Love Your Neighbor as Yourself … Really?!

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Click to learn more about Rabbi Kravitz

By Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D. 

On the internet, on the radio, on television, in the newspapers. We began our summer at the end of May 2020 and into June with reports and graphic images of violence, outrage, tears of pain marching across the USA and around the world.

Right in front of our eyes we saw, over and over, the killing of a Black man on a city street. People stood around and watched. Some videotaped. Some created a human barricade around the dying man. NOBODY moved in to help!!

There are excuses for non-action, usually weak answers to critical questions. Why didn’t anybody do anything? It has become too frequent in our country to stand around and watch, then to respond with complaints and anger and violence.

The violence of the action of killing someone in real time and plain view does not seem to motivate the same kind of response as after the fact. What is wrong with this picture? Why don’t human beings reply to horrific events immediately, or work to prevent them? Why are we so jaded as to become voyeurs? Where are our values?

After the event, we will hear calls for “love your neighbor as yourself,” and we will listen to offers of assistance in the cleanup of the communities’ splinters and ashes. Where were the voices of support and caring prior to these acts? Where were the offers to reshape our society into a civil land for all, prior to devastation, riots and burnings?

Absent are the voices of national leadership. Missing are the offers to try and heal the historical pain of dysfunction that prompts these revolts. Lacking is an honest desire to create a planet with peace and harmony FOR EVERYBODY.

And sadly, when the terrifying acts and horrible images of death and fire soon become part of history, who will stand to truly love their neighbors as themselves?

Will you join me?


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. Serving as a volunteer police chaplain for more than 30 years, he regularly addresses civic and religious gatherings on related subjects, while working part-time as Hospital Chaplaincy Coordinator for Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Contact him at rrlkdd@hotmail.com.

HER Certified Review: 2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo AWD — See Ya in a KIA

Click to learn more about Cathy.

By Cathy Droz –

Several years ago, there was a KIA dealer in Phoenix who did his own radio and TV commercials. His voice was much like the character George Costanza in “Seinfeld” and he would end all his commercials (in a high-pitched voice) with “See Ya in a KIA.” It was so irritating, but it became an iconic phrase like “Where’s the Beef?” or “Just do it.” Folks would use that phrase to say goodbye after a lunch meeting or leaving the office. “See Ya in a KIA” … Talk about great marketing.

Well that was then, and this is now. The KIA brand, along with its model lineup, does not need a quirky saying or a hamster to get your attention.

KIA has brand recognition because they listen to their customer base, strive to be on every person’s shopping list and have created outstanding vehicles. Taking cues from other luxury and utilitarian vehicles, they have come up with some winners. The Sportage, Niro, Soul, Sorento, Rio, Forte, Optima, Stinger, K900, Sedona as well as the “impossible to keep in stock” Telluride and my test vehicle, the 2021 Seltos.

The Seltos is a very good-looking vehicle. My test vehicle was white with a black roof. It caught my attention immediately as it did other drivers on the road. I was stopped at a red light when a woman, lowering her window, asked me what kind of SUV I was driving. When I told her she yelled back, “How much?” And I said, “Under 30,” where she immediately gave me thumbs up.

The KIA warranty is one of the best in the mass market brand with 10-year/100,000 Mile limited Powertrain — 5-yr/60,000-Mile limited basic warranty and 5-yr/60,000 Mile Roadside Assistance.

You need to test drive the Seltos and see for yourself if it will meet your needs. My friends (empty nester golfers) took mine for a spin and then tried to get their golf bags in plus other accessories. The cargo area, when the back seats are down, is huge.

You have a choice of driving “feels.” The Drive Mode (DMS) made a difference in how the vehicle responded, once I changed from Eco to Normal, I felt the ride was smoother for me. The “golfers” went to my friend’s KIA dealership and wound up purchasing a Kia Sorento, finding the Seltos a tad small for their needs. I say test drive several! It is like Cinderella’s glass slipper… test drive until the right one fits.

In the case of my “golfer” friends, I suppose we could say “See Ya in a Kia” as they also own a Sportage.

For more information go to kia.com or for more reviews go to hercertified.com

Here are some of the outstanding features of the 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD:

  • 6L Turbo 4-Cylinder Engine, 195 lb.- ft Torque, 175 Horsepower, 7-Speed Quick-Shift DCT Automatic Torque. All-Wheel Drive w/Center Lock Drive Mode Select (DMS)

KIA Drivewise Driver-Assist Technology

  • Forward Collision -Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist Rear
  • Rear Cross Traffic Warning Lane Keeping Assist, Lane departure warning, driver attention warning, high beam assist.

SAFETY

  • Dual Front Advanced Airbags, Dual Front Seat Mounted Side and Full- Length Curtain Airbags
  • ESC and Downhill, Brake/Hill-start Assist Control

INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR HIGHLIGHTS

  • 8” Touchscreen w/Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Rear Camera, USB Multimedia Port, heated front seats, 60/40 Split-Folding and reclining, dual level cargo floor.
  • 18” Alloy Wheels, roof rails, fog lamps, upgraded grille with integrated LED light bar, compact spare tire

SX Turbo AWD Features – All Included in price 24 items – Here are the Highlights

  • UVO Link w/Navigation, 10.25 Display, Bose Premium Audio, sound connected lighting, smart cruise control W/stop and go, highway driving assist, Sofino Seat Trim, 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, remote star (on Key fob), wireless phone charger, rear USB charge port, cargo cover

EXTRA
Clear White with Black Roof Paint: $345
Carpeted Floor Mats: $130
MSRP: $27,890
AS TESTED: $29,485
Fuel: 25 mpg City and 30 mpg Highway


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, 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. 

Arizona Governor Announces New Restrictions Amid Rise in COVID-19 Cases — Bars, gyms and other businesses to pause operations effective 8pm tonight

“Arm yourself with a mask. It’s your best defense against this virus.” — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

At a press conference this afternoon, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced new statewide restrictions as positive COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.

Executive Order 2020-43: Pausing of Arizona’s Reopening — Slowing the Spread of COVID-19, includes pausing operations of bars, indoor gyms, fitness clubs or centers, indoor movie theaters, waterparks and tubing operations, effective 8pm tonight, June 29. The state has a “targeted” reopening date of July 27.

The governor stated that, “This will help relieve stress on our health care system and give time for new transmissions to slow.”

Today’s announcement stated that in order to reopen, the establishments must attest to and adhere to all public health regulations, and post it for the public to see. The governor said that enforcement will be led by local public health officials and local authorities.

The Executive Order also limits mass gatherings.

“Effective June 29, 2020, organized public events of more than 50 people are prohibited unless the city, town or county in unincorporated areas has approved the event, and only if adequate safety precautions are implemented, including physical distancing measures.”

Guidance is also offered for public and private pools. Read the full Executive Order here: https://azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/eo_2020-43.pdf

Also issued today is Executive Order 2020-44: Protecting Public Health for Students and Teachers. The Order delays the start of in-person classes for the school year that begins July 1 until Aug. 17, “but schools may begin the school year on their regularly planned start date prior to August 17, 2020 through distance learning.”

The governor stressed that Aug. 17 is an “aspirational” date and that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman continues to work with district superintendents and other stakeholders on plans to educate students safely this school year.

Read the full Executive Order here: https://azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/eo_2020-44.pdf

Dr. Cara Christ, director of Arizona Department of Health Services, provided updated guidance for Independence Day, encouraging residents to celebrate with “immediate household or daily contacts” and to protect vulnerable family members and friends by sharing time virtually.

She also shared that the state is partnering with Banner Health and Arizona State University**, among others, to increase availability and timeliness of testing statewide.

Also announced today, by the end of this week, the state will have in place a program to provide access to masks for every Arizonan.*

Ducey closed the press conference with this reminder: “Arm yourself with a mask. It’s your best defense against this virus.”

WATCH today’s press conference in its entirety here. |CST


[*This story is developing and will be updated.]

[** Link updated July 9, 2020.]

FOUND:RE Launches #Together4PHX

Community invited to submit photographs for visual storytelling project

COVID-19 has forever changed the lives of people around the world, and FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel wants to help tell the stories of those lives, but with a local focus. With this goal in mind, it launched #Together4PHX, a visual storytelling project designed showcase in an effort to unite people through their unique photographic experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. The company is seeking submissions to be displayed on the hotel’s six-story exterior video wall.

“Our goal is to create a digital art photography experience for the community, created by the community — because we are all in this together,” says Tim Sprague, managing partner of FOUND:RE Phoenix. “We’re seeking photos that embrace a myriad of emotions such as bravery, compassion, selflessness, resilience, and spirit as well as images that showcase fun, entertainment, unique quarantine activities and more. This captivating, large-scale light installation will essentially become our gallery without walls that lights up the night and instills a sense of pride for how we as a community have overcome challenges of this new normal.”

Photography professionals and novices of all ages are invited to submit their high-resolution, vertical photographs.  The resolution must be at least 2MB. Photographers are encouraged to submit as many photos as desired.  After a photograph is approved, the photographer will be notified via email.

Images should reflect touching personal experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. Photos must be received in vertical format, and community members are welcome to submit as many photos as they wish via foundrehotels.com/submitart. The images will rotate on the property’s six-story exterior video wall in an effort to bring art, community and a visual “story” of the pandemic into the downtown landscape for all to experience.

FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel is located at 1100 N. Central Ave. For more information, visit foundrehotels.com.


Photo: ID 18878636 © Erik Reis | Dreamstime.com

Local Apparel Company Lucia & Marie Now Offering Handmade Face Masks

Photo courtesy of Lucia & Marie

Lucia & Marie is a clothing brand made in Arizona. Cindy Lonnstrom, owner, operates an online Etsy shop for accessories and “fur baby” apparel. Although, currently, she is creating handmade face masks and is selling the products within the U.S.

“Since the quarantine period began, I started selling handmade face masks to consumers and donating some to medical professionals who were looking to preserve their N95 masks,” said Lonnstrom. “With the understanding that handmade cotton face masks are not medical-grade or FDA approved masks. When a consumer buys two, we gift one to healthcare workers fighting to save lives of patients with COVID-19.”

For additional information, call 480.479.5057, visit luciaandmarie.com or find the boutique on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Bragg Named Associate Artistic Director at ATC

Chanel Bragg

Arizona Theatre Company (ATC) announced today that Arizona native Chanel Bragg has been named associate artistic director for the company.

A graduate of Northern Arizona University and Cortez High School, Bragg is a producer, director, teaching artist and performer whose mission is to open doors and shatter stereotypes for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and women in Arizona.

“My career, and life, was changed by the opportunity to be an Associate Artistic Director at a leading LORT theatre, so I have always wanted to provide that opportunity for someone else. For me that person is Chanel Bragg,” said ATC artistic director Sean Daniels. “Also, it’s time for theaters to start hiring and promoting the immense talent that lives in their own towns.”

Bragg, who holds a Master of Arts degree with an emphasis in Innovative Leadership from Western International University, has worked with a range of Arizona fine arts institutions and is a three-time AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence recipient. Among the organizations for which she has collaborated are ATC in The Music Man and Cabaret, Black Theatre Troupe, The Phoenix Symphony, Free Arts for Abused Children, Phoenix Theatre, Stray Cat Theatre, Childsplay, Arizona Broadway Theatre, TheaterWorks, Spotlight Youth Theatre and Desert Stages.

“I have spent my career carrying the belief that our Arizona theater community rivals any place in the universe and now I’ve been given the illustrious platform to prove it,” Bragg said.

She is also co-founder of the Soul of Broadway, an AriZoni award winner, producer of The Alexander Project Tribute Band with Live Nation, founder of United Colours of AZ Theatre and a supporting vocalist in the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra.

“I am inspired by the work Chanel does — onstage and off — her dedication to her community and the joy she brings to every project,” Daniels said. “We are a better organization, and I will be a better Artistic Director, for having her unquestioned work ethic, high level of artistry, fierce passion for equity and inclusion and her truly remarkable and delightful sense of humor helping to lead the way. Though these are unprecedented and sometimes overwhelmingly challenging times, the future remains bright for ATC — especially with hires like this.”

For more information about Arizona Theatre Company, visit arizonatheatre.org.

Board Approves Mask Regulations in Maricopa County Due to Community Spread of COVID-19

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved mask regulations Friday, June 19, to “create consistent minimum mask-wearing requirements across all jurisdictions while allowing cities and towns to set their own policies and regulations related to face coverings.”

“We know thousands of people move through different cities and towns in Maricopa County every day,” said Board of Supervisors chairman Clint Hickman.  “The regulations are based on the recommendations of our Public Health Department and they give residents an understanding of the rules no matter where they are within the County.”

The Board recognized that some cities and towns have already passed proclamations and emergency orders, and says that this County regulation does not interfere with those local decisions. Board members say they hope other governments will take advantage of the expertise from Public Health and create consistent rules in their communities.  Some highlights from the regulations include:

  • People older than six must wear masks in enclosed public spaces (where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained)
  • Adults with children 2 to 5 years old must make reasonable effort to make them wear masks inside enclosed public spaces
  • All riders and operators on public transportation must wear a mask
  • Staff working in public spaces (such as restaurants or stores) must wear masks

“We are hoping residents and cities and towns will partner with us during the pandemic,” added Hickman.  “We have seen more than 60% of total cases in the past three weeks.  This will not stop unless the public consistently takes action to prevent the spread.”

The regulations include exemptions from wearing masks that include:

  • The regulations do not apply to people in homes
  • Children under 2 years old
  • Restaurant patrons while they are eating and drinking
  • People walking or exercising outdoors (while maintaining six feet of distance)
  • When in a personal vehicle, office or other personal space

Enforcement is the responsibility of law enforcement and per the governor’s executive order 2020-40, it should focus on educating the public about the dangers of community spread.  An officer should promote best public health practices and provide a warning, but if a person refuses to put on a face covering again, they can face a fine of not more than $50.

This regulation goes into effect at midnight Saturday, June 20, 2020.

Read the regulations requiring face coverings in Maricopa County.

‘Night Without a Bed’ Invites Community to Envision Life as Homeless Child

Family Promise of Greater Phoenix is organizing a virtual event called Night Without a Bed to raise awareness and funds for families experiencing homelessness. The one-night campaign, scheduled for June 20, invites members of the community to give up their bed for the night.

“No child ever dreams that they might face homelessness, that they will need to sleep in a car or on the street. Unfortunately, this has become the norm for far too many children in Arizona,” said Ted Taylor, executive director at Family Promise of Greater Phoenix. “We hope the community will spend a night without a bed so that other children don’t have to.”

Family Promise, a nonprofit organization that rescues primarily first-time homeless families and their pets and helps them return to independence, is asking community members to participate in Night Without A Bed by giving up their bed for a single night to experience what homeless families may experience on a nightly basis. Participants are encouraged to ask their friends and family to do the same and to ask for pledges and donations for Family Promise. Through the campaign, Family Promise hopes to raise awareness and funds for supporting homeless families in the Valley.

Currently, Family Promise is sheltering more than a dozen families at their day centers in south Scottsdale. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Family Promise says it relied on its network of volunteer churches and synagogues to shelter and feed the families they serve while Family Promise assisted these families on their journey back to self-sufficiency. Family Promise has had to suspend its community-based model to protect its volunteers and families from the potential spread of the virus. This operations shift has cost the nonprofit money and resources to continue its mission to shelter and find permanent housing for homeless families.

“While it’s been a challenge to adapt to our new reality, we’ve never given up on our mission to help families in need,” added Taylor. “When you make the decision to support Family Promise of Greater Phoenix through Night Without A Bed, you are helping to ensure that no child will need to worry where they will sleep at night.”

According to the organization, one in 16 children in the U.S. experiences homelessness by the first grade. These experiences can have lasting negative effects on children, as children who face homelessness are more likely to drop out of school, repeat a grade, suffer from depression and attempt suicide.

Family Promise has a goal of raising $100,000 through the Night Without a Bed campaign. Funds raised will help shelter and rehouse homeless families across the Valley. Members of the community can join the live-streamed event on Family Promise’s Facebook page at 6pm June 20 at facebook.com/familypromiseaz. Families and individuals can pledge donations and RSVP for Family Promise’s Night Without a Bed at familypromiseaz.org/nightwithoutabed.

Desert Foothills Library Continues Curbside Pickup Service

In May, Desert Foothills Library took a prudent, cautious approach to opening the library. While the library itself remains closed, following CDC guidelines in an effort to keep the library community healthy and safe, it began offering curbside pickup of materials.

This service, which began May 18, is available to all library patrons regardless of membership status. Patrons are requested to follow the steps below to request and obtain books, audio books, and DVDs from the Desert Foothills Library Collection. They may request items by using the online library catalog, or by calling the library.

Library staff said, “We’ve got lots of new titles and more on the way!”

To Request Library Materials by Phone:
Place requests for materials by calling the library at 480.488.2286 Monday–Friday, 10am–4pm, and Saturday, 10am–2pm.

To Request Library Materials Online:
Visit www.dfla.org and click on “Search our Library Catalog.”
Click log in in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
Log in by entering the patron barcode number, found printed on the back of library cards. Enter password and click log in.
Search for items by title, author or subject, or browse items in the collection by clicking on the “New Titles” lists on the left-hand side of the screen.
Click place request on an item and submit.
Patrons will receive an email when the requested item becomes available for pick-up.

To Pick Up Requested Materials:
Curbside Pickup is available Monday–Friday, 10am–4pm, and Saturday, 10am–2pm. Park in any library parking space.
Materials will be on a table outside the library entrance, in a bag with the patron’s name on it.
All items in the bag will have already been checked out to the patron, with a checkout slip showing the due dates for materials.

To Return Library Materials
Put all library materials in designated drop boxes to the left of the library entrance.
All materials will remain on the patron’s account for three to four days after return, to allow for a quarantine period. This is for the safety of library staff and patrons. Any overdue fees accrued during that period will be waived by staff.

Residents who have questions about this service or any of the digital or virtual services, can visit www.dfla.org to learn more, or call the library at 480.488.2286.


Photo: ID 64880522 © Natabene | Dreamstime.com

The Need is Great, Getting Started is Easy

— By Clint Williams, Aid to Adoption of Special Kids — 

Much has changed since the COVID-19 virus swept across the globe. But one thing hasn’t changed — children in foster care need homes.

After years of decline, the number of children in foster care this fiscal year has topped last year’s count. The number of children in foster care who are placed in group homes because there are no families to take them in has risen to nearly 1,600. Meanwhile, the number of new foster care licenses issued has declined over the past two years.

“The need for committed, caring foster parents has never been greater,” said Ron Adelson, CEO of Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK). “Fortunately, it’s never been easier to get started on the path to change the life of a child in foster care. AASK has developed live, interactive online information sessions that make learning about foster care, adoption and mentoring easy as clicking a computer mouse. Without leaving your home.”

During the information session, Adelson said, participants learn more about AASK and how the agency helps caring adults who want to help children in foster care.

“There are several ways to provide a relationship to a child in foster care — adoption, foster care, mentoring and the AASK Sibling Connection program,” Adelson said. “AASK information sessions explain the demands and rewards of each program so that you can judge which path is best for you.”

Virtual learning continues should you decide to become a foster parent, Adelson noted. The state’s foster parent training program is now conducted online.

AASK holds six virtual information sessions a month, including one in Spanish. To learn more, or to register, go to https://www.aask-az.org/infosessionrequest.


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.

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