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Opinion

www.SanTanSun.com

Development programs bolster residents, community

Thankful for counted votes

by Councilmember Kevin Hartke

For those of us who did our civic duty by turning in our early ballots prior to the election, Chandler City Clerk Marla Paddock assures me that they are not among the more than 200,000 provisional and early ballots yet to be counted in Maricopa County as of press time. Paddock, who has been doing elections for more than two decades, Laurie Fagen says the early ballots not tabulated are those received on Photo by election day, either by being dropped off at the polls or via LightRainImages.com postal mail the day before or day of the election. If you got yours in early enough, she says it was included in the early ballot totals. If not, and if you thought you helped elect a number of people in the general election, there’s a good chance your ballot is still sitting in a pile waiting to be calculated. Yes, it’s a little discouraging. Fortunately, most of my candidates won anyway, so I guess that’s all that matters. We recap the local election news on the cover, along with a story about a variety of crimes taking place in our area. Kelli Lang talks to Jack McCormick of Baja Bush Pilots, and her “foodie” story this issue is about the New Mexican Grill. Alison Stanton writes a business profile on Subaru and has both a Thanksgiving and start of a holiday round-up story of activities in the area. Meanwhile, we welcome Steven Solomon as Business, Spirituality and Community Editor. We bid Marissa Freireich farewell, and thank her for her work on the Spirituality pages. We wish her great luck in her new newspaper job in Williams. Meanwhile, our crack proofreader, Kristen Sherman, is also taking on the Neighbors Editor position as well, and has been doing a great job. With Sharon McCarson on Youth, Susan Henderson on Opinion and Teri Carnicelli on Arts, we have a great team of copyeditors who work with Managing Editor Henderson and Editor Lynda Exley to bring you all the many “relentlessly local” stories – large and small – from a variety of voices in our neighborhood. And I’m personally excited to be part of a new fundraising event for Chandler youth arts called “Chairitable,” the logo you see also designed by our own graphics genius, FOR CHANDLER YOUTH ARTS Tad Smith. Nearly 50 artists will be decorating, embellishing, painting and creating works of art out of chairs and tables for a live and silent auction that will take place Fri., March 15, 2013 at the Chandler Center for the Arts. We’re just in the initial planning stages, but we’ll pair artists with business sponsors so they get their own chair to display in their work place. In addition, there will be live music, more than 20 artist demonstrations, raffle prizes, food and drink and the best part: it’s free. There’s even talk of a musical chairs game and an interactive art project, all under the auspices of the Chandler Arts Commission, to raise money for arts programming for kids in Chandler. Watch these pages for lots more to come, or to get involved as a sponsor, email me at Laurie@SanTanSun.com and we’ll get you teamed up with an artist. This month, as always, we are thankful for our great team at the SanTan Sun News and for you, our readers and advertisers. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! And ready or not: Christmas is next!

Deadline

PO Box 23 Chandler, AZ 85244-0023 telephone: 480-732-0250 fax: 480-883-8714

©2012 SanTan Sun News

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39

Community Commentary

Publisher’s Note

mailing address:

Nov. 17 – 30, 2012

EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISING: NOON TUE., NOVEMBER 20 FOR THE DECEMBER 1, 2012 ISSUE

35,000

Total Circulation 27,250+ Driveways Fifty square mile coverage area from Price/101 to Greenfield and from Frye to Hunt Highway.

Picture a community where old and unsafe structures are regularly torn down, new street lights are installed to improve visibility, street work is done to slow traffic near schools, people facing foreclosure are given a new path to hope and others in need have plenty of places to turn for help. It’s happening throughout Chandler neighborhoods, with the help of federal funds from the United States Department of Housing and Development (HUD). These projects help to create a healthier community and Kevin Hartke are vital to the quality of life for all our residents, regardless of income levels. It is why so much work has and continues to be done in Chandler neighborhoods. Through HUD funding, the City has placed a renewed focus on neighborhood revitalization for low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. A Blight Elimination Program allowed us to perform enhanced code enforcement, resulting in hundreds of additional inspections and the boarding of 23 vacant and deteriorating structures. The City established a process for a Voluntary Demolition Program through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. This program is designed to assist with the removal of dilapidated buildings. Staff marketed the availability of this federally funded rehabilitation program, particularly to homeowners who were faced with code violations. This past year, five dilapidated buildings were demolished. Through CDBG funds 685 energy-efficient streetlights were installed, significantly improving the lighting quality and safety for residents. Funding covered the costs of a traffic-calming project on Knox Road to slow traffic near Knox Elementary School. Financing was also secured for an expansion currently under way at the Chandler Christian Community Center in Downtown Chandler. This will result in additional space for food storage and program operations to serve more families in need. Programs were provided to families facing foreclosure and assistance was given to those in need of emergency shelter and transitional housing. Program advocates worked with local nonprofits, faith-based communities and the City of Chandler to identify homeless individuals in the community. Through a combination of local and federal funding, six chronically homeless persons were housed and approximately 100,000 food boxes distributed. The City also participated in new homeownership opportunities for 12 first-time buyers, in cooperation with Newtown Community Development Corporation. Additionally, 88 low-to-moderate income homeowners received housing rehabilitation and assistance for emergency home repairs. This funding helped to improve the living conditions for the residents while working to stabilize neighborhoods and create greater pride in ownership. These projects are all part of a four-year plan detailed in the Chandler Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report. The report helps to measure Chandler’s successes in community development priorities and includes all activities achieved with federal dollars during the last fiscal year. The City of Chandler continues to maintain strong partnerships with many organizations in an effort to provide the best possible services. It is important to support these federally funded programs that make Chandler a great place to live. Such collaboration helps to maximize resources at minimized costs and comes as a great help to us as we continue to work with residents as we emerge from the sluggish economy.

publisher

Laurie Fagen advertising/production Geoff Hancock

managing editor

Susan Henderson editor

Lynda Exley

administrative assistant

proofreader

account executives

writers

Darlene Keberle Jane Meyer Debbie Jennings

website maintained by

Susan Kovacs, n-ergizing ad design

Christine Bryner, Studio 509 layout design

Tad Smith, The Design Idea

Kristen Sherman Teri Carnicelli K.M. Lang Sharon McCarson Lora Robinson Steven Solomon Alison Stanton

contributors

Wendi Olson Sarah O’Brien Stephanie Vatistas Suzanne Incorvaia Kristen Boyd Mary Logan Robyn Kelly Laura Thornburg Renee Clancy Abby Dupke Kathie Butters Ximena Rodriguez Marcia Wagoner Lora Robinson Blanca Dozal Traci Lepacik Brent Rincon Kathryn Perry

40

Opinion

Nov. 17 – 30, 2012

Community Commentary

www.SanTanSun.com

Letters to the editor

Domestic violence victims get ‘Fresh Start’ Fearing dentist no more by Susan Berman

Jennifer’s exboyfriend held a gun to her head when she was six months pregnant. The abuse had been going on for a while, but that was the moment she knew Susan Berman she had to get out. She waited until her son was born; she was completely on her own with no family to turn to. She fled Las Vegas with her baby, $50 and the cheapest bus ticket out of state, to Flagstaff. Some quick luck landed her at a shelter in Phoenix where she was referred to Fresh Start Women’s Foundation for counseling and career support. Jennifer and her son are doing great now, thanks to her perseverance and strength – but there are so many like her who never make it that far. Each year, the statistics seem to get grimmer. Did you know that one in four women experiences domestic violence in her lifetime? Domestic violence is an epidemic, affecting women in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. At our Women’s Resource Center

in Phoenix, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation sees new cases every week. We have visits from approximately 25,000 women every year and almost 40% of the women we see have experienced some kind of abuse. The ones that make it through the doors of Fresh Start are usually the lucky ones. They have gotten to the point in their life where they are ready to make a change. Unfortunately, there are so many that don’t make it to us. An intimate partner kills almost one-third of female homicide victims reported in police records. There are so many women like Jennifer that we see at Fresh Start each week. Fresh Start supports these women with counseling, education, career services, legal services and support groups. I hope you will join Fresh Start in spreading the word about this cause. It is so important and critical to get these women out of their situation. We hope to help more women every year who have the courage to make a positive change in their life. Learn more about Fresh Start at phoenix.wehelpwomen.com. Susan Berman is the president and CEO of Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.

Thanks for all of this info on local happenings in the Chandler area. I just wanted to contribute by suggesting a dentist I found to be the best I have ever been to. Dr. Sandhya Anantuni calmed my fears of going to the dentist. I had not been to a dentist in more than 10 years due to my phobia. She was a

miracle worker, in my opinion. There are probably a lot of readers out here suffering like I was, just thought I would help with a recommendation. Find out more at anantunidental.com. Keep up the good work! Buddy Baker, 85224

Have a story idea or news tip? Know of an interesting photo opportunity? How about positive feedback or constructive comments? We’d like to hear from you. Email us at News@SanTanSun.com. We know you have an opinion! Share it with the SanTan Sun News. Unless you’re the Mayor, however, please keep your Letters to the editor around 200-300 words, or they may be edited for length. Include your first and last name, community or development name in Southern Chandler (Cooper Commons, Ocotillo, Sun Groves, etc.) or ZIP code and daytime phone number for verification. Anonymous letters are not typically accepted. Email is the preferred submission method, to Letters@SanTanSun.com. All submitted Letters to the Editor and Community Commentaries become the property of the SanTan Sun News and may be reprinted in part, quoting the letters’ authors, or in their entirety. Your submission to the SanTan Sun News is considered your permission to print your written opinion. Opinions expressed in Community Commentaries, Letters to the Editor or cartoons are those of the author, and not that of the SanTan Sun News.

What do you think? Have you been the victim of a crime in Chandler? How safe is your community? Send your responses to Letters@SanTanSun.com and include your community name for possible inclusion in a future issue of the SanTan Sun News.


Santan Sun News Opinion 11-17-12