Authors Articles byKyle Norby

Kyle Norby

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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 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.

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The sun sets on another hot day in Maricopa. Photo by Kyle Norby

High temperatures are continuing throughout the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Today will be a sunny Independence Day with a high near 107 degrees F. The overnight low is expected to be around 72 with light winds expected.

Friday is sunny with the high again near 107 with a slight wind in the morning. The night is clear with the low around 74.

Saturday, the forecast will be sunny and a bit hotter, with a high near 108 and calm winds. Partial clouds will be present at night with the low dropping to around 76.

Sunday will be partly sunny with a high near 106 and more calm wind in the afternoon. The night brings a low of around 71 and will be mostly cloudy.

The next week sees more of the same weather with the temperature slowly climbing back up by Wednesday.

A Maricopa man was cited June 24 on suspicion of aggravated assault and child abuse.

It began around 10 p.m. when Nathaniel Clark had called the police and claimed his stepdaughter was kicked out of the home for taking his keys to the house without permission.

“While clearing from the scene MPD was approached by several juveniles,” according to the police report. They reported Clark possibly assaulted his stepson. The juveniles stated the stepson was FaceTiming a friend, and his face was actively bleeding.

Police made contact with the boy and were able to see a red mark on his upper lip. According to the stepson, Clark assaulted him with the bottom half of a pool cue and proceeded to hit him multiple times. Several more marks were shown to the MPD officers on the stepson’s chest and back. Officers concluded the marks, as well as actively bleeding spots on the boy’s left calf, were consistent with assault.

Nathaniel Clark’s stepdaughter, whom he initially called the police on, arrived to the scene in search of her brother. According to the officer’s report, the girl, “appeared to have a distinct limp on her left leg indicating an injury.”

She stated she was in the same altercation with Clark and the pool cue, showing officers an inch-wide red mark on her left leg, which had become swollen. The stepson added that his sister was then thrown outside by Clark after they were both assaulted with the pool cue.

Clark denied assaulting either of his stepchildren, and stated he only gestured with the pool cue for them to find his missing keys.

MPD suggested two counts of aggravated assault and child abuse for Clark.

Rams carry in items collected earlier this year for the Family Advocacy Center. Photo by Kyle Norby

The Maricopa High School football team delivered items collected during a May 18 Soap Scrimmage to the Maricopa Family Advocacy Center on Thursday. Several players and head coach Brandon Harris carried in toiletry and food items, which were the admission fee to the scrimmage, and then received a tour of the facility. Maricopa FAC is a new facility for victims of assault, abuse and domestic violence to receive initial treatment and speak to law enforcement in a safe environment.

“Jungle Jill” McLaughlin brought her collection of live animals to the Maricopa Public Library Thursday for an educational presentation. The event drew dozens of children and overflowed into the next room. It was part of the library’s annual summer reading program.

Marc Garcia (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa man is accused of assaulting his girlfriend while she was driving. Marc Garcia, 36, was arrested June 12 on suspicion of an assault around 7 p.m. Garcia’s girlfriend stated that while she was driving, he became upset and angry during an argument and shoved her head against the B pillar of the car.

“While Marc had her head pinned, he bit her right hand,” the report states.

The girlfriend then pulled into a nearby parking lot on Edison Road, where Garcia proceeded to get out of the vehicle and left.

According to the police report, Garcia’s girlfriend delayed in calling the police until around 9 p.m. the same night due to her fear of him returning to their home where her six children live. Police reportedly observed the bruises and bite marks on the victim’s arm and hand respectively.

Garcia was then interviewed and later arrested at approximately 11:30 p.m.

He was also allegedly found to be on parole as of mid-April and was taken to Pinal County Jail.

 

You should never leave your pet unattended in a hot car. In the case of Luis O. Perez, especially not when you have outstanding warrants.

Maricopa Police responded to a call Saturday around 4:25 p.m. from a concerned citizen who reported a dog left in a car in the Walmart parking lot. When police arrived, Perez and his wife came out of Walmart and confirmed the vehicle and the dog were theirs.

According to the police report, Perez’s wife allegedly provided his name and date of birth to police. After a wants-and-warrants check was performed, officers discovered outstanding warrants from West Mesa Justice Precinct, with a bond of $500.

The report stated, “Dispatch confirmed the warrant was valid. Luis’ identity was confirmed using descriptors on the warrant.”

Perez was booked into the Pinal County Jail.

Warren Evans and Robin Fuller were arrested together. PCSO

A K-9 led to the arrest of two people Monday in Cobblestone Farms.

Warren Evans, 52, and Robin Fuller, 45, were booked on possession of meth, drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence, and misconduct involving weapons.

Maricopa police conducted a traffic stop at the corner of Cobblestone Farms and Greenland Park Drive at around 2 a.m. According to a police probable cause statement, the officer stopped a ‘97 Toyota Camry with the driver being identified as Evans, who claimed his first name was “James.” Fuller was identified as the front seat passenger.

The officer wrote that “the driver of the vehicle continued to look away from me as I spoke with him and was acting uneasy.”

Based on this behavior, the officer deployed a K-9 officer, who gave a positive alert. Evans then allegedly informed officers meth was located in the glove compartment. Upon further investigation, officers also found a zippered pouch with 2 grams of meth, a glass pipe, syringes, alcohol wipes and a spoon with a cotton ball stuck to it, according to the report.

Fuller allegedly admitted to stuffing empty baggies under the front passenger seat in an effort to conceal it from officers. Police also discovered a revolver-style firearm along with a radio scanner, binoculars and five cellphones with a bag of SIM cards.

Police learned of Evans’ real first name and found him possessing felony warrants in Pinal County and Graham County. Warren and Fuller were both placed under arrest on charges for being a prohibited possessor of the firearm and possession of dangerous drugs and paraphernalia. Both were later booked in Pinal County Jail.

A committee is mapping out MUSD school calendars through graduation 2024.

Budgeting and funds were a key theme during the MUSD Governing Boarding meeting Wednesday.

Superintendent Tracey Lopeman went into the district’s “Administrative Budget Recommendation.” That helped develop the district’s strategic plan that had begun approximately a year ago and has been the focal point of business practices carried out in the school district. The goal presented had an emphasis on customer service, well-kept facilities and effective communication.

Business Director Jacob Harmon explained projections for the 2019-20 fiscal year, saying funding fees will be based on next year’s ADM through the 100th day of instruction. ADM, meaning Average Daily Membership (number of students in public education), in Harmon’s presentation was cited as being based on “estimated and projected assumptions.”

Harmon presented data from the 2018-19 fiscal year when ADM was at 6,832. For the coming school year, the number of children is expected to be calculated at 7,213, an increase of about 400. This calculation is achieved by a base-level amount that is provided with data from the Arizona Legislature.

As all factors for budgeting are applied, Harmon presented approximately $50 million estimated for the 2019-20 general budget, which has increased from the $47 million budget last fiscal year. The slideshow brought up specific mandatory increases for next year, including minimum wage increase, election costs and an increase to state retirement.

More recent expenses in the upcoming school year bring the cost of new portable classrooms at the overcrowded high school into play. The next half of mobilization plus the first year of a three-year lease comes out to around $870,000, not including the almost $80,000 worth of furniture and technology added to them.

“I am so happy to see that we’re investing in our staff as far as making sure that they have computers that are up to date,” Board Member Torri Anderson stated when talking about transparency in the budgets and purchasing new computers for all staff on a lease basis.

“I’d like to see us lease school buses so that we’re constantly updating our fleet,” she said.

Anderson requested a list for a future meeting of more avenues to begin leasing more up-to-date equipment, appliances, electronics and vehicles. This would also save money in these large, commercial purchases, she said.

The topic of grant money and the transfer to a new fiscal year was also discussed, all board members requesting documentation of where the money specifically is being allocated, leading into more talk of leased items as opposed to large, hefty purchases. Overall, the budgeting and recommendations follow tight calculations for the Governing Board to deliberate and illuminate exactly where tax money and grants are being spent transparently.

Photo by Jim Headley

Ever see a Zephyr fly? Thursday, one actually did in Maricopa.

Maricopa’s vintage California Zephyr streamline passenger car was moved down Casa Grande-Maricopa Highway to make room for the new State Route 347 overpass in the center of the city.

Full Video:

 

GoPro footage:

Shortly after 10 a.m., two large cranes carefully picked up the Zephyr and gently placed it onto a large semitrailer. It was chained down and driven about three blocks down the highway. Again, the cranes picked it up and placed it on its new rails, beside the former Rotary swimming pool.

The Maricopa Historical Society purchased the Zephyr from Pinal County for the sum of $1.

“They were interested in cooperating with us, the City and ADOT, so that this could be put here and be a community centerpiece going forward,” said Paul Shirk, president of the Society.

Funds for moving the Zephyr came from county funds garnered through the Arizona Department of Transportation’s purchase of the property where the railcar previously sat.

“Because of the overpass, we had to move the Zephyr,” Shirk said. “The county was the owner of the Zephyr at that time, so they put that fund up, so the citizens of Maricopa did not have to incur any expense to do this. Now we’re working with the City, and with the generous contribution of the land by John and Marylou Smith, the City can have a park here and we can have a place for the Zephyr.”

Moving a large train car might be a stressful operation, but Shirk disagreed.

“It was a blast. There is no tense, this is just fun.  Too many people say history is boring. Too much memorizing names and dates. We don’t do that. We tell a story in a fun way. Our meeting is every first Monday of the month over at the library. We spend a little time on business and then spend an hour-and-a-half on fun,” he said, adding, “We have a lot of history to tell.”

Shirk, who was a little teary-eyed when the car was lifted off its rails, said he arrived for the move at 5 a.m. and city personnel had everything organized and in place for the 10 a.m. move under Mike Riggs’ leadership.

“Everything just went according to plan. It just clicked,” Shirk said.

Riggs, assistant director of public works for Maricopa, has been putting together the Zephyr’s move over the past 30 days. He said the entire move went without a problem.

“It’s been a great experience,” Riggs said. “It’s great how the City all participated –  the police department and all the divisions jumped in to help. It has been an awesome 30 days.”

Riggs said the crane company that moved the Zephyr, Southwest Industrial Rigging, also moved it to Maricopa in 2001 and will “swing the bridge girders into place over the highway this weekend.”

Friday and Saturday night, the highway will be closed in that section from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the installation of the bridge girders.

“It was imperative that we move the Zephyr today,” Riggs said. “We have a great spot for the Zephyr to sit now for years to come.”

Mayor Christian Price said watching the Zephyr fly was truly an event.

“It was amazing to see it come off the track where it’s been sitting for the past decade plus,” said Price. “It was amazing to watch them thread the needle with that train between the two cranes.”

Price said Maricopa has great things ahead as the overpass takes shape to ease transportation.

“We have been working so hard for the past decade on trying to get through the recession and put things in place that will allow for quality of life. Now we are entering the next phase. That next phase is the explosion of Maricopa, from the standpoint of businesses, commercial and retail. That is what we are working towards,” Price said.

In its new home, near Maricopa Veterans Center, the Zephyr will “be a mainstay that represents Maricopa is welcoming to the community and to people who are visiting. We are going to welcome newcomers in and we’re going to make sure that we have a lot of good events for the people who live here,” Shirk said.

Mike Kemery of Maricopa’s VFW post was among veterans who turned out to watch the railcar move next door. He said the historical society was making its future parking around the Zephyr available to veterans for special events.

Rick Horst, Maricopa city manager, said moving the Zephyr in a safe and organized fashion represents the entire community’s structure.

“Many communities are so divided on so many issues. You just don’t sense that here,” Horst said. “That’s what makes this place feel like home. The future is whatever we want it to be. Our goal is to make sure we create a place where everyone can be successful, whether it is a single parent, a family, a business, a nonprofit, the educational system – whatever it is we want to create the environment that the true values of hard work will pay off in this community.”