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Quartzsite, Arizona

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Funeral Services for Chen

Chengwen (Carlos, Chen) Chen

Date: Friday, 12/26/2008

Visitation: 8-10 AM CA Time
at Frye Chapel and Mortuary of Blythe on 7th St.

Church Service: 10-11:30 CA Time
at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church on Chanslor Way.

Reception/Wake: 2pm AZ time at Q-Laundromat.

Age 51 of Qaurtzsite, Az, passed away on December 21, 2008 of asthma attack which resulted in congestive heart failure. He was known to his brothers and sisters as Chengwen, to his wife and son as Carlos, and most fondly to his friends as Chen.

Chengwen was born in Taipei, Taiwan on March 10, 1957 to the late Mr. and Mrs. Bing H. and Hai Mei Chen. He immigrated to the United States in 1970, attended University High School in West Los Angeles, graduated from University of California at Irvine and worked for Hewlett Packard in San Jose, CA. as a Software Engineer for over 20 years. Chengwen met his wife Ana while traveling and learning Spanish in Durango Mexico. They were married in 2001 and gave birth to their son Luis the following year.

Chengwen wanted a small town life style for his family. After two years of extensive search, he found and fell in love with Quartzsite. He bought and operated the Q-Laundromat for the past five years. Chengwen loved Quartzsite for its diversity of people and the laundromat where he could let his creative juices flow. The greatest love of his life was Ana and Luis. His laundromat business gave him the freedom and time to be with them. Chengwen lived his life doing exactly what he wanted.

Chengwen is survived by his wife, son, seven siblings, four nieces, eight nephews, and his friends and customers, who he considered his family.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another loss in Quartzsite

Monday, Dec. 22.
My heart is sad today as I learned of the death of a wonderful man, Chen, the owner of the Q Laundromat. Yesterday, I visited with him while doing laundry. He didn’t act like himself, and I asked him if he was okay. He answered, "It's just my medication". Evidently it was much more than the meds. He crossed over last night as the helicopter was taking him to Yuma. He died of asthma attack which resulted in congestive heart failure. He was a bold, large man, full of energy and life.

This morning, the atmosphere at the Q Laundromat was heavy, as people gave each other hugs, and tears flowed. Even those that really did not know him shared how much they will miss his bright greetings and thought provoking discussions.

Chen was famous for seeking ways to improve the town. He was always coming up with fresh, and sometimes wild, ideas to make Quartzsite a prosperous and welcoming place for visitors and locals. Chen supported this town in many ways, some quietly and some very boisterous. From helping the kids with their fundraisers, to handing out free coffee to customers because the town officials hadn’t approved his permit to sell espresso yet, to having clean showers available for folks, to providing turkeys for his potlucks for holidays, to lending support for local parades.

The Q became the local gathering place…because of Chen.

The day before I left town last spring, Chen and I were discussing my new project, the Desert Messenger. After listening to my vision of the paper, and how I wanted to keep the positive focus, he told me he would advertise with me the whole season. I asked him if he had a previous ad, and he told me he did not need to. But he wanted to support me by advertising. I told him I couldn’t sell advertising yet, since my business license didn’t start until September. He told me as soon as I return to town, to look him up and I did. We had many talks about the direction the town was moving, his many ideas to help that had fallen on deaf ears, and his challenges with Town Hall. He never gave up!

He made me think and I am forever grateful! We will truly miss Chen! Cheers to the Journey!
Chengwen (Carlos, Chen) Chen

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Coloring Contest

This was my first attempt at a Coloring Contest for the kids of Quartzsite. There was a bit more work than I originally thought! When I worked for other newspapers, the kids would drop off their entries at the office. Since I now work out of my fifth wheel, and I'm a member of both chambers in town, I figured that they would be great locations to drop off the entries. Ehrenberg and Quartzsite Elementary Schools also needed boxes, so I decorated 4 big boxes.

On Friday, the day of the dealine, we retrieved those boxes, sorted through the entries, made sure we could read the names, called the school for last names that were missing. Next came the hard decisions, but luckily, I had help with deciding on the winners. I gathered the prize certificates from the 3 sponsors: CRIT Theatres, Addicted to Deals, and Silly Al's Pizza. Monday morning, I scanned nine winning entries, resized and cleaned up the art in Photoshop, designed the full page, matched the names to the entry, and got the paper to the printer fifteen minutes before deadline. Then I made up 9 envelopes, matching each one with a certificate and their prize from the sponsors.
Destiney Hayes, age 10, from Ehrenberg, AZ
won 1st place in the 8-10 year-old category!

The Qtz. school had a great idea. All the kids would be at the Christmas Dinner and Program the night the paper came out, so I went and awarded the winners at the end of the program in front of their parents and teachers. It was a great adventure and I plan on doing again...go figure!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Tree Project

This year, the Rotary Club of Quartzsite joined forces with the Quartzsite Senior Center and provided a wonderful Community Christmas Party on Sunday, Dec. 14. Businesses and organizations donated decorated Christmas Trees and Wreaths to be raffled off. The money raised supported the Quartzsite Fire Auxiliary "Angel Tree", the Salvation Army and the Gift of Life Foundation. The trees had been on display at the Town Hall for the past few weeks. Carol Kelley, Activity Director of the Q Senior Citizens Center, wished to thank the Quartzsite General Store, the restaurants around town who donated 17 dinners to the seniors at the Senior Apts., the mayor, coundil members and all the volunteers who donated so much time and effort to make this event such a huge success! Kelley's volunteers who worked in the kitchen really did an awesome job, as well as the decorators who transformed the hall into a winter wonderland. At times there were so many folks dancing to the sounds of "The Travelers" they started bumping into each other. Everyone appeared to be having a wonderful evening!
24 Trees and 6 Wreaths were donated this year! A new record! Also over 90 dinners were served!

Bit of History of the Desert Messenger

Quartzsite, Arizona has a FREE Community Paper, called the Desert Messenger. It was founded by Walt Akin, who is now the "Acting" Mayor of Quartzsite. Walt began the paper on October 1, 2004. His last issue was in May, 2008. After taking the summer off, I began publishing the Desert Messenger again. I redesigned the look and feel of the paper, keeping the positive focus Walt had built. The Desert Messenger is published twice a month, October though May. This year, there is an extra publication on Dec. 31, as the season really starts to kick in!

Here is my first EDITORIAL published on October 1, 2008:

As you know by now, I am the new publisher/owner of the Desert Messenger. Walt Akin has "passed the torch" to me! To clarify, Walt Akin gave me this business and this incredible opportunity. Walt has built a great foundation for this paper and I plan on building on that. This was not exactly what I had in mind when we had lunch together back in the spring. After 4 seasons of being a waitress at La Casa Del Rancho in Quartzsite, "serving the people", my body told me to pay attention to it and do something different. I sent out a prayer asking, "How can I still be of service to the people of Quartzsite?" Evidently, Walt had put out his intention of finding someone to take over the paper. And here we are today!
In the Indian world, the richest person is not the one who has the most "stuff". It is the one who gives away the most. Walt Akin is to be honored for his generosity and his "give away". During the summer I saw the movie, "Pay it Forward", a wonderful story about a young boy who truly believes he can make a difference in the world by helping someone, then that person "pays it forward" by helping someone else, and on and on. It’s a powerful movie with a heartfelt message. "Paying it Forward" in the Indian world is through our Give Away Ceremony and our way of life. In honor of Walt’s gift, I have gifted my vending business to a Sun Dance brother and his family. I tell this only to challenge you to "Pay it Forward" in your own life! When every citizen of Quartzsite begins "Paying it Forward" on a regular basis and doing their give aways, imagine the how much the town will be blessed and full of prosperity!
As you can tell, I’m a positive thinker and I like to have fun! Yeah, there’s negative stuff in the world, however, I know deep in my bones that the more we focus in on the positive, the more positive we will have in our lives. It’s just the way it is. Whatever you focus on you will attract more of that to you! So what do you want in your life?
I say, "Pilamaye" (Lakota for thank you) to Walt Akin!
- "Rain"

Editorial from 12-17-08

"Economy is going down hill"...blah, blah, blah... Oh, how the media feeds the fear! Did you know that there’s only two basic emotions? Every emotion stems from either Fear or Love. I choose to feed the Love! How about you?

I fell in love with Quartzsite in 1987, but back then, I did not know why. It took me many years to return, however, Quartzsite has me now!

This town is so amazing. Look around will see many elders with years of experience, entrepreneurs on every corner, some large, some Mom & Pop businesses, and then there’s Carl’s Jr. who’s founder began with just a single hot dog cart. Any one of the vendors here could have that same success! We never really know, so let’s support them all and create a welcoming environment.

From their first visit to Town Hall to get a permit, to dealing with the Fire Dept. and the Health Dept., to helping create a warm friendly town where vendors and visitors will want to return year after year! This is important for the ability of this town to not just to survive, but to thrive!
It’s so easy to fall into the habit of finding faults and focus in on those. The laws of attraction teach us that whatever we focus on we will attract more of into our lives. So, with this paper, I want to focus on the positive! I urge all readers to also focus on the positive events in your life.
Gratitude is a powerful gift. When we share our gratitude with others, we will have more to be grateful for. In these challenging times, not just for us as a town, but the whole country, and even worldwide, it is time to be grateful for every little thing! They really do all add up!

We are so lucky to be living in such a wonderful community, filled with abundance, not only in material possesions, but in the love and friendship of our residents and winter visitors!

Where else can you drive down the street and folks walking their dog will wave to you and smile?


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