Authors Articles byMason Callejas

Mason Callejas

Mason Callejas
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The Maricopa Rams won the Give Thanks Classic during the Thanksgiving break. Junior Josh Johnson (with trophy) was named tournament MVP. The team includes Darrell Handy-Johnson, El Jones, Terrell Handy-Johnson, Cameron Sanders, Kenny Oliver, Roscoe Gray, Dallin Moffat and Rashad Chavis. Submitted photo

The Maricopa High School boys’ basketball team took home the championship from Notre Dame Prep’s Give Thanks Classic last week. It was their very first tournament of the year.

Three victories over the course of the Thanksgiving holiday tournament led to the trophy.

The Rams took the Queen Creek Bulldogs 81-65 in their first match-up Nov. 21.

They then went on to put on a strong defensive performance during their victory over the Fountain Hills Falcons by a similar margin of 70-53 on Nov. 23.

Finally, Maricopa demonstrated offensive prowess in the championship game against the Hawks of Buckeye, though winning by a much tighter margin of 87-82 on Nov. 26.

Junior Josh Johnson was named tournament MVP, shooting a remarkable 35 of 39 free throws combined for the tournament.

“Not only did he do well on the free-throw line, but he showed solid leadership on the court, which helped controlled the game,” Coach Tony Fuller said.

Coach Tony Fuller. Photo by Mason Cajellas
Coach Tony Fuller. Photo by Mason Cajellas

Fuller said the entire team contributed to the title, but there is always room for improvement.

The Rams play their first home game tonight at 7 p.m. against Vista Grande. Thursday is also a home game, a rematch with Queen Creek.

Learn more about Coach Fuller’s approach to the Maricopa Rams in his first season in the December issue of InMaricopa, which will be in mailboxes this week.

The Maricopa Police Department is accepting state grant money to assist in DUI enforcement and community education programs beginning this winter.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety GOHS) awarded the department a total of $63,348 for new equipment and traffic and driving-under-the-influence enforcement for 2017, the bulk of which is earmarked for officer overtime pay.

The city applied for the grants in October.

Of the funds, $20,000 is specifically designated for overtime compensation to help the department with DUI enforcement.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there were an estimated 1,200 alcohol-related traffic deaths during the 2015 holiday season (Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day), a number these funds are designed to help curb.

An additional $4,300 is being awarded to purchase blood alcohol content, or BAC, testing equipment, including six new Preliminary Breath Testing (PBT) machines and a phlebotomist chair to aid with blood testing.

Another $27,718 of the GOHS grant will be used to assist with regular traffic enforcement. Most of that money will also go to overtime pay, however the department plans to use a portion of the funds to purchase additional radar systems and new communications antennas. drunk-driving-logo

With remaining funds, the MPD plans to provide overtime for officer training and equipment purchases that will promote pedestrian/cycling safety education, and vehicle occupancy/Child Passenger Safety education.

According to the MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado, the city has benefited greatly from past GOHS grants, and their continued financial assistance is a reflection of the MPD’s performance.

“MPD has been fortunate enough over the years to receive multiple grants through GOHS,” Alvarado said. “This is in part due to the exceptional job our officers are doing, but also due to our ability to report results back to GOHS and show the funds are making a difference.”

Alvarado went on to say that with Maricopa’s continuing growth they will continue to partner with the GOHS, and others, to insure that the department will “grow efficiently, provide services to the community, and keep up with technological advances.”

Each fall the GOHS provides grants to qualifying police and fire departments across the state to assist overtime funding and equipment purchases that will promote public safety.

MUSD Superintendent Steve Chestnut. Photo by Devin Carson

The Maricopa Unified School District approved a merit-based cash bonus for the district’s superintendent at the Nov. 17 board meeting, a move which could indicate scholastic improvements.

The unanimous decision came after a closed executive session where, according to the board’s preliminary minutes, it was deemed that Superintendent Steve Chestnut partially achieved two performance goals outlined by the district.

In all, Chestnut is set to receive $9,500 of a possible $14,700 in bonuses. The criterion, established by the Superintendent Performance Pay Goals document, ratified Dec. 2, 2015, offered a potential $7,350 each if met or exceeded.

Of the award, $2,500 is being granted for achievements toward Goal 1, an assessment of AzMerit test scores. The document states that, despite failing to meet the established goals, the bonuses may be  prorated if the superintendent has “approached or made meaningful progress on the goal.”

School Board President Patti Coutré indicated comparisons of peer district test scores were made to determine if there was progress made toward Goal 1. Though improvements were seen, scores still fell short of expectations, and thus Chestnut would receive only a portion of the bonus.

“His goal for that [test scores] was to meet or exceed the previous year’s scores,” Coutré said. “It is unfortunately obvious that that goal was not met.”

Though MUSD administered the district’s first AzMerit test in the spring of 2015, it wasn’t until spring of 2016 that the district could establish a solid baseline of AzMerit test scores. It was those scores that were then compared to test results from peer districts as well as state averages, and it is from that assessment that the board made its decision.

The remaining $7,000 is being granted to Chestnut for overall progress in implementing the district’s strategic plan, which outlines, among other things, updates to the K-12 curriculum, the addition of select new faculty and staff and new improvements to emergency management procedures.

Though unrelated to Chestnut’s assessment, the district also recently saw the passage of Maricopa’s new budget override, which will expand the public school budget and soon allow for the hiring of 50 new faculty and staff.

azMerit-math-per-supt-bonus

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Posing with members of the MUSD Governing Board, students of the month for September and October were Haley Petershiem, Zeah Zimpleman, Madison Russo and Lauren Davis. Not pictured are Zeya Suchite and Edward Banuelos. Photo by Mason Callejas

The Maricopa Rotary Club presented their monthly selection of outstanding students for September and October at the MUSD Board meeting Nov. 17.

The three middle school and three high school students were honored and chosen by leaders at their schools based on achievements both in the classroom and out.

According to the Rotary Club, recipients of the awards, hailing from Desert Winds and Maricopa Wells middle schools and Maricopa High School, have all achieved stellar grade reports and have exhibited admirable character traits. As such, their teachers and activity leaders have deemed their actions exemplary and worthy of recognition.

For the month of September the Rotary Club recognized Maricopa High School student Haley Petershiem for what her teachers and administrators called a “positive attitude and performance on campus,” and that “students like her are what make Maricopa High School a great school”

Also for the month of September, Desert Winds Middle School student Zeya Suchite was recognized for being an “excellent student and awesome athlete,” and for her participation in numerous clubs and city activities.

Edward Banuelos is one of two high school students chosen for the month of October. As a second year student at the CAVIT Firefighter program, Edward hopes to join the Navy after graduating, and then plans to join the front line of first responders as a firefighter. He was honored not only for his involvement at MHS in Debate Class and as a member of the Cross Country team, but also for choosing a career path that will ensure the “safety of our community and nation.”

Maricopa High School Student Lauren Davis was also chosen as the club’s October student of the month. According to her teacher, Katherine Persitz, Lauren “is a dedicated and faithful student who goes above and beyond to take care of herself and the people around her.” She is a member of the National Honor Society and MHS Soccer player.

From Maricopa Wells Middle School Zeah Zimpleman was chosen as the October student of the month. Carrying a 4.0 GPA Zeah is a member of National Junior Honor Society, orchestra and the MWMS Volleyball team. She is also known to participate in community service projects through her church.

Madison Russo was chosen from Desert Winds Middle School also for the month of October. Madison is the DWMS Student Council secretary, she sings in the choir and is a member of the soccer and volleyball teams. According to Roger Wagner “she exhibits a great work ethic” and has an “approachable fun-loving personality.” Madison is also well known to go out of her way to help others.

For more information on the Maricopa Rotary Club please visit their website.

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Dale Wiebush

Following voters’ recent approval of the city’s new General Plan, Maricopa also welcomed a new intergovernmental affairs director this week.

Monday, after 10 years lobbying as a senior legislative associate at the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Dale Wiebush assumed his new role with the city. He hopes to aid in developing the community and establishing the city as a power player at the state level.

Wiebush, a native Minnesotan, began his carrier in social services, where eventually his passions led him to move toward the lobbying profession.

“I worked in mental health treatment, with abused children,” Wiebush said. “Then I eventually got into the public policy side of that, and advocated on their behalf at the state capitol.”

For the past 19 years Wiebush has been living in Arizona representing domestic violence groups and local governments at the state Legislature.

Wiebush was first introduced to Maricopa through his position at the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, where he got to know Mayor Christian Price and former Intergovernmental Affairs Director Paul Jepson. It was those relationships that first offered Wiebush a taste of the community. However, it was a personal appreciation for Maricopa’s somewhat isolated nature and steady growing economy that drew him in.

“I looked at it as an opportunity to go into an area that was growing,” Wiebush said. “There are similarities between Maricopa and my hometown [Moorhead, Minnesota]; similarities in size and also the geographical distance from other communities.”

When considering the unique characteristics of Maricopa, Wiebush believes the city is poised to do great things.

“It’s big enough to have an impact on politics at the state level,” Wiebush said. “But it’s small enough to still be mobile.”

Though he’s not yet willing to provide exact details on his plans, Wiebush feels that a smart and balanced approach is fundamental in the development process, and that the new General Plan does well in outlining that growth.

Wiebush has an affinity for the outdoors and playing the guitar. He holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Gustavus Adolphus College.

The salary for his position is $110,000.

A Global Water employee wades through running water on Honeycutt Road. Photo by Mason Cajellas

A water main ruptured near Butterfield Elementary School on Monday, shutting down lanes on both sides of West Honeycutt Road.

Water gushed from the buried line for nearly an hour before Global Water technicians could stop the torrent. Maricopa Police blocked off inroads at both John Wayne Parkway and Duncan Road until the water had subsided.

“There had been a large break but it seems to be isolated now,” Global Water Client Services Supervisor Beth Huerta said.

Huerta also said that in the past a nearby main on Duncan Road had ruptured but the two mains were separate and the incidents unrelated.

The water main belongs to Global Water, a private entity. However, employees from the City of Maricopa as well Maricopa Unified School District and Arizona Department of Transportation were also on scene to monitor the situation.

Several cars in a nearby shopping center were moved to avoid any potential water damage.

No serious damage has been reported.

Photo by Mason Callejas
Photo by Mason Callejas

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Julia Gusse will again be on the Maricopa City Council, probably joined by sitting Vice Mayor Marvin Brown. Dan Frank and incumbent Bridger Kimball are trailing.

With a large number of ballots counted and votes tallied the city of Maricopa appears set for change in the coming years.

This election cycle, Maricopans had the chance to vote on four items that have the potential to alter the framework of their city. On the ballot were two local initiatives seeking approval and two city council seats needing to be filled.

In the race for the two council seats Vice Mayor Marvin Brown will apparently remain on the council.

If Brown maintains his lead he said he is happy to continue working to address issues concerning transportation and the flood plan, and that he will do whatever he can to bolster economic growth in the city.

“I’m honored and very grateful for their [Maricopa residents] support,” Brown said. “I look forward to working with the mayor and council and keep trying to bring as much business to Maricopa as we possibly can these next four years.”

Former council member Julia Gusse grabbed a strong early lead overall four candidates and is maintaining her ground with more than 900 votes over third place candidate Dan Frank. Gusse, too, is happy to return to the council and is elated that Maricopa residents have again chosen her.

“We’re excited, we worked hard and obviously the numbers show that,” Gusse said. “I’d like to make sure and get in a thank you for [voters’] support and having the confidence in me.”

Current council member Bridger Kimball is down nearly 1,200 votes behind Julia Gusse, and more than 500 votes behind Vice Mayor Brown.

Poll numbers show one of the initiatives, Prop. 415, the city’s new General Plan, will pass by a landslide of 81 percent. Maricopa Mayor Christian Price said because of their routine nature, city plans usually don’t see much opposition from constituents.

“You never take anything for granted in elections,” Price said. “But at the end of the day it’s a fairly benign thing.”

The second initiative, the education budget override for Maricopa Unified School District, started off behind but only by a slim margin of 96 votes. Maricopa City Council member and champion of the override Vincent Manfredi pointed out the city has attempted to pass similar overrides in the past but they have never started off so close.

“The override itself has been bombarded in Maricopa,” Manfredi said. “It failed numerous times in the past and it failed by a large margin.”

The override now appears to be leaning toward passage with a lead of more than 900 votes.

According to Arizona Secretary of State Director of Communications Matt Roberts there are nearly 53,500 outstanding provisional and early ballots in Pinal County being tallied.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

For Veteran’s Day city of Maricopa businesses and organizations will honor military veterans in a week’s worth of events.

To kick things off Central Arizona College’s Maricopa campus is recognizing veterans by hosting a flag-raising ceremony at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The Maricopa High School Air Force JROTC is scheduled to present the colors and conduct the raising. Guest speaker is Commander Derek Jeske of American Legion Post 133.

On Thursday two of Maricopa’s charter schools, Legacy School and Leading Edge Academy, will similarly be honoring veterans with flag raising ceremonies at 8 and 8:30 a.m. respectively.

For Friday, Veterans Day, the local VFW and American Legion posts plan a flag-raising ceremony and military car show at Maricopa Post 12043. The event, located at 44240 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy., will be visited by State Sen. Steve Smith, Mayor Christian Price and members of the city council. The MHS JROTC will, again, conduct the ceremony which is set to begin at 8 a.m.

Later on Friday, at 11 a.m., the Tortosa Home Owner’s Association will utilize their neighborhood park to host an appreciation lunch for veterans and their families.

Finally, to wrap up the week, the American Legion and VFW will be hosting a 5K run/1 Mile Walk and pancake breakfast on Saturday at Copper Sky Regional Park. Registration for that event starts at 7 a.m. There will then be a flag-raising ceremony at 8 a.m., and the race is set to begin at 8:15 a.m.

Registration for the 5K and pancake breakfast can be done in advance in person at Copper Sky or directly through Terry Oldfield, who can be reached by phone at 847-323-4219, or by email at financeofficer@alpost133az.org.

Maricopans gather in the Copper Sky north parking lot for fresh produce at 2nd Saturday Market November through May.

This fall the City of Maricopa will begin hosting a spruced-up version of its annual 2nd Saturday Market at Copper Sky Regional Park.

The city is expanding the event to include more vendors selling products ranging from jewelry and handbags to coffee and crepes. In an attempt to make the event more engaging, the city will also add entertainment from local music and performing arts acts.

City of Maricopa special events manager Niesha Whitman hopes to go a step further than the typical farmers market by making the event a family-centered outing with attractions for all ages. She believes it should be about more than just buying fresh produce.

“We’re trying to make this a family day,” Whitman said. “We’ve been looking for local entertainers to help make it fun for everybody.”

Some fruits and vegetables will be provided by the Produce on Wheels With Out Waste, and for $10 cash, P.O.W.W.O.W. will provide shoppers with up to 60 pounds of produce.

The city recommends bringing a small cart or cooler with wheels if you are purchasing 60 pounds of produce. There will be volunteers on hand, as the city is partnering with Sequoia Pathway to distribute the produce.

Despite quantities being predetermined, certain types of produce are more abundant than others and thus may run out, so get there early. There will be no substitutions of items.

The events are 8-11 a.m. the second Saturday of each month through January, and 7-10 a.m. February through May.


This story appears in part in the November issue of InMaricopa.

 

 

 

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MHS students Nicole Carpenter, Rylie Gosiak and Reece Thompson weigh in on the General Election.

Maricopa High School’s Junior State of America club hosted a mock election Tuesday, asking students the same questions that are on local ballots. Listen to what some of these young people had to say:

RESULTS

President: Hillary Clinton 44.5%, Donald Trump 32.3% Gary Johnson 11.0%, Jill Stein 8.2 %
U.S. Senator: John McCain, 46.7%, Ann Kirkpatrick 29.1%
U.S. Representative District 1: Paul Babeu 48.3%, Tom O’Halleran 31.8%, Ray Parrish 17.0%
Corporation Commission: Robert Burns 50.6%, Thomas Chabin 49.2%, Andy Tobin 47.2%
State Senator District 11: Steve Smith 56.5%, Ralph Atchue 41.1%
State Representative District 11: Corin Hammond 30.8%, Barry McCain 28.8%, Mark Finchem 23.4%
Pinal County Sheriff: Kaye Dickson 52.4%, Mark Lamb 45%
City of Maricopa Council Member: Marvin L Brown 51.4%, Julia Gusse 45.6%, Dan Frank 40.1% Bridger Kimball 37%
Proposition 205: Yes 65.5%
Proposition 206: Yes 59.3%
Proposition 415: Yes 77.7%
Maricopa Override: Yes 74.6%
The club members would like to thank the many volunteers, faculty, and staff who allowed this event to take place.  Complete elections results will be available soon on the Maricopa High School website.

 

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Maricopa voters casting mail-in ballots are beginning to worry about the legitimacy of the voting process.

Maricopan Joyce Larson, 73, was attempting to request her mail-in ballot this year when she was told by the Pinal County Recorder that she was no longer registered in the state. After some digging, it was determined that she had somehow been re-registered in her home state of South Dakota. The Pinal County Recorder’s Office could not offer Larson an explanation, only saying that they did not have the power to register people in other states.

Larson was able to get re-registered in Pinal County and send an early ballot, but her story does not end there.

Around same time she received her mail-in ballot, she also received a mail-in ballot for her husband Keith Larson. Keith has been deceased since 2014.

Pinal County Recorder Virginia Ross said the system of reconciling the deceased with voter registration rolls is sometimes slow and the recorder’s office, by law, cannot remove someone from the rolls unless they have missed at least two federal elections.

“If he is on the permanent early voting list, and we’re not aware [of his death], then he would get a ballot,” Ross said. “Obviously if someone were to vote his ballot and sign his name, we would know and we would not count that.”

Ross went on to say the recorder’s office is “trained in signature verification by forensic experts,” and their computers are trustworthy.

Joyce Larson understood there may be some clerical shortcomings that may have caused her to receive her deceased husband’s ballot, but nonetheless was still at a loss as to how she was registered in another state. Now, she admits her faith in the democratic system is shaken but it wasn’t that strong prior to the mishap.

“I just don’t trust it [voting],” Larson said. “It was questionable before, now I just don’t know.”

Another Maricopa resident, Jessica Flores, informed InMaricopa she was having trouble confirming through the state website that her ballot had been counted. She then called the Pinal County Recorder’s Office to dig deeper. According to Flores, they again were unable to confirm her ballot had been counted.

“I called 877-843-8683 (Arizona Secretary of State) and they could not find any information, so then I called 520-866-6830 (Pinal County Recorder), lo and behold they [too] have not received it or have counted it,” Flores stated in an email to In Maricopa. “So, they told me to vote at my polling station tomorrow and whichever ballot they receive first will be the one they count.”

Ross said she is so far not aware of any misplaced absentee ballots and all of the inquires she has dealt with concerning lost ballots were settled and confirmed counted. Ross admitted they do indeed recommend to provisional voters who believe their ballots were overlooked to also vote in person if possible, but it must be done at their registered polling place.

“If they are concerned that their ballot has not arrived they can cast a provisional ballot,” Ross said.

As of Monday, Nov. 7, Pinal County has tallied more than 58,000 early voting ballots.

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On the eve of a national election voting Americans who have yet to cast an early ballot will soon approach polls all across the country to decide on what some are considering to be one of the most divisive contests in American political history — Clinton or Trump.

At both the state and federal levels, Arizonans have the potential to make history and turn their traditionally red state into a blue one. They also have the potential to introduce dramatic socioeconomic changes in the form of recreational marijuana legalization and an increase in state minimum wage to $12 an hour by the year 2020.

Tuesday, Maricopans will be deciding these and other measures that may have grand effects on the government and education systems alike. One such measure is the proposed education budget override.

The Maricopa Unified School District override is designed to add technological resources, staff and faculty. Residents in Maricopa have become aware of the budget woes within the school system, and some have begun to take cautionary measures to guarantee their children receive a quality education.

Speaking on terms of anonymity a parent of a Santa Rosa Elementary student informed InMaricopa his child was in a classroom of 45 students with only one teacher and no aide. He said after it became clear their child’s grades began to suffer as a result of the overcrowded classroom they began considering alternatives, such as home school.

Superintendent Steve Chestnut doesn’t deny there is a problem, and recognizes that teachers in the district are on average instructing classes larger than normal.

“Class size is a big deal in our district and it’s larger than we want it to be,” Chestnut said. “That’s one of the primary reasons we have an override on the ballot.”

The override, in his view, will essentially pad the school district’s budget so it can hire as many as 50 new teachers to accommodate the excess of students. With a larger faculty the district will not only be able to reduce the student to teacher ratio in core curriculum classes but also be able to offer additional elective classes at the secondary level.

“It is true that we have some really large classes,” Chestnut said. “I get it, but we can make them smaller.

In 2015 Arizona’s public schools had an average classroom size above the national average of 16.1 students per teacher, with 18.6. That same year, MUSD saw teachers instructing classrooms with an average of 21.8 students. For the 2016-17 school year so far, the average class sizes can be as high as 33 students in some high-school level core classes, and as low as 22 in some first grade classes.

Some education critics cite graduation rates to grade the effectiveness of educational institutions, and then by comparing those numbers with teachers’ incomes, correlate a causality. However, statistics show this may not be true.

In 2015 MUSD had a graduation rate at 85 percent, 9 percent higher than the national average, and an average annual teacher’s salary of $45,262, an amount almost on par with the state average of $46,000. In comparison, Arizona’s neighbor to the north Nevada had a graduation rate at 71 percent in 2014, almost 10 percent less than MUSD, and paid its teachers on average 20 percent more, $55,000 annually.

The district claims the expanded budget will bring new teachers but it will also allow for the hiring of more support staff, like counselors and librarians, and will include money to aid the development of technological learning measures which may have a greater bearing on the quality of education than salaries alone. This extra money plays into what is arguably the most import number in the equation — per pupil spending.

According to the Arizona Auditor General’s annual report for 2015, per pupil spending within the MUSD was $300 less than the Arizona state average of $9,057. Furthermore, a 2015 report from the National Education Association puts the national per pupil spending average at almost $12,000. Nevada, by comparison, spends on average $8,411 per student, $300 less than Arizona.

If the override passes, Chestnut believes it’s easy to see how it will affect students. He said “$1.3 million, divide that by 6,500 students, that’s $200 per student.”

This year’s heated election cycle has pushed the topic of education to the back burner for many Americans, but for Maricopans it still could lie at the forefront of their agenda.

The Edison Pointe development by Vintage Partners includes four major retail spaces, four mini major spaces and four pads.

The Maricopa City Council heard a presentation during their work session on Nov. 1 pertaining to a developer’s reimbursement request for public improvement expenses to the Edison Pointe development site.

The empty retail lot is next to Fry’s Marketplace.

Vintage Partners Leasing Director Casey Treadwell formally requested reimbursement of costs incurred while developing public improvements on John Wayne Pkwy and Edison Road. The improvements are necessary for private development of the 15-acre site but ultimately will be part of public roadway.

The developers have been marketing the project for approximately four years and are close to securing the leases needed to move forward. However, some of the potential tenants have been hesitant to sign their leases until the developers shore up an agreement with the city about public improvement.

“If this reimbursement is in place, we do think that we can execute the final leases with the tenants over the next few weeks and get this project on schedule to deliver and open in the fall of next year,” Treadwell said.

Five major tenants are firm in their intent to lease or purchase property at the Edison Pointe site, Treadwell said. However, two potential major tenants are holding out pending a decision on the reimbursement.

If everything goes well and reimbursements are agreed upon, Treadwell is confident the development could break ground before the end of the year, though he does recognize the agreement could make or break plans for development.

“Without this it would probably push the project into 2018 if we can do it at all,” Treadwell said.

The council went into executive session to discuss details of the request. After returning to the council chambers, Mayor Christian Price and the council advised city staff to pursue negotiations with Vintage Partners and to continue to work out an agreement regarding the reimbursements.

Potential tenants at Edison Pointe, according to Treadwell’s presentation, include a pet supply store, restaurants and other “soft goods” (or clothing) stores.

Field Service and Flushing/Distribution technician Scott Williams flushes a hydrant in the Homestead neighborhood of Maricopa as part of Global Water’s newly revised flushing program. The revision prescribes annually scheduled flushing of hydrants throughout the city to prevent the buildup of sediment that could potentially damage fire department pumping equipment. Photo by Mason Callejas

Municipal water supplier Global Water is in negotiations with City of Maricopa Fire & Medical over an agreement to clean and maintain hydrants within the city, a move aimed to help mitigate risks of equipment rendered inoperable by dirty water.

The private company, which controls and distributes most of Maricopa’s fresh water supply, is working closely with the fire department to reach an agreement about the removal and prevention of potentially dangerous silt and sediment buildup in the city’s hydrant supply lines.

In the past, sediment from hydrants has been identified as a source of problems with MFD’s crucial pumping equipment.

During a call to the public at the regular session of the Maricopa city council meeting Nov. 1, Global Water General Manager Jon Corwin outlined the measures the company is taking to correct the problem, and how after working together over the past year the two parties have likely reached an agreement.

“That agreement has been reviewed by Global Water and sent back to the fire department,” Corwin said. “We’re hopeful that we’re close to signing that agreement.”

In an earlier interview, Corwin said he was never made aware of any recent issues with MFD pumping equipment and that if it had happened it must have happened in the distant past.

“That message was never even communicated to Global Water,” Corwin Said. “So, when that happened exactly I’m not sure, but I know it was not anytime recent.”

Maricopa Fire Chief Brady Leffler, on the other hand, insisted that the incident did happen around a year ago, and that it was reported. Nonetheless, Leffler went on to say that, despite an initial sluggish response from the company, he is happy that Global Water has begun working closer with MFD to address the issue and the two parties were soon to reach a workable agreement.

“Our relationship with Global Water has improved tremendously over the past couple months,” Leffler said. “When we started this process it was very dysfunctional, being a privately owned water company. We had a meeting and it didn’t go well. Since that time we had another meeting that did go well.”

Corwin agreed the meeting was constructive and Global Water has tentatively agreed to continually and systematically flush hydrant lines to prevent any issue in the future.

The proposed agreement would also allow the fire department to go in after the flushing is done to check the hydrants’ functionality as well as assure that non-working hydrants are addressed and reconciled with the Geographical Information Systems public safety standards.

Retired Col. Charles Millar at the Vietnam Aviation Veterans of Arizona museum.

With persistent dissention and rapid dissemination of information in the world today, it’s sometimes hard to maintain perspective of the past and the lessons it provides.

See inside Col. Millar’s museum in the video below (after a word from Ace Hardware)

The historian Arthur M. Schlesinger said, “Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response.”

Wars change the world. From World War I and II to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the world has seen some of most awe-inspiring advancements in technology. Of those, the most monumental achievements would arguably be that of aviation.

In Maricopa (and Arizona), there is a proud and complex military history that personifies this relationship of technology and military history. Some citizens and veterans have taken up the mantle as amateur historians trying to teach the world about these milestones.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Charles Millar is one such historian who is hoping to illuminate the role aircraft played in sculpting modern history while promoting the memory of the men and women who serve and have served in the U.S. armed forces.

Millar established and oversees the Vietnam Aviation Veterans of Arizona museum at his airfield on McDavid Road just west of the city limits. His hangars house relics of aviation from the Vietnam War all the way back to World War I.

“One of my friends came up with the idea that we ought to develop some type of museum to honor Vietnam veterans, because some of them didn’t get the recognition they should,” Millar said. “It kind of grew into a multiservice and multi-era museum, so we honor all services and all service members.”

Millar’s efforts are aimed at keeping the history books open and people reading. He, like many of his generation, fear that by not being part of the Internet age, the efforts of his comrades and colleagues will be lost unless there are places like his museum to catalogue and preserve the stories.

“The intent is just to pass along historical information to the public, and we’re doing the aviation side of it,” Millar said.

The museum often hosts fly-in events that Millar coordinates. Sometimes 40 to 50 aircraft will stop by, ranging in style from vintage bi-wing crop-dusters and trainers to experimental kit aircraft and Korean War era helicopters. Pilots from all over the Valley fly in to mingle and eat a hearty breakfast or lunch. Parents from as far away as Casa Grande and Chandler bring their children out to watch the fly-bys and explore the hangars that house the museum.

Millar moved to the Phoenix area from Southern California in the late 1960s with the military on his mind. He wanted to go to college to become an officer and soon found himself at Arizona State University studying military science. After graduating in 1971 he obtained his commission and began working with and training tank operators.

Millar didn’t operate a single aircraft while in the service; however, from an early age he dreamt of earning his wings. Upon exiting the army Millar got his pilot’s license and started flying small aircraft as a hobby. Some years later Millar moved back to the Phoenix area and, after becoming involved in several aviation organizations, found a piece of affordable land near Maricopa that was right for his airfield.

Millar wanted to find a place that was just far enough away from civilization to be comfortable but still close enough to not be an inconvenience. He settled in and bought the land near Maricopa in 1985. He slowly pieced together his airfield and later his museum. Now he hosts several fly-ins a year for pilots and veterans from all over the state, including one Oct. 15.

In the dusty, late-morning air veterans from the Army and Air Force congregated around tables in one of the hangars and shared stories about their time in the service. Kids climbed in and around some of the antique vehicles and aircraft. All the while the steady sound of propellers chopping the air buzzed across the runway as aircraft came and went, leaping and dancing around the clear blue sky.

A volunteer said Millar once told him that if “at the end of the week if (Millar) has money left in his checking account then there is something wrong.”

That day Millar and his volunteers consistently turned down offers of donations and “tips,” a remarkable characteristic that undeniably is responsible for the vast group of loyal pilots, veterans and friends who fall in order and line up wingtip to wingtip hoping to fly with Col. Charles Millar. It is with his help the history of the armed forces and those that served will be memorialized.

Vietnam Aviation Veterans of Arizona is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

602-571-1059


This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Perry T. Taylor is accused of grappling with an MPD officer. (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa Police Officer was released from a Chandler hospital after sustaining minor injuries during a physical altercation which took place while conducting a traffic stop Oct. 21.

Officer John Soanes initiated a stop at around 6 a.m. on a vehicle that he had seen allegedly driving recklessly down John Wayne Parkway. After following for a short time the vehicle came to a stop in the QT parking lot at Edison Road, where the driver then exited the vehicle and began to engage in a verbal confrontation with Soanes, according to the MPD report.

The driver, a Maricopa man now identified as Perry T. Taylor, refused to provide the officer with identification, and when Soanes attempted to detain Taylor until positive identification could be made Taylor became combative and a struggle ensued, the report stated.

Officer Soanes’s glasses were broken, and he sustained minor injuries during the confrontation but in the end was able to subdue Taylor. Soanes’ injuries were treated at a Chandler hospital, and he was released later that day.

Taylor was arrested and initially charged with five different crimes, including aggravated assault on a peace officer, dangerous driving, criminal damage, failure to identify and failure to comply.

The official complaint from the County Attorney’s Office charges Taylor with assaulting Soanes, a Class 5 felony, criminal damage and failure to comply with a police officer, both Class 2 felonies.

 

 

Michael J. Davis (PCSO photo)

Maricopa Police officers arrested a man on an assault charge after a violent domestic altercation on the morning of Oct. 21 only to later discover that he was wanted for allegedly shoplifting beer from a convenience store the night before.

Thursday night, MPD responded to a report of shoplifting at the Good to Go Gas Station on John Wayne Parkway. The unidentified subject reportedly took two 18-packs of Budweiser beer and fled from the store on foot. Officers searched the area but were ultimately unable to track down the beer bandit, or recover the stolen merchandise.

The following day at approximately 6:20 a.m. MPD made contact with Maricopa resident Michael J. Davis in reference to a domestic violence report. Davis was taken into custody and photographed by the MPD after being charged with assault. He was then transported to the Pinal County Detention Facility for booking.

Later Friday morning, surveillance footage of the convenience store from the night before was obtained and compared to the photos taken of Davis. Police determined Davis was the man being sought for allegedly stealing the brew and thus an additional accusation of shoplifting was made.

Total value of the beer was said to be $27.98, an amount well under the $1,000 floor for felonious theft. However, theft of anything less than $1,000 is a Class 1 misdemeanor in the state of Arizona, a crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Davis could face additional punishment if also found guilty of assault, a crime that carries a potential incarceration period of as little as one month to as much as 15 years, depending on the of severity of the crime.