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Staff Reports

Staff Reports
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A series of three tours at the Maricopa Agricultural Center begins today.

The “Desert Ag-Ventures,” aimed at winter visitors and all senior adults, are Feb. 17, 19 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Known as the MAC, the 2,100-acre research farm is at 37860 W. Smith-Enke Road.

The tours are an opportunity to find out how things grow at the center, which is an education center for the University of Arizona.

There will be presentations, information on desert agriculture, a tour of the farm on trailers pulled by tractors, a hot lunch, door prizes and more.

The event is first come, first served. Cost is $20, and reservations are required.

Contact Victor Jimenez at 520-374-6204 or vjimenez@ag.arizona.edu or Cody Jackson at codyj@cals.arizona.edu.

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Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents conducted an operation in the Hidden Valley area concentrating on combating the flow of drugs through Pinal County.

The operation resulted in 22 arrests and seizure of 347 pounds of marijuana.

PCSO deputies attempted to stop a vehicle traveling east on State Route 238 entering Maricopa on Jan. 23. The vehicle failed to yield and led deputies on a short, high-speed pursuit before being stopped. Four people were arrested, and deputies seized approximately 147 pounds of marijuana.

On Jan. 26, deputies conducted three, mid-day traffic stops in the Maricopa area, resulting in the apprehension of 20 suspects within one hour. Inside two of the vehicles, deputies located bulk marijuana totaling approximately 57 pounds. Twelve occupants from the two vehicles, which alleged carried marijuana, were booked into the Pinal County Sheriff’s Jail. The third vehicle’s occupants were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents.

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While the City of Maricopa continues to search for a new economic development director, they have found a temporary leader for the department.

Harold Stewart, who calls himself semi-retired, came on board in January. Previous director Micah Miranda left for a position in Chandler in December.

Stewart was the executive director of economic vitality for the City of Scottsdale. Before that he was the economic development manager for the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. He has been working as an economic consultant since 2011.

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Community Action Human Resources Agency (CAHRA) has funding to assist eligible low-income homeowners in Pinal County with weatherization, according to Executive Director Mary Lou Rosales.

Under the Weatherization program in Pinal County, improvements are made by CAHRA to help reduce energy consumption and energy costs, Rosales said. A thorough assessment of the eligible home is performed including diagnostic and blower door testing to determine where the house is losing energy and what can be done to stop the loss. The auditor will also assess health and safety issues that might exist in the home. A test to determine carbon monoxide leakage is also done.

Minor repairs are made to make the home safer, more sound and secure. Families are counseled as to changes in their energy use habits, which will complement the work done on the homes, and help promote the conservation of energy, she explained. After making the efficiency upgrades, the home could save from 5 to 30 percent on the family’s energy bill.

Based on the home assessment, weatherization repairs may include repair or replacement of old cooling and heating systems, repair or replacement of leaky ductwork, replacement of old or inefficient refrigerators and the addition of sunscreens to sun struck windows. Staff may also be able to assist homeowners with the repair or replacement of inefficient or non operable appliances and water heaters.

Homes needing larger repairs such as roofing, ceilings, floors, window or door replacement, plumbing, electrical or major rehabilitation may not be eligible for the program.

Funding is provided by the Department of Energy and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program through the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy. Utility companies, Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project and Southwest Gas Corporation also provide funding for the program. Funding for minor home repairs and appliances is provided by Utility, Repair, Replacement and Deposit funds through Arizona Community Action Agency. CAHRA does not have funding for emergency home repairs or rehabilitation.

Eligibility includes: 1) household must be low income, 2) the home must be owned by the applicant or be in process of purchasing, 3) applicant must have lived in the home for least 12 months. An application must be completed and verification of income, home ownership and other documents must be provided.

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The Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship will host the minority women's networking group Empower for a workshop on social media and marketing.

The event is Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. with appetizers, wine and networking.

Designed for minority women in business, “Empower” will help women in Maricopa make connections with others who share similar backgrounds, as well as provide valuable business training.

Business consultant Kimetta Coleman of Vision from the Inside Consulting will speak on the importance and strategic methods of social media marketing and how to create a strong social media presence.

Coleman is the principal consultant for the strategic development firm, where her focus is technology development and training for small businesses to utilize to help empower and enrich the business model(s) on all levels. She is the assistant board chair for Extreme Change Youth Development Organization, the vice-president of Global Youth Delegation for Peace & Tolerance, and a grants committee reviewer for the City of Phoenix Arts & Cultural Committee. She is the recipient of several awards from organizations such as the Human Rights Commission and The Office of Veteran Affairs.

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. Empower is designed to help women and minorities build on their skills and turn them into a business that will generate income for themselves and their family,” said Carol Mack, facilitator for Empower and president of Precious Hands Healthcare, a Maricopa based, woman minority business.

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Don and Esta Ray Pearce of Maricopa celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Jan. 8.

The couple married in Florence, Arizona, at the Pinal County Courthouse. After residing and farming in the Green Reservoir/Eloy area, they moved to Maricopa in 1959 and bought the NAPA store on the corner, where they worked until retirement.

The Pearces have five daughters, Gwyn of Chandler, Linda and Tammi of Gilbert, Lana of Maricopa, and Donna of Casa Grande. They have seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and one great-great granddaughter.

A reception for them in Casa Grande was attended by 135 close friends and family.

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One hundred percent of the Maricopa businesses inspected by Pinal County Public Health Services in January received “Excellent” marks.

That means no violations were found.

Businesses were inspected on Jan. 5, 6, 20 and 26.

Excellent:
Brooklyn Boys Italian Restaurant & Pizza
Maricopa Head Start
Maricopa High School
Walmart Deli
Walmart
Penascos Mexican Restaurant
Walmart McDonald’s
Papa John’s Pizza

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The Super Bowl party at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center will include a full package of entertainment and visits from former NFL players.

The Ak-Chin Indian Community has partnered with Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee to present the “Super-Sized Party.”

There is a pre-game brunch for fans before watching the big game on the amphitheater’s Jumbotron. Most events get started at 2 p.m. At Ten Pins Down, there will be Super Bowl-ing.

From 3 to 4 p.m. in the Luxe Lounge, meet football players Derek Kennard, Devon Kennard and Patrick Hunter. From 3:30 to 4:30 get autographs from Marcus Bell, L.J. Shelton and Anthony Clement.

At the center’s new fire pits, guests can make s’mores. Guests can also find some game day swag and a chance for a game-day package from Aaron’s Rent -to-Own of Maricopa.

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On Jan. 21, The Caesars Foundation, coordinated through the staff at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, presented an $8,000 check to American Cancer Society for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino’s month-long initiative to raise awareness of preventative health and treatment of breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In addition, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino donated $3,100 to the American Cancer Society from donations from Harrah’s employees activities and donations.  

“Caesars Entertainment, and locally at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, has a long-standing passion for community outreach and volunteerism,” said Jane Stimmel, employee engagement manager and HERO chair.  “We were excited to participate in this program through Caesars Foundation and coordinate the Foundation’s donation to the American Cancer Society.”

For more information about Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, visit www.harrahsakchin.com.

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A person walking across John Wayne Parkway was struck by a vehicle Friday night.

According to the Maricopa Police Department, the pedestrian was crossing the roadway from Honeycutt Avenue at around 8:16 p.m. A vehicle turning north from Honeycutt collided with the person.

The pedestrian was transported to Chandler Regional Hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.

Traffic was redirected for approximately 30 minutes. No citations have been issued as the investigation continues. No names were released.
 

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George Richard Horner III, the sex offender accused of kidnapping a 6-year-old girl from her Rancho El Dorado home yesterday morning (see related story), was arrested by Pinal County Sheriff's deputies this morning at approximately 8 a.m.

"It was a long, long, long night," Sheriff Chris Vasquez said about the hours preceding the arrest.

According to Vasquez, law enforcement officers made telephone contact with the suspect yesterday afternoon after receiving the suspect's cell phone number from the victim's mother. Vasquez said Detective Jim Rimmer was able to establish rapport and trust with Horner through periodic phone and text messages throughout the day.

The suspect failed to show up at a scheduled 1 a.m. rendezvous, however, and broke off communication around 2:15 a.m.

Horner text messaged the detective again around 6:30 a.m. and agreed to meet at the Coolidge Municipal Airport at 8 a.m. Vasquez said the suspect was aware of the severity of the issue and was nervous about being harmed by law enforcement when he turned himself in. Rimmer met Horner and, with an armed deputy hidden in Rimmer's vehicle and deputies in two trailing vehicles, arrested Horner without incident.

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The Pinal County Public Health Services District identified four cases of measles in one family Thursday.  

The Kearny family traveled to Disneyland in December. They are believed to be linked to the ongoing multi-state outbreak associated with the park. All four family members affected were unvaccinated.

The Pinal County Health Services District is in the process of identifying anyone who may have been exposed and is working with the Arizona Department of Health Services and other organizations to notify those at risk.
 
Measles begins with fever (101-plus degrees F), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose. This is followed by a maculopapular (red, raised and blotchy) rash. The rash begins on the head at the hairline and moves down the body to the lower extremities. The rash may last five to six days and turns brownish. Symptoms typically appear seven to 12 days after exposure to measles but may take up to 21 days.

A person with measles is considered to be contagious four days before rash onset (generally one day prior to fever) through the fourth day after rash onset.
 
"This is a case where a family that has decided to not vaccinate their children are experiencing the consequences of that decision in a very real way," said Public Health Director Tom Schryer. "These cases of measles will trigger a very intensive effort on the part of public health throughout the state and nation to identify others that they had contact with who are also unvaccinated so we can stop the transmission of this serious disease."
 
Two doses of MMR vaccine provide full protection against measles. Those that have not been vaccinated or have just received one dose of MMR should obtain vaccination immediately. For those that are unsure if they have previously received MMR vaccination, they should obtain at least one dose of MMR vaccine.  
 

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It is the time of year when drug-smuggling gets active in Pinal County corridors from the Mexican border to Phoenix. The West Desert Task Force of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is on the lookout for scouts.

PCSO spokesman Jim Knupp said the smuggling activity declines around the holidays, but that does not last long.

“Members of law enforcement have already become aware of hilltop scouts returning to the hills on the Tohono O’odham Nation,” he said.

That is a target area for the task force, which particularly seeks out hilltop scouts who watch for law officers while smugglers make their way through the desert below.

Last year in three sting operations, the task force arrested 19 people. Most were charged with conspiracy in possession of marijuana for sale and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. The stings were carried out in March, September and October.

“By crippling the cartels’ ability to move drugs without fear of law enforcement involvement, they are being forced to use different passage to cross the border,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said.

In the past two years, the task force has seized 101 tons of marijuana, made 1,677 apprehensions, seized or recovered 514 vehicles and seized or recovered 67 firearms.

The WDTF is a joint initiative between U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the Pinal County Sheriff's Office to combat narcotics trafficking in the West Desert region of Arizona. The task force is supported by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and works in association with the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats and its participating agencies.

PCSO West Desert Task Force arrests
(Two additional defendants have cases outstanding and were both set for trial this month.)
Jose G. Aispuro-Angulo, 34 of Mexico, 2.5 years in DOC
Jose Isabel Aispuro-Angulo, 29 of Mexico, 2.5 years in DOC
Jose Javier Aispuro-Rodriguez, 23 of Mexico, 2.5 years in DOC
Jesus Aragon-Mancinas, 24 of Mexico, 2.5 years in DOC
Gaudencio Astorga-Soto, 20, 2.5 years in DOC
Jose Coronel-Pena, 30, 2.5 years in DOC
Jesus De La Rocha-De La Rocha, 26 of Mexico, set for trial in February
Jose Angel Felix-Ramirez, 25 of Mexico, Bench Warrant
Jose Gambino-Ruiz, 26 of Mexico, 2.5 years in DOC

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Sand artist Joe Castillo, a storyteller and finalist from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” will present SandStory tonight at Central Arizona College in Maricopa.

SandStory consists of art images created by Castillo as he draws in sand with his Hands-on light table. This captivating performance is scored and choreographed to live or recorded music with a video projected on a screen for large audiences.

Castillo  has been seen live in all seven continents, over 43 countries, and in 35 different languages.  He has done event for world leaders including President Carter, President Bush, President Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Juan Manuel Santos and King Abdullah.

Tonight’s show starts at 7 p.m. in Building A, Room 101, at CAC, 17945 N. Regent Drive. Cost is $5 for general admission, free for students.

Get tickets at Events@centralaz.edu or call (520) 494-5223 for more information.

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Before he was shot and killed by Maricopa Police Officers, Johnathan Guillory pointed a handgun at them, according to an MPD spokesman.

Ricardo Alvarado said Officer Joshua Hawksworth and Sgt. Leonard Perez feared for their safety and the safety of the community and “fired on Mr. Guillory as trained to do.”

The deadly confrontation occurred around 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Cobblestone Farms.

It was reported early that only the officers fired their weapons, and Alvarado said he has no information of anyone else firing shots.

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Ann Marie Antone and Gabriel Lopez were elected to the Ak-Chin Indian Community Tribal Council in a Jan. 10 election.

They came out of ahead of Terry Enos in a three-person race.

Lopez is well acquainted with the council, having already served three terms during the time of construction of the UltraStar Multi-Tainment Center. He said he believes in making education a priority. He has been a member of the Community Charter School Committee. He also said it is important to keep the native language alive because it is “vital in keeping our culture and traditions.”

He is proud of the path the community is on with the expansion of economic development projects and the “bright and prosperous future” it will bring to community members.

Antone will be serving her first term on the council. She has held several jobs in the community, including positions with the Recreation and Education departments and at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino. She is a middle school advisor for community students at Desert Wind and Maricopa Wells middle schools and a volleyball coach and is working on a business degree at Central Arizona College .

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Johnathon Guillory, 32, of Maricopa was the man shot and killed in an altercation with Maricopa police officers on Sunday, according to the Department of Public Safety.

The Maricopa Police Department received multiple 911 calls starting at 2:20 p.m. from Guillory’s residence in Cobblestone Farms. According to DPS spokesman Bart Graves, officers were already familiar with Guillory from previous contacts.

The first officers on the scene found Guillory on foot in a common area within Cobblestone.

What happened at that point and what words were exchanged has not been clarified by officials, though Graves indicated an MPD sergeant and an officer were involved.

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The results of a hotel feasibility study come before the Maricopa City Council on Tuesday during a work session.

The purpose of the study was to determine what type and size of hotel would be the best fit for the city. Maricopa’s only hotel remains the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort.

The work session, which begins at 6 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, also includes presentations from organizations providing updates on programs that received Maricopa Nonprofit Funding Program money. Those include Desert Southwest Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Barcelona AZ soccer club and Maricopa Alliance Against Substance Abuse.

In executive session, the council will discuss recycling and household hazardous waste collection (see related story) and receive an update on the Maricopa City Court.

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The community is invited to the inaugural Martin Luther King Day of Unity Celebration on Monday at 9:30 a.m.

Students, community members and community leaders will come together to address the unrest in the nation due to race relations and draw attention to the unity that has been achieved in Maricopa. They will celebrate the achievements of some and experience the inspiration of others.

The event will honor the life, legacy and dream of Martin Luther King Jr. in an effort to carry on the spirit of unity.

Meet at the Faith Center, ACTS Christian Center, 19756 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 108. Space is limited. Doors open at 9:15 a.m. For more information, call Sharon at 520-582-0515, ext. 2.

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PM-10 particles are smaller in diameter than a human hair. When inhaled into the lungs, they can cause concerns that include: effects on breathing and respiratory systems, damage to lung tissue, cancer and premature death.

However, the damage these particles cause is not limited to health aspects. They can also be financially crippling to cities, counties and states with air quality violations.

PM-10 particles are thrust into the air by sources such as fugitive dust from unpaved roads, vacant lots, dust tracked out onto paved roads, disturbed areas on mining sites, construction sites and windblown dust from agricultural fields.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tracks the concentration of these particles by using a series of meters spread across the United States. They look at the average concentration levels of the particles during a 24-hour period. Meters are allowed to exceed the maximum concentration level three times in three years, but the fourth time leads to further investigation by the EPA.

Pinal County's eight meters are some of the most active in the United States, indicating five of the top eight worst air quality readings.

Two of those hyperactive meters are located in Maricopa. The Cow Town meter is located at the corner of the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and Hartman Road, and the Maricopa meter is located behind the Pinal County sheriff's substation.

The Cow Town meter is the most active in the United States with nearly 222 days each year of exceedance; the second highest meter reading in the country has 49 days per year of exceedance.

"We all know why that Cow Town meter is so active. I think the placement of these meters needs to be questioned," said Maricopa City Council member Carl Diedrich.

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Firefighter paramedic James Carlisto Jr. of the Maricopa Fire Department received the "Serving Those Who Serve Us" Award from Village Inn Restaurants in December for working Christmas Eve and Christmas four years in a row to let firefighters with children be home for the holiday.

Hometown: San Jose, California

Residence: Chandler

Family: Wife Ashley, dog Bear, mom Leonor and dad Jim

Education: Associate’s degree in fire science Mesa Community College; Associate’s degree in Paramedicine from Phoenix College

Hobbies: Working my second job as a Realtor and hanging out with friends and family

Years on the job: 8

Favorite part of the job: Getting to work alongside great people to keep Maricopa healthy and safe.

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Our readers voted for their favorite burger in Maricopa. Here are the results:

Arroyo Grille        23%
347 Grill         16%
Agave's         12%
Carl's Jr.        7%
Headquarters         7%
Raceway Bar & Grill     7%
Native Grill & Wings 5%
Other            23%

460 responses

“For our burger we use fresh, never frozen, 100 percent premium ground chuck and our ingredients are prepared fresh daily on a butter brioche bun. We feel our attention to detail and quality shows through from our kitchen team to your plate.” – Arroyo Grille Chef Victor Luna
 

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The Maricopa Chamber of Commerce’s deadline to register for its “Night of Heroes” event is Friday.

The annual community awards banquet is scheduled for Jan. 24 starting at 5:30 p.m. in the ballroom at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino.

Besides the awards, there will be an auction to raise money for a new Maricopa High School scholarship. Auction items include “A Day with a Cop” courtesy of the Maricopa Police Department and a chance at two dinners for four prepared by the Maricopa Fire Department.

The community awards are in seven categories. The final nominees are:
Renate Chamberlin Volunteer of the Year – Brenda Campbell, Lee Anne Clark and Tom Dugan
Nonprofit of the Year – Kid’s Day Maricopa, Mountain View Community Church Food Bank and Recycling Association of Maricopa/ECO Center
Educator of the Year – Susana Buhisan of Butterfield Elementary, Betty Graham of Pima Butte Elementary and, Deborah Kohls of Maricopa Elementary
Civil Servant of the Year – Rocky Brown, John Janzen and Mary Witkofski
Sonny Dunn Citizen of the Year – Torri Anderson, Edward Farrell and Rich Vitiello
Small Business of the Year (10 employees or less) – Copa Craze, Crate Coffee and Hey Maricopa TV
"The Waz" Business of the Year – Dignity Health Urgent Care, Maricopa Banner Health and UltraStar Multi-Tainment Center

Tickets are $50 per person and $90 per couple. Visit MaricopaChamber.org or call Chamber CEO Marla Lewis at 520-568-9573 to register.

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The passenger in the vehicle that was submerged in a local lake has died.

Eileen Olive Brown, 46, was pronounced dead several hours after Monday’s crash in Rancho Mirage. Her stepmother, Bernadette Rose Lopez, 59, of Maricopa, remains at Chandler Regional Medical Center in the trauma unit. Lopez was the vehicle’s driver.

Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricky Alvarado said MPD personnel have not been able to speak with Lopez to learn what may have caused the crash.

Bystander Damon Burke, who helped first responders at the scene, estimated Brown had been under water at least 10 minutes.

The morning of the accident, MPD officers followed by Maricopa Fire personnel first worked to remove Lopez from the cold water. They returned for Brown, but she was described as unresponsive throughout all life-saving measures before she and Lopez were transported to Chandler Regional.

The Chevy Venture van knocked down a tree and a fire hydrant on its way into the lake. The initial 911 calls came in at 8:39 a.m.
 

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Maricopans are invited to a New Residents Reception Jan.  17 at City Hall.

Current and new residents are welcome to learn about the city’s services and meet key people.

The event runs from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and is free. A continental breakfast will be followed by presentation by city departments, including Community Services, Copper Sky, Maricopa Fire Department, Maricopa Police Department and Economic Development.

The featured nonprofit will be the Friends of the Maricopa Public Library.

Maricopa City Hall is at 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza. No RSVP is necessary. For more information, contact Councilmember Peg Chapados at pjchoa@msn.com or 520-280-4611.
 

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"At approximately 3 p.m. Thursday the Pima County Medical Examiner made a positive identification of the skeletal remains found in the desert near the intersection of Interstate 8 and Highway 84," according to Michael Minter, Pinal County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer. "Dental records provided by the family and the Tempe Police Department were used to identify the body of Loretta Bowersock, 69, of Tempe. The cause of death was asphyxiation."

A 5 p.m. Thursday press conference was held in Florence to provide the details of the investigation. "Following the closure of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office investigation, the case will be turned over to the Tempe Police Department for their on-going investigation," explained Minter.

Randall Johnson discovered the remains at about 4 p.m. Tuesday while walking in the desert. They were partially buried about one and a half miles southwest of the Vija Truckstop, located on Highway 84 near Stanfield.

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Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl will give a year in the review of the police department during his Coffee with the Chief event on Saturday.

Join Stahl and other members of the MPD at the department, 39675 W. Civic Center Plaza South from 8 to 9 a.m. The conversation will include matters important to Maricopa residents.

After the chief’s review of 2014, he will participate in an open-topic question-and-answer session.

Call 520-316-6868.

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Pinal County Supervisors Anthony Smith will host a special town hall event for Maricopa Jan. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon at Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

"I am looking forward to these town halls," Smith said. "The senators and representatives will be on hand to share some of their insights on what the upcoming legislative session will bring and to take questions as well."

Legislators who are scheduled attend from District 11 are State Sen. Steve Smith and Reps. Vince Leach and Mark Finchem. Some county officials will be on hand as well to answer questions from attendees.

"I think it is important for everyone to hear from our representatives and county officials on how the state works with Pinal County and its communities to prosper even in tough economic times," Smith said.

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Drop off your Christmas trees
Copa Cares and the Maricopa Public Works Department are providing a Christmas tree drop-off site for residents through Jan. 31. No contractors will be allowed to use the site. The drop-off site is located at 45862 W. Garvey Ave. (Old Park & Ride Site), a quarter-mile west of Roosevelt Avenue. Public Works crews are chipping the trees and disposing them at the Weinberger Landfill.
Since the program started in 2009, 2,982 trees have been chipped. Call John Bemis at 520-316-6946 or Holly Fain at 520-316-6927.

Heritage District Committee to meet
The Maricopa Heritage District Citizen Advisory Committee will meet Jan. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at Fire Station 575 in the Community Room, 45695 W. Edison Road.
Members will have a presentation on the Planning Division’s efforts to implement the Mixed Use Heritage Overlay District and the Transportation Corridor Overlay District. They will also receive an update on projects in the Heritage District.
Heritage District Committee meetings are open to the public.

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Pinal County Superior Court Judge Robert Olson has ruled to allow a claim against Orbitel Communications to continue, despite the defendant's plea for a dismissal.

The ruling came during a Dec. 17 court hearing, during which the judge ruled to unseal information and dismiss only one of the four claims brought against the cable provider by the Rancho El Dorado homeowners' association.

The four claims brought forth by the association include declaratory relief, unjust enrichment, constructive fraud and a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations claim.

The RICO claim was the one dismissed by the judge; however, the plaintiff was given the opportunity to restructure and bring back the fourth item within the next 90 days or see that portion of the suit permanently dismissed.

The suit is set for a status review March 12 at 1:30 p.m. in the Pinal County Superior Court, and at that time a course of action on the suit will be determined.

The cable provider entered into a 30-year agreement with the first master-planned community, Rancho El Dorado, in which the company agreed to provide cable service to every lot in exchange for a monthly assessment of $12 per lot, which would be included in the monthly HOA dues and passed along to the cable company.