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Staff Reports

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The first transcontinental flight in the United States, a Wright Model EX piloted by Calbraith Perry Rodgers, landed in Maricopa on Nov. 1, 1911. After spending the night while the mechanic made repairs, Rodgers flew into Phoenix for a short exhibition. Cal Rodgers’ main mechanic, Charlie Taylor, was mechanic for the Wright Brothers and followed Rodgers across the country by train to make frequent repairs. In those days, flyers used the rail lines as an “iron compass.” Taking 49 days – only 82 hours and 4 minutes if which was flight time – Rodgers completed the first transcontinental flight from New York to Pasadena, California, on Nov. 5, 1911, and then flew on to Long Beach to deliver the mail, for a total distance of approximately 4,321 miles.

Photo courtesy of Maricopa Historical Society

This item appeared in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Ak-Chin Indian Community and its properties are hosting an array of events for the holiday.

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes hosts a four-person scramble starting at 7:30 a.m. on July 4. The event includes 18 holes with cart, buffet, complimentary bottled water and awards for best dressed and most patriotic. Cost is $50 per person plus tax. Register at 520-426-6827.

Ak-Chin Parks & Recreation hosts its annual Fourth of July Celebration at the recreation center. There will be pool activities from noon to 4 p.m. Then kids can enjoy the Inflatable Carnival from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

There will be a department hotdog eating contest, watermelon eating contest and talent show.

The fireworks will begin at dusk.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino gets the party started a little early on July 2 with great music from the Marshall Tucker Band starting at 8 p.m. On July 4, the casino will be giving away two free pool towels to Total Rewards members in the Ballroom from 2 to 6 p.m. That evening, Fortunate Son will be in the Lounge. The Buffet will be serving a BBQ-inspired menu.

UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle has an evening of fun planned. Starting at 5 p.m., enjoy the Slip & Slide, splash pad and more water entertainment outside for free.

From 5 to 8 p.m. enter to win free movies for a year. The winner will be announced before the Movies Under the Stars presentation of “Transformers 2007” after the fireworks. You must be present to win.

There will also be an outdoor BBQ for $16.95/adults and $8.95/kids. The menu includes tri tip, roasted corn, baked beans, BBQ chicken, potato salad, pasta salad, hamburgers, hotdogs, salad and cobbler.

Follow the UltraStar events on Facebook at

This item appeared in the July issue of InMaricopa.

The remains of a pickup truck are hauled away from the remains of a house after a fatal crash. PCSO photo

A truck backed into a Hidden Valley home Wednesday night, causing a fire and leaving the driver dead. Two people in the home were rescued, but the house and a nearby recreational vehicle were destroyed.

The deceased man has not yet been identified.

The residents did not recognize him or his truck and did not know why he was on the property in the 1900 block of Brower Lane.

According to Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, the pickup truck backed into the house at around 10:30 p.m.

“At this point in the investigation, it appears as though the truck backed into a corner of the house and got stuck,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “The truck engine raced as the rear tires spun and disintegrated. The spinning tires appear to have ignited the fire, which quickly consumed the house, truck and RV.”

The crash awoke the man and woman in the house. They found the male driver unresponsive. When the house ignited, the couple fled to the back yard, and became trapped.

A PCSO deputy and U.S. Border Patrol arrived on the scene at about the same time to find the house and truck fully engulfed in flames. They heard screaming from the back yard, where they found the residents trapped in fenced area with their two dogs.

The enclosure was six-foot wrought-iron fencing with a locked gate that the couple could not open or climb over. The border agent knocked down a section with his vehicle to free them. The two people, both 57, had only minor injuries.

“I am thankful for the quick actions of the deputy and the U.S. Border Patrol agent to get this couple and their dogs safely away from the burning house,” Babeu said.

The incident is under investigation.

State troopers will be focused on dangerous drivers and DUI this weekend. DPS photo

State troopers will focus their enforcement patrols in areas where statistics have revealed a higher frequency of injuries and fatalities resulting from crashes related to dangerous driving behavior. The focused enforcement during the Independence holiday weekend, July 1-4, is designed to promote safe and expeditious travel along Arizona’s highways.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) will participate in or conduct DUI task forces, saturation patrols, aggressive driver enforcement, commercial vehicle enforcement and assisting stranded motorists.

“The enforcement corridors selected for the holiday weekend are based on crash data collected from 2015, and the intent is to save lives through aggressive traffic enforcement in and around those corridors,” said DPS Lt. Col. Daniel Lugo, assistant director of the Arizona Highway Patrol.

Regionally for Maricopans, that means DPS saturation patrols in Casa Grande and at Rawhide. The latter venue is hosting a July 2 event, and traffic from 4 to 11 p.m. is expected to cause traffic congestion on Interstate 10 in south Phoenix and west Chandler.

Northern Arizona DPS Operations

Commercial vehicle enforcement will increase along I-40 from the California border to the New Mexico border and I-10 west of metropolitan Phoenix. The focus is on reducing fatal and injury crashes involving commercial vehicles and non-commercial vehicles.

Apache County – Saturation patrols

Cottonwood and Camp Verde – Participation in the Marshal’s Office DUI patrols

Flagstaff – Conduct aggressive driver enforcement

Gila County – Conduct saturation patrols

Kingman – Saturation patrol partnership with Kingman PD

Navajo County ­ Participation in saturation patrols

Page – Aggressive driver enforcement

Yavapai County – Participation in the Tri-City DUI Task Force

Central Arizona DPS Operations

Central and East Valley – Participation in various multi-agency DUI task forces

Lake Pleasant – July 3 no parking will be permitted along SR 74. DPS and Peoria PD will be patrolling and citing violators. Further traffic restrictions may be enacted if the park reaches capacity for campers and / or boat parking fills up. Restrictions are anticipated 9–11 p.m. for a fireworks show.

Peoria – July 4th Fireworks show expected to cause traffic congestion along the Loop 101. DPS will conduct saturation patrols along the Loop 101.

Phoenix – July 4th Event being held 6-10 p.m. at Third Street and Indian School; fireworks show expected to cause traffic congestion on nearby freeways beginning at 9:30 p.m.

Tempe Town Lake – July 4 Saturation patrols from 4 p.m. until 11 p.m. Drivers who stop on Loop 202 at Tempe Town Lake to watch the fireworks, continue to be a problem. Last year troopers cited a number of drivers for literally stopping on the freeway to observe the fireworks. Several collisions were reported in the area. This year troopers will provide aggressive enforcement aimed at educating and if warranted, citing drivers and removing vehicles that stop on the Loop 202 bridge over the Tempe Town Lake.

Valley wide – Aggressive driver enforcement

Westworld – July 2 saturation patrols along Loop 101 from 9 to 11 p.m. Fireworks show expected to cause traffic congestion on Loop 101 beginning at 9 p.m.

West Valley – July 2 participating in the West Valley DUI Task Force hosted by Glendale PD

Southern Arizona DPS Operations

Commercial vehicle enforcement will increase.

Yuma – Increased staffing and saturation patrols along with the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office. 10-mile traffic-safety campaign along I-10 between the California / Arizona state line and the Maricopa County line. Participation in the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force. Saturation patrols and a focus on seatbelt and distracted driving enforcement

Cochise, Graham and Greenlee counties – DPS will conduct saturation patrols and participate in the Southeastern Arizona DUI Task Force as well as the Eastern Arizona DUI Task Force.

MFD photo

A man in a wheelchair was injured when a fire started in his Acacia Crossings home June 26.

The fire started in a bedroom in the house on Portabello Road. Maricopa Fire Department crews arrived to find the 30-year-old man had been able to leave the house but had suffered burns to his face, arms and chest.

He was transported to a hospital while firefighters extinguished fames in the bedroom, resulting in minimal damage to the house.

The cause is under investigation.

MFD photo
MFD photo

SR 238 has been closed to westbound traffic most of the day. Photo by Ethan McSweeney

State Route 238 has been closed to through-traffic since 11: 25 a.m. and remains closed until further notice after a fatal crash, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Officials closed the road starting at milepost 40, about four miles west of SR 347 near Ralston Road, to give traffic an alternative route around the site. The actual crash was much farther west near State Route 85 in Maricopa County.

Local traffic is still allowed through.

According to the Department of Public Safety, a rollover collision blocked traffic in both directions. The DPS commercial vehicle enforcement unit assisted Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office at the scene.



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Tonight at Copper Sky

9/10 baseball Maricopa v. Casa Grande at Copper Sky @ 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday at Copper Sky

9/10 baseball – Superior v. Coolidge 6:30 p.m.

Senior baseball – Oracle v. Casa Grande @ 5:30 p.m. Winner plays Coolidge @ 8 p.m.

Stay tuned for results

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Both an excessive heat warning and an air-quality advisory will come into effect this weekend.

More blistering heat is on the way, and Maricopa will see both a heat warning and an air-quality advisory this weekend.

Tonight’s low will be around 74 degrees, according to the National Weather Service with barely a breeze.

Saturday will be sunny and hot, with a high near 111. The wind will be light and variable at 5-10 mph in the afternoon. Saturday night will have a low of a warm 83 degrees.

Sunday is expected to leap to 118 degrees, again with only light winds to take the edge off. The nighttime low will only get down to around 86.

Monday will be almost exactly the same, with more sun and 118 degrees forecast. The rest of next week will “cool off” only slightly, possibly as low as 112 by next Friday.

The excessive heat warning issued by NWS is in effect from June 19 at 10 a.m. until June 22 at 9 p.m. Desert temperatures are expected to be 115-120 degrees. Heat-related illness will be likely for those doing strenuous activity outside and for those with health conditions who do not have adequate access to air conditioning.

The Pinal County Department of Air Quality has issued an Ozone High Pollution Advisory for Saturday and Sunday. That means the forecast weather conditions combined with existing ozone levels are expected to result in local maximum eight-hour ozone concentrations that pose a health risk.

Ozone is an air contaminant that can cause breathing difficulties for children as well as adults with respiratory problems. A decrease in physical activity is recommended.

Rendering of model ADOT is using as a guide for engineers designing the overpass on SR 347 over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

Meeting Friday in Holbrook, the State Transportation Board voted to adopt the Arizona Department of Transportation’s 2017-2021 Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program.

On the plan, a long-sought railroad overpass on State Route 347 in Maricopa will move forward thanks to a $15 million federal TIGER grant and $15 million local contribution in addition to ADOT’s $19 million commitment.

The project’s goal is to alleviate traffic backups at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing by replacing the existing at-grade intersection with a grade separation. Construction is planned to start in fiscal year 2017.

For Mayor Christian Price, the vote was a “Phew!” moment. He has been attending Transportation Board meetings for months to keep the project at the forefront of members’ minds. He was in Holbrook Friday for the vote.

“I’m excited,” Price said. “It’s been 13 years of work. That’s how you put teamwork together.”

Though various ADOT and city officials have hedged on the start date for construction, Price said ground would have to be broken sometime in 2017 because of the time mandates of the TIGER grant. And construction is not the beginning of the project. A plan for redirecting traffic from Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and city streets in the Heritage District is an important element.

“We have to start getting right of way and moving things around first,” Price said.

Because of additional funding available through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, ADOT will be able to move forward on a quicker timeline with four major projects that will improve key commerce corridors: widening Interstate 10 in Pinal County from State Route 87 to Picacho and from Earley Road to Interstate 8, and widening two stretches of US 93 between Wickenburg and Interstate 40.

“Major freight corridors that connect Arizona to Mexico and large neighboring U.S. markets will benefit from key expansion projects in this Five-Year Program,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Improvement projects along some of Arizona’s busiest corridors will not only provide better mobility but help enhance trade, commerce and economic development.”

Once the two I-10 projects are complete, ADOT will have reached its goal of widening the entire stretch of I-10 between Casa Grande and Tucson to a six-lane divided highway.

Other projects programmed for funding include improving State Route 189 in Nogales to enhance the flow of commerce between the port of entry and Interstate 19.

The program approved Friday meets the agency’s goal of $260 million per year dedicated to preservation.

The State Transportation Board’s approval of the Five-Year Program, which is updated annually, followed a call for public comment in March and three public hearings. In general, projects begin as part of the agency’s long-range visioning process, move into a 20-year plan and a six- to 10-year development program and then become part of the Five-Year Program, which is developed by working closely with local planning organizations and community leaders to identify projects that are ready to build or design.

Funding for the Five-Year Program is generated by the users of transportation services, primarily through gasoline and diesel fuel taxes and the vehicle license tax. Both the Maricopa and Pima county regions have independent revenue streams established through voter-approved sales tax increases that allow for more expansion projects to take place.


Mary Osborne (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa woman faces multiple charges after being arrested Thursday at around 9:50 a.m.

Mary C. Osborne, 35, was taken into custody by a Pinal County Sheriff’s deptuy at a location on North Cattle Drive south of Maricopa.

She is accused of second-degree burglary, control of stolen property and criminal damage. She also faces a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

No bond was announced and a court hearing has not yet been set.


By Ethan McSweeney

A Wal-Mart employee was accused last week of assaulting a police officer and a paramedic after being arrested for underage drinking, according to a Maricopa Police Department report.

Maricopa police made contact with Brandon Pavloff, 19, at the Wal-Mart on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway regarding underage consumption around 4 p.m. on June 8. Police could smell alcohol coming from Pavloff’s breath, according to the report. Pavloff was not on the clock at the time, according to MPD.

Pavloff was taken to the Asset Protection Office in Wal-Mart, where police administered a horizontal gaze nystagmus test that detected signs of alcohol consumption, the report read. Pavloff then allegedly refused to take a portable breath test.

Police arrested Pavloff and escorted him outside to be taken to a patrol car. While walking outside, Pavloff “became erratic,” according to the report, and shouted profanity at the officers.

Once he was put in the back of the patrol car, Pavloff slipped his handcuffs to the front of his body and started banging on a window, the report read.

Pavloff then told police he was having trouble breathing due to asthma, and the Maricopa Fire Department was called out. Pavloff then became “physically and verbally combative” in refusing commands by officers, according to the report.

MFD paramedics determined Pavloff should be taken to Chandler Hospital and loaded him onto a gurney to be taken into an ambulance. While on the gurney, Pavloff spit on the face of one of the paramedics, according to the report.

A police officer also received scratches and lacerations while trying to help restrain Pavloff so a paramedic could administer a shot to calm him down, the report read.

Pavloff was charged with resisting arrest, underage consumption and two counts of aggravated assault.

A Wal-Mart store manager said she could not comment on the incident.

By Ethan McSweeney

Maricopa police arrested a man near a local fast-food restaurant on June 8 on charges of assault, threatening and possession of drug paraphernalia after he allegedly threatened to “shoot everybody up.”

Around 8:21 p.m., the Maricopa Police Department responded to a domestic violence call between Martreze Tamayo, 23, and a girl at the McDonald’s on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway in front of Wal-Mart, according to an MPD report.

The girl told police that she went to the McDonald’s to confront Tamayo about money he owed her, according to the report. During the argument, the girl said, Tamayo grabbed her wallet out of her car and threw it at her, hitting her on the side of the forehead.

Another witness told police that she saw Tamayo throw the wallet at the girl’s forehead.

Tamayo then told the girl, “I am gonna come to Casa Grande and shoot everybody up,” as he was walking away, according to the report.

MPD later found Tamayo on the west side of the Wal-Mart building. Police found a marijuana grinder, which “contained small amounts of green plant residue,” inside a black bag Tamayo had in his possession, the report read.

Police arrested Tamayo, and he was subsequently booked into Pinal County Jail pending charges.

Convicted of conspiracy to transport or sell marijuana, Uriel Ruiz-Estrada (right) was sentenced this week to a year in prison. Martin Aispuro-Angulo was sentenced in May in the same case. PCSO photos

Monday, a Pinal County Superior Court judge sentenced 18-year-old Mexican national Uriel Ruiz-Estrada to one year in the Department of Corrections for helping aid drug smugglers through the Pinal mountain ranges.

On March 2, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office’s Anti-Smuggling Unit received a tip of possible scouts in a mountainous area southwest of Maricopa.

With the help of their air unit, PCSO located a makeshift campsite and three drug scouts acting as lookouts. These lookouts warn the drug runners of law enforcement presence and other concerns which hinder their criminal syndicate’s ability to ensure their drugs pass safely through their assigned areas.

One scout fled as PCSO moved in, but deputies still arrested two of the men, including Ruiz-Estrada and 47-year-old Martin Aispuro-Angulo.

The men plead guilty to one felony count each of conspiracy to transport and/or sell marijuana.

In May, a Pinal County Superior Court Judge sentenced the co-defendant, Aispuro-Angulo, to one year in the Department of Corrections.

Pinal County Public Health is partnering with the Arizona Department of Health Services to conduct the Arizona Children’s Health Survey to learn more about our children’s health throughout the state.

The Arizona Children’s Health Survey is looking for parents or guardians of children ages birth through 17 years to participate in the survey to help identify what is currently working well in our community, related to children’s health, as well as what areas might be improved to help families meet their children’s needs.
The online survey should take 5-10 minutes to complete for each child and is available in English at or Spanish at
No confidential or identifiable information will be kept and there will be no follow up with families related to any information collected from the survey.
Arizona Children’s Health Survey results will be available from the Office of Children with Special Health Care Needs in early 2017. For more information regarding the survey, please contact 602-542-1860 or

A proposal to open some closed routes in Sonoran Desert National Monument will be the topic of a public scoping meeting in Maricopa on June 23. BLM photo

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Phoenix District Office  announced the times and locations for the public scoping meetings to evaluate the potential impacts related to reopening several closed routes in Sonoran Desert National Monument.

See the map

The meetings will be held at:
•    Goodyear Library, June 22, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The address is 14455 W. Van Buren St., Ste. C102.
•    Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, June 23, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.  The address is 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Room A.

The BLM Sonoran Desert National Monument (SDNM) office has prepared the “SDNM: Juan Bautista de Anza Recreation Management Zone Recreation Plan Environmental Assessment (EA)” (DOI-BLM-AZ-P040-2015-0002-EA) to evaluate the potential impacts related to reopening several closed routes and constructing associated recreational amenities to protect and prevent the recurrence of damage to the natural and cultural features and objects for which the SDNM was designated.

To view the EA, follow:

In order for your comments to be included, they should be received prior to the close of the comment period on July 1.

Written comments may be mailed to Dallas Meeks, BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner, at 21605 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85027 or can be emailed to

All comments will be made available to the public.

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Be prepared for blowing dust in some areas.

Drivers should be prepared for low visibility because of blowing dust today between Phoenix and Tucson as well as in southeastern Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The National Weather Service has issued a blowing dust advisory from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The affected areas include Interstates 10 and 8 between Phoenix and Tucson, and along the portion of I-10 in southeastern Arizona’s Cochise County. Gusts of up to 50 mph are possible, which could produce widespread areas where visibility is reduced to less than one mile.

Motorists should be aware that strong winds can result in sudden periods of limited or zero visibility due to blowing dust. ADOT urges drivers to “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” when dust moves in. The following are driving tips when encountering a low-visibility dust storm:

·         Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.

·         Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway — do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can.

·         If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.

·         Do not stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane; look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.

·         Stop the vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main roadway and away from where other vehicles may travel.

·         Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers.

·         Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.

·         Stay in the vehicle with your seat belts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

·         Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.

·         A driver’s alertness and safe driving ability is still the No. 1 factor in preventing crashes.

For more information on drivers tips, please visit

For the most current information about highway closures and restrictions statewide, visit ADOT’s Travel Information Site at or call 511

Mariam Jordan's Jordan Law is among the new businesses in Maricopa.

The following licenses were issued April 16-May 15:

Commercial: Alexon Design Group, Fierro Contracting, Jordan Law, Kecia Philpot Farmers Insurance, Ketalog Inc.

Home-based: Frank’s Lock & Service, Master Kut Landscape, Olive Care Homes, Rileyhoo, Tiempo Home Services, TJ’s Shaved Ice, Tutorvercity

Out-of-town: Arizona Sign & Maintenance, Electric Blue Entertainment, Gerdau Reinforcing Steel, Monster Signs, Pride Group, Western Utility Contractors

This item appeared in the June issue of InMaricopa.

The Pinal County Department of Environmental Health made several inspections of Maricopa food establishments between April 13 and May 15 and found just three of the 40 inspected to be short of “excellent” in food safety.

Papa Murphy’s was marked down to “satisfactory” for not having hot water in hand-washing sinks, having no food handler or food manager cards and no test strips for its sanitizing solution. Spoon’s Café was cited for having a non-working deep fryer and a refrigerator unable to hold temperature, and for having undated food in that refrigerator. Great Wall also was nicked for lack of date markings and having uncovered items in the refrigerator and freezer.

Excellent [No violations found]
Aliberto’s Mexican Food
Bashas’ Bakery
Bashas’ Deli
Bashas’ Starbucks
Brooklyn Boys Italian Restaurant
Butterfield Elementary School
Children’s Learning Adventure Childcare Centers
Desert Wind Middle School
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s Marketplace Bakery
Fry’s Marketplace Deli
Fry’s Marketplace Sushi
Helen’s Kitchen
Jack in the Box
Legacy Traditional School
Maricopa Elementary School
Maricopa High School
Maricopa Wells Middle School
Native Grill and Wings
Panda Express
Peñascos Mexican Restaurant
Pima Butte Elementary School
Saddleback Elementary School
Santa Cruz Elementary School
Santa Rosa Elementary School
Say Sushi
Sequoia Pathway Academy K-6
Sequoia Pathway Academy Secondary
Sunrise Café
Tacos ‘N’ More
The New HQ
Walmart Bakery
Walmart Deli

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Great Wall Chinese Restaurant
Papa Murphy’s Pizza
Spoon’s Cafe

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

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

Sun Life Family Health Center is taking every precaution to provide for the health and safety of our patients, staff and visitors, and is reminding our communities to follow the most current recommended guidelines from the Pinal County Department of Health regarding the current increase in measles activity.

Pinal County now has 13 confirmed cases of measles.

If you think you or your family may have been exposed to measles, Pinal County Department of Health recommends the following:

* If you have a healthcare provider, contact them by phone and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles. They will let you know when to visit their office so as not to expose others in the waiting area.

* If you do not have a health care provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room/urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles. For more information on measles’ signs and symptoms or where you may find vaccine, please check with your healthcare provider or your county health department.

You are immune to measles if you have received two measles, mumps, and rubella [MMR] vaccines or were born before 1957 and have received one MMR vaccine.

Health care providers, like Sun Life, are required to report suspect cases of measles to their local health department. Public health continues to investigate contacts and places of exposure for these new cases. The Department will continue to provide updates and additional information on confirmed cases and potential public exposure as information becomes available.

For information on signs and symptoms of measles, or where you can find vaccine, please visit Medical questions should be directed to your health care provider. For outbreak-related questions, community members may call 602-839-2275.

Two people were killed after a two-vehicle collision on Amarillo Valley Road south of Maricopa Tuesday night.

According to Pinal County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Clark, Elizabeth Cruz, 57, and Francisco Rendon, 63, died at the scene.

The incident happened just before 7 p.m. near the intersection with Teel Road.

Clark said Cruz and Rendon were traveling north in a Hyundai SUV when their vehicle collided with another northbound vehicle, a pickup truck, and then veered off of Amarillo Valley Road into a drainage canal. Cruz and Rendon were ejected from the SUV.

Cruz was identified from her driver’s license and was the registered owner of the SUV. Clark said the two were not married but had been together for more than 30 years and had children in common.

It is not known which of the deceased was driving the SUV. No criminal charges are expected, as it is believed to be accidental, with fault for the collision with the deceased.

There were no reported injuries to the other driver involved.

To help the family with funeral expenses, see

Due to a relatively dry winter and forecast windy conditions, local forests such as the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino and Tonto National Forests are susceptible to wildfires heading in Memorial Day weekend. The use of extreme caution is encouraged for anyone looking to camp or explore the forested regions in Northern Arizona.

“This weekend, we want all forest visitors to make campfire safety a priority,” Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Fire Management Officer Gary Strickland said. “Don’t leave your campfire unattended. When you put out your campfire, use lots of water and make sure everything is wet and cold to the touch. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.”

Other tips to help you avoid a dangerous situation include:

· Use a camp stove or grill that features an “off” button when conditions are windy
· Make sure any area you plan to build a fire has a five-foot perimeter of any combustibles, is clear of debris and is not near any overhanging branches
· NEVER leave any fire unattended (not even for a few minutes)
· Report any fires (including abandoned campfires) to Forest Service Dispatch at 928-532-2700

“There will be no fire restrictions in place for Memorial Day weekend, but visitors coming into the area should use caution and proper safety procedures when building a fire to avoid any catastrophic situations,” Chairman of the Navajo County Board of Supervisors Jason Whiting said. “Our communities are beautiful and full of outdoor recreational areas, and we need to make sure these places stay available for the weekend, the summer and for years to come.”

Nature lovers, hikers, explorers and campers are always welcome and encouraged to explore and enjoy our vast forested regions! However, please do so in a safe manner so we can ensure the safety and longevity of our local communities.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (ADPS), along with the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, will be working together this Memorial Day weekend in an effort to reduce injury and fatal collisions statewide.

During the Memorial Day weekend last year there were five fatal collisions investigated by Arizona troopers. This year, as they have done in past years, troopers will be targeting impairment and driving behaviors that are dangerous to the motoring public in Arizona.

Memorial Day weekend will see a large volume of people traveling on Arizona’s highways and byways, enjoying the scenery, and visiting their families and friends. Arizona State troopers will be participating statewide in over 31 DUI task forces, saturation patrols, speed and seatbelt enforcement details, distracted and hazardous driver patrols, and assisting stranded motorists on Arizona’s roads.

“Motorists are encouraged to ensure their vehicles are adequately prepared, and to be patient with other motorists as the highways are expected to be congested. Additionally, motorists are encouraged to report dangerous drivers by calling 911,” said ADPS Major William Beck, Highway Patrol Division Chief of Staff.

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Sunny skies are expected all weekend in Maricopa. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

A couple of days of triple-digit weather this weekend is expected to followed by relatively cooler temperatures leading into next week.

Tonight’s high is forecast to mostly clear with a low around 67, according to the National Weather Service.

Friday, sunny skies will have a high near 104 degrees and little wind. Friday night’s low is expected to be around 69 under mostly clear skies.

Saturday again has a mostly sunny forecast, with a high near 101. Winds will pick up slightly to 5-15 mph. Overnight lows are expected to be around 67.

Sunday, the high may only reach 95 under sunny skies. Winds are expected to increase to 10-15 mph in the afternoon with gust up to 25 mph.

Monday, expect a high of just 89 degrees with sunny skies and slightly breezy conditions.



Jazmin and Jordan on Prom night. Submitted photo

Two Maricopa teenagers have been reported as runaways possibly heading to California.

Jordan’s mother said she last saw her son Tuesday morning as he was leaving for school at Maricopa High School. According to Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado, Jordan and his girlfriend Jazmin left a note indicating they were heading for California.

Both are 17 years old. Jazmine attends school in Ahwatukee. Both are juniors.

Alvarado said MPD entered them in a national database, listing them as runaways, along with a description of the vehicle they left in. That is a 1999 silver Honda Accord coupe, license plate BME 1900.

Jordan’s mother said she has no idea what their intentions may be in California. She said they had been told they would not be allowed to see each other.

Any information should be reported to MPD at 520-316-6800.

Misael Gonzalez Gonzalez

A man in Stanfield is accused of running a crime syndicate by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

Misael Gonzalez Gonzalez, 44, was arrested Monday in Stanfield. Pending charges are production of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of marijuana for use and managing and financing a criminal syndicate.

The secured bond is $10,000. His preliminary hearing is set for May 17.


Proposition 123 (education funding)

The Basics
Prop. 123 amends the Arizona Constitution to increase the annual distributions from the state land trust permanent funds to schools, universities and other public institutions from 2.5 percent of the average market values of the funds to 6.9 percent for the next 10 fiscal years.

The state land trust was established when Arizona became a U.S. territory in 1863, setting aside parcels to benefit schools. The state Constitution requires distributions from the state trust lands to public schools to be 2.5 percent of the market values of the funds through Fiscal Year 2020-21.

In 2000, Arizona voters approved Prop. 301, which includes a requirement the Legislature adjusts education spending for inflation. In 2010, the Arizona Education Association and other parties sued the state and state treasurer (Doug Ducey at the time), claiming lawmakers did not adjust education funding for inflation during the recession years.

In 2013, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the Legislature had violated the Voter Protection Act and owed schools about $1.3 billion. In 2014, a Superior Court judge ordered the state to reset the base level of its K-12 funding and pay $331 million more per year to schools as compensation.

The Legislature appealed and agreed to settle with the plaintiffs. That settlement is Prop. 123. If passed by voters, the proposition would provide $298 million to schools in June and $300 million next fiscal year. If the proposition fails, the lawsuit continues.

Proposition 123 could bring $2 million to MUSD over the next two years. It is also controversial among Arizona voters. It has divided Republican from Republican, Democrat from Democrat and education supporter from education supporter.

Is the settlement the best deal the schools can get in a timely manner, or should they continue to sue for everything the courts have ordered, or is the funding formula in Prop. 123 too unstable for its purpose?

Proposition 124 (public retirement)

The Basics
Prop. 124 amends the Arizona Constitution to create an exception in the public retirement system to allow adjustments to the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System in approved Senate Bill 1428.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed SB 1428 on Feb. 16, creating a new retirement benefit structure for public safety personnel hired on or before July 1, 2017, without a significant raise in taxes. It included a new mechanism to create a cost-of-living adjustment. The Arizona Supreme Court determined Article 29, Section 1 of the state Constitution prohibits adjusting down a future permanent benefit. If approved, Prop. 124 would replace the permanent benefit increases for retired members and their survivors with a compounding cost-of-living adjustment. The COLA would be based on the average annual percentage change in the Phoenix-Mesa consumer price index.

No arguments against Prop. 124 were filed with the state’s election office.

This item appeared in the May issue of InMaricopa.

While three eating establishments received excellent scores from March 16-April 15 Pinal County food inspections, two others were rated satisfactory.

Firehouse Subs, Maricopa Wells Middle School and Maricopa High School all received E’s for excellent after their inspections.

One of the S scores went to Plaza Bonita, which was marked down for its cold-holding temperatures, date marking, lack of paper towels at a hand-washing sink and lack of food manager and food handler cards. The other went to Maricopa Elementary School, which had to correct a food-separation issue to prevent cross-contamination and supply written procedures.

Excellent [No violations found]
Firehouse Subs
Maricopa Wells Middle School
Maricopa High School

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Maricopa Elementary School
Plaza Bonita

Needs Improvement


Barry Vogel (left) advocates for the new BusinessWatch program with MPD.

Maricopa Police Department is urging business owners to sign up for its BusinessWatch program, a cooperative initiative between MPD and the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce.

Registration for the free program will add patrols from MPD volunteers to keep an eye on businesses, whether storefront or home-based. Volunteers will check businesses while owners are away.

“I see BusinessWatch as a program that can serve many causes,” said Brary Vogel, who volunteers at MPD and with the Civic Affairs Committee at the Chamber. “Certainly business security and safety is the biggest reason to join BusinessWatch, but we also see the program as a conduit for expanded communication and cooperation between the police and the people that they serve.

“It is also a way for the Chamber of Commerce to interact with the business community in a way that is meaningful to all business operators.”

Those who register will also receive tips from the Chamber and information from MPD. It is not necessary to be a Chamber member to register.

This item appeared in the May issue of InMaricopa.

Angela Russo
Angela Russo

More than two weeks after her family last heard from her, no trace has been found of a Maricopa woman.

Angela Russo, 24, hasn’t been seen since April 19. She texted her mother Diana Schalow to tell her she was going out to dinner and would be home the following evening. But she never returned to the Maricopa home.

Her mother reported her missing April 21 to the Maricopa Police Department. Both MPD and the Schalow family started searches and investigations, but all have met with dead ends.

MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said the department has followed up on all leads but have “nothing new so far.”

Russo’s phone was reportedly last used in the area of 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. That phone is no longer working.

Russo’s car is also missing. It is a blue 2007 Honda Accord with Arizona plates BNL 1629.

Russo works as a medical assistant in Ahwatukee.

MPD issued a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) alert for Russo and her vehicle to agencies statewide.

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System’s Missing Persons Database, there are as many as 85,000 active missing person cases nationwide at any given time.

In Arizona, there are 1,130 current missing-person cases. Thirty percent (330) are females.

Contact MPD at 520-568-3673 with any information about Russo or her vehicle. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can submit a tip using the MPD mobile app or call an anonymous tip line at 520-316-6900.

Angela Maria Russo
Gender:           Female
Race:               White
Born:               5/10/91
Height:            5’3”
Weight:           150 lbs.
Eyes:               Crystal blue
Hair:                Brown with burgundy highlights
Tattoos:          Ladybug behind left ear, wings on wrists, songbird on right foot, water-colored rose on right hip, the “promise” on ring finger, Tigger and Eeyore hugging each other with a tree on her left back, Bella botch a Nono and Nona scrolled between flowers on right back.

by -
45570 W. Amsterdam Road
The least expensive home sold in a Maricopa HOA Feb. 16-March 15 was in Maricopa Meadows. The two-story home with three bedrooms and two and a half baths sold for $95,000. The closing cost came in more than $2,000 below the list price, but it was a 73-percent improvement over its 2011 sales price.
Date closed: Feb. 25
Purchase Price: $95,000
Square feet: 1,615
Price per s.f.: 58.82
Days on market: 22
Builder: KB Home
Built: 2005
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Community: Maricopa Meadows
Features: All appliances were included, watering system, 5,175-square-foot lot, covered patio, RV gate
Seller’s agent: Jon R. Cooper, Cooper Premier Properties
Buyer’s agent: Dale Dresel, HomeSmart Success

This item appeared in the April issue of InMaricopa.