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Stories written by wnJenniferPillenBanks

Retirees ‘part of a family’ when they teach kids to read

When Lucy Carrera arrives at Kyrene de los Niños Elementary for her regular tutoring session, the kids say, “It’s like grandma’s here.” But, adds Carrera, they also know that “this grandma’s focused on the task at hand,” and that’s to get them better at reading. Carrera is a member of the AARP Experience Corps, a […]

Stay-at-home mom’s fan fiction hobby yields newfound success

Four years ago, stay-at-home mom Shanyn Hosier and long-time fan of Harry Potter books decided to try writing some of her own stories with J. K. Rowling’s characters and settings. “I was kind of going nuts as a stay-at-home mom. I needed a creative outlet,” she said. “I never had the courage to think that […]

The making of a STAR

At first glance, the STAR program, with its cool math and science projects, field trip and time for play and sports, sounds like a typical summer camp. But taking a closer look, Success Through Academic Reform, nicknamed STAR, is not the usual camp, nor does it include the typical camp-goer. “Many of the students that […]

Working families target of schools’ gap initiative

Lice, strep throat, broken bones, pinkeye—they’re all inconvenient, but common, childhood ailments. Most parents tend not to think about them until they find themselves missing work and heading to the doctor’s office before their child can return to school. But imagine dealing with any of these with no health insurance to cover a quick doctor’s […]

Final hearing June 28 for proposed new property tax

To help alleviate wild fluctuations both in Tempe’s property tax pool and its citizens’ annual property tax payments, the city council last year changed its policy and swapped its fixed property tax rate for a fixed property tax levy. In other words, no matter the state of the economy and resulting assessed home values, the […]

Kyrene schools explore some creative — and affordable — ways to get the word out

Growing up in the ‘80s, other than private school (not even a consideration for my working-class parents nor an option in my 4,000-population hometown), the nearby neighborhood public school was the only choice. That, however, changed in 1994 when the Arizona State Legislature enacted laws enabling both open enrollment and the formation of charter schools, […]

Pathways to a better city

Whether you’re a devoted enthusiast or a casual passer-by, Tempe’s bike paths are designed to do more than help ensure a comfortable, safe environment for the city’s growing crowd of free-wheelers. Eric Iwerson, Tempe’s 2011 Bike Hero, insists that improving paths helps beautify communities, reduce traffic, build community and, not to be overlooked, lower crime […]

Two new venues open to aspiring artists

Most would agree that conceptualizing, executing and completing a work of art is a formidable task. But for many artists and crafters, it’s minor when compared to the feats of marketing and getting their wares before the eyes of potential buyers. Two new spaces in the east Valley aim to ease those burdens. “I have […]

Worrisome conditions face society as world population grows, Rotarians told

“Over half of the people alive today on the earth are subsisting on under $2 a day of income. And a lot of them are really hungry,” said invited speaker Richard Morrison at the Kyrene Corridor Rotary meeting last Monday. Morrison is chairman of Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy Board of Advisors. […]

New principal eager to build relationships, trust with Kyrene del Norte parents

When school starts in August, Tracey Pastor, principal now at Kyrene de la Sierra Elementary, one of the highest performing schools in the district, will be moving to Kyrene del Norte, one of only two schools in the district that did not receive an A or B rating from the State Education Department, missing the […]

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