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Maricopa Chamber of Commerce

By Michelle Chance

The Maricopa Chamber of Commerce chairman said Wednesday, no public notice was posted for the open executive director position prior to the recent re-hiring of Terri Crain. It was a change of approach.

In the past, the board sent out press releases to the public announcing it was hiring for the position. The board also sent e-blasts to chamber members.

Not this time.

Subsequently, Chris Cahall said there were no other applicants other than Crain, who previously worked the same position at the chamber from 2006 and 2011.

It’s a stark contrast to the previous transition last year when the board searched for a candidate for two months, received 27 interested applicants and organized a selection committee to decide between finalists before eventually choosing Sara Troyer.

After Troyer’s hiring, business owner Kimberly Diedrich filed a lawsuit against the board over transparency regarding its hiring process. In November, Judge Daniel Washburn denied the chamber’s motion to dismiss the suit.

After working over a year as executive director, Troyer recently accepted a position in Illinois. Crain is set to take over May 15.

Because the position was not publicly advertised, it is unclear who contacted Crain about the position.

Crain currently lives in Texas.

Cahall would not confirm if the board approached Crain, adding, “I don’t think that’s important.”

Crain said she wasn’t privy to the details surrounding the process and was unaware the position was opening prior to her re-hiring.

“You’ll have to talk to the chamber board about how they approached me and everything,” Crain added.

Later, Crain clarified saying she wasn’t “directly approached” by anybody at the chamber.

“It’s just through relationships, and conversations happened,” she said.

Controversy swirled after Crain left the chamber six years ago. However, Cahall said the board is not concerned.

“There’s going to be opposition in every decision that anyone makes in life,” he said.

Crain said returning to the chamber is a “win-win for everybody and I’m just looking to come back to Maricopa and get re-engaged with the community and do good things.”

Kathryn Sinkevitch is accused of murdering ex-boyfriend Michael Agerter in Maricopa.
By Michelle Chance
A trial date was set Monday for the Tempe woman charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Michael Agerter inside the garage of his Maricopa rental home in December.
Trial will begin for Kathryn Sinkevitch on May 8, 2018, at the Pinal County Superior Court House in Florence.
Public Defender James Mannato announced in court that, in agreeance with the prosecution, the trial will last four weeks with a 12-person jury. Sinkevitch will not be facing the death penalty.
Prosecutor Sean Coll said the defense “has been fine working on the trial date” with him, but could not comment further on the case. Mannato said there are “still many things to be done” in anticipation of the trial a little more than a year away.
In March, Judge Kevin White granted the public defender’s extension request to challenge the proceedings of the grand jury that indicted Sinkevitch with first-degree murder. However, after further review, Mannato said it was a fair presentation and there were no grounds to challenge.
He said of his client that Sinkevitch has pleaded not-guilty and should be presumed innocent throughout the process.
“I hope people take heed to that,” Monnanto said.
Sinkevitch shared a young child with Agerter, who was seeking custody of the then 1-month-old at the time of the murder.
A status review hearing is set for June 19 at 9 a.m.

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Eleni Sachtouris

Eleni Sachtouris has been in Maricopa for three years and recently started her own, unique business.

Maricopan since: 2014

Occupation: Owner/operator of Turds To Go

Family: 3 amazing children

Pets: 2 dogs, Lola and Dozer

Hobbies: Spending time with my children, traveling, and shopping

Dream vacation: Hawaii

Like most about Maricopa: The small town feel

Like least about Maricopa: The lack of restaurants and abundance of fast food


Favorite …

Charity: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

Team: Cleveland Indians

Food: Peanut butter

Drink: Chocolate Milk

Meal: Buffalo mac n cheese

Restaurant: Cheddars

Getaway: Anywhere


Quote: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” -Tony Robbins

Words to live by: Doing what you like is freedom but liking what you do is happiness.


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Felipe and Ruth Sanchez were the first in line. Photo by Michelle Chance

By Michelle Chance

An “emergency donut vehicle” arrived in Maricopa, Wednesday, after the community rallied on social media for Hurts Donut Company to travel south from their location in Tempe and sell the pastries out of their food truck.

On the Facebook page for the company’s Tempe location, residents successfully persuaded Hurts to make the trip to Maricopa over other cities.

“Maricopa was the loudest,” said Matthew Berry, co-owner.

Yesterday, Hurts Donut Co. received a quick one-day turn-around from the city approving the licensing and permitting for the event.
The doughnuts were scheduled to arrive at the parking lot north of Children’s Learning Adventure at noon today, but ran about 15 minutes late. A line formed at 11 a.m., and grew to an impressive crowd by the time the truck showed up.

Maricopa residents Felipe and Ruth Sanchez were the first in line and said the doughnuts were worth the wait.

All 150 dozen doughnuts were expected to be sold during the event, dubbed “The Black Friday of Donuts,” with 10 percent of the proceeds benefitting F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank.

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Sara Troyer is leaving the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce to be replaced by former CEO Terri Crain.

Maricopa Chamber of Commerce announced the departure of Executive Director Sara Troyer and the return of Terri (Kingery) Crain.

Troyer led the chamber for a little more than a year and, 20 at the time, was one of the youngest chamber directors in the nation. According to chamber statistics, its membership increased by 12 percent and event attendance grew by 35 percent during her tenure.

 Crain was chief executive officer of the chamber from 2006 to January 2011. She then moved to California to be CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce. She was praised for her hard work and credited with growing Maricopa Chamber’s membership by 400 percent, but she also left some controversy in her wake.

Crain worked at the Santa Clarita Chamber until April 2016. She will return to the post in Maricopa on May 15, moving back to her home in Rancho El Dorado.

“On behalf of the entire membership and the Board of Directors, we are so grateful for the time Sara spent with the Chamber; she did a fantastic job,” Chamber Chairman Chris Cahall said in a chamber statement. “We are excited and looking forward to supporting Terri in her position as our new executive director.  The Board is confident Terri will continue to support our members and foster the relationship we have with the city into the future.” 

Troyer is moving to Illinois to be program specialist for the College of Dupage Center for Entrepreneurship. Before coming to the Chamber of Commerce, she worked at the Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship.

Crain opened her own small business in 2010, Smart Business Evolution.

“The City of Maricopa is a great community full of passionate and committed people and I have always thought of it home,” she stated in the chamber release. “I am looking forward to re-engaging with the business community and doing the good work of the Chamber.”  

Troyer was hired after an extensive search when Marla Lewis resigned. The process used in hiring Crain is not yet clear.

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Brian French and son

Brian French is a real estate agent and a soccer coach who has lived in Maricopa for seven years.


Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

Maricopan since: 2010

Occupation: Realtor for The Maricopa Real Estate Company

Family: 5 year old son

Cars: 2005 Volkswagen Jetta (named Putt-Putt).

Hobbies: Spend time with son, girlfriend, sports (favorite is soccer), outdoor activities and travel

Pet peeve: Eating food in the bedroom

Dream vacation: World Cup

Like most about Maricopa: All the nice people and small town feel

Like least about Maricopa: Tracks and 347


Favorite …

Charity: Cancer

Movie: John Q

Actor: Will Smith

Song: Home

Musician: Phillip Phillips

Team: 49ers and Huskers

Athlete: Peyton Manning

Food: Chinese

Drink: Anything fruity

Restaurant: Panda Express

Getaway: California


Quote: Keep Smiling

Words to live by: Keep smiling and living life

Anything else we should know? I moved to AZ from Nebraska in 2009. I’ve coached competitive soccer for 17 years and used to own my own soccer store. I fostered about 15 different kids and even adopted my son.


The beginning of an auto swap meet, a chance to go white-water rafting, the much-awaited grand opening of a new road and the start of Movies under the Stars are part of an interesting week of activities in Maricopa. Below, Maricopa High School actor Lillian Chitwood invites the community to the MHS Theatre Company’s production of “Beauty & the Beast” in four performances. For details on these and other listings, or to add your own, visit



Color Yourself Calm is at 11 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.


Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Committee meets at 4 p.m. at Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.


A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.




Edison Road Extension Grand Opening is at 7:30 a.m. at Fire Station 575, 45695 W. Edison Road.


Coffee with Friends of the Maricopa Library starts at 1:30 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.


Maricopa Police Explorer Post Meeting is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.


Celebrate Recovery Coffee & Karaoke is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.


City Council Work Session is at 6 p.m. at Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.


Charcoal Drawing for Everyone is at 6:30 p.m. at Central Arizona College – Maricopa Campus, 17945 N. Regent Drive.


Celebrate Recovery Large & Small Group Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.


Maricopa City Council Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.




Harrah’s Club 777 Toastmasters meet at 3 p.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road.




“Beauty and the Beast” is performed at 7 p.m. at Maricopa High School’s Maricopa Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.


A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Ak-Chin Social Services, 48227 W. Farrell Road.




Maricopa Auto Fair – Swap Meet for Vehicles – is noon-4 p.m. at UltraStar Parking Lot, 16000 N Maricopa Road.


Whitewater Rafting Trip on the Upper Salt River leaves at 6 p.m. from Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.


“Beauty and the Beast” is performed at 7 p.m. at Maricopa High School’s Maricopa Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.


Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.




Maricopa Auto Fair – Swap Meet for Vehicles – is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at UltraStar Parking Lot, 16000 N Maricopa Road.


“Beauty and the Beast” is at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. at Maricopa High School’s Maricopa Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.


Movies under the Stars – “Moana” – at Copper Sky Multi-tainment Center starts at 6:30 p.m. Free.




Maricopa Auto Fair – Swap Meet for Vehicles – is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at UltraStar Parking Lot, 16000 N Maricopa Road.


A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

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More than a 100 math students from Maricopa High School competed at the Central Arizona College Math Competition. Submitted photo

On April 10, Maricopa High School mathematics teachers Grant Hanks, Jerri Early, Morgan Dalton, Rebecca Walker and Chris Ansley took 110 students to the Central Arizona College Math Competition at the Signal Peak Campus.

The students did a fantastic job and represented Maricopa High School well. Maricopa High School won first place in the School Sweepstakes, and 55 students qualified for the individual competition. MHS students won the following individual awards:

• Sharoon Balaguer Portillo and Alize Ramos won the Level 1 Team Competition (Algebra 1)

• Noel Avendanio and Patrick Flint won the Level 2 Team Competition (Geometry & Algebra 2)

• Chandler Chang placed 2nd in the individual competition

• Carter Paine placed 3rd in the individual competition

• Conner Paine place 4th in the individual competition


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Sophomore Evan Grace (center) with MUSD Governing Board members (from left) Joshua Judd, AnnaMarie Knorr, Gary Miller, Superintendent Steve Chestnut, Patti Coutre and Torri Anderson. Photo by Michelle Chance

By Michelle Chance        

Over a dozen Maricopa High School students were recognized Wednesday at the Maricopa Unified School District Board Meeting for excelling in community service, academics and athletics.

Sophomore Evan Grace, who serves as an Arizona Governor’s Youth Commissioner, was honored for receiving the Prudential Spirit of the Community Local Honoree award, as well as the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which was signed by former President Barack Obama. This is the second time Grace has won both awards.

Evan’s mother, Merry Grace, said the awards are in recognition for Evan’s fund-raising efforts with Relay for Life, which raises money for the American Cancer Society.

Merry said Evan plans to participate in future Relay for Life events in Maricopa for the rest of his high school career, and will further his participation with the cause when he transfers to college.

Junior Diamond Sims was later approved by the Board to graduate early after completing all of the necessary coursework required to receive her high school diploma.

Sims’ guidance counselor, Rebecca Collins said she is “impressed with Diamond’s determination, eagerness and positive attitude.”

Sims originally set her goal to graduate early when she was just a freshman at MHS.

“Being approved to graduate early on Wednesday night made me feel as if I could accomplish anything,”

Diamond Sims received approval to graduate a year early. Photo by Michelle Chance

Sims said. “That night made me realize that as long as you put forth the effort and realize what you really want in life you will achieve any goal with minimum obstacles. One of my favorite motivational quotes is, ‘To be average is to be the best of the worst and the worst of the best…who wants to be average?’”

Collins met Sims this school year and said that she has had weekly contact with her via email, phone calls and face-to-face meetings.

“She has taken above and beyond the courses that are required for graduation,” Collins said. “Diamond works as well and attends very demanding and challenging classes at Maricopa High School.”

The young go-getter will have the opportunity to walk adorned in a cap and gown with seniors in May.

A parade of exceptional MHS athletes were also featured during the meeting.

Girls’ basketball honorees: (from left) Jayla Johnson, Tyra Williams, Sydni Callis and coach Melvin Mitchell, with MUSD governing board. Photo by Michelle Chance

Girls’ high school basketball coach Melvin Mitchell, who himself was recognized at the meeting for receiving the 5A Metro Region Coach of the Year, highlighted three outstanding players.

First up was Jayla Johnson who received Second Team All-Conference in 5A Metro.

Johnson is the youngest member of an academic-athletic family dynasty at MHS.

Next, Mitchell recognized senior Tyra Williams who has earned a variety of awards during her time playing for MHS.

“She’s been Pinal County Player of the Year as well as Metro Region 5A Conference Player of the year and, frankly, I’m sad to see her go,” Mitchell said.

The coach then recognized Junior Sydni Callis, adding, “She is definitely someone who is going to carry us in our future.”

MHS boys’ basketball players Josh Johnson (center) and Darrell Handy-Johnson (far right) were recognized for their honors. Photo by Michelle Chance

MHS boys’ basketball players Darrell Handy-Johnson and Josh Johnson were honored by Chestnut at the meeting.

“(The) team qualified and participated in the state tournament this year and had a good season,” Chestnut said.

Senior Handy-Johnson was given honorable mention in 5A Metro. Johnson, a junior, received First Team All-Region recognition.

Girls soccer honorees (from left) Shannon Coutre, Amanda Maciel, Lauren Davis and coach Pedro Olivares with the governing board. Photo by Michelle Chance

Three MHS girls’ soccer players were recognized during the meeting as well.

Coach Pedro Olivares said he was “very proud of these girls for what they’ve done this year.”

Hitting close to home for MUSD Board President Patti Coutré was the honoring of Shannon Coutré, who received Second Team 5A Metro Region honors.

The president’s daughter and an “up-and-coming leader of the team,” Coutré was further described by her coach as “the fastest girl I’ve ever seen.”

Two players leaving the team this year are seniors Amanda Maciel and Lauren Davis.

Maciel scored an impressive 25 goals this season and received First Team Metro Region Honors.

Olivares described Davis, team captain, as having a great attitude and a determined sprit who went “above and beyond” for her team.

Boys soccer (from left) Jacob Padilla, Elijah Aviles and coach Cortney Kellenaers with the board. Photo by Michelle Chance

MHS boys’ soccer coach Cortney Kellenaers honored four players from his team Wednesday night.

“Our success on the field this year – making playoffs – was the first time since we were a 3A team. It was really all because of our defense,” Kellenaers said.

Defense was led in part by seniors Elijah Aviles and Jacob Padilla.

Aviles, who served as team captain, was named First Team All-Region and his coach said he hopes Aviles will win 5A Honors as well after voting concludes.

“Elijah is the most vocal guy on the field,” Kellenaers said. “He leads by more example than you could ever ask for.”

Padilla was voted Pinal County Player of the Year and received First Team All-Conference honors.

“His rock-solid defense in the middle really held everything together – and with Elijah screaming behind him, it was hard to get shots on goals,” Kellenaers said.

Two other players who were not present at the meeting were also recognized.

Freshman Taylor Russo won Second Team All Region, First Team Pinal County and he was voted by his team as Rookie of the Year.

Diego Castro, a junior at MHS, received Second Team All Region, “as our leading goal scorer this year,” Kellenaers said.

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By Michelle Chance

The days of struggling with a burdensome assessment system will be over for teachers and students at Maricopa Unified School District beginning next school year.

At least, that is the plan.

The MUSD School Board approved the new platform called SchoolCity, which will replace the troubled Galileo instructional system teachers complained was plagued with problems. They said testing was interrupted often when servers would crash.

“You can imagine what happens when a teacher is in the middle of testing with 25 kindergarteners and the system goes down and you have to wait for it to reboot,” said Wade Watson, curriculum director.

The new system offers a solution: cloud-based servers. Watson explained when a server within a cloud becomes full, clients are transferred to one that is not – hopefully resulting in uninterrupted test-taking.

The district hopes it has solved the technology issues, but what about the cost?

The upcoming school year will be an expensive one for MUSD with the purchase of an estimated $1 million new math curriculum and the new assessment platform.

According to district documents, the cost to purchase SchoolCity will be $81,825 for the 2017-2018 school year.

Prior to approval, MUSD did its research. First, it interviewed about 10 assessment vendors, eventually narrowing the candidates down to SchoolCity and one other system.

Then, 60 teachers across the district piloted the two platforms in their classrooms. After the trial period was over, survey results concluded teachers prefer SchoolCity.

Shelly Fisher, a second grade teacher at Pima Butte Elementary School, said, “A lot of teachers in our building piloted the assessment programs as well as the math curriculum.”

She expressed concern that teachers’ back-to-school time next school year will be taken up with learning the new systems. She suggested the district offer summer training sessions.

“The more time we have to learn these new systems, the better we will be able to implement them,” Fisher said.

Assessment platforms not only provide online testing, but Watson said they also compile data the district reports to the state. That includes student achievement, the statistics that affect teacher evaluations and grant funds.

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Pat Lairson

By Pat Lairson

There are two things you need to know about the Maricopa real estate market:

1. Houses are selling.
2. Houses are selling fast.

As we move into April, there are only about 289 single-family, HOA subdivision homes for sale in Maricopa. If you subtract the 70 listings in Province, the 55+ subdivision in
Maricopa, then we are down to 219 homes available for sale.

This time last year we had nearly double the inventory of homes to choose from. These numbers indicate a sellers’ market and indeed it is. Homes are not lasting too long on the market.

There have been 179 homes that have closed from Jan. 1 to March 16 with an average-days-on-market of 63 days. Needless to say, it is a great time to sell your home.

Don’t worry, buyers, if you missed out on the Pathway 2 Purchase, no-down-payment assistance program. There is always a Plan B. You might want to see if you qualify for the Home PLUS loan program. This program gifts the buyer between 3 to 5 percent of a down payment and the gift never has to be paid back.

Some of the qualifications include your maximum income limit cannot exceed $92,984, you can’t own any other real estate, and the maximum purchase price of the home cannot be above $371,936. If you are renting, and with a true shortage of rental homes, it just might be the time to check into this program.

There is so much growth and development happening across the valley. New and expanding industries are hiring and we are seeing some great economic shifts. If you want to find out more about what your home is worth, we can give you a market analysis. Or if you are interested in knowing about lending rates or this no down payment assistance program, we can connect you to a great lender.

Pat Lairson, Realtor
The Maricopa Real Estate Company

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Murray Siegel

By Murray Siegel

It is springtime, and along with baseball and allergies, it is time for students in Maricopa to take the AzMERIT. The results of this testing are used to determine the grade for each school, and for each school district. Teacher evaluations are partially based on these test scores. Do AzMERIT results have any merit?

Consider an analogy. Once a year, all the people who are patients at a medical practice are tested – blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, kidney function and body mass are all measured. Then the results of the testing are used to evaluate the medical practice and its staff. Payments from Medicare and private insurance companies would be based on the results of these tests. Medical professionals would be up in arms. A patient who is told to change his diet, stop smoking, increase his amount of exercise and take his prescribed medications follows none of these recommendations, yet the doctors are penalized for the patient’s poor test results.

Any rational person would object to this process as unfair.

Yet students who are abused at home, subject to malnutrition, do not get sufficient sleep, do not have parental supervision of homework or do not see a pediatrician regularly have their AzMERIT test results used to evaluate the school and the teachers. This is just as unfair as the medical testing narrative. And we as citizens do not object.

There is more to consider about this testing. The state has indicated it wants more data about each school’s performance than a single test score. The State Board of Education recommended in 2014, “Schools must not be penalized for low scores if significant gains are made over the course of the academic year.” Despite this recommendation approved by a vote of the Board, the latest methods of evaluating schools, especially elementary schools, disregard that guidance. Mark Joraanstad, executive director of the Arizona School Administrators, has said it is troubling that “over-reliance on a single test score is the dominating feature in the system.”

Why does the state Legislature pay no attention to this continuation of an unfair system of evaluation? Residents of Maricopa who desire quality schools and who know that home values are somewhat based on the ratings of neighborhood schools should contact their state representatives and demand this unfairness be addressed immediately.

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Misty Newman

By Misty Newman

The “Take a Hike, Do it Right” campaign, a collaborative effort between the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department and the Phoenix Fire Department, is a result of increased mountain rescues.

It is estimated that every year, approximately 200 people are rescued from the City of Phoenix desert and mountain preserves. The trouble isn’t just in Maricopa County. According to Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, the Search and Rescue unit handled 175 incidents in 2016, and 103 were medical rescues.

Introduced in August of 2015, the campaign is designed to educate people on the dangers of hiking.

As you and your friends and family go hiking, consider these guidelines from the Phoenix “Take a Hike, Do it Right” Campaign:

  • Watch the weather: Yes, it’s a dry heat — but Arizona’s temperature can be deceiving and deadly. Hike when it’s cool outside, try early mornings and evenings when there’s more shade.
  • Dress appropriately: Wear proper shoes, clothing, hat and sunscreen.
  • Bring water: Hydrate before you go. Have plenty of water – more than you think you need.
  • Keep in contact: Carry a mobile phone
  • Team up: Hike with others. If hiking solo, tell someone your start and end times, and location.
  • Be honest: Do you have a medical condition? Asthma, heart problems, diabetes, knee or back problems? Don’t push yourself. (Even trained athletes have been caught off guard by getting dehydrated on Arizona trails). The altitude, the strenuous climbing, dehydration and the intense inner canyon heat all combine to make any medical problem worse.
  • Don’t trailblaze: Enjoy the Sonoran Desert’s beautiful and undeveloped landscape, but stay on designated trails.
  • Take responsibility: Don’t be “that person” – the one who was unprepared, shouldn’t have been there for health reasons or ignored safety guidelines. Be the responsible hiker, who takes a hike and does it right!



Aside from these guidelines, here are a couple of other tips to keep in mind when hiking:

Take a break for five to seven minutes every 30 to 60 minutes. If you can, sit down and prop your legs up above the level of your heart. These breaks can really recharge your batteries, and in the long run will not slow you down.

Be sure you stay hydrated and eat often. You should eat before, during and after you hike. No matter what the temperature, you need water and energy to keep going.

Since this campaign was launched, there has been a lot of effort made to get the numbers down on hikers who need to be rescued.  Park rangers suggest less experienced hikers start on easier trails and experienced hikers keep an eye on those who may need water or other types of assistance.


Misty Newman is the owner of Maricopa Outdoor Adventures.

This column appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.





Proper poaching brings out the flavor of food without adding a lot of calories. Submitted photo

By Chef Neil Magbanua

Chef Neil Magbanua

This month’s subject will not be a specific recipe but a cooking technique. It is rarely used in modern restaurant kitchens anymore because of its slow process and relatively undramatic look. I am referring to poaching.

By definition, poaching is cooking a product slowly while fully submerged in some sort of flavorful liquid.

For the sake of this column, we will be concentrating on water-based poaching, as oil-poaching does add some potentially unwanted calories to the food. While animals such as chicken, pork and beef are good candidates for poaching, they are more suited for dry cooking techniques such as grilling. For your money, fish and seafood are, in my opinion, better poaching candidates. It also makes sense to me as these animals originate from water.

Have you ever eaten shrimp where it had the texture of a rubber band or eaten a piece of fish that was supposedly “poached” and it tasted dry, mealy or overcooked? The reason for that is poor temperature control.

You must realize that heat is heat, whether it is dry or wet. The same temperature rules apply in poaching as in roasting. Too high a heat or too long in the heat will result in overcooked food.

For poaching success, the rules are simple.

  1. Make sure your poaching liquid has flavor. It should have a good amount of seasoning since you will not be seasoning the food before it goes in the liquid.
  1. Only use enough liquid to cover the food. This is not like cooking pasta where you use a lot of liquid to cook the product. Water is very dense, and it holds onto heat very well, so too much liquid could overcook your food even if you turn the burner off.
  1. You have picked and seasoned your flavorful water based cooking liquid (beer, stock, wine, etc.), chosen your cooking vessel (pot, sauté pan, etc.), and food to be cooked (shrimp, salmon, tuna, etc.). Now, simply place the food in the vessel and cover with just enough liquid.
  1. Remove the food and bring liquid to a boil. That’s right, a full boil. The purpose of this step is to add the food and liquid first to make sure you have just the right amount of liquid. Then, removing the food and bringing the liquid to a boil will ensure that any bacteria hitching a ride on the surface of your food is eliminated, without overcooking your food.
  1. Finally, add your food to the boiling liquid and back the heat down, cooking slowly until the internal target temperature of the food is reached. For shrimp and most fish, that’s about 155 degrees. Once your food reaches the temperature of your liquid, in theory, you could keep it there for a very long time. The result should be a moist and flavorful, healthy meal.

Good luck and good eating.

Neil Magbanua is chef at Arroyo Grille at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes.

This column appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

Strength training, commonly referred to as resistance training, refers to a specialized method of exercise that involves the progressive use of assorted resistive loads and a variety of training methods intended to promote health, fitness and performance improvement.

Wow – can you say long winded much? Let’s put it another way: Strength training is using your muscles against resistance. Muscles adapt to any type of resistance.

The resistance can be a heavy object, one’s own body weight, elastic resistance from bands, or other types of machine resistance from pulleys or hydraulics. The heavy object could be a dumbbell, medicine ball, log, grocery bag, rock, car— anything that has mass.

Why is strength training so important?

For starters – let’s get the obvious out of the way. Strength training makes you stronger. It does this in several ways, including:

■ Building muscle tissue

■ Improving rate of force production — how quickly you can generate force to move against the resistance

■ Strengthening connective tissues such as tendons – it can also make your muscles bigger while creating a demand for blood delivery, engaging the cardiovascular system.

■ Improving muscular coordination — in other words, the ability to coordinate your moving parts

How else can strength training be useful?

Strength training:

■ Preserves and enhances muscle mass

■ Preserves and enhances metabolic rate

■ Improves bone density

■ Improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity

■ Lowers risk of injury

■ Improves ability to engage in daily activities

■ Improves balance

■ Improves self-esteem

■ Enhances strength and endurance

■ Enhances speed, power and agility

■ Improves overall body composition

■ Decreases bad cholesterol levels

■ Decreases blood pressure

■ Improves aerobic capacity

Inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle leads to loss of muscle mass and strength which can then influence the development of many chronic diseases. Maintaining muscle mass with strength training can prevent some of the most common and increasingly rampant health conditions, including obesity and diabetes.

Who can strength train?

In the past, strength training was primarily used by athletes to enhance performance and/or increase muscle size. However, strength training is now recognized as critical to everyone’s health and fitness — regardless of gender, age, or ability. Leading health organizations, including the ACSM and NSCA recommend regular strength training as part of one’s fitness regimen.

With a properly constructed workout program that is tailored to individual goals and skills, anyone can strength train: men, women, children and adolescents, older people, and people with disabilities or movement limitations.

Where to go for guidance?

Look for a fitness professional in your areas, specifically a strength and conditioning specialist with credentials from the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association). A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) has undergone the education and training necessary to ensure safe, efficient, and effective outcomes will take place.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, founder/owner of Longevity Athletics.

This column appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

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Realtors (from left) Chad Chadderton, Pat Lairson and Dayv Morgan

Do you discuss the cost of utilities in Maricopa with your clients during the home-search process?

Chad Chadderton, Ahwatukee Realty
This is a major concern of both commercial and residential customers. I explain that our infrastructure was built to accommodate 100,000 people, which was [the] projection by this time. The downturn in the market slowed down our growth, and we are supporting and supplementing the utilities until such time as population catches up.

Pat Lairson, Maricopa Real Estate Company
I always go over the utility bills with potential buyers. If we can get a history of utility bills from the seller we do. If not, some utility companies will give out the lowest and highest bill from the previous year and this is helpful. I explain that we have a private water company and even if you don’t turn your water on your bill will average $100 a month. I also make sure they are aware of what their HOA assessment is per month and what that covers. This is very important information for a prospective buyer to know as it could affect their monthly mortgage affordability.

Dayv Morgan, HomeSmart Success
I don’t discuss it very much, other than saying that the average water/sewer bill is in the low $100s. I find that electric bills vary widely from house to house based on a) which company built the home, b) the size, maintenance and SEER rating of the AC unit, and c) the temperature that you set your thermostat. Google the rates for SRP and APS. In summer they are actually higher than the per kwh rate of ED3.

This article appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

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Peter Noone with Herman's Hermits. Photo by Michelle Chance


By Michelle Chance

There was no “hush” heard over the crowd during Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone’s performance inside the lounge at Ak-Chin Casino Friday night.

In fact, fans who packed the venue sang and swayed along with the group, who rose to fame during the British Invasion era of the 1960s.

The band opened with the 1964 hit “I’m Into Something Good” and followed through with other popular songs from their set list.

Noone, who is nearing 70, took the stage with exuberance, energy and an unyielding sense of humor.  The show played like an improvised Broadway performance, with the front man calling out his hits on the fly.

It’s no surprise then that he constructs his show in much the same way as he built his career.

“I think Herman’s Hermits were the first punk band – and people laugh when I say that – only because we did not have a plan. We never made a plan,” Noone said.

A pop music rebel icon in his mind, Noone’s free spirit reflects in his spontaneous set list no matter if he’s playing in Maricopa or in the Far East.

Noone said the group regularly covers “Love Potion No. 9” during every show because of an interesting situation that arose on tour in China.

Herman’s Hermits was advertised to play the hit, which was not originally recorded by the group.

“We said ‘We don’t know Love Potion No.9. That’s not us.’ And they said ‘Yes, it is you.’”

So the band was forced to learn the song and perform it to the crowd that night.

“I will say jokingly that that was the only song that they liked that we did and it wasn’t even us,” he said.

It’s been in the rotation ever since.

But to the local crowd Friday night, Noone and his Hermits played plenty of his well-known hits, too, including “A Kind of Hush” and “I’m Henry VIII, I Am.”

“I mean when I say ‘There’s a Kind of Hush All Over the World’ I’m more touched by the audience’s performance. You know I go ‘There’s a Kind of Hush’ and they’ll go ‘All Over the World’ and they’re straight into the song. They’re in it,” he said.

In the ‘60s, Herman’s Hermits invaded America’s music billboards with many top hits.

Before their success in the U.S. though, Noone’s band played in small venues in England where it all began.

Inside Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club, Noone says he played under much different conditions than he performs in today.

“To other old-fart rockers like me, I go ‘You know, the end here is a lot better than the beginning,’” he said.

The Cavern Club functioned in a small space underground. Loud music, people dancing, smoking and sweating contributed to condensation that formed on the ceiling which hung just slightly above Noone’s head.

“You can see there’s a lot of squinting going on – because you would be like in your third song and the nicotine condensation would land on your hair and you knew as you perspired that nicotine drop of nasty stuff and sweat would eventually find its way to your eye and then you would be blinded for the rest of the show and have this magical, smiling look on your face,” Noone recalled.

But Noone’s not-so-glamorous origin story is one he and other rock ‘n’ rollers still cherish.

“We even enjoyed that,” he said, adding, “When you talk to people who played the Cavern they go ‘Oh yeah, it was great, wasn’t it?’ ‘Well what about the nicotine droplets?’ ‘Yeah, but you know the Cavern was great.’”

Those were different times. And Noone said it’s an era in his life that was possible because of a certain kind of attitude that’s different from today.

“It was just a strange period to be in, and the word that best describes the ‘60s – especially the early ‘60s – was a massive amount of enthusiasm,” Noone said.

Enthusiasm lived on inside the lounge, and Noone said he plans to keep eliciting that same response from crowds for at least the next 10 years.

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Photo by Mason Callejas


1. 21868 N. Balboa Drive

The most expensive home sold in Maricopa from Feb. 16 to March 15 was on the market for nearly a year but finally sold after dropping its asking price by more than $20,000. The two-story house sits next to The Duke at Rancho El Dorado and has views of three holes. It also sports nearly all of the amenities expected in Maricopa’s high-end homes, including a private swimming pool in an oasis of a back yard.

Sold: Feb. 24
Purchase price: $372,500
Square feet: 4,066
Price per square foot: $91.61
Days on market: 311
Builder: Hacienda
Year built: 2004
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2.5
Community: Rancho El Dorado
Features: Two stories on golf course with private pool, custom paint, granite counter tops, landscaped yard, built-in BBQ, swim-up bar, patio, RV gate
Seller’s agent: James Leonard, Tru Realty, LLC
Buyer’s agent: Robert H. Rowe, The Maricopa Real Estate Company

2. 22049 N. Balboa Drive, Rancho El Dorado, $315,000
3. 20931 N. Get Around Drive, Province, $312,000
4. 42604 W. Mallard Lane, Province, $293,000
5. 44022 W. Palo Abeto Drive, Palo Brea, $274,500

This article appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

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Photo by Mason Callejas


1. 19966 N. Condrey Ave.

The least expensive home sold in Maricopa from Feb. 16 to March 15 became a symbol last year of the problems that arise in the Heritage District. On the market since December, it sold March 7 for $46,000 after being listed for $35,000. The previous owners bought the 1957 house before realizing how much money and insurance would be required to mitigate its floodplain location.

Sold: March 8
Purchase price: $46,000
Square feet: 1,535
Price per square foot: $29.96
Days on market: 55
Builder: Unknown
Year built: 1957
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1
Community: Maricopa Manor
Features: Unique, sturdy building on large lot, currently gutted by renovation work
Seller’s agent: Julia Romero Gusse, The Maricopa Real Estate Company
Buyer’s agent: Geoffrey Adams, Realty ONE Group

2. 36562 W. San Pedro Drive, Tortosa, $113,000
3. 37001 W. Bello Lane, Sorrento, $ 129,000
4. 42489 W. Sparks Drive, Rancho El Dorado, $130,000
5. 35846 W. Velazquez Drive, Tortosa, $132,000

This article appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

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Priscilla Behnke. Photo by Mason Callejas

By Priscilla Behnke

The Arizona Youth Survey recently released its findings on statewide teen substance abuse.

There is good news. Youth drug and alcohol use is down statewide. Maricopa is seeing its own downward trends. In 2006 the local 30-day use numbers for alcohol by eighth, 10th and 12th graders were 25 percent. The 2016 report shows only 17 percent reported alcohol use in the previous month.

This is the result of hard work by countless individuals and partnering organizations who have made prevention a priority here in Maricopa. It took people willing to roll up their sleeves, go out of their way, hold their ground and change the hearts and minds of youth – youth who are facing decisions that can have repercussions that will cost them, their friends, families and our community.

Just over two years ago a band of 12 teens and four staff from the Maricopa Youth Recreation Center set out to form the Be Awesome Youth Coalition. They recognized real community-wide prevention efforts would take the collaboration of many.

There is a place for you at the table. Come, help us strengthen what’s working, bring creative solutions we haven’t yet realized, and develop the capacity to carry out strategies we are only dreaming about right now. We want to see the 17 percent number drop and ensure our teens aren’t substituting alcohol with marijuana; that our youth continue to Be Awesome.

Our general meetings are open to the public and are every third Saturday at 10 a.m. at our main office in Maricopa Elementary School. Can’t make it to a meeting? No problem. Like, follow and share us on Facebook and email me so I can send you updates. Both methods will keep you posted on upcoming events and areas where we will need your input or help. Look forward to seeing you at the next Be Awesome meeting!

Priscilla Benhke is program director for Maricopa CAASA and Be Awesome Coalition.,

This column appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Easter activities, a 5K run at the casino to benefit three nonprofits and an update on economic development dot the Maricopa calendar this week. Below, Josh Bowman invites everyone to an overnight campout at Copper Sky Friday. For details on these and other listings, or to add your own, visit


Color Yourself Calm starts at 11 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.
Maricopa Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting is at 6 p.m. at Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza
A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.
Coffee with Friends of the Maricopa Library is at 1:30 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.
Maricopa Police Explorer Post Meeting is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.
Celebrate Recovery Coffee & Karaoke is at 5 p.m at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.
Maricopa Town Hall Meeting is at 6 p.m. at Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.
Charcoal Drawing for Everyone is at 6:30 p.m. at Central Arizona College – Maricopa Campus, 17945 N. Regent Drive.
Celebrate Recovery Large & Small Group Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.
Harrah’s Club 777 Toastmasters meet at 3 p.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road.
MUSD Governing Board Meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Maricopa Unified School District, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.
A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Ak-Chin Social Services, 48227 W. Farrell Road.
Family Camping is from 4 p.m. Friday though 11 a.m. Saturday at Copper Sky Regional Park, 55345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.
Harrah’s Ak-Chin 5K Poker Run is at 8:30 a.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 N. Maricopa Road.
Maricopa Easter Egg Hunt is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.
Copper Sky Spring Egg Dive starts at 11:15 a.m. at Copper Sky Aquatic Center, 44345 W Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

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The members of the 4x100-meter relay team - Darrell Handy, Frank Jones, P.J. Austin and Longman Pyne - all won multiple medals at the Maricopa Twilight. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa High School boys’ track and field team battled Basha for supremacy in the annual Maricopa Twilight meet Friday, ultimately finishing second out of nine teams. Unofficial results

The MHS girls’ team finished fifth. The athletes posted 37 personal bests during the competition at Ram Stadium. The event also served as Senior Night for the team.

Junior Phillip (P.J.) Austin and senior Terrell Handy picked up three gold medals each, competing individually and in relays. Frank Jones earned two golds and a bronze. Kyle O’Hare and Longman Pyne also won two events apiece, and Darrell Handy picked up gold, silver and bronze.

Austin won the 100-meter dash in 11.25, while Jones placed third. Austin also won the long jump with a personal record 22-3.5. Jones turned around and won the 200-meter-dash in a personal record of 22.90. Both were part of the victorious 4X100-meter relay team with Darrell Handy and Longman Pyne.

Pyne joined O’Hare, Terrell Handy and Chris Singh in winning the 4×400-meter relay.

O’Hare posted a personal record in winning the 400-meter dash in 50.96. Logan Taylor won the 110-meter high hurdles in 16.10, a personal best for him. Terrell Handy won the triple jump in 44 feet even and the high jump in 6-foor-2. His brother Darrell was second in the high jump and third in the triple jump.

The 4×800 relay team of Singh, Mark Mwangi, Sam Coles and Josh Valdez placed third.

Among the Maricopa girls, sophomore Kayla Boich walked away with two silver medals. She finished second in the long jump and was part of the second-place 4×100 team with Sydni Callis, Destinee Chavis and Saneya Cowing.

Sophomore Shannon Coutre was just off her school record in the 400 but finished second in her season-best time of 1:02.89. Italy Brookshire earned bronze medal in the high jump.

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Grace Castellanos (left) and Derek Reiher perform in “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Photo by Michelle Chance

By Michelle Chance

It’s a story about rebellion against asylum-hood oppression.

Although the setting for the award-winning film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest took place decades ago, acting students at Sequoia Pathway Academy are learning about mental health awareness in today’s society by portraying patients inside a psychiatric ward.

The play opens April 28 at 7 p.m., has two performance April 29 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and closes May 5 with a show time of 7 p.m.

Acting teacher and director David Blanchard said the play shows students the advancements in mental health that have taken place since the play was written, as well as improvements the health system has yet to make.

“We are looking at the state of mental health in America even today … where you can see that not much has really changed,” Blanchard said.

The central characters in the play, R.P. McMurphy and Nurse Ratched are played by Derek Reiher and Kacie Swaffield, respectively.

CAST (in order of appearance)
Chief Bromden: Grace Castellanos
Aide Warren: Jaiden Simcic
Aide Williams: Mauryce Harper
Nurse Ratched: Kacie Swaffield
Nurse Flinn: Nina Sarappo
Dale Harding: Abigail Paternina
Billy Bibbit: Jeremy Greifer
Charlie Cheswick: Rachel Couts
Scanlon: Mason Whitted
Martini: Rachel Griffin
Ruckly: Elizabeth Prentice
Randle P. McMurphy: Derek Reiher
Dr. Spivey: Cadel Grisinger
Candy Starr: Kaytlin Bovey
Aide Turkle: Calvin Wright
Sandra: Halley Sanchez
Other patients: Bryanna Juarez, Jillian Alvarez, Jillian Miller, Kiva Deluca, Lexi Vargas

Reiher, who was cast in the school’s previous productions of “Grease” and “Spoon River Anthology,” said his biggest challenge in this play is capturing the essence of the insubordinate McMurphy.

Specifically, Reiher said the obstacle has been figuring out “how to release all this embodiment of the character and find who this character is and what I have inside myself to bring it out.”

The acting class of 24 students, the majority of whom are female, required Blanchard to switch the genders of certain characters.

Sophomore Grace Castellanos plays Chief Bromden, a traditionally male role.

“I personally think it’s pretty cool because I get to play a strong, empowered character that’s supposed to be male – as a female – which is kind of empowering to me,” Castellanos said.

Another aspect of the production is unique: The set.

The play takes place inside the school’s multipurpose building, which has a stage. However, actors will not perform on it this time.

Instead, the performance will take place in the center of the building’s floor surrounded by the audience, providing the play-goers with an immersive experience.

“We are going to sit them and kind of make them feel like they are all patients in the mental ward, too,” Blanchard said. “They just don’t know it yet.”

Tickets can be purchased at or at the door. Adult prices are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Student prices are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

Photo by Michelle Chance
Photo by Michelle Chance

This story appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

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Submitted photo

The Maricopa Auto Fair is set to launch April 21-23 in the UltraStar Multi-tainment Center parking lot. Owner Joe DiDonato said it will run like a monthly swap meet for car buyers and car sellers.

The fair will run the third weekend of each month – Friday from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will close in the summer months of June, July ande August, and then will return for a September to May run.

Car sellers pay $35 for the first weekend, with no commission. Motorcycle sellers pay $30. Sellers of oversized vehicles like RVs pay $45. There are reduced prices for seniors, vets and Ak-Chin members. Buyers can shop for free.

Sellers can drop off their vehicles starting at noon Fridays and then enjoy the entertainment at UltraStar and Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino or even go home. Owners who have preregistered online at get their choice of available spaces, as well as a discounted rate, and they can drop off their vehicles as early as 11 a.m. on Friday.

DiDonato and his staff keep the keys and show the vehicle but won’t let anyone start or take out a vehicle for a test drive without the owner.

The auto fair staff also requires sellers to show registration and proof of insurance, along with their personal identification to insure that the car is their vehicle, and the buyer isn’t being scammed.

This story appeared in part in the March issue of InMaricopa.

Gregory Rose

By Gregory Rose

We are in an exciting time for the City of Maricopa as we continue to see growth and the development of our young community. To best serve you and achieve the vision you have laid out for our City, I want to ensure that we are keeping the right employees and that we are hiring the right employees.

As Jim Collins said in his book “Good to Great,” “Leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with where but with who. They start by getting the right people on the bus.”

In 2016, to guide the way city employees will work, who we will recruit and hire, and how we will evaluate performance, we established organizational values.

Organizational values establish a clear set of principles that are important not just for Council or for the city manager or for the department directors, but for each individual that works within the organization and our community.

To define the City of Maricopa organizational values, extensive input from city employees was gathered. A committee of six employees put together the plan to collect input; six brainstorming sessions were held with 148 employees attending, and an online survey was completed with 120 responses. The Executive Team and City Council reviewed the selected values and the values were officially adopted by City Council.

The five values we arrived at are:

Integrity:  We are honest, transparent and demonstrate ethical leadership.

Service: We approach our jobs with a focus on quality and a positive attitude and are responsive, efficient, and flexible.

Teamwork:  We are loyal, hard-working, effective communicators who maintain a positive work environment.

Accountability:  We are committed, knowledgeable, and innovative.

Respect:  We appreciate diversity, are open-minded and compassionate.

The values create the acronym iSTAR. We developed a logo based on iSTAR to help market the organizational values to our employees.  We worked with all departments to define what these values look like in our daily functions and how we can ensure this is the way we are all conducting ourselves. We have developed internal processes, such as quarterly iSTAR Hero awards, to support our values and to guarantee that we are demonstrating them every day so this is not just a poster on a wall.

I think all too often, especially in the hiring process or the evaluation process, we focus mostly on people’s technical skills versus things that indicate character. These values have given us clear guidelines for the type of character we expect in our current and future employees, which I believe ultimately ensures we can provide excellent service.

Gregory Rose is the Maricopa city manager.

This column appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

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Leading edge had to do some quick thinking during a catered event that was visited by the health inspector.

Two Maricopa eateries of 20 inspected between Feb. 20 and March 15 received slight markdowns from Pinal County food inspections.

Leading Edge Academy was nicked when chicken sandwiches delivered by a catering company from Scottsdale were colder than the 135-degree hot-holding mandate. After being measured at temperatures between 122 and 132 F, five trays of sandwiches were discarded, and pizza was ordered for the remaining students.

The New HQ had four corrective actions requested by the inspector. An employee was asked to set up correctly a three-compartment sink. A “mold like” substance was viewed inside the bar ice machine. Scoops were observed inside dry rice, salt and ice machines. The bar and kitchen did not have sanitizer test strips.

Excellent [No violations found]
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Desert Wind Middle School
Honeycutt Coffee
Jack in the Box
Legacy Traditional School
Native Grill and Wings
Panda Express
Pima Butte Elementary
Rob’s Convenience
Saddleback Elementary
Santa Rosa Elementary
Say Sushi
Sequoia Pathway Academy K-6
Sequoia Pathway Academy – Secondary
True Grit Tavern
Walmart – Deli
Water and Ice

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
Leading Edge Academy
The New HQ

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

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of operation]

This item appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

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Fight Farms was among businesses gaining business licenses last month. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The following businesses applied for business licenses with the City of Maricopa Feb. 16-March 15:

Commercial: Maricopa Home Rentals LLC, Peachy Clean

Home-based: 911 Air Repair, Avon Cosmetics with Tina Rivas, Big Money SBC, Bob’s Ballistics, Cultivated Events, Dog Collar Boutique, Dr. Dusty Sowards NMD, Fight Farms, GDP Trendz, Julia’s Cookies LLC, Karen Stratman, Lauralee’s Creations, Leisa’s Luscious Lips, Little Bob Creations, Lori’s Beauty Boutique, LuLaRoe Gina Wrenn, Maricopa Garment Print, Maricopa Trikke, Nicole’s Usborne Books & More, OrganiKiss, Outside the Line, Paisley Cactus Design, Pazii Cigars, Peaches and Dream Décor, Pure Romance by Natasha Sutton, Rawlins Cosmetics, Royal Home Watch, Sevill’s Luxury Services, Solabstract Art & Photography, UMBUH, West Valley Printing, Zanovia’s Dress

Out of town: ATC Group Services Inc., AZ Bounce Pro, Blazing Deer Salsa Company, Danzarte Danza Folklorica, Elouise Jones, Hound Street Boutique, King Insulation of Arizona, The Lemon Hut, Patterson & Dewar Engineers, Pool Troopers, Promise Towing, Sandstorm Signs & Services, The Segal Company, Suds ‘N Such, Waffle Crush,

Peddler/Solicitor: Burke Ice Cream

This article appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

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Joe Carpenter runs his Carpenter Guitar & Ampworks business out of his home in Rancho El Dorado. Photo by Mason Callejas

By Fran Lyons

Joe Carpenter tells it this way: “I had a passion to work with and repair guitars and amps since I was a kid.”

That has turned into his business, Carpenter Guitar & Ampworks.

He speaks with great enthusiasm about adding depth and dimension, “that crunchy sound,” to acoustic and bass guitars. Inserting his brand of color and intensity, in his words, “the joy of sound,” to electronic guitars is what Carpenter wants to bring to the game.

Playing and fixing guitars and amps started casually with friends for the Hendrix-loving native of Indiana. He had his first guitar by age 8. Carpenter studied electronics in college and went on to become a technician. He also studied in Mesa and learned to build guitars.

After he and his wife Dorri married, they bought a home in Maricopa to settle down. That was in 2004.

Carpenter’s day job is in the semiconductor industry in Phoenix, where he works as a tech trainer. His company delivers, installs and offers training for their systems internationally. Most recently, his work took him to Israel in March.

“I used to travel a lot more often,” he said.

All of his experiences led him to develop and open his own business out of his home, initially called A to Z Guitar & Ampworks LLC. He typically works nights and Saturdays. His greatest support and influence, he said, has been Dorri.

“[She’s] 100 percent behind me and with me,” he said. “She’s there for me.”

His expectations for the next five years include building a bigger customer base and expanding to include multiple instruments, including band instruments for schools. Building guitars is also an important piece of his business plan.


Photo by Mason Callejas
Photo by Mason Callejas

Owner: Joe Carpenter
Hometown: Hobart, Indiana
Residence: Rancho El Dorado
Nature of business: Working on and repairing electronic musical instruments; specializing in guitars and amps
Why this business? Loved guitars since childhood.
How long in business? Since late 2013
Why Maricopa? The small-town feel
Family: Wife Dorri, who assists in the business with administration
Greatest challenge: Getting strategic planning and marketing in place to build the business, and stabilizing financial strength
First job: Summer job as teenager removing the tassels from corn at a farm
Favorite job: Anything to do with electronics in general, guitars and amps in particular
Best business advice ever received: My uncle counseled me, “Keep up the administration aspect and get help when necessary in a small business.”
Favorite Musician: Among many, overall it’s Jimi Hendrix


This story appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Mason Callejas
Photo by Mason Callejas
Photo by Mason Callejas
Photo by Mason Callejas

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Avnel Hogan has owned Alternative Air Heating and Cooling for 10 years in Maricopa. Photo by Michelle Chance

By Michelle Chance

Avnel Hogan and his team of air conditioning technicians have been keeping Maricopans cool in the desert heat for 10 years.

Hogan, owner of Alternative Air Heating and Cooling, takes an old-fashioned approach to business. He said he believes good customer service goes beyond ensuring every customer is satisfied with their service.

“I believe in old-type service where you go in a house and you’re polite, and you’re cordial, and you have a uniform on, and you have a truck that is clearly marked for the business,” Hogan said.

Hogan said 75 percent of his work is based in Maricopa. He also serves the East Valley and Casa Grande, and he has traveled as far as Tucson and Ajo for some of his regular customers.

However, Hogan said he hopes all of his business will be centered primarily in Maricopa one day. Hogan is an advocate for shopping local to strengthen the city’s economy.

“I wish consumers would hire local people more,” he said.

Hogan practices what he preaches as a consumer – and a business owner.

“Everyone I’ve ever hired has always lived here in Maricopa,” Hogan said. “I have never hired outside of Maricopa.”

Technicians with the company do more than just installing, Hogan said. They also do duct work and cleaning, and a myriad of other related services.

Since the business opened a decade ago, Hogan has refused to incentivize his staff with commissions.

While working for other businesses before founding his own, Hogan witnessed commissioned-based air conditioning companies focusing more on sales than on service.

“If they are commissioned-based, they are going to be selling you things you don’t need,” he said.

Hogan encourages customers to call around and research HVAC companies before hiring a technician to work on their cooling and heating units.

He suggests asking if installers work on commission, as well as confirming the business is licensed, bonded and insured.

Outside of his business, Hogan is a thrill-seeker.

“I love motorcycles and high speed,” he said. In fact, he used to race motocross when he was younger.

Hogan also has an affinity for flight.

“If I could be anything it would be a helicopter pilot,” he said. “I (fly) in one every chance I get.”

But in his off-time, Hogan said he can usually be found underneath the hood of a car. Vintage Ford Mustangs are his favorite.

However, his business is always the priority. Hogan said looking forward, he hopes to keep his business local, and to also keep it in the family by passing it on to his son, Gage.

The company is looking to hire two more positions in the spring.

This story appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Peter Noone in concert. Photo by Randy Miramontez

By Michelle Chance

Maricopans are “Into Something Good” Friday when Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone perform a free concert in the Lounge inside Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino.

The group, famous for hits like No Milk Today and Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter will take the stage two times on Friday with shows at 8 and 10 p.m.

Noone and his Hermits will perform the band’s hits, as well as a variety of classics ranging from The Rolling Stones to Perry Como.

This will be the group’s third time playing in Maricopa. Noone said he and a bandmate remember the venue for its lively wildlife.

“I remember me and the drummer being fascinated by all these little animals that live there right next to the casino,” he recalled.

Maricopa is one stop among many for the group as their tour hits locations around the United States for the majority of the year.

Noone said it won’t stop any time soon.

“I think we’ve got 10 good years (left),” he said.

However, Noone said he often jokes about when that retirement timeline actually begins.

“It’s a 10- year plan from today,” he added, laughing.

The group experienced most of its commercial success in the mid-1960s at the height of the British Invasion music movement in America.

Footage of screaming, crying teens often accompany concert film of the era’s bands like The Beatles and The Animals.

And although Noone said the same hysteria once showed by his then-teenaged fans has calmed through the years, enthusiasm is still always present at shows.

“There is nothing better for an enthusiastic band than to have a load of enthusiastic people all around,” he said.

Doors for the show open at 7 and 9 p.m.