Valley 101

By The Arizona Republic and

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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 @Valley101pod.

Episode Date
Are palm trees native to Arizona? Why does Phoenix have so many?
What do you think of when you picture a palm tree?<br><br>For some, palm trees bring to mind images of beaches, sand and the ocean waves — not the desert. But you can spot the high-rising plant pretty much anywhere you head to in town.<br><br>That begs the question: Are palm trees native to Arizona? Why does Phoenix have so many?<br><br>In this week's episode of <a href="">Valley 101</a>, a podcast from <em>The Arizona Republic</em> and, podcast editor Katie O'Connell digs in on this fixture of our landscape.&nbsp;<br><br><strong>In this episode you'll hear:</strong><ul><li>Liz Makings, collections manager for Arizona State University's Herbarium</li><li>Steve Blackwell, conservation collections manager at the Desert Botanical Garden</li><li>Brian Blake, owner of Whitfill Nursery: Main Tree Farm</li></ul>
Aug 19, 2019
Javelina in Arizona: Are they pigs? Are they dangerous?
Arizona is home to an array of wildlife unique to the southwestern U.S., including the often-misunderstood javelina. As Mesa resident Jim Albany asked, "Are javelina really dangerous?"<br><br>This question took us on a journey to the Phoenix Zoo, a taxidermy-filled office room, and the Ben Avery Outdoor Archery Range in Phoenix. <br><br>If you've ever run into a javelina in your neighborhood and not known how to react, you'll want to take a listen to this episode. Did you know that you can hunt javelina? We break down how it works and talk to local hunter Josh Kirchner about his adventures. To learn more, listen to this episode of Valley 101, a podcast from <em>The Arizona Republic</em> and <em><br></em><br><strong>In this episode, you'll hear:</strong><ul><li>Devorah Young, a hoofstockkeeper at the Phoenix Zoo, talk about javelinas she takes care of.&nbsp;</li><li>Darren Julian, of Arizona Game and Fish Department, speak about how to react when you run into a javelina.</li><li>Josh Kirchner, a local hunter, talk about why he hunts javelina and how to do it.&nbsp;</li></ul>
Aug 12, 2019
Why does I-10 go through a tunnel in downtown Phoenix?
Odds are you’ve driven through the part of Interstate 10 in downtown Phoenix that dips into a tunnel. <br><br>Phoenix natives call this the Deck Park Tunnel. But that is that is not its real name, and it’s technically not a tunnel. The real name is the Papago Freeway Tunnel and it's a series of 19 bridges. Big surprise, right?<br><br>To dig in to this controversial history, listen to this episode of Valley 101, a podcast from <em>The Arizona Republic</em> and <br><br>This episode contains clips of a video called "<a href="">Soaring Sculpture</a>" produced by Swartwout Film Productions in cooperation with the Arizona State Highway Department and the Bureau of Public Roads and U.S. Department of Transportation. Thank you to the Arizona Department of Transportation for letting us use parts of that video.&nbsp;<br><br><br><br><br>
Aug 05, 2019
What's the story behind Legend City, Arizona's shuttered theme park?
Legend City was an 87-acre Arizona theme park located between Phoenix and Tempe near Papago Park from 1963 to 1983. At its best, Legend City was a family oasis filled with fun western rides, talented performers and nostalgic penny arcades. At its worst, it had shoddy maintenance and only remnants of its original western theme. <br><br>Despite Legend City's tumultuous history, filled with financial mismanagement, rapid ownership turnover and multiple periods of closure, the park was also a source of many fond memories for residents today. Producer Taylor Seely explores the story behind the park in this episode. <br><br>Follow Valley 101 on Twitter: <a href="">@valley101pod</a><br>Follow Taylor Seely on Twitter: <a href="">@taylorseely95</a><br><br>Find John Bueker's book on Legend City <a href=";qid=1564094776&amp;s=gateway&amp;sr=8-1">by clicking here</a>.&nbsp;
Jul 29, 2019
Why didn't Arizona use Frank Lloyd Wright's plans for its new capitol?
Built before statehood, the Arizona capitol building grew in conjunction with the state's population. By 1954, the state legislature realized a third addition to the original structure was necessary.<br><br>The state contracted with a group called the Associated State Capital Architects, but not everyone was pleased with their designs.<br><br>Insert Frank Lloyd Wright. The famed architect offered an unsolicited design for the building in 1957, launching a public debate on which plan the government should pursue.&nbsp;<br><br>And things got heated. <br><br>Listen to this episode of the Valley 101 podcast from <em>The Arizona Republic</em> and to learn more.
Jul 22, 2019
How are electric scooters changing metro Phoenix?
If you drive around the Valley you're likely to see electric scooters on sidewalks, in neighborhoods and in popular areas like Mill Avenue in Tempe or Scottsdale Fashion Square.<br><br>Bike-share programs that have docking stations have been in metro Phoenix since 2014. But once dockless bikes popped up in 2017 and dockless scooters in 2018, they immediately drew criticism. <br><br>You might be wondering: Why are they here? Are they safe to ride? How are they changing the Valley? <br><br>In this episode of <em>The Arizona Republic</em> and's <a href="">Valley 101</a> podcast, we look at all the ways electric scooters and bikes are affecting our cities. <br><br><strong>In this episode, you'll hear:&nbsp;</strong><ul><li>What it's like to be a charger for electric scooter companies like Bird and Lime.</li><li>What safety issues scooters are bringing to the forefront in our communities?</li><li>Whether or not scooters will change transportation as we know it.</li></ul>
Jul 15, 2019
Why doesn't Phoenix have a Chinatown or Little Italy?
Many major cities across the U.S. have a Chinatown, Little Italy or some other ethnic enclave where immigrants have settled together. Did we ever have an ethnic enclave in metro Phoenix?<br>Yes! We had one. Or, well, two. Listen to this episode of the Valley 101 podcast from <em>The Arizona Republic</em> and to learn more.
Jul 08, 2019
Lightning round: 4 popular questions about Phoenix's history
From its time as "Apacheria" to rumors it was once brimming with camels, metro Phoenix is rich with history and myths. In this episode of Valley 101 podcast from <em>The Arizona Republic</em> and, we answer four of your questions about the history of Arizona and the Phoenix area. These include:<ul><li>What state in Mexico was Arizona before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?</li><li>Who named Camelback Mountain?</li><li>What is the most iconic building in the downtown Phoenix skyline?</li><li>How did Grand Avenue end up diagonal in a grid of roads?&nbsp;</li></ul><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Jul 01, 2019
What is the affordable housing crisis in Phoenix?
As housing across metro Phoenix becomes more expensive, Valley residents are questioning whether it’s become a crisis, and how effectively cities are tackling the issue. <br><br>Reporters from <em>The Arizona Republic </em>and <a href=""></a>have covered this crisis extensively, finding that eviction rates and homelessness rates are rising every year in Maricopa County. In part, that’s because of an affordable-housing crisis across the Valley. <br><br><em>To read the transcript of this episode, </em><a href=""><em>click here</em></a><em>. </em><br><br>Articles mentioned in the episode:<br>&nbsp;– <a href="">Eviction rate spikes again across Phoenix as affordable-housing crisis worsens</a><br> – <a href="">Federal report: Homelessness spikes in Arizona, rising 10 percent in 2018<br></a> – <a href="">Renters in the housing crisis are often stuck between help and affordability </a><br>– <a href=""> </a><br><br>Follow us on Twitter:<a href=""> @valley101pod</a><br>Follow the producer of this episode, Taylor: <a href="">@taylorseely95</a><br>Follow the show host: <a href="">@kailawhite&nbsp;</a>
Jun 24, 2019
How are urban farms able to survive in the Valley?
Phoenix was built on agriculture. Without the efforts of early settlers to revive the Hohokam canal system to grow crops, we wouldn't be here today.&nbsp;<br><br>But the abundance of land, good climate and accessible water drew new residents and businesses en mass. The more the population grew, the more land was converted to from agricultural land to residential land.&nbsp;<br><br>The result? The west valley lost 31% of its agricultural land between 2000 and 2017. The east valley lost almost 54% of agricultural land during the same time.&nbsp;<br><br>How are urban farmers in the Valley surviving? And what does the future of farming look like?<br><br>If you're looking for more on this subject, <a href="">read this story from Arizona Republic reporter Joshua Bowling</a>.
Jun 17, 2019
Did Phoenix ever segregate where minorities could live?
Other big cities across the U.S. have been shaped by housing segregation and redlining, but did that happen here? Host Kaila White looks into this issue that reaches back to before Arizona was a state and it still impacts Phoenix today, maybe even affecting your neighborhood.<br><br>References: <br>- <a href="">FDR recording</a> “NNV 169-59 [dig].” from 1940 from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.<br>- Ray Martinez recording from <a href="">Arizona History, A Chicano Perspective</a> (1985). F 820 M5 A77x 1985. Chicano/a Research Collection. ASU Library, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. <br>- <a href="">President Johnson Signing the 1968 Civil Rights Bill</a>, April 11, 1968 from the LBJ Presidential Library.<br>- Read Elizabeth Montgomery’s article on <a href=" ">Lincoln Ragsdale, “the Arizona Civil Rights pioneer who helped integrate Phoenix.”&nbsp;</a><br><br><br>
Jun 10, 2019
What's an Eruv and is there one at Scottsdale Fashion Square mall?
Have you ever noticed a clear wire, strung between poles in different parts of the Valley? You can see it at the intersection of Scottsdale and Camelback roads, crossing diagonally along the canal, near Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall. <br><br>That's an Eruv. A boundary for observant, usually Orthodox, members of Judaism. The wire, which surrounds parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, allows the community to carry certain items outside of their homes on Shabbat, otherwise known as Shabbos or the Sabbath.<br><br>But why does this Eruv allow them to carry things? And why do the rules exist in the first place? Learn all about the Valley Eruv in <a href="">this week's episode</a> of <a href="">Valley 101</a>. <br><em>Read the transcript of the episode by </em><a href=""><em>clicking here. </em></a><em><br></em><br>Follow Taylor Seely on Twitter: <a href="">@taylorseely95 </a><br>Follow Valley 101 on Twitter: <a href="">@valley101pod</a>&nbsp;
Jun 03, 2019
How did 25 German POWs escape from Camp Papago Park during WWII?
It took months of planning, but on the night of December 23, 1944, 25 German prisoners of war POWs escaped from Camp Papago Park in Phoenix. They crawled through a handmade tunnel with hopes of heading home via Mexico.<br>&nbsp;<br>Later known as "The Great Papago Escape," it was the largest POW escape on American soil during World War II.&nbsp; <br><br>And it happened in our backyard — literally. There are houses now where the camp existed. <br>&nbsp;<br>In <a href="">this episode</a>, editor Katie O'Connell explores what happened that fateful night. And what can we learn from it now?<br><br>Follow Katie O'Connell on Twitter: <a href="">@katieoc </a><br><br>If you have additional questions about this story, you can reach out to historian <strong>Steve Hoza</strong> directly by <a href="">clicking here</a>.
May 27, 2019
Why have Arizona chefs been overlooked for the industry's top award?
If you love restaurants or cooking shows, or you care about Arizona’s farmers, ranchers, or tourism, or you just want people to know our state is cool, you should know about the James Beard Awards. <br><br>Considered the "Oscars of the food world," the James Beard Awards are the top award American chefs can win. So why did Arizonans stop winning?<br><br>In <a href="">this episode of Valley 101</a>, a podcast from <em>The Arizona Republic </em>and, host Kaila White teamed up with <em>The Republic's </em>dining editor Lauren Saria to explore Arizona's history and future with the James Beard Awards. <br><br><em>Read the transcript of this episode by </em><a href=""><strong><em>clicking here</em></strong></a><em>. This transcript is created in part by audio transcription software and lightly edited by a producer, so there may be slight deviations from the podcast audio.</em><br><br>Follow Lauren Saria on Twitter: <a href="">@lhsaria</a> <br>Follow Kaila White on Twitter: <a href="">@kailawhite </a><br>Follow Valley 101 on Twitter: <a href="">@valley101pod</a><br><br><br><br><br>
May 20, 2019
Does Arizona have a state food it calls its own?
If the saying goes, "You are what you eat," then Chicagoans are deep-dish pizza or Chicago dogs, Philadelphians are Philly cheesesteaks, and perhaps New Mexicans are green chiles. <br><br>But what about Arizonans? Does the Valley have a food to call its own? And if it does, what does it say about our culture? <br><br>Producer Taylor Seely finds out on <a href="">this episode</a> of Valley 101. And be sure to submit your questions at <a href=""></a>. <br><br>Follow Taylor on Twitter: <a href="">@taylorseely95 </a><br>Follow Valley 101 on Twitter: <a href="">@valley101pod</a><br><br><br><br><br><br>
May 13, 2019
Why are there so many HOAs in the Valley?
Almost two million people in Arizona live in some sort of community association. How did we get here? The answer goes back to how the city developed after World War II. <br><br>Valley 101 editor Katie O'Connell talked to real estate experts to find out the answer on <a href="">this episode</a>. <br><br>Want your question answered? Submit it at <a href=""></a>. <br><br>Follow Katie O'Connell on Twitter: <a href="">@katieoc</a>.<br>Follow Valley 101 on Twitter: <a href="">@valley101pod</a>.
May 06, 2019
What was Phoenix Indian School like for students?
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the federal government systematically took Native American children from their homes and shipped them to boarding schools across the U.S. to assimilate them into western society. <br><br>Arizona is home to one of those boarding schools. <br><br>How did it change from 1891 to 1990, to become more academic and even a point of pride for Native American students? And what was it like to be a student through the ages? Listen to <a href="">this episode</a> of Valley 101, a podcast from <em>The Arizona Republic </em>and <a href=""></a>, to find out.<br><br>Special thanks to The Heard Museum, for allowing Valley 101 to record in its exhibit and the audio of musician Russel Moore to be included in this episode. <br><br>This story was reported by Shondiin Silversmith and produced by Taylor Seely. <br><br>Follow Shondiin on Twitter:<a href=""> @DiinSilversmith </a><br>Follow Taylor on Twitter: <a href="">@taylorseely95</a><br>Follow Valley 101 on Twitter: <a href="">@valley101pod</a><br><br>Submit your questions to Valley 101 at V<a href="">;</a>
Apr 29, 2019
What are the mysterious ruins on Shaw Butte?
Legend has it, the concrete pad and stone wall are all that's left of an upscale restaurant called Cloud Nine that mysteriously burned down in the 1960s. <br>Who built a restaurant up there and how? What was it like in its heyday? And what led to its demise?<br><br>Valley 101 host and producer Kaila White dug into newspaper archives and public records to find the truth, encountering some interesting characters along the way.<br><br>Music in this episode includes “Arizona Moon,” “La Costilla,” and “El Tajo” by Blue Dot Sessions. <br><br>Want your question about metro Phoenix answered? Submit it at <a href=""></a>. And follow us on Twitter <a href="">@valley101pod</a>. &nbsp;
Apr 22, 2019
Population part 2: Just how big could we get?
As we talked about in last week's episode, the Valley is going to grow. For part two in our exploration of our population, we're looking ahead. <br><br>Just how many people are we talking about adding? And what will that additional population mean for our economy and housing? What about our transportation and water?<br><br>Want your question about metro Phoenix answered? Submit it at <a href=""></a>. And follow us on Twitter <a href="">@valley101pod</a>. &nbsp;
Apr 15, 2019
Population part 1: How did the Valley get so big?
We've been collecting your questions for more than two months now and one topic keeps coming up: the Valley's population. So we're taking two episodes to answer your population-related questions. <br>&nbsp;<br>In this week's episode, we look at how Phoenix and the Valley got so big. When did we start growing? And what fueled that growth? <br>&nbsp;<br>Be sure to listen next week when we explore the future population of the Valley. <br>&nbsp;<br>Want your question about metro Phoenix answered? Submit it at <a href=""></a>. And follow us on Twitter <a href="">@valley101pod</a>. &nbsp;
Apr 08, 2019
Does Phoenix have a gayborhood?
Positioned just northwest of downtown Phoenix, the Melrose District's mile-long strip of gay bars, vintage stores and eateries line Seventh Avenue with pride flags, murals and a rainbow crosswalk. But how did the Melrose District gain its reputation as a queer-friendly space? What even makes it one?<br><br>Valley 101 producer Taylor Seely and <em>Arizona Republic </em>reporter Garrett Mitchell trekked the "fruit loop" talking to historians, shopkeepers, bartenders and residents to get a glimpse at why the Melrose District is Phoenix's go-to gayborhood.<br><br>Want your question about metro Phoenix answered? Submit it at <a href=""></a>. And follow us on <a href="">Twitter @valley101pod.</a> &nbsp;<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Apr 01, 2019
How did Phoenix get its name?
Is it related to the mythological phoenix, a bird that lived for hundreds of years, died in an explosion of flames, and would be reborn from its ashes? It would make sense, given that Phoenix summers set us on fire and yet here we are still. <br><br>Who named our city? And was it ever called something else? To answer those questions, Valley 101 producer Téa Francesca Price dug into Phoenix's history.<br><br>Want to submit a question for Valley 101 to answer? Visit <a href=""></a>.&nbsp;<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Mar 25, 2019
What happened to Terminal 1 at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport?
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has Terminals 2, 3, and 4. But have you noticed there's no Terminal 1? At least not anymore. Valley 101 producer Taylor Seely investigates why. <br><br>Tell us your questions about metro Phoenix at <a href=""></a> or find us on Twitter at <a href="">@valley101pod</a>. You can reach Taylor on Twitter <a href="">@taylorseely95</a>.&nbsp;<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Mar 18, 2019
What happens to recycling after it leaves our homes?
Putting your recyclable items into a blue bin is only step one. After it’s picked up, where does it go? What happens to it? And what can you do to help the process? Kaila White, a reporter and editor for <em>The Arizona Republic </em>and, visited a materials recovery facility in north Phoenix to find out. <br><br>Tell us your questions about metro Phoenix at <a href=""></a> or find us on Twitter at <a href="">@valley101pod</a>. You can reach Kaila on Twitter at <a href="">@kailawhite</a>.<br><br><br><br><br>
Mar 11, 2019
Does the pollution in Phoenix shape our sunsets?
What creates the brilliant red and pink sunsets in Phoenix? Local folklore says that the pollution in Phoenix shapes our sunsets. But is that true? Katie O'Connell, the head of podcasts for The Arizona Republic and, found out.&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>Tell us your questions about metro Phoenix at or find us on Twitter at @valley101pod. You can reach Katie on Twitter at @katieoc.
Mar 04, 2019
Why does Phoenix have so many wrong-way drivers?
Every year, there are dozens of car crashes involving wrong-way drivers in Arizona. How does metro Phoenix compare with other metropolitan areas across the country? What is causing this problem, and can we do to stop it? Arizona Republic and producer Téa Francesca Price investigates.<br>Tell us your questions about metro Phoenix at <a href=""></a> or find us on Twitter at <a href="">@valley101pod</a>. You can reach Téa on Twitter <a href=""><strong>@</strong>_tfprice</a>.
Feb 25, 2019
What was the Roosevelt Row Arts District like before today?
Some claim gentrification has ruined Roosevelt Street in downtown Phoenix. Others boast that the area is safer and more walkable than before. And is it still artsy? Arizona Republic and producer Taylor Seely investigates.<br><br>Tell us your questions about metro Phoenix at <a href=""></a> or find us on Twitter at <a href="">@valley101pod</a>. You can reach Taylor on Twitter <a href="">@taylorseely95</a>.&nbsp;
Feb 18, 2019
Welcome: Valley 101, a Phoenix podcast from The Arizona Republic and
Ever wonder what Roosevelt Row was like before it was developed? Or why there are so many wrong-way crashes in Phoenix?<br><br>The Arizona Republic and podcast team will answer all of your Valley-related questions in our new show launching on Monday, Feb. 18. We'll pick one question a week to investigate and take you with as we report. Each episode will give you the facts in 10 to 20 minutes.<br><br>We want to hear your questions! Submit your questions at <a href=""></a>. Or follow along on Twitter <a href="">@Valley101pod</a>.&nbsp;<br><br><br><br>
Feb 05, 2019