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  • 💹 Arizona's Economy Buzzes Upward, While Gilbert Tackles Teen Troubles, Brainy Bees, and Holiday Light Fantasies!

💹 Arizona's Economy Buzzes Upward, While Gilbert Tackles Teen Troubles, Brainy Bees, and Holiday Light Fantasies!

Issue #68 - December 20, 2023

💹 Arizona's Economy Shows Steady Growth Amid Global Challenges

🕯 Community Calls for Action Against Teen-on-Teen Violence in Gilbert

🐝 East Valley Students Invited to Participate in National Civics Bee Competition

🎄 Enchanting Holiday Lights Transform the Valley into a Winter Wonderland

🎈 Discover Local Events Coming Soon

And more…

Arizona's Economy Shows Steady Growth Amid Global Challenges

In 2023, Arizona's economy exhibited moderate growth, with projections for the coming year indicating a similar trend. Dennis L. Hoffman, Director of ASU's Office of the University Economist and the L. William Seidman Research Institute, presented these insights at the 60th annual Economic Forecast Luncheon in downtown Phoenix. This event, sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business and PNC Bank, is a gathering of business and government leaders where economists share predictions about future business conditions.

Hoffman praised Arizona's resilience, particularly during the pandemic, crediting the state's economic stability to a collective determination to work and persist through challenges. He was joined by other experts, including Augustine Faucher, Chief Economist for PNC Financial Services Group, and Robert J. Barro, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, who discussed various factors influencing the global and national economy.

The state's economy, while experiencing some deceleration, remains strong. Arizona was a national leader in job creation pre-pandemic and currently ranks 29th in the U.S. for job growth, with significant contributions from healthcare, leisure and hospitality, wholesale trade, professional/tech industry, and construction. Healthcare leads in job creation, followed by leisure and hospitality. Despite concerns over federal rate hikes and inflation, small businesses show optimism for their future, adding to the positive economic outlook.

Hoffman anticipates continued growth in sectors like healthcare, public administration, manufacturing, education, finance, insurance, and arts/entertainment over the next decade. Arizona's emerging role as a semiconductor research and development hub further reinforces his positive outlook for the state's economy.

Community Calls for Action Against Teen-on-Teen Violence in Gilbert

The Gilbert community is grappling with concerns over youth violence following the tragic deaths of three East Valley teenagers, Preston Lord, Jamiere Jenkins, and Hailey Stephens. These incidents have raised alarm among residents, prompting discussions at a Gilbert Town Council meeting. Jam Uy, a concerned Gilbert resident and mother, expressed her fear for her children’s safety, particularly in light of these recent events.

At the meeting, Police Chief Michael Soelberg acknowledged the community's concern and fear, confirming that although the incidents are unrelated, they have significantly impacted the community. He addressed the spread of misinformation and speculation on social media about these incidents.

Nicki Connelly, a resident from Chandler, shared a harrowing account of her son being attacked by a group of teens at a mall, highlighting the physical and emotional trauma such incidents inflict. She emphasized the need for communities like Gilbert, Chandler, and Queen Creek to collaborate on solutions to prevent teen violence.

Queen Creek resident Cassandra Erwin described the issue as a national crisis, noting the fractured state of children, parents, and the region. She called for urgent intervention and acknowledgment of the crisis among children.

Katey McPherson, a youth advocate now living in Queen Creek, spoke about the broader impact of these violent incidents on the community. She suggested that the town organizes listening sessions with both adults and youths to address safety and violence prevention. McPherson stressed the importance of children having trusted and healthy adults in their lives and warned against the dangers of neglecting these needs.

The discussion at the council meeting highlighted the urgency of addressing teen violence, the need for community involvement, and the importance of providing supportive environments for young people.

East Valley Students Invited to Participate in National Civics Bee Competition

The National Civics Bee, hosted by the Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Civic Trust of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, invites East Valley middle school students to participate in a civics competition.

Students must submit a 500-word essay on civic principles, community problems, and the use of primary sources. The top 20 contestants from the essay round will advance to a live quiz, with cash prizes for the finalists. The competition aims to enhance students' understanding of government and civic engagement.

For more information about the essay topics, competition rules, prizes, and to submit essays, participants can visit the dedicated website at qcstudentchamber.com/national-civics-bee

Peacock Wine & Book Bar

Schnepf Farms

Archer’s Bikes

Pixie Sticks Boutique

Romeo’s Euro Café

Sip & Shop

Enchanting Holiday Lights Transform the Valley into a Winter Wonderland

The holiday season in the Valley brings a dazzling array of light displays and festive activities, transforming various locations into enchanting landscapes of twinkling lights and holiday cheer. Residents and visitors alike have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the festive spirit by exploring numerous holiday-themed attractions across the region.

One notable residential display is by John Nelson of Queen Creek, who adorns his home at 23467 S. 223rd Court with approximately 70,000 lights, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. His setup includes 13,000 lights forming a twinkling curtain along the side of the house and 25,000 lights on trees and bushes, synchronized to music. Occasionally, visitors might also spot the Grinch distributing candy canes. Nelson encourages the public to visit and enjoy the display, and has even shared a video of it on TikTok.

For those concerned about the cost of such grand displays, SRP spokesperson Jennifer Schuricht explains that while extravagant lighting can increase electric bills, the impact is minimal, especially with energy-efficient LED lights.

Beyond residential displays, the Valley offers a wide array of commercial and municipal holiday experiences:

  • Vertuccio Farms in Mesa hosts "Lights at the Farm," boasting 10 acres of lights synchronized to Christmas music. The farm features a synthetic ice-skating rink and is located at 4011 S. Power Road, running the event through December 23.

  • Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek provides Christmas-themed activities, including an Illumination Express Train, showcasing light displays around the farm. Located at 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, the event continues through December 24.

  • The Phoenix Zoo's ZooLights is a long-standing tradition, featuring over 4 million lights, wildlife lanterns, and a 50-foot floating tree. This event is held at 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, until January 14.

  • Glendale Glitters celebrates its 30th anniversary with a light display in Downtown Glendale near 59th and Glendale avenues, running through January 1.

  • Desert Botanical Garden presents Las Noches de las Luminarias, a tranquil experience with luminaria-lit trails, at 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, until December 30.

  • Fairmont Scottsdale Princess's "Christmas at The Princess" offers a winter wonderland at 7575 E. Princess Drive, including an ice-skating rink and Princess Express trains, running through January 6.

  • Enchant Christmas at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, features an ice skating rink and a claimed world's largest Christmas light maze, open through December 31.

  • Old Town Scottsdale's Scottsdazzle Holiday Extravaganza includes free events and a stunning Christmas tree at the Scottsdale Waterfront, continuing through December 31.

  • World of Illumination presents two drive-thru light shows: "Reindeer Road" in Glendale and "Cosmic Sleighride" in Tempe, both available through December 31.

These holiday light experiences offer a variety of festive activities for all ages, making the Valley a vibrant destination for celebrating the holiday season.

Spotlight Your Business!

Would you like us to spotlight your local business in front of thousands of Gilbert area residents in an upcoming issue of Gilbert Thrive?

We ❤️ Local Businesses!
We know our community is brimming with businesses that have fascinating stories and big hearts. If you're a local business owner making waves, crafting unique experiences, or simply putting a smile on our faces, we want to chat with you! Gilbert Thrive is eager to shine a light on the unsung heroes of our town. Let's collaborate and let the community know what makes your business special. Send us a message, and let's celebrate the spirit of Gilbert together!

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