Author Archives: Shelby Hill

Shelby Hill

About Shelby Hill

Shelby Hill writes business and lifestyle articles for AZNow.Biz and Arizona Business Magazine. She recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor of arts in English and journalism. Shelby is pursuing a career in journalism.

Photo: www.designerclothesonline.co.uk

Social Media Hasn’t Reached Luxury Brands, Yet

With celebs tweeting about everything from their morning latte to a product they’re peddling and Facebook taking over the world one movie at a time, you can’t go a day without being involved in social media.

However, luxury brands, like Chanel and BMW, have yet to catch the social media bug.

This Forbes.com article explains why many luxury brands aren’t advertising on social media sites the way most retailers are.

One reason is that consumers looking to buy luxury items are seeking more than just a sleek sports car or a perfectly-fitted suit. They’re looking for an experience that drips luxury from the attentive staff to the chilled champagne they’re sipping. That experience isn’t something a consumer can achieve sitting at home on a computer, even in the plushest of pads.

Luxury retailers are about decadence not convenience, which is why some of them don’t have a huge online presence.

At Oscar de la Renta, online transactions make up only 10 percent of the company’s overall sales, while Chanel doesn’t sell its items online.

If online sales aren’t a big deal to companies, how can they get excited about social media advertising?

The answer is that most of them don’t, even though a recent Unity Marketing survey of luxury brand consumers found that almost 80 percent of them have a social media profile.

Brands like Jimmy Choo and Oscar de la Renta have used social media to reach consumers.  But these retailers are the leaders, not the norm.

NASA Star Vista

Galaxies, Planets, Nebulas, Oh My!

Novice stargazers and expert astronomers alike are welcome to Alamo Lake State Park’s Fourth Annual Night Under the Stars on Nov. 6.

Since Alamo Lake State Park is almost 30 miles from the nearest town, the park offers dark skies that have some of the best unaided views of celestial objects such as the Andromeda and Triangulum galaxies.

Not only will attendees will be able to gaze through telescopes set up for their use, but they’ll also have a chance to view an astral photography demonstration put on by JD Maddy, president of the Astronomers of Verde Valley.

At 10 p.m., Maddy will provide an overview of how he captures images of nebulas and celestial bodies using a telescope, a computer and a digital SLR camera.

    If You Go:
    Time: Begins at dusk
    Location: 38 miles north of Wenden and US 60, Directions
    Phone: (928) 669-2088
    Fee: $7 per vehicle
    Please Bring: Red flashlight, folding chairs, warm clothes, water and snacks
    Website: www.azstateparks.com/Parks/ALLA/
Mindy Gunn - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Event Planning Chose Mindy Gunn

Mindy Gunn, AVP, CMP
Technology and Operations Group Event Manager
Wells Fargo Bank
www.wellsfargo.com

Mindy Gunn didn’t choose event planning — it chose her.

Gunn planned on attending law school, but she switched career paths when she was offered a job as a meeting planner with Wells Fargo Bank.

“My start in the meetings and events industry came when I co-founded a nonprofit organization in college that produced and promoted free concerts and theatrical productions in the community,” Gunn says, adding that she also produced events while working at Wells Fargo as she attended Brigham Young University.

Gunn has been with Wells Fargo for 15 years, starting as a teller.

In her role as an event manager, Gunn joined the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International seven years ago. She initially joined as a way to gain her certified meeting professional (CMP) designation, which she did in 2006.

“MPI provides a link to other meeting professionals, as well as valuable resources to help me manage my ever-changing role in my organization,” she says.

“I am able to network with others in my profession, and keep apprised of what is happening in the industry in a way that works for me, whether it be a networking event, or, more often, the Web resources.”

Gunn says the current economic situation hasn’t changed her association with MPI; it is still a resource.

“MPI has provided important information and resources on how I can be more strategic in the support of my company from a meetings perspective,” she says.

Gunn adds that MPI also can help industry newcomers in this economy.

“I think there are fewer newcomers to the organization,” Gunn says. “With the current job market, it is becoming tougher to enter the industry, and as a result, fewer new members. These newcomers are vital to continue innovating and keeping the approaches ‘fresh.’”

Gunn says she wants to personally mentor newcomers in order to help them understand the opportunities MPI has to offer both personally and professionally. Gunn admits she didn’t take advantage of an MPI mentor when she was offered one, but she says she now knows that mentors are important.

“I would also like to see these new members aligned with mentors from their area of focus, so they can truly learn more about how to take the most advantage of the opportunities before them,” Gunn says.

Not only are newcomers an important part of MPI’s future, but so, too, is bringing together existing members, Gunn says. She says that a forum for members from all branches of the industry, from independent and corporate planners to suppliers, is something that would benefit all members.

“The more we understand each other’s roles, the better we can work together,” she says.

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Jill Longfellow - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Jill Longfellow, Convention Group Sales Manager At EnterpriseHoldings Inc.

Jill Longfellow
Convention Group Sales Manager
Enterprise
Holdings Inc.
www.enterprise.com

Jill Longfellow is grateful for her membership in the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International, and now she is helping others see the benefits as well.

As the chapter’s director of Membership Retention and Global Community Challenge, Longfellow spends time speaking to members who want to cancel their memberships because of downturns in the economy and the tourism industry. The decline in membership is why the chapter created a global community challenge that encourages members to learn about each other’s businesses in order to create referrals, she says.

“(The global community challenge) has been a terrific way for our members to truly see the ROI from their MPI membership above and beyond the education we receive at our monthly meeting,” says Longfellow, the convention group sales manager for Enterprise Holdings Inc.

A referral is also what piqued her interest in MPI. She joined in 2000, after a former Enterprise employee explained to her that MPI is a “terrific association.”

In her time with the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter, the group has created a return on investment receipt program. This program allows members to see what their MPI membership has done for them in the past.

“It is a goal of our chapter this year to make sure that every member sees the ROIs from their local involvement with our local chapter,” Longfellow says.

“My MPI membership has allowed me the opportunity to meet with hoteliers and meeting planners that I would not have been able to meet with in the past without the exposure I receive from my involvement with my local chapter.”

The exposure Longfellow has created for Enterprise through MPI is “critical” to her job, she adds.

“My involvement and membership with MPI helps to ensure that the meeting planner committee understands Enterprise’s commitment to community service and customer service,” Longfellow says.

MPI also has allowed the business and meeting planning community to better understand all that the rental car industry can do for companies holding gatherings in Arizona, she says.

Just as MPI has had a big impact on her career, Longfellow says the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of MPI has a major role to play in the business community in the years to come, especially in this current economic climate.

“I believe it’s very important that our board and our members get the word out to the public and to our elected officials about the large effect that group conventions, meetings have on Arizona as a whole,” she says. “As a destination state, we need to keep our local hotels and resorts and convention centers full with meetings, so we can keep our Arizona residents employed through these businesses — and to keep meetings happening in our beautiful state, from the northern pinecap areas of Northern Arizona to the Valley here in Phoenix, and south all the way through to Tucson.”

http://azbigmedia.com/tag/september-october-2010-2

AA035979

The University of Arizona Brings Online Education To Entrepreneurs

As the state pulls itself out of the recessionary hole, small business owners and entrepreneurs have to re-think how they get things done. Getting advice from experts is critical, but who has the time?

The University of Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the Eller College of Management is making it easy for entrepreneurs and small business owners to expand their knowledge.

On Aug. 15, the McGuire Center launched three unique online certificate courses that offer entrepreneurs a “practical university education,” said Randy Accetta, mentor-in-residence and communications mentor at the center, a top-tier university-based center for entrepreneurship.

The three areas of study are commercializing an innovation, starting a small business and growing an existing venture. The courses go along with the UA’s land grant mission, and are funded in part by a United States Department of Labor Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant. The courses are offered through the non-credit arm of the UA’s Outreach College.

The UA is still marketing the courses, and online classes haven’t started yet, Accetta said.  Credit-bearing versions of the courses will most likely be offered during the spring 2011 semester at the UA.

What makes these online courses different is the amount of hands-on, one-on-one work students will do with Eller College of Management mentors and faculty members, Accetta said. Currently, the classes are structured as mentor-based and comprised of small cohorts.

Since the courses haven’t started yet, their structure can be modified and could range from small cohorts, as originally planned, to an independent study, according to what the market needs.

However the structure of the courses turns out, Accetta, the UA and the McGuire Center are committed to a high-quality educational experience that is focused on interaction between student and professor.

The UA and the McGuire Center wanted to provide entrepreneurs in the Southwest region with a university-type education in which students can end the course with a comprehensive understanding of the theories and concepts behind growing a business, Accetta said.

He added that the UA has been slow to offer distance learning and online courses, and these programs are part of the university’s effort to enter the world of online-based education. Distance learning is important, because the UA is pushing to “extend the intellectual quality of the university throughout the region,” Accetta said.

“Our long-range vision is to grow a more educated, more motivated entrepreneur community,” he said.

In these difficult times, courses like these can have an impact beyond the classroom, or computer screen in this case, Accetta said, adding that building a business community that can identify and act on opportunities to stimulate entrepreneurial growth will result in a stronger economy for Southern Arizona.

Pat Walz VP - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Electronic Health Records And Cancer Care Are On Pat Walz’s Radar For Yuma Regional Medical Center

Pat Walz
President and CEO
Yuma Regional Medical Center
www.yumaregional.org

As the new president and CEO of Yuma Regional Medical Center, Pat Walz is looking to the future. Walz, who was named to the top spot at Yuma Regional in June, has several plans to make the hospital a leader in the health care industry, including implementing an electronic health record system throughout the community, creating a residency program and strengthening the hospital’s cancer care.

He says he wants Yuma Regional to “be leading edge for the whole state of Arizona” in 10 years.

“We don’t want our patients to feel like they need to go to Phoenix or Scripps in San Diego or Tucson,” he says. “We want to provide the same level of service in this community.”

Walz, who has been in the health care industry throughout his career, has been with Yuma Regional for five years, adding that he’d like to stay “as long as they let me. I think this is where I’m going to end my career.”

During his time at Yuma Regional, Walz served as chief financial officer, and the financial stability he attained for the hospital is one of his proudest career achievements.

“We have a very healthy balance sheet, a double-A bond rating and a lot of financial support that makes us able to invest in technology,” which allows Yuma Regional to provide the best health care to the community, Walz says.

In addition to providing a stepping stone to his current position, Walz says one thing he has learned from his background in finance is to always speak the truth.

“From a finance standpoint, one thing I’ve always prided myself (on) is providing accurate information,” he says. “I think when you establish that with physicians, staff, community — anybody — then when you talk people believe you.”

Another way the hospital serves the community is by being a member of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA).
“I think having that connection is really important,” Walz says. “It’s kind of a venue (for) when we have issues out in the rural areas.”

Speaking to the Legislature with AzHHA’s backing gives rural communities a louder voice that can compete with urban areas, he adds.

“(My job is) exciting to me in that we have a good medical staff, an excellent leadership team and some really committed employees,” Walz says. “(Yuma Regional) commits to the employees as well. We have a very good benefit plan. We stay competitive with the areas we have to recruit from … It’s a pretty exciting place to be and the board has a commitment to quality and patient safety.”

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Sapporo Unveils its new Look

Sapporo Spruces Up: The Scottsdale Restaurant Unveils Its New Look


Sapporo’s remodel reveal soiree was one for the books. Complete with sake tasting, teppanyaki demonstrations and loud music, parent company Tavistock Restaurants celebrated the remodel of the Scottsdale establishment.

Sapporo’s exterior remains the same with the distinctive torches; flames shooting into the desert sky.  However, the interior has been remodeled to reflect iconic Pacific Rim elements.

Two large imitation sake barrels, adorned with Japanese characters and flowers, set the fun, lighthearted mood.  While the sake barrels flank the sushi bar, a red torii gate rises above the stairs leading to the sushi bar.  The torii gates are a traditional element of Japanese Shinto shrines. Chris Smith of CMS Architecture and Design was in charge of the redesign.

Bryan Lockwood of Tavistock spoke of revamping Sapporo’s atmosphere as well.  The inspiration for the new feel came from the balance of yin and yang, Lockwood said.  The new owners wanted Sapporo to feel like the hip place to be, but also like a neighborhood bar, he added.

A new look and a new feel go hand-in-hand with new dishes and drinks. Sapporo has a new lunch menu, and a few new dinner dishes, including ahi tuna sliders and a Scottsdale roll at the sushi bar.

On this night we sampled some of Sapporo’s traditional fare, including a spicy tuna roll and fried rice, but we also encountered a few unconventional but memorable dishes. With attentive waiters circulating delicious-looking appetizers, my companions and I decided to sample everything presented to us.

The lamb chop appetizer topped with Thai basil curry coconut glaze was a delicious combination of savory and sweet.  I’m grateful the restaurant was serving a miniature version of the Kobe burger, or else I would have eaten the whole thing, and had no room for the other appetizers.

The surprise delight of the evening was the Prince Edward mussels appetizer served with Thai coconut sauce and grilled sweet chili bread.  The unpretentious flavors and unexpected combination of sweet bread and mussels was one of my favorite bites.

As a tuna lover, I was very excited to see the Poki appetizer coming around. Poki is ahi tuna and sesame chili on a crispy wonton. The crunch of the wonton and the soft, buttery texture of the tuna was a delicious combination.

Sapporo’s fried rice is a treat. We had it served with chicken and steak, and shrimp and scallops.  Either combination is great when paired with the light but flavorful fried rice. As my companions and I were sampling the delicious rice, the tray of sangria came around and I couldn’t resist.  Although not traditionally a Japanese or even Asian drink, this sangria packed a fruity punch and would be a refreshing break after a day of hard work.

We had to make a stop at the sushi bar and sample the spicy tuna roll.  Although I found it a bit spicy, my spice-loving companion gave it her seal of approval.

Our final stop of the night was the dessert table. If Sapporo’s crème brulée cheesecake is as good as the chocolate covered cheesecake pops they served at their fête, it is a must have.

By the end of the night Sapporo was jam packed with people talking, laughing, drinking and eating, all feeding their energy into a vibrant atmosphere. It felt like the coolest place to be, and I was glad to be part of the party.

www.sapporoscottsdale.com

Sappor Revamps its Look

Pineapple Martini at Sapporo

The new interior at Sapporo

Delicious Sushi at Sapporo

Sonoran Water - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Mike Johnson And Cody Howard Use Their Love Of Landscaping To Benefit Clients

Company: Sonoran Rain Landscape Creations | Sonoran Waters Custom Pool and Spa
Title:
Owners
Web:
www.sonoranrain.com | www.sonoranwaters.com
Est.:
2003, 2005

Mike Johnson took the saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” to heart when he started his own business.

Johnson began his career in landscape maintenance in 1983, and 20 years later, in 2003, he launched Sonoran Rain Landscape Creations to do the work he enjoyed most. “I wanted to get into completely custom work so I could be creative,” he says. “At this point, my goal is to just build really amazing stuff, just do all custom work, no more cookie cutter, because it’s more rewarding for me personally.”

As his business developed, Johnson became frustrated with mistakes in inadequate pool designs. He put the word out that he was looking for someone with expertise in water features and found Cody Howard, a licensed pool builder. Howard is now the owner of Sonoran Waters Custom Pool and Spa, founded in 2005, which works in tandem with Sonoran Rain.

Johnson says his partnership with Howard has “given us the resources to offer all backyard services under one roof.”

“What we wanted to do was create an opportunity for people to have their entire project managed by one team,” Johnson says. “This way, there’s no dealing with prior design mistakes or omissions or anything like that.”

The Sonoran Rain and Sonoran Waters team tailors each design to the client’s specific needs and desires. Clients can even see their backyards redone in a full 3D digital rendering before even an inch of dirt is shoveled.

“That’s really the whole process in a nutshell — (listen) to people, find out what people want and provide exactly what they want, because, when it comes to the end of the day, it’s their yard, their project,” Johnson says.

Although the home building industry has taken a massive hit, Sonoran Rain and Sonoran Waters were able to switch gears from new home landscaping to renovating and remodeling existing landscapes. The companies have continued to be profitable in a tough economy by focusing on homebuyers who are “eager” to invest in their homes.

These homebuyers “have a long-term goal of making their homes exactly what they want them to be because … they are going to stay in them,” Johnson says.

He strives to give clients their own personal desert oasis on a budget and time scale that works for them. Clients can break up the remodel into phases, which “makes it easier in these times,” Johnson says.

“We do this because we absolutely love it,” he says. “We love to just get involved from the ground stage and develop something and carry it to the end, and build something we’re all proud of.”


arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Jim Dickson Copper Queen Community Hospital - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Through Tele-Medicine And Rural Clinics, Jim Dickson Serves Arizona

Jim Dickson
CEO
Copper Queen Community Hospital
www.cqch.org

Having been in the health care field for 40 years, Jim Dickson is well suited for his position as CEO of Bisbee’s Copper Queen Community Hospital. Dickson has worked in hospitals of all sizes, from large ones with 440 beds to smaller hospitals, such as Copper Queen, with just 15 beds.

Dickson says he prefers rural, smaller hospitals because of the “strong intrinsic reward to working in rural areas.”

Copper Queen’s main challenge is serving a small number of people scattered over a large area, Dickson says. In his 12 years as CEO of Copper Queen, Dickson has put in place several programs to better serve Bisbee’s rural population.

“We’re bringing care where it was not there,” he says. “So, we’re actually really helping people.”

The hospital uses tele-medicine, which allows patients to see specialists across the state through video conferencing. Dickson’s strong commitment to tele-medicine has brought about tele-stroke, -dermatology, -cardiology and -trauma units. Copper Queen collaborates with Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, University Medical Center in Tucson, the University of Arizona’s tele-medicine program and the Carondelet Health System for its tele-medicine consultations.

He says tele-medicine is the way to solve the problem of physician shortages in various parts of the state, which puts rural communities at a disadvantage.

Dickson says he enjoys launching and employing new technologies and hopes Copper Queen will be the first virtual hospital in the United States. Becoming a virtual hospital will “eliminate the disparities of care between rural and city” hospitals, adds Dickson, who also chairs the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association’s (AzHHA) small hospital committee.

AzHHA, Dickson says, has helped Copper Queen affect legislation at the state level. Currently, Dickson, Copper Queen and AzHHA are lobbying the state Legislature to pass a law that will ensure Arizona’s health insurance companies cover tele-medicine. With AzHHA’s backing and advocacy, he says this legislation will guarantee that people in rural areas receive better health care.

Dickson says he is pushing “to ensure that all the people in the communities we serve receive the care they deserve as American citizens.”

Another way Copper Queen serves its patients is by operating the state’s three largest rural health care clinics. Through these clinics and tele-medicine, Copper Queen not only has begun to serve its patients better, but also save money. The hospital has grown by 30 percent each of the past three years.

During his time at Copper Queen, Dickson has used his experience to bring quality health care to the people of Bisbee and its surrounding communities.

“They needed it,” he says. “In Bisbee, you can really make a difference.”

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Z'Tejas' ancho fudge pie.  Photo: Z'Tejas

Z’Tejas Offers Tasty, Spicy Food In A Relaxed Atmosphere

After hours of marathon shopping, or hours of watching the woman in your life try on every item of clothing in the mall, you’ve finally made it to the food court. You scan the possibilities and nothing looks appetizing. Not pizza. Not a sandwich. Not a teriyaki bowl. Luckily, at Scottsdale Fashion Square, there’s another option, one that’s much more appealing than awkwardly hovering over other patrons or elbowing people for tables in the crowded food court.

Z’Tejas is right around the corner, and there’s no tray carrying or standing in line.

As soon as we sat down, my dining companions and I realized that Z’Tejas’ atmosphere is as far removed from the hustle and bustle of the brightly lit mall as Pluto is from the sun. The dimly lit interior is accented with dozens of hanging lights that add to the modern Southwestern décor – there’s not a cowboy hat or cow skull in sight. There is, however, a mural, reminiscent of Thelma and Louise, with an empty, two-lane highway leading into the picturesque desert, towering red-brown mountains and wide-open sky.

Dark wood, wrought iron accents and low lighting invite diners into a comfortable place to have a relaxing meal in between all of the credit card swiping.

The name of the game for our meal was spicy. We started off with Z’Tejas’ signature catfish beignets served with jalapeno tartar sauce, which, for someone who has never tasted catfish or a beignet, were surprisingly delicious. The crispy cornmeal crust paired with the moist, yet flaky catfish made me keep eating, even though the beignets were piping hot.

With our beignets we had the complimentary cornbread topped with mouthwatering honey butter, which never fails to satisfy. If I could I would take a tub of the honey butter home with me.

For dinner we shared our meals family style. The Voo Doo Tuna, topped with peppercorn vinaigrette, spicy soy mustard and pickled ginger, was a table favorite and the side of seasonal vegetables, a mix of zucchini and seasonal squash, were a delicious addition.

The chef’s soup of the day, chicken and vegetable, was packed with veggies and spice.  The celery, red peppers, zucchini, onions, among other veggies, and chicken were immersed in a rich broth that we couldn’t stop eating.

The pesto rubbed chicken, on the gluten free menu, was a surprise from a side of the menu to which I don’t usually venture. The tangy cilantro pesto rub complemented the grilled flavor of the chicken.

To end our night, we ordered the ancho fudge pie. The dash of ancho chile didn’t overwhelm with spice but enhanced the chocolate flavor, while the walnuts, pecans and flaky crust balanced out the rich fudge.

A meal at Z’Tejas would refresh and relax even the weariest shopper, giving him or her a new jolt of energy to continue shopping. But even if you aren’t part of the hustle and bustle of the Fashion Square shopping experience, Z’Tejas is a perfect place to take your date, your family or your friends for tasty food, with a hint of spice.

Social media sites are no longer just places to reconnect with childhood friends or college roommates.

Social Media And The Hiring Process: Your Profile Can Sink Or Save You

Social media has set up camp in the professional world and is there to stay.

Social media sites are no longer just places to reconnect with childhood friends or college roommates. Companies now use social media websites to do unofficial background checks on potential employees.

A Cross-Tab Marketing Service study, released earlier this year, reveals that 70 percent of companies have rejected a candidate based on an inappropriate social media website posting.

This is a scary reality for everyone who uses these sites as a harmless way to catch up with friends, but may have crossed the line by uploading funny, yet work-inappropriate pictures. In today’s world, a world inextricably tied to the Internet, anything posted on a public page can and will be found by potential employers, says Lew Clark, an attorney with Squire, Sanders and Dempsey.

However, there are ways to prevent shooting yourself in the social media foot and, if you’re smart, work the system.

There are a few obvious things not to have on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube or other social media websites — including inappropriate photos or conversations. Poor grammar, spelling or writing skills, use of profanity, and poor people skills also can turn off a potential employer, Clark says.

“One of the huge no-nos that we discuss with folks … is to never, ever post anything negative about a former boss, co-worker, employer. It creates the wrong image. No matter if it’s true, valid, anything else, you just do not want to go there,” says Cindy Jones, vice president of human resources at Synergy Seven.

Don’t despair. Companies aren’t just looking for reasons to disqualify you. They’re also looking for reasons why you’re perfect for the job, Jones says. Especially on professional social media sites, such as Linkedin, companies look to see prospective employees’ connections.

If used properly, social media can be an effective marketing tool, Jones adds, providing a real-world example of how to use social media as an advantage.

When a woman decided to switch careers from Realtor to sommelier, she changed both her professional — Linkedin — and personal — Facebook — social media pages to reflect her new career path. She posted her excitement about passing tests toward receiving sommelier certification and changed her main picture to one of her toasting with a glass of wine.

While this type of online makeover won’t work for all fields, Jones says it’s an example of using social media to one’s advantage.

“There’s nothing at all improper with a prospective employer (looking) on someone’s public Facebook page, their public Twitter page, or any other online networking website that you can access publicly,” Clark says.

However, accessing a potential employee’s private page by figuring out the password, accessing it through someone else’s page or by pretending to be someone else is illegal, he adds.

Aside from accessing a page illegally, employers can find themselves in other sticky situations.

Employers may find information about a person’s religion, health, age or personal life that they wouldn’t otherwise learn and can’t legally take into consideration in the hiring process, Clark and Jones say.

“The risk to the employer is that someone could allege that you used information that is legally protected to decide whether to hire somebody or not,” Jones says. “Our guidance with most companies starts at the place of there’s nothing illegal about it, but be careful.”

Clark adds: “Employers are looking for whatever resource they can to try to get information about candidates so they can make a good hire.”

Background checks, including checking social media websites, can reduce costs, encourage honesty among employees and ensure the best person gets the job, says Marcia Rhodes from WorldatWork, a global human resource association.

Although using social media in the hiring process offers many perks, Jones and Rhodes say they’ve seen a trend in which companies are limiting social media background checks on possible employees, contrary to the report previously cited.

Kim Magyar, an attorney with Snell and Wilmer, says she doesn’t see the number of companies using social media decreasing, but companies are being more targeted and cautious with their searches.

Some companies wait until they’ve already interviewed a candidate to check social media, while others check before they conduct an interview, says Magyar, who has given presentations on social networking and the workplace.

Many companies believe social media can be a treasure trove of information; information that might not always be accurate, Magyar says.

“There’s nothing to prevent an employer from making decisions based upon what they see (on social media sites),” Clark says.

Nothing, except the awareness that public social media pages are fair game and the preparedness of prospective employees to maintain their pages in a way that represents them in a respectable, hire-able way.

A rendering of the memorial planned to be constructed at Ground Zero in New York City.  Rendering by Squared Design Lab from www.national911memorial.org

Government Secrecy About Terror Plots Sometimes Tolerated, Sometimes Not

The ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is tomorrow, and a study shows that Americans will tolerate government secrecy about terror plots, but only in certain circumstances.

The study, which was led by professor V. Kerry Smith of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, surveyed more than 2,000 Americans about their beliefs concerning government secrecy about terrorism.  The study, also conducted by Carol Mansfeld and H. Allen Klaiber, included results from an Internet panel run by Knowledge Networks.

“The reason we were interested in doing (this survey) is there’s a presumption that security requires a certain amount of secrecy,” Smith said.  The survey was aimed at determining in which situations Americans will tolerate secrecy from the government in return for the promise of safety, he said.

Survey participants were asked to determine whether the government should release or withhold information regarding terrorist plots in three different situations.  The questions were asked with the caveat that if the information was released, it could increase the possibility of terrorist threat.

In two situations, a threat to disrupt Internet service at local banks, which would disrupt the processing of credit and debit card sales in the U.S. for 48 hours, and a threat to destroy major airports in Los Angeles and New York, participants responded similarly.

More than 75 percent of participants said they would want the government to withhold information rather than give away any knowledge that would make it more difficult to uncover future plots or give terrorists an upper hand.

However, when asked about the government releasing information about the true nature of a plane crash due to a terrorist attack, more than 80 percent of those surveyed said they would want the government to release this information.

“What was the surprise to me and others was the very dramatic differences” in the types of information that Americans would agree to have withheld, Smith said.

Smith says most Americans don’t perceive all threats as being the same, which means that the government shouldn’t think that Americans’ tolerance to secrecy is uniform for all threats.

He suggests a reason why Americans are more sensitive to the threat of an attack on a commercial airplane is that what happens during a plane flight isn’t something they can control, whereas the other situations that can be more easily controlled.  This reasoning comes from results of risk assessment surveys, not done during this survey.

Risk assessment surveys also offer an explanation as to why women and people living in married households were more willing to support the withholding of information, and people with college degrees were more likely to support the release of information.  These definable characteristics of people, gender, marital status or education, can be used to track trends in the way people assess risk and make decisions.

Smith also said survey results don’t change based on whether Americans are confronted with terrorism at the time of the survey or not.

The first leg of the survey, which polled about 1,900 people in 33 major cities in December 2009, was bracketed by the Christmas shoe bomber’s attempt to blow up a commercial plane, Smith said.

Some of the participants took the survey before the attempt, some after, some even lived in Detroit, the plane’s destination, he said.  However, the results of the survey weren’t affected, Smith said.

The second part of the survey, which polled about 500 people in four major cities in April 2010, showed the same results as the December 2009 portion of the survey.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events supported the research for this survey.

    Three scenarios summarized and the survey responses:

    “Should the government release the details of a major plot to destroy airports in Los Angeles and New York after the terrorists have been captured, even though it might give away the techniques law enforcement used and make it harder to uncover future plots?”

    Information Released – 23 percent; Information withheld – 77 percent

    “Should the government announce the details of a major terrorist plot to disrupt Internet service at commercial banks, and prevent the processing of credit and debit card sales across the United States for 48 hours, if the terrorists have been captured, even though it would give away the techniques used to identify the suspects and reveal specifics of the security network?”

    Information Released – 24 percent; Information withheld – 76 percent

    “Should the government release the true cause of an airplane crash due to a terrorist attack, even if that will have major economic effects on commercial airlines, give the terrorists notoriety and create an increased fear of flying?”

    Information Released – 83 percent; Information withheld – 17 percent

Oil Absorbing seaswarm Robot

Oil Absorbing Robots, Energy Awareness Month And More

Here’s the latest green news on oil absorbing robots, energy awareness month, eco-moms going strong, and others.

Fresh & Easy Opens First Store with CO2 Refrigeration
A recently-opened Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market in Southern California is the first to use naturally-occurring carbon-dioxide refrigeration, and the first to be certified by the EPA’s GreenChill Partnership, an award granted to fewer than 40 of the nation’s 35,000 grocery stores. The natural refrigerant reduces the impact of the store’s refrigeration on the ozone layer by about 70 percent.

Fleet of Robots Designed to Clean Up Oil
Scientists at MIT have developed robots they call Seaswarm capable of cleaning oil spills through their super-absorbent “nanofabric.” They run on very little energy, solar-powered, and communicate with one another through global positioning systems and wireless communications. They’re small enough to reach hard-to-reach places and can clean for weeks at a time. This LA Times article features a Q&A with the director of MIT’s Senseable City Laboratory, who led the researchers on the project.

China Beat US in Offshore Wind, Europe Still Trounces Everyone Else in Solar Power
Two reports have come out recently demonstrating that the United States has some fierce competition in renewable energy. China has built the first major offshore wind farm outside of Europe despite Cape Wind’s progress. Europe itself was responsible for 80 percent of new solar PV systems installed last year, with Germany dominating that market.

Making Energy Awareness Month a Boon for Green Initiatives
A little-known fact: October is Energy Awareness Month. A complement to Earth Day in the spring, it’s the perfect opportunity to encourage employee activities and simple acts to conserve energy (the month’s other goal besides awareness).

Eco-Moms Represent $1.45T in Buying Power
A new category of moms has come into play: “EcoAware Moms.” Representing 69 percent of mothers and numbering 51 million, these moms see eco-friendly choices as the chance to teach important behaviors to their kids and to leave a legacy for future generations. They’re also more likely to believe they have control over how healthy their home is.

Photo Credit: A project by the MIT Senseable City Lab senseable.mit.edu/seaswarm
Photos by Kris Krüg and Andrea Frank
Graphics by Adam Pruden www.adampruden.com

Orange Sky At Talking Stick Resort - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

The Cuisine And Atmosphere At Orange Sky At Talking Stick Resort Make For A Perfect Pairing

Orange Sky at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale serves up class from the time you enter the restaurant, all the way to the dessert course. Guests board an elevator and are whisked to the 15th floor, where city and mountain views greet diners. The hostess escorted us down a long corridor, past private rooms that looked ready to host lively dinner parties, to our table, which was the definition of elegance. A high-backed couch separated us from the hallway, adding a feeling of privacy.

Our, not one, but two servers made us feel as if we were the only four people in the restaurant. For appetizers, we feasted on the roasted local beet salad and the overflowing antipasti plate. The rich color of the roasted beet salad, complete with black mesa ranch goat cheese, truffle oil, white balsamic and local greens, mirrored the rich flavor of the beets, but it was still sweet and light enough to be a perfect summer treat. The antipasti plate was as packed as possible with duck confit, prosciutto, eggplant caponata and grilled ciabata bread. It could have fed an entire table of hungry diners.

As soon as dinner was served, we could not wait to indulge in the rich spread. The shrimp and scallop steaks, wrapped in jalapeno bacon, lived up to their names. There was nothing small about either. The twin tournedos of char-grilled filet of beef were as appetizing as they looked. The walnut-shallot crusted, roasted half rack of lamb was the favorite. The juiciness of the lamb next to the sweetness of the crust made me, previously a lamb neophyte, a convert.

If the lamb was the star of the evening, the sides comprised a formidable supporting cast. The bowl of smoked, cheddar-whipped Yukon potatoes was an airy, golden masterpiece. The roasted sweet carrots tasted as amazing as their deep orange color looked on the plate. As we continued our trip around the culinary color wheel, we sampled the steamed asparagus. Its crunch made a wonderful contrast to the softer textures of the potatoes and the carrots.

As dessert approached I didn’t know if I could go the distance. But then our server showed us the selection and we ordered three. After a rich meal of lamb, beef, carrots and whipped potatoes, nothing tastes as refreshing as the warm, lemon semolina cake with raspberries and blueberries. If you’re a chocolate lover, you will find nirvana in the chocolate mousse, layered with an orange liqueur-soaked cake and ganache on a thin chocolate cookie.

As we finished our desserts, we watched the sun set over the Camelback Mountains and cast an orangey-red glow over the Valley. We made our way onto the patio just as the orange sky gave way to city lights. Like our secluded table, the patio and the large dining room also offer panoramic views, but with a more vibrant, animated atmosphere. The fantastic views, the cuisine and the elegant ambience will keep you coming back to Orange Sky.

If You Go:
Orange Sky
9800 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale
480-850-7777
www.talkingstickresort.com

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Ipad vs. Textbooks

IPad vs. Textbooks, A Greener Facebook And More

Some really interesting things happening in sustainability this week. Check out these stories about: Facebook, Japan’s dolphin hunting season, Notre Dame using the iPad in a paperless course, and others.

EarthFest Educators Night
On Sept. 16, more than 400 educators will receive resources on how to make their schools greener.  At this free event, educators can enter to win two full-tuition scholarships to the University of Phoenix to obtain their Master of Arts in education and $5,000 in grant funding for the 2010-2011 school year.

Japan’s Controversial Dolphin Slaughter Begins Again
Yesterday marked the beginning of open season for dolphins in Japan.  This famous annual slaughter is the subject of the Oscar winning documentary “The Cove”, which was turned into a miniseries on Animal Planet called “Blood Dolphins”.  The first episode aired last Friday, Aug. 27.

Notre Dame Starts Paperless Course With iPad
The University of Notre Dame is using the iPad in a project management course instead of a textbook.  The course has 40 students and isn’t the first e-reader classroom test, Princeton University tested the Kindle last year.

Facebook Comes Under Fire to Be Greener
Facebook is the subject of a petition that Greenpeace says 500,000 people have signed.  The petition is protesting the social media site’s planned use of coal to power a facility it is building in Portland, Ore.  The facility is projected to get 67 percent of its power from coal.

U.S. Ban on Drilling Could Be Overturned
A United States ban on deep water oil and gas drilling could be overturned for a second time.  On Sept. 1, U.S. District Court judge rejected the Obama administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the oil industry.

Photo Credit: www.apple.com

Green Trash Can

Effective Ways To Go Green, High-Tech Trash Bins And More

Here’s some green bits from around the web. This week we’ve gathered stories about tattletale trashcans costing their owners big bucks, effective ways to go green that may surprise you, a possible “feed-in tariff” to encourage solar power growth in Arizona, test driving electric cars and others.

Feed-in Tariff to Aid Solar Weighed
Arizona officials are considering a “feed-in tariff” to encourage more solar power usage and to guarantee profits for solar developers. The tariff would require power companies to buy electricity from solar developers at prearranged prices, since they are required to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015. Similar tariffs are in place in Germany, the world’s leader in solar power, and in many states and cities across the United States.

Most Americans Unsure of Most Effective Ways to Save Energy
Researchers have discovered through surprising survey results that most Americans have vast misconceptions regarding the best ways to save energy. In general, the public thinks that curtailing energy use, by turning off the lights, for example, is the most effective way to save energy. In reality, using more energy-efficient equipment, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, can be just as, if not more, effective. There are a lot of surprising facts like that in this article and in the survey, found the results of which can be found here.

High-Tech Trash Bins Rat Out Residents Who Refuse to Recycle
Don’t recycle? Better start before your trashcan starts tattling and slaps you with a fee. In Cleveland, trash bins are being embedded with microchips that will prompt the collector to go through the bin if the recycling can isn’t brought to the curb regularly. If the bin is more than 10 percent recyclables, you get stuck with a $100 fee – all because your trashcan ratted you out. How embarrassing.

Study Finds 40% of U.S. Consumers Likely to Test Drive EVs
Despite the fact that most consumers have concerns preventing them from buying electric cars, a new study finds that at least 42 percent would be willing to consider and test drive an EV (electric vehicle). Concerns consumers face include the possibility of running out of battery power on the road and limited mileage, but the benefits, such as the positive environmental impact and potential cost savings, may soon outweigh the negatives.

Employees Losing Confidence in Companies’ Green Commitments
Americans’ confidence in their employers’ commitment to environmental responsibility has reached an all-time low, likely as a result of high unemployment and increased workflows. Meanwhile, local governments have inspired their highest level of confidence yet. These are based on the Green Confidence Index, a monthly online survey.

Bike Sharing Program

Green Jobs In Arizona And Around The Nation, Bike-sharing Program And More

There’s so much going on in sustainability, it’s hard to narrow down what news to share. Here’s a couple of interesting bits from this week. We’ve gathered stories about new green jobs in Arizona and around the nation, a bike-sharing program and Valley Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards, among others.

Arizona Gets 100 Solar Jobs
Rioglass Solar, which makes reflector components for solar thermal power plants, is building a $50 million manufacturing facility in Surprise, Ariz.  The facility is going to bring 100 jobs by the time it is operational in 2011.

Valley Forward Chooses Judges for Environmental Excellence Awards
John Kane, founding partner and design principal of Architekton, will be the lead judge for Valley Forward’s 30th annual Environmental Excellence Awards.  The eight other judges include: Steve Gollehon, vice president and managing partner, HDR Architects; Tim Lines, managing vice president, Stantec Consulting Inc.; and Caroline Lobo, director of the Education Studio at The Orcutt/Winslow Partnership.  The winners will be announced Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Phoenician Resort.

President Obama’s Push for Green Energy to Create Jobs
Not only does Obama want America to be greener; but his push for green energy could create up to 800,000 jobs by 2012.  The major issue for green energy jobs in America is that employers are being forced to outsource jobs to stay competitive in the industry. Watch President Obama’s speech at ZBB Energy in Wisconsin.

Do-It-Yourself Solar Panel
CNN’s “One Simple Thing” series takes a complicated process – installing a solar panel – and turns it into something anyone with an electrical outlet can do. Clarian Power’s president, Chad Maglaque, talks about how his company is trying to make the biggest cost in solar power, the installation, a non-issue.

NYC Looks to Start Bike-Sharing Program
Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan want to start a bike-sharing program that would offer 49,000 bikes to be shared.  Many other cities worldwide including Paris, Copenhagen and Taipei, Taiwan, offer bike-sharing programs.  Right here in Arizona, Northern Arizona University offers the Yellow Bike Program for free.

Tony Tiedemann

Phoenix-Based Company Takes Sustainability Global

Tiedemann Globe is putting a new spin on the adage “from rags to riches” in its commitment to sustainability.

The company sells and exports used clothing and industrial wiping rags in the hopes of cashing in on some green – green energy, that is. Tiedemann Globe recycles about 30 million pounds of used goods and clothing annually, in addition to spreading sustainable energy practices worldwide.

“We can make a difference; that’s what I believe in,” says Tony Tiedemann, founder and president of Phoenix-based Tiedemann Globe. “We’re not going to wait for the government to tell us what we can or can’t do. I think we can make changes now.”

Tiedemann Globe’s vintage finds are sold worldwide through several venues. TheRagHouse, an ebay.com store, sells vintage clothing in bulk, at Tiedemann Family Thrift and Vintage store, at 755 W. Baseline Road in Tempe, Ariz., and in Nairobi, Kenya, shoppers can buy used clothing.

If clothes can’t be sold, they are torn up and turned into industrial wiping rags.

“We even take it a step further. Clothing that’s no good for the wiping rags gets mutilated by other companies for padding of trunks of cars or the inside of pet bedding,” says Tiedemann.

It’s rare to have an item of clothing enter Tiedemann Globe that cannot be turned into a useable product. The company has 8 percent to 10 percent waste, but is striving to become a zero waste facility within the next two years.

The commitment to sustainability doesn’t stop there. Tiedemann Globe is helping citizens of Third World countries adopt sustainable practices that will help advance their quality of life. The Clean Energy Foundation, part of Tiedemann Globe, is introducing green practices to citizens in Kenyan villages.

Tiedemann Globe has sold used clothing in Kenya for almost 18 years, which made it the ideal location to start green education because the company already had infrastructure in place and Kenya has a great need for green education.

“There’s a huge demand (in Kenya). These people don’t even have a place to put their human waste, which is crazy to think about. So that’s why we started there,” says Tiedemann.

The Clean Energy Foundation has set up solar panels, water filtration and biogas conversion centers in rural Kenya with the goal of raising Kenyans’ quality of life. Biogas filtration centers turn waste into energy, while solar panels power schools and other buildings.

“Our primary purpose of providing the power is for light and specifically for education. Statistics show if the women are educated in society, everything else gets elevated and that’s our goal,” he adds.

Tiedemann has plans for the rest of the world, too. The company recently started a solar project in Rocky Point, Mexico, but Tiedemann is looking to another form of energy to power the world in the future.

“Eventually I think hydrogen’s the way. I know that a lot of people will argue that. But eventually I believe that we will get there. It’s the most abundant element out there and we’ve got to use it,” Tiedemann says.

As for how he plans to stay green in Phoenix, Tiedemann drives a natural gas car and the company’s forklifts run on propane. Tiedemann says he wants to see the green sector of Tiedemann Globe grow to become the biggest part of the company in the near future.

Tiedemann’s advice for companies that want to become more eco-friendly is to get help and don’t think too big.

“There are tons of companies out there that can help set up an infrastructure (to go green),” he says. “The bottom line is just to start small. Start and keep progressing as much as you can.”

@tiedemannglobe
www.tiedemannglobe.com

Solar Installations

New Solar Installations At The University Of Arizona And Luke Air Force Base, Strange Global Weather Patterns And More

There’s so much going on in sustainability, it’s hard to narrow down the news to share. This week we’ve gathered stories about new solar installations at the University of Arizona and Luke Air Force Base, weird global weather patterns bringing to mind global warming, falling worldwide carbon dioxide levels and others.

Arizona Gets Two New Solar Installations
The University of Arizona and Luke Air Force Base will be home to two new solar panel power plants within the next year.  UA will host a 1.6 mega-watt plant while Luke upstages the university with a 15 mega-watt plant.

San Diego Schools will be Home to Solar Roofs
Schools in the San Diego Unified School District will lend their roofs to Amsolar.  In turn the schools can buy power at a significantly discounted rate.

Harvard Offers Online Sustainability Course
Executives and employees have even less time than before, so this online class offered by The Harvard University Extension School gives people a chance to learn at their own time.  The adjunct professor teaching the class expects as many as 130 people from 20 countries to enroll.

“Global Weirding”
With a cornucopia of strange weather events – everything from floods to fires to huge chunks of glaciers breaking off – trouncing the Earth this summer, can we deny global warming?  Or should we just call it global weirding?

There’s Some Good News, and Some Bad News
Global carbon dioxide levels fell 1.3 percent in 2009.  In a world that seems to be falling apart (see article above), it’s good to know that going green does have an effect.  Although the decrease could have been greater, Asian and Middle Eastern countries increased their output while Europe, Russia, Japan and the United States decreased their outputs.

Crayon

ASU, Crayola & More Making Sustainable Impact

When it comes to sustainability, it’s a great time to be proud of Arizona.  This week we’ve gathered stories about ASU making the green honor roll, Phoenix being a top city for graduates and others.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing Shelby Hill.

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

ASU Makes the Green Honor Roll
Arizona State University was one of the 18 colleges and universities that made The Princeton Review’s 2011 Green Rating Honor Roll.  ASU was chosen for leading the way in the sustainability movement. It established the first School of Sustainability in the U.S., and employs more solar panels than any other university in the country.

Phoenix is One of the Top Cities for Green Grads
Phoenix is No. nine on mnn.com’s top 10 cities for new grads seeking green jobs.  Sandwiched between Detroit and Houston, Phoenix’s solar capabilities and commitment to green endeavors make it one of the top.  One of Phoenix’s favorite Suns also has his city on the list.  Sacramento, Calif., whose mayor is Kevin Johnson, is No. six.

Yet Another Reason to Buy a Hybrid

Hybrid cars are almost never stolen.  Whereas gas guzzlers like the Cadillac Escalade should just have targets painted on them.  One in every 100 cars that is stolen is an Escalade.  Small cars like the Mini Cooper and the Saturn VUE are also low on a thief’s wish list.

Crayola Goes Green
A 15-acre solar farm could help crayola not just produce green (crayons) but also be green.  Funded in part by a federal stimulus, this farm could produce enough energy to help produce one-third of Crayola’s annual output of crayons.

Walmart and Seventh Generation Team Up
Seventh Generation, which produces environmentally-friendly cleaning products, will put its products in about 1,500 Walmart stores nationwide and online.  Previously Seventh Generation and Walmart haven’t been the best of friends.  But maybe they’re coming together for a greater good?

Four women hanging upside down in yoga harnesses

Yoga Studio Is “Blissful” About Expanding And Being Eco-Friendly

Expanding in a recession and going green – impossible?

Not for Blissful Yoga in Glendale.

The yoga studio is establishing three new studios in the next year while utilizing renewable materials and sustainable designs throughout the company.

“In this economy, who knew, right?” says Carrie Clark, the operations manager and a yoga instructor at Blissful Yoga.

Blissful Yoga’s owner, Rosa Rendon, says she had lots of people trying to dissuade her from expanding in the middle of a recession, but she stood her ground.

“I’m really passionate about yoga and bringing it to everyone,” Rendon says.  “I truly thought, even in this economy, I truly thought if we had something really good to offer people would embrace it.  I just went with my heart really.”

The grand opening for Blissful Yoga’s new studio at The Shops at Norterra is Sept. 1, but Rendon isn’t waiting until then to start yoga classes.  The studio is officially open and ready to work out the body and relax the spirit the first week of August, says Rendon, who owns Blissful Yoga with her husband Moises (both pictured below).

With a new studio opening next week, Clark says Blissful Yoga owes its success to the sense of community and philanthropy and a commitment to enjoying life that the yoga studio champions.

“I’m truly excited (about) the welcoming we’ve had from our communities,”  Rendon says.  “We make a point of knowing everybody’s name and welcoming everyone at the door… Even though we’re growing, still our focus is knowing everybody’s name.”

Not only does Blissful Yoga give back to the community with a monthly donation-based class for various charities, but it also tries to give back to the environment by using green products and carrying out green practices.

“(Being eco-friendly) was my first priority when I started talking about building a yoga studio,” says Rendon, whose commitment to being green stems from her desire to provide a better world for the next generation.

The original Blissful Yoga studio, located at 19420 N. 59th Ave., is floor-to-ceiling green.  The floors are made of renewable bamboo and the paint on the walls is low-emission paint, Clark says.

“Every decision (the owners) made, they took that into consideration all the way down to the towels that are in the bathroom are recycled, (and) the paper they print their schedules on is all recycled paper,” Clark says.

The three new locations, The Shops at Norterra, Scottsdale Quarter and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, will also be “green,” Clark says.

The St. Joseph’s location came about when the hospital contracted them to teach yoga in a new studio built for Blissful Yoga in the hospital as an added benefit to employees, she says.

Blissful Yoga offers around 20 types of yoga for beginners to experts including prenatal yoga, Vinyasa, Yen and classes on a Yoga Wall.  Most of the yoga instructors are YogaWorks trained and Yoga Alliance certified.

Rendon is excited and proud that Phoenicians are embracing what Blissful Yoga has to offe

r.

Photos courtesy of Blissful Yoga. | www.blissfulyoga.net

Grand Canyon

Solar-Power, Eco-Friendly Grand Canyon & More

With so much happening locally, this week we’ve gathered stories about Arizona’s green endeavors, including a solar-powered plane and the Grand Canyon’s eco-friendly practices, and why a massive lawn is part of the Postal Service’s goal to reduce its energy needs.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing Shelby Hill.

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.


Green Roof Gives Postal Service Energy Savings
In Midtown Manhattan one building is lucky enough to have a lawn, on its roof.  This 2.5-acre lawn isn’t for sunbathing; it is part of the United States Postal Service’s goal of reducing its energy 30 percent by 2015.  With the help of this immense lawn, the USPS is more than two-thirds of the way to meeting its goal.

Unmanned Solar Plane Flies for more than a Week
A solar-powered unmanned plane flew a total of 336 in Arizona and landed last Friday.  The previous record for longest flight of an unmanned solar-powered plane was 30 hours, which the 110-pound plane beat by more than 10 times.

The Grand Canyon Goes Green
As previously mentioned ecotourism is a new way to be green while on vacation.  Well, now one of the most famous and most visited vacation spots in Arizona, the Grand Canyon, is a little bit greener.  With solar panels powering a building and recycling bins scattered along trails, your family’s visit to the Grand Canyon just got more eco-friendly.

The Greenest Wedding So Far
We’ve written about green weddings before ,but all of the others pale in comparison to this greenest of the green weddings.  A couple from Maine is growing and raising (yes they’re raising their own chickens) all of the food to be served at their wedding.  Aren’t weddings stressful enough?

Feds Capture and Recycle CO2
The federal government, via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is putting $106 million into six projects that turn carbon dioxide (CO2) into beneficial products.  The products range from biofuel to cement

Eco Tourism - travel green

Ecotourism – The Green Way To Vacation

The United Nations designated 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism. Well it’s 2010 and I bet that the majority of people haven’t taken an eco-vacation.  I know I haven’t.

We try to be eco-friendly.  We buy reusable water bottles and lunch pails.  We turn off the lights more often and take shorter showers.  But what if we could reduce, reuse and recycle while having an amazing vacation?

I’d say, “Sign me up.”

I did some Internet research and I found out some major and minor ways you can be an eco-tourist.

Minor Ways to Help Mother Earth

The International Ecotourism Society has 10 energy saving tips for travelers.

Here are three of them:

Stay longer at your destination to avoid frequent air travel. I think we could all stand to stay a little longer at our chosen destination. This way you can discover, learn and play more while reducing your carbon footprint.

Travel light. Every extra, unneeded item in your bag adds to the weight of the plane, which increases the carbon emissions of your flight.  Travel light and leave a light carbon footprint behind.

Just like at home, turn off water and unplug electronics when you leave. When you’re on vacation, you’re most likely not spending too much time in your hotel room.  It’s easy to forget that just because you’re not paying for the electricity that doesn’t mean that Mother Nature should have to pay too.

Major Ways to See and Save the Earth

Travel somewhere that involves more hiking and less traffic. Hiking, kayaking, biking and other similar activities involve little to no adverse impacts on the Earth.  Plus, it’s a great way to explore the beauty and diversity of nature.

Stay at eco-friendly hotels. Although it may be a bit more expensive it is doable.  Some hotels claim to be green simply because they ask you if you want to reuse your towels and sheets.  Hopefully these websites will help sort out the imposters from the true blue “green” hotels.

Be a voluntourist. A voluntourist is a combination between a tourist and a volunteer.  He or she travels a location and gives back to the community, whether it be through developing wildlife and plant life or helping at a local school.  Being a voluntourist might sound like something college students do, but anyone, at any age can do it.

Ecotourism covers a broad range of vacation destinations and activities to help preserve the Earth, which is one of the reasons why eight years ago the U.N. made an effort to promote it.  Along with the range of ecotourism choices comes a range of things tourists can do – from giving their time to leaving that tenth pair of shoes that probably won’t get worn anyway at home.

Walking to Work

Greenway Health Goes Green In July

Most people would think you were crazy if you walked to work in Arizona’s July heat.  But at Greenway Health, that shows a commitment to the company’s green efforts.

Some employees at Greenway Health are so committed to the July “Greenway Goes Green” month that they’re braving the scorching summer temperatures to bike and walk to work.

About five employees are using transportation other than a car, including bicycles and the bus, while other employees are carpooling to work.

These aren’t the only green choices Greenway Health employees are making. They are also bringing reusable water bottles to work, using desk lamps instead of overhead lighting, recycling and using “treeless” paper.  The company is offering incentives to employees who make eco-friendly lifestyle changes.

The company decided to go green to show “employees the benefits and ease of going green,” says Mike McKenzy, of Greenway Health, a direct marketing health and nutrition company.

McKenzy says the young staff, most of the employees are in their mid-20s to early 30s, wasn’t well versed in green solutions.  Company officials wanted to show the employees easy, cost-effective ways to help conserve and preserve.

But, they are “amazed by what little things, if adopted by large numbers of people, can do,” McKenzy says.

The feedback has been great and McKenzy hopes the employees won’t ditch their new habits once July is over.  He says the chances of the green efforts continuing year round are pretty good.  When the company initiates programs like this one, “it sticks,” he says.

Greenway Health’s employees set an example for everyone. Just a little change can make a difference.