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Phoenix Mural

“Painting’s my way to kind of calm down,” said Navajo artist Julius Padoni.

Sunday, April 28 marked ‘Community Paint Day’ for residents of Phoenix. The mission? A mural covering the southern facing wall of the Valley Youth Theater on the corner of 1st and Fillmore.

Navajo artist Julius Padoni has been painting murals in Phoenix for more than three years. “I guess the intent was to raise awareness of the situation in Arizona, you know? Like Arizona’s dependence on water cause Phoenix is in the middle of the desert but we’re just constantly expanding outward and it’s a huge issue because at the current rate of growth, the city is unsustainable.”

Which is exactly what ‘Water Writes’ initiative intends to fix.

“They’re painting murals all over the world, you know. Addressing this – raising awareness about water issues that the world is gonna face,” says Padoni of ‘Water Writes’. “It’s ‘Community Paint Day’.” So whether your contribution is that of an accomplished artist, or you’re just spending quality time with a loved one, the message behind the mural on the Valley Youth Theater is an important one for everyone.

Many artists attended the first day of the painting, and although he’s helped with hundreds of murals throughout the years, this one is especially important to Padoni. “This is good because, we have some control over how, like this is a form of media you know? We’re making media. And it’s not really – it’s positive media, you know? It’s placing indiginous people in a positive light, you know? We need more of that. So I think this mural represents that, too.” said Padoni.


One Day Without Shoes

‘Here on the Corner’ Boutique on ASU’s Tempe Campus is participating in TOM’s shoes evemt ‘One Day Without Shoes’. The annual event asks people to go one full day with no shoes. The goal is to spread awareness about children around the world who aren’t able to own a pair of shoes. This is owner Julie Kent’s second year participating in the event.

“When you think about if a kid goes without shoes, they’re cutting their feet, they’re getting infections, they’re getting sick. I mean, it’s so, it just inhibits what they can do in life.” said Kent.

The boutique invites people to sign a pledge, promising they’ll finish the rest of the day with no shoes.

Stephanie Hifler saw the table on the street and decided to participate. “It’s a great cause, a great day to promote awareness for kids that don’t have shoes. I’m glad that there’s a company that does something like this and um, you know if people ask me about my feet then that’s the whole point, so.”

And that’s what it did – got people talking. Not only did people take notice of the good cause, but it brought attention to the boutique, which is so small it’s easy to pass by.

“I think they’ll remember. You know? I mean throughout the whole day, they’re gonna remember, when they’re in an uncomfortable situation that wow, people go through this all the time.” said Kent.

A day to remember. One Day Without Shoes.

Nick Springer



“I was given about a ten percent chance of survival. So they really didn’t think I was gonna make it.” said Nick Springer about his past.

He grew up an athlete.

In the summer of 1999, Nick Springer went on a hiking trip where he drank tainted water and contracted Meningococcemia, a rare form of Meningitis.

“I was induced into a coma after actually saying my final goodbye to my mother over the phone,” said Springer.

Three weeks later, he awoke from the coma. His hands were amputated below the elbow, and both legs were amputated at the knee. But he had survived.

“I was introduced to a sport through a sled hockey teammate called wheelchair rugby. And immediately, I was like, it just turned around my entire perception of my future. I had gotten my identity back, which was an athlete. I was on a team, I was  with guys who didn’t treat me like I was different because they were the same as me. I was just one of the guys again. And that was – especially to a 14-year-old kid – that was huge.” said Springer.

Virginia G. Piper Fitness Coordinator Gabe Gerbic sees Springer on a regular basis.

“Nick’s one of the hardest workers on the team, he’s the fastest guy on the team. He, you know, definitely puts in the effort and really does work hard when he’s out there. It shows with his accomplishments on the court.” said Gerbic.

What accomplishments? Two Paralympic medals and two World  Championships.

“I remember being up on the world stage in 2008, I remember being up on the podium getting my gold medal. And thinking back at that 11-year-old boy watching his countrymen get gold medals and thinking, ‘Now I’m one of them. Now I’m exactly where I wanna be.’ And it, it’s just a dream come true. It really is.”

Wild at Heart

Wild at Heart in Cave Creek is an all-volunteer wild bird sanctuary that takes in injured and orphaned birds. It’s dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of birds of prey back into their natural environment. Co-Directors Bob Fox and his wife Sam share a compassionate attitude about the process.

“Even though birds may be damaged and not releasable doesn’t mean they’re not functional,” said Fox. “We have a number of birds here as our foster parents. Some, you know, have partial amputations, some have bad, bad legs. But they’re really good parents.”

It’s this unique approach that has led to the care of more than 600 birds annually. With numbers like that, the one acre Wild at Heart currently occupies is becoming a little crowded. An expansion to a larger area would provide room for more birds and easier access for the public.

Because right now, it’s a bit off the beaten path.

“The idea is to create an environment, a center that’s really gonna benefit the public,” said Fox of the expansion.

Yvette Molina has been volunteering at Wild at Hear for the past year. “Bob, he lives to educate people on what they do. And so that will just provide more room for bigger groups to come in I think,” said Molina of the expansion.

“There’s a number of things that really motivate what we do,” said Fox. “One of them, of course, is the fact that when we get to see a bird released it makes us, it’s a  very positive experience.”

The potential expansion would add four acres to the facility, allowing them to continue their success in preserving Arizona’s natural wild life.


5 Stand Ups


18-year-old John Doukas says him and his friends use the smart phone app ‘snap chat’ every day.

“You get the message, you wanna look at it. It’s very tempting not to not send back a message,” said Doukas.

I sat down with John and asked him to explain to me how exactly ‘snap chat’ works. The app lets you take a photo and send it, only to have it vanish a few seconds later. That’s right, gone forever.

“Whatever it takes to make a funny joke,” said Doukas.

Social media experts are concerned it’s opening new opportunities for sexting. A new feature has recently been added to the app that allows you to record and send up to ten seconds of video. This, in particular, has caught the attention of concerned parents.

The fleeting photos and videos have captured the interest of Doukas’ father.

“I think bullying is going to be one of the big issues coming up, utilizing this uh, this chat,” said John Doukas Senior.

These days, it’s hard to find a teenager without their smart phone. Experts say that open communication is the best way for parents to keep their kids out of trouble.

“I have to learn more about it,” said John Doukas Sr. “I have to try to understand why they created this. Then I would bring it up to my child and talk to him.”

But John Doukas Junior says it’s just silly and entertaining, and that there’s nothing to worry about.

“It’s very interesting for people to have fun with and just to, instead of texting someone it’s different,” said John Doukas Junior. “You’ll have your tect but you also have a picture of that person doing something funny in the background.”


Walk to Wellness