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Electrical District No. 3

The Electrical District No. 3 (ED3) Board of Directors announced the appointment of Brian E. Yerges as general manager.

Yerges is currently the city administrator and utilities manager for the City of Plymouth, Wisconsin, a small community in Sheboygan County. He will join ED3 May 18.

As administrator, his utility territory includes the City of Plymouth as well as rural area within Sheboygan County. He has served Plymouth 10 years and was responsible for a variety of utility modernization efforts, including a new utility operations center, AMI initiative and large infrastructure improvements for the multi-service municipal utility. He is responsible for overall financial matters and strategic planning, and serves as the personnel officer.

Prior to Plymouth, Yerges served other Wisconsin communities and worked for MSA Professional Services, a full-service municipal consulting firm with offices throughout the Midwest.

At University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he earned a Master of Public Administration Degree and a Master of Urban Planning. Yerges earned his bachelor’s degree from Wisconsin Lutheran College, where he double-majored in political science and communications. He has completed a number of executive programs, including the Utility Executive Course at the University of Idaho, Utility Management certificate from Willamette University and the Senior Executive Institute course at the University of Virginia. Yerges also earned the American Public Power Association’s Public Power Manager designation.

“My family and I are looking forward to relocating to the Maricopa area and joining the community as well as the ED3 family,” Yerges said. “I am honored to be selected as the next general manager and will work to earn the trust of the organization and greater community.”

Dan Thelander, board chairman stated he is “pleased with the selection of Yerges and also thankful for Interim General Manager Bill Stacy’s service once again to ED3 and his willingness to assist with the transition.”

Mycoff Fry Partners, a firm focused on the utility industry, assisted with the national search process for the general manager position.

SPONSORED CONTENT

Chris J. Scoggin
Chris J. Scoggin

By Chris J. Scroggin

The federal government, including the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS, have taken remarkable steps to assist individuals and small businesses affected by the efforts to prevent coronavirus from spreading unchecked.

These assistance efforts have been implemented incredibly rapidly for the federal government and should help those who have been negatively affected by the events of the past few weeks.

The initiatives below were passed as of March 21, so there may be new legislative proposals over the next few days that are not listed here.

High Deductible Health Insurance Plans (HDHPs)
HDHPs are now permitted to cover the cost of testing and treating any covered individual afflicted by the COVID-19 virus BEFORE plan deductibles are met. As already permitted, any vaccination cost is considered preventative care and can be paid per current plan coverages.

Deferral of Tax Payments
Tax payments that would normally be required by April 15 have been deferred until July 15, with no penalties or interest assessed. This allows individuals and small businesses owing less than $10 million in federal tax to delay payment by up to three months. This is for 2019 income taxes payable only and does not allow businesses to delay payment of employment taxes or employee withholdings.

Paid Leave for Workers
Beginning April 5, workers affected by the COVID-19 virus, including the illness of a dependent, may take up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. This includes time taken off because childcare is not available. This applies to all employers except those under 50 employees where the business may be threatened by the absence of critical workers. Companies that do allow this paid leave will be rapidly reimbursed through reduced payroll tax payments.

Federal Tax Filing Date Extended
In addition to the deferment of 2019 Income Taxes due until July 15, the IRS has announced the filing of 2019 Individual and business income tax returns are now automatically extended to July 15. This automatic extension is penalty- and interest-free and no additional forms need to be filed to take advantage. The IRS does encourage all taxpayers expecting refunds to file as soon as possible.

Arizona Tax Filing Date Extended
The Arizona Department of Revenue announced it would mirror the federal tax-filing deadlines, allowing all Arizona taxpayers an extra 91 days to complete
their state returns. We expect most states to follow the IRS guidelines, but please call Chaston Tax at 520-568-3303 to check on a state other than Arizona.

In these tumultuous times, Chaston Tax and Accounting stands ready to assist Maricopa’s businesses and individuals with all of their tax and accounting needs. As Maricopa’s first CPA firm, we have over 100 combined years of experience with all matters of taxation, complex accounting and bookkeeping
solutions.

ChastonTax.com

Ak-Chin Community Council has declared a State of Emergency due to the growing public health threat posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The Community has yet to report a positive COVID-19 case, but confirmed case numbers are growing quickly in Pinal County and across Arizona.

“This emergency declaration authorizes AK-Chin leaders to take all steps necessary to protect our people from this dangerous viral outbreak,” said Ak-Chin Chairman Robert Miguel. “We’ve activated our Emergency Operation Center to centralize the Tribe’s disease response efforts, and now have authorization to utilize all necessary resources, including equipment, manpower and more, to meet this historic challenge.

“COVID-19 is a fast-evolving threat. If required, we are prepared to quickly take additional actions to safeguard Community residents, visitors and employees.”

The emergency declaration authorizes Chairman Miguel and Community leaders to protect public health by:

  • Activating the Emergency Operation Center to coordinate the Tribe’s response efforts;
  • Allowing utilization of all necessary funds, resources and equipment to mitigate the outbreak;
  • Ordering public facilities to be disinfected, as necessary;
  • Identifying specific Tribal employees to receive specialized COVID-19 training;
  • Coordinating and receiving technical assistance from local, state, federal and tribal authorities.

The emergency declaration is the Community Council’s latest action regarding COVID-19. Previously, the Council ordered closed until at least April 2 Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino & Resort and the Ultra-Star Multi-Tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle. Additionally, all in-person, Community-sponsored events, programs and gatherings have been canceled until further notice, including the Recreation Center, Elder Center, Him-Dak EcoMuseum and more.

“Now is the time for calm, common sense action to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Miguel said. “We ask that Ak-Chin members take extra care to avoid groups of people, stay home as much as possible, and be vigilant in washing hands and practicing good hygiene. Be especially mindful of elders, young children and other individuals who may be vulnerable to this disease. We’re all in this together.”

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Gov. Doug Ducey and state Superintendent Kathy Hoffman released the following joint statement:

“In alignment with yesterday’s updated federal guidance, today we are announcing the extension of school closures through the remainder of the school year. Today’s announcement is intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions. While this isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, we are grateful for the partnership of schools around the state, who have stepped up to offer virtual and take-home learning opportunities for our students. These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures. We also thank our legislative partners for passing legislation ensuring all educators and staff see no disruption in pay. Our No. 1 priority will continue to be health and safety, and we will continue to work closely with public health officials to make the best decisions for kids, families, and our school communities.”

As such, the remainder of the Arizona Interscholastic Association spring season and championships have been cancelled.

“This is an unfortunate circumstance for all of our member schools, students and coaches,” said AIA Executive Director David Hines. “We know this decision was a hard one, but one that was necessary to assist in the well-being of everyone across Arizona. We hope everyone stays healthy and focused on what the next chapter will bring.”

Esports teams may continue to compete in scrimmage mode only via PlayVS.

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In county food inspections Feb. 16-March 15, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit had an issue with its “hot-holding.” All hot foods were above the required minimum of 135 degrees F except the brisket and ribs, which were 131 degrees. Both were discarded.

The deli at Fry’s Marketplace was cited for hot-holding and cold-hold violations. Warm chicken was found to be at 119 degrees instead of 135, which was blamed on a door being left ajar. Seafood salad and tuna salad were found to be at 43 degrees instead of the required cold-holding maximum of 41. Maintenance was called to fix the problem.

EXCELLENT [No violations found]
Bashas’
Bashas’ – AFC sushi
Bashas’ – bakery
Bashas’ – deli
Bashas’ – Starbucks
The Box Meat Shop
Central Arizona College – Ace Vending
Central Arizona College – café
Central Arizona College – culinary
Circle K (east)
Circle K (east) – Made to Go
Culver’s
Francisco’s Mexican Food
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s Marketplace – bakery
Fry’s Marketplace – Starbucks
Fry’s Marketplace – sushi
Jersey Mike’s Subs
Papa John’s Pizza
QuickTrip
Rosati’s Pizza
Walmart
Walmart – bakery
Walmart – deli
Wendy’s

SATISFACTORY [Violations corrected during inspections]
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Fry’s Marketplace – deli

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]
None

UNACCEPTABLE [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]
None


This item appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Santa Rosa Crossings has been fenced off for five years.

Owners of the once-defunct Santa Rosa Crossings, G4 RRJK International LLLP, received re-approval for Phases I and II at the previously platted subdivision next to Desert Cedars on Bowlin Road. They also received a haul permit at 43853 W. Cypress Lane. The housing development had been partially built when it became a victim of the economic downturn a decade ago. G4 RRJK purchased it in 2012, and the existing structures were bulldozed in 2015.

Gehan Homes of Arizona, preparing to offer new construction in Homestead east of Continental Boulevard, is setting up shop at 40156 W. Crane Drive, where it has a permit for a flagpole.

Wade Jurney Homes also plans to fill in empty lots in Alterra South with new construction. In February, the company received construction permits for nine lots.

Molly’s House of Little Feet is setting up childcare at 16540 N. Porter Road in an existing building that has housed a few businesses over the years. Owner KDJJ Enterprises received a minor development review permit as well as a temporary sign permit for the property.

The re-established Walgreens building at 41840 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy. and its neighboring building, Pacific Dental, have installed fire sprinklers as a step closer to completion.

City of Maricopa received a commercial permit for construction of a new library south of City Hall at 18160 N. Maya Angelou Drive near the intersection of Bowlin Road and White and Parker Road. Ground was broken on the project March 14. The library is to be 27,000 square feet.

Diamond Communications received a permit to take out a wooden fence and install a wrought-iron fence at 45330 W. McDavid Road.

A Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses is to be built at 40675 W. Honeycutt Road. Currently, the closest congregations are in Casa Grande.

Electing not to travel due to coronavirus concerns, The Englewood Group opted out of ceremonial groundbreaking in March on Oasis at the Wells, 41535 N. Shea Way, and Horizon at the Wells, 41475 W. Shea Way, but the projects will go forward. Mountain Trace Development is building the city’s first multi-family housing at the site, which is just off Porter Road. The properties received “at risk” grading and drainage permits, meaning late in the permitting process. When complete, the project will include one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units on the property behind Walmart.

Three businesses — Maricopa Village, 45873 W. Highway 238, Iconic Tire, 19945 N. John Wayne Parkway, and Leading Edge Academy, 18700 N. Porter Road — all had hydrant flow tests at their construction sites.

Residents of Pinal County may not be all that great at staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A company that tracks GPS data has handed out letter grades across the nation and gave Pinal County a D for social distancing. The company, Unacast, watched frequency and distance of travel on a daily basis.

The state overall received a C. The lightest day of travel by Arizonans in the past week, not surprisingly, was Sunday, which saw a 36% drop in the average distance traveled.

In Pinal County, that decline was 26%.

However, on Monday, people started moving around again to start the workweek, and the number of mobile phones on the road increased dramatically. Coincidentally, there was a dramatic increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 announced.

While statewide there was a steady slide of drivers on the road between March 16 and March 22, those in Pinal County mostly stayed within their average travel routines until the weekend. Pinal’s average distance traveled since Feb. 28 is down only 16%.

Ten of Arizona’s 15 counties received an F from Unacast, but they are rural counties where most areas require driving long distances to shop for basics.

Maricopa County scored highest, getting an A on Sunday and now boasting a B. Pima and Yavapai have C’s, and Greenlee has a D.

Arizona itself is far more rural than other states with similar populations and as a result has far fewer COVID-19 cases and far fewer related deaths. Like Arizona, Washington scored a C on the GPS social-distancing metric, but Massachusetts had B for its efforts.

 

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Leading Edge Academy-Maricopa is passing out laptops to its students for online schooling during school closure. Any LEAM families that do not have access to a computer or laptop at home will be able to pick up at laptop starting today. Hours below:

Friday (Today):
9 a.m.-2 p.m.
4:30-6:30 p.m.

Saturday (3-28-20):
9 a.m.-noon

Monday (3/30/20):
9 a.m.-noon

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 was first announced in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December. Its symptoms are similar to common influenza but its fatality rate is higher.

See the impact in Maricopa

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.


SYMPTOMS

These symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses).

__Fever
__Cough
__Shortness of breath

Those with those symptoms should self-isolate. When they develop “emergency warning signs” for COVID-19, they should get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

__Trouble breathing
__Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
__New confusion or inability to arouse
__Bluish lips or face


HOW IT SPREADS

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person
__Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
__Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.


PROTECT YOURSELF

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

__Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
__Avoid close contact
__Avoid close contact with people who are sick
__Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.


PROTECT OTHERS

__Stay home if you are sick
__Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
__Cover coughs and sneezes
__Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
__Throw used tissues in the trash.
__Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
__Wear a facemask if you are sick


IF YOU ARE SICK

You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.

Everyone is discouraged from creating “home remedies” or other solutions not prescribed by medical professionals. Patients have been scammed out of money for unnecessary and ineffective concoctions and others have even died.

If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.


CLEAN AND DISINFECT

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
To disinfect:
Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

Options include:
Diluting your household bleach.
To make a bleach solution, mix:
5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water
OR
4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

Alcohol solutions:
Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

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The Ak-Chin Indian Community Tribal Council approved funding that will extend payroll to Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino’s employees for an additional two weeks. In addition, the Tribe’s approved funding will cover health insurance benefits for those employees currently enrolled in Caesars’ benefit plans throughout the temporary closure.

“It is important to the Ak-Chin Tribal Council that we do what we can to support the employees that work for Harrah’s,” said Robert Miguel, chairman of the Ak-Chin Tribal Council. “This is a challenging time for all of us and we are glad that we have the ability to support these employees.”

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino temporarily closed its resort and casino on March 19. The vote by the council affects over 900 employees.

“As the management partner for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, we are so grateful to have the full support of the Ak-Chin Indian Community as we look for ways to continue to support our valuable employees,” said Robert Livingston, general manager. “This additional funding for payroll and benefits is great news for our entire team.”

Ak-Chin Chairman Robert Miguel (left) and Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino General Manager Robert Livingston

 

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has updated the community transmission level of COVID-19 in Arizona to widespread. Widespread transmission indicates that cases have been confirmed in twelve or more counties throughout the state. As of today, Arizona has confirmed 508 cases in 13 counties. There have been 8 deaths reported due to COVID-19.

“Given widespread transmission, all Arizonans should expect that COVID-19 is circulating in their community,” said Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS Director. “COVID-19 is a serious disease that is highly contagious and can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions. Protecting those at highest risk of complications and ensuring that our healthcare system is prepared to deal with a surge in cases is our highest priority. It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to protect themselves and their family from this disease.”

The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure and consist of fever, cough, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. For people with mild illness, individuals are asked to stay home, drink plenty of fluids, and get rest. For people with more severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, individuals are advised to seek healthcare.

ADHS activated its Health Emergency Operations Center on Jan. 27 after the first case of travel-associated COVID-19 was confirmed in Arizona. The Health Emergency Operations Center remains open to coordinate the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information about the COVID-19 response in Arizona, go online to azhealth.gov/COVID19.

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An egret basks in The Villages during mild spring weather. Photo by Kyle Norby

A weekend of sun and cool temperatures is expected in Maricopa before a quick warming period next week, according to the National Weather Service.

Today is cloudy with a gradual clearing at midday and high near 71. The overnight low will be around 44.

Friday, the forecast sees mostly sunny skies and high near 66 while the winds of 5-10 mph gust as high as 20 mph. The evening will be mostly clear with a low around 40.

Saturday, expect a sunny day with a near 72 followed by a partly cloudy night with a low around 45.

Sunday, the high is expected to climb to a mild 78 under mostly sunny skies. The nighttime low will be around 47.

Temperatures will get progressively warmer in the following days, likely hitting 90 degrees by Wednesday.

Access to the Internet will not be necessary for participating in Maricopa Unified School District’s distance-learning plan.
Starting Monday, the district will make educational resources available to students from preschool through high school. Teachers will be available to deliver hardcopy and online resources.
The district announced its plans on its website Wednesday night.
Public schools, which include district and charter schools, were closed statewide through April 10 during the coronavirus outbreak. Below, see how charters are responding, as well.
MUSD is on spring break, which ends Friday.
Only high school seniors will be supplied a laptop or wifi hotspot to complete their courses. They can check out technology April 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. near the library if they bring their student ID and a government-issued ID.
“Your child’s teacher will provide more detail for you and your child with information that is specific to their grade level,” the MUSD information states.
Though teachers will provide information about Google Classroom, an online platform, there will also be hardcopy options available.
According to MUSD, teachers will be available during school hours by email or video conferences. They will “connect with families” twice a week.
Students in preschool through eighth grade can pick up hardcopy materials curbside at a time and date to be provided by the schools. High school teachers are developing course materials to be distributed curbside as well. Again, Google Classroom will be used.
More resources here.
Leading Edge Academy has teachers providing weekly video instructions and provides daily ideas for online resources as parents become homeschoolers. Legacy Traditional School presented its remote-learning plan March 20. Heritage Academy will also use online programs to continue classes while campus is closed.

Thursday at Sequoia Pathway, bins will be out for parents to drive by and pick up assignments if they do not have technology at home. The school expects its online teaching for K-12 will be up and running Monday.

“We are excited as we are insuring that our students will be a able to learn and grow in this time,” athletic director Glen Hale said.  “Our hope is that we can bring stability and structure through teachers still teaching and bringing the learning to their doorstep.”

From State of Emergency to telemedicine, the gubernatorial executive orders since March 11 cover a wide assortment of issues that have arisen from the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.

Tuesday, Gov. Doug Ducey added a suspension of residential tenant evictions to the list. Wednesday, he required all health insurance plans to include telemedicine in their coverage, and at the same rate an in-person visit would cost.

When the governor made his declaration of Public Health Emergency March 11, nine cases of COVID-19 had been diagnosed in Arizona. As of end of day Tuesday, there were 401, including six deaths.

Executive Order 2020-07
March 11, 2020
Proactive Measures to Protect Against COVID-19
“The Department of Health Services in conjunction with the Department of Insurance shall require that all insurers regulated by the State cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing from all qualified laboratories without regard to whether the laboratory is in-network.”

Executive Order 2020-08
March 19, 2020
Limiting In-Person Motor Vehicle Division visits for Driver License Renewals
“The Arizona Department of Transportation shall defer requirements to renew Arizona driver licenses and driving permits that have an expiration date between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 1, 2020, by six months from the expiration date.”

Executive Order 2020-09
March 19, 2020
Limiting the Operations of Certain Businesses to Slow the Spread of COVID-19
“Beginning at the close of business on Friday, March 20, 2020, all of the following establishments located in counties of the State with confirmed cases of COVID-19 shall close access to the public until further notice: Bars, movie theaters, indoor gyms and fitness clubs.”

Executive Order 2020-10
March 19, 2020
Delaying Elective Surgeries to Conserve Personal Protective Equipment Necessary to Test and Treat Patients with COVID-19
“Beginning on Saturday, March 21, at 8 a.m., all non-essential or elective surgeries, including elective dental surgeries, that utilize personal protective equipment or ventilators shall not be performed at any licensed healthcare facility or by an licensed healthcare provide in the State of Arizona.”

Executive Order 2020-11
March 20, 2020
Ensuring Individuals Whose Employment is Affected by COVID-19 Have Access to Unemployment Insurance
“The Arizona Department of Economic Security shall waive all the following requirements for applications for unemployment insurance: Waiting period, able and available to work, actively seeking work and daily job contacts.”

Executive Order 2020-12
March 23, 2020
Prohibiting the Closure of Essential Services
“Essential businesses and operations: Stores that sell groceries and medicine, food and beverage and agriculture, outdoor recreation activities, organizations that provide charitable and social services, media, gas stations and businesses needed for transportation, financial institutions, hardware and supply stores, critical trades, mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services, educational institutions, laundry services, restaurants for consumption off-premises, supplies to work from home, supplies for essential businesses and operations, transportation, home-based care and services, residential facilities and shelters, professional and personal services, daycare centers for employees exempted by this Executive Order, manufacture, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries, hotels and motels, funeral services.”

Executive Order 2020-13
March 23, 2020
Enhanced Surveillance Advisory **COVID-19**
“Pursuant to the “Enhanced Surveillance Advisory and ARS, the Arizona Department of Health Services and local health authorities may access confidential patient information, including medical records, wherever and by whomever held, whether or not patient identity is known, including health information held by Health Current in its capacity as the statewide health information exchange.”

Executive Order 2020-14
March 24, 2020
Postponement of Eviction Actions
“All Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board certified law enforcement officers and any person subject to the jurisdiction of the Constable Ethics Standards and Training Board shall temporarily delay enforcement of eviction action orders for residential premises when one of the following circumstances exist: The individual is required to be quarantined based on their diagnosis of COVID-19, the individual is ordered by a licensed medical professional to self-quarantine, the individual is required to be quarantined based on someone in the home being diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual demonstrates they have a health condition that makes them more at risk for COVID-19 than the average person, the individual suffered a substantial loss of income resulting from COVID-19.”

Executive Order 2020-15
March 25, 2020
Expansion of Telemedicine
“All health insurance plans regulated by the Arizona Department of Insurance are hereby required to provide coverage for all healthcare services that are provided through telemedicine if the healthcare service would be covered were it provided through an in-person visit between the enrollee and a healthcare provider.”

ArizonaTogether.org

Brian Petersheim
Brian Petersheim

By Brian Petersheim

With the Pandemic of the Coronavirus affecting the health of people around the world, buying and selling a home in our small slice of paradise known as the City of Maricopa will probably change in the upcoming months.

Unfortunately, we are in uncharted territory with this pandemic. No one is sure about how long this may last or how bad it may get.

As this article is written, there are no “stay at home” orders in place for this state or the city, so like many other industries, the real estate market is still up and running, albeit with some precautions in place.

Some buyers and sellers of homes may not be able to postpone their moving plans. For instance, if a renter’s lease is up at a certain point and they are unable to extend it; or a buyer’s company is transferring them into or out of the Valley, they will need to secure housing at a specific time period.

What is going to happen to the local real estate market in the near future?

Honestly, no one is sure, since we are in uncharted territory.

Currently, there are only 184 homes for sale in the City of Maricopa, while “normal” inventory is approximately 300-325 homes available.

We are still in a seller’s market based on the low inventory; the wild card will be the demand for homes in the next several months.

I have spoken to many local real estate agents over the last several days, and all of them are having a variety of responses.  One of them had listings cancel, two had new listings that received offers quickly, and one of them had buyers cancel due to a job temporarily shutting down.

Here are a few tips for sellers and buyers to help ensure that they and others are protected from the coronavirus:

For Sellers:

  1. Set up hand sanitizing station, gloves, booties near the front door. Put small trash can near table
  2. Open all doors before showings and sanitize knobs after showing
  3. Leave cabinet and closet doors open and any other space a buyer may normally open during a showing
  4. Turn on any lights, lamps and light switches before showing starts
  5. Open blinds/drapes so buyers do not need to open them to see the view.

For Buyers

  1. Always bring your own sanitizer in case it is not provided
  2. Use your own car while driving to showings. No car pools
  3. Wear booties or shoe covers if provided in a property
  4. Refrain for touching ANY surfaces while in the property
  5. Ask your agent if he/she can set up a virtual tour using video streaming/facetime

In closing, there are some safety precautions that can be put in place to help reduce the chance of exposure to the Coronavirus

Brian Petersheim is a local Maricopa Real Estate agent with Homesmart Success
602-206-9644
BrianPetersheim@gmail.com.

 

 

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino has donated 15 pallets of food to the Ak-Chin Indian Community, which will distribute it to the Community’s elders and families in need.

“We are glad that we were able to donate this food to the Ak-Chin Indian Community and that they will be able to provide this support to their tribal elders and needy families,” said Robert Livingston, general manager.  “The impact of COVID-19 is being felt around the Community and this donation will go a long way in assisting their most vulnerable members.”

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino has temporarily closed its resort and casino effective through at least April 2.

A clogged pump that occurred a few months ago in the Global Water system (yes, those are Mardi Gras beads). Submitted

By Bob McGovern

The run on toilet paper during the coronavirus pandemic is leading to another crisis – in the sewer system.

It’s actually a heightened problem all over America as panicky shoppers have descended on the paper-goods aisles in their neighborhood supermarkets, pharmacies and big-box stores and leaving nary a sheet of the precious paper behind.

Unlucky residents finding empty shelves are apparently reaching for alternatives, including wipes, paper towels, facial tissues, and cloth towels or rags, and flushing them down the toilet.

But wipes – including the “flushable” variety as well as baby and sanitizing wipes – and other cleaning materials clog pipes and pumps and can result in sewer system back-ups.

In Maricopa, the problem pre-dates the coronavirus outbreak, but one official says the ongoing crisis will likely serve to exacerbate the situation.

“This is always an issue, not just an issue at this point in time,” said Jon Corwin, vice president and general manager of Global Water. “We haven’t had a specific issue since the onset of COVID-19, but it’s likely just a matter of time.”

Designed to be stronger than your Charmin toilet paper, wipes and cleaning cloths do not break down in water. That means as wastewater travels through the sewer system, they can collect in a mass of wastewater debris, clogging pumps in the system and possibly damaging treatment equipment. (Costly repairs, of course, are passed onto rate payers.)

“We made a capital investment in 2019 to install some equipment to help screen wipes and other debris and that is helping protect some of our pumps and other equipment, but the screen doesn’t protect everything,” Corwin said.

By the way, there’s a good chance that all those non-toilet paper products being flushed don’t even make it to the wastewater collection system, causing blockages in the pipes in your homes. That nightmare scenario includes backed-up toilets, sinks and showers, and an expensive bill from the plumber you’ll need to call to stop the madness. (The average cost of unclogging a sewer main is about $550.)

You can avoid all that with one simple rule: only toilet paper gets flushed.

Everything else – all types of wipes, paper towels, feminine products, facial tissues, cloths and rags, included – gets pitched into the trash.

Discover Church is one of the entities impacted by the cancellation of rental agreements. Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera

 

Maricopa Unified School District is reminding families that, though schools are closed for spring break through March 27, the actual closure could extend beyond that time.

Sunday, the state announced the closure of all public school for two weeks, starting on March 16. That included the canceling of all extracurricular activities, including sports, both competition and practice.

MUSD announced Wednesday the cancellation of all facility rental agreements for the duration of the school closure. The district regularly rents space to organizations, including 11 churches. The district estimated it receives an average of $13,000 in gross revenue per month from the rental agreements.

In its announcement, the district said it was not an easy decision but there was an increased and compromising demand on the facilities’ staff to clean areas after renters have left the buildings. “The district will move forward with its plan to deeply sanitize our schools, facilities, and buses during Spring Break using registered disinfectant cleaners,” the announcement stated.

MUSD is putting together a contingency plan in case the school closure continues into April or beyond.

 

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Gov. Doug Ducey today announced more strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona. Those actions include activating the National Guard to assist grocery stores and food banks with re-stocking shelves.

Many food banks are short on volunteers. Grocery stores like Fry’s and Bashas’ have been reaching out to hire temporary employees during the high demand.

“This is an all-in effort,” Ducey said. “We are determined to take all necessary precautions to address this outbreak and will continue to act with urgency to protect public health.”

Besides using the National Guard to ensure food access, Ducey’s executive orders include halting all elective surgeries in the state to free up medical resources and increase hospital capacity.

An executive order also requires restaurants in counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases to provide dine-out options only. All bars, theaters and gyms must close. Pinal County has 10 confirmed cases.

Additionally, the Governor’s directive allows manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to buy back unopened products from restaurants, bars and clubs.

Arizona Department of Transportation will delay expiration dates on driver licenses, a move mean to ensure those over age 65 do not need to visit MVD offices during a public health emergency. The policy also applies to commercial drivers.

 

East Maricopa may be seeing even more construction.

Walton, a real estate investment and land asset company, sold 282 partially finished residential lots in the Tortosa master-planned community to D.R. Horton.

The property sale represents 282 of the more than 1,100 partially developed lots in Tortosa South. Tortosa has approximately 1,000 existing homes, and development in Tortosa South is likely to re-commence in 2020, with homes potentially under construction in 2021.

A Walton Managed Real Estate Fund originally purchased the Tortosa lots in 2014 from North Buckeye Properties IB LLC of Phoenix, as part of an “opportunistic distressed asset” real estate fund that targeted land and vacant developed lots throughout the United States.

D.R. Horton, the largest homebuilder in the nation by volume, plans to build its Express Homes series as a continuation of its current residential offerings in Tortosa, with nine floor plans ranging from approximately 1,368 to 2,461 square feet.

The Tortosa community features parks, playgrounds, dedicated open space, a multi-use trail system for pedestrian and bicycle routes as well as Desert Wind Middle School and Santa Cruz Elementary School.

The City of Maricopa was the second fastest growing city in Arizona in 2019.

“We are excited about the recent activity we have seen on our Arizona assets. Tortosa is one of five transactions we have closed in the past month. In 2019, single-family permits in the Phoenix MSA and Pinal County showed a strong 9% increase from 2018, and we believe this market is going to continue to see positive momentum in 2020,” said Jen Ruby, SVP Land at Walton in Phoenix.

How some of Maricopa’s local restaurants are responding to COVID-19 outbreak with no dining in allowed (If you are the owner of an eatery, let us know your immediate plans as this list is updated.)

347 Grill: Closed temporarily
Aliberto’s: Pick up only
Arby’s: Drive-thru only
Arroyo Grill: Reduced seating to maximum 50 guests
Barro’s Pizza: Takeout and delivery
Burger King: Drive-thru only
Brooklyn Boys: Takeout and delivery
Chipotle: Pick up and delivery only; no self-serve at soda fountain
Copa Craze: Carryout, curbside delivery
Culver’s: Drive-thru only
Denny’s: Pick up and delivery, waiving delivery fees, temporary drive-thru
Domino’s Pizza: Carryout and delivery
Dunkin’: Drive-thru and carryout
Freddy’s Frozen Custard: Drive-thru only
Gyro Grill: Pick up only
Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino dining establishments: Closed temporarily
Headquarters: Pick up only
Honeycutt Coffee: Pick up only
IHOP: Closed temporarily
Jersey Mike’s: Take-out and delivery
Li’s Garden: Closed temporarily
McDonald’s: Drive-thru and pick up only
Native Grill & Wings: Pick up (delivery soon)
Papa John’s Pizza: No-contact delivery available
Pizza Hut: Pick up and delivery
Rosatti’s Pizza: Pick up and delivery
Sonic: Drive-in and drive-thru
Starbucks: Pick up and drive-thru
Subway: Carryout
Sunrise Café: Closed temporarily
Taco Bell: Drive-thru only
Tacos ‘n’ More: Carryout
True Grit Tavern: Delivering menu items and groceries
Wendy’s: Drive-thru only
WingStop: Carryout and delivery
Yogurt Jungle: Carryout

Local casinos are shutting the slots for a little while.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, owned by Ak-Chin Indian Community, announced its closure starting at 4 a.m. March 19 and running through April 2. Earlier, Gila River Indian Community announced the closure of its three casinos – Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva – effective 4 a.m. March 18 and lasting two weeks.

“The Ak-Chin Indian Community and the management team of Harrah’s Ak-Chin have decided to temporarily close the casino and hotel to mitigate the potential for COVID-19 at our property,” said Robert Livingston, general manager.

Gila River Gaming Enterprises noted it may open soon if deemed appropriate, at which point it will notify its guests.

“As a gaming and hospitality leader in Arizona, we felt it was in everyone’s best interest to be proactive and close our hotels and casinos to do our part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Kenneth Manuel, CEO of Gila River Hotels & Casinos. “We have been actively following the guidelines and best practices set forth from the CDC, WHO and the Arizona Department of Health Services. While there have been no reported cases of coronavirus at any Gila River Hotels & Casinos property as of today, this was an ethical decision to protect our team members and our guests.”

At Harrah’s Ak-Chin during the temporary closure, employees will continue to be paid and their benefits eligibility will not be interrupted for up to two weeks without needing to use any vacation or sick time.

“We had implemented ‘social distancing’ protocol and enhanced cleaning procedures this past weekend, but as one of the largest employers in Pinal County and to ensure the health and safety of our employees and guests, the Council and our local management team here felt this was our best option to continue to flatten the curve of this virus,” Livingston said.

Reservations during this temporary closure will be cancelled and guests will receive a full refund for any hotel deposit. Those with third-party reservations through travel agencies or other travel partners should reach out to the third party directly to cancel. Dining and spa reservations have also been cancelled.

The Events Center at Harrah’s Ak-Chin had already announced show postponements through the end of the month. Gary Allan, who was scheduled to appear on April 3 has been postponed as well.

Ismael Ruvalcaba (PCSO)

A man found passed out in his car with a buddy was arrested early Monday on suspected charges of driving under the influence and marijuana possession.

At 3:10 a.m. Monday, a city police officer came upon a green 2004 Ford Explorer in the parking lot of Wendy’s at 21000 W. John Wayne Parkway. The engine was running and music was playing loudly, and the officer observed an open beer bottle and two 12 packs of Modelo bottles in the back seat, according to a probable cause statement.

The officer made contact with Ismael Ruvalcaba, 27, the driver and registered owner of the vehicle, who allegedly admitted to drinking about 12 beers earlier in the night, the probable cause statement said. The officer reported Ruvalcaba allegedly had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, and bloodshot and watery eyes.

A preliminary breath test conducted on Ruvalcaba at the scene registered a blood alcohol concentration of .163, police said.

Police said they discovered a small amount of loose marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

Maricopa dispatchers also discovered an Arizona Department of Public Safety warrant for Ruvalcaba, police said.

He is being held in Pinal County jail in lieu of $3,000 bond, and has a court hearing scheduled on March 24 in Pinal County Superior Court, according to sheriff’s office records.

Pinal County Public Health Department
Pinal County Public Health Department can confirm three new cases have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Pinal County.
The first is a female in her 30s, who is isolated at home and recovering.
The second is a female in her 30s, no connection to the first, who is isolated at home and recovering.
The third case is a female in her 80s, who is hospitalized and recovering in an area hospital.
Pinal County Public Health department cannot stress enough some key basic safety guidelines to follow, in order to stay healthy and limit the spread of COVID-19:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) when soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Make sure you and the people around you cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue available, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow
  • Maintain at least six feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
  • Stay home when you are sick
For the latest information about COVID-19, its symptoms, and advice on ways to prevent infection, please visit  azhealth.gov/COVID19  or  pinal.gov/publichealth

Wednesday morning, Maricopa Police officers responded to a report of possible gunshots in The Villages’ neighborhood of Alma Drive at Askew Drive.

Police were told on scene a vehicle windshield had been shot. Officers closed off the area to traffic and quickly identified the suspect and his location. A male juvenile was taken into custody.

No injuries were reported.

According to MPD, officers and detectives remain in the area, which is on the west side of The Villages, to follow up the investigation. There are no additional restrictions in the neighborhood.

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Seniors gather outside Bashas' early Wednesday.

By Paul Lenhard

I woke at 3:30 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. What to do? I went to Maricopa Bashas’ first senior-only shopping from 5 to 6 a.m. I got there about 4:30 and was about the 20th person there. At 5 a.m. the line swelled to approximately 300 people excited to finally be able to get some shopping done.

Sadly, the store wasn’t restocked from the night prior and we found no toilet paper, paper towels or water. The seniors-only shopping was a wonderful idea, but most left disappointed. Let’s all hope they can restock prior to the next.

Because I was already up, I went to Walmart, and arrived about 5:20 a.m. I stood in line with 30-40 folks in front of me. A Walmart employee informed waiting shoppers the plan for entry and they let us in. Walmart had arrows on the floor directing to water products and paper supplies. They had a reasonable amount to distribute and employees handed out one to each shopper. Although they are not fully stocked, many food and essential items were available in the grocery isles

If folks are in extreme need, I’d suggest get to Walmart early (5:15 in line )

Stay safe and be kind

Paul Lenhard is a retired Maricopa resident.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

As companies and organizations have temporarily altered the way they do business during the novel coronavirus outbreak, the City of Maricopa has had to do the same.

It is limiting some operations and even canceling some events that were planned in the coming weeks.

Copper Sky Multigenerational Center:

  • As of 5 p.m. March 20, the facility is closed until further notice.

Maricopa Public Library:

  • As of 5 p.m. March 20, the facility is closed until further notice.
  • Some programs to be available online.

 

  • The Color Run has been canceled by the City.

Events:

City Hall:

  • The facility will close March 23 and switch to curbside service.
  • Telecommuting meetings will be established as appropriate.
  • Residents are asked to conduct City business via electronic format whenever possible.

Emergency Services:

  • Police and fire departments will maintain a normal schedule.
  • All first responders are provided information from the health department related to COVID-19 and carry a mask and glove as a matter of practice.
  • MFMD is following stringent infectious disease protocols, already in place.
  • No interruption in service is anticipated.

Encouraging all to do their part:

  • Follow directions of state and local authorities.The City of Maricopa is subject to the direction of the State of Arizona and Pinal County and currently has only limited authority regarding private events or other jurisdictions.
  • If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work or mingle in public. Call your health provider.
  • If your children are sick, keep them at home. Do not send them to school, ball practice or other activities or events where people gather.
  • If you are an older person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk, stay home and away from other people.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Limit gatherings to fewer than 10 people.

Check for contacts and other information

Orbitel Communications has suspended in-person payments due to the coronavirus.

“At this time, no one knows how severe this outbreak will be. Given this uncertainty, and the fact that the seasonal influenza (flu) virus is also widespread, we are taking proactive steps to limit the spread of illness,” the company announced to its customers.

Customers are asked to pay online, by mail or by phone.

In reiterating precautions to take during the outbreak – stay home when sick, wash hands frequently, etc. – Orbitel also said its service technicians are equipped with disposable boot covers when the enter homes. Some employees may wear gloves and masks while conducting their work.

Electric and water utilities have also made adjustments during the pandemic.


From Orbitel:
We ask that our customers utilize one of the many other convenient payment options: 

  • Online at www.customer.orbitelcom.com
  • Mail to P.O Box 69196, Baltimore, Maryland 21264-9196
  • Phone – 800-998-8084
  • Dropbox located outside Orbitel offices in Sun Lakes and Maricopa

We are following CDC recommendations such as requiring employees to:

  • Stay at home if they are experiencing respiratory symptoms, 
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water and make use of alcohol-based sanitizers, 
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as telephones, keyboards and tools. 
  • Also, service technicians who enter homes are also equipped with disposable boots covers.
  • In addition, you may notice employees such as installers, in-home repair technicians, and front lobby personnel wearing gloves and/or masks as they perform their day-to-day activities.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation. Protecting the health of our customers, employees, visitors to our facility, and others is our utmost priority. Together, we can limit the risk of spreading illness in the workplace and community. Thank you, The Orbitel Communications Team

Thank you, 

The Orbitel Communications Team

 

Electrical District 3 photo

 

Global Water Resources and Electrical District No. 3 announced they are temporarily suspending any shutoffs.

Both utilities are also waiving late fees and remind low-income residence of programs in place to help with bill pay. The move comes amid fears of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

GWR announced on its website today that it is monitoring guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, Homeland Security and state and local health agencies.

Monday, it announced one of its precautions for employees and customers was to stop in-person payments.

ED3 asked customers to limit visits to its office and pay online or through its app when possible.

“There is still much concern regarding the development of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the District wants you to know we will continue to follow the guidance and expertise of local and national health officials,” ED3 told customers in a statement Tuesday.

 

Dollar General, which has a store on Papago Road south of Maricopa, and Bashas’ announced this week they will dedicate a shopping hour for senior shoppers as part of their approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting this week, Bashas’ and its affiliates Food City and AJ’s grocery stores in Arizona will open an hour early, from 5 to 6 a.m., each Wednesday just for shoppers age 65 and up. Shoppers will be required to show a valid I.D. at the door. If there is a need for a caretaker, one caretaker is welcome but will not be allowed to shop for themselves.

Most Bashas’ stores temporarily have regular hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“In an effort to continue to support and closely monitor health, we are providing additional cleaning resources, encouraging anyone who does not feel well to stay at home and providing regular updates on important CDC guidelines and recommendations,” President and CEO Trey Basha said in a letter to customers.

The Maricopa store also starting limiting shoppers to just one purchase per item.

Dollar General is dedicating its first hour of operation to senior shoppers every day. All DG stores across the country also plan to close an hour earlier than their normal schedules to allow more time for cleaning and restocking.

Other customers are encouraged to plan their shopping trips around this window of time to allow the most susceptible customers in our communities the ability to shop during the first hour that stores are open.

“We appreciate our customers’ understanding of our decision and request they visit our stores later in the morning to allow at-risk populations the ability to purchase the items they need at affordable prices,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO. “During these unprecedented times, Dollar General is diligently working to meet the ongoing needs of our customers and communities.”

Dollar General will closer an hour earlier than usual each day.

Meanwhile, Fry’s Food Stores have adjusted their hours of operation for most stores to 6 a.m.-10 p.m., and Walmart, which is usually open 24 in Maricopa, has been closing overnight.