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May 23, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

Hayden Flour Mill in Tempe

  |   Video
  • It’s been off-limits to the public and locked behind a fence since 1998, but now the historic Hayden Flour Mill in Tempe is getting new life as a venue for public and private events. Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman talks about the mill’s history and its latest transformation.
  • Hugh Hallman - Tempe Mayor
Category: Community   |   Keywords: Tempe, Hayden, flour, mill, ,

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TED SIMONS: And here now with more on the reopening of the Hayden flour mill is Tempe mayor Hugh Hallman. Thanks for joining us.

HUGH HALLMAN: always great to be here.

TED SIMONS: Sounds like things are happening with that mill finally.

HUGH HALLMAN: They are indeed. The site has been closed since 1999. It became quite an eyesore. We restored the grounds so people can see the mill building, look inside and see what the mill operations looked like inside. It's true as Mr. Mitchell pointed out it's a shame we can't open the building itself but that's about an $8 million problem to solve. It outstrips Tempe's resources and the foundation of which I'm president doesn't have those resources yet but we're looking for a private sector partner as the city has in the past to partner with the city and perhaps the foundation to rehabilitate the mill building itself, perhaps into restaurants, art gallery and then perhaps offices. Build on the site itself.

TED SIMONS: it seemed like in the past there was an idea for a hotel or retail. All sorts of plans. Are those plans still on any table right now?

HUGH HALLMAN: Yes and no. There are several iterations of development concepts put forward. That's develop who are last had an interest in project was the same develop they're built the two towers in downtown Tempe. We all remember with the lender mortgages limited, when it went into bankruptcy it caused the collapse of that whole project, our mill project with the tower project. That developer is still quite well heeled, does great work and my hope is that developer with the developer who holds the property at the Lakeside, John Graham, brilliant guy, has great talent, will create the opportunity for the private sector and the city to partner for a great project.

TED SIMONS: It strikes me from a distance you hear of pop-up art galleries where there's a vacant space and no one wants it, you put an art gallery in there until someone wants to use it. Is this public until someone wants to use it?

HUGH HALLMAN: In fact exactly. The downtown Tempe community is creating the event space. They will be running it. You see the grand lawn, which is lighted at night. The lighting matches the bridge lighting. The stage is set to provide performance venues. Then the history museum is outside the building. You see the history of Tempe and downtown Tempe, the mill and can look through the windows and see what that looks like. There is on the corner a very talented landscape architect bill Thomasson designed the grounds and the psych Lora ma. It's set up for the high school students in Tempe to create art worst to hang from that. It's exactly what you thought, to create an active outdoor art space and performance venue that will activate the space.

TED SIMONS: I'm familiar with bill's work. You can tell the minute you see that, that looks like his imprint.

HUGH HALLMAN: It does indeed. The big problem we face for several years for decades really is that nobody wants to walk from downtown Tempe to the beautiful rio salado project at the lake. It was a no man's land out there. If it's longer that two blocks you have to get in the car. We have created something interesting to look at between the lake and mill avenue. We're already seeing it, folks will move from the Lakeside to Mill Avenue and Vice versa.

TED SIMONS: As far as the city is concerned is this now technically a city park in.

HUGH HALLMAN: It won't be titled a public park. It will be under the control of the downtown Tempe community, but yes, people are invited to come to the space. There's a grove of trees on the mill avenue side for picnicking and enjoying that. The lawn is available. It's not technically a public space because the DTC will control it. It will be managing it for us.

TED SIMONS: Atlantis a closing time? Are there hours of operation?

HUGH HALLMAN: Exactly. Like our parks there be will be a closing time. We estimate at 10:00 at night, opening at sunrise. The surrounding area as well will have that kind of timeline where one can't actually legally be there at midnight.

TED SIMONS: Say I want to hold a wedding or event there. Do you reserve space? Will areas be cordoned off?

HUGH HALLMAN: Exactly. They are putting together the program to allow people to reserve the space, that grassy lawn. They will set up a schedule of specific events for concerts and other activities. The art gallery space that you saw in the video, that is actually 20 feet tall and 16 feet wide on each side. That space is going to be programmed through the Tempe union high school district and other high schools in Tempe and we'll have art shows about every three months. It brings the art back to mill avenue.

TED SIMONS: Isn't that on the corner really when you're coming across the bridge, one of the first things you see on the ground?

HUGH HALLMAN: It's breathtaking. It will provide the top portion of it, which is made of steel will provide the kind of artwork one would appreciate from an automobile. The lower portion is for people are pedestrians. It's at a pedestrian scale. Then when you get to that space you'll then be able to walk the labyrinth marked out as we speak and will be constructed in the next two weeks.

TED SIMONS: You mentioned next two weeks for that particular timeline. When will we see a full renovation? Is it going to be in September, the grand opening?

HUGH HALLMAN: If you mean renovation of the mill, that will take years. If somebody started just today on a project that would include an office and restaurant and other structures it would probably take four, five years. That's where the city has to move quickly. Every time we start forward the window on development closes before it moves forward because it's so complicated. My advice as I'm leaving office would be, get a deal with somebody who already knows everything there is to know about doing this project. We have seen three developers come in and out. I would select somebody who knows what needs to be done and can take advantage of the opening window.

TED SIMONS: For now if someone goes down there they will see the grounds, the public space, the grass. That's pretty much a done deal.

HUGH HALLMAN: It's all done. The interesting part about this, for example, the tree grove, there are ten now, there will be 14 by the end of the month, those are all still in boxes. Folks wonder, why are you doing it that way? Our intention was to dress the site so it would be publicly available and appreciated, but also make it temporary so that we can relocate those trees to parks where we might need them. So as the city needs trees, the foundation donates those to the city, we'll bring in new trees, and continue that process. We have kind of a living tree grove that is a nursery for the city of Tempe. All that was taken into consideration as we completed this project.

TED SIMONS: Interesting. Last question. I want to go down there. I want to hang out, enjoy myself. Where do I park?

HUGH HALLMAN: Across the street at the Rio Salado drive parking lot at Hayden ferry Lakeside there are two commercial buildings, lots of extra space. You can park immediately across the street at the vulcan building bought by Paul Allen. It now has tri-sports in it, it will be open in about a month. That building is eight stories tall and has another 2,000 parking spaces available, all easily available. You can always park on the street. Credit cards now useful in our parking meters on Mill Avenue. For a buck and a half or two bucks you can spend pretty good time in downtown Tempe.
TED SIMONS: things are happening down there. Good to hear about it.
HUGH HALLMAN: Good to be here, and being mayor of Tempe has been a delight.

TED SIMONS: thank you so much, mayor.

Memorial Day Gas Prices & Travel

  |   Video
  • Michelle Donati of AAA Arizona provides an update on gas prices and travel tips for the Memorial Day weekend.
  • Michelle Donati - AAA Arizona
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: memorial, day, 2012, gas, prices, travel, ,

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TED SIMONS: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simon. Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional start of the summer driving season. How many will be hiding the roads this weekend and how are gas prices affecting those numbers. Michelle Donati joins us from Triple-A. Thanks for joining us. What do you see?

MICHELLE DONATI: We're seeing more Arizonans and more consumers nationwide are traveling for the upcoming weekends. Nationwide we're looking at nearly 35 million travelers. Here in Arizona more than 707,000. Those are up by a full percentage point, nationwide up by 1.2 and Arizona 1.6% over last year.

TED SIMONS: trending from the past few years you seeing more here?

MICHELLE DONATI: With Memorial Day travel there were about five bad years. Not necessarily bad years but years where we saw year over year decline this travel. The last two years we have seen recovery, that recovery has sustained itself. Very positive for the travel industry.

TED SIMONS: are you talking economic recovery or gas prices?

MICHELLE DONATI: Travel recovery. Five years we saw travel declines year over year over Memorial Day. We have seen two years of growing numbers, a very positive thing. That recovery has been able to sustain itself. That's a great thing for travel. Also a great thing for the hospitality industry.

TED SIMONS: How do the auto travelers, the number there, how does that compare to air travel, for example?

MICHELLE DONATI: Well, typically, auto travel is a dominant mode for transportation. That's just because you can put a family of four in a car and drive to San Diego, for example, one of the top destinations for Arizonans, and it's far cheaper than putting that family of four on a plane to the same destination. This holiday there's no exception to that. Nine in ten Arizonans will be driving to their destinations, so that's also up over last year. Air travel is down. Not really all that surprising because we're looking at consumer spending. Half of what they spent last year and traveling half as far as last year. Those are the two big trends. Spending less, traveling shorter distances. So the car is helping them do just that.

TED SIMONS: So it's economic recovery with a Small E and Small R.

MICHELLE DONATI: That's right. We have seen some stability, some economic recovery that's encouraged this travel, but at the same time consumers are being very creative, smart about their spending and they recall want to make every dollar count.

TED SIMONS: Speaking of dollars, what do we have for gas prices right now? Where do you see that going this summer?

MICHELLE DONATI: Nationwide prices are 3.68 a gallon, statewide 3.77 a gallon. The good news is that prices have now fallen for seven straight weeks heading into the holiday weekend which officially starts tomorrow. Prices are at an 11-week low. We have fallen by more than a dime from march, late march, but this is the most expensive Memorial Day on record that we have. So moving into this holiday consume letters pay more for gas than they ever have in previous years leading into Memorial Day.

TED SIMONS: Again, as far as by Labor Day what do you think?

MICHELLE DONATI: It's hard to say because there are a few things at play. We have seen price of crude change in stability, which is a great thing. That's enabled prices across the country to fall leading into this holiday weekend. That hasn't necessarily been the case in recent weeks with Arizona and the West Coast because there was a refinery issue, but Arizona was not all that impacted by that issue. That's a good thing. We didn't necessarily see prices increase as a result of that. Instead we saw them tighten up, but over the last week they have fallen by 2.5 cents. One of the biggest unknowns is hurricane season. We see that pick up and there's typically more activity later in the summer. It's hard to say what prices are going to be Labor Day. But looking ahead, there's really no reason why the current trend, downward trend, shouldn't continue.

TED SIMONS: Last question, there are concerns about drinking and driving over the holiday weekend. You guys have a tipsy tow service. What’s that about?

MICHELLE DONATI: Triple-A we recognize we're in a unique position. We have the largest towing operation in the state. We're also an advocacy organization. We want folks to celebrate responsibly. We recognize Memorial Day gatherings include alcohol consumption. One thing we offer on celebratory occasions is a tipsy tow service, a free tow and ride home up to ten miles available statewide. You don't have to be a Triple-A member to use it.

TED SIMONS: Interesting. But you have to go home, you can’t go to another spot?

MICHELLE DONATI: That's right. This isn't a party bus. We get calls every service period. You can't make a reservation. We're not going to take you to the next club or bar. We'll take you home one way.

TED SIMONS: Thanks for joining us.


Technology & Innovation: SCENE Research

  |   Video
  • The Arizona State University SCENE Research Program for high school students is developing innovators of the future. We'll hear from a student innovator and a mentor from the program.
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: AZ, Technology, Innovation, scene, research, ,

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TED SIMONS: An ASU program is helping high school students learn what it takes to be a professional scientist. The southwest center for education and natural environment or scene immerses students in ASU labs for up to eight months. Scene's research program is provided in partnership with the ASU global institute of sustainability and ASU center for solid state science. Here to talk about the scene program is Nate Newman, a mentor, and science professor, also here is a student involved in the program, Jean Juang, Corona Del Sol high school senior. Good to have you here.

BOTH: Thank you.

TED SIMONS: sounds like an environmental angle to this as well.

NATE NEWMAN: They have opened it up to all of sciences, so it's a very nice program to get high school students to come in, work in the Arizona State University lab, and we have some of the state of the artwork going on. We incorporate that into the program.

TED SIMONS: Is this some sort of scientific basis for understanding environment, something along those lines?

NATE NEWMAN: It is, but to be honest, it's more or less teaching us to be responsible scientists, where we make sure that we do things that are constructive not only in the short term but in the long term. The basis of the whole program is that mentoring is such an important part of training scientists, usually as a Ph.D student you're in with other graduate students and post DOCs. We have expanded that plan to bring in high school students and the graduate students mentor the high school students. It's really -- they bring in so much energy and excitement, ambition. Great things have happened. Jean can tell you about quite a bit of that type of excitement.

TED SIMONS: Let's talk to Jean. As far as being involved in cutting edge research, what were you involved in? How did you get involved and did you choose what you decided to research?

JEAN JUANG: Yes. Definitely. Scene is great in that it provides you with a range of opportunities. You can can choose to work in an engineering field or biology field. Last year I was honored to work with Dr. Newman. We worked on supercomputer memory and we worked on the properties with regard to temperature.

TED SIMONS: Was this something that needed an answer? Is this an academic exercise or something that did not have an answer and you had to do it?

JEAN JUANG: It is kind of both. Because we're on the cutting edge of research nobody knows about the properties of this type of memory. It was new but there were also applications we were investigating.

TED SIMONS: How do you make sure what the students are learning something that may not have a known answer but will teach them and guide them?

NATE NEWMAN: One of the things we do is we have graduate students who have a long-term project. They go down this path and they have some of the big questions that we want answered. What happens is a lot of little things, you say what if. What if we looked at commercial memory made by everspin, and the idea that we could look at properties at low temperature. They turned out to be quite appealing. Now we have quite a large program based on Jean's initial work where we're trying to make really energy efficient memory. Computers take up so much and generate so much heat, if you could make something that generated less heat you could make a more powerful computer and a faster computer. We're looking at lower temperatures to enable that development.

TED SIMONS: The idea of being mentored in the process, what were your questions? How were they answered?

JEAN JUANG: It was really great to be able to work with a variety of peers, grad students, post DOCS. Whenever I had a question in the lab about maybe a concept, or not knowing how to use a machine, I was mentored in that. More I was mentored in how to be professional and work in a lab setting.
TED SIMONS: I was going ask if there are scientists and engineers, professionals, even graduate students, folks future up the chain, when you see them working and doing things, that inspire you?

JEAN JUANG: Definitely. I have been inspired just to pursue science. It's my passion. I definitely want to spread that to my peers and also mentor others.

TED SIMONS: was it your passion beforehand or was it something you were thinking about and this cemented it for you?

JEAN JUANG: I was really curious about science but I didn't know what field I wanted to go into. After I worked with Dr. Newman, engineering is for me.

TED SIMONS: Scientists have to public papers and present what they have done to groups, organizations. Is that part of the process as well?

JEAN JUANG: Yes. Definitely. Scene is really great in that it let's you present at the Arizona science fair and the international science fair. There you learn from other people as well as you work on your public speaking.

TED SIMONS: you can learn quite a bit just presenting what you've done to other folks.

NATE NEWMAN: absolutely. We learn from the mentoring process when we have a new student from high school, they don't have all the college classes. So we have to make sure we understand it well enough that we can explain it in very simple terms, go back to the fundamentals, and it's amazing how few pieces get put together and Jean and so many of the students have accomplished so much.

TED SIMONS: The idea sounds from a distance, the idea is that it's the process of scientific discovery. That's very much at play here. Again, we're not talking academic exercise. We're talking scientific boots on the ground, if you will.
NATE NEWMAN: It's made a big difference to my program, it's made a big difference to many of the sponsors we have. I hope it's impacted the high school students in a very positive way.

TED SIMONS: Sounds like it has. Have you won some awards? Seems like this is the kind of thing that would win a lot of awards.

JEAN JUANG: I was grand award winner at Arizona state fair and a finalist at international science fair.

TED SIMONS: that has to be exciting as well.

JEAN JUANG: probably the best week of my life. I got to meet with nobel laureates, I got to meet Bill Nye, the science guy.

TED SIMONS: good for you!

JEAN JUANG: I got to go to universal studios. It was so much fun I didn't even realize how much I had learned.

TED SIMONS: You're having fun, winning contests, you're being mentored, you know you want to be a scientist. Where are you going to school?

JEAN JUANG: I'm going to Princeton university and I know I'm going to concentrate in science.

TED SIMONS: In science in general or anything specific?

JENA JUANG: I'm waiting until I get this to explore that. Even more research.

TED SIMONS: they call ASU the Princeton of the west.

JEAN JUANG: oh, yes.
NATE NEWMAN: we're working on it.
TED SIMONS: Again, winning contests, presenting, co-authoring or authoring these things, when they do want to go to college, when they are doing admissions process, that has to help a lot.
NATE NEWMAN: I think it's phenomenal. It also inspires students to want to learn more. Sitting in the classroom, answering questions in the back of the book, it's a necessary part of the education process. But when you're surrounded by graduate students who have no concepts and you have to learn them, it inspires me. It's amazing how their grades improve. I only used to take the best students with the top As. I took a few that didn't and I was shocked to see how their grades improved in everything. Now we have everything from high school, undergrad, the whole mix. It was a fun, productive experience.

TED SIMONS: congratulations to you and good luck at the Princeton of the east.

JEAN JUANG: Thank you.

TED SIMONS: good to have you.