Tag Archives: arizona

shopping

Economy’s Q3 Growth Boosts Local Businesses

The U.S. economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter as businesses restocked shelves, and Arizona businesses are noticing the uptick. A 2.8% boost from July to September has Valley business owners optimistic about the holiday season and the first quarter of 2014. Local restaurants, retail, real estate and even purveyors of luxury goods and services report a steady incline of consumer spending, some even reaching pre-economic downturn levels.

Dr. Daniel Shapiro, a Scottsdale-based plastic surgeon reports nearly 35% growth in 2013 over 2012. “As a board-certified sugeon that’s been practicing for 22 years, my schedule stayed busy despite the economic downturn…but over the last few months we’ve been forced to reinstate a waiting list that spans several months for surgery as well as a consult fee,” he said. “It’s evident that people have more money to spend now, and are more confident spending it,” he said.

Shapiro is just one Valley business owner that says the economy is on the upswing. Restaurant owners, many hit hard by the economic downturn are also saying that business is booming again. “Having owned restaurants in Arizona over the last 20 years, it’s easy to spot a trend when it’s happening,” said Dave Andrea, owner of Brat Haus in Old Town Scottsdale. “First it’s small things like patrons adding another round of drinks, or ordering dessert, when before they’d forgo those things in an effort to save money,” he said,

Both Andrea and Shapiro agree that people are splurging on themselves a little more now, whether it’s a long awaited nip and tuck or just a well-deserved dessert.

What’s fueling the Valley’s economic stability? The labor market continued to improve, but at a snail’s pace, government data showed. Across the country, gross domestic product expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate, the quickest pace since the third quarter of 2012, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. It was an acceleration from a 2.5 percent clip in the second quarter and beat economists’ expectations for a 2.0 percent rate.

DECO Communities, a Scottsdale-based real estate development company just announced completion of two new urban renewal projects which transform infill properties into stylish and modern apartment homes called Cabana Modern Apartment Homes. With 4 properties completed in the last 16 months, the company says real estate is on the upswing as well. “There is a high demand for the kind of development we are doing,” said Rob Lyles, partner for DECO Communities, “And the outlook for real estate development and growth in Arizona next year is exceptionally promising,” he said.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, expanded at a 1.5 percent rate, slowest pace since the second quarter of 2011. It grew at a 1.8 percent rate in the April-June period.  With the news of economic growth at the start of the holiday season and the ‘high-season’ for Valley tourism, business owners are exceptionally optimistic about the Q1 2014 economic reports as well.

college graduates

Gilbert approves Saint Xavier University Development

The Gilbert Town Council approved a development agreement on Thursday, Nov. 7 that will allow for the construction of Saint Xavier University’s (SXU) 87,000- square-foot satellite campus in the downtown Heritage District of Gilbert, Arizona.

The proposed four-story building will provide students premier access to state-of-the-art technology, smart classrooms, nursing labs and student lounges, as well as gathering and study space. In addition, Gilbert plans to construct a 300-car parking facility located just east of the SXU Gilbert campus.

“It has always been part of our economic development plan to have a faith-based university located in downtown Gilbert. We are thrilled to welcome Saint Xavier University, Chicago’s oldest Catholic University,” said Gilbert Mayor John Lewis. “It’s very important that we can offer our residents opportunities to obtain advanced degrees in a number of academic disciplines within this environment.”

SXU’s Gilbert campus initially plans to offer undergraduate degree completion, adult degree completion and graduate degree programs in the academic disciplines of: Liberal Arts, Business and Nursing. Meeting the lifelong learning needs of a diverse student population has always been an essential component of the Saint Xavier mission. Pending approval by the Arizona accrediting agencies and the Higher Learning Commission, as well as endorsement by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, classes could begin as early as Spring 2015.

“We are honored to be part of the growing legacy of Gilbert and the State of Arizona, and we are pleased to share our own 168-year legacy of rigorous, values-based higher education,” said president Christine M. Wiseman, J.D. “We look forward to building partnerships within the Gilbert community, creating a collaborative learning environment, and working with motivated students from all walks of life.”

“As we finalize our plans for the Gilbert campus, a Senate-endorsed faculty task force will engage the academic and mission-based issues in order to continue guiding this development,” adds Paul DeVito, Ph.D., provost of Saint Xavier University.

duke energy renewables - solar panel

Arizona's Energy Efficiency Programs Rank in Top 10

The most authoritative national ranking of state energy efficiency policies and programs released today shows Arizona leading the Southwest. Arizona placed 12th overall in the national rankings and 10th in the country on a key score for utility energy efficiency programs and policies.

The 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) annually ranks states based on their commitment to energy efficiency in several areas, including utility policies and programs, buildings, industry, appliances, transportation, and state government initiatives.

“It is a great accomplishment for Arizona to be ranked among the top 10 states for utility energy efficiency programs and policies,” said Bob Stump, Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission. “Jobs in Arizona depend on businesses and consumers having affordable utility bills, and these programs and policies help ensure that.”

In this seventh Scorecard report, Arizona’s rise to 10th place for utility programs and policies was based largely upon electric and natural gas utility programs that help customers save energy and money. Examples include utility programs that offer home energy check-ups and rebates to help residents reduce household energy use, work with small businesses to install more efficient lighting and cooling systems, and provide technical assistance and rebates for energy-saving projects in large commercial and industrial facilities.

“Salt River Project has grown our suite of energy efficiency programs in recent years and the portfolio has performed well. During this past year alone, we have helped our customers save more than 630 million kilowatt hours of energy in their homes and businesses,” said Dan Dreiling, Manager of Product Development at SRP. “Our goal is to help our customers use energy wisely and provide a variety of cost-effective programs to meet their needs.”

Arizona has climbed the national rankings in recent years, rising to 12th overall in 2013, up from 29th place as recently as 2009.

Massachusetts leads the country in the ACEEE State Scorecard rankings for the third year in a row.  Following Massachusetts in the top 5 are California, New York, Oregon and Connecticut.

duke energy renewables - solar panel

Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Programs Rank in Top 10

The most authoritative national ranking of state energy efficiency policies and programs released today shows Arizona leading the Southwest. Arizona placed 12th overall in the national rankings and 10th in the country on a key score for utility energy efficiency programs and policies.

The 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) annually ranks states based on their commitment to energy efficiency in several areas, including utility policies and programs, buildings, industry, appliances, transportation, and state government initiatives.

“It is a great accomplishment for Arizona to be ranked among the top 10 states for utility energy efficiency programs and policies,” said Bob Stump, Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission. “Jobs in Arizona depend on businesses and consumers having affordable utility bills, and these programs and policies help ensure that.”

In this seventh Scorecard report, Arizona’s rise to 10th place for utility programs and policies was based largely upon electric and natural gas utility programs that help customers save energy and money. Examples include utility programs that offer home energy check-ups and rebates to help residents reduce household energy use, work with small businesses to install more efficient lighting and cooling systems, and provide technical assistance and rebates for energy-saving projects in large commercial and industrial facilities.

“Salt River Project has grown our suite of energy efficiency programs in recent years and the portfolio has performed well. During this past year alone, we have helped our customers save more than 630 million kilowatt hours of energy in their homes and businesses,” said Dan Dreiling, Manager of Product Development at SRP. “Our goal is to help our customers use energy wisely and provide a variety of cost-effective programs to meet their needs.”

Arizona has climbed the national rankings in recent years, rising to 12th overall in 2013, up from 29th place as recently as 2009.

Massachusetts leads the country in the ACEEE State Scorecard rankings for the third year in a row.  Following Massachusetts in the top 5 are California, New York, Oregon and Connecticut.

prevention trial - brain scan images

ASU student ‘brains’ behind concussion tutorial

For decades, the devastating effects of repeated concussions on the health of professional athletes was a well-kept secret – until it exploded into a national controversy. As investigative journalists reported scientific evidence of the long-term impact of head injuries on NFL players, the focus soon shifted to high school athletes. How could we protect their health and safety?

Arizona was an early adopter of protection for high school athletes. In 2011, the state legislature passed a law requiring coaches to remove high school athletes from play if they even so much as suspect a concussion. The law requires that the athlete must obtain written clearance from a medical professional, like a physician or athletic trainer, in order to return to the sport.

State legislators also called for preventive measures that would make it mandatory for high school coaches, students and parents to complete concussion-education programs. To comply with the law, the Arizona Interscholastic Association deemed that every high school athlete in the state must complete Barrow Brainbook. This interactive, online training was developed in part by Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

But the real brains behind Barrow Brainbook belong to Arizona State University educational technology doctoral student Robert Christopherson.

“Over 180,000 high school athletes in the State of Arizona have benefitted from the knowledge of Robert Christopherson,” said Dr. Javier Cárdenas, neurologist and brain injury expert who is director of St. Joseph’s B.R.A.I.N.S. Clinic. “Robert’s expertise in educational technology is the primary reason Barrow Brainbook has not only successfully taught high school athletes about concussion dangers, but has become the most successful concussion education program in the country.”

When he began his research, Christopherson noticed immediately that most available concussion education programs targeted coaches and parents, but few addressed the athletes themselves. From the start, he said the directive from Cárdenas was empowering youth to assess the situation and be part of the decision-making process. Today, Barrow Brainbook remains the only concussion education program in the nation directed at high school athletes.

To engage the young athletes, Christopherson considered social media for two reasons. First, research showed that student behavior online and in classrooms was becoming increasingly similar. Second, it was important to deliver concussion instruction close to where the head injuries happen. Teaching the athletes on the football field was not an option, so the researcher had to come up with an equally effective venue.

“So we decided to make a pseudo-Facebook,” he explained. “We created an environment that looks like Facebook, has a lot of the same social network interactions and includes characters that represent those people who influence the athletes most – peers, role models including NFL players and college athletes, and doctors.”

social media day

Gigya brings 200 jobs with Arizona expansion

A California firm that helps companies connect with customers through social media says it has opened a Phoenix office and plans to hire more than 200 employees within three years.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer touted Tuesday’s announcement by Mountain View, Calif.-based Gigya as the latest sign that her efforts to cut business tax rates and regulations is drawing new companies to the state.

Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer says the fast air access between Phoenix and the Silicon Valley, ease of setting up shop and available trained workforce made Phoenix the company’s top choice. The company will receive $450,000 for training from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Salyer says the company has begun hiring and expects to have 50 sales, account and client management employees here by the end of the year.

Bodney ADL

Steptoe partner receives Torch of Liberty Award

Steptoe & Johnson LLP partner David Bodney has received the “Torch of Liberty Award” from the Arizona region of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  Mr. Bodney was presented with the award at a gala celebrating the organization’s centennial held October 24 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown.

The “Torch of Liberty Award” was established to recognize individuals who have exhibited extraordinary humanitarian concerns, and whose everyday actions exemplify the principles on which the ADL was founded.  The league honors those who have shown, through business and community involvements, a personal commitment to bring together people of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds in the fight against bigotry and discrimination.  Previous recipients include US Senator John McCain and former Arizona governor and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“In every sense of the word, David is a true leader,” said Miriam Weisman, ADL Arizona regional board chair, and Bill Strauss, ADL regional director, in a joint statement.  “We in the ADL, and all Arizonans for that matter, have been lucky to have benefitted from his sense of justice and his ceaseless endeavors to make this a better place to live.”

Denise Resnik, co-chair of the dinner, added:  “David is a defender of your speech and mine.  He is an advocate for children, a trusted representative for those without a voice or a vote, and a trusted leader of leaders.  It is a privilege to honor him.”

At Steptoe, Mr. Bodney practices media and constitutional law, intellectual property and Native American law, and government relations.  He serves as adjunct faculty at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  Mr. Bodney is chair-elect of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law and serves on the editorial advisory board of Communications Lawyer.  He is a past chairman of the board of the ADL (Arizona Region), and serves as an ADL national commissioner and a member of its National Civil Rights Committee.  He also serves as a national director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and has overseen its “Election Protection” efforts in Arizona.

“I am deeply honored to receive the ADL’s ‘Torch of Liberty’ award, especially as part of its 100th anniversary celebration,” said Mr. Bodney.  “For as much as the organization has accomplished to stop bigotry and hate in our midst over the past century, there is still much work to do.  ADL has shown me the importance of standing up to hate speech, whether it occurs in cyberspace or at the kitchen table.  History shows that when good people speak up, evil seldom takes root.”

In 2011, Mr. Bodney received the APS Peacemaker Award from Valle del Sol, a non-profit organization in Arizona.  In 2008, he received the Judge Learned Hand Award from the American Jewish Committee for community service.

childbirth

Arizona achieves substantial reduction in preterm birth

Nearly 1,000 babies were spared the health consequences of an early birth and potentially $52.7 million in health care and societal costs were avoided in Arizona, according to the March of Dimes.  Based on 2012 preliminary data, Arizona has reduced its rate of preterm birth from a rate of 12.7% in 2009 to 11.6% in 2012 — an 8.7% reduction. Arizona Department of Health Services and March of Dimes Arizona Chapter will today receive the March of Dimes Virginia Apgar Prematurity Campaign Leadership Award, for lowering their preterm birth rates by more than 8 percent since 2009.  Arizona’s long-term target of a premature birth rate is 9.6 percent by 2020.

“This award reflects a team effort between March of Dimes, the Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona Perinatal Trust as well as our health care organizations and agencies that have joined us to fight premature birth in Arizona,” Will Humble, Director, Arizona Department of Health Services.

The Virginia Apgar Award is given to recognize states that accepted and met a challenge from the March of Dimes and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to lower their preterm birth rates 8 percent between 2009 and 2014.  “This progress shows that when infant health becomes a leadership priority, significant progress is possible and families and babies benefit,” says Dr. Paul E. Jarris, executive director of ASTHO.

The award is named in honor of Virginia Apgar, MD, who developed the five-point APGAR score to evaluate an infant’s health at birth, and who served as vice president for medical affairs of the March of Dimes.

Health officials in Arizona are worked closely with March of Dimes staff and volunteers on the “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” educational campaign, which urges hospitals, health care providers, and patients to follow the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines and reduce medically unnecessary elective deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy.  The final weeks of pregnancy are crucial to a baby’s health because many vital organs, including the brain and lungs, are still developing.

The March of Dimes says that if every state met the 8 percent challenge, it would push the nation’s preterm birth rate down to about 11 percent, giving an estimated 40,000 more babies a healthy start in life. Such a change could save about $2 billion in health care and socio-economic costs, the March of Dimes says.

Preterm birth (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy) is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to a 2006 Institute of Medicine report.  It is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and others.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th Anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life.  Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive.  Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects.  About 4 million babies are born each year in the United States, and all have benefitted the March of Dimes life saving research and education. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com/arizona or nacersano.org.

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Ogletree Deakins Named a ‘Law Firm of the Year’

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, has been named “Law Firm of the Year” in two categories, Employment Law – Management and Labor Law – Management, in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list. Only one law firm in each practice area receives the “Law Firm of the Year” honor. This is the third consecutive year that Ogletree Deakins has been named a “Law Firm of the Year.” It is also the second consecutive year that the firm has been named “Law Firm of the Year” in the Employment Law – Management category.

In Arizona, Ogletree Deakins’ offices in Phoenix and Tucson earned “First-Tier” rankings in three practice area categories: Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; and Litigation – Labor & Employment. Nationally, the firm has been recognized with six “First-Tier” rankings: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law; Employment Law – Management; Immigration Law; Labor Law – Management; Litigation – Labor & Employment; and Construction Law. A complete list of honorees is available today at http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/.

“We are very excited to have received ‘Law Firm of the Year’ designations again this year,” said Kim Ebert, managing shareholder of Ogletree Deakins. “We will continue our focus on providing outstanding service and value to our clients.”

skd258400sdc

Ogletree Deakins Named a 'Law Firm of the Year'

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, has been named “Law Firm of the Year” in two categories, Employment Law – Management and Labor Law – Management, in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list. Only one law firm in each practice area receives the “Law Firm of the Year” honor. This is the third consecutive year that Ogletree Deakins has been named a “Law Firm of the Year.” It is also the second consecutive year that the firm has been named “Law Firm of the Year” in the Employment Law – Management category.

In Arizona, Ogletree Deakins’ offices in Phoenix and Tucson earned “First-Tier” rankings in three practice area categories: Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; and Litigation – Labor & Employment. Nationally, the firm has been recognized with six “First-Tier” rankings: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law; Employment Law – Management; Immigration Law; Labor Law – Management; Litigation – Labor & Employment; and Construction Law. A complete list of honorees is available today at http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/.

“We are very excited to have received ‘Law Firm of the Year’ designations again this year,” said Kim Ebert, managing shareholder of Ogletree Deakins. “We will continue our focus on providing outstanding service and value to our clients.”

5 C's of Credit

Wells Fargo Arizona No. 1 SBA lender in dollars

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), America’s No. 1 small business lender, today announced it is the No. 1 Small Business Administration (SBA) 7 (a) lender in Arizona in amount of dollars for the seventh consecutive year and tied for #1 in terms of number of loans  approved.  Wells Fargo approved $75 million dollars and 176 loans to Arizona businesses from Oct. 1, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2013.

“Wells Fargo has a long history of supporting the growth of Arizona’s small businesses and providing credit to meet their financing needs,” said Jim Valley, SBA regional sales manager for Wells Fargo Arizona.  “We believe that the flow of new loan dollars into our communities represents a very powerful statement for job creation and economic development, and we are pleased to provide financial support that gives business owners the funds they need to grow their businesses, retain employees and continue to create new jobs in our community and across the country.”

Among the customers who Wells Fargo helped become business owners with an SBA loan are military veterans Bradley and Barbara Frey of Tucson, Ariz. The couple secured an SBA 7(a) loan to buy a mobile home parts manufacturing business, M&M Home Supply Warehouse, earlier this year.

“My wife and I have always dreamed of running our own small business together,” said Brad Frey. “As new small business owners, it was a daunting task to get our business up and running, but Wells Fargo helped us from the beginning and is a significant reason why we are thriving. My wife and I had tears of happiness when we were signing our loan documents because we could not believe our dream was now a reality.”

Nationally, Wells Fargo approved a record $1.47 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans in federal fiscal year 2013 (Oct. 1, 2012 – Sept. 30, 2013) and for the fifth consecutive year is America’s leading SBA 7(a) lender in dollar volume. This is the third year in a row that Wells Fargo has approved more than $1 billion in SBA 7(a) loans to small business owners – the only lender to achieve this milestone.  An SBA preferred lender in all 50 states, Wells Fargo also is the second largest SBA lender in units extending 3,481 SBA 7(a) loans in federal fiscal year 2013.

Wells Fargo is the No. 1 SBA 7(a) lender in dollars in 12 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia – and the No.1 SBA 7(a) lender in number of loans (units) in 11 states: Alaska, Arizona (tied), California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada (tied), New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia.

Lawsuit Dropped To Prevent AHCCCS Hospital Payment Cuts

3 Abrazo Hospitals Earn Top Performer Recognition

Abrazo Health, the second largest health care delivery system in Arizona, has announced today that Arrowhead Hospital, Maryvale Hospital and Paradise Valley Hospital have been named Top Performers on Key Quality Measures® by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America.

The three Abrazo Health hospitals are recognized for exemplary performance in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for certain conditions. The clinical processes focus on care for heart attack, pneumonia, surgery, children’s asthma, stroke and venous thromboembolism, as well as inpatient psychiatric services. New this year is a category for immunization for pneumonia and influenza.

Arrowhead Hospital, Maryvale Hospital and Paradise Valley Hospital are among 1,099 hospitals in the U.S. earning the distinction of Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance. This is the second year in a row that Maryvale Hospital is being recognized as a Top Performer.

Arrowhead Hospital, Maryvale Hospital and Paradise Valley Hospital and all the Top Performer hospitals have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to quality improvement and they should be proud of their achievement,” says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president and chief executive officer, The Joint Commission.”

“We understand that what matters most to patients at Abrazo Health is safe, effective care. That’s why our organization has made a commitment to accreditation and to positive patient outcomes through evidence-based care processes. Arrowhead Hospital, Maryvale Hospital and Paradise Valley Hospital are proud to receive the distinction of being a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures,” says Ken Howell, President of Abrazo Health.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ted Firestone and Kelly McCullough, general manager of KAET Channel 8, Arizona’s PBS, with their Emmy Awards for The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery.

Emmy Award goes to Scottsdale Healthcare surgeon

Scottsdale Healthcare orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ted Firestone received a Rocky Mountain  Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery, produced in collaboration with KAET Channel 8, Arizona’s PBS. The one-hour feature won the award for best informational program at the awards ceremony held at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Oct. 19.

The Latest Procedure took viewers into the operating room at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center for a firsthand look at minimally invasive hip replacement surgery. Dr. Firestone, director of Hip Surgery at Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital, discussed the procedure in detail including the differences and benefits.

The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery can be viewed online at AZPBS.org and Dr. Firestone’s website TJRCS.com. The program follows Dr. Firestone as he meets with patients, explains the surgical hardware and offers a tour of the operating room at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea  Medical Center.

Viewers not only scrub in with Dr. Firestone, they get a surgeon’s-eye view of the operation through a mini-cam strapped to his head while he offers a play-by-play description of the operation.

“In my experience, patients undergoing anterior hip replacement versus the conventional posterior surgery leave the hospital a full day earlier. I’ve also found that they experience less post-op pain and require fewer precautions,” added Dr. Firestone.

Only hours after the surgery, Dr. Firestone meets with his patient as she walks down the hallway in the specially designed Total Joint Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center.

“I’ve been performing anterior hip replacement for five years using a special orthopedic table that allows x-rays to be obtained during the procedure, which helps improve the accuracy of component positioning and leg length determination,” explained Dr. Firestone.

The 2013 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards were presented Oct. 19 by the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery was honored in the Informational/Instructional category.

Theodore Firestone, MD, FACS is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacement with special emphasis in complex joint reconstruction and revision surgery. He practices exclusively at Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital.

The Total Joint Centers at Scottsdale Healthcare are specially designed hospital units with a complete pre-operative patient education process to post-operative physical therapy and rehabilitation, with dedicated orthopedic nursing and clinical staff working with patients to accelerate the recovery process.

For more information about joint replacement services at Scottsdale Healthcare, visit shc.org/ortho.

Scottsdale Healthcare is a community-based, not-for-profit health system which includes Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital, Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center and Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale Healthcare Primary Care centers, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and outpatient services. For more information, visit www.shc.org.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ted Firestone and Kelly McCullough, general manager of KAET Channel 8, Arizona’s PBS, with their Emmy Awards for The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery.

Emmy Award goes to Scottsdale Healthcare surgeon

Scottsdale Healthcare orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ted Firestone received a Rocky Mountain  Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery, produced in collaboration with KAET Channel 8, Arizona’s PBS. The one-hour feature won the award for best informational program at the awards ceremony held at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Oct. 19.

The Latest Procedure took viewers into the operating room at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center for a firsthand look at minimally invasive hip replacement surgery. Dr. Firestone, director of Hip Surgery at Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital, discussed the procedure in detail including the differences and benefits.

The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery can be viewed online at AZPBS.org and Dr. Firestone’s website TJRCS.com. The program follows Dr. Firestone as he meets with patients, explains the surgical hardware and offers a tour of the operating room at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea  Medical Center.

Viewers not only scrub in with Dr. Firestone, they get a surgeon’s-eye view of the operation through a mini-cam strapped to his head while he offers a play-by-play description of the operation.

“In my experience, patients undergoing anterior hip replacement versus the conventional posterior surgery leave the hospital a full day earlier. I’ve also found that they experience less post-op pain and require fewer precautions,” added Dr. Firestone.

Only hours after the surgery, Dr. Firestone meets with his patient as she walks down the hallway in the specially designed Total Joint Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center.

“I’ve been performing anterior hip replacement for five years using a special orthopedic table that allows x-rays to be obtained during the procedure, which helps improve the accuracy of component positioning and leg length determination,” explained Dr. Firestone.

The 2013 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards were presented Oct. 19 by the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery was honored in the Informational/Instructional category.

Theodore Firestone, MD, FACS is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacement with special emphasis in complex joint reconstruction and revision surgery. He practices exclusively at Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital.

The Total Joint Centers at Scottsdale Healthcare are specially designed hospital units with a complete pre-operative patient education process to post-operative physical therapy and rehabilitation, with dedicated orthopedic nursing and clinical staff working with patients to accelerate the recovery process.

For more information about joint replacement services at Scottsdale Healthcare, visit shc.org/ortho.

Scottsdale Healthcare is a community-based, not-for-profit health system which includes Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital, Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center and Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale Healthcare Primary Care centers, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and outpatient services. For more information, visit www.shc.org.

Experience AZ Digital Issue

Experience AZ: Fall-Winter 2013

ARIZONA PACKS ADVENTURES FOR EVERYONE, EVERY DAY

Michael Gossie, Managing Editor
Ten years after moving to Arizona from upstate New York, people still ask me what I like the most about living in the Grand Canyon state. My answer is always the same:

“I haven’t had to shovel snow once since I moved here.”

But if I lived a couple hours north, the yearly snowfall would give my home turf in upstate New York a run for its money. That is what makes Arizona great: Where else can you get a sunburn in Scottsdale and ski in Flagstaff on the same day?

Arizona offers something for everyone, every day.

From hiking and biking to shopping and spas, Arizona provides the opportunity for experiences that create memories that last a lifetime.

That’s what Experience AZ is all about. We want to guide you the the greatest adventures and experiences to make your visit to Arizona one that you will never forget. Based on votes from our readers, we have listed the five best dining experiences, tours, attractions, and places to visit in a variety of categories.

Want to know my personal fab five Arizona adventures? Hiking to the waterfalls of Havasupai. Running the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Relaxing at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. Going to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. And when friends visit, I always take them to Los Dos Molinos.

So get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. And use Experience AZ to guide you to a visit or vacation that will make you want to come back time after time to keep crossing the must-see hot spots off your Top 5 lists. And when you find a favorite, be sure to vote for it by visiting ExperienceAZonline.com so others can share in your amazing memories.

Michael Gossie, Editor in Chief

Michael Gossie, Editor in Chief

 

Experience AZ: Fall-Winter 2013:
Best of Arizona. Your Guide To The Top 5.

childrens hospital

RE/MAX Campaign Benefits Phoenix Children’s Hospital

RE/MAX Affiliates in Arizona have been supporting Phoenix Children’s Hospital for over 23 years and have raised over $2 million dollars for the hospital. Now, through the Snap. Share. Support Campaign, they have once again partnered with Phoenix Children’s to help raise even more money for their patients and families.

To kick off the campaign, the RE/MAX hot air balloon pilot stopped by the Child Life Zone at Phoenix Children’s Hospital to talk to the kids about the science of hot air balloons. The pilot taught them how the hot air balloons are made, what makes them fly and how to get them back down once they are high up in the sky.

“Over the past four years, RE/MAX Affiliates in the greater Phoenix area have donated more than $247,000 to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, through Children’s Miracle Network” said Mike Reagan, RE/MAX Senior Vice President. “It’s truly humbling to see the dedication our Associates have shown toward making a difference in their community and to support such a wonderful organization. We’re proud to be associated with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® and to support its valuable mission of helping sick and injured children.”

childrens hospital

RE/MAX Campaign Benefits Phoenix Children's Hospital

RE/MAX Affiliates in Arizona have been supporting Phoenix Children’s Hospital for over 23 years and have raised over $2 million dollars for the hospital. Now, through the Snap. Share. Support Campaign, they have once again partnered with Phoenix Children’s to help raise even more money for their patients and families.

To kick off the campaign, the RE/MAX hot air balloon pilot stopped by the Child Life Zone at Phoenix Children’s Hospital to talk to the kids about the science of hot air balloons. The pilot taught them how the hot air balloons are made, what makes them fly and how to get them back down once they are high up in the sky.

“Over the past four years, RE/MAX Affiliates in the greater Phoenix area have donated more than $247,000 to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, through Children’s Miracle Network” said Mike Reagan, RE/MAX Senior Vice President. “It’s truly humbling to see the dedication our Associates have shown toward making a difference in their community and to support such a wonderful organization. We’re proud to be associated with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® and to support its valuable mission of helping sick and injured children.”

148403349

Equity Crowdfunding Rules Approved by SEC

Although delayed for nearly a year, today the Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously approved the release of proposed equity crowdfunding rules. The proposed rules have been published and are available on the SEC website for public comments. The rules are part of the implementation of The JOBS Act, a 2012 law which legalized the opportunity for regular people to invest in local businesses without cumbersome regulations.

Attorney Jonathan Frutkin wrote the book “Equity Crowdfunding: Transforming Customers into Loyal Owners” which was published earlier this year. The book, available on Amazon.com, explains how this extraordinary opportunity will allow local businesses to generate new enthusiasm to accelerate their growth. Frutkin is Principal with The Frutkin Law Firm, PLC in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“The release of proposed rules by the SEC is a monumental step forward,” Frutkin says. “It finally moves the ball forward, permitting equity crowdfunding to be finally legal and implemented in 2014.”

Frutkin believes that the ability of regular people to own part of their local economy, rather than being limited to simply investing in large multi-national companies like Exxon and Apple will be transformative to communities.

“People have become far too disconnected from their investment dollars. Instead of driving Wall Street, their investment in Main Street will make their neighborhood a much more interesting place to live,” Frutkin notes. “Now, at least some of their net worth will help their community flourish.” Frutkin also emphasized that equity crowdfunding is not permitted yet, and any company looking at this type of financing should contact their legal counsel.

Frutkin has been active in the crowdfunding movement since The JOBS Act was passed last year. He is a frequent speaker and commentator on the future of crowdfunding finance.

cronkite global initiative

2013 Global Summit on Negotiation and Trust

The only professional conference that directly makes the connection between negotiation, trust and achieving a sustainable outcome is the Global Summit on Negotiation and Trust, a three-day event that will take place November 8, 9 & 10, 2013 at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, Arizona.

This program is designed to help participants become better at forming and sustaining collaborative relationships; increase cross-cultural competence and trust in international negotiation settings; make trust a competitive edge through practical tools and techniques from proven experts; and deploy trust to resolve conflict more effectively and improve negotiation results.

Independent research has established a link between high trust and negotiation results, revealing how these characteristics contribute to improved productivity, higher employee morale, lower organizational conflict, faster decision-making, better teamwork and lower costs of litigation and failed partnerships. The conference will provide a road map for enhancing credibility, improving employee engagement, building commitment, loyalty, and a high performance culture. Additionally, participants will expand their personal and professional network while harnessing the collective wisdom of experienced practitioners, top scholars and executive peers.

Among the speakers will be:  Stephen MR Covey, Author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal #1 bestseller “The Speed of Trust”; Dr. Robert Cialdini, renowned Author of the NY Times Bestseller “Influence: Science & Practice”; Divya Narendra, CEO of SumZero and a co-founder of ConnectU, the predecessor to Facebook; Hon. Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, South Africa; Edgardo Pappacena, Global Business Model Transformation Leader for PriceWaterhouseCoopers; and a number of top scholars, leading practitioners, business leaders and Harvard luminaries.

Conference Chairman and event speaker Andre Bisasor, brings with him a legacy of successful events as the founder of the Negotiation & Leadership Conference. This Global Summit is the next iteration of preeminent conferences produced in the tradition of the previous gatherings held in Cambridge. The following leading authorities on the subject of negotiation in the field are scheduled to speak at the Global Summit.

  • Dr. Robert Cialdini (Renowned Author of the NY Times Bestseller “Influence: Science & Practice”);
  • Michael Wheeler (Harvard Business School Professor);
  • Bruce Hay (Harvard Law School Professor);
  • Divya Narendra (CEO, SumZero and An Originator of the Facebook idea at Harvard College);
  • Chris Voss (Former Head of the FBI International Hostage Negotiation Unit; Former Subject Matter Expert on Hostage Negotiation For G-8 and White House; Former Lecturer at Harvard);
  • Leonard Kopelman (Lecturer on Management & Law at Harvard University; Renowned Expert in international & diplomatic law)
  • Dr. Lakshmi Balachandra (Professor, Babson College; Former Lecturer on Negotiation at Harvard and MIT)
  • Hon. Hlengiwe Mkhize (Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Govt. of South Africa);
  • Dr. Karen Walch (Professor at Thunderbird School of Management);
  • Edgardo Pappacena (Global Business Transformation Leader & Former Chief Strategy Officer, PriceWaterhouseCoopers);
  • Clark Freshman (UCLA Law Professor; Expert in Lie Detection in Negotiation);
  • And many more

Pricing begins at $1,395 USD with an Early Bird registration special of $995 USD for registration before October 15, 2013. Student tickets are deeply discounted at only $150 USD for Early Bird, or $295USD at the regular rate.

To register, go to  http://globalsummitonnegotiation.com/registration-page/

Early registrants, who also follow on twitter at @globalsummitAZ, qualify for giveaways including: one complimentary 8-week, 100% online Executive Certificate course from the Executive Certificate in Global Negotiations, a value of $1,980 USD, as well as one complimentary admission to the on-campus program, Communicating & Negotiating with a Global Mindset, at the Glendale campus with a value of $3,800 USD.

The conference also includes a concurrent youth program that provides a limited number of high school students ( including those from under-resourced communities) the chance to attend the event for free.

Additional information on the Global Summit is available at http://globalsummitonnegotiation.com/

121956596

Capstone Mortgage Launches in Phoenix

The Arizona residential real estate market has undergone dramatic changes in the past decade, from all-time highs in 2006 to historic lows in 2011, but the market is finally coming back around. Three industry veterans recognized the improving real estate market and growing demand for mortgage loans as an opportunity and founded Capstone Mortgage to provide various types of home loans.

Capstone Mortgage founders Paul Attaway, Bobby Barnes and Tyler Stone all bring different strengths and experience to the company, ranging from starting, building and selling companies to running a successful mortgage company.

Capstone Mortgage CEO and President Paul Attaway has over 17 years of experience in Arizona as an entrepreneur. During this time, Attaway maneuvered through every stage of a company’s life from start-up through managing growth to the ultimate successful sale of the business. Prior to Capstone, Attaway started and sold Vistek (a leading designer and manufacturer of devices for the life sciences and other industries) and Tekton (a leading developer of seismic isolation solutions and related intellectual property).

Capstone Mortgage President Bobby Barnes is generally acknowledged as one of the top producers in Arizona in the mortgage industry. Barnes started in the mortgage business in 1990 as a loan officer and founded and was president of Legacy Home Mortgage from 1996 until 2010. An Arizona native, Barnes has significant experience in both conforming and non-conforming private money lending operations, having originated in excess of $1 billion in conforming loans and in excess of $200 million in non-conforming loans.

Capstone Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Tyler Stone has over 10 years of experience in the Arizona residential real estate industry. Prior to Capstone, Stone started Infinity Wealth Real Estate, a leading REO and foreclosure brokerage in Arizona where he personally closed in excess of $60 million in home sales and disposed of over 300 distressed properties for clients.

The company’s offices are located at 6900 East Camelback Rd, Suite 570, in Scottsdale. For more information, visit http://www.capstone-mortgage.com/.

education.business

Educators say executives can increase workplace value

Despite signs of what most people view as a recovering economy, more than half of Arizona’s workforce stresses over job security.

A recent University of Phoenix survey revealed that 61 percent of working adults worry about losing their jobs in the current economic climate and 20 percent anguish over it at least once a week.

“In a challenging economic environment, workers should be doing more to position themselves as leaders in their organizations, but the survey finds that many are holding back at work, and this can have a negative effect on performance and productivity,” said Dr. Sam Sanders, college chair for University of Phoenix School of Business and a former human resources executive with more than 20 years of hiring and employee relations experience. “Those who understand the big picture and how their own skill sets help their companies achieve goals should have more confidence and can have an advantage in the workplace.”

To separate themselves from others and to create more job security, many executives are strengthening their skill sets through education.

“The trends in executive education is for shorter duration programs than those that preceded the recession, with emphases on acquiring skills that lead to promotions or career advancement and new market opportunities,” said Dr. Kevin McClean, interim dean, Ken Blanchard College of Business at Grand Canyon University. “Another key ingredient is the opportunity to network. These objectives are not really different from those that motivated people to pursue executive education in the past.”

Executive trends

Some of the shifts that educators are incorporating into graduate business programs include more emphasis on leading in turbulent times, developing organizational talent, innovation and creativity, and flexible, participative strategic planning.

“Executives are being asked to take on more responsibility and act more holistic in understanding the interdependencies of people and functions in organizations,” said Dr. Kirk Wessel, dean of Angell Snyder School of Business at Ottawa University. “This is being reflected in curricula.”

Educators are also being asked to help prepare executives and business students to deal with increasingly more complex business issues.

“For example, rather than teaching executives innovation or risk, we are talking about ‘risk-bound innovation,’” said Dennis Baltzley, Ph.D., senior vice president of executive education at Thunderbird School of Global Management. “Leaders want to know how to create an environment of innovation, while creating a ‘boundary’ of risk management. We must innovate, but more than ever, a bad decision can be fatal.”

Baltzley said Thunderbird is also seeing a dramatic interest in global global leadership.
Our customers want to know how to lead effectively across borders, cultures, different business models and philosophies,” Baltzley said. “Since 2008, growth has been slow in the U.S. and other mature markets. This led many businesses to leap into emerging markets with the promise of double digit growth whether they were ready or not, and most were not as ready as they would have liked.”

Paul Melendez, assistant dean of executive education at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, said he is seeing four specific trends:
* Customization: Executive education is becoming much more tailored to specific organizations, with programs, content, and learning customized to the unique needs of the organization. While many business schools still offer one- or two-week open-enrollment programs, organizations are finding it more beneficial to develop a program that is tailored to their executives.
* Consulting: The natural extension of customized programs is a consulting model where education and problem-solving are combined into a program. “We have helped organizations develop their culture, strategically plan, and develop a wide variety of business improvement plans through programs that also provide education for leaders,” Melendez said.
* Strategic partnerships: Eller Executive Education has developed strategic partnerships with Miraval and Canyon Ranch to offer programs that join cutting-edge leadership and management principles and with world-class health and wellness programs which they have dubbed “integrative leadership.”
* Privatization: A year ago the university spun Eller Executive Education out of the UA to allow greater operating flexibility. “As a result, we are now providing many more custom program for private, governmental, and non-profit organizations,” Melendez  said. “We have seen a number of other state business schools also privatizing their executive education organizations.”

Increasing your stock

Michael Bevis, director of academic affairs at University of Phoenix, said more executives have started to approach their careers in the same way they approach business management by focusing on building their personal brands.

“When you think about a company brand, it isn’t just about what you are communicating, but how that brand addresses the needs of the intended audience,” Bevis said. “One of the things I work on with executives and other business students at University of Phoenix, is developing a personal business plan that starts with the personal mission statement. You wouldn’t run a business without a plan and the same should be true about your career. If you are not setting goals, measuring progress and making sure your knowledge stays current and relevant, your personal brand — like that of a company’s — can become stagnant.”

So what programs are out there for executives to utilize to strengthen their brand?

* University of Phoenix: Within the MBA programs, concentrations allow executives to grow specific skills. It is common for executives or business owners to have specific knowledge about an industry or certain aspects of business management, but skills or knowledge gaps in other areas. Concentrations can help professionals hone certain skills, such as people management, finance or marketing.

* Thunderbird School of Global Management: Thunderbird offers a range of options from its short programs — less than a week — to its more in-depth MBA offerings. “We have a Global MBA Online that allows you to learn global business from anywhere in the world and an Executive MBA that’s on-campus, but provides a schedule suited to the working professional. “ Baltzley  said. “We also offer online certificate programs which are designed specifically for working professionals looking to improve their marketability and gain a leading edge over their competition.

* W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University: “Our executive-education programs, such as our leadership development workshops and our certificate programs in real estate, supply chain management, and service excellence, can give executives deeper skills and expose them to new ideas,” said Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “However, if they want to move into leadership roles beyond their current functional areas, then the MBA is the best option, though short non-degree courses that develop leadership skills are also helpful.”

* Eller College of Management: Eller Executive Education offers a variety of week-long programs and year-long programs for leaders of different types of organizations. “We are also launching a program in early 2014 that is specifically oriented toward CEOs of mid-sized to large companies,” Melendez said.

* DeVry University: Keller Graduate School of Management offers seven specialized master’s degree programs and 13 graduate certificate programs.

* Ken Blanchard College of Business: GCU offers very practical programs that include a master’s in leadership, a masters in accounting, and a masters in public administration.

* Angell Snyder School of Business: Case teaching methodologies teach executives to think critically about all internal and external factors that come into play in developing effective organizational strategies, irrespective of the industry.

Moving forward

The most important message that educators have for executives who may be worried about maintaining their position in the current economic climate is to stay current on trends in your industry, keep your brand current by understanding how your skills and experience fit into the big picture of an organization.

“This past year, we were asked repeatedly how to be effective in managing a diverse, multicultural, and geographically dispersed workforce, and how to stay relevant in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world,” Baltzley said. “Without question the term ‘VUCA’ has come of age and has several implications for executives who want to remain relevant today.”

To stay in the game, Baltzley has three pieces of advice for executives:
1. Get your head into what it means to think globally. If you think your company is domestic and American, and it will never go global, you are wrong, global is coming to you. In fact, global is probably already there, in the form of complex supply chain issues or direct competitors, so you better get prepared.
2. A term coined in the late 1970’s is important here – “Permanent Whitewater” – That is, if you think the whitewater is going to slow down, or that a calm patch is just around the corner, you are mistaken. You have to prepare yourself for leading in constant change in scale and speed.
3. Check your personal leadership style. Are you able to influence people very different than yourself? Do you enjoy variety, the unknown, surprises? Is your self-confidence and personal energy level pretty high? Do you like to test yourself, take some risks? If you can’t answer “yes” to most of these, you have some work to do to become a more adaptive leader.

Grand Canyon - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Arizona strikes deal to reopen Grand Canyon

Arizona reached a deal Friday with the Interior Department to pay for Grand Canyon National Park to completely reopen using state and local funds during the federal government shutdown.

The deal means the park should reopen Saturday, allowing thousands of tourists to flock to the natural wonder in northern Arizona, said Andrew Wilder, spokesman for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.

Arizona will pay the national Park Service $651,000 to keep the Grand Canyon open for seven days. The $93,000 a day is less than the $112,000 daily rate the federal government said this week was needed to fund the park operations.

In addition to state money, cash provided by the town of Tusayan and raised from private business would also be included in the funding.

Park spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski said Friday evening that officials at the park hadn’t been notified of the deal and were awaiting word.

Brewer had been pushing to only use state money to open a portion of the park, something the Interior Department said Thursday it would not contemplate because of the complexities of keeping some parts of individual national parks closed while other parts were opened.

National parks in Utah began opening Friday after Gov. Gary Herbert sent $1.67 million to the U.S. government, while Colorado paid $360,000 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park through Oct. 20.

Brewer and the state’s congressional delegation had been lobbying the Obama administration to allow reopening of the park since shortly after it closed Oct. 1. Three other states also made the request about their parks.

81270399

Arizona gasoline prices continue to drop

Gasoline prices at the pump around Arizona are lower for the third consecutive week.

Officials with Triple-A Arizona said Thursday that the average statewide price for unleaded regular gasoline is at $3.28 a gallon. That’s more than 3 cents lower than last week.

This week’s national average is at $3.35 per gallon, down by nearly 3 cents from the previous week.

Triple-A analysts say there’s “a very real possibility” that prices in parts of Arizona could be at or below $3 per gallon by year’s end.

Peoria has the lowest average gasoline price statewide at $3.19 a gallon while Flagstaff has the highest at $3.54.

South Carolina has the lowest average gas prices in the continental U.S. at $3.08 a gallon with California having the highest at $3.82 a gallon.

Pacific Beach Boardwalk Cyclists -Courtesy Brett Shoaf

San Diego offers free admission for kids in October

Arizona residents flock to San Diego in the summer to escape the relentlessly dry heat. But have Arizona families ever considered experiencing the coastal city’s plethora of family adventures in the fall?

With almost guaranteed perfect weather, weeks of endless fun and entertainment and special family discounts, families can celebrate the season with the second annual Kids Free San Diego month in October.

“San Diego is a world-class destination for family travel,” says a representative at the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA). “The area offers something for everyone, including museums and cultural destinations, family-friendly eateries and beach activities like whale watching and surfing. The first Kids Free San Diego in 2012 was a tremendous success. Our area attractions, like the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego, reported a 10 percent increase in visitors from out of town.”

Az Business caught up with members of the SDTA to find out what families can expect to see, do, eat and save as Kids Free San Diego returns for an encore in 2013.

AB: What can Arizona families expect this year?
SDTA: Kids ages 10-13 will have the experience of a lifetime at SeaWorld – one child participates for free in the park’s dolphin and beluga whale interaction programs with a paid adult interaction. Every member of the family will enjoy exploring the famous San Diego Zoo and the 16 museums of Balboa Park, including the San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Automotive Museum and many more.

AB: Any ocean-related events and activities available to children and their families?
SD: There are a lot of great options to get out on the water during Kids Free San Diego. Families can cruise around scenic Mission Bay aboard a turn-of-the-century sternwheeler (one child rides for free with a paid adult). Both Flagship Cruises & Events and Hornblower Cruises & Events are offering free tours of San Diego Bay for kids with paid adult admission. Older kids even have the chance to learn to surf alongside mom or dad with a free kid’s lesson from Surf Diva at La Jolla Shores.

AB: What are area hotels doing this year to welcome children and families?
SD: Kids can eat for free at 40 San Diego area hotels during Kids Free San Diego. Many hotels are also offering free welcome amenities just for kids. Little ones, for instance, can get a special milk and cookie delivery at the Tower23 Hotel in Pacific Beach.

AB: Can AZ families take advantage of any travel discounts?
SD: Kids can ride for free about the Old Town Trolley Tour. In addition to offering a great sightseeing tour of San Diego, the Old Town Trolley Tour is a convenient way to get from place to place during the day, with on-and-off privileges at stops around downtown, Balboa Park, Coronado and many more points of interest.

Amtrak is offering one child, ages 2-15, free rides per one paid adult rail fare aboard the Pacific Surfliner route, servicing San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Stops include the Santa Ynez Valley, Carpinteria, Ventura, Oxnard, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and more.

San Diego hot spots

San Diego Zoo: The zoo in Balboa Park houses more than 3,700 animals and is also one of the few zoos in the world that is home to the giant panda. Haunted Trail of Terror in Balboa Park, San Diego’s all outdoor haunted attraction, runs Sept. 27-Nov. 2.

Seaport Village: The waterfront shopping and dining complex houses more than 70 shops, galleries, and restaurants in an assortment of architectural styles, from Victorian to traditional Mexican.

LEGOLAND: The 100-acre theme park features more than 50 rides, shows and attractions. Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad takes place on Saturdays and Sundays in October.

Gaslamp Quarters: If you are visiting San Diego and want time away from the kids, you would be remiss if you did not wander the Gaslamp Quarter for the the most amazing nightlife, eating, and drinking the city has to offer.

SeaWorld: The park features shows such as One Ocean, the Shamu show and Sea Lions Live, a comedic show with sea lions and otters. The Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld runs on Saturdays and Sundays from through Oct. 27.