Blog Archives

ASU Downtown Phoenix Hosting “Have a HeArt” Benefit on Feb 25

[Source: Downtown Phoenix Journal]

Have a HeArt for NP Healthcare Clinics

ASU’s College of Nursing & Health Innovation will host the inaugural “Have a HeArt” benefit on Friday, February 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. to help fund the university’s four nonprofit clinics around the Valley, collectively known as NP Healthcare.

The benefit, featuring heart-healthy food and drink, live entertainment and silent auction prizes, also aims to educate guests about the clinics and how they can be utilized as part of a healthy lifestyle.

ASU's College of Nursing & Health Innovation. Photograph by Yuri Artibise.

“Most people think of our health clinics are just for students but our services are available to the entire community,” said Debra Vincent, community liaison for ASU’s Clinical Practice and Community Partnerships. “We offer accessible and affordable healthcare in a professional setting.”

On-site nutritional analysis and advice on what food to keep your heart healthy and to fight specific diseases will be offered as well as tours of the 4,000-square-foot health center at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Attendees will discover that “heart-healthy food” doesn’t mean “boring” or “carrots and celery sticks.” Quite the contrary, as evidenced by the menu below, provided by Tiffany Skall A-List Corporate Events & Catering:

  • Chicken, beef and shrimp satay
  • Smoked salmon bruschetta
  • Mashed potatoes with lobster butter, blue cheese butter, truffle butter, prosciutto, sour cream, cheddar feta and chives
  • Tarragon-braised beef tips with root vegetables, whipped cauliflower and onion straws
  • Domestic and imported cheese spread with fruits, vegetables, nuts, dips, artisinal breads, lavosh and crostini
  • Build-your-own lettuce wraps with spicy chicken, roasted root vegetables and beef
  • Assortment of low-calorie cakes, pies and tarts

Silent auction prizes feature exceptional works from local artists, including photography by Marilyn Szabo and jewelry by Heidi Abrahamson. Goods and services from noted local businesses, from the Clarendon Hotel, to the Phoenix Art Museum and many others, are also up for grabs.

The NP Healthcare provider staff includes practitioners who specialize in family practice and behavioral/mental healthcare. Services include men and women’s health exams, counseling and mental healthcare, minor illness care, prescriptions for medications, chronic disease management, family planning, healthy lifestyles education, stress management, tobacco cessation, nutrition advice, on-site EKG, sexually transmitted infection testing/treatment and referrals to other medical and health services.

Patients can use their health insurance to pay for services as well as cash, credit card, Sun Card or have their student account charged for the cost of the services. For employers, the NP Care members enjoy access to quality and accessible basic health services for a fixed office visit fee and discounts on tests performed at outside labs.

Tickets for the event start at just $25. Purchase online here.

The ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation is located at 500 N. 3rd St. on the ASU Downtown campus (light rail at Central Station).


Local businesses express tax code concerns

[Source: Yvonne Gonzalez,]


Jim Mapstead, Rep. Chad Campbell, and Kimber Lanning. Photo by Jessica Weisel

Local business owners gathered at the Clarendon Hotel in downtown Phoenix Tuesday to talk with state Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, about the issues they’re facing, with the discussion largely focusing on taxes.

Campbell, the House Democratic leader-elect, organized the event and said the purpose of the meeting was for him to hear directly from local business owners rather than from lobbyists.

“We don’t really hear the small business perspective,” Campbell said. “This informal conversation is meant to get a more genuine perspective in what small businesses would like to see going into this next legislative session.”

Kimber Lanning, founder and executive director of Local First Arizona, a group focused on supporting local businesses, said in this economic crisis small businesses need to have a say in Arizona’s future.

“We need to make sure we as small businesses have a seat at the table,” Lanning said. “We need to demand a seat at that table.”

More than 20 business owners of professions that included plumbing, farming and photography attended the discussion.  With the new session starting Jan. 10, many of the attendees wanted there to be a focus on streamlining the tax code.

Campbell said many of the loopholes and exceptions in the tax code were unfair to local businesses, especially when looking at the 25 percent property tax for Arizona businesses.

Small businesses are the backbone of the state,” Campbell said. “We need to make the tax code fair for Arizona businesses and keeping dollars here in Arizona and not ship it out.”

Jim Mapstead, board chair for Local First Arizona, said he hoped the event would be a springboard for local business owners to be able to talk to their legislators about the issues they face.

“We’re often told by legislators that they get really tired of hearing from lobbyists and the people that they see and have dinner with on a daily basis,” Mapstead said to the group. “It is people like all of us in this room right here who have a greater impact in telling legislators exactly what’s going on in our businesses than the lobbyists do.”

The issue of giving local businesses priority when it came to procurement, or the state accepting bids for contracts for different services, was discussed.

Lanning said Arizona is one of only three states, including Rhode Island and New Hampshire, that do not put a preference on local businesses for these contracts.

In 2008, a bill introduced in the Senate would have given the nod to local businesses in the event of a tie between a local and non-local business, but it was defeated in the House.

“We’re considering reintroducing the legislation, but we don’t have the support at this time,” Lanning said.

She said in order to get the law changed, the dialogue needed to be altered so others wouldn’t see that change as being unfair to big businesses.

“These types of changes could literally make a huge impact on our state’s economy,” Lanning said, pointing to other cities that have seen increases in the amount of consumer dollars that remain in the state from using this procurement practice.

Campbell said with 30 new freshman legislators coming into the House for the new session, business owners should let them know what their concerns are.

“It’s a golden opportunity to introduce yourselves to the new legislators,” he said.

Mapstead said the event allowed Campbell to know what business owners needed, but also allowed those business owners to see their common ground.

“There are a lot of frustrations and situations we face as business owners,” Mapstead said. “There’s a real commonality that exists here because we operate businesses in this state.”

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Fewer hotel bookings pose challenge in downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix Wyndham Hotel (soon to be Marriott)

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — The ongoing travel recession and, to some extent, city-built Sheraton in downtown Phoenix are putting pressure on central Phoenix hotels, some hotel owners say.  Tourists are traveling less and spending less, dampening the travel boom that hotel owners hoped would follow last year’s completion of the Phoenix Convention Center’s $600 million expansion.  Properties are responding in a variety of ways:

  • Last week, the Wyndham Phoenix Hotel asked for and received a 20-year tax discount from Phoenix that will save the hotel at 50 E. Adams St. $400,000 annually.  The deal will finish the hotel’s renovation and switch to the Marriott flag from Wyndham, which, the majority owner says, will drum up business.
  • The Lexington Hotel Central Phoenix, 1100 N. Central Ave., is open but is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, court records show.
  • The Clarendon Hotel is starting a new promotion geared toward business travelers that will give hotel guests $20 cash for each night they stay there.

In the 14 months that it has been open, the 1,000-rooom Sheraton also has changed the market.  Phoenix built the hotel to accommodate larger conventions that were expected to meet there.  Although several groups, including the National Rifle Association, brought tens of thousands of new tourists to Phoenix, those bookings have tapered off.

Nationally, “distressed hotels are the way of the world right now because of the debt that they are carrying and because there is no business,” said Jeff Higley, a spokesman for Smith Travel Research.  “There are hotels that are struggling to meet payroll.”

The Phoenix market has been one of the hardest-hit travel markets in the nation.  From January though November, city hotel occupancy fell 12.6 percent and the average room rate tumbled 15 percent, compared with the same period in 2008.  A key barometer slid 26 percent in the city.  Revenue available per room is the amount of money generated per room excluding extras such as food and spa visits.  Only New York’s RevPar figure dropped more in that period.  It declined 28.1 percent, according to Smith Travel.  [Note: To read the full article, visit Fewer hotel bookings pose challenge in downtown Phoenix.]

The gravity of downtown Phoenix

[Forwarded by Dan Semenchuk at Creative Connect] — Gravity was shot in HD with a Canon 5D MKII in and around downtown Phoenix, using available light and features the memorable spaces that dot the Phoenician landscape, including the months’ old light rail system, Civic Space Park, Phoenix Art Museum, and Clarendon Hotel.  The project is the second collaboration for the band and photographer after shooting their album cover.  For this project, the lyrics and visuals work in chorus, using the metaphor of gravity to illustrate the isolation, anonymity and stresses of modern city living.

Celebrating downtown Phoenix via Get Your Phx

5928_135682899637_135682644637_3266102_4066150_n[Source: Arizona Republic MetroMix] — Get Your Phx (pronounced “fix”) may still be in its infancy, only starting up in January 2009, but this celebration of downtown Phoenix’s urban pioneers is evolving as quickly as the city it honors.  It’s a monthly gathering of roughly 40 young politicos and downtown enthusiasts at all the studios, restaurants, and galleries soon to be musts on everyone’s to-visit list, all learning about the foodies, politicians, musicians, restaurateurs, and artists responsible for the rebirth of downtown Phoenix.

Ken Clark, a Phoenix real-estate agent and downtown advocate, is the mastermind behind the parties, which he likens to a “Central Phoenix Booster Club.”  Celebrated businesses in the past have been SideBar, Hanny’s, the Clarendon Hotel and Suites’ Gallo Blanco Cafe, and Monorchid Creative Studios.  “The underlying principle is these are people who are taking a huge risk, and if you have ever taken a risk with a business you know what a challenge that is,” said Clark.  “They are taking a risk on making central Phoenix better, measurably better.”

But these events are not to be confused with your average networking cocktail hour.  Yes there are drinks, and yes they are even catered at times, although donations are welcomed.  And business cards will inevitably be passed around, but building a larger contact list is not the goal.  “This is a relationship based on a shared optimism for downtown,” said Clark.  “Not all of us could build a building, or start a restaurant, but what we can do is celebrate those people who do.  There is so much energy going on for central Phoenix, and people want to be a part of that. It is almost like watching something being born, and you don’t often get to do that.  This (Get Your Phx) provides a way for people to see the birth of this new lifestyle and city.”  [Note: Read the full article at Celebrating downtown Phoenix via Get Your Phx.]

Next meeting of RadiatePhoenix group, July 28

radiatephxThe next meeting/social gathering of RadiatePhoenix will take place at the Gallo Blanco restaurant in the Clarendon Hotel, 401 W. Clarendon, Tuesday, July 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  No formal presentation or speaker.  To RSVP, click here.

Radiate Phoenix is a non-traditional networking group that meets once a month to support smart growth in our emerging city.  It is intended to be an informal and fun forum for connecting people, ideas, and vision.

Cities x Design made quick stop to Phoenix this weekend

Cities x Design is a 35-city trans-media research trip across the United States that is recorded online and will later be released in film, exhibition, and book form.  Their fifth stop was Phoenix.  Visit their website to learn more about their trip, express your opinion on your favorite metro Phoenix sites, and view pictures of places they visited here and along the way to their next stop, San Diego.

Yelpers try to make business boom for midtown Phoenix hotel

[Source: Christina Boomer, ABC 15 News] — The Clarendon Hotel is a 105-room boutique hotel at 401 W. Clarendon in midtown Phoenix.  It boasts a courtyard pool complete with a tiled catwalk separating the cool water with a 50-seat hot tub.  There is also a chic rooftop bar with great views of Piestewa Peak and central Phoenix.  But like many hotels the economic downturn is challenging.

For Clarendon they have the recession to contend with and the competition from the nearby Downtown Sheraton.  The recently opened 1,000 room city-owned hotel was funded with hotel revenue bonds and sits just a little over three miles from the Clarendon.  It was designed to accommodate the extra visitors expected when the Phoenix Convention Center opens in mid-January.  But for right now Clarendon’s owner Ben Bethel says the additional rooms are sapping business away from smaller hotels like his.

This is where comes in to play.  In the “talk” section of the website locals and regulars are sounding off, encouraging people to visit the Clarendon and ensure it makes it until January.  Yelper Amber Williams explained she and others support small businesses in this economic downturn because they tend not to have a far-reaching and large advertising budget like the bigger chains.

ABC15 News asked city officials, “How is the Downtown Sheraton is funded?”  Here is the response we received from City of Phoenix Public Information Officer Sina Matthes:  “In June of 2004, the Phoenix City Council authorized the formation of the nonprofit Downtown Phoenix Hotel Corporation to finance, design, and construct a 1,000 room convention hotel.  The Hotel Corporation issued $350 million in hotel revenue bonds to finance the project.  No city general funds were used to finance the hotel.  Debt service and operating expenses for the hotel are paid from hotel revenues.  The Hotel Corporation entered into an operating agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts to manage and operate the hotel under the Sheraton brand.”

Don Bolles’ 1976 midtown Phoenix murder heading to Hollywood

[Source:] — We all come across stories in our lives and think, “You know, that would make a great movie.”  And as anyone who has lived in Arizona for the past 30 years would tell you, the story of Don Bolles would make for a great movie.

He was an investigative journalist for The Arizona Republic and the co-founder of a nationwide group called the Investigative Reporters and Editors who were trying to unmask corruption through their work.  Bolles was killed by a car bomb in 1976 [adjacent to the current Clarendon Hotel in midtown Phoenix] — and we know whose signature is car bombs, right? — and the IRE stepped in and in 1977 launched a collaborated effort in over 20 newspapers called The Arizona Project, which reported on the state’s criminal underworld…

It has an unfortunate end, or maybe it’s a fortunate beginning of a story of the greater good, but the story of Don Bolles is one more people need to hear.  And now…Ben Affleck is going to tell it.  I would’ve been outraged 15 months ago, but Affleck did a really good job directing “Gone Baby Gone.”  I have a hunch that if it were his third or fourth film, “Gone Baby Gone” could have been a classic.  He didn’t miss by much as it was.  So, I’m hopeful that Affleck can bring the right ingredients to “Arizona.”  Variety reports he will direct the film for Miramax, from a Sheldon Turner script based on facts that are in the public domain. Where it gets tricky for me is that Affleck bears a resemblance to Bolles, who was 47 when he was killed. I sure don’t know about him starring in it, which hasn’t come up yet, but file it away…