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Seven-year-old Krish Vyas of Tempe giggles and claps his hands after he strums a guitar. He marches, dances and roars to a song about dinosaurs. He beats drums in time to familiar songs, such as “This Old Man” or “Down by the Bay.”
Few artists in the annals of popular music define a generation. Even fewer enjoy adoration decades following the recording of their signature songs. Felix Cavaliere is in the rare position of being one of those lucky few.
Numbers have meaning. If I walked up to a die-hard Arizona Cardinals fans and just said the number “11”, I bet they would say, “Larry Fitzgerald.” Or if I said the number “3,” I bet they would say, “Carson Palmer.” To be able to walk into a room, speak one number aloud and have someone know exactly who and what you are talking about shows that numbers have meaning.
Mark Mellis smiles and bobs his head in time with the jazz flowing from his piano and among the hustle and bustle of Tempe Marketplace. His friend, and partner for the evening, Donna Wilde joins him with her saxophone. A little girl stops in her tracks, dancing to the beat; a couple people sit in nearby chairs, applauding after each piece. Most people though merely pause, snap a couple of pictures and go about their business.
Gays are now legally marrying in Arizona.
PHOENIX -- Gays are now legally marrying in Arizona.
The historic move came just moments after Attorney General Tom Horne said Friday he will not appeal a decision earlier that morning by U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick declaring Arizona's ban on same-sex weddings unconstitutional and immediately ordering the state to "permanently cease enforcement of those provisions of Arizona law declared unconstitutional by this order.'' That followed a similar ruling earlier this week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voiding similar laws in Nevada and Idaho.
"The probability of the 9th Circuit reversing today's district court decision is zero,'' Horne said at a hastily called press conference just hours after Sedwick's ruling. "The probability of the U.S. Supreme Court accepting review of the 9th Circuit decision is also zero.''
Horne said while he believes the rulings are wrong, he is bound by rules that make it unethical -- and subject to discipline -- for an attorney to file legal papers solely for the purpose of delay. He said that would be the case were he to appeal, calling such a move "an exercise in futility.''
Potentially more significant, Horne directed the clerks of superior courts in the state's 15 counties to immediately start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"The emails have gone out,'' he told reporters, noting that even before he announced his decision there already were 10 couples waiting at the clerk's office for Maricopa County.
Horne said he personally disagrees with Sedwick's ruling. He cited the 2008 voter-approved state constitutional amendment defining marriage in Arizona as solely between one man and one woman.
"We fought a revolution against England on the understanding that we're smart enough to rule ourselves as a people and we didn't need a British aristocracy ruling over us,'' he said.
"I believe we're still smart enough to rule over ourselves as a people,'' Horne continued. "And this is an important decision and it's a policy decision that should be made by the people and not by the courts.''
But Horne conceded that right of voters to set policy is not unlimited.
For example, he said Arizona voters could not legally deny marriage between people of different races or different religions. Horne said there are constitutional provisions prohibiting such discrimination.
"There's no provision in the Constitution protecting sexual orientation,'' he said. "In my opinion, this would be a policy matter for the people to decide.''
Friday's order means more than gays living here can marry. It also requires Arizona to recognize same-sex weddings performed in other states.
"We're legal in Arizona, finally,'' said the Rev. Debra Peevey who, with spouse Candy Cox went to Horne's press conference. Peevey, who in 1981 became the first openly gay person to be ordained by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), said the pair, who have been together 30 years, went to California in 2008 to get married when it became legal for same-sex couples to wed in that state.
Peevey, who works with Why Marriage Matters, said her organization was instrumental in arranging to have ministers of various faiths available at courthouses around the state so that gay couples could wed as soon as they got their licenses.
Gov. Jan Brewer, in a prepared statement, called Friday's ruling "not only disappointing but also deeply troubling that unelected federal judges can dictate the laws of individual states.'' She said judges are creating rights "based on their own personal policy preferences.''
"Simply put, courts should not be in the business of making and changing laws based on their personal agendas,'' Brewer said in her statement, saying "that power belongs to the states, and to the people.'' She said such changes should be allowed only through the Legislature or at the ballot.
There was already an organization formed to put such a measure on the 2016 ballot. And the chances for approval appeared good, with a statewide poll last year of 700 adult heads of households finding that 55 percent said they would support allowing gays and lesbians to wed, with just 35 percent opposed.
But that same survey also showed a deep cultural divide along party lines: Just 36 percent of Republicans were in favor of repealing the 2008 ban.
Friday's ruling makes that initiative drive not only unnecessary but also makes what the majority thinks legally irrelevant.
Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, said Friday's ruling -- and even the failure of the U.S. Supreme Court to so far review similar rulings from elsewhere -- does not mean the fight over same-sex marriage is over.
She pointed out that several federal appellate courts have yet to weigh in on the issue. And Herrod said that if any one of them uphold a state's ban, that conflict between circuits could force the justices to step in.
Herrod has more than a passing interest in the issue. It was her organization that pushed the successful 2008 ballot measure defining marriage in Arizona as solely between one man and one woman.
She said the issue does not go away even if the Supreme Court does conclude there is a constitutional right of gays to wed. As proof she cited the historic 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade which declared that women have a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.
"The pro-life movement is stronger than ever,'' she said, citing a series of new restrictions on abortions that have been approved by states and upheld by courts. None of those rulings, however, have disturbed the basic premise of the 1973 decision.
Herrod has not disputed that public attitudes toward same-sex weddings have softened over the years. But she said that will change.
"We are in the midst of a social experiment,'' she said. "And we don't know the full outcome.''
Horne, however, said he cannot view the issue as a social one but a legal one.
"I fought it as far as I ethically could,'' he said of the challenge to the Arizona law. But Horne said his decision not to drag the case on "does not diminish my disagreement with the decision.''
Horne was a little more circumspect when asked about his feelings for gays now that they have the ability to marry.
"Obviously, I have good personal feelings for gay people that I know,'' he said, saying he is involved in "the world of classical music'' where he said gays are represented disproportionately. But Horne said he had the legal obligation to defend the Arizona ban as long as it was defensible.
Pressed for whether he shares in the happiness of gays who now can marry, he responded, "Without detracting from the legal position I have taken, I would say, 'Yes.' ''
Q: Would you say your district is delivering quality services now and what, if any, changes would you make?
Q. Would you say your district is delivering quality services now and what, if any, changes would you make?
Q. Would you say your district is delivering quality services now and what, if any, changes would you make?
A: I currently serve as vice president of the Kyrene Governing Board and one of my top priorities is that we provide quality programs that increase student achievement. Quality programs can be quantified by data that demonstrates student success. Many of the innovative programs that exist such as Dual Language, Gifted and Kyrene Traditional Academy (KTA) provide parents quality choices to best meet the needs of their students. I have been a proponent of increased P.E. and music, and I would like to see an expansion of the Foreign Language programming and the College Preparatory Academy in our middle schools.
Q: What is a school board’s role in terms of a district’s operation?
A: A school board has specific duties that ensure overall success of a district. One of the most important roles of a school board is the hiring and evaluation of the superintendant along with approving and monitoring the budget. It is critical to understand all aspects of school funding and resource allocation. Ensuring transparency and accountability to the community is imperative. Having served the last four years, I am experienced and have a comprehensive understanding of Kyrene’s budget. The school board also collaborates with the staff and community to set a vision and mission. I have been fortunate to work along with the other board members to assist in creating and approving the current strategic plan. There are many changes in educations and it is important to understand the current curriculum and provide consistency/relevancy regarding materials approved. The main role is to always be the advocate for the students.
Q: With the decision to back away from the PARCC exam, what direction should the state take to monitor student achievement, and what can districts do to prepare for whatever comes from the state level?
A: We at local school boards are governed by state mandates and have to adhere to what approved tests are required from the Arizona Department of Education. I would assume that the state would continue with AIMS or a form of standardized testing that would continue to provide consistency and accountability. Standardized tests do not represent the entire snapshot of a student, however, they provides accountability and a form of measurement to evaluate that students and schools are meeting the standards set by the state. Unintended consequences of this test can lead to teachers to, “teaching to the test” and this also is a detriment to a teacher’s creativity and freedom in the class. We need to find a way to incorporate and encourage leadership, music, physical education and the arts when accessing a student. Kyrene currently has many measures in place to evaluate student achievement that are aligned with the state requirements and the Arizona College and Career Standards. The district should continue to evaluate and track student achievement regardless of the standardized test required by the state.
Q: Given the recent funding cuts for school districts, what can districts do to save money and maintain academic standards?
A: Fortunately, Kyrene is in a much more stable financial position than it was a few years back. The Kyrene district administration and current governing board have worked diligently to restore many of the cuts that were implemented during the heat of the recession. The district currently collaborates with other districts when ordering supplies to achieve the greatest cost savings. Annually, all school districts should examine their expenses and try to find additional ways to save funds. Our goal when making any type of school funding cuts should be to minimize the impact on students and teachers.
Q: As state cuts become more steep, one area that can be affected is extracurricular activities, in particular athletics. Do you foresee cuts to athletics if these budget cuts continue?
A: Extracurricular activities are an integral part of the development of the whole child. With the academic demands on our students, we need to encourage and support all activities whether it is playing a musical instrument, performing in the drama program or playing on one of our sports teams. I would never support cutting any of these programs. If we ever were in a position that this was presented to the board, I would encourage a way to find businesses in our community to form partnerships to sponsor or work with the Kyrene Foundation to fund via donations. We have an amazing community in Kyrene and we would need to get creative!
Legendary progressive pioneers Jethro Tull featuring Ian Anderson hits The Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center on Saturday, Sept. 20, to perform the best of Jethro Tull and songs off Anderson’s latest album “Homo Erraticus.”
Old Crow Medicine Show
Whether you were there when The Motels first burst onto the music scene in the early '80s or are just rediscovering them again, it's hard to deny that singer Martha Davis is one of MTVs first leading ladies and one of the most charismatic female performers in rock.
The Brubeck Brothers Quartet is returning to the Valley, and this time they are bringing the spirit of jazz to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 19.
Finding the roots of the blues, from Memphis to the Tennessee Delta
Longtime superstar of norteño music Ramón Ayala and his group Los Bravos del Norte will perform with Hector Dominguez this Saturday, June 14, at Celebrity Theatre.
In an effort to keep graduates safe, Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high schools are gearing up for grad night celebrations after graduation ceremonies this Thursday night.
Three-time Grammy winner and roots music storyteller Keb’ Mo’ will perform songs from his new album, “BLUESAmericana,” along with favorites from his 20-year career May 15 at Mesa Arts Center.
When the Zac Brown Band hits the road, they take their instruments, amps and 54-foot custom food truck called "Cookie."
GLASGOW, Scotland — The image of Scotland's largest city as a hard and dirty industrial center is long gone. Instead, this former European Capital of Culture is now widely regarded as one of Britain's most lively and stylish urban destinations. It boasts the best shopping experience in the U.K. outside of London and is home to a variety of annual festivals celebrating everything from rock music and comedy to literature and the arts.