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February 25, 2014

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona ArtBeat: WWII Veterans Portraits

  |   Video
  • They are called The Greatest Generation; the thousands of men and women who served in World War Two. More than a thousand of them are dying each day and it is crucial to capture their stories. A senior living facility has created an exhibit dedicated to these brave men and women. We take a closer look at the exhibit, the photographer and the veterans themselves.
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: the arts, artbeat, veterans, exhibit, men, women, WWII,

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Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of "Arizona Horizon" looks at what has been described as the greatest generation, the men and women who served in World War II. That service and sacrifice is the focus of a new art exhibit, producer Shana Fischer and photographer Ed Kishel, give us a look at this moving tribute.

Shana Fischer: Each of these photographs has a story behind it. A story of courage, perseverance, and fortitude.

William Lancaster: I was a fighter pilot, in a P-38 lightning. And I was in the Army Air Corp.

Shana Fischer: Bill Lancaster was, was a teenager when he found himself in the middle of World War II in a plane that he had never flown before. This photo shows the cockpit of the plane. Hundreds of buttons and bill says that he had no idea what many of them were for.

William Lancaster: This airplane was, number one, it was multi-engine, two engines, and in all my flying, it was done in a single engine airplane. And, and I got in an outfit, but all they had was the twin engine airplanes, and I had to go out and, and earn to fly by myself because it does not have one fitted out for an instructor to be there to give me any instruction. So, you had to learn to fly the thing and survive it.

Shana Fischer: That lack of training proved to be deadly. Of the 90 men bill served with, 67 of them never came home. Even now, it's difficult for bill to remember his time in the war and those who did not return safely to their families.

William Lancaster: It's hard to see. I don't think anyone knows the bad side. I had, I had guys that went with me to combat, and they came over there and went down and the first time that they got in an airplane over there and tried to get up and fly, they killed themselves.

Del Ryland: Del Ryland was a farmer boy turned fighter pilot, he joined the ROTC, and soon found himself here in Arizona.

Del Ryland: I got my wings right here in Mesa, at Williams field. Went over to the military to Italy and flew there commissions and the war ended.

Shana Fischer: Bill and Del are two of the Veterans whose photographs are part of an installation at Belmont village, an assisted living facility in Scottsdale. The nearly two dozen portraits were taken by critically acclaimed photographer Thomas Sanders. What started a few years ago as a school assignment for Tom, has transformed into a way to preserve these stories before they are lost for good.

Thomas Sanders: My senior year of college, I had a homework assignment, to photograph a portrait of somebody, and living right around the corner, was this giant retirement community company. And I happened to go there asking the retirement community if there was an interesting, you know, person to photograph, and they said we have this World War II hero.

Shana Fischer: Tom's work caught the attention of Belmont's CEO Patricia will. She asked him to take part rats of Veterans in all of their facilities.

Patricia Will: As a reaction that we got, far surpassed anything that I could have imagined. Not just because there emerged a storyline from each of these extraordinary Veterans. But also, because as a result of hearing the stories, often for the first time, they began to engage with one another in very different ways. The experiences that they had often buried in their long-term memory. Merged and created a camaraderie among them.

Shana Fischer: For Muriel Pelham, it continues to this day. At 90 years old she volunteers with Veteran's groups. Stationed in Europe as a nurse, she spent several years there and came back and continued working in various hospitals. Muriel was one of 350,000 women who served during the war.

Muriel Pelham: I guess it means that, that I was, I was probably helping the women to, to crack the sailing because we had a hard time with a lot of things, a lot of opportunities to advance, and do other than routine care. So, I was glad that I was able to do that.

Shana Fischer: With 1,500 World War II Veterans dying each day in America, capturing these photos and the stories is crucial, but it's more than that.

Thomas Sanders: What is special about this project is that sometimes, the Veterans have never had the opportunity to share their stories, so with this project of photographing and interviewing the Veterans, the Veterans are able to be honored for their first time. And I think that that's, that's, you know, something very, very special for myself and for them. In a way, to give back through art by preserving history.

Shana Fischer: World War II and Korean war Veteran Carl Melin agrees. He's never really talked about his time in Japan. The exhibit is a way for his family and friends to learn more.

Carl Melin: I think that, that they can read the, the items, as to what they say, and what the different fellas thought about their activity. And about their period of time while they were serving. I don't want it to be lost in antiquity, so anything that can be done and said, pictured, proof is all to the benefit.

Shana Fischer: The Veterans are all very pleased with how their photos turned out. If not a bit surprised.

Carl Melin: Well, as everybody else, they wanted, they wondered who it was, the pictures, and the, they never -- they are never as flattering as you wish then to be, but they are factual and that's the way it is.

Muriel Pelham: While I was sort of surprised, frankly. I saw myself holding the picture and the clerk said I recognize more than the other because, because, you know, as you get older, your features change. Let's face it. And I am, in my 90s, so, I'm up there.

Del Ryland: I am thankful that I still have a head of hair. I guess that that's the only thing of appreciation, is I still have a little hair left.

Shana Fischer: For Tom, this project brings his family history into focus. His great uncle died in World War II, and his grandfather, a semi-famous photographer, snapped this shot of author Ernest Hemingway. It now sits in the Smithsonian.

Thomas Sanders: When I photograph the Veterans, I tend to use really dramatic lighting. Some of the Veterans have objects from World War II or other wars that they have hung onto, like their whole entire life, and so that helps to tell their story, so I have them hold that object up, and on top of that, I really try and not overly direct the Veterans too much. I have them hold the object, and I might have them move a bit in terms of posing, but I don't want too much of my own idea to be projected onto them. I just really am trying to capture their essence and soul.

Shana Fischer: Tom's portraits are much like the men and women themselves. Stark, unyielding, and stoic with hints of vulnerability. They tell an entire life story. One that will now last forever.

Thomas Sanders: The whole idea behind the project is making people more appreciative of the Veterans and soldiers, and through hopefully creating an interesting artistic portrait of the Veteran and reading their story, you know, I really hope that draws them in to help put their own lives in perspective.

Ted Simons: Tom's photos were gathered into an award-winning book titled "the last good war." If you would like to see the exhibit make an appointment by contacting Belmont Village in Scottsdale. That is it for now, I'm Ted Simons. And thank you very much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Cactus League

  |   Video
  • Cactus League spring training games start February 26. Cactus League President Mark Coronado will preview the season, and talk about the history and impact of the league.
  • Mark Coronado - President, Cactus League
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: sports, cactus, league, impact, games, spring, training,

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Ted Simons: Cactus league spring training games begin tomorrow. Here now to talk about what's new this spring in the cactus league is the cactus league President Mark Coronado. How are you doing?

Mark Coronado: Glad to be here again.

Ted Simons: What's new this spring? What's different this go around?

Mark Coronado: Well, I think the, the newest, probably most glamorous piece of the cactus league is the Cubs facility in Mesa. You know, Mayor Smith and his crew and the city council and Mr. Brady there did a tremendous job working with the community to get them to buy in on $100 million facility, and that's huge, and we had our cactus league lunch today. And I applauded them because of what they have accomplish idea is, has not only solidified the cactus league, but it has brought a message to the community, and I call the community the cactus league community. The league is valued. And, and if we have to make an investment to keep it, we will. And the Mayor and his team should be proud of their accomplishments.

Ted Simons: Economic impact of the Cubs, in particular, with this new stadium, the cactus league in general.

Mark Coronado: The east valley is responsible for 60% of the economic impact in the cactus league, no question. When you, when you take the, the freeways and you divide it up, you know 65,70 % of the hotel room nights are in the east valley. The resorts are in the east valley. And we're excited because the Cubs, now they have the capacity, they have the newest facilities, and it's a shining star, and brand new and, and we look for them to set some major, major attendance records, so we're very excited about, about trying to Eclipse that 1.7 attendance record last year.

Ted Simons: That's an amazing -- 1.7 million people. Who are these people? And who is the person who attends a cactus league game? What do we know about them?

Mark Coronado: What we know is that 60% are coming from out of town. And they are staying 5.3 nights up from 4.7. And they are spending anywhere from $350 to $650 a day. And what's interesting, about the cactus league and when we talk about the $700 million economic impact 12 months of a year, what's interesting, they don't come to watch the cactus league ball games. When you ask them, what's the number one reason why they come to Arizona, to watch the cactus league, but they go to the Grand Canyon and go to Sedona, and they travel the state. It's definitely a tourism opportunity for us.

Ted Simons: And were these folks not coming during the recession and starting to come back? How did the recession hit the league?

Mark Coronado: The recession didn't hurt us at all.

Ted Simons: Interesting.

Mark Coronado: No. I mean, we did not spike, but we did not take a big decline. The recession really helped, and you know, there is the old adage, it's the national past time. And if you are a baseball fan, you are, and the ritual of spring, I think, is in some, some of their bloods and, and I have to tell you that it's, it's -- the recession didn't hurt us, and we saw a nice spike last year, as well.

Ted Simons: And we have got the new cubs' stadium, and the D'Backs -- they have their facility, and the White Sox and the Dodgers, all the facilities are fantastic. However, you got some other teams, the Brewers, the A’s, and some folks are saying, are they starting to nose around a bit saying, what's up for us?

Mark Coronado: Ted, that's our biggest challenge. During my tenure as the cactus league President, I have tried to trumpet the arm that we have always been the marketing arm. Buy a ticket. Buy a glass of beer, nacho, and have a good time, but what I have tried to do and tried to provide leadership is that we have moved forward with the corporate mentality and, and politically we want to be more engaged. Yesterday, we had our first legislative day ever in the cactus league's history, our 68th season, and we engaged with the, the legislature, Senator and, and members of the house and, and it was interesting. We had over 400 people attend. Staff and leaders from both sides of the aisle. And I think that they are understanding that this, this economic impact that we have is very important to not only the tourism industry, the hospitality industry, but a vital, vital corporate magnet.

Ted Simons: And with that in mind, back to some of the teams that might be wanting better facilities, is that, is that -- what is the biggest challenge right now for the cactus league?

Mark Coronado: The challenge is paying off our existing debt. There is no question. We have made obligations to, to provide major renovations in Peoria, and throughout the cactus league, and Surprise is due here in seven, eight years, and we have also made, if funds are available, to pay off debt in Glendale, and in Goodyear. We cannot expand until we pay off this debt. But, the real, real, real, from my perspective, the real existing situation that we have on the table, is renovation, and the renovation of the facilities. We did not receive all these teams from Florida because we were just the bright sunshine state. We gave them spanking new facilities that were state of the art, and this does not happen overnight. So, we need to have a plan, and that's why the efforts with the legislature is, is we know that it doesn't happen in one or two or three years. We're anxious to see who this new Governor might be. And, and the cactus league is anxious to, to really engage that we have some, some business type of dialogue.

Ted Simons: All right, very good. It sounds like things are running on all gears out there, and congratulations on that, and thank you very much for joining us.

Mark Coronado: Thank you for having us.

New ASU Athletic Director

  |   Video
  • Arizona State University has a new Athletic Director. Former NFL executive Ray Anderson was named the new AD earlier this year, and will talk about his new role and vision for ASU athletics.
  • Ray Anderson - Athletic Director, Arizona State University
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: sports, asu, athletics, director, new, nfl,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Well, former NFL executive Ray Anderson was named ASU's new Athletic Director earlier this year. He replaced Steve Patterson, who took a position at the University of Texas. Joining us now to talk about his job and vision for ASU Athletics is Ray Anderson.

Ray Anderson: It's good to be here.

Ted Simons: Before we get going, what does an anesthetic do?

Ray Anderson: In this day and age, he or she does more than in the days gone by, certainly, you want to take care of the needs of your student athletes, and you hopefully are, are emphasizing the student part of that component. But, you have donor relationships, and you have alumni relationships, and you have faculty relationships, and you have business and revenue generation responsibilities, and that's become a bigger part of this modern day Athletic Director position.

Ted Simons: How do you balance the dynamics, student Athletics with fundraising? You have a stadium renovation project going, and you have athletic district, 300 some odd acres out there, and how do you balance and where do you find that?

Ray Anderson: You better have a good teammate and sports, which we do. And we'll get more of that as time goes on. But, you can't expect to do it individually. It's got to be a collaborative team effort by folks across the University, including the folks in development, folks in sponsorship, folks in marketing, and folks in academia, who are supporting you, as well as the administrator in the athletic department who can keep us focused on what we are supposed to be doing for our student athletes while we are doing the business ventures.

Ted Simons: What is the status of the stadium project? Where are we?

Ray Anderson: We are still in discussions. We have had meetings -- I've been in my first couple of meetings this week getting briefed on where we are, and there is still a ways to go, but one thing that we are doing now is fundraising. Getting folks who, who participate and see the vision and be prepared to, you know, to write some checks, who will support the division, and we are off to a pretty good start in that regard.

Ted Simons: Is there a concrete vision? Are there plans? Can you say, here's what it is going to look like, or is that still to be determined?

Ray Anderson: Conceptually, if you go on the website, there is a peace called a fly-through, and it's a momentum. And it's a really quite impressive piece with a voiceover that talks about what, what the vision is, and how it conceptually could look, and that's where we are, but have we gotten to the point where we have plans firmly on the paper right now? No, but we're closer to that.

Ted Simons: Status of the athletic district? What are we talking about?

Ray Anderson: You are talking about, about an opportunity to, to do commercial support for a lot of things University related, but primarily, the athletic department, so if it's mixed use, if it's residential, if it's restaurants and, and establishments, if it's office space where, where that development where the dollars that are generated from that, can at least help to support Athletics and the other expenditures to benefit the University and also benefiting the community, economic impact, bringing in jobs and making that a vibrant use of land over there.

Ted Simons: I know you've been asked this a million times, let's make it a million and one. You are the second most powerful in the guy, executive Vice President of the NFL. And you left. Why?

Ray Anderson: Well, you know, those who say that I was the second most powerful, some of my colleagues back there, who do the revenue generation and, and would maybe argue with you. But, for me, it was the opportunity to come here with, with a University led by a President who has a vision for making this an elite program, to come back to the student athlete environment where I was fortunate enough to have been a student athlete playing football and baseball, and enjoyed the academic part of it and be able to come back and really kind of be able to be part of that. Hopefully, be an impact and an influence to let these young student athletes know that if you do it correctly, you can have success, but focus on the academic part of it, to come back to an environment where I can be part of that, that was just an unbelievable.

Ted Simons: Even though, the NFL is, is the most powerful professional sports franchise, entity in the world, and you were very, very -- was it getting to be a -- you had the concussion issues, you had the official strike. You probably are constantly dealing with fines and all of this stuff. Was it getting to be a bit of a drag?

Ray Anderson: You know what, Ted, you hit it on the head. My job over time had evolved into really more of a dispute resolution position because of the things you are talking about. And after a while, that does wear on you, and this gave me an opportunity to, essentially, to be in the creative, the people relationship, the, the mentoring, the positive things that an institution like this brings. So this was a, a, a fresh start to be more involved in that type of thing as opposed to despite resolution all the time. That -- you are perceptive there.

Ted Simons: And again, now, you went to Stanford, graduated from Harvard Law School. And those are very traditional schools. When you heard about ASU, and Doctor Crow talked to you about his vision of ASU, did it sound like the old-time University, or did it sound like something new was going on?

Ray Anderson: Something new was going on, and not new because over the last ten dozen years, this University has -- is, has really tried to rid itself of that moniker that it was a party school, and the academic standing of this University, if you take the time to really look, and I was fortunate enough to do that, has really elevated, and so the combination of saying no, no, we're going to be an academic institution that also plays elite Athletics, let's blend that together, and that's exciting, so this is, this is not the, the party school that folks way back in the day may have thought. We're going to be an elite academic, that I can institution am we said it out loud, and the coach and I met this afternoon, and we repeated the vow, we want to be elite. And we want to be top five, not just in Athletics, but in academics with our student athletes across sports.

Ted Simons: A school that might have recruited Anderson when he was younger, and Ray Anderson might have looked, instead of Stanford to ASU, talk to us. You played football and baseball at Stanford, but before that, and you've been an attorney, you've been a sports agent, and obviously, an executive with the NFL. There is a great story about you and your dad and how your dad -- he died when you were still young, but he still really shaped your life, didn't he?

Ray Anderson: Yeah, my dad died suddenly of a heart attack when I was nine. But to that point, he and I were buddies, and he would talk about how he had wanted to be a lawyer. Kept a couple of those thick blue and green bound law books in our den, and I would see him flipping through those, and we would watch Perry Mason, remember the show? You may be too young to remember.

Ted Simons: Oh, no.

Ray Anderson: And I didn’t really understand what a lawyer was, but I knew that my dad had always wanted to be one. When he died, it just became my calling. I just had determined that day that I want to be a lawyer even though I didn't understand what it was, but, I had teachers and coaches who quickly understood that that's what I wanted to be, and so, they told me and taught me about what it meant to do that, and that whole experience kind of shaped my life, but it was my father who pointed the lawyer part of -- the vision early in life.

Ted Simons: Were there any times when you were stuck there in the law library, and you are looking to say, you have two more and then four more years, and gee, thanks, dad, maybe I can try something else?

Ray Anderson: Never vacillated.

Ted Simons: Interesting.

Ray Anderson: Never vacillated. But, there certainly was that time when I, for the first time, I passed my bar exam in Georgia. I set up, in the room, after having been sworn in, and thanked my dad and cried quietly as I wanted to believe that he was proud of me.

Ted Simons: You have done so much with your life, and you kind of have done different things. Have you ever stayed, you haven't stayed in one spot too long. The ASU athletic directors seem to want to get out of here as soon as they get good footing, what about you?

Ray Anderson: I come from some good jobs, and in fact, some people think that I'm crazy because I left a really good job. So, I came here because I wanted to be here, because this was the right combination of things for me. I'm here for, for the duration. This is my destination, as I have said, and I expect to be here for a long time. And certainly as long as my boss will have me.

Ted Simons: And you said some folks thought that you were crazy. Did you get a bit -- what are you doing or how about the family?

Ray Anderson: My wife has seen me take a couple of crazy moves, and a lot of times, I have come home and said, oh, by the way I'm taking a 50% pay cut, so she is kind -- has dealt with me over the years, but when she knows my vision, she knows my passion, and she knows my love for the student athlete environment, and she couldn't be happier. My family couldn't be more happy for me and for us collectively to come here and really be able to make an impact and enjoy this environment. And we're going to do it very much so.

Ted Simons: Well, welcome to Arizona, and welcome to ASU, and thank you very much for joining us.

Ray Anderson: My pleasure, Ted, and good to meet you.