Authors Articles byRaquel Hendrickson

Raquel Hendrickson

Raquel Hendrickson
1177 Articles 4 COMMENTS
Raquel, a.k.a. Rocky, is a sixth-generation Arizonan who spent her formative years in the Missouri Ozarks. After attending Temple University in Philadelphia, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and has been in the newspaper business since 1990. She has been a sports editor, general-assignment reporter, business editor, arts & entertainment editor, education reporter, government reporter and managing editor. After 16 years in the Verde Valley-Sedona, she moved to Maricopa in 2014. She loves the outdoors, the arts, great books and all kinds of animals.

Apex Motor Club has had a busy track since it opened but still needs to build garage condominiums and a clubhouse.

Nov. 7, Apex Motor Club received a city permit for a subdivision final plat for 48 garage condominiums. Council approval for the project is on the city council’s consent agenda for its Tuesday meeting.

In accompanying paperwork, Private Motorsports Group Vice President Matt Williams told Planning and Zoning Manager Rodolfo Lopez all 48 units have been reserved.

“Apex has experienced overwhelming success with track interest and membership acquisition to the club,” Williams wrote.

The condos for cars are planned to be in four buildings.

Early rendering of possible sports-car condominium.

According to the staff analysis, final plats require water rights transferred from the water utility, Global Water Resources, “upon approval to extend their Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CC&N) to provide service. This review and approval authority rests with the Arizona Corporation Commission.”

The Global Water line that is meant to ultimately extend down State Route 238 to the Apex site at Ralston Road is part of a slow process. According to the City’s Development Services Department, the only permit issued so far for the water line extension applies only to a section from the Cobblestone Farms subdivision to just west of Green Road, three miles from Apex.

The line extension, meant to serve businesses on SR 238, has funding from an agreement among the City, Apex and Global Water. The agreement has Apex contributing $1 million and Global Water paying for the upgrade from a 12-inch line to a 16-inch line.

As planned, the line would still need approval to traverse a portion of Ak-Chin Indian Community property before reaching Apex. While the estimated cost of the water line extension is at least $750,000 per mile, crossing Ak-Chin property could cost much more.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The only item on the regular agenda is a proposal to change fees in the Development Services Department. That involves planning-and-zoning fees, engineering fees, building safety fees and fire-and-safety fees.

Among several consent-agenda items are a block grant for street improvements in the Heritage District, law-enforcement moves to combat gang activities and an agreement to act as the fiscal agent as Maricopa Wells Middle School applies for a technology grant from Ak-Chin Indian Community.

Archangels Raphael, Michael and Gabriel look over the congregation at Our Lady of Grace. photo by Raquel Hendrickson

All but one stained-glass window have been placed in the Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, each window hand-crafted and designed by the parish’s former priest, the Rev. Marcos Velásquez, architect Steven Schloeder and primary artist Andrea Guzetta.

“The methods and materials used are the same that have been in use for hundreds of years,” said Ken Lepper, who chaired the church’s Construction and Design Oversight Committee. “The glass comes from a factory in Germany. There are over 25 windows with scenes from the Bible and saints.”

All the glass was paid for by parishioners. The second window placed, a portrait of St. Mark, was sponsored by a family to honor Velásquez. Rita and Anthony Magliocco sponsored portraits of St. Rita and St. Anthony.

The stained glass is created by the artist through a series of painting and firings in an old technique used throughout Europe and the U.S. East Coast. Each window at Our Lady was pre-assigned a saint.

St. Jose Sanchez del Rio

Figures range from archangels before the creation of the universe to St. Jose Sanchez del Rio, a child who was martyred just 100 years ago in Mexico.

The windows are called 50-year windows for the length of time they are expected to keep their vibrant colors. They are protected from the elements outside by double-pane glass and glare filters.

Judson Studios is a fifth-generation American stained-glass window studio in California. After the design is completed and approved, the artist moves forward with a full-sized print she uses to cut each piece of glass like a jig-saw puzzle. Glaziers then add lead seams, frame and braces.

Courtesy of Judson Studios

“All the glass has strong symbology in it that is consistent with Catholic and Christian,” Lepper said. “Some of it, you have to look really hard to find them; some they’re really obvious.”

This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Three members of the Buffalo Soldiers of America, led by Arizona chapter President Chaz Jackson spoke to two sessions of students at Maricopa High School on Thursday, sharing the history of the military units comprised of African Americans from 1866 to 1948, when the military was desegregated. The units, primarily comprised of the 9th and 10th cavalries and the 24th and 25th infantries, were in action in the Plains Wars, where they picked up their informal moniker of buffalo soldiers from the Cheyenne, the Johnson County War, Victorio’s War, the Spanish-American War, the Philippines, World War I and World War II. They were stationed at Fort Huachuca for nearly 20 years. Leo Hernandez also spoke about the 201st Fighter Squadron, the Aztec Eagles. In sharing biographies of some outstanding servicemembers, the chapter representatives encouraged the students to talk to their parents and grandparents about their own family histories.

Alan Marchione
Alan Marchione

By Alan Marchione

On Nov. 5, with their overwhelming rejection of Prop 437, voters sent a strong message to the MUSD, they’ll no longer support a “tax and spend when it’s wanted” ideology. The district needs to heed that message, and re-evaluate its approach to taxpayer funding. The mechanics of Prop 437 were seriously flawed, and voter intelligence greatly underestimated. Operations and maintenance should never be bonded, and in an online post, resident Marty McDonald stated it beautifully, when he referenced this fact as the “murder weapon” for the bond.

As a taxpayer, one of my biggest concern lies with those elected officials in the community that openly supported fleecing the taxpayer with such a failed monetary ideology, and even included their names and statements in the numerous mailers sent to our homes. Do we actually have elected officials in Maricopa that believe financing HVAC systems, school buses and building repairs for 28 years, knowing their life expectancy is half of the bond life, is a wise and appropriate use of taxpayer funds? Sadly, the answer is YES.

We finance homes for 30 years because a home will still be there in 30 years, and if it burns down or is flooded, it’s rebuilt. Think of it this way, had the bond passed… If a child born today were to purchase a home on their 18th birthday, they would be paying property taxes on the bond until they were 28, for items that went out of service when they were 12. Children that aren’t even born yet would be bearing the financial burden long after we had moved on. Common sense, and a long-term vision has to be used when bonding public funds. Instant gratification by way of bonding taxpayer funds, has become the “kick the can down the road” mentality, and is not sustainable.

We need to hold School Board members, and City Councilmembers accountable. Have some of them become so liberal towards the spending of taxpayer monies, and pandering for votes on re-electability, they’ve violated their own principles on being good stewards of our money? If none of us would finance an HVAC system for 28 years with our own money, what would make them think that’s an appropriate decision with other peoples’ money? Pay attention to your local elected officials… It’s what they do that matters, not what they say, or the political games they play. Too many local elected officials are more concerned about being liked, than they are about being leaders; are more interested in telling taxpayers what they want to hear, instead of having the fortitude to tell them what they need to hear. Remember these talking points at the next election.

Regarding the MUSD, the district needs to earn the trust of the taxpayer, and it would be my suggestion if another attempt is made for a bond, learn from this experience, and bond ONLY for a school. However, it would be unwise to make another attempt in 2020, as that would just further alienate vigilant voters. Moving forward in the short-term, the MUSD will need to focus on building the high school its great students and teachers need, while still respecting the fact that they’re spending other people’s money to do it. Public entities don’t have their own money; only money it has taken from us, the taxpayer, and we are not a bottomless source of revenue.

Alan Marchione is a resident of Maricopa.



Do you know where you really come from?


What: What Is Your Story Copa
When: Nov. 16, 9 a.m.-noon
When: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 37280 W. Bowlin Road
How much: Free
Info:, Facebook/Instagram: @WhatIsYourStoryCopa


Maricopa Family Search is inviting the community to a free genealogy event that will help you uncover the story of your ancestors and how you came to be you.

What Is Your Story Copa is Nov. 16 with a series of workshops on family research, preserving family documents and photos, DNA and more every half hour from 9 a.m. to noon.

“This event was created with the vision of making it possible for friends, neighbors and family to get to know their ancestors and those who have gone before them and the wonderful influence they have had in our lives,” said organizer Jen Layton. “We hope that as we enter this upcoming holiday season that you might be able to use these resources and education you gain at this event to connect with your family on the earth today, and to be able to share with others the stories of those that have gone before.”

Free registration is at Registration information will be used solely to communicate details about the event. After the event all collected information will be deleted, and never used for any marketing or remarketing activities by any organization or individual.

Maricopa Family Search will show you how to involve your children in your genealogy search, which can reach back centuries into your past.

“We know that everyone has a story,” Layton said, “and we can’t wait to work with you to help you find yours.”

This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Planning and Zoning Chair Linda Huggins pushed city staff on a series of issues with the Oasis proposal. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission grilled city staff and the developer of the first apartment complex planned for the community at its Tuesday meeting.

The commission, being asked to recommend approval of the site plan, landscape, photometric and elevations for The Oasis at the Wells, ultimately tabled the project until some points of dispute could be clarified. Development Services Director Kazi Haque sparred with Chair Linda Huggins over demanding more of the developer than city code required, but it was parking that drew the most scrutiny from the panel.

Planning and Zoning Manager Rodolfo Lopez fields questions from the commission. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The developer, the Englewood Group, asked to reduce the required number of parking spaces for the complex from 263 to 180. Planning and Zoning Manager Rodolfo Lopez said the city code came through a third party during the recession when most parking lots were seeing a mixture of uses, included RVs. He inferred that made the city’s parking requirement higher than necessary.

But it was a sticking point for the commission.

When the Englewood Group’s vice president of real estate, Brian Pozen, explained how the company arrived at the requested number – 40 years of experience and comparisons with Valley communities – Commissioner Dan Frank pointed out a large mathematical mistake in the data from Chandler.

While the paperwork showed Chandler’s parking ratio for a two-bedroom unit to be two parking spaces, it showed a three-bedroom unit to have a parking ratio of 0.25 space per unit. That caused a misrepresentation in the totals, making it appear Chandler required far few parking spaces per unit than Maricopa. Frank asked staff to fix the mistake and come back with correct numbers.

Commissioner Dan Frank

The planned complex would be on a triangle of property between Walmart and Banner Health off Porter Road. Entry points will be a future Shea Road north of the property and an easement for an existing access point off Porter from the Walmart property. Neither location has a traffic light.

Commissioner Ted Yocum said the comparisons with other communities’ parking needs did not take into account Maricopa’s status as a bedroom community with 70 percent of its residents driving out of town to work and having more car ownership.

“I really believe this project needs more parking spaces,” he said.

When Huggins began picking apart lighting, access for first responders, ingress/egress and landscaping, Haque told the commission details had been vetted and met the city code requirements.

“They meet the code,” he said. “You cannot impose something extra.”

Huggins spars with Development Services Director Kazi Haque.

The developer has been going by the rules laid down by the city, he said, and suddenly changing the rules was unfair to the applicant.

“Well, if it only matters if it meets the code, and it meets the code, then why are we here?” Huggins asked.

She said the commission wanted to set precedent in its overview of the project, knowing that other multi-family housing projects have already been proposed for other locations, ranging from condominiums to senior housing.

Pozen said 72 of the 120 units planned in the five-building Oasis complex are intended to be subsidized housing and the other 48 to be at market value. When residents alleged “affordable” housing would lead to drugs, theft and prostitution, Commissioner Joshua Babb referred to the Fair Housing Act.

Commissioner Joshua Babb

“We cannot discriminate based on income,” Lopez said in agreement.

“A third of our teachers would qualify for subsidized housing,” Commissioner Jim Irving said.

Irving pressed city staff and Pozen on traffic flow. He said five schools already exist in the area – Legacy Traditional School, Central Arizona College, Saddleback Elementary School, Leading Edge Academy and Heritage Academy – and a sixth is planned – A+ Charter School, creating traffic jams before and after school. He said he assumed traffic coming out of The Oasis would only add to the northbound traffic.

Lopez said all of that was considered in the traffic impact study, but Irving was not convinced.

Commissioner Jim Irving

Neither was Tena Dugan, who spoke as a representative of the Glennwilde HOA. She said she is not against apartments but developers “need to meet the code” for parking. Dugan said the city did the same studies for the Heritage Academy site and assured residents there would be little impact. However, she said, parents are parking all over streets on and around Adam’s Way and taking over the parking in the HOA park nearby.

Development Services Director Kazi Haque

Pima Butte Elementary School. Photo by Kyle Norby

One school in Maricopa Unified School District jumped a letter grade in the most recent assessment while another fell a letter grade.

The same phenomenon occurred among Maricopa’s charter schools, with a perennial A-lister falling a notch. Letter grades determined by the Arizona Department of Education are not yet final and can be appealed.

MUSD’s governing board will see a presentation on its results from the 2018-19 school year during Wednesday’s scheduled meeting at the district office.

Letter grades are determined by results of state testing as well as measurements of student growth in a variety of areas.

Pima Butte Elementary School, one of MUSD’s campuses in Rancho El Dorado, is an A+ school and, for now, is the only A-rated school in the city. Butterfield Elementary, which last year had climbed to an A from a C, now has a B.

Despite that, according to data from Principal Janel Hildick, Butterfield’s third and fifth graders saw more than 10-percent growth in English language arts (reading) proficiency. Math results decreased by 19.88 points among third and fourth graders.

Pima Butte, on the other hand, ranks 20th among the state’s more than 1,300 total points earned. Its math and reading passing percentages on AzMerit were among the top three in Pinal County.

Meanwhile, Saddleback Elementary, which had been MUSD’s only elementary school to receive a C for the 2017-18 school year, achieved a B this time around.

While all six of MUSD’s elementary schools are now A and B schools, its two middle schools and the high school remain C-rated.

Among the charters, Legacy Traditional School dropped from an A to a B, but still had among the county’s top AzMerit results. However, Sequoia Pathway Academy climbed from a C to a B. Leading Edge Academy maintained its B-rating.

Wednesday, MUSD Teaching and Learning Director Krista Roden and Assessment and Technology Director Dennis Koch will discuss the results with the district governing board. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.


Maricopa Schools                   2017/18                2018/19

Butterfield Elementary                 A                              B

Desert Wind Middle                      C                             C

Leading Edge Academy                B                             B

Legacy Traditional                         A                            B

Maricopa Elementary                   B                             B

Maricopa High School                  C                             C

Maricopa Wells Middle                C                             C

Pima Butte Elementary                A                             A

Saddleback Elementary               C                             B

Santa Cruz Elementary                B                             B

Santa Rosa Elementary                B                             B

Sequoia Pathway Academy          C                             B


Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa’s Veterans Day Parade took over the Bowlin/Porter area Saturday morning, organized by the American Legion Auxiliary to celebrate the community’s military veterans. Local organizations, school groups, scouting troops and veterans themselves walked and rode the distance between Central Arizona College and Leading Edge Academy, which then hosted lunch for veterans and their families.

Tyler Rathert, age 3, enjoying the parade. Photo by Alex Rathert

Connor Schrader, shown in a previous competition, made the state finals this week.

Maricopa High School sophomore Connor Schrader debuted in the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division II State Swimming Championships by bettering his school record times in two events and qualifying for the finals in one.

In the preliminaries, Schrader swam the 100-yard backstroke in 57.9 to finish 13th and earn a spot in the final. He swam the 100-yard freestyle in 50.5 to finish 17th, one place out of making the finals.

In Fridays finals, he swam the 100 backstroke in 57.2, improving his school record again, winning the consolation heat and finishing ninth overall.

Schrader and junior Olivia Byers were the first MHS swimmers ever to qualify for the state championships. Byers was 33rd in the 50-yard freestyle and remained the first alternate.

The swim program was the only MHS sport to qualify athletes for state competition this fall. Coach Laura Logan called it “a great finish to year two of the program.”


The Sequoia Pathway Academy football team defeated South Pointe, 44-0, in the semifinal of the state championship.

Competing in Canyon Athletic Association’s open division, the Pumas remain undefeated. They next play San Tan Charter for the title Nov. 16 at Bourgade Catholic High School.

Despite a slow start laden with penalty flags on its home field at Pacana Park, Pathway strung together a series of scoring runs and passes while the defense held the Griffins practically immobile. The scoring was capped off by a display of sportsmanship as both teams helped a Puma with autism score a final touchdown to end the game.

The Zonta Club of Maricopa
Club President Lucinda Boyd speaks at a Maricopa City Council meeting.

Zonta International is celebrating its centennial Nov. 8, and the local club is touting its own work in empowering women.

Its service projects involve Maricopa Family Advocacy Center, Hope Women’s Center, Against Abuse and the Maricopa High School’s Copa Closet. Now it is adding a scholarship to its advocacy.

The Maricopa chapter of Zonta recently formed the Maricopa Women’s Empowerment Scholarship, which will be available next semester, Chapter President Lucinda Boyd said. The chapter received $500 for its scholarship fund from Maricopa Music Festival.

“We are targeting re-entry women needing to get their GED and testing so they can do more,” Boyd said. We are currently working with the CAC program facilitators to coordinate this.”

The purpose of the club is to embolden, support and protect women. Members speak out about domestic violence, assault, exploitation and child marriage. They boost women pursuing education and leadership roles.

“We plan events where women can speak out more vocally about issues,” Boyd said.

Zonta International was formed in 1919 in Buffalo, New York. The Casa Grande chapter has been in place 72 years. The Maricopa chapter formed its bylaws in 2018. This year, Mayor Christian Price officially recognized the Zonta International Centennial Anniversary with a proclamation.

Boyd said the local chapter is committed to donating to and assisting the Maricopa Family Advocacy Center by supplying personal hygiene products, underwear, socks and other needs. For the Against Abuse shelter, they want to provide toys and other items to young children and teens.

Young women have three opportunities for scholarships through the Zonta Foundation. The Young Women in Public Affairs Award starts locally and recognizes women “for their commitment to volunteerism, volunteer leadership achievements and dedication to empowering women worldwide.”

The deadline for the YWPA is April 1, with application to Zonta Club of Maricopa

Zonta Club of Maricopa has open meetings the third Thursday of each month at the Villages Clubhouse, 20991 Butterfield Parkway. They mingle at 5:30, and the meeting starts at 6 p.m.


Architectural drawing of elevation for the planned apartment complex.

Long in the planning stages, a proposed apartment complex is on the agenda for the Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission at its Tuesday meeting.

It would be the city’s first multi-family development.

Oasis at the Wells is designed to be 5.12 acres on the new Shea Road off Porter Road, between Walmart and Banner Health. According to the plan to be presented to the commission, it will be 120 units in five three-story buildings. The units will be one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments.

The area was rezoned for mixed use last year.

Though current zoning would require 263 parking spaces, the developer is asking to reduce that to 180 parking spaces. City staff indicated its support for that reduction in the staff report on the project.

Staff also noted it had “worked diligently with the applicant in producing architectural interest that will set the design level for future multi-family developments.”

Englewood Development Company is building the complex through Mountain Trace Development and has 14 other complexes in Arizona.

Planning and Zoning meets in council chambers at City Hall at 6 p.m.

Maricopa Veterans Day planned for Saturday

Mary Abrahams waves at the crowd during last year's Maricopa Veterans Day Parade. She served in the WAVES during World War II. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

At War: Fresh-faced WAVES recruit did her part

Mary Francis Holmes Abrahams during her service 1945-46.

After the United States declared war on Japan in 1941, Mary Francis Holmes Abrahams was just 16. Three years later she talked her girlfriends into joining her in serving their country by signing up for the U.S. Navy WAVES.

They all lived in landlocked Wichita, Kansas. They were all just old enough to sign up – all except Holmes herself, who was still only 19. So, she had to put her enthusiasm on hold for a year before she could qualify for the new Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service in 1945.

“I loved the Navy,” Abrahams said. “We were a whole gang of people. We traveled all over the States and got to know so many people.”

Now 95, she lives part-time in Maricopa. The World War II veteran was a grand marshal in the 2018 parade and will be back this year in her WAVES uniform.

“It doesn’t quite fit the same,” she said.

Formed by the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration in 1942, WAVES gave women a chance to serve at enlisted and officer levels. One of its recruitment lines was “Release a man to fight at sea.” That, in fact, was its main function, to fill noncombat duties with women so the Navy’s men could be used in combat.

WAVES duties ranged from healthcare to parachute rigger to gunner’s mate. Abrahams was trained in communication. Boot Camp was at Hunter College in New York.

Her teletype training was in Washington, D.C., and she was stationed at a relay station in San Francisco as a 3rd class petty officer.

“It was a great time,” she said.

Base pay was $78 per month. Her work was comprised of re-routing ticker-tape messages.

WAVES in San Francisco (US Navy)

“She had a lot of wonderful experiences,” said her daughter Barbara Adamson of Maricopa, “including the celebrations of V-J Day.”

After the war, at the end of 1945, she married Technician 4th Grade Albert Raymond Abrahams, who was in the U.S. Army’s 3rd Medical Battalion and nine years older.

The couple settled in Arizona, a state Mary Fran had frequented as a child visiting relatives. Her military service paid for her education, and she received her master’s degree from Arizona State University. Three years after marrying, she and Albert started a family, which would eventually include four children.

When the youngest was in school, Abrahams decided to go back to work.

“I took a job in the Tempe School District as a PE teacher,” she said. “I taught there until I retired.”

Mary and friend Emily in uniform. Submitted photo

Daughter Karen Moses, with whom Abrahams lives part-time in Ahwatukee, said her mother was always something of a tomboy and loved sports and teaching sports.

“She played about every sport,” she said. “She even played in a national tourney in basketball for Kansas.”

The military service of their parents did not come up much in family conversations.

“Dad would say, ‘It was something that we felt had to be done,’” Adamson said. “But then we found this box of letters.”

That gave the children a fuller understanding of their WWII experience, as they had frequently corresponded during the last year of the war.

When the American Legion Veterans Day Parade organizers signed her up to ride in a seat of honor last year, Mary Fran Abrahams was grateful for the opportunity.

“It was fun,” she said. “I would wave at everybody.”

American Legion Auxiliary member Caroline Mill. Photo by Kyle Norby

On the Homefront: Oldest auxiliary member helps plan parade

Caroline Mill was already married when the United States entered World War II.

“I married young before he went into the service,” said Mill, now at 98 the oldest member of the American Legion Auxiliary of Post 133 in Maricopa.

The post is planning the third annual Veterans Day Parade, and Mill loves to see a crowd for the local veterans.

“We need more people to come out and give support,” she said.

Mill sustained two veterans in her own way. While her first husband, Virgil Bradbury, joined the U.S. Army, Caroline was a teacher. She finished out the school year before moving with friends near his training camp.

“I never was sorry,” she said. “It was the thing for me to do. It’s the way things were.”

When Virgil was sent into combat in Europe, Caroline described it as “terrible.” She stayed with family for the duration. Virgil participated in the D-Day invasion of France. He was also captured by the Germans.

“He was prisoner of war for Germany, but the camp was in Austria,” she said. “As the war went on the sergeants from Russia came and killed the guards, so they were loose. They could go where they wanted but they couldn’t go back to Germany. So, they walked all the way across Austria, all the way to Russia. When they got there, they wouldn’t let them walk. They put them on a railcar and took them to a ship and sent him home.”

While he was a POW, Caroline received cards from him: “There wasn’t much to write, and they wouldn’t dare to write it anyway.”

When he came home, however, his health was never the same. They moved from Iowa to buy a farm in Wisconsin with a VA loan. They took in two foster daughters. But Virgil was ailing.

“He died fairly young because he had leukemia,” Caroline said. “We always kind of thought it was because he was in prison camp and all they had to eat was cabbage soup. He wasn’t real healthy when he came back.”

Two years after he died, Caroline married Robert Mill, who was also a veteran of D-Day and had been a cook in the service. He brought two daughters into the marriage.

“They are both real good to me,” Caroline said.

She joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars Women’s Auxiliary in Wisconsin and later joined the American Legion and stayed with the organization when they moved to Casa Grande. For 10 years, until she stopped driving, she volunteered at Oasis Pavilion caring for elderly less elderly than she.

A lifelong Packers fan, Mill maintains an independent spirit. She was among Legion Auxiliary members who jumped ship from the Casa Grande post to join the women at the Maricopa post. The Maricopa Veterans Day Parade has been a growing venture for the auxiliary.

“I want to see people that are patriotic,” Caroline Mill said. “That’s what we need in this country. The way the country is, we need more people who are patriotic and loyal to their country.”

This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

What: 12th annual Maricopa Turkey Trot
When: Nov. 28, 8 a.m.
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
How much: 5 cans of food

If it’s Thanksgiving, it must be time for the Maricopa Turkey Trot.

The annual event, which was taken over by the City’s Community Services Department last year, is a 5K run and a 1-mile walk at Copper Sky on Thanksgiving morning.

The start time was previous set at 10 a.m. but has been changed to 8 a.m.

The event benefits local food banks. Leave your money at home. Entry fee is five cans of nonperishable food items.

Register on-site starting at 7 a.m. The race begins at 10 a.m. Meet at the large ramada next to the lake.

“The first 200 people will get some cool swag and a bunch of free give-a-ways,” said Matthew Reiter, marketing and development coordinator.

Now in its 12th year, the Turkey Trot has become a Thanksgiving tradition. All ages are welcome to come run to their hearts’ content before their big Thanksgiving meal.

This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera
MUSD Superintendent Tracey Lopeman

While most Valley schools seeking bonds, overrides and budget increases succeeded in Tuesday’s election, Maricopa Unified School District was not among them.

MUSD’s request for a capital-improvement bond was defeated 58%-42% according to the unofficial totals. It lost in 11 of the 12 reporting precincts.

“Prop 437 failed because the MUSD, an organization [whose] purpose is to educate, underestimated the intelligence of the voter, by presenting the taxpayer a financially irresponsible and uneducated proposition,” said Alan Marchione, one of the proposition’s most vocal opponents.

In a prepared statement, MUSD Superintendent Tracey Lopeman thanked all who exercised their right to vote and expressed appreciation for the 42% who supported the district’s cause.

The proposition was aimed to fund a comprehensive second high school for the district, something the state Legislature has proclaimed to be necessary. The school is 600 students over-capacity and using mobile classrooms to deal with the overflow.

“The City of Maricopa is exploding with growth, and, as a result, Maricopa Unified School District’s enrollment continues to rise,” Lopeman said. “Knowing that the state of Arizona does not provide adequate funding for districts to build new facilities or maintain existing facilities, districts throughout the state must rely on local community support to help provide funding to build much needed facilities, add safety upgrades, purchase school buses, and address lifecycle projects.”

Chandler Unified received approval for a bond with 62% of the vote. Deer Valley Unified voters approved a bond by 59% and an override by 51%. Gilbert Unified voters approved a bond (62%) and a budget increase (55%). Tempe Elementary District voters passed an override and a budget increase. Paradise Valley voters approved a bond and a budget increase. Scottsdale Unified voters approved the continuation of that district’s override.

Lopeman said the local vote did not change the needs at MUSD.

“Because the bond did not pass, we will continue to creatively manage overcrowding at the high school and will proceed with a scaled version of the plan to build a second high school using funds granted by the School Facilities Board,” she said.

That is a reference to more than $22 million the state Legislature approved to start another high school in MUSD. That deal also offers up to 40 acres of land if necessary.

“Maricopa Unified School District has an important role in educating the workforce for a city that is on the rise,” Lopeman said. “Our students deserve the support of the community and we will continue to seek the resources necessary to provide a first-class education.”

MUSD board members did not respond to requests for comment.

Machelle Hobson aka Hackney (PCSO photo)

The possibility of getting Maricopa’s so-called “YouTube Mom” into a courtroom is as remote as ever after a Rule 11 hearing Tuesday.

Machelle Hobson, 48, was indicted in March on charges of child abuse and kidnapping. The Hobson/Hackney family ran a profitable YouTube channel called “Fantastic Adventures” that featured mostly the younger children in family-friendly videos.

However, allegations surfaced this year that Hobson’s seven adopted children were being forced to appear in the videos under threat of physical violence, being pepper sprayed, having food and water withheld and being locked in a closet. Hobson now faces 22 charges in the case.

After Hobson’s arrest, she was hospitalized, deemed not competent to stand trial by a psychiatrist and was released from custody. Ever since, she has received waivers allowing her not to make physical appearances in court.

Judge Lawrence Wharton in Pinal County Superior Court’s Rule 11 court said clinical psychologist Celia Drake “is now asking that an assessment be done to determine the most appropriate location for the restoration process to be continued.”

The Rule 11 court oversees the process of returning an incompetent defendant to competency.

Pushing for progress in the next 60 days, Wharton sought a strategy that would clear medical obstacles in the restoration process. When he was on the verge of turning the decision over to Drake, defense attorney Joshua Wallace had other ideas.

“Dr. Drake probably isn’t the most appropriate person to conduct these evaluations that she wants done,” Wallace said. “She does say that perhaps another medical psychiatric evaluation needs to be completed. She’s not a psychiatrist or a medical doctor.”

That leaves the court searching for suitable individual or location to place Hobson for evaluation. Wharton set a date of Jan. 8 to review the restoration of competency, but he wants work done in the meantime.

“I don’t want 60 days to slide by and not make a whole lot of progress.”

Early vote counts show the Maricopa Unified School District bond election failing by a 16-point margin.

MUSD Bond Early Vote Count 
YES 2,487
NO 3,444

The bond, aimed at building a second high school to relieve overcrowding at Maricopa High School, trailed in 12 of 14 precincts. The Province precinct, which includes The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado, was particularly opposed, with 63% voting against in the unofficial tallies.

For Pinal County schools seeking bonds, overrides and budget increases, it has been a mixed night.

Voters in Eloy turned down an override and in Florence and Apache Junction said no to budget increases. Apache Junction voters also denied a bond. However, school districts in Oracle and Ray received strong support for overrides and a bond. Coolidge Unified School District’s bond election is also ahead in a close early count.

While other district opted for a mail-in ballot, MUSD went with poll voting, which ended up primarily being early voting.

“The traditional election format was chosen to accommodate both voters who prefer mail-in options through early ballots, as well as those who enjoy the civic experience of voting in person on election day,” MUSD spokesperson Mishell Terry said.

Only the Ak-Chin Community precinct showed support for the MUSD bond, overwhelmingly so, with 93% of its participating voters (fewer than 50) voting in favor. That was wiped out by the Thunderbird Farms precinct, where 77% of voters said no.

The closest result so far is in the Santa Rosa precinct, where the bond is losing 53% to 47%.

The MUSD bond is for capital project, like a new school, buses and HVAC and roofing. The district received $23 million from the state to start a second high school when data showed MHS 600 students over-capacity.


Nov. 9 is the third annual Maricopa Veterans Parade. Photo by Kyle Norby

The third annual Maricopa Veterans Day Parade is the morning of Nov. 9.

What: Maricopa Veterans Day Parade
When: Nov. 9, 9 a.m.
Where: Bowlin and Porter roads
How much: Free

The event celebrates local military veterans, who comprise more than 10 percent of the population of Maricopa. All branches of service will participate. All residents are encouraged to attend to cheer on the veterans.

Prior to the parade, Maricopa Memorial Events hosts a Veterans Day 5K Run and one-mile walk at 7 a.m. at Pacana Park. Visit

Parade entries include floats, walking groups, riding groups, marching groups and motor groups. Some entries are comprised of veterans; some are comprised of groups just saying a big “Thank you” to those who were in the service. Entries range from the Maricopa High School Marching Rams to the Daughters of the American Revolution.

American Legion Post 133 Auxiliary, which organizes the event, anticipates multiple grand marshals again, saluting an array of veterans. Parades past have seen veterans from every conflict from World War II to Afghanistan.

Commercial entries are not allowed. Candy is also prohibited. Participants are also not allowed to distribute flyers along the parade.

The parade will follow the familiar route from the campus of Central Arizona College, 17945 N. Regent Drive, west along Bowlin Road to Porter Road and then north to Leading Edge Academy, 18700 N. Porter Road. The roadways will be blocked off along the route about 8:30 a.m.

At 11 a.m., all veterans and their families along with first responders will be treated to lunch at Leading Edge.

This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Arthur Eric Magana (PCSO photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether a notorious “D.C. sniper” should be re-sentenced in the fallout of a series of high-court rulings that are also impacting a Maricopa-area murder.

The justices took up the argument of Lee Boyd Malvo, now 34, who was 17 in 2002 when he and John Allen Muhammed murdered 10 people in a series of sniper attacks around Washington, D.C. In the past decade, starting with the historic Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court has ruled that sentencing juveniles to life without parole is a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Malvo case not only asks if Miller can be applied retroactively but also questions mandatory sentencing schemes for juvenile offenders without considering individual circumstances.

During arguments in October, Justice Elena Kagan said Miller comes down to two words, “youth matters.”

Arthur Eric Magaña of Maricopa was only 16 years old in 2016 when he and Gustavo Olivo were indicted for the shooting death of 20-year-old Wyatt Miller in an unincorporated area south of Maricopa.

Olivo, who was 17 at the time of the murder, pled guilty a year ago and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Magaña was found guilty by a jury and has been awaiting sentencing for the past 12 months.

Monday, Magaña was before Judge Kevin White for a status review while the judge is preparing for guidance from the upper courts.

The sides must also sort out what White called “clerical-type mistakes” on the part of the defense, which failed to label a filing ex parte. Prosecuting attorney Patrick Johnson said as soon as the correct filings are made, the state intends to file an objection.

He further said the state would object to any motion to request the personal records of the victims.

Johnson said a Supreme Court decision would likely come down in April or May. White predicted having a subsequent sentencing on Magaña sometime in June.

In the meantime, a date for the next hearing was set for Dec. 18.

Edkey Inc. is planning expansion at its Sequoia Pathway Academy campus.

Pre-manufactured buildings that have been on campus 10 years are expected to be removed. (File photo)

CEO Mark Plitzuweit announced the future construction of a 14,000-square-foot building, a $3 million project. He said Edkey has been working since the summer to get financing in place, intended to be the proceeds of a bond issued by a county Industrial Development Authority.

The planned facility will have 12 classrooms, three offices, storage and restrooms along with about 25 more parking spaces. The building is to be next to the high school/junior high.

Plitzuweit said the new building will not increase student capacity.

“The plan is to maintain the current staffing model and adjust as needed based on population,” he said.

Despite recent terminations, the secondary school currently has only one full-time teaching opening and three certified, long-term substitutes. (The school’s website has been offline since October’s student protests over faculty changes.)

Most of the pre-manufactured buildings that have been on campus since the charter school opened in 2009 will be removed from the area between the elementary school and the secondary school and replaced with a “common area grass field.”

Edkey borrowed $14 million in 2010 to buy the land and build the elementary building. In 2013, it borrowed $7 for 2.5 million acres to add to the original building and build the high school and gym.

MHS Rams gather for some final on-field words from the coach after a season-ending loss. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa High School varsity football team dropped Friday’s game at Gilbert, 35-14, bringing an end to the Rams’ season.

While defense and offense had shining moments throughout the contest, Maricopa could never catch the Tigers, never getting closer than a touchdown.

Junior Tykek Mooney had a busy night as the Rams scored on a 5-yard run and a third-and-12, 50-yard pass. Junior Mister Chavis was back in action and making impressive runs to try to set up scoring opportunities.

“I didn’t call good plays, and we didn’t execute the plays I did call,” head coach Brandon Harris said.

He also volunteered the blame for a disappointing 3-7 season. The Rams were outscored 351-192. Half the competition came against some of the toughest teams in the state, mostly in the San Tan region. Seven of the 10 teams on Maricopa’s schedule qualified for the 5A playoff bracket.

It was a challenging season.

“I’ve learned to keep going even when things aren’t going your way,” senior quarterback Daxton Redfern said. “You have to keep working no matter what happens.”

He said he also learned to be a leader for a young team, “teaching the guys how to put in the work, setting the example.”

Redfern wants to keep playing beyond high school, and Harris said he spoke to his seniors about what they need to do to move forward and play college ball.

“We’ll help those kids get out. Their job isn’t done,” Harris said. “I always tell our seniors they’re supposed to leave this place better than what they found it. We haven’t done that on the record, but I think we’ve done that in terms of the things that are the intangibles that programs need to have sustainability. That’s doing better in the classroom, being better people on school grounds and in the community, and I think that starts to transfer to our younger guys who watch them and see it.”

County attorney says opioid makers 'lining their pockets'

Pinal County is taking pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacies and doctors to court over addiction and overdoses.

There have been 308 reported opioid overdoses in Pinal County in the past two and a half years.

Pinal County is taking on big pharmaceutical companies over opioid addiction. The law firms of Fennemore Craig and Theodora Oringher filed suit for the county in Superior Court Sept. 25.

“We know how many pills were forced into our county,” County Attorney Kent Volkmer said. “Every pill is tracked by the federal government. Needless to say, it falls far outside of appropriate norms.”

In suing many large drug manufacturers and all pharmacies that do business in Pinal County, Volkmer said his office is not as interested in getting a monetary award from the case as it is the opportunity to litigate it in the public forum.

Among the 50 defendants named in Pinal County vs. Actavis LLC, et al. are American Drug Company, Costco, Walgreens, Osco Drug, Walmart, Bashas’, Johnson & Johnson, Mallinckrodt LLC, Safeway, Par Pharmaceuticals, Smith’s Food & Drug, Sun Life Family Health Center and Watson Laboratories. The suit also names eight members of the Sackler family, who Bloomberg estimates to be worth $13 billion collectively.

By filing suit at the county level rather than joining the many federal-level lawsuits, Volkmer said, there is a better chance of getting the evidence known. Ongoing suits against the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, brought by states and other levels of government, will likely be filed into a national settlement. At the federal level, a U.S. bankruptcy judge paused those lawsuits against Purdue Pharma in October.

But Purdue and the Sacklers are only part of the Pinal County suit.

“We are prepared to litigate it. We want a jury to hear what they did and to determine a remedy,” Volkmer said. “We’re confident they acted badly. We want the public to know. The best way to get that is to try the case.”

The complaint does not cite a number for the monetary damages the county is seeking from the 50 defendants named. It seeks “to recover all measure of damages permissible under the statutes identified herein and under common law, in an amount to be proven at trial.”

“We’re confident they acted badly. We want the public to know. The best way to get that is to try the case.” – County Attorney Kent Volkmer

Volkmer said opioid addiction has cost the county manpower in law enforcement and health. And it is removing once-productive people from the economy because they can no longer work, shrinking the tax base that helps pay for the services impacted by opioid addiction.

Patients who could no longer afford an opioid prescription sometimes turned to heroin, causing more impact on law enforcement, the medical examiner’s office and county health resources. “And all of this cost was foisted on the county,” Volkmer said.

“Janssen fully recognizes the opioid crisis that exists in this country. But one thing is clear: Janssen’s medications did not cause or contribute to that crisis.” – Janssen Pharmaceuticals

The county complaint opens with the statement, “Opiates are killing people every day in this country and Arizonans have not been spared. Each of the [d]efendants in this action engaged in an industry-wide effort to downplay the dangerous and deadly potential effects of the misuse of prescription opioids. The opioid epidemic has hit every community in Arizona hard, including Pinal County.”

One of the defendants, Beverly Sackler, died Oct. 15 at the age of 95. Purdue filed for bankruptcy in September.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Drain gave Purdue Pharma, the Sacklers and the government entities suing them until Nov. 6 to reach a disclosure plan that would show how much the company earned from OxyContin sales.

Fennemore Craig was hired by Pinal County this summer specifically for this case against Big Pharma. Its attorneys claimed the actions of opioid manufacturers were “a sophisticated, manipulative scheme” particularly designed to be effective in places like Pinal County because it “is home to a multitude of economically and medically vulnerable populations that defendants knew were uniquely predisposed to opioid addiction, including the elderly.”

Big Pharma companies, Volkmer said, are “lining their pockets” as a result of front-end and back-end domination of a field they created. Some of the same companies that make the opioids also make the overdose antidote naloxone, he said.

Those companies include Hospira (acquired by Pfizer) and Mylan, both named in the suit, which describes both as “a top manufacturer of fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine and codeine in Pinal County.” Mylan is further accused of withholding ingredients to treat “opioid-use disorder and opioid addiction” from its competitors.

Pinal County also accuses Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, of pushing “bogus research” to promote opioids.

It is similar to claims made in other cases against Janssen in Oklahoma and Ohio, where Janssen denied wrongdoing, stating in court papers: “Janssen fully recognizes the opioid crisis that exists in this country. But one thing is clear: Janssen’s medications did not cause or contribute to that crisis… Janssen will prove that its marketing was and remains supported by scientific medical evidence, offered in good-faith and without a scintilla of fraudulent intent.”

In the mid- to late-1990s, physicians started classifying pain as a “fifth vital sign.” That was allegedly pushed by the American Pain Society and resulted in pharmaceutical companies putting more attention on creating and marketing pain medication. Recent lawsuits from 23 states, as well as Pinal County’s suit, characterize the pharmaceutical companies as “pushing” drugs and turning up the heat on doctors to prescribe more.

Prescribed opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone became commonplace.

“They said opioids addressed and alleviated pain. It was a miracle cure, supposedly,” Volkmer said.

He said, despite a lack of public research, opioids were marketed as addiction-free. Doctors who did not prescribe opioids to help their patients overcome perpetual pain virtually were “accused of malpractice.”

In Massachusetts’ claim against the Sacklers, they were accused of hiring hundreds more sales representatives to pressure doctors. “They directed reps to encourage doctors to prescribe more of the highest doses of opioids. They studied unlawful tactics to keep patients on opioids longer and then ordered staff to use them,” the Massachusetts’ complaint reads.

After the medical community started to acknowledge people were becoming addicted around 2010, the number of prescriptions began to decrease but the amount prescribed increased.

Harinder Takyar is the only physician named in the suit while other local doctors are grouped as so-called “John Does.” Takyar was a Florence-based doctor who was charged with 42 counts of prescribing opioids to his patients without medical need in 2014.

Gov. Doug Ducey declared a statewide emergency in 2017 after a health report found 790 Arizonans died of opioid overdoses the previous year. State tracking showed 431 million opioid pills were prescribed in 2016, “enough for every Arizonan to have a 2.5-week supply.”

Since the emergency declaration, between June 15, 2017, and Oct. 10, 2019, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 3,633 deaths that were suspected of being opioid overdoses.

Volkmer said while the Pinal case is “very, very similar to Big Tobacco,” immediacy is the difference.

“If you smoke, in 20 or 30 years, you could get cancer,” he said. “Opioids have an immediate impact. It renders people unable to work. If one of my employees goes outside for a smoke break, they can come back to work. If they go out to pop a Percocet, they won’t be able to do that.”

Volkmer said he is “fairly optimistic” the case can be in court in 18-24 months.

This story appears in the the November issue of InMaricopa.

Stuffed acorn squash

Thanksgiving dinner means a lot of autumn flavors, roasted vegetables with earthy spices, jazzed up potatoes, cranberries in everything and the challenge of finding one side dish brand new to the family table.

Robert King

Desert Passage resident Robert King, a former butler and estate manager, whips up goodies and dishes for colleagues and friends from time to time. He learned to cook from the age of 13 at his mother’s side and puts his own stamp on learned recipes.

Butternut squash and sweet potato soup has chicken or vegetable stock as it base, with main ingredients plus carrots, onion, thyme, olive oil and cumin, and is topped with raw pumpkin seeds and a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and croutons.

Sweet rolls include pumpkin puree, flour, milk, yeast, sugar, eggs, butter and salt. The rolls are sliced on the sides before baking to create a pumpkin design in the finished product. After baking, it is topped with a cashew as a “stem” and served with cinnamon butter.

Here, he shares a Thanksgiving recipe for stuffed acorn squash and other side dishes. He said he likes the recipe because the grain can be changed and paired with other flavors.

“You can use rice or quinoa or couscous and match them with different nuts or seeds,” he said.

Sausage cranberry apple pecan stuffed acorn squash

4 acorn squash (softball size single serve portion)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pepper to taste
1 box wild rice (optional couscous, quinoa, farro or panko breadcrumbs)
1 pound ground sausage
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large celery stalks, finely chopped
1 cup cauliflower chopped (optional)
2 large honey crisp apples, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup toasted pecans chopped (optional walnuts or cashews)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (optional sunflower)
½ teaspoon sage (optional thyme)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a sharp knife, cut off bottom end of acorn to give it a stable bottom to stand on. For a single-acorn, single-serving portion, you can cut the top off and use as a decorative element.

Spoon out seeds.

Brush olive oil inside and on top of acorn squash.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over acorn squash to taste.

Bake for 40 minutes to an hour depending on size of your squash until tender and you can pierce with a fork, but still hold its shape.


In a separate pot, cook rice/quinoa according to directions.

While the squash is baking, sauté the sausage for about 5 minutes, drain but don’t discard grease in the pan.

Using the grease from the sausage add your onions and celery to the pan and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown (add olive oil if necessary).

Combine rice once cooked with meat mixture

Add apples and cauliflower and sauté for another 2 minutes or until softened.

Stir in sage, nuts, seeds and cranberries.

Add ¾ cup Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese begins to melt. Set aside.


Once squash has finished baking and reached desired tenderness, spoon in meat mixture with a large scoop until the squash is filled, leaving an overflowing mound on the top. Top with some grated Parmesan cheese.

Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, depending on size of squash.

Remove from oven and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin Rolls

For rolls (yield 15)
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Whole cashews, raw or honey roasted

For cinnamon butter
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

For rolls
With an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir the yeast, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin, one egg and salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Let the dough rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Knead the dough on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape into balls.

Using the palm of your hand to flatten each ball slightly. With a paring knife or culinary scissors, cut 8 slices around each ball, being careful not to slice all the way into the center, to make the pumpkin shape. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Poke an indentation using a rounded edge of a dowel in the center of each roll to create a space for the “stem.” In a small bowl beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush over the rolls.

Bake rolls 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Place a whole cashew into the indentation of each roll.


For cinnamon butter
With an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds, or until pale in color. Add the powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon and beat until well combined, light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve the rolls warm with the cinnamon butter.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Yield 4 servings
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 butternut squash, skinned and cubed
1 large (1 pound) sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 large carrots, peeled and cubed
1 medium yellow onion, cut into small chunks
2 teaspoon thyme leaves
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin (leaves optional)
Garnish (toppings of your choice: Croutons, dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream, raw pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400°F and line baking tray with baking/parchment paper.

Place butternut squash, sweet potato, carrot and onion pieces on the tray. Coat all sides with oil. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of thyme evenly over the entire squash mix, stir and repeat with the remaining portion of thyme.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are browned and soft. Let cool, then transfer to a blender and puree the roasted vegetables and transfer them into a large pot or crockpot. Add stock. If using large pot, cook on stove for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. If using crockpot, heat on low setting to allow flavors to develop. Top with garnishes and serve.

This item appears in part in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Winner of Best Haunted Howse in the City of Maricopa's Mysterious Mansion Mayhem contest had a scary-clown theme on Mac Neil Street.

Maricopans had a fine night for trick-or-treating and fun scares in neighborhoods all over the city.

Shawn Main (PCSO)

Shawn Main, 49, has been incarcerated at Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Adult Detention Center since Christmas Eve 2015. She was arrested 35 days after the death of 3-year-old Tiana Rosalie Capps in Hidden Valley.

Main was one of three women taken into custody four years ago but the only one charged with first-degree murder. Tiana died by blunt-force trauma, according to a coroner’s report.

One woman, Tina Morse, was the child’s biological mother. A year after her arrest, she pled guilty to two counts of child abuse. She served two years in prison, is on lifetime probation and is barred from seeing her surviving children.

A second woman, Maria Tiglao, who is Main’s ex-wife, faces five counts of child abuse and remains out on bond. Tiglao continues to have her case paired with Main’s during years of hearings. Main and Tiglao had primary care of Tiana and her three brothers.

The four children and the three women lived together in a home on Ralston Road. Nov. 19, 2015, a person described as a caretaker called 911 reporting a child in medical distress. Tiana later died in an emergency room. Investigation by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office led to the arrests.

The boys, who were reported to be malnourished and exhibiting some previous injuries at the time, have been adopted by a relative.

A trial date for Main and Tiglao has been set a few times and is now scheduled for Sept. 14, 2020. Delays have been caused by Main’s ongoing medical issues and other factors in the case.

In August this year, a petition for special action was filed in the Arizona Court of Appeals by attorneys from Arizona Voice for Crime Victims Inc. on behalf of the children’s adoptive relative. A similar petition in Pinal County took four months to resolve. Lead counsel for AVCV did not respond to a request for comment.

Thursday, Main appeared before Judge Delia R. Neal in Pinal County Superior Court. The judge waived a personal appearance by Tiglao, whose attorney, John Dosdall, attended by telephone.

There has been a flurry of motions from both sides in the case over the past few months, with several still in need of a ruling. One motion is filed under “cruel use of non-accidental trauma terms of homicide as a manner of death.” Main’s attorney, Chester Lockwood, is deciding whether to bring in a defense witness on the matter. If so, and a neuro/psych evaluation is involved, the state may ask for six months to put together a rebuttal.

Lockwood said other motions could be dealt with in a single hearing. He may also re-start interviews of prosecution witnesses.

Neal said she would deal with several motions while out of town the rest of the week.

“I don’t anticipate anything remarkable is going to happen before the end of the year,” she said, though the appellate court may come down with a ruling.

The next status conference was set for Jan. 15. The judge said she would maintain the trial date in September until further notice.

Maricopa High School Athletic Director Jake Neill said he was expecting just about anything when region assignments were announced for most high school sports by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

He was confident MHS sports like football, baseball, basketball, softball and volleyball would end up in the 6A conference because of the population growth. That became fact earlier this month. What was unknown was which region would be the meat of their competition for the 2020-2022 seasons.

Last week, Maricopa was assigned to 6A Desert Southwest. There, its competition will be teams from Tucson and Yuma – Cibola, Kofa, Rincon/University, San Luis and Tucson, the latter being the largest school in the region with an enrollment of 3,405.

“To be honest, I’m good with it,” Neill said. “I think it will be good for our athletic program. I think it will be a good fit. It’s not as tough as the San Tan Region, I’ll tell you that.”

The 5A San Tan Region has proved to be one the toughest regions across all conferences, especially in football. He said he thinks Maricopa can vie for some region championships.

AIA football, however, will not hammer out its region alignments until December. Though it is likely to match the other sports, there is a possibility it will not.

“I don’t know how that’s going to work. It’s a whole different group of people,” Neill said. “I would assume they’re going to try to keep it as close as possible. You get burned sometimes when you assume with these committees.”

MHS will only play home-and-homes against the Tucson schools.

“What I told the coaches is, it’s three or four trips a season for you, which, when you look at it, that’s not too bad,” Neill said. “We’ll still end up playing a lot of those southeast Valley schools.”

Region assignments for boys’ and girls’ soccer have not been announced.

Maricopa has moved from Division II to Division I in cross country, track, golf and tennis

Re-alignments for swimming, wrestling and beach volleyball have not been announced yet.

Lon Orlenko works with one of the jacks used to lift the 116,000-pound Silver Horizon railcar. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Within hours of the California Zephyr train’s Silver Horizon railcar being placed at its new home in January, there was speculation it might be off-kilter.

Measurements proved that was so, and the vintage 1940s car was leaning just slightly to the south because parts were not settled properly. Monday, railcar expert Lon Orlenko was on hand to direct City staff in tweaking its placement.

“When they brought it over here and set it down on the tracks, things were a little bit askew,” said Orlenko, who lives in Los Angeles, California. “We’re going to lift it up, take the weight off of it, make some adjustments and set it back down.”

The Silver Horizon belongs to the Maricopa Historical Society. When members learned an adjustment was needed, Society President Paul Shirk was hooked up with Orlenko.

Orlenko has been in the business of rebuilding, repairing and moving railroad cars for 37.5 years. He has made many post-move adjustments to railroad cars.

“We’re not normally out here in the rocks with this kind of timberwork,” he said. “We have big electric screw jacks that we use in our shop.”

As it was, the Society needed favors from a couple sources for air jacks and timber. That included more railroad ties. When Shirk reached out to members and other families, they quickly came up with the heavy timbers required.

The work was methodical to get all air jacks in place to make the small shifts. Orlenko and the crew started in the morning, and, by afternoon, the Silver Horizon stood a little straighter next to Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

Maricopa Historical Society will also have crossing lights at the site as part of the story of the railroad. Shirk said they need approval for some electrical work before they can have fully functioning air conditioning. That will allow them to host events in the Silver Horizon again.

The railcar is near Maricopa Veterans Center on the former site of the old swimming pool. In the future, after the city’s library moves to a new as-yet-unbuilt location and the Maricopa Veterans Center moves to the current library building, the historical society will make the current veterans center into a Maricopa museum.

The annual Battle of the Bras, a “fashion show” to raise funds for awareness of breast cancer and other women’s and men’s health issues, took over the lounge stage at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Saturday night. Employee teams from the casino and UltraStar Multi-tainment Center vied for prizes by decorating bras and boxer shorts. It was part of Caesars Entertainment corporate competition throughout October to benefit American Cancer Society chapters. At the conclusion of the campaign, Caesars Foundation will award a total of $25,000 to local ACS chapters in recognition of the efforts of each of the top three participating properties.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Some history stories, a silent auction, and catered meal and more drew a crowd to Maricopa Historical Society’s first Tales & Treasures supper at Leading Edge Academy Saturday. The afternoon event raised funds for the Society’s activities, such as readying for a future museum and continued preparation of the Silver Horizon railcar for public opening. During the supper, members strolled from table to table sharing historical tidbits from Maricopa.

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Photos by Kyle Norby

Central Arizona College’s Maricopa campus hosted a harvest festival Saturday that included its haunted house Tracks of Terror, an escape room, costume contest, pumpkin patch, a movie and pumpkin decorating. The event was free to the public.