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SE MESA, AZ | 2019

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7 Important Numbers 10 Publishers Note 12 The Essentials 14 Dining Out 17 Monsoon Season 18 Meet the Nibbelinks 20 Best Coffee Shops in Town 22 Enjoy the Outdoors 24 Meet Adam Allison 26 Hidden Gems 27 Golf Courses 28 Wild Horses in the East Valley 30 An interview with a local young resident, Haddie 32 Must Attend Events 35 Parks Around Town 36 Staycation Ideas








Heather Harrison 206.992.2500 DESIGN

Kylie Knapp LeAnn Blake Tom Shaw Alex York Maddy Mehlman







DISCLAIMER: Any articles included in this publication and/or opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the views of N2 Publishing but remain solely those of the author(s). The paid advertisements contained within the BeLocal magazine are not endorsed or recommended by N2 Publishing or the publisher. Therefore, neither N2 Publishing nor the publisher may be held liable or responsible for business practices of these companies.


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Follow us @BeLocal_ SEMesa

@SEMesa BeLocal

FUN FACT Some of your new neighbors: Javelinas, tarantulas, scorpions, coyotes and rattlesnakes.



The Eastmark Splash Pad Photo credit: Len Catalanotto Photography

MESA CITY NUMBERS Police - Emergency 9-1-1 Police - Non-Emergency 480.644.2211 Mesa Sheriff’s Department 602.876.1853 Fire Department 480.644.2101 National Poison Control Center 800.222.1222 Mayor John Giles 480.644.2388 Mesa City Clerk  480.644.2381 City Manager Chris Brady  480.644.2066 Parks and Recreation  480.644.2352 UTILITIES SRP 602.236.9631 Water 480.644.4444 Trash 480.644.2688 Recycling 480.644.2222 Gas 480.644.4444 Cox Cable 623.594.1000 DirectTV  877.841.8936 Century Link  877.776.4405 Century Link Internet  800.475.7526 OTHER Eastmark Visitor Center 480.625.3005 Dignity Health General Hospital 480.410.4500 Department of Motor Vehicles  602.255.0072 Animal Control 480.644.2268 Jenny  867.5309 Mesa Chamber of Commerce 480.969.1307 Mesa Public Library 480.644.3100 Mesa Visitors Bureau  480.827.4700

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4425 S Mountain Rd Ste 103, Mesa, AZ 85212 480.653.5134 2019

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SE MESA! Whether you’ve moved from the next town over or from overseas, settling into a new area can be both exciting and overwhelming. Within the first few months, you will likely be establishing new routines, getting to know local hotspots, looking into local professionals and influencers, and exploring your new community’s vast resources. With so many nuances and so much on your plate from this new change in your life, it can be daunting to think about everything you need to do to get used to your new surroundings.

Phoenix and Tucson, and the 35th-largest city overall in the US. The city is home to 508,958 people as of 2018 according to the Census Bureau, which makes it more populous than major cities such as Minneapolis, St. Louis, or Miami. Mesa is home to numerous higher education facilities including the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University. It is also home to the largest relief airport in the Phoenix area, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, which is located in the southeastern corner of the city.

Enter BeLOCAL SE Mesa. In your hands, you hold the best of the best of everything SE Mesa. From dining and shopping to family outings and attractions, this is your locals’ guide to what you need to know, and what you want to know about this area you now call home; and with so much to offer, you’re going to need a guide to truly understand the communities vast resources, from current residents’ points of view.

Mesa has over 2,280 acres of parkland in the city limits. Its largest is Red Mountain Park which spans 1,146 acres. There is also The Eastmark Great Park which is sprinkled with amenities – a splash pad, play structure, lake with riparian stream, event pavilion, open fields and path and trails. The Eastmark Great Park will grow to reach 96 acres of outdoor fun and is located right in your backyard!

The history of Mesa dates back at least 2,000 years to the arrival of the Hohokam people. The Hohokam, whose name means “All Used Up” or “The Departed Ones”, built the original canal system. The canals were the largest and most sophisticated in the prehistoric New World. Fast forward to 2019 and you’ll find Eastmark, the top-selling master-planned community in Arizona for the fourth consecutive year, and also ranked #7 in the nation among top best-selling master-planned communities, placing it among the national top ten for the third consecutive year.

BeLOCAL SE Mesa gives you the best of the best in the area, written by residents who are experts at their crafts and influencers in their fields. Learn about the hidden gems and insiders’ tips; indulge in the best parks and dining experiences; discover trips to take with the kids, or places to get away from it all; and become versed in top shopping excursions, and important community information.

Mesa is the largest suburban city by population in the United States, the third-largest city in Arizona after 10 BeLocal

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the SE Mesa life! Heather Harrison Publisher 2019


About Me


I’ve always been fascinated with photography and image production. About 6 years ago I found myself on top of a big granite rock in Yosemite National Park with my now wife, and it was at that time I realized I needed to get back into photography to capture the beauty around me. Along with my wife (my assistant, business manager, and best friend) I put my heart into every job, big or small. We do portrait sessions, weddings, corporate events, sports, headshots, senior portraits, architecture, commercial photography, and real estate photography. I hope you enjoy my photos throughout the magazine! - LENNY CATALANOTTO





N2 Publishing – the company behind every BeLocal magazine – believes in a future where everyone is free. This year, we donated 2% of our revenue, or $3 million, to support nonprofits that rescue and rehabilitate victims of sex slavery and forced labor. And it was only possible because of the support of our industry partners and engaged readers. Because of you. TO L EA RN M O RE, VISIT N 2 GIVES .COM


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GROCERY STORES Sprouts Farmers Market 21181 S Ellsworth Loop, Queen Creek, AZ 85142 Open Daily: 7:00AM – 10:00PM  Sprouts always offers the latest trends, innovations and inspiration to keep you moving through your healthy journey!  Fry’s Marketplace  2724 S Signal Butte Rd, Mesa, AZ 85209  Open Daily: 5:00AM - 11:00PM

A favorite of mine is jet skiing Canyon Lake. Provides a short get-away retreat and opportunity to relax and be free. Glenn O., Eastmark Resident

FARMER’S MARKETS Steadfast Farm 5149 Inspirian Parkway, Mesa, AZ 85212 More Info: Steadfast Farm is a two acre bio-intensive market farm in Mesa, AZ.  They grow fruits, vegetables and flowers using organic practices and raise pastured poultry for eggs year round. They offer their produce and eggs through their CSA program, farmers markets and local restaurants. You can now by produce directly from their Farm Store! The Farm at Agritopia  3000 E Ray Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296; 480.988.1238 More Info: The Farm at Agritopia is located in the Agritopia neighborhood on the North West side of Ray Rd. and Higley Rd. It was created not only to preserve urban agriculture on this land, but as a place for the community to gather and enjoy. Go visit the farm to find out what the current season is sprouting. There’s a lot to explore around the farm; from great onsite restaurants, to a peaceful community garden.  Power Road Farmers Market  4011 S Power Rd, Mesa, AZ 85212; 480.497.0706 More Info: They are a small family owned produce and specialty farmers market with a strong commitment to our local farmers and local vendors. For over 50 years they have had the same commitment to our community, and guarantee the best prices you will find for the freshest produce in the valley.

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LOCAL > ESSENTIALS Photo credit: Len Catalanotto Photography

POST OFFICE United States Postal Service 22424 S Ellsworth Loop, Queen Creek, AZ 85142  9855 E Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85209

UPS STORES The UPS Store, 4904 S Power Rd. #103, Mesa, AZ 85212; 480.603.1130 The UPS Store, 9221 E Baseline Rd. #109, Mesa, AZ 85209; 480.380.0700 Staples Ship Center, 1850 S Signal Butte Rd., Mesa, AZ 85209; 480.380.5049 Staples Ship Center, 21168 E Ocotillo Rd., Queen Creek, AZ 85242; 480.358.4979

LIQUOR/WINE STORES BevMo!; 21102 South Ellsworth Loop Road, Queen Creek, AZ 85142; 480.888.7345 Total Wine & More; 2224 E Williams Field Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85295; 480.786.0270

LOCAL FOOD BANKS THAT ACCEPT DONATIONS East Mesa Food Bank 480.986.9827 East Mesa Food Bank appreciates all donations of clothing, furniture, and other household items. Donations can be brought to the food bank, or arrangements can be made for them to pick them up from your home. United Food Bank 480.926.4897 United Food Bank celebrates 35 years as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that provides hunger relief to people in need in the East Valley and eastern Arizona. They collect, acquire, store and distribute food and related commodities to more than 220 partner agencies that serve more than 228,000 people in need across more than 19,500 square miles. Last year, United Food Bank distributed almost 24 million pounds of food providing nearly 19.5 million meals to our neighbors in need.


LOCAL TIP Best coffee around is from this little drive up coffee shop called Gill’s Grounds... beats Starbucks and other chains hands-down! Heather P., Eastmark Resident

PLACES OF WORSHIP IN MESA (not an all-encompassing list)

Focus 314: 4816 S Eastmark Pkwy The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints; 10725 E Point Twenty-Two Blvd Redemption Church Gateway; 8635 E Pecos Rd Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) - East Valley; 1330 S Crismon Rd San Tan Reformed Baptist Church; 7257 South Atwood  Ekklesia Communities Church; 8743 E Pecos Rd Sun Valley Community Church - East Mesa; 3065 S Ellsworth Rd  Spirit of Hope Lutheran Church; 2605 S Signal Butte Rd  Holy Cross Catholic Church; 1244 S Power Rd

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DINING OUT There's a Flavor for Every Palate in SE Mesa BeLocal has you covered with the most useful and comprehensive guide for SE Mesa residents and we are glad to participate in it. Here we put together a list of some of the best eateries around the area. Whether you are looking for a romantic dinner with a sunset view, sushi and drinks with friends, or looking for that family-friendly place for a casual meal with the kids, you will find it here. So give them a try and enjoy all they have to offer. And to check on any additions or updates follow us on Facebook @SEMesaBeLocal or Instagram @BeLocal_SEMesa.

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FUN FACT The Mesa Arts Center won the International Association of Venue Managers’ award for Venue Excellence—over the famed Sydney Opera House.

Morning Glory Brunchery {4545 E McKellips Rd., Mesa; 480-307-9987;} 6:30am – 3:00pm Board and Batten {4012 E. Palm Street, Mesa; 480-641-4148;} Board & Batten prides itself on using the best ingredients possible when preparing their cuisine. Executive Chef Tony Snyder utilizes fresh, locally grown produce and ingredients. Now serving Brunch on Saturdays! They also feature a thoughtfully crafted wine and cocktail menu, and often have happy hour specials during the week.


The Handlebar Diner {5149 S Inspirian Parkway, Mesa; 480-389-9911;} Handlebar Diner is a Chef run Farm to Table Diner located inside Eastmark next to the Community Center. Chef Adam Allison has won Food Network's 'Chopped' and the Handlebar Diner has also previously made the list of Must Have Burgers in AZ, as well as one of the Valleys Newest and Coolest Restaurants!

Angry Crab Shak {2740 S Alma School Rd, Mesa; 480-730-2722;} Considered by many as one of the best seafood joints in town! Enjoy tasty Cajun-style seafood and shellfish in a laid-back and family-friendly atmosphere. Always fresh and delicious! For those who do not love seafood, they can choose from flavorful po’boys, delicious cheeseburgers, and juicy chicken sandwiches.

Culinary Dropout {383 N Gilbert Rd., Gilbert; 480.418.3980;} Culinary Dropout at The Yard is for anyone who loves darn good food and drinks. The restaurant’s menu offers classic American foods, including 36hour pork ribs, beer-battered fish and chips, meatloaf, spicy vegan curry and rainbow trout. Besides food, patrons can play games like ping-pong, cornhole and foosball, watch a game on a giant screen television or listen to live music from local bands.

Joyride Taco House {302 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert; 480-632-8226;} The vibe is cool, with some great 80's music playing in the background (obviously....Joyride). Decor is a cool, funky pop-look without being obnoxiously loud. Highly recommend for that Mexican food fix, or just fun cocktails with friends!


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> CONTINUED Sandbar {1975 E Williams Field Rd, Gilbert; 480-428-8444;} Break out your finest pair of flip-flops because the new Sandbar Mexican Grill in Gilbert is bringing the beach to the East Valley! Known for their spicy Mexican menu, extensive array of tropical drinks and ice-cold cervezas, their dog-friendly patio also features private full-service cabanas and patio games including bocce ball, pool, ping pong, shuffleboard, air hockey, basketball and cornhole, to complete the laidback beach cantina atmosphere.

Blue Wasabi {2080 E Williams Field Rd, Gilbert; 480-722-9250;} Voted "Best Sushi" for four years running (by Arizona Foothills Magazine), this is a very popular destination for sushi and features awesome daily happy hour specials, including their '50% Off Alcoholic Beverages for Blue Sundays'. Arrive early as it gets packed! Crumbl {} Ever experience a world where warm cookies are delivered to your door? Well, look no further! Crumbl delivers until midnight! San Tan Flats {6185 W Hunt Hwy, Queen Creek; 480-882-2995;} This American eatery is known for firing up cookouts in its outdoor seating area, plus live country tunes. It promises all the fun of camping... without having to sleep on the ground. There is plenty of space if you have a large group or if it is just the two of you. Be prepared that on the weekends they typically have live music so it fills up pretty quickly outside. Their outside stage area and tables are super nice and they have a ton of fireplaces to keep people warm on cooler nights. Fun for the whole family! Liberty Market {230 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert; 480-892-1900;} Liberty Market is an award winning restaurant in a historic corner building of Old Town Gilbert. With a deep connection to local farmers and suppliers, the chefs cook up creative, craft cuisine that is recognized both locally and nationally. They feature breakfast, lunch or dinner and hand crafted espresso & craft beverages.

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Photo credit: Len Catalanotto Photography

You've arrived in Arizona (Welcome!) and you keep hearing about monsoon season and haboobs... but you wonder, what does that mean exactly? The word "monsoon” is derived from the Arabic word “mausim,” which means season. It doesn't refer to individual storms, but to a season. In Arizona, monsoon storms are typically experienced during the summer. The National Weather Service has set June 15 as the first day and September 30 as the last day of Arizona's monsoon season. A dust storm, or "haboob", is a type of intense dust storm carried on an atmospheric gravity current, also known as a weather front. People often use haboob to describe the huge, dramatic walls of dust that sometimes blow into Phoenix, but either term could be accurate. Dust and sand storms are common in the Middle East, where the Arabic word "haboob" comes from.

sounds as the late-afternoon skies fill with stunningly beautiful thunderstorms. However, there is a dark side to the beauty of Arizona’s monsoons. When one of these monsoons decides to dump as much as 5 inches of rain in a very short period of time, heavy flooding occurs, so be careful!

DRIVING TIP If you’re caught in a severe storm and can’t drive safely, move completely off the road and stop with the lights off. Take your foot off the brake to make sure your brake lights are not lit. This prevents other drivers from following your tail-lights, thinking you’re still on the road. Never stop in the travel portion of the road.

For travelers and photographers, Arizona’s monsoons create a harsh dichotomy of sights and


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meet the LIFE AS A LOCAL FAMILY LIVING IN EASTMARK It’s always helpful to get a local’s point of view! We asked Jennifer Nibbelink and her family some questions on what it’s like to live here. Tell us about your family.  We were both born and raised in the midwest, but were created for the Arizona sun for sure! We met in college and lived all over the country before we found our forever home. Since then we’ve been raising our two adventurous boys Jude (10) and Case (7) to enjoy all that our great state has to offer. How long have you lived in the area? Where do you live?  We moved to Arizona in 2013 and built our beautiful Eastmark home in 2016. We are in the first phase of this welcoming community and have truly loved being a part of seeing it grow. What brought you here / why did you move here?  Darren is a pastor and we fell in love with the Eastmark area and decided to plant 18 BeLocal

a church right here within one of our local schools. has been growing with the community since November 2012 and we are still in love with everything Eastmark has to offer. What had you heard about Eastmark before you moved here? We heard so many great things about community. Today in most neighborhoods knowing your neighbor is a rarity. We were told that Eastmark promotes getting to know the people living close by planning small local events, creating inviting community space, and developing experiences to share. It hasn’t disappointed and I’m happy to say that I have several neighbors who would (and have) lent a cup of sugar when I forgot to pick some up at the grocery store.

FUN FACT The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is supposedly a very rich gold mine in the Superstition Mountains, but no one knows where it’s hidden. Some people have died searching for it.


LOCAL > POINTS OF VIEW Is there anything that surprised you or that was unexpected when you moved here? It was surprising how quickly we were able to experience the community that was promised. There are so many opportunities to meet neighbors at the park or at an event or at one of the fabulous schools it was almost impossible not to make a friend! What do you like to do as a family on the weekend?  We love our family time on Fridays and Saturdays. The boy’s school, Sequoia Pathfinder at Eastmark, has half days every Friday so we enjoy some early afternoon family time catching a movie, hiking at Usery Park, shopping at the Chandler Fashion Center, playing basketball at the Great Park, or swimming at the community pool. Saturdays are often full with Basketball for our 7-year-old and VEX Robotics tournaments for our 10-year-old. Sundays you can find us all back at Sequoia Pathfinder serv-

ing at and building more community. Where / what do you like to go/do on a date night? We don’t do date nights. We do date days, and I love it! Friday mornings when we drop the kids at school we usually head out to try out a new or favorite breakfast restaurant. Some of our favorites are The San Tan Cafe in Queen Creek for homestyle, Liberty Market in Gilbert, Elly’s Brunch & Cafe in Uptown Plaza (Phoenix), The Henry in Phoenix, First Watch in Tempe, and Worth Takeaway in Mesa. Most of these are in beautiful areas so we often just walk around or shop nearby following that. One time we rented Kayaks and paddled them around Tempe Town Lake- and still made it back in time to pick up the kids from school at 12:30! We’ve also done a few quick hikes- usually on Usery mountain because its a quick drive, beautiful and fairly easy hike. It’s a rainy day (or 120-degree day!). What do you do as a family around town?  When the days are hot we try to get out early and swim at the community pool. Stay inside for the heat of the day and venture out around dinner time. Our kids love exploring Arizona Mills Mall- they have a giant arcade, Sea Life, LegoLand Discovery Center, and the Rain Forest Cafe there in the mall. We also like to visit Fat Cat’s in Gilbert to play arcade style games and catch a movie in comfy seats- the best day to go is $5 Tuesday! There are also a plethora of trampoline parks that we take turns visiting too. Phoenicians know it gets hot here and there are a lot of indoor options, for sure! Do you have any suggestions on how a new family can help assimilate themselves to the area and meet people?  It’s pretty easy here- just show up. Come to a First Friday concert or a holiday event at the Great Park. Attend a PTO meeting at one of the many beautiful schools. Check out one of the churches in the community- show up for a Sunday. There are plenty of opportunities if you’re looking for them.


Are there any day trips you would recommend to someone visiting the area? SO MANY! Our favorite is probably Sedona. It’s about a 2.5 hr drive from Eastmark and has world renown views and accessible trails to hike. We like driving through Oak Creek Canyon, having snacks and coffee at The Indian Gardens on 89A, stopping at Slide Rock state park to cool off in the river, and squeezing in a hike if we have time. There is also excellent food and shopping. We’ve also done a Jeep tour that really taught us a lot about the area- it’s so gorgeous! Where is the best place to learn about the area/history of the area?  There are several beautiful museums in downtown Phoenix. One of our favorite historical stops is Heritage square. They’ve preserved some historical buildings there and built some newer modern amenities around to keep the kids busy. There is easy parking in the parking Garage and they often hold festivals or events there – we like the Phoenix Flea that comes out a few times a year at Heritage Square. We’ve also visited Memorial Park that has dozens of memorials to everything from Fallen Figherfighters to K9 duty memorials. Has there ever been a moment or time when you didn’t want to live here?  Nope! We’ve lived a lot of places and we’re never leaving this area!! Where is the best place to watch the sunrise/sunset, in your opinion?  Everywhere. Arizona has THE BEST sunsets. Where is the best place to go where you feel most like a local?  Just step outside and say hi to a neighbor, look up at the beautiful mountains, and listen to the kids play. You’re home! If you had a recommendation of a little-known “locals” spot to go to, what would it be?  Superstition Ranch Market in Mesa has bottom line prices on fruits and Vegetables. A few weeks ago I saw 2/$1 Organic Strawberries in 1 lb clams! BeLocal 19


BEST COFFEE SHOPS IN TOWN Gill’s Grounds {4011 S. Power Rd., Mesa - in the parking lot of Vertuccio Farms;} Grounds are locally roasted from Higher Grounds Roastery in Gilbert and the coffee is ah-maz-ing! Veteran-owned family business, double drive up, coffee + tea, iced or hot, and no long lines. A local favorite go-to for coffee! The Nile Coffee Shop {105 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201; 480.352.9882; The Nile Coffee Shop is the front of the historic Nile Theater in Downtown Mesa, Arizona.  The shop opened in August of 2015 and has been going strong ever since. With a vegan food menu, locally roasted coffee drinks, and in-house baked pastries – The Nile Coffee Shop is a must for anyone looking for a bite to eat and a good cup of coffee while in the downtown area.  What makes them unique?  They are a live music venue as well.  The Nile Theater and The Nile Coffee Shop host a wide array of live entertainment events from jazz bands to wrestling. Bergies Coffee Roast House  {309 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234; 480.497.3913;} Bergies was founded in 2008 by the Bergeson family in Gilbert, Arizona. The actual store located in a cottage in the historic Heritage District Of Gilbert, opened its doors in early 2009. The cottage itself was occupied by the homesteading Clare family until the 1960s. They are honored to be a stop on the official historic walking tour in our district. You can read more about their homesteaders on the bronze plaque on the front of their building. They hope the Clare family would be proud of their effort in their outdoor space to create a garden oasis for our community.

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FUN FACT The Chicago Cubs host their training camp here every year during the spring.



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Salt River Kayaking and Trail Riding on Horses {Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch Kayaking & Tubing; 13020 N Bush Hwy, Mesa; 480.984.2194;}  Take a two hour unguided kayak trip down the scenic Salt River. Includes kayak rental, paddle, PFD & air conditioned shuttle back to starting point.  Or experience the “Old West” the real cowboy way – on horseback. The Peralta Trail {Peralta Rd, Gold Canyon; 480.610.3300; arizonahikersguide. com/all-hikes/hike-peralta-trail-superstition-wilderness }   Peralta Trail to Fremont Saddle is a 5.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Apache Junction, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.  Canyon Lake {Canyon Lake Marina and Campground; 16802 N.E. Highway 88, Tortilla Flat; 480.288.9233;}  Of the four lakes created through the damming of the Salt River, Canyon is the smallest, but arguably the most picturesque. Looking to lounge lakeside, drop a line and lure, or zoom around on a jet ski? The lake offers visitors a variety of scenery, services, and activities to choose from... all guests can peacefully coexist here. Salt River Tubing {9200 North Bush Highway, Mesa, AZ 85215; 480.984.3305;} Tubing down the Salt River is an Arizona tradition. Here’s the 22 BeLocal

Photo credit: Len Catalanotto Photography

FUN FACT The Hohokam Indians were the first settlers to the area. They were followed by the Mormons.

short version: You park your vehicle, take a bus to a higher elevation of the river, rent inner tubes, and float down the river. Families, adventure groups, college students — all kinds of people from all walks of life join this floating party. Rolls OHV Area, East Side {Getting there: From east side of Phoenix, take Highway 87 north. Just before mile marker 204, turn right on Forest Rd 143. Drive east 0.8 miles to staging area on right. Staging area can get quite crowded on weekends.} A network of trails that are open to anyone with a 4-wheel drive, UTV, ATV, Dirt bike, Mountain bike or anything else you want to take through there!  It goes from very rocky (North Entrance/ staging area) to very sandy once you get to the Saguaro Coves (just to the east of Saguaro Lake).  There is another area to gain access to this same riding area to the south at Butcher Jones, which is the very northern part of Saguaro Lake.  This area is very sandy.  Truly amazing to see actually.   More Info: For current conditions; Tonto N.F., Mesa Ranger District. 480.610.3300 2019


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LOCAL RESTAURANT BUSINESS OWNER AND CHEF, WINNER OF CHOPPED, HUSBAND AND FATHER OF TWO Local resident and professional chef, Adam Allison, shares his story and why he chose to operate his business at Eastmark. Adam recently won Food Network’s “Chopped”, besting a personal chef, a country club chef and a chef de partie of Empellón in New York City.

FUN FACT The Arizona Temple is located in Mesa and one of the largest attractions in the state. An extravagant Easter Pageant is held at this venue every year.

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Tell us about your family. Do you have children? Two stepchildren:  Bronson, 17 and Mia, 10  What do you do professionally? I am a Restaurant Owner/Chef.  What are your favorite hobbies or activities? I don’t really have much time for activities however I enjoy movies and music. 2019


Tell us about your recent achievement on “Chopped”. What led to you appearing on the show and to your win? What would you like the readers to know about this accomplishment? I’ve watched the show Chopped since I began cooking. So it was surreal to be on the show, in the studio, and to actually have won it was amazing! Where were you raised? What schools/college/university did you attend? I was raised in Pennsylvania until I was 13 and I moved to Phoenix and have lived here almost 25 years. I attended Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale.  Where did you move here from? What neighborhood do you live in and how long have you lived there? I currently live in Ahwatukee and moved to Ahwatukee 25 years ago and have lived here off and on.  What is your favorite part about operating a business in SE Mesa?  I love having the diner in Eastmark because it is such a cool new community and I get to meet new people all the time. It’s a great place!

FUN FACT The scenes at the fictional Waterloo in the movie “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” are scenes filmed at both the San Dimas Raging Waters and Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa.


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hidden gems Mystery Castle

Mystery Castle Where: 800 E Mineral Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85042; 602.268.1581  When: Reopens on October 3rd More Info: Description: Mystery Castle is located in the city of Phoenix, Arizona, in the foothills of South Mountain Park. It was built in the 1930’s by Boyce Luther Gulley for his daughter Mary Lou Gulley. Created by a father for his princess, this unique stone mansion features 18 rooms and 13 fireplaces. The castle is also listed in the Arizona Historic Register and is a Pride of Phoenix Award winner. 

Gilbert Riparian Centennial Observatory Where: Located at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve (next to the Gilbert Public Library) When: View the Stars Friday + Saturday, Sunset to 9:30 Cost: Free. Donations welcome, suggested donation $5/family or $3/adult. More Info: Description: Fun for the whole family! Come view the stars through an incredibly powerful 16” Meade LX200R telescope. Observatory staff choose the objects available for viewing that evening, and there are educational videos on the patio about stars, astronomy and our galaxy. Every 2nd Friday is a Public Star Party, and private viewings are available by reservation. Goldfield Ghost Town Where: 4650 N. Mammoth Mine Rd, Apache Junction, AZ 85119; 480.983.0333  More Info: Description: Visit Goldfield Ghost Town today! Walk down Main Street, explore the many shops and historic buildings. Tour the historic Mammoth Gold Mine and visit the Goldfield Museum. Pan for gold then take a ride on Arizona’s only narrow gauge train. You’ll also get to witness an old west gun fight performed by the famous Goldfield Gunfighters! Spend a fun-filled day, rich in wild west history! The newest attraction at Goldfield Ghost Town is their Superstition Zipline!

Salt River Wild Horses More Info:  Description: The Salt River wild horses are the historic and majestic creatures roaming the lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest in Mesa, Arizona. They are the pride of the community, a favorite subject of photographers and the icon of the wild, free spirit of Arizona and the American West.

FUN FACT The name ‘Mesa’ stems from the Spanish word for table. It gets its name because of its distinctive table-top shape. Prior to being called Mesa the city was known as Zenos.

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GOLF COURSES Few would dispute that Arizona is one of the world’s premier golf destinations. Arizona’s golf courses are as spectacular and diverse as its landscape. This golf course guide to Arizona has been designed to provide you with information that is pertinent to the golfer that wants to stay close to Augusta Ranch Golf Club home... the Southeast Valley of Phoenix.

Red Mountain Ranch Country Club

Longbow Golf Club Superstition Springs Golf Club Arizona Golf Resort Las Sendas Golf Course San Marcos Golf Course

FUN FACT Celebrities from Arizona include Emma Stone, John McCain, Stevie Nicks, Alice Cooper, Chester Bennington, Joe Jonas, Linda Ronstadt, Casar Chavez, Barbara Eden and Lynda Carter.

Greenfield Lakes Golf Course Toka Sticks Golf Club Trilogy Golf Club at Power Ranch Arizona Grand Golf Resort Ocotillo Golf Club


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Denim and Diamonds... if you like country music and dancing, this place is a MUST! Manda J., SE Mesa Resident



you spot them, a great place to start would be the Coon’s Bluff Campground. A short walk to the river from the parking lot area may yield a sighting.  If not, try walking east along the river about a quarter mile into the desert area.  If it’s cool out, they usually walk through here any hour of the day.  If you feel like you want to hike more, just keep walking… you will likely see them horsing around somewhere close by!  


Keep in mind that the hotter the weather gets, the more likely they will be near water. Of utmost importance to note is that experts recommend staying at least 50 feet away from the horses. Although they seem friendly, they do like to “horse around” and sometimes become aggressive, so it’s imperative to follow this rule. These horses are fast runners and quite unpredictable.  If possible, stay near a small tree so that you have a buffer zone between you and them. Most importantly, please DRIVE SLOWLY in the area. The horses are known to dart out into the road and sadly, there have been numerous horse fatalities in recent years.

So, where is the best spot to see them? A few locations to try are Coon’s Bluff, Phon D. Sutton, the Goldfield recreation area and the Blue Point recreation area. While it’s hard to guarantee a sighting at any given time, and it might take a few visits before

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is a remarkable organization dedicated to ensuring the protection and humane management of the Salt River Horses. Please visit their website at for more information about their mission, viewing guidelines, and volunteer opportunities.

Written by Eastmark residents, Diane and Lenny Catalanotto Photo Credit: Lenny Catalanotto Photography

he East Mesa area is truly an extraordinary place! We are so fortunate to have such beautiful landscape and recreational activities nearby.  Did you know that there are dozens of wild horses, also known as the “Salt River Horses,” roaming near the Salt River on any given day? These majestic creatures live and wander throughout the 14 miles or so of the Lower Salt River and the desert area surrounding it. 


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an interview with a local young resident, Hey kids! We hope you are excited to be moving into SE Mesa as there are so many cool things to do and see! You may be wondering what those things are, so we asked one of our young residents for you: Haddie is 11 years old and LOVES living in Eastmark. Read on to find out why and what she likes to do around town.

How long have you lived in the area? What part of town do you live in? Almost 2 years, Eastmark in SE Mesa.

student council president next year as I love organizing and leading things.

What do you like most about living here? I like that I live so close to my friends that I can ride my bike there, and look at all the pretty trees and plants on the way there.

Where do you like to go around town? What are your favorite places to visit? Sun Splash is my favorite place in the summer. The Orange Monster in Eastmark is where I meet all my friends and sometimes we stop at the Handle Bar restaurant to grab a milkshake. I love hiking and Hole in the Rock is a favorite.

What school do you go to? What grade are you in? Sequoia Pathfinder Academy at Eastmark. Going into 6th grade this fall. What is your favorite subject and why? Math is my favorite subject because it’s like solving a puzzle. What are your favorite hobbies or interests? I enjoyed acting with my previous home school friends at AZ Homeschool Theatre Group. I love all mediums of art and turning trash into treasure. I was a class representative for student council. I plan to run for

What would you like to tell people who are visiting or new to the area? That the weather is great all year round and there’s always something fun going on somewhere close by. Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your family? I have 2 brothers, Zeke (10) and Daniel (3) and a little sister, Tovah (7). I have my own dog, a little 5 lb Maltese named Zeus. I was born and raised in Williston, ND, and miss all my friends and family there, but I’m hoping they all move here to AZ.

FUN FACT The canals that were built in this city are considered to be some of the largest and most advanced in the prehistoric New World.

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Customized Health & Wellness Solutions G-Fit Solutions I 253.377.0344

REAL PEOPLE... REAL GOALS.. REAL RESULTS G-Fit Solutions, LLC is Arizona's premier personal fitness provider

Glenn Odonal, Owner

We've assembled a comprehensive set of fitness and wellness service professionals dedicated to helping YOU achieve and maintain YOUR fitness goals, on YOUR schedule, in YOUR home. Personal Training, Group Training, Community Fitness Programming, Yoga, Pilates, Massages, Dance Fitness, Meal Prep and more...

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Made to order baked goods. Homemade with only the freshest ingredients nothing artificial, just love!

323.383.2220 2019

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FUN FACT Mesa is the 38th largest city in the U.S., 3rd largest in Arizona, and 2nd largest in the Phoenix-Mesa metro area. Mesa covers 133 square miles inside a 21-city region with a population of 4.4 million, projected to be 6 million by 2030.


Photo credits: Len Catalanotto Photography

“The Art of Video Games” When: June 16 - September 29 Where: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004 More Info: Description: Coming to you from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, this traveling exhibition provides an artistic depiction of video game evolution. From the different technologies and methods of storytelling to the changing aesthetic of video game graphics, this exhibit takes in the full scope of where video games started and where they are today. Admission is $15, but free on Wednesday evenings and First Fridays. Fourth of July Event When: July 4, 2019; 7:30 - 9:00PM Where: Eastmark Great Park, 5100 S. Eastmark Parkway,  Mesa AZ 85212 More Info: events/612636015906560/ Description: The theme this year is ‘56: a Rock ‘n Roll Revue LIVE’ so put your glad-rags on and grab your best gal or guy, and get ready to ROCK! You’ll not believe the incredible fireworks show; open to the public!  Enjoy a festive night with your neighbors and bring along your blankets and low back chairs for an evening of fun and music under the stars with fireworks galore. 32 BeLocal

Home & Landscape Show When: July 19-21, 2016; 10:00 - 6:00PM Where: State Farm Stadium, 1 Cardinals Dr., Phoenix, AZ 85305 More Info: Description: “Arizona’s Best Home Show” Voted Arizona’s best home show and nationally rated, this is your chance to exhibit with the biggest and the best! With more than 1,000 vendor booths and more than 28,000 attendees they are also Arizona’s most visited Home Show event. Whether you’re a company looking to exhibit or a homeowner looking to attend, there’s always something new to see and do at the best Home Shows in Arizona.

Eastmark Parkway Schools Color Run



LOCAL TIP I love the Queen Creek Olive Mill. My

Motorcycles on Main When: First Friday of every month*; 6:00 - 10:00PM Where: Main Street, Downtown Mesa   Mesa, AZ 85201  More Info: Description: Motorcycles on Main is a family friendly event that happens every 1st Friday of the month. Roads are closed to car traffic and open to motorcycles so you can cruise down Main Street, enjoy a fabulous show of motorcycles, or park and show your bike. Motorcycles on Main is a shine and show event that offers live music on the main stage, beer gardens, vendors, food and a rockin’ good time! *due to the summer heat, this event is not held in July & August  Neighborhood Boutique at Eastmark  When: March + November each year Where: Eastmark Great Park, 5100 S. Eastmark Parkway,  Mesa AZ 85212 More Info: Description: Twice a year the residents in Eastmark host a craft + vendor boutique with businesses from the surrounding areas. Facepainting, balloon animals + DJ, plus over 50+ vendors with handmade items like jewelry and soaps, baked goodies and unique clothing, plus your favorite direct marketing brands. Gilbert Days Parade When: November 23, 2019; 8:30 - 11:30AM   (Rain Date will be December 7th; 8:30AM)  Where: Gilbert Heritage District, Gilbert Road, Gilbert, AZ 85233 More Info: parks-and-recreation/special-events-and-permits/gilbert-days/ gilbert-days-parade Description: The Gilbert Days Parade is a long tradition of being the premier event for Gilbert Days. The parade is a celebration of Gilbert’s heritage. Spectators line up along Gilbert Rd to experience the pageantry, music, and fun! The 2019 parade theme is “Clowning Around in Gilbert”  All parade entries are encouraged to use the “Clowning Around in Gilbert”  theme within their parade entry/float.  First Friday Concerts When: Spring and Fall Where: Eastmark Great Park Event Pavilion More Info: Description: Grab your neighbors and bring along your blankets and low back chairs for an evening of fun and music under the stars.  Food trucks will be on site and the Handlebar Diner serves food and drink!  Picnics and coolers are OK to bring as well. First Friday concerts are free, family-friendly and open to the public. For the safety of your pet and those around you, please leave Fido at home.  Parking is limited, so walking, biking, or carpooling are your best bets.   2019

husband and I like to go there for a breakfast date after we drop off our son at school. Be sure to try the lemon ricotta pancakes. And while you’re there, you can pick up some gourmet staples like fruit infused olive oil and vinegar for your own kitchen. Kimberly M., Eastmark Resident

Barrett-Jackson Auction When: January 11 - 19, 2020 Where: Westworld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85260                   More Info: Description: For the last 47 years, enthusiasts from all over the world have flocked to the Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions. Widely regarded as a barometer of the collector car industry, the auctions have evolved over the years into world-class automotive lifestyle events where thousands of the world’s most sought-after, unique and valuable automobiles cross the block in front of a global audience — in person and on live national and international television.  Waste Management Phoenix Open When: January 27 - February 2, 2020 Where: TPC Scottsdale, 17020 North Hayden Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85255 More Info: Description: Played in North Scottsdale and annually sporting the largest crowds on the PGA TOUR, the FBR Open has gained legendary status on TOUR for being unlike any other golf tournament.  Eastmark Parkway Schools Color Run When: January 25, 2020 Where: 10100 E Ray Rd, Mesa, AZ 85212  More Info: Description: The Eastmark Parkway Schools Color Run (“EPSCR”) is a color run organized by BASIS Mesa Boosters Club (“BMBC”), American Leadership Academy Parent Student Organization (“ALA PSO”) and Sequoia Pathfinder Academy at Eastmark Parent Teacher Organization (“SPAE PTO”), located on “Eastmark Parkway” in east Mesa. The BMBC, ALA PSO and the SPAE PTO wanted to do something to further the community feel and help raise funds for their schools. Hence, the idea of a color run was born! The funds raised from the Color Run go towards crucial school programs, specialized learning environments and teacher funds.

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Celebration of Pets When: Spring Where: Eastmark Great Park Event Pavilion More Info: Description: It’s a celebration of our four-legged friends!  Always in the Spring, held at the Eastmark Great Park, this event promises an afternoon of fun for the entire family. Past events have included a DJ, treat trucks, pet photos, a pinata party, even a pet parade! This yearly event never disappoints and proceeds go to a worthwhile animal nonprofit.

LOCAL TIP I enjoy shopping at Sprouts on Ellsworth

The Ostrich Festival When: March each year (Date to Be Determined) Where: Tumbleweed Park, 745 E Germann Rd, Chandler, AZ 85286 More Info: Description: The Ostrich Festival is a community family event featuring live ostrich races and ostrich-themed activities, national and regional entertainment, carnival midway, spectacular food, upscale arts & crafts, a Saturday morning parade and much more. In addition to bringing in nationally known musical groups, the festival also features some of the most popular local and regional talent in the Southwest. There are also performances by dozens of local community groups throughout the weekend performing music, dance, and more. 

Rd in Queens Creek for my meal prep items. The staff is both friendly and professional! Glenn O., Eastmark Resident

Country Thunder When: April 16-19, 2020 Where: 20585 E Water Way, Florence, AZ 85132 More Info: Description: Country Thunder is the premier Country Music Festival to roll into Arizona for the past 23 years. Country Thunder performers have included huge country artists such as Miranda Lambert, Toby Keith, Jason Aldean, Big & Rich, and Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen only to name a few. Country Thunder’s lineup will keep on dazzling spectators and exceeding expectations, so grab a cowboy hat, a RV or tent if you want to camp, and come and enjoy the world’s premier country acts with the camaraderie of over 100,000 fans.  Fourth of July Event at Eastmark

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around town


Get a true Western feel by visiting San Tan Flats. Live music, outdoor firepits, s’mores, dancing, pool

Eastmark Great Park 5115 Inspirian Parkway, Mesa, AZ 85212 More Info: eastmark-great-park Months ago, Eastmark’s development team hosted a focus group with kids to learn what they wanted most in a community park. They responded with creative ideas about swings, climbing, adventure, and imagination. Based on their feedback, the designers created something totally new in the East Valley, and totally cool for families – the Orange Monster.

Bella Via Dog Park 4700 S Veneto, Mesa, AZ 85212  More Info: http://www.bellaviaca. com/page/13407~97790/Amenities

Bella Via Park S Via Toscana, Mesa, AZ 85212  Great little community park that has swing sets slide and a castle kids can climb on. Great place for family photos!

Countryside Park 3130 E Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85204  More Info: https://www.mesaparks. com/parks-facilities/parks/ countryside-park Park offering baseball fields, basketball and volleyball courts, a dog park and picnic areas.

tables… fun for the whole family! Kerry P., SE Mesa Resident


Freestone Park 1045 E Juniper Ave, Gilbert, AZ 85234 More Info: A community park on 88 acres with a recreation center, fields, mini amusement park, a skate park and fishing. 

Augusta Ranch Park 9455 E Neville Ave, Mesa, AZ 85209  Nice little park with playground equipment, ramada with picnic tables, walking paths and grassy areas.

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LOCAL > ATTRACTIONS Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale {480-585-4848; High Season Rate: $520/night; Summer Rates: $189/night including a $50 daily resort credit}

The Phoenician Resort & Spa, Scottsdale {480-941-8200; High-Season Rate: $664/night; Summer Rate: $196/night} This is a gorgeous resort located at the foot of Camelback Mountain.  Perfectly situated between both Scottsdale Fashion Square and the Biltmore, there is great shopping and dining within a short distance.   The Phoenician is a AAA Five Diamond resort with incredible amenities and activities. As for activities, a few that stand out are Kids Night Owls, Cocktail Mixology and morning yoga. With HOT temps, there are plenty of “cool” options at the pool including a kid’s zone with a twisting waterslide, treehouse and a splash pad. With cool drinks for adults and fun for the kids this is a recipe for fun for all! The Hermosa Inn, Paradise Valley  {602-955-8614; High-Season Rate: $499/night; Summer Rate: $149/night including a daily $25 food and beverage credit} The Hermosa Inn is a hideaway that many do not know exists. Located in Paradise Valley this AAA Four Diamond luxurious, historic boutique hotel sits in the shadow of Camelback Mountain and is set on 6 acres of beautiful desert. It boasts 43 charming rooms and casitas that are full of amenities and loaded with history. Built in the 1930s by artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee as his private get away it was later opened to guests. His original artwork hangs on the walls today. The hotel is minutes from tremendous shopping and restaurants not to mention golf and sports venues as well. Because of the heat, leaving the resort may not top on your list. Not a problem, because there is plenty to do on site. Take a self-guided art tour through the original work of Alonzo “Lon” Megargee as well as other work by cowboy artists. Walk through the beautiful gardens and landscape and feel like you are far from home.  Just wanting to keep cool, park yourself at the pool and enjoy sipping cold drinks out of plastic pouches somewhat like Capri Sun drinks for kids. Summer specials provide pool side treats and two welcome cocktails when you arrive. While there treat yourself to dinner at Lon’s at the Hermosa (a Phoenix favorite) or Lon’s Last Drop for smaller plates and drinks. 2019

The AAA Five Diamond Resort is in the midst of renovation but is still a great place to staycation. With six pools, an ultra-luxurious spa, a fantastic fitness center, and five different restaurants, The Fairmont won’t disappoint. This summer the resort is offering a Superhero Summer experience. Kids can enjoy all things Superhero including capes, masks, games, Superhero missions, zipline rides and a Superhero Training Academy. Your family is sure to enjoy other activities like photos, dive in movies and even fireworks. The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, Scottsdale  {480-624-1000; High Season Rate: $500/night; Summer Staycation Rate: $169/night} The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa is in North Scottsdale by Kierland Commons where there is no shortage of shopping, dining and entertainment.  For golfers there are 3 courses at Kierland Golf Club. If staying cool is your goal, head to the Adventure Waterpark that has a 900-foot lazy river, a 110-foot waterslide called the FlowRider, and an adult pool with cabanas to rent for added indulgence.   The Hyatt at Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale  {480-444-1234; High Season Rate: $400/night; Summer Staycation Rate: $144/night} The Hyatt Gainey Ranch has been a Valley fixture for years. Set in Scottsdale it isn’t far from both Scottsdale Fashion Square and the Scottsdale Quarter. With a 2.5-acre water playground, including ten pools, a sand beach and a 3-story high speed waterslide, you can’t avoid fun while keeping cool. Make sure to walk through a 14” aqueduct that crosses over six of the pools! On site recreation includes a 28-foot climbing wall and giant games like Connect 4 and Jenga.  Looking for a unique experience? Book a gondola ride that takes you through the waterways of the resort while being serenaded by classically trained singers who will treat you to an Italian serenade. There are 4 restaurants and an added perk during summer.... kids eat dinner free with a paying adult!

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Intentional Thoughtful Estate Planning and Business Law 480.577.8584 38 BeLocal


ENROLL NOW! Limited Space Available!

Award Winning VEX Robotics Club

“We really like the community feel we get from the school. With STEAM we feel our kids can explore and learn new things every day.” - Shirley Moya, Mother

“The STEAM education at SPAE has really helped our children develop strong critical thinking skills, creativity, and problem-solving strategies. We love how STEAM encourages our children to think outside the box through fun hands-on learning and collaboration. Our children see themselves as creators and problem solvers and are not afraid to take risks in their learning.” - Krysten Kasper, Mother

“In 2015, we visited Sequoia Pathfinder Academy at Eastmark looking for a school for our three kids and what we found instead was a family. We love how “Every child is known.” The teachers and staff are so supportive and just all around amazing!!!” - Liz Zambrano, Mother

“Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about the dual-language program at SPAE. My daughter is so engaged with the learning and empowered with confidence that she can master new skills. The skills my daughter has learned have enhanced her native language learning too. And I’m glad she has the opportunity to gain an appreciation for cultural diversity in addition to the language skills.” - Camille Huber, Mother

After School Programs Karate | Chess | Kinetic Kids Fitness | Tumbling | Spanish

Modified Year-Round Schedule Two weeks of Fall Break, Winter Break, and Spring Break!

Kindergarten through 6th Grade | Tuition-Free Public Charter School in Eastmark Hands-On, Interactive Learning Environment | Project-Based, STEAM classrooms Growth Mindset School | Small Class Sizes | Highly Qualified Teachers Full Time Health Assistant | Brand New Playground | Uniform Dress Code Free and Reduced Cost Meals for Qualifying Students

Call us at 480.351.8070 | Email us at Website: 2019

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AZ_SEMesa Be Local_Aug

Exclusively for Children and Teens

∙ Comfortable, safe environment ∙ We welcome parents in treatment rooms ∙ Sedation for comfort ∙ Accepting many insurances ∙ Convenient, modern, state-of-the-art practice

Dr. Ryan Blake Pediatric Specialist

4425 South Mountain Rd, Suite 109 Mesa, AZ 85212 480.676.1517

Free insulated water bottle when you stop by for a visit and take a tour!

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SE Mesa BeLocal  

SE Mesa BeLocal