Tag Archives: arizona

college graduates

Arizona State Credit Union rewards grads

Arizona State Credit Union awarded $38,000 to 19 deserving students and alumni of Arizona universities and colleges through its Community Leaders Scholarship and Loan Reduction Grant program.

The seventh annual grant and scholarship program supports the Credit Union’s ongoing commitment to provide financial assistance to students and alumni of in-state colleges and universities.

“The Credit Union’s cooperative culture stems from our focus on what we can do to help Arizona residents and community members,” said David E. Doss, President/CEO of Arizona State Credit Union. “Our scholarship program has been in place for seven years, and is one of the many ways we give back to the community. We are proud to once again reward students and alumni for all of their hard work.”

All 19 recipients hail from Arizona’s student and alumni population and are affiliated with one of the following schools: Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona, South Mountain Community College, the University of Phoenix, Yavapai College, Estrella Mountain Community College and Coconino Community College.

The Community Leaders Scholarship helps students attending state universities, colleges and vocational schools pay for various expenses, including tuition, books and other academic necessities.

The Loan Reduction Grant assists graduates in paying on their student loans, a significant financial burden that affects many students upon graduation. The grant was awarded to graduates who exhibited strong academic prowess and active participation in community efforts.

For information regarding 2015 scholarship and grant applications, visit us online at azstcu.org.

Congratulations to:

• Aaron Burger – Northern Arizona University
• Alyssa McGregor – University of Arizona
• Angela Towner – University of Phoenix
• Blake Koolick – Arizona State University
• Brandon Quezada – Arizona State University
• Clarence Cleveland Jr. – Arizona State University
• Connie Berry – Arizona State University
• Delaney Scanlan – South Mountain Community College
• Heather McCrea – Yavapai College
• Lauren Meyer – University of Arizona
• Maria Pina – Arizona State University
• Natasha Kukowski – Arizona State University
• Nathan Eyde – University of Arizona
• Nicole Porter – Northern Arizona University
• Rianne Gibson – Northern Arizona University
• Saumya Gupta – Arizona State University
• Sergio Copus-Nunez – Estrella Mountain Community College
• Spencer Forsberg – Yavapai College
• Taylor Richards – Coconino Community College

Chad Heinrich is vice president of public affairs for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

We need to truly measure students’ knowledge and skills

In the business world, when something isn’t working, we work hard to change and adapt it to better meet the needs of the market. The same should be expected of our education system in Arizona.

For years we’ve been operating off a system that isn’t hitting the mark and meeting the needs of future employers. Extremely low standards coupled with a test that told students they were graduation-eligible at merely a ninth- or tenth-grade level have left Arizona behind in the dust. A system that resulted in nearly 53 percent of high school graduates who do not qualify for admission to our state public universities along with 59 percent of community college students requiring remediation. Worse yet, the old system didn’t prepare students for employment. Local businesses have stated many times that newly hired high school graduates are deficient in reading, writing and math and lack basic communications skills.

So where do we go from here? The Arizona Legislature made a bold move in retiring Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) during the 2013 session, a decision that was strongly supported by the business community. In implementing Arizona’s higher, more rigorous K-12 standards, there is a clear need for a new assessment that measures those standards and skills needed for employment.

The State Board of Education is in the process of selecting a new assessment; however, there are some basic things we know to be true about the configuration of a new test. First, the test selected will align with the new standards, while providing students with an opportunity to go beyond rote memorization and demonstrate their critical thinking skills. The new test will give teachers and parents a clearer picture that students are on track for college and career, something AIMS did not do. Importantly, the test will help students measure the skills demanded by today’s employers.

Instead of a high stakes “pass or fail” determination that required a student to pass the AIMS test to graduate, high school students will get a “college or career readiness” score that might eventually be factored into their course grades. Students and families will have a score that is worth paying attention to, instead of an ambiguous “pass” that only tells them they have mastered the skills of a tenth grader.

Additionally, these tests will likely be the same across much of the country, meaning students will be held to the same expectations in each grade across schools, districts and states in a way that has not been possible until now. As they prepare for life beyond high school, this will create an environment where Arizona students will know if they are competitive with their peers across the country and around the world.

As business leaders, we have supported the accountability systems the legislature has moved forward over the past several years, including school A-F letter grades, teacher and principal evaluations, as well as Move on When Reading, Arizona’s third-grade, reading-retention law. These accountability measures are all dependent on data that monitors how students are doing and how much they are progressing from year to year, which requires a meaningful assessment.

The business community will continue to strongly advocate for the adoption and funding of a high-quality, aligned assessment. It is critical that we better prepare our students for college and career, and this starts by adopting a functional assessment that students, families, teachers and employers can rely on to truly measure knowledge and skills.

Chad Heinrich is vice president of public affairs for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

skd283121sdc

Arizona Theatre Company opens season with laughs

Arizona Theatre Company opens the 2014-15 season with the Arizona premiere of the hilarious comedy of ill manners, the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Play, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” from Oct. 9-26 at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe in downtown Phoenix.

The show is directed by Joel Sass, the force behind ATC’s critically acclaimed production of The 39 Steps. The 2014-15 season is sponsored by I. Michael and Beth Kasser. Opening night sponsor in Phoenix is Gammage & Burnham.

In Christopher Durang’s “all out-smash” (Talkin’ Broadway), Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia are living a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up, while their sister Masha travels the world as a movie star. Just as their cleaning woman, Cassandra, issues a warning about terrible events in their future, Masha returns for an unannounced visit with her 20-something boy toy Spike in tow – and so begins an unforgettable weekend building to a fever pitch of rivalry, regret and racket. Mixing Chekhov shout-outs with contemporary cringe-worthy flair, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a delightfully off-kilter season-opening romp that critics have hailed “a sublime state of hilarity” and “a zany joy!”

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is among the funniest plays to pass our way in a long time,” Arthur Dorman wrote on Talkin’ Broadway Minneapolis. “That it carries with it a tender heart and has been mounted in a sparkling production makes it a show not to be missed.”

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike contains strong language. Total running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes including intermission. This production was produced in association with the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Single tickets prices range from $41 to $72.

Season-ticket packages range from $87 to $372 depending upon the package and seat selection. Pick-Your-Play packages of three, four or five plays also are available as is the Flexpass that includes four tickets to any play in the regular season on any day, in any combination.

Season subscriber benefits include discounts on additional tickets, priority seating and up to 50 percent off regular box office prices, among others.

For more information in Phoenix call (602) 256-6995. For complete information, visit www.arizonatheatre.org.

Cottonwood School Solar System

Harmon Solar Making a Solar Power Impact in Rural Arizona

Driving around the Valley, it’s hard to miss all of the solar panel installations that are taking place at many of the schools around town. What you probably haven’t noticed is this same type of activity is also happening at schools in more rural parts of the state. Through APS’ Solar for Schools and Government program, Harmon Solar is fortunate to be a big part of the alternative energy evolution and solar panel installations that are taking place in Northern and Southern Arizona!

The program is an innovative cooperative effort to enable publicly funded K-12 school districts, publicly funded charter schools and government entities to enjoy energy savings with solar power. In 2012 alone, Harmon Solar has been awarded almost 35% of the school projects available through this program, the most granted to any one solar installer! We have completed 10 photovoltaic solar panel arrays in Cottonwood, Douglas, Oak Creek, Prescott Valley, and Dateland, and another in Gadsden is underway. The solar power systems are installed on top of new covered parking structures, not only providing energy savings with solar power but much needed shade from the Arizona sun!

Harmon Solar is excited to be a partner with APS for their solar power program, Solar for Schools and Government, which will ultimately offset approximately 62,000 megawatt hours of energy consumption or generation over its first three years. This is equivalent to removing 5,400 cars from the road.

For more information, contact Harmon Solar at 623-879-0010 or visit www.harmonsolar.com.

angel

Bioscience innovators will pitch at White Hat Investors

Bioindustry Associations from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest Region are coming together to present an opportunity for Angels, Venture Capitalists and Strategic Investors to connect with the biotech and healthcare investment opportunities from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest states at White Hat Investors 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona on September 17 and 18, 2014.

“The West was won by innovators, investors, and prospectors who understood the value of discovery and accepted the challenge of investing in new frontiers,” shared Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio). “Now, industry leaders and accredited investors have the opportunity to meet a new generation of biotech and healthcare pioneers at White Hat 2014, the first annual biotech and healthcare investor conference that showcases the best of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Region.”

White Hat Presenting Companies were selected from the region’s emerging innovation leaders in the fields of Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Medical Devices, and Health IT. Presenting companies are developing lifesaving and life improving innovations that will benefit people today and for generations to come while addressing some of our greatest health challenges including cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, neurological disorders, infectious disease, and more.

On September 17th, over 400 life science industry leaders will gather to view a company showcase, browse a student discovery zone and listen to presentations from local life science entrepreneurs on the BioAccel Best of the Best Stage from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the North Ballroom of the Phoenix Convention Center. Free and open to the general public, it presents an opportunity for members of the community to connect with the region’s fastest growing innovation sector. The public pre-event will be followed at 6:00 p.m. by the AZBio Awards gala (registration required) honoring life science pioneer Roy Curtiss, III, PhD; Charles Arntzen, PhD, the Arizona State University Researcher who, with his team, played a key role in the development of ZMAPP, the experimental Ebola drug given to two health workers who were sickened by the deadly virus earlier this year; W.J. “Jim” Lane, Mayor of the City of Scottsdale for his work in developing the Scottsdale Cure Corridor; innovative educator Miles Orchinik, PhD of the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University; Jack B. Jewett of the Flinn Foundation for leadership of the longest running statewide bioscience development initiative in the United States; emerging technology leaders SenesTech, Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, and Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals along with the 2014 Arizona Bioscience Company of the Year, Insys Therapeutics, Inc.

White Hat events continue on September 18th at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix with presentations by privately-held life science companies presenting to attending representatives of family offices, investment funds, corporate investment/business development professionals for life science oriented firms (strategic investors), granting foundations, venture capital firms, and accredited investors. In addition to great company presentations in the areas of Medical Devices, Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Health IT, White Hat includes THREE general sessions featuring panel discussions on the investment environment from the perspective of Angels, Strategic Investors, and VCs.
Presenting Companies were selected from the Rocky Mountain Southwest’s emerging innovator leaders in the fields of: Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Medical Devices and Health IT and include:

• Aviratek, LLC
• Breezing
• Calimmune, Inc.
• CardioCreate, Inc.
• Convoy Therapeutics
• DiscGenics
• Elutin Vascular Inc.
• EndoShape, Inc
• Fluonic
• Imagenonics LLC
• Iron Horse Diagnostics
• INanoBio
• Kalos Therapeutics
• Kulira Technologies
• Meditope Biosciences, Inc.
• MSDx
• NeuroRecovery Technologies, Inc.
• NuvoMed
• NuvOx Pharma
• Pediatric Bioscience, Inc
• Portable Genomics, Inc.
• MedTalk Companion (Real Phone Corp)
• Recursion Pharmaceuticals
• RiboMed Biotechnologies
• Savoy Pharmaceuticals
• SenesTech
• Skylit Medical
• Sonoran Biosciences
• T-MedRobotics
• Valley Fever Solutions
• ValveXchange
• ViroCyt
• VisionGate
• Yolia Health

russell-pearce-0262

Pearce quits GOP post over Medicaid remarks

Former Arizona legislator Russell Pearce, the chief sponsor of Arizona’s hard-line law against illegal immigration, has resigned a top leadership position in the state Republican Party after he was criticized for remarks advocating mandatory contraception or sterilization for people on Medicaid.

The party late Sunday night announced Pearce’s resignation as first vice chairman — the state party’s second top leadership post — after some Republican candidates denounced the comments that Pearce recently made while hosting a radio program.

Pearce said in a statement released by the party that he was resigning his position because he didn’t want to be a distraction during the campaign leading up to November’s elections.

He was criticized for saying: “You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligation.”

But Pearce said in his statement that he had “shared comments written by someone else and failed to attribute them to the author.”

“This was a mistake,” Pearce added in the statement. “This mistake has been taken by the media and the left and used to hurt our Republican candidates.”

Cholla

APS proposes compromise for Cholla Power Plant

The coal-fired Cholla Power Plant in Joseph City, Ariz., will close its 260-megawatt Unit 2 by April 2016 and stop burning coal at the other APS-owned units (1 and 3) by the mid-2020s if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves a compromise proposal offered by APS, the plant’s owner. APS also will ask the Arizona Corporation Commission to approve the plan.

APS made the proposal with the understanding that it would not be required to install expensive emission control equipment on the units to comply with current rules under the agency’s Regional Haze program. The environmental benefits of this proposal are greater in the long term than the benefits that would have resulted from adding the emissions control equipment.

“This proposal provides the best outcome, allowing Cholla to continue to operate, while meeting environmental requirements,” said David Hansen, APS Vice President of Fossil Generation. “This solution balances several needs — supporting the local economy the best way possible; the need to provide reliable, low-cost generation resources for customers; and complying with federal rules and regulations.”

In 2010, APS was notified that Unit 2 needed to upgrade its scrubbers and add a super-sized sophisticated air filter called a “baghouse” to meet the new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards. In 2012, the EPA published a federal implementation plan, which overrides certain parts of Arizona’s plan to deal with regional haze. The federal plan requires Cholla Unit’s 2 and 3 to add expensive Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.

“When the EPA issued its final rules to manage regional haze, we told the agency that the cost of adding SCRs along with the other technologies required to meet the mercury rules placed the unit at risk of being uneconomic to operate,” said Hansen. “We are clearly aware of the potential impact closing Unit 2 may have on the neighboring communities and arrived at this decision only after carefully weighing the options.”

By closing Unit 2, mercury emissions are anticipated to decline by 51 percent, particulates by 34 percent, nitrogen oxides by 32 percent, and carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide by 23 percent. There would be additional environmental benefits after units 1 and 3 stop burning coal. APS intends to continue working closely with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality on environmental issues.

According to Hansen, there were three alternative approaches – investing hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment, converting the entire plant to natural gas by 2016, or closing the plant.

If EPA approves the APS compromise, it will save more than $350 million in potential costs that otherwise would be passed along to customers for emission control upgrades.

Potential job losses will likely be mitigated through normal attrition and retirements. Today the plant has 249 employees with an annual payroll of $29 million. It pays approximately $15 million in state, local and federal taxes annually.

The unit has been in service since 1978.

APS has been closing older, less reliable units and replacing them with newer, cleaner and more efficient sources of energy. This includes closing three units at the Four Corners Power Plant in Farmington, N.M., and two units at the Ocotillo Power Plant in Tempe, Ariz.

From an accounting perspective, APS intends to reclassify the remaining book value as a regulatory asset.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves nearly 1.2 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).

health.education

Rural Health Program offers another side of medicine

Jordan Roberts was reminded of his calling to be a physician nearly 200 miles from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

Roberts, a fourth-year student, spent five weeks earlier this year at the Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Show Low. Having grown up not far away in Snowflake, Roberts had a pretty good idea of life in the White Mountains but was reminded of a case he initially encountered as a first-year student.

Roberts has participated in the university’s Rural Health Professions Program since enrolling in the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. That program began at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson since 1997 but was expanded to include a Phoenix office this year. The first students from the downtown Phoenix medical school spent part of their summer in far off places, including one just outside of Arizona.

In describing his return to his White Mountain roots to complete the Rural Health program commitment, Roberts talked about a patient he first met three years ago with diabetes and how he manages his condition after not seeing a doctor for many years.

“I learned that one of the special things about these folks is their resilience – to the elements, to change, and even to disease,” Roberts said. “But I was also reminded that medicine is my medium to meaningful living.”

The program was created to help address the shortage of physicians faced by Arizona that is even more critical outside its urban centers. While the state ranks near the bottom in numbers of physicians per capita, the statistics for rural physicians are even more stark and problematic.

For every 100,000 Arizonans there were 124 doctors in rural areas compared with 231 in urban areas, according to a 2005 study. This places Arizona far below the national average.

The program also allows students a concentrated clinical experience after their first year of medical school. It also exposes them to procedures outside the urban clinical setting and work with different populations.

“Rural doctors are in short supply and the clinic faculty, staff and patients will want to convince you to return one day as a board-certified physician,” said Jonathan Cartsonis, MD, who is overseeing the program. “You will surely feel the difference your first day in a rural clinical site.”

For the first year of the Phoenix-based program, students spent time this summer at clinics in Page, Prescott Valley, Yuma and Silver City, N.M.

“The summer was part freedom and part ideal mentorship,” said second-year student Brock Bennett, who served in the Silver City clinic. “The freedom came as I was liberated from the walls of the library that are so familiar the first year of med school and able to finally see patients. Despite no required ‘homework’ I found myself studying more in the evenings, on cases I had seen that day, than I did during most block curriculum days.”

The Phoenix program also will recognize students who demonstrate a strong commitment to future rural medical practice with a “Distinction Track in Rural Health” recognition on their transcript.

“The physicians I worked with were willing to provide as much practical teaching as I would embrace,” Bennett said. “The more I put into the experience the more I continued to receive. I learned incredible lessons I will not forget.”

bioscience

ASU’s Arntzen Named Bioscience Researcher of the Year

image003Charles J. Arntzen, PhD, the founding director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, has been named the 2014 Arizona Bioscience Researcher of the Year. The award is given annually to the life science researcher in Arizona who has made the most significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge and the understanding of biological processes.

“Charlie was instrumental in helping create an experimental drug called ZMapp that was recently used to treat U.S. aid workers infected with Ebola this summer,” says Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association. “His work has put Arizona on the map in new ways as people all over the world are fascinated by the idea that it is possible to produce medicine inside a plant.”

“Charlie’s work represents some of the best and brightest of Biodesign,” says Raymond DuBois, executive director of the Biodesign Institute. “By erasing traditional boundaries between the sciences, we are able to deliver unexpected solutions.”

Arntzen’s primary research interests are in plant molecular biology and protein engineering, as well as the utilization of plant biotechnology for enhancement of food quality and value, and for overcoming health and agricultural constraints in the developing world. He has been recognized as a pioneer in the development of plant-based vaccines for human disease prevention, with special emphasis on needs of poor countries, and for disease prevention in animal agriculture. His work developed the technology by which human proteins (such as ZMapp) can be expressed in and harvested from plants.

Arntzen is the Florence Ely Nelson Presidential Endowed Chair and Regents’ Professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences. He serves on the board of directors of Advanced BioNutrition and is on the advisory board of the Burrill and Company’s Agbio Capital Fund and the Nutraceuticals Fund.

Prior to coming to ASU in 2000, Arntzen was president and CEO of the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research. He also served on President George W. Bush’s Council of Advisors on Science and the National Nanotechnology Oversight Board.

Arntzen will be honored at the AZBio Awards Gala on Sept. 17 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators, innovators and companies. Each year AZBio honors bioindustry leaders from across Arizona illustrative of the depth, breadth and expertise of the state’s bioscience industry.

Past winners of the Arizona Bioscience Researcher of the Year Award include: Leslie Boyer, MD (The University of Arizona), Paul Keim, PhD (Northern Arizona University and TGen-North), Jessica Langbaum, PhD (Banner Alzheimer’s Research Institute), Milton Sommerfeld, PhD, and Qiang Hu, PhD (Arizona State University), Bruce Rittman, PhD (Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University), Rod Wing, PhD (Arizona Genomics Institute at the University of Arizona), and Roy Curtiss, III, PhD (Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University).

clinical research advantage - vaccines

CTCA Opening New Set of Clinical Trials

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Western Regional Medical Center (Western) in Goodyear announced it will launch 12 additional industry-sponsored clinical trials from now through December 2014. New trials will include both Phases I and II studies seeking to provide treatment options for multiple cancer types, including pancreatic, lung, prostate, colorectal and bladder.

“These research studies further our mission at CTCA® to improve overall cancer care, providing additional, innovative treatment options for our patients,” said Glen Weiss, Director of Clinical Research and Medical Oncologist, CTCA at Western.

The additional 12 trials will bring the number of open trials to 54 from 42. Patient enrollment in treatment trials has increased by more than 550 percent since the clinical research program’s inception in 2012, with Western’s clinical research team treating more than 100 patients on clinical trials involving novel treatments. This year Western exceeds the national average for adult patients participating on research studies by more than 300 percent. The breadth of research includes participation from the majority of Western’s medical oncologists who are committed to opening trials as quickly as possible.

“We truly value a patient’s immediate need for treatment options and do our best to ensure trials are fully operational in a matter of weeks versus months,” added Weiss.

For more information on the CTCA clinical trials program as well as trials currently open, visit http://www.cancercenter.com/clinical-trials/.

AMR-US Airways

Passenger Numbers Increase at Sky Harbor

Passenger traffic numbers at Phoenix Sky Harbor have increased yet again for the eighth month in a row. July numbers were 5.7% higher than last July. Year to date, numbers are up by 4% over 2013. In fact, passenger numbers have been rising every single month this year spanning from 3.0% to 5.7% increases.

“We are so fortunate to live in a community with an airport that offers flights to 100 nonstop cities and to anywhere in the world with direct or easy connecting service,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. He added, “This is great news for our local businesses and our partners outside Arizona who want to do business here.”

March 2014 was the busiest month in the history of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport when the airport served more than 4 million passengers. The airport’s facilities are being updated as these numbers increase. Terminal 4’s restaurant overhaul is near completion, the new Sky Train station is set to open by Super Bowl and plans to modernize Terminal 3 are underway.

“We operate in a constantly changing environment, ready to adapt to passenger demand,” said Danny Murphy, Phoenix Aviation Director. “We are likely to continue to see the airlines making adjustments to their schedules and cities as they operate flights based on demand,” he said. “The great news is that passengers are flying again and Sky Harbor is ready to meet that demand.”

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Hotel Palomar Offers LGBTQ Wedding Give-Away

In celebration of Kimpton’s long-time support of the LGBTQ community, Hotel Palomar Phoenix is awarding one lucky couple an all-inclusive Wedding Give-Away.

Couples are invited to share their love story to enter to win a paid trip to California to get married, a reception at Hotel Palomar Phoenix upon your return to Arizona, and a Mini-Moon at Amara Resort and Spa in Sedona.

A trip to California, where you can legally tie the knot, includes:

• Flight for two to San Diego
• Two-night stay at Hotel Palomar San Diego
• Transportation to San Diego City Hall for ceremony and marriage license

Back at home, your Wedding Celebration at Hotel Palomar Phoenix includes:

• Ceremony on LUSTRE Rooftop or Calavera Ballroom
• Celebration Dinner and Celebratory Champagne Toast
• Custom Wedding Cake
• A Signature Cocktail Designed with LUSTRE’s Lead Mixologist
• Upgraded Leather Chairs, Table Linens, and Centerpiece Appointments
• Coordinated Wedding Rehearsal and Ceremony Sound System
• Overnight accommodations at Hotel Palomar Phoenix for the Newlywed Couple the evening of the Celebration
• Newlywed Breakfast for Two at Breakfast Club

Mini-Moon at Amara Resort and Spa in Sedona includes:

• Two Night Stay in a Suite
• Dinner for two at the newly renovated SaltRock
• Couples Massage at the Amara Spa

To enter to win, couples should submit their love story in the form of a short essay, video, or photo collection to catering@hotelpalomar-phoenix.com, by December 10, 2014.

Finalists will be selected by December 15, 2014 and will be placed on the Hotel Palomar Phoenix Facebook page to be voted on by the public.

To enter, contestants must comply with the Official Rules available here.

The winning couple will be announced on January 22, 2015.

For additional information, visit http://www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com/weddings/LGBTQ-wedding.html.

assembling-opporunities

Manufacturers Find Business-Friendly Environment In Arizona

Gov. Jan Brewer has done a lot to make Arizona more competitive for manufacturing, economic development leaders say.

“The repeal of the energy sales tax on gas and electricity is very big for us,” says Mark Dobbins, co-chairman of the Arizona Manufacturing Partnership at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We have a business friendly reputation and this change makes a big difference in our attractiveness to manufacturing.”

But there is one piece of the puzzle that still creates concern.

“Businesses wanting to relocate to Arizona are impressed with the business-friendly climate in the state,” Dobbins continues. “The question I hear most is, ‘Will I find an educated and experienced workforce for my business?’”

Concerns over education bring the Partnership and other economic development advocates around to the next focus — a quality, educated workforce to serve Arizona’s growing job demand. The conversation started with business, the community colleges, state universities and schools during the depths of the recession.

“The tax cut makes a major difference for a corporation,” says Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Tesla, if it locates here, saves $30 million to $40 million a year with that bill in place.”

Broome considers SB1413 the most important bill for business in the current session. “The (manufacturers electricity sales tax) exemption brings us in line with most of the rest of the country; only 15 states had such a tax. For big power users, this is a make-or-break proposition. High technology companies spend more on power than payroll.”

“Continuous innovation is what keeps Arizona competitive in manufacturing,” says Sandra Watson, CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We believe that the future is in research and development and Arizona has one of the most competitive R&D tax credits in the country.”

The ACA manages that tax credit and it’s not handed out lightly or just for large manufacturers. The state has seen much of its manufacturing employment growth, now six percent of the workforce, from the smaller businesses. The ACA makes the credit available to any sized qualifying firm.

The state’s manufacturing history is sometimes lost in the ads for golf courses and new subdivisions. “We have a history of solid manufacturing in the state that goes back 50 or 60 years,” recounts Steve Macias, president and CEO of Pivot Manufacturing, Arizona Commerce Authority board member, and chairman of the Arizona Manufacturers Council, which falls under the umbrella of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “This gives us a solid workforce with experience, ability and productivity that is a plus for any manufacturer wanting to relocate or expand.

In addition to the cut on the utility sales tax, SB1484 was another breakthrough for manufacturers. The bill created energy tax credits that can be claimed by manufacturers generating renewable energy to power Arizona operations.

Dobbins says that Arizona has all the right assets in place for manufacturing today, but can’t rest on what we have now for the future. “We need to invest more to build our assets up,” he says. “We need a lot of work to build our competitive logistics infrastructure.”

He lists logistics where the state needs to invest more money and projects. “We’re in great shape when it comes to passenger traffic with Sky Harbor and (Phoenix-Mesa) Gateway airports. We need to do more for air freight.”

Dobbins believes Arizona’s manufacturing future is in building our exports with Canada, Mexico and South America. He’s not alone in that view. State Transportation Board Member Joseph La Rue emphasizes the same position. “Interstate 11 makes this market a crossroads. Right now, we’re just connected to the east and west.”

The state is taking effective action, says Macias. “With the change in (sales tax on energy) and (research and development) tax credit, we’re a state that is very appealing to a capital intensive business. Arizona is moving in the right direction.”

Arizona’s manufacturing opportunities are spread across the state. Most people think of Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma as the places where the businesses cluster, but small manufacturers are seeing emerging markets in Flagstaff, Prescott and Kingman, according to Dobbins.

With the tax credits and incentives offered through the ACA and some local governments, Macias says a small manufacturer can take advantage of an underemployed workforce in a rural area. Arizona provides significant tax credits and incentives for businesses to train and develop their employees. These come through ACA and the Department of Economic Security Workforce Arizona programs.

“We’ve always had aerospace, defense and semiconductors as our base,” says Broome. “We’re starting to build manufacturing industry clusters in high technology glass. GT Advanced Technology in Mesa and Rioglass Solar Steel in Surprise are a start. Once businesses start to cluster, more become interested because it means there’s a growing, skilled workforce.”

“We need to do more to build our workforce,” says Dobbins. “Arizona has consistently underfunded education and we’re paying that cost now. Common Core standards will give us a business-accepted measure of how our workforce stacks up. We don’t just mean in college education, but also in the important areas of technical education.”

“Common Core (education standards) are driven by business so that there is a national standard of comparison,” says Macias. “We’ve been working on the need for a trained and educated workforce so that we don’t slip into a deep recession in the future. We were too dependent on construction.”
Arizona needs to get the word out, experts say.

“When people come in to Sky Harbor, they’re overwhelmed with ads for golf, resorts and housing,” muses Macias. “That’s why they’re here in the winter. We need to overwhelm them with a message of what we do in Arizona. We do a lot, and we do it very well.

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Arizona Lottery Breaks Sales Records

The Arizona Lottery reports a record-breaking $724 million in sales, a 4.5 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, and the highest amount in the Arizona Lottery’s 33-year history.

Lottery beneficiaries received more than $175 million in net funding during the year. As a result of revenues for beneficiaries increasing 33 percent over the past five years, fiscal year 2014 marks the fifth consecutive year that every beneficiary designated by the Arizona Legislature received full funding.

Lottery dollars support a wide variety of programs under four main pillars: education, health and public welfare, economic and business development, and the environment, benefitting cities and towns throughout all of Arizona’s 15 counties.

Players received a huge payout with nearly $460 million in Arizona Lottery prizes, including 17 winning tickets each worth $1 million or more.

Arizona Lottery retailers big and small earned more than $48 million in commissions during the year from the sale of Lottery tickets, also a record amount.

“Generating essential funding for important state programs, while benefitting the state’s retailers, speaks to the Lottery’s commitment to enrich the lives of all Arizona residents,” said Jeff Hatch-Miller, executive director of the Arizona Lottery. “We are proud to report record-breaking sales for the seventh consecutive year and are already working toward surpassing this record by introducing innovative games to engage new audiences, while continuing to provide a wide range of choices for our core players.”

Director Hatch-Miller credits much of fiscal year 2014’s success to a surge in Scratchers® sales, which totaled more than $483.9 million for the year. The introduction of the popular Lucky Life Scratchers series greatly contributed to the year’s strong ticket sales.

The addition of the new All or NothingTM draw game and a revamp of Mega Millions® also contributed to fiscal year 2014’s financial success. All or Nothing is the first Arizona Lottery draw game offering players the chance to win $25,000 twice daily, Monday through Saturday, by matching all or matching none of the drawn numbers. The Mega Millions game was redesigned in October to have larger starting jackpots, faster-growing jackpots, a $1 million second prize and better odds of winning any prize – all for the same price of $1 per ticket.

In fiscal year 2015, the Arizona Lottery plans to introduce additional new games, beginning with the September launch of $185 Million Cash Explosion, a new Scratchers ticket that offers the highest payout ever for a $20 Arizona Lottery ticket.

Players must be 21 years or older to purchase or redeem tickets. Winners have 180 days from the drawing date to claim their prize at an Arizona Lottery office or by mail. Overall odds vary by game. All sales are final. In accordance with the ADA, these materials may be made available in an alternative format. Gambling Problem? Call 1.800.NEXT STEP (1-800-639-8783). Please Play Responsibly™. Scratchers® is a registered service mark of the California Lottery.

health

Banner Health acquiring all UA medical facilities

In a historic move that will transform the health care landscape in Arizona, the University of Arizona Health Network (UAHN) and the University of Arizona (UA) executed a Principles of Agreement document with Banner Health, to create a statewide health care organization and a comprehensive new model for academic medicine. This ground-breaking agreement will formalize discussions and is intended to lead to final definitive agreements sometime in the fall.

The proposed transaction is anticipated to generate approximately $1 billion in new capital, academic investments, and other consideration and value beneficial to UA and the community.

The anticipated transition of 6,300 employees working at UAHN’s two hospitals, the health plan and the medical group into Banner will create Arizona’s largest private employer with more than 37,000 employees.

The action follows votes from the UAHN and Banner boards of directors in support of proceeding with negotiations, as well as a vote by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) to authorize UA to also move forward with UAHN and Banner. The parties will now work together towards final definitive agreements, anticipated to be completed and signed in September of this year. The definitive agreements must also be approved by ABOR and the boards of directors of UAHN and Banner. The proposed transaction is expected to close a few months following the signing of the definitive agreements.

“We are impressed by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness that has driven the UAHN board process in determining how best to meet the future needs of those they serve. In addition, this agreement strengthens and can accelerate the discovery efforts of our Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix, leading to medical advances,” said ABOR Chair Rick Myers.

Proposed transition key elements:

• Create an Arizona-based, statewide health system that improves care for all the state’s citizens • Create a nationally leading health system that provides better care and improved patient and member experiences at lower costs through valued-based or accountable care organizations that utilize population health management models that emphasize wellness;
• Expand University of Arizona Medical Center capabilities for complex academic/clinical programs such as transplantations, neurosciences, genomics-driven precision health, geriatrics, and pediatrics while providing for investment opportunities in other areas;
• Bolster fiscal sustainability, eliminating persistent shortfalls and low operating margins currently experienced by UAHN.

In addition to solving the immediate financial needs, the proposed agreement will:

• Eliminate the debt burdening UAHN (currently projected to be $146 million)
• Provide resources for improved hospital infrastructure, including the $21 million purchase of land currently leased to UAMC and $500 million within five years to expand and renovate the medical center, and build new facilities as appropriate, such as a major, multi-specialty outpatient center to be constructed in Tucson
• Create a $300 million endowment which will provide a $20 million per year revenue stream to advance the UA’s clinical and translational research mission
• Preserve historic funding levels between the clinical and academic partners in addition to a $20 million per year enhancement.
• Allow additional funding support based on growth in revenues generated by the clinical and academic partnership.
• Improve operational efficiencies
• Secure and sustain a lasting relationship with, and commitment to, the University of Arizona, anchored by an Academic Division within Banner. The Academic Medical Centers: The University of Arizona Medical Center – University and South Campuses and Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center and the faculty practice plan, will support the growing needs of the Colleges of Medicine in Phoenix and Tucson and create a value-based delivery system;
• The Phoenix and Tucson academic medical centers will be infused with operational strength through the proposed transition and rapidly evolve into major economic drivers that will attract highly skilled, trained and paid professionals, elevating Arizona as a bioscience destination;
• Train more physician specialists and allied health professionals, including pharmacists and advanced practice nurses for Arizona;
• Provide a comprehensive platform for the development of physician-scientists who will drive discovery across basic science studies, patient-oriented clinical research, health services research, and population health;
• Enhance and elevate academic medical excellence across Arizona to national leadership levels; and
• Secure and sustain an operational foundation for the Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix that will maximize the value of the ongoing state funding received annually through legislative appropriations.

“When these respected organizations unite, the potential for delivering top-tier academic medicine throughout the state, recognized nationally, becomes a reality,” said Steve Lynn, UAHN Chairman of the Board.

Added Michael Waldrum, M.D., UAHN President and CEO, “I’m especially pleased that this proposed transition will infuse stability and energy into our organization. This will benefit our patients, faculty, staff and students as we pursue excellence. Ultimately, we’re moving from a situation in which we can only maintain status quo, to a situation in which we can create a premier Academic Medical Center.”

This proposed transition is occurring amidst a period of profound transformation in health care that is driving organizations to adopt innovative ways to not only improve health care with a strong emphasis on wellness, but to do it at a lower cost.

“With health care here in Arizona and across the nation facing new challenges and opportunities every day, this agreement will allow the Arizona Health Sciences Center and the entire UA to advance our mission to provide education, conduct research and enhance patient care that will transform health care at the state and national level,” said Ann Weaver Hart, President of the University of Arizona. “Combining the world-class care at UAHN and Banner will better meet the needs of patients in Arizona and throughout the region, while also providing tremendous learning experiences for students at the University of Arizona. By forming this collaboration we will accomplish more for Arizona’s residents and for the advancement of medical knowledge and practice than we could do in isolation.”

The University of Arizona Colleges of Medicine and Banner Health have a long history of successful affiliation through the Graduate Medical Education program at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. Each year, Banner and the UA Colleges of Medicine collaborate in the training of nearly 260 physicians in five residency programs and in numerous fellowships.

Added Peter S. Fine, President and CEO of Banner, “We’re honored that the UAHN Board of Directors strategically sought Banner to create Arizona’s first statewide health system to help strengthen medical education. Banner’s vision is to sustain a position of national leadership. This opportunity to join with a premier academic organization significantly advances Banner towards this vision. In addition, we’re especially mindful of UAHN’s legacy of excellence in Tucson and throughout the state, which must be maintained, nourished and strengthened.”

Chandler Innovation Center

GM Officially Opens Information Technology Center

General Motors is adding to its roster of Information Technology Innovation Centers with today’s grand opening of a facility in the Phoenix area.

The center, which will enable GM to in-source the company’s innovation capabilities and tap into a pool of new and experienced IT talent, joins innovation centers already operating in Warren, Mich., Austin, Texas, and Roswell, Ga.

Randy Mott, senior vice president, Global Information Technology & chief information officer, was joined at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening by more than 20 local and national elected officials including Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, U.S. Reps. Matt Salmon and Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona House of Representatives President Andy Biggs and Speaker of the House Andy Tobin. Approximately 500 facility employees also attended the event.

GM’s IT innovation centers are part of a companywide transformation to improve performance, reduce the cost of ongoing operations and increase its delivery of innovation. GM announced Chandler as the site of the company’s fourth IT Innovation Center in March 2013, and construction on the 170,000 square-foot center was completed in June this year.

“We have made significant progress transforming GM IT over the past 20 months,” Mott said. “The success of the Chandler Innovation Center is yet another important proof point that illustrates our progress.”

GM expects to hire a total of 1,000 employees at the Chandler Innovation Center over the next five years. Approximately 500 employees are employed at the facility, about 25 percent of whom are recent college graduates.

“The official opening of the IT Innovation in Chandler and the creation of about 1,000 high-paying, skilled jobs is great news for the local economy,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. “Today’s event speaks volumes about the business-friendly environment we have created in Arizona, including our high-tech talent and competitive cost of operating. I could not be prouder of our state and what this announcement means for the future of Arizona’s economy.”

Said Tibshraeny: “GM is exactly the type of technology employer we need in Chandler and in our state. The GM Innovation Center is a perfect complement to Chandler’s Price Corridor, and furthers the city’s reputation as a regional hub for innovators and world-class IT professionals.”

mayor

Stanton Joins Arizona Summit Law School Faculty

This fall, Arizona Summit Law School will welcome Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to the faculty as an adjunct distinguished lecturer-in-residence. Mayor Stanton will bring his experience as a practicing attorney and public servant into the classroom, teaching Designing Land-Use Policies, and providing valuable instruction to future real-estate-transactional and land-use attorneys.

“This will be a great opportunity to work with talented and engaged students, and to provide them with an understanding of the complex issues they’ll handle when they become attorneys,” Stanton said. “I look forward to helping them navigate the intricacies of land use as it relates to public policy.”

Designing Land Use Policies covers the intense legal and social conflicts associated with land and its usage. Students learn the basics of development and regulation processes, including zoning and planning, as well as planning and subdivision law with an emphasis on Arizona state law. In addition, the course explores contemporary land-use struggles, such as population and job growth, environmental and quality of life concerns, affordable housing, and managing transportation issues while respecting property rights. The course features experiential learning, training students to advocate on behalf of conflicted stakeholders in a highly politicized land-use public hearing.

Stanton is the latest in a number of qualified, high-profile members of the legal and public service communities whose expertise and real–world experiences enrich the academic training of Arizona Summit Law students. He joins esteemed faculty such as retired judges Penny Willrich, Michael Jones and Stephen Gerst in training students through their extensive experience at the highest levels of the legal profession in our state.

“At Arizona Summit Law School we are committed to providing students with real-life experience and instruction, which takes traditional legal education beyond legal theory and includes the practical application of the law,” said Arizona Summit Law School Dean Shirley Mays. “When Mayor Stanton expressed interest in joining our faculty, we immediately recognized the beneficial insight he would provide to students as a policy maker, public servant and practicing attorney. We are thrilled to have him at our downtown Phoenix Campus.”

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7 Ogletree Deakins attorneys earn honor

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, announced today that seven attorneys from the firm’s Arizona offices were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015. The 2015 list was compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review survey that included more than 5.5 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.

The Arizona-based Ogletree Deakins attorneys appearing on the 2015 Best Lawyers in America© list include:

• Joseph T. Clees (Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management)
• L. Eric Dowell (Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment)
• Leah S. Freed (Litigation – Labor and Employment)
• Mark G. Kisicki (Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment)
• James K. Mackie (Employment Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment)
• Tracy A. Miller (Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment)
• Tibor Nagy, Jr. (Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment)

Best Lawyers® has also named Kisicki as the 2015 Labor Law – Management “Lawyer of the Year” in Phoenix, and Nagy as the 2015 Litigation – Labor and Employment “Lawyer of the Year” in Tucson. The publication awards this honor to a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area.

Firm-wide, 184 Ogletree Deakins attorneys were named to the Best Lawyers© list. Many earned recognition in multiple categories—144 were named under the Employment Law – Management category; 104 were named under the Labor Law – Management category; and 105 were named under the Litigation – Labor and Employment category.

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Inilex Makes Inc. 500|5000 List for 3rd Straight Year

Inilex®, a leading provider of aftermarket telemetry solutions for vehicles, has been named to the Inc. 500|5000 list for the third straight year. Inilex ranked No. 1056 on the prestigious national list, which recognizes America’s fastest-growing privately held companies. Inilex’s enormous growth makes it one of Arizona’s most prominent companies, as well as one of the most successful companies in the automotive telematics industry.

Inilex manufactures and sells SkyLINK – an intelligent vehicle recovery device that uses GPS and cellular technologies to locate stolen vehicles in real time. Unlike other car theft-recovery devices, SkyLINK provides broad, nationwide coverage and it works with all law enforcement agencies. Inilex also offers InilexGPS and InilexGPS Fleet, which enable large enterprise companies to remotely monitor and manage their assets and workforce.

“Auto dealers recognize the high-value SkyLINK can deliver to their customers, and at the same time, consumers are increasingly realizing the benefits of including SkyLINK with their new vehicle purchase,” said Michael Maledon, Inilex CEO. “It’s this market demand that is fueling our growth and we are rapidly scaling to meet it.”

SkyLINK and InilexGPS are both uniquely positioned in the growing “connected car” ecosystem. According to market research firm Infonetics, the connected car segment will experience a 25 percent compounded annual growth rate through 2018 and will reach almost $17 billion in total market revenue as companies learn about the safety and security associated with connected cars. Inilex is poised to capture a large share of that total market because its products are specifically tailored to meet the needs of a variety of companies ranging from major national auto dealers to local businesses. SkyLINK is available at more than 600 dealerships nationwide and is quickly becoming the foremost vehicle recovery device that even local police forces prefer because of its real-time, quick tracking technology. For example, recently Inilex was pivotal in helping police apprehend a kidnapper during an urgent Amber Alert.

Breast cancer treatment

Banner MDA engaged in cutting-edge study

A cutting-edge research study at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center is testing the safety and effectiveness of a new investigational drug that, when combined with chemotherapy, may make a major difference in treating breast cancer in patients who carry harmful mutations on either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

The Brocade Study will enroll patients with hereditary breast cancer that is metastatic, meaning it has spread to other parts of the body, or locally recurrent, meaning it has come back in the same original area. These patients also have mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, similar to the kind that actress Angelina Jolie inherited. The study is examining the results of the oral drug Veliparib when taken in combination with chemotherapy treatments.

“These breast cancers can be very difficult to treat with traditional chemotherapy regimens. If Veliparib is found to add to the effectiveness of chemotherapy, it would give patients with BRCA mutations and metastatic breast cancer a new option for therapy,” said Mary Cianfrocca, MD, director of the Breast Cancer Program and medical director of the Clinical Cancer Genetics Program at Banner MD Anderson. Dr Cianfrocca is also the principal investigator for the Brocade Study at Banner MD Anderson.

Veliparib is designed to prevent the cancer cell from repairing itself by blocking a protein called PARP, possibly making the cell more susceptible to anti-cancer drugs. Banner MD Anderson is the only health care facility in Arizona which is offering the study. To learn more about the BROCADE study call 480-256-3420 or visit, www.brocadestudy.com.

Banner MD Anderson, located on the Banner Gateway campus, delivers cancer care to patients in Arizona through the collaboration of Banner Health and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner MD Anderson offers focused disease-specific expertise in the medical, radiation and surgical management of the cancer patient. The center uses an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to patient care, and provides access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies. Banner MD Anderson also offers state-of-the-art technology for diagnosing, staging and treating all types of cancer. For more information, visit www.BannerMDAnderson.com.

foodbank

Wells Fargo Arizona collects more than 19 tons of food

Wells Fargo Arizona’s team members collected 39,328 pounds of food during the company’s statewide food drive that took place June 10-24. The amount of food collected was equivalent to providing 66,124 meals and benefitted Association of Arizona Food Banks members throughout the state at a time when the need is so great.

Food collection bins were placed in all Wells Fargo Community Banking stores, Mortgage and Finance stores and the company’s processing and operations facilities located throughout the state.

Arizona food banks collectively distributed 139.4 million pounds of food in 2013 – equivalent to 72,625 meals per 1,600 sites, or 199 meals each day. People who wish to donate cash can send checks to their local food banks or to the Association of Arizona Food Banks whose mission is to deliver food and quality services to food banks and to foster relationships in support of their commitment to eliminate hunger.

“As America’s – and Arizona’s — Community Bank, we are proud of our 15,000 Arizona team members who continue to be so dedicated to supporting our communities throughout the state,” said Pam Conboy, lead regional president for Wells Fargo in Arizona. “Team members collected food, volunteered and truly gave their all for this food drive and it has become an event that all look forward participating in each year.”

Needs of families and individuals around the state continue to be strong, according to the Association of Arizona Food Banks:
· Nearly 1 in 5 Arizonans (17.8%), including more than 1 in 4 children (28.2%), suffer from food insecurity – meaning they do not have regular access to enough food for a healthy, active life.
· Arizona is ranked 6th highest (18.7%) for individuals living in poverty, and 5th highest for children (27%)

“We are very thankful for Wells Fargo’s annual commitment to helping so many through this food drive,” said Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the Association of Arizona Food Banks. “They have been a tremendous supporter and community partner for a long time and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

energy.bill

Fortis boosts power with Acquisition of UNS Energy

Fortis Inc. completed its acquisition of UNS Energy Corporation, adding UNS Energy subsidiaries Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and UniSource Energy Services (UES) to its growing international family of electric and gas utility companies.

TEP and UES will remain headquartered in Tucson under local control with current management and staffing levels and no planned changes to existing operations. Under the terms of a written order issued by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) on Aug. 12, both companies will have enhanced financial strength and other benefits as part of Fortis, while their Arizona customers will receive $30 million in bill credits over the next five years.

“Joining the Fortis family will generate benefits for our company, our customers and the communities we serve,” said David Hutchens, President and CEO of UNS Energy, TEP and UES. “While this transaction opens a new chapter in our company’s history, our story remains the same. We will continue working every day to provide the safe, reliable and affordable service our customers have come to expect.”

With the $4.5 billion acquisition, which includes the assumption of $2 billion in debt, UNS Energy becomes the second largest subsidiary of Fortis and expands that company’s customer base to more than 3 million. Fortis is Canada’s largest investor-owned electric and gas distribution holding company, with regulated utility holdings in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

“TEP and UES are well-run companies whose employees are committed to serving their customers and communities,” said Fortis President Barry Perry, who will succeed H. Stanley Marshall as the company’s CEO effective December 31, 2014. “We welcome both companies to the Fortis team and look forward to supporting their continued success in serving their customers’ energy needs.”

Local, Independent Board Majority

The UNS Energy Board of Directors was reconstituted today as a result of the acquisition. In addition to Perry and John C. Walker, Fortis’ Executive Vice President of Western Canadian Operations, the board’s nine members include Hutchens and six other longtime Arizona residents who will continue on as independent directors from the previous UNS Energy Board:

• Lawrence J. Aldrich, Chairman and Executive Director of the Arizona Business Coalition on Health.
• Robert A. Elliott, President and Owner, Elliott Accounting.
• Louise L. Francesconi, former President of Raytheon Missile Systems.
• Ramiro G. Peru, former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Phelps Dodge Corporation.
• Gregory A. Pivirotto, former CEO and Director of University Medical Center.
• Joaquin Ruiz, Dean of the University of Arizona College of Science, Executive Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

UNS Energy remains the parent company of TEP and UES and will continue to oversee their local operations. UNS Energy’s stock will not trade on the New York Stock Exchange after today. Shareholders will be notified by transfer agency Computershare with instructions on how to redeem their shares.

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Glendale arena may change to Gila River Arena

Arizona Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc announced today that the Coyotes and Arizona-based Gila River Casinos have agreed to terms on a nine-year partnership agreement that includes the naming rights for Glendale Arena. The agreement is pending approval from Glendale City Council on September 9. If approved, the new name of the venue will be Gila River Arena. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“On behalf of the entire Arizona Coyotes organization and Ice Arizona, we are thrilled to partner with Gila River Casinos and the Gila River Indian Community,” said LeBlanc. “Like the Coyotes, the Gila River Indian Community prides themselves on their commitment to business excellence and to their community. Pending Glendale City Council approval, we are looking forward to having Gila River’s prestigious and reputable name associated with our great hockey team and our state-of-the-art arena. This will be a great fit for both the Coyotes and Gila River Casinos.”

“As a long term partner of the Arizona Coyotes, Gila River Casinos and the Gila River Indian Community are delighted to partner with the Arizona Coyotes as a naming partner. On behalf of Gila River Casinos, I would like to thank the Arizona Coyotes and Rosette Law for working so diligently to complete the naming rights agreement. We extend our sincerest gratitude to both organizations for their continued support and partnership,” said Deborah Griffin, President of the Board of Directors for Gila River Casinos. “Gila River Casinos places a great deal of importance on being a good partner in the communities we work and live in, and this partnership provides the perfect opportunity to support long term economic growth and development to the city of Glendale and the state of Arizona.”

This will be the first naming rights deal for Gila River Casinos and the first federally recognized Tribal naming rights deal with a sports venue that houses one of four major professional sports leagues in the country. Under the terms of the agreement, Gila River Casinos will receive the naming rights and associated premier signage on the facility. In a separate transaction, the Coyotes and Gila River will enhance their long time sponsorship relationship with a variety of additional advertising, marketing and merchandising opportunities at the arena.

Owned by the City of Glendale, Gila River Arena is home to the National Hockey League‚s Arizona Coyotes and a multitude of spectacular entertainment events annually. The arena opened on December 26, 2003 (Arizona Sting lacrosse game) and the following night, December 27, the Coyotes hosted the Nashville Predators in front of a standing-room only crowd of 19,052 for the inaugural NHL game at the venue.

Since 2003, the venue has also hosted major acts such as U2, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Britney Spears, Usher, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Aerosmith with Lenny Kravitz, Bon Jovi, Madonna, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, John Mayer, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and many more. Upcoming concerts include Marc Anthony (August 30), Ed Sheeran (August 31) and Katy Perry (September 25).

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Glendale OKs casino near Westgate

After months of diligent negotiation, the Tohono O’odham Nation and the City of Glendale have finalized an agreement ensuring that the West Valley Resort project provides significant mutual benefits to both communities for years to come.

In taking this step, the City of Glendale confirms its full support of the Nation’s project, which will include construction of a $400 million resort and casino on its West Valley property. The agreement conveys Glendale’s desire that the Nation constructs and opens the West Valley Resort as expeditiously as possible in order to create jobs and positive economic opportunity in the community.

Under the agreement, Glendale also recognizes that the Nation’s project has never been within its corporate limits or the boundaries of any other city or town. The City supports taking the entirety of the Nation’s West Valley property into federal trust as reservation land, as had been originally requested. Glendale will also withdraw from any litigation against the project.

In return, the Nation has committed to providing Glendale with annual funding in excess of $26 million during a 20-year agreement, including a one-time payment of $500,000 within the next ten days. As promised from day one, the Nation will pay for construction of the facility, as well as municipal services and all infrastructure costs in and around the project site. The Nation will then pay Glendale’s monthly standard fees and service charge rates for commercial customers. This support is in addition to the economic benefits the project will bring to Glendale and the region.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. said, “This agreement marks a major step forward for the Nation, Glendale, and the entire West Valley, one that will lead to greater prosperity for all our communities. The Nation looks forward to continued partnership with Glendale as we work together to create jobs and a world-class entertainment destination.”

In March 2014 the Glendale City Council also joined with other cities in the West Valley in opposing HR 1410, special interest legislation designed to stop the West Valley Resort and the thousands of jobs and economic development it would create.

Glendale is the fifth largest city in Arizona with more than 234,000 residents and four distinct areas: the Historic Downtown, the Sports and Entertainment District, the Arrowhead area and the Loop 303 expansion. The city is home to Luke Air Force Base, professional sports teams from the NFL, NHL and MLB and several higher education facilities. Visit www.glendaleaz.com for more information.

The Tohono O’odham Nation is a federally-recognized Indian tribe, with existing reservation lands in Maricopa County, Pinal County, and Pima County, Arizona. According to the Nation, the West Valley Resort will be located at 95th and Northern avenues and will generate thousands of new jobs and more than $300 million in annual economic impact. For more information, visit www.westvalleyopportunity.com.