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Peoria residents give city high marks

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A lot of people in the West Valley are apparently proud to be Peorians.

In the recently released National Citizens Survey, Peoria residents said they love their city.

"Ninety-three percent of the residents say that Peoria is good or excellent for quality of life," said Peoria Public Information Officer Bo Larsen. "That's one of the highest in the country compared to comparable sized cities."

Larsen said that 98 percent would recommend living in Peoria. They like the way the city has improved the water.

"Back in 2009, only about 45 percent of the residents said the tap water didn't taste so good," he said. "The water is very safe, we have some of the highest ranked water in the state, but perception is everything. This time around, we're in the mid 60s, where people said that the taste of the water is good or excellent."

Larsen said people also think the traffic signals are timed so that they get around town quicker, especially near the Loop 101 and Beardsley Road.

On the down side, the downtown area needs improvement. Many of respondents said that they're afraid to go there at night.

Larsen blames the high number of abandoned buildings there. He said the city is trying to improve that by hosting music festivals and other events in the area.

The city paid $19,000 for the study.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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