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December 12, 2013

Host: Ted Simons


  |   Video
  • For some, the cost of getting a portrait can be prohibitive, so they may not have a nice family picture to hang on the wall. The Photographer’s Adventure Club will be taking part in the Help-Portrait event this weekend. Photographers will be taking studio-quality portraits this Saturday at the Venue in Scottsdale. Nicholas Pappagallo, national president of the Photographer's Adventure Club, will tell us more.
  • Nicholas Pappagallo - National President, Photographer's Adventure Club
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: community, photographers, adventure, club, portrait, family, Arizona, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: There are many who don't have the means or the wherewithal to have a higher quality portrait or family picture done. But this weekend, photographers here in Arizona and around the world will be taking studio quality portraits for those who, in some cases, have never had a nice portrait to call their gnome. Nicholas Papagallo is the national President of The Photographers Adventure Club, and he joins us more to talk about, this is one of those things that, when you hear about it, you go, why haven't we heard about this? This makes perfect sense, talk to us about what you are doing, to help folks feel like folks.

Nicholas Pappagallo: We heard about it a few years ago, and it, it, same thing, we thought the same thing, wow, this is amazing and we want to be a part of this. And, and with our club, we reach out to like, 19 thousand photographers, and so, we decided let's try to figure out some more about it and, and get involved. And our, our part in this is we put everything together from the beginning all the way through, and we give portraits to our guests for free. There is no cost for them. So they get an entire portrait experience, some of them have never had a picture taken. We did it in Tempe last year for displayed families and people that could get their picture taken, and it was really great, and it was our first year being involved last year.

Ted Simons: And photographers, again, giving of their time and their skills, and hairstylists? Makeup? Also included?

Nicholas Pappagallo: This year we're not doing it, and last year we did include all of that because of the, because of the, our demographic, this year it will be for the down syndrome network, and it's at their event, their party, that they are having for the families, so they are coming already this year. We're just going to keep shooting away.

Ted Simons: Talk about the logistics and the event, when you go there, and you see
all of this, for the photographers, and how does it all work?

Nicholas Pappagallo: We get there at 8:30 in the morning, and we're going to be setting up the studios, professional studios, and we have five studios, a Santa booth, and a booth for like fun stuff, like your old-time photo booth, so we're starting early, and then by 10:30 we're going to be set up and taking pictures, and we're going to shoot until 1:30 and print them all up.

Ted Simons: It's there, and in the past, I know that some of the, the subjects were
able to write certain things on their pictures, and you can continue that this time or how is that going to work?

Nicholas Pappagallo: They can write stuff and down, download them online or share them with friends, family, and use them for their Christmas cards, and that's why we do it in the holidays, it is a global effort so we're not the only one doing this, this is worldwide.

Ted Simons: And, and let's take a look at the examples here because these are some folks that, again, and these are people who may not necessarily have ever, really, had a nice picture taken of them. Correct?

Nicholas Pappagallo: Correct.

Ted Simons: And, and it includes families, and single portraits and those sorts of things?

Nicholas Pappagallo: Right, anyone, thin that feels like they want to come down and check it out.

Ted Simons: And a family like this one, afterwards, what kind of response do you get from folks when they see these kind of qualities?

Nicholas Pappagallo: When they see it for the first time, they light up. The experience is great. The kids love it, and they just, you know, they are really just lighting up and love it. And --

Ted Simons: It's interesting because you see people, you know, portraits, they are
such, you know, if they are not too staged, they tell you so much.

Nicholas Pappagallo: Yeah. It's a great time. We had all kinds of people come in last year, and we don't have any restrictions on it, if you feel like you want to come out and be a part of it, we welcome you, and --

Ted Simons: And these, they are not going to be sold or included in the portfolios,
it's, basically, again, I love this one, this is fantastic.

Nicholas Pappagallo: Yes.

Ted Simons: Folks with what they have and they love, and again, dogs never had a portrait taken before. So -- how did this idea get started?

Nicholas Pappagallo: There is a gentleman called, named Jeremy, and he started the idea as a concept for himself. And it's kind of gone viral, you would call it, where, where, you know, thousands of photographers have picked this up, and started doing these. And it fit our, our actual photographers, that's why we took it up and, and there are a couple of other in the valley, somewhere last weekend and, and we are having about 420 guests come through on Saturday.

Ted Simons: Interesting, so, if someone, say you are taking a picture in previous or future events, someone is homeless, what, what do you do with the picture? How do you make sure that they get a copy?

Nicholas Pappagallo: We print it right out for them, so it's an eight by ten print and, and what -- we kind of thought of that ourselves, what are these people going to do with the pictures? Many sent them home to families, to kids that they have. And, and some of them wanted it for Facebook, so we gave it to them on a flash drive because they have Facebook accounts so they were able to get out to more people and, and they could just be temporarily displaced. It does not have to be strictly homeless, so, it's, again, anyone canuse it, and they do leave that day with the portrait.

Ted Simons: And again, the response from the subjects, just, they are tickled pink?

Nicholas Pappagallo: Overwhelming. For the photographers, it's great to watch
everyone, just, they are smiling and they are glowing and less time we did a lot of makeup and hair and everything, and they have never been done up like that before, so they were just looking in the mirror and be like, wow, this is amazing.

Ted Simons: And you mentioned the photographers talk about the response from photographers. I would imagine people who take portraits, specializing in portraits, all kinds of photographers are involved, but you can get some folks who can be a little cranky and demanding. I'll bet these folks are a joy to work with.

Nicholas Pappagallo: It's a different experience.

Ted Simons: Right.

Nicholas Pappagallo: And you are giving them something and, and it is very fulfilling for the photographers and all the volunteers, not everyone shooting pictures, we have a lot of logistics going into that of people helping get to the booths, and people setting stuff up and lights up, social media people, we've been working on this for a year so it's a big production.

Ted Simons: And are there shots of behind the scenes activity? And other kinds of things going on?

Nicholas Pappagallo: Correct. We're doing video, and we do behind the scenes photography, so we can promote for next year to let others know that hey, come out and check this out.

Ted Simons: How can people come out and check this out? What kind of information?

Nicholas Pappagallo: this is at the -- it's in Scottsdale, and it's at the venue, and there is a public booth, so we have five total booths, four of them for, for the D.S. network and one there for a public use, so anyone could come in, and get their pictures, and we're starting at 10, let's see, it’s going to be a 10:30 start time. And until about 1:30 that anyone could come in during the times.

Ted Simons: When you say anyone could come in, those are the subjects. What about
photographers? They are watching and saying, I would not mind getting involved with this, how do they?

Nicholas Pappagallo: They could find us on the photographer's adventure website,
which is I check the emails myself, and we are filled with volunteers, so, we're going to start planning for next year.

Ted Simons: And the photographer's adventure club, what is that?

Nicholas Pappagallo: A network of photographers that we just got together and we like to go out to do photo walks and teach classes and Photoshop, light room. And we just like to network and, and do model shoots, and passing information around.

Ted Simons: I saw someone saying it's about giving pictures and not taking pictures.

Nicholas Pappagallo: Right.

Ted Simons: And that's what this is about, isn't it?

Nicholas Pappagallo: Correct.

Ted Simons: All right, so again, this Saturday, the venue, in Old Town Scottsdale?

Nicholas Pappagallo: Correct.

Ted Simons: Get there, if you are a photographer, check the website for more information, and again, this is one of those things where you hear about it and you go this is fantastic, and I can't believe it hasn't been done a long time ago, and thank you very much and congratulations. A great effort.

Nicholas Pappagallo: Thank you.

Housing Report

  |   Video
  • A new report shows the Phoenix-area housing market is ending the year with a drop in demand and activity. The report also shows reluctance on the part of first-time home buyers, especially those under 30, to jump into the housing market. Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business, will talk about his report.
  • Mike Orr - Director, Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: Phoenix, report, housing, market, Arizona, buyers, business, economy,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A new report shows that the Phoenix area housing market is ending the year with a drop in demand in activity. The report also shows reluctance on the part of first-time home buyers, especially those under 30, to jump into the housing market. Joining us now is the author of the report, Mike Orr, the director of the center for real estate theory and practice at the W.P. Carey School of Business. Good to see you again.

Mike Orr: And you, too.

Ted Simons: It sounds like the market is ending the year on a whimper.
Mike Orr: Well, prices have gone up dramatically in the past two years, and it's hard to believe that the median sales price has gone up by 71%. Since two years ago. And when the prices go up that much, eventually, sellers start to get overwhelmed. Ok, that's enough. So the demand has definitely been declining. In fact, it started declining in July. First, everyone said it was just the interest rates going up a bit, but now, we're seeing, sort of a general weakness in demand. And as you mentioned, it's very prominent in two particular sectors. The younger, first-time home buyers, and not really coming out in large numbers, and secondly, the, the investors that we had around for a long time, and then also, prices have gotten to the point that nothing is a bargain anymore, so, they are looking elsewhere.

Ted Simons: So, this is not necessarily a seasonal thing?

Mike Orr: No, seasonally, we always have, have less activity in the fourth quarter than we do in say the second quarter, but, normally, November, December, reasonably active, and definitely, about 20% quieter than I would normally expect.

Ted Simons: You mentioned those under 30, uninterested. What's going on out there?

Mike Orr: Well, the ones I have talked to, it just hasn't hit the radar. They are too busy living their lives, and finding jobs, and paying off student loans, and doing everything that, that 25 to 35-year-olds do, and buying a house, hasn't even occurred to a lot of them.

Ted Simons: What about qualifying for loans? Is that a problem?

Mike Orr: That would be if they even thought about it.

Ted Simons: They are not getting that far.

Mike Orr: Some of them, obviously, are doing that, but, it's very rare. And qualifying for a loan is quite tough if you don't have a long history, you know, you have got to have good credit history, and ideally have a job for some time, too. If you have only been in the job for two years, most lenders will turn you down straight away.

Ted Simons: And you mentioned price, entry level prices, increasing with everything else?

Mike Orr: Actually, entry level homes have gone up a greater percent than all others. So, they are more expensive. And there is not all that much around. In the areas that young people like to live. The intent to find the younger generation wants to live closer to downtown where the action is, not out in Buckeye or the valley. It's really, to them, the suburbs are not particularly attractive, and the house prices might be lower.

Ted Simons: It sounds as though, with these under 30s, not all that interested. Fewer households are forming. That's going to have a bit of an effect down the road, corrected?

Mike Orr: I think a lot of them, are leaving marriage later in life, so very often, the, finding a place to rent and sharing it amongst more people than ten years ago. So, you find a lot of young people sharing a house, coming and going and, and so, that works out a lot cheaper if you can divide the rent between lots of people.

Ted Simons: I know a lot of folks, entry level and otherwise, got into, into there because they had foreclosures, and what are foreclosures looking like and what does it start looking like?

Mike Orr: They are back down, below normal now, for the population size, and they are, they are about the level that we were in 2002, whereas the population is about 25% bigger than that. So, foreclosures, are no longer a big issue.

Ted Simons: Interesting.

Mike Orr: The ones that have already happened, because that damaged people's credit, so a lot of people who are renting, if they were to apply for loans, they would still, still probably get turned down because of the foreclosure on the record. They still have some time to serve before they get rid of that.

Ted Simons: And we mentioned the under 30s, but let's talk about those who did have problems when the housing crisis hit. Are they psychologically predisposed now to maybe say, well, I'm not so excited.

Mike Orr: Well, I think that, that up until 2006, there was a theory that home prices never went down, and we have now seen that that's not true. So, people are a lot more weary than they were, and particularly, the younger generation, they have only seen hard times, you know, if they are 25, the last seven years have not been that great. But the baby boomers, you know, if they bought their first home in 1975 or something, then they have seen a lot of appreciation, so, when they get out of the market and, and they are quick to get back in. So they can, they can unmass some wealth through future appreciation.

Ted Simons: So, I'm guessing the supply of homes out there is increasing, is increasing a lot?

Mike Orr: Not really. It's increased but it's increasing just because of the slight demand. Homes that were listed stay around longer before they go into contract. And if you cannot have the new listings, which gives you ideas of the raw supply, they are lower now than they have been in the 13 years I've been measuring them. So, we're not getting a flood of new listings, but what we have got is enough to supply the weak demand. Basically, it's a subdued market.

Ted Simons: What about, what about, let's talk, talk homes, 150 thousand dollars, and less.

Mike Orr: Right.

Ted Simons: That hit the hardest right now?

Mike Orr: In terms of the demand falling off? It's, it's -- the demand is weak but the supply is very low, too. And, and you will not -- you would have to hunt quite a bit to find an attractive home, in a nice area, that sort of price. Where the supply is growing most is in the mid range from about 200 to about 400 thousand if you are buying in that range, you have got a lot more choice, probably as much as three times as many homes to choose from as you had in April.

Ted Simons: Interesting.

Mike Orr: And fewer people shopping, so you are going to get, to get a much nicer time, treat you with respect, and they will read the contract, and you will probably be able to get concessions.

Ted Simons: What about luxury homes? Five to eight hundred thousand?

Mike Orr: Above 500 thousand and the market is in good shape. And, and it's not like we have a, a, a low number of homes for sale, but the buyers are very, very willing to pay. We always see this when the stock market does well, and we have had a pretty good year for the stock market, and luxury homes tend to, to be one of the first things that, that people who have done well in the stock market, think of spending that money on.

Ted Simons: And what about the availability of jumbo loans? A little easier than in the past?

Mike Orr: A lot easier. I mean, last year, jumbo loans were very scarce, and everybody, all the lenders. They wanted to write loans that they could sell to the Government, and that meant, loans below four hundred and seventeen thousand. And this year, that's going to add a fashion, and now they want to write big loans to people, who are likely to pay them back. And that means wealthy people, so, loans of 800 thousand, or so, really, really are very much in vogue for many lenders.

Ted Simons: And townhouse, condo market, and any changes there, and anything of note?

Mike Orr: It's a similar sort of patent. The one thing that, that still is, is not, is not coming up is, is sort of new condo construction. Downtown. And I mean, I think that would be very popular if we had some, some low, low, small, small, affordable condos down in the center of Tempe, the center of Phoenix and Scottsdale. And some of them are being built but we are seeing, well, the total number of condos sold each month new, is only about 50 or 60, whereas ten years ago, we were getting 7 or 8 hundred.

Ted Simons: And again, as you mentioned earlier, especially folks under 30 or the first-time buyers, they want to be in that urban environment. As long as they are priced accordingly, they might go.

Mike Orr: They don't need 2,500 square feet, you know, maybe 1,000 would be fine. And they don't have children yet. And if it's close to the lightrail, it's going to sell well, I think.

Ted Simons: So what is all of this doing to the rental market?

Mike Orr: The rental market is stable. We have got plenty of new rentals, basically, coming out of the foreclosure crisis. A lot of people lost their homes, and they became rentals. And, and, and renters and the supply of rentals have been, have been, actually, fairly in balance for sometime. The rents, across the valley, about 70 cents per square foot per month is average. You will pay a lot more than that, in a luxury area, but that's the average, and it's been the same, really, for the last five or six years without much change.

Ted Simons: So, it sounds like we're cooling things down here, and sounds like we're going to be cooling things down on into next year, and is this, is this a healthy, is this, is this a, in the long run, a good thing?

Mike Orr: Well, it's cooling down, but it's cooling back to normal, really. We've been at a boiling point for a long time, and we're just coming off that and back to normal. There is no need to panic, just the usual level of supply. We have now four and a half months of supply, in April, we had two and a half months, and that feels like a very low amount of supply when you are trying to buy. Four and a half feels good. Four and a half to six is the, is the typical range for a natural, normal market. We have not had a normal market for a long time so people have gotten what it feels like, and this is what it feels like.

Ted Simons: Is there such a thing as a normal market.

Mike Orr: Back in, the first quarter of 2003, I was trying to sell my house at the time. And I got frustrated but it took a while to sell.

Ted Simons: Normal hits every ten years, all right. Mike, good to have you here. And thanks for joining us.

Wheelchair Designer

  |   Video
  • An Arizona man combines his love for his brother with his engineering skills to make custom wheelchairs. Inside his garage, Lance Greathouse and his crew repair, restore and create motorized wheelchairs. Greathouse was inspired by his brother’s battle with Parkinson’s disease to design and build chairs that are practical and fun. Some are designed for rough terrain, others are equipped with lights and horns, and one features a flame thrower.
  • Lance Greathouse - Greathouse Labs
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: wheelchairs, Parkinson's, arizona,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: A Glendale man's quest to help his brother has turned into a lasting legacy. Producer Christina Estes, and photographer Steven Snow show us how.

Lance Greathouse: This is my garage, called Greathouse labs. That's where we come up with inventions, designs, wheelchair stuff.

Christina Estes: Take a look at Lance Greathouse's idea of wheelchair stuff.

Lance Greathouse: This is the Dr. Evil Clare. Remember Austin powers, the Dr. Evil? This is named Dr. Evil but the only difference, is, is it has a barbecue in the back, so, you go out, and you can do your tailgating with your buddies and cook your food on the back of the thing, and you have your stereo and lights.

Christina Estes: Lance admits his love for special effects is behind the Dr. Evil chair, but there is another man behind every piece of metal Lance touches. His younger brother, Brent.

Lance Greathouse: He started limping with his leg, and then in five years he was gone.

Christina Estes: Lance says Parkinson's disease robbed his best friend of his motor skills while people sometimes chipped away at his dignity.

Lance Greathouse: They treated him different. People would look down to him, and like there was something else wrong with him. They would talk to me instead of him when I was in the area, so what we decided to do was made him a cool looking wheelchair, and then it changed from people looking at him like what's wrong with you, to like wow, what's that chair? And they would started talking to him, and they would treat him differently.

Christina Estes: This is the chair that started it all. Lance says it came from an aircraft.

Lance Greathouse: I didn't have the heard to get rid of it, so I put these tracks and lights on it, and I use it for my office chair in the office here and, and, it always brings back memories of my brother.

Christina Estes: These tank-like tracks have become popular.

Lance Greathouse: The biggest request that we get is for people wanting to get out in the desert camping, something, climb anything.

Christina Estes: The one that turns the most heads is the one that they call Lord Humongous.

Christopher Collins: It’s Mad Max Road Warrior inspired. What is it like? It's empowering.

Christina Estes: During the week Christopher Collins designed software and on the weekends, wheelchairs.

Christopher Collins: So the chair, we picked up in Tucson, from the bone yard and, and it came out of a rescue helicopter, and the part that we're pivoting the vehicle on, used to pivot out of the helicopter, and they dropped on the rescue line, and they would pull them up. And so, we used that as a, as a, as our inspiration for this point, which was the point that we are connected to the helicopter before.

Christina Estes: The horn comes in handy to warn people about the propane flame effect.

Lance Greathouse: A lot of people see what I'm doing and they say I'm nuts, and all the disabled people say dude, you are on track. Keep going, we love it. And everything doesn't have to be so serious, all the time.

Christina Estes: While they have a lot of fun, they are also improving lives. Recently, Lance and his volunteers built a Clare for a man in Oregon.

Lance Greathouse: And we also found out that the guy was an avid fishermen, and one of the things his friends missed is after he had the stroke he can never go fishing on the boat with him again. So we came up with an idea here, and we all built him a custom fishing chair, that, that would hold his Rod and everything, and we were able to ship all that up to him and donate it to him.

Christina Estes: Lance says every chair that they build comes from donated parts. Chairs that are broken or no longer being used fill his property.

Lance Greathouse: This is why I need a storage container. I have got over 35 chairs in here, that are getting ruined, from the rain and I need a place to put them. It looks like junk but this is hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff.

Christina Estes: They want to turn that stuff into standard motorized chairs, for people who can't afford them. But even with all the free parts, Lance says it is pricey.

Lance Greathouse: Batteries kill us. Every time we donate a chair it cost us $150 to buy the batteries.

Christina Estes: They are tackling the paperwork to form a nonprofit in hopes of attracting some financial donors.

Lance Greathouse: We're almost there and, and nothing comes easy.
Christina Estes: But the payoff is pretty nice.

Lance Greathouse: Every time we donate a chair and look, the look on the person's face, we know we are doing the right thing.

Ted Simons: In honor of his brother, Lance wants to set a world speed record in an electric wheelchair. The goal 80 miles per hour.