Stories in the ‘All Things Quirky’ category …

Lady Luck Decides Town Council Winner In Arizona

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

(Cave Creek, AZ) Cave Creek, Ariz., is the kind of bedroom community where there are more saguaro cactuses than people. When last month’s Town Council race ended in a two-way tie, Mayor Vincent Francia thought it should be settled cowboy-style: “The two candidates would assemble downtown Cave Creek at High Noon and go at it with paintballs.” Instead they turned to Arizona law, which says tied local elections may be determined by chance: rolling dice, flipping a coin or cutting cards. Listen here.

This story aired on NPR’s Morning Edition.

A Cartoonist Looks Beyond Newspapers

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

(Phoenix, AZ) Tony Carrillo went to his first national cartooning convention when he was 26 years old. Wandering around the convention floor, Carrillo was in awe of the cartooning heavyweights in his midst. Rene Gutel reports on the cartoonist behind the nationally syndicated strip F Minus. Listen here.

This story aired on NPR’s Day to Day and KJZZ.

McCain’s Real Summer Home

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

(Cornville, AZ) The names of presidential hometowns have a special ring to them, a sort of geographical charisma or gravitas. There was Hope, Arkansas. Plains, Georgia. Crawford, Texas and Kennebunkport, Maine. Well if John McCain is elected, the world will get to know a tiny town tucked in Arizona’s Verde Valley. It’s where McCain goes for weekend getaways. And it’s not where you think. Listen here.

This piece was produced for KJZZ and Weekend America.

Hot Jobs: Air Conditioner Repairman

Friday, August 15th, 2008

(Phoenix, AZ) When it gets really hot out and your air conditioner conks out, Russ Wichterman could be your knight in shining armor. Wichterman tells us what it’s like to be an air conditioning repairman. Listen Here.

This story aired on KJZZ and Marketplace.

A 60-Something College Tennis Champ

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

(Glendale, AZ) The women’s tennis team at Grand Canyon University in Arizona has an unusual player this year — a 60-year-old named Sheila Johnson. She played for three years at Arizona State in the ’60s, but still had one year of eligibility left. Listen here.

This story was produced for KJZZ and NPR’s Day to Day.

Provencal Singers

Monday, April 7th, 2008

As many as half of the world’s languages are at risk of going extinct. But in Southern France, a singing group is trying to keep one of the dying languages alive. Rene Gutel profiles Marombrina, four women who sing in the Middle Ages tongue known as Provencal. Listen here.

This story was produced for Here and Now.

French Jazz Guitarist Thomas Dutronc

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

dutronc.jpgThe son of a famous French pop singer says he doesn’t like Paris anymore. Rene Gutel explains why in this profile of jazz guitarist Thomas Dutronc. Listen here.

This story was reported for PRI’s The World.

Signing Up to be Watched

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

jody.jpg(Phoenix, AZ) Phoenix singer-songwriter Jody Gnant is never alone. That’s because she has been streaming her life on the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the last six months. She’s part of a new generation of “lifecasters.” Listen here!

This story was reported for KJZZ and Weekend America.

Wife Works Christmas Consumerism

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

tree.jpgReporter Rene Gutel from member station KJZZ in Phoenix buys her husband a wireless portable reading device for Christmas for $400. Amazon later sells out of the “in” gift; no more will be available before Christmas. Gutel finds she can sell the hard-to-find item on eBay for a $600 profit.The opportunity puts her in an ethical tailspin. She decides whether to surprise her husband with the perfect gift — or just take the cash.
Listen Here.

This story was reported for the alt.NPR podcast, B-Side Radio. It later aired on KJZZ and NPR’s Day to Day.

Pet Owners Pay for Lavish Funerals

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

(Phoenix, AZ) Americans are spending record amounts of money on their pets including the latest trend: a full-service funeral. The first pet-only funeral home opened three years ago. But traditional funeral homes are branching out to offer services for dogs, cats, horses and more. Rene Gutel reports from member station KJZZ. Listen here.

This story was reported for KJZZ and NPR’s Morning Edition.