Gas prices fall in Arizona ahead of holiday weekend

Gas prices fell for the fourth straight week, AAA Arizona says.

This week, the statewide average shed about 4 cents to $3.41 per gallon of regular gas as of Friday. Nationally, prices fell by a half-cent to $3.54 per gallon.

In its annual Labor Day travel forecast, AAA estimates that 83 percent of Arizonans traveling for the three-day weekend will do so by car. Tucson kept the state’s lowest average gas price at $3.30 per gallon on Friday, down about 2 cents in a week. Flagstaff had the state’s priciest gas, with an average of $3.67 per gallon.

Small businesses invited

to Affordable Care Act talk

Small businesses can get some expert guidance about how the Affordable Care Act will affect them at a panel discussion on Wednesday.

Under the Affordable Care Act, small businesses will be able to buy health insurance for their employees through a government health insurance exchange or marketplace beginning Oct. 1.

The event Wednesday starts with a complimentary breakfast at 7:30 a.m. followed by a panel discussion from 8 to 11 a.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel–Reid Park, 445 S. Alvernon Way.

The panel, hosted by the Arizona Daily Star’s David Fitzsimmons, includes Pima County Public Health Director Dr. Francisco Garcia; Peter Beahan, a CPA with BeachFleischman PC; attorney Joel Wakefield; Jay Heydt of Crest Insurance Group; and Kathy Oestreich, CEO of Meritus Health Partners, a nonprofit cooperative that will sell insurance through the state exchange. The event is presented by the Pima County Workforce Investment Board and hosted by Meritus.

Nominate local charities

for landscaping giveaway

Tucson’s Santa Rita Landscaping is giving away a $10,000 landscape package to a local nonprofit organization.

Nominations will be accepted through Sept. 12. To nominate a charity, visit the Santa Rita Landscaping Facebook page at, “like” the page and submit your nomination.

“We appreciate the good work of the numerous Southern Arizona nonprofit organizations and want to do our part to give back to our community,” said Garrett Ham, Santa Rita Landscaping co-owner. “We are excited to be able to offer a landscaping giveaway that will create a beautiful, functional outdoor space for the clients and staff members of a deserving nonprofit.”

Raytheon ship-defense missiles hit mark in test

Two advanced ship-defense missiles made by Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems hit their marks in the program’s first long-distance test shot at sea, the company said.

In the recent test at the Point Mugu Sea Range off Southern California, the Navy fired two of Raytheon’s Standard Missile-6 interceptors from the guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville, successfully engaging two cruise-missile target drones in the missile’s first “over-the-horizon” test scenario at sea, Raytheon said.

The SM-6, the latest version of the Standard Missile series of ship-defense weapons, adds active radar that enables the missile to track targets beyond the range of ship-based radars, for extended-range protection against manned and unmanned aircraft, and cruise missiles.

Raytheon delivered its first SM-6 production missile in February; Raytheon says the test keeps the SM-6 on track to reach initial operating capability this year.

Health business to hire

500 in Phoenix area

A unit of UnitedHealth Group said it plans to fill roughly 500 jobs in the Phoenix area over the next 60 days, with an employment fair scheduled for Tuesday in Ahwatukee Foothills.

Connextions, a business unit that helps insurers enroll, retain and provide services to members, already has started to hire “engagement specialists,” who will help seniors and others understand their Medicare and prescription-drug benefits so they can evaluate, enroll in and effectively use their plans.

Connextions also will hire managers and fill other positions, The Arizona Republic reports.

The job fair, also hosted by Phoenix, will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Connextions’ facility, 4809 E. Thistle Landing, Suite 110. 

Staff and wire reports