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November 16 – December 6, 2013

Voters say ‘Yes’ to CUSD override Southwest Ornaments shares the beauty of the desert BY TRACY HOUSE

In what can be considered a close decision, voters in the Chandler Unified School District cast their ballots to pass the requested override that will generate funds for the school district. The grassroots effort was led by Jim Bishop, “Yes for Chandler Students” chairman, and his team of teachers, parents and district personnel. With the passage of the override, Bishop says, “Now is when the really hard work begins. Now it’s up to CUSD.” He explains that the voting public has entrusted the district with this to be responsible with the money; to keep supporting existing programs that have been successful and the three things that were promised. Those include an increase in security measures, maintaining class sizes, and recruiting and maintaining outstanding and exceptional educators. Funds generated by the override will be part of the CUSD 2014-15 budget, but Bishop explains, that the tax will be part of 2014 property taxes. “We have to stay focused,” Bishop says of what is next for the committee. “I would like our committee to be a voice that supports education.” He mentions encouraging parents and community members to get involved in education by volunteering and attending school functions. “CUSD is a bedrock of the community and it belongs to all of us, so therefore take


Jim Bishop. Submitted photo

part in it.” Dr. Camille Casteel, CUSD superintendent, says the override means, “We’ll get our head above the water a bit. We are going to enhance the safety in our schools. We’ll be able to work toward achieving that. The school board has a plan for us to be one of the best school districts in the nation and being able to continue to develop a variety of programs to meet the needs of our children, to continue to develop our options and choices for parents. These funds will allow us to do that.” Casteel says this spring the district will begin safety enhancements throughout the schools, including hiring of additional security personnel SEE CUSD


For nearly two decades, Southwest Ornaments has been selling its handpainted southwestern design ornaments online and across the United States. Remarkably, the husband and wife duo of Brenda and Rick Schodt creates the gems of Southwest Ornaments and owns and operates the business from their home in Chandler. “After many years of giving my handpainted ornaments as gifts at Christmas time, I founded my first company called Delicate Designs in May of 1997. In July of 2007, I renamed and restructured my company which is now the Southwest Ornaments you see today,” explains Brenda Schodt. She attended ASU (where she also met future husband, Rick, who was a business major) after arriving in Arizona from her hometown in Janesville, WI. A gifted artist, she earned a degree in fine arts with an emphasis in graphic design. Her love of the desert was instant. Brenda continues to capture the desert landscape and its beautiful moments on her hand-crafted glass ornaments. While Brenda takes care of the creative end of the business, Rick handles much of the administrative work and shipping. Some interesting custom work has come their way via some of their larger clients. “We’re in Grand Canyon, Mount

THE ARTIST AT WORK: Brenda Schodt hand paints glass ornaments for her company, Southwest Ornaments. Submitted photo

Rushmore, Queen Mary and ‘Standing on the Corner’ in Winslow. We’re getting a lot more requests which is nice because that’s where we’re looking to expand the business,” Rick explains. “We’re in over 300 stores across Arizona, New Mexico and California primarily. We also do a national ornament and we’re in the Willie Nelson Museum in Nashville. Again, we’re looking to expand those opportunities, as well,” Rick says. “We are full time and we are busy. We ship every single day of the year. What we’ve found is that people collect ornaments everywhere SEE SOUTHWEST ORNAMENTS PAGE 4

Tree-lighting ceremony and parade set for Dec. 7

TRP golfers win silver in Special Olympics golf tourney



The holiday season will officially begin in Chandler when Mayor Jay Tibshraeny flips the switch to turn on the tumbleweed Christmas tree between 8 and 8:15 p.m. Sat., Dec. 7, at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park. The 57th annual event will be accompanied by the 24th Parade of Lights in downtown Chandler. Festivities kick off at 4:30 p.m. and continue until 9 p.m. The free family event features activities and entertainment to encourage the community to come out before the tree-lighting ceremony and parade. Two stages will host local entertainment and the Hot 97.5 Street

Matthew Yamashiro has been golfing for 10 years and has been playing consistently for the last six years. “I like to play golf,” Matthew says. “I know how to hit the ball.” Matthew, a member of Special Olympics Chandler and the Therapeutic Recreation Program through the city of Chandler, began playing golf when he was younger. But his father, Carl Yamashiro, explains it wasn’t until they became aware of Special Olympics five years ago that Matthew began playing regularly. Matthew, 22, graduated from Hamilton High School in 2010 and has been working at Albertsons food store


TREE-LIGHTING CEREMONY: The 57th annual Tumbleweed Tree-Lighting Ceremony will take place in downtown Chandler on Sat., Dec. 7. Submitted photo FOR A COOLER ARIZONA

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on Alma School Road as a courtesy clerk for two years. “It’s close to my house. I can walk there or my dad can drive me there sometimes.” With his golf game, he likes to hit the ball hard, he says. He mentions he’s good at putting also. Matthew practices Thursdays at Bear Creek Golf Course on Riggs Road. Through Special Olympics there are 30 teams in a unified league. In this case, he is partnered with Carl, a team that began playing together with Special Olympics five years ago. “He hits pretty good,” says Matthew of Carl. Carl explains that he and Matthew played last year at Wigwam Golf Resort

F E AT U R E STO R I E S Every day is Earth Day in Chandler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .COMMUNITY . . . . . . . . . . Page 8 UltraStar celebrates first anniversary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .BUSINESS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 17 ‘Dunk Your Kicks,’ support pediatric cancer patients . . . . . . .YOUTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 28 Cooper battles cancer, prepares for Ironman . . . . . . . . . . . . . .NEIGHBORS . . . . . . . . . . .Page 43 Messina heads to Rawhide Nov. 23. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ARTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 55

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November 16 - December 6, 2013

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November 16 - December 6, 2013

Fire Dept. open house Nov. 23


they go. We’re also in Hiltons, The Biltmore, Sheratons…a lot of tourist locations, and they order all year long.” For their larger clients, they also do custom ornaments. Because of the volume of some specific ornaments that Southwest Ornaments produces, some designs are pre-printed. But most of the ornaments are hand painted or start with a preprinted under layer and then the rest of the design is hand painted and accented. “I am also proud to say that our entire line of custom-printed ornaments as well as all the products used to create these ornaments is made in the U.S.A.,” says Brenda. Southwest Ornaments features pueblos, cacti, desert vistas, nighttime scenes, kokopellis, chili peppers, hummingbirds and a host of other southwest-inspired scenes. It can be a challenge to run any kind of home-based business, but the Schodts make it work. “Currently we have a small 10 by 20 storage location for when we get larger shipments. But, we’re bursting at the seams,” says Rick, with a laugh. “We only have a small house, but about 35% of the house is dedicated to the business.” They are contemplating expanding into a larger commercial space. Working with a spouse can have its own set of unique challenges, but the Schodts have found a good balance. “It’s fun,” states Rick. “That’s one of the first things I told Brenda, ‘We need to try this to see if we can work

ON THE SCENE: Hand-painted southwestern scenes and vistas grace the ornaments of Southwest Ornaments. Submitted photo

PREPARING FOR THE BUSY HOLIDAY SEASON: Rick Schodt takes care of the shipping and handling for Southwest Ornaments. Submitted photo

together.’ That was the first year. Well, we’re still learning. But, we’re really focused and Brenda is a great artist.” When the couple started out as Southwest Ornaments, they put together their mission statement. “It was to have affordable art that we would love everyone in the state and our region to have,” says Rick. “It’s about having this affordable art out there and each piece that Brenda paints is 100%

her painting. It is unique and it’s fun to be around that.” Southwest Ornaments can be purchased online (tax is included and free shipping on every order) at and wholesale orders are also welcome. Custom orders, such as those given as employee gifts, are also welcome. To purchase ornaments locally, visit Sibley’s West: The Chandler and Arizona Gift Shop, located at 72 S. San Marcos Pl., in downtown Chandler. Lynette Carrington is a freelancer for the SanTan Sun News. She can be reached at

The Chandler Fire Department is holding a free open house for the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sat., Nov. 23, at Fire Station No. 8, 711 W. Frye Rd. The event is part of the department’s ongoing effort to educate residents about the services provided by Chandler Fire, and to share safety, fire prevention and emergency preparedness information with the public. In addition to tours of the station, there will also be fire truck and apparatus displays and demonstrations and drowning prevention information. Children can receive personal instruction and practice getting out of a smoke-filled environment at the Fire Safety House display. Department mascots will also be on hand, and free balloons and fire helmets will be available for children. Throughout the event, fire department staff will be available to talk about the Crisis Response volunteer program, smoke alarm program, Fire Cadet program, and Community Emergency Response Team. This open house will also feature instruction on Hands-Only CPR which, when performed by a bystander, has been shown to be as effective as “conventional” CPR in emergencies that occur at home, work or in public. There are only two steps to remember: Call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest. Fire Station No. 8 is located on the south side of west Frye Road between Alma School Road and Arizona Avenue. For more information, call 480-782-2120 or go online to

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Team, who will conduct activities and contests. Vendors will also fill the streets between the stages offering crafts and food. “Some folks do holiday shopping,” explains city of Chandler Special Events Coordinator Hermelinda Llamas. The event will also feature inflatables and bounce houses for a nominal fee, as well as pony rides and pictures with Santa Claus. John Stewart, a member of the Chandler Lions Club, says his organization has helped with the parade, as well as run the Santa House, for years. He has played Santa Claus for the past 15 years. “We take free pictures for the kids,” Stewart says about the Lions Club. About 1,000 pictures are taken the first night of the Santa House. He enjoys portraying Santa because he loves the kids and hearing their Christmas wishes. “Some of them ask to bring their dad home from overseas,” Stewart says. “It just rips your heart out.” Youngsters can also visit the Santa House from 5 to 8 p.m. Thu., Dec. 12, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sat., Dec. 14, and Sat., Dec. 21. Entertainment will be available on those days as well. For the first time, the event will include a snow globe in which visitors can take pictures, Llamas says. “A lot of folks will be excited about trying that out his year,” she says. The Parade of Lights, which includes 65 entrees this year, will start at 7 p.m. It will begin at the corner of Arizona Avenue and Frye Road and continue to Buffalo Street

SANTA HOUSE: Santa will make an appearance during the 57th annual Tumbleweed TreeLighting Ceremony and the 24th annual Parade of Lights Sat., Dec. 7. The Santa House is located in front of the Tumbleweed Tree providing opportunities for the youngsters to have their pictures taken with Santa. Submitted photo

and Arizona Avenue in downtown Chandler before making a loop back south. Stewart says between 30,000 and 40,000 people typically gather downtown for the parade. He explains that he sees 10 people deep alongside the road watching throughout the whole parade route. The slots for the parade entries were filled by Aug. 28, instead of the usual Oct. 1.

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November 16 - December 6, 2013

“Typically every year we open up on the first of July and fill up the first of October,” Llamas says about the submitted applications. A tradition that began in 1957, the annual Tumbleweed Tree-Lighting Ceremony, includes participation from many community members who call the city of Chandler when they find a tumbleweed for the community’s unique Christmas tree. “It’s fun to see how many people want to be involved,” she says. The tumbleweeds used for the tree is collected from residents’ yards and incorporated areas of the city when cleanup is being done. “Wherever we can find them and pick them up,” she says they will. “We use them and recycle them, so they don’t go flying into the streets.” The Tumbleweed Tree, which is approximately 25 feet tall, uses 1,500 to 2,000 tumbleweeds for its assembly on the wire frame. “It’s quite unique and different from other Christmas trees,” Llamas explains. It also incorporates 25 gallons of white paint and 20 gallons of flame retardant, 65 pounds of glitter and 1,200 holiday lights. The Chandler Parks and Recreation Department spends three weeks assembling the entire tree. “It’s quite an undertaking,” Llamas says. “Parks and Rec does a fabulous job.”


Newsletter available online The Chandler Chamber newsletter for November is out and available for online viewing. Check out the newsletter regularly to discover new local businesses, browse job postings, find out what’s trending in Chandler, explore networking opportunities and more. Featured this month: new staff at the Chandler Chamber, upcoming small business workshops and individuals around the community honored for their dedication and service to the city. To receive the Chandler Chamber newsletter regularly, visit and click “Sign up for our newsletter.”

Meghan McCoy is the Neighbors and Business section editor for the SanTan Sun News. She can be reached at meghan@


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November 16 - December 6, 2013



at the elementary schools and initial gating and fences. She explains the funds mean that the district will not have to reduce the number of teachers on staff which will maintain a reasonable teacher-student ratio in the classroom. “I am going to continue to deliver a quality educational program,” Casteel says. “We hope the community views a quality educational system, a quality school district, as an economic driver and we do far more than educate children. We’ll help keep property values of homes up and attract quality businesses and organizations to come to the community.” “We won’t let the community down,” Casteel promises. She credits the “yes” citizens committee and the CUSD staff for the success of the override. “It’s about the kids, and we want to make sure all our kids have an opportunity to succeed and that often-time takes a variety of different programming and resources and materials. We want to keep trying to deliver a quality program to everyone.” The next step, Casteel says “is to make sure we’re using this money efficiently and effectively and we’re making our community proud of us.”

in the 12th annual North American Invitational Tournament. “We really enjoyed that last year. This year the tournament is held in New Jersey, just outside of Atlantic City.” He mentions that it is an invitational and participants are responsible for their own expenses. “There is a qualification and also an invitational,” Carl says. “We do OK.” His handicap is about a 12. Matthew’s is significantly more, he chuckles. The tournament is a three-day event that includes an opening banquet. All the participants play all three days. Matthew and Carl played at the partners level, 18-holes each day. This is based on experience and scoring. The fatherson partners represented Chandler and Arizona in the tournament, the only team at their level. Carl and Matthew won a silver medal in their group at the NIT Golf Tournament for Special Olympics which included 178 participants from the United States and Canada. There were a number of activities for the participants including the banquet, opening ceremony, speakers and representatives for the national games and at the end a spectacular fireworks display. Matthew, Carl says, had a very good time. “He loved being there. Although he’s relatively a very shy guy, once he started playing golf he got to know all his playing partners, both athletes and partners, quite well, and they enjoyed his company and playing golf with him as well.” Following the tournament,

Tracy House is the SanTan Sun News news editor. She lives in Ironwood Vistas with her husband and four children and can be reached at tracy@

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TAKING HOME THE SILVER: Matthew and Carl Yamashiro stand on the stage to accept their silver medals in the NIT Golf Tournament for Special Olympics held in New Jersey in October. Submitted photo

Matthew and Carl played in the state competition at Vistal in Phoenix. “There’ll be many, many dozens of teams,” Carl mentions. “For our season we also play in the Friendship Golf League. That is comprised of Special Olympics athletes, partners-unified, they have representatives from the East Valley, Tucson and Prescott/Sedona area.” The season began in August and continues through May with various leagues. Carl says from what he has heard, Arizona has one of the better programs in the country. “The pro at Vistal Golf Course is a phenomenal advocate for Special Olympics and he is the one that

puts on this tremendous tournament for the state.” Matthew says he doesn’t take lessons, “I just get out there and play.” His “practice course” includes the hallway of his home, Carl adds. For more information about Special Olympics and Chandler’s Therapeutic Recreation Program visit chandleraz. gov/therapeutic or contact Collette Prather at 480-782-2709. Tracy House is the news editor for SanTan Sun News. She lives in Ironwood Vistas with her husband and four children and can be reached at tracy@

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Celebration Plaza inductions Mayor Jay Tibshraeny and the city of Chandler will honor John H. Dick and Chandler Compadres with induction into Celebration Plaza at Tumbleweed Park at 9 a.m. Sat., Nov. 23, in recognition of their many contributions and good works on behalf of the people of Chandler. Celebration Plaza is a permanent monument near the center of Tumbleweed Park, located on the southwest corner of McQueen and Germann roads. It features a fountain and a decorative wall used to display brass plaques honoring organizations or individuals for civic leadership, public outreach and outstanding personal service and commitment to the community. Inductees are selected by the Chandler City Council, based on recommendations from the Parks and Recreation Board. The Chandler Compadres is a nonprofit charitable organization, founded in 1980, that has spent a quarter century helping build stronger families. The group has more than 100 active and life members who donate their time, resources, talents and money to help disadvantaged kids in Chandler and the East Valley. Dick spent almost the entire 86 years of his life making significant and long lasting contributions to the city of Chandler. In addition to serving as a city prosecutor and city attorney, he helped to uphold the vision of Chandler as a community where families could enjoy residing in a safe and wholesome environment.

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION RECOGNIZED: This year’s honorees will be honored alongside previous inductees at the Celebration Plaza monument. Submitted photo

This year’s inductees will have their plaques added alongside those of previous inductees: Najeeby Basha, Jerry Brooks, Patti Bruno, Lowell Huggins, Detective Carlos Ledesma, Dave McDowell, Marty Wright, Eddie Basha Jr., Chandler Service Club, Lenford Calley, Officer Robert Nielsen and Henry Salinas. There is no fee to submit a nomination, and the form is available online at It is also available at the Chandler Community Center, the Snedigar Recreation Center, the Tumbleweed Recreation Center and the Environmental Education Center, or by calling 480-782-2727. Contact Public History Coordinator Jean Reynolds at 480-782-2751 or jean. with questions about the nomination criteria or recognition process.

November 16 - December 6, 2013

El Palacio wins big at recent Taco Festival, TASTE. Chandler Mexican restaurant El Palacio placed in eight categories across two food festivals in one weekend recently. After two days of taco frenzy at the Arizona Taco Festival, owner and head chef Anthony Serrano placed in seven categories in addition to winning the Reserve Grand Champion title on day two. “We worked hard, presented our best tacos and it paid off,” he says. “It’s all in the movimiento, our family recipes and special blend of spices,” Serrano says of what makes his food special. While Serrano was busy presenting tacos galore, his sous chefs, Bianca and Carlos, were impressing festival goers at TASTE. Chandler’s Culinary Festival on Sat., Oct. 19. The event was abuzz over El Palacio’s handmade carnitas tacos with all the fixings. Open since 2009, Chandler’s El Palacio has claimed 31 awards in the last three years in categories including salsa, guacamole, tacos, booth décor and best Mexican restaurant. “We love to compete; it’s a lot of fun and very rewarding to know that the community enjoys our food so much. My team is already looking forward to the next competition,” says Serrano. When Serrano isn’t busy presenting at food festivals, he can be found at El Palacio serving customers, mixing drinks,

TACO TIME: Serving up carnitas tacos at the Arizona Taco Festival. Submitted photo

planning beer dinners, teaching cooking classes and staying involved in the local community.

El Palacio launches collaborative food drive El Palacio of Chandler is calling on local businesses to help “Fill the Van” with nonperishable food items this November to benefit the Salvation Army of Chandler. Each business or restaurant that wishes to participate will be given a large box so customers can make a donation. “I would love to see at least 30 local businesses on board to participate in the food drive,” Serrano says. “This is a great way for business owners and customers to work together to make a difference.” SEE EL PALACIO PAGE 10



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November 16 - December 6, 2013

City of Chandler Insider

Every day is Earth Day in Chandler In Chandler, the saying goes, “Every day is Earth Day.” Staff in the city’s Solid Waste Services Division work to help residents and businesses with their recycling and waste reduction efforts. One of the biggest hurdles in this endeavor is education—letting residents know what can and can’t be recycled in Chandler. Traci Conaway, the city’s recycling coordinator, finds creative ways to get the message out. The consequence of recycling incorrectly is that it becomes contaminated and a lot of what could have been recycled must be thrown away. Her job is to promote recycling awareness, and hopefully, taking action. On Nov. 15, the city recognized America Recycles Day, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit organization that encourages environmental stewards. It is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. This year’s America Recycles Day theme, “I Want To Be Recycled,” will help to educate people about the importance of recycling to our economy and environmental wellbeing, as well as motivate occasional recyclers to become everyday recyclers. The national recycling rate is 34.7%. Recycling 75% of the nation’s waste would create nearly 1.5 million jobs by 2030, according to a report by the Tellus Institute with Sound Resource Management. Another important point to note is that studies have shown residents are more

likely to recycle when they commit to it on paper. As part of America Recycles Day, recycling coordinators like Conaway are asking residents to take a pledge to take part in recycling more frequently. Every action adds up to making a difference that not only affects the city, but the country as a whole. Recycling also saves residents money. For every item that is recycled, the city earns revenue that offsets the cost of trash disposal and helps to keep solid waste rates low. Now that the holidays are right around the corner, Chandler’s Solid Waste Services has some tips to help residents reduce, reuse and recycle over the holiday season:

Seasons Eatings Use the good stuff - Reduce the need for paper plates, napkins and disposable utensils as these are not recyclable. Consider using silverware, dinnerware, glasses and cloth napkins. Pot luck - Bring food in reusable dishes. If you are the host, ask guests to do the same. Compost holiday food leftovers Backyard composting at home is easy and makes good sense. You can compost most food waste and reduce what needs to be thrown away. The city offers residents free composters and workshops throughout the year. Deep-fried turkey - Oil from deep fryers and other cooking oil can be brought into the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility

READY TO GO: Curbside pickup makes it easy to recycle household waste. Submitted photo

by appointment. Call 480-782-3510 to schedule. Cooking oil is collected and recycled to make biodiesel fuel.

Holiday recycling Make recycling easy for guests. Place a recycling basket next to the trash container with a list of what can be recycled. Paper – Printed paper, newspapers, including holiday ads, magazines, paper sacks and bagged shredded paper. What is not accepted: Gift wrap, coated gift bags, ribbon, tissue paper, greeting cards, paper plates, napkins or paper towels. Cardboard – Empty, flat boxes from gifts, prepared food boxes, empty toilet tissue rolls, paper towels and gift wrap rolls. Plastic bottles, cups and jugs – Milk, juice, soda, water, liquid soap, margarine

type containers with recycle symbols (No. 1 – No. 6). What is not accepted: Styrofoam, packing peanuts, plastic bags or plastic wrap, even if marked as recyclable. Aerosol cans - Empty cans that held food and beauty products such as whipped cream, cooking spray, deodorant and shaving cream. Aluminum and steel/tin - Aluminum beverage cans, clean pie tins and aluminum foil. Soup, veggie and fruit cans. What is not accepted: Other scrap metals. Glass - Clear, green, brown bottles and jars from food and beverages, such as salad dressing, wine, beer, pickles and olives. What is not accepted: Mirrors, drinking glasses or plates. For more information on Chandler’s recycling program call 480-782-3510 or visit

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November 16 - December 6, 2013


Recycling coordinator uses creativity to implement city’s recycling program Since 2006, Traci Conaway has been Chandler’s recycling coordinator in the Solid Waste Services Division. She coordinates the education activities for the city’s solid waste and recycling programs to increase public awareness and participation. This includes creating educational materials, such as brochures, Web pages and social media as well as making presentations to schools and community groups. She also maintains data to evaluate the city’s waste reduction programs and adds that she does it with the support of a great staff. Conaway credits her interest in recycling to her grandmother. “My grandmother modeled the value of recycling, reuse and buying only what you need,” she says. “She did it out of necessity by living through the Depression and two World Wars. We all can learn a lot from our greatest generation.” She explains that her interest in making a career in recycling stems from simply wanting a job in which she has value and makes a positive impact. With that said, Conaway says that what she loves most about her job is teaching residents and local schools about items they didn’t know are recyclable or how the recycling process

COLLECTING OIL: Recycling used motor oil helps the environment while saving the city money. Submitted photo

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Chandler Recycling Coordinator Traci Conaway. Submitted photo

works. “I also love settling family disputes about what you can and can’t recycle in your blue bin. Just a tip, listen to your kids, they have lived their entire life recycling and really know their stuff!” Conaway adds. Before working for the city, she worked for a paper recycler. Before launching a career in recycling, she also was in advertising sales and an elementary school teacher.

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When she isn’t at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. “We love visiting new places in and out of state. I am asking Santa for a new camera to better capture our adventures,” she says.

Chandler strikes oil! Since early 2010, Chandler has generated $2,400 in revenue and saved another $11,600 in disposal costs by recycling approximately 5,750 gallons of used motor oil. The oil is collected from Chandler residents who bring it to the city’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center located at 955 E. Queen Creek Rd. The oil is sold to a petroleum recycler.

Prior to implementing the oil recycling program in 2010, the city was burdened with the cost of purchasing containers to store the oil, plus paying to have the containers hauled away and properly disposed of. The HHW facility was opened in 2006 to accept used motor oil and other household chemicals to discourage such chemicals from being thrown in trash containers, poured down drains or dumped at the curb. Appointments are required when dropping off household hazardous waste and can be made by calling 480782-3510. Information provided by the city of Chandler Communications and Public Affairs Department.


November 16 - December 6, 2013


Serrano encourages businesses to offer customers an incentive for donations. He will also provide each participating business with vouchers good for a free order of nachos or half-off any appetizer at his restaurant. Customers who donate at El Palacio will also receive the voucher. By Dec. 2, El Palacio staff will drive the catering van to each business to pick up the donated items to “Fill the Van” and then deliver the nonperishable items to the Salvation Army. El Palacio will also host an invitation-only Thanksgiving dinner in collaboration with the Salvation Army for those in need of a helping hand this holiday season. El Palacio of Chandler is located in the Crossroads Towne Center, 2950 E. Germann Rd., Chandler. Visit for more information or like its Facebook page

TACO TROPHIES: El Palacio owner and head chef Anthony Serrano honored as the Reserve Grand Champion at the Arizona Taco Festival. Submitted photo


Issues addressed at Nov. 7 council meeting The Chandler City Council met at 7 p.m. on Thu., Nov. 7 and took action on 30 agenda items, including: Approved a Preliminary Development Plan for The Met at Fashion Center, a multifamily residential development on approximately 12 acres located at the southeast corner of Chandler Boulevard and Hearthstone Way. Approved a preliminary plat for a 79lot, single-family residential subdivision on approximately 20 acres located north and east of the northeast corner of Chandler Boulevard and McQueen Road. Approved amendments to the City Code designed to make the enforcement of parking policies more effective. Changes were made to the definition of an Inoperable Vehicle and Minor Vehicle Repair in visible areas of residential properties. This includes prohibiting vehicles left outdoors and unattended on jacks, blocks or similar devices. Modifications were also made to the provision for public nuisance, emergency abatement and court-ordered abatement. Another agenda item approved amendments to the City Code that adopt a new definition of a stored vehicle and prohibit parking of stored and other oversized vehicles in residential districts. Approved a Preliminary Development Plan for the Phase II expansion of the Wells Fargo campus on the northwest corner of Queen Creek and Price roads. When complete, Phase II will add 410,000-square-feet of space for an additional 2,500 employees. Approved a Zoning Code amendment that redefines group homes as either a “Residential Care Home” for those who have a disability, or a “Group Home” for those who

do not have a disability. The distinction is made to comply with the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), which prohibits discrimination against group homes serving the disabled and requires local jurisdictions to make reasonable accommodations for such group homes, when requested. Residential care homes and group homes will be required to register with the city to ensure compliance with standards, including a minimum separation of 1,200 feet between all group homes. Mayor Jay Tibshraeny and all councilmembers thanked Councilwoman Nora Ellen along with city staff for organizing the first Operation Welcome Home ceremony held on Nov. 4. Ellen credited her son, State Rep. J.D. Mesnard, for encouraging her to launch this program, city staff for coordinating the event, and the Patriot Guard Riders for their participation. She invited the community to visit to nominate a veteran or become a sponsor. She then challenged other Valley cities to have similar events to honor their veterans. Tibshraeny closed the meeting by asking people to reflect upon all the sacrifices the men and women in our armed services have given for our enduring freedom as a nation. Councilman Rick Heumann echoed those sentiments and noted that he had traveled to Washington, D.C., to run in the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 27. He asked residents to remember the saying “Freedom is not free” and the men and women who serve and protect us every day around the world should be thanked. Councilman Jeff Weninger talked about Chandler resident and business owner Steve Cooper who is fighting

cancer. A 3-mile public bike ride in support of Cooper was held on Nov. 15 from Chuparosa Park. Councilwoman Trinity Donovan congratulated the residents of the Springs Neighborhood, which is celebrating its 30th year. She also congratulated ICAN, which was recently chosen as the Outstanding Afterschool Program from the Center for Afterschool Excellence in Arizona. Several upcoming special events were highlighted by Councilman Kevin Hartke, including the dog-centric Woofstock on Nov. 16 at Tumbleweed Park. The mayor closed the meeting by wishing all Chandler residents a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. The next City Council meeting is a regular meeting followed by a study session at 7 p.m. Mon., Dec. 9. Council meetings are aired live, as well as replayed, on Chandler Channel 11 and streamed on the Web at video. During a study session on Mon., Nov. 4, Tibshraeny and the council recognized three employees for their years of service to the city: Kimberly Janes, 10 years; Karla Proffer, 15 years; and Susan Moore, 25 years. The mayor proclaimed Nov. 15 as America Recycles Day, and recognized the 61 volunteers and police department staff members who make up the city’s Volunteers in Policing (VIP) program. The VIP program recently received the International Association of Chiefs of Police award for Outstanding Achievement in Law Enforcement Volunteer Programs. These are not official meeting minutes of the City Council but rather a brief recap of the council’s actions provided as a courtesy of the Chandler Communications and Public Affairs Department.


November 16 - December 6, 2013

Chandler bond ratings remain stable

Intel employees give books to kids

Chandler’s financial future looks bright this month, according to reports from the three major credit rating agencies, which all reaffirmed their current ratings for the city’s Excise Tax Revenue Obligations (ETROs), used to fund various water and wastewater capital projects. Chandler officials had requested the rating review in anticipation of an upcoming sale of approximately $110 million in ETROs. Both Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services notified Chandler that they affirmed their highest AAA long-term rating for Chandler’s 2013 ETROs. The third service, Moody’s Investors Service, assigned an Aa1 rating, their second highest rating. All three agencies assigned a “Stable” outlook to Chandler’s financial position. Two of the agencies also reviewed the city’s ratings for outstanding General Obligation bonds. Both Fitch and Moody’s reaffirmed their respective ratings of AAA and Aaa. “By reaffirming our high ratings, these agencies are reinforcing our reputation as a well-managed city with strong fiscal policies and a balanced and flexible financial plan for the future,” says Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. “We are committed to maintaining fiscal discipline, and that breeds confidence among investors and

business leaders who see Chandler as a place of opportunity. Our focus remains on continued economic growth for years to come.” The bond ratings measure the city’s financial management and position, as well as the ability to repay outstanding debt. The higher bond ratings represent a lower investment risk for potential bond buyers and lower debt costs for the city and its citizens. In their reports, the agencies praised Chandler’s “strong local economy and financial management practices,” the community’s “diverse economic base, with residents having good access to strong local employers,” and their “expectation that management will continue to maintain favorable financial operations and healthy coverage of all parity debt obligations.” ETROs are backed by excise taxes that include a combination of local sales tax, state shared revenues, franchise fees, and revenues from licenses and permits, fines and forfeitures. General Obligation bonds are backed by secondary property tax levies. For more information on city of Chandler bonds, contact Chandler’s Management Services Department at 480782-2250.

Intel employees partnered last month with United Way to help foster a love of reading by making sure kids have access to books at home. It’s the gift of a bright future: four new Scholastic books packed with reading tips for Valley children and parents that will encourage fun and easy ways to develop a mini-home library. Creating a mini-home library is a simple way to inspire literacy and develop language fluency among their children—in any home. Whether it’s a library room, or a corner with fluffy pillows and basket of books, it can be done without spending a dime. On Wed., Oct. 30, 40 Intel employees whose generous gifts to United Way make them leadership givers, rallied to assemble 1,400 mini-home library kits purchased with an Intel donation. It is just one of many events Intel is hosting to help achieve United Way’s Community Objectives, which include Ensure Children and Youth Succeed. “Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is a vital goal that Intel will help us achieve for many families. Intel’s

The City Clerk’s Office posts official meeting results the morning following Council meetings. For a complete list of actions taken, visit Throughout the agenda, items are posted in red to signify any changes made at the meeting, and who voted no, or abstained.

For past City Council meeting minutes, visit, or contact the City Clerk’s Office at 480-782-2180. For any other information, contact the Communications and Public Affairs Department at 480-7822220.


READY FOR READING: Volunteers prepare mini libraries for kids’ homes, to encourage literacy and access to reading. Submitted photo

generous donation will get books into the hands of Valley children who may not have a book at home,” says Janet Garcia, United Way vice president of community impact. “An important step to ensure all children read at grade level by end of third grade is access to books.” The kits have been collected and assembled, but volunteers are always needed to read to local children as part of the Million Minutes Volunteer Reading Challenge. Join or create a team at vsuw. org/millionminutes.

Blood donations needed, especially O-neg United Blood Services Arizona is asking anyone who is able to step up and donate blood. There is a particular need for donors with O-negative blood, the “universal donor” blood type. While O-negative is in greatest demand, 500 donors of all blood types are required every day in Arizona. Blood drives are

being held throughout the East Valley this month, and with a shelf life of 42 days, November blood donations can save lives well past the Thanksgiving holiday week. For an appointment or to find a location near you, call 1-877-UBS-HERO or visit


November 16 - December 6, 2013



November 16 - December 6, 2013


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November 16 - December 6, 2013

Crews practice, lot revamped Crews broke in a newly purchased paving machine late last month in downtown Chandler when a gravel parking lot received a much-needed upgrade. “Street maintenance crews recently acquired a new paving machine and wanted to test it out and train employees on its use,” says downtown Redevelopment Manager Teri Killgore. “At the same time, we were looking for a way to reduce dust and improve the walkability of a gravel parking lot used by visitors to Chandler’s bustling downtown.” The parking lot is located west of Arizona Avenue, across from Chandler City Hall. Known as “Site 6,” the

property is expected to redevelop over the next few years, but in the interim provides space for overflow parking. Paving crews cleared away gravel from the key driving lanes located throughout the parking lot and replaced it with a layer of asphalt applied by the new paving machine. “We aren’t repaving the entire lot, just placing temporary pavement along the driving lanes because if all goes well, this site will be under construction within the next two years,” Killgore says. The placement of the pavement was completed at the end of October. Access to the Boston Street alley and adjoining parking spaces remained open.

ACA talks in Chandler libraries TELL US ABOUT YOUR HOLIDAY DRIVES Is your business or organization sponsoring a holiday drive? SanTan Sun-area businesses and organizations sponsoring a holiday food or toy drive through the month of December are invited to send in their event information. Please include information regarding the event such as a list of needed items, drop-off times and dates, contact information, volunteer opportunities, and who the donations will benefit. To be considered for the Dec. 7 publication, information must be received by Tues. Nov., 19. Send event information to Put “Holiday Drive” in the subject line.

In an ongoing effort to provide information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Chandler Public Library is offering question-and-answer sessions this month. The sessions will be hosted by representatives of AARP or the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers (AACH). Presenters will guide attendees through the new law and help them understand its provisions and impact on individuals, families and small businesses. While attendees will not

individually sign up for the program, there will be time to ask questions. Reservations are not required for any of the sessions. Remaining dates are 6 to 8 p.m. Mon., Nov. 18, at the Downtown Library, 22 S. Delaware St.; and 6 to 8 p.m. Tue., Nov. 19, at Basha Library, 5990 S. Val Vista Dr. Both sessions are conducted by Tara Plese of AACH. For more information, call 480-7822800 or visit aca.cfm.

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November 16 - December 6, 2013


Construction update: Gilbert Road progress Traffic is limited to the west side of Gilbert Road with one lane open in each direction. The restriction lasts from Mead Drive to just south of Gilbert and Ocotillo roads. Crews continue to install electrical conduit for streetlights in the east side of Gilbert Road. The project is progressing northward from Brooks Farm Road to the RWCD Canal, just south of Ocotillo Road. Traffic near the RWCD crossing under Gilbert Road is restricted to the west side of Gilbert Road on temporary

asphalt as crews build the east half of the RWCD box culvert. The new box culvert is being constructed just south of the existing box culvert, and is being assembled one half at a time to serve traffic needs on Gilbert Road during the project. Crews are preparing to pour concrete for the box culvert floor, and are currently forming and tying rebar. Next, work on the walls and deck for the east half of the box culvert will take place, as structures are formed, tied and poured. The work on the east half of the box culvert is expected to take

approximately four more weeks. Through late January, Ocotillo Road east of Gilbert Road will be closed down for construction on the RWCD canal where it intersects Ocotillo Road, just east of Gilbert Road, as part of the improvements. The project is slated to prepare for the significant work that will coincide with a planned RWCD dry-up for required cleaning and construction on the canal, tentatively scheduled for December. Additional information will be provided as the maintenance schedule is established.

Drivers are cautioned to be careful while traveling through the construction area, but may continue to patronize local businesses during the project. For additional and updated information about the project, visit or call 480-898-4100.

Jeep Girls kick off American Legend Artist Series The Hill sisters, Brittany and Ashley—also known as “The Jeep Girls”—are introducing the American Legend Artist Series celebrating American artists, designers, storytellers and places and featuring American fashion designer Nanette Lepore. The series is designed to highlight what makes us proud to live in “the land of the free and home of the brave.” The adventure will encompass heritage vehicles to inspiring heroes and historical sites. The Hill sisters will be collaborating with American artists on a variety of public art projects with the community. “We truly believe that if you work hard, you can achieve success. We believe that every American deserves

opportunity and that with our community we can provide beneficial contributions to make this place better for the next generation. The American dream is about very simple core values; family and education which lead to a positive experience,” says Ashley. The Hill sisters’ first stop in their Lepore dresses will be at Specialty Equipment Market Association Auto Show in Las Vegas. The show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. “We are very excited to welcome Nanette Lepore to the American Legend Artist Series. We believe we should be proud of the creations of the American worker especially when towns and cities are driven by the


JEEP GIRLS: Ashley and Brittany Hill will wear dresses by American fashion designer Nanette Lepore, and explore American creations, in their American Legend Artist series. Submitted photo

success of a particular industry,” says Brittany.

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The deadline for news and advertising is noon, Tue., Nov. 26 for the Dec. 7, 2013 issue of the SanTan Sun News. All news must be submitted to News@SanTanSun. com 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 deadline information, visit and click on “About us” and call 480-732-0250 for advertising rate details.

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November 16 - December 6, 2013


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