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October 12, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Hosts 2015 Super Bowl

  |   Video
  • Arizona edged out Tampa to host Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. Mike Kennedy, chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, talks about the state’s winning campaign to bring the big game back to Arizona for the second time in seven years.
  • Mike Kennedy - Chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee
Keywords: Super Bowl XLIX, football,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The valley has everything needed for a good Super Bowl site -- great weather, it's a tourist destination, and it has a top-notch stadium. But what other factors led NFL owners to award the 2015 Super Bowl to Arizona? Here now to tell us about what was reportedly a very tight race for the big game is Mike Kennedy, Arizona's super bowl host committee chairman. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us. And congratulations by the way.

Mike Kennedy: Thanks, Ted. Yesterday was a great day for Arizona.

Ted Simons: Was it a good day for you too? Were you surprised? Was it as tight as we keep hearing?

Mike Kennedy: It was a very tight race. Tampa, formidable opponent, a lot of experience, beaches, ocean, proximity to the eastern clubs when it comes to voting, easy access. It was really tight.

Ted Simons: Before we find out how Arizona fought that and won, what does -- in terms of competing bids, what does the NFL look for?

Mike Kennedy: Well, the NFL puts out specifications that you must meet, or try to meet, at least indicate where you're not going to meet them. That's the first step. As you might expect, they've had 45 of these games, and each year they seem to tighten up those specification as little more, and each year it seems to cost a little more. But to your question about what happened the last couple days, once you get through that process, presentations are made to the owners, the owners vote, there are 32 owners, the owners are the ones that vote. I made our presentation yesterday, 15-minute presentation with a five-minute video, Tampa made their presentation, and then owners from each of the two cities had a five-minute rebuttal. So Michael Bidwell made the rebuttal on our behalf. And then they vote. And I kind of see my role yesterday as kind of the undercard, because the decision is a function of whether Michael Bidwell was able to accumulate 17 votes, and he was able to do that.

Ted Simons: We don't hear much about that. The owner is a major player here and a major player long before probably the vote is even taken.

Mike Kennedy: Well, it's a huge advantage and benefit that we have in that regard. The Bidwell family is very well regard and respected among the owners, and this was kind of Michael's maiden voyage, his dad wasn't there yesterday, even though his presence was felt, and known. But it was a big step for Michael, and he was able to deliver it for our community.

Ted Simons: Since the last Super Bowl, we got light rail, we've got a bunch more hotel rooms in downtown Phoenix, more restaurants in downtown Phoenix, I'm using the word downtown Phoenix because it sounds like downtown Phoenix will be a much bigger player than it was in 2008.

Mike Kennedy: It's even more important than that. In 2008 you'll remember that there were construction blockades, it was basically a construction zone downtown that spawned the benefits that we were able to tout yesterday. And it was a huge part of our bid. 1500 more hotel rooms, the convention center is triple the size, we have a cityscape, nightclubs, I think -- I was impressed with this number, we have 32 four and five-star hotels in the valley, not just Phoenix, and 22 four or five-star restaurants. So we talked about our hotels being in close proximity to get to the 19,000 hotel room requirement of the bid specs, we knew that Tampa had to go over toward Orlando. So we emphasized the fact we were compact and close together with regard to our hotel requirement.

Ted Simons: That's an interesting emphasis. If there was any concern, and boy, that 2008 seemed like it was roundly lauded as a great experience for all concerned, but there was some concern that things were too spread out. Scottsdale here, Tempe here, Glendale here. Is that going to change?

Mike Kennedy: Well, yes. It is. And it was a concern. I did take -- despite that concern I did take yesterday's vote as a bit of a validation that 2008 was well regarded by the owners and the staff as a success. But it is going to change, and we emphasize that we would be Glendale game related activities, of course, and NFL experience which set a record for attendance in 2008. But we would be drawing upon the tourism infrastructure that now exists in a downtown Phoenix, and also Scottsdale, and perhaps to a little more extent Tempe.

Ted Simons: How is Scottsdale and Tempe taking it, how is Glendale taking it? Glendale is concerned they're paying all this money for infrastructure, security, and these things, and not getting immediate benefits. Talk about that.

Mike Kennedy: Well, I see that as one of my challenges is to try to figure out a way, and there are different ways to do this, but Texas, for example, has some legislation that tries to provide some equilibrium between cost and invested and benefits received. So there's an educational process to make sure everybody is being up front in terms of disclosure of real benefits that they received, and real cost, and then we got to try to find a way to equitably allocate those.

Ted Simons: Are you concerned about west gate?

Mike Kennedy: Not really. I mean, it's an issue today, it didn't come up in the bidding process at all, and I guess the reason I don't consider it an issue is that I think whatever is going to happen is going to be resolved by 2015.

Ted Simons: For those, I think I have asked you this question before. For those who say that traffic is a mess, the out of towners are all over the place, getting into everything, causing grief and all this business, and Glendale is saying we're not making money off this, now Tempe and Scottsdale may be concerned they're going to lose -- why is this such a big deal for Arizona?

Mike Kennedy: You have to start with the economic impact. For 2008, W.P. Carey School of Business did an economic impact study and it was over $500 million. That's why the bidding process is so competitive. This is a large, large economic engine, and there's really nothing comparable that would be available to Arizona. I happen to subscribe to the school that we see working I think right now in the city of Detroit. You can't pick up a publication without reading about the resurgence of Detroit. A lot of people attribute it to the attitude and pride that people are feeling as a result of their sports teams. The lions and the tigers. And we experience that in 2008. The communities, despite their differences, communities ultimately, and we had those in 2008 as well, but ultimately you pull together, two and two equals five, you're better, you have a sense of pride, people feel good about themselves, and people really feel good when it comes off well and we have a great game like we did in 2008, and we get the accolades we did after the game. So I think there's an economic benefit, and then there are the emotional intangible benefits that in my mind are almost as important.

Ted Simons: Again, congratulations, and good luck now for the next few years as you -- as a city and everyone gets ready for what should be, unless the NFL tanks and does something dumb like the NBA, I'm guessing it's going to be another wild affair.

Mike Kennedy: I think it will be. It's going to be a good run, has been a good run. Thank you very much.

Ted Simons: You bet. Thank you.

Arizona Technology & Innovation: Algae Jet Fuel

  |   Video
  • An Arizona-based algae technology company is poised to produce algae-based jet fuel for SkyNRG, a Dutch renewable aviation fuel producer. Heliae CEO Dan Simon talks about his company’s efforts to develop technologies that enable large scale, cost-effective, production of bio-fuels.
  • Dan Simon - Heliae CEO
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: algae, technology, jet fuel, renewable, bio-fuels,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Heliae is a Gilbert-based algae technology company that reached a deal with a Dutch firm to turn the gooey mess found at the bottom of dirty swimming pools into aviation fuel. Here to talk about his company and the use of algae for jet fuel is Dan Simon, president and CEO of Heliae. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Dan Simon: Thank you very much.

Ted Simons: Did get it right, that’s what Heliae does? Develop algae?

Dan Simon: Yes.

Ted Simons: For what, for not -- for jet fuel and other things?

Dan Simon: Yes. We're growing algae to make foods and fuel and chemicals.

Ted Simons: Describe this deal now with this Dutch firm. What's going on?

Dan Simon: Sky energy is focused on finding options for the aviation industry to offer products beyond petroleum-based aviation fuel. So they've the set up partnerships with a number of other suppliers, palm oil as an option, and algae, and we're the first true algae producer signing up with them to sell a jet fuel to the aviation industry.

Ted Simons: How far along is algae-based jet fuel technology?

Dan Simon: Algae-based jet fuel technology in our perspective, and I give only our own, it is anywhere from three to seven years depending upon capital investment. Because the key challenge is scaling it up.

Ted Simons: So three to seven years before it's cost competitive?

Dan Simon: Yes.

Ted Simons: What about supply? Able to supply, what is needed?

Dan Simon: Think about it like this -- there's 150 billion gallons of just take transportation fuels in general in the United States. We're only trying to make 1 billion gallon to start with. It will be years before you get to a point where you make a huge dent. But we're looking for options, and it's going to grow slowly.

Ted Simons: Talk about why it has grown slowly, or whatever pace it has grown. This seems like it should be -- algae seems like it grows exponentially, why are we now just finding out about it?

Ted Simons: It's a really good question. I probably would start with Saudi Arabian oil. It costs $19 to pull it out of a hole. Then go to tar sands, and the tar sands probably cost about $38-39 per barrel to pull it out, the process. Same issues with renewable fuels. Just go up the cost path, OK? If it's cheap, you're going to look for the easiest way to produce it, and that's petroleum. Now we recognize it's starting to disappear, we're not going to have enough in 50 years; you have to look for options. Algae are no different than renewable fuels. Corn and sugar were the easiest to make, but when people recognize there's a challenge to it, food versus fuel, and demand, so algae is farther down the path.

Ted Simons: You got some examples here, samples on the desk. What are we looking at here, and explain quickly if you could, how algae becomes oil, protein, and diesel fuel and all sorts of stuff.

Dan Simon: It's an incredible plant. It's one of the oldest molar chemicals we have in biomass products we have in the world; this is algae in its biomass form, once it’s dried. This is algae oil, so once you harvest the algae, you separate it out and you create an algae, an oil product and think of this no different than you would crude oil, ok? And then you take it to a refinery and start breaking it up into pieces so you can make different types of high protein products, this is omega 3, like fish oil. Then you make diesel and jet; after processing it.

Ted Simons: So basically you could do a whole bunch with not a lot of algae.

Dan Simon: It's a very flexible process. It's also a flexible product.

Ted Simons: How much algae do you need to get a serious crop going, and how long before the algae turns into those vials?

Dan Simon: Well, what I can tell you is, and I'll compare to it corn. Corn has a harvest once every –depending upon what kind of corn you buy, between anywhere from 80 days to 130 days, OK? This we harvest every six days. Because it populates so quickly. Granted, it's a lot smaller but it takes anywhere from six to 20 hours depending upon the species of algae you're working with for it to double.

Ted Simons: My goodness!

Dan Simon: To ask how big a commercial plant is, that's the question I get a lot.
Ted Simons: Yeah, yeah.
Dan Simon: For a fuel-based plant to produce it at that cost, which is a lower cost than a high protein or a high food product, is going to take you anywhere from 300 to a thousand acres at technology currently. For a food-based plant it will take 5-15 acres.

Ted Simons: Wow. Okay, so where do we go from here? You got this deal. This is a development deal would I imagine? This Dutch farm?

Dan Simon: Yes.

Ted Simons: Where do we go from here?

Dan Simon: We continue to work with them. We're going to sell them our first barrel of oil, of jet fuel. We'll probably deliver it sometime in February or March. That’s what we are targeting right now.
Ted Simons: Okay.
Dan Simon: And we'll continue to work with them in the European community.

Ted Simons: And real quickly - your relationship with ASU science foundation of Arizona, got to be big.

Dan Simon: It's very important. Without science foundation of Arizona, and our relationship with ASU, we probably wouldn't have targeted the company here. Although Arizona has everything you need from a climate and land perspective, all we need is sun and CO2 to make the stuff. But having science foundation of A.Z. there and ASU's technology, we were able to make the point of, OK, we'll build a headquarters right here, science foundation of Arizona contributed to ASU, in partnership with us to do the basic research to develop the strains to make the algae.

Ted Simons: Very good. It's good to have you on the show. Continued success and we'll look forward to hearing more news in the future.

Dan Simon: Thank you very much.

Teacher Quality Documentary

  |   Video
  • “Mitchell20: Teacher Quality is the Answer”, a new documentary that explores issues of teacher quality, was filmed at Mitchell School in Phoenix’ Isaac Elementary District. Executive Producer Kathy Wiebke, who also serves as Executive Director of the Arizona K12 Center, and Barnett Berry, the Founder and President of the Center for Teaching Quality discuss some of the issues the film brings to light.
  • Kathy Wiebke - Executive Producer and Executive Director of the Arizona K12 Center,Barnett Berry - The Founder and President of the Center for Teaching Quality
Category: Education   |   Keywords: teacher quality, documentary, education,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: 20 teachers at Mitchell elementary school in Phoenix set out to improve their skills by looking to achieve national board certification. Their story is documented in "Mitchell 20", a film that premiers today in Phoenix. I'll talk with the executive producer and a national expert on teacher quality in a moment, but first here's a clip from "Mitchell 20".

Tina: I think one of the biggest complaints about the personal Development is that it's not meeting full to our classroom, whereas with national board everything you do is meaningful and applicable.

Linda-Darling Hammond: We have a lot of evidence that effective professional development that changes practice is both long in duration, it's connected to work with children, it's connected to work around the subject area, and it involves other colleagues in a reflection and coaching and inquiry process. And that kind of professional development in fact does lead to improvements in student learning.

Nancy Flanagan: It's not prescriptive; it goes beyond surface features of teaching and goes right down into the heart of teaching, which is causing learning. And teachers who can articulate the learning that they've caused, no matter how they did it, are valued.

Reuben: Make the teacher look like a superman, super teacher. Wow, I can accomplish all these standards, and it's something almost -- when I first glanced at them I thought they were impossible. But I started reading them, and going into them, and I thought to myself, I do these things. I just don't do them to the extent. So I want to just fine tune when I'm doing now, and then take to it that next step.

Ted Simons: Joining me now is the film's executive producer, Kathy Wiebke, who also direction NAU's Arizona K-12 center, which helps teachers obtain professional development. And Barnett Berry, president and CEO of the center for teaching quality, a research-based advocacy organization based in North Carolina. Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us.

Kathy Wiebke: Thank you.
Barnett Berry: Thank you.
Ted Simons: As far as the film is concerned, what story does it tell?

Kathy Wiebke: I think it tells the story that quality teachers can be found everywhere. And we need them in our -- what Daniela will refer to as - our most deserving schools with our most deserving students.

Ted Simons: Daniela Robles is who you are referring to?
Kathy Wiebke: Yes.
Ted Simons: She was, kind of the ringleader in terms of getting certification?
Kathy Wiebke: Yes. In 2007 Daniela became, -- she achieved national board certification and she was disappointed at the lack of minority educators who were board certified so she recruited 20 teachers at her school. Out of those 20, all but three are minority educators, over half of them have English as their second language, and almost half were born outside of the United States. And grew up in very similar circumstances to the students they teach.

Ted Simons: What do you make of this story?

Barnett Berry: It's a fabulous story Ted. It tells the story of how the national board certification process can identify effective teachers, but also fuel school improvements. It also tells us that we have yet to tap into the incredible potential of many teacher leaders we have already in our schools to help improve our public education system.

Ted Simons: What's involved in getting certification? At least the kind of certification that Daniela got?

Barnett Berry: Well Cathy is an NBCT herself. So I'd like Kathy to answer that question, but it's similar to the certification process, the advanced certification process that engineers, architects, and even doctors go through.

Ted Simons: Take us through the process.

Kathy Wiebke: Teachers need, they summit four portfolio entries and each entry has extensive written commentary, where they have to provide clear consistent convincing evidence of the national board standards and their practice. They submit videotapes, student work samples, and all of it is designed to show student learning over time, and that they are teaching to this level of accomplished teaching standards. And then they sit for an exam afterwards.

Ted Simons: How many teachers aspire to this? Obviously whey an inspirational story here. She inspired others to follow suit. But realistically, what are you seeing?

Kathy Wiebke: It's less than 5% of the teaching population attempts national board certification.

Ted Simons: Why is that?

Barnett Berry: It's expensive, like other advanced certification processes, but more importantly, very few teachers, especially in the schools have the time to go through the process. About three to 400 hours of intense analysis of evidence and data goes into that portfolio process. And many teachers in these schools just do not have the time.

Kathy Wiebke: One of the things that especially in our schools in a district like Isaac that's incorrect of action, according to NCLB, is most of their professional development is very, very prescriptive and what these teachers will say is when they made the choice to do national board certification it was the first time they were given the power or choice, whatever we want to call it, to do something outside of what has been prescribed.

Ted Simons: Talk about districts, administration, are they helping along these lines? Could they help a whole lot more? What are seeing?

Barnett Berry: They could help a whole lot more, and there's some great places that are doing great things, and superintendents and principals who really enable teachers to go through this process, help them find the time, help use the data to fuel school improvement. And quite frankly other places, Ted, superintendents and principals are threatened by teacher leadership.

Ted Simons: Interesting.

Kathy Wiebke: I think for this particular case one of the reasons why the Arizona K-12 center got involved early on, it was the first time in Arizona where we had 20 teachers at one school, and what this national board certification, people often see it as something in our more affluent communities. To have 20 teachers at an inner city school and we had significant administrative support in the principal, she set aside a significant amount of money to support these teachers, she looked at every barrier that might be in the way and really worked to solve that. That is very unique, so we wanted to learn from them as well.

Ted Simons: Again, we're talking about this particular school and this particular teacher, who really inspired everyone. The film obviously focuses on her and the school; we have another clip here that focuses on Daniela Robles. Let’s take a look.

Daniela Robles: I think right now, there is a move to eradicate public education. And I think that move has momentum because it's so easy to point the finger and to say, not there. They're not doing it there, because their kids can't do it. Their kids speak another language. There's an assumption that all Hispanics are less capable. There is an assumption that the majority of Hispanics are illegal. There is an assumption the majority of our students are illegal. That's what the world thinks. That assumption, there's an underlying feeling that because we're going to assume they're illegal, because we're going to assume they are less than, that it's OK if we know the schools they attend aren't the same as the schools that other children attend.

Ted Simons: You watch this, and you see these kids, and you hear these assumptions, but then you wonder, why has there only been, in this particular district, only one certified teacher, and we just saw her in that film clip? How can that change?

Kathy Wiebke: I think it's by giving teachers a voice. And giving them the time and resources and support to pursue national board certification. To observe other teachers in classrooms, to observe practice, to talk about it. We just don't provide that time and we don't provide those resources.

Barnett Berry: I think if parents saw more of Danielle and other teachers like her, they would demand their superintendents and principals for more teachers to go through this process. Of course we think "Mitchell 20" can tell that story.

Ted Simons: I was going to say, as far as the film is concerned, what do you want this film to do? What do you want this film to say and who do you want it to say it to?

Barnett Berry: I think what it is saying is we have extraordinary numbers of great teachers in this country, we -- more teachers in schools to come from the communities in which they're teaching, and we need to find more Daniela’s and help teachers like her spread her expertise to her colleagues across the country.

Ted Simons: The message from this, you want to get out from this film? We're talking about an inner city school in Phoenix, the median family income is below poverty level, a third of the kids aren't speaking English at home. The whole nine yards. We're familiar with these schools around town, and yet this is happening there. What do you want the film to say?

Kathy Wiebke: I want it to change the conversation in America. I really -- we've been doing a lot of finger pointing at teachers, making them the blame, and really these are bigger societal issues. And so for me it's that great teachers are everywhere. And that we need support these teachers and we as a community, as parents, as community leaders, as teachers, as principals, we need to get together and help our kids.

Barnett Berry: Teachers are the solution, not the problem. That's the main message of this film.

Ted Simons: Are you seeing anyone following? Has inspiration from the film started to make some waves?

Kathy Wiebke: Absolutely. We've had over 12 cohorts throughout Arizona, very rural areas, to very urban areas to very suburban areas doing exactly what they've done at Mitchell.

Ted Simons: This documentary will be shown around town?

Kathy Wiebke: At the AMC Arizona center AMC Theater, October 14th through 20th. We hope people will see it.

Ted Simons: It's good to have you both here. Thank you so much for joining us.
Barnett Berry: Thank you so much, Ted.