Support Us: Please visit our sponsors

.Mac (Apple Computer, Inc.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reaching over the net - Bands find new ways to record music in digital era

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor




Bands like the Gin Blossoms and Skate the Razor are increasingly recording new records over the internet, with musicians sometimes thousands of miles apart.

For many, the iconic black and white image of George Martin and the Beatles huddled together at Abbey Road Studios in London will forever represent the high-water mark in recording history. A group a young men sitting together, making magic.

Much has changed within the recording industry in the decades since the Beatles went their separate ways. Stereophonic hi-fi was a catchy little phrase in the sixties, like an old motel sign, quaintly advertising color television. Blink twice, and the sign now reads “high speed internet“, making it entirely possible for musicians to record new music from their hotel rooms, or perhaps even tour bus. It also enables the musicians to come together creatively, even when the members are on opposite ends of the country.

The Gin Blossoms, known for such hits as “Hey Jealousy“, and “Til I Hear It From You” are prime examples, having recorded their fifth release “No Chocolate Cake”, in such a manner. Gin Blossoms lead vocalist Robin Wilson recently relocated to Manhattan with his wife, while the other members of the band continue to live near Phoenix. The first single from “No Chocolate Cake”, a tune called  “Miss Disarray”, has received significant airplay in Adult Contemporary radio, marking a return to the charts for the band.

Skate the Razor, of  Western New York, have adopted a similar method for their new CD. Two members of the band, brothers David and Michael Moran reside in the sleepy village of Delevan, New York, an hour south of Buffalo. Vocalist Brad Cooper lives in Phoenix, while guitarist Ryan Hansgen has settled in rural Tennessee.

“The whole process has changed”, states Ryan, a veteran of the recording industry. “The digital age has arrived. We can now record a project in multiple locations. All one has to do is send a digital capture of the work to the next person, open it up on their computer and record their tracks. Most of the out-board goodies such as effects are included with the software, making the whole process cleaner, and more robust.”

Legendary record producer, and designer of the world renown Power Station Studios in Manhattan spoke of having mixed feelings on the subject when interviewed for this article, but fully embraces the new technology, comparing the old system to a buggy whip… a “lost and useless craft“.

Bongiovi recently appeared at CES 2010, the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, where he spoke about the success of his latest technological innovations, the iHome, the iP1 and the iP2.  “Almost all urban music is recorded on computers”, he emphasized. Bongiovi, best known for his work with artists like Areosmith and his second cousin Jon Bon Jovi has watched the industry shift in recent years. Mr. Bongiovi, who has over a hundred gold and platinum albums to his name saw it coming, moving to Fort Lauderdale Florida in the late nineties when the studio industry began to feel the pull of progress.

“It‘s simply more practical“. Hansgen added. “It's actually much quicker than having to hop a plane or drive for hundreds of miles to some studio somewhere to get work accomplished. Just press a button and there it goes, on to the next person.“

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor
Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Reaching over the net. Bands find new ways to record music in digital era

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor
Reaching over the net! Bands finding new ways to record music in digital era


Bands like the Gin Blossoms and Skate the Razor are increasingly recording new records over the internet, with musicians sometimes thousands of miles apart.

For many of us, the iconic black and white image of George Martin and the Beatles huddled together at Abbey Road Studios in London will forever represent the high-water mark in recording history. A group a young men sitting together, making magic.

Much has changed within the recording industry in the decades since the Beatles went their separate ways. Stereophonic hi-fi was a catchy little phrase in the sixties, like an old motel sign, quaintly advertising color television. Blink twice, and the sign now reads “high speed internet“, making it entirely possible for musicians to record new music from their hotel rooms, or perhaps even tour bus. It also enables the musicians to come together creatively, even when the members are on opposite ends of the country.

The Gin Blossoms, known for such hits as “Hey Jealousy“, and “Til I Hear It From You” are prime examples, having recorded their fifth release “No Chocolate Cake”, in such a manner. Gin Blossoms lead vocalist Robin Wilson recently relocated to Manhattan with his wife, while the other members of the band continue to live near Phoenix. The first single from “No Chocolate Cake”, a tune called  “Miss Disarray”, has received significant airplay in Adult Contemporary radio, marking a return to the charts for the band.

Skate the Razor, of Western New York, have adopted a similar method for their new CD. Two members of the band, brothers David and Michael Moran reside in the sleepy village of Delevan, New York, an hour south of Buffalo. Vocalist Brad Cooper lives in Phoenix, while guitarist Ryan Hansgen has settled in rural Tennessee.

“The whole process has changed”, states Ryan, a veteran of the recording industry. “The digital age has arrived. We can now record a project in multiple locations. All one has to do is send a digital capture of the work to the next person, open it up on their computer and record their tracks. Most of the out-board goodies such as effects are included with the software, making the whole process cleaner, and more robust.”

Legendary record producer, and designer of the world renown Power Station Studios in Manhattan spoke of having mixed feelings on the subject when interviewed for this article, but fully embraces the new technology, comparing the old system to a buggy whip… a “lost and useless craft“.

Bongiovi recently appeared at CES 2010, the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, where he spoke about the success of his latest technological innovations, the iHome, the iP1 and the iP2. “Almost all urban music is recorded on computers”, he emphasized. Bongiovi, best known for his work with artists like Areosmith and his second cousin Jon Bon Jovi has watched the industry shift in recent years. Mr. Bongiovi, who has over a hundred gold and platinum albums to his name saw it coming, moving to Fort Lauderdale Florida in the late nineties when the studio industry began to feel the pull of progress.

“It‘s simply more practical“. Hansgen added. “It's actually much quicker than having to hop a plane or drive for hundreds of miles to some studio somewhere to get work accomplished. Just press a button and there it goes, on to the next person.“


B. Thomas Cooper - Editor
Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Christianity not at war with Islam

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



As the ninth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, one of the great myths of the World Trade Center attacks is the commonly held belief the attacks were somehow intended as an assault on Christianity.

For reasons seemingly fomented by fear and ignorance, many otherwise sensible Americans persist in pursuing this unfounded rationale. As you may recall, the attacks on 9/11 were aimed at the U.S. White House, The Pentagon, and the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, all icons of American power and wealth. It would seem clear, the impetus for the attacks was rooted in politics, not religion.

Disturbing as it may be, far too many Americans accept the perceived religious connection, and thus the growing anti-Islam sentiment among many. This unfortunate intrusion of errata seems not to concern the religious conspiracy theorist as much as it agitates their sensibilities. These practitioners of falsehoods may believe they mean well, and perhaps deep in their hearts, some actually do, but let’s not kid ourselves. Apposing a mosque because of it’s approximate location or burning the Quran does not equate to a search for the truth, but rather, a blind quest, hell-bent on religious cleansing.

May I point out to my readers that no religious centers were targeted by terrorists on that sunny Monday morning on September 11th, 2001. No synagogues or churches were attacked, nor were any low flying, hi-jacked aircraft re-directed toward the Vatican. The motives for the 9/11 attacks were clearly not religious. Why then, are so many otherwise rational Americans willing to buy such a red herring?

It certainly doesn’t bode well for world perception of our good ’ol US of A intellect. We can’t really be tormented by so much self loathing as to allow ourselves to blame an entire religion for the actions of a handful of radicals.

And radical, indeed they were. Twenty grown men were willing to give their lives to thrust this atrocity upon America. As can be expected when traveling by air, one would be terrorist missed his flight. The rest, however, found the glory and infamy they sought in a fiery hot ball of flame and debris.

What didn’t happen on that tragic day, however, has somehow become the story. Fact: on September 11th, 2001, after being slammed by two commercial aircraft, the World Trade Center collapsed, killing nearly three thousand people. Yes, some were indeed, Christians. And many were not. Let’s not allow ourselves to fall victim to that which we fail to understand. The Christian faith is not at war with Islam. This should be self evident.

We are presented an opportunity, America. This should be a time of tolerance, a time when we can reflect on the folly of man, and pray our children learn from our mistakes as well as our triumphs. The tragedy of 9/11 will forever be a dark page in American history, but let's not allow ourselves to forever blemish the very values that made this country great.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Artisan tackles restoration of historic copper school doors


B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



When renowned copper sculptor George Green caught wind the town of Bisbee Arizona intended to pay an out-of-state company to restore the historic, seventy-five year old copper clad Lowell school doors, Green, a Bisbee resident, contacted the local school board with a better idea. By George, just have Green do it!

Green is one of many talented artisans who call the scenic town of Bisbee home. In recent years, the former turn-of-the-century mining town has become somewhat of an artist’s enclave. Green, who moved to Bisbee from phoenix to be near his family a few years ago, speaks fondly of Bisbee and is eager to contribute to the town he loves.

So when Green learned the Lowell school board was preparing to pay a San Diego firm $26,000 to restore the massive ten-foot by five-foot doors, Green stuck his foot in the door, offering to restore the copper laden doors for about half the price. “It seemed to me a large sum of money for the school board to raise”, Green remarked of the original $26,000 price tag when interviewed for this article. “I just thought I could do the job a lot cheaper, and perhaps better.“ The Lowell school board agreed.

The historic doors were moved to Mr. Green’s basement, where the artist has begun the process of meticulously disassembling the copper plates, careful to document and preserve as much original detail as possible. Green, who has a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, is being assisted with the restoration by two other prominent local artisans. Chris Flager is handling repairs to the door’s heavy wooden cores, while Steve Wilkes assists with the bending and straightening of the copper.

Green calls the restoration process painstaking, predicting it will take months to complete, but no one seems in a hurry. The School board is actively seeking financial contributions to offset the cost of the process, including hosting a fundraiser billed as ‘Copper Pennies for the Copper Doors’. So far, about two thousand dollars has been raised for the project.

As can be expected, the aging doors have endured seventy-five years of abuse and neglect. Two years ago, the massive doors, weighing nearly five hundred pounds, were removed from their hinges and placed in storage. Long time Bisbee residents are thrilled with the prospect of having the unusual copper-plated doors swinging back into action. Most expect the restoration to be well worth the wait.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Manhunt continues for suspected Utah cop killer

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



The search for an alleged cop killer continues in the high desert along the border between Arizona and Utah, as the suspect, 23 year old Scott Curley, proves more elusive to authorities than anticipated.

A ten thousand dollar reward has been offered for the capture of Curley, with over three hundred law officers participating in the search. The manhunt began after Curley shot and killed Deputy Brian Harris with a rifle while the officer was pursuing the suspect on a separate charge. Curley is accused of burglarizing a nearby high school in Fredonia the night before.

Curley, a native American, is believed to be on foot, but has been successful in giving authorities the slip, leading searchers through unusually rugged terrain. During the cover of night, the suspect was apparently able to slip away from a police dragnet, covering greater distance than expected. It is believed Curley may have stashed some supplies in anticipation of his escape, suggesting the killing may have been planned well in advance.
Experts also suspect Curley may be getting assistance from friends or family. “We know someone is out there who knows where this individual is and we hope they will step forward,” U.S. Marshal David Gonzales was quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune.

According to individuals familiar with Curley, rumors had been swirling for days that the suspect might be planning an attack. Others suggest the troubled young man may be delusional, and friends feared he could be reaching “the breaking point“.

Searchers, rotating in shifts, are currently focusing their efforts on an area between Fredonia and Kanab, Utah, just north of Arizona. Authorities deny they have given officers orders to shoot Curley on sight, but admit tensions are high. Still, they claim they maintain hope of capturing the troubled killer alive.



B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Friday, August 27, 2010

National Guard troops prepare to deploy along Arizona border

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



On Monday, the initial deployment of National Guard troops will begin arriving along the porous Arizona border separating the United States and northern Mexico. With border violence on the rise, area residents await troop arrival with measured optimism.

National Guard troops will begin arriving along the Arizona side of the border in small groups and without fanfare. It is anticipated that over five hundred troops will be deployed to the region by the end of September. Their effectiveness however, is hard to predict as the troops, although armed, will only operate as observers, lacking authority to make arrests themselves.

Still, the extra boots on the ground are expected to create an additional deterrent for would be smugglers and others who may attempt to cross the border illegally. Some experts however, believe the drug cartels will simply move their operations elsewhere, such as southern Texas, which is already experiencing an increase in drug related violent crimes.

Illegal immigration has become a key hot-button issue in recent months, especially among Republicans and Tea Party supporters. However, even long time Arizona senator and Republican presidential candidate John McCain has acknowledged that the situation is not as simple as erecting a two thousand mile fence through the rocky desert or deploying troops along the border.

Arizona governor Jan Brewer has criticized the Obama administration for not doing enough to stem the flow of illegal activity along the border. Brewer recently enacted new laws designed to mitigate the situation, but several sections of the new bill, SB-1070 were ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. Brewer and her attorneys filed a brief addressing the matter earlier this morning.



B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Controversial Arizona sheriff facing Justice Department showdown


B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



The US Justice Department has issued an ultimatum to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio; turn over requested documents by Friday, or face the consequences.

In a battle that has been brewing for months, the Justice Department has turned up the heat, threatening to sue the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office if the department refuses to cooperate with a federal investigation into mistreatment of detainees, including charges of racial discrimination and unlawful searches and seizures. Arpaio and his attorneys claim to be cooperating with the investigation, but the feds see it differently.

Originally, the Justice Department had given the Arpaio and the Sheriffs Department until August 17th to turn over the requested documents. Lack of compliance by the department could cost the county millions of dollars in federal funds, a risk that concerns many county officials. Withholding the funds would devastate the budget, gutting countless programs.

Arpaio, for the most part, has remained defiant and undeterred, refusing to alter his tactics, including his now notorious ‘crime sweeps’, which despite the national attention, have produced few meaningful arrests.

The seventy-eight year old sheriff began his career in law enforcement as a beat cop in the Washington DC area before relocating to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1957. He later worked for the DEA for over twenty-five years before eventually moving to Arizona.
Arpaio has held the office of Maricopa County Sheriff since 1992. He often makes headlines for housing inmates in outdoor tents during the excruciating summer heat, and feeding the prisoners green Bologna.

According to the information provided to the media by the Justice department, Arpaio and his office has until ”no later than the close of business on Friday, August 27th, 2010” to turn over the requested documents.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Crews begin repairs to ruptured Tempe Town Lake dam


B. Thomas Cooper - Editor






Crews have begun making repairs to the ruptured dam at Tempe Town lake after runoff from monsoon rains delayed the start of the project for several days.

On July 20th, the day before the crews were to begin maintenance on the dam, one of the four inflatable rubber bladders located on the west end of the dam burst, sending a raging torrent, 15,000 feet cubic feet per second, enough to fill over fifty thousand swimming pools, crashing downstream. Since then, the man made lake has sat empty.

Tempe Town Lake has long been a dream of those living in Tempe and throughout the valley of the sun. In 1987, after years of research and development, the Rio Salado project, which included construction of the lake, was finally put before valley voters.
It was the beginning of what would slowly develop into Tempe Town Lake.

Eight rubber bladder dams, each 16 feet tall and 240 feet in length, were installed along the river, creating a 2-mile long lake with over 220-surface acres of water. Finally, on June 2, 1999, water from the Central Arizona canal began flowing into the Tempe Town Lake. 43 days later, the lake was officially declared full.

Ten years later, Tempe Town Lake has become the top attraction in the valley, with nearly three million people visiting the lake annually. It is the crowning achievement of a project over thirty years in the making. Each year, millions of people enjoy the lake. Some boat, while others choose to walk or jog along the miles of adjoining trails. Valley parents bring their family for an afternoon picnic. Some simply come to the lake to gaze at the beautiful oasis in the middle of the bustling desert city.

Understandably, many valley residents were saddened by the sudden loss of the lake. Thousands of fish left to die on the desert floor were scooped up and fed to alligators at a neighboring zoo. Officials predict it will be November before the lake again reaches capacity.

There is an up-side. Crews working on the first pedestrian footbridge to span the lake say work is progressing much quicker than expected without the water to contend to and predict the bridge will be ready for use by the time the lake is re-filled.





B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Cuba announces release of six political prisoners

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



A day after the Obama administration announced it was open to allowing some Cuban dissidents into the US, the Roman Catholic Church of Cuba has released the names of six more political prisoners to be freed into exile by the Cuban government.

On Monday State Department spokesman Philip Crowley confirmed to reporters that some cases were being considered, but also reiterated that so far no requests have been made. Five of the released prisoners will be heading to Spain. The sixth will be exiled in Chile.

The announcement comes on the heels of an article written by Tim Padgett in the August 23rd 2010 edition of Time Magazine questioning US President Barack Obamas commitment to restoring US travel relations with Cuba. On April 13th, 2009, President Obama spoke eloquently about “A new era in relations between the governments of the United States and Cuba.” but, many have doubts. There are a reported 1.2 million Cuban Americans living in southern Miami and the surrounding vicinity. Most are very poor and nearly all have impoverished relatives back in Cuba. Proponents see restoration of travel relations with the country as crucial for the islands gradual march toward democracy. Over 2.1 million residents live in the Cuban capital of Havana.

Following the 1959 revolution which ousted the government of US backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in favor of Fidel Castro, the country went through a period of cautious nationalism. Castro quickly established a reputation for little patience for dissention within the ranks. Nor was the bearded revolutionary known to tolerate what he perceived to be the liberal media. “Nobody should imagine that somebody on his own can write an article judging the state, the party, the laws, but especially the party. We want broad information, but nobody can assume the prerogative of judging the party.” Castro once famously stated.(attribute - ‘The Cuban Revolution - Origins, Course and Legacy - Marifeli Perez-Stable) The US issued a trade embargo against Castro and his government in 1962.

Then in the late eighties came the unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union. Cuba, long reliant on Soviet aid, found it increasingly difficult to mitigate the economic effects of the US embargo, leaving the small island country paralyzed in perpetual poverty.

In 1994 the United States agreed to grant up to 20,000 visas annually to Cubans, after 35,000 Cuban refugees poured into Florida in 1994 alone. US President Barack Obama frequently mentioned Cuba during campaign speeches, and many Cuban Americans have high hope for change.

Over the years, hundreds of Cuban dissidents have been imprisoned by the Castro regime. The six men being released, Victor Arroyo Carmona, Alexis Rodriguez Fernandez, Leonel Grave de Peralta Almenares, Alfredo Dominguez Batista, Prospero Gainza Aguero and Claro Sanchez Altarriba are part of a group of seventy-five political prisoners originally arrested in 2003 on charges ranging from treason to espionage. Only twenty of the seventy-five prisoners still remain behind bars. The others have all been released by current Cuban President Raul Castro, who has served since his brother Fidel stepped down following a near fatal illness in July, 2006.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Monday, August 23, 2010

Candidates feel the heat as crucial primary elections loom

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



Voters in the states of Florida, Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Oklahoma
will be heading to the polls on Tuesday, and for some candidates, the kitchen is getting hot!

The stakes are high! Contests in the states of Arizona and Florida are being watched unusually close by candidates and pundits alike. In Arizona, controversial Republican governor Jan Brewer is expected to easily secure the GOP nomination for her gubernatorial position, but times have been rough for former GOP presidential candidate John McCain, seeking his fifth term in the U.S. Senate. McCains opponent, former Republican Congressman J.D. Hayworth has taken the seventy-three year old, four term Senator to task on a number of hot button issues, most notably, immigration reform.

According to the Washington Post, John McCain has spent over 21 million dollars on this campaign, a seemingly insurmountable sum for a Senate run. Predictably, the effort appears to be paying off for the former Vietnam POW as recent polls have McCain leading Hayworth going into Tuesdays primary election. Still, John McCains reputation as a maverick within the Republican party has taken some serious blows.

Florida will also be holding senate and gubernatorial primaries on Tuesday, with the results expected to have long term ramifications. The polls have many of these races too close to call. Bill McCollum holds a marginal lead over his opponent Rick Scott, in what has been a battle so ugly, only Mark Twain could describe it accurately without wincing. The pair of pugilists are vying for the position of Florida State Attorney General.

Alaska will be searching for a new governor as well, with primaries being held for both parties on Tuesday, as Alaskans look to move beyond Sarah Palin, as the former Alaska governor pursues her ambitions for the GOP presidential nomination.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Drug violence cutting into Mexican economy

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor




The increase in drug cartel related violence throughout Mexico is having a negative impact on the Mexican economy as thousands of U.S. citizens choose to stay home this Spring rather than risk the dangers associated with traveling south of the border.

The upsurge in violence is proving disastrous for the Mexican economy, much of which is heavily reliant on tourism, down sharply from previous years. Many traditional ‘Spring Break’ hot-spots have experienced dramatic decreases in revenue.

The quiet seaside villages south of Tijuana, many already poverty stricken, have been especially devastated by the lack of seasonal tourists. Local beaches, restaurants and hotels show little signs of activity. Anxious vendors still wait diligently for the occasional tourist, but few arrive, and resources are dwindling.

Mexican auto insurance, long a dependable revenue stream for borders towns, has also experienced a precipitous drop in sales. Mexico law requires that all vehicles visiting Mexico purchase auto insurance before entering the country. Most U.S. insurance companies do not cover accidents that occur while in Mexico.

Mexico's notorious Gulf Cartel is blamed for much of the recent drug violence, including the kidnapping of a Nuevo Leon police chief whose decapitated body was discovered a short distance from his abandoned vehicle over the weekend.

Drug related violence is nothing new along the northern border towns of Mexico, but a growing rivalry between two competing cartels, the much feared Gulf Cartel and 'Los Zetas' has led to unbridled bloodshed throughout the region.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Angry Residents Demand Officers Badge Following Assault of Phoenix City Councilman

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor




Angry residents
of a Phoenix inner city neighborhood are urging Phoenix City Mayor Phil Gordon to fire a valley police officer, following a neighborhood fire that resulted in a city councilman being cuffed and assaulted by the officer.

The officer, Brian Authement, who is white, was responding to a house fire in a predominantly black neighborhood when the altercation occurred. Officer Authement, age 27, is accused of using excessive force, throwing Councilman Michael Johnson to the ground, as Johnson, who is black, attempted to check on the safety of his next door neighbor, whose house was ablaze.

Neighbors of the councilman are understandably outraged by the incident, and have demanded the officer be fired. Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris is also being called on to resign.

Councilman Johnson is himself, a former Phoenix police officer who retired in 1995 after twenty-one years on the force. Johnson did not attend a public forum held last night to discuss the incident, but intended to discuss the matter in detail early today at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse.

Several prominent blacks in the valley have stepped forward to express their discontent with the manner in which the situation was handled and are demanding Authement lose his badge. Many residents of the neighborhood in which the incident occurred have complained about similar run-ins with responding officers. Several have testified under oath that they or their family members have been erroneously pulled over, questioned or arrested by because of the color of their skin.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Great Arizona Beer Festival comes to Tempe Town Lake

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



Live in an arid climate long enough, and one soon begins to dream of water. In Tempe, Arizona, that dream has come true, in the form of a 99 million gallon, man made lake.

Tempe Town Lake
Tempe Town Lake east of Phoenix

In 1911, workers completed construction of the massive Roosevelt Dam east of the fledgling city of Phoenix, Arizona. Save for the occasional flood, water would soon cease to flow through the Salt River toward the growing community downstream. The river water was redirected through an intricate canal system to accommodate farmland in the valley. What had formerly been a rich riparian habitat along the river, quickly became a barren wasteland.

Faced with starvation, wildlife indigenous to the river basin was forced to abandon the dieing habitat. By the mid fifties, the riverbed had succumbed to neglect. The dry river became home to a bevy of industry, land fills and quarries. The once glorious Salt River had reached rock bottom.

Then in 1966, a wonderful thing happened. Dean Elmore of the College of Architecture at Arizona State University came up with a wonderful, wonderful idea. Elmore and his students envisioned building a series of locks and channels along the dry riverbed. They proposed refilling the channels with water, building sections of park and greenbelt along the rivers neglected banks and rehabilitating the surrounding ecosystem. It was a grand and beautiful plan.

In 1987, after years of research and development, the Rio Salado project was finally put before valley voters. The surrounding valley communities resoundingly defeated the bill, but in Tempe, residents remained supportive. Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell agreed, announcing the City of Tempe was prepared to go it alone. It was the beginning of what would slowly develop into Tempe Town Lake.

Eight rubber bladder dams, each 16 feet tall and 240 feet in length, were installed along the river, creating a 2-mile long lake with over 220-surface acres of water. Finally, on June 2, 1999, Water from the Central Arizona canal began flowing into the Tempe Town Lake. 43 days later, the lake was officially declared full.

Ten years later, Tempe Town Lake has become the top attraction in the valley, with nearly three million people visiting the lake annually. It is the crowning achievement of a project over thirty years in the making.

Each year, millions of people enjoy the lake. Some boat, while others choose to walk or jog along the miles of adjoining trails. Valley parents bring their family for an afternoon picnic. Some simply come to the lake to gaze at this beautiful oasis in the middle of the bustling city.

After recent heavy rains pounded the valley, it once again became necessary for Salt River Project to release water downstream. Still, events planned along the greenbelt continue forward, undaunted.

This weekend, March 6th, and 7th, Tempe Town Lake plays host to the 22nd annual Great Arizona Beer Festival, which will feature more than 200 varieties of beer. If you decide to attend, however, don’t be expecting a cheap buzz. Tickets range between $40.00 and $90.00. Also be sure to make plans for a designated driver, as each ticket holder can expect to receive twenty-four different samples, each in their very own mug.

The Rio Salado project may never be entirely completed, and perhaps that's a good thing. Valley residents can expect the lake and the surrounding rehabilitated ecosystem to continually grow and improve with age. Downstream, mighty cottonwood trees once again adorn the riverbed and the indigenous wildlife, absent for nearly a hundred years, is slowly returning.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Monday, March 01, 2010

Phoenix announces cutbacks to light rail service

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor




Only fourteen months after Phoenix Metro light-rail began rolling through the valley, City Manager David Cavazos is already taking dramatic steps to cut costs.

The cuts, which the Phoenix City Council will vote on Tuesday, could mean dramatic cutbacks during traditional rush-hour service. Trains currently run every ten minutes during peak rush hour traffic. Cutbacks in service could mean trains would come every twelve minutes, amounting to major inconvenience for some riders.

Light Rail
Valley Metro Light Rail facing cuts to service

The cutbacks would also effect weekend service, especially during the early morning hours and in the evening. City Manager David Cavazos says the cuts are necessary for the city to significantly trim operating costs, and the Phoenix City Council are likely to agree. However, efforts are being made by the council to preserve evening service.

Metro Light Rail operates twenty miles of track connecting the central Phoenix corridor with Cities of Tempe and Mesa. Tempe and Mesa have both experienced positive growth since the launch of the light rail, but many valley residents, and visitors alike, question the veracity of the some of the decision making. The 1.4 billion dollar rail system, which inexplicably by-passes Sky Harbor International Airport, has remained at the center of controversy, while racking up an alarming number of minor collisions with valley vehicles.

Still, supporters of the light rail are optimistic. Overall, service has been excellent and the light rail a success. Many see the cuts simply as a reflection of difficult economic conditions. The City of Phoenix is currently facing a $240 million deficit in its general fund, caused primarily by the downshift in the economy.

Hillary Foose, Public Information Officer for Metro acknowledged some changes would ultimately be necessary, but encouraged valley residents to participate in the process.
“Anytime you reduce service you impact rider-ship” stated Hillary, who was interviewed for this article. “We take this into account whenever making any changes.” Foose spoke at length about the actual process that goes into determining any changes, but reminds residents the process is open to public discussion.

“Metro currently has two meetings planned”, stated Foose when reached Monday morning. “The first meeting will be held Tuesday, March 2nd, and this is when we really need the input from the public. There are seven options posted on the Metro website, each listing the amount the option would save the budget”. Foose encourages anyone with an interest to visit the Phoenix Metro website and voice your opinion. The second meeting will be held some time next week.

Any changes would not take effect until July, 2010.



B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Friday, February 26, 2010

New Pueblo Grande Museum exhibit to feature eye popping, large-format, ancient rock art photos

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor




Pueblo Grande Museum east of Phoenix is set to host a new exhibit, Landscape Legacies: The Art and Archaeology of Perry Mesa opening to the public, Friday, March 5th.

Perry Mesa Rock Art
Photo Credit: Pat Gorraiz

The exhibit, which features eye popping, large format photos of spectacular ancient rock art also includes new research from renown Arizona State University Doctoral Candidate Hoski Schaafsma, who examines the prehistoric agricultural practices on Perry Mesa, located about an hour north of Phoenix.

Perry Mesa and it’s inhabitants have long been the subject of controversy. Discoveries made at the vast archaeological site have led some experts to conclude the indigenous peoples of Perry Mesa may have been much more sophisticated than originally thought.

Valley Photographer, Pat Gorraiz has visited the mesa on countless occasions, compiling a breathtaking collection of rock art photographs, many which will be featured in the exhibit. Gorraizs’ large-format photos suggest a complex and fascinating culture, surrounded by an intensely beautiful, but equally dangerous environment.

While much of the rock art found at Perry Mesa feature traditional native American images, others found at the vast site lean toward the other-worldly. Strange humanoid figures, sporting inexplicable head-dress and other oddities can be found throughout the collection. Paint was later applied to some of the glyphs, although experts disagree on who may have been responsible for the paint, and what the their intentions might have been.

Schaafsma is excited about the progress and cooperation this new study represents. “Those responsible for managing the landscape have allowed a multi-scientific discipline point of view to be brought to bare on this landscape.” States Schaafsma. “Frequently, one scientific community such as the archaeologists will come to the landscape and we will do our work and we’ll all go home and write our own papers. Later on, the ecological community may do research on the same landscape, and go home with their own conclusions. However, because of the foresight of some individuals, a number of diverse agencies, including Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Forest Service have come together to study the Perry Mesa landscape”. Mr. Schaafsma has written extensively about the region.

The exhibit opens Friday, March 5th, at the Pueblo Grande Museum, located at: 4619 East Washington Street, in Phoenix. Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is a National Historic Landmark and is accredited with the American Association of Museums. Visit www.pueblogrande.com for further information on this exhibit and other upcoming events at the museum.


B. Thomas Cooper - Editor



Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment