Author Archives: karenbarr

Big Surf opens season with half-off deal

Photo courtesy of Big Surf Waterpark in Tempe.

Big Surf Waterpark is offering 50 percent off of general admission during the first three weekends of May for guests who bring in at least three non-perishable food items for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

The promotion begins on Saturday, May 5, when Big Surf Waterpark opens for the 2012 season, and continues on Saturdays and Sundays through May 20.

On Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13, moms get in free when at least three non-perishable food items are donated. Everyone else in the group will receive 50 percent off admission with three or more non-perishable food donations.

‘We’re thrilled to kick off our 43rd season by partnering with the original food bank, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, and to provide to those in need of food,” said Bob Pena, Big Surf Waterpark General Manager, in a press release.

The waterpark is open weekends only through May 20 and then daily day from  May 25 through Aug. 6. Then it’s back to a Saturday/Sunday-only schedule from Aug. 11 through Sept. 16, when the 2012 season concludes. The park will be open on Labor Day. Season passes are $49.95.

Big Surf has been an Arizona icon for more than 40 years. It is located on 20 acres at 1500 N. McClintock Dr., on the border of Tempe and Scottsdale. 480-994-2297 or


Today is Healthy Kids Day at Valley YMCAs

Save $100 on a family membership during Healthy Kids Day festivities at 17 Valley of the Sun YMCA locations today only.

Activities vary by site and include games, prizes, bounce houses, facepainting, swimming, family zumba classes, kids yoga and more.

Times also vary by location. The best way to find out what’s happening near you is to visit and click on “locations” to find the branch closest to you. Then click on “member info button” for specifics on today’s events.

Coffee and Play: A preschool preview at UUEEC

Photo courtesy of UUEEC.

Since 1961, the Unitarian Universalist Early Education Cooperative preschool (UUEEC) has provided a child-centered, play-based early education program for children ages 2 to 5 years old. Their experienced, highly qualified educators create learning environments that celebrate each unique developmental stage. As a parent-participation preschool, UUEEC believes in the importance of raising children in community and intentionally fostering relationships that can last a lifetime for both children and parents.

Years ago, I followed the lead of our publisher, Karen Barr, and then assistant editor Lisa Sorg-Friedman (writer/photographer Dan Friedman’s wife) and enrolled both of my children at UEEC. Sean and Juliann, my husband Bobby and I all enjoyed the co-operative preschool environment, which allows time for parents and/or grandparents to participate in daily activities. The co-op also provides ongoing parent education.

UUEEC currently is enrolling students ages 2 to 5 for the fall 2012 semester.

You can try out the cooperative preschool experience during “Coffee & Play: Preschool Preview” on Tuesday, April 24. Bring your toddler or preschooler with you from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. Meet other parents over a cup of coffee and let your little one experience a typical morning of fun, hands-on learning. Explore classrooms with your child,  meet the experienced teachers and talk to currently enrolled parents and their children.

The school is located at 4027 E. Lincoln Dr. in Paradise Valley. RSVP to For more information, call 602-840-8400 x233 or visit Ortiz-Lieb

Photo courtesy of UUEEC.

Arizona Snowbowl offering deals during final week of skiing

Photo courtesy of Arizona Snowbowl.

Arizona Snowbowl is heading into the final week its 2011-2012 season with the last day of skiing on Sunday, April 1. The Agassiz Lift will continue operating from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the remainder of the season. The Hart Prairie Lift and Little Spruce Conveyor are assessed day by day for adequate snow cover.

“The 57 inches of snow we received earlier this week prolonged the season
two more weeks,” says Dave Smith, Snowbowl’s marketing manager. “Without this snow we would have closed March 1. Unfortunately the 50 degree weather is rapidly melting the snow. Skiing on the upper mountain is holding strong. It’s full-on spring conditions out there, firm in the morning and softening throughout the day. We are seeing lots of Hawaiian shirts and many skiing in shorts having a great time.”

From March 26 to April 1, Snowbowl will be offering many warm-weather
specials. All-day lift ticket rates are now $43 for adults and $29 for juniors. More savings are available on the Arizona Snowbowl website, including a $29 all-day
lift ticket voucher. End of season clearance sales are taking place in the Sport Shop.

Not a skiier? Sometimes the last week of skiing is more about hanging out on the deck, visiting with friends and having fun in the spring sun.

For more information call 928-779-1951 or visit

Wells Fargo Celebrates 160-year anniversary with $160,000 donation to local charities

Wells Fargo & Company marked a milestone anniversary this week. In celebrating 160 years of service to customers and communities, the financial company is making a series of donations and participating in volunteer activities across the nation.

Wells Fargo donated $160,000 to local non-profit organizations. Through voting at local Wells Fargo ATMs, eligible Wells Fargo customers in Arizona determined how the $160,000 was divided:

• The American Cancer Society: $100,000
• Association of Arizona Food Banks: $30,000
• Big Brothers Big Sisters: $30,000

The grant are part of a company-wide anniversary giving program that resulted in more than $2.5 million being donated to more than 60 nonprofit organizations across the U.S.

“The celebration of our anniversary includes ways to honor our customers, community members, and team members in Arizona and across the country,” says Pam Conboy, Wells Fargo Arizona regional president. “We’ve been working with our customers and communities to help them succeed financially since 1852, and we’ll continue to do so as we look ahead to the next 160 years of service.”

Wells Fargo will donate, build or renovate 160 homes in the communities it serves over the course of 160 days in celebration of the anniversary. The company also is organizing local volunteer activities for team members across the country. In Arizona, Wells Fargo team members are volunteering for a variety of community service projects, including the Action for Autism Radiothon to benefit Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, Project C.U.R.E. Arizona, End Homelessness Project Connect, the WeekEND Backpack Program to help end student hunger, the Arizona Bassett Hound Rescue, serving meals at the Phoenix Rescue Mission and the Kiss Me I’m Irish Run to support prostate cancer research. Wells Fargo Arizona is also training 160 team members to deliver its Hands on Banking® financial literacy curriculum to Arizona schools and community events.

Founded as a banking and express company on March 18, 1852, in New York City, Wells Fargo opened its first western office on the waterfront of Gold Rush San Francisco on July 13, 1852, the site of the company’s current headquarters. With the merger of Wachovia, Wells Fargo once again serves customers coast to coast.

Wells Fargo first came to Arizona in 1858 when the stagecoaches of the Overland Mail Company (The Butterfield Line) began their 21-day journeys between Missouri and California. Wells Fargo helped to finance this venture and eventually ran the stage line. The route passed through the Arizona Territory until 1861 when, owing to the Civil War, it was moved north. Wells Fargo returned to Arizona in 1877 with five offices—including Phoenix and Tucson. When railroads began crossing Arizona in the 1880s, settlement, farming and Wells Fargo offices followed.

“In the 1860’s Henry Wells was asked what it takes to succeed in business,” says Conboy.  “He said, ‘There is one very powerful business rule. It is concentrated in the word courtesy.’ Today we call it ‘service.’”

Learn more about Wells Fargo’s 160-year history.

How to score a FREE Sprinkles cupcake

Sprinkles Cupcakes. Photo by Daniel Friedman.

Sprinkles Cupcakes is celebrating new extended baking hours by offering guests a free cupcake from 8 to 9pm today and tomorrow (March 15 & 16). The bakery is now open from 9am to 9pm Monday-Saturday and 10am to 8pm Sunday.

Guests with a valid ID may select one free cupcake of their choice during their two-day celebration. If you decide to go, you might want to consider sharing your cupcake with a friend or family member. The cupcakes have no trans fats or artificial ingredients but each carries a hefty caloric total. The blog Cupcake Activist begins a post with “WARNING: If you love Sprinkles Cupcakes and want to continue eating them, don’t read any further” before she shares nutrition information she found on the website. (She says one Sprinkles red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting is 627 calories.)

But calories sure haven’t deterred lines of people that show up each day at Sprinkles Cupcakes in Scottsdale.

We learned something we didn’t know about Sprinkles Cupcakes when Jennifer Kaplan of Evolve Public Relations and Marketing showed up today with a preview of the special Father’s Day cupcakes that will be available June 15 to 17. She told us that Sprinkles also makes doggy cupcakes.

Calendar & Directories Editor Mala Blomquist’s chihuahua Bonnie, our office mascot, was very happy to hear that and can’t wait to check them out.

Sprinkles Cupcakes is located at 4501 N. Scottsdale Rd., on the northeast corner of Scottsdale and Camelback in Scottsdale. The company opened “the world’s first cupcake bakery” in Beverly Hills, according to the Food Network, and is credited by the Los Angeles Times as “the progenitor of the haute cupcake craze.” It was founded by Candace Nelson, a judge on the Food Network’s hit show “Cupcake Wars,” and her husband Charles.

SRP customers can get free light bulbs

Are you an SRP customer? Could you use some free lightbulbs?

While supplies last, SRP is offering a free six-pack of CFLs to customers. Free bulbs, free shipping, no catch. Bulbs will be in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Simply log on at and fill out the form. You will need your SRP account number.

Need more reasons to take advantage of this great offer? CFL bulbs use 75% less energy than regular bulbs — and last 10 times longer. And with lighting accounting for about 10 percent of energy use in Valley homes, CFLs save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.