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InMaricopa

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The City of Maricopa has re-set the date of the Copa Color Run after it was rained out Saturday.

The new date is March 18 at 10 a.m. The event is at Copper Sky Regional Park.

According to event organizer Matt Reiter, everyone who registered for the event in February is still registered and will not have to re-register. Those who cannot make the March date can get a full refund.

Those who already picked up a packet, which includes event items like a color packet and headband, can get half their money back if they cannot run on the new date.

http:// http://www.maricopa-az.gov/web/events/81-community-services/events/1407-5k-fun-run

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John Schurz

John Schurz, president of Orbitel/Western Broadband in Maricopa, has been elected president of the Southwest Cable Communications Association.

The Association is the statewide trade association of the cable television industry serving Arizona and New Mexico, and is comprised of 40 cable television operators serving over 3.5  million subscribers.

Schurz has served on the Association’s Board of Directors and recently served as the Association’s secretary-treasurer.

Vehicles damaged in a collision just before noon on SR 347. Photo by Michelle Sorensen

A crash in the northbound lanes of State Route 347 delayed traffic south of Casa Blanca Road Wednesday morning.

At least two vehicles collided, temporarily blocking both lanes. The Department of Public Safety and Gila River Police Department responded to the scene. The crash occurred around 11:50 a.m.

No serious injuries were reported. The involved vehicles were quickly pushed to the median to open the lanes to traffic.

Photo by Dick Barkley
Photo by Dick Barkley
Photo by Dick Barkley
Photo by Dick Barkley

Peter Rivera is fitness director at Anytime Fitness. Photo by Michelle Chance

By Michelle Chance

It is not unusual to find new faces in Maricopa. The city is often a seasonal home for those seeking a mild-weathered respite from the bitter cold that freezes their hometowns during the winter.

However, Maricopa is also a permanent haven for people looking to start an adventure out West.

Peter Rivera, the new fitness director for Anytime Fitness, is one of them. He left the East Coast after 45 years, trading his hustle-and-bustle lifestyle for Arizona’s laidback culture.

When Rivera moved to Maricopa four months ago, he said he was lured by the prospect of opportunity in a growing city.

“It’s always nice to be in the beginning of something,” Rivera said. “There is going to be an explosion of culture here that I think is going to be fantastic to be a part of.”

In January, Rivera began his new position at the gym. His general duties include overseeing the training staff and consulting new members, but Rivera plans to incorporate more into the fitness center than what the basics of what his responsibilities require.

Rivera said he wants to target the older population, as well as those who have permanent movement disorders like cerebral palsy, for training.

With these groups in mind, Rivera said he might consider implementing deceleration training at Anytime Fitness. This unorthodox form of exercise is often used as a preventive measure for sports injuries, but Rivera said he has seen evidence that it also has health benefits for people 50 years old and over, and people with cerebral palsy.

Additionally, Rivera would like to collaborate with medical and fitness professionals in the area to create a referral network for clients seeking help from either side.

“I see a cohesive unit being built here that could actually be a cornerstone for Maricopa itself in this industry,” he said.

The new fitness director said his perspective on what he has accomplished in his las 25 years in the fitness industry is what sets him apart from others in his field.

“I think my biggest accomplishments have been my failures,” Rivera said, adding he believes how a person responds to adversity is what matters most.

No stranger to challenges, Rivera said while growing up he was told by others that he was an “undersized kid,” a comment he carried with him until a chance meeting with a fitness icon.

After seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger in an airport as a teen, Rivera said it inspired him to “be as big as Arnold.”

Rivera said the people around him cast doubt over his bulky pursuits, but he never gave up.

“I come from people who, when somebody tells you that you can’t, that means you push harder,” he said.

The underdog’s confidence is something he said he hopes to transfer to those who enter the gym.

“I love seeing people do things that they never thought they could do. That’s why I do this job in the first place,” Rivera said.

The Against Abuse "Seeds of Change" Gala Boots and Bling is Saturday at Province.

Events and activities are stacking up for Maricopans this week with entertainment, sports and one of the biggest fund-raisers of the year. Below, David Aviles talks about men’s basketball leagues starting at Copper Sky. For these and other listings, or to add your own, visit InMaricopa.com/Calendar/.

MONDAY

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

TUESDAY

Sonoran Desert Museum Tour leaves at 9 a.m. from Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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.

Art & Sip with local artist Kaui Wilson is at 6:30 p.m. at True Grit Tavern, 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 101.

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

WEDNESDAY

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

Public Hearing Officer Hearing is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

Huffman Baseball Tournament is at 6 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

MUSD Governing Board Meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Maricopa Unified School District, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.

THURSDAY

Latin Dance Workshop is at 7 p.m. at Central Arizona College – Maricopa Campus, 17945 N. Regent Drive.

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

FRIDAY

Krystin Diehl Softball Tournament is at 9 a.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

The Little Mermaid (Jr) is at 6 p.m. at Legacy Traditional School, 17760 N. Regent Drive.

Maricopa Little League Opening Night is at 6 p.m. at Pacana Park, 19000 N. Porter Road.

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

Men’s Friday Basketball League Starts at 7 p.m. at Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Alec Davis is in The Lounge at 8 p.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road.

SATURDAY

Art & Sip with local artist Kaui Wilson is at noon at The Duke at Rancho El Dorado, 42660 W Rancho El Dorado.

The Little Mermaid (Jr) is at 2 p.m. at Legacy Traditional School, 17760 N. Regent Drive.

Daddy Daughter Dance hosted by DSPA Gems is at 4 p.m. at Maricopa Wells Middle School, 45725 W. Honeycutt Ave.

Against Abuse Seeds of Change Gala “Boots & Bling” is at 6 p.m. at Province Town Hall, 20942 Province Parkway.

Free Liberty Quartet Concert is at 6 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

The Little Mermaid (Jr) is at 6 p.m. at Legacy Traditional School, 17760 N. Regent Drive.

SUNDAY

Men’s Sunday Basketball League Starts at 6 p.m. at Copper Sky Multigenerational 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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Evan Grace chose Kimberly Diedrich's Pet Social Worker Tails of Hope for an NCAA Final Four Planning Committee grant. Submitted photo

With the NCAA Final Four coming to Phoenix this year, the Final Four Planning Committee reached out to state organization with the opportunity to give back to the community.

One of the groups approached was the Governor’s Youth Commission. One of the commissioners, Evan Grace of Maricopa, received a $1,000 grant for a community project.

He selected Pet Social Worker, a local rescue organization. He presented founder Kimberly Diedrich with $500 for spays/neuters and $500 for pet supplies for rescued animals. To keep it local, Evan asked Pet Club of Maricopa to provide a discount to extend the donation, and Nick Hale obliged. Hale also added two bags of dog food to the donation.

Evan would like to thank NCAA and Pet Club for the opportunity to help a great organization.

The Maricopa Historical Society will host the sixth annual golf tournament on March 4 at The Duke at Rancho El Dorado.

Registration and a continental breakfast are at 6:30 p.m. The 18-hole scramble has a reverse shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. After play, at around 12:30 p.m. there will be lunch, a silent auction, raffle and prizes.

The theme this year is “Play Your Way Toward St. Patty’s Day.” There may even be a visit from a leprechaun.

Many golfers are returning for another chance to earn bragging rights as well as to support the organization’s commitment to Maricopa’s heritage. Maricopa Historical “Society continues to raise funds for a permanent home for its collection of historical items. That includes artifacts from all eras of Maricopa’s history.

The tournament play and lunch is $125 per golfer or $400 for a foursome. For those who do not want to play golf but want to participate in the lunch, the fee is $25. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

The Duke Golf Course is at 42260 W. Rancho El Dorado Parkway. For information, visit MHS50.com or call MHS President Paul Shirk at 909-260-3020.

MHS is a nonprofit organization that strives to inform and inspire all people to make history a part of their lives. The organization is dedicated to the preservation of Maricopa’s rich history. A revolving collection of various items is displayed in the society’s handcrafted, pecan cabinets at the Maricopa Public Library and Central Arizona College administration building.

historical-society-golf-patricks-day

InMaricopa file photo

Salsa chefs have until March 9 to sign up to compete in the 13th annual Salsa Festival, Maricopa’s largest event. The festival drew more than 10,000 people last year.

Salsa Fest is March 25 from 2 to 8 p.m. at Copper Sky Regional Park.

They are competing for top prize of $1,000. Other prizes range from $50 to $500.

Besides the title of Best Overall, which is the People’s Choice Award, salsa chefs can compete in three categories: hot, mild and unusual. Registration is free for the first entry and $5 for each additional category. Each category has cash awards for first, second and third. There is also a $250 award presented by celebrity judges.

Salsa chefs get a 12-by-12 grassy area for setting up a booth. Chefs are responsible for their own tables, chairs, prep materials and decor.

Register online at www.regonline.com/salsa2017, which includes the Pinal County Health Department form to download, required for all Salsa Chefs. Contact the Pinal County Health Department at 520-866-6864 or 1-866-960-0633 for questions or more information. Chefs need to submit a temporary food booth permit.

Setup is a 9 a.m. to noon on March 25. Contestants turn in 32 ounces of their salsa to the judges at 2 p.m. People’s Choice tasting runs from 2 to 6 p.m. Awards will be presented on the main stage at 7:30 p.m.

March 9 is also the early deadline for vendors to participate in Salsa Fest. Food vendors pay $275. Business vendors pay $75. Nonprofit vendors pay $50. Any registrations after March 9 are subject to at $100 late fee.

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Photo by Mason Callejas

Maricopa High School Theatre Company debuted its production of the classic comedy “You Can’t Take It With You” in the Black Box Theatre at the Performing Arts Center Thursday. Performances continue to night at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.

Brent Burroff. PCSO photo

A warrant arrest attempt turned into a barricade situation in Hidden Valley Wednesday for Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

According to PCSO, a suspect was wanted for outstanding warrants for fraud and theft-related charges.

When officers arrived on scene, a property off Peters and Nall Road, the suspect went back into his RV and refused to come out, PCSO spokesperson Navideh Forghani said.

When he apparently barricaded himself in the RV, SWAT was called in, involving several law enforcement vehicles arriving in the area.

“When they got there, the suspect came out without incident. He has been arrested,” Forghani said.

Brent Burroff, 32, was taken into custody around 5 p.m. Wednesday on Cattle Drive in the Hidden Valley area, west of the intersection of Ralston Road and Peters and Nall. His total bond is set at $21,300. He faces two charges of failure to appear and noncompliance. An arraignment hearing is set for Feb. 24.

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From left, Kathy Thach, Lana Rhode and Mia Chavez with RISE teacher Kasi Johnson.

Legacy Traditional Academy hosted its annual speech competition sponsored by Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial on Wednesday. Two junior high students and a sixth grader got top honors out of a dozen competitors.

This year’s theme was “What does it mean to be a hero?”

Kathy Thach won first place, with Lana Rhode in second. Sixth-grader Mia Chavez placed third in the tight competition.

Local winners go onto county, state and national competitions, where cash prizes are on the line.

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Team leader Tyra Williams struggled to score in the first half against Ironwood Ridge in a loss that ended the season. Photo by William Lange

Maricopa High School girls’ basketball season came to an end in the first round of the state playoffs Tuesday night.

The eighth-seeded Rams fell on their home court to No. 9 Ironwood Ridge, 52-46, in the 5A bracket.

The game was anticipated to be close, with the teams having similar strengths, but it was not expected to be as messy as it was, especially in the early going.

Maricopa shooting was ice cold though opportunities to score were abundant. Both teams racked up turnovers, especially traveling violations, as the referees kept a tight rein on the action. Passes often went awry, making execution even more difficult in a tense game.

The score was tied for the first and only time with 3:44 to go in the first quarter.  Then the Nighthawks pulled away. Maricopa moved close just once more in the middle of the second quarter but could never put together a run.

Ironwood Ridge led 22-14 at halftime, with Maricopa’s top score being six points from junior Jayla Johnson. In the second half, the majority of the scoring came from senior Tyra Williams and junior Sydni Callis, but that was only enough to hang with the Nighthawks and not overtake them.

The Rams were 19-4 overall this season and tied with Ironwood atop the 5A Metro standings.

Maricopa              6   8   11   21 — 46

Ironwood Ridge  11  11  11  19 — 52

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"Team Tiago" with ASU President Michael Crow. Submitted photo

Students from Maricopa Wells Middle School blended learning classrooms attended a VIP dinner at the Arizona State University Sustainability Solutions Showcase at the Desert Botanical Gardens on Feb. 13.

The goal of the event was to “bring together sustainability leaders to celebrate and recognize ASU Walton Sustainability Solutions Awards Winners.”  The students were asked to present their Future City project to a room of about 200 honored guests, including Dr. Michael Crow, president of ASU, and Rob and Melani Walton. Rob Walton is the retired chairman of the board of Walmart and serves as chair of the Environment Program Committee of the Walton Family Foundation.

“Team Tiago” was invited to this event because they won the “Walton Sustainable Community Award” at the Arizona Future City state competition held at ASU on Jan. 28. Team members included Alondra Garfias, Maverick Miller, Joseline Nowell and Alex Grace, along with their teachers Robyn Rice and Joseph Szoltysik.

The cast of "You Can't Take It With You"

There is a lot to do this week, from the final MAC Farm Ag-Venture tour of the season, to the debut of the Copa Shorts Film Festival and the annual Copa Color Run. Below, Maricopa High School senior Carlos O. Venegas invites everyone the MHS Theatre Company’s production of “You Can’t Take It With You.”

For details on these listings and more, or to add your own, visit InMaricopa.com/calendar/

MONDAY

Friends of the Library General Meeting is 5:30 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

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.

TUESDAY

MAC Farm Desert Ag-Venture Tours are at 10 a.m. at Maricopa Agricultural Center, 37860 W. Smith-Enke Road.

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

Music for Valentine’s Day will be heard at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road, starting at 4 p.m.

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.

Art & Sip is at 6:30 p.m. at True Grit Tavern, 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 101.

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

WEDNESDAY

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

THURSDAY

Free Diabetes Education Class is at 5:30 p.m. at Maricopa Public Health Clinic, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road, Building 15.

“You Can’t Take It With You” is on stage at 7 p.m. at 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.

FRIDAY

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

“You Can’t Take It With You” is on stage at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

Copa Shorts Film Fest Opening Night Mixer is at 8 p.m. at Elements Event Center at Ak-Chin Circle, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

Firefall plays in The Lounge at 8 p.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road.

SATURDAY

Copa Color Run 5K is at 10 a.m. at Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

“You Can’t Take It With You” is on stage at 2 p.m. at Maricopa Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

Copa Shorts Film Fest movies start at noon at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

“You Can’t Take It With You” is on stage at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

SUNDAY

Copa Shorts Film Fest movies start at noon at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 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.

Alexandra Gray as Marmee surrounded by (clockwise from left) Hailey Damian as Jo, Brittany Ames as Meg, Chaienne Zoller as Amy and Ashley Lynn as Beth in Maricopa Community Theatre's "Little Women," presented at Sequoia Pathway Academy. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Community Theatre presented “Little Women,” based on the Louisa May Alcott novel, Feb. 9-11 at Sequoia Pathway. The production starred Hailey Damian as Jo March, Ashley Lynn as Beth, Nikolas Mase as Laurie, Brittany Ames as Meg, Chaienne Zoller as Amy, Alexandra Gray as Marmee, Marta Ames as Aunt March and Jerry Allen as John Brooke.

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The Arizona Rattlers professional football team is wrapping up its winter practice session at Copper Sky Regional Park. Now in their 25th year, the former Arena Football League champs are joining the Indoor Football League. They play their first game Feb. 17 at Sioux Falls. Their first home game is Feb. 26 against the Iowa Barnstormers at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

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Senior Darrell Handy-Johnson and the Maricopa Rams worked their way into the state tournament the hard way, by bumping off the 10th-ranked Deer Valley Skyhawks. File photo by Victor Moreno

The Maricopa High School boys basketball team defeated Deer Valley tonight, 65-61, in the 5A conference play-in.

The upset victory of the No. 23 Rams over the No. 10 Skyhawks puts Maricopa into the state tournament.

The Rams charged out of the chute to a 17-9 lead in the first quarter, and the hosting Skyhawks never recovered. But they came close.

Deer Valley scored eight unanswered points in the final minutes of the second quarter, and Maricopa held on to 31-29 halftime lead.

In a back-and-forth third quarter, the Skyhawks took the lead briefly but the Rams pushed ahead again. Maricopa was on top by just one point going into the fourth.

Deer Valley looked like it would at last build a cushion after taking back the lead, but Maricopa wiped away those hopes with a 3-pointer. The Rams held their nerves through the final minutes and helped themselves at the free-throw line to sew up the win and extend their season.

The brackets for the state tournament will be announced Sunday. The boys’ bracket begins play Wednesday.

 

A trip to the Grand Canyon has been among the adventures organized by the City of Maricopa's M.O.R.E.E. program. Submitted photo

By Misty Newman

Misty Newman
Misty Newman

Are you looking for more opportunities to be active outdoors? Perhaps you want to go hiking or explore more of Arizona, but don’t know where to start. Since January 2016, the Maricopa Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Education (M.O.R.E.E) program at Copper Sky has taken people on outdoor adventures and other cultural trips.

From hikes to Cibeque Creek to family campouts, there has been something for everyone. This program was initiated by Joshua Bowman, who has an extensive background in outdoor education and has started similar programs in the past. M.O.R.E.E has grown during the year with more people attending and available seats being filled.

“Our goal for this program is to help people have a greater love for nature and get them happier and healthier,” Bowman said.

He plans different types of trips for varying levels of fitness and availability.

Popular trips have included Utah National Parks, Havasupai and Tonto Natural Bridge to name a few. The five-day trip to Havasupai was one of the most successful, with all 10 spots filling immediately.

Trips that do not require high mobility are on Tuesdays. These include day trips to places like Tombstone, Musical Instrument Museum and the Canyon Lake Dolly Boat Tour.

Some of these programs are for families as well. With the Family Campout, kids and parents can have a fun evening of s’mores, scavenger hunts and setting up camp in the park.

There is a mandatory preparation workshop that covers all details of the trip and what to expect. If you don’t have gear, the program has you covered. The gear is included in the trip fee. Gear includes the backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and headlamp. Also included in the price are transportation and all park entry fees.

Bowman said he has seen a positive impact on the Maricopa community.

Submitted photo
Submitted photo

“We do post trip surveys which indicate people are super excited about the program and have a fantastic time on the trips,” Bowman said. “The next trip has eight people signed up, and all eight are past participants.”

For those who are interested in the outdoors and/or in leading others in the outdoors, there is a trip leader program that provides extensive training and certifications. According to Bowman, the goal is to get 6-10 trained trip leaders. They will assist him on the trips and can go at no additional cost.

For Bowman, the best part of running the program is “seeing people experience something new.”

“I would like to see this program grow over the next 15-20 years,” Bowman said. “It would be cool to see kids who are involved now become trip leaders. This ties in with our long-term goals for families to develop a passion for the outdoors due to this program.”

APM.ActiveCommunities.com/CityOfMaricopaRec/Home

Misty Newman is the owner of Maricopa Outdoor Adventures.
MaricopaOutdoorAdventures.com


This column appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

MUSD Human Resources Director Tom Beckett points a teaching candidate in the right direction during a district job fair.

By Michelle Chance

The Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board approved the hiring of 10 teachers for new positions Wednesday.

According to district documents, eight elementary teachers constituted the majority of the new hires in the group. One middle school teacher and another teacher, whose school location was undesignated, made up the rest.

The district’s push for recruiting teachers comes after voters approved an override last year to lower class sizes by adding more instructors.

So far, MUSD is one-fifths closer to meeting its goal of hiring 50 teachers for the approaching school year.

School officials said the momentum is growing.

“Every day I have at least five to 10 applications come in,” said Human Resources Director Tom Beckett.

A district-wide job fair was held Jan. 28 and, as a result, letters of intent were issued to potential teachers.

“A number of interviews were set up the following week,” Superintendent Steve Chestnut said. “That’s one reason why there are 10 teachers being hired tonight for next year.”

Chestnut said there was interest in support staff positions during the job fair as well.

Despite the progress, the district is losing current classified employees. The board approved the retirement of one Butterfield Elementary School teacher and the resignation of Maricopa High School Assistant Principal Jesse Roth.

Nevertheless, Chestnut remained optimistic about reaching the district’s hiring goal.

“We are off to a good start,” he said.

Some of the 20 Desert Wind Middle School students recognized by the school board for being straight-A students had the photo taken with Principal June Celaya during the meeting. "I think it is such a commendable thing to be so dedicated to their grades and making sure everything is turned in on time," Celaya said.
Some of the 20 Desert Wind Middle School students recognized by the school board for being straight-A students had the photo taken with Principal June Celaya during the meeting. “I think it is such a commendable thing to be so dedicated to their grades and making sure everything is turned in on time,” Celaya said.

File photo

By Michelle Chance

IF YOU GO
What: Copa Color Run
When: Feb. 18, registration 9 a.m., race 11 a.m.
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
How much: $10-$20
Info: CopaColorRun.com

The third annual Copa Color Fun Run and Walk will not just be an opportunity for families to get exercise while getting doused in neon colored powder. It will also include two contests and more affordable pricing than previous events.

Matthew Reiter, fitness coordinator at Copper Sky Recreation Complex and the run director, said he wants to allow a family of four to participate at a reasonable price.

“I really recognize the need for the event to allow the families to get out there and enjoy each other.”

Kids 6 and under are free; children ages 7 to 11 are $10, 12 to 17 are $15, and adults are $20.

Participants can choose to run or walk in a 5K race or 1-mile walk. Reiter said people of any fitness level and age can participate.

Before the race, which begins at 11 a.m. on Feb. 18 at Copper Sky, there will be two new contests for registrants.

The first is a costume contest where contestants are judged based on their best work-out costume from the 1980s. The winner will receive an “old-school ‘80s boombox,” Reiter said.

Participants in the second contest must identify a song by Michael Jackson that is played, and winners receive a sequined glove like those worn by the legendary popstar.

Not only is Reiter excited for the new 1980s theme, but he said he is also thrilled about the namesake of the event – the color.

“We bought four times the amount of color that we bought last year. We are really going to go nuts,” he said.

In fact, Reiter said “color-throwers” on the sideline of the vibrant walk went through a special training this year.

All participants receive a tie-dye colored headband and packet of color to throw at the beginning of the race.

Like previous years, 5 percent of the proceeds raised will go toward the Maricopa Police Foundation to benefit survivors of domestic violence.

CopaColorRun.com

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Murray Siegel

By Murray Siegel

In December, Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD) was one of only four Arizona school districts named to the seventh annual Advanced Placement Honor Roll. Many citizens of Maricopa might ask, “What’s the big deal? What is important about Advanced Placement (AP)?” and “Is this just another meaningless public relations announcement?”

The AP program is conducted by The College Board, a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to allow high school students to take college courses while still in high school and receive credit via a national exam managed by the Educational Testing Service, also a nonprofit corporation. The AP program is trusted by the vast majority of colleges and scores on AP exams are used by colleges to award credit to incoming students.

The AP Honor Roll recognizes school districts that maintain successful AP programs. Among students enrolled in AP courses there are at least 30 percent who are from underserved minorities or at least 30 percent who qualify for free/reduced lunch. AP students at Maricopa High School qualified on both standards. Only four Arizona districts met the requirements for the Honor Roll, thus MUSD’s receipt of this award is quite significant.

MHS has increased its AP course offerings to 11 – Studio Art, English Language, English Literature, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, World History, U.S. History, Government, Economics and Spanish. It takes more than qualified AP teachers to obtain student success in AP. The coursework students take going back to elementary school must build a level of knowledge and work ethic that prepares students to meet the challenge of an AP class.

Given the success of MUSD’s AP program, credit must be spread throughout the district schools.

Special notice must be given to the high school’s AP teachers. As challenging as the coursework is for the students, the teachers must have the subject-area knowledge to meet the demands of an AP course. This is national curriculum and topics cannot be skipped. Failure of the teacher to cover the course curriculum thoroughly will result in low exam scores. Obviously, the scores of MUSD students validate the qualifications of their teachers.

Indeed, MUSD being awarded a place on the AP District Honor Roll should bring pride to our community. The teachers and administrators of the district should be congratulated for their contributions to the success of the AP program in Maricopa.

Murray Siegel has a PhD in MathEd and 42 years of teaching experience. He and his wife Sharon are volunteer teachers of advanced math classes at Butterfield Elementary School.


This column appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

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Photo by Mason Callejas

Representatives from Casa Grande’s Cowboy Days & O’odham Tash played Pony Express Thursday, arriving on horseback at Maricopa City Hall to deliver invitations to the event, which is Feb. 18. Councilmember Peggy Chapados and City Manager Gregory Rose were there to greet them, along with 3-year-old Wesley Thorp and his mother Adrienne Thorp.

Justice Brown, 7, has eosinophilic esophagitis, which affects 1 in 1,500 children. Photo by Anita McLeod

By Chris Swords Betts

“Her body is attacking all food,” said Jacquette Brown, mother of Justice Brown, a Maricopa second-grader.

Justice was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a chronic immune disease, at the age of 3.

Now 7, Justice will undergo an endoscopy and biopsy of her esophagus under general anesthesia every three to six months until her doctors can determine which foods, if any, she can eat.

This procedure is nothing new to Justice, who underwent her most recent endoscopy Dec. 12. Following the procedure, Justice’s doctor restricted her diet to only fresh fruits and some vegetables, and the hypoallergenic protein formula that gives her the nutrition lacking in her diet.

Brown said when she took Justice to the doctor for her chronic rashes, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and flu-like symptoms, she was repeatedly dismissed as being a worried new mother.

“Finally, after years of getting the run around, I got fed up,” said Brown, who was living in Michigan with her family at the time. “We drove to Wisconsin and got the diagnosis.”

EoE causes a buildup of a type of white blood cell in the esophagus, due to reactions to food, other allergens or acid reflux. The buildup can lead to serious health problems, including difficulty swallowing, vomiting, food impaction and choking.

EoE was first identified about 20 years ago. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, an estimated 1 in 1,500 children had EoE in 2012.

“She reacts to just the smell of food,” Brown said. “Her throat starts closing.”

Because of this, Justice can’t eat her lunch in the school cafeteria.

“My friends like to eat with me in the nurse’s office,” Justice said.

There is no cure for EoE.

“They go into remission,” Brown said. “It’s a back-and-forth thing. Some days are good days.”

Justice’s doctor will continue to eliminate foods from her diet until the results of her procedure come back clear.

Brown said there are some people who can only have formula and have gastronomy feeding tubes (G-Tubes) in place.

“We’re hoping she doesn’t have to have it,” Brown said. “Lots of people say that’s the best solution.”

Brown said Justice sometimes expresses a desire for a G-Tube, because of her distaste for the formula.

“It’s just a nasty, sweet taste,” said Wesley Brown, Justice’s father. “It doesn’t taste good at all.”

Despite both Browns working and having medical insurance through Wesley’s work, they are struggling to manage the cost and time constraints of Justice’s condition. On top of medical bills, the formula alone adds up to more than $650 per month. The Browns are hoping Wesley’s new insurance will cover a portion of this.

“We have medical bills mounting up,” Brown said. “We need to be in a position to cover this stuff. It’s getting out of control.”

The family was planning to take Justice to a specialist in Cincinnati, until they found Dr. Mark E. McOmber at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“It’s just been amazing since the first day,” Brown said. “He genuinely cares about her.”

 

gofundme.com/support-justice


This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Justice Brown's family includes her parents Jacquette and Wesley and sister Jaysha. Photo by Anita McLeod
Justice Brown’s family includes her parents Jacquette and Wesley and sister Jaysha. Photo by Anita McLeod

Submitted photo

By Chef Neil Magbnua

Chef Neil Magbnua
Chef Neil Magbnua

This month’s recipe is for you vegetarians out there, or those of you who are trying to eat more vegetables but are tired of steamed broccoli. Made known to the general population with the Pixar/ Disney movie of the same name, ratatouille is one of my favorite vegetable dishes to make and, quite frankly, the only way I’m willing to eat zucchini and yellow squash.

Let me start by saying that the following recipe is not traditional ratatouille. The original way of preparing this dish involves slicing the vegetables uniformly thin and cooking them slowly while covered with parchment paper. In today’s world, not many of us have time for that.

Ingredients

1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup diced yellow squash
1 cup diced eggplant
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced bell pepper
1 cup diced tomato
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup tomato juice
1 tablespoon dry herb blend (Herb de Provence or mix 1/3 tablespoon each of dry basil, dry oregano and dry thyme)

Directions

Before cooking, separate the vegetables into the following groups: Eggplant, onion and celery, zucchini and yellow squash, peppers and tomato. These five groups take different cooking times; pre-cooking grouping will help ensure they are done at the same time.

In a large sauté pan, start ½ cup of olive oil over high heat. Sweat eggplant for about 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add onions and celery and sweat for an additional 5 minutes. Add zucchini and yellow squash and sweat for another 3 minutes. Add peppers and sweat for an additional 3 minutes. Add tomato juice, dry herbs, and garlic, stir in thoroughly, then add tomatoes. Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.

To brighten the flavor, you may add a little red wine vinegar to taste. Garnish with fresh basil or any fresh, leafy herb of your choice (I wouldn’t recommend cilantro, though). Season with salt and pepper.

This vegetable “stew” is good as a side dish with meat or hearty fish or can be thrown together with your favorite pasta. Good luck and good eating.

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


This column appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

Our obsession with calorie counting, macronutrients and dieting over the past 30 years has resulted in increased body-fat levels. So what’s the deal? Let’s take a quick look at why fat loss is important and steps you can take in beating the battle of the bulge.

WE NEED TO LOSE FAT…

As a group, people in most industrialized societies are likely to be overweight.

This isn’t just a superficial thing. Excess body fat can negatively affect nearly every aspect of life, including:

■ increased risk of stress fractures
■ increased risk of organ failure
■ poor circulatory health
■ increased risk of heart disease
■ increased risk of strokes
■ increased risk of cancers
■ poor emotional health and self-esteem
■ decreased sexual and reproductive health

…BUT IT’S SO HARD

STEPS TO REDUCE BODY-FAT LEVELS

1. Exercise at least five hours per week.
2. Eat whole/unprocessed foods at regular intervals, while being aware of physical hunger/fullness cues.
3. Substitute trigger foods with foods that are similar tasting and texture but align with your goals (e.g. substitute cauliflower rice for instant rice).
4. Use a journal/planner and create simple, weekly meal plans that are practical.
5. Sleep 7-9 hours per night.
6. Don’t engage in extreme diets.
7. Stay consistent with your habits.
8. Incorporate daily, non-exercise physical activity.
9. Ignore food advertising.


Here’s the problem: As a whole, we’re not very good at losing fat either. Even the most advanced obesity treatments (e.g. bariatric surgery, medication) have success rates of less than 10 percent for permanent weight reduction/management.

About 95 percent of those who are overweight go on repeated diets, only to gain most or all of the weight back within one year. Nearly 70 percent of people in the United States are overweight or obese. The percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who are overweight has doubled since 1980.

So what can we do to stop this trend and end this cycle? Start with taking it one day at a time. It’s about progress, not perfection. When you stumble, don’t beat yourself up for going astray. Just get back on track and continue applying the steps listed below.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, is owner of Longevity Athletics.
520-261-4661
Aaron@LongevityAthletics.com


This column appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

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Maricopa juniors Sydni Callis and Josh Johnson are key players as Maricopa High School's basketball teams move into the post-season. Photos by William Lange

The Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team climbed up the 5A rankings in the final week of play to finish seventh.

That automatically qualifies the Rams for a slot in the state tournament. The bracket will be announced Sunday. The state tourney, which Arizona Interscholastic Association calls February Frenzy, starts Tuesday.

Winning the final six games of the season, Maricopa is 21-4 overall.

The final two games were on the road. The Rams defeated Williams Field 57-30. They were led by 22 points from senior Tyra Williams and 12 each from junior Sydni Callis and senior Clara Morris. Williams and junior Natausha Hall each had eight rebounds, and Callis had eight steals.

At Apollo, a 5A Metro rival, Maricopa ran over the Hawks 63-38. Callis led the scoring with 18 points. Junior Jayla Johnson scored 17, and Williams contributed 14. Hall led the rebounding with 10, while Callis had 12 assists and eight steals.

The dominating play of the Rams lifted them three places from their No. 10 ranking at the start of last week.

Teams ranked 9-24 must compete in the conference play-in tournament. Instead, the Rams get a rest.

Maricopa’s boys’ team has a bigger, more immediate challenge.

Posting a 17-10 overall record, the Maricopa boys’ team achieved a 23rd ranking in 5A. That landed them a spot in the conference play-in tournament for a chance to qualify for the state tournament.

The Rams are set to play Deer Valley on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Deer Valley High School in Glendale in the conference tourney.

Head coach Tony Fuller said staff has been watching tapes of 10th-ranked Deer Valley extensively.

“They are an excellent team,” he said. “They have a good guard, good post guys. They’re a lot like us. They’re big and their tough, but I think we’re ready.”

The Rams had lost some players to academic problems, but they are reloaded. The ranking of 23 is now considered imaginary by the coach.

“We’re healthy and we’ve got everybody back,” Fuller said. “The guys are trying to do something that hasn’t been done here in a very long time.”

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FC Arizona head coach Aidan Davison says he's working on his Arizona accent. Photo by Mason Callejas

Maricopa City Council recognized a new professional soccer club that has been utilizing Copper Sky Regional Park and has now signed a local player.

“I’m happy to have been signed with FC Arizona and excited for the season,” said Aaron Mendez, a 2012 graduate of Maricopa High School.

FC Arizona is based in Mesa but has had camps and other activities in Maricopa.

“We worked really hard at trying to establish a professional soccer team here in Maricopa, and we had some challenges that we ran into, and it didn’t happen the first time,” Mayor Christian Price said. “But you know what they say – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

FC Arizona’s head coach, Aidan Davison, played pro soccer in Northern Ireland. He addressed the council at Tuesday’s meeting. “I’m working on my Arizona accent as we speak,” he said.

The team is set to debut this year and play its home games at Mesa Community College.

“It’s about helping the local product and elevating them to the next level,” Davison said.

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21947 N. Desert Park Court. Photo by Michelle Chance

The most expensive home sold in Maricopa Dec. 16-Jan. 15 went for $350,000 in Rancho El Dorado. The golf-course lot was previously on the market a year ago and did not sell in 217 days. This time around, it sold in 34 days almost $25,000 under the asking price. The tri-level home has a fireplace in the master suite, a swimming pool, three-car garage and balcony overlooking the second tee of The Duke.

1. 21947 N. Desert Park Court

Sold: Jan. 11
Purchase price: $350,000
Square feet: 3,876
Price per square foot: $90.29
Days on market: 34
Builder: Hacienda
Year built: 2004
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 3
Community: Rancho El Dorado
Features: New countertops, double ovens, freshly painting, 20-inch tile and espresso wood floors throughout, oversized loft, RV gate
Seller’s agent: Robert H. Rowe, The Maricopa Real Estate Company
Buyer’s agent: Lynn D. Lecher, Century 21 Arizona Foothills

2. 20570 N. Lauren Road, $275,000
3. 44555 W. Garden Lane, $269,000
4. 42413 W. Little Drive, $267,500
5. 42875 W. Whispering Wind Lane, $260,000

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40057 W. Hayden Drive. Photo by Michelle Chance

The least expensive home sold in Maricopa Dec. 16-Jan. 15 was a 10-year-old home in Homestead North. The simple two-bedroom, two-bath home was listed as a starter home or vacation property. It was the first time it had been on the market since it was built. It sold for its asking price.

1. 40057 W. Hayden Drive

Sold: Dec. 29
Purchase price: $124,900
Square feet: 1,066
Price per square foot: $117.17
Days on market: 53
Builder: D.R. Horton
Year built: 2007
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Community: Homestead North
Features: Single level with two-car garage, appliances, block fencing, low-maintenance landscaping
Seller’s agent: Rick Metcalfe, Canam Realty Group
Buyer’s agent: Richard T. Allen, US Preferred Realty

2. 36570 W. Montserrat St., $126,900
3. 36212 W. Vera Cruz Drive, $127,000
4. 45112 W. Balboa Drive, $127,000
5. 44881 W. Miraflores St., $128,000


This article appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.