Another Phoenician fighter makes exodus from the Valley, leaving legacy of community involvement

By Linnea Bennett

Taz Loomans is one of many recent expatriates from the downtown Phoenix community. (Madeline Pado/DD)

When Taz Loomans left last week for her now home in Portland, the downtown Phoenix community realized it was losing yet another young, vibrant changemaker.

Loomans, who has lived in the Valley for 22 years, left to pursue new opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. A former architect and current “architect journalist,” Loomans said she is interested in seeing how Portland works from the inside.

“I’m not so much interested in specific buildings, per se,” she said. “I’m really a lot more interested in cities and the way they work and they way they’re built.”

Though she never lived in the heart of downtown, Loomans was an involved and deeply-rooted community member. Most people who know Loomans met her at community events, by bumping into her at her favorite coffee shop or because she reached out to them herself.

One of her many friends is Will Novak, who met Loomans when he began regularly commenting on her blog. He said she took notice of his posts and surprised him one day when she asked him to meet her for coffee. The two made a quick friendship, formed upon their mutual love for Phoenix architecture and their passion to preserve it.

“She and I were involved in the David Wright house,” said Novak, referring to last year’s controversy around the Arcadia historic home.

“We were part of the group of people who would stand in front of the house and basically stalk it to make sure a wrecking ball didn’t come crashing into it,” he said.

Loomans’ passion for Phoenix went far beyond architecture, though. She was also interested in connecting community members.

She co-founded the Phoenix Places, Spaces and Faces community dinners in 2009. The dinners, monthly potluck-style events open to the entire community that took places at historic locations throughout town, started small but soon began to draw upwards of 100 people per event. Loomans said Places, Spaces and Faces is the project she is most proud of.

“I’m really proud of that because I still have people come up and say everyone they know in town they met through the dinner and what a big impact that monthly event has had on their community,” she said. Though she handed the project off to other leadership two years ago, she is happy that the dinners still continue today.

“It’s nice to know it’s alive and well and driving in my absence,” she said.

Heidi Abrahamson, owner of Phoenix Metro Retro and another one of Loomans’ friends, said Loomans brought a light to Phoenix that is unrivaled.

“She has such a love of life and she’s so passionate about what she does,” Abrahamson said. “It’s going to be very sad to see her go but on the other hand she’s been here a long time and I’m excited for her.”

Excitement is a sentiment many of Loomans’ friends and colleagues have expressed for her and it is one Loomans has expressed as well.

“I want to live in a city where sustainability is not a question and climate change deniers are not anywhere to be seen,” she said.

Loomans said she is also looking forward to experience a “walkable” city.

“Just seeing people on the streets is a sight for sore eyes,” she said. “In Phoenix, you rarely see that.”

Abrahamson added she is sure that Loomans will fit right into the Portland community.

“Taz has never met a stranger,” she said. “I have no worries for her at all.”

A growing list of expatriates

While many members of the community are excited for Loomans and her endeavors in Portland, her move still leaves a hole in the small but passionate Phoenix community.

With Jon Talton, J. Seth Anderson and Yuri Artibise before her, Loomans has joined a list of Phoenix expatriates who have moved on from the city for better things. While each of these individuals had their own reasons for leaving, those left behind still ask the question: Why can’t Phoenix hold onto its fighters?

There are some, like Anderson, who believe there isn’t a problem of people leaving so much as a natural transition of residents.

“It’s kind of bumping up against the whole ‘spread your wings and fly out of your own nest’ idea,” he said. He added that many people who leave Phoenix eventually return to the city, oftentimes even with great ideas to share.

Loomans agreed that the coming and going of people is a natural part of city life, but she said such a process affects Phoenix in a deeper way.

“I think we have a limited amount of people so when the natural thing happens when people want to move on. … It’s such a big loss because the small pool is diminished so much more, “ she said.

Regardless of the natural transition of people, former and current residents have acknowledged Phoenix has many steps to take to make it a more inviting place for young creative and entrepreneurs.

One step is to establish alternative options for higher education. Though ASU has expanded with a downtown campus, Phoenix still lacks the appeal of liberal arts colleges and master’s programs that many other cities offer.

“There have to be those programs that bring in professionals that see it as a destination rather than a stepping stone,” Anderson said.

Liberal arts schools that offer more graduate programs could also provide jobs to academia-based people like Artibise, who was laid off from his position at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU in 2009 and moved back to Vancouver in May of 2011.

“Being a Canadian citizen and the economy and everything, I couldn’t find a job,” Artibise said. “There was only so much savings and only so much good will that my wife and I had.”

Jon Talton was another resident, and fourth generation Phoenician, who left because of job circumstances. After his Arizona Republic column was cancelled in 2007, he was unable to find another paper that could support him as a columnist. Talton eventually left for Seattle, where he has lived for the last five years.

“I did not leave willingly,” he said. “It does not mean that the frustrations of the place didn’t make me depressed and make me want to chew my arm off, but if it were up to me, I would still be in Phoenix.”

If there is one overarching theme that many residents, past and present, agree upon, it is the city’s need for effective public transportation. Because Phoenix has such sprawl, it is hard to connect its various communities.

“What Phoenix needs is a dense, highly livable, shady central city that is linked by very convenient public transportation,” Talton said.

The city has made strides to improve transportation, its biggest being the light rail — a development that Artibise said became a game-changer. But for the businesses that lie further from Central Avenue, there is still more to do to connect the core of the downtown area.

Loomans suggested putting more emphasis on walkability and bikability as opposed to traditional forms of transportation. She said she thinks Phoenicians want to make this change but are still too attached to their cars.

“We want to get there, we’re not just there yet,” she said.

Above the issues Phoenix faces, all of its expatriates were quick to point out the people who are still working hard for its success. Sean Sweat, Stacey Champion, Cindy Dach, Greg Esser, the people of Roosevelt Row, Kimber Lanning, Jenny Poon and the CO+Hoots team, Beatrice Moore and others remain to finish the job that others, however reluctantly, have left behind.

“Even though it’s far from the perfect urban environment, people feel a connection to it like no other city I’ve been in,” Artibise said.

Anderson agreed, and he pointed out that for young entrepreneurs much can still be accomplished in this growing city.

“I take the position you can be more effective in Phoenix than you can be anywhere else,” he said. “If that’s more important to you, then Phoenix is one of the best places to do it.”

Contact the reporter at

To read more about Taz Loomans and her reasons for moving, check out her guest opinion column: Phoenix-turned-Portland booster offers wisdom on innovating, transforming Phoenix

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Roosevelt Row co-founder steps down, new leadership shares bright outlook

(Alexis Macklin/DD)

Dale Erquiaga took over from Roosevelt Row co-founder Cindy Dach as the new Community Development Corporation director two months ago. (Alexis Macklin/DD)

By Linnea Bennett

Roosevelt Row co-founder Cindy Dach has stepped down as the district’s Community Development Corporation director to welcome Dale Erquiaga, who has been in the position in for two months.

Dach, who co-founded the walkable arts district Roosevelt Row with husband, Greg Esser, served as director for the past two years. She said it was an easy step down as she felt it was time to make room for new perspective.

“We had finally grown enough where it was time to pay someone to do it … to bring someone in who had a background in nonprofit and who could dedicate more time,” she said. “It was easy to step out of the way for the greater good.”

Erquiaga was one of more than thirty applicants, but Dach said his background in nonprofit and government work made him the perfect fit for the job.

Erquiaga moved to Phoenix from Nevada for the first time seven years ago. It wasn’t long after his arrival that he became acquainted with the people behind Roosevelt Row.

“A friend of mine did an event with them around summer solstice five years ago as a fundraiser,” he said. “My first experience was making sangria for that house party.”

It was at this party that Erquiaga met Dach and Esser, whose passion and commitment to the organization stood out.

“The work that they’re doing on behalf of the arts community here is unprecedented in any place that I’ve ever worked,” he said. “What they’ve managed to do here and the support of this community is pretty big.”

Erquiaga remained in tune to the work Roosevelt Row was doing, even when he moved back to Nevada for two years. During this time he served as a senior adviser to the newly-elected Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.

After two years in the Governor’s office, Erquiaga returned to the Valley where his two children live. He was also excited to become involved in a city so different from his own.

The city of Phoenix is half the size of Nevada’s entire state population. The urban landscape was a big change for Erquiaga, who grew up on a farm.

“For me, this is a big deal,” he said, laughing.

Erquiaga, 50, is familiar with working for larger institutions. His first job out of college was in Washington, D.C., for the Reagan administration. He has also worked for well-known nonprofits including Newman Services and the American Red Cross.

Because he has heavy experience in both government and non-profit sectors, Erquiaga hopes to be a balanced guide for Roosevelt Row as it enters its teenage years.

MonOrchid owner and Roosevelt Row member Wayne Rainey was nervous for the organization’s sustainability in the next few years.

“This next period of growth will define Roosevelt Row,” Rainey said. “Hopefully the next director will have the wisdom to listen to their predecessors and understand the vulnerability and the fragility of this really incredible little arts district.”

Erquiaga said he understood Roosevelt Row is heading into its adolescence and is finding new ways to relate to the community.

“Grants will have to be sustained going forward, which means we need to design programs that are meaningful to the community and that are appealing to partnerships,” he said. “Whether it’s government funded or from private foundations, we have to be true to our program.”

Erquiaga’s business skills could establish the financial sustainability of Roosevelt Row and his appreciation for the arts will keep true to the community goals of the organization.

As a painfully shy teenager, his parents pushed him into trying drama. Years later, Erquiaga said the experience shaped the person he later became.

“I would have been a CPA or a librarian or somebody very quiet had my parents not pushed me into the arts,” he said. “I believe art transforms individuals and … I believe arts transform communities.”

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Romantic Phoenix restaurants cook up the perfect Valentine’s Day meals

By Chandler Longbons and Miguel Otarola

Valentine’s Day, the day that can make you realize how lucky you are to be in love, make you realize that it’s time to move on or make you realize it’s time to get back out there after the only Valentine you get is from your mom. Whether you think it is right or not, V-Day is a big deal and what you choose to do for it can say a lot about you and the future of your relationship. Thankfully, Phoenix has a ton of great options for impressing your better half and ones more unique than the typical dinner and dessert at the Compass Room.

We sent out two reporters, Miguel and Chandler, to find the most romantic restaurants around downtown and midtown. Chandler chose St. Francis, The Breadfruit and Pane Bianco. Miguel selected Tuck Shop and Postino. All are amazing selections, but the reasons between each are different. Miguel and Chandler will tell you just what they saw as blank/amazing/cool/romantic/killing in these locations.

St. Francis

(Evie Carpenter/DD)

If you are looking to make an impression with a new date, then St. Francis is the place to go. Out of all the restaurants I visited, this one was by far the most attentive to detail. The excessive amount of full-length windows, wood flooring and brick walls lend to the warm atmosphere. Candles cover each table, and wrap their way up the staircase that leads to upstairs seating.

If sitting inside isn’t your thing, St. Francis has a full-service bar open to the elements and a large patio area with decorative lights adorning the overhead vines. Basically, it doesn’t get more romantic than this. Their menu is equally impressive with wood-fired seasonal options and an emphasis on locally based products.

Avondale native David Sawicki walked out of St. Francis more than satisfied.

“I’ve never had a bad meal here,” said Sawicki, whose favorite dish is the whitefish. He added that the service at St. Francis is always great.

My only criticism is that some of the options are a little pricey for the average college student, but the experience is well worth it. St. Francis will be releasing a special Valentines menu as the holiday approaches.

Phone: 602-200-8111
Address: 111 E. Camelback Rd.
Mon-Thu 5 p.m.- 10 p.m.
Fri & Sat 5 p.m. -11 p.m.
Sun 5 p.m.- 9 p.m.

Tuck Shop

(Evie Carpenter/DD)

A small car or bike ride to 12th street, just north of McDowell Road, will take you to Tuck Shop, a house-turned-restaurant that serves what their menu calls “neighborhood comfort food.” One of Tuck Shop’s greatest date assets is its ambiance.

The warm and cozy dining room really sprouts romance, and the food selection has a perfect combination of both savory and sweet flavors. For those couples that do everything together, Tuck Shop makes it easy to share their delicacies, including the creole-madiera duck breast served with asparagus and Okinawa potatoes.

Tuck Shop delivers high-end presentation and a comfortable eating experience, making it a great place to dress fancy, flutter your eyelashes and eat your food in little bites. Oh, and there are free cookie dough balls at the end.

Tuck Shop will be offering a special Valentine’s Day menu that can be seen on their Facebook page. This dinner consists of a starting, main course, and dessert plate, all for $60 per person. They will be taking reservations, so call quick, as they are likely to fill up soon.

Phone: (602) 354-2980
Address: 2245 N. 12th St.
Hours: Tues-Sat 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Pane Bianco

(Evie Carpenter/DD)

Compared to my previous restaurants, Pane Bianco offers a more casual feel, offering optional take-out. With picnic table seating inside and out and large dining tables it doesn’t offer as much of an intimate atmosphere, but is ideal for a first-time date or even a double date.

The décor is rustic antique, with portraits adorning the white brick walls. A fireplace sits near the front of the restaurant, complete with quirky chalkboard-drawn flames. Chandeliers, lanterns and candles decorate the dining area, with a long countertop spanning one side of the restaurant.

Though known for their lunchtime gourmet sandwiches, Pane Bianco’s dinner menu includes Italian favorites such as specialty pizza, antipasto and spiedini. As one of the sister restaurants to nationally-renowned Pizzeria Bianco, you can get similarly amazing food without waiting on an available table for hours.

The airy atmosphere and award-winning food make Pane Bianco a must visit, and why not make the trip this Valentine’s Day with a date? Valentines specials will be released later in the week.

Phone: 602-234-2100
Address: 4404 N. Central Ave.
Mon-Thu 4 p.m.- 9 p.m.
Fri & Sat 4 p.m.- 10 p.m.

The Breadfruit

(Windsor Smith/DD)

“We offer Caribbean cuisine, and fresh seafood in the middle of the desert,” said The Breadfruit owner and head chef Danielle Leoni.

With entrees such as coconut-curried tofu, guava-glazed pork belly and wood smoked mussels, The Breadfruit has a menu unlike any other in downtown Phoenix. Not only is the food unique, but the dining area also has a flare of its own.

A small raised patio decorated with strings of lights marks the entrance to the restaurant. When you walk into The Breadfruit, the first thing you will notice is a rum bar, stocked to the ceiling with Caribbean specialties.

The main dining area is no larger than the average living room, but the size adds to the intimate atmosphere, along with the Jamaican-style music and dim lighting. One of the elements that appealed to me was the hidden courtyard in the back of the restaurant. Completely off the street, this lounge provides an isolated area for couples to chat after dinner.

A Valentine’s Day four course menu with optional cocktails (for those under 21, Jamaican inspired non-alcoholic drinks are also offered) is expected to be released Sunday at the price of $55 per person. Reservations are highly recommended, as the restaurant is already half booked.

Phone: 602-267-1266
Address: 108 E. Pierce St.
Mon-Thu 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Fri & Sat 5 p.m.- 11 p.m. with cocktails until 12 a.m.

Postino Wine Cafe

(Evie Carpenter/DD)

A few streets past the Camelback and Central light rail stop is Postino Winecafé, located on the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Colter Street. As Downtown Devil food expert Jack Fitzpatrick mentioned in his review of Postino, the indoor and outdoor seating is complimented by “stylishly dim” lighting, really setting the mood for a romantic date.

While Postino offers rich salads and panini, the restaurant’s main calling card is its intricate bruschetta creations. A combination of a Mediterranean-style appetizer, a bruschetta board and a glass of their select wines for those over 21 will both satisfy the stomach and win over your date. If you are looking for dining that is modern, fresh and light, consider celebrating Valentine’s Day here.

Postino will not present a different menu for St. Valentine’s Day. However, this makes it the perfect place to enjoy a low-key evening of wine and bruschetta, sprinkled, of course, with some conversation and googly eyes. If you’re working at night, Postino will make a great Valentine’s lunch location as well. They will be taking walk-ins throughout the night.

Address: 5144 N. Central Ave.
Phone: (602) 274-5144
Mon-Thurs 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Fri 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Sat 9 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Sun 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Heading anywhere else around downtown for V-Day? Let us know!

Contact the reporters at and

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Opinion: Phoenix-turned-Portland booster offers wisdom on innovating, transforming Phoenix

(Evie Carpenter/DD)

Former Phoenix booster Taz Loomans moved to Portland in pursuit of a more walkable, sustainable and environmentally conscious city. (Evie Carpenter/DD)

By Taz Loomans

I have been a Phoenix booster for three years now. But last week I moved to Portland, and this has left a lot of people scratching their heads and some even upset that I bailed on them.

Here’s what happened.

Last year, I went from being married to being single. For anyone who has gone through this, you know that it isn’t just a surface alteration to your life. It is a fundamental transition that changes who you are and how you view the world. One interesting outcome of being single is that you have more options because you are more flexible.

I visited Portland in October with no intentions of moving here or anywhere else. I just came here because I had heard great things about the city and was in need of a vacation. Three days into my trip, it became clear to me that I belong in Portland like a fish belongs in the sea. I have traveled the world, but I’ve never quite found a city this fitted to what I want at this point in my life.

And what is it that I want at this point in my life? For starters, I want to be able to get around and have places to go without the use of a personal car. Second, I want to be able to walk out of my house and see people on the streets. Third, I want to be in an environment that is fertile and receptive to innovation in urban sustainability. Fourth, I want to be around more people like me who are in a non-traditional, creative field. Fifth, I want to be in a place where it’s not deemed crazy to care about the environment. Sixth, I want to be in a place that has a proven record of achieving and sustaining meaningful change towards sustainability. And seventh, I want to be in a place that holds itself to a high standard and can compete on the world stage. I found these things in Portland and that’s why I moved here.

Does this mean I think everyone should move out of Phoenix? Well, if you want a lot of the same things I want and you want them sooner rather than later, then it may not be a bad idea.

But if you want to get the satisfaction of building something with your own hands and are willing to do the work without any guarantees of success, then perhaps you should stay in Phoenix. Of course, if you are in Phoenix for a myriad of circumstantial reasons, then this conversation won’t really matter. But if you are at a choice point in your life, like I was last year, then these are some good things to think about.

There are two pieces of advice I’d like to give people who choose to stay and fight for Phoenix. The first is, don’t be a booster. There is a lot of pressure in Phoenix to be a booster and to say only positive things about it if you are fighting to make it better. But to be an effective fighter, you have to be able to see the problems you are fighting and speak out against them. For example, don’t say a business is great just because it’s local and it’s trying. Keep your integrity and hold things to a high standard. That is the only way Phoenix is going to be able to compete with the rest of the world.

My second piece of advice is a specific extension of the first. After having been immersed in my extremely walkable neighborhood in Portland for even just a few days, I see clearly that Phoenix is not built to be walkable. This is simply because the scale is all wrong. Phoenix was built for the car and it’s just too hard to make the leap from being a solely auto-oriented city to being a walkable city. But in seeing and accepting this hard truth lies a great opportunity.

Phoenix doesn’t have to be stuck in its auto-oriented past. The scale in Phoenix may be all wrong for walking, but it is very suitable for bicycling. A very doable change for Phoenix is to become a bike-able city. This, in conjunction to a growing Light Rail network, could offer people like me the car-free or car-lite they are looking for, and perhaps give Phoenix a fighting chance of attracting and retaining young talent. But becoming a bike-able city won’t happen unless there is a cultural shift in City Hall and the general public. It won’t happen without a cultural shift away from being auto-oriented to being multi-modal.

The rub lies in that this all-important cultural shift is still a big gamble and one that I just haven’t seen any significant evidence of yet. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, and not just around the corner.

Taz Loomans is an architect turned journalist. She writes about sustainability, urbanism and architecture on her blog,, and for other publications including the Atlantic Cities and Inhabitat.

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Cornish Pasty Co. to open new downtown Phoenix location

By Linnea Bennett

(Marianna Hauglie/DD)

The Cornish Pasty Co. location in Tempe will be joined by a new pasty restaurant downtown this summer.(Marianna Hauglie/DD)

When Dean Thomas opened his first Cornish Pasty Co. restaurant in Tempe in 2005, he didn’t anticipate the business would expand so quickly.

Eight years after opening, the Tempe location has expanded from a 900-square-foot room to a buzzing restaurant with an open dining area.

Thomas has also opened a Cornish Pasty Co. in Mesa and has set his sights on opening restaurants in three additional locations: Old Town Scottsdale, Las Vegas and downtown Phoenix.

The downtown location, set to open by late summer, will be on Central Avenue and Monroe Street in the spot that was once occupied by Monroe’s Wine and Spirits.

“I remember, probably seven years ago now, I dragged my friend down there and said, ‘I found the coolest bar in town,’” Thomas said.

Unfortunately for Thomas, Monroe’s closed just two weeks after his discovery. The vacant venue became the perfect location to open a Cornish Pasty Co. downtown, he said.

Thomas took over the space in 2009, but four years passed before he could begin remodeling. He hit several roadblocks, including issues with city building codes and selling his idea to the landlord.

After years of wading through red tape, the small underground bar that used to be Monroe’s is now in the process of becoming Thomas’ double-level pasty place.

Fritz Abrahamson is one of Tempe’s “pasty preps” who grew up in downtown Phoenix. He said he is happy to see a new location open downtown.

“As a former Phoenician, I’m really excited about it. I’d much rather work downtown Phoenix than downtown Tempe,” he said.

One of the things Abrahamson said he is most excited for is the location’s unique basement bar.

“That’s pretty rare for a site in Phoenix,” he said.

General Manager Brandon Volkenant is also eager to see the new location and said he thinks Cornish Pasty Co. will be a good fit for the downtown community.

“Downtown needs it and they’re excited for us, and we’re very excited,” he said. “When that one goes up, we’ll be hiring a lot of people from the downtown area and (downtown) ASU students.”

The pasty, a traditional English treat, typically consists of meat and potatoes and resembles a small pie with a pastry-like crust.

“A lot of people that I don’t really care for, they describe it as a hot pocket,” said Thomas. “We kind of say it’s like a handheld pot pie.”

Abrahamson had another take on the pasty.

“Basically what I tell people is that whatever you see on the menu, it’s going to be wrapped in a pastry,” he said.

Cornish Pasty Co. is slated to make their debut to downtown Phoenix in July.

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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist presents in-depth experiences

By Stephanie Habib

(Marianna Hauglie/DD)

Leon Dash, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, speaks at the Feb. 4 Must See Mondays at the Cronkite School. (Marianna Hauglie/DD)

Leon Dash’s resume is the envy of any budding journalist, sporting a Pulitzer Prize, an Emmy Award and an award-winning book.

At the Walter Cronkite School’s Must See Mondays event on Feb. 4, Dash spoke to students about the topic related to many of his accomplishments: the “American underclass.”

“I can see permanent underclasses developing,” Dash said, citing his travels to China and parts of Africa as evidence of this phenomenon.

An example of Dash’s work on the underclass is his Pulitzer Prize-winning piece for the Washington Post — an eight-part story he wrote in 1994 that revolved around the life of Rosa Lee Cunningham.

Cunningham, 53 at the time, lived in a notoriously rough part of Washington, D.C., and represented what Dash described as a modern American crisis: poverty and crime in the urban heart of the city.

Dash later adapted the series into a book about Cunningham called “Rosa Lee: A Mother and Her Family in Urban America.”

His experiences with long-form journalism were firsthand accounts of working with the American underclass.

Dash became involved with a project to report on rehabilitation of U.S. prison inmates in 1971. Over the course of several months, he interviewed a father and son who were incarcerated in the same Washington, D.C. prison. Neither man could read.

“That told me that this process of rehabilitation could not work. They had never been habilitated,” Dash said.

Further research uncovered that people unable to read were being pushed through the city’s school system.

This look at the effects of poverty was just one of several for Dash, who went on to report the rising rates of adolescent childbearing in urban communities.

Kristin Gilger, associate dean of the Cronkite school, introduced Dash at the Must See Mondays event.

Gilger met Dash through his work with the National Center on Disability and Journalism, a center affiliated with the Cronkite School.

“He’s an amazing journalist,” Gilger said in an interview before the lecture, citing Dash’s time reporting on Angolan guerrillas in Africa. Dash racked up an approximate 2,100 miles on foot through war-torn Angola, Gilger said.

“He’s someone I want students to know,” she said.

In her introduction at the event, Gilger cited Dash’s work on Cunningham and her family as being one of the top 100 works of 20th-century journalism. The list was compiled by the New York University journalism department.

She also noted Dash’s expertise on issues of diversity in journalism, and said she feels this is an important topic of discussion for journalism students.

“Issues of diversity affect all levels of journalism,” Gilger said. “They are not confined to one type of reporting.”

In addition to speaking on this topic, Dash provided students with interviewing tips that helped him when working with people who were not always willing to open up.

“Your eyes will reveal your judgment,” Dash said.

He said that journalists must be careful to avoid allowing personal feelings to affect their interviewing skills through expression in their eyes and their voices.

“(His lecture) really inspired me,” journalism freshman Josh Burton said.

Burton said Dash’s discussion of the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in American society stood out the most to him. He feels that people get caught up in today’s politics and celebrity stories and forget about other groups.

“I think, as journalists, it’s our duty to represent them,” Burton said.

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Hip Veggies dinner features orange-themed food

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Photos by Evie Carpenter

By Desirée Toli

Hip Veggies teamed up with local artist Hugo Medina for their showcase of locally produced food and art, including new grocery bag designs and a live mural painting at Vovomeena Thursday.

Local dietician Monika Woolsey began the collaborative project.

“After 30 years of working as a dietician, it was really starting to burn me out,” Woolsey said. “There are people who could really benefit from my services and deserve them more than those who take them for granted.”

Woolsey asked Medina to create a piece that incorporates a locally grown food. His design is featured on a limited edition, screen-printed, reusable canvas shopping bag sold for $20. Each artist chooses a local organization that will receive one-third of the profit. Medina chose Tumbleweed Youth Development Center to receive this event’s portion of profit and, because of growing up in Bolivia, oranges as his locally grown food.

“I’ve always loved giving, so whenever there’s an opportunity to do so, I’m all on board,” Medina said.

Medina had an idea to do a live mural painting for the bag launch. Woolsey began looking for spaces that would accommodate a mural.

Kate Kunberger, whose home is on West Lynwood Street, jokingly said to Woolsey, “I have a wall he could do, and it’s right behind Vovomeena. Maybe they’ll want to get involved, too.”

Woolsey approached D.J. Fernandes, owner of Vovomeena, and the two collaborated to kick-off the bag launch.

“In Arizona there’s so much waste,” Fernandes said, “and it’s important that we raise awareness not to waste and how to use our available resources.”

Vovomeena catered the bag launch guest with a specialized menu: an orange-themed dinner including a blood orange ‘bevvie’, orange marmalade crostini, blood orange salad, orange adobo pork tenderloin and pound cake with orange flower water whipped cream and orange zest.

Representatives from Edible Phoenix also attended the event to do a time-lapse video of Medina completing the mural.

The next Hip Veggies event is being planned for April, in which lemons will be the featured produce.

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