Saturday, February 28, 2015


Getting Jobbed?

Four years into the economic recovery, Arizona's unemployment rate has stalled at an uncomfortably high level. Is 8 percent our "new normal"?

If everything goes according to plan, Bob Satnan won't have a free Saturday afternoon until late 2015.

Last spring, the former East Valley Tribune opinion page editor bid adieu to a 26-year career in newspapers and began working at Sedalia School District 200 in Sedalia, Mo., where he teaches high school journalism and finance classes. As part of his retraining, Satnan must complete several online graduate courses in education and classroom assessment. Ergo, the booked Saturdays.

Read more: Getting Jobbed?

Fine ‘Em Cowboy

A tough new safety ordinance highlights the identity crisis pitting Scottsdale’s cowboy past against its party-mecca present.

It’s a little after midnight on a September weekend in Old Town Scottsdale’s entertainment district, and the clubs are heating up. Hordes of partiers in various states of undress swarm from bar to bar like masses of herded cattle – if cattle were a little shaky on their feet after a few too many Fireball shots, and if they were lured by the throbbing beats of hip-hop mash-ups in lieu of cowboy calls.

Read more: Fine ‘Em Cowboy

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.

Read more: Food & Reg

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.

Read more: If at First You Don’t Secede...

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,

Read more: Maximum Overhaul

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.

Read more: Survey This!