Sunday, March 19, 2017

3.61 of 48: KNAU/National Public Radio

When Jacki and I sat down and planned out this project, we knew that things may come up that felt urgent, that would throw our schedule into disarray (let’s be honest here, every day it’s something new and our heads are spinning a bit). We are already working on April (it’s going to be a doozy) and May is set as well. So we decided to do a mid-month post to support a group about which both of us feel strongly. Jacki's on a plane back from Hawaii, and it’s a Sunday, so instead of doing our usual “interview” with the organization’s leadership, I am going to pull some information from their Facebook page and share some of my personal love for KNAU and NPR!

So why urgent? The free press is being targeted by the administration (google it, you’ll find hundreds of articles explaining why the administration's treatment of press is ominous). The graphic to the left has been widely circulated to show how the different outlets lean and which possess the most and least bias. I’m sure everyone could pick a bone or two of contention here, but we feel that overall it’s a good guide to help steer us away from Fake News. On this chart, you will see NPR straight down that middle line of impartiality.

We also have been reading that NPR is one of many agencies slated for cuts in the Federal budget. I can’t even get into the idiocy of this budget because you’ll see me go into a rage spiral (it ain't pretty), so I’m just going to point you to this article to learn more:

With impeccable timing and very high ratings, KNAU just started their Spring Pledge Drive Lite. Jacki and I (thanks to a suggestion from our friend Erin Strout, an editor for Runner's World and all around amazing human) feel that all signs point to featuring KNAU/NPR sooner rather than later!

What does NPR, specifically our local affiliate KNAU, mean to me? The Zellers went partial hippie when we moved to our new house four years ago, and chose not to install cable TV in our home. I was a junkie of the 24-hour news cycle, and as parents we decided we needed to be done with the constant hum in the background. This is not to say we don’t binge on Netflix and get plenty of screen time; our choices are just more deliberate now. One thing we always choose is to turn on NPR as soon as our feet hit the kitchen floor and we start up the coffeemaker. My kids sing along to the Morning Edition song ("dooo do do do do do do do…") and my friends Steve Inskeep, Rachel Martin and David Greene tell me in a rational and calm manner what idiocy has occurred overnight. It’s like they are coming through the speaker every morning telling me to take a deep breath, it’s not what you wanted to hear, but we are going to say it in the most soothing tones possible so you don’t throw yourself off of your deck. “Have a nice day, Cristy! The world is falling apart, but we are here for you!”

I have several friends and acquaintances who work for KNAU and hearing their voices as they report the local news (one of the few places we can actually GET local news in our small town) is like having my coffee with friends as the sun comes up. Other than the news, our family also enjoys so many of the other shows… Prairie Home Companion (Chris Thile has breathed new life into the music on this show!), Fresh Air, replays of old Car Talk episodes… just to name a few. years YYMy sister, Sara, has also worked with WNYC on a podcast, “Lies,” and I have been impressed by the quality of programming come from that affiliate in particular.

So, yeah yeah you get it. I’m a big fan of NPR and we need to do everything we can to keep them on the air - it’s more important than ever!

Here's what we can do to help:
  • Make a contribution online by clicking the "donate" button on the KNAU Facebook page. (it takes less than 5 minutes to donate. Go ahead and "Like" their page if you haven't already! 
  • Make a contribution by going to
  • Change your Facebook profile picture to the KNAU logo (see FB page to download it) 
  • Go online to and sign the petition to save our NPR stations 
  • Share this 48 months post!!! Wherever your friends live, this is something easy that we all can do! 
The importance of a free press in a democracy cannot be overstated. It was critical enough to our founding fathers to spell it out specifically in the First Amendment. As citizens, regardless of our political leanings, we have an obligation to demand that our government (at all levels) uphold these principles. Help us say a big fat NO to Fake News, and support your NPR affiliate… today!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Month 3 of 48: Second Chance Center for Animals

There’s just a little bit going on in this country right now – Travel Ban; Russia; Healthcare; Ben Carson being completely ignorant. While we aren’t suggesting that you lose focus on these important issues, we are suggesting a puppy break. Or a kitty break if that’s more your speed.

This month we shift our focus to Second Chance Center for Animals, an organization in our community doing incredible work on behalf of our four-legged friends. Cristy and I sort of informally agreed to take turns writing posts for this blog. But, seeing that her entire family is allergic to anything with fur, and they have zero intention of owning anything more difficult than a beta fish, we decided that I (Jacki) should probably tackle this one.

I was nervous. I’ve never actually set foot in an animal shelter. I got my rescue dog from someone who found her in a Target parking lot. I can’t watch movies or read books where animals die. Don’t get me started on Sarah McLachlan and those freaking ASPCA commercials. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to leave there without an armful of animals because I would be SO sad for them.

Jacki and her rescue dog, Zee.
Like so many things with this 48 Months project, the reality didn’t match up with what I expected. Second Chance is a HAPPY place, full of hope, love, and adorable fur babies. Their focus is on showcasing positive interactions between animals and humans, and preparing these animals for a future in their forever homes.

Jamey Hasapis, the Volunteer & Events Manager at Second Chance, toured me around the property and I was blown away at the size and scope of the facility, and the programs they have designed with a small staff and a robust volunteer base.

Second Chance works with 38 animal rescue partners in four different states, and works closely with the Coconino Humane Association, to accommodate about 100 animals at a time. The feline residents’ accommodations include a background of classical music, rocking chairs for volunteers to hang out, and an outdoor “catio” area. I made friends with Socks, an 18-pound ball of love who reminded me of my cat from growing up. He was mercifully adopted later in the week so I didn’t have to start my aggressive “let’s get a cat” campaign with my cat-averse husband.

The canine set also receives the royal treatment at Second Chance, with an adjacent five acres for walks, and practice for the real world in the staged “living room” funded by a grant from Walmart. And all of the animals benefit from the enrichment garden, where they grow veggies (pumpkin, etc.) for dogs and catnip, aka kitty crack, for the cats.

Even though Second Chance wasn’t open to the public on the day I visited, it was bustling with volunteers. There is a giant whiteboard in the volunteer room that gives them direction on what needs to be done each day. Not so into animals (ahem, Cristy)? – tend the garden or stuff cat toys. On that particular day, there was a special request to socialize Grumpy and Sleepy, two of the resident Chihuahuas. Even if you’re not looking to come home with a new furry friend, go visit Second Chance. I promise it’s an uplifting experience, unlike those Sarah McLachlan commercials.

How can you help?

Cash: Second Chance is always looking for donations that can help continue its existing programs and allow them to develop new programs. Donations can be made directly on the website at  

Donations: Second Chance is fortunate to have a partnership with Nestle Purina that provides them food for the shelter animals. But, they are always looking for toys, blankets, and non-dog food items like canned pumpkin and canned sweet potato.

Events: This is where Second Chance shines – they put on some amazing events throughout the year!

April 22 – Paws and Claws Circus
 A "muttly" crew at the first Barks and Brews event
This is the first time they have done an event AT the shelter, and it will feature the amazing acrobatics of Dark Sky Aerial. Tickets are $75 and information can be found at:

June 25 - Pets in the Pines
Second Chance and other northern Arizona rescue groups gather together to showcase shelter animals, encourage adoptions, and offer information and activities for all pets.

TBD – Barks and Brews
A walking pub crawl through downtown Flagstaff with your dog? Sign me up. We did the inaugural event last fall and it was a blast!

Volunteer: Second Chance runs an impressive volunteer program, with opportunities for all ages and interests. Training is required for some of the volunteer tasks, but one thing I loved is that volunteers are NEVER left sitting there with nothing to do. This is an organization that truly relies on its volunteers to operate each and every day.

Animal Interactions: If you’re not quite ready to make a full-time commitment to animal ownership, Second Chance offers some great opportunities to test the waters. You can sign a dog out for a day to do a hike, or make a full one-night commitment with the “Slumber Party Pooches” program that allows participants to foster a dog for a night. Running and dogs go together like peas and carrots, and this is the program I’m most excited to try out:

Running Buddies: A partnership between Second Chance and Run Flagstaff, the Running Buddies Program is just what it sounds like – a weekly run with one of the shelter dogs. Sign up at

For those who don’t live in Flagstaff, we encourage you to reach out to your own rescue organizations or Humane Associations! Even if you’re not looking to adopt, you can offer your support!  

-Jacki Lenners