Monthly Archives: July 2010

There’s a new Giant in Phoenix


Photo Credit: Taz Loomans

Many people have heard of or have had the pleasure of eating at Matt’s Big Breakfast or having a cold brew at Roosevelt’s in downtown Phoenix. Matt is now taking on the coffee bean with his new idea of bringing gourmet to coffee using high quality ingredients.

Don’t call Giant Coffee the next hot spot or trendy hangout, just think of it as a relaxing getaway where you can get a flavorful cup of Four Barrel Coffee from San Francisco artfully topped with Straus Organic Barista Milk. Many delights to choose from when it comes to nibbling, Tammy Coe customs are plated and served, even breakfast burritos. Matt wants to keep items fresh so everyday after 3 pm select items are half off.

If Giant Coffee is anything like Matt’s other two creations this place will be around steaming and pouring high quality coffee for a long time. Come in, grab a smile and relax.

Giant Coffee
1437 N 1st St (map)
(602) 396-7215
Open 7am-7pm, seven days a week.

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College Depot is holding three FREE workshops

[Via City of Phoenix/Phoenix Public Library] College Depot, located on the second floor of Burton Barr Central Library at 1221 N. Central Ave. (map), will host three free workshops in August.

  • Writing a Winning Personal Statement Tuesday, Aug. 17, 4:00-5:00 p.m. Make your personal statement for college or scholarship applications come alive.
  • Explore Engineering at ASU Wednesday, Aug. 25, 4:00-5:00 p.m. Learn about opportunities in the field and engineering programs at ASU.

Space is limited. To register or for more information, call 602-261-8847 or email: College Depot is a full-service college planning center that offers free one-on-one assistance, family consultation and workshops on all aspects of the college planning process, fromfinancial aid to career exploration.  The service is open to anyone seeking assistance with planning for college. For a complete list of workshops and events, visit  their website. You can also follow them on Twitter

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4 protesters climb crane in Downtown Phoenix

[Via AP/ABC]

Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic

Four protesters demonstrating against Arizona’s new immigration law have been arrested after scaling a 200-foot-high construction crane in downtown Phoenix to unfurl a banner.

A Phoenix Fire Department spokesman says the four people are experienced climbers and climbed the crane near Central Avenue and Jefferson Street about 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Phoenix Fire Department personnel were standing by with rescue gear in case the climbers get stuck.

Air15 video showed two people in harnesses hanging from the arm of the crane suspended over the street. The other two could be seen standing above on the crane.

They eventually unraveled a sign reading ‘Stop Hate’ protesting SB 1070 and 287g.

After they unfurled the protest banner, the four descended from the crane and were taken into custody by Phoenix police who say they likely will be charged with trespassing.

The names of the protesters were not immediately released.

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CityScape seeks bond money to fund Downtown Phoenix hotel


The developer of downtown Phoenix’s CityScape wants to be first in line for millions of dollars in tax-exempt bonds to build the 250-room Hotel Palomar.

But the money doesn’t exist yet.

The Industrial Development Authority for Phoenix on Tuesday approved $57 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds for RED Development‘s hotel portion of the CityScape project at First and Washington streets.

The board of nine Phoenix business men and women authorizes tax-exempt revenue-bond funding for construction, acquisition, improvement and manufacturing projects within the city. Ultimately, the Phoenix City Council would have to decide whether to issue the bonds backed with federal stimulus money.

Lawyer Bryant Barber, who advised the board on the proposal, said the bonds would enable RED to save money because they are tax-exempt, and pay back the bonds, essentially a loan, more quickly with revenue from the hotel.

“It makes the project more feasible,” Barber said.

He added that even though the city has various hotel options, “this would be a boutique hotel, and having hotel options is very important to travelers.”

Barber added that it could help support the traffic driven by the $600 million expanded Phoenix Convention Center and sports venues in downtown.

For CityScape to get the bonds, Arizona would first have to recapture federal stimulus monies that cities have failed to spend by the end of the year.

The federal stimulus money that could back them hasn’t been recouped by the state, and city and state officials are uncertain if it ever will be.

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Arizona received $135 million in “recovery-zone-facility bond” money for projects meant to finance new development in areas struggling from the recession.

The state doled out the money in chunks to various cities and counties for various projects. Phoenix received the most of all cities – $32 million – while other cities and counties received a share that ranged from as little as $806,000 up to $25 million.

Phoenix already has spent this portion of its stimulus to provide $30 million for two new buildings on the W.L. Gore and Associates‘ medical-products manufacturing site near Interstate 17 and Carefree Highway, and to give $2 million for the paint maker, Dunn-Edwards Paints, to set up a new factory in south Phoenix.

City officials – and CityScape builder RED Development – are hopeful that other Arizona cities have not found a way to spend their share of those stimulus funds. Cities that kept the money face a Jan. 1 deadline or the state can recall it and give it to other projects.

Arizona Department of Commerce spokesman David Drennon said that as far as he knows, no cities with unspent federal stimulus dollars have returned the money.

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eBikes: A new way of getting around Downtown Phoenix

When it’s too hot to walk and too boring to ride in a car, take in a new view of downtown Phoenix through Copper Square Adventures’ eBikes. The idea for the electric bikes came when owners Silverio and Susan Ontiveros visited Vancouver, British Columbia, last summer and saw the bike rental shops around the city.

The couple who runs Copper Square Adventures hiking and tour company wanted to bring the idea to the Valley so visitors and residents could get a new perspective on the city. Last fall, they began renting seven eBikes with baskets and helmets in downtown Phoenix, including maps of hotspots to visit, local parks and coffee shops.

This fall, the Ontiveroses will initiate guided city tours on the bikes, which can go as fast as 20 mph and travel 60 miles when fully charged. The hybrid between a bike and a scooter has pedals in case it runs out of juice, a hand accelerator and hand brakes.

“We are hoping to make Phoenix more approachable and more exciting with these bicycles so people get to see parts of Phoenix you don’t normally see, the unique neighborhoods and businesses and shops in the arts district,” Silverio Ontiveros said.

The bikes can be brought aboard Metro Light Rail to ride around Tempe and other areas near the rail line.

But don’t expect to drop by the rental and touring agency for a peek. The Ontiveroses rent the bikes from the building where they live on Lincoln and Second streets in Phoenix. They will deliver the bikes to customers and to hotels.

Silverio, who was a Phoenix police officer for 33 years, says as long as riders are familiar with bike lanes and traffic laws, they will be OK riding in downtown traffic. However, there are steps the city could take following other large cities’ examples to promote safe bicycling, he said.

“In Mexico City, the municipal government is encouraging people to ride bikes,” he said.

Several European cities have bike-rental programs with stations outside of tourist areas and subway stops.

“I still have a positive feeling that this will take off (in the U.S.),” Silverio said. “In China, there are over 100 million of these electric bikes. I think in the U.S. there are 100,000.”

So far, about half of the customers who’ve rented the bikes have been Valley residents. The couple ride the bikes to church and on errands about town.

“People see it, write down (our) number and ride with their friends,” Silverio said.


Cost: 2-hour ride, $29; 2-4 hours, $39; all day until 6 p.m., $49; each additional hour, $15. Discounts available on rental of three bikes or more.

Reservations:, 602-330-3620.

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Downtown Phoenix lifeguards are best in Arizona

[Via: City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department]

Lifeguards at Phoenix Parks and Recreation pools earned top team honors at this year’s statewide annual American Red Cross Ultimate Lifeguard Challenge on July 18.

Competing against 48 teams from throughout the state, the team of four City of Phoenix pool staff members won the Top Overall Team category, the Coed Active Victim Rescue and the Coed Rescue Tube Relay events and placed second in the Submerged Object Recovery event.

The American Red Cross holds the competition each year to test speed and rescue skill for lifeguards. All City of Phoenix lifeguards are American Red Cross certified.

James Campbell, Rachel Rodia, Alicia King and Charles Woodruff represented the City of Phoenix at the competition. They work at Mountain View, University and Harmon pools.  (Both University and Harmon pools are close to downtown Phoenix.)

Information on city of Phoenix pools, including information on lifeguard training and certification, is available online at or by calling 602-262-6541.

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Come ‘Radiate’ at Durant’s

Radiate Phoenix is one of the DVC’s favorite downtown groups. It is a non-traditional community networking group that supports Downtown Phoenix and smart growth in our emerging city. Launched in September 2007, the group meets on the last Tuesday of each month in new and interesting places throughout our core, and is an informal and fun forum for connecting people, ideas, and vision.

Radiate Phoenix is for people who care about place making, design, community building, and our vital urban core. They invite all those who are creative, entrepreneurial, care about how Phoenix develops, appreciate good design, have a social conscience, and enjoy converging with eclectic people. The goal is to activate spirited and stimulating dialogue around Phoenix’s emerging urban culture. To meet others who are making things happen…to connect the dots.

This month the group is venturing slightly outside of downtown, but for a great cause: to help the mid-town Phoenix classic, Durant’s celebrate their 60th Anniversary.

The restaurant will have great deals on beer, wine and appetizers and have even concocted two special drink for the evening: an Arizona Sunburst Cooler and a Cactus Flower Martini–perfect light refreshment for the hot summer. So whether you are a Mad Men fan, appreciate the great Rat Pack vibe or love award-winning martinis—this is a can’t miss event.

There will also be a film crew on hand on behalf of the ASU Stardust Center to ask YOU what you think about Downtown Phoenix community. Your voice could add weight to a grant application for sustainable urban development.

RSVP here and we’ll see you there!


When: Tuesday, July 27th, 5:30-7:30 pm

Where: 2611 N Central Ave, Phoenix AZ (map)

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Arizona voter registration deadline at Midnight


If you want to vote in the primary election on August 24, 2010 today is the last day to register. You have until midnight to do it. If you have an Arizona driver license or official ID, you can register online. Otherwise, you can download the registration form and hand-deliver it to the County Recorder’s Office in downtown Phoenix at 111 S. 3rd St (map).

If you aren’t sure if you are registered to vote or not, you can check that here.

How To Register to Vote in Arizona:

  1. In order to register to vote, you must be a citizen of the United States and 18 years of age or older preceding the next general election.
  2. To register to vote in Arizona, you must be a resident of Arizona 29 days preceding the next general election.
  3. You must not have been convicted of a felony or treason, or if so, your civil rights must have been restored. You must not have been declared incompetent by a court.
  4. Proposition 200, passed by the voters of Arizona at the 2004 General Election requires that proof of citizenship must be submitted with all new voter registration forms. One of the items listed here is all you need to fulfill this requirement.
  5. If you meet the requirements in steps 1-4, there are four ways you can register to vote: print a form, request a form, pick up a form, or register online.
  6. You can print a voter registration form from your computer.
  7. Mail the completed form to: Maricopa County Recorder, 111 S. 3rd Avenue, STE 102, Phoenix, AZ 85003-2294.
  8. You can have a voter registration form mailed to you by calling 602-506-1511, T.D.D. 602-506-2348.
  9. You can obtain voter registration forms from any Elections office in Maricopa County, or from a City or Town Clerk’s office.
  10. You can also obtain voter registration forms from libraries throughout Maricopa County, at some banks, at some grocery stores and at U. S. Post Offices.
  11. If you have an Arizona driver license or official non-operating identification license, you can register to vote online at this web site.
  12. If you are registered to vote in Arizona, you must register again if you moved from one residence to another, if you have changed your name or if you want to change political parties.


  1. If you are a registered voter you will receive voter information packets well before any election.
  2. If you don’t receive voter information, your address on file might not be correct and you should contact the County Election Department.
  3. You should receive a voter registration card in the mail after your application has been processed.
  4. Prior to an election, you will receive information in the mail directing you where to go to vote in that upcoming election.
  5. Make sure you have the proper identification with you when you go to the polls to vote.
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UPDATE: METRO bus strike averted; union contract extended to August 15

The Phoenix New Times is reporting that Phoenix bus riders have been spared a possible bus strike come Monday…

The Teamsters Local Union No. 104, which represents the employees who fuel and clean the buses, extended its contract until August 15.

The other two unions that represent Veolia Transportation employees had already agreed to extend talks. The bus mechanics union (International Union of Operating Engineers Local 428) agreed yesterday to extend its contract to August 15, and the bus operators union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, has extended its contract until Sept. 30.

“It’s a good sign that they’re still talking,” said Debra Stark, executive assistant to the City Manager, who oversees the city’s Public Transit Department.

ALERT! Potential transit strike could affect downtown Phoenix

[from the City of Phoenix website]

Veolia Transportation Services Transit Labor Union Strike

The City of Phoenix Public Transit Department provides local bus, RAPID, Express, Neighborhood Circulator, and Dial-A-Ride service to the public.  Each of these services is provided by the city through contracts with private companies, which are responsible for hiring employees, scheduling and staffing routes, and negotiating employee benefits and compensation as part of their agreements.

Currently one of the city’s contractors for local bus and circulator service, Veolia Transportation Services, is in negotiations with three unions representing its employees.  Contracts with each union ended in June, and negotiations are ongoing.  It is possible that if negotiations should reach an impasse, transit service in Phoenix could be disrupted as early as July 25.

In light of that possibility, Phoenix Public Transit is recommending passengers begin researching alternate transportation plans to get to work, or other regular destinations of travel.  Below are additional resources about possible service interruptions, and alternate methods of transportation.

Negotiations Update:
No update at this time.

Press Release on Possible Transit Strike
This press release provides information the possible strike, as well as travel alternatives for passengers.

Background Information
Background information about Phoenix Public Transit services and contractors.

Phoenix Public Transit and Its Contractors
An organizational chart that shows the relationship between The CIty of Phoenix and its transit contractors.

Media Contacts
News outlets with questions about ongoing labor negotiations or affected transit service can call these contacts.

Passenger Information

Use the Trip Planner on for bus and METRO schedules.

Go to to check the schedules of non-affected bus routes and for the METRO schedule – passengers may be able to use an alternative route.  Also check a map of unaffected bus routes below.

You can also call Valley Metro Customer Service at 602-253-5000, TTY 602-261-8208.

Carpools or vanpools

Register at Share the Ride for a carpool or vanpool match list or call (602) 262-RIDE (7433).  If you want to meet your carpool partners at a neutral site, check out the list of Phoenix owned and operated sites.

Taxis, limos, and shuttles Sky Harbor, operated by the Phoenix Aviation Department, has a list of transportation companies on their website.

Route Information:

Veolia Route List

Veolia Route Map

Veolia Service (by City)

Non-Veolia Route List

Non-Veolia Route Map

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Downtown Phoenix Public Market launches rewards program

[Source: Phoenix New Times]

Shopping local just got a bit cheaper with the Community Supported Market card at the Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar.

The CSM card is half gift card and half discount card, which Community Food Connections (CFC), the non-profit organization that operates the Phoenix Public Market, says was created to thank customers for their continued support.

How it works:

  • You buy the card. Get $50 for $50, $100 for $95, $250 for $225 or $500 for $425. (The more you spend the more you save.)
  • Use the card like cash when you shop at the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar (not the Wednesday or Saturday farmers’ markets). Take advantage of card-holder special offers, changing weekly, like buy one get one melons or $5 off wine.

The Catch:

You have to use the preloaded card by Dec. 31, 2010, or it expires and you’re outta luck.

“I’m guessing there will be enough opportunities and enough good stuff in the store that they will have no problem spending their balance before the end of the year,” says Cindy Gentry, Executive Director of CFC.

She says some people who purchased CSM cards at the start of the program, July 9, have already spent down their balance and reloaded.

Anybody can get a card, not just previous customers, so now is a good time to check the market out if you haven’t already.

“Not only are you getting to access your favorite foods at a discount, but you’re actually getting to support your local community,” Gentry says.

CSM cards are available on-site at the Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar located at 14 East Pierce Street in downtown Phoenix. The market is open Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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