Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center Remains Open for Wildlife Emergencies, Orphaned Animals

The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) will remain open for wildlife emergencies and orphaned animals during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Scottsdale wildlife refuge is closed to the public and its annual fundraiser and other spring events have been canceled to protect public health in response to the virus.

The following statement was issued from Southwest Conservation Center founder and executive director Linda Searles on current operations:

“SWCC veterinary hospital will remain open 24/7 for orphans and wildlife emergencies during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our animal care staff will remain working on site, continuing to provide the highest quality wildlife care. The SWCC medical team will also be on duty for medical emergencies and to care for orphans.

As is always the case, many of our volunteers will be here every day to help support our animal care staff. We are dedicated to our wildlife and will continue to be here for them. If you have a wildlife emergency, please call 480.433.5656. SWCC will continue to receive emergency wildlife drop offs at our facility, but please call first if you can.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center has closed our Center to the public and cancelled our annual fundraiser, as well as all remaining spring events, in an effort to protect the health and well-being of our visitors, volunteers, and staff.

 Our hearts and prayers are with you. Please keep safe and take care of yourselves. We are strong and will get through this together.”

The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is home to approximately 350 wild animals including foxes, porcupines, coyotes, bobcats, owls, bears, hawks, raccoons and mountain lions. The nonprofit wildlife refuge is located near 156th Street and Rio Verde Drive in Scottsdale. Throughout the year, Southwest Wildlife rescues and rehabilitates native wild animals always with the goal to release the animals back into the wild, whenever possible.

Established in 1994, the SWCC rescues and rehabilitates wildlife that has been injured, displaced, and orphaned. Once rehabilitated, they are returned to the wild. Sanctuary is provided to animals that cannot be released back to the wild. Educational and humane scientific research opportunities are offered in the field of conservation medicine. Wildlife education includes advice on living with wildlife and the importance of native wildlife to healthy ecosystems. For more information or to donate go to

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources to Know & Updates From North Valley Municipalities


With the recent cancellation of sporting events, concerts and other community events the concerns regarding the coronavirus is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.  There are a number of resources which can give you up to date information on the evolving circumstances related to the virus and what to do to protect you and your family.  Please share these resources with your family, friends and neighbors. 

For important information, including travel advisories:

For specific questions, see the CDC’s FAQ section:

For Arizona:

For information about COVID-19 in each state, search each state’s health department, which works with the CDC to monitor and implement all recommendations:

For up-to-date developments, research, and guidance from government health authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO), go to:


The Town of Cave Creek has issued a statement about the situation and will keep the community informed with updates as we receive them from federal, state and county officials. Read the full statement on our website at


Mayor Gallego Statement on Phoenix Response to COVID-19

March 12, 2020 PHOENIX- The City of Phoenix is in regular communication with all appropriate emergency response agencies to ensure we are working together to limit exposure to COVID-19 in Arizona. This collaboration allows the city to implement safety protocols that are based on facts and to pass along updates, so that employees and residents can make informed decisions.

The city has two main goals–to keep the public safe and accurately informed and ensure flexibility to monitor this fast-moving situation. Phoenix will be providing regular updates to both city residents and employees through our social media channels and Phoenix.Gov.

“Phoenix is working closely with the appropriate emergency response agencies to provide accurate and up-to-date information to our residents. Our goal is to alleviate fear and give residents the needed tools to best protect themselves and others,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

City Plans

  • As of March 12, the City of Phoenix Water Department has halted all water shut-offs for non-payment to ensure residents have access to water for COVID-19 sanitation purposes. Those currently disconnected will be re-connected and receive low-flow water service adequate for sanitation and cooking.
  • We are coordinating closely with our Fire and Police Departments to ensure they have the resources they need.
  • The city is reviewing possible alternative options for upcoming public meetings and gatherings.
  • We are working with each of our city departments to determine possible telecommuting needs for city staff should the need arise. Work travel for city business has been greatly restricted for the time being. All staff who feel ill are asked to stay home.
  • City staff and custodial vendors have increased cleaning efforts in all city facilities, targeting surfaces like elevator buttons, handrails, bathroom handles, fixtures and doors.

Prevention Strategies

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer).
  • Stay home when you are sick. Consider using telemedicine if healthcare is needed.
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with elbow or tissue.
  • If you are sick and have traveled to impacted areas in the last 14 days, please call your healthcare provider.

To learn more, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Frequently Asked Questions page at

[Additional resources:]


Coronaviris update

The city continues to serve the public throughout situations like the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Scottsdale’s All Hazards Incident Management Team is a cross-functional group staffed by employees from throughout the organization who are meeting regularly to share current information and ensure that city staff and the public are protected, and that city operations continue despite any interruptions that could occur. This team is in regular contact with partners at Maricopa County Public Health and the Arizona Department of Health Services, who are providing updated guidance as needed. Learn more:

Scottsdale Youth Art Contest Celebrates Fiftieth Anniversary of Earth Day — Entry Deadline is March 13

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, and to celebrate this global event, the City of Scottsdale is hosting an art contest for youth. Scottsdale students are invited to participate in the city’s Earth Day 2020 Art Contest. The contest’s theme — “The Art of the Tree” — coincides with several tree-related activities Scottsdale is hosting this spring, including tree plantings, seminars on finding the right tree for the right place in desert environments, Xeriscape demonstrations and more.

“Our city has a long history of investing in sustainable programs and has made preserving our environment a priority. Scottsdale’s dedication to community forestry is nationally-recognized, and we’ve been honored as a ‘Tree City USA’ for 37 consecutive years,” said Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane. “We hope our tree-themed Earth Day art contest inspires others to take action to be more environmentally conscious and join us in our efforts to protect valuable resources for future generations.”

Art in any medium will be accepted. Entries can be submitted at any Scottsdale Public Library information desk or City Hall. Find complete contest information and submission requirements online. Entries must be submitted by Friday, March 13.

Winners will be recognized at the Tuesday, April 7, City Council meeting and their artwork will be displayed at the Earth Day Mayor and Council Breakfast Wednesday, April 22, at Horizon Park.

Dr. Scott Menzel Selected as Scottsdale Superintendent

The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) Governing Board voted unanimously Feb. 22 to select Dr. Scott Menzel as the District’s next leader. Menzel comes from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he currently serves as superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

Last month, the Board narrowed a list of 29 applications down to three: Dr. Kimberly Guerin, Dr. Shelley Redinger and Dr. Menzel. On the 21st, the Board and five advisory committees interviewed the three finalists. Each committee then provided the Board with its impressions of the candidates.

“In our search for a new superintendent — one who will continue to move the district forward and prepare our students for success in the 21st century — we strived to create an inclusive process. We convened five committees with community members, students, educators, administrators and District staff to ensure their voices were heard,” said SUSD Governing Board president Allyson Beckham.

“After considering a competitive field of candidates, we found our district’s next leader. On behalf of the Governing Board, I am excited to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Menzel. We look forward to welcoming him to our team and introducing him to the SUSD community.”

Beckham also thanked Dr. John Kriekard for his service to SUSD. “We’re grateful to Dr. Kriekard for leading our district through a turbulent time and supporting an inclusive search process for his successor.”

Menzel will take over from Kriekard, who has served as superintendent since May 2018. His contract with the District expires June 30.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Menzel on his new post. I will do everything in my power to make the coming transition a smooth one. I look forward to seeing SUSD’s ongoing success under his leadership,” said Kriekard.

For more information, visit

A Healthy ‘Thank You’ to Nurses from Brunch Café

Pictured, L-R: Nurses Amy George and Katie Wall enjoy a stop at Brunch Café.

Here’s a delicious “thank you” to all nurses from the Brunch Café in Scottsdale. Every morning year-round, from 6:30am to 10am, all nurses are invited to stop in and enjoy 50 percent off all drinks on the menu plus a complimentary chocolate-covered strawberry. Drinks on the menu include specialty coffee drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos, delicious fruit smoothies, cold press juices, flavored lemonades, iced teas, coffee, hot tea and much more.

Brunch Café is located at 15507 North Scottsdale Road, Suite 100. Nurses must show their nursing ID to receive the special offer. For more information, call Brunch Café at 480.398.7174 or visit

From First Round Loss to First Place Win — Copper Ridge Seventh-Grader Takes Scottsdale Schools’ Spelling Crown

Emma McGreevy

Emma McGreevy was not expecting much when she walked into the Saguaro High School auditorium the morning of Jan. 24. Two hours later, the Copper Ridge School seventh-grade student was surprised to walk out with the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) 2020 Spelling Bee trophy.

Emma attributes her spelling ‘powers’ to being an avid reader, “I read. A lot.”

Emma says J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is probably her favorite book series. She says an online test identified her as best fitting into the fictional Hogwarts School’s Gryffindor House, the same as the series’ hero.

“That’s okay with me,” she said.

In 2019, Emma did not make it out of the competition’s first round. Did that early defeat change her preparation for this year?

“Not really. I didn’t start studying until this week. I think it was Tuesday. I didn’t even get through the whole list.” Her winning word was ‘truncate.’

Pictured: SUSD 2020 Spelling Bee winner and runners-up.

Emma will be joined at the Feb. 24 Region 2 Spelling Bee by the five runners-up in today’s SUSD Bee: Redfield Elementary School fifth-grader Braden Van Horne; Cocopah Middle School sixth-grader Lianna Nguyen; Mountainside Middle School eighth-grader Victoria Leung; Kiva Elementary School fifth-grader Gigi Root; and Cheyenne Traditional School seventh-grader Makenna Shenberger.

The winners of the six Maricopa County Region Bees and 14 Arizona county Bees will take part in the March 21 Arizona Spelling Bee, which can be seen on Arizona PBS Channel 8.

The Arizona Spelling Bee is a program of the Arizona Educational Foundation™.

Cactus League Baseball Returns in February — Runs Through March 24

Spring Training baseball under the warm Arizona sun has been a tradition for devoted fans since 1947. Scottsdale is home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants.

Spring Training at Scottsdale Stadium. Photo courtesy of Scottsdale Stadium.

The San Francisco Giants play in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale at Scottsdale Stadium. A short drive north, the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks play at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, along Scottsdale’s border with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Of course, Cactus League play goes far beyond the borders of Scottsdale. In addition to the Diamondbacks, Rockies and Giants, many other Major League Baseball teams visit the Valley during the season — the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers all call Arizona their spring training home. With 10 facilities hosting 15 teams, the Phoenix metropolitan area holds claim to the greatest concentration of professional baseball facilities found anywhere in the United States. 

Cactus League Spring Training season is Feb. 22 – March 24. For general information, including maps and trip planners, visit

Sell One, Give One — Scottsdale Company Supports Area Animal Rescues

—By Jeff Rosenfield

Max and Neo, a for-profit online dog accessory store with a warehouse based in Scottsdale Airpark in North Scottsdale that donates weekly to 3,500 rescues around the United States, will be donating an extra “Christmas” box of pet supplies — each box worth about $275 — for the second year in a row.

Kenric Hwang stands next to three towers of Max and Neo Christmas donation boxes at the Max and Neo warehouse in the Scottsdale Airpark. Max and Neo will donate 3,500 boxes like these this December.

Since being founded by Kenric Hwang in September 2015, Max and Neo has made weekly donations to all the animal rescues on their list, over 100 of which are Arizona-based. For every one product they sell, they donate one item to an animal rescue.

Hwang said Max and Neo donates because he wanted to find a way to help rescues and customers both benefit from donations; the rescues receiving free items for their animals and customers buying an item and knowing another item will be donated too.

“At the end of the month we add up all the collars we sold and then we donate that many collars out and spread it amongst the rescues on our donation list,” Hwang said.

By the end of the year, Max and Neo will have donated over 180,000 pet products — worth nearly $3 million in retail — to rescues around Arizona and the United States in 2019, owner Hwang said.

On average, Max and Neo donates about 125 boxes of supplies — worth $47,000 in retail — per week to rescues, Hwang said.

Max and Neo keeps a list of 3,500 rescues it donates products to, which is available on the business website. They give to between 125 and 150 rescues each week, according to Hwang.

“We try and make it fair so that every rescue gets at least three boxes a year from us,” Hwang said.

These donated boxes — each worth between $350 and $400 — contain eight leashes and 12 collars of varying size, supplements, toys and other items, Hwang said.

Max and Neo asks each rescue to choose from 10 different boxes to best suit their needs.

“Some rescues only use harnesses; some rescues are really particular about their collars,” Hwang said.

For those rescues, Max and Neo will donate a box with only leashes upon request, Hwang said.

There are four boxes that contain all sizes of collars and leashes, for rescues working with more than one size dogs. Five boxes contain collars and leashes in the sizes: extra-small, small, medium, large or extra-large for rescues specializing in one size of dogs, Hwang said.

“A chihuahua rescue is not getting any collars larger than a small. They’re not getting dog toys that only a big dog can chew up.”

Hwang said he feels “fulfilled” for donating to rescues and that he is sure they are making an impact.

Liz Stegmeir, the founder of the AARF Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, based in Mayer, north of Phoenix, agreed.

“They’re helping a lot,” she said. “There’s $300 worth of items here. That helps us not having to go out and buy collars for the dogs.”

“That’s just in one box. They’ve sent us three different boxes. That’s almost $1,000 worth savings for us,” Stegmeir said.

A Christmas donation box, including a chew toy, a bag of holiday-themed leashes, a bottle of fish oil and more at the Max and Neo warehouse in Scottsdale Airpark.

Hwang said that the Christmas boxes are smaller than Max and Neo’s standard donation box, containing 18 holiday-themed items instead of 25 regular items because their donation list increased more than sales did.

“The collars are green and red and there’s a custom dog toy in there for Christmas,” Hwang said.

Hwang said the holiday-themed items were made by Max and Neo staff uniquely for the Christmas box.

“You couldn’t find the same leash or dog toy in our store,” Hwang said.  “They were only made for the donation boxes.”

Stegmeir said she was excited when she received an email from Max and Neo saying their Christmas box would arrive.

“We just got one less than a month ago, so I was shocked we’re getting another one so soon, and I think it’s great,” she said.

Karen Franklin is the founder of the Arizona animal rescue 2DaRescue, based in Gilbert.

Joining Max and Neo’s donation list a year ago, her group has received three small boxes with pet toys, leashes and collars, Franklin said.

“Their products are really good quality and we appreciate their help,” she said.

Last year was the first time Max and Neo tried donating to every rescue on their list during the holiday season. They only had about 2,000 rescues on their list and the boxes were brown instead of green with shapes such as bells, reindeer, snowflakes, presents and socks on the side.

“It gets harder as more and more rescues get on the list,” Hwang said.

“We just gotta get our sales to catch up to the number of rescues that are on the list.”

Jeff Rosenfield is a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

DAC Presents ‘Raptors in Your Backyard — Up Close’

Area residents have probably seen hawks circling overhead and heard the owls hooting in the evening and early morning, but they may not have a grasp of the true superpowers these birds exhibit.  At the next Desert Awareness Committee (DAC) seminar, guests will not only see them up close, but will be more aware of the struggles they face and how, as a local resident, to help.

Wild at Heart is a raptor conservation organization located in Cave Creek that rescues, rehabilitates and releases wild raptors. Join Jack Holloway Monday, Dec. 2, at the Holland Community Center, 34250 North 60th Street in Scottsdale, for this free seminar sponsored by the Desert Awareness Committee of the Foothills Community Foundation.  The seminar will be held 6:30-8pm. Registration is not necessary; a $5 donation is suggested for each seminar.

For additional information, visit

Photo by c.miles on / CC BY-NC-SA

Living Water Lutheran Church Hosts Community Pet Festival

A free, family-friendly community event featuring furry friends and more will be held Sunday, Nov. 17. All people and pets are invited to attend this annual festival. Highlights include Blessing of the Animals, native wildlife rescued by the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, Elvis the Camel, Zuni the Mustang, cart rides for children by Nickel the Miniature Horse, music and refreshments.

Residents are invited to join the fun Sunday, Nov. 17, 1-4 pm, at Living Water Lutheran Church, 9201 East Happy Valley Road in Scottsdale. All pets must be leashed or otherwise secured.

For additional event information, visit, or call 480.473.8400.

Photo by m01229 on / CC BY

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