Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Copper Chopper revs up for centennial-fest finale

Although some might envision a saguaro, howling coyote or cowboy as the official mascot of Arizona's centennial celebration, state Rep. Jerry Weiers had different ideas.

A fan of taking in Arizona's sights while rolling down the highway on two wheels, the District 12 representative proposed building a mighty motorcycle that would celebrate the state's untamed beauty as well as a key component of its growth: copper mining.

"I wanted to try to come up with something that not only shows the spirit of Arizona -- that free, open-road, desert Southwestern atmosphere -- and at the same time (shows) what got us here, our copper," says Weiers, who rides a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic.

After winning approval from the state's Centennial Commission, Weiers enlisted one of Arizona's top custom-motorcycle builders, and the Copper Chopper was born.

Glistening from wheel to wheel with copper mined in Arizona, the creation of bike designer Paul Yaffe has been touring the state for 16 months in anticipation of a starring role in the Arizona Best Fest, which runs Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11-12, at the state Capitol Mall in Phoenix.

"The Copper Chopper has become a celebrity," says Mandi Wimmer, deputy director of the Centennial Commission. "It's the one piece of the centennial that we are able to take all over the state. Everywhere it goes, people arrive with cameras, wanting to take pictures."

The Harley-powered motorcycle, which Yaffe says would sell for at least $140,000, will be given away at the Arizona Best Fest to one of the thousands of people who have bought $5 raffle tickets. (Tickets are available through Thursday, Feb. 9, at Valley Circle K stores or az100years.org.)

The Phoenix-based Yaffe adds, "I really don't know how to value this bike, because it has become a piece of Arizona history."

Yaffe, whose work has been featured on the Discovery Channel's "The Great Biker Build-off" and Tru TV's "Full Throttle Saloon," says, "We were super-excited about doing it.

"Fabricating and creating something from nothing is our forte, so this was a challenge we were totally up to."

The builder and his crew at Paul Yaffe Originals spent about 18 months building the motorcycle, which includes an engine that has been bored out to 100 cubic inches and produces 100 horsepower, in keeping with the centennial theme.

The gas tank is adorned with emblems inspired by the star and rays of the Arizona flag, and the leather seat is embossed with lettering celebrating the Copper Chopper and the centennial. The tank emblems and leather work were created by Mark Kalen of Texas and Duane Ballard of California, two of Yaffe's friends.

Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan, the world's largest publicly traded copper company and a centennial sponsor (as is The Arizona Republic), donated the copper for the project.

"The billet pieces, or chunks, that we had to carve things from were a very interesting material to work with," Yaffe said. "It is very soft and very heavy.

"We didn't want the bike to weigh 3,000 pounds, so we decided to make the wheels from forged aluminum and then copper-plate them. All the ingots and nameplates, like the centennial seal and great Arizona seal, the logos, and conchos on the seat are all carved out of billet copper, (but) other pieces like the handlebars, wheels and motor parts are copper-plated."

Even the two headlights of the 500- to 600-pound bike shine through the slits of matching copper covers, and the air cleaner has a copper cover shaped like Arizona.

"The bike is absolutely a work of art," Weiers says.

One option that will be disconnected before the Copper Chopper is delivered to its lucky owner is equipment that allows the exhaust pipes to throw 30-foot flames.

"I only put that on (some) personal bikes," says Yaffe, 48, who also has built choppers to celebrate the Arizona Diamondbacks' 2001 World Series win and the launch of the Tilted Kilt restaurant franchise, as well as for NASCAR stars Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and the late Dale Earnhardt.

Yaffe will straddle the Copper Chopper on Feb. 11 to help Valley-born country star Dierks Bentley lead the Arizona Centennial Ride, which goes from Mesa Riverview Plaza to the Arizona Best Fest in Phoenix. Organizers say the ride could draw more than 1,000 riders.

Yaffe, who opened his first Phoenix shop in 1991, and Weiers have only slight, good-natured concerns about the Copper Chopper.

"The only real problem with this bike is that I haven't ridden it," says Weiers, who plans to take part in the Feb. 11 ride if he is fully recovered from shoulder surgery.

Yaffe says, "Hopefully, I can get it back a few days before the ride so I can check everything out. It rode great on the initial (2010) ride."

Copper Chopper appearances

All appearances are free to spectators.

3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31 -- Circle K, 30th Street and Bell Road, Phoenix.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 -- Peoria Centennial Celebration, 9875 N. 85th Ave.

3 to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6 -- Circle K, 19th Avenue and Happy Valley Road, Phoenix.

3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 -- Circle K, Rural and Baseline roads, Tempe.

3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8 -- Circle K, 11th Street and Indian School Road, Phoenix.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 -- Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.

Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11-12 -- Arizona Best Fest, State Capitol Mall, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix.

Arizona Best Fest

When: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11-12.

Where: State Capitol Mall, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix.

Admission: Free.

Details: 602-364-3713, az100years.org.

Copper Chopper revs up for centennial-fest finale

Benson Cartoons January 26, 2012

January 26, 2012

Benson Cartoons January 26, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Marcelo Almeida

(Porcelain molded from the arms of professional ballet dancers and painted with Japanese Yakuza-style tattoo patterns)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chinese Celebrates The New Year 2012 - Technorati Entertainment

This year, the Chinese year 4710 begins on January 23, 2012. The Chinese all over the world are celebrating the New Year with a new sign, the dragon. But what are the Chinese up to during the New Year Chinese festivities?

Chinese families celebrates Chinese New Year by using a different mix of their traditions, beliefs, superstitions, lucky signs and charms.

According to Chinese legend, a long time ago, the gods called together all the animals on the planet, and told them that there will be a race. The first twelve winners will be included in a special list that they were coming up with. So on the chosen date, all the animals lined up and started to race each other. Being the smallest, the rat was able to weave its way through and under all the other animals and ended up crossing the finish line first. Next came the ox, followed by the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, and lastly, the pig. That's how those twelve animals ended up representing the twelve animal signs of the Chinese zodiac, each with its own specific characteristics.

For the Chinese, the dragon is the luckiest and most auspicious of all the animal signs. Chinese parents want their kids to get married in the Year of the Dragon. Chinese couples rush to make "dragon babies" because they're supposed to be lucky. You can just imagine the number of Chinese babies that will be born this year.

In addition, for Chinese, new year meant decorating and wearing red, having lots of food at home, attending fireworks and parades, and having lots of red envelopes with money inside. There would be round fruits so that there'll be lots of money, and pineapples for prosperity. A big fried fish would also be present because fish supposedly represented abundance.

A lot of Chinese also make it a point to visit Chinese temples on Chinese New Year's Eve to offer incense, pray to their ancestors and consult the resident geomancer about their fortunes for the coming year. Chinese families also visits their friends and relatives, and participate in the lantern festival. Families also clean their homes, because they feel that it will remove bad luck and ill-fortunes.

The highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon--which might stretch a hundred feet long--is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo.

 The Chinese New Year is celebrated in China, Taiwan, Bhutan, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Chinatowns around the globe. Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. It usually lasts three days.

To all the Chinese around the world, Happy New Year 2012 to all of you!

 by Dan Reyes Technorati Jan 22, 2012

Chinese Celebrates The New Year 2012 - Technorati Entertainment

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

U.S. sets 2025 as target for Alzheimer's solution

WASHINGTON - Effective treatments for Alzheimer's by 2025? That's the target the government is eyeing as it develops a national strategy to tackle what could become the defining disease of a rapidly aging population.

It's an ambitious goal -- and Tuesday, advisers to the government stressed that millions of families need better help now to care for their loved ones.

"What's really important here is a comprehensive plan that deals with the needs of people who already have the disease," said Alzheimer's Association President Harry Johns, one of the advisers.

Already families approach the advisory committee "reminding us of the enormity of our task," said Dr. Ron Petersen, an Alzheimer's specialist at the Mayo Clinic who chairs the panel.

The Obama administration is developing the first National Alzheimer's Plan to address the medical and social problems of dementia -- not just better treatments but better day-to-day care for dementia patients and caregivers, too.

The plan still is being written, with the advisory panel's input. But a draft of its goals sets 2025 as a target date to have effective treatments and ways to delay, if not completely prevent, the illness.

Some advisory members said that's not aggressive enough and that 2020 would be a better target date.

"We want to be bold," said Dr. Jennifer Manly of Columbia University. "We think the difference of five years is incredibly meaningful."

An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's or similar dementias.

And the disease is growing steadily as the population ages. By 2050, 13 million to 16 million Americans are projected to have Alzheimer's, costing $1 trillion in medical expenditures.

Today's treatments only temporarily ease some dementia symptoms, and work to find better ones has been frustratingly slow. Scientists now know that Alzheimer's is brewing for years before symptoms appear, and they're hunting for ways to stall the disease.

by Lauran Neergaard Associated Press Jan. 17, 2012 11:54 PM

U.S. sets 2025 as target for Alzheimer's solution

Sunday, January 8, 2012

APCA Digital Stories: Manny Wong

APCA Digital Stories: Manny Wong

Valley civic leader Manny Wong dies

Manny Wong

Manny Wong, civic leader, newspaper founder and an immigrant who was vocal about his love of the United States and who sang at naturalization ceremonies, died Dec. 28 of cancer. He was 73.

"He really inspired other people to be active in the broader community through his infectious enthusiasm, confidence and his positive attitude," said Barry Wong, former state legislator and former member of the Arizona Corporation Commission. (Barry was not related to Manny.)

Offer condolences

Manny Wong, who lived in Tempe, was born Jan. 1, 1938, in Manila. He spent his early childhood in the Malacanan Palace, the Philippine White House. His father was personal steward to then-Filipino President Manuel L. Quezon, who was Manny's godfather.

Wong married his wife, Wai Ching, known in Arizona as Dennie, in Hong Kong in 1962. They moved to the U.S. in 1967. He ran nightclubs and restaurants in California and then moved to Chicago where he became an award-winning salesman for insurance magnate W. Clement Stone.

Wong moved to Arizona in the 1980s. In 1990, he started the weekly newspaper that became the bilingual Asian American Times. He was its publisher and later sold it.

"When he and his family moved to Arizona ... he brought his personality -- a very open, non-traditional-Asian personality -- to the community, and that motivated people to be more open about themselves," Barry Wong said.

"He was very popular and known as the singer at parties. ... He loved Frank Sinatra tunes."

At naturalization ceremonies for new citizens, he often sang patriotic songs, including "God Bless the USA."

He spent many hours voluntarily helping new immigrants achieve naturalization. Since he spoke Spanish and six Asian dialects or languages. he served an interpreter in the courts, his wife said.

He was committed not only to Asian Americans but to his broader community and enjoyed large networks in business and government circles.

"He's a people person," his wife said.

"He's involved with with many organizations, whenever they need help."

He was a fundraiser for prominent Republican politicians, she said.

Among the honors he received were the Small Business Journalist of the Year from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Asian Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Hon Kachina Award from the Hon Kachina Council, a group of business and professional people who are active volunteers.

In 2006, he was elected to the board of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Manny Wong is survived by his wife; two sons, Manny Wong Jr. and Bill Wong, both of Los Angeles; and his daughter, Lillian Wong of Scottsdale.

A memorial service is scheduled at 11 a.m. on Jan. 14 at Tempe Church of Christ, 2424 S. Mill Ave., Tempe. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Manny Wong Memorial Fund #7144242083 at Wells Fargo Bank or mailed to the fund at 998 E. Divot Dr., Tempe, 85283.

by Luci Scott - Jan. 8, 2012 02:39 PM The Republic | azcentral.com

Valley civic leader Manny Wong dies

Manny Wong | 2006 Honorees | Hon Kachina Volunteer Awards | Arizona Volunteering

Manny Wong

Manny Wong
Steve Shipp, Nominator

Manny Wong leads the way to the American Dream every day. In the past 20 years, he has helped thousands of people navigate the lengthy, stressful naturalization process to become U.S. citizens. Manny spends 30 to 40 hours every week helping others achieve the simple yet complex goal of naturalization.

In order to better help those seeking citizenship, he taught himself six different Asian languages and Spanish. In return, all he asks is that they believe in the oath they must take to become an American. His patriotism is fierce. When they arrive for their swearing in ceremony at the Sandra Day O’Conner courthouse, Manny is often there and sings I’m Proud to be an American in a cappella. When he does, there isn’t a dry eye in the house.

But Manny’s mission doesn’t end at the courthouse. He continues to help each individual adjust to American life. He regularly provides financial advice, offers to make business connections, and even guides new citizens to the appropriate sources when they have personal problems. Those who know him describe him as the “happiest person they have ever met.” According to Wong all the time and energy is well worth it. “When I walk down the streets of South Phoenix, people say ’Hi Manny‘, you were there when I got my citizenship‘ and that is music to my ears.”

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