Thursday, August 21, 2014

valleyNews

 

Brain Drain?

PHM 500x500 FPOArizona continues to lag behind the national average in areas like poverty and per-pupil school expenditures – fourth lowest in the U.S. in 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal – but we’re thriving in at least one category: the zombie-survival index. According to real estate website Estately.com, Arizona ranks seventh nationally among states best equipped to survive a Walking Dead-style apocalypse (see list). “You’re in pretty good shape in Arizona,” says Estately lead blogger Ryan Nickum, who based the list on 12 different metrics ranging from the obvious (gun ownership) to the somewhat abstract (Ironman triathlon participation). “I’m in Washington, so we’re doomed. None of us do the Ironman, so we can’t outrun [the zombies].” Still, he cautions against neglecting “a good education system and low poverty levels” in the event the brain-eaters never come: “I wouldn’t cancel K-12 just yet.”

 

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Run, Forest

PHM0514Flash-2One year after the tragic Yarnell Hill Fire, Arizona’s forest rangers and firefighters brace themselves for another wildfire season.

“Nervous.” That’s how Lakeside forest ranger Ed Collins feels about the upcoming fire season.

“We’re very concerned because of the lack of winter precipitation that we would normally have,” adds Darrell Willis, Prescott Wildland Division Chief.

Jim Zornes, forest supervisor of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, is concerned, too: “Before the rain [in March], we were as dry or drier than we were in 2002, the year of the Rodeo-Chediski Fire. They’re forecasting that we might have a wetter than normal April and May... If not, we’ll make the necessary preparations for what could be an interesting fire season.”

 

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Hero Sandwich

PHMPF05As Phoenix Comicon bulges with global celebrities, are local artists losing out?

Iron Man chases a horde of zombies down Third Street in Downtown Phoenix, followed by Captain Hook and men dressed as women from Japanese animation films. Iron Man creator and Marvel maven Stan Lee is on hand to see it happen.

No, it’s not the set of Iron Man 4. It’s Phoenix Comicon (PCC), where costumed fans flood the Phoenix Convention Center every year to meet an array of comic creators and pop culture purveyors. But they’ll have a harder time finding local artists, because as the convention increasingly balloons from its humble roots into a big-time celebrity rodeo, Valley creatives – once a “discovery” draw for the event – struggle to snag exhibitors’ tables. Booths are sold-out every year, and many local artists are relegated to far-flung areas.

 

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Row on the Row

PHMPF03Phoenix City Council approves low-income housing in the Downtown arts district, leaving some local business owners bristling.

First Fridays are loud.

The monthly art walks in Downtown Phoenix draw a cacophonous crowd, sometimes in the thousands, along with bands blaring music through amps, vendors loudly hawking their wares from sidewalk setups, and food truck chefs calling out orders. These raucous events can be heard blocks away and are revered by many locals as a prime attraction for out-of-towners.

 

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SB 1062: Thar She Blows

PHM 0414 PF30MIXED MEDIA: SB 1062: Thar She Blows
Pretty much everyone – well, everyone not named Cathi Herrod – agrees that SB 1062 was an awful piece of legislation. Unnecessary. Impracticable. Petty. But where does the so-called “gay ban” rank in the all-time pantheon of bad Arizona laws, bills and decrees? Venn diagram time.

HOT MIC
“I screwed up. I’m trying to make it right.”

– Arizona State Senator Steve Pierce (R-Prescott) to Capitol Media Services during blowback from SB 1062. Pierce was one of three lawmakers who backtracked on their votes in favor of the bill, which was characterized as anti-gay and discriminatory by pundits nationwide.

 

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Rocks and a Hard Place

Part of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum collection is on display again, but the fate of its old home has yet to be determined.

This month marks almost three years since the controversial closing of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in Downtown Phoenix. Since then, rock and mineral lovers have speculated on the whereabouts of the former collection like old miners prospecting for precious minerals. Some say it was scattered, while others thought it was tossed aside like a worthless piece of slag.

 

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Fully Equipped

Tempe-based StateServ’s software helps hospices improve service nationwide

StateServ Chairman Anthony Perre says it takes a big heart to help families provide comfort for their loved ones in hospice. “If you don’t have a heart for it, then you don’t belong in this business,” he says. “We want to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

 

Read more: Fully Equipped

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