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Staff Reports

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The City of Maricopa made election packets available Oct. 16 for those wishing to run for city council and mayor. By the end of October, six candidates had pulled packets indicating their interest.

The mayor’s seat is coming due as are the council seats occupied by Nancy Smith, Julia Gusse and Marvin Brown.

First in line to pull a packet was Mayor Christian Price. So far, he is the only mayoral candidate to pull a packet.

Gusse and former council member Leon Potter have also taken out candidate packets. Previous candidate Bob Marsh is throwing his hat in the ring again, too.

Newcomers are Marlene Pearce, a long-time resident and currently assistant to Pinal County Supervisor Anthony smith, and Realtor Michael Salgado. Nov. 7, school counselor Amber Liermann pulled a packet, as well.

Nomination packets are available at City Hall, 29700 W. Civic Center Plaza. Candidates can collect signatures now, and nomination paperwork must be turned in between March 9 and April 6.


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Maricopa weather will be in the 80s through the weekend, but rain could move in next week. Photo by Kyle Norby

Maricopa can expect a balmy weekend, according to the National Weather Service, but rain may move into the picture next week.

Today is sunny with an expected high of 84 degrees F. The low temperature tonight will likely be around 50.

Friday, the forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies and a high near 83. The overnight low will be around 49 as the clouds gradually clear.

Saturday, look for a sunny day, gentle breezes and a high near 85. The nighttime low will be around 49.

Sunday, NWS predicts another sunny day and a high near 84. The nighttime low will be around 47.

Next week will be more of the same until Wednesday, which, from this distance is setting up for precipitation and gusting winds. The likelihood of rain is at 40 percent.

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    Machelle Hobson (PCSO)

    Machelle Hobson, a Maricopa resident being prosecuted for child abuse, has died at the age of 49.

    Maricopa Police Department confirmed the death of the woman who had become known as the “YouTube Mom.” She was indicted on several charges this year after her adopted children accused her of abusing and maltreating them to force them to appear in a series for her YouTube channel.

    However, Hobson, also known as Hackney, had medical issues that prevented her appearance in any court proceedings. Prosecutors had expressed doubt early on that she would ever be able to be tried on the charges because of her physical and psychological condition.

    She was at a Scottsdale hospital at the time of her death. A specific cause of death has not been released.

    When Hobson was arrested in March, her two oldest sons, who are her biological children and are in their 20s, were also arraigned. Pinal County Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against the men, but MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said other charges may be pending.

    The successful YouTube channel “Fantastic Adventures,” which had more than 250 million views, was suspended after the arrests.

    Hobson’s daughter, who was not living at the house in The Villages, told police March 13 she learned of the alleged abuse from her adopted sister. Hobson was initially charged with 30 counts of abuse and kidnapping. Ultimately, the state was prosecuting her for 22 of those charges.

    Alvarado said a county detective informed MPD of Hobson’s death.

    Olivia Byers and Connor Schrader are headed to state competition this week. Photo by Victor Moreno

    Two Maricopa High School swimmers have qualified for the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division II State Championship Meet.

    Sophomore Connor Schrader is ranked 11th in the 100-meter backstroke and 18th in the 100-meter freestyle. Junior Olivia Byers was placed 33rd in the 100 free, making her first alternate.

    The top 32 compete.

    Preliminaries start Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at the Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa. Finals are Friday.

    Schrader and Byers are school record-holders for the Rams’ 2-year-old swimming program.

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    Oct. 1-31, 2019

    Sept. 1-30, 2019

    Aug. 1-31, 2019

    July 1-31, 2019

    June 1-30, 2019

    May 1-31, 2019

    April 1-30, 2019

    March 1-31, 2019

    Feb. 1-28, 2019

    Jan. 1-31, 2019

    Dec. 1-31, 2018

    Nov. 1-30, 2018

    Oct. 1-31, 2018

    Sept. 1-30, 2018

    August 1-31, 2018

    July 1-31, 2018

    June 1-30, 2018

    May 1-31, 2018

    April 1-30, 2018

    March 1-31, 2018

    Feb. 1-28, 2018

    Jan. 1-31, 2018

    Dec. 1-31, 2017

    Nov. 1-30, 2017

    Oct. 1-31, 2017

    Sept. 1-30, 2017

    Aug. 1-31, 2017

    July 1-31, 2017

    June 1-30, 2017

    May 1-31, 2017

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    March 1-31, 2017

    Feb. 1-28, 2017

    Jan. 1-31, 2017

    Dec. 1-31, 2016

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    Sept. 16-Oct. 15, 2016

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    June 16-July 16, 2016

    May 16-June 15, 2016

    April 16-May 15, 2016

    Feb. 1-29, 2016

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    Halloween night could get chilly this week. Photo by Kyle Norby

    A sunny weekend lies ahead for Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service, but trick-or-treating tonight could be downright cold.

    Halloween today is sunny and is expected to reach a high temperature of 77 degrees F. It will also be “breezy” with wind of 10-15 mph gusting up to 20 mph. The overnight low will drop to around 40 degrees, though the wind will die down after midnight.

    Friday’s forecast is for a sunny day with a high around 81 followed by a mostly clear evening with a low near 46.

    Saturday is predicted to be sunny, too, with a high near 85 and breezes up to 10 mph. The nighttime low will likely be around 49.

    Sunday may have a high near 84 under sunny skies. The night will reach a low around 48.

    Next week’s forecast looks much the same with sunny days and daytime temperatures in the low 80s and nighttime lows in the upper 40s without a hint of precipitation.


    Photo by Kyle Norby

    At least one person was injured in a collision this morning at the intersection of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and White and Parker Road.

    Maricopa Police spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said it appeared a car ran into the back of a box truck. A piece of the two-door Hyundai Accent was still attached to the truck when first responders arrived.

    Maricopa Fire/Medical Department personnel extracted a person from the car.

    The road was closed in all direction as the patient was treated and police investigated.

    Update: A truck reportedly taken from a high school student at gunpoint has been located but totaled, and the suspect is still at large.

    A carjacking was reported in the parking lot of Sequoia Pathway this morning.

    Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said two witnesses reported a possibly Hispanic or Native American male in his 40s was going through a truck belonging to their friend. They texted the victim to tell him someone was in his vehicle.

    “The victim along with three other friends approached the truck in the parking lot,” Alvarado stated. “The suspect pointed a weapon at them, then proceeded to get in the vehicle and drove off.”

    The vehicle is a 2000 Dodge 3/4 ton, gray pickup truck with a front plate that says “Whatever.” The driver is described as 5-foot-7, 230 pounds.

    The call came in at 10:42 a.m. The school was in lockdown for 10-15 minutes. No injuries were reported.

    This is an updated version of a story that appeared earlier today.

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    The Sequoia Pathway varsity football team ended its regular season undefeated at 8-0 and atop the Canyon Athletic Association’s open division.

    The Pumas defeated ASU Prep-Phoenix 40-6 Friday. They outscored their opponents this season 232-50 under new head coach Donnie Margerum.

    The division’s four-team playoff begins Nov. 9. Seeding has not been announced.

    Players who have been part of this year’s team:

    • AJ Anderson
    • Daijuan Anderson
    • Gavin Buchberger
    • Nolan Cook
    • Curtis David
    • Jonathan Dominguez
    • Ajani Elliot
    • Samuel Feigenbaum
    • Jyrei Gamble
    • Malikia Gustina
    • Favier Gutierrez
    • Esequiel Jaramillo

    • Yufiel Jones
    • Logan Keller
    • Weston Klee
    • Wyatt Klee
    • Tre Lacey
    • Quentin Lara
    • Brendan Lerch
    • Patrick Lisby
    • Jacob McIntyre
    • Shane Miller
    • Alex Montano
    • Rocco Prentice

    • Jon Richardson
    • Elijah Roman
    • Bowdie Sanders
    • Robert Sciuto
    • Aaliyah Scott
    • Jeffery Talbert
    • Karl Todtenbier
    • Colin Torres
    • Juan Vasquez
    • Bailey Velasquez

    Sequoia Pathway football coaches (from left) Ryan Portee, Donnie Margerum, Corey Nelson, Jonathan lesperance and Dick Portee. Submitted photo

    The Pathway volleyball team lost in the quarterfinal to third-seeded Imagine Prep-Surprise, 3-1, to end another successful season. The Pumas were 11-3 on the regular schedule and 1-1 in the playoffs.

    The Pathway boys soccer team ended its season 5-5, which was tops in Division II’s Region 5.


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    Tortosa is seeing a lot of residential construction during fine weather. Photo by Kyle Norby

    After a hot week, Maricopa is due to cool down slightly this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

    Today is sunny with an expected high of 96 degrees F. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. Tonight will be clear with a low around 60 and continuing winds.

    Friday is predicted to be sunny also, with a high near 88. The overnight low will be around 55.

    Saturday, the forecast is similar with sunny skies and a high near 89 and calm winds. The nighttime low will likely be around 55.

    Sunday, expect a high of 88 under sunny skies. The overnight low will be around 52.

    From this distance, next week looks like more of the same, with highs in the low 90s and upper 80s.


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    Photo by Kyle Norby

    The least expensive home sold in Maricopa from Aug. 16 through Sept. 15 was on the market less than three months on the east side of Maricopa. The home backs up to Hartman Road. It sold for $6,900 under the asking price.

    1. 17425 N. Avelino Drive, Sorrento

    Sold: Aug. 24
    Purchase price: $165,000
    Square footage: 1,079
    Price per square foot: $152.91
    Days on market: 76
    Builder: Hancock
    Year built: 2008
    Bedrooms: 3
    Bathrooms: 2
    Community: Sorrento
    Features: Dog run, covered back patio, full master suite
    Listing agent: James Mickelson, HomeSmart Success
    Selling agent: Maasai Dineh Robinson, Rockstar Realty

    2. 43176 W. Elizabeth Ave., Senita …………………………………………$172,000
    3. 37067 W. Amalfi Ave., Sorrento ………………………………………..$175,000
    4. 36428 W. Barcelona Lane, Tortosa …………………………………….$177,500
    5. 40077 W. Bonneau St., Desert Passage ………………………………$178,000

    This item appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.

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    It’s not all about the President.

    The 2020 election, besides having national, state and county races and issues at stake, also includes three seats on Maricopa City Council as well as the mayor’s office. The council seats up for election are currently occupied by Marvin Brown, Julia Gusse and Nancy Smith.

    Beginning today, prospective candidates can pick up nomination papers from the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza. Nomination paperwork must be turned in between March 9 and April 6 to be on the ballot.

    Tuesday, the city council passed a resolution officially setting the city election dates for next year.

    The Primary Election is Aug. 4, 2020. Voters must be registered by July 6. Any candidates receiving a majority of all the votes cast at the Primary Election will be declared elected without running at the General Election.

    The General Election is Nov. 3, 2020. Voters must be registered by Oct. 5.


    Photo by Victor Moreno

    The Maricopa High School swim team defeated Benjamin Franklin Thursday in a home meet.

    The boys won 104-43 and the girls won 82-78.

    Junior Olivia Byers and freshman Katelyn Owens again led the girls’ team. Byers won the 50-meter freestyle in 27.8 and the 100 free in 1:06.3. Owens won the 100 breaststroke in 1:18.3. Also taking first place was the 200 free relay team of Owens, Aubree Wittemann, Eva Zavala and Byers in 2:04.2.

    Second-place finishers for the Rams were Wittemann in the 200 free and the 100 free, Owens in the 200 individual medley, Zavala in the 50 free, Lexie Nordhoff in the 100 butterfly, Shelbee Beecroft in the 100 backstroke, the 200 medley relay team of Beecroft, Owens, Byers and Zavala, and the 400 free relay team of Emily Hollingsworth, Wittemann, Genevieve Pierce and Kaitlyn Crean.

    In third place for Maricopa were Emily Fauth in the 200 free, Katelyn James in the 100 fly, Hollingsworth in the 500 free, Zavala in the 100 breast, the 200 medley relay team of Emma Carr, Nordhoff, James and Crean, the 200 free relay team of Crean, Hollingsworth, Shelby Eisenacher and Fauth, and the 400 free relay team of Nordhoff, Eisenacher, Izzy Piwowar and James.

    The boys piled up on BF, winning seven of the events. Sophomore Connor Schrader bested his own school record in the 100 breast in 1:11.46, his fourth school record this season, according to head coach Laura Logan. He also won the 200 free in 1:57.6.

    Rafe Scoresby won the 200 IM in 2:47.3. Abel Rodriguez won the 100 fly in 1:17.2, and Andy Varga won the 100 free. The 200 medley relay team of Schrader, Joseph Lambert, Rodriguez and Varga won in 2:06.9. The 200 free relay team of Varga, Rodriguez, Tony Nelson and Schrader won in 1:47.6. The 400 free relay team of Rodriguez, Jayden Call, Bryan Perez and Scoresby won in 4:24.5.

    Second-place finishers for MHS were Call in the 200 free, Nelson in the 500 free and 100 back, Victor Moreno in the 100 fly, Perez in the 500 free, Lambert in the 100 breast, the 200 free relay team of Call, Jose Perez-Barraza, Fermin Valenzuela and Moreno, and the 400 free relay team of Perez-Barraza, Saul Rodriguez, Alex Borunda and Valenzuela.

    Placing third were Varga in the 50 free, Scoresby in the 100 free, Call in the 500, Perez in the 100 back and the 200 medley relay team of Perez, Scoresby, Moreno and Nelson.

    So far, three Maricopa swimmers have posted official times that put them in the top 50 in the state’s 5A division. That includes Schrader in three events – the 200 IM, 50 free and 100 back. Byers is top 50 in the 50 free, and Owens in the 100 breast.

    Erin Darr (PCSO)

    Changing her plea to guilty, a Maricopa mom is awaiting sentencing on two charges of child abuse.

    Erin Darr, 36, was taken back into custody by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Sept. 30 after reaching a plea agreement. She is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4 in Superior Court.

    Darr was arrested in December. She was originally charged with 10 counts of abuse.

    The agreement lets her plead guilty to pushing a victim down the stairs, which is a charge of child abuse under circumstances “likely to produce death or serious injury,” a class 3 felony. Darr also pled guilty to forcing a victim to “eat vomit,” a class 4 felony.

    The class 3 felony by law has a sentencing range of 2.5 to seven years, which can change under exceptional circumstances, with a presumptive sentence of 3.5 years. Per the plea agreement, Darr will serve a prison sentence of 3.5 to 7.5 years. The court will make the specific sentence next month.

    The class 4 felony has a sentence of one to three years in the criminal code, with a presumptive sentence of 2.5 years. The agreement allows her lifetime supervised probation, during which she can have no contact with the victim. She must also have written permission from the probation department to have any contact with children under the age of 18.

    If she rejects probation, the agreement states she will be sentenced to 3.75 years to run consecutively after the other sentence.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Darr must pay restitution to all named victims for “all economic loss (including medical and counseling fees), not to exceed $350,000.” There are additional fines of $5,000 and $500.

    She must also submit to a DNA test as a special condition.

    In exchange for her guilty pleas, the state agrees to drop all other charges, all of which were class 3 and class 4 felony charges of child abuse. Judge Christopher O’Neil has the option of rejecting the plea deal.

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    All Maricopa High School runners competing in Friday’s Nike Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival, a multi-state meet in Casa Grande, posted personal-best times.

    Competing in the large-school category against almost 50 teams, the boys’ team brought eight runners while the girls ran four.

    Senior Quinton Stapleton again led the squad, finishing the varsity race 237th out of 329 in the 5,000 meters (3.1 miles). At 19:27.95, he knocked 24 seconds off his best previous time.

    Sophomore Tanis Palmer finished 246th in 19:34.94 in his first race, and fellow soph Xavier Rose was 270th in 20:00.00, which was 51 seconds faster than his previous best. Junior Jovanni Fentes was 275th in 20:06.61, nearly three seconds faster than his results in last year’s Twilight. Rounding out the team’s top five, sophomore Gabriel Garcia was 280th in 20:10.50, his best time by 29 seconds.

    Sophomore Charles Liermann was 323rd in 22:21.02, more than a minute faster than his best time, and sophomore Nico McKinely was 329th in 26:20.30, improving his time by nearly six minutes. Running in the freshman race, Alex Blodgett was 226th in 23:24.10, better than his previous best by 22 seconds.

    Centennial senior Alexander Coyle won the boys’ varsity race in 15:37.5.

    Among the girls, MHS senior Zanaa Ramirez knocked her time down to 21:40.9, her first time under 22 minutes, in placing 91st among 320 runners.

    Junior Stella Richter was 304th in 26:56.25, about 20 seconds better than her best time. Senior Coryuna Mitchell bettered her time by more than five minutes by finishing 309th in 27:50.08. Junior Francis Trast ran 310th in 27:59.14.

    Ralston Valley (Arvada, Colorado) senior Elizabeth Schweiker won the girls’ varsity race in 18:23.47.

    Photo by Kyle Norby

    A toddler survived a near-drowning at a house in The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado Friday morning.

    The child apparently fell into a backyard pool on Wade Drive. Initial emergency calls indicated the child was not breathing and was turning blue.

    Maricopa Fire/Medical Department and Maricopa Police Department responded to the scene. The child was transported to a hospital.

    “We are still looking into it,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said. “But so far we believe the child got out through the doggy door and fell into the pool.”

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    The Estrellas under clouds. Photo by Kyle Norby

    Continued wet weather Thursday is expected to lead into a mild weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

    Today, a flood watch continues across the area as 50-percent chance of rain is predicted, with some storms producing heavy rains. Flash flooding will likely result in road closures and cause area washes to run heavily. Unprepared motorists could become trapped within fast-flowing washes.  The day will be partly sunny with a high near 87. The chance of rain will lessen to 30 percent overnight when the low temperature will be around 65.

    Friday is forecast to be sunny with a high near 88. The overnight low will again be 65 under clear skies.

    Saturday, the day is expected to warm up to 94 degrees with lots of sun and breezes of 5-15 mph. The overnight low will be around 66.

    Sunday, the predicted high is near 91, with sunny skies and continued breezes. The nighttime low will be around 62.

    The rest of the week looks to have clear skies and temps in the high 80s to low 90s.

    The National Weather Service in Tucson has issued a dust storm warning for Pinal County, 
    including Maricopa, until 4 p.m.
    The storm comes with less than a quarter-mile of visibility and wind gusts over 45 mph.
    Dust storms lead to dangerous driving conditions with visibility reduced to near zero. If 
    driving, avoid dust storms if possible. If caught in one, pull off the road, turn off your 
    lights and keep your foot off the brake.

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    Josh Turner will perform at the Events Center at Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino in September. (Submitted photo)

    Following a California traffic accident that took the life of one of his crew members and injured others, Josh Turner has canceled the rest of his concerts in September, including his appearance at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, which was scheduled for Sept. 28.

    His tour is working reschedule the concerts.

    The concert announcement:

    Following the devastating news that one of Josh Turner’s tour buses was involved in a deadly accident in California, we have been told that all remaining shows in September will be rescheduled for a later date.  Josh’s show scheduled for Sept. 28 at Harrah’s Ak-Chin has been cancelled. 

    Once rescheduled, tickets to the original show at Harrah’s Ak-Chin will be honored.  A refund process will also be announced at that time for ticketholders that cannot make the rescheduled date. 

    Josh Turner and his road family have suffered a devastating loss.  We send our heartfelt condolences to Josh, his band and crew.  


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    Photo by Kyle Norby

    A weekend of temperatures in the high 90s is ahead for Maricopa, according to the National Weather Service.

    Tonight will be clear with a low around 69 degrees F and winds gusting as high as 20 mph.

    Friday is forecast to be sunny with a high near 99 wile breezes maintain a 5-10 mph pace. The overnight low is expected to be around 67.

    Saturday, the day is likely to be sunny with a high of 97. The nighttime low will be abound 68 under mostly clear skies.

    Sunday is looking at high temperature near 99 followed by a night with a low around 73 as rain clouds move into the area with a 30-percent chance of rain.

    The likelihood of rain increases to 50 percent Monday as autumn arrives, with rain possibly continuing into Tuesday.

    Police blocked traffic in the neighborhood after the incident.

    The couple involved in a suspected murder-suicide in Desert Cedars Wednesday have been identified as Matthew and Vanessa Palma Padzunas, both 37.

    Matthew Padzunas

    They were reportedly estranged. Matthew Padzunas is believed to have killed Vanessa and then himself, friends said.

    Maricopa Police were called to the home around midday. They continue to investigate how and why events transpired.

    They leave behind three young children, who have been taken in by family. Though they have no material needs, those wishing to contribute may drop off gift cards at the InMaricopa office, 44400 W. Honeycutt Road, Suite 101.

    A GoFundMe account has been set up to help offset costs for Vanessa Palma’s funeral and travel expenses for the children to attend the funeral in New Jersey.

    A family tragedy played out in Desert Cedars Wednesday.

    Maricopa Police Department is investigating what appears to be a murder-suicide on Windrose Drive in Desert Cedars.

    Police were called to the residence around noon on the report of a possible suicide. They were also informed of a possible second victim.

    “At this time we are not going to release any further information as to respect of surviving family members,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said.

    Police blocked access to neighborhood traffic before entering the home just before 1 p.m. Children not at home at the time of the incident were located and taken care of as MPD worked with friends and family.

    Maricopa Unified School District notified parents over the weekend of a “potential threat of a weapon on campus on Monday” at the high school.

    The alleged threat was made off-campus Friday night. MUSD told parents it was working with Maricopa Police Department and had not substantiated the threat.

    Classes will take place as normal on Monday, but MPD plans to increase patrols.

    MUSD reminded parents threats against a school facility, even in jest, can be prosecuted beyond school discipline. “Please take this opportunity to talk with your children about the consequences of making statements of a threatening or dangerous nature at any time,” MUSD advised parents in its notification.

    The alleged threat comes after days of student fights on and off campus, also involving MPD.

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    The Maricopa High School volleyball team started its season with two wins and a loss in Arizona Interscholastic Association play, while in the Canyon Athletic Conference, Sequoia Pathway has built a record of 5-1.

    Photo by Kyle Norby

    MHS soundly defeated Camelback in straight sets, 25-13, 25-14, 25-9. That was followed by a 3-1 home victory over a team they lost to last season, Betty H. Fairfax, with sets of 25-10, 25-13, 13-25, 25-22. Thursday, the girls lost to Verrado in straight sets, 17-25, 12-25, 13-25.

    Meanwhile, the Pumas walked over Basis-Peoria to start their season, 3-0. They also took down Basis-Chandler in three, 25-13, 25-24, 25-4, and then Phoenix College Prep in straight sets, 25-20, 25-16, 25-17. Pathway defeated San Tan Charter in five sets, 3-2, but had the tables turned on them against Heritage Academy-Gateway, which handed them their first loss, 2-3.

    The Pumas had a walkover win against Imagine-Coolidge, which failed to show for Thursday’s match.

    In its first season of competition in CAA, playing in an independent region, Heritage-Maricopa has posted straight-set losses to Southwest Leadership and Basis-Ahwatukee.

    Photo by Kyle Norby


    Pinal County food inspectors looked at 31 Maricopa establishments, including several schools, from July 18 through Aug. 18 and gave all but one a clean bill of health.

    Cilantro’s received a “Satisfactory” mark after the discovery of a walk-in cooler not keeping food at the required maximum 41 degrees. Menudo that was found at 60 degrees was discarded.

    EXCELLENT [No violations found]
    Brooklyn Boys Italian Restaurant
    Burger King
    Butterfield Elementary
    Children’s Learning Adventure
    Chipotle Mexican Grill
    Desert Wind Middle School
    The Duke at Rancho El Dorado
    Dutch Bros
    Firehouse Subs
    Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
    Leading Edge Academy
    Li’s Garden
    Maricopa Head Start
    Maricopa High School
    Maricopa High School – Concessions
    Maricopa High School – Culinary Arts
    Maricopa Wells Middle School
    McDonald’s (John Wayne Parkway)
    Native Grill and Wings
    The New HQ
    Pima Butte Elementary
    Raceway Bar & Grill
    Rosati’s Pizza
    Saddleback Elementary
    Santa Cruz Elementary
    Santa Rosa Elementary
    Sunrise Café
    Sunrise Preschool

    SATISFACTORY [Violations corrected during inspection]
    Cilantro’s Mexican Cocina

    NEEDS IMPROVEMENT [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]

    UNACCEPTABLE [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]

    This item appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

    Heritage Academy received a new address. Photo by Kyle Norby


    Domino’s Pizza, 20046 N. John Wayne Parkway, is moving to the former Peñascos location, 20024 N. John Wayne Parkway in The Shops at Maricopa Village. The pizza store received a commercial tenant improvement permit after getting approval to do some demolition work in the new place.

    Heritage Academy received a permit for a fire sprinkler system and fire alarm in its A building and a commercial permit for the 16,101-square-foot academic building. It also convinced the city council to allow a name change of its street. Formerly on Lucera Lane, the new charter school is now on Heroes Way in Glennwilde.

    Richmond-American Homes started a grading and drainage permit for its driveway extensions at 44307 W. Palo Nuez St. in Palo Brea to accommodate a three-car entry.

    Meritage Homes is converting a garage into a sales office at 19769 N. MacNeil Court in Homestead North. Meritage also received a standard plan review for lots in Province. K. Hovnanian Homes was allowed a temporary construction trailer at 46172 W. Mountain View Road in Maricopa Meadows.

    Sacate Pellet Mill received a commercial permit for a pre-engineered metal building at 38743 W. Cowtown Road. The new business also received a permit for its fire sprinkler in its hay office.

    Apex Motor Club was allowed to place a $35,000 pre-manufactured building on its property at 22408 N. Ralston Road through a factory-built commercial permit. The building is 2,500 square feet.

    Sequoia Pathway Academy, 19265 N. Porter Road, used a commercial alteration permit to restore a modular bathroom after work on a mold problem.

    The Jamie Brisbin Agency of State Farm moved into office space in Bradley Butz’s building at 19395 N. John Wayne Parkway, received a new tenant final inspection July 24.

    In putting in an electric vehicle charging station, Volkswagen received a commercial foundation-only permit as “at risk” at 17169 N. Murphy Road.

    Hope Women’s Center, 45978 W. McDavid Road, received a commercial tenant improvement permit for work contracted by Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona.

    Simon Med Imaging received a permit for a fire alarm in its new office at 44555 W. Edison Road, Suite B.

    This item appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

    ‘We will do better’

    MPD Chief Steve Stahl


    A major mistake by the Maricopa Police Department in July earned a live apology from the police chief.

    “We messed up,” he announced at his monthly Coffee with the Chief, which is carried on the department’s Facebook page and generally involves information on current events and safety tips for the community.

    It was a mea culpa from a department that does not like to air details of its inner workings in personnel matters.

    Maricopa Unified School District allowed MPD to carry out training exercises on the Butterfield Elementary campus during the summer break. The July 3 training involved a K-9 searching for narcotics, but one small packet was inadvertently left behind in a room, an error that was not discovered until after school started.

    “It’s our fault,” Chief Steve Stahl said. “This is on us.”

    Superintendent Tracey Lopeman notified parents of the situation July 25 after the school had to go into “shelter-in-place” mode while police searched the premises. She said the district would re-evaluate its agreement with MPD.

    As Lopeman and Stahl both said the relationship was important, MPD was re-evaluating, too.

    “From a department standpoint, we are going to evaluate our policies and procedures to make sure that they are up to standards with other agencies that have K-9 programs,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said.

    Though Stahl apologized to Lopeman personally, he said he needed to apologize to her, the staff, students, parents and community publicly because of the potential of what could have happened.

    It turned out a teacher had discovered the packet, wrapped and reportedly looking like an old sandwich, on July 15 and threw it out.

    “We have higher expectations of ourselves and have taken measures to correct the issue,” Stahl said.

    He said if any good came out of the situation it was that no children were ever in any danger because the school was out during the time between the training and the discovery of the narcotics.

    “I can tell you this; the officer involved in this scenario has children, has children that attend MUSD schools, and is extremely remorseful for what occurred and has taken full responsibility,” Stahl said. “And we will press on from here.”

    He expressed regret that parents experienced added apprehension and stress over the incident. “For that, we apologize, and we will do better.”

    This story appears in part in the September issue of InMaricopa. For clarification, MPD released information publicly about what occurred at Butterfield shortly after MUSD informed parents of the situation. 

    Update: Maricopa Police reported they gave up the search after an hour scouring the neighborhood. They did not offer a name or description of the subject.

    Maricopa Police Department is looking for a suspect who fled on foot in the area of Smith-Enke and Porter roads.

    MPD had been called by Adult Probation to pick up the individual at a house on Colby Drive. He was wanted on outstanding warrants for nonviolent offenses. However, when police went to the home he ran away.

    At this time, the neighbors are not considered to be in danger. Police are not asking for the public’s help in finding him but do ask residents to stay out of the way of the responding officers and let them work as they canvass the area.

    If anyone does see anyone exhibiting suspicious behavior, such as climbing over walls, they are asked to call 911 and report it.

    by -
    Photo by Kyle Norby

    Maricopa weather is heading right back to an excessive heat warning for Labor Day weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

    Today is sunny with an expected high of 106 degrees F. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 81.

    Friday, just in time for home football games by Maricopa High School and Sequoia Pathway, another excessive heat warning is in place from 10 a.m. Friday to 8 p.m. Saturday as the high temperature soars to 110. The nighttime low will only get down to 82, and relative humidity is expected to be over 40 percent.

    Saturday is forecast to be sunny and a little hotter, with an expected high of 111. The night may be partly cloudy with a low around 81. Excessive heat leads to an increase in heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke has already been deadly in Pinal County this month. Please take precautions to lessen the impact of the extreme heat.

    Sunday, the heat eases off slightly, with a high near 108 under sunny skies. Overnight, there is a 20-percent chance of showers and a low around 79.

    Labor Day is forecast to be mostly sunny with a high near 106 followed by an evening that has a 20-percent chance of rain. That leads into a week of temperatures below 107 and continued possibilities for rain.

    An officer checks out an Acura while the driver is arrested behind him in the window's reflection after an afternoon collision on John Wayne Parkway. Photos by Kyle Norby

    A rollover accident in the southbound lanes of John Wayne Parkway north of Smith-Enke Road stopped traffic next to Cobblestone Farms at the beginning of rush hour.

    The incident involved two vehicles at the intersection of JWP and Cobblestone Drive. An Acura collided with a Nissan Armada, and the Acura rolled up on its side.

    First responders checked out both drivers at the scene. The driver of the Acura was cuffed by Maricopa Police Department on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

    According to MPD, the Acura swerved to avoid another vehicle and clipped the Armada, which suffered tire and back end damage.