December 2015 Around Town 5

Rawhide Snowy Christmas

Get in the holiday spirit under a powdery snowfall on Main Street. The 3rd Annual Rawhide Snowy Christmas begins on Thanksgiving and runs through January 3. Decorated with holiday décor and thousands of lights, Rawhide features holiday festivities including tree lighting ceremonies and photos with Santa. Sweet Sally’s offers stocking stuffers, like homemade fudge, for purchase. Tasty treats and  s’mores around the fire pits are also available. The festivities run Fridays from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. Rawhide is located at 5700 W. North Loop Road in Chandler. For more information, visit

National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists at Hamilton High School

A record-breaking 17 Hamilton High School (HHS) seniors are among 16,000 semifinalists nationwide competing for 7,400 National Merit Scholarships totaling more than $32 million. Another 21 HHS students have been recognized as Commended Students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

“Recognition as a National Merit Semifinalist reflects these students’ focused commitment to their academic goals as well as the consistent and ongoing support and encouragement from teachers and staff and truly underscores the commitment to academic achievement at every level at Hamilton High School,” says HHS Principal Ken James.  “Having nearly 50 students recognized as both semifinalists and as commended students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation sends a very strong message about the quality of education at Hamilton High School.”

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is a not-for-profit organization which honors the nation’s top scholastic students and supports the pursuit of academic excellence. This year’s semifinalists from HHS are: Sritej Attaluri, Nikhil Bhardwaja, Iris Chang, Devanshi D. Chavda, Michael Chen, Lydia A. Chew, Molly Chou, MacKenna N. Goodrich, Sruthi Jaishankar, Sabrina W. Leung, Ruohan Miao, Trung D. Nguyen, Andrew D. Seo, Chaz M. Simmons, Elliot A. Smith, Matthan T. Sutton, and Taylor Swanson. Finalists are chosen this spring.

Pieology Pizzeria

Attention pizza lovers: Pieology Pizzeria has opened its newest location in Chandler! Franchise Partner Kris Olson says “We’re excited to introduce Pieology’s unique experience to the Chandler community, where guests can express their creativity in the form of a delicious pizza using unlimited toppings for one affordable price.”

Pieology allows guests to personalize their own pizzas. The pies are made from fresh house-made dough which is pressed into an 11.5 inch crust. Guests first select from eight sauces and then choose from more than 40 toppings: cheeses, meats, veggies, herbs and spices. The pizzas are then oven-fired in less than three minutes and finished with a “Flavor Blast” sauce. Most custom pizzas are $8 or less and Pieology offers gluten-free crust and vegan mozzarella cheese.

If salad is more your game, Pieology also has custom salads. Guests can choose from lettuce options, a large variety of toppings and five dressings. Pieology is located at 3450 West Chandler Boulevard, Suite 5, near Hobby Lobby and Walmart. The pizzeria is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. To learn more about Pieology Pizzeria and its delicious menu, visit or call 480.963.3499.

Science Saturdays

In its sixth year, Chandler Museum’s Science Saturday program partners with the Museum of Science and Sustainability (MoSS) to bring the world of science to young ones for free. On the second Saturday of each month, Science Saturdays teaches children from across the Valley about physics, geology, robotics, and biology.

“The Chandler Museum started Science Saturday as a new way to engage youth with science and history, and it has been a great success,” says Chandler Museum Administrator Jody Crago. “This year, we are looking forward to partnering with the Museum of Science and Sustainability. They bring incredible expertise and resources that result in high-quality, engaging science programming for participants.”

The first program of the season in October featured The Bees Knees, an exploration of bees and their importance in our world. Participants took part in hands-on activities, including honey tasting. Future themes include Robots in Space, Spring Showers, Geology: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and The Power of the Sun. Classes run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Tumbleweed Ranch in Chandler’s Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road. The next meeting takes place on December 12 with the theme of The Science of Life. To learn more about the Chandler Museum, visit

Tumbleweed Tree 
Lighting Ceremony

It’s that time of year again; time for the Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony! This exciting annual tradition takes place on December 5 and is fun for the entire family. The Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony began in 1957 with an inspired idea from Earl Barnum. Years later the tradition still stands. Every year, hundreds of tumbleweeds are collected and used to create the 25-foot tall wire frame. After being affixed, the tumbleweeds are sprayed with 25 gallons of white paint and dusted with 65 pounds of glitter, and 1,200 lights are placed on the tree.

Along with the Tree Lighting, there will be a Parade of Lights, live entertainment, a life-size snow globe, dancers, singers, and other performers. The Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony and Parade of Lights take place at A.J. Chandler Park in Downtown Chandler, located at 3 South Arizona Avenue. Festivities take place from 4:30 to 9 p.m., with the Parade of Lights starting at 7 p.m. For more information about the Ceremony, visit or call 480.782.2669.

Empty Bowls

Pita Jungle hosts the second annual Empty Bowls fundraiser. This event allows guests to purchase hand-crafted clay bowls that benefit local food rescue Waste Not. All 14 Pita Jungles in the metro-Phoenix area, including the Chandler location, will sell the bowls from Dec. 1-6. The bowls cost $15 with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the non-profit organization. Those who purchase a bowl will receive either a small order of hummus or a serving of soup.

For 25 years, Waste Not has been feeding the Valley’s hungry. For every dollar it receives, six people in Arizona are fed. The co-founder and co-owner of Pita Jungle, Bassel Osmani says “Hunger remains one of the most prevalent challenges in our state and the heart of our brand is all about supporting local. With this Empty Bowls initiative, we not only get to support local artisans, we also get to support our fellow neighbors in need.”

To learn more about this event, visit

Keep it Cut

The local hair salon, which keeps men looking kempt and sharp, has opened two new locations. Jacob Meltzer and Josh Thorsvik started the salon two years ago and have created a relaxed atmosphere where clients can keep up on current trends at a fair price.

“We wanted to create a place where we didn’t have to pay every time we got a haircut,” says Meltzer. “The idea of Keep It Cut is one flat monthly fee for as many cuts as you want.”

The salon offers haircuts, hair washes and beard grooming. Keep it Cut’s four monthly membership levels include: regular, unlimited haircuts for $26 per month; unlimited haircuts and washes for $32 per month; unlimited haircuts and grooming for $35 per month; and unlimited haircuts, washes, and grooming for $41 per month. Single haircuts are available for $17.

The two new shops are both 1,200 square feet and are located at 4025 East Chandler Boulevard in Ahwatukee and 5118 South Rural Road in Tempe. For hours and directions, visit

Kai Restaurant

Kai Restaurant at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa has earned a Wine Spectator’s 2015 Restaurant Wine List Award.

“It is an honor to have our wine program recognized yet another year as a ‘must visit’ destination by Wine Spectator” said Kevin Lewis, Kai Wine Director.

Wine Spectator recognizes the world’s best wine restaurants based on independent on-site inspections of the wine program, service, cellar, ambiance, and cuisine of the restaurant. Kai provides diners a unique culinary experience with its Native American-influenced fare. Kai is open Tuesday  through Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. To learn more about Kai and its wine, visit

Tie One On For Safety

Desert Car Care Center of Chandler and MADD Phoenix kicks-off their 4th annual “Tie One On For Safety®” public awareness campaign during the festive holiday season, to remind the community to always designate a non-drinking driver. This event is dedicated to Chandler police officer David Payne, part of the East Valley DUI Task Force, who came out to support the event in 2012. Sadly, he was hit, while on duty, by a drunk driver and killed on October 31, 2014. We dedicated last year’s event and outreach to honor him for his work in the community and we continue to do so every year.

The kick-off event is Tuesday, December 15 at Desert Car Care of Chandler, 95 North Dobson Road. From December 15 through December 31, come in and sign the Pledge to Drive Sober and receive a “Tie One On For Safety®” MADD decal, a free set of windshield wiper blades, and a voucher for 20 percent off any repair or service up to $100 through January 31, 2016.

Chandler Unified School District Title 1 
Junior High Jazz Band Invited to Perform 
at International Conference

The Chandler Unified School District’s Willis Junior High Jazz Band, under the direction of John Studzinski, was selected to perform at the Jazz Education Network conference in Louisville, Kentucky at the Galt House Convention Center on Thursday, January 7, 2016. Founded in Chicago in 2008, JEN is the largest International Jazz Conference held annually.

Willis Junior High’s jazz band was the only Junior High School in the world selected to perform at this event, which is a tremendous honor.