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May 1 - 14, 2010

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Relentlessly local coverage of Southern Chandler and our neighboring communities es

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Abandoned retail dots S. Chandler streets

by Miriam Van Scott

Along with budget shortfalls, a housing slump and elevated unemployment numbers, the SanTan Sun area is struggling with a slowdown in the commercial real estate market.

STSN photo

FUN RUN: It was a picture-perfect day for the 3rd Annual ICAN Fun Run, which also saw a great turnout of nearly 200 walkers and runners two weeks ago. The event raised more than $4,000 for ICAN, a local nonprofit organization that helps with before- and after-school programs for Chandler area youth. The annual run takes participants along one of the most scenic parts of the Paseo Trail near Tumbleweed Park. See story on Page 5.

STSN photo

EMPTY: This large building on the corner of Arizona Avenue and Chandler Heights was to be a Pure Fitness health club, but it sits partially built and empty with no completion date in sight.

CUSD job cuts likely

if Prop 100 fails

Supt. Casteel to present information to public at HHS

by Miriam Van Scott

Some $17 million has already been slashed from the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) budget over the past few years, but as the economy continues to sag and tax revenues steadily decline, deeper cuts loom on the horizon.

STSN photo

CUTS AHEAD? If Proposition 100 is passed, budget cuts for Chandler Unified School District won’t be as severe.

“We have experienced cuts in each of the last two school years,” says CUSD spokesman Terry Locke. “They totaled $6.4 million in 2008- 2009 and $10.6 million in 2009-2010. We took great pride in keeping those cuts away from the classroom. They

were absorbed through our capital budget, which funds textbooks, furniture, technology. All staff had salaries frozen this year, and we cut overtime from all department budgets.”

But those reductions are not enough to balance CUSD’s budget for the upcoming year, and services to the district’s approximately 38,000 students will be further impacted in the months ahead.

See CUSD budget Page 8

Make Mother’s Day memories

Country club dining at Bernard’s

Chandler celebrates trains

Page 45

Neighbors

Chandler’s retail vacancy rate is currently 9.9 percent, and Maricopa County is 11.6 percent, slightly above the national average of 9.5 percent. Many major construction projects that were eagerly announced just a few years ago are now abandoned or left partially completed for lack of funding. Despite a smattering of recent retail openings, the overall outlook remains bleak.

“During this economic downturn, short-term trends and activities are really much more important than those of six months or a year ago,” explains Chandler Economic Development Specialist James Smith.

Right now, the situation looks grim, with numerous stalled projects or outright cancellations.

See Abandoned retail Page 6

Baby x 2 + 1 = Happy Mother’s Day

by K. M. Lang

The initiation into motherhood is never subtle, but most would agree that the life-changing transition has hit Dr. Molly Finley particularly fast and hard. The family-practice physician and her artist husband, James Riviezzo, welcomed twins, daughter Maya and son Luca, 17 months ago. They expect their third child – another daughter – in a matter of weeks. Add to the mix Finley’s 2-year-old medical practice, Gilbert’s Agave Family Health, and it’s clear that heading into her second Mother’s Day, the Old Stone Ranch resident has her plate full.

Submitted photo

SOON TO BE 5: Dr. Molly Finley, here with one of her twins, is expecting another baby not long after Mother’s Day 2010.

“It’s an interesting life,” the 39-year-old admits with a chuckle. “It has its blessings, and it has its ‘oh my goodness’ moments.”

Calendar of events Travel tips Staycations Just4Kids

See Mother’s Day Page 10

INSIDE

SanTan Family Fun

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Business . . . . . . . . . 18-27 AZ Arts . . . . . . . . . 29-31 Things to do . . . . . . .32-33 Opinion . . . . . . . . . 34-35 Neighbors . . . . . . . .45-58 Youth . . . . . . . . . .60-66 Spirituality . . . . . . . 67-69 Directory . . . . . . . .70-72 Classifieds . . . . . . . .73-74 Where to eat . . . . . .75-78

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