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Events this week include a Memorial Day ceremony and a special dance event.

Memorial Day is Monday, a time to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. It is just the beginning of a week of activities in Maricopa. Below, the Onyx dancers from Desert Sun Performing Arts talk about a big event they will have Saturday. For details on these and other events, or to add your own, visit


Memorial Day Murph Challenge is at 7 a.m., hosted by CrossFit Stand and Battle, 21576 N John Wayne Parkway, Suite B102.

Memorial Day Ceremony is at 9 a.m. at the Copper Sky Police Substation, 17985 N. Greythorne Drive.


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.

Summer Reading Kick-Off Event with Mrs. B starts at 5:30 p.m. at Copper Sky, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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.


Lapsit for ages 0-12 months is at 9 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Movers & Shakers for ages 1-2 years is at 9:30 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Li’l Explorers for ages 2-3 years is at 10 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

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


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


Peppersauce Wild Caving daytrip leaves at 8 a.m. from Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

DSPA Recital & Choreographers Showcase starts at 1 p.m. with the choreography competition at 3 p.m. and another recital at 5:30 p.m. at Maricopa Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

Copa City Dems Meeting is at 4 p.m. at Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Movies under the Stars is at 6:30 p.m. in the outdoor amphitheater 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.

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Sequoia Pathway Academy saw 61 seniors graduate Friday in front of a standing-room-only crowd. The Class of 2017 heard from Principal Nate Lamma, valedictorian Hailey Cantrell and even salutatorian Anali Warner, who had suffered a serious back injury a week prior but still spoke to her classmates from her wheelchair.

Loren Aragon

Local Native American fashion designer Loren Aragon will have his first solo runway show at an event in the Chrome Nightclub at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino.

The show is scheduled for June 17 at 8 p.m.

“Emerging into Style” is a fashion show themed from the ideas of emerging as a fashion designer and the ties to Aragon’s Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico, culture. Aragon’s show comes into production after a launch as an official fashion brand in the acclaimed Phoenix Fashion Week last October.

The ACONAV brand continues to grow in recognition throughout the valley and caught the attention of the Chrome Nightclub Manager Tom Anderson. He approached Aragon with the idea of presenting the luxurious ACONAV designs in an intimate setting in his club. Aragon took up the offer and the stage is now set to showcase his work, which will introduce a set of one-of-a-kind pieces in a collection dubbed “The Emergence Collection.”

ACONAV continues to gain recognition for its arrangement of Acoma Pueblo pottery art in wearable art forms.

“The idea of expressing my culture is a means to inspire new generations of indigenous artists and designers,” Aragon said. “I want to capture meaningful ideas and have our story told with the belief in all good things through fashion.”

The Emergence Collection will tell a story, expressing a connection to the past, with cultural designs brought forth in timeless evening wear. The show will also showcase talents from the indigenous community in unity with talents from the non-native community recognized by Aragon and his team.

“I want this to be a display of unity as much as I want it to show that we (Native Americans) have all the right to represent ourselves in an industry that deems us nonexistent and quite often misrepresents Native America.”

Wild Horse Pass Casino is at 5040 Wild Horse Pass Boulevard in Chandler.

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Ioanna Morfessis

By Ioanna Morfessis

The Maricopa Economic Development Alliance welcomes the APEX Motor Club to our great city, because it will bring significant economic, tourism and quality of life benefits to Maricopa.

As Maricopa’s official private-public partnership for economic development, the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) brings together the business, education and government sectors to champion strategies and solutions that foster economic growth and prosperity in the City of Maricopa.

The APEX Motor Club is exactly the kind of project that aligns with the goals and aspirations of Maricopans and the City’s Vision 2040 and Strategic Plan. This project essentially will be a country club for auto enthusiasts in Arizona and from throughout the country. The APEX Motor Club will be located on the northwest corner of Ralston Road and SR 238.

APEX Motor Club will be sited at the northwest corner of Ralston Road and SR 238, and will feature:

  • A 4-mile asphalt track, a clubhouse and upscale garages for vehicles
  • A separate track and facilities for racing karts, designed for children
  • About 200 “condominiums” for storing vehicles
  • A tuning shop and fueling station
  • Dining and meeting rooms
  • A fitness center and locker rooms

The Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission approved the project’s application for a conditional land use permit on April 10, and the Maricopa City Council approval of the permit took place at its

April 18 regular session.

Our appointed and elected officials were wise in their approval of the conditional land use permit for APEX because they recognize the value of the more than 400 construction jobs, private capital investment of $30 million and the additional 20 to 30 permanent jobs that the project will generate over the next five years. And this is just the beginning of the benefits that can be realized from the APEX Motor Club project over the mid and long term.

Given our very youthful stage of development, APEX represents a potentially game-changing investment for Maricopa. Not only will the project bring economic and community benefits, but the project also will increase visitors to our City. Maricopa will become part of the growing trend nationally for motorsports clubs for car enthusiasts, and our image will garner more cache in a new and exciting way.

Just as importantly, the more we can put Maricopa on the “map” – especially with visitors – the stronger business case can be made for attracting a hotel into the city.

Win-win all the way around.

But the APEX Motor Club project now is facing opposition. A referendum campaign is being mounted to oppose the APEX Motor Club on the basis that a racetrack on SR 238, surrounded by neighbors who support the use, in an area already zoned industrial, which will bring jobs and tourists to the area, should not locate in the City of Maricopa.

The owners of APEX have diligently followed all local procedures and ordinances required by the City of Maricopa. Given that the officers of the referendum committee – “Maricopa Citizens Protecting Taxpayers” – do not reside in Maricopa, nor did they necessarily approve our local zoning ordinances, we find it ironic that these outside parties want to thwart local laws and approvals.

There is no doubt that all Maricopans want to see high quality employment generating opportunities abound in our city. Growing the economy and enhancing our coveted quality of life are fundamental goals for us all. The APEX Motor Club is the kind of project that will contribute to our quality of life and economic sustainability and contribute to advancing the economic development of Maricopa.

The MEDA Board of Directors enthusiastically supports the APEX Motor Club and we encourage all Maricopans to do the same.

Ioanna Morfessis, Ph.D., is senior advisor to the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance, a nonprofit, 501(C)3 organization that was established in 2009 as the city’s economic development private-public partnership. Learn more about MEDA at

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Maricopa High School baseball coach Andrew Pollack is hosting the annual Rams Youth Camp on June 28-30.

The camp is for kids entering third through eighth grade. The camp is 8-10 a.m. each day at the high school baseball field. Participants are asked to arrive by 7:45 a.m. on the first day.

Bring baseball cleats, tennis shoes, baseball pants and belt, hat, glove and bat. Catchers are encouraged to bring their gear.

Cost is $50 per player. Makes checks payable to MHS Rams Homerun. Find registration form here.

The camp will focus on base running, defense, offense and arm care. There will be a Q&A period with the Rams coaching staff and current players.

For more information, contact coach Pollack at

As temperatures heat up and grasses in the southern portion of the state dry out, the Department of Forestry and Fire Management will implement Stage 1 Fire Restrictions for southern Arizona effective May 24.

The restrictions are in effect on state-owned and managed lands within Cochise, Greenlee, Graham, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, and Yuma counties.

“It is only May and yet, two large wildfires have already consumed more than 50,000 acres in Southern Arizona. The temperatures are only going to warm up from here and continue to dry out the fuels in that area. We need to be proactive and unfortunately we must put fire restrictions in place now,” said State Forester Jeff Whitney.

Restrictions apply to the following state-owned and state-managed lands within the above-mentioned counties including:

• All State Trust lands outside incorporated municipalities.

• All Game and Fish Commission Wildlife areas and department properties outside incorporated municipalities.

• All State Parks outside incorporated municipalities – State Parks will remain open with campfires allowed in developed campgrounds.

• All Department of Transportation highway, right-of-way property outside incorporated municipalities, not owned by federal land management agencies.

Restrictions include:

• Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove, other than in a developed campsite or picnic area is prohibited. Exemptions include, a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device.

• Smoking is prohibited unless it is within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site/improved site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barred or cleared of all flammable materials.

• Fireworks or another incendiary device are prohibited.

• Welding or operating acetylene or other torch devices with an open flame is prohibited.

Exemptions include:

• Any federal, state or local law enforcement officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting organization

in the performance of an official duty.

• All land within a city boundary is exempted unless otherwise stated in a city ordinance.

All exemptions to these restrictions must be approved by the State Forester.

If local authorities have imposed stronger restrictions then those listed above, than the local restrictions shall apply.

These restrictions apply to all permit and lease holders and other authorized users of state-managed lands. These restrictions do not apply to private lands under ARS § 37-1303. Restrictions are effective Wednesday, May 24, and will continue until rescinded.

The Bureau of Land Management Gila District, all districts of the Coronado National Forest, Saguaro National Park, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coronado National Monument, Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Tumacácori National Historical Park, and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument will also implement Stage 1 restrictions.

For fire restriction information go to:

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Lower Sonoran Field Office invites the public’s participation in the development of the Buckeye Hills Travel Management Plan and Environmental Assessment (TMP/EA). The two public meetings will be held on June 6 and June 7.

The TMP/EA includes the Buckeye Hills East and West travel management areas and encompasses the communities of Buckeye, Rainbow Valley, Hassayampa and Palo Verde in Pinal and Maricopa counties.

The first meeting will be held June 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Copper Sky Recreation Complex located at 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., in Maricopa.

The second meeting will be held June 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Buckeye Community Center located at 201 E. Centre Ave., in Buckeye.

During the two open house-style meetings, maps of the current and potential travel network will be available for review and BLM staff will be available to answer questions and receive comments.

Travel management is an approach to establishing networks of roads for travel and transportation including areas for both motorized and non-motorized uses.  Travel management planning is necessary for designating and providing appropriate access to and across public lands for a variety of uses.

The 30-day public scoping period is from May 24 until June 22, 2017.

Stakeholders are encouraged to submit their comments for the record through the BLM online land use planning tool, ePlanning, at the following Internet address: Written comments may be mailed to Outdoor Recreation Planner Dallas Meeks at the Lower Sonoran Field Office, 21605 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, Arizona 85027, faxed to (623) 580-5580, or emailed to

Buckeye Hills TMP Website:

If you have questions, please contact Dallas Meeks at (623) 580-5681 or

“Ayers Lake at Sunset,” by Sue Cullumber

Pinal Partnership Open Space & Trails Committee announced the latest winners of the ongoing series of photography contests. A Maricopan took third place.

The theme of the latest contest was “Water in Pinal County.” The contest was conducted on the Committee’s Facebook page, with the most likes determining the winners.

First place went to “Ayers Lake at Sunset,” which Sue Cullumber photographed at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. In second place was “The Superstitions with Double Rainbows,” by Mark Bennett. Taking third was Darcy Edl, who photographed “Water Droplets” in her backyard in Rancho El Dorado.

Pinal Partnership and Boyce Thompson Arboretum donated prizes to the winners. See more photos at Pinal Partnership Open Space & Trails Committee Photo Contest/Group.

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MHS Cisco Academy had 13 students pass certification exams. Submitted photo

In its fifth year of existence, the Cisco Academy at Maricopa High School achieved some significant milestones.

They created the 24 Pin Technologies student-led business.  They expanded the business district-wide and processed over 60 work orders this year.  These work orders included refurbishing over 300 desktops and laptops computes for AzStrut.  They also created the business website

At the Arizona Skills USA State Championships in both the Internetworking and Information Technology Services competition, students took five of six medals, two of which were state champions. Those students were:

Carter Petty – Gold
Sean Guerrero – Sliver
Ricky Garcia – Bronze
Info Tech Services
Reece Thompson – Gold
Lucas Dial – Silver

Carter and Reece will be representing Arizona and Maricopa High School this summer at the Skills USA national championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

Lastly and most impressively, the program had 13 students pass 16 professional certification exams.  Students passing these certification exams included:

Neal McNelly – PC Pro
Alden Cacpal – PC Pro
Autsin Terrell – PC Pro
Justin Phengmyrath – PC Pro
Nick Adams – PC Pro
Reece Thompson – Network Pro, Security Pro
Zach Kalnasy – Network Pro, Security Pro
Devon Large – PC Pro, Security Pro
Jacob Ybarra – Network Pro
Michael Martinez – Network Pro
Sean Guerrero – Network Pro
Zachary Quintero – Network Pro
Carter Petty – Network Pro

The student won five of six medals in to categories at the state USASkills competition. Submitted photo

Brad Chamberlain, Cisco Academy instructor: “I would like to thank those who have made this program possible.

The year was dedicated to the late Logan Jones. Submitted photo

“Mr. Rick Neilson – Former Director Career and Technical Education MHS – Thanks for having the vision to start the program and entrusting it to me.

“Mr. Tom Mehlert – Executive Director at AzStrut – Thanks for your support to the program in supplying equipment, work, and certification opportunities for the students.

“Mr. Bob Samson – Lead Instructor Cisco Academy at Mesa Community College – Thank you for your support of the program by sharing curriculum and materials to give the students a richer more challenging experience.

“Mrs. Renita Meyers – Principal MHS – For supporting the program and allowing for it to grow.

“Mr. Mike Glover – Director CAVIT – Mike thank you for your continued financial support which has supplied the majority of our systems and materials over the years.

“The Maricopa School District Information Technology Department – Thank you for working with me and going above and beyond to ensure we have access to the technology resources to make the program possible.

“Mrs. Michelle Shaffer – MHS Assistant Principal for Career and Technical Education – Thank you for your continued belief in myself and the program.  Without your continued support, none of this would have been possible.”

Chamberlain said the year was dedicated to Logan Jones.

“Logan was a senior in my third-year computer maintenance class.  He fell ill and passed away suddenly and unexpectedly this spring.  His contributions to 24 Pin Technologies and to the further development of the course were significant.  His loss affected myself and his classmates deeply.  He will be missed but never forgotten.”

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Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Numbering 510, eighth graders from Desert Wind and Maricopa Wells middle schools in the Maricopa Unified School District came together for a unification ceremony and promotion to high school Tuesday.

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Fernando Ramirez won an award at the Pinal County Court “Character Counts” essay contest. MHS Principal Renita Meyers and English teacher Wendy Black attended the ceremony with him. Submitted photo

A Maricopa High School freshman received honorable mention in a countywide essay contest.

Fernando Ramirez was one of 3,400 students who participated in the Pinal County Juvenile Court Community Advisory Board’s annual Character Counts. Awards were announced May 9 at the Superior Court in Florence.

See Fernando’s essay below.

The Pinal County Juvenile Court Community Advisory Board (CAB) hosted the Annual Character Counts Essay Contest Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 9th at the Pinal County Superior Courthouse in Florence.

Winners in four age categories were chosen based on their essays about one of the six pillars of character:  responsibility, citizenship, respect, fairness, caring and trustworthiness. 

Division 1 (K-2): 1st Place Giana Piccirillo, Magma Ranch K-8/Florence; 2nd Place Ashlyn Pilkington, Red Rock Elementary/Red Rock; 3rd Place Jacqueline Chacon, Magma Ranch K-8/Florence; Honorable Mention Kaiden Hurley, Ranch Elementary/San Tan Valley

Division 2 (3-5): 1st Place Viviana Ramos Yanes, Mesquite Elementary/Casa Grande; 2nd Place Katelin Kazmierczak, Circle Cross Ranch K-8/Florence; 3rd Place Eden Smith, Florence K – 8 School /Florence; Honorable Mention Siennah Rios, Magma Ranch K-8/Florence

Division 3 (6-8): 1st Place Elizabeth Cook, Cactus Middle School/Casa Grande; 2nd Place Audrey Solomon, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic/Casa Grande; 3rd Place Hannah Parker, Walker Butte Leadership School/San Tan Valley; Honorable Mention Kylie Kastl, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic/Casa Grande       

Division 4 (9-12): 1st Place Caitlyn DeArman, Florence High School/ Florence; 2nd Place Dalton Baker, Florence High School/ Florence; 3rd Place Emma O’Shea, Florence High School/ Florence; Honorable Mention Fernando Ramirez, Maricopa High School/Maricopa



By Fernando Ramirez


It’s not the clothes that I wear or the car that I drive that make me what I
am inside. It’s not the shoes on my feet or the gold on my wrist that define who
you see. It’s the respect that I have for myself and for others that has allowed me
to live a good life.


I have a beat in my heart and air in my lungs. I have a brain to respect a
difference in opinion. I value myself, my family, and my community. Good
manners is something I was taught from an early age. I use kind words to
express myself. I never have once laid hands on another person to hurt or harm
them because I respect others and I respect myself.


Everyone should be respectful to live a good life. Don’t take it from me if
you don’t want. I’m only 14 and still have much to learn. But look at your life and
ask yourself this…Do others respect me? Do I respect others? Do I respect
MYSELF? If the answer is yes to all three, I congratulate thee for you have
learned to live your life by the Golden Rule.

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Judge Eustino Tino Tarango III and Deputy County Attorney Melanie A. Merritt with Rob Boyd (center). Submitted photo

A Maricopa-based intervention program continues to grow. 

Lucinda and Rob Boyd. Submitted photo

Already taught in Maricopa and Phoenix, The Streets Don’t Love You Back Lifeskills Intervention Program was accepted into the state’s Department of Corrections earlier this year. Now, closer to home, it has been accepted at the Eloy Justice Court. 

May 18, Judge Eustino Tino Tarango III and Deputy County Attorney Melanie A. Merritt met with TSDLYB founders Rob and Lucinda Boyd. Rob Boyd expects to teach the six-session course as he does at Maricopa/Stanfield Justice Court and Phoenix. 

“We are so honored how good is moving us forward educating our youths and others to a better life and making better choices,” Boyd said. 

The course booklets, which are already distributed in more than 100 prisons and jails, was written by Lucinda Boyd. 

The free course is for youth and young adults already on a criminal course or are exhibiting signs of being on the verge of life influenced by gangs, crime and drugs.

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Maurice D'Aoust with Anastasyia Gonchar

Maurice D’Aoust brings his love of motorcycles, cars and boats (and barbecue) down to Maricopa from Canada. He was such a fan of Dickey’s, he decided to open his own in his new hometown.

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Maricopan since: 2012
Occupation: Owner, Dickeys Barbecue Pit
Family: Getting Married July 7 in Maricopa to Anastasyia Gonchar
Pets: Cat named Barsik
Cars: 2015 Hellcat Challenger, 2015 SRT Jeep Cherokee, 2015 3500 Ram, 2015 Harley CVO Streetglide, 2013 Harley CVO Roadglide, 2011 Harley Night Rod
Hobbies: Motorcycling, golf, boating, jet skis, fishing
Pet peeve: Inconsiderate people
Dream vacation: Australia
Like most about Maricopa: The people
Like least about Maricopa: 347

Favorite …
Charity: United Way
Book: “A Tale of Two Cities,” by Charles Dickens
Movie: Lost Boys
Actor: Bruce Willis
Song: “Stairway to Heaven”
Musician: Led Zepplin
Team: Cardinals
Athlete: Wayne Gretzsky
Food: Dickey’s Barbecue
Drink: Grey Goose
Meal: Ribs
Getaway: Apache Lake
Website: Facebook
Quote: Lord hates a coward but he’s not too fond of idiots either.
Words to live by: Never give up!

The cast of "Beauty and the Beast" put on a show. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Adjudicators from Arizona State University Gammage came to see “Beauty and the Beast,” the Mariciopa High School Theatre Company’s spring musical. With this adjudication, the students and the department are competing for Outstanding Musical at the Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards, to take place on June 3 at 7 p.m. at Gammage Auditorium at ASU.

“Not only are we competing as a company for our whole musical, but students were nominated in their particular roles,” theater instructor Cyndi Calhoun said.

MHS Nominees:
Best Lead Male – Carlos O. Venegas (Beast)
Best Lead Female – Lillian Chitwood (Belle)
Best Supporting Male – Nikolas Mase (Lumiere)
Best Supporting Female – Brook Perona (Wardrobe)
Outstanding Dancer – Chaienne Zoller
Outstanding Vocalist – Carlos O. Venegas

The Best Lead Male and Female from Gammage’s Awards night will have the opportunity to travel to New York City this summer and compete in the 2017 Jimmy Awards (the high school version of the Tony Awards).

To attend Gammage’s awards night and see Maricopa students perform one of the numbers from “Beauty and the Beast,” purchase tickets ($5 each) or for more information CLICK HERE

“Even though the event is general seating, the event is definitely a red carpet affair,” Calhoun said. “Please wish the following students ‘break a leg’ when you see them.”


Graduations and water play are part of this week's activities in Maricopa.

High school graduations and other school advancements are slated for this week in Maricopa. Below, Brad Pitassi of Maricopa Fire/Medical Department talks about the fun Water Safety Day coming up Friday. For details on these and other listings, visit



Color Me Calm adult coloring class is at 12:30 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

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.

Veteran Affairs Committee is at 6 p.m. at Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

Youth Council meets at 6 p.m. at Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, Multipurpose Room A, 45345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

8th Grade Unification Ceremony is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.



Trip to a Diamondbacks Baseball Game leaves at 11 a.m. from Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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

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



Lapsit for ages 0-12 months is at 9 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Movers & Shakers for ages 1-2 years is at 9:30 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Li’l Explorers for ages 2-3 years is at 10 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

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

Maricopa High School Graduation is at 7:30 p.m. at Ram Stadium, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.



The fifth annual Water Safety Day is at 4 p.m. at Copper Sky Aquatic Center, 44345 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.

Sequoia Pathway Academy Graduation is at 7 p.m. at Sequoia Pathway Academy, 19287 N. Porter Road.



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


Linemen prepare a power pole on Honeycutt Road for a shift. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The overpass project in the middle of Maricopa has a lot of moving parts just for preparation. One of those parts is utility poles throughout the area.

Power lines on State Route 347 and Honeycutt Road are being affected by the pending construction.

“We are installing underground power cables and removing overhead power lines and poles,” ED3 Operations Manager Evan McCullough said.

The power line on SR 347 from Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway to Hathaway Avenue is being removed. Honeycutt Road will become essentially an onramp to the overpass, requiring ED3 to raise the height of its power poles along Honeycutt east of SR 347.

The poles along Honeycutt are also being re-spaced.

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Maricopa teachers Joseph Szoltysik, Jennifer Bell and Master Sgt. Dishon Gregory receive honors. Photo by Michelle Chance

By Michelle Chance

Celebrating the few remaining school days left of the year, Maricopa Unified School District recognized outstanding staff during its “Best of the Best” event Wednesday.

Inside the Performing Arts Center, staff also won a variety of raffle prizes. However, the highlight of the afternoon were the honorees.

Retirees, coaches, volunteers, substitutes, administrators, support staff and teachers took home honors for their exceptional work during the 2016-17 school year.

-Lori Lowe: Teacher, Butterfield Elementary
-Larry Veltrie: Maricopa High School guidance counselor
-William Bowers: Bus Aide in the transportation department

-Erick Fierro, high school wrestling
-Glamora Maeweather, Maricopa Wells basketball

-Vincent Manfredi
-Carol Shrock

Substitute Teachers:
-David Foster

-Renita Myers
-Eva Safranek

Support Staff:
-Allison Butler
-LaDonna Korittky
-Chad Whittle

-Jennifer Bell
-Master Sgt. Dishon Gregory
-Joseph Szoltysik

File photo by Mason Callejas
Maricopa Police Department is warning drivers to avoid the area of Porter Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway because of a “broken-down train” blocking the road.
Maricopa Unified School District is also cautioning parents that the resulting traffic backup is expected to delay some buses at least 30 minutes. MPD estimated up to an hour for the delay.
Drivers are asked to find a detour to their destinations.

A student at Maricopa High School was taken into custody Monday after a gun was found in the student’s vehicle.

Maricopa Unified School District Superintendent Steve Chestnut announced the incident. He said the presence of a handgun in a car in the parking lot was reported to MHS administration.

“The School Resource Officer immediately investigated and found the gun in the car. The student was taken into custody by the School Resource officer. The student will face disciplinary consequences as described in the Secondary Student Handbook,” Chestnut reported.

Terry Lynn Johnson

Terry Lynn Johnson, 62, passed away Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at the La Casa Serena, Beehive Assisted Living Facility in Eagar after a 31-year battle with multiple sclerosis and a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s. She was born Dec. 5, 1954, in Odessa, Texas, the daughter of Kenneth Keith Patterson and Patsy Ann Patterson.

Terry graduated from San Marcos Baptist Academy in 1973. She then graduated from nursing school in Kermit, Texas, as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in 1975 and was voted outstanding student of the class. Terry then went to work for a nursing home in Monahans, Texas, and became Director of Nursing.
In October 1975, Terry was married to Jimmy L. Johnson. Terry was a full-time wife and mother beginning at the birth of her oldest son. For the last 15 ½ years Terry was a pastor’s wife at First Baptist Church of Maricopa where her husband, Jim, was the pastor.

Terry loved working in the yard and flower garden, fishing, taking “sister trips,” taking care of her grandchildren and studying the Bible with her husband and ladies of the church.

Terry is survived by her husband, Jim of 41+ years, Eagar; sons, Keith (Julie) Johnson, Winfield, Illinois; James (Sarah) Johnson, Eagar; Daniel (Stephanie) Johnson, Chandler; grandchildren, Ellianna, Kaiden, Teagan, Gavin, Quinton, Everett, Blake, Emma Joyce (to be born middle of October); sisters, Peggy Patterson/Bruhn, Baker City, Oregon; Vivian York, Midland, Texas; Jackie Ann Sharp, Odessa, Texas; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Terry was preceded in death by her parents.

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MUSD school board and coach Sheldon Hutchinson (back, center) honor track athletes Terrell Handy, P.J. Austin, Jacob Cowing, Longman Pyne, Frank Jones and Darrell Handy. Photo by Michelle Chance

By Michelle Chance

Spring athletes and artists received recognition during the Maricopa Unified School District’s Board meeting Wednesday.

Track and field coach Sheldon Hutchinson presented certificates to Terrell Handy, Phillip Austin, Jacob Cowing, Longman Pyne, Frank Jones and Darrell Handy. In early May, the boys’ team landed in fourth-place at the Division II Track & Field Championships, contributed to three school records and brought home medals in gold, silver and bronze.

“They have done an amazing job,” Hutchinson said.

Superintendent Steve Chestnut recognized middle and high school artists who placed in first, second and third places in the MUSD Spring Art Walk on May 4 at the District Office.

Elementary students also contributed pieces to the collection, but without the competitive element.

“We did things a little bit differently this year,” Chestnut said. “For elementary students, we really emphasized participation.”

Middle school students received medals in painting and sketching categories while high schoolers medaled in six categories: mixed and other media, sketches and drawings, painting, digital arts, photography and ceramics.

Proud high school Art teacher Maria Pour was on-hand during the presentation to photograph her students’ accomplishments.

Art Walk winners with the MUSD board. Photo by Michelle Chance

“You guys might recognize me as your teacher in the classroom,” Pour said as she snapped a photo of the group. “You guys are amazing.”

Rotary Students of the Month. Photo by Michelle Chance

At a previous meeting, Rotary Youth Coordinator Alma Farrell acknowledged three students of the month.

An eighth grader at Maricopa Wells Middle School, Joy Newey holds a 4.0 GPA and attends honors classes in math and language arts. Farrell reported Newey has served as a teacher’s aide, participated in choir and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and the current student body president. Newey plans to become a doctor.

“Joy is a great student and representative of (the) school,” Farrell said.

Morgan Cutrara, eighth grader at Desert Winds Middle School, was nominated by teacher Roger Wagner who described her as a leader with a vibrant personality.

“She works diligently and sets high expectations for herself and works hard to reach them,” Roger wrote.

Farrell said Cutrara is active in Student Council, plays volleyball and is involved in school clubs.

Maricopa High School junior Diamond Simms accepted her title as student of the month after recently being approved to graduate one year early by the School Board in April.

Nominated by Sims’ High School Counselor Rebecca Collins and remarked on by teachers Jennifer Andres and Jason Goodwin, the young go-getter previously said she plans to pursue a master’s degree in law and a career as a criminal attorney.

“To make these accomplishments in three years and graduating early is beyond commendable,” Farrell said.

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Second graders at Maricopa Elementary get set to perform during Leadership Day. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The scholars at Maricopa Elementary School had a chance to toot their own horns Friday as parents and community members gathered for Leadership Day.

Children spoke about the school’s “Leader in Me” program, an adaptation of “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids” by Stephen and Sean Covey. They also performed some rap and rock to celebrate what they’ve learned during the year and demonstrated physical exercises.

Principal Jennifer Robinson said the school is in the process of becoming a Lighthouse school. That milestone in the Leader in Me program indicates student achievement and is a five-year process focusing on leadership, culture and academics. There are currently 310 Lighthouse schools in the world but only two in Arizona.

“Soon there will be three,” Robinson said.

The program encourages placing students in leadership positions. Friday, the students oversaw welcoming and signing in visitors, explaining the clubs and activities displayed in the courtyard and leading tours of the facility.

The seven habits:

1) Be proactive
2) Begin with the end in mind
3) Put first things first
4) Think win-win
5) Seek first to understand and then to be understood
6) Synergize
7) Sharpen the saw


MUSD board member Torri Anderson. Photo by Devin Carson

By Michelle Chance

Boosting pay for district employees remained the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board’s top priority Wednesday night.

During an ongoing budget debate between funding for after-school activity buses and raising salaries for its staff, the board proposed an $80,000 drop in funds it originally proposed in April that would have gone toward transportation for the 2017-18 school year.

The proposed funds allocated for after-school buses was lowered to $114,000.

Superintendent Steve Chestnut said the savings would go toward employee pay – raising the district’s budget amount in the area to $680,000.

The additional funds would increase staff salary across the board by 2.5 percent. However, it might raise teacher pay even more with anticipated salary increases by the state.

“This would be an increase for teacher pay, not including the increase proposed by the state Legislature,” Chestnut said.

Board Member Torri Anderson requested the board look into the cost of raising the district’s proposed pay increase even higher to 3 percent, which Chestnut agreed he would investigate.

During a previous deliberation, the board proposed funding to resurrect activity buses after a presentation by Maricopa Wells Middle School where Principal Rick Abel said the additional transportation helped increase student participation in after-school study sessions.

Two weeks ago, the board proposed a nearly $200,000 budget for buses that would run five days a week at secondary schools.

Wednesday, Chestnut said MWMS currently has after-school transportation two days a week, and it is not heavily used by students.

“In (Abel’s) judgement, parents have adjusted with carpools, and that kind of thing, for the other days of the week for practice,” Chestnut said.

The superintendent then proposed two middle school buses that would operate only two days a week, as well as adding three after-school buses for the high school.

Proposing a chunk of funding toward after-school transportation does not come without controversy, as it was done away with at the high school years ago for students’ bad behavior.

“The great fear at the high school is the kids that hang around waiting for activity buses — and they’re very difficult to manage,” Chestnut said. “It’s actually the main reason we ended the high school afternoon activity bus about four years ago.”

The funding for the buses would include pay for a security guard to keep watch over students.

The budget proposal continues to be a fluid discussion with board members adjusting, suggesting and cutting figures for a variety of expenditures that in all total $1.088 million for the 2017-18 school year.

One expenditure that Board Member Gary Miller regularly requests discussion on is a salary figure for a full-time district plumber.

“I know that is a priority for one of our maintenance departments,” Miller said.

The board is expected to discuss those estimates during another budget work session May 30 at 7 p.m.  


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The new math curriculum, on display during Wednesday's meeting, costs more than $1 million. Photo by Michelle Chance

By Michelle Chance

After more than a decade of using outdated math textbooks, Maricopa Unified School district students will begin learning from brand new curriculum next school year.

The MUSD Governing Board approved, Wednesday, the million-dollar math curriculum that administrators, teachers and board members have said was badly needed.

“We’re going to have some extremely happy teachers,” Board President Patti Coutré said immediately after the board unanimously approved the contract.

Displayed in front of the board during the meeting were the glossy, gleaming textbooks.

The words “Make Something Big Happen” sprawled across each display case – perhaps a coincidental testament to the district’s hopes for improved test scores, and perhaps also to the price tag.

According to district documents, MUSD ended up shelling out a little over its estimated cost for the books – as well as for the software and teacher training associated with it. In fact, the district approved the contract with Pearson Education and McGraw-Hill textbook vendors for $1,033,606.63, which will be paid for out of its reserve funds.

Galileo testing results show district students struggle with math, and many hope the updated curriculum will improve scores.

During a presentation by Santa Rosa Elementary School Principal Eva Safranek, Board Member Torri Anderson pointed out the school’s poor test results in sixth-grade mathematics.

Safranek said sixth-graders often struggle because the grade level requires an introduction into difficult math subjects like algebra. However, she said the inconsistent math curriculum between grade levels has likely encouraged students less than satisfactory scores.

“Hopefully over time we will have a cohesive and consistent curriculum so it goes from year-to-year-to-year, and our kids don’t have those holes in, let’s say, fractions or multiplication or division,” Safranek said.

She later added that over time she hopes students will be prepared for the content when entering the next grade because the new curriculum builds on each grade level.

Board Member Joshua Judd clarified that math scores are low across the district, and not just at Santa Rosa.

Curriculum Director Wade Watson said grades K-8 will use curriculum by Pearson Education. Secondary schools will also adopt a majority of Pearson’s curriculum sans one textbook on financial literacy.

Watson said teachers preferred McGraw-Hill’s take on financial lit. However, it is the only math textbook grades 9-12 will adopt from the vendor.

The Math Textbook Committee approved the curriculums after evaluating responses from teachers who recently piloted them in their classrooms. Additionally, district documents stated the programs “are the most advantageous for award in accordance with school procurement rules.”

Elementary and middle schools will receive a textbook for each student and teachers will receive teaching materials for the math course they teach, documents state.

According to another document, “Maricopa High School will receive a classroom set and online subscription for each student” as well as training for teachers.

Curriculum Director Wade Watson discusses math textbooks with the governing board May 10. Photo by Michelle Chance

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By Michelle Chance

Departments within City Hall are cutting paper by going digital – and while officials say this move helps the environment, it also helps applicants save some green, too.

The new online program called The City of Maricopa Online Services stores the digitalized documents and applications in various divisions in the city including: building permits, land-use planning, engineering, fire inspection and business permits.

Customers who access the site can pay permit fees, check statuses of permit applications and apply for business licenses, among other services — all without having to travel to City Hall.

City officials are still working to scan what’s left of the paper archive.

Robert Mathias, development director for the city, pulled giant rolls of paper out of the one shelving unit that still houses the remaining old-fashioned paper plans that await the digital transition. The rolls are thick, heavy and expensive. Each sheet in the roll of about 20 cost around $3 each.

However, soon all of the plans will be digitalized, and the cost of printing new plans is zilch.

“This is a real savings for our customers and it is also a very green program,” Mathias said.

The city estimates it will save applicants nearly 400 tons in paper per year. It also expects the program to stimulate the private sector as well.

Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart said business license applicants who apply online can often expect a faster approval than before.

“If they can open up their doors three months, two months, one month earlier than what they had projected, that’s more money in their pocket and that’s more money in our pockets,” Airheart said.

The public can access the online services by visiting               

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Honors Night was Monday for Maricopa Unified School District. Photo by Patti Coutre

On Monday evening Maricopa High School held its annual “Evening of Honors” to recognize the academic accomplishments of the Class of 2017.

There will be approximately 350 graduates in the class, although the final number has not yet been determined. Principal Renita Myers recognized the 174 seniors who were on the honor roll with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

High school faculty awarded “Student of the Year” honors to the following students: Mathematics – Joie Mary Guela; English – Jacob Hagan; Science – Eden Castellanos; Social Studies – Taylor Demeter; and Advanced Placement – Joeseph Ferland.

Athletic Director Mark Cisterna recognized Bailey Abel as the Female Athlete of the Year and Dakota Halverson as the Male Athlete of the Year. The Female Academic Athlete of the Year was Lauren Davis, and the Male Academic Athlete of the Year was John Blodgett.

A standing ovation was given to the 18 seniors who are entering military service and receiving scholarships. Nine seniors are joining the U.S. Army, five are joining the U.S. Marine Corps, and three are joining the U.S. Navy. Co-Valedictorian John Blodgett was recognized for his decision to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Blodgett also received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Seniors were recognized for being offered a total of 217 scholarships with a total value of $6,750,000, representing a new record for scholarships offered to an MHS graduating class. These scholarships included 104 from Central Arizona College (59 for the Top 10 percent of Class Scholarship and 45 for the Promise For the Future Scholarship); 29 from Arizona State University; 27 from Grand Canyon University; 12 from the University of Arizona; and one from Eastern Arizona State College.

Photo by Chuck King


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Bill Robertson
Bill Robertson retired as a deputy fire chief and now trains volunteers for the Maricopa CERT program.
Hometown: Parsippany, New Jersey
Resides in: Province
Maricopan since: April 2015
Occupation: Retired Deputy Fire Chief
Family: Wife Charlene
Like most about Maricopa: Quiet
Like least about Maricopa: Cow smell
Words to live by: Be a doer, not a trier
Anything else we should know? Training Lead for Maricopa CERT

After three public meetings in Southern Arizona last week with more than 400 people in attendance, there is still time to get involved and comment on the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Interstate 11 environmental study.

Three more public meetings are scheduled over the next week to present the proposed corridor alternatives that are included in the 280-mile I-11 study corridor that stretches from Nogales to Wickenburg. See map.

During the first year of this three-year study that began in March 2016, ADOT evaluated a wide range of alternatives ‒ or possible routes ‒ to narrow the choices to the recommended range of reasonable alternatives to be evaluated further in the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. These alternative corridor options are now available for review and comment at the public meetings and during a 30-day public comment period.

The final set of corridor options, which will be determined after the public comment period ends on June 2, will be subject to further analysis as part of the Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. A no-build option will also be evaluated.

The remaining three public meetings include:

Wednesday, May 10, Dorothy Powell Senior Adult Center – dining room, 405 E. Sixth St., Casa Grande
Thursday, May 11, Wickenburg Community Center, 160 N. Valentine St., Wickenburg
Tuesday, May 16, Buckeye Community Center – multipurpose room, 201 E. Centre Ave. , Buckeye

All meetings, which will have an open house format, run from 5 to 7 p.m., with presentations beginning at approximately 5:15 p.m. Following the presentations, study team members will be available to answer questions. The same information will be presented at each meeting.

The public comment period began on April 28. All study and meeting materials have been posted to the Interstate 11 website at, along with an online mapping and comment tool. The comment period runs through June 2.

I-11 is envisioned as a multimodal corridor connecting Arizona with regional and international markets while opening up new opportunities for mobility, trade, commerce, job growth and economic competitiveness. While the planning phase for this high-priority corridor is well underway, funding for further studies, design and construction has yet to be identified.

In Nevada, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) is leading the effort to complete I-11 from US 95 to US 93 near the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, approximately 12.5 miles (Phase 1), while the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is constructing the portion of I-11 from Railroad Pass to US 95, approximately 2.5 miles (Phase 2). Both phases will be built simultaneously with construction expected to be complete in 2018.

The recommended I-11 corridor would likely follow US 93 from the Hoover Dam bypass bridge south to Wickenburg. The 280-mile corridor that is the focus of the current environmental study begins in Wickenburg and runs west of the Phoenix metropolitan area, around Maricopa, south to the Tucson area and then to Nogales.

ADOT is currently developing an Alternatives Selection Report to assess the corridor alternatives and options, along with opportunities and constraints. A Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement will evaluate in greater detail a reasonable range of corridor alternatives, including segments that could advance to design or construction as independent improvements or projects. There will be a no-build alterative as well. The Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, which would include a preferred corridor alternative or the no-build option, and the Record of Decision are expected in 2019.

Throughout the course of the study, the public, communities and other stakeholders can comment and help shape the proposed I-11 corridor. All comments are entered into the project record. Comments can be sent to:

Toll-free bilingual telephone hotline: 1-844-544-8049
Interstate 11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team
c/o ADOT Communications
1655 W. Jackson St., Mail Drop 126F
Phoenix AZ 85007

For more information about the I-11 study, visit

Open lawn area with Copper Sky facility in background. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

By Misty Newman

Misty Newman

Getting outdoors is not only great for your health, but also contributes significantly to the local and national economies.

Under the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact (The REC Act), the outdoor recreation economy will be counted as part of U.S. Gross Domestic Product. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will measure the impact outdoor recreation has on the GDP and offer detailed government economic statistics not currently available.

However, the statistics currently available are eye-opening.

A report from the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) states outdoor recreation is a $646 billion industry, supports 6.1 million jobs and contributes $80 billion to local, state and federal tax revenue.

The results of the BEA study will be a critical resource for policymakers to better understand the economic impacts of outdoor recreation when making policy decisions. For example, supporters for trail maintenance will now have official federal data to back up their initiatives.

OIA also reports Arizona outdoor recreation generates $10.6 billion in consumer spending, 104,000 direct jobs, and $787 million in state and local tax revenue.

On a more local level, Maricopa has a mayor who is a strong proponent of outdoor recreation.

When Mayor Christian Price was HOA president of Maricopa Meadows, he implemented a disc golf course to best use the architecture. “You can get on a Frisbee golf course and play with your grandkids – that’s the beauty of it,” Price said.

For future recreation, Mayor Price calls partnerships with funding sources (from Washington and local resources) “vital.”

OIA member Jessica Wahl said a current program that provides funding is the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which must be matched with state and local dollars.

There are times when funding from different sources is necessary. According to Price, Copper Sky was a much-needed facility and is a result of “the city backing up a bond with property taxes.”

A future project is the proposed Palo Verde Recreation Area. Pinal County is working with the Bureau of Land Management to secure this land for public recreation such as hiking and biking for an extended period of time. Without locking in a contract, it’s possible “BLM administration could turn on a dime, and say as of today you can no longer ride here,” Price said.

Having places for residents to enjoy the outdoors has social, economic and health benefits.

“The relationship between recreation and the community is understated,” Price said. “I think people that are healthy can spend more time with their family and friends. People that have healthy options such as parks want to work harder. Having these options leads to other things. They think, this is great; I’m out walking every day and now I feel better. Now I want to start eating better.”

As our city grows, Mayor Price anticipates “trail systems along the washes” and other projects being implemented to get our residents outdoors. Having outdoor recreation “reduces crime, raises home values and increases love of the community,” Mayor Price said. 

Misty Newman is the owner of Maricopa Outdoor Adventures.

This column appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

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Submitted photo

Today Maricopa High School’s Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, Lt. Col. Allen Kirksey, USAF, Retired, took eight AFJROTC cadets to the Titan Missile Museum just south of Tucson in Sahuarita. The cadets included  Jeremy Coyle, Paola Quinnes-Ortiz, Jose Barraza, Dylan Hill, Christina Barcello, Nickolas Adams, Elijah Baxter and Reno Dugan.