Saturday, May 23, 2015



A Fungus Among Us

A rare, fungus-spawned disease that mimics cancer thrives in Arizona. Just another weird local bug.
It’s a medical mystery worthy of a House season cliffhanger: A treatable infection that strikes few and far between, with a mere 44 known cases worldwide between 1964 and 2008. Just 19 occurred in the U.S., according to a recent survey by the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale – but 17 of them were in Arizona.


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Cultures Extra

More insights and recollections from the Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian immigrants profiled in this month’s Hidden Cultures features.

Live from Phoenix: Persian TV
After seeing the success of his Arizona Persian Yellow Pages over the past seven years, Reza Talai and his wife decided to start a Phoenix-based television station for the Valley’s Persian community. Launched a little more than a year ago, the station (dubbed AZPTV) shows programming entirely in Persian, including popular television shows from Iran and music videos. Talai also provides original programming, in the form of videos from Persian socials and holidays, featuring members of the local Persian community conducting interviews and providing commentary. “Our goal was entertainment for the people, to grab the audience, which loves to see a regular program. They don’t want to get involved with the political or religion,” Talai says. “We have a large audience. We found out there’s like 500,000 people watching this. But it’s not just in Arizona; it’s all over the world and nation.”


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Ashes to Ashram

An oft-misunderstood religious group seeks acceptance – and the long-delayed opening of their new temple – in a historic Phoenix neighborhood.

Surinder Singh was a member of Sikh temples in India, Africa, New Zealand and Kuwait before he joined the Guru Nanak Dwara Ashram in Phoenix. Located in the heart of the city’s Coronado Historic District, the ashram – two nondescript buildings connected by covered patios and a well-maintained lawn – is an ideal fit for the globetrotting Singh; ideal, save for the grander, more spacious temple unfinished next door.


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Tribal Tiff?

On the surface, the West Valley Resort controversy appears to be a tête-à-tête between two West Valley cities: anti-casino Glendale vs. pro-casino Peoria. Glendale mayor Elaine Scruggs has tirelessly fought the casino using every legal implement at her disposal, while Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett has given hearty endorsements of the plan. But are the two warring cities merely surrogates for two opposing tribes, the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Gila River Indian Community? 


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Last Resort

As Glendale’s casino controversy draws to a close, West Valley residents put their cards on the table.

At 74, Jerry Williams is a human spark plug with a sailor’s bark and a gambler’s heart. The former newspaperman retired to Peoria from Southern California six years ago – plenty of time to develop strong opinions about the HBO-style political showdown unfolding between nearby Glendale and the Tohono O’odham Nation.


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Training the Membrane

After the Canadian ski team sung its praises two years ago, neurofeedback is expected to generate even more buzz at this year’s London Olympics.

The method involves mapping activity patterns in the brain to identify under- or over-stimulation. If there’s unhealthy variability, non-invasive processes – such as listening and reacting to a series of beeps – can be used to adopt more stable patterns and send them back to the brain.

Neurofeedback has a thriving home in Scottsdale at Dr. Sanford Silverman’s Center for Peak Performance and Center for Attention Deficit and Learning Disorders. There, he helps pro athletes – including Philadelphia Eagles guard Evan Mathis – and amateurs control their minds. “You’re conditioning people to manipulate how their brain is firing,” Silverman says. “They can turn on their focus and quiet their mind.”


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Rx for Success

he Valley has become a hotbed for Olympic Games training – not only for star athletes, but also for the coaches, doctors and therapists who treat them.   

The hair on the right side of Joe Micela’s head is turning gray. He blames it on Sarah Robles. “Actually, blame might be the wrong word,” the athletic trainer says, laughing. “Let’s just say I’ve dedicated it to her.”


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