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Staff Reports

Staff Reports
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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.

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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

April 1-30, 2017

March 1-31, 2017

Feb. 1-28, 2017

Jan. 1-31, 2017

Dec. 1-31, 2016

Nov. 1-30, 2016

Sept. 16-Oct. 15, 2016

Aug. 16-Sept. 15, 2016

June 16-July 16, 2016

May 16-June 15, 2016

April 16-May 15, 2016

Feb. 1-29, 2016

‘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.

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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.

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Photo by Kyle Norby

After setting a record of 114 degrees on Wednesday, 10 degrees above normal, Maricopa can look forward to a slightly cooler, possibly damper weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Today, there is a 20-percent chance of showers and thunderstorms while the high temperature reaches 110 degrees F. Tonight should be mostly clear with a low of 80.

Friday has a sunny forecast, expecting a high of about 105. The overnight low may be around 79 with the return of a 20-percent chance of rain after midnight.

Saturday is expected to be sunny with a high of just 102. The nighttime will be breezy, including gusts up to 20 mph, with a low 79.

Sunday may be mostly sunny with a high around 103 and light breezes. The overnight low will be around 79.

That leads to a week with increasingly warm temperatures.


Veronica and Corey Masterson were indicted by a grand jury. PCSO photos


A pre-trial conference has been set for Veronica and Corey Masterson, a Maricopa couple accused of child abuse.

Friday, the couple, who are free on bonds of $50,000 each, appeared together in front of Judge Jason Holmberg. Though they have separate attorneys, only one attorney was in court to push the proceedings forward.

Veronica Masterson, 38, and Corey Masterson, 37, still have a hearing set in October, but their pre-trial conference was placed on Nov. 8.

They are accused of abusing their three children from November 2017 to November 2018 and were indicted on felony counts in December. In law enforcement records, the children accused the pair of hitting and kicking them, taping their mouths shut and depriving them of food and water.

The couple lost an infant child in 2013, and Veronica Masterson’s four oldest children perished in a fire last year in Illinois.


Maricopa Police Department had calls from two schools this week for very different reasons.

Thursday night, Leading Edge Academy reported a SnapChat message by a student stating he was going to “shoot up the school.” Police officers met with the student and a parent at their home.

According to MPD, the student admitted to making threats but said he was joking. Officers determined “he did not have the means to carry out the threats.”

This morning, a “suspicious man” in a car was reported at a bus stop in Homestead trying to approach a student on her way to school at Desert Wind Middle School. He reportedly tried to get her to enter his vehicle. MPD was still investigating this afternoon.

The man was described as being in his 30s or 40s with dark skin and wearing a green shirt with white stripes. He was driving a vehicle “similar to a tan, four-door, Honda Accord.”

Anyone with information is asked to call MPD’s non-emergency number, 520-316-6800.

MUSD reported the incident to police and distributed the information to parents along with stranger-danger tips.

Advice for children:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and report suspicious activity immediately to a parent, responsible adult, teacher, school administrator, or police officer.
  • If you are approached by a stranger and offered anything, say NO and tell an adult immediately.
  • If a stranger approaches you at a bus stop, tell the bus driver immediately that the person is a stranger.
  • Never walk alone. Always walk in pairs or with a group.
  • Take well-traveled, open routes to school. Avoid alleys or poorly lit areas.
  • Never go anywhere with someone you don’t know.
  • Do not speak to strangers; do not respond to calls or comments from strangers.
  • Stay away from an adult who is asking children for help, as in seeking directions, or looking for a lost puppy.
  • Don’t let a stranger into your home.
  • If you have any fear of an adult stranger speaking to you, walk away.
  • If someone grabs your wrist, make your arm spin like a windmill; yell as loud as you can; then run.
  • If you’re riding your bicycle, keep the bike between you and the adult.

Advice for parents:

  • Keep young children at play outside your home or in the park within view.
  • Make sure that outdoor activities are supervised.
  • Teach your children that they can use any telephone, even a pay phone, to call 911.
  • Teach your children that it’s okay to say “no” to what they sense something is wrong.
  • Have your child photographed at least once a year, more often if he/she is under 5 years old.

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Maricopa will be baking this weekend.

With temperatures continuing to sizzle, the National Weather Service has extended the excessive heat warning through 8 p.m. Friday in western Pinal County.

An excessive heat warning mans that a period of very hot temperatures, even by local standards, will occur. Overexposure can cause heat cramps and heat exhaustion to develop and, without intervention, can lead to heat stroke.

Stay indoors and seek air-conditioned buildings. Those engaging in outdoor work or athletic activity should be closely monitored. If engaging in outdoor activity, take longer and more frequent breaks and avoid the hottest parts of the day. Never leave kids or pets unattended in cars.

Today is sunny and hot with a high near 114 and little wind. Tonight will be clear with a low around 81.

Friday’s forecast is also sunny and hot with a high near 111. The night is expected to be mostly clear with alow around 80 and winds of 5-10 mph.

Saturday is expected to be sunny with a high near 109. The overnight low will be around 80 under mostly clear skies.

Sunday will likely see a few clouds with a partly sunny forecast and a high of 109. The night will have partly cloudy skies and a low around 81.

Next week will grow progressively hotter with the possibility of another heat warning.

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Photo by Kyle Norby

A house in Glennwilde’s Magnolia section was the most expensive home sold in Maricopa from June 16 through July 15. It gained 42 percent in value since it last sold two years ago. The two-story house with a pool next to a common area was recently remodeled and includes roomy bedrooms and a three-car garage.

  1. 42405 W. Somerset Drive, Glennwilde

Sold: June 29
Purchase price: $323,000
Square footage: 3,301
Price per square foot: $97.84
Days on market: 66
Builder: Centex
Year built: 2006
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Community: Glennwilde
Features: Heated pool, covered patio with built-in barbecue, bamboo flooring, granite countertops
Listing agent: Tina Clowes, The Maricopa Real Estate Company
Selling agent: Deanne Brevik, Keller Williams Realty

  1. 37698 W. Vera Cruz Drive, Rancho Mirage ……………………………. $322,000
  2. 40772 W. Pryor Lane, Homestead ………………………………………… $310,000
  3. 43311 W. Kramer Lane, The Villages at Rancho El Dorado ……. $300,000
  4. 20695 N. Bustos Way, The Villages at Rancho El Dorado ………. $300,000

    This item appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

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Photo by Kyle Norby


The least expensive home sold in Maricopa from June 16 through July 15 is a 45-year-old house in the Heritage District. Site-built on an 11,000-square-foot lot, the house retains its rural environment and is not subject to a homeowners association. It also receives its water from the Maricopa Domestic Water Improvement District. It sold for $16,500 under its list price.

  1. 45220 W. Madison Ave., Heritage District

Sold: June 28
Purchase price: $108,000
Square footage: 1,040
Price per square foot: $103.84
Days on market: 45
Builder: Unknown
Year built: 1974
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1
Community: None
Features: Tile and laminate flooring, RV gate, slab parking, large lot, gas heat, septic
Listing agent: Danielle Nichols, The Maricopa Real Estate Company
Selling agent: Pat Lairson, The Maricopa Real Estate Company

  1. 43815 W. Cahill Drive, Rancho El Dorado ……………………………… $171,000
  2. 45074 W. Sage Brush Drive, Alterra South ……………………………. $171,000
  3. 42276 W. Calle St., Santa Rosa Springs …………………………………. $175,000
  4. 46081 W. Windmill Drive, Maricopa Meadows …………………….. $176,000

    This item appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

A local man died, and two people were injured in a crash Sunday night.

According to Maricopa Police Department, the one-vehicle rollover occurred near the junction of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and Hartman Road at around 10:30 p.m. The three occupants were ejected.

The male driver was deceased at the scene. A female passenger received a serious injury to her arm, according to MPD, and the other female passenger had non-life-threatening injuries.

“Impairment and speed are considered a factor,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado stated.

The identities have not been released, though occupants were apparently from Ak-Chin Indian Community and Thunderbird Farms.

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Maricopa will be under an excessive heat watch this week, according to the National Weather Service as temperatures soar.

The watch is in place Tuesday morning through Thursday evening. High temperatures are expected to reach at least 113 midweek. Excessive heat can lead to heat stroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and other related illnesses. Heat stroke can lead to death.

Stay indoors and seek air-conditioned buildings. Drink water, more than usual, and avoid dehydrating alcoholic, sugary or caffeinated drinks. Dress for the heat – lightweight and light-colored clothing. Eat small meals and eat more often.

Monitor those with a higher vulnerability to heat, including small children. Check in on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly. If engaging in outdoor activity, take longer and more frequent breaks and avoid the hottest parts of the day. Never leave kids or pets unattended in cars.

Today, the expected high temperature is 107. The nighttime low will be around 78.

Tuesday, the high is forecast to be 109 under sunny skies. The overnight low will be around 82.

Wednesday, prepare for a sunny and hot day, with a high near 113 and little wind. The night is expected to be partly cloudy with a low around 83.

Thursday is forecast to be sunny and hot with a high near 113. The overnight low will likely be around 83.

Friday cools down a bit for a high of 110. Winds are expected to pick up, gusting as high as 20 mph. That will continue into evening, when the low is expected to be around 82.

The weekend will still be slightly above normal but below 110.

Notah Begay III (right) gives Ak-Chin Chairman Robert Miguel advice on his golf game. Photos by Raquel Hendrickson

Retired PGA golfer and current NBC/Golf Channel analyst Notah Begay III hosted clinics for children and adults Saturday morning as part of a weekend event at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes. Begay, a Stanford graduate and four-time winner on the PGA Tour, is the most successful Native American golfer in history. He told participants he was excited to see the development of Native-owned enterprises like those in the Ak-Chin Indian Community. He said any golfer competing at the top level knew about Southern Dunes. He gave participants tips for improving their short game and spoke about his foundation and N7. He also told tales on his long-time friend and college teammate Tiger Woods.

Maricopa's weekend weather will see a mix of clouds and sun. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa’s weekend weather is expected to become a little cooler than recent weeks and even drop below the normal high of 105, according to the National Weather Service.

Today is mostly sunny with a forecast high of 107. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 83. A high-pollution advisory remains in effect in Pinal County.

Friday will likely be partly sunny with a high near 106. Clouds will move in during the evening, bringing a 20-percent chance of rain after midnight and low around 82.

Saturday‘s high will be near 101 under mostly sunny skies. The 20-percent chance of precipitation returns in the evening as the low drops to around 80.

Sunday has a 20-percent chance of rain during the day and an expected high of 101. The evening will be mostly clear with a low around 80.

Next week, daily high temperatures will climb back over 105 under clear skies.

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The number of single-family residential homebuilding permits approved in July 2019 totaled 150.

With D.R. Horton Construction building in Tortosa and Rancho Mirage Estates, Meritage Homes in Homestead South and Province, and Richmond American in Palo Brea, Maricopa has returned to pre-recession levels of home permit requests.

Combined, 10 homebuilders received 150 single-family residential (SFR) permits in July, the highest monthly total since October 2007. The total projects are valued at $37 million.

DRH accounted for 60 of those home-building permits. The builder is quickly filling in streets in north and south Tortosa. Richmond, meanwhile, has rebooted the once-stagnant development of Palo Brea, and KB Home has lots in Homestead.

Starlight Homes and Scott Homes are both building in Sorrento. Fulton Homes continues construction in Glennwilde. LGI Homes is in Rancho Mirage, Costa Verde Homes is in Santa Rosa Springs, and Lennar is prepping more lots in Alterra.

According to the City of Maricopa, the July total tops the entire year of 2011, when only 110 homebuilding permits were issued.

“The amount of SFR permits coming in is astonishing,” Permit Technician Isela Hernandez said in a City release. “Maricopa is a great place to live and raise a family, and with all these new homes in development it seems the secret is out.”

Aidan Balt

The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced Aidan Balt of Maricopa High School has been offered a Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program grant and fellowship.

“Being awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and grant is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am so grateful that out of over 450 applicants, I was selected to participate,” said Balt, a National Board Certified teach.

“I am always seeking to be the best educator I can be, and I’m positive this experience will lead to new ways of thinking and have a big impact in my classroom at MHS.”

She is one of approximately 76 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad through the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program in 2019-20. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential. The grant pays expenses associated with the fellowship.

“The process was long, and I’ve been waiting since the spring to hear if I was awarded a spot or not,” she said.

Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms is a year-long professional development opportunity for U.S. elementary, middle, and high school teachers to develop skills for preparing students for a competitive global economy. The fellowship includes a 10-week course online and a three-day summit in Washington, D.C., in January.

“From there, I will find out where my exchange with the U.S. State Department will take me,” Balt said. “I will be assigned a country, a school and a cooperating teacher/classroom. I will be overseas for 2-3 weeks, working with the cooperating teacher and students. Once I return, I will have until the end of August to complete a Capstone project based on the action research I complete during my time overseas.”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries that are needed to solve global challenges. It operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

“I can’t wait to see what learning comes out of this experience,” Balt said. “I am always seeking to be the best educator I can be, and I’m positive this experience will lead to new ways of thinking and have a big impact in my classroom at MHS.”

At least one person was injured when cars collided. Photo by Kyle Norby

A traffic collision at the intersection of Smith-Enke Road and Desert Greens Drive resulted in injuries to at least one person, who needed a team of first responders to be extracted from the vehicle. The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. as one vehicle on Desert Greens collided with the driver’s side front end of the other sedan. Only one lane of traffic was blocked as police and fire worked the scene. AMR ambulance also responded.

True Grit Tavern. File photo

Thirty-one of 34 establishments inspected by Pinal County Environmental Health Department in the Maricopa area from June 16 through July 17 received excellent marks. Two were found to be satisfactory, and one received the cautionary mark “needs improvement” because of a refrigeration problem.

True Grit Tavern received the “N” rating when the inspector found raw meats in the prep fridge at higher temperatures than the required maximum 41 degrees F. According to the report, fish was at 50 degrees, chicken and hamburger patties at 46 degrees and shrimp at 44 degrees. An embargo notice was signed to discard the food. The inspector also noted a floor drain not working and bad lighting in the prep area, circumstances that could not be corrected immediately.

Meanwhile, Denny’s and Say Sushi received “S” ratings. Say Sushi also had a cold-holding problem with its walk-in refrigerator, with cream cheese, rolls, dumplings and tofu cheese stored at 47 degrees, resulting in an embargo. At Denny’s, a small prep unit had lettuce, tomatoes and liquid eggs at 45 degrees, and a walk-in cooler had hash browns at 45 degrees. Both situations were remedied during inspection.

EXCELLENT [No violations found]
99 Cents Only
Bashas’ – AFC Sushi
Bashas’ – Bakery
Bashas’ – Deli
Bashas’ – Starbucks
Circle K (east)
Circle K (east) Made to Go
Copa Craze
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Francisco’s Mexican Food
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s Marketplace – Bakery
Fry’s Marketplace – Deli
Fry’s Marketplace – Starbucks
Fry’s Marketplace – Sushi
Good Donuts
Jack in the Box
Jersey Mike’s Subs
Native Grill & Wings
Plaza Bonita
Panda Express
Tacos ‘N’ More
Walmart – Bakery
Walmart – Deli
Yogurt Jungle

SATISFACTORY [Violations corrected during inspection]
Say Sushi

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

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


Days will grow increasingly hot this weekend, but there is a small chance of rain. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

This weekend will not only be a little hotter than normal, according to the National Weather Service, but will also likely have bad air quality.

Pinal County Department of Air Quality has issued an Ozone High Pollution Advisory for Friday. This means forecast weather conditions combined with existing ozone levels are expected to result in eight-hour ozone concentrations that pose a health risk.

A decrease in physical activity is recommended. The use of gasoline-powered equipment should be reduced or done late in the day.

Today is mostly sunny with an expected high of 103 degrees F. Tonight’s low is expected to be abound 83.

Friday, the temperature is expected to climb to 107 under sunny skies. The nighttime low will likely be around 84.

Saturday is forecast to be mostly sunny with a high near 109 and increasing breezes. The average high for this time of year is 105. The overnight low will be around 85.

Sunday is predicted to climb to 110 on a partly sunny day. By night, there is a 20-percent chance of rain before 11 p.m. The night will be mostly cloudy with a low around 85.

The chance for precipitation returns on Tuesday, but high temperatures are expected to remain in the triple digits for the week.

A 17-year-old boy was clipped by a passing train. Photo by Kyle Norby

A teenage pedestrian was reportedly struck by a freight train Tuesday afternoon.

The boy, 17, was crossing the railroad tracks on foot away from a crossing near the water tower when the collision occurred, according to Maricopa Police Department. He suffered a gash to the arm but had no life-threatening injuries. He was treated at the scene and later transported by an American Medical Response Ambulance.

He told police he was out of school, attending only half-days.

Maricopa Police and Maricopa Fire/Medical responded to the scene on the north side of the Union Pacific tracks. The train crew stopped to participate in the investigation as MPD spoke to witnesses.

Earlier today MUSD sent a notification to parents regarding an incident at Butterfield Elementary School. The email shed light on officials asking students and teachers to shelter in place as Maricopa Police Department searched for narcotics they left behind during a drill on July 3.


See a copy of the email below and we will update when more information is available.

Dear MUSD Parents:

Maricopa Unified School District partners with Maricopa Police Department in a number of ways to keep our students safe.  Part of that relationship is the use of District facilities for training purposes. This morning, district officials were informed that during a July 3rd training exercise, Maricopa Police Department may have inadvertently left narcotics on the Butterfield Elementary School campus.

This morning, District officials advised Butterfield Elementary to have students and staff shelter in place while the Maricopa Police Department conducted a search of the school.   After interviewing teachers, it was determined a teacher found the package on July 15; not knowing what it was, the teacher discarded the package in the trash.  At no time were students ever exposed to the package.

As always, our first priority is student and staff safety. We are committed to transparency and collaboration with our families and, in our connected community, receiving factual information from the source is important. If you have any questions, please contact us at 520-568-5100.

Dr. Tracey Lopeman


Maricopa Unified School District