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A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

Wells Fargo No. 1 SBA lender for Arizona

Wells Fargo & Company announced it is the No. 1 Small Business Administration (SBA) 7 (a) lender in Arizona in amount of dollars and number of loans  approved for fiscal year 2014.  Wells Fargo approved $89,034,400 and 197 loans to Arizona businesses from Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014.

“Working with small business owners is one of the most important things we do and is a key focus for our company,” said Greg DeJesus, SBA regional sales manager for Wells Fargo Arizona.  “Every SBA dollar we lend helps an Arizona business owner start, expand or invest in a business and helps keep the Arizona economy strong.  We believe that the flow of new loan dollars into our communities represents a very powerful statement for job creation and economic development.”

Nationally, Wells Fargo approved a record $1.6 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans in federal fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014).  The company increased its dollar volume of SBA 7(a) loans by 10 percent from a year ago. An SBA preferred lender in all 50 states, Wells Fargo also is the second largest SBA lender by units, extending 4,036 SBA 7(a) loans in federal fiscal year 2014, a 16 percent increase in units from the prior year.

Wells Fargo is the No. 1 SBA 7(a) lender in dollars in 10 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas  – and the No.1 SBA 7(a) lender in number of loans (units) in 8 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia.

energy policies

SRP Ranked No. 1 in Performance by J.D. Power

Salt River Project’s electric customers continue to give SRP higher marks for customer satisfaction, according to a report issued today by J.D. Power. With an increase of 21 performance points from a year ago, SRP ranks highest for residential electric service in the western United States among Large electric utilities for the 13th consecutive year.

With a Customer Satisfaction Index score of 730 on a 1,000-point scale in this year’s ranking, it is the 15th time in 16 years (1999, 2000, 2002-2014) that SRP scored the highest in the West among large electric utilities (500,000 or more residential customers). The average score in the West Large Utility region, which covers utilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, is 657.

SRP’s score was bolstered by ranking highest in the study’s Large Utilities segment in the West region for all six components, Power Quality and Reliability, Billing and Payment, Corporate Citizenship, Price, Communications and Customer Service.

The 2014 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 104,000 online interviews conducted from July 2013 through May 2014 among residential customers of the 138 largest electric utility brands across the nation, which collectively represent more than 96 million households. More information on the Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction study can be found at http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-electric-utility-residential-customer-satisfaction-study.

Today’s announcement was the second in the last week by J.D. Power in which SRP was recognized. On July 9, SRP was recognized for contact center operation customer satisfaction excellence under the J.D. Power Certified Contact Center Program. The Certified Contact Center Program distinction acknowledged a strong commitment by SRP’s service contact center operations to provide “An Outstanding Customer Service Experience.” SRP achieved certification for the live phone channel (ninth consecutive year), including interactive voice response (IVR) routing and customer service representative (CSR), as well as for the IVR self-service and Web self-service channels (first year, respectively). For J.D. Power 2014 Contact Center Certification Information, visit jdpower.com.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, providing electric service to more than 990,000 customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 1 million acre-feet to agricultural, urban and municipal water users.

Kathy Hancock - 50 Most Influential Women in AZ Business

Kathy Hancock – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Kathy Hancock – Executive director, Fennemore Craig

Hancock manages Fennemore’s administration across its offices in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. Her experience includes complex government relations and issues management projects for business and industry, including mines, energy companies, development companies and manufacturers.

Surprising fact: “I asked my husband and he said, ‘You’re a pretty straight shooter. I don’t think much would surprise people.’”

Biggest challenge: “The multi-year process that started about 10 years ago involving a diagnosis of lymphoma for my husband, who went through chemotherapy, relapsed and then underwent a successful bone marrow transplant. He has done well in the 7 years since … Ultimately, we hung in there together, took baby steps when anything more was too much to contemplate and kept on marching.”

Fifty Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue Arizona Business Magazine features 50 women who make an impact on Arizona business. To see the full list, read the digital issue >>

electricity

Customers Rank SRP Highest in West, U.S.

Salt River Project’s electric customers continue to give SRP high marks for customer satisfaction.  In a report issued today by J.D. Power and Associates, SRP received the top score for residential electric service in the Large Utilities segment in the western United States for the 12th consecutive year and the highest total among the nation’s largest utilities for the fifth year in a row.

SRP’s ranking was bolstered by sweeping the No. 1 spot in the survey’s Large Utilities segment in the West region for all six survey components, Power Quality and Reliability, Billing and Payment, Corporate Citizenship, Price, Communications and Customer Service. Among all large utilities across the nation, SRP scored highest in customer satisfaction for the eighth time in the 15 years J.D. Power and Associates has conducted its study of residential customers.  With a Customer Satisfaction Index score of 709 on a 1,000-point scale in this year’s ranking, SRP is the only electric utility that has been ranked among the top 10 in the U.S. in all 15 years.

It is the 14th time in the last 15 years that SRP scored the highest in the West among large electric utilities (500,000 or more residential customers). The average score in the West large region, which covers utilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, was 654.

The 2013 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study was based on responses from about 103,000 online interviews conducted from July 2012 through May 2013 among residential customers of the 126 largest electric utility brands across the nation, which collectively represent more than 94 million households.  More information on the J.D. Power and Associates’ study can be found at www.jdpower.com/library/index.htm.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, providing electric service to more than 970,000 customers.  SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 1 million acre-feet to agricultural, urban and municipal water users.

Phoenix Sky Harbor, Photo: Flickr, flavouz

Volaris will fly out of Sky Harbor

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is welcoming a new airline that will operate direct flights to two cities in Mexico.

Officials say Volaris, the largest Mexican low-cost airline, will fly nonstop, three times a week from Phoenix to Mexico City and Phoenix to Guadalajara beginning later this year.

Details on exact days and times have not yet been released.

Volaris CEO Enrique Beltranena and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton say the new flights will strengthen economic ties and bolster tourism.

Sky Harbor currently offers nonstop flights to 20 international cities, including several daily flights to Guadalajara and Mexico City.

Volaris also serves airports in California, Colorado, Nevada, Illinois and Florida.

Armando Contreras, CEO of United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona

Circle K Raises $5.3 Million for UCP of Central Arizona

Through fundraising efforts at local stores and events throughout the State of Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada, Circle K employees, customers and vendors generously helped raise over $5.3 million for UCP of Central and Southern Arizona, and Opportunity Village in Las Vegas, Nevada.    The funds donated support the organizations’ mission to help children and adults with disabilities including Down syndrome, autism, developmental delays, learning disabilities, and cerebral palsy.   Donations are collected every day when Circle K employees ask customers to donate their extra change at the register to benefit families and children with disabilities.  And vendors participating in the Aces High and Desert Klassic golf tournaments result in additional funding for UCP of Central Arizona’s important mission.

UCP would like to acknowledge Circle K for its extraordinary efforts in supporting UCP and its families.  “Circle K promotes a culture that is deeply rooted in corporate responsibility, giving back to the community and making a positive difference in the lives of others,” said Armando Contreras, CEO of United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona.  “UCP has been working in collaboration with Circle K for over 30 years, and with their help, thousands of children, adults and families have received the essential services they desperately need.  Because of the generosity from Circle K employees, customers and vendors, we have children and adults who were given the opportunity to speak their first words, take their first step, and give a loved one a hug for the first time,” he added.

“Our record contribution level this past year is testament to the caring and generous community spirit of everyone we have the great privilege to employ and serve,” said Paul Rodriguez, Vice President of the Arizona Division of Circle K.   “Our 30 year partnership speaks not just to the sincerity of the effort but also to the good and important work being done by UCP. Breakthroughs happen every day at the Dozer Center that our employees have the honor to witness and participate in. It lends greater meaning and higher purpose to each and every workday at Circle K. Everyone benefits,” Rodriguez added.

Circle K will be honored at United Cerebral Palsy’s annual event, Champions in Life Night Gala, scheduled for the evening of November 15, 2013 at the Ritz Carlton-Phoenix.  Circle K will be receiving the Laura Dozer Award, named after the daughter of Rich and Karie Dozer, who had cerebral palsy and passed in 2008.

Founded in 1952, the Central Arizona chapter of the nationally recognized agency has served as a private, non-profit health and human service organization for adults and children with disabilities and their families. UCP of Central Arizona’s programming is designed to help children and adults reach their full potential and improve the quality of life of their family members.

UCP is committed to creating possibilities and nurturing opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. To accomplish our vision, we’ve become a leader in providing therapies, independent living services, inclusive and integrated educational based programs, innovative social opportunities, and basic research. We also bring support to families as they face the daily challenges of raising a child with a disability and hope for a life without limits for their son or daughter.

To learn more, visit www.ucpofcentralaz.org.

Solar_Power

3 renewable energy projects approved

The Interior Department has approved three renewable energy projects in Nevada and Arizona that officials say will generate enough electricity to power nearly 200,000 homes. The projects are the first renewable energy projects on public lands approved by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell since she took office in April.

The projects will deliver a combined 520 megawatts to the electricity grid through solar plants in Nevada and Arizona and a geothermal plant in Nevada.

The 350-megawatt Midland Solar Energy Project is near Boulder City, Nev., while the 100-megawatt Quartzsite solar project is near Quartzsite. The 70-megawatt New York Canyon Geothermal Project is in Pershing County near Lovelock, Nev.

Interior has approved 45 utility-scale renewable energy projects since 2009, including 25 solar sites, 9 wind farms and 11 geothermal plants.

Banner Goldfield Medical Center is newest Banner hospital

Banner Health has selected Banner Goldfield Medical Center as the name for its newest facility, reflecting the community’s top naming choice, as well as the natural and majestic environment provided by the Goldfield Mountains, located near the medical center.

The Banner Goldfield name replaces the name of Arizona Regional Medical Center, which will join Banner Health on May 15. The 30-bed hospital will serve as a gateway to Banner’s array of specialized services in the East Valley.

“The Banner Goldfield name was chosen for many factors including community preference, meaning and distinctiveness,” said Julie Nunley, CEO of Banner Ironwood (and Banner Goldfield, beginning May 15). “The Goldfield Mountains are a beautiful backdrop to the newest addition to the Banner family.”

To ensure the smoothest transition possible, Banner Goldfield will temporarily close beginning May 15, but will begin providing patient care again Friday, June 14.

This transition period will provide the time necessary to implement the many systems and practices that are the foundation of Banner Health’s standing as a top health system in the nation for clinical care. The time will also be used to install new technology and equipment and train staff.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system manages 23 acute-care hospitals, the Banner Health Network and Banner Medical Group, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including family clinics, home care and hospice services and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com.

Curis Resources - Florence Copper Project

MJ Insurance Expands Metals Group to Phoenix

MJ Insurance, a leading property-casualty and employee benefits agency headquartered in Indianapolis, is expanding its successful  Metals Group to its Phoenix office.

For more than 20 years, MJ Insurance has represented metals and metal-related companies including manufacturers, processors, scrap metal dealers and all other companies using metals with their risk management programs from its Indianapolis office. The private insurance agency is now expanding its reach by extending the service line in its Phoenix office for clients across the West.

“We are intrigued to see where this expansion takes MJ Insurance,” said Michael H. Bill, CEO of MJ Insurance. “Our Metals Group has seen significant growth in the last few years in line with new environmental policies and our team has remained on the front line of the risk inherent to the industry. We are excited to now expand these services and see how it benefits the industry in the West.”

MJ Insurance’s Metals Group helps clients identify and cover unique exposures by designing risk management programs specifically tailored to them. The team focuses exclusively on the metals industry, allowing them to offer the utmost individualized service and programs available while being resourceful to meet each specific company’s needs with safety and environmental consulting.

The metals group currently serves clients in the Midwest throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri. With the expansion, the company looks to serve Nevada, Arizona, Utah, California and Colorado businesses, while expanding its reach in the already successful market in Mexico.

Specialty coverage and options include captive alternatives, ocean cargo, foreign travel, Mexico transit, environmental liability and trade credit, among others.

MJ Insurance also has an online Risk Management Center that enables clients to easily manage various insurance, risk management and OSHA compliance responsibilities while also offering access to online safety tools.

The company is an active member in several metals, manufacturing and recycling trade associations, further showcasing their commitment and knowledge of the industry.

Untitled

Greater Phoenix CVB promotes 3 as part of reorganization effort

The Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, the nonprofit organization that markets metropolitan Phoenix as a visitor and meeting destination, has promoted Michael Mooney to the position of Executive Vice President.

Mooney, who previously held the title of Chief Operating Officer, will continue to serve in that role. He joined the Greater Phoenix CVB in 1997. In the 16 years since, he has risen in rank and responsibility, from Director of Information Technology to Chief Financial Officer to his new position as the CVB’s No. 2 executive.

Prior to joining the Greater Phoenix CVB, Mooney served as the senior financial and technology officer for a private enterprise that operated in the tourism-related realms of aviation, hotel lodging, restaurants, ground transportation and golf in Arizona, Washington, Hawaii, California and Nevada. Immediately preceding that career path, Mooney developed computer software for the casino industry, specializing in timekeeping, slot accounting and guest tracking.

Born in New Jersey, Mooney has called Phoenix home since his high school days.

Mooney’s promotion follows two other recent reorganization moves at the Greater Phoenix CVB: Melissa Gogel was promoted to Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Tourism; and Scott Dunn was elevated to Senior Director of Marketing and Communications.

Gogel, who has worked at the Greater Phoenix CVB since 2000, takes the supervisory reins of three departments: marketing (which is responsible for the CVB’s advertising, branding and website); communications (which coordinates media relations efforts); and tourism (which markets Phoenix to travel agencies and tour operators).

A native of Nashville, Gogel had previously served as Director of Marketing. She began her career at the CVB as an assistant in the Membership Department. Prior to coming to Phoenix she worked as a marketing analyst for Harold’s clothing stores in Norman, Okla.

Dunn, also a native Tennessean, has worked at the Greater Phoenix CVB for six years, serving as Communication Manager and Associate Director of Communication. Before coming to Phoenix he spent 14 years in the journalism industry, working as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Utah, New Mexico and South Carolina.

stk99406cor

Most Banner employees comply with ‘No Flu For You’ policy

A remarkable nearly 100 percent of Banner Health’s approximately 36,000 employees have complied with the company’s No Flu For You policy. This commitment by Banner employees, to decrease the risk of flu infections among fellow employees and patients, is especially timely as the Centers for Disease Control is predicting an early start to a potentially heavy and deadly flu season.

All employees and volunteers were required to receive the flu vaccine, which was offered at no cost. Those unable to receive the vaccination because of medical or religious reasons were able to receive an exemption but must wear masks during the flu season.

“Patients and families who turn to Banner Health can be assured that our employees have taken the necessary steps to ensure their safety and prevent the spread of the flu,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, M.D., chief medical officer for Banner’s Arizona East Region.

This policy is in place at all of Banner’s facilities including all of its acute-care hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. At least 11 states, including Colorado, have regulations enacted regarding influenza immunization of healthcare workers, either requiring immunization or signed declinations for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

Banner continues to work with less than five employees who are not in compliance to ensure their return to the workplace. None of these employees are currently working at Banner facilities, so patients and their families can be assured Banner is doing its very best to protect everyone during the flu season.

The flu is a contagious and deadly disease, contributing to more than 36,000 preventable deaths annually in the U.S. Vaccination is a very effective way to prevent it. According for the Centers of Disease Control, flu vaccination of health care workers have been shown to help prevent death in patients, as well as reduce the influenza infection.

The flu shot that’s given to all health care workers and the general public this year protects against two strains of influenza A and influenza B virus. This year, shots became available in September since flu season typically begins in October with spikes in January and February. The vaccine protects for about one year.

About Banner Health
Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns or manages 23 acute-care hospitals, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including physician clinics and home care and hospice services. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.

SWEEP Provides Energy Efficiency Ideas for Arizona

Since its inception in 2001, The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, or SWEEP as it is more commonly known, has tried to find new and innovative ways that will advance energy efficiency in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Covering such topics as buildings and transportation efficiency programs, SWEEP mainly focuses on electric utility programs and the impact they can have on each state if they were to be adopted.

Recently, founder and executive director of SWEEP, Howard Geller, spoke to a group of industry professionals about the new study conducted by the company that analyzes “best practice” utility energy efficiency programs and their benefits not only for the Southwest, but more specifically how they benefit the state of Arizona.

In the new study, SWEEP introduces 18 new programs for residential, commercial and industrial customers based on “best practice” programs that are offered by leading utilities and other companies and each were selected to demonstrate maximized cost-effective energy savings by 2020. Some programs that Geller believes should be implemented are to provide affordable weatherization services to homes, allow buildings and homes to receive retrofitting services, provide education and incentives to both homes and companies for using energy-efficient lighting, to implement a program for refrigerator and freezer recycling and provide incentives for both homes and companies to install proper cooling and heating units. According to the study, investing in high-energy efficiency programs like the ones listed above will allow commercial and industrial companies to see an average cost of saved energy of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hours (kWH) and residential units to see an average cost of saved energy of 3.6 kWh.

With the implementation of these programs, in addition to the other programs included in the study, SWEEP believes that by the year 2020 the state of Arizona can see a net economic benefit of $7.3 billion. With these allocated resources, Arizona would have the opportunity to invest in more energy efficiency programs, resulting in the creation of 10,400 new jobs. In addition to the economic impact, the state of Arizona would see a large decrease in air pollutant emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions, which result from cars and power plants, would be reduced by 9.6 million metric tons per year by 2020. This is the equivalent to taking approximately 1.9 million passenger vehicles off the roads in Arizona. Other toxic gases such as nitrous oxide and sodium dioxide would have less of a presence in the atmosphere, resulting in fewer cases of chronic bronchitis and asthma, as well as fewer hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases throughout the Valley.

However, just like how the old saying “you gotta spend money to make money” goes, the cost of obtaining these benefits costs a pretty penny. Gellar suggests that Arizona, and the Southwest region as a whole, can one day see these amazing benefits if they are willing to invest $17 billion collectively. Despite this, SWEEP is confident that by the year 2020, the Southwest region could see up to $37 billion in utility and public health benefits, meaning that the region would see a net economic benefit of $20 billion. Gellar stated that the only way Arizona and the Southwest are going to see this “$20 billion dollar bonanza” would be to adopt energy savings goals, decouple utility fixed costs and electricity sales, reward performance of adopting the programs, maximize participation by increased funding for all programs and allow all utilities to be involved.

Arizona is currently in the lead in the Southwest region toward adopting more sustainable and energy efficient programs.

For more information on the study conducted by the Southwest Energy Efficient Project or to read the full report, visit http://www.20billionbonanza.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Federal plan to streamline solar development in Arizona OK’d

Federal officials on Friday approved a plan that sets aside 285,000 acres of public land for the development of large-scale solar power plants, cementing a new government approach to renewable energy development in the West after years of delays and false starts.

The government is establishing 17 new “solar energy zones” on 285,000 acres in six states: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Most of the land — 153,627 acres — is in Southern California.

At a news conference in Las Vegas, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the new plan a “roadmap … that will lead to faster, smarter utility-scale solar development on public lands.”

The plan replaces the department’s previous first-come, first-served system of approving solar projects, which let developers choose where they wanted to build utility-scale solar sites and allowed for land speculation.

The department no longer will decide projects on case-by-case basis as it had since 2005, when solar developers began filing applications. Instead, the department will direct development to land it has identified as having fewer wildlife and natural-resource obstacles.

The Obama administration has authorized 10,000 megawatts of solar, wind and geothermal projects that, when built, would provide enough energy to power more than 3.5 million homes, Salazar said.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said the effort will help the U.S. stay competitive.

“There is a global race to develop renewable energy technologies — and this effort will help us win this race by expanding solar energy production while reducing permitting costs,” Chu said in a statement.

The new solar energy zones were chosen because they are near existing power lines, allowing for quick delivery to energy-hungry cities. Also, the chosen sites have fewer of the environmental concerns — such as endangered desert tortoise habitat — that have plagued other projects.

Environmental groups like the Nature Conservancy who had been critical of the federal government’s previous approach to solar development in the desert applauded the new plan.

“We can develop the clean, renewable energy that is essential to our future while protecting our iconic desert landscapes by directing development to areas that are more degraded,” said Michael Powelson, the conservancy’s North American director of energy programs.

Some solar developers who already are building projects were complimentary of the new approach, saying it will help diversify the country’s energy portfolio more quickly.

Still, some cautioned that the new plan could still get mired in the same pattern of delay and inefficiency that hampered previous efforts, and urged the government to continue pushing solar projects forward.

“The Bureau of Land Management must ensure pending projects do not get bogged down in more bureaucratic processes,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Salazar said the country four years ago was importing 60 percent of its oil, and that today that number has dropped to 45 percent.

“We can see the energy independence of the United States within our grasp,” he said.

View of a California beach

Summertime Cool: For Temporary Relief From The Arizona Heat, Check Out These Neighboring Attractions

Summertime is fast approaching, and that means it’s time to plan a summer escape. Luckily, you don’t have to go far: the Southwest is full of fun, exciting destinations no matter what your vacation style. From the beaches of Southern California to the mountains of Colorado, there’s something for everyone right here in our own backyard.

Southern California
San Diego: As if San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline and reliably sunny weather weren’t enough, the city is also home to many museums, a world-renowned zoo, theme parks, famous golf courses and a lively theater scene, as well as great food, shopping and nightlife in the historic downtown quarter.
www.sandiego.org

Los Angeles: The question in Los Angeles is never what to do, but where to begin. Your choices include amusement parks, architectural landmarks, art museums and galleries, beaches, parks, hiking and shopping — just to name a few. A region of great diversity, you’ll discover a world of culinary adventures. After the sun goes down, you’ll find there’s an abundance of nightlife options, including live music and comedy provided by performers both legendary and yet-to-be-discovered.
www.discoverlosangeles.com

Santa Monica: Drop a line at Santa Monica Pier. Sure you’ll find rides and restaurants, but the pier is a great place for fishing, with bait and tackle available. Experience it and you’ll understand why it continues to be a location favored by still photographers and film crews who use the pier extensively as a backdrop for magazine layouts, movies, television shows, commercials and videos.
www.santamonica.com

Northern California
San Francisco: San Francisco is considered one of the greatest cities in the world for many things, including five-star dining and a happening theater scene. Beyond the 50-square-mile city in the surrounding Bay Area, there’s much more to explore — including Silicon Valley’s innovations, Marin’s Headlands, the Napa Valley’s vineyards and Berkeley’s free spirit.
www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com

San Jose: You don’t really know San Jose until you explore some of its unforgettable attractions; from its earliest adobes to a mysterious mansion, and innovative museums. Nearby small towns make for rewarding day trips from Campbell and Mountain View to Los Gatos and Saratoga. San Jose is a gateway to some of the most amazing sights in California, from wine country to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Spend a day or a week and begin to unlock the area’s secrets.
www.sanjose.org
CALIFORNIA SOURCE: The California Travel & Tourism Commission, www.visitcalifornia.com

Nevada
Las Vegas: This is a city that needs no introduction. With its top-of-the-line resorts, shopping, dining, exciting entertainment and nightlife, Las Vegas has earned its place as one of the world’s premier tourist destinations. Nevada’s largest city has long outgrown its adult playground moniker, and is no longer just a gambling mecca.
SOURCE: Nevada Commission on Tourism, www.visitlasvegas.com

Utah
Salt Lake City: Utah’s capital and gateway to the state’s renowned ski resorts, scenic national parks and recreational areas. Salt Lake is a well-known ski destination, having hosted the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Skiers continue to flock here to enjoy world-class facilities and the “greatest snow on earth.” The historic Mormon Temple Square is a popular tourist attraction, and the city also offers lively entertainment and nightlife.
SOURCE: Utah Travel Industry Website, www.visitsaltlake.com

Provo: Just an hour south of Salt Lake City on Interstate 15, there is a section of the state called Utah Valley. The area is home to Provo, Utah’s second largest city. To the west of Provo lies Utah Lake, and to the east of the city stands a towering range of mountains called the Wasatch Front.
www.provo.org
SOURCE: Utah Travel Industry Website, www.utah.com

Colorado
Denver: Urban sophistication meets outdoor adventure in the Mile High City. With 300 days of sunshine, a walkable downtown, thriving art and cultural scenes — with the Rockies as a backdrop — Denver offers affordable exploration of the world’s most spectacular playground.
SOURCE: Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.denver.org

New Mexico
Albuquerque: The true Southwest lives in New Mexico. Immerse yourself in rich culture and heritage, rooted in centuries of history. Soak in blue skies and sun that shines 310 days a year — perfect for outdoor activities. Breathe in the high desert air scented with sage and piñon, and you’ll understand why the area is a destination like no other.
SOURCE: Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.itsatrip.org

Leigh Anne Zinsmeister contributed to this report.