Authors Articles byTom Kessler

Tom Kessler

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Maricopa Little League’s eighth year of youth baseball and softball competition is underway, with kids between the ages of 4 and 8 swinging bats and fielding grounders in the T-Ball and Machine Pitch divisions that started on Jan. 29, while league officials continue to sign up players and adult volunteers for the Minor and Major divisions, which begin play in March.

“We have been working on this since November,” said David Chavez, president of the executive board. “It is nice to finally see it starting. We are pretty excited about it.”

The T-Ball kids, ages 4-7, and Machine Pitch players, ages 6-8, will play their games at Pacana Park until March.

Registration remains open for the Minors (ages 8-11) and Majors (ages 9-12), as well as for the Juniors and Seniors (ages 13-16).

The Minors and Majors boys baseball and girls softball seasons will kick off with an opening day celebration on March 19 at Pacana Park.

“It is easier for us to split it into two different seasons so we can take care of the younger kids earlier,” Chavez said.

“Some of the kids who play Machine Pitch, if they are old enough, can play in the Minors in the second season.”

The overlap in ages between the TBall and Machine Pitch divisions, and between the Minors and Majors, is designed to account for differences in skill level. For example, children ages 6 and 7 who have never played baseball have the option of starting in T-Ball, while experienced players in that age range can choose to participate in the more advanced Machine Pitch division.

Players can register for the Minors and Majors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays throughout February at Pacana Park. The two divisions will conduct player evaluations — where coaches watch participants field, throw and hit — on March 2 at Pacana Park and on March 5 at Maricopa Wells Middle School.

Following the March 5 evaluation session, a draft will be held to assign players to teams in the Majors and Minors, with the Majors picking their teams first.

Chavez is anticipating that 200 to 300 players will register for the Minors and Majors, which are each projected to have six to eight teams. He said that about 220 children are participating in the T-Ball and Machine Pitch divisions, which have eight and 10 teams, respectively.

Additionally, the league is taking registration for players in the Junior and Senior divisions’ season. Their seasons will begin in May.

Registration fees for the Maricopa Little League are $100 for Minors, Majors, Juniors and Seniors; $80 for Machine Pitch; and $70 for T-Ball.

Registration forms are available online at maricopalittleleague.com

Chavez has worked with the Maricopa Little League since 2003. He and the other executive board members volunteer their time, as do the league’s coaches, umpires, scorekeepers, concession workers and groundskeepers.

“I am enjoying it,” Chavez said. “It’s fun, but it’s a lot of work. A lot of us on the executive board serve as umpires and scorekeepers, and everyone is glad to do it. The executive board’s main driving force is providing a fun, safe learning experience for the kids.”
 

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The Maricopa High School girls basketball team fell behind early and was unable to come back in a 47-33 loss Tuesday night against visiting Tempe.

“It’s possibly the worst game I’ve seen us play all season,” Maricopa coach Jennifer Miller said. “They lost that in the first quarter.”

Tempe scored the first six points of the Class 4A-II East Sky Region match-up and increased its lead to 12-2 with 4:38 left in the opening period. Maricopa pulled within 21-15 on a three-pointer by Paige Provost with 6:12 remaining in the second quarter, but that was as close as the Rams would get.

After leading 26-17 at halftime, the Buffaloes increased their advantage to 35-20 late in the third quarter and to 41-25 midway through the fourth.

The Rams reduced their deficit to 42-33 on a layup by Paige Ellis with 1:18 remaining, but Tempe scored the final five points to win by 14.

“We didn’t get any second-chance baskets, maybe one or two the whole game,” Miller said.

“You can’t win if it’s one and done every time down the court.”

With the loss, Maricopa fell to 10-9 overall, 4-6 in games that count in the AIA power rankings for Class 4A-II, and 2-5 in the 4A-II East Sky Region.

Provost finished with 11 points to lead the Rams, who also got six points and nine rebounds from Morgan Rainey along with six points from Brianna Estrada. Ellis contributed four points and seven rebounds for Maricopa, while Derona Mitchell added four points and five rebounds.

Tempe (3-6 in power-point games, 3-2 in the East Sky Region) was led by Brittney Reed, who finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Brianca White added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Buffaloes, while Breshae Bellamy had nine points and nine rebounds.

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Newly elected school board members from across the state gathered in Phoenix in December for the Arizona School Boards Association’s annual New Board Member Orientation.

Among the attendees at the Biltmore Conference Center were Scott Bartle and Patti Coutre, who were elected in November to seats on the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board and will begin their terms in January.

The New Board Member Orientation was a daylong seminar that was part of the 53rd annual ASBA/ASA Conference, a three-day event conducted each year by the Arizona School Boards Association and the Arizona School Administrators.

“It was a jam-packed day of the dos and don’ts and the ins and outs of being a school board member,” Bartle said.

“It is really imperative that everybody goes through that process.” Coutre agreed. “It was very valuable for me,” Coutre said about the New Board Member Orientation. “It addressed a lot of the open meeting laws, which are extremely important to know.”

ASBA lists four main goals for its New Board Member Orientation:

• To provide new governing board members and superintendents with an accurate look at school governance, including roles and responsibilities.

• To help new board members understand the legal and ethical responsibilities of the office.

• To provide an overview of Arizona school finance and budgeting.

• To create opportunities for new board members to ask questions and develop professional relationships with other board members, superintendents and ASBA staff.

One of the event’s central premises emphasized that school board members always need to do what is best for the children in the district.

“There seemed to be a recurring theme that when you make your decisions you ask yourself, ‘Is this going to be in the students’ best interest?’” Coutre said.

The orientation consisted of 10 topic-based workshops, including one that was titled “You Are the Advocates for Children” and another described as “Putting Students First — Why We’re
Here.”

A seminar titled “Board-Superintendent Relationship” defined the roles of board members and superintendents. Presented by John Gordon, ASBA director of leadership development, and Karen Beckvar, ASBA leadership development specialist, the seminar stressed that the school board and superintendent must work cooperatively.

“The best board member is the one who is part of a team,” Beckvar said. “You have to be in sync with where you’re going.”

Beckvar said board members must understand the difference between their responsibilities and those of the superintendent.

“The board’s role is to govern,” Beckvar said to the future school board members. “The superintendent is the one who is actually going to run the district. They have the qualifications to do so — you don’t.”

Beckvar and Gordon emphasized that the school board’s role is to establish a plan and set the district’s goals, while the superintendent’s job is to implement the plan and make sure the goals are achieved.

“The superintendent cannot manage unless they know where you want to go,” Gordon said.

“As board members, we’re not looking for you to be education experts,” said Beckvar. “We’re looking for you to represent the interests of the community. It’s not your job to solve problems. It’s your job to make sure that problems get solved.”

Beckvar told attendees of the that during their terms they are always going to be perceived by the public as school board members, whether they are sitting at the dias in the meeting room, watching the Friday night football game or shopping at the grocery store.

“Your community is making judgments on you based on your behavior,” Beckvar said. “This is a 24/7 job.”

Beckvar said that board members are ambassadors for their school districts.

“You are a role model, whether youwant to be or not,” Beckvar said. “You only get to choose whether you are a positive ambassador for your district or a negative one.”

Coutre took note of the seminar’s emphasis on school board members maintaining a positive relationship with the community.

“Part of what they stressed, something I have felt very strongly about, is open communication, getting the community involved,” Coutre said.

The New Board Member Orientation also included a workshop titled “School Finance Basics,” which Bartle said was particularly beneficial.

“It is important to have a working knowledge of what school finance is all about,” Bartle said.

Brian Mee, assistant superintendent for business services for the Pendergast Elementary School District in Phoenix, explained Arizona’s education financing formula and how it relates to school boards.

“We cannot print money,” Mee said. “The bottom line is we have X amount of dollars — which is shrinking — and we must stay within that limit. It is very important that we prioritize.”

Mee said school boards must make budget decisions that include whether to pay people more or to pay more people.

“Those are hard decisions, but those are decisions that have to be made,” he said.

Coutre and Bartle said the New Board Member Orientation provided them with information and background that will help them make the difficult decisions as members of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board.

“I feel more confident, more knowledgeable, so that I can make the right decisions,” Coutre said.

“Undoubtedly we are going to learn more as we progress through our four-year term,” said Bartle. “But this prepared me to hit the ground running in January.”
 

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This season’s Maricopa High School football roster included a 6-foot, 190-pound lineman from Italy. Known to his teammates by his nickname of Jack, senior Giacomo Ghigo saw his first varsity playing time during the Rams’ Oct. 1 game against Scottsdale Coronado.

Maricopa coach Cory Nenaber sent Ghigo into the lineup on defense for the final two minutes of the game, which Coronado won, 40-24. Ghigo made the tackle on his first play.

“First game, first play. Yeah, nice,” he said.

Ghigo said he has adjusted to the rigors of daily football practice.

“At the beginning, considering it was my first sport, it’s very hard with the heat of the desert,” he said. “And it was a lot painful, but after a while you get used to it.”

The opportunity to participate in athletics was one of the reasons that Ghigo wanted to spend the school year in America.

“I wanted to improve my English and learn what I can from your culture and also play sports,” he said.

Ghigo said he also would like to play baseball in the spring, but he doesn’t think his academic schedule will allow it.

“Since I have to study every afternoon for my high school in Italy, I won’t have the time to play baseball,” he said.

Ghigo said the high school he attends in Italy is smaller than Maricopa. He describes his Italian school as “totally different.”

“At school in my country, students stay all together in the same class, and the teachers move around,” Ghigo said. “Every week there are a lot more subjects and homework.”

While the Italian school day is just five hours long, students spend four hours each night on homework.

“It’s kind of hard,” Ghigo said.

Students in Italy attend high school for five years, so Ghigo will have another year to complete after he returns to his hometown.

“And then, I’d like to try to be a physical therapist,” he said.

Ghigo and his parents and brother are from Cuneo, a city of 55,000 that is located at the foot of the Maritime Alps in northwest Italy.

“It’s peaceful,” Ghigo said. I love it.”

Asked what he enjoys most about Maricopa, Ghigo said, “In America, the people are very nice.” He mentioned his host family (Charles and Catherine Hoyt), his football teammates and coaches, and the students at Maricopa High School as examples.

Ghigo said he also has discovered a favorite American food which is not available in Italy.

“Twinkies,” he said. “All the Hostess snack foods.”

Ghigo said he would like to visit the Hostess factory, along with Disneyland, New York City and Maine.

“I like Maine because lobster is very cheap, and because of the nice climate,” he said.

Ghigo said the climate of Maine is similar to his hometown in Italy, with cold and snowy winters and warm summers.

Photo by Tom Kessler

Next: Mengli Yang from China

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Chandler Seton Catholic rallied in the second half to post a 61-57 victory Friday night over the Maricopa boys basketball team.

“In the first half, we did such a better job of attacking them,” Maricopa coach Andy Branchik said following the Class 4A-II East Sky Region match-up. “In the second half, we stopped attacking and we started settling for our jumpers. And unfortunately, our jumpers weren’t falling tonight.”
Justin Warren finished with 19 points to lead the Rams, who also got 16 points from Travis Brown and seven each from Marcus Lowe and DeVaughn Elledge.
After the Rams built a 33-24 halftime lead on the strength of a 12-0 scoring run in the second quarter, the visiting Sentinels came back after the intermission to pull ahead 40-37. Maricopa answered by scoring seven consecutive points (five by Elledge and two by Warren) to retake the lead at 44-40.
Seton Catholic (9-11 overall, 1-3 in the 4A-II East Sky Region) went ahead to stay at 47-46 on a drive to the basket by Brett Refner with 5:50 remaining in the fourth quarter. After the Sentinels increased their lead to 57-51 with 2:15 left, the Rams (5-13, 0-6) closed within 57-55 on a layup by Warren and a turnaround jumper in the lane by Brown.
Carlo Robles, who led Seton Catholic with 19 points, made four free throws in the final 42 seconds to seal the win for the Sentinels.
“We just have to put a complete basketball game together,” Maricopa co-coach Charles Litt said. “Our kids played hard. We played great defense. But we play in halves. We play in spurts. Teams come out of halftime and they change their pressure, and we have to handle that pressure better.”
Maricopa will play its next three games on the road – at Tempe on Tuesday, at Gilbert Higley on Friday and at Scottsdale Coronado on Jan. 18. The Rams’ next home game is scheduled for Jan. 21 against Phoenix Arcadia.

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Six wrestlers from Maricopa High School will be making the trip to Prescott later this week to compete in the Division III State Wrestling Championships.

Maricopa seniors Shakeil Becker, Louis Ochoa, Joey Kelly and Sean Dodge, along with junior Adolfo Franco and freshman Sky Murcek, qualified for the state meet by placing among the top six in their weight classes at last weekend’s sectional tournament at Tucson Empire High School.

Eleven MHS wrestlers competed in the sectional. With six of them placing, the Rams achieved their goal of qualifying at least half of their competitors to the state meet.

“The guys were satisfied and quite elated at the end of the day,” coach Conroy Bowman said. “It was really great to see that.”

Becker finished third in the sectional at 145 pounds, and Murcek placed third at 103. Franco was the fourth-place finisher at 140, while Ochoa (152) and Kelly (171) each placed fifth.

The top five finishers in each weight class at the sectional automatically qualified for the state tournament. Dodge also is advancing to state as a sixth-place sectional finisher, having won a tiebreaker (best overall season winning percentage) over the sixth-place wrestlers from the Division III sectionals at Payson and Phoenix Greenway.

Bowman said that five of Maricopa’s state qualifiers had to advance through the sectional brackets the hard way after losing their second-round matches.

“We kind of regrouped thereafter, because at that point our only wrestler who had advanced to the semifinals was Sky Murcek at 103,” Bowman said. “At that point, we knew we had to make a run at it in order to qualify, and we knew the only way to do that was to advance through the consolation bracket.”

Franco and Kelly qualified for the state meet for the second consecutive season.

In order to make it out of the 171-pound bracket, Kelly had to beat Seth Ward of Safford in the match for fifth place. In the previous round, Ward had pinned Gilbert Campo Verde’s Alex Braden, a wrestler who had defeated Kelly three times during the regular season.

Kelly was equal to the challenge, taking a 2-0 lead over Ward in the first period and maintaining an advantage throughout the match.

“It came down to the final 15 seconds,” Bowman said. “Joey capped it off convincingly with a pin in the final 10 seconds. Knowing that he beat this guy who had beaten the guy he had lost to three times does a lot for his confidence.”

Kelly (31-12 on the season) will wrestle against Kayenta Monument Valley’s Dion Bailey (31-11) in the opening round of the state meet, which takes place Friday and Saturday at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott.

Murcek (30-11) will have a first-round state-tournament rematch against Tucson Amphitheater’s Marcus Salnicky (34-9), who defeated him by decision in the sectional semifinals.

Franco (29-17) will face Safford’s Tim Hart (33-10) in the opening round, while Becker (31-13) will square off against Jawuan Pugh (14-5) of Phoenix Thunderbird.

Ochoa (5-3) will wrestle against Bradley Cutliffe (25-9) of Thunderbird in the first round, while Dodge (32-15) has an opening-round match-up against Hunter King (38-3) of Buckeye.

“I think the big thing will be for them to have confidence in themselves, that they can compete with the individual they have in front of them,” Bowman said. “I think the confidence is there now. We believe we can compete. And the concept of doing combination moves, I think we are peaking at this point. That is really satisfying to see.”
 

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The Maricopa High School boys soccer team battled toe-to-toe on Tuesday with powerhouse Phoenix Cortez before falling 3-2 to the defending Class 4A-II state champion Colts.

“It was an extremely close game,” Maricopa coach Cortney Kellenaers said. “I’m disappointed that we lost, but pleased with the work ethic and the way the boys stepped up. This is one of the two toughest games we are going to have (along with an upcoming match-up against Scottsdale Notre Dame), so it was really important that we put up a good fight. We did that.”

After Cortez took a 2-0 lead, the Rams rallied to tie the score at 2-2 on goals by Tony Archuleta and Jose Alvarado. Cortez then tallied the winning goal with about 10 minutes remaining.

“Armando Cano (Maricopa’s senior goalkeeper) made some big saves which were vital to keep us in the game,” Kellenaers said. “As a team, everybody really played at their best. I didn’t really have to make a lot of substitutions because there was little need for change. Everybody that was in there did what they were expected to do. I’m proud of their effort and the way they stepped up.”

The Rams now are ranked seventh in the AIA power rankings for Class 4A-II with a record of 3-2 in games that count for power points. Cortez (5-1) is ranked second behind No. 1 Buckeye Verrado (6-0). The top 16 teams in the conference will qualify for the 4A-II state tournament.
Maricopa (6-3 overall) will play at Phoenix Arcadia on Friday and at Gilbert Williams Field on Jan. 11 before returning home for games against Scottsdale Coronado on Jan. 12, Scottsdale Notre Dame on Jan. 14 and Chandler Seton Catholic on Jan. 18.

The Rams’ regular season concludes with road games at Tempe on Jan. 21 and Gilbert Higley on Jan. 25.

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Last week’s Holiday Hoops Classic was a basketball showcase that featured 24 boys games and 10 girls games contested over two days in three gymnasiums on the Maricopa High School campus.

“The tournament has been an overall success,” said Maricopa boys basketball coach Andy Branchik, who coordinated the event. “It ran smoothly. All of the teams have enjoyed themselves. There have been a lot of compliments. It’s been a fun tournament.”

Branchik’s Maricopa boys team finished 3-3 in the tournament, defeating Tucson Empire twice and Globe once while losing to Fountain Hills, Apache Junction and Chandler Seton Catholic.
Tucson Ironwood Ridge finished 6-0 to win the eight-team boys bracket.

In the girls bracket, coach Jennifer Miller’s Maricopa Rams won their second consecutive Holiday Hoops Classic, defeating Cibecue, Glendale, Tucson Pueblo and Globe to earn the championship.

“It doesn’t really matter which girls we put on the floor,” said Miller, whose team received contributions from every player on the varsity roster. “They seem to be able to get the job done.”
The Rams outscored their four opponents by a combined margin of 239-120, beating Cibecue 68-38, Glendale 63-18, Pueblo 52-41 and Globe 56-23.

Miller said the keys to the Rams’ tournament victories were “rebounding, points in the paint and defense – and most importantly, defense.”

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Shawn Kinsey of Maricopa is offering what he describes as “fashionable designs on high-quality clothing” through his new home-based business, Jaded & Hated Clothing Co. LLC.
 
“One of the big things I want to accomplish is to stay 100-percent American-made,” Kinsey said.
 
Customers can log onto the company website, jadedandhated.com, and choose a design as well as the article of clothing they want it to appear on.
 
“For men, we are offering short-sleeve crew T-shirts, long-sleeve crew T-shirts, short-sleeve V-necks and hoodies,” Kinsey said. “For women, we have short-sleeve crew T-shirts, short-sleeve V-necks, long-sleeve V-necks, racerback tank tops, regular tank tops and female hoodies.”
 
Sizes range from small to triple-extra-large for men and from extra-small to extra-large for women. Kinsey said the smallest sizes will be appropriate for youth, and he added that he plans to offer children’s sizes in the future.
 
Orders are mailed to customers.
 
Q&A with Shawn Kinsey
How long have you operated your business in Maricopa? It has been in the planning stages for six months, as far as getting the licenses and the LLC and everything like that. The website went live on April 2.
 
How would you describe your business? Jaded & Hated Clothing Co. LLC is home of 100-percent American-made, fashionable designs. We strive to be No. 1 in customer service.
 
Why did you choose to open a business in Maricopa? Maricopa is a great city to open, operate and grow a business. It is a beautiful community that will continue to grow and prosper. Jaded & Hated Clothing Co. LLC would like to contribute to that growth and prosperity.
 
Why should someone frequent your business instead of a competitor? Jaded & Hated Clothing Co. is proud to offer American-made, fashion-forward graphic designs. Being designed and created solely in America is rare these days, but it is an important trait for our clothing company. We also take customer care seriously – if it weren’t for our customers, we wouldn’t be in business. We will make sure they are satisfied in every interaction they have with us.
 
Where do you see your business in five years? Jaded & Hated Clothing Co. is going global. We will offer all of our fashionable designs to every demographic around the world. We see our clothing in every major department store, on the World Wide Web and in small boutiques across the nation and world.
 
What is the best business advice you have ever received? I was fortunate enough to attend a conference of Dan Costa, CEO of 5.11, and I heard him speak. He offered two pieces of advice: “Don’t give up on yourself; if you truly believe it, go for it,” and “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

What are the biggest challenges ahead for you and your company? The biggest challenge is surely the financial aspect of starting a clothing company and marketing ourselves where it is best viewed.  In addition, we have to stay ahead of change and continually re-define ourselves without compromising our company values and goals.
 
Why did you decide to go into this particular business? Once the name “Jaded & Hated” was thought of, it took on its own life. The name could sell; it could sell even better with fashionable designs. 
 
Is your business creating jobs in Maricopa?  Currently, there are no employees other than a business partner. As Jaded & Hated Clothing Co. continues to grow, rest assured, it will offer jobs to the citizens of Maricopa.
 
At a glance
Business: Jaded & Hated Clothing Co. LLC
Location: Maricopa
Owner: Shawn Kinsey
Telephone: 480-772-0925
E-mail: jadedandhated@live.com
Website: jadedandhated.com
Hours: Website will be available 24 hours. Available by phone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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At this time of year in high school wrestling, the competitors adopt a survive-and-advance mentality.

Beginning with this weekend’s sectional tournaments and culminating – for those who qualify – with the state meet on Feb. 11-12, the objective for each wrestler is to win his next match and progress through the bracket for his weight class.

For the Maricopa Rams, the season’s most-important test begins Friday, when they hit the mats for the first of two days of matches in the Division III Sectional III tournament at Tucson Empire High School.

“We will most likely have 11, if not 12, weight classes filled,” Maricopa coach Conroy Bowman said in reference to the sectional, which concludes Saturday. “Out of those, I would be happy to see half of them advance – preferably more, but half would be good for us.”

Five wrestlers in each weight class at the 16-team sectional will qualify for the following weekend’s state tournament at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott.

In addition to Maricopa, the schools competing in the Empire sectional are Tucson Amphitheater, Gilbert Campo Verde, Tucson Catalina, Coolidge, Douglas, Empire, Florence, Gilbert Higley, Tucson Palo Verde, Rio Rico, Tucson Sabino, Safford, Sahuarita, Tucson Santa Rita and Chandler Seton Catholic.

While the Rams have wrestled against Campo Verde several times this season, most of the remainder of the field will be unfamiliar.

“The other teams are very new to us,” Bowman said. “We haven’t seen them.”

Bowman expects Safford and Amphitheater to provide some of the toughest competition at the meet. Amphitheater is one of the top-level programs in Tucson, while Safford won six consecutive Class 3A state championships from 2005-10.

“It will be quite a challenge going against them,” Bowman said. “We are going to prepare the best we can and see what we can deliver.”

Maricopa wrestlers Adolfo Franco (a 140-pound junior) and Joey Kelly (a 171-pound senior) will be aiming to advance to the state meet for the second consecutive season.

The Rams’ other top contenders in the sectional figure to include freshman Sky Murcek (103 pounds), sophomore Jacob Lara (130), senior Shakeil Becker (145), senior Louis Ochoa (152), sophomore Kyle Kingery (189) and senior Sean Dodge (215).

Bowman said the Rams have been improving throughout the season, with the goal of working into top form for the sectional and state tournaments.
 

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Henry Staggs first became an entrepreneur at age 17, when he founded a roofing, siding and drywall business in Kansas.
“Nobody in the little town I was living in was hiring,” Staggs said. “A contractor was joking around that I should start a contracting business. I took him seriously and did exactly that.”
Nearly 24 years later, after having successfully owned and operated additional businesses in Arizona and Oklahoma, Staggs is beginning his latest venture, a professional handyman service in Maricopa called The Odd-Job Guys LLC.
“From leaking roofs to the kitchen sink and everything in between, we have you covered,” the company website, theoddjobguys.com, states.
Staggs’ business, which opened on Jan. 1, is focusing upon small to medium-sized home repairs.
“We do unit pricing per job (as opposed to charging by the hour),” Staggs said. “The homeowner is going to know what the job costs before we start the work.”
Staggs recently moved to Maricopa from Oklahoma, where he owned and operated Caliber Roof Systems. During an earlier stint in Arizona, he founded a business called The Gilbert Handyman.
Staggs’ goal for The Odd-Job Guys LLC is to provide quality service with a high level of professionalism.
“I am taking all I have learned over the years and applying it to a handyman service, which I don’t think many people are doing,” Staggs said.
Q & A with Henry Staggs
How long have you operated this business in Maricopa? Since Jan. 1. We bought a house in Maricopa and plan to lay down roots here.
How long have you been in the field overall? For the better part of the last 23 years.
How would you describe your business? I want to bring a higher level of professionalism and service to the handyman, home repair and maintenance industry here and in other places.
Why did you choose to open a business in Maricopa? It is a small and growing town, with a lot of potential.
Why should someone frequent your business instead of a competitor? We take the extra step in our service toward our customers, treat people with the respect they deserve and provide a higher level of service and workmanship. We also offer specialized programs that help homeowners save money by preventing damage rather than making expensive repairs.
Where do you see your business in five years? Franchised.
What is the best business advice you have ever received? My great-grandfather, Clarence Henry Depew, told me, “Stop looking around to see who is going to do it for you, and make it happen yourself.”
What are the biggest challenges ahead for you and your company? The bad reputation of handymen in general is our greatest challenge to overcome.
How many employees do you have? Two currently: myself and my office manager.
Is your business creating jobs in Maricopa? Yes. I plan to hire three or four handymen within the next year.
Business: The Odd-Job Guys LLC
Owners: Henry Staggs and Monica Gutziet
Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; emergency and after-hours appointments as needed.
Telephone: 480-265-1613

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Alyssa Turner-Petersen is a firm believer in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which mandates that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

A firearms safety instructor and CCW instructor since 2005, Turner-Petersen has expanded her Maricopa home business this year to include sales of guns and other personal protection devices.

Turner-Peterson said the aim of her enterprise, Arizona Personal Protection and Firearms Sales LLC, is to help keep law-abiding people safe against the threat of criminal attack.

“When I interviewed with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, I told them that I was going to get firearms into every qualified hand I possibly could and keep them out of the hands of the people that shouldn’t have them,” Turner-Petersen said.

Turner-Petersen is selling firearms on a per-order basis, meaning that she does not stock guns and other weapons. When a customer contacts her to purchase a firearm, Turner-Petersen finds the best price, conducts the requisite background check and arranges to have the item delivered. Customers can pick up their purchases within a few days.

“I told a friend the other day about how inexpensively I am selling firearms, and he said, ‘Aly, you’re not out to get rich. You’re out to arm America,’” Turner-Petersen said. “And I said, ‘Exactly – starting with Maricopa and Casa Grande.’”

In addition to firearms, Turner-Petersen sells other personal protection apparatus such as Tasers and a $9.95 device called the Honey Comb, which looks like a hairbrush but contains a dagger.

Q & A with Alyssa Turner-Petersen

How long have you operated your business in Maricopa? I began selling firearms on Jan. 4. I have been a firearms instructor since 2005.

How long have you been in the field overall? You might say for my entire life. I was the proverbial “tomboy” who started shooting and hunting very young in Minnesota. I started up a firearms education business after being with (former Pinal County Sheriff) Roger Vanderpool’s Posse.

How would you describe your business? I think of what I do as “empowering Americans.”

Why did you choose to open a business in Maricopa? Maricopa/Casa Grande needs a gun shop, not more pawnshops.

Why should someone frequent your business instead of a competitor? My goal is to educate and get firearms into every qualified hand as inexpensively as possible, and thus enable people to protect themselves and their families.

Where do you see your business in five years? With at least five employees, a downtown storefront and a training facility/public range.

What is the best business advice you have ever received? I was told several years ago by a merchant on Mill Avenue, “Keep your prices low and make it up in volume.” I still believe that is the way to do business.

What are the biggest challenges ahead for you and your company? I am trying to do everything loan-free. Building a business without loans is a challenge.

How many employees do you have? Currently just myself.

Is your business creating jobs in Maricopa? I plan to have at least one employee by the end of 2011. When I start selling at gun shows, I will need at least two other people.

How many units do you sell? In the week prior to officially opening the doors, I had already received five new gun orders. I teach handgun safety and CCW classes at least two weekends a month.

At a glance
Business: Arizona Personal Protection and Firearms Sales LLC
Location: Maricopa
Owner/manager: Alyssa Turner-Petersen
Hours: By appointment.
Telephone: 520-424-5191
E-mail: info@ArizonaPersonalProtection.com
Website: www.ArizonaPersonalProtection.com

Photo by Tom Kessler

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The Maricopa High School baseball team built an early lead and held on for a 6-5 victory Tuesday over Apache Junction.

With the win, the visiting Rams improved to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in games that count in the AIA power rankings for Class 4A-II.

“Apache Junction is in 4A-I, so we picked up an extra five power points, which is always good,” Maricopa coach Daron Connelly said. “Now we have to come out and kind of retool and get ready to face Queen Creek, another 4A-I school, on Thursday (in the Rams’ home opener).”

Against Apache Junction (1-3 overall), the Rams scored four runs in the top of the first inning, one in the second and one in the fifth to pull ahead 6-0 before the Prospectors rallied with a run in the bottom of the fifth and four in the sixth.

Apache Junction had the potential tying run on second base with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Maricopa relief pitcher Joey Kelly retired the final two batters to record the save.

Freshman left-hander Dallas Speer pitched the first 5 2/3 innings to earn the win for Maricopa, limiting Apache Junction to three runs on six hits.

“He got us deep into the sixth inning,” Connelly said. “We couldn’t ask for more. We couldn’t ask for more if he was a senior.”

Speer, who struck out five batters and walked seven, worked out of jams in the first, second and third innings, when Apache Junction left a total of seven runners on base and failed to score.

“We still have some things we have to work on, but he showed great poise and got the win,” Connelly said. “He deserved the win.”

A.J. Beltran, J.C. Seymore and Justin Warren had base hits in Maricopa’s four-run first inning. Warren’s single drove in Beltran with the first run of the game. An RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Kelly brought home Armando Cano, who had walked. Warren and Kelly scored the third and fourth runs of the inning on Apache Junction errors.

Seymore drew a bases-loaded walk in the second inning off Apache Junction starting pitcher Brian Drennan to force in another run for Maricopa.

The Rams added their sixth run in the fifth inning, when Kelly walked, went to third on a double by Ryan Sarver and scored on a wild pitch.

The Rams left the bases loaded without scoring in the sixth. The Maricopa offense stranded a total of 11 runners in the game.

“Although we did draw a lot of walks today (10) and we were able to score enough runs to win, we still had plenty of opportunities where we should have scored a whole lot more runs,” Connelly said. “We have to understand that when a pitcher is struggling, we need to take more pitches in that situation.”

Apache Junction, meanwhile, left a total of 12 runners on base.

After stranding eight runners in the first four innings, the Prospectors broke through in the fifth for their first run against Speer with an RBI single by Johnathan Converse.

Speer struck out the first two Apache Junction batters in the sixth, but Jared Kraps hit a two-out single and Jonathan Hanson drove him in with a double to center field. Speer then was relieved by right-handed pitcher Sabian Johnson.

Apache Junction third baseman Nick Saathoff hit a two-run homer over the fence in right-center field to draw the Prospectors within 6-4, and AJ added an unearned run later in the sixth inning to make it 6-5.

In the bottom of the seventh, Apache Junction put a runner on second base with one out, but Maricopa’s Kelly, a senior right-hander, struck out Kraps and retired Hanson on an infield popup to end the game.

Photo by Tom Kessler
 

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Although the outcome of Tuesday night’s Class 4A-II East Sky Region girls basketball game between host Maricopa and defending state champion Chandler Seton Catholic was essentially decided by halftime, the Rams found reason for encouragement during the final two quarters.

Seton Catholic remained undefeated in the region as well as in AIA power-point games by posting a 66-39 victory over the Rams. The Sentinels (23-3 overall, 16-0 in 4A-II power-point games, 12-0 East Sky Region) pulled away in the second quarter and led 47-13 at halftime, but Maricopa outscored them 26-19 in the second half.

“The first half they were playing not to lose,” Maricopa coach Jennifer Miller said about the Rams, who stand at 13-12 overall, 7-9 in power-point games and 5-8 in the East Sky Region.

“In the second half, they were playing to win. And it’s just attitude. They came out in the second half. They had nothing to lose. They had set their goal: ‘We’re going to play offense.’ They came out and they played offense. We spent most of the second half with girls who will be returning next season, and they outplayed them. So I guess every dark cloud has a silver lining.”

Junior forward Paige Ellis and sophomore forward Derona Mitchell led the Rams with 10 points each. Mitchell added five rebounds and three steals, while Ellis pulled down nine rebounds.

“Paige came up big this game,” Miller said about Ellis. “It’s exciting to know we’ll get her back next season. With her, it’s just confidence. When she finally realizes how good she is, there are going to be teams that have no idea what to do with her.”

Ellis scored six points during the third quarter, when Maricopa outscored Seton Catholic 16-6. She added two more on a putback early in the fourth to reduce the Rams’ deficit to 55-33.
Mitchell also scored eight points during the second half, tallying four in the third quarter and four in the fourth.

The Rams also got seven points in the game from Brianna Estrada and six from Paige Provost. Morgan Rainey finished with three points and seven rebounds for Maricopa, while Julia Dickerson added three points and five rebounds.

Seton Catholic was led by Kayla Bustos, who finished with 20 points and seven steals, and Theresa Wirth, who contributed 15 points and eight rebounds.

Maricopa will conclude the regular season with road games at Tempe (on Friday) and Apache Junction (on Feb. 8). The Rams will need to win both to have a chance to accumulate enough power points to finish among the top 16 in the rankings and qualify for the 4A-II state tournament.

“We think if we get our job done, we’ve got a pretty good shot,” Miller said.

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Sheridan “Bo” Lindsey knows a little something about how to fix cars. He has worked as a mechanic since 1997 and he earned his ASE certification as a Master Auto Technician in 2003.

With a philosophy of providing quality service at affordable prices, Lindsey started his business, Bo Knows Automotive and Repair, in the spring of 2010. He began the enterprise as a mobile repair service and has since opened a garage at 54105 JT Western Trail.
“Our labor rate is $45 per hour, and we don’t mark up our parts like the corporations do,” Lindsey said. “It’s just a lot cheaper.”
Lindsey and his service manager, Timothy Miller, often talked about starting an auto repair business during the years that they worked as mechanics for a corporate chain. Last year, they made their plan a reality.
Lindsey, Miller and the shop’s six additional employees provide a full gamut of service – including oil changes, tune-ups, brake work, transmission repair, engine rebuilds and body work.
Customers can choose between bringing their vehicles into the shop or having a mechanic come out to their home or place of employment.
“We can come to them, or they can come to us,” said Miller.
Lindsey and Miller said their goal is to earn their customers’ trust by providing honest, reliable service at reasonable prices.
“We don’t have a big overhead,” Lindsey said.
“We have all the advantages that the corporations do,” added Miller. “We get the same rates on parts that they do. The only thing we don’t do is we don’t mark our parts up 300 percent or charge $110 an hour for labor. We’re working people, and we’re tired of seeing people paying for things that are outrageously priced.”
Q&A with Sheridan “Bo” Lindsey
How long have you operated your business in Maricopa? We have been operating the mobile repair business for eight months and the shop for about four months.
How long have you been in the auto repair field? I have been in the field for a little over 13 years. I have been a Master Technician for seven and a half years.
How would you describe your business? If you break it, we can fix it
Why did you choose to open a business in Maricopa? I’ve lived here for four years. The city is still growing. So I figure if I can put a good automotive shop in Maricopa while it’s growing, then I’m going to grow with the community.
Why should someone frequent your business instead of a competitor? We’ll offer you the same service, if not better service, at a lower price. We’ll offer the same quality, and we’ll get it done faster, too.
Where do you see your business in five years? Definitely statewide. I’m going to put Bo Knows in Casa Grande, Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix, Tempe, everywhere. That’s my goal.
What is the best business advice you have ever received? The thing I keep in mind is people said that I wouldn’t be able to do it. That’s my motivation, right there—people saying that I would never make it.
What are the biggest challenges ahead for your company? I really don’t see any.
Why did you decide to go into this business? There’s nothing like having a job that you like doing.
How many employees do you have? Seven.
Is your business creating jobs in Maricopa? Definitely.
How many customers do you have? We have over 400-500 customers already.
 
At a glance
Business: Bo Knows Automotive and Repair
Address: 54105 JT Western Trail, Maricopa
Owner: Sheridan “Bo” Lindsey
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; 24-hour emergency roadside assistance is available
Telephone: 520-414-6931

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Jose Reyes and his brothers Pablo and Fernando have been refilling toner cartridges for laser-jet printers for more than 15 years. Now the longtime Maricopa residents have opened a family-owned company called Reyes Toner Recycling LLC, that features competitive prices as well as free pickup and delivery for area customers.

“We have the experience and the knowledge,” Jose Reyes said. “So we said, ‘Hey, let’s start a new business. Let’s give it a try.’”

The company which opened in December will cater to individuals and businesses.

“We sell to the public, to the businesses,” Reyes said. “We try to avoid the middle men, so they deal directly with us.”

Reyes Toner Recycling will pick up customers’ empty toner cartridges, refill and refurbish the cartridges at the family shop on West Hathaway Avenue and deliver the finished product back to customers.

“We have the capability to refill at least 13 or 14 different cartridges from different types of laser-jet toner printers,” Reyes said.

Dell and HP are among the brands of cartridges that Reyes Toner Recycling refills.

“The price range depends on what kind of cartridge they use,” Reyes said. “The purpose for us is to save our customers money – and the time it would take to go out of town to buy them.”

Q&A with Jose Reyes
How long have you operated this business in Maricopa? We opened in December.

How long have you been in the field overall? More than 15 years.

How would you describe your business? We are professional in our work so our customers will be completely satisfied.

Why did you choose to open a business in Maricopa? We think there is a market for this kind of business here. In this economy, businesses are looking to save time and money. We know the business, and we are local.

Why should someone frequent your business instead of a competitor? Because we have years of professional experience with quality and integrity.

Where do you see your business in five years? We see ourselves growing with the city of Maricopa. Hopefully, we’ll be in a bigger building, somewhere in Maricopa.

What is the best business advice you have ever received? The best business advice came from our mother, who said without risk there can be no success.

What are the biggest challenges ahead for you and your company? The challenge we face as a new company is convincing our customers they made a great choice in giving us the opportunity to serve them for all of their cartridge needs.

How many employees do you have? We have four employees.

Is your business creating jobs in Maricopa? We hope to hire as the need arrives with growing business.

Business: Reyes Toner Recycling LLC
Owners: Jose Reyes, Veronica R. Mascorro, Pablo Reyes and Fernando Reyes
Address: 45258 W. Hathaway Avenue
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Telephone: 520-423-9533 (office); 480-695-5614 (cell)
E-mail: reyestoner@gmail.com
 

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With seven sophomores and three freshmen among the 15 players on the roster, Chris Ansley has a young team in his first year as the Maricopa High School varsity softball coach.

That doesn’t mean, however, that he is writing off this season as strictly a learning experience. Instead, Ansley believes the Rams can win plenty of games along the way as they establish a foundation for the future.

“We are looking forward to having a good season,” Ansley said. “We have put a lot of hard work in getting the girls prepared, and we are hoping that it pays off.”

Maricopa opens the season today with a home game against Apache Junction. After playing in the Sun Blast Tournament at Anthem Boulder Creek from March 3-5, the Rams will begin their Class 4A-II East Sky Region schedule on March 8 at Gilbert Higley.

“We are in the toughest region,” Ansley said about the East Sky, which sent five teams, including state champion Chandler Seton Catholic, to last season’s 4A-II state tournament.

The Rams will look for senior leadership from outfielder Cami Cochran, infielder Alicia Ortega and utility player Talia Davis, who can play several positions.

Cochran and Ortega will bat in the middle of the Maricopa lineup, along with junior first baseman Keri Weigl and sophomore pitcher Alicia Portillo.

After gaining varsity experience in the pitching circle last year as a freshman, Portillo will step into the role as the Rams’ top pitcher this season.

“Alicia has good control and ball placement,” Ansley said. “She throws hard, and she has a pretty good changeup.”

Portillo, a right-hander, will share the pitching duties with sophomore left-hander Andrea Wilson.

The Rams’ catchers are freshman Madison Moncel and sophomore Gabrielle Vargas. Sophomores Madison Clark and Ariel Ortega are among the Rams’ infielders, as are freshmen Madi Byrd and Rosie Naranjo.

The cadre of Maricopa outfielders includes junior Shawnny Cruz and sophomores Randi Mead and Sofia Lopez.

Ansley said the Rams have shown potential on offense. “I believe we are going to be solid in hitting this year,” the Maricopa coach said. “We have been working on bunting, and we also have been hitting for power. We have been coming along well with both.”

Ansley said Ariel Ortega and Mead are among the candidates to bat in the leadoff position. Defensively, the coach likes the versatility the Rams have exhibited.

“We have done a lot of fielding at practice at every position,” Ansley said. “They all seem pretty comfortable anywhere we put them.”
 

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Michael Quibell has big plans for Back in Balance Studio, the massage therapy enterprise he recently opened in the Maricopa Business Barn on North John Wayne Parkway.

“Once we get a business going, I would like to hire a few more therapists, get a bigger office, get space for a waiting room and a secretary,” said Quibell, a Maricopa resident who operates Back in Balance Studio with his wife, Cheryl. “I’d like to be Maricopa’s number one place for massage therapy.”

Quibell, a graduate of the Arizona School of Massage Therapy, decided to go into the field after having to endure pain caused by herniated discs in his back.

“I had a life-changing injury, and I was tired of doctors telling me that they couldn’t do anything for me, that I would just have to live with the pain or take prescription drugs,” Quibell said. “I decided that I wanted to educate the community and let people know that they don’t have to just cover up their symptoms. We can make a change to get them back in line, to get them back in balance.”

Q&A with Michael Quibell

How long have you operated this particular business in Maricopa, and how long have you been in the field overall?  Our business here is brand new. We just opened. I have been in the massage industry for a little over a year.

How would you describe your business? We’re massage therapy, not just for relaxation, but for healing. We will be massaging everybody from soccer moms who want to relax, to business men and women who need to de-stress, to athletes who need to get back in the game. It’s not about money, it’s about getting people better.

Why did you choose to open a business in Maricopa? I want to bring it home and take care of my neighbors.

Why should someone frequent your business instead of a competitor? I don’t want to put any competitors down because anybody who is in the massage field has to care about people. I would choose my company because I’m not just for the relaxing, I’m for healing.

Where do you see your business in five years? Hopefully, we will own our own building, have at least 10 therapists and be very involved in the community.

What is the best business advice you have ever received? I treat every person as I would want to be treated.

What are the biggest challenges ahead for you and your company? I would have to say financial. It takes money to expand.

Why did you decide to go into this particular business? Since I was a child, I always knew that I was going to help people. This is definitely my calling.

How many employees do you have? Is your business creating jobs in Maricopa? We have one other therapist besides myself. We will be creating jobs in Maricopa for other therapists and aestheticians. Eventually I would like to have cosmetologists as well.

How many clients do you have? We will be having at least five clients a day.

Business: Back in Balance Studio
Address: 19428 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite B, in the Maricopa Business Barn
Owners: Head therapist Michael Quibell and his wife, Cheryl
Hours: Currently by appointment only
Telephone: 480-720-9002
E-mail:
michaelquibell81@gmail.com

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Pinal County’s 90-percent population growth over the past decade has ramped up the workload for the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, but the office’s budget has not always kept pace, especially in the economic climate of the past three years. As a result, County Attorney James P. Walsh and his staff have had to do more with less.

In fiscal 2008-09, the office reviewed 2,856 felony cases and indicted 1,441 suspected criminals. Those numbers increased significantly in 2009-10, when the office reviewed 3,940 felony cases and indicted 1,594; an additional 737 cases went to the new Early Disposition Court for resolution without indictment (see “Year-old court settles cases quickly”).

During the same period, the office’s general fund budget fell from $6.5 million to $6.2 million. Additional funding from grants and special revenues decreased from $3.7 million in 2008-09
to $3.5 million in 2009-10.

Over the past three fiscal years, from 2007-08 to 2009-10, the office’s overall budget fell from $11.9 million to $9.7 million, an 18.5 percent decrease. During that same time period the number of prosecutors on the staff remained constant at 29.

Despite the year-over-year increase in cases and the budgetary reductions, Walsh said in an interview in his Florence office that his team is coping.

“I think that the office is running very well on the amount of resources that have been provided to us,” said Walsh, who has been county attorney since 2007. “We’re addressing the problems that are coming to us. There has been an increase in the amount of crime being committed in this county, but I wouldn’t say that it is disproportionate to the population.

“In other words, I don’t think we’ve had bad people moving into the county. We’ve just had good old-fashioned folks, and some of them have disputes and some of them kind of get lost and go out and do things they shouldn’t be doing.”

A lot of new people
U.S. Census figures indicate that Pinal County’s population increased from 179,727 in 2000 to an estimated 340,962 in 2009.

From Jan. 1, 2000 to Nov. 1, 2010, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office received a total of 43,233 general felony cases and indicted a total of 19,672 people. During that timeframe, the office received 4,311 cases that were considered major offenses (Class 1, 2 and 3 felonies) and indicted 3,738 of those. Also during that time, the office received 31,534 drug felonies and indicted 13,386.

Richard T. Platt, chief criminal deputy for the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, said that the staff of prosecutors has grown from 12 members when he joined the department in 1996 to its present level of 29.

More help needed but not more lawyers
In assessing current staffing level, Walsh said that while he does not plan to ask the County Board of Supervisors for more prosecutors in the near future, he believes that the Attorney’s Office has an immediate need for additional paralegals and/or legal secretaries.

“I think we’re doing pretty well on the [number of] lawyers that we have in the office for the various tasks,” Walsh said. “But support personnel are an important resource that isn’t focused on enough. Those are resources that we really, really need. When we get to budget time for this coming year we may have to ask for something in that area. A paralegal is considerably less expensive than a prosecutor.”

Walsh recently was able to hire a second paralegal after operating for years with only one.

“They are a tremendous asset and resource to any law firm that does a lot of trial work,” Walsh said. “I think we’re moving in the right direction. Could we use three instead of two? You bet. But am I going to complain because we just went from one to two? No, I’m not going to complain about it, because I think that was a move in the right direction. But we may ask for another one next year.”

Walsh also was able to allocate money for the planned hiring of an additional legal secretary.

“With 55,000 notifications going out of this office from our victims services unit, they needed more help,” Walsh said. “We couldn’t get any more general funds, but I found another way to put together enough money to hire a secretary.”

Prosecuting criminals only part of the job
The 55,000 notifications sent to crime victims during the last fiscal year are just part of the non-prosecutorial services that the office regularly provides.

“By state law, victims are entitled to notice of almost all of the important stages of a criminal prosecution,” Walsh said. “Our office is the one that gives them those notices.”

The office also provides victim advocates, who are available to answer questions and accompany victims to court proceedings.

Additionally, the department provides legal advice and representation to the county government.

On the civil side, the office operates a Child Support Program, which collected $21 million for families last year. “It is a very significant part of what we do,” Walsh said. “It doesn’t require a lot of lawyers. There are about 35 people that work in that part of the office. We only have four lawyers, but the other 30-plus people are helping to find these folks and make sure that they make payments or get on a payment schedule.”

All of these services are in addition to the office’s responsibilities of prosecuting felonies that occur throughout the county, along with misdemeanors that take place in the county’s unincorporated areas.

That job of prosecuting criminals remains the office’s primary mission.

“What we want to do is make sure bad guys are not on the street,” Walsh said. “That’s our job. We’re trying to protect the community, just like police officers and sheriffs and deputies.

Sidebar: Year-old court settles cases quickly
The Early Disposition Court launched last year in Pinal County is a success, according to County Attorney James P. Walsh, clearing more than 700 cases before its first anniversary.

The court began addressing victimless crime in December 2009 and gradually added victim cases with the aim of resolving simple cases quickly, without repeated hearings and long delays. Usually only one hearing takes place. A judge, prosecutors, public defenders, probation officers and courtroom clerks all attend hearing, making an on-the-spot resolution possible. As of Oct. 1, the court is operating two days a week.

“EDC helps the whole criminal justice system provide for timely justice in cases that can be expedited,” Walsh said. “This court can minimize expenditures and allow us to redirect our resources as our population grows and demands on existing personnel become greater.”
EDC is a collaborative project of the Pinal County Superior Court, Pinal County Attorney’s Office, Pinal County Public Defender, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Adult Probation and Clerk of the Court.

“The EDC is still a project in progress,” Walsh said. “We are still refining the system to make it work for all involved, so that justice is provided while saving money for the taxpayers who foot the bill.”

 

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An electrical engineer by day, Eric Cope works nights and weekends as a software and web developer. Earlier this year, he incorporated his software and Web development business, Voltamp Media Inc., with the intention of eventually making it his full-time occupation.

“This is my escape from the rat race,” said Cope, who has lived in Maricopa since 2006.

Cope, 28, began web programming eight years ago while he was a student at Arizona State University. He completed a job for a friend and has worked in web development ever since.

Cope’s clients include small and medium-sized businesses that want to streamline their operations using computer and web-based technology.

In conjunction with Factor 1 Studios, a Maricopa-based web design company, Cope recently developed a software package called EscroWizard, which generates and archives title and
escrow quotes for title companies.

“Many companies do this using paper, pen and a fax machine,” Cope said. “The process used to take one or two days, was error-prone, and retrieving old quotes was difficult. EscroWizard
generates and e-mails quotes in less than 10 minutes, and all quotes are available for searching.”

Cope also recently developed an online scheduling system for an East Coast driving school that formerly coordinated all of its appointments by telephone.

“Think of it as the software behind the website,” Cope said about the service he provides. “I leverage people’s familiarity with a web browser and their computer to build an application
that is easy to use.”

Q&A with Eric Cope

How long have you operated this particular business in Maricopa? Since 2006.

How long have you been in the software and web development field? Since 2002.

How would you describe your business? We help companies streamline and enhance their
business practices and client services through investments in software and web-based
solutions.

Why did you choose to open a business in Maricopa? My business is home-based, so
when I moved here in 2006, my business moved here, too.

Why should someone frequent your business instead of a competitor? Customer-focused quality and service are our main business drivers. We stay in constant contact with our clients from the moment you request a proposal through launch of your web application. We respond quickly to questions and comments – our goal being to provide expertise beyond your expectations and
requirements.

Where do you see your business in five years? I see us growing along with the web development field, partnering with other design firms to deliver enterprise applications to businesses at the state and potentially national level.

What is the best business advice you have ever received? It’s not the idea that makes the
difference, it’s the execution.

What are the biggest challenges ahead for you and your company? Staying up-to-date with
web development standards and technologies and continuing to learn about new ideas and
ways of doing things better.

Why did you decide to go into this field? I started doing web development in college to keep my programming skills sharp when I was approached to build a shopping cart for a local business.

How many employees do you have? I don’t have employees, but I subcontract work to another local design firm, Factor 1 Studios, based in Maricopa.

Is your business creating jobs in Maricopa? As my business grows, we will continue our subcontracting and hire direct employees.

How many clients do you have? We have approximately 15-20 clients currently and are actively seeking new projects and clients.

Business: Voltamp Media Inc.
Address: 45068 W. Bahia Drive, Maricopa
Owner: Eric Cope
Hours: By appointment
Telephone: 602-568-2095
E-mail: eric.cope@voltampmedia.com
Website: voltampmedia.com
 

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Utilizing expertise gained in 23 years working in the field, Peter Cockle has founded a Maricopa-based freight-brokering business called ConneXion Cargo.

“I am originally from England, and my first job was working for FedEx,” Cockle said. “Since that time, I’ve had the good fortune to experience working for small, medium and large companies. At each company I have picked up good practices, knowledge and experience. I have worked for myself part-time for about five years and have now made the jump to full-time.”

Cockle’s business is totally independent, which allows him flexibility in serving his customers.

“Depending upon the customer’s requirements, I tailor-make a solution to ensure their needs are met,” he said. “Whether it’s a small box or a full trailer, each and every shipment is handled as if it is my own.”

Cockle’s says his extensive connections in the field help him to provide optimum service for customers.

 “I have access to over 16,000 vehicles throughout the USA, from full trailers, flat-beds and step-vans to the major international airlines,” Cockle said. “I have an agency base of 3,500 companies throughout the world that I can access, and I work with the company that can best meet the requirements [of my customers in each particular case].”

Q&A with Peter Cockle

When did you open in Maricopa? Nov. 1, 2010.

How long have you been in the shipping business? Twenty-three years.

How would you describe your business? We consistently deliver with open and honest communication, direct accountability and proven technologies that allow customers to get great rates and transparently follow their freight.

Why did you choose to open a business in Maricopa? I have lived in Maricopa for three-and-a-half years. The potential for this city is without boundaries.

Why should someone frequent your business instead of a competitor? ConneXion Cargo offers competitive pricing and is not restrained by any strict limitations. We see ourselves as an extension of our customers. We are their shipping department.

Where do you see your business in five years? ConneXion Cargo will continue to develop new ways to ensure our customers’ product is where it needs to be when it needs to be there in a cost-effective way.

What is the best business advice you have ever received? Never burn any bridges.

What are the biggest challenges ahead for you and your company? Adapting to new government regulations focused on the freight-forwarding industry.

Why did you decide to go into this particular business? I got into it by mistake, and found that I loved the industry and the people.

How many employees do you have? One.

Is your business creating jobs in Maricopa? As the business grows, it will create additional jobs.

Business: ConneXion Cargo
Owner: Peter Cockle
Address: 41807 W. Little Court
Hours: 24/7, 365 days
Telephone: 520-709-7743
E-mail:
connexioncargo@gmail.com

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In getting essential contributions Friday night from a turnover-free offense, a swarming defense and impactful special teams, the Maricopa Rams defeated Buckeye Youngker 16-7 to earn their first victory of the Cory Nenaber era.

 “We are pleased to get the first win,” said Nenaber, who is in his initial season as Maricopa’s head coach. “I think the first win is usually the toughest for any football team. We didn’t play perfect. It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest day we’ve had. But we found a way to win, which is a testament to our kids.”

After turning the ball over six times in a season-opening loss at Buckeye, the Maricopa offense avoided giveaways in Friday’s game at Youngker.

“We put the ball on the ground a couple times, but we got them back,” Nenaber said. “We played a lot better up front. We blocked a lot better. We made some big throws and catches when we needed to. We are not where we want to be offensively yet, but we are getting better, definitely better than last week.”

Defensively, the Rams (1-1) held the Roughriders (0-2) to one second-half touchdown.

“Our defensive line played a lot better,” Nenaber said. “We did better at controlling the line of scrimmage. We did a good job of making their running backs run sideways. We got them into the situation where we wanted, where they had to throw to beat us. And we were able to take care of it. Our tackling was much better than the first game.”

The Maricopa special teams played a far-reaching role in the victory. Senior kicker Armando Cano made three long field goals, and he also recovered an onside kick following Youngker’s touchdown. Meanwhile, senior K.J. Diehl forced and recovered a Youngker fumble on the second-half kickoff, and he also punted the ball effectively throughout the game.

“To have a really reliable kicker is a good thing,” Nenaber said about Cano, who boomed two kickoffs into the end zone in addition to converting two first-half field goals and a third three-pointer in the fourth quarter. “That is a huge weapon to have in high school.”

After Youngker scored its lone touchdown to close within 13-7, the Roughriders tried an onside kickoff. Cano was there to pounce on it, with help from senior teammate Justin Warren.

“I kind of had the feeling they (the Roughriders) were going to do it (the onside kick), so we put our hands team out there,” Nenaber said. “They were looking to try to keep the momentum. We guessed right, and our front two of Cano and Warren made great plays, making sure we got the ball. Cano ended up recovering it, and Warren had a hand on it also.”

After the Rams grabbed a 6-0 lead on Cano’s two first-half field goals, the Roughriders received the kickoff to open the third quarter. Diehl knocked the football loose from the Youngker return man and recovered it, setting up the Rams for a scoring drive that culminated with a touchdown run by junior Randel Barber.

“K.J. Diehl made a great individual effort and stripped the ball for the turnover,” Nenaber said. “K.J. was huge for us. He had a good game on defense (from his cornerback position), and he had four punts that were just huge.”

Nenaber also lauded the play of Barber and senior Patrick Duffy, both of whom excelled on offense and defense.

“Patrick Duffy played like a warrior on both sides of the ball (at fullback and linebacker),” Nenaber said. “He rarely leaves the field. He did a great job for us. Randel Barber (a starting cornerback on defense) came in off the bench offensively and gave us a spark in the backfield.”

While their quest to establish a winning tradition is just beginning, the Rams will head into next week’s non-region game at Page – and their subsequent Class 4A-II East Sky Region schedule – with the confidence that goes with earning their first victory of the season.

“I would say it was definitely an improvement,” Nenaber said in comparing his team’s performance against Youngker to the previous week’s 27-7 loss to Buckeye. “Are we where we want to be? Are we at our best? No. But we definitely improved at blocking and tackling. Our goal is to improve every single week. I tell them that every day. I think we proved something to ourselves – that we can win. I think that is the important thing.”

Photo by Tom Kessler
 

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The Maricopa Youth Football League will begin its fall season on Aug. 21 with a daylong schedule of games at Pacana Park.

“We have 12 teams this year in Maricopa and also have three cheer squads,” said league president Joel Griffin, adding that a total of 300 players and 50 cheerleaders are participating this season.

As part of the opening-day festivities on Aug. 21, the league will conduct an 11 a.m. drawing to determine the winners of its 50-50 raffle.

The grand prize allotment of up to $10,000 will be split between three winners at a ratio of 60-30-10. The amount of the grand prize will be determined by the total number of tickets sold.

Raffle tickets, which cost $10 each, can be purchased prior to the day of the drawing by contacting Griffin at 602-400-7349 or Dan Westerfield at 520-371-3970. Those interested also can send e-mail to Griffin at myfpresident@yahoo.com or to Westerfield at dmannavy@yahoo.com.

Raffle tickets also will be sold from 8 to 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at Pacana Park.

Griffin said the raffle is the Maricopa Youth Football League’s only fundraiser this year. The organization is hoping to collect $20,000 through the sale of the raffle tickets. Half of the ticket proceeds (up to $10,000) will be awarded as prizes for the 50-50 raffle, and half will help the league pay for operating expenses.

Griffin said the money raised will be used to purchase game uniforms. Additionally, the league hopes to buy a set of tower lights to illuminate practice fields at night.

The league also provides financial aid to help parents pay for their children’s entry fees. Griffin said the organization sponsored a record number of players this season.

“Different families have different situations, and we want to make sure kids aren’t held back from playing football,” Griffin said. “We want to make sure kids just enjoy the game of football. We have families with several siblings in the league. They know we try to provide the best for these kids.”

The Maricopa Youth Football League, which is part of the Pinal County Youth Football Federation, has four age classifications for players – the Mighty Mite Division for ages 7 and 8, the Junior Pee Wee Division for ages 9-10,  the Pee Wee Division for ages 11-12 and the Junior Division for ages 13-14.

The league’s fall season is scheduled to run from Aug. 21 to Nov. 6.

Griffin, who lives in Maricopa, has been the league president for five years. “My son DeSean Griffin (who now plays football for Mountain Pointe High School) started playing out here when we moved here from Texas,” Joel Griffin said. “I’m still enjoying it. I love coaching kids and giving them an outlet.”

Griffin said the Maricopa Youth Football League is always looking for additional assistant coaches. “Donations are needed also,” he said.

File photo

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After working in the medical diagnostics industry for 25 years in locations ranging from his native South Africa to Australia to England and the United States, Peter Jamieson decided that he wanted to repair appliances for a living.

He and his wife, Ronelle, operate Appliance Works LLC, a mobile, home-based Maricopa repair business.

“I have an electronics background,” Jamieson said. “Microwaves, ovens and a lot of refrigerators today have electronic boards in them, so all that comes easy to me.”

“My specialty is refrigeration,” he said, adding that he also fixes washers and dryers, range ovens, microwaves and dishwashers. He drives to his clients’ homes and businesses to complete the needed repairs.

“I want to give people honest, reliable service,” he said.

The Jamiesons registered with the Better Business Bureau about a year ago and already have achieved a rating of A-minus. They are hoping to attain an A-plus rating by early next year.

“We have ethics,” Ronelle Jamieson said. “Our pricing policy is up-front.”

Peter Jamieson recently repaired a refrigerator for the local Food Bank at no charge.

“They were given a refrigerator where they were storing all of their food, and it went down,” Jamieson said. “So I went there and fixed it for them.”

Q&A with Peter Jamieson

When did you open your business in Maricopa? July 2008.

How would you describe your business? Reliable in-home appliance repair at competitive rates.

Why did you choose to open a business here? We wanted the quality of life Maricopa could provide to us, and our business was a perfect fit for this community.

Why should someone frequent your business instead of a competitor? Because we deliver what our customers expect. One thing I do that a lot of other companies don’t is telephone troubleshooting to try and help customers fix their own problem.

Where do you see your business in five years? Our plan is to open a store in Maricopa and sell appliances, new and used parts, and accessories, and still do the repair service.

What is the best business advice you have ever received? In the service industry, there are three things you have to provide: service, service and service.

What are the biggest challenges ahead for you and your company? Keeping our prices down while the cost of doing business goes up.

How many employees do you have? Ronelle answers one phone line, and I answer one. I also do business in Ahwatukee, so I have a contractor who works for me there.

Is your business creating any new jobs in Maricopa? I’m training another guy. Maricopa is getting fairly busy and need somebody else. When we open the store, we’ll have to have somebody there full time.

Business: Appliance Works LLC
Address: 20229 N. Jillian Way, Maricopa.
Owners: Peter and Ronelle Jamieson
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and after-hours emergency service
Telephone: 520-424-8435 and 480-310-8395
E-mail:
appliance.works@yahoo.com
Website:
www.applianceworksaz.com

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Electrical District No. 3 and the Maricopa Police Department are having a hard time keeping up with the pursuit and prosecution of people who illegally siphon power from uninhabited or soon-to-be-uninhabited dwellings.

The thefts are causing increasing problems for homeowners and renters, who get stuck with bills for the stolen power and face delays in having their electricity turned on.

Tony Solano, systems operations and metering manager for ED3, said the number of energy-theft cases recorded by the utility company in Maricopa increased from 39 in 2008 to 80 in 2009.

“In 2010, we are going to exceed that number, if we haven’t already,” Solano said, adding that the electrical district recorded 27 power-theft incidents in September alone.

“We aggressively investigate all reports of power theft, especially when the victim wants to prosecute,” said Maricopa Police Department spokesman Sgt. Stephen Judd. “We are going to charge the people that have pirated or stolen electricity with the appropriate crime based upon what has occurred.”

In many of the recent energy-theft cases, owners of vacant homes have hired contractors to work at their properties, and the contractors have illegally tapped into the electrical source.

“We suspect that instead of using a power generator or calling us, they just cut the seal on the meter and use the power to reconnect the service fraudulently for a short time, just enough time to connect their equipment,” Solano said.

In other cases, occupants of homes unlawfully access electricity after the utility company has shut off power to the dwelling. Under both scenarios, locating and apprehending the offenders can be difficult.

“If it’s a renter who has moved out of town, there is not much we can do,” said William Stacy, general manager for ED3. In the case of power theft by contractors, “We have to find out who
hired those people to come out and do the work,” said Judd. “Sometimes it is nearly impossible to track down that information.”

Solano said the electrical district can detect the theft of large or small amounts of power through its automatic meter-reading system.

“We compare one day to the next on the meters that are on the off cycle,” Solano said. “If they have any uses, we have somebody go check it out. In most cases, somebody has stolen power.”

Even if a seemingly small amount of power has been stolen, the electrical district is diligent about recovering the costs and catching the offenders.

“They think it is no harm, no foul, because it is a little bit of power,” Solano said. “But it adds up.”

Innocent victims

Power theft affects more than just the utility company and those who commit the crimes. Potential renters who want to move into a vacant home can be impacted too.

Such was the case for Greg Edmundson, an innocent bystander who got caught in the middle of a billing dispute between the electrical company and the owner of a home in Maricopa that Edmundson and his family wanted to rent.

“It was really frustrating to deal with the whole situation,” Edmundson said.

Edmundson, his wife Sabrina and their three children were preparing to move into a rental house in the city in September when the ordeal began He said he called ED3 a week in advance asking for the power to be connected in time for the family’s planned move-in date of Oct. 1, but when he checked on the status of his request on Sept. 27, he was told the owner of the property would first have to settle a $986 bill.

Edmundson said he was told the charges were related to the theft of 40 cents worth of electricity that allegedly occurred while the home was vacant. An Aug. 4 bill sent by ED3 to the homeowner listed $986.68 worth of charges, including a $500 energy-theft fee, a $150 fee for a reconnection at the transformer, a $25 fee for installation of a lock ring and a $136.28 labor fee covering two hours of work.

He suspects the electricity theft was perpetrated by a contractor who was able to bypass the meter and access power while working in the vacant house. Regardless of who did it and how they did it, Edmundson had to deal with the resulting delay in the reconnection of electrical service to the house he and his family wanted to occupy.

After a series of telephone conversations and visits to the Electrical District office, the $986 bill
was reduced to $408. Edmundson said the property owner refused to pay the $408, so he paid it himself and was reimbursed through a reduction in his first month’s rent.

In the end, Edmundson said that electric service was was not activated at the home until late on the day his family moved in. While Edmundson ultimately did not have to pay any extra money for the activation, he wishes he could have avoided the prolonged dispute process.

“The people stealing power should have had their own source of electricity,” Edmundson said.

Stacy said the utility company cannot comment on specific cases, but he added that the $500 energy-theft fee is almost always charged in cases of power theft.

“We try to tie it to the property owner,” he said. “Under our rules and regulations, we have a $500 energy theft fee that was approved by our board of directors.” Stacy said that the fee allows the utility company to recover the costs associated with electricity theft.

“Police have to be called. We have to install a lock ring. We have to go to court,” Stacy said. “By the time we get through the process, it adds up.”

Stacy said property owners can avoid potential theft situations by asking the electrical district to
temporarily activate power to a vacant home when contractors are scheduled to be working. He said if a contractor accesses power illegally, energy-theft fees will be assessed to the homeowner and criminal charges will be pursued against the thieves.

“ED3 is a nonprofit,” Stacy said. “Any power theft has to be made up for by the consumers. We take it seriously, and we don’t think paying customers should have to pay for stolen power. It is stealing from the citizens of Maricopa. It is also dangerous. People can be killed or hurt.”

Anyone who observes a potential theft of power can report it to the Maricopa Police Department by calling 520-866-5111. Callers also can use the police department’s silent witness hotline at 520-316-6900

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After working in the medical diagnostics industry for 25 years in locations ranging from his native South Africa to Australia to England and the United States, Peter Jamieson decided that he wanted to repair appliances for a living.

He and his wife, Ronelle, operate Appliance Works LLC, a mobile, home-based Maricopa repair business.

“I have an electronics background,” Jamieson said. “Microwaves, ovens and a lot of refrigerators today have electronic boards in them, so all that comes easy to me.”

“My specialty is refrigeration,” he said, adding that he also fixes washers and dryers, range ovens, microwaves and dishwashers. He drives to his clients’ homes and businesses to complete the needed repairs.

“I want to give people honest, reliable service,” he said.

The Jamiesons registered with the Better Business Bureau about a year ago and already have achieved a rating of A-minus. They are hoping to attain an A-plus rating by early next year.

“We have ethics,” Ronelle Jamieson said. “Our pricing policy is up front.”

Peter Jamieson recently repaired a refrigerator for the local Food Bank at no charge.

“They were given a refrigerator where they were storing all of their food, and it went down,” Jamieson said. “So I went there and fixed it for them.”

Quick Facts

How long have you been in business? Five years.

How would you describe your business? Reliable in-home appliance repair at competitive rates.

Why did you choose to open a business in Maricopa? We wanted the quality of life Maricopa could provide to us, and our business was a perfect fit for this community.

Why should someone frequent your business instead of a competitor? Because we deliver what our customers expect.

Where do you see your business in five years? We plan to open a store in Maricopa and sell appliances, new and used parts, and accessories, and still do the repair service.

What is the best business advice you have ever received? In the service industry, there are three things you have to provide: service, service and service.

What are the biggest challenges ahead for you and your company? Keeping our prices down while the cost of doing business goes up.

How many employees do you have? Ronelle answers one phone line, and I answer one. I also do business in Ahwatukee, so I have a contractor who works for me there.

Is your business creating any new jobs in Maricopa? I’m training another guy. Maricopa is getting fairly busy and I need somebody else. When we open the store, we’ll have somebody there full time.

Business: Appliance Works LLC
Address: 20229 N. Jillian Way, Maricopa.
Owners: Peter and Ronelle Jamieson
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and after-hours emergency service
Telephone: 520-424-8435 and 480-310-8395
E-mail:
appliance.works@yahoo.com
Website:
www.applianceworksaz.com

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    Sheriff Paul Babeu asked the Pinal County Board of Supervisors to take an emergency vote Wednesday on his proposal to create a seven-member anti-smuggling enforcement unit, but Board of Supervisors Chairman Pete Rios (D-Dudleyville) denied the sheriff’s request.

    During a later recess, he explained that a vote could not be taken because the agenda did not call for it.

    “It wasn’t on the agenda,” Rios said. “We would have been violating our own laws, public meeting laws, if we’d have taken a vote and not notified the public that we were voting on this particular issue today.”

    Babeu’s proposal, which he first presented in detail to the board on Oct. 13, is designed to prevent foreign cartels from engaging in drug smuggling and human trafficking through Pinal County’s remote desert areas, including those located south of Maricopa. The establishment of the Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit, which would consist of six officers and one sergeant, would cost $1,044,219 for the first year and $501,716 for a second year. Babeu has said that the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office would pay $540,000 of the proposal’s two-year price tag.

    At the meeting, a four-person panel invited by the Board of Supervisors provided information on illegal immigration and drug-related crime in Arizona that seemed to undercut Babeu’s claims of an emergency. The panel included Joseph Koehler, assistant U.S. Attorney; Victor Manjarrez Jr., chief patrol agent for the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol; Matthew Allen, special agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; and John Gurule, deputy field office director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement Removal Operations.

    Manjarrez said that the 3,300 Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector arrested 212,000 illegal immigrants in 2009, far fewer than the 615,000 illegal immigrants arrested annually a decade ago.

    Top Arizona ICE investigator Matthew Allen added that state and local police are presenting fewer people for deportation hearings, with deportation referrals down from 7,000 to about 4,000 over the past three years.

    These comments align with the most recent FBI crime statistics released in September, which show that crime in Arizona dropped sharply in 2009, with overall violent crime declining by 13.9 percent. Property crime dropped by nearly 12 percent during the same period.

    Only one state in the union, South Dakota, showed a greater drop in violent crime than Arizona in 2009, according to the FBI.

    Koehler said that a serious problem exists, but did not characterize it as an emergency. “There is no doubt that we are confronting a very significant problem in terms of folks coming into Arizona … and perpetrating illegal activity, whether it’s alien-smuggling, contraband-smuggling, drugs and so forth going north, and money and guns going south.”

    He said that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix prosecuted approximately 3,200 felony and 22,000 misdemeanor illegal-immigration cases during the 2009 fiscal year along with 969 felony drug cases against 1,519 defendants. Both numbers were up in 2010 according to Koehler, but have not been finalized.

    Babeu then addressed the board, arguing that the proposal should be voted upon immediately.

    “I don’t know what this board doesn’t understand about the word emergency, but those of us that work in law enforcement do,” Babeu said. “I’m asking this board to take a vote today – yes or no – on this issue.”

    District 2 Supervisor Bryan Martyn (R- Gold Canyon) joined Babeu in asking that the board vote on the Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit proposal immediately, but Chris Roll, deputy county attorney, said that a vote could not be taken on Wednesday.

    “This agenda item is a presentation,” Roll said. “There is no action item associated with this. There can be no vote today.”

    “We will decide probably within the next week or two whether we’re going to fund this proposal or whether maybe we need some additional deputy sheriffs for Silverbell Estates and Arizona City,” Rios said. “That’s where we’re at.”

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      Sheriff Paul Babeu formally presented a plan Wednesday asking the Pinal County Board of Supervisors to allow him to create a seven-member Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit.

      Babeu’s proposal is designed to stop foreign cartels from engaging in drug smuggling and human trafficking through Pinal County’s remote desert areas, including those located south of Maricopa.

      The establishment of the Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit, which would consist of six officers and one sergeant, would cost $1,044,219 for the first year and $501,716 for a second year.

      Babeu said the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office would pay $540,000 of the proposal’s two-year price tag by using money that the department has confiscated during the arrests of drug traffickers who were eventually convicted. The sheriff is asking the three-member Board of Supervisors to allocate emergency funding to pay for the remaining $1 million for the Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit.

      “I sincerely believe that this is a priority not only of the sheriff’s office, it should be ours as a county to say that we are standing up and pushing back,” Babeu said during a Board of Supervisors work session at the county administration building in Florence.

      Babeu proposed that the county tap into its rainy-day funds to pay for the Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit. Board of Supervisors Chairman Pete Rios (D- Dudleyville) cautioned that using money from the budget stabilization fund might not be prudent for a county that likely will have to deal with the fallout from another round of expected state budget cuts during the coming fiscal year.

      “I’m not saying that we’re not going to entertain the request that you made,” Rios said to Babeu. “I’m just hopeful that you understand, you’re responsible for the sheriff’s department, more power to you. We’re responsible for the county and a lot of other programs that come under it.”

      The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss the matter further on Oct. 27 and could vote on it in November.

      Details of the plan
      During his presentation to the Board of Supervisors, Babeu described the unit as “literally a highly-armed, tactical, disciplined team that will immediately deploy.” He said the officers in the unit would be outfitted “in a subdued uniform, much like our SWAT team, appropriate for the desert and the terrain.”

      A main goal of the Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit is to eliminate the mountainside and hilltop scouts who are employed by the cartels.

      “People just don’t show up and get abandoned. They came here because they have guides,” Babeu said. “The guides were directed into Pinal County by these scouts.”

      Removal of the scouts would hinder operations of the drug cartels in the county, according to the sheriff.

      “The intent of this unit is to blind them, to blind their operations, to keep them out of Pinal County,” Babeu said. “Will they go somewhere else? Absolutely. But we’re keeping our citizens safe here.”

      Babeu surmised that if the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is successful in moving the scouts out of western Pinal County, they likely would move further west into bordering Maricopa County.

      District 2 Supervisor Bryan Martyn (R- Gold Canyon) offered support for Babeu’s proposal.

      “The number one role of government is public safety,” Martyn said. “If you don’t have public safety, you have nothing else. And I appreciate your choice of the path to take – a small unit taking away their eyes. This is not an immigration issue. This is an illegal drug and smuggling issue. We’re not trying to take everybody that comes across this line. We’re taking away the eyes of people that are moving illegal things through our county and harming our citizens and harming America, in general.”

      Martyn agreed with Babeu that the county needs to act quickly in establishing the Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit.

      “The reward is too great for the bad guys in money for us to assume that they will just stop,” Martyn said. “Our fight in Pinal County is to do all we can to slow and curb and deflect the bad guys from affecting our citizens.”

      “Clearly it’s something we are going to look at,” Rios added. “I’m going to be meeting with the chief agent for the Tucson Sector of the Border Patrol next week. There is some information that he wants to provide with the Sawtooth Mountains and some of the caves and that type of thing. I want to have that piece of information as well before we bring it to the board to take a vote.”

      The issue will be discussed at the board’s Oct. 27 meeting, when presentations are scheduled to be heard from the Tohono O’odham Nation and from Dennis Burke, United States Attorney for the District of Arizona.

      Supervisors will likely vote on the proposal for the special unit in November.

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      Teams from the Maricopa Youth Football League won all four age-group championships in the Pinal County Youth Football Federation.

      Maricopa’s Mighty Mite Division Mustangs (ages 7-8), Junior Pee Wee Division Cougars (ages 9-10), Pee Wee Division Vipers (ages 11-12) and Junior Division Vipers (ages 13-14) all won PCYFF title games Saturday at Apache Junction High School.
      “It is definitely impressive,” said Joel Griffin, president of the Maricopa Youth Football League. “This is the first time we have swept all of the divisions.”
      The MM Mustangs, coached by Dino Clark, completed an undefeated season by beating the Chandler MM Diablos 21-0 in the Mighty Mite Division championship game.
      The JPW Cougars, coached by Larry Davis, also finished undefeated. They capped their second consecutive championship season with a 28-6 victory over the Apache Junction Predators in the Junior Pee Wee Division.
      The PW Vipers, coached by Griffin, won all of their games in earning their second straight Pee Wee Division championship. The PW Vipers defeated the Chandler PW Diablos 47-19 in the title game.
      The Junior Vipers, coached by Dan Leonard and Griffin, beat the Casa Grande Cyclones 48-28 to win the Junior Division championship.
      “Apache Junction did a great job of hosting the games,” Griffin said. “We had a lot of support from Maricopa fans. Our Maricopa cheer squads were there and performed at the games.”
      Griffin said that more than 250 players and 50 cheerleaders participated in the Maricopa Youth Football League this fall season. The 12 teams in the Maricopa league compete in the Pinal County Youth Football Federation with teams from Casa Grande, Eloy, Apache Junction, Tempe, Chandler and Queen Creek.
      The MYFL’s fall season ran from Aug. 21 until Saturday. The league also plays a spring season, which begins in late February.
      Registration for the spring season is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 8, Jan. 15 and Jan. 22 at Pacana Park. The cost for the spring season is $125 per participant.
      More information on the Maricopa Youth Football League is available at www.copayouthfootball.com.
      “The league gives these kids an avenue to do something different,” Griffin said. “If we are giving them something to do that they love and enjoy, it makes me happy. I am at the field every weekend from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., making sure these kids enjoy playing football. I want to give back to the community and the kids.”

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      Camilla Cochran, 17, was selected as the winner of the Miss Maricopa Scholarship Pageant, which was held Saturday night at Maricopa Wells Middle School. The six contestants also included first runner-up Jennifer Turley, 17; second runner-up Zulema Espinoza, 18; Alyssa Mitchell, 18; Morgan Rainey, 18; and Caitlyn Snow, 17.

      The event was organized by the City of Maricopa, the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce and It’s a Party Productions as part of the city’s annual Stagecoach Days.

      “It was beautiful,” Cynthia Morgan, chairman of the event committee for Stagecoach Days, said about the pageant. “The set, the lighting, it was just gorgeous.”

      Morgan pitched the idea to the city for a pageant to be held as part of Stagecoach Days. Once the idea was approved, she chose Jennifer Mix and It’s a Party Productions to direct the event.

      A panel of celebrity judges was brought in for the pageant. The judges included Matthew Earl Jones, a television and film producer who is the brother of actor James Earl Jones; Wade Martin, record producer and guest judge for “American Idol” on FOX; Steven Smith, talent agent for The Young Agency; Ruben Garcia, director and co-owner of New Eden Productions; Joi-Ashli Gibbs, owner of Advanced Wellness; and Mary Jane Lopez, owner of Coyote Trail Bed and Breakfast.

      As the winner of the pageant, Cochran will receive a $1,000 scholarship provided by Fry’s Food Stores, a one-year modeling and acting agency contract from The Young Agency, a walk-on role in a New Eden Productions film, a teeth whitening by Gibbs and a portrait portfolio by Lily P. Studios.

      Turley, the first runner-up, will receive a $500 scholarship provided by Global Water.
      Espinoza, the second runner-up, will receive a $250 scholarship from Coyote Trail Bed and Breakfast and AZ Construction.

      The theme for this year’s pageant was “Best in the West.”

      “We had quite a good turnout,” Morgan said. “The organizers did a fabulous job. It was truly an evening of elegance.”