Authors Articles byScott Bartle

Scott Bartle

Scott Bartle
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InMaricopa’s publisher began his career in sports marketing, producing and marketing Association of Tennis Professionals Tour events in Indianapolis and Scottsdale. He served as marketing coordinator for the Super Bowl XXX Host Committee prior to joining the Maricopa County Sports Commission where he spent four years as its assistant executive director. Since 2000 Scott has served as president of Outside the Box Marketing, Inc. Scott is former president of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board and IU Alumni Club of Phoenix and a member of the Knights of Columbus and Sigma Chi Fraternity. Scott is a graduate of Indiana University, Valley Leadership, Project CENTRL and the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy. A native Hoosier, Scott has lived in the Phoenix area since 1977 and in Maricopa since 2004.

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Sen. John McCain

Sen. John McCain impacted countless Arizonans. The Bartles are among them.

Scott Bartle, InMaricopa publisher

Sen. McCain offered my brother an appointment to the United States Naval Academy and, as my dad says, “dramatically changed the course of our family’s life.”

Coincidentally, Sen. McCain finished what he started when he delivered the commencement address for my brother’s graduating class in 1993. His speech in many ways paralleled the man – witty, humble, patriotic, prophetic, selfless and timeless.

And it’s worth a read.

 

Thank you, Admiral Lynch, Secretary-Designate Dalton, Admiral Kelso, General Mundy, members of the Board of Visitors, members of Congress, fellow midshipmen of the Class of 1958, distinguished guests, families and friends. And thank you, midshipmen of the Class of 1993.

To say that I am very grateful to be asked to address you is a gross understatement. In my life, I have never known a greater honor . . . nor one so unexpected.

Thirty-five years ago, I sat where you sit today, listening to my Commander-in-Chief, Dwight David Eisenhower. If one of my classmates had suggested then, that I might someday enjoy the same privilege as President Eisenhower, I would have had very grave doubts about his suitability for future command. My old company commander, Captain Hunt, who for four years devoted himself to tracking my nocturnal sojourns outside the walls of the Academy, would have certainly shared my skepticism.

But America is a land of opportunity where anything is possible. And my being given this honor proves it. In gratitude, and in memory of that occasion thirty-five years ago, I intend to keep my remarks brief. I suspect you have other plans for the day which you would prefer to commence sooner rather than later.

You have all completed four years of rigorous, difficult instruction, and are about to begin your careers as officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. I want to first congratulate all those midshipmen who distinguished themselves as leaders of your class.

Those of you who do not enjoy that distinction deserve congratulations as well. Although academic and other honors may have eluded you, the standards here are such that simply surviving the four years reflects great credit on your ability and dedication. I say that with all sincerity.

My four years here were not notable for individual academic achievement but, rather, for the impressive catalogue of demerits which I managed to accumulate. By my reckoning, at the end of my second class year, I had marched enough extra duty to take me to Baltimore and back seventeen times – which, if not a record, certainly ranks somewhere very near the top.

All of you represent as a class the very best of America’s most precious resource – her youth. You have been educated in a tradition which I believe still ranks among the noblest endeavors of humankind. You have been imbued with a sense of duty and honor which is the American ideal, and the premise for much of our enduring legacy to the world.

In 1970, my father stood where I stand today. I would have greatly enjoyed attending that graduation had I not been otherwise engaged at the time. I imagine, however, that he told you in different words what I will tell you today: On your shoulders, America now places our most treasured hopes and our gravest cares.

With your commissions come responsibilities so immense and so important that the lives of all Americans and the welfare of much of the world will be directly affected by how well you discharge them. I have every confidence that you will acquit yourselves with distinction.

My confidence is not an empty conceit for how I first made my own way in the world. But it is rooted in my experiences as the progeny of admirals, as an Academy midshipman, as a naval officer, as a witness to heroism.

My grandfather was an aviator. My father, a submariner. Most of my heroes, the people whom I have admired above all others have made their living at sea in defense of their country’s cause. For much of my life, the Navy was the only world I knew. It is still the world I know best and love most.

I know the character of Americans who take up arms to defend our nation’s interests and to advance our democratic values. I know of all the battles, all the grim tests of courage and character, that have made a legend of the Navy and Marine Corps’ devotion to duty.

When he addressed the Class of 1970, my father, who knew well the price of freedom, observed the noble heritage which the midshipmen were entering by directing their attention to the sacrifices borne by their predecessors.

“The historic battles in which they fought are recorded on both sides of this beautiful stadium,” he said.

“Their names are memorialized on plaques on the back of seats now occupied by your families and friends. These officers were imbued with a sense of loyalty and dedication which scorns vacillation and doubt.”

I know that the character of which my father spoke is formed from many experiences. But I know also that you here today have been inducted into a tradition where you are expected to hold to the highest standards of honor in every aspect of your life. That is your advantage over other men and women. And that is why your country expects so much of you.

You have been taught much of what is necessary to lead other men and women in war and peace. You will learn much more from your approaching experiences. As ensigns and second lieutenants, the character of the young sailors and marines entrusted to your care will be formed in large part by their appreciation of your character.

You are where leadership begins. You are the models who stand just past the sergeants and chiefs, and those under your command will derive from your behavior the direction of their own lives. Their firm respect for you, on which their lives and our security will depend, will be determined by how faithfully you keep, on duty and off, the code you learned here.

This responsibility is yours for every waking minute of every day that you wear an officer’s uniform. When you forget your duty, others will suffer, but you will be called to account. If you dishonor yourself, you will dishonor your service.

In other walks of life, human failings may pass unnoticed. In our walk of life, their consequences are almost always devastating.

They may lead to the breakdown of good order and discipline because you disillusioned those who were inclined to follow your example. They may lead to the death of fine young men and women who were obliged to put their faith in your leadership. They may even threaten the trust of the people you are sworn to defend, and undermine the exquisite relationship between civilians and the military in a democratic society.

Such was the case in the recent Tailhook scandal. Such is also the case when we forget, even momentarily, our requirement to respect and obey our civilian commanders. When the American people elect a leader to govern the affairs of our great nation, our respect for their authority must remain inviolate. For it is that respect from which our profession derives so much of its nobility in a democracy.

Your commanders and instructors have worked hard to impart these lessons to you. Your constant remembrance of them will sustain you through long months at sea, long separations from family and friends; through the terror of combat, through grave injury, cruel imprisonment and even, if so required, unto death.

You know as well as I, that the world in which you take your commissions is an uncertain one. I have always tried to follow the advice of that venerable philosopher Yogi Berra, who said “never make predictions, especially when you’re talking about the future.”

But there are a few things I can venture an opinion on with some degree of confidence. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, we have overcome a single massive threat to our security — a massive threat, but a reasonably predictable one.

But the world remains a dangerous place. And you will sail into a world where the threats to our security and our values are more numerous, more varied, more complex and, at times, much more obscure.

Yours is a world where power projection must become the essence of our national defense. The Navy and the Marine Corps will form the core of that strategy. The United States has exerted military force 240 times since the end of World War II. Eighty percent of those occasions involved the use of sea power. That percentage will almost certainly increase in the future.

We have seen the efficacy of U.S. military power in this new era displayed in Panama, in the Persian Gulf, and in Somalia. But we have also seen conflicts that reveal the limits of that efficacy, and for which we have few, if any, viable military answers. Such is the case in the horrible tragedy of Bosnia.

This will be a difficult world to stabilize, much less pacify. It will be difficult to anticipate the level and direction of threats. It will be difficult at times to distinguish friend from foe. It is a daunting challenge to protect our most vital interests in such a world. It will prove even more difficult to secure the success of liberty amidst the new uncertainties and recurring hostilities of our time.

But be assured, you will be called upon to do both. For we know how important our armed forces have been to advancing the just influence of our values. The Iron Curtain did not collapse by accident. The triumph of freedom in the world today is a direct consequence of the blood shed by those who have gone before you in battles too numerous to mention. Their sacrifices protected more than a narrow definition of our national interest. They served, in Lincoln’s words, as “a beacon light of liberty” to the most oppressed societies on earth.

One of the most compelling illustrations of the power of their sacrifice occurred four years ago in a Prague square, when a young Czech worker stood before a million of his countrymen, while two hundred thousand Russian troops occupied his country, and, trembling with emotion, read a manifesto that declared a new day for the peoples of Eastern Europe. But he began that new day with borrowed words when he proclaimed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Now, you are the shield behind which marches the enduring message of our own revolution. As I have said, it will be no easy task. But I trust in your willingness and your ability to undertake it.

I hold that trust in deference to my memories of this place, to the men who preceded me here, and to the men and women who followed me. We all shared with you that sense of duty and honor which, as my father said, scorns vacillation and doubt. Here we learned to dread dishonor above all other temptations.

Soon after I became an involuntary guest of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, my hosts tried to persuade me to make a tape recording in which I would denounce my country’s cause. When I resisted, they entreated me to do so by promising me that no one would know of my disloyalty. I responded, “But I would know. I would know.”

Virtually all of my comrades who shared my situation responded in the same way.

There may be times in your life when the consequences of your devotion to duty are so dire that you will be tempted to abandon it. There may be times when truly only you will know. But you will resist. I know you will. I know this because I have seen how profoundly human strength is empowered by the standards of our tradition.

You see, I have spent time in the company of heroes. And I was raised on tales of surpassing courage and selfless devotion to duty. I have seen and heard of Americans who overcame extraordinary challenges on behalf of their country in struggles almost mythic in their dimensions.

I have seen aviators hurled off the decks of pitching ships, fly powerfully into grave harm, vastly beyond the bounds of normal human caution.

I know well the gunners’ stories of having choked back horror to face bravely the attacking kamikaze.

I have heard the tales of men, fathoms down, blind to the rest of the world, prowling the treacherous battlefields of the ocean depths in combat so terrifying it passes much of human understanding.

I stood on the deck of the carrier Forrestal, and watched the crew of that magnificent ship answer their summons to heroism, as one hundred and thirty-four of their number perished while fighting a fire that nearly consumed the ship. They fought all day and well into the next, with the tenacity usually reserved for hand-to-hand combat, and they saved the Forrestal.

I have seen the swift boats roar into harm’s way, vulnerable even to small arms fire, and defenseless save for the quick instincts and steel nerves of their crews.

As an adolescent, I heard men talk in whispered awe of a bleak, frozen terrain where the Marines of the First Division had struggled yard by yard, endured the sharp bite of Siberian winds to smash through seven enemy divisions. Their determined ferocity ranked their retreat from the frozen Chosin in the first order of honored American battles.

I have met the fierce warriors called SEALS, whose desperate fights occur beyond the reach of their nation’s artillery, and beyond the limit of human endurance.

I have watched men suffer the anguish of imprisonment, defy appalling human cruelty until further resistance is impossible, break for a moment, then recover inhuman strength to defy their enemies once more.

All these things and more, I have seen. And so will you.

I will go to my grave in gratitude to my Creator for allowing me to stand witness to such courage and honor. And so will you.

My time is slipping by. Yours is fast approaching. You will know where your duty lies. You will know.

God bless you. Semper Fi. Fair winds and following seas.

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InMaricopa Publisher Scott Bartle

The Maricopa Chamber bestowed a great honor upon InMaricopa at its annual awards banquet Jan. 20. We are very proud to be named Business of the Year by our fellow chamber members.

We joined the chamber 15 years ago and have been working tirelessly to serve our community since. Our journalists are passionate about informing Maricopans and our advertising team is equally passionate about helping local businesses succeed. It’s awesome for them to be recognized by our fellow chamber members with this prestigious award.

Raquel, Michelle, Mason, Vince and Chance, congratulations and thank you! You deserve this honor, and I hope you are as proud of yourselves as I am of you. I also celebrate the work of your predecessors, from Joyce to Dick and everyone in between who helped lay a positive foundation for our company.

Though our analytics and survival skills – not many pre-recession Maricopa startups are still serving and employing Maricopans today – indicate our publications are well-read, it is extremely gratifying to be recognized by the community in this way. Our team’s intrinsic rewards come from fulfilling our mission of informing readers/viewers and enriching advertisers. Being recognized publicly for those efforts is exceptionally meaningful.

Without our readers supporting our advertisers, and our advertisers supporting us, we would not be able to provide what we believe is an invaluable benefit to our community. We are proud our first two sponsors, Orbitel Communications and Harrah’s Ak-Chin, still see value in advertising with us today, and we cherish every new relationship developed a decade and a half later. Thank you for your support!

We are proud to be the recipient of an accolade named after the late Bill “Waz” Wasowicz, who contributed selflessly to his community and chamber. We appreciate The Maricopa Real Estate Company for sponsoring the award, the chamber for hosting it, Terri Crain for nominating us and all chamber members who voted for us.

Thank you for all your readership, and support.


Scott Bartle is founder and publisher of InMaricopa.

Scott Bartle is learning more every day thanks to his new family: John, 2, Neil, 4, and Colleen.

I’m a bit of a business geek, and I like to learn new “tricks of the trade.” With upwards of 1 million business books published annually in the United States alone, there is no shortage of learning opportunities. However, given I read about as fast as I run these days, I’m forced to complement self-help books with other resources.

I discovered two such resources in the most unlikely of forms and places – a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, under my own roof.

I got married in March and was lucky enough to acquire two terrific toddlers in addition to a wonderful wife. Having spent the last two decades or so living alone, I am acutely aware of the many changes my new roommates and lifestyle have brought. While I am very new to parenting, I find many strategies parallel what we do – or should do – as business executives.

1. Be a “yes” (wo)man. One parenting theory presented to me was to “never say no.” That may be effective for some families, but it lasted about six minutes in my household. Nonetheless, a related tip from my mom – say yes whenever possible – applies to kids (and spouses) and coworkers.

There will inevitably be those times when you must yell “NO!,” whether literally when your toddler reaches for a hot stovetop, or figuratively when an employee wants to implement a new program you know will create chaos for your company. But when presented with opportunities you are reasonably confident will not harm your kids or company, try to say yes. Encouragement and acceptance will yield greater results for your people (however short) than discouragement and denial.

2. Create structure. I’m a process-oriented guy and see value at work and home by having structure. Kids thrive with it, and it’s important your staff know your standard operating procedures. It helps manage expectations and allow your people to focus on what they do best – even if that’s playing with Hot Wheels and Legos.

3. Hold them accountable. A vital offshoot of structure is accountability. Accountability is not limited to top-down parent-child or supervisor-subordinate relationships. Every person privy to the successful operation – including spouses and teachers, and customers and vendors – should be held accountable to agreed-upon expectations. Of equal import, you need to create a culture in which your kids, spouse, employees, customers, et al., are compelled to hold you accountable, too. 

4. Set clear expectations. Speaking of expectations, it is unfair and ineffective to hold them accountable to expectations that were not articulated clearly. In the workplace, creating a culture in which your people speak up if there is any confusion is helpful, but be mindful common sense is not really that common – it’s different for everyone – so never take the communication piece for granted. At home, it may require getting down to toddler-level and asking your child to repeat the directive to ensure everyone is on the same proverbial page.

5. Ignorance is bliss. There have been many “if I knew then what I know now” days in the last 17 years that may have prevented me from starting my first business. Similarly, a little naivety of what it takes to be a great parent is not a bad thing. Ignorance can indeed be bliss; and contribute to receiving incredible gratification.

6. Consider short- and long-term financials. A very short time ago, I only had myself to worry about financially. Now, the importance of monthly budgeting, retirement planning and figuring out how to feed, educate and protect a family in between is paramount. While there are countless hiccups in business as in life, paying close attention to your financials and creating balance between and alignment with your current needs and long-term vision are important.

7. Prioritize. You cannot get it all done, so quit trying. Be realistic with what non-mission-critical activities you can take on, and prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.

8. Be productive every (quiet) moment. There aren’t many at work or home, but quiet times are imperative for getting caught up (and, one day I hope, getting ahead). I try to maximize every minute when the kids go to bed. Productivity during this precious time could be different for everyone; for my wife and me it ranges from laundry and kitchen detail to exercise and computer work. It could be getting one’s “zen” time in front of a TV or book.

At the office, I have to be intentional about creating the quiet time by blocking time sans interruptions to focus on high-priority tasks. I’ve always had the luxury of “tonight” or “this weekend” to address the overload at work; not anymore!

9. Celebrate small victories. I’m trying to turn a professional liability into a parenting asset by celebrating small victories. I recognize more than ever how important wins of any size are to people of any size. Positive reinforcement is really important, so make sure your people at home and work know they’ve “done good.”

10. Delegate effectively. Another bane of my Type-A existence is delegation. I know I can’t achieve my goals for my business or family without it, yet it’s oftentimes hard for perfectionists to let go. While getting more done is always a goal, giving your kids/staff more responsibility and opportunities to learn will yield great and long-lasting benefits.

A corner piece to the delegation “puzzle” is giving them the freedom (traditional toddler stalling tactics excluded) to accomplish the task their way. As evidenced by my asking our 2-year-old to clean up the water he spilled recently, it may take some cajoling (I mean leading) and will certainly be done in a manner and timeline that differs greatly from the process I’d use, but let your kids and employees use their own brains to problem-solve. (But be available to get them back on track if they stray too far.)

Being a business owner makes me a better parent. I’m optimistic being a parent will make me a better business owner, too.

Scott Bartle is publisher of InMaricopa.


This column appears, in part, in the July issue of InMaricopa. 

InMaricopa Publisher Scott Bartle

Maricopa is at a tipping point. Are we going to be the flourishing community with quality amenities, local jobs, great educational opportunities and low taxes many of us envision?

Do you want to have more stores and services in Maricopa?
Do you want to have employers bring more jobs to Maricopa?
Do you want your property values to increase?
Do you want your tax burden to decrease?
Do you want our kids to have the best educational opportunities possible?

If you answered yes to ANY of these questions, you should vote YES on Maricopa USD’s override proposal.

A key to attracting industry to Maricopa is great schools. Businesses will not locate here if they cannot recruit talent, and one of the first questions potential employees – a.k.a. moms and dads – ask is “How are the schools?”

The same principle holds true for homebuyers. Great schools increase the demand for and value of homes in the area.

Improving education in Maricopa will result in more businesses locating in the city providing services and jobs. The increase in commercial development will also increase demand/value for our homes. Importantly, it will also bring in more and larger taxpayers, decreasing the tax burden on Maricopa property owners.

Often overlooked in the override debate is the impact of quality education itself. Maricopa Unified School District is developing our community’s future doctors, police officers, mechanics, teachers and paramedics. I do not want my family to be beneficiaries of such services with these professionals having received a less-than-optimal education.

The Arizona Legislature, led by our own District 11 legislators Sen. Steve Smith, Rep. Mark Finchem and Rep. Vince Leach, will continue to do everything in its significant power to divert our public schools’ limited financial resources to private and charter schools. Passing this override will help protect our investment in public education and ensure Maricopa’s neighborhood schools have the resources to be successful.

MUSD is a “B” district. Let’s do our part to give them the ability to become an “A” district and totally transform our community. We – kids, parents, taxpayers, property owners, employees and employers – will all win when our community flourishes with quality services and amenities, local jobs, great educational opportunities and low taxes.


Scott Bartle is InMaricopa’s publisher and former MUSD governing board president.

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Unofficial numbers indicate Republican Mark Lamb and Democrat Kaye Dickson will face each other in the general election in the race to be Pinal County's next sheriff.

Republican Mark Lamb and Democrat Kaye Dickson dominated their respective primaries Tuesday and will face off in the General Election to determine Pinal County’s next sheriff, according to unofficial election results.

Lamb, a former Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputy endorsed by the Pinal County Deputies Association, earned 62 percent (13,165) of the 21,275 votes counted as of midnight. He beat PCSO Chief Deputy Steve Henry (8,110 votes), who was trying to succeed his boss, Sheriff Paul Babeu, a candidate for U.S. Congress.

I couldn’t be more ecstatic,” Lamb said. “It makes me happy to see the people of Pinal County recognize the need for change.”

He credited “great volunteers” as the key to his success.

Dickson is a 30-year Pinal County law enforcement veteran whose jobs included PCSO deputy, sergeant and commander. She beat Maricopa resident Kevin Taylor, who also ran for sheriff in 2012 and justice of the peace in 2014, 62 percent (7,425 votes) to 38 percent (4,530).

“It feels great,” Dickson said, adding “The real challenge happens now.”

“I always ran this race with an eye on the finish line, which is Nov. 8,” Dickson said. “It’s never been about the party; it’s about the people.”

Despite being Lamb and Dickson being political newcomers – or maybe because of it – indications are Pinal County residents are in for a general election campaign rooted in respect and civility.

“I believe we have a lot of respect for each other,” Dickson said. “I anticipate it being a very clean campaign.”

Looking ahead to the next phase of the campaign, Lamb was quick to compliment his new opponent: “Kaye works hard … We’re going to have to work hard, too.”

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InMaricopa Publisher Scott Bartle

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. passionately professed these words in 1963, more than half a century ago and before most Maricopans were even born.

I’ve long held strong opinions about racism in America, and King’s speech is a significant part of the foundation to which I often refer.

The recent police-involved shootings and murders of police officers motivated me to consider doing more than hold my opinions. I had breakfast with a friend who is smart, politically savvy and black. I quizzed him about his views on these current events and what appears to be a growing racial divide in America. One of my takeaways was the importance of our individual roles in being part of the solution.

While tremendous progress has been made – most of it in the latter half of the 20th century – racism still exists today. It’s prevalent even, and that disgusts me.

It disgusts me in large part because it’s self-inflicted. We choose to have a racist society. And we teach it to our children, who will likely teach it to their children, perpetuating a horribly-flawed mindset with the power to dismantle families, communities and our nation.

How many of the kids we see on the playgrounds of our elementary schools are concerned with the color of their schoolmates’ skin? None. Kids see kids as kids; not black kids or white kids or brown kids, just kids.

Yet, at some point, for some people, that simplistic view of life changes. The change is undoubtedly aided, if not caused, by the influence of others. I count politicians, community activists (whatever that means), the Al Sharptons of the world and the media among these influencers. (I cannot bring myself to call some of these people leaders.)

Our politicians claim to be unifiers on the campaign trail, but after we elect them, their political rhetoric and policies often do more harm than good. The media enable self-serving opportunists like Sharpton on the national stage and Arizona’s Jarrett Maupin to drive a wedge in communities using false narratives and the under-informed as pawns.

Racism is not an innate characteristic; it is learned.

It can also be unlearned, and that is what gives me hope. We can do something about it.

We can work to strengthen our family units and strengthen public education. We can support public policies that encourage personal responsibility.

We can quit creating and tolerating racist organizations. We can quit supporting and proactively denounce those who seek to widen the racial divide, like Black Lives Matter advocates.

We can point out the hypocrisy of efforts to stop the violence by injuring and even killing police officers.

A theme that came up often during my recent breakfast was giving each other the benefit of the doubt. This in and of itself would radically improve race relations – and save lives.

If a person is killed by police, let’s start with the assumption it was a horrible tragedy; not that it was because the parties involved were of different races.

Let’s grasp there is a bottom 1 percent in every profession, from waiters to doctors to basketball players – even police and prosecutors. Let’s support efforts to improve recruiting and training to make the bottom 1 percent of our public servants the best they can be.

Let’s give others the benefit of the doubt and assume they are living by the Golden Rule until their actions prove otherwise. And let’s do our best to live by the Golden Rule and teach our kids to do the same.

Ultimately, it’s about personal responsibility. If you want everyone to be treated equally, treat everyone equally. If you want to stop violence, stop being violent. If you want stop racism, stop acting racist. (Remember, our children are watching – and emulating.)

Let’s keep our focus on MLK’s goal and judge each other by the content of our character – and speak up against those who judge us by the color of our skin. Show your family and spheres of influence. And start today.

Be part of the solution. Share your opinion with InMaricopa readers.


This column appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

 

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Dear City Council Candidates,

You did a great job at the “debate” Monday at City Hall. It is a nerve-racking experience to stand in front of would-be constituents and present your vision for the city, and you should be commended just for showing up.

Local politics are often more enjoyable and meaningful than what we see on the national level. City council in particular is refreshing because it is non-partisan and members typically leave office not as millionaires, but as having accomplished things that directly impact their neighbors and community.

With candidates usually being civic-minded citizens and not polished politicians, the absence of political spin and pandering to potential voters is an expectation of such local candidate events. Unfortunately, that did not hold true when candidates were asked Monday whether they support the Maricopa Unified School District Override proposal.

To the candidates who publicly stated their positions, thank you. To those who didn’t, please reconsider. Not only do voters deserve to know where you stand on this important issue, we are smart enough to know when we are being played.

Though this issue is not new, if you still have unanswered questions about the override, MUSD Superintendent Steve Chestnut is available to objectively address them. Councilman Vincent Manfredi, chairman of the Vote Yes, Maricopa committee, is also at your disposal for a passionate, if subjective, response.

InMaricopa will be doing its part to educate voters, and we will be asking you and other applicable candidates the question again next week. Please perform whatever research you need to provide us – and your potential constituents – with a one-word response to the question “Do you support the MUSD override?”

Thank your willingness to serve our community in this important capacity. Good luck on Aug. 30!

 

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Homeowner Joseph Larca and officers from Arizona Department of Public Safety and Maricopa Police Department survey the site of Thursday's fatal accident.

Another fatal accident occurred on State Route 347 today, the fifth in less than a week.

At 9:48 a.m. witnesses reported a vehicle, traveling southbound on State Route 347 entering the city, cross all four lanes and the median, according to Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado.

“The vehicle went through the dirt embankment and ended up crashing through a block wall and ended up in a pool in the backyard of a residence,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado said the driver, David McBride of Tucson, suffered a heart attack. McBride, 59, “was transported to Chandler Regional hospital where he passed from the medical issue.”

The vehicle crashed into the backyard of Joseph Larca’s home in the 43000 block of W. Courtney Drive in Rancho El Dorado.

For a story on Thursday’s accident, see Phoenix man killed in SR 347 head-on crash. For a story on Sunday’s accident, see 3 die in early morning SR 347 accident.

Below: Homeowner Joseph Larca describes an eyewitness account of how a vehicle ended up in his Rancho El Dorado swimming pool.

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Angela Russo
Angela Russo

A Maricopa family’s frantic search for their missing daughter continues. Angela Russo, 24, left the home she shares with her family at The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado Tuesday evening and has not been heard from since.

Her mother Diana Schalow said “absolutely foul play” is involved.

Russo said she was leaving to go to dinner and out with friends Tuesday. Schalow said she received a text from Russo later that she “won’t be home tonight but promised she will be home tomorrow night.”

Schalow was unconcerned at that moment: “She’s 24 years old; she occasionally spends the night somewhere.”

But Russo did not show up to work Wednesday at her job as a medical assistant in Ahwatukee.

Schalow said she reported her daughter missing to Maricopa Police Department Thursday, after which MPD notified law enforcement agencies statewide to “be on the lookout” for Russo and her vehicle.

Schalow said she left all her daily items at home, including her medications, toothbrush, curling iron and work clothes. “Everything is pointing to absolutely unusual behavior,” Schalow said.

She said her daughter is also very particular about having her phone charger, but “her phone is not on; her phone is dead.”

Police say the last ping from her cell phone was in the Maryvale area of Phoenix. Schalow said neither family nor Russo’s friends are aware of friends she has in the area.

“Everything we’ve reported to the police … in our eyes it’s foul play,” Schalow said.

Schalow said the family is “doing our own investigation” and notifying police but coming up with dead-ends.

“We’ve had search parties all weekend long,” she said, with family and friends combing the area of 51st Avenue and Indian School Road.

“All avenues are being explored right now.”

Jason and Diana Schalow have four children – Anthony, 28; Angela, 24; Andrea, 18; and Ryan, 7 – and have lived in Maricopa 10 years. Both Jason and Diana work for State Farm, Diana at the local Lance Lane agency.

Russo was driving the family’s blue 2007 Honda Accord with Arizona license BNL 1629.

“We haven’t heard anything,” Maricopa Police spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said of the active case in the criminal investigation division. He said MPD is “waiting to hear if the car turns up, she turns up or she returns home.”

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


Angela Maria Russo
Gender:           Female

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

 

InMaricopa Publisher Scott Bartle

InMaricopa recently moved its office to the Maricopa Business Center on Honeycutt Road. (We are in Suite 101 next to The Suites executive offices – come visit us!) We trumped our physical move with a virtual one with last week’s launch of a revamped website, which followed the release of a new mobile app.

InMaricopa.com launched its first site – then as 85239.com – more than a decade ago, in March 2004. We re-designed the site when we re-branded to InMaricopa in 2009, and we are very excited about the 2015 iteration. It’s amazing how technology has changed in just a few years, and we’re excited to leverage these changes to improve the experience for our readers and advertisers alike.

In addition to the obvious layout changes, you’ll find an increased emphasis on video and social media, and even more opportunities to engage with the site and each other – from submitting photos and videos, to nominating and voting in the “Best InMaricopa” contests, to commenting on articles and submitting letters to the editor.

All users can post and view local events and meetings on the new calendar, too.

The poll on the homepage is new-and-improved, as is the local business directory, which has a plethora of local companies eager to help you. Please give these local organizations an opportunity to earn your business, strengthening Maricopa’s economy in the process.

In an effort to help more local businesses, complimentary listings in the directory are available.

In addition to the Business, Community, Real Estate, Government and Public Safety sections, we have Youth and Things to Do and content highlighting Maricopa’s rich history and information specific to newcomers to the area.

The website is responsive to your favorite computer, tablet and phone. And if you haven’t already, download our free app for added convenience and features. It’s available at the Google Play and Apple app stores.

Money-saving coupons are available on the app and website.

If you’re a business owner or operator, there has never been a better time to enlist InMaricopa to help you generate more customers and revenue! Our professional staff is a phone call away from working with you to develop a marketing plan to achieve your goals.

Additional features and enhancements will be added in the coming weeks, and, while we’ve tried to anticipate your every need, we know there is no substitute for your input. We welcome and encourage your feedback. Please let us know what we you like, what you don’t and what we’re missing. Call us at (520) 568-0040 or email me directly at Scott@InMaricopa.com.

Thank you very much for your readership and support of our advertisers. I look forward to your feedback!

Kids Day Maricopa is a day crammed full of fun for Maricopa kids on Saturday. File photo

Community events, kids’ activities and public meetings mark this week in Maricopa. Tuesday is particularly busy.

MONDAY
Friends of the Maricopa Public Library meet at 5:30 p.m. to discuss and plan projects in support of the library. New members are welcome.

MHS Homecoming Committee meets at 5 p.m. in the school library. It’s getting down to the wire  as the school plans to mark its 60th year for Homecoming during Stagecoach Days. All are welcome to volunteer.

TUESDAY
Preschool Storytime is at 9:30 a.m. at the Maricopa Library. Discover new stories, rhymes, flannel boards, and songs in this active, fun-filled, half-hour program designed to help build early literacy skills as your child gets ready to read.

Coffee with Friends of the Library starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Maricopa Library in an open discussion with coffee and refreshments. All are welcome to attend.

Central Arizona College Board meets on the Maricopa campus at 2 p.m. in the Community Room (A101).

Tale Waggers, a library group for struggling readers and animal lovers, meets at 3:30 p.m. in the Maricopa Library. Come read to PJ the Dog.

J.R.O.T.C. McDonald’s Night is from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at McDonald’s, 20700 N. John Wayne Parkway, with a portion of sales supporting Maricopa High School’s Air Force JROTC.

Read ‘Em & Eat is a tween book club for ages 9-12, meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Maricopa Library. This month’s selection is “The Willoughbys” by Lois Lowry.

Maricopa City Council Meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The regular agenda includes an imposition of rental fees for the aquatic center at Copper Sky. City Council meets the first and third Wednesday of the month.

WEDNESDAY
Let’s Put Maricopa on the Map is a workshop at Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship starting at 10 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. Ketalog in partnership with Google and StartLogic will help participating business owners build their website and get it registered to be found on Google.

Maricopa High School Girls’ Golf hosts Apache Junction at The Duke at Rancho El Dorado starting at 3 p.m.

Reading Rebels, a young adult book club, meets at 5:30 p.m. in the Maricopa Library. This month’s selection is “The Diviners” by Libba Bray.

S.M.A.R.T. Kids meet at 2:30 p.m. at the Maricopa Library. The program is for children in grades 3-6, ages 8-12. The focus is on science, math, art, and technology.

Fun Van shows up Maricopa Library at 9 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. (online registration required). Kids play and learn while parents and caregivers meet to discuss parenting skills.

THURSDAY
CAC Flu & Pneumonia Shots will be dispensed at 3:15 p.m. in Room A102 of the Maricopa Campus of Central Arizona College.

Maricopa High School Volleyball hosts Florence at 6 p.m., preceded by freshman and JV matches.

L’il Explorers meet at 10 p.m. at the Maricopa Library for stories, music, rhymes and activities for toddlers’ active learning styles. Ages 2-3.

Heritage District Citizens Advisory Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. at Fire Station 575.

FRIDAY
POW-MIA Recognition Day will be marked by the VFW at 8 a.m. at the Maricopa Veterans Center. Honor those missing in action by joining us for a flag raising and indoor ceremony that explains the significance of the Missing Man Table.

SATURDAY
Maricopa Pet Adoption Event runs from 8 a.m. to noon at The Pet Club.Pinal County Animal Care and Control will have a nice selection of adoptable animals.

Kids Day Maricopa returns with activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maricopa Wells Middle School. Police and fire personnel, PCSO’s helicopter, former NBA star A.C. Turner, local musicians Laura Walsh and Joanna Joy, Smokey Bear, food and much more included.

Booboo Stewart returns to meet his Maricopa fans at 3:30 p.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, and 125 lucky people will be chosen randomly to receive two tickets for a private showing of Disney Descendants followed by an exclusive Q&A with Booboo Stewart.

To learn more about these and other events, or to add your own to our online calendar, see InMaricopa.com/Calendar.

 

Community of Hope Church was founded 10 years ago by Rusty Akers.

By Adam Wolfe

The Community of Hope Church will be celebrating its 10th anniversary after the church’s service on Sept. 20.

The celebration will feature a lunch catered by Joe’s Barbecue in Gilbert. The event will be open to Maricopans who have been a part of the church’s community over the last 10 years, or anyone that may be currently looking for a church to join. The service will start at 10 a.m. and the lunch is expected to directly follow its conclusion (likely around 11:30 a.m.).

“We’ll have an hour or so of celebrating and remembering the past,” Community of Hope Founding Pastor Rusty Akers said. “We hope to have everyone who has been a part of this church over the last 10 years be there.”

The event will be at the church (which shares space with Leading Edge Academy Charter School) at 18700 N. Porter Road. The church will set up tents outside to accommodate all of the guests.

Community of Hope plans to build on land adjacent to Leading Edge, with ground-breaking hoped for in January.

For more information on the Community of Hope Church, visit www.cohmaricopa.com or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cohmaricopa.

Shamrock Farms in Stanfield is seeking seasonal employees to be tour guides and cashiers. Submitted photo

By Adam Wolfe

Arizona Workforce Connection will host hiring events for Shamrock Farms and Tractor Supply Distribution in September.

Shamrock Farms is looking for candidates with strong communication skills that work well with people to be part of their team of Farm Tour Guides and Farm Tour Cashiers. The positions are seasonal and expected to last from October 2015 to May 2016. The company will be conducting interviews for the open positions during AWC’s hiring event on Sept. 16.

“The positions are temporary and the hours are based on scheduled tours throughout the week,” AWC Business Service Liaison Linda Martinez said. “The candidates would definitely need to be flexible with their schedule.”

The event will take place on Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arizona Workforce Connection offices at 1015 E. Florence Blvd. in Casa Grande. Walk-ins are welcome, but participants are able to set up an interview time before the day of the event because the interviews will be set on a first come, first served basis.

“The interviews will be set in 15-minute intervals,” Martinez said. “Job seekers will need to contact AWC to find out how to get registered and get scheduled for an interview. If someone walks through our doors the day of the hiring event without a scheduled appointment, employers will usually see the candidates.”

Ideal candidates will have a high school diploma or GED, strong verbal and written communication skills, work well with people and provide good customer service. In either job, workers may be required to move products around, so they are asked to be able to lift up to 50 pounds as well.

One week later, Tractor Supply Distribution will host a two-day event in hopes of finding material handlers to work at its location in Casa Grande. The event will once again be at the AWC offices in Casa Grande, and last from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Sept. 22 and 23.

According to Martinez, Tractor Supply Distribution is looking to hire at least 60 people, but the number could be even higher if they meet with enough well qualified candidates. Just like the hiring event on the 16th, participants are able to register for the event ahead of time by contacting the AWC offices and speaking with an employment services specialist. Walk-ins will be welcome both days as well.

Ideal candidates will have a high school diploma or GED, be able to read and speak English, and perform basic math. Due to the nature of the job, candidates should also be able to lift between 50 and 100 pounds, stand, bend or squat for prolonged periods of time, and be comfortable with heights. Other job requirements will include the ability to use a bar code scanner, two-way radio, computer, lift truck and pallet jack, dock door leveler and a stretch wrap machine. A background check and drug test is required as well. For more information on the hiring events, contact Arizona Workforce Connection by calling (602) 542-2460 or visit www.arizonaworkforceconnection.com.

 

Casa Grande businessman Garland Shreves says he has enough signatures to recall CAC board member Rita Nader. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

By Raquel Hendrickson

District 4’s representative on the Central Arizona College Board of Governors could be in trouble.

Rita Nader has been the target of a citizens group since she was among the majority who voted for a raise in the college tax rate this summer. Now Garland Shreves, organizer of Citizens for Fair Taxation, says his group has collected enough signatures to force her ouster.

Casa Grande businessman Garland Shreves says he has enough signatures to recall CAC board member Rita Nader. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Casa Grande businessman Garland Shreves says he has enough signatures to recall CAC board member Rita Nader. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


“We actually have 15 percent over the required number of signatures for recall, and that should be enough cushion,” Shreves said at a meeting he hosted in Maricopa Thursday.

District 4 includes Maricopa.

Ever since district boundaries were redrawn to match Board of Supervisor districts, Nader has not been a resident of the district she represents. She lives in Casa Grande and was allowed to fulfill her term, which ends in 2016.

Nader has been on the board since 1993. A retired junior high teacher, she was one of three members who voted to set the CAC tax rate at $2.30 per $100 of net assessed valuation at a June meeting.

The board members have said more funding is needed to repair old buildings and maintain its facilities.

CAC has seen a reduction of 80 percent in state funding over the past nine years and has received no capital funding since 2008. Capital funds are used for new construction and renovation of facilities.

After a college tax increase in 2013, a recall effort was started against Nader, but petitioners missed the deadline.

Nader was not available for comment.

“They keep doing this kind of thing until somebody squawks about it,” said Province resident Louis Deverka, who attended Thursday’s meeting to get more information and signed a petition afterward. “I mean, isn’t there a limit to what these people do each year? Is our government that loose?”

Shreves is suing the college board over alleged open meeting violations. Though initial opinion from the state Attorney General’s office found no such violation occurred, Shreves said he requested the AG exercise due diligence in looking at all the information he wanted to give investigators. That could result in a follow-up opinion.

Shreves said CFFT is “within a hair’s breadth” of having enough signatures to force a recall of Board President Gladys Christensen of District 1. Her term expires in 2018. CFFT also seeks to recall Jack Yarrington and Rick Gibson.

Nader’s recall requires the fewest number of signatures (1,326) of all the targeted board members. Petitions are due Sept. 24. If the number of verified signatures is reached, and Nader does not resign, Pinal County Recorder Virginia Ross would set an election date, possibly as early as March.

Thursday’s gathering at the Copa Center was the second meeting CFFT has hosted in Maricopa. Shreves said in recalling and replacing board members, he hopes to effect the dismissal of college President Doris Helmich and Vice President Chris Wodka.

“Taxes are just too high,” resident William Nelson said. “Everything is too high. I came here to find out about it.”

Temperatures are staying warm, but storms could roll in Sunday. Photo by Adam Wolfe

By Adam Wolfe

Maricopa resident should expect to see sunny days with highs around 100 degrees to start the weekend before storms move in on Sunday.

According to the National Weather Service, Saturday should feature mostly sunny skies with highs between 101 and 103 degrees. As the weekend draws to a close, a storm system is expected to bring rain and thunderstorms to the area through Tuesday.

Saturday should see much of the same weather as Friday. The temperature is expected to slightly spike to 103 degrees, but the skies are still expected to be mostly sunny throughout the day.

The wind is also expected to stay calm near 6 mph, and the overnight low should drop to 79 degrees. A new storm system is expected to arrive in Maricopa on Sunday.

According to the NWS, there is a 30 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms after 11 a.m., and the storms are expected to last through the night. The projected high for the day is 101 degrees, and the wind is expected to gust near 11 mph. The storms are expected to last through the night.

Monday is also projected to be a stormy day. There is a 30 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms throughout the morning and afternoon. The chances of thunderstorms decrease into the evening, but the possibility of rain will remain through the night. The projected high for Monday is 97 degrees.

According to the NWS, Tuesday is currently projected to be breezy with a high of just 93 degrees.  There is a “slight chance of thunderstorms” throughout the day, but the forecast will become more accurate as the new week approaches.

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Starting at quarterback Isaiah Pedro threw for 336 yards and rushed for 11 more. Photo by William Lange

By Adam Wolfe

Maricopa High School was missing several regular starters Friday night against Rincon University High School, but the Rams still managed to blow out the Rangers 56 to 0.

The shutout was in large part due to the stellar job the Rams defense did against the Rangers’ running game. Rincon had only seven first downs throughout the night, and, despite entering the red zone twice, never put any points on the board.

“We knew that if we could shut down No. 2, they would have a hard time throwing the ball on us,” MHS football Head Coach Chris McDonald said. “We just mathematically tried to outnumber them in the box.”

The Rams’ offense was without team captain and starting center Nikolai White for the second straight week. White has been bothered by an ankle injury, but hopes to return next week against Apache Junction.

More noticeably, the Rams were missing another key piece of their game plan when starting quarterback and defensive back Aaron Owens didn’t make the trip with the team. McDonald stated they had a “team issue,” but he would not disclose any more information on the matter. It is unclear at this time how long Owens will be absent from the team. Without Owens, the offense didn’t look as crisp as expected for the first quarter.

Senior wide receiver Johnny Johnson Jr. did break away for a 48 yard touchdown run on the team’s first offensive play, and sophomore running back Cameron Sanders followed suit with a rushing touchdown of his own, but a muffed punt return and failed series kept Rincon in the game for the first 12 minutes. Trailing by just 13 points in the second quarter, Rincon drove the ball into the Maricopa red zone.

The Rams defense held strong at the 5-yard line, and the Rangers were forced to attempt a field goal. The kick was blocked and recovered by Johnson at the Rams’ 2-yard line. Senior quarterback Isaiah Pedro put the team’s slow offensive start behind him and led the team down the field for a touchdown. The series culminated in a 46-yard touchdown pass from Pedro to Johnson.

The Rams took a 21-point lead after junior wide receiver Zachary Bachelder faked an extra point and threw a pass to junior running back Claytin Valenzuela for a two-point conversion. From that point on, the Rams stepped on the gas pedal and didn’t let up. By halftime, the Rams led 35 to 0.

In the second half, Rincon would only have one successful drive. Maricopa’s defense was able to shut down Rincon’s senior running back Dahrian Harris-Mesh, and the Rangers only reached the red zone one time. The drive ended with a turnover on downs. The Rams would add two more touchdowns in the third quarter and another in the fourth.

Due to Arizona Interscholastic Association mercy rules, the clock kept running for nearly the entire second half. The game ended just two hours after it began with the Rams claiming the 56-point shutout victory. Pedro overcame early game struggles and finished with a tremendous night. He completed 13 of 15 pass attempts for 336 yards and four touchdowns. He had 11 rushing yards on three attempts and stellar defensive play throughout the game as well.

“I think I did a good job tonight,” Pedro said. “Our line gave us a lot of time to throw the ball and run the ball as well. Cameron [Sanders] and D’Angelo [Edgerton] played one heck of a game, and all the receivers ran crisp routes all the way around. I just dumped it to them when I could.”

Coach McDonald has praised Pedro as one of his best players since the pre-season. With Owens unavailable for the game, it was an easy choice to start him at quarterback.

“He can come in and we won’t miss a beat,” McDonald said. “Like I’ve said, he the most versatile football player that we have. We can put him anywhere, and I have complete trust in his ability.”

Other standout performances included team captain Johnny Johnson Jr., who caught four passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He also had three rushes for 67 yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver David Owens caught 4 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Jalen Lee only caught one pass, but he wove his way to an 81-yard gain that set up a Maricopa touchdown. The Rams gave many players opportunities to run the ball, but Sanders, a sophomore running back, made the most of his time with the ball. Sanders continued his streak of good performances with 53 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just six carries.

Efficiency was the name of the game for Maricopa on offense Friday night. The Rams came with a balanced attack against Rincon. The offense rushed the ball 17 times and nearly matched it with 15 passes. Despite running just 32 plays, the Rams totaled 558 yards and 56 points.

For the second week in a row, the defense was dominant as well. However, the Rams will need to dig deep to keep this momentum as they head into divisional games this week. Next Friday, Maricopa will travel to Apache Junction High School to take on the Prospectors. Apache Junction lost its first three games of the season but has a history of being a competitive team, and the Rams should expect to see much of the same from the Prospectors this year.

 

 

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Luis Elizondo saw the Rams' struggles with the kicking game and volunteered his services. Photo by William Lange.

By Adam Wolfe

 

Senior kicker Luis Elizondo joined the Maricopa High School Rams football team during the second week of the season in order to turn around the team’s lackluster kicking game.

As a junior, Elizondo showed interest in kicking for the Rams, but nothing came of it. As the team gathered for summer workouts, he again elected not to participate. He even chose to stay away during the first few weeks of practices.

Then, as he watched the first game from the stands, he saw four kickoffs go out of bounds and two extra points go wide. In that moment, something reignited his interest in the team, and Elizondo – a young man of few words – approached the coaching staff.

“He’s a kid that expressed interest in kicking for me last year, but all he did was express interest,” MHS football Head Coach Chris McDonald said. “It was a situation where I hadn’t seen him all summer, and I don’t know if he got cold feet because it’s football and it’s new to him, but he came out to the first game and saw what transpired. Then he came to me and expressed interest again.”

Despite the kicking woes for the Rams, Coach McDonald was unwilling to just give a roster spot to Elizondo. He had missed months of work with the team. He would have to earn his spot like everyone else.

“I said, ‘Well, if you’re really serious about this, you have to put in 10 practices before [he could be part of the team],’” McDonald reflected. “I told him to show up at certain times and he showed up and worked his tail off for 10 straight practices. Then he got out there and did what he did.”

Elizondo has continued his work with the team into week three of the season, and McDonald expects him to remain an important part of the kicking game for the remainder of the season.

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By Adam Wolfe

The Maricopa High School volleyball team has won four matches in a row by straight sets.

Since dropping their first match of the season to Horizon Honors High School, the Rams have dominated their competition. This week, they swept through Catalina Magnet High School and Cholla High Magnet School in straight sets.

According to head coach Lashieka Holley, the team has been playing at a high level this week, but the competition has not been the best. The Rams have been as dominant as they should be, but the true test of how good this team is will be in the upcoming weeks when they take on perennial powers such as Florence and Valley Christian high schools.

“We’re still playing at a (Arizona Interscholastic Association) Division II level, so hopefully we’ll carry that into playing some of the better teams we have coming up,” Holley said. “Everything has been good. They slowed down their pace to [their competition], but they were having some fun. My younger players have stepped up, and around the board they all played well.”

Tuesday night, the Rams dominated Catalina in straight sets by scores of 25-8, 25-13, 25-8. As a team, Maricopa controlled the pace of the game. There were times when the Rams seemed to coast a bit and mistakes were made, but the game never seemed to be in doubt.

Senior Elizabeth Gallon was dominant on both serves and defense. Senior Annalyn Concepcion also shined in multiple positions throughout the match.

Overall, Coach Holley was happy with her team’s performance, but felt they were a bit sloppy in their victory. Had they played to their full potential, Holley believes they wouldn’t have given up nearly as many points to the Trojans.

“They definitely need to work on the basic fundamentals,” Holley said. “Our blocks aren’t there yet. We’re doing a lot of block drills in practice to try to get them to close their blocks. When we see those bigger teams they have strong outside hitters with bigger and taller girls that are more matched to our level. There should be a lot of rallying.”

On Thursday, Maricopa traveled to Tucson to take on the Cholla Chargers. This was the first time the Rams had been on the road since losing to Horizon Honors, and they were able to dispel any worries they couldn’t win outside of Maricopa. The Rams won in straight sets by scores of 25 to 7, 25 to 12 and 25 to 9.

Gallon once again led her team with a standout performance that included eight kills and four blocks. Senior outside hitter Lillian Clay also stepped up in what was only her second match of season. She finished with five kills on the night. Rounding out the top performers was junior Morgan Peters. She kept the Chargers on their heels with 10 aces on the night.

As the Rams move forward, the competition will get increasingly more difficult. The Rams will be participating Saturday’s Greenway Invitation in Phoenix, and their first matchup will be against the talented Moon Valley High School Rockets. The Rams next regular season match will find them on the road against Casa Grande High School on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

“We’re going to need to condition more so we can go five sets,” Holley said. “We haven’t had to go five sets yet, but we’ll need to pick our pace up and play our game. If we play our game we’ll be fine.”

Officer Chris Evans is a Navy veteran who is now the school resource officer at Maricopa High School. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Officer Chris Evans

Rank: Police Officer/School Resource Officer at Maricopa High School
Department: Maricopa Police Department
Hometown: Yuma, Arizona
Residence: Maricopa
Family: Wife and two sons
Education: Two years of college
Hobbies: Playing and watching sports with my sons. I like to write and am a published poet.
Years on the job: 18

Why did you decide to be a first responder? I grew up in a military family and I served in the U.S. Navy. I’ve always gravitated towards a life of service and enjoy making an impact in the lives of the people I serve and protect.

What element of your job has been the biggest surprise to you? The continued support of community; also the willingness of the other to help when times are rough.

Why Maricopa? This city, this community, this department, this job is outstanding. We, here in Maricopa, are set apart from anywhere else. This community has been touted to be one of the best and safest in Arizona and we rank amount the top percentile in the country.

Favorite part of the job: As a School Resource Officer, I get the opportunity that I rarely got as a patrol officer. I get to see the end result, for the most part. I get to follow up with the people I serve and protect, on a rather frequent basis, and get to watch them grow and learn from their experiences, both good and bad. Basically stated, I get to make an impact in their lives and I get to see the results happen right in front of me. Sometimes on patrol, you never get to see what happens after you resolve the immediate need or threat. It’s just the nature of the job.

Least favorite part of the job: Dealing with mortality.

Scariest moment: Any and every time I’ve heard a fellow officer, on the radio, in distress or involved in a critical incident. I’ve had too many of these over the years to choose one.

Bravest act you’ve witnessed:  I’ve witnessed Police Officers breathe life into a lifeless person by performing CPR on more than one occasion. Every time I’ve been privy to this I stand in utter amazement.

What you wish all residents knew about your department:  We hold ourselves accountable to them, and proudly stand head and shoulders above other departments across the nation. Also that we truly try and make “Every Contact Excellent.”

Alex Rayas teaches math and science at Santa Cruz Elementary School. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

By Raquel Hendrickson

Alex Rayas remembers getting to do science experiments for the first time in fifth grade.

“It was both exciting and challenging at the same time,” she said.

Now she teaches science and math to fifth graders at Santa Cruz Elementary, where she gets to share her favorite subject from her own elementary days. For the record, she liked PE a lot, too, “because it taught me how to be a team player.”

As a college student, she was a paraprofessional at an elementary school and knew she had found her calling.

“I realized that I loved working with students,” she said. “I felt I could make a difference in fostering their creativity and providing students with the skills they would need to reach their highest potential.”

She considers the highlight of her 11-year career to be hosting a summer science camp for students in third through fifth grade. It was an opportunity to expose children to the fun of science and see their enthusiasm for science experiments and projects.

Motivating students to that kind of excitement is exactly what she loves about teaching.

“My students have taught me that they love to share their ideas and strategies with fellow classmates,” she said. “We have many leaders in our classrooms; it’s about giving students the opportunity to lead.”

Rayas and her family moved to Maricopa from Texas in 2012. She quickly saw teachers in the Maricopa Unified School District rising to the challenges they faced.

“I like that our schools are filled with teachers who are very passionate about their profession. These teachers go above and beyond what it takes to make the classrooms and schools work,” she said. “ As we are limited in resources, our teachers work together to help each other whether we are at the same school site or from another school site.  We are working and collaborating together to make a difference for our students.”

Still, Rayas would like to see more academic resources for elementary grades. Carrying her fondness for PE, she said a variety of after-school sports for fourth-sixth grade would also be a plus.

Alex Rayas
Fifth grade math and science teacher, Santa Cruz Elementary

Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education
Family: Husband, 11-year-old daughter
Teaching positions you’ve held: First grade through sixth grade
Years in Education: 11 years
First job out of college: Second grade teacher in Cartwright School District

Hobbies: Running, hiking and gardening
First year with current school: 2012
What advice do you give parents of elementary schoolchildren? Read. Read to your child. Read with your child.
What was the best advice you received about your own education? Being a teacher means that you should get to know your students. It’s important for them to know you care.
What have your students taught you? My students have taught me that they love to share their ideas and strategies with fellow classmates.  We have many leaders in our classrooms; it’s about giving students the opportunity to lead.

The Robotics program has become so popular it is exceeding its funding and is turning to a unique source to raise more money.

By Adam Wolfe

The VEX robotics teams within the Maricopa Unified School District have gone from one team at Maricopa Elementary School to 14 teams across the district and outgrown the funding available through the Maricopa Ak-Chin STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) Foundation.

The robotics program started with one team at Maricopa Elementary in 2012. Its popularity grew slowly, but the program expanded to two teams in 2013 and five teams in 2014. After competitive success grew with more teams involved, the program has exploded and expects to have 14 teams for the 2015 school year.

The growth of the program is a positive sign for youth wanting to get involved with science, according to program coordinator and Intel employee Rachael Burno. The only issue that comes with the program’s growth is the funding needed to support it. The VEX coordinators have turned to GoFundMe.com to help raise money.

“We are still receiving funding from the STEAM Foundation, but we could have some issues providing equipment to all of the teams,” Burno said. “We have enough funding to cover most of the costs. We were able to purchase five more robots. But we need some help with competition costs and other expenses.”

The goal of the VEX robotics program is to keep today’s youth interested in science and math. It allows students to see real world applications of the processes they learn in class, while also developing technological skills that will be increasingly important as they grow older.

“It’s our way to support STEAM,” Burno said. “Students who have the opportunity to join a program like this are more likely to enter a STEAM career field. My goal is to provide our students with enough opportunities here they can build on to bigger and better opportunities later in life.”

This year, the majority of schools within MUSD have at least one team. Maricopa Elementary has one, Saddleback Elementary School has one, Pima Butte Elementary School has three, Santa Cruz Elementary School has one, Maricopa High School has three, Desert Wind Middle School has one, and Butterfield Elementary School may get a team during the year.

Currently, Santa Rosa Elementary School and Maricopa Wells Middle School do not have teams, but the =VEX program is hoping they’ll join.

Leading Edge Academy is the only non-district school to have a robotics program with three teams. Other charter schools are welcome, but the program needs more funding to support the extra teams.

For students, the robotics program offers a hands-on experience to develop skills with mechanics and programming. For parents, it provides another outlet to get their children socially involved with the school and their fellow classmates.

“My son is a freshman, and that is one of the clubs he wanted to be a part of,” active parent Merry Grace said. “It’s not just a high school thing. They have programs throughout the district, and it’s important to keep kids interested in things like this. Otherwise, what will they turn their attention to?”

With so many products existing that keep children inside and sheltered away from others, the school district and the STEAM Foundation are trying to provide more options for their students to be social while still learning important life skills. If the program can gather more funding, Burno believes the robotics program could just be the beginning.

“We are hoping to expand beyond robotics as well,” Burno said. “We want to introduce students to more extracurricular activities.”

For more information about donating or helping the VEX robotics program, visit www.gofundme.com/MaricopaRobotics.

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Rep. Vincent Leach

Submitted

The Council of State Governments West, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization serving Western state legislators of both parties in 13 western states, has selected Rep. Vince Leach (R-Dist. 11) as a participant in its prestigious training institute for lawmakers in their first four years of service.

The purpose of the Western Legislative Academy is to build excellence and effectiveness in state legislators in the western region.

Admission to the Western Legislative Academy is very competitive and is based on commitment to public service, desire to improve personal legislative effectiveness, and interest in improving the legislative process.   Out of 105 applicants from throughout the West, 44 state legislators were selected as members of the Western Legislative Academy Class of 2015.  

The Western Legislative Academy will convene Nov. 30–Dec. 3 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for three and a half days of intensive training in subjects such as legislative institutions, ethics, communications, negotiations, time management and leadership. Faculty is drawn from academia, former military and the private sector. A highlight of the training is an afternoon at the U.S. Air Force Academy working on personal assessments and team building.

Leach is the vice chairman of the Committee on Appropriations at the State House of Representatives and also serves on the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee and Rural and Economic Development Committee. He represents Legislative District 11 and lives in SaddleBrooke.  Leach is a Vietnam veteran and has more than 35 years of sales and executive business management experience, and is an active member of Catalina Foothills Church.

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The Rams will travel to Tucson Friday prepared to take down the Rincon Rangers. Photo by William Lange

By Adam Wolfe

 

The Rincon High School Rangers are coming off their first win of the season, but the Maricopa Rams are still a heavy favorite heading into Friday night’s matchup in Tucson.

The Rams saw their offensive production drop by 50 percent last week. They still managed a win big, but much of the credit goes to the defense and special teams units that dominated most of the game.

This week, the Rams are expected to spread the field a bit more and bring back their balanced attack. For Rincon, the key will be to get their running game going or it could be a long night for the Rangers. After three games, Rincon has been outscored 144 to 40, and they haven’t seen an offense as potentially explosive as Maricopa’s yet.

“I don’t think they can cover us so we’re going to attack them,” MHS football head coach Chris McDonald said. “Hopefully our receivers got the memo about blocking for each other. Poor blocks showed on film so we’ve been working on that, but we’re going to spread them out and see what they can do.”

Injuries could present a problem for Maricopa on offense. The Rams could be without starting center and team captain Nikolai White again. He is a game-time decision with a hurt ankle. If he can’t go, it’s likely the Rams will see a lineman rotation similar to what they did against Shadow Mountain High School.

“We’ve got two or three new linemen coming in and playing,” McDonald said. “The chemistry isn’t set. We’re still trying to finalize that chemistry, and we never seem to be able to get over the hump because we always have one guy out or we’re having to put a left guard at right guard and we haven’t had the ability to let kids get comfortable playing one position.”

Maricopa’s line will need to provide more time for senior quarterback Aaron Owens to throw the ball. He was forced to scramble more against Shadow Mountain than he had in the Rams’ previous game against Agua Fria High School. The result was 400 fewer passing yards for Owens.

According to McDonald, getting consistency and chemistry back into the offense is a key for the Rams moving forward. On defense, Maricopa will look to shut down Rincon’s running game. The Rangers haven’t shown much of a passing game in their first three games, so getting pressure on the running backs early in the backfield will be the key.

“They’ve got a pretty good running back, and he’s a bigger kid with a long stride so we need to hit him in the backfield before he gets going,” McDonald said. “If we can get to him, from a defensive standpoint, we should be fine. We’ll be down a couple guys, so we need some other guys to step up like they did in Shadow Mountain.”

The Rams are expected to win Friday night, but despite Rincon only winning two games last year (one by forfeit) and no games in 2013, the Rangers should not be overlooked.

Neither team has had a winning record since 2012, but both teams are looking to break recent trends and turn their programs around.

The game will kickoff at 7 p.m. at Rincon High School’s stadium at 421 N. Arcadia Blvd. in Tucson.

Staff Report

A 59-year-old man was taken to the hospital after the car he was driving ended up in the lake in the Villages at Rancho El Dorado.

According to Maricopa Police Department, the vehicle traveled south down Santa Cruz, an entry point to the housing development, crossed Butterfield Parkway and launched into the water.

The incident occurred around 4 p.m.

“A guy failed to stop because he passed out behind the wheel,” said Charles Worden, a witness who also assisted at the scene.” When he passed out he accelerated into the lake. When he hit, the car completely smashed into the bottom and then completely went over and hit the wall. When we went over, he was not really compliant. He was pretty dizzy.”

There were three passengers in the vehicle, as well – a woman estimated to be in her late 30s and two children, ages 8 and 9.

No injuries were reported.

“The witnesses are saying the vehicle was traveling through the entry way into Butterfield Parkway. Then the vehicle accelerated at a high rate of speed, took out the stop sign, hit the slope off the roadway and ended up in the water,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said.

The driver was taken to Chandler Regional Medical Center as a precaution.

“From our understanding, the grandfather driving the car had some type of medical condition and apparently blacked out,” Alvarado said. “Then the vehicle lost control and ended up in the water. There were several citizens that jumped in the water to help get the people out of the vehicle. The only person that was taken to the hospital was taken out of precaution. It was the driver and he said he blacked out so we want to make sure there isn’t any type of impairment involved.”

Worden was among those who jumped into the water to help the people out of the car.

Tow truck workers assess the task ahead of them to remove the car from the lake by dragging it across. Photo by Adam Wolfe
Tow truck workers assess the task ahead of them to remove the car from the lake by dragging it across. Photo by Adam Wolfe

The first high schoolers at MHS started as freshmen in 1955 and graduating in 1959. They had a 50-year class reunion in the current gym in 2009. Courtesy of Maricopa Historical Society/Patricia Brock

By Adam Wolfe

Maricopa High School will be celebrating its 60th anniversary during this year’s Homecoming festivities.

The school, which started with 28 freshmen in 1955, now teaches over 1,800 students. According to “Reflections of a Desert Town” by Patricia Brock, Maricopa students had to drive or take a train or bus to Casa Grande to attend school before the high school was built. Students would often miss school due to poor weather or road conditions, and fed-up parents decided the town needed its own school.

mhs-60

Sophomore, juniors and seniors were bused to Casa Grande.

“Casa Grande High School continued to bus the older students for the next three years. In 1958, it was decided not to bus the Maricopa seniors,” Brock wrote in the book she published in 2007. “This left a few seniors with the option of providing their own transportation to Casa Grande High School, or attending a three-year high school in Maricopa with no hope of graduating until the following year. Some students elected to join the junior class in Maricopa, and others simply did not graduate.”

The first graduating class of Maricopa High School received diplomas in 1959. As the first class, they chose the school colors and mascot and first painted the “M” on Pima Butte.

Since that inaugural class, 56 more graduating classes received diplomas from MHS, and the school, along with the city, has seen tremendous growth. The school remains at its original site, but the buildings have been replaced.

In an effort to honor the past, Merry Grace and other members of the Homecoming Committee are tying in the school’s long history to this year’s celebration.

“Nothing is set in stone yet, but we are going to celebrate the 60th anniversary,” Grace said. “We are hoping to showcase the alumni for the 60th anniversary with a tailgate and a pep rally, possibly have a bonfire and parade as well. We’d like to host a district-wide spirit week so all the schools can get involved, and we will ‘paint the town red’ and have local business decorate their stores in red and black to celebrate the school.”

Grace is hopeful the “Paint the Town Red” event will be celebrated by many local businesses. Mayor Christian Price will proclaim during the Oct. 6 City Council meeting that Oct. 19-24 will be “Paint the Town Red Week” in honor of Homecoming. The business that has the best decorations will be announced before the Oct. 23 football game against Vista Grande High School.

For the second straight year, the Tortosa subdivision and UltraStar Multi-tainment will host a laser tag competition as well. Grace said the plan is to have a showdown between adults and youth.

The Homecoming Committee is still waiting to gain approval for various events throughout the week, but the group hopes to get as much of the community involved as possible.

“The community has really embraced making this a community event and not just a school thing,” Grace said.

To learn more about Homecoming plans or get involved find “Maricopa High School 2015 Homecoming Community Committee” on Facebook.com. The next Homecoming meeting will be on Sept. 14 at MHS in the library at 5 p.m.