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Central Arizona College

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Want to be on the college board? Apply for an appointment by April 29 if you live in District 4.

District 4 needs help at Central Arizona College.

Can a Maricopan help?

After the resignation of Rita Nader, who faced recall in the wake of college tax hike, Richard Cassalata of Arizona City was appointed to her District 4 seat on the CAC Governing Board by Pinal County School Superintendent Jill Brussard in January.

Cassalata quickly became embroiled in controversy among college faculty, staff and other members of the board, particularly Board President Gladys Christensen. He resigned last week.

Now the District 4 vacancy is being advertised again. The term lasts only through December. The seat is on the ballot in the November General Election and also needs candidates.

Brenda Katterman, administrative clerk in the county superintendent’s office, said there have been inquiries about the vacancy but no applicants yet.

She said all applicants must live within the current boundaries of District 4, which includes Maricopa. (Nader did not live in District 4 but was last elected before the county redistricting.)

Applications for the appointment to the vacancy are due April 29 by 5 p.m. Applicants may not be employees of the college or members of another school board.

Applications are online at http://www.ecrsc.org/pinalesa/elections/board-member-vacancies.

The application can be completed online, but it must be printed out, signed and notarized, and the original must be received by the deadline.

Contact Brenda Katterman at 520-866-6565, bkatterman@pinalsco.org or Pinal County School Superintendent’s Office, P.O. Box 769, Florence AZ 85132.

Jany Deng spoke of his horrific childhood experience surviving a civil war in Sudan and trying to adapt to life in Arizona. He was a guest speaker at Central Arizona College-Maricopa. Photo by Adam Wolfe

Jany Deng, former “Lost Boy” from Sudan, came to Central Arizona College Wednesday afternoon to share his story of adversity and triumph, and to educate students on what a refugee goes through when waiting for relocation.

His presentation was part of a Lunch and Learn program on the Maricopa campus.

Deng was 7 years old when the Sudanese civil war forced him to flee his village and trek to Ethiopia. He joined approximately 500 other children on a journey to find refuge in the neighboring country. However, due to starvation, disease, militants and predators, only 20 of the 500 children he left with made it to Ethiopia.

“We left our cows and just started walking,” Deng said. “We didn’t know where we were walking. We had 4 year olds and 3 year olds to take care of. The 11 year olds became the leaders.”

After three months of surviving the elements, Deng made it to Ethiopia. His problems weren’t solved, though, as a civil war broke out in Ethiopia, and the “Lost Boys” were forced to seek refuge again.

The majority of the boys ended up in Kenya. From there, the United Nations got involved and tried to relocate as many of the boys as they could.

“I was one of the first ones to get to come to U.S. in 1995,” Deng said. “After all that, I was one of the lucky ones.”

The “Lost Boys” were scattered across the globe. Some went to Australia and Europe while others ended up in the United States.

Deng and his brother were sent to Phoenix. Deng was placed with a foster family while his brother, who was over 18, was placed in the workforce.

“My brother had a lot of issues,” Deng said. “We weren’t living in the same place, so things got hard for him real fast. The trauma stays with you. Whether it is a car accident or anything, trauma stays with you.”

Like many of the boys from Sudan, the trauma proved to be too much for Deng’s brother. An altercation with police led to his death.

Since this event, Deng has dedicated his life to helping Sudanese refugees through the trauma. His organization, Lost Boys Center for Leadership Development, assists refugees with assimilation into society and promotes the value of an education.

“We came into the United State with nothing from where we come from,” Deng said. “We have achieved 85 percent of us graduated from either community college level or university with a degree.”

Deng received a bachelor’s degree in business from Arizona State University and is working on his MBA. He has made one trip back to Sudan, but another civil war has prevented further trips.

To learn more about the Lost Boys Center for Leadership Development, visit http://www.lbcld.org.

Photo by Adam Wolfe
Photo by Adam Wolfe

Maricopa's Laura Walsh will perform in concert at Central Arizona College on Thursday. She earned a spot in Hollywood Week on this season of "American Idol."

Local recording artist and “American Idol” hopeful Laura Walsh will headline a concert at Central Arizona College’s Maricopa campus this Thursday night.

Walsh has recently found success on FOX’s long running reality show “American Idol,” and she has been a consistent figure in Maricopa celebrations such as “Battle of the Burbs.” However, this will be her first time headlining an event.

“I’m really excited to be the headliner of this concert,” Walsh said. “It’s exciting to be a headliner for my hometown and county, and I’m excited to see who shows up and to see how it goes.”

Doors will open in the “A Building” on campus at 7 p.m. for the event, and the concert is expected to last until 8:30 p.m. The event will cost $7 for public admission but is free to CAC students who present a valid school ID card. Students hoping to go will need to reserve their tickets ahead of time.

“Nashville recording artist and singer-songwriter Laura Walsh has already commanded the attention of Nashville’s hottest country acts, TV and radio, national sports teams, not to mention winning over the crowd at Country Thunder, one of the nation’s biggest country music festivals,” CAC released in a statement. “Debuting her first fully produced album, ‘Take Your Time,’ Laura has showcased her original songs as an opener for big names but as a down-to-earth Arizona native, some of her favorite shows have been right in her neck of the woods. This event is free if you present your CAC ID card but you must reserve your free ticket and present it at the door.”

An opening act is expected to take the stage at 7 p.m., but no performer has been announced at this time.

Having aced her “American Idol” audition in Denver, Walsh will compete during “Hollywood Week,” Jan. 27-28.

Central Arizona College-Maricopa
Central Arizona College is offering online orientation for new students.

Central Arizona College is offering graduates of Pinal County schools two free years of college if they participated in the “Promise for the Future” scholarship program.

The program is offered to eighth grade students and provides them two free years of classes at CAC if they sign the program’s contract, keep a GPA of 2.75 or higher, and graduate from a high school within Pinal County. Students who sign the contract but move to a high school outside of Pinal County are no longer eligible.

According to Maricopa Unified School District Superintendent Steve Chestnut, the estimated value of the scholarship is $5,904. He hopes the prospect of earning two years’ worth of college at no charge is enough to entice more students to remain in the district.

Each year, hundreds of Maricopa students are bused to Tempe and Ahwatukee school districts. There are “A” districts within these cities, and the districts have been seen as better over the years. However, Maricopa has been steadily improving.

Partnerships with CAC have provided more dual credit courses and more advanced placement classes. The rising number of enrollment at MHS is also encouraging. The 2015-16 school year is set to break enrollment records, and more expected next year.

According to Chestnut, the number of students in the incoming freshman class rose from 492 eighth grade students at the end of last year to 545 ninth graders currently enrolled at MHS. More students are expected to return to MUSD from Kyrene and Tempe school districts as the district keeps improving.

“The other three grades at MHS seemed to roll up about the same number of students,” Chestnut said. “We lost a small senior class of only 386. On Oct. 1, we had 1,944 students at MHS. [Elementary] enrollment was at an all time high 0f 6,447.”

Graduates of CAC's nursing program receive AA degrees. Submitted photo

Twenty-seven Central Arizona College students were recognized for completing the college’s nursing program during the 51st Nursing Division Pinning Ceremony held at the Signal Peak Campus on Dec. 3.

The pinning ceremony, a time-honored tradition of nursing schools across the country, signifies a student’s completion of one of the most challenging curricula offered in higher education.

After a warm welcome by Director of Nursing Tina Berry, the graduates were then addressed by Wendy Britt, professor of Nursing. She summarized the importance of nurses, quoting Dr. Seuss, “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”

Once the graduates received their pins, class speaker Dee Dee Long addressed her fellow graduates. She shared an overview of the experiences the class had during their time in nursing school and explained that the students completed 720 clinical hours.

Additionally, awards were given to a select few graduates. Dee Dee Long was recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award, Rebecca Andrus earned the program’s Leadership Award and Katarina Della Cioppa was presented with the Outstanding Clinician Award.

The evening concluded with a candle lighting ceremony and the graduates taking the Florence Nightingale Pledge. The pledge, an adaption of the physician’s Hippocratic Oath, was written in 1893 by Mrs. Lystra E. Gretter and the Farrand Training School for Nurses in Detroit.

The following students received their pins during the ceremony and will receive an associate of applied science degree: Taralyn Adakai, Rebecca Andrus, Theresa Berger, Cara Bingham, Debbie Birt, Tabitha Blixt, Nicole Block, Sandra Bonillas, Jacklyn Busby, Katarina Della Cioppa, Amanda Fallis, Pamela Gertz, Dominic Jansson, Brienna Johnson, Heather Jones, Dee Dee Long, Miranda Lucero, Hayley McCleve, Ximena Montes, Benjamin Pero, Allison Poe, Pamala Rodriguez, Blair Sepulveda, Jacinta Spence, Jessica Todd, AuDrea Watson and  Michelle Wilkie.

Maricopa businesses networked Tuesday at the B2B Expo at Central Arizona College. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

This year’s Business to Business Expo (B2B) moved to a new location and had a full house Tuesday.

Dan Beach, director of Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship, said organizers sold out the 50 available booth spaces at Central Arizona College.

“We are getting bigger and better,” Beach said. “We had three times more vendors.”

Co-sponsored by MCE, CAC and Maricopa Chamber of Commerce, B2B was a chance for local businesses and organizations to promote themselves. The room in the A building at CAC included stores, artists, services and nonprofits.

“We have a lot of home-based businesses in Maricopa, and they don’t get a lot of opportunities to get out and network and meet clients,” Beach said.

New business owners and businesses without storefronts had a rare chance to make connections. That included Debbie Everett of Haven House, who used B2B to spread the word about her new residential assisted-living facility. Lisa and Thomas Herschbach showed off her flagstone abstract art and his Arizona gemstones.

“It’s all about businesses finding clients and potential clients,” Beach said.

Well established business owners like Mike Richey of Ace Hardware, Glenda Kelley of Uniquely Sewn and Jim Burgess of All About Promotions also participated with attention-grabbing tables.

The expo had several artists who will also be displaying and selling at the Art on the Veranda event at the Duke Golf Course Nov. 7-8.

The CAC Culinary Department, headed by chef Diane Hernandez, provided appetizers and desserts to give students a service opportunity.

Elite Community Services
AZ Golfers
Punch Music Media
Carole Ward
American Family Insurance
Pinal County Federal Credit Union
Maricopa Arts Council
Adobe Blinds
Debra Harmon Insurance
A-1 Health & Wellness
Haven House
Legal Shield
J.A.M.E.S. Home Baked Goods
Janice Lohrmeyer
MuveMint LLC
All About Promotions
Jack Jackson Photography
Tillers Tool Rentals
WYS Education
Sage Point Advisors
Leadership Forum
Maricopa Fine Arts
Maricopa Greeters
Maricopa Chamber of Commerce
Ace Hardware
Markell Kellybrew
Progressive Financial Concepts
Nelda Mullins
Norma Strange
Pamela’s Gifted Hands and Pamela’s Cooking
Boodle Bouncers
Patrick Tinkam
Advanced Energy Systems
Dr. Patricia Neff
Uniquely Sewn
Artist Deborah Jay
Maricopa Real Estate Company
Artist Linda Demain
Balance Benefits Consulting
Art on the Veranda
Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship
Sweet Pie Desserts
Maricopa Appliance
Mark Randolph
Artist Kaui Wilson
Kristi Renee
Benchmark Printing
Claire Bullivant
Jim Chaston CPA
Michelle Hoover
Sierra Rainge
Maricopa Relay for Life

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.”

A steady stream of donors came to the inaugural blood drive at Central Arizona College. Photo by Adam Wolfe

By Adam Wolfe

The Student Leadership Organization of Central Arizona College hosted its inaugural blood drive on the Maricopa Campus today.

Dozens of students showed up to donate blood between classes, and the four-man crew working the donation center had a steady flow of people throughout the morning. Students who donated blood were also rewarded with discounts to Whataburger and a chance to win a 2015 Volkswagen Golf (donated by local Valley Volkswagen dealers).

“The point of this is to help our community,” SLOCAC member Andrea Castano said. “One out of seven hospital patients need blood. In the United States, someone receives a blood transfusion every two seconds.”

The SLOCAC is hoping to make the blood drive an annual event. Judging by the turnout for this year’s drive, hosting this event each year could be a significant possibility.

Other events going on around CAC on Wednesday include a selfie scavenger hunt lasting from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help students learn where things are on campus, and a “Show Me the Money” workshop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide students with information regarding financial aid and career services. These events will take place again on Thursday as well.

The SLOCAC will also be hosting a Popsicle social from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday. All students are encouraged to stop by and grab a cold treat and meet other members of the student body.


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Central Arizona College students paused in their busy day for some socializing and food. Photo by Adam Wolfe

By Adam Wolfe

The Student Leadership Organization of Central Arizona College at the Maricopa campus set up a barbecue for students to have a free meal and socialize between classes.

The free meal provided students with a break, even if just for a moment, in their busy day. Students who had time stopped and relaxed while they enjoyed their food, while others were able to grab a hot dog in passing. Either way, they were offered a free meal and music to break up their day.

“Today’s event is to just be social and get people fed between classes because obviously some kids don’t have time,” SLOCAC member Jesse Gollubier said. “So we want to get them fed and just have fun.”

Campus leadership also set up volleyball nets for students who wanted to be active between classes. However, the triple-digit temperature kept physical exertion to a minimum.

“We’re just trying to get students more involved and make students feel comfortable and get them to interact with each other,” SLOCAC member Cathlyn Hernandez said.

Central Arizona College is hosting multiple events on the Maricopa campus this week. These events include a blood drive on Wednesday, and a scavenger hunt and Popsicle social on Thursday.

The SLOCAC will also be hosting various events throughout the year, including a ceremony for veterans and a retreat to Prescott.