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April 16, 2014

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona ArtBeat: i.d.e.a Museum

  |   Video
  • The i.d.e.a Museum in Mesa is an interactive art museum for kids. We’ll take you on a video tour.
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: the arts, artbeat, museum, mesa, kids, tour, interactive, art,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of Arizona Artbeat looks at the Arizona museum for youth in Mesa. Producer Shana Fischer and photographer Scot Olson, take us on a tour of the "Idea Museum," a place where both children and adults can explore their creative side.

Shana Fischer: The experience at the idea museum begins before you even step inside. The museum opened its doors in 1978, in a refurbished grocery store. It was the first children's museum in the country to focus solely on art.

Sunnee O’Roark: Our mission is to inspire children of all ages to experience art, creativity, imagination.

Shana Fischer: The executive director Sunnee O'Roark oversaw the museum's recent renovation and says it’s all about sparking creativity.

Sunnee O’Roark: Creativity is in all aspects of life. Often we will think of artists as being the creative ones in the world. We all have creative activities that we like to do and also have imagination and so we offer that to our public.

Shana Fischer: There are three main exhibits spread across 20,000 square feet. ArtVille for the younger crowds and encourages brain development. Puppetry activities. Inside the Hub, 11 different stations, interactive designed around critical thinking and creativity. Play a word game with friends. The big draw is the robot exhibit.

Sunnee O’Roark: The robot exhibit is an excellent example of what we offer in the gallery. We have wonderful art on the walls and sculptures. They're actually 46 different artworks created by 15 artists from across the country and three from here in Arizona. There are also an area where kids can dome and adults. You can pretend you're in Mars or another planet on the green screen that we have.

Shana Fischer: O’Roark says the museum prides itself on being a place where an adult and a child can interact. In fact, a recent study shows the idea museum has the highest rate of interaction of any children’s museum in the country.

Sunnee O’Roark: In the fast-paced world, we run from one thing to another. Drop the kids off at soccer. Takeout for dinner. Maybe on the television or computer when they get home. It's really hard to have that quality time with your family.

Shana Fischer: The idea museum took that interaction to the next level. By calling on its members to help with the renovation. Parents and kids put together the beaded light fixtures in the hub and the mural in the lobby. All of the museum's hard work as paid off. Beth Yanda came with her young cousins and said the makeover has made a huge difference.

Beth Yanda: It has been really fun. We can touch things. We can write on the wall. We aren't going and looking through glass. We're getting to actually enjoy touching things and being coming a part of the exhibit, instead of separate from the exhibit.

Shana Fischer: The connection between a parent, child, museum and patrons is what excites her the most about coming to work every day.

Sunnee O’Roark: I am absolutely thrilled when I see the museum -- when they share their stories. When I see a grandparent bringing their children and grandchildren here, it thrills me because for me, art has always been a very personal and important part of my life. And so it just brings me a great deal of joy. I love my job. And I love the museum and it's very unique. I have worked in many other museums across the country, but this museum is very special.

Ted Simons: The name idea is an acronym that stands for imagination, design, experience, art. Museum $7 for adults and children. You can find out more by checking the web site Thursday on "Arizona Horizon," new report ranks the Phoenix area high in terms of urban sprawl. That's Thursday evening, and on the next "Arizona Horizon." Reminder, if you want to check out our web site, you are invited to go to You can see what we've had in the past and what we plan on in the future. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you for joining us. You have a great evening.

Hungry Minds: Native American Education

  |   Video
  • Arizona PBS will air a show called “Hungry Minds,” a documentary about the transformation of several Native American high school students. The film makes a compelling argument for revitalizing Native American education through of creativity and leadership. The project was produced by the Nick Lowery Foundation, which is headed by former NFL kicker Nick Lowery. He will appear on Arizona Horizon to talk about his film.
  • Nick Lowery - President and Chairman, Nick Lowery Foundation
Category: Culture   |   Keywords: culture, documentary, native, american, education, students,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: "Hungry Minds" is a documentary that chronicles the transformation of several American Indian high school students through a program that emphasizes creativity and leadership. The film airs tonight at 8:30 on eight world, which is channel 8.3 and Cox cable channel 88. "Hungry Minds" was produced by the Nick Lowery foundation. Joining us now is Nick Lowery. If the name rings a bell, you are a football fan, I remember you kicking for the chiefs.

Nick Lowery: For a long time.

Ted Simons: Give me a better definition of “Hungry Minds”.

Nick Lowery: I think most of us remember the teacher, the professor that turned us on when we're seating in that learning environment known as a classroom, the one that excited us, made us want to pay attention, tapped into our better selves, and that's what hungry minds is about, re-engaging kids where they are today to stimulate their best production.

Ted Simons: As far as the kids are concerned, who are they? How old are they? Where are they from?

Nick Lowery: These kids are from all over. Watching "Hungry Minds" is great because we know working with superintendent John Huppenthal is that Native American kids are just as smart as any other kids but right now test talking wise they are dead last in test taking. We want to show that whether it is native Americans, Hispanic Americans, white Americans, black, Asian, wherever they come from, they can achieve greatness and most importantly discover what is their particular high purpose in life to make an impact on the world.

Ted Simons: The focus on the film seems to be nation building for native youth. What is that?

Nick Lowery: That was my fellowship at Harvard, and it has an arrogant sound to it, but it is about helping all of us build that community around us. It allows us to prosper and allows the people around us to find that sense of purpose, sense of higher purpose that drives us towards something that really matters.

Ted Simons: How do you, how do you find, never mind how you find, how do you get these kids to find that higher purpose, and do it through as you say, creativity and leadership?

Nick Lowery: Number one, the most important thing for all of us, like right now, your ability to focus on me. My ability to focus as a place kicker or studying at Harvard. That's everything to being great. As an artist, philosopher, as a surgeon, as a fighter pilot, whatever we do, focus and helping kids realize that ability to martial their minds on what matters. Number two, listening to their passion. We do a disk behavioral survey, which helps them become aware of the particular way that they learn, the way that they interact with others. We try to combine the notion of creativity, which is unique to all of us, with how we all behave in groups. If we can help kids at the age of 14, 15, 16, usually high school kids is who we target. If they have that reference to how to lead and how to learn at an early age, then they don't stumble nearly as much when they have positions of authority to do truly great things.

Ted Simons: It sounds different than the test-taking culture we're seeing right now.

Nick Lowery: Absolutely. What I found with kids today, most of them, if you ask them, as I have, how many of you feel like you have a sense of purpose or what you're learning today and how it will impact what you do with your life, most of them raise their hands and say I have no idea. And once we help them see that that's really what education should be, and the best educators are is connecting what I'm learning right now and how it will make me a great human being in whatever my particular unique gifts, that's when they become energized and that's become, that's when they become uniquely independent in their learning, and that's when they contribute at a much higher level than in today's classrooms.

Ted Simons: Is this the kind of thing where you can start with the mindset, what you're telling me, start on day one and move forward or do you have to move slowly because the kids come in with a whole different set of skills and expectations?

Nick Lowery: Well, what we find is in a five-day leadership training that we do, and you can go to to learn about it and be part of it. By the second day they realize things they have not realized before. Each of them is from a different tribe. Just like each of us might be from a different ethnic or cultural background. We find they're more harmonious, work better together than any homogenous group ever would. We try to combine Self-awareness with constant creative emphasis, represent the sacred symbols of all of their tribes and creates a story that is compelling and finally we end on the 5th day with a mock tribal council where they actually legal little advocate for something with research that will help literally become a new fundamental foundation for their community.

Ted Simons: Are there differences between when you do things at Dartmouth or when you do things outside of a tribal culture and you then work with American Indian students, are there cultural things you have to be aware of, work around, talk about that dynamic?

Nick Lowery: I think it is always about respect. We start with the fact that finally historians have acknowledged that the law of peace in the Iroquois Confederacy was admitted to by Ben Franklin himself to be a huge part of our original constitution. He forgot about women voting. But we will let him off of the hook for that. So, there is a sense of pride that native cultures had tremendous impact on America as it is today. And we start from that. It is really about respect and encouraging dialogue. In the end, and you will see on this program tonight, it is really about the kids speaking and manifesting their own change. It is much more about them showing how much they've changed.

Ted Simons: Talk to us about some of the results.

Nick Lowery: Number one, if you have heard of the developmental acids profile of the search institute, as respected as any, kids go from literally doubling how often they say positive responses from sometimes, let's say 50% of them will say I always feel confident about my future to 100%. Or 30% say I always resolve conflicts without violence to 75%. And that's in a matter of five days. We worked with prison youth on the pine ridge reservation in South Dakota, and the uniqueness you asked me about is true. You have to adapt to each environment. These are kids that come from fetal alcohol backgrounds, but if we stayed with them, as we did, it is amazing, every single one of them was an A or A plus artist that they never knew until we stay with them for a matter of five, six, seven straight hours.

Ted Simons: Obviously now you are getting good response from some of the kids. What about parents, tribes, what about educators? What are they saying about this?

Nick Lowery: Well, what they're saying is what they care most about, of course, is that kids feel energized to pull them through towards a more ambitious educational strategy. We know that parents that are engaged make a big difference. The Gallop Poll said hope and engagement is more important than test scores. We found that at ASU 85% of ASU students who were native dropped out, and yet when we gave them a group of five or six to begin their education journey, they stayed with it. We want kids to stay with their education and the only way that happens is when it's actually something that they see will be how they live their lives when they're 30, 50, 60.

Ted Simons: How long has this program been around?

Nick Lowery: It has been around for years. I testified before Senator John McCain in 2005 about it and 2003 before Campbell and we had great results. It is to me a symbol of education in general. Kids want to feel like their lives matter. And if your teacher made you feel that way, maybe that is one reason why you're sitting here today.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, are you hearing from kids who may have taken the program years ago, years ago, years ago, they're not kids anymore, how are they doing?

Nick Lowery: We have a significantly higher, to 30-40% higher rate of kids that are involved in public office. The other thing, a kid from the river reservation, the legislators and leaders from there said to us, what happened to her? She was already highly motivated. She went to I would like to, the intention to be a leader, to I'm a leader now, to I've already been a leader, it's in the past, and what's the next even bigger goal for my life that is not about my age, if I'm 18, but actually performing and acting and advocating like these 30-35 years of age and has been in the legislature for three or four terms.

Ted Simons: So, if folks want to learn more about this particular nation building for native youth -- the film is "Hungry Minds,"if they want to more about this, American Indian aspect, what do they do?

Nick Lowery: We won't put the phone number up there. It is on the web site. There are lots of videos. Most importantly it is about the kids. We let them speak for themselves.

Ted Simons: Nick Lowery youth foundation, what is that?

Nick Lowery: It is a foundation that is my way of giving back. We have champions against bullying, a huge subject lately. In the NFL this past year. It goes to the notion of difference and compassion. Once again, in environments where kids feel like they can make lots of mistakes and where they feel like somebody really understands them, and I might even use that word loves them. They relax and they learn better. They take more risks, and they treat others with more respect.

Ted Simons: What's next with the foundation?

Nick Lowery: We're going national. We are on a NASCAR car now. We are going to be with the NFL and bigger and better ways around the country. We’ve done about 67 schools now. And we also love this work with native youth and with kids just helping them feel like they can be leaders not 10 years from now. They want to be leaders now. AMERIcorps, that is why we are excited about that. That is what is missing in education today.

Ted Simons: Good luck and good work. Reminder this is on 8:30, eight world, 8.3, Cox channel 88. Good to see you. Thank you for joining us.

Nick Lowery: Thank you.

Legislative Update

  |   Video
  • Luige del Puerto from the Arizona Capitol Times will give us the latest news from the State Capitol in our weekly political update.
  • Luige del Puerto - Journalist, Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: legislative, update, legislature, arizona, political,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. State lawmakers are getting ready to wrap up the legislative session. Here with the latest on the flurry of last-minute bills is Luige de Puerto of the "Arizona Capitol Times." Good to see you. Things fast and furious down there.

Luige De Puerto: Fast and furious, passing bills, debating bills, moving bills between the two chambers?

Ted Simons: What did we see today?

Luige De Puerto: Today before I got here, they were going to third read bills. I didn't have a chance to look at what the bills are. Certainly the idea, what some people want to do is get all of this done this week and next week and potentially end the session by the end of next week.

Ted Simons: You didn't have a chance to look at these obviously because you were on the move for this important engagement. Lawmakers, I get the impression they don't know what is in half of the stuff.

Luige De Puerto: What typically happens you are passing, debating, considering hundreds of bills. In last week, this week, next week, they will be going through so many bills I can't imagine anyone of them pouring over and reading everything that they're passing or approving. You know, some of the bills are fairly substantive policy changes. Some of them are not. It is tough for me to imagine that they're reading anything.

Ted Simons: How about bills that we thought were dead but are now miraculously back alive?

Luige De Puerto: Not many bills resurrected at this point. However, we have seen bills that have died in the last few days, and I imagine many of them, some of them would be revived. Efforts to try and revive them.

Ted Simons: What about the election law changes that everyone made a big deal about. We're not going to -- we're going to repeal them so that they can't go on the ballot. We're not going to bring them back. Are they not going to bring them back?

Luige De Puerto: That is a really good question, a good point that you raise. There as bill that is currently in the state Senate that seeks to fix -- last year, they passed this law that created all sorts of headaches. For example, candidates now have to create two separate committee, one for the primary, one for the general. A limit on how much they can transfer. To be clear, all of them, democrats and republicans alike need this fixed. It is becoming caught in this crossfire, if you will. The vote on the bill has so far been, on one side republicans supporting it, other side democrats opposing it. Sponsor of the legislation said if it gets out of the Senate without the emergency clause, which means it would take effect right away, without that provision, I don't know what would be added into this bill. And the fear by some is that, you know, the last year's proposal, a target of a referendum, portions of it might make their way into this proposal.

Ted Simons: And that is a possibility. What about the vouchers expanded government scholarship accounts, what is happening with that one?

Luige De Puerto: Today in the Senate, preliminary approval to a proposal to expand it. They're not expanding it as big as what they wanted it to be expanded to. Right now, the bill that is going to be 3rd read at some point expands it to a certain group of people. It would cover about 115,000 new students.

Ted Simons: We will see where that one goes. What is going on down there with folks making speeches about this Clive and Bundy situation in southern Nevada, we have lawmakers actually going up there and showing solidarity with these folks? What is going on?

Luige De Puerto: Right. As you know it is a fairly straightforward case of rancher out in Nevada who didn't want to pay the fees for having his cattle graze on federal land. And it's now turned into some sort of a symbol of resistance or defiance against the federal government. There is a standoff between the bureau of land management and some armed militias and some of our lawmakers saw it as an opportunity to go and see what's going on, but also some of them came home and were just presumably amazed at what they saw and could not stop talking about it.

Ted Simons: Who in particular could not stop talking about it?

Luige De Puerto: Representative named David Livingston, he lives in the northern part of the valley. He just kept talking and talking about it. Even yesterday when he was voting on bills, he would segu, he didn't really explain his votes, he would talk about his experience being out there on this ranch and basically saying, you know, this is an issue about power and how the feds are, you know, asserting its power, and basically how it's a states right issue.

Ted Simons: And he is supporting the armed insurrection?

Luige De Puerto: I'm not sure if he would be supporting an arm insurrection.

Ted Simons: They are armed and they are saying that the government has no power over them.

Luige De Puerto: They are armed and they are over there. And there is a standoff, that's true. I think he is very sympathetic, it is clear that he is very sympathetic to the armed militias. Not everybody is happy with the fact that he keeps talking about this one. They do have their business at hand. And yesterday they tried to correct him and said, hey, you know, let's stay on the topic. But as you know, as a lawmaker, you can explain your vote, I think in the house you have five minutes to explain your vote and you can talk about anything, your golf course, new car, whatever. Even if it had nothing to do with the bill before you.

Ted Simons: He is deciding to use five minutes on each bill?

Luige De Puerto: He keeps talking about it. And they could not stop him from talking.

Ted Simons: What about Tom Horne?

Luige De Puerto: Now he can say and claim that he has been exonerated, today he sent out an email saying with the headline, I won't back down, will you? Clearly, he's, you know, he can take what the judge has said and turn it into a campaign rhetoric if you will. He would be right in saying that he has not been found guilty by this judge. I want to add that this is not quite over yet. County attorney, who is pursuing this case or litigating this case, has to decide whether she would accept this recommendation or rejected it, if she rejected it, then presumably you would see Tom Horne in court.

Ted Simons: There is some thought she may just say that the election is coming up. We will let the folks, citizens decide and perhaps, you know, just get it off of her plate. We will see about that.

Luige De Puerto: Right. One thing that is clear is that this is not going away as a campaign issue. I mentioned before the show, I'm assuming that the ads are being refined, commercials are being refined as we speak.

Ted Simons: Last question here, they thought with all of this flurry of activity, this power rush going on, we could see signee die by the end of the week.

Luige De Puerto: Definitely not this week, perhaps next week. Andy Biggs told a reporter this morning, if he had, you know, if he were king, essentially, he would like to get out, you know, as soon as possible, but of course he also said even if I made the motion to signee die probably would not get enough votes to pass. Reason is simple. Everybody wants their bill to get to pass. And if you signee die today or the next day, that's the end of the proposal, and some people wouldn't have that.

Ted Simons: And they wouldn't have five minutes to talk about whatever the heck they want to talk about.

Luige De Puerto: Exactly.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here.

Luige De Puerto: Thank you.