Wednesday, Dec. 30

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J. Levine Auction & Appraisal Hosts Annual "New Year's Day" Auction on Friday, Jan. 1

One of the Southwest's largest auction houses, Scottsdale-based J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, will host its biggest auction of the year, the annual "New Year's Day" auction on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. During the year, the upscale auction house holds back the 'best of the best' rare antiques, fine art and other luxury items from affluent estates for this special event. 
Items expected to cause a bidding frenzy include:
Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) Multi-plane brass and copper contemporary sculpture estimated to be worth between $70,000 and $90,000. Harry Bertoia is known for sculpture-kinetic, abstract monoprint, painting and design.

20th Century Carved Jade Man Walking with Child Figure
Figure depicting an old man walking with a child, surrounded by flowering prunus branches; Carved jade with a wood base; Era or Year Produced: 20th Century; Note: Le Palais appraisal from 1992 with a value of $50,000 accompanies this lot.
Anna Boch (1848-1933) Oil Seascape from the 19th/20th century. Estimated to be worth between $20,000 and $30,000.
Lalique Crystal Swimming Swan Pair w/ Mirrored Bases estimated to be worth between $4,000 and $6,000.
1641 First Edition Thomas Heywood "Life Of Merlin, Sirnamed Ambrosius. His Prophesies, and Predictions Interpreted; and Their Truth Made Good By Our English Annalls". Estimated to be worth between $2,000 and $4,000. 

Interested bidders in the New Year's Day auction can preview items from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31 and again starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 1 before the auction begins at 11 a.m. Complimentary Mimosa drinks will be distributed for the New Year's toast beginning at 10:30 a.m. 

For information, visit or call (480) 496-2212.  

Firework Safety

If you're planning on ringing in the New Year with fireworks this year, don't forget about safety and taking much needed  precautions, especially around family, kids and pets. See below for safety tips and info on Arizona State Fireworks Law: 

Fireworks Safety Tips
-Leave Fireworks to the Professionals
-The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
-If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.

Be Extra Careful With Sparklers
-Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. How about this? Let your young children use glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun but they don't burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.
-Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.

Take Necessary Precautions
-Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
-Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
-Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances

Be Prepared for an Accident or Injury
-Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. 
-If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
-Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
-If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. 
-If an eye injury occurs, don't allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.

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City of Buckeye to Celebrate "Buckeyes in Buckeye Day" to Recognize Ohio State Football Team's Bowl Appearance, City's Ohio Heritage

City of Buckeye officials will celebrate the Ohio State Football team's appearance in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day and that state's historical connection to the community with a "Buckeyes in Buckeye Day" on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. that day on the steps of the Buckeye City Hall, 530 E. Monroe Ave., when Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck will read an official proclamation (attached) welcoming the team and its fans to this city of 61,000 residents about 30 miles west of downtown Phoenix.

The city has sponsored three other similar events, when the OSU football team played in Phoenix-area holiday bowl games in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

The day's activities will include a football toss and other games, where Ohio residents can win Buckeye-related prizes.  The Buckeye Fire Department's ladder truck nicknamed "Brutus," the name of OSU's mascot, will be on display.

A local downtown merchant, Absolute Screen Printing, will offer a free commemorative T-shirt to each visitor when they present an official State of Ohio driver's license as proof of that state's residency.

In addition, there will be Buckeye souvenirs for sale on Dec. 30 and 31, and other restaurants and merchants Historical Downtown Buckeye will have special offers and discounts to visitors.

The Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce will be handing out free pens marked "Buckeye Arizona welcomes Ohio State Buckeyes" from Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 28-30. The Buckeye Valley Museum in downtown Buckeye will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day.  It offers an impressive collection of pottery, historic photographs and artifacts from the early days of Buckeye, an attraction that makes it a great place to visit and learn about the city's rich history.

For more information about the "Buckeyes in Buckeye Day" celebration, visit the city's official

The Wildlife World Zoo/ Tegu

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

Local Love: Rawhide

5700 W.N. Loop Rd
Chandler,AZ 85226

Talent Pets

A-1 Animal Talent, Inc. has been in business for over 15 years, providing experienced animals and wranglers for the entertainment industry. Our staff is well acquainted with the business and we do our best to see that the animal talent and handlers we provide know their roles which helps give your project the best outcome possible.

We adamantly support the humane treatment of all animals we represent. We observe the SAG and American Humane Society Guidelines, with particular attention when working with wild animal's and/or poisonous insects and reptiles.

A-1 Animal Talent, Inc. was developed by Nancy Winton and Gerry Kline to provide experienced dogs, cats, birds, hoofstock, insects, reptiles, and registered/licensed wildlife for TV, film, and print media.
A1 Animal Talent LLC

Good Luck Soup

A great dish to ring in the New Year... Black Eye Pea and Sausage Soup... tasty and might even bring you good luck!  Executive Chef Steve Duarte, Blackstone Country Club at Vistancia gives the recipe to making "Good Luck Soup." 

If you are planning to celebrate the New Year in the Southeast, it is most likely that you will be offered black-eyed peas in some form, either just after midnight or on New Year's Day. From grand gala gourmet dinners to small casual gatherings with friends and family, these flavorful legumes are traditionally, according to Southern folklore, the first food to be eaten on New Year's Day for luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead. The practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. 

Black Eyed Pea & Smoked Sausage Soup
2 tbls.               Olive oil
2 ea                  Smoked sausage andouille links, cooked and sliced
1 ea.                 Carrots,large peeled and small dice 
1/2 ea.              Yellow onion, small peeled and small dice
4 ea.                 Garlic cloves, peeled and minced
                        Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbls.               Paprika
1/2 tsp.             Cayenne pepper, ground
1/2 tsp.             Basil Leaves, dry
1/2 tsp.             Oregano leaves, dry
3 ea.                 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 ea.                 Thyme sprig fresh, chopped
Black eyed peas, pre-cooked
Vegetable stock
Tuscan black kale, steamed and chopped 
Tobasco hot sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook 1 pound of dried black eye peas in a large soup pot with enough water to cover peas about 4 cups, season with salt, pepper and add ½  peeled yellow onion , 1 whole jalapeno and 2 strips of raw bacon to pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook for about 50-60 minutes or until the peas are tender. Remove jalapeno, bacon and onion from peas. Drain peas from water and set aside. 

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil, sausage, carrots and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes until vegetables are fragrant. Then add garlic, spices, and season with salt and pepper stirring frequently, not allowing garlic to burn. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add the pre-cooked black eye peas and vegetable stock to pot and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes over low heat, then add chopped kale. Stir well to incorporate. Season soup with Tobacco and Worchester, and add salt and pepper if needed. 

Serve soup. Chef's side note: Soup always tastes better the next day, as you allow the flavors to develop. So if you have time, make the soup the day before.  

BlackStone Country Club at Vistancia

12026 W Lone Mountain Parkway
Peoria, AZ 85383