Authors Articles byJim Headley

Jim Headley

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A 3-foot section of a dam on a Province lake began to fail Friday. Photo by Jon L. Wilson

The spillway dam on the lake at Province began to fail Friday morning as a 30-foot wide piece washed away.

A crew with Rain for Rent from Chandler quickly set up a large water pump to lower the level of the lake, in an attempt to stop a complete breech of the dam. The pump was turned on shortly before 2 p.m. Friday.

 

“The Province basin was overtopped due to the storm event,” said Dan Frank, president of Maricopa Flood Control District and Civil Engineer. “We had a little larger storm than we would expect to see. The lake is designed to overflow the top in that location. For some reason the soil that’s supporting the gavions, the rock baskets, on the edge of the lake failed and eroded during the event. That caused a failure of the gavion basket structure – the soil between the gavions and the lake itself.”

He said the lake is designed to take on storm water from all over the community. Thursday night and Friday morning the lake overflowed as 1.07 inches of rain fell in the area.

Frank said a crew is attempting to lower the lake, stopping to overflow of the spillway and allowing crews to backfill and do repairs.

“They want to drain the lake down somewhat,” Frank said. “They need to do that to stop the erosion and to get in where the failure is and repair it safely. So, they are not at risk of having a blowout of the lake liner, while they are making the repair.”

Frank said earlier Friday morning there was concern about losing the entire spillway.

“That’s when we decided it would be prudent to drain the lake down as much as we can. We don’t want to drain it down all the way,” Frank said.

He said he was contacted by the City of Maricopa about the spillway failure about 9:30 a.m. Friday

“The plan is to get the lake drained down, so they can safely work on it. They’re going to fix the hole by back filling it with better compacted material and try to improve the spillway somewhat,” Frank said.

If the spillway were to fail the lake’s water would spill directly into the Santa Rosa Wash, where it intersects Smith-Enke Road. The Rain for Rent pumps are lowering the lake level by directly pumping it into the wash.

 

The opening step toward a new Maricopa Public Library was taken Tuesday at the regular meeting of the city council.

Maricopa City Council approved a $830,530 contract with Hidell Associates Architects, Inc., of Carrollton, Texas, for design and construction administration services to build the new library facility. Hidell Associates Architects’ sole job is designing libraries around the nation.

The council approved the beginning of a new city library with a unanimous vote.

“The current library facility is too small and somewhat outdated,” said City Manager Rick Horst. “The city has anticipated, for a long time, the opportunity to create a new facility to this city.”

Horst said the Arizona Legislature adopted new debt fee rules in 2014. Under those rules changes it is now required that the city expend these funds for a library prior to the end of 2019 or they lose them. The funds could only be used toward a library project, according to Horst.

“We should do more with the architect design, construction and guidance, so that we do not risk losing these funds,” Hosrt told the council.

The library project being proposed Tuesday was what Horst called the first phase of the library. He said the proposed building would be about 25,000 square feet in size when phase one is completed. It will double in size when phase two is implemented.

“We feel, as a staff, that we can do this without any tax increases to our constituents,” he said. “We feel very comfortable that we can do this without any debt to the city. Ultimately, 25,000 square feet will not be enough, so we are planning space-wise for an additional 25,000 square feet.”

Horst said the city will likely also add branch libraries around the community.

There will be at least two public meetings in March and April where citizens can have input into the library’s design. The dates of the meetings will be announced soon, he said.

The location of the library has been planned to be part of the 140-acre city center complex and built just south of city hall. The city center complex is the geographical center of the City of Maricopa boundaries.

Horst said the new library will likely cost about $8 million to build but final costs, after furnishings and technology are installed, will be more in the $10 million range.

Funding for the $800,000 contract awarded to Hidell Associates Architects on Tuesday is paid from the city’s Library DIF1 ORG-32133135 funds.

Horst said the current library location on Smith-Enke Road will likely be turned into use by senior citizens, veterans, arts and performing art presentations, musical performances, public meetings and rentals for special events. He said that the space should accommodating between 200 and 250 performances annually.

The current Maricopa Veterans Center, next to the new Heritage Park on the Maricopa/Casa Grande Highway, could be turned over to the Historical Society for a museum next to the Zephyr rail car, according to Horst.

 

In other matters Tuesday evening:

The council voted to keep its regular meetings at 7 p.m. and mostly eliminate the work sessions they have been having at 6 p.m. before the regular meetings. The work sessions, if needed, will be part of the regular meetings or called as a special meeting. The start time of the regular meetings can also be adjusted with the declaration of a special meeting in the event of a lengthy agenda.

The council approved the sale of land to Maricopa Auberge LLC in the Copper Sky Commercial district. The location will allow Maricopa Auberge to build an approximately 90-room business class LaQuinta Hotel at the site. The 87,120 square foot site is being sold to Maricopa Auberge for $435,600.

The council approved the elimination of the Non-Profit Funding Evaluation Committee, the Veteran Affairs Committee and eliminating the Youth Internship Program Advisory Committee. The changes are requested as the three committees are no longer necessary or functional.

Two credit card skimmers were discovered on gas pumps at Circle K at John Wayne Parkway & Smith Enke Road on Feb. 5, according to the Weights and Measures Services Division.

Maricopa is not alone as 12 card skimmers were discovered across Arizona in January. Last year, authorities found 148 credit card skimmers across the state, up from 57 in 2017.

Many of the new skimmers utilize Bluetooth technology. If you suspect or want to check for skimmers at the pumps simply go to the Bluetooth settings on your phone and look for devices in the area. There are also anti-skimmer applications available on both the Google Play and the Apple Stores.

From January 2017 through May 2018, officials have found 89 credit card skimmers at 72 locations around Arizona.

Thieves have begun to use Bluetooth technology to capture credit or debit card information. The crime is called bluesnarfing or blue skimming, and the crooks can sit 100 yards away in their vehicle while credit and debit card information is transmitted to their laptop.

Tips from the Attorney General’s Office:

  1. Always use credit cards to pay for gas at the pump. If you have to use an ATM card, run it as credit.
  2. Wiggle the card scanner before you insert your card.  If it is loose, move on (this tip also applies to ATMs).
  3. Some gas stations place security tags/tabs on the pump showing that it is secure. If the tag/tab is broken, move on. Also, look for any pry marks on the gas pump door or if the door is slightly open.
  4. Look at the surrounding credit card readers at other pumps to see if they look the same. Suspects will often use counterfeit stickers to cover the ones they break while installing a skimming device, so check the stickers on one or more adjacent pumps.
  5. Use pumps in well-lit areas that are positioned in a clear view of store employees. The scammers installing the devices usually will place a skimmer into the pumps furthest away from the attendant.
  6. Watch out for large vehicles such as SUVs, trucks, and vans that park in front of fuel dispensers for long periods of time. Criminals have been known to use large vehicles to block the view of the pump from site employees while they install a skimming device.
  7. If concerned pay inside or go to a different gas station.
  8. Report your concerns to station employees, law enforcement, and/or file a complaint online.
  9. Routinely monitor the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures website to identify where credit card skimmers have recently been found.
  10. Monitor your credit card and bank statements to look for any unauthorized or fraudulent charges.

 

The current library building was constructed in 2009.

Maricopa City Council will consider hiring an architect to design a new public library at tonight’s city council meeting.

The measure to establish a new library begins with a $830,530 contract with Hidell Associates Architects, Inc., of Carrollton, Texas, for design and construction administration services for the new library facility. Funding to pay the contract is already secured.

The matter is currently on the Council’s consent agenda but may be moved into the regular agenda items, if one of the council members seeks to discuss the awarding of a more than $800,000 contract in more detail.

According to the meeting consent agenda, “The Mayor and City Council shall discuss and possibly take action to create a project in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) by drawing on existing capacity in the CIP, and to approve the Design Consultant Contract with Hidell Associates Architects, Inc.”

Funding for the project includes an amount not to exceed $722,220.00 plus a City Manager’s allowance of $108,300 (equal to 15 percent), for a total amount not to exceed $830,530.

Also on the agenda is the possible amendment of the times the council meets to 6 or 6:30  p.m. or to remain with their regular 7 p.m. meeting times.

The council will also discuss the elimination of the Non-Profit Funding Evaluation Committee, the Veteran Affairs Committee and eliminating the Youth Internship Program Advisory Committee. The changes are requested as the three committees are no longer necessary or functional.

The library moved several times in its long history. Before the current library was built in 2009, it was housed in what is now the Maricopa Veterans Center.

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Maricopa is likely to see clouds and showers all week. Photo by Jim Headley

Moisture will continue through most of the week ahead with showers forecast to fall every day except Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. It will also be cooler as high temperatures will reach only the mid-50s all week.

Today, Washington’s Birthday, showers are likely mostly before 11 a.m. The day will be partly sunny with a high near 56 and winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch are possible. Tonight, a 10 percent chance of showers continues before 11 p.m. The night will be partly cloudy with a low around 34.

Tuesday is expected to be sunny with a high near 55 and winds 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday night will be clear with a low around 29.

Wednesday is forecast to be sunny with a high near 55 and calm wind. Wednesday night a 10 percent chance of showers is expected after 11 p.m. The evening will be mostly cloudy with a low around 37.

Thursday, showers are likely mainly after 11 a.m. while the day is mostly cloudy with a high near 55 and wind 10 to 15 mph, and gusts as high as 25 mph. The chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Thursday night is forecast to be filled with showers and a low around 40. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Friday a 50 percent chance of showers is expected while the day is mostly cloudy with a high near 53. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. Friday night a 30 percent chance of showers is predicted, mainly before 11 p.m. with a low around 33.

Skies are expected to clear for the weekend.

Global Water CEO Ron Fleming talks about the state's Drought Contingency Plan at a MEDA meeting. Photo by Jim Headley

“It’s a little complicated. It’s a little chaotic right now, but it’s not a crisis.”

Watch for InMaricopa’s series on the Drought Contingency Plan and Maricopa sustainability starting March 1.

Ron Fleming, Global Water Resources president and CEO, addressed the members of the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) about the state’s Drought Contingency Plan on Wednesday. Fleming told the MEDA membership, “It’s just complicated, and there’s a lot going on. I haven’t checked my phone in two hours – probably something has changed.”

Fleming said his main message is, “sometimes a good crisis is needed to cause change.”

He said it is time to find the right balance in Pinal County to work together and address the water issues of the day.

The Colorado River provides water to approximately 40 million people in seven states and in Mexico. The water is provided to about 4 million acres of farm land.

“However, over the last 20 years of drought, it has had a significant impact on water in Lake Mead and Lake Powell,” Fleming said. “We are sitting here today with a historic low (water level) in Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam. That is projected to continue to decline.”

He said most people saw this trend coming many years ago and began planning for this event.

“That’s where the talks began that turned into the common name of DCP, Drought Contingency Planning,” he said.

Fleming explained how different tiers of water levels will affect the amount of water that is cut back to Arizona.

Beginning in 2020, the DCP engages when Lake Mead hits a level below 1,090 Mean Sea Level (MSL). At that point, called Tier 0, 192,000 acre feet that was going to Arizona is cut back. Tier 1 engages at 1,075 MSL and an additional 320,000 acre feet is cut.

The Colorado River is currently at 1,085 MSL.

If the water continues to fall in Lake Mead, virtually all water to entities besides Native American reservations would be stopped from flowing out of the Colorado. Even the reservations could lose some water flows in the event the levels dive too low.

“The Colorado River supply comes into Pinal County primarily for agricultural purposes. [It] was also planned to phase out by 2030,” Fleming said. “That is for different reasons and historic agreements. That was always the plan. What’s happening now under DCP and the drought conditions is that is accelerating. It is hitting immediately; more than 10 years earlier than they otherwise were able to hopefully adapt to that reality.”

He said DCP is intended to bring about larger cutbacks on a shorter timetable.

“So that we can protect Lake Mead and keep that reservoir from hitting those shortage declaration levels,” Fleming told the MEDA members.

He said the Tier 0 level on Lake Mead is already in effect.

“DCP is not intended to keep us from hitting Tier 1,” he said. “The belief is Tier 1 is going to be hit anyway. It’s really about keeping us from hitting Tier 2 and Tier 3, where a lot more dramatic reductions start to occur.”

Fleming said the Bureau of Reclamation believes there is a better than 50 percent chance that Lake Mead will hit the Tier 1 trigger as early as 2020.

“When we hit the Tier 1 reduction, it fully eliminates the agricultural pull that primarily comes into Pinal County,” Fleming said.

He said in addition to ag losing all its water, Tier 1 cuts will also start to eliminate some of the NIA (Non-Indian Agricultural) Priority Water.

“Basically, cities and tribes have been buying some of that NIA water. They do have a lot of capital dollars invested. They take that NIA water and put it to use. There are real immediate implications to cities and tribes, not just agriculture.”

Fleming explained that Arizona has junior rights to allocations of Colorado River water.

“If we hit those drought declaration levels, what is prescribed as reductions to Arizona is immediate and significant,” Fleming said. “We are not trying to pretend that we are in a different boat than the ag community. We are all in this boat together and we have to figure it out together. They are the first ones to take this most significant impact of what is going on.”

It will quickly become unlikely that any Colorado River water will be used for agriculture outside of the reservations.

“There is some mitigation being done in DCP for three years. They found a way to continue to supply around 100,000 acre feet per year, or about a quarter to a third of what they’re used to for the next three years,” Fleming said. “However, in 2023 to 2025 the mitigation changes. In the NIA pool will go from about 50 to 100 percent mitigation, depending on lake levels. That’s when you start seeing our cities’ NIA water get cut back more.

“Importantly, there is no more CAP (Central Arizona Project) ag mitigation. All renewable water supplies coming into central Arizona for agricultural (use) is gone.”

Instead of giving the ag industry surface water from the Colorado, the state, CAP and the federal government will create funding to help irrigators redevelop ground water pumping systems, according to Fleming.

Primarily, funds will be used to rehabilitate older ground water pumping wells and infrastructure that “they haven’t had to use because of the CAP water coming into the area.”

He said they will be rebuilding existing wells, drilling new wells and working on canals.

“That will result in about 70,000 acre feet per year of more groundwater pumping in the area to make up for the loss in the CAP supply,” said Fleming.

He said once the drought gets to 2026, “there is no more mitigation at all for any groups and, if we get to a Tier 3 shortage before 2026, all the mitigation stops.”

He added, “Increased groundwater pumping is not ideal. It’s just not – there’s just no way to get around it.”

Fleming said there will not likely be new groundwater entitlements issued anytime “in the near future.” This will curb development outside of established service areas, like the area served by Global Water Resources. Global Water has an assured 100-year water supply in their service area that allows them to pump much more water that what their system is currently using. This means growth can continue in Maricopa and the area served by Global Water.

“We think what will happen, ultimately, is the assured water supply holders will get some form of a haircut to make sure that our groundwater aquifer is not going to be over-mined and the assured water supply program can be put back into effect in some way. But that is to be determined,” Fleming said.

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Storms from California are dropping rain on Maricopa this weekend. Photo by Jim Headley

It looks like it will remain wet through the weekend with highs in the 60s, according to the National Weather Service. It will be a little cooler on Sunday as the high is expected to only reach 59.

This afternoon rain, yes, rain will continue with a steady temperature around 61. of precipitation is 90 percent. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch are possible. Tonight expect more rain before 11 p.m., then a chance of showers and a low around 50. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent.

Friday there is a 10 percent chance of showers before 11 a.m. Then the day is expected to be mostly sunny, with a high near 68. Friday night will be partly cloudy with a low around 44.

Saturday is forecast to be mostly sunny with a high near 62 and winds 10 to 15 mph. Saturday night will be partly cloudy with a low around 38.

Sunday there is a 10 percent chance of showers after 11 a.m. The day is likely to be mostly sunny with a high near 59 and winds 10 to 15 mph gusting as high as 20 mph. Sunday night a 20 percent chance of showers is forecast under partly cloudy skies with a low around 37. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Monday, Washington’s Birthday comes with a 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after 11 a.m., and a high near 56.

Rich and Cyndee Kane of Province say a long-lasting relationship requires friendship and work. Photo by Jim Headley

“If you can be with somebody in a motorhome for three or four months and not kill each other, there has to be love there somehow.” – Rich Kane

Love means different things to different people.

The root of the word “love” as a noun is defined as “an intense feeling of deep affection” or “a great interest and pleasure in something.”

Synonyms include deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment, liking, weakness, partiality, bent, leaning, proclivity, inclination and disposition. If used as a verb its definition becomes “feeling a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone or something.”

Some people really know how to make love work.

Cyndee and Rich Kane of Province celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary July 6.

“We met in high school in 1966,” Cyndee said. “We were in high school four years, and I don’t know why it took us until our senior year to connect, but we did, in geography. We have been high school sweethearts and just kept it going. We ended up getting married.”

They admit the strength of their relationship is being best friends.

“He’s the gears of the clock, and I’m the hands,” she said. “We are kind of inseparable. If he’s doing some work, he will call me to help him out, even if it is in the garage.”

Cyndee said she is an artsy person while Rich is mechanical.

“We work well together,” Rich said. “She thinks of it and I get the project of … cutting it, building it and putting her ideas together.”

When asked what love is, Cyndee replied, “friendship and working well together.” She said as a couple, they are always looking out for each other in sickness and in health.

“We can trust each other,” Rich said while Cyndee Kane responded, “Yeah, but I won’t say that we don’t have little tiffs once in a while.”

As a couple, they take long trips together in their motorhome, often for months at a time. They have traveled all 50 states and taken 34 cruises together.

“If you can be with somebody in a motorhome for three or four months and not kill each other, there has to be love there somehow,” Rich said. Cyndee replies, “Yeah, that has to be love in a 38-foot motorhome.”

Rich said young couples who are falling in love “need to make sure before they get married that’s the person they really want to spend the rest of their life with. You have to realize that you’re making a commitment to that person to be with that person. It is fine to have friends but there is one person that your life is committed to and that is the person you want to marry. If you’re more interested in being out every Friday night with the guys while your wife and children are sitting home, it isn’t going to work.”

Counselors Julie and Rick Westby have been married 14 years and are also best friends. Photo by Jim Headley

Rick and Julie Westby are counselors at Maricopa Behavioral Health Services in Maricopa. They’ve been married 14 years and offer a more scientific look at love.

Julie Westby said as counselors they like to say humans are “just love in molecules. We are molecules that are hovering, and the glue that holds us together is love.”

She said love works for some people and not for others “because they just choose not to” make it work.

“When people choose not to love, usually it is wrapped up in something in their psyche that is saying that they are not lovable, or they have been brought up in a belief system that says other people aren’t lovable,” Julie said.

Being best friends is also a key component to the Westbys’ relationship.

“A long time ago, I had a pastor say that love should be spelled T-I-M-E,” Rick Westby said. “I like to think of it as unconditional, positive regard. The ability to look past small stuff and to engage regardless.”

Julie added she is very likeminded with her husband. She warns not to rush a moment when you are “resonating” with another person.

Julie Westby said sometimes Internet dating can lay the groundwork for a relationship, and a couple can often know each other well before meeting in person.

Rick Westby said if people try online dating sites, they should be honest about what they like and don’t like to do.

“If you go on one of those websites right now there are probably 3,000 available people within 50 miles. It’s almost choice overload,” he said. “If there is one thing that seems off, next, next, next. That can really be a beautiful thing because after the romance, how are we friends? What do we have in common and what do we want to do?”


This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Maricopa Police arrested Tommy Streets on Feb. 9 on a charge of aggravated domestic violence assault by strangulation.

According to an MPD probable cause statement, Streets was apparently breaking up with his girlfriend for “not coming home the night prior.” He had packed up her belongings and told her she could come get them, according to the report.

The woman reported to police she picked up her belongings but noticed her PlayStation 4 was not there. She asked Streets for the PlayStation and tried to go into the house to get it. She told police he “pushed her out of the doorway and wrapped his arm around her neck from behind,” according to the probable cause statement.

Once free, she left and called police.  Officers noted that the woman had red abrasions on both sides of her neck and the marks appeared new.

Streets told officers he placed her items outside and when she tried to enter his residence, he closed the door to prevent her from entering the house. He said there was no physical altercation between them and that there was no PlayStation in the residence, according to the probable cause statement.

Due to the physical marking on the woman’s neck, Streets was arrested. The officer reported they believed Streets caused injury to the woman, giving them probable cause for the arrest.

 

Kenneth Bazzel was arrested by Maricopa Police Feb. 8 on charges of endangerment, criminal damage and disorderly conduct.

According to a police probable cause statement, officers responded to a home on West Zion Road about 4:35 p.m. on Feb. 8 in reference to a criminal damage report.

A woman told officers her son had a physical fight with another juvenile earlier in the day. She said after the fight on West Rainbow Drive, her family returned home and said she saw a “white chubby male with a blue Detroit hat and a Detroit tattoo” throw a rock through the front window of her house. The man was later identified as Bazzel.

She told police that one of his sons also “threw a plant pot through another front window.”

When an MPD officer arrived at the scene they observed Bazzel wearing a Detroit shirt and sporting a Detroit tattoo on his right arm.

“Kenneth (Bazzel) admitted to throwing a rock through two of the front windows,” the officer wrote in the probable cause statement. He told officers that he threw rocks because he believed the family was harassing his daughter.

Bazzel stated he went over to the house “to beat some ***” and threw the rocks at the windows when a woman inside would not come outside, according to the probable cause statement.

Officers charged and released the son who was allegedly throwing rocks while Bazzel was arrested and taken to the Pinal County Jail.

Kevin McDill and Jeremy Waters with City Councilmember Rich Vitiello at Copper Sky. Photo by Jim Headley

The Israel “Izzy” Calderon third annual Benefit Tournament is March 30, according to event organizers Kevin McDill and Jeremy Waters.

The annual event is a benefit to assist Calderon’s family after he was seriously injured in a crash on Highway 347 and is now the resident of a nursing home.

“This is our third annual tournament to raise money for our friend Israel who was hurt in an accident a little over two years ago,” said McDill. “Insurance didn’t really kick in as much as they needed to, so he’s in a nursing home and bills are piling up. We do anything we can to help them with that.”

McDill said Calderon is in a Scottsdale home.

“He is in a vegetative state. He wakes up and he can look around. He’s not on life support but he has suffered some severe brain damage. He can’t recognize people and he can’t talk. He can’t eat,” McDill said.

Annually about 300 to 500 people participated in the event each of the last two years and raised $11,000 and over $9,000, respectively, in 2017 and 2018. There are 12 teams with an average of 10 to 12 people per team.

There are generally between 125 and 150 players, “then you have the friends and family come out.”

“This year, we are a little better organized than we were last year. We feel like we will exceed both the first and second year,” Waters said. “We would love to get up around the $15,000 mark if possible.”

McDill said, “It keeps getting bigger every year. It is a fun event. We have a raffle with donations from businesses all over town. There are a lot of softball items. Gift cards and what-not. We have a home run derby – that is always a lot of fun. It generates a lot of buzz and it is a fun event.”

McDill said Izzy was a good guy and he played softball with him for years.

“We really miss not having him around. We want to do all we can for the family,” McDill said.

Waters added, “He was the type of guy that when you got out on the field that evening, you were happy to see that he was there. He was one of those guys that everyone looked forward to seeing.”

Izzy is married and has one son, Israel Jr. The family still lives in Maricopa.

“The biggest thing we are looking for is local support. We do have a lot of local businesses that have chipped in and thrown out donations. We have a big screen TV that is being raffled off. Other items that businesses are offering and services will be raffled off. We are looking for more donations. We’re obviously looking for monetary donations,” Waters said.

Every penny raised during this event goes directly to ease the financial burden on Calderon’s family.

Businesses can also sponsor teams for $300 for the tournament. The home run derby cost $20 to enter or participants can enter for free if they get a local business to sponsor them for $100 and the hitter wears a shirt with their name on it.

There are also men’s and women’s divisions in the home run derby.

The event takes place on March 30 from 8 a.m. to about 11 p.m. at Copper Sky.

“It is an all-day event,” Waters said. “The raffle and home run derby are taking place midday. Probably between 12 and 2 [p.m.], possibly 1-3. We do the home run derby and the raffle at the same time.”

Waters said even people who aren’t playing in the tournament are invited to come out and participate in the raffle and show their support for the family.

He added the home run derby is open to anyone who wants to try.

For more information or to donate, contact Kevin McDill at CoachKevinM@yahoo.com or call him at 480-272-1074.

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Tortosa Trails is planned for the northeast corner of the Tortosa subdivision.

The Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission approved a one-year extension of the preliminary plat of Tortosa Trails, a planned area development on the northeast section of Tortosa.

Tortosa Trails is a 287-acre platted subdivision which will add 1,052 single-family homes to Maricopa’s eastern edge, near the Volkswagen Test Track. It neighbors the Gila River Reservation to the north.

The Commission approved the measure 6-1 as the developer, Communities Southwest of Scottsdale, asked for extra time to complete its plats. Their two-year plat planning phase was about to expire.

“We expect to submit our 1A and 1B plans in the next couple weeks,” said Stefanie Crerie, project manager. “We will then move forward with the project.”

She said it took longer than expected to gather comments on the plan. Construction costs rose about 40 percent as they were going through planning stages.

“With that in mind, it basically blew our budget,” Crerie said. “We had to redo our plans in different areas to cut costs.”

She said other developers and builders are experiencing the same thing, higher costs and a shortage of labor.

“It is what it is, so we are going to move forward. The other part of it is the market,” Crerie said, adding the properties were marketed last year, “and we really didn’t see much interest in it.”

She said that market wasn’t there last year, but the developers are hopeful it is there this year.

In all, 60 of the development’s 287 acres will be reserved as open space with an average of 3.62 dwellings planned per acre.

Four lot sizes are proposed, 60×120, 50×120, 45×120 and 55×120 feet.

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Photo by Jim Headley

It is expected to remain nice and pleasant with highs in the 60s this week, according to the National Weather Service. Showers are expected to be moving into the area beginning midweek. The moisture is expected to stay with us into the weekend.

Today is sunny with a high near 60 and northwest winds at 5 to 10 mph. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 32.

Tuesday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 68. Tuesday night may be mostly cloudy with a low around 40.

Wednesday is forecast to be mostly cloudy with a high near 69. The night has a 40 percent chance of showers and a low around 51.

Thursday, plan for a 50 percent chance of showers during a mostly cloudy with a high near 69. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. Thursday night a 30 percent chance of showers continues, mainly before 11 p.m., with a low around 51.

Friday has a 20 percent chance of showers. The forecast is for partly sunny with a high near 69. Friday Night a 10 percent chance of showers will be expected under mostly cloudy skies with a low around 48.

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City Manager Rick Horst leads a discussion of Maricopa's goals. Photo by Jim Headley

Wildly Important Goals (WIGs)
1. Expedite removal of Maricopa from the FEMA 100-year flood plain.
2. Public/private utilities infrastructure of the city ensures that economic development remains robust and citizens are served in the best and most reliable way.
3. Encourage development of industrial and business parks to enhance employment opportunities and bolster the local economy.
4. Creative placemaking and event tourism – creating a destination city.
5. Evaluate annexation of land to accommodate the city’s projected growth and economic prosperity.

At a city council retreat on Wednesday, Maricopa City Manager Rick Horst recommend the city and Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) combine offices because they essentially have the same mission – promoting Maricopa.

“Their website and our website are two different websites with the same information,” Horst said. “We are paying for and managing two separate websites. I’m not sure that make sense. We are all invested in the same plan. They could act as a business facilitator for us.”

He said MEDA often has different conversations with individual builders, developers and investors that the city doesn’t, because MEDA can keep information more confidential, while the city may not be able to.

“Why don’t they (MEDA) have a larger presence,” he said. “They should be front and center as a partner organization with the city of Maricopa. We are a partner of MEDA and we’re tied at the hip. Their strategies and solutions really shouldn’t be different than ours. There is value from them that we can receive that we are not yet receiving.”

The city has been discussing the 500-acre Estrella Gin Industrial Park. Horst suggested the construction of a 10,000 to 12,000 square foot spec building and including MEDA in that new building.

“I think MEDA needs a home,” he said. “It needs a place where citizens can come in. It says Maricopa EDA, not MEDA. With a presence, so people can come in and know where they can go.”

He said staffing would be a problem if MEDA were to open an official office. His solution is to combine the city economic development office and MEDA into the same location, so they could help each other. The combined office would only be a small part of the larger spec building.

“I think we would save money,” he said, “because of the redundancy. We don’t need separate marketing programs. We don’t need two separate websites. Look at theirs, look at ours, I dare you to find anything different in them. They should help us achieve our objectives and our projects. I think they could help us with the flood plain issue. At the end of the day, we are going to have to pay for it. Who better than they can help us get the financial support. Those are my thoughts on MEDA. To take a great organization and raise it to a new level by combining forces.”

Horst’s seven-hour workshop on Wednesday focused on the city’s 2040 Vision Plan, “which is the foundation of any long-range plan, is aspirational in nature and articulates the desired future state of the community,” according to the presentation.

The 2040 plan is intended to inspire the stakeholders in the community to have a common goal in the success of Maricopa.

Horst explained the city strategic plan, a two-year program “designed to provide a higher strategic direction that will give the community a better sense of where the city is heading.”

He spoke about how to execute the plan, sustain the city’s mission, government efficiency and the identification of the city’s Wildly Important Goals (WIGS).

His lists of WIGS were:

Expedite removal of Maricopa from the FEMA 100-year flood plain.
Public/private utilities infrastructure of the city ensures that economic development remains robust and citizens are served in the best and most reliable way.
Encourage development of industrial and business parks to enhance employment opportunities and bolster the local economy.
Creative placemaking and event tourism – creating a destination city.
Evaluate annexation of land to accommodate the city’s projected growth and economic prosperity.

Horst also spoke about changes and eliminations of city boards which are no longer needed. He recommended eliminating the Non Profit Funding Evaluation Committee, the Veteran Affairs Committee and the Youth Internship Program Advisory Committee. All three committees have not met for quite a while and the Veteran’s committee doesn’t have the expertise necessary to assist Veterans while other community services are available to better assist them, according to Horst.

He proposed re-purposing the Parks, Recreation and Library Advisory Committee into the Community Services Advisory Board. He also recommended combining Cultural Affairs, Event Tourism, Age-Friendly Maricopa and Arts commissions into the newly established Community Services Advisory Board.

He recommended making the Community Services Advisory Board a nine-person board appointed by city council. He also recommended sub-committees under the board.

A 21-year-old man died from injuries suffered in a collision between the motorcycle he was riding and a pickup truck at Maricopa/Casa Grande Highway and Maricopa Groves Parkway shortly before 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Maricopa Police Department identified Charles Helton, 21, as the motorcyclist.

According to MPD, he was flown to Chandler Regional Medical Center in critical condition, where he later died.

“It is still under investigation to determine the cause,” said MPD spokesman Ricardo Alverado. “We had the Department of Public Safety come out last night and help us with measurements and diagrams.”

Alverado said officers are still planning to re-examine the scene and speak with witnesses to determine the cause of the crash.

He said the pickup was turning westbound onto the Maricopa/Casa Grande Highway from Maricopa Groves Parkway. Police believe Helton was traveling westbound on the highway at the time and the two collided near the intersection.

The Maricopa/Casa Grande Highway was closed from Plainview Street to Maricopa Groves for much of the night.

The crash remains under investigation and more information will be provided when it becomes available.

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Mostly clear skies and sub-freezing temperatures are expected. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Bundle up, folks, the mercury is going to fall below freezing Thursday night as temperatures will hit 30 degrees. It will be cold again Friday night as the low is expected to be 35.

Today will be sunny with a high near 57. Tonight will be clear and freezing with a low around 30.

Friday is forecast to be sunny with a high near 65. Nighttime will be mostly clear with a low around 35.

Saturday, expect partly sunny, with a high near 65. Saturday night is expected to be partly cloudy with a low around 35.

Sunday is likely to be mostly sunny, with a high near 67. Sunday night will be partly cloudy with a low around 38.

Next week starts with mostly sunny skies, highs in the low 60s and chilly winds gusting up to 20 mph.

Mayor Christian Price presents the Black History Month proclamation to Rev. Arnold Jackson. Photo by Jim Headley

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Mayor Christian Price made a proclamation declaring February as National Black History Month in Maricopa:

Whereas, Diversity of social identity, including racial and cultural identity, contributes positively to the development of society and is a matter of pride and celebration; and
Whereas, Americans of African descent have made valuable and lasting contributions to our country and our state, achieving exceptional success in all aspects of society including business, education, politics, science and the arts; and
Whereas, in 1976, Black History Month was adopted to honor and affirm the importance of the history of African Americans and to focus on the stories and teachings of those who helped build our nation, advance the cause of civil rights and strengthen families and communities; and
Whereas, the City of Maricopa continues to work toward becoming an inclusive community in which all citizens, past, present, and future, are respected and recognized for their contributions and potential contributions to our community, the state, the country, and the world.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Christian Price, Mayor of the City of Maricopa, do hereby proclaim the month of February 2019 as Black History Month in the City of Maricopa, Arizona, and we urge all citizens to join with us in celebrating the significance of Black culture in its past, present, and going forward into the future.

After he presented Rev. Arnold Jackson with the proclamation, a short reception took place in the city hall lobby to honor Black History Month. Cobbler and ice cream were served by Helen’s Kitchen, and the anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was sung.

After returning to session after the short reception, the city council discussed changing the way council meeting are run, including the elimination of most of the 6 p.m. work sessions that take place before the regular meetings at 7.

Council members also discussed whether they should start their regular meetings at 6, 6:30 or 7 p.m. The matter will be discussed and potentially voted on at their next meeting on Feb. 19.

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The transportation plan looks at current and proposed lighted intersections.

The final edition of the Maricopa Area Transportation Plan (ATP) debuted Tuesday night at a city council work session.

The report, compiled by Wilson and Company of Phoenix with a price tag of $75,000, examines the transportation needs of Maricopa, both now and into the future. Most of the burden of the study’s cost was paid for by Maricopa Associations of Governments (MAG) through the Arizona Department of Transportation and the additional $30,000 was credited as staff work by the city of Maricopa.

The study examined the transportation needs inside the city. The final report will be submitted to the city council for approval on Feb. 19.

Amy Moran, senior project manager for Wilson and Company, told the council members Tuesday the study’s purpose was to provide guidance for the connectivity of collector and local facilities to the arterial and parkway facilities identified in the ATP, develop Access Management Guidelines for use by city staff and initial efforts focus on incorporated area for proof of concept before expanding to entire planning area.

Amy Moran, senior project manager for Wilson and Company. Photo by Jim Headley

Moran said the anticipated needs of traffic signals in the city should remain at the half-mile and mile intervals that is currently being practiced. There are a few exceptions to those needs as traffic patterns dictate, she said.

Moran also presented the Transit Demand Study prepared by her company.

Moran told the council members Tuesday the study’s purpose was to identify potential transit service enhancements, to address existing and future needs of residents and visitors, to improve current services, to expand services within the city, address regional connectivity needs and anticipate influence of changing technologies.

During her presentation, Moran said current regional service needs, in order of importance, are to Chandler, then Tempe, Ahwatukee/South Phoenix and Casa Grande. She said projected needs in 2040 will remain the same but their order of importance should change to Chandler, Casa Grande, Tempe and Ahwatukee/South Phoenix.

She proposed a new route to someday take people to Tempe and Sky Harbor Airport.

Both the Transit Demand Study and the Area Transportation Plan will be presented to the city council for approval on Feb. 19.

TJ Sherwood of Different Smokes BBQ is based in Maricopa County and has to get permits in every county where he sets up his food truck. He is one of a growing number of food truck owners doing business in Pinal County as health inspectors try to keep up. Photo by Jim Headley

The number of food trucks in Pinal County is on the rise, and it is becoming a little more challenging for health inspectors.

“Food trucks can migrate to different counties. They don’t have to go through the inspection part before the permit.” Joe Pyritz, Pinal County

Pinal County spokesman Joe Pyritz said environmental health inspectors will generally inspect food trucks when they locate them, but they don’t always have to.

“Some of them will come in to be inspected, and that is part of them getting a permit,” Pyritz said.

The permit system helps inspectors identify when food trucks enter or operate in Pinal County.

“Our environmental health inspectors that do food inspections will sometimes see them out and they will perform an inspection right there,” Pyritz said. “Sometimes, they see them out on a weekend at a food fair or just parked right beside the road. Inspecting a food truck is not much different than inspecting a restaurant. We don’t notify them beforehand.”

Lidia Alcazar said her food trailer Sonora Hot Dogs is inspected by the Pinal County health inspectors once a year as part of the county’s permit process.

She said inspectors usually call and find out where her trailer is parked at a specific time to perform an inspection.

The Arizona Food Code requires anyone wishing to operate a food establishment in the state of Arizona first obtain a permit to do so. In Pinal County, routine inspections of each food establishment permitted by the Division of Environmental Health are conducted throughout the year to evaluate a facility’s operations and compliance with the Food Code.

Pyritz said inspectors would also “probably” perform an inspection on a food truck if asked by the public.

There are some new state laws on the books regulating food trucks.

“Food trucks can migrate to different counties. They don’t have to go through the inspection part before the permit,” Pyritz said. “If a food truck from Maricopa County gets a permit up there, gets inspected and everything is OK, they can come down to Pinal County and operate down here as long as they apply for a permit.”

TJ Sherwood, owner of Different Smokes BBQ food truck from Maricopa County, has owned food trucks/trailers for about three years. He said he is inspected quarterly by county health inspectors and said he has to have permits in each county he takes trucks to.

“You get inspected every quarter and once a year you have to go down and be inspected at the location where you pay for your permit. Every quarter they come out and inspect your truck on site,” Sherwood said.

He said inspectors keep tabs on the food trucks via social media and plan their surprise inspections using the online schedules. “They just show up and do a surprise inspection,” he said.

With inspections already performed in another county, there is not always a reason to re-inspect them if they enter the county, Pyritz said. Like restaurants, food trucks are only required one inspection per year, not every time they set up for an event.

“Just as long as they get a regular inspection, they will be good. There is no timetable for that. We try to do it at least once a year with the limited amount of staff that we do have,” he said.

Restaurants are easier to inspect because they don’t move, but inspectors remain dedicated to inspecting food trucks. Pyritz estimated 100-200 mobile food units received Pinal County permits in 2018.

“With this new law, we have seen quite an influx of food trucks coming our way,” Pyritz said. “They’ve had 50 extra applicants that they have permitted.”


This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

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Top 3 in the All-Arizona Slam were (from left) Jordan Bubin, Ms. Anthropy and Sherdes Leonna. Photos by Jim Headley

Winners of the Arizona Poetry Slam held at Maricopa City Hall Saturday were Jordan “Naughty Mouse” Bubin in first, Ms Anthropy second and Sherdes Leonna in third. Competitors included two from Maricopa – Jasper Smith and Tristen Marshall. Fourteen poets were selected from around the state to perform their original work of personal, observational and political wordsmithing.

Shawn Baptisto (PCSO photo)

 

Shawn Baptisto, 33, was arrested by Maricopa Police on Feb. 3 for violation of court order, theft and criminal damage after he entered a home on West Edwards Circle without permission.

According to an MPD probable cause statement, Baptisto entered the property in violation of an existing protection order and he allegedly used an unknown object to break a small padlock on a cabinet on the back patio. Police state in their report that he took “a small electrical sander” out of the cabinet, which was later identified as his property by the victim of the crime.

He also took a “turquoise beach cruiser bike belonging to the victim from the property and left the premise,” according to the probable cause statement.

While en route to the scene, officers located Baptisto with the bike. He was booked into the Pinal County Jail, and the bike was returned to the victim.

A woman was arrested on three counts of weapons misconduct and possession of marijuana during a traffic stop on Jan. 31.

Elisa Morris, 20, allegedly failed to stop at a stop sign on Hathaway Avenue about 9:55 p.m., according to the Maricopa Police Department. Officers noted, “Upon contact with the vehicle/occupants, a strong odor of burnt marijuana was emitting from the vehicle.”

There was an unnamed passenger in the car with Morris. Both occupants of the vehicle told officers they did not possess a medical marijuana card and officers removed them from the vehicle, according to the report.

A search was conducted, including by a K9 officer, and a leather backpack was located. The backpack contained 8.7 grams of marijuana and a Jimenez 9mm handgun with the serial numbers defaced, according to the probable cause statement.

Morris told officers she stole the backpack from another woman she called Jessica.

Morris was arrested and charged with possession of a concealed weapon while under 21, possession of a defaced deadly weapon, possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony and possession of marijuana.

Jose Mojarro Parra (PCSO photo)

Jose Mojarro Parra, 42, was arrested by Maricopa Police Feb. 2 on charges of second-degree burglary, criminal trespassing, failure to comply with a court order and disorderly conduct.

Police responded to a home on North Powell Drive shortly after 9 p.m. on Feb. 2. A domestic disturbance was in progress according to the caller, who was Parra’s daughter. Upon arrival officers spoke to the victim, who is the girl’s mother. She told police Parra had violated a court protection order and entered her home without her permission, according to an MPD probable cause statement.

She also told police he had taken her purse while she was sitting in her car, as she was attempting to drive away. She said Parra dropped the purse when the daughter “yelled that she was calling police.”

Police did identify that Parra had a protection order against him, barring him from entering the property and it listed the victim and his two daughters who live there as protected people.

Police located Parra leaving the area in a vehicle and he admitted violating the protection order by contacting the victim at her home, according to the probable cause statement. He said he denied taking possession of the purse and said she invited him into the house.

Parra and the victim have been divorced since 2013 and living apart since November 2018.

Parra told police he was a Mexican citizen and a legal permanent resident of the United States though the MPD officer wrote, “his claim has not been verified,” according to the probable cause statement.

Parra was taken to the Pinal County Jail and booked.

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Andrew Polidore (center) is a Maricopa middle school student and USA Hockey player. Photo by Maria Correnti

Andrew Polidore and his 12U AAA Arizona Bobcats team have been invited to play hockey in Canada.

The team is traveling to compete in the Tourno International de Hockey Pee Wee Quebec tournament Feb. 12-24 against teams from all over the planet.

Polidore, a 12-year-old eighth-grade honor student who attends Almentia Academy and Desert Wind Middle School in Maricopa, has been playing youth hockey in the United Arab Emirates since he was 7.

He is the son of Benita and Anton Polidore of Maricopa.

“We play a lot of games in Chandler and in Scottsdale,” Andrew Polidore said. “It is a hassle getting out the door in the morning.  I have to make sure I have all my stuff.”

He recently participated in a “shoot-out” at Norte Dame College. It is an event for scouts to see young players perform.

The Bobcats practice at The Ice Den in Chandler, playing after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and weekends.

“I played hockey four years overseas in the UAE,” he said. “It was good competition, but I needed some better competition, so we came back here. I spent a year on the House Team, and my second season, I went to the Bobcats.”

Andrew Polidore

Players on the team mainly live in Chandler and Scottsdale.

“They come from all around Arizona. We have 18 on the team,” he said.

Talented teams are chosen from across the United States, China, Australia and “many more countries beyond there.  It’s a very good tournament with high-level teams,” he said.

Andrew said he plans to stay in hockey through high school and college, with a goal of gaining a college hockey scholarship. He dreams of playing in the National Hockey League.

“We haven’t figured out what we’re going to do for high school yet, but next season I’m going to try out for the Coyotes. It’s high-level tournaments,” he said.

Hockey can be a rough-and-tumble sport. Andrew said at 12 it is rough but not as hard as it will become when he moves up.

“In Bantam you get to hit and rough around. In Pee Wee you don’t get to hit – it’s a penalty if you hit. It’s going to be harder in Bantam, but I think I’m prepared for it,” Andrew said.

One advantage he has over his competitors is speed.

“I’m very fast. I play right wing on the second line,” he said.

This is his first year playing with the 12U AAA Arizona Bobcats.

USA Hockey has issued a travel permit to the team, making them eligible to participate in the Canadian tournament.

It is an invitation only tournament with a selection of some of the best Pee Wee hockey players in the world.

“I want to win in Canada and I want to meet people on good, higher-level teams,” he said. “I want to see where I and my team place against those teams. I want to see if we have anything to improve on when I go to Bantam. I think Quebec is one of my steps to the NHL.”

His father Anton said Andrew is always improving and growing as a hockey player.

“To get him to the highest level, we need to work together as a family and make sure everyone is doing their deeds,” he said.

His mother Benita said Andrew is very passionate about hockey. “It is an investment in his future. He wants to play college,” she said.

Both parents always attend his games and practices.

“I have a life outside of hockey and I want to do a lot of other things. I want to go into a field of science – forensic science. I also want to do engineering,” he said.

Andrew said he looks up to his parents as his heroes in life.

“They have helped me through every step to get to hockey,” he said. “My parents were always supportive during those times. It’s my parents I always look up to even though they don’t play hockey.”

Bob Ledbetter left an IT career to go back to school put his knowledge and talents to a different use. opening a recording studio. Photo by Jim Headley

A midlife crisis usually means buying a new sportscar, but Bob Ledbetter is singing a different tune in his mid-40s.

Ledbetter decided to take on a new career as a sound engineer.

After working for years as an IT guy, he just wanted more out of life. With his daughter moving out and going to college, the single-parent was left with an open mind, musical talent and deep knowledge of technology. It all combined into a soon-to-open recording studio named MuthaSuckaSound.

Ledbetter has the beginnings of his studio up and running in his Maricopa home.

“It is functional,” he said. “I decided to paint and redesign as I am learning more about how sound travels through a room.”

His main studio is a nicely converted bedroom in his house, complete with a rack of guitars, a drum set, keyboard and computerized, multi-track sound mixing station.

A collection of electronic guitar pedals decorates the floor and colored LEDs backlight his MAC-based computer mixing station using Pro Tools software. He also uses other parts of his home as “sound rooms” including his living room and even a walk-in closet that is converted into a sound booth for “something more intimate.”

Ledbetter said he was motivated to open his recording studio by his love of music.

“I have always dabbled a little bit with recording – as a musician and as an IT nerd. I have always been fascinated by the process,” Ledbetter said.

About four years ago he decided to go back to school to get a degree for business management at Central Arizona College.

“I had been an IT contractor for 12-plus years and working in IT in some form for over 20,” he said.

Retirement just wasn’t a goal in his life.

“When I hit 40, retirement is not really an option, not as a contractor. I change companies every couple years, which means the 401Ks change every couple years. Some companies match, and some don’t. It’s a joke. By the time the government allows me to retire, Social Security will be gone,” he said.

Instead of looking at retirement, Ledbetter set his mind on doing something he loves to do that can sustain his lifestyle. While going to business management classes, one of the elective courses he took was the history of rock ‘n’ roll.

Ledbetter did very well in the class.

“The instructor said I would be very good in the EIT (Entertainment Industry Technology) program at CAC,” Ledbetter said. “I was just taking classes here at the campus. When I looked deeper at the EIT program – they had a recording engineering program. I thought, ‘There it is.’ What better way to take my 20 years of IT experience and my passion for music and put them together?”

Education in sound engineering is something Ledbetter takes very seriously.

“Bob Ledbetter is a shining example of a student who takes full advantage of what the EIT program has to offer,” said Dan Bush, professor of Recording Engineering at Central Arizona College and E.I.T. coordinator.

After talking to his daughter, Ledbetter jumped into being a recording engineer a little more than two years ago and changed his major at CAC. She has been part of his music since she was a toddler. While living in Washington, D.C., he would take her with him to perform at “open-mic nights” at local venues when she was 3 or 4 years old.

“A lot of them were family restaurants that just happened to have an open mic randomly on a Tuesday night. She’s sitting on a stool with an unplugged microphone singing along while I do a 20-minute set.”

As a musician, Ledbetter plays guitar and sings as a solo act. He’s his own recording client as well.

Recording is only one of the skills needed to be successful with a studio, according to Bush. “Bob has also learned the ‘business side’ of the music industry, particularly entertainment law, copyrights and how to actually make money by leveraging performance rights organizations to generate income from music royalties,” Bush said.

“My midlife crisis is a new career,” Ledbetter said. “I would rather get a sound board. My friends are out there buying all these really cool cars. Nah, I could get like an 8-track mixer and put it right here. Let me drop two grand on that. That’s my midlife crisis.”

 

Photo by Jim Headley

MuthaSuckaSound.com


This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

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Mayor Christian Price talks to Maricopa Advocate Program participants. Photo by Jim Headley

It’s a new year for the Maricopa Advocate Program (MAP).

This week, the City’s Economic Development Department welcomed new members to become advocates for their hometown. More than 100 people showed up Thursday evening at city hall.

The purpose of MAP is to educate citizens about their community, so they can become ambassadors for Maricopa with their friends, on social media and when they travel.

The program is in its sixth year.

Mayor Christian Price welcomed the large crowd of new MAP members. He said the idea behind MAP was to help the city survive the economic recession of the past.

“Now we are fine. We have dealt with housing prices and some of these issues,” Price said, adding he asked a friend to help him run for mayor when he set his eyes on the mayor’s office.

“She said, ‘Christian, why should I help you run for mayor when everyone wants to leave the city?’” Price said. “It was so depressing. We had challenges – right? We had great things to accomplish. From that day on, my journey was going to be about how we were going to make Maricopa something special.”

Price joked that his friend who helped him run for office no long says people are trying to leave the city.

“We needed to get people to understand the story of what we have here. What is our mission? Where do we come from? What is our relationship? What is our cultural diversity? Why is it that when I look across this group and I see so many diverse faces? That is what makes us great,” Price said.

He said the people who live in Maricopa need to learn together, as a group, about how and why the city works.

“What is really going on? That is separating fact from fiction,” Price said.

Denyse Airheart, Maricopa’s director of Economic Development, said MAP participants receive points for each planned and unplanned MAP meeting or function during the year. MAP members also receive points for volunteering as they learn about their community.

Price said one of the most important jobs a Maricopa Advocate can do is represent the truth when talking to people. All too often the rumor mill contains incorrect information, and the advocates can correct that information and stop a rumor in its tracks.

“How many of you have even been in the garage and your neighbor comes in and says, ‘I heard this?’ Well let me correct you just a little bit – not to be rude. But you can set the record straight,” Price said.

He said the idea of the MAP program is to create an “Army of Advocates” for the City of Maricopa and to inform them about what is really going on in the community.

“You’re learning it directly from the folks who are teaching me sometimes,” he said. “People are choosing to come here. We have challenges – absolutely, that is the nature of a growing city, especially one that is growing as fast as the City of Maricopa. Our reputation is getting out there. Our city does grow fast but it does so with pride and in a fashion where we say, ‘how can we make this happen as efficiently as possible.’ We’re doing it in a right way.”

Dduring the recession people thought very negatively about Maricopa, he told the MAP participants. The “Army of Advocates” changed that with positive attitudes and words.

“If you get people here to experience the city itself, it changes their minds,” he said. “We have so many exciting things that are poised to explode. This is the culmination of years and years and years of work.”

MaricopaAdvocateProgram.com

 

Jan. 28, Rogelio Carmona Jr. was arrested by Maricopa Police on suspicion of aggravated domestic violence assault and preventing the use of a phone in an emergency.

According to the MPD probable cause statement, Carmona intentionally assaulted his child’s mother and prevented her from calling police for help. The incident occurred at the woman’s home on North Larkspur Drive at about 2:19 a.m.

The report states the woman came home and engaged in a verbal argument with Carmona after she received text messages from him telling her “not to come home or he would throw beer bottles at her vehicle.”

During a verbal argument, the woman “threw Rogelio’s duffle bag containing his personal belongings in the front yard of the residence and told him to leave,” the report states.

The argument continued in the front yard of the home and the woman told Carmona she was going to call the police for help. Carmona allegedly took her cellphone from her hand and pushed her against a vehicle in the driveway.

The report alleges he then began strangling her “by placing both of his hands around her throat and applying pressure.” She told officers she “did not lose consciousness but was unable to breath.”

The probable cause statement reads that she began hitting Carmona with her car keys and he let her go, “then begged her not to call the police, stating he would just leave.” Police reported the woman received a laceration to her right hand and she was unsure how she got it.

The alleged assault was captured on surveillance cameras outside the house. The footage was impounded as evidence.

Carmona was arrested by 2:32 a.m. and booked into the Pinal County Jail. He was also booked into jail on two outstanding warrants from the City of Maricopa. The outstanding warrants had a cash bond of $580.43 and $1,374.38.

 

 

Veronica Cervantez was arrested by Maricopa Police Jan. 26 for domestic violence assault.

According to a MPD probable cause statement, Cervantez was involved in a verbal dispute with her boyfriend about 4:15 p.m. on North Cielo Lane. The dispute was over Cervantez “going out the night before” and him “not knowing what she was up to.”

It eventually turned physical, according to the police report.

“During the argument, property was broken,” the probable cause statement reads. “It is unclear at this point if it was accidental or on purpose due to conflicting statement.”

The boyfriend told police he pushed Cervantez away as she was throwing things at him. During the argument, the man said Cervantez “hit him in the head with the fan in the bedroom,” according to the police report.

The police officer noted in their report the man had a “bump in the back of his head the size of a quarter and a red laceration on the top portion of his forehead.”

Cervantez denied hitting him with the fan and denied he had even pushed her, the report states. She only acknowledged that the two were in a verbal argument.

At 4:40 p.m. officers placed Cervantez under arrest.

“I have probable cause to believe the assault took place from the injuries,” the officer wrote, adding, “and statements made by him.”

Cervantez was booked into the Pinal County Jail.

 

Abdullatif Aldosary was recharged with a 2012 murder. PCSO photo

A man who stands accused of killing a former coworker in Maricopa was recharged with first-degree murder on Jan. 24.

Abdullatif Aldosary, 53, allegedly killed Orlando Requena, of Casa Grande, on Nov. 27, 2012, at a train-offloading area on Cowtown Road. Aldosary and Requena were coworkers at Arizona Grain, though they reportedly had not had contact for six months prior to the murder.

He is being held on a $1 million bond after his Friday arraignment.

Aldosary originally was charged in July 2013 with the first-degree murder of Requena and the Nov. 30, 2012, bombing of a Social Security building in Casa Grande, but those charges were dismissed earlier this month, along with a 2015 charge of attacking a corrections employee with bodily fluids.

In July 2018, state prosecutors moved to have him civilly committed to a mental institution. Aldosary was ordered to be evaluated at an inpatient treatment facility by Pinal County Superior Court Judge Joseph Georgini. An appeal was lodged in September.

In December, a special hearing was scheduled to evaluate Aldosary’s treatment after an appeals court determined that Georgini’s order forcing Aldosary to take medication was not proper. The hearing was cancelled just before the state motioned to drop Aldosary’s charges.

Charges against Aldosary were officially dismissed Jan. 14 without prejudice, giving prosecutors the ability to re-indict him in the future if he proved not to be a danger to himself or others.

Jan. 16, Aldosary was again indicted by a Pinal County grand jury on three charges, the first-degree murder of Requena, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against Jesse Montijo and misconduct involving a weapon by a prohibited possessor.

In 2014, Aldosary was found guilty in federal court of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and was sentenced to five years in a federal prison.

He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing March 6 and remains in Pinal County Adult Detention.

Photo by Jim Headley

 

Maricopa’s Native Grill and Wings will remain closed four to six more weeks, according to Adriana Espinosa, corporate spokesperson, on Monday.

What was described as a small hood fire occurred about 2 a.m. Jan. 13 at the restaurant and it closed the popular Maricopa eatery immediately. Initially, Espinosa said the company had hoped to reopen their store in two to six weeks but, as the investigation and repairs continue, it could be much longer than planned.

A post on the Native Grill Facebook page Monday stated the goal is now March 1.

Photo by Jim Headley

Espinosa said they hope to be open sooner but it could take up to six additional weeks to repair the damages even if it was a small fire.

“Until then, we are inviting all of our guests to visit any of our other 20 locations in the Phoenix area,” she said. “The closest location would be our Ray Road location on Ray Road and I-10. However, the owner of the Maricopa location also owns the Dobson/Guadalupe location.”