Wednesday, Dec. 16

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Wells Fargo Neighborhood Lift Program

Big news if you're looking to buy a home here in the valley. There is a program to help with your down
payment. Wells Fargo has donated five million dollars to the "Neighborhood Lift Program."

Eligilbe buyers can apply for up to a $7,500 grants. You can apply at the homebuyer event January 15th and 16th at the Sheraton downtown hotel.

January 15 - 16, 2016
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Location: Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 2nd Floor
340 N 3rd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004

For more information please visit:

The Wildlife World Zoo/ Snicklefritz Kinkajou

Come visit Snicklefritz the Kinajou and other exotic animals at the Wild World Zoo.
Kinkajous are similar to primates but they are closest related to badgers and weasels,

The Wildlife World Zoo is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave. in Litchfield Park. For more information on all the zoo's exciting attractions and events, call 623-935-WILD or check out their website  For more pet training tips from Dr. Grey Stafford, visit

Year End Financial Tips Provided by Bayntree Wealth Advisors

Andrew Rafal,president and founder of Baytree wealth advisors gives us tips to help boost your 401k, cut some taxes and beat some federal deadlines.

1. Maximize Your Retirement Contributions
In 2015, the maximum 401(k) contribution has been increased to $18,000, or $24,000 for those over 50. Even if you can't save the top amount, try to contribute enough to maximize your employer's match. 

For those with a traditional IRA, the maximum contribution is unchanged from 2014 - $5,500, or $6,500 for those over 50. The same is true for Roth IRA contributions. You can make a 2015 contribution to your IRA anytime until Tax Day, which this year will be April 18, 2016.

2. Review and Rebalance Your Retirement Portfolio
End of year is a great time to look at how your retirement savings plan has performed throughout the last year. Every family and investor is different, so it's important to find a mix that fits your unique long-term goals. 

3. Take your RMD from Retirement Accounts avoid 401(k) and IRA Minimum Distribution Penalties
If you turned 70½ in 2015 and have retirement accounts funded with pre-tax dollars, you'll need to start taking Required Minimum Distributions, or RMDs. Missing the distribution deadline will result in a 50% tax on the required RMD. Partial distributions are also penalized.  

4. Social Security Benefit changes.
   Congress recently passed the Bipartisan Budget Bill that will close some popular Society Security filing strategies, like file and suspend and restricted spousal application methods. Find out the upcoming deadlines or each strategy and understand how it will affect you.

5. Review Your Family Financial Plan and Beneficiary Forms

The end of the year is a great time to review your financial plans and compare your progress with your goals. If something isn't working, then revise your strategy for the New Year. Start by evaluating your risk tolerance and market exposure.  Also take the time to also update wills and beneficiaries, particularly if there's been a birth, death, marriage or divorce. 

Bayntree Wealth Advisors is an independent financial advisory firm serving the greater Phoenix area.  President and founder Andrew Rafal believes in a holistic approach when addressing his client's financial needs. Bayntree Wealth Advisors is committed to building long-lasting relationships that extend beyond portfolio and investment management. Their unique planning approach allows them to create comprehensive financial solutions for their clients throughout all phases of life.

Through in-depth education, customized financial planning and undivided advisor attention, Bayntree Wealth Advisors creates a personalized retirement roadmap to help guide clients to and through their retirement.

The primary goal at Bayntree Wealth Advisors is to help clients achieve their financial and retirement objectives through strategies that seek to maximize the growth and preservation of wealth. Rafal's team is unconditionally committed to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and always put their clients' interests first as demonstrated by their five core principles:
    Flawless Client Service
    Rapid Response
    Complete Confidentiality
    Personal Account Management

Bayntree Wealth Advisors
6720 N. Scottsdale Rd. Suite 340 Scottsdale, AZ 85253
Phone: (480) 494-2750
Twitter: RafalRetirement

For a downloadable Checklist visit:

Workplace Myths

Dr. Steven Knauf from The Joint, 5 modern workplace myths - busted, can explain the myths below but also can let viewers know how to use modern tools in a safe and effective way.

Myth 1.  Stand-up desks are better for your health
Sitting all day is bad and could contribute to diabetes and heart disease, but does replacing the chair with a desk where you stand miss the mark? Standing forces our hearts to work harder to circulate blood upward, it also puts more strain on veins, backs, and joints, especially for someone who is overweight. If overused, the popular 'stand up desk' could contribute to curvature of the spine, backaches and varicose veins. "The biggest mistake people make is being in one position too long," Knauf says. "Standing all day and not moving your body is hard on the joints and bones so alternate each hour between sitting and standing." Also make sure the screen is in a proper position where eyes are looking directly forward and not up or down. 

Myth 2. Yoga balls as chairs burn calories and improve your posture
The idea behind this is that sitting on the ball demands extra exertion to keep you upright and stable. But, research shows there is no meaningful difference in calorie burning and yoga balls do not improve posture because people generally slump just as much on a ball as in a normal chair. Many new adopters of ball chairs report increased discomfort in their backsides. Knauf says if you use one, do not slump and rock side-to-side when you are staying in one position too long.

Myth 3. Ergonomic keyboards alleviate typing pain and injury
No matter what configuration they're in, they won't completely stop the pain, fatigue, and discomfort because they don't address the root cause of pain. They may make it worse! If not used carefully, these ergonomic keyboards may cause arm fatigue and pain in the neck, back and shoulders. The ergonomic split keyboard is supposed to prevent your hands from twisting. But this movement where the arm stays still may cause other problems such as wrist pain that can shoot all the way to your elbow or it may cause cysts to form on your wrists. See a medical expert before you purchase one.

Myth 4. Stress balls are a healthy way to ease frustrations
They are a fun soft toy that when squeezed in the hand are supposed to ease tension and exercise finger muscles. But, if used too much they may actually cause carpal tunnel syndrome. "Just remember to not keep your hand clenched for a long time," Knauf says. He also suggests alternating this with using a large rubber band where both hands are inside of it and your fingers are open, stretching it for resistance and stress relief.  

Myth 5. 'Wrist rests' for your keyboard provide significant benefits 
People use wrist rests to keep the wrist high and avoid having the weight of the arm on the wrist. However, moving your fingers, hands, wrists, and forearms as a unit is vital to healthy typing. If you move without this alignment, you may begin to hurt yourself. Not having normal alignment of the wrist while typing is enough to irritate the carpal tunnel and cause pain. "Do some wrist stretches periodically so your wrist does not stay perfectly stagnant all day," Knauf says. He suggests workers close their hand and do circles a few times day.

For more information visit:

The Joint Chiropractic  
16767 N. Perimeter Dr., Suite 240  
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
(480) 245-5960

Perk Eatery owner Pauline Martinez gives us a receipe to Eggnog Overnight Oats

Eggnog Overnight Oats
1/2 cup old fashioned or quick cook oats
1/2 cup eggnog
1 Tbls chia seeds
1 tsp orange zest
2 Tbls dried crasins or cranberries
Pecans (optional)

In a mason jar or container of choice-- mix oats, chia, zest and eggnog. Top with fruit and nuts. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy cold or heat and enjoy. 

For more information visit:

Perk Eatery
6501 E. Greenway Pkwy., Ste. 159
(Safeway Plaza on SE corner of 64th & Greenway)
Scottsdale, AZ  85254

Wild Western Winter Wonderland Gingerbread Village at JW Marriott Desert Ridge

The popular and talk of the town gingerbread village has arrived at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa with the Wild Western Winter Wonderland Gingerbread Village. The village features a 400-pound chocolate train, sheriff's station, "J.W. Corral" and cowboys set amongst a candied desert landscape. 
The resort's renowned gingerbread village is Arizona's largest gingerbread display, and the centerpiece of this year's creation is the impressive train station with a five-foot tall water tower and 400-pound train with an engine, car and caboose. The masterpiece of hand-crafted gingerbread houses with glistening gumdrops, chocolate and sugary icing is open to the public in the resort's lobby. Cookie decorating and hot cocoa with one of the pastry staff are available every evening from 4 to 5 p.m. 
The JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort's pastry team, consisting of 15 pastry chefs, spent more than 400 hours crafting this year's terrific Wild West Christmas Gingerbread Village. The magnificent display includes 900 square feet of confectionary indulgence with 2,000 pounds of gingerbread cookie dough, 1,000 pounds of chocolate and 700 pounds of sugar and candy.
Children can meet Santa's elves, who will make special live character appearances between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays through Jan. 3.
For more information about the Wild Western Winter Wonderland Gingerbread Village, please call (480) 293-5000 or visit

Local Love: Tovera Castle

To this day, the unusual looking structure sitting atop the knoll near what is now East Van Buren and 52nd Street, remains a curiosity to Valley residents and passersby. Resembling a wedding cake or castle, Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights has a rich and interesting history  a history that began with the vision of one man, Alessio Carraro.  That vision included a boutique hotel with deluxe, custom home sites surrounding it.  Alessio's dreams were short-lived, however, as the unique hotel never opened and a portion of the property along with the Castle was sold in 1931, due in large part to the Great Depression.

E.A. Tovrea founded the Arizona Packing Company in 1919, later known as the Tovrea Packing Company, located just west of what was to become Mr. Carraro's castle and gardens. In 1931, E.A. Tovrea and his second wife, Della, purchased the castle from Alessio Carraro.  Sadly, E.A. passed away within a year.  Della Tovrea resided in the castle until her death in 1969.

The castle was purchased from the Tovrea estate by the City of Phoenix in 1993 with monies raised through a series of bond elections approved overwhelmingly by the Citizens of Phoenix.  A complete renovation and refurbishment process was completed in 2010.  

Also, in 2010 Tovrea Carraro Society, was formed as a nonprofit organization tasked with providing access to visitors and preserving, maintaining, and restoring this historic site through an operating agreement with the City of Phoenix.  Public tours of Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights are the primary way that Tovrea Carraro Society lives out its goal of sharing a unique experience for all who visit this historic site.  Tours may be booked online at 

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights
5025 E Van Buren St Phoenix

LocalFirstAZ is sponsoring a special evening 'timeless Phoenix Tour on Friday, January 8, 2016 and includes Tovrea Castle, The Stockyards Restaurant and Pueblo Grande Museum.

Volunteer with Tovrea Carraro Society and help in the garden, gift shop, driving guests and giving tours.  Next new volunteer orientation is January 9, 2016.  Find out more at

Top Holiday Hazards for Kids in 2015

HonorHealth is looking to keep kids and homes safe this holiday season by providing some of the latest tips on toys and holiday decorations this season. Julie Johns, DO, and medical director of HonorHealth's 24/7 Children's Emergency Center is here to talk about what to look for and be mindful of.

Hover boards
The hit film, Back to The Future, set in 2015, sparked the idea of hover boards as the new means of transportation. One company brought the invention to fruition, but not without some safety hazards. To date, there has already been a handful of accidents  including one in which the brand-new gadget caught fire, exploded, and burned down a house in Louisiana  it's now one of the season's most dangerous toys of 2015. Injuries can include:
-    tearing ligaments of knees, legs and feet
-    face and head injuries, as the boards make you lean forward, which have led to face first accidents to the pavement
-    broken wrists and arms, because naturally your instincts tell you catch yourself as you fall with your arms and hands.
-    Defective hover boards can explode causing burn injuries and even cause trauma to the head and neck

Button Batteries
To children, these batteries are small and shaped like candy, which are appealing to put in their mouths. Even if you did your homework and stayed away from toys with button or watch batteries, you may not realize that hearing aids, key chains, flashing shoes and even some of those holiday greeting cards with music also contain these deadly hazards.
When a battery is swallowed, it generates a small electric current, which burns the tissue next to it.   
-    An experiment showed that a button battery will burn straight through deli meat after only 2 hours.
-    In some cases, a swallowed battery is small enough that it can pass through the system (with careful medical monitoring). 
-    In others, the battery becomes lodged (often in the esophagus).
-    As soon as the battery is lodged against tissue, the electrical current starts. Tissues are seriously damaged.  Resulting injuries have required surgeries, feeding tubes, respiratory tubes, and home nursing care.
-    There are several possible routes of injury, and a few ways that a swallowed battery can become fatal.

Magnet Toys

Refrigerator magnets and other magnetic toys can provide a fun, educational experience for many young children. However, loose magnets and magnetic toys designed for adults can cause serious injuries and lifelong impacts for children and teens.

In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was successful in advocating for new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standards for children's products and toys that contain magnets. These new standards help keep children safe by ensuring that magnets in children's products will not fall out or become dislodged. This decreases the risk of loose magnets being swallowed by young children.  

Unfortunately, the new safety standards only apply to children's products. Many magnets are found in products designed for adult use. Recently, children have been injured as a result of swallowing small, round magnets marketed as "stress relief" desk toys for adults. 
Use the tips below to protect your children from the dangers of magnets:
-    Keep products with small or loose magnets away from young children who might swallow them.
-    Closely monitor loose magnets and other magnetic products to ensure children do not swallow them.
-    Avoid purchasing magnets sold in sets of 100 or more, as it is difficult to recognize if a few magnets have gone missing.
-    Talk to your older children and teens about the serious dangers associated with using magnets as fake piercings in their mouths or noses.
Know the symptoms of magnet ingestion:

-    Children who have ingested magnets may have abdominal pain, vomiting, and fever. Because these symptoms are common in children and not usually caused by ingested objects, the true cause may not be suspected right away.
-    Delaying treatment can lead to severe injuries to the stomach, intestines, and digestive tract and even death.
-    Contact your pediatrician or nearest emergency department immediately if you suspect your child has swallowed or been injured by a magnet

Marble Run

It's pretty obvious that marbles are a choking hazard for those ages 6 and younger. And while we may not be gifting these toys to this age group, their older siblings, cousins and friends may receive these gifts and accidentally get into the hands and mouths of little ones. 

If you see your child swallowing something, and you cannot stop it happening, or your child may have swallowed something, look for these signs that there could be a problem requiring emergency treatment:
-    trouble breathing, crying or talking
-    coughing that does not clear the airways (the trachea or bronchi)
-    wheezing or noisy breathing
-    trouble swallowing
-    drooling or bringing up saliva
-    loss of consciousness.

For more information visit: