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Blowing dust is forecast this week.

Drivers across Arizona should be prepared for strong winds, possible blowing dust and an increased fire danger today.

The National Weather Service has issued advisories covering the entire state forecasting strong winds and low humidity, conditions that could make driving hazardous in areas prone to blowing dust and for drivers with high-profile vehicles.

Statewide, winds of 25-30 mph are forecast, with gusts likely to reach 40 mph. Winds are expected to increase beginning late Wednesday in western Arizona and reach the center of the state by midday on Thursday. Conditions are expected to return to normal on Friday across the state.

The Arizona Department of Transportation encourages drivers to avoid driving into a through a dust storm. Drivers may want to consider delaying travel until Friday.

Drivers should slow down after checking traffic around their vehicle and completely exit the highway if possible. Additional safety tips from PullAsideStayAlive.org:

  • Pull entirely off the highway if possible.
  • Turn off all vehicle lights, set the parking brake and take your foot off the brake to reduce the likelihood of being hit by following drivers.
  • Remain in your vehicle with your seatbelts buckled.
  • Wait for the storm to pass.

For current road and weather conditions, passengers should check on Twitter with ADOT (@ArizonaDOT) and the National Weather Service (@NWSPhoenix).

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Submitted photo

Submitted by Ivan Pour, MHS instrumental director

Friday, the Maricopa High School “Gems” Winter Guard gave their final performance of their 2018 program “The Greatest Show” at Winter Guard Arizona Championships held at Wells Fargo Arena on the Campus of Arizona State University.

The guard received excellent feedback from a double panel of the best adjudicators in the Indoor Pageantry and Marching Arts World and also got to see lots of awesome performances and an exhibition from the Fenix Independent Guard – ASU’s Winter Guard. The guard got great compliments on their improvement and growth in technique and skill over the course of the season with the judges agreeing that a solid foundation has been built for the upcoming marching band season.

This was also an emotional night as this performance also marked the last for MHS Guard Coach Taylor Austin as she moves on to new professional endeavors. Taylor became coach of the MHS Guard after having been a founding member of the team and MHS graduate as well as an assistant coach under team founder Maria Pour.

The team has grown and flourished under Taylor’s leadership, and we want to thank her for her outstanding contribution to the guard, the MHS band, and the MHS community.

SPONSORED CONTENT

Trent Horn

Our Lady of Grace Parish presents Refuting Relativism with Trent Horn, a speaker and Catholic Apologist from Catholic Answers.

“That’s true for you, but not for me!” In this talk you’ll learn how to refute relativist slogans and provide compelling evidence for the objective truth of Christianity.

What is relativism and why should I care? Relativism is a poison. It attacks our capacity to seek and know the truth, including the moral truth. Throughout his papacy, Pope Benedict warned: “We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.”

Our secular society has moved away from recognizing any absolute truth.  Truth is manipulated to be anything we want it to be.  As long as I’m not hurting anyone, I can believe or do practically whatever I want.  Of course, this is leading us to societal chaos and mayhem – and away from God’s truth.

Learn more about this threat that is eroding our society by joining us at Our Lady of Grace Parish, 18700 St Gabriel Way, Maricopa, Sunday, April 15 at 2 p.m.
for a presentation by Mr. Horn of Catholic Answers, a media ministry that serves Christ by explaining and defending the Catholic faith.

For more information go to http://www.maricopacatholic.org/

Maricopa Fire Fighter Anthony Fornaro installing a lock box for Maricopa Seniors’ 100th customer, Tom & Barb Dickie, Rancho El Dorado residents. Submitted photo

Submitted by Peg Chapados, president of Maricopa Seniors, Inc.

Maricopa Seniors, Inc. recently celebrated the installation of the 100th lock box in Maricopa.

Thanks to a partnership between Maricopa Seniors, Inc., Maricopa Professional Firefighters Union – Local 4561 and Maricopa Fire Department, Maricopa residents have two options that offer peace of mind for about 60 cents a day: the 9-1-1 pendant and Home Key Box programs.

Lynn Bernier is vice-president of Maricopa Seniors and coordinator of the Pendant Program. Lourdes Samples coordinates pendants and lock boxes in Province. Both ladies know and appreciate the value of seniors having one of both of these items.

“Safety of Maricopa’s seniors is our primary concern,” Bernier said. “Our pendants and lock boxes help seniors to feel safe, and that’s important to Maricopa Seniors.”

Samples agrees. “It’s something you don’t think about until an emergency, but they save precious seconds, which often means a good outcome.”

Imagine this: you’re an active senior who lives alone. You have some medical issues, but nothing that will keep you from staying in your home. You’re pro-active about precautions in the event of an emergency, so you have a pendant and a lock box.

One day, you accidentally trip and fall. You’re conscious, but there’s some pain in your hip, so you don’t try to stand. You can’t reach the phone and there’s no one within shouting distance. What will you do?

You push the blue button on your pendant and are connected to the 9-1-1 operator. You can talk to the operator through the pendant, and in a matter of seconds, Maricopa Fire and Maricopa Police have been dispatched; help is on the way.

But you can’t get up to unlock the door. How will they get in?

Your lock box contains keys to your front door. When Maricopa Fire arrives, they don’t have to break down the door. They quickly open the lock box and get the keys. It’s only been a few minutes, and help has arrived.

Pendants work anywhere in the United States or Canada with a 9-1-1 system, so it’s portable for travel or out-of-town stays. It requires a land line, and can be adapted to work through a computer modem line. (The system will not work with cell phones.) There are no contracts, activation charges or monthly fees and the one-time cost is $149.95.

Home Key Boxes come with mounting hardware and maintenance instructions. The box can hold several keys, info about pets in the house, medical conditions, medications, and other vital information. The boxes can only be opened by Maricopa Fire personnel. The one-time cost is $65.

There are over 150 users in Maricopa who have a pendant or lock box, and they’ve been installed in homes in almost every community. These items have saved lives, provided an alternative to forced entry, and enabled peace of mind to those who have the item as well as family and caregivers.

Order forms for the lock boxes can be found at Maricopa Fire Administrative Offices, Building D at the corner of SR347 and Honeycutt Road, at Maricopa ACE Hardware, at Maricopa Seniors, Inc. web site: www.maricopaseniors.org, or by calling Lynn with Maricopa Seniors at 602-377-2284.

For more information about these programs or general information on Maricopa Seniors, email maricopaseniors@hotmail.com.

Parents mingle in front of MHS after a reported bomb threat. Photo by Adam Wolfe

Maricopa High School reported receiving a bomb threat this morning at 9 a.m. Information was sent out to parents at 10 a.m.

“There was a bomb threat,” Maricopa Police spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said. “The high school has been locked down. At this time, it is just the high school. Police are on the scene.”

Gates were locked, and no one was allowed in or out of the campus, though some parents gathered in the parking lot.

Around 11 a.m. students were ushered to the football field.

InMaricopa will report information as it becomes available.

Police sketch of a suspect in the attack on a jogger Tuesday morning. Courtesy MPD

A sketch of an unknown male who reportedly attacked a woman jogging in Maricopa Tuesday morning has been distributed by the Maricopa Police Department.

MPD has been going door to door looking for information and a lead to the suspect.

The woman was jogging near Bowlin Road and Alterra Parkway at around 6 a.m. when someone came up behind her and forced her to the ground. The woman told police she screamed and fought back, and the suspect fled. He was last seen near the Desert Cedars subdivision.

He is described as 5-foot-7 to 5-foot 9, black with a medium complexion, and wearing a grey shirt with pink sleeves and a backpack.

According to the MPD, they canvassed the neighborhood Tuesday with uniformed officers and plain-clothes detectives. In one hour, they spoke with five people of interest.

“The people spoken to were made aware of why the officers and detectives were in the area making contact with people.  The individuals contacted were from all races and ages; four adult males and one juvenile male,” Chief Steve Stahl reported. “During the consensual contact, the individuals were asked if a photograph could be taken of them. During any consensual stop, anyone has the right to not speak with officers or have their photograph taken. If during a consensual contact someone feels they are not comfortable with the line of questions or even the officer’s demeanor, they can request a police supervisor be present.  During this attempt to speak with individuals, no one was forced to be photographed or forced to answer questions.”

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call MPD at 520-568-3673 or anonymously on the tip line at 520-316-6900.

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The sun sets over the lake at Pacana Park, which was completed in 2009. Photo by Misty Newman

By Misty Newman

When Gaby Potter first moved to Maricopa with her husband and three children, Pacana Park did not exist.

The groundbreaking was in December 2005, and Pacana became the first public park in Maricopa. It was completed in 2009. Potter still remembers her first visit.

“The park was so nice, and the families were all very excited. We love the lake the most and, of course, the playground,” she says.

Constructed along Porter Road, Pacana is within walking distance of several schools.  Photo by Misty Newman.
Constructed along Porter Road, Pacana is within walking distance of several schools. Photo by Misty Newman.

Pacana Park is beloved in the community. It has many amenities including baseball and soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, a covered playground, a covered ramada and a fishing pond.

For Michael Hayes, vice president of Maricopa Little League, the baseball fields at Pacana are exactly what they need. “We build relationships throughout the community, and Pacana provides the place for this community,” Hayes says.

Hayes has lived in Maricopa eight years, and he involved his son in Maricopa Little League when he was 4 years old. Maricopa Little League is moving into its ninth year playing at Pacana.

Even with the opening of Copper Sky Regional Park on the south side of town, Pacana stays in the heart of Maricopa.

“Pacana is home for us. It’s not the same at Copper Sky because it’s so spread out. Pacana is more intimate and more of a family community,” Hayes says.

He also has peace of mind that his son is safe if he is playing while he’s prepping the fields for the game.

“When my son is at the park with me I can trust when he’s at the playground. I don’t worry,” Hayes says.

There are many reasons Pacana is a beloved park. For Potter, it is the memories of her kids playing sports while they were growing up.

“My kids grew up in Pacana playing soccer and flag football. They did a lot there throughout the years, and all our memories are here,” Potter says.

Nicole Mangum, principal at Legacy Traditional School, says Pacana is one of the most peaceful parks in Maricopa.

“The park is well lit at night and you can walk around the lake. The fishing is awesome, and it works perfectly for our location,” Mangum says.

“It’s great for families to get together,” Hayes says. “There are also schools that practice at Pacana. Legacy and [Sequoia] Pathway use the park for softball games.”

Legacy has used the fields for its seventh and eighth grade softball teams since 2008.

“We are so appreciative of these fields. They are in a central location, and it’s so close our kids will walk. Also the people there are amazing. Monica Rubio has been so accommodating for our school,” Mangum say

“I have taught my son how to give back to the community through helping me get the fields ready. Every day we go to Pacana, my son helps to set up,” Hayes says.

For many years Pacana was home to all the major events in Maricopa including the Salsa Festival, Fishing Derby and the Great American Fourth of July Celebration. The Fourth of July is one of the celebrations that Mangum misses having at Pacana.

“I loved the fireworks there. Everyone could sit and watch because Pacana is centrally located,” Mangum says. She says that it would be nice to switch back and forth every year between Copper Sky and Pacana Park.

 

Read more Outdoors stories from Misty Newman in our Things to Do section at InMaricopa.com. Contact Misty at getoutdoorsmaricopa@gmail.com or visit: www.getoutdoorsmaricopa.com.

Maricopa Little League has been part of Pacana Park before it was even completed.  Photo courtesy of Michael Hayes
Maricopa Little League has been part of Pacana Park before it was even completed. Photo courtesy of Michael Hayes

Misty Newman grew up in Idaho and was raised in the outdoors. She loves to go camping, hiking, fishing, & rafting. In her past life, two of her favorite recreational activities included bungee jumping and rock climbing. She was a ranger for a state park, a Recreation Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club, and the photo editor at the College of Southern Idaho. She moved from Idaho in 2007 and has lived in Maricopa since. She now enjoys exploring AZ with her two beautiful children. Contact Misty at getoutdoorsmaricopa@gmail.com or visit: www.getoutdoorsmaricopa.com.

See her previous InMaricopa Outdoors story:
Introduction to InMaricopa Outdoors

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Misty Newman of Maricopa has a life-long love of the outdoors. Submitted photo

By Misty Newman

Maricopa is an amazing place and I am proud to say I live in this community. I am excited to be a part of this new adventure with InMaricopa as one of the contributing writers for InMaricopa Outdoors.

The mission of InMaricopa Outdoors is to connect with the community and encourage families to be active and healthy. The information and resources we are going to provide on outdoor related activities, recreations, and events, is a way to build partnerships within the community and to inspire families to be healthy. Our vision is to help shape Maricopa into one of the healthiest communities in Arizona.

One of Misty Newman's favorite outdoors-related sights in the Maricopa area is Leaf & Feather. Photo by Misty Newman
One of Misty Newman’s favorite outdoors-related sights in the Maricopa area is Leaf & Feather. Photo by Misty Newman

Together, we can make Maricopa a place where people are happy to say they live. There are many outdoor activities and recreation opportunities in Maricopa and the surrounding areas and we are here to shine a light on those activities.

There is always a need for additional resources; research indicates obesity and ADHD among children has risen over the years due to more time indoors. The time indoors is often spent watching TV or playing on electronic devices. Becoming aware of and then engaging in a particular activity could change the course of a youth’s life. Through providing families and residents of Maricopa with comprehensive information and resources, the likelihood of participating in activities will increase.

According to a study out of Pennsylvania State University, families that participate in outdoor recreation are closer, and it is a way to promote healthy youth development.

Maricopa is still a fairly new city and has many opportunities for growth. One of the strategies stated in the Maricopa 2040 Vision plan is to “create and maintain a connected system of open spaces and recreational opportunities throughout the city.” This is in line with the vision for InMaricopa Outdoors to “support citizen health, environmental cohesiveness and community pride.”

According to the 2010 Census, there are over 11,000 families that live in Maricopa. We are an active community already, and many families do participate in programs through Copper Sky and the city of Maricopa. The Recreation Guide through the City of Maricopa is an excellent resource for parents to get their child involved in sports and activities. However, some working parents due to their schedules may not be able to get their children involved in city-sponsored sports and activities. The resources on InMaricopa Outdoors will provide additional options for residents and families. InMaricopa Outdoors will also expose the Maricopa community to information on recreation that typically they wouldn’t discover on their own.

Once in a while, I hear people say there isn’t anything to do in Maricopa; I disagree with this statement. From swimming at Copper Sky to the Cyclist Team to the new motocross track, it’s happening right here in Maricopa. There are three aviation companies just outside Maricopa where you can get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Arizona desert.

To achieve our mission and vision, there are a number of ways we are going to do this:

► Conduct Interviews and promote local businesses that are related to outdoor adventure and recreation. There are some businesses in Maricopa that get more traffic from out-of-town folks. By spreading the word, it will boost their business and the economy overall in Maricopa.

► Conduct interviews with families going on amazing adventures together. How do they do it? What does it take?

► Conduct interviews with individuals and local athletes in our community. What was involved in their training? What are they doing to be successful?

► Provide information on upcoming events and articles on different types of outdoor recreation. InMaricopa Outdoors can be the one place residents and visitors go to when looking for things to do.

► Provide information and resources on outdoor safety and conservation.

We are also going to ask for story ideas, calendar events, suggestions and feedback. We want to connect with the community and inspire more people to get off the couch and out the door. As our city grows, so will the need for additional recreation. We want to pave the way for future generations in Maricopa and create a community in which people are proud to live.

Misty Newman grew up in Idaho and was raised in the outdoors. She loves to go camping, hiking, fishing, & rafting. In her past life, two of her favorite recreational activities included bungee jumping and rock climbing. She was a ranger for a state park, a Recreation Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club, and the photo editor at the College of Southern Idaho. She moved from Idaho in 2007 and has lived in Maricopa since. She now enjoys exploring AZ with her two beautiful children. Visit http://www.maricopaoutdooradventures.com/

Inhabitants at Leaf & Feather. Photo by Misty Newman
Inhabitants at Leaf & Feather. Photo by Misty Newman

Pat Lairson

By Pat Lairson

If you are a homebuyer and are not aware of these loan programs, you need to be. I wrote about this program a few months ago, but there have been some guideline changes to make it even better. Buyers can get into a home with little to nothing out of pocket as the program gift covers the down payment.

What are the programs?

They are called Home Plus and Home in Five. Both are through Arizona E-Housing and they are down-payment-assistance programs designed to help get buyers into homes. The money can be used for a down payment and closing costs.

I spoke with Lisa Shepard of Prime Lending, who explained, “On both programs, the rates are set by E-Housing, not the lender, and are a little higher than market but the buyer gets free money to buy a home.”

Lisa stated, “It’s a true gift, not a loan, not a lien, and no requirements as to how long the buyer has to live in the home. When it closes, the money is theirs and there is no first-time homebuyers requirements.”

Here is a brief explanation of the programs:

Home Plus Program: Conventional program for all counties in Arizona except Pima. FHA allowed in all counties in Arizona except Pima and Maricopa. For FHA in Maricopa County, Home in Five is used. Credit score of 640 minimum for FHA and Conventional with 5 percent down or more. For Conventional with 3 percent down, a 680 credit score is required. Seller concessions are allowed with this program with a conventional loan up to 3 percent and with an FHA loan up to 6 percent. There is a very simple free one-hour online homebuyer education course every buyer is required to take.

There is a maximum income limit of $89,000 per year for whoever is on the loan, not who lives in the household.

Home in Five Program: Only available in Maricopa County and uses only FHA Financing. More detailed homebuyer education course required with a cost of $150. Minimum FICO score 640. A home inspection invoice is required. Max income limit $88,340 per year for whoever is on the loan, not who lives in the household. Seller concessions allowed to 6 percent to cover closing costs.

There is no additional time needed to close on these loans. These loan programs are easy and follow regular lending program guidelines. These are just two new options available to help renters who want to own a home, become a home owner.

The number of active single-family dwellings available for sale as of this writing in Maricopa are 294. This is a reduction in inventory for Maricopa. We know what happens with supply and demand. As inventory shrinks if demand does not go down, prices will rise. So listen up, sellers; this is a great time to list your home. These two programs are ideal for the buyer who has the credit scores needed to qualify for a loan, but not a lot of cash for a
down payment.

Every good Realtor has a great lender they work with. The first step always in thinking about buying a home is to talk with a lender and see what you qualify for. You just may qualify for one of these programs and can be in your new home by the end of the year. Ask your Realtor to connect you to a great lender.

Pat Lairson is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
Pat.Lairson@amoves.com
520-280-5862