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Staff Reports

Staff Reports
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Among Maricopa area residents arrested by Pinal County sheriff’s deputies was one woman who was already in jail when she was arrested again.

Danielle Kathi Hughes, 35, was arrested at the adult detention center April 6 after being remanded to serve three and a half years in prison. While being booked, she allegedly admitted to having drugs concealed in her body. According to the report, 111 narcotic pills were removed.

Hughes was charged with promoting prison contraband, a Class 2 felony, possession of a narcotic drug, a Class 4 felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class 6 felony.

In other local cases, Harold Wade Shepherd, 53, of Stanfield, was arrested on Papago Drive April 11. He is charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree criminal trespassing.

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Club meetings, fun activities for the kids and more are in store this week. That includes the annual Pitch, Hit & Run competition from Major League Baseball at Copper Sky and the hugely popular Fishing Derby. There are also important government meetings and some first-time events.

The Maricopa Fire Department will drop in on a meeting of Friends of the Maricopa Public Library, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at the library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road. The nonprofit club is dedicating to serving and supporting the municipal library.
Contact:, 602-689-0769

The Maricopa Planning & Zoning Commission meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza to discuss a preliminary-plat request from Meritage Homes to subdivide Province Parcel 3 into 20 single family residential lots; hear a presentation on the General Plan; and review introductory packets for members and discuss future educational opportunities.

The Maricopa Youth Council meet at 6 p.m. at City Hall to discuss Relay for Life, Copa Cares packages and the spring field trip and vote on posters for Crime Victims Rights Week.

The new Maricopa Lions Club will meet at 7 p.m. at Barro’s Pizza, 44600 W. Smith-Enke Road. All are invited to find out more about the service organization.
Contact: Dave Bock, 360-303-8018

Pitch, Hit & Run starts at 6 p.m. at Copper Sky Regional Park, 45345 W. Martin Luther King Blvd. The baseball/softball contest for boys and girls ages 7-14 tests three areas of skill, with a chance to advance to the sectional competition and beyond. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m. To participate, sign up at

Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health presents the Fall Protection in Construction Webinar from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The class is designed to give a better understanding of OSHA’s Fall Protection standards for the Construction Industry. Students will be able to determine required fall protection actions based on working conditions. For more information and to register, visit


Coffee "On the Porch" at the Library starts at 9 a.m. at the Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W Smith-Enke Road. Sip coffee, eat cookies and meet your neighbors and Library Manager Erik Surber.
Contact:, 520-568-2285

The Heritage District Citizen Advisory Committee meets at 6:30 p.m. at the Copa Center, 44585 W. Honeycutt Road.

The inaugural 5K Poker Run starts at 9 a.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin, 15406 Maricopa Road. It includes a timed 5K run, a pool party and poolside poker promotion to benefit United Way of Pinal County. Cost is $35 in advance, $45 day of the event.

Desert Gardening 101, Part III, is 9 a.m. to noon at Maricopa Agricultural Center, 37860 W. Smith-Enke Road. The final part of Maricopa Master Gardeners' series will focus on cultivation and food preservation. The event is free and all are invited.
Contact: 520-431-0248

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InMaricopa News introduces you to the men and women who keep you safe.

With decades of experience, Assistant Chief Bobby Miller came to the Maricopa Fire Department from Mesa Fire in 2014 to help Chief Brady Leffler re-organize and train a top-notch crew.

Rank: Assistant Chief of Operations

Certifications/Specialties: Specialized training in Incident Management, Ladder Truck Operations, Aircraft Rescue Firefighting, Hazardous Material Incidents, Promotional Processes.

Hometown: Gilbert

Family: Wife Kathy, daughter Sarah, son Matthew, grandchildren Blake (4), Everett (3) and Harper (3)

Education: Senior Year Columbia Southern University Bachelor’s Applied Science-Fire Science

Hobbies/interests: Grandchildren, home improvement, Mr. Fix It (or break it more) and fishing

Years as firefighter: 35

Years with MFD: 1

Favorite part of job: Inspiring others to perform at their highest level

Least favorite part of job: Negative employees, of which we have very few

Scariest moment on the job: Entering a two story, smoke- filled, poorly- built home, as a single firefighter with a report of children trapped in the second-floor bedroom and sensing flashover conditions.  

Bravest act you’ve witnessed: Mesa Firefighter Greg Fleger’s attitude for recovery of third degree burns suffered on a drill that I attended.

What you wish everyone knew: Maricopa Fire units are tracked by satellite to ensure the closest unit receives the call for assistance. The crews that arrive are dedicated, talented, courageous and truly care about their community. 

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Beauty by Elena
Hart Computer Solutions LLC


5xGusse Properties LLC
Al’s Home Improvement & Repair
C and D Assisted Living Homes
EDC/Usborne Books and More/UBAM
Inspired by Sisters
Los Antojitos
Prestige Landscaping LLC
Prices 2 Love
Purple Treasure Handbags & Accessories
Stuart’s Handyman and
With Heart Massage Therapy
Young Living

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A married couple from Maricopa ended up in jail Sunday on warrant arrests.

Jackie Lynn Munoz, 31, and Jacob Alexander Munoz, 36, were arrested at the same location on Warren Road at Val Vista. Jackie Munoz was arrested at 4:28 p.m. by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office on charges of possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia as well as probation violation.

Jacob Munoz was arrested at 7:41 p.m. and charged with failure to appear. He had a bond of $16,500.

The two were booked at the PCSO jail.

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All Maricopa establishments inspected by Pinal County Public Health Services in March received “Excellent” marks.


  • Central Arizona College – culinary
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Legacy Traditional School
  • Maricopa Elementary School
  • Maricopa Wells Middle School
  • Native Grill and Wings
  • The New HQ
  • Pima Butte Elementary
  • Province Community Association – clubhouse
  • Santa Rosa Elementary
  • Sequoia Pathway Academy
  • Sequoia Pathway Academy Secondary
  • Shamrock Farms
  • Taco Bell
  • Walgreens
  • Yogurt Jungle

Excellent: No critical items are identified during the inspection.

Satisfactory: One or more critical items are noted during the inspection and the identified critical items are satisfactorily corrected immediately.

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Construction of an overpass on State Route 347 could begin in 2020 if funding is in place.

That is the result of a finding of “no significant impact” in the final environmental assessment, as announced by the Federal Highway Administration March 18. Now the Arizona Department of Transportation can begin acquiring rights of way and advancing the design “when funding is available.”

The proposed $55 million grade separation on John Wayne Parkway at the Union Pacific Railroad tracks is a partnership among ADOT, UPRR and the City of Maricopa. The city is also responsible for acquiring rights of way.

Last year, the project was moved from ADOT’s 10-year plan to its five-year plan. Over the next three years, $13.3 million is scheduled to be spent on right-of-way acquisitions. This year, $5.5 million is allocated for design as well.

Though ADOT is working off Alternative Design H, any number of factors could cause changes. Once the design reaches 30 percent completion, the alignment is locked in, according to Maricopa Public Works Director Bill Fay. Then the appropriate rights of way can be pursued.

ADOT’s Transportation Facilities Construction Program is allocating $36.2 million for construction in 2020.

According to ADOT, SR 347 carries an average of 34,000 vehicles per day and is anticipated to have 69,000 per day in 2030. At the same time, UPRR averages 40 trains per day through Maricopa and could expand to 100 per day.

Before the construction of the overpass, the project includes relocating the Amtrak station to a city-owned site on Garvey Avenue and consolidating SR 347’s intersections at Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and Honeycutt Road into one intersection.

ADOT estimates the acquisition of 11 business properties will be necessary: “Businesses operating from these commercial properties will either relocate or close. Based on the results of the business survey, relocation could take as long as one year to accomplish. Properties will be acquired at fair market value pursuant to the requirements of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970.”

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A high-speed chase Friday led to a rollover on Interstate 8 and a subsequent arrest for marijuana possession.

Around 4:30 a.m., a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy at I-8 and Stanfield Road pursued a red Nissan Xterra after allegedly witnessing several traffic infractions. Instead of stopping, the vehicle fled, reaching speeds over 85 mph.

After swerving between lanes on I-8 it left the roadway to make a U-turn in the median and rolled over.

The vehicle came to rest on its roof, and six people ran into a cemetery near Trekell Road.

Inside the vehicle, the deputy found bundles of what was suspected to be marijuana and contacted the PCSO Narcotics Task Force. The five bundles were later identified as marijuana. They weighted between 25.8 pounds and 56.5 pounds, a total of 211 pounds with an estimated street value over $116,000.

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The Maricopa Police Department’s planned substation at Copper Sky Regional Park has been on the capital improvements list since 2013.

As it gets closer to becoming reality, MPD is preparing a new communication center to be located at the station. To explain how that will operate, Chief Steve Stahl will focus his March Coffee with the Chief event on the center.

The monthly coffee is Saturday from 8 to 9 a.m. at MPD headquarters, 39675 W. Civic Center Plaza South.

Communications Manager Jennifer Cruz will explain the new center plans, its capabilities and equipment.

With winter visitors beginning to leave, Coffee with the Chief also offers an opportunity to get on the list for the MPD’s House Watch Program.

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Maricopa Music Circle (MMC) will mark its fifth anniversary with a spring concert at UltraStar Ak-Chin Cinemas from 2 to 4 p.m. March 22.  

The chamber orchestra plans exciting music and catchy melodies for its move to a premiere venue.  

Program highlights include a Spanish flavor in music from Mexico and France, the aura of the dance in music from Germany and Czechoslovakia, and dreamy interludes from France and the United States. Solo turns for individual musicians are highlighted throughout the performance in a mix that balances more intimate scorings, music for voices and instruments, and full orchestral compositions.  

The music includes works by Bizet, Bach, Dvorak, Handel, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Fritz Kreisler, George and Ira Gershwin, and two women composers, Edith Piaf and Consuelo Velázquez.

MMC’s programs range widely and include everything from full orchestral works to classical instrumental and vocal solos, popular tunes, jazz, and great standards from the big-band era to the present in arrangements specifically tailored for its instrumentation.        

MMC chamber orchestra is unique in performing without a conductor.  It plays in various locations in Maricopa and surrounding locales and is well known to city audiences for its excellent performances and intriguing programming. In recent seasons MMC offered a note of classical provenance at the city’s formal 10th anniversary ceremonies and the City Hall grand opening, and served as chief musical partner to Maricopa Chorus, Maricopa Community Theatre, Desert Sun Performing Arts and the first edition of Art on the Veranda.  

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InMaricopa News introduces you to the men and women who keep you safe.

Maricopa Police Officer Jenny Alsidez was the department’s Officer of the Year in 2014. This year, she was on the scene to deliver CPR at a fatal crash in a Maricopa lake.

Name: Jenny Rebecca Alsidez

Born: Henry, Nebraska

Family: My significant other and I are the proud parents of two wonderful boys – Elias, who is 7, and Xander, who is 1.

Education:  I am currently in the process of finishing my bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration.

Hobbies: Spending time with my family (we are a very active family), including watching my oldest play sports – he is a green belt in karate, plays Maricopa Little League and flag football; I also enjoy hiking, reading and learning.

Years on the job: 10

Favorite part of the job: Helping the community every day. I get to help people through a rough time. I was recently approached by a woman whom I helped over five years ago. She told me I saved her life because of a conversation I had with her. I was proud to see I was able to make her change a bad situation into a good one and, from what she told me, she is doing great things in her life now. Making that kind of a difference is what motivates me to come to work every day and do my best to “make every contact excellent.”

Least favorite part of the job: The reality I can’t save everyone. When I’ve done everything in my power to save a life and the end result is it’s just not enough.

Scariest moment: Responding to calls involving children, having to see a child’s innocence stolen or having to see a child who has been injured by the hands of a family member or others. It’s our responsibility as a community to keep our children safe.

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Paige Lopez was only 14 when she passed away April 29, 2011, from complications from asthma. The daughter of Carmen and Leia Lopez, she was a student at Maricopa Wells Middle School.

Now the Paige Lopez Family has donated $30,000 to support fine arts programs for students at MWMS, Desert Wind Middle School, and Maricopa High School.  The Maricopa Unified School District provides different programs including drama, music, and media arts. The funds from the family’s donation will enhance the opportunities for students interested in fine arts study while celebrating the memory of Paige Lopez in Maricopa.

The Maricopa Education Foundation is the steward of donations of all sizes including these funds from the Paige Lopez Family. MEF will be working with educators to solicit grant applications seeking funds for fine arts programs.  Those educators receiving grants of the dedicated funds will work closely with the Maricopa Education Foundation to guarantee the spirit of the donation is fully realized.

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The Maricopa Agricultural Center is hosting two major events Saturday.

The annual Spring Plant Sale, presented by Maricopa Master Gardeners, and The History of Maricopa, presented by the Maricopa Historical Society, both run from 8 a.m. to noon.

The Spring Plant Sale will be in the demonstration garden (follow the signs). In case of rain it will be set up in the covered parking lot.

Plants for sale include tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, melons, eggplant, squash, herbs and more. They accept cash or check only, so leave the credit cards at home.

For information, call 520-374-6263 and leave a message or email Also call Julie Olson at 520-568-2231 or Theresa Ellsworth at 520-836-5221, ext. 202.

The History of Maricopa event will involve the local historical society, the University of Arizona, Ak-Chin Indian Community, Arizona Humanities, Gila River Indian Community and Chemehuevi Indian Tribe. The Ak Chin Him Dak Eco Museum staff will give a presentation on the Ak-Chin Community.

Jay Cravath will present “Along the California Trail.” He is the cultural director the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe. He will talk about the travelers along the western route, from the ancients to the Butterfield Overland Stage Company.

Denny Hoeh, vice president of the Maricopa Historical Society, will talk about the history of Maricopa.

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A boy was transported to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Saturday after being hit by a minivan near the Dairy Queen in Maricopa.

According to the Maricopa Police Department, a minivan exiting the parking lot near Dairy Queen collided with a male juvenile, who received a non-life-threatening injury to his left leg. The boy is 13 years old.

The accident happened just after 3:30 p.m.

Impairment is not considered a factor in the incident, which is still under investigation. There was no information available on any citation stemming from the collision.

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DSPA Gems, Inc. will host Maricopa’s annual Daddy-Daughter Dance on Saturday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Maricopa Wells Middle School, 45725 W. Honeycutt Ave.

Girls ages 2-18 are invited to have that special man in their lives (a dad, uncle, grandfather or friend) escort them in semi-formal or formal attire to the dance. Dads will have a chance to bid on some fantastic silent auction items for charity, including Disneyland Park Hopper tickets, AZ Diamondbacks game tickets, AZ Cardinals, Coyotes and Phoenix Suns gear as well as front row tickets to DSPA’s annual Dance Recital.

Admission is $30 per couple with a $10 charge for each additional daughter.  Admission includes an Italian-themed dinner prepared by professional chefs, including pasta, fresh baked Papa Murphy’s pizza and a variety of desserts.  Also included is a professional commemorative photo.  A live DJ from Desert Music Entertainment will take song requests for a small donation.

Tickets are available in advance at Desert Sun Performing Arts Dance Studio, 19756 N. John Wayne Pkwy., Suite 107.  Subject to availability, tickets may be purchased at the door, but pre-purchase is encouraged due to the limited capacity.

For more information, please visit, email or call 483-8915.

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A series of three tours at the Maricopa Agricultural Center begins today.

The “Desert Ag-Ventures,” aimed at winter visitors and all senior adults, are Feb. 17, 19 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Known as the MAC, the 2,100-acre research farm is at 37860 W. Smith-Enke Road.

The tours are an opportunity to find out how things grow at the center, which is an education center for the University of Arizona.

There will be presentations, information on desert agriculture, a tour of the farm on trailers pulled by tractors, a hot lunch, door prizes and more.

The event is first come, first served. Cost is $20, and reservations are required.

Contact Victor Jimenez at 520-374-6204 or or Cody Jackson at

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Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents conducted an operation in the Hidden Valley area concentrating on combating the flow of drugs through Pinal County.

The operation resulted in 22 arrests and seizure of 347 pounds of marijuana.

PCSO deputies attempted to stop a vehicle traveling east on State Route 238 entering Maricopa on Jan. 23. The vehicle failed to yield and led deputies on a short, high-speed pursuit before being stopped. Four people were arrested, and deputies seized approximately 147 pounds of marijuana.

On Jan. 26, deputies conducted three, mid-day traffic stops in the Maricopa area, resulting in the apprehension of 20 suspects within one hour. Inside two of the vehicles, deputies located bulk marijuana totaling approximately 57 pounds. Twelve occupants from the two vehicles, which alleged carried marijuana, were booked into the Pinal County Sheriff’s Jail. The third vehicle’s occupants were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents.

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While the City of Maricopa continues to search for a new economic development director, they have found a temporary leader for the department.

Harold Stewart, who calls himself semi-retired, came on board in January. Previous director Micah Miranda left for a position in Chandler in December.

Stewart was the executive director of economic vitality for the City of Scottsdale. Before that he was the economic development manager for the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. He has been working as an economic consultant since 2011.

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Community Action Human Resources Agency (CAHRA) has funding to assist eligible low-income homeowners in Pinal County with weatherization, according to Executive Director Mary Lou Rosales.

Under the Weatherization program in Pinal County, improvements are made by CAHRA to help reduce energy consumption and energy costs, Rosales said. A thorough assessment of the eligible home is performed including diagnostic and blower door testing to determine where the house is losing energy and what can be done to stop the loss. The auditor will also assess health and safety issues that might exist in the home. A test to determine carbon monoxide leakage is also done.

Minor repairs are made to make the home safer, more sound and secure. Families are counseled as to changes in their energy use habits, which will complement the work done on the homes, and help promote the conservation of energy, she explained. After making the efficiency upgrades, the home could save from 5 to 30 percent on the family’s energy bill.

Based on the home assessment, weatherization repairs may include repair or replacement of old cooling and heating systems, repair or replacement of leaky ductwork, replacement of old or inefficient refrigerators and the addition of sunscreens to sun struck windows. Staff may also be able to assist homeowners with the repair or replacement of inefficient or non operable appliances and water heaters.

Homes needing larger repairs such as roofing, ceilings, floors, window or door replacement, plumbing, electrical or major rehabilitation may not be eligible for the program.

Funding is provided by the Department of Energy and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program through the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy. Utility companies, Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project and Southwest Gas Corporation also provide funding for the program. Funding for minor home repairs and appliances is provided by Utility, Repair, Replacement and Deposit funds through Arizona Community Action Agency. CAHRA does not have funding for emergency home repairs or rehabilitation.

Eligibility includes: 1) household must be low income, 2) the home must be owned by the applicant or be in process of purchasing, 3) applicant must have lived in the home for least 12 months. An application must be completed and verification of income, home ownership and other documents must be provided.

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The Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship will host the minority women's networking group Empower for a workshop on social media and marketing.

The event is Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. with appetizers, wine and networking.

Designed for minority women in business, “Empower” will help women in Maricopa make connections with others who share similar backgrounds, as well as provide valuable business training.

Business consultant Kimetta Coleman of Vision from the Inside Consulting will speak on the importance and strategic methods of social media marketing and how to create a strong social media presence.

Coleman is the principal consultant for the strategic development firm, where her focus is technology development and training for small businesses to utilize to help empower and enrich the business model(s) on all levels. She is the assistant board chair for Extreme Change Youth Development Organization, the vice-president of Global Youth Delegation for Peace & Tolerance, and a grants committee reviewer for the City of Phoenix Arts & Cultural Committee. She is the recipient of several awards from organizations such as the Human Rights Commission and The Office of Veteran Affairs.

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. Empower is designed to help women and minorities build on their skills and turn them into a business that will generate income for themselves and their family,” said Carol Mack, facilitator for Empower and president of Precious Hands Healthcare, a Maricopa based, woman minority business.

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Don and Esta Ray Pearce of Maricopa celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Jan. 8.

The couple married in Florence, Arizona, at the Pinal County Courthouse. After residing and farming in the Green Reservoir/Eloy area, they moved to Maricopa in 1959 and bought the NAPA store on the corner, where they worked until retirement.

The Pearces have five daughters, Gwyn of Chandler, Linda and Tammi of Gilbert, Lana of Maricopa, and Donna of Casa Grande. They have seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and one great-great granddaughter.

A reception for them in Casa Grande was attended by 135 close friends and family.

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One hundred percent of the Maricopa businesses inspected by Pinal County Public Health Services in January received “Excellent” marks.

That means no violations were found.

Businesses were inspected on Jan. 5, 6, 20 and 26.

Brooklyn Boys Italian Restaurant & Pizza
Maricopa Head Start
Maricopa High School
Walmart Deli
Penascos Mexican Restaurant
Walmart McDonald’s
Papa John’s Pizza

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The Super Bowl party at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center will include a full package of entertainment and visits from former NFL players.

The Ak-Chin Indian Community has partnered with Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee to present the “Super-Sized Party.”

There is a pre-game brunch for fans before watching the big game on the amphitheater’s Jumbotron. Most events get started at 2 p.m. At Ten Pins Down, there will be Super Bowl-ing.

From 3 to 4 p.m. in the Luxe Lounge, meet football players Derek Kennard, Devon Kennard and Patrick Hunter. From 3:30 to 4:30 get autographs from Marcus Bell, L.J. Shelton and Anthony Clement.

At the center’s new fire pits, guests can make s’mores. Guests can also find some game day swag and a chance for a game-day package from Aaron’s Rent -to-Own of Maricopa.

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On Jan. 21, The Caesars Foundation, coordinated through the staff at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, presented an $8,000 check to American Cancer Society for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino’s month-long initiative to raise awareness of preventative health and treatment of breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In addition, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino donated $3,100 to the American Cancer Society from donations from Harrah’s employees activities and donations.  

“Caesars Entertainment, and locally at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, has a long-standing passion for community outreach and volunteerism,” said Jane Stimmel, employee engagement manager and HERO chair.  “We were excited to participate in this program through Caesars Foundation and coordinate the Foundation’s donation to the American Cancer Society.”

For more information about Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, visit

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A person walking across John Wayne Parkway was struck by a vehicle Friday night.

According to the Maricopa Police Department, the pedestrian was crossing the roadway from Honeycutt Avenue at around 8:16 p.m. A vehicle turning north from Honeycutt collided with the person.

The pedestrian was transported to Chandler Regional Hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.

Traffic was redirected for approximately 30 minutes. No citations have been issued as the investigation continues. No names were released.

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George Richard Horner III, the sex offender accused of kidnapping a 6-year-old girl from her Rancho El Dorado home yesterday morning (see related story), was arrested by Pinal County Sheriff's deputies this morning at approximately 8 a.m.

"It was a long, long, long night," Sheriff Chris Vasquez said about the hours preceding the arrest.

According to Vasquez, law enforcement officers made telephone contact with the suspect yesterday afternoon after receiving the suspect's cell phone number from the victim's mother. Vasquez said Detective Jim Rimmer was able to establish rapport and trust with Horner through periodic phone and text messages throughout the day.

The suspect failed to show up at a scheduled 1 a.m. rendezvous, however, and broke off communication around 2:15 a.m.

Horner text messaged the detective again around 6:30 a.m. and agreed to meet at the Coolidge Municipal Airport at 8 a.m. Vasquez said the suspect was aware of the severity of the issue and was nervous about being harmed by law enforcement when he turned himself in. Rimmer met Horner and, with an armed deputy hidden in Rimmer's vehicle and deputies in two trailing vehicles, arrested Horner without incident.

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The Pinal County Public Health Services District identified four cases of measles in one family Thursday.  

The Kearny family traveled to Disneyland in December. They are believed to be linked to the ongoing multi-state outbreak associated with the park. All four family members affected were unvaccinated.

The Pinal County Health Services District is in the process of identifying anyone who may have been exposed and is working with the Arizona Department of Health Services and other organizations to notify those at risk.
Measles begins with fever (101-plus degrees F), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose. This is followed by a maculopapular (red, raised and blotchy) rash. The rash begins on the head at the hairline and moves down the body to the lower extremities. The rash may last five to six days and turns brownish. Symptoms typically appear seven to 12 days after exposure to measles but may take up to 21 days.

A person with measles is considered to be contagious four days before rash onset (generally one day prior to fever) through the fourth day after rash onset.
"This is a case where a family that has decided to not vaccinate their children are experiencing the consequences of that decision in a very real way," said Public Health Director Tom Schryer. "These cases of measles will trigger a very intensive effort on the part of public health throughout the state and nation to identify others that they had contact with who are also unvaccinated so we can stop the transmission of this serious disease."
Two doses of MMR vaccine provide full protection against measles. Those that have not been vaccinated or have just received one dose of MMR should obtain vaccination immediately. For those that are unsure if they have previously received MMR vaccination, they should obtain at least one dose of MMR vaccine.  

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It is the time of year when drug-smuggling gets active in Pinal County corridors from the Mexican border to Phoenix. The West Desert Task Force of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is on the lookout for scouts.

PCSO spokesman Jim Knupp said the smuggling activity declines around the holidays, but that does not last long.

“Members of law enforcement have already become aware of hilltop scouts returning to the hills on the Tohono O’odham Nation,” he said.

That is a target area for the task force, which particularly seeks out hilltop scouts who watch for law officers while smugglers make their way through the desert below.

Last year in three sting operations, the task force arrested 19 people. Most were charged with conspiracy in possession of marijuana for sale and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. The stings were carried out in March, September and October.

“By crippling the cartels’ ability to move drugs without fear of law enforcement involvement, they are being forced to use different passage to cross the border,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said.

In the past two years, the task force has seized 101 tons of marijuana, made 1,677 apprehensions, seized or recovered 514 vehicles and seized or recovered 67 firearms.

The WDTF is a joint initiative between U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the Pinal County Sheriff's Office to combat narcotics trafficking in the West Desert region of Arizona. The task force is supported by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and works in association with the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats and its participating agencies.

PCSO West Desert Task Force arrests
(Two additional defendants have cases outstanding and were both set for trial this month.)
Jose G. Aispuro-Angulo, 34 of Mexico, 2.5 years in DOC
Jose Isabel Aispuro-Angulo, 29 of Mexico, 2.5 years in DOC
Jose Javier Aispuro-Rodriguez, 23 of Mexico, 2.5 years in DOC
Jesus Aragon-Mancinas, 24 of Mexico, 2.5 years in DOC
Gaudencio Astorga-Soto, 20, 2.5 years in DOC
Jose Coronel-Pena, 30, 2.5 years in DOC
Jesus De La Rocha-De La Rocha, 26 of Mexico, set for trial in February
Jose Angel Felix-Ramirez, 25 of Mexico, Bench Warrant
Jose Gambino-Ruiz, 26 of Mexico, 2.5 years in DOC

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Sand artist Joe Castillo, a storyteller and finalist from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” will present SandStory tonight at Central Arizona College in Maricopa.

SandStory consists of art images created by Castillo as he draws in sand with his Hands-on light table. This captivating performance is scored and choreographed to live or recorded music with a video projected on a screen for large audiences.

Castillo  has been seen live in all seven continents, over 43 countries, and in 35 different languages.  He has done event for world leaders including President Carter, President Bush, President Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Juan Manuel Santos and King Abdullah.

Tonight’s show starts at 7 p.m. in Building A, Room 101, at CAC, 17945 N. Regent Drive. Cost is $5 for general admission, free for students.

Get tickets at or call (520) 494-5223 for more information.

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Before he was shot and killed by Maricopa Police Officers, Johnathan Guillory pointed a handgun at them, according to an MPD spokesman.

Ricardo Alvarado said Officer Joshua Hawksworth and Sgt. Leonard Perez feared for their safety and the safety of the community and “fired on Mr. Guillory as trained to do.”

The deadly confrontation occurred around 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Cobblestone Farms.

It was reported early that only the officers fired their weapons, and Alvarado said he has no information of anyone else firing shots.