Valley 101 show

Valley 101

Summary: Whether you're a longtime Arizona resident or a newcomer, chances are there's something you've always wondered about the Valley. From The Arizona Republic and comes Valley 101, a weekly podcast where our journalists find answers to your questions about metro Phoenix. From silly to serious, you tell us what to investigate. You can submit questions at or reach us on Twitter @azcpodcasts.

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  • Artist: The Arizona Republic and
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 Celebrating 3 graduations at 3 points in life | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1617

Graduation is a time in your life when you’re getting dressed up in an itchy, shapeless gown and trying to adjust a square hat to your head that simply won’t stay on. It is also a right of passage. Not only does it represent growing up and going on to bigger things, but it’s a celebration of everything you’ve done up until that point. A celebration of your years of education and everyone who helped you achieve that. It’s something almost all of us go through.  But the graduates of 2022 had an educational experience that few can relate to. With the pandemic and virtual learning and everything else that affected them, they are a class that is unique. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast by The Arizona Republic and, we are joined by The Republic's k-12 education reporter Yana Kunichoff. Together, we visited three graduations at three different stages of life to try and capture this moment in time. 

 4 questions about Phoenix's history answered for Arizona transplants | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1138

It's no secret that Maricopa County is growing quickly. New apartments in Phoenix are being built just as fast as people are moving into them.  The Census Bureau reported that the county added 58,246 new residents from July 2020 to July 2021.  It is now the fastest growing county in the nation.  And even outside Maricopa County, Arizona has seen immense growth over the last year. The census showed that more than 98,000 people moved to Arizona in that year. Only 832 of them came from what is called “natural change," which refers to deaths and births. The rest have moved from other states. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast by The Arizona Republic and, we want to welcome newcomers to the metro Phoenix area by answering four questions about its history. 

 Why aren't more movies made in Arizona? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1273

For decades, the Western movie genre held sway over the box office. And Arizona featured prominently in many of them. From John Wayne, to Henry Fonda, Clint Eastwood to Kurt Russell, Hollywood’s golden actors flocked to our state to shoot movies. But Arizona’s film history goes beyond the Wild West stereotype.  In this episode of Valley 101, we explore what movies were made in Phoenix and Arizona at large. And we find out why more movies aren't made here now. 

 How did a new winery win best wine in the state for 2022? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1668

Every year The Arizona Republic and host a wine competition for the vineyards in Arizona. This year, more than 200 bottles were entered to be considered for Best in Show. After hours of tasting the best wines that the state has to offer, the 20 qualified judges granted a bottle of merlot from a brand new winery the Governor's Cup. Cove Mesa Vineyards is new on the scene, but its owners Emil and Cindy Molin have spent years as wine aficionados. After getting a degree from the Southwest Wine Center, Emil set out to buy a winery himself in 2020. To some, this is the perfect story of how Arizona's wine industry is evolving from hidden gem to national recognition.  In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast by The Arizona Republic and, we share what Arizona vineyards have to offer, where you can find them, and how the new kids on the block took the grand prize this year.

 Your garden needs pollinators. Here's how to attract them | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 869

Springtime in the desert is special. For a few brief weeks, the taupe-shaded landscape transforms into a riot of color. The palo verdes don crowns of gold, and cactuses burst with large pink, yellow, purple and white flowers. Daisies nod their heads, beckoning visitors to adore them. Ocotillo open their coral-red buds while wearing coats of green leaves between their thorns.  It's a flurry of activity before the scorching temperatures force every living thing to just endure.  Buzzing, fluttering and twittering among the plants are Arizona’s pollinators. And as they brush up against each flower, a bit of pollen is distributed from one plant to the next, allowing the plants to propagate the next generation.  This week, we find out what you should plant in your garden to attract local pollinators. 

 Why Formula 1 came to Phoenix, and why it quickly left | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1226

In June 1989, the streets of downtown Phoenix became a raceway for the biggest global racing competition: Formula 1. The Phoenix Grand Prix was a chance to show off Phoenix on a world stage, but the race was beset with wide ranging obstacles. Needless to say, it wasn't a smooth ride. Just after three years, Formula 1 pulled out of the Valley of the Sun. This week on Valley 101, we find out why Formula 1 came to Phoenix and why it quickly left.

 Vaccinating Arizonans against COVID-19: from first dose to today | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1852

In December 2020, the first Arizonan received their vaccine against COVID-19. Just nine months after virus took ahold of the state and the rest of the world, health care workers and first responders were able to usher in a new era during the pandemic: the vaccination era. For some it felt like much needed light after a long, dark tunnel. The vaccine roll out expanded first by phases of necessity then by age in Arizona. By April 2021, all adults in the state were eligible to get a dose.  In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast by The Arizona Republic and, we map out the journey from the first shot to today. We spoke with reporters, doctors, and state health officials and track how 61.1% of Arizona residents became fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

 Who has better Mexican food: Phoenix or Tucson? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1861

Where is the best Mexican food in the U.S.? It’s a complex question fueled with fiery debates and passionate proclamations.  Tucson boasts 23 miles of quality Mexican food and is an UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Phoenix, however, is more than happy to step into the ring to duke it out on who has the best Mexican food. With literally hundreds of shops, from humble food trucks to exquisitely high-brow dining concepts, Phoenix holds its own as a culinary contender.  In this episode, Valley 101 plays referee between two Mexican food heavy-weights: Phoenix and Tucson.

 Is Scottsdale the horse capital of the Valley? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1057

Spotting people in Western attire going about their day is typical for Scottsdale. Pieces of public art featuring horses are spread throughout the city. In Old Town Scottsdale, the iconic sign of a cowboy with a lasso welcomes visitors. Western motifs and appreciation for horse culture saturate the city, whose official nickname is "The West's Most Western Town". It's even home to the world's largest Arabian horse show, at Westworld. Which begs the question: Is Scottsdale the horse capital of the Valley? Is it the most cowboy town in the metro area? In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast by The Arizona Republic and, we explore the relationship between the city's increasingly cosmopolitan image and its old West history.

 How Arizona became home to the Cactus League | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1183

After Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association came to an agreement about the league’s minimum salary, the Competitive Balance Tax threshold, and more, the 99 day lockout ended. Just in time for the regular season to start up soon. For Arizonans that means two things: getting to hear the lemonade man shout about your grandma and spring training. In the Valley, the past time is getting a slow start. The average attendance for six of the 15 teams is down to less than 5,000 fans per game in the first week. Even teams that are seeing more fans than that are seeing less fans compared to years past. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast by The Arizona Republic and, we share how the Cactus League came to Arizona and what impact the spring time tradition has on the state.

 Exploring the Phoenix Trotting Park | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1347

If you've driven west on the Interstate 10 heading out of town toward California, you may have noticed a giant plot of empty land just past Goodyear. Until 2017, there was a massive abandoned building on that land, drawing urban explorers and photographers. Before it was left empty, this state-of-the-art building was home for two seasons of horse racing. The Phoenix Trotting Park was expertly designed and opened in 1965. Attendees filled the beautiful grandstand to watch trotting style racing, but not for very long. In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast by The Arizona Republic and, we are joined by city reporter Martiza Dominguez to share how it was built, why it went under, and what the future holds for this plot of land. 

 Why is there art on the Valley's freeways? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1402

Drive down any of metro-Phoenix's highways and you're likely to see a highly curated display of graphics and flora. In Scottsdale, you can see large lizards and prickly pear pads gracing the walls of the Loop 101. Out west, dragonflies and checked flags come into view. And on the Red Mountain Loop 202, various indigenous animals and patterns are visible on both sides of the road.  But why do the freeways have art on them anyway? For that, Valley 101 turned to an urban historian and experts at the Arizona Department of Transportation. Turns out, there's a lot more to it than just making our highways pretty.

 Is the 'Valley of the Sun' misnamed? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 988

Why is metro-Phoenix called "The Valley of the Sun"? Is it actually a valley? Our intern producer digs up the answer in this episode of Valley 101. And what he discovers, might surprise you.

 Revolutionary, advocate, father: the legacy of Dr. Lincoln Ragsdale Sr. | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1710

Lincoln Ragsdale Sr., along with other activists, won a court case to desegregate Phoenix Union High Schools a year before Brown vs. The Board of Education. It was a huge victory, but to Ragadale, it was simply the beginning. He continued to create change. Alongside his wife, Eleanor, he and his family desegregated the Encanto neighborhood in Phoenix by being the first Black family to move in.  In part two, Valley 101, a podcast from the Arizona Republic and, covers more of his civil rights wins for the state, his connection with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and what he was like as a father.

 From airman to activist: the life of Dr. Lincoln Ragsdale Sr. | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1367

In May 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided that separating educational facilities by race was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. You’ll know this famous case as Brown vs. The Board of Education. One year earlier, in February 1953, Judge Fred Struckmeyer Jr. in Maricopa County ruled that a law permitting students to be separated by race in the Phoenix Union school district was also unconstitutional. The court challenge came from a handful of civil rights activists in Phoenix, but one man in particular looked at this as the tip of the iceberg. Dr. Lincoln Ragsdale Sr. helped fund a lawsuit on behalf of three Black children during the Phoenix Union case, but his time fighting for racial freedoms in the Valley spread much further than high schools. He was a Tuskegee airman, a business owner, a fighter for civil rights and the man whose name is on the executive terminal at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This is the first part of a two-part series on the local icon. The second part will be released on Monday, Feb. 28.


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