Saturday, January 31, 2015

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#Blessed?

PHM 500x500 FPOAre Valley churches losing ground as millennials reach adulthood?

On a bright Sunday morning last December, Rev. Jeffrey Dirrim joined about 100 other people in a peaceful protest before services began at Pastor Steven Anderson’s Faithful World Baptist Church in Tempe. Anderson, a lightning rod in the Christian community who went viral last year with a sermon preaching the extermination of gays to eradicate AIDS, and another in which he demanded that women be both subservient and silent in church, was once again in national headlines for his extreme views. Dirrim, an openly gay United Church of Christ pastor, wanted to be anywhere but that Tempe strip mall that day.

 

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State of the State

PHM0115HT01From the economy to immigration, we take stock of the state as Arizona dives into 2015.

A new governor. A new legislature. New optimism for undocumented immigrants. New frustruations for border enforcement. Arizona is certainly awash in “news” as we begin 2015. Following a historic midterm election in which virtually every state-level political office changed hands, and a year of spectacular upheaval across many socio-economic fronts, Arizonans would be well justified to look around and wonder just where we stand as a state.

 

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Another State of Mind

PHM 500x500 FPORecent officer-involved shootings of mentally ill subjects spur a hard look at Arizona’s police training and need for mental-health care system reform.

A 50-year-old Phoenix grandfather is killed by a gunshot to the head, while holding his grandson in his arms. A 26-year-old army veteran and father of three is fatally shot after roaming the streets of Fountain Hills naked. A 35-year-old man in Scottsdale carrying his 2-year-old daughter is shot in the back, leaving him a paraplegic. A 50-year-old woman in Maryvale dies after sustaining a gunshot to her chest. All of these tragic cases share two common denominators: The shooters were law enforcement officers, and the victims were mentally ill.

 

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State of the Arts

PHM1114Flash-1-HotTopicAn altogether arguable list of the Valley’s Top 10 defining art “movements.”

Hot Topics, by design, are meant to court a little controversy. We expect it when we’re writing about hot-button, politicized topics like education, immigration, gun rights, etc. What we didn’t expect was for this month’s topic – defining art movements in the history of the Phoenix metropolitan area – to be such a lightning rod. As a staff, we drafted a malleable, preliminary list of local art movements and then took it to the experts – art history professors, museum curators, gallery owners and even the artists themselves – for commentary, enlightenment and editing. We were quickly schooled on our incorrect use of the term “movement,” since some of our nominees are better defined as a “discipline” or “genre” than a specific school of artists in a particular time period. We concurrently received a crash course in Valley art history, something we don’t remember getting in primary school (not to drag that controversy into this one).

 

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The Terrifying Ten

PHM1014Flash-1-HotTopicBoo! This Halloween season, PHOENIX magazine rounds up the angriest, vainest, freakiest, most altogether scary Arizonans.

Sure, zombies are scary. Backwoods axe-murderers, too. And hotels built on ancient Indian burial grounds? Always good for a fright.  

But you know what really makes our blood run cold? Gun-toting brain doctors. Dirty Scottsdale. Polygamists.

To be sure, Arizona has given America the heebie jeebies hard and often over recent years, from the blood-stained saga of Jodi Arias to the underage sister wives of Colorado City. So, in this season of vampires, killer clowns and sexy-pirate Halloween costumes, we pay our respects to the Arizonans we’d never want to meet in a dark alley. Figurative or otherwise.

 

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Stick and Move

arizona border, illegal immigrationAs children from Central America pour over U.S. borders, the debate about immigration reform and enforcement reaches pugilist-pitch in Arizona.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the verbal-sparring championships of the border! In this corner, wearing blue trunks and fighting for reform, are pro-immigration forces. In the other corner, wearing red trunks and fighting for border security, are pro-enforcement factions. And in the middle, weighing 800 pounds, is the “gorilla in the room,” accompanied by 60,000 children from Central America...

 

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Brain Drain

PHM0814Flash-1-1Has Arizona declared war on public education?

During the 2013-2014 school year, Peoria Unified School District superintendent Dr. Denton Santarelli held a series of “open chats” with administrators and teachers at each of the district’s more than 40 campuses. They were voluntary, after-hours, and Santarelli didn’t expect high attendance – people are busy, he figured. To his amazement, each discussion was packed with educators. After answering questions from students all day, they had many of their own.

 

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