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Nov. 17 – 30, 2012

High profile crimes rock Chandler

CUSD override fails at polls Heumann, Sellers continue on Council

by Miriam Van Scott

A barrage of crimes in Southern Chandler over the past few months includes vandalism, a series of car arsons, a shooting at Serrano’s restaurant in downtown Chandler, a spate of home burglaries and even a serial flasher who exposes himself to women along the canal path near Elliot and Dobson roads. With some cases yet to be solved, it’s disturbing for many in the SanTan Sun community, but the police department doesn’t believe it’s a call for alarm.

by Laurie Fagen

While some ballots are still being counted, the school budget override will not go into effect, and two incumbent councilmembers will return to Chandler City Council.

‘No’ to early override issue

Crime stats

According to the website, a realestate neighborhood search site run by Location, Inc., a source of location-based data and risk analysis information for corporate users nationwide, Chandler

EVIDENCE: Police continue to search for suspects in a series of car fires between Southern Chandler and Mesa. Submitted photo see Crime page 6

GOBBLE GOBBLE: Brighton Owens, 8, of Chandler, watches three turkeys his family raised from chicks on their urban farm. The two toms and one hen, acquired in April, will be on the family dining table this Thanksgiving. STSN photo

Voters in last week’s general election said no to Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) No. 80 Question, a $28 million budget override over seven years for the CUSD to help recoup some of the $36 million in cuts experienced during the recession over the last four years. Of ballots counted at press time, 38,081 voted “no” for the override with 34,333 saying “yes,” a 52 to 47 percentage difference. However, CUSD spokesman Terry Locke says the current maintenance and operation override authorization is in place through June 2014, and that the District put the question on the ballot before it expired. “We went to voters one year early in an attempt to better plan for the future and to save money by being included on a general election ballot where the costs are spread out among more entities that have ballot items,” Locke explains. “There is a possibility of asking voters again in 2013 prior to the authorization’s see Election results page 5

Bush pilots soar south for adventure by K. M. Lang

Flying south of the border in a private plane? Chances are, there’s a copy of “Airports of Mexico and Central America” in the cockpit. Since the 1970s, the book’s publisher, Baja Bush Pilots, has given adventurous flyers the tools they need to explore Mexico and beyond. Today the company, based in downtown Chandler, provides pilots with information, travel opportunities and, of course, the book that started it all, now in its 22nd edition. “It’s the only English-written guide there is for Mexico and Central America,” explains Jack McCormick, who owns Baja Bush Pilots with his wife, Karaen. While Jack can’t say just how many volumes are in the hands of pilots, he does know it numbers in the thousands. “Almost anybody who travels south of the border by private plane, whether it be large or small, has one of my books in the cockpit.” Arnold Senterfitt, who began mapping out-of-the-

way Mexican airports in 1965, founded Baja Bush Pilots. The McCormicks purchased the organization in 1996, and it’s since grown from 400 to 4,000 members, whose benefits include travel alerts, forums, information on foreign regulations, fuel and insurance discounts, and group events. “We have a very large and loyal base,” Jack explains. “Everybody pays $50 a year to be able to talk to me, listen to me, get my information – as well as have me lead them on our group trips.” Jack, who operates several businesses from his Boston Street offices, including the estimating software company McCormick Systems, guides five or so trips each year in his Twin Commander aircraft. A two-week tour in January will take pilots from Texas through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean, finishing in Florida. Jack also leads an annual whale-watching event. see Bush pilots page 10

HELPING HAND: Chandler-based Baja Bush Pilots pitch in when tragedy strikes south of the border. The group can transport 1,400 meals in a load, and typically delivers 200 to 300 loads during its post-hurricane humanitarian missions. Submitted photo


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8 Valley Locations in the Southeast Valley: Ahwatukee, Chandler, Fulton Ranch, Gilbert, Gilbert Gateway, Queen Creek, San Tan and Tempe

Veterans to ‘park it’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . community . . . Page 4 Subaru Chandler drives ‘boutique’ feel . . business . . . . . . Page 18 Life skills through golf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . youth . . . . . . Page 28 Thanksgiving feasts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . neighbors . . . . Page 41 Children’s choir sets auditions . . . . . . . . . arts . . . . . . . Page 56

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More Community . . . . . . . . . 1-17 Business . . . . . . . . . . 18-25 Youth . . . . . . . . . . . . 26-34 Opinion . . . . . . . . . . 39-40 Neighbors . . . . . . . . 41-50 Spirituality . . . . . . . . 51-54 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55-61 Directory . . . . . . . . . 62-64 Classifieds . . . . . . . . 65-66 Where to eat . . . . . 67-72

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4 Bedrooms / 2 Bath, 2,183 sq. ft. Dazzling interior featuring granite counters in kitchen and baths, beautiful new flooring with travertine look 18” tile and plush carpet. This home has been remodeled and is ready for move in. 2 car garage, fresh interior and exterior paint, it’s a beauty! Near Tempe and Kyrene’s best schools and Tempe Prep. Great neighborhood! Offered at $249,000.

4 Bedrooms / 2 Bath, 1,703 sq. ft. Former model home w/all the right upgrades. This lovely home features: family room w/fireplace, open island kitchen w/black appliances and upgraded cabinets, tile floors, spacious master suite and nicely landscaped backyard. Absolutely nothing to do in this beautiful, clean and well maintained home. Located in a beautiful neighborhood w/parks and greenbelts. Offered at $125,000.

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Nov. 17 – 30, 2012

Veterans to ‘park it’

Veterans Oasis Park Submitted photo

Military veterans and their families have the opportunity to bond in a pleasant local setting during Veterans Volunteer Day, from 9 a.m. to noon Sat., Nov. 17 at Veterans Oasis Park, a green facility named to honor their service and sacrifice. The event is sponsored by the Chandler Environmental Education Center (EEC). The public is invited to enjoy the day while giving back to the community through environmentally based service projects. Volunteer tasks may include park clean-up activities, gardening, recycling, or basic landscape maintenance. All ages are welcome; however, those younger than 14 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Veterans, their family and friends, and other volunteers are asked to check in first at the EEC, 4050 E. Chandler Heights Rd. To RSVP, call 480-782-2894. Veterans Oasis Park is open 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m. daily. For more information about the Environmental Education Center or Veterans Oasis Park, call 480-782-2890, email to, or visit

Chandler’s ‘GO’ is good Safe Place for youths Chandler’s fiscal outlook is bright, says Fitch Ratings, which once again awarded the general obligation (GO) and excise tax revenue obligations at AAA with a “stable” outlook. “Fitch views positively the historic conservatism of the city’s planning,” according to the rating agency’s report. It also notes the city’s debt levels are moderate and “conservative fiscal management and strong performance have generated substantial reserves.” Bond ratings on outstanding debt are reviewed by credit rating agencies every one or two years, taking into account changes in the city and economy. Bonds that are rated Aaa or AAA, like Chandler, are considered to be of the highest quality with the smallest degree of investment risk. Fitch identified four factors that reaffirmed the city’s rating. First, the city has manageable debt levels with a capital plan that is heavily focused on infrastructure maintenance, supported by general fund reserves. Second, it employs a well-paid, highly skilled workforce concentrated in high tech manufacturing that contributes to low unemployment levels. Third, two Intel expansion projects – one $5.2 billion, and one $300 million – are expected to add 1,450 high-paying jobs. And fourth, the city operates a balanced fiscal 2013 operating budget that is based on conservative assumptions, and a near term focus on maintaining existing municipal facilities. The city has about $439 million of general obligation bonds and $47 million of excise tax revenue obligations outstanding. “Our strong ratings are a reflection of Chandler’s sound fiscal policies and the long-term planning that has been done to build a diverse workforce within the community,” says Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. “The partnerships that have been developed between the City and our business community have led to new investments that will help ensure our continued economic growth for years to come.” For more information on City of Chandler bonds, call the management services department at 480-782-2250.

Area youths from troubled homes have a new place to turn for help. Safe Place provides a haven and connections for children who have nowhere else to go. Maricopa Community Colleges, which includes Chandler-Gilbert Community College, and the local Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development are co-partners of the program. “Our 10 main campuses and the district office (are) Safe Places,” says Maricopa Community Colleges Chancellor Rufus Glasper. “These locations will be added to a county list of sites where youth in crisis can come to find connections to help. Two of our critical functions are community and stewardship. This effort fits our mission perfectly.” Safe Place signs are posted at key entry points on campus, explains Glasper. “We are preparing our public safety teams and other employees to spot and help someone on our campuses who may be in crisis.” Established in 1983, National Safe Place has more than 17,000 sites in 38 states and 1,500 communities. Tumbleweed has been Maricopa County’s Licensed Safe Place organization since 2005. It helped more than 110 youths in the past year. For more information, visit or

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Community Election results from page 1

Jack Sellers

Nora Ellen

Rick Heumann

sunset for the 2014-15 school year.” He says they will assemble their annual budget committee to get input from the public, but adds that it’s too early to know the financial impact for schools. “Because our authorization is good until 2014-15 and because we don’t know the outcome of the Legislative session for 2013, it is premature to speculate on what kinds of cuts could be ahead for our schools and programs.”

Incumbents return

Jack Sellers and Rick Heumann, seeking second terms on the Chandler City Council, will continue serving the City. Sellers got 26,906 votes or 27.1% with Heumann receiving 26,601 total votes for 26.8%. Candidates Terry Roe had 23,118 votes or 23.3% with Scott Taylor getting 22,450 or 22.6%. Heumann says he’s “very pleased” he and Jack Sellers were reelected based on the “good things” they’ve accomplished over the past four years, and says for

the next four, his focus is on bringing “quality jobs and quality neighborhoods” to Chandler and on his Chandler Education Coalition. “I really want to continue to do what Chandler has done well for years: our fiscal policies, keeping those alive; investing in the future; and making sure … jobs, neighborhoods and education are there for our citizens.” An upcoming budget challenge Heumann says the City will face is a significant revenue loss when the Gila River Indian Community’s (GRIC) new outlet mall opens. While GRIC has both a Sacaton post office box and a Chandler address, the City will get no tax dollars from sales there. “We’re estimating about a 10 to 20% hit to the (Chandler Fashion Center) mall, which is worth anywhere from a $750,000 to $1.5 million general fund hit. The reservation has been a good partner to the City, but it’s going to be a major hit.” Meanwhile, he says he’s “very excited”

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about the composition of the 2013 council, which includes newcomer Nora Ellen. “The people who won have a vision for Chandler. We have a council that doesn’t always get along in terms of policy – we have disagreements. But at the end of the day, we joke, go have a beer, have a coke, have dinner – we leave it on the dias. I think Nora will fit in really well with that.” He recently spoke to a sixth grade social studies class and drew comparisons to the recent presidential race. “This country needs to learn to work together,” he says. “You can disagree, but when it’s over, you need to learn to do what’s best for the citizens.” Jack Sellers in an email that he is proud of the work he’s done and is “honored” to serve again. “During my first term, in a very difficult economy, we produced very good results in job creation and providing increasingly efficient services,” he notes. “It was a pleasure to run a positive campaign based on accomplishments and vision for the future rather than the personal attacks that characterized so many campaigns. I have worked hard to support our economic development efforts recognizing that a strong economic base makes it easier to accomplish the other things that are important to our residents. I will stay very involved on a regional level to insure that Chandler has a voice in things that are important to all of us.”

Nov. 17 – 30, 2012


He believes Ellen will be “a great addition” to the Council. Nora Ellen won the third available Council seat during the primary election, and the three start their new terms in January 2013. Chandler’s mayoral term of office will change from two years to four years, the same as city councilmembers, and be limited to two consecutive terms, thanks to Chandler voters’ approval of Proposition 452 by 62 to 37%. The mayor’s term will be the same as most other large cities in the area including Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa and Scottsdale.

Turnout most likely down

So far, preliminary reports to Chandler City Clerk Marla Paddock show 82,876 Chandler voters cast ballots, out of some 240,000 residents. She expects that number to increase. “There are still 200,000 provisional and early ballots yet to be counted county-wide,” she explains. “We don’t know how many specific to Chandler.” However, she doesn’t believe the turnout – currently at 69% – will be as great as during the last presidential election in 2008, when 94,936 voters cast ballots for an 83% turnout. “It obviously will increase, but I doubt as high as the 2008 turnout.” Laurie Fagen is publisher of the SanTan Sun News, and lives in Fox Crossing with husband Geoff Hancock and two rescue kitties, Jazz and Phantom. Contact her at



Nov. 17 – 30, 2012

Crime from page 1

has a security rating of just 19 out of 100. The website says chances of becoming a property crime victim are 1 in 31, slightly above the overall Arizona rate of 1 in 28. Annually, 8,244 crimes are reported with 695 considered violent. Police insist the headline-grabbing cases don’t tell the whole story and that the problem is not more crime, but closer scrutiny. “Part 1 crimes – homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, stolen vehicles and arsons – are down in all categories but one – rape – from the previous fiscal year,” says Detective Seth Tyler, spokesman for the Chandler Police Department. “Chandler is now the third largest city in Maricopa County, the fourth largest city overall in Arizona. With this comes a tighter focus on what is occurring in our city.” While unaware how ratings like the one cited are calculated, Tyler says internal numbers show police have adequate resources and are actively responding to the city’s law enforcement needs. “Our department does not directly provide data to this website. While the police department was required to do a little belt tightening, we are fortunate in that the city has a sound financial base. Staffing has not been affected and the design of our patrol schedule allows teams to work details on overlap days. This places additional officers on the street on certain days and times of day, and it allows most of our patrol teams to focus one day on a special project.”

Rarely random

According to Tyler, violent acts between strangers in Chandler are still rare. “Crimes against persons are mostly relationship based and not random acts,” says Tyler. “In most cases, some type of prior relationship existed between the victim and the suspect, which led to the encounter. The shooting at Serrano’s is a good example of this.” In that case, Ric Serrano, a member of the family-owned Mexican food restaurant chain, says it appeared the victim was trying to get away from someone who followed him into the restaurant, confronted and shot him, resulting in injuries that were not life-threatening. No one has been apprehended for the Oct. 6 incident. The detective says with crimes of opportunity, the perpetrator doesn’t usually know the victims personally. “Property crimes, such as burglaries, thefts and fraud, are more random acts,” Tyler notes. “Even though these types of crimes are random, it does not mean they’re not preventable. Many victims of property crimes inadvertently bait the criminal into choosing them as a victim. An example of this would be leaving items of value exposed in a locked vehicle.”

One victim’s story

“I was at work when I got the call that our house had been broken into,” reports a resident of Clemente Ranch who asked not to be identified. “My parents were in town visiting us but had gone out for

ACCUSED: Kilian Hale is thought to be responsible for dozens of Southern Chandler burglaries and more than $100,000 in stolen goods, say Chandler police. The 50-year-old Sun Lakes resident was caught while reportedly trying to sell the items to Valley pawnshops. Submitted photo

coffee, and when they got back, the door had been kicked in and it was clear someone had been inside. They called 911 and were told to wait outside just in case anyone was still in the house.” She says police arrived quickly and searched the home, but the burglar was gone, along with several thousand dollars worth of jewelry, electronics and other goods. “Our bedroom had been ransacked – they grabbed pillowcases right off our bed and filled them with whatever they could find,” the victim recalls. “They took our computers, TV, iPods, my jewelry, my husband’s guitar. My parents weren’t gone more than an hour, an hour and a half maybe, and that’s all it took for them to clean us out.” She was pleased with the police response but is disappointed no personal items were recovered in the six weeks since the burglary occurred. “All the pictures of my kids growing up were on my computer,” she laments. “And all the addresses for our Christmas card list are gone. I keep thinking of so many things that were stored on that computer that are gone now and it’s really upsetting.” One positive development is the arrest of a man believed to be responsible for this and more than 40 similar burglaries in Southern Chandler. “The police told me they have a suspect they’re pretty sure did this,” she notes, “but he won’t give them any information about if anyone else was working with him or what he’s done with all my things.”

Police nab S. Chandler burglar

The man arrested for the Southern Chandler burglaries is Kilian Hale, a 50-year-old resident of Sun Lakes with a criminal record for burglary and trafficking in stolen property. Police believe he invaded dozens of homes in the area, stealing more than $100,000 worth of property over the past few months with a basic system for targeting victims.

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19039 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler | Just South of Germann Road | Mon. - Sat. 9 a.m - 6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. “Hale used a pretty standard tactic,” Tyler says. “He would go from door to door on weekdays and knock to see if anyone was home. If no one answered, he would break in, take whatever was easily accessible and get out quickly.” Chandler police worked with officials from Maricopa County to apprehend Hale, who sold stolen items at area pawnshops. His photo was also identified by people in the SanTan Sun area who say he knocked on their door, then seemed stunned when they answered. “These guys can’t think on their feet,” Tyler notes. “They’re expecting the house to be empty, but if someone shows up at the door they usually don’t have a convincing story ready, and that can make homeowners suspicious.” Hale was arrested Sept. 20 and is currently undergoing a mental health evaluation before court proceedings begin.


Knowing neighbors and getting involved in the community is a great step towards keeping all residents safe, says Tyler. “The best way for residents to help keep themselves and their neighborhoods safe is through community involvement,” says Tyler. “Get to know your neighbors. Join the neighborhood block watch, and if your neighborhood does not have one, the Chandler Police Department can help you coordinate and put one in place.

Community Communication is a key component to a safe neighborhood.” The Clemente Ranch victim echoes that sentiment. “Pay attention to your neighbors and to what’s going on,” she suggests. “Every one of the houses around us had someone home when we were broken into, and our next door neighbor even told me she heard the crash when the door was kicked in. But she just figured it was landscapers or someone working and didn’t think to get up and look. Keep watch out for the houses around you, and ask them to look out for yours, too.” Miriam Van Scott is a former Kerby Estates resident who can be reached at

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

Nov. 17 – 30, 2012


Neighbors celebrate new signage WELCOME: Families in the Orangetree neighborhood in northwest Chandler unveiled new street signs last month that they created. Submitted image

Residents in one Chandler neighborhood welcome visitors with distinctive signs they had a hand in creating. The seven unique and colorful street name signs were designed for major neighborhood entry points and are the first to be installed under a new City grant program intended to help residents of traditional, non-HOA neighborhoods purchase such signs to enhance the character of their neighborhoods and foster a sense of

pride and belonging. Residents marked the occasion with a neighborly gesture in which two children stood on their parents’ shoulders and unveiled the first of the new signs on the corner of West Mesquite Street and North Los Altos Drive. Selected through a neighborhood survey, the sign features the words “Orangetree Neighborhood” above the street name, an image of an orange tree and the words “Welcome to Orangetree.”

CPD gets seatbelt grant Drivers and passengers need to wear their seatbelts. That message is being reinforced thanks to a $60,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to the Chandler Police Department’s Traffic Unit. The grant encourages seatbelt use and funds additional enforcement of moving violations that contribute to serious injury and fatal collisions including speeding, red light running and

failing to yield properly on a left turn. The grant, which runs through September 2013, intends to combat two consequences of serious injury and fatal collisions: injury and loss of human life and personal and insurance costs related to property damage. Participating officers focus solely on traffic enforcement and are specially trained in collision investigations. The enforcement measures are being enforced throughout the city.

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Nov. 17 – 30, 2012

City of Chandler Insider

Shop Chandler for healthier community

SHATTERING THE SENSES: After landing their unique glassware in thousands of restaurants across the nation, Peter and Sigrid Sciacca decided to open their first retail store, di Sciacca, in the historic Rowena Theater in downtown Chandler in 2005. City officials are asking residents to shop locally this holiday season to support local businesses while conserving tax dollars for city services. Submitted photo

While the economy is edging toward recovery, many families are still carefully considering every purchase. The City of Chandler and the local business community are encouraging residents to factor where those hard dollars are spent as an important part of the equation. Keeping shopping dollars in Chandler is an integral part of a healthy community that includes residents, businesses, schools, nonprofits and government services. According to the National Retail Federation, the holiday season can account for as much as 40% of annual earnings for a business. That makes the choice to Invest Wisely, Shop Chandler critical in November and December as shoppers spend on gifts, gatherings and groceries. The main benefit for the business community is keeping the local economy running strong through hard fiscal times. Residents are key to making that success a reality. Fortunately, Chandler has a diverse business community that makes it easy to shop locally. In the last year, Pruitt’s Furniture has located in Chandler at the recently improved Alma School and Ray intersection. New restaurants include The Sushi Room, Culvers, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Can’t Stop Smokin’ and Rudy’s BBQ and Country Store. Chandler Fashion Center has a wide swath of choices including the newly opened H&M. The above join an already vibrant business community that includes downtown restaurants and shops, local farmers markets and unique neighborhood retailers. Maintaining a loyalty to the local business community is more than a show of camaraderie; it’s an investment in the things important to Chandler as a community. Local businesses are often the first to contribute

DESERT DINING: Hungry patrons don’t need to leave Chandler’s boundaries to find good eats. A bevy of new restaurants opened this year, joining an already eclectic array of dining options like the beautiful patio at El Zocolo, pictured here. Submitted photo

to nonprofit organizations, youth sports teams and schools. Shop Chandler is one way to return that support by contributing to the financial health of local businesses.

City of Chandler Insider Mayor Jay Tibshraeny is working to make that community investment even more attractive to residents and businesses. Earlier this year, Tibshraeny launched Health Connect, a threepronged initiative aimed at creating a healthy Chandler, financially, physically and mentally. He is launching the next phase of the program in collaboration with the Invest Wisely, Shop Chandler campaign by offering Chandler businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services. These businesses can work with the Mayor’s team to implement strategies for a healthier city, while creating community partnerships. Interested business owners can call 480-782-2222. With one of the lowest sales tax rates in the region, it is vital to keep these dollars here at home. Those sales tax dollars stay in Chandler, allowing the City to provide better services such as city parks, police and fire. Businesses remain healthy and can continue to contribute to Chandler’s community and economy. As you shop this holiday season, remember to Invest Wisely, Shop Chandler. Information provided by the City of Chandler Communications and Public Affairs Department.

Linda Ayers says she could talk all day about fitness and nutrition, which makes her a perfect fit for her position as recreation coordinator at the Tumbleweed Recreation Center (TRC). Ayers oversees all the equipment and 46 classes, and makes sure they run smoothly. While the TRC isn’t a body-builder gym, Ayers says it is for just about everyone else. In her opinion, one of the best features of TRC is that it’s not intimidating. The staff works hard to keep it that way for families, people who are new to fitness, and most recently, seniors, says Ayers. TRC is a designated facility for Silver Sneakers, a wellness program that encourages older adults to live healthy, active lifestyles. Ayers believes fitness is something all seniors should be involved in. “I would say it’s crucial because they need to stay strong in functional activities. This program allows them to continue to do things around the house and strengthen themselves.” Part of the TRC’s commitment includes offering two Silver Sneakers classes: Muscular Strength and Range of Motion. However, the program includes much more than that. “A lot of people think they are only eligible for those two classes, but that’s

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not the case,” says Ayers. “If they are eligible for Silver Sneakers, the entire facility and all the classes are available to them.” Seniors can call their insurance company or the TRC to see if they are eligible for the program. Another part of Ayers’ job is finding new ways to motivate people. “We are big on building relationships. We like to create a few competitions to keep people interested throughout the year.” Ayers is also excited about a new class she designed that begins in January 2013. It’s called Strength Training 101, and she developed it to teach people how to create their own workout. TRC doesn’t have personal trainers on staff, and Ayers was concerned about how to meet the needs of people who weren’t familiar with fitness routines. This class will use basic fitness principals to teach people how to meet their goals and make progress. She’s also hoping to bring new fitness advocates through the door. The TRC will host the Mayor’s Health Connect fair in the spring, and Ayers is in charge of showcasing the facility with demos and instructors. She sees this event as a way to encourage people to think about fitness and check out the facility.

FITNESS PHENOM: With 46 classes and scores of equipment to oversee, City of Chandler Recreation Coordinator Linda Ayers helps residents find their way toward a healthier lifestyle. Submitted photo

“We have classes on nutrition, healthy cooking, classes for kids. Once they see all we have to offer, they’ll be hooked.” For details, visit tumbleweed. Information provided by the City of Chandler Communications and Public Affairs Department.


Nov. 17 – 30, 2012


Bush pilots from page 1

Blood donations needed A Chandler woman is seeing firsthand the devastation caused in New York by Hurricane Sandy while lending a helping hand to its victims. Michele Maki, a volunteer public information officer for the City of Chandler, is working as a public affairs supervisor based in White Plains. She is one of 12 people deployed to the East Coast by the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter. Maki has accumulated more than 5,000 volunteer hours with the Red Cross since 2006. Readers wishing to donate blood can learn how to do so locally by visiting or calling 800-REDCROSS. Monetary donations can be made at or by calling 800-HELPNOW or texting “REDCROSS” to 90999. Texters won’t be charged on their wireless bills for the donation text.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: The Baja Bush Pilots book, “Airports of Mexico and Central America,” now in its 22nd edition, gives flyers the information they need to land at the region’s largest airports, as well as its tiniest air strips. Submitted photo

“I run probably 60 to 80 airplanes on that one,” he says. “We make arrangements for the lodging, make sure there’s fuel available at the fuel stops and provide the meals and some of the entertainment.” While bush pilots have a reputation as hardy adventurers who navigate dangerously primitive airstrips, BUSINESS & PLEASURE: “our definition of a bush pilot Long-time pilot and is that we like to go swear and entrepreneur Jack McCormick runs the Baja Bush Pilots out party,” Jack explains. “We’re of the downtown Chandler tourists. We’re not explorers. offices that house his other We do less and less camping enterprises. “I wear about under the wing and flying in four different hats,” he and out of really bad strips. says. “That’s the fun hat.” Now we go down and we Submitted photo enjoy the pleasures that the countries offer.” Along with providing tourism income to their foreign hosts, the pilots perform humanitarian and search-and-rescue operations in the far-flung areas they’ve come to know.

“We’ve worked three hurricanes down there in the last five years – where they’ve had traumatic loss, not necessarily to life, but to property,” says Jack. “I’ll run down and pick up a Red Cross person or two, and we’ll overfly the area, trying to determine the needs. Then I get back on the website, and I’ll say, all right, I need blankets. I need pots and pans.” Jack himself repairs damaged airstrips so pilots can land, and his members gather supplies, fly them into the affected area and distribute them directly to those in need. “I’ll have maybe 200, 300 flights from the States come in. We’re humanitarians, but it’s a lot of fun. We just really enjoy ourselves. It gives us a chance to use our airplanes like they’re really meant to be used.” Despite border violence and rising fuel costs, Mexico and Central America, with their relaxed aviation rules and uncrowded airspace, continue to have an allure for U.S. pilots, says Jack, who is happy in his role as publisher, mentor and guide. “I enjoy flying, I enjoy Mexico and I enjoy throwing parties – so it all works.” For information on the Baja Bush Pilots, visit K. M. Lang lives and writes in Sun Groves. To contact her, email

WASHED AWAY: Destruction from Hurricane Sandy, like the storm surge damage to this house, is being observed by Michele Maki of Chandler, one of 12 people the Red Cross deployed to the East Coast to help victims. STSN photo


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Nov. 17 – 30, 2012

Restaurant helps food bank during holidays

Volunteer Santas help seniors “Be a Santa to a Senior” kicks off its annual holiday campaign Sat., Nov. 17 at participating Walgreens in Chandler. Residents are encouraged to visit one of the stores, pick an ornament with the name and gift request of a senior, and return it unwrapped to the store between now and Mon., Dec. 10. A community gift-wrapping event, when hundreds of the presents will be wrapped, is Sun., Dec. 11. In the past eight years, the campaign has delivered more than 25,000 gifts to local needy seniors, many of whom face poverty and loneliness, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which states that 9% of Americans 65 and older are living in poverty and 27% are widowed. The holiday program is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care network. For more information, visit, or call 480-827-4343.

Adopt seniors for holidays TURKEY TIME: El Palacio’s kitchen staff prepares holiday favorites to benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank Community Kitchen this month. Submitted photo

With donations of green beans, turkeys and boxes of stuffing rolling in to St. Mary’s Food Bank Community Kitchen this month, El Palacio owner and head chef Anthony Serrano will demonstrate what can be made with these staples during the “Top Chef Thanksgiving Fundraiser” throughout November. Serrano will create affordable recipes for families using items available at the food bank this holiday, while teaching students in its training program how to prepare each dish on a budget. Recipes will include dishes like pumpkin soup, mango salsa stuffing, turkey and churro rolls. “My passion is cooking,” explains Serrano. “I love coming up with new recipes and dishes

to serve in my restaurant and to my family. I’m also a big fan of cooking-competition shows and wanted to challenge myself to be innovative in the kitchen while teaching others and supporting the community.” Throughout November, El Palacio will also donate $2 to St. Mary’s Food Bank Community Kitchen from the sale of every Thanksgiving menu item, which includes such specials as cranberry salad, Pipian chicken and its award-winning chocolate taco for dessert. Proceeds will help St. Mary’s provide foodservice training and life skills to low-income adults in the community as part of its 16-week program. Over the past 10 years, Community Kitchen provided more than 125,000 meals to the area’s hungry.

Wish lists for Gilbert’s low-income, homebound and disabled seniors, are ready to be picked up by SanTan Sun area residents during the fifth annual Adopt-A-Senior program, sponsored by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce and the Gilbert Senior Center. An average list has items that cost $25 to purchase. Items that would be useful or appreciated by a senior are also needed in quantities of 50 or more to make up bags that will be distributed to lowincome seniors at a holiday party hosted by the Chamber. To request a wish list or donate a larger quantity of items, call Sara Clifton at 480-941-6350, ext. 115 or send an email to Also, a check to purchase gift cards for unfulfilled wish lists can be mailed to the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 527, Gilbert, AZ 85299.

Brighten a soldier’s holiday Give back to members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families this holiday season by sending messages of support and holiday cheer through the American Red Cross’s Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Through Dec. 7, SanTan Sun residents can send cards to Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456. Pitney Bowes screens, packages and ships the cards, which are then sorted and delivered by Red Cross volunteers across the country and on overseas installations.


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Nov. 17 – 30, 2012


Locals sweep children’s category in AzAA contest All three places in the Children’s Literature category of the recent 2012 Arizona Authors Association’s (AzAA) Literary Contest had SanTan Sun area ties. “Cheery: The true adventures of a Chiricahua Leopard Frog” written by Elizabeth W. Davidson, Ph.D., and published by Chandler’s Five Star Publications, took first place, netting Davidson $100. “Tales of A Tombstone, AZ Tortoise,” written by Heather Smith and Illustrated by her husband, Tad Smith, who is also the graphics designer for the SanTan Sun News, took second place. For their win, the Gilbert couple was awarded $50. “I wrote ‘Tales of a Tombstone, AZ Tortoise’ because it had always been on my bucket list to write a children’s book,” says Heather.”I found that reading the book in classrooms across Arizona, talking to students about creative writing and getting them excited about Arizona’s ‘Wild West’ history, was the best part of my journey as an author.” Finally, “Arizona Way Out West & Wacky,” written by Conrad Storad and Lynda Exley, who is the editor for the SanTan Sun News, took third place. AZWOWW was also published by Five Star Publications. Storad and Exley split the $25 win. Storad received an additional $50 for a second-place win in the Published Nonfiction category for “Your Circulatory System.” Info:

Construction Update Roadwork on East Ocotillo

Drivers should avoid a half-mile section of Ocotillo Road between Arizona Avenue and McQueen Road in Chandler through March 1 due to a sewer and water line project by the city. The closure is from west of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks to east of the SRP Consolidated Canal. The full closure was needed because of the complexity of the work, the

narrowness of the roadway and the need to maintain a safe work area. The project involves two pipelines – a 36-inch diameter sewer force main and 24-inch diameter water main – that need to pass beneath a railroad track and the canal. Traffic is being detoured to Chandler Heights Road on the south and Queen Creek Road on the north. Ocotillo Road, east of the SRP Canal, is open to local traffic only to provide access to Kerby Estates residents and their visitors. Pine Lake Estates residents do not have access to or from Ocotillo Road; instead, travelers need to use Chandler Heights Road. For project questions or comments, call the project hotline at 480-898-4060 or visit

Seeking holiday events Early deadlines for SanTan Sun News The deadline for news and advertising is noon, Tue., Nov. 20 for the Dec. 1, 2012 issue of the SanTan Sun News. All news must be submitted to by that day to be considered for the next issue or by filling in the “submit a news release” form on the newspaper’s website at To send an item for consideration in the SanTan Family Fun, email it directly to Send advertising files and information to account reps or contact Ads@ For full rate and deadline information, visit and click on “About us,” or scroll to the bottom to the bottom of the home page to download the advertising packet at “Advertise with us.”

To publicize seasonal events and activities, the SanTan Sun News runs holiday listings. To have an item considered, submit the following: • Holiday events and activities: Send event name, brief description, times and dates, venue and address, if reservations are required, publishable phone number and website address. • Charity collections: Name of charity being benefited; name of organization doing collection; brief list of items being collected; locations and addresses of drop-off sites; times and dates to donate. Items are due by noon Nov. 19 for the Dec. 1 issue and Dec. 5 for the Dec. 15 issue. Submissions must include daytime phone number and contact name for verification. Photos are encouraged; submit 300 dpi jpegs. Send all to; submission does not guarantee inclusion.

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Caliber Collision gives car away

NEW CAR: The Grieves family checks out their new refurbished Toyota Matrix, given to the family courtesy of Caliber Collision and Esurance. Submitted photo

A former homeless family of four is receiving a refurbished Toyota Matrix from Caliber Collision and Esurance as part of the national Recycled Rides program. Phil Grieves, a teacher, was unable to find employment since his layoff and soon after his wife, Beth, lost her job as a nurse. Last year, after exhausting savings and losing everything, the couple and their two sons, Daniel, 12, and David, 9, found themselves homeless and living out of their car. The Grieves turned to Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, whose mission is to provide homeless families with a safety net of services so they can become independent as a family unit. “We are pleased to provide this

Recycled Rides vehicle to a hardworking family like the Grieves who have demonstrated incredible spirit and resiliency,” says Michael Quinn, spokesman for Caliber Collision at 876 N. Abalone Dr. in Gilbert. “Our goal is to repair vehicles to restore our customers to the rhythm of their lives, and we hope this vehicle will do the same for the Grieves family.” Esurance donated the vehicle, which was refurbished by Caliber Collision team members who volunteered their time to repair the vehicle as well as collect gift certificates, toys and other gifts for the Grieves family. For more information, visit

Nov. 17 – 30, 2012

Suns charity grants money to nonprofits

Piper Trust awards goes to NWC

Several Chandler and Gilbert nonprofits, including ICAN, were among more than 100 charities that received funding from “Phoenix Suns Charities” as part of its 25th anniversary, which also includes a raffle open to the public. “Drive to 25,” a car raffle designed to raise funds for the group, runs through Fri., Dec. 14, giving the winner an orange Scion iQ donated by Big Two Toyota Scion of Chandler. Raffle tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at With more than $1 million in grants to 120 different charitable organizations throughout Arizona this year, Phoenix Suns Charities marks a milestone of more than $13 million in donations since its 1988 inception. Nonprofits applied for funding through the foundation’s grant-application process. Program grants ranged from $1,000 to $100,000.

A $5,000 Piper Trust Encore Prize goes to Neighbors Who Care in recognition of its volunteers – all at least 50 years old – who provide free services to homebound and disabled residents in Southern Chandler and Sun Lakes. Established in 1994, NWC has 550 volunteers serving more than 600 clients. The Encore concept engages people who are 50 and older in roles that combine personal meaning with social impact and results in clients reporting they can remain in their homes for four additional years. “The U.S. is poised to invent an entirely new stage of life between the middle years and anything resembling traditional retirement,” says Marc Freedman, CEO and founder of Encore. org, a San Francisco-based nonprofit think tank focused on baby boomers, work and social purpose. “Maricopa County has emerged as a beacon for this new vision, career trajectory and lifestyle for the years beyond midlife.” The grant is awarded through a competitive process, with a panel of local and national judges reviewing applications submitted by local nonprofits. Criteria for an award include proving that the program exemplifies intent, impact, social purpose, creativity and replicability. Piper Trust Encore Prizes are awarded every other year. To learn more, visit

Other local organizations receiving grants include Canyon State Academy for a basketball court renovation, United Food Bank to support its Kid’s Life Program and Helen Hope Chest to provide pajamas for foster children. ICAN will use its money for a new basketball court.

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Jazz party showcases traditional band

SanTan Sun Chronicles Mayor’s leadership lauded

HITTING THE NOTES: Hailing from California, Cell Block Seven Jazz Band performs at Arizona’s Classic Jazz Society winter party. Submitted photo

California-based “Cell Block Seven Jazz Band” headlines Arizona’s Classic Jazz Society winter party from 1 to 4 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2 at Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort, 1 N. San Marcos Pl. Favoring the traditional, 1950’s jazz sounds of Lu Watters, Turk Murphy and the Bay City Jazz Band, Cell Block Seven’s lineup includes two cornets, as well as three double-bell euphoniums that enable them to produce unique sounds from fast, exciting trios to smooth, mellow blues. Cost is $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers and free for students younger than 18 when accompanied by an adult. Membership fees begin at $25. ACJS will collect unwrapped toys or monetary gifts for Salvation Army pickup at the end of the event. For more information, visit or call 480-620-3941.

For his long-time leadership in the East Valley, Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny is the recipient of the Dwight Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award from the East Valley Partnership. The award, one of two Excel Awards presented at the 2012 Cox Communications / East Valley Economic Forum, is given to an individual who lives or works in the East Valley, is well respected, Mayor Jay Tibshraeny has made significant lifelong contributions to their community and exhibits the characteristics of a true leader. A life-long East Valley resident, Tibshraeny began his service to the community in 1980 as a member of the City of Chandler’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Six years later, he was elected to the city council, where he served until he was elected mayor in 1994 for four consecutive terms through 2002. Tibshraeny was then elected to the Arizona State Senate, where he served from 2003 to 2011. He returned as mayor in 2011 to serve a fifth term and was recently reelected. Since then, Tibshraeny has focused on keeping neighborhoods strong, developing partnerships with both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona in downtown Chandler, retaining and attracting high wage jobs, and enhancing regional cooperation. The Chandler native has a lifetime of public service in the SanTan Sun area. In addition to his most recent appointments, Tibshraeny serves on the Chandler / Gilbert Association for Retarded Citizens Advisory Board, Child Crisis Center Advisory Board and ICAN Site Advisory Committee. HealthTell LLC, a start-up company in Chandler’s Innovations incubator, is the Innovator of the Year for the 2012 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) Awards. Presented by Avnet, Inc. with the Arizona Technology Council and Arizona Commerce Authority, the awards spotlight “how innovations in science and technology are applied to build a sustainable economy for Arizona’s future.” HealthTell combines the invention of immunosignaturing diagnostics with its development of a new chip technology to create a new approach to diagnostics and health monitoring. For a list of all winners, contact


Nov. 17 – 30, 2012 Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, Police Chief Sherry Kiyler and Fire Chief Jeff Clark are the newest honorary members of Chandler Elks Lodge #2429. The trio was recognized during the Elks’ recent annual awards ceremony, during which the fraternal order also named Chandler Police Detective Wayne Thiry and Chandler Firefighter Richard Weyenberg their police officer and firefighter of the year, and presented them an award plaque in appreciation of their service. The Elks Lodge organization has nearly a million members and a 141-year history in communities all over the country. Its charitable foundation gives millions in scholarships, and supports youth, veterans and more. John Lampignano, a Chandler resident and director for the Center for Teaching and Learning at GateWay Community College, is a guest lecturer in La Plata, Argentina at the 30th Argentine Congress of Radiology Technician and Graduates. Lampignano has gained international notoriety as the co-author of the Textbook of Radiographic Positioning and Related Anatomy, John Lampignano a procedure book that is used in a number of schools throughout the United States. “I’m honored to have been invited to this event,” says Lampignano. “I love discussing these topics with students, whether here in the U.S. or in other countries, and I am sure this will be a lifelong memory.” Info: Jason McKinley of Chandler, manager of ABC Supply Co. Inc. in Mesa, is promoted to managing partner of the one of the largest wholesale distributors of roofing in the United States and one of the nation’s largest distributors of siding, windows and other select exterior building products. McKinley joined ABC Supply in 2005 and was named manager of the Mesa branch in Jason McKinley 2009. As a managing partner, McKinley continues to oversee the Mesa branch while taking on additional responsibilities, including as a member of ABC Supply’s National Branch Advisory Board, which advises senior management on a wide range of topics. Info:


Santan Sun News Community 11-17-12