Queen Creek Tribune 04/30/2023

Page 1

Soaring inflation has pushed the cost of amenities for Queen Creek’s parks master plan by $27.7 million to a total 189.7 million – prompting an argument on the town council over whether it was time to scale back the town’s grand plans.

Despite the debate April 19, Council voted 5-2 to approve the 20% spending increase, with members Leah Martineau and Travis Padilla voting against it.

The plan builds on the town’s three current parks, Desert Mountain Park, Founders Park, and Mansel Carter Oasis Park.

It includes Mansel Carter Oasis Park phase II as well as the 85-acre Frontier Family Park.

Frontier Park will include six baseball/softball fields, three multi-purpose fields, 24 pickleball courts, two basketball courts, two sand volleyball courts, a large playground, fishing lake and walking track.

Frontier Park will also include new recreation and aquatic centers, both scheduled to open next year.

Perry High School senior Aliya Carnahan, who lives in Queen Creek, created this mural celebrating the school’s school slogan of “Pride, Purpose, Progress” as her senior capstone art project. For her story, see page 10 (David Minton/Tribune Staff Photographer)

Chief Financial Officer Scott McCarty said the cost overruns result from economic pressures, saying it “is really all about inflation.”

“Whether its construction materials, anything from brick to wood to concrete to steel to whatever, was a piece of this,” he said.

Adam Robinson, deputy director of community services for Queen Creek, said timelines for opening the parks have been adjusted slightly due to supply chain and inflationary pressures.

Queen Creek’s deal to bring water from Cibola has survived an initial attempt by three counties to scuttle the arrangement.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Liburdi denied a request for a preliminary injunction pending the outcome of a lawsuit by Mohave, La Paz and Yuma counties against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for approving the town’s deal with GSC Farm.

“All of the parties on our side were disappointed,” said Mohave County Supervisor Travis Lingenfelter after the judge allowed Queen Creek to continue importing 1,033 acre-feet of water for $27 million.

Queen Creek officials were relieved by the ruling.

“As the town continues to diversify its water supply, reducing reliance on groundwater, we are pleased to see the recent ruling and look forward to implementing

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Chandler Unified taking on social media giants

Chandler Unified School District is joining an effort to hold social media companies accountable for the adverse impact they’ve had on the mental health of students.

The Governing Board voted unanimously on April 12 to join a lawsuit led by Scottsdale attorney Joseph C. Tann. The two largest Arizona school districts –Mesa and Chandler – are now both part of the fight.

“More and more research suggests that algorithms, corporate decisions, and business strategy of companies such as Tik Tok, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have contributed to unprecedented rates of anxiety, depression, thoughts of self-harm, body image issues, and even suicidal ideation in schoolchildren throughout the country – and including right here in Arizona,” Tann told the board.

“In short, these companies designed their platforms in a way that they know

negatively impacts youth mental health in order to boost their profits by maximizing the amount of time that kids spend on their platforms, just so they can sell more ads,” he asserted.

The board’s move won praise from Katey McPherson, a Chandler educator and a leading advocate in the region for more mental health services for young people.

“I am thrilled that school districts across our state are acknowledging the pressures and issues our students face on and because of social media,” she said, calling the industry “truly negligent and not supportive of our children.”

McPherson said the district’s “next logical step simultaneously would be to not allow phones in the ‘ON’ position during the school day.

“When I survey principals and superintendents about how much of their day is spent fighting social media, most report 50-80% of a disciplinary issue at grades 5-12 have some sort of element of social media in them,” she said.

“We have all of the causal and correlative research, the CDC and the Surgeon

General saying this should be delayed for children.

“It’s long overdue for school districts to get brave and stop the use of this on campus,” McPherson added. “It’s truly a battlefield for our kids. I know this as we are raising 4 teenage girls. It’s a daunting task and a true extra layer of parenting and school admin.”

The Governing Board approved three actions, agreeing to:

• Becoming a plaintiff in litigation filed against social media companies.

• Hiring the law firms of Keller Rohrback and Joseph C. Tann as legal counsel in the litigation.

• Adopting a fee structure. If the school districts get a settlement or win a judgment against the social media companies, the attorneys will get 25%.

“I think that we have seen how much social media has taken over some of the lives of our children and in our students and how much their self-worth seems to be determined by how many likes they get on social media,” said board member Barb Mozdzen.

“I think this is something that has really harmed children across America.”

Tann helped lead the litigation against vaping companies such as Juul. That case ended in a settlement, the details of which Chandler Unified officials have refused to divulge.

Tann said he is speaking with several other Arizona school districts about also joining the suit, including Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.

In other action in April 12 Governing Board meeting:

New laptops for Hamilton, ACP Chandler Unified is expanding its program to provide every student with a laptop. Students at Arizona College Prep and Hamilton high schools will now be added to the program, which started about a year ago at Chandler High.

The expansion means that every student at half of the district’s high schools will have a laptop to take home.

The district is trying to narrow the digi-

see SOCIAL page 8

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this element of the Town’s renewable water strategy,” Public Utilities Director Paul Gardner said.

“The town has signed the contracts and is awaiting (Bureau of Reclamation) signatures. Once all contracts are signed, we anticipate receiving the water this summer.”

The counties claimed the bureau failed to perform a thorough study for its environment impact statement that considered dwindling the Colorado River’s dwindling water level.

They said transferring the water to Queen Creek would adversely affect people and the environment within the three western Arizona counties.

But Liburdi said that while he found “the balance of hardships favor plaintiffs, they do not tip sharply in their favor” and therefore can’t stop the deal until the outcome of a trial.

“Plaintiffs have not shown that an injunction is in the public interest, or that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm,” he wrote.

Liburdi said absent such a showing of irreparable harm, he need not determine at this time whether there are “serious questions going to the merits” of the lawsuit.

The suit claims the Bureau of Reclamation did not follow the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act, which requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions.

“On balance, while it is certainly in the public interest for Reclamation to follow the procedural rules of NEPA, the Court is aware that the (Arizona Department of

Water Resources) and Reclamation have already recommended and approved the proposed water transfer, and all that remains is executing the contracts,” Liburdi wrote.

He said an injunction would not only delay the execution of those contracts but also would “impose significant expectancy costs on Queen Creek and GSC Farm.”

“Balancing these competing interests, the Court finds that the public interest weighs neither in favor for, nor against, the issuance of a preliminary injunction,” Liburdi continued.

Liburdi said he was not persuaded by the three counties’ assertions that the deal “could further exacerbate the 20-year megadrought that has caused the Colorado River to become the most endangered river in the United States, causing irreparable harm to the environment and Plain-

tiffs’ interests in that environment.”

He noted that the counties admitted “that the ongoing drought will continue regardless of whether the proposed water transfer is approved.”

The GSC Farm deal is being brokered by Scottsdale-based Greenstone, which owns thousands of acres in Yuma county, and Water Asset Management, a company that owns thousands of acres in La Paz and Mohave counties.

The counties said it sets a dangerous precedent for similar water deals in the future, setting up circumstances that will allow these companies to broker contracts that will drain western Arizonans of their water.

“These water barons from the East Coast are coming in and taking advantage of a water crisis,” Lingenfelter said. “And really taking part in water speculation and leaving with millions and millions of dollars.

“There is harm when you look at the cumulative effects of not only this single transfer, which in our opinion should not be viewed in isolation, but the cumulative effects on the human environment and natural environment, especially with the Colorado River continuing to crash.”

Queen Creek Utilities Director Paul Gardner has said the town is seeking additional sources of water to add to its 100year underground aquifer – especially in light of the $5.5-billion LG Energy Solution lithium battery plant.

Gardner said the plant will require about the same amount of water as a housing development.

But he said the goal is to make the LGES

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Officials in Mohave, La Paz and Yuma counties claim Queen Creek’s purchase of water from the GSC farm in Cibola. (Tribune file photo)
A judge for now has rejected a threat to Queen Creek’s plan to import water for $27 million from a farm in Cibola, over 200 miles west of the town. (Tribune file photo)

He added that the department went over the plan in detail to see where it could save money while still providing quality amenities.

For example, it scaled back the recreation center from a two-story facility to one story with a mezzanine on top instead.

He also said the town tried to reduce the use of concrete wherever possible, citing its cost.

“Concrete was the number one thing to just thin out wherever possible,” he said. “Sidewalks where possible would get thinner.”

Even though they scaled back some of their original plans, some council members said budget overruns were unavoidable.

“It is the unfortunate environment we are in,” Mayor Julia Wheatley. “It’s interesting because we are seeing a lot of things come back at double what they were originally.”

She said that at a regional meeting of local officials, learned some regional road projects had doubled in cost since 2021.

Council adopted the master plan in 2021 with the goal of creating 51 acres of park space per 10,000 residents.

Although officials are trying to keep up with that goal, the town only has in place about 13 acres per 10,000 residents.

Some council members argued with current inflation rates, the cost overruns were inevitable and praised staff for trying to lessen their impact.

“With the hyperinflation, I really appreciate all the value engineering. It was extensive,” said Councilman Bryan McClure.

“I know that’s not fun but it definitely makes a difference to save the taxpayer dollars,” he said. “I wanted to thank you for that and putting something that is beautiful that’s going to function well for our community.”

But Martineau said she was frustrated by the overrun, calling the plan fiscally irresponsible.

“Almost $30-million is a big, big number, and so I can’t accept the fact that it’s only due to inflation,” she said.

“I definitely think we missed the mark on some of this budgeting. I also don’t agree with the whole ‘level of service.’

“I mean, we don’t even take into account what our neighborhoods are building,” Martineau continued.

“We have beautiful parks within our neighborhoods and communities. To be reaching this crazy-high number (of the promised park acreage), I also think we are missing the mark there.”

Martineau said she also did not support the Frontier Park recreation and aquatic centers when they were first proposed.

“So, to see this before us really, really frustrates me. It’s a little disappointing, to be quite honest,” Martineau added.

Councilman Robin Benning argued that it is critical for the town to provide the park amenities it originally promised residents and maintain the acreage-population ratio.

“We’ve gradually dialed back and dialed back and dialed back and I’ve always been uncomfortable with that,” he said.

“While it’s frustrating that we are in a period of hyperinflation,” Benning continued, “I work in construction so I know about this, it doesn’t change the fact that we have made commitments and we have promised our residents certain things.”

Benning asserted it would be unfair to deny residents what the council promised, even if that commitment was made sever-

al years ago.

Padilla, who is relatively new to council, strongly opposed exceeding the original budget.

“As a taxpayer, there is nothing I despise more than my governments coming back to me and telling me instead of reducing their budget they need to spend more money,” Padilla said.

“I am embarrassed that we missed the mark on this. I will be voting no on it and I am sorry to our residents for the shortfall

by the town.”

Brown pointed out that Queen Creek originally promised an average 61 acres of park land for every 10,000 residents but reduced it to 51 acres two years ago.

He said he regrets that compromise.

“If an apology from me is owed to residents, it would be that I went along with that scheme,” Brown said.

“It’s one the votes that haunts me to this day as residents ask me all the time for additional parkland,” he continued, recalling residents’ reaction to the opening of the Founder’s Park splash pad “with not having already installed the seating and the shade.”

“As far as I’m concerned, we cannot make that mistake again,” Brown said, cautioning against reneging on “a promise to our residents that had plunked down hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy their homes here.”

Brown said even now the town will only be providing 28 acres of parkland for every 10,000 residents.

“I do appreciate us reducing the costs while keeping the amenities that we have planned,” Wheatley said. “I am thrilled that we are going to be able to offer these to them and I really want to make sure that we really maintain the timeline.”

 GOT NEWS? Contact Paul Maryniak at 480-898-5647 or pmaryniak @timeslocalmedia.com Student Choice. Student Voice. PARKS from page 1
The plan for the Frontier Family Park has been adjusted to accommodate rising materials costs. (Town of Queen Creek)


Queen Creek appoints assistant town manager

Following what the town called an extensive national search, Queen Creek has announced Shea Joachim as the new assistant town manager to replace Bruce Gardner, who was named town manager last fall.

“As a long-time resident of the East Valley, I’m amazed by the growth in Queen Creek over the last two decades and the incredible possibilities Queen Creek has on the horizon,” Joachim said in a press release.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join the exceptional team at the Town of Queen Creek and I’m looking forward to serving the residents of Queen Creek,” he added.

Joachim has worked as the business and economic development director for the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Association since 2016.

There, he helped close development agreements for nearly 700 acres of aeronautical and non-aeronautical airport land and recruited new tenants such as Gulfstream, Virgin Galactic, and Boeing, the town said.

Prior to the airport gig, he worked for the City of Mesa on special projects.

Queen Creek Town Manager Bruce Gardner said his new assistant will help lead several departments and “assist me with day-to-day organizational priorities.”

“Shea’s background will help continue to move the town forward during this pivotal period of the Town’s development, particularly related to infrastructure and business development,” Gardner added.

The assistant town manager is responsible for broad policy planning and management oversight, assisting the town manager with all phases of government.

That includes strategic planning and budgeting, facilitating the development and implementation of policy proposals, leading leadership teams and represent-

ing the town in a variety of capacities.

The role also oversees the Capital Improvements, Community Development, Economic Development, Public Works, and Utilities departments.

“We are thrilled to welcome Shea Joachim to the QC Community,” Mayor Julia Wheatley said. “This position is so important as it oversees our development-related departments.

“We are excited to have Shea’s expertise in these various areas as we continue to ensure a high quality of life, promote a strong sense of community, protect our residents and provide world-class public service,” she continued.

Joachim has a master’s degree from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and a BA from Pomona College in California.

He belongs to numerous professional associations, including the Arizona Association for Economic Development and International Economic Development Council.

He will start the job June 5. 


EV fundraiser run helps cancer-stricken kids

A9-year-old East Valley girl with a rare bone cancer is leading Chandler-based Children’s Cancer Network’s 13th annual Run to Fight Children’s Cancer on Saturday, May 6, at Riverview Park in Mesa.

Elilai Ramarui of Ahwatukee was chosen by the nonprofit as this year’s poster child for its work in assisting families with children stricken by cancer.

Children’s Cancer Network was founded in 2004 by Patti and Stephen Lutrell following their son Jeff’s extended cancer battle.

Having experienced many years of grappling with their son’s cancer, various treatments, relapses, and then new cancers, they know personally what families undergo when they’re blindsided by childhood cancer.

“When we started Children’s Cancer Network 20 years ago, we were determined to provide assistance to children at all stages of their cancer journey as well as their family members,” said Patti Luttrell, who serves as CEO of the nonprofit while her husband is president.

“We provide financial assistance, promote education, encourage healthy lifestyles, build self-esteem, and help others understand what it’s like for a family to battle childhood cancer,” she said. “Most importantly, our support doesn’t end when chemo ends; we’re there for the long haul.”

Elilai was diagnosed in March 2022 with Ewing sarcoma, which first manifested with a swollen arm.

Over 20 cycles of chemotherapy and 32 days of radiation, the Summit School of Ahwatukee third grader has proven to be resilient and, according to her parents, Melody Orak and Abel Ramarui, “spunky” as she is back in school.

The Children’s Cancer Network Run to Fight Children’s Cancer is a the nonprofit’s signature that celebrates survivorship and honors kids who lost their battle.

Elite runners, weekend joggers and walkers are among those participating

in the 13th annual event that begins with the 10K run at 7 a.m., followed by the 5K run at 7:45 a.m.

A celebratory Cancer Survivor Walk steps off at 9 a.m., with walkers circling a small pond within Mesa Riverview Park. It is also possible to participate as a virtual runner.

Though the Cancer Survivor walk is free, pre-registration is recommended.

Registration for all the 13th Annual ‘Run To Fight Children’s Cancer’ events, including virtual runner, can be done online at Runtofightcancer.com

Also available on the website is the story behind the Luttrells’ founding of the nonprofit two decades ago.

Their son, Jeff, was only 5 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Following that August 1993 diagnosis, he underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and finally a bone marrow transplant to treat the initial te disease and four subsequent relapses.

Nine years after being cancer-free, Jeff was diagnosed with a secondary cancer of the tongue that required numerous surgeries and two types of radiation. Four years later, it reoccurred.

It was through these experiences that the parents, and Jeff’s sister Jenny, gained an empathy for other parents facing a tumultuous cancer journey.

“Our organization grew from our daughter Jenny’s vision to put on a fashion show featuring children dealing with cancer and their siblings,” Patti wrote.

“While visiting her brother in the hospital one night during his bone marrow transplant, a young girl in the next room passed away. Her family was at her bedside to say their goodbyes.

“Shortly after her passing, it was realized that the family didn’t have money to put gas in their car to get home to Phoenix,” she recalled.

“This was an eye-opening experience for Jenny, then a high school freshman. It did not seem fair that a family grieving for the loss of their daughter also had to worry about finding cash to make the drive

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QC thespians appear in major EV musical debut

Jane Austen’s “Emma” is a classic novel that has stood the test of time, and now it’s a musical production featuring the hit songs of legendary girl groups and iconic female singers – with three Queen Creek residents in the mix.

From May 4-13, “Emma! A Pop Musical,” will be onstage at Studio 3’s Artspace Theatre at 511 W. Guadalupe Road in Gilbert.

Produced by Limelight Performing Parts in partnership with Studio 3 Performing Arts, this production marks the first time an Arizona youth theater company has presented “Emma! A Pop Musical.”

Many of the roles in the production are double cast.

Queen Creek cast members include: Mackenzie Gilligan, 14, a freshman at Learning Foundation and Performing Arts playing the title role of Emma; Preston South, 15, an eighth-grader at Payne Junior High playing Martin; and Lilah Suniga, 13, an eighth-grade student at Newell Barney Junior High School as Dionne.

The musical harkens back to Austen’s novel, but with a 21st century prepschool twist.

Fans of the 1990’s teen film, “Clueless,” will quickly notice similarities between the iconic movie and Studio 3’s production of “Emma, A Pop Musical.” That’s because “Clueless” is also a modern-day take on the classic novel.

Gilbert resident Emma England is artistic director of Limelight. She, along with Queen Creek’s Marie South, co-directed “Emma! A Pop Musical.”

They said they chose this musical because they wanted something that could accommodate a large cast with lots of room for dancing and a minimal set.

SOCIAL from page 3

tal divide that keeps some students from being able to do homework on computers at home.

The district’s logo is etched into the laptops to discourage theft. Parents can also purchase an insurance program that will help limit their cost of replacing a lost or stolen laptop.

The cost is just over $4 million.

“We decided on this show because the music is so fun and memorable. The cast really got behind the idea of putting a 90’s spin on it and paying tribute to ‘Clueless,’ which has the same storyline,” said England.

“Emma, A Pop Musical” tells the story of Emma Woodhouse, a senior at Highbury Prep, who is certain she knows what’s best for her classmates’ love lives.

She is determined to match her sweet and shy bestie, sophomore Harriet Smith, with a perfect, dreamy boyfriend by the end of the school year.

Meanwhile, the arrival of new student and heiress, Jane Fairfax, stirs up drama at the high school and makes trouble for Emma.

But while the heroine is focused on the happiness of others, will she be blind to her own feelings and relationships?

The musical features hit songs from the 60’s through today from legendary girl groups and iconic female singers includ-

New interactive flat panels

CUSD will spend more than $1.6 million to install interactive flat panels at seven locations. It’s phase one of a $16 million project to add the displays to all schools. There are six phases planned.

The six locations in phase one are Andersen Elementary; Frye; Jacobson; Knox Gifted Academy; Riggs; Shumway Leadership Academy; and Melinda Romero Instructional Resource Center.

ing The Supremes, Whitney Houston, Shania Twain and Katy Perry.

“I think the audience will really love the show because it’s full of music they’ll want to sing along to, like ‘Chapel of Love,’ ‘Roar,’ ‘Brave,’ ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ and so many more,” England said. “All the songs were originally written and performed by female artists.”

Austen’s novel, published in 1815, has not only stood the test of time, but its narrative rings true no matter the era. The concept has been adapted for stage, film, and television many times over.

“What I have enjoyed most about bringing this production to life is the variety of musical styles,” said England.

“This gives us an artistic opportunity to create something new and interesting with every scene and song.”

“Emma! A Pop Musical” is on stage May 4-13. The run includes both evening and matinee performances. Tickets are $15 and group discounts are available. Vis-

Prices going up

The district is also dealing with soaring inflation. The board approved awarding more money on five contracts it had previously approved because of rising prices and other reasons.

• The cost for public communication equipment went from $350,000 to $450,000.

it limelight.ticketleap.com to learn more and purchase tickets.

Gilbert cast members include Ava Chiappetta, 14, an eighth-grade student at Mesquite Junior High School playing the role of Ms. Bates; Abigail Drake, 12, a seventh-grade student at Taylor Junior High School who plays the role of Ms. Bates; and Maddie Gloyd, 12, a seventh-grade student at Payne Junior High who plays the role of Ashley.

Maeli Kemp, 12, a seventh-grader at Sossaman Middle School is Harriet Smith; Addison Roundy, 13, an eighth-grader at Gilbert Classical Academy plays Jane; Kaitlyn Woodward, 17, a junior at Gilbert Christian School is in the ensemble; and Zoe Hatziathanassiou, 15, a freshman at Gilbert High School plays Jane. 

If you go

Studio 3 Artspace Theatre, Gilbert May 4-13 melight.ticketleap.com

• The $200,000 it approved in June 2022 for telecommunications services is now $500,000.

• The contract to provide substitute teachers was expected to be $10 million. It’s expected to reach $13 million by the end of this year.

• CUSD hired an architectural firm for $1 million. Now, it’s a $2 million contract as the district has increased the number of its building projects.

• The fifth contract was to renew an existing HVAC contract. 


Dental clinic launches Mother’s Day giveaway

An East Valley dental clinic has launched its annual Mother’s Day Dental Makeover Giveaway so some moms can have a brighter smile.

Risas Dental and Braces is offering free treatments to 13 moms in honor of “their dedication to family because mothers often put others’ needs ahead of their own.”

“Mothers give of themselves, selflessly every single day, often overlooking their own essential needs like dental care,” said Risas Dental CEO Jeff Adams.

“It is humbling to be able to give the gift of a smile to those who sacrifice so much for their children and their communities.”

People can nominate a mom by filling out the submission form on the Risas Dental and Braces website though noon May 5.

WATER from page 4

site a “green site” and will come as close as possible to returning as much water as it uses by sending treated effluent back into the aquifer.

“The footprint on water is going to end up being zero when it’s done,” he said. “No net groundwater will be used on this site.

All nominees must be at least 18 and self-nominations are accepted. Winners will be notified by May 12.

A Risas dentist will recommend the best treatment option for each mom, including orthodontics if needed.

Last year, Risas received more than 800 nominations, including Breanna Terry of Queen Creek, a first responder in training who was grateful for the donated treatment because she had been putting it off due to tight finances.

“I haven’t been able to afford treatment and I told my husband about this giveaway, but I didn’t know he nominated me. I hated smiling. I just want to be able to smile again,” said Terry.

Jennifer Confer from Tempe was nominated by her daughter, who said her mom worked full time to support her children, even after being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

“Learning I won made my year. I had no idea my daughter was nominating

That’s what our goal is. If need to be, working with them, we will go acquire renewable supplies to make up the difference.”

Gardner said the town is actively pursuing other options for purchasing additional water rights but non-disclosure agreements prevent him from talking about those deals.

But Lingenfelter contends that Queen

me,” said Confer.

Risas Dental and Braces will also give away dental makeovers to moms in Tucson, Denver, San Antonio, and Las Vegas.

Information: risasdental.com/mothers-day.

Founded in Phoenix in 2011, Risas Dental and Braces makes dentistry accessible for all regardless of insurance status or financial situation.

With 27 locations in Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, San Antonio and Las Vegas, it boasts of being one of the fastest-growing dental practices in the country.

Since its inception, Risas Dental and Braces has provided over $9 million in free dental care.

Breanna Terry of Queen Creek, a first responder, was grateful for the donated treatment she received from Risas Dental. (Courtesy of Risas Dental)

Creek will continue looking at his and other western Arizona counties for that additional water.

Facing rapid population growth and continuing to court additional tech expansion, Queen Creek has been aggressive in looking for water to add to its state-mandated 100-year underground water supply.

The town recently purchased for $30

million the rights to 500,000 acre feet of water from the Harquahala Valley Water Association, a group of landowners and farmers in Maricopa and La Paz counties west of Phoenix.

Western Arizona counties are pinning their hopes of slowing the GSC Farm water deal on a broader lawsuit that is still pending. 

Contact Paul Maryniak at 480-898-5631 or pmaryniak@timeslocalmedia.com Got News?

QC teen paints huge mural at Perry High

Perry High School art teacher Lorena DeCristofaro used one word multiple times to describe the hallways of her school.


Thanks to Perry High’s Capstone project, the walls are a little less sterile today. Senior Aliya Carnahan, who lives in Queen Creek, painted a 40-foot long mural outside DeCristofaro’s classroom so she could get a fine arts seal attached to her diploma when she graduates in May.

Capstone projects are major undertakings by students who want to demonstrate what they’ve learned in exchange for getting an enhanced diploma.

“I spent probably three times as many hours, like 100 to 125, maybe, than I needed to,” Aliya said. She calls the mural, which includes the school’s motto of “Pride, Purpose, Progress.”

To qualify for a Capstone seal on the diploma, the student must demonstrate the culmination of skills and knowledge gained through their academic career by completing a long-term, multi-faceted project.

Aliya calls the mural her baby because it took her nine months to complete. In addition to actually painting it, she had to get the necessary approvals from the school and Chandler Unified School District.

There were also obstacles to overcome, the most noticeable being a fire safety box in the middle of her mural space that she was told could not be altered.

DeCristofaro said the mural has been a welcome addition to the campus.

“I’ve been trying to get walls beautified in the building since I’m an art teacher, and also a graphic designer and a fashion designer,” DeCristofaro said. “I like beauty. I like color, I like style. And it was a little too sterile for my taste.”

She said she spoke to Aliya last year about the possibility, something she could do during her senior year. When they announced a fine arts seal being available for

Queen Creek resident Aliya Carnahan created this 40-foot mural at Perry High School, where she will be graduating next month, partly to qualify for a fine arts seal on her diploma. (David Minton/Tribune Staff Photographer)

a Capstone project, that got the momentum going.

Aliya could only work on the mural for a couple of hours, because DeCristofaro needed to be there with her after school.

“I see a lot of smiles from people as they pass, and that was kind of the goal,” Aliya said.

Of course, art being very subjective, not everyone is a fan. She said she has heard from some “haters.”

Her mural is mostly nature, with a field of flowers and trees. There are eyeballs in

many of the flowers.

“I kind of saw it as like the eye of each person is unique,” Aliya said. “I did it with each eye is a different color – like none are the same. I tried to do it so students walking through the hall, like no students are the same.

“So just to represent something like diversity, and I just thought the eyes look cool.”

DeCristofaro said now that Perry has its first mural, she is hoping more will be coming as other students consider pursu-

ing a Capstone fine arts seal.

Aliya says she may not be done with murals.

“I’m possibly lined up for another mural I’m doing over the summer for a gentleman in Maricopa,” she said. “He likes cars.”

She said if she’s getting paid, she might be able to do up to three a year.

But Aliya said her ultimate goal is not to paint murals.

“I was thinking more like animation, like movies, cartoons,” Aliya said. 

Contact Paul Maryniak at 480-898-5647 or pmaryniak@TimesLocalMedia.com Got News?
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Superintendent, 2 students award finalists


Queen Creek Unified Superintendent Dr. Perry Berry and two district sixth graders are in the running for awards from School Connect, a nonprofit that connects schools with their community, businesses and churches.

Cooper DeWitt of Katherine Mecham Barney Elementary and Owen Fuhriman, from Silver Valley Elementary, are finalists for the Student Champion K-6 Award.

The award honors students who exemplify leading by example and inspiring “his or her fellow student to generosity, perseverance, and the bold leadership required to empower the next generation.”

“They have been fully engaged in their education by bringing their unique gifts and talents to every aspect of learning and are also interested and concerned in the welfare of their peers,” School Connect said of the nominees.

Berry is one of three Arizona superintendents nominated for the nonprofit’s Changemaker Award.

Nominees have “taken a stand as a leader – bringing innovative solutions to their entire district; building networks of support across multiple sectors to create diverse and powerful growth in their district.

“They have cast a clear and compelling vision for their school district and work with diverse community partners to support the initiatives of individual schools as well as district wide strategies of support,” the nonprofit said.

School Connect said the nominees are in the running to be recognized as “the best in education throughout the state,

recognizing those who lead with heart and help to build a brighter future for Arizona youth.”

Awards will be given in eight categories and seven more will be given to business, nonprofit, faith-based organizations and government agencies for contributing to the success of their communities.

School Connect was to announce the winners after the Tribune’s deadline.

This year, the School Connect Champions of Education Awards are presented by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona. 

12 QUEEN CREEK TRIBUNE | QUEENCREEKTRIBUNE.COM | APRIL 30, 2023 NEWS Subscribe here www.queencreektribune.com Receive your digital flip-thru edition every week in your e-mail box! Easy-To-Read Digital Edition Dude, it’s free!
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home to Phoenix.”

The annual Inspirations Fashion Show continues, and Elilai was proud to be one of this year’s models for the March event at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Children’s Cancer Network also arranged for the youngster to cheer at a girls’ varsity basketball game at Gilbert’s Williams Field High School.

Elilai’s mother said CCN has helped Elilai “live her best life” since their family made the connection through their Honoring Our Peers Everyday program, which provides speakers to help explain childhood cancer in an age-appropriate way.

“Abel and I were looking into the HOPE program to go out to Elilai’s school and talk to the kids about where she’d been this whole time and what she had been doing. She’d been diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in March and didn’t attend school,” Melody explained.

“The HOPE program explained really well to Elilai’s class the type of cancer she had, her treatments, why she lost her hair, but most importantly that she was still the ‘same Elilai.’”

Elilai Ramarui, 9, will be in the Children’s Cancer Network’s Run to Fight Children’s Cancer this Saturday, May 6, at Riverview Park in Mesa. The victim of a rare bone cancer, Elilai appeared in the Chandler nonprofit’s fashion show fundraiser last month at Phoenix Art Museum. (Courtesy of the Children’s Cancer Network)

“Since becoming so involved with CCN, our family has become a part of a club that you really don’t want to belong to, but you know everyone you come across, including Steve and Patti Luttrell, have walked your walk and they get you without saying anything,” she added.

“It was comforting to Abel and me to have these fun experiences for Elilai to see her smile and not think about cancer, treatment, medication or upcoming scans. Now, Elilai is excited to be this year’s race starter. She’s always been spunky, but she’s even more determined now to live her best life.”

Donations can be made to Team Elilai and other specific teams and runners online at CCN.

Children’s Cancer Network has a

wealth of programs available to families of children with cancer – including scholarships to childhood cancer survivors or immediate family members whose lives and college savings were affected by childhood cancer.

The John W. Luttrell Scholarships, established in 2005, are named for Stephen Luttrell’s father, who succumbed to brain cancer.

Among other programs and services, the nonprofit commits $100,000 annually for gas and food cards to families in need.

In the last two years, it has also purchased and donated bus passes and cafeteria passes as needed, at the request of the pediatric oncology social workers.

Information: childrenscancernetwork.org. 

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Hope Institute offers CUSD kids mental health help

The teen-age brain is not fully developed, said Derek Lee a licensed professional clinical counselor and the CEO of The Hope Institute.

“I can tell you, there are kids every week who could become suicidal because they’re being blackmailed with their nude pictures,” Lee said at an April 18 Chandler Unified School District event.

“Does this kid have an underlying mental health disorder, or do they have a major depressive disorder? No, it’s a 14-year-old who is a victim of bad decision, just like every 14-year-old makes.”

Because their minds are not fully developed, such teens don’t see a way out. And too often, they turn to their peers who also don’t have fully-developed brains for help instead of adults who may be able to provide different options.

Lee said suicide becomes a form of escapism.

The Hope Institute is one of three providers CUSD has partnered with to address an increase in teen suicides.

The district held the event to introduce The Hope Institute to interested parties and explain how the partnership will work.

“I would say as a country, we’ve gotten pretty good at that, we’re good at screening,” Lee said. “What we don’t do is treat. Rarely do people actually get treated for suicide, and I say that as someone who has worked at every level.”

He said The Hope Institute is different. It treats young people who are considering suicide in six weeks or less using two of the four methods that have shown to be effective: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS).

The Hope Institute describes DBT as a mindfulness-based therapy that gives clients skills in regulating their emotions, tolerating stress, maintaining healthy relationships and thinking from a perspective

other than their own.

It describes CAMS as a therapeutic framework for suicide-specific assessment and treatment of a patient’s suicidal risk.

Here’s how the partnership with CUSD will work:

The district hopes to start referrals to the Hope Institute when the next school year begins and is converting an old house into a treatment center at Perry High School. There is no timeline set yet for when construction will be done.

Counselors across the district of 45,000 students would be able to refer a young person there, getting them an appointment in the next business day.

Brenda Vargas, CUSD’s director of counseling and social services, says they may even be able to get them a same-day appointment.

Lee said the act of making an appointment usually gives students a spark of

hope, and they should be fine if they know they’ll be getting help the next day.

The Hope Institute will work with the student over the next few weeks until they determine suicide is no longer considered an option. Lee said that usually takes four or five weeks.

If the student needs additional mental health services, they could then be referred to another provider, such as Southwest Behavioral & Health Services or Lighthouse Psychiatry.

If the school counselor is concerned enough that a student needs immediate help and cannot wait until the following business day, then they can send him or her to the hospital. However, Lee argued that should be the last resort.

“What I can tell you is that roughly 90% of people who struggle with suicidal ideation don’t need to go to the hospital,” Lee said. “And what we actually know, is when

someone goes to the hospital, sometimes it makes it worse.”

Lee said someone who is considering suicide needs support. They need to be around family, friends and be able to hug their pet. If they are in the hospital, they are being isolated away from their family, friends and pets.

The Hope Institute is just starting to expand around the nation after starting in Ohio. Lee said they are seeking federal grants for their program and was told they need to show it can be effective in different parts of the country, not just the Midwest.

In addition to partnering with CUSD, they are also starting operations in the fall in Georgia.

Vargas said the district hopes to eventually open two locations of The Hope Institute. The site at Perry High School would serve the southern half of the district. Plans for a northern site have not been firmly established, but Dr. Craig Gilbert said officials hope to make it part of the rebuild of Galveston Elementary School.

Gilbert is CUSD’s associate superintendent of Pre-K through 12 educational services.

“One of the things we’ve talked about is utilizing the Care Center,” Gilbert said. The district offers the care center at Galveston to provide medical and dental services to families. The district is currently in the design phase of rebuilding Galveston and is considering different options to incorporate the Care Center into the design.

Lee said the goal is simple.

“We know that 31% of people who have a suicidal struggle, don’t have an underlying mental health disorder,” he said. “There’s nothing like making sure kids have a tomorrow.”

Just days before the Hope Institute event, another grim reminder of the need for its programs came when a Hamilton High sophomore took her life at a city garage.

Information: thehopeinstitute.net 
Hope Institute CEO Derek Lee gives a presentation on how his company helps young people who are considering suicide on April 18 at Arizona College Prep High School. (Ken Sain/ Times Local Media)

QC food truck wheels in fine Spanish cuisine

At age 17, Letty Mckeen went from living in a tiny village in Honduras to working at a fine restaurant in Washington, D.C., under a Michelin Star chef specializing in tapas.

Almost 24 years ago, Mckeen moved to the Valley but left the food industry to raise a family. She started a cleaning business and returned to school, getting a special education degree from Arizona State University.

But three years ago, Mckeen return to the food industry, picking Queen Creek to start a food truck.

“I didn’t practice cooking too much when my kids were growing up,” said Mckeen, whose Tapas Al Gusto by Letty’s Cocina food truck can be found at 18920 E. San Tan Blvd. near Grapefruit Drive starting at 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and for lunch and dinner Saturdays.

“After my kids grew up, I decided it was time to fulfill my dream of cooking,” she explained. “That’s the gift God gave me. That’s why I decided to start a new chapter in my life and start doing something I really love. It’s how I started my new business.”

She has two children attending the University of Arizona and two at Arizona State University. Her son assists in running the food truck throughout the week.

Mckeen also caters events around the Valley.

“We do a lot of weddings,” she said. “We start with little tapas and end with the main course.

“When it came to the concept of my business, I wanted to put tapas on the menu,” she said. “I can cook any type of food. I can customize it to my clients’ experience. I like street cuisine, French and Spanish.”

She emphasizes her style of cuisine is not Mexican but Spanish, which is milder

EV man helps push new VR device to homes

The co-owner of an East Valley business and his partner are bringing a new kind of virtual reality experience to homes that doesn’t require headsets.

While VR typically requires a headset for the user for a wrap-around experience, The Beam can produce the same effect with computer software and a projector, according to Anthony Baker of Gilbert, who with Tempe resident Andrew Pearson, owns Apex Home Automation. The Beam has been a specialty product used in hotels and upscale commercial gaming rooms to immerse players in a virtual world.

It relies on software to produce images, sounds and sensors that synch themselves to body movements.

The Beam is mounted on a ceiling or wall and projects a game for users. The games range from adventure, sports, education and many more that are down-

loadable online.

“Our industry is always changing, so it’s kind of fun to keep up with technology,” said Baker.

Baker said he wants “to start pushing The Beam more,” so he and Pearson are selling it to homeowners as a crown jewel option to their home project services.

Apex mainly sells home automation systems, which integrate lighting, audio and security into a single application.

“Our business is split between refurbishing old systems and getting in during home construction right after the drywall is installed,” said Pearson.

The two started their company three years ago – right before the pandemic hit.

They had been working for an information technology company but feared how

16 QUEEN CREEK TRIBUNE | QUEENCREEKTRIBUNE.COM | APRIL 30, 2023 BUSINESS QueenCreekTribune.com | @QCTribune @QCTribune
see BEAM page 17
Letty Mckeen is grateful to the customers who have made her Queen Creek food truck a success. (Special to the Tribune) see TAPAS page 17 Anthony “Tony” Baker, left, and Andrew “Andy” Pearson aim to introduce customers to a different kind of virtual reality through their Gilbert business, called Apex Home Automation LLC.(Special to the Tribune)

and not too spicy.

“This is a very fine cuisine,” Mckeen explained. “This is a Spanish fusion with a little Indian twist and a little French twist in different recipes.

‘I use quality, organic ingredients. I use olive oil, and a little coconut oil. I use fresh organic vegetables. I go to local farmers markets to get organic ingredients.”

While she regularly changes the menu, Mckeen always prepares seasonal specials.

“Everything I have on my menu is very popular,” she said. “I’m adding more stuff. People always go back to my original menu because they love it. But at the same time, earning the client’s trust is very important.”


Mesa, AZ - When it comes to chronic pain and/ or neuropathy, the most common doctor-prescribed treatment is drugs like Gabapentin, Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Neurontin. The problem with anti-depressants or anti-seizure medications like these is that they offer purely symptomatic relief, as opposed to targeting and treating the root of the problem. Worse, these drugs often trigger an onset of uncomfortable, painful, and sometimes harmful side effects.

(above 95% nerve loss is rarely treatable)

3. The amount of treatment required for the patient’s unique condition

Aspen Medical in Mesa, AZ uses a state-ofthe-art electric cell signaling systems worth $100,000.00. This ground-breaking treatment is engineered to achieve the following, accompanied by advanced diagnostics and a basic skin biopsy to accurately analyze results:

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“No matter what I put on my menu, people always want to try it. Now, my menu is growing big because everything sells. At the same time, I cook a small quantity every day because I want the food to be fresh.”

Eventually, Mckeen would like to open her own “beautiful restaurant” where customers can sit down and feel comfortable.

She’d also like to serve breakfast but with a different concept.

“I’d like to have different types of omelets around the world and different types of burritos with a twist,” she said.

“It’s one of my dreams. I want to see Letty’s cuisine everywhere in the United States.”

BEAM from page 16

their former employer and the industry generally were failing to maintain a high commitment to innovation and emerging technology.

“The problem was coordinating, setting expectations and following through on those commitments. …We knew we could do better,” said Baker. So after months of planning and research into all aspects of regulations and getting licensed for low-voltage work, they took the plunge and formed Apex. Their marketing approach is low-volt-

For now, however, she is grateful for the many customers who have made her food truck a success.

“I’ve been blessed with my faithful clients. Believe it or not, I still have the same clients because they eat my food every day, when possible when I’m here,” she said.

“I’m very grateful for every person who comes in and eats my food because through them I can support my kids. Thank you for filling my dreams. It’s wonderful for me to cook for my community.”

She also credits her faith in God for her success.

“God is amazing,” Mckeen said. “He always has a plan for you. When I see my life, that’s why my heart is full of gratitude.”

Information: tapasalgusto.com, 480323-6913 or etty.az@live.com. 

age, too.

“Really only word of mouth. If someone is willing to refer us because of a stellar job we did on somebody’s project. It’s better than finding us online or that route,” said Pearson.

Baker and Pearson said they enjoy meeting the challenge of delivering innovative applications.

“There really isn’t anything we’d do differently because of how long we thought this out,” Baker said. “The only thing is I wish we had done, was start earlier.”

Information: apxav.com or 480-4168195. 

The only way to effectively treat chronic pain and/or peripheral neuropathy is by targeting the source, which is the result of nerve damage owing to inadequate blood flow to the nerves in the hands and feet. This often causes weakness and numbness.

As displayed in figure 1 above, the nerves are surrounded by diseased, withered blood vessels. A lack of sufficient nutrients means the nerves cannot survive, and thus, slowly die. This leads to those painful and frustrating consequences we were talking about earlier, like weakness, numbness, tingling, balance issues, and perhaps even a burning sensation.

The drugs your doctor might prescribe will temporarily conceal the problems, putting a “BandAid” over a situation that will only continue to deteriorate without further action.

Thankfully, Mesa is the birthplace of a brand new facility that sheds light on this pressing problem of peripheral neuropathy and chronic pain. The company is trailblazing the medical industry by replacing outdated drugs and symptomatic reprieves with an advanced machine that targets the root of the problem at hand.

Effective neuropathy treatment relies on the following three factors:

1. Finding the underlying cause

2. Determining the extent of the nerve damage

2. Stimulates and strengthens small fiber nerves

3. Improves brain-based pain

The treatment works by delivering energy to the affected area(s) at varying wavelengths, from low- to middle-frequency signals, while also using Amplitude Modulated (AM) and Frequency Modulated (FM) signaling.

It’s completely painless!


Depending on your coverage, your peripheral neuropathy treatment could cost almost nothing – or be absolutely free.

The number of treatments required varies from patient to patient, and can only be determined following an in-depth neurological and vascular examination. As long as you have less them 95% nerve damage, there is hope!

Aspen Medical begins by analyzing the extent of the nerve damage – a complimentary service for your friends and family. Each exam comprises a detailed sensory evaluation, extensive peripheral vascular testing, and comprehensive analysis of neuropathy findings.

Aspen Medical will be offering this free chronic pain and neuropathy severity evaluation will be available until May 31st, 2023. Call (480) 2743157 to make an appointment.

Due to our very busy office schedule, we are limiting this offer to the first 10 callers. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SUFFER ANOTHER MINUTE, CALL (480) 274-3157...NOW!!

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TAPAS from page 16 480-274-3157 4540 E Baseline Rd., Suite 119 Mesa Az 85206
Tapas Al Gusto by Letty’s Cocina food truck can be found at 18920 E. San Tan Blvd. near Grapefruit Drive in Queen Creek. (Special to the Tribune)

Does NBA mean ‘Not Basketball Anymore’?

With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien, Phil Jackson rates as a real-life “Lord of the Rings” from his time as both a player and a coach in the NBA. He earned two championship rings on the roster of the New York Knicks; six more as coach of the Chicago Bulls; and another five coaching the Los Angeles Lakers.

But now, the lone pro basketball luminary has booted NBA games off his television sets.

You might say that Phil has had his fill. Jackson told podcaster Rick Rubin that the NBA has become too political, and for that reason, he has stopped watching. Phil’s disenchantment bubbled to the surface amid the forced isolation

of the COVID lockdown and the NBA’s much-ballyhooed plan to play its games within a “made-for-TV bubble.”

The medical intent of that “NBA Bubble” was to keep the teams free from COVID, but the actual result was to infect the entire league with the political contagion of “Woke.”

And disturbing to Phil was the fact that the floor of the basketball court was used to advocate for a certain viewpoint in the “court of public opinion.”

The former coach cited the “slogans on the floor, on the baseline. It was catering. It was trying to cater to an audience, or trying to bring a certain audience into play. And they [the NBA] didn’t know it was turning other people off.”

What was most off-putting for Phil was the league deliberately omitting names on jerseys to instead feature virtue signaling.

“They had things on their back like ‘Jus-

tice’ and a funny thing happened,” Jackson recalled. “Like ‘Justice’ went to the basket and ‘Equal Opportunity’ knocked him down…Some of my grandkids thought it was pretty funny to play up those names. I couldn’t watch that.”

Of course, if you watch ESPN, which now stands for “Expect Sports Politicized Non-stop,” you understand that honest observations like those offered by Phil Jackson attract reflexive rants from woke “contributors” to the sports channel.

Jalen Rose attacked Jackson’s remarks on social media. And in so doing, Rose employed a typical—though in this case, ill-fitting—leftist trope.

“You can’t make this up…The same Phil Jackson that won championships with some of the greatest Black athletes in the history of the game: Michael Jordan. Scottie Pippen. Shaquille O’Neal. Kobe Bryant…Made millions on their backs. And

off their sweat equity.”

Just for the record, Jalen…this isn’t 1619, 1859, or even 1969.

The four athletes you mentioned were not subjected to involuntary servitude, and collectively they made millions more than the millions paid to Phil Jackson as their coach.

The same applies to your use of “sweat equity.” The actions of a demanding coach who takes his players through physically exhausting workouts in pursuit of a championship that will further enrich them all? That just doesn’t fit the invited inference of a plantation foreman in the Antebellum South.

Of course, there was more to Rose’s rant…and it focused on the Jacksons’ reaction during “family viewing time.”

“You’re sitting there watching the game

Great Tamale War is a nothingburger of a debate

When the New York Times came to town to cover the Great Tamale War of 2023, you knew this was big-times news. Forget inflation, the Arizona housing supply crisis, the epic drought, or our rising rate of violent crime. The burning question du jour at the state Capitol?

Will Arizona’s tamale-making abuelas and abuelos be able to legally sell their wondrous creations?

You likely have heard about this ruckus: The Legislature overwhelmingly passed House Bill 2509, “the tamale bill,” which expanded the types of “cottage foods” that can be sold by unlicensed home cooks to include perishables like tamales. Gov. Katie Hobbs, who may yet

end up sidelined by a wicked case of Veto Elbow, nixed the measure, saying “the bill would significantly increase the risk of food-borne illness by expanding the ability of cottage food vendors to sell high-risk foods.”

An April 24 effort to override the veto failed when a number of Democrats decided to back Hobbs over the tamale ladies, whose wares “hold a special, Proustian place in Arizona’s culinary soul,” according to the Times.

I don’t know what that means either. I’m pretty sure the Legislature outlawed Proust a couple years ago.

Two things stand out about this conflict.

The first is that HB2509 is what we call in the political business “a solution in search of a problem.” I’ve consumed no less than 15 stories about the bill recently; none included a single instance of an Arizonan being arrested or fined $500 for the sale of illegal tamales.

I’m pretty sure the cops have better things to do – like bust fentanyl dealers, not ladies selling green chili tamales. The same goes for the Arizona Department of Health Services, which oversees retail food and drink sales. If there’s a tamale probe afoot somewhere, then we have bigger problems to solve than protecting Arizona residents from tamale-induced dysentery.

This leads to my second point. It concerns what we expect government to do for us nowadays. Personally, I like my bureaucracy the way I prefer my homecooked foods: Small and easy to digest.

If the state feels compelled to spend another 14 billion taxpayer dollars this year, let them fund schools, highways, public safety, and a safety net for Arizonans in crisis.

County government seems to do a pretty good job of picking up trash and inspecting restaurants – and tallying elections,

which is a subject for 10 more columns on 10 other days. Our cities seem to do mostly good work keeping up roads and staffing police and fire departments.

Nowhere in all that “service” do I expect the government to keep me safe from the deadly dangers that loom from pork tamales, homemade barbecue sauces, or the palatero who occasionally bikes his cart up my street to sell me a mango ice cream pop. Sometimes, people, you have to take your life into your own hands.

If you eat an illegal tamale, you may get a tummy ache. If you wander into the public library, you may read a book that offends you. Cigarettes may give you lung cancer. Hot coffee may give you fourth-degree burns. If you ride a motorcycle without a helmet, you may end up on life support, with less brain function than your average member of Congress.

see HAYWORTH page 19 see LEIBOWITZ page 19

Protect your baby with life-saving tips

There’s no greater nightmare than the loss of a baby. Sadly, the nightmare has become a reality for many Arizona families.

The most recent Child Fatality Review indicates the incidence of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) – formerly referred to as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – has increased a staggering 23% from 2022.

While not all of these deaths are related to unsafe sleep, the majority of SUIDs are a result of suffocation and sleep environments that are not safe for baby.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety is working diligently to ensure parents

HAYWORTH from page 18

with your grandkids, and y’all think it’s funny when ‘justice’ passes the ball to ‘equal opportunity?’”

Well, no.

As Phil explained on the podcast, Jalen, humor was found in the irony of “Justice” driving to the hoop…only to be knocked down by “Equal Opportunity.”

LEIBOWITZ from page 18

Life is dangerous, folks. Act accordingly. I’m not angry at Hobbs for vetoing the tamale bill. Nor am I torqued by legislators on either side.

and caregivers learn the basics of safe sleep to protect against suffocation and spare families the nightmare of losing a baby.

Protect your child by following these tips – each time your baby goes to sleep:

• Create a safe – and sparse – sleep environment. Put your baby to sleep in a space that’s free of soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads, toys and other items that could cause suffocation.

• Dress your baby warmly enough that a blanket is not necessary, but not so warmly they get too hot.

• Ensure your baby’s head and face are uncovered during sleep.

• Use a firm, flat and level mattress covered only by a fitted sheet.

• Put your baby to sleep alone. Babies are safest on their backs, in a crib and

by themselves – for every sleep.

• Share your room, not your bed. It’s recommended that you share a room for the first six months of your baby’s life, but the risk of SUID increases when you share a sleeping space. Baby is safest alone.

• Stop swaddling once your baby starts to roll over, and keep in mind that swaddling does not reduce the risk of SUID.

• Move your baby to a crib. Babies often fall asleep in a stroller or car seat, but you should put them in a crib –and on their back – as soon as you get home.

• Do not put your baby to sleep on a couch and chair. These are not safe sleeping spaces for babies.

• Do not use products or devices that claim to prevent SUID. The best pro-

tection for your baby is to sleep alone, on their back, in a firm, flat space that’s free of bedding, toys and other items.

• Keep baby’s environment smokeand vape-free.

• Give babies plenty of tummy time when they’re awake – and when someone can watch them.

• If possible, breastfeed your baby. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Development, breastfeeding is shown to protect against SUID. You can test your knowledge, learn more about safe sleep and enter to win a new crib and other baby essentials by taking our quiz at azdcs.gov/safesleep.

Tené Marion is with the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

Jalen Rose invites a predictable description to be foisted upon Phil Jackson…but Rose refuses to use the word.

“When somebody shows you who they are, believe them.”

That’s right…”Racist!”

But all Phil suggested was that basketball be the featured attraction of the NBA – not social justice nor “wokeism.”

That’s altogether reasonable. 

Because, when you get right down to it, the Great Tamale War wasn’t much of problem in the first place. Here in Arizona, we eat tamales to our heart’s content, until our culinary souls get Proustian-level heartburn.

Any chance we can find a real issue to debate? 

How to get a letter published

E-mail: pmaryniak@timeslocalmedia.com

Queen Creek Tribune welcomes letters that express readers’ opinion on current topics. Letters must include the writer’s full name, address (including city) and telephone number. Queen Creek Tribune will print the writer’s name and city of residence only. Letters without the requisite identifying information will not be published. Letters are published in the order received, and they are subject to editing. Queen Creek Tribune will not publish consumer complaints, form letters, clippings from other publications or poetry. Letters’ authors, not Queen Creek Tribune, are responsible for the “facts” presented in letters.

Share Your Thoughts: Send your letters on local issues to: pmaryniak@timeslocalmedia.com

Queen Creek seniors elevated softball program

Keith Householder and his assistant coaches began pulling their senior players in small groups Monday, April 24 in the fifth inning.

The gesture wasn’t for mistakes made on the field in their regular season finale against Gilbert, a game the Bulldogs won 6-2. It was a different type of walk off in softball, one that allowed the players to head to the dugout for the final time behind cheers from their teammates and the crowd.

The gesture continued in the sixth inning with three more players and ended in the seventh. That’s when seniors Jade Berry and Reese Lee were the last two to come off the field. They walked together, with arms wrapped around their shoulders.

“We’ve been playing together forever,” Berry said. “Walking out together, all these years built up to this, it’s very special.”

Berry and Lee, along with Alexis Dellamonica who exited in the sixth, have been three of the key leaders for the Bulldogs since they stepped foot on campus. They helped the team navigate through the COVID season as freshman and took off-season workouts and club seriously to be prepared for the 2021 high school spring season.

That was also the year Householder was hired to take over the Queen Creek program. He has coached softball for over two decades, but saw something in this group of seniors, all nine of them, early on.

Some of the same characteristics they had as sophomores they still have today, just on a greater scale. They play hard, they play together, and they play sound softball.

Householder said out of all his time in club and high school, this year — with this group as seniors — has been arguably the most enjoyable.

“It’s been really a pleasure to coach them, and they’ve brought our program to the level it’s at today. I would give them all the credit,” Householder said. “I can’t

imagine playing softball without them. They’re just such a good group.”

Each senior brings their own role on the team. Many lead by example, showing the juniors and freshmen on the roster the ropes and what it has taken for them to be successful.

Others have become mentors, those the younger players build a strong connection with. That was made clear during the senior night festivities af-

ter beating Gilbert Monday. The younger players wrote speeches about the seniors.

On many occasions, the player speaking became choked up by tears, including Jenae Berry, Queen Creek’s star junior pitcher who started her speech about her sister with a joke about her admittance to Stanford. It drew many laughs from the crowd.

“It made me feel super grateful for the team we have,”

Lee said. “We’re all competitive but we all bond so well together. It’s more than just teammates. It’s friendships and sisters on the field, too.”

How emotional they all became on senior night is the biggest indication for how close this year’s team has become over the course of the season. With that, they’ve also been able to record a lot of wins.

Queen Creek wrapped up the season at 26-1-1.

That helped the Bulldogs earn a home playoff game in the first round, which was played Saturday morning. While happy with how they managed to finish the regular season, Lee said they still aren’t satisfied.

“Each year we raise our expectations,” Lee said. “We set the standard higher and higher. That’s what gets us to where we are right now.”

Time will tell how far the Bulldogs are able to make it in the postseason. They know anything can happen in the state tournament.

But they’ve already proven to be hard to beat.

Jenae Berry has just a .80 ERA this season on the mound. Her older sister leads the way on offense batting .541 with 6 home runs and 30 RBI. Dellamonica, a Michigan signee, is right behind with a .453 average, 28 RBI and a homer. Lee, who signed with Utah, bats .407 with 11 RBI and 3 home runs.

“It’s special for us to see the hard work we’ve put in for years pay off,” Berry said. “And to be able to do it with your best friends, it’s really nice.”

The three have become the spark alongside the six other seniors — Emma Ferreira, Cheyenne Ruiz, Ashley Hyde, Jaclyn Oster, Oliviya Hudson and Analesa Gonzales. All of them have already created a strong legacy to leave behind when they graduate later in May. Now, it’s all about leaving a trophy behind, too.

“That has been their goal since the start of the year,” Householder said. “Hopefully we can reach our goal. We’ll see.” 

Queen Creek’s Reese Lee and Jade Berry were the final two senior softball players to walk off the field to a standing ovation Monday, April 24 in the Bulldogs’ final game of the regular season against Gilbert. Them, along with the seven other seniors, helped elevate the program into a state championship contender. (Dave Minton/Tribune Staff) Queen Creek coach Keith Householder said this group of seniors has been one of the best groups he has ever coached. They’re fun, they play hard and mesh well as a team. That has been, in his opinion, some of the reasons his team sits atop the 6A Conference heading into the playoffs. (Dave Minton/Tribune Staff)

Home-garden show returns to WestWorld

For over three decades the Maricopa County Home & Garden Show touts itself as the Southwest’s largest, wooing Valley residents with hundreds of vendor booths and home improvement seminars.

Next weekend, May 5-7, it returns to WestWorld of Scottsdale with 1,000 vendors, a slew of classes and a celebrity appearance by David Bromstad, the host of the HGTV show “My Lottery Dream House.”

“When we sit down and talk about what makes the show fun, what makes it exciting what makes people want to attend and what would make us want to attend we started to think ‘let’s start bringing celebrities back to the show,’” said show manager Katie Jones.

“David Bromstad has been in the industry for nearly 20 years and I can’t even turn HGTV on without seeing ‘My Lottery Dream Home’ or (one of) David Bromstad’s other shows.”

Past shows have welcomed celebrities like Martha Stewart and brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott, better known as the Property Brothers.

“In bringing David to the show, there’s a whole group of people now who will get to experience the Maricopa County home and garden shows who maybe have never come to the show before simply because they’re fans of David,” Jones said.

“We’re excited to hear what he has to say and talk about and then guests get to take a picture with him.”

Jones emphasized that the show , spanning three buildings at WestWorld’s equestrian and special event space, will excite prospective, current and future homeowners.

“In addition to contractors, home shows are for everybody even if you don’t own a home but still want to get out and do something fun with your family we

have something for you too,” Jones said.

Included in the lineup is an exhibition of tiny homes for patrons to tour, handmade craft workshops where guests can make crafts like candles and clay pottery and seminars discussing home improvement techniques.

Jones said it took 18 months to plan the event and will take an army to ensure that the event goes off without a hitch.

“We’ve actually been planning the show for maybe 18 months now,” she said. “Within the last couple of months, it’s been all hands on deck. We’re a small office – there are seven of us – but every person in here is multitasking like you wouldn’t believe. There’s so much prep work involved.”

Among the prep work working with Bromstad’s agents to ensure he makes it, managing logistics so that booths fit comfortably into the expansive space and curating a lineup of five daily seminars.

However, the most arduous, but important, task was vetting each vendor to give guests the satisfaction that they are hiring professionals for their jobs around the house.

“Every one of our contractors here is going to be a local licensed contractor that we confirm with the Arizona Register of Contractors so that everybody coming into the show is licensed appropriately for what they’re going to be showcasing at the show,” Jones said.

“That way guests get to shop with the confidence that we’re backing your decision to hire them.”

Jones said the spacious layout of WestWorld provides the ideal space to plot it all-out.

“I remember living here when Westworld was just a pile of dirt but with what they have done to the buildings is so beautiful and the buildings are great for home shows,” Jones said.

“It’s such a beautiful area of the Valley

and it’s set to the backdrop of the McDowell mountains so when you come into the show you’re already feeling this vibe and when you walk into the show, you’re greeted with these huge, beautifully built landscaping booths and it just all fits to where you are.”

Jones said the Scottsdale show typically draws between 25,000 and 30,000 patrons in part because of WestWorld’s accessibility.

With the final two of the five home and garden shows her team puts on annually still left this year, Jones said, “We want to grow, we always want to do better and we have a competition amongst ourselves and to make the next show different. So that way, when we charge admission for the shows that you’re getting, you’re getting something that you need and you’re getting something valuable. Although we charge for admission, it’s so much more than just shopping at the show.” 

QueenCreekTribune.com | @QCTribune @QCTribune QUEEN CREEK TRIBUNE | QUEENCREEKTRIBUNE.COM | APRIL 30, 2023 21 GET OUT
The Maricopa Home & Garden Show returns to WestWorld of Scottsdale beginning Friday, May 5, featuring a celebrity appearance by HGTV’s David Bromstad. (Special to the Progress)

Pork tenderloin is always a favorite.

There are many ways to prepare this affordable and easy to find cut of meat.

You can really dress it up for a gourmet meal, or simply add a few spices and grill it up for a fast supper. I think the secret to getting your pork tenderloin off to the best start is by giving it a good sear. A really, really good sear. That alone makes the magic. But when you braise it in a something as simple yet exotic tasting like guava nectar, then you really have something.

The moment I tasted this sweet and savory recipe for guava glazed pork tenderloin, it was love at first bite and

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the recipe and serve this ultra-flavorful dish to friends and family. No need to fire up the grill for this delicious dish. Just grab a grill pan or cast-iron skillet and go hog wild. 


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