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  • 10 Unusual things insurance covers

    Whether a satellite crashes into your home or a power outage spoils food in your refrigerator, your insurance might just cover some unusual damages.“It’s a good idea to review your insurance policies so you know what coverage you have and if an unusual mishap – a lightning strike, aircraft crash or riot – will be covered,” said Brad Oltmans, vice president of insurance for AAA Arizona. Here are 10 of the more unusual things that your auto, homeowners or renters policy may cover:Identity theft. Millions of people are victims of identity theft every year. With an optional endorsement on your policy, your insurance may cover identity theft expenses up to a predetermined limit. These expenses may include reasonable attorney fees and earnings lost due to time taken off work to resolve the issue.Dog bites. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites and other dog-related injury claims accounted for more than a third of homeowners insurance claim dollars in 2015. Your homeowners or renters policy may cover dog bite liability expenses up to the liability limits, however dog bite claims from dogs with prior bite history and/or breeds that are classified as vicious are not covered. Spoiled food. If a power outage occurs, food that spoils in your freezer and refrigerator may be covered under your homeowner policy, but the amount likely will vary.

  • Conventional and alternative therapies for pain management subject of March 1 UA lecture

    More than 100 million Americans, about a third of the population, suffer from chronic pain. More people are affected by chronic pain than by heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined, and at a cost of more than $600 billion a year in medical treatments and lost productivity. A free presentation, “Tame Your Pain ... An Inside Look at Conventional and Alternative Therapies for Pain Management,” will be held Wednesday, March 1 from 6 until 7:15 p.m. at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, DuVal Auditorium, located at 1501 N. Campbell Ave. The 75-minute talk will include time for questions and answers.Speaker Mohab Ibrahim, MD, PhD, director of the Comprehensive Pain Management Clinic at Banner – University Medical Center South, UA assistant professor of anesthesiology and pharmacology, and director of the Chronic Pain Fellowship Program at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, will present a detailed discussion of the causes of chronic pain and the current available treatments for arthritis and related joint pain, including the associated side effects. Pain can be considered a disease, not just a symptom of a disease. Pain specialists identify the type of pain and tailor the therapy accordingly. There is no “one size fits all.” Most pain specialists will avoid opioid medications to manage arthritis pain. Opioids are good for the short term, but when taken chronically, negative factors emerge which may outweigh the benefit of pain control.Dr. Ibrahim will present the latest conventional and alternative approaches to pain management while highlighting the facts, fads and fiction associated with this complex medical issue.Seating for the lecture is limited and prior registration is requested. For more information or to register, please visit the UA Arthritis Center website at www.arthritis.arizona.edu or call 626-5040 or email livinghealthy@arthritis.arizona.edu

  • Cooking up Creole, Cajun traditions in Old Pueblo

    It’s more than just a few letters that distinguish the Cajuns from the Creoles in the Pelican State.While the terms are often used synonymously, the gulf between these two regional Louisiana styles of cooking is as wide as Lake Pontchartrain. So in preparation for Fat Tuesday, the one day of the year when that gulf is bridged, I caught up with two local chefs for a better understanding of these tasty traditions. Robert Iaccarino was born and raised in New Orleans and spent nearly 20 years in Europe as a self-described “journeyman chef.” He then worked in several New Orleans restaurants, including stints in the kitchen with legendary Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme, an Iaccarino family friend, before his passing.Iaccarino tells me that creole cuisine is drawn from European influences, from what he calls the “top of the aristocracy.”“These were the people that had the means, the education and the money to purchase a lot of fresh foods, produce, meats, sausages and the like,” said Iaccarino, executive chef at Sazerac Creole Kitchen and Cocktails, 4340 N. Campbell Avenue, “and that’s what our food is based on at Sazerac; 19th century style cuisine with modern appliances.”In addition to classic creole dishes such as crawfish etoufee and jambalaya, Iaccarino’s menu also features some original selections, like the bronzed salmon filet with meuniere, a sauce made from a veal demi-glace that Iaccarino defines as “rich, decadent and complex.”

  • Tucson-based meteorite hunter Geoff Notkin is a man of parts

    At any given moment, countless pieces of rock from outer space, the debris from long-ago collisions and explosions, dart about over our heads. In any given year, a few thousand of them land on Earth, sometimes smashing a windshield or knocking down a swath of trees, sometimes leaving gaping holes where they land, sometimes, if they’re big enough, even condemning whole species to extinction.And at any given moment of any given year, Tucson-based meteorite hunter and media entrepreneur Geoff Notkin is chasing around one or another of the continents, looking for meteorites where they fell, shooting video for television, gathering material for books and articles, and generally having a rip-roaring good time.The 56-year-old has been chasing meteorites for decades now, uniting childhood passions for geology and astronomy. At first he confined his rockhounding to parks and forests near his home in London, ranging farther afield in the English countryside as he got a little older. He also nursed a few other enthusiasms, several shared with his classmate Neil Gaiman, who has since grown up to become one of the world’s most popular fantasy writers.It was with Gaiman that he first encountered an oddly British species of punk rock that remains another passion even today, a music of clanging guitars and furious drums calculated to offend grownups. Having seen kids with safety pins in their shirts and bad attitudes in their hearts, both Gaiman and Notkin were hooked, and, in the spirit of the day, they formed a band of their own.“He was one of the key figures of my life,” recounts Notkin of his friendship with the celebrated author, about whom he has produced the feature-length documentary film Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously. “And if he had not suggested, back in 1976, that we start a band, I would have followed a very different and probably far less interesting path.”Punk rock led Notkin to London’s seamier edges, and from there to the States, where he played with bands at venues that have since acquired the patina of legend—CBGB, the Stone Pony, the Knitting Factory. He might have kept up a fulltime career as a rocker alone, but other interests pulled at him, including graphic arts and filmmaking—and always, those allied sciences of geology and astronomy. 

  • Bettye LaVette: Still Raising Hell at 72

    Having released her firstsingle when she all of 16, Detroit R&B singer Bettye LaVette has now been in the “industry” for more than half a century (55 years, to be exact). Her career has had as many stops and starts as a driver in L.A. traffic, but she’s stuck at it and, as she approaches the age of 72, she appears to be as spry, charming, and razor sharp as ever.She’s also a joy to speak to. Ask her a question about the old days and she brushes it off with a chuckle, explaining, “People who don’t even know about me know that I’ve done this for a long time.” The lady born Betty Jo Haskins—who grew up in Detroit’s north end, one street over from Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson—has seen and suffered it all, from bad managers and bad record deals to bad relationships. And as everybody still tries to make sense of the modern music industry, LaVette is walking precariously. She’s making it work though, through a bloody-minded, stubborn refusal to quit.“When I put the record out in 2005 (I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise), I walked into a space,” LaVette says. “I didn’t know any of these people, and none of them knew me. Just the ones who were rhythm-and-blues aficionados. I walked back into something that is totally foreign. I’m just kind of riding along. I don’t know if it’s ever going to be a situation where I’m going to be a Justin Bieber, that kind of notoriety. With record companies now, what they basically do is, if something really big happens, then they handle it for you. But they don’t really make anything big happen, or find anything really big.”That was certainly LaVette’s experience following the release of 2015’s Worthy album, her most recent full-lengther. While the album, which saw her working with singer/songwriter Joe Henry, earned LaVette a Grammy nod (losing out to Buddy Guy), she clearly feels that it wasn’t given the opportunity to succeed commercially by Cherry Red Records.“I was extremely disappointed when it did not do well,” LaVette says. 

  • Kino Sports Complex: A county success story

    What do Major League Soccer, the Tucson Gem Show, Pima Community College, the Pac-12 Conference, the American Cancer Society, KFMA, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Tucson Youth Football, the Tucson Police Foundation and Chicanos Por la Causa all have in common?They were all among the more than 100 groups, organizations and leagues that booked nearly 150 events at Kino Sports Complex in 2016. The complex is now booked year-round, and for the past three years has been generating as much revenue as it did when it was the Spring Training site for two Major League Baseball teams. Last fiscal year, Kino brought in $1.1 million and we’re on pace to do better than that this fiscal year.There was a lot of anxiety about what would become of Kino after the Chicago White Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks abandoned Tucson for Phoenix in 2009. As it turned out, it was a blessing in disguise.The county’s agreement with MLB restricted use of the facility for the 10 months of the year without Spring Training. Now free from those restrictions, we have turned Kino into the largest sports and entertainment venue in Southern Arizona. It is a rare week, even in the summer, when Kino is not bustling with activity and paying customers. We have converted the north fields from baseball to soccer and built a new soccer grandstand, which is the home of FC Tucson, our own minor league pro soccer team. FC Tucson was instrumental in 2013 in attracting Major League Soccer to Kino as an annual spring training site and host of the hugely successful Desert Diamond Cup tournament of MLS friendlies. Baseball is still a primary player at Kino, with youth, high school, college and pro teams and leagues using the south fields and Veterans Memorial Stadium almost year round. Baseball at Kino also has an international flair these days with Mexican pro leagues booking it for training and tournaments, as well as a month of Korean pro baseball Spring Training and several weeks of Canadian youth baseball leagues holding winter instructional camps. 

  • Veterans and first responders memorial kicks off public efforts at Hilton event

    Representatives of various branches of the U.S. military, local and regional police, fire and other first responder and veteran organizations were joined by various elected officials and dozens of area residents last Thursday evening at the Hilton El Conquistador Hotel and Resort to celebrate the official launch of the Southern Arizona Veterans and First Responders Living Memorial, a monument set for construction in the heart of Oro Valley.Honoring all who serve in the various branches of the United States Armed Forces, military veterans and members of the fire, law enforcement and emergency medical services communities, the idea for the living memorial was crafted by longtime Oro Valley resident Dick Eggerding. Since its inception nearly two years ago, the memorial has become a work in progress, having earned unanimous approval by the Oro Valley Town Council, which also designated more than an acre of space within Naranja Park for the memorial. The task force comprised of local veterans, first responders and fellow community members moving the project along also received a promise of pro bono design and construction support from Cade Industries.With much of the groundwork and design—entitled “Stars at Home and Abroad”—behind them, the task force must now move on with the work of raising $600,000 to make their dream a reality. Those efforts were celebrated before hundreds of excited and supportive constituents, including Tucson resident and highly decorated veteran Lt. Col. Thomas Storey, who first entered into the U.S. Air Force in 1953 before being shot down and interned as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam alongside Sen. John McCain from 1967 until 1973 and 17th Surgeon General of the United States Richard Carmona, a trauma surgeon with a storied career in various branches of public service.Carmona, the keynote speaker of the evening, said that it was an honor to kick off the memorial’s fundraising efforts. He said that service to country is the greatest privilege possible, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the safety and security of your fellow Americans. Despite the role, positions or institution, Carmona said the one thing shared by all who serve is the desire to protect their fellow man.Seeing that dedication and service to country honored within the local community was extraordinary, Carmona said. He said that being able to live in a country of relative safety in a “very unstable world” is a privilege shared by all Americans because of the men and women who dedicate themselves to the preservation of country.

  • Taking a Punsch at the Tough Luck Club

    I suppose it was tough luck on that winter night in 1988 when three punches, which I never even ordered, made me $150 richer.I was tending bar at the legendary Bum Steer when a fight broke out, and as my employee manual directed me to do, I broke it up. It was then that I learned about the bar’s “lucky punch” policy, which paid employees $50 for every hit they took in restoring order to the scene.Having been the recipient of three hard ones in that melee, I ended my shift with an extra $150 in my tip jar, courtesy of the Steer’s code of compassion.Thankfully there’s a different kind of punch that’s trending at bars today, and what a difference an “s” makes.Punsch, a liqueur that originated in 18th Century Sweden, is suddenly relevant again as evidenced by its presence in many of Southern Arizona’s cocktail bars. Swedish Punsch can be distilled from fermented coconut flower sap, rice, fruits, or sugar cane and introduces a unique flavor profile to a range of cocktails.Local barman Robert Gillies’ fascination with the spirit began nearly 10 years ago when he started reading vintage cocktail books, an interest which intensified when he considered his family’s lineage.

  • Put your best fork forward: It’s never too late to make healthier food choices

    “Put Your Best Fork Forward” is the theme for National Nutrition Month 2017 which serves as a reminder to make healthier food choices. Nutrition expert, Nancy Teeter, provided a guide for making small positive changes over time which will help improve your health now and into the future. Begin by replacing less healthful products with nutrient dense whole foods. Minimize ultra-processed products There are lots of exceptionally healthy processed foods including frozen vegetables, yogurt and canned beans, but processing that strips foods of their natural goodness and adds questionable ingredients should be avoided.  Take a look at the ingredient list; if you can find all the ingredients in the store, and doesn’t contain an excessive amount of added sugar, then the product is likely to be healthful.Consume 6 or more servings of vegetables dailyMaking vegetables the focal point of every meal and most snacks will help you meet this goal. Be sure to choose vegetables from the full color spectrum: dark green, orange, red, purple and pale. Pump up the pulses 

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