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?

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It could be said that the Arizona housing market was a prime example of that law. A rebound, however will inevitably follow the market correction.

On the up side, this is a great time to research the deals out there. Housing prices are at an all-time low and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently announced that first-time homebuyers will be able to apply the new $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit toward the purchase costs of a FHA-insured home. The effort is in hope that the nations housing market will be stabilized by stimulating home sales across the country. More information can be found in the business and financial section of this edition on page 10.

During economic recessions, families tend to stay closer to home. As they look for cost-cutting ways to continue spending quality time together, many businesses are also offering some great deals. Our event calendar, found on pages 4 and 5, is packed with summer deals.

The Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff is donating one free Scenic Skyride ticket to each person who brings at least three (3) non-perishable, non-breakable food item to the resort. The trip is not only a great way to beat the summer heat, but a bonus when you throw in a free scenic skyride.

Kartchner Caverns State Park is reducing ticket prices, saving buyers as much as $6.95 per ticket when you book a tour for any day between June 1 and September 4, 2009. The Phoenix Zoo is offering free daytime admission to kids 12 and under for the entire summer. If you havent been out there lately, theyve just added Yakulla (yah-cool-yuh) Caverns, a water area that features a cave with slides, stalagmites and stalactites, cave creatures, a special waterfall, and tons of room to splash around. Cool stuff. The Phoenix Zoo also has Starry Safari, held during the cooler evening hours from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Admission is only $5.00 per person.

Locally, if youre looking for a cheap meal, the Gila County Historical Museum has the all-you-can-eat hamburger fry on Fridays, beginning at 5:30 p.m. for just five bucks a person. All the trimmings are included.

If youre looking for fun at any time, theres always Roosevelt Lake. This huge reservoir encompasses over 21,000 acres of water with enough room for water skiing, jet skiing, boating, wakeboarding, or just plain cooling off in its refreshing water. The lake is pretty quiet during the week and the surrounding area offers a wide array of activities for families.

As I put this issue to bed, I hope all of you stay cool. Until then . . . take care and . . .

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