Authors Articles byRaquel Hendrickson

Raquel Hendrickson

Raquel Hendrickson
972 Articles 4 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.

The Nichols family visited Station 572 to thank crewmembers who helped save the youngest member of the family. Submitted photos

A Maricopa family thanked a crew from the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department for heroics that saved an infant’s life.

The incident occurred in March, and the little girl has been recovering ever since. This week, Joshua and Katrina Nichols brought Ella, now 1 year old, to Fire Station 572 to meet the crew who worked so diligently to keep her alive.

Today, Ella officially will be adopted by the Nichols family.

Ella was born at 30 weeks, Katrina Nichols said, “after being exposed to illegal substances in utero. She required excessive resuscitation.”

Because of her rough start, she has chronic lung disease and cognitive delays and needed a tracheal tube and gastrostomy tube. At 2 months old, she finally left the hospital and moved into a foster home for “medically fragile” children.

Josh Nichols, a respiratory therapist, met Ella during his brief assignment at Phoenix Children’s Hospital during the winter. Already the father of four, including adopted and special needs kids, Josh fell in love with Ella.

The Nichols family was soon her foster family.

Ella has a pulse oximeter and apnea monitor to measure her vital signs as she remains fragile. March 20 just after midnight, both monitors alerted Katrina Nichols to the fact Ella wasn’t breathing.

“Needless to say, it was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me,” Katrina said.

A 911 dispatcher guided her through the technique of infant chest compressions. First responders arrived within five minutes and took over.

Firefighter/EMT Shayleen Parris, Captain/EMT Dan Ashton and engineer/paramedic Tom Reid with Ella. Submitted photo

Katrina described Ella going into full cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and said the baby “was gone” for 16 minutes, “but they didn’t give up.”

“The doctors think that she had a mucous plug blocking her airway, which caused all of the resulting issues,” she said. “After her cardiac arrest, she went on to have seizures and ended up in a coma for a week.  It was very touch and go for a while, we didn’t know how things would turn out or what the extent of her new brain trauma would be. But by the grace of God, she had no new damage and we were able to bring her home 26 days later. It has taken some time, but she is getting back to herself again. She still has muscle tremors from time to time and may not get her vision back. But she is here.  She is a fighter. She is smiling.”

The Nichols family returned to Fire Station 572 to thank the crew that had a hand in keeping Ella alive. Three of the crew – Captain/EMT Dan Ashton, engineer/paramedic Tom Reid and firefighter/EMT Shayleen Parris – were at the station.

“They saved our daughter’s life and we couldn’t be more grateful,” Katrina said. “They remembered her instantly. She is hard to forget. We shook their hands, hugged them and thanked them face to face. It was emotional for all of us, I think.”

About 18 acres of land is waiting to be commercially developed at Copper Sky.

Maricopa could have a hotel in place by 2020 if a newly signed agreement with Commercial Properties Inc. (CPI) goes according to plan.

Cecil Yates, property management director for CPI, told the Maricopa City Council he already had three hotel users interested. CPI was selected in May to develop 18.3 acres at Copper Sky for mixed-use commercial, including a hotel.

A master planning and marketing agreement approved by council Tuesday is in place for three years, with three one-year extension options. It gives CPI 30 days to present a master plan for what is currently called Copper Sky Commercial Property.

Besides a hotel, planned uses of the property include retail, offices and restaurants.

Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart said the project has the “potential to be a destination.”

The agreement’s goal is to have a hotel of up to 100 units in place July 1, 2020. Yates said the timing possibilities are a year to 18 months from the time building designs are approved.

“They want to stick shovels in the ground as soon as possible,” Yates said.

Once CPI has a hotel commitment, it must notify the City whether it intends to purchase or lease the property for the hotel.

By Vincent Manfredi

Vincent Manfredi


I want to thank you for voting; especially to those who put their faith in me and gave me their vote. Without your commitment, volunteerism, and donations none of this would have been possible.

I continue to be humbled by the fact you continue to choose me to serve as your councilmember. My goal will be to continue my quest to produce a balanced budget and being fiscally conservative. I will continue to be there as a volunteer – alongside you – and work diligently to keep Maricopa a wonderful place to live and play.

Although my parents are no longer with us I know they are watching over my family and are proud. My father always taught me to reach for more than others expect of you – and if you fail it’s OK – if you did your best. My mother would be especially proud as she was extremely civic minded and urged her children to get involved.

I want to thank Bret Roberts, Christian Price, Tony Smith, Steve Smith, Ed Michaels, Michael Feigenbaum, Nancy Smith, Glenn Morrison, Vince Leach, Mark Finchem, Scott Bartle and everyone else that put forth the effort to help me achieve this goal. There are so many names I could go on for hours, so please do not feel slighted if you were not mentioned by name! I also want to thank Paige Richie, Leon Potter, Cynthia Morgan, Linette Caroselli, Bob Marsh (vote for BOB), Rich Vittielo and of course Henry Wade. Each of you deserve the thanks and respect of us all. Running for election is not an easy task and you all put forward your names, took time away from friends and family and gave everything you could.  

I have saved my biggest thank you for my wonderful wife Christina and three daughters; Bianca, Daisy and Amelia. The four of you are my foundation and give me the inspiration to push forward, even when it would be easy to give up. You have given me a reason to smile and truly enjoy my life – for that I will be eternally grateful.

Thank you.

Vincent Manfredi was re-elected to Maricopa City Council in the Primary Election. He is a minority owner of InMaricopa.

Tylen Coleman carries the ball into scoring range at Apollo. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Digging deep in the fourth quarter, the Maricopa High School football team pulled out a win at Apollo in Glendale Friday night, 27-20.

 The Rams improved to 2-1 on the season.

Though Maricopa took a 13-0 lead early, the Rams had to fight back from a 20-13 deficit.

“In the fourth quarter, we just decided we were going to put our foot in the dirt, and we were going to keep driving,” said senior Tylen Coleman, a standout defensive end and running back for the Rams.

The Rams scored the first time they touched the football. Senior Jacob Cowing grabbed the opening kickoff from the 8 and ran it all the way back for a touchdown. On Roberto Esqueda’s point-after kick, Maricopa went up 7-0 with only 12 second off the clock.

Just seconds into the second quarter, sophomore Mister Chavis scored from the 5, and Maricopa led 13-0.

But the Hawks pull themselves together and started to get their offense firing in the middle of the game. They scored on consecutive possessions to move past Maricopa.

Apollo continued to hold back the Rams throughout the third quarter, then created a 10-play drive that led to a touchdown with 1:15 left in the quarter.

Maricopa’s final drive of the third became its first drive of the fourth. It was capped off by Coleman scampering in from the 35-yard line to tie the score, 20-20.

The Rams took advantage of an Apollo fumble to jump start their final scoring drive. Cowing grabbed a 29-yard pass from Daxton Redfern to score with 7:21 remaining in the game.

The Rams have scored 12 touchdowns through three games. They next play Friday at South Mountain (1-2) in Phoenix. The game starts at 7 p.m.

MHS defeated Camelback at home Tuesday to start the volleyball season. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School’s varsity volleyball team started its 2018 season with a 1-2 record. The girls hosted the Camelback Spartans Aug. 28 and won 3-1 by scores of 25-13, 25-9, 16-25 and 25-14 with members of the football team providing raucous support. The Rams then hit the road for two non-region matches. Wednesday, they lost a close one at Fairfax, 3-2, after coming back from two games down. The scoring line was 22-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 10-15. Thursday, MHS lost in straight games at Verrado, 3-0. The Vipers won 25-18, 25-8, 25-19. The girls next host Paradise Valley Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Rich Vitiello (left) and Henry Wade (center) have been elected outright to the city council in the primary, and Vincent Manfredi may also have enough votes for outright election to avoid a general election.


At least two city council candidates were elected outright Tuesday, and a third may also take the last available seat as the ballot count continues.

Rich Vitiello, in his second try at a council seat, took a commanding lead in the primary as the early ballots were reported and currently has 22 percent of the vote.

“I’m absolutely humbled, shocked, surprised, still trying to process it,” said Vitiello, who often stood roadside and waved to potential voters during the months leading up to election day.

Voters told him they liked that he was consistent on economic development and was always approachable and listened to what they wanted from the city council. He said his goal was to reach the general election and was taken aback to be elected in the primary.

“I’m just shocked and thankful and look forward to serving the community,” he said.

He congratulated incumbents Henry Wade and Vincent Manfredi, who finished second and third in the field of eight candidates. Wade also received enough votes to be elected outright and does not have to go on to a general election.

“We’re ecstatic and very humbled,” Wade said.

Wade has been on the council since 2014. He said he knew it was always a possibility he could get elected outright in the primary and is thankful to voters for making that a reality. In greeting voters at a handful of polling places Tuesday, he said people were very positive and encouraging about his candidacy.

“Now we can get back to work,” Wade said.

Though there are still around 1,000 ballots still to be counted by Pinal County, Vitiello said he was confident Manfredi’s showing would remain consistent and he, too, would be elected in the primary. If so, that would cancel the need for a general election for the city council.

If not, Manfredi would go head-to-head with Bob Marsh, who finished fourth.

“While not all the ballots have been counted, I’m very happy with the votes so far,” said Manfredi, who is currently just over the threshold for outright re-election.

Current totals have Vitiello with 2,367 votes, Wade with 2,026, Manfredi 1,897, Marsh 1,520, Cynthia Morgan 1,183, Linette Caroselli 1,111 and Paige Richie 787.

So far, 99 votes were counted for a write-in. The registered write-in candidate is Leon Potter.

Vincent Manfredi is minority owner of InMaricopa.


Among its incubation tasks, the now defunct Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE) distributed business loans funded by the City of Maricopa with a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development grant.

The loans totaled $116,000 at a 5 percent interest rate. Years later, more than $98,000 remains to be paid on the loans.

Nine fledgling businesses benefited from loan programs since 2015. Loans ranged from $4,500 to $25,000. The last loan was dispensed Dec. 16, 2016, to River Jumpers LLC.

The MCE was launched in 2013 as an incubator for start-up businesses and a resource for existing companies. It was seeded by a USDA grant of $50,000. Another $120,000 of city-maintained funds was spent that year on a management agreement with Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET).

“It may have been a little bit before it’s time,” Mayor Christian Price said.

City Council fenced with three consecutive executive directors over how MCE reported its progress, its transparency and its accountability, including for business loans.

One qualifier for USDA loan candidates was that they had been turned down by a bank or other lending source. Low-interest business loans were an important part of MCE’s offerings since 2014.

Two businesses paid off their loans. Some businesses that obtained loans no longer exist and the loans remain outstanding. Others say they are pushing forward and working at paying back the loans.

Price said those results are the nature of incubating businesses just trying to get off the ground.

“As for repayment, that’s something we’re handling internally now,” said Cassandra Brown, the city’s grants coordinator.

The federally funded loans are in the City’s name, meant for MCE programs. Now the City and not MCE has the full task of tracking the loans. “We’re supporting these new businesses, and we’re actively working with these partners,” Brown said.

WYS Education and True Reflections Boutique had loans of $5,000 and $6,000 respectively, and both wiped them out in less than two years.

Several of the loan recipients no longer have functioning webpages and have not posted in social media in more than a year. In default or merely delinquent, four owe more than their original loan due to interest and fees.

HobbyScopes LLC was the first business to land an MCE loan, which was from a revolving loan fund (RLF) in 2015. As an RLF loan was paid off, the money went back into the program to fund more small-business loans. HobbyScopes’ loan was for $6,000, but the company struggled and still has a balance to be paid.

The next two recipients, Precious Hands Healthcare ($25,000) and ProX Detailing ($7,500), have had varying success paying down their loans.

In 2016, though still questioning MCE’s accountability for the loans, City Council unanimously approved up to $200,000 for MCE expenditures. Shortly after, NACET fired the executive director, Dan Beach. Last fall, the city council effectively fired NACET, and MCE closed in spring.

Price said that allowed the city to take a step back and find a different use for money it had dedicated to MCE.

“We’ve taken those funds and beefed up our Economic Development Department and reallocated it to other departments,” the mayor said.

Price said an incubator is still a good idea for Maricopa but will probably change the approach for “growing an economic garden.”

“We’ll probably focus more on partnerships and stair-step it up,” he said. “I envision we’ll have one in the future. I just don’t know when that future will be.”

Multiple attempts to reach loan recipients for comment were unsuccessful.


HobbyScopes LLC
Research-quality microscopes for hobbyists and children

Ketalog, Inc.
Advertising, apps and analytics

K&Q Clothing
Men’s and women’s clothing and accessories

Precious Hands Healthcare LLC
Home healthcare services

Property cleanup, preservation and house watch

ProX Detailing & Auto Glass
Auto detailing, washing, tinting, windshield repairs and replacement

River Jumpers LLC
Inflatable bouncers, waterslides, rock walls and other party accessories

True Reflections Boutique
Shop-from-home women’s clothing and accessories

WYS Education LLC
Write Your Story, for self-realization, insight and inspiration

This story appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

Submitted photo

Cadets from Maricopa High School AFJROTC participated in the 2018 Buckeye ROTC Toughest Team Competition held Aug. 18 at Buckeye High School.

MHS placed third in Physical Training (PT) Relay, fourth place in Dodge Ball, and first place in Tug of War, resulting in first place overall.

Phase 1 of the Apex Motor Club project involves the part of the property south of the wash.


A lawsuit against the City of Maricopa and Private Motorsports Group is making its way to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Plaintiff Bonita Burks, represented by attorney Tim La Sota, filed a petition for review with the high court Aug. 14. Receipt was logged Aug. 21. The case status is still pending. It has not been assigned to the court schedule.

The case, Bonita Burks v. City of Maricopa, et al., alleges the city inappropriately granted a permit to Private Motorsports Group to build Apex Motor Club in an area that would cause her harm. Burks claimed in court filings the as-yet undeveloped Apex had potential noise and traffic issues not properly considered in city reports.

In July, the Court of Appeals in Tucson ruled Burks did not have standing because she could not prove her home in Rancho El Dorado would be especially impacted by the Apex development more than five miles away. The judges also declined to waive the standing requirement as La Sota requested.

The suit names the City of Maricopa, all councilmembers and the mayor individually, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the zoning administrator, as well as Private Motorsports Group.

The case was initially filed July 19, 2017, when Burks was still represented by attorney Grant Woods. At the Superior Court level, Judge Robert Olson ruled against Burks, who then filed in the appeals court. During the appeals process, La Sota became Burks’ primary counsel.

La Sota had previously represented Maricopa Citizens Protecting Taxpayers, an out-of-town group that sued the City over the Apex approval. That case, too, reached the Arizona Supreme Court, where it was rejected for review.

The property in dispute is at the southeast corner of Highway 238 and Ralston Road.

La Sota did not respond to a request for comment. The City does not comment on ongoing litigation.


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

VideoPhone Launch is scheduled for 9 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

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 Maricopa Behavioral Health Services, 21300 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 103.

Maricopa Healing Rooms are at 7 p.m. at Healing Rooms Ministries, 19997 N. Justin Drive.


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

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

MHS Boys’ Golf match is at 3 p.m. at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, 48456 W. Hwy. 238.

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 Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

Art & Sip is at 6:30 p.m. at True Grit Tavern, 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 101.

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


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 Maricopa Road.

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

Board of Adjustment meets at 4 p.m. at Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

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

MUSD Board Meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Maricopa Unified School District, 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.

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

Maricopa Healing Rooms are at 6:30 p.m. at Healing Rooms Ministries, 19997 N. Justin Drive.

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.

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


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

Maricopa won a non-league game over McClintock at home Friday. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

With a new coach and many untried varsity players, the newest incarnation of the Maricopa High School football team won its first game of the season Friday.

Hosting McClintock from Tempe, the Rams scored first and never gave up the lead, winning 38-21.

Head coach Brandon Harris kept alive his lifelong, first-game winning streak, pointing out it’s the only game all season for which they have four months to prepare.

“I told those kids coming out, ‘We’ve had all this time to prepare, so we got to win,’” Harris said. “And they did. They responded. There was a lot of good things out there tonight.”

That included scoring six touchdowns and a defense Harris described as “lights out.”

There were “early-season errors” and protection issues on the offensive line as Maricopa fans got their first real look at new quarterback Jordan Huddleston, a senior transfer student. Though he had only a few chances to show off his arm, he did pass to senior Jacob Cowing for a touchdown.

“These kids, most of them have never started a varsity football game. Kaireem [Moreira], he never started a varsity football game. Mister Chavis is a sophomore who we moved into that spot. Tylen [Coleman] played defense … so this is his first time carrying the football.”

Coleman, a standout last year on D, played both ways Friday, inflicting touchdowns and sacks on the Chargers.

Moreira put the Rams into the end zone first five and a half minutes into the game. Coleman ran in from the 17 to put Maricopa up 12-0 while still in the first quarter. With the Rams having early special-teams problems, McClintock’s William Roberts was able to juggle and drop a kickoff return and still return it 80 yards for a touchdown to bring the Chargers within five points.

Both teams scored a touchdown apiece in the second quarter, and the Rams went into the locker room leading 19-14.

But Cowing scored on a 15-yard reception and then grabbed a crucial interception to get the ball back. That eventually led to Coleman scoring from the 6-yard line to put Maricopa ahead 31-14. Though the Chargers scored quickly in the fourth, the Ram offense had long possessions, wrapping it up with a one-yard touchdown run by Chavis.

“We’re just trying to develop championship habits,” Harris said. “We showed some tonight, and some not so good.”

James Underwood

Sun Life Family Health Center welcomed James M. Underwood, DO, to the organization’s location on Bowlin Road.

Underwood earned his Bachelor of Science degree in human ecology in 1987 from Rutgers University. In 1995, he completed his doctorate in osteopathic medicine from Ohio University. In 1999, he completed his residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron.

Underwood is board certified with the American Osteopathic Board of Pediatrics. He is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, Ohio Osteopathic Association and Ohio State Medical Association.

He moved to Arizona in May. He and his wife of 23 years have four children. In his free time, he is actively involved in church, loves spending time with his family, and he enjoys playing keyboard, cooking and baking.

This item appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

The following business received business licenses from the City of Maricopa June-16-July 15:

Commercial: Burger King, Ross Dress for Less

Home based: Avasu, Boundless Vacation, Color Street, Gemini Mapping, Helpful Howie Handyman Service, Keep the Beat Entertainment, Modern Glamour Photography, North Suburban Office Services, P&N Your Choice Cleaning Services, Pawdicure Pals

Out of town: Action Barricade Company, Desert Metropolitan, GE Home Services, InstaBright SmileLabs, Interior Logic Holdings, JLC Enterprises, Keiki Corner, Mobile Car Wash, Monarch Pools, Pearlman Architects of Arizona, Trinity Building Services

Peddler/Solicitor: Arizona Environmental Progress

Nonprofit: Maricopa Militia Youth Football

This item appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

Japhia Richards (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa man’s probation officer turned him in for allegedly possessing a myriad of illegal drugs in his bedroom.

Japhia Richards, 33, was arrested July 21 from a home in Senita after officers reportedly found drug paraphernalia, heroin, marijuana, cocaine and prescription pills in his room, according to a Maricopa Police Department report.

The incident began when Richards allegedly admitted to his probation officer that he was in possession of syringes, spoons, cigarette wrappers and pipes that he said he used to smoke heroin.

Richards reportedly consented to a room search where the officer found the drugs, including five prescription pill bottles “with the names to the prescription ripped off.”

The police report stated Richards was unable to provide proof of being prescribed those pills.

MPD arrived to assist the probation officer who had detained Richards after the search.

A warrants check found Richards had a felony warrant out of Gilbert’s Highland Justice Court for two counts of aggravated DUI.

Richards was arrested on the felony warrant, two counts of possession of narcotic drugs (class 4 felonies), possession of dangerous drugs (class 4 felony), four counts of possession of prescription only drugs (class 1 misdemeanors), possession of marijuana (class 6 felony), and seven counts of possession of drug paraphernalia (class 6 felonies).

He’s being held in the Pinal County Jail on a $2,700 secured bond.

Students in the Maricopa Unified School District begin class Monday on a modified calendar and under new leadership. Months into her new job, new Superintendent Tracey Lopeman spotlighted challenges at MUSD, the direction she’d like to see the district go and the strategies she turns to in her rookie year as top district leader.

Learn more about Lopeman

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the City of Maricopa and Private Motorsports Group after a lawsuit by a resident.

Bonita Burks filed suit last year alleging a permit granted to PMG by the City for a private sports car recreation facility called Apex would cause her personal harm. Burks’ home in Rancho El Dorado is 5.2 miles east of the proposed racetrack. The decision was filed Monday.

The three-judge panel agreed with Pinal County Superior Court Judge Robert Olson that Burks did not present any evidence that there would be particular injury to her and therefore had no standing to sue.

“They agreed with us,” Mayor Christian Price said. “How are you being harmed in the middle of Rancho El Dorado?”

The judges also declined to waive the “standing” requirement as requested by Burks’ attorney, Timothy La Sota, who wanted to put the zoning actions of the city council before the judiciary.

“We, too, recognize that zoning is an important issue with potentially widespread impact,” Judge Garye Vazquez wrote for the court. “However, this specific zoning issue is restricted to Maricopa and stems from the transition between Maricopa’s old zoning code and new zoning code.  We, therefore, disagree with Burks that this case presents an issue of statewide importance that is likely to recur.”

The court also ruled the City and PMG are entitled to costs.

Though Maricopa had recently adopted a new zoning code, it granted PMG a permit for Apex Motor Club under the old zoning.

Price said the council was within its legislative rights, which the court affirmed.

“It was new zoning. There has to be a phasing period,” Price said. “With a big project, you don’t add it like that.”

He said the City may make that more clear in the future.

La Sota could not immediately be reached for comment.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


Mixed stratified water and blooming algae are the suspected culprits in a massive die-off of fish in The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado, a not uncommon result of monsoon runoff.

Some residents estimated 2,000 dead fish. Resident Tod Antell said residents were very upset with the sight and the smell.

“It’s an ungodly smell. You can’t walk out and breathe correctly,” resident Danelle Mayfield said. “There’s probably close to 800 plus fish in my visual view of what I’m seeing on my little part of the lake.  The ducks are not even getting in the water. They are staying on the shore at this point. There’s still multiple fish gasping for air.”

The situation was noticed last week during monsoon rains.

Megan Perry, a Maricopa resident who worked for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, took a look at the situation and believes the monsoons played the biggest part in the die-off.

“It’s natural and nothing to panic about,” she said.

In summer, water levels stratify in lakes, she said, with warm, low-oxygen water on the bottom and cool, higher-oxygen water on top.

“When an event happens like a temperature shift or monsoon or even sometimes an algae bloom, the warm low-oxygen water on the bottom and cool, denser water on the top suddenly mix as they try to switch places,” she said. “This causes the oxygen levels overall to suddenly fall, suffocating the fish and causing a large die off.”

The fish, other than being dead, look to be in normal health, with no indication of poisoning or other unnatural cause, Perry said. She noted the small minnows are still alive because they live closer to the oxygen and have less oxygen demand.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Meanwhile, monsoons can also cause algae bloom, which can be fatal to fish as well when soil is washed into the water. The soil creates an overload of nitrates. Algae bloom, eat the nitrates and then die. Bacteria devour decaying algae and, in the process, use up much of the oxygen in the lake.

That kills the fish.

In the Lakes, it was apparent some fish were dying last week. By Monday morning, the result was thousands of dead fish, affecting every reach of the lake.

H2Ology, the company hired by the HOA to take care of the lake, said these kinds of fishkills are “an unfortunate part of ornamental lake systems in the summer.”

Mayfield, the resident, said she had contacted the homeowners association, Associated Asset Management, which is responsible for the lake conditions.

“I contacted the HOA emergency line last night,” she said. “They said that they would be dealing with it today. I have contacted Fish and Game Department. They advised that the HOA needs to deal with it. I have contacted the company that handles the water for the lakes and they stated that they are taking care of it. I have contacted the health department and also, again, the HOA today. I left a message again; no call backs. As of right now, we have not seen anybody coming out to address any of the issues so far this morning.

“We haven’t had anything like this. I know one of the other neighbors was talking about it and they’ve lived here six years and they’re all on the water, too, and they’ve never seen anything like this.”

Perry, the local fish expert, said water features can help mitigate the situation.

“Those fountains like those you see at the entry of Rancho El Dorado and the Villages, they’re are not just for show,” she said. “They help aerate the water.”

The Lakes does use landscaped water falls and other aerators in some locations to churn the water, when they are functioning.

According to H2Ology, a crew will be removing all the dead fish that have surfaced today, and “measures will be taken to stop future kills.”

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Staff reporter Michelle Chance contributed to this story.


All seven candidates for three seats on the Maricopa City Council participated in a primary election forum at Maricopa Unified School District on Saturday. The Junior State of America Club at Maricopa High School organized and hosted the event, which allowed every candidate to answer a handful of questions submitted by the community. Maricopa Rotary Club was the presenting organization. Some responses:

Who has a plan for attracting more businesses and jobs?

Linette Caroselli: “To bring them here, we have to show the value of being here. When you support a small business, you’re supporting a dream.” Caroselli, an MUSD teacher, said the city needs to be customer-based.

Vincent Manfredi: “I think we need to concentrate on small-business owners who will grow.” The incumbent said Maricopa needs more office space, light industrial and infrastructure.

Bob Marsh: An IT consultant, Marsh said he might pull some industry strings connected to the Belmont smart city proposed by the founder of Microsoft. “I would contact Bill Gates and see if they could test some of their concepts here.”

Cynthia Morgan: The Maricopa Chamber of Commerce stalwart said the city should be “talking one-on-one” with companies that have potential to move to town.

Leon Potter: “Shop local.” The former councilmember and current write-in said the city needs to tap into local organizations like Maricopa Economic Development Alliance and Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Paige Richie: “Hard work and accessibility.” The youngest candidate said the city should ask companies like car dealerships and call centers why they don’t locate to Maricopa.

Rich Vitiello: Asserting international business experience, Vitiello said he plans to “Work hard and meet people we need to work with.”

Henry Wade: The incumbent said the current council may have not always been successful, “but we didn’t quit.”

What is Maricopa’s water future?

Wade: Holding Arizona Corporation Commission’s feet to the fire, Wade said, relies on elections, and scrutinizing Global Water is less difficult “if the right folks are making decisions.” He said the city had looked into buying the private utility, but the subsequent tax rates would have been enormous.

Vitiello: Also saying the council needs to “stay on top of” Global Water constantly, Vitiello said it will take work. “I have a pool. My bills are pretty big.”

Richie: The city needs to work with Global Water, Richie said, “to find more cost effective and more sustainable options.”

Potter: “Regulating water is not within the city’s jurisdiction.” Potter said he intends to work with Global Water but also listen to constituents. “It takes a lot of negotiation and going in front of the Corporation Commission.”

Morgan: “We’ve all tried to fix the problem,” said Morgan, who led a push to take Global Water before the ACC and make a deal on fees. Because Global Water invested a lot of money in Maricopa, it won’t be leaving anytime soon, and she said the best solution is to keep talking with GWR staff one-on-one.

Marsh: “Developers aren’t going to build subdivisions without a 100-year supply.” Marsh said Maricopa had a “secret” water supply with the Santa Cruz. He said developers made the “stupid” decision to create green landscaping to lure Midwesterners into buying desert homes. “We’ve got to stop that.”

Manfredi: With current regulations and Global Water’s wells, Manfredi said, “I don’t believe we’re going to have a water problem for a very long time.”

Caroselli: To assure affordable water, Caroselli said the answer is to “elect a Corporation Commission that’s actually going to do something.”

About 90 attended the forum, which was sponsored by the Maricopa Monitor and Helen’s Kitchen. The candidates will next share the stage Aug. 4 during the Town Hall.

Vincent Manfredi is a minority owner of InMaricopa.

In a resident’s lawsuit against the City of Maricopa and a sports-car club, both sides presented their cases to the Arizona Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

Bonita Burks sued the City and Private Motorsports Group after a permit was approved for Apex Motor Club. Apex is intended to be a private club for sports car enthusiasts, with a clubhouse, private racetrack and garages.

During oral arguments, the judges were trying to determine if Burks had legal standing to sue and, if not, whether the requirement should be waived. To show “standing,” Burks would have to prove she would be more impacted than the “community at large” by the potential noise, odor and traffic she complained of.

If the appeals court sides with Burks regarding her “standing,” it would open the legal case to the meat of the matter. That is, whether the City acted illegally in allowing Private Motorsports Group to obtain its permit under the old zoning code.

Pinal County Superior Court Judge Robert Olson has already written his opinion the City did not act correctly in that matter. That opinion, however, was not binding because it was an aside to his ruling Burks had no standing to sue.

The Apex site is at the northwest corner of State Route 238 and Ralston Road. Burks’ home is in Rancho El Dorado, 5.2 miles from the site.

For that reason, the City and Private Motorsports Group have argued Burks does not have standing to file suit. It was a point argued previously before Olson.

“Our argument is, she did not allege or establish at the hearing any facts of personalized injury,” said Roopali Desai of Coppersmith, Schermer & Brockelman, the law firm representing Private Motorsports Group.

Burks’ attorney, while arguing she could have standing because Rancho El Dorado is closer to the Apex site than several other subdivisions, sought to have the whole “standing” requirement waived.

“The zoning matter is a big deal in Maricopa,” said attorney Timothy La Sota, who took over Burks’ case late in the appeals process. He added the statewide concern with zoning issues qualified the case to have the “standing” requirement waived.

La Sota represented Maricopa Citizens Protecting Taxpayers in a previous suit against the City that also went before Judge Olson. That was a disagreement over whether the City had taken legislative action or administrative action in granting the permit. MCPT claimed it was legislative action that could be subject to referendum and thus placed on a ballot. The City claimed it was administrative action and not subject to referendum.

Olson ruled in favor of MCPT, but that ruling was overturned by the Court of Appeals in September. However, La Sota brought up that sore spot again during Wednesday’s arguments.

The City, he said, changed its actions to administrative “to get around the referendum” and was trying to do something similar by denying Burks’ standing in the case.

Desai argued the state sets an “incredibly high standard” for establishing standing, and for a reason. She rebuffed attempts by the judges to set up hypothetical situations, saying Burks might have standing if she had to drive SR 238 to work every day but that is not a fact in the case.

“She does not use 238 to access her subdivision,” Desai said.

She also noted facts not in the record from the lower-court case, that three master-planned communities, 1,000 homes, railroad tracks and some business properties lie between the Apex site and Burks’ home. She said a noise study and traffic study refuted attempts to claim personal injury.

La Sota said taking the appellee’s “linear” approach to judging impact of the space between was separating the case from the “true standard” of determining personal injury.

The judges pushed La Sota on the definition of “community at large,” saying the attorney had not supplied evidence Burks is being personally impacted more than the rest of Maricopa “other than saying she is more affected because I say she is.”

The Court of Appeals, Division II, in Tucson has taken the arguments under advisement. Both sides now await its decision. If the court waives the “standing” requirement, the City and Private Motorsports Group would have to again defend the City’s action on permits and zoning.

Though City Attorney Denis Fitzgibbons was present at Wednesday’s hearing, he did not make a presentation to the judges.

Medical offices planned for the southeast corner of Edison Road and John Wayne Parkway are designed to be two buildings with a connecting breezeway.

Maricopa Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved the development review.

Kazi Haque, the city’s lead planner, said the elevation “is a little bit different” and the city worked with the applicant to make some changes. As currently designed, doors to the buildings will be on the south side, with some spaces added to the already existing parking lot. The north elevation, facing Edison Road, will be the back of the building.

The lot shares the area with Big O Tires, 99 Cents Only and Aaron’s.

Edgar Felix of the RKAA Architecture firm said though Maricopa Police Department had expressed some concerns with the possibility of the breezeway hiding nefarious activity, the area will be fully visible from Edison Road.

The project next goes before city council.

Members of the Maricopa High School volleyball team had their annual car wash Saturday to raise money for camps and extras not paid for by the school. Sonic allowed the girls use of its parking lot for the event. The season start Aug. 28 with a home match against Camelback.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The most expensive home sold in the city of Maricopa from May 16 to June 15 was a half-million-dollar looker on a lake in Province that is the priciest of the year. The large house on a large lot included a casita and a private pool. There were tons of upgrades, from flooring to window treatments. Though on the market for nearly nine months at $14,000 above its eventual selling price, the results were apparently worth the wait.

  1. 19815 N. Puffin Drive, Province

Sold: May 31
Purchase price: $505,000
Square footage: 3,102
Price per square foot: $162.79
Days on market: 253
Builder: Engle
Year built: 2006
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 4
Community: Province
Features: Orchid model with stainless steel appliances, formal dining room, fireplace, waterfront views, full master bedroom, granite counters, play pool, patio, guest house
Listing agent: William G. Menkhus, HomeSmart
Selling agent: Jill K. Dames, Realty ONE Group

  1. 22496 N. Sunset Drive, Cobblestone Farms ………… $375,000
  2. 18955 N. Falcon Lane, Glennwilde …………………….. $322,000
  3. 18620 N. Tanners Way, Smith Farms ……………….… $319,000
  4. 19131 N. Toya St., Senita ………………………………….… $319,000

This item appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Northbound traffic on SR 347 north of the gravel pit is at a near stand-still as troopers work a five-vehicle crash in the blowing dust. ADOT photo

A multi-vehicle accident on State Route 347 north of the gravel pit stopped northbound traffic this morning.

According to the Department of Public Safety, five vehicles were involved. The incident occurred at milepost 185 at around 10:28 a.m.

“Troopers and emergency personnel are on scene working to clear the road,” said DPS spokesman Quentin Mehr. “At this time, I do not have information on the number of injuries or severity.”

Blowing dust has been affecting the flow of traffic all morning on SR 347, and dust has been particularly heavy in that area.

Southbound traffic is meeting a wall of blowing dust on SR 347. ADOT photo

Financial Secretary Cindee Ross-Beecroft and President Vero Sanchez lead a meeting of the Blue Star Mothers. Photo by Mason Callejas


Looking for something meaningful to do this summer?

Maricopans are often accused of good-deed-doing, so it probably comes as no surprise that nearly 100 nonprofit organizations call the small town home. And that doesn’t even count the churches and parent-teacher organizations that also qualify as tax exempt.

Some nonprofits are focused on community service while others are focused on specific events. Some raise money for a charitable cause; others raise money for kids’ sports programs.

Blue Star Mothers provide military support from home front

Currently in good standing in the Internal Revenue Service Files are these organizations, minus churches and PTOs. (Note: Some organizations are inactive but maintain their nonprofit status. This list is not intended as an endorsement.)

Aid 4 Greys
EIN: 20-2574239     Web:
Raises funds for greyhound rescue groups.

American Legion
EIN: 27-2110284     Web:
Creates programs for military veterans.

American Legion Auxiliary
EIN: 27-3655841     Web:
Creates programs for spouses of military veterans.

Arizona Foundation for Social Justice Children and Youth Service
EIN: 80-0491866     Web:
Provides family services.

Arizona Greyhound Association Inc.
EIN: 86-6053033     Web: none
Raises awareness of greyhounds and greyhound rescues.

Arizona National Guard Historical Society
EIN: 71-2468937     Web:
Operates Arizona Military Museum.

Arizona Poodle Rescue
EIN: 87-0799983     Web:
Rescues and re-homes standard poodles.

Assist You With Inc.
EIN: 27-2704971     Web:
Provides property and personal information protection.

Association of Rehabilitation Programs in Computer Technology
EIN: 75-3003211     Web:
Provides professional development for support of people with disabilities.

Atlas Pet Rescue
EIN: 81-5281750     Web:
Provides rescue and adoptions of all breeds.

Az Knights Inc.
EIN: 39-1722440     Web:
Provides fundamentals in youth sports.

Baby Fox Foundation
EIN: 82-2796191     Web:
Provides in-home preschool daycare.

Be Empowered to Be Inc.
EIN: 36-4699294     Web:
Provides educational services to women and girls 12 and older.

Blue Star Mothers of America Inc.
EIN: 36-4774227     Web:
Provides auxiliary support of military personnel.

Boy Scout Troop 993
EIN: 20-8803738     Web:
Creates achievement environment for Scouts 11-18.

Chains of Brotherhood S.C.
EIN: 81-4194470     Web:
Raises awareness of charitable events.

Copa Grande Rattlers Soccer Club
EIN: 46-4602217     Web:
Teaches soccer skills to youth players.

Copa Shorts Film Fest Inc.
EIN: 81-0902509     Web:
Presents short films and educational programs.

Desert Dogz Safe Haven
EIN: 47-3596008     Web: none
Provides animal rescue.

Dream Catchers Youth Academy
EIN: 81-3976638     Web:
Develops youth character through sports.

EIN: 80-0469117     Web:
Creates events and provides training in performing arts.

Dwarf Car Museum Inc.
EIN: 45-3761173     Web:
Provides funding for ongoing museum display.

E5 Life Strategies
EIN: 82-2933527     Web:
Engages in spiritual, supernatural empowerment.

F.O.R. Maricopa Inc.
EIN: 26-0527262     Web:
Provides food and essentials to families in need.

Families United Inc.
EIN: 51-0578429     Web:
Provides assisted living options.

For the Love of Pete
EIN: 45-1610424     Web: none
Provides animal-rescue opportunities.

Fraternal Order of Police (Lodge 78)
EIN: 27-1685692     Web:
Provides resources and legal access for law enforcement officers.

Goodwill Offering Inc.
EIN: 51-0552645     Web: none
Undefined cause.

Graysmark Schools Corporation
EIN: 27-0575484     Web:
Provides private education for preschool-kindergarten.

Helping Orphaned Hounds Rescue
EIN: 27-1868373     Web:
Finds homes for dogs and promotes spaying/neutering.

International Association of Railway Operating Officers
EIN: 06-1034133     Web:
Provides operating/technical information for railroad management.

International Association of Safety Environmental Professionals
EIN: 47-1938317     Web:
Helps businesses create safe workplaces.

Keep the Beat Inc.
EIN: 81-3575032     Web:
Offers music training and community service opportunities.

Knights of Columbus
EIN: 45-5089097     Web:
Performs volunteer service in parish and community.

Little League Baseball Inc.
EIN: 20-0616188     Web:
Provides youth sports opportunities.

Maricopa Ak-Chin STEAM Foundation Inc.
EIN: 45-5489047     Web: none
Cultivates a love of learning science and math. 

Maricopa Amateur Radio Association
EIN: 46-2297818     Web:
Presents activities and testing in amateur radio operations.

Maricopa Arts Council
EIN: 46-3796208     Web:
Creates opportunities to showcase community arts and entertainment.

Maricopa Community Alliance Against Substance Abuse
EIN: 86-0731529     Web:
Creates positive, empowering activities and learning experiences for youth.

Maricopa Community Theatre
EIN: 27-3193374     Web:
Presents live theater productions and youth performances.

Maricopa Cultural Activity Center Inc. (Friends of the Maricopa Public Library)
EIN: 94-2933340     Web:
Supports and enhances the public library.

Maricopa Dukes
EIN: 47-1468853     Web:
Provides training and games for youth baseball.

Maricopa Economic Development Alliance
EIN: 27-0924554     Web:
Seeks strategies and solutions for economic growth.

Maricopa Education Foundation Inc.
EIN: 260273602      Web:
Provides academic and cultural enrichment for students.

Maricopa Football Boosters
EIN: 81-4514608     Web:
Provides opportunities and resources for Maricopa High School football.

Maricopa Golf Classic Incorporated
EIN: 47-5276824     Web:
Raises money for American Service Animal Society and 100 Club of Arizona.

Maricopa Historical Society
EIN: 27-3047891     Web:
Preserves historical materials and educates through special programs.

Maricopa Lions Club
EIN: 47-3132480     Web:
Provides community service and fundraising.

Maricopa Multi Cultural Consortium
EIN: 81-2253575     Web:
Seeks resources for construction of senior/community center.

Maricopa Pantry
EIN: 81-3081927     Web:
Provides food bank services.

Maricopa Police Foundation Inc.
EIN: 80-0540115     Web:
Provides support and resources for Maricopa Police Department.

4-H Clubs & Affiliated 4-H Organizations
EIN: 20-8837543     Web: none
Advances youth development.

Maricopa Sandlot
EIN: 82-1774844     Web:
Provides competition opportunities for girls fastpitch softball.

Maricopa Seniors Inc.
EIN: 90-0502807     Web:
Provides resources for senior safety.

Maricopa United Soccer Club
EIN: 81-3559665     Web:
Provides competition for year-round soccer.

Maricopa Youth Football
EIN: 01-0832741     Web:
Provides recreation and instruction for youth.

Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA
EIN: 32-0316136     Web:
Provides resources to combat-wounded veterans.

Moms Club
EIN: 55-0889732     Web:
Provides mutual support for mothers.

Nelson C. Lathan Counseling Center
EIN: 46-1079110     Web:
Provides youth programs for emotional health and education.

North Hidden Valley Fire Department
EIN: 45-2628478     Web: none
Provides fire protection in unincorporated area.

Parent Information Distribution Center Inc.
EIN: 35-2019678     Web: none
Improves lives of children by assisting families.

Pet Social Worker Tails of Hope
EIN: 26-1974172     Web:
Offers information on lost/found and adoptable pets.

Powerpack Copa Inc.
EIN: 47-5488722     Web:
Provides weekend meals for school children.

Pride & Joy Learning & Development Center Inc.
EIN: 41-2205048     Web: none
Provides reduced-rate daycare services for qualifying families.

Rocking 4dFoundation Inc.
EIN: 81-0864768     Web:
Provides community service.

Rotary International
EIN: 86-6038197     Web:
Provides community service.

Sassy S Sisters Happy Haven Animal Sanctuary
EIN: 891-4382642   Web: none
Provides animal rescue.

Silent Heroes
EIN: 81-4088924     Web: none
Hosts golf tournament to benefit first responders.

The Streets Don’t Love You Back
EIN: 47-3208272     Web:
Provides education and resources to prevent youth crime and recidivism.

Support Team for Education and Learning Associations Inc.
EIN: 26-2352793     Web:
Supports higher learning for children in developing countries.

Toastmasters International (Club 00003256)
EIN: 86-0988503     Web:
Develops communication and leadership skills.

Vetit Inc.
EIN: 47-3420223     Web:
Helps veterans transition to civilian life.

Vietnam Aviation Veterans of Arizona
EIN: 86-1003308     Web: none
Hosts a museum of military aviation history.

Viper Club of America – Arizona Region Inc.
EIN: 80-0010718     Web:
Offers automotive activities for Viper owners.

Blue Star Mothers of Maricopa will turn 5 years old Aug. 5, five years of looking out for military servicemembers whose mothers call Maricopa home.

A private nonprofit, it was designated Chapter AZ7 by the national organization, which was created during World War II. Started locally by Tracy Davis and Lisa Durst and now led by Air Force mom Vero Sanchez, Blue Star Mothers offers support for moms who have children on active duty in the armed forces or are veterans. They send “Packages from Home” to those serving, celebrate homecomings and find resources for troops and their families.

Navy mom and club Treasurer Gail DeLair said Blue Star Mothers made her feel at home quickly. “I had someone I could talk to instantly.”

The group includes mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, foster mothers and female legal guardians. They want to reach out not only to those whose children are deployed but also those whose kids are entering basic training. Mothers of servicemembers who have already been discharged have remained members of Blue Star Mothers to offer support to moms still working through the process of having a child in harm’s way.

A highly patriotic club, Blue Star Mothers is a visible presence at many community events, such as the Great American 4th and the Veterans Day Parade. They meet the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.  at Maricopa Veterans Center, 44240 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.

Blue Star Mothers plans a fund-raiser at Freddy’s, 21467 N. John Wayne Parkway, on July 12, 5-9 p.m.,

Boy Scout Troop 993 creates adventures

In 2007, Boy Scout Troop 993 started with five boys. Today, there are more than 40 enrolled with a solid 22-25 active any given week.

Gerry Hahn started the troop after discovering Maricopa had no community troop of Boy Scouts of American, only those associated with churches. He said he wanted to give boys unaffiliated with other organizations a chance to learn new skills and be part of something.

“We go camping about 10 times a year, a weekend almost every month,” Hahn said. “We have competitions within the county. We plan six months ahead of time.”

Whether its tug-o-war or cooking competitions, the Scouts have an opportunity to show their stuff in a wide range of activities at camporees. Scouts range in age from 11 to 18. The troop’s success relies on consistent leadership and fundraising.

As a tax-exempt organization, how does Boy Scout Troop 993 spend money it raises with popcorn sales, face-painting booths at city events and other efforts?

Along with campouts and miscellaneous adventures, the troop uses donations for supplies and program expenses.

“We went to the Bahamas, and the next year we went whitewater rafting,” said Mark Yonts, advisor for Venture Crew 2993, a coed program within Scouting that existed before the national organization announced it would admit girls and change its name to BSA. They are in their fifth summer as part of Troop 993.

“Last year we went kayaking in Canada,” Yonts said.

Troop 993 Scout Master Sean Handwerk said he’s enjoyed watching his son grow from a Tiger Scout to an Eagle candidate. His son Michael, a former troop member, joined the U.S. Army while his younger son Cody has risen to leadership position in the troop. Gerry Hahn’s brother Damon Hahn is also a leader.

Cody Handwerk, a senior patrol leader, said he was “forced” to join Boy Scouts four years ago, but set his sights on being the troop’s youngest Eagle Scout at 14.

“It really helps in your future career options, and in job interviews it boosts your resume,” Cody said.

His Eagle project was creating an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant walkway to the ramada at Maricopa Veterans Center. He said scouting has helped him hone is leadership skills.

“It got me out of my comfort zone,” he said. “I never used my voice that loud before.”

Raul Rivera, 17, joined Troop 993 because of the lure of adventure. He has stuck like glue. Even though he and his family moved away three years ago, he continues to travel to Maricopa to be with 993.

“It looked like a lot of fun, with campouts, and I’ve always been a big outdoors guy,” Rivera said. “That really appealed to me.”

This year, his Eagle Scout project was reflooring part of his church, Foothills Baptist in Ahwatukee. Eagle candidates are required not just to work but also to organize several volunteers and raise funds and resources.

Scouts can be members of Troop 993 and Crew 2993 simultaneously. Both emphasize empowering kids to take responsibility.

“We usually have a big summer adventure, and then we have our regular meetings throughout the year, learning skills to whatever the kids decide to do,” Yonts said. “They come with all their ideas, they discuss them, they plan the calendar out and decide what they want to do.

“We have five active troop members right now. We had more, but one left to go to the Coast Guard, one left to go to the Army, and two went to college.”


Maricopa Ak-Chin STEAM Foundation cool with science

Maricopa Ak-Chin STEAM Foundation Inc. was founded in 2012 to promote science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics in school-age children.

From rockets and robots to LEGOs and microscopes, the nonprofit engages programs and students in learning activities. Executive Director Dan Miller is planning a big STEAM event Nov. 5-9 during National STEAM Week, including hands-on demonstrations.

The foundation is organizing companies, government entities and industry specialists for presentations that enhance ongoing STEAM-themed programs at local schools.


Lions Club has clear vision of community service

Maricopa Lions Club is a fairly new chapter but has been very busy since its inception. The Lions have adopted a highway and picked up trash. They have contributed resources and labor for the local Against Abuse shelter. They have helped at F.O.R. Maricopa food bank and at Relay for Life. They have chipped in at the Maricopa Police Foundation’s Shop with a Cop holiday program.

Lions International was founded in 1917. Its Lions Eye programs gained renown for the organization by organizing vision screenings, raising awareness of eye diseases and collecting used eyeglasses. The Maricopa Lions, founded in 2015 by Dave and Berta Bock, continue that mission while engaging in other ways to help the community.

Fundraisers have included an annual golf scramble and golf ball drop raffle. Club president is Marc Tremblay, who can be reached at 520-350-2908.


PowerPack Copa feeds kids for the weekend

PowerPack Copa was formed out of noticing a need in Maricopa. While children participating in the free/reduced lunch programs at their school could eat breakfast and lunch, there was a gap for the weekend.

Launched by Church of Celebration in 2013, the nonprofit collects food items, packs them into food bags and takes the packs to eight Maricopa schools for distribution to the children who need them. With the early start to the school year for most Maricopa children (July 23), PowerPack Copa is also getting started early.

The next PowerPack Copa Packing Party is July 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the Villages clubhouse. The packs will then be taken to the schools on Friday, July 27, in time to be distributed for the weekend.

This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.


Maricopa dancers Hannah Struckmann, Crystabel Sanchez, Giselle Sanchez an Katie Sherrod perform Erin Hildick's choreography of "Fix You." Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopan Eddie Perry, 19, won the Maricopa Arts Council’s second Choreography Showcase Saturday.

Edde Perry accepts his award from MAC’s Susan Cameron and DSPA’s Ceylan Gentilella.

The competition at the Maricopa High School Performing Arts Center was voted on by the audience. The event, sponsored by DSPA Gems and performed by Onyx dancers, was book-ended by the Desert Sun Performing Arts dance recital. Perry graduated from MHS in 2017. Other competing choreographers were the team of Grace Becking, Destinee Chavis and Myka Borunda, whose “Weight in Gold” finished second, Erin Hildick, whose “Fix You” finished third, Samantha Perry, Jalen Reyes, Lexie Vargas and Katie Sherrod. Themes ranged from suicide to partying. All of the choreographers also danced in each other’s numbers. Other Onyx performers were Tatum Roeske, Crystabel Sanchez, Giselle Sanchez and Hannah Struckmann.

Photo by Michelle Chance

It was “field day” for the Maricopa Amateur Radio Association this past weekend. From Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon, members participated in the annual emergency preparedness exercise with others across the country. The overnight event was held inside the Maricopa Police Department’s Copper Sky Substation.

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The Fröms, from left, Cortney holding Atlys, Derick holding Rowan, Archer, Troy and Maddex, with Maricopa Ace Hardware owner Mike Richey. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


With more than 40 fathers nominated as the Best Dad in Maricopa for Father’s Day, it took a lot of social media support to come out on top. In the case of the winner, it took enthusiastic support from military buddies to win the coveted prizes from Maricopa Ace Hardware.

Cortney Fröm nominated her husband Derick Fröm very late in the competition, which was based on InMaricopa’s Facebook page. But then she started sharing it. Within hours, Fröm had accumulated 400 and then 500 votes and more.

The win brought Fröm a new Traeger grill, pellets and accoutrements from Ace owner Mike Richey.

Fröm said he thought it was “cool” that his wife entered him in the contest but was “shocked” that he came out on top.

“I just didn’t think we were going to win, we entered so late,” he said.

In her nomination, Cortney Fröm stated, “We have five children, and he is pretty much super Dad. He does so much for his family and works so incredibly hard to make sure we are all taken care of. His love for all five of his children is amazing. Plus he’s a pretty great husband, too.”

Derick Fröm spent eight years in the Arizona Army National Guard. His continuing relationship with current and veteran service members, especially a group calling itself Drinkin Bros: Dads, was key to totaling nearly 600 “likes” on Cortney’s nomination.

The Fröms, who include Maddex, 9, Troy, 7, Archer, 3, Rowan, 2, and Atlys, 1, have lived in Maricopa just three months, moving from Mesa. Derick and Cortney have been together seven years and married three.

One person who voted for Derick Fröm, Philip Bateson, called him “a class act. Works himself to the bone for his fam. He’s a great coworker and a generally funny guy.”

Another supporter, James Layne, took it even further: “When Superman wakes up in the morning, he wants to be like this dad.”

Jase Leonard with his sons Caden and Jaxon, with Mike Richey. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Finishing in second place in the Best Dad contest was local Realtor Jase Leonard. He and his two sons, Caden, 10, and Jaxon 8, took home a Yeti cooler from Ace.

“There are a lot of dads that wear multiple hats in their family and that is no different in ours,” his wife Stacy Leonard wrote in her nomination. “We rely on this dad to take care of us and our home. He is our breadwinner, soccer dad, professional wrestler, joke teller, tickler, lunch maker, homework helper, sports lover, dog walker, breakfast maker. Like many, he loves his family more than life itself. He helps people every day by making their dreams come true at work. We don’t know where we would be without him to provide, love and take care of us.”

“It’s cool,” Jase Leonard said of being in the top three finishers. “We always try to do a lot in the community.”

The Leonards have lived in Maricopa for 12 years.

Kandi Crowe, who “liked” Leonard’s nominations, commented, “No surprise. I have known him 18 years and always knew he would be an awesome dad! Team Jace!”

Jason and Andrea Foree with daughters Audra and Joy and Ace owner Mike Richey. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

There was a fierce battle for third place in the contest that went down to the wire. In the end, Jason Foree claimed the 30-ounce and 20-ounce tumblers.

A highway inspector by trade, Foree has been battling leukemia for the past year and is currently in remission.

“He’s always putting his family first,” his wife Andrea said. “Even when he first received the diagnosis, the first thing he said was, ‘What about my daughters?’”

The girls are Audra, 3, and Joy, 1.

Supporter Carlene Croonenberghs commented, “He has put his trust in God for the fight of his life. He is the father of two beautiful girls. The love between him and his wife Andrea is a testament to everyone who knows them. He is one of the strongest men I’ve ever known.”

Chris Marshall (submitted)

Foree just edged out Chris Marshall. Marshall’s “likes” continued to come in even after the June 14 deadline.

In nominating him, Marshall’s wife Marlene said, “He works selflessly for us everyday. He is faithful, kind loving and the definition of strong all in one. He gives up his free time to help the youth in Maricopa and is active in our children’s school. He always finds time to teach, pray and play everything from sports, Nurf guns, bowling – our kiddos simply adore him, I adore him. He is the greatest man I know.”

All of the top four finishers received more than 100 likes.

See all of the great Father’s Days tributes among the nominations at

Still in early stages, a proposal for a Dutch Bros. Coffee store, with drive thru, came before the Heritage District Committee on Thursday.

Dutch Bros. Coffee is proposing a store in Maricopa, and the Heritage District Citizen Advisory Committee received an early look at plans Thursday.

That’s because the committee gets an opinion on any development in the Heritage District. Dutch Bros. Coffee’s proposal is on the north side of Fast & Friendly Car Wash.

City planner Rudy Lopez said the project still has to go through site plan review and meet criteria currently under discussion. Developers are also seeking a variance.

The project uses an existing access from John Wayne Parkway, but Lopez said there is an easement on the frontage.

“It’s like a no-build zone,” Lopez said, “so they’re going for a variance.”

Project Manager Michael Oakleaf of Archicon Architecture & Interiors said the current plans make sacrifices to fit into the area. That included abandoning some elements and using a color scheme that would “blend in” with the neighboring car wash.

Oakleaf said those concessions are unusual.

“We’re giving up a lot,” he said.

In what Chairman Brian Foose called “a formality,” the committee unanimously voted its support for the project.

Construction has been a growing major sector in Arizona's employment. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Arizona lost 7,200 nonfarm jobs from April to May, but the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.9 percent to 4.7 percent.

“Building construction recorded its largest over-the-year gain in nearly 12 years.” — Adam Turk

The Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity released the jobs report Thursday.

Compared to May 2017, the state added 70,700 total jobs. Economist Adam Turk said manufacturing, education and construction were drivers in job creation in May.

“Building construction recorded its largest over-the-year gain in nearly 12 years,” Turk said.

There were 5,100 jobs added in the subsector of building construction, a 17.8 percent increase.

In particular, the construction subsector of specialty trades saw job growth up 9.1 percent compared to last May. In the United States, that number is 4.2 percent, reflecting the increased construction activity in Arizona.

Manufacturing has seen a recent upsurge in hiring. Overall, the sector grew 5.5 percent since last year and 1.3 percent since April. That is an increase of 8,900 jobs, the largest gain in 20 years.

Turk said manufacturing of computer and electric parts – “a sector where we, for the past several years, have seen job losses month over month” – has turned around since the final quarter of 2017 to post job growth. Its year-over-year increase was 9.7 percent.

The education and health services sector grew by 14,100 jobs over the year, the biggest increase in the state. Turk said that was primarily driven by additional education hires, possibly due to the state’s new education budget.

In Pinal County, the biggest employers were in the service industries, though that showed a month-to-month loss of 50 jobs. A number of sectors were down slightly in May compared to April, including manufacturing, business and professional services, hospitality trades and trade, transportation and utilities.

Construction jobs increased in Pinal County, as did government jobs and education.

Overall, the county’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.6 percent in April to 4.1 percent in May.