Authors Articles byRaquel Hendrickson

Raquel Hendrickson

Raquel Hendrickson
823 Articles 2 COMMENTS
Raquel, a.k.a. Rocky, is a sixth-generation Arizonan who spent her formative years in the Missouri Ozarks. After attending Temple University in Philadelphia, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and has been in the newspaper business since 1990. She has been a sports editor, general-assignment reporter, business editor, arts & entertainment editor, education reporter, government reporter and managing editor. After 16 years in the Verde Valley-Sedona, she moved to Maricopa in 2014. She loves the outdoors, the arts, great books and all kinds of animals.

Senior Taylor Belcher goes for the fences. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Starting the season with a bang, courtesy of a Taylor Belcher home run, the Maricopa High School varsity baseball team won three straight in their Huffman/Pinon Tournament before running out of time Saturday.

The Rams were shaky against Higley in the finale, and the Knights were running off with a 6-1 lead. Maricopa narrowed that to 6-3 and had men on base in the sixth when umpires announced the time allotted for the game had expired. Higley had won just one of its three previous games in the tournament.

“We were very strong offensively,” Maricopa head coach Andrew Pollak said. He saw other areas to shore up, however, even in overwhelming victories.

Maricopa scored 35 runs through four games.

The Rams trounced Tempe 12-2 Wednesday, scoring five in the fourth and six in the fifth. Belcher, a senior, was 2-for 4 with the homer and a double and three runs batted in. His twin Tyler Belcher was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Tyler dominated on the mound, throwing 4 2/3 innings and striking out eight for the win.

Junior Nico Bandin was 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in a run.

Against Poston Butte, the Rams scored four in the first inning and went on to win 15-7 in an abbreviated contest. Though the Broncos scored seven in the third, Maricopa scored eight. Poston Butte also committed six errors.

Senior Steven Gonzales batted 3-for-4 and drove home three. Junior Renzo Silva and Tyler Belcher were both 1-for-3. Both hit doubles and drove in three. Junior Devin Fiala was 2-for-3 and knocked in a run.

Pitching wasn’t quite as pristine for Maricopa. Taylor Belcher had the start and worked 2 2/3 innings and was tagged with all seven runs, though he struck out three. In relief, junior Trey Keel walked two and struck out two.

Maricopa got in more innings against Dobson on Friday, winning 5-1. The Mustangs’ single run was unearned.

Senior Carter Paine pitched five innings, giving up only one hit and striking out seven. Silva relieved for two innings, walking one and striking out two.

Paine a 3-for-4. Bandin was 1-for-3 and drove in a run. Silva batted 2-for-4. Gonzales, Fiala and junior Jose Leyva all hit doubles.

The coach sees room for improvement in pitching and defense, but he said he is seeing a group of Rams enthusiastic about the season.

“We have really good leadership on this team, especially with the seniors,” Pollak said. “They’re all friends and most of them have been together for four years.”

Next up, the Rams enter what Pollak calls the power-point part of the season. They have games Thursday and Friday, both in Maricopa. See the rest of the schedule in the upcoming March edition of InMaricopa. 

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Feb. 24, the City of Maricopa hosted the annual Copa Color Run at Copper Sky, with participants running or walking a 3K or one mile while being dashed with colored powder. The fun run raises funds for recreational events at the city.

Bill Griffin

William “Bill” Griffin retired from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and is now a candidate for constable of the Maricopa/Stanfield Justice Court.

Hometown: Huntington Beach, California
Maricopan since: 2007
Occupation: Law Enforcement, retired
Family: Wife, Crystal, 4 children, 9 grandchildren
Pets: 3 dogs, 1 cat
Cars: Family mini-van & a “get around town” car
Hobbies: Woodworking & photography
Pet Peeve: “professional race car drivers” on 347
Dream Vacation: camping or traveling with family
Like most about Maricopa: Friendly people, “mom & pop” businesses
Like least about Maricopa: “Professional race car drivers” on 347

Charity: Boy Scouts of America & Food Bank
Book: Bible
Music: oldies
Actor: a small handful, each for different reasons. I like the ones who let you belief what they are doing.
Song: Come, Thou Fount
Musician: a small handful, each for their own style
Team: the underdog
Athlete: a small handful, each for his and her own accomplishments
Food: home cooking
Drink: nice cold water
Meal: chicken enchiladas
Restaurant: small “mom & pop” places I find when I travel & here in Maricopa
Favorite getaway: Just about every day trip has been a favorite
Quotes: “If Life Gets Too Hard To Stand, Kneel.” Gordon B. Hinckley
Words to live by: same as the quote
Jokes: Though I feel I have a great sense of humor, I don’t have a favorite joke or one I share. Sorry
Other things you should know: When I first moved to Maricopa I took the Master Gardner course at MAC. That led to an organic garden on MAC grounds which lead to donating food to Wendy Webb at F.O.R. That lead to a community garden which is still in operation and still provides fresh vegetables to F.O.R. each year. I also have merit badge courses with the Boy Scouts of America here in Maricopa.

Meet more of your neighbors at 


For the past few years, InMaricopa, the Maricopa Monitor and the Chamber of Commerce sponsored candidate forums together.

This year, we opted to break away from a confining partnership and present our own debates, as is the prerogative of any media outlet. We came to this conclusion for a variety of reasons, which the Monitor’s uninformed response forces us to outline publicly.

Past candidate forums were too comfortable and too politically safe for the candidates, and seemed purposely designed that way. We want a Town Hall format that would be more enlightening for voters with more latitude to challenge the candidates about their positions. We want to markedly reduce the role of the moderator and let citizens get the answers to questions they want to ask. We want a format that would allow candidates to more fully engage with each other on the issues.

What we don’t want is for the Town Hall to be a showpiece for the media, including us. All media are welcome to cover, but voters are the focus.

The Chamber of Commerce was invited to be a presenting sponsor. However, the Monitor chose to interpret InMaricopa’s move to separate itself as “stealing” the debates, virtually eloping with the Chamber.

The Monitor posted an attack on InMaricopa filled with unsupported conspiracy theories stated as fact. The commentary, for some reason written by a reporter rather than an editor, is evidence of the lack of leadership apparent at the Monitor for some time.

The decision-making process in story coverage, leaning to sensationalization and pandering to base curiosity, is not something we wish to identify ourselves with further. Stories about the investigations into a child-molestation case and a murder case, just recently, were needlessly detailed for gross-out impact with the effect of exploiting victims very shortly after tragic events.

Monitor staff and contractors have made it a habit to use social media to cast shade on InMaricopa when their own ethics are questioned by their own readers. It has been ridiculous deflection formed by bad judgment and has irrevocably damaged what could be friendly competition. Another reason we wish to disassociate ourselves.

Vincent Manfredi is a minority owner in InMaricopa. He is also a member of the city council. He is also running for re-election. Whatever the personal politics of its owners, InMaricopa has never picked political sides and has never endorsed any candidate for office. Our aim is to let all sides speak when they are willing to talk, and let the voters decide.

Much of the Monitor’s attack on InMaricopa had little to do with the debates but personal grudgingness over media competition and hypothetical access. Neither the Chamber nor InMaricopa has approached the debates to “make a buck,” a silly accusation over an event that financially profits no one.

InMaricopa established itself as a hyper-local news source, concentrating its objective coverage on all things Maricopa and issues that impact Maricopa. That is how we are approaching and presenting this Town Hall.

Raquel Hendrickson is the editor of InMaricopa.

Mayor Christian Price (center) was on hand to accept Maricopa's third Battle of the Burbs contest in 2016. Photo by William Lange

Maricopa is returning to Battle of the Burbs competition this year.

After winning radio station Mix 96.9’s contest for the best suburban community in the Phoenix Metro area in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Maricopa was asked to step aside for a year to give someone else a chance. Now Maricopa is back in the competition, and voting begins Monday.

Besides bragging rights, the winner gets a free concert.

Communities win by garnering online votes throughout a 25-city, tournament-like bracket. Residents can vote daily on every device at March 26-April 2. The winner will be announced April 2, and the concert by an as-yet-unnamed band would tentatively be April 13.

In Maricopa’s winning years, bands were The Summer Set, Divided Minds and Lifehouse, performing at Copper Sky with other community entertainment.

Voting in the 25-city bracket is Feb. 26-March 4. Top 16 voting is March 5-12. Top 8 voting is March 12-19, Fab 4 voting is March 19-26, and the Championship round voting is March 26-April 2.

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Sponsored Content

The doors to Harrah’s Ak-Chin’s Bingo Hall are officially open and ready for big wins seven days a week! Since the hotel opened in 1994, Harrah’s Ak-Chin has reinvented itself year after year, and this year’s ways to play are bigger and better than ever.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin took every aspect of the game into account when designing its new Bingo hall. This massive new playground boasts 8,200 square feet, seats 424 players, and offers classic rounds of Bingo as well as state-of-the-art new games.

It’s a day maker when you get to yell out “BINGO!” so Harrah’s Ak-Chin has made sure you’re fueled throughout gameplay with beverage service for the big moment. You can also grab a fresh, juicy burger from the in-house restaurant, Copper Cactus Grill, or recharge with an energizing cup of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. And, when the munchies hit, there are vending machines stacked with all of your favorite snacks.

The expansion and complete renovation of the Bingo Hall is just one way Harrah’s Ak-Chin is helping modernize your Bingo game. Ak-Chin now offers Planet Bingo’s® PhD handheld device, so you can play six different video poker games on the same screen as your bingo game. All you have to do is sit back and relax, enjoy a drink, and let the machine do the work for you. If classic Bingo is more your thing, the traditional paper boards are still available for play and ‘lucky daubers’ are welcome in the great hall. All that’s missing is you!

Doors are open and games are waiting to be played – and won! Don’t forget: The hall is now open seven days a week. Doors open at 9:30 a.m., with the first session starting at 11:30 a.m. and the last at 6:30 p.m. Consider this an invitation to your happy place. See you there!

submitted photo

Sequoia Pathway Academy varsity girls’ basketball team finished second in Canyon Athletic Association Division II with a loss in the final at Talking Stick Resort Wednesday.

The Pumas, seeded third, lost to top-ranked American Leadership Academy – Gilbert, 55-21. SPA was trying to repeat as state champions.

The team reached the finals by defeating ALA – Ironwood in the quarterfinal, 54-46, Feb. 15 and Paradise Valley Christian Prep in the semifinal, 32-28, Feb. 17.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department want a preplan in place for commerical areas in case of major fires.

Maricopa City Council approved a transfer from the city’s contingency fund Tuesday to pay for a fire preplan for as many as 96 commercial buildings around the city.

The $48,000 expense will bring Maricopa in line with other fire departments in the Phoenix metro area in better preparing firefighters responding to major fires in the city.

“Right now, when people come in, as well as our own commanders, they come in blind,” Maricopa Fire Chief Brady Leffler said.

The preplanning, he said, creates multiple maps that both MFMD commanders and outside emergency personnel can view when responding to fires. The maps contain locational information about hydrant, sprinklers, electrical breakers and gas shutoffs.

Preplan example

This information, he said, is lacking for almost all the city’s major buildings, public and private.

“Currently we don’t have any [preplans],” Leffler said. “We don’t have anything for [city hall], Copper Sky [has] nothing, the schools [have] nothing.”

MFMD recognized the need for such a plan roughly two years ago, Leffler said.  And at that time the department tried to do the preplanning themselves, however due to the complex nature of the planning, he said, they “failed miserably.”

“This is very technical, it involves the Phoenix [computer aided dispatch], and it also involves [geographic information system],” he said. “We tried doing hand drawings, we tried everything, so we reached out to people that do this for a living.”

The city is part of an automatic aid consortium Leffler said calls upon in the event of an exceptionally large incident or if MFMD is occupied, thus making this fire preplan essential.

Councilmember Henry Wade expressed concern about the burden of providing such information, asking if it should be up to the owner or occupant of a building to pay for such a plan.

In response, Leffler said the city currently does ask for certain information from developers, but the information lacks certain details and is never uploaded to Phoenix regional dispatch system for other departments to access.

The initial $48,000 of the contract with Phoenix based company, The Preplanners, would be spent to create the necessary documents for 96 buildings around the city.  An additional reoccurring $5,000 annual fee would be attached to the contract should the city decide to retain the company services to create additional fire preplans as the city grows.

Though not opposed to the idea of budgeting for a fire preplan, the $5,000 reoccurring fee is where councilmember Nancy Smith expressed concern.

“Here we are almost in March, we are going to be approving a brand-new budget in June and if this is part of that approved budget, at that point, then we move forward,” Smith said.  “And what I’ve lost is three months, but what we’ve gained is clarity in terms of the other must-have [expenses].”

The “must haves” she spoke of were the many similar, seemingly “crucial” expenses council sees requests for each budget cycle. And considering the reoccurring $5,000 expense, she said the matter should not rely on contingency funds.

In the end, council approved the measure 6-1, Smith voting against.

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The beginning of varsity spring sports seasons, a health workshop, Game Night, Farm Science and Food Truck Friday are all part of the activities planned for Maricopa this week. Below, Susan Cameron and Brad Kammeyer invite the community to “Inside the Creative Mind” on Saturday afternoon. For details on these and other listings, or to add your own, visit


Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Senior Bowling is at 10 a.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) meet at 7 p.m. at 19395 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 16.


Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Coffee with Friends of the Maricopa Library is at 1 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Seniors play Canasta at 1 p.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Celebrate Recovery Coffee & Karaoke is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

City Council Work Session is at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.

City Council Regular Session is at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.


The Huffman/Pinon Baseball Tournament begins the varsity season at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.


Creative Sisterhood is at 9 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Babytime is at 9:30 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Harrah’s Club 777 Toastmasters meet at 3 p.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 N. Maricopa Road.

S.M.A.R.T. Kids meet at 3:30 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Maricopa Police Explorer Post Meeting is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

MUSD Governing Board Special Meeting is at 5:30 p.m. at Maricopa Unified School District, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.

AWANA is at 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Maricopa, 18705 N. John Wayne Parkway.


The Krystin Diehl Softball Tournament begins the varsity season at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.


Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Seniors play Farkel at 9 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Healthy Living Workshop is at 10:30 a.m. at Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Seniors play Canasta at 1 p.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Boys’ tennis starts the varsity season at 3:30 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

Family Story Time is at 4 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Ak-Chin Social Services, 48227 W. Farrell Road.


“Peter Pan” is performed at 6 p.m. (2 p.m. Saturday matinee) at Legacy Traditional School, 17760 Regent Drive.


Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Food Truck Friday is at 5 p.m. at Community of Hope parking lot, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.

Multigenerational Game Night is at 6:30 p.m. at Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.


Picacho Peak day hike leaves at 8 a.m. from Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Copa Color Fun Run/Walk is at 9 a.m. at Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Farm Science Day 2018 is at 10 a.m. at USDA Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center, 21881 N. Cardon Lane.

Inside the Creative Mind is at 2 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.


A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Andre and Kaylie LaFond

Andre LaFond grew up in the Chicago suburbs and now works in investigations. He is currently running for constable of the Maricopa/Stanfield Justice Court.

Hometown: Aurora, Illinois
Resides in: Rancho El Dorado
Maricopan since: 2014
Occupation: District security manager
Family: My beautiful wife Kaylie
Pets: My husky mix Bruin, basset hound Wrangler, and my rescue cat Blizzard
Cars: Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Renegade
Hobbies: Working on my car, fixing anything around the home, camping, target shooting
Pet peeve: When the internet goes out and my smart home devices are suddenly not so smart!
Dream vacation: World War 2 European front tour
Like most about Maricopa: The amazing “small town” community
Like least about Maricopa: 347

Favorite …
Charity: St Jude’s Children’s hospital
Book: “Atlantis Found” by Clive Cussler
Movie: Star Trek 6 The Undiscovered Country
Actor: Tom Hanks
Song: “I Hung My Head” by Johnny Cash
Musician: Johnny Cash
Team: Cubs
Athlete: Muhammed Ali
Food: Bone-in ribeye
Drink: Michallan 18
Meal: Bone-in ribeye, garlic mashed potatoes, corn on the cob
Restaurant: Bobby Q’s
Getaway: Sedona
Quote: “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet” – Abraham Lincoln
Words to live by: Charity, compassion, and tolerance towards each other is the backbone of a strong community.
Joke: Two guys walk into a bar, one ducks!
Anything else we should know? I was raised in the suburbs of Chicago. I spent my youth in the Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. My grandfather and father were both Eagle Scouts and I am proud to carry on that tradition. After high school I joined the Army out of a sense of duty to my community and country. I have spent the last 13 years in private law enforcement and moved out here as part of a promotion. I am currently a district level security manager leading a team of investigators. I have fallen in love with Maricopa and hope to be able to serve my community as constable.


They had so much fun last year, they are doing it again.

For a chance to win tickets to Copa Shorts Film Fest, see InMaricopa on Facebook.

The second Copa Shorts Film Fest is set for Feb. 16-18 at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center. The 68 films to be screened range from middle-school projects to a film short-listed for the Academy Awards. They also range in length from 2 minutes to the limit of 20 minutes.

Films are divided into film blocks, each block totaling less than two hours in film time but often ended with Q&A’s with the filmmakers. Each block includes seven to nine films.

Organizers have picked up more sponsors, contributing partners and resources since last year. Showcase film blocks are Native American, military veteran, college and noncompeting high school/middle school films.

In the Native American showcase is Lost Face, an Australian-produced film based on a Jack London story. It is short-listed for the Oscars in the short-film category.

“It is so well done,” festival Executive Director Shelley Gillespie said. “And it builds to a tension level. There’s an amount of violence, so it’s not one small children should see.”

She said she intends to create a 15-second moment in the block to warn attendees of the content and allow them time to remove kids from the audience if they choose. Most films with extreme violence or other adult content are in the “After Hours” film block late Saturday.

Gillespie’s personal favorite in the festival is in the College Showcase. The Chocolate Soldier is set in World War II, placing a young refugee in the path of the enemy.

Film block themes are “Human… Nature,” “After Hours,” “People and Challenges” and “High and Low Tech.” The script table reads are Sunday afternoon and will involve four screenplays and local actors.

The Native American Showcase includes the work of children, specifically the Ak-Chin Movie Club. Most of those filmmakers are between 8 and 14 years old. Their four short films are not competing in the festival and will be screened but not judged.

Jeffrey Stoffer of the Ak-Chin Library said Gillespie attended the club’s own festival and picked out projects they would like to see in Copa Shorts. One of those films, Ak-Chin Rez Dogs, is a public service announcement video that won the 2017 Tribal/EPA Region 9 Conference Youth Video Contest.

Being able to see their work screened among professional films in a festival setting is a big boost.

“It gives them the self-confidence that lets them know they can do anything they want to,” Stoffer said.

The movie club, 30 members strong with a long waiting list, uses the library’s teen room, which has three green-screened walls and movie-production computer programs. They script, shoot and edit with help from Stoffer, Cecily Peters and Sandiin Mitchell. Peters, for example, may polish their editing and then explain exactly what she did and why.

The program provides the resources for the “generation of makers and creators” who might not have the equipment or a script or even an idea for a script but want to create a story. Stoffer said the whole purpose is to “help build their creativity and confidence.”

Local middle school students are also returning with new films for the festival, having learned what they needed to do to improve from last year’s submissions. There are four middle school films and nine high school films, including one from the Philippines, in the showcase.

“I really hope we get a good audience for these because they’re really fun and imaginative,” Gillespie said.

Jason Stahl, a teacher in San Tan Valley, plans to bring busloads of students both days of the festival. That includes attending the free workshops. Stahl is on the festival’s advisory board.

“I’m thrilled because we’ll have all those kids,” Gillespie said. “They want to see their friends.”

The three workshops Saturday morning in Elements Event Center are presented by entertainment attorney Stephen Nebgen, cinematographer Steve Wargo and Arizona Office of Film & Digital Media Director Matthew Earl Jones. Nebgen will present “Film Funding: Show Me the Money!” Wargo will present “Drones, Moviemaking and the FAA Rules. Rules. Rules.” Jones’s topic is “Filming in Arizona: What Arizona Can Do for You.”

A film block showcase drawing notice is for films created by military veterans. The block includes seven films on Saturday afternoon. Military veterans can attend that film block for $3, thanks to two sponsors. The veteran and senior/student rate for all other film blocks is $10. General admission for each block is $12.

A day pass is $70 for Saturday and $75 for Sunday. Parties at the beginning and end of the festival are $30 each. The Opening Night VIP Party will feature entertainment by Brian Hammill & Native Spirit. The Closing Night Wrap Party, which includes awards, features acclaimed musician Arvel Bird.

In the spirit of full disclosure, InMaricopa multimedia journalist Mason Callejas’ documentary Still Standing: The Copa Central Story was accepted into the festival, and InMaricopa client loyalty coordinator Michelle Sorensen was a film reviewer for Copa Shorts Film Fest.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.


Workshops on happiness, health and filmmaking are all part of activities this week. Below, Maricopa actor Izzy Watts invites the community to the second Copa Shorts Film Fest this weekend. For details on these and other listings, or to add your own, visit


Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Senior Bowling is at 10 a.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) meet at 7 p.m. at 19395 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 16.


Tombstone daytrip leaves at 8 a.m. from Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Discovering Happiness Lunch & Learn is at noon at Central Arizona College – Maricopa Campus, 17945 N. Regent Drive.

Coffee with Friends of the Maricopa Library is at 1 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Seniors play Canasta at 1 p.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Celebrate Recovery Coffee & Karaoke is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.


Creative Sisterhood meets at 9 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Babytime is at 9:30 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road

Harrah’s Club 777 Toastmasters meet at 3 p.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road.

S.M.A.R.T. Kids meet at 3:30 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Maricopa Police Explorer Post Meeting is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

AWANA is at 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Maricopa, 18705 N. John Wayne Parkway.

MUSD Governing Board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Maricopa Unified School District Administrative Office, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.


Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Seniors play Farkel at 9 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Healthy Living Workshop is at 10:30 a.m. at Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Seniors play Canasta at 1 p.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Family Story Time is at 4 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Desert Wind Parent Night is at 6 p.m. at Desert Wind Middle School, 35565 W. Honeycutt Road.

A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Ak-Chin Social Services, 48227 W. Farrell Road.


Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

8-Bits is at 4 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.

Copa Shorts Film Fest VIP Party is at 7:30 p.m. at Elements Event Center at Ak Chin Circle, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.


Film Funding: Show Me the Money is at 9 a.m. at Copa Shorts Film Fest at Elements Event Center at Ak Chin Circle, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

Drones, Moviemaking, and the FAA. Rules. Rules. Rules. is at 9 a.m. at Copa Shorts Film Fest at Elements Event Center at Ak Chin Circle, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

Filming in Arizona: What Arizona Can Do For You is at 10:30 a.m. at Copa Shorts Film Fest at Elements Event Center at Ak Chin Circle, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

Copa Shorts Film Fest screenings start at noon at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.


Copa Shorts Film Fest screenings start at 11 a.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Copa Shorts Film Fest Wrap Party is at 7:30 p.m. at Elements Event Center at Ak Chin Circle, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

Taylor Coleman (22) scored 15 and Jayla Johnson (12) scored 14 in Maricopa's play-in victory. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa is back in the state playoffs.

With a 59-30 victory over Deer Valley, the Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team qualified for the Arizona Interscholastic Association 5A championships. Seedings for the Top 16 bracket will be announced this weekend.

Most of the team is new to playoff atmosphere, but senior Sydni Callis was a freshman on the state champion team in 2015 and has seen four years of high expectations. So she has some perspective on what it takes to win a title.

“It feels good,” she said about Thursday’s win. “I’m hoping we can get as far as we did. I think we can. I have confidence in them.”

While Callis described the return to the playoffs as “kind of like déjà vu,” head coach Melvin Mitchell feels her experience is vital for a young team that was unprepared for the intensity that came at them from 20th-ranked Deer Valley.

“I tried to explain what the playoff atmosphere was like, but they just don’t understand that because they’ve never experienced it,” said Mitchell, who was assistant coach for that championship season. “Sydni is starting to step up and become more of a leader. She’s not necessarily vocal in her personality, but she’s starting to get there and tell these girls exactly what she wants them to do.

“They respect her because she’s been there and won a state championship.”

Maricopa knew Deer Valley only from game tapes. Mitchell said the team looked bigger in person than on film. Though clearly the superior team, the Rams played shaky, often wild basketball in the first half, letting the Hawks stay close early. Though leading by only one point after one quarter, Maricopa held Deer Valley to just two points in the second and led 23-10 at the half.

“I think they got a little over-anxious we had a lot of fast-break layups in the first half that we just didn’t convert,” Mitchell said.

He told them to calm down during break and to back off on the long pass when it wasn’t there. The Rams scored 21 points in the third quarter and ran off with the victory.

Sophomore Taylor Coleman led all scoring with 15 points. Mitchell said she has always been a spark on the team and is learning what her strong shots are.

Chipping in two 3-pointers, junior Jayla Johnson scored 14. Senior Alia Ballou scored nine, and freshman Brooke Smith scored seven. Callis scored just five but had 12 rebounds, seven steals and six assists.

“The more and more they get used to and the more physical we amp it up in practice, the better they’ll play,” Mitchell said. “We have to do the things that got us here.”

Hannibal Muhammad addresses the Men's Cultural Awareness Symposium. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

A gathering of African American men at Maricopa City Hall delved into the fallout of skin-tone prejudices within the African American community at a Feb. 3 Men’s Cultural Awareness Symposium, a Black History Month event.

“We want to go forward and embrace each other as all our colors together as a group,” said event-organizer Zelmer Hagler.

His friend Hannibal Muhammad, a student assistant minister of the Nation of Islam in Phoenix, said there is still often a communication barrier between light-skinned and dark-skinned African Americans.

“We have to break that barrier of why we can’t talk to each other,” he said, “why, when we cross paths, I turn the other way. You’re my brother. I want to know who you are. I see you. I want to reach you.”

Muhammad, who is dark, said it is something he has seen since he was a child and sees today among his own young children.

“’Don’t talk to him. He’s dark.’ That’s what I had to face as a child,” he said. “’Look at his hair; his hair’s too kinky, it’s nappy, it’s too curly.’ That’s what I had to face as a child.”

He is bothered by trends of straightening and lightening hair or even bleaching skin to look lighter and be more accepted.

“Last year when [my daughter] was in first grade, one girl told her she wouldn’t play with her because of her hair,” he said. “These are the things that we’re still dealing with even today , and it’s 2018.”

Tim Seay, grand master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arizona, brought the perspective of growing up light-skinned.

“You know who’s roughest on us for being light? Our own people,” Seay said.

He said his mother was light and his father was dark. Growing up in the 1970s, he saw continuing evidence of skin-tone prejudices within the community. That included sorority sisters pursuing light-skinned men in hopes of having light-skinned babies.

“What is the big deal between light skin and dark skin, and who started it?” he asked, tracing the attitudes back to slavery with “house Negroes” and “field Negros.”

“They started that. But if you look behind the scenes, for a Negro to be light back then, there had to be some more to the story behind that. So why is it the house Negro got treated better? That was the master’s child. He was going to be treated better anyway. That’s not our fault. But we carried it on so far to this day.”

He showed a series of pictures of past grand masters of his freemasonry lodge, with most of the early leaders obviously light-skinned, which possibly played a large role in their selection as grand masters. Prince Hall lodges are predominantly African American.

Rev. Robby Rhodes called the ongoing divisions among shades of black was spiritual warfare.

“The way you think ultimately dictates how you live,” he said. “From the Christian perspective, there is a battle inside all of us, and the battle begins in our individual minds. The prince of darkness wants to leave vestiges of bad memories of the past and how we were treated, and if you are light-skinned somehow you are better than a dark-skinned person.”

Muhammad said putting aside attitudes about skin tones is crucial to creating unity in the community. He said the divisions among the men have badly affected their relationships with black women. He said women have moved into the spotlight of leadership because they are tired of waiting on the men to step up.

The symposium also heard from Roy Hayes, who read his tribute to African American women, and Chaz Jackson of Buffalo Soldiers of America, who spoke about the military history of the Buffalo Soldiers and posted a display on Cathy Williams, who disguised herself as a man to serve with the Buffalo Soldiers.

Councilmember Henry Wade pointed out African American involvement in the political and cultural life of Maricopa.

“Here in Maricopa, as far as the African America population is concerned, we exceed the state average. We range between 5 and 6 percent in the City of Maricopa. And we are engaged,” Wade said. “The African American Legislative Committee held a workshop here in Maricopa, and the organizers of the workshop said Maricopa was one of the most engaging communities that they had come in contact with.”

In an interpersonal exercise at the end of the symposium, light-skinned attendees faced dark-skinned attendees to share what they see in each other.

Ian Dume, a guest of Seay, said when he sees a dark-skinned man, “I see someone who is trying, someone who is a little angry at light skin, someone who has a lot of questions.”

Senior Sydni Callis (11) led the Maricopa scoring Tuesday as the Rams took a tough loss against top-ranked Apollo. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


After a tight-battle with one of the top teams in the state, Maricopa High School girls’ basketball posted a loss for the final game of the season, but the Rams retained their 13th-place ranking in 5A.

That sets them up as the home team for the first round of the 5A play-in tournament Thursday. They will host No. 20 Deer Valley at 6:30 p.m.

The Rams (17-9) lost to Apollo Tuesday, 53-45. Afterward, Apollo moved from No. 4 to No. 1, finishing with a record of 20-2. The top eight teams automatically move into the state championship bracket. Those ranked ninth through 24th qualify for the play-in tournament to vie for spots in the championship bracket.

For instance, Maricopa’s varsity boys’ team also lost to Apollo Tuesday, to end with an 11-12 record. But their 23rd ranking in 5A advances them to the play-in tournament. They play at 10th-ranked Sahuaro on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Previously this season, Maricopa’s girls lost to Apollo by 17 points. The Rams came into Tuesday’s rematch with four straight wins, including a narrow 48-47 victory at Williams Field.

“When we played them the first time, they were a heck of a rebounding team,” Rams’ head coach Melvin Mitchell said. “Of course, they’re big. They keep it above their heads. All the fundamental stuff that you want to teach your kids, they do. And they’re very, very physical. So, we wanted to try to match that intensity and make sure we were rebounding off the weak side.

“We definitely wanted to challenge them and see what they were made of.”

Both teams were shooting cold at the start of the game. Maricopa’s defense kept the Rams battling back and forth for the lead. The MHS strategy on the boards was effective for the first half, and then the offense started firing in the third quarter to allow the Rams a lead.

Inconsistency upended the Rams’ effort in the fourth quarter, Mitchell said.

“In the fourth quarter it kind of broke down,” he said. “They were playing ‘Monkey in the Middle’ or something. It was just one of those things where we have to be consistent throughout the whole game.”

For Senior Night, Maricopa’s two seniors led the scoring. Sydni Callis scored 16 and had seven steals, four rebounds and six assists. Alia Ballou scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Junior Jayla Johnson had nine points. Sophomore Taylor Coleman had eight rebounds and two blocks.

For Apollo, 6-foot junior Jakaree Harris led all scoring with 22 points, and 6-foot-1 freshman Haylee Weathersby scored 17.

“I think we kept up the intensity,” Mitchell said. “The play out of our guards was spectacular.”

That, he said, has Maricopa in good preparation for Thursday’s play-in game.

“It’s that time of year where we have to refuse to lose, and we want to see where we go,” the coach said. “I’m looking forward to it.”


Left turns are prohibited out of Sequoia Pathway at Porter Road.

A rollover accident involving an off-road vehicle briefly disrupted the morning commute Monday.

Lt. Stephen Judd with the Maricopa Police Department said a side-by-side recreation vehicle rolled onto its side on Porter Road after making an illegal left turn from Sequoia Pathway Academy.

A traffic sign prohibits left hand turns from the school onto Porter.

“(The off road vehicle) slammed on its brakes and turned over on its side,” Judd said. “There was actually no collision; no other vehicles were hit. It just lost control and turned over.”

Judd said the male driver of the vehicle did not sustain injuries and police crews cleared the roadway quickly.

Bryan Mitchell, 88, plays pickleball twice a week at Copper Sky. Photo by Victor Moreno


Bryan Mitchell will be 89 years old in April. A retired executive, he takes physical fitness seriously. On his own or with new friends, he has a fitness regimen for every week day.

“I watch my diet so that I get the right foods, but I don’t necessarily cut back on the sweets, so I gotta keep working at it,” he said.

A resident of the Redwood neighborhood of Glennwilde, Mitchell came to Maricopa after his 2015 retirement. It was actually his second retirement.

A native of Chicago, he worked his first career there with what was then the A.C. Neilsen Company (now The Neilsen Corporation). As a controller in the mid-‘80s, he was among staff transferred to New York. After two years, the struggling company reorganized and laid off those employees.

Opting not to return to Chicago, Mitchell took early retirement and became a real estate broker. It was his occupation for 28 years in New York, even after his wife died in 2012. He finally called it quits at the age of 86.

His daughter, Susan Bellfield, had moved to Maricopa to be near friends around 2005. She thought the community would be a good fit for her father. So, when she stayed with him after his retirement, she talked him into moving to Arizona.

“I like the weather here,” he said. “And it’s less expensive to live here.”

Attributing Mitchell’s long, independent life at least in part to physical activity is an easy assumption. He used to play tennis and racquetball. Once he moved to Maricopa, he was ready to try something new both for activity and society.

He heard talk at his church about one of the congregants playing pickleball in Province, and he set out to find out what it was and where it might be available to non-Province residents.

That led him to Copper Sky, where he fell in with a motley crew.

“I enjoyed it right from the beginning,” Mitchell said. “It took me a little while to learn it, but it’s really a lot of fun. I look forward to it. They’re a great bunch of people here, too. They’re a lot of fun to play with.”

Now he plays pickleball with a growing group of players at Copper Sky on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he hits the treadmill at home, where he lives with “a little dog that’s about as old as I am in dog years.”

Mitchell promotes the benefits of pickleball to others looking for light recreation to stay active.

“It’s a great sport for almost any age and any condition,” he said. “You have people who are overweight, people who are underweight, old people, younger people. It’s good for everybody. And you get good exercise from it because they run you around.”

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.


Shane Pannell's SweepEasy broom has a retractable floor scraper that caught the imagination of millions when he introduced the idea on "Shark Tank." Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


Shane Pannell is back.

The creator of the SweepEasy broom is finally getting his product on the market, and he couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s been nearly seven years since Pannell appeared on the ABC show “Shark Tank” and caught the attention of millions of viewers and two of the panelists with his invention.

Kevin Harrington and Daymond John made Pannell an investment offer at the time, which Pannell gladly accepted. It did not turn out as expected.

“I don’t like to say we didn’t make a deal. I just say it didn’t work out,” he said. “It just didn’t fit their model.”

But he’s careful to keep a cordial relationship with the show.

“It was a good experience. I had a huge following after the show, worldwide,” Pannell said. “It was crazy.”

He heard from daycares, restaurants, movie theaters, pet shelters, schools, churches and school bus companies. He has been in talks with a janitorial company, big box stores and a local retailer. There is also interest in Europe.

When it was clear there was no way forward with a “Shark Tank” deal, he began looking for other investors. He and his wife Melissa tapped out their resources, including $70,000 in credit card debt. They were very hard times financially and personally. Despite the family stress, Pannell did not want to give up.

“I knew I had a great product; I just didn’t have the product made yet,” he said.

The SweepEasy broom’s standout feature is a retractable scraper, plastic or metal, that can be engaged to remove items stuck to the floor, such as gum, slime, dried glue and stickers. 

To get the broom made, Pannell went into business with some people who turned out to be “not good guys.” Pannell said they had a vision of a cheap version of his product. That was the version he first sold online, but reviews ranged wildly from one star to five stars with nothing in between.

“People loved it because it had the scraper, but it was just a cheap broom. It was just a terrible product, and I said this is not my vision for my product,” Pannell said.

He got out of that contract and found a new investor through a mutual friend. Joshua Looney of Phoenix said he was drawn to the simplicity of the broom’s innovation and called it a “revolutionary product.” Now he is the CEO of SweepEasy. His involvement has allowed Pannell to build the product he imagined in the first place and finally launch it. The broom retails at $19.95.

“Because of all the time that’s been between the show and now, I’ve been able to fine-tune the product and make it better and better and better,” Pannell said. “What I came out with is a product that exceeded my expectations. The quality of the broom – the bristles are from Italy – just the broom itself will rival any $20 broom on the market, plus you have a $20 scraper inside.”

The brooms are made at a factory in Malaysia run by two U.S.-educated brothers. Pannell has visited once, and Looney has gone twice. Both are satisfied with the quality of the work. When the first boxes arrived, and Pannell finally saw the product he envisioned, he cried.

“I’d always wanted to invent, ever since I was a little kid. I don’t know if saw an invention movie or what,” he said. “I never stopped thinking about things. I have about 1,000 ideas, but I’ve really got five that are going to be really good.”

Originally from Boise, Idaho, he now lives in Rancho El Dorado. The Pannells moved to Maricopa in 2005 after being chosen in a lottery to buy a home. He started a pest-control business but eventually sold that company and became a work-from-home-dad.

What does he tell others who have big ideas they want to get into the marketplace?

“My advice would be to get lots of different opinions. Get lots of advice from different consultants; you don’t necessarily have to pay for it. Reach out and network.”

The process has been an education, sometimes a painful one. But being able to launch the product he envisioned nearly a decade ago has put much of that into perspective.

“I’ve learned what not to do and what to do, and believe me, we made a lot of mistakes, a lot of money mistakes, like ‘Ouch, that hurts. That’s a $5,000 mistake.’ It’s part of the game. If you make a mistake, don’t do it again. But don’t ever quit.”

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Traffic waits at a light at the Union Pacific tracks, where an overpass is planned.

Though overpass construction is delayed, Arizona Department of Transportation intends to begin tearing down structures on properties it owns in the Heritage District in mid-February to make way for the overpass.

Those properties include the former fire department administration buildings, the Copa Center and the former sheriff’s office building that used to house F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department has relocated its administration to 45654 W. Edison Road across from Fire Station 575. F.O.R. has moved its food distribution to Santa Cruz Elementary School while it prepares its new property beside the blue Business Barn south of the railroad tracks. Senior citizens who used to patronize the Copa Center for games and gatherings have also been relocated to Santa Cruz Elementary.

Actual construction of the overpass is expected to begin later in February or early March, delayed by contractor Ames Construction’s continuing work on an earlier project. ADOT spokesman Tom Herrmann said an official start date for construction has not been set.

Not everybody over the age of 65 likes to be called a “senior citizen” and certainly not “elderly,” but Maricopa’s most experienced residents are in the spotlight for this month’s edition of InMaricopa magazine.

Raquel Hendrickson

Our cover subject is Bryan Mitchell, who is 88 years old and recently discovered the benefits of pickleball, which he has added to his regular exercise. He also takes advantage of qualifying for Silver Sneakers, a program that is also detailed in this issue.

A master model-builder, Harry Dieffenbach started scratchbuilding while in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Now in his 90s, his models of ships and boats are displayed in Province Village Center. He talked to InMaricopa about the hobby that lasted through two careers.

Realtor Dayv Morgan talks about housing options for retirees in his column this month, and Master Gardener Rita Bricker has tips for prepping your garden plots for spring plantings.

Also in this issue, look into the financial future of the city’s Copper Sky, and look back at the history of water tanks in Maricopa. 2018 is an election year with lots on the line at every level; see how some races are starting to shape up already.

Meet Maricopa High School senior, Junior ROTC cadet and candidate for West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy Dylan Hill and learn about her quest to become the first member of her family in the military since WWII. As Dylan plans her career, Jerri Early plans a “phased” retirement from her career as an educator and the longest-tenured teacher in the Maricopa Unified School District.

Also in this issue, catch up with “Shark Tank” entrepreneur Shane Pannell, find out what’s new at Copa Short Film Fest and check out this month’s event calendar.

Happy reading,

Raquel Hendrickson is the editor of InMaricopa.

'Dancing this dance of sensitivity'


A joint-litigation attorney for Pinal County Regional Transportation Authority wrote a letter to the Department of Revenue on Wednesday asking when and how the voter-approved half-cent sales tax will be implemented.

The sales tax is the funding mechanism for countywide road improvements, including the widening of State Route 347. RTA-related propositions 416 and 417 were approved in November.

PRTA General Manager Andy Smith told board members Wednesday a response from ADOR is expected by Feb. 5.

A sticking point in the progress of RTA planning is a lawsuit filed by the Goldwater Institute in December challenging the validity of the half-cent sales tax. Goldwater’s attorneys claim Prop 417 exceeds the county authority by taxing only items below $10,000, “creating a new tax classification instead of a variable rate and violates the Equal Protection Clause by taxing transactions below an arbitrary threshold amount but not above that amount.”

The Goldwater Institute is suing Pinal County, PRTA and the Department of Revenue on behalf of two county residents and the Arizona Restaurant Association.

Smith said the respective attorneys “have been having conversations” to create briefs and establish “stipulated facts.”

The PRTA board has hopes for an April 1 implementation of the tax.

Maricopa Mayor Christian Price, a member of the board, explained the challenges of SR 347, both geographically and politically. The main agencies involved in adding lanes to the highway are PRTA, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Gila River Indian Community and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG).

“It’s an incredibly complex road,” Price said. “It’s on Gila River land, it crosses county lines, it’s a state-owned road, it’s the city of Maricopa pushing for it.”

To prevent bottle-neck at the county line, “we need help on the Maricopa County side,” Price said. Maricopa leaders have been in discussions with MAG and Gila River for years. MAG specifically has discussed solutions for problems at interchanges at Riggs Road and old Maricopa Highway (Wild Horse Pass) and the possibility of using MC Prop 400 funds for improvements.

In the ongoing discussions, the sour relationship between Gila River and ADOT is “throwing things out of whack,” Price said. Gila River sued the state in 2015 over the South Mountain Freeway construction.

“MAG is conducting the scoping study, and we’ll kind of leave it in their hands because of the sensitivities,” Price said.

“Obviously, to come up with a fix for you all in Maricopa, that’s going to take Maricopa County to get involved,” county Supervisor Pete Rios said. He warned that often Native American communities are planning “seven generations down the road. We do need to be sensitive to where some of these tribes are coming from.”

Price said he has been working with Gila River Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis for two years. “We’re really trying to dance this dance of sensitivity,” he said.

The RTA plan is to provide $28.8 million over the next five years to fund additional lanes for nine miles of SR 347.

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Maricopa features subdivisions with an array of amenities including community pools and parks. Many homeowners’ associations (HOA) are based in the Valley and a few have local offices. Each HOA has a dedicated community manager. Contact information for each of them can be found below.


Acacia Crossing HOA
Linda Huggins, Community Manager
602-437-4777 ext. 2151
4645 E. Cotton Gin Loop, Phoenix

Alterra HOA
Travis Jack, Community Manager
623-251-5260 ext. 101
21639 N. 12th Ave. Suite 102, Phoenix

Cobblestone Farms HOA
Jamie Crowell, Community Manager
1600 W. Broadway Road, Suite 200, Tempe

Desert Cedars HOA
Mark Miller, Community Manager
602-437-4777 ext. 2153
4645 E. Cotton Gin Loop, Phoenix

Desert Passage/Smith Farms HOA
Andi Chaira, Community Manager
480-422-0888 ext. 1022
4025 S. McClintock Drive, Suite 205, Tempe

Glennwilde Groves HOA 
Michael Munroe, Community Manager
1600 W. Broadway Road, Suite 200, Tempe

Homestead North HOA
Jennie Nathey, Community Manager
1600 W. Broadway Road, Suite 200, Tempe

The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado HOA
Tiffani Horton, Community Manager
1600 W. Broadway Road, Suite 200, Tempe

Maricopa Meadows HOA
Jen Amundson, Community Manager
16625 S. Desert Foothills Parkway, Phoenix

Palo Brea
Rhett Homan, Community Manager
602-437-4777 ext. 2173
4645 E. Cotton Gin Loop, Phoenix

Province Community Association
Debbie Harper, Community Manager
20942 N. Province Parkway

Rancho El Dorado HOA
Joy Pagel, Community Manager
9000 E. Pima Center Parkway, Suite 300, Scottsdale

Rancho Mirage HOA
Tiffani Horton, Community Manager
1600 W. Broadway Road, Suite 200, Tempe

Santa Rosa Springs
Rhett Homan, Community Manager
602-437-4777, ext. 2173
4645 E. Cotton Gin Loop, Phoenix

Senita HOA
Kriss Lindberg, Community Contact
480-396-4567 ext. 239

Sorrento Community Master Association
Tiffani Horton, Community Manager
1600 W. Broadway Road, Suite 200, Tempe

Tortosa HOA
Chris Hashisaki, Community Manager
36340 W. Picasso St.

The Villages at Rancho El Dorado HOA
Kim Gonzalez, Community Manager
20991 N. Butterfield Parkway

Theater students from Maricopa High School have written and will perform a play in Florence about the "Baron of Arizona." (File photo)

Students from Maricopa are getting into the act for the Historic Florence Home Tour.

Maricopa High School Theatre Company was asked to perform a bit of history for the 33rd annual event. When local drama clubs were not able to participate, the Florence recreation superintendent knew who to call.

John Nixon was Community Services director in Maricopa before taking the job in Florence. He approached MHS drama teacher Cynthia Calhoun with the committee-chosen title, “The Baron of Arizona,” about infamous fraudster James Reavis. The MHS students jumped at the chance.

“The kids are performing an original script that they wrote about the people of Florence and how they reacted to and banded together against Reavis’ phony Peralta Land Grant claim,” said Calhoun, a master teacher.

She met with Pinal County Historical Museum staff for background to give the theater students solid footing for their storytelling.

“We are excited that a talented high school drama club from Pinal County is willing to come to Florence to perform,” Nixon said.   

The Florence Home Tour started incorporating live plays last year. The drama club from San Tan Foothills High School presented “The Trial of Pearl Hart; Lady Bandit.” Nixon said it was standing-room-only for both performances.

This year, the tour committee asked Calhoun’s troupe to perform three shows for 20-25 minutes each. Nixon said the additional performance would give more visitors the opportunity to view the play.

“The Baron of Arizona” will be performed Feb. 10 at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at McFarland Historical State Park, 24 W. Ruggles St. The home tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Learn more about the tour at

Marcos Martinez (PCSO photo)

In recent months, a man accused of murder and his younger brother have had brushes with the law in Arizona.

A memorial fund has been set up for Vicky Ten Hoven at to help with funeral expenses.

Marcos Jerrell Martinez, 23, is accused of killing his grandmother, Vicky Ten Hoven, Sunday evening. According to Maricopa Police Department, Martinez and his brother Dorin, 22, occasionally lived with their grandparents in Rancho El Dorado.

Jan. 25, police responded to the home on a report that Dorin Martinez had assaulted his grandfather after a dispute over the television. The TV controls had been “locked down,” and the grandfather told Dorin to unlock the controls and to respect his belongings.

According to the police report, Dorin pushed his grandfather (also described as his step-grandfather), who fell on the floor, and then punched his grandfather in the head “causing a laceration” to his scalp.

MPD described Dorin as special needs and the grandfather as “pre-Alzheimer’s,” and Dorin was cited but not taken into custody.

Since May, Marcos Martinez has had four cases in Maricopa Municipal Court. Those charges involved drug use and possession, speeding, failure to stop at an accident and failure to appear. None of those cases involved physical violence.

Marcos was arrested in Chandler early Tuesday morning on charges of second-degree murder (a class 1 felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison), unlawful possession of a vehicle (a class 5 felony punishable by up to 2.5 years) and tampering with evidence (a class 6 felony punishable by up to 2 years).




By Andrew H. Jones
Community Relations Coordinator
Sun Life Family Health Center

WHAT is Integrated Behavioral Health?
Integrated Behavioral Health is a program available to patients within Sun Life Family Health Center that provides services as part of their overall good health care. The purpose of this service is to offer assistance when stress, worry, or emotional concerns about physical or other life problems are interfering with someone’s daily life.

WHO is the Behavioral Health Consultant and WHAT kinds of problems can they help with?
The BHC is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Psychologist (LP) with specialty training who works as a member of the primary care team. This team approach allows us to consider physical, behavioral, and emotional aspects of health. For example, BHCs can help develop plans for behavioral change programs, such as smoking cessation or other lifestyle modifications. BHCs can also help with emotional or behavioral problems such as family or relationship difficulties, bereavement, excess stress, depression, anxiety, or anger problems.

WHAT should I expect when I see the Behavioral Health Consultant?
You can expect the BHC to ask you specific questions about your physical symptoms, the emotional concerns you are experiencing, your behaviors, and how all of these might be related. You can expect your appointments to be no longer than 30 minutes, in general, and for the BHC to provide brief solution-focused interventions. You can also expect to be seen in the exam room or in a comfortable office at Sun Life and the BHC will maintain a close working relationship with your primary care provider in offering the best overall care. Remember: Your primary care provider remains in charge of your health care – the BHCs primary job is to help develop and implement the best integrated health care plan for YOU!

HOW is this service different from Mental Health?
The services provided by the BHC serves as another part of your overall health care. Follow up sessions will be scheduled as necessary and dependent upon your specific situation. If you request, or if the BHC thinks you would benefit from specialty mental health services, the BHC will provide a referral. Documentation, assessments and recommendations will be written in your electronic health record.0

Sun Life Family Health Center welcomes you to learn more about our Integrated Behavioral Health Department and the services rendered. Sun Life offers continuous and comprehensive healthcare to individuals and the entire family. In addition to providing care when you are ill, we will also work with you to help achieve a healthy lifestyle and help prevent future illness. For more information, call our Sun Life Family Health Center location today at (520) 836-3446.

Tip of the Month: Learn to identify your own emotions for a healthier you!


Davis L. Plunkett

Mr. Plunkett is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW 11772). He received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1994 in Psychology from Franklin Pierce University, Rindge, New Hampshire. He received his Master’s in Social Work at San Diego State University, San Diego, California, in 1999.

Mr. Plunkett joined Sun Life Family Health Center in 2010 to develop and manage Integrated Behavioral Health services at Sun Life.

Born in Methuen, Massachusetts, Mr. Plunkett moved to Arizona in 2003. He enjoys fitness and travel.


Sarah Aldridge

Dr. Aldridge received her Bachelor of Science degree in 2010 in Psychology from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. She received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana, in 2015. She completed her residency in Indianapolis, Indiana, at Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center.

Dr. Aldridge is a board certified Psychologist and member of the National Register of Health Service Psychologist. She joined Sun Life Family Health Center in May of 2017. She enjoys learning and trying new things and is skillful in problem solving and responsiveness to patients. She brings a high level of motivation and is excited to be part of the Sun Life team.

Born in Anderson, Indiana, Dr. Aldridge just recently moved to Arizona in 2017. She enjoys playing tennis, running, hiking, walking her dogs, reading, and baking.


Photo by RaquePhoto by Raquel Hendricksonl Hendrickson

Saturday and Sunday, 135 disc golfers converged on Maricopa for the annual Maricopa Meadows Open. Treated to fair weather, 34 players were under par on the course. Kevin Jones of Arkansas shot 23 under par to win the pro/am by one stroke over Anthony Barela of Mesa.

Players came from as far away as Washington and North Carolina. Mayor Christian Price, a resident of Maricopa Meadows, was part of the opening ceremonies.

Rex Rogers of Scottsdale shot 14 under par to win the masters division by three strokes over Sam Russ of Maricopa and Jeff Wilson of Phoenix. David Neff of Phoenix won the grand masters with 6 under par. Tommy Gunz Trujillo III of Phoenix won the advanced division with 9 under par, one stroke better than Andrew Jones of Gilbert.

Scott Henderson of Gilbert won the advanced masters division with 2 under, the only competitor under par. Roger Jimenez of Chandler won the amateur masters 50+ with 7 under par. Ted Miller of Phoenix won the amateur masters 60+ with an even par score. Daryl Stoneman of Maricopa won the intermediate amateur with 2 over par. William Atkinson of Kingman won the recreational division with 4 over par.

Among the women, Kristy Pirkle of Kingman won the advanced women division with 24 over par against three opponents. Patricia Miller-Aceto won the amateur master 40+ with 27 over par against two opponents.

A house on Pershing Street has been ready for demolition for months.


Four properties in the Heritage District now have permits for demolition as part of the city’s anti-blight campaign.

Public Works received permits to demolish homes on Pershing Street, Burkett Avenue and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. In July, the city council agreed to move forward on the demolition of three of the properties. Public Works Director Bill Fay said federal grant-funded projects take longer to execute than local demolitions.

“The next step is the procurement of a demolition contractor,” he said. “We have to go through the process of making sure they are federally compliant.”

City Hall has been without a procurement specialist, which has also slowed the process. The demolition permits are good through July and can be extended.

The city does not own the properties but is paying for the demolition through a Community Development Block Grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The property at 19514 N. Pershing St. belongs to Miguel “Mike” Diaz. The property at 44378 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy. belongs to Lucia Gastelum. The property at 44548 W. Burkett Ave. belongs to Edgar Pimentel, and the property at 44536 W. Burkett Ave. belongs to Palo Brea LLC.

In coincidental but unrelated activity, Arizona Department of Transportation intends to begin tearing down structures on properties it owns in the Heritage District in February to make way for the overpass. Actual construction of the overpass is expected to begin later in February, delayed by Ames Construction’s continuing work on an earlier project.

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Carlos Rivas of Maricopa (second from right) is secretary of USTA Central Arizona. Other new officers are (from left) Treasurer Nathan Brelsford, First VP Taylor Allin, southwest section delegate Bill Lucero, President Laurie Martin and Second VP David Bennett. Submitted photo

A Maricopan hopes his new position can re-invigorate a local love of tennis.

Carlos Rivas was named to the executive committee of U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Central Arizona. He will serve as secretary.

“The goal is to grow tennis and get more people to play it,” Rivas said. “When you love something you just want to share it.”

Originally from California, Rivas picked up the sport as a youngster wanting to be like Andre Agassi “with all the hair and crazy clothes.” He found a $10 racket and started hitting balls with his brother. He played in high school and at Paradise Valley Community College.

Through tennis he met some of his best friends. He loved that sportsmanship was a vital part of the game, with players calling their own lines. After college, he was like many others who were unaware they could keep playing organized tennis. It was a decade before he discovered USTA programs.

Rivas said contrary to the stereotype that tennis is an elite, expensive sport, he has found it accessible and diverse. Bargain rackets and tennis balls are easily available, he said, and Maricopa has tennis courts in both its city parks.

He wants to see USTA’s Net Generation program utilized locally. Rivas said it offers resources to youth players and teaches coaches “how to do outreach.”

The goal is not to create professional tennis champions but to instill skills that will set up kids for a lifetime of healthy recreation. Rivas said most USTA Central Arizona members are simply leisure players.

Matt Gleason, executive director of USTA Central Arizona, said membership has grown by about 600 in the last five years in Arizona. Nationwide, the growth rate of 4 percent is outpacing other high school sports.

“Tennis is a tough skillset,” Gleason said. “There isn’t anyone who can’t kick a ball, but tennis is all athletic coordination.”

USTA wants to spread its program curriculum and get schools and youth programs outfitted in fundamentals and equipment.

“I’m interested in helping us get some of the programs going and growing,” Gleason said. “We’ve done a lot to grow recreational tennis.”

Rivas, who works at Verizon in Chandler, said he wants to have his kids involved in the sport and inspire a love for tennis in other young players.

“It’s a cool sport to play.”


Mariocpa teen Cassandra Presume. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


Cassandra Presume, 16, wants to be an actor.

Participating in her school’s theatrical projects is one thing. Positioning herself to be noticed by talent agents is another. Forget the movie clichés; there’s no easy or inexpensive way to do this.

Cassandra, a resident of Cobblestone Farms, took six months of courses at a Barbizon Modeling and Acting School to aim for her real goal. That is a shot at the International Modeling & Talent Agency.

“It’s to get yourself out there to a lot of agents, and they’ll call back if you appeal to them,” Cassandra said. “It could open up a lot of jobs.”

“A lot of well-known actresses have gone through this,” said her mother Antonia Presume. “It’s like a first step.”

IMTA touts a long list of famous former clients since 1987, like Eva Longoria and Elijah Wood, Katie Holmes and Josh Duhamal, Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Biel. The agency says it puts its top talent in front of agents, casting directors and producers. But to get there, the talent has to pay for training.

In Cassandra’s case, it was mostly presentation skills. Barbizon taught auditioning etiquette and makeup, runway walking, commercial modeling versus high-end modeling. She took the courses while attending her regular classes at Mountain Pointe High School in Ahwatukee.

“I think it helped a lot with my confidence, and I made a couple of new friends,” she said. “It was nice to know some people that have the same goals as you and would understand the type of work you have to put in.”

In school she has been part of the MP Theatre Company. This year, she has performed in The Adding Machine, Almost, Maine and a one-act play. For Fences, she was chief of the costume crew. Since sixth grade, she has been involved in children’s theatrical programs and was even part of a Disney-sponsored program.

Now that she is finished with Barbizon training, Cassandra is trying to raise or save $6,000 to go to the IMTA training for four days in New York in July. There, the acting competitions include cold reads, monologues and TV commercials.

“They have jean competitions, where you get to show off a pair of jeans,” Cassandra said with a grin. “I don’t think height matters, so I’m excited for that one.”

“And there are a lot of workshops, so every time you step out, you’re in front of a lot of agents,” Antonia Presume said.

She said the family has supported Cassandra’s ambitions “because we figured it would be great for her to have the confidence, and also public speaking. So, we put a spin of education on it as well. Whenever she goes auditioning, to us it adds value to her education.”

The Presumes have lived in Maricopa since 2006, moving to Arizona from Massachusetts. Cassandra’s father Garry works for Intel. She has a twin brother and two older brothers, one of whom attended Maricopa High School.

Antonia Presume also said any work her daughter lands could help pay for her college. “Education for us is No. 1,” she said. “They won’t allow you to take classes if your grades suffer. That’s one of the things we liked about the program.”

To help raise money for the July trip, Antonia has been selling gift baskets. She took out a business license for Joia Baskets because of the number of orders she has received. IMTA also provides fund-raising help through flat-screen TVs, laptops and iPads that families can raffle off, with the parents receiving all proceeds. They also offer tips for how to approach local businesses, something that is not in Antonia’s comfort zone.

She intends to travel with Cassandra on the July trip to make sure she’s safe. “Especially with what we see nowadays, I’m going to New York with her. I’m going to watch my child every step of the way.”


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Recipients of Community Awards from Maricopa Chamber of Commerce: (from left) Chris Cahall, Steve Durkee, Scott Bartle, Robert Ki.stler, Adam Saks, Brenda Campbell, Paul Shirk and Terri Crain.

Half the recipients of awards Saturday night had something in common.

When the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce presented the 11th annual Community Awards, three plaques went to one table: Maricopa Historical Society. The group itself was named Nonprofit of the Year. Its president, Paul Shirk, received the Renate Chamberlin Volunteer of the Year award.

Chamberlin herself was seated at the MHS table and received a standing ovation for her years of service.

Brenda Campbell, a city employee who also runs a Lularoe business, was named the Sonny Dunn Citizen of the Year, receiving the award from several members of the Dunn family. Campbell is also on the board of the historical society. Nominated with her were former mayor and board member of several organizations Kelly Anderson and Jason Crandell of CVS Pharmacy.

“Wow, what a night! To be honored by our peers in the Chamber means a lot to us as individuals and as a group,” Shirk said. “It helps inspire and energize us to move forward with plans for an even better 2018.”

Other nominees for Nonprofit of the Year were the American Legion Auxiliary and Copa Shorts Film Festival. Also nominated as Volunteer of the Year was Terry Sperry. received the “Waz” Business of the Year, an award presented to publisher Scott Bartle by Patti Wasowicz and the Maricopa Real Estate Company.

“We are very proud to be awarded business of the year by the Maricopa Chamber. We joined the chamber 15 years ago and have been working tirelessly to serve our community since,” Bartle said. “Our journalists are passionate about informing Maricopans, and our advertising team is equally passionate about helping local businesses succeed. It’s awesome for them to be recognized by our fellow chamber members with this prestigious award.”

Also nominated for the Waz award were Global Water and 911 Air Repair.

Impressive Imaging was named Small Business of the Year, presented to owner Robert Kistler by Adam Saks, general manager of UltraStar Multi-tainment Center. Saks, stepping down from the chamber board, was also recognized for his service to the chamber.

Others nominated for small business of the year were Alternative Heating & Air and Stormin’ Norman Termite & Pest Control.

Steve Durkee received the new Chairman’s Award from Chamber Chairman Chris Cahall.

The event was hosted by Chamber Director Terri Crain at Elements Event Center with Will Dunn as emcee.

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