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Pinal Truth Squad mailers raise questions VOLUME 11 MARCH 2012 SanTanValleyNews PinalToday We want to hear from you! Post your comments online:














By Zach Richter Today Publications Pinal County District 2 Supervisor Bryan Martyn’s newest project, the Pinal Truth Squad (PTS), recently drew fire for what Florence Mayor-elect Tom Rankin and local business magnate George Johnson are claiming is a violation of Arizona election law.’s “Who We Are” section explains their cause thusly, “We believe that the truth is simple: George Johnson, his buddy Tom Rankin and their cronies have run the Town of Florence and the surrounding region for far too long. From water rate increases to backward political leadership, they’ve stood in the way of economic development; opportunity and progress... meanwhile bullying everyone who's dared to stand up and say a word. We will not be bullied. We will speak the truth. We will not let them get away with more of their shenanigans.” In an interview with Today Publications Rankin explained that statements like these were mailed in bulk to the Florence area and the combination of the mailings and the website, coupled with the close proximity to the Florence election (March 13), lead him to file a complaint with the Town (Rankin won the election regardless.) “I think they’ve [the Pinal Truth Squad] violated Arizona election law by not registering as a committee,” Rankin said. “They need to register with the Town if they’re going to try and influence the election.” Rankin went on to note

Florence Mayor-elect Tom Rankin believes that the Pinal Truth Squad tried to influence the Town’s election. that he feels that Curis Resources, who’s Florence Copper Project Rankin opposes, is a major financial backer of the PTS and that forcing the group to reveal their information would prove as much. “I’m sure the mine has given him a good chunk of money to put this stuff out,” Rankin said. “He’s working for a living just like I am; I doubt he’d have the money to do it himself.” President and CEO of Curis Resources Michael McPhie provided Today Publications with a written statement regarding the company’s involvement with Pinal Truth Squad. “We [Curis] have been the target of deliberate attacks and halftruths published by Mr. Johnson about our project in Florence and support Bryan's leadership in stand-

ing up to these type of dishonest tactics employed by Johnson Utilities. We wish him success in these efforts." Requests for comment from Johnson Utilities were not returned by press time. When asked, Martyn indicated he was unsure of how much Curis had contributed to PTS and a request for an amount from Curis yielded no results. Martyn also noted that he started the site at this time because of the fact that he was not running for reelection, a fact he announced in Jan. “When people say it’s politically motivated things like this lose value,” he said. “Tell Bryan he needs to tell the [expletive] truth about what he’s doing, why he’s doing it now (continued on pg 5)




MARCH 2012

of caregivers caregiivers expec expect to contribute financially to the care of a family member. The amount who actually do... Publishers: Brad Purper Stacy Deprey-Purper Managing Editor: Zach Richter Political Liason: Chase Kamp

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Given the option between staying at home or moving into a nursing home, the majority of people would choose their own homes – an option that tends to be much less expensive as well. Whether only a small amount of assistance is needed to help avoid a future crisis, or home care is required in the aftermath of a fall or acute illness, At Home Solutions can help. From one-time respite service to once a week care to daily care, At Home Solutions can create a customized care plan that fits your needs.

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MARCH 2012





MARCH 2012

Prince, Springer announce Supervisor candidacy By Chase Kamp Today Publications Patricia Prince and Carol Springer have announced their candidacy for Pinal County Supervisor. Patricia Prince of Gold Canyon is running for Supervisor in District 5 as a Republican. Prince said she has been a committed community leader since moving to Gold Canyon, leading a new homeowners association that has worked with ADOT for road improvements and led a campaign against a proposed 101 percent sewer rate increase. “When my community of over 1000 homes made the transition from developer-controlled to owner-controlled, I served not only on the transition committee but also was elected to the first Board of Directors and served for five years,” Prince said. Prince implemented the PCSO Citizens on Patrol Program under Sheriff Vasquez and continued it under Sheriff Babeu. In 2011, its volunteers logged 13,683.75 hours with a wage equivalency savings of $290,585.62. “We must do all that we can to stop the drug and human smuggling corridor through Pinal County,” Prince said. “While implementing the Citizens on Patrol Program in the Arizona City area, I have met with numerous residents that deal with these issues on a regular basis.” Prince said that sustainable growth through the encouragement of energy efficient buildings and water conservation will be crucial. “If we want to protect our beautiful environment for future generations to enjoy, we must have smart sustainable growth.” Prince said preventing wasteful spending, enhancing public safety and encouraging economic development were also part of her platform. As Supervisor, Prince said she intends to conduct herself as a true representative of the people. “I enjoy solving problems and helping others,” she said. “I want to preserve the quality of our community.” Visit for more information. Carol Springer of San Tan Valley is a Republican candidate for District 2 Supervisor. Springer attended Yavapai College and spent over 25 years in the radio industry in the Valley as a highly rated on-air personality. Springer said fiscal accountability will be a primary component of her leadership as Supervisor. “I am particularly interested in seeing that Pinal County taxpayers' dollars are spent wisely,” she said. Springer said the extensive growth in San Tan Valley must be managed with care and business acumen. “We need to ensure that our growth is planned well, while encouraging companies to locate here,

bringing much needed jobs to our community, while still maintaining the importance of our rural and agricultural base.” Springer said working to find the money to continue the muchneeded improvements to Hunt Highway will be one of her top priorities. “I'm an excellent communicator, and will always maintain an open-door policy, making sure my communities concerns are addressed quickly, appropriately, and efficiently,” Springer said. Springer has dedicated thousands of hours to community projects throughout the Valley, including The Make a Wish Foundation, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. “I have collectively helped raise over $200,000 in charitable contributions for our state,” she said. Springer is a mother of four children including triplets, and enjoys camping, fishing and a good game of Frisbee with her children. For more information, email the Carol Springer campaign at

Supervisor Chairman Rios fends off more allegations By Chase Kamp Today Publications Pinal County Board of Supervisors Chairman Pete Rios is once again facing allegations that he does not primarily reside in District 1, accusations the Supervisor roundly denies. At a Board of Supervisors meeting on Mar. 14, 2012, two investigators presented

what they said was evidence of Rios fudging mileage reports to cover up using his Apache Junction home as his primary residence. This is hardly the first time Rios has been accused of not spending most of his time in his district. Rios has claimed such accusations are at least 30 years old. In March 2011, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous letter in Jan. of that

year alleging Rios took full-time residency in his home in Apache Junction, which is in District 2, and falsified his mileage logs to say he traveled from his other residences in Superior and Dudleyville. PCSO handed that investigation over to the state Attorney General, and the Pinal County Attorney’s Office handed prosecution of the case over to the Gila County Attorney.

In 2011, Rios argued his multiple residencies in Pinal County have been a talking point of his opponents since his first election for State Representative 30 years ago. “It came up when I defeated an incumbent state representative,” he said, “She challenged it on residency and the court ruled in my favor.” At the most recent Board meeting, Rios directly addressed (continued on pg 7)

MARCH 2012



Handgun Suspect Tied to Vehicle Burglary chandise at two separate Walmart stores that San Tan Valley, Ariz. – A suspect arsame day. rested after bringing a gun onto a high school Surveillance video pulled from the locacampus Wed. March 14, 2012 has been tied to tions showed Smith making the purchases usa vehicle burglary earlier that morning. ing the stolen credit cards. Just before 3:00 p.m., PCSO deputies During an interview with PCSO, Smith responded to Poston Butte High School after admitted to stealing the victim’s wallet from students and a staff member reported someone a QT convenience store around 2:30 a.m. that had driven on campus and displayed a handgun same morning and using the credit cars along while inside a vehicle. with several hundred dollars in cash to make Witness informed deputies a 1969 multiple purchases. Chevrolet Monte Carlo with three suspects The two other individuals with Smith coopinside had followed a student on campus folerated with detectives and indicated they were lowing an altercation that occurred at a Cirlce unaware Smith had a weapon, nor did they K at Bella Vista and Hunt highway prior to the know he was in possession of stolen property. incident on campus. Smith has been charged with Burglary, A student who witnessed the incident Identity Theft and Fraud Use of a Credit Card. outside the convenience store stated one susIn a message sent to Poston Butte parents and pect, later identified as Kody Smith, 18, of San staff on March 16, Dana Hawman, Director of Tan Valley had pointed a handgun at the head Public Relations for Florence Unified School of a second student; Smith was the driver of the District, clarified that additional felony charges Monte Carlo and brandished the weapon near a for bringing the gun onto a school campus are baseball field before driving away. Within minutes, deputies tracked down Kody Smith, (18) was arrested for bringing a pending. Hawman further clarified that Smith is not Smith’s vehicle to a Denny’s parking lot at gun to the Poston Butte High School campus. a Poston Butte student but the other passengers Gary Rd. and Hunt Hwy. where a witness in the vehicle with him at the time are. “Although they have not currently stated Smith threw the weapon into bushes prior to PCSO arriving on been charged by the Sheriff’s Office, they have been suspended from scene. school, pending disciplinary hearings,” she said. A search of the area turned up a 9mm handgun. A search of Sheriff Babeu stated, "Thanks to the immediate response and Smith’s pockets turned up several credit cards and cash that had been investigative work of our deputies, Kody Smith has been arrested. He's reported stolen from a vehicle outside a convenience store earlier that now where he belongs, behind bars awaiting prosecution. I'm grateful no morning. innocent people were hurt during Smith's disregard for the law or safety The citizen who reported the vehicle theft stated someone had of others." used the credit cards to purchase several hundred dollars worth of mer-

Pinal Truth Squad (continued from pg 1) at election time,” Rankin said emphatically, “I don’t know what tree he fell out of but if he thinks the people of Florence don’t believe he’s trying to influence the election he’s wrong.” Martyn spoke with Today Publications and indicated that his lawyers have said that they do not feel PTS has violated any state statues and that the community can expect more mailers in the coming weeks. “I spoke with the Town of Florence Clerk Lisa Garcia and explained that I did not feel we’ve violated any statues and she was free to contact my lawyers with any concerns,” Martyn said. “As far as I know there hasn’t been any further contact.”

PTS is a 501(c)(4) not for profit organization, which means that they are not required to divulge donation information. In addition, according to the Internal Revenue Service’s website,, unlike 501(c)(3)s, 501(c)(4)s, “may intervene in political campaigns as long as its primary activity is the promotion of social welfare.” Martyn indicated that PTS was formed as a 501(c)(4) specifically so his contributors would not have to fear litigation. “The beauty of this is the only person who will be beat up and bloodied over it will be me,” he said, “That’s fine, I’m ready for a fight.” Community members interested in judging the nature of the site for themselves can visit it at



MARCH 2012

BUSINESS & REAL ESTATE Net-zero electric homes new Shea standard By Zach Richter Today Publications Shea Homes recently announced the wide-scale rollout of a number of energy efficient changes to their new homes that result in a building that generates as much energy as it uses. Dubbed SheaXero, the electric bill-less home is available at Trilogy at Vistancia, as well as Trilogy at Encanterra and Encanterra Country Club in San Tan Valley. Today Publications spoke with Shea Homes Arizona Regional President, Hal Looney who discussed the innovations that made SheaXero possible and the anticipated impact of its large-scale implementation. “We saw a lot of demand from our consumers for more energy efficient homes, in Arizona specifically,” Looney said. “This is what customers were telling us they wanted so we gave it to them.” Trilogy at Encanterra is a 55 and older community while Encanterra Country Club is an all ages community. Looney explained that Shea has been offering solar options for their homes since 2007, but now they have ramped things up considerably with the SheaXero thanks to a partnership with solar integration company SolarCity. “Our previous offerings, between one and three kilowatts, helped but didn’t zero anyone out,” Looney said. “For the most part all of our new homes will pull between four and nine [kilowatts] and we’ve also enhanced other features.” In addition, to an increased reliance on solar energy, SheaXero homes will include numerous energy saving features including

low usage appliances, increased insulation and everything from CFL bulbs to insulated garage doors. The homes are also eco-friendly in other areas including low flow fixtures and frames built with certified wood from sustainable forests. Looney was quick to point out that unlike previous Green Certified models, the SheaXero is the new standard for new homes, not simply an optional add on. “We have netted out a system on the majority of homes so that almost all are at zero for electric,” he said, “From Florida clear up to Washington.” Looney also made sure to point out that in Florida, utility company restrictions limit the amount a home can offset electricity usage to 90 percent not 100 percent so the Florida models are nearly net-zero. Overall Looney believes that the advantages of the SheaXero homes are twofold, helping to minimize the home’s environmental impact and saving homeowner’s money in the process. “As a large home builder we’re concerned about being a good steward of the environment,” Looney said. “If we can save people money by zeroing out their electric bill and leave the environment in a better spot in the process, that’s a win-win.” While no SheaXero model homes are available quite yet, “We were anxious to get it [SheaXero] onto the market,” Looney enthused, potential homebuyers interested to learn more can visit the SheaXero Studio at Encanterra for more information. Encanterra is located at 36460 N. Encanterra Dr. in San Tan Valley, or online at TrilogyLife. com.

Thanks to solar panels and energy efficient design all new Shea homes at Encanterra will generate as much energy as they consume.

Termite prevention saves home values By Sherry Butler San Tan Valley Real Estate Special to Today Publications “Get me out of this house, it has bugs.” This is what a customer said to me last week when I showed her a home that had fresh evidence of termites in the garage. The subterranean termites had made a trail from an opening in between the concrete sections in the garage. I told her she really didn’t have to be scared of them but she was terrified. I explained to her the old saying “There are two types of homes, those that currently (continued on pg 8)

Without proper preventative measures your home may end up looking like this.

MARCH 2012


Assisted living home now open in Copper Basin


By Zach Richter Today Publications When retired couple Ozzie and Fran Ruptash purchased a home at auction in the Copper Basin subdivision of San Tan Valley, they hoped to use the property as a rental home. As of Feb. 2012 however, they are looking for a different type of tenant. The home is now a fully licensed assisted living facility and Today Publications spoke with Ozzie for a discussion of how the Faddco Assisted Living Home came to be and what potential residents can expect. Ozzie explained that after he and his wife gave up on renters they tried to sell the home to a buyer who backed out of the deal at the last minute. “This was an investment property, we didn’t want it to go to waste,” he recalled. “We decided to turn it into an assisted living facility, their residents are much easier on the property.” According to Ozzie, while he and Fran are new to the assisted living business, their life experience dovetails nicely into the new venture with his business background and her experience working in hospitals. “It’s something we’ve been talking about for 20 years,” he said. Prior to applying for licensing by the Arizona Department of Health Services the Ruptash’s had the 4,300 square foot home extensively remolded. “You can’t even tell this used to be the garage,” Ozzie said proudly during a tour of some of the bedrooms. All told, Ozzie explained that the remodel cost roughly $100,000 and included placing alarms on all the doors and windows, ensuring the fire alarms were up to code and redoing the upstairs into a suite for the employees. While Ozzie was quick to point out that he and his wife won’t be working in the home; “I’m over 80 years old, I’m retired,” he said with a laugh, he did note that once patients start arriving the home will be staffed with a manager and a full time caregiver with over 40 years of experience between them. Residents will have access to traditional activities including television, radio, board games and bingo. “It’s important to keep the mind occupied as well as the body,” Ozzie cautioned. To that end he indicated that he was looking into the possibility of partnering with local organizations to provide a wider variety of events and activities. “We’re completely ready to go,” Ozzie continued, “What we are looking for now is residents.” The Faddco Assisted Living Home is expecting its first resident by the end of March, with space for nine more at the ready. Semi-private rooms are available for $2,500 per month with private rooms available for $3,000. A discounted rate is available for those who receive assistance from the state. For more information, or to schedule a tour, call Ozzie at 602549-8801.

Ozzie and Fran Ruptash, owners of the Faddco Assisted Living Home in Copper Basin.

Supervisor Chairman Rios fends off more allegations (continued from pg 4) the claims. “I do have three residences in Pinal County,” he told the gathering. “At the end of the day, people are not determined to reside in one place or another based on how many residences they have.” “This issue comes up every election—it’s nothing new to my district or to those voters,” he continued. “I thought it had been fully vetted a number of times.” Private investigator Brian Sudrick and investigator Mike Prescott presented photos that they cited as evidence of Rios being dishonest on mileage logs and misrepresenting how much time he spends at his District 1 home in Dudleyville. Prescott said they began looking into Rios’ residency about three months ago and are working independently. “We’re doing it because we saw it on the news so

many times,” Prescott said. Rios characterized the accusations as a distraction. “This particular issue is being used to divert attention by the press from something else,” he said. Prescott said he and Sudrick have further evidence with which they plan to make their case to Pinal County Superior Court. “We are carrying this as far as it will go,” he vowed. Rios said he welcomed bringing the charges to the County Superior Court, saying the issue will be put to rest. “That’s where it should have gone in the first place,” he said. “You’re going to find that residency is determined by where one is registered to vote, pays his utilities and goes to church,” Rios said. “Pete Rios’ residence is in Dudleyville.”



MARCH 2012

House committee pushes Red Rock project forward By Chase Kamp Today Publications A resolution in support of the Red Rock Classification Yard, a rail yard project proposed by Union Pacific, was passed with a four-yes, one-no and three absent vote by the state House Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Mar. 12, 2012. The committee, led by project supporter and District 23 Representative Frank Pratt, largely acknowledged the economic potential of the project and brought it a step closer to realization. Representative Bruce Wheeler characterized the 1000acre project as a “huge opportunity” for Pinal County. The facility would receive rail shipments from busy southern California cargo ports and direct them to eastern outlets. The project would also have potential for larger surrounding industrial growth. “The activity of this, almost half of what is discharged about 500 miles away, would make the facility probably one of the largest inland logistics centers in the western United States,” Wheeler said. The proposed site for the project along Interstate-10 by Picacho Peak currently belongs to the Arizona State Land Department. Union Pacific had been tasked with providing more information to the Trust before the sale of the land can move forward. Pinal County economic development manager Tim Kanavel said Red Rock was one of the most uniformly supported projects in the County’s history. “This is a cornerstone to Pinal County’s economic development plan,” he said. Kanavel said the project would not only have statewide

employment impact but would be foreshadowing the growth of the entire region. “This is actually a western United States project,” he said. The County has a comprehensive plan that decides 10,000 acres for future industrial use, Kanavel explained. “Everybody knows about the Sun Corridor,” Kanavel said, “We call it the ‘Golden Corridor’ because that’s where the gold is going to be for Pinal County.” Environmental concerns about water and fuel runoff were brought up by the committee, but Kanavel said the project would not act as a fuel station and that water use would be entirely domestic. “The project will create 350 immediate high paying rail jobs,” Kanavel told Today Publications. “Over time it could possibly create thousands of jobs as we put the intermodal corridor together.” According to Insight Research, the project will have a cumulative economic impact of $25.6 billion with $2.3 billion in tax revenue over the next 20 years. The firm also foresees employment figures of 6,276 direct and 6,206 indirect jobs. According to Union Pacific, the route between Los Angeles and El Paso carries 20 percent of the railroad’s traffic, putting the proposed facility at Red Rock in the heart of the transportation hub for high-demand construction materials such as lumber and cement. The project has numerous supporters in both County and state government, including Gary Pierce and Bob Stump from the Arizona Corporation Commission and the entire Pinal County Board of Supervisors.

This rough representation could translate into hundreds of jobs if the Red Rock classification yard becomes a reality.

Termite prevention (continued from pg 6) have termites and those that will have termites.” Patrick, with Convenient Termite and Pest Control recommends that you watch for signs of termite activity, which might look a trail of dirt along the walls of the home. If you see signs of potential termite infestation, call a technician immediately. Early detection is key to minimizing termite damage. Bugs and pests are a part of life. No matter where you live, you will have problems with them. However, there are many things you can do to keep them out of your house and away from your property. Hiring a reliable pest control company is key. A good company will be familiar with all types of pests, but ensure that the one you choose is especially familiar with the issues in your area. Termites are good at avoiding detection and remaining completely hidden within walls and wood. Regular termite inspections can catch an invasion before it can cause irreparable damage. If, when inspecting your home, your technician finds termites, they can then be dealt with quickly and efficiently. If your home is currently free of termites, it might be a good idea to look into preventative treatments designed to keep your home secure. Keep in mind that a good insecticide treatment along the exterior perimeter of your structure might be all it needs to prevent termites from ever becoming a problem. Patrick, with Convenient Termite and Pest Control provided these helpful hints. • Keep any kind of wood debris, lumber and firewood away from your house. • Remove infested trees and stumps. • Repair leaking roofs, gutters, faucets and water lines. • Don’t allow leaves to accumulate in gutters or drains. • Correct faulty grade issues so that the water runs away from foundations. • Wood siding, stucco and foam board should be at least six inches or more away from the ground. For more information on termite control, contact Patrick at Convenient Termite and Pest Control at 480-892-8277. If you have any further questions, please call Sherry Butler with San Tan Valley Real Estate at 480-789-2209 or visit her at

MARCH 2012





MARCH 2012


County candidates discuss the issues in Florence By Chase Kamp Today Publications Two dozen hopefuls for Pinal County office gathered to define their campaigns and greet their constituents at the Pinal Countywide Debate, Forum and Mixer organized by Today Publications and KQCK Live. Twenty-four candidates participated in the forum on Mar. 21, 2012, seeking the offices of Recorder, Treasurer, Assessor, Attorney, Sheriff and Supervisor. Moderating the forum was former County Supervisor and Pinal Partnership Executive Director Sandie Smith. For some candidates, the forum offered an opportunity to introduce their campaign and outline their previous service in the government, private sector, military or at home. Others fervently touted their big ideas and policy convic-

tions. For some, it was also a chance to stand out from the pack by kicking up some dirt. No other race in this election cycle looks to be as interesting as the quest for Sheriff. As current top dog County lawman Paul Babeu aims for Congress, a number of prominent local law enforcement officials have thrown their hats into the ring for his current job. At the forum, Independent Sheriff candidate Tyrone Morgan got a number of audible reactions when he disparaged Babeu’s fiscal policies and tactical anti-smuggling strategies. “We’re running a lot of humvees and quads into the Vekol Valley area,” Morgan said, “Not only are we spending $6,500 a month on diesel fuel, but when an undocumented alien hears one

Candidates for Pinal County Sheriff discuss the issues at the Pinal County Debate, Forum and Mixer on March 21, 2012.

coming, they hunker down and are gone.” Republican Sheriff candidate and current Constable Jack McClaren also piled on, saying deputies performing anti-smuggling operations should be patrolling the streets of Pinal County. “I think money is being misspent out in the middle of the desert,” McClaren said. While not quite as antagonistic, the candidates for Supervisor also made a splash with the electorate. With Supervisor Bryan Martyn announcing in Jan. that he would not seek another term to represent the newly drawn District 2, four candidates from San Tan Valley participated in the forum. Economic growth was the dominant topic. Republican John Acton contended San Tan Valley’s 3.99 percent property tax was the second highest in the state. “We need to drop the taxes to give com-

panies incentives to come in and open up businesses,” Acton said. Republican Michael McCord said strategic planning of enterprise zones will aid in plotting San Tan Valley’s economic future. “That’s the best way to go about managing the rural and suburban atmosphere,” he said. Fred MacKenzie, running as a Republican in new District 4, characterized himself as a salesman who could sell Pinal County to prospective employers coming to the region. He also criticized the current Board of Supervisors for not being in attendance at the forum. While the primaries for these County positions are rather far in the distance (Aug. 28 to be exact), voters got an early look at the first batch of contenders and were able to get face time with them at the post-forum mixer. Visit SanTanValleyToday. com or to see full video from the debate.

MARCH 2012



County attorney Walsh touts crime prevention programs By Chase Kamp Today Publications While he doesn’t wear a badge, Pinal County Attorney James Walsh sees his office as not only a critical part of the criminal justice system but an entity that aims to aid in crime prevention just like the neighborhood patrol. “Think of the County Attorney’s office as part of the law enforcement effort in the County,” he said. Walsh’s office provides and promotes a number of highly visible crime prevention efforts and coalitions that combat drug abuse and promote drug-free education among children. In Sept. 2008, Walsh said the Attorney’s office began a prescription drug collection program in Eloy that has since blossomed into a network of safe drug disposal options. “Our concern was people had unused prescriptions in their medicine cabinets there for kids or even thieves to come in and steal,” Walsh said. “We have a prescription drug abuse issue in this country.” His office would collaborate with a law enforcement entity like PCSO or a city police department and get a letter of permission from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to collect unused prescriptions at local festivals and events to be properly disposed. “It got so well-known that Casa Grande set up two drop points at their police stations,” Walsh said, which collect upwards of 40 pounds of drugs a month. Now with safe drop boxes in Apache Junction and Coolidge, the program collected almost 173 pounds of drugs last year. “It’s a very effective way to prevent the prescription drug abuse we worry about, especially with young people,” he said. The County Attorney’s Office also sponsors summer, weekend

and after-school programs at the Copper Basin YMCA and County Boys & Girls Clubs with confiscated criminal funds. The YMCA has received as much as $5,000 and the Boys and Girls Clubs received $1,500 a month toward youth programs. For example, the Boys & Girls Clubs offer a program about internet safety for children. “It became pretty clear that the internet was being used by predators to go after kids,” Walsh said. “These are programs that give good educational material to avoid those situations.” At the Copper basin YMCA, we give them an amount to maintain their after-school, weekend and summer programs. They’re great programs for young people to do. Walsh said his office also tries to encourage good decision-making through positive reinforcement. Through a collaboration with local schools, the office holds an anti-drug poster contest for sixth-grade students. The contest, which had over 1,500 entrants last year, involves students making posters to encourage their peers to stay away from drugs. “It’s kids communicating with each about what they think is a good message,” he said. Walsh cites a bi-annual state survey called the Arizona Youth Survey which examines drug experimentation trends among youth. He said these programs are proven to be effective because they reward students who make positive choices. “When it happens, do you notice it and say something about it?” Walsh explained. “It tries to find opportunities to recognize kids when they do good things,” he said.

Babeu, Rios spar over $1.6 million PCSO budget overrun By Chase Kamp Today Publications Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu presented a revised budget to the Board of Supervisors on March 14, 2012, estimating his department will exceed its budget by $1.6 million. Babeu argued with Board Chairman Pete Rios regarding which department is obligated to cover certain parts of the overage. Babeu was requested to give an updated projection on his department’s fiscal year 2011-2012 budget after a Jan. presentation, where PCSO was projected to overspend by $3.6 million. Babeu said the reduction of projected spending levels was due to the extensive cutting of overtime hours. He cited a number of issues contributing to the $1.6 million overage, such as rising fuel prices, but primarily he said the costs were accumulated through overtime pay and collective bargaining with a

deputy’s union. None of the Supervisors were happy with the Jan. numbers, but District 2 Supervisor Bryan Martyn praised Babeu for reducing PCSO’s projected costs. “I appreciate your willingness to work closely with staff to clear this up,” Martyn said. “I’m comfortable with where we’re at right now, the numbers you’ve presented and the fact that you’ve worked with the County Manager.” Babeu said his department would be willing to sweep $950,000 from inmate services and jail improvements to cover about half the cost, but he and Rios sparred over the remaining $656,000 that Babeu claimed should be allotted by the County. Despite the progress, Rios Sheriff Babeu pictured as he presents a budget update to the did not assure Babeu that the Board Board of Supervisors on Wed. March 14. Photo courtesy of PCSO. would accommodate the remainder. He asked why Babeu did not request a supplemental appropriation (continued on pg 19)



MARCH 2012

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT QC Roots N’ Boots Festival coming soon Queen Creek, Ariz. - Roots N' Boots Queen Creek, a Town of Queen Creek signature event, will again celebrate the history, culture and rural heritage of the QC community the weekend of March 30 to April 1, 2012. This year’s Roots N’ Boots Rodeo will include a wide variety of events from lawnmower races to a carnival for the kids. Additional events will include a family rodeo, three PRCA Rodeo performances, live entertainment, vendors, a petting zoo, pony rides, a mechanical bull and new this year, a Camping World RV show and sale. Other local organizations already involved in Roots N' Boots 2012 are the Queen Creek Cultural Foundation, the QC Performing Arts Center, Queen Creek High School FFA, DECA and Technology/CAD, Desert Hills High School FFA, Duane Ellsworth Post 129, American Legion, Southwest Arizona Sisters, Inc, the Golden West Cowgirls and Queen Creek 4-H. The carnival and midway will run Fri. through Sun. with the usual assortment of county fairstyle rides, games and food. All-day ride wristbands will be $28 during the event, or $18 pre-sale. Pre-sale wristbands can be purchased at Higley Feed, Crazy Horse Saddle Shop, Saba’s in Queen Creek Marketplace or from any Friends of Horseshoe Park Board member. Tickets for the PRCA Rodeo (Friday 7:00 p.m., Sat. at 7:00 p.m. and Sun. at 2:00 p.m.) are $20 for a box seat, $15 for adult general admission and $7 for 12 and under. The Family Pack is $40 for two adult and two child general ad-

mission tickets. All prices include ticketing fees, so there will be no surprises at the box office. Parking is $5 each day; there is no offsite parking. Remember, the Sat. night performance sold out early last year so do not wait too long to purchase your tickets. Alcoholic drinks will be sold in conjunction with the PRCA Pro rodeo; no alcohol will be allowed outside the ticketed PRCA Pro rodeo event. Rodeo tickets can now be purchased online at www. Roots N' Boots is hosted by Friends of Horseshoe Park, a 501(c)3 charity chartered to support Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre, as well as foster the rural heritage of Queen Creek, and sponsored by the Town of Queen Creek. This is the first multi-day Queen Creek Community event that is entirely hosted by a non-profit, in an effort to provide community events at no cost to the Town. Community members interested in volunteering may download a volunteer application at or they may send the requested information via email to or via physical mail to Friends of Horseshoe Park, Attn: Volunteer Chair, P.O. Box 1062, Queen Creek, AZ. 85142. Volunteers can also include a specific area of interest in their application. Areas of interest include concessions, family rodeo, ushering, security, ticketing, lawn mower races, grounds, parking, visiting queen, sponsors or visitor services. For more information, visit

One of the most popular events of the 2011 Roots N’ Boots Festival, the Arizona Lawn Mower Racing Association will once again be hosting races of customized mowers speeding in excess of 60 MPH. Photo courtesy of

MARCH 2012



DINING & ENTERTAINMENT Terrace Restaurant at Johnson Ranch G.C. satisfies By Chase Kamp Today Publications There’s nothing like a light lunch after hitting the links. The Golf Club at Johnson Ranch already offers scenic views and challenging holes at the course. Go ahead and add a swell clubhouse restaurant with a menu full of satisfying entrees to its list of amenities. The clubhouse is right in sight from the parking lot, next to the putting green and joined with the pro shop. The interior features a bar and numerous big-screen televisions with, of course, golf and other sports. The western décor and wooden seating ties the room together, and airconditioning is always appreciated. Then again, Terrace has a long and spacious covered exterior dining area that looks out on the far-flung mountain peaks. No matter the climate, Terrace provides a casual atmosphere with a hint of class. One particular avenue where the Terrace menu excels is in the barbecue division. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Terrace offers a full barbecue menu featuring a full rack of sweet and spicy dry rub ribs ($21.99), pulled pork ($10.99) and brisket (13.99), all served up with a homemade Jack Daniel’s barbecue sauce. That same sauce can be found on a number of other items on the lunch and dinner menu. For starters, the hot wing appetizer has the bold smoky barbecue flavor with some additional seasoning to bring it home. The wings are also available in spicy or teriyaki varieties, but diners can’t lose with the barbecue. The Sedona Burger ($8.99) is another flavorful winner, packing onion rings and provolone cheese on a made-to-order beef patty with a nice dollop of barbecue sauce to finish. The onion rings have a crisp finish that beats the wilted sog of some other places’ western-style burgers. Of course, Terrace’s lighter fare is also worth praising. Twelve different sandwiches are available from the chicken guacamole ($8.99) to the French dip au jus ($8.99). Numerous fresh salads and wraps are available too for those not looking to get their fingers sticky. The taco salad ($7.99) with its Chipotle dressing and Jack cheese is just one part of Terrace’s available Mexican fare. The shredded beef and chicken flautas ($9.99) go beyond the normal burros and tacos, although the Terrace menus boasts those too. While many of the dishes here are simple, the execution is simply a step above. The meat preparation is on point and even little details like a mass of parmesan cheese on common French fries coalesce into a satisfying meal. The Terrace Restaurant at the Johnson Ranch Golf Club provides a solid southwestern clubhouse experience that doesn’t hit too hard in the wallet. The lunch and dinner menus, as well as the nightly barbecue, are an unpretentious elevation of classic clubhouse dishes and chuck box flavors. Combined with the nice views and quality service, the experience feels better than an eagle putt on a Par 5. For more information, or to check out the menu, vist

The Sedona burger at Terrace Restaurant.



MARCH 2012


Florence primary results: Rankin elected Mayor By Chase Kamp Today Publications The unofficial results of the Mar. 13, 2012 primaries in Florence show Tom Rankin as the winner of the race for Mayor. Results released by the Town Recorder show Rankin received 1042 votes, just over 53 percent of the vote total, and his opponent Lina Austin received 900 votes. Rankin received more than half of the total number of valid votes cast, thus he will assume vic-

tory and clinch the mayoral seat. He will be awarded a certificate of election at the April 2 Town Council meeting. Rankin previously served as Florence Mayor from 2004 to 2008 and was also Florence Chief of Police for 14 years. Current Florence Mayor Vicki Kilvinger did not seek reelection. Rankin has been a vocal opponent of Curis Resources and the company’s Florence Copper Project, the in-situ copper mine that has

Mayor-elect Tom Rankin of Florence. been subject to heated opposition by some Florence citizens and real estate development groups. Rankin argued his stance on the Florence Copper Project is what pushed him over the top. “I think my views are in line with those that voted for me: we don’t want the mine,” he said. Rankin said the outcome of the Florence Copper Project is central to the future of Florence. “At this time, until the mine issue is out of the way, it’s hard to predict our future as far as the way our general plan is set up,” he said. “That’s the biggest issue we’re concentrating on.” Rankin said he aims to enhance Florence’s historic Main Street with more businesses. He said he hopes to see new business going up north to connect up Main Street with Highway 79. “We’re starting to bring activity to the business community in Florence,” he said. “We’re bringing new businesses to tie into historical Main Street.” Rankin also hopes to make some administrative changes to the

Town Council meetings. He said he has discussed putting another call to the public at the end of the Town Council meeting agendas. “At the end of the meeting, people can comment on what we do during the meetings,” he said. Rankin also said he hoped to implement a consistent policy for the prayer at the beginning of the Council meetings. Also on the ballot were candidates for Town Council. Eight candidates ran and the six who received the most votes will appear on the ballot in the all-mail general election. Three Council seats will be up for grabs in that election. Those appearing on the general election ballot will be Bill Hawkins (1040 votes), Barbara A. Brown (916 votes), Larry Purtrick (792 votes), Ruben Montaño (778 votes), Tara Walter (765 votes) and Terry Thomas (700 votes). Those not appearing on the ballot are Ed Curran (482 votes) and Eugene Klix (345 votes). The primary had a voter turnout of 52 percent with 2,173 ballots cast.

MARCH 2012




Combs raises money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation By Wendi Anderson, CHS English Department Chair Special to Today Publications Over 70 students and faculty members at Combs High School volunteered to have their heads shaved during an assembly at Combs High School on March 9 as part of efforts to raise money for children’s cancer research. “The money collected will go to the St. Baldrick’s foundation, which works with over 230 institutions for laboratory research and to help make clinical trials available to more children than ever, giving those children treatment that offers the best chance for a cure and long-term survival,” states Brian Banach, an English teacher at Combs High School, and the sponsor for this event. “I chose to spearhead this event because I saw the benefits that it provided for the local community at my old school in Illinois, as well as for the foundation itself. I thought it would be a great way for our school community to achieve a similar outcome and rally around a tremendous cause,” Banach continued. Five teachers and fifteen students served on the St. Baldrick’s committee, selling t-shirts and recruiting volunteers, among other tasks. Many other teachers and students got involved by collecting and donating money or volunteering to have their heads shaved. Some students showed their creative sides as they raised money for St. Baldrick’s. Taylor Christner, a senior at Combs, received permission from her supervisors at Gateway 12 IMAX theatres in Mesa to place a donation jar at the concession stand. When customers paid for their movie snacks, Taylor asked if they wanted to donate their change to help fund cancer research. Taylor was able to raise nearly $200 for the cause. Local businesses also got involved, among them Little Caesars and Great Clips. The pizza company donated $1 for every pizza they sold throughout the day on Feb. 14, and the salon sent three barbers to shave heads for the event.

Shavees proudly sport green shamrocks on their newly shaven heads. These young men (and one or two young women) willingly had their heads shaved to show their solidarity with kids afflicted with cancer related illnesses. Dakota Osmer, a senior who had his head shaved at the event, had a special reason for doing so. “My grandma died three years ago from cancer and I’ve always wanted to do something in her memory,” he said. “Although the money raised won’t help her, it will help other people with cancer.” The assembly on March 9, attended by all students and faculty of Combs High School, was a huge success. Not only did the school raise nearly $5000 for the St. Baldrick’s foundation, but there was such a feeling of camaraderie and warmth in the room that it brought tears to the eyes of some of the teachers and parents who attended. This is definitely something that will become a lasting tradition at Combs High School.

QCHS DECA team on the rise By Zach Richter Today Publications The Queen Creek High School (QCHS) DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) club competed at the State Career Development Conference on March 8, 2012. Twenty-one QCHS students competed and as a team they took home over a dozen medals and four different first place finishes; and that’s not even the most impressive thing they’ve done this school year. Today Publications spoke with DECA advisor and Marketing teacher Maria Abrams who was

quick to point out that earlier this year her students organized a car wash which raised approximately $2,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. She left out the part where in the two years she has been at QCHS DECA membership has grown from approximately 20 to over 130 students. When asked about the tremendous growth Abrams explained that there was no real secret to it. “First of all I had a really great group of officers who did a lot of recruiting,” she enthused. “I sent home a list things [events and conferences]

with the marketing students, I offered them a chance to come play.” When joining DECA, students can choose to sit on a variety of committees that pursue a number of different projects. Abrams explained that the QCHS service committee wanted to work with the Wounded Warrior Project to coincide with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The Wounded Warrior Project exists for the expressly stated purpose of honoring and empowering severely wounded soldiers who incurred service-connected injuries

on or after September 11, 2001. “It grew into this tremendous thing,” Abrams recalled, “Because it was Wounded Warrior other clubs wanted to get involved overall there were approximately 200 students.” What’s more, in order to make it all possible the students had to convince the school to change its policy regarding carwashes, long thought to be too prone to hazard to risk. In the end, 101.5 Jamz sponsored the event and local reserve branches of the Navy, Maries and Air Force all came out to lend a (continued on pg 19)



MARCH 2012

Copper Basin students help with teacher’s medical bills By Zach Richter Today Publications Last fall, Copper Basin K-8 teacher Lisa Powe was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. After spending over a month in the hospital it was discovered that the cancer had spread to her liver as well, upgrading her condition to Stage IV. Currently the 28-year-old second grade teacher’s cancer is in remission but she still has 11 more months of chemotherapy to remove the remaining cancer cells before she can hope to put the experience behind her. Today Publications spoke with Copper Basin K-8 Principal Joanne Pike who explained that their community was not content to let Powe fight alone, and to that end the school has sponsored several events to raise money to help with medical bills. “She’s a great teacher and a really nice lady,” Pike enthused, “We all just wanted to do what we could to help.” Pike explained that the school started by setting up a bank account in Powe’s name, this grew into the Pennies for Powe campaign where parents and students donated their change to the cause. “One second grader [Jayme Hinchey] brought in all the change she had saved since she was born,” Pike recalled.” She said she was saving her money for a good cause and she felt like this was it.” Overall Jayme’s donations totaled $70. In addition to the Pennies for Powe fundraiser, the school’s National Junior Honor Society and student council members hosted a carwash, which according to Pike was full of community members anxious to help.

“We had several people who donated and didn’t even stay for a wash,” she said. “I don’t know how clean the cars got, but it was a great day.” Still not satisfied, the school decided to put together another event and on March 13, Copper Basin K-8 hosted a Dining with the Fine Arts event, which Pike explained included dinner, performances by the school’s choir and a silent art auction. “Proceeds from dinner and the auction were about $200,” she said, “We had another Copper Basin K-8 students help raise funds for second grade $500 in donations for a total of teacher Lisa Powe who has been diagnosed with Stage IV colon $700 for the night.” cancer. To wrap up their donations, Copper Basin also held the Powe Power Walk on March 16. “One student raised $77 and one of our eighth graders did a 5K,” Pike said proudly, “Community members and members from LifePoint church participated as well.” Before the entirety of the walk-a-thon donations were counted, the school had already racked up over $3,000 to help with Powe’s medical bills. For her part, Powe is extremely grateful for what the Copper Basin students have done.” I am so thankful to God for putting these kids at Copper Basin in my life,” she enthused. “They are compassionate, caring, loving and generous.” “Getting cancer was and is scary,” she continued. “By their prayers and generosity I have a peace in knowing that I am not fighting alone." LifePoint church is tentatively scheduling a charity softball 1989 Lowe, 30' pontoon boat with 70hp Yamaha, includes 40' 3 games to raise funds for Powe as axle trailer! Full hard top except over "porch" area which is equipped well. For more information, visit with two fishing chairs. Equipped with Lowrance fish/depth finder, CD stereo system and A/C unit and has all the wiring for dock power and would run on a generator as well. Needs new carpet and canopies. With some TLC, this would be a great, fun boat. This boat was donated to a non-profit school, Calvary Christian School. 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale belong to the school. $3000 OBO, contact Scott at 480-824-8816.

Boat for sale to benefit local school

MARCH 2012



Tackle the issues with CAC’s Social Justice forum Apache Junction, Ariz. – Poverty, healthcare and violence are just a few of the issues that fall under the umbrella of social justice that will serve as hot button topics when Central Arizona College (CAC) hosts its Social Justice Forum, Thurs., April 5, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., at the college’s Superstition Mountain campus. Those wishing to attend the event may purchase separate tickets for its morning, afternoon and evening sessions for $5 apiece. Registrants also may purchase tickets for the entirety of the event for $10. The registration fee covers the administrative costs of the event as well as lunch and dinner. CAC and high school students can register for the forum at no cost. To register for the event, participants are asked to visit The event boasts well-known keynotes, community advocates, entertainment, film showing and an opportunity for the community to come together and tackle some issues that affect everyone. This year's Forum will focus on many pertinent issues in the community, poverty, health care and violence - violence against children, women, gays and lesbians. Choose a path of topics or come to a few of each, participate in civil discourse about bullied youth (coming out in today's society) or a presentation/discussion geared toward parents whose child recently came out. Examine the faces of poverty, and how current economic forces are re-shaping the class divide. Explore issues of domestic violence for all,

including male victims and child sexual abuse. The Social Justice Forum is a unique opportunity for the community to unite, learn and discuss urgent topics enveloped in today’s best humanities scholarly research. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., presentations on domestic violence, child sexual offenders and poverty fill the event’s morning, session. Included in the workshops is Local Poverty: How to Cope with Increase of Need, scheduled for 11:05 a.m. After the morning session, lunch will be served and attendees will have the chance to find ways they can contribute to society with an Opportunity Fair. Sue Warner, CAC professor of sociology, will serve as keynote speaker. In the afternoon session, the issues of healthcare and social justice for gays and lesbians fill the slate of presentations. Included in the six afternoon presentations from which participants may choose to attend is My Child is Gay: Training for Parents beginning at 4:05 p.m. In the evening, dinner will be served from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Following dinner, the screening of the Academy Award-Winning film “Crash” will be held in the campus courtyard, followed by a discussion of the film led by CAC’s sociology faculty. To register for the event, visit For questions, or for more information, email CAC Events at events@centralaz. edu or call (520) 477-7469.

CUSD announces spring testing dates participate in the AIMS testing for Mathematics. All current ninth grade students, expected to graduate in 2015, will participate in the Stanford-10 assessment scheduled for April 9. Only currently enrolled students may participate in this test. Any high school student who will be testing needs to attend school on the day listed. They will High School need to be at the school no later All students expecting to graduate in 2014 must take the the than 10:00 a.m. to participate in testing. There are no guaranteed Mathematics test in April. make-up days for these tests. In addition, if they did not Any high school student take the Science test during their freshman year they are required to who leaves school before complettest in that subject as well. Students ing any day’s scheduled test will not be allowed to complete or make currently in ninth grade who are taking Life Science / Biology may up that test. The answer document will be sent in for scoring whether participate in the Science Assessit is complete or not. ment Contact Maria Ethier at The dates for the High School AIMS (Arizona Instrument Coolidge High School (520-7232305) or Gary Carbonneau at San to Measure the Standards) are: Tan Foothills High School (480• Mathematics – April 10 474-6800) for further information • Science – April 11 or to register for the tests. Students who are home Grades 2 – 8 schooled or who have completed All students enrolled in their high school credits but not grade 2 will participate in the Stanmet the AIMS requirements may Coolidge, AZ--The spring testing season will soon continue for the Coolidge Unified School District. All students in grades 2 – 10 are expected to test during this time, as well as any eleventh or twelfth grade students who have not yet “Met” the Arizona Standards for Mathematics or Science.

ford-10 assessment that is scheduled for April 16 and 17. Students in grades 3 – 8 will participate in the AIMS assessments scheduled for April 16, 17, 19 and 20. The subjects taken for each grade level are • Grade 3 – Reading and Mathematics • Grades 4 and 8– Reading, Mathematics, and Science • Grades 5 – 7 – Writing, Reading, and Mathematics Students who are homeschooled may participate in AIMS assessments only. Parents must register at the school the child would be attending if enrolled. • Heartland Ranch Elementary (grades 3-5) - Jessie Arroyos– 520-424-2100 • West Elementary (grades 3 – 5) – Gerald Streit – 520-723-2701 • Hohokam Middle School (grades 6 – 8) – Cheryl Sullivan – 520-723-2207 • San Tan Heights Elementary (grades 3 – 5) – Art Moncibaez – 480-888-2930 • Mountain Vista Middle School (grades 6 – 8) – Denise

Taylor – 480-677-4400 Students in grades 2 – 8 who leave school without completing any day’s scheduled test will not be allowed to complete that particular section of the test, but they will be allowed to complete or make up any other section of the test. Specific testing accommodations are available for students as long as those accommodations are indicated on a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and they receive those accommodations during their regular class instruction. Visit for more information.



MARCH 2012


Warren Charities recycles, help Pinal County By Zach Richter Today Publications The Warren Charities was established in February 2005 for the betterment of Pinal County by offering mini-grants for public protection and safety, basic education, amateur sports competitions, hospital comfort and victims of abuse. The charity has helped with numerous programs over the years from supplying children with dictionaries to rebuilding the Superior Little League’s bleachers and it has all been done by one man, Warren Selkie, with funds raised through donations and the collection of recyclable materials. In an interview with Today Publications Warren Charities Director Warren Selkie explained that he had the idea to form the charity while at the Airport Tavern in Casa Grande around Christmas 2004. “ [While at the tavern] I saw two containers for collecting food and supplies for Against Abuse,” Selkie recalled, “The next day I ordered supplies and began purchasing other items and food for the collection.” However, Selkie wasn’t

done there, “That same Christmas season I provided 100 stuffed animals to the volunteers at Casa Grande Regional Medical Center,” he said. “Afterwards I realized there was so much I wanted to do so I decided to establish an organization where those who feel the same can contribute and know their contributions are being used for what they are intended. “ Selkie has always enjoyed charity work, and as such, the toy donation was a continuation of a tradition he had started while living in Milwaukee before he moved to Arizona in 1995. “When I saw the containers for Against Abuse and started purchasing items I realized I could go broke doing it this way,” he said. “I thought why not form an organization and bring in funds.” While he does receive monetary donations, Selkie explained that donations he receive are primarily in the form of recyclable materials he can sell for the cause. “People drop off bags of cans or wire at my home,” he said. “Stinger Welding in Coolidge contributes a lot of scrap; most of it goes to Hen-

drix in Coolidge.” He was also quick to point out that for those that are interested in contributing he will gladly provide recycling receptacles and pick them up when they are full. Additional forms of donations come from a portion of the proceeds from Stinger Welding’s vending machines and community events where Selkie breaks out the grill for his favorite form of fundraising, selling bratwurst. “I’m from Milwaukee, my specialty is bratwurst,” he said with a laugh While Selkie comprises the entirety of the Warren Charities Board, he was quick to point out that he often gets help from local volunteer groups including the Knights of Colombus and the Coolidge-Florence Elks’ Lodge #2350. “I’ve always enjoyed charity work, it’s never felt like work,” Selkie said, “When something like an event is going on its fun, everyone is working together there’s no pressure.” Selkie explained that programs looking for funding submit

grant requests and he chooses recipients based on where he feels the funds would do the most good. “I look at many people are going to benefit and how advanced the group is,” he said, “For example if a team needed funds to go to a national championship, I would look instead for a team that was struggling, just starting out.” Currently Selkie is looking for new grant requests, forms for which are available on his website. Without a current grant project, he has found himself trying to organize a countywide Oktoberfest. “Right now I’m talking with other groups about the possibility of an Oktoberfest,” he said. “We would be doing it strictly to benefit charities; hopefully we’ll have plans in place by the middle of April. “I just do whatever I can to help out,” Selkie said simply, “With all the cutbacks everywhere I thought rather than complain I’d do something.” For more information on the Warren Charities, to volunteer or request a grant, visit

The Veterans’ Aid and Attendance Benefit many veter By Theresa Weeding, At Home Solutions

can help. According to Bob Nonnemaker, a VA Accredited Claims Agent Special to Today Publications with Veteran’s Advisor Group in Gilbert, “Benefits can come fairly quickThe Aid and Attendance Benefit is for veterans and their surviving ly when the application is completed correctly, all required documents are spouses who require the aid of another person to assist in eating, bathing, included and the applicant’s finances are in order. In these cases, we are dressing, walking, medication dosing, taking care of the needs of nature seeing most veteran applications get approved in 30 to 40 days.” and to insure a safe environment. It is also important to note that a veteran’s spouse may be eligible Individuals who are blind, who’ve been diagnosed with a form of for this benefit as well. According to Debbie Burak, founder of VeterDementia such as Alzheimer’s, and those who are a patient in a nursing, “Many families overlook the A&A Pension as it pertains to home or assisted living facility because of mental or physical incapacity veterans who are still independent, but have an ill spouse. may qualify. Those receiving care in their own home may be eligible as Keep in mind that in this situation, if the spouse's medical expenswell. This benefit is greatly underutilized because many veterans are un- es completely deplete their combined monthly income, the veteran can aware it exists. According to, roughly one out of file as a veteran with a sick spouse.” four seniors in the U.S. could qualify for the Aid and Attendance Benefit To qualify for the Veterans’ Aid and Attendance Benefit a veteran must: under the right conditions. Only about five percent of U.S. seniors are • have received an honorable or general discharge actually receiving this benefit. • have served at least one day during the following active wars For some veterans, the benefit application process may seem over- WWII, Korea, Vietnam (certain criteria apply) whelming and confusing, but there are specialists in the community who (continued on pg 20)

MARCH 2012



Holly Wilson and her team keep the kindness coming By Kally Reynolds, CPCC, PCC Today Publications Last year, Kelly Jo Schimetz wrote an article for the paper on Holly Wilson and her campaign to help American soldiers stationed overseas. The article was aptly entitled: “STV woman makes sure no soldier feels forgotten.” Holly Wilson is my neighbor, and whenever I see her, she is spreading joy and kindness with her kind, warm demeanor and her readiness to help – not just to troops overseas, but also in here in her own community. On May 31, 2002, Holly was working as a firefighter and paramedic when she was severely injured by a drunk driver. In chronic pain and unable to continue the job she most loved in the world, Holly chose to trust that God had another plan for her life. Hearing about the plight of forgotten soldiers on a Christian radio station, she began sending hand-written letters to American soldiers overseas, many of whom were not getting any mail from back home, and asking how she could help them. Ten years later, Holly is still writing by hand between one and two hundred letters a month to American soldiers in combat. To date, she has written more than 5,000 letters and has sent more than 500 care packages since 2002 when she started this project – all at her own expense until recently. Why? “These soldiers are over there, putting their lives on the line for us,” says Holly. “The least we can do is to appreciate them.” These days Holly is partnering with neighbors Angela and Ron Jackson (a Viet-Nam veteran himself), who are helping with the cumbersome task of mailing and shipping care packages. In addition, this ministry of kindness is also being sponsored by Holly’s church, Mountain View Family Church in San Tan Valley, so that donations to Holly’s Forgotten Soldiers are tax-free and, 100 percent of all donations go to help the soldiers. Here are four things we can do to contribute to Holly’s work to support our American troops: • Go to the website: – you are in for a few surprises when you see how easy it is to make a soldier’s life better. • Empty your drawers: You know all those little bottles of shampoo, body lotion, toothpaste and deodorant you have stashed away – our soldiers not only love that stuff (small and they can take it anywhere); they need it. As military overseas, they even have to buy their own soap. • Contact Holly through her website and see how you can help brighten up a soldier’s life, from writing letters to donating your time and talent to extreme couponing. • Make a donation and remember, a little goes a long way. Recently, Angela, Ron and Holly sent 32 boxes to soldiers overseas. Each care package costs $13 to ship. Big or little, your donation will mean the difference between sending one more care package or waiting until next month. Over the years, Holly has been gratified to receive letters of thanks for her work search for “Letters from the Heart” on to read a few or visit for more Certified professional coach Kally Reynolds, CPCC, PCC, partners with caring, motivated people who want better relationships, more joy and less pain. She is the author of the book "Of Frogs and Princes: Reflections on Relating, Dating and Mating for Women Who Have Been There Before" ( You can also reach her at kally@

Holly Wilson started Holly’s Forgotten Soldiers to ensure that every soldier feels appreciated.

Babeu, Rios spar over budget (continued from pg 11) in anticipation of these over-budget needs. “You're saying with this, it's a balanced budget,” Rios said, “That's assuming this board is going to approve another $656,000 to your budget to balance it.” Supervisor David Snider also expressed his unease at trying to possibly shoehorn the amount from the general fund. “I am very uncomfortable looking at situations where we have offices and departments that are expending more than they’re budgeted,” Snider said. Martyn argued that PCSO has been cooperative in working through the difficulties of rising fuel costs and the tempering of overtime pay. “As Mr. Snider talks about if [a department] is over, they should get a talking-to, I think this counts as a talking-to,” he said. However, Martyn said the solution might not simply lie in the use of contingency fund monies. “Although we have [$656,000] right now, it’s not something we’d like to spend,” he noted. Babeu pressed County Manager Fritz Behring to state publicly that he agreed with PCSO’s proposal to sweep inmate services and jail enhancement funds and for the Board to allot the remainder. “I am comfortable with what we discussed and comfortable that the Sheriff has offered half of the costs to solve this problem,” Behring said. “I think it’s a fair solution, but I want to be clear that this is just a recommendation.”



MARCH 2012

Hoofbeats with Heart Open House March 31 By Zach Richter Today Publications On March 31, 2012 Hoofbeats with Heart, an equine activities and therapies center for children and adults with special challenges, will host its second annual Open House. This year’s event will be extra festive because the center recently received a contract with the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). In an interview with Today Publications, Hoofbeats with Heart owner Kelley Hullihen explained that her ranch, located at 43491 N. Coyote Rd. in Queen Creek, is a multi-faceted diverse operation, which provides medically therapeutic opportunities as well as rides for the public and those who just want to ride to relax. "Our main mission is to provide help for kids with special needs through different types of horse therapy," she said." The program is based on a technique called hippotherapy, where licensed occupational, physical and speech pathology therapy providers use the horses as brain activity stimulants for the patients." According to Hullihen, the

DDD contract has allowed Hoofbeats with Heart to hire an in-house therapist to provide services like occupational and speech therapy. “Previously children were seen through partner therapists and were kind of at their mercy time wise,” she said, “Now we’re able to hire our own and manage the schedule in a timely manner.” “Getting the contract took about a year,” Hullihen continued, “There was a selection process, an inspection process, then we had to make sure we had the right insurance and hire a therapist, but it was worth it we can finally begin taking kids off of the DDD waiting list who need services.” On March 31, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. the Hoofbeats ranch will be filled with games, a petting zoo, pony rides, live music, food and more. Lee Anderson and his horse Concho will be on hand performing feats of extraordinary horsemanship, and Anderson will also be the guest judge for the children’s horse painting competition. The good times will also continue past 6:00 p.m. with a $15 steak dinner available until 8:00 p.m. “Basically a lot of stuff that

Hoofbeats with Heart owner Kelley Hullihen and speech therapist Kristin Timm work with one of their patients at the center in San Tan Valley. will foster a cowboy-type atmosphere,” Hullihen said with a laugh. “What we want to do is offer families an opportunity to come to the farm see what exactly it is we do,” she enthused. “We want to do what we can to foster a sense of

community.” Sponsorship, vendor and volunteer opportunities are available for the Open House, contact Hullihen at or visit for details.

QCHS DECA team on the rise

(continued from pg 15) hand. When it was all said and done, not only had the DECA students raised money for a good cause, they also had an excellent subject to write about for the Community Service Project category of the DECA state (continued from pg 18) conference. AND have a minimum of 90 days of active duty service According to Abrams, two students Alejandro Garcia and Corbin • have doctor’s orders stating he or she needs the aid and assistance Reading presented the program at the state competition and took first of others place. “What they have to do is submit a report of no more than 30 pages • meet specific financial requirements regarding income and assets to the judges,” she said. “They then present it to the judges and explain At Home Solutions is dedicated to improving the quality of life how it was a community service project, what impact it had, things like for seniors, adults with disabilities, and those recovering from illness or that.” injury. We provide caregiving services across the Southeast Valley includA first place win at the state conference earns students a place at ing Gold Canyon, San Tan Valley and Florence. For more information, the yearly International Career Development Conference. Joining Garcia please call 480-289-4900. and Reading with their own first place wins will be Kelly Bitler (Principals of Marketing), Chandler Buffington and Ricardo Flores (Travel & Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit Amounts – 2012 Tourism) and Brynne Ver Hagen (Marketing Management). While QCHS DECA students have made it to Internationals in Monthly Yearly the past, Abrams noted that it has been quite some time since any have Veteran $1,703 $20,436 attended the high profile conference. “Four students made it last year but didn’t go,” she recalled. “It’s Surviving Spouse $1,094 $13,128 [the International Conference] is often the same weekend as prom.” Veteran & Spouse $1,337 $16,044 “This year two seniors are choosing the conference instead,” (Spouse needs care) Abrams continued. “The rest are sophomores a junior and an awesome Veteran & Spouse $2,019 $24,228 freshman.” (Veteran needs care) This year’s International Career Development Conference will be held in Salt Lake City Utah starting April 27.

Veterans aid and benefit

MARCH 2012




CarePRO helps family caregivers of people with dementia Florence, Ariz. -A five-session CarePRO workshop series, designed to develop the skills needed to help caregivers care for someone with dementia or memory loss will be held in locations in Florence in April. Originally piloted in Tucson, CarePRO is part of a nationwide effort to provide evidence-based skills to caregivers. David W. Coon, PhD, an Arizona State University professor who is one of the nation’s leading experts on caregiver support, designed the program based on research done at Stanford University. “We are very excited to be able to expand CarePRO throughout our Chapter,” said Deborah Schaus, Executive Director of the Desert Southwest Chapter. “The opportunity to help even more families and individuals through this remarkable program is exciting.” Workshop attendees will learn about dementia and its impact, how to manage frustration and stress associated with caring for a loved one with dementia or memory loss, how to communicate with their loved ones and how to take better care of their own health. The program also includes personalized telephone “coach” calls that help caregivers implement the new skills introduced in the workshops. To participate, attendees need to provide an average of four hours, or more, of care or supervision per day for a family member with dementia or memory loss. Respite assistance may be available to help caregivers attend the workshops. The program is a partnership of the Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter, Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens, Arizona State University and the Arizona Department of Economic Security. The Alzheimer’s Association is the only national health and social service organization dedicated to research, and to providing support and assistance to people with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and caregivers. Founded in 1980, the association works through a network of more than 80 chapters across the country. There is no charge for the CarePRO program. However, there is a pre-registration process and seating is limited. To learn more about this opportunity, call Mindy at the Alzheimer’s Association at 602-528-0545 Ext. 210 or visit Those looking for something more long term in the Florence area also have the Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver Support Group. This group meets Oct. through May on the first Wed. of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Florence Gardens C-House at 3830 N. Florence Blvd. This support groups provides a forum to share feelings, concerns, information and as a way of supporting and encouraging other caregivers who are dealing with the trials of a loved one’s dementia or similar illness. Solicitations or research projects are not conducted at support group meetings. Contact Martha at 602-528-0545 for more information. 602-528-0545

CarePRO is a new program designed to teach dementia patient caregivers valuable skills. Photo courtesy of

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Seven common questions about being a firefighter By Rich Damante Special to Today Publications On Wed, Feb 22, I had the opportunity to once again visit with the Students of Simonton Elementary School. The topic of the month was Bicycle/Helmet safety, and how to prevent injuries. During our lesson, it came to light that many students, (grades k-5) still do not know their own home addresses, or phone numbers. Each and every day, children all over the country leave to go to school, a friend’s house or the corner store, and carry no identification with them. Would an adult even think about leaving the house with no identification? What can we do to remedy this problem? Each and every parent should teach their children their address and phone numbers. Each child should carry some sort of ID, (even an index card with emergency contact info). Towards the end of each month’s talk, I usually open it up to the children to ask questions. Here are a few of their questions.

1. Do you get paid to be a firefighter, or do you volunteer? Every Rural Metro Firefighter is a paid/career firefighter. We go through years of ongoing training to keep up on the latest EMS and Firefighting techniques. 2. Do you live at the Fire Station? We work rotating 24-hour shifts. We start our shift at 8am, and it does not end until 8am the next day. 3. Do you have to stay awake for all 24 hours? There are days we do not get any sleep at all, but most of the time, yes, we do get to sleep. 4. Do you go out to eat, or do you have a kitchen at your fire station?

We have a kitchen in our station. We buy all our own food. We take turns cooking and preparing our meals. We usually go to the grocery store each morning to buy our food for the day. 5. Do you have to be strong to be a firefighter? You have to be in good enough shape to perform your job duties. Not only does the public rely on us, but also so do our brother firefighters. We are part of a team, and if someone can’t do their job, it affects the whole team. 6. How much air do you have in your air tanks? Each tank carries 30 minutes of air. This is rated at normal, at rest breathing. Wearing gear, working under stressful conditions makes a firefighter breathe harder, so a 30 minute supply of air, is more like a 15 minute air supply 7. How much does your gear weigh? Over the years, the gear has gotten better and better, but not any lighter. A fully “turned out” firefighter with his helmet, coat, pants, boots, gloves, mask, hood and air tank puts an extra 50 to 70 lbs on their body. In the next few months, we will be delivering our annual gun safety, and water safety talks to the students. These are subjects that are near and dear to me. I never want to go on another one of these calls again. Unfortunately, I know, the chances of that are slim. Please, if you own a gun, keep it out of the reach of your children. If you own a pool, fence it in. It is YOUR responsibility to keep your children safe. Don’t leave your child’s safety up to them. For more information on the Hometown Heroes program, contact Damante at

QCFD offering child safety seat inspections By Zach Richter Today Publications According to Safe Kids USA, in 2008, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of injury-related death to children ages 1 to 14 and the second leading cause of injuryrelated death for children under the age of 1. In an ongoing effort to help prevent injury and death related to vehicle crashes with children who are improperly or unrestrained, The Queen Creek Fire Department (QCCFD) is offering child safety seat inspections on a monthly basis to keep children safe while riding in a vehicle. In an email conversation with Today Publications, Captain and resident car seat technician Eric Dendinger of the QCFD expounded on the importance of properly installed safety seats and what parents can expect from a QCFD inspection. “Being a technician isn't just about being able to install a car

seat,” Dendinger noted, “But being able to instruct the parent or guardian on how to install it correctly every time.” Dendinger explained that in order to become a technician one must attend a 40-hour course and a practice safety check event to prove they are up to snuff. “The course covers material to help the candidate understand the importance of child restraint devices, kinetics of accidents and proper installation and instruction techniques,” he said. QCFD has been offering inspections for approximately three years. According to Dendinger, safety seats reduce an infant’s chance of fatal injury by 71 percent and for toddlers by 54 percent. “The most recent statistics show that more than 85 percent of car seats are used or installed incorrectly,” he noted. The next QCFD inspection event will be held on April 19, 2012 at the fire station located at 22407

S. Ellsworth Road. To receive an accurate safety check, caregivers are required to bring their child, car seat and vehicle. Inspections take about 30 minutes and appointments are required and may be scheduled by calling 480-358-3360. “The first thing we'll do is take a look at the seat and how it was installed prior to it arriving at the event so we can determine what topics we'll need to cover during the re-installation to improve on what the parents have already done,” Dendinger explained. “We'll remove the seat from the vehicle and do a thorough inspection, which includes checking for recalls,” he continued,” Next the technician will install the seat instructing the participant for proper installation. Finally, we'll remove the seat and have the owner install the seat to demonstrate proficiency.” For parents unable to attend the upcoming event Dendinger rec-

ommends that parents check their vehicle owner’s manual for installation tips as well as send in the registration that comes with the car seat to ensure they receive updates should a recall be initiated. According to Dendinger, restraints belts need to be tight enough so parents can’t pinch the webbing at the shoulder and retainer clip needs to be at the armpit level. However, the number one tip Dendinger offers parents is be responsible. “Most accidents occur within a mile of the home,” he stressed. “Anytime you travel in a vehicle, make sure your child is properly restrained, even if it's just traveling down the street to school…our children need to know that safety is no accident.” For more information about the Queen Creek Fire Department and to stay updated on child safety seat inspection opportunities, visit or qcfire.



MARCH 2012

3_26_12 Today Publications  
3_26_12 Today Publications