The Battle of the Beers

2014-08-28 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Beer. The word rolls off the tongue like a swig of Budweiser. In bowling, the fifth frame was usually a “beer frame,” softball leagues were routinely referred to as “beer leagues,” and that kegger in “Animal House” wasn’t about lemonade or wine. There have even been movies titled “Beer” and “Beerfest.”   According to Gallup, beer outsold wine worldwide in 2011 by a margin of 189 billion liters to 24 billion liters. That’s quite a difference, but the wine lovers say the gap is closing rapidly since China is now downing the grape in much larger quantities than previously.   It’s basically about personal taste, and as far as which will win the award for most product sold worldwide, I would place my bet on beer. A lot of beer drinkers will sample and enjoy an occasional glass of wine, but will most likely stick with the suds in the long run. It is usually cheaper and a lot more convenient, plus it has a more established foothold with the younger crowd.   Today,... More

Heart and Soul in a bottle

2014-08-28 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

    “To be successful in the winemaking business, you must have a love for the land, like the whole farming/ranch thing, like people, like food, and you must love wine; otherwise you are in the wrong business,” explained Cynthia Snapp, head winemaker and co-owner of Javelina Leap Vineyard and Winery.   By these measures, Cynthia is right where she belongs. Passionate about winemaking, she is outdistancing even her own expectations with wins and high placements in prestigious international wine competitions, including gold and silver medals in the 2014 Winemakers Challenge for her 2012 Arizona Syrah and 2012 Legacy (Estate) Zinfandel in the premium wine category, a gold and “Best of Class” for her 2012 Arizona Merlot at the International Women Winemakers competition, and third place for her Arizona 2012 Tempranillo over all varietals in Arizona Republic Wine Competition.   Cynthia and her husband Rod Snapp began the process of mastering grape-to-bottle 13 years ago, starting... More

Leah Stenzel: a superpower of love

2014-08-27 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Amanda Christmann Larson Photographer Loralei Photography   Like a comic book superhero cleverly disguised, Leah Stenzel spends many of her days cloaked behind nail lacquer and mascara, her hair falling perfectly into place as she talks to unwitting clients about photofacials and hair removal. Behind her perfectly moisturized sweet smile are more than just a business owner’s sensibility and an ornery wit; this momma’s on a mission that Superman’s got nothing on.   This Scottsdale mom is rescuing slave children, and her superpower is love.   When the lights go out at Le Bella Salon and MedSpa and her 10- and 11-year-olds are safely tucked into bed, Stenzel’s thoughts turn to responsibilities on the other side of the world.   It is in these quiet hours that the images of little boys in rickety wooden boats begin to emerge, their eyes dulled by trauma and their skin scarred by masters who pay more for fishing nets than they do for these disposable children. Many are the... More

Tales of North Scottsdale

2014-08-26 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Jim McAllister // Photographer Jerri Parness   Scottsdale used to be the home of many guest or “dude” ranches. They eventually disappeared as the population spread north and other interests such as golf became more popular than getting a taste of the old-fashioned life of cowboys riding horses and sitting around a campfire.   The last of these places was the Rancho Vista Bonito Guest Ranch, which opened in 1950 on the southwest corner of Pima and Pinnacle Peak Roads. It was a good deal at $25 a night, but by 1955 it had run its course. The Seitts family bought part of the property in the early 1960s and opened a restaurant and lounge which they named “Rustler’s Rest.”   If you drive through that intersection today, it takes a vivid imagination to picture the area as it was during that time. The roads were primarily dirt and E.E. “Big Brownie” Brown of Brown’s Ranch was still running cattle up and down the dirt track that would eventually become Pima Road.... More

BC Leader Sails Off to Naval Academy

2014-08-14 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Tom Scanlon   If your kid grows up to be like Mathew Kautzman, something must have gone pretty right along the way. At Boulder Creek High School, Kautzman made an impact not only in academics, but also in athletics.   One anecdote says it all about this young man: After a sloppy, 59-6 blowout loss last season at Westview, from the bus ride home Matt Kautzman sent a text to his coach. “I’ll make sure this will never happen again.”   There’s a phrase for that: Personal responsibility.   “I don’t think Boulder Creek had ever lost a game by the amount we lost,” Kautzman recalled. “I kind of felt responsible. When we were down by a lot, my teammates didn’t try that much. We knew it was a lost cause. I felt guilty for that.   “It was my responsibility. We shouldn’t have given up.”   That kind of talk is music to a coach’s ears, especially when he knows the kid is going to put action to his talk. “He was going to be the leader and put the team on his... More

Insider’s View of Page Springs Cellars

2014-08-08 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Page Springs Cellars is one of the first wineries in Arizona to receive a score of 90 points, “Outstanding,” from Wine Spectator. This remarkable success came from the hard work of Eric Glomski, owner and head winemaker, his staff, and, as I discovered, his “rented mule.”   ImagesAZ wanted an insider’s perspective of this award-winning winery and found the perfect person to provide it. Bill Fanning has been there from the beginning and has done just about every job there is to do. He also has a wine named after him – well, sort of.   Sitting across from Bill at a cottonwood-shaded picnic table with a breathtaking view of the landscape along the banks of Oak Creek, I asked him how he became interested in winemaking.   Bill’s love of wine began when he was introduced to red wine by friends in Bermuda where he was working as an actuary in the re-insurance business. Fascinated, he read as much as he could about wine, and sipped and... More

A Different Kind of Summer Vacation

2014-08-05 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Barb Evans Photographer Bev Simpson   Summer is synonymous with long, lazy days by the pool or at the beach, but for 23 eager volunteers, this summer was all about making a difference.   The group of 10 adults and 13 high school students traveled to Sunzu Village, Rwanda, May 29 through June 10, as part of a mission trip for Arizona Hills Community Church. The task at hand? Help the villagers build a community center and library, and interact with school children through sports and the English language.   “Our goal was to support what is already there,” explains John Lunsford, student ministry pastor, “not to force our Western ways. We weren’t going there to change anyone.”   The group was divided into two teams: an adult team, led by Rick Hayes, and a student team, led by Lunsford. The adult team took on the task of assisting with construction of the community center and library, and the student team held daily sport camps at the local primary school.   Sunzu... More

Ready to rock enroll: Principal Dr. Mike Andersen

2014-07-09 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

On paper, Dr. Mike Andersen is an award-winning principal at Barry Goldwater High School with an extensive list of accomplishments and accolades achieved during his tenure.   But a resume never quite captures the full scope of a career, and what is perhaps most striking about Dr. Andersen’s journey is how he has thrived when the going gets tough. Nearly 30 years of experience in education produces its fair share of battle scars and lessons learned, especially when much of the work involves groundbreaking (i.e., difficult and often unpopular) changes to the status quo. But nothing extraordinary comes easy, and not everything worth fighting for has to be well liked. It just has to make sense.   “People can’t do what they can’t envision and won’t do what they don’t understand,” Dr. Andersen says. “My role is to provide my staff with a clear and precise vision that we can unite around, even if it means making changes to the way things have always been done.”   Chief... More

The Cowboy Way

2014-06-30 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Being a cowboy is about more than finding a hat and a pair of well-worn leather boots that fit just so. There is more to it than driving a pickup truck or listening to country music.   Being a cowboy is a way of life. It’s about honestly earning an appreciation for the songs of coyotes and scampering of things unknown, as the dancing of flames sends flickers into the desert brush. It’s the unspoken satisfaction of polishing a saddle with the timeworn seat of a practical pair of Wranglers. It’s understanding the integrity and responsibility packed into a handshake. It’s about flowing with the rhythms of the sun and the moon and understanding that everything else is just a formality.   Being a cowboy is a way of life and a code of ethics. Most would say it’s a life that chose them, rather than the other way around.   Something happens, too, when a person spends great swaths of time on the back of a horse or walking fences. Give a man (or a woman) space to be alone with his... More

Kayaking and Paddle-boarding

2014-06-29 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Kayaking: The perfect blend of recreation and relaxation. It is around this time this year that we Phoenicians begin to daydream. As we maneuver our cars through traffic, making minimal contact with the steering wheel, max AC blowing inadequately and barely drying the streams of sweat running down our foreheads, we start to think:   Water. Delightful, intoxicating, wonderful water.   We dream of jumping in, splashing in cool waves and feeling a gentle breeze sweep the heat from our steam-cooked necks. If we truly allow ourselves to indulge in the fantasy, we can almost imagine the feeling of being beautifully, euphorically cold before we’re jolted back into reality by another tick of rising Fahrenheit.   Let’s face it: We live in the desert, and quietly surviving the summer months is a karmic trade-off for goading Midwest and East Coast relatives all winter long with Facebook photos of hiking and poolside picnics.   It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Look deeper through... More

Actress Lauren Maddox

2014-06-28 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Writer Tom Scanlon   Perhaps you’ll pass her on a hiking trail, or stand in front of her in a grocery store line. If so, you may see and even feel the piercing gaze of a young woman lost in thought, fixed on the idea of why people behave in certain ways, how humans act.   She is a student of psychotherapy, learning how to journey through the maze of the psyche; and she is an actress, combining her formal training and personal observations to infuse fictional characters with real emotions.   Lauren Maddox has had small but memorable roles in films such as “Filth,” “Another Happy Day” and “Carmen’s Kiss.”   Unlike many of the young actresses that she will be competing with in Hollywood, this London native and part-time Desert Mountain resident has a panoramic vision that goes beyond becoming a movie star. During a wide-ranging, revealing interview at Tonto Bar and Grill, this intense, fascinating actress unveiled her master plan.   “Raising awareness on the psyche... More

Krista Goll

2014-06-24 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

In this area of achievers who focus on schoolwork with an unwavering eye, you will find many strong students. Krista Goll is one of them; she graduated from Pinnacle High at the top of her class.   Around North Scottsdale, you will also find quite a few high school kids who excel in sports. Again, Krista Goll is one of them; she was on a swimming relay team that won the state championship.   While grades and sports are two areas of life that have definitive markers, Krista Goll also became a standout in a field that is far more abstract: Krista Goll is also an exceptional young artist.   Shortly before graduation, on a night when many Pinnacle High seniors were being honored for various academic and athletic achievements, Krista Goll’s name kept coming up.   She was announced as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, then again for being in the top 1 percent of her class with a 4.8 grade point average, and finally as Outstanding Female Student (Scott Williams was named... More


2014-06-23 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

he sun sits high in the sky, casting its warm rays on the sparkling blue-green waters of Lake Havasu as we roll into Lake Havasu City. Lake Havasu, which is located on the Colorado River in northwestern Arizona, just has to be the boating capital of the world. All types of craft cleave a path through its 45 miles of smooth waters. Speed boats, deck boats, and pontoon boats seem to be the most popular, with kayaks and paddle boats not far behind.   This is a popular spring break stop for the college crowd as well as a popular family vacation spot. And then there’s the unique attraction of the authentic London Bridge, originally built in 1831, spanning London’s Thames River and installed over an inlet in Lake Havasu in 1971. While the summer temperatures are the same as the Phoenix area, it’s still a great place to cool off on the water along sandy beaches, and it’s only a three-hour drive away.   History Lake Havasu is a reservoir, the result of building the Parker Dam in the... More