Category Archives: Et Cetera

Friday Fotos: The North Remembers

Dean Andersen | Grand Canyon

Dean Andersen | Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, the San Francisco Peaks … there are a lot of reasons to head north of Interstate 40 in Arizona, especially in the summer. Here are some of your favorites. Thanks, as always, for your amazing submissions. Heading north this weekend? Tomorrow’s high in Flagstaff: 75 degrees.

By submitting photographs to Arizona Highways via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or other social networking sites, the photographer grants Arizona Highways electronic rights. No financial consideration will be paid to anyone for publication on the Arizona Highways blog or website.

By publishing a photographer’s work to its blog, Arizona Highways does not endorse the photographer’s private business or claim responsibility for any business relationships entered into between the photographer and our readers.

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Filed under Et Cetera, Friday Fotos, Photography

Try a Different Burger Every Day in August at Gilbert’s Liberty Market

Black and Blue Burger (August 6) | Courtesy of Liberty Market

Black and Blue Burger (August 6) | Courtesy of Liberty Market

Burgers might be the world’s greatest food. That’s not the official opinion of Arizona Highways, just of the person typing this blog post right now. If you share that opinion, and if you’ll be in the Valley of the Sun in August, you’ll want to head down to Gilbert and check out Liberty Market.

Starting Friday, the restaurant will feature a different burger every day of the month as part of its fifth annual Burger Daze celebration. As Mouth by Southwest reports, the offerings include the Billionaire Burger, topped with filet mignon, lobster tail and caviar; the Elvis Burger, with peanut butter and bacon; and the Elk Burger, with an elk patty and wild mushrooms. (There are some vegetarian burger offerings, too.)

If you’re up for a real challenge, anyone who eats 10 different burgers in the series will receive a $25 gift card. If you eat all 31 offerings, you’ll get a $100 gift card. Most of the burgers come with potato chips, and most range from $12 to $15, although the Billionaire Burger will set you back $25.

Click here for the full list of Burger Daze burgers. Liberty Market is located at 230 N. Gilbert Road in Gilbert. For more information, call 480-892-1900 or visit www.libertymarket.com.

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Filed under Et Cetera, Loco for Local, News

Arizona Game and Fish Building Wins National Award

From our friends at the Arizona Game and Fish Department:

Courtesy of Arizona Game and Fish Department

Courtesy of Arizona Game and Fish Department

The Arizona Game and Fish headquarters office has won The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) Award of 2013-2014 at the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International Annual Conference on June 24 in Orlando, Florida.

The commercial real estate industry honored 14 properties. The Arizona Game and Fish building, winner in the Government category, was recognized for excellence in the areas of “green” technologies, cost-effective building management and operations, sustainability, access for disabled people, and overall excellence.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) headquarters was built in 2007 and is located at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, Ariz.  The facility became one of the first Arizona State government buildings to receive a Platinum-certified designation, the highest ranking awarded by U.S. Green Building Council program for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

“Environmentally-friendly features added about 15 percent to the total cost,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department Development Branch Chief Mark Weise. “Initial construction costs were higher, but day-to-day operations and maintenance expenses are lower because they are usually handled in-house by department personnel.”

An Energy Star rooftop solar system generates 23 percent of the building’s annual energy needs. An agreement with Alpha Technology Inc. keeps solar power rates the same for 20 years. An efficient air-cooled chiller will pay for itself in less than five years. Natural light portals bring in winter daylight and temper summer heat. Many regionally harvested materials were used. Xeriscaping, native plants and drip irrigation hold down water and landscaping costs.

 Have you visited this building? If not, you ought to plan a trip.

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Filed under Eco Issues, Et Cetera, News

Q&A: History Buffs Fight to Save 1930s Building on State Fairgrounds

WPA Administration Building | Courtesy of Will Novak, Phoenix Historic Neighborhood Coalition

WPA Administration Building | Courtesy of Will Novak, Phoenix Historic Neighborhood Coalition

As you might have heard last week, plans to demolish a 1930s-era building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds are on hold after preservation activists intervened on its behalf. The fate of the building, known variously as the State Fair Civic Building and the WPA Administration Building, is now in limbo pending a hearing today (Tuesday, July 22) at the fairgrounds.

What makes this building worthy of preservation? We reached out to Vincent Murray, a historian with Arizona Historical Research, for more information about its past and why some believe it should be preserved. If you’d like to attend today’s meeting, it’s at 4 p.m. in the second-floor Board Room in the Arizona Coliseum, 1826 W. McDowell Road in Phoenix. (Stop by the Arizona Highways gift shop while you’re in the area!)

Q: Tell us a little about the history of the building.
A: The WPA Administration Building was built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration as its state headquarters. The WPA was a New Deal agency that provided employment and other services for millions of Americans, including tens of thousands of Arizonans (our population was less than half a million at the time). When the program ended in 1943, the building was used as the headquarters for AiResearch, one of Arizona’s early technology industries, and as exhibit space. This latter use is why it is sometimes referred as the Florticulture, Horticulture and Civic Building.

Q: What state is the building in currently?
A: The building hasn’t been well maintained. While state agencies are required by law to maintain and preserve historic buildings, the Arizona Exposition and State Fair Commission has been negligent in their duties. So, the building is in need of a new roof, as well as some minor structural repairs. Instead of performing the repairs, as required by law, the commission has decided to demolish the building. This decision was made without consultation of the State Historic Preservation Officer, which is also required by law. Had they followed the letter and intent of Arizona’s historic-preservation laws, they would have discovered that the cost for restoration was a fraction of their current $800,000 quote. They also would have a better idea of how the preservation of the building may qualify for tax incentives, its adaptive use and its potential for a return on an investment.

Q: What, in particular, makes this building worthy of being preserved, rather than demolished?
A: While we see a lot of the results of the WPA programs in Arizona, such as the park structures and sidewalks with the recognizable oval WPA stamp, and books, oral histories, artwork, etc., these are the results of the people who worked for the agency. But there is nothing that represents the human element, the decision-making process. This is where the direction for those efforts was located, the headquarters for the programs. Also, in keeping with the local support effort, this building was designed to be used as exhibit space after the end of the programs and the lease with the state.

Q: How can people get more information about, or contribute to, the preservation effort?
A: The Arizona Preservation Foundation has a website, www.azpreservation.org. You can find information and updates about the building under “endangered properties.” Not all old buildings need to be saved, but if we take the time to look into the history of places and think outside of the box on how places can be used for other purposes, we often see that demolition isn’t the best route, that alternatives really do make sense.

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Filed under Et Cetera, History, News

Lake Mead Water Level Reaches All-Time Low

This 2008 photo of Lake Mead clearly shows the white "bathtub ring" around the lake. Water levels have dropped even further since then. | Courtesy of Lake Mead National Recreation Area

This 2008 photo of Lake Mead clearly shows the white “bathtub ring” around the lake. Water levels have dropped even further since then. | Courtesy of Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead’s water level has dropped to an all-time low, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced last week, citing ongoing drought in the Southwest as the cause of the decline.

The lake, formed by Hoover Dam on the Arizona-Nevada border, is currently more than 200 feet below its “full” level of 1,296 feet above sea level. Lake Mead last reached that level in 1998, and the subsequent drought has left a large white “bathtub ring” around the water line.

If the water level drops much further, it could trigger a shortage declaration, which would mean less water would be delivered to the areas the lake serves, including Phoenix and Las Vegas. That isn’t expected to happen this year or in 2015, but the bureau said there’s a 50-50 chance of it happening in 2016.

Lake Mead is currently at 39 percent of its water capacity. Lake Powell, on the Arizona-Utah border, is at 52 percent capacity.

Despite the drought, we hope you’ll continue to enjoy Lake Mead National Recreation Area‘s boating, fishing and hiking opportunities. As we reported earlier this month, a portion of the Colorado River there recently became the first National Water Trail in the Southwest.

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Filed under Eco Issues, Et Cetera, News

Yarnell Memorial Concepts Will Be Unveiled Tonight

Keith Zimmerman‎ | Yarnell Hill

Keith Zimmerman‎ | Yarnell Hill

At a community meeting tonight in Yarnell, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture will present three design concepts for a memorial to the 19 firefighters who died in last year’s Yarnell Hill Fire.

“The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is honored to work with the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group to help the community of Yarnell remember the fire that took the lives of the 19 hotshot firefighters and devastated large parts of the town,” Viktor Sidy, an architect from the school, says in a statement. “In our designs we propose a park that includes portions dug into the earth to find protection and solace, introduces water as a metaphor for overcoming the destructive power of fire, plants trees as living memorials to those whose lives were lost, and incorporates charred objects found after the fire to remember those who lost their homes. In various ways, these designs use the annual journey of the sun to mark the exact date and time of the loss of the 19 firefighters.”

The Frank Lloyd Wright team will present the three concepts for feedback from the community. Based on that feedback, a final design will be created.

The meeting is open to the public. It’s at 5:30 p.m. tonight at Yarnell Community Presbyterian Church, 16455 W. Table Top Way in Yarnell. For more information, visit the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group’s website.

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