Authors Articles byRaquel Hendrickson

Raquel Hendrickson

Raquel Hendrickson
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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.

Principal Chris Lineberry with children and the book he co-authored. Submitted photo

Chris Lineberry had a heart attack when he was 35 years old. He was the principal of an elementary school in North Carolina at the time. The medical event changed his life as well as the lives of his students.

He took dramatic steps to get rid of unhealthy foods and increase physical activity and stress-coping mechanisms at the school. As students’ body-mass index decreased, academic achievement improved. It was named a School of Distinction.

Now a resident of Desert Cedars in Maricopa and the principal of Stanfield Elementary, Lineberry has written a book with like-minded educators aimed at improving student fitness.

The book, “Recess Was My Favorite Subject: Where Did It Go?,” is subtitled “Improving Academic Achievement and Addressing Childhood Obesity in Your Classroom by Integrating Best Health and Wellness Practices with Required Instructional Standards.”

With the advent of more rigorous, standardized tests, many school districts across the country decreased or eliminated recess and physical education classes to make room for more academics. Lineberry saw that as an ill-informed response that did more harm than good.

“There is a significant body of research that demonstrates the connection between physical activity and achievement,” Lineberry said.

His goal is to show teachers and administrators how to keep recess a regular part of the daily schedule without limiting academics or spending money. He is doing so by example at Stanfield.

“We are the first and only school in Arizona to ever win the Gold with Distinction award from the USDA,” he said. That is awarded for a high level of physical education and nutrition.

Kindergartners exercise while counting to 100 at Stanfield Elementary. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Kindergartners exercise while counting to 100 at Stanfield Elementary. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

In October, Stanfield Elementary was awarded a $100,000 fitness center from the National Foundation for Governor’s Fitness Councils. It was presented by Jake “Body by Jake” Stienfeld, the director of NFGFC, and is open to students and staff. Lineberry said the district may also provide access to the public next year.

In January the state Board of Education’s A-F Accountability Committee discussed adding points for PE/Health Education.

Melissa Sadorf, superintendent of Stanfield Elementary School District, spoke to the ad-hoc committee, telling them that as a former PE teacher, she found it imperative to address the whole child.

“Every student at Stanfield gets at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily,” she said. “Out-of-seat time is expected every hour in every classroom; oral hygiene, which is the No. 1 cause of student absences, is also addressed.

“Health and wellness are just as much a priority as student achievement and should be recognized as such for the districts that choose to take those opportunities on,” Sadorf said.

This week, the state House of Representatives gave preliminary approval to a requirement that elementary school students be given at least 50 minutes of “unstructured recess.”

Stanfield Elementary was awarded a $100,000 fitness center from the National Foundation for Governor's Fitness Councils. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Stanfield Elementary was awarded a $100,000 fitness center from the National Foundation for Governor’s Fitness Councils. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Lineberry and his co-authors are passionate about educating the “whole” child. William Shane Hesse is a lecturer for Arizona State University and was the state’s Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year in 2011. Lynn Miller is the principal of Sandra Day O’Connor High School. J. Allen Queen has been a professor at UNC-Charlotte for 25 years. Queen also owns the Writers Edge Press, which published “Recess Was My Favorite Subject.” All have doctorates in education.

“Most teachers got into teaching because they love kids, they love to interact with kids, and they want to help make their lives better,” Lineberry said. “Test scores are part of that. I’m not anti-test scores and I’m not anti-accountability. I am anti-accountability at the price of the health of our students and our future.

“The misconception is that we have to choose – either healthy kids, active kids, or highly-performing, academically-strong kids. We don’t have to choose. The two go together.”

He said the basic human need to be active, well-nourished and healthy is interrelated to the ability to problem-solve, read, do math and formulate a cognitive perspective.

The book leads educators to programs and lesson plans that work physical activity into the classroom. Lineberry said he does not schedule recess periods but leaves that to the teachers. He also encourages teachers to feel free to take the kids outdoors when they are getting squirmy and antsy.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the obesity rate for children age 2-19 years in the United States is 17 percent. The rate has seen a significant decline for ages 2-5 years, from 14 percent in 2004 to 9 percent in 2014, while other age groups showed little change. The percentage of American youth considered overweight is around 40 percent.

“The time has come for a paradigm shift,” Lineberry said. 

From left: Lynn Miller, Chris Lineberry, Jake Stienfeld, Gov. Doug Ducey and William S. Hesse. Submitted photo
From left: Lynn Miller, Chris Lineberry, Jake Stienfeld, Gov. Doug Ducey and William S. Hesse. Submitted photo

Copa Shorts Film Fest Executive Director and Volunteer Coordinator Gina D'Abella celebrate the launch of the new event at Elements Event Center. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

With 56 movies and a table read of four screenplays, the Copa Shorts Film Fest debuted during the weekend, drawing movie-makers and some fans to UltraStar Multi-tainment Center.

All films were 20 minutes or shorter, making for a quick and often quirky experience, with various skill levels on display.

For the filmmakers, it was an opportunity to network and compare notes.

“We wanted to go to festivals that were starting out,” said Emily Skyle, a news anchor-turned-filmmaker who brought the comedy Dear George. “We wanted an eclectic mix. When we first submitted here, we didn’t know how it would be received.”

It turned out Dear George was quite well received at other festivals, winning a top award in a Nevada festival, before it was screened in Maricopa. Skyle said she was pleased to see Copa Shorts was in a movie complex and “not in someone’s basement, though that’s respectable, too. But we knew it was going to get a beautiful viewing here.”

After shifting out of journalism and into improv comedy, she became a screenwriter. With Dear George, however, she did not feel she could trust another director with the quirkiness of the characters and the story. So she became director and producer as well.

Filming in Reno, Nevada, she had a $5,000 budget. An airplane was donated to them, a big way to stretch a small budget, and Reno allowed them to shut down streets for filming. She said she is proud the little film has achieved what it has while going up against films with budgets approaching $100,000.

Melanie Watts, a Maricopan whose daughter Izzy played the central character in Belly Flop, said she was amazed at what some filmmakers created on tiny budgets, even as low as $50.

“I know Izzy’s film was like $20,000,” she said. “They did it all on Kickstarter, and they had someone ‘give’ them the house, and maybe that was because they were doing it in L.A.”

Belly Flop was the judges’ pick for Best of Fest. Izzy Watts was 9 years old during filming and is now 13. She picked up the award for filmmakers Marc Gaudioso and Amy Ball. The Audience Choice Award went to the dark comedy A King’s Betrayal, about the brief life of a piñata.

“It went well. We had a goodly number of filmmakers show up, though I would have liked to have seen more people come,” festival co-director Shelley Gillespie said. “We had all of our screenplay finalists show up. We had one who forgot about the time zone change but he came in right when they were starting to read his screenplay.”

It was a rainy weekend for the festival, which turned some Maricopans into moviegoers while keeping some filmmakers from showing up.

“We had some people come in from L.A. in spite of the weather, and I was really surprised,” co-director Roger Gillespie said. “Of course, some couldn’t come because of the weather where they were. The ones that did come were very impressed.”

Councilmember Henry Wade and Police Chief Steve Stahl combined efforts to talk about human trafficking.

Maricopa City Councilmember Henry Wade combined his Councilmember on the Corner session with Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl’s monthly Coffee with the Chief on Feb. 11 to have an expanded talk about sex trafficking in Arizona. Maricopa teacher Linette Caroselli shared her experience when her 19-year-old daughter went missing and wound up being trafficked in the Phoenix area before finally escaping. Area anti-trafficking advocates also addressed the crowd at The Green Zone.

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Maricopa's 5-foot-4 guard Josh Johnson led the team's scoring with 27 points, including seven 3-pointers. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa Rams have been a bit cursed this season having the Apollo Hawks not only in their conference but also in their region.

Apollo was undefeated in 5A Metro competition and in conference play (24-3 overall). Two of those 10 region wins were against Maricopa, by scores of 90-63 and 74-52.

So after the Rams overcame a disintegration midway through the season by fighting their way into the state playoffs, it was their misfortune to be seeded 16th and bracketed against Apollo immediately. The resulting 90-66 loss to the Hawks in Round 1 was neither shocking nor shaming.

“They’re a good team and they did not have a letdown,” Maricopa coach Tony Fuller said.

Apollo’s senior point guards Dre Marin and Holland Woods put on a shooting clinic. Marin hit seven 3-pointers and scored 35 points. Woods score 27.

Junior Josh Johnson led the Rams with 27 points. He also nailed seven 3-pointers. Senior Terrell Johnson scored 18 points and brother Darrell Johnson 14.

Maricopa took the lead early and stayed close until the middle of the first quarter, when Apollo forced turnovers and started hitting nonstop from the field. The Rams trailed by nine points at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter was a disaster for the Rams, who were held to just nine points. The Hawks grew their lead to 47-29 at the half. Maricopa went on some scoring runs but could not get close to Apollo again.

Junior Cameron Sanders hit two buckets for Maricopa and Senior Roscoe Gray hit a 3-pointer to round out the scoring.

“It’s rough when they shoot the ball like that,” Fuller said. “I think the best team won, but I’m still proud of my team.”

The mood in the locker room was somber afterward, the coach said, “but I still see a sense of pride that I didn’t see when I first arrived.”

Many of the players exited red-eyed or in tears. That included Darrell Johnson, who said the team became much closer as friends as the season went on, and the final loss was frustrating.

“We played our hardest tonight and tried to get the job done,” he said.

“But you win some, you lose some.”

Twins Darrell and Terrell Johnson were newcomers to the Rams this year and were consistent top scorers and rebounders. They are among six seniors leaving the team and, at 6-foot-4, the only true height on the squad.

It was an up-and-down season for a team that started strong with two tournament victories but then lost key players to academic struggles. That contributed to a four-game slide late in the season.

With all of the missing players back, they were good enough to get into the top 24 and qualify for the play-in tournament. There, they upset 10th ranked Deer Valley in dramatic fashion to earn a spot in the playoffs.

Fuller said the Rams would have to be a lot sharper to beat a team like Apollo. And he is still concerned about the academic struggles of a lot of students with basketball skills who could not be on the team because they could not make the grades.

“We’ve got a long way to go in terms of what a real basketball program is about,” Fuller said. “The cultural dynamic has to change.”

Kathryn Sinkevitch is accused of murdering ex-boyfriend Michael Agerter in Maricopa.

Pinal County prosecutors have until March 7 to decide if they wish to seek the death penalty against a woman accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend in Maricopa.

Kathryn Sinkevitch appeared before Judge Kevin White in Superior Court Monday. The 32-year-old Tempe woman is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Maricopa resident Michael Agerter, 31. He was shot to death Dec. 16 in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado.

Family members of both were in the courtroom.  The Agerter family sat in the front row, straining to see as Sinkevitch was led into the busy well of the court. Wearing eyeglasses and a maroon jumpsuit, Sinkevitch appeared in jail shackles, her hair in braids.

During the hearing, prosecutor Sean Coll’s motion to take DNA evidence from Sinkevitch was granted. Prosecution and defense have also filed motions regarding access to the rental home and the logistics of getting permission from the person currently controlling the property.

Coll also said his office was still studying the possibility of seeking the death penalty.

Public defender James Mannato said his case was “still a little up in the air” over that.

“We do not want the wheels of capital punishment to go into motion,” he said.

Agerter’s family is circumspect about the idea.

“I don’t know if she did this. If she did do it, I want her to pay for what she did,” Agerter’s mother Leslie Agerter said in an interview last month. “I’m not looking for revenge. Hopefully, the law will come up with the right punishment.”

Sinkevitch and Agerter had a child together, a boy who was only a month old at the time of his father’s death.

The oldest of the four Agerter children, Michael came to Arizona six years ago from Ohio for a job but remained close with his siblings. Leslie Agerter described her son as “a caring, giving person.”

She said he started dating Sinkevitch about three years ago. Kathryn came with him to Ohio a couple of times to visit family.

The relationship was “up and down,” Leslie Agerter said. Though Mike talked about backing away, he hesitated because she didn’t have a job at the time and would suffer financially from a breakup, his mother said.

Leslie Agerter said the family was unaware of domestic violence allegations until the day after Mike had to get medical treatment. She said he called and told them some of Sinkevitch’s violent behavior. She said Mike had planned to leave, but then Sinkevitch found out she was pregnant.

Leslie Agerter called it a “toxic relationship” that forced her son to file for an order of protection against Sinkevitch.

She said that was also why he moved to Maricopa. After an allegation Sinkevitch stole his dog and was showing up at the Maricopa property, he asked his landlord for permission to install security cameras.

He also filed papers to seek custody of the child, whom he never met.

“He was being a man and wanting to take care of his son,” his mother said.

Dec. 16, he had just given a DNA sample in the custody case and was heading back home to Maricopa when he called his sister in Ohio. Instead, his mother answered the phone. They spoke briefly before Leslie handed the phone to her daughter.

Brother and sister talked all during his drive home. Meanwhile, Leslie left her daughter’s house to return to her own home a short drive away.  When she walked in the door, she discovered her daughter had been trying to reach her.

“She said they were still talking when he got to his house. She said she just heard a bang,” Leslie Agerter said. “And he wasn’t there anymore.”

Neighbors on Sagebrush Trail reported gunshots to law enforcement. From Ohio, Leslie Agerter was also trying to reach Maricopa Police to ask someone to go check on her son, not knowing they were already responding to the scene.

He was discovered deceased in the garage. His family saw the scene online from various media outlets before the appropriate person at Maricopa Police Department could officially inform her of what had transpired.

Footage from the surveillance camera at the side of the garage showed a school bus driving past the house before a figure entered camera range from across the street. It was apparently a female in a hoodie that obscured her identity.

The person left camera range by walking into the garage. A few moments later, the person left quickly, crossing the street and getting into a white caravan, which left the scene.

Sinkevitch was arrested Dec. 22 in Avondale by U.S. Marshals Fugitive Taskforce.

“If it was her, she didn’t need to go to extremes,” Leslie Agerter said. “They could have talked through this.”

Arizona Department of Child Safety took custody of the child and allowed family visits.

During Monday’s brief hearing, Leslie Agerter sat at the back of the gallery, child in arms, before the case was called. When Sinkevitch family members sat next to her, she said nothing but the bailiff had them move to the opposite side of the room.

The next pre-trial hearing is set for March 27 at 9 a.m.

Kjirsten Lemon and Lawrence Valdivia play mother and son in "You Can't Take It with You."

Maricopa High School Theatre Company again draws from classic comedy for its winter production.

The students will present “You Can’t Take It With You,” a 1936 play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. It became a 1938 film by Frank Capra starring James Stewart.

“It is a great, goofy, fun comedy. It’s got a lot of ensemble players,” said teacher Cynthia Calhoun. “We’ve been interested in it for a while and the rights were reserved because it was touring, and now the rights are open for amateur productions.”

Set during the Depression, the plot is a screwball Romeo-and-Juliet confection, with a very poor but happy-go-lucky girl named Alice falling in love with Anthony “Tony” Kirby Jr., the son of a wealthy, uptight family.

Crowded into a dilapidated old house, Alice’s three-generation family is eccentric, to say the least, and a stranger to paying income tax, but loving and open-minded. All their peculiarities are on display when the Kirby family comes to dinner. The evening ends in disaster, convincing Alice her family has destroyed her chance for happiness. But all is not really lost.

Senior Lawrence Valdivia plays Tony Kirby.

“I like the fact that he’s very in love with Alice,” he said. “It’s pretty funny, just the way I get to react to stuff.”

Tony’s stuffy mother is played by sophomore Kjirsten Lemon.

“I just like that I get to be this kind-of-mean character. I just hate everyone,” she said. “It’s just fun to try to do a different personality than I’ve played before.”

The cast also includes Alexia Esquivel as Alice, Antonio Gonzales as Mr. Kirby, Carlos O. Venegas as Martin “Grandpa” Vanderhof and Rachel Blakely as Penelope Sycamore among many others.

The production is Feb. 16-18 at 7 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Cost is $5. Performances will be in the cozy confines of the Black Box Theatre on the west side of the Performing Arts Center, which Calhoun said offers a more intimate relationship between performers and audience.

“It’s a larger cast for a winter show but you’ve got all sorts of kooky family members and all their little quirks. It’s really just a fun show. It’s got a fun message to it: Enjoy life while you’re in it and don’t worry about the stuff you accumulate. And have a good time.”

Also coming later this winter are student-directed plays “Wit” and “Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.”

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Maricopa actor Isabella "Izzy" Watts stars in Belly Flop, which will be shown during the Copa Shorts Film Fest.

Comedies, dramas, documentaries, animations, horror, sci-fi – a little bit of everything is the goal of a typical film festival. In short films, a little bit is the operative phrase.

Copa Shorts Film Fest
Feb. 17-19
Friday, VIP Party, 8 p.m.
Saturday, films, noon-10:30 p.m.
Sunday, noon-10 p.m.
UltraStar Multi-tainment Center

Purchase tickets on the website or at the box office.

The inaugural Copa Shorts Film Fest runs Feb. 17-19 at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center. All films are 20 minutes or less. The shortest is 2 minutes and 4 seconds.

Festival co-founder Shelley Gillespie said 56 films will be screened in seven blocks. Most blocks are about an hour and a half long. The festival will end with an eighth block of around eight films that are deemed the “Best of Fest.”

Besides the established judges, filmgoers also rate the films. Those votes will be totaled for the “Audience Award.”

There is a touch of Maricopa in the proceedings. The comedy Belly Flop stars local child actor Isabella “Izzy” Watts. Another is the brainchild by local filmmaker Joe Gruberman (see related story).

Three films were created by Ak-Chin students for the Native American block, and another three were made by Maricopa middle school students (see related story).

As newbies to launching a film festival, Gillespie and her husband Roger traveled around the state and country to take in other festivals and see how they ran. But they were still blindly throwing out the welcome mat to filmmakers and inviting them to send in their creations.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Shelley Gillespie said. “We discovered people are big procrastinators.”

Many films came in the final days of the entry period. They pulled in films from Norway, Sweden, Australia, China, Canada and Germany. They even received films from Los Angeles.

The festival program cover was designed by Mai A. Tallwing of Maricopa
The festival program cover was designed by Mai A. Tallwing of Maricopa

The Gillespies chose ASU film students and local film buffs to help sort through the entries and score them. Those with the best overall ratings made it into the festival.

Copa Shorts Film Fest reached out to students, hosting workshops at Maricopa Unified School District and Central Arizona College.

“Our mission to educate and inform means we want people to talk about it, even the kids,” Shelley Gillespie said.

After every film block, there will be a Q&A session with some of the filmmakers.

Besides the films on screen, they requested screenplays. The four top screenplays will be given a table read with local actors at a session Sunday afternoon.

There will be workshops Saturday morning. One with Brent Michael Davids will discuss “Film Scoring for Filmmakers.” That is preceded by a workshop with Julia Swift, “Charging Your Creative Spark.” Both are free at Elements Event Center. Register at

Gillespie said it has been very challenging financially to get the festival off the ground. Copa Shorts Film Fest is a nonprofit.

Gruberman said he wanted to be involved to show support for Maricopa creativity. “The fact that it’s short films means it’s a little bit of everything and something for everybody to like,” he said. “I hope it gets a large turnout and is very well received.”

An invitation-only VIP party kicks off the festival Friday night at 8 p.m. at Elements Event Center, where award-winning Celtic/Native American musician Arvel Bird will perform.

Saturday, the films start rolling at noon.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

160 Characters
The Addiction
Art of Circus
Belly Flop
The Bus Trip
Care for Me
Chateau Sauvignon: Terroir
Close Encounter with an Alien
Dear George
Dr. Elevator
Driver’s Ed
The Fault
A Fire in All of Us
Focus (honorable mention)
Flight Fright
Four-Day Weekend
The Gift
Heather’s Painting
I Hate the Color Red
In the Hands of God
Iroquois Creation Story
Kanu Belong Keram
A King’s Betrayal
Lego Animation
A Light On
The Lockdown
Maria Fernanda in Time
The Matchstick House
Mother Tongue
Non-Smoking Section
Once Upon a Time in Space
Piper in the Woods
Proverbial Luck
Quiet on the Set
Run Cat Run
Stuck in Time
Student Class President
The Tenor
The Thunderbird Over the Whale
To Bee or Not to Bee
Tobi & Matt
Tom the Knife Salesman
True Colours
Uncle Albert
West Side Swordy
The Wild Wonderous West

Screenplays for Table Reeds
Hell to Pay: Legend of Robert Johnson
Holding Hands
Kitsune Mask

Joe Gruberman (submitted photo)

Province resident Joe Gruberman is among a handful of Maricopans whose work will be on the silver screen for the Copa Short Film Festival.

Copa Shorts Film Fest
Feb. 17-19
Friday, VIP Party, 8 p.m.
Saturday, films, noon-10:30 p.m.
Sunday, noon-10 p.m.
UltraStar Multi-tainment Center

Gruberman’s film Tobi & Matt will be among the films screened for the grownups at the 8:30 p.m. block on Feb. 18 at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center. He was also a technical advisor and script supervisor for Flight Fright, which screens that afternoon.

Tobi & Matt came about in a sideways manner.

“I had some friends who wanted to make a movie,” Gruberman said. “The partnership dissolved for whatever reason, but in the interim I wrote the script – in an hour or so.”

He decided to make the film himself through his own Bronck’s Park Productions.

In the 10-minute film, an older woman, played by Judith Eisenberg, is grieving the loss of her husband on the one-year anniversary of his death.

“Her friend, seeing she’s very, very sad after a year, takes her out to a bar,” Gruberman said. “She ends up taking a guy home. The movie begins with her waking up with this strange guy.”

Gruberman said he was inspired to write the script so quickly by a couple of ideas – how seniors cope with things and “older people have sexual lives, too.”

Gruberman retired at the age of 48 and has lived in Province for 11 years.

“I wanted to write something for older people about how we older people relate to the world,” he said.

Fright Flight is completely different, sending up a famed “The Twilight Zone” episode starring William Shatner, “Nightmare at 20,000 feet.”

Gruberman helped his friend Jim Politano with the upfront technicals of getting the film together and then tightened the script and made sure everything was filmed.

“We threw in some twists people might not be expecting,” he said.

Gruberman said he wanted to participate in the Copa Shorts Film Fest to show support for a local event.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

MWMS students Kaden Rogers, Thomas Abel, Joseph Abel, Joshua Kulinowski, Rylee Tarcola, Emilee Thompson, Nico McKinley, Ashton Owen and Adam Houser created films for Copa Shorts Film Fest. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Language arts isn’t all about parsing sentences, and science isn’t all about the periodic table. For some Maricopa middle schoolers, language and science came together to become filmmaking.

Copa Shorts Film Fest
Feb. 17-19
Friday, VIP Party, 8 p.m.
Saturday, films, noon-10:30 p.m.
Sunday, noon-10 p.m.
UltraStar Multi-tainment Center

In the case of three teams of student filmmakers, their movies surpassed their classmates just enough to be chosen for the student section of Copa Shorts Film Fest.

Four classes of 20+1 Blended Learning students at Maricopa Wells and Desert Wind middle schools completed 12 films and screenplays. Those chosen for the film festival were The Fault, The Wild Wonderous West and The Lockdown.

Because the middle schoolers are young and rookies at filmmaking, the three films will be shown as non-competitive ahead of the competitive entries in the Student Competition block on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center.

Maricopa Wells Middle School teacher Robyn Rice said the filmmaking exercise achieved specific goals in language arts and “actually falls under the science standards.”

For the students, it was fun, team-building and challenging. Teams worked as directors, editors, cinematographers, actors and writers. They had to create storyboards before they hashed out the script. The process brought about big changes from conception to finished product.

Emilee Thompson, who edited The Wild Wonderous West, said one of the early ideas was something called “Juan and the Zombie Apocalypse.”

Instead, they created a western about a sheriff.

“We really learned a lot about what to do,” Emilee said.

“We learned what not to do,” said Kaden Rogers, co-director of The Fault.

He said their idea was always a disaster movie, with team members Thomas Abel, Joseph Abel and Rylee Tarcola trapped in a precarious situation.

“The goal is for them to survive as long as possible without food or anything,” said Joshua Kulinowski, the other co-director.

But there were difficulties attached to middle school filmmakers destroying New York City.

“We said, ‘Why don’t we stick to something we can actually film,” Rylee said.

That became an earthquake in Maricopa. They used cell phones for filming, a skateboard as a dolly and some animation provided by Joseph Abel.

Adam Houser, who directed The Wild Wonderous West, said he used his mother’s camera and a tripod to capture the story with Nico McKinley and Ashton Owen.

Rice said the knowledge gained in putting a film together had great value for the students outside the curriculum. The process involved problem-solving and collaboration.

The students attended a filmmaking workshop in September through Copa Shorts Film Fest. At the time, only a couple had thought about making movies. Now, after their own filmmaking experiences, most want to do it again.

And don’t worry. “Juan” may meet his “Zombie Apocalypse” in the future. The middle schoolers are coming up with ideas for next year.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.


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Pat Lairson

By Pat Lairson

Historically in real estate, the beginning of the year starts out slow with a steady pace of listings coming on the market by mid January and increasing as the new year gets started. That is not the case this year.

2017 has started with a bang, with not much of a holiday slowdown, and many new homes coming on the market from the start of the year. Our inventory is actually still low even though many new listings are coming on daily. We currently have 292 single family dwellings available for sale in an HOA subdivision in Maricopa. Out of this number, 59 of these homes are for sale in Province, the 55+ subdivision. This leaves just 233 non-age-restricted homes available for sale.

From Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, 140 homes closed escrow. The previous year for the same time period there were 99 homes sold. This represents about a 40 percent increase in sales from the previous year. So not only are more listings coming on the market, but more sales are occurring, too.

One of the factors fueling the increase in sales is the Pathway to Purchase Program (P2P). This is one of two no-down-payment assistance programs available for Maricopa. Funding for this program is provided by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

P2P had a $48 million commitment of grant monies available to 17 Arizona cities. Right now, the allocated funds are expected to be depleted by late February or early March. There is a chance these funds may be replenished but we won’t know until the end date gets closer.

One thing is for certain, the real estate market in Maricopa is on the rise. Even though interest rates have increased slightly, consumer confidence is high. If you have been thinking about selling your home, it very well could be a perfect time.

Pat Lairson, Realtor

This column appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

A large portion of Maricopa's businesses are home-based, like Hernandez Painting and Amberlynn’s Sweet Treats, and the reasons vary.

If Maricopa seems to have a lot of home-based business, well, it does.

More than 370, in fact.

According to the city’s Economic Development Department, 30 percent of Maricopa’s businesses are run out of a home.

On a national perspective, that is not much. Numbers from the Small Business Administration show 52 percent of small businesses in the United States are home-based. The SBA considers any business with fewer than 500 employees to be “small,” which takes in the vast majority of companies in Maricopa.

Dorothy Wolden, an economic development specialist with the city, said Maricopa keeps an even hand for all new businesses. Whether they are home-based or in a commercial storefront, a business license is $50. And no special restrictions are in place for businesses in residential areas, “as long as no neighbors are complaining,” she said.

“There are a lot of challenges to starting a business,” Wolden said. “We don’t want to be one of them.”

For Amber Owens of Amberlynn’s Sweet Treats, working with the city to get set up for business in her home was a positive experience. “Oh, it was very easy,” she said. “The woman at City Hall was so helpful and answered all my questions. She would call me back within an hour.”

Questions to Answer Before You Open a Home-Based Business
* What licenses and permits do I need?
* What kind of business structure will I be – sole proprietorship, limited liability company, etc.?
* What are the tax deductions for home office space?
* Will I need to make physical changes to my home or property?
* What are the homeowners’ association restrictions?
* How do I separate home expenses from business expenses?
* Do I need to file a state or federal trademark?
* Will my business be subject to a transaction privilege tax?
* What are my plans for accommodating more employees as my business grows?
* How much money must I make to be a success?

For all that, owners of a home-based start-up are encouraged to study the zoning regulations to make sure their type of business does not conflict with the local code regarding noise, dust or parking. Also of vital importance are regulations and restrictions from homeowners’ associations.

Maricopa wants the reputation of encouraging entrepreneurship. While city leaders are actively engaged in finding big employers to move to Maricopa, the current reality is most businesses are service-based.

Many home-based businesses are so-called “mom-and-pop” operations run by a married couple. Landscapers, plumbers, bakers, CPAs, financial advisers, home cleaners, personal consultants, painters and craftsmen all call Maricopa home and call home their office.

According to the SBA, the industries in which businesses are most likely to be home-based are information, construction, and professional, scientific and technical services. Sixty percent of all firms without paid employees are home-based.

Worden said the Maricopa trend is more women than men operating home-based businesses.

She said the top reason new business owners start at home instead of trying a storefront is the low overhead. But that’s just the start.

“They want more flexibility with their families and they’re wanting to create a lifestyle of their own,” Wolden said.

Jaime Hernandez of Hernandez Painting said being home-based puts him in control of his own hours.

“I have time to coach soccer teams when I want,” he said. “And I have more time with the family.”

For some entrepreneurs, a home-based business is a stepping stone to a storefront.

Owens’ long-range goal is a storefront bakery. However, business has built so steadily since she opened in her home three years ago that she is perfectly satisfied for the time being.

Amberlynn’s was a side business to help pay for books while she was studying at Central Arizona College. Keeping it at home relieves her of paying another mortgage and is extra income with her full-time job.

A common theme among home-based business owners is the desire to get out of a corporate mindset, especially to get away from employers running companies in ways that were contrary to their own ideas.

But Wolden cautioned: “There is a difference between someone who just wants to be their own boss and really wanting to be a business owner.”

SBA likes to point out Apple and Ford Motor Company started as home-based businesses. They grew not because one person liked to call the shots but because they wanted to be the best business possible and stay ahead of the competition.

One of the pitfalls of running a business from a home is the likelihood of being isolated from other businesses in the community. The importance of networking and staying keyed into local trends cannot be overvalued.

Just ask the folks at Apple and Ford.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Companies filing for new business licenses Dec. 16-Jan. 15:

Commercial: Postmaster Depot, Super Smiles for Kids

Home-based: D.E.N. Services, Stormwind’s Creations, Sunshine Home Cleaning

Out of Town: Ayala Pool Plumbing, Food Trailer, ISEC, JC Signs, John Gorraiz Electrical

This information appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Aliberto's Mexican Food was among four eateries to corrected issues last month to get satisfactory marks from the county inspector. Photo by William Lange

Of 23 eateries inspected in Maricopa from Dec. 16 to Jan. 15, all received marks of “Excellent” except four. Those four fixed violations on the spot for “Satisfactory” marks.

At Aliberto’s Mexican Restaurant, a cook was observed rolling a burrito with bare hands, items in the prep table were over the required cold-holding temperature of 41 degrees, and there were no date markings on several items in a walk-in refrigerator.

Helen’s Kitchen had a plate of raw, uncovered chicken on top of an uncovered container of beef patties, and some food in the fridge had no date markings.

Maricopa High School had hot dogs being thawed improperly and improper cold-holding for milk containers.

True Grit Tavern had sauce spilled in the walk-in refrigerator, bread next to a puddle of chicken blood, macaroni and cheese at 65 degrees instead of the required hot-holding temperature of 135, unlabeled food items in the fridge, items past their date marking still in the fridge and condensation build-up on containers in freezer.

Excellent [No violations found]
Bashas’ – Bakery
Bashas’ – Deli
Bashas’ – Starbuck’s
Carl’s Jr.
Children’s Learning Adventure Childcare Centers
Chipotle Mexican Grill
The Duke at Rancho El Dorado
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s Marketplace – Bakery
Fry’s Marketplace – Starbuck’s
Fry’s Marketplace – Sushi
Honeycutt Coffee
Maricopa Head Start
Penascos Mexican Restaurant
Wal-Mart – Bakery
Wal-Mart – Deli
Yogurt Jungle

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Aliberto’s Mexican Food
True Grit Tavern
Helen’s Kitchen
Maricopa High School

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately, requiring follow-up inspection]

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of operation]

This article appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

File photo

What is perennially Maricopa’s most fancy-schmancy party is toning down a little this year, but that won’t change its purpose.

The 12th annual Against Abuse Seeds of Change Gala is set for Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. The theme this year is “Boots and Bling,” and the location will be the Province Town Hall, 20942 Province Parkway.

Sponsors explain why Against Abuse is so important to them: 

At what has usually been a formal dinner-and-dancing dress-up event, dancing means line dancing and dinner means barbecue. There will also be whiskey tasting and cigars in the Saloon for VIP-ticket holders.

Organizer Torri Anderson described this year’s event as “cowboy casual.” Attendees can feel free to dress up as much as they please but are also welcome to sport cowboy hats and boots.

The gala is presented by Meritage Homes. The event benefits Against Abuse Inc.’s domestic violence shelter in Maricopa.

A standard “cowboy” ticket is $50. A VIP ticket with reserved seating is $75.

“All of the money goes to the shelter,” Anderson said.

The shelter provides temporarily housing to women and children escaping abusive situations. It was completed last year. The Seeds of Change gala was initiated more than a decade ago to build the shelter. But that was just the beginning.

“The real work begins after it’s built,” Anderson said.

Funding goes to operation, maintenance and supplies.

This year’s gala will not have a live auction, but the silent auction will continue. Anderson said it will be paper only and not involve cell phones.

Among the auction items will be jewelry from Kendra Scott, a big supporter of domestic violence awareness. It opened a Chandler store in December. A Jewelry Cocktail Party is set for Feb. 11, 4-6 p.m., and also benefits the shelter.

Against Abuse Inc. is a private nonprofit established in Pinal County in 1981.

Boots and Bling gets started with music by About Last Night. Line dancing (with lessons) will be at 6 p.m.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Mason Callejas

For the second year, members of the Arizona Rattlers arena football team came to Maricopa Public Library to read to children there through the program called “Read with a Rattler.” The team is in town to train at Copper Sky, session that are open to the public in the south fields. This year, Jon Wolf, Antonio Brown and Anthony Amos participated in “Read with a Rattler” and spoke about why they do it:

Photo by Mason Callejas
Photo by Mason Callejas

Mostly clear skies are forecast for the week. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The National Weather Service is forecasting another week in the 70s for Maricopa, with highs even knocking on the door of 80 degrees.

Today, the high will be around 76 with mostly sunny skies. Expect partly cloudy skies tonight and a low around 49.

Monday looks to be mostly sunny with a high near 72 and winds from the south at 5-10 mph. The night will bring partly cloudy skies and another low of 49.

Tuesday‘s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 73. The nighttime low will be around 48 under partly cloudy skies.

Wednesday will be mostly sunny with a high of 75. Overnight the low will be around 49  and the skies will remain mostly clear.

Thursday is expected to warm up to 80 degrees and be mostly sunny. The nighttime low will be around 53 degrees and partly cloudy.

Friday also is forecast to have a high near 80 and mostly sunny skies. Overnight, the low will be around 51.

Saturday will stay in the warm range, with an expected high of 77 degrees.

Apex Motor Club President Jason Plotke (at microphone) and Vintage Partners' Casey Treadwell speak to a crowd at City Hall about their respective projects planned for Maricopa. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

In arguably the most well-attended Maricopa Advocate Program event yet, representatives of the Edison Pointe development and Apex Motor Club gave details about their upcoming project Thursday night.

Casey Treadwell, leasing director for Vintage Partners, which is developing Edison Pointe, announced some of the businesses coming to the retail center. Some have long been rumored or have already filed paperwork with the city.

Those include Ross Dress for Less as the anchor clothing retailer, Burger King, Planet Fitness, Dunkin’ Donuts and PetCo. Treadwell said there are pizza franchises very interested in space in the development as well.

“We are going to build all the anchor spaces next to Fry’s. We are hoping to start in the next couple of weeks,” Treadwell said.

A pad by the Fry’s gas station is in escrow with Burger King. Dunkin’ Donuts will be built south of that. Letters of intent from unspecified eateries have also come to Vintage, Treadwell said.

One corner is planned as a full-service restaurant.

“If we miss on that, we’ll be very disappointed because it’s something we know the community wants,” Treadwell said.

He said it has been difficult educating retailers on the attributes of Maricopa. Many demand a population of 70,000 and consider Maricopa to be more than 20,000 light with a limited daytime employment.

“We were very, very frustrated,” he said.

Treadwell said Vintage typically does not release the names of companies until leases have been signed.

The MAP program at City Hall filled Council Chambers. The attendees also heard from Jason Plotke, president of Private Motor Sports, which plans to build Apex Motor Sports west of town.

Plotke gave an overview of what is described as a country club for sports car aficionados. The property, at the northwest corner of State Route 238 and Ralston Road, is expected to have a clubhouse, multi-configurable racetrack, sports car garage condos, tune-up shop and karting center for kids.

“It is a real neat attribute for the city of Maricopa to have some of the biggest car collectors and automotive enthusiasts in the world coming down here on potentially a daily basis,” Plotke said.

He said the Apex expects to break ground in five months and have a track laid by the end of the year.

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Senior Tyra Williams scored a career high 33 points as the Maricopa High School girls basketball team defeated McClintock 83-35 Tuesday night.

It was their last home game. They play at Williams Field tonight and at Apollo to end the regular season on Feb. 7.

The Rams are also gearing up for the post-season, where they hope for a high seeding in the 5A tournament. After the McClintock game, coach Melvin Mitchell spoke about some of the past weaknesses they are working to overcome:


The Rams had two other players in double-digit scoring against McClintock. Sopomore Jayla Johnson put up 15 points, and junior Sydni Callis scored 13. Senior Clara Morris added eight.

“The bench did a little bit better tonight,” Mitchell said. “They stepped in and gave us some good, valuable minutes on defense. Kyla Boyce really helped us a lot with the put backs and  rebounding, so I definitely glad to have her back and her 6-2, 6-3 frame. Just being long in girls’ basketball, it means a lot.”

The Rams are 12-2 in the conference and tied with Ironwood at the top of 5A Metro with records of 8-1. They have a split record against Ironwood this season.

Despite the win against struggling McClintock, Maricopa’s power ranking dropped from ninth to 10th in 5A this week. If that stands, they would host the 23rd ranked team in the conference play-in Feb. 9. If they are able to climb above the ninth ranking, they can get directly into the state bracket.

It has been an odd year for the girls, who are 19-4 overall. A Dec. 6 game against Poston Butte that appeared to be a win was cancelled by the Arizona Interscholastic Association after a scorekeeping mistake. Then the Dec. 2 freshman and junior varsity games against Campo Verde were forfeited when it was discovered one freshman played all quarters in the freshman game and three quarters in the JV game. All three coaches were reprimanded and AIA placed the program on “advisement” for a year.

Southbound traffic on SR 347 backed up this morning after a fatal accident at Casa Blanca Road. Photo by Mason Callejas

A fatality on State Route 347 continues to keep the southbound lanes closed as Gila River Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety investigate.

According to GRPD Detective Manuel Duarte, one car back-ended another car stopped at the light at the intersection with Casa Blanca Road at around 4:20 a.m.

“When the at-fault driver exited his vehicle, he was struck by a third vehicle,” Duarte said.

The man, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to Chandler Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased.

Southbound traffic has been diverted onto Riggs Road east to Interstate 10. Maricopa-bound traffic has been requested to drive to Casa Grande to take Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway into town.

Though northbound lanes of SR 347 have remained open, traffic was very slow during rush hour.

DPS spokesman Trooper Kameron Lee said his department turned the investigation over to GRPD because a tribal member was involved in the accident. DPS is acting as an assisting agency.

Jesse Parent tied for 1st place is the first Southwest Region Poetry Slam.

Two poets from Arizona and Utah battled to a tie in the debut of the Southwest Regional Poetry Slam on Saturday night at The Duke.

Jeremiah Blue of Mesa and Jesse Parent of Salt Lake City finished in a dead heat among 14 poets and opted to split the prize money for first and second places rather than fight to the death.

Maricopa’s Laura Ochs Oliveri made it to the final round. Other Maricopans competing were Matteo Valdez and AJ. Themes ranged from the highly personal to the politically charged.

Rounding out the three-round slam were Phoenix poets Logan Caldwell, Sonora Mystique Reyes, Megan Condeno Atencia and Joy Young, Ashley M. Vargas of Las Vegas, Nevada, and R.J. Walker, Meghan McGinnis, Debbie Higham Wood and Kate Wilson of Salt Lake City.

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Senior Dakota Halverson marks a win over a Santa Cruz opponent. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa High School wrestling team defeated two of three opponents in a Thursday home meet that closed out the regular season for the Rams. They hosted Coolidge, Santa Cruz Valley and Vista Grande, defeating the latter two 36-33 and 42-12 respectively. Now the wrestlers prep for the section meet, which is Feb. 4 starting at 9 a.m. at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert.

Joseph Jones in full dance regalia. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Native American Parent Advisory Committee at Maricopa Unified School District hosted a Native American Regalia Fashion Show on Thursday.

Representatives of every native affiliation in the district wore traditional and new styles of clothing and jewelry. American Indian Institute Director Jim Larney described the regalia and its history and symbolism. Arizona State University’s Native American Club also gave a presentation.

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Derrell Handy-Johnson sets up for a free throw against Ironwood. He scored 24 and had nine rebounds. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

“Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences,” the author Robert Louis Stevenson is often quoted as saying.

Maricopa High School boys’ basketball team certainly knows that. It is in the toughest 5A section in the state, and the Rams have just gotten started against their Metro rivals.

Yet their toughest opponent may be themselves, as the varsity bench has shrunk this quarter of the school year due to academic ineligibility. Four players are off the team, including three starters, something coach Tony Fuller called “a disgrace.”

Thursday’s 69-62 home loss to Ironwood had the struggles on display. It was the second close loss to the Eagles this season.

“Our guys played hard,” Fuller said. “We’re at the meat of our schedule. [Ironwood] had a size advantage. They’re a good team.”

Ironwood sports four players that are 6-foot-3 or taller. With Maricopa’s 6-foot-4 senior Derrell Handy-Johnson in early foul trouble, the Rams had to play quick and scrappy. For most of the game they hung with the Eagles and surpassed them, but could never shake them.

Though the game was tied 57-all with three minutes to play, the Maricopa game broke down as the players wore down.

Handy-Johnson and junior Josh Johnson both scored 24, and Rashard Chavis worked hard to maintain the team’s energy level. Though Chavis earned a technical foul in a moment of frustration, Fuller praised his “sense of pride.”

With too many, he said, “I don’t see a sense of pride. I don’t see a sense of shame.” He said he would be embarrassed to not make the grades to stay eligible.

The Rams lost to Apollo 90-63 Friday on the road. The Hawks are the top-ranked team in all of 5A not to mention the Metro region.

Maricopa next hosts third-ranked Sunnyslope on Tuesday. The varsity plays at 7 p.m.

With the rest of the schedule as tough as it is and the team as depleted as it is, Fuller has dim prognostications. But he is more concerned about the future of students struggling to stay eligible or to be eligible in the first place.

He said MHS has many students with good athletic skills but living a culture of upside-down values in which education is not respected. That, he said, prevents many from being able to make the grades to even try out for a sports team.

“It’s the seduction of inadequacy, the intoxication of low expectations and no commitment to anything,” Fuller said. “They should be proud of getting good grades, in being a neat guy, having a neat haircut and speaking intelligently and pulling their pants up… but that’s a shameful thing to do.”

He said there is much work to be done, starting in the home, “and it pervades into the community.”

He said the culture has made it “cool” to be ignorant and flunk out, saying it exists at varsity and junior varsity levels.

“All black, all black,” he said. “And as a black man, a black educator, a black coach, it’s completely embarrassing.

“There was a time when black people used to get lynched for trying to learn how to read, trying to get an education. Now it’s there for the taking.”

The Rams won two tournaments this season for an overall record of 15-7. But they are 6-7 outside tournament play, which is all that counts to the Arizona Interscholastic Association, and are ranked 26th in 5A. Only 16 teams qualify for state.

Maricopa is now fifth out of six teams in 5A Metro region. Apollo, whom they played Friday, is the top-ranked team in all of 5A. Maricopa has defeated Kellis but lost to Sunnyslope and McClintock, all of whom they play again. The Rams play Apollo in the last game of the season Feb. 7, which is Senior Night.

But Fuller looks much farther down the road of his former players’ consequences and sees “sheep being led to the slaughter.”

Teen Evan Grace youngest winner of evening

Danielle Collazo, owner of Adobe Blinds and More, holds up the award for "The Waz" Business of the Year, presented by the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce.

Adobe Blinds and More was the big winner at the 10th annual Community Awards Saturday.

The family-owned company, which specializes in window coverings, won the prestigious Waz Business of the Year Award at the annual event presented by the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce. President Danielle Collazo said the achievement was the result of the entire team’s efforts.

“I’m so proud of them,” she said. “We did it!”

Team seemed to be the theme of the night.

The entire staff of Helen’s Kitchen was present at Elements Event Center to accept the Small Business of the Year Award. Owner Helen Ford, too, credited her crew for the success of the restaurant and catering business.

Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl received the Civil Servant of the Year Award and immediately said he was going to give it a place of honor for the entire department and not him.

The Nonprofit of the Year Award went to The Streets Don’t Love You Back, founded by the husband-and-wife team of Rob and Lucinda Boyd and recently accepted as a program in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Lucinda gave a heart-felt speech about the difficult backgrounds both of them survived.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, bad things happen to good people,” she said. “So we got together and said, ‘Let’s take The Streets Don’t Love You Back and let’s go out and educate kids against gangs, drugs, violence and abuse.’ And so that’s what we do.”

The youngest person in the room was 15-year-old Evan Grace, who beat out the adults for the Renate Chamberlain Volunteer of the Year Award.

“It’s pretty cool, because they had a lot more things that they could do,” he said.

To learn more about Evan and his community efforts, look for the February issue of InMaricopa.

Michelle Avery Schaefer of MM Solutions received the award as Sonny Dunn Citizen of the Year for her work with Maricopa Pantry.

Educator of the Year was Christine Dickinson of Maricopa Elementary School. She was a key player in Maricopa Unified School District’s successful campaign for an override. She could not attend the ceremony, but her award was picked up by Governing Board President Patti Coutre, who said it would be presented at a future board meeting.

See nominees list

The annual carnival at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church is Jan. 27-29 at the new church site.

The 10th annual Our Lady of Grace Parish Festival-Carnival is Jan 27-29. The event has become a tradition for the parish as it continues to support its building fund.

If You Go
What: Our Lady of Grace Parish Festival-Carnival
When: Jan. 27-29
Where: The Crossing, 18700 N. Saint Gabriel Way
Info: 520-568-4605,

The new church was completed in February but is still being financed. This year is the first time the festival will be held at the new campus at The Crossing.

“There will be plenty of space for what we need, and this year there will be a lot of on-site parking,” parish spokesperson Patti Coutré said.

The cost of a carnival ride pass is $18 until the first day of the festival, when it goes up to $30. Advance tickets must be purchased at the parish office.

Tickets for the Grand Raffle are $5. The winner will receive $2,500. Second prize is $1,000, third is $500, fourth is $200 and fifth is $100. The drawing will be Jan. 29 at 8 p.m.

There will also be a gift basket raffle and a silent auction.

The festival starts Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. with an opening prayer, after which the Maricopa High School Marching Band will perform. Rides and vendor booths are open until 10:30 p.m.

Jan. 28, the hours are 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The hours on Jan. 29 are from noon to 8 p.m.

Entertainment during the three-day event will include TL;DR, Fyrestorm Cheer, Laura Walsh, Cougar Hill, Heather Tyler, Corporate Lockdown Band, Ballet Folklorico and Eagleheart.

Not all GPS programs correctly locate the parish. To reach The Crossing, take Honeycutt Road east to Porter Road. Turn right and take Porter Road south to Adam’s Way. Turn left and take Adam’s Way east to Conner Drive and turn left. Conner becomes St. Michael’s Way and leads into the church property, which is at 18700 N. Saint Gabriel Way.

This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

Cindy and Joseph Licata will host a grand opening of Postmaster Depot on Jan. 28. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Postmaster Depot, a new shipping and office supply company, is set to open its doors Jan. 28.

The store’s services will include shipping via resale of FedEx, USPS and DHL, direct courier delivery in Maricopa and the Phoenix metro area, mailbox rental, printing, fax, notary, shredding, web design and computer rental.

“One of the areas where we stand out is our full line of office supplies,” co-owner and CEO Joseph Licata said. “And if they purchase from us online, we have free delivery in Maricopa.”

Joseph and Cindy Licata worked just outside of Washington, D.C., sensing the lack of community feeling and neighborhood identity. “D.C. was so hectic, so impersonal,” he said.

After a visit west, they fell in love with Phoenix. And then they started looking for a community that was farther out but still had amenities.

When they found Maricopa, they were “all in.”

“We love Maricopa,” Joseph Licata said. “And we came in July. We moved to this city to be part of a community.”

The Licatas researched the business needs of the city and decided Maricopa needed a shipping and office supply outlet, specifically a FedEx shipping location, with reasonable rates.

Cindy and Joe Licata are busy setting up supplies in their new business, Postmaster Depot. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Cindy and Joe Licata are busy setting up supplies in their new business, Postmaster Depot. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Postmaster Depot is a first run at shipping business ownership for the couple, who met at University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. They both earned juris doctorate degrees.

Joseph Licata also has a master’s degree in management and a Master of Business Administration. They operated a consulting business and an education management corporation.

Cindy Licata serves as operations director for Postmaster Depot.

For the grand opening on Jan. 28, they will run specials and have “door-buster” sales. The store will be open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. The online store at is always open.

Postmaster Depot is at 20928 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite C9, next to Cilantro’s. Contact the Licatas at 520-385-5959.

Maricopa’s second Senior Info/Expo is set for Jan. 21 at City Hall.

If You Go
What: Senior Info/Expo
When: Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza
How Much: Free
Info:, 520-316-6817

“What we learned last year is that the people really appreciated it and wanted it to happen again,” said Arnold Jackson, the Age-Friendly Maricopa coordinator. “The attendees and the exhibitors gave it very high ratings.”

The inaugural expo focused on nonprofit vendors, but this year it is open to businesses as well.

Jackson said the expo is meant to provide resources to residents age 55 and over. It is also informational for caregivers.

Exhibits and workshops will include health and wellness, safety, business, end-of-life options, Medicare and legal services.

“They really liked the legal services aspect of it,” Jackson said.

Instead of having a keynote speaker, organizers are providing more time for the popular workshops.

City of Maricopa Fire and Medical will return to discuss home safety and resources. Arizona Hearing Center returns to offer hearing tests.

Attendees will hear from Maricopa Police Department and learn about Maricopa’s You Are Not Alone program. There will also be door prizes and surprises.

Maricopa is one of Arizona’s nine pilot sites for the implementation of a statewide initiative to create age-friendly communities. Jackson said the Senior Info/Expo is part of achieving that goal.

This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

Much of this week’s forecast calls for precipitation in Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service.

Today, there is a 10-percent chance of showers after 11 a.m. The day will be mostly sunny with a high near 62. Tonight, the low will be around 43 and the skies will be mostly clear.

Tuesday is expected to be sunny with a high near 65. The overnight low will be around 43.

Wednesday also is expected to be sunny. The high will be near 66. The night will be mostly clear with the low around 45.

Thursday, a 10-percent chance of rain creeps back into the forecast. The day is expected to be partly sunny with a high near 64. Overnight, the chance of rain increases to 20 percent, and the low will be around 46.

Friday, the chance of rain increases to 40 percent with a high near 59 and wind increasing to 15 mph. Overnight, there is a 50-percent chance of rain with a low around 46. The wind is expected from the southwest at 15-20 mph with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Saturday is also expected to be wet, with a 30 percent chance of showers. The day will be partly sunny with a high near 60. Winds will be 10-15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. Overnight the chance of rain drops to 10 percent, with a low around 40. Winds are expected to calm to 5-10 mph.

Sunday‘s forecast, from this distance, calls for sunny skies and a high near 61.

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Supported by her family, AnnaMarie Knorr takes the oath. Photo by Mason Callejas

Incumbents AnnaMarie Knorr and Torri Anderson and newcomer Joshua Judd were sworn in as member of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board before Wednesday’s meeting by Judge Lyle Riggs.

Kathryn Sinkevitch is accused of murdering ex-boyfriend Michael Agerter in Maricopa.

First-degree murder case against a Tempe woman is moving forward to a trial.

Kathryn Ann Sinkevitch is accused of murder in the death of Michael Agerter. A pretrial conference is set for Feb. 13.

Agerter was found shot to death in the garage of his Rancho El Dorado home on Dec. 16. Sinkevitch, 32, was arrested Dec. 22 by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Taskforce at a location in Avondale. She reportedly had a previous relationship with Agerter and had a child in common who was the center of a custody dispute.

A Pinal County grand jury indicted Sinkevitch on a first-degree murder charge on Dec. 28, citing homicide and domestic violence laws. The true bill states she acted “with premeditation, intending or knowing that her conduct would cause that death.”

Sinkevitch was arraigned before Judge Dwight Callahan on Jan. 6. She remains in Pinal County jail on a $1 million bond.

The pretrial conference is scheduled before Judge Kevin White in Superior Court.