Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 14, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Housing the Evacuees


  • What is being done in Arizona to find temporary housing for people forced out of the Gulf Region by Hurricane Katrina?
Guests:
  • Dr. Sheila Harris - Director, Arizona Department of Housing
  • Mike Evans - Queen of Peace teacher


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon", Hurricane Katrina evacuees are leaving the coliseum for traditional housing. Teachers from all over the globe go to space camp. Find out what the mission is for these educators. And a glittering new jewel in the valley's art scene is about to open.

>> "Horizon" is made possible by the friends of Channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." In the news, federal judge declaring the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional. The case brought by the same atheist whose previous battle against the words "under God" was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on procedural grounds. U.S. district judge Lawrence Carlton ruled the Pledge's reference to one nation under God violates school children's rights to be free from a coercive requirement to affirm God. That decision setting up another showdown over the Pledge at a time when the makeup of the Supreme Court is in flux. The cots in the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum will soon give way to seats for people to view musical acts at the upcoming state fair. For that to happen, Hurricane Katrina evacuees have to find more stable housing. I'll talk to the head of the state department of housing about that. But first, here's more about the efforts to place evacuees in homes.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Although the veterans memorial coliseum in Phoenix was a welcome relief for New Orleans evacuees, it's not a place they wanted to call home for any great length of time and most have not had to. A spokesman for the Arizona Department of Housing said as of yesterday 277 households have met with the department to be placed in housing. The households range in size from single people to one household of 18. Of those households that have met with the department, 74 have been placed in housing, 111 households have been given housing referrals. The state is working with rental agencies which rent to people who receive assistance from the state. 50 of the households working with the department were self evacuees and did not stay in the coliseum. The evacuees have been placed in homes or apartments all over the valley. They received a voucher for the first month's rent from the state and will receive continuing help from Federal Emergency Management Agency.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to tell us more about the efforts to house Katrina victims is Dr. Sheila Harris, the director of the Arizona Department of Housing. What's the count at the coliseum?

>> Sheila Harris:
Actually, the count last night I was told was 156 people slept at the coliseum last night.

>> Michael Grant:
I seem to recall at peak it was somewhere close to 600.

>> Sheila Harris:
I believe the official count was 540.

>> Michael Grant:
Give us an idea of the mix of people that you have there.

>> Sheila Harris:
When we first went to the coliseum on September 4th, there was about 540 people that had come in on that day. About a third of them had expressed a willingness or desire to stay in the valley and two-thirds were single individuals. Primarily the people that came here were single individuals, although we did have some families. And one very large family of 18.

>> Michael Grant:
This is a great story, I want you to relate it. You were telling me about a senior couple and was it six other --

>> Sheila Harris:
Senior couple and six other individuals who actually met at the coliseum. They were all from New Orleans. They met at the coliseum. They shared meals, shared their stories and decided they would like to stay in the valley and would like to live together. They came to us and said can you help us find housing. We were fortunate to work with one of our low income housing tax credit properties, which is located in Youngtown. They had six vacancies. We talked to the apartment manager. She said I will keep those units until they can get here. I want them to see the units. I want to make sure they like living here. I'll waive the application fee, I'll waive the security deposit, and we'll hold the units until they get here. We worked extensively with the Arizona department of economic security and Maricopa County that provided transportation. One of the DES workers went in a van with all seven of them. They went out to Youngtown. They toured the apartments. They decided they liked them. Gary from DES helped them fill out applications and they moved in yesterday.

>> Michael Grant:
That's absolutely incredible. What does your department do when it meets with those people? What's the process from that standpoint? Sort of the intake side.

>> Sheila Harris:
We had to create an intake system because this is not something we normally do. Normally we are financiers and check the market conditions and we do monitoring and compliance to ensure the properties that are developed are well maintained and the people living there are income eligible. So we had to create an intake system in the beginning. Basically, we sit down and talk to the individuals. We found out where they lived, what they're family size, what their income is, where their kids are going to school. It's very much driven by where they want to live. And the reasons they stay here are they want a new start in some cases, some of them their employers have transferred their jobs here. We work with them to make sure where their kids are going to school is close to where their apartment is going to be and we don't want somebody in an apartment in Peoria and a job in Mesa.

>> Michael Grant:
You mentioned one of the people involved had worked for Hyatt in New Orleans. And they said we can place you in a spot out here.

>> Sheila Harris:
That's true. There was an opening for a banquet manager at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch facility. This woman was very well qualified. She was a single mom. She had one child. She came to us, I enrolled my child in school, I have a job, can you find me something in the middle so I can drive my daughter to school, get to my job on time and pick her up after school. We gave her three referrals. We try to give everybody at least three choices.

>> Michael Grant:
What are your primary sources of supply? We talked about intake. What's the supply situation?

>> Sheila Harris:
We've had a supply of inventory of existing unit that we financed and other partners but not everybody that's coming here needs a unit that's subsidized. We have worked with many, many people who have donated units. We have an inventory and have three, four, five times as many apartments offers, homes as people who decided to stay here.

>> Michael Grant:
It seems to be a surge across the board. We talked about employment aspects earlier in the week, and there had been a surge of, Okay, I've got these jobs, that kind of thing. You seem to be describing the same kind of surge in offering in relation to housing.

>> Sheila Harris:
That's absolutely true, Michael. I would have to say this community has been overwhelmingly generous. We have more than sufficient furniture that's been donated. People have jobs as you talked about. There are people that are moving into these apartments, they're fully furnished, linens. Some people are stocking the refrigerators. One woman went out and rented an apartment for three months. She said, I have stocked the refrigerator, I have the furniture, linens, everything. I feel a need to do this and I'm going to rent it for three months and if they want to stay, they're more than welcome to.

>> Michael Grant:
Had to find one location, I understand that would accept pets?

>> Sheila Harris:
Yes. This was one of our more interesting placements. This was a self evacuee. I don't want anyone to think the plane that came in Sunday a week ago contained all these animals. This one gentleman had a ferret, snake and reptiles. We were able to find him a place to live.

>> Michael Grant:
No dogs barking. I think snakes, ferrets are quiet. I guess from the landlord's standpoint, that might work okay. How does the financial side of this work for the evacuees?

>> Sheila Harris:
We are providing one month's rent to help them get settled. We are making sure they are signed up with the Red Cross and FEMA to insure they will have their housing benefits. Everyone who has been displaced by the hurricane will have housing benefits that will come to them from FEMA.

>> Michael Grant:
You were telling me before we went on the air those benefits will hinge to a certain extent on what the living accommodations that were lost and a variety of other factors?

>> Sheila Harris:
I believe that is true. I'm not a FEMA expert, I don't work for FEMA, my best advice is contact with someone from FEMA. I did meet with the representative and she indicated housing would be one of the things they would provide evacuees.

>> Michael Grant:
Transportation also comes to mind. I mean, you've got to get from point A to point B. I would think that would be difficult for a lot of these people.

>> Sheila Harris:
Transportation is always a challenge. People have said this is easy to get around, it's this square mile grid. It's very easy for us. The roads don't curve, and those kinds of things. We have worked with many evacuees to make sure the housing is on public transportation lines. There has been a huge outpouring from the faith-based community and they have helped a lot with transportation in helping people search for housing but looking at their long-term needs.

>> Michael Grant:
Obviously, with the boom, the bubble, whatever you want to call what's been going on here in the valley, for that matter elsewhere, but in the valley for the past year or so, we've spent some time talking about affordable housing. Has that impacted this situation at all, including but not limited to the ability to place people?

>> Sheila Harris:
We were very fortunate in that we had sufficient supply of the apartments. Many houses, apartments that we have developed have been for people earning 50 to 60\% of median income. There is sufficient supply of housing in that area particularly for rental. The challenges, when you talk about the housing bubble, it's no longer what you can do when you first get a job is to go buy a medium priced house. That's where the challenge has become. I think of my own personal situation and maybe yours too, when you first got out of college, or first in college, you didn't go out and buy a house, you lived in an apartment. You saved your money, you got a better job, you increased your ability to get a higher priced home. It is a great way to build wealth in our community. We're finding there is more competition for that middle-priced home because people who are low income have to pay more to get into those units than other people who don't have the income to get in them in the first place. It's a very tight rental market for very low income. There's just not sufficient supply. There are others that don't have the income to get into them in the first place. It's a very tight market for the very low income. For many people who have come here that have jobs there is sufficient rental housing.

>> Michael Grant:
Other entities involved generally in the location process for the evacuees?

>> Sheila Harris:
Everybody in state government I think has been involved in this process to one degree or another. Primarily, department of economic security, to make sure people have their benefits, department of health services, to make sure people have their health services, we have worked with our partners in the city as well as the county to help with transportation. The city of Phoenix has provided bus passes to help people get around and look for jobs and look for apartments. It's been a tremendous effort among all the state agencies. The governor deserves a lot of credit getting us to work together and attacking it in full force.

>> Michael Grant:
Obviously winding down at the coliseum. Some of the services will be maintained at the Salvation Army?

>> Sheila Harris:
Yes, there will be a family transition center at the Salvation Army, 2702 east Washington. We have started to see a few families, I think 7 or 8 families, have gone through that facility.

>> Michael Grant:
Dr. Sheila Harris, director of the Arizona Department of Housing, thank you very much.

>> Sheila Harris:
Thank you very much.

>> Michael Grant:
Recently more than 100 teachers from all over the world attended a space camp in an effort to help improve science and math education. One of those teachers is from Mesa. And we will talk to him in a minute. First, Mike Sauceda shows us more from the space camp.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The Honeywell Educator Space Academy training program was held June 25th through July 1st at the U.S. space and rocket center in Huntsville, Alabama. 144 math and science teachers from 17 countries and 32 states participated in the training program, including 8th grade teacher Mike Evans. He teaches at the Queen of Peace Catholic school in Mesa. Evans and the others like Phoenix teacher Keith Brazier were selected for the space camp scholarship from among 500 applicants. During the stay at the space camp, Evans took part in an intensive 40 hour laboratory classroom and field training program along with the other teachers. At the space camp, Evans and the others participated in astronaut training exercises, including the high performance jet simulation, scenario based space missions, land and water survival training and a state of the art flight dynamics.

>> Michael Grant:
Earlier I talked with Queen of Peace teacher, Mike Evans. Here's that interview.

Michael Grant:
Mike, space camp. How did you get picked?

>> Mike Evans:
there was a competitive application process. Folks from Honeywell and the people at the U.S. space and rocket center in Huntsville, Alabama went through 650 applications and chose 143 middle school science and math teachers from 42 states and 18 foreign countries and I was one of the ones they chose.

>> Michael Grant:
And the title of your essay was, how I would like to spend my time in space camp?

>> Mike Evans:
the closest I'll ever come to being an astronaut. It was a essay about the space program and what it's meant to me and my family.

>> Michael Grant:
You went through space training?

>> Mike Evans:
It was more like a symbolic version of astronaut training. We went through G forces, things that you have to do to evacuate from vessels that go under water. Parachute drops. It wasn't as rigorous as Christa McAuliffe went through.

>> Michael Grant:
You didn't go in the plane and get to be weightless.

>> Mike Evans:
the vomit comet, no, we didn't go on it.

>> Michael Grant:
TANG?

>> Mike Evans:
Did not have any TANG at all. They did serve orange juice each morning. They tried get away from having those packaged ones like that. Now the astronauts like to have food that resembles as close as they to what they eat at home.

>> Michael Grant:
This was at the facility at Huntsville, Alabama?

>> Mike Evans:
Right. Marshall Space Flight Center.

>> Michael Grant:
and what's the routine normal function? Obviously it doesn't get the kind of attention Houston does and cape Canaveral.

>> Mike Evans:
Marshal flight center manages the science on the shuttle and space station. They do an awful lot of the testing of the vehicles. So that's where the rocket engines were developed, that's where the Saturn 5 and Saturn 1, the redstone arsenal is there. You can't get on the redstone arsenal since 9/11. It used to always be part of it. You would get to go to mission ops but that's now closed off.

>> Michael Grant:
Now there's also classroom training.

>> Mike Evans:
Right.

>> Michael Grant:
What's covered in the classroom?

>> Mike Evans:
We did air rockets, bottle rockets, regular rockets. We had a couple of different presentations from folks from NASA, marshal space flight center on materials we got to use in the classroom, examples of math exercises that teach different math concepts. All of it designed to be used in conjunction with space sciences so that you are energizing those middle school students to think about science and engineering when they get to high school.

>> Michael Grant:
This portion of the exercise being devoted -- it's the teacher teaching the teachers to teach.

>> Mike Evans:
Right. They want us to be wowed so we bring that enthusiasm back to the classroom so that the students get to see it and you bring some hands-on activity, that you impart that to the students in much more hands-on so they remember the concepts.

>> Michael Grant:
Any astronauts?

>> Mike Evans:
We met Story Musgrave. Dr. Musgrave is the only astronaut to fly on all five orbitals, he is the guy that saved the Hubble space telescope. His was the most inspiring presentation. We got a DVD copy of the materials that he uses for it so we are able to have that same information.

>> Michael Grant:
We often think of astronauts being like Navy jet fighter pilots and those kind of things but a lot of these guys carry heavy, serious academic credentials.

>> Mike Evans:
Right. He was a brain surgeon and an engineer. He could do it all. The man is brilliant.

>> Michael Grant:
All right. So how are you going to take that back to the classroom? How do you think it impacted what you do?

>> Mike Evans:
I've already been working on my pitch to the parent teachers association for funding for a bottle rocket launcher so I can launch multiple bottle rockets at the same time so they get a little bit of a flight, be working with the math teachers so they can get some graphing calculators so the kids can actually see how flight simulations work when you do things like rocketry. A stack of materials that I'll be able to use when we do the astronomy and science section. I teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade science and social studies at the small Catholic school that I'm at in mesa, queen of peace, the science they get it from me.

>> Michael Grant:
It sounds like a great experience. We appreciate you joining us.

>> Mike Evans:
Thank you for the opportunity. The folks at Honeywell deserve the credit. A dozen different plants and 50\% of the funding came from the employees. They're putting their money where their mouth is. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
There is new excitement tonight in the east valley arts community. The $98 million Mesa Arts Center is about to open. It's the largest arts project in state history. And producer Sooyeon Lee reports it's the result of a community pulling together for a better quality of life.

>> When you come to the arts center you're walking into the oasis.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
The seven acre art complex in the heart of downtown Mesa is changing the cultural landscape of this fast-growing city. It's the new mesa arts center, the largest facility of its kind in the State of Arizona.

>> We have four theaters, five galleries, 14 visual and performing arts classrooms that surround a 7 acre site, through the middle of which runs a 750 foot long public plaza.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
the center's executive director Gerry Fathauer says this venue is much-needed.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
We were originally in an old elementary school built in 1936. We had 12 classrooms and a small gallery space and an elementary school auditorium that sat 152 people. We had outgrown that by the mid 80s. The community said we need a performing arts center?

>> Sooyeon Lee:
The Mesa Arts Alliance was formed in 1994, pushing for the construction of a performing arts center for Mesa.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
The center cost $94.5 million, and 90.8 came from quality of life sales tax funds. They were approved by voters in 98, and the art center is just one of the beneficiaries of that tax. The remaining 3.7 was raised locally by the mesa arts entertainment alliance, those are private dollars to help complete the 4 theaters and the project at the same time.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
I think the mesa arts center is significant because if you look at the size of mesa, half a million, 40th largest city in the nation. These are basic amenities most cities of that size would have for their communities. We have many local arts groups who didn't have any public facilities to speak of. Nor galleries that were worthy of the type of collections we have here. Of course, the community arts education program which we ran out of an older building since 1980 involve youth from 3 to seniors. It's an opportunity for people to find new careers, for youth to connect with their own creativity, learn team-building. There's a lot of value we pump back into the community. To have the amenities in one place is significant in and of itself.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
And the buildings are in themselves works of art.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
the architects took inspiration from the Sonoran desert. They wanted to look like an art center so people would know that we have art here.

>> Randy Vogel:
If you're going into the CICADA theater, you're coming into a canyon. It creates the whole atmosphere and makes the night a special night.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
According to the theatre director, Randy Vogel, the center will bring a new visibility to mesa.

>> Randy Vogel:
It's a 40 minute drive to see a show in downtown Phoenix. We're cutting the time down in half. We're giving people the opportunity to go out that they haven't had before in downtown. The other thing that really that we're going to be helping to do is we're bringing in a half million people into downtown mesa. Any venue or any city that is invested in the arts and built their downtowns, looking at Philadelphia now, the new downtown Philadelphia, what changed the community and made it a better place to live was the building of the arts. The building of arts centers in those communities. It's really important. The arts are a part of how we live and what we need to live and to make our community better. I think that's really what we're providing here with the mesa art center now. And part of the growth of the community to become a major city and major player in the state.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
the community's vision for the arts resulted in the buildings we see today.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
The community called upon us as city staff and said this is something that we need. The city paid for some studies to pay to confirm what was needed. It was recommended to build four theaters. If it doesn't happen with one election one time, to go at it again and again. It was the enthusiasm, determination, showing up at public meetings saying this is what we want. It didn't happen overnight. It's been more than two decades of effort on the part of many people.

>> Michael Grant:
This Saturday, the Mesa Arts Center has a grand opening with a gala concert featuring Michael Crawford of "Phantom of the Opera" fame. To see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out about upcoming topics, go to our website at www.az.pbs.org.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Hearings for United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Nominee John Roberts continue. ASU law professor Paul Bender will talk about the hearings and what a court headed by Roberts might mean to us. Bender will also talk about how the court will be impacted by the fact that President Bush will nominate two justices to the Court. That's Thursday at 7 on "Horizon".

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks for joining us. Have a great one. I'm Michael Grant. Good night.

Mesa Arts Center


Guests:
  • Dr. Sheila Harris - Director, Arizona Department of Housing
  • Mike Evans - Queen of Peace teacher


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon", Hurricane Katrina evacuees are leaving the coliseum for traditional housing. Teachers from all over the globe go to space camp. Find out what the mission is for these educators. And a glittering new jewel in the valley's art scene is about to open.

>> "Horizon" is made possible by the friends of Channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." In the news, federal judge declaring the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional. The case brought by the same atheist whose previous battle against the words "under God" was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on procedural grounds. U.S. district judge Lawrence Carlton ruled the Pledge's reference to one nation under God violates school children's rights to be free from a coercive requirement to affirm God. That decision setting up another showdown over the Pledge at a time when the makeup of the Supreme Court is in flux. The cots in the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum will soon give way to seats for people to view musical acts at the upcoming state fair. For that to happen, Hurricane Katrina evacuees have to find more stable housing. I'll talk to the head of the state department of housing about that. But first, here's more about the efforts to place evacuees in homes.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Although the veterans memorial coliseum in Phoenix was a welcome relief for New Orleans evacuees, it's not a place they wanted to call home for any great length of time and most have not had to. A spokesman for the Arizona Department of Housing said as of yesterday 277 households have met with the department to be placed in housing. The households range in size from single people to one household of 18. Of those households that have met with the department, 74 have been placed in housing, 111 households have been given housing referrals. The state is working with rental agencies which rent to people who receive assistance from the state. 50 of the households working with the department were self evacuees and did not stay in the coliseum. The evacuees have been placed in homes or apartments all over the valley. They received a voucher for the first month's rent from the state and will receive continuing help from Federal Emergency Management Agency.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to tell us more about the efforts to house Katrina victims is Dr. Sheila Harris, the director of the Arizona Department of Housing. What's the count at the coliseum?

>> Sheila Harris:
Actually, the count last night I was told was 156 people slept at the coliseum last night.

>> Michael Grant:
I seem to recall at peak it was somewhere close to 600.

>> Sheila Harris:
I believe the official count was 540.

>> Michael Grant:
Give us an idea of the mix of people that you have there.

>> Sheila Harris:
When we first went to the coliseum on September 4th, there was about 540 people that had come in on that day. About a third of them had expressed a willingness or desire to stay in the valley and two-thirds were single individuals. Primarily the people that came here were single individuals, although we did have some families. And one very large family of 18.

>> Michael Grant:
This is a great story, I want you to relate it. You were telling me about a senior couple and was it six other --

>> Sheila Harris:
Senior couple and six other individuals who actually met at the coliseum. They were all from New Orleans. They met at the coliseum. They shared meals, shared their stories and decided they would like to stay in the valley and would like to live together. They came to us and said can you help us find housing. We were fortunate to work with one of our low income housing tax credit properties, which is located in Youngtown. They had six vacancies. We talked to the apartment manager. She said I will keep those units until they can get here. I want them to see the units. I want to make sure they like living here. I'll waive the application fee, I'll waive the security deposit, and we'll hold the units until they get here. We worked extensively with the Arizona department of economic security and Maricopa County that provided transportation. One of the DES workers went in a van with all seven of them. They went out to Youngtown. They toured the apartments. They decided they liked them. Gary from DES helped them fill out applications and they moved in yesterday.

>> Michael Grant:
That's absolutely incredible. What does your department do when it meets with those people? What's the process from that standpoint? Sort of the intake side.

>> Sheila Harris:
We had to create an intake system because this is not something we normally do. Normally we are financiers and check the market conditions and we do monitoring and compliance to ensure the properties that are developed are well maintained and the people living there are income eligible. So we had to create an intake system in the beginning. Basically, we sit down and talk to the individuals. We found out where they lived, what they're family size, what their income is, where their kids are going to school. It's very much driven by where they want to live. And the reasons they stay here are they want a new start in some cases, some of them their employers have transferred their jobs here. We work with them to make sure where their kids are going to school is close to where their apartment is going to be and we don't want somebody in an apartment in Peoria and a job in Mesa.

>> Michael Grant:
You mentioned one of the people involved had worked for Hyatt in New Orleans. And they said we can place you in a spot out here.

>> Sheila Harris:
That's true. There was an opening for a banquet manager at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch facility. This woman was very well qualified. She was a single mom. She had one child. She came to us, I enrolled my child in school, I have a job, can you find me something in the middle so I can drive my daughter to school, get to my job on time and pick her up after school. We gave her three referrals. We try to give everybody at least three choices.

>> Michael Grant:
What are your primary sources of supply? We talked about intake. What's the supply situation?

>> Sheila Harris:
We've had a supply of inventory of existing unit that we financed and other partners but not everybody that's coming here needs a unit that's subsidized. We have worked with many, many people who have donated units. We have an inventory and have three, four, five times as many apartments offers, homes as people who decided to stay here.

>> Michael Grant:
It seems to be a surge across the board. We talked about employment aspects earlier in the week, and there had been a surge of, Okay, I've got these jobs, that kind of thing. You seem to be describing the same kind of surge in offering in relation to housing.

>> Sheila Harris:
That's absolutely true, Michael. I would have to say this community has been overwhelmingly generous. We have more than sufficient furniture that's been donated. People have jobs as you talked about. There are people that are moving into these apartments, they're fully furnished, linens. Some people are stocking the refrigerators. One woman went out and rented an apartment for three months. She said, I have stocked the refrigerator, I have the furniture, linens, everything. I feel a need to do this and I'm going to rent it for three months and if they want to stay, they're more than welcome to.

>> Michael Grant:
Had to find one location, I understand that would accept pets?

>> Sheila Harris:
Yes. This was one of our more interesting placements. This was a self evacuee. I don't want anyone to think the plane that came in Sunday a week ago contained all these animals. This one gentleman had a ferret, snake and reptiles. We were able to find him a place to live.

>> Michael Grant:
No dogs barking. I think snakes, ferrets are quiet. I guess from the landlord's standpoint, that might work okay. How does the financial side of this work for the evacuees?

>> Sheila Harris:
We are providing one month's rent to help them get settled. We are making sure they are signed up with the Red Cross and FEMA to insure they will have their housing benefits. Everyone who has been displaced by the hurricane will have housing benefits that will come to them from FEMA.

>> Michael Grant:
You were telling me before we went on the air those benefits will hinge to a certain extent on what the living accommodations that were lost and a variety of other factors?

>> Sheila Harris:
I believe that is true. I'm not a FEMA expert, I don't work for FEMA, my best advice is contact with someone from FEMA. I did meet with the representative and she indicated housing would be one of the things they would provide evacuees.

>> Michael Grant:
Transportation also comes to mind. I mean, you've got to get from point A to point B. I would think that would be difficult for a lot of these people.

>> Sheila Harris:
Transportation is always a challenge. People have said this is easy to get around, it's this square mile grid. It's very easy for us. The roads don't curve, and those kinds of things. We have worked with many evacuees to make sure the housing is on public transportation lines. There has been a huge outpouring from the faith-based community and they have helped a lot with transportation in helping people search for housing but looking at their long-term needs.

>> Michael Grant:
Obviously, with the boom, the bubble, whatever you want to call what's been going on here in the valley, for that matter elsewhere, but in the valley for the past year or so, we've spent some time talking about affordable housing. Has that impacted this situation at all, including but not limited to the ability to place people?

>> Sheila Harris:
We were very fortunate in that we had sufficient supply of the apartments. Many houses, apartments that we have developed have been for people earning 50 to 60\% of median income. There is sufficient supply of housing in that area particularly for rental. The challenges, when you talk about the housing bubble, it's no longer what you can do when you first get a job is to go buy a medium priced house. That's where the challenge has become. I think of my own personal situation and maybe yours too, when you first got out of college, or first in college, you didn't go out and buy a house, you lived in an apartment. You saved your money, you got a better job, you increased your ability to get a higher priced home. It is a great way to build wealth in our community. We're finding there is more competition for that middle-priced home because people who are low income have to pay more to get into those units than other people who don't have the income to get in them in the first place. It's a very tight rental market for very low income. There's just not sufficient supply. There are others that don't have the income to get into them in the first place. It's a very tight market for the very low income. For many people who have come here that have jobs there is sufficient rental housing.

>> Michael Grant:
Other entities involved generally in the location process for the evacuees?

>> Sheila Harris:
Everybody in state government I think has been involved in this process to one degree or another. Primarily, department of economic security, to make sure people have their benefits, department of health services, to make sure people have their health services, we have worked with our partners in the city as well as the county to help with transportation. The city of Phoenix has provided bus passes to help people get around and look for jobs and look for apartments. It's been a tremendous effort among all the state agencies. The governor deserves a lot of credit getting us to work together and attacking it in full force.

>> Michael Grant:
Obviously winding down at the coliseum. Some of the services will be maintained at the Salvation Army?

>> Sheila Harris:
Yes, there will be a family transition center at the Salvation Army, 2702 east Washington. We have started to see a few families, I think 7 or 8 families, have gone through that facility.

>> Michael Grant:
Dr. Sheila Harris, director of the Arizona Department of Housing, thank you very much.

>> Sheila Harris:
Thank you very much.

>> Michael Grant:
Recently more than 100 teachers from all over the world attended a space camp in an effort to help improve science and math education. One of those teachers is from Mesa. And we will talk to him in a minute. First, Mike Sauceda shows us more from the space camp.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The Honeywell Educator Space Academy training program was held June 25th through July 1st at the U.S. space and rocket center in Huntsville, Alabama. 144 math and science teachers from 17 countries and 32 states participated in the training program, including 8th grade teacher Mike Evans. He teaches at the Queen of Peace Catholic school in Mesa. Evans and the others like Phoenix teacher Keith Brazier were selected for the space camp scholarship from among 500 applicants. During the stay at the space camp, Evans took part in an intensive 40 hour laboratory classroom and field training program along with the other teachers. At the space camp, Evans and the others participated in astronaut training exercises, including the high performance jet simulation, scenario based space missions, land and water survival training and a state of the art flight dynamics.

>> Michael Grant:
Earlier I talked with Queen of Peace teacher, Mike Evans. Here's that interview.

Michael Grant:
Mike, space camp. How did you get picked?

>> Mike Evans:
there was a competitive application process. Folks from Honeywell and the people at the U.S. space and rocket center in Huntsville, Alabama went through 650 applications and chose 143 middle school science and math teachers from 42 states and 18 foreign countries and I was one of the ones they chose.

>> Michael Grant:
And the title of your essay was, how I would like to spend my time in space camp?

>> Mike Evans:
the closest I'll ever come to being an astronaut. It was a essay about the space program and what it's meant to me and my family.

>> Michael Grant:
You went through space training?

>> Mike Evans:
It was more like a symbolic version of astronaut training. We went through G forces, things that you have to do to evacuate from vessels that go under water. Parachute drops. It wasn't as rigorous as Christa McAuliffe went through.

>> Michael Grant:
You didn't go in the plane and get to be weightless.

>> Mike Evans:
the vomit comet, no, we didn't go on it.

>> Michael Grant:
TANG?

>> Mike Evans:
Did not have any TANG at all. They did serve orange juice each morning. They tried get away from having those packaged ones like that. Now the astronauts like to have food that resembles as close as they to what they eat at home.

>> Michael Grant:
This was at the facility at Huntsville, Alabama?

>> Mike Evans:
Right. Marshall Space Flight Center.

>> Michael Grant:
and what's the routine normal function? Obviously it doesn't get the kind of attention Houston does and cape Canaveral.

>> Mike Evans:
Marshal flight center manages the science on the shuttle and space station. They do an awful lot of the testing of the vehicles. So that's where the rocket engines were developed, that's where the Saturn 5 and Saturn 1, the redstone arsenal is there. You can't get on the redstone arsenal since 9/11. It used to always be part of it. You would get to go to mission ops but that's now closed off.

>> Michael Grant:
Now there's also classroom training.

>> Mike Evans:
Right.

>> Michael Grant:
What's covered in the classroom?

>> Mike Evans:
We did air rockets, bottle rockets, regular rockets. We had a couple of different presentations from folks from NASA, marshal space flight center on materials we got to use in the classroom, examples of math exercises that teach different math concepts. All of it designed to be used in conjunction with space sciences so that you are energizing those middle school students to think about science and engineering when they get to high school.

>> Michael Grant:
This portion of the exercise being devoted -- it's the teacher teaching the teachers to teach.

>> Mike Evans:
Right. They want us to be wowed so we bring that enthusiasm back to the classroom so that the students get to see it and you bring some hands-on activity, that you impart that to the students in much more hands-on so they remember the concepts.

>> Michael Grant:
Any astronauts?

>> Mike Evans:
We met Story Musgrave. Dr. Musgrave is the only astronaut to fly on all five orbitals, he is the guy that saved the Hubble space telescope. His was the most inspiring presentation. We got a DVD copy of the materials that he uses for it so we are able to have that same information.

>> Michael Grant:
We often think of astronauts being like Navy jet fighter pilots and those kind of things but a lot of these guys carry heavy, serious academic credentials.

>> Mike Evans:
Right. He was a brain surgeon and an engineer. He could do it all. The man is brilliant.

>> Michael Grant:
All right. So how are you going to take that back to the classroom? How do you think it impacted what you do?

>> Mike Evans:
I've already been working on my pitch to the parent teachers association for funding for a bottle rocket launcher so I can launch multiple bottle rockets at the same time so they get a little bit of a flight, be working with the math teachers so they can get some graphing calculators so the kids can actually see how flight simulations work when you do things like rocketry. A stack of materials that I'll be able to use when we do the astronomy and science section. I teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade science and social studies at the small Catholic school that I'm at in mesa, queen of peace, the science they get it from me.

>> Michael Grant:
It sounds like a great experience. We appreciate you joining us.

>> Mike Evans:
Thank you for the opportunity. The folks at Honeywell deserve the credit. A dozen different plants and 50\% of the funding came from the employees. They're putting their money where their mouth is. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
There is new excitement tonight in the east valley arts community. The $98 million Mesa Arts Center is about to open. It's the largest arts project in state history. And producer Sooyeon Lee reports it's the result of a community pulling together for a better quality of life.

>> When you come to the arts center you're walking into the oasis.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
The seven acre art complex in the heart of downtown Mesa is changing the cultural landscape of this fast-growing city. It's the new mesa arts center, the largest facility of its kind in the State of Arizona.

>> We have four theaters, five galleries, 14 visual and performing arts classrooms that surround a 7 acre site, through the middle of which runs a 750 foot long public plaza.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
the center's executive director Gerry Fathauer says this venue is much-needed.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
We were originally in an old elementary school built in 1936. We had 12 classrooms and a small gallery space and an elementary school auditorium that sat 152 people. We had outgrown that by the mid 80s. The community said we need a performing arts center?

>> Sooyeon Lee:
The Mesa Arts Alliance was formed in 1994, pushing for the construction of a performing arts center for Mesa.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
The center cost $94.5 million, and 90.8 came from quality of life sales tax funds. They were approved by voters in 98, and the art center is just one of the beneficiaries of that tax. The remaining 3.7 was raised locally by the mesa arts entertainment alliance, those are private dollars to help complete the 4 theaters and the project at the same time.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
I think the mesa arts center is significant because if you look at the size of mesa, half a million, 40th largest city in the nation. These are basic amenities most cities of that size would have for their communities. We have many local arts groups who didn't have any public facilities to speak of. Nor galleries that were worthy of the type of collections we have here. Of course, the community arts education program which we ran out of an older building since 1980 involve youth from 3 to seniors. It's an opportunity for people to find new careers, for youth to connect with their own creativity, learn team-building. There's a lot of value we pump back into the community. To have the amenities in one place is significant in and of itself.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
And the buildings are in themselves works of art.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
the architects took inspiration from the Sonoran desert. They wanted to look like an art center so people would know that we have art here.

>> Randy Vogel:
If you're going into the CICADA theater, you're coming into a canyon. It creates the whole atmosphere and makes the night a special night.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
According to the theatre director, Randy Vogel, the center will bring a new visibility to mesa.

>> Randy Vogel:
It's a 40 minute drive to see a show in downtown Phoenix. We're cutting the time down in half. We're giving people the opportunity to go out that they haven't had before in downtown. The other thing that really that we're going to be helping to do is we're bringing in a half million people into downtown mesa. Any venue or any city that is invested in the arts and built their downtowns, looking at Philadelphia now, the new downtown Philadelphia, what changed the community and made it a better place to live was the building of the arts. The building of arts centers in those communities. It's really important. The arts are a part of how we live and what we need to live and to make our community better. I think that's really what we're providing here with the mesa art center now. And part of the growth of the community to become a major city and major player in the state.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
the community's vision for the arts resulted in the buildings we see today.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
The community called upon us as city staff and said this is something that we need. The city paid for some studies to pay to confirm what was needed. It was recommended to build four theaters. If it doesn't happen with one election one time, to go at it again and again. It was the enthusiasm, determination, showing up at public meetings saying this is what we want. It didn't happen overnight. It's been more than two decades of effort on the part of many people.

>> Michael Grant:
This Saturday, the Mesa Arts Center has a grand opening with a gala concert featuring Michael Crawford of "Phantom of the Opera" fame. To see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out about upcoming topics, go to our website at www.az.pbs.org.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Hearings for United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Nominee John Roberts continue. ASU law professor Paul Bender will talk about the hearings and what a court headed by Roberts might mean to us. Bender will also talk about how the court will be impacted by the fact that President Bush will nominate two justices to the Court. That's Thursday at 7 on "Horizon".

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks for joining us. Have a great one. I'm Michael Grant. Good night.

space campeign for educators


Guests:
  • Dr. Sheila Harris - Director, Arizona Department of Housing
  • Mike Evans - Queen of Peace teacher


View Transcript
>> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon", Hurricane Katrina evacuees are leaving the coliseum for traditional housing. Teachers from all over the globe go to space camp. Find out what the mission is for these educators. And a glittering new jewel in the valley's art scene is about to open.

>> "Horizon" is made possible by the friends of Channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
Good evening, I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to "Horizon." In the news, federal judge declaring the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional. The case brought by the same atheist whose previous battle against the words "under God" was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on procedural grounds. U.S. district judge Lawrence Carlton ruled the Pledge's reference to one nation under God violates school children's rights to be free from a coercive requirement to affirm God. That decision setting up another showdown over the Pledge at a time when the makeup of the Supreme Court is in flux. The cots in the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum will soon give way to seats for people to view musical acts at the upcoming state fair. For that to happen, Hurricane Katrina evacuees have to find more stable housing. I'll talk to the head of the state department of housing about that. But first, here's more about the efforts to place evacuees in homes.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Although the veterans memorial coliseum in Phoenix was a welcome relief for New Orleans evacuees, it's not a place they wanted to call home for any great length of time and most have not had to. A spokesman for the Arizona Department of Housing said as of yesterday 277 households have met with the department to be placed in housing. The households range in size from single people to one household of 18. Of those households that have met with the department, 74 have been placed in housing, 111 households have been given housing referrals. The state is working with rental agencies which rent to people who receive assistance from the state. 50 of the households working with the department were self evacuees and did not stay in the coliseum. The evacuees have been placed in homes or apartments all over the valley. They received a voucher for the first month's rent from the state and will receive continuing help from Federal Emergency Management Agency.

>> Michael Grant:
Here now to tell us more about the efforts to house Katrina victims is Dr. Sheila Harris, the director of the Arizona Department of Housing. What's the count at the coliseum?

>> Sheila Harris:
Actually, the count last night I was told was 156 people slept at the coliseum last night.

>> Michael Grant:
I seem to recall at peak it was somewhere close to 600.

>> Sheila Harris:
I believe the official count was 540.

>> Michael Grant:
Give us an idea of the mix of people that you have there.

>> Sheila Harris:
When we first went to the coliseum on September 4th, there was about 540 people that had come in on that day. About a third of them had expressed a willingness or desire to stay in the valley and two-thirds were single individuals. Primarily the people that came here were single individuals, although we did have some families. And one very large family of 18.

>> Michael Grant:
This is a great story, I want you to relate it. You were telling me about a senior couple and was it six other --

>> Sheila Harris:
Senior couple and six other individuals who actually met at the coliseum. They were all from New Orleans. They met at the coliseum. They shared meals, shared their stories and decided they would like to stay in the valley and would like to live together. They came to us and said can you help us find housing. We were fortunate to work with one of our low income housing tax credit properties, which is located in Youngtown. They had six vacancies. We talked to the apartment manager. She said I will keep those units until they can get here. I want them to see the units. I want to make sure they like living here. I'll waive the application fee, I'll waive the security deposit, and we'll hold the units until they get here. We worked extensively with the Arizona department of economic security and Maricopa County that provided transportation. One of the DES workers went in a van with all seven of them. They went out to Youngtown. They toured the apartments. They decided they liked them. Gary from DES helped them fill out applications and they moved in yesterday.

>> Michael Grant:
That's absolutely incredible. What does your department do when it meets with those people? What's the process from that standpoint? Sort of the intake side.

>> Sheila Harris:
We had to create an intake system because this is not something we normally do. Normally we are financiers and check the market conditions and we do monitoring and compliance to ensure the properties that are developed are well maintained and the people living there are income eligible. So we had to create an intake system in the beginning. Basically, we sit down and talk to the individuals. We found out where they lived, what they're family size, what their income is, where their kids are going to school. It's very much driven by where they want to live. And the reasons they stay here are they want a new start in some cases, some of them their employers have transferred their jobs here. We work with them to make sure where their kids are going to school is close to where their apartment is going to be and we don't want somebody in an apartment in Peoria and a job in Mesa.

>> Michael Grant:
You mentioned one of the people involved had worked for Hyatt in New Orleans. And they said we can place you in a spot out here.

>> Sheila Harris:
That's true. There was an opening for a banquet manager at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch facility. This woman was very well qualified. She was a single mom. She had one child. She came to us, I enrolled my child in school, I have a job, can you find me something in the middle so I can drive my daughter to school, get to my job on time and pick her up after school. We gave her three referrals. We try to give everybody at least three choices.

>> Michael Grant:
What are your primary sources of supply? We talked about intake. What's the supply situation?

>> Sheila Harris:
We've had a supply of inventory of existing unit that we financed and other partners but not everybody that's coming here needs a unit that's subsidized. We have worked with many, many people who have donated units. We have an inventory and have three, four, five times as many apartments offers, homes as people who decided to stay here.

>> Michael Grant:
It seems to be a surge across the board. We talked about employment aspects earlier in the week, and there had been a surge of, Okay, I've got these jobs, that kind of thing. You seem to be describing the same kind of surge in offering in relation to housing.

>> Sheila Harris:
That's absolutely true, Michael. I would have to say this community has been overwhelmingly generous. We have more than sufficient furniture that's been donated. People have jobs as you talked about. There are people that are moving into these apartments, they're fully furnished, linens. Some people are stocking the refrigerators. One woman went out and rented an apartment for three months. She said, I have stocked the refrigerator, I have the furniture, linens, everything. I feel a need to do this and I'm going to rent it for three months and if they want to stay, they're more than welcome to.

>> Michael Grant:
Had to find one location, I understand that would accept pets?

>> Sheila Harris:
Yes. This was one of our more interesting placements. This was a self evacuee. I don't want anyone to think the plane that came in Sunday a week ago contained all these animals. This one gentleman had a ferret, snake and reptiles. We were able to find him a place to live.

>> Michael Grant:
No dogs barking. I think snakes, ferrets are quiet. I guess from the landlord's standpoint, that might work okay. How does the financial side of this work for the evacuees?

>> Sheila Harris:
We are providing one month's rent to help them get settled. We are making sure they are signed up with the Red Cross and FEMA to insure they will have their housing benefits. Everyone who has been displaced by the hurricane will have housing benefits that will come to them from FEMA.

>> Michael Grant:
You were telling me before we went on the air those benefits will hinge to a certain extent on what the living accommodations that were lost and a variety of other factors?

>> Sheila Harris:
I believe that is true. I'm not a FEMA expert, I don't work for FEMA, my best advice is contact with someone from FEMA. I did meet with the representative and she indicated housing would be one of the things they would provide evacuees.

>> Michael Grant:
Transportation also comes to mind. I mean, you've got to get from point A to point B. I would think that would be difficult for a lot of these people.

>> Sheila Harris:
Transportation is always a challenge. People have said this is easy to get around, it's this square mile grid. It's very easy for us. The roads don't curve, and those kinds of things. We have worked with many evacuees to make sure the housing is on public transportation lines. There has been a huge outpouring from the faith-based community and they have helped a lot with transportation in helping people search for housing but looking at their long-term needs.

>> Michael Grant:
Obviously, with the boom, the bubble, whatever you want to call what's been going on here in the valley, for that matter elsewhere, but in the valley for the past year or so, we've spent some time talking about affordable housing. Has that impacted this situation at all, including but not limited to the ability to place people?

>> Sheila Harris:
We were very fortunate in that we had sufficient supply of the apartments. Many houses, apartments that we have developed have been for people earning 50 to 60\% of median income. There is sufficient supply of housing in that area particularly for rental. The challenges, when you talk about the housing bubble, it's no longer what you can do when you first get a job is to go buy a medium priced house. That's where the challenge has become. I think of my own personal situation and maybe yours too, when you first got out of college, or first in college, you didn't go out and buy a house, you lived in an apartment. You saved your money, you got a better job, you increased your ability to get a higher priced home. It is a great way to build wealth in our community. We're finding there is more competition for that middle-priced home because people who are low income have to pay more to get into those units than other people who don't have the income to get in them in the first place. It's a very tight rental market for very low income. There's just not sufficient supply. There are others that don't have the income to get into them in the first place. It's a very tight market for the very low income. For many people who have come here that have jobs there is sufficient rental housing.

>> Michael Grant:
Other entities involved generally in the location process for the evacuees?

>> Sheila Harris:
Everybody in state government I think has been involved in this process to one degree or another. Primarily, department of economic security, to make sure people have their benefits, department of health services, to make sure people have their health services, we have worked with our partners in the city as well as the county to help with transportation. The city of Phoenix has provided bus passes to help people get around and look for jobs and look for apartments. It's been a tremendous effort among all the state agencies. The governor deserves a lot of credit getting us to work together and attacking it in full force.

>> Michael Grant:
Obviously winding down at the coliseum. Some of the services will be maintained at the Salvation Army?

>> Sheila Harris:
Yes, there will be a family transition center at the Salvation Army, 2702 east Washington. We have started to see a few families, I think 7 or 8 families, have gone through that facility.

>> Michael Grant:
Dr. Sheila Harris, director of the Arizona Department of Housing, thank you very much.

>> Sheila Harris:
Thank you very much.

>> Michael Grant:
Recently more than 100 teachers from all over the world attended a space camp in an effort to help improve science and math education. One of those teachers is from Mesa. And we will talk to him in a minute. First, Mike Sauceda shows us more from the space camp.

>> Mike Sauceda:
The Honeywell Educator Space Academy training program was held June 25th through July 1st at the U.S. space and rocket center in Huntsville, Alabama. 144 math and science teachers from 17 countries and 32 states participated in the training program, including 8th grade teacher Mike Evans. He teaches at the Queen of Peace Catholic school in Mesa. Evans and the others like Phoenix teacher Keith Brazier were selected for the space camp scholarship from among 500 applicants. During the stay at the space camp, Evans took part in an intensive 40 hour laboratory classroom and field training program along with the other teachers. At the space camp, Evans and the others participated in astronaut training exercises, including the high performance jet simulation, scenario based space missions, land and water survival training and a state of the art flight dynamics.

>> Michael Grant:
Earlier I talked with Queen of Peace teacher, Mike Evans. Here's that interview.

Michael Grant:
Mike, space camp. How did you get picked?

>> Mike Evans:
there was a competitive application process. Folks from Honeywell and the people at the U.S. space and rocket center in Huntsville, Alabama went through 650 applications and chose 143 middle school science and math teachers from 42 states and 18 foreign countries and I was one of the ones they chose.

>> Michael Grant:
And the title of your essay was, how I would like to spend my time in space camp?

>> Mike Evans:
the closest I'll ever come to being an astronaut. It was a essay about the space program and what it's meant to me and my family.

>> Michael Grant:
You went through space training?

>> Mike Evans:
It was more like a symbolic version of astronaut training. We went through G forces, things that you have to do to evacuate from vessels that go under water. Parachute drops. It wasn't as rigorous as Christa McAuliffe went through.

>> Michael Grant:
You didn't go in the plane and get to be weightless.

>> Mike Evans:
the vomit comet, no, we didn't go on it.

>> Michael Grant:
TANG?

>> Mike Evans:
Did not have any TANG at all. They did serve orange juice each morning. They tried get away from having those packaged ones like that. Now the astronauts like to have food that resembles as close as they to what they eat at home.

>> Michael Grant:
This was at the facility at Huntsville, Alabama?

>> Mike Evans:
Right. Marshall Space Flight Center.

>> Michael Grant:
and what's the routine normal function? Obviously it doesn't get the kind of attention Houston does and cape Canaveral.

>> Mike Evans:
Marshal flight center manages the science on the shuttle and space station. They do an awful lot of the testing of the vehicles. So that's where the rocket engines were developed, that's where the Saturn 5 and Saturn 1, the redstone arsenal is there. You can't get on the redstone arsenal since 9/11. It used to always be part of it. You would get to go to mission ops but that's now closed off.

>> Michael Grant:
Now there's also classroom training.

>> Mike Evans:
Right.

>> Michael Grant:
What's covered in the classroom?

>> Mike Evans:
We did air rockets, bottle rockets, regular rockets. We had a couple of different presentations from folks from NASA, marshal space flight center on materials we got to use in the classroom, examples of math exercises that teach different math concepts. All of it designed to be used in conjunction with space sciences so that you are energizing those middle school students to think about science and engineering when they get to high school.

>> Michael Grant:
This portion of the exercise being devoted -- it's the teacher teaching the teachers to teach.

>> Mike Evans:
Right. They want us to be wowed so we bring that enthusiasm back to the classroom so that the students get to see it and you bring some hands-on activity, that you impart that to the students in much more hands-on so they remember the concepts.

>> Michael Grant:
Any astronauts?

>> Mike Evans:
We met Story Musgrave. Dr. Musgrave is the only astronaut to fly on all five orbitals, he is the guy that saved the Hubble space telescope. His was the most inspiring presentation. We got a DVD copy of the materials that he uses for it so we are able to have that same information.

>> Michael Grant:
We often think of astronauts being like Navy jet fighter pilots and those kind of things but a lot of these guys carry heavy, serious academic credentials.

>> Mike Evans:
Right. He was a brain surgeon and an engineer. He could do it all. The man is brilliant.

>> Michael Grant:
All right. So how are you going to take that back to the classroom? How do you think it impacted what you do?

>> Mike Evans:
I've already been working on my pitch to the parent teachers association for funding for a bottle rocket launcher so I can launch multiple bottle rockets at the same time so they get a little bit of a flight, be working with the math teachers so they can get some graphing calculators so the kids can actually see how flight simulations work when you do things like rocketry. A stack of materials that I'll be able to use when we do the astronomy and science section. I teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade science and social studies at the small Catholic school that I'm at in mesa, queen of peace, the science they get it from me.

>> Michael Grant:
It sounds like a great experience. We appreciate you joining us.

>> Mike Evans:
Thank you for the opportunity. The folks at Honeywell deserve the credit. A dozen different plants and 50\% of the funding came from the employees. They're putting their money where their mouth is. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
There is new excitement tonight in the east valley arts community. The $98 million Mesa Arts Center is about to open. It's the largest arts project in state history. And producer Sooyeon Lee reports it's the result of a community pulling together for a better quality of life.

>> When you come to the arts center you're walking into the oasis.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
The seven acre art complex in the heart of downtown Mesa is changing the cultural landscape of this fast-growing city. It's the new mesa arts center, the largest facility of its kind in the State of Arizona.

>> We have four theaters, five galleries, 14 visual and performing arts classrooms that surround a 7 acre site, through the middle of which runs a 750 foot long public plaza.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
the center's executive director Gerry Fathauer says this venue is much-needed.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
We were originally in an old elementary school built in 1936. We had 12 classrooms and a small gallery space and an elementary school auditorium that sat 152 people. We had outgrown that by the mid 80s. The community said we need a performing arts center?

>> Sooyeon Lee:
The Mesa Arts Alliance was formed in 1994, pushing for the construction of a performing arts center for Mesa.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
The center cost $94.5 million, and 90.8 came from quality of life sales tax funds. They were approved by voters in 98, and the art center is just one of the beneficiaries of that tax. The remaining 3.7 was raised locally by the mesa arts entertainment alliance, those are private dollars to help complete the 4 theaters and the project at the same time.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
I think the mesa arts center is significant because if you look at the size of mesa, half a million, 40th largest city in the nation. These are basic amenities most cities of that size would have for their communities. We have many local arts groups who didn't have any public facilities to speak of. Nor galleries that were worthy of the type of collections we have here. Of course, the community arts education program which we ran out of an older building since 1980 involve youth from 3 to seniors. It's an opportunity for people to find new careers, for youth to connect with their own creativity, learn team-building. There's a lot of value we pump back into the community. To have the amenities in one place is significant in and of itself.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
And the buildings are in themselves works of art.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
the architects took inspiration from the Sonoran desert. They wanted to look like an art center so people would know that we have art here.

>> Randy Vogel:
If you're going into the CICADA theater, you're coming into a canyon. It creates the whole atmosphere and makes the night a special night.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
According to the theatre director, Randy Vogel, the center will bring a new visibility to mesa.

>> Randy Vogel:
It's a 40 minute drive to see a show in downtown Phoenix. We're cutting the time down in half. We're giving people the opportunity to go out that they haven't had before in downtown. The other thing that really that we're going to be helping to do is we're bringing in a half million people into downtown mesa. Any venue or any city that is invested in the arts and built their downtowns, looking at Philadelphia now, the new downtown Philadelphia, what changed the community and made it a better place to live was the building of the arts. The building of arts centers in those communities. It's really important. The arts are a part of how we live and what we need to live and to make our community better. I think that's really what we're providing here with the mesa art center now. And part of the growth of the community to become a major city and major player in the state.

>> Sooyeon Lee:
the community's vision for the arts resulted in the buildings we see today.

>> Gerry Fathauer:
The community called upon us as city staff and said this is something that we need. The city paid for some studies to pay to confirm what was needed. It was recommended to build four theaters. If it doesn't happen with one election one time, to go at it again and again. It was the enthusiasm, determination, showing up at public meetings saying this is what we want. It didn't happen overnight. It's been more than two decades of effort on the part of many people.

>> Michael Grant:
This Saturday, the Mesa Arts Center has a grand opening with a gala concert featuring Michael Crawford of "Phantom of the Opera" fame. To see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out about upcoming topics, go to our website at www.az.pbs.org.

>> Mike Sauceda:
Hearings for United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Nominee John Roberts continue. ASU law professor Paul Bender will talk about the hearings and what a court headed by Roberts might mean to us. Bender will also talk about how the court will be impacted by the fact that President Bush will nominate two justices to the Court. That's Thursday at 7 on "Horizon".

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks for joining us. Have a great one. I'm Michael Grant. Good night.

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