Posted on Leave a comment

Scottsdale Police Department: Insights and Community Connections

Scottsdale Police department

On this week’s episode we’re embarking on an exciting journey that promises to deepen our understanding of a crucial community institution – the Scottsdale Police Department (SPD). But before we dive in, I’ve got some exciting news to share with you all. The Scottsdale City Lifestyle has joined hands with Scottsdale Vibes, creating a duo that’ll elevate your Scottsdale experience to new heights. For all the latest on our incredible city, be sure to grab the newest issue – your gateway to all things Scottsdale.

Unveiling the Voices Behind the Badge

I was thrilled to have two phenomenal officers from the Foothills District of the Scottsdale Police Department on the podcast this week. These officers are the driving force behind the department’s community outreach endeavors, creating bridges between law enforcement and our beloved residents. Let’s meet the outstanding guests who will be gracing our conversation today:

Officer Robert Kazteroff

Officer Kazteroff is no stranger to the intricacies of community engagement. His wealth of experience and unwavering dedication shine through as he paints a vivid picture of Commanding Officer Chris Watson’s authenticity and dedication to his community. Officer Kazteroff sets the stage for an enlightening dialogue that promises both depth and authenticity.

Commander Chris Watson

Commander Watson’s journey within the Scottsdale Police Department began way back in 2005, and since then, he’s traversed various roles that have shaped him into the remarkable leader he is today. His background as a Marine and his academic achievements have undoubtedly played a significant role in his leadership philosophy. Now, as a commanding officer, his commitment to the community radiates like a beacon of hope, inspiring officers and residents alike.

Fostering Strong Community Bonds

But let’s get to the heart of our conversation. Commander Watson brings a fresh perspective to his new role within the Foothills District – an emphasis on community engagement. He’s eager to open lines of communication, embrace diverse perspectives, and form meaningful connections that weave together the rich tapestry of our city. This approach aligns beautifully with his vision of dismantling the traditional law enforcement narrative and paving the way for a safer and more interconnected environment. And as Officer Kazteroff rightfully points out, this partnership between law enforcement and the community is an indispensable ingredient in the recipe for creating a secure and vibrant city.

Commander Watson’s Reflective Insights

Taking a step back, Commander Watson takes us on a journey through his career, reflecting on the pivotal moments that have shaped him. From his early days as a rookie officer, brimming with excitement and determination, to the challenges of making impactful decisions, his story paints a vivid picture of his growth as both an officer and a leader. What emerges is a profound understanding of the need for compassion and education, a realization honed through years of experiences within the force and as a loving father of seven. These experiences have become his compass, guiding him through the complexities of law enforcement.  

Leadership: A Journey of Parallels

As Commander Watson reflects on his experiences, an intriguing parallel comes to light – the overlap between leadership within law enforcement and the realm of parenting. Just like in parenthood, effective policing requires adaptability, empathy, and a keen understanding of dynamics. His ability to navigate both domains with finesse underscores the depth of leadership skills required to steer the intricate ship of community policing.

Confronting Traffic Challenges

In the midst of our conversation, Commander Watson tackles one of the pressing challenges in the Foothills District – traffic management. With Scottsdale’s population on the brink of expansion, the SPD is working hand-in-hand with the city’s traffic engineering team to improve road safety and alleviate congestion. As Commander Watson underscores, promoting kindness, respect, and adherence to traffic rules becomes a collective responsibility shared between officers and residents.

Staying Alert: The “Jugging” Phenomenon

Officer Kazteroff brings a crucial concern to the forefront – the phenomenon of “jugging.” This disturbing crime involves individuals being trailed after withdrawing money from a bank, ultimately leading to vehicle break-ins or, in some cases, forceful robberies. Officer Kazteroff’s advice? Stay vigilant, be aware of your surroundings, and promptly report anything suspicious to ensure your safety and the security of our community.

Strengthening Community Bonds with Youth Programs

Transitioning to a more uplifting note, we delve into the incredible youth programs offered by the Scottsdale Police Department. Among them, the Public Safety Teen Academy and Cadet Academy shine as beacons of inspiration. These initiatives provide an inside look into the world of law enforcement, dispelling misconceptions and fostering a deeper understanding between officers and the youth of our city.

Commander Watson’s Personal Connection

Commander Watson’s personal connection to the Public Safety Teen Academy adds a layer of authenticity to the program’s significance. This immersive experience offers teenagers a unique chance to explore the realms of law enforcement and firefighting, igniting their interest and curiosity. A testament to the department’s commitment to community involvement, this initiative is offered free of charge, showcasing their dedication to building meaningful connections.

Dispelling Myths Through Connection

As our conversation unfolds, a compelling theme emerges – these youth programs not only educate and engage young minds but also play a pivotal role in dispelling the misconceptions that often surround law enforcement. By providing an up-close view of the department’s activities, these programs bridge the gap between societal perceptions and the reality of their daily work, fostering a new level of understanding.

A Call to Embrace Connection

As our discussion winds down, I extend a heartfelt invitation to all our listeners. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the intricate threads that weave the fabric of the Scottsdale Police Department’s endeavors. While challenges undoubtedly exist, the focus remains on fostering collaboration, transparency, and education within our community. Remember, building stronger bonds is a collective effort that requires a shared commitment to mutual understanding.

Posted on Leave a comment

Unleashing Potential Through Skateboarding: A Conversation With Blake Rhodes

Skate it forward phoenix

In this week’s episode on Scottsdale Vibes we dive deep into the world of community engagement, extracurricular activities, and the profound impact they have on our children’s growth. As we bid farewell to summer adventures and embrace the back-to-school season, it’s the perfect time to explore how these activities shape our children’s futures.

The excitement of the school year’s return is palpable, both for kids and parents alike. As our children immerse themselves in structured school days, parents find comfort in knowing their kids are in capable hands during those crucial hours. Trust me, having someone else manage their care from 8:30AM-3:30PM is a welcomed relief.  

Skate it Forward Phoenix

Our featured guest this week is Blake Rhodes, an SUSD educator who’s leading an extraordinary initiative centered around skateboarding. But Blake is more than just an educator; he’s a genuine community champion. Growing up in Scottsdale, his journey led him from the Navy back to his roots as an elementary school teacher. And it all began with an old skateboard in his garage, sparking the creation of “Skate It Forward Phoenix.”  

Blake’s Mission

Blake’s mission is all about giving back and providing a safe space for budding skateboarders. Through “Skate Forward Phoenix,” he and his team offer skateboards to kids who might not have access. It’s a powerful example of how a simple act of kindness can create lasting impact.  

Mentorship is key in guiding young skateboarders toward positive growth, and Blake sheds light on how mentors play a pivotal role in navigating the challenges of this unique subculture. By offering the right guidance, mentors help young individuals overcome obstacles and find a supportive community.  

The Evolution of Skateboarding

The evolution of skateboarding, from counterculture to Olympic sport, speaks to its universal appeal. Blake highlights the positive impact of skate boarding’s journey, which has opened doors for youth development programs and engaged young individuals in healthy ways.  

Skateboarding transcends language barriers, creating a universal language that unites people from diverse backgrounds. Blake shares some heartwarming stories of how individuals connect and forge friendships through their shared passion for skateboarding.  

The concept of “earning,” deeply rooted in skateboarding, extends beyond the sport, embodying valuable life lessons. Blake’s insights into this principle underscore dedication and perseverance, offering a meaningful reminder for all.  

The Birth of Skate it Forward

The birth of “Skate Forward Phoenix” was inspired by a determined young skateboarder. Blake’s initiative provides donated equipment to create an inclusive environment for those in need. The overwhelming community support has been instrumental in its success.  

As “Skate Forward Phoenix” celebrates its second anniversary, Blake expresses gratitude for collaborative efforts that have driven its achievements. The strong sense of community within the skateboarding world demonstrates the potential for collective action to enact positive change.  

Sustainability and Collaboration

Sustainability takes center stage as broken skateboards find new life as unique products. Sales from these items contribute to acquiring new equipment for those in need, ensuring the initiative’s lasting impact.  

Blake’s emphasis on collaboration resonates throughout the initiative’s journey. “Skate It Forward Phoenix” actively participates in events that foster connections and provide positive outlets for young individuals within the skateboarding community.  

Looking ahead, Blake remains steadfast in empowering youth through skateboarding. His story is a testament to the ripple effect of simple acts of kindness, shaping lives, communities, and futures.  

The journey of Blake Rhodes and “Skate It Forward Phoenix” epitomizes the transformative power of community engagement and positive mentorship. Through skateboarding, they nurture the potential of young individuals, foster connections, and contribute to a more vibrant and supportive world. As we navigate the school year, let’s remember the profound impact of activities that shape lives and futures.

Posted on Leave a comment

Back to School in Scottsdale

It’s that time of year and we’re diving headfirst into the excitement of back to school time in Scottsdale. As a parent, I know how much we all look forward to this time, and we’ll explore the joys, challenges, and opportunities that come with it. 

Summer Memories

Back to School in Scottsdale

First things first, can we all agree that the end of summer means we get a little break from constantly being snack providers? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I adore my kids, but their appetites seem never-ending! Joining me on this week’s episode, in this snack-dilemma discussion is Dr. Rob DeVito from Arizona Center for Laser Dentistry, who’s experiencing the same thing with his own children. It’s a snack-stravaganza! 

But before we jump into the school year, let’s take a moment to cherish those summer memories. Dr. Rob had an amazing time with his family on a Disney cruise, escaping the Arizona heat. His kids had a blast attending summer camps up north, keeping them active and engaged.

Speaking of summer camps, they are a blessing for working parents like us. The range of activities and opportunities they offer is incredible, giving us peace of mind knowing our kids are safe and having fun while we focus on our work responsibilities. We’re so grateful for the choices available to our children today.

Education in Scottsdale

Now, let’s shift our focus to education in Scottsdale. Both SUSD and PV School Districts deserve applause for providing well-rounded education that goes beyond academics. From music and arts to STEM activities, they offer ample extracurricular options for students to explore their passions. 

I love that our school districts are seeking input from parents and students. By considering their opinions, we create an environment where children feel valued and heard, fostering a positive and supportive atmosphere in schools. It’s truly heartwarming to see this level of commitment to our students’ well-being.

Now, I have a treat for you – a special guest on this week’s episode, SUSD Superintendent Dr. Scott Menzel. Tune in to hear about the district’s recent achievements, including the COA accreditation with high scores. It’s exciting to see the focus on continuous improvement and student success in action. 

As we move into this new school year, let’s focus on supporting our children’s educational journey for a successful and fulfilling year ahead. Remember, education is not just about academics but also about creating lasting memories and nurturing our children’s passions for a brighter future.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Rich History of the Little Red Schoolhouse in Scottsdale

We’re going to dive into the fascinating history of the Little Red Schoolhouse, a cherished landmark in Scottsdale, Arizona. I sat down with Eleanor Brierley, a long-time resident and passionate advocate for preserving Scottsdale’s history. Together, uncover the hidden stories and treasures of the past.

Unveiling the Little Red Schoolhouse’s History

The Little Red Schoolhouse, although no longer red, continues to captivate visitors with its remarkable historical significance. Built in 1896, this small schoolhouse served as the educational hub for Scottsdale’s earliest residents. With just 14 students, the school doors opened to a new era of learning. Over time, the student population grew, prompting the construction of a new building nearby. However, the original schoolhouse remained an integral part of our community’s fabric.

From Schoolhouse to Community Hub

Throughout the years, the Little Red Schoolhouse assumed various roles, reflecting the changing needs of Scottsdale. It served as a Sunday school, a church polling place, and even a Red Cross bandage center during wartime. The schoolhouse experienced a resurgence as an educational facility and later housed the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. Finally, in 1991, the building and its rich history were entrusted to the Scottsdale Historical Society, transforming it into the museum we know today.

Rediscovering the Little Red Schoolhouse

After a brief closure for renovations and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Little Red Schoolhouse reopened its doors to the public. As a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our community in preserving Scottsdale’s heritage, the museum stands proudly, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and a tangible connection to our town’s history.

A Conversation with Eleanor

Joining me today is Eleanor Brierley, a second-generation native of Scottsdale, who will share her insights into our town’s rich history. Growing up amidst a rural and agricultural landscape, Eleanor vividly recalls the early days of Scottsdale. She fondly remembers the small grocery store where patrons would relay their shopping lists to the shopkeepers and the limited number of paved streets and cars in town.

Preserving the Little Red Schoolhouse

Eleanor’s involvement with the Scottsdale Historical Society and the Little Red Schoolhouse stems from her family’s deep roots in the community. The building held great significance for Eleanor’s parents, who attended school there. When the schoolhouse faced possible demolition, Eleanor and other passionate residents rallied together to save this historical treasure.

The Journey to a Historical Museum

Transforming the Little Red Schoolhouse into a museum was a labor of love and a learning process for the Scottsdale Historical Society. We had to navigate the complexities of running a nonprofit organization and establish partnerships with other entities, such as the local library, to effectively preserve and share Scottsdale’s history.

Embracing the Full Spectrum of Scottsdale’s History

As custodians of Scottsdale’s history, the Little Red Schoolhouse and the Scottsdale Historical Society aim to represent the town’s complete timeline. This includes not only the distant past but also more recent decades. We actively seek donations of historical artifacts, documents, and memories from various periods to ensure future generations have a comprehensive understanding of our town’s development and the people who shaped it.

In addition to collecting physical items, we place great value on oral histories. We recognize the importance of capturing personal recollections and firsthand accounts to provide a nuanced perspective on Scottsdale’s history. By conducting interviews and recording narratives, we preserve the memories and experiences of individuals who have witnessed the town’s evolution.

Embracing Technology

To make these historical resources accessible to the public, we prioritize digitization efforts. We understand the significance of embracing technology to expand the reach of our collections beyond physical exhibits. By digitizing photographs, documents, and audio recordings, we create an online repository that allows anyone to explore Scottsdale’s history from anywhere in the world.

Embracing Education

The Little Red Schoolhouse and the Scottsdale Historical Society also play an active role in educational initiatives. We collaborate with local schools, organize workshops, and host events to engage students and the community in learning about Scottsdale’s past. By fostering a sense of connection to the town’s heritage, we hope to instill a greater appreciation for its historical significance among the younger generation.

Furthermore, we actively seek partnerships with other historical societies, museums, and institutions to exchange knowledge and resources. By collaborating with experts in the field, we ensure that our preservation efforts align with best practices and contribute to a broader understanding of history. Through our dedication to collecting, preserving, and sharing Scottsdale’s history, the Little Red Schoolhouse and the Scottsdale Historical Society fulfill our mission of honoring the town’s past and connecting it to the present. By embracing a holistic approach that encompasses all periods, we ensure that Scottsdale’s complete timeline is celebrated and cherished for generations to come.

Posted on Leave a comment

Scottsdale June Days

scottsdale June days

As summer approaches, I’m thrilled to share with you why June Days in our beloved city is a season like no other. With the temperatures rising and the allure of the off-season beckoning, Scottsdale becomes a playground of possibilities. But let me tell you, Scottsdale June Days takes it to a whole new level. This extraordinary event offers a sensational lineup of activities, events, and tastings that you won’t want to miss. So, join me as we delve into the origins of June Days and discover how this incredible initiative came to life, bringing a touch of magic to our city.

The Birth of June Days

Fueling Community Spirit, June Days emerged as a response to the needs of Downtown Scottsdale and as a way to showcase the vibrant pulse of Old Town. This initiative brings our community together, highlighting the hidden charms of the summer season and celebrating the unique aspects that make Scottsdale truly special.

The Power of Small Businesses: Lifeblood of Our Community

Small businesses are the heart and soul of our community, driving economic growth, fostering job opportunities, and embracing the spirit of entrepreneurship. June Days amplifies the impact of tourism on our city by driving foot traffic and offering special deals that captivate both residents and visitors alike. Supporting these small businesses contributes to the prosperity and success of our entire community.

The Essence of June Days

June Days is more than just a month-long celebration; it’s a year-round passion that extends beyond the event itself. The dedicated organizers build relationships within the community, fostering excitement and anticipation. The events are tailored to cater to all tastes and ages, celebrating the diversity that makes Scottsdale thrive. Whether you’re a food enthusiast, an art lover, or a music aficionado, June Days has something extraordinary in store for you.

A key objective of June Days is to showcase the marvels of Old Town Scottsdale and connect residents and visitors with local artisans and businesses. By driving foot traffic and showcasing special deals, we have the opportunity to discover hidden treasures and unravel the stories of small business triumph. It’s a chance to immerse ourselves in the vibrant tapestry of Scottsdale’s entrepreneurial spirit.

The June Days Extravaganza

Let’s take a sneak peek into some of the exciting events happening during June Days. Families can enjoy a free showing of Roald Dahl’s, James and the Giant Peach at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts. The artwork showcased during family event nights is sure to captivate your children’s imagination. Puzzle Rides offers unique scavenger hunt adventures for the whole family, while the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park Glow Up Party promises an unforgettable neon-themed foam party. Movie enthusiasts can indulge in a free screening of Top Gun Maverick under the stars. And don’t forget to explore the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market for a taste of the vibrant local produce.

This celebration not only showcases the best of our city but also serves as a powerful platform for supporting our local small businesses. By joining me and engaging with the incredible lineup of events and activities, you’ll not only discover the hidden gems of Scottsdale but also contribute to the growth and prosperity of our community. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a curious visitor, June Days offers a summer experience like no other. So, let’s make memories, support our small businesses, and revel in the magic of Scottsdale’s June Days!

Posted on Leave a comment

Arizona Wildfires

This week I have the incredible opportunity to be on location with Jeremy Mueller from State Farm Insurance. We’re diving into a topic of utmost importance: the looming threat of wildfires this summer. As someone who hasn’t experienced a fire firsthand, I’m eager to learn about the precautions and insurance measures we can take to protect ourselves and our homes.

wildfires in arizona

Jeremy and I both agree that fire insurance preparedness is often overlooked. Many of us may not even realize that our home insurance usually covers fire-related incidents. However, it’s crucial to double-check our policies because if fire insurance isn’t included, it’s definitely a cause for concern. After all, protecting our homes is one of the main reasons we invest in insurance.

Luckily, Jeremy reassures me that 99.9% of us probably have fire insurance included in our home insurance policies. However, he brings up an interesting point about the severity of the fire problem in Arizona. Some national carriers are choosing not to renew coverage for clients in areas like Desert Mountain and other northern regions due to increased fire exposure. This revelation surprises me because one would not typically associate Arizona with widespread fires. Nevertheless, it’s essential to consult with your insurance agency or company to ensure you have adequate coverage.

Jeremy explains that if you’re insured with a reliable provider like State Farm, you’re in good hands. Companies like his are well-prepared to handle the risks associated with fire-prone areas. In fact, they even offer provisions that go the extra mile, such as dispatching teams to spray fire retardant and clear out gutters in high-risk situations. While these measures are more common in northern regions, it’s essential for residents of Desert Mountain and Cave Creek to start considering them seriously, given the overgrowth and increased risk during the dry and hot summer months.

It’s crucial to recognize that while we may not face the same level of fire risk as California, Arizona is not exempt from potentially devastating fires. Even if our homes are not directly engulfed in flames, the smoke can cause significant damage. Smoke permeates the walls and can ruin our belongings, including artwork and personal items. Jeremy emphasizes the importance of understanding that smoke damage is a real concern and sometimes even more destructive than the fire itself. While a fire may destroy a structure completely, smoke lingers and affects us on a more personal and emotional level.

As our conversation progresses, Jeremy highlights the importance of reviewing our insurance policies regularly. It’s a good practice to check if our coverage aligns with our current needs, especially as we acquire new items over time. He urges everyone to familiarize themselves with their policy’s details, even if reading the entire booklet might be a daunting task. In a nutshell, Jeremy advises ensuring that the cost of building your home per square foot is adequately covered. With the rising costs of construction, it’s often more economical to buy a new home rather than rebuild one. Therefore, having sufficient coverage becomes crucial, particularly in the high-risk areas of northern Arizona.

Curiosity piqued, I ask Jeremy if he has witnessed any significant fires during his time in Scottsdale. He shares a memory from the late nineties when a severe forest fire near the Scottsdale Golf Club rendered the area unusable for many years. This anecdote serves as a stark reminder that fires can indeed occur in unexpected places and should not be taken lightly. Thankfully, individuals like Jeremy and his team at State Farm are always ready to assist in times of crisis. Their prompt response and dedication to their clients’ safety are truly commendable.

Wildfire Prevention

In addition to my conversation with Jeremy, I had the opportunity to interview Tiffany Davila from the Arizona Forestry about the upcoming fire season and the measures being taken to prevent wildfires in Arizona. Tiffany shared valuable insights into the current situation and the proactive steps being taken to mitigate fire risks.

Tiffany began by emphasizing that the potential for active fires is high in Southern Arizona and the central region due to the dry fuel in those areas. She explained that the fire season typically starts in late April or early May and continues until the peak of the monsoon season, which usually occurs in mid-July. It’s crucial for residents to be aware of these timeframes and take necessary precautions.

One significant point Tiffany stressed during our conversation was that the majority of wildfires are caused by human activities, such as chain dragging or other sources of sparks. Surprisingly, she mentioned that 65-80% of wildfires in Arizona are started by people. This highlights the importance of personal responsibility in preventing wildfires. We must all be mindful of our actions and take steps to minimize the risk of fire ignition.

We delved into the Firewise USA program, which Tiffany explained as an initiative aimed at engaging homeowners and communities in wildfire prevention. The program provides educational resources, home assessments, and tools for creating defensible space around properties. By actively participating in Firewise, communities can reduce the risk of wildfires and ensure the safety of residents and their homes.

Another program we discussed was the “Ready, Set, Go” program, which outlines the necessary steps to take in case of a fire. Tiffany explained that “Ready” refers to being prepared and maintaining situational awareness. This includes having an emergency plan, assembling a go bag with essential items, and staying informed about fire conditions in the area. “Set” is the pre-evacuation status, where homeowners should be prepared to evacuate if necessary, ensuring that their go bags are ready and evacuation plans are in place. Finally, “Go” means evacuating immediately when authorities issue an evacuation order to ensure personal safety.

While it’s challenging to predict the severity of the upcoming fire season, Tiffany mentioned that there has been a cyclical pattern in recent years. The increase in population and human interaction in the wildland-urban interface areas has led to more fire starts in previously unaffected regions. It’s crucial for residents to be vigilant, stay informed, and actively participate in fire prevention efforts.

In conclusion, my conversation with Tiffany highlighted the importance of wildfire prevention, community engagement, and preparedness in Arizona. By understanding the risks, taking preventive measures, and being proactive in our approach, we can help protect our homes, communities, and the beautiful natural landscape of Arizona.

Posted on Leave a comment

Summer Camp in Scottsdale

Summer is just around the corner, and for many families in Scottsdale, finding the right summer camp for their children can be a challenge. I have researched and spoken with local experts to find the best summer camp options for families in the area.

Dr. Rob DiVito is all about summer camps for his little ones. He too knows the value of a good summer camp. Not only to make sure the kids are active and having fun during the summer but it’s an opportunity to do things we may not have time to experience during the school year. Some of his favorite ones are Herpetological Society in North Scottsdale and sports camps and more. Growing up in Scottsdale, he knows all too well how fun these camps can be.   

One option I highly recommend is the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale. I recently spoke with Christian Snaft from one of our club, who praised the level of activity planning offered by the club. Snaft emphasized that the club provides a variety of engaging and fun activities in every area of the building, from arts and crafts to outdoor sports and games. This ensures that every child has something they enjoy. He also noted that the club employs highly trained staff who prioritize child safety and ensure that all activities are age-appropriate.

STEM is all the rage these days. Engineering for kid’s has been around for 10 years serving over 2500 kids in 6 Valley locations. Husband and Wife, Ran and Lan Hoagland started this program because they saw the need for kids to be inspired by Science and math. Program Manager, Zach Gray is a former teacher with a degree in Childhood education. He’s taken his love of teaching and STEM to Engineering for Kids where he oversees all aspects of curriculum and program development and implementation.

But the Boys and Girls Club is just one of many summer camp options available in Scottsdale. Veronica Leon of Macaroni Kid, a resource for family events and activities, discussed the many options available for families in the area. Leon noted that there are camps focused on sports, STEM, and the arts, providing something for every child’s interests.

One camp that Leon highlighted is the ID Tech Camps, which is offered at Arizona State University. This camp is focused on technology and provides a unique opportunity for children to explore coding, game design, and other technological skills. The iD Tech Camps are available for children ages 7-17, and the program is tailored to each child’s skill level, ensuring that they are challenged and engaged.

Another popular camp option is the Scottsdale Artists’ School, which offers summer art camps for children. These camps are designed to teach children the fundamentals of art while allowing them to express their creativity. The camps are led by experienced art instructors who provide individualized attention to each child and help them develop their skills.

No matter what your child’s interests are, there are many summer camp options available in Scottsdale. From sports to art to technology, there is something for everyone. As a parent, it’s important to take the time to research and find the right camp for your child, ensuring that they have a fun and engaging summer while also learning new skills and making new friends. With the help of local experts and resources like Macaroni Kid, finding the perfect summer camp for your child can be a breeze.

Posted on Leave a comment

Scottsdale Vibes: Exploring Sister Cities

This week, we have an exciting episode featuring Joe Ann Garner, the representative of Scottsdale’s Sister Cities, and Mackenzie Shane, the current St. Patrick’s Day Parade Colleen. Join us as we delve into the incredible Sister Cities program, the upcoming student golf exchange with Killarney, Ireland, and the vibrant world of the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Unveiling Scottsdale’s Sister Cities

As an Arizonan, I recently discovered the fascinating concept of Sister Cities, and I’m thrilled to learn that Scottsdale is a part of this international organization. Sister Cities International was founded by President Eisenhower with the goal of promoting peace and communication between cities from different countries. Scottsdale currently has eight Sister Cities, including the recent addition of Killarney, Ireland.

Killarney, Ireland: A Remarkable Sister City

Nestled in County Kerry, Killarney is known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant Irish culture. Scottsdale’s Sister Cities program facilitates meaningful connections and fosters friendship and cultural understanding between Scottsdale and Killarney. When Scottsdale residents visit Killarney, they have the opportunity to meet local dignitaries, explore the beauty of the city, and experience Irish hospitality firsthand.

The Student Golf Exchange Program

One exciting collaboration between the Killarney Committee and the Scottsdale St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the student golf exchange program. This initiative allows young golf enthusiasts from Scottsdale and Killarney to immerse themselves in a unique cultural experience. Scottsdale students will travel to Killarney this summer to participate in the golf exchange program, while Irish students will visit Scottsdale for a memorable golfing experience and to explore our vibrant city.

Embracing the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Colleen Role

Mackenzie Shane, this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Colleen, shared her journey and the responsibilities that come with the title. As a Colleen, Mackenzie represents the parade for a year. She actively engages with the community, participates in fundraisers, and fosters cultural exchange at the Irish Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix.

Supporting the Program

Fundraising plays a crucial role in supporting the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and ensuring the success of the Colleen program. Mackenzie highlighted an upcoming golf scramble at Silverado on May 12th, which aims to raise funds for future participants. This event promises a day of fun, laughter, and the opportunity to contribute to the rich experiences the Colleen program offers.

Scottsdale’s Sister Cities program and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade embody the spirit of inclusivity, heritage, and cultural exchange. Through our conversation with Mackenzie Shane we discovered the significance of the Colleen title and the incredible experiences it brings. The addition of Killarney as a Sister City opens doors for international friendships and fosters global connections.

Whether you’re a golf enthusiast, a lover of Irish culture, or simply someone who appreciates the importance of international friendships, there’s something for everyone in these endeavors. Don’t miss the upcoming golf scramble, attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and immerse yourself in the vibrant Irish culture. Let’s celebrate the rich heritage and community spirit that make Scottsdale truly exceptional.

Posted on Leave a comment

Scottsdale Housing Market- What to Expect in 2023

Welcome to the Scottsdale Vibes Podcast. I’m Alicia Haygood, your host. Every week, I have the pleasure of bringing you fresh and captivating episodes highlighting the people, places, and events of Scottsdale. And before we dive into today’s episode, let’s take a moment to acknowledge one of our sponsors, the Shackleton Group, led by the incredible Shawn Shackleton.

Just before we started recording today, Shawn and I were discussing the unpredictability of the real estate market. We both chuckled at the thought of trying to make accurate predictions in such a dynamic environment. It’s simply impossible. While we can analyze data and trends, the market has a mind of its own. At the moment, low inventory and higher prices seem to be the prevailing factors. I’ve heard stories from friends who are dealing with multiple offers and bargaining situations, which is quite unusual for this time of year in Scottsdale.

Naturally, I was curious to understand what’s driving these changes, as it deviates from the typical pattern we observe. Shawn shed some light on the matter, emphasizing that the past two years have been far from normal. We’ve experienced historically low interest rates, low inventory, and soaring prices. Then, everything suddenly shifted after May last year, catching many off guard. The market didn’t necessarily crash, but it underwent a rapid transformation that triggered memories of the 2008 financial crisis.

It’s understandable why that event left a lasting impact on people’s minds. Even though it occurred some time ago, it still feels relatively recent. However, we must recognize that the situation has changed again. Prices have been steadily climbing since December, and the median price point reached $415,000 in January, February, and March. As we enter April, we’ve already surpassed $420,000, indicating an upward trend that some may find hard to believe or accept.

Furthermore, the issue of low inventory persists. There are more homes leaving the market than entering it, creating an inventory deficit. This demand, coupled with fluctuating interest rates, affects market dynamics. We were fortunate to enjoy historically low rates, but they have recently risen, albeit with some fluctuation. It’s crucial to stay informed about interest rates as they significantly impact market activity.

During our conversation, Shawn shared a valuable anecdote about a client who received a counteroffer on a house. The counteroffer initially caused concern due to the price, but Shawn advised her to take a step back and consider the bigger picture. By evaluating the monthly payment rather than the loan amount, they could make a more informed decision. It’s essential to work with a knowledgeable realtor who can guide you through these intricacies and help you weigh the pros and cons of different scenarios.

Traditionally, the Scottsdale market experiences a slowdown during the summer months. As the weather gets hotter, people tend to travel or retreat to their second homes, resulting in decreased activity. However, the advent of the internet has transformed the buying process, making it possible to purchase properties remotely. Even before COVID-19, Shawn was witnessing clients buying homes via FaceTime. The pandemic further accelerated this trend, and she was astonished by the number of homes sold without buyers ever stepping foot inside.

Returning to the current state of affairs, Scottsdale’s steady growth can be attributed to job opportunities. Unlike before the 2008 crisis, the city now boasts a more diverse range of industries. Previously, construction, hospitality, and low-end call centers dominated the job market. However, the crash severely affected these sectors, and it took time for them to recover. Additionally, the pandemic and supply chain disruptions further delayed construction projects, leading to a shortage of homes nationwide.

It’s essential to grasp the magnitude of this shortage. The lack of available homes isn’t exclusive to Scottsdale; it’s a nationwide issue. Cities across the country are experiencing similar challenges, as the demand for housing surpasses the current supply. Factors such as population growth, limited land availability, and regulatory constraints contribute to the housing shortage we face today.

In response to this situation, developers and builders are working tirelessly to construct new housing units. However, it’s a complex process that requires time and resources. The construction industry is facing its own set of obstacles, including rising material costs, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions. These factors can delay projects and further exacerbate the housing shortage.

To address this issue, it’s crucial for local governments to adopt policies that promote affordable housing and streamline the construction process. Encouraging mixed-use developments, implementing zoning reforms, and providing incentives for affordable housing projects are just a few strategies that can help alleviate the shortage in the long run.

As potential homebuyers or renters, it’s important to stay informed and be proactive in your housing search. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent can greatly assist in navigating the current market conditions. Exploring different neighborhoods and considering alternative housing options such as townhomes or condominiums may also broaden your possibilities.

While the current housing market may present challenges, it’s important to remain hopeful. Real estate markets are cyclical, and as supply and demand dynamics continue to evolve, we may see a shift in the future. In the meantime, it’s crucial to stay informed, be patient, and make well-informed decisions based on your individual circumstances.

That wraps up today’s episode of the Scottsdale Vibes Podcast. I hope you found this discussion on the housing market insightful. Remember to call Shawn Shackelton from The Shackelton Group for all of your housing needs!

Posted on Leave a comment

Birdcall: The History Behind Scottsdale’s All- Natural Chicken Restaurant

As the host of the Scottsdale Vibes Podcast, I have the pleasure of bringing you new and exciting episodes every week, showcasing the incredible people, places, and events in Scottsdale. Today, I am delighted to be sitting down with Peter Newlan, the Chief Experience Officer of Birdcall, a fantastic all-natural chicken restaurant located right here in Scottsdale on Scottsdale and Shea.

I must say, I absolutely love Peter’s title. Chief Experience Officer. It’s so unique and inspiring. It makes me wish I had a title like that in my own life. But let’s talk about Birdcall. It’s not just about their delicious and healthy food, although that is a major plus. What truly sets them apart is their deep connection to the community.

Everything about Birdcall, from the artwork to the spices they use and the bread they serve, is locally sourced from the valley. This speaks volumes about their commitment to supporting local businesses and showcasing the essence of the community through their restaurant.

I want to express my gratitude to Peter for taking the time to chat with us.

Peter’s journey in hospitality began unexpectedly. While biking home from school one day, he stumbled upon a small burger restaurant called Park Burger. As he sat inside, surrounded by people enjoying themselves, he felt an indescribable sense of connection and community. That experience sparked something within him, a realization that hospitality is more than just serving food—it’s about creating a special atmosphere where people can find solace, happiness, and a sense of belonging.

Peter’s passion for hospitality led him to join forces with his partner, Jean-Philippe Failyau, a classically trained chef. Together, they founded Birdcall with a shared belief that attention to detail can truly make a difference in the dining experience. They recognized that enhancing hospitality involves bringing together people with different skills and focusing on various aspects of the restaurant.

Peter emphasizes that restaurants have the power to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Whether someone walks through the door on their best day or their worst day, it’s the restaurant’s responsibility to make their experience a little bit better. Restaurants can become the heartbeat of a community, and that’s exactly what Birdcall aims to be.

Expanding outside of Colorado and choosing Scottsdale as their first location in Arizona speaks volumes about their belief in the Scottsdale community. They see it as an opportunity to learn from other exceptional restaurants in the area and build connections with like-minded individuals in the industry.

One thing that truly impressed me about Birdcall is their genuine dedication to being a part of the community. They are not just a satellite restaurant; they are deeply ingrained in the fabric of Scottsdale. From the local artists who create murals on their walls to the posters featuring concerts held in the area, every detail reflects their commitment to Scottsdale and its unique culture.

Peter explains that being a part of the community is not just a marketing strategy for Birdcall—it’s at the core of who they are as a company. They believe that a restaurant exists to serve the community it has the privilege to be a part of. The power of hospitality lies in the human connection and the ability to make a difference in someone’s day, no matter how small.

In line with this philosophy, Birdcall actively gives back to the community. Inspired by brands like Patagonia and their commitment to the environment, Birdcall has implemented a program where a portion of their sales goes toward school fundraisers and initiatives to fight food insecurity. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Birdcall served 250,000 meals to rural communities in need. It’s heartwarming to see how Birdcall stepped up during such a challenging time and provided nourishment to those who needed it most.

But Birdcall’s impact doesn’t stop there. Peter shares that they also prioritize sustainability in their operations. From using eco-friendly packaging to sourcing ingredients from local farmers who practice sustainable agriculture, Birdcall is committed to minimizing their environmental footprint.

I am truly inspired by Birdcall’s dedication to not only creating an exceptional dining experience but also being a force for good in the community. It’s clear that Peter and his team are driven by a genuine desire to make a positive impact.

As we wrap up our conversation, I can’t help but feel a sense of admiration for Birdcall and the values they embody. Their commitment to supporting local businesses, fostering community connections, and giving back is truly commendable. I encourage all our listeners to visit Birdcall and experience not only their delicious food but also the warm and welcoming atmosphere they have created.

Thank you, Peter, for sharing your story and for reminding us all of the power of hospitality and community. It has been an absolute pleasure having you on the Scottsdale Vibes Podcast, and I look forward to seeing Birdcall continue to thrive and make a difference in Scottsdale and beyond.

And to all our listeners, thank you for tuning in. Remember, it’s not just about the food we eat, but also the experiences and connections we create along the way. Stay tuned for more exciting episodes coming your way, where we continue to celebrate the vibrant spirit of Scottsdale. Until next time, this is Alicia Haygood, keep spreading those positive vibes!