Car show unites young and old with restored vehicles

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Photos by Evie Carpenter

The Motoring Thru Time car show in historic Heritage Square featured approximately 100 restored vehicles Saturday.

Some of the most notable vehicles included several characters from the film “Cars,” such as Lightning McQueen and Mater, and a recreated General Lee car from the TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Last year’s show saw approximately 1,900 visitors, said Tammy Parker of the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. This year was expected to have a similar or increased audience.

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Welcome Diner reopens with Southern-style cooking

Caption! (Moly Bilker/DD)

Welcome Diner reopened Thursday in a 1950s-era trailer on 10th and Roosevelt streets. (Molly Bilker/DD)

By Molly Bilker

Welcome Diner celebrated its reopening Friday night during February’s First Friday event.

Originally, Welcome Diner was a trailer made by Valentine Manufacturing in the 1950s. Old Dixie’s food truck operators Michael Babcock and Jenn Robinson reopened the restaurant, which offers Southern-style cooking including fried chicken sandwiches and peanut butter burgers.

Babcock explained that he and Robinson were looking for their next move from Old Dixie’s food truck; they loved the trailer that is now a permanent fixture on the northwest corner of 10th and Roosevelt streets.

“The inspiration was just to do what we love, to open up a space in the community that we love,” he said.

Valentine Manufacturing was founded during the Great Depression. They built trailers and drove them out to the owners, collecting the rent owners deposited weekly from a small metal box in the trailer, Babcock said.

Babcock said that the Welcome Diner trailer was brought to its location in downtown Phoenix from the Lake Havasu area around the early 1990s. Due to its vintage quirkiness, Babcock and Robinson did very little in the way of remodeling or repainting.

“We really love how unique and old-school the diner is, so we really tried to leave as much as possible,” Babcock said.

Welcome Diner is a small red and white building with a variety of chairs and tables scattered around the front lawn, plus some seating at the narrow counter inside.

Tempe attorney Bridget Humphrey, 60, said she loves the high energy packed into the intimate space.

“I like the counter. It’s like a party at the counter,” Humphrey said.

Caption! (Molly Bilker/DD)

Welcome Diner will feature Southern-style food such as fried chicken sandwiches and peanut butter burgers. (Molly Bilker/DD)

The small counter and kitchen area was just one of the challenges the owners had to face upon reopening the diner, Babcock said. They also had to open the diner within 30 days of their liquor license being issued, which required a hasty setup. Babcock said the opening was “almost overnight.”

Welcome Diner’s current hours include dinner Thursday-Saturday and brunch on weekends. Babcock and Robinson hope to eventually be open five or six days of the week for lunch and dinner. They also want to be involved with the community, Babcock said.

“Our part is keeping the community stoked in what we do,” Babcock said.

The food at Welcome Diner was a highlight for many of the customers at the opening Friday night. ASU psychology and English literature junior Emma Lauer was happy with her dining experience.

“It was very good. It was very filling. It was a little messy, but it tastes good,” Lauer said.

Jenny Russell, 30, expressed her own excitement for Welcome Diner’s presence in the community, as well as the food.

“The food is awesome,” Russell said. “We’re fried chicken snobs, so it’s great.”

Alyssa Clark contributed to the reporting of this story. 

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Community members, journalists discuss politics

Caption! (Alexis Macklin/DD)

Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb interviewed former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl at the Community Conversations event at the Walter Cronkite School. They discussed the relationship between politics and journalism. (Alexis Macklin/DD)

By Linnea Bennett

Politics and the Press, the first installment of the Walter Cronkite School and the Arizona Republic’s joint Community Conversations series, took place on Friday at the Cronkite School.

Attendees paid $150 to enjoy a day of up-close interactions with the media to see how journalists work. The event took place in the First Amendment Forum of the Cronkite School, and just over 40 people attended.

The event included several keynote speakers, including Dr. Leonard Downie Jr., vice president at large for the Washington Post, former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl and Washington bureau chief for USA Today Susan Page.

Other speakers included well-known writers from the Arizona Republic, including columnists Laurie Roberts and E.J. Montini as well as political cartoonist Steve Benson. Longtime Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb hosted the day’s events.

Attendees were also given a tour of the Arizona Republic and 12 News building, where they watched a live taping of Channel 12’s Sunday Square Off with Brahm Resnik, followed by a Q-and-A with Resnik.

Kristin Gilger, associate dean of the Cronkite School, said she has been planning the Community Conversations series since last fall and thought that, coming out of an election season, Politics and the Press was an appropriate theme for the first event.

“I’m very happy with the turnout,” Gilger said. “With this kind of topic, I didn’t want hundreds of people. I want people to feel like they can ask their questions.”

The day began with an interview with Downie by Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School and vice provost for the Downtown campus. Downie, who has been working in journalism since 1964 and served as executive editor for the Washington Post for 17 years, detailed certain points in history that changed journalism.

Gilger said she thought the audience would benefit from hearing Downie speak.

“I don’t think people often get a chance to hear someone talk about making these decisions,” Gilger said. “He has an amazing richness of experience and people don’t often get to hear from that.”

Downie’s segment was followed by the Sunday Showdown taping, Arizona Republic tour and a break for lunch. Attendees then returned for the afternoon portion of the event, began with an interview with Robb and Kyl.

During the interview, both men seemed good-natured and referred to each other as “friends”; a far cry from the contentious relationship that journalists and politicians typically display. Robb even joked about “codependency” issues between journalists and politicians.

Kyl spoke about a variety of topics during his interview. One was the 24-hour news cycles that he said he finds detrimental to both politics and the journalism profession.

However, Kyl was quick to say that the media is not the only figure to blame.

“I don’t want the headline out of this to be ‘Kyl blames media for all problems,’” he said.

Caption! (Alexis Macklin/DD)

Arizona Republic columnists discussed the changes they saw in Arizona during their time as journalists covering the state. (Alexis Macklin/DD)

Retired engineer and Gilbert resident Dennis Beals was one attendant at Friday’s events and said he came as a “Kyl fan,” excited for a chance to hear the former senator speak. He also said he was looking to gain a better perspective on journalists’ views of the media.

“I’m one who thinks the news media is so biased its ridiculous, including the Republic,” Beals said. “Maybe listening to some of their reporters and maybe asking a question or two…I’ll get a better understanding from their point of view.”

Beals received that chance later in the day when columnists Roberts, Montini and Benson spoke to the crowd and opened themselves up to questions.

The three journalism veterans spent the hour on stage discussing the changes they have seen in Arizona during their time covering the state, and if and how their roles have changed as journalists.

“I don’t actually see myself any differently than when I started,” Roberts said. “The role is a little different but the goal has always been the same: to go out and find the truth….and wreak havoc on those who deserve it.”

Another highlight of the day was a talk with Page, who opened her segment by commenting on Arizona’s ties to national issues like gun control and immigration reform.

Page also acknowledged the dynamic and often conflicting political figures that come from Arizona.

“Any state that can boast both U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a state with some political range,” Page said to a riff of laughter.

Attorney Najia Haddock, who attended Politics and the Press with her husband, said one of her favorite parts of the day was the tour of the Arizona Republic’s newsroom.

“Unless you’re a journalism student you don’t really know ‘How does this information culminate? How do they get that?’ That was really fascinating to see, the inside workings of the newspaper,” Haddock said.

Another installment of Community Conversations is scheduled for March, and will involve sports and the media. The event will coincide with major spring sports events, including baseball spring training and college basketball’s March Madness. Patrons who are interested in attending the second Community Conversations will be able to register online as the date approaches.

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Editorial: Our temporary home

Dear readers,

Our website has faced a number of cyber-attacks over the last week, resulting in the site being down or displaying pages that do not belong to our news organization. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, and we appreciate your patience as we work to address these issues.

In the meantime, we are still dedicated to getting our readers the hyperlocal news that you have come to expect from us, and we will do that whether we have a working website or not. For the next few days (or until our main website is fixed), we will publish on this website.

You can still count on us to bring you the news each day, but bear with us as the format may be less than ideal. As always, we give our thanks to you, our readers, and we hope that you continue to enjoy our publication during this time of trouble.

All the best,
Mauro Whiteman
Executive Managing Editor
Downtown Devil

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