A Father and a Fighter: Lifesaver gets a new chance at life

As a Phoenix firefighter, Dave Wipprecht firmly believes in miracles. In 2014, that faith was tested when Wipprecht began having difficulty breathing. Although he was diagnosed with pneumonia, his breathing problems persisted so he checked into Banner Thunderbird Medical Center.

An echocardiogram revealed that his heart was four times its normal size. Wipprecht was given heart medication, but shortly afterward his leg began to hurt. Doctors found blood clots throughout his body, due to his heart only functioning at 10 percent.

Rushed into emergency surgery and then transferred to Mayo Clinic Hospital, Wipprecht was placed at the top of the waiting list for a new heart.

Journey of Faith

Throughout his three-and-a-half month stay at Mayo Clinic Hospital, hooked up to IVs and taking medication daily, Wipprecht maintained an optimistic attitude for his wife and three young sons.

In June 2015, his doctor told Wipprecht that they had exhausted all their options and predicted he only had nine days to live. Still, Wipprecht’s positivity never wavered. He continued to show strength and bravery, even amidst adversity, as any proud father would.

“I knew I’d get through this, knowing that I had to stay alive for my family,” Wipprecht says.

His faith was rewarded when, six days later, he received news that a new heart was available. Wipprecht says that he woke up smiling after the successful surgery.

“I could breathe normally,” Wipprecht says. “I felt new again.”

The Gift of New Life

Back at home just nine days later, Wipprecht took care of his new heart. After celebrating his two-year transplant anniversary, Wipprecht wrote a letter to his donor’s family and hopes to meet them someday.

Even before his transplant experience, Wipprecht had always been a registered donor. Now donation has even more meaning. At the fire department, he and his fellow firefighters always did everything they could to save someone’s life. On the sad occasion when that person might not make it, their efforts could still help save someone else’s life through donation. Wipprecht proudly displays a Donate Life license plate and shares his story with others.

“I would encourage others to stay positive and tell them there’s a reason for everything,” says Wipprecht. “And if it’s my time to go, then it’s my time to help others.”

Thanks to the generosity of others, Wipprecht can continue to be a father and a fighter, and for that he is forever grateful.

View this article at  dnaz.org


Boyle Sings at Carnegie Hall in New York City

Local singer and choral director Camille Boyle recently sang at Carnegie Hall in New York City with her choir group from Phoenix, the Carolyn Eynon Singers. She is an active community member with an incredible talent, who loves Wickenburg and enjoys raising a family in a small town.


Boyle graduated from the University of Utah with a masters degree in music, with a vocal performance emphasis. She moved to Atlantic City, N.J., with her husband, Steve Boyle, before they decided to move out west to be closer to family. Her husband had a job opportunity in town and they enjoyed Arizona, so Wickenburg became home. In 2005, they moved to town. She loves raising a family here, and appreciates the close knit community.

“It’s great raising a family in Wickenburg, where you go to the soccer fields and see your kids’ friends and a lot of the community,” said Boyle. “The small town feel is great.”


Along with raising a family, Boyle is also actively involved in the arts in town. She is the Director of Wickenburg Community Chorus, as well as choir director at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. During the school year, she can be found teaching music lessons at Hassayampa Elementary School and during the summer, she works at Camp Imagination as the vocal coach. Some of her favorite concerts have been with the Friends of Music and local Christmas choirs. She is happy to give back to the community with her talent.


“Coming here to a small town and being seen as an asset to the community,” said Boyle. “I really enjoy that a lot.”


Her love for singing began at a young age, when she took piano lessons. At the age of 13, she started taking professional voice lessons at a prestigious studio in Tennessee. Since then, she has sung as a professional soloist and been a member of various choral groups, the most recent being the CE Singers, an adult choral ensemble from Scottsdale. After a few years away from singing, she auditioned and became a member of the choir. Her talent has given her many opportunities, even beyond directing and teaching in Wickenburg.


“It’s been wonderful to get back in after so many years,” said Boyle.


The CE Singers wanted to celebrate their 10th anniversary, so they traveled to New York to perform with other choirs throughout the country at the prestigious Carnegie Hall. The group began the weekend trip by singing at the 9/11 memorial, which was a very somber experience. Boyle loved being immersed in the arts for a weekend and singing in a beautiful and famous venue, she said.


“The icing on the cake was the trip to Carnegie, because it has it all. You’re engulfed in New York City with theatre and music any time of the day. There’s never a dull moment,” Boyle said.

View this article at wickenburgsun.com.

Short hair or long hair – Which suites you better?

The struggle is real when it comes to hair. To cut it or not to cut it? I had long hair all throughout high school. If I’m being truthful, I barely even got it trimmed. Since I was active in sports and cheer, it made it easy for me to throw up in a ponytail and keep it out of my face. But then short hair started coming back in style and I saw all these girls with cute, short, curled hair and I wanted to switch it up. So before my second semester of freshman year of college, I chopped it all off and donated it to Locks of Love.

I had been curious about cutting my hair because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to pull it off, but I was getting tired of it getting in the way and I really wanted to donate it. At first, I didn’t know how I felt about it… it felt so much lighter and looked so fresh. I kept the short hair all second semester and cut it again before summer. But I never did anything with it! It just was just there; like a little mop on top of my head. Not cute. I never had the time to curl it and style it like I had seen on Pinterest and so desperately wanted to try.

I know I’m not the only one who has gone through a similar experience and still hasn’t found their go-to ‘do. So I’m here to help and give you the pros and cons of both short and long hair, to hopefully help you and myself finally make the right decision!


– Easier to put up in a ponytail
– Doesn’t require styling every day
– More variety when it comes to styling (hello, Elsa-inspired up-do’s!)
– Can be chopped off at any time (And donated!)

– Takes longer to wash and style
– Heavier and hotter
– Gets in the way
– Ponytail headaches
– Drain clogging


– Less styling and wash time
– Lightweight
– Will look fresher
– Low maintenance

– Less styling options
– Takes a long time to grow back
– Has to be cut more often
– Shows grease faster

Ultimately, your hairstyle should coincide with your lifestyle and beauty habits. If you
love waking up an hour early before class to do your hair, then long luscious locks just might be your thing. But if you’re active and always on the go, short hair might suit you better. Just remember that no matter what you choose, you can always go back. Also, you never know unless you try, so a new hairstyle just might be a great way to ring in a new season.

article for The Chic Daily

*photos courtesy Jaslyn Ravenscraft

Meet YouTube Star Keaton Milburn

With her unique, bold style, perfectly white smile, and genuine personality, a 20-year-old college student is captivating the hearts of makeup and fashion lovers alike with her lifestyle YouTube channel.

Keaton Milburn is a sophomore at Arizona State University, majoring in sports journalism. When she isn’t studying with her Alpha Phi sorority sisters in Hayden Library, she is creating and editing videos for her YouTube channel. She started her YouTube channel at the age of 13, because her passion for all things lifestyle inspired her to start making videos and sharing them with the world.

“I decided to start a YouTube channel because I really loved fashion and makeup,” said Milburn. “I thought it would be fun to share that passion on social media.”

Although her idea started with her love for fashion and makeup, her channel also features travel videos, where she documents her trips and gives her audience a sneak peek into the places she visits.

“I focus mainly on lifestyle stuff like outfits and tutorials on makeup,” said Milburn. “But I love traveling and sharing my trips on YouTube about all the fun places I go.”

Creating the videos and brainstorming content can be a challenge, especially as a college student. Milburn’s mother, Shawna Collins, Director of Constituent Relations at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, acts as her ‘momager’, alongside a professional manager, who works on negotiating contracts and sponsorships with brands. Together, the three of them create a perfect team.

“I work mostly on the analysis of her social media platforms so Keaton can focus on just producing high quality content,” said Collins.

Alongside the analytics, Collins responds to emails sent to Milburn. Although the work can be time consuming, she enjoys being a part of the process. Milburn appreciates her help, and credits her as her biggest support and source of motivation.

“My biggest motivator is my mom,” said Milburn. “She always supports what I want to do and helps to push me to do better.”

Despite all the hard work both on and off camera, there is negativity from the audience, which is unavoidable with a fan base of 387,760 subscribers. Milburn doesn’t allow the negative comments to affect her and says that, “it’s better to just keep being positive!”

As her mother, one of Collins biggest concerns with Milburn’s YouTube channel is negativity and how it could affect Milburn personally. But she has continually risen above the ‘haters’ and continues to do what she loves, no matter what others say or what obstacles come in her way.

Keaton has grown into such a confident person. She truly isn’t affected much by haters,” said Collins. “She doesn’t usually seek approval from others for her validation, so that makes it easier to deal with the negative side.”

Her positive fan base and close friends also help Milburn move beyond any negativity she may face. Kelsey McEwen is a sophomore at Arizona State University, studying sports journalism, and is a member of the same sorority as Milburn, Alpha Phi. The two became friends at the beginning of their freshman year, after realizing how much they have in common. McEwen watches all of Milburn’s videos, and doesn’t let her fame get in the way of their friendship.

“I’ve never really watched YouTube so I didn’t realize how famous she is until we became close,” said McEwen. “But this has never affected my friendship with Keaton, if anything in a positive way it has. She asks me to help out sometimes by helping her film or taking a picture of her wearing something that was sent to her by a company.”

Milburn not only captures the eye and heart of people around the world, but those closest to her appreciate her for more than just a beauty guru.

“My favorite quality of Keaton would be that she’s so loyal,” said McEwen. “She is always making me laugh and brightens my day.”

Milburn has also accomplished a lot since the early days of her channel, when negativity and self-doubt clouded her future as a YouTuber. She recently reached 100,000 followers on her Instagram account and was featured in “Seventeen” magazine for the popular makeup brand, Maybelline. But Milburn doesn’t let her accomplishments get in the way of who she is and what she believes in.

“My proudest moments of Keaton have been when she’s not in the spotlight,” said her mother. “Keaton has overcome setbacks with such grace. Even when she fails at something, she never gives up. I am most proud of her when I see her using the platform God gave her to do good.”

View the article at  The Chic Daily

*photo courtesy of Keaton Milburn

US 93 “Suicide Highway”

As the sun sets behind the mountains on November 2, the sound of sirens roared down the US 93 toward yet another fatal head-on collision just outside of Wickenburg.

Debi Smith, 66, a Wickenburg resident, stepped out onto the porch of her house, located on the west side of US 93, after hearing several sirens blaring on the highway.

“For at least an hour I probably heard an ambulance every 15 minutes,” said Smith. “I pray every time I hear those sirens for the people.”

On scene, first responders extricated two minors, about ages 6 and 8, from a Ford SUV, while several others involved in the accident were flown by helicopter to trauma centers around the Valley, according to the Department of Public Safety. The accident was 20 miles outside of the Wickenburg town limits and involved three vehicles. It occurred when a Nissan hatchback, traveling northbound on the 93, attempted to pass a semi truck in a no-passing zone and struck a Ford SUV head-on, then collided with a Hyundai sedan, according to DPS. The driver of the SUV, Rohn R. Robinson, 62, of Mesa, was pronounced deceased on the scene. The driver of the semi truck was not involved in the crash, but did stop to assist the victims. Charges are pending upon release of the driver who allegedly caused the crash, according to DPS.

“It was nine medevacs total. I was one of the first there,” said Colt Egbert, a Wickenburg resident and former dozer operator at Motley Motley Paving. “It was horrible.”

The US 93 is a two lane highway and is one of the main highways that connects Phoenix to Las Vegas. It is heavily traveled at all times of the year with bikers, truck drivers, families on vacation, and people heading to Vegas. During this time of year, the Professional Bulling Riding finals are occurring in Las Vegas, so it is more heavily traveled with trucks and trailers. It is deadly at all times, but with the holidays and PBR in full swing, it is more dangerous than ever.

Wickenburg residents have questioned why the highway is not widened to four lanes, as the two lane highway makes it tricky to pass and drive safely.

“One thing that would help make the 93 a safer road is a larger road because that road gets really thin, especially in places like Congress,” said Tristan Wood, a Wickenburg resident. “They also need to do something about the speed limit because people go so fast on that road or they try to pass and almost get hit.”

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, “ADOT’s long-term vision is making US 93 a four-lane divided highway through its entire 200-mile stretch to move people, goods and services more efficiently. Toward that goal, ADOT has dedicated nearly half a billion dollars in recent years to widening and improving US 93 from Wickenburg to the Hoover Dam.” ADOT has completed projects in the past that included a four-lane divided highway, but also placed roundabouts and a new bridge at the intersections of US 93 and US 60, in downtown Wickenburg. Although those improvements have lessened the amount of traffic driving through town, there is still an ongoing issue with the two-lane highway beyond downtown.

 “In that section of US 93 it is, as you know, a two lane highway,” said Bart Graves, Media Specialist for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. “A great number of crashes are caused by drivers unsafely trying to pass a slower moving vehicle in front of them by not giving themselves enough distance to do so. Other crashes are caused by fatigued or distracted drivers.”

Roadtrippers and truckers aren’t the only ones impacted by the narrow roads of the US 93. It has grown over the years and is more heavily traveled by Wickenburg residents as they begin to build more communities on the east side of the highway. Residents avoid that road at all costs, and pray that they or their loved ones are never the ones involved in another accident.

When we moved here it used to be this little road to Vegas,” said Smith. “I don’t like it because its suicide highway now.”

*graphic by Jaslyn Ravenscraft

Tina’s Tots Raising two generations of kids

Owning a business in a small town can be challenging because of the lack of resources, but it is also rewarding to serve the community and develop relationships, and a Wickenburg business owner can speak first hand to the ups and downs of business ownership.

Tina Harn and her husband, Mike Harn, moved to Wickenburg 24 years ago after passing through town and falling in love with the size and friendliness of the community, that they decided to start a family and a business in the small town they call home.

“Living in a small town is amazing because everyone is always there to help when people are in need,” said Harn. “And raising a family here is even better because even when you don’t have eyes on your child, someone else does.”

One year after moving, Harn opened her first business and the first daycare service in Wickenburg, Tina’s Tots. She chose to stay in town and start a business because she loves children and saw a need for a daycare here. With a population of over 7,000, the need for childcare is  high. Harn also loves watching children grow up and teaching them skills that they will utilize every day.

“Watching kids from my daycare grow up was amazing and life changing all at the same time,” said Harn. “Some I had up until they were old enough to take care of themselves, and they would still come back in and see me.”

Life has come full circle, and now some of the children she helped raise have come back to her daycare with their own children. Harn was inspired to open Tina’s Tots Two with the encouragement of parents who had attended her daycare as kids.

“I reopened Tina’s Tots in February 2017 because I had parents coming back to me and asking me to open a daycare for their children because they wanted their children to have the same great experience they had when they were here,” said Harn.

Harlee Rivers, a Denny’s waitress, went to the original Tina’s Tots as a child and now has her daughter, Payson Sublet, enrolled in Tina’s Tots Two, because she trusts the care of Tina and the staff.

“I honestly do not know why my grandmother put me in daycare,” said Rivers. “But I loved it. Tina was obviously my favorite. I chose it because I am picky about who watches my daughter and I know she would be well taken care of there.” 

Tina’s Tots Two watches about 25 kids on a daily basis. There is a lot of funding involved in order to buy everything that is needed, including new toys, snacks, paying staff, and having all of the right materials to run the daycare. Annually, it costs about $10,000 to run the business, including materials and employee salaries. It can be frustrating and time consuming, but worth it.

“The best part about being a small town business owner is when you start a business everyone is there to help, whether it be to just get you started or to help you through all the little things you may need,” said Harn. “Another benefit is the people you get to meet and the friendships that form. The most rewarding thing is watching the kids grow up, and having them in my daycare.”

Aside from the bills that come with owning a business, is the need for diligent staff. Tina’s Tots Two is focused on hiring good, educated staff, who have experience with children and enjoy their company. Tina’s Tots Two is more than just a babysitting service; the staff teach the children about educational topics, manners and creativity. Finding good employees can be a challenge in a small town, where there may not be a lot of experience or interest.

“A challenge my mom has faced owning a business in town would be finding staff,” said Shallen Harn, Tina’s daughter and employee at Tina’s Tots Two. “We have a great staff right now, but when we first opened we were having a hard time because it can be hard to work with kids for long hours.”

Despite the lack of staff the daycare had early on and the time, money and work that comes with owning a business – especially one involving children – Harn is grateful for the help of the community and the opportunity she has to raise the next generation of small town kids.

*photo courtesy of Tina Harn

Just how stressed are college students?

It’s no secret that college is fun, but stressful, and Arizona State University students, along with many others, struggle to keep up with academics, socialization, relationships, and health.

In 2016, Arizona State University gathered statistics on the stress levels and factors of students across all four ASU campuses. The data is compiled into categories that break down the factors of stress and other general topics related to student health. According to wellness.asu.edu, “70.1% of ASU students reported feeling stressed within the last school year.”

Academics are one of the first things to be affected by stress, as well as a main cause of anxiety. Of the students surveyed, 30.5% noted that their academics suffered because of stress, according to wellness.asu.edu. The work load, along with deadlines, are contributors of academic-related stress, although students reported that schoolwork is only a portion of the problem.

“Deadlines are what stress me out the most,” said Alyssa Tarpley, a sophomore journalism student. “And college is a big deal. There’s more pressure.”

College students may face more pressure than high school students to perform well, be involved, and participate in internships because college is a stepping stone to a lifelong career. Of the students surveyed, 30% reported that overcommitment had an impact on their academics. Involvement in on-campus clubs and activities, preparation for the future, career-related issues,  financial concerns, and personal relationships all add to the overwhelming amount of pressure college students face.

 “Having my feet in so many different things and being relied on for so many different things is stressful,” said Frankie McLister, a sophomore journalism student. “It’s good to have people rely on you, but it does take away time for yourself.”

To lessen stress, students may engage in unhealthy behavior as a coping mechanism or “solution” to their stress, such as eating more or less and experimenting with drugs. According to wellness.asu.edu, 41% of students who experienced an eating disorder/problem, reported that it had a negative effect on their academics. Of those surveyed, 3.5% admitted they had abused sedatives, such as Xanax and Valium. According to drugstatistics.com there has been “a 450 percent rise in misuse of tranquilizers like Xanax and Valium.”

Drug abuse and eating disorders are just two of the unhealthy problems college students may face: students also tend to lack sleep or be too busy to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night. According to the survey conducted by ASU, 6.5% of students actually get enough restful sleep. The lack of sleep can be attributed to stress, noise and depression. Difficulty sleeping is an academic barrier to 21.6% of ASU students and those with lower GPA’s are more likely to lose sleep over studying (81.3%), according to wellness.asu.edu.

 “The combination of academic success, staying healthy and fit, making money through my job, club involvement, and having a social life, can really impact the amount of sleep I get,” said Sun Devil Fitness Complex lifeguard, Ally Edelmann. “If I feel like I didn’t do one of those things by the end of the day, I’ll do it and end up staying up until two in the morning.”

The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines states that, “American adults aged 18-65 years should continue to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week” and the survey conducted by ASU found that 45.4% of students surveyed met the requirements for aerobic exercise according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Exercising is one of the best ways to relax and stress less, and the Sun Devil Fitness Complex’s at Arizona State University are committed to helping students maintain a healthy lifestyle, manage stress and create positive habits. The SDFC on the downtown Phoenix campus offers group wellness classes such as yoga, boxing and pilates, as well as mindfulness sessions and spa days. The wellness teachers offer support, advice and tips to students who feel overwhelmed and anxious. The classes and resources are created with students in mind and offered for a price included within tuition.

“On each campus we hold something unique to SDFC,” said Jesse C., a downtown SDFC employee. “Students take advantage when they know [about the resources], but it’s hard to catch people between class and their own workout schedule.”