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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 Why are the streets downtown Phoenix named after United States Presidents? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 780

If you drive downtown Phoenix, it's likely you have turned down Van Buren Street, Roosevelt Road or another roadway named after a President. Phoenix famously has a grid system for its roads. Roads running North to South are numbered and roads running East to West are named streets.  But one of our listeners asked why the streets in Central Phoenix are named after United States Presidents. They grew up on Portland Street, one street over from Roosevelt and always wanted to know why names of past Presidents adorned the street signs of Phoenix.  In today’s episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we find out how this came to be and what it would take to continue it. Producer Amanda Luberto has more.

 What is xeriscaping? And what are its benefits? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 798

Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden boasts more than a mile of native plants. Every step of the way, you’ll find plants that are uniquely attended for survival in the hot, dry desert.  In fact, there are more than 200 plants that thrive in our desert climate.  “One of my favorites is the chocolate flower, that spring or fall will grace your morning grand with the aroma of sweet chocolate,” said Kirti Mathura, the Smartscape Program Coordinator at the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension.  Using local or adapted plants like the chocolate flower, in favor of turf or non-native plants, is a type of gardening called xeriscaping. Xeriscaping not only helps conserve water, but it’s beneficial for local wildlife as well.  In this week’s episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, podcast editor Katie O’Connell digs into xeriscaping. You’ll find out the benefits of having a xeriscaped space, as well as some hints for achieving one.

 What legacy did Betty and Jean Fairfax leave behind in Arizona? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1095

In honor of Women’s History Month, we're highlighting the story of two women who dedicated their careers and retirements to educational equity. Their names were Betty and Jean Fairfax. Those names might sound familiar. Betty H. Fairfax High School in the Phoenix Union District is named after the oldest sister. She’s the only former educator in the district with a high school named after her. How did that happen? What kind of legacy did the Fairfax sisters leave in Arizona? In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we're diving into their lives and how they inspired students to strive to higher education. 

 How did Arizona become a hub for the LDS Church? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1043

The Valley is full of transplants. Many of us moved here or our parents moved here, perhaps our grandparents. Then there's Candice Copple, whose family has been in Arizona for six generations. Copple's ancestors came to Arizona in the 1800s as a part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her great-great-great grandfather was Charles Innes Robson the 1st. He’s considered a founding father of Mesa in the East Valley. Charles came to Arizona with his father-in-law Francis Pomeroy and two other families under Brigham Young’s direction. Today, Arizona has the fourth highest population of LDS members in the United States. We’re just behind Utah, California and Idaho. And Arizona’s history with the LDS Church stretches back before Candice’s family. In today’s episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we find out more about the Valley’s connection to the LDS Church. Producer Amanda Luberto explores its history and why Arizona continues to have such a large LDS population today. In this episode of Valley 101, our voiceover said, “A quick heads up for those who may be interested in exploring the Mormon history of Arizona: Non-members can go to any of the LDS Temples in the Valley during Christmas to look at the lights or Easter time to be a part of festivities, but only members are allowed inside.” However, the only temple in Arizona to have a Christmas light display and an Easter Pageant is the Mesa Temple. Those events have been suspended during its renovation but will recommence once the renovations are completed. The best way to listen is to subscribe to Valley 101 on your favorite podcast app, but you can also stream the full episode below.

 Why aren't sirens used during dust storms? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 866

Dust storms can create a wall of dust that miles wide and thousands of feet high. When one hits, visibility can drop down to a quarter of a mile or less. When that happens, the local branch of the National Weather Service will send out a weather emergency alert. Odds are you've received one on your phone. Sirens, however, are not part of the messaging equation. It turns out there are a few reasons why sirens aren't used during dust storms. Part of it has to do with infrastructure. The other has to do with which type of messaging is most effective during moments of hazardous weather. In today's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we're catching up with the National Weather Service and the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management about dust storms and emergency messaging.

 What's a vanity license plate? How many are on the road in Arizona? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 671

When you're on the road, odds are you'll see plenty of our standard Arizona license plates. You know, the ones with a purple saguaro and mountain under a blue and yellow sky. But you'll also see a fair number of plates that look different.  Valley 101 listener Harold Lohner noticed this too. He asked why Arizona cars have so many vanity license plates? Is it more than other In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we're diving in the trend of vanity license plates in Arizona. 

 Why is recycling different city to city? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 783

When you go to recycle, what you can put in your bin depends on a few different factors, including which municipality you live in. Different cities within the Valley have different rules. Why is that? Why is there not an across-the-board set of items you can and can’t recycle? In this episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we break down the reasons why where you live affects how and what you can recycle.

 How did the Phoenix Bakery, one of the city's oldest buildings, end up at the Phoenix Zoo? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 874

The Phoenix Bakery was a downtown staple in the city’s earliest days. German immigrant Ed Eisele Sr. started working there in 1881, purchasing the shop at West Washington Street and Center Street (now Central Avenue) three years later. As the city grew, the bakery grew, leaving its original location in 1929. But the red-brick building that housed the original operation is still around today. There’s just one catch: it now resides at the Phoenix Zoo, miles away from its original location.  How did it get there? In this week’s episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we’ll look at the history of the building, starting with the unlikely journey its owner took to immigrate to the U.S. and ending with its reconstruction at the Zoo. 

 What's the story behind Phoenix Sky Harbor's fly-in chapel? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 733

Before Las Vegas became known as the quickie wedding hotspot, people flew to Phoenix. Or at least that's what Phoenix's Junior Chamber of Commerce hoped for.  The story dates back to 1937. The city had purchased Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport two years prior in 1935. Most states across the U.S. at this point had laws mandating a 3-day waiting period for couples wishing to wed. But Arizona didn't.  Capitalizing on that lack of regulation, the airport built a chapel and advertised fly-in weddings. The hope was to draw in Hollywood celebrities who wanted to marry quickly and under-the-radar, hopefully without paparazzi.    It wasn't a total success, but it wasn't a failure either. Listen to this week's episode of Valley 101, an Arizona Republic and podcast answering questions about metro Phoenix, to uncover the history of Phoenix's fly-in chapel.  

 Who was Paul W. Litchfield and how did he help develop the West Valley? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1030

Today, the West Valley is home to 1.7 million people, according to data collected by the Western Maricopa Coalition. And it’s still growing. The coalition anticipates that over the next 25 years, 49.5% of the growth in Maricopa County will happen in the West Valley. That's vastly different from what it was like in the beginning of the 20th century. Before Arizona had towns like Avondale, Goodyear and Litchfield Park, the West Valley was barren. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we're diving into the history of the Southwest Valley. What took it from the desert to what it is today? And we're doing that thanks to a question from listener Dale Arel, who asked how Paul Litchfield shaped the Valley

 Meet Richard E. Harris, the first Black reporter at The Arizona Republic | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1669

In 1964, at the age of 51, Richard E. Harris became the first Black reporter at The Arizona Republic.  His tenure came during a momentous and tumultuous period in our nation’s history. The year before, thousands were arrested while protesting segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Among them was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who would deliver his famed “I Have A Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that same year.  President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The following year, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Phoenix was segregated at the time. Years of redlining and restrictive covenants had left their mark on the city. Harris was assigned to cover poverty in the city, telling the story of some of its most vulnerable citizens.  Later in life, Harris wrote that he “detested some of the paper’s ultra-conservative editorials and stories slanted in favor of the Establishment.” Still, he was proud of his tenure there and what he accomplished. In his 2004 autobiography "The American Odyssey of a Black Journalist," Harris wrote that he “proved to be as capable as most white peers and soon found news stories outside the stereotype bounds.” Today, Harris is remembered by those who came after him as a modest, humble man.  “And what I’d like to say about Richard Harris is that, you know, he wasn’t a physically large guy. But he had very broad shoulders, figuratively speaking,” said Art Gissendaner, who worked as the sole Black reporter at The Republic a decade after Harris. “And something I tell a lot of young people now is that where we are now, we all are standing on someone else’s shoulders.” In this week’s episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, Executive Editor Greg Burton explores the story of Harris’ life and legacy. 

 How do you safely hike with dogs in Arizona? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 983

Winter in Arizona means peak hiking season. The weather is beautiful, the landscapes are breathtaking and, because of COVID-19, the fact that you can socially distance in the open air while getting in some exercise is an added perk.  But if you take your dogs with you, there are some things you need to know. Maybe you’re new to the Valley and your transplant dog isn’t used to the desert terrain. But even if you’re a long-time resident, we’ve got some tips that you might not know. Consider this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, a toolkit for how to safely hike with dogs here. Producer Taylor Seely speaks with Bretta Nelson, a spokesperson for the Arizona Humane Society. Plus, an only-in-Arizona style story about running into a herd of cows while hiking from Valley resident Debi Palestina. 

 What's the story behind Arizona's clever highway signs? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 733

There are the normal highway signs, ones that feature messages about travel times or road conditions.  Then there are the funny ones. Ones that say things like, "Cut off? Don’t get bad blood. Shake it off” in reference to a Taylor Swift song. Or “Aggressive driving is the path to the dark side,” a nod to “Star Wars.” Arizona isn't unique in having signs like that. The trend started with the Iowa Department of Transportation, but Arizona Department of Transportation spokesperson Doug Pacey thinks we may have perfected them. In today's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we're exploring the history of these signs and what it takes to write them. You'll also hear from Mitzie Warner, a Chandler resident who won a safety message writing competition. 

 Is there a roller derby scene in Metro Phoenix? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1279

If you fell down the TikTok rabbit hole in 2020, odds are you probably came across one or two videos of people roller skating. It's a trend and hobby people took up to get outside during the pandemic. Valley 101 listener Antonio Moody is a teacher and heard about the exact same trend from his students. Some of them even thought of taking up roller derby. Moody asked the podcast team if there was a roller derby scene in Metro Phoenix.  In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, producer Maritza Dominguez digs into this community. 

 Why does Phoenix have so few cemeteries? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1035

If you're a transplant to Arizona from New England, you may have been surprised at the seeming absence of cemeteries in the Phoenix area. After all, they feel like they're located at every corner in some northeastern states. That's how Christopher Bunce felt when he moved to the Valley in January of 2020. So he submitted a question to Valley 101, our newsroom podcast dedicated to helping Phoenicians better understand the place they call home. He asked, "Why does Phoenix have so few cemeteries?" Bunce thought it perhaps was because Arizona is a younger state. Cindy Lee, vice president of the Pioneers' Cemetery Association, offers a few other reasons in this week's episode.


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