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Valley mayors view low income housing during bus tour

PHOENIX -- Just like the TV show "Gilligan's Island," it was a "three-hour tour," except there was nothing funny about this ride.

Mayors and city council members from Phoenix, Tempe, El Mirage, Carefree, Chandler and Goodyear boarded a bus in downtown Phoenix on Wednesday for a tour of a human service center and three newly constructed or upgraded low income housing projects.

In addition, they also got an update from various groups on the efforts to end chronic homelessness in the Valley.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell was part of the group. He believes that attention needs to be drawn to efforts by cities to deal with the homelessness issue.

"We do what we can to end homelessness. I think our communities will be better for that," said Mitchell. "It will also help the environment in which we all live and how we care for one another. It's a positive way that we can continue to improve our communities."

Mitchell said Tempe is doing a lot of work on the problem.

"Right out of our general fund, we put $1 million into our human services," said Mitchell. "We work the nonprofit Tempe Community Council, and we are very committed to offering services to those who are less fortunate."

The bus tour was the latest effort by the Partnership to End Chronic Homelessness, which is a partnership between Valley cities, Maricopa County and the Valley of the Sun United Way.

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 live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

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: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

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 - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We 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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