Healing Hearts: A New Sanctuary in New River

2014-12-05 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Writer Peni Long     Jennifer Brumbaugh, executive director of Healing Hearts Animal Rescue and Refuge, has moved her precious stock from Willcox to New River, occupying the property established by Dreamchasers Horse Rescue. It’s a good match for an organization with a mission to save and serve neglected and often abused horses. These healed horses often find wonderful new homes as companions for other horses or animals — or humans, for that matter.   Healing Hearts was founded as part of a response to the financial meltdown several years ago.   “Arizona horses in particular had it bad,” says Jennifer. “They need space, food and care, all of it expensive. Too many people could no longer afford to keep their animals and had nowhere to send them.”   Jennifer had acreage in Willcox, which became a haven for those horses. But through her experience over the past few years, she also knew that Maricopa County is a wonderful place for such an operation. Healing Hearts opened... More

Foothills Caring Corps 4th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

2014-11-17 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

This scramble format tournament includes golf, food and beverages on Mirabel’s Tom Fazio-designed golf course. 8:30 a.m. $350 individual registration. Mirabel Golf Club, 37100 N. Mirabel Club Dr., 480-488-1105, More

For Ava

2014-11-09 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Writer Amanda Christmann Larson   It was a simple email, three paragraphs long, forwarded by a friend. The subject line read: “My granddaughter Ava,” and my initial thought was that it was a request for a youth feature story — a musically talented teenager, an aspiring science whiz or a sports standout any grandparent would love to see featured in our pages.   But this wasn’t that.   “Dear Friends,” it read. “I recently lost my granddaughter, Ava Holder, to cancer.”   Cancer sucks. It does. In the last few years, we’ve met so many families affected by cancer. Many of the victims are children or young people, others are mothers or husbands, or treasured grandparents. It doesn’t play fair, and it leaves deep, tender scars in people’s lives.   Sharing their stories is an honor, but it’s a struggle to find the words to convey the anger, the fear, the utter devastation — and the battered and bruised hope — families and loved ones go through because of it. No... More

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center Speaker Series: Jackrabbits

2014-11-07 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Professor, biologist and author David Brown discusses the ecology of jackrabbits in Arizona and their importance to our environment. 5-7 p.m. Suggested donation is $25. Registration required. Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, 27026 N. 156th St., 480-471-9109, More

Made to Inspire

2014-09-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Photo Credit: Diana Elizabeth Photography
Writer: Lara Piu   Bubbly attitude: Check. Sunny disposition: Check. Chasing life like her pants are on fire: Double check. Kathy Cano-Murillo hasn’t changed a bit since we last spoke some 13 years ago over lunch at what was then Sam’s Café. At the time, Kathy was a staff reporter for the Arizona Republic and her glitter-meets-“Mexi-boho” craft business and blog,, was taking off. I’d hoped she might make the plunge into her entrepreneurial venture full-time, and dive she did.    More like an Olympic arm stand, reverse somersault, tuck dive. Since that time Kathy’s been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, NPR, HGTV, DIY Network and Lifetime TV to name a few, and her handmade Chicano pop art crafts have been sold to Bloomingdales, Target, Hallmark and more. She is a national spokesperson for as well as a creative influencer for Lowe’s home improvement stores.   When I catch up with her, Kathy is gearing up to release the latest... More

To kick, or not to kick …

2014-08-25 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Writer Tom Scanlon Mike Harvey of Peak Image Photo   With football season soon approaching, Grayson Naquin has a tough decision to make. He may not be an angst-y young prince like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but Naquin is a princely kicker, as he showed last season.   It was the fourth quarter of a tight game against rival Cactus Shadows. Notre Dame Prep had a drive going, but failed to convert on a third down. So it was fourth down, on the Cactus Shadows 34-yard line.   Coach Gary Gregory found his junior kicker sitting on the bench, helmet off.   “Go hit it,” the coach told Grayson Naquin.   Really? A 51-yard field goal attempt – in high school? That would be a long boot for a good college kicker, but we’re talking about a 5-foot-9, 170-pound teenager.   “I didn’t see it coming at all. I just winged it,” Naquin later said. “I’ve only heard of 51-yard field goals in the pros.”   The coach had faith in his strong-legged kicker, who routinely booted field goals... More

Zap! Click! Little superheroes are ready for their close-ups

2014-08-24 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

  Writer Jenn Korducki Krenn // Photographer Jamie Pogue    Real-life superheroes aren’t born; they’re made through a culmination of life experiences that challenge their bodies and minds … often at the same time.   The rooms and hallways of Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) are no stranger to these fearless fighters. If walls could talk, these ones would tell stories of vulnerability and bravery, of despair and triumph, and of ordinary people calling upon extraordinary physical and mental strength.   These acts of heroism are observed in both patients and parents. When Jamie and Wes Pogue’s youngest child, Will, was diagnosed with leukemia at age three and a half, they held his hand through nearly four years of chemotherapy at PCH that was followed up, happily, by remission.   “We developed strong ties to the hospital and staff,” Jamie says. “The doctors and nurses there are beyond amazing. They become your family during treatment and walk beside you the whole... More

Café Provence's Soccer Star son Goes Pro

2014-08-23 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Writer Tom Scanlon Photography by   “Sure, Sarge,” they would say, rolling their eyes. “It could happen, sure.”   And they would nudge each other, laugh and wink – whispering, “And my boy is going to fly to Mars!”   Ever since little George Malki started kicking a soccer ball around, his father Sarge would marvel at his natural skills, and tell his family and friends: “Look at Georgie – he’s going to be a pro some day!”   Sarge recalls, “Even when he was 6 years old, I told everybody Georgie would play professional. Everybody laughed at me.”   The laughter slowed down, once George Malki started making youth national teams, then when he led Pinnacle High to two state championships and was an all-American, then when he was granted a soccer scholarship at Cal Poly.   The laughter started again in January. This time it wasn’t mocking laughter, but peals of joy.   Little Georgie has grown up and gone pro.   Four years after graduating from... More

Superstar QB Leads Pinnacle high school

2014-08-16 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Writer Tom Scanlon Photographer Mike Harvey of Peak Image Photo   This time last year, Brian Lewerke was a complete unknown … well, not quite. There were a few wise eyes on No. 6.   The Pinnacle High quarterback had little play as a sophomore, so going into his junior year, he didn’t have big statistics or a reputation behind him. Yet Arizona State University saw some serious potential and offered Lewerke a scholarship, even before he had started a varsity game in high school.   The folks down in Tempe know something about talent at quarterback. Recent ASU grad Brock Osweiler is currently Peyton Manning’s heir apparent in Denver, and previous Sun Devils quarterbacks Jake Plummer, Danny White and Mark Malone went on to star in the NFL.   Some “unknowns” might have jumped at the hometown college’s tempting offer. Not Lewerke; like a quarterback allowing a wide receiver to make a move on a defensive back, the kid from North Scottsdale patiently waited.   And Lewerke ended... More

Daisy Mountain Fire Department: Our Hometown Heroes

2014-08-08 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Writer Barb Evans // Photographer Lauren Brown and submitted     It was a hot day on Wednesday, June 4 when Anthem resident Campbell Hess went into his house to cool off after being in his yard. He wasn’t feeling well. The temperature outside was steadily rising to 106 degrees, so he thought maybe the heat was getting to him. He went into the kitchen and sat down at the table, trying to catch his breath.   The break didn’t help. After a few minutes of struggling to breathe, he called 9-1-1.   “I thought, ‘This is different,’” recounts Hess. “I never felt this way before. My hands were going numb. I couldn’t stop shaking. I couldn’t breathe normally. I thought I was having heat stroke.”   Daisy Mountain Fire Department’s (DMFD) station #142 got the call, and when they arrived, they immediately knew it wasn’t heat stroke. Hess was having a heart attack.   The team swiftly loaded him into the ambulance and proceeded on their way to John C. Lincoln Deer Valley... More

Grassfed Beef

2014-06-30 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Amanda Christmann Larson   If you’ve noticed that everything from fashion to food has a way of swinging wide then circling back around to its roots, you’re not alone. After years of shrinking, cell phones are back on their way up in size; disconnecting from the Internet for days at a time is once again all the rage; and retro-inspired looks are popping up in closets and living rooms with new vigor. What’s old is now new, and there is perhaps no better example than what’s making its way to our dining room tables.   Less than a decade ago, few people had heard the term “slow food,” and “organic” and “sustainability” were hippie terms that were scoffed at with mistrust. That’s no surprise, since convenience in the form of fast food, processed dinners and engineered “food-like products” have been a thread of our American fabric for nearly half a century.   According to highly acclaimed author Michael Pollan (“In Defense of Food” and “The... More

Excuse me, There’s an iceberg on your skin: Why skin cancer kills and how to prevent it

2014-06-29 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

On June 16, 2011, a killer tried to perpetrate harm on Shelby Voss. A police report wasn’t filed, but an advocate emerged.   When Shelby was 31, the killer showed up in the form of a mole on her back. “My husband and mother pestered me to get it looked at, so I finally did,” says the young Cave Creek mom.   The mole was determined to be melanoma. “It was pretty bad,” recalls Shelby, explaining that skin cancer is considered a silent killer because, although it’s thought of as topical, it can sneak back in any form. When it does, it spreads quickly, typically targeting the organs.   Now she has a life-long commitment to regular checkups and warning others. “I’ll live with this forever,” she says, noting friends who use tanning beds and tan outside.   Another young mom she knows lost the fight. “I didn’t’ really understand skin cancer before this, and I know most people don’t realize that the threat of skin cancer is very high,” says Shelby.   In fact,... More

Dominique Troyanos Breaking Language Barriers

2014-06-27 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Writer Barb Evans Photographer Jerri Parness When Cactus Shadows senior Dominique Troyanos entered first grade at Desert Willow Elementary School in 2003, her classroom looked like any other classroom at the school: desks were neatly arranged, books were organized by subject, and colorful educational pictures decorated the walls. But she knew her first-grade experience was going to be different than some of her peers, because half of her day would be taught in a foreign language – Spanish.   Dominique’s mother had enrolled her in a new program the Cave Creek Unified School District initiated that year, Spanish immersion. As part of the program, Dominique and her classmates would be “immersed” in the language by learning math and science in Spanish, and language arts and social studies in English.   “I remember being so scared on the first day of school because I thought ‘I’m not going to understand anything (the teacher) says; all the posters are in Spanish,’”... More

Amber Hochstatter: Tennis Star

2014-06-24 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Young Anthem tennis star Amber Hochstatter has learned quite a few things on her way to becoming nationally ranked in the Top 10 of her grade. They all boil down to two key lessons.   Lesson 1: Older opponents will try to intimidate you and stop short of nothing to win. At one of her first tournaments, when she was just 7, she couldn’t reach high enough to turn the card keeping score. Her opponent, who was 12, turned the cards when she won, but refused to turn the card for Amber. As a result, Amber lost. Which leads to Lesson 2, preached by Juraj Sekera, Amber’s first coach: “You learn more when you lose than when you win.”   Amber Hochstatter does not like to lose. She is a quiet, shy 11-year-old, about average for her age at 5-foot-2, 100 pounds. But get her on the tennis court and she flips a switch and becomes a fierce competitor.   “She’s a little shy when you first meet her,” says Jon Perran, her coach, “but she gets out on the court and she’s an animal out... More