Tuesday, March 31, 2015



Food & Reg

Valley restaurateurs and slow-food advocates want an elite food culture in Phoenix. Does regulation stand in the way?

Ted Batycki winds through a maze of grass-green walls with earthy brown bases. He passes a gaggle of chirping ladies armed with spray bottles full of vinegar, boxes of baking soda and a cardboard arsenal of Starbucks to fuel their merry cleaning on a sticky August morning in Cave Creek. Batycki expertly dodges a work crew assembling a table and maintains an effortless commentary, despite the intruding sounds and smell of the construction site. The buzz of a saw here, a puff of woodsy dust there to invade the nose and moisten the eyes – Batycki remains a polo-and-khaki-clad Sherpa unfazed by the chaos around him. He’s in his element at the site of the second location of Natural Choice Academy, the Valley’s first all-natural preschool, talking about what he loves most – education and nutrition.


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Traffic Jam

The controversial South Mountain Freeway pushes debating Valley groups into a tight corner.

It began with a flood of Biblical proportions. After the deluge receded, three survivors emerged: Earth Medicine Man, Coyote, and Elder Brother, who set about repopulating the world. “Elder Brother is our creator,” Akimel O’odham elder Mike Tashquinth explains. “And South Mountain is his home.”


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If at First You Don’t Secede...

Another year, another half-cocked secession “movement.” As always, Arizona’s fringy separatist sentiments reveal fascinating things about its character

Former Arizona lawmaker Karen Johnson remembers the sneers and insults, the unkind op-eds and political cartoons. And for what? All she did was try to dissolve the federal government.

Back in 2000, Johnson – then a Mesa-based member of the Arizona House of Representatives – chaired the five-person committee that approved House Concurrent Resolution 2034, which granted Arizona and other states the right to “establish a new federal government for themselves” should the United States declare martial law, confiscate firearms or usurp states’ authority in matters such as abortion and public land use. Johnson’s committee ratified the resolution with a 3-2 vote.


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Maximum Overhaul

After years of highly publicized problems and child deaths on its watch, Arizona’s Child Protective Services is changing its system in major ways. Will it be enough to curb our staggering statistics?

Jacob Gibson was a little boy with a big smile and curly hair who loved to play soccer. His name was familiar to Arizona’s Child Protective Service workers. CPS had received numerous reports of abuse toward Jacob since 2005, including a 2007 report of bruises on his legs,


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Survey This!

A recent Travel + Leisure readers’ poll paints an unkind 
portrait of Phoenix. Are we really that boring and backward?

The good news: We Valley folk are neither as dirty nor as fat as our counterparts in New Orleans, Las Vegas and Atlanta. The bad: Our theater scene sucks, and our fashion sense makes Memphis look like Milan.

Relax, angry-email-writer: Those aren’t our assessments. They come from our colleagues at Travel + Leisure magazine, which recently asked its well-traveled readers to grade 35 American cities for hospitality, quality of dining, climate and other lifestyle metrics. The magazine’s “America’s Favorite Cities” survey included 56 categories, touching on everything from “tech savvy” to “friendliness” to “ethnic food” – a detailed mosaic of urban character and visitability.


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Masters of the Uterus

The recent flurry of female-related legislation has lead many to declare – and deny – the existence of a War on Women. As usual, Arizona finds itself on the front lines.

Two thousand fifty. That’s approximately the number of legal provisions introduced nationally in 2011 and early 2012 related to women’s reproductive health and rights. Thought we were in the Year of an Election? The Year of Recession Recovery? The Year of the Dragon? Nope, it’s the Year of the Uterus. And Uterus Central is Arizona. 


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Class Dismissed

As the constitutionality of Arizona’s ethnic studies classes law is debated in court, the question still simmers: How can schools teach American history without marginalizing – or militarizing – some groups of students?


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