by C. Anthony
Something slightly loftier, pointed and hopefuly witty.
|The ever popular question of what now comes to mind on yet another end and begining.|
|The clouds of the overnight storm have parted, the sun streams down in bright unbroken beams on the floor of my Phoenix neighborhood. From the window of my third place a curios little girl tries to make friends with a pigeon, joggers trickle in for their morning fix of coffee, and I ready myself for the Sunday ritual of deadline writing. This has become a favorite time of the week. A chance to reflect on the myriad notes and people I have met who will soon become a feature article for one of the magazines I contribute my writing "talents". This week I am preparing an article on a young man who is hoping to hand-cycle from NYC to California. I should mention that he is a paraplegic. Then there is the completion of my presentation for an upcoming conference in Orlando. Nervous? No, not me....Alas!
I did finally see Star Trek last night after a spontaneous iTunes movie purchase. Fascinating. I am always interested how Hollywood manages to bend the rules of physics. I can live with the illusion that beaming matter from one location to another is doable, traveling at light speed is common practice, and even the use of artificial gravity aboard the fleet is possible. Why then, do I question the possibility of two Spock's from different periods in time occupying the same space? Well, it was a great addition to the Star Trek archive nonetheless and I have somehow gotten off topic. A recently acquired new skill apparently.
Deadline calls...until next time.
|It's been touch and go for me lately on writing. I haven't been a good friend to my fellow writers. I have checked in from time to time. I'm even a fan of the Facebook page. So I'm never very far. Yesterday, writing.com came to me...in the flesh. After many years of online friendship, many years of phone conversational hugs, shared laughs, and even some tears, I finally got to meet my friend, Michelle. We all know her as mibelleshine's and have come to know her through her daily sharing in Shellyville. We know the passion of a writer, the love of a mother and the faithfulness of a friend. We know her triumphs as a published author, the trials of raising her son, Jackson, and her goals of finishing school. If you know Shelly, you know one thing is always constant, and its her ability to bring a smile to your face, hope to your life, and be an inspiration to everyone she touches.
I am honored to have met my long-time friend during her visit to Arizona. She's even more sunny in person.
|No truer statement can be said for me, and I am sure, for many of us across the country. It has been a challenging summer on many levels. In February of this year I lost my job at the airport when the company closed their doors after struggling to survive in the turbulent economy. At first, I wasn’t too concerned. After all, I have been in this industry for a number of years and knew I would find something quickly in a similar field, despite the fact that I did not want to remain in the aviation industry the rest of my life. It was a means to an end while I completed school; after all I want to be a writer.
For the first few weeks following the shop closing, I decided to relax and put myself on “fun-employment” while getting caught up on the “me” things for a change. It was great; sleeping in like a teen, sitting at my third place all day, people watching and polishing my drumming skills; it was quite perfect. I was still writing for the technology magazine, had a few editing projects that brought in a few extra dollars, so I felt positive about my much needed, albeit, forced vacation.
Then the weeks turned into months and jobs that, in the past, would have hired me on the spot now seemed to slip through my fingers. Despair and self-doubt set in quickly as I scrambled for a survival plan. Then, when matters couldn’t seem to get worse, my father fell ill in July and quickly deteriorated from a series of strokes and host of other complications that altered his personality, his memory, and will to live. Two-months later, he passed and I was one parent short. He was 72. Fun-employment had taken a drastic shift; I was barely surviving and was forced to give up my condo, placing everything I own into a self-storage unit and move into the spare room with a friend.
This was all-out war. Life and the cosmos seemed to be on the offensive and my battle-weary body was being flanked by everything all at once. It was an emotional blitzkrieg. The latest strafing was news of mom being in and out of hospital with complications from ovarian cancer. She had been going through chemo while dad was still alive. I was comforted knowing she had the support of the family with her in Chicago, so I remained in Phoenix to deal with dad. It always haunted me that she too would pass and I would be forced to “choose” whose side to be by; the perils of living cross-country.
I forged on, as Marines do. I had survived much worse and used that mental note as my trigger when I felt the pressures of “war” bearing down. I had a faithful group of friends that listened to my rants, usually without being asked, they listened none-the-less knowing I didn’t expect anything but an ear to bend and me knowing they couldn’t offer much more than that ear. There would be the “everything will get better” speech or the “it can’t get much worse” phrase or, my all time favorite, “hang in there.” I would often shake a fist towards the sky, damning the gods and the cosmos in complete defiance of the little war they had brought upon me. “I had survived much worse,” I would tell myself. There are entire families loosing their homes, living in the streets of Phoenix. I was doing well comparatively speaking. Challenge the challenge became a daily battle strategy. “Is this all you got,” I would ask. The rebellion towards my pain seemed to carry me through and soon it was the cosmos that grew weary.
The months of battle have seemed to pay off. I will be returning to work on Monday, writing for The Paralyzed Veteran’s of America; a perfect position for me having dreamed of doing work for veterans. Mom is doing as well as can be expected and I have wonderful friends to call upon in stressful times. I finally upgraded my long-standing writing dot com account after months of being a mere by-stander and hope to begin sharing my rants and thoughts again soon.
Life is a battle. You have to be willing to fight. Challenge your challenges. You are not alone.
|Cuts and More Cuts
Phoenix College Slashes Journalism Program
by Christopher Di Virgilio
PHOENIX – Phoenix College is the latest to join the fraternity of cut-backs when they announced on Wednesday that they would not seek to renew the contract of journalism instructor Don Rodriguez for the fall semester.
“It boils down to numbers,” said Rodriguez. “Although enrollments in journalism classes are trending upward, they are still below administration goals.” Since its reintroduction 3-years ago, the journalism program has struggled to attract and retain willing students and keep classrooms filled.
Campus administrators are telling students that there are no plans to drop the journalism classes offered at Phoenix College, but were forced to make this decision because of the ongoing decline in the economy. “Our discretionary budget was cut by 74% this year across the board, and declining enrollment in nonessential classes has forced their hand,” said Patricia Zaccardo, Phoenix College English department chair.
News of the planned cutbacks spread across the small community college and left students stunned and disappointed. “This is my first year taking a journalism class at Phoenix College,” said journalism student Martha Arvizu. “I would be devastated if there was no journalism class to take here at all. I plan to major in journalism and the class is one of the best things this semester.”
Phoenix College has been the home to many students and has become a staple in the community for which it serves. In 1920 Phoenix College started its journalism and photography program and Bear Tracks was born. The student journalists served to collect information and feed it back into the community and student body.
“Journalism is more than words or old pieces of paper,” said Phoenix College historian June Fink. “It is a historical document of thoughts and passion and awakenings coupled by blocks of time that connect the past to the present. The life of Phoenix College history is the journalism program.”
Current journalism students are not taking this news lying down and have spearheaded a campaign to save the journalism program and bring back a working campus newspaper. With plans to present a group letter and signed petition to the school administration by weeks-end, students hope to show the importance of a journalism program and will seek a two-year extension to the program and their beloved instructor. Some students have taken the fight even further by planning to print a campus paper independent of Phoenix College.
“This is a horrible move on the part of Phoenix College,” said journalism student Dustin Nolte. “Many assume that just traditional journalism students work on the school paper and they write plain news. In reality, there are designers, artists, photographers, advertising managers, and it employs the talents of multiple disciplines, not just people pursuing journalism degrees.”
Nolte is one of many students hoping to have a working campus paper before the semesters end in May. Using the skills he has currently learned at the college, along with good-old-fashioned determination and the support of fellow students, they hope to launch a fully self supporting publication that will showcase school events, campus social clubs, and tell the many stories of the student body. “Running a paper is also about running a successful business,” said Nolte. “Students learn to develop relationships with clients, usually local businesses, and this not only raises money to print the paper but fosters a tight knit community.”
The students will have a difficult road ahead and will have to overcome obstacles from school administrators, retain writers and photographers and locate a room to use for their newsroom. “Our journalism students on campus are very dedicated to their classes,” said journalism student Amanda Barns. “We come in on Saturday for four-hours and for us to work so damn hard to keep a program going just to see it die is heartbreaking.”
“Journalism is the handmaiden of history and cutting the journalism program at Phoenix College will sever the link to our future,” said Fink. “When that is lost, how will the thoughts and events of the present get conveyed to the students of the future?”
| The son of a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, Ben Brodhurst is spreading his own wings towards a career as a sports reporter.
Brodhurst’s interest in sports goes back as long as he can remember and was considered the “go-to-guy” of sport statistics while in high school. “I have been reading the sports page all my life and always had the sport section tucked under my arm, Brodhurst said. “Basketball is life.”
Like a kid on Christmas morning, Brodhurst comes to life at the mention of basketball and it’s not long until you’re on the edge of the seat while he paints poetic about the sport. “Basketball is an escape from the day-to-day ritual of life,” Brodhurst said. “It brings people together in a positive way.”
No one knows more about bringing people together better than Brodhurst. A 2007 graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, Ariz., Brodhurst was presented with the school spirit award for his demonstration of leadership, pride and school spirit. The ability to show some school spirit may seem like a simple achievement but consider for a moment that only seniors are eligible for the 4-year award and you can get a feel for Brodhurst’s commitment to the sport.
Brodhurst’s school spirit didn’t stop on graduation day. He continues to volunteer his time to his alma mater by helping fund scholarship programs while working with the St. Mary’s Nights’ boys’ basketball team. Brodhurst’s love of sports helped pave the way to his current position of team manager with the men’s basketball team at Phoenix College.
Brodhurst is responsible for maintaining the team’s statistics, shooting video footage of the games and assisting the coach with the logistics of overseeing a winning team. “As student manager, Ben is a valuable member of the team,” said Phoenix College men’s basketball coach Matt Gordon. “He does a great job and is a dedicated team member.”
Brodhurst and the Phoenix College Bears basketball team most recently captured the NJCAA Region 1 Championship in a nail-biting 65-63 victory over Chandler-Gilbert Community College that went down to the final buzzer. “Brodhurst’s Bears” will go on to test their ability when they face North Arkansas College in the District Final at Phoenix College.
Brodhurst’s busy schedule doesn’t keep him from attending Phoenix College and working as a clerk at Koller True-Value hardware store in Phoenix, Ariz. “Ben is a great people-person and is always up,” said co-worker Jason. “It’s nice to have some fun while we work and Ben fits in nicely.”
Brodhurst knows that he’ll have to do more than just fit in, and that hard work and consistency is the secret to success. Brodhurst credits his drive and determination to other NBA greats and all of the interesting people he has met along the way. A self proclaimed comic book lover, Brodhurst is fascinated with the Superman character and looks up to Michael Jordon for being the best at what he does and his positive role-model persona. Brodhurst hopes to combine the traits of his heroes, add a dash of wit, and become the “best sports reporter” ever.
Born in New Mexico, Brodhurst moved to Phoenix at the age of 2 with his family when his father was transferred to Luke Air Force base in Glendale, Ariz. “I enjoyed seeing Phoenix grow into the fifth largest city in America,” Brodhurst said. “I work at what was once the county line, and that’s 16th Street and Bethany Home Road.”
Brodhurst’s modest persona makes it hard for him to talk about himself, but mention the word basketball and he’ll talk all day long. The future sports reporter wants to bring back the neighborly approach of talking sports. “It should be like talking to the guy next door over the fence of your yard,” Brodhurst grins.
Brodhurst has a natural ability to win your trust and is a subtle reminder of the by-gone days of good family values and Americana. Who wouldn’t want a neighbor like Ben Brodhurst?
|Paul Aurandt loved words. The young charismatic lad would pass his time building radio receivers and strumming his guitar until one fateful day in 1933, at the suggestion of his high school teacher, Paul was given a job. He arrived each day to the small broadcasting station of KVOO in Tulsa, excited and eager, wide-eyed and anxious, not minding at all that his only duties were sweeping and cleaning. Eventually, the charming young boy, whose warm smile and dapper personality caught the attention of the radio station producer, was given a spot as a fill-in announcer where he read commercials and news for all to hear.
Paul couldn’t imagine being happier. The young Oklahoma boy sat with great steadiness from behind the microphone and would read the news as if telling a story. All through college Paul worked at that little Tulsa radio station reading to his audience with whom he had never met. So successful was the lad that he eventually worked his way to station program director and later station manager itself.
You know that boy from Oklahoma, the once custodian who swept and cleaned. The young boy who enjoyed tinkering with transistor radios and would go on to became a household name. He informed and entertained countless generations of American’s and it’s a safe bet his gentle voice echoed in your home as well. Yes, you know that boy…the boy we grew up to know as Paul Harvey.
“Hello American’s.” The voice of an American radio pioneer went silent this weekend but will not be forgotten. For me, Paul Harvey was a staple of daily life. Harvey’s News and Commentary and The Rest of the Story could be heard from the little radio that played in my kitchen growing up. I remember always looking forward to his next story and would often try to guess who he was so eloquently describing before he got to the end. As a boy, I remember seeing him broadcasting through the observation window of his Michigan Ave. studio in Chicago during a day in the city with my aunt. We would often visit The Water Tower Place for my fix of FAO Schwartz toy store and then stop for a wonderful lunch along The Miracle Mile.
After hearing of Mr. Harvey’s passing, I tried to think how the rest of his story might be told. What would he have said of himself? I have heard him say that he never considered what he did to be work. He enjoyed it that much. “I have never worked a day in my life,” Harvey once said. He had a magical life from all accounts. He lived a real romance story with his wife Angle and was a true American to our nation. He gave us hope in ourselves and painted a verbal picture of Americana and of humanity unlike any broadcaster of our time. Farewell Paul Harvey…and “Good Day.”
A statement from Former President George W. Bush
"Laura and I are saddened by the death of Paul Harvey. Paul was a friendly and familiar voice in the lives of millions of Americans. His commentary entertained, enlightened, and informed. Laura and I are pleased to have known this fine man, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family." - Former President George W. Bush
A statement from Paul Harvey Jr
"My father and mother created from thin air what one day became radio and television news. So in the past year, an industry has lost its godparents and today millions have lost a friend." - Paul Harvey Jr.
A statement from ABC Radio Networks President Jim Robinson.
"Paul Harvey was one of the most gifted and beloved broadcasters in our nation’s history. As he delivered the news each day with his own unique style and commentary, his voice became a trusted friend in American households. His career in radio spanned more than seven decades, during which time countless millions of listeners were both informed and entertained by his “News & Comment” and “Rest of the Story” features. Even after the passing of his loving wife Angel in May 2008, Paul would not slip quietly into retirement as he continued to take the microphone and reach out to his audience. We will miss our dear friend tremendously and are grateful for the many years we were so fortunate to have known him. Our thoughts and prayers are now with his son Paul Jr. and the rest of the Harvey family. "
- Jim Robinson
President, ABC Radio Networks
| Has it been five months since I last wrote? I have logged on many times only to stare at the screen or tap out some ridiculous repetitive line over and over again similar to, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” feeling the pressure of writing something really compelling and edgy. But, there it is…that blinking cursor mocking me…taunting me to try; until I give in to the intimidating metronome-like blink and slam shut the lid of my laptop completely defeated.
Wandering about my quiet condo I take to the warm air of a mid-spring afternoon to console my defeated thoughts with a relaxing drag from a smoke and the subtle hint of orange blossoms drifting in the air. And there he is; back from his winter vacation afar; the mocking bird. In all its glory of annoying song it chirps out a buffet of stolen melodies. Leering at me from a eucalyptus tree I’m no longer safe. Is this a conspiracy? Are the cursor and mocking bird somehow scheming together to haunt my thoughts?
I’m forced to retreat into the safety of my condo and quickly close the windows, shutting out the sounds of his piercing cry. The walls of the room seem to close in around me until there is nothing but a small cubicle and I am again face-to-face with the flashing cursor; still mocking…still taunting…now somehow inspiring.
|I seem to have landed on the set of “The Jane Austen Book Club” when I joined a local book reading club which met this week to discuss, “Sunday’s At Tiffany’s,” by Scott Paterson.
I arrived at Abbie’s beautiful Phoenix home and was introduced to the girls that were already there. I couldn’t help thinking that I was intruding on their “girls’ night” away from their daily responsibilities, but was made to feel welcome and part of the group. I was quickly dubbed the “token” guy, a title I am familiar with having grown up in an all female house.
Abbie had prepared some snacks and we each found a seat around an over stuffed ottoman which doubled as a coffee table. We all sat around talking and getting to know each other before jumping into the topic of our book for this month. “Sunday’s at Tiffany’s” told the story of a young lady whose life revolved around work, an estranged relationship with her mother and her fond memories of an imaginary childhood friend, Michael. The story takes a twist when Michael is reintroduced into her life and she soon discovers that it is Michael that she loves-but is she still imagining him? The story has a “City of Angles” feel but the reader never truly connects with the main character, Jane.
I have always been amazed at a women’s ability to carry on multiple conversations with multiple people without skipping a beat and I soon found myself surrounded by the Goodnight Ladies from the musical, “The Music Man.” The girls all “talked-a-little-picked-a-little and I chimed in about favorite books, foods, and even relationships before we broke up for the evening. I think I did pretty well and we even managed to choose the books for the remainder of the year; my choice being one of them. I felt as if I had been allowed into a secret club but to be quite honest, I can’t wait for the next gathering.
|The Wheels Are Turning At Honeywell
Feature written for Tech Connect Magazine
The climb up Honeywell’s corporate ladder actually began long before Ed Wheeler joined the company and ultimately became president of its defense and space for Honeywell Aerospace division in Phoenix.
Wheeler’s interest in aerospace can be traced to his childhood when he was fortunate to have exceptionally enthusiastic teachers and family members who stoked his interest in science and math. “Aerospace continues to be an extremely interesting and compelling field for me,” Wheeler says.
Things became even more interesting for Wheeler and his Honeywell division as they contributed in the mission of NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, which after a 422 million-mile journey landed in the Red Planet’s northern hemisphere on May 25. Guiding the Lander to a soft touchdown was the job of Honeywell’s miniature inertial measurement units (MIMU).
The nine-pound, cylindrically shaped devices provided inertial data and guidance information that aided the vehicle’s descent through the Martian atmosphere. Observing the mission from orbit were the Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Europe's Mars Express, which were all moved into position thanks to MIMUs installed on board the satellites and allowed mission controllers to capture imagery of the historic descent of the Lander, marking the first time a landing spacecraft has ever been photographed by an orbiting satellite.
“The units have contributed to the success of several commercial and military satellite and space exploration programs,” Wheeler says. “This mission marked the seventh time Honeywell technologies were on a scientific mission to Mars.”
Wheeler knows there is more to Honeywell’s innovations than a trip to Mars. “Aerospace is an exciting and dynamic industry that helps society solve many problems, Wheeler says. “At Honeywell our goal is to bring innovative solutions to our customers … And with a product and technology portfolio as broad as ours, there is never a dull moment.”
The 28-year Honeywell veteran has been at the helm of defense and space since 2007 and brings with him an extensive engineering and management background, holding a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in electrical engineering from Auburn University. He has completed the Carnegie Mellon University program for executives, and is published in a number of engineering journals covering topics on avionics, navigation and control systems.
It’s all more than just a job for Wheeler. “It’s exciting to be part of a global business that develops technologies and innovations to tackle some of our greatest contemporary challenges like safety and security, fuel efficiency and alternative fuels as Honeywell does,” he says.
Wheeler’s day-to-day duties are not always dedicated to missions in space. There is also the responsibility for leading-edge technology in engine design, demonstration programs for the U.S. Army and Air Force in the latest in lightweight metals, structural coatings, and innovative navigation and flight control systems. “I spend a lot of time with customers: the U.S. Department of Defense, other defense organizations around the world, and the large prime contractors and original equipment manufacturers that contract with DOD,” Wheeler says.
Wheeler’s “can-do” attitude speaks volumes about Honeywell’s commitment to worldwide service and the betterment of humanity through technology and its limitless roll for future generations and perhaps into the far reaches of space.
What are a few of the systems, equipment and advanced technologies that really are on the cutting edge?
“Our aircraft flight management and safety systems, the Honeywell engine technologies that offer fuel efficiencies and more power, navigation and guidance systems for aircraft and spacecraft, components that are radiation hardened to protect them from the environments in space, – to name but a few.”
How is Honeywell’s aerospace division structured?
“Honeywell’s Defense and Space business accounts for about 40 percent of Honeywell Aerospace’s $12 billion annual revenues. Defense and Space has six operating units and the business has many operating locations including the states of Arizona, Washington, New Mexico, Minnesota, Florida, Maryland and also in the UK, Germany, Kuwait and numerous other countries around the globe.”
|Not Of Your Choice
by C Anthony
Imagine a journey to a strange new land; a journey like no other. There are no travel agents to see all your comforts are met. There are no fresh sheets in a lofty hotel suite and continental breakfast consists of hastily gathered rations and belongings. This journey most likely takes place under the cover of night; across treacherous terrain or inside a claustrophobic truck trailer. Now imagine this journey was not your choice. Imagine living a life of uncertainty in a new land which guarantees a pursuit of happiness only to learn you have no claim to this slice of pie; again not of your choice. Imagine meeting new people and making new friends while attending school in this new land only to have it all taken away. Not of your choice.
In 2006 the people of Arizona passed Proposition 300 into law which eliminated the ability of undocumented students from obtaining state or federal tuition assistance. They are not kept from attending school but for the majority of these students, paying the out-of-state tuition is a far reach. The controversial debate about Arizona boarders notwithstanding, some close friends started discussing what could be done to help these disenfranchised students continue their education and perhaps…have a choice.
It was no accident that these long time friends happen to have a close working relationship with Phoenix College as well as the resolve to make a difference. Robert Wisniewski, this year’s Golden Bear recipient is one of many local business professionals making a difference. The Phoenix workman’s compensation attorney has dedicated his life to the call of justice and fair labor practices for those injured on the job. Wisniewski’s modest Phoenix office is the command center for the many clients he sees each week. His dedicated team works with each client, providing the utmost regard for their rights and circumstance.
The New Jersey native moved to Phoenix in 1976 and worked as a law clerk in the Arizona Court of Appeals District Court. From there he did some insurance related defense work before helping to open a Chicago based law firm in Phoenix. His interest in personal injury law grew through his work with the insurance company and before long decided to open his own practice and defend the injured, which was more to his liking. “Sixty to seventy percent of our clients are from within the Hispanic labor force,” Wisniewski said. “These are the people working construction and agriculture, and sometimes [they] get hurt.” Wisniewski is well acquainted with the Latino heritage whose aunt is a Catholic Nun while his wife’s uncle is a Catholic Priest who both happen to serve closely within the Latino communities.
The immigration debate sometimes fogs the public’s perception from seeing the human factor. Wisniewski’s vision is not so clouded and with encouragement of close friend and retired Phoenix College teacher, Dr. Virginia Foster and guidance from Frank Luna, director of Phoenix College Alumni & Development department, the Sister O’Rourke-Father Thomas Moran Scholarship Fund for disenfranchised students was born. “He [Wisniewski] is a selfless man who is not intimidated by popular belief,” Luna said. “His heart is about equal opportunity for all students.” The scholarship was initially funded by Wisniewski with a generous donation from his sister and he made a commitment to continue to fund the scholarship and endow it over the next three years.
“The scholarship is still in its infancy,” Luna said. “There are about a dozen students currently enrolled at PC thanks to this scholarship.” The student’s interests range from nursing to engineering to liberal arts. The application process for this scholarship is as simple as a visit to Mr. Luna’s office where he guides students through a few forms and instruction or with a visit to the Phoenix College Web site at www.pc.maricopa.edu/scholarships.