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MAY 19 – JUNE 1, 2018 |

Relentlessly local coverage of Southern Chandler and our neighboring communities

China rule hits recycle program hard here BY RICK BARRS Staff

Described as a “wakeup call” to the United States, the Republic of China’s decision to cease serving as a garbage dump for the world has crippled East Valley municipal recycling businesses, costing municipalities hundreds of thousands of dollars. The impact is dramatic: Last year, Chandler earned over a half-million dollars for selling its recyclables. This year, the Chinese action will cost the city nearly twice that instead to get rid of them. Declared “National Sword” by Chinese President Xi Jinping, China’s drastic change See

RECYCLING on page 8

In the swim

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

With summer water fun just around the corner, 2-year-old Frankie McMillion was among the youngsters whose parents brought them to Hamilton Aquatic Center in Chandler earlier this month for Water Safety Awareness Day activities. While fun was the order of the day, city staffers also gave CPR demonstrations while lifeguards “swim-tested” kids to determine the right swimming class for them. The city aquatics staff offers lessons for kids of all ages. Information about those classes: 480-782-2750 or aquatics. For more photos from Water Safety Awareness Day, see page 46.

Districts warn teachers: Seniors prepare to bid Mind your T’s and Q’s goodbye to high school BY PAUL MARYNIAK Executive Editor


The petition drive for a ballot question on a proposed tax surcharge on high-income Arizonans to raise more money for public education has created a potential tempest with a T-shirt for teachers and local school districts, including Tempe Union and Kyrene. Both districts, as well as Mesa and Chandler, have warned teachers that wearing the signature red shirts to class could violate state law and cost them as much as $5,000 in civil penalties – at least if there is any message on them, including #RedforEd. Some districts, including Kyrene and Chandler Unified, specifically warned teachers that opponents of their six-day walkout might try to turn them in for violating Arizona statute 15-511, which prohibits the “use of school district or charter school resources or employees to influence elections.”

Seniors at high schools in Chandler are preparing to celebrate a rite of passage with graduations this month. Seton Catholic seniors got a head start on their peers, graduating earlier this week. Most ceremonies for students in the Chandler Unified School District will be held May 29 and May 30 at various venues. Valley Christian High School will hold its graduation at 7 p.m. May 25 at Grace Community Church, 1200 E. Southern Ave. in Tempe. Graduating seniors with the highest grade point averages are honored with the title of valedictorian and the second highest with salutatorian. Other

Special to the SanTan Sun News

School districts are advising teachers and other staff that now that there’s a drive to get a tax surcharge initiative on the November ballot, these shirts could violate the law when worn on school grounds.


SHIRTS on page 10

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distinguished seniors have been chosen by their peers to deliver speeches at the graduation ceremonies, and adult administrators, teachers and at least one guest also will make remarks. Bands, orchestras and recordings will play “Pomp and Circumstance” and other traditional songs as parents and other family members try to capture the moment. Some schools will enlist their choirs to sing at the ceremonies. The 12th-graders planning to exit high school have earned millions of dollars in scholarships from post-secondary education institutions. About 792 graduates are expected at Chandler High School, which will hold its ceremony at 8 p.m. May 30 on the football field at the campus, 350 N. Arizona Ave. See

GRADUATION on page 16

Get a closer look at the grads on p.16 F E AT U R E STO R I E S


Beloved Chandler High coach succumbs to cancer . . . . . . . . . . . .COMMUNITY . . . . . . Page 04 Chandler wedding planner does it all . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .BUSINESS . . . . . . . . . Page 26 Perry, Chandler High girls are champs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SPORTS . . . . . . . . . . . Page 39 Students can learn digital storytelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ARTS . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 54 El Sol restaurant a local landmark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .EAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 69

Community . . . . .01-25 Business . . . . . . . 26-34 Sports . . . . . . . . . .39-41 Opinion. . . . . . . . 42-43 Neighbors. . . . . . 44-53 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . 54-60 Faith. . . . . . . . . . . .61-63 Classifieds. . . . . . 64-67 Where to Eat . . . 69-70

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Chandler coaching legend John Carlson succumbs at 70 BY BRIAN BENESCH Sports Editor

The Chandler sports scene lost a legend on May 12 with the passing of John Carlson, who died after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 70. Mr. Carlson’s career with Chandler High School spanned decades and resulted in numerous accolades. Beginning in the 1970s, he served as the head coach of both the track and wrestling teams, winning two state titles in wrestling. He was inducted into the Arizona Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995. The Mesa High School graduate notably served as Chandler Unified School District athletic director later on in his school tenure. The Arizona Interscholastic Association gave Mr. Carlson the prestigious “Trailblazer Award” in 2002. Ten years removed from that honor, the governing board named Carlson Elementary in his and wife Carol’s honor. Carol worked for many years as a beloved educator in the district as well. Leo Schlueter, principal of Carlson Elementary, said Mr. Carlson’s spirit at the school will be missed dearly. “John was a towering presence on our campus with a humble attitude,” he said. “He was never beyond helping out in any way, whether it was putting together packets for kindergarten or being our door greeter as students and parents entered for events.”

Schlueter added, “He was a popular face as parents and students so enjoyed engaging with him, knowing his namesake was the school they attended.” But the Carlsons’ impact was felt far beyond the school systems. A year ago, the former coach’s leg was amputated as he battled cancer. And the community that he was such a crucial part of quickly rallied around him. Money was raised on Mr. Carlson’s behalf to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van. The van enabled him to attend many Chandler athletic events as recently as the last few months. “He was here often working at our football games, track meets and wrestling matches,” Chandler High Prinicipal Larry Rother said. Although Rother did not officially work with Mr. Carlson as an administrator, he holds the late legend in high regard. “As a teacher, coach and mentor to so many students over the years, John Carlson has left a legacy at Chandler High School,” he said. “As I meet with alumni of Chandler High and they reflect on their experiences here, Coach Carlson’s name always seems to come up as one of those people who truly made Chandler High a special place.” CUSD spokesman Terry Locke issued a statement to school administrators on Sunday, saying: “I am saddened to send this to all of you on Mother’s Day morning, but want you to know that

Chandler Unified School District

Chandler High School track and wrestling coach John Carlson, pictured here with his wife, Carol, died May 12 after a long battle with cancer.

John Carlson passed away unexpectedly yesterday. He was a living legend.” Mr. Carlson may be gone, but his legacy will live on forever within the CUSD. “On a personal note, he will be missed greatly as a friend and mentor of mine,” Schlueter said. “John Carlson truly de-

fined what it meant to be selfless in the service and support of others.” Mr. Carlson is survived by his wife Carol, son Chris and daughter-in-law Gina. Funeral arrangements were incomplete at press time.

Driver cited for violation after hitting Waymo minivan SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

An accident in Chandler between an autonomous Waymo minivan and a car prompted police to call attention to the dangers of running a red light. Around noon May 4, the two-vehicle collision occurred as a Honda was traveling eastbound on Chandler Boulevard and approaching the intersection with Los Feliz Drive. As the Honda continued toward the intersection, the traffic signal turned from yellow to red. The operator swerved and drove over the raised median and continued traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Chandler Boulevard. From there, the Honda struck the Waymo minivan, which was traveling westbound and slowing for the red signal at Los Feliz Drive. Investigators determined that the Honda was traveling at approximately 40 mph when it entered the Los Feliz Drive intersection. “When the eastbound light cycled red, the Honda was approximately three seconds behind the intersection,” police said in a release. “At 40 mph, this places the Honda approximately 180 feet behind the intersection when the light cycled to red.” Both vehicles involved were towed from the scene with significant damage and the operator of the Waymo van sustained minor injuries. The Honda operator was cited for a red-light violation. Police said the Waymo vehicle was in manual mode at the time of the crash. In a statement released shortly after the accident, Waymo said, “Our team’s mission

is to make our roads safer – it is at the core of everything we do and motivates every member of our team. We are concerned about the well-being and safety of our test driver and wish her a full recovery.” The accident reflected a completely different set of circumstances from the one involving an Uber autonomous vehicle that struck and killed a female cyclist in Tempe.

that accident, but enough questions arose that Gov. Doug Ducey revoked his permission for Uber to test its autonomous vehicles on Arizona roadways. Meanwhile, Chandler City Council last week gave final approval to new zoning regulations that allows the city to take into account autonomous vehicles when determining how much parking devel-

ABC 15

Chandler Police said a red-light runner was responsible for causing an accident May 4 that ended up striking a Waymo autonomous minivan and injured the driver.

The Uber was in autonomous mode when it killed a 49-year-old woman who was outside a crosswalk when she was struck around 10 p.m. March 19 near Mill Avenue and Curry Road. Tempe police are still investigating

opers should provide when constructing new buildings. It would allow developers to devote less space to parking – and more space to more profitable building space – if they meet certain accommodations for auton-

omous vehicles. A Denver zoning specialist has noted there are 263 million non-autonomous cars on the road and roughly 2 billion parking spaces in the United States. He sees a reduced need for parking, which would be welcome by developers of high-value urban property who currently must factor a certain number of parking spaces into construction costs and rent. The changes to Chandler’s zoning code give the city flexibility in adjusting parking requirements. “These zoning code amendments have many positive implications from increasing the amount of property available for revenue generating activity, demonstrating to the autonomous vehicle industry that Chandler is ‘open for business’ and further reinforcing Chandler’s brand recognition as the Innovation and Technology Hub of the Southwest,” said Mayor Jay Tibshraeny in a release earlier this month. Under the new changes, a zoning administrator can reduce by as much as 40 percent of required parking area if a developer can show that ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles will be in high use by the building tenants. They also allow a 10 percent parking reduction – up to 40 percent – for each loading zone space. If the reductions were to cause a parking problem, the City’s zoning administrator will have the discretion to deny the request. The ordinance also poses standards for loading zones: They must be at least 50 feet from the main entrance, kept separate from fire zones, provide shade, benches and other amenities and be handicap-accessible. The new regulations take effect June 9.







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Church unveils extensive remodeling plans for Mesa Temple BY ERICK O’DONNELL Staff

The iconic Mesa Arizona Temple will undergo extensive upgrades and remodeling with an eye to both functional and cosmetic improvements, officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said last week. Unveiling plans for one of Arizona’s most iconic structures, Mormon officials said that in addition to upgrading the air conditioning, plumbing and other building infrastructure, workers will make an array of changes throughout the 70,000-squarefoot building and surrounding grounds to restore and enhance the site’s original aesthetic vision, they said. The most dramatic change on the grounds will involve the demolition of the visitors center. It will be replaced by a “family discovery center” on the southwest corner of LeSueur and Main streets, providing a clear view of the temple from Main Street in downtown Mesa. The new building will host historical exhibits and events and provide educational and family-research resources to LDS congregants. It also will result in the eviction of tenants in nine World War II-era homes in the downtown historical district on Udall and LeSeuer streets. Tenants were asked to attend a meeting last week to discuss the eviction, said to be effective June 30. The temple – which for decades has hosted an elaborate Easter pageant and

Special to the SanTan Sun News

This rendering from the Mormon church shows designer's vision for a reshaping and expansion of the temple's gardens that will retain and include new cactus gardens.

Christmas light display – will close today, May 19, and reopen in 2020, with the annual holiday celebrations returning thereafter, said Roc Arnett, a church spokesman. The deteriorating condition of the building’s systems provided an opportunity to reverse changes made in the 1970s that, in hindsight, the church has come to regard as deviations from the temple’s original design, said Emily Utt, the church’s historical curator. Interior architecture and artwork will be cleaned and restored, and new artistic touches will be introduced during the overhaul, she said. The interior renovations will emphasize the sanctuary’s original colors and building materials, said Bill Williams, the church’s temple designer. The vivid pastel colors and

dark-brown limestone, obscured since the building’s original dedication by subsequent paint jobs, will once again flourish, he said. Meanwhile, the baptismal room’s walls will be restored to their original soothingly cool shade of green, and blue terra-cotta tiles will adorn the room’s ceremonial basin in place of materials introduced since the temple’s founding. The temple’s murals – which depict Native Americans, Mormon pilgrims of all ethnicities and American landscapes – will be retouched and new murals will be added, Williams said. The surrounding gardens also will be preserved and expanded. Landscapers will maintain and replant the cypress, olive and other species of trees that have shaded the

temple grounds since the 1920s, Utt said. New cactus gardens will be introduced, she said. The temple, among the first to be built outside Salt Lake City, has been a historic anchor for the Mormon since it opened in 1927. The temple – like the church’s other 159 sanctuaries around the world – hosts the church’s holiest sacraments, including weddings, baptisms and “sealings,” a ceremony unique in which family members confer eternal permanence on their relationships. The renovations are partly intended to spur an economic revitalization of downtown Main Street. Denny Barney, president of the East Valley Partnership and a Maricopa County supervisor, foresees “tens of millions of dollars” of business investment in an area to the west of the temple that has been scouted by the church for redevelopment. Barney himself has said that he has purchased property for the church near the temple and has coordinated with the church on plans. Some community members, including historic preservationists, have balked at a perceived lack of public transparency regarding the project as well as its consequences for the city’s historic district. The church requested city permission to demolish the homes, but the city denied at least three of those requests, imposing a moratorium on demolitions that will expire later this year. City and church officials have been mum on details of that development but are expected to discuss them later this month.

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Photos special to the San Tan Sun News

Left: Chandler Police Officer Kevin Quinn, left, and Chandler Police Officer Jim O’Neal participate in the annual Chandler Police Fallen Officer Memorial Service. Right: Photos of the Chandler Police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty between 2005 and 2014 were on display at the Chandler Police Department’s Public Safety Memorial downtown May 7. Those fallen officers were Richard Felix, James Snedigar, Robert Nielsen, Carlos Ledesma, Bryant Holmes and David Payne.

As yellow palo verde looms drifted down around Chandler Police Department’s Public Safety Memorial in downtown Chandler, members of the community joined police personnel and employees May 7 for the annual Chandler Police Fallen Officer Memorial Service. Agencies around the country are commemorating National Police Week and Peace Officers’ Memorial Day this month. The Chandler Police Honor Guard presented colors and Chandler Fire Pipes and Drums performed “America the Beautiful” and “Amazing Grace,” with the sound of bagpipes filling the air. Six men – Richard Felix, James Snedigar, Robert Nielsen, Carlos Ledesma, Bryant Holmes and David Payne – lost their lives in the line of duty between 2005 and 2014.


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Officers who gave their lives are honored BY LAURIE FAGEN Publisher Emeritus


Chandler Chief of Police Sean Duggan described each officer and noted his “end of watch” date. Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said it’s “an honor” to pay tribute to those who have given their lives and “made the ultimate sacrifice to keep the people of this community safe.” He added the “true heroes” also remind us of the dangers of the profession. “Studies show that U.S. police officers killed in the line of duty hit a five-year high in 2016,” he said. “Thankfully, we witnessed a dropoff in 2017, and we certainly hope that continues through this year and beyond. ”Still, grim numbers that remind us how difficult it is to put on the badge day in and day out.” He also took a moment to “celebrate the men and women of the Chandler Police Department,” saying through their actions, Chandler continues to be “one of the safest cities” in the United States.

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from page 1

to its recycling policy is aimed at stopping the flow of “foreign garbage” into the country. Under the new edict, China will accept only recyclable bales with contaminant levels of 0.5 percent or better – a standard that American cities never come close to achieving. The national average for U.S. recyclables contaminants is 25 percent – and the East Valley levels are no different. Frank Flores, Gilbert’s environmental services manager, said the town’s contaminant level has run from 15 to 20 percent. In Chandler and Mesa, it’s a little better at 11 and 13 percent, respectively. Phoenix stations average 25 percent, recycling representatives reported. “I don’t fault them for doing what they’re doing,” Flores said of the Chinese, noting the U.S. needs to clean up its recyclables. “But I hate them for doing what they’re doing.” He noted that China bought tainted U.S. recyclables for about 20 years before suddenly pulling the plug. What this means is that too many improper or contaminated recyclables – plastic grocery bags, diapers, paper towels, tomato sauce-crusted cans, greasy pizza boxes and the like – were getting mixed into bales headed for China and winding up in the massively populated country’s landfills. The reality now is that because U.S. cities can’t dispose of contaminated material in China, it’s getting dumped in

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Recycling operations have been increasingly profitable for East Valley municipalities, but the gravy train has been derailed by the Republic of China's new policy of refusing to take American recyclables because they're too contaminated, making them ill-suited for reuse in other products. Though workers sort recyclables, no municipality in the region achieves the new Chinese standard, forcing municipal recycling operations to scramble for new places that will accept the materials. Some experts fear China is at the vanguard of a new approach to recyclables and that other countries that currently accept them will follow that nation's lead.

landfills here. That flies in the face of Phoenix’s goal of using recycling to divert 40 percent of its garbage from its landfills by 2020.

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China was experiencing a building boom and needed recyclables to be converted into products for its infrastructure. But its construction sizzle cooled in the

last few years, and China started caring deeply that U.S. and European recycling was filling up its landfills. At the zenith of China’s recyclables-buying frenzy, it was receiving half of America’s recyclables exports – most of them from the western United States. Municipal governments – including Gilbert, Mesa and Chandler – sold their recyclables to material-recovery facilities such as United Fibers in Chandler, which in turn sold most of the material to China. The process still works the same, except that what the recovery facilities pay municipalities has plunged dramatically this year because the China market has largely evaporated. In some cases, it’s gotten so bad that cities are suddenly paying the facilities to handle and dispose of their recyclables. Take Chandler: It received $543,075 for its 19,500 tons of recyclables last year at $25.50 a ton. It expects to get some compensation from United Fibers this year for the sale of its goods but nonetheless projects a giant loss. Because of China’s new policy, the Chandler City Council – at the behest of United Fibers – enacted a March 22 resolution canceling the city’s agreement with its recycling facility. The council instead agreed to pay the company $61 a ton to handle the recyclables. “We won’t get the $543,000 this year,” and the projection is that instead “we will pay $450,000” to United Fibers for separating and selling or disposing the city’s recyclables, said Traci Conaway, Chandler’s recycling director. See

RECYCLING on page 9


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from page 8

That would be a negative financial impact of $943,000 this year over last. “I don’t want to say we’re scared,” Conaway said of the blow from the China decision to Chandler’s recycling business. “But it’s concerning.” Flores said Gilbert had anticipated receiving $375,000 from the sale of recyclables for the fiscal year ending June 30, but because of China’s new demand, it now projects it will get just 10 percent of that, or $37,500. It’s a “huge loss,” he said. It hasn’t been as severe for Mesa, according to Mariano Reyes, communications specialist for the Department of Environmental Management and Sustainability. He said Mesa took in $819,301 for its recyclables last fiscal year and projects that it will receive $600,000 this fiscal year – about a 26 percent decline. Reyes said the recycling industry has been in turmoil since the China decision: “We don’t know what the future is going to hold.” In vastly larger Phoenix, China’s ban has cut the city’s net recycling revenue from roughly $500,000 a month in early 2017 to between $100,000 and $150,000 a month early this year, according to a presentation by Assistant Public Works Director Joe Giudice to a City Council subcommittee. Giudice called this a “trend line” based on a “small sample size,” and in an interview, offered a different measure of the situation.

When the city compared the last quarter of 2015 with the last quarter of 2017, he said, it noted a 34 percent decline in Phoenix’s recycling revenue. That was before President Xi’s new policy was kicked off early this year. The recyclables commodities markets were impacted severely last year by Xi’s July announcement, but experts fear it will only get worse now that the ban is in effect. Guidice said in his presentation that because the 0.5 measure apparently wasn’t met, ships loaded with recyclables have been turned away at Chinese ports. The municipal recycling managers stressed that the recycling commodities market historically has been prone to fluctuation. Trying to predict how such commodities will go is “like trying to predict the stock market,” Chandler’s Conaway said. But the China decision has hit their cities hard, although the managers believe that other significant markets for American recyclables eventually will be discovered both here and abroad. Already, markets for certain U.S. recyclables have emerged in India, Indonesia and Malaysia. And there’s hope among the Valley managers that more U.S. companies will crop up to help fill the void left by China – which paid so much for American recyclables for so long that it muscled out smaller competition. As for China, some of the managers said they’ve heard rumblings in the industry that the nation is considering relaxing its 0.5 rule. And some recycling business contin-

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ues to be done with China. Unlike the other cities surveyed, Phoenix operates its own municipal recycling facilities, which it pays waste-disposal giant Republic Services to manage. Giudice said that company continues to have a contract with a Chinese business to provide a “newsmix” of newsprint and other paper. But he stressed that the U.S. never should have relied so heavily on China as the dominant market for its recyclables. He labeled Xi’s decision a “wakeup call” to diversify. Whatever markets are found or restored for U.S. recyclables, the consensus among Valley managers is that their products must be far less contaminated from the get-go. “A lot of what we were sending to China is now going to landfills here,” said United Fibers CEO Ron Whaley, who believes that cities eventually can get their recyclables inventories to 0.5 percent so that they can be sold again to the Chinese. Whaley said United Fibers is installing equipment over the next few years that will make it possible to better separate out contaminates from city recyclables loads so that shipments can meet China’s specifications. This will hugely reduce the recyclables going to landfills, he said, and make more money for recycling facilities and cities. That would give cities more money for public education aimed at achieving the 0.5 mark. “China can’t be replaced,” Whaley said. “I hear talk from people (in the recycling business) that China will relax the 0.5, but


I don’t believe that.” Municipal recycling officials stressed the need to step up efforts to educate citizenry on what’s proper to put in those blue recycling cans – and what’s not. Conaway reported that Chandler trash and recycling collectors have found strange material in recycling cans, including an automobile manifold. A goat carcass is the most bizarre thing workers at United Fibers have found among recyclables, Whaley said. But Conaway said that before the China decision wreaked havoc on her world, the biggest problem recycling departments faced was residents’ putting plastic grocery-store bags into blue bins. Mesa’s Reyes called this behavior “wishful recycling.” “Plastic grocery bags can be recycled by taking them back to the store, but they cannot be put in recycling bins” because they “gum up the machines” that MRFs employ to process materials, Reyes said. Phoenix’s Giudice said one of the worst problems recycling departments face is many residents’ failure to put “valuable” aluminum in recycling bins – or their tendency to put aluminum cans into plastic bags, which ensures that they go directly to landfills. Gilbert’s Flores isn’t optimistic that U.S. cities ever can reduce the contamination levels of recyclables down to China’s near-pure level but said they must keep trying to clean up their acts. The U.S. has been “living on borrowed time” with its highly contaminated recycling, Flores said, adding, “We must do the right thing.”




from page 1

Besides that, it also strictly forbids district employees from wearing any buttons or other items advocating for any political initiative or candidate while on school grounds as well as trying to influence students toward a particular viewpoint. Right now, districts apparently are worried for their employees. “We’re not an enforcement agency. There are eyes out there,” said Kyrene Assistant Superintendent Mark Knight at the district’s governing board meeting May 8. Chandler Unified Superintendent Camille Castille told teachers and staff in a memo: “Now that #RedForEd has morphed into #InvestInEd, the rules have changed. Districts, schools and individuals will be under more scrutiny.” “To ensure we are all meeting the letter of the law, especially as we gather more information, we are going to prohibit all shirts with political messages,” Castille added. “You can wear red on Wednesday, but there can be no politically related message on your clothing. And please remember to not engage with students on this topic.” The warnings reflect district officials’ sensitivity to the fact that not everyone agreed with the walkout and that teachers and other #RedforEd supporters with district jobs are vulnerable. “Our job is not to police but to protect,” said Kyrene Superintendent. “We want to keep our teachers safe.” That would mean safe from penalties that the law provides – and that the Legislature several years ago increased.

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Red shirts with messages on them like these worn at a demonstration outside Kyrene Schools headquarters could expose area teachers to fines for violating a state law that prohibits school district employees from any form of politicking while on school grounds.

Moreover, Knight noted, those penalties cannot be paid by the district or insurance but must come out of the individual’s pocket. And they can be assessed on every individual act deemed against the law. In other words, wearing a shirt with a political message on five different days could mean five separate offenses with a potential maximum total penalty of $30,000. Kyrene officials stressed that their warnings are normal during any election year and that they routinely make them during years when overrides are on the ballot.

But Mesa school officials, like their Chandler Unified counterparts, said #RedforEd-turned-InvestforEd is a particularly significant consideration. “We don’t track calls, but we jumped on this fairly quickly to help answer questions we knew our districts would soon have,” said Heidi Vega, spokeswoman for the Arizona School Boards Association. Mesa schools General Council Tom Pickrell issued a stern warning to staff last Friday, calling for “a return to our traditional rule that teachers and other staff members will not wear T-shirts that convey, directly or indirectly, a political,


religious or moral message while on duty.” “The traditional standard regarding message T-shirts was relaxed in the days before the RedforEd walkout because, frankly, more teachers were wearing RedforEd T-shirts than not,” Pickrell continued. “The walkout is now over, The Legislature approved a state budget that will enable our governing board to substantially improve salaries.” Calling the message ban “a reasonable effort to avoid nedless controversies,” he said the ban is meant to spare coworkers, parents and staff from feeling “they are held captive” to a message they don’t agree with.” Tempe Union officials also stressed their warnings were different this time. “On the advice of our district legal team, we are asking that TUHSD employees refrain from wearing red shirts bearing a reference to the #RedforEd movement,” the district told staff, adding: “By all means, feel free to wear red, just not anything related to the movement or with the hashtag. We have been very clear with employees that we are providing the guidance to protect them from potential personal liability if someone were to file a complaint regarding A.R.S. § 15-511.” Even the Kyrene board meeting May 8 meeting showed #RedforEd added urgency to whatever warnings have been traditional during election years. “The dress code. It’s not working,” parent Steve O’Hanian told the board, noting that Kyrene’s policies prohibit clothing and symbolism that create “an atmosphere of threats, intimidation or undue influence” and “disrupt or may disrupt the educational environment or interfere” See

SHIRTS on page 12

EV had strong presence in teacher, voucher dramas BY PAUL MARYNIAK Executive Editor and HOWARD FISCHER Capital Media Services

East Valley legislators and activists played key roles in two of the biggest political dramas involving public education last week – passage of Gov. Doug Ducey’s funding plan for better teacher pay and the proposed expansion of the state-funded voucher system to send children to private and parochial schools. After shutting down schools for six days and relentless marches and vigils at the State Capitol, the Legislature recently passed – and Ducey immediately signed – legislation granting teachers an average 19 percent pay increase within three years, including 9 percent next school year. That action came after the Republican majority rejected multiple attempts by Democrats to add more money to the budget for public education – prompting House Democrats unison to vote against the bill and drawing the support of only four Democrats in the Senate, including Sen. Sean Bowie, whose district covers Ahwatukee and parts of Tempe, Mesa and Chandler. “Arizona teachers have earned a raise, and this plan delivers,’’ the

governor said in a prepared statement. He said the plan also provides $100 million in other assistance, money he calls “flexible dollars’’ that can be used by schools for a variety of needs, including raises for such support staff as counselors, custodians and others not included in the teacher pay package. But the Republicans who control both the House and Senate spurned proposals to enact several other demands by striking teachers, including giving raises to support staff, shrinking class size and adding money for more school counselors. All East Valley school districts resumed classes, saying the summer plans of parents and students would not be disrupted because of a need to make up lost education hours caused by the walkout. After carefully calculating the hours they needed to meet the complicated requirement for a certain number of instructional hours set for students, only Kyrene School District officials had to adjust their calendar – making the last day of school a full day instead of the originally scheduled half. Meanwhile, the Legislature adjourned without approving a maneuver aimed at thwarting a November referendum on the expanded

school voucher program. The program – which Republican legislators pushed through last year with Ducey’s approval – had to be put on hold after the Tempe-based Save Our Schools organization secured enough signatures to force it on the ballot. Any change in the measure referred to the ballot, even as small as a comma, would effectively have undermined the signature-gathering effort of foes of an expanded voucher program. Here’s a look at some of East Valley figures who played key roles in these two issues. Rep. J.D. Mesnard. The House Speaker from Chandler was noncommittal when Ducey tried to avert the walkout with his surprise proposal April 12 for a 20 percent raise for teachers and restoration of $371 million for school districts to cover a wide array of expenses. But Mesnard, along with another Chandler legislator, Senate President Steve Yarbrough, cobbled enough support to push the legislation through largely intact. And he chided Democrats for complaining that a 19 percent increase

was too little, noting that they pushed unsuccessfully last year for a 4 percent hike. Mesnard, who is termed out and will be seeking the LD 17 seat now held by the retiring Yarbrough, also tried to find a way to thwart the November vote on vouchers by repealing the measure. Some political observers said the voucher referendum could bring out more voters likely to support opponents of incumbent Republicans seeking reelection. Repeal of the voucher bill might have blunted that possibility. Sen. Sean Bowie. The Ahwatukee senator, whose district includes parts of Chandler, Mesa and Tempe, was one of only four Democrats in the Senate to vote for Ducey’s education bill. Joined by three other Democratic Senate from other parts of the state, the first-term senator has preached the need for bipartisan approaches to legislation and while he had no immediate statement after the pay bill passed, his vote likely reflected a realization that the measure was better See

TEACHERS on page 11




from page 10

than nothing – and the only thing education advocates could expect this session. No Democrats in the House voted for the bill. Sen. Bob Worsley. The Mesa Republican and another GOP senator, Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix, signed the death warrant for the move against the voucher referendum by signaling they would not support it. Worlsey, who declined to give reasons for his opposition, ironically cast the swing vote last year that made the voucher expansion law. Opposition by Brophy McGee and Worsley was significant because there are only 17 Republicans in the 30-member chamber. With the 13 Democrats not interested in undermining the referendum, repealand-replace proposals fell short of the necessary 16 votes for approval. “It’s honoring the people who got it to the ballot,’’ Brophy McGee said, noting that opponents of expansion of the voucher program gathered more than 100,000 signatures. They needed only 75,321 of them to be valid to force the election. “They want to see it voted on,’’ she said. “And I respect that.’’ Joe Thomas. As president of the

Arizona Education Association, the former Mesa high school government teacher led one of the two groups that comprised the #RedforEd movement and organized the statewide walkout that began April 26. He and Avondale music teacher Noel Korvalis led thousands of teachers on a march from Chase Field to the Capital the day the strike began, then helped fire up the hundreds of red-T-shirt-clad educators who kept pressure on the Legislature by packing its galleries and holding long vigils outside. Under the refrain “Remember in November,” Thomas and Korvalis strongly suggested that the walkout had given birth to a new force in state politics. “The #RedforEd fight continues,” he said after the pay bill was passed. “And since lawmakers aren’t getting the job done, we will. …And over the next few days we will provide additional details about the next step.” Joshua Buckley. Another high school government teacher in Mesa Public Schools, Buckley not only is president of the district chapter of AEA but also became the public face of a move to get an initiative on the November ballot that would impose

an income-tax surcharge on Arizonans earning more than $250,000 annually. That bid – which advocates say would raise more than $650 million annually for public schools – faces an uphill battle since it needs 150,642 valid signatures on petitions in little more than seven weeks to be put on the ballot. Rep. Kelly Townsend. The east Mesa Republican was a vocal opponent of the teacher walkout and at one point suggested parents might be able to launch class action suits against teachers if they could prove substantial harm from the walkout. Last week she sought to make it illegal for teachers to “use classroom time to espouse political ideology or beliefs’’– language that could be read to preclude teachers from wearing their #RedForEd T-shirts in class. But Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale, said her proposal was not part of the official budget deal. Allen also shot down Townsend’s proposal to impose $5,000 fines on districts that close schools on days they were supposed to be open. Permissible exceptions would have included invasion, riot, epidemic, plagues of insects and acts of God – but not strikes. Townsend lashed out at teachers in the gallery watching the debate, telling

them “You should not be able to do that to the people of this state because you want funding. “You do not get to hurt the people of this state because I represent them as well,’’ Townsend said. “And I will do everything I can to ensure that their losses are recouped.’’ Dawn PenichThacker. The Tempe communications specialist is cofounder and spokeswoman of Save Our Schools AZ, a grassroots group of parents and teachers that sprang up last year to lead the petition drive to get the voucher program expansion on the ballot. It now promises to be leading a getout-the-vote campaign in November to defeat it. City the influence of dark money, she said on Friday that SOS AZ has “brought to light the ways privatization schemes like vouchers siphon tax dollars out of the public education budget, the same alreadyinsufficient budget used to pay teachers, repair buildings and purchase supplies.” “Parents and teachers now realize you can’t talk about investing in public education without seeing the ways the state undermines it by expanding ESA and STO vouchers, and voters aren’t having it,” Penich-Thacker added. “Now they’ll get to vote their disapproval by saying no to Proposition 305 – and the politicians who backed it – in November.”


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School safety, teen suicide prevention measures took hits

“The data in Arizona, specifically teen suicide in the East Valley continues to speak to the need for immediate resources at the school level that connect children to care, mental health first aid, and outpatient referral sources. The appointment of a state level suicide prevention coordinator is a definitive win and first step. We need boots on the ground in every school – yesterday.” The House also sunk a watered-down version of Gov. Doug Ducey’s comprehensive school and public safety plan. The Senate on a straight 17-13 party line vote earlier last week approved the

measure after Republicans removed a key provision designed to take guns away from dangerous people. SB 1519 would have allowed police to ask a judge to have someone brought in for mental evaluation. And judges remain able to order temporary removal of weapons if there is “clear and convincing evidence’’ the person is a danger to self or others. But Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, took out language which also would have allowed family members, school administrators, probation officers, behavioral health professionals, roommates and “significant others’’ to

go to court to seek what are known as Severe Threat Orders of Protection. “This amendment guts this bill, period,’’ said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson. Smith disagreed, saying that parents and others who believe someone is a danger still have the option of calling police who, in turn, could start the court process. Farley was unconvinced, saying law enforcement officers already have more than enough to do than go out and investigate every time someone calls with a complaint that a friend or family member is acting erratically and should be evaluated to see if their guns should be taken away. In stripping the provision, Smith had the support of his GOP colleagues. Ducey’s top aides, in unveiling the legislation earlier this year, stressed the importance of family members and school administrators in keeping schools safe and, in a larger sense, protecting the public against mass shootings. Ducey’s plan also would have denied state-issued permits to carry concealed weapons to individuals with outstanding arrest warrants. That was not in the version that Smith brought to the floor. Smith also took the lead in blocking various amendments offered by Democrats – including a ban on “bump stocks,’’ devices that allow semiautomatic weapons to fire off hundreds of rounds a minute and have been used in several massacres in recent months.

open mind, not being exposed en masse to any curriculum favoring one ideology or another,” O’Hanian added, adding that such clothing is “intimidating and disruptive to the educational objectives and must not be tolerated.” But Kyrene parent Cathy Zinkhon Matsumoto, a special education teacher in another district, told the board she participated in teacher protests at the Capitol and noted some parents who opposed the walkout are wearing purple shirts as a public protest of the protest. “I see people in purple,” she said. “I hear that’s a political color now. Who gets to make that decision on what colors we get to wear? “Is everything we do political?” Matsumoto continued, calling #RedforEd a movement that has been around for

“many many years.” Those exchanges reflect a more fundamental disagreement on the law between lawyers for the Arizona Education Association, which helped lead the walkout, and the Arizona School Boards Association, which advises governing boards on a wide array of policy and legal issues. Josh Buckley – president of the Mesa Education Association and the teacher leader who ac tually introduced to the public the initiative for surcharging the incomes of Arizonans earning more than $250,000 annually – said the AEA attorney’s interpretation was that no violation exists by wearing the “RedforEd’’ shirts. But because the matter has not been resolved, most teachers will probably wear red shirts without the catchy messages on Wednesday.

Buckley said Mesa’s governing board told association officials, “We’d rather not do any message on T-shirts. We know there are a lot of options that don’t say “RedforEd’’ on them.’’ He said most teachers have purchased some other red clothing, noting, “I will break out my red button-up shirt on Wednesday.” Kyrene teacher Amanda McDaniels said, “We are now organized. We are smarter and we will not forget. We will continue to wear red on Wednesdays to remind us that the fight for our children and Arizona’s future continues.” But McDaniels also was playing it safe with her red T-shirt bearing the profile of Arizona on it. Instead of “#RedforEd” within the border, there was a small apple.


School safety and most of the proposed teen suicide prevention legislation were among the casualties in the State Legislature’s rush to adjournment last Friday. While a move to establish a state suicide prevention coordinator passed, the State House killed a measure that would have mandated two hours of annual suicide prevention training for teachers and staff in grades 6-12. State Sen. Sean Bowie and state Rep. Mitzi Epstein – who both represent a district that covers Ahwatukee and parts of Mesa, Tempe and Chandler had sought the training in the wake of 34 suicides of East Valley children between the ages of 10 and 18 since May 2017. They and state Rep. Jill Norgaard, the third legislator from Legislative District 18, also had sought the creation of a state coordinator of suicide prevention programs. Katey McPherson, a longtime East Valley educator who has spearheaded a movement for more teen suicide prevention programs, was heartened by passage of the state coordinator position. “While it is obvious that the teacher pay and school funding bill took top priority as it should, equally as important in the scope of safe schools to provide training and resources to school personnel in the social, emotional and physical safety of our students,” she said, adding:


from page 10

with education. “This is precisely what will happen in today’s very high political environment,” he said. O’Hanian asserted that Kyrene’s dress code prohibited employees – when on school grounds – from wearing “colored clothing containing symbols being worn by a group for displaying solidarity with a political activist group. “Not only have students been wearing such clothing, but (so are) teachers and principals – in the school during school hours,” he said. “We want our children to attend school each day with enthusiasm and an

Special to the SanTan Sun News

Eve though it worked into the wee hours of May 3, the State Legislature had no time to take up Gov. Doug Ducey’s school safety plan, which included suicide-prevention training for teachers.

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Council OKs officers in middle, high schools SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

All middle and high schools in Chandler will continue to have school resource officers in 2018-19 under a proposal approved last week by the City Council. Chandler City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement that means “all public middle and high schools within Chandler city limits are covered with SRO service,” a staff recommendation states. Chandler is heading into the second year of a three-year state grant that underwrites the cost of six of the 10 SROs that the Chandler Police post in all the public middle and high schools in the city. The grant this year was for more than $770,000. According to the memo to council by Chandler Assistant Chief Dale Walters, “The police department has been supporting the SRO needs for schools located within our city limits for a number of years. The department wishes to continue supporting the SRO needs of these school districts as a service to them and a positive example to the youth of our community.” The total cost of SRO staffing in all the public middle and high schools in Chandler this school year was just under $1.4 million. The State Education Department administers Safe Schools grants and never has enough money to fund SROs in all

Special to the San Tan Sun News

Arizona middle and high schools. It is unclear how it makes determinations in divvying up the money. If the Kyrene Governing Board approves the arrangement, the state grant will cover $228,000 of the total $243,00 cost of SROs in Pueblo and Aprende middle schools. While Tempe pays the cost of an SRO in Kyrene’s only middle school in that city, Phoenix Police say they can’t afford to

have an SRO in any of the district’s three Ahwatukee middle schools. That upsets Ahwatukee parent Scott Weinberg, who returned to the latest Kyrene Governing Board meeting April 8 to again request that district officials address the security concerns he has been raising since the massacre at a Florida high school on Valentine’s Day. “I know that it’s the end of the year and everyone is counting the days,” he

told the board. “I need you all to know I won’t be able to rest until we’ve done everything we can possibly do to keep our children safe.” “We are always one day away from the next school shooting,” he added. “We must remain vigilant and resist the urge to forget and embrace a false sense of security.” Weinberg, who has a son in an Ahwatukee Kyrene elementary school and whose daughter is going into a middle school in Ahwatukee next school year, asked Superintendent Jan Vesely to reschedule before the school year ends a town hall on school security that she had cancelled because of the teacher’s walkout earlier this month. Neither Vesely nor the board could address that issue because of a rule that prevents them from responding immediately to concerns raised by people during the citizens address portion of the meeting. “I believe parent feedback will be valuable as the school district,” added, “This fight is not over…I believe the fight to safeguard our children to be a noble one.” Phoenix Police spokesmen have said their department has far too many middle and high schools to put an officer in every one of them and has so far not seen a need to post one in any of the three Kyrene middle schools in Ahwatukee.


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Shaken by massacre, he campaigns for greater Kyrene school security BY PAUL MARYNIAK Executive Editor

Like many people, Scott Weinberg wasn’t particularly politically active and admits he is a little embarrassed that he didn’t even know who his legislative representatives were. Then came Valentine’s Day and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 14 students and three adult staffers were slain and another 17 students wounded by a 19-year-old former student who had slipped into the building with an AR-15 semiautomatic style weapon. Now he not only knows the three legislators from LD 18, but they know him. As do Kyrene Superintendent Jan Vesely, the Kyrene Governing Board, City Councilman Sal DiCiccio and Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher. Since mid-February, Weinberg has been waging a politely relentless one-man campaign for better security in Kyrene schools – chiefly for school resource officers in Kyrene’s middle schools, especially the three in Ahwatukee. “My No. 1 priority is to get the SROs back into the middle school in Ahwatukee,” he said. The CPA and father of two has appeared at Kyrene board meetings, the city budget hearing held a few weeks ago at Pecos Community Center and the spring edition of PD Tukee Talks – the quarterly session where South Mountain Precinct officers and other law enforcement officials meet for an informal chat with Ahwatukee residents.

Special to the SanTan Sun News

Scott Weinberg, seen here with wife Rebecca and their children, Josh and Abby, has been campaigning for increased security in Kyrene middle schools.

He’s formed an organization, Secure Our Schools AZ, to advance his mission and has learned how to file public information requests with the state to understand why it declined Kyrene’s grant request for SROs this school year. Though school shootings are not new, “the magnitude of Parkland really shook me up,” Weinberg said. “When that happened, it was kind of a wakeup call for me,” he recalled. “I started

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thinking about my two little kiddos and started wondering what’s going on in the Kyrene district.” Up to that point, he said, “I was your typical Facebook complainer – but that gets you nowhere.” So, he began researching school security issues – and to whom and how he could make his case. Though also concerned about safety in elementary schools because his 7-yearold son Josh is in second grade, he was even more worried about the security of the district’s middle schools because his 10-year-old daughter Abby, a fifth-grader, will be attending Altadena Middle School starting in August. “When it became about my own kids’ safety, I said to myself, ‘OK, what can I really do that’s proactive. I just started doing some research,” he said. Each step of the way has been “a good learning experience,” he said. When he first appeared before the Kyrene board, he was caught off guard by the state law that forbids board members from responding to citizens who register to make a statement about an issue not on the agenda. Though no board member got back to him, Vesely did. “She reached out a couple of times,” Weinberg said. “She actually invited me to meet with her and the district’s security team. It was a productive conversation.” Weinberg never shouts during his public appearances. He doesn’t post angry diatribes about the issue on social media. He just makes his case quietly but firmly. Zuercher was so impressed by Weinberg’s demeanor at the April 16 Pecos hearing that he came up to him later on and explained that Phoenix can’t afford manning all 600 schools in the city with SROs. “I told him I’m not asking for 600. I’m asking for three,” he said, adding, “I got to give him credit. He came up to me after the meeting.” Indeed, he gives credit to just about any elected official who listens to him. “I straight out asked all three of our legislators, ‘You’re our state representatives and these schools are in your district. What are you going to do?’” He got a quick response from state

Sen. Sean Bowie, who has been critical of Gov. Doug Ducey’s school safety plan now before the State Legislature because he doesn’t think it goes far enough on issues related to gun purchases. “I lean more conservative,” Weinberg said. “It’s a challenge sometimes to deal with people when you deal with issues like guns. I’ve tried to meet people in the middle. Sean’s been great. He’s been friendly. Mitzi is opinionated but she’s open to talking.” He was referring to LD 18 Rep. Mitzi Epstein, who initially brushed off his concerns. “Mitzi basically said I’m only one of two people that want SROs and that most people she’s talked to don’t want them. “Mitzi to her credit engaged with me,” he said, adding that after reading some reactions to her initial remarks, she told Weinberg she wanted to hold a “listening meeting” to get a bigger picture of sentiments about school security among her constituents. Weinberg sympathizes with officials’ concern about the cost of SROs. “I know there’s a limited amount of money,” he said. That’s why he favors letting trained teachers and staff carrying concealed weapons. Short of that, he said, he also thinks it’s worth discussing another solution he’s read about: having a lockbox with a gun or two that only a couple of trained school staffers would have access to in the event of an emergency. “In my mind, that’s something. It’s better than nothing,” he said. “I‘m in favor of going a little bit further and if the teacher has a concealed permit, they should be allowed to take their gun into school, but I know that’s a tough sell for a lot of people.” “I’ve been a gun owner for 15 years and have been through lots of training and I feel very comfortable and confident,” he said. “That would be my perfect solution.” Though the teacher walkouts derailed the Kyrene town meeting on school safety, Weinberg is undaunted. “I know there have their hands full with Red for Ed and I know that’s the priority,” he said. “I totally support that. I want see the funding levels restored. I think that’s the priority right now. I just hope when that gets resolved, we can shift the focus back to school safety.” He said Zuercher told him he’s been working on an idea to have retired police officers become district employees at a lower cost than a traditional officer, so he put the city manager and Vesely together to discuss the idea. “Look at what Tempe did,” he said. “Tempe has stepped up and said ‘we’re going to assign one of our officers to the district at our cost. Tempe is small and just has one middle school, but they’re doing it and I know it can be done.” Weinberg shows no sign of stopping his campaign. “I feel like I’m doing something,” he said. “Even if nothing happens I can say I tried, I did what I could do. I worked within the system.” As for the reception that officials have given him so far, he added, “I’m happy they have responded to my concerns. I feel good. I feel like they’re working with me.” To reach Weinberg:




Legislature sends millions to ‘freedom schools’ at ASU, UA BY JIM SMALL Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Arizona lawmakers this session provided $2 million to two state universities for “freedom schools” designed to teach conservative values. Since 2016, legislators have appropriated $12 million to Arizona State University and the University of Arizona for the ideologically driven centers, which previously had been funded by the Charles Koch Foundation. An AZCIR examination of the spending at the two universities shows that the schools still have $9.8 million of that money on hand. Neither university has asked for any of the funding for the freedom schools. The genesis for the freedom schools is the belief that institutions of higher education are liberal bastions, where conservative views on politics, economics and social issues are under assault. Eventually, conservatives struck upon a way to push back against what they see as a rising tide of political correctness and liberal indoctrination: fund oases of conservative thought and scholarly research on those same campuses. The billionaire libertarian Koch brothers and their affiliates have been funneling money to colleges and universities across the country to do exactly that since the 1980s. But Arizona lawmakers turned that

model on its head in 2016, when they inserted a $5 million line item into the state budget for “economic freedom schools” at Arizona State University and University of Arizona. ASU received $3 million and the other $2 million went to U of A. ASU was home to two existing centers that had previously been funded by Koch Foundation gifts since 2010, the Center for Political Thought and Leadership and the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, while U of A had received Koch money operate and expand the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom. The three existing centers, which had published research papers on small-government policies like ending Arizona’s income tax and eliminating public K-12 schools, would now be given millions of taxpayer dollars to expand their reach and scope. A year later, and despite millions of dollars from the prior year’s appropriation going unspent, lawmakers added an additional $1 million to each university for the “freedom schools,” bringing the annual state appropriation to $7 million for the current fiscal year. Arizona State University used its $3 million appropriation in 2016 to create the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership to house the two existing centers. In creating a new school, ASU announced it would create a new major and curriculum built on the “great books” and

texts that serve as the basis for western civilization. Undergraduate students in the new major are anticipated in the fall of 2018, with the graduate program opening for enrollment in fall 2019. U of A created the Department of Political Economy & Moral Science, which houses the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom. Currently, the center is a research unit of the philosophy department and offers no curriculum. The new department will offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. Both universities have banked much of the money given to them by lawmakers for future use, though it’s unclear what it will be spent on or when. ASU is on track to spend about $2 million of its $4 million appropriation in the current year, fiscal year 2018. About half of the expenses are for faculty and staff, though the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership has purchased a 1788 first-edition copy of “The Federalist Papers” and sent some students on a 10day trip to India over spring break. The school has since purchased an early printing of George Washington’s “Farewell Address” from 1796, an autographed copy of a book by Martin Luther King Jr., and a first printing of Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” from 1776. The total cost for the rare publications is estimated to be $430,000. All of the items are stored in ASU’s Hayden Library and can be viewed only by appointment

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or at special events. In all, when the current fiscal year ends in June, ASU projects it will have $4.25 million remaining of the $7 million it has received from the Legislature. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, called the money for the freedom schools “very special” because it provides a needed balance on the ASU and U of A campuses. “There’s a considerable left-wing bias at the university educationally, in terms of the faculty, student organizations, colloquiums and presentations,” he said. “A small amount of money to get some balance is well worth the expense.” For many, evidence of the decline of civil discourse on college campuses can be seen in the student-led protests against controversial speakers – most often conservatives – invited to campuses across the country. Zachary German, a political science professor at ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, sees two main reasons why civil discourse on campus, whether in a classroom setting or involving guest speakers, is endangered. First, a polarized political climate in which majorities in each of the major parties hold very unfavorable views of the opposing party. Second, research shows students are

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Chandler High’s graduating seniors have earned a total $21.2 million in scholarship offers so far. Two scholar/high honors students – Kevin Byrne and Gillian Harrill, nominated and elected by other scholar/high honors students – will speak at the ceremony. Hamilton High will hold its graduation at 2:30 p.m. May 30 at ASU Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. The school has 932 graduates. The graduates have been offered more than $33 million in scholarships. A graduating senior chosen by his peers, Gregory Miller, will

give a speech. Arizona College Preparatory – Erie Campus will hold its ceremony with 96 seniors at 5 p.m. May 30 in the gym, 1150 W. Erie St. The school does not rank students or name valedictorians and salutatorians. However, the seniors have earned more than $29.6 million in academic scholarship offers and the school has two Flinn Scholars, five National Merit Scholars, four National Hispanic Scholars, a Coca-Cola Scholar and many other academic award winners. Seniors Madi Bonfigt, Troy Gilchrist and Margaret Krenke will give speeches, as will student body president Erin Broas.

Ready to move on

The senior class chooses a faculty member to give the keynote address and this year the class selected English teacher Kathy Lindstrom. Seniors picked history teacher Kristen Bunch to read graduates’ names. The graduating seniors at Valley Christian have been offered more than $5.4 million in scholarships. Valley Christian’s board of directors will give a family an Award for Service to the school and then seniors will give the school the class gift. The school will also announce the winners of the Outstanding Senior Boy, Outstanding Senior Girl and Christian Character awards.


The students are nominated and chosen by faculty and staff members for the awards. Christine Jones, a businesswoman, author and former Arizona gubernatorial and congressional candidate, will address the class. Valley Christian’s Spiritual Life director Greg Tonkinson will close the ceremony in prayer and school administrator Dan Kuiper will provide a presentation of the Class of 2018. Casteel High School does not have a graduating class this year as the school only goes up to 11th grade. Perry High School will hold its graduation at 6 p.m. May 29 at ASU Wells Fargo Arena.


Seton Catholic Preparatory seniors graduated May 15, but before they stood in line to pick up their diplomas, they had to pick up their caps and gowns. The SanTan Sun News was on hand as 1) Miles Shelton, left, and Roman DeCaro took a selfie to commemorate the occasion; 2) gowns were looked over by, from left, Bridget Hodges, Jacqueline Rodriguez, DeCaro, Shelton and Charlie Curtin; 3) Hodges, left, and Rodriguez examined their graduation garb and 4) Rachel Self made sure her gown was ready for her big day.

All photographs by Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer












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Save Our Schools targets ‘dark money,’ snubs tax surcharge BY HOWARD FISCHER Capitol Media Services

The East Valley-based group responsible for forcing a public vote on the future of vouchers won’t back a plan to hike taxes on the rich to help fund schools. Dawn Penich-Thacker, spokeswoman for Save Our Schools, acknowledged that an initiative filed two weeks ago for an income tax surcharge is designed to raise about $690 million a year for K-12 education. And she said a dedicated source of dollars is needed to ensure that there are sufficient dollars to support schools in case of a future recession. But she said that raising taxes on only those in the top 2.5 percent of income appears more divisive – and more partisan – than her organization likes. Anyway, she told Capitol Media Services, her group has its own battle to fight in persuading voters to kill voucher expansion in November. But Penich-Thacker said the “Stop Dirty Money’’ campaign is different. She


from page 15

increasingly hostile to the idea of even listening to opposing viewpoints. A survey last year of college students by the Brookings Institution found that 51 percent believe it’s appropriate to snuff out a

said the movement to use taxpayers’ dollars to send children to private and parochial schools is financed to a great extent by organizations whose donors are shielded from public view by state laws. A “dark money’’ group, Americans for Prosperity, filed suit last year to kill the Save Our Schools referendum, which seeks to give voters the last word on 2017 legislation expanding the voucher program to allow any parent to get state dollars to send a child to private or parochial schools. The legal challenge failed and the measure will be on the ballot as Proposition 305. But Penich-Thacker said fighting that lawsuit to preserve the referendum “burned up every bit of donations we had been getting in.’’ So, she’s ready to help remove the legal veil over the donors. “That dark money is where our problem arose,’’ Penich-Thacker said, saying there’s a “natural connection’’ between Save Our Schools and the initiative. That backing – and the volunteers that

Save Our Schools can generate – could provide the push to get the measure on the ballot. The proposal being pushed by former attorneys general Terry Goddard, Tom Horne and Grant Woods – the first a Democrat and the other two Republicans – would put a “right to know’’ provision in the Arizona Constitution, requiring public disclosure of the names of anyone who puts at least $10,000 into any campaign, whether for public office or a ballot measure. That’s already required now, but there’s an exception: Groups organized under the Internal Revenue Code as “social welfare’’ organizations can refuse to disclose their donors, leaving voters with a name – like Americans for Prosperity. What Save Our Schools provides is motivated volunteers. They gathered more than 110,000 signatures in less than 90 days last year to put the referendum on the ballot. The initiative to ban dark money could benefit from volunteers. It faces a stiffer hurdle, needing more than 225,000 valid

signatures on petitions by July 5 to put it on the November ballot. The issue of “dark money’’ has become an increasing problem for voters interested in finding out who is behind commercials, mailers and other campaign materials. In the 2014 gubernatorial race, for example, the $5 million spent on the general election directly by Ducey and Democrat Fred DuVal was eclipsed by the $9 million others spent trying to influence the race. Most of that cash flowed in Ducey’s benefit. The Republican-controlled Legislature has shown little interest in providing more information on donors. Lawmakers earlier this year approved a measure blocking cities from enacting their own financial disclosure laws. That most immediately voided an ordinance approved by 91 percent of Tempe voters. If the initiative is approved it would not just force disclosure in statewide and legislative races but again empower cities and towns to enact their own similar requirements.

controversial speaker by “loudly and repeatedly shouting so that the audience cannot hear” the speaker. That view was held by 62 percent of Democratic students, compared to only 39 percent of Republican students. And one-in-five students – there were no statistically significant differences in response by political par-

ty affiliation – said it was acceptable to use violence to disrupt a controversial speaker. Rep. Paul Boyer, a Phoenix Republican and chairman of the House Education Committee, said the freedom schools are increasing speech and critical thought on their campuses. “I think they embody what should be done

at the university level,” he said. “You find someone who is the best on free speech – that’s what they’ve been doing lately – or on whatever the issue is, left and right, and let’s bring them in and have them talk. I think that’s what the universities should be doing.” Devin Browne and Evan Wyloge contributed to this report.

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Road crews busy with Arizona Avenue, slurry seal SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Street work is in high gear in Chandler as crews continue redoing Arizona Avenue south of downtown while others began this week applying slurry seal to some major arterials. Crews earlier this month completed 16 weeks of work installing wider sidewalks and new driveways on the west side of Arizona Avenue and moved to the east side of the thoroughfare, considered Chandler’s southern gateway. Arizona Avenue between Pecos and Frye roads is getting new landscaping, wider sidewalks, raised medians, bike lanes, streetlights and a new traffic signal at Fairview Street. Old asphalt, sidewalks, curbing, streetlights and landscaping will be removed in preparation for the new improvements. Traffic that had been shifted to the east side of the street during the first phase was shifted to the west side. Because Arizona Avenue is a fourlane roadway with two lanes in each direction the contractor has been trying to maintain two lanes of travel in each direction, with a center turn lane during this work. On-street parking was banned along this stretch of Arizona Avenue. Business access will continue to be maintained and temporary signs are being used to direct downtown traffic and highlight business access. Landscape crews will continue working on the west side of Arizona Avenue to

City of Chandler

Crews moved to the east side of Arizona Avenue between Pecos and Frye roads as they continued work on beautifying the thoroughfare.

complete the installation of decomposed granite. Landscape plantings for the west side will be installed later in the project when the east side is planted. “This will avoid the stress that comes with the summer heat, maximize efficiency and ensure plantings look similar in growth,” the city said in a release. Construction on the east side of Arizona

Avenue is scheduled to take three to four months to complete, followed by median island installation in the center of the roadway. Included in the construction will be the replacement of 1,700 feet of an aging waterline beneath Frye Road west of Arizona Avenue. This work is to begin in June. The entire project is to be completed in October 2018.

Kreuzer Consulting Group of Mesa performed the engineering design. The hardscape and landscaping design work was accomplished by J2 Engineering & Environmental Design of Phoenix. Banicki Construction has a $6.4 million contract to build the improvements and MakPro Services is assisting the city with public outreach and business relations. Meanwhile, some Chandler arterials started being slurry-sealed this week to prolong the surface’s life. Work is expected to be finished by the end of May. Slurry seal is an asphalt emulsion mixed with aggregate that corrects surface irregularities, improves skid resistance and protects the pavement from oxidation and water damage. The coating will be applied to the following street segments: McClintock Drive between Chandler Boulevard and the Loop 202, parts of Santan Freeway, McQueen Road between Riggs Road and Westchester Drive, Lindsay Road between Riggs and Hunt Highway, Val Vista Drive between Riggs and Hunt Highway and Riggs between Cooper and McQueen roads. All streets will remain open to traffic during the work, but lane restrictions will occur. A map showing the locations of the pavement maintenance projects can be found by clicking on the Road Construction & Street Closures link on the Transportation page of the City’s website,

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Some civic-minded Chandler citizens and businessmen and women showed up to be cons for a day May 2 to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s first ever Chandler Jail and Bail Day. They included volunteers from all sectors of the city who “surrendered” to police and wore black-and-white-striped ponchos to wear until their friends posted bail, which went to the Cancer Society. 1) Chandler police Det. Tami Gray served as a judge while Councilman Kevin Hartke showed up for his arraignment on a charge of inciting a riot; 2) Kneaders Bakery manager Kellen Sears was escorted by Officer Robin Atwood for his day in court; 3) Matthew Coates donned his stripes while waiting to be bailed out; and Teresa Toris made sure Hartke showed his stripes.

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Ducey open to allowing sports betting at OTB sites BY HOWARD FISCHER Capitol Media Services

Gov. Doug Ducey is open to the idea of allowing Arizonans to place bets on sporting events at 55 off-track betting sites around the state. The governor said May 15 he wants to “maintain the culture and flavor of our state’’ in deciding who should get the right to offer wagering on professional and amateur sports. And historically casino gaming has been limited to tribal lands, a finding cemented into state law by voters in 2002. But Ducey said he’s looking for what could be the best deal for the state -- and generate the most money. And that, he said, could mean changes. “The world’s changed tremendously

since the year 2000,’’ the governor said. “We have the Internet online availability.’’ And what most recently changed was the Monday ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that voided federal laws which until now have precluded Arizona and most other states from allowing residents to place bets on sporting events. “There’s a lot of opportunity here,’’ Ducey said. “But I think it’s something that we want to think through.’’ But the governor said it would be wrong to presume that whatever new revenues sports gaming brings into the state, whether through revenue sharing with the tribes or a share of the handle at tracks and OTB sites, will end up being earmarked for education. The governor said while he looks at funding needs for education he also

has to be concerned with funding child safety, public safety and the state’s infrastructure.“There’s a long, long list of funding needs in this state that I’m aware of,’’ Ducey said. “I do think there’s a significant opportunity with gaming,’’ he continued. “But I do think we should have the public discourse and debate on where those dollars will be spent and where the highest priority is.’’ The governor’s musings come as several Native American tribes already are expressing interest in revamping their agreements with the state to also allow them to offer sports wagering. “Of course, we have the tribal gaming compact,’’ Ducey said. “And of course we want to respect that and make sure we’re properly communicating with the tribes.

There’s also other factors we want to take into account.’’ One of those is that there already is sports gaming of a sort in Arizona. That’s not just horse racing at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. There are 55 OTB sites scattered throughout the state where Arizonans can place bets on horse and dog-racing throughout the country. Vince Francia, general manager of the horse track, which also runs most of those OTB sites, wants “in’’ on any deal. “Such a move would raise all sorts of legal issues, including a “poison pill’’ provision in the agreements the state has with tribes that would void the compacts – and the revenues they share with the state – if the state were to offer a new form of off-reservation gaming without their consent.




Area author writes for those who lost a parent as a child BY PAUL MARYNIAK Executive Editor

For nearly a quarter-century, Mother’s Day has been a day of sad “what ifs” for Michelle Shreeve. The Gilbert writer can’t help thinking of the mother taken away from her by death in December 1993, when she was only 9 years old. “In the beginning, Mother’s Days were rough and hurt a lot,” Shreeve said. “I would send my mom flowers to be delivered to her gravestone at the California cemetery she’s buried in. I would also watch comforting motherless daughter or mother-daughter movies to help make it through the day, not to mention talk to her and cry.” Over time, though she got married and celebrated Mother’s Day on behalf of her mother-in-law and stepmom, too, that sadness lingered. This Mother’s Day was a bit different from the 23 that came before. Feelings of accomplishment and hope are there. Last month, Shreeve’s book – inspired by her mother’s death and the loss she’s dealt with for 25 years – finally hit the shelves. “Parental Death: The Ultimate Teen Guide” is based on her interviews with 90 people ranging in age from pre-teen to the mid-80s. It is book #56 in the “It Happened to Me Ultimate Teen Guide” series, published by Rowman & Littlefield and available at Barnes & Noble bookstores and hardback and digital forms on a variety of book-sale websites. While she had been “lightly researching the topic of parental death since the time of her loss, she began working on it in earnest in 2014. Over the last four years, Shreeve

Special to the SanTan Sun News

Gilbert author Michelle Shreeve was excited to receive the first batch of copies of the book she spent years researching.

also was busy earning two master’s degrees, but she persisted in her interviews with people who lost their mom or dad at a young age. “I want to make sure kids, teens, young adults and grieving families know that they’re not alone in this, and that there are many others who have gone through parental death or are currently going through it like they are,” she said. “When I was young and going through my own personal loss, I used to get scared and worried about my future,” Shreeve explained. “I would often think my life was in trouble because I didn’t have two parents

to support me like most of my peers did. I would think to myself, there has to be someone out there who lost a mother/parent like I did but was still able to make it. I knew that I couldn’t be the only person out there.” So, before she interviewed people, she did some research, discovering “many notable people – Nobel Prize Laureates, actors, athletes, musicians, philosophers and more who grew up to give something positive back to the world but who also lost a parent, like I did.” “I thought if they could make it through their childhood without one or both of their parents, and still pursue their dreams or give something positive back to the world, then maybe I could make it too. And that gave me strength and motivation on my challenging days. I also used it as a therapeutic coping method.” As much as she learned from research, she learned even more in her interviews. “Each and every one of the participants story was heartbreaking, especially when realizing what they went through at such a young age,” Shreeve said. “There were many times when I had to walk away from the computer as my heart broke for each participant. … Let’s just say many tears were shed and went into this book that came from both the participants and myself.” The stories intertwined in the book are from people who lost one or both their parents at a young age. The advice at the end “are from those who lost their parents at a young age who are now at various different ages as they can reflect how their parent’s death impacted their life into the years and decades.” “In the book, I tell children and teens

there are two ways you can handle your loss throughout the rest of your life: You can either use it as a handicap and say you don’t know how to do this or that because your parent wasn’t there to teach you, or you can learn things on your own, be there for yourself instead of dependent on others and teach yourself the things your late parent left off teaching you.” “Something I’ve noticed over coping with the death of my mother over the past 24 years is, helping others feels like the right thing to do.” These days, Shreeve tries to avoid focusing on her loss. “I try to act like she’s still here,” she explained. “I talk to people about her, I watch movies that I think she and I would have probably watched together, I look at old pictures and I even talk to her daily. I’ve learned a lot about myself, some things the hard way... but that is why I wanted to share this book with other kids and teens who might be struggling with parental death. “I didn’t want them to feel like they have to face their loss alone and unarmed. This book should prove that they are indeed not alone and should give them a good idea on how to cope with healthy coping mechanisms.” Shreeve also compiled lists of “mother-daughter movies, motherless daughter movies, father-son books, fatherless son books and more.” What’s not in the book is at The book can also be found at ISBN/9781442270879/Parental-DeathThe-Ultimate-Teen-Guide. Shreeve can be reached at




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Knox student builds his way to Legoland BY CHRISTINA FUOCO-KARASINSKI Staff

When 10-year-old Mikey Cozza grows up, he wants to be a Lego master builder. The Knox Gifted Academy student is on his way. Mikey is one of 12 Creative Crew members who built their way to the wellregarded position. The attraction inside Arizona Mills held its annual daylong Creative Crew build competition April 28. Kids between the ages of 6 and 10 created one-of-a-kind models in front of a live audience. Judges included Master Model Builder Alec Posta, of Ahwatukee, who secured his spot at Legoland Discovery Center Arizona in 2015 through a similar competition for adults. He has since become a familiar face around the attraction and a mentor for budding builders. Mikey joins Madelyn Longstreet, 9, Jonah Trembulak, 8, and Austin Nancarrow, 6, all of Phoenix; Ruthie Bain, 10, Surprise; Paul Bunsed, 10, Tempe; Elsie Petross-Richardson, 6, Litchfield Park; sisters Anise Carroll Covarrubias, 10, and Lilly Carroll Covarrubias, 6, Mesa; Kyree Johnson, 8, Gilbert; Barry Bales III, 7, Scottsdale; and Diesel Andersen, 8, San Tan Valley. As members, the Creative Crew kids will get an inside look at the inner workings of the 60,000-square-foot interactive attraction. They also will assist Posta with everything from helping test new Lego models for special events to serving as ambassadors for visitors, dishing out advice on everything from how to construct the fastest racecar to how to knock out the competition on

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Knox Gifted Academy student Mikey Cozza is one of 12 Creative Crew members who will get an inside look at the Legoland Discovery Center Arizona’s inner workings.

Kingdom Quest zapping beastly Trolls on the interactive ride. “The kids really brought it during Saturday’s competition, and we can’t wait to see what they bring to the table in the days and months to come,” said Joanna Hobday, general manager of Legoland Discovery Center Arizona. “This is one tremendously talented group of kids.”

A frequent visitor to the Legoland Discovery Center, Mikey is no different. He prides himself on taking any Lego set and making multiple designs out of them. “I can be creative,” Mikey said. “I can rebuild with the same stuff. I have a lot of sets. I have this giant ninja evil ghost castle thing that is awesome. I also have a giant mechanical spider that you can drive, and a

giant green walker thing. I really like that one.” His mother, Jaime Cozza, is proud of her son. “He can take a set and build any set so fast it’s amazing,” she said. “He can take random pieces and build these really cool things that look like they should be a set. “He said he wants to be a master builder and he could do Lego all day, if he had the chance. That’s really his thing.”

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Around Chandler City Council seeks applicants to fill vacancy left by Ellen

City Council expects to have a vacancy by May 30 when Councilwoman Nora Ellen resigns to run for her son’s seat as representative from District 17. Her son, House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, is termed out and he is running for Senate in LD 17 because incumbent Senate President Steve Yarbrough is retiring. Ellen, who is in the middle of her second term on Council, made her resignation effective May 30, the last day for candidates to file for the Aug. 28 primary. Her replacement would serve on Council until her term would have expired in January 2021. “I encourage those interested in public service as a City Council member to submit an application,” said Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. “This is a great opportunity for our residents and I know there is no shortage of qualified leaders who are ready to make a difference in their community. My goal is to give residents who may wish to be involved in this process ample time to apply.” Ellen, who is required by law to give up her post, also is vice mayor. Interested candidates must be 18 years of age, a registered voter and a Chandler resident for two years. At the time the vacancy occurs, information on the application process will be posted on the City’s website at Due to city Charter requirements, the period to submit an application will close approximately 10 days after a resignation is announced.

Information: City Clerk Dana DeLong at 480-782-2182, or

City seeks donations for annual back-to-school help

The City of Chandler Diversity Office, For Our City-Chandler and a volunteer committee are gearing up for another Operation Back to School event on July 21, when students will receive free back packs filled with school supplies. Haircuts, uniforms, socks, shoes and underwear also are a few of the freebies students may receive during the event. Nearly 3,000 families and students from 37 of the 47 Chandler Unified schools attended last year and more are expected to attend this coming year. In addition, more than 260 residents provided volunteer service to prepare for the event and nearly 50 nonprofits and local businesses made cash and in-kind donations. There are several ways to get involved for this year’s event, including: corporate sponsorships that range from $500 to $20,000; make an online financial contribution (100 percent of monetary donations are used to purchase supplies for students); donate school supplies, shoes, socks or underwear from a recommended wish list; volunteer to assist with inventory and backpack stuffing prior to the event or provide day-of event assistance. Other ways to show support is to donate a new backpack filled with supplies from the city’s wish list or conduct a backpack/supply

drive at your workplace or organization. More information is at, niki.tapia@ or 480-782-2214. Supplies can be dropped off at Environmental Education Center, 4050 E. Chandler Heights Road; Tumbleweed Recreation Center, 745 E. Germann Road; Sunset Library, 4930 W. Ray Road; Chandler City Hall, 175 S. Arizona Ave.; Snedigar Recreation Center, 4500 S. Basha Road; West Chandler Police Substation, 251 N. Desert Breeze Blvd.; Hilton Chandler Mall, 2929 W. Frye Road; Crossroads Nazarene Church, 2950 W Ray Road; and Aces Barber & Family Salon, 2100 W Chandler Blvd.

Tru West Credit collecting bottles of water

Tru West Credit Union’s Chandler locations at 1300 N. Alma School and 1990 W. Elliot Road are accepting bottled water donations through May 31. The water will be donated to The Salvation Army. TruWest’s branches in Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert and Tempe also are participating in the drive and accepting water.

Chandler firefighters hitting the streets today

A group of Chandler firefighters will join volunteers from the community to walk door-to-door at Kon Tiki Mobile Home Village, 555 W. Warner Road, today, May 19, to install free smoke alarms in homes that

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need them, as well as provide educational information about fire safety to residents. The Community Smoke Alarm Installation Program offers a team-building opportunity for businesses and organizations. The program is a collaborative effort among the Chandler Fire Department, Arizona Burn Foundation and the American Red Cross. No experience is necessary and all training, tools and materials are provided that day. Both installers and record keepers are needed. By investing a few hours of their time, “participants will have fun and perhaps save lives by providing homes with working smoke alarms,” the department said in a release. Information:

Exchange Club, Elks offer pancake breakfast today

To celebrate Armed Forces Day today, May 19, and pay tribute to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, the Exchange Club of Chandler has partnered with Chandler Elks Lodge #2429 at 1775 W. Chandler Blvd. to host a free pancake breakfast for military veterans from 8-9 a.m. at the lodge. The breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, milk, juices and coffee, The International House of Pancakes restaurant on Arizona Avenue is providing the pancake batter and syrup. Starbucks on Arizona Avenue is providing See

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the coffee and hot chocolate. Employees from Pay Pal will join Lodge and Exchange club members to prepare and serve breakfast. Civilians” are welcome to attend and dine with a veteran for $8. Proceeds from the breakfast will be directed to local veteran projects. The Chandler High School Junior ROTC cadets will provide a color guard and the East Valley Young Marines will perform a symbolic flag-folding ceremony and present to a veteran in attendance. The program will launch the annual Wreaths across America project for the veterans at the Valley of the Sun Cemetery. The Chandler Exchange Club is one of over 600 nonprofit community service clubs focusing on programs on youth, Americanism and community service. Its national project is child abuse prevention. Information: or call Michael at 480-241-9448.

Group helps grandparents raising grandchildren

Duet: Partners In Health & Aging and Clothes Cabin have formed a partnership to offer a support group and other resources for grandparents raising grandchildren in Chandler. The support group for grandparents and other kinship care providers will take place the third Friday of

every month at Clothes Cabin, 1100 N. Alma School Road, Ste. 9. Clothes Cabin will provide the space for the monthly support group, which will be facilitated by Duet. Clothes Cabin’s current clients will be welcome at the Duet support group. Those who participate in the support group and are in need of clothing will be able to receive clothing, hygiene products and linens from Clothes Cabin. “When I saw a notice that Duet was offering a grandparent support group in nearby Ahwatukee, I knew that I needed to reach out and see if we could get the same services in Chandler,” said Amanda Nosbisch, executive director of Clothes Cabin. “At Clothes Cabin, we serve around 7,000 unique individuals a year with clothing, hygiene and linens, and we know that a significant percentage of those clients are grandparents caring for their grandchildren,” she added. Information: Jennifer Franzmeier at franzmeier@ or 602-274-5022, ext. 114. Duet: Partners In Health & Aging: Duet is a nonprofit, interfaith organization that promotes health and well-being through a broad range of services to homebound adults, family caregivers, faith communities and grandparents raising grandchildren. Clothes Cabin provides free clothing, hygiene and household linens to people in need. Information: or 480-285-4111.

announced the recipients of its 2018 Future Checking Scholarships granted to fulltime students based on their academic achievements, community efforts and commitment to quality education. The following students are recognized as Western’s 2018 Future Checking Scholarship Recipients: Zachary Barnes of Chandler, currently attending Chandler-Gilbert Community College; Marlena Branham of Mesa, currently attending University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Madison Lamb of Queen Creek who will be attending Chandler- Gilbert Community College this fall; Nithara Murthy of Chandler, currently attending Barrett, The Honors College at ASU; Farin Shiehzadegan of Chandler, currently attending Fullerton College; and Shima Shiehzadegan of Chandler who will be attending Western University of Health this fall. “Western established the Future Checking Scholarship Program as a way to reward deserving individuals in our communities who are committed to continuing their education,” said Andy Strand, Western State Bank Chief Credit Officer/Regional President. Applicantd must receive a high school diploma or GED, be admitted to a postsecondary institution and be a full-time student, be registered and enrolled for the Fall 2018 semester and have a Future Checking account with Western State Bank.

Western Bank announces scholarship recipients

Firm launches at first new taxi line in 9 years at Sky Harbo

Western State Bank in Chandler has

have a new cab alternative at Sky Harbor Airport. VIP Taxi has begun 24/7 service at all three Sky Harbor terminals and boasts new features for passenger protection. “Safety is incredibly important to VIP Taxi,” said Jason Gauer, a VIP owner who is the son of founder Dave Gauer. “We have remotely enabled exterior and interior cameras with night vision, audio and video streaming, GPS, speed reporting, and inertia monitoring to detect sudden motion, such as a hard stop or rapid acceleration. Safety – his own – is what got Dave Gauer into the taxi business in the first place: “Forty years ago, I traded a motorcycle for my first taxi cab,” he recalled. “It was a motorcycle that was far too fast for me, and I thought getting into the cab business would be a safer idea.”

MCC dedicates art library in professor’s name

Mesa Community College has dedicated the Dr. Carole Drachler Library of Art History in the art gallery on MCC’s Southern and Dobson campus. Retired MCC art history professor Drachler and her husband, Dr. David Drachler, donated $250,000 to launch the library for students, instructors and the community. The Drachlers’ gift includes more than 3,000 art and art-history books collected during years of extensive world travel. The donation includes a rare collection of historic See

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items from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. “Art history connects you to the history of the world through pictures and buildings, instead of words in a textbook,” Carole Drachler said. “Art elevates us. It makes us feel like we’re immortal. It opens up the world.” Carole Drachler taught art history at MCC for nearly 40 years, retiring in 2009 after 34 years. Her classes were some of the most popular on campus. “Books have been my passion, after family and teaching,” she said. “I’m happy that generations of students will use the books I enjoyed.”

Chandler Library explores Western legends today

The true story of some of the Old West’s great figures will be explored in the Our Stories Speakers Series at Chandler Sunset Library, 4930 W. Ray Road, when “Arizona’s Wild Myths and Legends” is presented at 10:30 a.m. today, May 19. Arizona historian Jim Turner will look at people in popular myth, such as Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid and John Wayne. A library spokesman said, “What do these famous characters have in common? They are not who we think they are because of the legends that have grown up around them.” “From 1860s dime novels to books, movies and television shows, writers have altered, exaggerated and sometimes lied about these folk heroes,” thee spokesman added.

In “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” the newspaper editor says, “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Presented by Arizona Humanities, the program will examine how legends grew and how they impact people’s view of the past.

Chandler man sentenced to prison for tax evasion

A Chandler man has been sentenced in Phoenix federal court to three years in prison and ordered to pay $7.3 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service after he previously pleaded guilty to tax evasion. U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell also sentenced William “Larry” Dorsey, 56, to three years of supervised release. Dorsey owned and operated several professional employment organizations, including Pinnacle Employee Group Inc. and Pinnacle Planning Group Inc., which contracted with small business owners to provide payroll services.   Dorsey, through PEG and PPG, collected federal employment taxes from his clients but, instead of paying the taxes to the IRS as he was contracted to do, he kept a significant portion of the taxes for his own personal use and to fund other business ventures, the IRS said.   To conceal the theft, Dorsey filed false employment tax returns with the IRS.   From 2011 through 2014, Dorsey underreported and underpaid about $7.3 million in federal employment taxes owed by the two companies.  Dorsey was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. attorneys Bridget Minder and Peter Sexton.

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Vette owners help troops The Corvette Club of Arizona raised $2,000 with its annual show in downtown Chandler last month. From left, club members Stacy Stoltz, Gordon Drinovsky, club President Marge Rhode and auto show chairman Mark Godina hold a giant replica of the check the club sent to Packages from Home, a Phoenix-based organization that provides personal care and support items for military personnel stationed around the world. The Corvette Club of Arizona will host a charity car show, Chevys in the Park Oct. 27 at Dr A.J. Chandler Park with proceeds also benefiting the Packages From Home organization.

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Wedding planner blends rituals for celebrations BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Jo Ann M. Grant considers herself an architect who helps people create their ideal weddings from scratch. Whether it involves a groom making a grand entrance on a white horse as part of an Indian ritual or a couple uniting in a traditional Catholic ceremony, Grant said she helps build clients’ big day “from the ground up.” As the owner of Apropos Creations, which she started in 2009, Grant has successfully orchestrated weddings that celebrate the cultures of India, Laos, Mexico, the Philippines and United States. She also helps people lay the foundation and carry out other lifechanging moments – including delivering marriage proposals and anniversary parties – along with milestone birthday celebrations, quinceañeras (coming-ofage parties for young Mexican women) and corporate events. Grant, who moved to the U.S. from the Philippines in 1986, has studied rituals and traditions from different ethnic and religious groups to incorporate into multicultural weddings her clients desire. Photos from weddings she has planned reveal beaming women wrapped in colorful, elaborately decorated Indian sarees and grooms donning sherwani,

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Jo Ann M. Grant, owner of Apropos Creations, prepares a cake for an Indian-themed wedding reception.

royal-looking suits with long jackets. Brides in modern, white strapless gowns and grooms in popular American suits posed outside with palm trees, cacti and mountains behind them at other multicultural weddings Grant has planned.

“It’s just my niche,” Grant said. “I educated myself with the traditions, with their lingo. You have to be respectful of their traditions.” With some clients, the groom has been led to the marriage location in an Indian procession called the Baraat. Grant said

the groom’s family members and friends escort him there while he rides a white horse. Because of logistics in some of the Indian weddings Grant has planned, the procession starts somewhere closer to the wedding site, not at the groom’s home. Grant contacts a vendor who provides her horses for such Indian weddings and also for brides and grooms who want a horse and carriage for their weddings. Regardless of their cultures and styles, a common theme of all the weddings is of two people connecting with each other, she said. “We all interconnect; it’s just done differently in each country,” Grant said. Despite cultural variations, Grant said she and the team of vendors always have the same mission. “We all have one common goal, to make sure the bride and groom is happy on their wedding day,” she said. Accomplishing that is no small feat. Planning weddings and receptions can take more than a year and involve multiple elements on a checklist. Some people hire Grant just to work the day of their wedding and reception, while others seek her assistance from the start of their See


It’s a jungle in new miniature golf business BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Starting a company is no monkey business, but a Chandler couple’s business does entail gorillas, lions and elephants. Debbie and David Lake recently opened Swingin’ Safari Golf, an indoor miniature golf course where players navigate jungle-themed rooms with lifesize animal replicas. The Chandler Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon-cutting/grand opening celebration for the business at 10 a.m. today, May 19, at the course, 3875 W. Ray Road, No. 8. Doughnuts and coffee will be served when the course opens for business at 11 a.m. Visitors start their adventure on the 18-hole glow-in-the-dark course in a “base camp” and move “deep into the jungle” amid animal sounds, Debbie said. A hippopotamus, a rhinoceros, monkeys, a tiger, an elephant and a lion are among the creatures golfers will encounter in the 6,000-square-foot space on West Ray Road just east of McClintock Drive. All the paint glows in the dark under black lighting and customers each room features different sound effects. In a room with a hippopotamus, it looks as though visitors are “half underwater and half above water,” Debbie said. In the course’s storyline, participants stop poachers. At the end of the course,

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Debbie Lake, who owns the new Swingin’ Safari miniature golf venue in Chandler with her husband David, putts around in advance of the business’ grand opening May 19.

wood cutouts resembling poachers in shackles are set up for player selfies. “Animals are the big props and then there’s some hanging stuff,” Debbie said. “This is an actual one-of-a-kind course. It was custom designed just for us. “In Arizona, there’s nothing like what we have to offer with the life-size animals and the sound effects and the amazing paintings this painter did. It’s spectacular. Anyone can do it. It’s an exciting, fun

time,” she added. “You can compete with each other.” Debbie said a company that has created sets and props for Universal Studios and places around the world provided the artistic décor for Swingin’ Safari. Debbie has been an administrative assistant for the last 20 years but plans to leave her position in mid-June to work full time at the mini-golf business.

David is an electrician by trade and works for Climatec, which does automation, energy services and other work designed to make buildings safer, more efficient and more comfortable. The couple got the idea to start the business after taking one of their grandchildren to play miniature golf at a place in Scottsdale. They had a great time and started thinking it would be a great to have one in Chandler. David has two adult daughters, Debbie has two adult daughters and together they have six grandchildren. Debbie said she loves playing miniature golf. “I’ve been playing ever since I can remember,” she said. “My goal is to be able to eventually make a hole-in-one on every hole.” David said he has “always had a good time” playing miniature golf and the business gives families a chance to do something together in Chandler. “There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of family-oriented entertainment in Chandler,” he said. “We thought this would be awesome, get the whole family out here and have some time together. “It’s pretty accessible from anywhere in the Valley. The opportunity popped up and we started doing a lot of research on it and thought, yeah, this is really doable and there’s a lot of potential.” Excitement is building in Chandler over See



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Chandler bat company finds its way to big leagues

drove in six RBIs in Game 6 of the World Series with a bat made by Zinger. His teammate, Miguel Montero, hit the game-winning RBI in Game 7 of that same World Series, also with a Zinger bat. “There’s 32 professionally approved bat companies out there. Every one of them can make a really good bat. It’s not like we have secret trees,” Hanish said. “At the end of the day, it is that dedication to providing that professional experience regardless of the age-level. … Our whole philosophy is put in that effort here for them on the production side, so that they can put in that same effort out there.” That process of putting in the effort is a labor of love. It starts with the maple, ash and birch wood pallets Zinger Bats order from the New York-Pennsylvania area. The wood is transported to Arizona by truck and when it arrives, it has to sit at the Zinger warehouse for a few weeks before it is ready to become a bat. “Most people don’t understand that wood constantly adapts to its environment,” Hanish said. “So, the

relative moisture level of wherever that wood is at, if it is coming from the East Coast or wherever, will actually have different properties and gain or lose moisture depending on which way the wood travels.” Arizona, a dry region, is vastly different than the very moist area of the New York-Pennsylvania region. The wood has to adapt to the climate the same way a tourist does after arriving in Arizona in the middle of July. Once the wood is ready, it is weighed to address the needs of the bat’s designer. Maple, for example, is the heaviest type of wood and finding the right weight can be difficult. Once the desired weight is found, that piece of wood has made the cut to the next round of the process. The wood is fed into a machine that cuts it to specifications. Zinger’s machine has the specs of thousands of bats saved within its system, which allows for a reorder of a bat to be done with ease. From there, the process becomes

hands-on. In the sanding and finishing process, three or four workers will work on the bat to make sure it is as high quality as possible, Hanish said. “I didn’t really like woodshop in high school,” he said. “This is the one I would have wanted to be at.” Next comes the painting process. Depending on how a player wants a bat to look, some bats are painted by hand, other are dipped into a bucket of paint and a few are sprayed. “It is literally like art. They are literally in there hand-painting bats,” Hanish said. After the painting process is done, the bat is engraved by an industrial-size laser that burns the desired engraving into the wood. Zinger has done everything from a player’s signature to the New York City skyline. At one point, Zinger was the official bat provider of the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on NBC. Bats have been made for actors Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Sheen and Jimmy Fallon, to name a few. Chad Harding, the head of bat manufacturing for Zinger, has done every step of the process, starting out as one of the people that makes sure the bats are cut to size. “It is a lot more of an intricate process than what people think,” Harding said. “A lot more steps than I think people realize.” Finally, the engraving is filled with white paint, so that it stands out, and a Zinger sticker is put on the bat. After that, it is ready to make contact with a baseball or given out to a famous celebrity. “Every single one of these bats tell a story,” Hanish said. “I can see one of our bats being used and I can say, ‘That bat was made three weeks ago and it came in a little light so we chopped it down and now there it is on the rack for you.’ “There’s a lot of time that I can tell the story of the bat as it comes across.”

a date-night event. It really captures the interest of everybody. It’s always fun and it’s a great team-building event for corporations. It’s family-friendly; it’s couples-friendly; it’s everything.” Heather Kucenski of Chandler posted in the Living Chandler Facebook page that she is “excited for it!” “It will be great for summer months to golf inside,” Kucenski posted. “I have three boys, my oldest, ages 10 and 7, I think would really enjoy it – especially with glow in the dark!” Carol Wesolowski Black of Chandler also likes the miniature golf concept.

She posted on Facebook that she looks forward to bringing her grandchildren there. Wesolowski Black said it is a “great way to do something fun indoors” in the summer and her grandchildren, Ryan, 9; and Emily, 13; of Gilbert, “love mini golf.” Playing the 18 holes of miniature golf at Swingin’ Safari Golf costs $10 for anyone ages 8 and older. The price is $8 for those ages 2 to 7. Senior citizens pay $9 to play. It costs $5 for anyone of any age to replay a game the same day.

Water and soda are sold, but the business does not have a full concession stand. The business also has an arcade with video games, a photo booth and crane machines. People can rent Swingin’ Safari for birthday parties and corporate events. The business is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. The mini-golf center is available for private, special events after 7 p.m. on Sundays. Information:


As the baseball season nears the halfway mark, the crack of a wooden bat is in full swing as a soundtrack of summer. Some of that sound is courtesy of Chandler-based Zinger Bats, which provides bats for all levels of baseball – including the major leagues. “I’ve enjoyed them,” Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Godley said. “They don’t necessarily work for me – but that’s not the bat’s fault, that’s me – but as far as feel and stuff during (batting practice), I love them.” Zinger Bats originated in Utah but relocated to Arizona in 2012 when Scott Hanish bought the company and moved it to the area where he was born and raised. “Utah is a great place (but) there isn’t as much baseball there as there is here,” Hanish said. “During spring training, you could walk in (the shop) and there could be 10 to 15 pro guys looking around. There is always baseball here. … Not a bad place to have a bat company.” Hanish, who played collegiate and independent league baseball, received a few old bats one day by a former major leaguer. They came from Zinger Bats and he remembers thinking they were the best he had ever used. A few years later, he received a call about an investment opportunity. It was for Zinger Bats. The company, founded in 1998 by Kelly Eastman, is among dozens of bat manufacturers that have found their way to the major league market. The top companies include Louisville Slugger and Marucci, but others, like Zinger, are making inroads. During the six weeks of spring training, the company sent approximately 4,000 bats to teams for spring use, Hanish said. In 2016, Chicago Cubs infielder Addison Russell hit a grand slam and


from page 26 Swingin’ Safari Golf. Arielle Macier of Chandler said she thinks the mini-golf center is “amazing.” She and her husband, Mathew Truitt, have two children: Mason, 6, and Mylah, 3. Macier sells insurance through her mother’s company, Service First Insurance, and is an ambassador through the Chandler Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a family event,” Macier said. “It’s

Special to SanTan Sun News

Zinger Bats owner Scott Hanish, right, bought the Chandler company in 2012.


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Once it is completed, Wingspan Aviation Center-Chandler’s high-end office space at Chandler Municipal Airport will have four two-story hangars and 28,000 square feet of office space on 4.8 acres.

Wingspan Aviation Center prepares for blast-off in Chandler SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

City and company officials are touting a scheduled May 22 groundbreaking at Chandler Municipal Airport as the beginning of “a new era of aviation service.” WingSpan Aviation Center-Chandler will offer “high-end, customized hangar and office space in the heart of the East Valley’s flying community” and is the first of its kind offered at the airport, spokeswoman Jane Poston said. As the aviation industry moves to a more service-oriented niche, WingSpan will capitalize on the growing needs of pilots and aircraft owners. “We’ve researched and designed every detail of what businesses need to

maximize productivity,” said Chandler resident Jim Moore, developer and CEO of WingSpan Business Investments. “We are blending structured steel buildings with contemporary architecture, technology and modern amenities, resulting in a highly sought-after product.” The 80,000-square-foot development, which sits on a 4.8-acre site, will include four two-story hangars and 28,000 square feet of office space. “Aimed to change the face of local aviation, the space promotes a skymeets-ground appeal by creating a place for businesses with private aircraft while being a concourse for private planes and jets,” Poston said. “From tourism to business ventures, WingSpan Aviation-

Chandler is a travel hub unlike any other in the region.” “This is a tremendous amenity for the Chandler Municipal Airport,” Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said. “I look forward to seeing this development come out of the ground.” Future phases include additional hangar/office space and build-to-suit offices, pending taxi access to the runway. The property is expected to be built out in about five years with 250,000 square feet of space. WingSpan Business Investments LLC is the parent company of WingSpan Aviation Center-Chandler. It provides on commercial property development and financial products and

services serving the aviation market. A city study several years ago estimated that the airport’s direct and secondary benefits total more than $109 million annually, including $32 million in flight activity, fees charged to park airplanes, an on-site service provider and flight schools. The study, conducted by KimleyHorne, an engineering and environmental design firm, and Arizona State University, also included spending in Chandler by visitors who fly into the airport and the payroll generated from about 800 jobs at the airport and its on-site businesses. The airport was established around 1950 with an unpaved runway that handled mostly crop dusters.

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Due diligence period need not stress sellers or buyers BY CARI GILILLAND Guest Writer

I think it is safe to say that the due diligence period can be one of the most stressful steps in the home sale/purchase process. For sellers, it can become quite emotional when a home inspector points out deficiencies in their home. For the buyer, it can seem as if their so called “dream home” is in fact one step away from being condemned. OK, that might be a little dramatic, but you get my point. Here are a few tips for home buyers and sellers to help ease the stress. Buyers: •D  o your inspections early in the process to allow yourself plenty of time to bring in specialists if needed. It is the buyer’s responsibility to do the investigations into any issues that may come up.  eep the lines of communication open •K with the seller. Ask questions if you need to. • F ocus on the major items that really matter. Long lists with unnecessary small fixes tend to put the seller on the defensive and can work against you during the repair negotiations.  ave a great team of pros to help you •H during this process. •A  ttend your home inspection. The report you will receive from the home inspector can seem a bit daunting. However, if you are there for the inspector to explain his findings, it will

give you time to ask questions. Sellers:  ake care of deferred maintenance items •T before you list your home. Let’s face it: We all have things in our homes that we just live with. Little stuff that a weekend of attention would take care of. Give your home the detail you would give a car if you were getting it ready for sale! •A  pre-list home inspection can help you identify any large items before the buyers home inspector finds them. This gives you control in handling the corrections ahead of time. •H  ave your home ready for the home inspector. If you have large items blocking your attic access, clear the path for the home inspector. If there are gates that are locked or rooms that need to be accessed have them open. Make sure the utilities are on. • Don’t take the inspection report personal. A home inspector is hired by the buyer and for the buyer. Their job is to point out all of their findings and suggest any repairs or corrections that need to be made.  ake any necessary disclosures to the •M buyer prior to the home inspection. Seller disclosures are required by law. Buying and selling a home is a big deal! Work closely with your Realtor and understand your role and responsibility along the way. At the end of the road, there is a home sale complete for a seller and keys to a new home for a buyer! Here is your Chandler real estate update. Simple data that even the least

analytic person can appreciate. No spreadsheet needed, no sophisticated computer algorithm… Real numbers. This information comes directly from Arizona Regional Multiple Listing System. Information based on sales between 2/1/18- 5/14/18, singlefamily homes only. Chandler 85224 Number of homes sold: 168 Average sales price: $287,260 Average days on market: 42 Number of active listings: 44 Number of pending/under contract: 75 Chandler 85225 Number of homes sold: 251 Average sales price: $279,776 Average days on market: 44 Number of active listings: 72 Number of pending/under contract: 116 Chandler 85226 Number of homes sold: 176 Average sales price: $329,006 Average days on market: 46 Number of active listings: 54 Number of pending/under contract: 86 Chandler 85248 Number of homes sold: 307 Average sales price: $384,523 Average days on market: 56 Number of active listings: 150 Number of pending/under contract: 131

Chandler 85249 Number of homes sold: 356 Average sales price: $408,605 Average days on market: 52 Number of active listings: 142 Number of pending/under contract: 139 Chandler 85286 Number of homes sold: 193 Average sales price: $390,969 Average days on market: 46 Number of active listings: 65 Number of pending/under contract: 100 For real estate questions or suggestions on future real estate tips, contact or 480-390-9247. Visit her on Facebook at



from page 26 planning journey. Since December, she has been planning a wedding scheduled for January 2019. The first steps are figuring out the venue for the wedding and reception, as well as their budget and number of guests they will invite. Usually the bride and groom have “an idea” of where they want to host their special event, Grant said. Often couples tie the knot at resorts, holding the wedding and reception in the same place. Her clients have gotten married all over the Valley, as well as in Tucson and Sedona. “Sometimes I do the research, the legwork of all the venues that fits the picture of what she wants,” Grant said. Then she will typically narrow down the list of venue options to three and ask her clients to visit them to make their final selection. The resorts can provide layouts to show the setup in their buildings, which Grant’s clients can review to see if it fits their vision. “It’s all about the flow,” Grant said. That flow involves making sure it is easy and smooth for the bridal party and guests to move around during the wedding, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing. Sometimes she hires subcontractors to help her plan weddings, including assistant coordinators the day of the

wedding. They perform many tasks the day of the wedding – making sure bridal parties are lined up for the procession, shadowing the bride to be sure she has what she needs, checking on the cake and putting place cards on dinner tables. She keeps a detailed checklist she gives her clients, setting tasks that need to be done by certain dates, including picking the style and colors, choosing the guests, sending out save-the-date cards, booking a caterer and reserving the officiant nine or more months ahead of the wedding. Working with DJs, photographers, bakers and many other vendors can be stressful, but Grant doesn’t let her clients see her sweat. “I’m an adrenaline junkie,” she said, adding she enjoys the rush she gets orchestrating weddings. “I am a very organized person, but I’m not OCD,” Grant said. “You have to be able to adjust accordingly and go with the flow, if something goes wrong, finding a solution. Don’t get stuck. You just make the best of it, of the situation. Do not have that panicked look on your face. You have to keep that calm face.” She tells her clients not to worry about anything and to just enjoy the moment. A source of stress is people’s not performing their duties at scheduled times, she said. Grant recalled how she had recommended a DJ arrive an hour and a half before the ceremony began. Instead, he came 15 minutes before the wedding

was scheduled to start. “I had to roll with it,” Grant said, adding she talked to the DJ about his later-than-ideal arrival afterward. She also keeps a sense of humor when things do not go as planned at weddings. Grant recalled how nature called for a horse a groom was riding to a wedding. She said the procession kept moving as it could. She also remembered at a “fusion wedding,” where Indian and American traditions blended when the bridesmaid, who was the bride’s sister, tried to put a flower garland on the bride. Traditionally, the groom is the one who is supposed to put the garland on his bride, Grant said. “The priest made light of it,” she said. Grant enjoyed planning her brother and sister-in-law’s destination wedding and many friends’ weddings over the years. She loved planning her own wedding about 20 years ago, which prompted her husband, Amoa Grant, to recommend she turn her passion for wedding planning into a business. “He’s the reason why I have this company,” Jo Ann said. “It’s awesome. I never thought I’d be where I’d be.” A mother to a 20-year-old son, Grant is also treasurer for the Phoenix chapter of the National Association of Catering and Events. She planned 15 different events last year, mostly weddings. So far this year she has planned 10 weddings. She also planned The Playhard Project’s 2nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament in Mesa. The Playhard Project, based


in Chandler, aims to get corporate, government and private funding, as well as to do fundraising, to help struggling families and young athletes be able to play sports. Planning weddings and other special celebrations can be stressful. “It’s definitely a lot of mind stress,” Jo Ann said. “It’s not just one wedding I’m focused on. It’s being able to juggle and organize my thoughts. I write it all down. There are challenging times where you doubt yourself. Then you have this family that supports you.” She said hearing praise from her clients at the end of the night is “all I look forward to.” “It’s those little words that makes me keep going,” Jo Ann said. Many clients have posted praise for Jo Ann on Apropos Creations’ Facebook page. “Apropos Creations/ Jo Ann Grant was such a pleasure to work with,” Daniela Enriquez posted. “Jo Ann is a true professional and knows all the ins and outs about wedding planning, and in our case she was the backbone of our very complex multicultural wedding which turned out absolutely amazing!!” Nicole Ashley also was thrilled with her wedding organized by Jo Ann. “Than you, that is all we can really say!” Ashley posted. “Our wedding was absolutely perfect! … Working with you over the past few months have been great, you were so responsive, flexible and knowledgeable. “ Grant’s services start at $2,000. Information:

Using opioid alternatives to combat epidemic BY DR. LESLIE R. FISH Guest Writer

The news is inundated with headlines on the misuse and overprescribing of opioids. In fact, in 2016 alone, enough opioids were prescribed in Arizona for every resident to have 47 pills each. Due to the impact the opioid epidemic is having on communities across the country, a growing number of local governments are taking action. In recent months, Governor Doug Ducey has signed several pieces of legislation to address prescription opioid use. In the summer of 2016, I received a letter from the U.S. Attorney General stating that, as a healthcare provider, I needed to do my part to reduce opioid use. I took this letter very seriously and did research to find an alternate option for relieving pain after surgery. Research shows that more than 70 million patients receive opioids after surgery each year, and one in 10 patients report becoming addicted to or dependent on the medication. Often, the first contact someone has with an opioid is following the extraction of their wisdom teeth. As an oral surgeon, I have seen how freely opioids are prescribed after these common procedures. Furthermore, I’m very aware that surgeons who rely too heavily on prescription painkillers can unintentionally put patients on a path toward misuse, abuse and addiction. Because of this, I

turned to multimodal therapy. Multimodal therapy aims to control pain through a combination of non-opioid medications such as acetaminophen, antiinflammatories and a long-acting local analgesic that numbs the surgical area, among other nonaddictive agents. It can offer prolonged pain control and reduce or, in some cases, eliminate the need for opioids after surgery. In my experience, this approach has yielded a measurable decrease in opioid use among patients. At my practice, Chandler, I started using a long-acting, non-opioid option called Exparel. Exparel is injected during surgery and can provide patients with pain control during the first few days following surgery when discomfort is often at its worst. With this pain management protocol, I am able to decrease (or eliminate) the use of opioids without compromising patient care or satisfaction. In my experience, 75 percent of the patients who have received Exparel required no

Special to the San Tan Sun News

opioid pain medication. Of the remaining 25 percent, all required significantly fewer opioids than expected. Non-opioid options are becoming more popular in the healthcare industry as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation. The fight against prescription drug abuse must be waged on many fronts, but for many patients it starts in their doctor or surgeon’s office. It’s clear that we need to improve the dialogue between patients and surgeons related to postsurgical

pain management as many patients are unaware that they have choices, including non-opioid options. It’s imperative that we actively educate patients on the options available to manage pain after surgery. By doing so, we empower them to have control over their own pain management plan, all while delivering effective pain control and reducing unnecessary exposure to opioids. Dr. Leslie Fish is a Chandler dentist who practices a full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgeries.





Chamber rolls along after busy first quarter BY TERRI KIMBLE Guest Writer

The first quarter is behind us and we have already met the elected officials, gotten two economic updates, celebrated the Ostrich Festival, Parade and Fun Run, and had coffee with Congressman Biggs and Mayor Tibshraeny. Now we are preparing for one of my favorite events of the year, the 31st annual Chandler Chamber Community Awards. I love this event because this is where business truly meets community. We honor our businesses, educators and community leaders. This year, we have quite a surprise in store for our attendees. Get ready for The Chamber is Right! Come on down and join in on the fun and believe me, with a game show theme, you will never know what is coming next! There will be games, prizes and of course the special honors of our award winners. Look to Facebook for the reveals of our winners coming soon and get your tickets now, because there is limited seating. The other thing I want our community

to know about is our Chamber Charity Golf Tournament coming up Sept. 14. The tournament will be held at the newly remodeled Ocotillo Golf Club. This event benefits our Community Foundation Scholarship Fund for Chandler Gilbert Community College students. If you attend the Community Awards celebration, you will meet this year’s scholarship winners. These scholarships are made possible because of our golf tournament. So, plan on hitting the links on Sept. 14 to help put some great people through Chandler Gilbert Community College. If you are interested in joining the fun call 480-963-4571.

Sales training at the next Ask an Expert session

The Chandler Chamber of Commerce is happy to present the May edition of the Ask an Expert series noon-1 p.m. May 29 at the Chamber’s offices, at 25 S. Arizona Place, Suite #201. This month the owner of Sandler Sales Training, Mark Kirstein, will provide a dynamic presentation on sales techniques such as how to close, hiring the right individuals, and what exactly makes the

Sandler Process a success. While the world of sales is rapidly changing, it is important to know how to engage with customers and have an understanding on closing the deal. Mark is passionate about teaching people effective ways of generating sales. Learn how to grow your sales by implementing basic strategies. Attendees should register early at chandler or 480-963-4571.

Chamber rolls out new educational program

The Chandler Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce a new business education program to its repertoire, Chamber University. The first installment is 8:30-10:30 a.m. May 23 at the Chandler Chamber located at 25 S. Arizona Place. “Blockchain and Crypto Markets” is the title of the series kick-off. Steve Murphy, CEO at HorseShoe Bend Energy, will take a nontechnical dive into this fascinating subject. Blockchain could change the business world as we know it in the very near future. This technology could have huge implications on money, business, and the world. It also may be a way to provide

security and privacy. The session will cover crypto markets, regulatory status, a detailed explanation of Blockchain and the inner workings. Murphy will provide a real-world perspective around the use of this technology for those who might wish to make investments in the space beyond the generally understood cryptocurrency application such as bitcoin. The Chandler Chamber is committed to supporting our member’s business development by offering educational opportunities on important subjects of interest to our business community. Attendees will receive a certificate of completed business education hours. As an integral part of our commitment to member development, Chamber University is intended to provide a deepdive learning experience into subjects such as social media, funding and lending, Blockchain, human resources, sales training and marketing to name a few. Business education and advocacy are at the core of the Chandler Chamber. We are excited to offer this new program to members and the community. Terri Kimble is president/CEO of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce: or 480-963-4571.

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Business Briefs Christina Cullen joins with Coldwell

Christina Cullen has associated with the Chandler office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage as an affiliate agent. “To be successful, you must be able to think on your feet and develop creative win-win resolutions,” said Cullen. “I am excited to be affiliated with Coldwell Banker because they have a proven track record of being the best in the industry.” Prior to affiliating with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Cullen worked as a commercial general liability underwriter with James River Insurance Company.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business and communications from Arizona State University and an associate degree in general insurance designations. Furthermore, she is an accredited advisor in insurance. Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Ocotillo Village Health & Spa offering fitness camps

Ocotillo Village Health Club & Spa in Chandler will offer summer fitness camps for kids ages 5-14 with a junior counselor program catered to those ages 10-15 who

want to get more involved. Participants’ schedule will be filled with themed fitness activities like “Jedi Training” and “Amazing Heroes,” games, team sports and swimming. Campers will have access to resort-style club amenities including a full basketball court, swimming pools, and splash pads. The camps host weekly field trips to destinations around the Valley such as OdySea Aquarium, TopGolf and laser tag. The Ocotillo Village Health Club hosts a variety of specialty camps throughout the summer that are designed for skill learning and improvement in activities like tennis, golf, tumbling and cheer, martial arts and more. The camps run from May 29 through

July 20 with several sessions and are open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The programs are offered in either full days or half days at daily or weekly rates. The camps also provide lunch as well as before or after care for an added charge. Information:

Long-term care conference offered by lawfirm here

Keystone Law Firm in Chandler will hold a long-term care conference on avoiding in nursing home bankruptcy 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 31 at Marriott Courtyard, 1100 Price Road, Chandler. Cost is $35, which covers lunch. Reservations: 480-209-6942

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By Sherry Jackson After helping his sister, Suzie (Kensington) Hessman lose 52 pounds, Robert Lundell, D.O.,and Hessman decided to team up to help other valley residents lose weight and change their lives by opening FitLife Med Spa in Chandler. The brother/sister team opened their south Chandler location after identifying a need for a med spa in the area. Lundell has more than 10 years experience as a family physician and Hessman brings her business acumen and marketing experience as a Realtor to the business. Both are passionate about helping patients improve their lives through weight loss, hormone therapy and other services. “I think of myself as our perfect patient because I need and/or have had all of our services myself,” said Hessman. Not only did she recently go through FitLife’s Fast Start Medical Weight Loss Program and lost 52 pounds, but she has also been using bio-identical hormone pellets for more than 13 years. FitLife offers an extensive array of services. In addition to weight loss and hormones with Dr. Lundell, they also have a nurse practitioner, registered nurse and esthetician on staff. Chemical peels, Botox, laser hair removal, body sculpting, skin tightening, vaginal rejuvenation, microneedling and microdermabrasion are just some of the services the med spa provides. “I don’t think there’s another med spa in this area that offers all of the services we do,” says Hessman. “We also have the most up-to-date technology with the latest equipment.” A state-of-the-art 3D body scanner analysis gives new patients a baseline and starting point.

PHONE & FAX Phone: 480-732-0250 Fax: 480-883-8714


“We see patients come in for the weight loss therapy and as they look and feel better, they take advantage of the other services we offer,” she says. As a family physician, Lundell says he spends most of his day treating and managing the damaging effects of diseases that many times could have been prevented with proper diet and exercise. “It saddens and frustrates me to see the quality of life decrease in patients when it didn’t have to,” he says. “I want to help my patients avoid problems associated with obesity and poor diet. I want to help my patients look and feel great. With the tools available to me at FitLife Med Spa I can better help my patients achieve their goals and live each day feeling great.” Hessman is also looking forward to helping their customers look and feel their best. “I can relate to our patients. I enjoy helping people lose weight. It made such a difference in my life and helping them thru the process and see the transformation and seeing how much better they look and feel is very rewarding.” Hessman encourages patients to check with their HSA (Health Savings Account) as some of their services, such as weight loss and hormone therapies, may be covered. “You’re making an investment in yourself,” she says. “You can’t put a price on that. You’re changing your life so you’re looking better, feeling better.”


Locally Owned & Operated by your neighbors:

Suzie (Kensington) Hessman & Dr. Robert Lundell

990 East Riggs Road, Suite 3



Sports & Recreation

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Perry girls beach volleyball team captures first state title BY ERIC NEWMAN Staff

The Perry High School beach volleyball team stopped Millennium High School just short of perfection earlier this month, winning 4-1 in the A.I.A. Division 1 State Volleyball Championship Final. The loss was the first, and only, defeat the Tigers suffered all season, having gone an undefeated 15-0 in the regular season and playoffs and dropping just seven of a possible 75 individual matches up to that point. Though the state final constituted the first match between the two teams all season, Millennium and Perry have a long, strenuous volleyball history. Most recently, Perry defeated Millennium 3-2 in the 2017 A.I.A. Indoor Volleyball 6A Quarterfinals at the end of the fall season. “I know one or two of the girls, and some of the others know each other, and we’ve all played a lot, so there’s that competitiveness between all of us,” Millennium junior Bailey Schlosser said. Schlosser and freshman Natalie Lopez served up a great start for the Tigers, securing the first team point of the match for a 1-0 overall lead with a tight three-set match.

Eric Newman

Perry High School’s girls beach volleyball team hoisted its trophy after winning a Division I state title by beating Millennium High.

After rolling to a 21-16 win in the first set, the pair dropped the second 16-21 but stormed to a 11-1 lead in the tie-breaking

third set, finishing off the set and match with a 15-3 victory over a seemingly discombobulated Puma team.

“I think they sort of gave up, but we still didn’t stop attacking when we were ahead by a lot. We wanted to close our match out,” Schlosser said. However, the Tigers’ first team point would prove to be their last, as Perry won each of the final four matches in straight sets. In the first of Millennium’s four losses, sophomore Hannah Waters and junior Kaitlin Bruchhauser fended off four straight set points, down 20-15, though they eventually lost 21-19 on a quality kill by Perry junior Brooklyn Poling. The second set was just as close, with Poling and senior Halle Razo coming away with a 23-21 victory for a 1-1 overall tie. Perry junior Matea Suan and senior Ellie McDonald jumped on Millennium junior Nicole Hoff and senior Annika Payne early in a significantly less competitive third match. The Pumas controlled the points throughout and were able to hit over and around tough blocks to storm to a 21-14, 21-12 victory to take a 2-1 overall lead. With Perry needing just one more match win to clinch the overall title, Millennium’s hopes rested on juniors Alyssa Avitia and Ashley Antoniak, who took on Perry seniors See

VOLLEYBALL on page40

Chandler High girls track team wins state title BY BRIAN BENESCH Sports Editor

Girls track and field programs from across the Valley gathered last week at Mesa Community College for the state finals, but the tournament showcased one special group of superstars – the athletes from Chandler High School. For the third time in as many years, Coach Eric Richardson’s team brought home a Division I title. The girls’ 185 total points were more than enough to edge out second-place Desert Vista High’s 74.5 points. While Richardson has been the driving force behind Chandler’s run of dominance, he was quick to pass the praise over to his student-athletes. “We’ve had a long line of success for our kids. They’ve built a legacy that people want to follow,” the coach said. “The young kids come in and there’s an expectation for them to do well. It’s a self-imposed pressure.” Jai Greunwald stole the show, winning four individual state titles, including the triple jump, for Chandler as the senior went out in style. “Jai had just a phenomenal track meet,” Richardson said. “Any time you can win four events, it’s mind-boggling. Her doing that was just fantastic.” Joining Greunwald on the podium was Morgan Foster, in addition to several other Chandler athletes. Foster’s win in the girl’s 800 may have been the highlight of the tournament for the talented track squad. “Anything Morgan does right now is extraordinary after that devastating car accident she was in. She’s lucky to be

alive, let alone back on the track. Everybody performed up to expectations,” Richardson said. Of course, Foster’s journey was not the only emotional storyline emerging from the Wolves’ terrific season. Longtime throwers coach Ted Williams passed away during the year. According to Richardson, his spirit was alive and well on Saturday. “He and I had been together for the better part of 25-30 years,” he said of the late coach. “It makes the win that much more special to get that done in his honor. We’ve certainly dedicated the season to him and everything he stood for.” It was a seesaw affair between Chandler and Desert Vista all tournament long. The Thunder girls finished second only to the Wolves, while Chandler’s boys were runners-up to Desert Vista. On the boys’ side, the ThunSpecial to the SanTan Sun News der claimed a state title after Members of the Chandler High girls track team celebrated their Division I title win at the state championships two consecutive second-place finishes as Desert Vista parlayed for the third consecutive year under Coach Eric Richardson, who said, “They’ve built a legacy that people want day-one wins by Kevin Fairchild to follow.” and Deshon Toney into one The Toros’ Stone had reason to celedeal. He’s on our top 10 list now. He just of the event’s more impressive brate his own team’s performance as Sam had an outstanding meet,” Stone said. outings from start to finish. The boys and girls of Mountain View “They are a machine,” said Jared Stone, Jarvis took home a title in the pole vault on the first day the meet. pulled together two top 10 overall finishhead boys coach at Mountain View. “I “We were very pleased with his perfor- es at the event. was able to see Fairchild (Wednesday’s mance. He really upholds the tradition -Contact Brian Benesch at 480-898javelin champion), and he did a great job. of good vaulters at Mountain View. To be 5630 or My javelin thrower wants to do the same in that 15-foot vault club, it’s a really big Follow him on Twitter @AZBenesch. stuff he’s doing.”




Chandler skaters indulge their need for speed BY BRIAN BENESCH Sports Editor

In the Arizona summer, there are few better places to be than the ice rink – or so Chandler speed skating instructor Rick Olson thinks. Olson brought his unique version of ice skating lessons from the windy and frigid winters of Chicago and has found a home to his group at the Chandler Ice Den, branding it the Phoenix Speedskating Club. Three years after his relocation, Olson sees his speed skating club taking off in the desert. “We were part of a few very established clubs in the Chicago area. We came out here and I just kind of looked into it – the nature of the area was a lot of endurance people and inline people,” he said. “It seemed like the appropriate ingredients to start a club here.” To make such a niche sport a success, Olson had to find another organization willing to take a chance on speed skating. He first contacted the Chandler facility, which is currently in its fourth year of operation.


from page 39

Portia Valadez and Taylor Pennington. From the first point of the match, a 20-hit rally, it seemed victory would not come easy for either team. However, the Perry pair came out swinging, and rolled to a 21-14 win in the first set. The second set was much tighter, with both pairs blasting quality kills and coming up with tremendous digs. Both Perry and Millennium changed leads all set, though neither was able to get up more than a point

“I started just making phone calls and reeling people in,” Olson says. “What really helped launch this was just the meetings of the minds with the Ice Den. They are really a first-class organization,; probably the best I’ve seen in the country.” With the Ice Den on board, it was now up to Olson to convince Arizona’s youth that speed skating is a sport worth participating in. It wasn’t an easy task at first. “When we first came into the area, people were like, ‘What the heck are those skates?’ And now, there is a whole new awareness. Once people realize the value, there’s going to be a lot more of a lift in the sport,” he said. While both hockey and figure skating are prominent at the Ice Den, speed skating is slowly but surely carving out a place among the rink’s most popular activities. “When we first started, it was just a couple people, and now we’ve got about 20 people that are interested. As time goes on, it will probably double,” he said. “It’s becoming something people don’t want to miss now

that they see the value of it. It’s working.” When most beginners think of speed skating, former Olympian Apolo Ohno may be the only image that comes to mind. But Olson stressed there is far more to the sport. It’s a great way to learn and refine skating techniques, even for hockey players. “We establish groups when people come out – based on skill levels. It’s about technique and conditioning. You are not going to excel unless you improve your technique. They are all going at their own pace,” he said. “You could still jump on an ice rink with speed skating at age 10 and be an Olympic alternate in eight years.” The discipline needed in speed skating can prove beneficial for young athletes as well. “When you look at the people who have succeeded, they started because of social reasons. There are kids out there who just want to go fast. And there are parents out there who want their kids to get in a healthy sport that’s safe,” Olson

said. The only issue his club has encountered so far is the scheduling of ice time. With hockey generally taking priority, the speed skating group has to settle for early morning sessions on the weekends. Olson thinks the earlier times can be advantageous, though. “The thing I stress with the families of the skaters is – the harder the ice, the cleaner the skate is. If you want to progress in the sport, there’s no better time to do it than in the mornings.” It certainly appears that the early mornings haven’t discouraged eager students from learning this exciting sport. And just like Olson predicted, speed skating’s popularity continues to grow in this area. In addition to Chandler, the PSSC will officially expand to the Ice Den in Scottsdale this coming fall. Contact Brian Benesch at 480-8985630 or Follow him on Twitter @AZBenesch

or two. Down 18-20, with two possible championship-clinching points for Perry, Millennium’s Antoniak dropped a soft spike right into the dirt, tricking Perry for a 19-20 deficit. Antoniak came up clutch in the next point as well, with a block that just glanced the sideline for a 20-20 tie. The Pumas did not get down on themselves, though, remaining as focused as ever to finish off the match. “I just think we had to keep pushing, and a lot of times it’s just point-by-point, and we’re just trying to push, and we got it done,”

Valadez said. The Perry pair won the next point easily to lead 21-20. Finally, an errant Millennium spike into the net secured a 22-20 victory – and a state championship – for the Pumas, who piled on top of one-another in jubilation, celebrating the team’s first-ever title. “I’m ecstatic, and it doesn’t really feel real to be honest,” Perry senior Razo said. “I knew we had a chance, but it didn’t really feel real until we beat some of the teams and actually came out here and it came true.” Perry’s Ryann Davis and Noelle Weintraub’s dominating, yet inconsequential, 21-14, 21-12

victory for the Pumas’ fourth overall point added just a bit of icing on the cake. For the several Perry seniors who have played together for years both in indoor and beach volleyball, the state championship serves as a neat bookend for a slew of successful seasons. “Perry doesn’t have any state championships, so it’s really exciting that now beach volleyball has won a championship,” Valdez said. “It’s awesome, and I can tell my college coach that I’m coming there with a state championship under my belt.”


June 4 - July 20 Mayor Jay Tibshraeny and the Chandler City Council




Casteel High joins spring football showcase BY BRIAN BENESCH Sports Editor

The idea was simple: host a joint football practice so college scouts can watch as many local high school players as possible. The execution was the tricky part. That’s where Red Mountain Coach Mike Peterson and his staff came in. Not long ago, Peterson and colleagues gathered in the war room to brainstorm ideas to showcase their athletes. Almost instantly, a joint football practice was proposed. “We decided that we wanted to have three other schools here. We made three phone calls and those are the guys who are coming. So, are they excited? I think that they are. Again, we only had to make three phone calls,” Peterson laughed. The three high schools that jumped at the chance to join Peterson’s squad earlier this month were Casteel, Williams Field and Queen Creek. Red Mountain’s vision was to get as many eyes as possible on some of the Valley’s top football players. “If we want more coaches to look at our guys, then we’ve got to have more guys,” the coach said. “We brought in more schools, and between the four of us, we’ve got a lot of guys that those college recruiters will be willing to take time out of their days and come to our practice.” The showcase event seems far from

Brian Benesch/Sports Editor

Casteel High was among the four East Valley high school varsity football teams that were part of a unique joint practice hosted by Red Mountain High School in east Mesa earlier this month.

revolutionary, but it’s not exactly commonplace in Arizona. Peterson couldn’t recall a joint practice like this ever taking place in the area. “I’ve coached here since 1998 and I’ve never seen anything like it. They have them in California and Florida, but never in Arizona,” he said. While it only took a matter of hours to reel in the other schools, the battle was only beginning for Peterson and his staff to put together the showcase. As football injuries become more and more prevalent, proper precautions have to be taken – even in practice. “We jumped through some hoops with the AIA and the college compliance offices to make sure we were good,” he said. “Once it was a sanctioned event by the

AIA, then the compliance offices were more than happy to allow their coaches to come.” Peterson and company were eventually given the go-ahead with one important condition: no competing with the other teams. This meant the field was to be split up in quarters, with each school seemingly conducting its own drills and exercises. Still, the joint practice could be very beneficial for young athletes, especially ones hungry for college scholarships. Red Mountain’s showcase got prominent football figures from the area talking. “I think it’s good that you see other programs. It keeps the energy level up when you are going against other schools,” said former Chandler Head

Coach Jim Ewan. “It’s great for the colleges because they have limited contact time now. They get more bang for their buck.” The players from all four schools took the field at about 4:30 p.m. In the beginning, teams were split up by position groups. The offensive and defensive linemen were on the main playing field while skill-position players started on a practice field. Midway through practice, the groups switched fields, giving the college coaches and scouts chances to view every player in attendance. Overall, at least 20 colleges were represented at the practice, including notable schools like Alabama, Washington, ASU and Arizona. The event was a hit according to everyone at the high school, so it’s safe to assume these joint practices could become regular occurrences in the future. As is usually the case with most good ideas, Red Mountain’s event is already becoming a trend. Two more joint practices were held right after the four teams gathered in front of scouts in Mesa. “Real close after we announced ours, Saguaro organized one and Coach Hinds organized one,” Peterson said. “We reached out to all of them and started to cross-advertise it.” He added, “Gosh, it’s just so beneficial for the colleges.” -Contact Brian Benesch at 480-8985630 or Follow him on Twitter @AZBenesch

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Arizonans dodged a bullet in failed redistricting plot BY JIM PEDERSON Guest Writer

In 2000, a group of citizens came together and organized an initiative drive to amend the Arizona Constitution to permit the drawing of legislative and congressional districts by an independent citizens commission instead of the Legislature. Proposition 106, or the Fair District Fair Elections campaign, was approved overwhelmingly by the voters. The campaign theme was “Let the people draw the lines.” Voters understood the message that creating districts by politicians is an inherent conflict of interest. The problem is that once in power, it’s human tendency to want to hold on to it. It’s why generations of politicians have engaged in the dishonorable practice of gerrymandering – when partisan politicians draw voting district lines to favor a predetermined person or party. Generally, the excuse is that since it’s been done before – as far back as 1789 – it’s all fine and good. But that’s nonsense,

and that is the reason why voters took away the power of politicians to engage in gerrymandering. Democracy is fragile. It depends on informed citizens exercising their right to vote and demanding fair and responsive representation from those in power. Regardless of whether you are conservative, liberal or somewhere in between, Americans believe it’s the fundamental right of voters to choose their politicians and not the other way around. We raise the point because there was an effort afoot in the Legislature to “tinker” with the Independent Redistricting Commission, which serves as a buffer between self-interested legislators and the impartial implementation of voting lines that level the playing field for anyone that wants to run for office. A constitutional amendment – SCR 1034 – was introduced by Senate President Steve Yarbrough that would change how commission members get appointed, the number of members and what criteria utilized to approve new districts.

Notably, it would potentially give legislators – with their own elections at stake – more power to decide who their voters are. It’s not only unfair, it’s unwise. Had it come up for a vote, the result would have been less-competitive elections – which means legislators less responsive to you, the voter. Proponents of the bill argued it would have made the IRC more bipartisan. But it begs the question of why bipartisan ends would be pursued through such blatantly partisan means. More likely, it’s the case that backers in the Legislature want to undermine the commission so that come 2020, when the Constitution requires every state to redraw its lines in accordance with census results, the politicians in the back rooms will have more control of the process. Historical context is important here. Since the commission came into existence nearly 20 years ago, it has been under constant attack by politicians. First, they tried to weaken it by removing individual commission members. Then it

went to the courts, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was upheld in a landmark decision. Arizonans should be proud that our state set new precedent, overcoming the power of entrenched interests and pioneering a better way to determine the structure of voting maps. But winning the battle is different than winning the war. Opponents of fair redistricting will never stop trying to chip away at the IRC. But ultimately, it’s not their choice – it’s ours. The people of this state have demonstrated overwhelming opposition to tinkering with fair elections. Only when the politicians in Arizona realize that the political cost of gerrymandering is too high and that they risk their own reelection by attempting to jam it down the voter’s throats will we be able to rest. -Jim Pederson is president/CEO of the commercial development firm the Pederson Group. In 2000, he was the primary driver behind Proposition 106, which created the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

Coming budget paints optimistic future for city BY MAYOR JAY TIBSHRAENY Guest Writer

As remarkable as 2017 was for our community, I am even more optimistic for the future. Last year, we witnessed a number of high-profile business locates and expansions – most notably Intel’s plans for a $7 billion expansion and the location of Roger’s international headquarters. These projects, along with growth among Chandler’s small and mid-size employers, will provide thousands of quality jobs in our community. And I am confident we will see continued economic success in the coming fiscal year.

With the new fiscal budget, which begins July 1, we remain cautiously optimistic. This budget, at $875.7 million, represents a 6.3 percent decrease from last year and a proposal for a slight property tax levy reduction. Yes, we still have some challenges, including an unstable global economic environment, as well as an underfunded state public safety retirement system. And while we were the first Arizona city to come up with a viable plan to address this, we will remain watchful – and fully aware of the lasting impact this will have. But I also remain encouraged that our community continues to move in a good direction, and we will continue to be vigilant with your tax dollars.

In fact, we continue to be among the lowest in the Valley in cost of service for local sales tax, property tax and city utilities. We are – to say the least – a tremendous value. As I have said many times – and it bears repeating – our solid economic foundation is the product of more than two decades of sound financial planning. Policies that have been strictly adhered to by those you have entrusted to run this city. I want to thank my fellow councilmembers, who fully understand the impacts of this strategy and work tirelessly on our budget to ensure we remain fiscally strong. The result is that in the coming fiscal

year, we are again able to fund road projects, build and upgrade parks and maintain basic services and infrastructure. We will add a new parking garage in downtown Chandler, begin phase two of our Public Safety Training Facility and enhance our technology in a number of areas. We benefit from Triple-A bond ratings with all three agencies. That’s an achievement only 30 cities across this country can claim. Thanks to all of those people in the community who have provided input through our budget survey, the Budget Connect online forum and by other means. Your feedback is always helpful as we plan for Chandler’s future. And what a future it is.

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SAN TAN SUN NEWS | MAY 19 – JUNE 1, 2018

For Rep. Townsend and teacher critics, facts went bye-bye BY DAVID LEIBOWITZ


One of my favorite journalistic staples nowadays is the “fact check.” Typically, fact checks involve a media outlet assigning a 19-year-old college intern to gauge the truth of a public figure’s statement – usually by Googling stuff or making some phone calls. Then, said intern ranks the veracity of the statement using stars. Four stars means George “I Cannot Tell a Lie” Washington, would’ve been proud. One star? That means President Trump probably said it. In between, three stars means, “Yeah, that sounds about right,” and two stars means, “I found a bunch of confusing stuff on the internet, so this seems mostly false.” I mention fact checks because now seems like the right time to examine some of the rhetoric surrounding Arizona’s #RedForEd moment.

The state’s education budget had just passed in the wee hours of Thursday – including a 20 percent pay raise for teachers – and the Legislature sleepily debated the balance of the budget. With Gov. Ducey signing House Bill 2663 Thursday at dawn, Arizona’s 60,000 striking schoolteachers presumably will return to work now, creating the next generation of intern fact checkers. Until then? You’re stuck with me. Let’s begin the fact-checking with Mesa state Rep. Kelly Townsend, who has branded #RedForEd as a socialist plot because of the far-left affinities of one of the group’s leaders, Noah Karvelis. Says Townsend: “Mr. Karvelis has openly supported socialist ideas and recommends his fellow teachers do the same. This is absolutely unacceptable and as a veteran of the U.S. Navy, I cannot and will not negotiate with such a group.” I’m giving Townsend’s accusation one star. Is Karvelis a Commie? I don’t know where he fits between Karl Marx and Bernie Sanders. But here’s what I do know:

Tens of thousands of teachers demanding better pay and additional education funding cannot be pigeonholed by the beliefs of one 23-year-old with a bullhorn. Townsend’s logic is no different than the tired liberal syllogism that says, “David Duke is a racist. David Duke is a Republican. Thus, all Republicans are racist.” Next up, let’s examine a nugget of conventional wisdom best expressed by the phrase, “We will remember in November.” You’ve heard that one a few thousand times lately, uttered by political partisans who claim #RedForEd will create a massive #wave colored either blue – resulting in the defeat of incumbent Republican Ducey – or red – keeping the GOP firmly entrenched statewide. I give the wave concept two stars – mostly false. Why? Mostly because it’s May and Election Day isn’t for six months. I suspect much of the passion around #RedForEd will have subsided by then for the 6.9 million Arizonans not wearing a red t-shirt or posting #PurpleForParents

opposition statements. Additionally, Ducey has acquitted himself well on the public relations front, standing by the narrative that teachers wanted raises and he found the money – more than $1 billion for education. Expect to see that soundbite on millions of dollars of TV ads all summer and fall. Finally, let’s defy fact-checking tradition and rank a statement as deserving negative stars – so false, it defies comprehension. It’s the accusation made by counterprotesters that Arizona’s teachers are “greedy” for striking. Really? Greedy? For demanding a raise to about the national average teacher’s salary – $58,00 a year – in a profession that demands a college degree, licensing, ongoing professional development and the ability to educate dozens of kids all day long for nine months a year? If that’s how you define greed, well, allow me to politely suggest that you need to go ahead and check your damn facts.

Time is up for governor, Legislature on school funding BY ROSS ROBB Guest Writer

The #RedForEd movement has dominated local news and community conversation in recent weeks and for very good reason. We stand at a long overdue crossroads in the future of public education in Arizona, and I rise today to add my name to the long list of concerned Arizonans who demand dramatically increased public education funding from our governor and Legislature. I do not come to this stance lightly and without background and experience regarding the subject matter. I served on the Kyrene Governing Board for almost a decade, I have provided real estate consulting services to one of Arizona’s premier charter school operators and I sit on the board of an East Valley private high school. I have lived in the East Valley for 40 years, the last 28 years in Kyrene. I consider myself a fiscal conservative with

that position more grounded in my lack of confidence in our elected officials to spend taxpayer money prudently and less so in any belief that taxes, especially for public education, are unnecessary to assure the long-term success of our community and its citizenry. During my time on the Kyrene Governing Board, we governed the district during an unprecedented period of dwindling budgets as Arizona and the nation felt the impact of the global recession. We worked diligently and made hard choices with the belief that painful budget cuts would be temporary. But that recession ended long ago and our political leaders have failed year after year, budget after budget to demonstrate even the slightest interest in improving the educational well-being of our youngest citizens. The recent actions of teachers and support professionals must be viewed as the only remaining alternative of fellow Arizonans who have been long neglected and underpaid. This is nothing less than an act of final

desperation of dedicated professionals who did not ask for or invite the dire circumstances that gave rise to their recent actions. In my discussions with fellow parents, whether they chose district schools or charters for their children and even as I chat with parents of college-age children, we all want the same thing – quality public education for our children so that they can compete in the future. There is more agreement between us than our political leaders would have us believe. As long as politicians who wish to starve public education can pit us against one another – district vs. charter, higher ed vs. K-12, liberals vs. conservatives, teachers vs. administration, governing board members vs. superintendents, they succeed in distracting us from what unites us. They win when we fight among ourselves for what limited education funding is made available. To state it as succinctly as possible: Time is up for our governor and Legisla-

ture to act. By every indication, the majority of Arizonans demand a sustainable plan for public education funding. That must start with immediate and meaningful salary increases, but that should be only the beginning. We must overhaul a K-12 financing formula that has become incomprehensible to taxpayers and unmanageable for governing boards. We must address deteriorating school facilities, which put our children at risk. At the same time, districts must implement 21st-century solutions for the delivery of quality instruction to make sure that increased school funding is deployed efficiently and transparently. There is a famous quote that goes, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” This is Arizona’s serious public education crisis and the time to deal with it is now. Stay the course, #RedForEd. We are with you. -Ross Robb is a retired Kyrene School Board member.

Letters to the Editor Patterson’s ‘bitter rant’ was incendiary

In the May 5 issue, your paper “regrettably” displayed a “dreadful” lack of journalistic integrity, indeed made a “mockery” of it by publishing Thomas Patterson’s “bitter” rant and its “whopping” lies without rebuttal. It’s hard not to feel angry after reading that lead sentence and it’s inflammatory language. The words in quotes were taken from the first column of Mr. Patterson’s piece. The remainder of the piece was just as bloated with incendiary wordplay. Anger serves conservatives. At the very least, Thompson’s political shilling needed rebuttal to

address facts like the State Government stealing the revenue from previous taxes to fund education, or maybe a national comparison of Arizona’s education spending, instead of numbers in a vacuum. It’s easy to spot a conservative political shill. There’s no art in their language. Their trademarks include opinions without supporting data, inflammatory language, cherry-picked data, presenting made-up statements as universally accepted facts. These are not my father’s conservatives. Nor mine. -Denny Schnulo

School hours too long for student I am writing to complain about The

Santan Jr. High school hours. Please input this in the newspaper, junior high school hours are too long, Please shorten the dismissal to 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m., or at least 3:30 p.m. It really stinks how we get home, do three hours of homework, then have no fun time because it is time for bed. Please help us! -Cole Alvey

Homework ‘excessive’ at junior high

I have an issue. You see, at Santan Junior High School, students are given an excessive amount of homework. It is like they are trying to destroy students’ personal lives. For example, if there was an important

family event, a student would not be able to attend it, as they would have a night full of homework to do. I believe that the amount of work should be shortened, or at least done in class. It is a real problem that plagues the community. -Jacob Mark Corbett

Lunches at school disappoint

My name is Asher Hepworth from Santan Elementary. I am sending a letter complaining and how utterly disappointed in our elementary lunches. I know that someone at my table doesn’t eat lunch because of how bad it is. I hope you can help me with this problem. -Asher Hepworth




For more community news visit

Photos by Lamar Studios, Life Touch and Lou Coopey’s All Pro. Tamillia Thomas, Joanna Gunaraj and Christopher Smith by Heather Patterson.

Top Row L-R: Jeremy Sass, Kaitlyn Luo, Alek Kemeny, Julianna Gay, Gregory Miller, Arina Putikova, Joanna Gunaraj, Tamillia Thomas. Bottom Row L-R: William Mustafa, Dorothy Tung, Gillian Harrill, Lindsay Pacheco, Adrio Nikolas Romine, Jerry Zhu, Christopher Smith

High school grads will shine at ceremonies BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Some top students in Chandler high schools will earn recognition for their academic achievement as they take center stage at graduation. Valedictorians – seniors chosen largely for having the highest grade point averages – and salutatorians – peers who have the next highest GPAs – have been named at the schools where graduation will take place this month in Chandler. In some cases, students who are not valedictorians or salutatorians also will have a chance to shine when they give speeches at graduation ceremonies. Here is a look at the valedictorians, salutatorians and speakers for commencements at those high schools that replied to a SanTan Sun News’ request for information,

Chandler High School

Valedictorian Adrio Nikolas Romine, 16, of Chandler has a cumulative gradepoint average of 4.9 and plans to become a doctor. He’s heading to Arizona State University’s the Barrett Honors College to study pre-med. He is the son of Paolla Jordan and Gerald Romine. Most valuable lesson learned: “The most valuable lesson was the ability to prioritize everything and what required more time and effort, and what could be done quicker. After everything was prioritized I was able to manage my time to insure everything was accomplished to the best of my abilities in a timely manner.” Activities: National Honor Society, Debate, International Baccalaureate Program, Students Supporting Brain Tumor Research. Salutatorian William Mustafa, 18, of Chandler, has a cumulative grade-point average of 4.9 and will study mechanical engineering at ASU. He wants to get an internship at a local engineering firm while in college and ultimately work for Tesla/Space X. He is the son of Akter

Nasima and Golam Mustafa. Most valuable lesson learned: “The most valuable lesson that I learned in high school was to have no regrets in any decision you take, and if you didn’t make the right choice it’s always a chance for you to learn. If you want to grow you need to challenge yourself because through perseverance the best is always brought out. Lastly, to BE YOU because it’s very easy to get lost and have other people dictate your life.” Activities: Model United Nations, Academic Decathlon, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Ultimate Frisbee Club, International Baccalaureate Program. At Chandler High’s big event, senior class treasurer Kassandra Agramon and spirit commissioner Alexia Hicks will provide welcomes and introductions. Kevin Byrne and Gillian Harrill are schla/ high honors students nominated by their peers to give speeches.

Arizona College Preparatory – Erie Campus

does not name valedictorians and salutatorians or rank students. However, three students, Madi Bonfigt, Troy Gilchrist and Margaret Krenke will give speeches, as will student body president Erin Broas.

Hamilton High School

The valedictorian, salutatorians and two other students in the top five of the graduating class will be recognized and Gregory Miller, 17, was chosen by his class to give a speech. Valedictorian Jerry Zhu, who has a grade-point average of 4.9, is planning to attend Princeton University, where he will major in electrical engineering/computer science. While at Hamilton, Zhu, 18, was named a National Merit Finalist and a National AP Scholar. He was also a congressional Award gold medal recipient, a congressional art competition winner and an American Visions nominee.

Zhu also did data mining/machine learning research with graduate students at ASU’s School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering. He participated in the math club and Teen Leadership Academy and volunteered at local youth organizations. Arina Putikova, 18, of Chandler, is one of Hamilton’s two salutatorians, and she has a GPA of 4.9. She plans to major in biological sciences at ASU Barrett Honors College and become a pediatrician with an international humanitarian program. She is the daughter of Vitaly Putikova and Young- Hee Sim. Most valuable lesson learned: “The most valuable lesson I learned is to make the most of everything and never take anything or anyone for granted.” Activities: AP Scholar with honors, a member of the We the People Team, which took first place in the Western Region and won a state competition; member of the swim and dive team, volunteers at clinics to help younger children learn to swim and volunteers with the Chandler Fire Department to build awareness of drowning. Dorothy Tung, 17, the other salutatorian, has a GPA of 4.9 and plans to attend the University of Arizona Honors College on the Baird Scholarship, majoring in neuroscience with a minor in elementary education. She is the daughter of Henry Tung and Shuling Ko. Most valuable lesson learned in high school: “At Hamilton High, I have encountered the most diverse group of people – many of which have polarized political ideologies, conflicting religious views, varying passions, and eccentric personalities. This melange of differences has allowed me to broaden my perspective and be versatile when collaborating with other people.” Activities: National Merit Finalist and co-president of the Huskies United Club, National Honor Society and a Link Crew leader; Freshman English Student of the Year honor and received superior honors for finishing the Arizona Study

Program. Shewas also honored for her achievement in psychology by the American Psychological Association and played piano at competitions and senior retirement homes. She took many trips to underprivileged regions of Mexico and Taiwan as a music and an English teacher. The students who are tied for fourth in their class, Alek Kemeny, 17, and Kaitlyn Luo, 17, will also be acknowledged at Hamilton’s graduation.

Perry High School

Valedictorian Tamillia Thomas, 18, of Chandler, has a cumulative grade-point average of 4.93. The daughter of Sandra and William Thomas, she plans to attend the University of Arizona and wants to be a chemical engineer. Most valuable lesson learned: “You don’t have to do it alone.” Activities: Common Sense Club, volunteering with her church’s mobile food pantry. Salutatorian Christopher Smith, 18, of Chandler, who has cumulative gradepoint average of 4.89 and plans to go to Stony Brook University in New York State to study applied mathematics and “pursue a career in systems biology where I use mathematical models to explain biological systems.” His parents are Charles and Rocio Smith. Most valuable lesson learned: “Doing things that scare you is the best thing you could do for yourself.” Activities: National Honor Society, Spanish Honors Society, Math Club, FACES, Interact, Asian Culture Club, varsity soccer, club soccer, volunteering in Spanish and tutoring, Chandler Public Library and marathon volunteering, Flinn scholarship and National Merit finalist, National Hispanic Scholar, National AP Scholar, Mathnasium employee. Perry graduating senior Joanna Gunaraj, 17, Chandler, was elected by the top 5 percent of the senior class to give a speech at commencement. She has a cumulative GPA of 4.63. See





Sandy Hook prompted local acupuncturist’s mission BY COTY DOLORES MIRANDA Contributor

Dec. 14, 2012 forever changed the lives of residents in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and several adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School lost their lives in a mass shooting. That date is engraved in Jody Murray’s memory and in her heart. It was a day that changed her life trajectory, leading her to reach out to the medically underserved worldwide, using her skills as an acupuncturist and an athletic trainer. “Everything changed for me on that day when a shooter killed 26 individuals in Newtown, where I lived and worked,” she said. “I treated anyone who had been affected by the shooting at my clinic at no cost. It was an emotional and difficult time for all of us.” Murray, who’d grown up in a small Vermont town where volunteerism was part of the fabric of life, followed the example set by her father, a volunteer firefighter and coach, and her mother, a volunteer with the Ladies Aid Society. “It wasn’t called volunteerism; it was called being a good neighbor,” she said. “When I became a professional, my volunteer efforts centered around athletics. I volunteered at marathons and other community athletic events. I volunteered in the USA Olympic system and traveled with teams to China and Mexico.” Murray, who moved to Ahwatukee two years ago, wears a necklace that reads, “One person can make a difference; that person is you.” It is a belief she acts upon, especially

Special to the San Tan Sun News

Ahwatukee acupuncturist Jody Murray helps a youngster during her visit last year to India.

since Sandy Hook. “I believe we’re all responsible to share our

humanity with each other,” she said, adding: “My goals now, when I travel to treat

underserved populations, are to be a positive representative of an American, and to learn as much as I can about the people I treat. I believe give-and-take between strangers can have a lasting and real effect.” Recently, Murray set off for her third international medical mission trip as she heads to the Amazon rainforest region of Peru. This is the third consecutive year she is serving with volunteer groups, sharing her skills. It is time well spent, even as she pays her own way while taking time from her practice at AZ Spine Disc & Sport in Ahwatukee as an acupuncturist, athletic trainer and exercise physiologist. To help defray costs, Murray sets up GoFundMe accounts. Even then, the twoweek trips are worth it all, she said, as the memories of those she’s helped stay long after the suitcases are unpacked and put away. In 2015, Murray volunteered with the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children and traveled to Kodaikanal, India – a city of approximately 36,500 people that, at more than a mile high, is a welcome refuge from the heat of the plains. “I took the time to learn a few words of Tamil before I went to Kodai, and they served me well, but the physical therapy clinic rang with the words ‘How do you say...?’ during my two-week stay,” recalled Murray. “I’d shout out my request and somewhere over the din, Raja or Dr. Arun or even occasionally another patient would shout out the Tamil for me to use. See

ACUPUNCTURE on page 53


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Scores of kids showed up at Hamilton Aquatic Center in Chandler earlier this month for a family-friendly event aimed partly at reminding children and adults about water safety and partly to have some wet fun. 1) Elaine Waggoner, 3, figures she’s safe in the shallow end; 2) water wings were in order for 3-year-old Charlotte Koning; 3) Megan Karjekian, 11, tried the diving board while 4)Evelyn Koning, 5, tried to adjust the water flow. 5) Gabriella Waggoner, 2, showed you can just sit in the water and be cool; 6) Julian Mendoza, 6, went all in; 7) Bryson Reed, 2, was all suited up.

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2 Chandler natives serving with historic Navy 7th Fleet SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Two Chandler natives are serving the U.S. Navy halfway around the world in Sasebo, Japan. Petty Officer 3rd Class Ari Dehghani, a 2012 Dobson High School graduate, is a gas systems turbine electrical technician with the forward-deployed Naval Beach Unit 7, while 2017 Hamilton High grad Fireman Tysen Pao is aboard the mine countermeasures ship USS Warrior. Dehghani operates, repairs and performs organizational and intermediate maintenance on electrical components of gas turbine engines, main propulsion machinery, auxiliary equipment, propulsion control systems and assigned electrical and electronic circuitry up to the printed circuit and alarm warning circuitry. Proud to be serving in the Pacific, he fondly recalls memories of Chandler. “Growing up I learned that everyone has something different to offer,” said Dehghani. “Everyone in the Navy comes from someplace different.” Dehghani received the Navy Achievement Medal for his last tour. With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the U.S. “has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy’s presence in Sasebo is part of that long-standing commitment,” a Navy spokesman said. Commissioned in August 2012, Naval Beach Unit 7 was formed to combine the three forward-deployed naval forces detachments in Japan. Personnel from the command are respon-

Special to the San Tan Sun News

Chandler natives Tysen Pao, left, and Ari Dehghani are both serving with the historic Navy 7th Fleet off the coast of Japan. Dehghani is a 2012 Dobson High grad while Pao graduated from Hamilton High School last year.

sible for manning and operating either the landing craft or managing landing operations from the beach. “NBU 7 landing craft serve an important function for the Amphibious Force 7th Fleet in being able to move personnel and equipment from ship to shore,” the Navy said. But it also requires a lot more. “Being forward-deployed is fast-paced, and it gives me the mentality of always being ready. I enjoy this mindset,” said Dehghani “The Navy made me a lot more mature. The

first time I ever got promoted in a job was in the Navy.” “Serving in the Navy means doing what you have to do to meet the mission and getting your job done in the most efficient way possible while protecting our country, friends and families,” he added. Seventh Fleet, which is celebrating its 75th year, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the

Antarctic in the South. Its operations encompass 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 sailors in the 7th Fleet. Pao is aboard the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship, operating out of Sasebo. The ship routinely deploys to protect alliances, enhance partnerships and be ready to respond if a natural disaster occurs in the region. His responsibilities include operating and maintaining diesel engines and reduction gears used for ship propulsion and auxiliary machinery. “Being able to follow orders and listen is what I bring form my hometown to my Navy career,” said Pao. With a crew of more than 80, Warrior is 224 feet long and weighs approximately 1,300 tons. Warrior is one of the Navy’s 11 Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships that are designed to neutralize mines from vital waterways and harbors. There are four minesweepers in Sasebo that are on call to clear mines if necessary in the Indo-Pacific. “I joined the Navy to be forward-deployed and fight for my country,” said Pao. “The Navy has taught me how to be more disciplined, respectful and has helped me with some leadership characteristics.” “Serving in the Navy means giving the Navy a positive look and the whole of the United States a good, positive outlook,” he added.

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Chandler mom-son team flying high BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Spirits are high for a Chandler woman and her 13-year-old son, who soared above the competition at a national indoor skydiving contest. Mary Traub and her son, Nick TraubFinley, won the gold medal for the 2-Way VFS Rookie division at iFLY Virginia Beach National Competition earlier this month. At the indoor skydiving event, pairs had to fly in certain formations, sometimes connecting with their partners, as quickly as they could. With indoor skydiving, fans at the top of a vertical wind tunnel draw air through the flight chamber and then push it back down the sides through what are known as return air towers. The result is a smooth column of air that lets people fly. Fliers wear helmets, ear plugs and jumpsuits; some also wear gloves. Traub and her son were the only mother-son team at the national event. After signing up Nick in the iFLY’s Scottsdale location last September, Mary spotted her son’s natural ability and wanted to take his talent to a higher level. A former outdoor skydiver who made about 3,000 jumps, Mary asked Spencer Labunski of the iFLY in Scottsdale, who had been instructing her son and other youths, if he could coach her and her son

Special to SanTan Sun News

Mary Traub and her son, Nick Traub-Finley, 13, won the gold medal at the iFLY Virginia Beach National Competition earlier this month.

for the national competition. Labunski said “yes,” and Mary and Nick had about three weeks to prepare for the competition. “It was kind of my Mother’s Day gift,” Mary said. “Nick had asked me what

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do I want for Mother’s Day…and I said, ‘I’d really like to compete in nationals.’ We went to Spencer and he didn’t even bat an eye. He just said, ‘Let’s do it.’ We developed a plan. It was a lot of fun.” Mary said Nick, a seventh-grader at

San Tan Charter School in Gilbert and a straight-A student, kept his cool at the national competition. They and the other competitors in each round had 35 seconds of time to do a sequence and repeat it as many times as possible. For example, in one, they might both have to fly on their backs and grab their partner’s legs or hands. They had six rounds to perform the acrobatics in the air. “Our last round was our very best,” Mary said. “We flew that one the fastest. It was just a lot of fun. Our goal was not to win, our goal was just to have fun, to fly clean, do everything correctly.” Mary and Nick, who were called “Arizona Double Trouble,” was thrilled to take home gold medals. A tax advisor, Mary, 55, said it is great to have a sport she can compete in with her son. Competing in the indoor skydiving is a great way for teenagers to develop nonverbal communication skills like reading someone’s feelings or thoughts, she said. “He’s such a good flyer,” Mary said. “He’s much better than I am. I just love the way he had such a good attitude for the whole meet. I was so proud of him. Standing on the podium with him, that was just a dream come true.” iFLY’s Flight School is a way for youths ages 4 to 16 to experience flight. Information:


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2 popular parks to get major upgrade BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Two popular parks in Chandler are getting upgrades that experts say will provide more polished, safer areas for children and adults to play and participate in sports. The Chandler City Council recently approved construction contracts to two companies to do work at Harter Park at 665 N. Country Club Way and Snedigar Sportsplex at 4500 S. Basha Road. A contract of nearly $287,000 to AJP Electric will pay for renovations to Harter Park, including a new picnic ramada, new swing set, playground surfacing, new lighting and other changes. Council awarded a contract of more than $535,000 to Nickle Contracting to pave a dirt parking lot at Snedigar Sportsplex off Alma School Road to create 61 paved parking spots, among related work. “We’re very fortunate with our elected officials there. They are always supportive of quality-of-life issues such as this and making improvements and renovating our parks,” said Mickey Ohland, city services planning manager. Harter, located just north of Galveston Street, is one of 40 neighborhood parks in Chandler. “The park is 24 years old and so what we do and Council has made a point, that as we continue to build new parks, we don’t want to forget about our existing and older parks,” Ohland said. “Neighborhood parks are within a square mile of residential development so the city’s goal is to provide at least one neighborhood park for every square mile of residential development. They’re designed to walk or ride your bike to.” The covered picnic ramada at Harter

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Workers are going to pave a dirt parking lot at Snedigar Sportsplex at 4500 S. Basha Road to create 61 paved parking spots, among related work.

will be replaced and a new swing set that is ADA-accessible will be set up at the park, he said. Existing lights will be replaced with lights that are LED, as they last longer and require less maintenance, Ohland said. New woodchips will be put in the playground area for ADA compliance and to make it less likely people will get

injured if they fall, he added. Irrigation will be improved, and a ramp put in for accessibility and sidewalks will also be upgraded. The construction work at Harter Park is expected to be done by the end of May. Areas where construction projects are in process will be fenced off, but people will still be able to access other areas of the park while work is underway,

Workers clean up a field at Snedigar Sportsplex on South Basha Road. The Chandler City Council recently approved construction contracts to two companies to do work at Snedigar and Harter Park.

Ohland said. Melissa Hartley of Chandler is excited about the renovations at Harter Park. She often goes there with her daughter, who is in elementary school. “We go to play,” Hartley said. “We go to walk the dogs. She’s learning how to ride her bike over there. We use that park often. “It is a big reason why we bought in that neighborhood and we love how well-utilized the park is,” Hartley added. “I was excited to see the swing set is going to get upgraded. It’s nice to see that they’re continuing to invest.” At Snedigar Sportsplex, workers will create a paved parking lot off Alma School Road at the Lake Street entrance, Ohland said. “We received complaints regarding the dust that’s generated since it’s not paved,” he said. “Number two, with it not being paved, it’s just not being used very efficiently.” Crews will also put in sidewalks, a curb, gutter, landscaping and lighting associated with the new paved parking lot. “It definitely will be a big improvement to the park while cutting down on the dust and providing additional parking for the people that use the park,” Ohland said. Snedigar is busy “just about every night of the week and on weekends” with various youth and adult sports organizations using the sports complex. People also walk their dogs in a dog park and skate in a skate park there. The construction project at Snedigar will start in June and will likely be done by the end of August. “It shows that we place a high level of importance on our parks and making sure they’re up to date and userfriendly,” Ohland said.




Sister City student exchange to hold fundraiser SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

The student exchange program with Tullamore, Ireland, is sponsoring a fundraiser with flair. Fibber Magee’s Irish Pub, 1989 W. Elliot Road, Chandler, will host the event 5-8 p.m. May 22, providing a program with entertainment, a silent auction, 50/50 chances and other offerings. Stilicho, a traditional Irish band, will play songs, ballads, sea chanteys and selections from early American lore on banjo, accordion, guitar and bass. Ciara Archer, the 2016 Arizona Colleen and Rose, will sing, and step-dancers from Chandler’s Bracken School of Irish Dance will round out the entertainment. Funds raised will help with the underlying costs of traveling and hosting exchange students. Four students from several Chandler high schools have been selected to travel to Chandler’s Sister City of Tullamore in June, and then return with students from Tullamore for a 10-day stay in Chandler in July. The students are Sarah Fuller and Sophie Looney Abney, both Corona del Sol High School students; Luke Ryan from Seton Catholic Prep and Cole Stewart from Perry High. “I am looking forward to bonding with my Tullamore student,” said Sarah. “I will strive on my trip to grasp a thorough

Gary L. Looney

Getting ready to visit Ireland as exchange students are, from left, Cole Stewart, Luke Ryan, Sophie Looney Abney and Sarah Fuller.

perspective of the differing aspects of our two lives.” The host families from Chandler and Tullamore will plan their own activities

with their own child and their “twin” child. “Together we will be introducing and experiencing new adventures and participating in activities that will

increase cultural understanding and educational exchanges,” said Looney Abney. While here, the Irish students will engage in trips and activities that will include tours of GoDaddy, Infusion Soft, OsySea Aquarium, the Arizona Science Museum, the Irish Cultural Center and Chandler’s ImprovMania. The students also will visit the Eddie Basha Collection, one of the largest privately owned collections of contemporary Western American and American Indian art in the world. Their trip will include a visit to Intel to learn more about their innovative technology. The Chandler and Tullamore students will create a presentation for the July 9 Chandler City Council meeting. The student exchange program is at the heart of Sister Cities International’s mission of creating bonds between people from different cities around the world. In addition, the program benefits host families and schools since students frequently report that their “twinning” experiences are life-changing. RSVP at Irish. Donations can also be made through, and are tax deductible. Information: Ellen Harrington, 480-600-8509 or chan. or




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ICAN program helps kids in middle school BY SHELBY PEDERSEN Guest Writer

Many parents know that middle school can be a nerve-wracking few years. So much growth and change occur with youth as they transition to high school – they transform into young adults right before your eyes. At ICAN, we see this transition among youth in our afterschool program all the time. We also see the struggles that their parents face with this transition. Our program team works with our parents in a variety of ways each month – focusing on positive parenting skills and communication with youth. They decided to tackle this transition to high school with youth and parents through the “Bridges” program. This curriculum was introduced to ICAN through Arizona State University and the work of Nancy Gonzales and Larry Dumka. Bridges is a program for middle school youth and their parents to attend together. It is designed to increase school engagement and achievement, strengthen family-school linkages, and prevent adolescents’ social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. The skills presented through the

Bridges program are important for any parent facing the middle school years. ICAN is the first to offer the Bridges program through a nonprofit agency. Students work together to explore their aspirations and the role of education in reaching them. They learn strategies to achieve long term personal goals and practice life skills to manage problems and challenges. Parents work together to increase awareness and understanding of adolescents’ changing emotional and educational needs. They learn skills to strengthen communication and positive bonds with their students, structure and monitor their students’ activities and opportunities, and manage adolescents’ emotional problems and risky behavior. One of our families that participated last year at Willis Junior High recently reached out to ICAN to share a follow up on their family plan. The mom shared that her son was having some challenges deciding what high school he wants to attend next year. She said her son had been practicing some of the coping skills learned in the program and that she had been able to listen more carefully to her son’s reasons (see CONNECT skills below) instead of reacting. Mom said that, thanks to Bridges, they were able to make an action plan, and have been visiting the different schools to learn together about their

options. Without Bridges, she said, “My husband and I would have ‘forced’ our son to attend the school of our choice, but thanks to what we learned in the program, we have been able to support our son better and make a decision together.” What skills can you utilize on your own from the Bridges program? Here are some of the skills that parents who attended the Bridges program report using the most. Do a “checkup” on some of these skills. Most parents use these skills already, but middle school is a new challenging stage for the teens: • CONNECT skills, to help you keep a strong and positive relationship with your teen so they trust that you care about them • WATCH skills, to keep an eye out on your teen so you know what is going on • LIMIT skills, to have rules and consequences so your teen can learn to be focused, responsible, and organized • FOCUS skills, help you stay calm and keep your attention on doing what is best for your teen Listening sounds simple, but parents are swift to offer quick solutions to their kids’ problems. Middle school


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is the time when youth need to start figuring things out on their own. Help youth with skills to solve problems on their own, like identifying pros and cons of their options, listening and managing their emotions and asking for help when needed. Avoid “praise with a kick.” When you praise your child for something they did good, but then follow that up with something critical. An example might be: “Great job getting an “A” on that test! But remember that you still have a “B” in the class, so you have some work to do still.” Practice “catch ‘em doing good.” Paying special attention to things they do good will increase their motivation to more good things, helping with their confidence and showing them how to be more positive toward others. The Bridges program is based on academic research that confirms that the program significantly increases school engagement, which also mediates intervention effects on youth substance abuse and school dropout rates. ICAN is offering the Bridges program to all of our sixth- and seventh-graders. I hope that these skills that we teach through the Bridges program will help many parents in our community successful bridge their youth into high school.



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from page 45

Try performing PNF – a rehab technique requiring verbal cueing to the patient – without speaking the language if you want to be humbled quickly. “We worked it out with a lot of demonstrating, a lot of miming and a lot of laughing by both parties. No worry; laughter is indeed the best medicine.” There was a wide variety of ailments, but one was prevalent. “I’ve found what’s very universal is back pain, especially in those countries where their lives are so full of labor. You find women carrying 50-pound baskets on their heads. That’s not good for the back,” she said. “And the people coming weren’t coming for a hangnail. They were coming for some pretty significant stuff. After


from page 44

Valley Christian High

Co-valedictorians are Lindsay Pacheco, 18, of Phoenix, and Julianna Gay, 18, of Chandler. The salutatorian is Jeremy Sass, 18, of Gilbert. Gay’s cumulative GPA is 4.0 unweighted. Her father is Leonard Gay and her late mother was Mariza Gay. She plans to go to George Washington



they were treated, they all felt better, and they all came back usually bringing two or three friends.” She said most of the local inhabitants weren’t familiar with acupuncture. But once they learned, and told their neighbors, Murray found herself a great deal busier. “In India, they had no idea what I did, just that I was an American who wanted to help them feel better. The first day there, I had about a half dozen people. Two weeks later there was a line out the door. I find it so moving that they are so completely trusting,” she said. Besides providing acupuncture and manual therapy at free physical therapy clinics, she also was able to instruct the staff physiotherapist in basic acupuncture techniques. “A couple great things about acupuncture is there are no side effects, you see the results pretty quick and

there’s little overhead.” Last year, Murray accompanied members of the Phoenix chapter of The Flying Samaritans to their clinic in Baja California Sur. For this shorter trip, in which she flew in on private planes, she gave acupuncture treatments to dozens of patients at at Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos at a new clinic built near the airstrip in 2003. “I was told I saw 50 patients. I had two tables filled at all times, and I used a combination of acupuncture, laser acupuncture, mobilization techniques and stretching,” she said. This year, Murray flew to Peru with Project Buena Vista that operates free clinics for communities in the rainforest, nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The nonprofit maintains a 100-acre property in the cultural zone of the Manu Biosphere Reserve in southeaster Peru

providing educational opportunities and health care to area residents who otherwise have minimal access to either. “I’m headed to Peru with a small group that will provide treatments in two rural clinics. The group has been going a few years, so the patients are expecting us, and at least already know what acupuncture is. This hasn’t been the case in my previous experiences,” she said before leaving. “I’ve heard we have no electricity in our living areas and running cold water as long as the rain doesn’t wash the pipe out.” As for 2019 Murray said she isn’t making plans for another medical mission, but added, “Truth be told, I’ve really never planned any of these. They present themselves to me and I’m called, I suppose, at whatever is the right time.” Information: Donations for her medical mission can be made at

University in Washington, D.C., to study international business and would like to attend law school Most valuable lesson learned: “I learned not only how to delegate as a leader, particularly through my roles on Student Council, but how important it is to delegate and lead your team well in a position of authority.” Activities: Student body president, National Honor Society, Valley Christian Ambassadors and softball, track and field

and volleyball teams. Pacheco, daughter of Arnulfo and Yolines Pacheco, plans to go to ASU and wants to become an optometrist. Most valuable lesson learned: “My time at Valley Christian has taught me how to set priorities and determine what’s really important to me.” Activities: National Honor Society, drama and theater and Valley Christian Ambassadors. Sass is planning to study biomedical engineering at ASU and after finishing

his undergraduate degree wants to go to medical school. He is the son of Kevin and Janine Sass. Most valuable lesson learned: “Find a good group of friends to be close with, who can hold you accountable, and continue to develop close relationships with them that last through high school and beyond.” Activities: Basketball and baseball, yearbook staff, National Honor Society and Valley Christian Ambassadors.




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Workshops to teach students digital storytelling BY COLLEEN SPARKS Staff

Students will learn how to tap into technology to tell stories and get on track for digital careers at workshops this summer in downtown Chandler. The ARTyard Project Inc. will hold its A STEAM Summer Workshop June 4-29 in half-day or full-day sessions at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center, 249 E. Chicago St. High school and college students will be taught digital storytelling, graphic design, game design and audio design. In small group settings, the participants will learn how to combine a personal narrative with still and moving images and a voiceover to make mini-movies at the workshop. They will also use Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop to create digital and print designs. Students will build video games while learning game theory styles, designing and making worlds, characters and levels using the latest technology. In the audio portion of the workshop, students will learn how to enhance the human voice and create music composition to trigger the power of sound as they


Special to SanTan Sun News

The ARTyard Project holds events including a recent exhibit for visual artists, and gives musicians, singers, videographers and other creative professionals a chance to practice their craft and get help marketing their work.

complete digital storytelling, music, film and podcasts. “They’ll have access to cameras and printers and scanners, just bringing in all


the latest technology for them to experiment with,” said Ethel Ross, executive director and founder of The ARTyard Project.


“We encourage them to bring in photographs from home so it’s a personal story they’re telling, a vacation or memory, something heartfelt. We manipulate the photos in terms of color. We do incorporate a little bit of GIF.” GIF is a format for image files that supports animated and static images. The ARTyard Project is a nonprofit organization that educators and artists started in 2012 to nurture diverse artists in a collaborative and creative community. Its goal is to help artists learn entrepreneurial skills and get access to marketing materials made by artists learning technology arts. Audio, theater, game design industry and web design professionals will teach the summer workshops, which are geared toward people ages 13 to 22. The ARTyard Project has held events for musicians, singers and videographers, as well as an art show for visual artists at Gangplank on South Arizona Avenue downtown. Usually a guest speaker talks at a workshop and artists perform their craft at the events. “There’s so much value in them perSee

ARTYARD on page 58


1-2: A mirror is one of the historical items that will be available through “Object Inspiration: A Collaborative Exhibition with the Chandler Museum.” This artwork created by Megan Koth is one of the many pieces of art inspired by the historical objects that will be on display. 3: An historical phone prompted artist Brianna Voron to make this artwork, which will be on display in the exhibit, from May 25 to August 25. Artists were asked to make some type of artwork inspired by old items in the Chandler Museum collection. 4: Historical objects in the Chandler Museum collection will be on display, along with artwork inspired by them. This piece, in progress, by artist Lauren Kelly, was inspired by a fan in the collection.

Relics of past inspire galleries’ joint exhibit BY COLLEEN SPARKS Staff

Historical objects are getting new life in a novel joint exhibit merging Chandler’s past with contemporary art. “Object Inspiration: A Collaborative Exhibition with the Chandler Museum” will be on exhibit from May 25 to August 25 at Vision Gallery and the Chandler Center for the Arts Gallery. An opening reception will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on May 31 at Vision Gallery, 10 E. Chicago St.; and at the Chandler Center for the Arts Gallery, 250 N. Arizona Ave. About 30 pieces of art inspired by objects in the Chandler Museum’s collection will be on display at both galleries.

The original historical objects will be placed near the paintings, photos, sculptures, prints and other artwork influenced by the objects. Hair curlers, a suitcase, sewing machines, a typewriter, an adding machine and a theodolite – a tool used to measure angles in the horizontal and vertical planes – are among the historical items artists looked to generate ideas for their creations. The artists generated a “wide range” of work, said Peter Bugg, visual arts coordinator for the City of Chandler. Bugg worked with Nate Meyers, curator of collections for the Chandler Museum, to pick objects from the museum to photograph and show the artists. The exhibition allows the public to see pieces from the Chandler Museum while

it is closed. “I think it will help both with the history of Chandler but also (to) see these objects in a new light,” Bugg said. “One of the strengths will be the variety in the objects that are the inspiration and the kinds of objects that the artists are making.” Spittoons and what are known as “sad” or “flat” irons people used to iron their clothes in the early 1900s are among the oldest items in the exhibit, Meyers said. Other pieces are from the 1920s, 1930s and 1950s, including an electric hairdryer and a radio from the 1950s. “It’s a great way to get our collection out in front of people a different way than just visiting a history exhibit,” Meyers said. “We were excited to use

our collection this way. The bulk of our collection is stuff that people in the community donate. “Some of these items have been in the museum’s collection 30 or 40 years. I think this is the kind of thing, whether you’ve lived in Chandler a long time or are new here, everybody’s going to find something for them in it.” Vision Gallery is a nonprofit art gallery the Chandler Cultural Foundation manages. Exhibits are regularly rotated. Information: The Vision Gallery curates the Chandler Center for the Arts Gallery. Chandler Center for the Arts opened in 1989 as a shared structure between the City of Chandler and the Chandler Unified School District. Information:




Comic Fest brings out the Marvel-ous BY CHRISTINA FUOCO-KARASINSKI Staff

Michael Rooker didn’t get into show business to entertain at comic festivals – but he sure loves being part of them. The star of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Walking Dead,” Rooker said appearing at events like May’s Phoenix Comic Fest are worth it. “It’s about having a good time and meeting the fans,” he said. Set for Thursday, May 24, to Sunday, May 27, Phoenix Comic Fest will also include appearances by the likes of Tim Curry, Ming-Na Wen, Sean Gunn, Greg Grunberg, Val Kilmer and William Shatner at the Phoenix Convention Center. Rooker has several personal appearances this year, but he also takes in comic fests as a fan. “When I started as an actor, I went to them just for the experience, just to see what it was like,” Rooker said. “I would mainly go now to see my friends. I’m sure if Stan Lee was there, I would be there. I would go see my pals. Actually, I would wait in line and be a regular fan – and then surprise them at the table.” Rooker is known for his complex portrayals of dark characters, ranging from the blueskinned, lovable rogue Yondu in “Guardians of the Galaxy” to the outlaw-turned-lawman Sherman McMasters in 1993’s “Tombstone.” He made his film debut in 1986 playing the title role in “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.” He has since appeared in numerous films, including “Mississippi Burning,” “Sea of Love,” “Days of Thunder,” “JFK,” “Cliffhanger,” “Tombstone,” “Mallrats,” “Rosewood,” “The

Special to SanTan Sun News

The Phoenix Comic Fest gives fans a chance to see some of their favorite action characters.

6th Day” and “Jumper.” Rooker also has a prolific relationship with writer/director James Gunn, appearing in his “Slither,” “Super,” “The Belko Experiment” and, of course, “Guardians.” “I keep it fresh and as honest as possible and have fun at the same time,” Rooker said.

“Every day is different. Every day is new. Every film is new. Every scene is new. Even though you have a basic ‘through lines,’ it’s still fresh, man, because you don’t know what the actors were going to do part of the time. “We rehearse, but we don’t know who’s going to happen day of.” Rooker said most actors will change lines a bit, but the “Guardians of the Galaxy” script was a gem. “When you have a great script like the script James wrote for “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” you don’t need to think or any other lines or words. They’re already there. “We just need to make those lines as normal and natural for yourself as you can. That’s what it’s all about – making them feel natural and fresh.” While he found success with “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Rooker cites a different film as his “dream job.” It’s Tombstone. “It’s really beautiful,” he said. “I got to ride a horse, shoot guns and wear spurs. If you don’t walk up and down the stairs right, you look like an idiot when you fall on your face.” Rooker has learned a few unexpected skills on the movie set beyond walking with spurs. In one film, he had to smoke cigars, which he called “gross.” He mastered the art of racing cars as Rowdy Burns in the 1990 Tom Cruise flick “Days of Thunder.” “The driving in ‘Days of Thunder’ was very, very important,” he said. “I had to learn as much as I possibly could. This isn’t just acting. This isn’t just a game. I was dealing with a 3,000-pound machine. It’s going fast. I had

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to get up to speed. That’s literally where the term comes from. I was going 205. It’s a whole different ballgame when you’re going that fast.” In late April, he was the honorary pace car driver for the Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond, Virginia. He led the field to green in the Official Toyota Camry Pace Car for the spring Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race “under the lights.” “I drove a Toyota Camry, which, by the way, is an awesome car,” he said. “It’s brand new and redesigned. I’m all into cars and that was a beautiful piece of machinery. That was fun. I’ve never driven a pace car before. I learn from everything I do.” He even learns about himself and others at comic festivals, where he’s become a fan favorite. “God forbid you choose your projects because you want to do conventions,” he said. “That’s the dumbest way to choose projects. It just so happens a lot of my choices and projects and characters really caught on to fans. They like what I’m doing, especially in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘The Walking Dead.’ “For a lot of fans, they’re a vacation. Instead of going to Disneyland or an amusement park, they meet their heroes and villains and fellow actors. It’s fun and it was amazing to learn.” Phoenix Comic Fest, Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third Street, Phoenix,, Thursday, May 24, to Sunday, May 27. For times and ticket information, visit the website.



‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ is Anne. Another well-known ATC-er, Minneapolis resident Steve Hendrickson, is Otto, whose heroic postwar efforts (he was the sole surviving family member from the Holocaust) made possible the 1947 publication of “The Diary of a Young Girl.” Anne eloquently documents their two years in hiding. The book appeared in the United States five years later and is now in 60-plus languages. In 1959, the movie followed. The story’s appeal is strong and universal: “For all of the pain we experience in these characters, we see a fountain of hope, joy and longing, too,” Goldstein said. “Even as we face this tragedy as an audience, knowing its outcome, we see some of the best in people, such as Anne’s first kiss with Peter (Van Daan).” The Rochester and ATC versions follow the original Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett play, which premiered in New York City October 5, 1955, later winning a Pulitzer Prize for drama. This version debuted in 1997 at the Music Box Theatre in New York, adapted by Wendy Kesselman. Fifteen-year-old Natalie Portman was Anne. Some of these updates resulted from replacing original passages Otto Frank edited out. He died in 1980.

BY DAVID M. BROWN Contributor

David Ira Goldstein always wanted to stage “The Diary of Anne Frank.” After wrapping a 26-year run as artistic director at the Arizona Theatre Company in June 2017, he opened a production of the show at the Geva Theater Center in Rochester, New York. Now he’s returning to the ATC as artistic director emeritus with “The Diary of Anne Frank” through June 3 at the Herberger Center in Phoenix. “I have always wanted to do this play, and it is one of a number of projects I have been able to pursue in the last year,” said Goldstein, who recently visited the haunting Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht 267 in Amsterdam, where a reconstructed bookcase marks the hidden entrance to the annex. “I was gratified to see so many young people visiting it.” He is also gratified to be working again with many of the people he’s admired at ATC. These include Jessica Andrews, managing director emeritus; Glenn Bruner, production stage manager; Tim Toothman, artistic associate; David Ivers, artistic director, and Billy Russo, managing director. The Anne Frank cast features six Arizonans. Intern actors from UA and ASU also participate. Brooklyn native Anna Lentz

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Anna Lentz is Anne Frank in “The Diary of Anne Frank” at Arizona Theatre Company

ANNE FRANK on page 59


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MAY 19 FRANK Talks: Is Incarceration the best Approach to Address Criminal Behavior, Basha Library, 782-2751 19 Our Stories: Arizona’s Wild Myths & Legends, Sunset Library, 782-2751 19 Yen-Li Chen Ballet School presents Sleeping Beauty, Center for the Arts, 782-2680 21 City Council Study Session, Council Chambers, 782-2180 24 City Council Meeting, Council Chambers, 782-2180 28 Memorial Day holiday, City offices closed 31 2018 Full Draw Film Tour - Bow Hunting, Center for the Arts, 782-2680

1 2 3 8 9 9 11 14 14

JUNE The Monkees: Mike & Micky Show, Center for the Arts, 782-2680 Showcase: Ballet Etudes School of Dance, Center for the Arts, 782-2680 Innerlight Dance Center Recital, Center for the Arts, 782-2680 The Greatest Show: The Dance Loft Recital, Center for the Arts, 782-2680 Salt River Kayak Excursion, Environmental Education Center, 782-2890 Our Stories: Skirting the Law – Crime History of Chandler, Basha Library, 782-2751 City Council Study Session, Council Chambers, 782-2180 MBBC is Broadway Bound: Marilyn Bostic’s Ballet Centre, Center for the Arts, 782-2680 City Council Meeting, Council Chambers, 782-2180

16 17 17 20 21 23 25 28

Anupa Jain Drew Rostain Hector Provencio Jim Brandt Kiera Hunter Kim Durning Lori McCallum Marcy Mcgee Matt Dregely Nancy Milan Paul Ortega Casimiro Verdin-Reyes Javier Duarte Gabe Rodriguez Tom Tucker Nathan Dickman Vince Kallander Christian Raco Sal Correa Larry Jardee Ashley Chaidez Jeff Auker Scott Nemec Chris Vodopia Fernando Arzaga Tim Letrich Melissa Simpson Dan Aungst Sam Gorton Manny Ochoa Edgar Nieblas Domonic Camillo Ramon Huezo Shawn Prisciandaro Vern Martin Tony Sandoval Fernando Villalobos Andrew Cano Clarence Armstrong Jeff Dykes Mark Garcia Mike Bershad Mickie Curtis Paul Wilson

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from page 54

forming in front of their peers in a safe environment where they get to showcase their talent,” Ross said. “They’re more than just students. They just need a little bit (of) polishing and directing and they’re able to launch themselves.” Musicians, actors, dancers and visual artists need graphic arts to promote their work, she said. Often, graphic artists will barter with the other artists involved with The ARTyard Project to build websites for them in exchange for getting their real-world professional experience. Ross teaches graphic design at Basha High School. She said her students already are working in digital communication jobs before they graduate high school. “There’s so much work to be had for the digital communication field,” she said. “Everything is online now. We have a shortage of these types of young people entering the field. Most of our graphic design or visual communication (workers) are coming from overseas. We’re not growing digital designers here at the same rate.” The ARTyard Project, which started in Ross’ Chandler home, held a similar summer camp to the upcoming one a few summers ago at Gangplank. That one focused on graphic design, photography, illustration and page layout but lasted two weeks. “The kids really had a good time,” Ross said. “It was fun. We were able to create some posters and fliers. The software

Special to SanTan Sun News

Left: Nile Ross, an emerging rap artist, performs at an event The ARTyard Project held in Chandler. Nile is the son of Ethel Ross, executive director and founder of The ARTyard Project. Above: The work of Shirley Chiu, who arranges and takes photos of fruit, was on display at an exhibit The ARTyard Project organized at Gangplank in Chandler.

is very complex. It’s like learning a new language for some people.” A professional graphic designer, she previously worked as an art teacher for 20 years at schools in Gilbert and New

Jersey. Shirley Chiu of Chandler is grateful to Ross and The ARTyard Project for supporting and encouraging her with her photography. Chiu cuts, arranges and photographs fruit and her photos were shown at an ARTyard Project showcase, where the

work of another artist was also on display and a violin quartet played at Gangplank. “I think that is a great way because for me, I never thought I am an artist,” Chiu said. “I’m just like a normal housewife and I just start from doing a very tiny little project while making breakfast for my husband and I.” She said Ross contacted her after seeing her photos of fruit posted on Facebook and said The ARTyard Project would like to exhibit her photos. “I said, ‘Wow,’” Chiu said. “The ARTyard Project has been helping me because I was just like a nobody. Now my Chinese community, they know more about me and about my artwork. I’m really thankful and I really appreciate The ARTyard work. “Their goal is really good, their vision is really amazing to help the artist to get recognized in the community,” she added. “ARTyard has been the tool for us, the other artists, (to) at least get noticed in the community. I think it’s a great nonprofit organization.” Ross, who is also president of the board of directors for ARTyard Project, said she would love for The ARTyard Project to have its own space as “Gangplank is very tech-centered and we’re definitely more arts-centered.” The workshop sessions for A STEAM Summer Workshop will take place in two sessions: from 8 a.m. to noon and 2 to 6 p.m. June 4-29. Any of the one-week sessions costs $285. The cost of taking the workshops all four weeks is $2,000. Information:

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The Monkees’ Mike and Micky stop in Chandler BY LYNETTE CARRINGTON Contributor

The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz will touch on all aspects of the legendary band’s 50-year career when they kick off their tour Friday, June 1, at Chandler Center for the Arts. “This is the first time Mike and I have done a show together – just the two of us,” Dolenz said. Over the years, Nesmith has sporadically joined original members of The Monkees on tours as he keeps busy with his business, Videoranch. Previously, Dolenz toured with Davy Jones, who died in 2012. “A few years ago, Peter (Tork) and I went on the road, just the two of us, because Nes couldn’t make it that year,” Dolenz explained. “Somebody brought up the topic of Nes and I touring together, and we met and chatted about it a couple of times and we thought, ‘Why not?’” Nesmith and Dolenz, along with a backing band, will celebrate The Monkees’ career, from their 1966 debut hit “Last Train to Clarksville,” to their 2016 album, “Good Times.” The Mike and Micky Show will incorporate all the classic songs including “I’m a Believer,” “Daydream Believer,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and “Listen to

the Band.” Songs from Nesmith’s band, First National Band, will be included as well. “We always do the big Monkees hits in their entirety—no medleys or anything— so that doesn’t change a whole lot,” Dolenz said. Choosing the touring musicians was a collaborative effort for Dolenz and Nesmith. “For me, the musicians obviously have to be able to play the music and have the sensibility for that kind of music,” he said. “The Monkees’ music is pop rock. “I have tended to surround myself with people who enjoy the music. You can hire a musician who plays really well, but isn’t crazy about the music. But it’s also important to have people who travel well. On tour, we have a joke. ‘They pay us to travel. We sing for free.’ Any musician would probably agree with that.’”


What: The Monkees Present the Mike and Micky Show Where: Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 1. Tickets: $48-$88 Info: 480-782-2680,


from page 56

Others have since been revealed. Changes to the play reveal Anne’s pubescent coming-of-age and her often strained relationship with her mom, Edith, played in Rochester and Arizona by New York resident Naama Potok, daughter of author Chaim Potok. “I love her,” she said of Edith, noting that she visited the Anne Frank House as a girl and, in preparation for the role, researched Edith’s life online. “She was a proper private German Jewish woman whose life was dedicated to her children and her husband. She loved to go dancing, enjoyed the beach; she was a vibrant social being. “I found in my research that Edith felt how difficult it was to raise her daughters in such close quarters, in the presence of other adults who are not their parents. I have a great deal of respect for her,” adds Potok, whose family lost 102 members during the Holocaust. The last searing vision of her is through Otto at the end of the play, recalling Westerbork, an internment center where the family had been sent on the final train, September 3, 1944: “Edith worrying about her children, washing underclothing in murky water.” Anne’s final diary entry is August 1, 1944, days before the Gestapo, tipped by an unidentified collaborator, breaks into the annex at the end of the play. As the Allies liberate Paris, Brussels, Antwerp in the summer of 1944, the



Franks are transported from Westerbork to Auschwitz, in Poland, where Otto perseveres and survives. In October or November, Anne and Margot are transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, where they died, probably of typhus, a month, perhaps two, before the liberation of the camp by the British army on April 15. Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans are dying quickly. Living memories must now be transformed into a communal memory of the tragedy of those dark times and the triumph of light and life. For Prokopek, the role has reaffirmed her career direction and the importance of remembrance: “By being immersed in the story, I realize how beautiful and sad it is and how relevant it is today,” she said. “It’s so important to practice tolerance and to work together.” The play, then, summons vigilance, self-evaluation and affirmation. “Hatred is a choice. We can choose a different path,” Potok said. “We have tried to honor both the horror and inspiration of the Anne Frank story,” Goldstein said, “and we have dedicated it to the survivors in awe of their willingness to share the darkest part of their lives in a continuing message of faith and hope.” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe, Phoenix, 602-256-6995,, various times Thursday, May 17, to Sunday, June 3, $25-$80.


16000 Maricopa Road, Maricopa, AZ 85139 • Theater Info (520) 494-7827 • (520) 568-3456






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As endurance is tested, honor those who died BY DR. RABBI IRWIN WIENER. If we should learn anything from their Guest Writer sacrifice it is that they are the perfect

The one thing that man has perfected above all else is the art of war. The one thing that man has yet to perfect is the art of

peace. The many we honor on Memorial Day are truly a testament to these pronouncements. The hallowed grounds that contain their remains should remind us of the destructive nature of weapons beyond description and behavior that imitates the most heinous efforts ever perpetrated by human beings.

examples of goodness and mercy abiding in all of us. We desecrate their memories when we abandon our obligations. Yes, we devote time to commemorate and celebrate. We commemorate the vision they represented when they went off to battle – the vision of peace and tranquility. We celebrate their lives because now what we have are memories of fathers and mothers and husbands and wives of brothers and sisters who remain with us through the difficulty of remembrances. How many times in our journey have we been forced to memorialize a loved one? How many times in our journey have we asked the purpose for which they

died? How many times have we really tried to determine the value and purpose of all life? Questions, more questions, an endless display of the questions asked through the ages. Yet, there is one more, and it is connected to today, involving the seemingly mindless killings and murders, not only of adults, but now our children. So, here is the remaining question, at this time as we connect to our heroes: Is this what they sacrificed so much for? Our endurance is being tested as never before, and we take the time and expend the energy to pay tribute to all who answered the call of their country since the beginning of our republic. We do this to offer our thanks and to pray:

Dear God, you endowed us with both eyes and ears. Teach us to those eyes to see the horrors before us. Teach us to use our ears to listen to the cries of the generations sent to all corners of the Earth to fight for justice and decency. Give us the ability to access the teachings you sent through the Holy words of Scripture: there will come a time when the lion will lie down with the lamb, and each will live under his fig tree and not be afraid. Perhaps then, O Lord we will earn the blessings you bestow upon us each and every day. Dr. Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D. is National Chaplain of Jewish War Veterans-USA and he is with Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.

Be like a rabbit in the desert and listen BY LYNNE HARTKE Guest Writer

Several weeks ago, my sister and I took advantage of the cooler morning temps and went hiking on South Mountain at the Pima Canyon trailhead. We hiked in the brown of a dry winter that produced a spring with few wildflowers. We passed an ocotillo without one single green leaflet on its stalks, as the plant had cast off all its leaves in hopes of surviving, yet orange flower flames shot from the tip of each withered stick. We took the service road back with its ambling up-and-down gravel surface, where the most dangerous things we encountered were mountain bikers racing back to their cars. I kept a tight grip on the leash of Mollie,

my terrier-retriever who would much rather have been bounding after ground squirrels in the underbrush. About 100 yards from the parking lot, I saw it: the first saguaro bloom on the top of a 10-foot giant with three arms raised to the morning. The three-inch creamy blossom tilted toward the east, and I knew it had bloomed during the night, the beginning of its 24-hour life in the desert where it would attract bats, white-winged doves, and other pollinators. “I want to get a photo,” I said to my sister and handed her Mollie’s leash. My eye caught something else off to my right. A cottontail rabbit sat motionless in a sunbeam, the veins of his extended ears alight in the sun. The rabbit did not move as I stepped closer, which surprised me because their natural defense mechanism is to bolt at the first hint of danger. His nose twitched. He

was hidden in plain sight, which was a good thing, because Mollie still had not noticed him. I figured he must have been an older rabbit – not a skittish two-week-old youngster away from the nest for the first time, but maybe an ancient two-year-old – a grandparent of a rabbit. I snapped several photos of the saguaro and then the cottontail, motionless in its environment of creosote, hedgehog and staghorn cacti. Ears straight up, grandparent bunny sat gathering data – the changing sounds at daybreak. The mourning dove greeted the dawn, along with the call of the Gambel’s quail and the scolding cactus wren. The snakes would slither out soon to warm their cold-blooded bodies and I knew the rabbit was alert for coyotes seeking a bunny breakfast.

To all this – and the sounds of hikers and bikers – the rabbit listened and sought clarity. What sounds could he ignore? What sounds needed his attention? When was he in danger? As we headed to the car, I peered over my shoulder for one final glimpse of the motionless cottontail. Still listening. For a rabbit – near the bottom of the food chain – listening is the difference between life and death. Are you seeking clarity in your own noisy world? God reminds us: “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV). Ears up! Take time to listen. Lynne Hartke is the author of Under a Desert Sky and the wife of pastor and Chandler City Councilmember Kevin Hartke. She blogs at

Christians are ‘called out’ as Children of Light BY REV. SUSAN WILMOT Guest Writer

We’re at the doctor’s office and our name is called. We’re at the airport and our flight is called. We’re waiting for takeout and our order is called. The pharmacy calls to tell us our prescription is ready. Ditto for the service garage calling to tell us our car is ready for pickup. In times of war, soldiers are called to serve our country. We’re thrilled to get called for a job interview. Students are called to answer a question in class. The ringing phone is a friend calling. Our phones ping with new email messages and posts in social media, calling us to pay attention to our phones. We get all kinds of calls, and what do we generally do? That’s simple! Most of us answer, reply, respond, react, go where directed or do what’s expected. Pavlov would be proud at how well-conditioned our responses are to the world’s ways. But what of God’s call on our lives? Being one of the most highly quoted prophets, let’s look at Isaiah 6 and the

story of how the prophet responds to God’s call. Isaiah finds himself spiritually transported into the courts of Heaven, where six-winged seraphs praise God ceaselessly saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.” He then overhears the Lord God saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” and responds eagerly, “Here am I; send me!” Isaiah’s experience is unique. But notice that he’s open and vulnerable to hearing God’s call, and willing to risk love by responding in selfless service. As followers of Jesus, empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit, there’s no barrier to experiencing the same kind of clarity in our divine call, our mission or vocation in life. The question is whether we’re willing to listen, make ourselves vulnerable enough to hear that still small voice of God’s divine direction, and follow where it leads. We answer our phones with fearless alacrity, but even if we hear God’s call, too often we dismiss the experience for fear of ridicule or disbelief. Yet, here’s the kicker written across the pages of

Scripture. God knows us all intimately (Psalm 139), we’re inscribed on the palms of God’s hands (Isaiah 49:16), and according to Jesus, those who belong to Him hear His voice; He calls us by name and leads us out (John 10:3). What an interesting turnaround history has dealt us. Isaiah has a vision of God’s throne room and receives divine direction and confirmation of his prophetic call. Yet, he couldn’t have even imagined a telephone, let alone a smart phone. He certainly didn’t experience the same distractions we face today like surfing the internet or participating in social media. We have so many options to communicate easily and speedily. It’s interesting how we have no problem responding to all kinds of calls from the world, but sometimes struggle to respond to God. Isaiah helpfully provides us with a step-by-step lesson. Significantly, the context of Isaiah’s vision and call comes as he’s worshiping the Lord. Our worship together is the first step in discerning God’s will. When all parties are intent on communicating, you can bet that something is going to happen.

God is always intentional in reaching out to us, and as we gather in God’s name, we’re taking time to reciprocate that intentionality. It’s vital for our spiritual health and well-being to take time out to put the world’s frenetic busyness on hold, so we can connect with God, and touch the timelessness of eternal love. The faith community is where we affirm our commitment to align our wills with God’s will, and learn how to make it so. Community is the crucible in which we learn how to be agents of God’s transforming grace, serving the Lord, and making a difference in the world. In praise and worship, the Holy Spirit lifts the song and prayers of our hearts to join the voices of the saints and heavenly host. As we listen to God’s word and pray together, we find our scattered lives refocused rightly toward God in Christ Jesus. In Christ, we experience forgiveness and healing as we confess our sins, and as we’re fed, strengthened, and transformed by Christ’s body and blood. When Isaiah confesses he’s cleansed See



CHILDREN OF LIGHT from page 61

from sin, forgiven and healed. At that moment, he’s able to hear God’s call. Likewise, our repentance opens the door of our hearts and minds to hear God’s call. Just like Isaiah, we’re free to serve the Lord without the weight of guilt, shame or blame to hinder us. When the world calls us, we answer with unseemly haste. God is also calling each of us. If we’re resisting or refusing to respond, what’s stopping us? How have we become

disconnected, distracted or disoriented? The Greek word for church – “ekklesia” – literally means “called out.” We’re not being the body of Christ, if we reject that call. The good news is that it’s not too late to respond to the Lord. As beloved children of God, called to be children of light, let’s join Isaiah with one voice as we say, “Here am I; send me!” -The Rev. Susan E. Wilmot is vicar at St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church & Preschool, 975 E. Warner Road, Tempe. Reach herat or at 480-345-2686. Check out our website at

Spiritual Connections Call ahead to confirm as details occasionally change after print. If you have a recurring monthly support group or meeting to list in Spiritual Connections, email complete details to

SUNDAYS Celebration Service 9:30 a.m. Sundays Unity Church of Sun Lakes meets in the Arts and Crafts room of Sun Lakes Country Club, 25601 S. Sun Lakes Blvd., Sun Lakes. Rev. Debbi Brown/Adams presides and coffee and fellowship will take place after the service. The church reports it is a loving, positive, active and health-minded spiritual community. 480-277-4576, Celebration Service 10:30 a.m. Sundays All with peaceful beliefs are welcome to this inclusive, loving, thriving UNITY Community. Join the group at 10 a.m., preceding the service, for fellowship. Youth and toddlers meet during service. Interfaith CommUNITY Spiritual Center, 952 E. Baseline Road, Suite 102, Mesa, 480-593-8798, Kids’ Sunday School 10 to 11 a.m. Sundays Unity of Tempe, formerly Unity of Chandler 1222 E. Baseline Road, Suite 103, Tempe 480-792-1800

Lift Your Spirit 10 a.m. Sundays Hear inspirational messages and music. Unity of Tempe, formerly Unity of Chandler 1222 E. Baseline Road, Suite 103, Tempe 480-792-1800 Traditional and Contemporary Services 7:30 a.m. daybreak contemplative worship, 9 a.m. traditional worship and choral music, 11 a.m. contemporary worship with live Christian rock band. There is also a service at 12 p.m. Wednesdays St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 901 W. Erie Street, Chandler 480-899-7386,

MONDAYS The Art of Parenting 7:30 p.m. Mondays Six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and presented by Rabbi Mendy Deitsch of Chabad of the East Valley, designed to help parents at all levels of Jewish knowledge develop their own parenting philosophies and techniques. Cost is $99. Pollack Chabad Center for Jewish Life 875 N. McClintock Drive, Chandler 480-855-4333,




Silva Class and Meditation 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays Learn the Silva method with Lois Britland. Unity of Tempe, formerly Unity of Chandler 1222 E. Baseline Road, Suite 103, Tempe 480-792-1800 Career Connectors 8:30 a.m. to noon, fourth Tuesday of month Nonprofit organization connecting professionals in career transition to highquality resources and hiring companies; each event includes professional career speakers with presentations on relevant job search topics, three to four hiring companies, networking, resume help, career coaches, LinkedIn coaches and business portraits. Central Christian Church, Gilbert Campus/ Student Center, 965 E. Germann Road, Gilbert 480-442-5806,

Panic Healing 7 to 9 p.m. every Wednesday Receive a 15-minute energetic tuneup. Unity of Tempe, formerly Unity of Chandler 1222 E. Baseline Road, Suite 103, Tempe 480-792-1800 Gong Meditation and Yoga Nidra 7 to 8:30 p.m. third Wednesday Presented by Will Zecco, gong master. Bring yoga mat, blanket and pillow as desired. Love offerings will be accepted. Interfaith CommUNITY Spiritual Center, 952 E. Baseline Road, Suite 102, Mesa 480-593-8798,

Christian Business Networking Tri-City Chapter – Chandler, Tempe, Mesa 7:15 a.m. Tuesdays Offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts and business referrals. Crackers and Co. Café, 535 W. Iron Ave., Mesa Maia, 480-425-0624, Christian Business Networking, Chandler Bi-Monthly Chapter 7:45 a.m. second and fourth Tuesdays each month Offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts and business referrals. Chandler Christian Church, Building B, Room 202 1825 S. Alma School Road, Chandler Maia, 480-425-0624, HOPE—Help Overcoming Painful Experiences 7 p.m. Tuesdays Free weekly small-group sessions helping people overcome emotional pain caused by divorce, grief, addictions and more; free child care for children ages 10 and younger. Desert Springs Church 19620 S. McQueen Road, Room 106, Chandler, Shalom Chapter of Hadassah 11:30 a.m. second Tuesday of each month Iron Oaks (Oakwood) Clubhouse 24218 S. Oakwood Boulevard, Sun Lakes Cyril, 480-802-0243; Kathy, 480-895-5194; Shirley, 480-883-9159; or Joyce, 480-8024902. Monthly Women’s Fellowship 6:15 p.m. fourth Tuesday of each month The monthly fellowship Bible study with the East Valley Chapter of Christian Women’s Devotional Alliance “ministers to women’s spiritual, emotional and physical needs.” Best Western-Mezona, 250 W. Main Street, Mesa. 480-232-3773 Narcotics Anonymous (Nar-Anon), Chandler Chapter 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays Twelve-step program for families and friends of addicts. Faith Community Church 1125 N. Dobson Road, Chandler,

“A Course in Miracles” with the Rev. Julianne Lewis 1 to 2:15 p.m. Wednesdays The weekly group is an interactive time of learning and sharing, appropriate for course beginners, as well as longtime students of ACIM. Interfaith CommUNITY Spiritual Center 952 E. Baseline Road, Suite 102, Mesa 480-593-8798, The Art of Parenting 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays Six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and presented by Rabbi Mendy Deitsch of Chabad of the East Valley, designed to help parents at all levels of Jewish knowledge develop their own parenting philosophies and techniques. Cost is $99. Chandler Jewish Community Center 908 N. Alma School Road, Chandler 480-855-4333 or Grief Care 6:45 p.m. Wednesdays A place to come share your feelings or just listen to others as we try to navigate through our grief. You don’t have to do it alone. Epiphany Lutheran Church, South Campus, old church building, 800 W. Ray Road, Room 325, Chandler, Healing Prayer and Meditation Circle 7 to 8:15 p.m. Wednesdays Guided prayer, affirmations and visualization for those facing physical, emotional, mental or spiritual issues in their lives. Love offering requested. Unity of Tempe, formerly Unity of Chandler 1222 E. Baseline Road, Suite 103, Tempe 480-792-1800 Meditation Moments 7 to 8:30 p.m. third Wednesday of the month An interactive time of learning and sharing, appropriate for beginners or longtime students of ACIM. Interfaith CommUNITY Spiritual Center 952 E. Baseline Road, Suite 102, Mesa 480-593-8798, St. Mathew’s Episcopal Church 12 p.m. Healing and Eucharist service St. Mathew’s Episcopal Church 901 W. Erie Street, Chandler 480-899-7386,


CONNECTIONS on page 63



from page 62

THURSDAYS Women’s Empowerment & Awakening 7 to 8:30 p.m. third Thursday Release negative beliefs. Unity of Tempe, formerly Unity of Chandler 1222 E. Baseline Road, Suite 103, Tempe 480-792-1800 A Course in Miracles 7 p.m. first, second and fourth Thursday Unity of Tempe, formerly Unity of Chandler 1222 E. Baseline Road, Suite 103, Tempe 480-792-1800 Empower Model for Men 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays The three-class series is taught by author Scott E. Clark and designed to offer practical wisdom and tools to help men shift into their higher consciousness, based on the sevenstep empower model detailed in Clark’s book, “Empower Model for Men.” Cost is $85. Unity of Tempe, formerly Unity of Chandler 1222 E. Baseline Road,, Suite 103, Tempe 480-792-1800 Real Love Support Group 6:30 p.m. Thursdays For those who have a desire to acquire more “real love” and in the process find great personal happiness and more fulfilling relationships. Love offering requested. Unity of Tempe, 1222 E. Baseline Road, Suite 103, Tempe 480-792-1800

FRIDAYS Temple Havurat Emet 7:30 p.m. first Friday of each month Lecky Center, Robson Library 9330 E. Riggs Road, Sun Lakes,

SATURDAYS Spirit Night – Psychic Fair 4 to 8 p.m. third Saturday of each month The “Lightworkers” offer a wide range of services, including Reiki, facials, mediums, drumming, tarot, angel messages and more. Services range from $20 to $30. Cash only. Interfaith CommUNITY Spiritual Center 952 E. Baseline Road, Suite 102, Mesa Spirit Night – A Holistic Healing Festival 1 to 6 p.m. third Saturday of the month Lightworkers offer a wide range of services including Reiki, facials, mediums, drumming, tarot, angel messages and more. Services range from $20 to $30. Interfaith CommUNITY Spiritual Center 952 E. Baseline Road, Suite 102, Mesa, Unity Drumming and Healing Circle 6:30 to 8 p.m. fourth Saturday of each month Beginner, expert drummers and observers welcome. Bring snack, appetizer or dessert to share. Love donation accepted. Interfaith CommUNITY Spiritual Center 952 E. Baseline Road, Suite 102, Mesa 480-593-8798,

OTHER Forever Marriage Ministries Marriage Restoration Support Group for Wives Offers hope to the hurting Valleywide through one-on-one Biblical marriage teaching, God-honoring wife discipleship and marriage restoration mentoring to wives seeking God’s will in the restoration of marriage. Lisa, 602-377-8847, marriage@lisacmyers. com,,

Chandler United Methodist Church Making and Deploying Disciples for over 100 Years.

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. Register now for

SUNDAY WORSHIP Rolling River Rampage SUNDAY SCHOOL Worship 9 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.

Vacation Bible School coming June 18-22

For Children 9:10 a.m. & 10:40 a.m.

480-963-3360 | | 450 E. Chandler Heights Rd.

Come, Worship the Lord

Praise Him

Glorify His Name

Jewish Women International, Avodah Chapter 1581 Monthly luncheon. Social Box Eateries, 1371 N. Alma School Road, Chandler RSVP: 480-802-9304, 480-655-8812 Moms in Prayer International A group of mothers who meet one hour each week to intercede for their children and schools through prayer. Liane Wright, 480-699-7887, Bible Study Meets twice a month Members of the Women’s Life Group study the Bible and discuss how the lessons can relate to their lives. Sun Lakes United Church of Christ, Chandler. Jan Olson: 480-802-7457, Joy King 480-588-1882 East Valley Jewish Couples Club Offers once-a-month social activities such as dining, movies and plays for Jewish couples in the 45- to 65-year-old age range. Melissa, 480-785-0744, Chandler Presbyterian Goings On: Sundays: 9:15 Kid’s Sunday School 9:15 Adult Bible Study Room 3 10:00 Walking the Walk (Youth) 10:30 Sunday Service Noon: Lenten Jesus Bible Study and Food! 3:00 Kenyan Fellowship/Language Worship Service 7:00 p.m. Alcoholics Anonymous



Mondays: 7 p.m. Alcoholics Anonymous Tuesdays: 10 a.m. Prayer Group (Pastor’s Office)(except 3rd Tuesday of month) 1 p.m. Chandler I Am Project Room 3 Wednesdays: 10 AM Peter and Paul Bible Study 6 p.m. Men’s Spiritual Stag 6:15 Bell Choir Rehearsal 7 p.m. Church Chorale Rehearsal 6 p.m. Alcoholics Anonymous (Women only) 7:30 p.m. Alcoholics Anonymous (Men) Thursdays: 6:30 p.m. Women’s Bible Study 7 p.m. Alcoholics Anonymous (Men) Every 1st and 3rd Friday...I-HELP @ 6:00PM Dinner/Showers and a place to sleep for the homeless Regular monthly activities: Lois (Women) Circle: Every 3rd Tuesday 10 a.m. Spirits Willing Lunches Out (over 55) 11:30 a.m. , 4th Fridays All events are at Chandler Presbyterian Church at 1900 S. Arrowhead Drive except for Spirits Willing and lunches. Let us help you publicize your church or temple’s events in the Spirituality section by emailing details to Include a brief description of the event, times, days, dates, cost or free, if registration is required, venue, address, publishable phone number, website if applicable and contact information for verification purposes. We welcome photos, which must be 300 dpi JPEGs or taken on ça digital camera on the “best” or “highest quality” setting. Information is due 10 days prior to publication date. Submission does not guarantee placement.




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CLASSIFIEDS SanTan Sun News Classified Ads Each ad starts at $22 plus Chandler tax per issue. Special: Buy 3 get 4th for free for only $66. You get up to 50 words more than other classifieds. To Place Your Classified Ad Call 480-898-5611 or Email: Read our paper online:



Sunbird Golf Club Bring in this ad for a 2 for 1 Special Call for Reservations: 480-883-0820 Sunbird Golf Club 6240 S. Sunbird Blvd. Chandler Offer Expires 10/10/18

CARPET CLEANING BIG JOHN'S CARPET CLEANING Our truck-mounted steam cleaning system will deep clean your carpets, ridding them of unwanted dirt, bacteria, fungus and chemical residues. Upholstery cleaning also available. Tile and grout cleaning. For a clean and healthy carpet, call 480-786-6610 or 602-989-8311 John Downs, Owner/Operator, Ocotillo Resident. Call for monthly specials.



FINISHING TOUCH CLEANING SERVICE...19 years in Chandler and Gilbert areas. Mother/Daughter Team with excellent long-term client references. METICULOUS w/an EYE 4 DETAIL!! Looking for Steady Clientele that want Consistent Quality Service with EVERY cleaning. Competitive rates. Exceptional Service!! We Love Pets!! Free in home estimate. Call Rita -480-250-9744

ALL-STAR DRYWALL & PAINTING Hang, tape, room additions, outside lid repairs, match all textures, popcorn removal water damage repairs, int, ext painting & much more 30 yrs exp ROC # 262737 free est Call 602-743-6209

MUSTANG CARPET & TILE CLEANING Carpet, Tile & Grout, and Upholstery Cleaning. Family owned, truck-mounted steam cleaning. We off 1/2-hour appointment time frames, so no waiting around. We include pre-spraying, mild deodorizer and degreasers for high traffic areas at no charge. Member BBB with A+ Rating! "We clean like it's our own!" 480-688-3003

Call Tracey at 480-898-5611 •

CONCRETE WORK Patios, Driveways, Sidewalks, All Concrete Needs. 30 years experience. Competitive prices. FREE Estimates. Dan 480-516-8920

SIMPLY GRAND CLEANING SERVICE House cleaning specialists offering weekly, biweekly, monthly, or one-time cleanings. Also, providing move-in/out cleaning service, windows and patios. We use GREEN environmentally friendly products. High quality services at a great price. Very dependable, insured and with excellent references. $10 off first service with mention of this ad. Call Dennis for a free estimate 480-802-1992 or Email:


Cell Phone Repair Service ALL iPhone Glass/Screen & Small Part Repairs

$99 Special!

We can come to YOU! Valleywide CALL US @ 623-939-1206 or Schedule Online


$22.33 per issue up to 50 words or $66.99 for 4 issues (get one issue Free).

CLEANING BY MELISSA Flexible routine scheduling available. Also available for one time cleaning jobs. All supplies and equipment provided. Serving Chandler/Gilbert area. Call Melissa 720-432-0025

HOUSE CLEANING The lowest prices in the Valley! We provide all cleaning supplies. 20 years experience Trustworthy and dependable We pay attention to details Excellent References Call Vicky 480-227-1890



EMPLOYMENT MATREAD CARE LLC Is recruiting for the position of Direct Care Givers/Professionals in Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe and Mesa areas. Requirements: Fingerprint Clearance Card, First Aid, CPR, Article-9, Direct Care Worker and Prevention and Support Training Certification. Please send resume and cover letter to:

GLASS SERVICES GLASS, MIRRORS, SHOWER DOORS Family Owned with 50 years' EXPERIENCE. Shower and tub enclosures Framed, Frameless or Custom Doors We also install insulated glass, mirrored closet doors, window glass, mirrors, patio doors, glass table protectors. If it’s glass, we can help you. QUALITY SERVICE at Competitive Prices. FREE Estimates WESLEY'S GLASS & MIRROR


Proud member of



ALL HONEY-DO LISTS! General Handyman Services. One Call, We Do It All! Owner does all work. Free Estimates with Pride & Prompt Service. Licensed, Bonded, Insured. ROC 118198.

KUTTINGEDGE LANDSCAPE A Professional and Reliable Maintenance company. Services include weekly and biweekly maintenance, one time clean ups, weed control, tree work and more. Call Rick for a free estimate 480-250-6608 or email:

S&I General Contracting, Inc.

Steve 602-339-4766

UNIVERSAL HOME REPAIR Small projects, house maintenance and renovations, house/apartment preparation for new tenants. Air conditioning repairs. Call Jack @ 480-213-4005

HOME IMPROVEMENTS QUALITY STUCCO WORK Over 25 years Experience Concrete, Block Fence, Custom Wrought Iron Gates & Other Minor Home Improvements. Free Estimates ROC#311658 Call Danny 480-479-4833

LANDSCAPING A+ SPRINKLER REPAIR SERVICE Are you tired of fixing drip system leaks? 20 years experience repairing and replacing drip systems, valves, wire troubleshooting & timers. All repairs! Honest and reliable. East Valley Native. Call and compare prices! 602-826-4717

BERNIE'S LANDSCAPING Mowing, Clean-Ups, Gravel, Winter Grass, Irrigation Repair, Tree Removal & Pruning. Landscape Maintenance FREE Estimates 480-340-6009 HECTORS LAWN CARE Owner/Operator Mowing, Edging, Trimming, Blowing, Weed Control, Fertilizer, Irrigation Repair. Spring Clean Ups FREE Estimates 480-636-0286

and Visit:

SPRINKLER & DRIP IRRIGATION REPAIRS Aqua Masters 40+ Yrs Experience Specializing In: *System Checks *Timers *Valves *Heads *Troubleshooting *Wiring Issues *Maintenance *Low Pressure *Leak Detection *System Add-Ons *Brown Spots Quality Service 480-478-0073

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS KILL BED BUGS Buy Harris Bed Bug Killers/KIT Complete Treatment System Available: The Home Depot,, & Hardware Store

KILL ROACHES GUARANTEED! Buy Harris Roach Tablets. Odorless, Effective, Long Lasting Available: Hardware Stores, The Home Depot, KILL SCORPIONS! Buy Harris Scorpion Spray. Odorless, Non-Staining Effective results begin, after spray dries. Available: Hardware Stores, The Home Depot,

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$22.33 per issue up to 50 words or $66.99 for 4 issues (get one issue Free). Call Tracey at 480-898-5611 • Proud member of





IN OR OUT MOVERS Professional, hardworking, excellent service. No hidden fees. Whether you are moving in or moving out LEAVE THE LIFTING TO US! Serving the East Valley.

EAST VALLEY PAINTERS Voted #1 Repaint Specialists! Clean, Friendly Crews. Interior/Exterior. Drywall Repairs. Textures. Concrete Staining. Pool Deck Coatings. Garage Floors. Free Estimates. All Credit Cards Accepted. ROC 153131. 480-688-4770

CURE ALL PLUMBING For all your plumbing needs! Free estimates and Senior Discounts! Water heaters, faucets, toilets, pipe leaks, garbage disposals, slab leaks, repiping, drain cleaning: Clogs, jetting, Camera inspection, locating. Water softeners, Reverse Osmosis systems. Sprinkler and Backflow repairs. Licensed, Bonded & Insured. Member of BBB. ROC#204797 Cure All Plumbing 480-895-9838

ABC PLUMBING & ROOTER 480-705-7772 SERVICE NOW!! 110% Guaranteed/100 Year Warranty. OWNER Operated (Licensed, Bonded, Insured). 20% OFF Seniors/Military. A+ Rating with BBB, Chandler, Gilbert, Phoenix, AZ award winning. If it's plumbing, we do it! 24-hour flood restoration services. Financing approval in minutes with NO MONEY DOWN & ZERO INTEREST. ROC#153202/213278



Call Terry at 602-653-5367

PAINTING EAGLE RIDGE PAINTING, LLC Interior repaint specialist, offering in-home color consulting for every job. Using only quality low VOC paints, brush-n-roll application, two coat coverage. Family owned and operated with over 25 years experience. ROC 296732 Bonded & Insured. Call Sue 480-825-2122 QUALITY HOUSE PAINTING Affordable Prices Interior/Exterior Special Coatings Free Estimates 480-707-1681 SUN TECH PAINTING INC. Gilbert/Chandler’s Trusted Painting Professionals. Residential/Commercial Painting Since 1987. Residential Exterior & Interior, Commercial Space, Professional Offices, Tenant Improvements. "Competitive Pricing With Our Same High Level of Quality". Family Owned. FREE Estimates. ROC#155380 602-625-0599

Classified Works! 480-898-5611 PLUMBING ABC PLUMBING & ROOTER CHANDLER/GILBERT *$79.00 OFF with this ad* 110% Guarantee*/OWNER OPERATED Small & Large REPAIRS 24/7 Slab leak, water main, hot water heaters, & sewer repair specialist. Water softening specialist, water filters, and reverse osmosis. 100-year warranty on parts & labor. * BBB A+ Rating. BBB Ethics Award Winner. Chandler Chamber of Commerce Employer of Choice Award. ROC#153202/213288 *Call for details 480-726-1600


Tim KLINE Roofing, LLC The Most Detailed Roofer in the State. Roofs Done Right..The FIRST Time. 15Year Workmanship Warranty on All Complete Roof Systems. FREE Estimate and Written Proposal. 480-357-2463 R.O.C #156979 K-42 Licensed, Bonded & Insured THE ROOF MEDICS Residential/Commercial Repairs and Reroofing. Tile, Shingles, Flat, Walk-Decks. Licensed, Bonded, Insured. ROC #256001, K-42. 480-284-7338

Roommate needed? Classifieds can Help!


DIRTY WINDOWS? Call Fish Window Cleaning @ 480-962-4688 and you will have the cleanest windows and screens on the block. Below is the list of services we offer: Windows – Interior & Exterior Screens – Sunscreens and Regular Tracks, Ceiling Fans, Light Fixtures Power Washing - Your driveway, sidewalks and patios. Follow us on InstaGram @FISH_WCEASTVALLEYAZ

WINDOWS/ CLEANING "MOM WAS RIGHT" Appearance Counts! PROFESSIONAL WINDOW CLEANING Detailed service and tidy inside your home! 1 story-$90 2 story-$130 - up to 30 panes. Price includes inside and out. Screens cleaned $3 each. Pressure washing and fixture cleaning also available. 21 years of accumulated references! CALL RON at 480-584-1643 A+ Member of BBB Bonded & Insured

Stuff for Sale? Your Neighbors are ready to buy! Place your Ad today!


JOHN'S WINDOW CLEANING 1-story $135 / 2-story $155 inside and out up to 30 panes (add'l panes $2) Screens cleaned $2.50 per pane. Power Washing and Re-Screening available Same day Service (480) 201-6471


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Where To Eat

For more community news visit

El Sol in Chandler withstands test of time BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Many restaurants have come and gone in Chandler over the last few decades, but one has consistently been attracting diners who crave its authentic, homemade tortillas and other Mexican food. El Sol Mexican Café & Bakery is a familyowned eatery that opened in 1988 across the street from its current location on North Arizona Avenue just south of Ray Road. Customers rave about the homemade salsa and tortillas, along with the many different burritos. Mexican wedding cookies with cinnamon, sugar and ground walnuts and pig-shaped gingerbread-like cochitos also tempt diners. El Sol’s operation is a family affair for longtime restaurateur Obed de la Cruz and his wife, Panfila, who own a number of other Mexican restaurants in the Valley, including El Zocolo Mexican Grille in downtown Chandler. Obed’s father, Daniel, bakes desserts for El Sol. Obed and Panfila’s daughters, Alessia and Beatriz, 19 and 16, and their son, Daniel, 17, also work there. Obed’s late mother, Beatriz, had worked as a chef at the restaurant after she and Daniel moved to the Valley from Utah. Obed and his father started El Sol after Daniel had been getting rave reviews for the homemade tortillas and empanadas he sold door-to-door in barrios, Obed said. “It’s just the staple Mexican food,” Obed said. “Ours is just quality, the homemade tortilla makes a difference, just the love we put into it. We take pride in

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Obed and Panfi la de la Cruz own El Sol Mexican Café & Bakery on North Arizona Avenue, Chandler, and employ several of their children, including daughter Alessia.

Davidson said the owners and their relatives are “just a real friendly family.” Many people also praised the menu at El Sol on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “My sister and I are always looking for great Mexican food and El Sol gave us just that,” Brenda Oliver Mook posted. “Food was great, salsa so good we bought some to take home. We will definitely be going back. And service was awesome.” The frijoles, rice and desserts stole the heart of Jay Arrgh. “There’s a reason this place gets almost nothing but 5 star reviews,” Arrgh said. “You can taste the quality in the rice and the near-Mantecanirvana smoothness in the creamy frijoles. The tacos are nothing short of a Mexican Milagro. Do not skip out on the desserts.” Lucee K. Bravobuchanan also shared her love. “I have been going to El Sol for 14 years and not once have I ever had a bad experience!” Bravo-buchanan said. “I love their chips, their Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer salsa, their tortillas and my favorite is the The carne asada at El Sol includes a hefty portion of refried beans. shredded beef tacos, but my grandchildren love the bean burritos! Also what we do. Everything’s made in-house. their menudo is the best, Don’t get me The recipes that my mom handed down, started on the pastries!” we just kept running with them. This is In addition to the popular breakfast where my heart’s at.” burritos, El Sol also has huevos rancheros Customers can buy salsa, made fresh for $7.89. The popular Mexican dish is a daily, by the pint to take home. On corn tostada with an egg, smothered with Saturdays, El Sol sells breakfast menudo tomatillo sauce, which comes with a flour with honeycomb tripe. tortilla, potatoes and refried beans. Joel Davidson of Gilbert, a mortgage The chorizo plate, also for $7.89, has spicy, banker who works down the street from flavorful chorizo and eggs, together with a El Sol, is a regular there, and his wife, Eris, side of beans, potatoes and a flour tortilla. also loves it. Customers have many choices in “It’s just good, authentic,” Davidson burritos, to choose from at El Sol including said. “Their tortillas are fantastic. Their red and green ones for $6.65 each. chorizo’s amazing.” Another fan favorite, the carne asada As he sat at the counter in the restaurant burrito, is $7.65 each. filled with paintings created by Obed and El Sol also has pollo asado (with other family members at El Sol recently, chicken), carnitas (fried pork cooked in

oil with salt) and shredded beef burritos, as well as bean and cheese and veggie burritos, all ranging from $4 to $7.65. The killer burrito, for $8.25, comes with pico de gallo, green tomatillo sauce, rice and beans and diners can add whichever fillings from the other burritos they like. El Sol also offers quesadillas, with just cheese or stuffed with pollo asado, shredded beef or carne asada. The menu

gives customers numerous choices in tortas, including shrimp, carnitas and carne asada. People can order several combinations that come with rice and beans. One combination includes a taco and enchilada for $8.99. Obed moved from Midvale, Utah, to the Phoenix area in the late 1980s, after his parents relocated to the Valley. He See

EL SOL on page 70

Open 6 days a week, M, W, Th, F 11am-10pm • Sa, Su 12pm-10pm • Closed on Tuesdays

We invite you to experience the taste of authentic Italian cuisine made from fresh seasonal ingredients.


Monday-Friday except Tuesday 4-6pm, BAR ONLY


1/2 off all Appetizers • 1/2 off all Pizzas 1/2 off all Well Drinks, Beer and Wine by the Glass

Ranked in the Top 11 Restaurants Statewide by Thrillist


Only $8




Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf honors first responders SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, 2560 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler has a special dedicated to Arizona first responders. Its ongoing Caring Cup initiative will benefit them with “Heroes at Heart” coffee and tea blends.


The company will donate $1 from every bag of “Heroes at Heart” coffee or tea tin sold in stores and online from May 21 through July 8 to first responders and their families through 100 Club of Arizona. The Chandler-based nonprofit assists primarily the families of first responders killed or wounded in the line of duty

throughout the state/ On May 21, first responders can celebrate the initiative’s launch by getting a free beverage of choice all day. All guests will enjoy samples of the new “Heroes at Heart” blends and be invited to take snaps with their heroes in fun, interactive photo booths.

“Honoring local first responders underscores the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s long-term commitment to supporting local communities as part of its Caring Cup initiative,” the company said in a release. Information:,

from page 69

came at first just to visit but liked it and decided to stay. “I love being in Chandler,” Obed said. “We get firemen, policemen, sheriffs, suits, skirts, shorts, tank tops” at El Sol, he added. Obed said he was a high school dropout and the creativity he’s been able to express as a restaurant owner appeals to him. “It’s been fun,” he said. “It’s all I know. I grew up in the business.” Obed said El Sol focuses mostly on the lunch and breakfast items and has scaled back on the bakery side. Competing with the many bakeries at local grocery stores that have popped up in recent years is difficult, he added. His father, who bakes the desserts, is 90 years old and nearly ready to retire. Besides owning El Sol and El Zocalo, which is on South San Marcos Place, Obed and Panfila also own Phoenix Burrito House along with Obed’s brother,

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Nora Rutledge, 11, of Gilbert, eats lunch at El Sol Mexican Café & Bakery. Shrimp tacos, on right, are popular at the restaurant in Chandler.

Daniel Jr. Obed and Panfila also own Mangos Mexican Café in downtown Mesa and Burritoholics and Calakmul in Cave Creek. “Each location has its own character,”

Obed said. “We’re very artistic. It’s in your blood. My dad and mom really laid the foundation; taught us the good work ethic.” El Sol is located at 760 N. Arizona Ave.

It is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Customers can download a menu and order through the El Sol app by texting ELSOL to 33733.


Because you’ve been such an angel.

15WearFLAVORS a dress shirt and commit a white-collar crime!

We Forgive You. If I were you, I’d eat here!

1760 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler AZ 85224 (480) 963-8000





FRI. Starts 4pm




11am - 2pm




5pm - 8pm




8pm - 11pm


PARTY ON THE PATIO Every Friday night on our famous PATIO. Enjoy Live Music and Great Food/Drink Specials. Ages 21 and up. No cover.

Check out our LIVE MUSIC schedule online!

FABULOUS FIND BOUTIQUE Come find something FABULOUS! Shop for Clothing • Beauty • Health • Crafts • Jewelry • Raffles and more! FREE EVENT

VETERANS APPRECIATION HAPPY HOUR - all are welcome We want to say THANK YOU to our BRAVE Veterans. Come relax on our famous Patio. FREE pizza served from 5-6:30pm

$3 Margaritas $4 Drafts INDUSTRY NIGHT

Head over after work. TAP-TAKEOVER by Four Peaks. Beats and music from Ellegent Entertainment DJ.

$3 Margaritas $4 Four Peaks Drafts $5 Personal Pizzas $6 Loaded Fries Shot Specials from 8-9pm 21 and over event

View Our Full Calendar Online -


2301 S. Stearman Dr. • Chandler, AZ 85286 Event Questions? Call 480·686·0476

Ask Us About RENTING The Forum For Your Next Private Event!

Santan Sun News - May 19, 2018  
Santan Sun News - May 19, 2018