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Promenade announces more stores, entertainment coming

CASA GRANDE — The Promenade at Casa Grande is getting several new stores just before the start of the Christmas shopping season.

The mall is negotiating leases with two national retailers, Cory Boss, the executive vice president of Lamar Companies, which owns the Promenade, said in an email Thursday. One of those leases should be signed in the next 30 to 45 days. The second lease may be signed in the next three to four months with a formal announcement of the new tenant next year.

Boss declined to say which national retailers may be signing the leases.

“This property when we came here was lacking the love that it needed,” said Mark Kalkus, president and CEO of Lamar Companies, at a grand reopening ceremony at the mall on Saturday. “It needed new blood. We’re excited to come in here.”

There will be new stuff for the kids as well. Rampage Playground plans to open next to JCPenney in the spring. The 18,000-square-foot business will include a trampoline, slides, climbing gym, rock climbing walls, party rooms and food for kids.

Throwback Family Fun is also hoping to open in 2020. The 40,000-square-foot indoor activity center will include 20 lanes of bowling, a roller rink, laser tag, 1980s video gaming, party room, food and drinks.

Tappy Tots, a dance studio for kids, is also opening near the entertainment area.

Meanwhile, some new storefronts have opened recently in the Promenade that shoppers can check out.

Cash Fades, a barber shop, has opened near Harkins Theatres. Cloud Nine Med Spa, which offers a variety of beauty and spa treatments, has opened near Chick-fil-A and Selex Nails has added more chairs to its salon. 1 Stop Beauty Supply, which specializes in wigs, cosmetics and hair supplies, has also opened near the entertainment center in the mall.

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More than 700 people dine for charity at Taste of Casa Grande
 mstaude  / 

CASA GRANDE — More than 700 area food fans stepped up on Sunday to help Against Abuse Inc. raise money to provide services to victims of domestic and sexual assault.

An estimated 735 to 750 people purchased tickets to attend the 2019 Taste of Casa Grande, held at Eva’s Fine Mexican Food restaurant Sunday afternoon, said Against Abuse Executive Director Pat Griffen.

The event featured more than 20 food purveyors handing out samples of their culinary specialties. Dozens of types of food were sampled at the event, ranging from ice cream, doughnuts and brownies to chicken, enchiladas, vegan fare and bacon-wrapped steak bites as well as plenty of rice, beans, chips and other foods.

Dozens of door prizes and gift baskets were raffled off.

Taste of Casa Grande

A highlight of the event this year was a demonstration from celebrity chef Adam Allison, owner and chef of Handlebar Diner and Left Coast Burrito Co. For the Taste of Casa Grande, Allison made chorizo gravy, which he served over buttermilk biscuits.

Allison, who raffled off a chef-made dinner for six as a contribution to the event, also took the time to speak with attendees and answer their culinary questions.

Griffen said attendance this year was about on par with last year’s Taste of Casa Grande.

“Maybe we had a bit more this year,” she said. “We received great compliments about the venue and the generosity of Eva’s, having it outside under the tents.”

She said the event went smoothly thanks to volunteers from Casa Grande Union High School and Vista Grande High School DECA programs who spent the day moving furniture, tidying up and helping to ensure the event ran smoothly.

She said people enjoyed the raffle baskets and the food, desserts and beverages.

“The only negative I heard was that it was too warm, but we can’t control the weather,” Griffen said.

She said Allison was a hit.

“We did have suggestions that we do the chef demo earlier so people are not too full to try his demo food,” Griffen said.

All the money raised from the Taste of Casa Grande goes to the Against Abuse operating fund.

Against Abuse Inc. is a nonprofit agency that has provided services in Pinal County since 1981. The organization operates two crisis shelters in Pinal County, including one in Casa Grande and one in Maricopa. It also offers transitional housing, group and out-patient, community-based services, supervised visitation and safe exchange services, case management, sexual assault advocacy and services, animal safe homes, volunteer programs and a thrift store/clothing bank.

In the 2018-19 fiscal year, Against Abuse served 1,045 women, children and men who were victims of domestic or sexual violence.

Planners eye ways to reduce Vegas 'urban heat island' effect

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Officials and planners in Las Vegas say they are working to reduce rising temperatures in a city where paved areas create a warmer environment than plant-covered or rural desert areas.

Several business, city and academic representatives at a roundtable last week considered an August report by the Urban Land Institute that found Las Vegas is the most intense “urban heat island” city in the U.S., the Las Vegas Sun reported.

The term refers to a metropolitan area that’s significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas because of human activity.

The finding came after science news organization Climate Central reported in April that average temperatures have risen faster in Las Vegas than any other city in the nation — nearly 5.8 degrees since 1970.

Heat-related deaths also are rising.

Las Vegas is working on a new master plan that will repurpose abandoned or underdeveloped parts of the city, add more vegetation and discourage use of vehicles, chief sustainability officer Tom Perrigo said.

“We built the city with way too much right-of-way for cars,” Perrigo said. “We’re taking it back and giving it to people and trees and plants.”

The Oct. 15 roundtable included Perrigo, Urban Land Institute researcher Elizabeth Foster, Southern Nevada Water Authority executive John Entsminger, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Architecture director Steffen Lehmann and Tom Warden, senior vice president of the Howard Hughes Corp.

Lehmann said the Las Vegas area could introduce more vegetation to public spaces, increase urban density, diversify land-use types within neighborhoods and upgrade buildings to be more sustainable.

“(This) could be disruptive and it will be significant what we have to change, but here we are, and this is a good start,” Lehmann said.

Rapid growth offers an opportunity to innovate to tackle urban heat, he said.

Some casino-resorts on the Las Vegas Strip are making changes, Lehmann said, citing a huge array of solar panels on the roof at Mandalay Bay as an example. But the sprawling properties use a lot of energy, food and water.

Warden said his company’s master-planned northwest Las Vegas community of Summerlin is replacing water-thirsty landscaping and decorative panels with drought-friendly plants.

The developer also plans more trees in public spaces and hopes to build denser, mixed-use neighborhoods in its remaining 35 square miles of undeveloped area.

While increasing green spaces and incorporating plants into urban areas could lessen the urban heat island effect, landscaping in Las Vegas still uses more water than any other source.

Entsminger said the water authority encourages planners to choose desert-friendly and drought-tolerant plants.

“We think there’s a lot of tree canopy that exists in Las Vegas today that probably isn’t going to survive these warmer temperatures,” he said.