Valley 101 show

Valley 101

Summary: Whether you're a longtime Arizona resident or a newcomer, chances are there's something you've always wondered about the Valley. From The Arizona Republic and comes Valley 101, a weekly podcast where our journalists find answers to your questions about metro Phoenix. From silly to serious, you tell us what to investigate. You can submit questions at or reach us on Twitter @azcpodcasts.

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 Valley 101 explores how the Pony Express came to Arizona | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 863

As more people rushed their way westward in mid-1800s, communication between nation's two coasts became paramount for the Union. Messages needing to reach their destination faster found horseback riders to be an effective medium, forming the famed Pony Express. Connecting Missouri to California, the Pony Express crossed eight states. However, it actually bypassed Arizona. Nonetheless, the tradition has lived on in Arizona where riders still deliver mail. The service is the only U.S. Postal Service-sanctioned Pony Express in the country. In this episode of Valley 101, a podcast by The Arizona Republic and, we learn about a special horse-riding unit in northern Arizona that brings down mail to the Valley each year.

 Start your engines: the 50th anniversary of Barrett-Jackson | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1051

Fifity years ago, friends and car junkies Tom Barrett and Russ Jackson held an auction of their personal auto collections. What was supposed to be a one-off event turned into one of Scottsdale's premier occasions each year. This year, collectors, buyers, and curious onlookers alike were surrounded by more than 1,800 cars at Westworld in Scottsdale. Regarded as one of the world's greatest collector car auctions, auto enthusiasts from all over arrive in the desert in hopes of being the highest bidder. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast by the Arizona Republic and, we bring you the history of the famous car auction and talk with sellers and buyers about why they come to Barrett-Jackson each year.

 Arizona's grandmother of women's sports | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1643

Few laws have influenced high school sports more than Title IX, which turns 50 this summer.  The law prohibits the discrimination based on sex in any programs or activities in all federally funded educational institutions. This includes both middle and high schools in addition to universities.  Before Title IX, there were pioneering women who fought for inclusion and equality in sports. One of those is Ina Gittings.  Gittings was the first director of physical education for women at the University of Arizona. She also homesteaded north of Tucson near Oro Valley. Those familiar with Tucson might spot the connection to Ina Road.   In this week's episode of Valley 101, we explore the story behind the legend of Ina Gittings.

 'For me, it's personal': Why Mesa hosts a Martin Luther King Jr. parade | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1137

Nearly 60 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered the famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to more than 250,000 people in Washington, D.C. Today, the nation recognizes his birthday to honor his life and commitment to the civil rights movement in America. For the city of Mesa, this celebration is close to home. They've been hosting a parade and festival in his memory for 24 years after a long battle to get the holiday recognized at a city level. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we are joined by Keisha McKinnor to discuss the state's history with MLK Day and why this celebration feels personal to her.

 What's Happening With Fiesta Mall? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1147

In its heyday, Fiesta Mall was "the center of the universe" for the East Valley. That's how Mesa Mayor John Giles puts it. Situated on the western edge of the city, by the US-60 and Alma School, Fiesta Mall was the premiere shopping spot for decades.  In 2017 it closed its doors, with the last holdouts shuttering in 2020. Since then, the 1.2 million square foot shopping center has been boarded up and unusable.  There were talks of converting it into multi-use property with campuses for both education and health, but talks on that stalled.  So the question remains: what is going to happen to Fiesta Mall?  In this episode of Valley 101, we speak with people in the know as well as residents who fondly remember Fiesta Mall in its prime.

 How to protect your plants during Phoenix winters | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 571

Winter is finally upon us. This past Christmas Eve was the wettest since 1944. It is a welcome relief after hotter than average fall. December 1 shattered all previous records with a high of 85 degrees. Thoughts of frosty nights seem like winter fantasy for Phoenix. However, January is typical the Valley’s coldest month. This has horticultural novices and experts thinking about protecting their gardens..  In this episode of Valley 101 we get to the root of how to over-winter your plants Arizona style.

 Happy Holidays from the Valley 101 team! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 442

Happy holidays, listeners! The Valley 101 team is off for the rest of the year. Today we have a few past stories to highlight to continue the holiday spirit. We look forward to answering more questions and telling more stories in 2022. Feel free to follow the podcast on twitter @ a-z-c-podcasts and subscribe wherever you get your shows.

 Holidays in the desert: The tale of Christmas, Arizona | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 886

On the southern edge of Gila County, snuggled into a valley surrounded by in the mountains, there is a town called Christmas. Now, the town of Christmas is a ghost town, but in the 1930s it had about 1,000 residents and a very popular post office. While people from all over the world would visit the post office to get the highly desired postmark at the holidays, the residents of Christmas lived there because of the copper mining. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we are joined by retired geologist David Briggs to tell you the history of the Christmas mine and the coveted post office in its town. 

 Untraditional Holiday Food Traditions | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1371

Festive feasting is one of the highlights of the holiday season. Many people in the U.S. traditionally enjoy a juicy ham or golden turkey and popular culture has reaffirmed those dishes. But there are those who enjoy foods that speak of their heritage and family traditions. Festive foods are a big part of holiday gatherings. It just wouldn’t be the holidays without that one special dish you have only this time of the year.  In this week's episode of Valley 101, producer Kaely Monahan asks some of Phoenix’s foodies to share their untraditional food traditions. 

 What gems, rocks and minerals can you find in Arizona | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 694

Have you ever been on a hike, a walk or a stroll in the Arizona mountains and came across an interesting looking rock? Did you take out your phone and browse the internet to find out what kind of rock you found? If so, you just might be a rockhound. Rockhounding is the recreational study and collection of rocks, minerals and gems. Some rockhounds, or amateur geologists, find that Arizona's vast mountain ranges and developed mines are great places to explore for interesting and unique rocks. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we share what you can find, where to look for it, and the regulations you need to know while rockhounding.

 ZooLights: Transforming from wild land to wonderland | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 777

Still picking at Thanksgiving leftovers, we here at AZ Central’s Podcast team turn to the end of year holidays. Hanukkah has begun, and Christmas is just around the corner. Unlike much of the country, we celebrate our holidays in light jackets and flip flops. No snow for us in the Valley of the Sun.  But we’re still able to get into the holiday spirit just as easily as our wintery neighbors with our local traditions – snow or not! In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, our producer Kaely Monahan went on a search for some holiday cheer, Phoenix style. So, gather up the kids and hot chocolate, for a Christmas tale unlike the others you have heard as we take a walk into the world of ZooLights.

 Before the Pilgrims, there was Fray Marcos de Niza | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1146

Most of us are familiar with the story of Thanksgiving. In 1620, a ship called The Mayflower traveled from Plymouth, England to the New World in search of religious separation and a fresh start. In 1621, they enjoyed a bountiful meal after the harvest with the Wampanoag tribe, expressing their gratitude for helping them learn to survive in their new home. Many of us might believe that this was the first interaction between European settlers and Indigenous peoples who lived in what is now America. But long before the Pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock, there was an explorer who walked the Arizona land and interacted with its people. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we share with you the story of the Franciscan friar, Marcos de Niza, and his relationship with the Indigenous peoples of the Southwest. 

 Why do saguaros only grow in the Sonoran Desert? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1547

When you think of Arizona, what comes to mind? Sprawling deserts or urban sprawl? The Grand Canyon or the mighty White Mountains? Hollywood has painted our state as a wild, uncivilized frontier filled with dangers and adventure. Rugged landscapes split by sharp mountains and dotted with scraggly brush, and the sentinel of the desert. The saguaro cactus. Found only in the Sonoran Desert, the saguaro cactus has a shallow but wide root network – snaking outwards in the hunt for water rather than burrowing deep into the earth. Its roots are often as wide as the cactus is tall creating a firm base to stabilize its towering height. The saguaro's thick, waxy, green skin helps retain water and they hold their breathe all day to make sure they don't lose moisture. They are an Arizona icon and provide essential resources for desert dwellers.   In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we venture out into the desert to discover why saguaros only grow in the Sonoran Desert.

 Where are all the water towers in Phoenix? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 871

Arizona is known for being a transplant state. For some, it was the attraction of the warm winters and beautiful mountain views that brought them to the Valley. For others, well, maybe it was their job or simply they just needed a change. Regardless, a lot of people who now call Arizona home didn't grow up in the Valley of the Sun. And maybe after a while you begin to realize, you're not in Kansas anymore.  Like a listener who submitted a question to the Valley 101 team. He said that he’s lived in other states before moving to Arizona. He wondered why those places used water towers in their communities, but they weren't common in Phoenix. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we investigate why metro Phoenix lacks water towers and search for a town that still uses a water tower today.

 How Arizona became a golf destination | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 891

In Arizona, there are over 300 golf courses and more than 200 of them can be found in metro Phoenix. According to a study commissioned by the Arizona Alliance for Golf, in 2019 more than 10 million rounds of golf were played in the state. The state is largely seen as a golf destination, but how did that happen?  In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, producer Maritza Dominguez breaks down how golf's popularity grew in the Valley. 


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