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Updated Feb 5, 2014 - 7:12 pm

Valley charity opens inner-city technology center

The new technolgy center at Friendly House in Phoenix is shown. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- A Valley charity is stepping up to help people who can't afford to pay for Internet.

Wednesday was the ribbon cutting ceremony for Friendly House's new state-of-the-art technology center near First Avenue and Lincoln Street in downtown Phoenix.

The center offers free Internet access through 20 computers and an 80-inch monitor. Friendly House President Mark Mazone said people can use it to take online classes and more.

"They can use it to update resumes and get some instruction there," he said. "It can be in the form of job search, it can be in the form of language instruction and more."

The center has the ability to transmit real-time classes to up to 500 people at a time. It's designed to help low-income people in the immediate neighborhood that Friendly House is a part of, but the center is free and open to anyone. It was made possible in part by a $75,000 donation from Cox Communications.

Friendly House has been in Phoenix for 94 years, and Mazone said it helps a lot of people.

"We help with things like immigration, adult education, GED. We have a charter school, workforce development and healthcare services for the elderly."

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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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