spotlight

Yearning for the energy that only a crowd can provide

It was Tuesday afternoon and work got too heavy. A break was called for, mindless diversion. My thoughts turned to an old favorite: A matinee movie. Ninety minutes of popcorn, soda and cinema. This sounded like exactly the ticket.

I could not have been more wrong.

It was not the film that failed – it was obvious going in that this action flick would earn no Oscars.

It was the experience: A solitary man armed with a mask, hand sanitizer and enough Clorox wipes to disinfect Congress, seated alone in an auditorium built for 300 humans.

 I dozed off through gunfire and explosions. I lost what plot there was. My mind pinballed before hitting on a realization.

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Developmental disabilities rate vaccine priority

Every week, the United States meets another COVID milestone, for example registering more COVID-19 cases in a single day than ever before in the early parts of January. With the hope of a new start at a new year, it seems clear that the coronavirus has also made a new year’s resolution to persevere with a vengeance and stick around and mutate. 

Many of us hold a sense of optimism around a miracle vaccine that could provide some gleaming hope for our communities. 

Yet, the actual implementation of vaccinations seems not only to be slow moving, but also to be overlooking populations in our society who should – but are not – recognized as a priority. One of these groups are people who have int...

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My New Year’s wish: Cancel the party

As we stare 2021 in the face, here’s hoping that our elected leaders take a stand against one of the most serious public health threats currently facing the state of Arizona.

New Year’s Eve.

Which this year might as well be known as “The Planet’s Largest One Night Superspreader Event.”

One of the things we have learned about COVID-19 this year is that the virus thrives on congregations and people spending time together unmasked and in close proximity. 

That makes holidays especially dangerous in terms of community spread, as we saw a couple weeks after Thanksgiving, when positive case numbers spiked in Arizona and across the United States. 

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Face masks and seat belts: how to change habits

“They’re uncomfortable to wear.” “There’s no real evidence they work.” “The government has no right to make me wear one.”

These arguments against wearing face masks are nothing new – they were used in the 1980s by those who opposed government mandates on wearing seat belts.

As a car safety expert, I think the history of seat belt adoption can teach us a lot about how we can change people’s habits and save more lives in the COVID-19 era.  

Seat belts became standard equipment in passenger cars in the 1960s. But having the equipment and using the equipment are two different things. It would be another two decades until the first state, New York, mandated their use. Today, eve...

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You can brighten a foster child’s Christmas

Statewide statistics published June 30 by the state Department of Child Safety should make everyone concerned. 

It indicated that for the year ending June 30, 9,566 children entered the foster care system. For that same period, the DCS received 45,172 reports requiring investigation.

 That’s a lot of boys and girls whose lives have been turned upside down by actions inflicted on them by adults.

The report showed that the average time a child will spend in a foster placement was 19.6 months – almost two years while the world decides if reunification with your biological family is a safe and healthy option. 

The holidays bring a myriad of emotional challenges...

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Schools must not abandon at-risk students

Schools provide our kids with intellectual stimulation, social interaction and educational instruction. 

But for some students, they are so much more. They are a refuge, a source of stability, and maybe the only place they get a full meal throughout the day. 

For these students, school isn’t just a place to learn. It is a lifeline. 

The coronavirus upended all of our lives in countless ways – with school at the top of the list. It’s understandable that many parents, teachers, and districts are exploring virtual learning options until the pandemic passes. 

But for many students, “virtual learning” is not an option. How do you learn online if you don’t have a...

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