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Staff Reports

Staff Reports
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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.

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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.

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22105 N. Diamond Drive

The most expensive home sold in Maricopa from Feb. 16-March 15 was in The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado. The single-level home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms sold for $399,900. It has a self-cleaning swimming pool and fronts one of the lakes the subdivision is known for. Its closing price was 12.6 percent higher than when it last changed hands in December 2014.

Date closed: Feb. 19
Purchase Price: $399,900
Square feet: 2,849
Price per s.f.: $140.36
Days on market: 46
Builder: Meritage
Built: 2008
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Community: The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado
Features: 15,682-square-foot lot, private pool, lakefront, upgraded floors and cabinets, custom entertainment center, reverse osmosis
Seller’s agent: Merrill A. Jencks, West USA Realty Revelation
Buyer’s agent: Ryan Atwood, ProManage Realty, LLC

This item ran in the April issue of InMaricopa.


A fatal collision on the west end of Riggs Road on State Route 347 and road construction on Interstate 10 on the east end of Riggs Road has created a traffic nightmare this morning.

The northbound lanes of SR 347 remain closed between Casa Blanca Road and Riggs. Troopers are investigating a fatal collision in the area.

Arizona Department of Transportation closed I-10 eastbound from Riggs to State Route 587 as part of a bridge-repair project.

Traffic backed up on Riggs in both directions, I-10 and SR 587 because of that project before the fatal crash on SR 347. The accident and its investigation detoured interstate-bound traffic to Casa Blanca, causing more backup on that road as well.

Though ADOT reported SR 347 reopened in both directions after 9 a.m., traffic has remained slow. DPS later reported northbound lanes were still closed and would remain closed past noon.

This year's senior Rams are (from left) Kevin Borboa, Tyler Rapp, Chad Nachtweh, Ivan Herrera and Christian Garcia. The late Nate Ford would have been a senior player and is listed on the roster as captain. Photo by William Lange

When 16-year-old Nate Ford died in an August traffic accident, he left behind grieving parents, siblings, relatives, friends and teammates. At Maricopa High School, the loss was immediately felt on the football team, for which he was a lineman and which was just starting its season at the time.

But the baseball diamond was really Ford’s athletic home. The Rams baseball team had a longer time to absorb the loss before its spring season began. Time did not lessen the personal loss to his friends on the team, but it did offer the opportunity to honor the senior catcher baseball-style.

Nate was made the team captain and is included on the Rams’ roster of seniors.

Friday will be Senior Night at Matt Huffman Field. The Rams Baseball Booster Club is making it the Nate Ford Community Night.

“Baseball was Nate’s passion,” Booster President Melanie Rapp said. “”He loved to be on the baseball field.”

Maricopa musician Laura Walsh will sing the National Anthem at 5:50 p.m., and the Rams will host Tempe High School at 6 p.m.

There will be ongoing raffles. Prizes include a 55-inch Toshiba flat screen TV, two-night stay at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, Mommy and Me photo session, a $100 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card, 50/50 and more.

Nate Ford would have been a senior catcher this year for Maricopa High School. He and the other five seniors will be honored Friday night. Submitted photo
Nate Ford would have been a senior catcher this year for Maricopa High School. He and the other five seniors will be honored Friday night. Submitted photo

The concession stand will be serving smoked ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, hamburgers and hotdogs.

After the game, MHS will honor all of its baseball seniors. They include Kevin Borboa, Christian Garcia, Ivan Herrera, Chad Nachtweh and Tyler Rapp.

The Rams are 12-11 going into this week. Outside of tournaments, they are 10-4 and are 11th in the Division III power rankings.

Among the seniors (alphabetically), Borboa has played 13 games and batted .512. He has 21 hits, 11 runs batted in, four doubles and a triple.

Garcia, in 22 games, is batting .377 and his fielding percentage of .987 leads the team. He is also the team leader in walks with 12 and triples with three, and he is co-leader in total hits with 23, doubles with five and RBI with 19.

Herrera is batting .299 and is co-leader in hits with 23 and co-leader in runs scored with 17. He has three triples.

Nachtweh has struggled at the plate this season with a .196 averages, but two of his 10 hits were doubles. He also drew nine walks and had five RBI. His fielding percentage at first base is an impressive .962.

Rapp is leading the Rams’ pitching with an earned run average of 2.80. His 5-1 record is also the team’s best, and he has two saves. In 30 innings pitched, he has walked seven and struck out 27. Offensively, he is batting .281, with 14 runs scored, four doubles a triple and 10 walks. He leads the team in stolen bases with six.

Maricopa Rams Baseball Schedule
Higley            W     10-7
Dobson            L    8-4
Williams Field        L    15-2
Poston Butte        W    15-11
Fairfax            W    3-2
Seton Catholic        W    9-7
Marcos de Niza        L    14-0
Youngker        W    14-8
Basha            L    11-6
Mesquite        L    14-0
Dobson            L    14-4
Perry            L    16-1
St. Mary’s        L    13-7
Walden Grove        W    3-1
North            W    6-3
Vista Grande        W    3-2
Estrella Foothills    W    5-3
Sahuarita        L    8-3
Mountain View        W    4-0
Poston Butte        W    10-3
Fountain Hills        L    5-2
Scottsdale Christian    W    8-3
Casa Grande        L    1-0
Sierra Linda        Away    3:45 p.m.
Tempe            Home    6 p.m.
McClintock        Home    4 p.m.
Combs            Away    3:45 p.m.

The Planning Division of Maricopa Development Services shared KB Home’s introduction of a detached garage option – a new home design option for Maricopa.

With this option packaged with the original home construction, the City cites a goal of the 2040 Vision to “provide housing diversity for all ages and income levels.”

The approved plans include these optional detached garages with three configurations:

• Strictly used as an additional 2-car garage
• A 1-car garage with one bay converted to a guest house studio with powder room
• A 1-car garage with one bay converted to a workshop

The optional detached garages do not take the place of the attached garages featured on all existing plans, and all the City’s prohibitions on secondary dwelling units within this single-family community remain in effect. The new offering from KB Home is currently approved for the Homestead North Subdivision in Parcels 7 and 9.

This item appeared in the April edition of InMaricopa.

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Be prepared for blowing dust in some areas.

The National Weather Service issued a red-flag warning and high-wind advisory that is in effect until 8 p.m. as strong winds and blowing dust are expected in Maricopa.

Today’s forecast is for sunny skies and a high near 81 but with a wind of 15-20 mph increasing to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph tonight in the lower deserts of south-central and southwest Arizona. The strongest winds are expected in the late afternoon and early evening

Maricopa’s overnight low will be around 51. The winds across the state are expected to lead to widespread hazardous conditions for fires.

The Arizona Department of Transportation offers the following tips for driving during red-flag, high-wind days:

·         Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
·         If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle and begin slowing down.
·         Pull off the roadway as soon as possible; don’t wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to do so safely.
·         Completely exit the highway if possible, away from where other vehicles may travel; don’t stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane.
·         Turn off all vehicle lights, including emergency flashers.
·         Set the emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
·         Stay in the vehicle with seat belts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

Saturday is expected to be sunny again with a high near 81. Breezes get build up to 20 mph. Saturday night, expect a low around 52 degrees.

Sunday again has a sunny forecast and a high near 82 degrees. Winds will be down around 5 mph. Overnight skies are predicted to be clear with a low around 55.

That is expected to lead in to warmer temperatures to start next week.

Photo by Brittany Paige Anslow

Spoon’s Chi-Town Café suffered a major hit today. A truck parked next door at Napa Auto Parts backed up and went out of control, running into and through the west-facing wall of the barbecue eatery on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

No one was seriously injured, but there was severe damage to the dining room wall. The restaurant closed so a cleanup crew could start taking care of the damage.

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Want to be on the college board? Apply for an appointment by April 29 if you live in District 4.

District 4 needs help at Central Arizona College.

Can a Maricopan help?

After the resignation of Rita Nader, who faced recall in the wake of college tax hike, Richard Cassalata of Arizona City was appointed to her District 4 seat on the CAC Governing Board by Pinal County School Superintendent Jill Brussard in January.

Cassalata quickly became embroiled in controversy among college faculty, staff and other members of the board, particularly Board President Gladys Christensen. He resigned last week.

Now the District 4 vacancy is being advertised again. The term lasts only through December. The seat is on the ballot in the November General Election and also needs candidates.

Brenda Katterman, administrative clerk in the county superintendent’s office, said there have been inquiries about the vacancy but no applicants yet.

She said all applicants must live within the current boundaries of District 4, which includes Maricopa. (Nader did not live in District 4 but was last elected before the county redistricting.)

Applications for the appointment to the vacancy are due April 29 by 5 p.m. Applicants may not be employees of the college or members of another school board.

Applications are online at

The application can be completed online, but it must be printed out, signed and notarized, and the original must be received by the deadline.

Contact Brenda Katterman at 520-866-6565, or Pinal County School Superintendent’s Office, P.O. Box 769, Florence AZ 85132.

Four people were stung in another bee encounter in the Rancho El Dorado subdivision on Wednesday.

According to the Maricopa Fire Department, there were no major injuries and all four refused transportation to a hospital.

The incident was on Michaels Drive just north of Smith-Enke Road. MFD said the bees were contained with the help of a beekeeper on scene.

An earlier bee attack in Rancho El Dorado sent six people to the hospital. The Halloween night incident on Van Loo Drive resulted in one person being stung 300 times, according to the count at the hospital.

An SUV involved in a pursuit on Papago Road was found to have 280 pounds of marijuana inside. Submitted photo
Guadalupe Acosta-Gutierrez. PCSO photo
Guadalupe Acosta-Gutierrez. PCSO photo

A Mexican national was arrested Sunday on charges of smuggling 280 pounds of marijuana through Pinal County.

Guadalupe Acosta-Gutierrez, 22, was arrested after a pursuit on Papago Road.

Just after noon, a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy tried to stop a silver Ford SUV for an alleged traffic violation on Papago Road, which is south of the Ak-Chin Indian Community. The driver, however, fled at speeds up to 70 mph until he crashed into a clump of trees north of West Jean Drive and North Glyde Drive.

He then fled on foot for half a mile before being nabbed by an Ak-Chin Police officer. He was identified as Acosta-Gutierrez of Sinaloa, Mexico.

According to the report, the SUV contained 20 bales of marijuana with a street value of about $140,000.

Acosta-Gutierrez was the only occupant of the vehicle. He was booked at Pinal County Jail pending charges of drug smuggling and felony flight.


The 20 bales have an estimated street value of $140,000. PCSO photo
The 20 bales have an estimated street value of $140,000. PCSO photo

There have been no charges filed in the death of a 3-year-old girl last week, but the case is not over.

A spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said there had been no arrests “yet.”

“The medical examiner advised our detectives that the baby died from blunt force trauma,”  Mark Clark said.

The girl lived with her natural mother and two other adult females at a home on North Ralston Road near Maricopa.

A 911 call was received Thursday at 6:20 a.m. from a woman reporting the child in medical distress. She said she was driving the girl to the hospital. PCSO described her as the caregiver but has not identified her.

Paramedics met her en route and began life-saving procedures on the child while taking her to the hospital. She reportedly died in the emergency room.

Three other children living at the home on Ralston have been removed by the Department of Child Safety, Clark said.

Hairline Cuts & Stylings
Copa’s Critters & Supplies
Spoon’s Cafe

Christy Signs
Crumb Snatcher Cakes
Diamond Shine
Diane P. Thormahlen
Hella Graphicz
Holiday Custom Pools
Lucas Automotive
Maricopa GoBig
Maricopa Mobile Med
Movin Maricopa
Randi Campbell
Sundrop Solar

AGE General Engineering
Aztom Construction
Bel Southwest
Eagle Rock Excavating
Premier Pools & Spas
Richard Aaron Muro

Most food establishments inspected by the Pinal County Health Department received ratings of Excellent (“E”) in September.

Saddleback Elementary School received a Satisfactory rating (“S”) after making sure a hand-washing sink was supplied with soap and correcting the temperature of beans. Great Wall Restaurant also received an “S” after inspection showed improper holding temperatures on a couple of items, no towels at the kitchen sink and bulk food with no lids.

[No violations found]
Aliberto’s Mexican Food
Bashas’ – Bakery
Bashas’ – Deli
Desert Wind Middle School
Fry’s – Bakery
Fry’s – Deli
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s – Starbuck’s
Fry’s – Sushi
Santa Cruz Elementary School
Walmart – McDonald’s

[Violations corrected during inspection]
Great Wall Chinese Restaurant
Saddleback Elementary School

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

[Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of operations]

Sheriff Paul Babeu is taking another stab at a Congressional seat. File photo

Ann Kirkpatrick represents Arizona’s District 1 in the U.S. House of Representatives, but not for long.

The Democrat is challenging John McCain for a U.S. Senate seat. That is drawing an interesting mix into the 2016 race for her seat.

Monday, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu threw his hat in the ring.

“I’ve spent seven years fighting Washington’s inaction and now it’s time to bring the fight directly to our nation’s capital,” Babeu said. “I will work tirelessly to protect the residents of rural Arizona, shrink the federal government, overturn Obamacare and guard against attacks on the Second Amendment.”

Congressional District 1 is geographically the largest in the state, stretching from the Utah border down to Graham County.

Others who have announced their candidacy for Congressional District 1 are former Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), State Sen. Barbara McGuire (D), former state Sen. Tom O’Halleran, who recently switched to the Democratic Party, businessman Miguel Olivas (D), businessman Gary Kiehne (R) and businessman Shawn Redd (R).

Babeu previously ran for Congress in 2012 but dropped out in the middle of a scandal involving a former lover.

The first day to file candidate nomination petitions is May 2.

Those who have announced their candidacy for the U.S. Senate besides Kirkpatrick are businessman Alex Meluskey (R), retired business owner Clair Van Steenwyk (R), State Sen. Kelli Ward, businessman J.L Mealer (independent) and Tea Party activist Joann Lopez-Cervantez (independent).

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The MHS Orchestra was "Excellent" at the ABODA Fall Festival. Submitted photo

The Maricopa High School Orchestra earned an “Excellent” rating Oct. 3 at the Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association (ABODA) Fall Festival.

“The highlight of the day was a wonderful clinic with retired Texas music educator and noted clinician Ruth Kurtis. The orchestra worked with Ms. Kurtis on understanding more about the historical and cultural underpinnings of their music as well as some fun ways to improve finger placement and technique,”  MHS Director of Instrumental Music Ivan Pour said.

The orchestra will next perform at the MHS Music Program “Pass in Review” Concert on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Maricopa High School Performing Arts Center. Admission is free.

Maricopa High School Orchestra. Submitted photo
Maricopa High School Orchestra. Submitted photo

Get a sampler of what this year’s Art on the Veranda exhibition will have to offer.

Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship hosts a preview show on its walls starting with an artists’ reception Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The preview show offers a glimpse at the works of some of the artists participating in Art on the Veranda, which is scheduled for Nov. 7-8 at the Duke at Rancho El Dorado. Media on display will be acrylic, fabric art, fused glass, gemstones, gourd art, guitar art, jewelry, metals, mixed medium, mosaic, Native American art, oil, pastel, photography, pottery, recycled art, weaving and woodworking.

“Art on the Veranda helps to bring artisans and the community together,” Cynthia Portrey, president of the Art on the Veranda Committee said. “By expanding the show over an entire weekend, we are looking forward to increasing attendance, but also reaching out regionally to show people in other areas what a vibrant and active arts community exists in Maricopa.”

Art on the Veranda is a juried art show with artisans from all around Arizona and the Southwest. This will be the third year for the show.

Learn more at

If You Go …
What: Art on the Veranda Preview Show
When: Artists’ reception Oct. 7, 6 p.m.
Where: Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship, 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 108
How Much: Free
Info: 520-510-5535,