O’Rourke Media Group Buys CITYSunTimes

PHOENIX—The CITYSunTimes has been acquired by the O’Rourke Media Group, a media company that specializes in publishing local community newspapers. The company also provides cost-effective digital marketing solutions and print/design services to local businesses.

“We’re looking forward to entering the Phoenix market,” says Jim O’Rourke, CEO and Owner of O’Rourke Media Group. “The CITYSunTimes content and publishing frequency is unique, they have a great team in place, and the business is greatly positioned for explosive digital audience and marketing growth.”

CST offers personalized news each month to Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Carefree, Cave Creek, Black Canyon City, New River, Anthem and Fountain Hills, and is delivered to area homes and businesses.

CST joins an up-and-coming, family-owned media company during a distressed time period in the newspaper and media industry. O’Rourke Media Group has a track record of retaining local employees at a time when many other media companies are downsizing and outsourcing work out of state or out of the country. O’Rourke says that readers and local businesses in the market can expect the same. “Actually, I anticipate adding resources and people to help support digital audience and revenue growth,” says O’Rourke.

The CITYSunTimes has been successfully serving the community for 18 years. CITYSunTimes was founded in 2002 by Hope Ozer and purchased in 2013 by Lorrie Pomeroy.

“This is an exciting time for CITYSunTimes,” says Pomeroy. “We are confident that Jim and his company will continue to maintain integrity and commitment of excellence while taking CST to the next level.”

For additional information, visit http://news.citysuntimes or https://orourkemediagroup.com.

The Tables Are Set! — Arizona Restaurant Weeks: Dine in or Take Out

It has been a rough couple of months for the food and beverage industry. In Arizona, COVID-19 brought about closures in mid-March that threatened the industry to its core. Restaurant owners had to quickly adapt their business models to offer take-out, curbside and delivery options, and some even offered cocktails to go. Some restaurants became community grocery stores, while others served their community by preparing meals for front-line workers and those in need.

The local community stepped up, too, and helped support the restaurants that make up the Valley’s dynamic culinary scene. In addition to ordering pick-up and delivery, residents responded by patronizing special pop-up events, and donating to virtual tip jars in support of workers.

The closure mandates also meant that the annual Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) event was placed on hold; however, Arizona Takeout Weeks was created to encourage continued dining support. In the midst of all of the upheaval, the Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) created Arizona Restaurant Strong (www.azrestaurantstrong.com), a relief fund to provide support for restaurant workers who found themselves suddenly out of work.

Roaring Fork

The House Brasserie

Now that closure mandates have expired and regulations begin to lift, the ARA has announced that Arizona Restaurant Weeks: Dine in or Take Out will take place Friday, June 19, through Sunday, June 28, and Friday, Sept. 18, through Sunday, Sept. 27.

In a statement, ARA president and CEO Steve Chucri said, “We are so grateful for the support of our local dining community in the weeks that followed restaurant closures in March. The quick creation of Arizona Takeout Weeks and Arizona Restaurant Strong efforts could not have been possible without them. As Arizona Restaurant Weeks returns in a modified format to include dine-in, take out and liquor to-go options, we are hopeful that our wonderful community of food enthusiasts will continue to show their support in any way they feel comfortable.”

During the new Arizona Restaurant Weeks: Dine in or Take Out, ARA says that participating restaurants will follow all CDC guidelines for opening and social distancing, whether dining in or taking out. The organization is anticipating more than 200 of the Valley’s restaurants — “from five-star fine dining establishments to locally owned and operated ‘mom and pop’ hidden gems” — to get involved.

Participating restaurants around the state will offer diners a dedicated menu that showcases the chefs’ talents. 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.

Several new restaurants joining the June ARW line-up this year include The Dressing Room, The House Brasserie, Josephine, Meritage Urban Tavern, Sel, Stonegrill and Tuck Shop Kitchen and Bar. Of course, many of diners’ favorites are returning to the event again this year. A complete list of participating restaurants can be found on the event website: www.arizonarestaurantweek.com.

Harold’s Corral Donates Nearly 4,000 Meals During Pandemic

—By Sue Kern-Fleischer

Franny Pachuca makes brisket at Harold’s for meals that will be donated to the Foothills Food Bank and Cave Creek Unified School District.

It’s been just a few weeks since Arizona reopened, lifting the “Stay at Home” restrictions put in place to help flatten the curve from COVID-19. And while Harold’s Cave Creek Corral’s dining room is open to patrons, the iconic restaurant is continuing a unique take-out program it started with the help of the Kiwanis Club of Carefree more than two months ago to help feed families in need.

In its nearly 85 years of business, Harold’s had never experienced operating during a global pandemic. But when it became clear that the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19) could endanger the lives of customers and staff, Harold’s shifted into crisis mode, with the goal of helping the community the popular restaurant serves.

Like restaurants across the country, Harold’s temporarily closed its dining room and began to offer curbside and take-out service. But the popular western bar and restaurant took matters a step further, soliciting the help of the Kiwanis Club of Carefree to help fund a unique program to help the Foothills Food Bank and families of the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD).

Harold’s designed its take-out menu to include a unique commitment to the community: For every family-style meal ordered, which feeds four to five people, Harold’s will donate a family-style meal to a family in need through the District’s meal assistance program. Additionally, Harold’s is donating individual meals to the Foothills Food Bank.

Both Harold’s Corral and the Kiwanis Club of Carefree provided funding to start the program. Harold’s prepares the meals and the District and the Foothills Food Bank pick up the meals and distribute them.

Margaret Carver and Danny Piacquadio package meals for the Foothills Food Bank and Cave Creek Unified School District.

From March to May, Harold’s donated more than 3,500 meals, and the unique program will continue this month.

“If you would like to help with this program, you can make direct donations to the Kiwanis Club of Carefree or the Foothills Food Bank and note the donation is for Harold’s meal assistance program. Our goal is to continue to support both the food bank and CCUSD through this time of crisis. Thanks to Kiwanis Club of Carefree, Harold’s Corral and our customers, plus Shamrock Foods, we are able to provide these meals to those in need,” owner Danny Piacquadio said.

Take-out service through Harold’s is available seven days per week, with orders taken from 8am to 2:30pm. Since reopening its dining room in mid-May, Harold’s has been following CDC guidelines regarding sanitization efforts and social distancing. The dining room and outdoor patio is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 8am to 10pm and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8am to midnight.

Harold’s Cave Creek Corral is located at 6895 E. Cave Creek Rd. For more information, call 480.488.1906 or visit www.haroldscorral.com.

To learn more about Cave Creek Unified School District, visit www.ccusd93.org. To learn more about the Foothills Food Bank, visit www.foothillsfoodbank.com. For details about the Kiwanis Club of Carefree, visit www.kiwaniscarefree.org.

Whiskey and Popcorn Reviews: What to Stream in June

Tuesday Mahrle and Kaely Monahan

—By Kaely Monahan and Tuesday Mahrle

The state might be reopening a bit, and we at Whiskey and Popcorn are emerging from our home theaters a bit bleary-eyed. It will still be some time before movie theaters choose to reopen, despite getting the green light from the governor. But not to worry! We have your June must-stream list ready!

Netflix

“Documentary Now!”
Series, Season 3

If you’re a fan of documentaries but need a bit of a laugh, look no further than “Documentary Now!” Entering its third season, this documentary parody series continues to poke fun at the various styles of doc-making. The crowning jewel of this season is the spoof on a 1970s doc by the name of “Original Cast Album: Company.”  It documents the recording of the cast album for the Sondheim musical “Company.” It’s a cult favorite among true musical theater aficionados. The “Documentary Now!” version stars John Mulaney, Taran Killam, and Richard Kind.

Lady Bird
Movie

Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird originally premiered in 2017 at the Telluride Film Festival. The film broke the Rotten Tomatoes record with 164 Fresh reviews and sat at “100% fresh” for months. If you didn’t have the fortune of seeing Lady Bird during its release to select theaters, now is your chance. The film follows Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), an artistically-inclined Sacramento, CA native as she navigates late adolescence in Catholic high school. Despite the family’s financial woes, Christine applies to East Coast colleges in hopes of going far from her home and her family.

Amazon 

The Spy Who Dumped Me
Movie

Half comedy, half spy-thriller and full throttle sexy, The Spy Who Dumped Me is one of our surprising favorites from 2018. Starring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as two best-friends, the women quickly find themselves in over their heads when Kunis’ boyfriend turns out to be a spy on the run. Fearing that the same baddies who are after him will come after them, the duo fly to Europe to deliver a thumb drive filled with state secrets. Part Mission: Impossible and part The Man Who Knew Too Little, this film is surprisingly smart and just downright fun. And fans of “Outlander” will enjoy seeing the titular Sam Heughan in a slick black suit.

The Disaster Artist
Movie

Can you make a decent movie about the worst movie ever made? You certainly can. The Disaster Artist explores how the now cult-classic The Room got off the ground. Directed by and starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau, The Disaster Artist yields more laughs than its source material (unless you are a diehard fan of The Room.) But if you haven’t seen Wiseau’s train-wreck of a film, save yourself the headache and watch The Disaster Artist instead. At least you won’t feel like you’ve wasted two hours of your life.

Hulu

“Solar Opposites”
Series, Season 1

From the creators of “Rick and Morty” comes a new adult cartoon about a family of aliens stranded on Earth. Alien patriarch, Korvo, voiced by Justin Roiland, is more disgruntled at being stuck on a “sub-par” planet. He’s joined by his carefree partner Terry (Thomas Middleditch) and two high-school aged youths, Yumulack (Sean Giambrone) and Jesse (Mary Mack), and a slug looking pseudo-pet called the pupa. Together they try to carve out life in middle America, dealing with HOA problems, school bullying, all while trying to fix their spaceship. “Solar Opposites” has the same tone as its predecessor with plenty of irreverent jokes and visual gags. Fans of “Futurama” and “Invader Zim” will find “Solar Opposites” a worthy addition to ridiculous adult animation.

“The Great”
Season 1

For fans of history and/or costume drama check out “The Great.” Starring Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great in a new series that is reminiscent of the 2019 Oscar-winner “The Favourite.” Humorous and delightfully frivolous, the series starts with Catherine’s journey from Germany as a young, naive girl all the way to Russia to marry the Czar. But the Russian court is unlike anything the young Catherine has ever known. Sexy, wild and sometimes downright bizarre, she not only grows up but grows up great.

Disney+

“Artemis Fowl”

This science fantasy adventure is based on an eight-book series by the same name. Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius born into a long line of criminal masterminds. Artemis must navigate through an ancient, underground civilization inhabited by fairies to save his kidnapped father and find a coveted magical device. But these are not typical fairies; they are clever, advanced, and all powerful. Artemis must wage war with this civilization if he hopes to make it out alive.


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.

Eye Care During These Surreal Times

By Stephen Cohen, O.D.

Many people have delayed getting their eyes examined during this time, whether it is due to avoiding going out, other priorities or work situations. Many eye doctors have closed their offices during this crisis. In some parts of the country (e.g., New Jersey), eye care practitioners are only permitted to see true eye emergency patients or face State Board disciplinary action. Fortunately, it is not that drastic here in Arizona and in many other places.

Here are a few facts and recommendations as we work through this crisis. I will base some of the information on how our office is working with our patients, and you can check with your regular eye doctor to see what their procedures are right now.

First, there is a form of conjunctivitis (inflammation of the white part of the eye) that has been associated with COVID-19. It is not among the most common signs of the disease, and there are many other causes of red eye besides this specific virus, so don’t panic if your eyes get red. When you call, your eye doctor’s office will likely ask if you have other symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, etc.) to see if it is OK for you to be seen in their office. If you do show other symptoms, or if you are just not comfortable going out, they, like us, might offer “virtual consultations” through telemedicine (text, photos, videos, FaceTime, Zoom), where a diagnosis could be determined and a treatment plan put in place without you having to leave your home. We have been encouraging all patients with eye emergencies to avoid emergency rooms and Urgent Care centers so that their resources can focus on people who might be sick from the virus and to help protect you from possible exposure to people who might be sick from the virus. Your eye doctor, like us, may also have an after-hours emergency system where they can be paged. Over the past month, I have met numerous patients at my office over the weekend with serious eye problems like sudden retinal detachments and strokes in the eye, issues that cannot wait until this crisis passes. If you have something sudden and dramatic, do not delay…call!

Your doctor might be willing to extend out expiration dates on ocular medications and contact lenses. We are refilling medication requests and are extending contact lens expiration dates as well as shipping a supply of contact lenses directly to patients, with no charge for shipping. As far as contact lenses are concerned, the CDC has determined that contact lens use during this crisis is still acceptable. Just make sure you wash your hands before and after insertion of contact lenses. While routine eye care can be delayed for now, we are “triaging” each patient who calls to determine when it would be best to schedule their appointment. Your eye doctor may be doing the same, so they may be available for more than just true emergencies.

All of our lives have been drastically impacted during this crisis. It is hard to fully grasp how different life is now than it was just two months ago. We all believe this will pass, and there will be changes in our day-to-day existence. Hopefully, many will be for the better. Stay safe!


Dr. Stephen Cohen has been in private practice in Scottsdale since 1985. His office motto is, “Where modern technology meets old-fashioned care,” and he provides eye care from infants to seniors.  He can be reached at 480.513.3937 or by email at stephen.cohen@doctormyeyes.net.  His website is www.doctormyeyes.net.


ID 4179509 © Retina2020 | Dreamstime.com

Governor Announces New Guidance as ‘Stay At Home’ Order Expires May 15

Governor Doug Ducey announced at a May 12 press conference that the “Stay At Home” order in Arizona will be ending May 15 and replaced by new guidance for the “next stage of economic recovery.”

The Governor’s office says that the new guidance “aligns with gating criteria issued by the White House and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aims to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 resurgence, protect vulnerable populations, and guide the reopening of businesses with enhanced physical distancing and safety measures in place.”

Arizona’s new Executive Order, takes effect Saturday, May 16. View the Executive Order here.

Governor Ducey also announced an accelerated plan to test all staff and residents of long-term care facilities as well as individuals within Arizona’s prisons. As part of this plan, the Arizona Department of Health Services will partner with private-sector labs to expand testing to 147 long-term care facilities and provide antibody tests for correctional officers. Additionally, major league sports can resume limited reopening, without fans, this Saturday, May 16.
The Arizona Department of Health Services also released additional guidance for businesses and customers as more industries resume partial operations. This guidance includes:

  • Pools, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)
  • Gyms & Fitness Providers, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)
  • Spas, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

View daily Arizona updates here.

Kiwanis Marketplace Thrift Store Sets Date for Reopening

Today, Sandra Carrier, general manager of the Kiwanis Marketplace Thrift Store, announced that the store will reopen to the public Tuesday, May 12, at 9am.

“We have been diligent to make sure necessary precautions are implemented to ensure the upmost of safety for all,” said Carrier, who shared a few things that have changed to keep clients and employees safe and healthy:

  • Requiring all who enter the Marketplace to wear a face mask
  • Limit the building occupancy to 35 percent of the city approved allowance.
  • Roadies will no longer enter a home to pick up donations. All donations must be placed in the garage or outside.
  • Restrooms will not be available to the public until further notice
  • Plexiglas shields have been installed at cashier stations
  • The store is marking the floor, around the cashier station, with the appropriate social distancing measures, to keep those in line safe.
  • The drop off donation process may change, so be aware when dropping off donations.
  • All received donations will go through a disinfecting process before being placed out for purchase.

Carrier asks for patience as the store moves forward and navigate these uncharted territories, adding, “Thank you for your continued support during these uncertain times. We have genuinely missed seeing you and look forward to catching up!”

For additional information, call 480.488.8400 or visit www.kiwanismarketplace.org.

FOREVER FAMILIES: Sky is a Teen With High Aspirations

By Clint Williams, Aid to Adoption of Special Kids

Just as the sky above seems to know no limits, neither does 15-year-old Sky, a bright high school sophomore.

“I really like to tell people that I want to be president,” she says, “but I know I have to be mayor or senator first.”

“I just want to make a change in the world,” she says, adding that change includes making things better for children in foster care.

“I want to know that kids out there are going to have homes out there to sleep in, that they have families who are there for them,” Sky says.

Meanwhile, until that first campaign, Sky stays busy with sports and school.

Sky has played soccer since age 8 but took a crack at playing flag football in middle school.

“I ended up making the team, but it was hard being a girl,” she says.

Nowadays, the soccer goalie is teaching herself to kick field goals with an eye to trying out for a high school football team.

Sky’s favorite foods include pizza, Mexican food, Dutch Brothers coffee and macaroni and cheese.

“Sky has a desire to learn more about her Navajo culture,” says John Hicks, a child specific adoption recruiter with Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK).

Because of her drive to reconnect to her cultural roots, Sky would prefer to be part of a Native American forever family.

Hicks says Sky needs to be part of a two-parent family with, or without, other children in the home.

“Sky will succeed when given the one-on-one attention that she needs,” Hicks says.

Sky’s forever family should be active in the community, Hicks says, “because it’s important for Sky to find an outlet to serve others.”


For more information on children eligible for adoption, call Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK) at 602.930.4900 or visit www.aask-az.org.

HER Certified Review: 2020 Lexus LC 500 Coupe — Yellow is the new red

Click to learn more about Cathy.

By Cathy Droz –

Believe it or not, I like to stay behind the scenes, lie low, and not be the center of attention. Well that was hard to do when I was given a “Flare Yellow” Lexus LC 500 Coupe to test drive.

At first, I was a little embarrassed to drive it in my neighborhood no less take it out in public. As I try to be age appropriate with my attire, I try to do the same with my cars. However, I must say, the color of the car is beautiful and drives like a dream. The coupe is sexy, both masculine and feminine in design, and the exhaust tunes are music to my ears. Once I took it to the park, to watch my grandson play soccer, and got the approval of the local fire department, my shyness disappeared, and I declared that now yellow was the new red for me.

It doesn’t just look awesome; it is a beautifully and well-made vehicle with every luxury you could imagine. Here is a list of just some of its features. For more information go to www.lexus.com or to www.hercertified.com for more reviews.

MSRP: $92,950

AS TESTED: $106,348

FIRST RESPONDERS: Priceless

Features

  • 0 Liter V8 Engine With 471 HP
  • 10-speed Sport Direct Shift Automatic
  • Rear Wheel Drive /Active Sport Exhaust
  • Performance Brakes
  • All the Lexus Safety System
  • Pollen Filter with Dual Zone A/C
  • Glass Roof with sunshade
  • Apple Car Play – Voice Command
  • Lexus Navigation with 10.3 Display
  • Enform, Alexa, App Suite 2.0
  • 12-speaker Sound System
  • First Aid Kit /Carpet Floor Mats

Some of the Options Available

  • 21” Wheels
  • Head up display
  • Mark Levinson 13-Speaker
  • Intuitive Parking Assist
  • Premium Paint
  • Sport Package with Carbon Roof
  • Trunk Mat, Cargo Net, Wheel Locks and Key Gloves

Founder of H.E.R. Certified and co-founder of Smart Women Series USA, Cathy Droz has test driven over 520 cars for manufacturers and reviewed them on her website, www.hercertified.com, radio, TV, YouTube and print.  She is a consumer advocate for women car buyers and training expert for the auto industry.  Her book, A Woman’s Guide to Buying a Car with Confidence and Street Smarts — Don’t let these High Heels fool you, is an easy and informative guide to car buying. 

Choose Life… Yours, Theirs

Rabbi_headshot2

Click to learn more about Rabbi Kravitz

By Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D. 

I try to teach my granddaughter to “make good choices.” In my hospital visits I meet with patients and families who must make good choices to stay alive. In all our lives we are making choices — turn left, turn right; go up or go down; say Yes, say No; take the doctor’s advice, or not; keep this physician or choose another.

But when it comes to living, or just prolonging life, many will forget to make a choice that can immediately save lives. While we are strong and healthy, donating blood should be a no-brainer. Every donation of blood when broken down into its constituent parts and can potentially save three lives. Vitalant (formerly, United Blood Service) provides nearly two-thirds of the blood needed in our local hospitals.

As we face deteriorating health, but are still able to make a rational decision, there’s another way to positively impact the lives of others — sign an Organ Donor form. And the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles (our Driver’s License folks) allows every driver to sign-up as an Organ Donor, which then is recorded, and a small heart is added to the front of the license.

Yes, our bodies are fragile. Yes, our blood and our organs can be vital in assisting to make someone else’s life better or giving life itself.

There are many excuses that folks will provide for not doing any of this. Every religion that I am aware of preaches the sanctity of life AND loving (helping in time of need) our neighbors as ourselves.

How beautiful it is to “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.” Maxims and time-tested biblical quotes are only valuable when actually applied to real people. Tossing a bible phrase to show your knowledge of text is fine in the classroom or from the pulpit. Living that phrase in the real world, where lives depend on you, elevates the words to life-saving action.

Many fear needles: it really does not hurt, well, maybe for just an instant. Taking the time to donate blood (about an hour every eight weeks) to save a life of somebody in surgery or bleeding as the result of a car crash is what we call in Hebrew a Mitzvah, a righteous act.

And there are too many individuals who want their bodies left intact after their demise. To what end? If the organs can be used by another human being after they are no longer needed by us, great! Help somebody to live a healthier, more enjoyable and successful life, and in a way keep the deceased “alive.”

I’ve been a blood donor for decades, probably gallons of my blood have been used to save the lives of teens, adults and infants. And becoming a blood donor has truly saved my life (but that’s a story for another time).

On my driver’s license is that small heart indicating that I have a big heart — to share with unknown others what my body cannot any longer use, and which they cannot live without.

Daily, throughout life we make critical choices. Choosing to share life should be an easy decision. Contact DMV and Vitalant for specific details. Make your life even more worth living, by sharing it with others. It’s an easy choice, just like the good choices I’m trying to teach my granddaughter to make… and you will feel great knowing that you will give life to somebody who needs YOU!

Thanks.


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: ID 161753002 © Andrii Zastrozhnov | Dreamstime.com
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