Inspiration

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 raphotos.com   “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

Marcella Baietto: More than Beauty

2014-06-22 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Sixteen-year-old Marcella Baietto will be spending her summer this year preparing for something she’s never done before: competing in a pageant. The Anthem teenager will compete with other girls from across the state for the title of Miss Arizona Junior Teen at the National American Miss pageant in Scottsdale July 19.   It’s the title, not the tiara, that Baietto is aiming for. She set the goal for herself because she wants to represent Arizona and meet people across the state, but admits she’s not one for glamour and glitz. “I’m trying to do it in a different way than what a typical pageant contestant would do,” she says. “I’m not glitzy at all, but I think that will help me. I don’t want to be just another sparkle up there!”   Baietto entered the pageant after a friend referred her. When she got the letter in the mail inviting her to attend the open call, she immediately thought of the show “Toddlers and Tiaras.”   “I wanted to see if the pageant... More

Harmony in Space

2014-06-22 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Werner Segarra
Writer Donna Kublin   Photography by Werner Segarra Elizabeth’s portrait photographed by Allison Tyler Jones Interior designer Elizabeth Rosensteel is thrilled to be living in Carefree. “Carefree suits us beautifully and I have never been happier,” said Rosensteel who with her husband, Barry, moved there last October after spending 21 years in Paradise Valley.   “This area is stunning with its unique mountain ranges, coloration and ecosystem,” she said. “Contemporary architecture fits so well in this landscape as it blends and becomes part of the surroundings, and well-designed interiors complement it all.”   She would know. Owner of successful interior design firm Rosensteel Design Studio, which opened in 1999, she is known for her timeless, contemporary and architecturally driven interior design.   Her history in Arizona began when she moved to the Valley in 1978 from the East Coast and began a winding path leading where she is today. Trained in graphic design,... More

The Man Who Gives

2014-06-08 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Dennis Mitchem, a cherished figure affectionately known around Phoenix as “Denny,” was getting a bunch of wrong-number calls; apparently, the answering service for a physician’s office gave patients the wrong number, which turned out to be Denny’s.   He took the inconvenience with patient good nature, even joking with one caller about how federal budget cuts were probably were behind the mishap. Amongst the wrong numbers was an intentional dial, son Scott Mitchem calling his father “to hit me up for a donation.”   Ah, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, even a sturdy, far-reaching tree with limbs stretching out farther and farther, wherever fruit is needed, wherever giving will help.   For most of his 83 years (his birthday was May 26), Denny Mitchem has been giving. When not being hit up for donations, he is often putting the arm on friends and colleagues to make contributions to non-profits around Phoenix. On top of that, he has served on dozens of committees,... More

ARTWORK: With Wit, Wisdom and Wonder

2014-05-29 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Bryan Black
“Be yourself; everyone else is taken,” the words of Oscar Wilde, are the inspiration and title of a painting by nationally-known artist Nicolette Bonnstetter. In her piece, a Raggedy Ann doll is suspended upside down and seems to be metaphorically “spilling” her experiences and impressions of her world portrayed by a conglomeration of objects. While Bonnstetter has her interpretation, she encourages the viewer to make his or her own.   Part of Bonnsetter’s new series based on quotes by Wilde, known for his wit and comedic plays, other pieces include: “Hear no evil, speak no evil and you’ll never be invited to a party”; “I’m not young enough to know everything”; and, “The world is my oyster, but I used the wrong fork.” The interplay of objects, design and color tells a story that relates to the quote and the resulting image is intriguing.   Exploring concepts, ideas, relationships and memories, Bonnstetter’s artwork is full of imagination, vibrant colors... More

Push Ups for Veterans

2014-05-23 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Writer Lynsi Freitag Cory Schidler blends his passion for fitness with his passion for public service. He is not only the owner of local athletic gym Core Fitness, but Schidler is also a national guardsman and reservist, positions he has held for over 16 years. So when Schidler heard about the Push-Ups for Charity Event with the slogan: “Get Fit. Have Fun. Make a Difference,” he knew he had to be involved.   “Being in the fitness business, I wanted to find a charity that is fun and promotes fitness, but also contributes to those who serve our country,” explains Schidler.   The annual fundraiser raises awareness and support for military veterans and their families by challenging teams of participants to complete as many push-ups as they can in 90 seconds. Individuals collect donations and pledges based on the number of push-ups they complete, or for simply finishing the challenge.   “Veterans are near and dear to my heart,” says Schidler. “These men and women are... More