Authors Articles byKyle Norby

Kyle Norby

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Linda King talks about losing a daughter to domestic violence. Photo by Kyle Norby

For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer and the Maricopa Police Department hosted a kick-off event for the community. The presentations are aimed to help people learn and talk about domestic violence in society.

Events included the donation of $5,000 to the Maricopa Family Advocacy Center, a statistical portion on domestic violence, and a play performed on the subject as well.

“The play was actually written by the family of a lady who was in a domestic-violence relationship that ultimately took her life,” Volkmer explained.

The play is put on by an organization called “Fix the Hurt.” It is a production company founded by John and Linda King, who used to act in the play they created titled, “23 Bruises.” The play is based on the true events leading up to the death of John and Linda’s daughter. After the performance concluded, Linda King opened up the floor to a Q&A segment with the cast and crew.

Francis Jeffrey (PCSO)

A Pinal County woman’s latest alleged steal has gotten her more than she bargained for.

Francis Jeffery, 58, was contacted by police at Walmart on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway Tuesday afternoon in reference to alleged shoplifting. Police reported that when being questioned, Jeffery stated she had made purchases at Walmart and used the grocery bags from that purchase to hide shoplifted items in an attempt to make them appear purchased.

According to the police report, Jeffery was observed by loss prevention when attempting to pass off the stolen items as purchased. The value of the items came out to $66.85.

After being arrested and transported to Maricopa Police Station, officers found similar charges throughout Jeffery’s criminal history.

Jeffery was found guilty of shoplifting in three other cases, one of them being in Tempe in early 2015.

With police having three convictions within five years of each other, Jeffery’s violation increased to a class 4 felony.

Francis Jeffery was booked into Pinal County Jail.

Brian Lindblom has opened Mr. E Comics at 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 108. Photo by Kyle Norby

Geeks and nerds, rejoice. A brand-new comic book shop has opened in Maricopa.

Since moving to Maricopa last November, Mr. E Comics owner Brian Lindblom has been working night and day to get his shop off the ground.

“The community here has been awesome,” Lindblom said. “Just the support for things that are local is great.”

Although born in Washington, Brian moved with his family to Phoenix when he was 13 and spent most of his life here.

“I lived in Colorado for a couple of years at the top of the mountains,” Lindblom said. “I was planning on opening a much smaller version of this place out there.”

Located in the Shops at Maricopa Fiesta, Mr. E Comics offers rows upon rows of current issues, vintage titles, trading cards, and collectibles. With such a far-reaching medium of entertainment, Lindblom explained he wants to maintain an open and inviting atmosphere in his store. This includes the plan to eventually host large tabletop/card games events with titles such as, “Magic: The Gathering,” “Pokemon,” and “Yu-Gi-Oh!”

“The geek culture is kind of what I wanted to embrace,” Lindblom explained. “So, I’m sort of going to let the community speak as to what I should hold for events in this store.”

With less of a focus on graphic T’s and posters around the store, Lindblom emphasized wanting to focus on purchasing local art for the walls of the shop, showcasing the talents of local artists.

When asked about the evolution of geek culture becoming mainstream to general audiences, Lindblom said the popularity and interest in Maricopa is very much present.

“The market in this industry is generally older teens and people from 20 to 40 years old,” Lindblom said. “There’s been a significant amount of families who come in, I guess just excited that there is something more for kids than there has been in the past.”

With the comic industry catering to a mainly male audience, Lindblom noted another strong factor for his business the progressive surge of female readers.

“Almost 50 percent or more of the market is women at this point. I have many female customers that come in already,” he said.

With the goal of eventually sponsoring the Esports league and other events around town, Lindblom is excited to be part of the Maricopa business community.

“It’s more the community that gives me a sense of belonging,” Lindblom said. “The way that other businesses come in and want to work with you as opposed to feeling like competition. I feel like that’s how it should be.”

Maricopa Police had an alarming case early Monday morning, ending in a Villages woman being accused of vulnerable adult abuse.

Around 8 a.m. Monday morning, an elderly woman with a walker arrived at the InMaricopa office looking for help. The woman claimed she was being abused by her roommate, Miranda McClain, and had walked from the home to the nearest business while her roommate was asleep. InMaricopa staff called Maricopa police, who interviewed the woman and transported her to the family advocacy center.

She stated about five years ago she moved into McClain’s home on McCord Drive with an agreement to pay $500 a month for rent. The woman explained she only received money twice a month. After about four years, the woman told officers she was not happy and wanted to move out. McClain was described as “intimidating.”

During an incident approximately one year ago, McClain allegedly yelled and slapped the woman, telling her she would live in that house until she died, according to the report.

The elderly woman recalled a time she attempted to leave the home, but McClain allegedly locked her in the master bedroom for two days. An exterior lock was used to keep the woman inside, and she was only let out to use the bathroom. When police asked if she was being fed, the woman said McClain would bring her snacks. McClain slept in the room with her, but on separate beds.

Maricopa Police headed to McClain’s home, where they observed her driving past the residence in a white sedan. McClain turned her vehicle around and stopped in front of the officer’s patrol vehicle, asking why they were by her house.

Police stated they had the woman, to which McClain asked if she was at her daughter’s house. Officers only stated the woman was safe and they had not received any information from anyone else. According to the report, McClain seemed angry and agitated, continuing to ask where the woman was. Police advised McClain to hand over any of the woman’s property.

According to the report, McClain pulled the woman’s ID card and a debit card out of her purse and gave it to police. McClain also confirmed the woman has lived at the home for five years and has been paying her $500 a month in rent. She also stated she had online access to the woman’s funds and claimed she was also allowed to take out more money for pool services and McClain’s own doctor bills.

McClain allegedly admitted to locking the old woman in the master bedroom after she “was causing issues with her daughters.” She claimed the woman was a friend and did not want her to leave the home because she might fall, due to trouble walking.

Police reported McClain had no power of attorney over the woman and told McClain she would no longer have access to the woman’s bank account.

McClain was described as angry, claiming that she was now being left with a financial burden. Police wrote a probable-cause statement on the case listing potential charges but did not make an arrest.

Cameron Carr (PCSO)

A Maricopa man was arrested Thursday evening on suspicion of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.

Police responded to an assault call at a residence in Santa Rosa Springs, where they made contact with Cameron Carr, 30, and his girlfriend.

According to Carr’s girlfriend, they were sitting on the couch that evening when Carr put both hands around her throat, squeezing and pushing her down. She fought back by pushing against his face with her hands when Carr then allegedly threw her to the floor. She also told police “the outsides of her neck were burning.”

After talking with the woman, officers interviewed Carr on his recollection of the event. Carr claimed that he became upset with his girlfriend because he discovered she was using a dating profile. He said he grabbed her shirt, not her neck, with two hands, and she scratched his face. The officer reported red marks on Carr’s arm, lips, eye and cheek.

MPD reportedly asked Carr if he may have grabbed his girlfriend by the neck at any point, and he said he could not recall.

The woman was to the local advocacy center, and Cameron Carr was arrested and booked in Pinal County jail.

Members of the Maricopa High School football teams visited Maricopa Police Department and City Hall on Saturday. Head coach Brandon Harris planned the visit a year ago with MPD Chief Steve Stahl. Harris, who has police officers in his family, said he wanted the students to have a productive relationship with local law enforcement and he wanted to defuse any apprehension and suspicion about law enforcement that comes from “news reports about officers and young men that go horribly wrong – and how we can better ensure this doesn’t happen to our boys.”

Ched Bayles (PCSO)

Ched Bayles, 30, was arrested Saturday afternoon on suspicion of shoplifting and additional outstanding warrants.

According to Maricopa Police reports, officers were dispatched to Ace Hardware after a man was accused of shoplifting by store employees. Officers reviewed surveillance footage of the store entrance and observed the man, later identified as Ched Bayles, entering the business with a brown shopping bag.

A few minutes later on the tape, officers observed the Bayles leaving the store with the same bag. An Ace employee followed the Bayles out of the store, asking to see his receipt, believing he stole products.

Bayles provided the employee with six items, adding up to $38.54, according to the report. After being asked to come back into the store, Bayles allegedly stated, “don’t touch me,” and walked away. Another Ace employee attempted to chase down Bayles.

Maricopa Police were able to locate and detain Bayles within the hour on West Edison Road. After he was read his Miranda warnings, Bayles allegedly admitted he did steal the items but gave them back. He claimed he lost his money and that was the reason he took the items.

Ched Bayles was booked into Pinal County Jail on suggested charges of shoplifting, as well as pre-existing charges of failure to appear and a probation warrant.

Bayles had been arrested previously in 2017 on similar shoplifting charges in addition to assault.

James Jamison (PCSO)

A Maricopa man was arrested Friday morning on suspicion of assault, disorderly conduct and possession of narcotics.

Maricopa Police were dispatched to a residence on West Tamara Lane, where reports came in of James Jamison, 51, striking another man with a 5-inch rebar rod. When officers arrived on the scene, Jamison had already fled on foot. Police made contact with Jamison’s girlfriend, who stated everything started because of an argument about Jamison allegedly using methamphetamine and heroin again.

According to the report, the woman stated Jamison kicked her in the face then went after one of her family members with the rebar, striking the side of the man’s ribcage. The brother of the man got involved and was able to hold back Jamison, giving them time to get the rebar away from him, according to the report. Jamison allegedly attacked the brother, resulting in facial scratch marks that MPD identified.

Officers reported later finding Jamison at the community pool, where they placed him under arrest. Officers searched Jamison and allegedly discovered heroin and a drug pipe in the pockets of his shorts.

James Jamison was booked and transported to Pinal County Jail.

Raul Ontiveros carries the U.S. flag on his run along SR 347 for the commemoration of Sept. 11, 2001. Photo by Kyle Norby

Every Sept. 11, we remember those we lost in one of history’s greatest tragedies in 2001. Mountain Pointe High School graduate Raul Ontiveros is paying his respects in a different way.

The buzz about someone running along State Route 347 with an American flag quickly spread as Ontiveros made his way out of town and pressed on, holding the flag with purpose. When approached and asked why he was doing this, Ontiveros made it clear that this wasn’t about him, it was about what this day in history means for so many Americans.

“This is how I am remembering 9/11,” Ontiveros said. “I come from a military family. I consider myself a patriot.”

Raul explained having recently graduated from high school, his goal now was to become a firefighter. High schoolers today are of the generation born after Sept. 11, 2001, and must learn about it like any other historical event, through videos and textbooks.

“Ya know, to be honest, I was only about 1 year old when it happened,” Ontiveros said. “But just thinking about that day pisses me off.”

Being a man on a mission, Ontiveros did not have much time to talk. He planned on getting to the halfway mark on the 347 before turning and running back to Maricopa.


Other Maricopans share their memories of Sept. 11, 2001:

 

From kids to adults, more and more people are playing video games whether it is a console or a cellphone.

With big brands such as ESPN airing gaming competitions known as Esports, video games are no longer something just “nerds” play. City Programs and Marketing Coordinator Matthew Reiter recognizes this growth in popularity as the perfect time to bring Esports to Maricopa.

“It’s basically competitive video game leagues, but we’re doing a recreation version of it,” Reiter said.

Two rooms in the Copper Sky activity center were modified to be one large room to fit all the tech, tables and equipment.

Aside from just purchasing gaming consoles, 12 gaming computers were custom-built for the Esports room earlier in August with certified tech students from Maricopa High School guiding a class.

Ray Nieves, owner of 911 Air Repair,  has been an enthusiastic supporter and the main sponsor for the Esports League. Nieves is ready to give the kids something he didn’t have growing up in Maricopa.

“I’ve lived here my whole life. I grew up here, and my kids are going to grow up here,” Nieves said. “This is a reason to shop local. Your money is staying here and helping things like this.”

Nieves has helped sponsor numerous causes from the City’s Fourth of July event to Maricopa Little League. Nieves showed interest in the league because of the rapid growth and domination Esports have displayed in the sports market, recalling an American Teenager who won $3 million for winning an Esports tournament for the popular online game “Fortnite” earlier this year.

Kids can expect to play their first tournament on Sept. 14. “Fortnite” will kick off the recreational season, with the official league beginning in October. Future titles for tournaments include “Super Smash Brothers,” “Rocket League” and “Overwatch.”

“We want to develop healthy relationships with video games,” Reiter explained. “We want to have a fun environment and bring back free play, for something kids enjoy.”

Additional information on dates and future tournaments can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/maricopaesports/

 

 

Mathier Sipes (PCSO)

Mathieu Sipes, 21, was arrested in Maricopa after being questioned by police Saturday.

According to the Maricopa Police Department report, an officer saw a vehicle in the Planet Fitness parking lot with the driver’s door open and a woman “rummaging” through it. The officer then noticed a male sitting on the sidewalk next to the vehicle. After making contact with them, the officer asked if the two needed any assistance.

During the conversation, another “male subject approached the vehicle from behind the business.”

The officer asked for identification from all three people. Upon providing a driver’s license, the man who came from behind the building was identified as Sipes.

MPD requested a wants and warrants check on all three individuals, and an active warrant for Sipes was discovered. The warrant for failure to appear was originally issued on Aug. 26 from the Casa Grande Justice Court with the initial charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police took Mathieu Sipes into custody reportedly without incident and transported him to Pinal County Jail.

Nick Sanchez owns a tattoo business in the Blue Barn, which sits directly south of the railroad tracks and is now on a cul-de-sac instead of a crossing. Photo by Kyle Norby

To say the overpass construction has been complicated for Maricopa citizens and businesses alike would be an understatement.  

The overpass had been a distant dream in many Maricopans minds until the project finally broke ground in late 2017. Numerous local businesses have been affected by the construction, with hightraffic routes being cut off.  

In the early stages of the project, Honeycutt Road was the first long-term road closure, significantly affecting customer traffic for the Maricopa Business Center until the overpass opened in July 

“There were some days that were so slow that I thought I made a mistake,” said Honeycutt Coffee owner Tanya Powers, who purchased the business during the road closures. “Now there has been a lot more foot traffic, and business has been a lot better.”  

With the overpass open to traffic, old John Wayne Parkway’s intersecting roads have been torn up from Hathaway Avenue to Edwards Avenue to develop new routes eliminating vehicular crossing of the railroad tracks. Aside from the inconvenience for local businesses and customers, many owners are claiming they received no warning their businesses would be at a dead end. 

“I think it could have been handled differently,” said Redemption Tattoo owner Nick Sanchez. “It took the whole curb appeal away from a business. I still don’t understand the cul-de-sac thing.” 

ADOT spokesman Steve Elliott said the road plan was developed in collaboration with the railroad and approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission to improve safety. “A key part of the safety benefit comes from eliminating the at-grade crossing next to the overpass while maintaining access to businesses,” he said.

The plan is to re-open the old John Wayne Parkway north of the tracks (now called Maricopa Road) for a direct route under the overpass to Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. South of the tracks, the road will be a cul-de-sac at Edwards Avenue in front of A-1 Pawn and the Blue Barn.  

Mayor Christian Price has said State Route 347 is owned by ADOT and the matter is out of the city’s hands. Early 3D concept videos created by ADOT in 2017 visualize these routes and plans for SR 347, reinforcing the change wasn’t the city’s choice at that point. 

Jim Shoaf, who runs local food bank Maricopa Pantry, addressed the cul-de-sac issue at a city council meeting in July. 

“I think it’s a shame that the powersthatbe can actually command the city to do what I think is not in the best interest of the city,” Shoaf said. “I think it’s going to hurt small businesses in that area.”


This story appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

Cynthia Rojo Torres (PCSO)

Cynthia Rojo Torres, 26, was arrested around noon Aug. 23 with recommended charges of aggravated domestic assault and domestic disorderly conduct.

MPD responded to a report of a physical altercation at a home on West Balsa Drive between Rojo Torres and another woman. According to the police report, during the altercation Rojo Torres threw the other woman to the floor and began kicking her in the face.

The woman was observed to have a bloody nose from the kicking as well as numerous scratches on her face. Upon the officers’ arrival, they reported that the blood appeared to be very fresh on her face.

After making contact with the women, Maricopa police were told Rojo Torres allegedly began choking the woman from behind during the altercation. The woman stated that “she almost lost consciousness.”

The woman was transported to the family advocacy center for evaluation of her injuries and photographs were taken for further review.

Rojo Torres was placed under arrest and transported to Pinal County Jail.

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West Coast Striders athletes Zanaa Ramirez and Gianna Chavez with coach Corey Nelson at Junior Olympics. Submitted

 

Maricopa has produced numerous youth athletes in multiple sports, with many records being broken and medals won for track and field in the past few years.

When speaking to high school and club coach Corey Nelson, it’s obvious his passion for the sport is a prominent part of his career.

“This will be my third year. I started off as an assistant coach with the [Maricopa High School] track program, handling the sprints and relays,” Nelson explained. “Maricopa is a cesspool of athletes.”

This summer, Nelson and his track club, West Coast Striders, took two Maricopans to compete in the USATF Hershey Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships. Maricopa High School senior Zanaa Ramirez and Legacy Traditional fifth-grader Gianna Chavez ran for the women 17-18 bracket and girls 11-12 bracket, respectively.

“They qualified for what we call Junior Olympics Region 10, which consists of certain states on the West Coast,” Nelson said. “They then take a limited number of qualifiers there, and they qualify for the Junior Olympics national championships and that involves the entire country.”

Both girls had strong results at the event, becoming Maricopa’s first two nationally ranked youth athletes in track:

800-meter run, women 17-18
Zanaa Ramirez 32nd place, 2:30.08 (qualified with time of 2:36.43)
800-meter run, girls 11-12
Gianna Chavez 19th place, 2:34.35 (previous 2:35.30)
1500-meter run, girls 11-12
Gianna Chavez 10th place, 5:07.56 (previous 5:14.25)

When asked how he prepares for these complex championships, Nelson said consistency and technique make the athlete.

“What we did was work on our speed and worked on a lot of technique. Most importantly diet, doing the right things off the track as well as on it,” Nelson said.

Nelson began his track career late into his junior year of high school. After competing in college and professionally, he has retired to coaching mostly, though he has also competed with West Coast Striders, winning Masters 60-meters at the USATF Arizona Indoor Classic. Being able to pass on a wealth of knowledge and firsthand experience has proved to be the backbone of his Club and coaching style.

He is now an assistant coach for the Sequoia Pathway varsity football team.

“If you’re not having fun with it, then you’re probably not going to be successful,” Nelson said. “One thing about track is not many people go undefeated. So, you know, watching them learn from it, watching them excel, be better people overall from the sport of track and field is always fun to watch.”

Whether it is training or just having a good time before completion, both are key components in the track and field experience.

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American Legion Post Commander Bryan Moore with son Parker. Photo by Kyle Norby

Friendship and a sense of belonging are integral parts of growing up. Maricopa’s American Legion Post Commander Bryan Moore believes that the Cub Scouts organization is a great way to gain experience and forge these relationships.

“I think a lot of people don’t know that there are packs here in Maricopa,” Moore said. “ A few years ago, the wife and I were looking for a pack and we didn’t know about any, so it took a little searching.”

The Cub Scouts are the specific age level of scouts that go from kindergarten to fifth grade:

  • Kindergarten – Lions
  • First grade – Tigers
  • Second grade – Wolves
  • Third grade – Bears
  • Fourth – Webelos level one
  • Fifth – Webelos level two

After these levels, a child can become a full-fledged Scout. With the recent changes in the Boy Scouts of America’s policies, girls are also encouraged to join and experience what the organization has to offer.

Commander Moore is the cub master for Pack 997, which includes seven veterans who are den leaders as well as part of American Legion Post 133.

“Part of the American Legion’s philosophy was the Boy Scouts,” Moore explained. “In fact, they were very instrumental in the Boy Scouts creation.”

This connection between these two organizations is very important to Moore and his son Parker.

Being a Cub Scout himself, Parker said, “It feels good to be part of a group.”

Being a community-driven organization while learning life and survival skills are a large part of the experience. How to handle a knife properly, tying knots, creating art and horticulture are just a few activities that the Scouts cover. Family camping trips are also a highlight for the kids.

“The biggest core thing we like to instill in the Scouts is respect for other people, helpfulness, reverence, courteous, and to be kind,” Moore said.

Information on meetings, events, and upcoming activities can be found on the Facebook page Pack 997 Maricopa.

For additional information, you can contact Bryan Moore at

pack997@yahoo.com
troop993@yahoo.com

Crystal Montijo (PCSO)

Maricopa Police pulled over Crystal Montijo, 33, who was driving a vehicle that was reported stolen. Police approached the vehicle just south of State Route 347 and Ferrell Road and made contact with “two female subjects” inside the vehicle.

Montijo was identified as the driver, placed under arrest and brought to Maricopa Police Station. During an interview with MPD, Montijo allegedly stated the stolen vehicle was actually borrowed from her friend’s boyfriend and claimed her friend gave her the keys to it the previous week. Montijo also stated her friend wanted the car back on a certain date, but she was unable to return it because she “got stranded.”

Although Montijo reportedly said she was planning on returning the vehicle when she returned to Arizona City, she had no contact information for her friend for police to confirm her story.

Back at the scene of the traffic stop, officers allegedly located two bags inside the vehicle containing methamphetamine, a broken pipe, cotton balls, and capped needles.

The officer interviewing Montijo at the station asked her who the bags belonged to, and she stated they were hers. The officer included in the police report that upon asking what was inside the bags, Montijo said, “You know what’s inside the bags.”

Not answering any more questions, Montijo was transported to the county jail on recommended charges of theft of means of transportation, possessions of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Kelli Shaver (PCSO)

A Maricopa woman was arrested in Rancho El Dorado around 5 p.m. Monday on suspicion of aggravated harassment.

A Maricopa Police officer made contact with Kelli Shaver, 52, on North Braden Drive after receiving a call about a disturbance. According to the report, Shaver explained to the officer she was arguing with her husband. She allegedly left numerous voicemails for a woman with whom Shaver believed her husband was having an affair. Shaver told police the woman already had a restraining order against her.

According to the officer’s report, Shaver was well aware of the restraining order, and said, “I went after her again because I feel like that’s the source of my threat even though I’ve been told not to, I know better.”

While speaking to Shaver, MPD received a call from the woman who had received Shaver’s voicemails. The woman described the several voicemails as “threatening,” with one of them beginning with Shaver identifying herself and telling the woman once she found out where she was, “you’re done.”

Shaver was arrested and booked for suspected charges of aggravated harassment. By law, an aggravation factor is added when a restraining order violation is involved.

Kenneth Ragan (PCSO)

A Maricopa man was arrested late Thursday night on suspicion of criminal damage, disorderly conduct, and domestic assault.

Police were called to a Senita residence around 12:30 a.m. A woman reported her husband, Kenneth Ragan, pushed her out of their bed onto the floor. She also claimed Kenneth created a hole in the wall after hitting it and blocked her from leaving the house with their child.

Ragan also threw her phone across the room, according to the police report. She was able to make it to her vehicle. Officers reported that while she was driving away, Kenneth “struck the hood of the vehicle causing damage.”

Maricopa Police subsequently booked Ragan in Pinal County Jail.

Yonatan Vasquez Vides (PCSO){

Yonatan Vasquez Vides, 25, was arrested Friday night after an altercation at McDonald’s was videoed.

A local woman who was at McDonald’s on John Wayne Parkway with her friends posted a video on a local Facebook group that allegedly showed Vasquez Vides trying to touch her friend. They reportedly didn’t know who he was. The woman began recording on her cellphone when another man, identified as Kieran Gallagher, attempted to get Vasquez Vides away from the table of girls.

The video supports the police report and shows a man purported to be Vasquez Vides begin to swing his fist at Gallagher. He allegedly hit Gallagher in the arm. After the initial contact, McDonald’s staff intervened. The suspect is then seen fleeing the scene through an exit door by the children’s play area. Police observed redness on Gallagher’s right forearm, but no further injuries.

According to the police report, Police were called and made contact with Vasquez Vides across the street at Fry’s Marketplace. Vasquez Vides requested to be seen by Maricopa Fire/Medical Department for a knee injury. While MFD Capt. Nathan Maxcy was evaluating the suspect’s knee, Vasquez Vides allegedly proceeded to kick him in the shin, leaving a red mark.

Vasquez Vides was placed under arrest and booked in Pinal County Jail on suspicion of aggravated assault on fire/EMT personnel and assault.

 

Ex-boyfriend of 'Real Housewives' star charged

Matthew Jordan (PCSO)

A man best known as the ex-boyfriend of a “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member was arrested early Saturday morning after an incident that took place at Denny’s.

Maricopa Police arrived on the scene at the parking lot, where they were told Matthew Jordan, 32, punched his recent girlfriend Valerie Bell in the face. Police observed redness, swelling and bruising on the side of Bell’s nose. Jordan had already left the scene before police arrived.

Officers then spoke with a restaurant employee, who was a witness to the incident. The server stated the whole ordeal occurred right in front of her, and was approached by Jordan in extremely close proximity after he allegedly hit Bell. She said she felt like she was about to be hit as well.

The server said Jordan “snatched” her pack of cigarettes, even the one in her mouth, and proceeded to try to throw them on the roof. After Jordan fled, the server noticed blood from Valerie’s face all over her and her dress.

Officers attempted to locate Jordan with no luck until hours later when Bell called MPD to report Jordan had come to her home and was walking west on Thornberry Lane in Glennwilde.

Officers located and arrested Jordan on suspicion of aggravated assault, theft and threatening/intimidating along with pre-existing warrants.

Jordan, who has previous arrests in Georgia, is the ex-boyfriend of 1993 Miss USA Kenya Moore, a cast member of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

He is described as 6-foot-7, 260 pounds. He remains behind bars on a $1,250 bond. He was arraigned Monday in Maricopa Municipal Court and faces a second arraignment Friday on new charges.

 

Baseball is not just a sport but a lifestyle for Maricopa eighth grader Brody Matcuk.

Brody Matcuk. Photo by Kyle Norby

July 15, Brody saw his name on the 13U southwest regional team roster for the USA baseball team. With only 34 kids being chosen to compete, it is a major achievement. The next step will be attending the USA Baseball camp in Cary, North Carolina, starting Aug. 7.

Brody has played baseball ever since he was 5 years old. He recalls simply picking up a bat and wanting to play. He also attributes much of his athletic success to the support of his mother and father.

“Thanks to my parents, they looked into it and it seemed cool. I wanted to try out and see what it was like, and I really loved it. I had fun and I met new people, so I really liked it,” Brody said.

Between practicing with his club team two to three days a week in Mesa and working with a local coach, Brody is a busy kid. When asked what he does in the small amounts of free time he has, he said, “If I can, hang out with friends. But I’ll usually play games or swing a bat around the house.”

Receiving a spot on the USA National Baseball team is no easy task, and Brody has put in the time and effort to play with the best. The process consisted of two major tryouts that he participated in down in California.

“For the first try-out, we did infield, outfield, and hitting. For the second tryout we had primary positions and hitting,” Brody said.

By the second tryout, he was able to connect with other kids and made a few friends, with some making it on the team as well.

Brody’s father, Steve Matcuk, who played professionally for teams like the Portland Rockies, has been by his son’s side offering first-hand experience and unwavering support.

“First is dedication. A lot of time and dedication,” Steve said, “I know what it entails, the dedication it takes. I talk to him all the time about, you know, the things that he does now is not so much for this moment in time; it’s more for when you get older.”

With so much going on, Brody’s mother Nikki has been endlessly proud of her son.

“It’s just pretty much the coolest thing ever. It makes my heart smile to see everything that’s now started to fall into place,” Nikki said. “I know how much he’s wanted this and how hard he’s worked. Since he was little, he was always working to be the best Brody; to be the best that he could be. He really inspires me.”

Nikki said Brody keeps her motivated, and they often go to the gym together.

With the baseball camp coming up in only two weeks, Brody will be playing as an outfielder and is eager to get started. Steve said this part of the USA baseball division is known as the “identification series,” which involves not just competing in games, but on-field evaluations and skill testing. The long-term goal is to earn spots in the 14U development series team and climb up to the 15U team, which travels the world and competes against teams from other countries.

When asked if he was nervous to be leaving for North Carolina, Brody said, “Not nervous, just excited.”

Nathan Billings (PCSO)

A Maricopa man is facing potential charges of assault after being arrested Thursday night.

Maricopa Police responded to a call on West Venture Road and were met by a woman named Kimberly Billings. She told police her husband, Nathan Billings, returned home from work that night and they began to argue about responsibilities around the house.

Kimberly claimed that while she was getting in her car to get food for dinner, Billings allegedly grabbed her by her hair and pulled her out of the car.

In the officer’s report, Kimberly displayed scrapes and blood on her elbow from being pulled onto the concrete driveway.

Police spoke to Kimberly’s sons, who reportedly witnessed the altercation and saw their mother being pulled from the vehicle by her hair by their stepfather and trying to defend herself while on the ground. The boys said that Billings then went into the house and went into his bedroom and slammed the door.

Police contacted Billings and were told that after a 15-hour workday, Billings kissed Kimberly and told her he would be going to bed. He stated that she became angry about him not helping feed the kids and getting them to bed.

Billings allegedly admitted to pulling Kimberly by her hair and tossing her to the ground because he felt very disrespected and “just lost it.”

Nathan Billings was placed under arrest for assault and booked into Pinal County Jail.

Maricopa Unified School District emailed Butterfield Elementary parents July 25 informing them the Maricopa Police Department inadvertently left narcotics at the elementary school after a July 3 K-9 unit exercise.

Superintendent Tracey Lopeman released a follow-up statement:

“Maricopa Police officers informed an overnight security guard late Wednesday night that there was a concern regarding a training exercise that took place on July 3.  Thursday morning, the security guard alerted District officials who contacted the Police Department. The District immediately began working with the Maricopa Police Department to conduct a search. We asked students and staff to shelter in place. After interviewing teachers, officers determined a search was not necessary.

Our relationship with the Maricopa Police Department is important and the District will continue its partnership with all City agencies. However, this incident necessitates a reevaluation of our agreement to include modifications that ensure human error never puts any of our students or staff at risk.

Student and staff safety is always our first priority. We are very grateful that the students were never exposed to the package.”

“I can’t get into how it happened because the K-9 officer is currently under investigation,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said. “From a department standpoint, we are going to evaluate our policies and procedures to make sure that they are up to standards with other agencies that have K-9 programs.”

Alvarado said MPD will not be training in any public locations for the time being.

“Any building or facility that the public may have access to, we’re going to suspend that until we have an opportunity to look at our policies and procedures,” Alvarado said.

The following road closures that will begin Friday night

The Arizona Department of Transportation is advising drivers of the following road closures that will be in place overnight from 9 p.m. Friday, July 26, to noon Saturday, July 27, for storm-drain work in the intersection of Honeycutt Avenue and Maricopa Road (old State Route 347 alignment):

  • Eastbound Honeycutt Avenue will be closed at Maricopa Road (old SR 347 alignment).
  • Southbound Maricopa Road (old SR 347 alignment) will be closed at Edwards Avenue.

ADOT recommends the following detours:

Detour for Eastbound Honeycutt Avenue traffic: Drive west to Hogenes Boulevard. Travel south on Hogenes Boulevard to Bowlin Road, and then proceed eastbound on Bowlin Road to access SR 347.

Detour for southbound Maricopa Road (old SR 347 alignment) traffic: Drive west on Edwards Avenue to Hogenes Boulevard. Travel south on Hogenes Boulevard to Bowlin Road, and then proceed eastbound on Bowlin Road to access SR 347.

The storm-drain work is occurring in conjunction with the SR 347 overpass project.

David A. Turner (PCSO)

A Tortosa man was arrested Sunday afternoon after a family fight.

Maricopa Police received a call about a fight at a home on West Bilbao Street and were met by Turner upon their arrival. David Turner, 25, claimed that during a verbal argument regarding video games, his wife Naomi began to throw items around the house at him.

Turner claimed he grabbed his wife to prevent her from throwing anything because their young child was almost hit by one of the items. According to the report from officers, upon hearing the couple yelling at each other, Naomi’s father, David Hope, came out of his room to observe Turner allegedly having placed Naomi in a headlock hold.

Naomi told police that she had difficulty breathing, and officers reportedly observed redness on the left side of her neck. Hope stated he placed Turner in a “rear-naked chokehold” to get him away from Naomi.

MPD took David Turner into custody and booked him in Pinal County Jail on charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.

Maricopa Police made an arrest Saturday evening after Miguel Figueroa Jr. allegedly pushed his grandmother and possessed methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Maricopa Police were dispatched to a reported assault at a home on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. Upon arrival, police contacted Maria Figueroa, Miguel’s grandmother. Maria stated she got into an argument with Figueroa over her money being stolen by him.

Figueroa reportedly pushed his grandmother, causing her to fall and injure her left hand. This occurred the day prior, and police were able to observe Maria’s hand to be severely swollen.

Officers proceeded to locate Figueroa in a bathroom. After conducting a search of his person, police allegedly discovered a small plastic bag with a gram of methamphetamine as well as a smoking pipe containing meth residue.

Figueroa admitted to smoking the meth earlier in the day, according to the police report. While confirming he spoke with his grandmother about missing money, Figueroa denied the claim he stole her money or pushed her.

Miguel was placed under arrest on suspicion of possessing dangerous drugs and paraphernalia, as well as assault and vulnerable adult abuse. His father, Miguel Figueroa Sr., was sentenced to life in prison in 2018 for the stabbing death of wife Olivia.

Make sure to bring your resumes and dress for success, because the Maricopa Job Fair is here again. The event will take place on July 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Veterans can enter beginning at 10 a.m.

The workforce agency Arizona@Work Pinal County plans to bring at least 50 employers to this summer’s job fair and expects hundreds of job seekers to be in attendance.

“The first Maricopa Job Fair was at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino in 2016,” said Jason Robert of Arizona@Work Pinal County. “It came about because most job fairs are in metro areas, like Phoenix or Tucson. There was a definite need for job fairs here in Pinal County.”

Although partners with Arizona@Work, Harrah’s was not able to host the most recent job fair due to construction on the property. Now that the expansion is complete, the event will be held in the casino’s new ballroom.

If you do not feel ready for the Job Fair, Arizona@Work can help with that.

“We have a workshop prep for job fairs, so when you come to a job fair, you feel prepared, you’re dressed for success, and you know what to ask the employer when you’re going around each table,” Robert said.


This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Jermaine Walker (PCSO)

Jermaine Walker, 38, was arrested Saturday by Maricopa Police for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license.

Around 8 p.m., officers observed Walker driving a vehicle in Desert Passage. According to a Maricopa Police probable cause report, officers were aware Walker’s Arizona driving privileges were suspended for a prior DUI conviction as well as outstanding warrants by the Kyrene Justice Court.

After confirming warrants with police dispatch, officers contacted Walker in his driveway while he was still in the vehicle. Upon arresting Walker, police officers discovered a plastic bag that contained a “useable quantity” of marijuana in the vehicle’s center console, according to the police report.

Jermaine Walker received the additional charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and was booked into Pinal County jail.

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Partly sunny days are looking to be present throughout the week. Photo by Kyle Norby

Following a sunny weekend, we can expect to see the temperatures slowly climb all week, according to the National Weather Service.

Today is sunny, with a high near 104 degrees and winds 5-10 mph in the afternoon with gusts as high as 20 mph. Tonight is looking clear, with a low around 68 with the wind becoming light and variable in the evening.

Tuesday will be sunny, with the high being near 106. At night, it will be calm and clear, with a low around 73.

Wednesday will heat up, with a high near 110. Wednesday night will be partly cloudy, with a low around 78.

Thursday maintains the heat, with a high near 112 and partly sunny. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon. Thursday night is expected to be partly cloudy, with a low around 81.

Friday will stay sunny and hot, with a high near 113. In the evening, we will see partly cloudy, with a low around 80 and calm winds.

The weekend is expected to remain sunny and hot, with temperatures to remain in the 110s.