Fall Arizona Restaurant Week: Dine In or Take Out Kicks Off Sept. 18

Dining at Chauncey Social

St. Francis, Harissa half chicken

The Fall Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) culinary event has been modified to meet new regulations due to COVID-19, but that is not dampening the spirits or the taste buds of Valley diners.

Arizona Restaurant Week: Dine In or Take Out returns for 10 days of culinary exploration, from Friday, Sept. 18, through Sunday, Sept. 27.

“We feel not only gratitude but also great pride in the fact that the local dining community has showed up again and again in support of our industry since closures and limited re-opening mandates,” said Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) president and CEO Steve Chucri. “We are thrilled to see that dining out — whether that means in-restaurant or getting take-out — is still such an important part of people’s lives.”

The new Fall Arizona Restaurant Week: Dine In or Take Out will operate much like the June event, which debuted the modified format including dine-in, take out and liquor to-go options.

The event is intended to allow food enthusiasts to explore new culinary opportunities in any way that they feel comfortable dining while also giving restaurants and local chefs the economic support that they need now more than ever.

During the event, participating restaurants will follow all CDC guidelines regarding safety measures and limited dine-in capacity. Participating restaurants around the state will offer culinary adventurers dedicated menus that showcase local chefs’ creative talents through innovative dishes.

Featuring a unique tasting opportunity apart from their regular menus, restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe menus for $33 or $44 per person. Wine pairings to enhance each course are offered at some establishments for an additional cost.

Many diners’ favorites are returning for Fall ARW, and the ARA announced that new members are participating for the first time. The current line-up of nearly 80 restaurants can be found online. Visit arizonarestaurantweek.com.

Photos courtesy of Arizona Restaurant Week

Barro’s Pizza Seeks Local Student for $10,000 Tuition Giveaway

Barro’s Pizza, a local family-owned pizzeria, is giving away $10,000 to one Arizona resident in the 2020 Arizona Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway. The prize money is available to help pay college tuition or any related educational expenses. Entries will be accepted online at barrospizza.com/drpeppercontest starting today, Sept. 14.

“This is our ninth year celebrating our partnership with Dr Pepper to give away $10,000 to a local student,” said Ken Barro, owner of Barro’s Pizza. “Helping others in our community is at the foundation of who we are as a company. As we celebrate our 40th anniversary this year, it’s a great time to reflect on our wonderful customers that help us reach new milestones every day — that allow us to participate in important initiatives like this one.”

The Barro’s Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway has awarded $75,000 to students in Arizona since 2012. Submissions are open to all Arizona residents 18 years or older. A winner will be selected at random from the online and text-to-win entries. The winner can use the money to pay for current expenses such as tuition and books or to pay off outstanding student loans. Entries will be accepted Sept. 14 — Dec. 14. For more information about the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway, visit drpeppertuition.com.

Stand Out to Potential Employers — SCC Seminar Series Begins Sept. 15

The 2020 job market is unlike anything experienced before, and while many workers have been furloughed or laid off, those who have not been negatively impacted may be also looking to re-career and grow their own professional skills.

To assist students and the community at large, Scottsdale Community College (SCC) is offering a free Emerging Professionals Seminar Series to help individuals secure employment and thriving careers.

Beginning Sept. 15, the series offers eight weekly sessions based on the topics, trends and skills anyone looking to enter the workforce, advance in their career or build professional competency should know. Lessons will help participants develop interviewing, online job search and various professional development skills.

Topics for the live online sessions include personal branding, job search strategies, resume and cover letter writing, workplace professionalism, LinkedIn do’s and don’ts, networking 101, interviewing strategies and practice interviews.

While participants are not required to attend all eight seminars, those who complete the entire series will receive a certificate of participation.

The series is sponsored by SCC’s Academic and Career Advising Department, Business School and Women Rising Club.

Learn more about the Emerging Professionals Seminar Series and secure a spot by registering for the free seminars: scottsdalecc.edu/emerging-professionals-seminar-series.

Have You Been Counted? 2020 Census Deadline is Sept. 30

For residents who have not already completed their 2020 Census, the deadline is fast approaching.

What is the census?

Every 10 years, the United States counts every person living in the country to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives (a process called apportionment) and also to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities.

Why is it important to the state?

For each person counted in Arizona, the state receives $2,959 in federal funding (totaling more than $20 billion per year), which goes toward vital services including schools, emergency services and hospitals.

How do you participate?

Participating in the census is easier than ever before. For the first time in history, the census can be completed online using a unique code that was mailed to residents in March 2020. There are also the options to participate by phone or mail.

To-date, just under 84 percent of Arizona’s population has been enumerated. But there is still time to be counted — the deadline is Sept. 30.

To learn more about how the census impacts Arizona, visit icount2020.info. To participate in the 2020 Census online or to find additional information, visit 2020census.gov.

Photo 60512708 © Rawpixelimages | Dreamstime.com

Prescription for Nature: A Natural Path to Better Health

There is a new program to help the community find their own path to better health by connecting with nature through outdoor activity.

Born from an understanding that spending time outdoors is critical to overall physical and mental well-being, Desert Foothills Land Trust, with the support of local healthcare professionals, and the towns of Carefree and Cave Creek, created the Prescription for Nature program.

Ash Adams, owner of Just Breathe Pilates, demonstrates a Pilates movement at the Jewel of the Creek preserve.

Cynthia Driskell, a founding champion of the program and owner of Carefree Physical Therapy endorses the program in her practice because she believes “we need to connect with our outdoor spaces for our physical and mental health, and make the effort to be out in nature to enhance our personal life and life within our community.”

Other local healthcare providers, and believers in the benefits of nature to the overall well-being of the community, have also joined as founding champions including Just Breathe Pilates, Sterling Structural Therapy and Dr. Fabio of Integrative Healing & Wellness.

The Prescription for Nature “trail head” sign at Carefree Desert Gardens

The program is designed to promote the health benefits of connecting to nature through outdoor activity in a safe environment that’s suitable to each individual’s physical abilities and healthcare goals. With that in mind, the first in the series of trails included in the program are those at a level of comfort suitable for most. As the program grows, more local trails will be added at varying levels of difficulty and rated accordingly — from barrier free (easiest) to physically challenging (extremely difficult) everyone can find a path to suit their needs.

Desert Foothills Land Trust invites residents and visitors to check out one of their first in the series of Prescription for Nature trails located in the center of Carefree at the Carefree Desert Gardens. Just look for the new “trail head” sign, compliments of the town of Carefree, and get started on your path to better health.

To learn more about the program and trails, visit dflt.org/rxfornature. Healthcare professionals that would like to participate in the program can contact the Land Trust directly at info@dflt.org or by calling their office at 480.488.6131.

Sweetwater Community School Now Registering Students for Night Class

PVSchools announced this week that, for teens who need credit recovery or want to get ahead, Sweetwater Community School is now enrolling high school students for second quarter Night Classes.

“Night Classes are an incredible opportunity for all students in the district to earn and/or recover credits in smaller class sizes with a concentrated curriculum,” Courtney Thompson, a night class teacher at Sweetwater Community School said in a released statement. “These courses are taught by veteran teachers in the district who have experience working with a wide variety of populations, situations, and skill levels. From the first day to the last day, our teachers are cheering on and championing the students to be their best selves in order to achieve success.”

The deadline to enroll is Monday, Oct. 5, and classes start on Monday, Oct. 12. Classes are currently being held online until in-person instruction is permitted, following the district’s reopening criteria. Learn more about the Night Class program online.

For additional information about the Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVSchools), visit pvschools.net.

CST Community Spotlight: Venues Café, Carefree

Catherine Marr, owner of Venues Café says that offering a comfortable and safe place for people to enjoy comfort food with a Southwest flair is what her business is all about. The restaurant, located 34 Easy Street, has been a Carefree mainstay for 10 years.

“Entering the two story, red awning, brick building, you are immediately struck by the beauty and comfort of your surroundings,” said Marr. “Multiple rich textures of wood, stone and copper surround you and make you feel at home. The ambiance is comfortable, not stuffy and you can feel free to be Carefree in Venues.

“A fireplace rounds out the ambiance downstairs and there is also a dining room upstairs if you have a larger group or are just looking for a little extra Social distancing. Out front is a dog friendly patio overlooking the center of town, large glass patio doors providing great warmth and light into the dining area.”

Dining options include light bites such as deviled eggs with bacon jam, street tacos, loaded mac and cheese and lettuce wraps. Signature salads such as the Chicken Taco Salad, Roasted Beet Salad and customized Chopped Salad are popular, as well as full comfort meals like a baked, stuffed pork chop, Chicken Schnitzel with lingonberry sauce or mixed grill kabobs. Voted the best happy hour in the area, light bites are $4–$10, and $2 domestic beers and $5 wines and well drinks are offered 3–6pm every day.

Venues also delivers through Door Dash and Grub Hub and encourages take-out orders. The entire menu is available for take-out, except for brunch.

Current hours are 11:30am–8pm, Monday through Saturday. Brunch is served Sundays,

Specials include Monday Night Burgers, which include a choice of a complementary house wine or beer, and Thursday offers half priced bottles of wine with any entree purchase.

Marr added, “When we are able to safely gather again, Venues will resume their special evening events.”

In the meantime, she encourages residents to sign up as a VIP on the website or ask a server to sign them up to enjoy special discounts and learn about weekly happenings.

For additional information, call 480.595.9909 or visit venuescafe.com.

Coldwell Banker Realty Partners With Local Rescues for ‘Homes for Dogs’ Online Donation Drive

The Scottsdale Carefree office of Coldwell Banker Realty is partnering with Puppy Luv Animal Rescue and Saguaro State Bull Terrier Rescue, local animal rescues, to host an online pet adoption and donation drive from now through Wednesday, Sept. 30. They are joining hundreds of Coldwell Banker Realty offices and animal shelters around the country for the Coldwell Banker “Homes for Dogs” National Adoption campaign.

The nationwide adoption event is part of the “Homes for Dogs Project,” a four-year campaign launched by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC and Adopt-a-Pet.com, North America’s largest nonprofit pet adoption website. The organization has already helped to facilitate more than 20,000 adoptions.

To make a donation to Puppy Luv Animal Rescue and Saguaro State Bull Terrier Rescue, visit Puppy Luv’s Amazon Wish List or saguarostatebullterrierclub.com/Rescue. To learn more about the Coldwell Banker Homes for Dogs Project visit blog.coldwellbanker.com/homes-for-dogs.

Meet the New Director: Robin Cochran Joins Foothills Caring Corps

Earlier this year, after 15 years of service, Debbra Determan announced her intention to retire as executive director of Foothills Caring Corps (FCC). An executive search was launched, which resulted in the hiring of Robin Cochran in August.

We caught up with the new director last month and she shared a little bit about herself, what drew her to Foothills Caring Corps, and what is next. So, please meet Robin Cochran, in her own words:

Robin Cochran, pictured here with her puppy, Molly.

I am Robin Cochran, and I live in the Troon North neighborhood. Before joining Foothills Caring Corps, I most recently was the chief development officer at Christian Care, Arizona’s largest nonprofit provider of senior living, which has six communities located throughout the state.

What was the path you took to get to where you are today?

I have a long-time impetus to help others in the community, which was originally fostered by my World War II veteran father and public servant mother. They encouraged my early passion to help others though participation in church and community volunteer activities and service projects, mostly assisting underserved seniors and at-risk teens in my native Mississippi community. The resolve I developed to assist in improving others’ lives and advocate for the underserved led me to obtain a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Over the years, I also developed important charitable organization experience as I organized, planned, and chaired various fund-raising events, nonprofit campaigns and legacy planning programs. This has provided me the ability to recognize and implement effective strategies to help people, as well as to build community awareness.

What drew you to Foothills Caring Corps, and what are its current strengths and challenges?

Robin Cochran (center) and the team at FCC. Submitted photo

My decision to join FCC was driven in part by a desire to become more deeply connected to my local community. Further, I was drawn to the organization’s mission of service to older adults and persons with disabling conditions, to allow them to remain living independently for as long as possible.

I believe the commitment of the organization’s staff and our volunteers to FCC’s mission is our biggest strength.

Certainly, the current public health crisis has created new challenges for FCC on several fronts. First, many of its regular programs have had to be suspended or modified due to safety concerns. The organization’s programs include providing transportation for persons to medical appointments and therapies, a van program for social, exercise class and shopping outings, mobile meals, friendly visiting, handyman services, grocery shopping services, caregiver relief, and a mobility equipment loan closet, among others. Additionally, COVID concerns affect many members of our network of volunteers who are themselves in an at-risk age group, or have underlying medical conditions, which limit their ability to engage in the activities they normally would undertake on behalf of FCC. Finally, FCC’s budget has been impacted by the pandemic-required cancellation in March of its largest annual fundraiser, the Taste of Foothills.

What goal do you have for the organization and how can the community help?

The main goal I have is to serve with integrity, creativity and vision to enthusiastically carry out FCC’s strategic plan and meet the growing and changing needs of our neighbors. I hope to work collaboratively with our staff and volunteers to create a team that can move forward to accomplish our mission.

We are grateful for the continuing support the community has long provided to Foothills Caring Corps. We also hope that anyone who has an interest in volunteering will consider contacting our organization. Please visit our website, foothillscaringcorps.com, for more information, to become a donor, or to volunteer. |CST

Young Artists Invited to Imagine ‘Those Who Serve’ Through Art

Arizona students, in grades K–12, are invited to enter Sonoran Arts League’s first “Honoring Those Who Serve” art contest, with electronic art submissions due Sept. 20.

Top winners in each grade of the juried online competition, with judges from the nonprofit Sonoran Arts League, will receive cash prizes or free workshops and have their art on community “art cards” that will be sold by the League to benefit its outreach programs, art education and “Art In Public Places.” Winners will be announced in November, and the artwork will be exhibited in the League’s Center for the Arts at Stagecoach Plaza during Hidden in the Hills Nov. 20–22 and 27–29. Up to 26 awards will be given.

“Your canvas is blank and waiting for you to free your imagination with an array of color and style,” said Youth Art chair Robin Ray. “Create artwork expressing your thanks and appreciation to someone who has made a difference in your life and help honor those who serve in our communities and country.”

Those who serve can include a doctor, nurse or other healthcare worker; military veteran; firefighter, police officer or civil servant; educator or art teacher; sports coach or athletics mentor; or parent, grandparent or caregiver.

“The challenge is on to use creativity and imagination to put your thoughts into art,” added League board member Sarah Byrne. “The League promotes creativity through art as an effective method for artists of all ages to express their dreams and ideas for a successful life and a better community.”

All Arizona public, private, charter and home-schooled students may enter one piece of original artwork in any medium. Computer-generated images and traced images will not be judged.

Photograph the artwork and save a high-resolution image. Register the entry and submit the photo online at sonoranartsleague.org by clicking on the Art Education tab and Art Contest. Do not send original artwork. For more information, call 480.575.6624.

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