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Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013

Anatomy of a recovery

CUSD preps for new courses, exams

Modest growth predicted for 2013

by Tracy House

With a little more than a year left before Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) replaces AIMS testing, Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) is entering Phase II of its transition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The initiative to move from Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) testing to PARCC and implementation of CCSS goes back to 2010 when Arizona joined 45 other states led by the Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association to develop national standards to provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to become college and career ready. CUSD completes implementation of Phase I of CCSS at the end of this month and moves into Phase II in January. “Phase II is working with teachers to increase their content knowledge in relationship to the new standards and also instructional pedagogy,” says Dr. Nicolle

by Susan Henderson

At the dawn of a new year, area economic and housing experts say the worst of the recession is truly in the rearview mirror. Job growth will continue to trend upwards, and a slow but steady uptick in the housing and commercial real estate market is expected. Of significance to SanTan Sun readers is the collective opinion of a number of experts that the southeast Valley is particularly well positioned for a strong recovery based on jobs, housing, airport expansions, maturing downtowns and high-tech investments. Here are the top three predictions for 2013 offered by five local experts:

Christine Mackay, City of Chandler economic development director

1. We will see commercial construction start again, and not just be an anecdotal thought for development. Vacancy rates in both the office and industrial sector continue to Christine Mackay tighten, particularly in the Southeast Valley with Chandler leading the way. With the resetting of the cost of commercial real estate, we will start to see absorption of some of the retail “big boxes” that have had all of us so concerned in the past few years. 2. The housing market will continue to improve in 2013, but it will still not be the boom that we would all like. The Southeast Valley will see the strongest recovery in housing starts and value due to the new job creation that will be happening.

see 2013 predictions page 6

see CUSD page 10

2013: It’s almost a new year, and local experts predict what the year 2013 may hold for the SanTan Sun area. The custom, hand-painted champagne bottle was created by Ashley Minchella, 24, daughter of Dennis and Melissa Minchella of Kokopelli Bistro and Winery. STSN photo

Chandler birthplace of ‘Baby Blues’ by K.M. Lang

For more than two decades fans of the comic strip “Baby Blues” have followed the adventures of Darryl and Wanda

MacPherson as they’ve navigated the pitfalls of early parenthood. The strip appears in nearly 1,200 newspapers in 28 countries, is read in 13

“BABY BLUES” BEGINS: This is the first comic strip for “Baby Blues,” co-created by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott who came up with the idea for their cartoon during brainstorming sessions at Chandler’s Guedo’s Cantina Grille. More than 20 years later, the strip is still going strong, appearing in nearly 1,200 newspapers across the globe. Used by permission, Baby Blues Partnership

IN THE CLASSROOM: Sarah Burgess, American studies teacher at Hamilton High chats with students. All K-12 CUSD teachers are being trained in the Common Core State Standards. Submitted photo

languages and has generated 30 books including the recently released 20th anniversary volume “BBXX.” And it all began in downtown Chandler. “The unofficial birthplace of Baby Blues is Guedo’s taco shop,” explains Valley resident Rick Kirkman, who created the strip with his longtime friend, Jerry Scott. “When we started, Jerry and I would meet at Guedo’s a lot, and just sit there and go over ideas.” Guedo’s Cantina Grille at Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard served as a quiet spot where the freelance humor illustrators could toss around concepts for a new comic strip, while Kirkman, who became a father for the second time, vented about his own baby blues.

“Our first daughter had been colicky, so my wife and I had gone through that for about seven weeks,” he recalls. “Then our second daughter came along and we thought, okay, we can handle this. Well, you can take that colicky period with the first one and multiply it by – I don’t know how much. To give you an example, she didn’t sleep completely through the night until she was 3-1/2.” Kirkman and Scott, who had previously collaborated on a short-lived comic strip, spent their weekly sessions “piling through a lot of really terrible ideas,” Kirkman recalls. “Usually our conversations degenerated into how lousy I felt because I hadn’t had any sleep,” he says, chuckling. “I can’t say see ‘Baby Blues’ page 8


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Celebration Plaza’s new honorees . . . . . . community . . . Page 4 Custom creations at Connie’s Jewelry . . . business . . . . . . Page 19 New Vistas’ World Expo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . youth . . . . . . . Page 32 CHoP opens Dec. 16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . neighbors . . . . Page 45 Budding stars boot camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . arts . . . . . . . Page 59

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Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013

Celebration Plaza welcomes new honorees The number of those inducted into Celebration Plaza is about to become an even dozen with the addition of Najeeby Basha and Jerry Brooks during a ceremony at 9 a.m. Sat., Dec. 15 near the center of Tumbleweed Park, 745 E. Germann Rd., on the southwest corner at McQueen Road, Chandler. Basha was an enterprising businesswomen and philanthropist who, with her husband, opened a general merchandise store on Boston Street in 1920 and became the founder of the first in a chain of Bashas’ Supermarkets. She passed away in 1966. Brooks is a longtime Chandler resident, former councilmember and mayor from 1984 to 1988. He had significant input in the creation of the Chandler Center for the Arts (CCA). The pair join previous inductees: Lenford Calley, Officer Robert Nielsen, Henry Salinas, Chandler Service Club, Eddie Basha Jr., Patti Bruno, Lowell Huggins, Detective Carlos Ledesma, Dave McDowell and Marty Wright. Celebration Plaza is a permanent monument that features a fountain and a decorative wall used to display brass plaques honoring organizations or individuals for their civic leadership, public outreach and outstanding personal service and commitment to the community. The inductees are selected by the Chandler City Council, based on submissions from the Parks and Recreation Board.

Who are they?

INDUCTEES: Two new names, Najeeby Basha and Jerry Brooks, will grace Celebration Plaza at Tumbleweed Park. Submitted photo

Nominations for Celebration Plaza honor outstanding service that results in significant and enduring contributions to the community, and are submitted each year between June 1 and Sept. 30. There is no fee to submit a nomination, and the form is available online at It is also available at Chandler Community Center, Snedigar

Recreation Center, Tumbleweed Recreation Center and Environmental Education Center, or by calling 480-782-2727. Questions about the Celebration Plaza nomination criteria or the recognition process can be directed to Park Development and Operations Manager Mickey Ohland at 480-782-2743.

Najeeby Basha was one of the most forceful and enterprising businesswomen and philanthropists in the history of Chandler. Her family emigrated from Lebanon in 1897 and took up residence in New York City. In 1901, Najeeby married Najeeb Thomas Basha, and in 1910 she persuaded him to go west to Ray, AZ for a better life. In 1920, Najeeby moved seven of their eight children to Chandler where she and her husband opened a general merchandise store on Boston Street. In June of 1932, Najeeb died and Najeeby was left with dependent children, doctor bills and a store to run during the Great Depression. That same year, Najeeby converted the merchandise store to a grocery store and thus became the founder of the first in a chain of Bashas’ Supermarkets. Najeeby’s charity was legendary in depression-era Chandler, and she set a precedent for the Basha family that continues to this day. The homeless and hungry of the 1930s knew they could always show up on Najeeby’s doorstep for a warm meal. When World War II arrived, Najeeby invited servicemen from the surrounding air bases to the family’s house for dinner and even chauffeured them to various destinations when they lacked transportation.

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Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013


Volunteers, more needed by Salvation Army Jerry Brooks

Jerry Brooks, a longtime Chandler resident, former councilmember and mayor from 1984 to 1988, was instrumental in helping to create high standards and quality development during Chandler’s rapid growth period. It was Brooks’ vision and desire to help create a recognizable and unique community in which Chandler residents would be proud to live. Brooks was essential in the implementation of Chandler’s first development fees, which initially helped to expand water production, storage and distribution. Brooks had significant input in the creation of the Chandler Center for the Arts (CCA) and can be credited with rallying public support to build the facility, as well as the development of an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the City and the Chandler Unified School District for its shared use. This agreement saved substantial taxpayer dollars. Through the years, Brooks always looked out for the best interest of the City and its residents. He finds value in Chandler’s history and believes there is much to be learned from the past. Submitted by Craig Younger, City of Chandler Public Information Office

FILL THE SHELVES: Linda Peterson-Price, a volunteer at the Salvation Army pantry in Chandler, prepares food to give to needy families. STSN photo

Remembering the less fortunate at holiday time – and throughout the year – is critical to nonprofits such as the Salvation Army in Chandler. Major Robert Deidrick says there are a variety of ways SanTan Sun area residents can help: • Contribute money or purchase and donate food to the Salvation Army’s food pantry. While turkeys, hams, mashed potatoes, stuffing mix and other seasonal items are desired, inexpensive foods are in short supply such as macaroni, spaghetti, boxed foods, canned tuna, fruit and soup. • Donate money via the Army’s red Christmas kettles that dot local

58 S. San Marcos Place, Chandler, AZ 85225 •

shopping centers. • Give presents through the Angel Tree and Operation Santa programs. The Angel Tree at Chandler Fashion Center allows shoppers to select gift tags from its branches then purchase a gift and return it unwrapped to Salvation Army volunteers who deliver the presents.

Popular gift requests include dolls, bicycles, electronics and video games and those for teens. • Adopt-a-Family, where individuals and groups provide the Christmas meal and gifts for selected families. A donor for this program provides for the entire family, including the parents. • Gift Wrapping, a fundraiser held during the Christmas season, with a gift wrapping booth at the Chandler Fashion Center, thanks to the support of Intel. The Salvation Army is preparing to open a new Chandler warehouse and will require several volunteers to help store, bag and label supplies. In addition, the Salvation Army also hopes to ensure shelter for the financially distressed, and the cities of Chandler and Gilbert are working with the Salvation Army to provide rental assistance to families struggling to keep their homes. To donate or volunteer, contact Deidrick at the Salvation Army at 480-786-4093 or drop off food and clothing to their location at 85 E. Saragosa St., Chandler.

More ways to give For more giving opportunities, turn to the Neighbors cover section on Page 45



Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013

2013 predictions from page 1

3. The “more, better, faster” mentality will be a tremendous benefit to Chandler and its technology industries. As we all strive to become more and more connected, it will continue to drive the need for companies to reinvent themselves to remain relevant. Younger, more nimble startups will move into positions of providing goods and services that larger companies may have trouble competing with.


“The market has exhaled from the challenges we have faced over the last few years. In working with companies both already existing in Chandler and those who are looking for expansion locations, we are hearing from them that they do expect 2013 to be a better year. They plan on hiring new employees again and expect to see improvement in their bottom line. Companies, like all of us, want certainty in the markets and they see 2013 as a year of more stability in industry. During the downturn, Chandler prepared for the eventual recovery by keeping our ‘pipeline’ full so we would be well positioned when the economy turned on again. We did not hide our head in the sand during the recession, and we are expecting that to pay dividends during this next year.”

Dorothy Harrison, associate broker, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Dorothy Harrison

1. More homeowners will not be upside down on their mortgage and will be able to sell and / or trade up without a loss. 2. Good people who were forced to short sell or walk away will be eligible to buy again in 2013. The four-year moratorium on waiting will be over. 3. The builders and all the trades will be back to work and the highways filled with cement

Carol Royse

There will be fewer bank-owned, foreclosed homes on the market and fewer short sales. 2. More Southern Chandler homeowners will have equity following a 25% increase in home prices in 2012. This will translate to more people buying up to a better home or downsizing. They are not trapped in their current home. 3. Interest rates will remain low through the first half of 2013.


trucks, trusses and all the wonderful things it takes to build a house. A sure sign the recovery is here to stay.


“The market is cautiously growing stronger and interest rates continue to remain low. Mortgage loans are easier to understand. Excitement is building. Several new neighborhoods are being started and should be ready for 2013. Several are specifically for new homebuyers and very affordable. I think we will see a resurgence of people wanting to own their own home again. The punishing economy of the past six years has been brutal. Many families, in particular, just want to have ‘their home’ again. Singles will be looking to purchase before the prices go up. They get it – it’s a good time to buy! This time, though, purchases will be more prudent and solid. Financing will be fixed and reliable. Employment will be more secure. We are finally looking at brighter days.”

Carol Royse, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty East Valley

1. We will see more stabilization in the marketplace.

“We will see more new homes come on line as builders re-enter the market. New homes will play a larger part in home sales in 2013. My advice to homebuyers would be to buy now before prices continue to rise. Average days on market are 45. This is great news for home sellers. Homebuyers are still experiencing multiple offers and many homes are selling for list price or higher. I am seeing the luxury market rebound. Days on market are shorter and prices are higher. The Southern Chandler area is very stable. We are lacking in inventory and buyers are in the marketplace looking for homes to buy.”

Lee McPheters, director of JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center; research professor for Department of Economics, W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU

1. In 2013, the state should add about 60,000 more jobs, an improved growth rate of 2.5%, but still below average. Arizona added about 45,000 jobs in 2012, growing about 2%, well below the long-term average of more than 4%. We expect 80% of these jobs to be in the Greater Phoenix metro area. 2. Arizona will rank among the top 10 states for the rate of job creation in 2013, the same as in 2012.


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S E N I O R F R I E N D LY S E R V I C E • P R O PA N E • C A R W A S H • L O W G A S P R I C E S • C H A S E AT M

5050 South Arizona Avenue, Chandler, AZ

Community Although Arizona job growth is below historical average, the rate of growth is still better than most states. 3. Population growth for Arizona and the East Valley will continue much slower than normal. The main reason is that people have difficulty selling their homes and moving to the state. However, as home prices Lee McPheters rise and the economy continues to improve, population growth will slowly increase. It is expected to be slow for two to three more years.


“The major change expected in 2013 is growth in housing and construction. Single family permits in Arizona fell for six consecutive years starting in 2006, but finally began to grow in 2012. We can say that housing has hit bottom and is starting to rebound. But again, we have to recognize that while the level of activity is improved, it is still well below long-term historical averages. The economy remains weak, but it is moving in the right direction. The East Valley reflects the ‘new economy’ based on knowledge jobs, technology and higher valued services both for business and people such as health care. This means that as growth returns, household income levels and purchasing power should become stronger in the East Valley.”

Mark Stapp, executive director, Master of Real Estate Development; Fred E. Taylor Professor in Real Estate, Arizona State University, W. P. Carey School of Business

1. 2013 will be a year of solid, modest growth which will help set the stage for 2014 and 2015 when there is likely to be more robust growth. Significant growth causing real estate development opportunities will begin to emerge toward the second half of 2013 and

take place in 2014. The price of homes will increase but at a much slower pace than in the past. 2. Growth will be restrained by small increases in wage growth, continued healing of peoples’ credit and balance sheets, tight credit by banks and a tight construction labor market which will be impacted by significant Mark Stapp demand in the Northeast as reconstruction from Superstorm Sandy gets underway and absorbs disproportionate amount of labor and materials. 3. New homebuilding will be a greater percentage of the overall single family home market. The inventory of previously owned homes available for purchase will be tight, and better incentives and opportunity will be provided by new homebuilders.


“The southeast Valley had historically been the submarket within the metro area that captured the majority of new growth and new home sales. That shifted slightly during the mid-2000s. The southeast Valley will once again be the dominate submarket. New home sales will be most robust in this part of the Valley because of employment growth and significant infrastructure already in place. It will be a very attractive submarket. Also, those communities that grew from small farming towns to build-up suburbs will see maturation and urbanization – downtown Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa will evolve into significant sub-regional hubs of activity for local residents. The positive impact of light rail extension, Mesa Gateway Airport and growth of ASU Polytecnic campus will be felt, and the addition of new universities and colleges in the area will help make the area a vibrant area of the metro area and very attractive as a place to live.”

Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013

City closures over holidays affect trash service


Because the City of Chandler observes Christmas Day Tue., Dec. 25, and New Year’s Day Tue., Jan. 1, city offices and facilities have changed their schedules accordingly: Chandler City Hall and other administrative offices are closed both Tuesdays, and trash and recycling will be suspended. If your regular collection day is Tuesday, containers should be at the curb by 6 a.m. Wednesday. Wednesday collection rolls to Thursday; Thursday collection rolls to Friday; and Friday collection rolls to Saturday. The Recycling-Solid Waste Collection Center is also closed on both Tuesdays. It opens its regular hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thu., Dec. 27 and Thu., Jan. 3. Tumbleweed Recreation Center at Tumbleweed Park closes Christmas and New Year’s days but is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Mon., Dec. 24 and again on New Year’s Eve, Mon., Dec. 31. It resumes normal business hours 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wed., Dec. 26, and Wed., Jan. 2. Chandler Tennis Center at Tumbleweed Park also closes Christmas and New Year’s days but is open regular hours: 8 a.m. to noon and 3 to 10 p.m. on Wed., Dec. 26 and Wed., Jan. 2. The Environmental Education Center, Snedigar Recreation Center, Senior Center and downtown Community Center are closed both Tuesdays. All city libraries, as well as the Chandler Museum at McCullough-Price House, are closed both Tuesdays.

Pronounced, “dee-shocka”


Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013


‘Baby Blues’ from page 1

HOME-GROWN HUMOR: Long-time Valley resident and “Baby Blues” illustrator Rick Kirkman draws many of his ideas from his own early parenting experiences. Submitted photo

says Kirkman. “It’s when someone tells us something really embarrassing or horrible that’s happened – that’s when it clicks as a gag.” While his first goal is to “get a laugh, or at least a smile” from readers, Kirkman believes “Baby Blues” hits close to home for new parents. “I think the message that came out of it for a lot of people was, ‘you’re not alone,’” he explains. “We’ve gotten many letters and emails from people who’ve said, ‘I never used to think your comic strip was funny until I had kids.’” Since starting “Baby Blues,” Scott moved his family to California and cocreated another very successful strip, “Zits.” When it came time to put “BBXX” together, Kirkman traveled to Scott’s home in California, where the pair “sat with a stack of all our books and a lot of

we were real quick on the uptake. We didn’t figure out for quite awhile that, gee, there’s an idea in here.” When the concept for “Baby Blues” finally did arrive, it took the form of new parents Darryl and Wanda, and their bewildering bundle of joy, Zoe. Creators Syndicate released the strip in 1990, and in the two decades since, a brother, Hammie, and a sister, Baby Wren, joined Zoe. Kirkman and Scott – now the father of two daughters – draw inspiration from their own lives, as well as from the experiences of others. “The strange thing is that, when people write and say, ‘Oh, a funny thing happened at home,’ those things almost never generate ideas for strips,”

CELEBRATING XX YEARS: “BBXX: Baby Blues Decades 1 & 2” includes many of Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott’s best strips. “We went page by page and marked all of our favorites,” explains Kirkman. “Then we had to whittle it down to whatever would fit in the book.” Submitted photo

PARTNERS IN INK: Rick Kirkman, left, and Jerry Scott, pictured at a recent Tempe book signing, were friends for 17 years before embarking on their successful comic strip, “Baby Blues.” “We always had an idea that we would do a strip together,” says Kirkman, “and years before, we’d done one. It was a flop.” STSN photo by Ron Lang

Post-It notes.” “We went page by page and marked all of our favorites, then had to whittle it down to what would fit in the book,��� he recalls. “It really came down to trying to decide what to cut, as opposed to what to put in.” The resulting volume contains nearly 800 of Kirkman and Scott’s funniest work, as well as footnotes, essays, drawings and photographs that give readers a close-up view of the strip’s inner workings. “I love the way the book came out,” says Kirkman. “We could probably have filled another 50 to 100 pages,” he laughs, “but then no one would’ve been able to lift it.” Kirkman and Scott recently returned to Guedo’s Cantina Grille – not to find a


peaceful place to think, but to celebrate their creation’s first two decades. With his daughters now in their 20s, Kirkman’s days of infant-induced exhaustion are behind him. Still, he believes that the scars – er, delights – of early parenthood have left him with enough material to last a lifetime. “A lot of that stuff is really imprinted in your brain,” he says, chuckling. “It’s not that hard to access.” “BBXX: Baby Blues, Decades 1 & 2” is available at and at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 S. McClintock Dr., Tempe. For information, visit or call 480-730-0205. K. M. Lang lives and writes in Sun Groves. To contact her, email




• • • • • •

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Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013


‘Zits’ hits close to home by Laurie Fagen

As an avid reader of the comics, I have long since followed both “Baby Blues” and “Zits,” as they brought many smiles to our family and were always very pertinent. But as our son grew, “Zits” especially hit home most days as “Jeremy” seemed very much like our teenager. I often clipped out the strips and shared them with my husband and son. At one point, after a series of events

that seemed to be nailing the teenage boy antics of our son, I found an email address and sent a note to Rick Kirkman. “Dear Mr. Kirkman, Okay, where is the camera in my son’s room that you have been using for material for your ‘Zits’ comic strip?!” I also thanked him for his wit and great story lines. His reply: “The camera is hidden behind the

HIDDEN CAMERA? Moms around the country can relate to Jeremy’s mother in the comic strip, “Zits.” Used by permission, Baby Blues Partnership

Pledge can on the bookshelf that we felt would go undetected for years,” and thanked me for the email.

We thought that was hilarious, and have continued to follow the strip about the forever teen.

Restaurants, ambassadors sought for 2nd ‘Eat Your Art Out’ To help raise money for Chandler Center for the Arts’ (CCA) Connecting Kidz programs, headline acts and the free summer concert series, restaurants are asked to take part in the one-day “Eat Your Art Out Chandler 2013” event Tue., Feb. 26, 2013. The SanTan Sun News is a sponsor. Eateries that take part by donating 25 to 100% of the day’s proceeds to Eat Your Art Out will be part of a more than $100,000 community-wide marketing effort. In addition, ambassadors are needed to help promote the fundraising effort through emails and social media, and to be at a participating restaurant that

night to encourage others to join them. This is the second year of the event, which raised nearly $12,000 in 2012, and media outlets donated more than $100,000 in advertising promotion. Participating restaurants for 2013 so far include: Dilly’s Deli, Floridino’s, The Sushi Room, SanTan Brewing Co., Serrano’s Mexican Food Restaurant,

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Kokopelli Winery & Bistro AJ’s Café, The Living Room, Iguana Mack’s and Pittsburgh Willy’s. “Last year we received a tremendous amount of support from 17 restaurants here in the Valley, and without any hesitation,” says Katrina Pappas, general manager of the CCA. “Donating 25 to 100% of the day’s proceeds to our programs is huge for us here at Chandler Center for the Arts. We couldn’t be more appreciative. We’re looking forward to another great event next February.” Anyone in the SanTan Sun area can show support of the arts by eating breakfast, lunch and / or dinner at one

of several participating restaurants. CCA is jointly owned by the City of Chandler and the Chandler Unified School District, and the Chandler Cultural Foundation facilitates programming and fund development for the nonprofit facility. CCA relies on a variety of funding sources to help underwrite internationally acclaimed artists, educate young audiences, create community programs and maintain the facility at 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler. Restaurant owners and prospective ambassadors can sign up at or contact Judi Johnson at 480-782-2674 for more details.



Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013

CUSD from page 1

Karantinos, CUSD director of curriculum. For teachers, it is becoming more familiar with the content for the grade level at a deeper level, Karantinos explains. CCSS gives students the opportunity to go deeper into their thinking by asking them to think strategically and go beyond recall and reproduction in Nicolle Karantinos their answers she says. “How we teach in the classroom will be different: more investigations, more opportunities for students to experience the learning, more opportunities for more than one right answer.” With the PARRC assessment there will be multiple correct answers. “Students will really have to know what they’re being asked in order to answer or show their performance correctly,” adds Karantinos. Sam Merrill, principal of Navarette Elementary, sees the transformation already in the classrooms. “I’ve seen a huge change, especially in math, how it’s being taught,” Merrill says. “Our teachers are asking way more prediction questions. ‘Tell me how you got that.’ ‘What’s your reasoning for that?’ ‘Share your reasoning.’ ‘Did anybody else figure it out differently?’ ‘Show me how you figured it out.’ There is a lot more of Sam Merrill that kind of instruction going on.” Buzzwords and phrases like “rigor,” “deeper not wider” and “depth of knowledge” (DOK) are part of CCSS language. “The common core standards are designed on a deeper, narrower track rather than what we used to do, which was a little wider, so to speak, and not as deep,” Merrill adds. He explains that kindergartners used to need to know numbers one through 100. With CCSS they need to know

numbers one through 20 but then look at different number values, sequencing and different number sense that goes along with one through 20. Karantinos sees CCSS as an opportunity for all students to continue on to college or have an opportunity for a career after high school. But, transitioning to the new standards is a challenge for the third largest district in the state. Finding time to train more than 2,300 teachers is perhaps the biggest challenge so far. “Our teachers are working very hard to make sure they understand the new standards, the implication of the new standards. They are making changes in the classroom that will help benefit the students,” says Karantinos. CUSD is working hard to provide teachers in-depth training, far surpassing what the state requires, she says. Optimism prevails at CUSD. “PARCC assessment is a great opportunity to see where our students are at,” Karantinos notes. “If you take a look at our state student achievement we surpass most other districts in the state. This will allow us to take a look at how we compare with students across the state and country.” For more information, visit or Tracy House is a freelance writer living in Ironwood Vistas with her husband and four children. She can be reached at

What do you think? Do you support the new CUSD curriculum and assessment tools? Is it time for AIMS testing to go? How does Chandler measure up on education? Send your responses to and include your community name and ZIP code for possible inclusion in a future issue of the SanTanSun News.

HappyHolidays from SanTan Sun News

Deadlines for SanTan Sun News The deadline for news and advertising is noon, Wed., Dec. 26 for the Jan. 5, 2013 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 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.”



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Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013

City of Chandler Insider

100th Birthday, Obama visit top 2012 highlights

BACK TO THE FUTURE: An artistically designed glass time capsule unveiled at Chandler’s 100th Birthday Party will be reopened in 2062. Submitted photo

Before raising glasses to the sound of “Auld Lang Syne” and bidding farewell to another year, the City of Chandler offers a brief review of what was a historic year for the community. It was a year highlighted by Chandler’s 100th birthday and a first-ever visit by a sitting president.

The year remained alive with Centennial excitement as residents were treated to traveling history exhibits, birthday card and beardgrowing contests, commemorative cookbook compilations, quilt-making collaborations, historic art walks and exhibits, a Centennial Bike Ride and Bash of the Century with fun and fireworks at Chandler’s Tumbleweed Park. Much appreciation goes to the many volunteers and 30-plus business and service club sponsors that made Chandler’s Centennial celebration events possible, and to the Chandler community for their support and participation.

Presidential visit

Chandler basked in the national spotlight Jan. 25 as President Barack

Sensational Centennial

The yearlong Centennial Celebration kicked off Feb. 7 at City Hall with a 100-Day Countdown event. The ensuing months saw activities of all kinds, including a May 17 birthday party where an artistically designed glass time capsule was unveiled and subsequently filled with items donated by residents for rediscovery by future inhabitants. In attendance were Chandler centenarians, current and former mayors and councilmembers, community and business leaders, educators, service club members and cheerful townsfolk.

Obama visited Intel’s sprawling complex on Dobson Road, the first time a sitting president stopped in Chandler. It was a year earlier that Intel announced it would invest $5 billion to build a third high-volume, state-of-the-art semiconductor manufacturing facility at its Ocotillo campus, bringing thousands of construction and permanent manufacturing jobs to the area. With the world’s largest land-based crane as a back drop, the President lauded Intel as a model of how companies can find ways to keep manufacturing in the United States and promoted the importance of innovation and advanced training so workers “are ready to take on the jobs of today and tomorrow.” Six months later, Intel announced a $300 million investment in a new research and development facility at their west Chandler campus. “This announcement once again shows Intel’s continued commitment to Chandler and confirms that Chandler and the state of Arizona are great places to do business,” Mayor Jay Tibshraeny says.

Educational inroads

COMMANDER IN CHANDLER: President Barack Obama visited Intel’s FAB42 construction site in January, the first time a sitting President visited Chandler. Submitted photo

Agreements were reached with the University of Arizona (U of A) and Arizona State University (ASU) to remodel two municipal facilities in downtown Chandler to make advanced educational programs more accessible to East Valley residents and stimulate collaboration between teachers, students and local businesses.

ACADEMIC PURSUITS: The University of Arizona leased space in Chandler’s Community Center to offer graduate programs in Education and Management Information Systems. Submitted photo

COLLEGIATE CONGRATS: Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, right, welcomes University of Arizona President Eugene Sander to Chandler. Submitted photo

The U of A made a portion of the City’s Community Center their home and provides graduate programs in Education and Management Information Systems. Arizona State’s Chandler Innovation Center will be located in a remodeled City warehouse and will house worldclass teaching and research programs from their College of Technology and Innovation. On the horizon are several MBA programs to be offered by ASU’s W. P. see Insider page 14

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Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013

City of Chandler Insider

Insider from page 12

Carey School of Business from a new 24-acre office park planned for the southeast corner of Chandler Boulevard and the Loop 101 Price Freeway. Construction by New York-based Rockefeller Group will start as soon as the first anchor tenant commits to leasing approximately 20% of the space. The importance of getting Arizona’s youth excited about careers in science and technology spurred Chandler’s participation in the statewide AZ SciTech Festival by dedicating three days in February to the exploration of invention. The Chandler Science Spectacular showcased the businesses, artists, students and innovators in the community and offered unique opportunities for youngsters to explore the discoveries and science engineered in their own backyard. “We are doing everything we can as a community to ensure that Chandler is on the forefront of science and technology,” says Councilmember Rick Heumann. “Getting students excited, interested and involved in science right now is critical to the jobs of the future.”

Fiscal affirmation

A highly skilled, technologydriven workforce, conservative fiscal management and moderate debt levels garnered the City high marks from the credit ratings agencies of Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Fitch Rating services. The City’s General Obligation and Excise Tax Bonds received Fitch’s highest possible rating of AAA, and the

City’s Water and Sewer Revenue Bonds achieved an AA+ rating from S&P. These high bond ratings measure Chandler’s financial management and ability to repay outstanding debt and lower debt costs for the City and its citizens.

National acclaims

Chandler was recognized as a great community in which to work, live and play by a number of publications and organizations. Calling Chandler a cultural hotspot. “Money Magazine” placed the City at number 50 out of 100 small cities in its annual ranking of Best Places to Live.

BRAGGING RIGHTS: “Money Magazine” named Chandler as one of the Best Places to Live in 2012. Submitted photo

Job creation, good financial management and low crime rates landed Chandler in ninth place on a list of America’s Best Run Cities, according to 24/7 Wall St., a financial news and opinion company that reviewed the economies, standards of living and fiscal discipline of the 100 largest U.S. cities. The online business resource American

Express Open Forum rated Chandler fourth in the nation among cities with the greatest number of high-tech startups per capita. Contributing to the ranking were the City’s efforts to promote new technology businesses by forming an Innovations Science & Technology Incubator in west Chandler that currently houses 23 businesses and was recently expanded by 24,000 square feet. The ranking is likely to improve in the future given promising developments on Price Road where the former 153-acre Motorola campus is being transformed into a master planned science and technology park called Continuum. Chandler earned recognition from the national nonprofit organization KaBOOM! as a 2012 Playful City, USA Community, acknowledging Chandler’s efforts to increase play opportunities for children. Chandler is one of only 19 U.S. cities to receive the honor for six consecutive years. The City earned a Sunny Award and A+ grade from the editors at Sunshine Review, a national organization that honors the most transparent local government and school district websites. Sunshine Review editors analyzed more than 6,000 government websites and graded each on a 10-point transparency checklist. Chandler ranked as the “7th Safest City to Drive” out of the nation’s 200 largest cities, according to a report released in 2012 by the Allstate Insurance Company. According to the report, the average years between collisions for Chandler drivers are 12.3 years.

FUN PLACE: Chandler was named a 2012 Playful City USA by the national nonprofit organization KaBOOM! Submitted photo

Power to the people

The past year saw a number of unique opportunities for citizen involvement. Residents played a critical role in the City’s annual budget preparation process by participating in a Citizen Budget Survey in January and a virtual community budget meeting, Budget Connect, in February. The second year of the Mayor’s Listening Tour proved even more popular than the first as several hundred residents attended one of five neighborhood meetings. The events provided residents with an opportunity to speak out on challenges facing their neighborhoods and to receive information on City resources and services. Last year’s inaugural Traditional Neighborhood Academy for residents living in non-HOA neighborhoods was just as popular in 2012, as 44 people availed themselves of the Academy’s information, education, networking and leadership development opportunities.

City of Chandler Insider They joined 39 graduates of the City’s HOA Academy and were recognized by the Mayor and City Council for their achievement. In 2012 the City released an updated version of its InfoMap called My Neighborhood that lets visitors to Chandler’s website quickly locate information on more than 280 neighborhoods registered with the City. A service request system developed in partnership with PublicStuff rolled out and enables citizens to use their smart phones and other mobile devices to report City maintenance issues such as potholes, litter, graffiti and broken street lights directly to the correct staff member or department. Chandler spearheaded an effort to help individuals combat rising healthcare costs by partnering with Coast2Coast RX to provide discount prescription drug cards free to residents. The program is part of the Mayor’s Health Connect initiative to create a healthier city by promoting better physical, financial and mental health.

GAINING GROUND: Construction along Gilbert Road south of Queen Creek as seen in July from a traffic camera. Submitted photo

System demands required the initiation in June of a water and wastewater pipeline project along Ocotillo Road between McQueen and Dobson roads and the $100 million expansion of the City’s wastewater treatment plant at McQueen and Queen Creeks roads.

Paying tribute

In September, a memorial in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks

Infrastructure investments

A number of important roadway and utility projects were accomplished or initiated in 2012. Transportation improvements include the widening of Gilbert Road between Queen Creek and Ocotillo roads, the addition of bike lanes and additional left turn bay at the Chandler Boulevard underpass at Price Road Loop 101 Freeway and the widening of the Alma School and Ray roads intersection.

Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013

was dedicated in a public ceremony held at Chandler’s Fire Department Headquarters on east Boston Street. The memorial includes a 400-pound steel beam from the ruins of the World Trade Center and incorporates elements that represent the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania field where Flight 93 crashed. In December, Mayor Jay Tibshraeny and the City of Chandler honor Najeeby Basha and Jerry Brooks by inducting them into Celebration Plaza at Tumbleweed Park. Celebration Plaza is a permanent monument near the center of the park and features a fountain and decorative wall used to display brass plaques honoring organizations or individuals for their civic leadership, public outreach and outstanding personal service and commitment to the community. Brooks is a longtime Chandler resident, former councilmember and mayor from 1984 to 1988. Basha was an enterprising businesswoman and philanthropist who, with her husband, opened a general merchandise store on Boston Street in 1920. She passed away in 1966.

Chandler Channel 11, Twitter, Facebook, PublicStuff or the City’s website, Information provided by the City of Chandler Communications and Public Affairs Department.

Other 2012 highlights • QBE FIRST and NextFort Ventures pick Chandler for expansion. • Holocaust era rail car pays emotional visit to Chandler. Will become part of tolerance museum. • Sunset Library rededicated after extensive renovation. • Business software creator Infusionsoft moves into the first speculative office building constructed in the Valley since late 2009, located at the northeast corner of Price and Willis roads. • Solar engineering firm AKO expands to Chandler from Spain. • Desert Breeze Park undergoes $650,000 in improvements. • Chandler City Clerk Marla Paddock named Clerk of the Year. • Chandler’s Reverse Osmosis Facility recycles its five billionth gallon. • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University brings classes to Chandler Municipal Airport. • Fire Department’s award-winning kids program, Sprinkler’s Clubhouse, produces educational coloring book. Information provided by the City of Chandler Communications and Public Affairs Department.

Stay involved

REMINDER: A 9/11 memorial that includes a 400-pound steel beam from the World Trade Center is dedicated in front of Fire Headquarters in remembrance of those who lost their lives. Submitted photo

Thank you, Chandler, for helping make the City one of the premiere communities in the country. The year 2012 was eventful and memorable, and residents are encouraged to stay informed and connected in 2013, whether through public meetings,

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SanTan Sun Chronicles

GIVING GROUP: Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, far left, with volunteers recognized for giving their time in Chandler. They are, from left: Gordon Benson, Lori Dayton, Jorden Terran, Carmen Olmeda, Don Anderson of Chandler Christian Church, Barb Farmer of Chandler Regional Hospital, Belen Dolan of Chandler Christian Community Center, Chriss Passolt, CNPC President Melissa Jimro, Councilmember Kevin Hartke and Donnie Garver. Submitted photo

Top volunteers honored

Jorden Terran, Carmen Olmeda, Lori Dayton, Gordon Benson, Donnie Garver and Chriss Passolt along with Chandler Christian Community Center (CCCC), Chandler Regional Hospital, Chandler Christian Church are among the top individuals and organizations honored for volunteer work at the recent City of Chandler Volunteer Recognition Breakfast. They joined another 100 volunteers recognized for volunteering the most hours during the City’s 100 Hour Centennial Volunteer Challenge, when 142,894 volunteer hours were reported by 2,152 people, of which 463 individuals reached 100 hours or more during the Challenge. Terran, with 312 hours, is Top Youth Volunteer for Chandler Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley-Compadre Branch; Olmeda, with 1,096 hours, is Top Adult Volunteer for Chandler Christian


Community Community Center; Dayton, 926 hours, is Top Senior Volunteer for CCCC, and the CCCC is also the Top Non Profit with 13,586 hours; Chandler Regional Hospital is the Top Large Business at 25,080 hours; Chandler Christian Church the Top Faith Community with 7,145 hours; Benson is the Top Centennial Events Volunteer with 505 hours; and the Chandler Non-Profit Coalition (CNPC) “Chandler Gives Back” Award, for individuals or businesses/organizations dedicated to the betterment of the community goes to Garver of Royal Family Kids CampCrossroads Nazarene Church and Passolt with the Clothes Cabin. Info: Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny is awarded the Dwight Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award by the East Valley Partnership at the 2012 Cox Communications / East Valley Economic Forum in recognition for his longtime leadership in the East Valley. A native to Chandler, Tibshraeny began his service to the community in 1980 as a Mayor Jay Tibshraeny member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Six years later, he was elected to city council and then mayor for four consecutive terms. He served in the Arizona State Senate from 2003-11. Tibshraeny returned as mayor in 2011 to serve an unprecedented fifth term and was recently re-elected. He serves on the Chandler-Gilbert Association for Retarded Citizens Advisory Board, Child Crisis Center Advisory Board and ICAN Site Advisory Committee. The East Valley Partnership is a regional coalition of community, business, educational and government leaders whose goal is to provide leadership and support to the area. Jim McKinney, 14, of Chandler, wins the SuperKarts! USA Pro Tour Championship for the Junior Shifter class after finishing in the top 10 at Super Nationals XVI. He’s been racing for eight

Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013


Jim McKinney

years and competing in national series for the past two years against top drivers in the country and the world. A freshman at Hamilton High School, he lives in Fox crossing with his mother, Sharon, a culinary and fashion teacher at Hamilton High School; his father, Mike, an operations manager for PCL Construction; and his sister, Casey, a senior at Hamilton, who handles Jim’s personal training and PR in conjunction with older sister Kaitlyn. In only his second year competing at the national level, Jim debuted at his home track in Phoenix for the SKUSA Spring Nationals, competing head-to-head with S5 veteran Micah Hendricks of Innovative Karting. After qualifying on pole in Round 1, he narrowly finished second in the main, being passed see SanTan Sun Chronicles page 18


Dec. 15 – Jan. 4, 2013


SanTan Sun Chronicles from page 17

by Hendricks in the final laps of the race. However, in Round 2 he drove an “excellent” main, finishing first despite qualifying down the grid. As a result of his podium finishes and sweeping all four heats of the weekend, Jim gained the championship lead with a slight points advantage over Hendricks. Round 3 of Summer Nationals found Jim running in the front of the pack once again. A sudden torrential downpour delayed the start of the S5 main event, leaving the track sodden; and in his first time racing a shifter in the rain, Jim worked his way to a podium finish, surprising even himself in racing in wet conditions. Sunday saw problems for the Ruthless Karting team, as Jim’s Intrepid suffered motor problems in qualifying, which resulted in a sour end to the weekend. Jim retained his first-place position in the championship, and entered Super Nationals XVI with a 97-point lead. Having recently switched from an Intrepid to a new KGB chassis, Jim found himself consistently top three in all practices, and fourth in qualifying. A rough first heat found him taken out of the race before turn one, but strong finishes in the remaining heats secured a 12th-place grid position for the main. Contact in the first several turns of the race sent him back to 16th, where he knew he would have to “race hard and smart” in order to fight his way back up through the ranks. Within several laps, Jim climbed up through the field and was on his way to a potential podium finish, only to be punted back four positions. But Jim kept his cool, and after a harrowing final event, received a justified eighth-place finish, gaining enough points to emerge the 2012 S5 SKUSA ProTour Champion.

His supporters include Dan and Ryan Ruth of Ruthless Karting, Parolin, Curtis Ruth and Innovative Karting, Sweedtech, GMZ Wheels, Bell Helmets, Basic High Safety Tech, Performance Kart Sport and AMR Racing Graphics. Erica Sunnarborg of Chandler, on Bailey Blue Eyes, captures a World Championship title at the 2012 APHA World Championship Paint Horse Show in Fort Worth, TX. She takes the championship in Amateur Working Hunter showing the 2,000 gelding owned by the rider. In the class, horses are judged on their manners, way of going and jumping style over a course of at least eight jumps. Info:

In addition, Koch was invited to be a Visual Judge at the Webbstock VIII Band Competition in Missouri. Info:

Holly Kain, left, with VFW’s Cheri Almond Submitted photo

Kain was nominated by her fellow teachers and supervisors for her work with the VFW’s Voice of Democracy Program. Paul Koch of Chandler is the new director of bands and instrumental professor of music at Grand Canyon University. Koch, pronounced “Cook,” is former director of bands at Perry High School and is the man behind GCU’s new Thundering Heard pep band, with nearly 60 students, most of whom are non-music majors.

Erica Sunnarborg Photo courtesy of the “Paint Horse Journal.”

Holly Kain, an advanced English teacher at Hamilton High School, wins the 14th Annual VFW and Ladies Auxiliary National Citizenship Education Teacher Award, given by Commander Gene Nelson and program chairperson Cheri Almond of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post # 80543. Nelson says Kain advances to the District level, where she will compete for the State level competition.

PEP BAND: Paul Koch, center with headphones, with Grand Canyon University’s band. Submitted photo courtesy Darryl Webb

Michele Maki of Chandler is back on the East Coast, having been redeployed by the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter to provide relief for Hurricane Sandy. Maki, who is retired from the airline industry, traveled recently to Newark, NJ, to work as a public affairs supervisor, again committing two to three weeks of her time. A volunteer public information officer, Maki has more than 5,000 volunteer hours with the Red Cross since 2006. In total, the Grand Canyon Chapter has deployed 31 volunteers and employees for Sandy, including three who have been redeployed. Info: Sandra Hudson is the new president for TrustBank Arizona. A resident of Southern Chandler, she was previously the East Valley president for Northern Trust Bank for seven years. Prior to that she was a Sandra Hudson managing executive for private client services with U.S. Bank for 14 years. She is an executive board member of East Valley Partnership, chair of East Valley Fresh Start Executive Council and a board member of the Mesa Arts Center and of Dignity Health Foundation.


19039 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler | Just S. of Germann Rd. 480-782-6848 | Mon. - Sat. 9 a.m - 6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

SanTan Sun News 12-15-12 Comm