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Crowd favorite at Toca Madera / P. 42

3 teams vie for the best / P. 35


An edition of the East Valley Tribune


This Week

NEWS............................... 8 City bonds, school override pass.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

New PAC promises downtown project �ight BY WAYNE SCHUTSKY Progress Managing Editor


new Scottsdale political group formed to oppose three high-profile downtown developments, highlighting a growing schism between City Hall and area business owners. The divide could have a significant effect on the local 2020 election cycle, and the viability of upcoming redevelopments – including Southbridge Two and the Sunday Goods dispensary. The new Committee for the Preservation

of Old Town Scottsdale political action committee threatened to pour money into the upcoming city council and mayoral races and is considering a citizen referendum. The group could make good on its threat as an email released by an opposing political action committee showed Old Town PAC members are soliciting contributions of $1,000 or more from area business owners. The Old Town PAC could also push to recall Council members who do not get on board with its agenda, said Lamar Whitmer, a longtime Scottsdale political operative working with the group.

Whitmer is a familiar name to some Scottsdale pols as he was a one-time ally and confidant of Mayor Jim Lane and was involved in some of the higher-profile local political fights in past decades. Whitmer was a political consultant for southern Scottsdale strip clubs that successfully thwarted an attempt by the city to strengthen regulations on the clubs, according to a 2006 East Valley Tribune report. He was also involved in Lane’s first mayoral campaign in 2008, and the Los Arcos Mall

see PAC page 12

Scottsdale veteran studies the brain of soldiers NEIGHBORS ......... 28 Native American art gallery marks 50.

BUSINESS ............... 29 Scottsdale Osborne campus is growing.

NEIGHBORS ........................20 BUSINESS .............................29 OPINION .............................. 32 SPORTS ................................ 35 ARTS .....................................38 FOOD & DRINK...................42 CLASSIFIEDS .......................46

BY WAYNE SCHUTSKY Progress Managing Editor


hough he now calls Scottsdale home, retired Army Brig. Gen. Peter Palmer spent a good deal of his life on bases, in war zones and training other soldiers during a 32-year military career that sent him as far as Kosovo and Iraq. Palmer, a member of the city’s new Veterans Advisory Commission, now lives in downtown Scottsdale and spends much of his time working with veterans’ groups and tending to what he refers to as his “hobby,” That hobby is not golf, fishing or any other leisurely activity usually associated with the term, though. Palmer’s passion project revolves around neuroscience and how it can be used to help improve soldiers’ decision making. The interest stems from a time near the end of his Army career around 2006, when

see PALMER page 4


Retired Army Brig. Gen. Peter Palmer accompanies a wounded Iraqi child treated at a U.S. military hospital in the Green Zone during Palmer’s deployment. (Courtesy of Peter Palmer)

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PALMER from front

Palmer was charged with creating new capabilities for the military. “Our job was to write concepts and requirements documents for future capabilities in the Army,” Palmer said. While the Army had long developed new capabilities for physical tools, Palmer was charged with looking into new capabilities for the soldiers themselves that addressed physical, cognitive and moral factors. “We have lots of capabilities and stuff like tanks and satellites and everything else, but for those of us that have been at war and doing those conflicts and really throughout history, it’s been this way, we never had a concept document for the human,” Palmer said. A concept document lays out how an organization would achieve a specified capability. That mission led Palmer to meet with neuroscientists with DARPA, or Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, at the Pentagon for a crash course in how the brain works. That lesson piqued Palmer’s interest and since then, he has pursued new ways to improve decision-making skills through neuroscience for soldiers, many of whom are under 25, the age at which the brain is fully developed. “I thought ‘I’ve been in the Army for 30 years, and I don’t know how this works and why don’t I?’” Palmer said. He said he thought taking this new approach could save lives. “Bad decisions kill more people than heavy rucksacks, and we were working on getting a rucksack lighter when we’re not working on getting better decision making,” Palmer said. Palmer retired from the Army in 2008, but his interest in the subject stayed with him. He then went to work for General Dynamics – the job that brought him to Scottsdale – and developed the company’s innovation center. Through that program, he worked with other companies, universities and research partners to develop new technologies from Army networks to advanced tech for soldiers. Now in semi-retirement, Palmer has set up his own consulting firm that supports his neuroscience-based “hobby”. Through the firm, he speaks at conferences and consults with a handful of companies. Despite those lists of accomplishments, Palmer’s long military career began with some uncertainty. Palmer said that as a “young high school kid I actually had no clue about the

Retired Army Brig. Gen. Peter Palmer, left, then a captain, participated in the first large-scale Yama Sakura military war game in Japan in 1982. (Courtesy of Peter Palmer)

Academy at West Point” until a classmate recommended he apply. Palmer qualified for U.S. Military Academy at West Point but did not initially receive the nomination needed to get into the prestigious military school. He did get in to West Point, though, after a stint at the U.S. Military Academy’s prep school. “To be honest, I sit on Congressman (David) Schweikert’s Academy board now and see how that’s all done, and I’m surprised I got in,” Palmer said. After graduation, he went through a standard infantry officer’s training trajectory, going through ranger school and airborne school, before deploying to Germany during the Cold War to perform border patrol duties. From that point, Palmer would jump back and forth between bases and training grounds in the U.S. and deployments overseas. He was the aide de camp to the Commanding General at Fort Benning in Georgia before moving on to help train soldiers at the Army’s National Training Center in the Mohave Desert. Palmer would return to the training center later in his career and play the part of a Russian regimental commander in training exercises. He also taught at both the Air War College and Naval War College, even coaching football and lacrosse for the Navy – something that did not always sit right with Palmer. “That’s wrong; when you’re sitting on the Navy side playing Army with a Navy jersey on, everything in you says this is wrong,” joked Palmer, who played lacrosse and football in at the Army’s prep school. Palmer would later go back to school

and earn his first master's degree in national security studies from the University of California at San Bernadino. He would go on to earn two more masters in military-related fields from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kan At the point, Palmer was certified as a strategic planner in the Army and planned strategies in non-NATO nations like Yugoslavia at the end of the Cold War. Later in his career, Palmer would also deploy to Kosovo for peace-keeping missions on three different occasions and to Iraq in the mid-2000s, where - as a brigadier general he served as deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and later as deputy Chief of staff for operations. His efforts to understand how neuroscience and brain development affect decision making also gave Palmer a glimpse into PTSD and traumatic brain injury. “So that got me interested in I’ll call it getting left of those injuries, because we can do a lot better on that, and that’s one of my agendas,” Palmer said. Palmer also works with transitioning veterans from military to civilian life, something he called one of the “biggest challenges” facing today’s veterans. He currently works with the Association of the United States Army and S.E.E.4VETS, a non-profit that provides educational and career support for returning veterans. Palmer also sits on the board for the Veterans Heritage Project, which connects civics students with veterans to create educational opportunities. Palmer also mentors veterans through American Corporate Partners, a nonprofit that helps veterans and their spouses find post-military careers.






City veterans panel a ‘historic’ accomplishment PROGRESS NEWS STAFF


s Scottsdale celebrates Veterans Day 2019, the city can boast of a special permanent way of helping those who served the country. The City Council Oct. 15, appointed the inaugural members of its new Veterans Advisory Commission, which will advise it on veterans-related issues, advocate for and promote existing services for veterans, and recognize them for their contributions to the community. Councilman Guy Phillips first introduced the idea of a special commission in February and it was adopted July 1. “I told my wife ‘I don’t care if you drag me here; I’m coming here tonight,’” Phillips said at the Oct. 15, meeting. Phillips had appeared remotely at several previous Council meetings after breaking his foot. “To me, this is a historic occasion. To have a veterans commission in Scottsdale I think is going to be magnificent,” Phillips said as Council picked seven from a pool of 15. It appointed Don Ford, Marie Monroe, Peter Palmer and Denise Pulk to threeyear terms and Michael Ragole, Joel Stempil and Stephen Ziomek to two-year terms. The commission includes both veterans from multiple generations and nonveterans who have an interest in advocating for them. Mayor Jim Lane said, “I think they have a good grasp of what the commission is meant to be doing." Here’s a look at the members.

Don Ford

A U.S. Navy and Marine Corps veteran, Don Ford worked hands-on with veterans






(Photos by Kimberly Carillo/Progress Contributor)

DENISE PULK as the director of cardiovascular services at the Veterans Affairs hospital in La Jolla, Calif. and while stationed at Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Ford volunteers three to four times a year with Diana Gregory’s Farmers Market, a program that provides healthy eating options for veterans in underserved communities. Ford said mental health, homelessness, substance abuse and drug addiction are issues that should be a priority.

Marie Monroe Longtime resident Marie Monroe grew up in a military family and raised two sons in Scottsdale, one of whom grew up to become a five-time combat veteran who served 10 years in the U.S. Army. Monroe started her own non-profit, Hugs from Home, that sent care packages to active-duty military members. “I’ve always held veterans and our military in high regard and sought to give back to a community who has given us all so

much,” Monroe said. Monroe also served as a Blue Star Mom and volunteered with the American Legion Auxiliary and Operation Shockwave, a nonprofit combating veteran suicide. Monroe previously worked as a success coach for veterans at Arizona State University.

Peter Palmer

Retired Army Brig. Gen. Peter Palmer is a

see VETS page 8

City plans 2 public Veterans Day observances Nov. 11 PROGRESS NEWS STAFF


he City of Scottsdale is hosting two events open to the public on Nov. 11, in observation of Veterans Day, including a commemoration headlined by Senator Martha McSally. The commemoration will kick off at 3 p.m. at Scottsdale’s McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park at 7301 E. Indian Bend Road. McSally, a United States Air Force veteran and the first American woman to fly in combat, is the scheduled keynote speaker for the event, which will begin with a half hour of patriotic music from the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Arizona Band. McSally visited Scottsdale earlier this

month at the ribbon cutting for SCSVets, a program from Scottsdale-based Acronis SCS to train veterans to enter the cybersecurity workforce. Army veteran JB Spisso will be a guest speaker at the event. Spisso is the author of the book “Warrior Leadership” and co-founded Elite Leadership Training. The program also includes Scottsdale historian and veteran Len Marcisz, Vi at Silverstone retirement community veterans, the Police and Fire Honor Guards and bugler Gil Gifford. Earlier in the day, Scottsdale will host a Veterans Day ceremony at City Hall. The ceremony will feature Scottsdale veterans’ organizations and take place at the Chaplain statue at 11 a.m.

The bronze statue depicts a World War I chaplain and was created in 2009, by renowned artist Austin Deuel, who is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and served in Vietnam. Deuel created the statue after Scottsdale veterans groups expressed concern that existing plaque commemorating veterans in the Civic Center was not adequate and raised $50,000 to construct the new memorial. With Veterans Day approaching, Scottsdale was recognized as one of the best cities in the country for veterans by Wallet Hub, a personal finance website. Wallet Hub ranked Scottsdale as the fifth best city for veterans to live in the country, giving the city high marks for its quality of life

and the economic opportunities it provides veterans. Scottsdale ranked third in the quality of life category, which looked at factors like how many veterans live in the city, family and retiree friendliness and how many businesses offer military discounts. Scottsdale also ranked ninth for economy and twelfth for employment opportunities for veterans. The study found the city had a low percentage of veterans living in poverty compared to other cities. Though ranked highly overall, Scottsdale ranked 64th in the health category, which looked at the quality and availability of federal Veterans Affairs health and benefits facilities.

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City bonds, school overrides score big wins BY WAYNE SCHUTSKY Progress Managing Editor


ll three City of Scottsdale bond questions and Scottsdale Unified School District’s budget override passed by wide margins last week, unofficial returns from the elections show. The city’s victory gives officials the ability to issue $319 million in bonds to fund capital projects throughout the city. The unofficial results in the bond election reflected approximately 48,000 votes or 92 percent of the nearly 51,000 ballots the county had received as of Nov. 4. The county still needs to tally ballots received on Election Day before it certifies final results. Question 1, which won by a margin of 69-31 percent, will provide up to $112.6 million for parks and recreation projects. Question 2, which gained a 68-32 percent vote, will provide up to $112.3 million for infrastructure and community spaces. Question 3 won by the widest margin – 73 to 27 percent – and will provide up to $94.1 million to improve the

VETS from page 6

10-year Scottsdale resident with 32 years of military experience both as an enlistee and officer. A U.S. Military Academy graduate, Palmer has three master's degrees in national security and defense operations and has served in both peacekeeping and combat missions overseas. Palmer also spent eight years with General Dynamics. He volunteers with several veterans non-profits, including the Veterans Heritage Project, and mentors veterans transitioning back to civilian life.

Denise Pulk

One of the younger veterans named to the commission, Denise Pulk said she would like to see the commission serve as a clearinghouse for information, resources and referrals for veterans. Pulk said younger veterans differ from older vets and that these differences “make for unique needs and issues to be addressed.” A Navy veteran, Pulk served on submarine tenders that homeported in Italy and Virginia. She has lived in Scottsdale for over 20

said the early effort to vet bond projects and gather citizen feedback paid off, as evidenced by the larger margin of victory. “I think that the three of us actually came together and came up with a good plan,” said Klapp, who served on the subcommittee with Councilwomen Kathy Littlefield and Solange Whitehead. Voters within SUSD voted to continue the district’s existing maintenance and operations budget override 61 to 39 percent with only about 26 percent of ballots cast, according to unofficial results. The override continuScottsdale Mayor Jim Lane fills out his prediction for the margin of victory for Scottsdale’s ation will provide an esthree bond questions at an Election Night event hosted by the pro-bond For the Best Scottstimated $21.4 million in dale political action committee. (Photo by Chris Mortenson/Progress Staff Photographer) funding to maintain current class sizes, continue city’s public safety and technology in- “reflects that our citizens are willing to frastructure. invest in our community to maintain all-day kindergarten and keep teacher salaries at competitive levels, accordScottsdale Councilmember Virginia the quality of our lifestyle.” Korte, who split election night between Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp, who ing to the district. events hosted by the pro-bond and pro- sat on the Council’s subcommittee that see BONDS page 10 override campaigns, said the bond vote vetted bond projects earlier this year, years and has a long military history in her family that dates back to the Civil War. Pulk volunteers with the Veterans Heritage Project and raises funds for local veterans groups with the Scottsdale Charros.

Michael Ragole

Michael Ragole, a four-year Scottsdale resident, took part in advocacy on behalf of veterans and active-duty military members while living in Colorado before moving to Arizona. Those activities included performing a systems review for a new Veterans Affairs hospital in Colorado and advocating for now-adopted legislation in that state granting tax-relief to active duty military. Ragole served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve for 21 years, first as a naval aviator and then in a support position for the intelligence community and U.S. Space Command. He then went on to work on aircraft, launch vehicles and satellite systems in the private sector with incarnations of Lockheed Martin. Ragole is senior vice commander of American Legion Post 44 in Scottsdale and volunteers with St. Vincent de Paul.

Joel Stempil

Joel Stempil has lived in Scottsdale for the past 15 years and has a 40-year career as a financial advisor. Stempil served in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1969, including three years spent in Germany, where he was responsible for 200 fellow soldiers in addition to German civilians. Stempil, who previously served on a state board responsible for allocating over $1 million to veterans groups, said he is an advocate for educating veterans on benefits available to them and financial literacy. He is also the commander of the local chapter of the Korean War & Korea Defense Veterans Association.

Steve Ziomek

Steve Ziomek is currently the chairman of the Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial at Scottsdale Airport. The memorial, unveiled last year along with the airport’s new Aviation Business Center, includes a full-size Boeing-Stearman PT-17 Kaydet plane hanging in front of the building. Ziomek has lived in Scottsdale since 1982 and previously chaired the city’s

STEVE ZIOMEK Airport Advisory Commission. Ziomek, a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and former Coast Guard rescue pilot, said the goal of the memorial is to preserve the history of Scottsdale Airport, honor veterans and educate the community. He said the commission should be a “focal point of all veterans services in community” by providing one place where veterans can find out about organizations throughout the Valley that can help them.



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BONDS from page 8

The override also funds technology in the classroom, professional staff development and other programs like world languages, music and art. “I’m so proud of our community,” SUSD Governing Board President Patty Beckman said. The passage of both the bond questions and override were not a given, considering Scottsdale’s history. City of Scottsdale voters has not passed a bond package of this size since 2000, when voters approved six of nine questions totaling $358.2 million. Since that time, the city’s residents have turned down over $340 million in bond asks, only approving two questions totaling $29 million in 2015. “I’ve been on the Council for 11’s nice to see a bunch of questions actually pass after all the failures,” Klapp said, noting the passage will relieve pressure on the city’s budget. For Korte, dealing with the lingering bond question will allow the city to focus on addressing other issues. “Now it’s time for the Council to concentrate on other issues rather than failing bridges and libraries that are out of date,” Korte said. SUSD has a similarly fraught history with override elections. Voters turned down budget overrides in 2012 and 2013, which resulted in cut programs throughout the district. A coordinated get out the vote campaign by the For the Best Scottsdale political action committee poured a lot manpower and money into the effort to pass the bonds. The PAC brought together a number of individuals from both sides of the political spectrum who had previously sparred during the previous contentious political battles in the city, most notably the fight over Proposition 420 last year. “Almost more important than having these bonds passed in their entirety is what it’s done for the community,” Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane said. “(I am) talking in terms of bringing different groups of folks together and uniting the community.” Lane said he hopes to see that carry forward into the future. “I think what it proves to all of us is we can work together and we need to listen to one another,” Lane said. The bond PAC’s chairwoman, Paula Sturgeon, said she felt confident all three questions would pass after early numbers from the county indicated


Yes to Children cochairman Denny Brown credited the organization’s grassroots effort, spearheaded by a team of six community captains spread throughout the district, for generating support for the override. “It’s unbelievable,” Brown said of the initial results. “I’m appreciative of the hard work that went into this by so many folks.” SUSD Superintendent John Kriekard gave most credit to the district’s teachers for repairing the community’s trust in the district. That trust has been racked by controversy in recent years, including the Yes to Children PAC co-chairman Denny Brown and Scottsdale Unified School District Governing firing of Kriekard’s preBoard President Patty Beckman react on Nov. 5 after early returns show the voters approved the decessor Denise Birdwell district’s budget override. (Photo by Chris Mortenson/Progress Staff Photographer) over corruption allegavoter turnout would exceed turnout in tions. the last failed bond election in 2015. “The teachers on a day to day baBig contributors also Turnout in the city’s portion of the sis help the kids s0 the parents feel included Scottsdale all-mail election was 29.4 percent as of confident in what’s going on in their Nov. 4, already surpassing the 25 perschool,” Kriekard said. “Day to day, that Charros ($10,000) and cent turnout in 2015. happens for 23,000 students and that “I was very confident that our mesmakes a difference.” business that have had sage resonated when we saw the num“Through all the issues, Scottsdale ber of votes being cast,” Sturgeon said. contracts with the school has had the teachers did their jobs, “People don’t turn out in those numkept their nose to the grindstone, took district, including SPS+ bers to vote no.” care of kids and the community appreSturgeon’s confidence showed. ciates that,” Kriekard said. Architects ($1,000), Prior to finding out the results of the The pro-override Yes to Children Orcutt Winslow election, PAC members at the For the PAC brought in a significant amount of Best Scottsdale election night party money to support the override passage architecture firm wrote down their guesses for the avas well. erage margin of victory for the three The PAC raised just over $59,000 as ($5,000), McCarthy questions on a whiteboard. of Sept. 30, much of which came from Building Company The guesses vary between 58 and 78 parent-teacher organizations at dispercent. trict schools. ($5,000), Chasse Sturgeon’s guess? 69.5 percent Big contributors also included Scottnearly right on the money. sdale Charros ($10,000) and business Building Team ($9,800) The For the Best Scottsdale PAC that have had contracts with the school and Core Construction spent a lot of money - nearly $250,000 district, including SPS+ Architects as of October 19 - in its effort to pass ($1,000), Orcutt Winslow architecture ($9,500) the bonds. firm ($5,000), McCarthy Building ComThe PAC raised $368,598 through pany ($5,000), Chasse Building Team October 19, mostly from businesses SUSD ($9,800) and Core Construction ($9,500) and interest groups like Barrett-Jack“I am so happy,” SUSD Governing As of Sept. 30, the PAC spent over son, Scottsdale Charros, Macerich, Board President Patty Beckman said $31,000, primarily on printing, postSan Francisco Giants and Nationwide the moment the unofficial returns be- age, signs and consultants. and Equity Partners Group, owned came known. Voters in one of Scottsdale’s other by downtown Scottsdale developer Beckman, Kriekard and other over- school districts, Paradise Valley Unified Shawn Yari. ride supporters gathered at Porter’s School District, passed a district addiThe PAC spent over $88,000 on print- Western Saloon in Old Town Scott- tional assistance capital override along ing alone in the month of October. sdale on Tuesday night to await the with a $236.1 million bond. The PAC also paid nearly $32,000 to results. According to unofficial returns, 55 the Rose + Moser + Allyn public relaMembers of the Yes to Children PAC percent of voters supported the Parations, which ran the campaign, over the that supported passing the override or- dise Valley override and 62 percent course of the election. ganized the event. supported the bond.



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PAC from front

subsidy referendum in 2003, according to the Tribune. More recently, Whitmer led a failed fouryear bid to build a gondola tourist attraction at the Grand Canyon on Navajo land, it was shot down by the Navajo Nation Council, according to Phoenix New Times. The Old Town PAC is chaired by downtown property owners Janet Wilson and Dewey Schade and seeks to give downtown property owners more say in the redevelopment of downtown Scottsdale. In a letter to the city from Whitmer last week, the PAC outlined its goals – which include preserving the character of Old Town Scottsdale. Wilson said she does not want developers to think they can receive any concession they want from the City Council without pushback from longtime area businesses. “They are going to have to come through us,” Wilson said. The Old Town PAC also spawned a second group called Halting Inappropriate Growth, Heights and Hypocrisy, or H.I.G.H.H. That PAC – which had not filed papers with the City Clerk’s office as of Nov. 7, – is advocating for the approval of the proposed Sunday Goods medical marijuana dispensary, one of the specific projects the opposing PAC is attemping to thwart. H.I.G.H.H. is chaired by Paula Sturgeon, who also chairs the For the Best Scottsdale PAC that supported passage of Scottsdale’s three bond questions. The Rose + Moser + Allyn public relations firm, which ran the bond campaign and represents Sunday Goods, is also backing H.I.G.H.H.

Height and density targeted

Beyond the dispensary issue, the Old Town PAC is also opposed to increasing height and density in downtown Scottsdale. Wilson said she opposed projects like the 150-foot Marquee office building narrowly approved by City Council in August. She said she feels Council is giving developers a free-pass to increase height and density downtown without regard of how it affects existing businesses. “We’re not against development, but we want development that keeps our character and our history,” Wilson said. “If you wipe that history away from a city, you have nothing. You’ve just got tall buildings and no part of your town.” City spokesman Kelly Corsette said the 2018 Old Town Character Area Plan and the new height rule were subjected to extensive community outreach. “The second update, completed in 2018, included one full year of direct outreach

tend into public streets. Unger showed plans – the same used by Ortega – indicating underground parking will extend beneath city property but not underneath traffic lanes. “We’re paying for everything we’re getting from the city, every bit of land,” Unger said.

Too much in a small space?

Southbridge Two, the proposed redevelopment of much of 5th Avenue, has drawn the ire of the Committee for the Preservation of Old Town Scottsdale, a new political group comprised of local businesses and property owners. (Special to the Progress)

and engagement of community members,” Corsette said. In its letter to the city, the Old Town PAC took aim at three projects its members contend epitomize the changing nature of the downtown landscape. They are the dispensary, Southbridge Two and the Bishop Lane apartments. Southbridge Two is Carter Unger’s proposed redevelopment of a large swath of downtown’s 5th Avenue shopping district, it would include new retail shops, condos, a hotel and an office building up to 150 feet tall. Bishop Lane is a proposed eight-story apartment project along Bishop Lane south of 2nd Street. In June, the Progress reported the site currently allows for heights up to 60 feet and density of 23 units per acre, but the developer is seeking zoning changes and bonuses to allow for 90-foot heights and 129.22 units per acre – a density increase of over 500 percent over existing zoning. Wilson said she wants Council to take local concerns seriously before looking at these projects. The planning process “is shaped by public input,” according to an email from city spokesman Kelly Corsette. “The city’s planning processes, which result in policy documents that guide growth and development are open and shaped by public input,’ Corsette wrote. “The General Plan is subject to voter approval at the ballot box and character area plans are finalized through public dialogue and City Council approval.” Scottsdale has not implemented a voter-approved General Plan in nearly 20 years– a violation of state law – according to a Legislative Council opinion sought by Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh D-8, following questions from the Progress ear-

lier this year. Unger, the Southbridge Two developer, said he supports community input on his and any other project, which is why he held dozens of meetings with the community and local HOAs. Unger said the height and density are needed for the quality product he envisions and to bring in targeted tenants. ”The height – yes, it’s higher than some people are used to – but it allows us to do a really high-quality project that brings in the right kind of office and retail,” including an urban grocer, Unger said. Former Councilman David Ortega, a friend and sometimes-hired advocate for Schade, has railed against the height as “exorbitant.” “They draw a line going down 5th Avenue and on one side of the line it’s like 16 stories, and on the other side of the line, we’re one story,” Ortega said. “Well, what is that going to do to us? I don’t even think we’re going to be able to see daylight anymore.” Unger asserted that some recent criticisms of the project were advanced to scare locals about it. One has to do with phasing for existing tenants. Unger said no one would be kicked out of their shops without proper notice. Unger said all leases signed at his properties in the Southbridge Two area include redevelopment clauses in the contracts, notifying prospective tenants of the longtime plans to redevelop. Those leases also include requirements to notify tenants four to six months prior to the start of construction, Unger said. Notably, he pushed back on assertions by Ortega, who has argued that Southbridge’s buildings will hang over the public right of way and that underground parking will ex-

A concern inextricably connected to the height and density conversation – especially downtown – is more people in apartments or condos or office buildings will affect the city’s already stretched supply of public spaces. Wilson, co-chair of the Old Town PAC, said she is afraid the Southbridge Two project would eat into public parking, mainly by replacing the existing Rose Garden public lot Unger wants to buy from the city. Wilson, who owns several properties in the vicinity of the Rose Garden site, said the lot is heavily used. Unger exclusively told the Progress he brought new plans to the city to build additional public parking on the Rose Garden site at no cost to the city. The Rose Garden site, which Unger envisions for with private underground, would now also include 78 tuck-under parking spaces open to the public. The City Council is meeting in executive session on Nov. 12, to discuss the proposed land sale. Unger said the rest of his project exceeds existing city parking requirements. He added the new parking and other changes to the site are the result monthslong, good-faith discussions aimed at concerns from the city and other area stakeholders. Those discussions long predated the formation of the PAC, he said. Unger also said his project will result in a net gain of 12 public on-street spaces. Whitmer also argued traffic would be exacerbated by increased density. “This makes it worse,” Whitmer said, saying it could turn downtown Scottsdale into Tempe’s Mill Avenue. If approved, Southbridge will also include improvements to the intersections at Goldwater Blvd. and 5th Avenue as well as Scottsdale Road and Stetson Drive, including using some of its own property to add a turn lane.

PAC has other concerns

Parking and traffic are far from the only concern, the Old Town PAC has brought forward, though. The PAC is also worried about how the phased construction of Southbridge Two

see PAC page 14



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PAC from page 12

would affect existing businesses on 5th Avenue, both in Unger’s buildings that are being knocked down and neighboring properties. Among the latter are properties owned by Wilson and Schade that will have to deal with likely years of construction. “We will lose all of our tenants,” said Wilson, who has 44 tenants in the area. “This could be 10 years of our city being torn up.” Unger said he will do his best to find new locations for his tenants that are displaced by construction but that he realized some tenants will leave for other areas. Several tenants contacted by the Progress had no comment. “Lots of the shop owners are not thrilled,” said Rochelle Hahn, manager of Lost in Socks, adding she would like more clarity on the project’s timeline. Sophia Kobs, owner of the Piece & Story vintage shop, said she supported the project but understood why others had concerns. Kobs said she thought the project would increase foot traffic in the area. “When people come down here, they pick one route or the other and miss the other street,” Kobs said. Unger pushed back at arguments that he or his family has in any way intimidated tenants to stop them from voicing con-


cerns, saying his family has always gone above and beyond to support tenants – including forgiving rent payments for months at a time. “There are some great businesses that do a great job, but everybody would do better if we were in an area that had sustainable density and high-quality,” Unger said. It appears the PAC’s concerns are shared by the city. Mayor Jim Lane told the Progress that the way in which Southbridge Two and its construction would affect the 5th Avenue shopping district is a concern for him. In an email to concerned residents, Scottsdale Principal Planner Brad Carr wrote: “Due to the nature of the project site, construction activity will likely cause partial closures of 5th Avenue and other streets abutting the site for some period of time.” Unger acknowledged there will be construction pains associated with his project but said the initial pain is justifiable because something has to change in the area, citing high turnover rates at properties owned by his family in the area. “Fifty-five percent of our tenants have been there for four years or less,” Unger said. He also said he does not want to continue to see businesses fail in the area and an influx of office workers, tourists and

residents brought in by his project would provide increased, sustainable foot traffic for them. Schade, who owns property in downtown and along Fifth Avenue, said he has not seen that type of turnover. Schade said his 11 tenants – excluding his own business – have been in his properties between two and 10 years. He said five tenants have been there more than five years. Schade said he believes Southbridge would cause his tenants to sign shorter leases in the future because of concerns about construction.

PAC attack on weed

Though only two-stories tall, the proposed Sunday goods dispensary has also drawn the ire of the Old Town PAC. “It’s incompatible development. It’s incompatible to downtown,” Whitmer said. Wilson, Daniel Spiro and Gary Bohall are all participating in the Old Town PAC and are among owners neighboring the proposed dispensary who told the Progress in October they want to assemble parcels and build a tall mixed-use project there. Spiro argued that “spot zoning” the marijuana site will hurt his group’s ability to build taller developments around it under the existing C-2 zoning. That zoning allows for heights of 60 feet and up to 90 feet with special bonuses.

However, the group’s planned ad blitz focuses less on zoning and more on marijuana use with slogans like “Keep Old Town Family-Friendly”, “No Pot in Old Town” and “Keep Old Town Drug-Free.” H.I.G.H.H. Chairperson Sturgeon said the campaign was done in bad faith. “There are people who plain don’t like (marijuana) and then there are the folks who want that land for other purposes and are using that second group as cover,” Sturgeon said. The H.I.G.H.H. PAC has anchored its messaging in the question of access, arguing that Sunday Goods has had state permission to open a dispensary in the area for years and meets all city separation requirements for a medical marijuana dispensary. However, Wilson said her group has is concerned the dispensary could lower property values and allow for expanded use in the area if recreational marijuana use is passed at the state level. A citizen initiative to legalize recreational marijuana that could go to Arizona voters next year would allow existing medical dispensaries to provide recreational marijuana, according to a report by Howard Fischer with Capitol Media Services. “It’s like a Trojan Horse type thing, you know?” Wilson said.



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State gives most SUSD schools high grades BY WAYNE SCHUTSKY Progress Managing Editor


early all Scottsdale Unified School District schools received A or B grades from the Arizona Department of Education in 2019, far outpacing statewide trends. Overall, 15 SUSD primary schools earned A grades from the state and 7 received B grade, according to data released recently by the department. Schools with A or B grades accounted for 92 percent of all primary schools in the district. Statewide, just 27.5 percent of K-8 schools received A grades from the state. Elementary schools receiving A grades included: Anasazi, Cherokee, Cheyenne Traditional School, Cochise, Desert Canyon, Hopi, Kiva, Laguna, Pueblo, Redfield, Sequoya and Tavan. Middle schools with an A are Cocopah, Desert Canyon and Ingleside. Both Desert Canyon and Ingleside improved from B grades in 2018. The state gave B grades to Copper Ridge, Mountainside Middle School, Pima Elementary, Echo Canyon K-8, Hohokam Elementary, Mohave Middle School, and Navajo Elementary. Tonalea K-8 received a C grade, and

People can celebrate Anasazi Elementary School’s “A” grade and enjoy some Chicago-style at its fall carnival5-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at the campus, 12121 N. 124th St, Scottsdale. Windy City Tailgaters just doesn’t serve Chicago-style food, but its owners hail from the Windy City so you’ll find some native treats on the menu. (Facebook)

Yavapai Elementary received a D grade. All Scottsdale high schools received A or B grades from the state. Chaparral, Desert Mountain and Saguaro high schools all received A grades from the state. Coronado and Arcadia high schools received B grades on the ADE’s latest report. All schools in Scottsdale in the Cave Creek Unified and Paradise Valley Unified school districts received A or B grades.

In Cave Creek, the state awarded A grades to Desert Sun Academy and Cactus Shadows High School. Black Mountain Elementary School and Sonoran Trails Middle School each received a B grade. In Paradise Valley, A grades went to Horizon High, Copper Canyon Elementary, Desert Shadows, Desert Springs Preparatory Elementary School, Pinnacle Peak Preparatory, and Sonoran Sky. Paradise Valley schools with B grades

were Desert Shadows and Sunrise middle schools and Grayhawk, Liberty, North Ranch, and Sandpiper elementary schools. It is unclear how much can actually be gleaned from grades, even though the Education Department says it issues them to help parents “better understand what school is best for their child and to help the state identify which schools are in need of support and how to better prioritize resources.” Critics have long cautioned that letter grades – like the ones used in Arizona – that rely heavily on standardized test scores, tend to favor wealthier schools over poorer ones. “There is a correlation between test scores and student demographics and risk variables,” Arizona State University professor Audrey Beardsley told the Progress last year. “The correlations are very strong to the point that we as statisticians can use those risk variables and predict 80 percent of the time how students will perform without them even the test-taking place,” she said. That correlation would seem to give Scottsdale an advantage in school letter grading as the city’s median household income in 2017 – $80,306 – was 50 percent higher than the statewide median income,

see GRADES page 17

Owner says city project hurt his business BY WAYNE SCHUTSKY Progress Managing Editor


six-month construction project aimed at improving one of Scottsdale’s most dangerous intersections may have inadvertently devastated some local businesses, leaving one local entrepreneur frustrated with what he sees as an inadequate response from city officials. The $2.7-million project at Hayden and Thomas roads began in May and has caused significant backups for east and westbound traffic, sometimes limiting movement to one lane in each direction. Mike Baum, co-owner of the Dilla Libre restaurant that sits just east of the intersection, said the backups and delays have slowed traffic to his business to a trickle. Baum said the restaurant’s sales volume is down 70 percent since the construction began.

Mike Baum said his Dilla Libre Restaurant has taken some big hits because the city's project at Hayden and Thomas roads has chased away customers. (Pablo Robles/Progress Staff Photographer)

From the city’s perspective, the construction was a necessity as the intersection has a collision rate twice the city average. In 2014, the intersection had a collision rate of 1.61 compared to a city average of 0.57. Improvements include a new center median along Thomas road, new turning lanes on both roads and dedicated bus bays on Thomas Road. According to the city, the intersection has ranked in the top six in Scottsdale for the number of collisions for the last 10 years. Baum co-owns the Scottsdale Dilla Libre and another Phoenix location with Daniel Pawenski. They also own the Dilla Libre and Pho King food trucks. The pair launched Scottsdale Dilla Libre location in June, but has occupied the same building, previously as Pho King, for over three years.

see DILLA page 18



GRADES from page 16

according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Alicia Williams, Arizona Board of Education executive director, acknowledged the gap between poorer and wealthier schools and said that is why Arizona’s letter grades reward growth and not just proficiency. Arizona uses AzMerit tests to gauge student proficiency in language arts and math. For K-8 schools, proficiency accounts for 30 percent and growth account for 50 percent of a school’s point total used to determine letter grades. For high schools, proficiency also accounts for 30 percent of a school’s points. Last year, growth on the AzMerit tests accounted for 20 percent of a high school’s score. This year, the state changed its rubric and that same 20 percent is now subdivided to correlate to improvements in proficiency, graduation rate and dropout rates. Despite its namesake’s status as one of Arizona’s wealthier communities, Scottsdale Unified School District serves a significant population of low-income students and includes nine Title 1 schools in Scottsdale and Phoenix. An analysis of the Arizona Department of Education data shows a correlation between high poverty rates and lower school letter grades. Arizona Department of Education data shows that the two schools that ranked lowest on the state’s letter grades list in SUSD – Tonalea K-8 and Yavapai – also had the highest percentage of students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch assistance in 2019, at 78 percent and 89 percent, respectively. Still, several SUSD schools did buck the larger trend tying performance on state tests to demographics, including Coronado High School, which earned a B grade this year. Seventy-one percent of Coronado students qualified for lunch assistance in 2019, according to state stats. Echo Canyon K-8, Hohokam, Ingleside Middle School, Navajo, Pima and Tavan all received A or B grades this and had between 40 and 70 percent of students receiving lunch assistance. Coronado’s B grade this year was a marked improvement over the C grade the high school received from the state in 2018. The improvement is a positive sign for a school that has seen significant focus and investment in recent years as the district – and larger community – worked to improve outcomes for Coronado students. “The best thing I have learned is there is really a strong sense of community here and a family-feel I have not felt any other

schools,” Coronado Principal Amy Palatucci told the Progress prior to the start of the 2019 school year. Palatucci is the latest principal to take on the Coronado Success Initiative, a collaboration that started in February 2017, between the school, the district, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University and others to turn around falling graduation rates and other student success indicators at the school. An update on the initiative in November 2018 drew mixed reactions from the SUSD Governing Board after it showed some positive momentum at the school but also indicated the school was not reaching AzMerit goals. That report showed that the graduation rate at Coronado was rising and the number of students with a GPA below 2.0 had fallen by 38 percent. However, it also showed the school was falling short of passing rate goals set by the district on the AzMerit English language arts and math tests. The district goal was to reach 23 percent passing on the English test and 27 percent passing on the math test by 2018-19, but the school had only reached 15 and 18 percent, respectively, by 2017-18. SUSD board member Allyson Beckham said she was “in shock” at how little progress was made on AzMerit scores at the school. At the time, Dr. Punya Mishra, an assistant dean at ASU’s teaching college who worked on the Coronado Success Initiative, encouraged patience with the process. “If this were easy, it would have been done already,” Mishra told the Progress. “That’s why we at ASU are in it for the long haul; because it takes time and fortitude to fix the big stuff.” The new school letter grade data and recently-released AzMerit scores show that some of that patience may be paying off. The school is still falling short of the district’s goals, but did show improvement in 2019, with 18 percent of students passing the ELA test and 20 percent passing the math test. The school letter grade report also showed the school received increased points for proficiency on the tests in 2019 and benefited from the newly-structured growth portion of the high school rubric. Coronado also received increased points over last year for improving its graduation rate and the college readiness of its students. Last year, Beardsley, the ASU professor, cautioned against reading too much into one year of improvement, though. “We see outliers and want to celebrate them, but we also want to investigate how does this occurs and do these outliers persist?” she said.


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SUSD students air gripes, concerns at forum BY ANTHONY WALLACE Progress Contributor


he Scottsdale Unified School District hosted the first of three “student-centered’ town hall events this school year focusing on diversity, inclusion and school safety. The Nov. 2, event at Arcadia High School drew a modest yet engaged crowd of parents, teachers and governing board members who watched as students posed tough questions to a panel of faculty members and education officials. Panelist and Arcadia Principal Todd Stevens said the meeting gave students “the opportunity to be heard.” The two-hour conversation opened a revealing window into the complex social world of the modern high school. Among the most impassioned and deeply explored topics were issues of mental health, the number of counselors on campus, tolerance among the student body and diversity within the teaching staff.

DILLA from page 16

Baum said construction crews have intermittently blocked the vehicular entrance to the restaurant’s parking lot, and the road improvements caused delays that pushed consumers away during typical high-traffic times like the lunch rush. “Traffic is so bad that once you get to the restaurant, it takes 15 minutes to get in,” Baum said. “People, especially during lunchtime, avoid this area altogether.” Since construction began, Dilla Libre’s Scottsdale location has had to cut staff on payroll from 30 people to 6, Baum said. While the other restaurant and food trucks are performing well, Baum said struggles at the Scottsdale location are dragging down the entire enterprise. Baum isn’t alone. Ray Wallani, who owns the Cactus Mart convenient store east of Baum’s restaurant, said his business was also negatively impacted by the construction project, with traffic to the store dropping by 50 percent since construction began. “It’s pretty bad, man,” Wallani said. According to city staff, the city per-

Another panelist, social worker Amanda Turner, spoke about her experience organizing Arcadia’s first pride celebration last school year. Students raised concerns about problems from the previous year they feared would repeat themselves. They talked of other students yelling homophobic slurs and referenced a particular incident in which students raised political flags beside their rainbow ones. Stevens vowed to take action to circumvent hostility in the future. “We will talk to the students collectively on the front end and will respond appropriately when [disrespectful behavior] does occur,” Stevens said. “When negative comments do come up, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. Our hope is that this year, we will have fewer.” Arcadia High School junior Mary McManus raised a number of questions about mental health. She talked of her own struggles with depression and anxiety and described the difficulty she’s experienced getting help on campus.

formed ample outreach in the years leading up to the project to warn businesses and mitigate issues. Alison Tymkiw, the city’s senior project manager overseeing the road improvements, said that outreach included a well-attended meeting with local property owners during the project’s design phase in 2016. “We additionally met with each individual property owner through the right of way acquisition process and, in most cases, we met with them onsite,” Tymkiw said. During those meetings in 2016 and 2017, city staff walked property owners through the project and how it would impact the area. Tymkiw said the city then mailed postcards to individually notify property owners before construction began. As for Dilla Libre, Tymkiw said the city has been in communication with Baum – who was unaware of the project when he signed his lease. She said the city has met consistently with representatives from Dilla Libre since 2016 to address his concerns. Tymkiw said those meetings were “very much hands-on (and we) have had several meetings with him. He actually came in and met with a contrac-

“It’s really hard to be a student in a school of 1,900 kids and only have one social worker,” McManus said. “It’s very difficult to say that Arcadia is a place that fosters good mental health.” The panel agreed emphatically with McManus, acknowledging the school is understaffed in the area of social workers and mental health counselors. Erica Maxwell of the Arizona Department of Education explained that the problem exists statewide and results from a lack of both funding and qualified people willing to do the job. “Please, if you know someone that is interested and currently a social worker in another area, direct them to our website,” Maxwell told the crowd. Maxwell is ADE’s associate superintendent of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Students also challenged the panel to respond to complaints that Arcadia’s teaching staff is “overwhelming white,” and clearly not representative of the student population. In the midst of Stevens’ response,

tor at our pre-construction meeting.” In early October, Baum sent an email to Lane and each member of the City Council detailing the struggles the business had gone through during construction. Baum said he was unhappy with the response he received from the mayor. “When I talked to the mayor and he tells me you’re out of luck and there’s nothing we can do for you – that’s not good enough,” Baum said. Mayor Jim Lane did not respond to questions emailed by the Progress. Baum said the response left him feeling like he had no representation to advocate for him or his business. “There’s nobody that has my back. There’s nobody that goes to bat for me as they destroyed my business,” Baum said. Tymkiw said the preponderance of complaints came from Baum “but I really haven’t heard much from any of the (other property owners).” Wallani disputed that. “This is the outreach,” Wallani said, holding the postcard from the city. Wallani said he left multiple voicemails for the city’s project manager prior to the start of construction to find clarification on whether or not

moderator Teah Scott, a senior at Chandler High School, interjected and asked bluntly what he would do in the face of two equally qualified candidates: one white, the other a minority. The principal did not shy away from the question and stated that in such a case, they would “lean in the direction” of the diverse candidate. Arcadia junior Sara Thomas was encouraged by the event and impressed with her principal. “You don’t have to go out of your way to sit here and hear students practically bash and say how much they don’t like the way you run your school. It’s amazing that he did that,” Thomas said. “I can feel in my heart that things I said are going to be addressed.” Other panelists included Coronado High School Principal Amy Palatucci; Arcadia social studies teacher Shannon Paloma; and SUSD Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Milissa Sackos. The next student town hall will take place at Saguaro High School on Feb. 22.

the center median construction on Thomas Road would block the entrance to his business for eastbound traffic. “She never returned my calls,” Wallani said. For Wallani, one saving grace is the construction project is scheduled to come to an end this month. “Mid-November we should have all lanes open for traffic,” Tymkiw said. “We still might have some behindthe-curb work and landscaping to finalize, but our goal is to have the traffic barricades off the street by mid-November.” Both westbound lanes on Thomas Road reopened in front of Wallani’s shop recently after five months of construction. “I did a double take when saw both cars go by,” Wallani said. Baum, however, said the damage has already been done. “I can’t live in my house anymore. I don’t have a place; I live out of my car,” Baum said, noting he rents out his southern Scottsdale home to make ends meet. “I will never start another business in the City of Scottsdale again,” Baum said.






Neighbors l



They get you misty just walkin' around BY KRISTINE CANNON Progress Staff Writer


he idea for ExtremeMist Personal Cooling Systems came to founder and northern Scottsdale resident Ron Laikind while on a 1,000-mile trek through the Sahara Desert in the early 2000s. “I’m not kidding you, the heat coming off the sand every day brought that temperature up at head-level of 140 degrees,” said Laikind, a long-time, avid outdoorsman. “It was horrible and miserable and the worst thing anyone would probably ever do.” After his trek companion showed him how to create “darn-near ice-cold” water about two weeks into their hike, Laikind mentally noted that a personal cooling and misting system should exist. Years and many, many more hikes later, Laikind created just that: ExtremeMist, hands-free, professional misting systems designed to keep outdoor enthusiasts refreshed, hydrated, and safe. “I invented ExtremeMist PCS to be

don’t like going to any stores, but I’ll go to REI and maybe Home Depot.” The two ExtremeMist products selected by REI include the PCS Retrofit Kit, $119, which is currently available in select retail stores nationwide and on REI’s website, and the “Just Add Water” Hydration Pack, $189, which will be available soon at REI. It is, however, currently available on ExtremeMist’s website. The PCS Retrofit Kit installs onto any hydration backpack to add a cooling mist that can lower temperatures up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The rugged, lightweight sysJonathan Cottor and Ron Laikind are the COO and founder of ExtremeMist PCS, respectively. tem that weighs just 16 ounces (ExtremeMist/Special to the Progress) provides two-in-one hydration The ExtremeMist inventory currently lightweight and easy to use so you nevto drink and mist from the same er have to slow down to cool down,” includes more than 20 products, two of reservoir for continuous cooling. Laikind said. “The main thing is you’re which were recently picked up by REI as The PCS also features a high-pressure drinking from the same system. You’re part of its Co-Op Innovator program. “REI is Mecca to me,” Laikind said. “I drinking and misting at the same time.” see REI page 24

Charity store manager high on giving back

BY LACEY LYONS Progress Contributor


iving back has been in Tracey Lynch’s blood since her father first taught her at age 8 that kindness is the best quality to have. “When I was young my dad would take me with him to give boxes of food to the homeless, and growing up I wanted to be a lawyer or a judge like my dad. He was such a fair and kind man,” the Scottsdale woman said. Lynch has been giving back to others ever since she can remember and has applied that to her daily life by operating a nonprofit charity, teaching her 11-yearold daughter lifelong lessons and supporting cancer research. Lynch was raised in Window Rock and moved to Scottsdale after she graduated high school in 1999. She went to Scott-

sdale Community College as a freshman then transferred to Arizona State University in 2001, where she graduated with a political science degree in 2004. “During college, I worked full time at My Sister’s Closet and learned that I could impact people by turning them on to new styles and looks. It built their confidence to look good, and it was inspiring to see them step out of their comfort zone,” said Lynch, referring to the consignment store. Seeing those customers come in with more confidence each visit warms her heart and motivates her to continue. After continuing to work at My Sister’s Closet for several years and rising to the position of store manager, Lynch decided in 2014 that she wanted to help open My Sisters’ Charites, a nonprofit thrift store

see CHARITY STORE page 24

Cancer survivor Tracey Lynch of Scottsdale manages the the My Sister’s Charities thrift store at 4985 S. Alma School Road in Chandler. (Lacey Lyons)






She traded rodeo for helping others BY ANNELISE KRAFFT Progress Contributor


hough some kids dream of running away to join the circus, a young Cathy Weir desired something much closer to home – rodeo. “And I didn’t even have to run away,” said Weir. She came from and married into a family with deep roots in the sport as her grandfather, Walter Alsbaugh, is an inductee in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy in Colorado. As a child, Weir competed in barrel racing and took part in trail rides across the West Coast. For those unfamiliar, barrel racing is a rodeo event where the competitors and their horses attempt to complete a specific pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. Trail rides, often also during rodeo events, focus on bringing back the Old West spirit by recreating historically accurate rides. At 19 in 1984, Weir needed to make a little extra money while competing in rodeos on the weekends, so a friend who worked in an escrow office in Phoenix offered to let her sit in as the receptionist for a few weeks. “I had to interview with the boss, who's name was Tom Davis. Thankfully, he liked me,” Weir said. “And this is going to sound crazy, but I fell in love with escrow the way I loved rodeo.” That two-week job actually spurred Weir to continue competing in rodeo and start on a 35-year title and escrow career. Weir worked her way up from the mailroom to a branch manager. “And then in 2014, I got an opportunity from a familiar face,” Weir said. “Tom Davis had taken on a leadership role with Pioneer Title Agency, a family-

Cathy Weir, front, is passionate about rodeo, and even more so helping others. (Special to the Progress)

owned title agency focused on helping the community, too. All those years later, he hired me on to help lead one of their newly opened North Valley branches.” Over the past five years, Weir has grown right along with PTA across the Scottsdale market. Her team takes the PTA company motto of “Commitment to Service” the extra mile. “Our branch is involved in USO Arizona, Soldiers Angels, Carefree Arts Skills, the Sonoran Arts League at the Enchanted Pumpkin Patch in Carefree,

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“The collective impact of our company’s volunteer hours last year alone was in the tens of thousands. We also helped to donate—in fundraising, donations, sponsorships and such—in excess of $1 million to those in need over the past few years.” -Cathy Weir

food drives with the Foothills Food Bank and, of course, the Cave Creek Rodeo Days and its parade,” Weir said. Beyond all of that, Weir was a champion of PTA’s recent 30th-anniversary initiative. “Nicknamed ‘Take a Hike,’ the yearlong endeavor focused on raising funds as well as awareness of the Arizona National Scenic Trail,” Weir said. “Through it, branches banded together to collectively hike, bike and run all 800-plus miles of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, while working to raise at least $30,000.” Weir’s team signed on for the Saddle Mountain portion, a strenuous and remote 16-mile segment of the trail while helping Pioneer raise more than $60,000, exceeding its goal. “We’ve also been very involved in

giving back to our local schools, as has PTA as a whole,” Weir said. “Our biggest project to date was a companywide philanthropy initiative called ‘Old School,’ where all branches statewide were called on to help a local school in their community.” “The collective impact of our company’s volunteer hours last year alone was in the tens of thousands. We also helped to donate—in fundraising, donations, sponsorships and such—in excess of $1 million to those in need over the past few years,” Weir said. So, with all of her volunteerism, advocacy and local town pride, how does Weir still make time for rodeo? “I have to admit, I don’t have any horses of my own anymore,” Weir said. “But, in a pinch, I bet I still have a barrel race or two in me.”



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CHARITY STORE ���� page 20

moves, my fellow cancer survivors that fight a good fight each and every day and the stranger who remembers to be a good human,” she said, adding: “All too often we put ourselves in bubbles and forget to be kind and courteous.” When Lynch is not working to give back to the community, she likes to travel with her family, root on the Arizona Cardinals and enjoy a Venti green tea at her local Starbucks. “I love being with my family, especially when we’re road-tripping, exploring some hidden gems in the state or the country. We’ve had many great adventures, and recapping the moment is always amusing,” said Lynch. In 2016, Lynch was diagnosed with breast cancer. While fighting breast cancer, raising her daughter and working at a nonprofit charity, Lynch discovered a new calling: raising support for cancer research.

Lynch uses her personal Facebook page to fundraise for the American Cancer Society and participates in the yearly breast cancer walk Making Strides of Phoenix in Tempe, Arizona. “My favorite motto I live by is ‘no matter the challenge, let’s keep it moving in a positive direction,’” said Lynch. Lynch said that is her favorite motto because it keeps her on the right track mentally and reminds her to only look forward. After chemotherapy, Lynch went into complete remission in September 2017. Lisa Smith, one of Lynch’s childhood friends describes her as “poised,” saying, “She always keeps her composure through any tough situations.” Battling cancer and continuing to give back to the community all with a smile on her face shows Lynch’s strength and dedication to work hard and be kind. Lynch looks to her daughter for positivity and light when times get tough

she said. “I admire my Phoebe for being a leader at such a young age. Her confidence overwhelms me at times, but I love that she just dances to the beat of her own drum,” said Lynch. In 2018, Lynch, along with her team at My Sisters’ Charities, raised their highest total to date of $486,000 for nonprofit organizations within Arizona. “I have an overwhelming sense of pride and joy,” she said. “To see this little 3.2 square foot store go from donating $72,000 our first year open to $485,000 five years later is mind-blowing. I truly enjoy coming to work each day knowing that we’re making a positive impact in our community,” Lynch said. Lynch said she wants to continue to grow with My Sisters’ Charities and hopefully find a bigger storefront to raise more money for the organizations that benefit from her work.

REI ���� page 20

Simply put the Retrofit Kit on one side of the dog’s saddlebag and a liter of water on the other end and attach the mist nozzle to his collar. “When he walks, it goes under. That’s where they cool, from underneath, so he’s always walking in the cool cloud just like I do. And I have his remote control because I have multiple speeds, up to eight speeds, so I control his and mine when we’re out for walks – but never over 90 [degrees].” Laikind pitched ExtremeMist in April to buyers at the REI Co-op Innovator event at REI’s corporate headquarters in Kent, Washington. “That was exciting. It was probably about a 30-minute meeting,” Laikind said. “We showed them what it was all about and how it worked and turned it on and let them wear it. They thought it was fabulous.” REI started selling the PCS Retrofit Kit in October. So far, Laikind has spotted his product at the REI Paradise Valley store and at the REI Tucson store. ExtremeMist products are also sold at Fleet Feet Sports Scottsdale, Lower Gear

Outdoors in Tempe, IRun in Phoenix, and The Hike House in Sedona. And, just prior to getting picked up by REI, Laikind began selling ExtremeMist products this summer at two military bases in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. “They could only take the Retrofit Kit because Camelbak is their standard issue at this point,” Laikind explained, adding that the product is located right next to the Camelbak bags. Laikind spent two years developing and testing the ExtremeMist PCS, taking it on hikes locally, including hikes up Tom’s Thumb. During the hikes, people would not only stop him to ask him about the mister – “I go by and they get a little spritz and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, what is this? Where’d you get that?’” – but Laikind has also helped a few exhausted, dehydrated hikers by misting them. “I’m a firefighter for the City of Scottsdale, and I met Ron on a mountain rescue that we were assigned to,” City of Scottsdale Firefighter Wilson Petty wrote in his testimonial published on the ExtremeM-

ist website. “I saw the mister he was using to cool down the patient upon our arrival and thought it was just about the coolest and most practical thing I had seen in a long time. I simply must have one. And quite frankly, every fire department in the Valley should supply them to their rescue teams.” That rescue took place two years ago on Memorial Weekend. Although the ExtremeMist PCS wasn’t necessarily designed for nonstop use, Laikind said he has yet to run out of water. “On the lowest speed, I use about oneand-a-half cups an hour. So, if I’m going out for two hours, if I go up Camelback or something like that in the dead afternoon in the summer, I’ve got enough water for drinking and misting and leave it on the whole time,” Laikind said. Laikind is already working on several other ideas, including solar charging for long adventures, a lawn-mower attachment, and an integrated safety vest for construction workers, traffic police, and municipal road workers. Information:

in Chandler. My Sisters’ Charites takes the items that My Sisters’ Place did not sell and sells them at a lower price to raise money for Arizona nonprofits such as the Arizona Humane Society. In 2015, Lynch transferred to become the store manager at My Sisters’ Charities. Kyle Allen, a longtime friend of Lynch, whom she met through My Sisters’ Charities, said, “One of the really great things about Tracey is that she has a way of motivating and being encouraging without pointing out faults.” Lynch is also in charge of hiring at My Sisters’ Charities and loves the opportunity to give others the chance to give back to the community as well. “I appreciate my staff for pouring their hearts into their work, my friends for making courageous decisions and

pump with multiple speeds, rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, a wireless remote, and special nozzles, connectors, and hoses. “My retrofit kit will go into any hydration packets that already has the reservoir built into it,” Laikind said. The “Just Add Water” Hydration Pack, on the other hand, comes with the PCS unit fully installed. REI will carry the newer version of the pack, which will be released next year. “It’s a two-liter day pack, but it’s a vest style that fits you like a running pack; it fits like a glove,” Laikind said. “You put everything up front — your phones, all your gadgets, your nutrition, everything you can, so you don’t have to take it off very often.” ExtremeMist products are not only useful for runners, hikers, and cyclists; but they’re also useful for people who walk with kids and pets, those who work outside for long periods, equestrians, and even dogs. “My dog has a mister, too,” Laikind said.

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Kouk Sun Do workshop



10 Shemesh �ield trip

Enjoy a Shemesh camp field trip with the entire family which includes bus transportation from and back to Valley of the Sun JCC, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road. Cost is $25 to $50 and includes transportation, unlimited laser tag, nonprize games, video games and unlimited bowling and shoes. Registration is required. Information: 480-634-4949.

Messages in Ink exhibit

This exhibit displays work by print artists from the Phoenix Metro area including lithographs, etchings, letterpress, linoleum cut, woodcut and laserengraved work. The artwork is on display from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Information: 480-312-7323.


11 New Faces AA meeting

Find recovery from alcohol addiction alongside this support group at 7:45 a.m. at North Scottsdale Fellowship Club, 10427 N. Scottsdale Road. Club membership is not required to attend meetings.

$5 Fido Frisbee Meals

Treat your dog to a delicious outdoor breakfast, brunch or lunch. The Brunch Cafe at 15507 N. Scottsdale Road. is serving $5 Fido Frisbee meals to all well-behaved dogs on their patio 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dogs are served two scrambled eggs on a frisbee and owners get to keep the frisbee. Information: www.

Advanced beginner bridge

Join others in playing a fun game of bridge 10:30 a.m.noon at Appaloosa Library, 7377 E. Silverstone Drive Information: 480-312-7323.

Mustang poets

Meet with other poets 6-7:45 p.m. at Mustang Library, 10101 N. 90th St. Information: 480-312-7323.


12 Let’s knit

Learn or practice knitting with others 1:30-4 p.m. at Valley of the Sun JCC, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road. Free. Information: 480-483-7121.

Mustang writers

Meet with other writers to share and critique writing in a pressure-free and supportive group 9:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at Mustang Library, 10101 N. 90th St. Information: 480312-7323.

Books 2 boogie

Children up to 5 and their caregivers are invited to participate in music, movement and song 10:30-11 a.m. at Palomino Library, 12575 E. Via Linda. Information: 480312-7323.

Twos and threes together

Young children 2 and 3 can learn social and literacy skills 10-10:30 a.m. with short stories, finger-plays and action rhymes at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Information: 480312-7323.

Short term rentals

Scottsdale attorneys Christopher J. Charles and Phil Overcash will discuss the pros and cons of short-term rentals as

well as the applicable laws and regulations during a luncheon at noon at the Gainey Ranch Golf Club meeting room, 7600 Gainey Club Drive Cost is $35 online or $35 at the door. Information: www.


13 Speedy bridge

Join others in a fast round of bridge at 10:30 a.m. at Via Linda Senior Center, 10440 E. Via Linda. Registration is required. Information: 480312-5810.

Walkin’ Wednesdays

Make friends while exercising during a brisk 1.5-mile walk through The J neighborhood 9-10 a.m. at Valley of the Sun JCC, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road. Bring water and walking shoes and meet at the campus’ flagpole. Strollers, dogs and all walking paces are welcomed. Information: 480-481-1797.

Family storytime

Children up to 5 and their caregivers can listen to stories and music and participate in rhyming activities 11-11:30 a.m. at Mustang Library, 10101 N. 90th St. Information: 480-312-7323.


14 Tai Chi

Everyone is welcome to join a class that focuses on gentle and controlled movements that center the mind, body and spirit for health benefits 3-3:45 p.m. at Ironwood Cancer and Research Centers, 8880 E. Desert Cove Ave. Information: 480-314-6660.

Four Korean masters from the World Kouk Sun Do Federation will offer a two-day workshop at the Franciscan Renewal Center, 5801 E. Lincoln Drive 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 14 and 15. The principal components include focused breathing, stretching, meditation and martial arts. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Lunch will be served. Bring an exercise mat and snack. Cost is $100 for the full workshop or $60 per day. To register, visit Information:

Tiny tot time

Develop babies’ literacy with songs, rhymes, movement and board books 10-10:20 a.m. at Mustang Library, 10101 N. 90th St. Information: 480312-7323.


15 In stitches knitters group

Gather with other knitters to work on individual projects, share advice and talk with others 1-3 p.m. at Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Information: 480-312-7323.

Advanced beginner bridge

Join others in playing a fun game of bridge from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Appaloosa Library, 7377 E. Silverstone Drive Information: 480-3127323.

Chair Pilates

Pilates improves the cardio system, eases back pain, improves bone density and boosts heart rate. Join a class to better physical health 1-2 p.m. at Ironwood Cancer and Research Centers, 8880 E. Desert Cove Ave. Information: 480-314-6660.

NiteFlite golf tournament

Spend the day watching golf, enjoying complimentary food and drinks and listening to live DJ music at McCormick Ranch Golf Club, 7505 E. McCormick Pkwy. There will also be games including corn-hole, pop-a-shot and break-theglass competitions. Other event highlights include a long

drive contest, long putt contest, raffle drawing and more. Tickets are $150 to $250 at

Sterling Awards

As the Scottsdale Chamber’s marquee event, the Sterling Awards celebrates the people and organizations that make the Chamber’s community a great place to live, work and play. Sponsorships and Corporate Tables are available. The event is 11-1 p.m. at Embassy Suites, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road. Cost and information:

ESL class

All conversation levels are encouraged to practice the English language with experienced teachers and other students 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Information: 480-3127323.


16 Etiquette workshop

Certified Etiquette Instructor SueAnn Brown will offer a workshop designed to improve and polish personal brands for business professionals, small business owners, executives, soon-to-be college graduates, entrepreneurs and fundraisers 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at The Orange Tree Golf Resort, 10601 N. 56th St. Attendance is $495 and includes an etiquette training manual, four-course lunch and workshop training certificate. Registration is required. Information: 480-510-6346.

Citizenship workshop

This workshop provides an opportunity to study for the civics portion of the USCIS Naturalization Test 10:30 a.m.-noon at Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Information: 480312-7323.


17 Story stop ( up to 5)

Build children’s literacy with a free picture book program 2-2:15 p.m. at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N.


Drinkwater Blvd. Information: 480-312-7323.

Pet festival

This free family-friendly community event features animals including native wildlife rescued by the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, Elvis the camel and Zuni the mustang 1-4 p.m. at Living Water Lutheran Church, 9201 E. Happy Valley Road. There will also be horse-drawn cart rides for the children, music and refreshments. Pets must be leashed or otherwise secured. Information: 480-4738400.

JCC holiday boutique and craft fair

Start holiday shopping early 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Valley of the Sun JCC, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road. Find unique gifts including jewelry, artwork, books, clothing and more. Admission is free. Information: 480-481-1756.

Frozen Jr.

Come see a youth theater production of Frozen Jr. at Thunderbird Adventist Academy, 7410 E. Sutton Drive The first performance begins at 1 p.m. followed by a second performance at 3:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary. Information: www.


18 Business Energizer

Learn about setting weekly goals and generate business ideas with fellow business owners 9-10 a.m. This group meets virtually. To join, meet the group online through the “Monday Business Energizer” group LinkedIn page. Free. Information:

Homework help

Students 8 to 18 can stop by the Arabian Library at 10215 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Road. for help on any subject 3:30-5:30 p.m. Information: 480-312-7323.

Tail waggin’ tales

Children 6 to 10 can practice their reading skills with a certified therapy dog 3:304:15 p.m. at Mustang Library, 10101 N. 90th St. Information: 480-312-7323.




Women veterans work out trauma through art not only did trauma from war, but the military sexual trauma I had also came to surface,” she said. he artwork of 16 female veter- Sco ttsdale Marroquin began a sevenans will be on display at a free week stay at a residential fashow later this month, and will cility for women with PTSD, also include their stories of war-related after she said she, “had a lot trauma and healing. of suicide ideations like a lot “The Trauma Transformed – The Story of us do, but the final one and Art of Women Veterans” show will culwas where I was really just minate a four-day creative arts healing rehad lost my mind and I knew treat in Scottsdale for female veterans are I needed to get help.” suffering from post-traumatic stress disorNow, Marroquin is helpder and military sexual trauma. ing other women with their The show will be 6-8:30 a.m. Saturday, trauma. Nov. 23, at the Franciscan Renewal Center, She said one on the goals 5802 East Lincoln Drive. of the retreat is for women The retreat and art show were organized to form, “a sisterhood where by the Chandler nonprofit Warrior Songs. they know they’re not alone. Warrior Songs was founded in 2011, by A sisterhood they can build Iraq war veteran Jason Moon. After serving upon, not only with each as a combat engineer in 2003 and 2004, other here, but also go back Moon returned home to Wisconsin, where he struggled to reintegrate into civilian life. Iraq war veteran Jason Moon will lead a workshop in Scottsdale for traumatized female military to their own communities and to their own homes.” Suffering from PTSD, Moon attempted veterans, who will also display their art at a public exhibit later this month. The retreats are of no cost suicide in 2008. to the attendees, which means Warrior “As part of my recovery, I started writing Songs relies heavily on fundraising. songs. I wrote a whole CD about dealing This year’s event was also made possible with PTSD,” he said. with a grant from the Arizona Department “All of that kind of just sparked a healing in of Veterans’ Services. me, but then it also taught me that I can take The lead fundraiser for this year’s retreat, this pain that caused me to want to kill myEllicia Romo, said they’ve raised roughly self, and I can put it in a song, not only heal$24,000 so far. ing me but starting to help other veterans.” “I think its huge for veterans to know Moon began speaking and performing that civilians care,” she said. “I think it’s at conferences and churches and began reso important for them to know they’re ceiving letters from other veterans. appreciated.” “I got a letter from a mother, her son was Moon said he encourages as many civilover there at the same time I was, and atians as possible to come to the art show, tempted suicide three times,” Moon said. where not only can they view the art, they “She said she played him some songs on can hear the stories behind the art. the CD, and he went to the VA the next day. “For about an hour we make sure each So that was the moment I said ‘Alright, I’m veteran has an opportunity to share whatgoing do something with this.’ I founded ever they need to share about their art. Warrior Songs and started just singing for anyone who would listen.” The veterans' artworks help the women work through trauma they suffered in war And when they do, they get to hold their Warrior Songs began in Wisconsin but and as a result of sexual assault while they were in the military. (Photos special to the Progress) art while they talk about their art, so the eyes of the audience move onto the art and moved to Arizona when Moon relocated in 2016. three others have been held. This is the first the same time, so all the connections just off of the individual, who can then fully express what they need to say,” he explained. As the organization grew, a variety of pro- arts retreat specifically designed for female lined up.” “I think as many people as possible grams were developed to assist veterans in veterans. Marroquin, a Washington native, joined healing through music and the creative arts. Moon explained that after hearing the the Navy when she was 18, and later served should come to this show. They’re goOne program, called Story to Song, con- stories of female veterans who were trau- in the National Guard and the Army. She ing to be amazed by what they see and nects veterans with musicians and song- matized, he knew a retreat tailored to them was deployed to Iraq in 2003, and after feel, and maybe walk away from it with a writers through song. Through this pro- was needed. But he also knew he needed to being discharged due to a back injury, she different understanding of what art can gram, two albums of music were released. build a team of women who could relate to went back to school to get her master’s de- do,” Moon added. Information: The healing retreats are facilitated by them. gree in social work. both civilian therapists and other veterans He sought help from Graciela Marroquin, Marroquin’s trauma didn’t catch up to For art show tickets and more info: who help participants use arts and music to who will be the “mind, body and spirit as- her right after returning home, she said, but with themselves and then work on sistant” at this year’s retreat. eventually it caught up to her. their healing process. “We both found out we’re musicians,” “When I came back from Iraq, I went formed-the-story-and-art-of-womenThe first was held in 2013, and since then Marroquin said. “He was Iraq, I was Iraq at back to grad school, but during that time, veterans-tickets-68836380467 BY HALEY LORENZEN Progress Staff Writer





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Native American art shop celebrates 50th anniversary BY KRISTINE CANNON Progress Staff Writer



n Sept. 23, 1965, Maria Sc ottsdale Theresa Ruthling disappeared on her way to her store on Main Street, Maria’s Aztec Studio. The day after she left her home, Ruthling’s daughter, Marci, found her car in a parking lot next to Earl’s Market, which was located on First and Scottsdale Road. Ruthling was never found. “And that’s how our gallery started, was from the disappearance of Maria,” said Alston Neal, co-owner of Territorial Indian Arts & Antiques. “It was Scottsdale’s big mystery.” This year, Territorial Indian Arts & Antiques, known for its authentic American Indian art and antiques, celebrates its 50th anniversary. Although the gallery was originally located down the street across Scottsdale Road, Main Street is still its home; but it would have never planted its roots in 1969, had it not been for Alston’s mother and the galAlston and Deborah Neal own Territorial Indian Arts & Antiques, the oldest gallery lery’s original owner, Rita Neal. American Indian art on Main Street celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. “My mom was a single woman, and I of (Chris Mortenson/Progress Staff Photographer) grew up on the northwest corner of Scottsdale Road and McDonald. Then, my mom part of the world we grew up in,” Alston The Neals attribute the success and lonwas always working down in Scottsdale,” recalled. gevity of the gallery to their commitment Alston recalled. Alston was 13 when he started working to authenticity. Rita opened up Territorial Indian Arts & at what was then known as the Old TerritoFrom day one, Alston said his mother Antiques four years after the disappear- rial Shop. worked with young Native American artance of Ruthling. “I’d just gotten out of a Kiva Elementary ists – and they haven’t stopped since. Now, “They couldn’t declare her dead because School, and my mom was starting a busi- they’re working with the fourth generait was only a few years, four years. So, they ness and she was putting the time in that tion of artists. had her declared incompetent to handle you could not believe,” he said. “We’re almost close to the fifth generaher affairs, so the family could sell Rita the After Deborah and Alston started dating, tion, the great grandchildren of artists gallery,” said Deborah Neal, co-owner and she asked Rita, in 1976, if she could work that we worked with through the time,” Alston’s wife. at the gallery – and she’s been working Alston said. “We represent a lot of native Territorial Indian Arts & Antiques is now there ever since. Americans that most people have never among the oldest businesses in Old Town. On Deborah’s first day, Rita handed her a ever heard of.” It’s also the oldest gallery of American In- rag and asked her to not only dust the potOne of Alston and Deborah’s biggest dian art on Main Street. tery, but also – more importantly – look at challenges over the decades was the ever“And it’s a family business,” Alston said. “I all of the signatures and familiarize herself increasing amount of fraudulent Native was born and raised here.” with all of the potters. American art saturating the market. The gallery’s emphasis was and still is “This was new to me and fascinating,” “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figantique Indian baskets, textiles and pot- Deborah said. “We created family trees ure out that there’s a lot of Native Ameritery, as well as jewelry. because it all runs through families and I can art out there and there’s just so many “Our biggest part of our business is mov- became the pottery expert.” Native Americans that make it. So even 20, ing towards the antique jewelry,” Alston said. The Old Territorial Shop became Territo- 30 years ago, the proportion of fraudulent, Rita started working in the arts indus- rial Indian Arts & Antiques when Arizona misrepresented Native American art was try in the 1930s, in Colorado, according to celebrated its centennial in 2012. gross. It was extensive, and it was getting Alston, and she came to Scottsdale to work “So many of these items were made in worse,” Alston said. in art galleries in the late ‘40s. the days when Arizona was a territory beTo compete, Alston and Deborah not “Because she was a single woman with fore it was a state, and that refers to our only began to work with the other gallera big chunk of land where natives lived, baskets, the textiles,” Deborah said. ies, but they continued to do what they do out on the reservation over here, they Alston added, “It was really common to best: Educate the public. took care of the house, took care of me. have a lot of things that were made in ter“[Rita’s] philosophy was, we’re here to Plus, we had Hopi friends and it was just ritorial Arizona or even New Mexico.” educate people. We’re not here to make

sales,” Deborah said. “What we did is, we never got rich. We just did what we felt was the right thing to do,” Alston said. As Alston and Deborah became more educated and more experienced at identifying authentic art, Territorial Indian Arts & Antiques’ reputation – and overseas business – grew. “The Japanese love the Southwest. The French love the Southwest; the French art movement was based on the Southwest. So, we started realizing that we had more to offer than just product. We had history; we had excitement to talk about something,” Alston said. The Neals currently work with at least 20 shops in Japan that sell Territorial’s antiques. They are also referred by several museums, including in-state museums such as the Heard Museum and out-of-state museums such the Crocker Art Museum in California. Alston and Deborah are also working with an increasing number of local families who are giving them their private collections. “Our mission statement has changed because unbeknownst to us, it is becoming more about working with the little old ladies whose husbands pass on or the other way around helping families figure out what to do with their stuff. “Making sure it goes to the right places, making sure the next owner of this piece loves it as much as the last owner did,” Alston said. “We’re going to be really busy for several years with all the collections that we have. We have to find homes for all this material, new caretakers for these pieces,” Deborah added. And as they head into the next chapter of Territorial, the Neals will continue to live by Rita’s words of wisdom. “The first thing she said to me was, ‘If you make one person happy, they’ll tell a few people. If you make one person unhappy, they’ll tell everyone in the world.’ The bad news travels much faster and broader than good news, so don’t make bad news,” Alston said.

If you go

Territorial Indian Arts & Antiques Where: 7100 E. Main St. Call: 480-945-5432 Website:


Business l




Osborne Medical Complex expanding BY WAYNE SCHUTSKY Progress Managing Editor


onorHealth recently kicked off an expansion of its Scottsdale Osborn Medical Campus in downtown Scottsdale with a groundbreaking for the healthcare company’s new Neuroscience Institute. The groundbreaking on Oct. 30, marked the beginning of work on the 120,000-square-foot institute, which will open in spring 2021, at Osborn Road and Brown Avenue just east of Scottsdale Road. Although HonorHealth has locations throughout the Valley, the Osborn campus was the most logical landing spot for the new Neuroscience Institute, said Kim Post, HonorHealth’s executive vice president of operations Post said the Osborn campus already provides advanced-level neurological care to many patients. Post said physicians at the campus have “grown the program over the years to really sort of the Mecca for neuroscience.”

At the groundbreaking at Scottsdale Osborne Medical Campus Oct. 30, renderings depicted what the healthcare company's new Neuroscience Institute will look like (Special to the Progress)

The institute will focus on the diagnosis and treatment of brain and spinal disorders and provides in-house experts ranging in fields from neurology, neurosurgery, physical medicine and

rehabilitation, speech, occupational and physical therapy, infusion therapy, phlebotomy, imaging to even research. The combination of so many services under one roof provides easier access

to care for patients, Post said. “We’re surrounding these patients, which depending on their issue or their disease can have very debilitating or degenerative issues that make it difficult for them to travel amongst many, many sites and many, many physicians to get the this multi-disciplinary plan of care,” Post said. HonorHealth also employs nurse navigators onsite, charged with guiding patients and families through the healthcare system. “They have a relationship with (patients); they’re checking on them and they’re helping them navigate all the things that they need to navigate to get a care plan so they can stay out of the hospital and live a good life,” Post said. Post said the new facility will put all of those providers in one location, which will improve communication amongst the different departments working with each patient. The new building will include a

see HONOR HEALTH page 30

Airpark firm polishes businesses’ online gateway BY ANNELISE KRAFFT Progress Contributor


oes the ever-evolving digital world leave you feeling like it’s impossible to keep up? For most people, the answer is an overwhelming yes, but not for Eric Olsen, owner and founder of Fasturtle Digital. This Scottsdale Airpark resident knows a thing or two about what it takes for companies to maintain a presence online. His award-winning full-service digital marketing agency is focused on website design, SEO, social media and email marketing for businesses and brands. Olsen’s digital expertise, and devotion to helping small businesses improve their online presence is earning

Eric Olsen, owner and founder of Fasturtle Digital, helps companies polish up their digital profile. (Special to the Progress)

him praises from Entrepreneur Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. Essentially, he speaks tech fluently. And he acts as a translator to help his clients understand the digital world. “I’m always looking for ways to help brands and businesses better connect with consumers online, and I’ve found that starts with great website design,” Olsen said. “But just like upgrading to the newest smartphone, it’s crucial to update your website or you risk losing the focus of your consumer.” According to Olsen, having an eye-catching website is

the most important part of maintaining a strong digital presence. However, there are a few telltale signs that your website is long overdue for some TLC. “The first problem I notice is a low conversion rate, or amount of visitors to a website who actually interact with the page,” Olsen said. “Perceptive consumers take one look at an outdated homepage with bad web design and click away.” Olsen believes a website is the first impression of a company, and dated web design can get in the way of a memorable introduction. Another concerning factor is clutter, which can turn away an interested customer from the start. “You have seven seconds to capture

see TURTLE page 30




HONOR HEALTH ���� page 29

26-chair infusion center, Spine Group Arizona, neurosurgeon offices and a physical therapy center. Teams at the new five-story facility will also provide treatment for multiple sclerosis, or MS, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. It also allows HonorHealth to expand its teams of neurologists and neurosurgeons on-site, Post explained. The facility will also include a bioskills laboratory and auditorium space for training and teaching individuals how to properly care for patients with specialized needs. “The physician leadership that’s there is very excited to offer education and consultation that will help improve care not just patients at HonorHealth but (with) other physicians and other sites across the country,” Post said. The institute will also have access to HonorHealth’s research infrastructure, and patients will have the ability to participate in clinical trials. HonorHealth is already the single largest private employer in Scottsdale with 6,841 employees – more than double

TURTLE ���� page 29

a visitor’s attention; information on a website needs to be quick and easy to follow,” said Olsen, noting a cluttered website has multiple fonts, designs, features and no true call to action. Users can get a headache from an overwhelming amount of design elements being thrown together. Olsen believes that simple, clean web pages help eliminate the risk of a potential customer losing interest. “Another issue I notice is a bad user experience,” Olsen said. “The design of a website absolutely affects the experience for a potential client; if they can’t

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and other local officials attended the groundbreaking of HonorHealth’s new Neuroscience Institute in downtown Scottsdale on Oct. 30. (Pablo Robles/ Progress Staff Photographer)

tell how to navigate it, you’re wasting a lot of your marketing resource.” Making it easier for clients to click through a brand’s website should be a no-brainer. According to Olsen, providing an intuitive and easy-to-understand website should be a top priority. In addition, unclear messaging on a website makes it difficult for a business to connect with its clients. The most important question he asks when looking at his website is: “Is my brand message clear?” “If a customer can’t figure out your brand message by simply looking at your website, that disconnect could be contributing to some of the problems

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we’ve already seen, like low conversion rates,” said Olsen, noting that consumers buy products or services from businesses they trust and that a bad website design does not inspire confidence. Olsen’s final point, which may be the most relatable to the everyday consumer, is websites need to be mobilefriendly. Having a website that is not available on a mobile device may be worse than not having a website at all. “We are seeing over 50 percent of internet traffic coming from mobile devices,” said Olsen. “If your website isn’t available to people on the platforms, they’re using the most, you’re just cutting off possible

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the 3,300 employed Vanguard, the second-ranked company in the city, according to the Scottsdale Economic Development’s annual report. The new institute has the potential to create even more jobs. Post said as the facility attracts more patients, she envisions growth in positions like physical therapists and nutritionists that specialize in caring for those patients. She also said Spine Group Arizona, which specializes in back pain and spine issues, is already very busy and could support employment growth in the future. “Really all that complex care could drive other clinicians and other supportive services that would be able to interact with patients,” Post said.

customers from your site.” After reviewing warning signs that a website update is on the horizon, Olsen is quick to note that it is understandable if this information does not come naturally to most people. Equipped with an award-winning team of pros, Olsen is an expert in the digital marketing space and encourages any concerned businesses to work with a professional. “Revamping your website can feel like a big undertaking, but that’s why there are teams like my own that are available to help,” said Olsen. “Technology is always changing, but there are always experienced professionals who can help you keep up.”

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Veterans embody the meaning of “courage” BY BAYLEE CLORE Progress Guest Writer

Editor’s note: Scottsdale resident Baylee Clore, a senior at Horizon High School, won second place in the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade’s annual essay competition. This is her prize-winning piece.

What is courage?

Courage can mean many different things for various people. Courage can mean bravery, doing what’s right, facing your fears, putting others before yourself, learning from your mistakes and so much more. Our U.S. soldiers and veterans exhibit courage every single day, on and off the battle�ield. They risk their lives and devote their time to protect our great country and keep us safe. They don’t just �ight for the country and our government but also for us, our families, our rights and everything else we are so fortunate to have.

Americans often take these freedoms for granted because we can’t imagine what life would be like without them, and our soldiers �ight every day so that we won’t ever have to see the day where our freedom is taken away from us. The long-ravaging war in Afghanistan is a current example of this courage our soldiers show every day. Every veteran and soldier is a hero no matter what they did or how many medals they did or didn’t receive. Anyone who is willing to �ight for our country is a true American hero. A small fraction of those heroes came from the war in Afghanistan. For example, Cpl. Kyle Carpenter was

on a rooftop with Nick Eufrazio at a combat outpost when suddenly the Taliban began shooting. A grenade landed on the roof with the two soldiers, and with almost no thought, Carpenter jumped on the grenade to save his fellow soldier. Carpenter experienced many injuries but was fortunate enough to survive. He says if he could go back, he wouldn’t change a thing. Another soldier whose bravery shined through was Staff Sgt. Robert Miller. His team was attacked with machine guns, and his captain was wounded. Miller decided to run across an open battleground in front of enemy �ire so his team could escape to better positions.

He was even shot along the way, but that didn’t stop him. He kept going and killed about a dozen on the enemy side in the process. The rest of his team survived, all thanks to Miller and his compassionate, courageous soul. It’s hard to imagine sacri�icing yourself and giving up your life for others, but many of these soldiers made the decision to put others before themselves. That is what true courage is. Whether it’s helping a friend with homework or saving someone’s life, a form of courage is being sel�less and making decisions for the greater good. This idea of courage is why Americans need to continue honoring our heroes and veterans because they are role models to so many people across the nation. Without them, where would we be? Veterans do more for our country and people that most of us will never be able to comprehend, and for that, I am forever grateful for our heroes.

father and grandfather. Even though I never had the opportunity to speak with either of them about their service to our country, I believe I can honor them by supporting veterans. I have had the opportunity to participate in work that is meaningful to both veterans and students. By interviewing the veterans, I can help provide a safe outlet for veterans to share however much they feel comfortable and this is often a therapeutic experience for them. Knowing that I could be a part of helping a veteran opened my eyes up to the tremendous sacri�ice they make for people they do not even know, a sacri�ice that could have ultimately cost them their lives. These interviews showed me how the events I read about in history books affect people just like myself. I learned many lessons from the veterans I have

interviewed. For example, a Vietnam veteran once told me, “It’s important to do your own job to the best of your ability, even if it’s not what you wanted. Because we are expecting the best of ourselves, it’s only fair we ask that our peers to do the same.” Last year, I decided I needed to do more for the veterans I had come to know and love. I started a fundraiser for Honor Flight Arizona, a non- pro�it organization that pays homage to WWII and Korean War veterans by providing support to enable them to complete a three-day journey of honor and remembrance to their respective memorials in Washington, D.C. By the end of the year, I had raised over $21,000, which helped sponsor �lights for 14 veterans to Washington, D.C. I also had the privilege of going on

an Honor Flight. It opened my eyes and heart to the monumental sacri�ices they have made for our country and its citizens, and it has given me an opportunity to build relationships like the one I would have hoped to share with my grandfather. It has shown me the importance of being dedicated to something you wholeheartedly believe in and taking a leadership role where one is needed. Perhaps most importantly of all, it has taught me that sacri�ice – like a smile – is contagious. Never could I have anticipated the number of friends and family who saw my pure joy and asked if they could join me. Because of all the lessons and life skills I have learned from veterans, I plan on continuing to help them for as long as I possibly can, and even that will be but a fraction of the support and respect they truly deserve.

Every veteran and soldier is a hero no matter what they did or how many medals they did or didn’t receive. Anyone who is willing to fight for our country is a true American hero.

I learn valuable lessons from veterans BY LAUREN KOBLEY Progress Guest Writer

Editor’s note: Scottsdale resident Lauren Kobley, a senior at Notre Dame Preparatory High School, placed third in the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade annual essay contest. This is her award-winning piece.


uring my sophomore year of high school, my honors English teacher introduced me to the Veterans Heritage Project. VHP’s mission is to support veterans in the local community by interviewing them and publishing their stories in books, which are then housed in the Library of Congress. I was instantly drawn to this club because of my love for writing and appreciation for veterans like my great-grand-




South Bridge Two threatens 5th Avenue businesses BY DAVID D. ORTEGA Progress Guest Writer


n 1989, the Scottsdale Galleria debuted in downtown. Promoters claimed the retail center would draw more visitors than the Grand Canyon. Scottsdale City Council went as far as approving a ramp tunnel in the middle of Scottsdale Road. Traffic was obstructed, cutting off Stetson, isolating the canal bank and disrupting Fifth Avenue-area businesses. Within 18 months the 400,000-squarefoot Scottsdale Galleria went belly-up, leaving the bottleneck and economic stagnation. In 2000, a group of Fifth Avenue owners and businesses pressed City Council to remove the tunnel obstruction and restore access to Fifth Avenue. In 2001, Scottsdale Road got fixed. By 2004, at Scottsdale Waterfront 800 residences broke ground (north bank) and South Bridge retail and of�ices followed. The Galleria �iasco morphed from retail to of�ice, without a tunnel.

Today, the mega South Bridge Two threatens nearly 90 Fifth Avenue businesses. Why? Because promoters want to encroach into city streets for private underground parking. For up to two years, street parking along Fifth Avenue would be demolished, trees uprooted, utilities realigned, streets closed and detour signs posted on Indian School and Scottsdale Road – altogether devastating existing businesses. South Bridge Two wants to build six stories higher than setbacks and height limits permit. Exorbitant height rising 160 feet above Fifth Avenue requires more parking. Rather than dig deeper on private land, they seek City Council approval to damage existing businesses. All the glitzy South Bridge Two presentations omitted that fact. Look closely at site plans and building sections that fail to note encroachments into city streets. South Bridge Two would excavate 25 to 30 feet into the street, much deeper than the Galleria tunnel. Casefile drawings show that at the canal side, South Bridge Two violates

city Code setbacks, crowding canal amenities. Worse, South Bridge Two eliminates all public parking at the city-owned Rose Garden parking lot. In 2005, Rose Garden Partners was awarded a development agreement with the City of Scottsdale which required the Unger Group to build 200 public parking spaces. The Unger Group could build 40 luxury condos, commercial leased space and 78 private parking spaces. Over the next 10 years, the Unger Group requested extensions, proposed of�ice and hotel projects, and defaulted in 2015. South Bridge Two (Unger Group) has been quietly negotiating for a no-bid, private sale of the city public parking lot. They failed for 14 years to perform, yet they expect the city to sell, without a cost-bene�it analysis, or full disclosure. South Bridge Two eliminates all public parking, yet Mr. Unger suggests that public parking be built in a sub-basement at Rose Garden – likely to cost $48,000 per space. However, a city parking structure on city land, above ground – costs $ 16,000 per space. And the 2019 Bond in-

cludes $22 million for “Old Town” parking garages on city land. Rose Garden parking is ready to build – not to sell. The case �ile shows that the city staff repeatedly directed that the applicant remove the Rose Garden from South Bridge Two. The developer brazenly covets the city roadways and the city public parking lot for their bene�it. Will the City Council repeat the same mistake made 30 years ago? Council should tell the applicant to keep their risk on their own property. Do not encroach into city streets and interfere with public parking. David D. Ortega is a former Scottsdale City Council member.

York media receive our public relations pitches; Chicago meeting planners connect with us at trade shows; and London travel advisors participate in our hands-on training sessions. But our local community may never come across our various, year-round promotions that establish Scottsdale as a destination for meetings, events and leisure travel. While targeting visitors outside of Arizona may not change, we hope to help locals become more familiar with the organization during the coming months. Experience Scottsdale is inviting residents and employers to learn more about our organization during three behind-the-scenes sessions. Our first session will be Nov. 20, at ASU SkySong, with additional dates to follow in February and May. Over the course of 90 minutes, my staff and I will share how Experience Scottsdale is working to enhance the community by promoting the Scottsdale area as a luxury destination.

By attending, you’ll learn about who we are, what we do and how we do it. That includes an overview of each of our department efforts, from our seasonal marketing campaigns that inspire potential visitors to visit during the summer and holidays to our familiarization tours that allow hundreds of meeting planners, journalists and travel professionals to explore Scottsdale firsthand. We’ll also share details about Experience Scottsdale’s industry research and finances, including how we use bed-tax collections from Scottsdale and Paradise Valley hotels and resorts to promote the region. Experience Scottsdale feels a great responsibility to ensure those dollars are spent strategically, effectively and prudently. We have been one of the City of Scottsdale and Town of Paradise Valley’s largest partners since 1987 and we pride ourselves on our organization’s three-decade tradition of transparency.

And as a resident, business owner or employee, you are an important stakeholder. We work on behalf of the community to ensure that the local tourism industry thrives. And that’s important because we all benefit from a strong industry as visitor-paid tax dollars help fund the quality of life we enjoy. Now, we want to share that work with you. We hope to see you in the next few months and introduce you to our organization. Because space is limited for these sessions, RSVPs are required. Visit for additional information on the Nov. 20 session and to RSVP. Contact Experience Scottsdale Vice President of Community & Government Affairs Rachel Pearson at if you would information on future sessions.

Editor’s Note: The Progress was unable to substantiate his claim that building a city parking structure on city land costs $16,000 per space. The median parking structure cost for 2019 in the Phoenix area is $19,004 per space, according to national engineering �irm WGI. Unger has since proposed including public parking within the Rose Garden site at no cost to the city.

Experience Scottsdale offers you an invitation BY RACHEL SACCO Progress Guest Writer


id you know that Experience Scottsdale works with thousands of journalists each year to secure articles and television segments to promote travel to the city? Or how about that Experience Scottsdale generated $96 million in future economic impact last fiscal year alone by booking meetings groups into Scottsdale-area hotels and resorts? Though Experience Scottsdale has spent the past 32 years building Scottsdale’s tourism destination brand, many Scottsdale residents are unfamiliar with the inner workings of our nonprofit. That’s understandable because Experience Scottsdale’s efforts largely target leisure visitors and clients outside of Arizona. For example, Canadians see Experience Scottsdale’s commercial; New

-Rachel Sacco is the president and CEO of Experience Scottsdale.




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Sports & Recreation l




3 Scottsdale schools to compete in Open Division BY ZACH ALVIRA Progress Sports Editor



hree Scottsdale-area high schools make up the eight football teams that will compete in the inaugural Open Division playoffs for a state championship. Saguaro, Horizon and Chaparral will all compete in the 8-team playoff, which pins the top eight programs from the 4A, 5A and 6A conferences against one another in a state-championship bracket. Teams are chosen based on a formula used by the AIA, which takes into a team’s record and strength of schedule to compile the rankings. The final rankings were released Saturday morning in Tempe during the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s bracket release show. Saguaro, whose only loss this season came against California power Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, California) back in August, finished as the No. 3 seed in the Open Division bracket. The Sabercats will take on fellow Scottsdale-area school Horizon in the opening round on Nov. 15. The Huskies finished as the 7-seed in the Open Division. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs. “We just wanted to have a high seed and have a home playoff game,” Saguaro coach Jason Mohns said. “We are excited to be at home and it will be an exciting matchup against Horizon. A lot of our kids know each other, and we’ve never played, so that will be fun.” The Sabercats have been dominant at the 4A level, winning the last six conference titles. Saguaro last lost to an in-state school in 2015, when the Sabercats fell to Centennial and Pinnacle, who played a division up. Mohns regularly schedules out-ofstate opponents early on in the season. In recent years, Saguaro has faced Liberty (Henderson, Nevada), East (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Serra (Gardena, California) and most recently, Cathedral Catholic, among others. Mohns believes matchups with out-

Chandler (10-0) Centennial (9-1) Saguaro (9-1) Salpointe Catholic (9-0) Pinnacle (8-2) Horizon (9-1) Hamilton (8-2) Chaparral (8-2)

Saguaro coach Jason Mohns has led his program to finsh the season as the No. 3 ranked team in the Open Division playoffs and will face sixth-ranked Horizon. (Zach Alvira/Progress Staff)

Chaparral coach Brent Barnes (right) led his team to the No. 8-seed in the Open Division rankings and will face top-ranked Chandler. (Pablo Robles/Progress Staff)

of-state competition of that caliber helps prepare his team for the grind of the season. That remains especially true this year with the installment of the Open Division.

“We weren’t very comfortable being uncomfortable. We really played out of character in that game and against Chaparral in the first half,” Mohns said. “When you don’t get tested, you get

comfortable and you just think you’re going to show up and beat teams. “Those games prepare you to get in a dog fight and help you become a better team. That’s why we schedule those games.” Chaparral was the final team to make the Open Division. As the 8-seed, the Firebirds will travel to take on topranked Chandler in what will likely be the team’s toughest test of the year. “Chaparral is a great team,” Garretson said. “We’ve played them quite a few times in the passing tournaments so we are a little familiar with them in that. “It’s going to be a great game and we are proud to represent the Premier Region in the super-8 as the 1-seed.” Along with the Scottsdale-area schools, Chandler and Hamilton will take part in the tournament representing the Premier Region. It’s the second straight year the Wolves enter the postseason as the No. 1 overall team. They’ve won three straight championships. “You have to earn each win now that it’s one-and-done,” Chandler coach Rick Garretson said. “If you don’t bring your A-game, you’re going to be out. My staff knows how to prepare for two weeks. “We will have those kids ready.” Hamilton, who won just three games last season, finished 8-2 after nearly knocking off Chandler in the regularseason finale. The Huskies finished as the No. 7 seed and will face secondranked Centennial. “We feel good about everything we’ve

see OPEN page 36








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After winning just three games in 2018, Zdebski’s first year, the Huskies look to be back to their old ways. Led by a plethora of senior talent on both sides of the ball, Hamilton has been dominant at times this season. Salpointe Catholic (4) from Tucson and Pinnacle (5) also made the Open Division bracket after finishing a combined 17-2 this season. Salpointe Catholic was the second-ranked team for several weeks before the final rankings came out, but a canceled game likely Horizon coach Ty Wisdom has led the Huskies to a 9-1 re- made the Lancers drop cord and the 6-seed in the Open Division rankings. Ho- to No. 4 as they only rizon will face third-ranked Saguaro. (Photo courtesy Matt Bucko) played nine games. All eight teams will have a week off before the Open DiviOPEN ���� page 35 sion begins on Friday, Nov. 15. The done,” Hamilton coach Mike Zdebski said. semifinals will take place on Saturday, “We’ve improved throughout the season. Nov. 23 with the state championship We’ve learned from all of our setbacks game on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium. and we are excited to move forward.”



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Arts & Entertainment l



ARTrageous gala will include Hollywood accent BY KRISTINE CANNON Progress Staff Writer


icture it: You step out of your vehicle, cameras flashing; as you make your way down the 300foot red carpet, Emmy award-winning journalist Carey Peña is waiting on the other end, microphone in hand. All the while, the whole red-carpet experience is live-streamed for viewers to watch from home. It’s a very Hollywood award show red carpet experience and it’s exactly what Oscar De las salas as well as the rest of the Scottsdale Arts team envisioned – and planned – for the organization’s annual ARTrageous gala this year. Taking place Dec. 7, at the Scottsdale Arts Campus in Old Town Scottsdale, the Starry Night Gala will, as gala chairman De las salas puts it, “bring pizazz to downtown.” “We wanted to do something totally glamorous,” he said. “We’ll make it look like you are at a major awards show. “It will be a one-of-a-kind event to celebrate a one-of-a-kind museum,” De las salas added.

Scottsdale Arts’ Starry Night Gala was organized by (from left to right) Scottsdale Arts President and CEO Dr. Gerd Wuestemann, Gala Chairman Oscar De las salas, and Scottsdale Arts Membership and Events Manager Lauren Zapien. (Scottsdale Arts/Special to the Progress)

This year’s gala will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and recognize those who were instrumental in the creation of SMoCA. “It will be interspersed with recognizing these extraordinary people and their great achievement and fabulous performers, but without a break in the party atmosphere,” said Dr. Gerd Wuestemann, president and CEO of Scottsdale Arts. Scottsdale Arts will also debut its new Herberger Award for the Arts, which will be given to Dr. Robert Knight, SMoCA’s founding director. De las salas said the award was named after Billie Jo and Judd Herberger due to their “financial and emotional support” to the organization. “It is so important that that award have their name,” De las salas said. “The Herbergers, today, are like my parents. [They] have opened their arms to me because they’ve seen my passion through the world of arts. I feel like their son.” The gala will also honor architect

see STARRY page 40

19 Asian cultures on display at festival here BY CONNOR DZIAWURA Progress Staff Writer


he Arizona Asian Festival will once again bring an assortment of cultures to Scottsdale, where Arizonans can experience the customs and foods of a variety of cultures. Now in its 24th year, the two-day event by the Arizona Asian American Association will run 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, and Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, 3939 N. 75th Street. An opening ceremony is at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission and parking are free. Nineteen cultures will participate over the weekend, representing areas that include Bangladesh, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Pacific Islands, Pakistan, Palestine, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

And there will be a host of food vendors serving Burmese, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Lao and Persian cuisine. Much of the festival’s entertainment will be based around the World Stage and the Cultural Stage. “The World Stage is basically our main stage, and that’s the one near the water fountain,” festival spokeswoman Mai Le said. “That’s where we host the opening ceremony, the ending ceremony and the highlight of the program, the International Culture Fashion Show.” “The Culture Stage is actually near the Avenue of Cultures and where the food court is,” she continued. “It’s a smaller one. And every year we select one culture to be the highlight culture.”

see ASIAN page 40

Food and culture from the Far East can be savored at the Arizona Asian Festival next weekend in Scottsdale. (Special to the Progress)




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STARRY ���� page 38

Will Bruder; former Scottsdale Mayor Sam Campana; Kathy Hotchner, former director of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts; Frank Jacobson, former CEO of Scottsdale Arts; Carolyn Robbins, former curator of education for Scottsdale Arts; Randy Schilling, former director of development for Scottsdale Arts; Valeria Vadala-Homer, former director of Scottsdale Public Art; and Ellie Ziegler, philanthropist and former Scottsdale Arts board chair. Starry Night Gala is broken into three experiences, held across the entire Scottsdale Arts Campus. “That’s the reason why we invited three different personalities, TV and media, from town to help us host it,” De las salas said. Hosts include Peña of Inspired Media 360, Vanessa Ruiz of Cronkite News Borderlands, and Javier Soto of “Good Morning Arizona.” Guests will enter through “Knight Rise,” the James Turrell skyspace commissioned by Scottsdale Public Art for the SMoCA courtyard. Champagne in hand, guests will then make their way down the red carpet, under the lights of “Murmuration,” a dazzling installation by UK-based artist studio Squidsoup, as “American Idol” star Von Smith plays the piano. “For the first [experience], Carey Peña is going to host the red carpet. You’re going to walk under the Squidsoup installation ‘Murmuration,’ and

then you’re going to get interviewed by Carey,” De las salas explained. “It’s all that very E! Entertainment-like.” Next, guests are whisked past local performers and dancers and seated for dinner “under the stars” inside the Center’s atrium. “Vanessa Ruiz is going to be the host for that portion,” De las salas said. The awards presentation and a live auction hosted by Letitia Frye, will also take place in the atrium. “That’s called ‘dinner under the stars’ because the interior is going to be modeled like you are under the stars bringing the outdoors in, since

we can’t go outside,” added Lauren Zapien, Scottsdale Arts membership and events manager. “The atrium will be truly transformed where you won’t recognize the space,” Wuestemann said. The performances also include collaborations with local musicians, Geibral Elisha Movement and AJ Odneal, who have appeared at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and students who have participated in programs facilitated by Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation, formerly Scottsdale Arts Education & Outreach). “The focus of this is really bring-

The Avenue of Cultures also features informative booths from the various cultures. Every year, the festival picks a different word as a theme and translates it to each culture’s language. This year’s theme is “enchantment.” Two years ago, the festival’s producers put the spotlight on Vietnam and last year they focused on Thailand. This year the majority of the entertainment will evoke Persian culture. The performances are “dynamic,” Le added, with other cultures still represented, and the majority involving dance, singing or martial arts. A highlight of the festival, however, is its International Culture Fashion Show, which will showcase more than 150 models from various cultures at 1 p.m. Sunday. “It’s considered a highlight, because everybody loves to go watch the fashion show to see the beautiful and colorful outfits and learn about the cultures from each region,

from each area,” Le explains. Attire will be “traditional,” she says. “You will see the colorful and the unique and the custom and the traditional garments that they designed for each culture, and you also will see some similarities from culture to culture,” she explained, noting: “For example, between Vietnamese outfits and Chinese, there are some similarities. But there are also some uniqueness and differences in each of the cultures.” Elsewhere, a Chinese tea garden will offer demonstrations of the formal ceremonies and traditions that go hand in hand with tea drinking, as well as provide information about and access to the teas, Le said. “It’s a way to learn about the culture, how before you drink the tea you have to show the respect to the earth and respect to nature,” she said. In between activities and all throughout the weekend, attendees can roam the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall. There will be plenty of artisans comprising a marketplace, as well as booths for civic engagement, health

screenings and veterans. Festivalgoers can pick up a passport at the information booth, visit and learn from each booth and receive prizes, Le said, adding the idea is “to give the children the opportunity to interact with other cultures, to learn about other cultures.” But while the event as a whole is appropriate for the whole family, kids will also have a Children’s Wonderland. In the lead-up to the festival every year, the Arizona Asian American Association runs its Kids Art Expo, a contest where children submit artwork to represent various cultures. It is this youngster-friendly “wonderland” where the art will be displayed, Le said. There will also be activities like origami. Festival organizers expect the event to be bigger than any of the 23 previous years. With more than 15,000 attendees last year, the Arizona Asian American Association has set a goal of more than 25,000 visitors for this year.

ASIAN ���� page 38

Starry Night | An ARTrageous Gala will take place Dec. 7 at the Scottsdale Arts Campus in Old Town. (Melissa and Keith Photographers/Special to the Progress)

ing our mission to the forefront versus bringing prominent artists. We’re working with our local talents and our students,” Zapien said. As for the auction items, they are just as extravagant as the gala. In addition to a luxury room makeover package valued at more than $60,000 by IMI Design Studios, three travel packages will be up for bid. To start, the Scottsdale Arts Santa Fe Package features exclusive art experiences with artist Betsy Ehrenberg, a tour and reception at Patina Gallery, a visit to Meow Wolf, and meals at local culinary destination. The Jazz Cruise package takes the highest bidder to Miami, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Key West, and includes over 200 hours of live musical performances by 100 jazz musicians. And, finally, the Art Getaway to Pebble Beach includes travel and a twonight stay for four at La Playa Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, where guests will take part in private art studio experiences with local artists Elizabeth Barlow and David Ligare, among other experiences. The goal of the gala is two-fold: raise money for Scottsdale Arts and its events and programs, and showcase the Scottsdale Arts umbrella, which includes Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, SMoCA, Scottsdale Public Art, and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation.

see STARRY page 41

“The event is growing bigger and bigger,” Le said. “We have more participants each year, from the performances, from the culture participants and then the culinary booths and activities.” But Le emphasized the Arizona Asian Festival attracts more than just those familiar with the customs of its various cultures and general audiences from a host of different races and backgrounds also attend. “They also participate because there’s something there to learn from other cultures, especially Asian culture,” she said.

If You Go Arizona Asian Festival Where: Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, 3939 N. 75th St., Scottsdale. Cost: Free. Information:



STARRY ���� page 40


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“It’s about really taking a moment with our friends and supporters to say ‘thank you’ to them, recognize those who helped us get here, and really saying to people, ‘You may not know how much we work in this area and in this arena, so let us show you a little bit.’”

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CiC Primary Care has moved just a short drive away. CiC Primary Care has moved just a short drive away. CiC Primary Care has moved just a short drive away. Last year’s gala gross was $260,000. away. e v “The gala as our annual showcase is i r d t r not just about raising money, [but] it’s st a sho u j d e v o also about showing people who we are re has m a (480) 860-6455 C y PRIMARY r a and what we do,” Wuestemann P said, m ri C i C CARE ) 86 adding: PRIMARY (480 “It’s about really taking a moment (480) 860-6455 PRIMARY CARE with our friends and supporters to say melvin r d ‘thank you’ to them, recognize those CARE PRIMARY who helped us get here, and really saying to people, ‘You may not know how much we work in this area and in this arena, so let us show you a little bit.’” While the gala will recognize and celebrate its past, the organization also has its sights set on the future. “It’s also about what the next 20 years hold,” Wuestemann said. “This gala is also a starting point for us to layout this vision of what the next 10 or 20 years will hold in terms of our future growth and to lay out a vision of what we will start working on immediately starting next year after the bond passes and opportunities for the future of SMoCA.” Wuestemann refers to possible upgrades to the SMoCA facility and a possible rebuild of the Civic Center. The dress code for the gala is black tie with the suggested colors of navy, gold, and/or black.

If You Go

Starry Night | An ARTrageous Gala When: Dec. 7, 5–10 p.m. Where: Scottsdale Arts Campus, 7380 E. 2nd Street Tickets: Individual seats are $500, a half-table reservation is $2,500, and a full table is $5,000 Phone: 480-874-4662 Website:


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Food & Drink l



Toca Madera a custom cocktail dream

BY KRISTINE CANNON Progress Staff Writer


tanding behind the bar of an empty Toca Madera, head bartender Keifer Gilbert is wearing a buttonup, black-denim shirt. His sleeves are rolled up, revealing swirling, neon-hued tattoos emblazoned on both arms. “A pineapple is the international sign of hospitality,” Gilbert says, gesturing towards the tattoo on his left arm. “And I absolutely love bartending and love all the opportunities it’s provided me with.” A bartender for 10 years, he got his start working at the now-closed Maloney’s Tavern in Flagstaff and has bartended at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour in Phoenix, the former Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale and the also-defunct Crudo in Phoenix, among other establishments. Gilbert has also helped Jason Asher and Rich Furnari – the masterminds behind The Century Grand, a 1920s train station-themed cocktail bar that opened last month in Phoenix. Now, Gilbert is head bartender at the recently opened Toca Madera, an acclaimed, Los Angeles-Based Mexican

“This is a great industry and it can do a lot for you, but at the same time it can take everything also,” Gilbert said. Gilbert’s metaphorical rise from the ashes just so happens to align perfectly with the cocktail he’s making for us at noon on Halloween: the Papasito. The Papasito is a crowd favorite. Drawing inspiration from three classic drinks, Old Fashioned, Negroni, and Manhattan, the Papasito is a mix of equal parts El Silencio Espadin, Montenegro Amaro, and Campari, with a splash of pineapple Keifer Gilbert is the head bartender at Toca Madera, an 8,000-square-foot Los Angeles- Gomme syrup, and topped based Mexican concept that recently opened in the new luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion with two pineapple leaves, Square. (Chris Mortenson/Progress Staff Photographer) a pineapple triangle and a dried lime wheel. concept located steps away from To- it – drug and drinking problems – and “It’s a little bit of a twist caya Organica and Ocean 44 on Gold- I’ve kind of fallen victim to it. I had on the mezcal Negroni,” Gilbert said. water Boulevard in Scottsdale. personally battled with some addic- “It has a really nice, refreshing, almost But it wasn’t smooth sailing getting tion stuff, and I don’t drink at all any- tropical feel to it.” here. more,” Gilbert says. The Papasito, he added, is an ap“I’ve seen this industry literally take The pineapple tattoo is his reminder see TOCA page 43 everything from people getting lost in to keep himself in check.

Skeptical Chymist part of ‘exploding’ culinary scene



rish pub and eatery Skeptical Chymist is putting a culinary twist on bar food and traditional Irish fare in the Airpark. The eatery is known for updating its menu seasonally, and co-owner Matt Brennan said the offerings are lighter. The restaurant and pub has been serving comfort food and brews for over 13 years, alongside a sister restaurant Fibber Magees in Chandler. Since its fresh menu debuted at Skeptical Chymist, the response from customers has been staggering. “The responses both in the dining room

and on social media are overwhelmingly positive,” Brennan said. “People really seem to be enjoying some of the new menu items, especially the poutines, the ‘Paddy’ melt burger and the sorbet dessert.” The latest menu incarnation continues with poutine—Irish; prime rib Philly; royale; reuben; beef stew; buffalo chicken and curry shrimp. The poutine royale has classic crispy fries, roasted pork shoulder, crumbled bacon, mustard onion demi-glace, and goat cheese ($13); while the Buffalo chicken poutine comes with crispy fries, shredded chicken, buffalo cheese sauce, crumbled bleu cheese, shredded carrots, chopped celery and ranch drizzled on top

see CHYMIST page 43

Fish and chips—cod, crispy French fries, tangy coleslaw and tartar—are $12 for lunch and $15 for dinner. (Courtesy Skeptical Chymist)


TOCA from page 42

proachable drink, one that even serves as an ideal introduction into mezcal and Negroni cocktails. “The thing I love about it is it’s got all those flavors that have a lot of industry people geek out on: amaros and mezcals. It plays to that crowd, but at the same time it’s very approachable,” he said. But the Papasito’s “wow” factor comes into play when it’s served to guests: It arrives encased in swirling smoke.

PAPASITO RECIPE Ingredients: 1 oz El Silencio Espadin 1 oz Montenegro Amaro 1 oz Campari ¼ oz Pineapple Gomme syrup Collectively barrel-aged Preparation: With a jigger, add all ingredients into mixing glass. Add ice and stir 15 rotations. Strain over a large ice cube into bucket/old fashioned glass. Optional garnish with two pineapple leaves, pineapple triangle, and a dried lime wheel.

CHYMIST from page 42

for ($13). “It’s been killing it since we put it on the menu. It’s a take on the French-Canadian dish but made with Irish ingredients.” Though most Americans eat fries with their fingers, Brennan advises using a fork for these, as they can get pretty messy. “With the gravy, it gets a little sloppy. You can certainly use your fingers, but we’d have to get you a bib,” he said with a laugh. Four new hamburgers, including the Scottsdale turkey burger, were added to the menu. That entrée has a “somewhat healthy”—as he said—turkey patty, goat cheese and Romaine lettuce, instead of iceberg. “If you’re going to do a turkey burger, this is the most upper crust you’re going to get,” he said with a laugh. “We had to make sure it’s worthy of the Scottsdale name.” Part of the menu clean-up involved deepening the desserts. It now boasts Twix bar deep fried s’mores; Bailey’s bread pudding and Ghirardelli and Derry milk stout brownie. “The Twix bar is a really big hit and was created in an unconventional way,” he said.



“It’s funny, as soon as somebody orders one of these, we end up making 15 of them,” Gilbert says with a laugh. It’s during times like this – when the bartenders get hit with a barrage of cocktail orders – that Gilbert appreciates Toca Madera’s meticulous bar set-up. “It comes down to mise en place, honestly – the French term for ‘everything [in its] place.’ Everything has a home, and it’s there every single time that you go reach for it. We’re fortunate; this build-out the under bar, the way the wells are, it’s a Ferrari back here,” he explained. Other popular cocktails at Toca include the Los Muertos, made with El Tesoro Anejo, blood orange, lime juice, hi- Taco Madera not only serves scruptious looking drinks, but its environmental is just as apbiscus, and activated charcoal pealing to the eyes. (Special to the Progress) agave; the Tranquilo with Iligal It comprises 16 different cocktails, as “Once we start rolling out a Mezcal Mezcal, matcha agave, yuzu, Acho Reyes Verde, and grapefruit; and well as the restaurant’s “farm-to-glass” Mondays, I will be doing a monthly the Cazafortunas, or “fortune hunter,” mixology program, one that uses fresh, custom menu that will always center made with Don Julio 1942, habanero- seasonal ingredients in craft cocktails around a certain mezcal brand. We’ll infused El Silencio Joven, mango, aga- and features a wide variety of fine te- also feature food items to go with quilas and mezcals. those,” he said. ve, lime, and tajin. However, Gilbert said he will have Toca Madera doesn’t have a date set Toca Madera beverage director Charity Johnson and bar manager Richard his own custom cocktails available at the Scottsdale location soon. Allison created the cocktail menu. see TOCA page 44

Skeptical Chymist has been serving comfort food and brews for over 13 years. (Courtesy Skeptical Chymist)

“One of the first trips my wife and I took together was to visit her brother who lives up north. He said, ‘Let’s do s’mores. Here I imagine plain Hershey bars and they’re picking up Kit-Kats, Reese’s, Butterfinger—all kinds of candy bars. “You can make s’more with any kind of

chocolate candy. I tried 10 different candy bars in making that dish. Twix we all uniformly liked the best.” As an Irish pub, Brennan strives to live up to the genre with as much traditional food, culture and drink that he can. That includes looking at what the chefs are

doing in Ireland — which is a lot in recent years. “The culinary scene in Ireland is exploding,” he said. “They’re on the forefront of some of the most creative stuff that’s going on right now. We’re really trying to make traditional Irish food as high a quality as possible using really high-end ingredients taking our time and making it right.” It helps that the two co-owners with Brennan, Trevor Kingston and Stephen Fuller, are Irishmen, who bring their own recipes to the dining table. One of their traditional Irish meals is the full Irish breakfast, which comes with two eggs cooked to order, rashers (bacon), Donnelly’s Irish banger and puddings (sausages and a savory pudding), Heinz beans, grilled tomato wedges and housebaked brown bread for $15. It’s this last ingredient that truly makes the dish authentic. The recipe was passed down from the co-owner’s mother. Brennan likens the dish to something a person might have as a Sunday brunch in Ireland. “I can tell you the reason I’m confident we’re doing the job properly is that when we do get Irish customers, people who are

see CHYMIST page 44



TOCA from page 43

yet for the launch of Mezcal Mondays. Toca Madera opened the doors to its 8,000-square-foot restaurant in the luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square less than a month ago. The Scottsdale location marks the restaurant’s first foray into the state. The Los Angeles-based fine dining concept was created by Tosh Berman and Amrou Manaseer, co-founders of The Madera Group, the hospitality team behind Toca Madera Scottsdale’s neighbor, Tocaya Organica. The restaurant boasts a lush courtyard that flows from the dining area into the lounge; it’s this open floor plan that sets itself apart from its sister location in West Hollywood. Described as an indoor-outdoor experiential dining establishment, Toca Madera also pairs local and international DJs with performance artists, like fire dancers. “At our Scottsdale location, we want guests to feel as though they’re stepping into another reality,” said Berman, CEO. “From the sophisticated design to the theatrical spirit through which we serve food and beverage, every element has been precisely chosen to provide an unparalleled dining experience. The community has been incredibly supportive


CHYMIST from page 43

since opening Tocaya next door, so we’re excited to introduce another one of our concepts to the area.” The kitchen’s led by Executive Chef Joseph Castillo, whose culinary experience includes the Sushi Roku at the W Scottsdale. The Toca menu is a diverse one, not only boasting Mexican cuisine with a strong focus on pairing bold flavors with the highest quality sustainable and organic ingredients, but also featuring plenty of gluten-free options and vegan options, including vegan Guacamole served with warm plantain chips. In addition to a raw bar that serves dishes such as Sashimi Mexicano and Ceviche Blanco, the menu includes small plates such as Pozole Verde, Empanadas Oaxaca, and Queso Fundido. Patrons can also choose from highgrade proteins from Jidori chicken and grass-fed carne asada to American and Japanese wagyu, each served over hot lava stones. But it’s the bar that gets the most action, according to Gilbert. “The cool thing that I really like about Toca Madera, once you get through the dinner crowd, the lights get turned down, the music gets turned up, and it just turns into this really cool cocktail lounge, like a super-heavy nightlife feel to it,” Gilbert said. “Late at night, it’s jamming in here.”

from Ireland born and raised, that’s what they go to,” he said proudly. “We always get really high marks. We get a lot of praise for the quality of our Irish breakfast.” Getting complimented on cuisine by a person familiar with the tradition is arguably the highest praise a restaurant can receive, and this isn’t the only traditional meal they’ve been praised for. Its fish and chips, a classic dish in England and Ireland, is a popular staple on the menu. The cod, crispy French fries, tangy coleslaw and tartar are $12 for lunch and $15 for dinner. To accurately read guest preferences for menu changes, the Skeptical Chymist team is always noting the success of different dishes. Brennan said it’s also important to him to gain his team’s insight when making these updates. “It’s a collaborative effort, I want everyone to have input and say,” Brennan said. “We track sales to see what’s working and what’s not and it tells us what needs to be removed. Together, we worked on ideas and replaced those items with the goal of coming up with fresh and light foods. The Tuscan chicken sandwich, for example, came together with the help of our kitchen manager, Kacie Whittington.” Whittington, who recently took the reins in the kitchen, said she loves showcasing

“Being the first and only mac and cheese festival, our vendors are bringing out all the stops. Unique twists like pizza, green chili and barbecue mac and cheeses samples will be available for sampling. These cool variations on the traditional dish are what makes our festival different.” More than 20 mac and cheese vendors will serve 4- to 5-ounce samples of their versions of the creamy comfort food to the 1,500 expected guests. Guests can try the tastes at home, too, as the festival features live demonstrations of these creamy dishes. All vendors will compete for the Golden Noodle Trophy and bragging rights when local celebrities and influencers decide on the best mac and cheese in the Valley. Home chefs who believe they have a winning recipe can also take part in the fun by entering the “Mac and Cheese S’Mac Down.” Those who participate can upload a YouTube video of themselves making their recipe. The videos

with the most likes will advance to the live cook-off on Nov. 16. Plenty of other activities are in store. A beer tent is equipped with televisions, games and an array of beers, Usery said. “This tent is really centered around adults,” Usery said. “It’s a space designed for guests to take a break between samplings. Guests can sit back, relax and watch some college football or join in a game of beer pong.” The Mac & Cheese Fest isn’t all 21-andolder, though. Families can enjoy music from local bands and a game area. General adult admission tickets are $15, while children under 12 are $5. Both include access to the festival and entertainment. Food and drink tickets are extra. VIP tickets are $75 and include access to a special lounge, private bathrooms, four drink tickets and five food tokens. After seeing a rise in demand for the savory dish at places like bars and restaurants, Usery said he was inspired to

her creativity the Skeptical Chymist’s chef. “Just about everything we send out of that kitchen is made completely from scratch,” Whittington said. “My staff takes a lot of pride in the recipes that have been created and we always strive to be as authentic as possible.” Brennan let her experiment a bit, though, too. “Kacie is from the south,” he said. “She brought southern sensibilities to our menu like corned beef fritters. She also wanted avocado toast, which is all the rage everywhere you go. This one is so great, though. It has housebaked Irish brown bread as a base. When you start with bread that good, you can’t go wrong.” Brennan maintains the most important part of their food is the way customers feel when they eat it. “I try and shy away from the term ‘gastropub.’ For some people there’s a certain amount of pretension to that term and it’s certainly kind of little blasé at this point. (We do) classic pub food, classic comfort food — which is the basis of most Irish cooking anyway — but taken to the next level.” Skeptical Chymist 15689 N. Hayden Road, Suite 125, Scottsdale 480-609-8677,

This fest is cheesy, but that’s OK

BY SAMANTHA MOLINA Progress Contributor


other’s mac and cheese won’t taste the same after a visit to the third annual Mac & Cheese Fest at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale on Saturday, Nov. 16, and Sunday, Nov. 17. “This isn’t just your regular Kraft mac and cheese,” said Chantz Usery, event production president for West 54 Productions.

“Being the first and only mac and cheese festival, our vendors are bringing out all the stops. Unique twists like pizza, green chili and barbecue mac and cheeses samples will be available for sampling. These cool variations on the traditional dish are what makes our festival different.”

craft an entire festival dedicated to celebrating mac and cheese. “It’s a lot of work, to put on a festival like this,” Usery said. “The weeks leading up to the event are complete chaos. My favorite part about being involved with this festival is when you see what you have created and see people having the time of their lives. It makes all hard work worth it.” The festival has donated a portion of its proceeds to charity in past years and this season is no different, Usery said. “We are all about bringing the community together, making memories and sampling some of the best mac and cheese around. I think people come back every year because we always try to switch things up and there’s something for the whole family to do.” Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale,, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, and Sunday, Nov. 17, $5-$75.



What’s Cooking Progress Contributor


ow that trick-or-treating is over, all things pumpkin leads the way to Thanksgiving and our holiday baked goodies. Here to kick things off is a deliciously moist and delicate fall favorite, the pumpkin roll. This tasty spice cake rolled around a sweet cream cheese filling is a lovely way to not only satisfy our sweet tooth, but to pay tribute to the pumpkin – one of the first wild plants cultivated for human consumption in America.

For the filling: 12 oz cream cheese, softened (1 1/2 packages) 4 tablespoons butter, softened 1 cup powdered sugar 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15” X 18” shallow baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with butter or cooking spray and dust lightly with flour. In a bowl sift together: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Separate egg yolks from whites. In one bowl,

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combine egg yolks and sugar. Beat at high speed until fluffy and light, about 2-3 minutes. Add pumpkin puree and mix until well blended. Slowly add in dry ingredients (flour and spices). In another bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into pumpkin mixture to blend. Spread batter evenly in baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove cake from oven. Lightly grease another large piece of parchment paper and lay over top of cake. Gently flip cake with parchment paper over. Gently remove the top parchment paper. While still warm, roll the cake up from the shortest side. (with bottom parchment paper) Let cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling. Beat together softened cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Carefully unroll the cake. Spread filling completely over cake. Gently remove the parchment and roll back up. Cover cake with saran wrap to keep roll tight. Refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours or overnight for easy slicing. Slice into 1 inch slices. Serves about 8-10.

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