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May 18, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Technology and Innovation: Rapid DNA Testing

  |   Video
  • After Osama bin Laden was killed, his identity was quickly verified through DNA. It likely required massive equipment in a nearby command center, but the UofA is working on technology to make the process more portable. Dr. Frederick Zenhausern, Director of the Center for Applied Nano-bioscience and Medicine at the UA Medical School in Phoenix, discusses the development of Rapid DNA testing equipment.
  • Dr. Frederick Zenhausern - Director, Center for Applied Nano-bioscience and Medicine at the UA Medical School in Phoenix
Category: Science   |   Keywords: Bin Laden, DNA,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: After Osama Bin Laden was killed, his identification was verified rather quickly through DNA. The process more than likely involved massive equipment at a nearby command center. But work is underway here in the valley on portable, rapid DNA testing equipment. I recently talked about all this to Dr. Fredrick Zenhausern, he’s director of the center for applied nanobioscience and medicine at University of Arizona medical school in Phoenix… Thank you for joining tonight on "Horizon."

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: Thank you for inviting me.

Ted Simons: You bet. Let's get a definition of things. What is rapid DNA?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: Rapid DNA testing is trying to do the DNA fingerprinting or human identification in a time that allow you to process the sample in much faster way than it has been done conventionally. In place of sticking a cycle time of typically 14 days, you can do that in a few hours.

Ted Simons: So the usual case, 10 to 14 days, something along those lines?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: That's typically the kind of time line that you will have for processing a sample from someone arrested by the police, until you can get a match in the database.

Ted Simons: Extraordinary cases. How quickly county turn around be?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: Ultimately, if you have a very high profile case, you can go to, you know, 24, 48 hours.

Ted Simons: So we are all watching these crime shows and it just seems like it's in a snap. All of a sudden all of the information is right there. Not really realistic?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: Not yet but maybe coming soon.

Ted Simons: I want to talk about that in a second here. But why, the equipment, we were talking earlier, the equipment is very big. Massive amounts of space needed for most of this DNA identification testing. Why is that?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: So the main issue is based on the fact that when you collect the sample and when you want to look at the genetic matter there's a lot of steps to prepare that sample. That require a lot of different technology to extract that information. And that requires some element of instrumentation that are still not miniaturized.

Ted Simons: Not yet at least but you guys are developing -- is it a smaller version? Is it a faster version? A little bit of both? Talk to us about this.

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: So rapid DNA testing approach is based on the fact that we wanted to shrink inside that cycle time for analyzing the sample. So from 14 days, we are typically at two hours time. And that is enabled by technology by. As well as new Genomic technology that will perform better.

Ted Simons: How big were we before? How big are you now?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: Yeah, so typically, a complete process for sample will take a lot of equipment. And the equipment on a 45 feet of bench lab. Our machine is barely a foot of space on the bench.

Ted Simons: Wow. I understand, correct me if I am wrong, you work with the FBI on this?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: So the initial work was really generated with a contract with the FBI, trying to address some of the DNA backlog, we talked about usually 10 to 14 days, something along those lines, extraordinary cases maybe less than a day.

Ted Simons: How fast a turn around now with your equipment that you are developing?
Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: So the system is typically providing a complete measurement from the sample collection from a BUCCHAL swab that you collect to a database that can be providing a match from an individual within two hours.

Ted Simons: Thinks the kind of thing that needs extensive training for those operating the equipment? Is it mostly automated? What do you got here?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: That's the second advantage as well as for the machine is it's very simple user interface. So what the user is doing I loading the sample into a cartridge, plastic cartridge, load the cartridge in the instrument and push a button and go away.

Ted Simons: Interesting. Were you guys, was this particular idea either/or involved in, was seemed to be an awfully fast DNA identification of Osama Bin Laden. Was this kind of technology involved?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: No. The technology is not involved to our knowledge. But it could be ultimately deployed for those kind of mission. And that was really designed for those kind of objective.

Ted Simons: And you are just thinking, obviously, you weren't there. But how do you think they got that DNA match so quickly? If the equipment is that big, something had to be nearby. Right?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: I think sometimes you have an individual, you can maybe have all those equipment within the operation or common center, so the DOD has indeed forensic criminal lab that provides some of those tools, and you can also do some human identification with different biomarker that may not be the one that are typically used in the national database.

Ted Simons: As far as what you are developing here, this smaller, quicker version of identification, how long before this is up and operational to the point where we will be seeing places around the country using it?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: So our system is going to a validation in Europe, to a very large consortium. With the police forces in Germany, Italy, Austria, and Netherland. And will go through that validation of that technology in view of the interface with international database. We will be also starting some work with the FBI in the east within the next few months. And the platform right now is ready for commercialization so we hope to get a system within the next 18 to 24 months on the market.

Ted Simons: Compare costs. The big machines, your machine.

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: Typically it's a reduction also in cost with our system that will typically reduce the cost to a sample analysis roughly around $20.

Ted Simons: So eventually, we could see your machine on some of these crime shows?

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: Yes. We hope to be on "CSI."

Ted Simons: Very G thanks for joining us tonight.

Dr. Frederick Zenhausern: Thank you very much.

Justa Center

  |   Video
  • Homeless senior citizens find help daily at the Justa Center in downtown Phoenix. Executive Director of the Nonprofit Day Resource Center, Rev. Scott Ritchey, describes the Center’s unique mission and the challenges it faces.
  • Rev. Scott Ritchey - Executive Director, Nonprofit Day Resource Center
Category: Culture   |   Keywords: homeless, senior citizen, justa,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Helping homeless senior citizens get back on their feet is the job of the Justa Center in downtown Phoenix. Here to talk about the work of this nonprofit is Scott Ritchey, co-founder and executive director of the Justa Center. Thanks for being here.

Scott Ritchey: Thanks for having us.

Ted Simons: Let me start with the name. What does that mean?

Scott Ritchey: It's actually from a woman in the Bible. Comes out of Matthew or mark's gospel. She is a Canaanite woman. If you don't have a lot of friends like myself you spend a lot of time reading early church fathers and early church fathers had given her the name Justa.

Ted Simons: Interesting. Let's talk about the Justa Center itself. What is it designed to do?

Scott Ritchey: It's interesting. It's the only thing in the United States that cares for the largest and fasters growing group of homeless in our country, which is older adults. And no one else was doing this type of work. So when we created in December of '06, we just opened our doors. And we want 13 people that came in. And I said, here's the deal. We are not a detox center. We are not a drop-in center. We are a resource center. What resources do you need to get out of homelessness? And since that time we have created this center around that.

Ted Simons: What resources do they need?

Scott Ritchey: So very simply, we begin our mornings with coffee, a shower and a newspaper. Just to create some norm more naturally. Telephone, internet access. We have a chapel service, a library, and some just some basic things. Laundry. Then we discovered that we do three basic things. One, we provide documentation so if a person needs a birth certificate or I.D. or DD 214 for veterans, we provide that. And so once everyone has their documents in order and in place, then the second phase is a revenue source. Whether that's employment or your social security or your pension or a V.A., some kind of earned benefit, once that's in place, then, the last phase is to find someone housing. And we categorize that as independent living, assisted living, hospice care or reunited with family.

Ted Simons: You seeing more clients down there?

Scott Ritchey: Last year we saw 115 people a day. We now see 125 per day. We have over 300 folks that we work with every given month.

Ted Simons: You mention veterans. Talk us to about that because I know a lot of folks, a lot of veterans, they can run into some trouble. And you see them on the streets. You know there are challenges there. What do you see at the center?

Scott Ritchey: That's a hard one. About 40% of our population are veterans. From World War II, from Korea, and from Vietnam. And most of the men and women that we see have been combat vets. And have seen and done things that probably no human being should ever do. And it becomes difficult. In terms of services, we, about a year ago, the vets came to me and said, can you hire somebody to advocate for us? And help us connect with the V.A. and some other resources that we need in terms of benefits and those kind of things? That's what we have done. But the vets, I'll just say it this way. It's the most shameful thing I have seen in the homeless community of how we have taken care of our homeless vets, how we have taken care of vets, period. And especially these older guys and these Vietnam vets.

Ted Simons: What would you want to see changed?

Scott Ritchey: You know, I think first thing, and this is a really simple thing but every vet gets a permanent bus pass, lifetime bus pass because transportation becomes an issue. But I would like to see job training, job rehab, vocation rehab. I would like to see more housing for veterans. I would like to see more housing for older veterans. There is nothing out there for older adults who are veterans. The U.S. vets has some things they do which is good but there is no monies that are coming from Federal or State or County that are helping our veterans who are older in terms of geriatric care.

Ted Simons: What about V.A. benefits? Certainly those apply in some way, shape, or form, don't they?

Scott Ritchey: They do. That's one of the goals of the center is to have our V.A. advocate and as well as a V.A. benefit specialist come in and help give those benefits. But if you need certain other things, such as you have had some memory loss or you have mental illness and you have behavior issues, where do you go? Where do you go? Who's going to take care of you?

Ted Simons: Yeah. For veterans and others, you are a day resource center. What happens when nighttime comes?

Scott Ritchey: We're located close to the human service campus which is about two blocks from us. There's Cass is there for the night shelter and then Phoenix also through UMOM runs a night shelter for women which is 11th avenue and Watkins. So the women are bussed to us and then bussed back so they never have to go out on the streets. The men will go up to the shelter or stay out on the street.

Ted Simons: Ok. You are doing great work and we are, it's good to get you on the program. It's something that you have a website, too, by the way?

Scott Ritchey: We do. We have a website. It's One of the things we are very proud of, we average about a person of day off the homelessness. In the past year over 360 people have moved out and in the four years we have been in existent we have had 27 people return to homelessness out of 1,000.

Ted Simons: That’s a pretty good number there. You are doing great work. Thanks for joining us.

Scott Ritchey: Thanks, Ted.

Ted Simons: Tomorrow on "Horizon," SRP's board of directors is scheduled to vote on a plan that would increase the amount of renewable energy it produces. We'll learn more about those plans, Thursday at 7:00 on "Horizon." And that is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you for joining us. You have a great evening.

Papago Golf Course/AZ Golf Industry

  |   Video
  • Arizona golf journalist Bill Huffman reports the state of Arizona’s golf industry and turmoil at the Papago Golf Course which has prompted city of Phoenix to consider looking for a new manager of that municipal course.
  • Bill Huffman - Arizona golf journalist
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: golf,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A ground breaking today that's been 100 years in the making. State and local officials broke ground for a project to turn part of Washington street into centennial way in honor of Arizona's upcoming 100th birthday. The $7 million project will renovate a mile-and-a-half of Washington with landscaping, repaving, shading and displays honoring Arizona's 15 counties and 22 Native American tribes. In 2007, the city of Phoenix hired the Arizona golf foundation, the management arm of the Arizona golf association, to renovate and operate the deteriorating Papago golf course. But that relationship has deteriorated to the point that the City is now attempting to find a new management company to run the course and resume the restoration. Joining me with more on the story is long time valley golf writer Bill Huffman. He hosts the radio golf show "Backspin" and he writes for, the Arizona golf association's website. Good to see you again.

Bill Huffman: Ted, it's always a pleasure and let me tell you I'm always impressed when I am on a show with a former radio guy who now is in TV.

Ted Simons: Well, that's good to hear. It's good to see you again. We go way back. I remember years ago you wrote for the Republic -- you know the ins and outs of what's going on here in the valley in terms of golf. I want to get the state of the golf industry with you in a second here. But why is the city of Phoenix wanting to cut ties now with the operators of Papago?

Bill Huffman: Well, they think that after a couple of years of just one thing going wrong after another that it's time to let somebody else have a chance at it. And complete the project, build the clubhouse, get the course in the shape that it was, you know, originally meant to be in when they took on this, you know, $10 to $12 million renovation project.

Ted Simons: Talk about that project. Let's go through the time line here of what happened. First of all, why was this outsourced in the first place?

Bill Huffman: Well, because the city of Phoenix couldn't do it. The city of Phoenix has never really taken over their control of their golf courses. It's always been an operator basis where you have someone come in, make a bid and they run the course and give whatever residuals there are to the city. So it's never been a very profitable operation in all honesty. It's been an even tougher in the last 10 to 20 years because you have got so many great public golf courses that have been built here in Arizona, and kind of flooded the market so to speak, which has taken away a little bit from the Papagos, Cave Creeks, Maryvilles, Encantos and those types of courses but basically it was the city opened it up for bids and they had three finalists. Lyons Golf which wanted to take the whole Golf Course down and build a new clubhouse and assume all operations. But they wanted to change the Golf Course. Then there was the Bellows group who wanted to come in and renovate it six holes at a time over time. So it wouldn't be done all at once. It would be done in three years at six holes at a time. And then there was the Arizona Golf Association who put it into their Arizona Golf Foundation. They wanted to restore what William F. Bell, William Francis Bell had originally created, and the city lined up with that goal and said, we want what was originally there more than anything else & they gave the bid to the Arizona golf foundation.

Ted Simons: And they get what, $12.5 million in loans, $10 million of which were spent pretty much, anyone who has been out there, if you are a golfer you know Papago in one way shape or form. A lot of trees cut down, lakes moved, that sort of thing. But what do you think of the renovations out there? Was this what Papago, the city of Phoenix, the golfers had in mind?

Bill Huffman: It's been a mixed reaction in all honesty. There's a group of people who play there called save Papago. They have been very vociferous of the criticism of the Arizona Golf Association didn't have the management background to run the golf course. But the AGA or the AGF didn't really run the golf course. It was run by another group of guys out of Portland, Oregon, called the Golf Guys and they were in charge of basically the budget and they kind of, in all honesty, ran a little bit amuck. And as a result, you had three different factions -- the city, the management group, and those people trying to renovate it all -- all kind of at odds with each other. The city ended up siding with the golf guys, and let them take it on for another year or two after they probably should have cut and got a new operator in there. But they stuck with them and now they are at kind of a crossroads situation where someone's going to have to come in and kind of clean up the mess.

Ted Simons: Is there someone out there ready to come in and clean up the mess?

Bill Huffman: I think there is. I think a group like OB sports which is a managment group here in Scottsdale, I think they would do a nice job. They have done a lot of work with public facilities. Right now, they're kind of renovating Sadona golf resort which a lot of people are familiar with. That course fell in disarray, and they have come in and done a nice job of fixing the irrigation system and doing all those kinds of things. But I don't think the people that have play Papago over the years, and I know you are one of them, I don't think they are going to be satisfied with Papago being done until the clubhouse is complete, because there's something about not having a clubhouse that makes a Golf Course kind of, you know, not complete.

Ted Simons: Well, the thing was torn down. It was an interesting little building. It was certainly -- charming.

Bill Huffman: Very interesting.

Ted Simons: It had its own charms but they tore it down and then built nothing. What happened there?

Bill Huffman: You know, I think they were originally planning on building the clubhouse. But like I said, the two groups got at odds with each other and couldn't agree on anything. And as a result, about $2.5 million that didn't get spent that would have probably gone to a clubhouse just sat there. Because of everybody was at odds. Now, there was some other extenuating circumstances. The old clubhouse, as I mentioned to you earlier, was filled with asbestos which needed to be torn down. There was problems with the restrooms. You know, what people I don't think remember about Papago is when, you know, when I was at the Republic, I wrote about fixing up Papago. When I was at the Tribune, I wrote about fixing up Papago. It needed fixing up for 10-15 years. There was a former mayor, I think his name was Drigs, and he wanted Papago restored and there was a lot of movement here to fix the Golf Course. Because it is a classic Golf Course.

Ted Simons: It is.

Bill Huffman: You know? William Bell did it. He did Torrey pines. It's a great Golf Course. It's special compared to the other Golf Courses in the city’s rotation. So there was a large movement to restore Papago, and the Arizona golf association took it on, I think with a noble eff-- it was a noble gesture on their part to want to fix up this classic Golf Course, but, you know, the fact that the economy almost went bad at the same time, not just to Papago. A lot of Golf Courses. And the fact that, you know, they ran into this kind of reaction from the people who had been playing it. It was a negative reaction. And the fact that they actually didn't use it after they fixed it up. The AGA really wasn't involved in playing their tournaments there and doing their clinics there and moving the first tee there and all that kind of stuff. So this is just one of those kind of things that, you know, everything that could go wrong almost went wrong.

Ted Simons: Let's take a broader view now. We have seen Papago. We will see what happens as far as getting someone else in there and maybe lowering some greens fees there because, boy, they sure shot up when this whole thing happened. Let's take a broad view of the Arizona golf industry. The economy, it's obviously a major factor. The real estate situation is a factor when it comes to golf in Arizona, isn't it?

Bill Huffman: Well, the prices of Golf Courses have plunged. I mean, we are talking 90% in some cases. You have courses that cost millions, tens of millions, being sold for $1, $2, $3 million. It's amazing the way the values of Golf Course have just shrunk. That still isn’t the way they make money on Golf Courses. You don't make it as an investment. You make it as -- you are taking in your daily fees and doing the bottom line and you need 40 to 50,000 rounds to make money on a Golf Course. So what's happened is, we have really kind of bounced back this year. But what's bounced back most has been the higher-end Golf Courses and that’s because the tourists came back to Arizona a little bit this year. The hotels were full. We just saw that. But you know golf is the number one amenity of tourism so therefore it's just a trickle down effect and what's happened is, the better Golf Courses in the valley this year all had like the best years they have had in five years. I mean, no one ever comes out, I just saw an article this week in the paper about how the hotels and resorts have done so well. But it's rarely do you see anyone writing anything about the golf industry saying they have done really well this year too and they have.

Ted Simons: Quick questions here. There are too many Golf Course notice valley?

Bill Huffman: Yes, there are.

Ted Simons: OK. Are they too expensive as far as green fees are concerned? For those of us who live here year round.

Bill Huffman: They are except that a lot of the operators of the higher end public Golf Courses have made it affordable through cards and internet specials and things like that for people to play. You can, even in season, find a Golf Course from time to time at about half of the rack rate as they call it.

Ted Simons: Last question. Is -- can the golf industry change in the sense of personally? I like laying nine holes. I'm not crazy about losing an entire day, as much as I lose the game, or getting through a round more quickly. Can golf change? Can golf do something to get that going so people maybe feel -- it's a go-go world. 20 years ago it's great to spend all day. Some folks can't do that anymore. Does that make any sense? Is there a way to change the nature of the game?

Bill Huffman: It's already happening. The time constraints have forced people to play less and less. But you are seeing the, it's already happened at the private clubs. And it's happening a little bit more at the public level. What I have noticed is they are trying to make the game easier to play by, you know, like courses like true north have an express tees where they have moved the tee is like halfway between what it would be, and it's for golfers of higher handicaps. But they are also offering nine-hole fees. A lot of instruction is now connected to nine holes of golf. They don't take people out and play 18 after they show them how to play. They take them out and play nine because that's really all they can handle. Your situation is different. You are under a time constraint. So you are going to find, you are going to have to find places where you can play where you can get that. But in all honesty, it's already beginning. And I think you are going to see it in the future more and more and more.

Ted Simons: All right. Good stuff, Bill. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

Bill Huffman: My pleasure. Thanks.