Brandon Drummond Announced as Director of Operations at Compass Lounge and Restaurant

Hyatt Regency Phoenix downtown offers a new look and feel following a multi-million-dollar makeover, and patrons of Arizona’s only revolving rooftop restaurant, Compass, will find a fresh face at the helm.

Brandon Drummond, a member of the Hyatt Regency family for over 15 years, is taking the reins as the new director of Operations at Compass. Drummond, who worked at Hyatt Regency hotels in Washington, D.C., San Antonio, New Orleans and Bonita Springs, Florida, before making his way further west, comes to Hyatt Regency Phoenix most recently from Hyatt Regency in Greenwich, Connecticut. There, he was responsible for overseeing the culinary efforts of the $13.5 million operation and will draw upon the culinary and management skills he honed there in his new role in Arizona.

Pairing his culinary talents and creativity with inspiration from the beauty of the Southwest, guests of Compass will find a revamped lounge menu spotlighting fresh seafood, handcrafted cocktails and similar elevated fare. Think Buttermilk Fried Quail with wilted greens and jalapeño honey, for starters, or a Charcuterie Board boasting the likes of local cheeses, meats, pickles and jams.

Compass says that the menu is leading guests in an exciting new direction, offering a number of notable new selections from land and sea in addition to longtime staples. Main-course highlights include Quick-Cured Duck served alongside barley mushroom risotto, bok choy and blackberry demi or indulgent Elk Chops served with a guest’s choice of béarnaise, truffle butter, steak sauce or a merlot or blackberry demi.

As far as cocktails, Compass offers a wide array of selections ranging from the Strawberry Blonde, made with Meyer lemon vodka, house-made lemonade and simple syrup, and strawberries, to the Blue Rose Bramble, featuring Maker’s Mark, blueberries and house-made rosemary simple syrup.

This month, Valley residents can get a taste of the local culinary and performance arts scenes at the same time. Drummond is among those participating in Plated and Staged…A Herberger Theater Experience, an annual fundraising event that unites more than 850 guests and 35 partners from fine restaurants across the Valley. Slated for Sunday, March 29, at the Herberger Theater, the event benefits the theater’s youth outreach programs, which seek to expose even more area youths to the culinary and performing arts.

Hyatt Regency Phoenix is located at 122 North 2nd Street in downtown Phoenix. For more information, call 602.252.1234 or visit the property online.

Friendly Pines Camp Will Host Free Open House Event March 28

For families who are interested in learning more about Friendly Pines Camp in Prescott and the summer sleepaway camp experience, there will be a fun-filled open house event held Saturday, March 28, from 11am to 2pm.

Bring the whole family for a day of camp tours, wagon rides, toasting marshmallows, zip line rides, drawings for prizes, delicious refreshments and more. A complimentary buffet lunch, hot Dutch oven biscuits with honey butter, and ice cream cones will be served. Questions about the sleepaway camp experience will be answered during the event. The camp will also host a special 80th birthday celebration at the open house because this year will be the camp’s 80th summer.

Available for boys and girls, ages 6 through 13, Friendly Pines Camp offers a wide range of traditional camp activities: sports, horseback riding, waterskiing, rock climbing, performing arts, fine arts, pets, hiking, canoe, kayaking and more. There are four-day, one-week, two-week, four-week and six-week camp sessions available. A sibling discount is offered. This year, camp will run May 23 – Aug. 2. This nationally renowned camp is located in the beautiful, cool pine forest of the Bradshaw Mountains at 933 East Friendly Pines Road, Prescott.

Advanced registration for the open house is requested. Call the camp and let them know how many will be in attendance, 928.445.2128. For more information, visit www.friendlypines.com.

Southwest Wildlife Discovery Series: The Beautiful, Essential, Resilient Bobcat

— By Kelly Marcum Hayes, Natural Resource Coordinator, Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

The North American bobcat, Lynx rufus, is one of the most durable and adaptable wildcats in the country. They play an important role in the delicate balance of many different ecosystems and are one of the most beautiful animals in the Sonoran Desert.

This small feline survives quite well in desert dwellings as well as mountain woodlands, coniferous forests and swamplands. Bobcats are distinguished by their short black ear tufts, a mottled or spotted coat, a ruff of longer fur around their face, black and white markings on the back of the ears, and, of course, a shortened or “bobbed” tail.

The exact appearance of the bobcat depends on the specific habitat as variation in coat colors allow the individual to remain as camouflaged as possible in its surroundings. This wildcat has the greatest range of all North American felines, adapting reasonably well to urban sprawl.

Because of this, more people are noticing these intelligent animals in neighborhoods, parks, hiking trails and back yards!

If you see a bobcat near your home, there is no need to panic. Bobcats rarely attack people. They may be attracted to a yard that has abundant wildlife, birds, water, shade or other shelter. Shelter for bobcats can include rooftops, attics and the space underneath decks.

Bobcats are generally seen alone, but groups can exist of mating pairs, siblings or mothers with kittens. Bobcats mate from February to March producing an average litter size of two to three kittens, born from April to early June. Kittens will stay with their mother for seven to 12 months. This is the most vulnerable time for them, especially when they live in close proximity to people. When the mother bobcat leaves her kittens to go hunt, they may be seen as “abandoned” by well-meaning people who find them alone in their patio area, or even on their roof. In an attempt to “help,” people gather them and attempt to feed them and often can’t resist touching them. This is the beginning of “habituation” or even “imprinting,” and often prevents the release of the cat back into the wild.

When this happens, they must be rescued and evaluated by a Wildlife Conservation Center. Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center has been rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing injured and orphaned wildlife since 1994. Located in far North Scottsdale, they address the needs of over 270 animals each year that are in need of help to survive back in the wild. Those who cannot, remain at the sanctuary where they live out the rest of their years.

Visit the sanctuary to meet the animals and learn more about how to keep our wildlife wild. Tours are Tuesday through Saturday by appointment only. Find out more at www.southwestwildlife.org.


Photos courtesy of Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.

Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center in Dire Need of Plastic Bags

According to Pam DiPietro, executive director for Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center, grocery-style plastic bags are needed to pack up crucial food items for food bank clients.

“People can bring the bags to our Cave Creek and Black Canyon City locations,” says DiPietro. “This will help us serve the hungry and give them a proper way to take food to their families.”

Foothills Food Bank and Resource Center serves a 180-square mile area that includes Anthem, Black Canyon City, Carefree, Cave Creek, Desert Hills, New River, North Phoenix and North Scottsdale.

The food bank has two locations: 6038 East Hidden Valley Drive in Cave Creek and 34501 Old Black Canyon Highway in Black Canyon City.

For additional information, call 480.488.1145 or visit www.foothillsfoodbank.com.

Chart-Topping Country Music Stars Lee Brice and Craig Morgan to Headline KNIX BBQ & Beer Festival

Valley residents are invited to kick back and enjoy tasty BBQ, hot country music and a day of family fun at the 11th annual KNIX BBQ & Beer Festival. In partnership with iHeart Media and 102.5 KNIX, Lee Brice and Craig Morgan will co-headline the event, Saturday, March 28.

Known as the largest BBQ event west of Texas and awarded “outstanding event of the year,” the KNIX BBQ & Beer Festival will feature national and locally recognized BBQ pit masters while showcasing over a dozen cocktails and beers to wash it down with.

This family-friendly event offers the ‘For the Love of BBQ’ Lounge, VIP tent, Bourbon Street, BBQ Pit Row, March Madness zone, Live & Local arena, Kid Kick-Back zone, petting zoo, carnival and other interactive experiences. Additionally, a portion of the event’s proceeds will be donated to the Greater Cause Foundation.

A few of the restaurant purveyors that will be dishin’ up the ‘Q: Blazin Bronco BBQ, Bobby-Q BBQ, Can’t Stop Smokin’ Bar-B-Q, The Corndog Company AZ, Drivewood Fired Grill, Famous Dave’s BBQ, FarmBoy Market, Meats & Sandwiches, Honey Bear’s BBQ, Rudy’s BBQ and Tom’s BBQ,

The event’s multiple stages will provide country music lovers uninterrupted live performances throughout the day. In addition to Brice and Morgan, the lineup also includes country music superstars Locash, and Caylee Hammack. Local talent Jim Bachman & the Day Drinkers, Blaine Long, Drew Cooper and Jacob Morris will also perform.

“This is an incredible musical line-up,” said Landon Evans, owner of HDE Agency, the event organizer. “We are thrilled to partner with iHeart and KNIX to be able to bring this star-studded festival to Chandler for one of our largest events of the year.”

The festivities will take place at Tumbleweed Park located at 745 East Germann Road in Chandler with gates opening at noon with the fun lasting until 10pm. For more information about KNIX BBQ & Beer Festival, musical performers, BBQ offerings and tickets visit www.chandlerbbq.com.

Whiskey and Popcorn Reviews: Netflix Snapped up ‘The 40-Year-Old Version’ at Sundance 2020

Tuesday Mahrle and Kaely Monahan

—By Kaely Monahan and Tuesday Mahrle

Radha, a once-promising playwright, is facing the “Big 4-0” with little, in her mind, to show for it. Caught questioning her abilities as an artist and frustrated with being pigeon-holed as a black artist, she breaks away from it all to become a rapper.

The 40-Year-Old Version is by far the funniest film we saw at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Radha Blank appears in The 40-Year-Old Version by Radha Blank, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jeong Park.

Witty without being too on-the-nose, director, writer and lead actress, Radha Blank neatly captured the real struggles of creative fatigue and fears of aging that’s all too relatable. For a debut feature film, Blank delivers an authentic story about facing ourselves as we are now.

Watch out for this film on Netflix.  


Whiskey and Popcorn is a movie podcast by local film critics Kaely Monahan and Tuesday Mahrle. You can hear their full movie reviews on whiskeyandpopcorn.org.

Aid to Adoption of Special Kids Recruiting Volunteer Camp Counselors — Deadline to Apply is March 15

By Clint Williams, Aid to Adoption of Special Kids – AASK

Camp volunteer John Hicks offers guidance on the archer range during the 2019 AASK Sibling Summer Camp.

Hiking and kayaking in the cool high country near Payson is a great way to spend a week in June. And doing it while bringing smiles to the faces of children in foster care is even better.

The Seventh Annual AASK Sibling Summer Camp is recruiting volunteer counselors for a week of adventure at Camp Tontozona near Payson starting June 14.

Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK) each summer brings siblings in foster care together for a week of fun and an opportunity to reconnect.

“Sibling relationships are usually our longest lasting relationships and one of the most important relationships we have,” says JoAnne Chiariello, director of family support services at AASK.

“But children in foster care are often placed in foster homes or group homes apart from their brothers and sisters,” says Chiariello.

Research shows that strong, positive sibling relationships are associated with less loneliness, fewer behavioral problems and higher self-worth.

Camp activities include swimming, hiking, kayaking, horseback ridings and rappelling. A magician will entertain kids and counselors one night. There is a birthday celebration in which everyone gets a cake and siblings exchange presents.

Volunteer camp counselors are a vital component to the success of the camp. Counselors need to be up to the challenges of hiking, kayaking and horseback riding. Volunteers must complete a fingerprint background screening and attend a training session.

For more information, contact Amanda Gonzales at 602.930.4482 or go online at www.aask-az.org/volunteer. The deadline to apply is March 15.

HER Certified Auto Review: Hanging Out at the Hangar — 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD

Click to learn more about Cathy.

By Cathy Droz –

I fell in love with this vehicle the first time I drove it. There is something about the style, the grille, the serpent and cross emblem that makes you feel like you are driving through the Italian mountains of Lake Como.

To my surprise, while visiting North Scottsdale Alfa Romeo, I watched Alice Cooper sign over 100 Guitars for the dealership’s annual giveaway, buy a CAR get a GUITAR.  As if that wasn’t enough, I went on to visit Nelson and Mitch at their Helicopter Hangar to get a beautiful shot of the Stelvio.

It was a great week of test driving this sports car but the question most people asked was, “Why is there a four-leaf clover on an Italian car?” (Maybe it was why I had such a “lucky” week.) If you too were wondering here is the why.

When Alfa Romeo has a four-leaf clover on their cars, it’s on their Quadrifoglio (performance cars) and it has more meaning than a leprechaun might imagine.

The four-leaf clover logo denoting the Quadrifoglio designation was originally used by Ugo Sivocci, a friend of Enzo Ferrari, as a good luck charm. He painted it on the grille of his Alfa Romeo RL and won the 1923 Targa Florio. Alfa Romeo began using it on all its race cars after Sivocci died in a crash a few months later.

STANDARD FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode System with Race Mode
  • Engine Cover with “Quadrifolglio” Badge
  • Blind-Spot and Cross-Path Detection
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Carbon Fiber Drive Shaft
  • Torque Vectoring Differential

INTERIOR FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • 8.8-inch AM/FM/HD Radio with Navigation
  • Harman Kardon Premium Audio
  • Quadrifoglio Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • Steering Column-Mounted Aluminum Paddle Shifters

EXTERIOR FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • Pirelli Brand Tires

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT:

  • Trofeo White Tri-Coat Exterior Paint
  • Driver Assistance Dynamic Package includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beam Headlamp Control, Infrared Windshield
  • Dynamic Dual Mode Exhaust
  • Colored Brake Calipers

For more information, visit www.alfaromeousa.com.

MPG: 17, City; 23, Highway

MSRP: Base Price for Vehicle, $80,245

Price of Vehicle Tested: $88,540


For additional HER Certified Auto Reviews, visit www.hercertified.com.


Photos courtesy of Alfa Romeo

Musings for March 2020

Rabbi_headshot2

Click to learn more about Rabbi Kravitz

By Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D. 

With so much activity locally, nationally, globally speeding by us daily, I think it might be an appropriate time to take a few moments to sit back, relax and reflect on that stampede of news, sports, traffic that tramples us daily.

This month of March is a great way to start that dreamy interlude. In the play Oklahoma there is a song about March, which comes in “like a lion — a whippin’ up the water in the bay.” The quiet month of March at its beginning — no longer quiet. Now a wild and ferocious 31-days. What’s happening that causes such a critical transition from benign to nearly violent?

Daylight Savings Time — becomes “curiouser and curiouser” to quote the fabled monkey George. Although our state thankfully does not comport with most of the rest of the USA, this time-travel is silly. When in my lifetime, or yours, has anyone seen farmworkers who are out picking field crops, requesting more daylight? When in a blazing 113-degrees Fahrenheit Arizona summer has anyone requested more sunlight, heat? And what school system has so much in reserve monies that it doesn’t care how much it costs to air-condition their school buildings? Need extra personal outdoors time, switch your start time to whenever its cooler, change your watch, and drink a lot of water. “L’chaim!!”

St. Patrick’s Day — a bigger festival time in the USA than it is in its home country Ireland. Prompted by initiatives to be green — but not in the global warming sense — St. Pat’s Day is a fun day, unless it falls near a weekend during which several days may be set aside to remember the Irish Priest. Clogging, soda bread, corned beef and cabbage and of course beer — or green bagels (my attempt at humoring intergroup relations for more than a decade). “L’chaim!!”

Purim — the Hebrew word translates as ‘lots’ as in lottery. This annual Jewish holiday based on the Book of Esther recounts another occasion where the challenge to an anti-Semitic megalomaniac succeeds. Our heroine, Queen Esther — whose true name is Hadassah — facilitates the downfall of a wicked Persian Minister. His plan to choose the day (by casting lots) for the extermination of the Jewish community backfires. The Queen details to the King the palace intrigue surrounding the plan to misappropriate the royal document seal. A time of revelry in Jewish communities worldwide. “L’chaim!!”

With so many festive times, special events, activities and creative opportunities for revelry and celebration our formerly quiet month of March has become a beast, busy at least in the sense of filling huge amounts of time and space with big stuff. Reflecting on the once quiet month of March now is exhausting with so much zipping by.

I am going to need more time for musing and lying back on a lawn-chair looking up at the clear March sky, while conjuring up and fantasizing about all the animals and their antics up in the clouds.


Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D., is known Valley-wide for his more than three decades of support for civil and human rights, and the positive efforts of law enforcement. A volunteer police chaplain, he regularly lectures on related subjects, while working part-time as Hospital Chaplaincy Coordinator for Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Contact him at rrlkdd@hotmail.com.


Photo: K. Miller

Desert Foothills Family YMCA Kicks Off ‘Livestrong’ Program

Carol Maxfield, pictured on the left, is a volunteer and a graduate of the first Livestrong program at Desert Foothills Family YMCA. Read her personal journey below.

The Desert Foothills Family YMCA (Y) and the Livestrong® Foundation joined together to create Livestrong at the YMCA, a physical activity and well-being program designed to help adult cancer survivors achieve their holistic health goals.

The research-based program offers people affected by cancer a safe, supportive environment to participate in physical and social activities focused on strengthening the whole person. Participants work with Y staff trained in supportive cancer care to achieve their goals such as building muscle mass and strength; increasing flexibility and endurance; and improving confidence and self-esteem. In addition to physical benefits, Livestrong at the YMCA focuses on the emotional well-being of survivors and their families by providing a supportive community where people impacted by cancer can connect during treatment and beyond. By focusing on the whole person and not the disease, Livestrong at the YMCA helps people move beyond cancer in spirit, mind and body.

Livestrong at the YMCA is a free 12-week small-group fitness program for adult cancer survivors. The program focuses on improving cardiovascular fitness, strength and balance to regain overall health. Classes meet twice a week for 75 minutes. Participants will receive a free Y membership for the session’s duration.

Program Goals:

  • Improve energy levels and self-esteem
  • Build muscle mass and strength
  • Increase flexibility and endurance
  • Improve ability to do everyday tasks
  • Develop an ongoing fitness plan to continue practicing a healthy lifestyle.

Those who are interested in sponsoring the Livestrong at the YMCA program may donate at https://valleyymca.org/donatedffy — $250 supports one participant, $1,000 supports a class of four participants — or contact Allie Avishai, associate executive director Desert Foothills Family YMCA, at allie.avishai@vosymca.org or 602.212.6058. The next program at Desert Foothills Y kicks off March 3.

Carol Maxfield, pictured above, is a volunteer and a graduate of the first Livestrong program at Desert Foothills Family YMCA. Here is her personal journey, in her words:

My name is Carol Maxfield and I am a volunteer at Desert Foothills YMCA. I am here representing the LiveStrong Program for cancer survivors.

Let me ask you a rhetorical question.  How many of you know someone who has cancer?

My guess is that you all do.  Friends, family members, co-workers …. it seems to be everywhere.  I never thought I would be included in the ranks of those who have the disease, but I am, and  I remember September 9, 2016 like it was yesterday, when my husband and I  heard the terrifying words, “you have Stage 4 ovarian cancer.”  How could this happen to me?  In a split second my life as I had always know it, and the future my husband and I had always planned, was forever changed. Of course there were treatments, Dr’s appointments, good days, bad days – it all comes with the diagnosis. 

I don’t share this with you because I want sympathy — I share this with you because 3½ years later I AM standing in front of you today. When I completed my treatments I knew I needed to take back control of my new life. One of the things that has allowed me to do that is the Live Strong Program offered thru the Desert Foothills YMCA. This program believes that our Drs have done their part, it is now up to the survivor to take their life back and start building their new norm with a healthier body and mind.

LiveStrong is a 12-week physical activity program that meets 2 times a week and is designed to get survivors back on their feet after a cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. During the 12 week program, membership to the Desert Foothills YMCA is complementary for the participants. The primary focus is helping our participants to strengthen their bodies through a series of closely monitored exercise routines. They receive encouragement, work-out in a safe environment, and most importantly have FUN.  Accordingly, our program is tailored to each individual’s fitness level, disease state and stage of treatment.  They learn exercises that can be continued in whatever phase their journey presents itself. They have all seen remarkable results in their stamina, strength and the ability to return to doing some of the things that have always made their life fulfilling

The program is blessed to have a certified group fitness trainer and a compassionate facilitator at its helm, Laurie Satter. She has also become one of my best friends. Two other LS graduates are also volunteers for the program and we all help Laurie in any way we can. Each of us is a cancer survivor and has experienced its benefits firsthand and want to give back. For me, it has become a passion to help the program succeed. We have all joined forces to make a difference in someone else’s life and to continue growing the program. 

Our program is not just an exercise regimen. Laurie and I believe the mind is an integral part of recovery. We try to create an environment of trust. We have heard over and over that having a place to come together with other survivors and be able to share, is key. Knowing that you are surrounded by the support and care from others, who intimately know all that you have experienced in ways no one else can understand, has given a voice back to all of us. We ARE a big family.

We are the exercise program with a heart.

Since its inception at Desert Foothills and Laurie took the helm, LiveStrong has graduated 6 classes. Several of those graduates are with us tonight. Feel free to ask them any questions about their own experiences. They are all strong, compassionate and remarkable women and are easily recognized by the t-shirt they are wearing.

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