As we head into June and the halfway point of the year, Im hearing numerous reports on the economy ranging from what appears to be the beginning of a turnaround to the worst is still to come.

As an eternal optimist, Im certainly hoping for the former and am seeing a mild rebound, at least across pockets of Arizona.

I remember back in the eighties having a discussion with a friend after watching the movie Wall Street with Michael Douglas and Martin Sheen. While the theme of the movie was about insider trading, the thread running through the film was of a system based on faith. Once consumer faith falls apart, which it did after the collapse of AIG, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and several other institutions too numerous to list here, a domino effect follows.

It is my personal belief that consumer confidence must be restored in order for the engine of this economy to start running again. Im not entirely certain that spending enormous amounts of taxpayer dollars is the battery needed for the jump-start. So how do we restore faith? What will it take for consumers to start spending money and banks to begin lending again?

I love fairy tale endings! On Saturday, May 1, Mine That Bird, a 3-year-old gelding and a 50-1 longshot, ran an unbelievable race on a 1 1/4-mile muddy track in the Kentucky Derby.

I have loved horses for as long as I can remember and this race brought to mind, a story written by Walter Farley, titled The Black Stallion

In the movie adaptation, a young boy named Alex becomes acquainted with what becomes his beloved The Black after both are shipwrecked on an island. The cast included Mickey Rooney as the trainer and Teri Garr as Alexs mom. As the movie nears the ending climax, the Black races to what is perceived as an insurmountable come-from-behind win.

Mine That Bird closely paralleled the same feat in Saturdays Kentucky Derby. When you watch the replay, you realize the horse was dead-last out of the gate and accelerated like a rocket past the field to win by six plus lengths. Talk about a horse with heart. Mine That Bird has it, as does his jockey, Calvin Borel.

One has to wonder, can this horse give a repeat performance in the Preakness and the Belmont? The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978. If the Derby was any indication, well be seeing a lot more of Mine That Bird.

I can hardly believe its nearing the end of April. Easter weekend is over, Uncle Sam wants his share of taxes today (yes, if you havent done those taxes, this would be a great time to file an extension), and summer is just around the corner.

In the meantime, this week is promising gorgeous weather, just in time for the FLW Outdoors, Stren Series. According to tournament officials, 400 boats will descend on Roosevelt Lake from April 16 through the 18. Anglers are launching from Cholla and many of those competing began arriving last week for some pre-fishing.

Weve been hearing great reports on the bass and crappie bite all across the lake. There are those who say the bite is better on the north end near Indian Point, while others swear that the south end near Schoolhouse and around the Salt River is where theyre hitting. Regardless of where the bass are hiding, fishermen in the FLW, a nationally-recognized tournament, should find Roosevelt Lake as one of the premiere bass fishing lakes in the country.

Although the Saturday weigh-in takes place in Payson, the community of Roosevelt along with the surrounding area is expected to receive a serious influx of visitors as families and spectators arrive to watch the pros and co-anglers vie for top awards of $25,000 cash and a 198VX Ranger with an outboard, trolling motor and electronics. Not bad for a day of fishing out on a beautiful lake.

Look for all the details from this event in our next issue.

In other news, the Arizona Diamondbacks have been awarded the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which will be played at Chase Field on July 12, 2011. This is great news for the state of Arizona.

The housing market appears to be showing some slight increases in sales across the state. Although were not seeing the surge we saw back in 2005 and 2006, the resort communities seem to be picking back up as homeowners are again seeking second homes within reasonable driving distance of their primary residence. All of the recent headlines over the drug cartels waging war in Mexico and the sagging economy have families spending money closer to home.

Life goes on and as we slowly move out of this recession, we have to keep in mind that there is a light at the end of what has seemed like a long dark tunnel for many families out there.

Speaking of dark tunnels, our condolences go out to Jann Frederick on the loss of her husband Rick, who was involved in an ATV accident in Roosevelt.

My memory of Rick will be of that smile that was always firmly planted on his face. His friends and family, while suffering a great loss will keep fond memories of him close to their hearts and in those memories, Rick will live on. It is, unfortunately, these rude awakenings which serve to remind us how precious life is and the importance of not taking for granted those around us.

And . . . on that subject, I want to take this opportunity to wish my wonderful husband Boston, a great 50th birthday on April 28.

Its time to put this issue to bed so, until then . . . take care and meanwhile:

Dance like theres nobody watching. Love like youll never get hurt. Sing like theres nobody listening. Live like its heaven on earth.

Karon Schneider, publisher   more...
Judging by all the campers who for the first time in the memories of many, filled all the campgrounds around Roosevelt Lake, this beautiful recreation area is no longer Arizonas best kept secret.

If theres any doubt, wait until FLW Outdoors fishes this lake during their Stren Series tournament slated for April 16-18. This group is nationally recognized and will include major media coverage. Roosevelt Lake is finally coming into her own and the word is getting out to avid fishermen around the country.

If youre not familiar with FLW Outdoors, the company has a history that dates back to 1996. It has become the only tournament organization to serve bass, walleye, kingfish, redfish and striped bass anglers of all skill levels from coast to coast. The company is the worlds leading tournament-fishing organization with 90,000 entries, 240 events, 12 tournament trails and total purses exceeding $42.6 million, including more than $6 million awarded in no-entry-fee championships, in 2007. According to statistics, 17 of the sports top 18 bass-fishing tournaments (those offering awards of $1 million or more) are FLW Outdoors events, including the biggest tournament in bass fishing the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup.

The tournament-fishing landscape changed dramatically on July 24, 1996, when Minneapolis businessman Irwin L. Jacobs purchased a little-known bass-tournament organization in the small town of Gilbertsville, Ky., renamed it FLW Outdoors® after the legendary founder of Ranger® Boats, Forrest L. Wood.

With the signing of Wal-Mart as title sponsor, the 1997 FLW Tour paid out a record $3.1 million in cash to the nations top professional bass anglers.

In 1999, Jacobs stepped up payouts in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour to $3.97 million over seven events, and on November 7, 1999, FOX Sports aired the first live network broadcast of a bass-fishing tournament. More than two million households tuned in to watch the Sunday afternoon broadcast as Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla., won $600,000 in the Ranger M1 Millennium. This event marked the richest freshwater tournament prize in sport-fishing history. FLW Outdoors celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour in 2005 by increasing payouts to $7.6 million and moving television coverage to Fox Sports Net. The most exciting news to come from FLW Outdoors in 2006 was the announcement of A ground-breaking payout change for the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup. In a history-making performance, Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., won the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup with the single richest payday in competitive bass fishing history $1 million.

Although the tournament is based in Payson, launching will take place at the Cholla Recreation Site, just a few short miles from the small community of Roosevelt, which is located approximately 10 miles south of the dam.

This tournament will not only bring revenue dollars to the area, but should be the hot spot for future tournaments once visitors and fishermen discover this phenomenal recreation hot spot. Weve included some photos from the latest FLW tournament at Lake Havasu last weekend on page 13 of this issue. Look for more updates in the next issue.

Until then . . . take care, and meanwhile:

Dance like theres nobody watching. Love like youll never get hurt. Sing like theres nobody listening. Live like its heaven on earth.   more...
St Patricks Day is just around the corner. As the wife of an Irishman, I have been frequently reminded in recent weeks of how many days are left before the calendar reaches March 17.

March is also known as Irish-American Heritage Month (and as National Womens History Month. Check out the article on page 15 for some interesting history.)

According to history, St. Patricks Day was originally a religious holiday in honor of the man who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. It eventually evolved into a celebration of all things Irish.

According to 2007 population estimates, there were 36.5 million U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry, which just happened to be more than eight times the population of Ireland itself (more than 4 million).

Interestingly enough, 24% percent of Massachusetts (my husbands home state) residents were of Irish ancestry in 2007, compared 12% for the nation as a whole in 2007 From January through October 2008, the United States imported $26.2 billion in goods from Ireland. Exports from the United States to Ireland totaled $7.4 billion for the same period.

Superstitious folks may want to visit one of the four places in the U.S. named Shamrock, which is also the floral emblem of Ireland. They are Mount Gay-Shamrock, in West Virginia, Shamrock, Texas, both small towns with 2,623 and 1,830 residents, respectively. Theres also Shamrock Lakes, Indiana, with 154 residents and Shamrock, Oklahoma with 123 residents. Perhaps visitation to one of these lucky spots will keep unlucky events away on Friday the thirteenth this month.

There are nine places in the United States that share the name of Irelands capital, Dublin. Since Census 2000, Dublin, California, has surpassed Dublin, Ohio, as the most populous of these places (43,960 compared with 37,954, respectively, as of July 1, 2007). If youre still not into the spirit of St. Paddys Day, then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, North Carolina, with 3,651 residents. Other appropriate places in which to spend the day: the township of Irishtown, Illinois, several places or townships named Clover (in South Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota and Pennsylvania) and the township of Cloverleaf, Minnesota.

If you prefer to stay a little closer to home, head on over to Bostons Lake House Grill on Tuesday, March 17 for some Irish fun. While youre there, you can enjoy a traditional Irish feast of corned beef, cabbage and red potatoes. Theyre located just two short miles from Roosevelt Lake on State Route 188, nine miles south of dam. Check out their ad on the back page of this issue.

Speaking of Irish feasts, heres an interesting tidbit: in 2007, U.S. beef and cabbage production totaled 1.5 billion and 2.6 billion pounds, respectively. Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patricks Day dish. The corned beef that celebrants dine on may very well have originated in Texas, which produced 6.8 billion pounds worth of beef, while the cabbage most likely came from California, which produced 581 million pounds, or New York, which produced 580 million pounds.

The month of March also signals that spring is nearly here. Temperatures in the 80s this week give residents and visitors alike plenty of reasons to take advantage of the unseasonal warmup. The Roosevelt Lake area was inundated with visitors this past weekend enjoying all that this recreational area has to offer them. Temperatures are expected to be back in the low seventies (seventy-three is the seasonal norm for this time of year) by next Sunday, which is still great boating and fishing weather.

Since Im on the topic, Im hearing that the crappie and bass fishing are really picking up right now. Recent reports have fishermen (and women) catching 40 plus nice-sized crappie out of Roosevelt. Bass fishing is also picking up. If youre looking for some rest and relaxation, Roosevelt Lake is the place to be this summer.

Until next issue . . . take care, and meanwhile:
Dance like theres nobody watching. Love like youll never get hurt. Sing like theres nobody listening. Live like its heaven on earth.

Karon Schneider, publisher   more...
Superstitious people out there are probably breathing a sigh of relief now that Friday the 13 has come and gone.

It has been said that the fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in ancient, separate bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. The two unlucky entities combine to make one super unlucky day.

According to Norse myth, about 12 gods were having a dinner party at Valhalla, which was their heaven when the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous god Loki, walked in. Loki arranged for Hoder, who was the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Balder died and the Earth is said to have gone dark.

There are also Biblical references to the unlucky number 13 when Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.

Many also believed that Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday and according to tradition, the Flood in the Bible, the Tower of Babel confusion, and the death of Jesus Christ all took place on Friday.

Witches in ancient Rome are said to have gathered in groups of 12. The 13th person was believed to be the devil.

Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. Friday was the conventional day for public hangings under British tradition and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.

Numerologists consider 12 a complete number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus.

There are numerous places where the fear of Friday the thirteenth is demonstrated. Among them, more than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor; ,many airports skip the 13th gate; airplanes have no 13th aisle; many hospitals and hotels have no room number 13; Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery; many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue; and according to superstition, if you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devils luck. Examples given are Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo who all have 13 letters in their names. Keep in mind however, that the dictionary defines superstition as an irrational belief in the ominous significance of a particular thing or circumstance. If Friday the thirteenth worries you, perhaps you should carry around a four-leaf clover (if you can find one) or an acorn which is said to bring luck and ensure a long life.

We here at Arizona Free Press would like to extend our condolences to Darrell Stubbs on the loss of his son Josh, who passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident in Montana. Darrell, a retired Gila County Sheriffs deputy, let us know that Josh, even in death, saved 14-20 other lives with the donation of organs. It is in those people that Joshs spirit and his great sense of humor, will live on.

We also extend our condolences to Steve Arthur and his family on the loss of his wife Susan. Many of you know Steve from his Globe business.

As of press time, we were still awaiting details on the nearly one trillion dollar stimulus package recently by Congress. We will pass those details along to readers as they become available to us.

Arizona Free Press has expanded its circulation base into the Safford-Thatcher areas, as well as Superior and Gold Canyon. We are also increasing our presence in the East and north Valley areas, and will soon be all over northern Arizona as well.

If you are interested in advertising, weve got some great promotions running until the end of February for new ad customers. Please give us a call at 928-425-8253 for more information.

Dance like theres nobody watching. Love like youll never get hurt. Sing like theres nobody listening. Live like its heaven on earth.

Until next issue . . . take care   more...