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.

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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.

Maricopa resident Tiffany Yazzie and one of her "eye dazzler" weavings. Photo by Mason Callejas

As the next generation in a legacy woven into the long shadows of Monument Valley, Tiffany Yazzie carefully blends tradition and innovation on her loom.

A weaver of the Navajo tradition, Yazzie makes her own style of rugs that demonstrate why textiles are not just cloth but an art. One of her most popular patterns is the “eye dazzler,” giving the appearance of techno pulsating.

“I really wanted to start with the turquoise and the black and the grays, so I really originally thought I would start with this,” she said, pointing at a piece she displayed for a “Textile Extravaganza” in May, “but I couldn’t help myself with the sun color.”

She calls the piece “Supernova.” She said it took eight months to weave. She was gratified to hear an exhibit visitor tell her it was the most spectacular piece in the room at Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship.

Before the extravaganza with other textile artists, Yazzie had her own show at MCE.

“Her work and her backstory of weaving through family heritage are so interesting,” MCE’s then-office manager Tracy Schmalenbach said.

Yazzie and her husband moved to Maricopa eight years ago for the same reasons as many other residents.

“It was the small-town feel and the jobs were here,” she said. “I didn’t necessarily want to live in the city. When my husband drove out here, I thought, ‘No, don’t take me far away from home.’ But when we got here, the houses were beautiful, and we both fell in love with it. And I thought, ‘OK, if we’re going to stay here and work, this is the place.’”

Now a stay-at-home mom with three daughters, she grew up in the Navajo Nation in a family closely associated with the land along the Arizona/Utah border.

As a child, she watched her mother and both grandmothers weave. She wanted to try, too, but it was not yet her time. Yazzie first had to learn carding and spinning and taking care of the sheep.

“I just wanted to do what my grandmother and my mother did, just getting to the weaving part once everything was done,” she said. “Now I can do that.”

Her paternal grandmother was Susie Yazzie, who demonstrated Navajo weaving techniques for decades in Monument Valley and became an icon of the art. Photographed repeatedly by Arizona Highways and other publications, she died in 2013 in her 90s – as befitting a legend, her birth year was always in dispute.

Tiffany Yazzie still uses her grandmother’s weaving comb. She has family members in Navajo Nation bring her the wool and goat hair yarn she uses in her weaving. She can point out the shine the goat hair brings to the finished piece. As a member of the Maricopa Arts Council, she has had her work exhibited several times in Maricopa.

She said her works are often function as much as art.

“If you look at this size, this is 30-by-59, you can fold this and it’s about the size of a saddle blanket, so it’s just a fancy saddle blanket,” Yazzie said. “With this size, a lot of cowgirls back home like to just cover themselves when they’re out on the range. But a lot of people like to just use it as a wall tapestry because it absorbs ambient noise, so you don’t get a lot of sound bouncing.

“But some people like to throw it over their couch. It’s just more added texture. And I love how tactile it is. I just want to go up and touch it.”

Click on photos to enlarge

This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Bridger Kimball


Bridger Kimball is withdrawing from the legislative race.

The Maricopa resident had been campaigning for the state House of Representatives in District 11. He is a former Maricopa City Councilmember.

Kimball, a Republican, said a group in Saddlebrook challenged the validity of 73 signatures on his petition. The Pinal County Recorder’s Office went through the petitions and tossed about 61 signatures, according to Recorder Virginia Ross.

“I had collected 28 signatures over the minimum, so I ended up 32 short,” Kimball said.

Ross said signatures were invalidated because people signed who were not in the district, were in the wrong party or were not registered to vote. Though he could have challenged, Kimball said it would have required a court appearance and around $7,500 in legal costs.

“So, I decided to drop out,” he said. “I’m filing my withdrawal papers today.”

That leaves incumbent Mark Finchem of Oro Valley, Bret Roberts of Maricopa and Howell Jones of Maricopa on the GOP side and Democrats Hollace Lyon of Tucson, Barry McCain of Casa Grande and Marcela Quiroz of Maricopa in contention for two seats.

The Primary Election is Aug. 28. There will be a Town Hall forum with the candidates Aug. 4 at Maricopa High School’s Performing Arts Center.

A garage wall shows damage from an electrical fire.

A home set to go on the market this week suffered fire damage Monday morning.

According to Fire Marshal Eddie Rodriguez, the home on Patricia Lane in Desert Passage was a new construction. Most of Patricia Lane consists of new homes and homes under construction.

Rodriguez said it was an electrical fire in the garage. Damage was apparently limited to a garage wall.

Earlier in the morning, cleaning ladies had smelled something odd, he said. When a work crew arrived shortly after, they smelled smoke and called 911.

The home was supposed to go on the market Tuesday, now delayed for repairs. There were no reported injuries.



The Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit against the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority Plan (RTA) is in the hands of a judge as of May 21, and a ruling is expected at the end of June or the beginning of July.

Whatever the outcome, RTA officials are moving forward with preparations to put the voter-approved project in motion. The project includes additional lanes on State Route 347. The half-cent sales tax to pay for the RTA went into effect April 1.

Andy Smith, RTA general manager, said the organization has been working with Maricopa and Casa Grande to seek grant opportunities for the east-west corridor. That four-lane, 21-mile project connecting Maricopa with Interstate 10 in Casa Grande was estimated in the election pamphlet to cost $67.2 million. That has now been refigured to $74 million.

The east-west corridor had been marked for Phase I but is now in Phase III (years 2029-33).

The widening of State Route 347 from Maricopa to the Maricopa County line has seen its estimated cost reduced from $28.8 million to $23 million. That work is slated for 2021-22, Phase I of the RTA.

Smith told the Pinal County Board of Supervisors the RTA is working with Maricopa Association of Governments and Gila Riva Indian Community.

“The RTA has pledged $100,000 to $150,000 to help facilitate funding” to help create a design concept report for SR 347 for the entire stretch from Maricopa to Interstate 10 in Maricopa County, he said, adding the City of Maricopa is part of the discussions as well.

He said the Department of Revenue is two months in arrears on its tax collections. The collections that started in April are held in escrow.

District 4 Supervisor Anthony Smith of Maricopa encouraged RTA officials to start moving as they await the ruling on the Goldwater case.

“Get as many things as shovel-ready as possible, especially the priority-one projects,” he said. “Because hopefully there will be a federal transportation bill that will come at some point or there will be grant opportunities.

“If we are prepared and we’ve got the engineering done and we’ve got maybe some of the right-of-way acquisition – and the more steps we have so that we’re truly shovel-ready – the more we’re going to get mileage out of the money that we put into this.”

Andy Smith said the RTA wants a representative of Arizona Department of Transportation on its board to help with more collaboration. Mayor Christian Price is on the board, Maricopa Public Works Director Bill Fay is on the technical Transportation Advisory Committee. Maricopa’s Tena Dugan and Terri Crain are members of the Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee, answering to the Board of Directors. Dugan chairs the committee.

The RTA includes 15 transportation improvement projects around the county.

This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

InMaricopa File Photo

Maricopa Police Department has seen a dramatic drop in property crimes compared to the first quarter of 2017.

Crimes of burglary, theft and vehicle theft fell by about 50 percent. Though MPD is too cautious to call it a trend (second-quarter numbers may still show something different), the department does credit public engagement.

“We partnered with the Vehicle Theft Task Force and a car-watcher program,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said.

In the first quarter of 2017 (January, February and March), there were 15 vehicles reported stolen. This year, over the same time period, eight vehicles were stolen.

Theft, including shoplifting, is Maricopa’s top crime. There were 146 such incidents reported in the first-quarter last year. This year, it was down to 73.

Alvarado said MPD implemented programs and reached out to shopkeepers to explain how they could “change little things to cut down on shoplifting.” Businesses seem to have been receptive, he said.

Residents have also responded to MPD’s requests to call in any suspicious activity, Alvarado said, with MPD making that a little easier with its app.

Whether the first-quarter numbers are a trend or a temporary impact, Alvarado said MPD is glad to see the public engaged in preventing and reporting crimes.

Dunkin' Donuts is planning a grand opening Friday morning. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


Dunkin’ Donuts is planning its grand opening Friday morning.

The store will open at 4 a.m., but the ribbon-cutting with Mayor Christian Price, the city council and Maricopa Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. It will be the first Dunkin’ Donuts in the city.

Owner Alex Apodaca said he’s celebrating his 10th year of owning Dunkin’ stores in the Valley. He’s part of a group of partners that own 39, with 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and seven more in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Friday, from 7 to 10 a.m., there will be a variety of activities, and the weekend will also include a live remote with radio station KESZ. Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank and two other Phoenix-based charities, Changing Lives Center for Women & Children and a teen suicide prevention organization.

There will also be face-painting, mascots and a bike-pinstriping demo.

Rather than selling a franchise at a time, Dunkin’ sells territories, which is how Apodaca and his partners spread so quickly. It came about, he said, when a friend called him a decade ago in California with an idea.

“He said, ‘I think I found a concept to drag you out of San Diego,’” Apodaca said.

At the time, he saw that Dunkin was “coming out West and coming out strong.” It was just before the Great Recession, he said, “and it turned out doughnuts and coffee were the right thing to be in when the recession hit.”

Apodaca said the partnership had been trying for years to come to Maricopa, struggling to find the right real estate. They wanted the property to be on “the morning side of the road” and in an area that was the middle of activity.

The Maricopa store is in the Edison Pointe shopping center on the east side of John Wayne Parkway. Edison Pointe has some stores open and others still under construction. Along with 1,800 square feet of store space it is a drive-thru. Apodaca said 95 percent of his stores have a drive-thru.

He said the store will have baking on site and will also have product brought in from the Valley when necessary volume dictates.

Apodaca said Maricopa is one of those “outlying” cities like Flagstaff that he and his partners enjoy so much. In the culture and in the community, it feels like family.

“They are so receptive to what we’re doing,” he said.

The last item going up for the Dunkin’ Donuts store is usually the first thing – its signage. The store currently has a banner but not its permanent sign. Apodaca said he hopes it is in place by the grand opening.

Other businesses soon to open in the same stand-alone building within the plaza are a nail salon and a Wingstop. The latter received its liquor license this week.


Angelina Martin among her creations in her home workspace. Photo by Mason Callejas


Angelina Martin calls her clothing designs “exotic and eclectic and also eco-friendly.”

“I’m Mexican American, and so I base a lot of Latin American designs and geometric silhouettes in wearable art.” — Angelina Martin

Martin has owned AnymMystik Art & Apparel, a home-based design studio in Maricopa, since 2016, but she has spent a lifetime creating.

“Some of it is ready-to-wear apparel where you can wear it all day and then take it home and wash it,” she said. “And then some of it is paint.”

Her garments are always colorful and often incorporate large bold images like a guitar or a cat’s face. She uses recycled material, cast-offs given to eco-fashion designers by fabric manufacturers. An instructor for eight years at The Art Institute, Mart employs techniques in quilting and layering for constructing garments and may combine that with painted textiles.

“The painting, the quilting, the layers, the various textures kind of sum up my whole wearable art in fashion,” Martin said.

Feedback from fashion shows indicates she should include more painting, and listening to potential customers can impact her direction.

She was one of seven designers participating in the first Arizona Eco Fashion Week in April at the Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (FABRIC) in Tempe. That is the home of the Arizona Apparel Foundation and is built to foster and network local designers.

Its goal is “to be Arizona’s first and most comprehensive resource for independent fashion companies that connects them to each other, to the community and to all of the fashion-related services that they need to operate and grow their business.”

Angelina Martin (center) talks about her bright attire as it is modeled. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Martin raves about FABRIC.

“They manufacture small lots for people,” she said. “People go in there with their ideas and then they literally help you from the beginning doing the technical… from choosing patterns, to cutting it and making it for you.”

Earning her spot in fashion shows has also been a boon.

“I did Phoenix Fashion Week, and then after that opportunities kept coming,” she said. “People kept asking me to do their shows.”

The reasons go beyond the creative.

“I’m always on time and always organized. I have the tag with the model’s name, the order they’re walking in. And then I see the chaos of everyone else. You see the fashion sub-culture. You mix the hair, the models, the designers, the makeup, all those people, all those artists, and you see some craziness. I just stand there and don’t say a word and mind my own business. I think that’s why.”

She has exhibited her work at LabelHorde Fashion Show, Sacramento Fashion Week, Arizona State Fair (three blue ribbons), Costume Society of America and more.

Martin has two master’s degrees. She was working on her Master of Fine Art at University California-Davis when she had her son Collin.

“Everyone thought I was the Mexican nanny,” she said. “I would walk around campus with him, and they’d ask ‘Oh, who are you babysitting for?’ I’d say, ‘That’s my kid. Just because he has blond hair and green eyes, it doesn’t mean I can’t claim him.”

In his own way, her son has become part of the business. Collin and his friends have modeled Angelina’s clothes for her collections. He graduated from Maricopa High School in May.

Photo by Mason Callejas

And Martin’s heritage has informed her decisions as a designer and artist, notably creating a “coral creature” sculpture that was photographed and turned into a print.

“I’m Mexican American, and so I base a lot of Latin American designs and geometric silhouettes in wearable art,” Martin said. “And that’s where I got the coral creature. I was learning about Mayan rubber process and Mayan leather making. It’s reed and wire with fabric wrapped around it and rubberized with a Mayan latex rubberizing process.”

Two years after earning her first master’s degree, Martin became an instructor and director at The Art Institute. She first taught in Austin, Texas, then in Sacramento, California.

She earned a Master of Humanities in art and visual media at Tiffin University in 2015. “And that’s when I focused on digital prints. So, it’s been within the last two years that I’ve really pushed the boundaries and discovered who I wanted to be.”

This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Dunkin Donuts is going conducting employee training in preparation for its June 8 opening date.

The following businesses received business licenses from the City of Maricopa between April 16 and May 15:

Commercial: Dunkin Donuts, Nessy’s Kustoms, Ross Dress for Less, True Hearts II

Home-based: Child Care, Equilass, Fashion and Beauty Guide, Ford’s Home Services, Forever Fiberworks, Four Directions, HealthyNow LLC, Hula Handyman, Hummingbird Lane, J. Walker Signs & Lighting, La Vie Group Home, Maricopa We Care, The Social Baboon, Society’s Air LLC, Specialized Pest Control

Out of town: Bark and Purr Pet Grooming, Bay Alarm Company, Carlos Landscaping, Core Valuation Group, Dame 1 Entertainment, Dutchmaster Electric, Elontec LLC, Garth Vacuum Truck Service, Holbrook Asphalt, Junior’s Landscaping, Newbridge Electrical, Pacific Aquascape International, Pedro Perez, Pop A Korn, Structural Steel, Venture West Construction, Zpotes Food Truck

Nonprofit: Hearts and Hooves of Arizona, Troop 943 Boy Scouts of America

Peddler/Solicitor: Arm Security

This item appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Businesses within the area affected by grade-separation construction apply for temporary sign permits. (City of Maricopa)


Maricopa City Council approved a temporary sign permit on May 10 for businesses impacted by the construction of the overpass in midtown Maricopa.

The permit applies to businesses and nonprofits within 300 feet of the affected roads – John Wayne Parkway between Hathaway Avenue and Desert Cedars, Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway between John Wayne Parkway and the Maricopa Unified School District office, and Honeycutt Road between John Wayne Parkway and the MUSD Transportation office.

The temporary signs include a 32-square-foot banner and a 32-square-foot ground sign. They cannot be placed within 40 feet of another sign and cannot interfere with pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

Applications are available at City Hall. The application packet includes examples of specifications. The application process takes up to five days.

Interim City Manager Trisha Sorensen said the program is similar to the temporary holiday sign program the city offers.

This item appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Apex Motor Club, owned by Private Motorsports Group, wants to open a private track in Maricopa.

A lawsuit against the City of Maricopa over its zoning approval for Apex Motor Club is still slogging through the appeals court. Thursday, the court ruled on a transcript filing that was in dispute.

Until a decision is reached by the Court of Appeals Division 2 in the case of Bonita Burks v. City of Maricopa, Private Motorsports Group will keep its Apex plans idling. PMG spokesperson Mike Scerbo simply said there were no new developments.

“It’s the City’s practice to not elaborate on legal matters,” spokesperson Jennifer Brown said.

However, the new attorney for Burks said his client is awaiting a decision on his request for an oral argument. The timing of that is unknown.

Timothy La Sota, who previously represented the committee Maricopa Citizens Protecting Taxpayers in its failed actions against the City of Maricopa and Apex, took over Burks’ appeal from Grant Woods and Michael Riikola in April. His arguments for Burks are similar to those he made for MCPT, a case which was also first heard by Superior Court Judge Robert Olson.

In September, Olson ruled Burks did not have standing to challenge the issuance of the permit because she could not prove her claim that potential noise, odor and traffic from the motorsports track would cause her injury. Noise studies conducted for PMG indicated nearby trains were louder than sportscars would be.

“We have a situation where a Superior Court judge has found the City’s actions to be unlawful but that Ms. Burks does not have standing to challenge the unlawful actions,” La Sota said. 

That reference is to Olson’s addendum in his ruling against Burks, a non-binding opinion that also suggested the City was wrong to grant the permit. That is the crux of Burks’ appeal, which was filed in November.

Riikola, one of Burks’ previous attorneys who took the case to the Court of Appeals, was granted extensions for filing briefs in April. Soon after, La Sota applied to be substitute counsel in place of Riikola and Woods.

May 5, La Sota requested an oral argument.

Yet to decide on that request, Presiding Judge Gary Vasquez did rule on a debate about the transcript Thursday.

La Sota had filed a copy of the transcript from the September hearing with the appellate court. The City claimed the filing did not abide by the rules, and “absent portions of a record supports the trial court’s ruling,” something Burks’ counsel denied.

Vasquez struck Burks’ transcript filing. It is a small skirmish in a battle that delays any potential development of the property on the northwest corner of State Route 238 and Ralston Road.

La Sota’s earlier effort with MCPT to get the zoning matter on a ballot for a public vote was denied by the Arizona Supreme Court. Meanwhile, in the second suit, Burks’ previous counsel had argued the City had misapplied the zoning code in granting a conditional use permit.

“The City has done everything in its power to squelch our efforts to give the public a voice through a referendum vote on the City’s illegal actions,” La Sota said. “We will keep fighting to vindicate Ms. Burks’ rights as a citizen of Maricopa to have her elected city representatives actually follow the law.”

Gov. Doug Ducey, running for re-election, addresses the Pinal Partnership. Photo by Michelle Chance

Gov. Doug Ducey highlighted a major project in Maricopa during a Friday morning networking event in Casa Grande.

The discussion happened at The Property Conference Center June 1. The event was hosted by Pinal Partnership.

Ducey said he wants to bring “commitment for resources” toward infrastructure projects in the region like Maricopa’s future State Route 347 overpass.

“State Route 347 (overpass) is going to be traveled every morning and every evening,” Ducey said. “It can use some investment.”

The $55 million project was partially funded from the city, the Arizona Department of Transportation and a $15 million TIGER grant. The grade-separation is projected to transport motorists over the Union Pacific Railroad by 2019.

Ducey’s half-hour long speech touted legislative actions at the state level. On the top of the list were tax cuts and 160,000 new private sector jobs in Arizona since 2015, according to the governor.

“The last time unemployment was this low, you were renting your movies at Blockbuster,” Ducey said.

Education spending was also considered a victory.

Ducey approved funding for a 20 percent salary increase for teachers last month. One percent of that figure was dispersed to districts last school year.

“We just finished one of the most significant Legislative sessions in our state’s history. These are teachers that have earned this pay increase and they deserve it because Arizona children are improving faster in math and reading than any other kids in the country,” Ducey said.

Arizona is working to combat its challenges, according to its highest elected official.

Ducey outlined the state’s plan to combat the opioid addiction crisis that has stricken most of the country.

Tackling Arizona’s portion of the nation’s border security is an issue Ducey said requires a careful balance.

While combating human trafficking, drug cartels and illegal immigration at the Mexico border, Ducey said keeping a positive relationship with Arizona’s No. 1 trade partner is also priority.

“I don’t want to see us build a wall around the economy,” he said.

Adrian DeGuzman, playing Angel, rehearses with the company for the production of "Rent."

The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Rent” is coming to Maricopa in June.

What: “Rent”
Who: Maricopa Community Theatre
When: June 6-8, 7 p.m., June 9, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Where: Leading Edge Academy, 18700 N. Porter Road
How much: $10/advance; $15/door

Maricopa Community Theatre will present the rock musical in five performances June 6-9 at Leading Edge Academy. Director Carrie Vargas said it took two months to get royalties for the show. MCT is an AriZoni Theatre.

Vargas calls “Rent” a musical about “expressions of love,” whether love for others or self-love. She also said it will be a “unique interpretation.”

“Rent” was first performed in 1996, set during the AIDS epidemic of the late ‘80s in New York’s East Village. Inspired by Puccini’s “La Bohème,” it features characters trying to get ahead while dealing with poverty, drugs, loss and illness.

Randy Rice, who plays Mark, the narrator and a pivotal character in the ensemble, noted “Rent” was a “shocking and provocative show when it premiered. I don’t think you should go to anything that’s just comfortable.”

Like MCT’s “Sweeney Todd” before it, “Rent” is not kid-friendly and has adult content and language that Vargas describes as PG-13 or stronger. She said Maricopa has grown enough and evolved enough to be prepared for “Rent.”

“I liked how divine this show is,” said Adrian DeGuzman, an ASU student who plays eccentric Angel, a cross-dressing performer dying from AIDS who “brings everyone together.”

Maria Santillan plays Mimi in “Rent.”

Gay, lesbian or straight, many of the characters are artists in one medium or another. Several are HIV-positive but pushing forward, a fact that has continuing implications in the plot.

Jerry Allen, a familiar face for MCT, plays Roger, a songwriter whose girlfriend has died and left him in deep depression.

“I’m more like Roger than I think,” Allen said, adding that is what makes the character such a struggle for him. “The music is what pulled me in.”

The score earned one of the four Tony Awards given to the original Broadway version of the musical.

Brittany Randolph, also a returning MCT player, is Joanne, a lesbian and a confident lawyer with connections.

“I was extremely excited when I heard we were going to do ‘Rent,’” Randolph said. “I loved the story and the fact it is focused on love.”

For those who have only seen the film version, Randolph warns the stage version is different.

“It’s very human,” said Maricopa High School graduate Maria Santillian, who plays the complicated addict Mimi. “And it’s very real. It has a lot of awareness of things that are real.”

Residents confused by a mailing from a water line warranty company bearing the City of Maricopa logo might be throwing them away, but City Hall is encouraging them to participate.

City council unanimously agreed to a partnership with Service Line Warranties of America in a Sept. 5 meeting. The soliciting letters that went out last week from SLWA came unannounced.

“It looks like a scam,” said Jay Robertson, a Rancho El Dorado resident since 2002. “Why is the City involved in this? This is between us and the water company.”

A news release by the City of Maricopa late Tuesday explained an announcement to residents had been planned before the letters went out. “Unfortunately, the email alerting the City to the date of the mailing did not make it through the City’s firewall, so the mailing was sent without prior notification of residents.”

SLWA is asking residents to enroll in its repair coverage program to fix damaged water lines on private property. The program is $5.33 monthly or $63.96 annually. Enrollment is voluntary. The letter, which is nearly identical to a sample letter presented to city council in September, reminds residents that homeowners are responsible for repairs to water lines between their homes and the water utility connection.

This was reiterated in a quote attributed to Mayor Christian Price in Friday’s news release: “Many homeowners do not know that damage to the service lines on their property is their responsibility to repair. In the event of a service line emergency, the homeowner is responsible for scheduling the repair and covering the associated cost. As the City of Maricopa homes age along with the infrastructure serving them, SLWA repair plans provide homeowners with an optional peace of mind solution so they can be better prepared in the event of these unexpected repairs.”

The agreement with the city allows SLWA to conduct up to three campaigns per year comprised of up to six mailings to make homeowners aware of the service. The company also has the right to use the city logo on letterhead, bills and marketing materials.

The city receives 50 cents “per product” as a license fee.

The program is endorsed by the Arizona League of Cities and Towns and used by the City of Phoenix.

Robertson still wasn’t sold on the idea of paying a third party for repairs for which he normally pays a plumber. “It’s like pouring sand down a gopher hole,” he said.

The program is meant to cover residences served by a utility and those on wells and septic tanks.

Not all who receive the notifications from SLWA are homeowners. The company uses a mailing list drawn from zip codes with the four-digit extension and they also purchase a list based on deeds, Ashley Shiwarski of Utility Service Partners, which runs the marketing, told the council in earlier discussions.

The news release also included comments from John Kitzie, CEO of SLWA parent HomeServe USA: “Our service plans not only cover the cost of the repair; they also provide homeowners with reputable, local contractors who will do the best possible job.”

The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Though 17 of the 21 reviews there were negative, BBB takes into consideration a company’s longevity, response to complaints relative to the size of the business and transparency, among other factors, when deciding a rating.

According to the city, a second letter from SWLA is scheduled to be mailed on June 4.

Wildman Phil starts out the many summer activities at Maricopa Public Library. Submitted

With summer vacation in full swing and temperatures heating up, most Maricopa activities move inside or in the pool. Below, Wildman Phil invites kids to his show as part of the Maricopa Public Library’s Summer Reading season. Learn more about these events and more, or add your own, at


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.

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

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


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

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

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

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

MUSD Governing Board meets 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.

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

Wildman Phil introduces wildlife at 3 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Maricopa Healing Rooms are at 6:30 p.m. at 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.

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

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


Movie in the Pool starts at 7 p.m. at Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.


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

The Pinal County Forensic Examination Office is in the process of being created.


As Maricopa prepares to open its family advocacy center, Pinal County is starting its own Forensic Examination Office.

Because, County Attorney Kent Volkmer said, “We have a problem.”

Pinal County victims of sexual abuse often must travel an hour one way for appropriate forensic examinations. The ongoing agreements the county has with two providers – Phoenix Children’s Hospital and HonorHealth – are not meeting needs, according to the county attorney.

“Right now, if a child, a woman, a man – it doesn’t matter – is sexually assaulted, they are not receiving the sexual assault examination in our county,” Volkmer said.

When victims have to travel a long distance and then sit and wait for up to two hours for a forensic exam because they are lower in priority than Maricopa County residents, Volkmer said, it only adds to the trauma.

“It’s the worst time in this person’s life,” he said. “It is incredibly invasive, incredibly personal, an incredibly awful experience. The reality is they’re doing an examination for sexual assault.”

Anecdotal statements from detectives described victims often not going for the exam because they could not leave their children alone for that amount of time in what was already a stressful situation.

“We have a limited timeframe, not only for the collection of evidence, but we also have a limited timeframe for them to go forward and move with it,” Volkmer said of prosecution. “Otherwise, as a defense attorney, what they will say is, ‘Well, if it was really a rape, you would have [gone] there. Why did you wait a day; why did you wait two days? Why did you wait until it was convenient?’”

May 9, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors approved the creation of the Forensic Examination Office and the position of a full-time forensic nurse. The approval moved $165,000 from the County Attorney’s Office to the FEO with another $75,000 from the General Fund allocated to the new department.

Supervisor Steve Miller said it was the most “optimal option” as they looked at increasing costs from Phoenix Children’s and HonorHealth.

“We know the costs are going to go up because they’ve continued to,” he said.

The City of Maricopa agreed a year ago to facilitate a family advocacy center because of the lack of local services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl said at the time the wait for forensic exams could interfere with prosecution. Yet, the family advocacy center is approached as a regional county issue.

As proposed, the FEO would not have a brick-and-mortar home but be a service provided to the two existing family advocacy centers and a new center coming online in Maricopa. A medical director would be hired to work eight hours a week, and the forensic nurse would work 40 hours a week.

Kent Volkmer

The FEO will be responsible for medical forensic exams, court testimony, training and education, and program development. The five-year plan is to build to 24/7 coverage.

“The idea is that these services will be provided in our family advocacy centers,” Volkmer told the supervisors. “Instead of driving to Scottsdale or downtown Phoenix, they’d be driving to Eloy or San Tan Valley or Maricopa.”

He said it would make it easier on victims, families and law enforcement.

Under its current contract, Phoenix Children’s Hospital has staff come to Eloy and San Tan Valley once a week and perform up to three examinations. The day and time are determined by Phoenix Children’s. Three years ago, Phoenix Children’s came down five times a week.

“The problem is they’ve cut it down to one day a week, and they’ve charged us more than they did when they were five days a week,” Volkmer said.

By state law, counties are obligated to pay for forensic expenses in cases of crimes against children and sexual assault. Though victims are usually treated in Maricopa County, Pinal County pays for those exams because that is where the crime occurred.

If the new Maricopa Family Advocacy Center were to enter into a forensic contract with an outside source like Banner or Dignity Health, for instance, Pinal County would still have to pay for the exams.

“We actually met with the team there at Maricopa and said, ‘Look, if we get this up and running, would you be willing to give us first option to provide these services?’ And they’re very supportive of it,” Volkmer said.

By the County Attorney’s Office numbers, the county contracts currently cost $302,000 annually before Maricopa comes online. To meet the real demand, including five days a week coverage, would cost an estimated $644,560. The county believes the proposal for the FEO will cost $297,377.

Forensic exams cost a minimum of $875 in the Phoenix hospitals, according to PCAO.

Mock City Council and other students celebrate Student Day. Submitted photo

The mayor was 12 years old. The director of the Economic Development Department was just 11.

And if they had the power, Maricopa would have a welcome sign on the north end of town.

The Mock City Council meeting Saturday saw Maricopa teens and preteens going through the actions of a real city government. Coming from eight schools, the students filled the seats of council, department directors, project designers, city attorney, city manager and city clerk.

The event was part of the Councilmember on the Corner series produced by Councilmember Henry Wade. He said it was a five-week process, with student holding an election to decide the councilmembers.

Wade said the exercise was meant “to bring the young folks into the fold and to understand what happens behind the scenes here with their government. We’re hopeful that this will encourage them to get actively engaged, actively involved as they grow older.”

The discussion of the mock meeting was a proposal for a monument sign to welcome visitors to town. After a brief work session with a presentation on the proposal by the pseudo economic development director and public works director, there was a “regular” in which actual community members spoke for and against the project.

Council and the city attorney, too, grilled the department heads about cost ($100,000-$250,000), location and energy source for an LED aspect to a monument sign. Ultimately, Mayor Deanna Lemorin of Legacy Traditional and her six-member council unanimously approved the project.

Lemorin also read a proclamation declaring May 19 Student Day in Maricopa. Speaking to the mock council, real Vice Mayor Peg Chapados said she would like to bring the monument sign proposal to the real council in the future.

Submitted photo

“I like Maricopa because it’s very small and tight-knit and because of that we can do things like this,” said 15-year-old Kadin Pulliam of Desert Vista High School who served as a councilmember.

Judge Lyle Riggs, the real city magistrate and justice of the peace, also invited the students to participate in Teen Court, which tries real cases.

Wade praised the dedication of the students who were part of the Mock City Council meeting. “They’ve got the ball and they’re ready to run with it when it comes time to do so.”


Submitted photo

Jacob Booth (from left), Sofia Carlson, Zechariah Suiter and Isabella Moreno in "The Wizard of Oz" at Leading Edge. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Leading Edge Academy Maricopa presented the musical “The Wizard of Oz” to a full house Friday. Drama and choir students with live accompaniment from Joy Blair and Joyce Euren told the story of Dorothy’s unexpected journey to the Emerald City. The production starred Sofia Carlson ans Dorothy, Zechariah Suiter as Scarecrow, Isabella Moreno as Tin Girl, Jacob Booth as Cowardly Lion, Temple Jeffries as the Wicked Witch of the West, Lorena Castro as the good witch and Anne Monson as the Wizard.

Southern view in Maricopa. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The weekend will see plenty of sun and moderately warm temperatures in Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service.

Today, temperatures will peak at around 97 degrees F. The day is expecte to be breezy, with winds of 10-15 mph gusted up to 25 mph. Tonight, the low will be around 63 as the winds ease.

Friday, expect sunny skies and high near 94 with light breezes. The overnight low will be around 63 and skies remain clear.

Saturday, the forecast sees a high near 96 and sunny skies. The low will be around 64.

Sunday, the high will be near 98 during a sunny day and the low will be around 65 on a clear night.

That leads into a week that will look similar, with an increase in winds into Monday.

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Now through June 14, nominate your father by visiting and posting a video and/or his photo on the contest post with a brief explanation of why he is the best. Readers will then vote for their favorites. The dad with the most “likes” will win.

The top three receive prize packages from Maricopa Ace Hardware, which is in its eighth year of sponsoring Best Dad in Maricopa.

First prize – A Traeger grill, grill cover, 3-piece grill tool set, hickory and mesquite pellets
Second prize – A Yeti Roadie
Third prize – A 30-ounce Yeti Tumbler and a 20-ounce Yeti Tumbler

Nominations must be no longer than 100 words or 60 seconds if video. Dads must be residents of Maricopa.

Winners will be notified on June 15 and will be announced on on Father’s Day, June 18.

Amy Berry, with her children Cameron, Caden and Chloe, is 2018’s Best Mom in Maricopa. Photo by Mason Callejas


Single mother of three Amy Berry has a lot of love out there. Nominated by six people, she is the 2018 Best Mom in Maricopa.

InMaricopa’s Facebook readers “liked” the nomination of the mother they thought most deserving of the award, and Berry came out ahead among nearly 30 nominees.

“I’m excited, but I couldn’t do what I do without the village to help me,” Berry said.

Originally from Seattle, Berry moved to Maricopa in 2007. She and her children, Cameron, 12, Caden, 10, and Chloe, 5, live in The Villages.

When’s she’s not working full-time for Wells Fargo from home, she’s leading Girl Scouts or running her children to their activities. Her two sons are both involved in football, one also plays baseball, and her daughter takes dance classes.

“Amy has an amazing, big, loving heart,” Peggy Hill’s Facebook nomination stated. “Health hasn’t been on her side; she still brings up the strength to do all. Amy is, for me, the best mom ever.”

Amy Berry tries out new sunglasses from Maricopa Eye Care, one of the prizes she won as Best Mom in Maricopa. Photo by Mason Callejas

Carol Fagerlie said Berry “amazingly juggles children, their activities, her work, family and friends. She’s a hard worker and has a good heart.”

Alicia Hills said Berry is a “huge advocate” for the city, the schools and the businesses.

“I think Maricopa is a perfect place to raise kids,” Berry said. “I know their teachers and their principal. Someone will call me to tell me my kid jumped in the lake at Pacana Park. Well, that’s nice to know.”

Also nominating Berry, Allen Jorgensen called her an “incredibly brave, tough, tireless and loving mom.”

Berry received $200 in gift cards from local merchants, sunglasses from Maricopa Eye Care, a family sitting with Victor Moreno Photography and a bouquet from Fry’s.

In second place, Kylie Williams received $100 in gift cards and a Fry’s bouquet. Finishing third, Jessica Reynolds aka Jessie Lowman earned $50 in gift cards.

With Father’s Day approaching, check for a chance to nominate and vote for the Best Dad in Maricopa.

MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The fourth annual Music-a-Thon at Maricopa Unified School District filled the Performing Arts Center with music for seven hours Saturday. Bands and choirs from Maricopa High School, Desert Wind Middle School and Maricopa Wells Middle School performed from 1 to 8 p.m., directed by Ivan Pour, Tonya Hobt and Roger Wagner, along with guest conductor Mayor Christian Price. The MHS Marching Band has been invited to perform in the American Veterans Center’s National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., May 27, 2019. For the following year, the music department will attempt to raise $165,000, especially through the education tax credit program.

Seniors perform the show-ending "A Little More Homework" for Miscast Cabaret. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa High School Theatre Company’s second annual Miscast Cabaret last week was a fund-raiser to send qualifying performers to the International Thespian Festival in June. Those who qualified earlier this year to go to Nebraska with highest marks for their pieces in competition were Taryn Story, singing the solo “Hold On,” Britney Montgomery, singing the solo “No One Else,” Antonio Gonzales and Collin Martin, duo acting in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and Ivie Keene, Aidyn Curtis, Kjirsten Lemon, Taryn Story, Rachel Knight, Chaienne Zoller and Britney Montgomery, singing the group musical “Big Spender.” The girls performed the number for the Cabaret, but the boys sang and danced their own version, as well.

Incoming MUSD Superintendent Tracey Lopeman (right) shares a laugh with Board President AnnaMarie Knorr before Wednesday's meeting. It was Lopeman's first time on the dais. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


By law, 180 days of instruction are required in the Maricopa Unified School District.

After a staff walkout, the district worked to accommodate six days out of school without extending the school year. Wednesday, the governing board approved the temporary suspension of the state-mandated policy.

Instead, it adopted a plan that would fit the equivalent minutes of instruction into 174 days, as allowed by law.

Board member Patti Coutré asked Human Resources Director Tom Beckett whether there was a plan to change the policy outright, apparently to allow the district to use equivalent minutes in the future without having to suspend policy.

“We are planning, on the May 30 agenda, to bring back a policy revision on this so that we don’t once again run into this situation,” Beckett said.

Beckett’s note to the board indicated the district will have “an equivalent number of minutes of instruction to equal 180 days of instruction without including the minutes/hours lost” during the closure.

The MUSD schools were closed as several faculty members participated in #RedForEd demonstrations at the capitol seeking an improved state education budget.

The board also voted to adjust the current school calendar to show the lost instructional days from April 26 through May 3. They also adopted the revised work schedule for certified and classified employees, “to ensure that classified employees are available to provide support services for the remainder of the school year and/or to provide classified employees the opportunity to make up lost work time due to school closures.”

As originally scheduled, the last day of classes for MUSD schools in May 25. High school graduation is May 24.

It’s been a tough week for internet users in Maricopa.

For the second time in less than a week, internet service has been interrupted by construction.

According to the City of Maricopa Facebook page May 7, “a contractor in Casa Grande hit a communication line impacting Orbitel and Centurly Link service in the City of Maricopa.”

The post said the companies are working to fix the problem.

Internet access was a problem last week, too.

May 3, construction near the overpass at State Route 347 and the Union Pacific Rail Road crossing cut a communication line for both Century Link and Orbitel.

Crews working to restore service last week restricted lanes on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, but no road closures were reported.

Longman Pyne (right) hands off to Jacob Cowing in the 4x100-meter relay Saturday at Mesa Community College. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

A decisive victory in what is arguably track’s most exciting event capped off an impressive showing for Maricopa High School in the Arizona Track & Field Championships.

The boys’ 4×100-meter relay team fulfilled its own expectations of itself with both the gold and a school record. The squad of Longman Pyne, Jacob Cowing, P.J. Austin and Frank Jones won the Division II competition in 41.51, which bested all teams in all divisions Saturday.

Click here to learn more about this team

“We ran the fastest overall time in the state, beating even the D1 teams. It’s just an amazing feeling,” Jones said.

The win earned hugs from head coach Sheldon Hutchinson, who noted it was his first state champion relay team.

Their previous fastest time had been 43.35. Cowing is the only junior among seniors on the team. The same team combination placed third last year.

Austin was coming off a second-place performance in the long jump, leaping 23-2. He later finished seventh in the 200-meter dash in 22.19.

Meanwhile, junior Logan Taylor is already looking forward to next year after solid runs in his two hurdling events. Taylor earned a place on the medal stand in the 110-meter high hurdles by finishing fourth in 14.83. He then set a school record in the 300-meter hurdles by hitting 39.66 while finishing fifth.

“I didn’t place, but that wasn’t the goal going into it,” Taylor said. “It was to PR [set a personal record], and to get the school record. I succeeded in what I went into the race to do.”

Senior Devin Parady placed ninth in the triple jump in 42-6.75 and was 17th in the javelin throw in 132-3. Junior Tylen Coleman was 12th in the discus throw in 142-8 and in the shot put in 45-5. He was 19th in javelin with 124-5.

Maricopa girls had a tougher go. Only junior Shannon Coutré made it to Saturday’s finals, setting another school record in the 400 in the process. But in the final, she was one of two girls injured and was unable to finish.



The following businesses received businesses licenses from the City of Maricopa between May 16 and April 15.

Commercial: Creative Blessings, Dollar Tree, Winkley Law Firm

Home-based: Active & Pain Free, Bradley Goering Maintenance, Comfort Care Assisted Living Home, Erin Neidigh, LLC., Fernando Matus Janitorial Service, Fortified Collection, Gorilla Joe’s Pest Control, Jewelry by Jenn, KRM Enterprises, La Bella Casa, M&T Services, Marick Home Care, Maricopa Handyman, Salud Cocktail Club, Santa Cruz Creative, Violet’s Garden Assisted Living Home

Out of town: Acton Contracting, B&J Glass and Store Front, Biscuit Freaks, CLW Construction, Cordova Contracting & Development, Data Specialties, Diego’s Loco Dogs & Catering, Entrepreneurial Communities, Firehouse Concessions, Ironwood Cabinets, Khalymba Retail, Midway Chevrolet, Millie’s Catering, Murrieta Landscaping, Patrick Riley Cooling, Heating and Plumbing, Quality Awnings and Patios, Scape Tech, Sistahstoo, Southwest Blinds & Shutters, Stage Right Entertainment, Sun Pumps Inc., Sunharvest Solar, Technology Services, Vape Scottsdale, Window Coverings, Zayne’s Grill

This item appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Empty tank in the wastewater expansion project during a tour at Global Water. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Global Water Resources showed off its not-yet-commissioned wastewater expansion project April 2, and it became an opportunity to update customers on how Maricopa’s primary water utility is trying to adapt to the city’s growth.

“The evidence is in the data, so for last year we did 4.4 percent meter connection count growth, which is the most we saw in any year since before the great recession, [since 2007]. The permit data suggests it’s actually going to accelerate. Last year, the City of Maricopa had the highest year-over-year permit growth rate of any submarket in metro Phoenix. They did about 60 percent more permits than they did in 2016, and in 2016 they did 60-70 percent better than they did in 2015. Obviously, permits are the leading indicator to new homes being built and our meters going in the ground.” – Ron Fleming, Global Water president

Global Water Maricopa Data:

  • 19,000 metered locations
  • 250 miles of water pipeline
  • 208 miles of gravity sewer pipeline
  • 2,000+ fire hydrants

The caveat is no water supply, especially in Arizona, is an unending resource. While Global Water says its tactics are saving money and conserving water, and a large portion of its relatively high base water rates are attributed to wastewater costs, fresh water has no guarantee in the distant future.

“It’s necessary to get as much from the local resources as possible, to stretch them as much as you can, before you have to go out and bring in other water supplies. Ultimately, that day will come, just like it will for anybody anywhere. It’s a mathematical equation about how much water exists and how much population or growth that water then meet the needs of. We have to think of ways we can supplement the aquifer. Because of the way we’re managing the aquifer here, doing the recyclable program and conservation program, we just have that inflection point a lot farther in the distance than a lot of communities are looking at.” – Fleming

The wastewater reclamation facility is expected to be commissioned at the beginning of May.

Water distribution center in Rancho Mirage. Photo by Mason Callejas

The growth in western Maricopa, mostly along John Wayne Parkway, has put a lot of sewage pressure on the sanitary lift station at Rancho El Dorado. The company built a new, modular lift station to divert half of that wastewater to a gravity trunk line at Smith-Enke and Porter roads, from which it is conveyed to the plant.

“The iFAS system is a different biological process than we’ve seen here, continuous nonstop flow, less equipment, less overall operations and equipment. It will allow us in the future to build smaller, incremental expansions here. At the facility there is no odor. If in the event that we have that situation, we get a major upset, we have significant odor-control systems that are in place. That was all required and permitted through ADEQ.” – Jason Thuneman, vice president of project management

Global Water Maricopa Data:

  • Rancho El Dorado lift station at 90 percent capacity
  • 50 percent of flows from RED lift station diverted to new facility
  • 5 year process to create expansion facility

As part of its three-year, $33 million project, Global Water also invested in a new well in Rancho Mirage. The well is intended to provide additional water into the system, especially when a major line break occurs, to lessen the impact of water fluctuations.

“Based on its location, it will provide a lot of benefits to the overall system. We haven’t been able to wholly commission and operate continuously that facility in the past, and that’s because there wasn’t enough groundwater supply coming into those tanks … to have it active all of the time. With this new well we’ll be able to do that, which significantly extends the water capacity for the overall city.” – Fleming

Global Water Maricopa Data:

  • New well is meant to provide 2,000 additional gallons per minute of “fresh” water, increasing raw water production 20 percent
  • In the past 24 months, Global Water has had three “major” line failures
  • 100 percent of fresh water in Global Water’s system is groundwater

Reclamation and recycling is a large part of the process, as any Maricopa resident can attest. Local lakes and water features are fed with nonpotable, reclaimed water. The system filters solids from the wastewater, resulting in biosolvents that are dried and, via an ADEQ permit, are sent to a local farmer, who uses it as fertilizer.

“All the waste that’s conveyed to the centralized reclamation facility we try to reuse … The only waste product is a single, 20-yard bin where solids are screened out at the beginning of the process.” – Fleming

Global Water Maricopa Data:

  • Goal is re-use 80 percent of Maricopa wastewater to reduce the demand on potable water
  • Purple pipe (reclaimed water) reduced the demand on the aquifer by about 30 percent.

This story appears in May issue of InMaricopa.