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34 Jan. 22 - Feb. 4, 2011 Community Commentary


A true privilege to return to office by Mayor Jay Tibshraeny


It is a privilege to return as your mayor after serving the past eight years in the Arizona State Senate. I come back with a better understanding of our state as a whole and a greater appreciation of city government. It truly is the “government closest to the people.”


After the election, I set a goal to hit the ground running. I have not taken this goal lightly. Over the past few months I have met with leaders of more


than a dozen Chandler commercial, industrial and retail companies to get their views on the local economy and its challenges and opportunities. I have worked with Neighborhood Resources staff to learn more about existing housing problems in Chandler, and to develop some new strategies to keep our neighborhoods vibrant. We must remain committed to sustainable neighborhoods, so I will be meeting with residents throughout the community to discuss how we can keep Chandler a great city.


Access to education resources is critical to Chandler’s success. In order to remain connected to the most up-to-date opportunities, I have reached out to those in the education community at all levels. I met with Arizona State University President Michael Crow and his counterpart at the University of Arizona, Dr. Robert Shelton. I have also met with Chandler- Gilbert Community College President Linda Lujan and will soon meet with the school district superintendents that serve Chandler’s youth. This outreach will help ensure our missions are aligned so we can better serve the public.


Being away from the council for eight years has also meant many changes to city staff. Over the past several months, I have sat down with


each of the city’s department directors to discuss projects, successes and upcoming challenges facing their areas. It has also been great to walk the floors of the city buildings and meet the employees who keep Chandler running day in and day out. The employees are among the city’s greatest assets. We are asking them to do more with less these days and I sincerely appreciate their public service. They will be essential to our successful emergence from the Great Recession.


Finally, I have met with the mayors of our neighboring cities to make certain our regional needs are being met with a coordinated effort where it is viable to do so. A strong Southeast Valley will benefit the region and the state. By working together, we can accomplish more than we can separately.


Most importantly, I have been talking extensively to our residents. Contact with citizens has always been the most enjoyable aspect of my public service and I want to continue to keep the lines of communication open. I am looking forward to attending a number of upcoming events so I can hear your thoughts about our city and its future. One thing that has changed dramatically since I left office has been the city’s finances. Our reserves have been reduced significantly. We must continue to make the difficult financial decisions necessary to get us through to economic recovery. Fortunately, Chandler adopted a number of fiscal policies during the 1990s that enabled us to weather the recession in a better financial position than the state or many surrounding communities.


These are challenging times. Still, there are many wonderful things happening in Chandler and we continue to lead the Valley in opportunities for residents of all ages as well as in new business development. As a native of Chandler I am very proud of this city and look forward to being able to serve you once again.


Opinion


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Solution to America’s real crisis in your hands by Derek Neighbors, Gangplank


We are in the midst of a public health crisis that has the potential to alter our history. The epidemic changing our future is spreading faster than cholera, influenza or HIV. And, we already know what causes it, what prevents it and what to do to treat it. The epidemic is obesity.


Despite this knowledge the number of overweight adults in North America increases every year, with no sign of slowing down. In Arizona, 24.8 percent


of our adult population and 30.6 percent of our youth population is overweight. Nearly one third of our children are currently at risk of cardiac disease and diabetes.


Two hot topics in politics today are the state of the economy and escalating health care costs. Obesity has been directly linked to both issues. Nearly 10 percent of healthcare costs can be directly related to obesity, amounting to nearly $75 billion annually. An individual who is obese costs 36 percent more to provide healthcare for and sees a 77 percent increase in prescribed medication cost. The indirect costs of obesity are estimated be another $64 billion annually. When you factor in the emotional and mental problems incurred by a reduced physical activity and a limited quality of life these numbers start to look conservative. It is impossible to measure the real impact though, because the fastest growing population of obese individuals are our children. What


will be the price of 35 percent of the current generation being obese two decades from now?


Thankfully, we already have the necessary tools to fight this epidemic. We need to bring the focus to our local communities by raising awareness and educating youth and adults alike about healthy lifestyle choices. The community needs to embrace, encourage and engage with one another to help provide the support necessary for real change. Most importantly, we need to create healthy places and environments to help us support reversing these trends. The City of Chandler has made several strides to be a highly connected city of the future. Encouraging sports and recreation while keeping an eye on being pedestrian friendly and providing bicycle connectivity. We need to make sure they keep funding these critical components.


Additionally, Gangplank in downtown Chandler has launched a health initiative focused on engaging the community in lifestyle change. Their “36,500 program” will challenge Chandler residents to lose a combined 36,500 inches this year. It’s time we stood together and fight obesity head on.


This health crisis can no longer be ignored. There is no magic bullet and it won’t just go away if we put our heads in the sand and ignore it. It is going to take us all working together to tackle this problem. Join me this year by making the a commitment in changing Chandler for the better by making healthier choices and getting involved in your community. Visit www.health.gangplankhq.com to get involved and make a difference.


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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2002Thursday, January 27, 2011


Wednesday, January 26, 2011 EDITORIAL:


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Fifty square mile coverage area from Price/101 to Greenfield and from Frye to Hunt Highway.


PUBLISHER Laurie Fagen


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CONTRIBUTORS Katie Struzynski, Suzanne Incorvaia, Kerry Kester, Pamela Moya, Dominica Peterson, Robyn Kelly, Laura Thornburg, Jennifer Sifuentes, Tracy House, Heather Kochanski, Peg Newendyke, Lisa Shore, John Studzinski


Miriam Van Scott Ann Videan Joan Westlake


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