Tag Archives: cnn

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Bringing Farms to Arizona Cities

Green living innovator Greg Peterson has an idea of bringing 10,000 urban farms into big cities of Arizona.

By creating farms closer to homes in large cities, fresh foods are more readily available to help create a healthier way of living.

Peterson, contributing writer for Phoenix Magazine and Edible Phoenix, began gardening 35 years ago when he realized the importance of growing your own food.

“Stress, environmental toxins, and lack of nutrition contribute to disease. We can control the quality of the food were eating,” Peterson said. The diagnosis of a tremor causing one of Peterson’s hands to shake “spun” him into learning more about health.

Peterson’s idea of the Urban Farm began after he transformed his backyard into an entirely edible landscape with over 70 fruit trees, three solar applications, and recycled building materials. The site is open to the public and offers tours and classes on how to garden and farm.

Most of the food bought at major grocery store chains travels an average of 1500 miles before it reaches shelves to be purchased, Peterson explains. This means that fruits and vegetables have to be picked before they are ready, leaving people with a limited amount of nutrients in their diets.

Restaurants located in bigger cities are beginning to garden and farm on site of their locations. Pizzeria Bianco and The Parlor, both located in Phoenix, have fresh menu items by growing their ingredients on the restaurant’s property.

Fruits and vegetables are more power packed with nutrients when they are grown and sold closer to homes in urban areas because they don’t have to be picked so far ahead of time for long destinations. Food is healthier for people when it doesn’t have to travel as far.

The hot, sunny weather in Arizona sometimes makes it difficult to maintain a garden or farm, let alone do this in bigger city areas of the state. Tim Blank, a man who works directly with the Department of Energy and NASA, has created a product called the “Tower Garden” to grow fresh food in any environment.

The “Tower Garden” is an environmentally friendly product that uses 90 percent less water in growing plants. Ongoing drought problems in the state of Arizona makes conserving water an important issue.

Nutrition educator and Tower Garden owner, Ellen Stecker, grows tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and cilantro with the product on her property at home.

Tower Gardens are so popular, that they have been featured on ABC news, CNN, and the New York Times. This invention is an important tool that helps bring gardening closer to homes in the city.

With his idea of creating 10,000 urban farms in Phoenix, Peterson says that the Tower Garden inspires healthy living.

Candy Crowley

Female will moderate presidential debate

For the first time in two decades, a woman has been tapped to moderate a presidential debate.

CNN’s Candy Crowley will moderate one of three October debates between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday. Jim Lehrer of PBS and Bob Schieffer of CBS News will moderate the other two debates.

Lehrer will question the candidates during the first debate on Oct. 3 at the University of Denver, focused on domestic topics.

Crowley’s Oct. 16 debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will use a town hall format, allowing undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization to directly question the candidates. Foreign and domestic policy questions will both be fair game.

Another female journalist, Martha Raddatz of ABC News, will moderate an Oct. 11 debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky., between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

The debate season will draw to a close on Oct. 22 with a foreign policy-focused debate moderated by Schieffer at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., a crucial swing state.

All the debates are scheduled for 9 p.m. EST. The commission said it will also launch an Internet-based initiative to educate voters before the debates about the issues that are likely to come up.

“We’re pleased with the selection of the moderators by the debate commission, and look forward to vigorous and substantive debates this fall,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

Pointing out that the first debate will take place less than 10 miles from the sites of both the Aurora, Colo., shootings last month and the 1999 Columbine attacks, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence urged Lehrer on Monday to ask Romney and Obama during the debate for their plans to prevent gun deaths.

When Crowley takes the stage in Hempstead, it will be the first time a woman has moderated a presidential debate since Carole Simpson of ABC News, who refereed a 1992 debate between President George H.W. Bush, Democrat Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.

Crowley’s selection came after three teenage girls from Montclair, N.J., organized an online petition drive to persuade the commission to pick a woman. More than 122,000 signatures were on the petition when the moderators were announced Monday.

“Women and men will never be truly equal in our country until they’re one and the same in positions of power and both visible in politics,” the girls wrote, noting that women will not be represented on either presidential ticket this year.

Backing up the call for a female moderator were Simpson, numerous newspaper editorials and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who took to Twitter on Monday to congratulate Crowley.

“Very glad that the Presidential Debate Commission chose 1st woman to moderate a prez debate in 20 yrs,” Pelosi wrote.

Host of the Sunday political talk show “State of the Union,” Crowley is CNN’s chief political correspondent and has covered more than a dozen presidential candidates, according to her CNN bio.

Twitter

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet: The Benefits Of Twitter For Business

In February 2012, registered Twitter users officially hit 500 million. Despite the significantly growing population of tweeters ― approximately 11 new accounts are added every second ― there are many business people still asking, “Why should I be on Twitter?”

The social media platform that limits posts to 140 characters appears to non-users as a cryptic code that includes “@” signs and hashtags (#); this commonly prompts the response, “I don’t really understand how it works or why it matters.”

In simple terms, Twitter is one of the fastest and easiest ways to share information about your product, service, organization or platform. It allows you to communicate, connect and engage directly with your target market in real time. So it matters. If its capabilities combined with its growing number of users are not enough to make you consider jumping on the bandwagon, every small- to mid-size business owner or manager should consider the following reasons for adding Twitter to the company’s marketing and PR efforts:

Spread the word

Twitter gets the message out quickly and efficiently. By tweeting and sharing company announcements with potential and existing customers and referral sources, you can introduce new products, promote special deals, or post info about upcoming events.

Research market trends

Twitter can keep you updated on industry trends and/or activity in your market segment. Through Twitter Search, you can find out what people are saying about a particular topic, and you can keep tabs on comments about your company and your competition.

Leverage current PR and other marketing activity

Potential customers and referral sources may have missed a feature article showcasing your company in a trade publication, but by pushing the link out on Twitter, they can not only read it, but also now share it. If your budget won’t allow for a direct mail campaign, you can run an ad in the local paper about an upcoming sale or event and then expand your reach by posting the information on Twitter.

Secure additional publicity

The print and broadcast news media represents a large number of Twitter users, so it is no surprise to learn that they spot trends that inspire stories and find sources on the social media site. A finance expert’s frequent posts about business led to an invitation to write a feature article in a trade publication. A local radio host posted news about a story and was contacted by a CNN producer to appear as a guest on a connected topic. These are just two examples of how Twitter can help position industry experts and lead to more publicity.

Enhance customer service and build relationships

Twitter is about connecting and engaging. A pool service company uses Twitter Search to learn what others are saying about its pools. A question posted about a pool turning green provides a warm lead that turns into a new customer. Monitoring and responding to what others are saying on Twitter can improve customer service with existing customers and create new ones.

Network virtually

Establishing an active presence on Twitter gives you opportunities to meet and talk to people you may never get the chance to talk to otherwise. Think about making business contacts with referral sources, people you want to start projects with or even hire, without ever leaving your desk.

Drive traffic to your website and through your door

It’s not enough to just have a website anymore. Sharing your knowledge on Twitter with links back to your website and Facebook pages can help potential customers find you. It also allows you to consistently post new content that will enhance your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and help increase your rankings in a Google search.

Adopting Twitter as a communication and marketing tool provides companies the ability to present and develop their image and define their brand.

The Illinois-based start-up, Foiled Cupcakes, is a great example of the power of Twitter. Introducing a Twitter campaign prior to the launch of its website, the owners began posting interesting and engaging conversational information and building followers that met the demographic of their target market. The build-up led to more than 2,000 followers before the business was off the ground. While it is often said that Twitter doesn’t lead to sales, owner Mari Luangrath has a different story:

“90 percent have come from social media. We also have a pretty intense follow-up system, so by the time a customer has gone through the process, we’ve had seven opportunities to figure out how they’ve heard about us.”

Targeted engagement works both ways, adds Luangrath. “Twitter makes it so easy to reach out directly to people.” In addition to attracting customers, Foiled Cupcakes’ social media campaign has also caught the attention of the press. “We’ve been approached by Investor’s Business Daily, American Express Open Forum, Entrepreneur Magazine, and appeared on NBC and The Food Channel,” as a result of Foiled Cupcakes’ transparency and accessibility on social media platforms like Twitter.

If that isn’t reason enough to tweet, then consider what you are gaining by holding out.

For more information on marketingworx, its services and/or how to begin your own Twitter account/campaign, visit marketingworxpr.com  or follow her @julietstraker.

Republican Presidential Debate at Mesa Arts Center

The Republican Presidential Debate Viewing Party

On Wednesday, February 22, the Republican party held their primary debate here in Arizona. I ventured out into deep Mesa to cover the debate, but since I couldn’t actually get into the building, I decided to walk around outside the Mesa Arts Center, where a large, outdoor viewing party was being held. There were plenty of journalists there reporting on the debate, so instead of writing a conventional news story, I decided to record a running diary of my time at the event. Pics are at the end of the post.

5:02 pm – Paul supporters out in full force today.

5:12 pm – Political events have the best people watching.

5:16 pm – About 50 percent of the crowd is vocal Ron Paul supporters. So far I have only seen a small number of people #SpreadingSantorum or showing support for the other two candidates.

5:21 pm – There is a large number of protesters here to support the DREAM Act, a legislative proposal that would provide amnesty for illegal immigrants. For the rest of this piece, I will refer to these protestors as “the DREAM Actors.”

5:25 pm – The city of Mesa hired a band to perform on stage before the debate starts. They’re trying really hard, but no one is listening.

5:40 pm –The DREAM Actors are now marching, while chanting “Sí se puede” and “We’re not afraid.” I have a feeling that immigration is going to be a hot topic at tonight’s debate.

5:45 pm – I just came across some demonstrators imploring the candidates to, “Please free Syria.” Sorry bros, maybe if you guys had more oil …

5:41 pm – There are also a small number of people here to support the #Occupy movement. I wonder if they know that Warner Brothers (a major corporation, man!) gets a cut from every single Guy Fawkes mask they buy.

5:50 pm – Governor Jan Brewer is now on stage getting the folks fired up! #ScorpionsForBreakfast

5:51 pm – “Tonight we will get clear and concise answers from the candidates…” HAHAHA! Good one, J.Brew!

5:53 pm – Arizona Republican Party Chairman Tom Morrissey comes up on stage to ask us if we love our country, and then to lead us through the Pledge of Allegiance.  But before we begin, he reminds us that there is no pause between the words “one nation” and “under God.” Thanks for the tip, Tom!

5:55 pm – The MC for the outside crowd instructs us to cheer wildly whenever they point the camera at us. “Get up, cheer, jump around, send gang signs… I mean, no, HAHA, don’t do that!” Are you sure you don’t want to see my gang sings, CNN outside party MC? I want to represent my crew. #westside

6:00 pm – “This is CNN.” LET’S DO THIS.

6:01 pm – THIS DEBATE COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING!!!! At least that’s what CNN says could happen.  CNN gives all the candidates a pro-wrestling style intro. Ron Paul’s is by far the lamest.

6:01 pm – During the introductions, Newt gets some polite applause; Romney and Santorum get a few cheers from the crowd outside. Paul has the loudest supporters.

6:04 pm – In the first answer of the debate, Rick Santorum says that he would cut Medicaid and food stamps, but not military spending. But hey, don’t criticize him. Rick is a good Christian man, and I’m pretty sure he’s just following what it says to do in the Gospel.

6:11 pm – Right now, Santorum is getting hammered on his voting record. It must be hard to get elected president after spending many years in Congress. Even the smallest and most routine votes can come back to haunt you.

6:12 pm – People outside keep applauding the comments like the candidates can hear them.  Inside the Mesa Arts Center, Newt Gingrich has just informed the crowd that today is the 280th birthday of President George Washington. #historian #knowledgeBombs

6:14 pm – Gingrich’s big stumping point for this debate seems to be energy and gas prices; he has already mentioned it a few times. Also, there is a large man in a chicken suit standing right behind me. I don’t know what he wants.

6:16 pm – The chicken man is standing so close I can feel his breath on the back of my neck. #veryuncomfortable

6:17 pm – Ron Paul continues to get the loudest cheers. He tells the audience that we need to stop all foreign aid because it is a waste of money and it helps our enemies. But what about programs like the Peace Corps, or emergency food/medical services? That might make a good follow-up question, John King.

6:21 pm– Romney is bragging about deporting illegal immigrants while he was Governor of Massachusetts. The DREAM Actors protesting outside do not like this. Also, I have to wonder why the moderators allow the crowd inside the Mesa Arts Center to cheer/applaud during the debate. This has happened at every single Republican debate. It makes the candidates to pander to the crowd and it wastes time.

6:37 pm – Wow, a good follow-up question about the managed bankruptcies and the auto industry by John King. See I knew you had it in you! Still, I’m pretty disappointed with the types of questions I’ve been hearing throughout the Republican Primary. <rant> It seems like the reporters/journalists are covering the campaign like it’s a horse race; they’re not concerned with the actual issues. The news media is only searching for buzz-worthy, marketable, thirty-second soundbites; they let the presidential candidates spout of the same talking points, over and over again, unchallenged. No one ever asks the candidates about how that will actually make their plans happen, or speculates about the possible ramifications if the Republicans succeed </rant>.

6:42 pm – We’re still on the topic of the auto bailouts. Ron Paul is insisting that politicians shouldn’t meddle in corporate bankruptcies, because they can’t figure that kind of stuff out. Are politicians stupid? Does that mean we should start electing smarter people?

6:50 pm – All the Republican challengers seem to agree that President Obama has launched a vicious attack on religious freedoms in America (via contraception). Is Obama the next Maximilien Robespierre? #reignofterror

7:03 pm – Santorum and Romney keep blaming each other for causing Obamacare. Santorum says that Obamacare was based on Romney’s state healthcare plan in Massachusetts, while Mitt claims that Obama’s bill never would have passed through Congress if Santorum hadn’t indorsed Senator Arlen Spector (who voted for the bill after he was re-elected). Which Republican presidential candidate do you think deserves the credit for overhauling the American healthcare system?

7:04 pm – The crowd outside lustily boos Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio when he is introduced during the debate. They must have had a bad experience at tent city or something.

7:13 pm – Newt Gingrich loves Ronald Reagan. He loves Ronald Reagan more than you ever could. He wants you to know that.

7:14 pm – During commercial breaks, the CNN crew keeps asking us to cheer when they put us up on the big screen. Why do they need our cheers so badly? Are they terribly insecure, to the point where they need constant reassurance that they are doing a good job?

7:20 pm –The DREAM Actors and Ron Paul supporters have crowded around the CNN cameras. Their signs are partially obscuring the big screen, which is angering other people in the crowd.

7:26 pm – We are now on the topic of Iran and nuclear weapons. If you listen, you can hear the drums of war beginning to beat. This is getting the Ron Paul supporters and traditional Republicans fired up, but for very different reasons.

7:31 pm – You can tell people are into the debate when they loudly muttering their own personal commentary. It isn’t the least bit annoying. #sarcasm

7:47 pm – During the last commercial break, two men start chanting Romney’s name. No one else joins in and they quickly stop.

7:52 pm – Gingrich and Romney refuse to answer John King’s final question. They instead use the time for a closing argument about why they should be president. When John King tries to protest, Romney slaps him back down #WHO’SYOURDADDY

7:55 pm – It’s over. Time to get out of here.

Final Take: During the debate, new frontrunner Rick Santorum boxed himself in by pointing out that he voted for large bills and packages that he didn’t believe in, such as Title X, which is not popular among the Republican electorate. He portrays himself as a principled Washington outsider, but by admitting and trying to defend the fact that he played the political game, Santorum lost a lot of his credibility. Honesty gets you nowhere in these debates. I expect Mitt Romney will get a boost over the next several days.

[slickr-flickr tag="debate-party" items="30" type="slideshow" id="77243671@N03"]

Image Provided by Flickr

ASU Cancels Study Abroad Program In Egypt

On January 25th, Egyptian citizens erupted in violent revolution against corruption, extensive poverty, enormous national unemployment and numerous governance problems of autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak — and two Arizona State students were caught in its crossfire.

The students were studying abroad in Cairo at the time political unrest hit its threshold in late January; and with ASU’s Study Abroad Office’s help, they were pulled out of the area.

Image Provided by FlickrASU has had a long-standing relationship with the American University of Cairo (AUC) where the previously mentioned students had been studying, but as CNN reported attacks on American journalists in the area, concerns arose from families of the students involved.

“We feel confident that both students will be back in the U.S. by this weekend, weather permitting”, said Amy Shenberger, director of the Study Abroad Office at ASU.

Their decision in the cancellation was met with widespread agreement by both the U.S. government agencies involved and university partners in Cairo.

In result from years of political turmoil, Egypt reached its tipping point of strong government rhetoric from Mubarak.  Headlines of bloodied civilians and anti-riot police have scattered newspapers nationwide, giving American news affiliates reason for concern.

According to the Washington Post, the White House is aiding in the extraction of news reporters in the area, as many have been savagely beaten or detained by the Egyptian government.Image Provided by Flickr

iJet, a travel intelligence that monitors international activity for ASU’s study abroad office, has maintained communication with Shenberger to give live updates on the situation.

Shenberger also strongly advocates the continuation of its program in Egypt in future years but believes the current political atmosphere presents a clear and present danger to the students.

“We have had a partnership with AUC since 2004, and it’s our intention to maintain that going forward,” said Shenberger.

The program plans to resume once the dust settles in Egypt, according to Shenberger, and ASU will continue to monitor the situation with the students’ best interests.

“The safety and security of all of our students is our primary concern, [and] any time the danger in a location outweighs the benefits of the academic program, we take the steps necessary to ensure our students’ safety,” said Shenberger.