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Jim Headley

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Cmdr. Bryan Moore

Bryan Moore, 51, has been named post commander of Maricopa’s American Legion post.

We still serve our fellow veterans and current service members. It is just a continuation of our active duty.

Moore was elected Maricopa’s Bernie G. Crouse Post 133 on May 16. He has been a member of the post for the past two years and has been very active in post functions.

“In any volunteer group you’re going to have a large number of people who are part of the club,” Moore said. “You’re going to have a small portion that does most everything, the 10-percent rule. I fit in with that group. Anytime something comes up, I join in right away.”

He said last year he was elected as first vice commander.

“As first vice commander one of my primary roles was recruitment,” he said. “I recruited a lot of people. They thought I might do well in the commanders spot and keep going in the proper direction with the Legion.”

The Maricopa Post 133 has 140 members.

“There are a lot of veterans in Maricopa,” Moore said. “Most veterans who served did it for a reason, not just to come home to have everyone say thank you for your service. It is something that is built into them. They have that need to serve. A lot of us still have that need, so we join organizations like this. We still serve our fellow veterans and current service members. It is just a continuation of our active duty.”

American Legion Cmdr. Bryan Moore

 

Moore was active duty U.S. Navy from 1985 to 1990. He joined the Indiana Army National Guard from 1999 to 2003.

Moore works at Sky Harbor Airport as a base manager of maintenance for a regional airline, Compass Airlines. He runs the Phoenix maintenance base for aircraft mechanics and materials.

“I am excited about the growth of Maricopa. I would like to see more industries and better jobs, so people don’t have to commute. We all know what that’s like on the 347,” Moore said.

If you are a veteran and want to reach the American Legion Post 133, join the Maricopa Veterans page on Facebook. It is a closed Facebook group dedicated to the veterans of this city. The page already has 342 members.

“It’s for veterans only and for veteran’s who live in Maricopa only,” Moore said.

The Post’s website can also be found at alpost133az.org.

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Stay cool and hydrated during the excessive heat warning. Photo by Jim Headley

The National Weather Service in Phoenix has issued an excessive heat warning, from 10 a.m. Tuesday through 8 p.m. Thursday.

An excessive heat warning means that a period of very hot temperatures, even by local standards, will occur. Actions should be taken to lessen the impact of the extreme heat.

Today will be hot and sunny with a high near 108. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 77.

Tuesday is expected to be even hotter and mostly sunny with a high near 110 when the excessive heat warning is in effect. Tuesday night will be partly cloudy with a low around 78.

Wednesday will likely be sunny and hot with a high near 112 and maybe 113. Wednesday night will be mostly clear with a low around 78.

Thursday is forecast to be mostly sunny and hot with a high near 111 and winds 5 to 10 mph increasing to 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Thursday night will be partly cloudy with a low around 72.

Friday will be sunny and cooler with a high of just 105 expected. Friday night will be clear with a low around 70.

Highs will remain above 100 through the weekend, so be careful outdoors. Take lots of water with you anytime to venture out of air-conditioned buildings.

During an excessive heat warning, overexposure can cause heat cramps and heat exhaustion to develop and, without intervention, can lead to heat stroke.

Stay indoors and seek air-conditioned buildings. Drink water, more than usual, and avoid dehydrating alcoholic, sugary, or caffeinated drinks. Dress for the heat – lightweight and light-colored clothing. Eat small meals and eat more often. Monitor those with a higher vulnerability to heat, including small children and pets. Check in on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly. If engaging in outdoor activity, take longer and more frequent breaks and avoid the hottest parts of the day. Never leave kids or pets unattended in cars.

Recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. Early signs include thirst and muscle cramps. Heat exhaustion may include: cool, moist, pale skin; headache; dizziness; weakness or exhaustion; nausea. The most serious illness is heat stroke, which may include: vomiting; confusion; throbbing headache; decreased alertness or loss of consciousness; high body temperature (above 105F); hot, dry skin; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; seizures. Heat stroke can be deadly. Treat as an emergency and call 9 1 1.

Michelle Cruz opened Compassionate Nature Studios in Stage Stop. Photo by Jim Headley

Compassionate Nature Studios opened May 6 in the Stage Stop Marketplace, 44301 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.

The new yoga studio is in a fully remodeled space and very “zen,” according to owner Michelle Cruz.

“This is a brand-new business,” Cruz said. “The response so far has been really good.”

The studio opened May 6. Cruz said the new space has a strong feeling of relaxation. She has been a practicing Yoga Nidra instructor less than one year.

“We have another instructor, and she does a huge variety of classes,” Cruz said. “She’s been doing this for years. We bring a little of what I teach and a little of what she teaches into the whole experience.”

The other instructor is Chamica Dennis, who has been a yoga instructor for the past two years and she specializes in Hatha unity-based yoga.

“I absolutely adore the studio,” said Dennis. “It is a great place for women to come. It is a great place for everyone, but we are focusing on women. It’s mostly about relaxing and relaxation.”

Dennis said the new studio came out beautifully with calm and relaxing colors.

“There will be a lot of workshops in the future,” she said. “I do reiki as well and some therapies. There will be some stress related workshops. There are a lot of different things that will be coming up. The new workshops will be centered on healing and meditation.”

She added that smoking secession workshops might also be offered if there is a need for them.

Compassionate Nature Studios offers classes in Yoga Nidra, Yoga 101, restorative yoga, Hatha flow, meditation and aroma therapy, Vinyasa flow and Shakti Vinyasa flow.

Yoga Nidra is deep sleep meditation, potentially helping with many challenges like insomnia, anxiety, depression, PTSD, fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, trauma, addictions and stress.

Classes are offered as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 7:30 p.m. in the day.

The studio has a “drop-in rate,” but there is also an opening special of eight classes for $49.

“We want people to come in and see what yoga style works best for them,” Cruz said. “I wanted a business that caters more towards women, so they have a safe and tranquil spot to come and just let go. This space is created to invest in yourself and take that time to slow down. You can’t give back to others if you are depleted. In the midst of chaos, you need a little more calm.”

For more information, you can call Cruz at (520) 840-0667.


The story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Matthew Padzunas (PCSO)

Matthew Padzunas, 38, was arrested and jailed June 5 after he allegedly threw water on his wife.

He was arrested shortly before 8 p.m. at the couple’s home on West Windrose Drive when officers responded to a complaint about a possible domestic altercation.

“Officers arrived on scene and made contact with Matthew (Padzunas) and his wife at the front door,” a Maricopa Police officer wrote in their probable cause statement. “Upon initially speaking to her, I observed her to be covered in water on her head and her shirt.”

She told officers they were involved in a verbal argument about him wanting her to move out for good. Padzunas told police they were arguing about bills and other things.

“When she stopped talking to him and would not answer him, he threw water on her from a bottle in the kitchen,” the police report reads. “Matthew advised he did this because it was sort of a ‘wake up call’ so she would answer him and not ignore him.”

The report states he was placed under arrest in the couple’s front yard without incident on an initial charge of disorderly conduct.

Padzunas was in Pinal County Jail for two days. According to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, no complaint was filed against Padzunas in 48 hours, and he was released.

Kathryn Sinkevitch was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole for the murder of Michael Agerter at his rental home on Sagebrush Trail in Rancho El Dorado Dec. 16, 2016.

Kathryn Sinkevitch will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Thursday, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Kevin White handed down a “natural life” in prison sentence to Sinkevitch after she was convicted May 7 of the first-degree murder of Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016.

With a sentence of natural life in prison, she is not eligible for commutation, parole, work furlough, work release or release from confinement on any basis.

It is one of the harshest penalties in the State of Arizona, second only to the death penalty.

Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately but had an infant son together.

Prosecutors maintain the murder occurred because Sinkevitch did not want to share custody of the child with Agerter and the two were involved in a court battle, including DNA testing. Agerter, 31, was murdered just hours after submitting DNA samples at LabCorp.

After a little more than a day of deliberations, the jury handed down its decision.

Sinkevitch, 35, appeared for her sentencing Thursday morning wearing a maroon jail uniform, with her long blond hair down and pulled back in a pony tail.

The victim’s mother and father, who live in Ohio, spoke to the court before her sentence was announced.

Michael’s father, Mark Agerter, said the murder of his son was one of the most cowardly acts he has seen in his 60 years on the planet.

“For 35 years, I have taught and coached high school kids and had many opportunities to speak. I have prepared a script though it will not be as eloquent or as colorful in vocabulary as he (Michael) might have done,” Mark said.

He said that since Sinkevitch was found guilty on May 7, many people have “congratulated” him on the verdict. He said the word congratulations is not the right word for the situation. He said Sinkevitch’s actions may not have created a circumstance where there could be a winner.

“The end of Mike’s life did not fit the type of person that he ever was,” his father said. “A few days following (his murder), there were comments on social media from Ms. Sinkevitch’s family members that Mike got exactly what he deserved. This is very disconcerting and did not come from someone who knew Mike.”

He said he has never found anyone who knew Michael that would describe his son in any other way than as a true and sincere person.

As his father spoke, Sinkevitch just sat silently and stared at the back of his head.

“There was absolutely no reason that the events that occurred on Dec. 16, 2016, should have ever happened,” Mark Agerter said. “Mike, from a young age, tended not to be fearful of anything. It showed in everything he did from climbing trees that were too tall as a kid to his efforts playing college football.”

Two armed, female sheriff’s office guards stood very close to Sinkevitch as Agerter spoke.

“Mike truly wanted things to be right for his son,” he said. “After all, he loved children. Unfortunately, he was never allowed to meet his son. There is a reason that we must have prisons. Someone who would act in a very unconscionable and cowardly manner to take a life, like the one taken in that garage in Maricopa, Arizona, on Dec. 16, 2016, must not have the freedom to make that decision ever again.”

He thanked the Pinal County prosecutors in the case, led by Shawn Jensvold and David Ahl and Christine Forbes. He also thanked the Maricopa Police Department for all their hard work.

“Kathryn Sinkevitch may have chosen to take Mike’s life, but she will never kill his spirit. His spirit lives on forever. His family will be sure that the little boy that we call Christopher will be the most loved little boy on the planet,” Mark said referring to his grandson, of whom Michael’s parents have custody.

Michael’s mother, Leslie Agerter, also addressed the court.

She told White about her murdered son and his relationships to his siblings

She spoke about her son’s deep relationship with siblings and family. She talked about her son’s many selfless acts of kindness to family, friends and total strangers.

She also spoke about how her daughter was on the phone with Michael when he was murdered.

“She was his friend but most of all he was her big brother,” Leslie said. “She listened to Michael utter his final words and take his dying breath after Sinkevitch ambushed him in his garage.”

She said no one is perfect and Mike was no exception.

“He may not have been perfect, but he was a gentleman,” she said. “At the first incident of violence against him, he should have been out the door. Instead he stayed. He gave me a whole laundry list of reasons why he shouldn’t leave the relationship. They all revolved around her, and him wanting to make sure she could take care of herself.”

Leslie Agerter said at first her son wouldn’t leave Sinkevitch because she didn’t have a job and he was worried she couldn’t support herself. After she got a job, she said Michael stayed in the relationship to make sure she could get to work because she didn’t have transportation.

She said Sinkevitch used her son’s car to get back and forth to work while he stayed home and worked.

“And finally, when he thought she could be self-sufficient, and he was ready to leave, she became pregnant,” she said. “We are left to raise our son’s son. We decided to call him Christopher in honor of one of Mike’s longest valued friendships. Her rights as a parent have been legally terminated. My son is gone. How are we to explain to his son her actions when he is old enough to understand? I hope I am strong enough and given the wisdom when that inevitable day arrives.”

Both the prosecutors and defense attorney Bret Huggins agreed there is little choice but to give Sinkevitch a natural life sentence.

Huggins told the court he had already filed an appeal and asked to be withdrawn as defense council for Sinkevitch. He asked the court to appoint another defense attorney to handle the case in the future.

White asked Sinkevitch to stand and asked if she had anything to say to the court and she only replied, “No.”

The judge then sentenced her to serve the rest of her natural life in prison with credit for already serving 896 days in custody.

A Curious Coincidence

Leslie Agerter said there is an ironic twist to the murder of her son, something she learned after Sinkevitch was convicted of the murder.

“In a roundabout way it brings everything full circle,” she said. “In December of 1984, Mark and I drove his sister to her new home in Houston, Texas. We decided to attend the Blue Bonnet Bowl between TCU and West Virginia. We watched the West Virginia quarterback lead his team to an astounding victory. On that same trip, I discovered I was pregnant with Michael and here today, 34 years later, we stand before that same quarterback who now presides over the state’s astounding victory over Sinkevitch.”

The quarterback of West Virginia at the Blue Bonnet Bowl in 1984 was Judge Kevin White.

 

Court of honor. Submitted photo

In just three months, 26 of the 31 members of Maricopa Boy Scout Troop 945 earned 102 merit badges.

This incredible feat bolsters the troop’s merit badge count to 460 among the 31 active Scouts. The troop currently has two Scouts with the rank of Eagle, and seven more are on the track to obtaining their Eagle.

The leading merit-badge holder in the troop is Eagle Jonathan Pulver with 42, followed by Star Scout Jonathan Wright with 36, all accumulated in two years. Boston Mooney, a Life rank, is next in the troop with 31 and Eagle Nicholas Mooney, Life Jarom Hoopes and Star Grant Pulver each have 28.

In their May 1 court of honor on, seven new Scouts joined the troop and a total of 15 Scouts earned rank advancements.

“This last three months, we kind of got everything rejuvenated in our troop,” said Tyler Wright, troop committee chair. “I just got put into the position in January. I went out to the older boys to see what I could do to get them to finish their Eagle.”

Scoutmaster Tom Bogle said many of his Scouts didn’t realize just how close they were to making Eagle.

What it took was someone to go through the troop’s records and make sure all the merit badges were properly recorded to each Scout. They found and corrected 21 merit badges that scouts earned but never received.

“We showed the boys, ‘This is all the work you have left. Are you willing to put in the work?’ We were hoping to get four or five more boys to get excited and say yes,” Bogle said.

Maricopa kids at Lava Tube Caves near Flagstaff. Submitted photo

What really makes the troop work so well, he said, is having so many people who are engaged with the community willing to help members of the troop earn merit badges and rank promotions.

“We love the Eagle project because this is the part where we get to see the Scout grow,” Wright said.

Five of the troop’s Scouts are expected to obtain their Eagles over the next two months. Less than 5 percent of Scouts obtain the rank of Eagle.

Troop 945 meets every Wednesday but often there will be extra meetings on other days, especially to work on merit badges.

“Whenever the leaders are available, we’re putting together opportunities for the boys to learn new skills. We invite them. We’re doing Scouting two or three times a week, sometimes four,” Wright said.

The troop, first chartered in 2007, is sponsored by the Pacana Park board but also gets strong support from the Maricopa Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Troop 945 was first chartered on Dec. 28, 2007, and its first scoutmaster was Andre St. Gelais.


This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Arrowheads made by Jonathan Wright out of obsidian. Jon earned his 36th merit badge and just turned 13. Submitted photo

Summer flooding of Porter Road at the Santa Rosa Wash is not uncommon.

A bridge over the Santa Rosa Wash will allow citizens of Santa Rosa Springs a secondary escape route if the wash is full and the train tracks are blocked. The wash’s impact on Rancho El Dorado Parkway may also be tamed, in part.

The City of Maricopa is looking at solving many of its problems in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. It includes is a laundry list of capital improvement projects (CIP) that will make life much better for the average citizen.

One of the items on the wish list is a bridge on Porter Road, over the Santa Rosa Wash. The bridge, at a cost of about $900,000, will keep Porter Road open to Farrell Road if water is running in the wash.

“Starting this fiscal year, we will start to design a bridge crossing of the Santa Rosa Wash,” said Joshua Plumb, city engineer. “This is going to provide all-weather access to folks that use Farrell Road now to get to 347, Porter and the folks in Santa Rosa Springs. There are about 650 lots in Santa Rosa Springs. If the train is stopped on the tracks, to the north, and the wash is running, to the south, they are kind of caught. We will be designing a bridge that will at least give them access to the city to the south.”

Plumb said there always must be a route out of a large subdivision.

“This is something that they are keenly aware of in Santa Rosa Springs,” Plumb said.

The project will be funded by using the city’s impact fees, which are collected when parts of the city are developed for residential or commercial purposes.

Another change will happen in the northern section of the Santa Rosa Wash where it twice crosses Rancho El Dorado Parkway. An emergency flood warning system will be implemented, a round-the-clock electronic system that will monitor water running in the wash and warn motorists with flood warning signs before they reach the wash.

This will eliminate motorists getting to the wash area, only to have to turn around because the wash in full. This will be installed on both crossings of Rancho El Dorado Parkway.

On the north crossing, however, the city plans to elevate the roadway so traffic can still cross during “the smaller, more frequent storm events.” Major flood events would still impact the parkway. The cost of the crossing is estimated at $905,000 and is scheduled for fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

SANTA CRUZ WASH

Other changes will happen to the flood plain surrounding the Santa Cruz Wash.

“We are still in design on the north Santa Cruz Wash Project,” Plumb said. “I would anticipate this calendar year, we will be finished with design to the point that we can apply to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for a conditional letter of map revision (CLOMR). Then it becomes an issue of working through the FEMA process, finding ways to fund the project and working with the developers who are part of our stakeholder’s group.”

The project would entail the channelization of the wash.

“It would take what really runs through about a mile-wide swath of the city and channelizing to a roughly 300-foot wide wash,” Plumb said . “This will allow the rest of the area to be developed. It’s not a wash right now. Water sheet flows across the surface in this mile-wide area from White and Parker Road to a mile east. It is even broader in some areas. It will take all that area and put it into a single channel, or wash, that will be deeper and narrower. The remaining, almost a full mile wide, area will be open for economic development.”

Plumb said as an engineer his goal is to get the city to where it is open to economic development and the wash redesign will unlock a lot of area for housing and commercial development.

“It is a long and expensive process with the flood plain in the center of the city,” Plumb said. “It pretty much creates two cities with that mile-wide separation in between. You can’t build anything in that area right now.”

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Triple digits are here to stay for a while. Photo by Jim Headley

Summer has finally arrived in the Valley as highs will exceed 100 degrees in the foreseeable forecast, according to the National Weather Service. Next week promises to be sizzling as highs will hover around 110 degrees. No precipitation is expected through the weekend.

Today will remain hot and sunny with a high near 103. Tonight will be clear with a low around 70.

Friday will be sunny again with a high near 101. Friday night will also be mostly clear with a low around 67.

Saturday will be sunny, with a high near 101. Saturday night will be mostly clear with a low around 68.

Sunday will remain mostly sunny, with a high near 105. Sunday night will be partly cloudy, with a low around 72.

Brace yourself, as temps will hit 109 on Monday and 110 Tuesday. It’s going to be hot all week.

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Tuesday, Maricopa City Council unanimously approved its annual budget. The total expenditures of $105.7 million are a decrease from last fiscal year by $935,103.

General Fund revenues are budgeted at $34.6 million, with $11.8 million of that from sales tax. Much of the city’s revenue comes from property taxes.

City Tax Rate                               2019                  2018
Primary Property Tax Rate            4.7845                4.7845
Secondary Tax Rate                         1.1220                 1.1871
Total                                               5.9065              5.9716

Property Tax Levy Amounts
Primary Property Taxes                $12,544,974        $13,730,060
Secondary Property Taxes            $2,941,920          $3,406,624
Total                                              $15,486,894     $17,136,684

While the budget for fiscal year 1019-20 wasn’t controversial – members of the council have been hashing out the details of the plan for months – before voting on the measure, Councilwoman Julia Gusse questioned why the city is a member of a Canadian trade organization and not a Mexican trade group.

She said the city pays more than $14,000 annually to belong to the Canadian group but doesn’t pay $1,500 to belong to the Arizona-Mexico Commission.

After more than 15 minutes of discussion about the item that was not originally on the agenda, the final city budget was approved with an amendment to budget $1,500 to join the Arizona-Mexico Commission, if the city council approves it in the coming year. The matter is expected to come up on the next city council agenda June 18.

Council members also adopted the City of Maricopa Strategic Plan for the next two years. The Strategic Plan and is essentially an action plan to guide the city toward the 2040 Vision Plan, City Manager Rick Horst said.

The council also heard the second of two public hearings on a proposed Community Development Block Grant of $180,000 to install lighting and perform some neighborhood rehabilitation and revitalization in the Heritage District. The matter will come before the council one more time before the city will be allowed to apply for the federal grant.

In its consent agenda, the council endorsed the Pinal County I-11 Coalition’s support for the Federal Highway Administration and Arizona Department of Transportation’s Interstate 11 (see proposed routes) Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement and Preliminary Evaluation.

The Council accepted public improvements and maintenance responsibility for all local internal streets within Parcel 19 of the Homestead North Subdivision into the City Street/Road Maintenance System.

They approved the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Arizona Department of Revenue and the City of Maricopa for the collection and administration of transaction privilege and affiliated excise taxes imposed by the City of Maricopa.

The council also recommended the approval to the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control regarding an application submitted by Kim Kwiatkowski on behalf of Circle K Store at 41433 W. Honeycutt Road. The store already had a license for beer-and-wine sales.

Devin Hardman was arrested by Maricopa Police for possession of a narcotic drug, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of drug paraphernalia after an officer stopped to assist him on May 29 at 1:22 a.m.

In a police probable cause statement, the officer wrote, “I observed a vehicle with its lights on stopped on the side of the road near Wolf Drive and Powers Boulevard. I parked my patrol vehicle behind the white and color vehicle … and conducted a welfare check. I observed four occupants inside the vehicle. As I approached the vehicle I observed smoke coming out of the driver’s side window.”

The officer approached the vehicle and identified Hardman as the driver.

“At this time, a strong odor of burnt marijuana was emanating from inside the vehicle,” the officer wrote in the report.

After asking all occupants of the vehicle if they had a medical marijuana card, Hardman was read his Miranda rights and allegedly disclosed there was marijuana inside the vehicle and that all four of them were smoking it, according to the report.

Hardman said the marijuana belonged to him.

Photo by Kyle Norby

The courthouse in Maricopa is off the beaten path.

The average citizen may not realize the city has both a municipal and a criminal justice court in the community, yet the court performs needed duties each day. Sitting on the bench of both courts is the Honorable Lyle D. Riggs.

Riggs could be called the most polite judge in the West. He goes out of his way to make sure those accused of a crime understand what they’re facing, how to navigate the system and to always show up to court when required.

Unlike Pinal County Superior Court, there is no docket available when you come to municipal court.

Mondays, the court tackles arraignments, with the criminal cases being heard by the judge and clerks handling most of the traffic offenses.

Tuesdays begin with pre-trial hearings in municipal court, which also gives defendants the opportunity to talk with a prosecutor and maybe work out an agreement early in the process.

Wednesdays, pretrial conferences for the justice court take place. There are typically 50 or more municipal pretrial hearings and 25 to 30 justice court pre-trials each week at the Maricopa courthouse.

Arraignments also take place on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

Thursdays are set aside for contested hearings, small claims and eviction hearings. Riggs said there are six to eight evictions a week in Maricopa. Jury and bench trials take place Thursday afternoons and Fridays when needed.

Friday is one of the most interesting days in the Maricopa courtroom as open court takes place from 8 to 10 a.m. Open court is a time when defendants who are a little off track talk to Judge Riggs and fix what they have done wrong.

Maybe they missed a payment on a settlement agreement. Maybe they missed a court date and have a warrant issued for their arrest. Riggs sets aside Friday mornings in his calendar to give people a chance to make right. He said 30 to 40 people usually come through court on Friday mornings, and anything can happen.

Judge Lyle Riggs is both city magistrate and county justice of the peace. Photo by Jim Headley

Open Court May 3, 2019

(Only first names of the defendants used for privacy.)

8 a.m. – The doors to the Western Pinal Justice Court open. There are about 20 people waiting in line. Everyone entering the building goes through a security checkpoint and metal detector run by the security guard, Lorenzo Villa. People have until 10 a.m. to check in for open court.

8:12 a.m. – Open court starts as Judge Lyle Riggs enters the courtroom.

8:14 a.m. – Riggs explains to attendees how court works and calls the first case of the day. Brian is selected as the first “contestant.” “It’s kind of like a game show,” Riggs jokes. Brian has a traffic ticket for failure to stop, but he failed to appear for a court date in March, and his driving privileges were suspended. He owes $288 in fines and must complete traffic survival school. He asked the court for a payment plan, as he’s starting a new job on Monday and needs his driver’s license reinstated. He promises to make a payment today and get his license restarted. Riggs orders him to pay $80 today and $80 a month starting June 1.

8:20 a.m. – Johnathan missed his deadline to complete court-ordered community service. The agreement is between him and the prosecutor and not the court, so Riggs tells him to talk to the prosecutor. He must be back in court at a later date.

8:21 a.m. – Lane was to be in court April 30 for an arraignment, and he missed it. He tells Riggs he was in police custody at that time. He is rescheduled to appear in court June 11.

8:23 a.m. – Damian also was supposed to be in court April 30 and failed to appear. She apologizes and says she failed to plan for the appearance. Riggs lets her reschedule to appear on June 11. “I’ll accept this excuse one time,” Riggs says.

8:26 a.m. – Shannon is called next with two cases pending. She says she tried to pay on her fine and was told the payment plan was terminated. She says she could pay $150 today and pay off one of the fines by June 1 at a balance of $82. Then she will pay $50 a month on the other fine. “I want something that works,” Riggs says.

8:33 a.m. – Diego was to be in court April 22 and failed to appear. He says he was out of town, but he wants to go to driving school to clear up his tickets. “It’s a good thing you came in today; you were about to get suspended,” Riggs tells him. He has until June 10 to complete driving school.

8:35 a.m. – Ruben was facing a traffic complaint and failed to appear in court on March 25. He owes fines of $668 and currently has suspended driving privileges. He decides to file a written motion for forgiveness on missing his court date and will remain suspended until the issue is resolved. Riggs gives him instructions on how to file the motion.

8:40 a.m. – Maria was wanted on a warrant because she wasn’t making payments to the court. Her last payment was in August until today. She is ordered pay the fine in full, and Riggs cancels the warrant. She also must go through substance abuse counseling by Aug. 2, and she remains on probation. She owes $571 in fines and promised to pay $50 a month.

8:45 a.m. – Christine says she got a letter in the mail that she hasn’t been paying her fines and she wants to reinstate her payments to the court. She also asks for her driving privileges to be reinstated. She promises to pay $100 today and $67 by June 1. Then she is ordered to pay $50 a month. She owes more than $1,000.

8:52 a.m. – Rhonda was last in court in July 2017. Riggs says the court has only received one payment from her and a warrant was issued. Her last payment was in February. She promises to pay $50 today and $50 a month starting June 1. Riggs cancels the warrant.

8:56 a.m. – Steven said he was ordered to do a day in jail and wants to reschedule the date. “This happens. We will get this rescheduled,” Riggs says. Steven will go to jail on May 17.

8:59 a.m. – Robert is called next. Riggs asks him to take his hat off as he approaches the bench, and he is sworn in. He is requesting an order of protection against harassment, but the court has to first prove there is a series of harassment. He keeps getting harassing calls and texts from a man as well as harassing posts on his business website, he says. The protection order is granted.

9:07 a.m. – Nicole requests a protection order. A woman threatened to beat her up in one text and said she wouldn’t stop until she does in a second text. The protection order is granted.

9:13 a.m. – Juan says he was about to have a warrant issued because he hasn’t been making payments. Riggs stops the warrant before it is issued. He tells Riggs he wants to establish a payment plan and get his license reinstated. Riggs orders him to pay $273 today and $200 a month starting June 1 on a balance of $1,000.

9:18 a.m. – Diane was wanted on a warrant as she failed to appear in court for a July 2017 arraignment. She lives in California and will be arraigned later in the day.

9:19 a.m. – Alexander failed to appear in court on Monday. “I forgot,” he says. “Well, that’s an honest answer,” Riggs replies. His court date is rescheduled.

9:21 a.m. – Lewis has four pending cases and he owes fines in each case. He asks to be put back on a payment plan and promises to pay $377 today and then $120 a month.

9:27 a.m. – Victoria failed to appear in court Jan. 14. She is to be arraigned later in the day.

9:28 a.m. – Francisco failed to appear for a court hearing on Wednesday and told Riggs he couldn’t get off work. “You have to get here; otherwise I make the arrangements and my arrangements aren’t very pleasant,” Riggs says. He is rescheduled to appear in court.

9:32 a.m. – Hannah has two cases pending, speeding and failure to appear in court on Jan 16. By default judgment, she owes $290 in fines on the speeding charge and her driver’s license is suspended. She is also charged with failure to have proof of insurance and she failed to appear in court on this charge on March 4. She owes $1,043 in fines on this charge by default judgement and is suspended an additional 90 days. She will file a written motion by May 17 for forgiveness in missing the dates in court.

9:37 a.m. – Joseph asks the court for an order of home detention, so he can get an ankle bracelet. A clerk will help him at the window.

9:40 a.m. – Diana says her driver’s license was suspended. She works in Chandler and is having financial issues. She wants a work driving permit and changes to her payment plan. She also missed a traffic hearing. Riggs tells her to make a payment and the court will release a hold they have on her license. She promises to pay $35 today and $30 a month.

9:44 a.m. – Darrin has two warrants against him and has pending fines, but he was not making payments. He promises to pay $60 today and $60 per month.

9:48 a.m. – Janella tells the court she missed a $200 payment yesterday because she wasn’t in the area and she lost her wallet. Riggs says she has until May 15 to start a $100 monthly payment.

9:50 a.m. – Diane and Victoria, two cases from earlier in the day, are arraigned. Both are criminal arraignments. Riggs explains the rules of arraignment to the two defendants at the same time. Diane was charged Dec. 15, 2016 with driving while suspended. She is also charged with failure to appear. Riggs sets a pretrial conference in the case for June 5. She owes $327 in fines for the failure to appear charge and she agrees to pay $163 today and the rest by June 1.

10:02 a.m. – Victoria is arraigned for driving while suspended on Nov. 16, 2018. The matter is set for a pretrial conference on June 11. On another charge, a plan is set up for a payment of $100 on Monday and monthly payments starting June 15.

10:05 a.m. – Caleb apparently had a disagreement with one of the court staff in the lobby before entering open court. It is something Riggs describes as “not very pleasant.” Riggs says Caleb called a clerk a name. Riggs suggests he apologize to the clerk on the way out of the building. Riggs says when you yell at a member of his staff you are also yelling at him. Caleb tells Riggs he finished driving school. Riggs dismisses a no-proof-of-insurance charge against him and says he was then done with the court and doesn’t need to come back.

10:16 a.m. – William is sworn in by Riggs. He asks the court for a protection order, which was granted by the court as evidence of harassment was established.

10:24 a.m. – Open Court finishes. Riggs says it was a light day and 27 cases were heard in just two hours and 12 minutes.


This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Jim Headley

Wayne Edwards was arrested by Maricopa Police on charges of aggravated domestic violence assault, aggravated domestic violence and assault May 31 about 4 p.m.

According to a Maricopa Police probable cause statement, about 5:41 p.m. police responded to a residence on West Cydnee Drive about an assault.

A woman reported that her husband, Edwards, attacked her while attempting to get her car keys. Though Edwards denied it, the woman had an injured right wrist according to the police report. She also participated in a sexual assault examination performed by a nurse.

Police discovered Edwards had previously been arrested on domestic violence charges six separate times in the past 84 months.

Elisia Uglade (PCSO)

A woman was charged with possession of a dangerous drug (methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia May 29 during a traffic stop by Maricopa Police about 4 p.m.

According to a police probable cause statement, two officers stopped a silver Chrysler minivan for a civil traffic violation in the AutoZone parking lot on North John Wayne Parkway. Elisia Ugalde, 33, was identified as the driver of the vehicle based on her Ak-Chin Tribal Identification Card.

An officer located a small clear baggie which contained methamphetamine inside her bra, according to the police report. Ugalde told police she took it from another passenger inside the vehicle, so he would not get into trouble.

She was transported and booked into the Pinal County Jail.

During a search of the vehicle, police found Edgar Espinoza lying in the rear portion of the van. Espinoza was wanted on a warrant out of the Western Pinal Justice Court with a bond of $500 required. He was placed into handcuffs.

During a later search police found tinfoil in his front left pants pockets with evidence of a black burnt residue consistent with smoking methamphetamine. Officers also found a glass pipe in the vehicle they believe was used for smoking methamphetamine.

Espinoza, 26, was booked into the Pinal County Jail on the warrant and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Maricopa City Hall

 

A special Maricopa City Council meeting will take place tonight in addition to their regularly scheduled meeting to have two public hearings about their annual city budget.

The first public hearing will be “on the City’s primary property tax levy for Fiscal Year 2019-2020.” The second public hearing will be to receive comments “regarding adoption of the final budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020.”

After the hearings, the city council will discuss and possibly vote to adopt the final budget for fiscal year 2019-2020.

Items on the council’s regular agenda include a request by City Manager Rick Horst to adopt the City of Maricopa Strategic Plan and hearing public comment regarding the use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds expected to be in the amount of $180,000.

During their regular meeting the city council will examine these items on their consent agenda:

A potential endorsement of the Pinal County I-11 Coalition’s support for the Federal Highway Administration and Arizona Department of Transportation’s Interstate 11 Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement and Preliminary Section 4(F) Evaluation. The item was pulled from a previous agenda.

The acceptance of public improvements and maintenance responsibility for all local internal streets within Parcel 19 of the Homestead North Subdivision into the City Street/Road Maintenance System.

Approving the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) and the City of Maricopa for the collection and administration of transaction privilege and affiliated excise taxes imposed by the City of Maricopa.

Approval to the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control regarding an application submitted by Kim Kwiatkowski on behalf of Circle K Store #3486, which is located at 41433 W. Honeycutt Road.

Arthur Eric Magana (PCSO photo)

It will most likely be months before convicted murderer Arthur Magana, 19, will be sent to prison.

Monday at a hearing in Superior Court, defense attorney David Gregan asked for a status review to be scheduled three months from now. This leaves Magana in the custody of the Pinal County Jail and not in the state prison system.

Magana was found guilty of killing 20-year-old Wyatt Miller. Magana’s friend Gustavo Olivo accepted a plea arrangement in November that resulted in a 25-year sentence.

In a trial, Magana was convicted of first-degree murder Nov. 19 after the jury heard evidence of how he shot Miller 11 times in the back of the head and neck on Nov. 7, 2016. The jury also found Magana guilty of armed robbery as Miller was killed during the theft of four ounces of marijuana.

Magana is accused of killing Miller inside his truck in a rural area of Maricopa, according to court testimony. Magana was just 16 years old at the time but is charged as an adult because it is a felony, which investigators called an assassination of Miller.

Magana was wearing a Pinal County Jail blue prison uniform in court Monday.

When Judge Kevin White asked if Magana’s case would be set for a sentencing hearing soon, Gregan said the defense, “was not even close” to a date.

As the prosecutor did not object, White set the matter for a status review on Sept. 9, at 1:30 p.m.

Kenneth Lewis (PCSO)

May 23, charges against a suspected home invader were enhanced due to aggravating factors.

Kenneth Lewis, 43, was shot by a Maricopa homeowner after he allegedly broke into three houses April 4 in the Cobblestone Farms subdivision. The residents of two of the three houses were home at the time.

Aggravating factors listed by the Pinal County Attorney’s Office include “the taking or damage to property in an amount sufficient to be an aggravating circumstance, physical, emotional or financial harm to a victim and at least one of the victims was 65 or older or a disabled person.”

Initial charges against Lewis were criminal damage (recklessly defacing or damaging property of another person) and three counts of second-degree burglary.

Lewis was shot in the shoulder after allegedly breaking into the third house.

One of the victims from the first house Lewis allegedly broke into, Erik Keen, stopped Lewis after he was shot and exiting the third house. He held him on the driveway of the house where Lewis was shot until police arrived.

Maricopa Police released video footage of two police officer body cameras when they arrived at the scene late last week. Some images may be disturbing.

The homeowner shot at Lewis twice, hitting him once. The homeowner was not charged for the shooting, as police believe it was self-defense.

Lewis remains in the Pinal County Jail on a $5,000 bond and will be back in court June 7 for a pretrial conference.

 

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Look for a place to keep cool, because this week is expected to stay around 100 degrees. Photo by Jim Headley

Maricopa is ready to crack 100 degrees again, according to the National Weather Service. Highs will remain in the upper 90s until Wednesday, when the 100-degree barrier will likely be broken.

Today will be sunny with a high near 97. Tonight, skies will remain clear with a low around 64.

Tuesday will also be sunny with a high near 98. The night will be clear with a low around 66.

Wednesday is forecast to be a little warmer and sunny with a high near 100. Wednesday night will likely be clear and slightly warmer with a low around 68.

Thursday the sun rules with a high of 101 expected. The night will be clear with a low around 67.

Friday is expected to remain hot and sunny with a high near 100. Friday night will be clear with a low around 66.

From this distance, the weekend will remain the same with highs around 100 and no precipitation expected.

NAPA Auto Parts may have found a new home.

In an executive session planned for Tuesday at 6 p.m. before their regularly scheduled meeting, Maricopa City Council will consider the sale of property to Mel’s Auto, LLC, an Arizona limited liability company doing business as NAPA Auto.

The land under consideration is at the city’s Estrella Gin Business Park on Edison Road.

The council may only go into executive session for discussion or consultation with the city attorney and designated representatives of the city in order to consider its position on and instruct its representatives regarding possibly entering into an agreement. They cannot act on the proposal in executive session.

Also, on the agenda of the same 6 p.m. special meeting is discussion of also selling Estrella Gin land to Electrical District No. 3.

 

The City purchased almost nine acres near the southeast corner of SR 347 and Bowlin Road.

The City of Maricopa recently bought just under nine acres of land in the Copper Sky development area.

As a rule, it is probably a bad idea for cities to just take whatever falls from the sky.

The $2.65 million purchase at the corner of State Route 347 and Bowlin Road took place for one reason. The city may now determine who will and won’t be part of the development at Copper Sky, next door to its $30 million Copper Sky multicultural complex and park.

“We are focused on that property and we are determined to help it happen,” said Jennifer Bostian, economic development specialist for the City of Maricopa. “We are looking for complementary uses to the Copper Sky complex that’s right next door. We expect the senior living complex will need a couple acres. There will very likely be a second hotel.”

A developer has already announced plans to construct a La Quinta Inn.

“We want to make sure that corner is used for sit-down restaurants and restaurant-type venues that are complementary to the hotels,” Bostian said. “It will be a great mix of retail, residential, office, hotel, recreation and senior living. It will be a great new asset for the city.”

Bostian said there is work on assembling the master plan for the Copper Sky district.

“Nothing has been finalized yet, but it is very close,” she said. “Basically, it looks like Copper Sky recreation center and all the surrounding fields will have hotels, apartments with mixed-use retail. That hard corner (next to SR 347) will probably be the second hotel and restaurants.”

While some design mock-ups have been unveiled, the final plan is still being worked out.

“Nothing has been formally approved yet, but it is well underway,” Bostian said.

She said the city is trying to maintain a vision of the Copper Sky area.

“As a rule, it is probably a bad idea for cities to just take whatever falls from the sky,” she said.

The purpose for the city to spend $2.65 million on this land purchase is simple – they want to sell it. By purchasing it, city leaders can control who buys and develops the property.

“That is the bottom line,” Bostian said. “We do want it to all look like it goes together. There is a lot of heart and soul going into this development.”

City spokesperson Adam Wolfe said this is a way for “the city to control positive sustainable growth in that area.”

Wolfe added that Copper Sky represents growth in the City of Maricopa and, with the addition of the SR 347 overpass, future development will be spurred in the southern part of Maricopa.

“I think we’re going to see a boom in the south, just like we saw in the north side because now you can get there. You don’t have to wait on a train,” Wolfe said.

Bostian said the city seriously needs apartments and a “walkable” community, and the Copper Sky development directly answers these needs.

“There are a couple apartment complexes that are really showing some interest in moving forward,” she said. “Copper Sky represents some things the city has been wanting for, for a long time. The first hotel has been an unmet need for some time. Study after study shows how important walkable communities are. This will really be a way for us to do that.”

Gregory Flood Jr. (PCSO)

 

Those carrying marijuana might want to re-think calling the police for a ride across town, especially if wanted on warrants.

On foot along North Porter Road about 10 minutes before 11 p.m. on Saturday, a man identifying himself as Sean Stevens called the Maricopa Police and said he was “being chased by unknown suspects.”

Upon arrival, a Maricopa Police officer spoke to the man, who again said his name was Sean, “and advised me he was being chased by two unknown people, with an unknown description. Sean requested a courtesy ride to his residence on West Hayden Drive,” according to a police report.

“I provided Sean a courtesy ride to his residence and knocked on the front door,” the police officer wrote in a probable cause statement. “I made contact with a resident, who advised me no one by the name of Sean Stevens lived at the residence.”

The resident came to the police car and identified “so-called Sean” as Gregory Flood Jr.

Flood was wanted on two warrants from Maricopa Municipal Court with bond amounts of $817 and $458. As Flood was placed under arrest, the police officer searched him and located a green “Traffic” cigarette box in his possession, according to the probable cause statement.

“I recognized the odor of marijuana emanating from this box, so I searched the box and found what I recognized as a joint containing a green leafy substance,” the officer wrote.

Flood allegedly admitted to officers it was marijuana. Tests proved it was, according to police reports. Flood was arrested and booked into the Pinal County Jail on the warrants and one count of possession of marijuana.

 

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Hot weather is in store for Arizona's "Free Fishing Day" Saturday, when everyone will be able to fish without a license including Brody Hall, left, and Michael Marzullo, fishing for catfish at Pacana Park. Photo by Jim Headley

Maricopa temperatures are expected to be in the upper 90s this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Today is sunny and warm with a high near 96. Tonight, expect clear skies with a low around 65. Calm wind becoming west-southwest around 5 mph after midnight.

Friday is expected to be sunny and even warmer with a high near 99.Friday night will remain clear with a low around 64 and winds 5-10 mph.

Saturday again is forecast to be sunny and hot with a high near 99 and winds 5 to 10 mph in time for Free Fishing Day statewide on public waters. Saturday night is likely to be clear with a low around 64.

Sunday may experience more of the same, sunny with a high near 99. Sunday night will remain clear with a low around 64.

Next week it will break 100 degrees daily through Wednesday. Welcome to summer, folks.

Rashawn Grady (PCSO)

Rashawn Grady, 23, is accused of taking a child’s belt after threatening him with a concealed handgun on May 25.

He is held in the Pinal County Jail on a $100,500 bond and charged with armed robbery and shoplifting.

According to a Maricopa Police probable cause statement, two juveniles reported being victims of an armed robbery on North John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road about 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

“The juveniles stated the suspect, later identified as Rashawn (Grady), pulled up next to them and asked if they wanted any weed,” a police officer wrote in their report. “They said they told Rashawn no and Rashawn then got out of the vehicle and told (name redacted) to give him his belt.”

The report described the vehicle as being “in traffic” when the driver stopped and got out of the car to approach the juveniles. According to the report, three witnesses then saw Grady lift his shirt and expose a concealed handgun in his waistband. They said Grady took the belt and drove away.

The minors, whose ages are not given, were able to give police a description of the man and the car he was driving, an older silver Nissan Altima. Grady was located at Bashas’ grocery store based on their description.

During an interview with police, Grady was initially inconsistent about the encounter, according to the report, but eventually admitted to having contact with the juveniles.

“Rashawn said he did not rob the juvenile,” the police officer wrote in their report. “Rashawn said the juvenile was a ‘b—h’ and gave him the belt when he asked. Rashawn would not admit to having a gun and would redirect the question when asked.”

Also, when police contacted Grady at Bashas’, he was found to have taken a full cart of groceries from the store without paying for them, leading to the shoplifting charge.

He was arrested and taken to the Pinal County Jail for booking. He was also wanted on a felony warrant out of Maricopa County with a $500 bond amount.

Dontai Sweat (PCSO)

A Maricopa man was charged with misconduct involving weapons May 24 when Maricopa Police found a knife on him after he stated he did not have any weapons during a traffic stop.

On May 24, Dontai Sweat, 33, reported to family members that “he was being chased by the mafia,” according to a police probable cause statement. Prior to the arrival of the police, dispatch ran a wants-and-warrants check, finding he was wanted on a warrant out of Casa Grande with a $200 bond. He also had a suspended driver’s license.

When police arrived, they saw Sweat drive away from the scene and located him a short time later at the intersection of Van Loo and Kennedy Court in Rancho El Dorado.

He initially refused to exit the vehicle when directed by police, according to the report, and officers asked him if he had weapons. He said he did not.

After he consented to a search, police allegedly found “a fixed blade knife, approximately 4 inches in length, in his front left pants pocket.”

He was placed under arrest for misconduct involving weapons as well as the warrant out of Casa Grande. He was later booked into Pinal County Jail.

Where Honeycutt Road meets White and Parker is often a traffic backup during morning rush hour. Photo by Jim Headley

 

While Maricopa might be considered small by some, in-town traffic is starting to become a problem.

The City of Maricopa is looking at solving many of its problems in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. It includes is a laundry list of capital improvement projects (CIP) that will make life much better for the average citizen.

One of the items on the wish list is the installation of a stoplight at the intersection of Honeycutt and White and Parker roads.

Heavy traffic flows out of Tortosa, Rancho Mirage and Sorrento subdivision every morning between 7 and 8:30 a.m. Drivers are heading into town, or north onto Smith-Enke Road and ultimately State Route 347 as they travel to the Phoenix metro area for work.

The bottleneck at Honeycutt and White and Parker backs up 15 to 20 minutes daily during the morning rush and again in the afternoon. The problem is exacerbated during the school year when the two schools in Tortosa – Santa Cruz Elementary and Desert Winds Middle School – let out classes.

“We have already reached out to a consultant to get them under contract for the design of that stoplight,” said Joshua Plumb, city engineer. “This fiscal year, starting in July, we will be constructing that traffic signal.”

Plumb said everything identified as a CIP project in the new budget is top priority for staff to complete.

“We will start design at the beginning of the year. Design is usually a six-month process but probably faster for a traffic signal,” he said. “This has some civil work with it. We will probably be doing construction in early 2020.”

The cost of a traffic signal is generally $250,000 to $350,000, according to Plumb, but this one will cost a little more as the intersection will be realigned and a right turn lane will be added to westbound Honeycutt onto northbound White and Parker.

Bowlin Road will also be extended to the east, into the Rancho Mirage subdivision, which is expected to relieve even more stress on the Honeycutt and White and Parker intersection.

“That is also on our CIP for next year,” Plumb said. “We are going to put in an elevated water crossing through the wash so vehicles can traverse the wash. That is not possible right now. It will be a temporary pavement connection on Bowlin Road. It’s not going to be a permanent road, but it will allow traffic to go back and forth.”

The completion of all the city’s CIP projects, including the stoplight at Honeycutt Road and White and Parker is contingent on the approval of the new budget coming before the city council in early June.

Steve Eggleston (foreground) manages the new BrakesPlus while Chad Williams is a service advisor. Photo by Jim Headley

 

Brakes Plus opened its Maricopa store May 9. The store is located at 44510 W Edison Road, near IHOP, WingStop and Planet Fitness.

Though the store is new, the staff is very experienced, including general manager Steve Eggleston.

Eggleston said he’s worked for Brake Plus for the past 18 months but also managed Goodyear stores in Utah for 25 years.

“I moved to Arizona five and a half years ago and managed a Goodyear in Ahwatukee for four and a half years,” Eggleston said. “I’ve been here (in Maricopa) ever since. The company takes care of us and they love their employees and customers.”

Though the new location has only been open two weeks, customers are increasing, Eggleston said.

“Our customer base is growing every day,” he said. “Obviously no one really knows we’re open, yet. We will be having a grand opening soon. It’s just been word of mouth so far.”

Maricopa’s Brakes Plus has six employees, including Eggleston.

“We are here to be honest with people,” Eggleston said. “We want to take care of them. We want to earn their trust. I have a good crew, some guys that have been around a while. I have GM Master Tech of 20 years. I have another Master Tech and a couple other guys who are all well rounded. The two who are younger have been at other stores in the company for two or three years.”

He said Brakes Plus purchased the property for a new building years ago.

“When everything took off again (after the recession) they decided to build down here. I came aboard to run this store. I love it because everything is brand new, down to the pencils,” Eggleston said.

Brakes Plus is a national corporate-owned chain of automotive service and repair stores based out of Denver. The company owns locations in Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Nebraska and Iowa.

In all, the company has 80 stores, according to their latest in-store advertising.

Brakes Plus does brake service, oil changes, air conditioning, filters, alignments, battery service, belts and hoses, clutches, coolant flushes, CV boots and axels, diagnostics, differential service, engine repair, tune ups, timing belts, exhaust, fuel induction, headlamps and bulbs, general mileage maintance, power steering flush, radiators and water pumps, shocks and struts, starters, alternators, steering, suspension, transmission flush, transfer case service and even wiper blades.

“We just don’t do any tire work,” Eggleston said.

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

 

A Maricopa couple accused of 10 counts of child abuse appeared in Pinal County Superior Court Friday and hinted at a change of plea.

Veronica and Corey Masterson were indicted by a grand jury on three counts of child abuse in December. Since then prosecutors have upped the charges to 10 counts.

Friday, defense attorney Cody Weagant asked the court for a continuance of the case for 60 days, so they might enter into a settlement conference with prosecutors and possibly a plea arrangement. He asked the court to schedule a change of plea conference on Friday July 19 at 9 a.m.

According to the police probable-cause statement in Veronica Masterson’s case, three children were removed from the couple’s home. During an interview with Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS), one of the children said, “When my dad wants us to shut up, he ties a rubber band around our head and then tapes our mouths shut. They’re always hitting us, and my mom kicks us.”

The child told investigators her parents smoked cigarettes and “something else” that she described as white. When asked by DCS investigators about the father, she said, “I don’t like him. He is so mean to us. He is always hitting us and tells us to shut up. He ignores us and doesn’t want us to talk.”

The girl also told investigators when she was grounded, she was not allowed food or water and she hid a water bottle in her backpack. After talking to investigators, she pleaded with them not to tell her parents what she said as she didn’t want the water bottle taken away, according to police documents.

“They don’t feed us, and we get super starving,” one of the children told investigators.

In the probable-cause statement, the DCS also informed Maricopa Police the mother is currently pregnant, and both parents failed to consent to drug testing.

Other allegations included spankings with paddles and belts and the older children being forced to take care of the younger children while the parents were out all night “doing bad stuff,” according to the probable cause statement.

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

The father, Corey Masterson, 36, was taken to the sheriff’s office adult detention center Dec. 19, the day of the indictments against him and his wife. At the time of his wife’s arrest a week earlier, he had been taken to a Casa Grande hospital complaining of kidney stones.

 

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Enjoying the weather for the long Memorial Day weekend? Photo by Jim Headley

If you had the opportunity to dream up the ideal weather forecast for a holidayweekend this would be it, according to the National Weather Service. It will be mild in the coming weekend with highs in the 80s and low 90s. No rain is forecast in the look ahead. So, get outside and enjoy Memorial Day with a baseball game, a barbecue, a hike in the desert or just a walk in the park. You deserve it.

Today is mild and sunny with a high near 80. Tonight will be rather chilly and clear with a low around 52.

Friday is forecast to be sunny with a high near 89. Friday night expect clear skies and a low around 57.

Saturday will be sunny with a high near 93. Saturday night will remain clear with a low around 57 and winds 5 to 10 mph gusting as high as 20 mph.

Sunday will likely be perfect with sunshine and a high near 88 and winds 10 to 15 mph gusting as high as 25 mph. Sunday night will be mostly clear with a low around 55.

Memorial Day will be a perfect day to get outside and enjoy the holiday with sunny skies and a high near 82. West southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Shirley Moenich (far left) said seniors are in the middle of shifting activities to Copper Sky. Photo by Jim Headley

 

Maricopa Seniors have been meeting in a backroom at Santa Cruz Elementary School for a year and earlier the Copa Center for several years.

Next month that comes to an end, and many seniors are still searching for answers. The Copa Seniors are moving out of Santa Cruz June 12.

Every Tuesday many of the Copa Seniors meet to play games. On May 21, they gathered at Copper Sky for Canasta.

“When we got the school, they said we were an adult group, so anybody who is an adult could come and play,” said Shirley Moenich. “What our status is now, I don’t know.”

She said the Copa Seniors are making a transition from Santa Cruz over to Copper Sky for many of their functions. The group is already meeting every Tuesday afternoon at 1 to play games at Copper Sky.

If you’re a senior, you’re welcome to drop in any Tuesday at 1 p.m. and play games.

“Someone is volunteering to supply all of our games, so we’re going to have that in a rolling cart. We will have that available at Copper Sky. Whatever days we end up with, we want to make sure there is someone here from our group that can say hello to new people, get them organized and let them know what we are doing,” Moenich said.

The origins of the Copa Seniors getting together to play games goes back to about 2013.

“I moved here before the town was here practically, in 1997, when Harrah’s opened. We had no subdivisions then at all. I have been here a long time, but I worked so I wasn’t able to join in on this group at first,” Moenich said.

She said as Maricopa keeps growing, the Copa Seniors are trying to get the word out to other seniors to come out of their homes and meet each other.

“And come to something where they can get some social life,” she said. “They need to find out what days we are here and what games we have going. If they have their own game that they want to bring, just come on in. They are welcome to come in anytime we are open – Tuesdays at 1 p.m. at Copper Sky right now.”

Moenich said with the move coming up June 12, many senior groups using Santa Cruz are trying to solve the many issues facing them. One of the largest problems is finding enough storage for their needed items.

“As far as the social game playing group, we won’t have a problem with storage because it will be solved,” Moenich said.

On Saturday afternoon Rudolph Simarro was arrested by Maricopa Police for Driving under the influence of alcohol and domestic violence disorderly conduct.

“Rudolph (Simarro) was stopped for failing to stop for the stop sign coming from McCord Drive onto Duncan Drive,” an officer wrote in their probable cause statement. “As I was speaking with Rudolph, a reporting party called Maricopa Police and reported a vehicle matching the description of Rudolph’s vehicle was seen driving erratically on West Neely Drive.”

Simarro told officers he had been in a verbal argument with his daughter and an officer noticed he had scratches on his arm. He told police they were from a brush with a bush.

The officer asked him to step out of the vehicle and noticed a strong odor of alcohol. Simarro allegedly told police he had two beers.

A field test was conducted, and officers observed two indicators of impairment.

While tests were taking place on Simarro, another team of officers went to where his daughter was located on West Neely Drive.

She told police Simarro was driving erratically up and down Neely Drive and left skid marks on the roadway and curb.

She said that he tried to get into the house, but she wouldn’t let him in “due to him misbehaving due to being drunk.”

She told police he had been staying at her house for the past month and that he attempted to break into the house when she wouldn’t let him inside, eventually getting in and physically fighting with her, her mother and a brother.

She said Simarro left once but returned, “to collect his items but got into physical altercations again.”

Simarro was arrested and charged with DUI with a blood alcohol content in excess of 0.08 and domestic violence disorderly conduct.

Native Grill has not established a date for re-opening.

 

The reopening date of the Maricopa Native Grill and Wings remains undetermined.

The popular Maricopa restaurant has been closed since suffering a fire Jan. 13. Through the four months Native Grill has been closed, owner Pat Kieny has declined to comment on the status of reopening.

Tuesday, Kieny said he was waiting on the City to get paperwork back to him and then they can set a date to reopen. In April, the restaurant applied for a commercial alteration permit. In May, it applied for a permit for the automatic hood extinguishing system. Both applications were returned for more information, part of the back-and-forth with City Hall.

Last weekend owners and managers of Native held a hiring clinic next door at Bashas’ and hired several new staff members.

Friday, they posted, “We hired 6 great additions to our team today. Will be back at Bashas tomorrow at 10 a.m. doing on the spot interviews.”

Saturday they posted, “At Bashas in the lobby area near the bakery doing on the spot interviews until 6 p.m.”

On the company’s Facebook Page there have been several posts talking about reopening.

On March 29 they posted, “Happy Friday! No solid date as of yet however Your Maricopa Native WILL Reopen. True Statement.”

On April 27, Patricia Barrigar posted on the company’s Facebook page, “There are so many dining options in Maricopa – some you like, some you don’t. To those of you that like Native – Thanks for your patience and well wishes. We are a family at Maricopa Native and We so much appreciate all the love and support we’ve received from our customers. We will most definitely reopen – shooting for the last week in May. Lots of kitchen repairs are complete and equipment had been ordered. We will keep you updated as we get closer and rest assured it will be a celebration to remember.”

On May 1, they posted, “The First of May- YAY!!! For All Our Maricopa Native Fans – We’re getting closer – so EXCITED to see everyone.”

On Mother’s Day they posted, “Happy Mother’s Day Maricopa Native Fans. Things are moving along – we are still planning on the last week of May.”

Through the months, they also offered discounts to Maricopa residents who would travel to one of their other locations. “Remember 25% off at the Laveen location for all Maricopa Residents – How about a little Spring Break Road Trip for some WINGS,” they posted on Facebook on March 28.