Lovebirds in Paradise

lovebird

By Jess Moran ~ It’s officially spring, and along with blooming wildflowers, Valley residents may discover a little extra color around their neighborhood – bright and beautiful lovebirds.

The tiny parrots, like most Arizonans, hail from other places (Africa for the little birds) but have settled comfortably around Phoenix. Greg Clark, of Wild at Heart, says the rosy-faced lovebirds were “released in large numbers in North Phoenix in the 1980’s and that was one of the founding populations.

“A monsoon storm destroyed an aviary in Apache Junction, also in the 80’s, and a large number were also released creating a separate founding population,” says Clark.

They’re now thriving in the African-like desert here, with numbers potentially in the tens of thousands, from Cave Creek to Paradise Valley and beyond, seemingly without any negative effect on the native bird and insect population. Residents seem to love splash of color the birds add to the scenery. Residents can report sightings to birdinfor@mirror-pole.com, allowing Clark a bird’s eye view, if you will, of the entire love bird population.

As for enthusiasts looking for a pet, Clark says to leave the wild lovebirds alone and find a reputable breeder. For seasoned bird-watchers as well as unsuspecting observers, the love birds offer quirky charm to the Greater Phoenix area. For more information, visit http://rosyfacedlovebirdsinphoenix.blogspot.com/.  | CST

36th Annual Paradise Valley Jazz Party

jazzThe Paradise Valley Jazz Party, one of the longest running jazz events in the world, will feature top-level musicians from across the nation on Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24, performing at the Scottsdale Hilton Resort in Scottsdale.

The weekend party was started in 1978 by Don Z. Miller and his late wife, Sue. During the past 35 years, the events have featured hundreds of the most legendary jazz artists in the world. The format features 30 and 45 minute sets of national and regional jazz musicians in various combinations of organized jam sessions, says Miller.

Tickets are $100 for both days and $55 per daily session. For more information and hotel reservations, go to www.paradisevalleyjazz.com or call 480.948.7993.

Valley Housing Shortage By Spring?

housingBy Katherine KoenigWhile many real estate industry experts forecast continued recovery in the 2013 housing market, the dwindling supply of Valley homes for sale continues to make news.

In 2012, Phoenix median home prices increased more than any other U.S. market on a year-over-year basis. Trulia housing data highlighted Phoenix as one of the top “turnaround housing markets.” According to a recent report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, lower end homes are getting picked up in a hurry by both investors and now regular buyers, as all-cash offers are finally on a downward trend.

“We anticipate strong demand for new homes in the peak spring season and expect new home prices will rise substantially over the next year,” says Mike Orr, director of the Real Estate Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

“Construction labor costs are also rising…the increase in new home costs will tend to pull resale prices higher while the inventory shortage prevails.”

As prices go up, more people are hanging on to their homes. Short sales were down over 70% in the last year. This could also add to the shortage.

“Unless new-home builders can start keeping up with rising demand, we may have a chronic supply problem,” adds Orr.

It may just be a matter of time before new construction catches up with rising demand.

“As the local economy strengthens and newly built homes come to market easing relatively low levels of resale homes, more people should have the ability to purchase a home in Phoenix, in spite of still-tight underwriting standards being implemented by the lending community,” adds Daniel Leboffe, director of agent development at ZipRealty. |CST

Must See JANUARY

ARTEXPOWorld class events headed to Valley

Residents and visitors alike are gearing up for high end car auctions, fine art and wine festivals and world class sporting events this month. The 42nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auto auction begins January and will offer over 1,000 collectibles including the 1966 original ‘Batmobile’.
“With the caliber of vehicles crossing our auction block this year, I believe this could be the greatest selection of cars ever sold at one auction in history,” says Craig Jackson, Chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson.

Scottsdale Auto Week

During the week of January 13, several different car auctions – each with their own distinct personality – will showcase collector cars, from customs and classics to hot rods and muscle cars.

Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction
January 13-20
www.barrett-jackson.com

Russo & Steele Collector Automobile Auction
January 16-20
www.russoandsteele.com


Gooding & Company Scottsdale Auction
January 18-19
www.goodingco.com

Art aficionados will experience fine art up close and personal with the 23rd Annual Celebration of Fine Art beginning January 12 and Arizona Fine Art Expo starting January 10. Both venues each offer visitors the chance to meet over 100 working artists in their studio.

2013 Celebration of Fine Art
January 12-March 24
www.celebratefineart.com

2013 Arizona Fine Art Expo
January 10- March 24
www.arizonafineartexpo.com

The 11th Annual Scottsdale Native Trails, presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, takes audiences on a cultural journey most Thursdays and Saturdays at noon at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall January 17-April 6.
Visit www.scottsdalenativetrails.com for details.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open will be held January 28-February 3. The Birds Nest party kicks off on Wednesday, January 30 and features country superstar and Phoenix native Dierks Bentley on Thursday, January 31. For details, visit wmphoenixopen.com.

Give HOPE This Season: Contribute Through Tax Credits

By Katherine Koenig – It’s the perfect time to give right now – Arizona taxpayers can receive a tax credit by just by making donations to local charities or schools. To qualify, most donations (except private school contributions) must be made in the same year as the tax year, in other words, by December 31.

School Tax Credit

Residents can help by contributing to education through the School Tax Credit. All Arizona public schools qualify. Residents can specify which programs donations will support. For public school donations, an Arizona tax credit is available up to the maximum $200/yr (single) or $400/yr (married filing jointly). Several school districts now offer online contributions.

 Private School Tuition Tax Credit

Contributions to qualified private schools under this program are used to fund scholarships for tuition or grants. The new maximum tax credit for tax year 2012 for single taxpayers is $1,003 and for married taxpayers filing jointly is $2,006. Unlike the Public School Tax Credit, you can make this contribution through April 15, 2013 and claim it as a tax credit for either 2012 or 2013.

Charitable Contributions Tax Credit

When donating to a charity, deductions need to be itemized on an Arizona return. Most qualified charities will post information on their website. Organizations may also have a form for this contribution or an online payment system.

For information, visit Arizona Department of Revenue at www.azdor.gov and click on Tax Credits.

Fall for the Arts

Ed Mell

Don’t miss Scottsdale’s inaugural celebration as one of the most significant cultural destinations in the country. Fall for the Arts, slated for November 8-11, will celebrate Scottsdale’s museums, art galleries, performance spaces and more. See story in ARTS on page 49.

Keep Your Business Safe: Scottsdale Business Safety Programs Offered

Did you know that the City of Scottsdale offers a number of free security services to local business owners? Scottsdale’s Citizen & Neighborhood Resources Department offers training, security surveys, and proactive problem solving business owners’ safety concerns.

Business Security Surveys

This is a free service offered to any Scottsdale business to check business owners:

  • Lights
  • Locks
  • Landscaping

 Employee Training

Once you schedule your training, the department will recommend the most appropriate employee prevention training, including:

  • Shoplifting
  • Armed Robbery
  • Fraud
  • Violence in the Workplace
  • Employee Personal Safety

For more information about the above programs, call 480.312.3111.

27th Annual Sterling Awards

The ‘best of the best’ in Scottsdale

The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Sterling Awards honorees will be announced at a gala luncheon on Tuesday, November 13, at the Chaparral Suites Resort in Scottsdale.

“For 27 years, the Chamber has presented these prestigious awards to deserving companies from within our membership,” says Eric Larson, Chamber Board Chairman.

“Winning a Sterling Award truly means something to a company. The application process is rigorous, and competition keen.”  The 12 finalists for the awards are local companies that have demonstrated excellence, innovation and community stewardship.

The nominees in four categories include:

Micro Business (1-6 Employees) – Sponsored by EPCOR Water

  • Amplify U
  • Breslau Insurance & Benefits, Inc.
  • Pro One Media Productions

 Small Business (7-99 employees) – Sponsored by Cox Business

  • Arizona Center for the Blind Document Destruction
  • Brain State Technologies
  • McDowell Village Senior Living

 Big Business (100+ Employees) Sponsored by DMB Associates Inc.

  • Homeowners Financial Group
  • Hotel Valley Ho
  • Scottsdale Healthcare

 Non-Profit – Sponsored by APS

  • National MS Society, Arizona Chapter
  • Scottsdale Charros
  • STARS

Tickets can be reserved online at www.scottsdalechamber.com or by calling 480.355.2708.  |CST

Sustainable Scottsdale

Scottsdale’s El Dorado Park Fire Station 1

The City of Scottsdale continues to show a strong commitment to sustainable strategies, recently earning LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Certification for its Cactus Acres and Eldorado Park Fire Stations. Cactus Acres will achieve 58 percent energy savings compared to a typical new building and Eldorado Park will hit 47 percent savings.

Learn more about green alternatives this fall with Scottsdale’s free series of Green Building lectures.

October 4Sustainable Urbanism and Green Neighborhoods

What is sustainable urbanism and what makes a green neighborhood? Hear about

on-going planning efforts to strengthen the character of downtown and south Scottsdale neighborhoods.

November 1 – Energy Audits: Making Sense of the Results and Taking Action

Learn the results of the Scottsdale home energy audit program and recommended improvements based on housing characteristics in the South Scottsdale area.
December 6 – Water Reuse Application: Rainwater and Graywater Case Studies

Does it rain enough in the desert to collect rainwater? Learn about water reuse applications for irrigation and other uses.

Lectures are from 7-8:30pm at the Granite Reef Senior Center, 1700 North Granite Reef Road. Call 480.312.3111 or visit www.scottsdaleaz.gov/greenbuilding/lectures.

Don’t Miss! Scottsdale International Film Festival

The 12th annual Scottsdale International Film Festival will be held October 5-12.
This year’s line-up reveals a blend of films to satisfy a broad range of interests and tastes – from smaller films for the daring cineaste to more mainstream films that reveal the burgeoning of the commercial market. Find a colorful mix of film genres from light-hearted comedies to period dramas, chosen from all corners of the world. The festival will be held at the Harkins Shea 14 Theatres located at 7354 East Shea Boulevard, with special events throughout the weekend. For film schedules, tickets and information, visit www.scottsdalefilmfestival.com.

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