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Catch the Desert Cafe Tonight on ACB Radio Interactive

September 12, 2010 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The Desert Cafe now opens at a new time!

The  Cafe will  no longer open on Monday.  Instead,  we will open the doors on Sunday nights. So, if you are interested in listening to great internet radio  before bed or while you are drinking your  coffee getting ready for   your day,then  join us. You will have fun hanging out in the Cafe.

We will play  cool songs from A to Z and serve up our famous delicious virtual food and beverages.

In addition, Darrell will have  his usual technology segment.  This time, he will discuss the iPhones touch screen and explain how it works from a blindness perspective.

Do you find this menu appetizing? If it has appeal, then point your browser to ACB Radio Interactive and listen from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific time, 9:00 to 11:00 Mountain time, 10:00 to midnight Central time, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern time or 03:00 Universal time.

We look forward to spending time with all of you tonight in the Desert Cafe.

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Arcadia Real Estate Professional Gives His Life Blood to Help Others

May 31, 2010 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Arcadia commercial real estate professional Lawrence A. Lippincott saves lives through his frequent donation of blood platelets.

The platelets, which are a part of the blood that enables clotting after a cut, scrape or other injury, are most often needed by cancer patients.

“There’s definitely a shortage of platelets because it takes about two to two and a half hours to donate them each week,” Lippincott said. “I think most people who do this donate whole blood, which only takes about 15 minutes.”

Lippincott donates platelets about once per week at United Blood Services’ Commerce Center location at 1405 N. Hayden in Scottsdale.

He said donating blood is a comfortable and easy way to give back to the community.

“They make you as comfortable as possible. You get a snack and beverages afterwards. You can read, listen to music or watch TV,” Lippincott said. “The room has to be kept cool because of the blood products, so they put heating pads on your back and a blanket over you.”

He said blood donation is even more convenient for him because of the slow commercial real estate industry in the valley.

“You’re giving blood so it’s not a form of economic hardship on a family or a person,” Lippincott said. “It’s not like giving aid to Afghanistan where sometimes it ends up stuck on the dock, they’ve bought the wrong products and it goes to waste because there’s a lot of bureaucracy. But you know this blood goes to a good cause. We’re saving lives.”

Lippincott said he has been donating blood on a volunteer basis for over 20 years.

“I had just moved to California and gotten a job as a shopping center manager,” he said. “I just saw one of those blood mobiles and decided to donate. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Scottsdale real estate professional Branden Lombardi said he relied on donated blood during his three-year battle against bone cancer, which was diagnosed at age 17.

“You have to be very conscious of your blood counts while going through treatments because the idea behind chemotherapy is to target all rapidly dividing cells in order to kill the cancer,” Lombardi said. “It also kills the white blood cells that help you fight infection, the red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout your body and the platelets which help prevent blood from flowing when you cut or scrape yourself or brush your teeth too hard.”

He said he received frequent transfusions of red blood cells and platelets after each of his chemotherapy treatments.

Lombardi said a stem cell transplant put his cancer into remission.

“They gave me ultra-high doses of chemotherapy to wipe out all the cancer,” Lombardi said. “When I was done with the chemotherapy, they introduced the stem cells into my body with the idea of building me back up.”

“After the transplant, I received daily transfusions of red blood cells and platelets to help me recover faster,” he said.

At age 29, Lombardi said he appreciates the generosity of blood donors like Lippincott.

“I’m not speaking hypothetically when I say blood donors helped save my life,” he said. “In October I will have been nine years post-transplant, there have been no reoccurrences of cancer, and I am as happy and healthy as anyone can be.”

Sue Thew, media and public relations specialist with United Blood Services, said the demand for blood in the valley always outstrips supply, especially for platelets.

“We fill the needs of 54 hospitals in this state and it takes about 700 blood donors each day to do that,” she said.

Thew said United Blood Services always finds a way to meet the needs of the community.

“Arizona is quickly becoming the epicenter for cancer research and modern medical treatments,” Thew said. “The increased demand in platelet transfusions for those patients is currently being met with the assistance of out-of-state resources. To accommodate this surge, we are expanding facilities for platelet donations and are actively looking for more platelet donors.”

She said it’s a race against time.

“Platelets have a shelf life of five days,” Thew said. “The first 24 to 36 hours are spent testing and preparing the platelets, so we don’t have much time to get those donations to the people who need them most.”

Thew said platelets are just one of several possible ways to donate blood.

“You can also give red blood cells, plasma or whole blood, with whole blood taking as few as 15 minutes to donate,” said Thew. “The component of your blood you would be donating depends on your blood type and our most pressing needs.”

Thew said she recommends anyone interested in donating blood to call United Blood Services at 877-448-4483 or visit the organization’s website at unitedbloodservices.org.

“I’m happy to be giving something that I know is going 100 percent to the end user,” Lippincott said. “I think the important thing is that it’s not about me. It’s about getting the word out that there is a shortage in the community and there’s always a need. This is something people can do to give when money is tight.”

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New Downtown Court Tower Design Aims to Protect Crime Victims

May 1, 2010 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

This story, which I originally wrote for my news writing class, was just published on a local news website.

The new Maricopa County Court Tower will be designed to safeguard the rights of crime victims.

The 16-story tower located at the corner of First Avenue and Madison Street in downtown Phoenix is slated for a Feb. 2012 opening.

Criminal court administrator Bob James said separation of defendants and victims is a key design feature of the new building.

“We have provided spaces that are private for the use of victims,” James said. “If a person is uncomfortable with being in the courtroom, they can be in
an adjacent victims’ room where they can watch all the proceedings.”

He said this separation is important in areas people might not think about.

“Victims told us that sometimes they feel apprehensive when they have to use the bathroom,” James said. “The nearest restroom may be where the defendant
or his or her family goes.”

He said the victims’ rooms address this concern by providing separate restroom facilities.

James said every effort has been taken to maintain separation when victims must appear in open court.

“If the prosecutors decide the victim needs to testify, they would actually need to come into the courtroom,” James said. “But, even then, we’ve created
an entrance separate from the gallery or the one used by defendants.”

James said security is critical in a courthouse that will also hold defendants whose cases are coming up for trial.

“One of the lower levels will be a holding facility for the Sharif’s department,” James said. “They will have the holding capacity for up to 1,400 defendants.
so the only time the traffic flow of the in-custody defendants meets with the judges, staff and the public is in the courtroom itself.”

Special Court Counsel Jessica Funkhouser said the need for separation of defendants from victims goes beyond comfort and safety.

“Victims are regularly cautioned by judges and prosecutors to avoid showing their emotions in the courtroom so as not to cause a mistrial,” Funkhouser said.
“They can retreat to the victims’ room and watch the trial on a video monitor without having to worry about the jury or anyone else in the courtroom seeing
them.”

Criminal defense attorney Michael V. Black said he has reservations about the preferential treatment of crime victims in the courthouse.

“There’s a whole lot of types of victims and they’re just another witness,” Black said. “I don’t see why they should be given any more consideration than
an ordinary witness in a particular case. If they treated everyone the same, that would be fine with me.”

He said he would be concerned if it turns out a courthouse designed to protect victims interfered with a defendant’s constitutional right to face their
accuser.

“The Supreme Court said the victim has to be there (in court) and they have to testify in front of the defendant and have to be cross-examined in front
of them, so they can’t do anything to interfere with that,” Black said. “If the courtroom impedes on that, it will not pass constitutional muster.”

Funkhouser said separating defendants and their families from victims and their families benefits everyone.

“You’ve seen videos where fights break out in courtrooms where the families of defendants and victims jump over the rails and attack each other,” she said.
“The whole idea is that a courthouse that’s safe for victims is going to be safer for everybody.”

Funkhouser said the design of the new court tower has been carried out in direct compliance with Arizona’s constitution and legislation addressing the need
to minimize contact between defendants and victims.

“I don’t know of any other court buildings in the United States that have gone to this extent,” Funkhouser said. “Arizona is the first state to have a victims’
bill of rights amendment. So I think this courthouse is the most innovative in terms of addressing victims’ needs and their rights.”

Guest article contributed by Darrell Shandrow and Jordan Moon, Students
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

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Advocates Urge Passage of Legislation to Increase Safety, improve Accessibility and Foster Work Incentives for the Blind

February 4, 2010 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

WASHINGTON – Hundreds of advocates met Monday evening near Capitol Hill to urge the passage of legislation designed to ensure the safety of pedestrians around quiet cars, increase the accessibility of technology for blind people and put blind Social Security recipients back to work.

The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act would begin a two-year study to determine the most effective way to ensure the safety of blind and other pedestrians around electric and hybrid vehicles. The results of the study would be used to mandate a minimum level of sound quiet cars would be required to make along with any other necessary vehicle safety standards.

Advocates with the National Federation of the Blind contend the need for this law goes far beyond the blind population to include all pedestrians.

“The general public doesn’t realize that even when they’re not actively doing it, they use the sound of traffic all the time like the blind,” said Chris Danielsen, director of public relations for the National Federation of the Blind. “People are told they shouldn’t jog or walk with their headphones turned up loud because they can’t hear sounds in the environment that may be a danger.”

The federation’s leaders said they’re already making headway on this legislation. The House bill, H.R. 734, has 174 co-sponsors while the Senate bill, S. 841, has 19. Blind people will be spending the next three days working to persuade their representatives and senators to sign on and vote for a bill they say will ensure their continued freedom of safe travel.

The federation’s advocates and other interested members of the blind community are also pressing for enactment of a Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind. The proposed legislation would require that appliances, consumer electronics, kiosks and office technology be made accessible to everyone regardless of eye sight.

“Joe Shaw owns a company. He goes over to his own FAX machine, but he can’t operate it. It’s not accessible. When I go to the gymn, I can run but I can’t turn on the machines,” said John Paré, director of governmental affairs for the National Federation of the Blind. “This is wrong. This needs to be against the law and we can make it against the law this week.”

In a manner similar to the pedestrian safety legislation, a study would be conducted to determine the minimum accessibility standards companies would be required to meet. At the conclusion of the study, regulations would be enacted to enforce the new standards.

The proposed legislation, H.R. 4533, has 44 co-sponsors and advocates said they are working over the next three days to significantly increase that number.

Finally, the federation is asking Congress to pass the Blind Person’s Return to Work Act into law, which would provide incentives for blind people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance to return to work.

The legislation, H.R. 886, is designed to gradually reduce benefits as a blind person’s earnings increase, determine ongoing eligibility based on annual rather than monthly earnings and simplify the way blind recipients can account for work expenses related to their disability.

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ACB Radio covering the Rose Bowl Parade

December 30, 2009 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

We are happy to carry the following listening opportunity announcement from ACB Radio.

It is with great pleasure to let you know that ACB Radio will be streaming the Rose Bowl Parade on January 1, 2010.

The coverage will begin at 15:30 UTC, which is 10:30 A.M eastern and 7:30 A.M pacific.

The coverage will be streamed on ACB Radio world.

Ken Metz will be providing the coverage from the home & garden TV booth.

Also there will be full audio description provided on the stream so you won’t miss a single movement in the parade!

So mark your calendars!

  • Date: Friday January 1, 2010.
  • Start time: 15:30 UTC 10:30 A.M eastern and 7:30 A.M pacific.
  • Where: ACB Radio World

Hope to see you there!

Larry Turnbull

ACB Radio Managing Director

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Free Wi-Fi ups coffee shops’ popularity

October 10, 2009 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

I wrote this story for my news writing (JMC 301) class. It was published in the Oct. 6 edition of The State Press. I have reposted it in full for the benefit of blind readers, who may find this copy easier to access

Photo caption:

surfing the web: ASU sophomore Michael Robinson takes advantage of the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks Monday night. He said he often comes after work to meet friends or study. (scott stuk | The State Press)

By: Darrell Shandrow

Published On: Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Many Tempe coffee shop customers said free wireless Internet access adds an important dimension to their experience, and shop owners are delighted by the increased business.

Margie Derwin, owner of Margie’s Coffee House just west of South Hardy Drive on West Broadway Road in Tempe, said she added free Wi-Fi shortly after her shop’s April grand opening and has never looked back.

The business generated by customers who use the free Internet connection is well worth the $80 monthly price tag, Derwin said.

“A lot of people come in here and ask if we have Wi-Fi,” said Derwin. “They’re either students wanting to study or businesspeople who need to work. They need to get to the Internet.”

Psychology senior Lauren Watson prefers shops that help her go online and study.

“I’m much more likely to frequent a coffee shop if it has wireless Internet available,” Watson said. “Most of the stuff I have to do is online, either through Blackboard or other sites where I need to look up information.”

Watson is not alone. According to a September 2008 survey released by standards-setting organization Wi-Fi Alliance, 52 percent of undergraduate college students said the availability of wireless Internet connectivity affects their coffee shop choice.

Amir Dabir, a tourist attending a conference in Phoenix, frequents coffee shops regularly. He said shops get more of his business when they offer free Wi-Fi.

“I like to drink coffee, answer e-mails and be able to enjoy myself online while I’m at the coffee shop,” Dabir said as he waited to meet a friend at Cupz Coffee on South College Avenue, just north of the Tempe campus.

Dabir said he appreciates a shop with a free, reliable wireless connection.

“If it doesn’t have free Wi-Fi, I wouldn’t sit around and do work,” he said. “I’d just basically get my coffee and leave.”

Hannah Baldwin, wildlife biology junior and a barista at Xtreme Bean on East Southern Avenue in Tempe, said students spend an average of two to three hours in the coffee shop when they go online.

“Just looking around, you can see pretty much half the people with their laptops,” she said.

Many of the students who go online at the store are also socializing or participating in study groups, Baldwin said.

“We have some students we see come in midday and they don’t leave until we close,” Baldwin said. “Everyone who comes in grabs a coffee and they sit down and it’s totally fine. It’s a good atmosphere.”

The ambience of a coffee shop is almost as important is whether it has Wi-Fi, Watson said.

“The atmosphere has a lot to do with it, of course,” she said. “I’m looking for one that’s friendly but individual, where it’s quiet enough so you can be on your own if you need to, or you can start a conversation with a stranger.”

Derwin said she aims to please with her shop’s fast, reliable Wi-Fi connections and calm, friendly atmosphere.

“I get a handful of serious students who come in here and want to find a place to study,” said Derwin. “I like the home-away-from-home feeling. I want people to feel like they’re at home. We’re just relaxing. There’s no stress. We’re just being friendly.”

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Friday’s State-wide Cox Outage Inconveniences Customers

September 27, 2009 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Some Cox Communications customers throughout Arizona woke up Friday morning to find themselves disconnected from their digital lives. Technical support calls were greeted by a recorded message that stated: “We are currently experiencing outages affecting high speed Internet and digital telephone state-wide. Our engineers are working to resolve this issue. There is no estimated time of repair.”

Tempe resident Lauren Peikoff, an Arizona State University journalism student, wanted to go online before leaving for class.

“I needed to check to see if I had any assignments posted,” said Peikoff. “I wanted to find out if there was anything else I needed to do. What if my instructor said class was canceled?”

She was also concerned about an assignment in her online class due Friday evening.

“I was thinking ahead. OK. I am going to have to go to the library to submit my homework,” Peikoff said.

She was relieved to discover she could complete the assignment at home after service was restored sometime between 1:30 and 2 p.m.

Tempe resident Corey Nava also experienced the outage.

“I was trying to check my e-mail at the time and I couldn’t even get to it. It was just a pain, really,” Nava said. “I was actually looking for a car online, too, so, it kind of put a damper on that.”

Cox representatives said the service interruption was caused by a software problem.

“It disrupted service to around 10 percent of our customers,” said Michael Dunne, Director of Media Relations, Cox Communications, Southern Arizona. “It wasn’t geographically located. It was kind of all over. Our techs immediately started working the issue.”

Cox Media Relations Director Andrea Katsenes prefers not to classify the incident as an outage. “The interruption was intermittent,” she said.

“We’ve been talking to our customers on a case-by-case basis,” Katsenes said, declining to provide details on any steps Cox might take to compensate customers.

Nava said he won’t ask Cox for any credit to his account. “I probably won’t even follow up on it. It was an inconvenience and it’s not the first time it happened.”

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Washington D.C.: Radio Silence on the Subway

August 11, 2009 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Seems there’s virtually no connectivity available while riding the Metro subway. Verizon is the only cellular carrier with cell towers in the subway, so those of us who rely on alternate carriers like AT&T are just out of luck while underground. In addition, the Metro system does not offer Wi-Fi, so there’s no Internet access. Since all mobile cell and Internet communications involve the good old air waves, I say there’s virtual radio silence while riding the D.C. area subway. Oh, well, maybe there are actually times when it’s good to disconnect and get away from it all…

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