Authors Articles byMason Callejas

Mason Callejas

Mason Callejas
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Photo by Mason Callejas

It looks like another cool and calm week for Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service. With zero percent chance of precipitation, highs in the mid-70s and lows in the upper 40s, Arizona autumn looks to be in full force this week.

Today looks to be partly sunny and clear with a high around 74 and a low near 48.

Tuesday will likely be sunny and clear with a high around 76 and a low near 49.

Wednesday should also be sunny and mostly clear with a high around 76 and a low near 48.

Thursday again looks to be sunny and clear with a high around 73 and a low near 50.

Friday will likely be sunny and mostly clear with a high around 73 and a low near 49.

Law enforcement officials are seeking information that may lead to the arrest of a suspect in a carjacking in Maricopa Tuesday night.

Maricopa Police Department spokesperson Ricardo Alvarado said the incident took place near the Tacos ‘N’ More on John Wayne Parkway.

According to the report, a woman was sitting in her car near the restaurant around 7:30 p.m. when the suspect approached wearing a Halloween mask and brandishing a handgun.

The suspect, who the woman believed to be male, then demanded her vehicle and forced her from it, Alvarado said. No injuries were reported.

The car, a gray 2016 Kia sport utility vehicle, was last seen heading north on State Route 347 and has not been located since. Investigators are following all possible leads, including surveillance footage from surrounding businesses, Alvarado said.

MPD asks anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspect or the vehicle to contact them on their non-emergency line at 520-568-3673, or to use the MPD smartphone app or website to file an anonymous tip.

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Photo by Mason Callejas

A windy start to the weekend will likely keep things cool even after the winds die down, according to the National Weather Service. With winds gusting as high as 30 mph on Thursday and then calming on Friday, Maricopa could see temperatures as low as the mid-30s and as high as the mid-70 later in the weekend. Zero percent chance of rain is predicted.

Today looks to be sunny, clear and breezy with winds gusting 20-30 mph, a high around 62. The overnight low is expected to be near 34.

Friday will likely be sunny, mostly clear and calm with a high around 62 and a low near 37.

Saturday should be sunny, partly cloudy and calm with a high around 71 and a low near 45.

Sunday looks to be mostly sunny, clear and calm with a high around 74 and a low near 46.

Monday will likely also be mostly sunny, clear and calm with a high around 74 and a low near 46.

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Peggy Chapados was selected the vice mayor on the recommendation of Councilmember Marvin Brown, her predecessor in the seat. Photo by Mason Callejas

A changing of the guard took place within the Maricopa City Council Tuesday during the annual selection of the vice mayor.

The now former vice mayor, Marvin Brown, stepped aside during the council’s regular meeting while simultaneously nominating Councilmember Peggy Chapados to fill the position. She becomes the first female vice mayor of Maricopa.

During the meeting, Brown said he took pleasure in nominating someone whom seven years ago he himself appointed to the Parks, Recreation and Libraries board and now serves as “a trusted colleague” on council.

A native New Yorker who moved to Maricopa in 2006, Chapados said she is honored to have been nominated and to have the confidence of her fellow councilmembers.

“I am just excited to continue representing Maricopa as I have been for the past five years,” she said.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Chapados added she doesn’t have any plans of immediately running for another term upon the expiration of her current term in December 2018. However, she said, she may consider running in the future if the conditions are right.

For now, she said, she wants to finish what she’s started.

“I’m still involved in a lot of different committees and projects, so I want to make sure those get completed.”

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Brian French with his son Kyler, whom he adopted through the Department of Child Safety's foster program.

When it comes to giving back to the community, one Maricopa Realtor doesn’t draw a line between his personal and professional lives.

From taking on the role of a foster parent to going above and beyond to help his clients, Brian French of the Maricopa Real Estate Company tries to take a more benevolent approach to life.

“I’ve helped people move, paid for repairs, watched their kids,” French said. “I just want to help.”

It’s about building those friendships and paying it forward to the community, he said.

French, originally from Omaha, Nebraska, has been in Arizona since 2009 and Maricopa since 2010. Around that time, he was certified as a foster parent. After caring for more than a dozen children, French decided to take it one step further.

In 2011, he began to care for a 6-day-old boy who, in his short life, had already been through an incredibly traumatic circumstance. For French, that was when things started to change.

In Arizona, the Department of Child Safety will make every effort to keep a child with their family, giving parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles the chance to step up, French said.

For this young boy, that was not a possibility.

“He didn’t have anybody. [His mother] didn’t even know who the father was,” French said.

He took that as a bit of motivation and decided to adopt the boy he named Kyler. A year later, the adoption was complete, and Kyler was officially his.

French, at the time of the adoption, was married. But that soon ended. After a grueling battle, French retained full custody.

Being an athlete most of his life, French is a motivated individual with a positive mindset. He said he never let the experience hold him back from giving his son the best possible life. He has since stopped fostering, but not for a lack of trying.

“They [DCS] don’t tend to trust single men, I guess,” French said.

That means he gets to focus on Kyler and devote time to another relationship from which they are expecting a child soon. As his family grows, French’s future as a foster parent seems uncertain. But that’s OK, he said.

For now, he has the flexibility to be there for Kyler.

“I take him with me sometimes when I’m doing business or handing out flyers,” French said.

French said there are countless resources for people who want to foster children but feel like money is a factor, and he is willing to help anyone navigate the complexities of the system.

His advice for those interested in taking on a role as a foster parent but are reluctant to do so because of finances or a fear of the complex system is simple: “Don’t be.”

Maricopa residents Deborah and Carlos Weekly said French was helpful as a Realtor and a parent.

Several years ago, when in the process of facilitating the adoption of their grandchildren, Deborah said French helped the family secure a rental property when other realtors wouldn’t lift a finger, she said.

“He was really open to it,” Deborah said. “And, I found out after meeting with him, that that was because he was also a foster parent.”

Deborah and her husband developed such a bond with French they eventually used him when, approaching retirement, they decided to sell their home and downsize.

Not only is he a wealth of information and support when it came to the foster care system, she added, but his smile and positive attitude are something to behold.

“He’s got a really light and wonderful personality,” Deborah said. “When you see him he’s just a smile.”

Now, she said, they consider him and his son to be part of the family.


This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Julia Perugini with husband Charlie and their daughter Sophia with holiday fare in their Maricopa kitchen. Photo by Mason Callejas

When it comes to following your dreams, one Maricopa resident knows sometimes you have to take a chance, and that sometimes, that risk yields great rewards.

Check out Julia Perugini’s recipe for Brazilian carrot cake below.

This month, 34-year-old Julia Perugini will be featured on Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge. As part of the challenge, she will face off with three other cookie makers from across the country, to compete for a $10,000 cash prize.

Online, she has developed a sizable amount of fanfare and demand for her cookies and cakes, shipping most of her stock out of state. Thanks to social media, she has been able to market and sell her tasty treats, and she has caught the eye of several major players in the baking world, including producers at the Food Network.

The Food Network describes the series: “Host Eddie Jackson welcomes five fabulously festive cookie makers into Santa’s workshop. Judges Kimberly Bailey, Damiano Carrara and Ree Drummond are on hand to taste the creations and decide who will leave the North Pole $10,000 richer.”

Perugini’s professional life began far from the kitchen.

“Some people believe you have to pursue a job as a doctor or lawyer, or something professional,” Julia said. “So, that’s what I did.”

A native of Brazil, Julia actually holds a degree in engineering and spent several years working for mineral exploration companies in her home country, including at sites deep inside the Amazon rainforest.

Julia as a young girl in Brazil. Submitted photo

Like the United States, Brazil was hit by the economic recession of 2008, so she took a chance. Using her savings, she decided to emigrate to the United States via New York, where she hoped to learn more English.

Despite her degree, she found it hard to find work in the Big Apple, something she blamed on her not-so-refined ability to speak the language. So, she took on jobs as a nanny before embracing the skills she had honed growing up in Brazilian kitchens around her home town of Belo Horizonte.

“Originally when she started, it was because she was helping her friend plan a party,” her husband Charlie said. “And then she started doing a little bit here and there and it just kind of picked up.”

Julia and Charlie met shortly after she arrived in New York, and they were married about a year later.

Over the next six years she worked in kitchens throughout the New York area, working in all positions from a short order cook all the way up to private gigs cooking for ritzy families in the Hamptons.

Though her skills cover both the sweet and savory sides of the pallet, her true passion is sweets: “I can cook everything. There is just something about it [cookies and cupcakes] I really love.”

Julia in New York City. Submitted photo

Perugini eventually decided to go into business for herself, baking cookies and cakes. However, with such tight regulations on homebased businesses, she quickly realized New York was not the best launching pad for her dreams.

Pregnant with their daughter Sophia in 2016, Julie and Charlie decided to move someplace easier to pursue her dreams and better suited for their expanding family.

“My husband always liked Arizona and convinced me that here was the best place to live,” she said.

After briefly living in Ahwatukee, the family found the right house in Maricopa and built the business.

Photo by Mason Callejas

“I’m really proud of her,” Charlie said. “She’s basically started from nothing and its almost doubled each year [since].”

Customer Annie Smith said Julia’s Cookies were perfect for her son’s second birthday. “These were adorable and delicious. They were flawless, individually wrapped and arrived right on time. I couldn’t be happier.”

Reviewers also have noted her attention to detail, taste and professionalism.

Not long after settling into their new home, she got word she had been selected for the Christmas Cookie Challenge on the Food Network.

Several years earlier, while living in New York, she had signed up for a similar Food Network competition but never heard anything back. Then in early 2017 she got a call asking if she was interested.

Perugini’s episode will air Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Arizona time.


Instagram: at juliascookiesnyc; Etsy: JuliasCookies

Julia’s Brazilian Carrot Cake

“This is the most traditional Brazilian cake,” Julia said, “it’s very soft, fluffy and delicious!”


  • 3 carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 oz vegetable oil
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 9 oz all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder

Add all wet ingredients plus sugar to blender or mixer until creamy.

Add the flour and blend a little more.

Transfer to a bowl and mix in baking powder gently with a whisk.

Place in a round baking pan, or any baking pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 F

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoon honey

Place in a medium sized pan over medium heat mixing until all ingredients combine and are a caramel-like consistency.

Pour over the cake.


This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

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In 2013, Trisha Sorensen was interim city manager in Maricopa. Tuesday, the city council will decide whether to bring her in again.

To buffer the impacts of an arduous transition process, the Maricopa City Council will vote Tuesday to name an interim city manager, one who formerly held the position.

Submitted photo

During their regular scheduled meeting, council will decide whether to fill the vacancy created by departing City Manager Gregory Rose with former interim City Manager Patricia Sorensen.

Sorensen briefly took the helm in Maricopa in July of 2013 when then-manager Brenda Fischer left for Glendale. Rose was eventually chosen for the position in early 2014 despite Sorensen also being in the running.

At the time, some questioned the decision to pass on Sorensen, citing her more than 30 years of experience in state and municipal administration, most of which has been in Arizona.

She is a graduate of Arizona State University with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

If approved, Sorensen’s employment agreement would be good for six months, beginning Dec. 7 and ending June 6.

Rose will be leaving the Maricopa City Manager post this month for a similar position in University City, Missouri.

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Photo by Mason Callejas

Partly cloudy and mostly calm skies are likely to make for a cool week for Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures should peak in the low- to mid-70s as gentle 10-15 mph winds grace the air around the city for the last few days of autumn.

Today looks to be mostly sunny and calm with a high around 74 and a nighttime low near 42.

Tuesday will likely be partly cloudy and calm with a high around 70 and a low near 40.

Wednesday should be mostly sunny and calm with a high around 71 and a low near 42.

Thursday looks to be sunny and breezy with a 15-mph gusting on and off, a high around 72, and a low near 39.

Friday will likely be sunny and calm with a high around 71 and a low near 38.

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A living nativity will be re-enacted every 30 minutes Dec. 9 outside Community of Hope Church.

Come December, many faithful Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus by installing a creche in front of their home or in public spaces. Typically, nativity scenes are created with scaled-down figures of the manger scene, often lit up at night.

For the past 13 years, one Maricopa church has taken that model and gone a step further.

“We bring the nativity scene to life,” Community of Hope Pastor Rusty Akers said.

In December, the Church will be holding its 14th annual Living Nativity. For one day, typically the Saturday before Christmas, volunteers assemble in an area around the church and portray the nativity scene through live action, Akers said.

Every 30 minutes, for roughly three hours, churchgoers read the gospels, telling the story of the first Christmas.

“It’s kind of come and go,” Akers said. “You don’t have to be there for one show, it’s kind of an ongoing thing.”

They sing carols, enjoy light refreshments and provide activities for the kids.

They have hay bales for attendees to sit on. And if the weather proves to be a bit chilly, they will also provide heaters.

Akers said most actors are pulled from the church’s congregation, even baby Jesus. Some years, that proves problematic.

“We use a live baby every year, so we always rely on somebody in our church to get pregnant and have a kid sometime between August and November,” Akers said, laughing.

When that plan fails, he said, they’ve had to go outside the church to find an infant stand-in.

This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.


What: Living Nativity
When: Dec. 9, 5-8 p.m., every half hour
Where: Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.
How much: Free

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Photo by Mason Callejas

The Maricopa Public Library kicked off the 2017 holiday season with their Holiday Showcase Thursday.

Employees and volunteers greeted library goers with song and holiday snacks, also offering crafts, courier service for letters to Santa and a preview of the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker. The Grinch was on hand to help with crafts and to pose for a few photos with the kids.


Photo by Mason Callejas

Making for a cool Merry Copa and a start to Masik Tas, mild temperatures are in store for Maricopa this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. With little chance of rain, daily-highs in the mid-70s and lows in the mid to high-40s, Maricopans should enjoy a cool and calm weekend for the many events occurring this weekend. See our calendar for more info.

Today looks to be mostly cloudy and calm with a high around 76 and a low near 55.

Friday (Ak-Chin Masik Tas begins) will likely also be mostly cloudy and calm with a high around 77 and a low near 51.

Saturday (Merry Copa) should be sunny, mostly clear and calm with a high around 79 and a low near 49.

Sunday, too, looks to be sunny, mostly clear and calm with a high around 79 and a low near 47.

Monday will likely see partly cloudy skies with a high around 77 and a low near 41.

This year's Masik Tas parade will be a parade of lights for the first time.

As the Ak-Chin Indian Community celebrates its 10th annual Masik Tas celebration, tribal officials remind the community the celebration is about sharing with your neighbors.

Ak-Chin Tribal Council Vice Chairman Gabriel Lopez said it’s always been a tradition to share your bounty with the community.

“What we were taught when we were younger, in any community, is that when you have a good harvest or a good hunt you always share your hunt or your harvest,” Lopez said. “And, that’s the theory behind having everything free.”

The celebration includes several major events including a concert, carnival, rodeo and parade that are free for all, including non-tribal members.

The Masik Tas celebration started 10 years ago when women decided they wanted to expand the tribe’s youth beauty pageant to include young women, Lopez said. They started adding and experimenting with different events until it finally became what it is today.

This year the public celebration will appropriately start with the Miss Ak-Chin and Junior Miss Ak-Chin beauty pageants Dec. 2, followed by the parade Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.

The parade will be a “parade of lights” this year, Lopez said.

Sporting events will also occur the first weekend – Dec. 1-3 – including tournaments for basketball and a native game similar to field hockey known as “Toka.”

Jackpot roping and other rodeo events will take place at various times Dec. 7-10.

Dec. 8, the Carnival and Fun Zone will open at 4 p.m. followed by live music from Clay Walker, Parmalee, Kasey Tyndel and a special mystery guest.

Event dates and times are tentative.

This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

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Clay Walker is the headline entertainer for Masik Tas. Submitted photo

Works by Michael Sullivan, Jo Merrymon and Lori McDonald and many other artists will be on display and for sale at Maricopa Arts Festival, formerly known as Art on the Veranda.

One of Maricopa’s premier art expositions is taking on a new name and face this month.

Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Duke at Rancho El Dorado will be home to 30 of the area’s most gifted artisans and craftsmen for the Maricopa Arts Festival.

Formerly called Art on the Veranda, the festival has been one of Maricopa’s largest and most comprehensive gatherings of local artists. It will take on a slightly different form this year, festival director Kaui Wilson said.

The previous Art on the Veranda organizers took with them their nonprofit status as well as the name, Wilson said. So, this year she is using her own personal business – Kaui Wilson LLC—to facilitate event planning.

Aside from the name change, the addition of the crafts corner and adult drink specials, it’s pretty much the same as before, she said.

Maricopa Arts Festival will again include a variety of artists and media, including oil painters, glass blowers, metalsmiths, jewelry makers, and textile and fiber artists. However, there will be a stronger emphasis placed on the younger crowd.

“It’s about enrichment,” Wilson said. “It’s [also] about supporting our local artists and youth.”

Kaui Wilson is organizing this year’s Maricopa Arts Festival. Photo by Mason Callejas

Wilson said this year’s festival will include a craft corner for kids hosted by high school students to encourage artistic expression in younger people.

The festival will rely on Boy Scouts and possibly Maricopa High School’s JROTC cadets to assist with some of the heavy lifting and logistics at the event.

One of the previous organization’s figureheads moved away, sending the exposition into a bit of a rejuvenation mode. Wilson said in the wake of the transition, nobody was willing to take the wheel. Having experience organizing arts events, Wilson decided to give it a shot.

“Out of 12 people, I was the only one who thought ‘I can’t let it die,’” Wilson said. “This is the only major art thing we have here, so I decided I would bear the burden there.”

Wilson’s own Art and Sip events have taken off around Maricopa, offering aspiring artists a chance to learn the ins and outs of painting while also socializing at local venues like the 347 Grill and True Grit Tavern.

Also on Dec. 9, after the arts festival closes, Maricopa Arts Council will host a symphony, chorus and dance recital at the Maricopa Agricultural Center at 7 p.m.

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Photo by Mason Callejas

After a slight breezy start, this week looks to be mild and calm for Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service. With a 15-20 mph wind gusting Monday and Tuesday and partly cloudy skies, there will be a drop in temperatures.

Today is forecast to be sunny, mostly clear and breezy with winds gusting 15-20 mph, a high around 86 and an overnight low near 44.

Tuesday will likely be partly cloudy and breezy with winds gusting up to 15 mph, a high around 78 and a low near 49.

Wednesday should be partly cloudy and calm with a high around 78 and a low near 48.

Thursday looks to be mostly sunny and calm with a high around 78 and a low near 48.

Friday will likely be mostly sunny and calm with a high around 80 and a low near 47.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Another mild autumn weekend is in store for Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service. With calm and mostly clear skies, highs hanging in the upper-mid 80s and lows in the lower 50s, Maricopans should be comfortable for their post-turkey comas and Black Friday frenzies.

Thanksgiving Day looks to be sunny and mostly clear with a high around 88 and a nighttime low near 51.

Friday is forecast to be sunny, clear and calm with a high around 87 and a low near 51.

Saturday should also be sunny, clear and calm with a high around 87 and a low near 51.

Sunday looks to be sunny and mostly clear with a high around 86 and a low near 50.

Monday will likely be partly cloudy with a high around 84 and a low near 48.

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Suspected of robbing a woman at a drive-through ATM are Kyron Davis, Amber Cruz and Tesla Acosta. PCSO photos

Three suspects have been arrested in connection with an armed robbery that took place at a Maricopa ATM Sunday.

The suspects – one male and two females – allegedly used a firearm to rob a woman withdrawing money at the Bank of America drive-through ATM located on John Wayne Parkway.

According to Maricopa Police Department records, Kyron Davis, 20, Amber Cruz, 21, and Tesla Acosta, 21, allegedly approached the woman sitting in her car at the ATM at around 12:30 a.m. Davis then allegedly pointed a gun at the victim, robbing her of $260 and a cellular phone valued at $800, according to the report from the Maricopa Police Department.

The three suspects were arrested by Chandler Police roughly two hours later after officers were able to track the phone as it “pinged” off cellular towers in the area.

According to the report, “the suspects were stopped by the Chandler Police Department for matching the description of suspects wanted for armed robbery in the City of Maricopa.”

Davis, Acosta and Cruz were all booked into the Pinal County jail on charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault, misconduct involving weapons and reckless endangerment.

Additionally, Davis was charged as a prohibited possessor of a firearm.

Depending on how the charges compound, Acosta and Cruz could face as many as 32 years in prison. Davis, as a prohibited possessor, could face as many as 34 years in prison.

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Photo by Mason Callejas

A week of moderate to warm temps and calm, mostly clear skies will precede Thanksgiving, according to the National Weather Service. The low on Monday of 51 will be overshadowed by the potential highs around 88 on Thursday.

Today is forecast to be sunny and mostly clear with a high around 78 and an overnight low near 51.

Tuesday will likely be mostly sunny and clear with high around 83 and a low near 54.

Wednesday should be sunny and clear with a high around 87 and a low near 56.

Thursday (Thanksgiving) looks to be sunny and mostly clear with a high around 88 and a low near 57.

Friday will likely be sunny and mostly clear with a high around 87 and a low near 55.

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The Challengers Division is a unique part of Maricopa Little League.

One of Maricopa’s lesser-known baseball divisions is closing out its season with a special game Saturday.

Maricopa Little League’s 2017 Challenger Division series will end Nov. 18 in an evening “under the lights” at Pacana Park, league vice president Leslie Isetta said.

Challengers are a subdivision of Little League that allows young people facing physical or mental challenges an opportunity to get dirty and play some baseball, Isetta said.

First established in 1989, the Challenger Division is a coed division that accepts players as young as 4 and as old as 22, if they are still enrolled in school.

Maricopa Little League is not so stringent when it comes to the admission in the Challengers Division.

“We think’s it’s important for every child to have something to do, some sport to play,” Isetta said.

There really is only one sports team in Maricopa that embraces young people with special needs, she said, and the Challengers Division is it. Even in the Challengers Division, the participation is spread rather thin, she said, so most games are more like scrimmages.

Teams can have as many as 15-20 players, according to their website, and here’s how it all works.

The team is essentially split into an offense and a defense, and each player has a chance to bat.

“The side is retired when the offense has batted through the roster, or when a predetermined number of runs have been scored, or when three outs are recorded,” the website states.

Usually it’s tee-ball rules, Isetta said, but if there is someone capable of receiving a pitch, someone will throw the ball.

Players are accompanied by other, older players the league calls Challenger Buddies. Their job is to help the Challenger players on the field by showing them how to throw and where to throw it to, Isetta said.

To keep things light, the league typically doesn’t keep score, and to keep help them feel more a part of the league, they all wear the same uniforms, patches and safety gear, she said.

It’s about teaching them the basics of the sport and how to be a team player and support each other, Isetta said. But, really, it’s about inclusion.

“The whole idea is to give them an opportunity to get out there and play an actual game,” Isetta said.

Saturday at 5:30 p.m. the Challengers will meet for their last game of 2017, and this game will have a bit more jazz to it.

“We want to give them a game under the lights,” Isetta said. “Playing a game is fun, but as soon as those lights go on, for some reason it just feels a little bit more special.”

Little League Collects for F.O.R. Maricopa
Every item you donate will earn 1 raffle ticket for a chance to win a baseball-themed gift basket. Please bring donations to the Board tables set up between fields 3 and 4 at Copper Sky, during any of the games Saturday. The raffle drawing will be held after the final ballgame – Challengers Under the Lights (game begins at 5:30 p.m.).

F.O.R. Maricopa has been serving our community since 2007 and the following is a list of their most needed items:
Instant Potatoes-Boxes
Peanut Butter
Canned Fruit
Canned Tuna/Chicken or Beef
Canned Vegetables
Packaged Dinners-Hamburger/Tuna Helper
Dry Pasta/Rice/Beans
Canned Beans
Canned Tomatoes
Canned Soup
Packaged Desserts
Cleaning Products
Toilet Paper

Photo by Mason Callejas

Mostly clear and calm skies and low daily highs are in store for Maricopa this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Daily highs on Thursday and Friday will linger in the low 80s while the rest of the weekend stays in the upper 70s, making things cool and comfortable well into thanksgiving week.

Today is forecast to be mostly sunny and clear with a high around 85 and a low near 58.

Friday will likely also be mostly sunny and clear with a high around 82 and a low near 57.

Saturday should be sunny and clear with a high around 77 and a low near 54 at a night when a slight wind picks up, gusting 15-20 mph.

Sunday looks to be sunny and mostly clear with a high around 79 and a low near 52.

Monday will likely by partly cloudy with a high around 79 and a low near 53.

John Barrera. PCSO photo

A Maricopa man has been arrested on multiple assault charges after an alleged domestic violence incident Thursday, during which, reports say, he never actually touched anyone.

John Barrera, 51, was booked by the Maricopa Police Department on a total of four counts of aggravated assault after allegedly threatening multiple people with a knife during an argument Nov. 9.

MPD reports allege Barrera was involved in an altercation with another individual inside a Homestead residence during which he grabbed a knife and began “swinging the knife at them” but “did not make contact with anyone.”

One of the witnesses, a minor, corroborated the account, the report says.

Barrera allegedly began yelling and pointing a knife at the witness after they tried to enter a kitchen area to get food, according to the report. Again, the witness said they were able to get away without being hurt.

Both witnesses and the arresting officer stated Barreras made “irrational” and unclear statements during the incident.

Despite never actually making physical contact, Arizona law (13-1204 (B)) states a person need only place “another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury” for it to be considered assault.

Barrera is being held on a $10,000 bond at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center, in Florence.

If convicted on all four charges, Barrera could face more than 16 years in prison.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Temperatures will pick up slightly at the onset of this week and then cool down as the weekend approaches, according to the National Weather Service. Cloudy skies will accompany those elevated temperatures until around midweek when the clouds break and temperatures begin to dip slightly into the low 80s.

Today is forecast to be partly cloudy with a high around 87 and a low near 61.

Tuesday will likely be mostly sunny with a high around 86 and a low near 60.

Wednesday should again be mostly sunny with a high around 84 and a low near 60.

Thursday looks to be sunny and clear with a high around 84 and a low near 58.

Friday will likely be Sunny with high around 80 and a low near 57.

Quintin Baker directs Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship. Photo by Mason Callejas

The director of Maricopa’s small-business incubator presented its third quarter update to City Council Tuesday, during which he proclaimed he would no longer be using certain metrics to measure success despite councilmembers previously requesting more detailed numerical data.

Quintin Baker, director of the Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship, presented its Q3 numbers which showed growth in certain areas such as attendance, social media presence and mentorship. However, he showed the number of clients served, and the jobs created, slipped.

In the Q2 report, Baker reported four jobs created and 39 clients served, but in Q3 there were zero jobs created and 32 clients served.

As such, Baker said he would no longer be providing metrics related to job creation. But, that’s a good thing, he said.

“It’s not that I don’t think it is [important], it’s just that the numbers weren’t there,” Baker said. “The small businesses weren’t showing job growth, and yet they were still showing measurable success and accomplishments along their milestones and things of that nature.”

In terms of average reoccurring attendance at MCE programs, Baker said, those numbers doubled from seven in Q2 to 14 in Q3. Likewise, social media likes nearly doubled from only 894 in Q2, to 1,662 in Q3.

Baker attributed this new-found local awareness to the attention generated by the organization’s recent Pitch Competition.

The winner of that competition walked with a $500 cash prize provided by MCE’s parent organization – The Norther Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET).

MCE also picked up three new mentors, Baker said, something he attributed to that new-found awareness and the fact that people are showing greater willingness to help.

“I think it’s because people know who we are and what we’re about,” Baker said. “People have been wanting to contribute.”

Those businesses, he said, want to help with specific industries and can provide accesses to resources that could significantly improve small businesses.

Members of that new mentor pool now include Councilmember Peggy Chapados and other area community and business leaders.

MCE further accomplished several other tasks Baker said are helping the organization reach its goals, including a Boot Camp and a new Business Advisory Board.

Combined, he said, all of these elements will help MCE not only provide success to others, but also promote its own success and eventual self-sufficiency.

“The whole point of this is to try to get us to a foundation to where we can then be in a position to be self-sustaining, whether through leveraging different funding options or by being able to generate revenue through our programing.”

Baker said he hopes to soon see 15 percent of the MCE’s expenses sponsored by other organizations or companies.

City Hall has already started a search for organizations that could run the business incubator after city council expressed dissatisfaction with NACET. At Tuesday’s meeting, the councilmembers spent very little time questioning Baker.

The developer of multifamily housing is interested in Maricopa.

An apartment developer presented a plan to City Council Tuesday, outlining its intentions of developing affordable multifamily housing structures in Maricopa.

Representatives from the Indianapolis-based Englewood Group discussed with members of council their two-fold approach to multi-family housing and how it may be able to help Maricopa overcome the rental gap in the city.

According to their presentation, 76 percent of renters in Maricopa are cost burdened, earning only 30-50 percent of the Area Median Income. Also, according to the presentation, 33 percent of Maricopa residents earn $50,000 or less per year.

Englewood Group representative Brian Pozen said 97 percent of houses in Maricopa are single-family homes. Based on current market analysis, rental properties in the city have an average rent of $1,376 per month with nothing available for less than $1,000.

This, they said, is where they can help.

Englewood’s approach, Pozen said, would use both market-rate and low-income apartments to fill this need.

Market-rate units would range in cost from $800 for a single bedroom, up to $1,300 for a two bedroom, he said.

Three-bedroom apartments were not discussed.

Low-income units would range from around $700 for a studio to $900 for a two bedroom, he said. To achieve that goal, the company would utilize the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

To qualify for the credit, the complex would have to abide by the qualified Allocation Plan which prescribes that the unit would need to be, among other things, smoke-free, built and maintained efficiently, preserve historical aspects of the region and target low income tenants.

Englewood representative Julia Surak said, this is not “Section 8 housing.”

“You can use a Section 8 voucher, but you don’t need it to live there,” Surak said.

Building the low-income units would take more time, Pozen added. However, he said, Englewood has already signed a “letter of intent” for a property in Maricopa where they hope to construct market-rate units.

Once that property is rezoned, he said, Englewood can begin moving forward with permitting and subsequent construction almost immediately.

To apply for the tax credit, the land must already be zoned for multifamily thus drawing that process out on a longer timeline which they hope would conclude in spring or summer of 2019.

The company also expressed an interest in building a senior living complex. Each complex would contain on average 20 units per acre – 90-110 units per complex.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Maricopa’s first ever Veterans Day parade should see moderate temperatures and mostly clear skies, according to the National Weather Service. The rest of the weekend should see daily highs in the low to mid-80s with little wind and a zero percent chance of rain.

Today is forecast to be sunny and mostly clear with a high around 83 and an overnight low near 59.

Friday will likely be sunny and clear with cloud moving into the area in the early evening, a high of around 84 and a low near 58.

Saturday (Veterans Day) should see mostly sunny and clear skies with a high around 82 and a low near 58.

Sunday looks to be mostly sunny and partly cloudy with a high around 83 and a low near 60.

Monday will likely also be mostly sunny and partly cloudy with a high around 86 and a low near 60.

Still-dirty corners of city facilities have council looking at its cleaning-services contract anew. Submitted photo

The Maricopa City Council batted down the extension of a janitorial contract Tuesday due to what some members said was sub-par service.

The one-year contract, valued at nearly $340,000, was to be granted to Carnation Building Services Inc., the city’s previous janitorial service provider. However, Mayor Christian Price and others on council expressed dissatisfaction with both the quality of service and what they felt was an inadequate bidding process.

“I don’t want to say we haven’t been happy, but I can’t say that we’ve been thrilled with this particular service here,” Price said.

Both Price and Councilmember Vincent Manfredi referenced instances in which both constituents and themselves personally have been to Copper Sky Recreation Complex when the facilities were unusually dirty.

In photos submitted to InMaricopa, areas around Copper Sky can be seen to be only partially clean, with certain surfaces and areas behind furniture left dusty.

Price said one possible solution would be to divide the contract into multiple, smaller contracts. By doing this, he said, it would not only allow for a more fair and competitive bidding process but also may allow for more specialized janitorial services.

The contract currently includes the cleaning of City Hall, Copper Sky, the Fire Administration and Public Works offices and special events.  The broad scope of the contract, Price said, is where the city is going wrong.

“It makes me wonder if we haven’t hindered ourselves by putting together this entire quote, because they’re different things,” Price said.

Price compared it to going to Costco and needing mayonnaise but being forced to buy a tub of mayonnaise because it is all they offer.

“You might save some money in some respects, but you might waste a lot, too,” Price said.

Price suggested separating the contract into basic janitorial services and additional special events and/or Copper Sky services.

Public Works Director Bill Fay said the average number of received bids for any government contract is around 4.2 bids per contract. However, this contract received considerably less than that.

“My understanding is that there were two bids,” Fay said. “One was declared non-responsive, so that left one.”

That number could have much greater, Price said, if the contract were separated so businesses that specialize in offices could bid on a contract that doesn’t include special events or fitness centers.

Furthermore, Price said, by continuing the contract, the city is doing a disservice to paying members of Copper Sky who may notice the unclean areas and decide to discontinue their memberships.

Council ultimately voted to reject the current contract and directed city staff to reconfigure the contract.

Carnation Building Services will likely continue on a month-to-month contract until the matter is resolved.

How are Maricopa seniors responding to having their own recreational space at Santa Cruz Elementary School?

Shirley Moenich


Shirley Moenich: “If you’ve lost a spouse, or you have a spouse in a live-in care center, it’s the best thing you can do. Get out, meet other people, laugh a little bit; it helps get you through the trials and tribulations. People in those situations need that encouragement.”

Mary Freeman

Mary Freeman: “This has been a lifesaver for me. When my husband died, Karen, my daughter, made me do stuff so I wouldn’t just crawl in a hole. And it has been life-changing. Since then, my brother [Norman] started going.”

Norman Wyttenbach

Norman Wyttenbach [Mary’s brother]: “I was 74-years-old and I would recline on my bed, and that’s basically where I lived. Then she started dragging me to pinochle, because I like to play pinochle. So, I’m out of the house, it’s got me out talking to people and meeting new people.”

Lynn Grant

Lynn Grant: “It’s nice to have a place where people can meet other people. [I don’t want] people to sit at home and say, ‘I haven’t met anyone in Maricopa.’ You have to get out and do something. So, this is perfect.”

Karen Wilson [Mary’s daughter]: “I like this facility. This is what the city busted their butt to get for us. It’s clean, its accessible. But, I have bigger visions for it. I’ve

Karen Wilson

only been here a year, but I would like to see more than just games here.”

The senior rooms at Santa Cruz Elementary are open Monday-Friday excluding holidays. Drop-in is from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Park in the north lot and proceed to the back of the building at the chain-link fence. Doors to the senior rooms are at the back of the school. Organized activities throughout the week include pinochle, canasta, farkel and the Creative Sisterhood. Check out the calendar at

This item appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Maricopa County has issued an arrest warrant for Andrew Chamber, whom officials believe is in this footage of a break-in a local Islamic center. Submitted photo

An arrest warrant has been issued for a man sought for his alleged involvement in the burglary of Islamic worship centers in both Maricopa and Chandler in March.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich handed down an arrest warrant Nov. 3 for Andrew Charles Chambers for allegedly breaking into the Islamic religious centers and stealing money from donation boxes.

Detectives from both the Maricopa and Chandler police departments reviewed surveillance footage from both mosques and were able to identify Chambers as the alleged burglar, the AG’s office said in a press release.

On the evening of March 30 and morning of March 31, Chambers allegedly broke into the Masjid Bilal Rabah Mosque in Maricopa and the Islamic Center of the East Valley in Chandler and stole an unknown amount of money.

Though neither mosque could say the exact amount stolen, charges indicate that somewhere between $2,000-3,000 was taken from one site, and less than $1,000 was taken from the other.

The warrant, issued out of Maricopa County Superior Court, contains a total of eight charges against Chambers – two counts of third degree burglary, class 4 felonies, two counts of possession of burglary tools, class 6 felonies, two counts of aggravated criminal damage, class 6 felonies, and two counts of theft, one class 5 felony and one class 1 misdemeanor.

If convicted, Chambers faces up to seven years in prison.

Chambers is wanted by authorities in both Alabama and Virginia for allegedly committing similar crimes, the release said. He was arrested in 2013 in Virginia for allegedly breaking into a Woodbridge mosque but fleeing after realizing the building was occupied. He was described as 6-foot-4, 225 pounds and at the time was driving a truck with North Dakota plates.

His whereabouts are currently unknown.

Authorities claim he could be using multiple aliases including Martin Andrew, Flint Frank, Andy Chambers, Flint Franks, Steven Franks, Andrew Ghambers and Flint O’Neil.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Chambers is urged to contact the Arizona Attorney General’s Office or the Maricopa and Chandler Police Departments.

Submitted photo

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

Lawyers representing the private racetrack Apex have filed a complaint against a political action Committee that took Apex to court.

The complaint, filed with the City of Maricopa by the lawfirm of Coppersmith-Brockleman, targets the group that took both the city and Apex to court in recent months regarding the company’s planned racetrack in Maricopa.

In the complaint, attorneys representing Apex argue the group known as Maricopa Citizens Protecting Taxpayers, acting as a political action committee, broke Arizona state election law when officers failed to file campaign finance reports.

By not filing a campaign finance report in both July and October of 2017, the complaint says, MCPT violated A.R.S. 16-927 and 16-927 in not disclosing who paid for the “disbursement” of funds used to pay for “petition circulation and litigation that should have been captured on such reports.”

Second, the complaint says, the committee further violated state law A.R.S. 16-906(B)(1)(b) when it failed to identify in its name its “sponsor’s name or commonly known nickname.”

“As a consequence, the Committee never registered and properly formed as a committee, and has been improperly operating in the city,” the complaint says.

According to the complaint, “the Committee is clearly the brain child and outsourced operation of Mr. Erickson.”

During a hearing regarding another lawsuit filed against the city and Apex by Maricopa resident Bonita Burks, lawyers for Burks denied allegations claiming that Dan Erickson and his company – Danrick Builders – are behind the Burks lawsuit.

However, in a Sept. 26 letter to the Maricopa city attorney, Burks’ lead counsel, former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods said both Burks and Erickson wish to settle the matter.

“This letter is to confirm that the parties currently opposing the Apex development are, and have been, willing to discuss settling this matter in an amicable way,” Woods wrote. “I have spoken to Ms. Burks and with Daniel Erickson to get his feedback on an approach to put this controversy to rest.”

Erickson also mentioned Burks in an Oct. 10 letter to Pinal Central, claiming it was never Burks’ intention to “prevent Apex from opening; they merely wanted more due diligence done and proper procedures followed in processing the conditional use permit.”

Because of this connection, Apex attorneys believe they have evidence of collusion between Erickson and the two opposition parties that filed separate suits against the city and Apex.

“Indeed, it is now clear that the Committee’s activities were but one piece of a comprehensive strategy employed by Danrick and its principal, Mr. Erickson,” the complaint states.

A Pinal County Superior Robert Olson originally issued a judgment in favor of MCPT Aug. 9. However, both the Arizona Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court latter sided with the city and Apex, tossing out the lower court’s ruling.

In Burks’ case, a Sept. 13 judgment by Olson ruled her suit lacked “standing.”

Burks filed an appeal Nov. 1 and is awaiting judgement.

“As with its failure to file timely campaign finance reports,” the Apex complaint says, “the effect of the Committee’s noncompliance with governing campaign finance laws serves only to conceal from the people of the City the identity of those who have meddled in its administrative affairs at great expense.”

Tina and Michael Hoehler lead an anonymous group of individuals dealing with the addiction of a loved one at Maricopa PAL. Photo by Mason Callejas

Addiction is a disease that does not often discriminate based on age or social strata.

Teachers have addicts for students. Students have addicts for teachers. Parents have addicts for children. Children have addicts for parents. Spouses have addicts as partners. And, sometimes, when you look in the mirror, an addict is staring right back.

For two Maricopa parents, the struggle to confront a loved one’s addiction left them feeling isolated. When Tina and Michael Hoehler finally realized their somewhat-guarded coping mechanisms weren’t working, they changed their approach.

The two had struggled with the harsh reality of loving an addict for several years, attending support groups like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. But none of the tools they were taught or advice they were given provided them with that final piece to the puzzle they needed so desperately.

Then they found the program they said might have saved their loved one’s life – Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL).

“It taught us how to set boundaries,” Tina said. “And how to stick by them.”

Soon after, they both saw how setting and enforcing those boundaries allowed their loved one to also make a change.

“When you begin to make changes, they see that and they change,” she said.

PAL not only helped them establish those boundaries, but it helped them open up and share their personal experience, they said.

It changed their mindset so much, they decided to bring PAL’s tenants of “education” and “support” to Maricopa.

“I wanted other parents to know that they’re not alone, and that’s exactly how you feel, alone.” Tina said. “Sometimes you choose it [to be alone], sometimes it just happens.”

Now, every Monday evening PAL meets “to receive support from, and give support to, others who are facing the same challenges.”

PAL is not unlike Al-Anon and Nar-Anon in that it provides a network and support. However, Michael said, PAL allows something the others do not – crosstalk.

“It allows people to have conversations, personal conversation,” Michael said.

One of the biggest differences, Tina said, is the education.

“I can spout off all statistics about drug abuse, but what good is that,” she said. “People need actual knowledge they can use.”

Each week, PAL offers lesson plans to provide attendees with tools to better understand themselves and, in turn, improve the lives of their loved-ones.

Lesson plans range from delayed emotional growth and transitional living to healthy helping and enabling.

“Understanding [these topics] is the difference,” Tina said.

For more information, visit or stop by PAL’s weekly meeting on Mondays, 7-8:30 p.m., at 19395 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 16, on the second floor at the Maricopa Behavioral Health Services office. 

This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

FamiliPhoto by Mason Callejases gathered for outdoor fun Friday at Copper Sky. Photo by Mason Callejas

Copper Sky Regional Park hosted a Family Camp Out on Friday. Families brought tents and overnight provisions and connected through campfire stories, a scavenger hunt and an outdoor screening of Moana.