Friday, May 22, 2015



Last Ticket to Hell

PHM1014PF24Resisting criticism, two Valley churches continue to stage graphic, damnation-based haunted houses.

“It sounds weird,” says Casey Mammen, associate pastor at The Door Christian Fellowship Church in Tempe. “But at Halloween, sometimes it’s effective if you put death in the mix.”

While fall feasts, pumpkin patches and “Trunk or Treat” parties have filled many a church parking lot, Christians have traditionally avoided the blood-and-gore Halloween scene. The exception: so-called “Hell Houses,” a controversial form of fire-and-brimstone Halloween entertainment practiced by a pair of chuches in the Valley.


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New Kids on the Block

PHM1014Flash-2-NewKidsWith a slew of new eateries opening this fall, Mill Avenue may be the Valley’s next foodie capital.

When one thinks of Tempe, the image of bar-crawling, snapback hat-donning college students on Mill Avenue easily pops into one’s mind – but wait, there’s more. With a growing downtown culture currently experiencing a renaissance, Tempe may have found a new niche in fine dining. Here are some new spots to hit the next time you’re on the strip.


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¶lim¶Traffick Stop

PHM1014Feat-3Next year’s Super Bowl is bringing the issue of sex trafficking to the fore in Arizona. The truth is more complicated: It’s been with us all along.

avannah Sanders doesn’t stand out in the crowd at her office’s sunlit café. Like many a busy modern woman, the wife and mother of four fields phone calls while eating a salad – juggling her job with volunteer work and graduate school. Her cherubic face and soft-spoken, direct demeanor do not whisper of trauma. None of the businesspeople breezing by would suspect she was sex-trafficked at 16.


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ASID 2014 Design Excellence Awards

PHM0914ASID01aThe American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) North Chapter is the premier organization for local interior designers. Each year, ASID salutes its members’ design achievements in multiple categories for residential, commercial, hospitality, health care and sustainability. The winners were honored at the 2014 ASID Design Excellence Awards Gala, held in August at the Montelucia Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. Following are the recipients and Best in Show winner for the Commercial category of interior design. The winners in the Residential category are presented in this month’s issue of our sister magazine, Phoenix Home & Garden. For more information about the ASID North Chapter, visit


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¶lim¶A Tale of Two Boomburbs

chandler, gilbert, boomburbsWith record expansion, Chandler and Gilbert have emerged from Mesa’s shadow in the Southeast Valley. But how much growth is left?

“Country Burb” Gilbert
The East Valley "town" of 229,000 boasts lower crime rates and higher household income than Chandler.

“City Burb” Chandler
Led by the tech industry, Chandler manufacturers ship $3.9 billion in goods annually, compared to $416 million in Gilbert.

Looking to split their time between Seattle and the Valley of the Sun, Michael and Sherry Dryja nearly bought a new high-rise condo in Downtown Phoenix. They liked the urban scene and amenities. Ultimately, they settled on a place in the Southeast Valley town of Gilbert.


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¶lim¶Trial by Fire

Tiara Del Rio, Beau ZimbroNearly burned alive in a gas explosion, a young West Valley couple beats the odds – and  makes medical history.

October 16, 2013, 9:19 p.m.
When the house at 7916 W. Cholla St. exploded, it rocked a Peoria police patrol car idling only 15 feet away. Officer Kenneth Tarrant happened to be sitting in the cruiser, wrapping up a traffic case.

He radioed for help, then ran to aid the young man and woman running from the house. They were screaming in agony. They managed to tell him they’d been badly burned. Tarrant asked if anybody else was in the house. The answer was no.


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The Best Little Whorehouse in Arizona

prostitution, brothelIt was an offer Mayor Greg Stanton could easily refuse. Eyeing a win-win investment opportunity, Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof wrote a letter to Stanton in July requesting permission to open a temporary house of ill repute in Phoenix during next year’s Super Bowl. His offer: $500,000. His rationale: Hey, prostitution will happen anyway, so why not undercut the human traffickers and whatnot?


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