Relentlessly local coverage of Gilbert and our neighboring communities
Derek Boehm introduces his daughter, Teagan, to the wonders of astronomy. More photos, page 18.
Lewis bows out to standing ovation
Mayor Daniels promises to move town forward
BY SRIANTHI PERERA
Mayor John Lewis is known for being inclusive and humorous. There’s video evidence to show that while out and about in the community, he thrust a microphone under the noses of a pair of lively Terriers and asked: “What do you see happening in Gilbert?” Generous, optimistic, responsive, inclusive: the complimentary adjectives and speeches — interjected with jokes and a catching of breath — flowed when wellwishers, colleagues and dignitaries from around the Valley assembled in Gilbert Council Chambers on July 19 and offered a standing ovation to mark Lewis’ last day as mayor. “It’s been a privilege to serve alongside Mayor Lewis,” Councilman Jordan Ray said. see
LEWIS page 12
BY SRIANTHI PERERA
Mayor Lewis cuts a cake to mark the end to his seven-year mayoralty. The inscription reads “What we do, we do together. Mayor John Lewis 2009-2016.”
Running uncontested is “a bit surreal” said Gilbert’s newly appointed Mayor Jenn Daniels. “I very much prepared myself for a contested race; I had no inclination that I was going to be running unopposed,” she said. On July 19, at a special meeting convened to accept the resignation of Mayor John Lewis, Daniels was appointed the town’s mayor. She will run uncontested in the primary elections on Aug. 30 and begin her first full term in January. The former town council member see
DANIELS page 8
2 Community 14 Neighbors 26 Business 28 Neighborhood Map
Outgoing Mayor John Lewis hands a baton to Jenn Daniels to symbolize her taking over as the town’s new mayor.
38 Youth 44 Spirituality 46 Arts 52 Opinion
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Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope Coach outreach program is coordinated by Chaplain Cliff Danley. GSN photo by Srianthi Perera
Chaplain Cliff Danley helps a homeless man with food.
Gilbert resident offers water—and hope—to homeless individuals BY SRIANTHI PERERA
More than a decade ago, Cliff Danley was homeless, on the streets and medicating his pain with methamphetamines until someone offered him a lifeline. Nowadays, he’s back on the streets. But this time, with water bottles, sacks of lunch, words of encouragement and guidance to help others who are down on their luck. “I’ve done this for five years; I’m pretty sure I’ve saved at least two lives,” said Danley, a chaplain with Phoenix Rescue Mission. The Gilbert resident runs the mission’s Hope Coach program, a part of the Valleywide Code Red: Summer Heat Relief Campaign. He has also helped countless numbers of people come off the streets and enroll in the mission’s structured and Christianbased long-term recovery programs. Along with other volunteers, Danley drives the “Hope Coach,” one of the two vans that go into areas that are likely to have homeless people and offers them help. And help is particularly vital during the summer months because many homeless people die outdoors due to heatrelated illnesses. A Maricopa County report states that heat-related deaths soared in 2011 and 2012, but has since fallen: in 2012, there were 110 such deaths and last year, there were 84, possibly attributable to work of agencies such as the mission.
Volunteers from the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope Coach locate those down on their luck and help them with goods and services.
Danley and his team encounter about 30 people each day. “We just talk to people about choices, options, pathways... What do you want to do? Do you really think you should be out here?” he said. The team has noted homelessness growing worse over the years and that the numbers of vulnerable people, such as women and children, are rising. According to the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s website, phoenixrescuemission.org, more than 25,800 people in Maricopa County have no place to call home. One day last year officials counted 4,343 homeless individuals in shelters and 1,289 on the streets, which means that on any given day, there could be up to 5,500
homeless people in the county, the site noted. Their ages also cover the full spectrum. It used to be a stereotype that older individuals, those in their 40s and older, are the homeless. Nowadays, he increasingly comes across women of all ages, whom he attributes to being victims of child sex trafficking and domestic abuse. Then there are the youth ages 18-24, those who have aged out of foster care and have nowhere else to go. In the case of younger people, “they don’t even have a previous spectrum of life to try to get back to,” Danley said. “Recovery implies returning to a previous state, and in some of these instances, these
young people have never been taught the life skills for sustained personal responsibility and living.” Thankfully for Danley, he had “a previous state” in aerospace manufacturing that he could return to. At the Phoenix Rescue Mission, he enrolled in a one-year, self-paced residential recovery program that was a blend of clinical recovery and spiritual discipleship. “I had that spiritual piece but I was never able to make that an affective part of my life,” said Danley, who ended up staying in the program for 19 months. “Everything changed there. Even my core values that I embraced, that I knew I should embrace, didn’t really have that foundation—it solidified there.” With a completely new trajectory of life—a stable family, a home in Gilbert and his missionary work, the chaplain said that he is “very satisfied. “Each day I get to go to work and know that I have a specific purpose and that I can help people. And my needs and my employment are met while I’m fulfilling that purpose,” he said. Meanwhile, he knows that the more vans ply the streets, the more people will become “plugged in.” “If I had my way, we would have a van going north every day, a van going east into the East Valley, a van going to South Phoenix and then a van going out into the west,” Danley said. “We can’t help everybody. But I’d like to think that we can connect them to anybody that they may need.”
the U.S., I would never have had this He wakes up every day at 5:30 a.m. opportunity.” and warms up at 6 a.m. He practices Shi also taught himself how to shoot from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekdays pistols, then made friends with other goes to work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. At 8 shooters and got coaching from them. p.m. he works his core muscles before He now receives his guidance from the going to bed at 9:30 p.m. On weekends, national team coach, Sergey Luzov. instead of going to work, he practices. Shi has done well as he has progressed This is the schedule of Jay Shi, 37, over the years. a member of the U.S. Olympic Team In 2006 and 2013 he was a bronze who will be medalist and participating on in 2014 placed the U.S. Pistol fourth in the USA Team at the Shooting National 2016 Summer Championships. Olympics in Rio In 2015 he was a de Janeiro in bronze medalist Brazil. in the Anniston “This is the Airgun Selection minimum, Match and a silver compared to medalist in the Pan the rest of the American Games. world,” said He placed seventh Shi, who has in the free pistol a degree in category in this computer system year’s World Cup engineering Rio. from ASU and According to works with web USA Shooting, application a nonprofit development corporation and software. chartered by the “To be better, U.S. Olympic I have to train Committee as smarter and the national constantly governing body change and for the sport of adjust for shooting, Shi was better.” the only person He lives in who qualified as Phoenix, but the team’s entrant lived in Gilbert in the Men’s Free A graduate of ASU, Jay Shi will represent the from 1996 to U.S. in the Men’s Free Pistol and Me’s Air Pistol Pistol category 2008 and is a at the Olympics. categories at the 2016 Summer Olympics. 1998 graduate USA Shooting of Gilbert High School. Archery, he said it was his dominating final-day said, was a logical stepping stone to performance in the competition for shooting. that spot that qualified him. Shi will also “Archery gave me the stepping stone compete for the U.S. team in the Men’s to shooting,” Shi said, noting that it built Air Pistol category at the Olympics. up his shoulder and core muscles. Shi explained that in the air pistol That’s important, because much has category, he will shoot 60 bullets in 1 been written about how Shi injured minute and 15 seconds. In the free pistol his right eye in a freak accident with category, he will shoot 60 bullets in 1 scissors when he was a young boy. His minute and 30 seconds. He will use two parents decided the best place for different pistols, both common types he surgery was in the United States, and said can be found for sale at Walmart. once in this country they decided to He must shoot above 562 to advance to stay, giving him the opportunity to the finals. compete at the level he does now, “The most difficult part is to maintain which he wouldn’t have had if he hadn’t your focus and nerves,” Shi said, adding, had that accident and grew up as “mental focus is what wins.” planned in his birthplace in Beijing. And, does he expect to win a medal? “Absolutely, that’s one of the reasons “I expect to do my best, and if I did I’m so proud to be on the team and and lost I have no regrets.” represent USA,” Shi said. “If not for BY STEVEN SOLOMON
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Olympic Team member has Gilbert roots
August 2016 5
6 August 2016
Kennel owners in Gilbert dog deaths take plea deal
The trip will include sights in Amalfi, Italy.
Pompeii is a historical coastal town in Italy.
Chamber to host travel meetings The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Collette Vacations and Chamber Discoveries to offer a sightseeing trip in the coastal Italian cities of Pompeii and Amalfi. Informational travel meetings will be held to review the travel itineraries and answer general questions regarding the trips. The “Discover the Italian Coast 2017” meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, at the chamber, 119 N. Gilbert Rd., Suite 101. The meeting is free to attend. This trip will depart on March 23, 2017, and will include eight days with optional extensions. Highlights will include Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento
and Positano with optional expeditions to Naples or Rome. Inclusive pricing begins at $3,099. Trip details can be found online at chamberdiscoveries.com/pdfs/pompeii. pdf To RSVP for the informational meeting, contact Sarah Watts by phone at 480-941-6322 or by e-mail at sarah@ gilbertchamber.com. The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit, membership-based organization with more than 675 members ranging from home-based businesses to large corporations and representing more than 52,000 employees. The Chamber proactively serves as a business advocate to strengthen the business climate in Gilbert.
The owners of Green Acre Boarding in Gilbert have accepted a plea agreement in Maricopa County Superior Court in the deaths of 23 dogs left in their care during the summer of 2014. Jesse Todd Hughes, 33, and Maleisa Maurine Hughes, 46, each entered guilty pleas to one count of facilitation to commit fraudulent schemes and artifices, and one count of cruelty to animals, both Class 6 felonies. Each will serve 23 days in jail without the possibility of work release, work furlough, home detention or compliance monitoring. The plea agreement stipulates that the two may not acquire any new animals, may not operate or work at any boarding facility for animals, must perform at least 230 hours of community restitution, may not comment or discuss or post about the case on social media and must write a letter of apology to be read in court for the victims and the public. “Nothing can replace the loss
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these pet owners continue to feel,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This agreement holds the defendants accountable for criminal conduct resulting in the loss of so many beloved family pets entrusted to them, and ensures they will serve time in jail and provide restitution to the community.” The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office investigated 23 dead or injured dogs that were discovered at Green Acre Boarding, near Greenfield and Queen Creek roads in Gilbert and submitted its findings to the County Attorney’s Office. Two months later, a Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted Jesse and Maleisa Hughes on one count of fraud and multiple counts of animal cruelty. On Dec. 22, 2014, prosecutors announced dismissal without prejudice of the animal cruelty counts, but left the fraud count. Charges were reinstated on May 6, 2015, after additional evidence was reviewed. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9.
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8 August 2016
Presiding Judge John Hudson administers the oath of office to Jenn Daniels, Gilbert’s new mayor.
of seven years said that she decided to run for mayor because of the hard work leading up to it. “I just know how hard we worked as a group to accomplish a great many things, and I wanted us to continue along that path. It’s very important to continue to build Gilbert in a positive way,” she said. Daniels, who has lived in the town for 11 years, said that her platform is moving Gilbert forward. “This is our town,” she said. “We
collectively are invested in this community in one way or another, and oftentimes, in multiple ways, and we get to set the course for our future. “I look at not just my life but the life of the people that I work with who continue to reach higher and set the bar higher to continuously improve and that’s what we do as a community,” she added. Wife to Eric, who works in medical sales, and a mother of four children, Ethan, 13, Drew, 11, Ty, 9, and Kate, 5,
Daniels said that the decision to run for mayor has changed her life. “I think any time you take on something new, it changes your life. I think whether you let it to negatively impact your life is a choice you have to make,” she said. “Our family will always be our number 1 priority, but this community is very important to us and that’s why we like it. And that’s why we’re investing our time, our talents and our energy in making it a better place.” Among the development projects coming up—she called them “small stepping stones”—Daniels spoke about the Heritage District, which is slated to increase in density and expand development to its original mile south of Guadalupe Road and north of Elliot Road. In addition, during the next few months, the town’s aging areas would receive improved infrastructure and ADA accessibility. Overall, its services to citizenry would be improved, she said. While Daniels is looking forward to her tenure, she’s mindful that she has to make inroads in the community in the manner her predecessor did when he first began. “Mayor Lewis was so good at that,” she said. “I’m very aware of efforts that he made in order to make that happen. I would like to, for the first little while of being the mayor, to really listen to the community.”
www.GilbertSunNews.com When asked what she would miss the most and the least of Lewis, Daniels said he was “our shade tree.” “He has done a lot to protect us and shield us from some of the harder things,” she said. “I will miss not having him there to answer some of those calls that are very difficult.” On the other hand, she could do without the “long meetings,” she said.
Call for applications With the appointment of Jenn Daniels as mayor, a vacancy exists for a town councilmember to serve the remainder of her term until January. The town is calling for applications from individuals of more than 18 years of age who have lived in Gilbert for one year. Applicants must submit a one-page resume and a statement of interest in the position of no more than 250 words. The town council will select three applicants for interviews on Aug. 11, thereafter it will vote to choose the member. He or she will be sworn in at the council meeting on Aug. 18. Details: gilbertaz.gov/ departments/clerk-s-office/boardopenings
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James Johnson sentenced to death for murder of Taiwanese employee James Clayton Johnson, 33, was handed a death sentence for the brutal stabbing murder of an employee at Taiwan Massage in Mesa in 2010. “The defendant perpetrated the vicious slaughter of an innocent woman,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This sentence is an appropriate response to such a depraved and senseless act.” The suspect was apprehended with the help of the Gilbert Police Department. At 4 p.m. Dec. 7, 2010, Johnson entered Taiwan Massage and encountered a 42-yearold female employee. A short time later, an employee at a neighboring business heard banging on the walls and the sound of a woman screaming and crying. He walked next door to investigate and found the defendant inside the business, who he described as a young Asian male. The witness asked the defendant where the victim was, but the defendant made an excuse about her absence. Feeling that something wasn’t right, he returned next door to call 9-1-1. He and a co-worker then watched as the defendant drove away in his white Chevy pick-up truck at a high rate of speed. When officers arrived, they found that the inside of the business was ransacked. In the
August 2016 9
office area, electrical and phone wires from the computer terminal were cut, among other damage, giving the appearance that the defendant was cutting power cords to any perceived security system that might have been in place. The victim was found with her wrists tightly bound together in front of her body with several zip-ties, and her hands clasped together. She had been stabbed repeatedly, and with such force that there were nicks on her vertebrae from the knife. Two fatal wounds were found, a large wound to the left side of her neck, and a stab wound located in the middle of her back which punctured her right lung. The wound to her neck severed the spinal cord. A symbol had been carved into her torso. Though initially there were no leads, Gilbert police received information that on Dec. 10, 2010, a suspect who fit the description of the murder suspect was arrested for an armed robbery, during which he used zip-ties. DNA testing on the zip-ties recovered from the homicide scene matched the defendant’s DNA, which had been taken from a 2009 conviction. The defendant’s white truck also matched the truck seen on surveillance video.
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10 August 2016
Early voting in hotly contested Gilbert Council, GOP primary races BY PAUL MARYNIAK
With early voting for the 2016 Arizona Primary Election underway, Gilbert Republicans may have more motivation to vote, given several hot congressional races. But there’s also plenty of competition in the nonpartisan Town Council races for voters of any party to cast their ballot. Although Gilbert never had to worry about a race for mayor because former councilwoman Jenn Daniels was unopposed, incumbent Jared Taylor is one of seven candidates fighting over two at-large seats. The other candidates are retired Phoenix firefighter Joel Anderson, retired town parks manager Scott Anderson, community activist Tim Rinesmith, businessman Seth Banda, former town economic development commission chairman Jim Torgeson, and commercial sales manager Bob Ferron. Topping the ballot across the state for Republicans is a highly contested battle pitting incumbent U.S. Sen. John
McCain against four candidates, one of them a write-in. If the intensity of online advertising is any indication, his chief rival is Dr. Kelli Ward, a Lake Havasu family physician who had been a state senator. Groups supporting McCain have been attacking her for extremist positions. Also challenging his run for a seventh term are Clair Van Steenwyk, a retired Sun City food industry executive; Alex Meluskey, a Scottsdale graphics company owner; and writein candidate Sean Webster, a Phoenix small business owner. The Democratic candidate likely to win the U.S. Senate primary is U.S. Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, who faces only write-in opposition from Phoenix businesswoman Merissa Hamilton and self-proclaimed Socialist and Cuban expatriate Axel Bello. Also running is Green Party candidate Gary Swing, who says he represents the “Boiling Frog Party” because frogs are becoming extinct. Another Republican primary Battle Royale involves the race to replace
Congressman Matt Salmon in District 5, which includes parts of Mesa, Gilbert and Chandler. State Senator Majority Leader Andy Biggs has been termed the leader in that race, but some polls are reporting that former GOP gubernatorial candidate and former Go Daddy executive Christine Jones is starting to gain on him. Also vying for the Republican nomination in that Congressional district are Mesa State Representative and tax analyst Justin Olson and former Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley, also a longtime Mesa resident. While only two Democrats are running for three seats open on the state Corporation Commission, Republicans have a five-way contest. Only one, former Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn, is from the East Valley. The other four are state Insurance Commissioner and former state House Speaker Andy Tobin, Peoria businessman Robert Burns, former state Sen. Al Melvin of Tucson and Sun City small businessman Rick Gray.
Some heated Republican races also dominate primary contests in several East Valley legislative districts. Among them is the fight to replace Biggs in Senate District 12, covering mainly Gilbert and Queen Creek. There, state Rep. Warren Petersen is duking it out with Jimmy Lindblom, an attorney who also is president of a construction company. And a three-way Republican fight for two state House seats in District 12 involves incumbent state Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, Arizona Air National Guard Major Travis Grantham and LaCinda Lewis. She is the wife of former Gilbert Mayor John Lewis. While no state Senate primary contest exists in District 16, which covers parts of Mesa and Gilbert, Republicans are in a three-way battle for two spots on the November ballot. Candidates are incumbent state Rep. Kelly Townsend, Apache Junction High School teacher Doug Coleman, and SanTan Valley businessman Adam Stevens.
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The primary by the numbers
Here are the most recent figures for voters in the East Valley, according to the Maricopa County recorder. The numbers in parentheses represent the latest totals of permanently registered early voters. Registered Republicans Chandler Gilbert Tempe Mesa total Mesa District 1 Mesa District 2 Mesa District 3
47,471 (33,467) 57,339 (41,865) 22,954 (15,806) 95,001 (67,516) 20,427 (14,300) 16,578 (11,830) 11,291 (7,335)
Registered Democrats 35,750 (25,802) 26,591 (19,242) 28,341 (20,443) 55,029 (38,723) 8,637 (5,951) 8,809 (6,180) 11,811 (8,050)
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Deli gives the public good food and autistic workers employment BY MIKE BUTLER
First-time customers of the new Not Your Typical Deli in Gilbert usually stop by because they want to support the cafe’s mission of employing young people with autism or developmental disabilities. They come back because they can’t resist the delectable NYT Meatball and other sandwiches, plus all the chopped salads. “I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time,” said Chef W, who owns NYT Deli with his wife, Chef Vanessa Luna, and Pam and Chuck DePalma, who take care of the business side. The DePalmas’ son, Daniel, 16, has autism and works at the restaurant. Chef W said he roasts all the restaurant’s turkey and roast beef and cures the pastrami. The all-beef hot dogs and other specialty ingredients are provided by top local vendors. The seeds for NYT Deli were sown four years ago when Chef W met Renata Irving and her autistic son Sam at the Gilbert Farmers Market. Chef W was teaching traditional cooking classes at Arizona Commercial Kitchens, a rentable co-working space he developed with his mother, Kathy Rieth, to help budding food truck entrepreneurs, caterers and others get their businesses off the ground.
Robert and Terri Anasagasti prepare to order from Skylar Callahan and Cordell Sherwood.
He wondered if Sam and others would be interested in taking cooking classes. Yes, definitely. Soon, Chef W found himself teaching cooking skills at the Gilbert campus of Pieceful Solutions Schools, the K-12 school founded in 2008 for children with autism spectrum disorders. The school also has campuses in Mesa and Chandler. At Pieceful Solutions, Chef W met Daniel and his parents. And in yet another twist of fate, the school was where he first met Vanessa, who owned a catering company at the time and regularly brought meals to the school.
Sam Irving sells his paintings at the cafe.
More recently, Chef W and his partners seized an opportunity to obtain a retail suite adjacent to Arizona Commercial Kitchens, which was transformed into NYT Deli’s cheery dining room. Pam DePalma said her family moved from Chicago to Arizona after Daniel was diagnosed with autism because of the Valley’s excellent schools and support services for autism spectrum disorders. Despite that, she added, it’s still very difficult for kids transitioning out of school to find jobs. The unemployment rate is nearly 90 percent, she said. Renata Irving said she asked one
restaurant’s owners about 10 years ago if they could give Sam a tryout doing something basic, such as filling salt and pepper shakers. “I just wanted to see if he could follow through with a task, but they said no,” Irving said. Sam Irving, now 27, is NYT Deli’s host/ dining room ambassador. Cordell Sherwood, 19, never heard a peep from 10 restaurants he applied to earlier this year. When Chef W and Vanessa called him to set up an interview, he posted an emotional video on YouTube thanking them just for the opportunity. He is a cashier, and his friends have a new nickname for him: Cor-deli. DePalma said she wants the restaurant to eventually offer three, 12-week training programs to prepare students for jobs in the culinary industry, not just NYT Deli. For that, she said, the team will seek grants and private donations at gofundme.com/ ky3mwwvc. “We don’t focus on the diagnosis here,” said Chef W. “We focus on the person. I’ve never had a better opening team than I’ve had with these guys. To see the look of pride on their faces is pretty cool.” NYT Deli, at 3821 E Baseline Rd., J-140, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
12 August 2016
LEWIS from page 1
Gilbert Mayor John Lewis received many gifts on his last day as mayor, including a replica of the town’s historic water tower. “There’s great symbolism,” Lewis said.
“When there are this many people in the audience, it tells us either that Mayor Lewis is resigning, or we’re talking about cats in the Riparian Preserve.” Lewis resigned six months early from the position he held for seven years to head the East Valley Partnership, the coalition of civic and business leaders that addresses economic development, education and other major issues in the region. Councilwoman Jenn Daniels, who was elected to council the same time Lewis won the mayor’s race, was unanimously approved as mayor, marking yet another milestone for Gilbert as the town’s third woman to hold the post. But it was essentially Lewis’ day. It’s a privilege to recognize Lewis, Daniels said. “I think we’re all trying hard to find the right words to compliment the leadership you provided to the town,” she added. Gifts were presented to him aplenty, including a human-size replica of the town’s iconic water tower. The audience gasped collectively as the red cloth concealing the gift was unraveled and the thoughtful takeaway from the Town Council and staff were revealed.
“There’s great symbolism,” Lewis said. “Gilbert was incorporated in 1920. The very first expenditure that our local citizens, a few hundred people, decided to make was to build a water tower. That water tower from 1920 has great significance: building for the future.” Councilman Eddie Cook presented him with a pillow in the colors of his favorite baseball team, San Francisco Giants. Town Manager Patrick Banger gave an Arizona Cardinals T-shirt, which Lewis promised to wear “during yardwork.” Other gifts included a mayoral ring with his dates of service, a firefighter’s helmet from Fire Chief Jim Jobusch, a clock and batons, one to pass to Daniels. Gilbert Digital, the town’s communications department, had created a video entitled “The Best of Mayor Lewis,” depicting a plethora of gaffes and comical moments. They included the mayor falling off a bicycle (repeated for good measure), awkward baseball moves, hurtling through the hallways of the municipal offices in a Superman cape and “interviewing” the Terriers in a public park. Lewis, in turn, had prepared 10 parting
thoughts that expressed his gratitude to various segments of the community, and predictions for the future that quoted the farming adage “plant corn for yourself and pecans for your grandchildren.” “We love this guy, he’s one of the most fun mayors to work with,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton at a reception after the meeting. “He’s always had a spirit of regionalism and community, all working towards advancing our cities individually but really, we’re stronger together.” For some local officials, it was time for some soul-searching. Councilman Victor Petersen said that one character trait he appreciates the most about the mayor, among many, is Lewis’ “forgiving” nature. “There’s a lot of belief and passion for those beliefs on this council,” he said. “And with that, it’s challenging to know how to stick with what you believe in, and sometimes, you find that you disagree with others... “It’s challenging to know how to disagree without being disagreeable,” he went on. “I wish I was nearly as good at it as Mayor Lewis is. But, with all my faults and in the times that I don’t do that very well, he’s forgiving. I know that I have a true friend in Mayor Lewis and I’m grateful for that.”
The mayor’s wife, LaCinda, was also among the audience with their son, Kelvin. She said that her husband has been “pensive.” “He’s been thinking about how many hours—hundreds, thousands (that he devoted to the job). It’s supposed to be part-time but pretty much he took it as a full-time experience and really did well,” she said. “He considered it a service opportunity of a lifetime…I think he loved it. He’s going to miss it.” One of Lewis’ strongest points, attendees said, is his ability to unite. “He’s just so good at bringing people together regardless of how bad a situation is and truly coming up with collaborative solutions.” Gilbert resident Pat Krueger said. Another, Gayle Disch, spoke of the same unifying qualities. “He just made everybody feel special as a resident in Gilbert,” she added. Some took heart that Lewis would remain in the East Valley and continue the role of economic development. “He will still have that influence here, which is good,” Krueger said, “but it’s kind of like he’s that child who has moved out of your house. You know they’re still here, they’re still living in town, but they’re not in your house.”
Mayor Lewis bids farewell to his team, from left, council members Jared Taylor and Victor Petersen, Vice Mayor Jordan Ray, council members Brigette Peterson and Eddie Cook and thenincoming Mayor Jenn Daniels.
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Mom killed 2 kids, then herself, county deputies say BY JIM WALSH
Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies knew immediately that they were dealing with a life-threatening situation when a neighbor called and reported a car backed up to a house, with a hose pumping potentially deadly automobile exhaust through a window. But Sheriff Joe Arpaio said deputies discovered something even worse when they entered the home near Queen Creek on July 25. Two children, a 12-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy, were found shot to death upstairs. Their mother, about 45, was found shot to death in a different location
inside the house, a handgun lying nearby. While Arpaio said he is nearly certain that the two children and their mother were victims of a murder-suicide, he is not ruling out the possibility that someone else could be responsible for their deaths. “We are leaving a little part open just in case someone else could have caused these three deaths,” Arpaio said. The mother was identified as Lisa Gerhart. Authorities did not release the names of the children. Detectives are working under the theory that Gerhart likely shot her children to death before turning the gun on herself.
Arpaio said Gerhart was separated from her husband, and detectives are investigating whether marital problems may have contributed to the slayings. A neighbor told reporters that Gerhart was upset about her husband leaving her and that she had tried to persuade him not to move out. “It’s a sad situation. Domestic violence is something we have to look into,” Arpaio said. “We don’t know why. We can only speculate about why.” Arpaio said detectives were planning to interview Gerhart’s husband and other family members to see if they could shed
August 2016 13
light on the potential motive, but he said there were no other suspects beyond Gerhart. He said authorities do not know the role that carbon monoxide from the automobile exhaust might have played in the case. They are awaiting the results of autopsies by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office. One possible theory, Arpaio said, is that the automobile exhaust may have made those inside the house groggy before the shootings. “Every life is precious, whether you are 84 or 12 or 2,” he said.
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The Italian Tacos are an original creation by Althoff showcasing his Mexican heritage and Italian cooking.
The metro pollo was served with pillows of gnocchi and fresh, steamed vegetables.
The well-stocked bar with LED lighting also has two televisions.
The tiramisu is a layered, coffee-flavored dessert.
Althoff bakes his meat lovers’ pizza in the tiled, wood-fired oven behind him.
Pizza A Metro
Chef’s creativity shines in Italian dishes BY KATHY KERBY
Chef Alex Althoff’s culinary education began at a young age. Althoff learned from his father, a chef at the legendary Avanti’s in Phoenix, then honed his skills at Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale. After working as a chef for 18 years at several restaurants in the Valley, Althoff owns Pizza A Metro, located in Warner Greenfield Square on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Warner roads. Pizza A Metro specializes in woodfired pizzas, pasta and traditional Italian dishes, many of them prepared with a dash of Althoff’s imagination. For starters, we ordered Italian tacos as an appetizer. When Althoff brought the tacos to our table he told us that he “dreamed” about this dish, which showcases his Mexican heritage coupled with his Italian roots in cooking. Cilantro, a traditional mainstay in tacos, is replaced with basil in Althoff’s version, and he adds parmesan cheese. These chicken, beef and fish tacos were spicy and they were accompanied by a fresh side salad and Italian salsa, a combination of salsa and marinara.
Althoff prepares other specialties that are not on the menu for his regulars; that is, they just tell him what they want and he cooks it. The Caesar salad was light and the dressing did not overrule the taste of the romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese and crunchy house-made croutons. Our salads paired perfectly with the Metro Pollo, an intricate combination of egg-washed chicken, prosciutto, spinach, eggplant and mozzarella with a tasty marsala sauce served with perfect pillows of gnocchi and fresh, lightlysteamed vegetables. My meat-loving husband tried the meat lover’s pizza (of course). The 16-inch wood-fired pizza was topped with sausage meatballs, pepperoni, ham, bacon and mozzarella. We watched Althoff masterfully prepare the pie from our table. Alfhoff said he uses only pecan wood and keeps the oven at 600 degrees. We concluded our meal with the chef’s exceptional special tiramisu. The dining room exudes a casual elegance. A large intricately tiled woodfired pizza oven took up most of one
wall and a well-stocked bar illuminated with LED lights, was on the other. Dark walls, high ceilings, graceful draperies, classic wood tables and chairs, color-coordinated tablecloths, live plants, art on the walls and dimmed lights offer- an intimacy not often found in the loud vibe of most pizza places. The lit patio with umbrellas and misters also is inviting. Guests will be impressed with the custom menus encased in black folders and water served in a European glass carafe. Pizza A Metro serves gourmet food, prepared by an impressive chef and offers lunch deals, Happy Hour specials, gluten-free options, catering and a food truck. Pizza A Metro 832 S. Greenfield Rd. Gilbert 85296 480-632-7777 Pizzametrohome.com
Pizza A Metro is located at 832 S. Greenfield Rd. in the Warner Greenfield Square.
Gilbert resident joins A New Leaf’s leadership team Ed Knight, a Gilbert resident, has joined A New Leaf to lead strategic initiatives for the growing nonprofit organization with 20 locations across the Valley. Knight will Ed Knight focus on new ventures, key partnerships and community initiatives to grow capacity to impact A New Leaf’s mission of serving individuals and families in crisis. He brings a diverse skill set and experience to A New Leaf, spanning business and nonprofit sectors. He is a graduate of ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and has practiced as an estate planning attorney in Mesa and Gilbert. Prior to that, he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University and began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Knight’s nonprofit experience includes work at the Arizona Community Foundation where he was the director of the Arizona Endowment Building Institute and director of the Center for Planned Giving. Knight is a member of Mesa Community College’s Development Board, a trustee of the MORE Foundation and a member of the State Bar of Arizona. In the past, he has served as a board member of the Planned Giving Round Table of Arizona. A New Leaf is a 45-year-old community nonprofit organization and a recognized leader in crisis and family services with programs located across the Valley—from foster care to children’s behavioral health services to financial literacy. Vulnerable families receive emergency shelter, essential programs and hands-on support for a new start, transforming their lives to become independent and thriving members of the community. Their successes include employment, healthier lifestyles, high school diplomas/GEDs, college degrees, life skills and proud selfsufficiency. With a strong board and longterm dedicated leadership, A New Leaf serves as a vital community resource. For more information, visit turnanewleaf.org/.
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Losing the Locks Southeast Valley woman’s fight against colorectal cancer is personal BY SCOTT SHUMAKER
Laura Dennis, 30, has spent much of her career helping others. The Southeast Valley native served in AmeriCorps for two years and then traveled the world for three years as an international aid volunteer. Recently she returned to the Valley and worked as a trail walker with the Mesa-based Anasazi Foundation, a behavioralhealth nonprofit that leads therapeutic experiences in the Arizona backcountry. Dennis, an Arizona State Universitytrained social worker, embarked on her latest adventure even closer to home: at the Chateau Cheveux Hair Salon in Gilbert, where, on June 22, a stylist shaved Dennis’ head to raise money for colorectal cancer. Dennis organized a fundraiser linked
Laura Dennis, left, poses with her aunt, Liz Dennis, before Laura has her head shaved to support colorectal cancer research. Photos courtesy Laura Dennis.
to her head shaving with the help of Fight Colorectal Cancer, a national nonprofit. FCC specializes in organizing grassroots advocates to raise money and talk with government officials about colorectal cancer, the secondmost deadly cancer afflicting men and women. FCC makes tools and support
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Laura Dennis shows off her post-shave hairdo. Dennis’ event raised more than $1,000 for colorectal cancer research and advocacy.
available for anyone who wants to get involved. For Dennis, that fight is personal. Her grandfather died of colorectal cancer in 2013 and her aunt, Liz Dennis, 50, was diagnosed with the disease 10 years ago. After the diagnosis, her aunt and her late grandmother became dedicated
www.GilbertSunNews.com campaigners for cancer research and frequently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with officials. Her aunt’s 10-year cancer survival was Dennis’ inspiration for a fundraiser. According to Dennis, the idea to shave her head was sparked by a dream. “It sounds kind of silly,” she said, “but I had a dream about shaving my head and woke up really excited and happy. And then, I realized I hadn’t done it, and it made me sad. The same day, my Aunt Liz texted me that she was celebrating her 50th birthday, and it just dawned on me how incredible that is considering it’s also her 10-year anniversary since she was diagnosed with colon cancer.” Wanting to celebrate the milestone and raise money, Dennis planned to shave her own head -- on the anniversary of her aunt shaving her head while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Dennis even booked the same hair stylist who had shaved her aunt’s head, Nancy McDonald, owner of Chateau Cheveux. “My Aunt Liz and I have been seeing Nancy at Cheveux in Gilbert since I was a child,” Dennis said. “She’s family to us.” Dennis set up a fundraising page on the Fight Colorectal Cancer website, and she has raised more than $1,000. The money goes to the organization,
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www.GilbertSunNews.com which then spends it on colorectalcancer advocacy and research. “My aunt does a lot of legislative work where she goes to (Washington) D.C. to talk about colon-cancer awareness and to promote fundraising for research,” Dennis said. “She hooked me up with Fight Colorectal Cancer, and I decided that they were the ones that I was going to raise (money) for.” After promising to shave her head and seeing her aunt invite “everyone and their mom” to watch, Dennis says she was ready. “I was relieved to get it over with because I had been looking forward to it for so long,” she said. “We got champagne, and I had actually (my aunt) shave it... and then Nancy kind of worked her magic to make it look a little better. It was super fun, and Liz just shared stories about when she had shaved her head.” Dennis says that she is enjoying her new “nonexistent hair.” “Your hair is kind of like your
Neighbors protector and, once it’s gone, it makes you vulnerable,” she said. But Dennis says she has received a lot of support to ease the transition to the new hairdo. “If anything, people were just like, ‘Oh, my gosh, now you can just see your true beauty because all your hair is gone.’ I was really happy about it, and I kept getting compliments about how I wear it so well.” Dennis likes showing people that she shaved her hair off and it wasn’t the end of the world. She also emphasizes that there are other ways to get involved in the fight against cancer. Organizations like FCC provide lots of ways to help or remember a loved one, and “you obviously don’t have to shave your head,” she says. You can visit Liz Dennis’ event page at https://give.fightcrc.org/ fundraise?fcid=665967.
I had a dream about shaving my head and woke and woke up really excited and happy.
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Staring at Stars The Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory (GRCO) is open to the public every Friday and Saturday (weather permitting) from sunset until 9:30 p.m. Officers and members of the club are on hand to help people use telescopes and answer astronomy-related questions. It is located at the Riparian Preserve near Greenfield and Guadalupe roads. For more information, visit evaconline.org.
1. Milanna Warren, 5, of Mesa, takes a peek through the telescope. 2. Lilybelle Henderson, 5, of Gilbert, was fascinated by seeing the moon. 3.
The sun sets behind the Gilbert Observatory at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. 4. A view of the moon through the observatory telescope. 5. Adonis Garcia, 7, works hard to get a look at the moon through the telescope. 6. Gordon Rosner, vice manager of the observatory, explains to visitors features of the telescope and how to use it. 7. Mesa resident Erik Warren shows a globe of the moon to his daughter, Milanna. 8. Charts of the solar system and cosmic exploration are displayed on the wall of the observatory. 9. Ian Richardson, 8, looks through the telescope while wearing his Boy Scout T-shirt. 10. Violet Garcia from San Tan Valley peers through the telescope.
Cuisine and Wine Bistro regularly changes its menu, but the escargo dish is a mainstay.
This cod dish is one of the many ways in which Fabrice Buschtetz prepares fish.
You must leave room for a gorgeous dessert.
Cuisine & Wine Bistro co-owner Mairead Buschtetz is opening a second location in Chandler with her husband, Fabrice.
Cuisine & Wine Bistro adding Chandler restaurant Gilbert-based Cuisine & Wine Bistro is getting ready to celebrate the opening of a second location in Chandler later this month. Fabrice and Mairead Buschtetz, owners of the bistro at 1422 W. Warner Rd., signed a lease in late June for the space at The Promenade in Chandler that previously housed Earnest and Cork. “We visited for the first time in April and loved the restaurant,” said Mairead. “The new location has a wonderful kitchen, with endless possibilities. It was love at first sight for Fabrice. There is a separate dining room there, too, for private events.” The new location, also named Cuisine & Wine Bistro, will present the same menu as its sister site and the same high-standard fare featuring chef Fabrice’s modern twist on traditional French cuisine. Fabrice will be executive chef in charge of both locations, working in the larger Chandler kitchen. The couple’s oldest son, Steven, will run the kitchen in Gilbert. “Fabrice will still be making all the sauces, quiches and signature dishes for both restaurants,” Mairead said. “Fabrice has been training Steven for many years now and he will be using all his father’s recipes in Gilbert.”
Chandler’s Cuisine & Wine Bistro has Bistro was named in February as Best Wine seating for about 100 guests, about the Bar in Arizona by BuzzFeed.com, which same as in Gilbert. However, Mairead said compiled the rankings based partly on the much larger reviews by Yelp kitchen will allow users. Cuisine & Fabrice more Wine Bistro has creativity. multiple 5-star The new reviews on its restaurant also Facebook, TripAdhas a full alcohol visor, Google and license, so Cuisine Yelp listings. & Wine Bistro Cuisine & in Chandler will Wine Bistro mixes serve cocktails, French cuisine, apertifs and an exclusive wine digestifs. list and family“Also, we are run friendliness. planning to be Mairead, a native open for Sunday of Ireland, went brunch,” Mairead after her dreams said. “Not immein Paris shortly diately, but within after finishing a month or so of The restaurant has seating for about 100 guests. school in her opening we plan teens. It was to add the extra day in Chandler.” there she met a motorcycle-riding chef For the couple, who moved to the who had his own American dream. Fabrice, United States only three years ago, it’s who is the third generation of his family been a whirlwind this past year since to own and operate restaurants, knew that opening the Gilbert bistro in March 2015. someday he would make the move from Less than a year later, Cuisine & Wine France to the United States.
When they came with their children in 2013, the family of car lovers bought Desert Car Care McQueen, a Gilbert auto shop less than 2 miles from their restaurant. Two years later, the former MWC Bistro came up for lease and Fabrice knew it was time to get back into the kitchen and take his family with him. The couple still own Desert Car Care. Working daily with their children and a daughter-in-law is one of the important aspects of their American dream. “Our family members are dedicated and passionate about their work, which ensures always the same quality in our work,” Mairead said. “And don’t forget that Fabrice has been running kitchens since the age of 18 and that was 29 years ago.” Cuisine & Wine Bistro 1422 W. Warner Rd. Gilbert 85233 480-497-1422 uisine & Wine Bistro C (opening at the end of August) 4955 S. Alma School Rd. Chandler 85248
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Sabrina Kearney finds solace in speaking about mental health
BY CHRISTINA FUOCO-KARASINSKI
Sabrina Kearney says you can still set a high goal for yourself even with a mental illness.
Sabrina Kearney felt uncomfortable moving from a small town in Virginia to the greater Washington, D.C., area after graduating from college in 2007. Kearney was stressed out and called the employee assistant program for help. After three sessions, she was diagnosed with chronic, low-grade depression. “I didn’t understand,” said Kearney, who now lives in Gilbert with her husband, Richard, a postal processing clerk, and daughter, Erma, 3 1/2. “I thought depression means mental illness. Mental illness means crazy. I said, ‘I’m not listening to you, goodbye.’” She didn’t do anything about it until she fell so ill that she couldn’t function well. “I couldn’t get out of bed,” she said. “I would call my aunt and ask her to get milk, even though I lived by a grocery store. That meant I had to leave my house and that wasn’t happening. My aunt persuaded me to go back to a psychologist.” Now that she’s come to grips with
it, Kearney is using mental illness as a platform for her reign in the Mrs. US Universal Pageant, the finals for which were held the last week of July. “It took me a couple years to rap my head around that,” she said. “Just because you have a mental illness, it doesn’t mean you’re crazy. “I’ve met some people who are crazy and they don’t have a mental illness,” she adds with a laugh. The pageant seeks “dynamic” women who love to help their community and has a strong platform. Contestants must be 25 or older, married and live with their husbands. “We don’t have to have a talent,” she said. “The interview is 40% and the rest is broken up evenly into fitness wear— not bathing suits—evening gown and an onstage question. For the interview, we had to write a bio sheet about ourselves. The interview with the judges is based on what your bio said.” To support her cause, Kearney volunteers for National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI. “It’s a program that takes people who
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www.GilbertSunNews.com are living with chronic mental illness and they go out and talk to people with mental illness to try and combat the stigma,” said the 37-year-old Kearney, who currently does not take medication for depression, but will resume soon. “When I made the decision to volunteer, I wasn’t exactly a talker. But the more presentations I give, the more comfortable I am speaking about mental illness.” She also volunteers as a youth leader at her congregation, Discovery Community Church. She works as a spacecraft systems engineer who oversees testing of satellites. She earned a degree in computer science from Capital College outside of Baltimore. Road to the pageant In 2012, Kearney was in the running for the Mrs. Maryland title when she became pregnant. She fulfilled the duty of participating in community events together, but she did not take part in the pageant. “A couple years later, I took part in the Mrs. Wyoming pageant,” said Kearney, a former Sabrina Kearney Cheyenne resident. “I had a great time. It was my first pageant. I didn’t do horrible; I didn’t finish last. I didn’t like my hair. I didn’t like my dress. I was trying to be somebody else. I wanted to be me—not the girl with the fake lashes and looking crazy.”
An acquaintance introduced Kearney to the Mrs. US Universal Pageant, and she liked it because “everybody looked regular.” “I’m not a fancy person,” said Kearney, who stays in shape thanks to Charles Ward of Gilbert-based Alive & Thrive Fitness. “That’s why I like doing the pageant. It makes me feel like Superman, getting all glammed up.” She applied for the pageant and was chosen to represent Arizona. “Since then, I’ve been trying to do what I can with my title. I’ve been doing about one or two community things per month,” she said. “Like I mentioned, I do presentations and I volunteer at my church. I’ve done a couple fun runs at the park. I’m just trying to get out and meet people. After I return from the pageant, I have an appearance at a local retirement home in Gilbert.” Pageant officials are taking applications for the 2017 pageant via its website, usuniversalpageants. com/. “I’m just a regular person who’s trying to show other people with mental illnesses or disabilities that you can still set a high goal for yourself and work toward it. “Whether you win or not doesn’t matter, as long as you try. That’s the biggest thing for me.”
Donate blood, enter to win VW Passat Summer donors of all blood types are urgently needed. Donors who give blood by Wednesday, Aug. 31, will be entered to win a 2016 VW Passat S, donated by Valley Volkswagen dealers. What’s more, all August donors will receive a voucher for a free ride (up to $50), courtesy of Lyft. For a blood donation appointment, call 1-877-UBS-HERO (827-4376) or visit bloodhero.com, enter the city and ZIP for more locations. Here are United Blood Services
collection locations for August: Sunday, Aug. 28, 8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Southeast Valley Bible Church, 710 E. Williams Field Rd., Bloodmobile Wednesday, Aug. 31, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Town of Gilbert, 75 E. Civic Center Dr., Bloodmobile Wednesday, Aug. 31, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Rome Towers, 1760 E. Pecos Rd., Bloodmobile Wednesday, Aug. 31, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Town of Gilbert, 50 E. Civic Center Dr., Bloodmobile.
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Celebrate summer with a Calabria cooking class Zappone’s Italian Bistro is hosting a Calabria Cooking Class at noon Saturday, Aug. 13, at the restaurant, 1652 N. Higley Rd., Suite 103, Gilbert. Taught by executive chef and co-owner Sal Zappone, the demonstration class will feature insalata verde (baby greens salad); zaucchine ripiene con ricotta (zucchini stuffed and baked with ricotta, cheese, egg and parsley); cannelloni (homemade pasta wrapped around a filling of fresh ricotta, spinach, parsley, egg and pecorino cheese) and pesche con crema (peaches with pastry cream). Zappone has been called “lively” and “very entertaining.” Zappone owns the restaurant with his wife, Dina, who have been in the restaurant business throughout their career. They met in Las Vegas when they both worked at The Mirage. The class is $44 and includes lunch, recipe and nonalcoholic beverage. Purchase tickets at zapponesbistro. com. For more information, call 480-218-2338.
Zappone’s Italian Bistro serves authentic eats from all regions of Italy.
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Jason Plotner has written a two-volume tome to guide people on how to reach a personal apex.
Gilbert author writes an encyclopedia of life BY TIM J. RANDALL
Writing the Great American Novel never was Jason Plotner’s goal. The Gilbert writer was more intent on crafting a nonfiction narrative that could help readers better decipher the trajectory of their lives: where they have been, where they want to go and how to achieve their best life. Plotner’s “Handbook of Life” is anything but a selfhelp manual. Rather, it is a two-volume tome covering psychology, biology, spirituality, physiology, sociology, political and environmental, while also discussing his life stories. “This work is a road map to understanding,” said Plotner. “In order to evolve and solve problems, individuals need to attain a certain level of knowledge.” His journey writing “Handbook” began more than a decade ago. “I had an epiphany, a message to write the book,” he said. “I set out and developed a core chapter.” The next sections of the book proved more difficult. “I realized that I needed more life juice to complete the work,” he said. For Plotner, a University of Iowa graduate in psychology and sociology, that involved corporate positions at Frito Lay, PepsiCo and health care companies, including Humana. “I revisited the book, though, after I left the private sector and entered the socialservices sphere,” Plotner said. His first stop was Canyon State Academy in Queen Creek, which, according to its website, is “dedicated to improving the lives of youth.” Plotner said
that the “students were troubled or at-risk youth.” His time at Canyon State provided insight into what would be in the book. “The students called me ‘coach’ and told me that they knew I cared about them, which meant a great deal,” he said. Time spent in a clinical environment for adults with mental illness provided the final pieces and soon the information he had gathered over the years was processed. “I had notebooks full of personal information and years of research that I had compiled,” Plotner said. “I entered all of this knowledge into my computer and then, like playing Tetris, I spent six months putting it into readable format.” Plotner has done several signings, most recently at Half Price Books in Mesa in July. “This work takes people to a much higher level of knowledge,” Plotner said. Plotner, after 900 pages of “Handbook,” was not ready to stop writing. He penned a screenplay with personal events from the book. “Some producers have expressed interest in a movie,” Plotner said. “Everything in it is true.” Plotner hopes that readers derive wisdom from reading the book. “I want people to reach their personal apex,” he said. “I hope to help millions of people.”
I had an epiphany, a message to write the book.
Find the book at Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or jasonplotner.tateauthor.com
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Kathy Tilque and John Hudson..
Renni Bankowski and Donovan Soltis of Bobby-Q serve up brisket and mac and cheese.
Gilbert Mayor John Lewis with Kathy Tilque at an open house to mark Tilque’s 20 years at the head of Gilbert Chamber of Commerce. GSN photos by Will Powers
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Chamber CEO reflects on two decades at the helm BY SRIANTHI PERERA
Kathy Tilque got caught in the whirlwind that was Gilbert a couple of decades ago—when the town was doubling its population every five years. The Arizona transplant joined the staff of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce in 1991 when its membership was 250 and a mere 27,000 people called the town home. After she became chamber CEO in 1996, Gilbert grew from about 60,000 to today’s 235,000, while the chamber boosted its membership to 650. “Our community was growing at a time where I was growing. So we did it together,” said Tilque, who celebrated 20 years at the chamber’s helm with an open house recently. It was attended by more than 125 people including former town manager George Pettit, former council members Joan Krueger, Don Skousen, Linda Abbott and Dave Crozier.
Tilque was privy to some of the town’s growing up pains: the hesitancy on the part of large stores to locate to the town until its population reached the magic number of 50,000; the opposition to developing the Water Tower Park in what’s today called the Heritage District (residents deemed it a waste of taxpayer money to clean up the lead paint on the tower and spruce its surroundings); and the reluctance to give up agricultural acres in favor of smaller, residential lots. “People wanted to come, but what they wanted to do was to shut the gate and not let anyone else come in after them,” Tilque recalled. “They wanted to keep the pristine, large lots and see the mountains. Those were really challenging times.” During those early times, there was also opposition to a business locating close to a residence. “Now we get more people complaining because they have to go too far,” Tilque
said. “It’s interesting to see how that dynamic has shifted.” Over the years, the chamber played a significant role in shaping a pro-business climate and heralding its economic transition from rural beginnings. It has also helped shape leaders with the Gilbert Leadership program that marks its 25th anniversary next year. “None of us did it on our own,” said Tilque, who holds the title of Certified Chamber Executive, the nation’s highest that could be earned by a chamber executive. “We all worked together; I think the results have been great.” Looking into the future, Tilque sees fresh challenges looming, chief among them, how to fund long-term infrastructure needs at a time when the town is nearing buildout and real estate sourced taxes and funding is whittling down. As for her, retirement is not on the
horizon yet, although it is in the distant future. She’s looking forward to spending more time with her four grandchildren, all of who live nearby. Meanwhile, there’s still work to be done. Another of Gilbert’s continuing challenges is workforce readiness and the chamber’s answer is Partners in Progress, a collaboration between the chamber, the town and its educational institutions. Tilque said that working on pertinent issues such as workforce readiness to help businesses become successful is what makes the chamber a viable entity in this day. “We’ve got to be working with our education community to better understand what jobs look like in the future and what they need to be successful,” she said. “That’s the future of the chamber.”
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Chamber hosts candidate forums, travel seminar Throughout the year, the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce offers a variety of luncheons and meetings for its members and the community. Events are held throughout the town. The chamber office is at 119 N. Gilbert Rd., Suite 101. For more information about events or to register, call 480-892-0056 or visit gilbertaz.com. 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3 Chamber Chat—Morning The Egg I Am 3321 E. Queen Creek Rd., Suite 101 Gilbert 85297 $8 at the door. Price includes breakfast buffet and tax. Enjoy breakfast with local professionals. This informal gathering is a fun way to share conversation with other professionals while learning more about businesses and services within our community. Come prepared to meet new friends and build lasting relationships. No agenda; no script—just good food, great company and friendly conversation. Monday, Aug. 8 School Boards GPS and HUSD Candidate Forum Presented by SRP 5:30 p.m.: Registration, Meet the Candidates 6:15 p.m.: Candidate Forum Begins 9 p.m.: Candidate Forum Concludes Higley Center for the Performing Arts 4132 E. Pecos Rd., Gilbert 85295 Admission is free The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce invites the community to learn more about the candidates running for school board positions on behalf of Gilbert Public Schools and Higley Unified School District. The candidates’ responses at this forum, along with a written candidate questionnaire and an individual interview, will be used to determine the Chamber’s endorsements. 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10 Chamber Chat—After Hours Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill 2212 E. Williams Field Rd., Gilbert 85295 $10 at the door. Price includes an appetizer buffet and tax. Attendee responsible for purchase of beverage and gratuity. Meet up with other Chamber members for a fun evening. This informal gathering is a great way to share conversation with other professionals and learn more about businesses in our community. No agenda, no script—just good food, great company and friendly conversation.
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6 Chamber Chat—Midday Presented by Woodard Construction LLC Zappone’s Italian Bistro 1652 N. Higley Rd., Suite 103 Gilbert 85234 $10 at the door. Price includes lunch buffet and tax. Enjoy lunch and conversation with local professionals. This informal gathering is a fun way to share conversation with other professionals while learning more about businesses and services within our community. Come prepared to meet new friends and build lasting relationships. No agenda; no script—just good food, great company and friendly conversation. 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20 Community Travel Meeting—Discover Pompeii & Amalfi Presented by Chamber Discoveries Gilbert Chamber of Commerce 119 N. Gilbert Rd., Suite 101 Gilbert 85234 Free to attend Join the group for an informational meeting to learn more about this all-inclusive travel opportunity. A representative of Chamber Discoveries will review the travel itinerary and answer general questions regarding the Pompeii and Amalfi expedition. No travel commitment necessary to attend this meeting. 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 Chamber Chat—After Hours Tacos N’ More Mexican Grill 4622 S. Higley Rd., Suite 101 Gilbert 85297 $10 at the door. Price includes appetizer buffet and tax. Meet up with local professionals. This informal gathering is a fun way to share conversation with other professionals while learning more about businesses and services within our community. Come prepared to meet new friends and build lasting relationships. No agenda; no script—just good food, great company and friendly conversation. 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 The 411—Membership Orientation Presented by Printwerx Gilbert Chamber of Commerce 119 N. Gilbert Rd., Suite 101 Gilbert 85234 Free The 411 is a comprehensive membership orientation at which you will learn how to maximize the benefits of your Chamber investment. Gain an insider’s view of our programs and services, ask questions of our staff, and develop your
action plan for Chamber engagement and success. 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 GEM Talk presented by the Small Business Council Location to be decided $15 Designed for the Millennial Entrepreneur, these events are patterned after “TED talks” and
are called “GEM Talks”-Gilbert, Entrepreneurial, Motivational. Each GEM Talk will feature an interactive session with a successful and motivational entrepreneur who will share his/her success story and provide insightful tips on how others can succeed in business and life. Attendees will have the opportunity to mingle, network, and interact with the featured speaker.
Earthworks moved into highly sought-after space in the Heritage District.
Earthworks Environmental moves to Gilbert’s Heritage Marketplace After working for almost two years out of Queen Creek, Cherie Koester, principal of Earthworks Environmental, moved her staff into offices in the Gilbert Heritage District. Koester, 37, founded the company in September 2014. Earthworks’ services include storm water pollution prevention, dust control and construction safety compliances. The firm primarily serves land developers, vertical developers, commercial construction and land holding companies. “We grew out of our current space,” said Koester, who earned a Master’s of Science in international environmental technology management and sustainability from ASU. “It’s nice to have an actual ‘home’ office, although most of my employees will spend the majority of their time out in the field.” Prior to founding Earthworks, located at 350 N. Gilbert Rd., Koester developed and led the environmental
compliance and safety division for a local landscape company. She was previously a universal inspector in the compliance division for the Maricopa County Air Quality Department. Koester leads a staff of eight employees that includes compliance managers and environmental technicians. Some of Earthworks’ clients include Taylor Morrison, D.R. Horton, CalAtlantic Homes, KB Home, Richmond American, Woodside Homes and Mattamy Homes. “This marks the first time we will have a full staff out in the field,” Koester said. “Although I like being out there (at sites) as well, this will give me the time to help grow the business and become more involved with industry groups.” Koester added that Earthworks has clients in Arizona from Flagstaff to Southern Arizona with plans for future expansion.
Dr. Guy T. McDougal And Associates, P.C. adds two doctors to its staff BY ALISON STANTON
Nothing makes optometrist Guy McDougal happier than knowing he is helping patients improve their eyesight. “Sight is the most precious of your senses, and 80 percent or more of all learning comes from your vision,” Dr. McDougal said. “That alone makes it critical to have good vision to have a full and productive life. “It gives me great satisfaction when I can help my patients and see them year after year to see how they are doing.” So that every patient at McDougal Eye Centers gets the best care in a timely fashion, McDougal recently added optometrists Kevin Pugh and Libbi A. Tracy, increasing the doctors on staff to four. Pugh’s areas of interest include management and treatment of ocular trauma, red eyes, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes and pre- and post-operative care, McDougal said. Tracy, who has more than two decades of experience in optometry, provides comprehensive eye care, including diagnosis, treatment and management of ocular conditions.
Dr. Guy T. McDougal And Associates, P.C., in the East Valley since 1991, has two offices in Mesa. “We offer comprehensive eye examinations and refractions, contactlens fitting and evaluations, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eyes, pink eye, corneal foreign-body removal and preand post-op care,” he said. Both offices have an optical shop with eyewear for most budgets and needs. “We also have a large selection of sun wear, prescription eyewear, safety glasses, computer eyewear, as well as daily, biweekly, monthly or specialty contact lenses,” he said. McDougal is especially proud of his doctors and staff. “We strive to fulfill our office motto, which is ‘To improve the quality of life for every patient we see.’ Our reviews show that we do care and try to do the best we can to assist our patients in fulfilling their eye-care needs,” he said. McDougal Eye Centers strive to offer the latest in ocular treatments, including one-day contacts now available in spherical shapes to correct
nearsightedness and farsightedness. Contacts are available in corrections for astigmatism and presbyopia, which, McDougal said, is the inability to focus up close due to aging of the lens. “Third- and fourth-generation, digitally corrected progressive bi-focal lenses are now available to help people that were unable to adapt to the older generation progressive lenses,” he said. Those new-generation lenses give more natural vision. McDougal said he and his staff enjoy meeting new referral patients. “It shows their great trust in the care they receive from us,” he said. “Many new patients mention they were referred by family or friends, or by reviews online.” Dr. Guy T. McDougal And Associates, P.C., 1121 S. Gilbert Road, Suite 103, and 7435 E. Main St., Suite 101, both in Mesa. Information: Gilbert Road/ Southern Avenue office, 480854-3310; Main Street/Sossaman Road office, 480-834-3777, or mcdougaleyes.com.
Dr. Kevin Pugh, O.D., recently joined the staff at Dr. Guy T. McDougal And Associates, P.C. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Brigham Young University and his Doctor of Optometry degree from Midwestern University in Glendale.
Dr. Libbi A. Tracy, O.D. is the other newest addition to the staff. Tracy is the former head of the Optometry Department at FHP Health Center in Mesa.
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Alliance Bank of Arizona to open Gilbert banking office
more than 50,000 new jobs for this year alone. Business is clearly booming in Gilbert and naturally there is demand for business banking,” said Dee Burton, executive vice president of Alliance Bank of Arizona. The 4,500-square-foot office will house commercial and branch banking facilities as well as a number of support functions. The Alliance Bank of Arizona recently held a groundbreaking at 1907 E. Pecos Rd., Gilbert. banking center will be designed by Davis Design Alliance Bank of Arizona, a division Solutions and built by Sun of Western Alliance Bank, broke ground State Builders, both long-standing on a banking office on the southeast clients of the bank. corner of Market Street and Pecos Road “It’s important for us to have bankers in Gilbert. located within the major business hubs Alliance Bank’s presence in Gilbert is of Arizona. Our new Gilbert branch will an extension of the bank’s growth in key expand our East Valley presence and business markets throughout the East allow us to better service the area’s Valley, where it already serves a large growing business community,” said number of commercial, industrial and Chris Call, vice president with Alliance professional businesses. Bank, who will also manage the Gilbert “Gilbert is seeing a tremendous location. amount of business growth, recently The Gilbert branch is located at 1907 being named one of the top 10 E. Pecos Rd., Gilbert. ‘boomtowns’ in the U.S. and forecasting
Inspire Business Concepts hires marketing assistant Inspire Business Concepts has hired a marketing assistant to help with managing customer activities. Perry High School graduate Sydney Madsen has joined the Phoenix-based strategic marketing company to build client-facing processes to streamline workflows and improve outcomes. She also will be working with clients, helping them to manage the activities associated with marketing engagements. “We love that Sydney is bold and that her life experiences allow her to contribute so many ideas to benefit our clients,” said Brian Gatti, partner and cofounder of Inspire Business Concepts. “She exemplifies the notion of working hard and self-determination as proven by her success as a top ranked athlete through high school and college, and through her adventurous spirit having traveled the world. We’re thrilled to add her to the Inspire Business Concepts team.” Madsen attended Orem High School in Utah during her sophomore and junior
POMPEII & AMALFI Join us for an informational meeting to learn more about this all-inclusive travel opportunity. A representative of Chamber Discoveries will review the travel itinerary and answer general questions regarding the Pompeii & Amalfi expedition. No travel commitment necessary to attend this meeting.
Mary Frances Coleman, CEO of Realty Executives Phoenix
Community Travel Meeting—Discover Pompeii & Amalfi 2017 Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, 119 N. Gilbert Road, Ste. 101, Gilbert, AZ 85234
Free to attend! Visit www.gilbertaz.com to Register Online Today!
years where she played third singles on the 2009 state winning women’s tennis team. During her senior year she left her family in Utah to attend Perry and subsequently Mesa Community College on a presidential and tennis scholarship. Madsen played on the MCC’s women’s tennis team for two years where she won the regional title for her division and helped the team place 11th in the NJCAA. After finishing her business associates degree, she transferred to ASU. She began working at Inspire Business Concepts in May and expects to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in business law and a Bachelor of Science in marketing in 2017.
Realty Executives expands with Gilbert office
DISCOVER & EXPLORE
HIGHLIGHTS Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento, Positano with optional expeditions to Naples or Rome.
This trip will depart on March 23, 2017 and will include eight days with optional extensions. Inclusive pricing begins at $
Trip details can be found online at www.chamberdiscoveries.com/pdfs/pompeii.pdf
Valley-based Realty Executives is expanding with a new office in Gilbert, which will serve as the East Valley headquarters for its professional agents. “Gilbert continues to grow at an exponential rate,” said Mary Frances Coleman, CEO of Realty
Executives Phoenix. “With some of the highest-performing school districts in the state, an influx of new chef-driven restaurants, and lots of new entertainment and recreation options, area home values continue to rise making Gilbert more desirable than ever.” The new office is the home for the RealtyProsAZ-The Bullington Team, The Lester Cox Team and Realty Network Group. The new Realty Executives Gilbert office will serve community and commercial properties in Gilbert, San Tan Valley, Chandler, Mesa and Queen Creek. The office specializes in brokerage of traditional and luxury homes, commercial properties and property management. Realty Network Group owner Bret Johnson will oversee the Gilbert office. The office is located at 1528 E. Williams Field Rd., Suite 106, Gilbert, 85295 and may be reached by calling 480-755-5560.
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Finding meaningful work just got a little easier for thousands of Arizona residents as a result of Goodwill of Central Arizona partnering with Valley-based nonprofit Career Connectors. Goodwill, with 19 no-cost career centers across the Valley, has been successful at helping jobseekers find employment. Its career centers are funded through donations and Goodwill retail stores. Career Connectors, established in 2008, has served more than 24,000 midlevel professionals with three monthly networking events featuring face-toface meeting time with quality hiring companies and free resources including career coaching, resume writing, LinkedIn coaching and professional business portraits. With the new partnership, Goodwill and Career Connectors will pool data and resources to provide an even greater impact on the collective workforce initiatives in Arizona. “Career Connectors allows us to expand our reach to help mid-to-higher
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level professionals,” said Richmond Vincent, Senior Vice President of Workforce Development for Goodwill of Central Arizona. “They have such a strong brand and positive image in the community,” said Jessica M. Pierce, Career Connectors executive director. “It will be a blessing for us to have Goodwill play a role in the sustainability of Career Connectors, cohost more job fairs, and possibly expand free networking events to the West Valley.” One goal is to “capture” the impact of Career Connectors events and resources. Historically, Career Connectors has collected limited data via a registration process, but hasn’t had the infrastructure to implement a post-event follow up or a “landing” status report. With Goodwill on board, the two entities hope to build metrics and expedite job searches by providing jobseekers new skills, expanded resources and a hopeful experience, Pierce said. Details: careerconnectors.org or goodwillaz.org.
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ToolBank boasts Gilbert leaders
Phoenix Community ToolBank, a local nonprofit tool-lending program supporting the charitable sector, added 11 community leaders from the private and public sectors to the board of directors. Its executive committee, primarily
Former East Mesa resident Christy Moore, of Valley Leadership, is an outgoing founding director.
responsible for encouraging board engagement, welcomes new officers including: President Arthur Korupczynski, DPR Construction; Vice President Gonzo Gonzalez, Jokake; Treasurer Tanya Muniz, Valley of the Sun United Way; Secretary Nancy Farrington, Magill Fitness. The following new directors were appointed to begin their first term: Venus Booth, Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP Janessa Chastain, Grace United Methodist Church of Mesa Christopher Huston, Home Depot Liz Illg, Puff and Fluff Grooming and Pet Sitting Matt Maier, Keller Williams Reality Michael Monterrubio, Alliance Bank of Arizona Travis Peep, UBER Kristy Peters, Littler Nick Tomashot, US Foods, (Gilbert resident) John Wallace, Macerich Thomas Williams, Maricopa Community Colleges They are joined by the following existing directors: Dave Boehmer, retired Intel (Gilbert resident); Max A. Dembow, Mass Mutual; JoAnn Holland, Central Phoenix Women;
Roger Owers, Keyser Real Estate; and Julia Young, COX Communications. Phoenix ToolBank would also like to thank Christy Moore, Valley Leadership, and Julie Maurer, Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, for their dedication to ToolBank’s mission as they end their tenure as founding directors. “Phoenix Community ToolBank is a crucial resource for our community benefit sector,” Moore said. “As a founding board director, it’s been an honor to help turn it from a vision into a reality. With the election of the new directors, our mission is being stewarded
by some of Arizona’s best servant leaders. We appreciate their commitment to our impact, and the commitment of the directors before them.” The Phoenix Community ToolBank is a nonprofit tool-lending program that provides fellow not-for-profit organizations with year-round access to an inventory of tools for use in volunteer projects and for facility and grounds maintenance. It provides tools to enhance the charitable sector’s capacity to serve, facilitating hands-on volunteerism in the greater Phoenix area.
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Couple launches Big Frog garment decorating business in SanTan Village BY SRIANTHI PERERA
Gilbert husband-and-wife team Bernard and Gianne Francisco have made a leap into the garment decorating business with a franchise called Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More at SanTan Village Marketplace. Big Frog uses cutting-edge technology to print customized artwork on fabric in the manner that a printer would print on paper. “We named it ‘Kunya;’ it means ‘Big Brother’ in Filipino,” said Bernard, referring to the large ink-jet printer that performs the work. “It’s easy to do.” Customers may avail of the basic graphic artwork for free, or work with Matthew White, the shop’s graphic designer, to conceptualize a final product at a computer terminal instore. Once the fabric is chosen and the artwork is finalized, Kunya springs into action. The garment is draped, and with the push of a button, the machine’s drum moves back and forth imprinting the logo on the fabric. Afterward, the garment is placed in another machine to cure. Big Frog stated that its Direct to Garment printing bonds the ink to the fabric’s molecules allowing products to be washed in both hot and cold water and with color-safe bleaching without risking damage, crack or peel to the image. “It becomes part of your shirt and it will last as long as your shirt will,” said Bernard, demonstrating on a T-shirt a logo’s smoothness and continuity to the touch. In addition to T-shirts, sweatshirts, onesies, pet clothes, sports gear, tote bags and even mouse pads may be printed to order. One of the key features of the service is that no minimum order is necessary, Bernard said. Customers may order just one T-shirt with a logo. The Florida-born franchise launched
Bernard and Gianne Francisco say that Big Frog’s technique ensures that the imprinted logos stay on as part of the fabric and are environmentally safe. GSN photo by Srianthi Perera
in 2008 has 65 locations nationwide and this is its first store in the Valley. The company plans to open an additional eight or so locations in the area by 2020, according to a media release. Both Bernard and Gianne hail from the Philippines, and their migrant families had settled in California when they were children. They held secure jobs there—Bernard is an accountant and Gianne worked in education—and owned a house to boot. But the desire to better themselves and to help their families cropped up now and again. So they sold their house, dipped into their savings and invested in the $3 million business in Arizona instead. “Over 10 years, we’ve really just been working toward this and really being financially smart,” Bernard said. Despite having plenty of relatives on the Valley’s West side, Franciscos
Big Frog store manager Duane Dizon drapes a T-shirt on the printer to imprint a logo.
moved to Gilbert because research had indicated the merits of the town. “I was looking for safe neighborhoods, good school districts and this is a family town…this is a great city to start a family,” Gianne said. “That’s what brought us to Gilbert. Also, it’s growing and we wanted to be a part of that growth.” Gianne was able to secure a position in international student advising at Arizona State University as soon as she moved. She plans to retain her job, while Bernard would work fulltime at the business. They have also employed a cousin, Duane Dizon, as store manager. “They told me about the venture and I was on board from the get-go,” Dizon said, who ditched a histology technician job at a pathology lab that he has held for 12 years to work for Big Frog. “I saw the potential in it.” After their business finds its feet,
the Franciscos plan to give back to the community. “We really want to embody the social entrepreneur spirit,” Bernard said. “To be able to thrive, and then…give back to the community.” Gianne said that they are living the American dream. “We’ve been to the Philippines and seen the poverty there. We’ve come a long way. I think it’s also a dream for them as well,” she said. Big Frog is located in Gilbert’s SanTan Village Marketplace at 2743 S. Market St. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Details: 480-750-8623 or bigfrog.com/gilbert.
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Legacy Traditional School offers well-rounded education
New campus coming to north Chandler Rebecca Pentland can’t imagine doing anything but working with children. As the first leader of Legacy Traditional School’s new north Chandler campus, Pentland is anticipating the first day of school on Wednesday, Aug. 10. “I’m so excited,” Pentland said. “I worked with Legacy Traditional School for seven years in a variety of capacities. I feel like I know the program and the operational piece and the instructional piece. “I’m looking forward to bringing Legacy into the north Chandler/Gilbert area.” The tuition-free Legacy Traditional School campuses are all “A”= ranked schools by the Arizona Department of Education and have been voted the No. 1 charter school in Arizona by Ranking Arizona. The school focuses on all areas of academic study, including music, art, physical education, extracurricular activities and clubs. The north Chandler campus at 1900 N. McQueen Road is still under construction but is expected to be finished by 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, for the ribbon-cutting
ceremony. The Back-to-School Night follows at -5 p.m.; the school is enrolling now. For more information, call 480-7575400, visit NChandler.LegacyTraditional. org or email NChandler-Info@ LegacyTraditional.org. Legacy’s back-to-basics and accelerated curriculum is encompassed in a learning environment that focuses on character building, patriotism and the responsibilities of being a good citizen. Legacy Traditional School is a K-8 charter school with state-of-the-art classrooms for kindergarten, elementary and middle school. Legacy also offers after-school and summer programs. Special area classes in grades K-6 include general music, physical education, library, computers, creative minds art appreciation class and Spanish. Class piano is offered at the Gilbert campus. Electives in grades seven and eight include computers I, physical education, Art2D, Art 3D, band, orchestra, choir, musical theater and Spanish I and II. “We’re a traditional back-to-basics accelerated public education, kindergarten
Rebecca Pentland, leader of Legacy Traditional School’s new north Chandler campus.
through eighth grade school,” Pentland said. “Saxon is our math program, which we teach a year ahead. So kids are getting a grade level ahead in math with Saxon. “Spalding Language Arts Program is an analytical program that is phonetics based. It gives them the tools to decode words at a more efficient level so they become better readers and writers. We also have all of our desks in rows, facing the teacher. In the traditional school environment, the teacher should be in charge of the students’ learning because they’re the masters of their craft.” Legacy Traditional School also
In accordance with Federal law, Leading Edge Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex or disability.
emphasizes patriotism, something Pentland said is important these days. “Not only are we educating students in music, physical education, math and reading, but love of country and pride in one’s country is important to us as well. “We begin every school day with a flag ceremony. We all meet as a school with myself and the assistant principal. We say the Pledge of Allegiance and have a moment of silence. We then talk about whatever focus we are on for that grading period.” Pentland has seen firsthand the effect that Legacy Traditional School has on children. She sent her son to the school.
Eagle Scout hopeful helps Phoenix get out the word on cooling stations
that at-risk populations such as the A Gilbert Boy Scout teamed up with AmeriCorps VISTA members to help less homeless know where to go to get water and cool off in the summer and I fortunate people in Phoenix find relief loved the idea that I could help get that from scorching heat. information out to them.” To fulfill the community service Recruiting and organizing the volunproject requirement needed to become teers was no easy task, said Kaden, who an Eagle Scout, Kaden Heywood, 16, has earned 21 merit badges. spent three days earlier this month “I did handing this through out maps mass emails of cooling to friends, stations to family and low-income my church transit riders, congregacommuters tion, social and residents media posts at various and asking points in the my own BSA city. Troop 138 to The stacome out,” he tions, operexplained. “I ated by the then orgaMaricopa Asnized the volsociation of unteers into Governments, groups and are free for made sure I everyone who had enough needs cold adults, water, some vehicles and shade and drivers. other heatHe also related items had to raise and informasome money tion. to cover This Kaden Haywood’s Eagle Scout project was inspired by the cost of project Arizona’s heat. doughnuts, was led by orange juice AmeriCorps and water for the volunteers as well as VISTA members Nick Roosevelt and Olgas for their car pool. ivia Hutchins as part of the Resilience Kaden doesn’t know how successAmeriCorps PHX initiative. ful the maps were in delivering vital “Nick and Olivia oversaw the big information to people who may need picture and engaged Kaden to coordiit. Hammett said the city will monitor nate all volunteer activities... He was attendance at cooling stations for the amazing and one of the keys to the next month to see if there are more success of the program along with Nick people using them. and Olivia,” said Michael Hammett, But he said he saw some unexpected chief service officer for the Phoenix benefits. City Manager’s Office. “Several homeless people stopped Kaden organized nearly 40 volunto talk to the volunteers, thank them, teers, who “were absolutely key” to encourage them and many also asked the project by handing out 1,000 maps, the teenagers volunteering to stay in Hammett added. school and stay off of drugs,” he said. A junior at Higley High School who “I was told by a few volunteers is also an accomplished pianist, Kaden how this experience made them more said Arizona’s heat inspired the project. comfortable talking to people that live “Because I have lived in Arizona my differently than they do and that it also whole life I know firsthand how hot it inspired them to look for more ways to can get and how quickly it can become reach out and help others,” he added. dangerous,” he said. “It is important
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Kyrene’s new assistant chief kisses 100-mile commute goodbye BY COTY DOLORES MIRANDA
For new Kyrene School District Assistant Superintendent Laura Toenjes, working in the East Valley again is like a homecoming. As she settled into her office at the district’s Tempe headquarters in early July, Toenjes (pronounced Ten-yes) said her commute to work just got a whole lot easier. For the past year, Toenjes had driven 100 miles each way five days a week from her Chandler home to Tucson where she served as director of school improvement in the Sunnyside Unified School District. In Tucson, she worked with Kyrene’s new superintendent, Jan Vesely, who was assistant superintendent for the same district. The two had worked closely prior when Toenjes served as Arizona Department of Education deputy associate superintendent, heading the state’s school improvement unit. “I got to know Jan … I was very impressed with her leadership,” said Toenjes. Together at Sunnyside, Vesely and Toenjes helped four district schools improve test scores and strengthen
teacher’s support systems through attend Hamilton High School and are the University of Virginia’s School active in sports. Turnaround As part of her Program. position as director of “When I knew school improvement, Jan had been Toenjes met weekly named Kyrene with teachers and Superintendent administrators at each and then saw school. the posting Her goals at for assistant Kyrene also include superintendent, an emphasis on I knew I had to communication. pursue that,” Like Vesely, said Toenjes, Toenjes said she has who was raised high standards for in Gilbert and is herself, educators a Gilbert High and students, and School alumna. a commitment to “I’m an East do what it takes to Valley girl and ensure their greatest I’ve always been chance for success. very impressed And like Vesely, she with the Kyrene has a plaque in her School District, office that she says Kyrene School District Assistant Superintendent reveals a lot about her which has always had that Laura Toenjes is a native of Gilbert and an alumna philosophy: “Everyday of Gilbert High School. reputation of Counts.” excellence. So “I truly believe in I’m thrilled to be a part of this team,” the power of education and I have a said Toenjes whose two teenage sons passion for serving and always leaving
whatever and whomever, including myself, better than the day before,” she said. Toenjes earned her B.A. in communications from the University of Arizona. While teaching in Gilbert and later in Stanfield, Toenjes earned two master’s degrees from Northern Arizona University –one in elementary education and the other in administration and supervision with a minor in curriculum and instruction. “I believe my role as a leader is to foster a district-wide work environment that’s student-focused and resultsoriented, placing priority on student learning and performance,” she said. When asked what she hopes to accomplish her first year as assistant superintendent, her typically bubbly nature quieted as she pondered before answering. Then she replied: “First, I look forward to becoming more familiar with the schools, students, staff, and the community. I’ll be working closely with the superintendent on the 90-day plan for the organization. I’m glad to be a part of the Kyrene family. I’ve always been aware of Kyrene’s reputation for excellence and look forward to contributing to the journey.”
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Gilbert girl competes in Braille Challenge BY CONNOR DZIAWURA
Gilbert resident Emily Bowe has been competing in the Braille Challenge since 2009, when she was just 8 years old. But seven years later, this summer Emily made her way back to Los Angeles for her third attempt at the Braille Challenge. “I ended up placing third,” she said, adding, “The last two times I competed I both placed fourth.” The Braille Challenge is an academic competition hosted by the Braille Institute of America, a nonprofit organization that seeks to educate and help visually impaired people learn braille and other essential skills. The Braille Challenge conducts five contest categories: proofreading; reading comprehension; spelling; reading tactile charts and graphs; and speed and accuracy. “Honestly, I felt really good about the speed and accuracy because I worked on it really hard,” Emily said while stifling a laugh. Formed in 1919, the Braille Institute of America has progressed from producing
bible transcriptions to teaching children and adults alike, with cooking classes and their three national programs as part of their core foundation. The Braille Challenge is just one of these programs. “There was a huge sort of alarming rate of visually impaired people being unemployed and people started looking at a lot of the reasons for those people that were employed—they were braille
Emily Bowe shows off her NBC4 Braille Superstar Award for Excellence in Reading Comprehension at the Braille Challenge in Los Angeles on June 20, 2016.
readers,” explained Sergio Oliva, the either an absence or underdevelopment of director of national programs for the the optic nerve. Because of this, Emily was Braille Institute of America. “Those people born without the ability to see. that were not “The optic nerve is employed were disconnected from not braille the brain and I can’t readers, so we, as see anything,” she an organization, said. “I can see white felt the need to sometimes but it’s create some sort pretty hit and miss.” of program that However, despite would promote the challenges braille literacy.” that come with a Emily, who has condition like Optic competed twice Nerve Hypoplasia, before, is one of Emily feels she had 1,122 students a normal childhood who competed in and, with the help the preliminary of special teachers, After finishing in 3rd place, Emily Bowe receives challenge and braille came her award among the other finalists at the 2016 one of only 50 normally. Braille Challenge in Los Angeles. who made it to “I feel like it was the finals in June. normal–Like it was The Braille Challenge is broken up into just what any other sighted kid would go five age categories, ranging from first to through having to learn to read print,” she 12th grades. Now, Emily competes in the said. Junior Varsity category and can braille Through the Braille Challenge, Emily up to 40 words per minute. With her and other students enjoy taking part in a third attempt at the competition, she has fun and educational competition, which improved on her previous attempts, placing promotes the five essential categories higher this time. necessary in school. A Campo Verde High school student, “At the end of the day, we selected five Emily was born with Optic Nerve contests which would be a fun, competitive Hypoplasia, a condition that can result in way to promote braille literacy,” said Oliva.
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STEM program expands discounted computers, IT services for schools A Chandler company that teaches basic computer skills and the fundamentals of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to children ages 3-7 is expanding by offering discounted refurbished computers and IT services to teachers and schools throughout Arizona. The FutureKiddie “Puterbugs” classes are taught on a weekly or bi-weekly basis at 19 Valley preschools, including the Wilkens Learning Center in Gilbert. The company, owned by Ken Chan and his sister Linda Chan, is offering low-cost computer equipment and support to meet the demand of budget conscious educators and schools. According to Linda Chan, who founded FutureKiddie with her brother in 2010, “Teachers were asking us all the time where they could find low-cost laptops and desktops. They needed the technology to do their jobs but often had a hard time affording it.”
The Chans, who are also instructors for the FutureKiddie program, started refurbishing business-grade laptops and desktops for resale in 2011 as a hobby. They sell between 130 and 150 per computers per month throughout the United States and recently sold 32 units to a Jerome school district who contacted them on Facebook. The tech side of the company operates under the name Ironman Refurbished Business Computers (IRBC). “We specialize in high-quality models that are built to be rugged and durable for an environment like a school, but we also have units for teachers who may need something more mobile,” he says. The units come with a one-year limited warranty, lifetime technical support, can be customized for the user and delivery is free throughout the Phoenix metro area. They added computer services to their product line earlier this year after
John Lewis commends preschoolers for setting food drive record
John Lewis, now former mayor of Gilbert, reads “Where the Wild Things Are” to students at The Goddard School.
John Lewis, now former Gilbert mayor, issued a challenge to all of the preschools in the area: to see which school could collect the most food during Gilbert’s annual Food Drive. The Goddard School, located at 1420 N. Higley Rd., Gilbert, accepted the challenge and collected 625 pounds of food, more than twice the amount of any other school. To celebrate, Lewis visited the preschoolers and read to them “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. After the book reading, Lewis expressed how engaged and polite the children were. “The children were thrilled to have
Mayor Lewis read them stories,” says Van Phan, on-site owner of The Goddard School located in Gilbert. “We are so proud and enjoy giving back to our community.” The children and teachers recognize the significance of giving back and being a part of their community by aiding those who are less fortunate. At The Goddard School, laying the foundation to good citizenship is fostered through the development of four essential skills: friendship, compassion, cooperation and kindness. For more information on The Goddard School, visit goddardschool. com/Gilbert-IAZ.
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Holy Trinity’s Artist-in-Residence program brings pianist to services BY CHRISTINA FUOCO-KARASINSKI
Pianist Amanda Sherrill feels right at home in church. As Holy Trinity Lutheran Church’s artist-in-residence through Aug. 14, Sherrill sees this opportunity as an extension of her lifelong love. “I’ve played in churches all of my life,” said Sherrill, an adjunct faculty piano professor at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. “It feels very comfortable for me. An important part of my faith is sharing the gifts that God’s given me with other people.” The artist-in-residence program was designed and directed by professional opera singer and producer Earl Hazell. She will perform the passionate piano work of Rachmaninoff and the sixmovement “Partita in C Minor” by Bach. The Gilbert resident will present different movements from the piece on each Sunday. Sherrill is the second artist-in-
residence this summer. Melissa Solomon, Arizona Opera soprano, served in the church through July 3. The final songs of her residency were in English (she has sung sacred songs in German and Latin as well as English to date) and, while poignantly spiritual, also stirringly patriotic. So far, Hazell said, the program is going well. He started working as the church’s choir director in February after a stint with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. “It’s been very wonderful,” said Hazell, Trinity Lutheran’s interim choir director. “They’ve welcomed me with open arms and allowed me to bring in new ideas. “The church is going through a transition. It’s a remarkable period in the church’s history. Interim Senior Pastor Beverly Allert and Associate Pastor Scott Thompson are assisting me in making some extraordinary changes after 37 years. It’s a very exciting time for the church and the program they’ve given me license to build.”
Worship guide There is a place of worship for a variety of religions in Gilbert. Here is a partial list of some of the congregations in the town. Want to be added to this list? Email email@example.com. The Bridge Church 860 E. Warner Rd., Suites 101 & 103 Gilbert 85296 480-294-7888 bridgechurchaz.org Services: 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Sundays We exist to show the world who Jesus is, and we believe that when people get to know Jesus as He really is, their lives will change forever. Therefore, it is our passion to help people know Jesus throughout Gilbert, Metro Phoenix and the world. Central Christian Church—Gilbert 965 E. Germann Rd., Gilbert 85297 centralaz.com Services: 5:30 p.m. Saturdays; and 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sundays While the Bible itself is the church’s official document of faith, the website lists a variety of statements that fundamentally define the church. First United Methodist Church of Gilbert 331 S. Cooper Rd., Gilbert 85233 480-892-9166 gilbertumc.org
Services: 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. (traditional services) and 11 a.m. (contemporary service) Sundays There are two traditional services—8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.—with the Chancel choir and traditional worship. The 11 a.m. service has a contemporary feel, with music from the Praise Band. Mission Community Church 4450 E. Elliot Rd., Gilbert 85234 480-545-4024 mission68.org Services: 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturdays; and 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:59 a.m. Sundays The Bible is God’s word to all people. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth and without error in the original manuscripts. Redemption Gilbert 1820 W. Elliot Rd, Gilbert 85233 480-632-2220 redemptionaz.com
Church needs sponsors for inaugural car show BY KEN ABRAMCZYK
Amanda Sherrill will perform during the 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Sunday services through Aug 14 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.
Church really powerful diff in community over the next couple years.” Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is located at 739 W. Erie St., Chandler. For more information, call 480-963-4127 or visit htlutheran.com. Services: 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sundays Gospel means good news, but it is truly the most profound and glorious truth ever revealed. It is not advice, nor is it a system or philosophy to add to the congregants’ lives. It is an exclusive truth claim, a holistic worldview, the true story of the whole world, which by its very nature must redefine and recolor everything else. San Tan Bible Church 1424 S. Promenade Lane, Gilbert 85296 Phone number not available. santanbible.org Services: 8:30 a.m. (Bible hour); 9:30 a.m. (Café 2:42) and 10 a.m. worship service Sundays The church believes the glory of God is the chief end of all we do. Two Rivers Church 326 E. Guadalupe Rd., Gilbert 85234 480-892-2435, 2riverschurch.org Services: 6 p.m. Saturdays; and 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish) Sundays Two Rivers Church exists to help lead congregants into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ by encouraging and equipping them to love God intimately and serve others. It has a casual environment with a serious faith.
A car show to benefit an organization helping veterans is coming to Gilbert this fall. The Valor Christian Center will display classic cars at the inaugural Southeast Desert Harvest Car Show to benefit Soldier’s Best Friend on Saturday, Oct.22. Scott Whitwam, senior pastor at Valor, wanted to find an activity to connect the church with the community. A car enthusiast since high school, he also wanted an automobile show to raise funds for a nonprofit. Whitwam spoke with Don Webb, president of the Covenant Hot Rod Association, about that group’s car show in Scottsdale. “We talked with them about the cost, resources and obtained information on what we would need for it to be successful,” he said. Soldier’s Best Friend was chosen because that nonprofit supplies dogs for military veterans. “Their work helps people in the service connect,” Whitwam said. “These people are having issues with communications and post traumatic stress disorder. They feel disconnected and alone. The dog gives them a connection, and it gives them a friend who will be there for them. “Soldier’s Best Friend provides services to those veterans that need it.” Because the event is in its first year, Whitwam also needs sponsors to help underwrite the event. Sponsors can have a booth at the event to promote their business, and their company name printed on at least one trophy or published on a goody bag for participants. Classic car owners of a pre-1973 vehicle also can enter that vehicle into the show at the church, located at 3015 E. Warner Rd. Whitwam said there is no entry fee for registrants. They can call Whitwam for the entry form at 480-223-3858, Webb at 480-205-7925 or visit the church’s website at valorcc.com. Business owners who want sponsorship information can contact Whitwam. Whitwam said he looks forward to the event. “Part of it is being patriotic and part of it is giving back to those who give us the most, their service.”
Christian music to fill the Valley air this month BY CHRISTINA FUOCO-KARASINSKI
Chicago-bred Christian singer Matthew West is an admitted “huge baseball fan.” For one night, he’ll don an Arizona Diamondbacks jersey for Faith and Family Night when the snakes take on the Cincinnati Reds at 6:40 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26. “I love combining my two loves of baseball and music,” West said. “I grew up in Chicago so Chicago teams will always have a place in my heart. I live in Nashville and we don’t have a pro baseball team. We’re going to have a blast. Hopefully we’ll get a Diamondbacks win and the crowd will be in good spirits.” West is one of several Christian acts who will be in town this month. Others include Danny Gokey, Thousand Foot Krutch, Bethel Music, Justin Unger, Jason Gray and JJ Heller. “Phoenix has embraced Christian music,” West said. “As Christian artists, we’re really thankful for that. It seems like every time we go, there are tons of people who are so welcoming to us. Anytime I see Phoenix on my schedule, I circle that on my calendar and look forward to it.” We caught up with Bethel Music’s Josh Baldwin, Thousand Foot Krutch singer Trevor McNevan and West.
Bethel Music Josh Baldwin has just wrapped up gardening around his Redding, California, home. He’s a little tired, and a bit hot, but he’s pleased to talk about Bethel Music’s “worship night” at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12. “It brings worship and music and people together,” Baldwin said.
The tour features Bethel Music worship favorites and new music from “Have It All,” the multiartist double-disc live recording released March 11 that has garnered wide critical acclaim. He called the show “corporate worship,” which brings together God’s word, prayer and fellowship. “We definitely tell stories and share, but we have some corporate ministry time and personal ministry time,” said Baldwin, who joins fellow singers Brian and Jenn Johnson, Amanda Cook and Cory Asbury in Phoenix. “It’s more like a song and singer-songwriter time. It’s really well done.” Baldwin, whose friend is considering starting a church in Arizona, said the Bethel shows are personalized to each city. “We get a feeling for what’s going on in that city and rein in what the Lord’s doing and what that might mean for that night. “It changes each night, which makes it more special for each place. I love knowing what’s going on, but there’s something exciting about doing it this way.” In the days of terrorist attacks, mass shootings and other violent encounters, Baldwin said Bethel Music is a good diversion. “When the world is in crisis, people turn to things like this,” he said. ‘It’s great that people say, ‘Let’s turn to the Lord.’” Bethel Music Night, 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix. Tickets are $33 for the general admission show. For more information, call 800-745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com.
Bethel Music brings worship, music and people together.
Thousand Foot Krutch heads to Club Red in Mesa soon.
Thousand Foot Krutch Million-selling Christian rockers Thousand Foot Krutch could play theaters, but on this round of dates, the band is hitting the intimate confines of Club Red in Mesa. “For this headlining ‘Exhale’ tour, we wanted to do something intimate and really fun,” said singer Trevor McNevan. “We wanted to go to rock clubs again and get face to face with everyone. “It’s just such a blessing to play bigger shows, but once, if not twice a year, we have to play club shows. There’s just something about them, man. To get with your rock family, it feels like a different kind of connection. It’s definitely something that’s special to us and we love being a part of that.” Released on June 17, the album “Exhale” is the bookend to a two-part series that started with “Oxygen: Inhale.” “We have our quieter and more aggressive moments on every record,” he said. “We thought that on ‘Inhale’ we’d focus on the quieter side of the band. With ‘Exhale,’ we just dropped the gloves, put pedal to the metal and got more aggressive. It feels great to have ‘Exhale’ out.” He compares a Thousand Foot Krutch show to the feeling of “Exhale.” “Our show is very high octane,” he said. “We’re massive music fans to this day and we love connecting with and through music.” The Canadian band has won and or been nominated for several prizes from the Gospel Music Association Canada Covenant, GMA Dove, Juno and Shai awards. McNevan has one person to thank.
“Honestly, we give all the glory to God for that, to be honest,” said McNevan, whose band just turned 20 years old. “We feel like we’re just getting started. We still love music the same. It’s such a privilege. “We’re a brotherhood. We’re good people who have a passion for music. Our faith is our lifestyle.” Thousand Foot Krutch with Adelita’s Way, Smashing Satellites, 3 Pill Morning, Interfate and Throw Logic, 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, Club Red, 1306 W. University Dr., Mesa. Tickets are $23 to $25. For more information, call 480-258-2733 or visit clubredrocks.com.
Matthew West An established author, singer-songwriter and actor, Matthew West has learned “never to write anything off.” “You never know what kind of opportunities are going to come,” said West, who is close to inking a book deal. “I look back and it’s pretty amazing all of the different things I’ve been able to do. “I’m enjoying life more than I ever have. I hit the stage and I can’t believe that somebody wants me to come and sing for them. I don’t take it for granted, that’s for sure.” He called Faith and Family Night a unique chance to play outside of church venues and subsequently attract new fans. West is promoting his 2015 album “Live Forever.” see
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book or gift book.” He is also preparing for a Christmas album, and a proper new record. The Chase Field show is at the top of his list. “We have an awesome fanbase in Phoenix and Scottsdale,” he said. “There are some great, great people there. We’re looking forward to a special night. I’ll probably have a hot dog or two before the show, too. That’s a good day in my book.” Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Cincinnati Reds, 6:40 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, Chase Field, 401 E. Jefferson, Phoenix. Tickets are $14 to $225. Call 800-745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com for more information.
Matthw West looks forward to making new fans in Phoenix.
“There are people who will come to the concert who haven’t heard my music before,” said West, 39. “That’s really a cool thing to think about. Playing in a stadium, that’s beautiful as well. I know it’s probably going to be super hot. So we have to get ready to stay hydrated and get in shape for that one show.” West is keeping busy this year. He’s writing a “full book, not just a devotional
Fall classes begin Aug. 8 at Ballet Etudes Fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 8, at Ballet Etudes School of Dance in ballet, jazz, lyrical and strength/stretch. Classes are offered for students as young as 3 years old up to adults. Enrollment is ongoing; discounts are offered for siblings. Ballet Etudes School of Dance opened its doors in 2010 as the home of Ballet Etudes, the Valley’s nonprofit pre-professional ballet organization founded in 1986. Ballet Etudes is
Other shows For information about multiple Valley visits by Justin Unger, Jason Gray and JJ Heller, visit extremefaithproductions.com. For information about Positive Hits Tour with Passion, Danny Gokey, Capital Kings and Hollyn on Saturday, Aug. 20, visit gcuarena.com.
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celebrating its 30th annual production of The Nutcracker this year. Ballet Etudes is located at 2401 E. Baseline Rd., Gilbert. For more information, call 480-5582080 or visit balletetudes.net. Created in 1986 by Sharon Seder Meko, Ballet Etudes aims to duplicate the experiences of a professional ballet company. Company members are selected through open auditions by a panel of adjudicators.
Guitar player opens Higley Center 2016-2017 season The Higley Center for the Arts has announced its 2016-2017 fall schedule. It features a variety of performances, opening with guitarist Chris Proctor on Sunday, Oct. 16, and wrapping up Alaska’s fiddling poet, Ken Waldman on Sunday, April 2. Here is the complete list. To purchase tickets, call 480-279-7194 or visit higleycenter.org. Chris Proctor 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, Little Theater; $25 U.S. National Fingerstyle Champion Chris Proctor’s guitar-playing on both six- and 12-string guitars is a blend of folk, jazz, pop, Celtic, Appalachian and classical music. “Men are from Mars/Women are from Venus” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, Concert Hall; $59 The light-hearted off-Broadway comedy hit, “Men Are From Mars/Women Are From Venus” is a one-man fusion of theater and stand-up comedy, blending funny domestic tales with retro stand-up. Bill and Kate Isles 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, Little Theater; $25 Bill and Kate Isles are an acoustic singer/ songwriter duo known for their catchy melodies and memorable songs. Using a wide variety of musical styles, their performances carry audiences through a broad landscape of experiences, from metaphorical worlds to small town family stories to zany comedy. Bob and Bing’s Road to Victory 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, Concert Hall; $26-$49 Returning to the Higley Center for the third time, Lynn Roberts stars as Bob Hope, Bob Pasch as Bing Crosby, and Chuck Carson as the emcee in this tribute to veterans in a recreation of a Bob Hope USO show. 9 String Theory 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, Little Theater; $25 9 String Theory is the unique musical collaboration of Angelina GalashenkovaReed and John Huston. Galashenkova-Reed is a virtuoso of the three-string Russian domra—a lute-like instrument known for its purity of tone—while Huston has distinguished himself as one of the most exciting and expressive classical guitarists of his generation. Bee Gees Gold: Bee Gees Tribute Show 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, Concert Hall; $31$36 John Acosta’s Bee Gee’s Gold Tribute is the ultimate salute to the Bee Gees in their prime. Backed by a live band, the Bee Gees Tribute recreates the look and sound of the Bee Gees from the ’60s to the late ’70s,
with the unique falsettos that made them legends. Sawyer Brown 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, Concert Hall; $35 to $69 One of the premier acts in music, with 23 albums, more than 50 chart singles, and CMA, ACM and CMT awards, Sawyer Brown thrives on playing live. Described by some as the “Rolling Stones of Country Music,” the band delivers its own unique brand of high-energy entertainment. Tim and Myles 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, Little Theater; $25 Tim and Myles Thompson are father and son singer/songwriters who have been inspiring audiences throughout the country. Tim Thompson is the 2008 International Finger-Style Champion guitarist and Myles Thompson is a violinist and mandolin player Tapestry: A Tribute to Carole King 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, Concert Hall; $23 to $44.80 Tapestry: A Tribute to Carole King faithfully recreates the sound of a Carole King concert, leaving audiences with memories of the great music she wrote and recorded.
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This Wonderful Life 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, Concert Hall; $21 to $42 Based on the iconic 1946 holiday favorite film, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” this one-man play brings to life more than 32 familiar people in a display of physical and verbal virtuosity. This 75-minute tour de force is at once inspiring, funny, poignant and uplifting. Kingston Trio with Jim Curry 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, Concert Hall; $46 to $77 “A Christmas Together” joins “The Kingston Trio Holiday Concert” and “Jim Curry’s John Denver Rocky Mountain Christmas.” This world premiere features the Kingston Trio playing holiday songs, old favorites and a pops concert of its Christmas repertoire. Opening the show is Jim Curry, who performs his John Denver holiday tribute. Hypnohype 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, Concert Hall; $21 to $42 Master hypnotist Asad Mecci stars in “Hypnohype,” a comedy/hypnosis show. Mecci has been featured on Entertainment Tonight, MTV, HGTV, MuchMusic and Maxim Online. Doc Holliday by Wyatt Earp 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, Little Theater; $25 Written by Terry Earp, in collaboration with see
HIGLEY page 50
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ON STAGE The Music of Motown starring Joe Bourne, Friday, Aug. 5, CCA. Travel back with Bourne and his eight-piece band and the timeless tunes of Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves, Michael Jackson and others. The Sugar Thieves, Friday, Aug. 5, SCPA. Moving between blues, country, gospel, rock, and elements of jazz, The Sugar Thieves celebrate the American musical traditions. Robby Roberson Band, Friday, Aug, 12, SCPA. Influenced by music from John Lennon to Phillip Glass, Robby Roberson’s songwriting and vocals have an urban acoustic flavor. U.S. Navy Band Cruisers, Sunday, Aug. 14, CCA. Eight-piece ensemble plays genres of jazz, classic rock, adult contemporary and rhythm and blues. Tres Guitarras, Friday, Aug. 19, CCA. Flamenco, jazz and blues blend through the hands of guitarists and musical voices of Chris Jácome, flamenco; Bob Fahey, blues, and Stan Sorenson, jazz.
Cisco and the Racecars, Friday, Aug. 26, CCA. This bluegrass band features a full range of instruments, including banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass, fiddle and cello. Inspiración Flamenca, Friday, Aug. 26, SCPA. Dancer Julia Chacon provides an authentic, powerful flamenco experience with beautiful costumes, fiery footwork, intricate guitar and soul-stirring vocals. Colvin & Earle, Saturday, Sept. 3, SCPA. Longtime friends and admirers Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle have united to record their self-titled debut, a true standout in careers already filled with pinnacles and masterpieces. An Evening with Pat Metheny, Friday, Sept. 16, SCPA. Metheny has won countless polls as “Best Jazz Guitarist” and awards, including three gold records and 20 Grammy Awards in 12 different categories. Joining him onstage will be Malaysian-Australian bassist Linda Oh, British pianist Gwilym Simcock and his longtime drummer Antonio Sanchez. Squeeze, Wednesday, Sept. 21, SCPA. Friends Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook formed the band in 1973 that, more than four decades later, still tours and reminds fans why they left such an indelible impression on the U.K.’s music scene. Seventh Annual Brazilian Day Festival, Saturday, Sept. 24, SCPA. The Valley’s largest and most authentic Brazilian Independence Day celebration, Brazilian Day Arizona features an exciting lineup of live Brazilian entertainment, including performances by Grupo Cupim do Samba, BatalaLA, Axe Capoeira, Axe Folclorico and more. Mary Chapin Carpenter, Sunday, Sept. 25, SCPA. Five-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee performs timeless hits from her expansive 14-album catalog and new songs.
Jay Allan & The Uncommon Good, Friday, Aug. 19, SCPA. Jay Allan’s funkyfolk, blues rock combines heartfelt and memorable lyrics with genre-bending styles and melodies. U.S. Navy Band Cruisers, Sunday, Aug. 14, CCA. This contemporary entertainment ensemble features eight of the Navy’s most dynamic performers.
Bernadette Peters, Saturday, Oct. 15, MAC. The three-time Tony Award winner who can be seen in the second season of the Golden Globe Award-winning series “Mozart in the Jungle,” will perform signature songs from the multitude of iconic shows in which she has starred. Angela Cheng and Alvin Chow, Friday, Nov. 18, GCAC. This husband-and-wife concert pianist duo plays compositions for one-hand, two hands and then fourhand compositions, showing the physical
intricacies of two performers sharing the same instrument and creating tonal colors across the entire keyboard. John Cleese and Eric Idle, Monday, Nov. 21, MAC. The founding members of Monty Python pioneered an irreverent, absurdist sensibility that is emulated by comics around the world. As individuals, they have written, performed and produced critically acclaimed shows such as “Spamalot,” “A Fish Called Wanda,” “Fawlty Towers” and “The Rutles.” Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, Sunday, Nov. 27, MAC. A genre-busting, rotating collective of musicians and vocalists who reimagine modern pop hits in the style of jazz, ragtime and swing classics of the 1920s to 1950s. Chandler Symphony with Jim Curry, Saturday, Dec. 10, HCPA. Curry opens the show performing his John Denver holiday tribute followed by 18-time Emmy nominee Lee Holdridge conducting the symphony. Straight No Chaser, Saturday, Dec. 31, MAC. Formed years ago while students at Indiana University, the group has reemerged as a phenomenon with a massive fan base, more than 20 million YouTube views and numerous national TV appearances.
VENUES CCA—Chandler Center for the Arts 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler Tickets: 480-782-2680, chandlercenter.org GCAC—Gold Canyon Arts Council 6410 Kings Ranch Rd., Gold Canyon Tickets: 480-983-2171, gcac1.com HCPA—Higley Center for the Performing Arts 4132 E. Pecos Rd., Gilbert Tickets: 480-279-7194, higleycenter.org MAC—Mesa Arts Center One E. Main St., Mesa Tickets: 480-644-6500, mesaartscenter. com SCPA—Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale Tickets: 480-499-8587, scottsdaleperformingarts.org
Doc Holliday’s closest living relative, Karen Holliday-Tanner, this play chronicles the West’s most famous dentist and his journey from being one who heals to one who “keals” (kills). Alley Cats: Doo-Wop Drive-In 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, Concert Hall; $21 to $42 The Alley Cats are America’s doo-wop group, serving up a perfect blend of 1950s and 1960s hits and comedy. With their tight, four-part harmonies and delightful antics, these musical comics have been Jay Leno’s opening act for the past seven years. Acoustic Eidolon 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, Little Theater; $25 Acoustic Eidolon is the internationally acclaimed duo that brings together musicians, Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire. Scott created and performs on a unique 14-string, double-neck banjo/guitar—the guitjo—both necks of which he can play simultaneously. Alkire is a classically trained cellist. Jack Wright and the Heartlight Band: The Songs and Stories of Neil Diamond 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, Concert Hall; $23 to $44.80 Jack Wright and the Heartlight Show Band capture the poetic expressions of Neil Diamond’s varied musical styles, and share stories of the performer’s life. One Great Night of Folk Music 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, Little Theater; $25 Linda Bilque has been part of the lineup for the last six years. Joining Bilque this year are Three-Legged Dog and the popular duo of JC and Laney. Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, Concert Hall; $23 to $44.80 Acclaimed master songwriter and musician, Ryan Shupe, and his RubberBand combine witty lyrics, fun stage antics, sing-alongs, and ballads in a fresh, crossover style. Peter, Paul and Mary Remembered 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2, Concert Hall; $21 to $42 Marty Province, Dave Dumas, and Sharron Owen, the three members of Peter, Paul and Mary Remembered, pay tribute to the trio as they helped guide many through changing times. Ken Waldman 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2, Little Theater; $25 Alaska’s fiddling poet, Ken Waldman, plays string-band style music, linked to Appalachia, predating bluegrass. Some of the tunes Waldman plays are more than two centuries old, although he also plays and has recorded more than 100 more that he wrote.
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Sound Off: WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! SOUND OFF was transcribed from our Sound Off line during the past month. Sound Off is a monthly editorial feature of Gilbert Sun News. We encourage you to participate. As long as it's not profane or libelous we will print it in our next issue. Calls are limited to one minute. Please leave your name only if you'd like it printed. Come on, get it off your chest!
County officials hard at work in hot summer BY DENNY BARNEY
I hope you’re enjoying the summer! While this time of year is slower for many, we have been hard at work. I’m proud to share that Denny Barney Maricopa County received 57 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The annual awards honor innovative, effective county government programs. This means that our county has once again garnered national attention for providing smarter government and high quality services to our citizens. Among the winning programs was “Clean Start,” which employs female probationers in the jail laundry and provides them with career guidance, skills training and cognitive behavioral change training. Two of the county’s programs were recognized as “Best in Category,” including a citizens’ improvement panel and a new space in the main terminal of the Phoenix-Mesa
Gateway Airport where visitors can download eBooks and charge electronic devices. In other important news, the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) approved a series of grants to help local community groups move their mission forward. Three of the recipients are Local First Arizona, which grows, supports, and celebrates local businesses; First Place, which will be one of the nation’s first residential projects for adults living with autism; and Year Up, which empowers urban young adults to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. You can read more about these and other programs at maricopa. gov. Stay cool in the heat, and stay safe from the monsoons. As ever, don’t hesitate to reach out with any comments, questions, and concerns. District 1 County Supervisor Denny Barney can be reached at 602-506-1776. For more information, visit maricopa. gov/dist1.
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Solution to choice of bathrooms: How about more family rooms? No questions, no problem. Could Michael Grady give us the result of Justice Scalia being called into God’s office about the decision to designate seed ownership to Monsanto? Is it true that Mr. Scalia is now trying to contact all the present justices, through various afterlife channels, to warn them? You know those Bible verses? All through my 74 years, the GOP stood for Grand Old Party. Today, GOP stands for Guns Over People. This registered Republican is looking forward to voting for Hillary come November.—Don Williams I believe that whomever becomes president, the real losers in this election will be every citizen in the United States. Each candidate has closet baggage that we as a people probably do not want. I believe they both have found a way to be untrustworthy. About the Diamondbacks, I look at it like this: If you are unhappy with the players’ salaries, then boycott the games. They base everything on the amount of people who pay to go to the games. Frankly, I will not pay their prices to see a game. If enough people boycott, the owners will have to make changes.—T. Vigneux Don “the Con” Trump said he will make America great again! The quickest and best way would be to leave and take his low information supporters with him! The leaked DNC emails prove that Donald Trump was right when he said the primary was rigged against Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton was chosen by the DNC to be the Democratic candidate for presidency. The people chose Bernie Sanders. What a corrupt Democratic system we have. We really need a stupid hikers law, just like the stupid drivers law, for all these people who come here and act like they’re still wherever they’re
from. They’re smart enough to protect their dogs. Why aren’t they smart enough to protect themselves? They have to have a law to break before they obey it? Can anybody tell us which driving school is teaching students that red lights are just suggestions? Thank you. Well, if you watch Trump on TV there’s one thing that most people will say: He’s all American. He’s what America used to be about. He’s right. We have to get back to being Americans— unique Americans in the United States of America. He’s all American, alright. Patriotism is what won all of the wars. Well, not so much Vietnam. There will be no gun control laws out of our Congress because only money talks and people are expendable and replaceable. There’s nothing that replaces money in greedy pockets than just more money. It’s as simple as that. It’s human nature. God help the people of America and everyone else in this crazy, crazy world. For your information, you Trumpites: America never stopped being great until you 1% millionaires started griping about not being rich enough. It’s only greed, greed, greed. That’s where the malcontents lie—with the greedy. Boo hoo. Remember to vote for a third choice. You don’t have to be a Republican or Democrat. You have to be a 1776 independent American. Vote independent. Beware: It’s Sunday afternoon and I received a call from police out of state looking for donations. Arizona cops don’t do that, neither do the firemen. Hang up on the freeloaders. Cops do not make Sunday afternoon calls for donations. There’s a sucker around every corner today. Well, it’s obvious that the malcontents aren’t stirring up much sympathy from the rest of the citizens. All of their protests are a waste of time. Find a job dummy. Quit bothering people with your nonsense. Phoenix isn’t falling for your garbage.
www.GilbertSunNews.com Have you noticed the HOA bulletins about the weeds growing in certain yards? It’s not just a weed you need to pull up immediately, it’s the fast-growing tree invasion. These things grow 3 feet in one week. It’s not just a weed. Have you noticed that there are all kinds of business conspiracies to kill off Americans? There was prohibition, but now we’re back to pushing booze on everyone. We got rid of all the cigarettes and now we’re onto marijuana. There’s someone always trying to kill off healthy Americans with all the garbage sales. Let’s get rid of a lot of those advertisements on TV. It was amazing to see TV coverage of the protests in Phoenix today. What disorganized stupidity. The organizer leads the group and hides away. Wonderful. Everyone loves to get out in over 100-degree weather, just to say they’re unhappy. Nothing like freedom of speech in America. Too bad it’s all the stupid people. It’s disgusting as well as disappointing. It must be newcomers, because Tempe people and Phoenicians have more brains than to get out in over 100-degree heat to raise hell over nothing in particular. This country is going to the dogs.
What’s at the root of all these problems today? It’s social media. Everybody wants to be on camera. It’s this damn—yes, damn— social media system. Take a selfie and you’re going to be on TV. People are making their own problems. They’re all so dumb. After reading what’s going on in the news today about the police officers being shot, I feel just terrible. I know judging from my neighborhood, police have to be more connected with the people. At one time, police officers used to walk up and down the streets. People go to know them and they became friends and neighbors. Now everything’s changed. I work in an office and police walk by. Not one of them looks at me and says hello. Nothing. They just keep on walking. No communication, no friendliness, nothing. Something’s gotta change in Scottsdale. What’s going on with this chief? When he gets out on the street, he doesn’t talk to anyone. In Dallas, five police were murdered and seven others wounded. There is a target on every officer’s back. Since Obama has been in office, he has fueled the hatred and division between blacks and whites. He promised to unite this country and he’s divided it like never before. Obama has blood on his hands.
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Oh there are some crazies at it again. Beware of the earlymorning calls from the IRS. It’s just another rip-off system. Where do these crazy people come from? Everyone in Arizona who has a telephone is fair game. Did you stop and count the number of stamps the last time you bought a 20 first-class Forever stamp sheet? Count them, there’s 10 on one side, and only nine on the other. How about that? Isn’t that interesting? The post office is ripping us off.
When I heard Obama say that Hillary Clinton was the most qualified person to ever run for president, I nearly fell over. Obama has lied so many times, but this was the biggest lie of all. It’s no secret that the Obamas and the Clintons hate each other. I find it hard to believe that with a population of 300 million people that we cannot come up with anyone better than Trump and Clinton for president. Plus, all of the senators and congressmen can’t seem to agree on anything.
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taylormorrison.com All information (including, but not limited to prices, availability, incentives, floor plans, site plans, features, standards and options, assessments and fees, planned amenities, programs, conceptual artists’ renderings and community development plans) is not guaranteed and remains subject to change or delay without notice. Maps and plans are not to scale and all dimensions are approximate. No binding offer to sell or lease may be made or accepted prior to the issuance of the final AZ Subdivision Public Report for the Community. A public report is available at the AZ Real Estate Department’s website. Not an offer to sell or lease where prohibited or otherwise restricted by law. Please see a Community Sales Manager for details or visit www.taylormorrison.com for additional disclaimers. Taylor Morrison/Arizona, Inc., ROC # 179178B. © July 2016, TM Homes of Arizona, Inc., AZ DRE # CO535669000. All rights reserved.