Authors Articles byScott Bartle

Scott Bartle

Scott Bartle
99 Articles 0 COMMENTS
InMaricopa’s publisher began his career in sports marketing, producing and marketing Association of Tennis Professionals Tour events in Indianapolis and Scottsdale. He served as marketing coordinator for the Super Bowl XXX Host Committee prior to joining the Maricopa County Sports Commission where he spent four years as its assistant executive director. Since 2000 Scott has served as president of Outside the Box Marketing, Inc. Scott is former president of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board and IU Alumni Club of Phoenix and a member of the Knights of Columbus and Sigma Chi Fraternity. Scott is a graduate of Indiana University, Valley Leadership, Project CENTRL and the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy. A native Hoosier, Scott has lived in the Phoenix area since 1977 and in Maricopa since 2004.

Christian Price Maricopa Mayor
Mayor Christian Price speaks from the dais during city council's May 19 meeting. (Source: City of Maricopa via You Tube)

At its May 19 meeting, the Maricopa City Council thumbed its nose at common sense, accountability and its own written policy in one fell swoop. Six council members either don’t know the difference between right and wrong, or just don’t have the backbone to condemn one of their own. Either way, it renders the Code of Ethics meaningless.

The complaint I filed against Councilmember Julia Gusse for violating the City’s Code of Ethics was on the agenda. With Councilmember Vincent Manfredi recusing himself from the discussion and vote, the council unanimously passed a motion to toss out the complaint and “move forward.”

Despite merely being the Complainant who brought an issue to the council to help it police itself (or not, as it turned out), the discussion followed Gusse’s strategy of seemingly putting me on trial. When not defending myself for letting the council know it had a rogue member harassing a local business, I found myself defending the city attorney and the council’s very own code and process.

Bartle: City council cops out, condones Gusse’s attacks on local business

Lobbying to remove the code’s ambiguity that allows “third parties” (i.e. non-council members) to file complaints, Mayor Christian Price said there is “no way for us to sit as judges” – even though that’s what the City of Phoenix’s City Council does, for 20 times the number of residents.

I left the meeting thinking I’d file a new complaint – I recently received another egregious email penned by Gusse – in part to prove to five council members their mistake of voting on the premise of what they want the code to say, versus what it actually says.

But the reality is, faced with the obligation – though many would say opportunity – of addressing Gusse spitefully telling local businesses owners to cancel their advertising agreements with InMaricopa, or her emailing the mayor, “My recommendation is to NOT advertise one dime of our City’s advertising budget in this publication” and that she “will fight for the discontinued financial support of his organization,” the council proved May 19 they would again look the other way.

What the council should do is end the charade and rescind the Code of Ethics. Council members do not care about holding themselves accountable, so stop wasting taxpayer resources pretending.

The mayor wants citizens to have only two recourses (see YouTube video) for holding our elected officials accountable for unethical behavior – recall them, which would take about 1,000 voter signatures and $30,000 of taxpayer money to stage a special election, or wait up to four years for the next election.

Through its own admission, Maricopa City Council’s Code of Ethics is not worth the paper it’s written on. And I received it electronically.

Scott Bartle City Council
InMaricopa owner Scott Bartle addresses City Council about his ethics complaint against Councilmember Julia Gusse at its May 19 meeting. (Source: City of Maricopa, via YouTube)

At its May 19 meeting, the Maricopa City Council addressed an ethics complaint I filed against Councilmember Julia Gusse. Here is the story from my perspective.

The history

In a nutshell, Article VIII of the City Code (Code of Ethics) states, “The Mayor and the City Council shall maintain the utmost standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, honesty and fairness in carrying out their public duties.” I believe a council member, Julia Gusse, violated the spirit and the letter of this Code, many times over.

If you disagree, and at least one Mesa lawyer did, that’s OK. Apparently, things like personal integrity, truthfulness, honesty and fairness are quite subjective.

You can form your own opinion, but here are a few of the reasons I thought violations occurred:

  • Gusse insisted on meddling in my business’ hiring practices “before our City moves forward with any advertising.”
  • Gusse demeaned and threatened a local job-creator, writing “I suppose that with this email you have mansplained my council job to me and have put me in my place? Am I to scurry away now with your permission? As you are well aware, the pen is mightier than the sword!”
  • Gusse doubled down, professing she (i.e. city government) is entitled to a say on who and how my business recruits and hires talent: “When you hire an individual that is to report on anything from kids sports to a local crime scene, who you hire is 100% my concern!”

For over a year, I hesitated to file a complaint in hopes I could avoid doing so altogether. Given Gusse’s decision to run for re-election, I felt compelled to give the council the opportunity to prove its mettle and the public an opportunity to see how one of their elected officials actually treats local businesses. (As it turns out, we got to know what six of the seven council members think is appropriate relative to how to treat local businesses and their rights to interfere with them.)

[Note: After submitting my complaint, a public records request revealed Gusse emailed the mayor, “My recommendation is to NOT advertise one dime of our City’s advertising budget in this publication” and that she “will fight for the discontinued financial support of his organization.” She backs that up in 2019, spitefully telling local businesses owners to cancel their advertising agreements with InMaricopa.]

The meeting

Gusse did a good job of moving the narrative away from her actions. The council fell in lockstep, receiving the gift of a flawed investigative conclusion to complement the strategy of claiming a non-conforming process.

I am bemused as to how the City’s outside investigator came to his conclusion. I can only surmise we have very different standards of right and wrong, or he understands where his bread is buttered. Maybe potential legal liability for the City was a consideration. Somehow, the investigating attorney did not even find Gusse’s behavior to be unprofessional.

But I don’t think the report mattered. Gusse had eight minutes of victory speeches already prepared – and it seems unlikely she could have written those on the one-floor elevator ride from the executive session meeting room to the regular meeting in the Council Chambers. Price, Smith and Vitiello all could have pointed to the report findings and had all the political cover they needed, then quietly amended the Code to prevent those pesky constituents from being able to accuse them of any wrongdoing in the future. But they couldn’t resist following through on the “process” strategy on which they committed to hanging their hat. Conspiracy theory? Yes, but a very plausible one.

Pre-planned or not, council focused on issues that had nothing to do with the ethics violations. In fact, not one question was asked about the appropriateness of her emails. Not one member expressed concern with her meddling in a private business, nor her disrespectful communication, nor her threat to a local employer to withhold city purchasing.

Her modus operandi of grandstanding, playing the victim and accusing people (possibly me) of being dim-witted, racist, misogynist and anti-veteran predictably held true. (see YouTube video, 14:02)

Like Gusse, Councilmember Vitiello accused me of taking advantage of the City code by having the nerve to even file a complaint. He addressed his fear someone would file a meritless complaint against him for political purposes, though that would be in conflict of current policy which states a complaint would only be placed on a council agenda for action “if there is reasonable cause to believe a violation occurred.”

Vitiello seemingly exonerated Gusse to protect himself from facing the same fate: “This could be a free-for-all, for anybody to come against anyone of us councilmembers for whatever reasoning they choose to during an election year. And that really worries me.”

Oblivious to the facts in the complaint, Vitello said, “Process is the most important thing here. … I struggle with even starting to read (the report) because, again, the process to me, I feel was not followed.”

Vitiello also questioned me on the timing of my filing, despite my previously having made a public statement explaining my reason. (Tell me again why I am on trial here?)

Mayor Christian Price and Vice Mayor Nancy Smith continued the effort to cast doubt on the process itself. Throughout, the mayor never asked the city attorney for clarification of whether the process was properly followed, as is his common practice.

Council should have taken its beef with how the process transpired to the mayor and city attorney. Turning the tables and blaming the Complainant is a page out of Gusse’s book.

Like Vitiello, Price and Smith failed to address, much less condemn, Gusse’s actions.

Councilmember Marvin Brown said nothing.

Councilmember Henry Wade focused on personalities instead of facts. Somewhat confused, he made the motion to exonerate Gusse to “move forward.”

And so it goes. The council had an opportunity to hold a colleague accountable – the intent of the Code of Ethics – and instead tried to shoot the messenger. I told them they had only two choices – condemn or condone her behavior. They chose to condone.

The future

Despite Gusse’s strategy of making the complaint about my business and me, it wasn’t. The council’s decision to let her off is of little consequence to me. If anything, the profoundly poor judgment by six council members makes me realize, in spite of COVID-19, InMaricopa should be paying closer attention to the decisions our elected officials make. And we will.

One unknown is the impact on economic development of the City’s acceptance of its officials trying to dictate policies and procedures of private businesses. Is government overreach a factor in companies’ decisions of where to plant their businesses? Maybe.

What is certain is Gusse will graduate from emboldened to bullet-proof, and her disdain for the Code of Ethics will turn into blatant disregard.

My goals Tuesday were to (a) give council an opportunity to set a high standard by condemning Gusse’s behavior and (b) prevent Gusse from using her position to attack other Maricopa businesses like she does mine. I accomplished one of the two and will, like Wade, move forward.

2019 novel coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19 (COrona VIrus Disease 2019). It’s all-consuming. Even if you are not infected, you are affected. We all are.

In our lifetimes, this is uncharted territory for our country, much less our new city. Maricopa was the poster child for the bust that was the mortgage-lending-induced Great Recession – after being the poster child of the preceding boom. But even then, kids studied at school, cars crowded State Route 347 and customers shopped in businesses.

In the early 2000s I contemplated the type of business to start in the then town of Maricopa. First choice was self-storage, but then Maricopa Self Storage started construction. Second choice was tool and equipment rental, but then it dawned on me I knew nothing about small-engine repair. So, I went with Door No. 3 and started an (online) newspaper. In hindsight, when it comes to having an impact on the community, I could not have made a better choice.

Since we launched in 2004, we have had the honor of helping hundreds of businesses and educating tens of thousands of people. Our large audience and ability to reach them almost immediately yields a unique opportunity to contribute to our community in ways other businesses cannot.

In some arenas, we call that a competitive advantage. In others, a moral obligation. It is in the spirit of the latter we embrace the opportunity to help our community through this crisis.

As you might expect, we are all-in providing as much local COVID-19 coverage our resources – and social-distancing regulations – allow. However, we’ve stepped outside our proverbial box to help in other ways, such as establishing a mini pantry to provide food, water, toilet paper and other necessities to those in need, and purchasing thousands of masks to keep our Maricopa neighbors safe.

In preparation of what we’ve dubbed the Maricopa Comeback, we are directly aiding local businesses by giving away marketing services:

· Free magazine ads.

· Free employment ads for our advertising clients.

· Free listings on our soon-to-be enhanced business directory.

· Free sponsorships for our Best Mom/Dad contests.

We cannot do it alone, however. We need your help.

The Local Media Association and its 501(c)3 foundation established a program to help independent and family-owned news organizations, like InMaricopa, in what was already a fragile industry prior to the pandemic. It allows you to make a tax-deductible donation in support of our coverage of COVID-19 issues in our community.

In our 16 years serving you, we have never asked our readers for a penny. But COVID-19 is too impactful and too important, and we want to provide you the best coverage possible. All seven of our full-time staff members are Maricopa residents, and we are fully committed to keeping them employed and serving you.

There is a lot of uncertainty. We don’t know if the pandemic and its impact will last months or years. We don’t know if the worst is behind us or ahead. Whatever the future holds, rest assured we will do everything we can to ensure a Maricopa Comeback for the ages.

Thank you for your readership, and thank you for helping us help our community. Please visit

To continue to grow our local coverage of COVID-19’s impact on Maricopa in the difficult weeks to come while continuing our day-to-day newsgathering, we are partnering with the Local Media Association’s foundation to ask our readers to help with a tax-deductible donation at

by -
InMaricopa Publisher Scott Bartle


Decades from now, 2020 will likely be remembered as the year of the coronavirus. And with more schools, restaurants and even sports leagues closing every day, most of us are hyper-focused on the present – and how to get our hands on that elusive package of TP.

But today also causes me to reflect on the past.

Remember when President George W. Bush defeated John Kerry to earn a second term? Or when the Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunamis killed more than 200,000 people in Thailand and 13 other countries? Or when gay marriages were legalized in Massachusetts, the first state in the union to do so. Or Manny Ramirez leading the Boston Red Sox to a World Series title, ending a drought dating to 1918?

These momentous events all happened in 2004. Though not registering on the global scale, a momentous happening closer to home that year was the advent of InMaricopa. Our first story on what was then was published March 15. Sixteen years later, we continue to proudly serve our community with objective, accurate and timely news about and for Maricopans.

We exist to inform you, our readers (and viewers). You have thanked us with your readership for 16 years, and we are grateful for and humbled by your support.

We also have loyal advertisers who support our efforts and allow us to educate and enrich our community. And, frankly, they support InMaricopa because our readers support them; so, readers, pat yourselves on the back because InMaricopa and our advertisers would not exist without you.

While I admit I would rather have founded Facebook, which launched a month before, I am honored to continue to be a steward of a Maricopa institution. On behalf of the whole InMaricopa family, thank you for your readership. Here’s to the next 16 years, coronavirus or no coronavirus!


by -

By Scott Bartle

Scott Bartle, InMaricopa publisher

Dear Readers,

Unbelievably, the holiday season is upon us. Halloween is in the rear-view mirror, and now folks are counting down the number of shopping days until Christmas.

But before we get there, we celebrate Thanksgiving. In that spirit, I am writing to tell you how thankful we are for you, our readers. It is for you and because of you our company, services and jobs exist.

We are in our 14th year bringing you hyperlocal news and information. We have always made Maricopa news accessible to you at no charge, and we always will. And it is because of your support of our advertisers we are able to do so.

InMaricopa advertisers effectively pick up the tab on myriad costs incurred to report, write, edit, design, print and mail you this magazine. Same drill for, Maricopa Health Guide, New Resident Guide and our social media outlets. Businesses financially support the operation so you get our services free.

In addition to the value we bring by entertaining, informing and educating readers, the services we provide, as evidence by our Constitution’s First Amendment, have far-reaching societal benefits.

Our mission is to inform our readers and support our advertisers. We cannot do one without the other, and you are vital to both. Advertisers support us because you support them, and we are inexpressibly grateful to you for that.

Whether you find vendors on the ad list, research local resources in the business directory or just enjoy perusing the ads throughout, know your support of these businesses is critically important and much appreciated.

On behalf of my colleagues at InMaricopa, thank you. Thank you for your readership. Thank you for your support. And thank you for your support of our advertisers.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Scott Bartle

This column appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

by -
Sen. John McCain

Sen. John McCain impacted countless Arizonans. The Bartles are among them.

Scott Bartle, InMaricopa publisher

Sen. McCain offered my brother an appointment to the United States Naval Academy and, as my dad says, “dramatically changed the course of our family’s life.”

Coincidentally, Sen. McCain finished what he started when he delivered the commencement address for my brother’s graduating class in 1993. His speech in many ways paralleled the man – witty, humble, patriotic, prophetic, selfless and timeless.

And it’s worth a read.


Thank you, Admiral Lynch, Secretary-Designate Dalton, Admiral Kelso, General Mundy, members of the Board of Visitors, members of Congress, fellow midshipmen of the Class of 1958, distinguished guests, families and friends. And thank you, midshipmen of the Class of 1993.

To say that I am very grateful to be asked to address you is a gross understatement. In my life, I have never known a greater honor . . . nor one so unexpected.

Thirty-five years ago, I sat where you sit today, listening to my Commander-in-Chief, Dwight David Eisenhower. If one of my classmates had suggested then, that I might someday enjoy the same privilege as President Eisenhower, I would have had very grave doubts about his suitability for future command. My old company commander, Captain Hunt, who for four years devoted himself to tracking my nocturnal sojourns outside the walls of the Academy, would have certainly shared my skepticism.

But America is a land of opportunity where anything is possible. And my being given this honor proves it. In gratitude, and in memory of that occasion thirty-five years ago, I intend to keep my remarks brief. I suspect you have other plans for the day which you would prefer to commence sooner rather than later.

You have all completed four years of rigorous, difficult instruction, and are about to begin your careers as officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. I want to first congratulate all those midshipmen who distinguished themselves as leaders of your class.

Those of you who do not enjoy that distinction deserve congratulations as well. Although academic and other honors may have eluded you, the standards here are such that simply surviving the four years reflects great credit on your ability and dedication. I say that with all sincerity.

My four years here were not notable for individual academic achievement but, rather, for the impressive catalogue of demerits which I managed to accumulate. By my reckoning, at the end of my second class year, I had marched enough extra duty to take me to Baltimore and back seventeen times – which, if not a record, certainly ranks somewhere very near the top.

All of you represent as a class the very best of America’s most precious resource – her youth. You have been educated in a tradition which I believe still ranks among the noblest endeavors of humankind. You have been imbued with a sense of duty and honor which is the American ideal, and the premise for much of our enduring legacy to the world.

In 1970, my father stood where I stand today. I would have greatly enjoyed attending that graduation had I not been otherwise engaged at the time. I imagine, however, that he told you in different words what I will tell you today: On your shoulders, America now places our most treasured hopes and our gravest cares.

With your commissions come responsibilities so immense and so important that the lives of all Americans and the welfare of much of the world will be directly affected by how well you discharge them. I have every confidence that you will acquit yourselves with distinction.

My confidence is not an empty conceit for how I first made my own way in the world. But it is rooted in my experiences as the progeny of admirals, as an Academy midshipman, as a naval officer, as a witness to heroism.

My grandfather was an aviator. My father, a submariner. Most of my heroes, the people whom I have admired above all others have made their living at sea in defense of their country’s cause. For much of my life, the Navy was the only world I knew. It is still the world I know best and love most.

I know the character of Americans who take up arms to defend our nation’s interests and to advance our democratic values. I know of all the battles, all the grim tests of courage and character, that have made a legend of the Navy and Marine Corps’ devotion to duty.

When he addressed the Class of 1970, my father, who knew well the price of freedom, observed the noble heritage which the midshipmen were entering by directing their attention to the sacrifices borne by their predecessors.

“The historic battles in which they fought are recorded on both sides of this beautiful stadium,” he said.

“Their names are memorialized on plaques on the back of seats now occupied by your families and friends. These officers were imbued with a sense of loyalty and dedication which scorns vacillation and doubt.”

I know that the character of which my father spoke is formed from many experiences. But I know also that you here today have been inducted into a tradition where you are expected to hold to the highest standards of honor in every aspect of your life. That is your advantage over other men and women. And that is why your country expects so much of you.

You have been taught much of what is necessary to lead other men and women in war and peace. You will learn much more from your approaching experiences. As ensigns and second lieutenants, the character of the young sailors and marines entrusted to your care will be formed in large part by their appreciation of your character.

You are where leadership begins. You are the models who stand just past the sergeants and chiefs, and those under your command will derive from your behavior the direction of their own lives. Their firm respect for you, on which their lives and our security will depend, will be determined by how faithfully you keep, on duty and off, the code you learned here.

This responsibility is yours for every waking minute of every day that you wear an officer’s uniform. When you forget your duty, others will suffer, but you will be called to account. If you dishonor yourself, you will dishonor your service.

In other walks of life, human failings may pass unnoticed. In our walk of life, their consequences are almost always devastating.

They may lead to the breakdown of good order and discipline because you disillusioned those who were inclined to follow your example. They may lead to the death of fine young men and women who were obliged to put their faith in your leadership. They may even threaten the trust of the people you are sworn to defend, and undermine the exquisite relationship between civilians and the military in a democratic society.

Such was the case in the recent Tailhook scandal. Such is also the case when we forget, even momentarily, our requirement to respect and obey our civilian commanders. When the American people elect a leader to govern the affairs of our great nation, our respect for their authority must remain inviolate. For it is that respect from which our profession derives so much of its nobility in a democracy.

Your commanders and instructors have worked hard to impart these lessons to you. Your constant remembrance of them will sustain you through long months at sea, long separations from family and friends; through the terror of combat, through grave injury, cruel imprisonment and even, if so required, unto death.

You know as well as I, that the world in which you take your commissions is an uncertain one. I have always tried to follow the advice of that venerable philosopher Yogi Berra, who said “never make predictions, especially when you’re talking about the future.”

But there are a few things I can venture an opinion on with some degree of confidence. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, we have overcome a single massive threat to our security — a massive threat, but a reasonably predictable one.

But the world remains a dangerous place. And you will sail into a world where the threats to our security and our values are more numerous, more varied, more complex and, at times, much more obscure.

Yours is a world where power projection must become the essence of our national defense. The Navy and the Marine Corps will form the core of that strategy. The United States has exerted military force 240 times since the end of World War II. Eighty percent of those occasions involved the use of sea power. That percentage will almost certainly increase in the future.

We have seen the efficacy of U.S. military power in this new era displayed in Panama, in the Persian Gulf, and in Somalia. But we have also seen conflicts that reveal the limits of that efficacy, and for which we have few, if any, viable military answers. Such is the case in the horrible tragedy of Bosnia.

This will be a difficult world to stabilize, much less pacify. It will be difficult to anticipate the level and direction of threats. It will be difficult at times to distinguish friend from foe. It is a daunting challenge to protect our most vital interests in such a world. It will prove even more difficult to secure the success of liberty amidst the new uncertainties and recurring hostilities of our time.

But be assured, you will be called upon to do both. For we know how important our armed forces have been to advancing the just influence of our values. The Iron Curtain did not collapse by accident. The triumph of freedom in the world today is a direct consequence of the blood shed by those who have gone before you in battles too numerous to mention. Their sacrifices protected more than a narrow definition of our national interest. They served, in Lincoln’s words, as “a beacon light of liberty” to the most oppressed societies on earth.

One of the most compelling illustrations of the power of their sacrifice occurred four years ago in a Prague square, when a young Czech worker stood before a million of his countrymen, while two hundred thousand Russian troops occupied his country, and, trembling with emotion, read a manifesto that declared a new day for the peoples of Eastern Europe. But he began that new day with borrowed words when he proclaimed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Now, you are the shield behind which marches the enduring message of our own revolution. As I have said, it will be no easy task. But I trust in your willingness and your ability to undertake it.

I hold that trust in deference to my memories of this place, to the men who preceded me here, and to the men and women who followed me. We all shared with you that sense of duty and honor which, as my father said, scorns vacillation and doubt. Here we learned to dread dishonor above all other temptations.

Soon after I became an involuntary guest of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, my hosts tried to persuade me to make a tape recording in which I would denounce my country’s cause. When I resisted, they entreated me to do so by promising me that no one would know of my disloyalty. I responded, “But I would know. I would know.”

Virtually all of my comrades who shared my situation responded in the same way.

There may be times in your life when the consequences of your devotion to duty are so dire that you will be tempted to abandon it. There may be times when truly only you will know. But you will resist. I know you will. I know this because I have seen how profoundly human strength is empowered by the standards of our tradition.

You see, I have spent time in the company of heroes. And I was raised on tales of surpassing courage and selfless devotion to duty. I have seen and heard of Americans who overcame extraordinary challenges on behalf of their country in struggles almost mythic in their dimensions.

I have seen aviators hurled off the decks of pitching ships, fly powerfully into grave harm, vastly beyond the bounds of normal human caution.

I know well the gunners’ stories of having choked back horror to face bravely the attacking kamikaze.

I have heard the tales of men, fathoms down, blind to the rest of the world, prowling the treacherous battlefields of the ocean depths in combat so terrifying it passes much of human understanding.

I stood on the deck of the carrier Forrestal, and watched the crew of that magnificent ship answer their summons to heroism, as one hundred and thirty-four of their number perished while fighting a fire that nearly consumed the ship. They fought all day and well into the next, with the tenacity usually reserved for hand-to-hand combat, and they saved the Forrestal.

I have seen the swift boats roar into harm’s way, vulnerable even to small arms fire, and defenseless save for the quick instincts and steel nerves of their crews.

As an adolescent, I heard men talk in whispered awe of a bleak, frozen terrain where the Marines of the First Division had struggled yard by yard, endured the sharp bite of Siberian winds to smash through seven enemy divisions. Their determined ferocity ranked their retreat from the frozen Chosin in the first order of honored American battles.

I have met the fierce warriors called SEALS, whose desperate fights occur beyond the reach of their nation’s artillery, and beyond the limit of human endurance.

I have watched men suffer the anguish of imprisonment, defy appalling human cruelty until further resistance is impossible, break for a moment, then recover inhuman strength to defy their enemies once more.

All these things and more, I have seen. And so will you.

I will go to my grave in gratitude to my Creator for allowing me to stand witness to such courage and honor. And so will you.

My time is slipping by. Yours is fast approaching. You will know where your duty lies. You will know.

God bless you. Semper Fi. Fair winds and following seas.

by -
InMaricopa Publisher Scott Bartle

The Maricopa Chamber bestowed a great honor upon InMaricopa at its annual awards banquet Jan. 20. We are very proud to be named Business of the Year by our fellow chamber members.

We joined the chamber 15 years ago and have been working tirelessly to serve our community since. Our journalists are passionate about informing Maricopans and our advertising team is equally passionate about helping local businesses succeed. It’s awesome for them to be recognized by our fellow chamber members with this prestigious award.

Raquel, Michelle, Mason, Vince and Chance, congratulations and thank you! You deserve this honor, and I hope you are as proud of yourselves as I am of you. I also celebrate the work of your predecessors, from Joyce to Dick and everyone in between who helped lay a positive foundation for our company.

Though our analytics and survival skills – not many pre-recession Maricopa startups are still serving and employing Maricopans today – indicate our publications are well-read, it is extremely gratifying to be recognized by the community in this way. Our team’s intrinsic rewards come from fulfilling our mission of informing readers/viewers and enriching advertisers. Being recognized publicly for those efforts is exceptionally meaningful.

Without our readers supporting our advertisers, and our advertisers supporting us, we would not be able to provide what we believe is an invaluable benefit to our community. We are proud our first two sponsors, Orbitel Communications and Harrah’s Ak-Chin, still see value in advertising with us today, and we cherish every new relationship developed a decade and a half later. Thank you for your support!

We are proud to be the recipient of an accolade named after the late Bill “Waz” Wasowicz, who contributed selflessly to his community and chamber. We appreciate The Maricopa Real Estate Company for sponsoring the award, the chamber for hosting it, Terri Crain for nominating us and all chamber members who voted for us.

Thank you for all your readership, and support.

Scott Bartle is founder and publisher of InMaricopa.

Scott Bartle is learning more every day thanks to his new family: John, 2, Neil, 4, and Colleen.

I’m a bit of a business geek, and I like to learn new “tricks of the trade.” With upwards of 1 million business books published annually in the United States alone, there is no shortage of learning opportunities. However, given I read about as fast as I run these days, I’m forced to complement self-help books with other resources.

I discovered two such resources in the most unlikely of forms and places – a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, under my own roof.

I got married in March and was lucky enough to acquire two terrific toddlers in addition to a wonderful wife. Having spent the last two decades or so living alone, I am acutely aware of the many changes my new roommates and lifestyle have brought. While I am very new to parenting, I find many strategies parallel what we do – or should do – as business executives.

1. Be a “yes” (wo)man. One parenting theory presented to me was to “never say no.” That may be effective for some families, but it lasted about six minutes in my household. Nonetheless, a related tip from my mom – say yes whenever possible – applies to kids (and spouses) and coworkers.

There will inevitably be those times when you must yell “NO!,” whether literally when your toddler reaches for a hot stovetop, or figuratively when an employee wants to implement a new program you know will create chaos for your company. But when presented with opportunities you are reasonably confident will not harm your kids or company, try to say yes. Encouragement and acceptance will yield greater results for your people (however short) than discouragement and denial.

2. Create structure. I’m a process-oriented guy and see value at work and home by having structure. Kids thrive with it, and it’s important your staff know your standard operating procedures. It helps manage expectations and allow your people to focus on what they do best – even if that’s playing with Hot Wheels and Legos.

3. Hold them accountable. A vital offshoot of structure is accountability. Accountability is not limited to top-down parent-child or supervisor-subordinate relationships. Every person privy to the successful operation – including spouses and teachers, and customers and vendors – should be held accountable to agreed-upon expectations. Of equal import, you need to create a culture in which your kids, spouse, employees, customers, et al., are compelled to hold you accountable, too. 

4. Set clear expectations. Speaking of expectations, it is unfair and ineffective to hold them accountable to expectations that were not articulated clearly. In the workplace, creating a culture in which your people speak up if there is any confusion is helpful, but be mindful common sense is not really that common – it’s different for everyone – so never take the communication piece for granted. At home, it may require getting down to toddler-level and asking your child to repeat the directive to ensure everyone is on the same proverbial page.

5. Ignorance is bliss. There have been many “if I knew then what I know now” days in the last 17 years that may have prevented me from starting my first business. Similarly, a little naivety of what it takes to be a great parent is not a bad thing. Ignorance can indeed be bliss; and contribute to receiving incredible gratification.

6. Consider short- and long-term financials. A very short time ago, I only had myself to worry about financially. Now, the importance of monthly budgeting, retirement planning and figuring out how to feed, educate and protect a family in between is paramount. While there are countless hiccups in business as in life, paying close attention to your financials and creating balance between and alignment with your current needs and long-term vision are important.

7. Prioritize. You cannot get it all done, so quit trying. Be realistic with what non-mission-critical activities you can take on, and prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.

8. Be productive every (quiet) moment. There aren’t many at work or home, but quiet times are imperative for getting caught up (and, one day I hope, getting ahead). I try to maximize every minute when the kids go to bed. Productivity during this precious time could be different for everyone; for my wife and me it ranges from laundry and kitchen detail to exercise and computer work. It could be getting one’s “zen” time in front of a TV or book.

At the office, I have to be intentional about creating the quiet time by blocking time sans interruptions to focus on high-priority tasks. I’ve always had the luxury of “tonight” or “this weekend” to address the overload at work; not anymore!

9. Celebrate small victories. I’m trying to turn a professional liability into a parenting asset by celebrating small victories. I recognize more than ever how important wins of any size are to people of any size. Positive reinforcement is really important, so make sure your people at home and work know they’ve “done good.”

10. Delegate effectively. Another bane of my Type-A existence is delegation. I know I can’t achieve my goals for my business or family without it, yet it’s oftentimes hard for perfectionists to let go. While getting more done is always a goal, giving your kids/staff more responsibility and opportunities to learn will yield great and long-lasting benefits.

A corner piece to the delegation “puzzle” is giving them the freedom (traditional toddler stalling tactics excluded) to accomplish the task their way. As evidenced by my asking our 2-year-old to clean up the water he spilled recently, it may take some cajoling (I mean leading) and will certainly be done in a manner and timeline that differs greatly from the process I’d use, but let your kids and employees use their own brains to problem-solve. (But be available to get them back on track if they stray too far.)

Being a business owner makes me a better parent. I’m optimistic being a parent will make me a better business owner, too.

Scott Bartle is publisher of InMaricopa.

This column appears, in part, in the July issue of InMaricopa. 

InMaricopa Publisher Scott Bartle

Maricopa is at a tipping point. Are we going to be the flourishing community with quality amenities, local jobs, great educational opportunities and low taxes many of us envision?

Do you want to have more stores and services in Maricopa?
Do you want to have employers bring more jobs to Maricopa?
Do you want your property values to increase?
Do you want your tax burden to decrease?
Do you want our kids to have the best educational opportunities possible?

If you answered yes to ANY of these questions, you should vote YES on Maricopa USD’s override proposal.

A key to attracting industry to Maricopa is great schools. Businesses will not locate here if they cannot recruit talent, and one of the first questions potential employees – a.k.a. moms and dads – ask is “How are the schools?”

The same principle holds true for homebuyers. Great schools increase the demand for and value of homes in the area.

Improving education in Maricopa will result in more businesses locating in the city providing services and jobs. The increase in commercial development will also increase demand/value for our homes. Importantly, it will also bring in more and larger taxpayers, decreasing the tax burden on Maricopa property owners.

Often overlooked in the override debate is the impact of quality education itself. Maricopa Unified School District is developing our community’s future doctors, police officers, mechanics, teachers and paramedics. I do not want my family to be beneficiaries of such services with these professionals having received a less-than-optimal education.

The Arizona Legislature, led by our own District 11 legislators Sen. Steve Smith, Rep. Mark Finchem and Rep. Vince Leach, will continue to do everything in its significant power to divert our public schools’ limited financial resources to private and charter schools. Passing this override will help protect our investment in public education and ensure Maricopa’s neighborhood schools have the resources to be successful.

MUSD is a “B” district. Let’s do our part to give them the ability to become an “A” district and totally transform our community. We – kids, parents, taxpayers, property owners, employees and employers – will all win when our community flourishes with quality services and amenities, local jobs, great educational opportunities and low taxes.

Scott Bartle is InMaricopa’s publisher and former MUSD governing board president.

by -
Unofficial numbers indicate Republican Mark Lamb and Democrat Kaye Dickson will face each other in the general election in the race to be Pinal County's next sheriff.

Republican Mark Lamb and Democrat Kaye Dickson dominated their respective primaries Tuesday and will face off in the General Election to determine Pinal County’s next sheriff, according to unofficial election results.

Lamb, a former Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputy endorsed by the Pinal County Deputies Association, earned 62 percent (13,165) of the 21,275 votes counted as of midnight. He beat PCSO Chief Deputy Steve Henry (8,110 votes), who was trying to succeed his boss, Sheriff Paul Babeu, a candidate for U.S. Congress.

I couldn’t be more ecstatic,” Lamb said. “It makes me happy to see the people of Pinal County recognize the need for change.”

He credited “great volunteers” as the key to his success.

Dickson is a 30-year Pinal County law enforcement veteran whose jobs included PCSO deputy, sergeant and commander. She beat Maricopa resident Kevin Taylor, who also ran for sheriff in 2012 and justice of the peace in 2014, 62 percent (7,425 votes) to 38 percent (4,530).

“It feels great,” Dickson said, adding “The real challenge happens now.”

“I always ran this race with an eye on the finish line, which is Nov. 8,” Dickson said. “It’s never been about the party; it’s about the people.”

Despite being Lamb and Dickson being political newcomers – or maybe because of it – indications are Pinal County residents are in for a general election campaign rooted in respect and civility.

“I believe we have a lot of respect for each other,” Dickson said. “I anticipate it being a very clean campaign.”

Looking ahead to the next phase of the campaign, Lamb was quick to compliment his new opponent: “Kaye works hard … We’re going to have to work hard, too.”

by -
InMaricopa Publisher Scott Bartle

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. passionately professed these words in 1963, more than half a century ago and before most Maricopans were even born.

I’ve long held strong opinions about racism in America, and King’s speech is a significant part of the foundation to which I often refer.

The recent police-involved shootings and murders of police officers motivated me to consider doing more than hold my opinions. I had breakfast with a friend who is smart, politically savvy and black. I quizzed him about his views on these current events and what appears to be a growing racial divide in America. One of my takeaways was the importance of our individual roles in being part of the solution.

While tremendous progress has been made – most of it in the latter half of the 20th century – racism still exists today. It’s prevalent even, and that disgusts me.

It disgusts me in large part because it’s self-inflicted. We choose to have a racist society. And we teach it to our children, who will likely teach it to their children, perpetuating a horribly-flawed mindset with the power to dismantle families, communities and our nation.

How many of the kids we see on the playgrounds of our elementary schools are concerned with the color of their schoolmates’ skin? None. Kids see kids as kids; not black kids or white kids or brown kids, just kids.

Yet, at some point, for some people, that simplistic view of life changes. The change is undoubtedly aided, if not caused, by the influence of others. I count politicians, community activists (whatever that means), the Al Sharptons of the world and the media among these influencers. (I cannot bring myself to call some of these people leaders.)

Our politicians claim to be unifiers on the campaign trail, but after we elect them, their political rhetoric and policies often do more harm than good. The media enable self-serving opportunists like Sharpton on the national stage and Arizona’s Jarrett Maupin to drive a wedge in communities using false narratives and the under-informed as pawns.

Racism is not an innate characteristic; it is learned.

It can also be unlearned, and that is what gives me hope. We can do something about it.

We can work to strengthen our family units and strengthen public education. We can support public policies that encourage personal responsibility.

We can quit creating and tolerating racist organizations. We can quit supporting and proactively denounce those who seek to widen the racial divide, like Black Lives Matter advocates.

We can point out the hypocrisy of efforts to stop the violence by injuring and even killing police officers.

A theme that came up often during my recent breakfast was giving each other the benefit of the doubt. This in and of itself would radically improve race relations – and save lives.

If a person is killed by police, let’s start with the assumption it was a horrible tragedy; not that it was because the parties involved were of different races.

Let’s grasp there is a bottom 1 percent in every profession, from waiters to doctors to basketball players – even police and prosecutors. Let’s support efforts to improve recruiting and training to make the bottom 1 percent of our public servants the best they can be.

Let’s give others the benefit of the doubt and assume they are living by the Golden Rule until their actions prove otherwise. And let’s do our best to live by the Golden Rule and teach our kids to do the same.

Ultimately, it’s about personal responsibility. If you want everyone to be treated equally, treat everyone equally. If you want to stop violence, stop being violent. If you want stop racism, stop acting racist. (Remember, our children are watching – and emulating.)

Let’s keep our focus on MLK’s goal and judge each other by the content of our character – and speak up against those who judge us by the color of our skin. Show your family and spheres of influence. And start today.

Be part of the solution. Share your opinion with InMaricopa readers.

This column appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.


by -

Dear City Council Candidates,

You did a great job at the “debate” Monday at City Hall. It is a nerve-racking experience to stand in front of would-be constituents and present your vision for the city, and you should be commended just for showing up.

Local politics are often more enjoyable and meaningful than what we see on the national level. City council in particular is refreshing because it is non-partisan and members typically leave office not as millionaires, but as having accomplished things that directly impact their neighbors and community.

With candidates usually being civic-minded citizens and not polished politicians, the absence of political spin and pandering to potential voters is an expectation of such local candidate events. Unfortunately, that did not hold true when candidates were asked Monday whether they support the Maricopa Unified School District Override proposal.

To the candidates who publicly stated their positions, thank you. To those who didn’t, please reconsider. Not only do voters deserve to know where you stand on this important issue, we are smart enough to know when we are being played.

Though this issue is not new, if you still have unanswered questions about the override, MUSD Superintendent Steve Chestnut is available to objectively address them. Councilman Vincent Manfredi, chairman of the Vote Yes, Maricopa committee, is also at your disposal for a passionate, if subjective, response.

InMaricopa will be doing its part to educate voters, and we will be asking you and other applicable candidates the question again next week. Please perform whatever research you need to provide us – and your potential constituents – with a one-word response to the question “Do you support the MUSD override?”

Thank your willingness to serve our community in this important capacity. Good luck on Aug. 30!


by -
Homeowner Joseph Larca and officers from Arizona Department of Public Safety and Maricopa Police Department survey the site of Thursday's fatal accident.

Another fatal accident occurred on State Route 347 today, the fifth in less than a week.

At 9:48 a.m. witnesses reported a vehicle, traveling southbound on State Route 347 entering the city, cross all four lanes and the median, according to Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado.

“The vehicle went through the dirt embankment and ended up crashing through a block wall and ended up in a pool in the backyard of a residence,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado said the driver, David McBride of Tucson, suffered a heart attack. McBride, 59, “was transported to Chandler Regional hospital where he passed from the medical issue.”

The vehicle crashed into the backyard of Joseph Larca’s home in the 43000 block of W. Courtney Drive in Rancho El Dorado.

For a story on Thursday’s accident, see Phoenix man killed in SR 347 head-on crash. For a story on Sunday’s accident, see 3 die in early morning SR 347 accident.

Below: Homeowner Joseph Larca describes an eyewitness account of how a vehicle ended up in his Rancho El Dorado swimming pool.

by -
Angela Russo
Angela Russo

A Maricopa family’s frantic search for their missing daughter continues. Angela Russo, 24, left the home she shares with her family at The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado Tuesday evening and has not been heard from since.

Her mother Diana Schalow said “absolutely foul play” is involved.

Russo said she was leaving to go to dinner and out with friends Tuesday. Schalow said she received a text from Russo later that she “won’t be home tonight but promised she will be home tomorrow night.”

Schalow was unconcerned at that moment: “She’s 24 years old; she occasionally spends the night somewhere.”

But Russo did not show up to work Wednesday at her job as a medical assistant in Ahwatukee.

Schalow said she reported her daughter missing to Maricopa Police Department Thursday, after which MPD notified law enforcement agencies statewide to “be on the lookout” for Russo and her vehicle.

Schalow said she left all her daily items at home, including her medications, toothbrush, curling iron and work clothes. “Everything is pointing to absolutely unusual behavior,” Schalow said.

She said her daughter is also very particular about having her phone charger, but “her phone is not on; her phone is dead.”

Police say the last ping from her cell phone was in the Maryvale area of Phoenix. Schalow said neither family nor Russo’s friends are aware of friends she has in the area.

“Everything we’ve reported to the police … in our eyes it’s foul play,” Schalow said.

Schalow said the family is “doing our own investigation” and notifying police but coming up with dead-ends.

“We’ve had search parties all weekend long,” she said, with family and friends combing the area of 51st Avenue and Indian School Road.

“All avenues are being explored right now.”

Jason and Diana Schalow have four children – Anthony, 28; Angela, 24; Andrea, 18; and Ryan, 7 – and have lived in Maricopa 10 years. Both Jason and Diana work for State Farm, Diana at the local Lance Lane agency.

Russo was driving the family’s blue 2007 Honda Accord with Arizona license BNL 1629.

“We haven’t heard anything,” Maricopa Police spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said of the active case in the criminal investigation division. He said MPD is “waiting to hear if the car turns up, she turns up or she returns home.”

Contact MPD at 520-568-3673 with any information about Russo or her vehicle. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can submit a tip using the MPD mobile app or call an anonymous tip line at 520-316-6900.

Angela Maria Russo
Gender:           Female

Race:               White
Born:               5/10/91
Height:            5’3”
Weight:           150 lbs.
Eyes:               Crystal blue
Hair:                Brown with burgundy highlights
Tattoos:           Ladybug behind left ear, wings on wrists, songbird on right foot, water-colored rose on right hip, the “promise” on ring finger, Tigger and Eeyore hugging each other with a tree on her left back, Bella botch a Nono and Nona scrolled between flowers on right back.


InMaricopa Publisher Scott Bartle

InMaricopa recently moved its office to the Maricopa Business Center on Honeycutt Road. (We are in Suite 101 next to The Suites executive offices – come visit us!) We trumped our physical move with a virtual one with last week’s launch of a revamped website, which followed the release of a new mobile app. launched its first site – then as – more than a decade ago, in March 2004. We re-designed the site when we re-branded to InMaricopa in 2009, and we are very excited about the 2015 iteration. It’s amazing how technology has changed in just a few years, and we’re excited to leverage these changes to improve the experience for our readers and advertisers alike.

In addition to the obvious layout changes, you’ll find an increased emphasis on video and social media, and even more opportunities to engage with the site and each other – from submitting photos and videos, to nominating and voting in the “Best InMaricopa” contests, to commenting on articles and submitting letters to the editor.

All users can post and view local events and meetings on the new calendar, too.

The poll on the homepage is new-and-improved, as is the local business directory, which has a plethora of local companies eager to help you. Please give these local organizations an opportunity to earn your business, strengthening Maricopa’s economy in the process.

In an effort to help more local businesses, complimentary listings in the directory are available.

In addition to the Business, Community, Real Estate, Government and Public Safety sections, we have Youth and Things to Do and content highlighting Maricopa’s rich history and information specific to newcomers to the area.

The website is responsive to your favorite computer, tablet and phone. And if you haven’t already, download our free app for added convenience and features. It’s available at the Google Play and Apple app stores.

Money-saving coupons are available on the app and website.

If you’re a business owner or operator, there has never been a better time to enlist InMaricopa to help you generate more customers and revenue! Our professional staff is a phone call away from working with you to develop a marketing plan to achieve your goals.

Additional features and enhancements will be added in the coming weeks, and, while we’ve tried to anticipate your every need, we know there is no substitute for your input. We welcome and encourage your feedback. Please let us know what we you like, what you don’t and what we’re missing. Call us at (520) 568-0040 or email me directly at

Thank you very much for your readership and support of our advertisers. I look forward to your feedback!

Kids Day Maricopa is a day crammed full of fun for Maricopa kids on Saturday. File photo

Community events, kids’ activities and public meetings mark this week in Maricopa. Tuesday is particularly busy.

Friends of the Maricopa Public Library meet at 5:30 p.m. to discuss and plan projects in support of the library. New members are welcome.

MHS Homecoming Committee meets at 5 p.m. in the school library. It’s getting down to the wire  as the school plans to mark its 60th year for Homecoming during Stagecoach Days. All are welcome to volunteer.

Preschool Storytime is at 9:30 a.m. at the Maricopa Library. Discover new stories, rhymes, flannel boards, and songs in this active, fun-filled, half-hour program designed to help build early literacy skills as your child gets ready to read.

Coffee with Friends of the Library starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Maricopa Library in an open discussion with coffee and refreshments. All are welcome to attend.

Central Arizona College Board meets on the Maricopa campus at 2 p.m. in the Community Room (A101).

Tale Waggers, a library group for struggling readers and animal lovers, meets at 3:30 p.m. in the Maricopa Library. Come read to PJ the Dog.

J.R.O.T.C. McDonald’s Night is from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at McDonald’s, 20700 N. John Wayne Parkway, with a portion of sales supporting Maricopa High School’s Air Force JROTC.

Read ‘Em & Eat is a tween book club for ages 9-12, meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Maricopa Library. This month’s selection is “The Willoughbys” by Lois Lowry.

Maricopa City Council Meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The regular agenda includes an imposition of rental fees for the aquatic center at Copper Sky. City Council meets the first and third Wednesday of the month.

Let’s Put Maricopa on the Map is a workshop at Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship starting at 10 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. Ketalog in partnership with Google and StartLogic will help participating business owners build their website and get it registered to be found on Google.

Maricopa High School Girls’ Golf hosts Apache Junction at The Duke at Rancho El Dorado starting at 3 p.m.

Reading Rebels, a young adult book club, meets at 5:30 p.m. in the Maricopa Library. This month’s selection is “The Diviners” by Libba Bray.

S.M.A.R.T. Kids meet at 2:30 p.m. at the Maricopa Library. The program is for children in grades 3-6, ages 8-12. The focus is on science, math, art, and technology.

Fun Van shows up Maricopa Library at 9 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. (online registration required). Kids play and learn while parents and caregivers meet to discuss parenting skills.

CAC Flu & Pneumonia Shots will be dispensed at 3:15 p.m. in Room A102 of the Maricopa Campus of Central Arizona College.

Maricopa High School Volleyball hosts Florence at 6 p.m., preceded by freshman and JV matches.

L’il Explorers meet at 10 p.m. at the Maricopa Library for stories, music, rhymes and activities for toddlers’ active learning styles. Ages 2-3.

Heritage District Citizens Advisory Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. at Fire Station 575.

POW-MIA Recognition Day will be marked by the VFW at 8 a.m. at the Maricopa Veterans Center. Honor those missing in action by joining us for a flag raising and indoor ceremony that explains the significance of the Missing Man Table.

Maricopa Pet Adoption Event runs from 8 a.m. to noon at The Pet Club.Pinal County Animal Care and Control will have a nice selection of adoptable animals.

Kids Day Maricopa returns with activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maricopa Wells Middle School. Police and fire personnel, PCSO’s helicopter, former NBA star A.C. Turner, local musicians Laura Walsh and Joanna Joy, Smokey Bear, food and much more included.

Booboo Stewart returns to meet his Maricopa fans at 3:30 p.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, and 125 lucky people will be chosen randomly to receive two tickets for a private showing of Disney Descendants followed by an exclusive Q&A with Booboo Stewart.

To learn more about these and other events, or to add your own to our online calendar, see


Community of Hope Church was founded 10 years ago by Rusty Akers.

By Adam Wolfe

The Community of Hope Church will be celebrating its 10th anniversary after the church’s service on Sept. 20.

The celebration will feature a lunch catered by Joe’s Barbecue in Gilbert. The event will be open to Maricopans who have been a part of the church’s community over the last 10 years, or anyone that may be currently looking for a church to join. The service will start at 10 a.m. and the lunch is expected to directly follow its conclusion (likely around 11:30 a.m.).

“We’ll have an hour or so of celebrating and remembering the past,” Community of Hope Founding Pastor Rusty Akers said. “We hope to have everyone who has been a part of this church over the last 10 years be there.”

The event will be at the church (which shares space with Leading Edge Academy Charter School) at 18700 N. Porter Road. The church will set up tents outside to accommodate all of the guests.

Community of Hope plans to build on land adjacent to Leading Edge, with ground-breaking hoped for in January.

For more information on the Community of Hope Church, visit or find them on Facebook at

Shamrock Farms in Stanfield is seeking seasonal employees to be tour guides and cashiers. Submitted photo

By Adam Wolfe

Arizona Workforce Connection will host hiring events for Shamrock Farms and Tractor Supply Distribution in September.

Shamrock Farms is looking for candidates with strong communication skills that work well with people to be part of their team of Farm Tour Guides and Farm Tour Cashiers. The positions are seasonal and expected to last from October 2015 to May 2016. The company will be conducting interviews for the open positions during AWC’s hiring event on Sept. 16.

“The positions are temporary and the hours are based on scheduled tours throughout the week,” AWC Business Service Liaison Linda Martinez said. “The candidates would definitely need to be flexible with their schedule.”

The event will take place on Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arizona Workforce Connection offices at 1015 E. Florence Blvd. in Casa Grande. Walk-ins are welcome, but participants are able to set up an interview time before the day of the event because the interviews will be set on a first come, first served basis.

“The interviews will be set in 15-minute intervals,” Martinez said. “Job seekers will need to contact AWC to find out how to get registered and get scheduled for an interview. If someone walks through our doors the day of the hiring event without a scheduled appointment, employers will usually see the candidates.”

Ideal candidates will have a high school diploma or GED, strong verbal and written communication skills, work well with people and provide good customer service. In either job, workers may be required to move products around, so they are asked to be able to lift up to 50 pounds as well.

One week later, Tractor Supply Distribution will host a two-day event in hopes of finding material handlers to work at its location in Casa Grande. The event will once again be at the AWC offices in Casa Grande, and last from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Sept. 22 and 23.

According to Martinez, Tractor Supply Distribution is looking to hire at least 60 people, but the number could be even higher if they meet with enough well qualified candidates. Just like the hiring event on the 16th, participants are able to register for the event ahead of time by contacting the AWC offices and speaking with an employment services specialist. Walk-ins will be welcome both days as well.

Ideal candidates will have a high school diploma or GED, be able to read and speak English, and perform basic math. Due to the nature of the job, candidates should also be able to lift between 50 and 100 pounds, stand, bend or squat for prolonged periods of time, and be comfortable with heights. Other job requirements will include the ability to use a bar code scanner, two-way radio, computer, lift truck and pallet jack, dock door leveler and a stretch wrap machine. A background check and drug test is required as well. For more information on the hiring events, contact Arizona Workforce Connection by calling (602) 542-2460 or visit


Casa Grande businessman Garland Shreves says he has enough signatures to recall CAC board member Rita Nader. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

By Raquel Hendrickson

District 4’s representative on the Central Arizona College Board of Governors could be in trouble.

Rita Nader has been the target of a citizens group since she was among the majority who voted for a raise in the college tax rate this summer. Now Garland Shreves, organizer of Citizens for Fair Taxation, says his group has collected enough signatures to force her ouster.

Casa Grande businessman Garland Shreves says he has enough signatures to recall CAC board member Rita Nader. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Casa Grande businessman Garland Shreves says he has enough signatures to recall CAC board member Rita Nader. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

“We actually have 15 percent over the required number of signatures for recall, and that should be enough cushion,” Shreves said at a meeting he hosted in Maricopa Thursday.

District 4 includes Maricopa.

Ever since district boundaries were redrawn to match Board of Supervisor districts, Nader has not been a resident of the district she represents. She lives in Casa Grande and was allowed to fulfill her term, which ends in 2016.

Nader has been on the board since 1993. A retired junior high teacher, she was one of three members who voted to set the CAC tax rate at $2.30 per $100 of net assessed valuation at a June meeting.

The board members have said more funding is needed to repair old buildings and maintain its facilities.

CAC has seen a reduction of 80 percent in state funding over the past nine years and has received no capital funding since 2008. Capital funds are used for new construction and renovation of facilities.

After a college tax increase in 2013, a recall effort was started against Nader, but petitioners missed the deadline.

Nader was not available for comment.

“They keep doing this kind of thing until somebody squawks about it,” said Province resident Louis Deverka, who attended Thursday’s meeting to get more information and signed a petition afterward. “I mean, isn’t there a limit to what these people do each year? Is our government that loose?”

Shreves is suing the college board over alleged open meeting violations. Though initial opinion from the state Attorney General’s office found no such violation occurred, Shreves said he requested the AG exercise due diligence in looking at all the information he wanted to give investigators. That could result in a follow-up opinion.

Shreves said CFFT is “within a hair’s breadth” of having enough signatures to force a recall of Board President Gladys Christensen of District 1. Her term expires in 2018. CFFT also seeks to recall Jack Yarrington and Rick Gibson.

Nader’s recall requires the fewest number of signatures (1,326) of all the targeted board members. Petitions are due Sept. 24. If the number of verified signatures is reached, and Nader does not resign, Pinal County Recorder Virginia Ross would set an election date, possibly as early as March.

Thursday’s gathering at the Copa Center was the second meeting CFFT has hosted in Maricopa. Shreves said in recalling and replacing board members, he hopes to effect the dismissal of college President Doris Helmich and Vice President Chris Wodka.

“Taxes are just too high,” resident William Nelson said. “Everything is too high. I came here to find out about it.”

Temperatures are staying warm, but storms could roll in Sunday. Photo by Adam Wolfe

By Adam Wolfe

Maricopa resident should expect to see sunny days with highs around 100 degrees to start the weekend before storms move in on Sunday.

According to the National Weather Service, Saturday should feature mostly sunny skies with highs between 101 and 103 degrees. As the weekend draws to a close, a storm system is expected to bring rain and thunderstorms to the area through Tuesday.

Saturday should see much of the same weather as Friday. The temperature is expected to slightly spike to 103 degrees, but the skies are still expected to be mostly sunny throughout the day.

The wind is also expected to stay calm near 6 mph, and the overnight low should drop to 79 degrees. A new storm system is expected to arrive in Maricopa on Sunday.

According to the NWS, there is a 30 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms after 11 a.m., and the storms are expected to last through the night. The projected high for the day is 101 degrees, and the wind is expected to gust near 11 mph. The storms are expected to last through the night.

Monday is also projected to be a stormy day. There is a 30 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms throughout the morning and afternoon. The chances of thunderstorms decrease into the evening, but the possibility of rain will remain through the night. The projected high for Monday is 97 degrees.

According to the NWS, Tuesday is currently projected to be breezy with a high of just 93 degrees.  There is a “slight chance of thunderstorms” throughout the day, but the forecast will become more accurate as the new week approaches.

by -
Starting at quarterback Isaiah Pedro threw for 336 yards and rushed for 11 more. Photo by William Lange

By Adam Wolfe

Maricopa High School was missing several regular starters Friday night against Rincon University High School, but the Rams still managed to blow out the Rangers 56 to 0.

The shutout was in large part due to the stellar job the Rams defense did against the Rangers’ running game. Rincon had only seven first downs throughout the night, and, despite entering the red zone twice, never put any points on the board.

“We knew that if we could shut down No. 2, they would have a hard time throwing the ball on us,” MHS football Head Coach Chris McDonald said. “We just mathematically tried to outnumber them in the box.”

The Rams’ offense was without team captain and starting center Nikolai White for the second straight week. White has been bothered by an ankle injury, but hopes to return next week against Apache Junction.

More noticeably, the Rams were missing another key piece of their game plan when starting quarterback and defensive back Aaron Owens didn’t make the trip with the team. McDonald stated they had a “team issue,” but he would not disclose any more information on the matter. It is unclear at this time how long Owens will be absent from the team. Without Owens, the offense didn’t look as crisp as expected for the first quarter.

Senior wide receiver Johnny Johnson Jr. did break away for a 48 yard touchdown run on the team’s first offensive play, and sophomore running back Cameron Sanders followed suit with a rushing touchdown of his own, but a muffed punt return and failed series kept Rincon in the game for the first 12 minutes. Trailing by just 13 points in the second quarter, Rincon drove the ball into the Maricopa red zone.

The Rams defense held strong at the 5-yard line, and the Rangers were forced to attempt a field goal. The kick was blocked and recovered by Johnson at the Rams’ 2-yard line. Senior quarterback Isaiah Pedro put the team’s slow offensive start behind him and led the team down the field for a touchdown. The series culminated in a 46-yard touchdown pass from Pedro to Johnson.

The Rams took a 21-point lead after junior wide receiver Zachary Bachelder faked an extra point and threw a pass to junior running back Claytin Valenzuela for a two-point conversion. From that point on, the Rams stepped on the gas pedal and didn’t let up. By halftime, the Rams led 35 to 0.

In the second half, Rincon would only have one successful drive. Maricopa’s defense was able to shut down Rincon’s senior running back Dahrian Harris-Mesh, and the Rangers only reached the red zone one time. The drive ended with a turnover on downs. The Rams would add two more touchdowns in the third quarter and another in the fourth.

Due to Arizona Interscholastic Association mercy rules, the clock kept running for nearly the entire second half. The game ended just two hours after it began with the Rams claiming the 56-point shutout victory. Pedro overcame early game struggles and finished with a tremendous night. He completed 13 of 15 pass attempts for 336 yards and four touchdowns. He had 11 rushing yards on three attempts and stellar defensive play throughout the game as well.

“I think I did a good job tonight,” Pedro said. “Our line gave us a lot of time to throw the ball and run the ball as well. Cameron [Sanders] and D’Angelo [Edgerton] played one heck of a game, and all the receivers ran crisp routes all the way around. I just dumped it to them when I could.”

Coach McDonald has praised Pedro as one of his best players since the pre-season. With Owens unavailable for the game, it was an easy choice to start him at quarterback.

“He can come in and we won’t miss a beat,” McDonald said. “Like I’ve said, he the most versatile football player that we have. We can put him anywhere, and I have complete trust in his ability.”

Other standout performances included team captain Johnny Johnson Jr., who caught four passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He also had three rushes for 67 yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver David Owens caught 4 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Jalen Lee only caught one pass, but he wove his way to an 81-yard gain that set up a Maricopa touchdown. The Rams gave many players opportunities to run the ball, but Sanders, a sophomore running back, made the most of his time with the ball. Sanders continued his streak of good performances with 53 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just six carries.

Efficiency was the name of the game for Maricopa on offense Friday night. The Rams came with a balanced attack against Rincon. The offense rushed the ball 17 times and nearly matched it with 15 passes. Despite running just 32 plays, the Rams totaled 558 yards and 56 points.

For the second week in a row, the defense was dominant as well. However, the Rams will need to dig deep to keep this momentum as they head into divisional games this week. Next Friday, Maricopa will travel to Apache Junction High School to take on the Prospectors. Apache Junction lost its first three games of the season but has a history of being a competitive team, and the Rams should expect to see much of the same from the Prospectors this year.



by -
Luis Elizondo saw the Rams' struggles with the kicking game and volunteered his services. Photo by William Lange.

By Adam Wolfe


Senior kicker Luis Elizondo joined the Maricopa High School Rams football team during the second week of the season in order to turn around the team’s lackluster kicking game.

As a junior, Elizondo showed interest in kicking for the Rams, but nothing came of it. As the team gathered for summer workouts, he again elected not to participate. He even chose to stay away during the first few weeks of practices.

Then, as he watched the first game from the stands, he saw four kickoffs go out of bounds and two extra points go wide. In that moment, something reignited his interest in the team, and Elizondo – a young man of few words – approached the coaching staff.

“He’s a kid that expressed interest in kicking for me last year, but all he did was express interest,” MHS football Head Coach Chris McDonald said. “It was a situation where I hadn’t seen him all summer, and I don’t know if he got cold feet because it’s football and it’s new to him, but he came out to the first game and saw what transpired. Then he came to me and expressed interest again.”

Despite the kicking woes for the Rams, Coach McDonald was unwilling to just give a roster spot to Elizondo. He had missed months of work with the team. He would have to earn his spot like everyone else.

“I said, ‘Well, if you’re really serious about this, you have to put in 10 practices before [he could be part of the team],’” McDonald reflected. “I told him to show up at certain times and he showed up and worked his tail off for 10 straight practices. Then he got out there and did what he did.”

Elizondo has continued his work with the team into week three of the season, and McDonald expects him to remain an important part of the kicking game for the remainder of the season.

by -

By Adam Wolfe

The Maricopa High School volleyball team has won four matches in a row by straight sets.

Since dropping their first match of the season to Horizon Honors High School, the Rams have dominated their competition. This week, they swept through Catalina Magnet High School and Cholla High Magnet School in straight sets.

According to head coach Lashieka Holley, the team has been playing at a high level this week, but the competition has not been the best. The Rams have been as dominant as they should be, but the true test of how good this team is will be in the upcoming weeks when they take on perennial powers such as Florence and Valley Christian high schools.

“We’re still playing at a (Arizona Interscholastic Association) Division II level, so hopefully we’ll carry that into playing some of the better teams we have coming up,” Holley said. “Everything has been good. They slowed down their pace to [their competition], but they were having some fun. My younger players have stepped up, and around the board they all played well.”

Tuesday night, the Rams dominated Catalina in straight sets by scores of 25-8, 25-13, 25-8. As a team, Maricopa controlled the pace of the game. There were times when the Rams seemed to coast a bit and mistakes were made, but the game never seemed to be in doubt.

Senior Elizabeth Gallon was dominant on both serves and defense. Senior Annalyn Concepcion also shined in multiple positions throughout the match.

Overall, Coach Holley was happy with her team’s performance, but felt they were a bit sloppy in their victory. Had they played to their full potential, Holley believes they wouldn’t have given up nearly as many points to the Trojans.

“They definitely need to work on the basic fundamentals,” Holley said. “Our blocks aren’t there yet. We’re doing a lot of block drills in practice to try to get them to close their blocks. When we see those bigger teams they have strong outside hitters with bigger and taller girls that are more matched to our level. There should be a lot of rallying.”

On Thursday, Maricopa traveled to Tucson to take on the Cholla Chargers. This was the first time the Rams had been on the road since losing to Horizon Honors, and they were able to dispel any worries they couldn’t win outside of Maricopa. The Rams won in straight sets by scores of 25 to 7, 25 to 12 and 25 to 9.

Gallon once again led her team with a standout performance that included eight kills and four blocks. Senior outside hitter Lillian Clay also stepped up in what was only her second match of season. She finished with five kills on the night. Rounding out the top performers was junior Morgan Peters. She kept the Chargers on their heels with 10 aces on the night.

As the Rams move forward, the competition will get increasingly more difficult. The Rams will be participating Saturday’s Greenway Invitation in Phoenix, and their first matchup will be against the talented Moon Valley High School Rockets. The Rams next regular season match will find them on the road against Casa Grande High School on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

“We’re going to need to condition more so we can go five sets,” Holley said. “We haven’t had to go five sets yet, but we’ll need to pick our pace up and play our game. If we play our game we’ll be fine.”

Officer Chris Evans is a Navy veteran who is now the school resource officer at Maricopa High School. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Officer Chris Evans

Rank: Police Officer/School Resource Officer at Maricopa High School
Department: Maricopa Police Department
Hometown: Yuma, Arizona
Residence: Maricopa
Family: Wife and two sons
Education: Two years of college
Hobbies: Playing and watching sports with my sons. I like to write and am a published poet.
Years on the job: 18

Why did you decide to be a first responder? I grew up in a military family and I served in the U.S. Navy. I’ve always gravitated towards a life of service and enjoy making an impact in the lives of the people I serve and protect.

What element of your job has been the biggest surprise to you? The continued support of community; also the willingness of the other to help when times are rough.

Why Maricopa? This city, this community, this department, this job is outstanding. We, here in Maricopa, are set apart from anywhere else. This community has been touted to be one of the best and safest in Arizona and we rank amount the top percentile in the country.

Favorite part of the job: As a School Resource Officer, I get the opportunity that I rarely got as a patrol officer. I get to see the end result, for the most part. I get to follow up with the people I serve and protect, on a rather frequent basis, and get to watch them grow and learn from their experiences, both good and bad. Basically stated, I get to make an impact in their lives and I get to see the results happen right in front of me. Sometimes on patrol, you never get to see what happens after you resolve the immediate need or threat. It’s just the nature of the job.

Least favorite part of the job: Dealing with mortality.

Scariest moment: Any and every time I’ve heard a fellow officer, on the radio, in distress or involved in a critical incident. I’ve had too many of these over the years to choose one.

Bravest act you’ve witnessed:  I’ve witnessed Police Officers breathe life into a lifeless person by performing CPR on more than one occasion. Every time I’ve been privy to this I stand in utter amazement.

What you wish all residents knew about your department:  We hold ourselves accountable to them, and proudly stand head and shoulders above other departments across the nation. Also that we truly try and make “Every Contact Excellent.”

Alex Rayas teaches math and science at Santa Cruz Elementary School. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

By Raquel Hendrickson

Alex Rayas remembers getting to do science experiments for the first time in fifth grade.

“It was both exciting and challenging at the same time,” she said.

Now she teaches science and math to fifth graders at Santa Cruz Elementary, where she gets to share her favorite subject from her own elementary days. For the record, she liked PE a lot, too, “because it taught me how to be a team player.”

As a college student, she was a paraprofessional at an elementary school and knew she had found her calling.

“I realized that I loved working with students,” she said. “I felt I could make a difference in fostering their creativity and providing students with the skills they would need to reach their highest potential.”

She considers the highlight of her 11-year career to be hosting a summer science camp for students in third through fifth grade. It was an opportunity to expose children to the fun of science and see their enthusiasm for science experiments and projects.

Motivating students to that kind of excitement is exactly what she loves about teaching.

“My students have taught me that they love to share their ideas and strategies with fellow classmates,” she said. “We have many leaders in our classrooms; it’s about giving students the opportunity to lead.”

Rayas and her family moved to Maricopa from Texas in 2012. She quickly saw teachers in the Maricopa Unified School District rising to the challenges they faced.

“I like that our schools are filled with teachers who are very passionate about their profession. These teachers go above and beyond what it takes to make the classrooms and schools work,” she said. “ As we are limited in resources, our teachers work together to help each other whether we are at the same school site or from another school site.  We are working and collaborating together to make a difference for our students.”

Still, Rayas would like to see more academic resources for elementary grades. Carrying her fondness for PE, she said a variety of after-school sports for fourth-sixth grade would also be a plus.

Alex Rayas
Fifth grade math and science teacher, Santa Cruz Elementary

Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education
Family: Husband, 11-year-old daughter
Teaching positions you’ve held: First grade through sixth grade
Years in Education: 11 years
First job out of college: Second grade teacher in Cartwright School District

Hobbies: Running, hiking and gardening
First year with current school: 2012
What advice do you give parents of elementary schoolchildren? Read. Read to your child. Read with your child.
What was the best advice you received about your own education? Being a teacher means that you should get to know your students. It’s important for them to know you care.
What have your students taught you? My students have taught me that they love to share their ideas and strategies with fellow classmates.  We have many leaders in our classrooms; it’s about giving students the opportunity to lead.