• What’s A Good Family Pet To Leave Outdoors?

    Question: We would like a family pet, but need it to be able to live outdoors. Is there a specific type of pet that would be okay with the diverse temperatures that we experience here in the Valley? Answer: Pet expert and writer for The Arizona Republic Scott Craven offers some advice: â��So you want a family pet that really wonâ��t be part of the family. There could be many reasons for this. Allergies, perhaps. Lack of adequate time to spend with a pet. Maybe you like the idea of a pet without caring for something that may pester… â��Cats? No. Cats can easily scale just about any fence, and visit only when you put out food. In fact, you may already have an outdoor cat and donâ��t know it. Theyâ��re commonly referred to as feral cats,  and the goal is to humanely reduce their population, not add unattended cats to their colonies. Hamster, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets â�� no, no, no, no. They require attention as well as various habitats not very conducive to outdoor living. Snakes and other legally obtainable reptiles â�� no. Neighbors would definitely complain about any free-range snakes slithering about. Which leaves us with two possibilities. Chickens and desert tortoises. You will need to make sure chickens are allowed in your neighborhood before you start building the coops. And if unfamiliar with the proper care and handling of desert tortoises, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has all you need to know at Chickens and desert tortoises may not be the cuddly type, but theyâ��d do just fine outside. And if you choose the former, you get a bonus â�� eggs.â�� 16 hours ago respond

  • Should I Buy Beer From The Refrigerated Section Or From The Shelf?

    Question from Dan: I heard that it’s bad for beer to go from cold to warm and back to cold again. If this is true, should I try to buy beer from the shelf, rather than the refrigerated section, if I’m not going directly home to place in the fridge? Answer: I decided to take this question to a local brewery. Greg Ross, marketing director for Four Peaks Brewing Company, gave us an answer: â��Dan is correct. When beer temperatures fluctuate, the oxidants eventually lose their structure, which changes the flavor of the beer. It’s especially important to keep temperatures consistent with non-pasteurized beers which represent most of the… â��Four Peaks tries to get our retailers to keep our beers in cold storage and in the case of bottles, not under direct light. The biggest enemies of beer are light and oxygen. Many retailers do a great job for our beer, keeping it cold and restocked. Usually, Four Peaks beer will be consumed within 20 days of production. There is definitely a big difference between fresh beer and beer that is 50-plus days old. Sometimes promotions make it very difficult not to use floor space for stocking, which is fine, as long as the beer gets rotated.â�� 6 days ago respond

  • Why Does The Arizona Legislature Hate Public Schools?

    Itâ��s the hottest public works project in Arizona, one thatâ��ll have a far reaching impact, affecting every child in this state â�� not to mention our ability to attract decent employers. Sadly, our leaders are quite likely up to the challenge and so I look for Arizonaâ��s public education system to be dismantled in the not-too-distant future. Oh, the schools will remain, but theyâ��ll be hollow shells of themselves, filled with the kids whose parents are too poor to send them elsewhere or too otherwise occupied to worry overmuch about where and whether their kids are getting an… Consider the recent marketing campaign by Arizonaâ��s own state superintendent of public instruction. â��I have great news for you,â�� Superintendent John Huppenthal recently said in a recorded telephone message to parents. â��I want you to know about a state program that provides money for parents to offer alternatives for their child, including private schools. Thatâ��s right. You may be able to send your child to private school for free!â�� As opposed, say, to sending your kids to one of Huppenthalâ��s public schools â�� the ones that he and his colleagues seem to despise. Operation Take Down, as Iâ��ll call it, began a few years ago, as the Republican-controlled Legislature began sucking money out of the public schools. Total spending on K-12 education was $412 less per student last year than it was in 2009, according to a recent report by the Arizona auditor general. And thatâ��s in a state where our $7,500 in per-student operational spending already trails the national average by about 42 percent â�� or more than $3,000 per student. Meanwhile, the Legislature in 2011 began a narrowly focused voucher program, aimed at allowing children with serious physical and mental disabilities to attend private schools using public funds. It was a decent thing to do for a small group of disabled children whose needs the public schools couldnâ��t or wouldnâ��t meet. Then the program was expanded to the children of active-duty military. And to foster-care children and those adopted out of the foster-care system. And to children attending public schools that received a D or an F rating from the state â�� because, heaven forbid we actually fix our failing schools. Then came certain kindergarteners. Now this year come a series of bills that would dramatically expand the stateâ��s Empowerment Scholarship Account program, as itâ��s called — from the current 761 students to 28,000 within five years, and eventually to every child in public or charter schools. Currently, thereâ��s a cap on the number of new kids who can be added to the state-funded scholarship program each year, presumably to avoid wholesale devastation in the public system. But it expires in 2019. Does anybody really believe the GOP-run Legislature will continue that cap? â��This,â�� Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix and the billâ��s sponsor, said, â��is an opportunity for every parent to place their child in an environment that best fits their childâ��s educational needs.â�� Or put another way, itâ��s an opportunity to use taxpayer money to boost private and religious schools at the expense of already underfunded public schools. Make that, another opportunity to use taxpayer money to boost private and religious schools at the expense of already underfunded public schools. We already have the always expanding tuition tax credit program, which has diverted millions of tax dollars to private religious schools. But back to the latest siphon, the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. What happens to the kids left behind? The ones, for example, whose parents donâ��t have the money to pay the difference between the state-funded scholarship and the actual cost of private school? Tuition at Xavier College Preparatory is nearly $17,000. At Brophy, itâ��s $13,500 and it costs up to $19,000 to attend Rancho Solano. Scottsdale Christian Academy hovers around $10,000 while at Phoenix Country Day, tuition ranges from oh my goodness to yeeeow. ($21,000 to $24,000). As for the families who canâ��t find a cheaper private alternative, theyâ��ll be stuck in those public schools that our leaders oh so strongly support. Why, just last week the Senate came close to scrapping new, more rigorous educational standards for public schools. Fortunately, five Republicans joined with Democrats to seize the wheel of the careening clown car and steer a saner path â�� one that supports standards aimed at preparing our kids to succeed in the 21st Century. Now those five senators â�� Bob Worsley of Mesa, Michele Reagan of Scottsdale, John McComish of Ahwatukee, Adam Driggs of Phoenix and Steve Pierce of Prescott â�� need to grab steering wheel once more. Hereâ��s an idea. Instead of disabling the public schools, how about fixing them? (Column published March 12, 2014, The Arizona Republic.) a month ago respond

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