Authors Articles byRuthAnn Hogue

RuthAnn Hogue

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Members of the Maricopa High Schools boys and girls track and field teams will compete in the state championships Friday and Saturday.

It is the final event of the year and the culmination of a successful season for the team.

“This was the first year we have competed in the 3A division and I feel we did very well given our circumstances,” said girls coach Stephanie Walkely.

Those circumstances included a lack of a practice facility and a young team, according to school athletic director Mike Larson.

Ten members of the team qualified for the state tournament in a series of events.

Qualifying for the 100 and 200-meter dash is sophomore Brittany Parks.

Parks is ranked number one in the division in both events and finished in first in both events in regional.

“Brittany is very fast. She is almost an entire second ahead of the competition,” Walkely said.

In addition to qualifying for the 100- and 200-meter dash, Parks is a member of the qualifying girls 4-by-1 relay, which is ranked third going into the competition.

The other three members of the team are sophomores Jalissa Bell and Khrystal Neal, and freshman Angelique Olivas.

“This team is very good and has a chance of winning it all,” Walkely said.

The 4-by-8 team also qualified for the tournament.

On this team are three freshmen, Sandin Mitchell, Karissa Browning and Angelica Martinez; and one sophomore, Alyssa Joaquin.

The 4-by one team is ranked No. 16.

In other singles events are Alexis Hugez, who is competing in the triple jump, Khrystal Neal, who is competing in the high jump, Dee Streety, who is competing in the shot put, and Matt Farnan, who is competing in the discus throw.

Any team or individual to finish in first place will be invited to the Meet of Champions May 24 at Sandra Day O’Conner High School in Phoenix.

If you go:
What: State track and field championships
Where: Mesa High School, 1630 E. Southern Ave., Mesa 85204
When: 4:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Cost: $5 per day

File photo

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The Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board on Wednesday adopted the first of two proposed calendars for the 2008-2009 school year.

This means that elementary school start times will roll back to 7:45 a.m., schools at all levels will have periodic late-start days to allow time for staff development and all schools will close for a week-long break in the fall.

The district sought input from within and without to help choose between two possible scenarios, the second of which would have started the school year a week later by eliminating fall break.

Of 291 votes from within the district, all but 10 favored keeping fall break.

Of 37 votes from parents and the community, all but 10 agreed with the majority vote of district staff.

The newly adopted calendar is available online.

Photo by RuthAnn Hogue

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    A woman reported to Maricopa Police at about 2:45 p.m. Monday near Santa Cruz and Yankee roads in the Villages at Rancho El Dorado that a man in a red Ford pickup had offered her $100 to hop in and take a ride.

    The woman, however, refused the cash and called police instead.

    Although the woman was able to provide a description of the vehicle, it did not include the license plate, and responding officers were not able to locate it when they arrived, Maricopa Police Spokesman Sgt. Stephen Judd said.

    “In cases like this, a license plate would have been helpful,” he said. “If someone does something suspicious, or says something suspicious to you, at least get the license plate so if the vehicle isn’t there when we get there we can go to where the vehicle belongs.”

    Judd added that citizens also need to exercise discretion to keep themselves safe from would-be predators.

    “Never go with strangers,” he said. “Just use common sense in who you speak to and if you do need to take a ride from somebody, just be careful. It is hard to extrapolate what the motivation was if there was money offered.”

    File photo

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      Maricopa Police blotter became available today in electronic format making it easier to simultaneously transmit information about its daily activities to the local media.

      Readers can find the MPD blotter on the same page as the PCSO reports under the “news” drop-down menu by selecting Police Blotter. Click here to read today’s report.

      “It’s a great move forward,” said Bea Lueck, general manager of KCAB-TV28 in Casa Grande and one of the recipients of today’s media email blast from Sgt. Stephen Judd containing a brief summary of calls the department handled overnight.

      “It took a long time coming but it’s great. This is what the media has needed from the city of Maricopa.”

      The Maricopa Police Department, officially one year old as of July 1, had not been providing access to the blotter to the media since January when it took over full-time duty, when it released the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office from its contractual obligations other than handling dispatch.

      Before then, PCSO had helped the new department transition from using its services 24/7 to part-time and then to where it stands now.

      MPD Spokesman Sgt. Judd explained that it wasn’t as easy as it might sound to switch systems overnight and that the blotter hadn’t been available for six months because it was considered to be more of a “back burner” issue.

      He added that the department had the best of intentions and was not able to comply with the Arizona Public Records law during the months it did not disseminate the information or otherwise make it available for viewing.

      “They will also be available hard copy in the front office upon request as before,” Judd said, referring to a three-ring binder that has been available for check out during regular business hours since July 2. “We hope this will be more convenient for everyone involved.”

      For those in the media, the opening of daily public records is a significant milestone.

      “This is the only way for the media to know what is going on in our area and share the information with our viewers, readers, listeners, whatever form of media we are,” Lueck said.

      A few examples of recent stories gleaned from the blotters to date include calls regarding illegal fireworks and shots fired over the Fourth of July weekend, a landscaper who swindled a woman out of $3,600 and a man who offered a woman $100 to take a ride in his pickup.

      Moving forward, it will also help police and media avoid unintentional silences when information wouldn’t otherwise immediately have been available.

      “Having this information available will hopefully end a lot of the rumors that tend to spread throughout the community when incidents happen,” Lueck said.

      Adam Gaub, managing editor of the Maricopa Monitor, agreed.

      “It’s one of those things they could easily have done, and for whatever reason they chose to go the hard route,” Gaub said. “We have had to pursue stories a lot longer than we needed to and jump through more hoops than we needed to and go through more headaches for both parties.”

      As for making the switch from the hard copies in a binder to sending the information by email, Gaub didn’t appear to be particularly impressed.

      “It wasn’t any great stretch to do it electronically,” he said. “They weren’t making any real concessions. They are just doing what they should have done in the first place.”

      That doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate the step.

      “Do we applaud them for doing it, absolutely. But is this is something they should have done from the beginning? Yeah.”

      Like Lueck, Gaub noted that the value of the blotter goes beyond the snippets about garden-variety calls.

      “There are so many things that on the face of them might not look like anything,” he said, adding that over time it will make it possible to spot patterns and trends.

      “It was a long process in coming, and it is going to make it easier to get stories out. Having it available to the media and the public will make us more aware and a safer community.”

      Photo by RuthAnn Hogue

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      July is half over, and for those of you who might not have been following my columns since the beginning, that means we’ve officially been together for half a year.

      A lot can happen in six months — but for a city the size of Maricopa, I never would have guessed before accepting an editorship with the No. 1 daily source of local news and information that so much could possibly take place.

      But, believe me, it does.

      My only regret is that we are not able to publish more than a fraction of what’s out there that could possibly be considered newsworthy in our daily mix of stories and photos. For every story we write, there’s another one we could have written.

      That means we are forced on a daily basis to make choices regarding which meetings to attend and which ones to follow up on with a phone call, which press releases to rewrite and publish and which ones deserve our full attention in the form of writing an original piece with solid reporting.

      We need to decide when to linger long enough to ask questions and when to publish what’s on hand so we can move on to the next item, possibly of equal or greater importance.

      In June alone, we made such choices at least 141 times. That’s the total number of headlines we ran atop news, sports, real estate, community, business and education stories, in addition to opinion pieces both written in-house and by our readers.

      Since January, we’ve profiled local candidates and provided in-depth city election coverage to help voters make up their minds before heading to the polls. We’ve shone the spotlight on a few local causes designed to help families in need meet their financial and medical challenges and profiled numerous businesses to help consumers find new places to meet their needs.

      We’ve not missed a City Council meeting or neglected to research and publish monthly statistics on the number of homes sold and how much buyers were willing to shell out to make them their own.

      And, when at least one scam artist rolled into town intent on fleecing Maricopans for more than the $5,000 she easily pocketed in either cash or market value for goods and services within a few short weeks, we exposed the leader of the Suite 16 Girls as nothing more than an opportunist long before it was popular to second-guess a house full of young women who undoubtedly as individuals had the best of intentions.

      Although many scoffed, and still do, we stand by our decision to investigate anyone — regardless of how harmless they might seem — if their intent is to take advantage of otherwise unsuspecting readers.

      We also stand by our decision to go after and secure access to the police blotter, and any other public records we might request in the future, to help us provide Maricopa with the most in-depth news and information possible.

      So, what’s the point of this column?

      While it might seem like it’s to pat ourselves on the back, the intent is actually the opposite.

      It’s an open invitation for you, our readers, to tell us how we’re doing.

      As your editor, it’s important for me to know what’s working and what’s not. If our mix of stories is dead on with what you want to read, please say so. But if we’re missing the mark, please say so, too. My guess is that we’re somewhere in the middle. Without your input, however, we might not know which direction in which to move to get it exactly right.

      I’ll admit that most of what we in the news department do is based on direction from the owner and publisher who has been covering news in this community longer than I’ve worked or even lived here. His insight and advice is invaluable.

      Even so, with 300 new families moving into the city each month and ever-changing issues, I’d like more specific feedback regarding what you’d like to see covered on our Web site as we enter the second half of 2008.

      Oh, and don’t worry. I put on my fire-proof, bullet-proof gear before putting myself out there and basically inviting my readers to give my employer a good reason to send me packing. So don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings.

      After all, this isn’t about me. It’s about you.

      And I truly look forward to listening to what you genuinely want me to hear.

      RuthAnn Hogue is the editor of inmaricopa.com and 85239 The Magazine.

      Have an opinion you’d like to share with Maricopa? Please email it and any applicable photos to news@inmaricopa.com for consideration. For more details, click here.

      File photo

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        Defendants, plaintiffs, attorneys, a handful of clerks and the judge who regularly populate
        the Maricopa-Stanfield Justice Court and Maricopa City Court as of Wednesday have been treated to a new facility with more of, well, everything.

        From no longer needing to cross North John Wayne Parkway to find a public restroom to having separate quarters for opposing parties in pending cases to confer with their attorneys, the 6,700-square-foot facility has already been a welcome change for the Hon. Judge Scott Sulley.

        “We were able to process the cases faster because of more room, and the fact that I had a clerk in the courtroom for the first time,” Sulley said late Friday, shortly before the close of the facility’s third day of business.

        Until midweek, local county and city court proceedings took place in a 1,500-square-foot trailer covered with stucco that has been in use in one fashion or another for 50 years. Since 1984, the doublewide has served as a temporary court house (see “Pinal County breaks ground for temporary court house”).

        A quick tour of the facility on Wilson Road, just east of City Hall, revealed a bright, spacious lobby where patrons can sit while waiting for service, a not-quite-finished court room with movable chairs where stadium seating will soon be, and an office, well, fit for a judge.

        His previous office was probably smaller than most master bedroom closets in Maricopa, with boxes stacked high with case files and such.

        Another upgrade is a break room, deliberation room combo complete with a whiteboard for strategizing and the usual facilities one might need to enjoy a reasonable midday meal.

        Sulley said while they’ve experienced what he referred to as a few minor glitches, the sound system seems to be working well and overall, he and his staff are more than happy with their new home.

        “We’re still putting things away,” he said, noting that there isn’t exactly perfect order in the court just yet. “It’s going to take a while to get used to things.”

        The court has not missed a beat, however, when it comes to putting away criminals.

        The court’s most serious case since changing quarters involved a 45-day sentence for a defendant charged with extreme DUI along with seven other charges including stalking.

        Sulley explained for a court on this level that 45 days is a fairly long sentence.

        He also explained that while he is hearing those and other less-serious cases, he will actually be able to better hear what’s being said because of the court’s further proximity from the railroad tracks and other noisy distractions.

        “We’ll still hear the train, but there we’d have to stop also for sirens and helicopters landing near the fire department,” the judge said.

        Those weren’t the only distractions.

        Before, everyone from both sides of a case had to meet in the same space, keeping their voices down so they could not hear each other.

        “We really worked fairly well together,” Sulley said.

        But the separate meeting rooms in the new digs have already proved helpful.

        “The attorneys were able to use their rooms,” he said.

        Photo by RuthAnn Hogue

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          Province will soon become a truly gated community with the addition of a fence on its east side.

          That’s the word from Kraig Carmickle, community manager for the age-restricted neighborhood, where security guards are tasked with keeping tabs on those who enter through its main gates.

          It’s east perimenter along Porter Road, however, had recently been identified as a weak area security-wise because of the lack of a barrier between it and a large, vacant lot.

          “This week we will put up a chain-link fence,” Carmickle said on Thursday .

          The announcement came at the end of a two-hour Town Hall presented by Maricopa Police Sgt. Stephen Judd on how to avoid becoming the next victim in a string of burglaries reported in recent months in the community.

          Carmickle clarified that first the community’s general receivership will need to select a contractor to do the work but, at most, it should take no more than a couple of weeks before a fence is in place.

          Roy White, a Province resident who moved to Arizona from New Jersey, said the presentation from Judd and the announcement regarding the fence were both welcome and encouraging.

          White was among those who filled the Province Ballroom to attend a press conference MPD presented early this month to alert residents that they had arrested two suspects in connection with the recent break-ins. The resident said during that meeting that he appreciated the effort of the department to notify them of the problem.

          Since then, White said, he and his neighbors have taken the matter to heart and have become more vigilant in becoming more aware of their surroundings.

          “I think we’re on the right track and it feels good,” he said. “Not just in Province, but in the community.”

          Additional stories from this Town Hall are in the works and will be published in the near future.

          Photo by RuthAnn Hogue

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          Maricopa Police does not yet provide its blotter electronically, but it is available daily for public inspection during regular business hours.

          Here are a few of the highlights:

          FRAUD
          Police responded to a report of identity theft at about 10:18 a.m. July 16 in the 44100 block of West Palo Abeto Drive in Palo Brea. No other details were immediately available.

          ELECTRICITY THEFT
          A worker is accused of turning on power that had been disconnected at a residence where he was doing a job at about 10:31 a.m. July 16 in the 45400 block of West Windrose Drive in Alterra.

          VEHICLE FIRE
          A semi-truck was reported as having caught on fire at about 11:03 a.m. July 16 on the east side of North John Wayne Parkway. No additional information was immediately available.

          STOLEN CAR
          A white, four-door Nissan was reported stolen at about 3 p.m. July 16 from the Bashas’ parking lot in the 21000 block of North John Wayne Parkway where it had been parked overnight.

          Click below to read all 45 full blotter entries:

          Blotter July 17 2008 1

          Blotter July 17 2008 2

          Blotter July 17 2008 3

          Blotter July 17 2008 4

          File photo

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            The City Council on Tuesday voted to put a $65 million bond on the ballot this November to allow voters to decide whether they wish to pay for local parks and libraries.

            The Council also voted to raise the primary property tax rate by 2 percent, an action that officials said would have no effect on the home owner’s pocketbook because of the way Arizona tax code is written.

            The bond resolution passed without any dissenting votes.

            The property tax passed with yes votes from Councilmen Brent Murphree, Joe Estes and Ed Farrell, and Mayor Anthony Smith. Councilmen Marvin Brown and Carl Diedrich and Councilwoman Marquisha Griffin voted against the measure.

            File photo

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              The City Council on Tuesday is expected to decide whether to renew a contract for professional project management services.

              The proposal on the agenda would earmark up to $37,000 to pay Robert Jackson, who provides such services to the city at a rate of $85 per hour.

              A city report from Director of Financial Services Roger Kohlman states that Jackson has served as the city’s Public Works director and city engineer, and later as a consultant to those departments once full-time staff took on those roles.

              Services Jackson would provide under the proposed extension of contract would include the interior design and construction of the new library on Smith-Enke Road, the redesign of the existing library on North John Wayne Parkway into a teen center and the design and construction of the Pacana Park expansion.

              Because city staff lacks the time and expertise in house to handle those tasks, the report states, “the likelihood of the underlying project to fail increases significantly” unless a contractor steps in to manage the process.

              If you go:
              What:
              City Council Meeting
              When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
              Where: Global Water Resources, 22590 N. Powers Parkway
              Cost: Free

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              Police blotter is not yet available in electronic format from Maricopa Police, but is open for viewing during regular business hours.

              Here are some of the highlights from overnight:

              FOLLOWED HOME
              A woman reported having been followed home by the driver of a silver Jeep Cherokee she had passed on the road at about 12:16 a.m. Monday in the 41100 block of West Cielo Lane in Glennwilde. When the driver saw her husband standing outside the Jeep took off.

              SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE
              A man reported a blue, Mitsubishi Mirage parked at about 12:32 a.m. Monday in the 22200 block of North Caven Drive in Rancho El Dorado as being a suspicious vehicle because it was parked in his driveway. The man, who was not home when he called, asked police to come and check on the matter.

              DUI
              The Driver of a red pickup carrying a load of hay was reported as possibly driving while intoxicated at about 2:34 a.m. Monday near the Jack in the Box on North John Wayne Parkway. No additional details were immediately available.

              VANDALISM
              A man reported that someone shot out the windows of his vehicle at about 5:47 a.m. Monday in the 40700 block of West Coltin Way in Homestead.

              THEFT
              A trailer was reported as having been stolen overnight at about 6:44 a.m. Monday in the 42700 block of West Arizona Drive in Senita.

              ASSAULT
              A woman reported that her husband assaulted her 7-year-old son at about 7:24 a.m. Monday in the 19600 block of North Marquez Circle in the Villages of Rancho El Dorado. The woman added that MPD had also responded to the address a day earlier.

              STOLEN PLATE
              Someone reported a stolen license plate at about 8:05 a.m. Monday. An address was not included in the report other than that the report was taken at the Maricopa Police Station.

              INCORRIGIBLE JUVENILE
              Someone requested assistance with a minor who was out of control at about 9:06 a.m. Monday by walking in to the 45100 block of West Madison Avenue.

              SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE
              A white or silver van was reported as having been patrolling through the east side of the neighborhood at about 9:29 a.m. in the 42500 block of Good Vibrations in Province.

              VEHICLE BREAK IN
              A woman reported at about 9:37 a.m. Monday that her vehicle had been broken into overnight in the 46100 block of West Long Way in Maricopa Meadows.

              ABANDONED VEHICLE
              Someone reported at about 9:41 a.m. Monday that a black sedan had been sitting for more than a month in the 41200 W. Sanders Way in Homestead.

              CONSTRUCTION SITE FUMES
              Medical attention was requested at about 11:48 a.m. Monday in the 45000 block of West Honeycutt for at least one construction worker at the Maricopa High School site who had a reaction to fumes.

              In other calls, police responded to a report of teens smoking Marijuana, a missing child, two found bikes, another suspicious vehicle, another break-in and the theft of a washer and dryer along with a refrigerator from the same home.

              For the full blotter pages click on the links below

              Blotter July 15 2008 1

              Blotter July 15 2008 2

              Blotter July 15 2008 3

              Photo by RuthAnn Hogue

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                The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office reported finding a body in the desert at about noon July 13 near West Nelson Farm Road in Stanfield.

                Vanessa White, a spokeswoman for the PCSO, said on Tuesday no further details are available because the case is still under investigation.

                On July 2, Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies identified a body they found at 7:21 p.m. June 26 in a farm field southwest of Highway 84 and Canton Way in Stanfield.

                The male body was found partially decomposed under a large mesquite tree and appeared to be a suicide where the man had hung himself with a shirt (see“PCSO investigates circumstances leading to the discovery of a dead body “).

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                  What perhaps has been among the most anticipated announcements Maricopa’s citizens have been waiting to hear came five minutes before the City Council adjourned on Tuesday, just before 10 p.m.

                  City Manager Kevin Evans, during his status report to the Council regarding his first six months at the city’s helm asked Mayor Anthony Smith if he hadn’t forgotten something in his report.

                  That something, it turned out, was that Wal-Mart on Friday pulled its permits to build.

                  It was an announcement that the audience, although likely weary after having been in session since 6 p.m., was eager enough for to somewhat quietly cheer.

                  Two weeks earlier at the most recent Council meeting William E. Wayland of Shea Properties had come before the government body requesting a change allowing the retail giant to reduce its store’s size by 50,000 square feet to a total of 250,00 square feet.

                  Shea Properties of Scottsdale is developing The Wells, a center Wal-Mart and Home Depot are expected to anchor at the corner of Porter Road and the Maricopa Casa Grande Highway.

                  While, phone calls to Wal-Mart have gone unreturned seeking additional information on the project and its timeline, Finance Director Roger Kohlman said that’s not unusual at this stage.

                  “They’ll return them when they are ready,” he said with a smile shortly after the meeting adjourned. “Sooner or later, they will be the ones looking for you.”

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                    What perhaps has been among the most anticipated announcements Maricopa’s citizens have been waiting to hear came five minutes before the City Council adjourned on Tuesday, just before 10 p.m.

                    City Manager Kevin Evans, during his status report to the Council regarding his first six months at the city’s helm, asked Mayor Anthony Smith if he had forgotten to mention something important in his opening report.

                    That something, it turned out, was that Wal-Mart on Friday pulled its permits to build.

                    It was an announcement that the audience, although likely weary after having been in a series of meetings since 6 p.m., was eager enough for to somewhat quietly cheer.

                    Two weeks earlier at the most recent Council meeting William E. Wayland of Shea Properties had come before the government body requesting a change allowing the retail giant to reduce its proposed store’s size by 50,000 square feet to a total of 250,00 square feet.

                    Shea Properties of Scottsdale is developing The Wells, a shopping center where Wal-Mart and Home Depot are expected to serve as anchors at the corner of Porter Road and the Maricopa Casa Grande Highway.

                    While phone calls since then to Wal-Mart and Home Depot have gone unreturned seeking additional information on the project and its timeline, Finance Director Roger Kohlman said that’s not unusual at this stage of development.

                    “They’ll return them when they are ready,” he said with a smile shortly after the meeting adjourned. “Sooner or later, they will be the ones looking for (the media).”

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                      Police blotter is not yet available in electronic format from Maricopa Police, but is open for viewing during regular business hours.

                      Here are some of the highlights:

                      DOG FIGHT
                      A small group of people are accused of gathering at about 10 p.m. Sunday in the 43700 block of west Cow Path Drive in Senita to encourage their dogs to fight. The reporting party said the people were talking loudly and that alcohol might have been involved.

                      SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY
                      Movement was reported as taking place at about 10:11 p.m. Sunday in a home in the 45700 block of West (street name redacted) that was believed to have been vacant.

                      THEFT
                      A 15-year-old male and a 17-year-old male were detained in connection with theft (items stolen redacted) at about 10:12 p.m. Sunday in the 21000 block of North John Wayne Parkway.

                      BREAK IN
                      A home was reported as having been broken into at about 10:27 p.m. Sunday in the 44700 block of West Applegate Road in Alterra. A window in the home and lights were reported as having been damaged in the process.

                      FIGHTING
                      A man and a woman are accused of fighting in the street at about 11:42 p.m. Sunday in the 358000 block of West Velasque. It was not known if weapons were involved.

                      HIT AND RUN
                      Information was reported at about 2:30 p.m. in the 41300 block of West Pryor Lane in Homestead in connection with a previous hit-and-run accident.

                      SUSPECTED DUI
                      The driver of a small black pickup is accused of driving onto a sidewalk and nearly hitting two children at about 2:42 p.m. Sunday in the vicinity of Smith Enke Road and Porter roads.

                      DUI COMPLAINT
                      A caller who reported a possible drunken driver called back at about 3:10 p.m. to complain to a supervisor that the suspect was getting back into his vehicle. The address on the call was not noted.

                      WELFARE CHECK
                      A woman reported that the garage door of a home that had been abandoned was found open at about 4 p.m. Sunday in the 42300 block of West Sunland Drive in Rancho El Dorado. The woman told police she had the forwarding address and phone number of where the residents moved.

                      PARKING COMPLAINT
                      A man reported that a semi-truck was blocking the right side of his vehicle blocking his view at about 4:55 p.m. Sunday in the 42500 block of West Oakland Drive in Rancho El Dorado. The man said the street was narrow and he feared the positioning of the truck could cause an accident.

                      OPERATING MACHINERY WHILE INTOXICATED
                      A woman reported that her husband was out mowing the lawn after having taken nine Calazapan pills, that a bottle of morphine was missing and that the man had been drinking while taking the pills at about 5:32 p.m. Sunday in the 19600 block of N. Marquez Circle in Rancho El Dorado.

                      DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
                      A woman reported finding a crack pipe in her son’s backpack at about 2:02 p.m. Sunday in the 45000 block of West Dutchman Drive in Maricopa Meadows. She asked MPD to remove it from her property.

                      BEER THEFT
                      Two male juveniles dressed in black whose ages were not immediately available have been accused of stealing a 24-pack of Budweiser at about 6:36 a.m. Sunday from a store in the 19800 N. block John Wayne Parkway. They left on foot.

                      COUNTERFEIT BILL
                      A counterfeit $20 bill was reported as having been passed at about 10:22 p.m. Saturday in the 44600 block of West Smith-Enke Road, Suite 101.

                      SEXUAL ASSAULT
                      A nurse reported the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl at about 6 p.m. Saturday in Maricopa. The location of the nearest cross streets of where the attack took reportedly took place two days before was not immediately available.

                      The following links are to PDFs created from copies of Maricopa Police blotter pages for July 12 and July 13:

                      Blotter July 14 2008 1.pdf

                      Blotter July 14 2008 2.pdf (Redacted by inmaricopa.com)

                      Blotter July 14 2008 3.pdf

                      Blotter July 14 2008 4.pdf

                      Blotter July 14 2008 5.pdf

                      Blotter July 14 2008 6.pdf

                      Blotter July 14 2008 7.pdf

                      Photo by RuthAnn Hogue

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                      The recently settled struggle between inmaricopa.com and Maricopa Police regarding whether the latter would release its daily operations reports to the media was not new, nor was it confined to one news organization.

                      No news organization, until July 1 when MPD opened its blotter to inmaricopa.com in the form of a three-ring binder available for viewing on site, has any news media representative had access to those specific records since January when the department went full time (see “MPD releases a few more details, advises media to ‘be careful'”).

                      Some have mistaken our reports announcing this breakthrough as whining about needing to get out of the newsroom to get access to information others supposedly already were getting in the same fashion.

                      In reality, inmaricopa.com is pleased to have broken ground on behalf of not only its readers, but all of the news media representatives – or general members of the public – who might have a reason to stop in, as we have already, to take a look.

                      We’re not sure that without disclosing the existence of the binder in a recent news report, however, than anyone would know it existed.

                      For that we can be proud.

                      And we’d like to thank those at the city and MPD who made this possible.

                      Before July, the blotter was sealed to public inspection. No one, and I mean no one, had local access to the sort of information that is routinely delivered by law enforcement agencies to the general public and the media across America.

                      It’s an American tradition for news organizations to publish what is sometimes referred to as “cop logs,” “police blotter,” or crime briefs, or at least have the option to inspect them to find out details government agencies just might not want the media to know.

                      In some communities, the police blotters are as popular as anything else in the news. In some cases, readers want to know which of their neighbors have been arrested on charges for driving while intoxicated. In others, they want to see if anyone has had a home broken into recently in a neighborhood where they are considering buying a home.

                      Until July, MPD kept this information out of the hands of Maricopans – unless they had some official purpose within the department or city to gain access.

                      Such a practice is not only immoral, it’s against the law. Not only state law. But federal law.

                      It’s just plain un-American.

                      So, why haven’t the other media gone after the same information?

                      Actually, they have.

                      While we can’t speak for what has gone on privately between MPD and our competitors, we do know that in a meeting in which local police invited the press to discuss ways in which we and they could work best as a team, representatives from The Maricopa Monitor, The Communicator and News 28, a television station based in Casa Grande, made a collective, clear request that this policy be changed.

                      We, as a group, made it clear that having access to police blotter is as basic to quality reporting as, well, arming officers with handguns is to its ability to enforce the law.

                      OK, we didn’t use those exact words. But our message was clear.

                      Our “patience” with their greenness as a department was running precariously thin.

                      It was the television reporter, Bea Lueck, who spoke out first. For that she deserves kudos.

                      Ben Norris, Doris Fightmaster and myself readily backed her up.

                      Sgt. Stephen Judd, a spokesman for MPD and the host of the event, explained that doing so “on the Web” was not possible. He cited the newness of the department, a lack of hands to do the work, time constraints and that he was following orders from his chief.

                      Forget about the Web, we said. Just give us the blotter. Now.

                      In short, our request was soundly denied.

                      Again, I can’t speak for the other media. But in January, within my first days or weeks on the job, one of my first conversations with MPD included a request to set up a system in which to check the daily blotter.

                      The response went something like this: We’re new. We don’t have a system in place just yet, but we will soon. Please be patient.

                      When pressed for a deadline when we could expect them to be ready to comply with the law, MPD said it would take about six months.

                      That placed the timetable squarely in July.

                      That’s why, when in late June one of inmaricopa.com’s journalists asked for information about a string of burglaries and was denied anything more than an excuse as to why MPD could not release it, we filed a formal public records request to view copies of all burglary reports from the Province subdivision within the past two months.

                      We also stopped by in person and requested to view the reports or police logs in person.

                      Again, we were sent back empty-handed.

                      A quick look at the calendar reminded us that MPD’s self-identified timetable had come due.

                      So we took the matter to a higher authority – the city managers – and more importantly, our readers.

                      Within 24 hours the blotter became available.

                      No, we aren’t getting it electronically like we did when the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office was handling such things during the first six months of the local department’s existence, even though PCSO did – and still does – handle dispatch calls on a contract basis for MPD.

                      The reports that the local media had been receiving from PCSO regarding Maricopa police calls came to a sudden stop once its distribution fell under MPD’s jurisdiction in January.

                      Meanwhile, the portion of blotter related to the Sheriff’s Office still comes through by email.

                      Someday, we hope to have MPD’s blotter returned to the same form of distribution, considering the system to do so is already in place.

                      What matters most for now, however, is not whether it’s electronic or in a binder we may check out. What matters is that the blotter is finally available.

                      It’s available to our competitors.

                      It’s available to you.

                      And that’s definitely something to cheer about.

                      Have an opinion you’d like to share with Maricopa? Please email it and any applicable photos to news@inmaricopa.com for consideration. For more details, click here.

                      RuthAnn Hogue is the editor of inmaricopa.com and 85239 The Magazine.

                      File photo

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                        Wal-mart and Home Depot aren’t talking, but according to a Scottsdale-based developer, a smaller version of the big-box store and the home improvement center are still in the works for Maricopa.

                        William E. Wayland, vice president and senior development manager for Shea Properties, recently came before the City Council seeking permission to downsize the Wal-mart Super Center planned for The Wells, a shopping center that has been in the works for three years at the northwest corner of Porter Road and the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

                        The existing development agreement between Shea Properties and the city called for Wal-mart’s location to be no smaller than 214,000 square feet. At the time it was agreed on, the multi-billion-dollar corporation had planned to build a store with 250,000 square feet, Wayland said.

                        Since then, however, much has changed – including the economy.

                        Wayland told the Council that Wal-mart has changed, too, by cutting back four stores nationwide that were in the works.

                        “We feel very fortunate that Maricopa is not one of them,” he said. “But at this point in time we are asking for a reduction from 250,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet.”

                        The developer also asked for, and received, a reduction in the overall interest rate for its loan through an agreement with the city.

                        Wayland added that Home Depot is in escrow for a building on the site, and have been for a number of months.

                        “They did pull a number of locations nationwide, but they see a bright future ahead,” he said, adding that he cannot speak officially on behalf of either national retailer.

                        Jaime Arms and Kathryn Gallagher, representatives of Wal-mart and Home Depot respectively, have each separately declined to return numerous phone calls and emails sent over a period of months seeking confirmation and additional information.

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                          Sgt. Stephen Judd, a spokesman for Maricopa Police, has responded to a second request for information previously released to other media by submitting a portion of it to inmaricopa.com.

                          “Here is what I gave the Monitor and now you,” Judd wrote in an email.

                          “07/08/08 at approximately 2211 hours, Maricopa Police and Fire responded to the area of Maricopa Casa Grande Hwy where they found a male subject that had been struck by a vehicle that had left the scene. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.

                          The name of the victim and details of the evidence found at the scene are not being released to protect the active investigation.”

                          In a conversation with another media representative a day earlier, however, Judd is quoted as having provided Murphy Road as a cross street with Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, and that the body found in the road was believed to have been killed by a hit-and-run driver. The competing publication’s headline also notes that the victim was a pedestrian, a fact that has yet to be provided directly to inmaricopa.com (see “Police ‘looking into’ fatal accident”).

                          Judd’s response goes on to advise a representative of inmaricopa.com about who to call or quote in news stories.

                          “Please be careful about putting other agencies in a position where they are being quoted on investigations when it is not thier (sic) case. If it is a PCSO case get info from them. If it is Maricopa’s case, please follow the protocol for requesting information regarding incidents that occur in our jurisdiction.”

                          The competing media source, as well as inmaricopa.com, quoted from a Pinal County Sheriff’s blotter entry that the department routinely provides electronically to the media with basic summaries of police calls.

                          In addition, inmaricopa.com contacted a PCSO spokeswoman who later advised inmaricopa.com that the case was not in their jurisdiction and that the department had only assisted on the call (see “Witnesses report finding a body and part of a car on the Casa-Grande Highway”).

                          Maricopa Police as of July 1 began making its blotter available for on-site inspection. It is not yet available electronically, although it is processed on a contract basis through PCSO and could be emailed, as well.

                          Before July 1, the date of its first anniversary as a department, Maricopa Police consistently declined to provide public or media access to its blotter. Police blotters are routinely used in news gathering organizations as a way of identifying trends and spotting information that otherwise might not have been reported.

                          Judd said he could not do so until the city was prepared to publish it on its Web site. He added that if members of the media who recently attended a communications briefing meeting at the Police Station were serious about wishing to gain access that they would “have to go through Chief Melvin,” because he was following a directive from him.

                          A request on June 30 to City Manager Kevin Evans, copied to Department of Public Safety Direct Patrick Melvin and city spokeswoman Jennifer Grentz to begin complying with public records laws, however, resulted a day later in the creation of a system in which the public may sign out a three-ring binder to see summary records of calls MPD has handled within the past 24 hours (see “MPD arrests two burglary suspects overnight in Province”).

                          “I’m not going to send it to you,” Judd said in a telephone conversation with inmaricopa.com. “You’ll have to come and get it.”

                          Compliance does not require the electronic transmission of documents making such an arrangement acceptable under the letter of the law (Click here to view A.R.S. 39-121).

                          The first news report to come out of the process identified several police calls related to illegal fireworks and shots fired over the Fourth of July weekend (see “Police respond to illegal fireworks and shots fired calls over holiday weekend”).

                          And, without the PCSO blotter, inmaricopa.com would not have known to contact MPD regarding Tuesday’s fatal accident (Click here to receive an email link to the blotter item).

                          At first look, one might think the ability of the press to gain access to public records should be a private matter between the media entity and the agency making the denial (Click here to read A.R.S. 39, the Arizona Public Records Law).

                          David Cuillier, Information Committee Chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Freedom Forum and assistant journalism professor at the University of Arizona, disagrees.

                          Reporting on incidents when government agencies fail to provide information is a growing practice within the news industry.

                          “One of the most effective ways of overcoming a public records denial is to tell people about it,” he wrote in the June/July 2008 issue of Quill, a trade journal for members of SPJ.

                          “The government isn’t saying ‘no’ to the journalist,” he continued. “It’s saying no to the thousands or millions of people in the community. As proxies for citizens, journalists are entrusted to tell the public when government keeps information secret.”

                          To learn more about journalism and open government click here.

                          To read or compare public records laws from all 50 states click here.

                          To read about the recent outcome of a similar situation in Maricopa County click here.

                          Photo by RuthAnn Hogue

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                            Maricopa Police Spokesman Sgt. Stephen Judd declined on Thursday to immediately provide additional details regarding a fatal accident the department responded to late Tuesday.

                            “I (sic) Iooking into this. I have very limited information on the case at this time,” Judd wrote in an email response to inmaricopa.com’s request for follow-up on the report posted below:

                            A motorist at about 10 p.m. Tuesday ran over a victim who was found on the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway just east of the canal by the feed lot, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office reported on Wednesday.

                            Part of a car was found in the road, a witness told a deputy. Another witness reported plans to block the road “so no one can run over the body again,” a PCSO report states.

                            Vanessa White, a spokeswoman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, said further details beyond what appeared in the PCSO police blotter were not immediately available.

                            Judd on Wednesday, however, had provided several details to a competing publication.

                            A second request to receive, at minimum, the same amount of information provided to others has been made to Judd’s supervisor, Deputy Chief of Police Kirk M. Fitch.

                            Details will be published as they become available.

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                              It’s not too late to win a car, a year’s worth of groceries or gas or a chance to have your yard landscaped.

                              Although AmTrust Bank’s official grand opening was between 10 a.m. and noon, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Mayor Anthony Smith, visiting corporate dignitaries and representatives of the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce, the new branch will accept entry forms for its Dream Green Sweepstakes through the end of business Wednesday.

                              To enter, one need simply stop by AmTrust Bank at 20750 N. John Wayne Parkway, request an entry form, fill it out and drop it in the box.

                              Don’t hold your breath, however, waiting to hear by tonight whether you’ve won.

                              The drawing will be held near the end of July, offsite under supervised conditions to ensure impartiality, said branch sales manager David Rosenau.

                              “We’re giving away a car,” Rosenau said, stressing the high-dollar value of its free give-aways.

                              The Maricopa branch opened quietly June 2. Since then, its taken in 4,000 entries from those who hope to win (see “AmTrust Bank opens first accounts in Maricopa”).

                              In keeping with its green theme, the vehicle in question is a 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid, the groceries will come from Whole Foods and the landscaping package will be done with water conservation in mind.

                              Those who attended the event earlier today were also treated to gift bags that were green inside and out.

                              The goodies included a sheet with tips to help residents go green, a reusable water bottle in addition to a pre-filled one to sip on site, an energy-saver, mini-spiral CFL light bulb, and a key chain and pen with bank logos, perhaps added just for fun.

                              In addition, the cloth tote bag is reusable, suitable for a variety of uses from carrying items to and from the pool to carrying home at least of few of the free groceries one of the winners will soon enjoy.

                              Local families who otherwise might go hungry will also benefit without needing to sign up, thanks to a $1,000 donation from AmTrust to F.O.R. Maricopa, the community food bank. The organization feeds 30 to 50 families per week.

                              Not everyone who showed up on Wednesday, however, was in it for the food.

                              Don Rietz, a local real estate agent who said he specializes in selling empty lots who attended the grand opening, said he has his eye on winning the car – for his wife.

                              “I’m driving a big, gas-guzzling truck, but for my wife, I’d like to get a new car for her,” he said. “She deserves it after 25 years.”

                              It hasn’t actually been that long since she’s had a new car, however, Rietz clarified. He bought her one of those in 2002. A quarter-century is just how long she’s had to put up with him, he said with a grin.

                              Rietz, a long-time customer of a local credit union, said he’s undecided about whether he’ll open an account with AmTrust. It’s better than he can say for at least one other local bank branch, where he said he was treated so rudely that he’ll never return.

                              But the folks at AmTrust seem to be just that, friendly people without the typical corporate chill.

                              That, along with a bit of “neat” technology used to grant access to safe deposit boxes that might seem like it comes straight out of a spy movie, might be enough to push him over the fence.

                              “You punch in a code, it takes your hand print and then it opens the door,” he said.

                              “I’m infatuated with it,” Rietz said. “Besides, my metal box at home might melt in a fire.”

                              For those more interested in a grand opening deal on financial products, AmTrust is offering a CD account with 4.00 percent APY for an 18-month CD, with a minimum balance of $1,000.

                              File photo

                                by -

                                A motorist at about 10 p.m. Tuesday ran over a victim who was found on the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway just east of the canal by the feed lot, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office reported on Wednesday.

                                Part of a car was found in the road, a witness told a deputy. Another witness reported plans to block the road “so no one can run over the body again,” a PCSO report states.

                                Vanessa White, a spokeswoman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, said further details beyond what appeared in the PCSO police blotter were not immediately available.

                                Click on News on the main menu and select Police Blotter to read the original incident summary (case no. 080708189) used to write this report.

                                UPDATE: PCSO has since reported that its role in this case was to assist the Maricopa Police Department and that they have no additional details than what has already been printed. Further information is pending from MPD and will be published when it becomes available.

                                Call to readers: Do you have information about this incident or any others we might have missed? Please forward what you know along with your name and contact information to News@inmaricopa.com.

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                                Sellers closed escrow on 159 homes in Maricopa in June, Multi-Listing Service statistics show.

                                The least expensive sale closed featured a home with 840 square feet, two bedrooms and one bath for $36,000 after two days on the market.

                                The most expensive residential property featured 4,389 square feet, six bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths for $340,000 after 450 days on the market.

                                Here are the overall results:

                                Address Square Feet Sales Price
                                18976 W Lousandra DR Maricopa unavailable $36,000
                                44924 W BALBOA DR Maricopa 1000 $80,000
                                44569 W Mescal ST Maricopa 1455 $98,000
                                46110 W Sheridan RD Maricopa 1447 $96,000
                                43309 W Blazen TRL Maricopa 1816 $82,000
                                45974 W BARBARA LN Maricopa 1468 $90,000
                                43224 W COWPATH RD Maricopa 1370 $94,000
                                45513 W Sky LN Maricopa 1686 $99,000
                                19324 W Costa Verdes AVE Maricopa 1047 $100,405
                                45582 W WINDMILL DR Maricopa 1510 $100,500
                                48245 W CENTURY RD Maricopa 2280 $107,000
                                41884 W SUNLAND DR Maricopa 1480 $103,000
                                43340 W Elizabeth AVE Maricopa 1508 $120,000
                                21440 N Duncan DR Maricopa 1461 $105,000
                                43877 W CAREY DR Maricopa 1322 $106,500
                                45515 W BARBARA LN Maricopa 2492 $132,200
                                44700 W Alamendras ST Maricopa 1412 $96,900
                                44809 W Woody RD Maricopa 1684 $96,000
                                45501 W Barbara LN Maricopa 1614 $109,900
                                46095 W TUCKER RD Maricopa 1671 $121,750
                                45959 W Long WAY Maricopa 1447 $114,900
                                46053 W WINDMILL DR Maricopa 1450 $120,000
                                42718 W HILLMAN DR Maricopa 1435 $105,000
                                42399 W Desert Fairways DR Maricopa 1666 $115,000
                                20977 N Sansom DR Maricopa 1760 $124,500
                                45968 W Kristina WAY Maricopa 1910 $89,250
                                41944 W Sunland DR Maricopa 1841 $119,900
                                45651 W TULIP LN Maricopa 1930 $118,000
                                42400 W VENTURE RD Maricopa 1457 $119,900
                                44886 W Zion RD Maricopa 1905 $126,000
                                46068 W Tucker RD Maricopa 1892 $130,000
                                46041 W Guilder AVE Maricopa 1819 $125,000
                                45511 W Dirk ST Maricopa 1910 $120,201
                                41658 W Warren LN Maricopa 1546 $125,098
                                22307 N GIBSON DR Maricopa 1306 $115,000
                                43854 W Rio Grande DR Maricopa 1701 $130,000
                                20718 N CARMEN AVE Maricopa 2096 $129,900
                                42948 W CAMINO DE JANOS — Maricopa 1538 $129,900
                                43840 W Colby DR Maricopa 1919 $125,000
                                42587 W Hillman DR Maricopa 1435 $129,900
                                37167 W MONDRAGONE LN Maricopa 1322 $130,990
                                21830 N Liles LN Maricopa 1302 $129,370
                                44346 W Oster DR Maricopa 2626 $127,000
                                45147 W Portabello RD Maricopa 2362 $129,000
                                41375 W Cahill DR Maricopa 1302 $132,835
                                42238 W CHAMBERS DR Maricopa 1956 $130,000
                                43817 W Kramer RD Maricopa 1620 $135,000
                                21784 N LILES DR Maricopa 1302 $132,326
                                45666 W WINDMILL DR Maricopa 2211 $140,000
                                45677 W Ranch RD Maricopa 2290 $135,000
                                22079 N DIETZ DR Maricopa 2854 $160,000
                                43936 W Sagebrush TRL Maricopa 2012 $137,000
                                36579 W ALHAMBRA ST Maricopa 2744 $143,900
                                44050 W GRANITE DR Maricopa 1828 $149,000
                                43811 W ASKEW DR Maricopa 1884 $144,500
                                44112 W PIONEER RD Maricopa 2236 $146,000
                                43960 W Buckhorn TRL Maricopa 2372 $145,000
                                43961 W KRAMER LN Maricopa 1868 $123,333
                                45138 W NORRIS RD Maricopa 1924 $160,000
                                22512 N Davis WAY Maricopa 2518 $145,000
                                21398 N Sunset DR Maricopa 2113 $157,000
                                45639 W Guilder AVE Maricopa 3212 $145,000
                                42451 W Mira CT Maricopa 1951 $140,000
                                36176 W CARTEGNA LN Maricopa 2408 $150,000
                                44556 W GARDEN LN Maricopa 3097 $150,000
                                36154 W MARIN AVE Maricopa 1914 $150,034
                                42764 W Venture RD Maricopa 2150 $152,000
                                41029 W Colby DR Maricopa 1581 $153,268
                                40106 W Thornberry LN Maricopa 2138 $153,276
                                21181 N Grantham RD Maricopa 2138 $154,037
                                41643 W SOMERSET DR Maricopa 2046 $155,000
                                44288 W EDDIE WAY Maricopa 2020 $154,500
                                45355 W GAVILAN DR Maricopa 2632 $158,000
                                36556 W Costa Blanca DR Maricopa 3165 $161,500
                                22071 N Gibson DR Maricopa 2207 $166,000
                                36471 W Velazquez DR Maricopa 3165 $143,000
                                42785 W Camino De Janos AVE Maricopa 2179 $149,484
                                16221 N THUNDERBIRD RD Maricopa 840 $130,000
                                40330 N Thornberry LN Maricopa 2192 $159,782
                                46141 W Rainbow DR Maricopa 3100 $165,000
                                41299 W Bravo ST Maricopa 1654 $154,864
                                44193 W MCINTOSH CIR Maricopa 2308 $159,900
                                45548 W Morning View LN Maricopa 2966 $160,000
                                45622 W Barbara LN Maricopa 2489 $165,000
                                45298 W PORTABELLO RD Maricopa 2075 $150,000
                                43552 W Cowpath RD Maricopa 4156 $157,000
                                21845 N DIETZ DR Maricopa 2854 $158,000
                                43236 W Wildhorse TRL Maricopa 3900 $160,000
                                41855 W ANNE LN Maricopa 2049 $153,000
                                45574 W KELLER DR Maricopa 2717 $165,000
                                43517 W Sunland DR Maricopa 2997 $170,200
                                42268 W Calle ST Maricopa 1578 $149,000
                                17212 N Rosa DR Maricopa 2100 $160,657
                                36805 W Leonessa AVE Maricopa 2310 $168,330
                                19150 N Smith DR Maricopa 3675 $153,000
                                20511 N Ryans TRL Maricopa 2204 $166,700
                                45331 W Desert Garden RD Maricopa 2365 $168,000
                                36589 W Velazquez DR Maricopa 3428 $182,000
                                20326 N PEPKA DR Maricopa 2297 $172,399
                                45095 W Jack Rabbit TRL Maricopa 3039 $174,900
                                42415 W ANNE LN Maricopa 2192 $174,900
                                35882 W MARIN AVE Maricopa 3900 $170,000
                                21056 N DONITHAN WAY Maricopa 2192 $160,000
                                44256 W EDDIE WAY Maricopa 1884 $162,500
                                19086 N Kristal LN Maricopa 3732 $177,000
                                36384 W VELAZQUEZ DR Maricopa 3165 $178,000
                                40765 W Novak LN Maricopa 2264 $179,898
                                44296 W Desert Plant TRL Maricopa 1691 $161,900
                                43578 W Cowpath RD Maricopa 3240 $191,000
                                41937 W SPARKS CT Maricopa 3016 $189,000
                                43938 W SNOW DR Maricopa 1879 $132,000
                                42312 W Posada DR Maricopa 1700 $169,900
                                20945 N Dries RD Maricopa 2503 $189,148
                                21758 N Backus DR Maricopa 2968 $198,100
                                44434 W BAILEY DR Maricopa 2232 $184,910
                                42718 W Sunland DR Maricopa 2518 $190,000
                                21693 N Backus DR Maricopa 3016 $185,000
                                19499 N Leland RD Maricopa 3735 $200,000
                                18310 N Crestview LN Maricopa 2700 $195,000
                                18367 N Stonegate RD Maricopa 3347 $199,842
                                43234 W Lindgren DR Maricopa 3400 $204,000
                                18491 N Crestview LN Maricopa 2700 $195,000
                                42577 W FALLING STAR CT Maricopa 1760 $209,500
                                51300 W MOCKINGBIRD LN Maricopa 2016 $190,000
                                45434 W Sandhill RD Maricopa 2912 $197,000
                                43978 W CAVEN DR Maricopa 3182 $205,000
                                36132 W Madrid AVE Maricopa 3479 $226,398
                                41169 W Novak LN Maricopa 2528 $219,588
                                40640 W Hopper DR Maricopa 2471 $220,063
                                44458 W Red Rock — Maricopa 2232 $200,000
                                40833 W Novak LN Maricopa 2968 $221,554
                                43527 W EDDIE WAY Maricopa 3508 $215,000
                                40681 W Hopper DR Maricopa 2292 $222,661
                                35896 W Madrid AVE Maricopa 3352 $215,699
                                22781 N Sunset DR Maricopa 3720 $218,000
                                41027 W Pryor LN Maricopa 2704 $239,189
                                44557 W Copper TRL Maricopa 3824 $242,900
                                21352 N Denton DR Maricopa 3380 $247,272
                                20628 N DONITHAN WAY Maricopa 2160 $230,000
                                42224 W Lucera LN Maricopa 2700 $235,000
                                21911 N Bolivia ST Maricopa 2059 $228,000
                                41884 W Lucera LN Maricopa 4100 $250,000
                                43976 W Palo Abeto DR Maricopa 4011 $205,570
                                22211 N O’SULLIVAN DR Maricopa 3520 $259,000
                                21877 N Celtic AVE Maricopa 3000 $228,324
                                41807 W Little CT Maricopa 2259 $275,000
                                44134 W Palo Abeto DR Maricopa 4389 $218,511
                                42683 W BRAVO DR Maricopa 2883 $269,500
                                43198 W KNAUSS DR Maricopa 3954 $270,000
                                16922 N Palo Rojo RD Maricopa 4011 $260,000
                                41825 W GRANADA DR Maricopa 4119 $279,900
                                20490 N Lauren RD Maricopa 3605 $281,840
                                44043 W Palo Amarillo RD Maricopa 4389 $270,087
                                42473 W Jail House Rock CT Maricopa 2225 $275,000
                                44557 W Garden LN Maricopa 2652 $300,000
                                42925 W Morning Dove LN Maricopa 2021 $296,000
                                41891 W Barcelona DR Maricopa 4100 $325,000
                                22122 N Reinbold DR Maricopa 3923 $340,000

                                Photo courtesy of MLS

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                                  Maricopa Police responded to seven calls related to fireworks and two for shots fired over the Fourth of July weekend, police reports state.

                                  The first report of fireworks came at 1:09 a.m. Friday near the corner of West Bowlin Road and Rainbow Drive in Maricopa Meadows.

                                  Less than two hours later, police responded to a call of a single shot being fired at 2:46 a.m. in the 41000 block of West Hayden Road in Homestead.

                                  The next such calls didn’t come in until 8:41 p.m. and 8:53 p.m. when it was reported that fireworks were being shot off in the street in the 45000 block of West Horse Mesa in Alterra and in the 40000 block of West Mary Lou Circle in Smith Farms.

                                  At 9:24 p.m. and 9:31 p.m. reports came in suggesting that fireworks were going off close to the ground, and that the rockets being launched were “very large” on West Brant Street and on North Denton Drive, respectively, in Maricopa Meadows.

                                  Each of these reports came in as celebrants waited for the city to begin launching its display during the Great American Barbecue at Pacana Park. Those rockets did not begin lighting up the night sky until about 9:45 p.m.

                                  On Saturday, police responded to two additional calls related to fireworks and one more for shots fired.

                                  The first fireworks reported as having gone up that night were launched at 2:06 a.m. in the 44000 block of West Palo Teca Road in Palo Brea.

                                  Additional fireworks were reported at 2:50 a.m. in the 42000 block of West Chambers Drive in Rancho El Dorado.

                                  The report of shots fired came in at 8:45 p.m. in the general area of North Glennwilde Drive and West Palmyra Court in Glennwilde.

                                  Additional details were not immediately available.

                                  Photo by Jake Johnson

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                                  The president of the Industrial Development Authority and a museum aide from the Huhugam Heritage Center will each make presentations at the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce’s July breakfast from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort, 19406 N. Maricopa Road.

                                  In addition to hearing from Jake Romero and Sara Bird-In-Ground, attendees will have a chance to meet the chamber’s newest members:

                                  Agave Family Physicians, PLLC
                                  EMPACT-SPC
                                  Fortuna Land Realty – Steve Murray
                                  First Impression Security Doors
                                  LoveLee Skin
                                  Mama T’s Pizza & Wings
                                  Maricopa Eye Care
                                  Maricopa Police Officers Association
                                  McDonalds
                                  UTAZ Development Corporation

                                  Admission is $12 for members who prepay, $15 for members at the door, and $18 for non-members.

                                  For information contact the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce at (520) 568-2844.

                                  File image

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                                    Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies have identified a body they found at 7:21 p.m. June 26 in a farm field southwest of Highway 84 and Canton Way in Stanfield.

                                    The male body was found partially decomposed under a large mesquite tree and appeared to be a suicide where the man had hung himself with a shirt (see“PCSO investigates circumstances leading to the discovery of a dead body “).

                                    PCSO Homicide detectives identified the body as Pablo Rojas Arvizu, 38, who had been named as a suspect in an aggravated assault domestic violence case a few days earlier.

                                    The case is still active pending autopsy results.

                                    Vanessa White, a spokeswoman for PCSO, said a photo of the man, who lived in Arizona City, was not immediately available.

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                                    The executive director of the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday thanked the City Council for its continued support and announced that the professional association is enjoying steady growth despite the real estate market downturn.

                                    The chamber is now 286 members strong, Terri Kingery said, adding that the organization enjoys an 81 percent retention rate.

                                    Kingery said she attributes this success, in part, to the city’s help with the Shop Local campaign designed to keep Maricopa dollars at home.

                                    Kingery also announced during the Council’s bi-monthly call to the public during regular Council meetings that the chamber is within 60 days of being recognized as a tourism facility and local information and visitors center.

                                    She noted that moving into a building with an actual storefront has largely made this next step possible.

                                    Having a brick-and-mortar facility also meant the chamber was able to host more than 100 applicants on Tuesday seeking work at the McDonald’s restaurant scheduled to open later this month.

                                    Here are the chamber’s statistics for June:

                                    June Walk Ins 140
                                    Web Visits 2,726
                                    ChamberTV Visits 130
                                    Chamber Blog Visits 1,204
                                    Directories Distributed 200

                                    Image courtesy of the Chamber

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                                      The City Council will meet in executive session on Tuesday to consult with its legal counsel regarding a challenge to the city’s annexation which became effective last month, whether to settle with a former city manager who has filed suit against the city and to discuss the status of the Legacy Settlement.

                                      In all three instances, the Council will be seeking advice on how best to avoid further litigation against the city, a city document states.

                                      First, Ricardo Villa, William Donka and David Reed have accused the city of coming up short on the required number of signatures to force the annexation of a less-populated, more rural area adjacent to the city and abutting with Goodyear.

                                      In addition, the deadline is approaching for the city to respond to a suit brought by former City Manager Rick Buss claiming “defamatory public disclosure” of the existence of an investigation into his affairs while employed with the city, which was being handled by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

                                      Buss said when the city released the information to a competing local news source, it “engaged in intentional, illegal acts that have caused him to suffer severe economic injury,” his legal claim, dated March 10, states.

                                      In the matter of the Legacy Settlement, in which the city recently agreed to numerous stipulations to avoid facing developer M.A. Maricopa, LLC in court, the parties appear to need further discussion to avoid additional legal challenges, based on information included in a city report.

                                      The executive session, although it will take place during a public meeting, is not open to the public.

                                      If you go:
                                      What:
                                      City Council meeting
                                      When: 5 p.m. work session, 7 p.m. regular meeting
                                      Where: Global Water Resources, 22590 N. Powers Parkway
                                      Information: (520) 569-9098

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                                        The Maricopa City Council, in a double-header meeting that lasted from 5 to 10:40 p.m. Tuesday including work, executive and regular sessions, voted to extend contracts with three high-dollar consultants and one who assists Public Works part time, approved the purchase of four portable traffic signals and wished the Maricopa Police Department a happy first birthday.

                                        The City Council meetings generally begin at 6 p.m. but started an hour earlier to allow for an extended executive session, Mayor Anthony Smith said.

                                        On the executive agenda were matters related to the Legacy Settlement between the city and M.A. Maricopa, LLC, a pending claim against the city filed March 10 by former City Manager Rick Buss and a challenge to the city’s recent annexation effort.

                                        City officials did not report back to the public any results of its confidential discussion with counsel on any of those matters.

                                        It did, however, discuss most regular agenda items at length.

                                        The one exception was when the Council moved to table discussion and possible action regarding guidelines for Maricopa 20 Television.

                                        Whether to renew the contracts of an economic development consulting firm and one that handles aviation stood out in particular.

                                        In the end, Council unanimously passed the renewal of contract with economic development consulting firm, IO, Inc., and passed the contract with Aviation Group Limited Partnership despite nay votes from Councilmen Carl Diedrich and Marvin L. Brown. Councilman Joe Estes was not present.

                                        Additional details regarding specific outcomes and discussions from the meeting are pending publication.

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                                          Maricopa Police wrapped up its search at about 5 a.m. Tuesday morning of a home on West Good Vibrations Lane in Province that was burglarized four hours earlier, a guard on duty at Province said today.

                                          Jay Cook, who logs visitors in and out of the gated community, said numerous law enforcement vehicles entered the area following the arrest of two suspects on North Porter Road on charges of breaking into the home (See “MPD arrests two burglary suspects overnight in Province”).

                                          Sgt. Stephen Judd, a spokesman for MPD, said police were still involved in search warrant activities as late as 9:28 a.m. Information regarding the locations MPD might be searching was not included in his statement.

                                          More information will be posted as it becomes available.

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                                            The Maricopa Police Department, in cooperation with Pinal County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. and Border Patrol K-9, have made two in-custody arrests in connection with a burglary that occurred in the Province community early Tuesday morning at about 1 a.m.

                                            Maricopa officers and detectives are currently serving a search warrant in an attempt to recover property and evidence.

                                            On Monday, Sgt. Stephen Judd, a spokesman for Maricopa Police, said multiple burglaries had taken place recently in the area.

                                            Public records detailing the incidents were not made immediately available for review during normal business hours on that date as required by state public records laws, and are pending release from MPD and city officials (Click here for a reference to the state law).

                                            To release the information, a city official said, a $5 copying charge would be assessed per page. A request for a visual inspection of the records without creating photo copies was denied.

                                            Judd said additional information regarding last night’s arrests will be released upon conclusion of its service of the search warrant.

                                            Michael K. Rich contributed to this report.