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Home Management Inside Your Home Real Estate Uncategorized

Important Features of a Successful Family Home

Selecting a home in which to raise your family is one of the most important decisions you can make. Likely, it’s a decision you’ll make only a few times during your young family’s life.

While most kids would focus on “their room” and the pool area, parents know there are other features that are important. Aside from the obvious choices of updated features, interiors, good quality finishes, and appliances, here are a few others that might improve family communications.

Traffic flow is an element that may not get as much attention as it should. Having a kitchen that is accessible to living areas and outdoor recreation helps to maximize opportunities for good communication.

A breakfast bar can do much to enhance your communication opportunities with your kids. It creates a place for them to chat about their school day while enjoying a snack and gives them a place to get homework done where you can easily help.

Convenience and storage are other important factors. An easily accessible laundry room that is out of sight makes laundry day easier for the whole family. Having storage for those Costco shopping runs takes the stress out of figuring out where to keep the necessities close at hand.

Our current Fountain Hills family homes give young families room to sprawl while maintaining a convenient home life. For full details, photos, and videos of our homes, visit our site at www.SonoranLifestyle.com .

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Home Management Inside Your Home Real Estate Uncategorized

Energy Saving Tips for the Summer

Saving energy at home used to be an afterthought, but as the times have changed, it’s come to the forefront of the minds of homeowners. There are several small things you can do; it often just takes a few tweaks. With that in mind, we’ve gathered 6 low-cost tips for your home to reduce its carbon footprint and lower your monthly energy bills:

  • Lighting is one of the easiest places to save energy. Replacing your five most frequently used light fixtures with “Energy Star” qualified bulbs can save more than $65 a year in energy costs. (energystar.gov )
    • Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving a room. Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save about $15 per year! (energystar.gov)
  • Electronics such as cell phones and laptop computer chargers account for 15% of your rental home’s energy consumption and electrical use.
    • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use (like your cell phone or laptop computer charger).
    • Use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are done using the equipment.
    • Using a power strip for your computer and other peripheral equipment allows you to completely disconnect the power supply from the power source, eliminating standby power consumption.
  • To keep out the Arizona heat from the summer sun, close window shades and blinds during the hot weather.
  • Save water by scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before loading in the dishwasher. Run your dishwasher and use the air-dry option if available.
    • To make the most efficient use of your dishwasher’s energy and water consumption, run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load.
  • Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible. To save water, try to wash full loads or, if you must wash a partial load, reduce the level of water appropriately.
    • Hot water heating accounts for about 90% of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes. Only 10 % goes to the electricity used by the washer motor. (energystar.gov)
    • Switching to cold water can save the average household more than $40 annually with an electric water heater and more than $30 annually with a gas water heater. (energystar.gov)
    • Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water each year. (energystar.gov)
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your dryer has a moisture sensor, it will automatically turn the machine off when clothes are done. Use it to avoid over-drying.
    • Remember to clean out the lint trap before every load.
    • Dry full loads or reduce drying time for partial loads.
    • Take advantage of Arizona’s warm, dry climate by using a drying rack to hang-dry clothing. This also extends the life of your garments.
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The Spring 2022 Desert Vibe Available Online!

The new Desert Vibe is here! After switching from a monthly release to a quarterly release and dealing with the impact of a paper shortage, Desert Vibe is back, this time as an online-only magazine!

Desert Vibe contains the essence of the Fountain Hills and East Valley community, wrapped up in a bright, colorful, 32-page package! In it, you can find all you need to know about upcoming local events, the state of the real estate market, and life in our slice of the Sonoran Desert.

The Spring 2022 issue contains information about events happening in town and around the area between now and the beginning of July. You can also find an in-depth market update, tips for gardening through the seasons, advice on prepping your home for the summer, and much, much more.

You can access the new issue of Desert Vibe by heading to DesertVibe.com and clicking “Magazine” on the header bar.

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Community Engagement Holidays Local Businesses Local Events Outdoor recreation Uncategorized

“Recycle, Recreate” FH Earth Day Celebration

This Friday, April 22nd, is Earth Day! The Town of Fountain Hills is celebrating this special day for the ecosystem by hosting a celebration that evening from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the FH Community Center.

Ten families who register will compete in a Cardboard Fort Contest, which involves each family competing to create the most amazing cardboard fort. Meanwhile, other activities at the Community Center that evening will include everything from rock painting, to a paper airplane contest, to workshops for gardening, creating bird feeders, etc. out of recycled household materials.

Epcor and Republic Services, who are sponsoring this event, will have booths with educational materials, activities, and prizes!

One of the other main highlights of the event will be a Recycled Art Contest, where artists must make beautiful creations out of materials originally destined for the trash or recycling bin. The art will be presented at the event, and Republic Services will provide prize money for the winners!

Visit FountainHillsAZ.gov/EarthDay to pre-register for the Community Center’s Earth Day activities.

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April Concerts on the Avenue

April is the month of music in Fountain Hills! After beginning the month with the huge two-day party that is the Fountain Hills Music Fest at the Fountain Park, the nearby Avenue of the Fountains is home to the Concerts on the Avenue series for the three following Thursday evenings.

            Businesses on the Avenue typically stay open late to accommodate the crowds during the Concerts, which run from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on April 14th, 21st, and 28th. The Sonoran Lifestyle Team’s office is no exception to this, providing popcorn and drinks to guests and clients. The April evenings will be perfect for putting out a picnic blanket or some chairs and enjoying the music on the grass of the Avenue’s median.

Notably, two performances typically happen at a time. Solo performances take place on the west end of the Avenue between the Town Hall and Sami Fine Jewelry. Bands perform down at the fountain courtyard in the median next to Sofrita. The performers are listed below.

April 14th:

  • Solo: Dave Clark
  • Band: Copper State Blues Band

April 21st:

  • Solo: Brady Lillie
  • Band: Lucas Brown and the Nights Watch

April 28th:

  • Solo: Ritchie Fliegler
  • Band: Chuck Hall Band

Many of the musicians and groups performing in the April series have performed in previous series or at other local venues, so you’ll likely see some familiar faces. There will be representations from several genres of music, so there will be something for everybody to enjoy.

We are proud to be the sponsors of the Concerts on the Avenue yet again. The concerts are totally free to attend, as always, and we’re looking forward to seeing you there! To learn more about this April’s Concerts on the Avenue, head to fountainhillsaz.gov/749/Concerts-on-the-Avenue.

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About Fountain Hills Community Engagement Culture Local Businesses Local Events Things to Do Uncategorized

How Fountain Hills Got Its Thanksgiving Parade

Fountain Hills is home to the largest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the southwestern United States. Not too long ago, it was home to the only Thanksgiving Day Parade west of the Mississippi. If you’ve lived in town for a while, you may take this for granted. How did this holiday tradition begin?

History of La Parada de los Cerros

The story began when E.J. Goodwin and her family moved from Detroit, Michigan to Fountain Hills, Arizona in the early 1980s. Back then, Detroit was known for having a huge Thanksgiving Parade.

So, when the Goodwins moved to town, they were shocked to realize that there were no Thanksgiving Parades anywhere within a thousand-mile radius. Soon after moving in, Mrs. Goodwin asked the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce if she could start one. They said no, but she persisted.

Eventually, the Chamber of Commerce agreed to try out the Thanksgiving Parade idea for Thanksgiving 1984. They declared its official name “La Parada de Los Cerros,” which is Spanish for “The Parade of the Hills.”

The parade was a huge success, and it became an official tradition of Fountain Hills that continues to expand to this day. In fact, as of 2019, the Fountain Hills Parada de Los Cerros is still the second-largest Thanksgiving Parade in the United States. First place goes to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.

This year’s Parade and Turkey Trot

This year’s Thanksgiving celebration begins with the Turkey Trot, the annual run and fitness walk. The Turkey Trot, an event sponsored by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties, begins at 7:15 AM and ends at 9:00 AM, right as the parade begins.

The Thanksgiving Parade itself will go from 9:00 AM until around 10:30 AM. As usual, the floats will be cycling around the Town Center, beginning at the Fountain Lake and ending at the intersection of Parkview and La Montana.

It’s free to attend and the parking is free too, so come on down to watch the floats and embrace the festivities!

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Supporting Local Businesses: Chamber of Commerce

Every year, thousands of entrepreneurs launch a new business that creates jobs and spurs innovation. These businesses are a significant driver of the U.S. economy. And many of these startups specifically serve their local community. Many of them find the education, networking, marketing, and business advocacy they need to succeed through a local Chamber of Commerce.

Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce

The Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce provides its members with over 140 events, meetings, and networking opportunities each year. It offers ten different marketing resources that include a Business Directory available online and in the printed Community Guide. They provide members a platform for job posting, notary services, and three complimentary board rooms for meeting space. They also house Fountain Hills’ official Visitor’s Center.

“The pandemic has been extremely difficult for businesses, non-profits, and even for us,” said Betsy LaVoie, the President and CEO of the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce. “We accepted the challenge to pivot as much as possible to continue meeting the needs of our members. For example, the Thanksgiving Day Parade pivoted to a Parade of Thanksgiving Turkey Drive to support the Extended Hands Food Bank. The 2020 Annual Gala pivoted to a drive-thru dinner and virtual program. And we launched a Facebook ‘event’ during last year’s lockdown to allow local restaurants to post their menus and take-out procedures.”

Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce

The Survive Today, Thrive Tomorrow campaign helped market Chamber members through live Facebook “commercials” and reached thousands of residents. Members placed a Survive Today, Thrive Tomorrow cling in their window to indicate that they were “Open for Business.” These efforts resulted in tremendous support of our local businesses and have led to a rapid economic recovery in our community.

The Chamber hosts many community-minded events. These include Oktoberfest, Thanksgiving Day Parade, Stroll in the Glow, Mayor’s State-of-the-Town Address, mayoral debates, Meet the Candidates Forums, Fountain Hills Day, and the Non-Profit of the Month program. As residents and visitors participate in these events, they engage with one another and embrace the unique community spirit of Fountain Hills.

How is the Chamber, itself a non-profit, able to host all these events and offer the lowest member dues in the entire Metro area? They do this by hosting the two large art festivals each year. These events allow the Chamber to serve the community in such a valuable way. Many local non-profits use the Fountain Festival as their major fundraiser for the entire year. The events also increase our Tourism and Economic Development efforts, bringing in over 200,000 people during a single weekend. They support  local restaurants, hoteliers, gas stations and grocery stores, while providing an economic opportunity for artisans and food vendors.

If you own a local business or want more information about Chamber events, visit FountainHillsChamber.com.

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History of the Dixie Mine

If you ask someone from Fountain Hills where to find the best hikes nearby, the Dixie Mine Trail will likely be high on their list of recommendations.

The trailhead begins at the end of Golden Eagle Boulevard, wanders through the gated Eagle’s Nest neighborhood, then enters McDowell Mountain Regional Park. The hike will take you through the quiet Sonoran Desert, meandering through a variety of landscapes before reaching the Dixie Mine site.

Dixie Mine

The mine was established in 1877 when mining scouts noticed a large amount of quartz in the area. It was originally owned by the Red Mountain Consolidation Copper Mines Company, with 21 claims on 420 acres in the Dixie Mining District of the McDowell Mountains.

By 1917, two tunnels were created. The primary tunnel was 300 feet long with a 240-foot vertical shaft.

The mine never produced enough value to continue operating. There was some copper oxide, silver, gold ore, and tin, but reports show that, other than the tin, it was all low quality.

The mining site changed hands several times throughout the 20th century. When Maricopa County was working to create a county park in the 1970s, a judge ruled that the claims from the mine were economically deficient and granted the property to the newly created McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

Hikers can walk up the wash to the mine opening where there is an iron gate. A plaque is placed nearby with information about the site. Climb up the gravel hill above it to see the vertical shaft opening, which is covered with a sturdy iron grate.

Continue up the wash another 100 feet to find rock petroglyphs from three different time periods. The Archaic petroglyphs of unrecognizable shapes date back about 800 years. The Hohokam petroglyphs from a later time are recognizable as stick figures representing animals, human forms, sunbursts, and water.

Dixie Mine

The historic markings are about 100 years old and are attributed to the ranching and mining period. For example, the marking “H.P. 1925” is believed to be the initials of Henry Pemberton who ranched in the area between 1918 and 1925. Also visible is a petroglyph of the P-brand of the P-Bar Ranch that the Barksdale family operated from 1935 to the 1950s in the present-day Fountain Hills area.

The hike is about 4.3 miles round-trip. Bring $2.00 for the self-pay fee for entering McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

Photo credits: Amy Burnett

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Cut your energy costs

Photo by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash

There is a day for everything, and January 10, 2021, is “National Cut Your Energy Costs Day”. But you live in the desert, so what are the best ways to reduce energy costs here? Follow these energy-efficiency tips to not only reduce costs but also lessen your impact on the environment and grid while keeping your home comfortable all year long. And be sure to take advantage of rebates offered by SRP, our local electrical service provider.

REDUCE PEAK TIME ENERGY USAGE

Start right away by signing up for SRP’s Time-of-Use Plan. You can see an average annual savings of nearly 5% off your electric bill on this plan. The idea is to use less energy during peak hours. All weekends and six observed holidays are off-peak for the entire day. These are peak hours throughout the year:

  • WINTER (November-April): 5AM-9AM and 5PM-9PM 
  • SUMMER (May-October): 2PM-8PM 

PROPERLY SET YOUR THERMOSTAT

You could be wasting up to $180 a year by not setting your thermostat seasonally. Start by setting the fan to “Auto” instead of “On” to save $15-25 each month on energy costs. In winter, set the thermostat for 68-70 degrees when you are home and 65 degrees or lower when you are away. For the summer, set it between 78-80 degrees while at home and up to 85 degrees while you are away. Go a step further and install a Smart thermometer that you can control from your smartphone 24 hours a day.

MAINTAIN YOUR A/C REGULARLY

Start by scheduling annual maintenance by a professional to keep your system in tip-top shape. Be sure to change the filters monthly to keep air ducts clean and to keep your unit running smoothly. If you need to upgrade your system, SRP offers up to $1,125 in rebates when you buy a new energy-efficient AC, heat pump, or mini-split system.

CHECK YOUR AIR DUCTS

If your home is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, you might have leaky air ducts. This can cost you $200 or more in wasted energy. SRP offers a rebate program that covers 75% of repair costs or up to $400 of duct testing and qualified repairs.

INSTALL ENERGY-EFFICIENT LIGHTING

LED bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 35-50 times longer. If you replaced the five most frequently used lightbulbs in your home, you could save as much as $75 per year. They keep rooms cooler, use less energy, and make your indoor plants happier.

ADD SHADE

Shade trees can lower the temperature of your home by up to 20 degrees in the summer. Check out SRP’s free shade tree program here: https://www.srpnet.com/energy/Rebates/shadeTrees.aspx 

They also offer a rebate of $0.80 per square foot on professionally installed shade screens to keep your home cooler during the summer months.

UPGRADE YOUR POOL PUMP

Install a variable speed pool pump and have a pool professional calibrate it to maximize efficiency. This can save you around 70% a year on pool-related costs. Install a timer and run 8-12 hours a day in the summer and 6-8 hours a day in the winter.

Cutting energy costs should be a multi-pronged approach. By combining all these ideas, you could make a considerable dent in your energy bill. And that would be a very happy National Cut Your Energy Costs Day to you!

For more information, visit https://www.srpnet.com/ .

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Rio Verde Country Club

Speak to those who live and play in Rio Verde and you will probably hear, “This is the perfect fit for our lifestyle!” Originally a slice of the former Box Bar Ranch, the property is as stunning today as when it was first envisioned as a retreat for golf and nature lovers.

Wrapped in blue skies and Arizona sunshine, Rio Verde is nestled along the Verde River on the edge of the Tonto National Forest. Although tucked away in the desert, it is a short drive away from spectacular restaurants, theaters, shopping, museums and more in nearby North Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.

Rio Verde’s total club lifestyle benefits from spectacular weather for staying active outdoors. And golf is elemental to this full life. Members play for the thrill of the sport and joy of the game. Whether playing for three hours or three holes, Rio Verde’s professional staff, extensive practice facility, and open fairways provide plenty of opportunity to get into golf.

Unlike many private clubs, Rio Verde’s members do not have food and beverage minimums or pay cart fees. Full membership provides unlimited access to dining and events, 36-holes of parkland-style golf, a driving range, three putting greens, and a bunker/chipping complex. Because Rio Verde Country Club is managed by Troon, members can request tee times at over 500 courses worldwide.

With fantastic food, a social calendar, and signature events, members stay as busy as they please. Those seeking a little piece of paradise are invited to see firsthand what makes Rio Verde the perfect home away from home.

To learn more about Rio Verde memberships or to schedule your private tour, contact Membership Director Megan Liborio at (480) 471-3410 or mliborio@rioverdecc.com, or visit RioVerdeArizona.com.