Tag Archives: arizona

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Wildfire Pool.

Arizona’s best resorts offer summer staycation deals

Need a summer getaway? Stay home and save money.

Arizona is home to some of the world’s most fantastic pools, luxurious spas, romantic retreats, spectacular golf courses and best restaurants. So you can forget about flight delays and rental cars because many of Arizona’s award-winning hotels and resorts offer summer deals that are designed specifically for local residents who want a staycation to get away from it all. The best part about experiencing Arizona’s best resorts in the summer is that many offer great deals and low rates.

The Boulders Resort

The deal: The Boulders’ summer rates begin at only $99, which is more than a 70 percent discount from its current rates. The Boulders’ “Two by Fore” package includes private luxury casita accommodations, one round of golf per paying adult with same day replay, a 20 percent spa discount at The Boulders Spa, complimentary access to spa facilities and unlimited fitness classes for $189 per night.

To book: 480-488-9009 or theboulders.com

Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River

The deal: Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River offers a refreshing way to unwind. Book its Sleep In & Save Package and stay 2 nights, save 20 percent and sleep in with a 2 p.m. late check out. It’s your weekend to hit the snooze button and catch extra pool time.

To book: 888-236-2427 or courtyardscottsdalesaltriver.com

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

The deal: The sky lights up this summer at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess with fireworks every Saturday night, Dive In movies and the Techno Glo party after dark, a zip line across the lagoons, the SplashRider X-treme water ride, dining, spa golf and more activities for the entire family.  The summer “Sip, Savor & Splash” package starts at $169 per night with a $50 daily resort credit.

To book: 480-585-4848 or scottsdaleprincess.com

FireSky Resort & Spa

The deals: FireSky has four opportunities for locals to enjoy a much-deserved staycation:

• Fast Forward to Summer: Book early and save up to 20 percent off the best available rate, Must book 4 weeks in advance to receive this rate. Mention rate code FAST when booking.

• Tequila and Tanlines: Includes one welcome pitcher of margaritas from Taggia Bar, morning coffee and tea service in the living room and hosted evening wine reception in the living room. Mention rate code PTAN when booking.

• Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Includes welcome signature cocktail for each person from Taggia bar, transportation to Old Town bars, $10 “Raid the Mini Bar card” for after hours, Westcor shopping and dining incentive guide and more. Mention rate code PGRL when booking.

• Bros and Brews Package: Includes welcome round of four beers, appetizer in Taggia Bar and more. Mention rate code PBRO when booking.

To book: 800-528-7867 or fireskyresort.com

Graduate Tempe

The deals: Graduate Tempe offers two staycation options that appeal to very both risktakers and the more reserved:

• Round up your comrades for the ultimate test in fortitude and sport with the Weekend Warrior Package. Spend an afternoon with your buddies settling old scores at Tempe Paintball. One night stay over Friday or Saturday only comes with a $50 restaurant credit for The Normal or Tapacubo and two Passes to Tempe Paintball with transportation included.

• What better way to cultivate your intellectual curiosity than with a night at the theatre? You pick up the tickets and Graduate Tempe will take care of the rest with our Gammage Theater Package. One night stay includes $50 a restaurant credit for The Normal or Tapacubo and transportation to the theater.

To book: graduatetempe.com

The Hermosa Inn

The deals: Artist for a Day Summer Package, available May 1 – September 7, 2015Amateurs and experienced artists alike are invited to escape the heat and channel their inner Monet, Van Gogh and O’Keefe by booking The Hermosa Inn’s Artist for a Day summer package. Available May 1 through September 7, the artful package includes a stay in one of the 34 luxury casitas, two drink tickets and a one and a half hour private painting lesson (for one person) with on-property artists from Carrie Curran Art Studios at the Inn’s Blue Door Art Studio & Gallery. Twenty-four hour notice is required to schedule the class and the lesson includes all supplies, with acrylic, watercolor, pencil or oils on canvas ($30 fee for additional person to attend the class). Rates starting from $355 per night.

To book: www.hermosainn.com or 800.241.1210

Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock

The deal: With a recent multi-million dollar renovation,Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is offering summer rates from $168 per night for stays May 26-Sept. 8. Splash into the red rocks with three pools, enjoy indigenous spa treatments at eforea: spa and take a swing at 18 holes of golf at the adjacent Sedona Golf Resort.

To book: hiltonsedonaresort.com

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort

The deal: Escape the hustle, bustle and day-to-day responsibilities with the Fling & Swing package, an amenity-rich package starting at $149. The summer package, available through Sept. 7, includes a daily $50 resort credit, free golf on Faldo and Palmer championship golf courses, free meals for kids 12 and under, free access to the Family Escape Center and no resort fee.

To book: jwdesertridge.com

JW Marriott Starr Pass Tucson Resort & Spa

The deal: The Play Your Way package allows you to escape to cool and comfortable elegance, exciting adventure and delicious dining. From $199 per night — including a $50 or $100 daily resort credit, depending on package booked — you can make a splash at the Starr Pass Water Collection, relax and rejuvenate at Hashani Spa, swing into action at the Starr Pass Golf Club or indulge in fresh and flavorful fare of one of the facility’s five restaurants.

To book: 800-721-6996 or jwmarriottstarrpass.com, use promo code ES7

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix

The deal: Hotel Palomar in the heart of downtown Phoenix is ready for some summer fun in the sun with its “Fast Forward to Summer” Staycation Package, starting at $119 per night. The package includes 20 percent off the best available rate, deluxe accommodations, 50 percent off valet parking, hosted wine reception in the living room and morning coffee and tea service in the living room.

To book: 602-253-6633 or hotelpalomar-phoenix.com

The Phoenician

The deal: Dive into summer at Arizona’s premier AAA Five Diamond resort with SunSational Summer at The Phoenician with starting rates of $159. Enjoy luxurious accommodations, signature amenities and incomparable service.

To book: 800-888-8234 (ask for rate plan SUMMER) or thephoenician.com/offers

L’Auberge de Sedona

The deal: For the past four summers L’Auberge has had a “Drop it Like it’s Hot” deal that is geared towards Phoenix residents. As the temperatures heat up in Phoenix, Phoenician can escape the heat and drive North to Sedona and “Drop it Like it’s Hot.” At 4 p.m., L’Auberge takes the temperature on Oak Creek and compares it with the temperature at Sky Harbor. The difference will be the discount on your rate.

To book: (928) 282-1661 or lauberge.com

Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort

The deal: Round-up the family for The Great American Summer at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, the ultra-family friendly resort with four acres of pools, waterslide, lazy river and more. With rates from $109 per night for stays May 26-Sept. 8, 2015, each summer weekend celebrates America’s favorite summertime experiences with beach parties, luaus, carnivals and more.

To book: squawpeakhilton.com, use promo code SUNSP

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort

The deal: Leave the kids at home and escape to Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, where stunning views and a dramatic mountainside location meet luxe amenities, including all-suite accommodations, eight refreshing pools, golf, spa and romantic dining overlooking the city lights. Rates from $89 are available for Sunday-Thursday stays from July 6-Sept. 8.

To book: tapatiocliffshilton.com, use promo code TAPRM

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

The deal: Summer Returns Package, starting at $239 per night, includes luxury accommodations and a $50 resort credit per night. Summer Fun Package, starting at $249 per night, includes luxury accommodations and a $100 resort credit per night. Summer Fun Package (multi-night) is $999 for a four-night stay and includes luxury accommodations and a $600 resort credit per package. Resort credits may be used for dining, spa or recreational experiences — excluding golf.

To book: 800-241-3333 or ritzcarlton.com/dovemountain

Royal Palms Resort and Spa

The deal: The Royal Palms Resort and Spa, at the base of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, is offering guests the “Luxe Lounging” Staycation Package, starting at $149 per night. The package features more than $135 of value, including an upgraded room, complimentary cocktails, $25 dinner credit to the renowned T. Cook’s and two $40 Alvadora Spa credits.

To book: 602-840-3610 or royalpalmshotel.com, use promo code PLL

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

The deals: Sanctuary offers a variety of staycation options to suit any interest or occasion:

• Couples looking to indulge in a quick, romantic escape can enjoy Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s Romance in Paradise package, which provides one night’s accommodations, dinner at elements, chocolate-covered strawberries and a rose petal turndown. Rates start at $410.

Friends seeking a sweet staycation can enjoy Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s BFF Retreat which includes three nights’ accommodations, daily breakfast, a guided hike, bento box lunch, and “build-a-martini” in-room kit. Rates start at $1,386.

Athletes can hone their skills during Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s Triathlon Training package, which offers swimming workouts with Olympic Gold Medalist, Misty Hyman, tandem runs, and guided biking excursions with the resort’s staff of fitness experts. The package includes three nights’ accommodations, three days of training, daily breakfast and three spa treatments, designed to soothe the muscles after a hard day of workouts. Rates start at $1,797

To book: 855-245-2051

Talking Stick Resort

The deal: Talking Stick Resort is the perfect playground for your ideal summer getaway. Enjoy the Summer Playcation Package from just $119 per night. This exclusive package includes a daily $25 food and beverage credit with a minimum of a two-night stay. Valid for stays May 3-Sept. 30.

To book: 866-877-9897

We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center

The deal: For $129 per room, per nigh, the Summer Splash package includes a $50 food and beverage credit for the Ahnala Mesquite Room, room service or Pool Bar & Grill; $10 casino slot play for new Fortune Club members; and $5 casino slot play for existing Fortune Club members.

To book: 480-789-5320

waltdanley1

Walt Danley ranked No. 1 AZ agent by Wall Street Journal

Walt Danley ranked as the No. 1 selling real estate agent in Arizona by sales volume, according to the REAL Trends “The Thousand: 2015 Top 1,000 Real Estate Professionals.”  The list was published in The Wall Street Journal on June 26, 2015.

Danley is ranked No. 61 in the U.S. for individual sales volume, having sold $142,112,657 in residential real estate last year. Notably, he has been the top-ranked Arizona agent every year since “The Thousand” list’s inception. The list is comprised of third-party data and honors the top one thousand real estate professionals and teams in the nation.

Walt Danley is the president and namesake of Walt Danley Realty, a Scottsdale-based luxury residential real estate brokerage. The firm is Arizona’s exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate and boasts the finest inventory of million-dollar estates within Arizona. Danley has sold over $3 billion during his 38-year real estate career, and has been ranked in the top one percent of real estate agents nationally every year since 1977.

“For nearly four decades, I have had the privilege of working with clients in the Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Phoenix areas,” said Walt Danley, president of Walt Danley Realty. “While market and industry knowledge is imperative in the luxury real estate business, just as valuable is understanding the unique needs and objectives of those I represent. I am humbled that I have built longstanding relationships with many of our clients, and am entrusted with their major life decisions.”

Walt Danley Realty represents luxury homebuyers and sellers in the Northeast Valley of Phoenix including Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, Rio Verde, Arcadia, Biltmore, Cave Creek and Carefree. Walt Danley Realty is located at 6720 N. Scottsdale Rd., #140, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253. For more information, visit www.waltdanley.com.

srp-SuperBowl2015-022

Super Bowl pumps $719 million into Arizona’s economy

Super Bowl XLIX scored big for Arizona’s economy.

A study completed by the Seidman Research Institute, W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, determined that Super Bowl XLIX, the 2015 Pro Bowl and related events produced a gross economic impact of $719.4 million in the region. The announcement was made today at The Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the JW Camelback Inn in Scottsdale.

“As a proud Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee sponsor and one of the leading Arizona companies to step up and support this major event, it is gratifying to learn that Super Bowl XLIX had the largest economic impact of any special event ever held in the state”, says National Bank of Arizona Executive Vice President Jathan Segur.  “The momentum created by the events surrounding the Super Bowl have been tremendous … In addition to the numbers announced today, we have witnessed an increased interest in long-term economic development and investing in the growth of our state.”

This is the largest economic impact of any special event ever held in the state of Arizona, as well as the highest for any Super Bowl for which publicly released figures are available. By comparison, Super Bowl XLII played at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2008 generated a gross economic impact of $500.6 million (2008 dollars) based on research also conducted by the W.P. Carey School of Business.

“This is tremendous news for our economy and a strong testament to the exceptional work of everyone involved,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. “The eyes of the world were on Arizona, and we delivered in a big way. I look forward to our state hosting many more successful championship games and major events in the future.”

Commissioned by the Arizona Commerce Authority in partnership with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, the study focused on the nine-day period from January 24th through February 1, 2015 coinciding with the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl which were played at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 25 and February 1, respectively.

The gross economic impact is defined as the direct amount of spending by visitors and organizations arriving from outside the state to participate in or create events directly related to the Super Bowl, as well as the indirect and induced impacts of those expenditures, often described as “ripple effects.” Resident and local business spending was not included.

To gather data about spending and duration of stay from visitors, on-site surveys were conducted at events around the Valley over the nine day period by teams of trained individuals from the W. P. Carey School of Business. Data was collected from out-of-town visitors who stated that the main reason for their visit to the Phoenix Metropolitan area was for the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and/or associated events. The data was collected across multiple days at multiple sites to sample diverse socio-economic and demographic groups. 

The indirect and induced economic impacts were calculated using an IMPLAN (IMpact analysis for PLANning) model originally developed by the University of Minnesota. This commercially licensed linear input-output model is widely used for economic assessment throughout the United States and is populated with local, regional and state data for Arizona.

Other findings from the Seidman Research Institute at W.P. Carey School of Business report:

• An estimated 121,775 visitors came to Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX and/or the 2015 Pro Bowl; those visitors stayed an average of 3.99 nights.

• An estimated 5,033 out-of-town media members came to Arizona and stayed an average of 7.1 nights (up from 4.1 nights for Super Bowl XLII in 2008).

• The $719.4 million economic impact for Super Bowl XLIX represents an increase of 30.8% over Super Bowl XLII in Arizona (adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index, or BLS CPI, inflation calculator which expressed that the 2008 economic impact dollars have the same buying power as $550.1 million in 2015).

Trucks CrossingBorderat Nogales

Arizona trade mission builds confidence with Mexico

President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), Chris Camacho, joined Governor Doug Ducey in Mexico City for an important trade mission last week, with more than 40 business, university and government leaders – including GPEC board members Sharon Harper of The Plaza Companies, David Rousseau of SRP and University of Arizona President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart.

At $15.8 billion, bilateral trade (imports into Arizona and exports to Mexico) between Arizona and Mexico is larger than the state’s next six largest trading partners combined. And according to an April 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, growth for total exports and manufacturing exports to Mexico is up 22.7 percent and 28.5 percent, respectively.  

“Arizona and Mexico share more than an important border for global commerce, but are also connected by the rich historical, social and cultural ties,” said Camacho. “Governor Ducey’s leadership, and the work of David Farca, president of the Arizona Mexico Commission, has set a new tone and reinvigorated dialogue with Mexico City.”

The impact of Gov. Ducey’s trade mission, and the recent opening of the Trade & Investment Office in Mexico City, sends a strong message that Greater Phoenix and the state of Arizona is open for business with our neighbor to the south. With more than 370 miles of shared border, there is an unparalleled opportunity for both Arizona and Mexico to continue to increase trade.

Camacho also added, “The meetings this past week with government and business leaders will further enhance the economic prosperity for both sides of the border, and I am eager to continue the work being done to foster this growth.”

For an international guide to doing business in Greater Phoenix, visit http://www.gpec.org/toolkit.  

Top 5 Northern Arizona Day Trips (Spring-Summer 2012)

Arizona rates as 11th best state for summer road trips

With 85 percent of Americans planning summer getaways, 90 percent of which will be by car, the personal finance website WalletHub followed up on its analysis of Best Gas Credit Cards with a look at 2015’s Best & Worst States for Summer Road Trips.

Using 20 key metrics, WalletHub compared the 50 U.S. states to identify the states that offer frugally minded road travelers the most fun for the least cost. Our data set ranges from average gas prices to the quality of roads to the number of attractions. 

Arizona as a road-trip destination (1 = best; 25 = avg.): 

  • 11th – Number of Attractions
  • 1st – Lowest Price of Three-Star Hotel
  • 15th – Vehicle Miles Traveled per Capita
  • 9th – Number of Scenic Byways
  • 5th – Lowest Price of Camping
  • 2nd – Quality of Bridges
  • 16th – Average Cost of Car Repairs

For the full report, please http://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-states-for-summer-road-trips/4648/.

cybercrime

Data breach: Not if, but when, experts warn

“It will never happen to us.”

That misperception puts businesses at risk for data breaches, expert say.

“The most common mistake is assuming your company won’t be breached because you’re not a large, multi-national company similar to the ones whose breaches are covered by the national media,” says Ari Bai, shareholder at Polsinelli. “In reality, however, every company is a target. Hackers, be they individual vigilantes, criminal organizations or nation-states, look for any and all data, and often the most accessible is that in smaller companies. Plus, small companies make for good ‘practice’ for hackers. Thus, when a company ignores the risk and does not set forth the proper protocols for protection and response, it is essentially asking to be breached.”

The 2015 Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Chief Legal Officers Survey revealed that one quarter of general counsel report their companies have been hit by data breaches. And according to the 2015 Cyberthreat Defense Report, more than seven in 10 respondents said their networks were breached in 2014, up from 62 percent in 2013. The average cost of a data breach in 2013 for companies in the Unites States was $5.85 million. The scariest part about the threat of a data breach is that experts agree that there is no way to completely protect a business from becoming the victim of a data breach.

“Once we develop a way to protect ourselves from something, the hackers are already using a new technique,” Bai says. “This is why preparation is so important. Liability for lack of preparation can financially devastate a company. You are going to get hacked — with preparation, you don’t have to lose lawsuits.”

Being prepared

Like any potential business catastrophe, limit a business’ risk of becoming the victim of a data breach starts with preparedness, according to Paul Stoller, shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy.

“Every company should work with its legal professionals and IT staff to create and to implement a comprehensive data privacy and security plan, which will help to remove, or at least to reduce, the risk of many of the common causes of breach,” Stoller says.

Leon B. Silver, office co-managing partner at Gordon & Rees, says all companies, no matter their size, need to adopt data security as a core business practice throughout the organization and not look at it as something that is taken care of by one department or by an outside vendor.

“Policies on mobile devices, passwords and encryption are just part of an overall culture of data security awareness,” Silver says. “But be aware, a breach can happen.”

Heather Buchta, partner at Quarles & Brady says business leaders need to engage in some internal due diligence and ask themselves these questions:

• What internal policies are in place to protect data?

• Is there a policy against removing devices from the business location?

• Is there a policy to encrypt data?

• Even more basic, what kind of data does a company have?

“Risk of a breach increases as the volume of data a company has increases and oftentimes the data wasn’t even used by the business,” Buchta says, “which is creating an increased risk for no business purpose.”

Despite a company’s best efforts to lower its risk of a data breach, Buchta says today’s hackers are getting more sophisticated and businesses always have the added risk of employee error.

“The risk really lies in what was done ahead of time to try and prevent and breach and how the incident is handled afterward,” she says.

After the breach

While a business can be proactive in taking the appropriate steps to minimize risk and being well equipped to handle a loss or theft if data or information, there are no measures that provide a guarantee of security, Silver says.

“In fact, virtually every mid- to large-size company has already likely been breached, but the extent is either not known, or is not significant,” Silver says. “A big source of loss continues to be human error. That, coupled with continually evolving technology and more sophisticated theft/hacking measures equates to an ongoing need to stay ahead of the curve and simply arm yourself the best you can by adhering to and enforcing strict privacy policies following a thorough risk assessment.”

So what should you do if you’ve taken all the proper steps to reduce your risk of a data breach and your businesses is still victimized?

“The first thing is always to identify the source and to fix the issue that caused the breach so that there is not any further loss or theft of data,” Stoller says. “After that, the business needs to work with its IT professionals to investigate what caused the leak, to identify those persons who may be affected and to preserve evidence of what happened.”

Stella says it’s also imperative to work with legal professionals to determine a business’ legal obligations after a breach, including notifications to affected persons and government agencies.

“Don’t delay in investigating and don’t delay in calling in the experts,” Buchta says. “Businesses should have an incident response plan and that plan should identify the key players to investigate and manage a breach — legal counsel, IT forensics, operations/HR, public relations and the executive team.”

Because experts say a data breach is almost inevitable, it’s crucial for a business to develop and enforce sound privacy policies, including a response plan should a breach or loss occur, Silver says.

“Such policies will also need to evolve over time as technology continues to improve,” he says. “The bottom line is to expect the unexpected, think ahead, keep thinking ahead, and do your best to prepare.”

Advice from experts

Here is what Valley legal experts advise businesses to do to lower their risk of a data breach:

Ari Bai, shareholder; and Nick Verderame, associate, Polsinelli: “Start preparing now. Bring in technical and legal help to assess your data and risk levels, create technical protections, implement company procedures to protect against leaks, educate your employees and leadership, organize annual ‘fire drill’ tests and prepare a reaction and notification procedure.”

Heather Buchta, partner, Quarles & Brady: “Know your business. Know what data you have. Have an incident response plan in place in advance to facilitate the handling of an event when it occurs. Note I said, ‘when it occurs,’ not ‘if it occurs.’”

Leon B. Silver, office co-managing partner, Gordon & Rees: “Begin by assessing risk, including the availability of special ‘cyber risk’ insurance, which is not just for hacking and may provide coverage for both investigation and response costs, as well as defense and/or indemnity for third-party claims.”

Paul Stoller, shareholder, Gallagher & Kennedy: “The best practice for a business is to create and maintain a comprehensive data privacy and security plan. That begins with an audit of the business’s data and the development of policies and procedures to manage its confidential information. Then, it is essential to train employees on both the policies and procedure and the potential threats to the data’s security.”

The Techno Glo Party at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess features black lights, lasers, fog, LED hula hooping, glow-in-the-dark bubbles, drinks and a DJ pulsating techno music.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess packs fun for entire family

When I first moved to Arizona from New York in 1998, my father already knew his way around and could give me recommendations for the best places to eat, play and golf.

He didn’t live in Arizona, but he and seven of his friends spent a week each March taking advantage of Arizona’s great weather to play the state’s best golf courses. And they ALWAYS stayed at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

If anything, that only proves that father knows best.

Times have changed, but the Princess is timeless … and versatile. Not only is the Princess the perfect place for my father and seven of his white-collar golfing buddies to call home for a week, it’s the ideal spot for a family getaway.

Kids can zoom across a zip line, cool down on waterslides and watch fireworks light up the night sky this summer at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. For adults, the “Sip, Savor and Splash” package equips guests with a $50 resort credit perfect for sampling any of 240 tequilas at La Hacienda or retreating to Well & Being Spa.

Are you or your kids seeking a thrill? Poolside is the place to be with the spinning water adventure, SplashRider X-treme, and 200-foot waterslides. Guests are also able to upgrade to a Casita Signature Junior Suite with the “Upgrade Your Summer” package. Rates for both packages start at $169 per night through Sept. 6.

Once the sun goes down, it’s a disco down the slides with the after dark Techno Glo Party at Sonoran Splash. Black lights, lasers, fog, LED hula hooping, glow-in-the-dark bubbles, drinks and a DJ pulsating techno music rock the pool from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights for families this summer. Or, over at the South Pool, families can just chill at the Dive In Movies, also offered complimentary Friday and Saturday nights. Movie-watchers float on inner tubes, or enjoy movie snacks, Sabrett hot dogs and a taco cart poolside, as the family flick begins at approximately 8 p.m., with an intermission for fireworks at 9 p.m.

The Fourth of July Freedom Fest is the perfect time for you and your family to check out the Princess and find fun relief from the summer heat.

Well & Being Spa

Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has all-new “Live it Well” programs, sizzling specials and soothing spa treatments to keep you refreshed and energized all summer long.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the spa’s “Good Life” team of fitness, nutrition and beauty experts are planning a “Happy & Healthy” calendar of interactive events including the new Hoopnotica hula hoop and beach body legs classes, tips for making healthy smoothies, acupuncture for sleep and laughing yoga, to name a few.

Well & Being Spa is 44,000 square foot sanctuary situated on three levels with exercise and work-out facilities, waterfall grotto, steam, sauna, salon, Well & Being Market, café and a scenic rooftop pool. For the first time, the spa is offering a summer “Happy Pass” for local residents, with unlimited access to the spa for $49 for an entire day, mid-week.

For an overnight spa getaway, the new “Stay & Spa” package includes accommodations, plus the choice of one 45-minute facial, massage, pedicure or body wrap, starting from $241 through  September 3.

Dining at the Princess

La Hacienda is celebrating summer with the return of its popular “Guacamole Fest” sampler of various guacamoles, from pork belly to seafood and pomegranate, as well as Fresca Floats made with traditional Mexican sodas. (Prices of these a la carte items vary.)

The summer Kids Resort Dining Passport is a super deal for families for $29 per day that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner at resort dining outlets such as Ironwood American Kitchen, Trailblazers Kids Club, the pools, La Hacienda and Toro, plus a kid’s snack at the South Pool during the Dive-In Movie. These meals are from the children’s menus and are exclusive to overnight resort guests. Passports are available for overnight guests for purchase upon arrival at the Leisure Services Desk in the main lobby.

Spicing up the weekends is Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar’s new a la carte brunch, with live Latin music from 11 am – 2 pm, overlooking the 18th green of the TPC Scottsdale. Spanish mimosas, Brazilian French Toast (brioche bread topped with fried plantains, mescal maple syrup and whipped cream), an all-you-can-eat sushi bar, a build-your-own Bloody Mary cart and 111 types of rum are just a few highlights of this new hotspot.

Vacation packages

Celebrate summer with the new “Upgrade Your Summer” package includes an upgrade to a newly renovated Casita Signature Junior Suite at a Fairmont room price, starting from $169 per night weekdays and $189 weekends. These accommodations are more spacious, secluded and residential in style.

The popular Sip, Savor & Splash Package returns, starting from $169 per room, per night Sunday through Thursday and $189 weekends and includes a $50 daily credit for dining, spa or kid’s club. Summer package dates are based upon space availability, May 22-September 7, 2015. Taxes and daily resort fees are additional.

For reservations or more information on summer programs at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, call ((866) 540-4495 or click here.  The resort is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale.

monterey2

Cachet targets Gen X buyers with design-oriented condos

A new generation of Arizona homebuyers have a different set of priorities in mind when selecting a new home. Location remains the No. 1 factor, but the HGTV generation is increasingly seeking homes that are not only architecturally unique but also stylishly designed leading a number of Valley developers to make Elle Decor-worthy interior design and planning an integral part of new developments. Pioneering this trend is Cachet Homes, Arizona’s leading luxury homebuilder, which has implemented a trendy yet timeless design scheme into their latest condominium offering in the North Scottsdale area, Monterey Ridge.

“Today’s Gen X and Y consumers are incredibly savvy homebuyers who want dynamic stylish living spaces with premium finishes,” said Matt Cody, CEO of Cachet Homes. “At Monterey Ridge, we collaborated with the best local design and architecture talent to create luxurious, convenient and modern homes that this demographic is proud to entertain in and call home,” he said.

Developing for the next generation isn’t just making sure living spaces are Instagram-ready with the latest design trends. With so much pent up demand in the market, condominium buyers are ready to buy- but they’re selective. From grand entryways to separate wings for entertaining and sleeping, artistic design touches and subtle mood lighting, Monterey Ridge showcases some of the most unique property specifications on the market with 144 single-level condominiums ranging from 1,091 to 1,870 square feet.

“It all comes down to lifestyle,” Cody said. “The Pinterest generation leads a completely curated lifestyle – from their clothes, to their cars, to their gadgets and now to where they live, everything must be representative of who they are and who they want to be,” he said. “With hundreds of award-winning restaurants, thousands of acres of desert preserve offering unmatched sports and recreation, countless holes of nationally-ranked golf, dozens of premier luxury shopping destinations, a number of world’s most-renowned healthcare facilities, instant access to the 101 and 51 freeways and the Scottsdale Airport, Monterey Ridge delivers what this emerging buyer market has been waiting for – convenient, stylish and affordable living with a prestigious address,” Cody said. Being in the heart of the Scottsdale Airpark, a Valley employment epicenter offering thousands of high-paying jobs for upwardly mobile young adults, Monterey Ridge aims to be a smart investment for savvy homebuyers.

For developers looking to cater to the growing Gen X and Y consumer base, finding out what they want isn’t difficult. From social media sites to message boards to comment pages on popular home and design reality TV shows, this is a consumer base that readily broadcasts their wants and needs and likes and dislikes when it comes to designing their dream home.

“The American dream has evolved over the last several generations,” explains Cody. “It’s not the house with the white picket fence these buyers want anymore. They want low maintenance, stylish and move-in ready homes that are primed to host an impromptu cocktail party or self-sustaining enough that the owners can have a weekend away at a moment’s notice,” he said.

“As we developed the latest phases of the project that are now for sale, we looked closely at the fast-paced lifestyle this demographic leads and created spaces designed to cater to their needs,” he said.

Many of the luxuries buyers would expect in a $300K home come standard at Monterey Ridge including slab granite counters, maple cabinets, upgraded flooring, 9.5-foot ceilings, gas ranges, and private terraces and a two-car garage that is connected to the building and accessed via elevator.

Because of this extensive research, planning and out-of-the-box development strategy, Monterey Ridge is attracting a varied North Scottsdale demographic including young professionals, busy executives and empty nesters who are all attracted to the opportunity to live an easy luxury lifestyle in the heart of the bustling North Scottsdale area.

“It’s an exciting time to be a developer in the Phoenix-metropolitan area,” Cody said. “The development game has completely changed, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to help pave the way,” he said.

For more information about Cachet Homes and Monterey Ridge or to schedule an interview with Founder and President Matt Cody contact Melissa Rein.

Monterey Ridge is located at 17850 N. 68th Street in Phoenix, 85054. Homes are priced from the low $300s. For more information, visit (480) 356-0179 or www.cachethomes.net/montereyridge.

termites

Risk of Desert Subterranean Termites rises in monsoon

While the drove of tourists who visited the valley of the sun during our unusually mild and rainy spring may not have appreciated the inclement weather, one valley resident most certainly did: the Desert Subterranean Termite. Water is conducive to these social insects that live in the soil in colonies that can number 300,000. A “mud tube” is often a sign that these pests have entered your home, but they are not always visible and can hide for years behind walls, plumbing fixtures and cabinets.

“The old adage about termites is especially true here in the valley: ‘There are homes that have termites – and those that will get them,’” notes Nathan Woolf, co-founder of Blue Sky Pest Control. “Last year’s heavy rains and this unusually damp spring mean our technicians are seeing a bumper crop of termites. And while the upcoming triple digits normally slow down their activity, our monsoons kick them right back into high gear.”

Termites are so common here that every home built in the valley is required to have a termite treatment prior to the pouring of the foundation. This pre-treatment has a three-year warranty. Since the products used for these pre-treatments break down over time, Blue Sky Pest Control recommends having a termite inspection, especially for older homes because left undetected, termites can cause significant structural damage.

“Termites genuinely own their nasty reputation since, unlike other critters, they NEVER rest – they’re active 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, 365 days-a-year,” shares Curtis Whalen, co-founder of Blue Sky Pest Control. “In our industry, modest estimates indicate that there is $5 billion worth of termite damage per year in the U.S. alone.”

Whalen also notes that even though Arizona is situated in the desert, our state is in a high-pressure zone for bugs, and in the Top 5 states in the nation for termite treatments.

“Arizona has a lot of pests because of our indigenous species, as well as the micro-environments we have created, with things like drip-systems creating man-made moisture pockets that are perfect for insects and pests like termites (all pests need food, shelter, and water),” adds Whalen.

Blue Sky Pest Control recommends periodically re-establishing the barrier established during your home’s pre-treatment and consistently monitoring as the best defense against Arizona’s subterranean termites.

In his 2005 article, “Arizona Termites of Economic Importance,” Dr. Baker of the University of Arizona states:

“In the post-construction phase, inspect your home twice a year or better yet, employ a pest management professional (PMP) to do an annual inspection. The practice of repeated visual inspections ensures that termite infestations will be promptly detected once termites have invaded the home. This practice allows control methods to be employed contemporaneous to the infestation, reducing the risk of serious structural damage.”

“If you’re in doubt in regard to your home’s age or condition, having your home inspected by a state-certified termite inspector is a great place to start,” explains Whalen. “If a termite infestation is found during inspection or a homeowner just wants to proactively re-establish the termite barrier, there are some excellent options available to keep your home protected.”

jobs

PayPal adds 150 jobs to Phoenix market

PayPal, one of the world’s largest e-commerce firms, is planning to add 150 new employees to its Chandler location this summer. PayPal’s Arizona facility was voted the Best Place to Work in 2014.

Arizonans interested in exploring a career with PayPal are invited to the PayPal Job Fair next week, where recruiters will accept resumes and schedule interviews. Attending the Job Fair positions candidates at the top of PayPal’s consideration list and provides job seekers a 3x faster application process.

When: Tuesday, June 23, from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Where: Courtyard Marriott, 1100 S. Price Rd. in Chandler, AZ

Register: http://www.localwork.com/az/phoenix/paypal

“PayPal’s decision to expand their team in Chandler is a cause for celebration in the Arizona job market. Employers like Apple, General Motors, and PayPal continue to add positions like these because of the quality of our local workforce,” says Ryan Naylor, president of LocalWork.com, an online job board that showcases company culture. “PayPal is well known for their inclusive and welcoming culture,” adds Naylor.

Among PayPal’s most popular employee benefits:

– Medical, dental, vision

– 401k with percentage of salary match from PayPal

– Paid time off

– Holiday time off

– A 1-month sabbatical for every 5 years with the company

– Company growth and opportunity

– Fun and energetic place to work

– Voted Best Company to Work for in 2014

Erik in front of building high res July 2014

How to protect AC unit during monsoons

Is your air conditioner ready for the dust storms, torrential downpours, thunder and lightning that is monsoon season? When an air conditioning system stops working during an Arizona summer, it is the worst and it can be very costly to repair or replace. Preventative maintenance is key to keeping you cool in the hot summer months.

“We live in an area where the nature is acute all the time, so we are always susceptible to failures,” said Erik Bryan, owner of Precision Air and Heating. “When you add a monsoon, it just amplifies the fact we are in a critical climate in the desert.”

Monsoons are a fact of life in the valley, but they do not have to be disastrous. The biggest threat to an air conditioning unit during monsoon season, according to Bryan, is the humidity and electrical surges from the lightning. Make sure your central air conditioner is protected from those strikes and power surges with a surge protector to stay safe and cool during the season. A surge protector for an air conditioner can be insurance for your unit.

Lightning does not have to hit a home directly to cause a power surge. A lightning strike within a half-mile of a home can damage the air conditioner. Each strike delivers up to 20,000 volts of electricity through a home, which is more than enough to take out a central air unit.

“We use power strips at home for our computers to prevent a spike of electricity from damaging components inside,” Bryan said. “An air conditioner is no different.”

It can be crucial for those living in the valley to make sure that their systems are protected from the monsoons that flow into Arizona, but do not forget about making sure everything is running smoothly with your heater when the cooler months arrive.

Preventative maintenance is still essential, but a much bigger concern exists for people who have gas heat to make sure everything is checked so there are no leaks.

“Carbon monoxide asphyxiation is a very very real thing, it is a silent killer. We lose people ever year who turn their heaters on without getting them checked,” stated Bryan.

If the temperature is not just right, being comfortable is very out of reach. Air conditioning is one thing you should not take your chances with, so do not let monsoon season get in the way.

2012 Employee Appreciation Dinner

D-backs giving away 10,000 Father’s Day T-shirts

image003The Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) will give away special Father’s Day T-shirts, courtesy of Audi, to 10,000 dads on June 21 when the D-backs host the San Diego Padres at Chase Field.

The D-backs also welcome all dads and kids, 12 and younger, to run the bases for Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) after the game. For each dad and kid that crosses home plate, the D-backs will donate $1 to PCH.

Major League Baseball and the D-backs will also host Prostate Cancer Awareness Day on June 21 and will recognize prostate cancer survivors. The D-backs will donate $2 from each ticket purchased at www.dbacks.com/giveback to benefit prostate cancer charities, including D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall’s Pro-State Foundation. 

pch

Phoenix Children’s Hospital ranked among top facilities

Phoenix Children’s Hospital has been named to U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, the only Arizona hospital to make the highly coveted list. This year, Phoenix Children’s ranked in nine out of 10 specialties.

The following Phoenix Children’s subspecialties were ranked top-50 in the nation:

Neurology and Neurosurgery, ranked number No. 14, represented by Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital;

Phoenix Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, ranked No. 16 for cancer care;

The Phoenix Children’s Heart Center, ranked No. 16 for Cardiology and Heart Surgery;

Nephrology, ranked No. 17;

Urology, ranked No. 21;

The Phoenix Children’s Center for Pediatric Orthopedics, ranked No. 28;

Pulmonology, ranked No. 28;

Gastroenterology and GI surgery, ranked No. 36; and

Diabetes and Endocrinology, ranked No. 37.

The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings highlight U.S. News’ Top 50 U.S. pediatric facilities in ten high volume subspecialties. Eighty-three hospitals ranked in at least one specialty, based on a combination of clinical data, patient volume and reputation among pediatric specialists nationwide.

“It’s very gratifying to be listed among the best children’s hospitals across the country,” said Robert L. Meyer, President and CEO of Phoenix Children’s. “The rankings reflect the dedication of our physicians, nurses and staff. Their commitment to providing the highest quality and most advanced pediatric care has received a very significant badge of honor today.”

The results also indicate a steady rise in specialty rankings. From four ranked specialties last year to nine this year with four of those in the top 20, “You will not find this quality, experience, or breadth of services anywhere else in Arizona,” said Meyer.

U.S. News introduced the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in 2007 to help families of children with acute, rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. The rankings open the door to an array of detailed information about each hospital’s performance.

Scores are weighted to recognize superior patient outcomes and care-related resources. U.S. News gathered clinical data from a detailed questionnaire sent to 184 pediatric hospitals. One-sixth of the score came from an annual survey of pediatric specialists and subspecialists in each specialty.. They were asked where they would send the sickest children in their specialty, setting aside considerations of location and expense. These reputation scores are averaged over a rolling three-year period.

“The pediatric centers that are ranked in Best Children’s Hospitals deserve our congratulations,” said U.S. News Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “Children with life-threatening or rare conditions need the kind of care that these hospitals deliver day after day.”

Survival rates, adequacy of nurse staffing, procedure volume and much more can be viewed on http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/pediatric-rankings and will be published in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals 2015” guidebook, available in September.

economic development - 8 honored

16 Arizona companies make Fortune 1000 list

Sixteen Arizona-based companies earned spots on the Fortune 1000 list, a reference list of the 1,000 largest American companies, ranked on revenues alone.

The 16 Arizona companies on the Fortune 1,000:

  • No. 108 Avnet, Phoenix
  • No. 137 Freeport-McMoRan, Phoenix
  • No. 323 Republic Services, Phoenix
  • No. 386 PetSmart, Phoenix
  • No. 493 Insight Enterprises, Tempe
  • No. 502 Northern Tier Energy, Tempe
  • No. 593 Swift Transportation, Phoenix
  • No. 645 Magellan Health, Scottsdale
  • No. 683 Pinnacle West Capital, Phoenix
  • No. 692 First Solar, Tempe
  • No. 722 ON Semiconductor, Phoenix
  • No. 726 Amkor Technology, Tempe
  • No. 735 Taylor Morrison Home, Scottsdale
  • No. 746 Apollo Education Group, Phoenix
  • No. 762 Sprouts Farmers Market, Phoenix
  • No. 957 Meritage Homes, Scottsdale
cybercrime

Workers in state wait to see if personal data was taken

Arizona has more than 55,000 federal employees who could find out as early as Monday if they are among the 4 million federal workers and retirees whose personal information may have been compromised in a cyberattack.

The Office of Personnel Management announced late Thursday that it had detected, in April, a breach of worker records earlier this year.

The agency said it hopes to begin letting individual workers know Monday if they were affected. In the meantime, it is encouraging all federal workers to take precautionary measures.

OPM is also “offering affected individuals credit monitoring services and identity theft insurance,” an agency statement said.

The agency said it is currently working with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team to address the issue and “the impact to federal personnel.”

It was unclear Friday how many workers or retirees in Arizona were affected, but labor unions and elected officials said the breach was another call for the need for government cybersecurity.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, called on the administration to find “ways to deter our enemies from attacking in the first place.” McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a prepared statement that up to 1 million military members could be among the 4 million potential victims.

Unions representing federal workers, meanwhile, were scrambling to help their members, after what could be the largest federal data breach in recent history. One of those was the American Federation of Government Employees, which claims to be the largest federal employee union with 700,000 members.

“We will work with the administration to ensure that all available measures be taken to secure the personal information of all affected employees,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement posted to the union’s website.

News reports indicated that state-sponsored Chinese hackers committed the cyberattack that targeted what OPM called “personal information of current and former federal employees.”

But OPM did not make the link to the Chinese, and White House spokesman Josh Earnest would only say Friday that the incident is still under investigation, according to a transcript of the daily press briefing.

News reports also said the breach occurred in December, but OPM would only say in its statement that it became aware of this cyberattack during a recent “update to its cybersecurity posture” this spring.

Although identity theft and loss of personal information can take many different forms, there are standard procedures that are recommended for anyone who finds themselves in such a situation.

The first step to take, according to Courtney Bennett, a program manager in the community outreach and education division for the Arizona Attorney General’s office, is to file an identity theft affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission.

Bennett also recommends notifying merchants of any unauthorized charges on your account, as well as contacting credit reporting agencies.

She said one step that is commonly overlooked – calling the police – can be one of the most important. But people may hesitate, since they don’t think of credit theft in the same way as theft of property.

“There is theft of your personal information,” she said. “So it’s important they contact local law enforcement and file a police report.”

McCain said everyone needs to be vigilant.

“Whether a government agency or private company, no one is immune from attacks by increasingly sophisticated enemies,” his statement said.

The Phoenician resort is nestled in the Sonoran Desert, with the breathtaking Camelback Mountain its backdrop. Photo: The Phoenician

Phoenician offers ‘Culinary Countdown’ summer dining series

The Phoenician, Arizona’s premier AAA Five Diamond destination, is making dining out even more appetizing this summer with its signature “Culinary Countdown” series.  From Monday, June 1, through Monday, August 31, 2015, three resort restaurants will offer select multi-course menus at exceptional prices:

• J&G Steakhouse ($40 per person) – The three-course dinner menu includes a choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert, featuring Cold Corn and Lemongrass Soup, Steamed Shrimp Salad or Heirloom Tomatoes; slowly cooked Salmon, Roasted Chicken or Prime Flat Iron Steak; as well as Raspberry and Rose Pavlova, Warm Chocolate Cake with Caramel Ice Cream, or an assortment of Sorbets and Ice Cream.  From 5-7 p.m. nightly, the restaurant will also offer 50 percent off all bottles of wine under $100.

• Il Terrazzo ($30 per person) – The three-course dinner menu offers a choice of Chilled Tomato & Crab Soup, Kale & Arugula Salad or Asparagus & Prosciutto for an appetizer; Eggplant Caponata, Olive Oil Poached Halibut or Pork Bistecca for an entrée; and a Cherry Torte, Vanilla Panna Cotta or Sorbets & Ice Cream for dessert.  Half-priced specialty cocktails complement each meal.

• Relish Burger Bistro ($20 per person) – The two-course lunch and dinner menu features a number of gourmet, American Kobe Burgers with crispy Tater Tots; followed by a Cookie Cup with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream or Apple Cobbler à la mode.  Special savings on draft beers and old-fashioned milkshakes are also offered.

For restaurant hours of operation and reservations, please call (480) 423-2530.

Located at the base of Camelback Mountain, the 250-acre Phoenician offers two exquisite experiences – a 583-room AAA Five Diamond luxury resort hotel and a 60-room, Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond hotel, The Canyon Suites — at one magnificent destination.  Both The Phoenician and The Canyon Suites are owned and operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., as part of The Luxury Collection. For additional information, please call (480) 941-8200; (800) 888-8234 or visit thephoenician.com and canyonsuites.com.

Vestar Development Investment

UMB Financial finalizes acquisition of Marquette

UMB Financial Corporation, a $16.7 billion diversified financial holding company, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., has completed the acquisition of Marquette Financial Companies (MFC), a $1.4 billion financial-services company owned by the Pohlad family, in an all-stock transaction. With this deal, UMB has acquired 13 branches in Arizona and Texas, two national specialty lending businesses focused on asset-based lending and factoring as well as an asset management firm.

“This is an incredible time at UMB as we embark on a new and exciting chapter in our company’s history,” said Mariner Kemper, chairman and CEO, UMB Financial Corporation. “This acquisition has an immediate impact on our presence in two key growth markets for UMB – Arizona and Texas. In addition, the acquisition of two specialty lending businesses and an asset management firm expands our offerings and builds upon our existing commercial banking services through a national footprint.”

As part of this acquisition, the Phoenix-based Meridian Bank, n.a. and the Ft. Worth-based Meridian Bank Texas were merged into UMB Bank, n.a. The merger adds eight branches in the Phoenix area, with total assets of $745 million, net loans of $530 million and deposits of $584 million, as of March 31, 2015; and five branches in Ft. Worth, Dallas and Denton, Texas, with total assets of $442 million, net loans of $321 million and deposits of $384 million, as of March 31, 2015.

UMB also acquired Dallas-based Marquette Business Credit, which provides asset-based loans for working capital, recapitalization, growth and mergers and acquisitions; Marquette Transportation Finance, which provides accounts-receivable financing and factoring primarily for transportation businesses, and its division, Marquette Commercial Finance; and Marquette Asset Management, which provides private asset management to individuals, families and institutions, based in Minneapolis, Minn.

“The realization of this acquisition benefits our customers by combining the strength of our two companies and expands our services and product sets,” James O. Pohlad, chairman, Marquette Financial Companies. “We are pleased to continue our enduring commitment to serving our customers and the communities where we do business.”

RBC Capital Markets, LLC served as exclusive financial adviser to UMB. Sullivan & Cromwell and Holland & Hart served as legal counsel to UMB. D.A. Davidson served as exclusive financial adviser to MFC. Briggs and Morgan served as legal counsel to MFC.

energy policies

Solar and Other Ways to Save on Electricity Bills

In 2013, Arizona earned a new nickname -“the solar state”- by participating in heated debates regarding net metering and the growing solar electric industry. As expected, the utility companies put up a fight, which resulted in a minor victory allowing them to charge a small fee on new residential solar electric installations.

But the power companies cannot hold out forever, as solar power and other alternative sources of energy continue to gain popularity with consumers. Unfortunately there is still a long road ahead for everyone involved in solar power initiatives. Currently, Arizona Public Service Co. and others offer only a few renewable energy initiatives. To push the state from 2nd to 1st place in solar and renewable energy usage, utility companies should offer users the option to choose which percentage of their electricity is channeled from solar or wind energy, as opposed to other, nonrenewable sources. Many North American companies already do, and if consumers can find them — often through comparison websites — everybody wins.

Arizona has the sun to thank for its “solar state” title, but even if it’s a sunny day there’s still plenty you can do at home to pitch in, too. Take the first step and reevaluate the power usage within your own home. There are many new devices on the market that allow homeowners to track and discover just how much power is drawn from their electrical outlets, and adjust it accordingly. Not only will you discover which devices are “energy hogs”, and save money in the process, but you’ll reduce your home’s overall carbon emissions as well. Monitoring your home’s energy needs allows you to be a smarter, more environmentally friendly, consumer. Read on to learn more about the devices that can help you track your power consumption safely and easily:

TED Energy Detective: TED Energy Detective is one of the most highly comprehensive, and easily installable, energy monitoring systems. The product features a real-time display detailing exactly how many watts your home is using, with information on the hourly cost and continuous feedback on your energy use patterns. There are many versions and models of the TED home system, some of which come with their own wireless display, and others that are tracked using your mobile device or computer.

Google Nest Thermostat (Second Generation): There are smart thermostats, and then there are thermostats like the Nest. The Nest is more than programmable, it’s intuitive, which means that it will learn your schedule and program itself. An ordinary smart thermostat might remember to lower temperature control while residents are at work or school, but the Nest will go one step further and focus temperature control on the most used rooms, automatically adjust for sleeping temperatures. The device can even sense while you’re away on its own, due to the addition of a motion detector.

Eco-Friendly, Smart Appliances: For a while, energy efficient appliances were expensive and few and far between. Now, however, LG is one company that boasts an entire line of smart appliances. Examples include a smart refrigerator (the Smart ThinQ), an ultra-fast, eco-friendly washing machine, and a washing machine with Wi-Fi Smart Diagnosis (the Smart ThinQ Washer, which would reserve energy-intense cycles for off-peak hours, for example). LG isn’t the other company investing in the eco-trend, either. Energy Star certified appliances are available through almost every major preferred company or brand.

Power Adaptors and Smart Power Strips: Perhaps the most well-known and easiest tools to apply are power adapters, like those created by the company Green Plug, which limit the amount of energy over-charging consumer devices. If Green Plug’s adapters are in use, the supply of energy will be cut off after the device has received all the energy it needs to charge and operate. Likewise, smart power strips will limit any “vampire” charges sucked from appliances left plugged in.

iTech SolarCharger 906: Solar panels and solar technology at home is already popular in Arizona – but what about on the go? The iTech SolarCharger is just one option that allows electronics to be charged with the power of the sun. The iTech SolarCharger does take about 22 hours to power up (perhaps leave it on the deck on weekend day, but once it does it can easily charger phones and other electronics. The tool even comes with various adaptors, so homeowners don’t have to give up their solar preferences on the go.

While we wait for solar energy to be a cheaper, more feasible option on a large scale basis, there are many ways to cut down on electricity costs are home. A good energy monitoring system will make you aware of the need to conserve our energy resources. The accurate digital displays of the products listed above (and others) will give you new insight into how much electricity you consume, and where you can cut back each month.

QC1

Rainbow Ryders inducted into Trip Advisor’s ‘Hall of Fame’

Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Company announced that it has been recognized as a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame winner, after being named a Certificate of Excellence Award Winner for five consecutive years. The Certificate of Excellence award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.

“We strive to give our customers a unique Bucket List experience,” said Scott Appelman, President of Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Company. “What is so meaningful about this recognition is that is customer driven, and is a huge validation of the entire team here at Rainbow Ryders.”

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years is a remarkable feat. TripAdvisor is pleased to induct five-time award winners into the ‘Hall of Fame’,” said Marc Charron President, TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on consistently delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive an improvement to hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site.  To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

healthcare

NextCare acquires Troyer Urgent Care, Chino Valley center

NextCare Urgent Care – the nation’s largest privately held provider of urgent care medicine – announces the acquisition of Troyer Urgent Care centers in Flagstaff and Lake Havasu City, and Chino Valley Medical Center in Chino Valley. No other urgent care provider operates more clinics in Arizona than NextCare, which now manages 35 locations within the state.

With the addition of these three clinics, the brand’s locations span from Flagstaff in northern Arizona to Tucson in southern Arizona, across metro-Phoenix, and to Lake Havasu City in the west, allowing NextCare to provide services to over 90 percent of the state’s population.

“NextCare is very proud to provide services throughout the state of Arizona,” said John Julian, CEO of NextCare Holdings, Inc. “No other urgent care provider even comes close to covering the geography that we can through our locations. Providing high quality care in each and every one of the communities we serve has always been and will continue to be our goal.”

 

Notably, the Chino Valley center – in addition to urgent care services – will also continue to provide primary care services to its patients.

NextCare Holdings, Inc. is actively expanding in new and existing markets, having opened/acquired 23 clinics across the U.S. in the last 12 months alone. Currently operating in 11 states, the company plans to open several new clinics and continue its rapid expansion through acquisitions in the coming weeks and months.

Abrazo Arrowhead Campus

Abrazo Health unveils new name, stepped up investment

Abrazo Health is now Abrazo Community Health Network.

More than simply a new name, the change reflects Abrazo’s philosophy of embracing patients with the compassion of a friend while delivering best-in-class care at an expansive network of six acute-care hospitals, emergency centers, urgent care centers, primary practices and specialty practices.

“There has been a surge of news about hospital system mergers, acquisitions and name changes locally and across the nation,” said Michele Finney, Abrazo Community Health Network’s market CEO. “What makes our announcement different is our transformative vision to shape health care in Arizona.”

Along with the system name change come changes to Abrazo’s hospital and emergency center names: 

• Abrazo Community Health Network (formerly Abrazo Health)

• Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital (formerly Arizona Heart Hospital), 1930 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix.

• Abrazo Arrowhead Campus (formerly Arrowhead Hospital), 18701 N. 67th Ave., Glendale.

• Abrazo Central Campus (formerly Phoenix Baptist Hospital), 2000 W. Bethany Home Road, Phoenix.

• Abrazo Maryvale Campus (formerly Maryvale Hospital), 5102 W. Campbell Ave., Phoenix.

• Abrazo Scottsdale Campus (formerly Paradise Valley Hospital), 3929 E. Bell Road, Phoenix.

• Abrazo West Campus (formerly West Valley Hospital), 13677 W. McDowell Road, Goodyear.

• Abrazo Emergency Center Buckeye (formerly West Valley Emergency Center), 525 S. Watson Road, Buckeye.

• Abrazo Emergency Center Peoria, (formerly North Peoria Emergency Center), 26900 N. Lake Pleasant Parkway, Peoria.

 Abrazo means embrace, “and that’s just what we do every day to help patients understand and take control of their health,” said Dr. William Ellert, Abrazo’s chief medical officer. “We view our role not only to care for our patients at our network of facilities, but also to teach our community a different – and healthier – way of life.”

Abrazo Community Health Network also is embracing the future of health care in Arizona by expanding the depth and breadth of its resources.

Since 2014, Abrazo has invested $100 million in new technologies to allow for better integration of medical records. Abrazo Arrowhead Campus expanded its advanced cardiovascular programs. Abrazo Central Campus became the only Arizona hospital to have the BrainPath system enabling minimally invasive surgery to remove deep brain tumors, and recently opened an acute rehabilitation unit.

Last year, Abrazo West Campus also opened the only Level 1 Trauma Center serving the burgeoning West Valley. Abrazo Maryvale Campus is developing new behavioral health services and Abrazo Scottsdale Campus will be expanding orthopedic surgery services.

There are more changes coming, according to Finney. “In the months ahead, we will be expanding our ambulatory footprint to include urgent care centers and outpatient centers, too,” she said.

Young girl's hand touches and holds an old woman's wrinkled hands.; Shutterstock ID 115740043; PO: 47953; Other: Public Affairs

Arizona Oncology now offers palliative care in Tucson

Arizona Oncology, a leader in community based cancer care and a practice in The US Oncology Network, is now offering palliative care to patients in Tucson and southern Arizona.

Palliative care nurse practitioners, Kathy Kennel, MSN, FNP-C, ACHPN, and Shari Beauregard, MSN, RN, ANP-BC, ACHPN, work closely with a multi-disciplinary team of medical professionals to coordinate patient care at all stages of illness. Arizona Oncology’s goal is to assist patients and their families in making informed decisions about care and treatment so they can remain independent and live a full life. The palliative care nurse practitioners can provide help and emotional support to patients and their families when they are faced with difficult medical decisions, as well as to family members managing the extra responsibilities of caring for a relative who is ill. They assist in establishing individualized plans of care, provide support for complex pain and symptoms, and work with patients and their families on their psychosocial and spiritual needs.

Beauregard, a cancer survivor, knows first-hand about coping with a serious illness. As a teenager, she spent months in the hospital fighting the disease. “I understand what it’s like to be in the hospital for a long time. I understand the hard road patients and families must face,” said Beauregard.

After caring for and losing both of her parents to cancer, Kennel shares, “They are my inspiration and motivation to make a positive difference in patients’ lives every day.”

The benefits of palliative care will help patients to improve their quality of life, reduce anxiety, depression, and pain, understand difficult and complex treatment choices, increase their confidence in navigating care, decrease hospital admissions, readmissions, and emergency room visits, and increase life expectancy.

“We are not end of life people; we are quality of life people,” explains Beauregard.

For more information about the palliative care program at Arizona Oncology or to make an appointment, call 888-972-CURE.

technology

Tech Council reports shows strong results for sector

Recapping a year of strong results, the Arizona Technology Council has issued an inaugural annual report detailing its role as the state’s voice for technology and the driving force behind the effort to make Arizona the fastest growing tech hub in the nation. The full report can be viewed or downloaded at www.aztechcouncil.org.

“This report crystalizes how strategic elements that we have honed for years contribute to a healthy, vibrant technology sector throughout Arizona and around the world,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “Fueled by a passion for technology, we are leading the effort to meet the future needs of the industry through the development of technical talent, increased access to risk capital, the support of a healthy ecosystem and connectivity across all constituents.”

The Council’s strategy is grounded in the belief that the future of technology in Arizona is based on the industry’s ability be future-ready. The report clearly states the progress the Council has made as it delivers on what members expect from their association: industry leadership that connects, empowers and grows Arizona’s technology community.

The report details the Council’s strongest financial performance to date, with the net addition of more than 80 new members in 2014. Two new Business Essentials platforms also were introduced: a pooled-risk, self-insured medical insurance program, and a 401(k) retirement plan for all member companies. In addition, the year was marked by the Council’s stand against Senate Bill 1062 as it assembled 120 CEOs to sign a letter to the governor successfully petitioning for the bill’s veto—an effort recognized with three leadership awards. These and numerous other accomplishments outlined in the document are being leveraged to capitalize on the unique position the Council has created and deliver even more value to its members and the technology industry at-large in years to come.

burro

Increase in wild burros threaten Arizona native habitats

Arizona Game and Fish says the increasing number of wild burros in the state is damaging native habitats. The agency wants the federal government to control them before the problems gets worse.

Arizona Game and Fish said wild burro population is growing at such an alarming rate that they are damaging natural habitats and crowding out native species. There are more than 1,600 wild burros in the Black Mountains near Bullhead City. That’s almost four times the federal limit. Game and Fish’s Bill Andres said that’s just in one area of the state.

“Not only are the burros in areas where they have historically been, but the population of burros is growing so much that they are outside of the herd management areas,” Andres said. “We’re getting reports from other partners like the National Forest Service that they’re seeing burros in places where they’ve never been seen before.”

The Bureau of Land Management said it’s conducting an assessment of Arizona’s burro population. BLM’s Dennis Godfrey said solving the problem is not as easy as it seems.

“We’re dependent on funding,” Godfrey said. “We’re dependent on authority from our Washington office on the number of gathers we can conduct and how many animals we can gather. There are those that would prefer that we gather no burros, that they remain to be in place in where they are and let nature take its course.”

Godfrey said the assessment is expected to be completed in late October, with a potential new burro gathering in 2016.