From Pumpkin Picasso to Sand Sculptor; Ray Villafane Returns

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Community

Jaw-dropping, how-did-he-do-that hand-sculpted pumpkins are just a slice of life for pumpkin sculptor Ray Villafane. His display at Carefree’s Enchanted Pumpkin Garden last October attracted more than 30,000 people and many major media outlets across the country. Attendees witnessed more than 400 pounds of pumpkins carved by the lord of the gourds.    This month, Villafane returns to Carefree Desert Gardens and the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion to create a bigger bang with life-size sand art sculptures.   “I’ve always wanted a sandbox,” says Villafane. “Sand is a fun medium that allows you to do something on a large scale, and since most people have played in the sand, it’s familiar.”   In the planning stages as we speak, Villafane says he’s shooting for creating a bald eagle or an owl chasing down an elusive and very quick rabbit. This piece has a footprint that is 8-feet wide, 5-feet deep and 6-feet tall.    Villafane will start on a larger piece in the center of... More

A Sense of Place; Bob Bacon

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Seated in the expansive, yet intimate living room of the award-winning Bowman House in North Scottsdale, I met with its celebrated designer, Bob Bacon. My objective was to gain insight into the philosophy and career of this distinguished designer who has for several decades been involved with high-end planned developments, world-class resorts, exclusive golf communities and premier custom homes.   Aware that I was feeling more relaxed and serene than usual while conducting this interview, wanting only to sink back into the sofa and put my feet up, I was curious why I was having that reaction. Through our conversation, it became evident — it was part of the genius of Bacon’s design, principles and process.    The process began when Boulders residents Carol and Bill Bowman approached Bacon after he had completed the Boulders Resort and asked him to build them a custom home that evoked the feelings they have when they are among those magnificent boulder formations and... More

Taste of Italy in Cave Creek

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Community

Cave Creek residents Tamara and Elias Corey are as fresh and sparkling as the prosecco they import from the wine country of Northeast Italy. Their enthusiasm for that region, its people and the wines for which it is famous is contagious.   “Unless you have been to Italy, you have never tasted fresher prosecco,” says Elias. “Ours is delivered as soon as it is bottled, directly from the wineries to Arizona by air freight. No one else is doing that.”   On May 21, the Coreys will be presenting their 2015 Col Vetoraz Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG for a tasting at Brix Wines in Carefree — a perfect time to sample what may become your go-to summer beverage.   Coincidentally and independently, their Prosecco Superiore was discussed in an article on Northern Italy wineries in the April 2016 edition of Wine Spectator and rated 88 points and best value.   While prosecco comes in a range of styles, the Coreys specialize in sourcing those of quality and complexity levels... More

Let Grace Reign

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Community

In December 2011, I drove my Prius down the winding dirt roads of Rio Verde into the wilds east of Scottsdale, curious dust following me as my small tires groaned around corners that were more suitable to horses and pickup trucks. My GPS was confused by the washes and trails, and I was running late in a place where time is kept to the beat of hooves and the angle of the sun.   What I found at the end of that road was a ranch that so impacted me that it took me days to write a story for Images Arizona that I thought could do it justice.    Reigning Grace Ranch, the sprawling but unpretentious home of 33 rescued horses and a few other furry faces, was a true labor of unconditional love.    At Reigning Grace, Chris and Amanda Moore had not only taken on horses that had been rescued — some from situations of neglect or trauma, some as retired race horses, some from homes that could no longer support them and some from wild herds whose territory has been encroached on by human... More

Go with the Glow; 7th Annual Cave Creek Balloon Festival

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Community

When Cave Creek restaurateur Eric Flatt, owner of Tonto Bar and Grill and Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House, and Scott Clifton of Aerial Solutions first discussed the idea of holding a hot air balloon glow event to attract families and raise money for local charities, they could not have dreamed of how many people would travel from all over the Valley and beyond to come to the event.   “The response has been incredible, from both the business community and the visitors who come here,” Flatt says. “It’s such an honor to be part of something that has been embraced by so many people.”    The festival has become the largest yearly event in Cave Creek, bringing thousands of patrons to local businesses and packing the town with excitement. This year, Flatt and his staff are once again working with Aerial Solutions to put smiles on faces and a glow in the hearts of kids young and old at the seventh annual Cave Creek Balloon Festival.    This year’s event will be held... More

A Father's Medical Mission; Bill Krissoff

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

This year, Anthem’s always moving Memorial Day Ceremony at the Anthem Veteran’s Memorial will feature a keynote speaker with a story of uncommon family sacrifice. Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Bill Krissoff will share his remarkable story on May 30 at 10 a.m. at Anthem’s “A Day of Remembrance: Memorial Day Ceremony 2016.”   In December 2006, Krissoff and his wife, Christine, received the news every family of a service member dreads: their eldest son, 1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff, a Marine counterintelligence officer, had been killed by a roadside bomb while conducting combat operations near Camp Fallujah Army Base in Iraq. He was 25 years old.   Nathan had been a scholar athlete; he and his brother, Austin, both competed internationally with the U.S. Junior National Wildwater Kayak Team. He was an accomplished classical pianist, violinist and poet. He had been student body president at a demanding California prep school and earned a degree in political science from the highly... More

When in Jerome

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Art

While Hollywood has its iconic sign sprawled across a hill that overlooks the city of movie star dreams, here in Arizona, the town of Jerome has its initial “J” prominently and proudly displayed on Cleopatra Hill, overlooking the Verde Valley. Whether you plan a day trip (only an hour and a half drive from North Phoenix) or a comfortable weekend stay at one of their cozy bed-and-breakfasts, inns or hotels, Jerome is always an intriguing place to visit.    At more than 5,200 feet in elevation, Jerome is considered a “mile-high” town. Because it’s a bit cooler than the Phoenix area during the summer months, the town’s activities — such as evening Art Walks on the first Saturday of each month — continue on, making it a great place to come and beat the summer doldrums. In addition to the art galleries, there are fine boutiques to shop in and tasty restaurants in which to catch a meal or a coffee, all housed in historic original buildings. There is weekend entertainment at... More

National Park Service 100: Chelly Canyon

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

This year, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates 100 years of preservation of land, animals and resources — and of providing opportunities to experience, explore and enjoy the 58 national parks and more than 400 public lands it administers. Twenty-two of these lands, including three national parks, are located in Arizona, and if ever there was a time to appreciate these unique gifts in our home state, this is it.   The centennial celebration is more than an acknowledgment of the past; it is recognition of the continuing achievements for our own generations, as well as for generations yet to be born. Through our national parks, we are creating an ongoing legacy that, no matter what technology or cultural changes occur, will allow future Americans to understand and feel for themselves the deep interdependence humans, in our most basic of elements, have with the rest of the natural living world.   To celebrate this remarkable achievement, our Images Arizona staff will be... More

Grape Uncorked

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

Most people have a usual — that dining spot you return to again and again because you know exactly what you’ll get, and it’s exactly what you want.   There’s nothing wrong with having a usual, but sometimes breaking with tradition is equally rewarding … especially when wine is involved.   Over the next several months, we will be profiling wine bars, bistros and casual neighborhood restaurants featuring fine wine. We hope to introduce you to new places — or perhaps reacquaint you with established venues that deserve a spot on your usual list.   Wine is the star at these contemporary establishments, and its story began a long, long time ago. The origins of wine are lost in prehistory; however, archaeological evidence suggests that wine was first produced during the Neolithic period, between 9000 and 4000 B.C., in the region that roughly corresponds to modern Armenia, Georgia and Northern Iran.   As civilizations progressed, so did enthusiasm for winemaking and wine... More

Green Beauty; Charlie Green

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle

After years of globe-trotting glamour, British-born celebrity makeup artist Charlie Green has found inspiration and a new path in the unlikeliest of places: the Arizona desert. The frenetic pace of life in New York City first led to vacation time here, but she eventually decided to make her permanent home in Carefree. New York’s loss is Arizona’s gain; local women will soon have individual access to her 20-plus years of experience.   “Arizona has helped me,” says Green. “The slower pace of life, nature, live music, the friends I’ve made; it has helped me become the kind of person I want to be. It inspires my sense of color and has given me time to reflect and think about what’s next for me. Though I still travel internationally for photo shoots and private clients, one of my favorite things to do is work one-on-one.”   Green is eager to put her experience to work for Valley residents in a personal setting and is currently developing a website, charliegreen.com, in... More

A Century of Preservation; Grand Canyon

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

There is a very special anniversary this year and suffice it to say, it is one that affects all of us who love our beautiful state and who cherish the wild, untamed lands preserved for our enjoyment and for that of our children and grandchildren.    The National Park Service (NPS) celebrates 100 years of preservation of land, animals and resources — and of providing opportunities to experience, explore and enjoy the 58 national parks and more than 400 public lands it administers.    Twenty-two of these lands, including three national parks, are located in Arizona, and if ever there was a time to appreciate these unique gifts in our home state, this is it.   In 1916, at a time when industry was at the forefront of American growth and natural resources were often pillaged and exploited, the Organic Act was passed by forward-thinking legislators led by President Woodrow Wilson, which created the NPS “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife... More

Functional Art; HF Coors

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

It was my Aunt Millie, a resident of Oro Valley, who turned me on to HF Coors.   Located in Tucson, it may not look like much from the outside. But once you step over the threshold of this factory store, a kaleidoscope of colors, patterns and shapes are there to greet you. Millie doesn’t normally coo; but then, this is a happy place: with more than 50 patterns, countless colors and hundreds of styles to choose from, her reaction is warranted.   And while HF Coors may not be a household name, chances are you’ve encountered their dishware at eateries across the United States, including Fox Restaurant Concepts like True Food and North; resorts such as The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain and Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel; and retail shops at The Biltmore and Taliesin West. The company has designed dinnerware featuring the ranching brands of Cave Creek’s Cartwright’s and Tonto Bar and Grill. Ellen DeGeneres’ guests sip from HF Coors mugs. Ever shopped from the Uncommon Goods catalog?... More

Aidan Does It All at Anthem Prep

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Community

Max Fischer was a student at Rushmore Academy who threw himself into every extracurricular activity he could find, from theater to astronomy to beekeeping to debate. Alas, he spent all his time as an organizer, blew off studying and flunked out of school.   Aidan McGirr was born in 1997, the year Wes Anderson directed the movie “Rushmore,” which starred Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer. And Aidan keeps just as busy as Max.   Let’s take a look at what Aidan has been up to in his extraordinary high school career at Anthem Preparatory Academy. He is the founding member of the school’s leadership committee, a member of the senior executive council and an Anthem Youth Advisory Council member and co-chairman. He is also a member of the astronomy club, Latin reading club and Aristotle’s physics reading club. On top of that, he is an AIMS (Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards), physics and math tutor; honor choir bass singer; captain of the varsity football team (2012-14);... More

John Doorley; Overcoming the Odds

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

Many readers may already be acquainted with the Doorleys — Brian, Deb and John — as they are an Anthem family dedicated to helping others. Brian is a physical therapist who may have helped your son or daughter heal from a sports injury. Deb is a learning interventionist; she may have helped your child develop his or her reading and learning skills, or provided recommendations on education. Their son, John, also contributes to the community; some of you may know him from earlier school years and sports —soccer, baseball and golf — or from the Boulder Creek High School lacrosse team.    Now a senior preparing to graduate from Mountain Ridge High School, John and his parents are doing what most families do during senior year: weeding through colleges, visiting campuses and awaiting admissions responses while applying for scholarships.    It’s a very exciting time, but the path that John has traveled to get to where he is now was far from conventional or easy. The Booker T.... More

Preserving the Past for the Future Veterans Heritage Project

2016-03-15 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

From the moment you meet Barbara Hatch, see her classroom workspace and watch her interact with student volunteers, it is clear she is a force to be reckoned with. As the founder and program director of the Veterans Heritage Project (VHP), Hatch is the power behind a project that since 2004, has grown from one woman’s passion — and one school — to an undertaking that has engaged nearly 1,000 students in 20 schools throughout Arizona and told 1,025 veteran stories.    The 2016 edition of the VHP’s annual hardcover publication, “Since You Asked,” will soon be going to print, sharing stories told by Arizona veterans who served in wars from World War II through Iraq and Afghanistan. The entire set of books is written and edited by students in local high schools and middle schools — students who become engaged with history and the people who made it, and who often carry those memories and the veterans who made them for years after their school experience.    Since You... More