Explore the Beauty of the Desert — Botanical Garden reopens with safety in mind

Desert Discovery Trail at Desert Botanical Garden; Photo: Adam Rodriguez; courtesy of DBG

In early July, the Desert Botanical Garden reopened to the public. The Garden staff says the while it is eager to share the beauty of the desert with Valley patrons, safety is its primary concern. So, it is limiting capacity, providing a touchless admissions experience and following all CDC guidelines and meeting all local requirements.

Desert Botanical Garden is home to thousands of species of cactus, trees and flowers from all around the world spread across 55 acres in Phoenix. The Garden was established in 1939 by a small group of passionate local citizens who saw the need to conserve the beautiful desert environment. With the support of social influencers of the time such as Gertrude Divine Webster, the Garden’s presence grew. Nearly eight decades later, thanks to leadership and investments from many individuals, Desert Botanical Garden has blossomed from a dream into a living museum.

Visitor hours have been shifted to the cooler periods of the day: 6am–noon and 5–9pm, Friday through Sunday; 7am–noon and 5–9pm, Monday through Thursday.

Residents will need to make a reservation to enjoy the Garden — for safety purposes, a limited number of visitors will be admitted every 30 minutes. Reservations can be made online or by calling 480.941.1225. No walk-up purchases are permitted.

To learn more about the safety measures being taken at Desert Botanical Garden, or to reserve a spot for a visit, go to dbg.org.

Nearly 700 Students, 30 Teachers Displaced Due to Metrocenter Mall Closure — Phoenix Conservatory of Music seeking interim and permanent space

Phoenix Conservatory of Music (PCM) announced June 20 that its nearly 700 students and 30 teachers will be displaced due to the permanent closing of Metrocenter Mall on June 30. PCM learned of the closure Friday, June 19. The organization has used the space for its school and music studios since 2011. According to the press release, PCM must vacate the premises by July 15.

Executive director Regina Nixon says that while unexpected, this transition has been something the organization has been expecting given the state of the mall in recent years. At present, PCM is functioning virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so operationally it can continue to serve its students.

The school says that it plans to return to normal in-person operations as soon as it is safe to do so, but in the interim, it needs to find a place to store musical instruments and classroom/office equipment; and ultimately, a permanent home for the future.

Its basic and immediate needs include 6–10,000 sq. ft. of space with classroom, performance and office areas, ideally — but not limited to — the City of Phoenix boundaries. PCM is looking for a partner who is willing to donate in-kind facilities to support our nonprofit educational mission. PCM is a 501(c)(3) organization.

In addition, the school will need logistical help to facilitate a move at the end of June.

Base needs include:

  • 4–6 Lesson Rooms (approx. 80–100 sq. ft. each)
  • 4–5 Music Classrooms (approx. 400–600 sq. ft. each)
  • 1 Parents/Student Waiting Area (approx. 2 sq. ft. each)
  • 1 Large Admin Space (or two classroom sizes)
  • 1 Private Office or 1 classroom space dedicated as an office
  • Storage (2 classroom spaces or 500-plus sq. ft)
  • Access to Restrooms
  • Ability to install phones and internet
  • Access to performance space preferred

PCM added, “In addition to this, we are needing to raise monies to help us with this unplanned move. We have a go fund me page set up.”

For additional information about PCM, visit pcmrocks.org.

Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers Hosting Sensory-Friendly Social Nights in Celebration of Grand Openings

Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers has expanded into Arizona and its Phoenix-area locations are hosting two open house style events that are open to the public and will include refreshments, arts and crafts, games, and sensory gym play.

Hopebridge was founded in 2005 to serve the growing need for autism treatment services and to improve the lives of affected children and families. Hopebridge says that it is committed to providing personalized outpatient ABA, occupational, speech and feeding therapies for children touched by autism spectrum disorder and behavioral, physical, social, communication and sensory challenges. Hopebridge’s goal is to provide “a trusted place where they can receive the care, support and hope they deserve.”

Open house events will be held at two locations:

  • North Phoenix: Feb. 19, 4:30–6:30pm
  • Hopebridge North Phoenix is located at 3602 East Greenway Road, Suite 102, Phoenix AZ, 85032
  • Glendale: Feb. 20, 4:30–6:30pm
  • Hopebridge Glendale is located at 5859 Talavi Boulevard, Suite 180, Glendale, AZ 85306

For additional information, visit www.hopebridge.com.

Cartel Coffee Lab Heads North with Two New Phoenix Locations

The longstanding Tempe-based coffee purveyor, Cartel Coffee Lab, known for sourcing and roasting some of the best coffee from around the world is launching new locations in Paradise Valley and Uptown Phoenix. Located at the northeast intersection of Tatum and Shea, the Paradise Valley location is scheduled for a grand opening Dec. 20 . (Open holiday hours 7am–3pm through Christmas Eve; 6am–8pm regular hours.) Visitors can look forward to free coffee all day and a chance for one winner to receive free coffee for a year. The 1,200 square foot Paradise Valley location features a state of the art La Marzocco Linea PB espresso machine, draft cold brew and Chemex pour overs of rotating single origin coffees.

As a part of its continuing partnership with boutique hospitality brand ARRIVE Hotels, Cartel will be opening inside ARRIVE’s upcoming hotel at Fourth Avenue and Camelback in Uptown Phoenix in 2020. This will be the third in a series of successful cafe/hotel partnerships after locations in Palm Springs and Austin.

“We’ve always been cautious when it comes to choosing locations or partners; both of these new cafes represent a lot of consideration and these are two communities we are excited to grow with,” said Jason Silberschlag, owner and co-founder of Cartel.

Husband and wife Jason and Amy Silberschlag began Cartel 12 years ago with a mobile cart, which will now have expanded into 10 retail locations across three states supported by their two Arizona roasteries in Tempe and Tucson. “From day one, it’s been about neighborhood cafe culture first and foremost,” said Amy. “We can’t wait to make new friends in North Phoenix!”

It isn’t just the Silberschlags who are excited.

“I’m personally thrilled that they’ll be just across the street from me,” says Woo Jonathon, general manager of neighboring restaurant The Covenant. “I’m always up for more local business in Paradise Valley.”

The name Cartel Coffee Lab was inspired by oil cartels; instead of stifling competition, Cartel has an ambitious goal to band together like-minded coffee producers and professionals to drive customer appreciation for hard work and quality. To date, Cartel partners with 110 rotating coffee farms spread across the globe who are guaranteed to be paid 30 percent to 150 percent above their costs, far above pricing set by Fair Trade.

Through the years, Cartel has received recognition from the likes of Alton Brown, Vogue and Food & Wine as a gold standard in specialty coffee craft and service. The secret is in their 90 percent retail focus, which has allowed them to prioritize the experience of the end user in all their decisions.

For additional information, visit www.cartelcoffeelab.com or find Cartel Coffee Lab on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Photos courtesy of Cartel Coffee Lab

NVAA Presents WILLY WONKA Nov. 7–9 at Shadow Mountain High School

The North Valley Arts Academy Theatre program (NVAA) and Shadow Mountain High School Drama Club present their fall musical, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, Nov. 7–9.

The delicious adventures experienced by Charlie Bucket on a visit to Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory light up the stage in this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s fantastical tale. The story follows enigmatic candy manufacturer, Willy Wonka, as he stages a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats: the fifth is a likable young person named Charlie Bucket. The children must learn to follow Mr. Wonka’s rules in the factory…or suffer the consequences.

Over 60 cast and crew members, comprised of fifth- through 12th-grade NVAA Theatre students from Desert Cove Elementary, Shea Middle School and Shadow Mountain High School, will bring to life the beloved story of Charlie and Willy Wonka. The Saturday 2pm matinee will include an additional 20 special guest stars for the opening number — local kindergarten through fourth-grade students who participated in Wonka Experience workshops.

The play will be performed at Shadow Mountain High School’s Performing Arts Center Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 7–9, with shows at 7pm each night, and a 2pm matinee Saturday Nov. 9. Tickets are available at the door for $5 for students, and $10 for adults (cash or check only). Shadow Mountain High School is located at 2902 East Shea Boulevard in North Phoenix.

NVAA’s production of Willy Wonka is proud to be one of 25 high school musicals selected to compete in the Gammage High School Musical Theatre awards this year. Willy Wonka is produced by special arrangement with MTI. More information about NVAA’s theatre program can be found at www.nvaadrama.com.

PVCC To Host Literacy Event Providing Thousands of Free Children’s Books

Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) and Southwest Human Development will again partner in hosting the Spring Festival of Tales, a free community literacy event offering storytelling and cultural activities for children and families from 9am to 2pm Saturday, April 27, at Paradise Valley Community College.

The bi-annual festival brings reading to life through the “Art of Storytelling” and provides free books to children who participate in the day’s activities, which include demonstrations, vendors, arts and crafts, games, face painting, live music, food trucks and much more.

“Events like Festival of Tales are important for everyone who participates because it helps develop an awareness, understanding and respect for other cultures and new ideas through the art of storytelling,” says PVCC education faculty and event organizer, Meggin Kirk. “Not only does this event enhance literacy skills and spark the imaginations of children, but it also ignites the passion in PVCC students by giving them opportunities to interact with community member and apply their learning in an authentic setting.”

Since its inception in 2009, Festival of Tales has attracted more than 17,000 people from Maricopa County and more than 25,000 books have been given away to children from low-income families. In 2019, Festival of Tales was recognized with two distinguished awards from the Maricopa County Community College District, including the Diversity Advisory Council award and the Paul M. Pair Innovation of the Year award.

Paradise Valley Community College is located at 18401 North 32nd Street in Phoenix. Event activities will take place in and around the Kranitz Student Center (KSC). Free parking is available. Festival of Tales is free and open to the public.

For more information, including registration and performance times, visit festivaloftales.com or call 602.787.6562.

Malloween At Desert Ridge Offers Family-Friendly Trick-or-Treat

Kid activity
Pint-sized witches, ghosts and pumpkins are invited to head out to Desert Ridge Marketplace for its “Malloween” event. The event offers Valley families a fun and safe alternative to traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating. The event provides a not-so-spooky, little-bit-kooky Halloween experience, especially for younger trick-or-treaters.

Funergy and costumes dancingWith store-to-store trick-or-treating, Halloween music and plenty of prizes, along with a variety of games and activities coordinated by family entertainment company, Funergy, “Malloween” is expected to draw up to 5,000 costumed children to the District. In addition to candy, participating stores, indicated by a balloon column outside their doors, will provide select giveaways.

The event takes place at The District Stage and throughout Desert Ridge from 3-5pm, Saturday, October 31. Desert Ridge Marketplace is located at 21001 North Tatum Boulevard in North Phoenix. For more information, visit www.shopdesertridge.com.

Master Ceramic Artists And Exhibit At PVCC

Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) will welcome nearly 30 Master Ceramic Artists from China for an exclusive, one-night exhibition of their work. PVCC Fine and Performing Arts Division|Ceramics Program is presenting the exhibit Friday, September 18, from 6-9pm. The artists will be on hand to meet the public and discuss their work, in a remarkable cultural exchange that offers a priceless education experience for all. [Read more below…]

It is rare for so many artists of this caliber to travel to the US together. Every artist is a member of the China Ceramic Artists/Industry Association, and is considered a “master” artist, with many years of experience and accomplishment. Each is bringing one piece of his/her ceramic work, which will then be donated to a silent auction and sale to benefit the PVCC Ceramics Program Fund through the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation

The historic visit is the result of ceramics professor David Bradley’s visit to China and relationships he developed there. It is hoped that this is the first in a series of exchanges and visits by Chinese artists to Arizona and PVCC.

The Master Ceramic Artists Exhibit is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Patayan Community Room in the Kranitz Student Center (KSC 1000) on the PVCC Union Hills Campus, located at 18401 North 32nd Street in Phoenix. Parking is free.

For additional information about the exhibit, call 602.787.7738. Lean more about PVCC at paradisevalley.edu.

New Denny’s To Open In North Phoenix

The original Grand Slam breakfast.

The original Grand Slam breakfast.

[Updated 9.10.15: Due to construction issues, the grand opening celebration has been rescheduled. The new date is Sunday, September 20, at 6pm.]

Denny’s invites local residents, guests and visitors to stop by its newest location in Phoenix. Located at 7000 East Mayo Boulevard, Building 27, the new diner will officially open its doors Sunday, September 6, at 6pm.

“We are excited to open another Denny’s in Phoenix, a community that has always been supportive of our diners and our brand,” says Chris Hansen, Denny’s district manager. “Diners should stay tuned for a Grand Opening celebration soon as our special way of saying ‘thank you’ for their loyalty.”

The new diner will impact the Phoenix community by creating 130 jobs for local residents and is conveniently situated off Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road close to the Mayo Clinic. Phoenix’s newest Denny’s will feature a separate “coffee bar” offering specialty coffee drinks in addition to a banquet space, state-of-the-art meeting facilities and catering services.

For more information, visit www.dennys.com.

Discover Cool New Authors At Authorpalooza

Dog-Eared Pages bookstore wants to help residents find an entertaining way to beat the summer heat with some cool Arizona authors at its Spring 2015 Authorpalooza. The event will be held Saturday, April 18, at 1pm.

The lineup of local authors and genres includes:

Alan Black (historical fiction for young adults and sci-fi)

Les Brierfield (suspense)

Lizzy Ford (paranormal romance for young adults)

Tim Gallen (high fantasy)

Tray Goodman (self-help, business)

V.S. Nelson (paranormal romance)

Anna Questerly (historical fiction for kids and utopian fantasy for adults)

Deena Remiel writes paranormal romance

Lynn Rush (young adult)

Kris Tualla (historical romance and suspense)

Michelle Venne (romance)

Guests will have an opportunity to meet the authors and learn more about their respective books, as well as register for author giveaways (drawings at 3:30pm) and more.

Dog-Eared Pages bookstore is located a half mile south of Bell Road on the west side of 32nd Street. For more information, visit www.dogearedpagesusedbooks.com.

%d bloggers like this: