Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on April 13, 1990 · Page 15
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 15

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Friday, April 13, 1990
Page 15
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STATE EDITION The Arizona Republic section 1jlley&State B FRIDAY APRIL 13, 1990 u. MONTINI Republic Columnist Mythological Graces bow to new rival This is about a trio of mythological goddesses called the Three Graces which an artist named Jim Branscum spotted five years ago inside a television and stereo store at the Paradise Valley Mall. Branscum had been awarded a hefty commission back then to produce a three-figure sculpture for the mall. He planned to call it Three Graces. In Greek mythology, the Graces are Brilliance, Joy and Bloom, sister goddesses who have more to do with fertility agricultural and otherwise than faith or hope or love. Branscum's plan was to put a Christian spin on the Greek myth, then mix it up with Native Ameri can imagery. That s because, in Arizona, Chris tian references and Native American images sell. And creating something that sells is one difference between mythology and reality. At any rate, Branscum needed a model for The Graces. While standing in an electronics store at the mall, he spotted LcAnn Perkins looking at a television. LeAnn, now 13, is an Apache girl. Along with an older cousin, she is being raised as a daughter by Chris and Cecil Perkins. Cecil is a retired Baptist minister. Chris runs a home for the elderly. Neither one knew much about art or artists. 'Was excited about doing it' After several conversations with Branscum, however, the Perkins family agreed to allow LeAnn to work as the artist's model. LeAnn was to be the image for all three Graces. "She was excited about doing it," Chris Perkins told me. "She was real dedicated to it. She went to Jim's studio every day for about five hours and did that for months." As payment, Branscum agreed to give LeAnn a onc-third-scale bronze casting of the finished sculpture. He planned to do 20 such castings, each one worth as much as $1 5,000. "We felt like we got to know Jim pretty good," Chris Perkins said. "After a while, he asked us if we'd be interested in investing in future work of his. The idea was to give him the money so that he could work on projects, and, when they sold, he would pay us back with interest. He told us we might even double our money." Chris and Cecil invested $20,000, the family nest egg, in Branscum's future work. Three Graces was unveiled at a ceremony in April 1986. It shows three versions of LeAnn wearing traditional Apache attire and striking poses that are supposed to represent Faith, Hope and Love. Waited for casting For almost a year after the unveiling, the Perkinses waited for a scaled-down casting to arrive at their home. Several collectors who had ordered copies received them. "We waited to hear about the statue, and we waited to hear how our investment was coming along," Chris said. What they heard instead, in late 1987, was that Jim Branscum had filed for relief under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Branscum, it turned out, had contracted pancre atitis, a potentially fatal disease often associated with alcohol abuse. Because he had no medical insurance, the hospital and doctor bills ruined him. For about a year, my doctors were treating me for ulcers," Branscum said. "They'd tell me it was stress and tell me to relax. So I'd go out with a buddy and have a few drinks. That only made the condition worse. I found out I have one of those bodies that can't tolerate alcohol at all. "I lost houses, cars, even my marriage broke up. My work was sold for pennies on the dollar. I lost everything." Slowly getting 'back on my feet' It took Branscum two years to recover. Last year, he did a bust of country singer Waylon Jennings. A picture of it ended up on one of Jennings' record albums. The artist also got a $300,000 commission for another three-figure piece of sculpture, this one at a Scottsdale business development. 'Slowly," he said, "I'm getting back on my feet. Someday, I hope to repay all the debts I owe." Among the rights Branscum lost to bankruptcy, however, .was the right to reproduce Three Graces. "We doubt we'll ever get a copy, Chris Perkins said. "And we were told by bankruptcy experts that we shouldn't expect to get our $20,000 back, either." She paused, then added, We still go to the mall to admire the statue. We just can't take it home." That is part of the difference between the mythical and the real. These days, you may have difficulty holding on to Faith or Hope or Love without the assistance of an even mightier contemporary goddess: Money. More Local News Mount Graham squirrel controversy Arizona's senators seek "credible evidence" that an opinion on the red squirrel was prepared improperly. CI. OBITUARIES, C7. Deputy charged wftmurdler.. Pima County lawman killed unarmed man By Dee Ralles The Arizona Republic TUCSON A Pima County sheriffs deputy who shot and killed an unarmed man whom he was trying to arrest in the back yard of an Ajo home was charged Thursday with second-degree murder. Deputy Mark Penncr, 23, was issued a summons ordering him to make an initial appearance today before Judge G. Thomas Meehan of Superior Court, sheriff's Maj. Russell Davis said. Penner shot Tyrone Childs, 20, a Tohono O'bdham Indian for whom an arrest warrant was outstanding on burglary and aggravated-assault charges. The shooting occurred April 1 at a home where Childs was to have been given a birthday party when he turned 21 the following day. An autopsy showed that Childs was hit in the head, torso and back by seven .45-caliber bullets fired at close range and in rapid succession. Penner continued firing his automatic pistol after Childs began to fall, an autopsy indicated. Witnesses said that when the deputy approached Childs in the yard, the victim was carrying his 3-year-old nephew on his shoulders. The shooting occurred after the child was put down. Sheriffs Sgt. Tom Petropolous said the autopsy revealed that Child's blood-alcohol level was 0.25 percent, 2.5 times the level that state law defines as intoxication. Penner, who has been with the Sheriffs Department for two years, has refused on the advice of his attorney to give statements to a sheriffs team investigating the shooting. He was given two weeks' notice Tuesday that the department would move to fire him on grounds of insubordination. Penner's only statement on the matter came immediately afte the shooting, when he told his superiors that he began firing when Childs made threatening movements toward him. Sgt. Richard Kastigar, a sheriffs spokesman, said the decision to charge Penner was made after members of the county attorney's staff and sheriffs officials reviewed information obtained in an investigation. According to Kastigar, the filing of the murder charge has no immediate bearing on Penner's employment status. The deputy remains on administrative leave with pay pending an April 24 hearing on the move to fire him. The FBI also is investigating the shooting to determine whether Childs' civil rights were violated. Mif 'fM mm 'l ' f' . ; . ' a- ij-- . ' Christine KeithThe Arizona Republic Nine-year-old Katrina Hamp helps decorate the back wall of. turned into a painting party Wednesday as more than 50 children Hedlund Fabric & Supply Company Inc. "Operation Manicure" came out to cover gang-related graffiti with their own designs. SPRAY OUD 50 kids repaint defaced walls and they're proud By M.E. Saavedra The Arizona Republic Declarations of war and love are communicated through graffiti at housing projects nestled between Van Buren and Washington streets near downtown Phoenix. Fresh and fading words spray-painted on the walls of businesses and housing-project complexes bounded, by 17th and 1 8th streets provide a detailed look into the lives of the young gang members in the area, according to one policeman. "Graffiti is more than just a form of communication," said Officer Levi Bolton Jr., who walks a beat in the Sidney P. Osborn, Duppa Villa and Luke Krohn East public housing projects east of downtown Phoenix. "A lot of times, it's a vocalization of territory. Often, it boasts of events that are going to happen, tell what happened and tell who did it. They also boast of their courtships." "Wino," "Frizz" and "Crazy Cut One" are painted on one wall. They are the nicknames of members of Los Companeros Locos, an Hispanic gang in the area. The author, "Mr. Birdie," identified himself by listing his name first, a common practice among gang members, said Bolton, who has worked in the projects for six years. After area residents and businesses complained about having to constantly repaint buildings to wipe out the graffiti, Bolton said, the police tracked down the authors and gave the juveniles two choices: . Paint over the graffiti or face criminal-damage charges. Three weeks ago, 16 youngsters accused of the criminal damage repainted the project its original beige color. The neighborhood response was positive, so the police Wednesday created "Operation Manicure" to rid other area buildings of graffiti. See KIDS, pagcB2 171 job cuts rile Tuba City Teachers, aides to leave in May By George Hardeen Special for The Arizona Republic TUBA CITY Navajo and Hopi teachers, parents, classroom aides and pupils reacted angrily Thursday to the layoffs of 171 teachers and other staff members more than one-third of the district's employees announced Wednesday by the board of the public-school district. The job cuts, effective at the end of the school year, involve all of the district's 123 Indian classroom aides, 46 Indian and non-Indian teachers and two high-school administrators. In addition, bus drivers' hours were cut to six per day from eight. Tuba City Unified School District No. 15 has four schools and two satellite classrooms with a total of about 3,000 pupils. It currently has 491 employees. Dozens of placards demanding the recall of the five-member school board and removal of district Superintendent Joseph Ball were mounted on fences and buildings Thursday throughout this Navajo Reservation community. A walkout by angry students at Tuba City High School was averted when teachers convinced them it would hurt the teachers and aides more than help them. "The kids were visibly upset,"said Jim Bcrcu, a teacher at the school. "The impact of this is so incredible in the community." Three school-board members declined to be interviewed on the issue. However, Ball said the job cuts were necessary because of overstaffing. He said a division of the high school last summer into two separate schools one a federally funded school no longer a part of the district resulted in the loss of 410 students and $947,000 in state funding. "No' one likes to eliminate positions," Ball said, "but the facts of the matter were we were just overstaffed." Sec 171 TEACHERS, page D6 Easter 'Celebration' returns to the stage Passion musical features special effects, 200 players By Kim Sue Lia Perkes Arizona Republic Religion Editor For the past 1 1 years, the story of Jesus, his death and his Resurrection has been staged in an elaborate musical that attracts tens of thousands of people. Tonight will be no different. But the Crucifixion scene will take on added meaning for Christians because today is Good Friday. A Celebration of Easter is an $80,000 production at Phoenix First Assembly of God that features a 200-membcr volunteer cast attired in brightly colored costumes. But watch out for the camels. When two live camels come through the theater aisles on their way to center stage, you never know what to expect. In fact, the church had to hold off bringing out a donkey for its opening performance Sunday because it had kicked its trainer in the head. There also are horses on stage and a yak. During the performance, "angels" fly 90 feet in the air and an actor portraying Jesus IF YOU GO A Celebration of Easter WHEN: 7 p.m. today, and 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday. WHERE:Phoenix First Assembly of God, 13613 N. Cave Creek Road. ADMISSION: Free. Tickets are available at the door. n-!; y ascends more than 100 feet. Special effects include sparks flying from the angels' fingers, igniting a boulder in front of Jesus' tomb, lots of smoke, and onstage fountains that shoot water about 50 feet in the air. Jesus, played by Del Turner, is actually attached to a cross on stage. Elaborate sets add to the drama, and a 40-piece professional orchestra provides the music. "We come here every year," said Anthony Barron, 30, who attends a charismatic church. He brings his wife and See 'CEUBRATION', pageB6 s . !jW!-.r:r if ' , -I f 1 n. ! a c a j Mid !. 'Ml 1 f AM A Celebration of Easter at Phoenix First Assembly of God features a 200-member volunteer cast, including Del Turner, who plays Jesus. Carson Stanford, who directs the musical, said, "It's a way to reach the unsaved." Caryl GrossmanThe Arizona Republic

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