Arizona Notes: Fading towns, shrinking newspapers, notable restaurants

Posted By Mike Padgett

Dec. 8, 2008

You might disagree but….

 • It is sad to watch some of Arizona’s rural communities fade. They once were the state’s bustling towns. Today, some are at the brink of fading into history. Their youngsters have moved on, leaving their elders with weather-beaten homes, vacant lots where businesses once stood, and struggling businesses years behind in maintenance. The communities that once were part of Arizona’s cattle, mining and railroad heritage are becoming our new ghost towns. The Internet could be helpful, if the communities could market themselves as the future homes of a Web-based work force. A quiet community offering a decent income is preferable to a traffic-choked metro region.


 • If journalism students in college today were to ask me about the future of newspapers, in the wake of nonstop news about media outlets closing, downsizing or cutting back on days of delivery, I have three suggestions: don’t give up on newspapers, become skilled at multimedia, and learn a second language. I’m seeing more media jobs with the bilingual requirement, mostly Spanish. Today’s journalism students are tomorrow’s media pioneers. We need the new journalists to help show us the way into a new media world.


 • McCormick & Schmick’s recently opened its second Arizona restaurant in Scottsdale at 8777 N. Scottsdale Road. Its first one is at Camelback Esplanade at 24th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix. I expect the Scottsdale restaurant will be popular because of the menu, service and location at The Shops at Gainey Village. It offers a first-class menu with a variety of fresh fish. As classy as the new Scottsdale restaurant is, my favorite in the chain is the McCormick & Schmick’s Harborside in Seattle, where the two-story restaurant’s wraparound windows are filled with views of Lake Union, boats, yachts, the marina and part of the Emerald City’s skyline.


 • Speaking of restaurants, we stopped at The Stockyards Restaurant in east Phoenix recently for lunch. It was moderately busy about 12:20 p.m. on a Friday. This restoration of the original Stockyards Restaurant, a chapter out of Arizona’s ranching history, is a five-star achievement. The western decor is subtle and comfortable, with the smell of money and business deals mingling with the kitchen aromas. I ordered the Buffalo Meatloaf. My Best Friend had a chicken sandwich. Both selections were excellent.

We were talked into dessert, so we split a mountainous slice of homemade cheesecake slathered with blackberry syrup. We’re very selective about where we eat, and the new Stockyards Restaurant rates high on our list.

The restaurant’s Web site includes menus. And be sure to click on the “history” tab to read about the eatery’s early days.


• Another of our favorite restaurants is the Brittlebush Bar & Grill at the Westin Kierland in northeast Phoenix. The dining area spills out onto a veranda overlooking the golf course. The menu offers creative selections. I enjoy anything with salmon. The wait staff are courteous and attentive, and parking is convenient.


• Ever heard of the Bakken Formation? According to a recent U.S. Geological Survey report, and a handful of sketchy news accounts, it’s supposed to be an enormous deposit of recoverable oil under Montana, North Dakota and Canada. In this time of unstable oil prices, I’m curious why there has been little publicity about it. This oil deposit, according to estimates, could lessen our dependence on foreign oil. For more information, go to the USGS site and type “Bakken” in the search box.


• Bruce Springsteen’s “Racing in the Street,” when he mentions a Chevy with a 396 engine and a Hurst shifter, reminds me of Friday night cruising with Chevelles, Corvettes, Barracudas, Challengers, Satellites and Mustangs. That was when fuel prices were much less than $1 a gallon.






Dec 8th, 2008

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