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Tuesday, September 29, 2020


Al Brandenburg


Al has a master's degree in systems management and was an engineer, project and program manager for more than 35 years. A graduate of the Maricopa Citizen Leadership Academy, he has served on several city committees including the Parks, Recreation and Library Committee, the Maricopa General Plan and the Maricopa Vision 2040 committees. A Pinal County master gardener, he has been director and officer of his HOA for five years. He is also director and secretary of the Maricopa Senior Coalition, which serves the needs of senior citizens.
Getting to know Al

Rita Bricker


A Mesa native, Rita was sidetracked from obtaining a degree at Arizona State by a marriage proposal from Jerald Bricker. She later obtained certification in information technology and ended her career with more than 25 years of experience as a database administrator. Her family relocated here in 1987 when the population was just 1,500 people. She spent many wonderful years riding horses through the desert and hills of Hidden Valley, then went in for a swimming pool and a garden in Maricopa proper in 2012, becoming a master gardener.
Getting to know Rita

Ronald Smith


Born in Amsterdam, N.Y, in 1945, Ronald graduated from Union College and SUNY at Albany. He was a college administrator for 10 years and then worked for a higher education administrative software company. He moved to Mesa in 1986 to work on a major software installation at the Maricopa Community College District. After assisting elderly family members with health issues, he shifted his career to a new focus as an aging-in-place advocate. He and his wife, Helen, both retired from MCCD in 2014. He is a member of the Maricopa Age Friendly Advisory Committee and the Maricopa Senior Coalition, and recently completed his NAHB certification course work to become an aging in place specialist.
Getting to know Ron

Bernadette Russoniello


Bernadette has spent the last 20 years working for MUSD in multiple roles. She serves as college and career coordinator, working closely with students and counselors to support career development and post-secondary plans. She has been a resident of Maricopa nearly as long. Her husband, Michael, is also a career educator, and she is the mother of four children. Bernadette volunteers in music ministry at Our Lady of Grace and frequently performs with Maricopa Community Theatre. She is an avid camper and hiker, and a national park fanatic.

Murray Siegel


Murray retired from teaching mathematics and statistics at Arizona State, after spending 42 years teaching. He has lived in Arizona, California, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Texas and Guam. Prior to teaching, he was an executive and served as a B-52 electronic warfare officer on bombing missions over South and North Vietnam. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics from New York University and a Ph.D. in mathematics education from Georgia State. He writes various columns for Province Life magazine. Years ago, he hosted a talk show on WRNG Atlanta.
Getting to know Murray

Merenzi Young


Merenzi Young is an award-winning, fine art portrait photographer and cinematographer in Maricopa who says her mission is to capture beautiful art to proudly display in the home. Photography and videography have been part of her life since 2013, when she joined the U.S. Marine Corps as a combat cameraman. When her enlistment ended, she opened a studio to offer video and portrait services. She has a bachelor's degree in cinematography from Full Sail University. In addition, she is a mother of two children. Her daughter has a brain injury, which inspired her to specialize in photographing children with disabilities. She understands firsthand the daily struggles and stressors that come from being a parent of a child with special needs.
Getting to know Merenzi

Brian Petersheim

Real estate columnist

Brian has been living in Maricopa and selling real estate here since 2006. Before Maricopa, he called the Gulf Coast home, living in Pensacola, Florida and Biloxi, Mississippi. Brian graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor’s in Marketing with a minor in Management. Brian is passionate about MUSD20 and has participated in Maricopa High School’s site council and volunteered his time working on the Override. When he is not selling homes or writing about real estate, he is a connoisseur of the hot and spicy, creating his homemade hot sauce for friends and family. He also enjoys Marvel movies and Team Trivia with his family!
Getting to know Brian

Joan Koczor


Joan has lived in Maricopa since 2015. She and her husband are retired. A senior advocate in Maricopa, she serves on five committees. She is president of both the Age-Friendly Maricopa Committee, since inception, and the board of directors for Pinal-Gila County for Seniors – Area 5. She is an adviser for Maricopa Seniors Inc., Maricopa Advisory Committee and Copa Seniors, as a founding member. She also formed, at Mayor Price's request, Copa Cares 2020, a group of volunteers who provide services and resources during this time of COVID-19.
Getting to know Joan

Ted Yocum


Ted moved here from Philadelphia in 2006, retiring from the insurance industry, leaving behind volunteering, fundraising, Boy Scout leadership and other community service. Upon arrival in Maricopa, he completed the Citizen Leadership Academy, chaired the Board of Adjustment for two years, sat on the Zoning Code Rewrite Task Force, worked on the 2040 vision plan, and was VP of his HOA. He is active with the Copa Seniors, Maricopa Senior Coalition Board, Pinal County Citizens Advisory Committee and Maricopa Planning & Zoning Commission. He enjoys a good book, long walks and crosswords.