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  • Country Western Dance 2-steps into Sun City Grand

    Western Bred featuring J. David Sloan will be the featured entertainers at the Nov. 7 Sun City Grand Country Western Dance.  A local country music icon and owner of the legendary Mr. Lucky’s, J. David Sloan and Western Bred hit the Arizona music scene in the 1980s.  Together they have played shows with Kenny Chesney, Mark Chestnut, Dixie Chicks, Keith Urban, Waylon Jennings and more.The doors open at 5:30 p.m., and there will be a free Arizona 2-step lesson from 6 to 7. Dancing will be from 7 to 10 p.m. The dance is open to the public, and there will be a cash bar.The Country Western Dance will be at the Cimarron Center, 17100 W. Clearview Blvd., Surprise, in Sun City Grand. Tickets are $10 and are on sale at or through the Sun City Grand Activities Desk, 623-546-7449. For information, call Earlene at 623-544-3602.

  • Suspect robs Glendale office, assaults two before fleeing in stolen truck

    GLENDALE, Ariz. -- An armed man robbed a Glendale office Tuesday while holding three employees against their will, assaulting two of them, then fled the scene, according to the Glendale Police Department.Police said the suspect, described as a 25-years-old man with tattoos on both hands, was loitering around a complex in the area of 83rd and Glendale avenues. He then entered the rental office and locked the door behind him.The suspect, who had a handgun, handed a note with his demands to a woman working in the office and held her against her will, according to police."Things like that usually don't happen. You don't suspect an apartment complex office has money laying around and it usually doesn't," said Justin Robinson, an employee at the complex.While the woman followed the suspect’s instructions to get him certain items, two men who work in the office entered at different times, police said. The suspect assaulted both men and held them in the office along with the woman."For you to assault a man in his 70s is pretty bad. You need to get locked up," said Robinson.

  • Peoria BioAccel leaders selected to National Advisory Councils

    Two BioAccel executives, operators of BioInspire, the state’s only medical-device bu siness development accelerator, located in Peoria, have been selected to serve on national councils which provide advice on healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship for national health agencies. Mary Ann Guerra, CEO of BioAccel, was selected by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.Ron King, Ph.D., chief scientific and investment officer for BioAccel, was selected by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in 2013 to serve on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council for the National Institutes of Health.As a member of the NACIE, Guerra's role is to advise the Secretary of Commerce on issues related to accelerating innovation, expanding entrepreneurship and developing a globally competitive workforce. The NHLB, of which King is a member, advises the Secretary of DHHS, the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Director of National Institutes of Health, and the Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Council and considers applications for research and research training grants and cooperative agreements and recommends funding for those applications that show promise of making valuable contributions to human knowledge.“Through our ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ the Commerce Department has prioritized supporting entrepreneurs and helping foster innovation, which are key drivers of America’s global competitiveness,” said Pritzker. “The new NACIE members are a diverse and dynamic group of successful entrepreneurs, innovators and investors, as well as leaders from nonprofit organizations and academia. I appreciate their willingness to serve our nation on these important issues, and I look forward to working with the Council to advance innovation and cultivate a skilled workforce for today’s 21st century jobs.”BioAccel and the city of Peoria created the private/public partnership in 2011 to start BioInspire. There are seven start-ups working out of the facility developing medical devices and using BioAccel’s commercialization expertise. BioAccel provides funding, technical support, business expertise and a comprehensive advisory network to develop early stage life science technologies which will help the City of Peoria drive local economic development efforts.

  • Peoria police seek help locating missing man

    Peoria Police Department is asking for the public's help in locating a missing man.Celestino “Tino” Valencia, 30, was last seen at about 6 p.m. Monday. He was last seen walking in a southeast direction from his home in the 8900 block of West Charleston Avenue. He is described as 5 foot 8, weighing 190 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.It is believed that Valencia may be trying to walk to the Guadalupe area of Tempe, where he has family. He has been discovered missing from his home previously and was found in medical distress due to dehydration.Valencia is on medication for mental illness and may not be able to care for himself.Anyone who may have seen Valencia or knows his whereabouts is urged to call the Peoria Police Department at 623-773-8311.

  • AZ Smiles Dentistry teams up with SCW Pickleball Club

    AZ Smiles Dentistry of Sun City West and more than 900 members of the Sun City West Pickleball Club are teaming up to collect food items during the Thanksgiving season. All food collected will support people in need through the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Surprise.AZ Smiles Dentistry has a tradition of supporting local charities and the SCW Pickleball Club is hosting a Special Turkey Shoot “Give Thanks” Pickleball Tournament, Nov. 7, to help with the food drive, organizers said.Individuals who wish to help and donate nonperishable items may do so at the AZ Smiles dental offices located at 13603 W. Camino Del Sol, Sun City West, and Liberty Courts — Pickleball Center on the Palm Ridge Campus in Sun City West.Collection boxes are ready for donated food items to be dropped off through Nov. 14.Donna Maloney, vice president of the SCW Pickleball Club, stated in a release: “Thanksgiving is a perfect season to give thanks and help others in need.”Dr. Santosh Saini and Mike Saini, owners of AZ Smiles Dentistry, added in a statement: “Together we can make a difference. So many people in our surrounding community have extra needs during this upcoming holiday season, and we want to help and lend a hand.”

  • Surprise mayor issues World Series challenge

    Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott issued a “mayoral challenge” to Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane Monday as their spring training teams face off in the World Series.“I heartily accept the World Series Challenge proposed by Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott,” said Scottsdale Mayor Lane.Wolcott issued the challenge via a social media video, showing her support for the Kansas City Royals, who have trained in Surprise since 2002. Their World Series opponents, the San Francisco Giants, have trained in Scottsdale since 1984.“It’s exciting to have two Cactus League teams in the World Series, and I thought this would be a fun way for both of our cities to celebrate the success of our teams,” Wolcott said. “Plus, I am confident our Royals will take the crown.”Wolcott’s challenge states if the Royals win the series, she will provide Lane with a hat and shirt to wear for one full day following the last game. If the Giants win, he will choose the apparel that Wolcott will wear. The proof will be captured in a picture on social media.Lane then upped the ante, adding that the losing mayor would also have to attend one of the winning team’s spring training games dressed in the chosen apparel.

  • Dec. 3 hearing set in Arpaio's profiling appeal

    PHOENIX (AP) — A court has set a Dec. 3 hearing to hear arguments in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's appeal of a ruling that concluded his officers have systematically racially profiled Latinos in its vehicle patrols. Attorneys on both sides of the case will make their arguments before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ruled in May 2013 that Arpaio's office has singled out Latinos in its regular traffic and immigration patrols. The sheriff vigorously denies that his officers have racially profiled people. Arpaio isn't appealing the ruling on the immigration patrols and instead is challenging the judge's conclusions on regular traffic patrols. In a training session a year ago, Arpaio's top aide predicted the appeals court would uphold Snow's ruling.

  • Crash injures seven Ariz. prison employees, three critically

    BUCKEYE, Ariz. (AP) — Three Arizona Department of Corrections employees going to work were critically injured and four others also were hurt when their van overturned in a traffic accident in Buckeye. Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves says the DOC van rolled on its side when struck by a pickup truck which ran a stop sign at an intersection Monday night. Graves says three of the workers were reported in critical or extremely critical conditions while injuries to the other four were less serious. The Department of Corrections says those four were released after treatment. The pickup's driver wasn't hurt, and Graves says there's no indication she was impaired. The accident occurred on State Route 85 as the DOC workers were going to work at the Lewis prison complex in Buckeye.

  • Legislators eye response to gay marriage ban's end

    PHOENIX (AP) — The end of Arizona's ban against same-sex marriage has legislators staking out a range of positions on what they should and shouldn't do in response. The gay-rights issue caused turmoil at the Capitol last spring when lawmakers passed a religious-rights bill allowing businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians. Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill. Now, there is both support and opposition among majority Republicans for a new measure along the lines of the vetoed bill, a central Arizona publication has reported. Meanwhile, minority Democrats say the state should approve new anti-discrimination protections for gay and lesbians and eliminate an existing provision in state law giving adoption preferences to married heterosexual couples, according to the Arizona Capitol Times. Citing an appellate court's recent ruling overturning bans in Idaho and Nevada, a federal judge Friday overturned the state's ban. The appellate court's territory also includes Arizona, and the fate of the state's ban was sealed when state Attorney General Tom Horne said he wouldn't appeal the judge's order. The Arizona Legislature begins its 2015 regular session in January. Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said consideration of a new version of the vetoed bill would be contentious but necessary. "But there has to be some kind of acknowledgement that we have to develop the right kind of policy to handle situations that may arise when one person believes something should happen because of equality, and someone else on the liberties side of the argument says you shouldn't force someone to do that," Mesnard said. "We're going to have to have that conversation." Another Republican, Rep. T.J. Shope of Coolidge said the appetite isn't there to revisit the issue. "We've gone down that road. Let's just leave well enough alone," he said. The decision to allow gay marriages sends a good signal to the world that Arizona is welcoming and open to all kinds of people, Shope said. Rep. Demion Clinco, a Tucson Democrat who is the Arizona House's only openly gay member, said lawmakers should provide new protections for the LGBT community, which he said would help attract major employers to Arizona. "If we don't make a move to make sure that everyone is treated equally under the law and that we don't allow discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, we're going to lose out to other companies that do when they look at relocating," he said. Sen. Steve Gallardo, a Phoenix Democrat who also is openly gay, said the state also should erase some current laws, including one giving adoption preference to straight couples. "I think there's still, in terms of gay marriage, I think there's still some laws that need to be looked at," Gallardo said.

  • Soured Apple, glass maker deal to remain secret

    PHOENIX (AP) — Apple Inc. has reached a deal with a synthetic sapphire glass maker that will allow details of contracts between the companies and the business problems that led GT Advanced Technologies to a financial crisis to remain secret. A Tuesday filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire shows a settlement that will allow sealed documents filed by GT's chief operating officer and Apple last week to be withdrawn and all copies destroyed. Apple hasn't commented beyond saying it was surprised by the bankruptcy filings and was working to retain jobs at the plant. GT is shutting down a new sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona, and laying off 724 workers. Apple advanced GT $429 million to outfit the plant under a contract announced last November.

  • Jurors given conflicting views of Jodi Arias

    PHOENIX (AP) — A prosecutor at the sentencing retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias showed jurors two photos Tuesday of her ex-boyfriend and victim Travis Alexander. One was an unremarkable picture of his face taken some time before his death. The other was a crime-scene photo showing his slit throat. "She loved him so much that this is what she did to him," prosecutor Juan Martinez said in his opening statement, describing the gruesome suffering Arias inflicted on Alexander before his death in 2008. "There are no mitigating circumstances in this case. None," Martinez said. "The only just punishment for this crime is death." Arias has acknowledged killing Alexander but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her. Prosecutors said it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage after the victim wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman. Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi said Tuesday that Arias was the victim of profound sexual humiliation by Alexander, and that she is mentally ill and a victim of child abuse. He urged jurors to sentence her to life in prison, saying she is remorseful about killing the man who never acknowledged to others that she was his girlfriend. "Jodi Arias was always the girl behind the closed door in the bedroom," Nurmi told jurors. He suggested his client would testify during the proceedings expected to last until December. "She will tell you how horrified she is that she killed the man she loved," Nurmi said. Arias, sporting shoulder-length hair and wearing a beige blouse, often looked at the jury while her lawyer laid out his case. She turned away, however, as the prosecutor detailed the crime that included shooting Alexander in the head and stabbing him nearly 30 times. Members of the Alexander and Arias families looked on from the front rows of the courtroom during the opening statements. Jurors were shown naked photographs that Alexander and Arias took of each other shortly before Alexander was killed. Alexander's sister turned away from the images and wept as the photos were being shown. Arias, a 34-year-old former waitress, was convicted of murder last year in the killing of Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home, Authorities said she slit his throat so deeply that she nearly decapitated him and left his body in his shower where friends found him after about five days. Jurors couldn't agree on a sentence then. Prosecutors have one more chance with a new jury to secure the death penalty, If the jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, the judge will then sentence Arias to spend the rest of her life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens told the new jury that they had to accept the guilty verdict on the murder charge. The start of the sentencing retrial was less of a spectacle than the initial case in early 2013, when onlookers from around the country traveled to Phoenix and lined up outside court for the trial that became a tabloid TV sensation. Still, some of the people who regularly attended the first trial were back in court Tuesday. The tumultuous relationship of Arias and Alexander became a major part of the obsession with the case as intimate details of their time together were revealed in the courtroom. The first trial was broadcast live, but Judge Stephens imposed restrictions on the sentencing retrial. Cameras are allowed at the retrial, but no footage can be broadcast until it's finished.

  • IS fighters seize weapons cache meant for Kurds

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State group fighters seized at least one cache of weapons airdropped by U.S.-led coalition forces that were meant to supply Kurdish militiamen battling the extremist group in a border town, activists said Tuesday. The cache of weapons included hand grenades, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, according to a video uploaded by a media group loyal to the Islamic State group. The video appeared authentic and corresponded to The Associated Press' reporting of the event. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which bases its information on a network of activists on the ground, said the militants had seized at least one cache. The caches were airdropped early on Monday to Kurds in the embattled Syrian town of Kobani that lies near the Turkish border. The militant group has been trying to seize the town for over a month now, causing the exodus of some 200,000 people from the area into Turkey. While Kurds are battling on the ground, a U.S.-led coalition is also targeting the militants from the air. On Tuesday, IS loyalists on social media posted sarcastic thank you notes to the United States, including one image that said "Team USA." But the lost weapons drop was more an embarrassment than a great strategic loss. The Islamic State militants already possess millions of dollars-worth of U.S. weaponry that they captured from fleeing Iraqi soldiers when the group seized swaths of Iraq in a sudden sweep in June. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. had seen the video but couldn't confirm its accuracy and was seeking more information. On Tuesday, the U.S. Central Command said U.S. military forces conducted four airstrikes near Kobani that destroyed IS fighting positions, an IS building and a large IS unit. Also Tuesday, Syrian government airstrikes hit a rebel-held town along the country's southern border with Jordan, killing at least eight people. Activists with the Local Coordination Committees and the Observatory said the number of those killed was likely to rise as there are more victims under the rubble. The LCC said Syrian government planes dropped crude explosives-laden canisters on the town of Nasib on the Syria-Jordan border. The airstrikes are part of battles between Syrian government forces and Islamic rebel groups for control of the area. Syrian government forces have been heavily bombing rebel areas in recent weeks, while the U.S-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against Islamic State militants elsewhere in Syria.

  • Brelby Theatre launches ‘Revenge of the Space Pandas’

    Brelby Theatre Company presents David Mamet’s fast-paced adventure for young audiences, “Revenge of the Space Pandas.”Binky Rudich, his friend Viv, and his almost-human sheep Bob, tinker with a two-speed clock with the idea that, as Binky says, “Time on Earth moves at the same speed all the time, but there is another speed, a slower speed, and if we could find it, everything would stand still on Earth and we would spin off.”And they do!To Crestview, Fourth World in the Goolagong System, ruled by George Topax and guarded by the Great Space Pandas. The excitement really begins when the Supreme Ruler commands that Bob be brought to him, never again to leave Goolagong. He steals the two-speed clock just to make sure.Directed by company member Carolyn McBurney, the cast is led by company members Brian Maticic as Bob, David Magadan as Binky and Emily Heald as Viv.“We’re so excited to be presenting this fun, hilarious, colorful show,” says Artistic Director Shelby Maticic. “It’s a great show for young audiences, and witty enough for parents to enjoy the story as well.”

  • British royal couples' 2nd child due in April

    LONDON (AP) — The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have confirmed their second baby is due in April — the first time they have offered a month for the royal birth. Kensington Palace also said in a statement Monday that the duchess, who has been sidelined by prolonged morning sickness, continues to improve. There was no word on the baby's gender. The former Kate Middleton and Prince William are scheduled to welcome Singapore President Tony Tan when he arrives on a four-day state visit this week. She is also expected to attend the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 award ceremony. The duchess canceled several engagements after her second pregnancy was announced in September. She also had acute morning sickness during her pregnancy with Prince George, who was born in July 2013.

  • Still the Same: Bob Seger launching tour, album

    NEW YORK (AP) — At 69, Bob Seger says he's ready to hit the road again: He's scaled back smoking and bicycles 10 miles a day as part of a workout routine. "I think I'm in pretty good shape," Seger said in a phone interview, noting that a colonoscopy from a few years ago was clean and he just had a checkup for his tour to promote "Ride Out," the album released last week and his first since 2006. The 25-city tour begins Nov. 19 in Saginaw, Michigan, and continues into next year. Seger isn't saying whether he'll continue touring beyond that, though he definitely plans to continue creating music: "I just take it tour by tour." He acknowledges that it is much tougher to get radio time for his music these days, and that the digital transformation has reshaped the industry. "It's half the size it was 10 years ago." Seger — a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame — plans to play several songs off his new album on tour, plus a mix of staples that he knows he must perform, including "Night Moves," ''Mainstreet" and "Turn the Page." "There's about eight of them that you cannot not do" or fans get upset, Seger said, noting that over time he and his Silver Bullet Band have tried dropping a few from the set list. "Ride Out" features a mix of rock songs, covers and ballad-like tunes, including one that takes on the topic of climate change. "It's all about my kids," Seger said. "I'm not going to be around that much longer but we've all got to worry about our kids and their future."

  • Soured Apple, glass maker deal to remain secret

    PHOENIX (AP) — Apple Inc. has reached a deal with a synthetic sapphire glass maker that will allow details of contracts between the companies and the business problems that led GT Advanced Technologies to a financial crisis to remain secret. A Tuesday filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire shows a settlement that will allow sealed documents filed by GT's chief operating officer and Apple last week to be withdrawn and all copies destroyed. Apple hasn't commented beyond saying it was surprised by the bankruptcy filings and was working to retain jobs at the plant. GT is shutting down a new sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona, and laying off 724 workers. Apple advanced GT $429 million to outfit the plant under a contract announced last November.

  • New rules adopted in hopes of spurring home loans

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Buying a home may have gotten a little easier this week. With the financial crisis and subprime mortgage bust receding further into history, the government is loosening some financial rules, hoping to inject more life into the country's still-recovering housing market. Both banks and borrowers stand to benefit from the new rules unveiled Tuesday by six federal agencies. While banks will see relaxed guidelines for packaging and selling mortgage securities, fewer borrowers likely will need to make hefty down payments. The board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. voted 4-1 Tuesday to adopt the new rules, and two other agencies approved them as well. The Federal Reserve has scheduled a vote for Wednesday, and two other agencies are expected to adopt the rules soon. The regulators have dropped a key requirement: a 20-percent down payment from the borrower if a bank didn't hold at least 5 percent of the mortgage securities tied to those loans on its books. The long-delayed final rules include the less stringent condition that borrowers not carry excessive debt relative to their income. The rules for the multitrillion-dollar market for mortgage securities will take effect in a year. For other kinds of securities such as those bundling together auto loans or commercial loans, which don't allow banks an exemption from the 5-percent rule, the effective date is in two years. The rules, first proposed in 2011, were mandated by the overhaul law enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The idea was to limit the kind of risky lending that brought on the crisis. If banks have more of their own money invested in mortgage securities — so-called "skin in the game" — they won't be as likely to take excessive risks, the thinking goes. Some critics warned that abandoning the 20-percent down payment condition could bring a return to the dangerous days of borrowers taking on heavy mortgage loans that they aren't in a position to repay. After three years of interagency haggling, the regulators' final, compromise approach was to adopt the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's definition of a "qualified" mortgage. It excludes the kind of risky practices that fueled the crisis, such as mortgages issued without any supporting documents from borrowers. CFPB Director Richard Cordray, a member of the FDIC board, noted at Tuesday's meeting that conditions in the mortgage market have changed since the financial crisis, when anxiety over reckless lending gripped lawmakers. "Credit has dried up for a long period and (lending) standards have tightened dramatically," he said. Experts say it's hard to predict whether the regulators' move will actually boost mortgage lending and the housing market. Anthony Sanders, a real estate finance professor at George Mason University, also suggested that it could re-open the door to risky lending. "The problem facing the housing and mortgage markets is too few borrowers with sufficient income to pass debt-to-income rules," Sanders said. "Lowering the down payment requirement misses the point. So now we are putting poorer households in low-down payment loans — again?" Through the years since Congress called for a sweeping revamp of regulation for banking, derivatives trading, securities and more, regulators have slogged through scores of complex rules. The decision of the regulators to drop the 20 percent down payment requirement for banks to escape "skin in the game" for mortgage securities was a big win for finance industry lobbyists and advocates for affordable housing, noted Cornelius Hurley, a former counsel to the Federal Reserve who heads Boston University's Center for Finance, Law and Policy. The regulators' work on the rules "attracted the essence of the housing industrial complex," Hurley said. "They all came out of the woodwork." Industry groups talked up the potential impact on lending. The new rules "will give the financial services industry more confidence and certainty, enabling lenders to provide high-quality mortgage loans to creditworthy consumers," the Financial Services Roundtable, whose members include the largest banks, said in a statement. Ahead of the crisis, banks packaged and sold to investors bundles of risky mortgages with teaser rates that ballooned after only a few years. The banks had very little of their own money invested. Many borrowers ended up defaulting on the loans when the interest rates spiked. As a result, the value of the mortgage securities plummeted, and banks and investors holding them lost billions. The debacle helped ignite the financial meltdown that plunged the economy into the deepest recession since the 1930s and brought a taxpayer bailout of banks. The new rules will affect only a relatively small portion of the mortgage securities market, regulators say. Loans backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration aren't subject to the 5-percent rule. The two companies and the federal agency together stand behind about 90 percent of new mortgages, and own or back more than $5 trillion worth of home loans. On Monday, the head of the agency overseeing government-controlled Fannie and Freddie announced that the companies have reached an agreement with major banks that could expand mortgage lending. The deal clarifies conditions in which banks could be required to buy back mortgages they sell to Fannie and Freddie for misrepresenting the loans' risks.

  • Changes coming to McDonald's after sales continue to lag

    NEW YORK (AP) — After posting yet another disappointing quarter at McDonald's, CEO Don Thompson said Tuesday the company hasn't been keeping up with the times and that changes are in store for its U.S. restaurants. Thompson said that starting in January McDonald's will "simplify" its menu to make room for restaurants to offer options that are best-suited for their regions. To offer greater customization, he also said the company planned to expand its "Create Your Taste" offering that lets people pick the buns and toppings they want on burgers by tapping a touchscreen. The program is currently being offered in Southern California. "We haven't been changing at the same rate as our customers' eating-out expectations," Thompson conceded during a conference call outlining the changes. The remarks came after McDonald's said sales at established locations fell 3.3 percent globally and in its flagship U.S. market in the third quarter, marking the fourth straight quarter of declines for the world's biggest hamburger chain. Profit sank 30 percent. The changes come as McDonald's continues to struggle with myriad problems. One of its biggest challenges in the U.S. is long-held perceptions around the freshness and quality of its ingredients. The chain has been fighting to boost sales as people gravitate toward foods they feel are more wholesome. As a result, people have been gravitating to new competitors, such as so-called fast casual restaurants such as Chipotle. In fact, Chipotle's third-quarter sales at established locations surged 19.8 percent. Steve Ells, Chipotle's co-CEO, said the results show people are realizing "there are better alternatives to traditional fast food" and that he expects the trend to continue. Some analysts questioned whether the moves that McDonald's has in store will be enough to fix its problems. Sara Senatore, a Bernstein restaurant analyst, noted that the company efforts seem focused on marketing around its food, rather than changing recipes. McDonald's, meanwhile, launched a social media campaign last week inviting customers to ask questions about its food. It began with frank questions like, "Why doesn't your food rot?" and "Is the McRib made from real pork?," showing just how bad some of the perceptions about McDonald's food can be. Over in China, an undercover TV report this summer showed one of its major suppliers repackaging expired meat. The plant stopped operations and many of McDonald's restaurants in the country were left unable to sell burgers, chicken nuggets and other items. The chain's reputation took a hit as well. In the division encompassing Asia, sales at established stores sank 9.9 percent. McDonald's, which has more than 35,000 locations around the world, said it expects its challenges will continue into the current quarter, with global sales down for October as well. For the quarter, revenue declined to $6.99 billion, short of the $7.23 billion Wall Street expected. Net income declined to $1.07 billion, or $1.09 per share. Adjusted for one-time costs, earnings were $1.52 per share. Analysts expected $1.37 per share. Shares of McDonald's Corp. were down 59 cents at $91 in midday trading.

Featured columns

  • Limit usage of sweeteners

    Dear Dr. Blonz: I continue to hear that high-fructose corn syrup is a dangerous food additive that is much worse than regular sugar. Is this true? — J.B., Walnut Creek, CaliforniaDear J.B.: Let’s take a look at high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and compare it to “regular” sugar, also known as sucrose. Both are composed of the same two simple sugars (monosaccharides): glucose and fructose. In the case of sucrose, the two simple sugars are bound together, but in HFCS, they are not.This is an important characteristic, because fructose on its own is about 1.4 times as sweet as glucose. When bound to fructose as part of a sucrose molecule, the sweetness is less potent. Honey is also a 1:1 blend of glucose and fructose, but with honey, as with HFCS, the two are not bound; this explains why honey tastes sweeter than sucrose.The creation of HFCS begins with cornstarch, which is not noticeably sweet. Cornstarch is made up of long chains of glucose molecules all bound together. Cornstarch gets converted to corn syrup by breaking apart the individual glucose molecules. This gets done using a starch-digesting enzyme, similar to what goes on in our body when we eat starches.Corn syrup then gets converted to HFCS through the use of a specialized enzyme that converts glucose into fructose. Not all the glucose is typically converted, and the percentage in the final product depends on its intended use. A typical HFCS is about 55 percent fructose, 45 percent glucose. It is called a “high”-fructose corn syrup because standard corn syrup is primarily glucose.How does HFCS compare to sucrose? A study in the July 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at whether HFCS might not satisfy like other sweeteners, which could then lead to excess consumption (and an increased risk of obesity), but it found no differences between HFCS and sucrose. In the same journal in May 2008, they looked at the effects of beverages sweetened with HFCS, sucrose, fructose and glucose. The study reported no differences in a number of physiological measures, including 24-hour blood glucose, insulin and triglyceride levels. Another study in the December 2013 issue of Nutrition Research reported no significant difference in the metabolic effects of HFCS versus sucrose at low, medium or high levels of consumption.

  • OPINION: The Romney revival

    Run, Mitt, run.” That was the chant as Mitt Romney appeared at a rally for Joni Ernst, the Republican Senate candidate in Iowa. The 2012 GOP standard-bearer hears those words a lot as he campaigns around the country this fall, and they trigger two questions.Will he run? Can he win?“I’m not running for office,” Romney insisted in Iowa. And his wife, Ann, reiterated this week that the family was “done, done, done” with presidential politics.And yet. Romney really believed that he would win two years ago, and there have to be long days — and late nights — when the dream comes creeping back and won’t quite die. Remember the adage popularized by the late Mo Udall, a candidate for the Democratic nomination in 1976 against Jimmy Carter: “The only cure for presidentialitis is embalming fluid.”And Romney has gotten a lot of encouragement lately. In a Des Moines Register poll, he was the only Republican to lead Hillary Clinton in Iowa, a state Barack Obama won twice.More seriously, a huge vacuum is starting to emerge in what might be called the PEC sector: the Pragmatic-Establishment-Centrist wing of the Republican Party. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey wants to run, but his brand has been blemished by the George Washington Bridge scandal. Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, seems gripped by a case of terminal indecision.

  • Don’t stall in scheduling auto maintenance

    Oil changes don’t tend to slip car owners’ minds, but less frequent vehicle maintenance jobs can be easy to overlook, according to a recent AAA survey.“Changes in maintenance schedules due to advanced vehicle and fluid technology have changed vehicle service needs,” said John Walter, director of automotive repair and fleet for AAA Arizona. “The expansion of onboard maintenance reminder systems — which often cover oil-change services — appears to help consumers stay on track with oil maintenance. However, many important services not typically detailed by those systems are missed.”In honor of October’s Car Care Month, AAA surveyed its network of AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities to identify the maintenance items frequently missed by motorists.The automotive resource found:• Eighty-eight percent of drivers missed brake fluid maintenance, but only 35 percent of drivers were behind on oil changes.• Other commonly missed items included proper battery checks (82 percent), transmission fluid maintenance (81 percent), tire maintenance (78 percent) and engine coolant (77 percent).

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