Oujournalist’s Blog

The blog of a freelancing journalist in Arizona

Small businesses receive help December 19, 2011

Filed under: businesss — Candace Hughes @ 11:10 pm

The ability to peek outside an office door and share with other entrepreneurs is one of the selling points of leasing office space at the Arizona Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneur Center.

It’s convenient to share with others in close proximity, said Robert Roth, president of BPI for Sales. “It’s one of the key attractions,” he emphasized.

Roth, an ASBA member for two years, has been leasing space in the ASBA’s headquarters for a year and plans to “graduate” to his own office within 12 months.

The $125 ASBA membership fee is required in order to lease space and the benefits also help with many issues including access to health insurance for employees when he expands. In addition, ASBA supplied most of his furniture and the telephone.

The organization also helps members with workplace safety programs and ASBA Academy Online Education. Networking, information and visibility also assist companies.

Roth said the networking relations are “very valuable.”

“I needed a real office environment and some infrastructure support and wasn’t ready to commit (to his own office space) until I can see the rate of growth and better understand the space needs that will go along with the growth,” he said.

“I have been in business as a sales and marketing consultant for 25 plus years,” he added.

“However, I am rolling out a new business using a proprietary methodology. I like doing that within this sort of office environment. I am also an active ‘hands-on’ ASBA board member so officing here is convenient from that point of view,” Roth explained.

Located at 4130 E. Van Buren Road, ASBA leases offices to members at rates ranging from $700-$1,000 per month depending on the length of lease and amenities needed, said Sondra Johnson, executive assistant.

ASBA has 10 full-time employees including three in the Tucson office with Johnson serving as the primary contact for the Entrepreneur Center.

“It is a very friendly and open atmosphere at ASBA either in our offices or the Entrepreneur Center. After all, we depend on our members, so we want to assist and help them in any way we can,” Johnson added.

While ASBA rented cubicles in the past, the expansion of the organization’s staff has taken over that space, said Kristin Lopez, who handles education and programs. The only spaces now rented are two closed-door offices. One additional office is vacant.

Some clients rent a virtual office suite with


Phoenix Business Journal profiles of Women in Public Policy December 12, 2011

Filed under: businesss — Candace Hughes @ 5:49 pm

Women in public policy

Non profits

Cathi Herrod, Center for Arizona Policy president

Cathi Herrod, who recently assumed the president’s role at the Center for Arizona Policy, said her biggest challenge is communicating how issues affect the daily lives of families.

“What goes on at the Arizona Capitol and in Washington D.C. impacts our lives each and every day,” said Herrod, who is an attorney.

“For example, at the closing of the election season it’s important for people to understand how critical it is for each individual to participate in the process, especially when we see low voter turnout and confusion over how to register to vote,” she explained.

Herrod became involved in public policy due to concerns about her children, now ages 21 and 17. “Social issues such as abortion and marriage affect the world our children are going to be in,” she said.

Herrod served as the spokesperson for the Yes on 107 Protect Marriage Coalition. While similar measures passed in some states, the concept was voted down in Arizona earlier this month.

In addition, she has worked with the state Legislature to pass a law requiring parental consent before a minor could have an abortion.

“It’s a very critical medical decision in our daughters’ lives – especially in such a life-changing decision as to whether to have an abortion,” she emphasized.

Her deepest concern for Arizona is the reluctance of the state to regulate abortion.

“We need to protect women from the harms of abortion and to protect the lives of their unborn children. How we regard the sanctity of human life is my No. 1 concern. If we have no regard for this we won’t survive as a society for long,” she emphasized.

Herrod has been in the field of public policy for 20 years and counts three national-level authors, commentators and talk show hosts as her mentors.

They are: Beverly LaHaye, Janet Parshall and Jane Chastain. “They are women who have greatly shaped my thoughts and they are making a difference by speaking out on issues,” Herrod said.

She started her full-time role as president of the Center for Arizona Policy in August after a period of reflection. “Balance is always is always a challenge,” she said of her new position with the organization related to Focus on the Family.

Marie Sullivan, Arizona Women’s Education and Employment Inc. president and CEO

Marie Sullivan is watched by women and girls in her job as president and chief executive officer of Arizona Women’s Education and Employment Inc., a fact that surprised her after years of public service.

She said she continues to be amazed that a girl told Sullivan she was her hero and was writing a biography on her as a school board member. “I had no clue that she had written a paper about me or come to a school board meeting. You find that you’re a mentor and you’re not consciously in that mode,” she said

Sullivan, who started her public service role on the Madison Elementary School Board, said in a telephone interview that her education work is the proudest accomplishment in her career. “I felt I was working on a direct public policy level changing the lives of children,” she exclaimed.

While Sullivan serves as a mentor, she also has sources of her own inspiration.

“My 18-year-old daughter, who’s in her first year of college, is my mentor as I have watched her emerge as a young woman with a strength and personal character I wished I had when I was younger.

“She has lived the power of her convictions at an early age and transferred those into action,” Sullivan said.

Women seen at AWEE every day are collectively mentors, Sullivan added.

“They really exhibit personal courage in overcoming desperation and struggling with barriers whether it is addictions or other problems to get to the other side. While some may falter, many are still able to pick themselves up.”

Sullivan encourages other women to enter public service. “We need more women wanting to be engaged in the process,” but they must be aware they will be attacked.

“I tell them to examine how much they can take and be true to their values and convictions and to be open to learning. They shouldn’t be acting out of self-service, but out of the greater good.

“Women do bring a combination of values to the table that can counterpoint or blend with more strident views,” Sullivan says. “I also add: Enjoy the ride,” she quipped.


Bonnie Saunders, Arizona League of Women Voters president

Helping the nonpartisan League of Women Voters reach a consensus on issues is the most difficult part of Bonnie Saunders’ job as president of the state league.

“We’re nonpartisan, but we do have people with very strong partisan views. We’re all biased and we may not know it, but my job is to make sure they don’t contaminate the league,” said Saunders, an adjunct history professor at Glendale Community College.

The league doesn’t endorse candidates, but studies all sides of an issue and then reaches a consensus for a position on the topic.

“The process is very detailed and it’s a good process,” she said of the organization’s effort to continue its founding purpose of educating voters.

She has been working on informing voters about civil liberties and the U.S. Constitution. “People need to know about the separation of powers and the three branches of government and the Bill of Rights.

“People are too interested in the scandals and not in what’s important. We’re trying to promote understanding,” she added.

Saunders, who doesn’t like partisan politics, said she used the mute button during the recent election. “I don’t like the nasty ads and I won’t listen to the political ads because they’ve gotten so horrible.

“I’m really interested in public issues and I’m passionate about history and politics,” said Saunders, who is a resident of Surprise and writes a column on unconventional Arizona women for the Daily News-Sun.

She has studied Mary Jane Coulter, an architect, and Sharlot Hall, Arizona’s first state historian. She’s also written about Nellie Bush, a teacher, lawyer, airplane and river boat pilot and state legislator.

Saunders said in a telephone interview that her proudest accomplishment is her doctorate in U.S. history.

“I got it after seven years. It was hard work in terms of courses, research, writing and traveling. But all of that comes together.” However, she credits the league with expanding her knowledge and giving her the encouragement to get the degree.

Carolyn Warner, National Committeewoman – Arizona Democratic Party

Education and the ability of students to find work in the world market is Carolyn Warner’s greatest concern about Arizona.

“Our ability to compete for 21st Century jobs is difficult with the 19th century mentality of the legislature,” said Warner, a former state superintendent of public instruction.

“Arizona must stop talking about California vs. Arizona or us against other states and move toward thinking of Arizona in measures of it’s the United States vs. the world,” she said.

“At the moment, Arizona’s not competing. We have a lot of good things going for us such as a new research institute and Arizona State University moving downtown.

“All of these things are good, but we need more and need them faster,” she emphasized in a telephone interview.

The hardest part of her job with the political party is the organization of free-thinking Democrats. “It’s like herding cats,” she quipped.

“The time commitment is difficult, but I do it gladly. You run for this position and I knew the responsibilities when I decided to do this,” she said, adding that two other national committee members assist in the work.

Warner, who started as a local school board member, described her educational work as the best accomplishment of her career.

“I am proudest of serving students, educators and taxpayers for 12 years as state superintendent and I also had the opportunity of serving on the state Community College Governing Board and the Board of Regents,” she added.

The daughter of a mother who raised a family on a teacher’s salary after her husband died, Warner said she converted the state Department of Education into a service agency.

She emphasized that she increased the involvement of business and industry bringing the Jobs for Arizona Graduates program to the state.

Warner, who lost in a three-way race for governor, said she followed her grandmother’s advice not to take defeat personally. “At least you’ve been in the race,” she said.

Now the owner of Corporate Education Consulting, Warner said women entering politics should be prepared to “work hard, underpromise and overperform. I also tell them to listen.”

In December she will be hosting a group of mayors from the Ukraine who will visit an elementary school near the Grand Canyon, meet with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and study neighborhoods to learn more about democracy.

Sharon Giese, National Committeewoman – Arizona Republican Party

Continuing the effort to get Republicans elected until there is a veto proof state Legislature is Sharon Giese’s first priority as the Arizona GOP’s national committeewoman.

In a telephone interview, Giese said the proudest accomplishment of her career is representing the Republican Party as national committeewoman since 2004.

“I really enjoy so much traveling around the state. Although the time constraints are the most difficult part of the job, I have a great time, lots of support and I find it very rewarding.”

One of the possible duties of her job would be to appoint a candidate to run if the party’s chosen nominee for an office becomes unable to serve between the primary and general election, Giese said.

She said she has chosen politics due to its importance to the country’s future.

“As a parent and grandparent I have some small input in making this a better place. I have done a lot of traveling in Greece and Africa and it makes you so proud to be part of this country. If I can be of service in some small way, then I am pleased to do it,” she added.

Giese’s mentor has been Mesa Republican Lela Steffey. Giese was Steffey’s campaign manager in 1981 when Steffey ran for the state House of Representatives. She added that she has had many friends who have been helpful and kind.

“My best advice for women entering politics is to find a consensus. No one really told me that but it became one of my strongest points. “We all have to learn to get along together,” she added.

Giese said there is a place for everyone in the Republican Party, but particularly for young women.

In addition to her work with the national Republican Party, she also serves on the National Federation of Republican Women Board of Directors and is a member of the Republican Women’s Coalition National Advisory Committee.

She also is a registered parliamentarian and is vice president and finance chairman for the Arizona State Association of Parliamentarians. She was president of the Arizona Federation of Republican Women from 1992-1993 and president of Mesa Republican Women in 1983.


Victoria Cummiskey, Commissioner, Arizona Commission on the Arts

Discovering that it takes only one person to make a difference inspires Victoria Cummiskey, a member of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, to continue in the public policy arena.

Cummiskey is currently involved in chairing the American Masterpieces grants panel for the Arizona Commission on the Arts. It’s part of the National Endowment for the Arts initiative launched last year to support American masters and 2006 is the program’s pilot year in Arizona.

“The initiative seeks to ensure that all Arizona citizens have access to America’s greatest cultural legacies.”

“My work at SRP in government relations exposed me to the public policy arena,” she added. Her proudest professional accomplishment is overseeing a program that helps other countries learn how SRP manages water and power.

Cummiskey said her number one concern regarding Arizona’s future is the improvement of schools in her neighborhood and across the state. She and her husband Chris have three young children and the years of tighter budgets have brought concerns about cutbacks until some schools have no arts programs.

The most difficult part of her life is managing the time and priorities for community involvement with her position as SRP international relations public affairs representative.

She continues her public policy work after following the advice of a newspaper columnist that at the end of the day, the most important aspect of one’s life should always be family. Cummiskey uses the recommendation made by Richard DeUriarte, an Arizona Republic opinion writer.

Women interested in public service should know that this work is not for the faint of heart, Cummiskey said in an e-mail interview. “You need to be armed with good ideas and a thick skin.”

She also serves on the Arizona Character Education Foundation as SRP prepares to host 1,000 children from kindergarten to twelfth grade in the annual Character Celebration Event. It recognizes students who have participated in character education training.

Anne I Woosley, Ph.D., Arizona Historical Society executive director

Arizona shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of growing smart, said Anne I. Woosley, Ph.D., executive director of the Arizona Historical Society, explaining that Arizona should protect its natural resources of beauty which draw people to the state.

“I would hope that we continue to preserve what we have and that we don’t spoil things with ill-advised development. We want to continue to be able to offer people the kinds of services that make this a good place to live,” Woosley explained by telephone.

Her current projects include working with the city of Tucson on the Rio Nuevo revitalization project, helping write an Arizona history textbook for fourth graders and assisting Yuma in the restoration one of the oldest buildings in the state as well as establishing a community museum.

The best advice she has ever received involves listening to others and this coordinates with the most difficult part of her job, Woosley said. “I was told by my mentor not to be afraid to be thoughtful and listen to the people around you, but also not to be afraid to make the decision and to be a leader,” she added.

Her mentor, Emil Haury, former chairman of the University of Arizona Department of Anthropology, encouraged her to come to Arizona after joint work on a field program while she was an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University.

“I was a beginning academic and he and I just clicked and he gave me all sorts of good advice,” she continued. As part of her current position, interaction and communication with her governing board, chapter societies, advisory groups and volunteers is essential to success.

She believes that public policy is very challenging and rewarding. “We serve the public in terms of promoting public history and promoting public education.”

At the same time, public service has a measure of frustration, she warned. “It means working in a complex environment with complicated procedures and policies that can slow down decision making, but it’s just part of the environment. You must be able to navigate in a sometimes frustrating situation.”

The most difficult part of her job involves providing constituents with “the level of services we’d like and with what they deserve whether it’s programs or being able to have access to all of the vast historical resources available to them.”


Best newspaper in the state of Ohio December 6, 2011

Filed under: businesss,Uncategorized — Candace Hughes @ 3:15 pm
Tags: ,

Best newspaper in the state by a dam site

By Candace S. Hughes

Like many Ohio University students, Alfred Craft Jr., A.B. ’35, didn’t want to leave Athens after graduation. He knew how hard his father worked in the family’s newspaper business in nearby Glouster and wanted to get a master’s degree and instead become a history professor.

When he returned to The Glouster Press that summer, it was clear that his father wasn’t able to continue in the business, so the son picked up the struggling operation serving 1,300 subscribers so that his parents would have an income.

His ties to his family and the Glouster community brought him back to the newspaper business where he turned the paper into a profitable business.

The 1935 “Athena” yearbook at Ohio University pictured Craft, as Phi Delta Theta president, sitting in the fraternity house reading a newspaper, foreshadowing of his upcoming responsibility. At the time, however, Craft felt he was fortunate to have his room paid.

He had been selected as one of the outstanding students of his senior class, and served as a business manager for the Green and White, a semi-weekly student newspaper where he earned $12 per issue.

Before entering OU however, he was elected president of his high school senior class in 1931. He went on to be a leader at OU, showing more interest in business than journalism. He was a liberal arts major with a minor in history, but he also took economics classes.

The decline of mining from 1925-1931 made it difficult for the family to send Al Craft to Ohio University, so he stayed with an aunt and uncle in Athens during his first year in college and did chores in exchange for room and board.

“When I moved into the fraternity I felt like one of the rich guys,” quipped Craft. “I had more money than I ever had for two-three years after getting out of college. I lived a great life my senior year. I was quite busy, but because I worked for the newspaper I got passes to the senior prom and theater passes so I could take my dates there. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I would have stayed on for a few years if I could have.”

The Ohio University graduate followed in his father’s footsteps in several ways ranging from continuing the paper’s improvement of village life to caring for his parents and wife when she became ill.

Long hours and no vacations took their toll on publishers of small newspapers, including W.A.Craft. He died Dec. 11, 1941 at the age of 64, four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and was forced to retire several years before then. Alfred ran the paper until he left to serve in World War II in 1943. The last weekly issue published by the Craft family was Jan. 7, 1943.

W.A. Craft left school during the seventh grade to support his elderly parents who had been swindled out of all their savings after retirement. He learned to set type by hand at The Messenger, and it was there that W.A. met his wife, Nona, the owner’s secretary.

Founded by W.A. Craft, Al Craft’s father, and Calvin D. Myers, The Glouster Press began publication Sept. 17, 1896 and folded 71 years later on April 22, 1971. Publication was suspended during part of World War II.

The Craft family published the paper for 47 years, with at least eight of the last years under the direction of the Ohio University graduate. Craft’s father had partners from 1896-1920, and then owned the paper with his wife, son and daughter until his death in 1941. Alfred, his mother Nona, and his sister, Phyllis, owned the paper until the family sold it in 1946.

The Glouster Press touted itself as “the best newspaper in the state by a dam site” due to its promotion of the dam at Burr Oak State Park and showed a devotion to community involvement. Subscribers from out-of-state who left the mining community as the industry closed down eventually outnumbered locals who were willing to pay $2.50 annually to receive the paper.

The Glouster Press helped its community look for solutions to problems, assess the impact of new projects and laugh at its mistakes.

It also provided entertainment, and was a source of information about local people as well as natives of Glouster who had moved away. Without this vital communication link, Glouster residents would have been without the one aspect of their community which consistently worked to unify its citizens and build a town of which they could be proud.

Except for the period from 1943-1946 when Al Craft was in the service, the paper was a continuous influence on community affairs for 71 years. An Athens Messenger reporter now covers the area.

Craft’s destiny as an OU alum was foretold in The Glouster Press’ first issue: The paper carried an Ohio University ad on page four. The copy here is reprinted as it appeared.

Ohio University

                                                   Athens, Ohio

A thorough equipped institution for undergraduate work with facilities to give instruction in Art, Music and Business. Library and labs for original researches in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, etc. There is




In the collegiate preparatory studies.  Summer term every year. Superior advantages afforded to those who wish to prepare for teaching or superintending. An elegant boarding hall for ladies. Cost of living very low. Send for catalogue to L.M. Jewett, Secretary of the University, Athens, Ohio.

Called simply The Press until 1905, Craft’s father supplemented the son’s education by including him as a typesetter and made sure he was a good speller. In the summers he spent four hours a day setting type by hand, an experience which also helped improve his grammar. He did not help cover news however, until he began to work at The Press full-time in July 1935.

After taking on the job of providing an income for his parents, he found the years from 1936-1943  “rough.” He said, “We should have given up, but we didn’t.” Although his father was still active in the paper’s operations in 1935, “my objective was to make him less active.”

Al learned to run the press, do stereotyping and cast metal mats for ads, and by 1938 his father had retired. Although W.A. still played a role in the paper, his son had begun to cover news and run the business. He never thought he would work in journalism after leaving college, and he continued to run the paper much longer than he originally thought.

When The Glouster Press published its first issue in 1896, the village was a thriving, expanding community determined to build a town of which the miners and business owners and their families could be proud.

Glouster grew gradually from 2,527 persons when the first census was taken in 1910, to a peak of 3,140 in 1920. A rapid decrease in population began in 1925 due to a general depression in the coal fields. The most recent U.S. Census found 1,972 people living in the village north of Athens.

The Sunday Creek Coal Co., at one time the second-largest coal company in the world, had its headquarters in the town.

Printed every Thursday without missing an issue until Jan. 7, 1943, when Al Craft was drafted, the paper printed an apology Nov. 12, 1942, explaining the difficulty in obtaining paper as the reason for the abbreviated four-age issue:

“We had planned to stop publishing two weeks ago to enter the Army, but we have been allowed to continue for three more months as newspapers have been considered essential during the war. An eight-page issue will now be published every two weeks until more paper arrives.”


Phoenix attorneys defend First Amendment September 2, 2011

Filed under: businesss — Candace Hughes @ 4:57 pm

Phoenix attorneys defend First Amendment

By Candace S. Hughes

Special to The Arizona Business Gazette

When letters to the editor are challenged for being offensive or when cities refuse to turn over public records, it’s citizens of the United States who are harmed when the free flow of information is impeded, say Arizona reporters and First Amendment attorneys.

Dan Barr, 49, of Perkins Coie Brown and Bain and David Bodney, 51, of Steptoe and Johnson have been representing Arizona newspapers for more than 20 years in these types of cases.

Bodney, who also is counsel for The Arizona Republic, assisted The Tucson Citizen in a case for which Michael Chihak, publisher of the Citizen, received a Sunshine Award from the Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

A letter to the editor published more than two years ago resulted in two Muslims suing the paper for assault and for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

While a Pima County Superior Court judge quickly dismissed the assault claim, it took further work on Bodney’s part to remove the remaining part of the suit.

In a precedent-setting decision, the Arizona Supreme Court found in July 2005 that debate, even if the content is offensive, should be allowed as long as no named individual is in imminent danger of harm, Bodney said.

The letter asserted that Americans could respond to the deaths of American troops in Iraq by killing Muslims in mosques. Although the letter writer later explained that he was calling for this practice to take place in Iraq and not on American soil, Muslims in the Tucson area were concerned.

“The Arizona Supreme Court supported the First Amendment right of the public to engage in robust political speech and it established procedural safeguards for the dismissal of lawsuits that run afoul of a person’s First Amendment rights,” Bodney said.

“The court recognized that even offensive political speech deserves some measure of First Amendment protection and that not every insensitive remark contained in a letter to the editor should give rise to litigation,” he explained.

“There is a difference between falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater and publishing a letter to the editor in a newspaper,” Bodney said, noting that the newspaper also published more than 20 letters protesting the original letter that was considered to be offensive by the plaintiffs.

In the case involving the city of Williams, Barr assisted The Arizona Daily Sun in obtaining an employee’s personnel file.

Citing the fact that the community paid the price when the Williams City Council refused to reveal the contents of its police chief’s personnel file, the Arizona Press Club made the municipality the first runner-up for its Annual First Amendment Disservice Award.

“This year, two cases clearly stood out as worthy of our scorn. I’m sad to report that I have a connection to this year’s runner-up – the city of Williams,” said Laura Clymer press club president and Arizona Daily Sun city editor.

“When that city stonewalled us on public information, it was my newsroom and my community that paid the price. Last April, Williams Police Chief Frank Manson unexpectedly resigned his post after blasting the city for violating open meetings laws.

“But when my staff at the Arizona Daily Sun requested a copy of his severance agreement with the city, officials told the paper to take a hike.

“We did – to the Coconino County Superior Court, where we sued Williams. Seven months later, a judge heard arguments and took a look at the documents.

“His decision: the city had acted ‘arbitrarily and capriciously.’ The document was to be released. Fighting the city cost the Sun nearly $20,000 – a sum the judge has order Williams to repay us. Talk about a waste of money!”

The council paid the police chief a year’s salary to resign, keep quiet and turn over all his documents, the paper reported. And it took a lawsuit and requirement to pay attorney’s fees to get the records. “Unfortunately, money’s the only thing they understand,” Barr said.

In a case that went to the Arizona Court of Appeals, Barr won a decision that the public’s right to know was greater than confidentiality of an employee’s personnel file. The Coconino Superior Court has concurred in the case and ordered the city of Williams to pay $11,000 in attorney’s fees.

Barr’s work also prevailed in a similar case involving a personnel file for a Scottsdale police officer, and both cases won the SPJ Special Citation of Merit. Don Rowley, publisher of the Arizona Daily Sun and Karen A. Wittmer, publisher of the Scottsdale Tribune also received citations.

In giving the awards the SPJ citation stated: “In two cases within a year’s time, First Amendment attorney Dan Barr won victories for the public’s right to examine employment-related records of government workers.”

Mark Scarp, SPJ chapter president, said: “It’s important for the public as well as the journalistic community to know that without the right to access to such information, stories like this would not be told and the public would be more vulnerable to government interference and intrusion.”

“If you like your clients and it’s fun to work for them you get a lot more enjoyment out of what you do,” said Barr, who was an Arizona Republic reporter before going to law school.

Barr said he began receiving calls from friends who were reporters as soon as he graduated from law school and began a small media practice.

He now is part of the First Amendment Coalition and takes turns answering limited telephone inquiries without a fee if reporters have questions about closed meetings and public records.

Jodi Cleesattle, an attorney with Ross, Dixon & Bell in San Diego, said that reporters have become more aggressive in the last year in asking for records to be made public and for meetings to be opened.

Cleesattle, a former reporter for The Lancaster (Ohio) Eagle-Gazette, moderated the panel “Reporter’s Privilege Under Siege” at the Society of Professional Journalists 2005 convention.

“Often if the reporter puts in a request in the form of a letter or under the Freedom of Information Act it will open up the meeting,” she said. “But sometimes when this is refused attorneys must come in with a letter about why the council meeting can’t be closed.”

When personnel files are involved it often does require an attorney to explain why this is public information in the case of public employees, said Cleesattle. She added that it was important for an attorney to act early when a suit is filed such as The Tucson Citizen case so that fees can be minimized and the First Amendment also is used as a reason for the newspaper’s action.

“It’s a way of getting rid of a case very early in the litigation before costs pile up,” she explained.

Asking judges to pay attorney’s fees when the newspaper prevails in a case helps, Cleesattle remarked. “Often small newspapers don’t have the money to challenge government at every turn, but if they have the ability to get fees back it’s helpful.”


Veteran franchise program offers possibilities August 29, 2011

Filed under: businesss — Candace Hughes @ 12:30 am

Entrepreneur says military instills work ethic

By Candace S. Hughes

Special to The Arizona Business Gazette

Gilbert resident Sam Cruz was awakened every morning at 5 starting at age 17 by the sound of two tin cans hitting each other. He credits his military service with helping him develop a successful business.

“I’m 50 now and I still wake up at 5 a.m. every day,” laughs Cruz, who purchased an Aire Serve Heating and Air Conditioning franchise through the VetFran program. It offers a $5,000 discount to veterans who wish to purchase a franchise.

Cruz, who bought the business last year, served two years with the Air Force. “I started at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas in the electronics field. When I went in at age 17 it did help me grow up quite a bit and instilled that work ethic,” he adds.

“That’s my drug – working,” Cruz says, adding, “I wish I had found this years ago. I enjoy this so much. I believe in the concept,” adds Cruz, who also owns a plumbing business and had a small air conditioning firm before purchasing the franchise.

He projects that he will have $1 million in business this year and has set a goal of $5 million in five years. The business has quadrupled over a year ago with from $10,000-$40,000 per month above activity by the previous owner of the franchise, he says.

Cruz, who operates the business with bookkeeping help from his wife Lorena, also encourages his 13-year-old daughter to help in the office with answering the telephone, sending faxes, checking invoicing and doing filing. His 7-year-old son occasionally stops by the business. They have nine employees.

Ted Kuziela 44, also of Gilbert, moved to the Valley from Southern California in 2004 to open DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen. As a Navy veteran, he also received a discount through the VetFran program.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1979 and served for two and one-half years before going to the Naval Academy. He was a surface warfare officer on two frigates and served in Operation Desert Storm.

After leaving active duty in 1993, he affiliated with the Naval Reserves and is still a commander.

About 500 veterans in 45 states have used the program since 1991 to buy small businesses through the International Franchise Association’s Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, or VetFran. More than 120 are negotiating purchases.

The two were among 2,000 franchisees atten


Women work at home to earn money, lessen stress, be their own bosses and see kids July 11, 2011

Filed under: businesss — Candace Hughes @ 2:09 am

Women work at home to earn money, lessen stress, be their own bosses and see kids

By Candace S. Hughes
The Arizona Business Gazette

Heather Madder’s 18-month-old daughter’s sleepy eyes light up as she sees her mom arriving after a three-hour stint in her home office. Madder has just completed a radio talk show on the Grapevine Network which she hosts from her Gilbert home.

The 31-year-old author and spiritual speaker likes the three-hour daily workday based on her daughter’s naps, and hires a sitter for the toddler and three school-aged children at occasional times when she has work responsibilities outside the house and her husband is unavailable.

Her book, Walking on the Ceiling: The Practice of Overcoming Barriers and Creating a Life of Freedom, came after her father’s death due to alcohol and prescription drug addiction. “I needed to do something to make sense of my world.” Writing works with her desire to be at home with her children and she immediately enters her office after her daughter goes to sleep.

Madder’s enterprise is one of the 109,807 woman-owned businesses in Arizona, but no one keeps statistics on the number of home-based entrepreneurs in the state. The number was reported in a July study by the W.P. Cary School of Business at Arizona State University.

Due to the nature of the businesses and the fact that only some cities and towns require business licenses, there are no figures about the number of home-based businesses.

“It’s very difficult to get a handle on the number of home-based businesses,” said Bennett Curry, director of the Central Arizona College Small Business Development Center. We know there are many and that they are growing in numbers,” he says.

“For the most part they are under the radar because they operate out of a spare bedroom or garage. We’re anxious to reach them in order to help them be successful,” he adds.

“While cities and towns may identify a home-based business when folks apply for a license, the number will be under reported because many do not apply for the license or their homes are in unincorporated areas of Pinal County where a license is not required,” he emphasizes.

A number of organizations are seeking home-based businesses including the San Tan Area Chamber of Commerce which held a program in September for these types of businesses. There are about 15 home businesses in the San Tan Chamber of Commerce, says Jack Malpass, director of the new group.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 49 percent of the country’s 16.6 million businesses are home-based, and about 56 percent of these are woman-owned ventures.

Women are starting businesses at a much higher rate than men, and especially choosing the home-based alternative, says Bob Hisrich, Garvin professor of global entrepreneurship at Thunderbird The Garvin School of International Management.

The increasing number of home-based businesses opened by women nationwide reflects that women can keep their family responsibilities and still run a company, he says. “The service-based economy lends itself to home-based businesses,” he adds.

While some work at home to accommodate children’s schedules, women without children also choose home-based businesses, but caution that the concept has challenges as well as rewards.

Karen Willes of Country Ceramics in Queen Creek says she has set specific times for personal enjoyment on Fridays and Sunday mornings. “No work then,” she emphasizes.

On the other hand, she says that it’s hard to get away from the business. “Actually, I end up working from 8 in the morning to 11 at night. The only good thing is that I enjoy what I do. Most of my customers respect my time at home,” she adds.

Willes says she likes to keep busy. “We sponsored a retreat at Mormon Lake Lodge where we painted all weekend. There were 39 there and we had a great time.

“I celebrated my 20th year of business recently and I like having it right next door. Right now I have some kilns to empty and don’t have to travel to do it and I have found it very convenient.”

Tisha Marie Pelletier of Simply Put Marketing Communications in Gilbert operates a business out of her home and a faithful dog keeps her company while her husband is at work. She has recently picked up some larger, steadier accounts and is glad to have the autonomy she lacked when she was an employee.

The 27-year-old’s competence is demonstrated by the excellence of her clients, she continues, pointing to the fact that one of her customers, Engenuity Systems, was recently nominated for two small business awards.

She’s also glad that’s she’s had enough success after two years in business to be choosy about the clients she takes on.

“I typically work on-site with some clients so having an office outside the home would not be beneficial for me since I’m always out.”

While she had looked at the benefits of working at home and having a child, she has decided to delay having kids and enroll in community college classes to add more marketing skills.

Driving time from Gilbert wasn’t an issue since she delivers products to clients’ offices and homes or meets at restaurants or coffee shops to conduct business.

Jennifer Rodriguez, a client of Pelletier’s, operates her online store offering hand-crafted custom announcements and invitations for weddings, births, corporate events and parties.

The 28-year-old has been in business one year as Belle Paperie and will soon be moving to Utah to be with her husband who was transferred there in the summer.

The Queen Creek entrepreneur recommends that anyone thinking about opening a home-based online business should read the book E-myth. “It was a rude awakening that has only helped our business and in fact has pushed it to a new level,” she adds.

“Although we currently serve nationally, our greatest exposure has been in Arizona. Starting in 2007, we will heavily serve Utah, Oregon and Washington as well as Arizona.

“We will be hiring a large crew to help with production while I maintain design control. We also will be introducing a more advanced Web site in January to better assist with client needs and we have many more things planned to delight our clients!”

While she will be having a separate studio in Utah, Rodriguez was glad that she did not have to deal with lease agreements, utilities, selling or moving office fixtures and the closing of an office before moving.

“With a home-based business, it’s not such a shock to our client base,” she adds.

One of the important aspects of a home-based business for women is looking at your goals, says Madden. She is able to be at home with her four children, cook meals, go to soccer games and still demonstrate that she makes a positive impact on the world outside their Gilbert home.

Freelancer Candace S. Hughes may be reached at candaceshughes@aol.com.

Bennett Curry may be reached at 1-(520)-494-5341 or sbdc@centralaz.edu. Karen Willes may be reached at (480)-987-3935. Tisha Marie Pelletier may be reached at (480)-219-1356 or tisha@simplyputmc.net. Jennifer Rodriguez may be reached at sales@bellepaperie.com. Karen Willes is at (480)-987-3935. The U.S. Census Bureau


Marketers Say Global Warming Sparks Behavior Changes February 5, 2009

Filed under: green — Candace Hughes @ 5:28 pm
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More than half of American citizens say they have changed their behavior due to global warming, according to Steve French, managing partner at Natural Marketing Institute.
French, who spoke Feb. 25 to the Phoenix chapter of the American Marketing Association, said that the worldwide green market is worth up to $200 billion annually, and that green businesses will fuel the economic recovery.
He cautioned, however, that consumers view green goods and services as more expensive, even though this isn’t necessarily the case.
Buyers’ attitudes toward green products are assessed by French’s surveys and he has copyrighted a "lens" of lifestyles of health and sustainability formula to help businesses discover the best ways to sell their services and goods.
French specializes in ethnographic surveys in which he goes to homes in 10 countries to see how or if they are using products and services based on their views of how they impact the environment. Only about 15 percent of the population shows no interest in products and services and their effect on climate change and other socially responsible issues, he said.
"Over the last five more than 66 percent of the United States population has become some shade of green," French said to the audience of more than 100 attending the luncheon which included students from ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business.
Being green is relevant to 80 percent of the population with evidence showing in the purchase of products ranging from cars to household cleaners, said French,
Businesses also should be aware that consumers are conscious of eco-labels such as Energy Star, Organic and Fair Trade, but are often overwhelmed by the choices. Employees and the community can help get the message of corporate social responsibility through to consumers, he added.
Twenty-one percent of consumers who make buying decisions based on the environment are more likely to use social media, and about 30 percent are aware of carbon offsets and measuring their carbon footprint, he explained.
About 26 percent of the population are what French calls conventionals, consumers who are intrigued by environmentally conscious products, but only if they save money. "The eco-benefit with this group is only secondary," French said. Their highest interest is in compact fluorescent bulbs.
Another 24 percent say, "I agree I should be doing this, but I don’t have the wherewithal to pull it off." These are price-sensitive trend drivers who may make choices based on what’s cool or environmentally trendy.
It’s becoming stylish to have a purse made out of recycled Cheetos wrappers as more consumers look at where the materials came from to make a product and what happens to the packaging or the product after use, he added.
"Where did the package come from and what do I do with it afterwards?" are questions French said he is encountering more frequently in his research interviews. "Single use items are going out of style," he said.
Bag, Borrow and Steal, a new model for renting handbags is taking off, and Zip Car, a shared automobile program shows the move from a product to a service-based society, French told the audience, which ranged from marketing staff for satellite firms to software developers.
Being green and practical shows in the increased business at used-book stores as consumers move to lead a more simple life and look towards how their decisions affect the future.