simply eliminating the carbon footprint.

Bryan University was considering other locations in addition to Arizona as the optimal relocation for its headquarters; however, Arizona won top spot for its close proximity to its current location in California, the growing population of Arizona, the need and desire for online education and avaliablity for persons with higher education degrees to fit employment qualifications.

“In the next two years, we expect to hire between 150 to 200 employees with higher education degrees to fill positions with our university,” Evans says.


All three of these companies were in talks with other cities as the new manufacturing site or headquarters, but Phoenix won out as Arizona’s climate, population and desire for economic expansion won these companies over. Each feature of our state contributes to our success — expanding population, the sustainable technology programs provided by Arizona’s colleges and universities, the warm sunny weather and the continuing interest by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council for Arizona’s economic and sustainable improvement.

Green Holiday

A Green Holiday: Green Gift Ideas, Shopping And More

Having a green holiday is even easier this season. Companies are more conscientious of the materials they use to create sustainable products, and we can do the same by being green in our gift choices and buying practice.

Here are a few ideas to get your holiday off to a green start and stay sustainable through 2012:

Green holiday gift guide

There is a green gift out there for everyone, from kids to pet owners. And giving green gifts doesn’t mean you have to spend more green either! This gift guide covers stocking stuffers to household items with prices starting at under $10.

The most fuel-efficient 2012 cars

The Toyota Prius was the breakout kid in the hybrid market, and it’s still No. 1. But with the increasing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, auto makers are stepping up the game and giving consumers more to choose from from styles and size to fuel-efficient capabilities.

Arizona greywater management system available to home owners

Every drop of water is precious in Arizona and the Southwest region. Get your home or business environmentally sustainable for 2012 with a home system created by sustainable water company Organica. Organica allows individuals (or companies) to build their own greywater treatment system. Some companies may even qualify for tax credits.

Tips for green holiday shopping

Going to the stores during the holidays can make you question your sanity. So do yourself and the earth a favor by checking prices online before you buy, researching the company of the products you want to verify they are ethically sourced, and reduce that day-after trash bag filled with wrapping paper by using recycled products.

 

Entirely Pure

Entirely Pure Offers Energy Efficient Mortgage

Entirely Pure is a local, Tempe based company that is dedicated to helping homeowners make their homes sustainable and energy efficient through an array of products and services, while minimizing the work and the worry that comes with securing financing for home improvements and with selecting the right upgrade products for the home.

Entirely Pure will conduct a home energy audit and then offer its clients the specific energy efficient upgrades that are catered to their home. Some of these products are a solar hot water heater, radiant barrier, window tinting, attic insulation, bottle-less water coolers, etc. The majority of Entirely Pure products come with rebates up to 30%, which are available to homeowners until the end of the year.

“We have a ton of different products and services and most of the products we offer have a rebate on them, the federal state and utility rebate,” Mileka Bakhshai, director of marketing at Entirely Pure, says. “The rebates run out this year and we want homeowners to take advantage of them before they are not available anymore.”

These services aren’t just for older home owners. New houses are built quickly here in Arizona and with the haste of the build can come issues of secure sealing and energy efficiency.

“We try to educate our customers and we really want them to know that there are so many different items and not just one item will fix your house and make it energy efficient,” Celeste Padilla, director of operations at Entirely Pure, says. “We’ll go in and do a really thorough analysis and give them suggestions on simple things they can do themselves in addition to what we can provide for them.”

The rebates available for sustainable home upgrades are expiring at the end of the year, so Entirely Pure wants current and future customers to be able to take advantage of these deals before time runs out.

Aside from the sustainable products and services offered to home owners, a new program of Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM) is being offered through Entirely Pure to assist homeowners in acquiring these sustainable upgrades. The Energy Efficient Mortgages will help homeowners realize their dreams of having a sustainable home and save money on their utility bills.

The Entirely Pure Energy Efficient Mortgage

“This is an amazing opportunity for homeowners and home buyers who are looking to either qualify for a higher loan amount, lower their interest rate, reduce their monthly utility bills, increase the value of their home, all the while reducing their carbon footprint,” Bakhshai says.

Padilla says the EEM program allows for flexibility for homeowners that cannot refinance or that don’t qualify for modification because they don’t want to damage their credit; while giving them the opportunity to take advantage of the historically low interest rate. The application processed is streamlined and with a credit requirement of 620 and no docs for the applicant.

“The Energy Efficient Mortgage is a newer program, this is something we started a few months back, we’ve been really implementing and creating a solid relationship with a few different lenders and making sure it’s a good fit for not only us, but the customers,” Padilla says. “We connect them with a mortgage lender and we are not exclusive, we work with several lenders … We will walk through the process with them, we provide the energy audit, and we provide energy efficient upgrades; we hold their hand through the entire process.”

Taking advantage of the rebates available and the EEM program will not only allow home owners to upgrade their homes to a sustainable status and benefit the environment, but will also allow them to save money on monthly utility bills. This program isn’t just for existing homeowners, but also new home buyers who are looking to stretch their debt to income qualifying ratio on the loan as well.

“This isn’t the only program that we offer, for any reason, if a homeowner wasn’t qualified for an energy efficient mortgage, financing, payments cash, there are many different options we can offer to someone who wants to do these upgrades and also want to take advantage of the lower interest rates,” Padilla says.

With these loans a homeowner can:
1. Make an older, less efficient home more comfortable and affordable.
2. Qualify for a higher loan amount.
3. Stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans.
4. Save money every month on utility bills.
5. Increase the potential resale value of their home.
6. Sell their home more quickly by making it more affordable to people and attracting attention in a competitive market.

Entirely Pure Specials for AZnow.biz Readers

Entirely Pure is offering an end of the year special on Solar Hot Water Heaters, $999 after rebates and a 10% discount to azbigmedia.com readers up to $500 on products and services if you mention this article.

Products & Services Offered:

  • Energy Audits
  • A/C Upgrades, Repairs, & Tuneups
  • Solar Hot Water Heaters
  • Radiant Barrier
  • Energy Efficient Window Tinting
  • Blown & Fiberglass Insulation
  • Attic/Duct Sealing & other forms of weatherization
  • Reverse Osmosis & Water Softeners
  • LED & CFL Lighting Upgrades
  • Same as Cash Program Available
Shamrock Farms

Shamrock Farms Dairy Tour

Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. For Shamrock Farms dairy cows, it’s greener right where they are! Shamrock’s motto is “happy cows produce the best milk,” and getting the chance to tour the dairy farm proved that to be true.

Shamrock Farms dairy products are different from other dairy products because they are guaranteed to stay fresh up to 90 days when unopened and up to seven days after the product’s expiration date. This is due to the unique pasteurization of the Shamrock Farms dairy products and the quick processing time.

I think it’s safe to say that taking the Shamrock Farms dairy tour last weekend really moo-ved me!

The dairy farm, located in Maricopa, south of Phoenix, is located on 1,000 acres of land and is the home to approximately 17,000 cows. The farm doesn’t have an address, so to get there, follow the directions from Shamrock Farms’s website.

We arrived 15 minutes early as recommended and checked in for our tour in the big red barn that is also the gift shop, museum and snack bar where you can get some delicious Shamrock Farms milk or ice cream.

When we heard the cowbell ring (no pun intended), it was time to climb aboard the black and white, cow-spotted tram.

Shamrock FarmsDiane, our tour guide introduced us to the history of Shamrock Farms, which began in Tucson in 1922. She told us how it came to be the leading dairy processor and distributor in the Southwest.

The dairy tram took us around the farm where we stopped by the Desert Oasis that boasts, “World Class Services, Balanced Dining, Full Body Care and Stress Reduction.” The milking cows are kept in this climate enhanced environment and when they are milked, they have a “cleaning service” that rakes and sanitizes the pens.

Then it was off to the milking barn; but first, the tram stopped at Roxie’s play place so visitors could feel how the milking machine feels to the cows, dispelling the myth that it hurts or pinches the cow. Visitors, old and young, climbed in the large tub of cottage cheese, took pictures in front of the large Shamrock Farms milk bottle, or bopped around the over-sized, sour creme punching bags.

Shamrock FarmsFrom the play place, the tour walked to the milking barn where we watched the dairy farm workers sanitize the milking stations before and after each cow is milked. This twin double barn allows the farm to milk 200 cows at the same time.

In the milking observatory, we were treated to a video that explains what happens to the milk after it is shipped to the I-17 processing plant and how it ends up on your store shelf.

After viewing the milking station, the tram drove us through the Desert Oasis where all the cows are kept and on to the nursery where each tour member donned a plastic glove and got to pet and feed the baby calves that will one day become Shamrock Farms dairy cows. The baby calves were so adorable! They loved the attention lavished on them by the visitors on the tour.

The calves are kept in small, individual pens to protect them from the elements and predators, as well as to allow the dairy farm employees to monitor their health and diet.

Shamrock FarmsThe tour also passes (at a distance) the special barn and the free fields where the organic cows graze. Shamrock Farms doesn’t use a growth hormone in any of their cows, so you never have to worry about it passing on to your family whether you buy regular or organic Shamrock Farms products.

The tour finished when the dairy tram stopped next to the red barn, and we were invited to complimentary Shamrock Farms milk. They have the regular flavors of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, but there are also the Dulce de Leche, Café Moocha and even energy-infused milk, Rockin’ Refuel, from which to choose.

We took our time to walk through the museum and view the historic photographs of the beginning of Shamrock Farms and the products it has created over the past 90 years.

The Shamrock Farms belief is to treat their employees like family and their customers like friends.

What to Know Before You Go to Shamrock Farms:

  • To go on the dairy tour, you must make a reservation on the Shamrock Farms website.
  • Arrive for the tour 15 minutes early to allow enough time to check in.
  • Bring your camera and a thirst for locally owned and produced Arizona dairy products.
  • Before you leave, stop by the gift shop to get that cow-loving friend something new to add to the collection!

Visit www.shamrockfarms.net for more on Shamrock Farms and its dairy tour and its special Joy to the Herd event the first weekend in December.

 

Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Black Friday Deals And Cyber Monday Madness

It’s all about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals this Thanksgiving, but what about deals before Black Friday?

Plenty of retailers, such as Target, Toys ‘R’ Us and Amazon.com, have already kicked off the holiday season with incredibly low prices on high-end items with online-only specials.

Pre-Black Friday Sales

Here are two retailers holding pre-Black Friday sales:

Target

Target has pre-Black Friday deals online and in-store until Wednesday, Nov. 23.

In addition to the great deals, Target is also supplying coupons for the items on sale on its website. Sale items include electronics, toys and household items.

But Black Friday sales are what it’s all about, and Target has a slew of hot items at great prices. In the electronics department, you can find hot buys on the Kindle 3G, a PS3 bundle and a TOMTOM GPS system. Then there are the toys, clothes and household items with door buster prices. And for those deals, you have to wait until Friday.

Toys ‘R’ Us

Toys ‘R’ Us has special deals on Leapfrog books and Leapster learning games, select LEGO games and Radio Flyer Scooters. Additional promotions include, buy one, get one 40 percent off for DS and 3DS video games, and an Olympus 12 mpx digital camera for $69.99, as well as saving up to 50 percent on board games. Customers get free shipping for an order of $49 or more. But hurry, you only have until Nov. 23 to pick up the savings.


Pre-Black Friday Online Retailers

Here are a couple online retailers holding pre-Black Friday sales:

Overstock.com

Overstock.com is overflowing with great pre-Black Friday red line deals. From cameras to televisions, some of these red line items are already sold out. There is also an extra 10 percent savings on select outerwear and boots, and don’t forget to stay cozy with some new winter bedding. Overstock.com also offers some great steals on jewelry and designer frocks.

Amazon.com

Another pre-Black Friday, retailer is Amazon.com. Amazon has started their time-released lightning deals on Monday, Nov. 21, and they will run all week long. Amazon.com did this last year to entice online holiday sales, and this year it’s taken off in force; in less than an hour from its 4 p.m. release time, a Haurex Italy Men’s Red Arrow U.C. Sampdoria Chronograph Tachymeter Rubber Watch that retails for $800, sold out for $99. The same goes for the Blu-Ray Pulp Fiction DVD for $3.99 from its $19.99 list price — and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Deals are released approximately every hour with only a clue as to what the product might be.


Black Friday Deals

Many, many retailers are boasting great Black Friday deals, but here are a few:

Apple

Apple is known for set prices on its products and accessories, but this Black Friday Mac products will be 10 to 15 percent off. Mac’s will be approximately $101 off the regular price and iPad’s will be $41 – 61 off depending on storage size. The biggest savings will be the base level Macbook Air starting at $898. Apple is also discounting its accessories such as the iPad 2 Smart Cover, the Apple Wireless Keyboard and the Apple Wireless Magic Trackpad.

Macy’s

Macy’s is known for its historic Thanksgiving Day Parade (that airs 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET Thanksgiving Day), but they also have some incredible deals, such as ladies cashmere sweaters for $40 (regular retail value $109), as well as men’s Oscar de la Renta sweaters starting at $30. Men’s and women’s winter boots are up to 50 percent off and select kitchen appliances starting at $9.99.

Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart has some of the best deals on the market, according to its Black Friday sale paper. Select movies regular DVD and Blu-Ray are being advertised for $1.96 – $10.

A selection of Blu-Ray movies under 15 dollars? Only on Black Friday.

Wal-Mart is also attempting to one-up all the other retailers by starting Black Friday sales two hours earlier. While most retailers are starting sales at midnight following Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart is honoring some of their sale prices starting at 10 p.m.

Local Deals

Blissful Yoga Studio

Blissful Yoga, locally owned and operated with locations in Arrowhead, North Phoenix and Scottsdale Quarter, is offering an exclusive, online Black Friday special starting this Friday at midnight.

The special? Sign up for a membership, pay two months and receive two months FREE. This is valued at $270 and is only offered to the first 100-150 memberships. You can cancel after the four months if you wish; no penalties.

For more information about Blissful Yoga, visit blissfulyoga.net.

Phoenix Art Museum

The Phoenix Art Museum is having a Black Friday deal for art lovers. Only on Friday Nov. 25 can you purchase a museum membership for 20 percent off. You can purchase the membership online and enter the code: BLACKFRIDAY or you can visit the museum between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to get this great offer.

For more information about the Phoenix Art Museum, visit phxart.org.

Desert Ridge Marketplace

Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix is also offering tons of coupons from its restaurants on locations and retailers, including Aeropostale, Barnes & Noble, DSW and many more. Although you cannot use these coupons on Black Friday, they are valid through December 31, 2011 — perfect for holiday shopping post-Black Friday.

Browse the list of coupons on Desert Ridge Marketplace’s website.


Cyber Monday

Many of the businesses mentioned above will be holding a Cyber Monday sale. Many of the items won’t be disclosed until the night before. But, you can get the inside scoop if you follow your favorite store on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Here are some Cyber Monday links:

Twitter: Cybermonday_fm
Facebook: Cyber Monday FM


Don’t Forget Small Business Saturday

There are incredible deals out there, but don’t forget to shop small businesses on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26.

Small businesses support the economy and create jobs in your community. Arizona has a plethora of local artisans, jewelers and boutiques. If you can complete even a portion of your holiday shopping at a local business, you’ll be doing something great for your community and yourself.

If you’d like to shop local, calculate your impact and find a local business by visiting shiftarizona.com.

First Solar, Mesa

First Solar To Open Manufacturing Plant In Mesa

First Solar is moving to Mesa after consolidating its Vietnam manufacturing plant. The First Solar manufacturing plant will bring approximately 1,200 jobs to Mesa. The plant is currently in its construction phase and the estimated completion for the manufacturing plant’s first phase will be in the third quarter of 2012.

First Solar’s Reciprocal Benefits For Company and Community

Greater Phoenix Economic Council president and CEO Barry Broome is excited to bring another big name in solar technology and manufacturing to the Valley.

“The Greater Phoenix region is in a prime position to capitalize on this momentum,” Broome says. “Already home to First Solar’s headquarters in addition to its Mesa manufacturing facility, the region is also home to nearly one dozen solar and renewable energy or clean technology companies such as Suntech Power Holdings, Power-One, Gestamp Solar Steel, Rioglass Solar, Clear Energy, Maxwell Technologies and hundreds more within their supply chains.”

The United States Southwest holds the largest global manufacturing opportunity for solar, clean and renewable technologies. Broome says that First Solar’s choice to manufacture in Mesa will not only be beneficial for the company by being able to take advantage of renewable and sustainable tax credit program, but for the Arizona economy by creating solar technology careers.

University and community college students in the Valley will have an advantage for finding careers in solar technology and engineering when they complete their programs.

“Greater Phoenix turns out superb engineering talent through its universities and technical talent through its community college system,” Broome says. “Mesa was selected over Vietnam because of the [full pallet of renewable resources] that are produced in the East Valley, the leadership of the Mayor of Mesa, Scott Smith and the opportunity that has been built around the U.S. market.”

One advantage for First Solar manufacturing in the United States is the increase for efficiency and that of supply chains in relation to other parts of the country.

“Here in Arizona we have the chance to be an international leader in very important technology,” Broome says. “First Solar, Suntech and all these companies are a clear sign that [solar] is the technology of the future and we have to be strong and focused on this success.

“As illustrated today by First Solar’s decision to embrace Mesa over a low-cost overseas market, we can and will dominate the solar renewable energy and clean technology market.”

 

Pure Insurance

Pure Insurance Caters to High Value Homeowners

Insurance has a new name and it’s PURE. PURE insurance is a young and expanding company that doesn’t model itself after standard insurance companies; it carefully selects its policy holders to keep premiums low and customer response high.

PURE Insurance

PURE insurance was created on three principles: expertise, alignment of interest and the green field.

“As experts in this niche market, the PURE team understands how to handle the very unique, demanding needs of the owners of high-value cars, homes or jewelry. The alignment of interest happens when you have a company that is predominantly run for the benefit of policyholders rather than outside shareholders,” says Ross Buchmueller, president and CEO of PURE.

“The third component is what we call green field or clean slate, where you combine a specialist company with a mutual commitment, and you have the benefit of starting from scratch with the most modern technology and the most contemporary approach to underwriting risk.”

According to Buchmueller, when PURE enters a market like Arizona the company grasps a full view of the possible risks including, but not limited to, potential wild fires. That way they ensure PURE can select the best agents for each client and case. But PURE also takes great care in selecting potential policy holders who demonstrate responsibility and high net-worth.When it comes to selecting a policy holder, PURE insurance looks for the most responsible owners of the finest built homes as well as homeowners who take great care in preventing loss, have alarm systems and have continuously maintained their homes even during the economic downturn where other homeowners may have cut corners.

“This group of people will likely have fewer claims and will likely enjoy lower premiums,” Buchmueller says. “The selectivity is an important component that makes the company so special, not because it is elite, more because it enables PURE to deliver a higher level of coverage and service at a lower cost.”

Artwork, Wine Collections and Jewelry

For priceless works of art or that vintage wine collection, replacing them isn’t an option. This is where PURE’s specialty liaisons can help with adjusting a claim and more importantly preventing that claim from happening. The company has experts in both evaluation and repairing damaged artwork.

“When it comes to artwork, one of the greatest risks relates to art in transit,” Buchmueller says. “So [PURE] helps coordinate the professional packing and shipping and managing of collections. If you wanted to move a piece of art from your Scottsdale home to your Chicago home, you don’t want to throw it in the back of a station wagon and start driving.”

PURE’s policy for covering fine jewelry is greater in breadth than that of standard insurance companies, Buchmueller says.

“We decided to become pioneers by increasing the amount of jewelry coverage available under PURE’s homeowner’s policy,” he says. “Many homeowners policies limit coverage for jewelry that is lost, misplaced or stolen to $5,000. We are the only company to increase that limit to $50,000 to better reflect the needs of successful families.  If one of our members  was to lose a valuable watch or earring, they have the peace of mind knowing that they have coverage that is not available anywhere else.”

 The PURE Promise

PURE insurance offers the PURE Promise, which tells customers that quality can cost less. PURE prides itself on doing it right the first time by hiring experts to work in each area, whether it be claim filing, assessing item cost or claims adjusting.

“The PURE Promise says, ‘if we do a great job, from selecting the right members, from working hard to prevent losses, exceptional quality can actually cost less,’ ” Buchmueller says. “That’s why we think this expert, policyholder-owned, fresh start company is uniquely positioned to produce quality.”

PURE Insurance in Arizona

PURE insurance came into Arizona at the beginning of 2011.

Tami Chartier, a local agent for PURE through the Farmer Leavitt Insurance Agency, has been writing policies for the company since its launch in Arizona, and enjoys the quality and the benefit that is provided to PURE policy holders.

“I like that [PURE is] a mutual company, and I like that our policyholders are actually owners in the company,” Chartier says. “I like the idea of keeping the premiums down and the [profits] going back to the PURE membership.”

PURE focuses on the personalized, stress-free and convenient services it provides its customers whether it starts out with consulting to get a policy quote or having to meet with a personal liaison to file a claim.

With an unfortunate event that results in making a claim, PURE will take the utmost care in ensuring their client is taken care of with an expert liaison. The liaison will handle the whole process for the client, which has gained PURE rave reviews from current policy holders.

“Going through a claims process is very, very stressful depending on the type of claim,” Chartier says. “It’s a very difficult ordeal, and having a personal Member Advocate to go between [the policyholder] and the adjustor and the carrier to resolve any issues that are involved, eases the burden for our members, and people are very excited about that.”

[stextbox id="grey" caption="For more information about PURE insurance, please visit:" color="000000" ccolor="000000"] www.pureinsurance.com[/stextbox]

 

Arizona Centennial, Mystery Castle

5 Weird Arizona Attractions You Have To See

Over the course of the past 100 years, inhabitants of Arizona have left their marks on the surface of the Arizona landscape for better, worse or just plain weird. Here are some Arizona attractions worth visiting at least once:

The Mystery Castle on South Mountain

This Phoenix Point of Pride was built on the base of South Mountain between 1930 and 1945 by Boyce Luther Gulley. When the Mystery Castle architect and builder died from cancer and tuberculosis after leaving his wife and his daughter Mary Lou Gulley without a word in 1930, he willed the Arizona Mystery Castle to them, where they both lived until their passing in 1970 and 2010, respectively.

The castle has 18 rooms built with reclaimed materials from a local dump that used to be in the area.

Mystery Castle is open from early October to end of May on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Get there before 3:30 p.m. if you want to take the last tour. Call for more information: 602-268-1581.

Location: 800 East Mineral Road, Phoenix


The Camelback Copenhaver Castle

Arizona Centennial, Copenhaver CastleThe Camelback Castle is a more recent addition to the Phoenix landscape perched high on the neck of Camelback Mountain. This architectural wonder of 7,800 sq. ft. was built by orthodontist Dr. Mort Copenhaver. Copenhaver purchased the property in 1967 and started blasting rock out of the mountainside to build this Moorish-style castle complete with a draw bridge, a dungeon and even secret passageways.

The previous owners Copenhaver and Jerry Mitchell (known as the creator of Rawhide) both filed for bankruptcy and now the current owners of the castle, Old Standard Life Insurance Co., have tried selling and auctioning the property with no success. Maybe it’s cursed?

The Camelback Castle is not currently open to the public, but you can always drive by and check out the outside.

Location: 5050 E. Red Rock Road, Phoenix


Arizona Centennial, Louis Lee's Oriental Rock GardenLouis Lee’s Rock Garden in Paradise Valley

Lee’s rock garden is an incredible, detailed construction of whimsy created by one man, Louis Lee. Lee died in 2006, but his 50 years of work in the front yard of his Paradise Valley home lives on. The home is private property, but just drive by and you can see the narrow walkways, gravel arches and the hundreds of tiny, smiling Buddha’s embedded into the landscape.

Location: 4015 E. McDonald Drive, Phoenix


Arizona Centennial, World's Largest KokopelliThe World’s Largest Kokopelli

This 32-foot-tall, Native American symbol of fertility, towers over a small strip mall that includes a tourist information office and the newest addition, a Starbucks. It was originally built for the Krazy Kokopelli Trading Post, but more people must have stopped to take pictures with the metal deity than shop at the trading post, as the store is no longer there.

Location: The I-17 and Camp Verde Exit 287


The 25-Foot Tall Hobo Joe in Buckeye

Arizona Centennial, Hobo Joe StatueArizona’s biggest bum hangs out in Buckeye, in front of West Valley Processing. Hobo Joe was an icon for the Hobo Joe coffee shops that were scattered around Arizona before the company closed up in the late 1980s, but there never was a Hobo Joe restaurant in Buckeye. So how did Hobo Joe come to rest there? The restaurant became partners with a bank and pulled out a loan for $3 million. Then, one of the owners of Hobo Joe’s embezzled money from the restaurant (instead of paying back the loan), to build a swanky Phoenix home and a posh condo in Mesa for mafia members that were being investigated by murdered Arizona Republic reporter, Don Bolles.

With the chains closing up, this Hobo Joe was never paid to artist Marvin Ransdell. Ransdell hit hard times, so his friends the Gillum’s, owners of West Valley Processing, stored his things until Ransdell could get back on his feet, this included Hobo Joe. When Ransdell passed away, Ramon Gillum assembled Hobo Joe with a plaque in Ransdell’s memory.

Location: West Valley Processing, 1045 East Monroe Avenue in Buckeye.

 

Willow Bend Environmental Education Center

Willow Bend Center Provides Environmental Education to Flagstaff Residents

Willow Bend Center Provides Environmental Education to Flagstaff Residents

If you had to pedal a bicycle to produce the energy needed to run the computer you were on right now, how much energy would it need? The Willow Bend Environmental Education Center in Flagstaff can give you an idea.

The Willow Bend Center has been bringing environmental education to Arizona since 1978. Each year, the Willow Bend Center educates 14,000 students in northern Arizona through its classroom programs and field trips.

The Willow Bend Center

The center has a Green Building, Discovery Room, gardens and the Biobug. The Green building was built in 2002 with the helping hands of volunteers from the community and incorporates a host of sustainable living practices.

“The building is passive-solar straw bale with a grid-tied photovoltaic system, rainwater cisterns, backyard habitat landscaping and native crop gardens, composting and more,” says Sapna Sopori, director of the 
Willow Bend Environmental Education Center. “In addition, our Discovery Room has interactive displays that demonstrate how how easy it is being ‘green’ in our personal lives.”

In the Discovery Room, you can ride the light bike to find out how much energy it takes to light up a regular light bulb as opposed to a compact flourescent light bulb, as well as how much water a person in Flagstaff uses each day and how recycled soda bottles become a fleece jacket.

Many of the education activities, such as the Discovery Room exhibits and Quest: A Natural History Treasure Hunt, are free. To supplement the educational experience on site, Willow Bend will be getting a shade structure and new outdoor learning space for educational use through its relationship with the Coconino County Parks and Recreation.

“This structure will be made of local small-diameter Ponderosa pine and will provide an outdoor learning space for Willow Bend,” she says.

The Willow Bend Center Educational Program

“We are best known for our Pre-K through 12 public school programs and work within the school districts to make teaching [environmental education] easier on teachers,” Sopori says. “Each of our 50 unique classroom programs is state standards aligned and offered free or low cost to teachers.”

The Willow Bend Center Discovery Room

The Willow Bend Center sends qualified educators to the schools with materials for hands-on, engaging, environmental science programs that focus on the bio-region and associated with community issues. Supplementary field experiences that build on the classroom programs are also offered. Currently these field workshops are held at Willow Bend or Sawmill County Park, and can even be provided at the schools themselves, to reduce busing costs and turn schoolyards into explorable habitats.

“Over 85 percent of the teachers that use Willow Bend rated our programs as above average or excellent, and 99 percent plan to continue using us in the future,” Sopori says. “[But,] children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from our programs; we also offer amazing teacher workshops to prepare and inspire educators to incorporate [environmental education] into their curriculum, both in the classroom and in the field.”

Willow Bend offers day-long programs such as the Science of Solar to more intensive 12-day programs such as the Yellowstone workshop, to help educators feel comfortable using the environment as the context for learning. These programs can be used for continuing education credit through FUSD, so formal teachers can meet their certification requirements as well.

The Willow Bend Center Community Events

The center has a variety of educational public programs for people of all ages. Though the Willow Bend Center focuses much of its time with the school system, they recognize the benefit of extending environmental education to the community as a whole.

“For this reason, we offer Family Science Events so families can enjoy experiencing nature and learning together,” Sopori says. “For example, our Radical Reptiles class is a great way for parents and kids to learn why snakes, lizards, turtles, etc. are such amazing creatures and see beautiful live specimens up close and personal.”

The center also offers Adult Adventures, where adults can get outside, get active and learn directly from professionals in environmental science.

“Willow Bend is dedicated to connecting northern Arizona to the environment, empowering our community to live more sustainable, and always providing hope for a fruitful tomorrow,” Sopori says.

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If You Go: The Willow Bend Center

703 E. Sawmill Rd.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(928) 779-1745
willowbendcenter.org

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Arbsource Cleantech Open

Arbsource Wins Cleantech Open Regional

Arizona State University is making headlines yet again for its innovative, green technology programs. This time, Arbsource, a spin-out company from Arizona State University, is the winner of the Rocky Mountain Cleantech Open regional final for the Air, Water and Waste category.

What Is Arbsource?

Arbsource transitions wastewater treatment from an expensive liability into a valuable resource for food and beverage companies. The core of Arbsource’s technology is based on Anode Respiring Bacteria, which, in conjunction with Arbsource’s unique reactor design, removes organic pollutants such as sugars and starches and other type of organic pollutants in the wastewater without the need for as many inputs as are required for traditional processes.

Arbsource Logo

Mark Sholin, founder and CEO, explains Arbsource’s technology for treating the wastewater for food and beverage companies, taking that costly energy liability and transforming it into a valuable resource. Depending on the use that this water is destined for, it can be reclaimed to be used directly back into our customers’ processes, or it can be treated directly on site for release into the sewer system.

“We are talking about breweries, confectioners, potato chip makers … a lot of these guys spend up to six figures per year just treating their wastewater,” Sholin says. “With our ARB cell biotechnology, we can offer comparable speed and quality for up to half the cost, and that savings is realized through using a lot less energy, producing less solid sludge by-product and also reducing maintenance.”

Charlie Lewis, Vice President of Venture Development at Arizona Technology Enterprises, has assisted Arbsource’s Sholin and Lon Huber, CFO, with the commercialization process of this new technology and licensing the technology back to the young entrepreneurs. This process is necessary as the technology was developed through a collaborative student and faculty partnership at Arizona State University.

Lewis shares the green technology Arbsource developed that makes it different from other industrial wastewater treatment, such as cutting costs and producing hydrogen gas rather than methane.

“Companies have water that is imported from another facility that needs to be treated,” Lewis says. “Through the technology of Arbsource, they are able to substantially cover more reducing the costs. And from an output standpoint, [the process] produces hydrogen gas, which is a good product rather than those that are not environmentally friendly like methane.”

Companies have already expressed interest in getting on board with this technology, some right here in Arizona. Sholin wishes not to release names due to confidentiality reasons, but he mentions dairy facilities, breweries and a few candy makers.

“There’s a number of local beverage processing companies, some high profile names and others in the Phoenix area that have expressed early interest in our technology,” Sholin says. “We are still pretty early in the technical development where we are sourcing materials for, what we like to call, our pre-pilot unit.”

Arbsource In The Cleantech Open Regional Competition

The Cleantech Open is a leader in developing clean technology startup entrepreneurs that are currently addressing these aims to find, fund and foster incredible ideas that address energy, environmental and economic challenges. Since the inception of the Cleantech Open in 2006, 400 teams have been privileged to Cleantech Open’s unique, hands-on workforce development, nurturing and funding programs.

Each regional final team won a “Startup in a Box” prize package that included cash and in-kind services worth up to $20,000.

The Cleantech Open has given the Arbsource team the opportunity to connect with potential investors, strategic partners and customers during this competition, in addition to receiving media exposure. This has even led to a venture capitalist, based out of Colorado, that wants to mentor the Arbsource team throughout the rest of the competition and beyond.

“Our team is quite young,” Sholin says. “Lon and myself are steering the ship if you will. He’s 25, and I’m 23. The teams we are competing against … most of them are double our age and they’ve been at this for years.

“Some of these guys are serial entrepreneurs who have a mature product in place and even have the sales to back it up. Call it maybe distorted, but when they announced our names, we were really blown away by it, and I think it had to do with the market opportunity and the fact that we have a young team, and we have the energy to devote to this. Also, that we have a very knowledgeable advisory board and the fact that we are very closely tied with Arizona State University.”

Arbsource is heading to the finals on November 15 and 16 in San Jose, Calif. to compete against the finalists from all six regions.

[stextbox id="grey" caption="For More Information:"]For more information, visit Arbsource’s website.[/stextbox]