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June 16 – July 6, 2018 |

Relentlessly local coverage of Southern Chandler and our neighboring communities

A Chandler son gives his life for our country BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Chandler is mourning the loss of a soldier and Hamilton High School graduate who was killed by enemy fire in Somalia – the first Arizonan to die in combat since 2016. Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Conrad, 26, died of injuries sustained June 8 during an operation in Somalia while he was supporting Operation Octave Shield, the Pentagon and other sources said. Sgt. Sgt. Conrad had been assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Four other U.S. service members were injured. “He’s a hero. I can’t say that enough,” said his brother Jacob Conrad, 24, of Chandler. “He was selfless,” he added. “He always put out his best effort to make everyone happy. He was a people pleaser. He loved his family and he loved his friends.” Jacob, a Phoenix Police officer, said

U.S. Army

Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Conrad of Chandler was killed in action in Somalia June 8.

Alex inspired him to join the Army after graduating from Hamilton High in 2012. Jacob was on active duty for five years before joining the Army Reserves a few months ago and taking the job as a police officer. Jacob said Alex was “really smart” and “he excelled in the Army.” “He graduated with honors from leadership school, went to a language school I’ve heard is incredibly hard; he excelled in that,” Jacob said, adding: “The Army sent him to France to live with a family. He did that well and after a second deployment, he was talking to Special Forces guys; that became his dream. He never went

halfway into anything. He jumped all the way in.” He said he and Alex “loved competing in anything.” Both brothers played football at Hamilton and enjoyed shooting guns and mountain biking. Jacob laughed remembering how when Alex had just gotten his driver’s license he and Alex went for a ride in their father’s truck and Alex hit a bump and “cracked the frame of the truck.” “When I got my (driver’s) license, I was driving; he was like, ‘I swear you hit every pothole,’” Jacob added. Jacob said Alex was “very outgoing” and loved a good craft beer. He also enjoyed spending time with his nephews, Jack, 5, and Tommy, 3. The young boys are the sons of Christie Palcisko, who is Jacob and Alex’s sister, and they live in Oceanside, California. “Alex loved those kids,” Jacob said. See

SOLDIER on page 6

Firefighter-dad a warrior for cancer and kids No suspense in

mayor’s race but plenty in others


Firefighters are used to rescuing people facing perilous flames and life-threatening medical issues, but Keith Welch takes his role as protector far beyond the call of duty. Welch, a Chandler Fire Department battalion chief, helped his son Jack battle and beat leukemia when he was diagnosed with the disease several years ago. He also donated bone marrow to a young boy he had never met in Germany who was fighting cancer. The father of two helps children and families as they contend with potentially fatal diseases by volunteering for the Children’s Cancer Network and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Welch, 46, takes his heroic actions in stride, but his friends and family members are quick to praise the warrior dad. See

BY GARY NELSON Contributor


Read more Father stories in the Neighbors section, pages 49-50

Photos by Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Beth and Keith Welch and their children Jack and Natalie spend time together at their Chandler home. Keith is a Chandler Fire Department battalion chief, who donated his bone marrow to help a boy who had cancer in Germany. Jack is a leukemia survivor.

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When Jay Tibshraeny first joined the Chandler City Council in 1986, the town was barely a dot on the map. Even then, however, growth was coming. And fast. It was all but automatic as waves of new residents fled America’s rust and snow belts for a better place to live. Given that scenario, any town with enough sunshine and land can add people. But Chandler knew it needed more – it needed an economy of its own and an identity, a vibe. More than 30 years later the thriving Price Corridor, with its plethora of high-tech employers, and a revitalized downtown have checked those boxes even as other parts of the city also blossomed – most notably around Chandler Fashion Center. No one person can claim credit for all that, of course. But Tibshraeny has been in See

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Site 6 developer rolls out plan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .COMMUNITY . . . . . . . Page 13 Second hospital coming to Chandler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .BUSINESS . . . . . . . . . Page 23 Chandler High wins coveted cup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SPORTS . . . . . . . . . . . Page 41 Chandler man sees Holocaust horrors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .NEIGHBORS . . . . . . . . Page 45 Everyone screams ice cream at McMahon’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .EAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 69

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Left: A crowd watches fi reworks light the sky at the July 4th Fireworks Spectacular at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler last year. Right: The band People Who Can Fly performed at the July 4th Fireworks Spectacular in 2017.

Fireworks, bands to rock at Chandler July 4th celebration BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Chandler hopes to set off the Fourth of July with a bang at its annual festivities in Tumbleweed Park. The City of Chandler will hold its July 4th Fireworks Spectacular starting at 6:30 p.m. at the park at 2250 S. McQueen Road. The event is free but parking at the park costs $5 per vehicle. While the fireworks show at the end of the gathering is the highlight of the night, lots of entertainment will be available prior to the display of colorful lights in

the sky. Two youth bands Rock Sugar Skulls and Twits, from the School of Rock, will perform from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the park. A DJ will spin tunes from about 8 to 9 p.m. The United States Marine Corps Color Guard of Recruiting will deliver a presentation of colors at 8:55 p.m. Children and adults can play cornhole and other games, as well as color pictures and pose in a Sesame Street step-andrepeat, “green carpet” area at the Fourth of July event. People are encouraged to bring their own games, as well as soccer balls or baseballs and mitts to play at

the park while they await the fireworks, Hermelinda Llamas, special events coordinator for the City of Chandler said. The fireworks will go off from about 9 to 9:20 p.m. and the celebration ends at 9:30 p.m. “It’s one of our biggest, one of the more nostalgic events where everyone really wants to come out and feel a community vibe,” Llamas said. The fireworks are the most popular part of the festivities, she added. “That’s the whole reason that we do what we do because of the fireworks show and everyone loves to watch the fireworks show,” Llamas said.

Visitors at the Fourth of July gathering are not allowed to bring any type of fireworks or any grills or anything that generates an open flame to the park. Alcohol is prohibited at the July 4th Fireworks Spectacular. Vendors will sell food and non-alcoholic drinks at the park. Attendees can bring coolers and nonalcoholic drinks in plastic or cans, but may not bring anything in glass. They may also bring food. Llamas encouraged people to bring blankets and lawn chairs to sit in the grass. For more information on the fireworks event, visit of Chandler.

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Public safety debate only sparks at council forum BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Incumbent Chandler City Councilman Terry Roe was quick to defend the city’s crime-fighting record after a former member of council raised concerns about police response times. But those were the only sparks that flew as the six candidates vying for three council seats answered questions and tried to sell themselves to voters at a candidate forum organized by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by SRP and Intel. Six men seeking voters’ support in the August 28 primary election answered questions generated by local businesses, focus groups and social media outlets. Roe and incumbent René Lopez faced off with challengers William “Bill” Crawford, Matt Eberle, Aaron Harris and Matt Orlando. For most of the forum, the candidates


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the thick of Chandler’s transformation from desert outpost to 21st century powerhouse. Now, after serving seven terms as mayor, Tibshraeny will have to surrender his gavel when new City Council terms begin next year. Term limits prevent him from seeking another four years in the office he has held twice – first, from 1994 to 2002, and again after the 2010 election. As for his replacement, that’s already a foregone conclusion. Only one mayoral candidate – City Council veteran Kevin Hartke – had emerged in Chandler by the May 30 filing deadline. He is lead pastor at Trinity Christian Fellowship in Chandler and has a lengthy resume of involvement with government boards and community-service groups. But voters can expect lots of campaign fireworks at the municipal and legislative levels this summer as a result of contests among six candidates for three Chandler City Council seats and a plethora of hopefuls for seats in all three legislative districts that cover Chandler.

Chandler City Council

The primary election is Aug. 28. If no

expressed similar views about Chandler. They agreed it is a strong community with sound fiscal policy, impressive business growth and a great partnership with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce. They also stressed the importance of strong economic development and enhancing the already strong schools. But Roe and Orlando, who previously served on the City Council from 1990-98 and then from 2004-2013, clashed over public safety. When asked what two or three areas of focus they would work on if elected to the City Council, Orlando replied, “Public safety, public safety, public safety.” “Our (police) response times, they need to dramatically improve,” Orlando said. “We need more police officers, more police presence in our communities.” He added improving the safety of schools and neighborhoods, as well as the “quality of life” in Chandler are among his priorities.

Roe was quick to defend the city’s police and fire departments, citing the city’s provision of new body armor, vests and other equipment, as well as a new fire station and new fire/police training facility. “On its face, public safety is excellent,” he said. “We have great public safety. Can we have more people? Yes. We are trying to meet that need. We need to be the grown-ups in the room. We’ve got 65 parks. This is a great community.” After the forum, Orlando, who retired a year and a half ago as a director of technical sales at Honeywell, said he is concerned about the average time it takes for police officers to respond to calls. He said the city’s goal was to respond to priority one, which are calls about lifethreatening issues, within five minutes. However, the city police department’s response time to priority one calls was on average a little over six seconds, according to the 2016-17 year-end

estimate. Orlando, a retired member of the Arizona Air National Guard, said he is also bothered by the decline in the number of sworn officers since he was on the City Council in 2008. “That’s a huge concern for me,” Orlando said. “You have to have a safe community for businesses and people to want to move here. If I call the 9-1-1 call and it takes (an) average of six minutes to get here, who knows what could happen? I believe we need to address it.” He said he is “not faulting leadership or style” but that city officials need to have an “open dialogue with the public” about police response times and the number of officers. Roe, who spent 20 years with Mesa Police Department, said after the forum that Chandler has 15 new, civilian positions allocated in the police

clear winner in a municipal race emerges from the primary, the top vote-getting candidates move on to the general election on Nov. 6. And even before the election, drama has emerged. At 3:30 p.m. June 25 in Council Chambers, City Council interviews nine candidates selected from a pool of 36 applicants to fill former Councilwoman Nora Ellen’s remaining two years. She had to quit to run for a House seat in LD12. Of those nine candidates, three – William Crawford, Matt Eberle and Aaron Harris – are running in the primary for a full term. Whether any of them would quit the primary if they are picked is unclear. The others who will be interviewed are Victor Hardy, Jill Hudson, Jeremy McClymonds, Diane Ortiz-Parsons, Eshe Pickett and John Repar. Municipal races in Arizona are nonpartisan and the issues are often generic – public safety, balanced budgets, quality of life. But candidates’ general political leanings often emerge through their websites, lists of endorsements and campaign statements. Council members are elected at large and are term-limited after two consecutive fouryear terms. Seats held by Hartke, Rene Lopez and Terry Roe are up for election this year. The candidates:

William Crawford, a 24-year employee of the Maricopa Community College District and former vice president of Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Serves on Chandler police and fire pension boards. Website: Matt Eberle, a Chandler resident since 2008 with deep business background. Endorsed by four current Council members. Member of Chandler’s Architecture Review Committee. Also ran for council in 2016. Website: Aaron Harris Sr., professional educator. “I will encourage the best possible business climate for economic development and the creation of good jobs and work to streamline the burdensome, antiquated permitting processes that stifles smart growth.” Also ran in 2016. Website: Rene Lopez, incumbent, served on Chandler Parks and Recreation board before joining council in 2014. Favors further city tax reductions while enhancing public safety and recreational opportunities. Website: Matt Orlando, seeking a return to Council after serving 1990-98 and 2004-13. Retired after a long career in the defense industry. “During my time as a Council member I supported and led many activities

that benefitted and laid the foundation for our community and our quality of life that we enjoy today.” Website: Terry Roe, incumbent, stresses economic development, public safety and fiscal frugality on his website. A long list of endorsements includes other current and former Chandler City Council members and U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz. Website:


FORUM on page 10

Legislative races and teachers

Chandler and the rest of Arizona are about to find out whether the red sea that flooded the state Capitol this spring will erode Republican domination of the Legislature. The “#RedforEd” movement, in which striking teachers shut down schools across the state for six days, did succeed in wringing a 19 percent teacher pay raise from the Republican-dominated Legislature. But many teacher demands, such as raises for support staff, smaller class sizes and hiring more school counselors, remain unfulfilled, suggesting that education will be back on the front burner when the new Legislature begins work in January. Of course, it’s the rare candidate who See

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“Alex would send them boxes and they would send him cards. They would send him pictures they’d color.” He added Alex took Jack and Tommy to Legoland and bought Jack “the biggest pirate ship Lego he could find.”

Served twice in Afghanistan

A 2010 graduate of Hamilton High, Sgt. Conrad was born in Mesa in 1992 and joined the U.S. Army on June 1, 2010. After finishing basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and advanced training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, he was stationed as a human intelligence collector at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. While he was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Sgt. Conrad was deployed to Afghanistan twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, from 2012-13 and for four months in 2014. Sgt. Conrad was the first love of Sarah Burke, who was part of his graduating class at Hamilton. Burke, 26, an Ahwatukee dietitian, said they had their first date when they were students at Bogle Junior High and dated off and on through their junior year at Hamilton. “He was loved by so many people,” Burke said. “I don’t think there was hardly a person in our senior class that didn’t know who he was. He was my first love and I was his. “It’s so crazy just all the memories

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Diane Brown and her son, Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Conrad, spend time together. Conrad was killed in action in Somalia recently.

that come back. I first knew him in seventh grade; he was really quiet. Once he opened up to people he was funny. He was just a good person and he cared about other people. He wanted to make everybody happy.” She remembered how he asked her on a date when they were in eighth grade. “He came up to my locker after school,” Burke said. “He asked me out.” At first, she declined because she was not sure if she would be allowed to go on a date, but she said a friend “set up a

secret meeting” for her and Sgt. Conrad at the Chandler Fashion Center. They went to a restaurant but she said she was “so nervous” she could not eat so Sgt. Conrad did not eat anything either.

A smart, hard worker

Burke said Sgt. Conrad always worked hard, helping his father with projects and serving as a referee for youth soccer. She said he also worked at Sandbar Mexican Grill and other jobs and was very smart. “He could pick up any job and do it,”

Burke said. “He just had the common sense that I never had. He just figured stuff out. He didn’t need a lot of guidance. He was someone that was mature and had this deep understanding of the world at a younger age.” When they were dating, Burke and Sgt. Conrad often went to movies and took walks in parks. “We went to dances together,” Burke said. “He was my first dance at our eighth grade formal at Bogle. I had my first slow dance there. He taught me to snowboard, too. He was an avid snowboarder.” Sgt. Conrad was also one of the kickers on Hamilton’s football team and he had played soccer in junior high school. Burke said he also loved baseball and was “a really great horseback rider, too.” “He loved that corny humor, like ‘Family Guy,’” she said. “He would laugh. I can still picture the way his face, his smile was. He was such a good guy. The first sign of trouble, he would be the first person to step in.” Burke added Sgt. Conrad was “loyal to a fault” and a “man of character, integrity.” Even after they broke up in high school, Burke and Sgt. Conrad kept in contact and she went to his cousin’s funeral at Sgt. Conrad’s request. “We’ve always had this kind of bond even though we didn’t stay together,” Burke said.

‘Good person to be around’

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“Start with Keith being a firefighter, then add in that he and his wife have been unbelievable parents in the midst of Jack’s battle with leukemia AND they’ve used their situation as an inspiration to raise thousands of dollars to help other families facing the same battle,” said Jim Brewer, executive director of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society/Arizona Chapter. “Then Keith becomes a bone marrow donor to save the life of a stranger and,


2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was the language instructor who taught him French. Chagoya spent a short time with Sgt. Conrad for a language course in Bavaria, Germany, and again as Chagoya was finishing his tour in Africa, Sgt. Conrad’s group arrived to take over for the soldiers.

Sgt. Conrad is remembered as a smart, friendly guy who loved a challenge.

and “honored” about enlisting in the Army. “If I remember correctly, he wanted to make a career out of it,” Bratek said. Sgt. Conrad earned many awards and decorations during his time in the military. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, as well as the Meritorious Service Medal. Sgt. Conrad also received the Meritorious Unit Commendation (second award), Army Commendation Medal (third award), Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Combat Action Badge, NATO Medal and other honors. He completed a basic French course at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, in 2016. Staff Sergeant Jon Chagoya of the

through all of this, you’ll also never meet a genuinely nicer guy,” Brewer added. “The word ‘hero’ gets tossed around a lot these days but, in the case of Keith, if the cape fits.” Keith’s wife Beth Welch, a preschool teacher, said her husband is “super handson” with their son, Jack, now 11, who just finished fifth grade at Ryan Elementary School and daughter Natalie, 14, who just completed eighth grade at Payne Junior High School. He has coached Jack in flag football and baseball and loves to take his children wakeboarding, tubing and fishing at Saguaro

Lake. Keith also helps Natalie as she competes on horseback in barrel racing and roping competitions. A firefighter for 21 years, Keith had signed up to be a bone marrow donor before he and Beth learned Jack had leukemia. The couple had a friend who had lymphoma so Beth said they did it “to be supportive.” Jack was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 4 but did not need a bone marrow transplant. More than a year after Jack’s diagnosis, Keith was contacted and discovered he was “over a 90-percent match for a little boy in Germany,” Beth said. “I think he would have done it for anyone

but the fact that we were watching Jack go through this made it all the more poignant and special,” she said. “It was awesome and he didn’t even bat an eye. He’s pretty reserved. He doesn’t like a lot of attention, but he will give that up to help others. He’s totally a giver. He will always help.” A friend of the German boy’s mother contacted the Welch family on Facebook and has shared that he is doing well. Keith’s passion for firefighting was sparked in the early 1990s after his neighbor

from page 6

officer, also was in Sgt. Conrad’s graduating class at Hamilton. He played football with Sgt. Conrad and they were in some classes together. Bratek said Sgt. Conrad had to leave for basic training before their graduation ceremony but a video was shown at the event to recognize him. “Alex was one of those guys that everybody got along with,” he said. “He was a good student. He was a good person to be around. He made everybody laugh. He was always laughing, always had a smile on his face. “He was very outgoing…was always there when you needed him. He made being on the football team fun. He was very smart, very intelligent.” Bratek said Sgt. Conrad was excited


‘Made friends easily’

Chagoya, 35, said Sgt. Conrad was “not naturally talented in the language” of French, but he worked hard. “Alex succeeded because he was able to recognize that about himself,” Chagoya said. “He applied himself and worked very diligently to get to the point where he could pass a very difficult course.” He said Sgt. Conrad “made friends fairly easily” but “enjoyed actually getting See


SOLDIER on page 14


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at the time, who wound up being the fire chief for Chandler, recommended he take a ride-along with firefighters. He took the ride and said he “just fell in love with it.” Keith had thought about going into law enforcement and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Arizona State University but decided instead on a career as a firefighter. While going through the testing process to become a firefighter, Keith worked at Chase Bank and for a friend’s company dispersing vending machines. He was happy to get accepted and start work in Chandler, his hometown. Keith was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but moved to Chandler in 1982 and graduated from Chandler High School in 1990. He moved through the ranks. As battalion chief, he manages crews covering half the city and goes out on what he called “larger or more critical incidents” including heart attacks, fires and big car accidents. “I manage the crews,” Keith said. “The crews are the ones that are putting the hands on the patients. I’ll give them direction on what to do but they manage the actual tactics.” He said every call is different but 80 percent of the calls the fire department receives are for medical issues while the rest are about car accidents and fires. Firefighters like battling fires but being able to revive someone who has had a heart attack or came close to drowning is “just as special,” Keith said. He views his fellow firefighters as

extended family since he sees them often. Keith works 48 hours straight, living at a fire station, then has the next four days off. He said the most difficult part of his job is being away from his family for two consecutive days but he enjoys being able to take his children to school and do other activities with them during his off-time. Natalie loves horseback riding and Jack enjoys football, baseball and track. The 11-year-old boy is “doing really well” and is in remission after three and a half years of treatment for leukemia, Keith said. The boy endured several rounds of chemotherapy, as well as radiation, as he fought the disease. Keith recalled how Jack at age 4 did not seem like himself. He said his son had bruises on his leg and was “irritable,” which is not typical of him. After a blood test, Jack’s doctor told Keith and Beth to bring Jack back to the office and to pack a bag as they would be going to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “It was obviously pretty shocking,” Keith said. “There’s so many things that go through your mind. Our doctor gave us the news. We were obviously just devastated.” He said they did receive a “good prognosis” that gave them hope Jack would be okay but the next eight or nine months were grueling. They experienced many sleepless nights. Support from family members, colleagues and friends kept thee family going. Beth said fire department employees made dinners for the family for six months. “They just rallied around us and made it so much easier,” she said. Chandler Fire Department paramedic/ Captain Ronnie Wetch, a friend of

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Keith’s since they were roommates in the firefighting academy, praised Keith for his strength. “He’s pretty even keel,” Wetch of Gilbert said. “Out of this potential tragedy with his own child, he becomes a bone marrow donor. He ends up making a difference.” He said Keith is “just a great dad, a great friend and really a great firefighter.” Wetch hosted a party where Keith and Beth met. The couple have been married for 18 years. “He’s created happy, healthy kids,” Wetch said. “Both him and his wife work really hard. The kids are remarkable. They’re great kids and they’re great because really their parents are great. Jack embraces that he is a survivor.” Jack demonstrated his strength as a survivor when he served as a race starter for the Children’s Cancer Network’s Run to Fight Children’s Cancer shortly after his diagnosis. The boy also was picked to be the Honored Hero in 2012 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society/Arizona Chapter after that. Keith served on the executive committee for the Greater Phoenix Light the Night. The society’s Light The Night events, which raise money for life-saving research, are held in approximately 160 cities around the country and Canada. As an Honored Hero, Jack and his family went to events to share their story and they organized a large team called Jack Strikes Back with a “Star Wars” theme. “The Light the Night Team that Keith and Beth have had in honor of Jack – Jack Strikes Back – has raised thousands of dollars to advance the mission of LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society),” Brewer said. “Keith has also



been a frequent speaker at events on our behalf, sharing Jack’s story of survival to inspire others.” Keith has enjoyed the experience of meeting other families affected by cancer. “It’s just something you get involved in because there’s a passion for it,” he said. “You want to do as much as you can to try to give back to the organization and the things they do for people and the disease. You meet so many people. It’s therapeutic.” Keith and his family still attend and volunteer at Children’s Cancer Network events. Jack and Natalie have participated in a fundraising fashion show the Children’s Cancer Network holds. Keith and his fellow firefighters put up shelves and helped the Children’s Cancer Network organize its storage area. The Children’s Cancer Network, based in Chandler, is a nonprofit organization that offers financial help to families affected by cancer. While Keith keeps a busy schedule working for the fire department and attending his children’s competitions and games, he said he also makes time to recharge on his own. He advised other fathers to “take time for yourself.” “Kids can take a lot and they will and they need a lot but you have to work on your happiness, too, find things you’re interested in,” Keith said. “It’s obviously great to give; you can get drained. It’s about balance. It’s about doing some things for yourself, having your own time. It’s difficult. Right now I mountain bike or trail run. I’m an outdoor guy.” Keith will be working on Father’s Day but he said he suspected his wife and children, as well as other firefighters’ families, would visit them at the station.




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department recently. He said those new positions will allow sworn police officers to get on the streets and respond to issues faster. Roe said he believes the police department has a bigger presence than it did before the recession. The number of violent crimes has also decreased in Chandler since 2008, he noted. “I think in this past 12 months has been all this moving around and reorganizing to get us back to a good place where we can move forward,” Roe said. “I believe that it’s back to a level where our chief is confident that he can provide good public safety.” Other City Council candidates also talked about the importance of public safety at the forum. Crawford, who had worked for Phoenix Police for 23 years and then served 10 years as a volunteer reserve officer, said economic development/support for businesses, “outstanding schools” and “safe neighborhoods” were his chief concerns. “Neighborhoods are the cornerstone, the building blocks of our community,” said Crawford, who retired as the vice-


from page 4

doesn’t profess support for education. They generally also like Mom and apple pie. But teachers and parents of kids in public schools showed this spring they’re serious about lifting Arizona from the bottom of the national pile when it comes to education funding. And since it’s Republicans who for years have ruled the Legislature, they could bear the brunt of that ire. That teacher strikes have moved the needle in “red” states such as Arizona was borne out by an April 12 article in The New York Times, which reported that backlash against Republican budget cuts in Kansas and Oklahoma “spurred Republican-dominated legislatures to enact taxes that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.” While most Arizona legislative candidate websites have avoided direct comment on “#RedforEd,” some have addressed it. For example, Nick Myers, a Queen Creek Republican seeking a House seat from District 12, strongly criticized the movement, to the point of calling it illegal. He proposed a deeper look at why education in Arizona is struggling. Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, has suggested parents could sue teachers for participating in the walkout and tried to make it illegal for teachers to use classroom time to “espouse political ideology or beliefs” – a proposal that was clearly aimed at #RedforEd supporters. On the other side, District 12 Democratic candidate Joe Bisaccia did not mention #RedforEd directly but said on his website, “I stand with public schools in Gilbert and Queen Creek, with giving teachers well-deserved raises, and against voucher expansion… Our representatives have eviscerated our public education system. It’s time to fix this once and for all.” Regardless of how education plays in the campaign, the East Valley stands to lose some legislative clout as two powerful lawmakers bow out because of term limits. Sen. Steve Yarbrough and J.D. Mesnard,


president at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. He said “ample resources” are needed for first responders and the “technology they need to solve crimes.” He added the city needs to work collaboratively with schools to “ensure kids come home safe.” Crawford serves on Chandler’s police and fire pension boards and is chairman of the Si Se Puede Foundation Board of Directors and president of the Arizona Justice Educators Association’s Board of Directors. Harris, who is federal programs director in the Higley Unified School District, said public safety and safe neighborhoods would be some of his major focuses if he is picked for the Council. Providing amenities in the neighborhoods, including sufficient soccer fields, is also important, as are resources to ensure residents have access to affordable utilities, he added. Harris is on Chandler’s Housing & Human Services Commission and chairs the Citizens’ Panel for Review of Police Complaints and Use of Force. Eberle, managing member of Biltmore Executive Group LLC, said finances and continuing to develop business corridors would be two of his areas of emphasis

if elected. Looking at underserved areas for potential development would also be important, he said. “Opportunities for small businesses – where are those?” Eberle said. “Every Intel and SRP started in somebody’s garage.” He is part of Chandler’s Architectural Review Committee and is on the board of the Tri-City Christian Academy, as well as being part of various business and nonprofit boards and organizations in Chandler and Phoenix. During the forum Eberle touted his experience helping corporations including as a financial holding director and controller for Fortune 500 and publicly traded companies. He also said he belongs to a group of six executives who saved a $100-milliondollar publicly traded technology manufacturer, selling it to a Fortune 100 company. Incumbent Lopez said “number one, maintaining as small as possible effective government” is one of his priorities. “For me having a structured budget,” he said. “Businesses aren’t going to move here unless we have our house in order.” Lopez, who was elected to City Council in 2014, said a “sound budget” allowed for a new ladder truck and other inventory for public safety, another one of his intended areas of focus if

reelected. “I decided to run for office because I wanted to make sure Chandler stayed as great and well-run as it had been,” Lopez said. When asked what his fiscal priorities were for the city, Lopez said maintaining the AAA bond rating. He said Orbital ATK, Intel and other companies have come to Chandler because of its strong financial position. Other City Council candidates also praised Chandler’s financial strength including its AAA bond rating and how the city, because of good saving, weathered the recession better than other cities. Harris said resources are needed for street and sidewalk repairs and that southeast Chandler needs resources to complete projects, including new parks. At the end of the forum, moderator Jim Sharpe, morning news co-anchor from KTAR Morning News, 92.3 FM, asked the candidates “lightning round” questions where they could only answer “yes” or “no.” Often they all answered the same. When asked if they would support stricter zoning ordinances as the city approaches build-out they all said “no.” They all said “no” to greater regulation on autonomous vehicles, too. To learn more about the August primary, visit

both of whom are Chandler Republicans, have served as Senate president and House speaker, respectively. They have represented District 17, which covers most of Chandler and a small slice of northwest Gilbert. Yarbrough is leaving the Legislature after 16 years – four terms in each the House and Senate. Yarbrough’s seat is the only legislative seat for Chandler districts where there is no primary contest. Mesnard will square off in November with Democrat Steve Weichert, clinical services director for a healthcare group that serves the Gila River Indian Community.

by hundreds of millions of dollars.” Website: Lynsey Robinson, Queen Creek Democrat. “Lynsey fully understands that public schools are underfunded and teachers are underpaid.” Website: facebook. com/VoteRobinson4House. D.J. Rothans, Gilbert Democrat. Previously ran for House in 2014; was unopposed in Democratic primary. Website focuses on education funding, environmental quality and equal rights. Website: Blake Sacha, Gilbert Republican. Degrees in chemical engineering, education; industrial background. “With proper reinvestment in public education and keeping Arizona economically competitive we can create an economy that works for everyone.” Website:

Legislative District 17 House

Nora Ellen, Chandler Republican and Chandler City Council vice mayor until she had to resign last month under state election law, is in a three-way fight for one of two GOP nominations for the seat her son Mesnard occupied. She states, “The sanctity of life, protecting the unborn, and strong family values are important for our future. I also believe it is vital that we safeguard the freedoms laid out in the Constitution.” Website: Her opponents are: Jeff Weninger, Chandler Republican incumbent. “Jeff has demonstrated his ability to lead on critical issues, including regulatory reform, the creation of a business-friendly economy, access to capital for small businesses, and investment in our education system.” Website: jeffweninger. com. Julie Willoughby, Chandler Republican. “Julie believes families should have the right to choose which school their child attends. Choice creates an environment of healthy competition and raises the educational bar.” Website: Jennifer Pawlik of Chandler is the only Democrat, so she gets a pass during the primary election and will campaign against the Republican winners in the primary. She co-chaired the successful Yes for Chandler Students! override committee in Chandler and has been active in numerous other pro-education political campaigns and organizations. Website: jenniferpawlik.

District 12 Senate

Elizabeth Brown, Gilbert Democrat. “I am running for the state Senate because being ranked 48th in K-12 education, 49th in pupil-teacher ratio and 50th in teacher pay is a travesty, an embarrassment and is unacceptable for the people of this state.” Website: Eddie Farnsworth, Gilbert Republican. Current member of Arizona House. Website lays out conservative platform on government finances, school choice, border security, property rights and guns. Website: Jimmy Lindblom, Gilbert Republican. Current member, Maricopa County Planning and Zoning Commission. “Prolife Republican with a record of fighting to protect families, the unborn and the vulnerable… strong supporter of the Second Amendment and a fiscal conservative.” Website:  

District 12 House

Joe Bisaccia, Gilbert Democrat. “Fighting to restore public education funding, pay our teachers a living wage, increase access to quality healthcare for every Arizonan, and to protect your rights to vote and for citizen initiative.” Website: Travis Grantham, Gilbert Republican incumbent. Vice president, International Air Response Inc., based at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Website stresses “unique background relating to aviation, world events, and sound conservative business policy.” Website: Nick Myers, Queen Creek Republican. Background in information technology; advocates limited government with transparency and stricter term limits. “Strong believer of family values and educational choice.” Website: Warren Petersen, Gilbert Republican, currently serving in Senate. “I have protected the rights of parents to choose the best education options for their children. Since I have been elected the Legislature has increased education funding

Legislative District 18

Both incumbent State House members in the legislative district that includes Ahwatukee are facing challenges within their own parties while the State Senate seat will see a replay of the 2016 election in November. Republican incumbent Rep. Jill Norgaard will be vying for a chance at a third term with former Tempe legislator Greg Patterson and Chandler newcomer Farhana Shifa. On the Democratic side, incumbent Tempe Rep. Mitzi Epstein will be trying to hang on for the November election by competing against two Chandler Democrats, Jennifer Jermaine and Ladawn Stuben. Meanwhile, state Sen. Sean Bowie has clear sailing in the primary and will face Tempe Republican Frank Schmuck, whom he defeated two years ago to win his first term. Epstein declares on her website, “We must educate the whole child. Neither a child nor a school should ever be reduced to one test score. Our schools need arts, PE, technology, school counselors, as well as rigorous courses in English, math, science and social studies.” Jermaine, on jermaine4house.wordpress. com, states, “I am running because the children of Arizona deserve fully funded public schools, our disability community See

ELECTION on page 18

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Dad’s tragic loss inspired Chandler opioid help BY WAYNE SCHUTSKY Staff

Opiate addiction is a nationwide epidemic that claimed over 40,000 lives in 2016, and Gilbert father Randy Melle knows first-hand that the casualties of those overdoses are not the only victims. Each death leaves behind family members and friends who must figure out how to heal and move on following these tragic events. Melle is one of those surviving victims. He lost his son Adam to a heroin overdose in 2016 – a mere 18 hours after Adam had arrived home from a monthlong treatment program. As a board member of the Chandler I AM Project, Melle is using his personal experiences to help other families avoid the same fate. “Any dad, any parent that goes through what we went through, my heart goes out to them,” he said. “There’s nothing worse than getting your son out of 32 days of treatment, getting home and 18 hours later two Sheriff’s Department (officers) show up at your house.” The project is exceptionally personal for Melle, because it is also literally a way to keep his son’s memory alive. Shortly after joining the group, he found out that it was in search of a new name, so he suggested I AM – representing his son’s initials. The name has a duel meaning as “I AM” is also a reference to the idea that while addiction can afflict anyone, it is only one aspect of their identity. For example, someone could say “I am salesman and I am also an addict…It incorporates everyone into that circle,” Melle said. The rest of the group loved the idea it embodied and adopted the moniker moving forward. The concept the name represents is an important one for Melle as he works to dispel the myths and misinformation that surround addiction. “Addiction is not specific to any gender or any ethnicity. It is not specific to wealthy people or people who don’t have money,” he said. “It hits every one of our families.” He knows that lesson all too well. After Adam’s death, the newspaper The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead – the

program’s like Chandler I AM is worthwhile, because the project is primarily supported by donations. That can be an uphill battle, though, as many people have a negative perception of drug addicts. “The misconception most people have, especially if you’re a heroin addict, is why should we care about you?” he said. Melle combats this mindset by communicating that addiction is a disease, Special to SanTan Sun News not a choice. Randy Melle started a Chandler-based opioid addiction treatment “I can’t explain program after his son died of an overdose less than a day after leaving a addiction to you month-long treatment program. other than saying you don’t wake up Melle’s moved to Arizona from Fargo, one morning and say you want to be an N.D. – ran an article stating that Adam alcoholic or an addict.” Melle was one of five former Fargo South He also stressed that the cost to fund High School students who died of drug the program pales in comparison to the overdoses within a couple months. financial burden the opioid epidemic Through his work with the Chandler I has put on Arizona and the nation. The AM Project, Melle hopes he can inspire opioid crisis cost the country $504 families to seek help on behalf of their billion in 2015 alone, according to White loved ones who are struggling with drug House estimates. addiction, because too many families are Melle, his wife and three daughters afraid to address the problems head on knew they wanted to do more to combat due to the negative social implications the disease that took their son and that addiction carries. brother’s life. They considered starting “I’m one parent and to all the parents their own charity but ultimately looked and family members who are afraid to for an existing organization to help. admit that they have a loved one with Melle asked a counselor at the an opiate problem, people need to know treatment center Adam had attended for that there is help and there is hope for suggestions. The counselor said he should those people,” he said. attend a meeting of the organization He added, “Don’t be afraid to discuss that would become the Chandler I AM any drug problem that you have with project, which included members of the family. Don’t try to hide the fact that you Chandler Police Department and other might have a family member or a loved local groups interested in providing one who is an addict. Do everything that resources for addicts seeking help. you can to help them to save a life and to “After the first meeting I knew this save the person. It is really nothing to be was a group that I wanted to get involved ashamed of.” with,” he said. Melle also stressed the importance He added, “Everyone had the same of engaging with the community and agenda that I have, which is to find a convincing them that supporting way to help people and not sit on our

thumbs and do nothing. There is an opiate addiction out there,” he said. The project is based out of Chandler Presbyterian Church and partners with treatment centers from around the Valley to provide a safe space where addicts can find the support and treatment options. The Chandler I AM Project holds intakes every Tuesday from 1 to 5 p.m. at Chandler Presbyterian Church, 1900 S. Arrowhead Drive. Volunteers from local treatment organizations are on hand to provide assessments and referrals for treatment. Program representatives can also be reached on call at 480-382-9855. The program also provides scholarships for those who do not have insurance or otherwise cannot afford treatment. “We have helped out others who wouldn’t have gotten into a good treatment center had they not come to our organization, and we got them into treatment centers faster than they would have on their own,” Melle said. Melle credited the Chandler Police Department for providing support for the program since its inception. Melle said he immediately felt a kinship with Chandler Police Department Assistant Chief Dale Walters and Commander Edward Upshaw, both of whom serve on Chandler I AM’s Board of Directors. And he credits all the board members with committing to put the lion’s share of donated funds towards treatment for patients. “We all have the same open heart for helping drug addicts and especially opiate addicts, because that is where the epidemic is,” Melle said. He said that over 95 percent of the donated money goes towards treatment while a small amount is used for marketing the program. Outside of the Chandler I AM Project itself, Melle is more than willing to share his story with anyone who needs advice. “If any parent has any questions about a family member or what they can do, I would gladly give them my phone number and tell them what I’ve been through and what the last two years has been like, and what they can do to avoid a catastrophe like we had.” Donations to the Chandler I AM Project can be made through the program’s website at chandleriamproject. org/donate.

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Developer unveils plan for New Square across from City Hall BY JOHN S. WOLFE Guest Writer

The old dirt square across Arizona Avenue from Chandler City Hall will soon be New Square. Developer Spike Lawrence shared his company’s plans for the gravel parking lot behind Saba’s and Bourbon Jack’s at a recent community meeting. The project, named New Square, will comprise four different buildings, plus a small park and community stage. “I’m fired up,” said Lawrence, a Chandler resident whose projects have included the building of Downtown Ocotillo, the Falls at Ocotillo and the Ocotillo Holiday Inn. “We’re excited to be a part of Downtown Chandler.” Phase One of the project, which will get under way in August, will be a 50,000-square-foot, three-story office building at the northwest corner of Arizona Avenue and Chicago Street and a one-story building along Arizona Avenue, across the existing alley from Peixote Coffee. The office building will feature a first floor with a mix of restaurants, retail space or service uses. The second and third floors will each comprise about 16,200 square feet of Class A office space. The anticipated rate is in the $30 per square foot range. Lawrence is excited about the design. “We’ll have a copper element around the building that will be stunning,” he said. “Then, with the windows, we will have a curtain ‘wall of glass.’”

John Wolfe/Special to SanTan Sun News

Developer Spike Lawrence in front of a rendering of the New Square project.

The stand-alone building to the north will comprise 8,500 square feet and is suitable for one large restaurant, two smaller restaurants, or a mix of a restaurant and retail, he said. Lawrence also announced that a Hilton Garden Inn is lined up for a fourstory, 112-room hotel to be built on the northwest corner of the site, just to the south of the Las Palmas Cantina (in the former Vintage 95 space). Its construction will get started soon after Phase One begins. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

“We think this will be a great spot for the business traveler,” Lawrence said, “and a great complement to the historic Crowne Plaza San Marcos Resort.” Phase Two of New Square – at the southwest corner of the site, along Chicago Street – will be a five- to eight-story office building with between 75,000 and 108,000 square feet. The size and construction date will be determined according to demand. The project’s design was completed by architect Mike Perry of Whitney Bell Perry. The project also features north-south and east-west pedestrian corridors to connect the project to the rest of

Downtown Chandler. “The north-south connection will run from the breezeway next to Saba’s all the way to the Local and the Perch,” architect Mike Perry of Chandler said. “The eastwest connection will go from the City Hall to the new parking garage.” The developer has also included an event lawn across from the city hall and a small community stage in the center of New Square. “We’ll call that ‘Sam’s Park,’” Lawrence joked. Councilmember Sam Huang, who was at the meeting, had proposed last year making the entire Site 6 an urban park. “This is second best,” Huang said with a grin. “I’m happy that they included the green space and stage.” The loss of parking is a concern but Downtown Chandler Redevelopment Manager Kim Moyers shared that the city is proceeding with its plan to build a parking garage on the west side of Oregon Street, south of Boston Street. “We’re going to do it all at once, with 930 spaces,” Moyers said. “We expect to break ground in October or November and have it done by October or November 2019.” Lawrence’s project manager for New Square is John Sowards. The construction manager is Ron Barrett. Lawrence, who also co-owns Ocotillo Golf Club with Phil Mickelson, is a native of Tempe. “This is a good next step for Downtown Chandler,” he said. John S. Wolfe is co-owner of Sibley’s West: The Chandler and Arizona Gift Shop.


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Two Chandler music school students tapped for concert SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Two student pianists at East Valley Yamaha Music School in Chandler – 7-yearold Saadhvi Sri Jayaram and 15-year-old Luke Hoang – have been selected to perform at the Yamaha 2018 National Junior Original Concert in California. The performance will take place at 4 p.m. June 24 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos. “The concert offers students of the Yamaha Music Education System the opportunity to unlock their full musical potential by composing original pieces and performing them in front of enthusiastic audiences,” spokesman Peter Giles said. The performers will play new compositions in a variety of settings, from piano solos to chamber and larger ensembles. Chosen from more than 6,000 young musicians, Luke and Saadhvi “prevailed as


one of just 13 talented, emerging artists to perform an original musical composition at the renowned concert celebration,” he added She will present “Under the Banyan Tree,” her original composition for ensemble featuring piano, flute and percussion. Saadhvi has been a student of Heidi Grimes at the East Valley Yamaha Music School since she was around 3. Once Saadhvi mastered simple songs, she then began composing, which led to her writing her first song at the age of 4. Outside of music, Saadhvi enjoys dancing, painting and origami. She also loves to play video games with her brother. Luke will present “Tokyo Suite,” his original composition for piano. He has been attending the East Valley Yamaha Music School for 11 years. He began composing at age 8 and performed at Yamaha’s concert in Japan

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the world and learning about new cultures, eating exotic food and taking inspiration from the countries his family travels to. Information:


Roy Conrad, on left, bonds with his son, Alexander W. Conrad when Conrad enlisted in the Army while a student at Hamilton High School. Staff Sgt. Conrad was later killed in action in Somalia.

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last year. Aside from the piano, Luke plays the mallets and trumpet in school and also knows how to play the violin and drums. Outside of music, Luke enjoys travelling

just one of the aspects of him. “We’re all multifaceted people. There’s a lot that’s going to written and said about Alex over the next days and weeks that is focused on him as a soldier. It’s important to highlight this aspect of him, as well.” Tributes, condolences pour in Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny expressed his condolences to Sgt. Conrad’s loved ones.

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to know people as compared to simply being a surface-level guy.” Chagoya fondly remembered how while in Germany last year, he, Sgt. Conrad and other American soldiers went to a beer festival. Their tour guide told them about a “stone-lifting competition” at the festival and jokingly asked if anyone wanted to participate. Chagoya said Sgt. Conrad without hesitating said he would “absolutely love to do that” without knowing what it would entail. Chagoya said rather than a stone, Sgt. Conrad had to lift something “like a weight with a handle” that weighed about 500 pounds while on stage. “It was a good example of the kind of guy he was,” Chagoya said. “He saw a challenge and said, ‘Alright, why not?’ He was the only American that participated in that event. Adventurous is a good way to describe him.” He said Sgt. Conrad liked weightlifting but showed his softer side when they went to an orchestra concert in Prague. “I remember thinking, this doesn’t really seem like Alex’s thing,” Chagoya said. “When the concert was finishing up, he was wiping tears out of his eyes. He said it was incredibly moving. To me that’s


Special to the San Tan Sun News


“This was extremely sad news,” Tibshraeny said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends today. To have one of our own residents perish is a grim reminder of the thousands of brave men and women who, on a daily basis, serve to protect this country – as well as to protect the rights and safety of others all across the globe. Our hearts go out to this Chandler hero.”




Flags at City of Chandler facilities were flown at half-mast on June 11 until the morning of June 12 to commemorate Sgt. Conrad. The City Council also observed a moment of silence in honor of the soldier during its June 11 study session at City Hall. Gov. Doug Ducey ordered all flags at all state buildings be lowered immediately to half-staff until sunset on June 11 to honor Sgt. Conrad. He also said the flags would be lowered the day of Sgt. Conrad’s funeral, which had not yet been scheduled. “The prayers and hearts of all of Arizona are with the family and loved ones of Staff Sergeant Sgt. Conrad,” Ducey said. “He made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of his country, and we are forever grateful.” President Trump also paid tribute to Sgt. Conrad, posting on Twitter, “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of our serviceman who was killed and his fellow servicemen who were wounded in Somalia. They are truly all HEROES.” Family members traveled to Delaware recently to receive Sgt. Conrad’s body and escort him home for a funeral. Sgt. Conrad will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, family members ask people to make donations to the Pat Tillman Foundation. To learn how to donate, visit


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Celebrity deaths put spotlight on middle-aged suicide rates BY CONRAD ROMERO AND ALLISON SNELL Cronkite News

High suicide rates largely have been associated with younger populations, but middle-aged suicides are beginning to rise throughout the country, a new report says. In 2016, the population group at the highest risk for suicide was 45 to 54, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. recorded 8,437 suicides in that age group; 233 were in Arizona. The recent deaths of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, 61, and style icon Kate Spade, 55, has once again put a spotlight on suicide prevention. The CDC said many people associate mental-health conditions with suicide, but it’s rare for a single factor to lead someone to take their own life. In fact, according to the CDC report, 54 percent of people who die by suicide “are not known to have a diagnosed mental-health condition at the time of death.”

Cronkite News

Lisa Clark handles phone calls on behalf of the Empact Suicide Prevention Center.

The CDC also noted that suicide rates have increased 30 percent in more than half the states from 1999 to 2016. Arizona’s rate rose 17 percent during that period. But people can work to reverse that trend, experts said. Such groups as Teen Lifeline in Phoenix

run call centers devoted to helping younger generations navigate the ups and downs of adolescence and young adulthood. Nikki Kontz, the group’s clinical director, said one of the first steps at preventing suicide is reaching out. People often just need “a non-judgmen-

tal open ear to talk and for someone to just be able to listen to them and what is going on in the world,” she said. She also said new technology provides another way to get help. “There (are) also new apps that help connect people to counselors and other services, and that’s one of the main things we need to keep in mind is that coping skills and learning how to handle our emotions, but we also need to encourage people to reach out and connect with other people,” she said. Building support systems of trust and getting involved in the community often can help those suffering with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, experts said. Both mental and physical health can play an important role, said Jennifer Siozos, chief transformation officer with health-care provider Terros Health. Suicide in Arizona is the eighth-leading cause of death, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. On average, someone in the state takes his or her life every seven hours.

New Residence Inn Ocotillo opens for business SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

A new hotel is open for business in Ocotillo. The grand opening celebration for Residence Inn Ocotillo at the southeast corner of West Queen Creek and Price roads will take place at 4 p.m. on June 20. The hotel actually opened on June 15. The hotel will feature a full bar with

happy hour specials, a relaxing ambiance with jogging and walking trails and unusual interior and exterior features, according to a press release. The property is a custom-build with 142 guest rooms: king and queen studios, one-bedroom suites and two-bedroom suites. The property at 2727 W. Queen Creek Road offers rooms with views of

the swimming pool and Ocotillo lake. All rooms have full kitchens, along with oversized windows, as well as a lake and mountain view. There will be 850-square-feet of meeting/catering space in the hotel. In the Downtown Ocotillo District, the Residence Inn Ocotillo will be surrounded by Wells Fargo, Orbital ATK

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Orbital in Gilbert leads new path in climate research BY WAYNE SCHUTSKY Staff

Orbital ATK’s satellite manufacturing facility in Gilbert is on the ground floor of global climate research as the company puts the finishing touches on the JPSS-2 satellite system for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The JPSS, or Joint Polar Satellite System, satellites are part of the government’s next generation of polar-orbiting environmental satellites, which will aid in reducing death and property damage caused by major storms and environmental hazards. The satellites will help government agencies predict major storms, like hurricanes and tornadoes, and can aid in the assessment of other hazards like drought and forest fires. In 2012, a polar-orbiting satellite allowed the government to predict Hurricane Sandy’s path through New Jersey and New York more than five days in advance. NOAA-20, previously called JPSS-1, was built by Colorado-based Ball Aerospace and Technologies and was the first in the JPSS series. It launched in November 2017. “The sophisticated technology aboard NOAA-20, as well as the recently launched GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites, will allow our forecasters to better warn of potentially dangerous weather conditions days in advance,” Secretary of

Special to the San Tan Sun News

Orbital ATK's Gilbert facility is putting the fi nishing touches on a next-generation satellite system that will study climate change and help reduce death and property damage from major storms.

Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a press release. “This will help save lives, property and ensure that businesses can minimize disruptions from such events.” The government first awarded Orbital ATK the JPSS-2 project in September 2015, and it is finally entering the testing phase this summer. That process will take about two years, and the JPSS-2 spacecraft is scheduled to launch in late 2020 or early 2021, said Rick Kettner, Orbital ATK Gil-

bert site manager. That launch will not be end of the JPSS program at Orbital ATK in Gilbert, though. NASA recently exercised an option for two additional JPSS satellites to be built by Orbital ATK over the next decade. Named JPSS-3 and JPSS-4, the satellites are expected to be completed in 2023 and 2026, respectively. The total contract for all three spacecraft is estimated at $460 million.

In the meantime, the Orbital team will focus on preparing JPSS-2 for operation. Engineers and technicians on the ground in Gilbert have to integrate the five different monitoring systems onto JPSS-2 and make sure that the spacecraft can handle the environment in space before it is ready for launch. That testing and preparation is not a quick process. Hundreds of Orbital ATK employees will have worked on the JPSS-2 system by the time it reaches orbit. “It takes a village to put one of these together,” Kettner said. The JPSS-2 spacecraft is currently undergoing mechanical testing in Gilbert. The team then will begin integrating five different monitoring tools and conducting a range of electronics and software tests in a massive clean room the project shares with Iridium NEXT satellites, which provide voice and data coverage to satellite phones. “You want to make sure those tools are compatible as you’re building up,” Kettner said. The JPSS-2 craft also will undergo a range of rigorous tests to ensure it will survive the rigors of launch and the harsh environment in space with its tools intact. “It will be tested in three basic environments,” Kettner said, noting that the spacecraft will be exposed to electroSee

ORBITAL on page 17


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Orbital ATK's Gilbert facility has become a key player in the nation's development of satellites that will Orbital ATK satellites will orbit Earth 15 times a day and will see swings in temperature of 100 degrees extend man's understanding and knowledge of climate change and major environmental shifts. Celsius as it gathers data.


from page 16

magnetic interference, extreme temperatures and extreme noise and vibrations. “In between each of the three tests, we will run function tests to make sure everything is still doing what it is intended to do,” Kettner said. For the vibration tests, the satellite will be mounted to a large shaker table and vibrated in a variety of ways. “We want to make sure no parts are going to fall off during launch,” Kettner

said. The spacecraft also will be subjected to an extreme amount of sound energy – 140 to 150 decibels, which is enough to shatter bones in the inner ear – to simulate the environment during a launch. To tests the affects of temperature, technicians will roll the satellite into a thermal vault, which looks like a massive bank vault, to test the affects of extreme heat and cold on the system. The satellite will spend about a month in the vault, which uses nitrogen to drop the temperature to minus-100 degrees Celsius.

In space, the satellite will orbit Earth 15 times per day and will see swings in temperature of plus- or minus-100 degrees Celsius. It has a collection of heaters and radiators to help it regulate temperature as it transitions from facing the sun to facing deep space. Following the test and preparation period, a team from Orbital ATK will travel with the satellite to support the launch. The company may provide some support post-launch, though Kettner said the government typically handles operations. “At that point, we are the parents

that hand the kids off to the babysitter,” Kettner said. The launch – which typically takes place three to five years after the project began – is a big deal for Orbital employees who have spent a good deal of their careers working towards that goal. In the same vein, it can be difficult for them to watch the satellites come out of the sky when their lifecycle ends. The JPSS-2 satellite has an on-orbit design life of seven years. “It’s bittersweet to see them come down,” Kettner said.


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Arizona lifting some restrictions on voter registration BY HOWARD FISCHER Capitol Media Services

The state’s top election official has agreed to remove a series of hurdles now in the path of those who want to register to vote. In a consent degree Monday, Secretary of State Michele Reagan has agreed to: • Not demand proof of citizenship to register for federal, state and local elections if people already have provided such proof to the Motor Vehicle Division; • Make it easier for people to move from county to county without having to provide new citizenship proof at their new address; • Accept voter registration forms from those who do not have proof of citizenship to let them at least cast ballots for president and members of Congress. But the deal, which ends a lawsuit filed last year, still leaves intact laws saying that those who cannot provide citizenship proof are unable to vote in elections to choose statewide, legislative and local officials. The legal fight has its roots in Proposition 200, a 2004 ballot measure that was part of a broader effort aimed at those not in the


from page 10

deserves to have access to public spaces, and our residents deserve to be free of harassment and racism as they lead their daily lives.” Stuben, whose only site so far on twitter

country legally. It requires both proof of citizenship to register and identification when casting a ballot. Proponents said it would ensure that election results are not affected by those voting illegally. Acceptable proof of citizenship includes an Arizona driver’s license, copies of birth certificates, passports, naturalization documents and tribal identification. But Congress, in approving the National Voting Registration Act, directed the federal Election Assistance Commission to design a single national voter-registration form to simplify the process. More to the point, that form requires no proof of citizenship but only that those signing up swear, under penalty of perjury, that they are eligible to vote. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Arizona to enforce the proof-of-citizenship requirement on those using that form – at least as far as federal elections. What led to this lawsuit was the decision of state officials to refuse to register those who happened to pick up a state form but did not submit the required proof of citizenship, even just to vote on

federal races. The result, attorneys for plaintiffs argued, is that at least 26,000 voters in Maricopa County alone were “disenfranchised by these policies.’’ The deal, subject to final OK by U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell, spells out that those who submit either the state or federal form will be registered to vote in federal elections, even without the citizenship proof. Attorney Spencer Scharff who represents the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Arizona Students Association said the deal also provides some relief to those who do want to vote in state and local elections and are, in fact, citizens. The issue is that they may not be carrying things like a birth certificate or other citizenship proof when they register. That includes people who sign up to vote during registration drives, including at local libraries or party headquarters. The key, he said, is an Arizona driver’s license. With only certain exceptions, a state license issued after Oct. 1, 1996 is proof of citizenship. What that means, said Scharff, is that the individual already has provided

something like a U.S. birth certificate or passport to the Motor Vehicle Division to get that license. More to the point, he said that information already is on file with the MVD. Scharff said this deal in essence requires the system used to verify citizenship for voter registrations to check the MVD system and, if there is a valid license, use that as proof of citizenship. There will be exceptions. Scharff noted that there are others who are legal residents but not citizens who have state licenses to drive. But he said the MVD records note that fact and the system will kick out efforts to use their licenses as proof of citizenship. The other key agreement, said Scharff, is better coordination among counties. Right now, he said, if someone moves from Phoenix to Tucson, any effort to register to vote at the new residence means having to go through the process from scratch, including that proof of citizenship. He said the deal will require the state to develop a database that all county recorders can access to determine if someone seeking to register already has provided adequate proof in another county.

at, says, “You can often find me in the streets advocating for Medicare for all, a living wage, environmental protection and racial justice.” Norgaard sets out part of her position on by calling attention to her work the last four years in the Legislature, noting her work on “protecting businesses from state regulatory overreach” and

restoring joint tech education funding. Patterson, a former Arizona Board of Regents chairman who resigned from that position after a year in June 2017, does not appear to have set up a campaign website, although he has operated a site on Arizona politics,, where he states, “I have worked to protect consumers, increase access to healthcare and support

higher education.” Shifa, a native of Bangladesh, says on her site, “If we will follow the Constitution and return government to its rightful function we will fix much of what is broken. Protecting and restoring our constitutional rights (particularly the First and Second Amendments) will be a passion of mine.”

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Two East Valley men ordained as priests in Chandler SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Two East Valley residents were among three men who were to be ordained today as priests by the Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, at a special ceremony in Chandler. Scheduled to be ordained at 10 a.m. June 16 at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, 3450 W. Ray Road, were Deacons Frankie Cicero, 33, of Mesa, and Vinhson Nguyen, 29, of Gilbert. They are among nearly 430 others who will become Catholic priests this year throughout the United States. “What our people need now more than ever before are priests who are confident of the mercy of God, and joyful messengers of the Good News of Jesus,” Bishop Olmsted said. “I give thanks to God for the families of Fr. Cicero, Fr. Nahrgang and Fr. Nguyen, who encouraged their faith and their vocation to the priesthood.” Ordination is the sacramental ceremony in which Holy Orders will be conferred, enabling them to minister to Catholics. Growing up, Cicero said he never thought about becoming a priest until one day nine years ago, describing his calling to the priesthood “one that was a radical revelation of (Christ’s) love and mercy.” He credits this “merciful love for giving

Special to the San Tan Sun News

Left: Deacons Frankie Cicero, 33, of Mesa, and Right: Vinhson Nguyen, 29, of Gilbert.

him the strength and the courage to respond to God’s call to say ‘yes’ to the priesthood,” a diocese spokesman said. Cicero grew up in the East Valley and is a parishioner at St. Timothy Parish in

Mesa. He will be assigned to Queen of Peace Church, also in Mesa. Nguyen said, “I wanted to become a priest in the same way a lot of kids wanted to be astronauts and firefighters.”

“He realized he needed to listen more closely to what God wanted for him,” the spokesman said. “Prayer and participating in the sacraments is ultimately what helped him discern his priestly vocation.” The Gilbert native, a member of Resurrection Parish in Tempe, will be assigned to a Scottsdale parish. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate’s annual national survey, 86 percent of the 2018 class of men ordained to the priesthood were encouraged by about four people in their lives including parish priests, friends or other parishioners. The report also says that the men were, on average, 17 years old when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood. The survey also found that between 39 and 47 percent of the new priests attended a Catholic school for at least some part of their schooling. Half participated in a religious education program in their parish for seven years. Nearly half report that they completed college or university undergraduate degree before entering the seminary. The most common fields of study before entering the seminary are social science, theology or philosophy, business, or liberal arts. About 64 percent worked full-time before entering the seminary. One in five worked in education.

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Chandler man’s grandfather forged the GI Bill 74 years ago BY JOHN D. LEWIS Guest Writer

When I was growing up, my grandfather – who everyone called Mac – taught me an important lesson about honesty. We were in the waiting room of a hospital when I shook a newspaper rack and quarters began to fall everywhere. I told Mac about my newfound fortune. He asked to see the quarters and then slowly inserted each one back into the coin box. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t scold me. He simply led by example. My grandfather was Ernest W. McFarland (1894-1984). If you don’t know the name, Mac served as senator, senate majority leader, Arizona governor, chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, and founded KTVK in Phoenix. Those are just a few of his accomplishments. A farm boy from Oklahoma, he came to the state with only $10 in his pocket and went on to win the Triple Crown of Arizona politics. Mac was down-to-earth, likeable, drank 20 cups a coffee and day and worked across the political aisle to get things done. He wasn’t a celebrity politician and was so plain spoken that the press of the era would call him “Homespun Ernie” or “Stumpy McFarland.” He overcame many tragedies, including the loss of his first wife and three children to illness within a two-year period – something he would never talk of for the rest of his life. People that knew him always tell my siblings and me that they loved my grandfather and that he was a workhorse – not a show horse.

Brandon Tigrett/Special to SanTan Sun News

Above: Ernest W, MacFarland’s grandchildren include, from left: Del Lewis Jr, Kara Lewis, Leah Lewis, Bill Lewis and John D. Lewis. Right: Ernest W. McFarland was a towering fi gure in Arizona history and forged the GI Bill 74 years ago on June 22.

One of the achievements he is most remembered for, and that he was most proud of, was his efforts to get the GI Bill, or Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, passed into law 74 years ago on June 22, 1944. What many today don’t know is the history of the GI Bill. After WWI, Mac, who had served briefly in the Navy, saw firsthand how poorly vets were treated. Returning soldiers were paid back for their sacrifice with long unemployment and soup kitchen lines. There were few jobs to be had and even fewer benefits. As a young senator during wartime in 1943, Mac was determined that returning WWII vets would have opportunities to readjust to civilian life to thank them for their service. An initial Omnibus Bill was first presented by the American Legion which Mac felt wasn’t adequate.

Working with the Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, disabled Special to SanTan Sun News American Veterans and representatives from education and other walks of life, the resulting bill included important provisions drafted by Mac to provide educational benefits and zero-down home and business loans to returning military. For his relentless efforts, Mac, along with the National Commander of the American Legion, Warren Atherton, is considered a “Father of the GI Bill.” The impact of the GI Bill was staggering. According to Arizona historian Vincent Murray, from 1945 until 1956 when the initial program ended, the bill served over 15

million servicemen and women. Based on numbers from the U.S. State Department, approximately 7.8 million veterans took advantage of the educational provisions; 2.2 million of the provisions for business and home loans; 2.2 million were able to attend college; 1.5 million OJT (i.e. journeymen, etc.); 3.5 million vocational; and 700,000 farm training. The GI Bill generated 450,000 trained engineers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, 22,000 dentists, 238,000 teachers, and 1 million-plus additional college educated professionals. In addition, the VA backed nearly 2.4 million home loans for World War II veterans from 1944 to 1952. Today, many call the GI Bill the most successful piece of social legislation ever written. It made education and home ownership attainable by the common man – and not just the elite. Seventy-four years ago, no one could have imagined how Mac’s foresight would end up affecting the nation’s veterans, educational system, and workforce for generations to come. As the bill’s anniversary draws near, if you, or someone you know, went to school or bought a home through the GI Bill, think of Mac. A new book written by Gary L. Stuart, “Call Him Mac”, is being released by the U. of A. Press this September. My siblings and I hope you will take a moment to learn more about our grandfather – a humble and honest man who sought to make the American Dream possible for so many. Chandler businessman John Lewis is the grandson of Ernest W. McFarland, an Arizona leader who helped create the G.I. Bill.

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Around Chandler Chandler Police mourn death of emergency call taker

Chandler Police are mourning the accidental traffic death of emergency call taker Cathy Coppes, 58, who died when her motorcycle collided with a car June 10 north of Flagstaff. Police said the car drifted across the center line and hit her head-on. Mrs. Coppes started her career with the department in 2002. “She was a valued member of the communications staff and was instrumental in training and developing new employees,” police said in a release.

Summer squeezes Neighbors Who Care volunteer pool

With many of their volunteers away for the summer, Neighbors Who Care is looking for people to serve homebound, frail, and disabled seniors in Sun Lakes and South Chandler. The nonprofit organization’s regular volunteers are snowbirds who leave the area, but their elderly clients remain and still need help getting to medical appointments or having meals delivered. Neighbors Who Care serves upward of 600 clients in need of year-round assistance. The organization continually experiences record increases in new clients added and services provided. In March, a record 41 new clients were added and a record 847 meals were delivered. In the past three years, the number of rides to medical appointments has jumped by more than 40 percent. There is no minimum service requirement for volunteers, and scheduling is flexible based on a volunteer’s availability.

Volunteers are also able to choose from a variety of services including, but not limited to, transportation, dinner delivery, shopping/errands, friendly visiting, reassurance calling, minor repairs, and business assistance. “Volunteering with Neighbors Who Care is a wonderful way to give back to the community and touch the lives of people who might not otherwise have anyone else to help them,” said outreach manager Jennifer Gustafson. Information: 480-895-7133 or

It’s time to ‘Stuff the Bus’ with school supplies for needy kids

Fulton Homes is donating school supplies to deserving families this summer as part of their “Stuff the Bus” campaign. They are partnering once again with KEZ 99.9 for the annual donation drive that runs through July 15 at Chandler Fashion Center. In 2017, the same campaign generated an estimated 1,000 school supply items. “Donations to our Stuff the Bus campaign make a positive difference in the lives of these children,” said Fulton Homes CEO Doug Fulton. “We’re making sure these kids get off to a good start in the first few days of the school year.” The school bus will be parked inside the Macy’s Courtyard with painted paper handprints and the name of each child in need. Those handprints contain a list of items each child requires for a successful school year. Supporters can donate to a specific child

or make a general contribution of requested items, such as pencils, pens, notebooks, backpacks, school uniforms and shoes. Shoppers can also return the handprint with school supplies to the mall’s guest services area. Donations will be accepted at the Chandler Fashion Center and at all KEZ events and remotes. Volunteers will accept donations outside the school bus at the Macy’s Courtyard each day of the campaign during mall hours and will be on hand to collect new school supplies, clothing and backpacks. For Information, visit and click on the “Fulton Foundation” link.

Fire insurance industry praises Chandler’s department

The Chandler Fire Department is in the top one percent in fire suppression capabilities with a Class 1 rating according to the leading supplier of statistical information to the fire insurance industry. The Insurance Services Organization evaluated Chandler’s Fire Department and municipal water supply system to establish a Public Protection Classification and raised the city to the top rank. The ISO evaluated the City’s water supply system, emergency communications systems, fire department equipment, staffing, training, and geographic deployment of fire companies and risk reduction efforts. Most U.S. insurers of homes and business properties use PPC ratings in calculating premiums. In general, the price of fire

insurance in a community with a good rating is substantially lower than in a community with a poor rating. About 305 fire departments out of approximately 46,000 nationwide hold a top ranking. Chandler Fire is one of only 60 that have both a Class 1 Rating and International Accreditation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Political ‘meet and greet’ slated at Holy Trinity Lutheran

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 739 W. Erie St., Chandler, will hold a political meet and greet for several people running for city offices at 6:30 p.m. June 26. On hand will be mayoral candidate and current Councilman Kevin Hartke, incumbents Rene Lopez and Terry Roe, who are seeking reelection; and candidate Matt Eberle. The program is free and open to the public.

Robson Library announces programs

Robson Library, 9330 Riggs Road, Sun Lakes, is offering two programs next week. At 2 p.m. June 19, “The Kilted Man,” Matthew Gurnsey, will give a performance of traditional Irish and Scottish music, through wit and finesse. Seating begins 15 minutes before the show and is limited to 100 people. At 1 p.m June 21, “Lavender Love: Herbs and Crafts for Adults” is the title of the program, which is limited to 25 attendees. Registration is required. For information, visit or 602-652-3000.



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Banner to build hospital in south Chandler SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

South Chandler will get its own hospital – the city’s second – after Banner Health announced plans to move into the turf that long has been the sole province of Dignity Health. The announcement came only about two weeks after Dignity announced a massive expansion of the Chandler Regional Medical Center. Both companies attributed their moves to population growth not only in Chandler but throughout the East Valley. And both companies’ projects will pour tens of millions of dollars into the local economy. Banner said it’s spending $150 million to build the 120-bed facility; Dignity is spending $194.8 million on its new tower. Banner will build a four-story, 240,000-square-foot hospital on the southwest corner of Alma School Road and Loop 202 Santan Freeway, next to its Banner Health Center, a full-service doctor’s office that does not offer urgent care but does offer primary care services, rotating specialists, X-ray labs and extended hours. Its so-far-unnamed hospital seems aimed at part of Dignity Health’s market, which also runs Mercy Gilbert Medical Center. Banner noted in a release that the facility “will help fulfill the healthcare needs of area residents, including those

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

The new hospital will go up on land adjacent to Banner Health Center on the southwest corner of Alma School Road and Loop 202 Santan Freeway.

who reside in Ahwatukee, Chandler and Gilbert.” Banner also stated: “The Southeast Valley is one of the fastest-growing segments in Maricopa County, with Chandler and Gilbert representing a significant portion of the growth. The growth rate in these communities is outpacing that of the rest of the Phoenix

metropolitan area and will require additional health care services. “In addition to the rapid growth of the overall population, Banner also has more than 80,000 members in its Banner Health Network insurance organization that reside in the Southeast Valley. They participate in value-based health plans that require convenient and affordable

care.” Becky Kuhn, Banner’s chief operating officer, echoed that sentiment: “We want to provide convenient care that is close to home for our patients and their families. The surrounding Southeast Valley is growing fast, and we want to make sure our patients and health plan members have care when and where they need it.” The hospital will open in fall 2020 – about a year after the South Mountain Freeway will open – and will provide Ahwatukee residents with far quicker access to a hospital than either Dignity Health hospital offers. It will include an emergency room, imaging and surgery facilities and a maternity ward. “The hospital will have room for expansion as the community needs require more services,” Banner added. Mayor Jay Tibshraeny hailed Banner’s announcement: “I have seen the preliminary plans for the project and I am very excited to see this new hospital complex built in our community. “Banner has an excellent record in providing high-level care across the Valley. This location will serve our residents well, while adding valuable new jobs to the workforce,” the mayor added. Banner Health is one of the largest See

HOSPITAL on page 26


Chandler Chamber honors businesses, community leaders SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Businesses and individuals were honored June 2 for their contributions to the city at the Chandler Chamber of Commerce’s annual Community Awards gala. In addition, three young people each received $2,000 scholarships. They were: Devin Starr, Lucas Kaufman and Ariana Ring. Here is a rundown on the honorees Anne Marie Filiere – Educator of the Year Anne Marie Filiere of Arizona College Prep-Oakland measures her success by the results of those who think that they cannot do math. She knows anyone can learn math. She sets up parent meetings to talk about how to best support her students when they leave her classroom for another grade level. She emails the principal regularly to give updates about whom he can find and celebrate on campus. It can be as simple as “Student Ray Rodriguez earned a 92 percent on his test. They worked so hard with me in study groups. Can you call them up to celebrate with them?” Principal Jayson Phillips said Filiere “makes me a better educator and reminds me daily why I picked education as my profession. She is an inspiration to so many students who struggle in math and to me as a fellow educator.”

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Devin Starr, a Chamber scholarship winner, is fl anked by Chamber board Chair Jane Hanson of Chandler Regional Medical Center, and Greg Fontaine of Air Products and Chemicals.

Alexandra Ruiz – School Support Staff Employee of the Year Alexandra Ruiz has been with the CUSD transportation department since and was described has having a big heart and someone who “loves to help her

fellow workers and the community.” “Her caring for others has let them know they have a true friend. Alex spearheaded a bake sale at transportation that raised over $1,000 to help a family that experienced a terrible accident

taking the lives of three CUSD children and their grandfather. For the past five years, Alex and her family have participated in the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer,” the Chamber said, adding: “She is a person that always gives back to the community. Through her example, she is raising her two boys to have the same love for others that she demonstrates every day.” Karen Martin – Administrator of the Year Karen Martin, as assistant principal at Chandler High School, “is like the Wizard of Oz, working behind the scenes to keep Chandler High achievement racing at warp speed,” the Chamber said. “This job is daunting when you think about the number of students, teachers and classes. Karen is a tireless advocate for students and passionate about seeing them succeed. She is always looking for resources and programs that will help students succeed. In the student services department, Karen creates and atmosphere of trust. “Her style of leadership empowers the department to do and be their best and to work as a team in providing the best service possible for our students. Students know her as a firm but fair administrator See

HONORS on page 24





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that will listen to them before drawing any conclusion regarding their academic performance or discipline issues.” Don Howard – Ambassador of the Year As a Chamber ambassador, Don Howard of Legal Shield Associates “is everywhere, participating in most events and focusing on public policy agenda,” the Chamber said. “His favorite thing to do is to mentor new businesses and owners that join the Chamber to get the most from their investment as possible. He is a former Marine who flew in Huey helicopters, but today he touches down at Chamber events around town. MST Solutions – Business Diversity in Action Thiru Thangarathinam accepted the award on behalf of MST Solutions, which the Chamber said “is committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce in Chandler.” “They have a Women in Technology program dedicated to attracting and retaining more women to MST, and tech jobs at large. The focus for the WIT program this year on equal pay and inclusive hiring practices. Due to the large growth over the past two years, the CEO has seen the need and committed to responsible growth as a corporate citizen of Chandler. “Focusing on involvement in the community, including KIND Project, which works to help underserved women in the local community, he also has committed to expanding the diversity and inclusion program at MST to ensure that they are attracting diverse candidates and creating a workplace that celebrates and embraces the difference that make them stronger.” Nancy Martinez – James R. Snedigar Award “Nancy Martinez exhibits the character and standards that reflect those of the award namesake, Officer James R. Snedigar,” the Chamber said, referring to an officer killed in the line of duty. The award, given to someone who has made a significant difference in the quality of life of an individual, a group or the community, honored Martinez, an investigative specialist for the Chandler Police, where she has been employed for 12 years, for her work with the Special

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Among the honorees, clockwise from top left, were Anne Marie Filiere of Arizona College Prep-Oakland, Educator of the Year; Alexandra Ruiz of Chandler Unified, School Support Staff Employee of the Year; and scholarship winner Ariana Ring.

Victims Unit. “Through collaboration with medical and behavioral specialists, clinicians, parents and self-advocates, she created and has taught disability awareness classes to several hundred first responders throughout Arizona, including law enforcement and FIRE/ EMS, lifeguards and dispatchers,” the Chamber said. “She seeks to provide concrete communication strategies, challenge stereotypes and dispel myths, in an effort to increase successful interactions and promote partnerships. Her commitment and passion has built momentum for this very important issue.” Waymo – The Chandler Cup “Chandler continues to develop a strong partnership with Waymo since Google chose the city for its first Arizona destination of vehicle testing in 2016,” the Chamber said. “Waymo has dedicated much of its research and development here in the community and continues to work closely with Chandler officials to enhance the safety capabilities of autonomous

vehicles, particularly as Waymo moves into its ride-sharing program in the coming years,” the Chamber said. Chandler Lions Club – The Community Cup Ruth Wick accepted the award on behalf of the Chandler Lions Club, which the Chamber praised for its contributions to the community since its inception in 1939. “The Chandler Lions is a group of dedicated volunteers of the Chandler Community who are constantly striving to represent and assist the community to the best of their abilities,” the Chamber noted. “This includes, but is not limited to, participating in the City of Chandler’s holiday celebrations by bringing Santa and his elves to take free pictures during the Tumbleweed Parade and every Saturday leading up to Christmas.” It also includes working with the Hamilton High School Leo Club, providing mentorship and opportunities for the students to participate in community events; staffing the snack shack at Snedigar Park weeknights and weekends to fundraise for community events and providing free eye care and glasses to the

youth of the Chandler community.” In 2017, the Chandler Lions provided eye exams for 150 Chandler Unified School District students. Soho63 – The Chamber Cup Megan Schmidt accepted the award on behalf of Soho63, which is about to mark its fifth anniversary. The Christensen family purchased this building in distress and within 60 days brought new life and a new business and immediately helped hysterical brides-to-be when the previous business closed on short notice. To date, they have hosted about 400 wedding and events. The long tenure of the event curators “is a tribute to the wonderful work environment and atmosphere,” the Chamber said. Schmidt, the managing partner, is on the board of the DCCP and partner-brother James Christensen is on the Chamber board and involved in events. “Mother Kate Christensen keeps the kids on track and father Boyd is frequently seen working on improvements, enhancements of the building,” the Chamber added. See

HONORS on page 25

Realtors group moving into new south Chandler complex SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

The SouthEast Valley Regional Association of Realtors is leaving its longtime headquarters in Mesa to take up in a new building with a conference center in south Chandler. The association, the largest in Arizona, is opening its office headquarters and its Avion Center at 1733 E. Northrup Blvd., near the Loop 202 Santan Freeway and Cooper Road, on Monday, June 18. The office building will house 20 employees and it and the conference center are on a 3.1-acre site that SEVRAR purchased because it was “driven by progress and a vision for the future,” spokeswoman Laurel Pendle said in a release. “The newly purchased property will

provide SEVRAR members and the public with a more centrally located facility,” she added. “Currently, our demographic research shows that, overwhelmingly, both members’ home and offices reside in the Gilbert and Chandler areas – south of the 202 Santan Freeway and further east of our current location,” Pendle said. She added that the new digs allow the group to “expand our resources and infrastructure to provide additional classes, events and services. In addition, the potential of upgrades in meeting space, technology, lease space, and a public facing conference center will allow SEVRAR a more prominent place in the community.” SEVRAR was established to give area Realtors “a voice in support of private

property rights and the American Dream of homeownership,” group President Liz Harris said. The group counts more than 12,500 members. The association was incorporated in 1961 and serves Apache Junction, Ahwatukee, Chandler, Gilbert, Guadalupe, Mesa, Queen Creek, Gold Canyon, Sun Lakes and Tempe. “We work to create healthy communities and a strong business environment for the benefit of all. The new building will provide continued education to Realtors by day, and the ability to transform the venue into a dynamic event destination by night,” Harris added. The state-of-the-art 21,064-squarefoot office building will feature a

4,079-square-foot conference center, additional executive suites for smaller classes and meetings, a large exterior patio, an indoor pre-function area ideal for networking events and an expanded store. The Avion Center ballroom can host up to 300 guests and includes the more intimate Red Baron suite, which can accommodate up to 40 guests. The new building was designed by John Douglas of John Douglas Architects and was constructed by Haydon Construction. SEVRAR is leaving a relatively obscure site on South Vineyard, a few blocks away from the intersect ion of Country Club Drive and U.S. 60. Pendle said that building – which SEVRAR has occupied for 30 years – will close Monday.



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Form Prosperity – Micro Business Award Jeremy McClymonds, financial advisor and principal owner of Form Prosperity, “devotes a great portion of his free time to serving the Chandler community,” the Chamber said. He has served on the Chandler Chamber board and is a past chairman and currently is the business development committee chair. “He is a champion of commerce for our community and has displayed this in his annual ultimate event along with numerous examples too long to list here,” the Chamber said, adding that his community involvement includes board member of the Chandler Compadres, the Kiwanis Chandler Young Professional Board and the Chandler Parks and Recreation Board. Chamberlain Orthodontics – Small Business Award Dr. Thomas Chamberlain “loves to give

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographert

Chandler High School Assistant Principal Karen Martin was named Administrator of the Year.

back to the community” and wanted to do something for teachers in Chandler. So, he gave 25 teachers free orthodontics treatments valued at $5,000 each. His practice also sponsors yearly essay contests at local high schools for free

braces for kids in need. It also has helped 100 Club of AZ, ICAN, House of Refuge, Boys and Girls Club of the East Valley and sponsored a Halloween candy buy-back and donate the candy to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for their CARE Carts. Seton Catholic Preparatory – Medium Sized Business of the Year Seton Catholic serves students from throughout the East Valley as well as Phoenix and Casa Grande. Today with a current enrollment of 581 students, Seton remains the only Catholic college preparatory high school in the East Valley, though the school is open to students of all faith, dedicated to academic excellence, leadership and loving service to others. In September, Seton Catholic was named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School in the “Exemplary High Performing” category by the U.S. Department of Education. Seton is one of just five schools in Arizona to earn this honor this year. Gila River Casino – Large Business of



the Year Over the Years, Gila River Casino has been involved with the City of Chandler and the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, donating funds to local charities, hosting and sponsoring luncheons, and mixers and hosting the Chandler Chamber Annual Community Awards for several years. “Gila River’s close involvement with the city has provided growth and stability, and benefitted the community in many areas, including education and healthcare,” the Chamber said. Its contributions include: sponsorship of a Chandler D-backs Kids clinic, yearly donations to the Chandler Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament, Sun Lakes Rotary Club, Chandler Compadres, and $86,000 in donations to the Boys and Girls club of the East Valley since 2014. Gila River has also donated money to Chandler-based nonprofits such as the Assistance League of the East Valley, Baby Sav, Chandler Lions Club, Si Se Puede Foundation, and the Chandler Self Help Foundation.

Special to the San Tan Sun News

Village Health Club & Spa has swim programs SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Ocotillo Village Health Club & Spa has launched a number of aquatics programs and water fitness classes for all ages. Lessons for any level and age group include Little Flipper Swimming Lessons for kids and parents and the Adult Masters Swimming Classes. These lessons run weekly year-round at various levels

including parent/tot, beginner, refreshers and advanced, as well as seasonal intensive classes. The lessons begin new sessions during the first two weeks of each month, with the date dependent upon the class level, and the intensive classes for all levels begin weekly every Monday. Weekly classes start at $75 a month for one class per week and $135 a month

for two classes per week. The eight-class intensives start at $150 for members and $160 for non-members. Students in the swimming lessons do not have to be Village members to participate. The Swim Neptune Program offers options focused on developmental and competitive performance for kids as young as 6. Swimmers can join at any time during the year. Ocotillo Village also

offers a high school swim training and developmental group to help students to stay at the top of their game during the swimming off-season. Fitness enthusiasts and beginners alike who are looking for a lower-impact workout will enjoy the Ocotillo Village’s aqua-fitness options. Information: or 480-656-0045.




Chandler store caters to carnivores BY PAUL MARYNIAK Executive Editor

Martha Neese still recalls how she and her husband, Gene, used to pack their suitcases with meat when they flew from Iowa to their second home in Ahwatukee. That was before the airlines-imposed weight limits on luggage, but it didn’t matter. They eventually settled on a more efficient idea: Bring the meat store with them. Fourteen years later, their Von Hanson’s Meats shop in Chandler has become a go-to destination for carnivores throughout the East Valley and beyond and as a processing center for hunters who plan to eat their catch. If that may seem a radical move, you don’t know Martha: Her career has been even more so. She started as a nurse, then became a lawyer who specialized in personal injury cases that included the kind of malpractice she occasionally witnessed in surgeries. And while she still occasionally practices law in what had been a renowned career that took her to courtrooms around the country, Neese spends a lot of her time in the butcher shop, doing everything from managing the employees and marketing Von Hanson’s retail shops in Minnesota to even making meat deliveries. And if that wasn’t enough to occupy her time, she also is deeply involved in the community. She belongs to the Ahwatukee, Chandler and Tempe chambers of commerce and has been a board member on the Ahwatukee Chamber for years. Last week, those chambers honored her shop’s 14th anniversary with a ribbon cutting. She volunteers in nonprofits, is vice president of the Club West HOA board and is now a member of the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee. As for her shop, she said “I’m kind of a jack of all trades. I just do whatever needs to be done.” I give my attention to whatever I am doing because I want to do a good job. “I don’t feel happy unless I am productive and get something done,” she shrugged, relieved that she has escaped the high pressure of traveling around the country most of the year during a 30-year career that catapulted her to the status of a nationally certified trial lawyer and a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, whose members are attorneys who have won only settlements of $1 million or more. Neese also specialized in military


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nonprofit health care systems in the country, owning and operating 28 acutecare hospitals in six states. The Chandler Regional expansion also is being driven by population growth, particularly what Dignity called “the quickly growing number of patients in the East Valley who need complex, serious treatments.” The overall population in the area is growing, the number of “aging” residents

for their pets. Also for sale is a wide variety of barbecue wood and chips as well as an array of sauces. And they sell some signature products from Minnesota, including walleye and sweet potato sausage. During hunting season, Von Hanson’s gets so busy that Neese has to hire a couple of extra butchers to help process the game brought in by hunters. The store has developed a reputation for the way it processes javelinas. “It’s awful and greasy and we’ve been known for making javelina taste good because it’s so horrible,” she said. They routinely process bear, mountain lion, Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographert elk, tuna and even the Martha Neese celebrated the 14th anniversary of her Von Hanson’s Meats shop in Chandler, a go-to destination for occasional buffalo. Surprisingly, no one has carnivores and hunters everywhere. brought in rattlesnake. Although her favorite litigation and headed the Military lacking in supermarkets when she and product is Von Hanson’s jalapeño Advocacy and Federal Tort Section of the her husband were snowbirds, shuttling hamburger, the rib eye steak is the most American Association for Justice. between the Midwest and Ahwatukee. popular with customers. As a lawyer, she is known for “We would put it on the grill and it Her husband has gotten so good at representing patients believed to have was terrible,” she recalled. “We had to preparing that and other steaks that they been sickened by ruptured breast throw it out. So we started eating salads.” have some definite preferences when implants during the 1990s. In 1998, implant Then her husband had an idea, dining out, she said: manufacturer Dow Corning settled a class- approaching Von Hanson’s, a company “We don’t eat steak out. Friends who action lawsuit for $2.4 billion, then the started in 1983 by two men who say they want to go out to dinner, we tell them, largest settlement of its kind. “came up with the idea to bring back the ‘Take us out for Italian. Don’t take us out It was her work as a registered old-fashioned meat market to the local for a steak. If you want a steak, come to cardiac-care nurse assisting in open-heart neighborhood.” my house and my husband will cook you surgeries for 10 years that inspired Neese “My husband thought it would be a a steak.’” to enter Drake University Law School good investment, that we could be silent The secret, she said, is the kind of in Des Moines, Iowa, from which she partners,” Neese said. meat Von Hanson’s sells – certified, corngraduated in 1984. Their involvement didn’t stay so silent fed black angus. She recalls watching doctors make for very long. “It’s really all about the flavor,” she serious mistakes, sometimes because they “It didn’t work out very good at first,” said. “Not all cattle is certified black ignored her advice. Neese recalled. “We were losing money. angus beef.” “What made me decide to attend law It started changing around I came down Between the store and her community school was seeing the difference that in 2007.” involvement – not to mention the the law can make in the care that people Though she “wanted to start learning occasional legal case she might still pick get,” she was once quoted as saying. “The how to golf,” Neese started networking, up – Neese shows no sign of slowing hospital would do the right thing when a preaching in a way the philosophy of Von down on any front. lawyer was involved.” Hanson’s founders: offer customers high“I don’t keep track of me hours; you But then there came a time, the mother quality meat with the best value for their can’t look at it that way,” she said. “I get of three adult children said, when “I money and personal; service that includes up early in the morning and I am busy.” wanted out of the high-pressure law stuff.” cooking tips if requested. “I like helping people. I was a nurse But meat? Today, walking into her store at 2390 and always have been very caring to my “I had no intention of going into the N. Alma School Road is like walking into clients as a lawyer. I want to help people. meat business,” Neese explained. “We a wonderland of meat and poultry that That’s the community involvement part were customers. My kids grew up on includes 100 different kinds of sausages of it.” really good, quality meat.” and brats. Dog owners can also find Information:, Quality, she added, that she found bones, pig ears and healthy natural treats 480-917-2525.

is increasing and Chandler Regional has increased its “specialization and our abilities to take on more complex patients” within the last few years, Dignity CEO Mark Slyter said. The expansion will create about 200 new jobs. Banner did not say how many jobs its hospital will generate. Chandler Regional is planning to break ground later this year on a new campus building project that includes a new, fivestory patient-care tower, called Tower D, as well as a new parking structure with more surface parking to fit more than

1,100 vehicles. Tower D will likely be finished in early 2021 and new hospital inpatient beds will open by then. Renovations also will be made to an existing building to add six more operating rooms. The upgrades to the existing structure will be complete and ready for patient use in 2022. Tower D will add 132 more patient beds, bringing the hospital’s total bed count to 429. Tower D will house 36 more ICU beds for the hospital’s critical care patients.

It will also contain 60 telemetry beds mainly for brain or spine-related case and cardiopulmonary patients, who need a higher level of care with constant monitoring. Those patients might include ones recovering from complex procedures or strokes, neurosurgery or thoracic surgery. Once it is built, Tower D will also have space for 36 more beds in the future, bringing the total to 132 more patient beds. Chandler Regional opened in 1961 with 40 beds and it has steadily increased over the last nearly 60 years.




Mesa couple’s business caters to cornhole game craze BY COTY DOLORES MIRANDA Tribune Contributor

Cornhole, a staple of backyard games, has become an organized sport with its own national governing board and even has state tournaments like next weekend’s third annual Arizona Cornhole Championship. And that couldn’t make Todd and Erin Kisicki happier, since their three-year-old Mesa-based business, KB Kornhole, caters to the growing sport. They debuted in Chandler last year. KB Kornhole dominates the sport’s presence in the East Valley. It supplied the equipment for any number of festivals and activities where cornhole is offered, such as last fall’s Rockin’ Taco Festival in Chandler. Todd, national director for the American Cornhole League, and his wife are not only enthusiastic fans but also founders and organizers of the state cornhole championship, which will be held in downtown Phoenix at Ability 360 Sports & Fitness Center. Four years ago, the couple never dreamed of starting a business built around their pastime when they were tossing resin-filled beanbags at the 2-by-4-foot inclined wooden boards built by Todd’s father, Ron, in his garage. “We thought we might start a little family business making the boards and renting them out, but we quickly learned how time-consuming that was and how we had some real competition,” recalled Todd, adding they now exclusively use boards made by Original Cornhole Company.

Special to the San Tan Sun News

Erin and Todd Kisicki of Mesa turned their passion for the game cornhole into a growing business that promotes events built around this growing national pastime.

At the time, Todd was teaching technology at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Erin was a social worker. They decided to try their hand at promoting a cornhole tournament to help benefit UMom New Day Centers in Phoenix. They did so at Carriage Lane, a beanbag’s throw from their Mesa residence.

“We found we were good at it,” said Todd admitting his abilities with building their website, graphic design and using software to organize players and keep scores added to their success. “I just started shooting out emails and making phone calls to see if anyone was interested in our organizing tournaments. And

through word of mouth, we started doing more fundraisers and corporate team-building events, he explained, adding: “It was also about this time that I asked around to see if there was a state tournament, and when I learned there wasn’t, I grabbed the name – Arizona State Cornhole Championships – and ran with it.” The first state competition was in Queen Creek; the second year, the couple decided to organize a Backyard Games Day at WestWorld, complete with vendors and food booths. “It was a successful event, as there were a lot of people – around 1,300 – but it was tough and I lost too much money,” Todd said. “I probably made a lot of mistakes – all those things any first-time festival organizer has done. I decided my value is enough. I don’t need to pay for a venue. I can bring in enough people and money to help other organizations.” This year’s Arizona State Cornhole Competition is benefiting their wheelchair basketball team. Erin, who unlike her husband, did not leave her day job, is active in KB Kornhole events that are mainly on weekends But her passion for the company and the sport is strong. “This community we’ve built means so much to me,” said Kisicki, assistant director of training at Child Family Support Services in Ahwatukee. “Owning our own company is the ultiSee

CORNHOLE on page 28

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Buyers’ remorse real in a hot real estate market BY CARI GILILLAND Guest Writer

Buyers’ remorse is a real thing when buying a house. You find the perfect house and submit your offer. All the while, four other home shoppers do the same thing. The negotiations start, the offer price creeps up, and terms get stiff. In the end, you win the deal! Yay for you…but then it hits you and the remorse sets in. You begin questioning whether you gave up too much, whether you paid too much and whether it is the house for you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “win” of the deal. In a hot market, like we are experiencing, it’s true, you may have to bend some to get the house you want. However, it is important to keep things in perspective and remember what your ultimate goal is. Here are a few things I suggest to my clients. • Stay clear on what your must haves are. The glitz and the glam of a house might make you think three bedrooms could


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mate American dream, one where everyone is welcome, valued and connected to something bigger and greater. We definitely have fun at our events, and I truly believe our mission is to bring people together, one cornhole game at a time. Regardless of where you come from or where you’re going, it’s a universal sport for everyone,” she added. One of KB Kornhole and cornhole’s staunchest fans is Jack Edlund, who started playing cornhole about four years ago in his Augusta Ranch community in Mesa. “Several individuals were throwing bags under an awning at the Augusta Ranch Golf Course and I asked to play. I became hooked and played there every week,” he said, adding: “I became fascinated with the complexity of a seemingly easy game. I learned there was a more competitive tournament every Wednesday at The Hub, and I’ve been going to that tourney every since, and am now running it.” Edlund, 52, credits KB Kornhole with the growing popularity of the sport and quality of the tournaments.

work, when deep down you know it has to be a four-bedroom. • Know your budget and stick to it. If you need to run the numbers with your lender again, do it! • Ask yourself the question, do I want to “own” this house or “win” this house. If you are an ultra-competitive person this is where you need to check yourself and your motivation. • Use your due diligence period wisely. There is nothing wrong with taking a day or so to sleep on it if you need to. Use that time wisely and investigate anything and everything about the house and the area. • Once you find the house of your dreams, stop looking. The truth is there will always be new homes coming to the market. If you find the house you love, don’t torture yourself. • A moment of buyers’ remorse is normal. Follow your gut and keep the balance between your head and your heart. Home ownership is a wonderful thing. Here is your Chandler real estate update. Simple data that even the least

analytic person can appreciate. No spreadsheet needed, no sophisticated computer algorithm… Just numbers. This information comes directly from Arizona Regional Multiple Listing System. Information based on sales between 4/1/18- 6/10/18, single-family homes only.

“Most of the Arizona players go to Todd’s events because they’re well run and are a very consistent format. I met Todd a few years ago and was impressed with his organization and social skills running these events. He and his wife, Erin, do an amazing job and that is why ESPN and other states across the country have used KB Kornhole to run their big tournaments,” Edlund said. “KB Kornhole will became a national leader very soon with their exposure and all the new players they have introduced to a simple, but extremely fun sport.” Ahwatukee resident Scott Salzetti admits to being “a newbie,” having started a year ago playing on the patio at Native Grill & Wings after watching from the sidelines for a while. “It did take some time for me to get the nerve to throw a bag for the first time in front of others who’d been playing socially for quite a while,” said Salzetti, chief human resources officer for Abrazo Community Health Network. Soon, Salzetti’s wife, Wendy, and son, Brannon, were part of the cornhole action, entering as a team at local KB Kornhole tournaments. Salzetti said they now own a

set of boards and bags to practice in their own backyard so they can continue to advance in tournaments. He, too, laud’s KB Kornhole’s finesse in organizing and running tournaments. “Todd and Erin run seamless tournaments aligning players with competition that will match their skill level. The tournaments don’t have age restrictions so you can bring your entire family out for fun,” said Salzetti. Chandler couple Beth Hanson and Angie Hallmark were familiar with cornhole as a tailgating activity, and they never took it seriously until they came across a tournament run by KB Kornhole. “We absolutely love the cornhole community, and KB Kornhole has been instrumental in getting us where we are now,” said Hanson. “Todd and Erin are always so supportive and do a great job at welcoming new people. I would love to see the sport continue to grow and would especially love to see more women get involved. This is something anyone can take part in, even if you don’t have experience.” Fundraisers for schools, organizations and even individuals in need are a big part

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of KB Kornhole’s events. Mountain Pointe High School Football Boosters held their first cornhole tournament in May at Desert Foothills Park. “KB Kornhole came recommended by booster members who have attended other events run by Todd at KB,” said Shari Vogel, co-vice president whose son Alex, a junior, plays offensive line for the Pride. “We chose them because they provide everything needed to run the tournament including the boards, sound system, registration system, and personnel to run the tournament, and all for a very reasonable fee.” These benefits and the tournaments that return a portion to charity are close to Todd and Erin Kisicki’s hearts. “I love that we’re able to give back to the community and have our company strive to provide cornhole for a cause,” said Erin. “Running a business means long hours and a lot of hard work, but I can’t think of a more fun adventure to be part of.” The championships, on June 15-16, are open to the public and offer various entry divisions. Preregistration is required at

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CHANDLER CHAMBER COMMUNITY AWARDS The Chandler Chamber honored local businesses, individuals and educators for their outstanding contributions to the community. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you for making Chandler a great place to live, work and play.

Large Business of the Year Gila River Hotels & Casinos

Chandler Cup Waymo

Medium Business of the Year Seton Catholic Preparatory High School

Community Cup Chandler Lions Club

Small Business of the Year Chamberlain-Young Orthodontics

FORM Prosperity Wealth Advisors

Chamber Cup SoHo63

Business Diversity in Action MST Solutions

James R. Snedigar Public Service Officer Nancy Martinez

Chamber Ambassador of the Year Don Howard Legal Shield

Educator of the Year Ann Marie Filiere Arizona College Prep

School Administrator of the Year Karen Martin Chandler High School

Scholarship Recipient Lucas Kaufman

Scholarship Recipient Ariana Ring

Micro Business of the Year

School Support Staff of the Year Alexandra Ruiz CUSD Transportation

Scholarship Recipient Devin Starr




Girl inspired at world’s largest swim lesson BY SUE BREDING Guest Writer

She was only 2 when she started participating in the annual World’s Largest Swim Lesson event each June. Now, at age 10, even though as an accomplished swimmer she doesn’t need lessons anymore, Bella Gallo of Chandler is preparing to participate in WLSL for what will be her eighth consecutive year. “Seeing all the kids – including my little sister – and the teachers giving their time to, it is very important to me,” Bella said. “I wouldn’t miss it.” Last year, more than 41,000 swimmers in 27 countries on six continents participated in this international oneday free swim lesson. Bella participates at SWIMkids USA in Mesa because she is passionate about making a difference in the lives of other children. According to the CDC, drowning remains the leading cause of injury related death for children ages 1-4, and the second leading cause for children under 14. Internationally, the World Health Organization estimates drowning is one of the top five causes of death for people ages 1-14 in 48 of the 85 countries it monitors. In 2014, a survey completed by the American Red Cross found more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills. Parents also don’t recognize supervision is key to keeping their children safe around water.

Sue Breding

A TV reporter interviews Bella Gallo of Chandler at the World’s Largest Swim Lesson at SWIMkids USA in Mesa.

According to a 2016 Safe Kids Worldwide report, despite the fact that lack of supervision played a role in the majority of drowning deaths, less than half of parents indicate they remain within arms’ reach of their child in the water. WLSL was created as a platform to build awareness about the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim to prevent drowning. Each year, WLSL events provide more

than 20,000 man-hours of water safety training in a single day. Since its inception, more than 230,000 children and adults have participated in WLSL lessons. “We always host the World’s Largest Swim Lesson event because it is a show of force and unity across the globe and a wonderful way to share important information about how swim lessons save lives, “ SWIMkids USA founder and President Lana Whitehead said.

“In 2009, Ruth Brenner and her researchers at the National Institute of Health found that formal swim lessons reduced the risk of drowning 88 percent in children ages 1-4.” Whitehead said drowning is a serious problem in Arizona, as well as being an international concern and this event often attracts news reporters to do live reports at her facility during the free lesson and thus results in media awareness for this extensive problem. Whitehead won an International Swimming Hall of Fame award recently for her dedication to community outreach and her many years’ worth of participation in events just like this one. She received the prestigious 2018 G. Harold Martin Award for water safety and instruction by the International Swimming Hall of Fame. It recognizes long and exceptional leadership, insight and dedication specifically to the water safety of children.. Bella has learned over the years that she is glad she has taken swim lessons for safety but it is also an activity she truly enjoys. “I love being in the water and feeling the water around me as I swim,” she said. Bella has taken courses recently at SWIMkids USA to learn how to be a lifeguard as a way to continue to make a difference in the lives of others with her passion to keep kids safer around water. The free lesson will begin at 8 a.m. June 21 at SWIMkids USA at 2725 W. Guadalupe Road in Mesa. Information/ registration: 480-820-9109.






Business Briefs Seal manufacturer relocates to Chandler

State Seal Company, which manufactures custom-designed seals and die-cut components for the aviation, aerospace and defense industries recently purchased an industrial building in the West Chandler employment corridor at 7001 W. Erie St. The company has relocated its manufacturing and headquarters operations into this new facility, where it will occupy 62,000 square feet. State Seal Company was founded in 1966 and currently has 85 employees. “Our current employee base is predominantly in the East Valley, and this highly functional Chandler building allows us to consolidate four buildings into one,” said President Jason Saxton. “We have been impressed by the business-friendly nature in the city of Chandler throughout the tenant improvement process and plan to be a longterm business in this growing community.”

California builder enters Chandler market

Landsea Homes of California is expanding into Arizona and chose Chandler for its first residential development. It purchased just under 12 acres of land at the corner of West Ray Road and North Alma School Road and plans to invest $20 million to develop 78 homesites, a spokeswoman said. The company has developed homes in New York, Boston, New Jersey as well as throughout California.

“We have been considering an expansion into Arizona for quite some time,” said John Ho, chief executive officer of Landsea Homes. “Our strategic focus continues to be creating communities in highly desirable markets across the United States that appreciate exceptional planning, an unmatched attention to detail and best-of-class, high-performance homes.” The new community will include a pool and expansive open space for gatherings. Land development is expected to begin this fall, and the first closings are expected in late 2019.

Dispensary expands its Chandler operations

Oasis Dispensaries, a full-service state licensed medical marijuana dispensary, has opened a second shop in Chandler at 17006 S. Weber Drive, near I-10 and Loop 202. CEO/co-founder Rami Sweis said, “As one of the largest dispensaries in the Valley, guests will enjoy our inviting waiting room and spacious dispensary, offering hundreds of the highest-quality cannabis products available.”

Chandler Chamber sets workshop for women

The Chandler Chamber of Commerce’s next Women in Leadership lunch will focus on “Create Healthy Boundaries at Work and at Home” with presentations by Deanna Cobos of Zenlife and Sharyn Younger of Glass House International.

They will offer strategies around ways to create healthy boundaries at work and at home so that women can preserve energy for self-care and feel more connected to themselves. It will be 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. June 19 at Soho63, 63 E. Boston St., and admission is $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers. Add $5 to those prices for walk-ins. As a life coach and professional facilitator, Cobbs polished her skills at Toyota Financial Services for over 19 years before starting Zenlife. Younger worked with Glass House International Real Estate following a 20-year career as a private practice psychotherapist and organizational effectiveness consultant.

New fitness studio opens in Chandler EoS Fitness has opened at 4185 S. Gilbert Road, offering group classes in zumba and other types of fitness, a Turf Functional Training Area, a movie-like theater space with cardio equipment, a pool and sauna. It also offers a variety of cardio equipment, huge free weights area, strength machines, personal training/ small group training, a cycle studio, Kids’ Club, basketball court and boxing. Locker rooms with showers are also part of the 34,891-square-foot gym. Memberships start at $9.99 a month. Information:

The Coffee Bean kicks off ‘Heroes at Heart’

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is giving customers a chance to help the 100 Club of Arizona. The business recently launched its limited-time, exclusive “Heroes at Heart” Coffee and Tea Blends to benefit 100 Club of Arizona in stores and at Information:

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U-Haul Company of Arizona has signed up Coby’s, 570 E. Galveston St., as a neighborhood dealer. Owner Gian Rondon will offer U-Haul trucks, towing equipment, moving supplies and in-store pickup for boxes. Normal business hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. every day. Reserve

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Desert Cove center names executive director

Desert Cove Nursing Center, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Chandler, recently named Matt Combe as its new executive director. “Matt is the exceptional leader that Desert Cove has been looking for,” said Kristin Shambro, vice president of parent company Life Care Centers of America’s Mesquite Region. Combe most recently served as interim executive director for Life Care Center of Sierra Vista. He was an executive director for Windsor Health Care in north Phoenix. He has about seven years of experience in senior care and has background experience in safety/building inspections and sales. Combe earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Brigham Young University and resides in Chandler with his wife Trisha and their four children. Desert Cove Nursing Center, 1750 W. Frye Road, is one of 10 skilled nursing and rehab facilities in Arizona managed by Life Care Centers of America.

Alina Chu associates with Coldwell Banker

Alina Chu has associated with the Chandler office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage as an affiliate agent. “When I was ready to pursue my career in real estate, Coldwell Banker was the first brokerage to come to my mind because of its longstanding reputation for excellence in the industry. I am excited to be affiliated with such a great company,” she said. Previously, she was an agent with Da Fa Realty & Investment. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Burmese, she has traveled to Southeast Asia for charitable and volunteer work for the past six years. Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees.

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Workplace summit identified employee-retention issues BY CYNTHIA WALTER Guest Writer

Imagine you are a business executive receiving this message: “Half of your employees are not completely clear about what they are supposed to do at work and are looking for another job.” The scenario is not as far-fetched as it might appear. These were the findings from surveys of more than 195,000 workers across the U.S. for a study conducted by research firm Gallup. Such trends, indicative of an increasingly confident workforce, are especially pronounced in areas with rapid job growth, such as the East Valley. Gallup’s study highlights another disturbing trend: Only a third of all U.S. employees are “engaged,” or investing considerable effort to propel their business forward, like a hard-working crew team. Another 16 percent are “actively disengaged,” or rowing backward, counter to the organizational direction, while the rest are “not engaged,” or doing just enough and frequently resting their oars.

The good news is that leaders can take effective steps to change the dynamics in their organization. Human resource and business leaders representing a broad spectrum of Arizona employers explored solutions at the recent “Destination 2020: Envisioning a Thriving Workforce” summit. Here are some highlights. Managers must become coaches. This conclusory theme came from Gallup, the summit’s first presenter and their research strongly supported this recommendation. Only 20 percent of the surveyed employees said they “strongly agree” that they have had a conversation with their manager in the last six months about the steps they can take to reach their goals. Not surprisingly, these 20 percent are 2.8 times more likely to be engaged. Compensation/benefits may need tuneup. The bread-and-butter of an employment contract – the tangible rewards – play a major role in employee engagement and constitute the largest, or second largest, expense for most organizations. Yet employee rewards are not always getting the attention they deserve. Another summit participant, Gallagher, publishes an annual “best-inclass” analysis based on a survey of more than 4,000 U.S. employers.

Top performers are nearly twice as likely than the norm to have a formal multi-year strategy for compensation and benefits management, including labor market benchmarking and forwardlooking modeling. They also report higher levels of employee satisfaction and stronger financial results. Healthcare costs need to be addressed. Health benefits make up the fastest growing slice of the total rewards pie. Left unchecked, healthcare costs can take a significant bite out of the cash compensation budget, undermining the organization’s ability to recruit and engage talent. Since annual double-digit cost increases remain the norm, more than half of U.S. businesses pass an ever-increasing share of the expense to their employees. According to Gallagher’s analysis, only a minority of top performers resort to such cost-shifting. Instead, most top performing organizations excel at implementing tactics to target the root causes of cost increases. Communication is essential. Another finding of the “best-in-class” analysis is that top performing organizations are excellent communicators and go above and beyond in finding avenues to capture their employees’ attention.

Jen Vasin, VP of HR at Insight, shared the powerful tactics from her organization. Insight’s strategy for internal communications hinges on engaging the hearts and minds of employees through multimedia technology that keeps them empowered and engaged. An example of that is using videos of employees talking about overcoming a major health challenge to communicate the value of the benefits programs. Following these four strategic avenues will require work and commitment, but the payoff for organizations can certainly be worth it. Participants of the Destination 2020 summit were encouraged to plot out action steps their organizations need to take over the next two years to move along the path toward the goal of gaining, or reinforcing, the status of a “destination workplace,” a place where top performing employees want to build their careers and stay engaged. Cynthia Walter heads Gallagher’s Arizona branch in Chandler, specializing in HR, compensation and benefits consulting. Contact her for the cited research reports and to find out about future employer summits at

Industrial-office complex slated in south Chandler SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Two developers are planning a joint project for an office-industrial complex in south Chandler. Conor Commercial Real Estate and WHI Real Estate Partners said their Lotus Project will be a “highly visible development” at the Loop 202 Santan Freeway and Kyrene Road and will offer 650,000 square feet of Class A industrial and office space built in two phases. “We look forward to seeing this site develop into one of the premier employment bases in Chandler,” Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said. “It’s a fantastic location that will attract a lot of positive interest from businesses looking for freeway access and a top-tier

workforce.” The firm will develop Phase I on a speculative basis, which includes four industrial buildings totaling 470,000 square feet. Phase II will consist of either two office buildings totaling 200,000 square feet or three industrial buildings totaling 216,000 square feet. Phase I construction will begin in September with completion slated a year later. “The highly desirable infill location within the Southeast Valley submarket, coupled with the low vacancy and influx of businesses expanding or relocating to the Chandler area makes this an exciting development,” said Conor vice president Sven Tustin. Conor development manager Derek Buescher added, “We’re excited to

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workforce today’s users require.” McShane Construction Company is serving as the general contractor.

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Sports & Recreation


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Collin Erickson tackles football competition in Europe BY BRIAN BENESCH Sports Editor

The game of football has taken Collin Erickson all over the world. In just the past two years, he’s traveled from Gilbert to Iowa to Germany. Late last week, the Gilbert native and 2015 Dobson High School graduate arrived home from an eight-day trip to Europe with his current football team, the Central College Dutch. The Division III squad, located in Pella, Iowa, travels to Europe once every three years. And this time, Erickson was able to hop on a plane alongside his teammates. The Dutch players are responsible for choosing the destination of these off-season excursions. They decided on Germany, Austria and Switzerland at a team meeting in September. It was an opportunity Erickson couldn’t refuse. “It intrigued me to go back to Europe because I studied abroad my sophomore year,” Erickson said. “I definitely wanted to go back. We got to see the Swiss Alps and climb up those a little bit.” As the journey continued to Germany, the players and coaches visited the Dachau concentration camp and a survi-

American college team looks like against the best Austrian football team. We knew they were a topnotch team.” But one thing stood out to Erickson when reminiscing about the voyage overseas: his interactions with the Austrian players. “We had a tailgate of sorts with them afMario Brunnbauer/ ter the game. We just Gilbert native Collin Erickson is flanked by a teammate and an official talked to them about during his visit to Germany. where they grew up and how they got into vor spoke to the group. American football. We The defensive back declared the entire picked their brains to understand where experience eye-opening and unforgettable. they are coming from,” he said. Of course, there was far more to this With the trip in the rearview mirror, trip than just exploration as the team had the junior was able to reflect on his hecan exhibition game to play. tic schedule the past three years filled Central took on the Swarco Raiders with travel and football. The European Triol, a top Austrian unit. A hard-fought visit was a remarkable experience, but battle resulted in a 31-26 win for the Raid- Erickson’s journey to Central College was ers in this unique contest. just as memorable. “It was incredible; great atmosphere The 21-year-old had his sights set on there,” Erickson said of the game. “Truly Division I football after a stellar sophoincredible to show their fans what an more year at Dobson High. But an incon-

sistent junior season had Erickson doubting his future in the sport. “My junior year came and I didn’t hear from a lot of schools. I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue playing football,” he admitted. “After high school, hardly any colleges talked to me. I had to reach out myself.” He eventually found his way to Central thanks to an unlikely college recruiter – his mother. Erickson’s mom grew up in the Iowa area, and thought the program might be a fit for her son. The Dutch have the fourth-highest winning percentage in NCAA football since 1975, making the program a consistent contender for the Division III crown. The on and off-field connections made the choice easy for Erickson. His decision has paid off. Last season, Erickson was among team leaders with 46 tackles and two interceptions. The team has a record of 15-5 in his two seasons. But the special European trip and team success is not enough for him. Erickson has lofty goals for the upcoming season. “I’d like to keep improving and take that next step,” he said. “I’d like to win the conference. My goal is to be a first-team all-conference defensive back. We’re pretty hungry to get back at it.”

Girls wrestling OK’d as emerging sport BY BRIAN BENESCH Sports Editor

The Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Executive Board has added girls wrestling as an “emerging sport” sport for the upcoming high school winter season. The designation of emerging sport means the AIA can hold off on officially sanctioning girls wrestling. It’s the same process beach volleyball went through before being fully sanctioned this past spring. Girls may continue to practice and compete with boys teams, but they are may participate in girls-only tournaments, as well. The board approved the addition at its May 21 meeting. Their move has been met with applause across the Valley wrestling community. “Myself and a lot of other coaches thought this was a really important need in the state,” said Basha High wrestling coach Michael Garcia. “We have a lot of youth wrestling girls that are competing every Saturday in USA Wrestling tournaments. Those numbers continue to grow.” Girls wrestling has grown exponentially, with eight states recently recognizing it as a sport. Oregon will launch girls wrestling competitions next year. It’s a sport that certainly has enough interest in Arizona. “I think it’s very important for us as a state to be one of the frontrunners in getting these girls opportunities at the next level. You can definitely tell that there’s a demand at the college level for girl wres-

lett said. “You could tell that there was a new interest in wrestling this year. I had six girls on the team this year. I expect numbers to increase from there.” Garcia added, “Ideally, they deserve their own season and workout times. That’s the goal – full girl teams competing.” For Darren Johnson, wrestling coach at Perry High, girls challenging boys on the mat has been the norm for some time. Camp Verde High hosts an allgirls wrestling tournament each year, which is not sanctioned by the AIA. It’s a showcase that Johnson’s girls have frequented the past two seasons. And as the event got more popular, Johnson was convinced that the sport could thrive statewide. “I’ve had three girls I’ve taken up to that tournament at Camp Verde. Special to the San Tan Sun News It was to make up for the lack of an Stefana Jelacic, right, of Mesa Mountain View High, wins the 112-pound freestyle title at the Junior National event for them,” said Johnson. “I’m Championships in Fargo, North Dakota. Arizona girls wrestling now is an “emerging sport.” always looking for ways to get girls involved in something.” tlers,” said Zach Bartlett, Hamilton High on for a long time,” Gonzalez said. “The Another reason why high school wrestling coach. girls are wrestling, whether it’s against girls wrestling could succeed is because David Gonzalez, Desert Vista’s wresguys or girls. Now that it’s out there, I the sport has received so much acclaim in tling coach, was instrumental in this prothink you are going to see it grow like the Olympics. cess. Like his counterparts, the longtime wildfire.” First introduced to the games in 2004, coach knew high school girls needed this All three coaches say they’ve had sevwomen’s wrestling has quickly become outlet. eral girls participate in wrestling alongcommonplace throughout the United Along with Garcia, Gonzalez submitside the boys over the past few years. But States, but proper training at the high ted a proposal to make girls wrestling a with the AIA’s new ruling, females will tru- school level has been scarce. permanent part of high school athletics. ly get their chance to shine on the mats. Emerging sport designation gives AriTheir vision is finally coming to fruition. “For my first four years at Hamilton, “It’s something we have been working there was zero interest from girls,” BartSee on page 41





from page 40

zona the chance to blossom into a training hotbed for female wrestlers. As Bartlett had hoped, the state is taking initiative in implementing this ever-growing activity.

“I’m not so sure why it took us so long to get to this point. Girls participation is up. I think this is something the sport needs. We need to make sure we’re creating opportunities for that interest,” Bartlett said. New doors have been opened for

high schools girls looking for scholarship opportunities or even a spot on an Olympic roster. It’s a monumental step for Arizona athletics and USA wrestling. “I’ve seen the girls evolve and I’ve been on a lot of different committees,” Desert


Vista’s Gonzalez said. “The AIA wanted it to happen. They just needed the particulars in place. It has a good chance of staying. We have our ducks lined up.” Contact Brian Benesch at 480-898-5630 or Follow him on Twitter @AZBenesch

Chandler High School wins AIA Director’s Cup BY BRIAN BENESCH Sports Editor

Chandler High School won the Arizona Interscholastic Association Director’s Cup, which recognizes one area school for excellence in academics, athletics and activities. It marked the first time in school history that the Wolves received this prestigious award, recognizing that Chandler students succeeded in the classroom during the past year. The school’s student-athletes recorded a 3.4 combined GPA. “We always emphasize the word ‘student’ in student-athletes and tell our kids that academics always come first. That is the number one priority,” said Chandler High Athletic Director Jim Culver. “We have many student-athletes that take advanced placement classes and international baccalaureate classes, which gives them a great foundation in preparing beyond high school.”

Special to SanTan Sun News

Chandler High Principal Larry Rother and Athletic Director Jim Culver display the cup.

On the field, Chandler High celebrated yet another title-filled season. The

Wolves’ football team claimed its third state championship in four years with a thrilling 49-42 win over Perry High. The school continued to dominate the track scene this spring, as well. The girls squad captured a state title for the third time in as many years, while the boys fell just short of accomplishing the same feat, finishing second to Desert Vista. Chandler’s girls swim and dive team was the runner-up to Xavier Prep last winter. The school’s baseball squad went 22-8, resulting in the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association naming Chandler’s David Lopez its Coach of the Year. The AIA’s recognition was simply the latest honor bestowed on the school. But without a doubt, it is one of the most meaningful awards a program can receive. Culver, the fifth-year athletic director, credits both the student-athletes and coaches for establishing Chandler’s winning culture over the years. “I think we are fortunate to have an excellent coaching staff that not only

cares about their student athletes, but also has a great ability to motivate them to always give their best effort,” Culver said. One of those coaches is Shaun Aguano. The football head man, who played a big role in his team’s championship run, said he believes success in the classroom translates onto the football field. “First off, you have to take care of the kids. You have to create an environment where the kids are successful in the classroom and on the field,” the coach said. “You can only play football for so long, so we look for our kids to be successful after school.” Chandler High’s dedication to learning on and off the field has stood out for many years. It was certainly a collective effort, with neither Aguano nor Culver ever taking credit for the school’s remarkable achievements. “As a school and an athletic director, it would be considered one of the highest honors that we could accomplish,” Culver said.

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With the heat comes extra safety precautions for kids BY KEVIN HARTKE Guest Writer

With triple-digit temperatures on the horizon, it is the perfect time to enjoy the pools, take advantage of indoor entertainment and plan getaways to cooler destinations. While there are plenty of opportunities to have fun during the summer, in or out of town, it is important to consider some safety precautions. First and foremost, it is critical to protect our children from drowning and heat-related incidents. We never say it enough: Children need to be supervised around bodies of water, including swimming pools, lakes, oceans and even bathtubs or buckets of water. Children (and pets) should never be left unattended in a vehicle and should not be exposed to the sun without proper hydration and sun protection gear. The Chandler Fire Department offers tips and resources for drowning prevention, pool fence guidelines, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

training and swim lessons. Visit for details. If traveling out of town for extended periods of time, it is important to secure homes and vehicles to help prevent acts of vandalism and burglary. Thieves tend to prey on the homes of people who are traveling because it is easier to stake them out and break in. The Chandler Police Department is well aware of this and offers tips and programs to assist residents. It goes without saying that you should always lock all windows, doors and garage entries and don’t leave keys outside the home (under doormats and flower pots are places burglars look first). You may be surprised how often criminals get into someone’s home or car that was left unlocked. Trim the bushes and plants around windows, doorways and gates, so those areas are clearly visible for neighbors and the police to see. A home security system and an alarm system sign in your front yard are also good deterrents. It is recommended you avoid advertising vacation plans on social media. If you are eager to share your

photos, do so through private channels, such as email or private messaging or post them on social media when you return. However, it is a good idea to notify your neighbors (in person) that you will be on vacation. Ask them to watch your house and provide them with your contact information. In addition, notify newspaper carriers and the local post office to hold deliveries. This prevents items and newspapers from stacking up in your mailbox or doorway, which indicates that you may not be home. Also ask neighbors to pick up any packages that are delivered to your house during your absence. The Chandler Police Department also offers free services such as frequent patrol and home security surveys. The surveys include an assessment of all doors, windows, locks, lights and landscaping around your home or business. You can schedule these services by calling the police department at 480782-4000 or by filling out online forms at To protect your home from accidents while away, the Chandler Fire Department

recommends checking all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and installing fresh batteries. Also, remove any potential fire hazards by unplugging non-essential electrical components. To prevent flooding and accidental drowning, shut off the waterline to the house and lock gates and fences near the pool and backyard. If you are traveling by vehicle, firefighters also recommend bringing a functioning fire extinguisher and extra water on the trip. Have the vehicle inspected and serviced prior to leaving to avoid being stranded in the desert heat. If you have children or teenagers out of school this summer, please make sure they are supervised and engaged in fun and productive ways. The city of Chandler and many private and nonprofit agencies offer outstanding and affordable summer programs. Visit for information. Regardless of your summer vacation plans, I hope you create some great memories. Enjoy, have fun, and stay safe. Kevin Hartke is a Chandler City Council member.

We all have a stake in the survival of Girl Scouts BY BETSEY BAYLESS

Guest Writer

The Boy Scouts announced they were opening their doors to girls last October. The opinions about this range from seeing it as a disservice to boys to seeing it as providing greater equality to girls. Some think, incorrectly, that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are already the same organization and don’t understand the controversy. Frankly, I see their move as a grave disservice to girls. And a cynical response to their financial problems and declining enrollment. There are very few girl-only spaces today. Girl Scouts is one and all-girl high

schools is another. I am fortunate to have had the benefit of both. How did I benefit? In that all-girl environment, I had every opportunity to speak and be heard and take on any and all roles and challenges. This helped shape me into a competent and confident woman, with the firm belief I could be anything I wanted to be. The research bears me out. Recently I heard Dr. JoAnn Deak, an educator, psychologist and author, speak. She confirmed that the research shows enough time spent in a single-sex environment builds girls’ self-esteem, leadership and achievement. Dr. Deak went on to say the research demonstrated that the presence of boys has a suppressive effect on girls. While women’s participation in the workforce, higher education and

athletics has increased, there remains strong gender stereotypes and bias in our society regarding traits, social roles, occupations and appearance. These continue to impact girls’ choices and how society treats them. Girls need a safe, supportive space where they can be themselves and build their confidence. A place where being female is seen as positive, with inherent strengths. Where girls learn to support and trust their female peers. A place where girls’ abilities and career aspirations are affirmed, especially in STEM. Where girls’ voices, girls’ perspectives and girls’ way of doing things are honored. This is what Girl Scouts offers to girls. Girls are first and given every opportunity. Girl Scouts are trailblazers, not tagalongs. And Girl Scouts is accessible to all girls.

While Boy Scouts talk about convenience for the family, a daughter is not a matter of convenience. Girls who join Boy Scouts will have to fight for themselves in a very traditional, male-dominated space, just as they do everyday in our society. They will be reduced to being “girls in a boy’s troop.” Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls, offering proven, girl-centered, hands-on programs designed specifically to meet girls’ needs. Girl Scouts is the oldest and largest girl-serving organization active in virtually every zip code in our state and in our country. We all have a stake in ensuring this essential organization continues to help girls thrive. -Betsey Bayless was the 16th Secretary of State of Arizona from 1997 to 2003.

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Douglas’ war on evolution does a disservice to Arizona BY THOMAS H. WILSON Guest Writer

Why in the world are we discussing the validity of biological evolution in 2018? Because Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas seeks to weaken science standards in Arizona schools by removing direct reference to biological evolution in favor of language that suggests alternative possibilities. What might these alternatives be? Not in the language of the standards, but in her campaign, she apparently thinks creationism, or its more recent moniker, intelligent design, is a possibility. Apparently, the new lax language is to encourage science teachers to explore alternatives to biological evolution under the fog of calling it critical thinking.

The idea of biological evolution, of descent from a common ancestor by means of natural selection, was first introduced to the broader world with publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859. Possibly biological evolution was a theory in 1859, although Darwin makes a good case that evolution is, in fact, fact. A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not “guesses” but reliable accounts of the real world. By the mid-20th century – if not earlier – biological evolution was established as scientific certainty beyond a shadow of a doubt, whether based upon genetics or the fossil record. Multiple increasingly refined dating methods, such as genetic sequencing, geological contexts, radiometric dating

and other techniques now offer increasing precision regarding the timing of evolutionary change. Modern biology is evolutionary biology. There is no non-evolutionary biology as an explanatory theory. The scientific method allows hypotheses to be tested, retested, refined or rejected and replaced, and there is no process comparable to the scientific method for alternatives to biological evolution. Indeed, in the last 50 years, when states have attempted to insert alternatives to biological evolution into school curricula with ideas such as creationism, scientific creationism and intelligent design, in every case, federal district courts, federal appellate courts, and the United States Supreme Court have found that biological evolution is science and alternative theories generally fall within the scope of religion – and usually thus

contrary to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Arizona’s children deserve the very best scientific education that we can provide to prepare them for the world of the 21st Century, where scientific literacy will be a requirement for many jobs and just to function effectively in the modern world. Already we know that a skilled and intelligent workforce is a major factor in attracting companies with high-paying jobs to Arizona. In the modern world, Arizona is competing with other states and nations for these companies and jobs. A robust economy benefits all Arizonans. We must offer our children the best possible educational opportunities for them and for our state. Diluting the standards for science education does them, and Arizona, a great disservice. -Thomas H. Wilson is director of the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa.

Mentors make the world of difference for foster kids BY LAURA PAHULES Guest Writer

Foster care. Two words that evoke a variety of emotions and so many questions: How can I help? Can I make a difference? How do we have so many kids in care? While there may not be definitive reasons so many kids enter the foster care system, there are agencies that systemically work to improve their lives once they are in care. Arizonans for Children is a nonprofit founded in 2002 to help families reunify by having locations to visit outside of case managers’ offices. No matter what trauma brought the kids into the system, these centers encourage bonding and healing Arizonans for Children two visitation centers, one in Phoenix and one in Mesa, that allow children in foster care to spend time with their parents in a fun,

Special to SanTan Sun News

Arizonans for Children train volunteers to mentor foster children and teach them basic things they have never been exposed to.

safe but supervised environment. Some families will never reunify, and

Special to SanTan Sun News

Mentors commit to spending eight hours a month for a year with a foster child, becoming the one consistent person in a kid’s life as they transition from home to home.

if they do not, the time spent at these centers offers the chance to create positive memories and allow the families to heal. The visitation centers are staffed by volunteers who want to make a difference in these families’ lives. Each center has a variety of toys, games, books, play grounds, and activities: classes including dance, cooking, literacy, STEM, crafts and much more. Arizonans for Children has a program that matches volunteers from the community to mentor school age children in foster care. Mentors pick up the child from their foster placement and take them into the community, to places like the park and library.  The mentor becomes the one consistent person in the child’s life as they transition from placement to placement. Kids in foster care are frequently moved which means a new home, new kids, new staff, new school, new neighborhood. When these kids can count on their mentor to pick them up from that placement, even if only for a

short visit, it gives them something to look forward to, something that has not changed. Mentors do a variety of activities with their mentee while including life lessons in to the visit. Think about all the things you learned from your parents, teachers, neighbors that these kids are likely missing out on. Who taught you how to tip at a restaurant? Or how to order at a restaurant? Was there someone that showed you how to take public transportation or pump gas? How often did you see “please” and “thank you” modeled as a child?  These are things many of the children we meet at Arizonans for Children have never been exposed to. The goal for the Arizonans for Children Mentor program is that 90 percent of the kids that have a mentor for six months will see improvement in their attendance, their grades will improve, their behaviors will get better but most importantly their self esteem and self worth will improve.  In 2017, the goal was missed, coming in at 89.75 percent of the kids improving in those areas. But when a child in foster care has a mentor for a year, that statistic changes dramatically: 100 percent of the kids with a mentor for a year see improvement in their attendance, grades, behavior as well as their self-esteem and self-worth – which is incredible. Eight hours a month and a year commitment changes the kids from statistics to successes. So who can be a mentor? The requirements are over 21, able to pass a background check and willing to spend eight hours a month while committing to a year with a specific child. Anyone can be a mentor – they just have to care. Start the process by filling out our volunteer application at -Laura Pahules is the executive director of Arizonans for Children.




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Chandler man and son explore The Holocaust’s horrors BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

As a Jewish boy growing up in Brooklyn during World War II, Bill Stone heard many stories about the Holocaust. But a trip to Poland with his son, Daniel, in April gave Chandler man a clearer view of its horrors. A previous trip many years ago to Israel with his wife, Cathy, had prepared Bill for the Poland visit. While in Israel, the couple had visited Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. In Poland, Bill and Daniel toured former concentration and death camps, as well as Jewish burial sites during the International March of the Living – an annual educational program that brings people from around the world together to Poland and Israel to study the history of the Holocaust, as well as to review the roots of prejudice, hatred and intolerance. A retired attorney, Bill, 80, and Daniel, 29, a student pursuing a master’s degree in finance at London Business School, said the trip was emotional and meaningful. Daniel lived in Chandler for almost 15 years and graduated from Basha High School. “I knew pretty much that it was going to center on a lot of those camps, death camps,” Bill said. “You see a lot of gruesome kind of things. You can’t deny that they did exist. The whole point is to make sure what happened during the world war doesn’t happen again. Being in Israel gave me some insight into what kind of experience Poland was going to be.” He and Daniel toured the sites in Warsaw, Kraków and other cities with a United Kingdom delegation of about 260 people spread out into many buses for the travel over several days. The program culminated in a huge group walking about 3 kilometers from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Holocaust Remembrance Day — Yom Hashoah. Initially, Auschwitz was a detention center for political prisoners but it transformed into a network of camps

Daniel Stone

Participants in the International March of the Living visited Auschwitz.

where Jewish people and others thought to be enemies of the Nazi state were killed, often in gas chambers, or they were used as slave labor. Holocaust survivors accompanied the visitors on the tours in Poland and shared their stories of survival. Bill said visiting Auschwitz provided the “most gory kind of feeling.” At the site, he said about 40,000 pairs of shoes from concentration camp prisoners were displayed. “You just shake your head in

Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Bill Stone holds a program with many photos and information about the sites he and his son, Daniel, and many other people visited during the International March of the Living in Poland.

amazement,” Bill said. “We were actually in parts of the camp where people were gassed to death. Auschwitz had a reputation for being one of the worst camps people found themselves in.” Walking through the gas chambers, where prisoners at Auschwitz had died was “overwhelming,” Daniel said, adding: “It’s very difficult to see what you’re seeing. I think everybody on this trip kind of tried to not think about what they were seeing and compartmentalize what they were seeing as a way of sort of protecting yourself from the horror of what you are seeing. “It’s hard to understand how this happened…as my dad mentioned when we were there that it’s now sacred ground. I think he’s right that it’s a place… where hundreds of thousands, millions of Jewish people lost their lives. You’re also looking at where these people, where their final moments were.” While many of the structures and artifacts were “well-maintained” at Auschwitz, it was a different story at the Belzec death camp, Daniel said. “All that’s there is the memorial that was built,” he said. “It’s a very sad reason why there’s nothing there. “Essentially, the Nazis considered themselves to be successful in exterminating all of the Jewish people in the part of Poland that they had set out to murder. They destroyed it, built the farm to cover up what had happened there.” Besides visiting the death and

concentration camps, the March of the Living participants also visited the Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetery. Jewish people who died before World War II and victims of the Warsaw Ghetto are buried there. The Germans decreed the establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940, requiring all Jewish residents in Warsaw to move into a designated area. German officials forced ghetto residents to live in an area of 1.3 square miles with many people residing in each room. The Warsaw Ghetto residents were not rationed enough food and from 1940 to mid-1942, more than 83,000 Jews died from starvation and disease, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia. The Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetery has some mass graves “because the sheer number of people who died in the ghetto, it was overwhelming for the Jewish people to give them a proper burial,” Daniel said. “That’s one of the things that stood out to me,” he said. “You think about how the Nazis basically didn’t honor anybody’s human rights when they were alive, but none of the human rights that we expect were given to Jewish people on their death because they weren’t given a proper burial. The Jewish people weren’t able to bury their deceased according to the religious customs.” Bill, Daniel and the delegation also visited Zbylitowska Góra, a forest with mass graves where the Nazis murdered See

POLAND on page 46



from page 45

and buried Jewish people, as well as the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. That museum revealed what life was like for Jewish people starting from before the Holocaust and during the Holocaust. Daniel said a highlight of the trip for him was visiting the Warsaw Zoo, a scientific operation where the zookeepers saved many Jewish people by letting them hide there. The contributions of the zookeepers were the subject of the movie and book “The Zookeeper’s Wife.” The group also visited another place tied to a couple who helped Jewish people during World War II. The tourists went to the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews in World War II in Markowa. The museum was named for Józef and Wiktoria Ulma, who gave shelter to eight Jewish people. The Nazis discovered they were hiding them and killed the Jewish people, as well as Józef and Wiktoria and their children. The Ulmas were posthumously given the “Righteous Among the Nations” title in 1995. The main goal of the museum is to show the heroism of Poles who helped the Jews during German occupation, risking their lives and their families’ lives. “We didn’t spend much time there but I think it was one place where I wish we had more time to spend because I think it’s a very important part of the story of the Holocaust,” Daniel said. “It was a very

interesting museum.” He said on the last day of tour, during the walk, he felt a “mixture of emotions.” “On the day of the march, everyone is in very good spirits but it’s almost a discomforting feeling to be happy in Auschwitz, a place of death. You have discomfort…at the same time, the march at least for me, personally it was a very uplifting feeling,” Daniel said. “You recognize when you’re there, the fact that all these people are here, it represents that the Nazis weren’t successful and ultimately failed at what they were attempting to do. It represents the fact that the Jewish people are still here; not only are they still here, they’re thriving.” Daniel said he met people from Los Angeles, as well as other parts of Europe and Japan during the walk on the tour’s last day. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and Israel’s President Reuven “Ruvi” Rivlin also took part in the walk. Bill said he does not believe any of his relatives were victims of the Holocaust, though relatives on his father’s side had lived in Russia before immigrating to the United States. “When I was born, the world war was maybe two years old,” Bill said. “I heard a lot about it. It’s certainly something you wouldn’t want to go through. Treating people in a racist fashion is just not acceptable.” He and his wife, Cathy, who is Catholic, and their family moved to Arizona 14 years ago. Bill said he finds people friendly and accepting of different cultures in Chandler, too.


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Daniel Stone

Left: Bill Stone of Chandler and his son, Daniel, visited the Okopowa Jewish Cemetery, to honor L. L. Zamenhof, a Polish Jew physician and oculist who created the international artificial language, Esperanto. Right: This is a look inside the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Poland. Bill Stone of Chandler and his son, Daniel visited this and many other sites of historical significance.

“We’re just one of the happy people transferred to Arizona,” he said. “Everybody seems to be on the same page — friendship and good relations.” Cathy is pleased her husband and son visited Poland for the Holocaust commemoration. “I thought it was a great thing for the two of them to do together as father and son,” she said. “I saw some research and half the millennials do not even know about the Holocaust.”

Cathy said she hopes to attend the march in the future but couldn’t this year because of work. While in Poland, Daniel and Bill had a chance to talk to Holocaust survivor Arie Shilansky, who had been in at least one concentration camp and sent on a death march. He was originally from Lithuania. “We were able to talk with Arie throughout the entire week and learn See

POLAND on page 51






Local students carrying a tune all the way to Australia BY LEE SHAPPELL Staff

Natalie Garrett of Chandler says she is still in disbelief that she gets to fly more than 20 hours to perform in a world-famous venue. Emily Baxter of Gilbert just hopes to hug a koala. The two are among 34 East Valley students in the 110-member Phoenix Children’s Chorus now on a 12-day tour of Australia. The highlight will be their June 22 concert performance at the Sydney Opera House. The children’s choir takes trips every year to perform, however they travel internationally only every third year. “When we heard it was Australia for this year I was so surprised, kind of in shock,” said Garrett, 19, who attended Chandler Preparatory Academy. “It was like, wow, amazing. Then when they added that we get to sing in the Sydney Opera House, it was disbelief.” Among the contingent are 18 students who live in Chandler, six each from Mesa and Tempe, three from Gilbert and one from Gold Canyon. Students must audition for the touring choirs. Garrett and Baxter were in the group that sang in New York’s Carnegie Hall last year. Garrett, who has been in the chorus for seven years, is among the few remaining from its last international trip, to Argentina, three years ago.

The choir, students ages 12-19, have been preparing all year for this trip of a lifetime. They will share the Sydney Opera House stage with the Colorado Springs (Colorado) Youth Symphony and a Temecula, California, high school band. Choir members will be immersed in the Australian culture while being home-hosted by local families. Baxter and Garrett hope to learn about a different culture, meet new people and discover new things while touring the country. Neither plans to study music in college, but both are grateful for the opportunities that auditioning for the chorus and making it have given them. Both plan to continue singing informally in choirs as an activity that they enjoy. Garrett is headed to Arizona State to major in biology in hopes of preparing for a career in the healthcare industry. Baxter, 18, of Gilbert, who attended Prima Vera High and East Valley Institute of Technology, has been with the choir for five years. She plans to attend Northern Arizona University this fall to study biology. She hopes to become a naturopathic physician. The Australia trip was announced just before the group performed a year ago in New York. “All the seniors who graduated last year were super-jealous,” Baxter said. “I felt so lucky. I’m ecstatic. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to sleep. “New York was one of the best things


Special to the San Tan Sun News

Special to the San Tan Sun News

Natalie Garrett

Emily Baxter

I’ve ever experienced. It was so amazing. Riding a crowded subway was a culture shock, with so many people in a close, tiny space. Seeing Times Square and all the buildings, then getting to sing in Carnegie Hall, honestly, it was breathtaking. And now this. I am so fortunate.” The award-winning touring Phoenix Children’s Chorus has performed in

Austria, Germany, Ireland, Russia, Canada, Mexico, China, Italy, Argentina and throughout the United States as musical ambassadors representing Arizona. While learning the fine art of choral music, members participate in professional performances throughout the year See

CHORUS on page 52



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Community-minded father likes giving back BY ALISON WALSH Guest Writer

A business owner and father of two, David Ralls works and lives in Chandler. He moved his 21-year-old advertising agency, Commit Agency, to downtown Chandler three years ago and has lived in the area for almost two decades. He is dedicated to, and proud of, the work he has done to help the local community. In addition to moving Commit Agency to downtown Chandler in the summer of 2015, Ralls is a past president and life member of the Chandler Compadres. The group serves the community by raising money for nonprofits in Chandler and throughout the East Valley, such as ICAN, a free community center that offers programming for youth, teens and families, as well as the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley. With 40 active members and approximately 60 life members, the allvolunteer Chandler Compadres group has donated more than $1 million to charities so far this year. Ralls also has served on ICAN’s board of directors for the past three years. When asked what community project he has worked on that he is most proud of, Ralls said that in 2012, he and fellow Compadre Michael Deutsch created the annual Chandler Compadres’ Rock the Cause for Kids fundraising event, which has grown to be a top 10 fundraiser in Arizona after six years. The goal the first year was to break

Mary Lessig

Jackson, Deborah, David and William Ralls pose together. David is president of Commit Agency, an advertising company he moved to Chandler three years ago.

even – and when 1,000 attendees showed up and the group netted $150,000 for charity that year, they knew they had created something special. The November music-themed event has grown to entertain more than 1,500 attendees each year and raises more than $500,000 for charity annually. Having his business in the downtown

Chandler area has been a positive experience all around. “We have really enjoyed being in Downtown Chandler and could not have timed our move any better,” Ralls said. “The variety of restaurants makes it a great spot for entertaining our clients and rewarding our team.” As a dad of two boys ages 13 and 10,

Ralls enjoys many things about living in Chandler. “Chandler is filled with really good people,” he said. “Whether volunteering to coach youth sports, the great schools, reputable charitable causes or church communities, you don’t have to look far to see people working to make Chandler the best it can be,” he said. In their spare time as a family, he and his wife Deborah and sons William and Jackson love to travel, go horseback riding, fishing, camping and explore Arizona in their Polaris RZR. They enjoy spending time in Pinetop in the White Mountain Summer Homes. “The people and the golf club are amazing,” Ralls said. “It is our favorite spot to unplug the electronics and recharge our family connection.”   Ralls is always looking to guide his sons as they mature into young men. “Winston Churchill once said, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,’” Ralls said. He added that he believes that people don’t know what challenges we will face personally or professionally but having the courage to continue and persevere will get them through anything. “I tell my boys to remember to live every day to the fullest while being good people who give as much, if not more, as they receive,” Ralls said. “This will result in true happiness.” Information:,

Frank Leutz gives back, supports daughters BY SHERRY L. BUTLER Guest Writer

If you own or love a car or attended this year’s Ostrich Festival and met a man who looked like he walked right out of a German Oktoberfest celebration, you may have met Frank Leutz, COO of Desert Car Care of Chandler. As a small business owner in Chandler for 11 years, Frank is very involved in the community and will go to any lengths to support it – even wearing his native German lederhosen promoting votes for Chandler’s eventual win in the “Battle of the ‘Burbs.” Leutz’s fun-loving personality was channeled by a junior high school music teacher who became his mentor. His classical trombone lessons led to performances at Carnegie Hall and acceptance to New York’s music and art’s original “Fame” high school. There, he expanded his training and performed with greats Dizzy Gillespie, Branford Marsalis and Lionel Hampton, as a jazz/salsa trombonist. After school Frank headed to the Navy receiving life-skills essential to building a business. His dedicated team of seven full-timers and two interns, from EVIT’s automotive school, enjoy a family-oriented culture and are proud of the awards from the “East Valley Tribune’s” Best of Chandler to Small Business of the Year by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce. Frank’s wife Josephine shares he is a

an old-fashioned neighborhood flavor. It welcomes an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit for a small business to thrive. He enjoys the fun community events that bring people together and the passion that the administrative arm of the city executes for a balanced blend of neighbor and business. A 27-year veteran in the automotive service industry, Frank seeks opportunities to give back. He served five years as president of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Phoenix Special to the San Tan Sun News Chapter and he was elected The Leutz family attends Natalee’s confirmation at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Community in Phoenix. They are, to serve on the national ASA from left, Frank, Josephine, Natalee and Victoria Leutz. Mechanical Division Operations Committee, the voice in dedicated father to their daughters Vicby selling out of her Slime product line. Washington, D.C., for automotoria and Natalee, rarely missing a school Courageous, talented, patient and tive service station owners. event and always making time to be understanding are words his daughters use Frank hosts a variety of car care clinics together. His eldest, Victoria, graduated to describe their father. They say he is a at the garage and is a regular local car care from Arizona State University last month man who devotes time to his family and expert on television news shows. and 9-year old Natalee, is a student at strangers in need of a compassionate heart Recently, he created, produces and St. Francis Xavier. and a quiet hero in service to others. hosts “Wrench Nation Car Talk Radio,” Natalee was 3 years old when her The culture he creates within his which delivers conversational content biological mother, Josephine’s niece, small business has impacted many lives about the automotive industry and suddenly died. Josephine and Frank are and spreading optimism throughout the culture. Airing live from 88.7 The Pulse at raising Natalee like their own daughter. community is one of many reasons their the East Valley Institute of Technology. Natalee thrives in their home, and Frank father will always be their hero. He edits the weekly live show which recently helped her win a business venFrank is happy operating his business is repurposed as a podcast on iTunes and ture competition, buying supplies and in Chandler because of the diverse culairs on 1100 KFNX Radio. sharing sales skills, earning her first place ture and vibrant community that exudes Sherry Butler Communications



Chandler dad takes volunteerism seriously BY ABBIE S. FINK Guest Writer

Michael Kintner likes to joke that he plays games for a living. As director of marketing and operations at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino in Maricopa, the Chandler man is responsible for all aspects of marketing and casino operations for the casino. including database marketing,

their two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Oakley and Kyah. He is a diehard Wildcat fan who often takes his family to attend University of Arizona football, basketball and baseball games. He also finds time to give back to the community. He is part of Harrah’s HERO program, an employee-based volunteer program in

As a father of two, I can understand how challenging “ – and even scary – it can be to get your children ready to succeed before they enter school,” Kintner said. “I took on this role as a leader and also as a dad. The stakes could not be any higher.

– Michael Kintner casino marketing, advertising, VIP events, promotions, entertainment, sales, public relations and games. Harrah’s Ak-Chin is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion that will include an additional 230 guest rooms bringing the total to more than 500, a spa, a conference center with increased ballroom space, additional restaurants and a multilevel parking structure. But what really defines him is his complete dedication to his family. The dad cherishes his free time with his wife, Amanda, two sons, Mason and Chase, and

which volunteers make contributions to the community by lending their time, skills, expertise and caring to dozens of volunteer projects throughout the community. Kintner and his family members volunteer with organizations that run the gamut. including United Blood Services, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, United Way, Meals on Wheels, American Cancer Society and First Things First. He expanded his role as a volunteer with First Things First and now serves on the Pinal County Regional Partnership Council of First Things First board of directors.

Gina Kolsrud

Mike Kintner and his wife, Amanda and their sons, Mason, 12, on left, and Chase, 10, spend quality time together.


“As a father of two, I can understand how challenging – and even scary – it can be to get your children ready to succeed before they enter school,” Kintner said. “I took on this role as a leader and also as a dad. The


stakes could not be any higher.” Kintner earned both his bachelor’s degree and his MBA from the University of Arizona. He has been with Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino since 2005.


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from page 46

from what he went through,” Daniel said. “He was a very important part of the educational experience.” He added when asked how he survived the atrocities of the Holocaust, Shilansky said “there was no question about whether or not you would continue to fight for your life; you would.” “Everybody asked him questions,” Bill said. “He was happy to do it. It was very impactful. He was there with his grandson.” Bill, Daniel and other experts say it is important to hear stories about the Holocaust from survivors as they get older before they pass on. Ensuring future generations are told details about what happened during the Holocaust is critical, Tim Langille, Arizona State University lecturer in Jewish studies and religious studies, said. “With survivors dying off, they’re getting older…education is what’s going to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive,” Langille said. “That’s what we’re going to have. That’s why people like Steven Spielberg have tried to gather as many memories as possible. “Obviously, we’re living in kind of bizarre times with a lot of conspiracy theories and denial over many different kind of social phenomena. We’re seeing a noticeable spike in anti-Semitism again. Remembering the Holocaust is particularly important right now.” Langille, co-chairman of the American Academy of Religion’s Religion, Memory, History Group, added the March of the Living is also in reaction to Jewish people


Visits to Poland for the March of the Living and other historically significant locations are important for establishing identity, Langille said. “Memory is important,” he said. “There’s obviously ritual associated with these kind of visits. The March of the Living is a response to not only the destruction of the European Jews but also the death marches in that it represents the perseverance and survival of Jews, Jewish culture, and Jewish identities.” Dr. Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D., with Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation and National Chaplain of Jewish War VeteransUSA, said, “None of us will ever comprehend the horrific chapter in humanities history referred to as the Holocaust.” “Even those who lived through this nightmare cannot understand how human beings can be brought to such a level of monstrous proportions,” Wiener said, adding: Special to SanTan Sun News “Each year we stand and Daniel Stone, on right, poses with Holocaust survivor remember those who have no Arie Shilansky in Poland during the International March candles lit for them on the of the Living. anniversary of their death, or prayers recited as their names being forced onto death marches during are not mentioned because no one really the Holocaust. knows all the names. “It’s in response to the death marches “There are no monuments erected when they emptied out the death camps to mark the spot where once lived and people were starving and dying from the conditions or too sick or too slow and people who were sacrificed for the sake of hatred. Their unmarked graves being shot on the spot,” he said. “Having people do a March of the Living is kind of bear witness to the disgrace that is the legacy of man’s darkest hour. All of this in response to these death marches. “

happened because to be different in any way, was the mortal sin of depravity.” He said everyone must remember the Holocaust so nothing like it will happen again. “More than sixty-million people from all walks of life, all corners of the globe, were also sacrificed on the altar of indifference,” he continued. “That is why, we should always and forever, remember the blood soaked earth, the stench from the ovens of mass destruction, and the cries of the helpless. Each time we remember, we resurrect a soul, which symbolizes the re-birth of values and benevolence and blessing.” A 2013 Pew Research Center study revealed 73 percent of U.S. Jews surveyed said “remembering the Holocaust” is “essential to being Jewish.” Visiting places where trauma and death occurred has become a type of tourism, Langille said. He said a book called “Death Tourism: Disaster Sites as Recreational Landscape” talks about how Auschwitz, Hiroshima in Japan, the Cambodian Killing Fields, mass graves of Rwanda and the World Trade Center in New York City, places of violent deaths, have become part of tourism. “That’s been an issue: what’s the best way to represent a trauma” Langille said. “How do you do it, what’s appropriate. There is a commercial aspect to these sites, which is actually quite interesting. How is memory and trauma mediated by tourism, travel agents and guide books?” Since it started in 1988, more than 260,000 alumni from 52 countries have walked from Auschwitz to Birkenau as part of the International March of the Living. Information:


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Use of ice or heat to treat pain requires care BY SITHARI EDIRISOORIYA Guest Writer

Regardless of your level of athleticism, if you have ever run, trained for an event or simply worked out, you have most likely experienced sore muscles or injury. Most people treat it by applying ice or heat to the muscle. Here are some tips to guide you for maximum healing benefit when applying ice or heat. Ice is mostly recommended for an area that has inflammation. It is an immune response in which chemicals such as histamine, bradykinin and prostaglandins allow leakage of damaged cells from blood vessels to help in the repair of damaged tissue. Inflammation causes redness, swelling, pain and/or warmth. Ice is generally used as a beginning treatment for sprains, strains and other injuries. Ice works well for injuries because it narrows your blood vessels, limiting blood from accumulating at the site of injury and decreasing the amount of leakage of toxins into surrounding tissue. Rest, compression and elevation also


from page 48

and learn the basic elements of vocal technique, performance and musicianship skills. Summer music camp in Prescott, weekly rehearsals, music literacy and two

decrease blood flow to the area, further reducing inflammation. And they are often combined with ice for the initial 48 hours. If the injury gets worse, or doesn’t show notable improvement after 48 hours, see a physician. Relying on self care for too long can make your pain worse. Ice treatments should generally be applied for 15-20 minutes. You can use either real ice or commercial ice packs. It should be applied 4-6 times during the initial 48 hours after a muscle injury. After 48 hours, you should switch to heat. It is important to cover the ice or ice pack with paper towels or cloth so that it does not directly touch the skin. Do not use ice packs on the left shoulder if you have a heart condition. Do not place ice packs on the front or side of your neck. Placing the ice or ice pack directly on the skin, applying for longer periods of time, or applying it too often can damage the skin and possibly lead to frostbite. Heat is mostly recommended for chronic aches and pains with limited or no inflammation. Chronic pain is an indication that the body has not fully healed and pain reoccurs frequently. Some common chronic conditions are old injuries, muscle pain and stiff joints. Heat can help improve circulation, tissue

elasticity and reduce muscle spasms. Heat increases blood flow to the area, which promotes healing and decreases pain. As blood flow increases, so does the flow of oxygen and other nutrients to the area, while toxins are removed. Be careful when using heat. It is not recommended for people with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease. The goal is a warm temperature; too much heat can harm the skin and surrounding tissue. Caution is advised here too. Do not use heat treatments after activity or recent injury. Never use heat when swelling is involved because swelling is caused by tissue bleeding and heat draws more blood to the area. This includes recent arthritis flare ups. Avoid using heat for an extended amount of time, and never sleep with a treatment on. These mistakes can lead to blisters, irritations and sometimes burns. If you have heart disease or hypertension, check with your physician before trying heat. If you are pregnant, check with your physician before using saunas or hot tubs. There are an endless number of heating products. Baths, whirlpools, and steamed towels are wet heat. Heating

pads are dry heat. When applying dry heat, such as a heating pad, you must put a towel layer between the dry heat and your skin to prevent burns. Dry heat therapy should be applied for 15-20 minutes only. Electric blankets and pads used for extended amounts of time disrupt normal cellular processes because of their electromagnetic field. Warm baths and other wet therapies can last from 30 minutes to 2 hours. People with chronic back pain usually choose heat wraps. These offer all day relief and can be worn under the clothes. Athletes use whirlpools to relieve muscle aches. Many people with arthritis in their hands and feet have found relief in heated swimming pools. Don’t use hot or cold packs: over areas of skin in poor condition, skin with poor sensation to heat or cold, and part of the body with poor circulation. Don’t use cold or hot packs in the presence of an infection. Choose ice for new injuries that cause pain, redness and/or swelling. Choose heat for chronic pain. Sithari Edirisooriya, D.C., owns AcuChiro, 333 N. Dobson Road, Suite 5, in Chandler. AcuChiro offers acupuncture, chiropractic care and physiotherapy. Information: 602-753-9130 or

advanced touring choirs travel nationally and internationally. Audition information is available at Cheryl Mollerup, executive director of Phoenix Children’s Chorus, said that each student was charged with raising the $3,500 necessary to make the Australia

trip. Some obtained sponsors. Some received help from parents. Some made posters and set up fundraising kiosks outside supermarkets. Some held jobs. And for those with economic hardship, assistance was given. “As an organization, we did not want

any of them to miss this,” Mollerup said. Baxter says she is ready to soak up every minute of it. “And I hope to hug a koala,” she said. “Isn’t that what everybody wants to do if they go to Australia?”

These area students will be singing down under More than 30 students from East Valley schools are among 110 on the Phoenix Youth Chorus 12-day tour of Australia, which includes a June 22 performance at the Sydney Opera House. CHANDLER Amelia Crago, Payne Junior High Isabella Navarro, Aprende Middle Paige DeCoster, Arizona College Prep-Oakland Julian Lee, Santan Junior Hannah Reeves, home school Charlotte Ruth, Willis Junior

Noelle Garrett, Chandler Preparatory McKenzie Kyte, Arizona School for the Arts Elizabeth Simmons, home school Ariel Teo, home school Maren Wenger, Dobson High Kylie Chung, Dobson High Karli Dieu, Dobson High Madison Henson, Perry High Shakthi Srinivasan, BASIS Chandler Natalie Garrett, Chandler Preparatory Camryn Palmer, Corona del Sol High Ruthanne Teo, home school



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GILBERT Megan Baggs, Cooley Middle Lily Birosh, Desert Ridge Junior High Emily Baxter, Prima Vera High/EVIT

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GOLD CANYON Victoria Mitchell, Apache Junction High/EVIT

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Wagner Dance Arts will perform “Yellow Brick Road” on June 23 at Chandler Center for the Arts. Students have lots of opportunities to perform when they study at the Mesa studio.

Arts center features classic tale in ‘Yellow Brick Road’ BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

The story of a girl who left Kansas, encountered a Tin Man, Scarecrow, Munchkins and other magical creatures before professing there’s no place is like home will be brought to life in the form of dances at Chandler Center for the Arts. Wagner Dance Arts’ “Yellow Brick Road” will come to the stage on June 23 at the arts center, 250 N. Arizona Ave. About 170 dancers who take classes at the Mesa studio will perform ballet, hiphop, tap, jazz and contemporary dances in a tale inspired by “The Wizard of Oz,” said Wagner Dance Arts artistic director and co-owner Denise Wagner. Many dancers who live in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Ahwatukee take classes at the dance studio.

“It has a lot of themes of home and how great it is to be home and friendship,” Wagner said. “It’s about Dorothy and she encounters the scarecrow and the lion and the Tin Man. It’s a family-friendly dance production. “It’s a great story for kids because it teaches them the importance of home and home is in your heart. This show is for a lot of families of our students. A lot of the moms and grandmothers, they love the show. For the youth of today that haven’t seen the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ it’s a way to introduce it.” The dance production will not actually feature a witch but alludes to one so as not to scare the young viewers and dancers. Wagner and about 10 choreographers collaborated to create the dances for the show. Many songs used in the “Wizard of

Oz” will be played as background to the dances, but also music from the musical “Wicked.” All dancers who study at Wagner Dance Arts will participate in the show, but they auditioned for specific parts, Wagner said. “I love the story,” she said. “It’s a timeless classic.” The dance school gets costumes from many different sources and Betty Aquino, the wardrobe mistress, aims to make “every child feel fabulous,” Wagner said. Aquino’s granddaughter had danced at Wagner Dance Arts. Wagner’s daughter, Ruby Wagner, teaches at the studio and does much of the choreography for shows. Wagner is a Mesa Community College student and Highland High School graduate. “It’s passing down through the

generations,” Wagner said. Wagner, whose husband, Charles, is the studio’s co-owner, said her dance studio focuses on a “quality performing arts education and the development of selfesteem for all students. “Our shows are appropriate; our music, costumes are age-appropriate,” she said. “It’s an uplifting experience for families.” Wagner started dancing when she was 6, doing mostly ballet and some jazz and tap. She studied dance in Costa Rica and taught ballet and jazz while she was a graduate student at Arizona State University. Wagner has owned the dance studio for about 16 years. “Yellow Brick Road” will be performed at 6 p.m. June 23 at the Chandler Center for the Arts. For tickets and more information, visit

Valley Christian grad to perform in ’42nd Street’ BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

A 19-year-old rising star and Valley Christian High School graduate who made her mark in the East Valley youth theater scene is going to kick up her heels in the musical “42nd Street” at Tempe Center for the Arts. Gracie Gentile, a 2017 Valley Christian graduate, will perform in the ensemble of Scottsdale Musical Theater Company’s classic musical July 6-15. Gentile just finished her first year at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she is studying musical theater. While in high school in her hometown of Chandler, the bubbly actress, dancer and singer performed at Valley Christian in Chandler, as well as at Limelight Performing Arts in Gilbert, Mesa Community College, Actor’s Youth Theatre in Gilbert and a Glendale church. She is excited about performing with Scottsdale Musical Theater Company, which brings Broadway favorite musicals

Janice Louise Photography

Gracie Gentile attends University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

to the stage. Charles Shaughnessy, who had been on TV’s “The Nanny,” as well as “Days of Our Lives” and Broadway’s “Urinetown,” will play director Julian Marsh in “42nd

Street.” Debby Boone, a Grammy-winning recording artist who had been on Broadway’s “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” will play diva Dorothy Brock.

Gentile’s idol, Eloise Kropp, a young Broadway starlet who has performed in “Dames at Sea,” “Cats” and “On the Town,” will play Anytime Annie in “42nd Street.” Kropp is also doing the show’s tap choreography. “It’s been so fun,” Gentile said of performing in “42nd Street.” “It’s also been extremely challenging at the same time. It has helped me grow a lot as a dancer. I still have to process it myself. The one who’s on Broadway, Eloise Kropp, she’s the one that I know the most out of the three (stars). “I got to see her when she did ‘Cats’ two years ago. She’s one of my most favorite live performers because she’s an incredible dancer. She’s so present and humble. This is going to be an experience I’m never going to forget.” “42nd Street” tells the story of Peggy Sawyer, who comes to New York City to steal the spotlight; her journey to stardom comes with life lessons and See

42ND STREET on page 58






Folklorico Quetzalli brings unique dancing to EV BY LAURA LATZKO GETOUT Contributor

When Vanessa Ramirez was a child, she sat with her mother and watched ballet folklorico dancers rehearse at a gym. This experience sparked a passion in her that led to a career in dance that began when she was 7. As an adult, she founded the Chandler-based studio Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli, now in its 10th year. The studio will celebrate its anniversary on June 16 with a carnival-themed show with ballet folklorico dances from different states in Mexico. The studio’s dancers, which range in age from 3 to 46, will perform with Mariachi Sonido de Mexico and Banda Sinaloense La Llega Finix. “The older ones definitely have more intense footwork and skirt movements, and there’s choreography across the floor and doing different shapes,” Ramirez says. The company regularly performs around the Valley at events like Chandler’s Mariachi and Folklorico Festival and its Parade of Lights, as well as the Phoenix Zoo’s Dia del Nino event. The group has also brought its style of ballet folklorico dance to Disneyland. Ramirez started dancing in California and continued with a company in Tucson after moving to Arizona. She hadn’t danced for quite a few years when she was enlisted to teach a recreational dance

Special to the San Tan Sun News

Dazzling costumes add another dimension to the dazzling dance performances. class in Chandler. She never envisioned she would make a career out of dance. “I think back now, and I never planned for this,” Ramirez says. “This just kind of came to me, and obviously the universe knows this is my passion. This is what I

love, and I was missing it at the time.” Ramirez says running the studio has been meaningful. “I don’t know how I can even put into words just how special it has been to share these past 10 years of my life with such amazing children,” she says.

“The children have taught me about myself, about life, about really appreciating one another.” Of the six girls in her original class, three are still with the studio. See

FOLKLORICO on page 56



from page 55

“It has been wonderful to watch them grow and develop not just as dancers but as these incredibly strong young women,” she says. “They are pursuing all these other things in their lives, but they are still committed to dance and their team.” Some families have had multiple children take classes at the studio over the years. Original dancer Kateri Parra started at age 7, and her younger sister joined a few years later. The studio grown to include more than 80 students in beginning, intermediate and advanced classes. Ramirez continues to be the primary instructor, but following an ankle injury this year, the studio’s future was in jeopardy. However, parents and students stepped in to help. “I think really having that sense of family, of support, is wonderful, something that just really stands out throughout the years with Quetzalli,” Ramirez says. Grizelda Celaya, one of Ramirez’s adult students, recently began teaching beginning-level company classes. Celaya has danced with Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli for four years but started ballet folklorico dance in junior high and took ballet, tap and jazz classes in elementary school. Although she had stayed in shape, getting back into ballet folklorico as an adult was a challenge. “With that style of dance, there are so many regions and styles within those re-

Special to the San Tan Sun News

Several generations of families have performed at the studio over the years.

gions that I didn’t know of when I danced before,” Celaya says. “There was a lot that I hadn’t already learned, but the stuff that I did, I had to brush up on.” Now she has a different approach because of a deeper association with the history and the meaning behind the dances and costumes. “The difference would be knowing the significance behind the costumes more than I did as a child, but the excitement

is still there, and I think I feel like a kid when I put them on,” Celaya says. In her classes, Ramirez tries to instill in her students important values and skills, including poise, accountability, time management, responsibility, confidence and public speaking. Parra has applied the skills she learned at the studio to her roles as National Honor Society president and cheerleader. Dancing with the studio has allowed


Parra to teach dance to kids from low-income families. Ramirez regularly travels to Mexico to conferences to learn new dances and brings them back to her company. “As instructors, as choreographers, I think it’s our duty to do that research so that we aren’t disrespecting who this belongs to and the story this is telling,” Ramirez says. Through dance, her students connect to their cultures – just as she did, she says. “I never really knew where I came from, where my family came from or even what it meant to be from Mexico,” Ramirez says. “It was always sadly something to be ashamed of rather than something to honor and respect, and dance taught me what my culture is. Dance taught me how beautiful it is and that I should be proud of it and proud of my parents and ancestors.” Parra agrees. Through dance, Parra feels a bond with her grandmother, who danced ballet folklorico as a child. “It made me feel closer to her,” Parra says. “That’s my inspiration, and that’s why I keep dancing. I know that she wants me to keep dancing. When I’m dancing, I have a little bit of her in me.”


What: Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli-AZ Where: Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler When: 6 p.m. Saturday, June 16 Tickets: $15 Info: 480-782-2680,

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Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli-AZ 10th Anniversary Celebration with Mariachi Sonido de Mexico, Center for the Arts, 782-2680 Father’s Day - Free Admission for Dads at Chandler Pools, 782-2749 Regina Belle, Center for the Arts, 782-2680 Future Leaders Fair – Teen Career Expo & Job Fair, Chandler Community Center, 782-2730 Tempe Dance Academy and Talent Factory: Meet Me at the Fair, Center for the Arts, 782-2680 Wagner Dance Arts: Yellow Brick Road, Center for the Arts, 782-2680 City Council Study Session, Council Chambers, 782-2180 City Council Meeting, Council Chambers, 782-2180

july (de julio)

Chandler’s July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, Tumbleweed Park, 782-2735 City Council Meeting & Study Session, Council Chambers, 782-2180 City Council Meeting, Council Chambers, 782-2180 Last day to register to vote for the 2018 Primary Election, 782-2180 Último día para registrarse para votar en las elecciones primarias de 2018, 782-2180, elections/

august (de agosto)

Early voting for Primary Election begins, 782-2180 La votación temprana para la elección primaria comienza, 782-2180 Small Business Workshop: Chandler Resources, Downtown Library, 782-2800 City Council Meeting & Study Session, Council Chambers, 782-2180 Small Business Workshop: Business Plan/Marketing, Downtown Library, 782-2800 City Council Meeting, Council Chambers, 782-2180 Small Business Workshop: Financing and Staffing, Downtown Library, 782-2800 Last day to request that an early ballot be mailed for the Primary Election, 782-2180 Último día para solicitar una boleta electoral temprana para ser enviado para la elección, primaria, 782-2180 Operation Back to School, Chandler High School, 782-4300 Small Business Workshop: Panel Discussion, Downtown Library, 782-2800

For event details, visit

or call the Chandler Special Events Hotline at


Know the rules

Chandler 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular Chandler’s Tumbleweed Park will once again host a fantastic Independence Day celebration and fireworks display on Wednesday, July 4. Tumbleweed Park is on the southwest corner of McQueen and Germann roads. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., with fireworks starting at 9 p.m. Admission is free and on-site event parking is $5 per vehicle. Pack your bags, bring your blankets and chair, and don’t forget the sunscreen. Enjoy the award-winning park and all it has to offer: Playtopia, sand volleyball, horseshoes and cornhole. Or, bring the fun from home: kites, Frisbees, sports balls, bikes, bubbles, jump ropes and so much more. Grilling, alcoholic beverages and personal fireworks are prohibited within the park, but the public is welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase throughout the evening. After all the family-made fun, sit back, relax and watch the 20-minute fireworks show, presented by the City of Chandler. For more information, call the City’s special events hotline at 782-2735, or go to

Covering the sale, purchase and use of fireworks within Chandler City limits The Chandler Fire Department (CFD) is reminding residents that while some types of fireworks are legal to sell and purchase at local businesses, the use and misuse of fireworks can lead to personal injury, injury to others, harm to pets, property damage, and destruction of the environment. Under Arizona law, the sale of permissible consumer fireworks is allowed from May 20 through July 6 and from December 10 through January 3. The use of permissible consumer fireworks is allowed June 24 through July 6 and from December 24 through January 3 on private property, with the permission of the property owner. Chandler prohibits the use of permissible consumer fireworks in any public park within Chandler City limits. Additional firework rules and safety tips are available on the CFD website at

Donations and volunteers needed Get ready to vote in the Aug. 28 for Operation Back to School Chandler Primary Election • Tumbleweed Recreation Center, 745 E. Germann Road, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday • Sunset Library, 4930 W. Ray Road, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday • Chandler City Hall, 175 S. Arizona Ave., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday The City’s Diversity Office and its community partners are busy preparing for this year’s Operation Back to School Chandler. The annual event brings together the entire community to provide disadvantaged students with school supplies they’ll need for the coming school year. The event will be held from 6:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 21, at Chandler High School, 350 N. Arizona Ave. Donated school supplies, shoes, socks or underwear from the recommended wish list can be dropped off at the following sites until Wednesday, July 11: • Environmental Education Center, 4050 E. Chandler Heights Road, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

• Snedigar Recreation Center, 4500 S. Basha Road, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday • Desert Breeze West Chandler Police Substation, 251 N. Desert Breeze Blvd., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday • Hilton Chandler Mall, 2929 W. Frye Road, open 24 hours • Aces Barber Shop & Family Salon, 2100 W. Chandler Blvd., call for hours 480-963-1177 To view a complete list of school supplies needed (recommended wish list), volunteer opportunities or to make a donation online, visit

The City of Chandler 2018 Primary Election will be held for the purposes of electing a Mayor and three (3) Councilmembers; and for the consideration of Proposition 408 – Alternative Expenditure Limitation (Home Rule Option). Visit to review key information about voting in Chandler, including voter registration, early ballot requests, polling places and what to do if you’re registered as an Independent. #VoteChandler. 2018 Primary Election Key Dates July 30 Last day to register to vote for the 2018 Primary Election Voter Registration Information: Aug. 1 Early Voting for Primary Election begins Request an Early Ballot: ballot/earlyvotingballotrequest.aspx Aug. 17 Last day to request that an early ballot be mailed for the Primary Election Aug. 20-24 On-site early voting at Chandler City Hall, 175 S. Arizona Ave. Aug. 28 PRIMARY ELECTION DAY Elecciones y Registro de Votantes 30 de julio Último día para registrarse para votar en las elecciones primarias de 2018. La información de registro de votantes: registrationform.aspx 1 de agosto La votación temprana para la elección primaria comienza solicitar una boleta electoral temprana: ballotrequest.aspx 17 de agosto Último día para solicitar una boleta electoral temprana para ser enviado para la elección primaria 20 de agosto-24 En el sitio de votación temprana en Chandler Ayuntamiento, 175 S. Arizona Ave. 28 de agosto El día de la elección primaria





Limelight Performing Arts her junior year of high school. She performed in the ensembles in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Legally Blonde” at Mesa Community College. Gentile later performed as the star of “Anne of Green Gables” at Actor’s Youth Theater in Gilbert. Later, she switched gears to a more intense show when she

from page 53

growth. The musical features well-known songs “We’re in the Money” and “I Only Have Eyes for You.” Gentile said she likes that “42nd Street” is a “dance-heavy show” and she is polishing her tap-dancing skills. “Everybody has been so kind and so welcoming and everyone is extremely talented,” she said. “It blew my mind the first couple weeks. It’s been so cool to just learn from everybody and work with them and just be able to see it and see how it’s challenged me as a dancer.” Gentile said she loves the “iconic costumes and the music of the ’30s” in the musical, too. “I love it, especially how the storyline of the girl has this big dream of being on Broadway and she comes in and (is) so persistent,” she said. Gentile said it is nice to be home after finishing her first year of college. “I love living on the East Coast,” she said. “It was something I hoped would happen. It’s something I’m very, very grateful for. It’s close to New York. It has the hustle-bustle city lifestyle. I have made a lot of friends. Everyone is so nice and so friendly and so talented.” While living in Chandler, Gentile took vocal lessons from Marianne Heim, Valley Christian fine arts director and director of chorale studies, starting when she was 12 years old until she graduated high school. She also performed in two choirs at Valley Christian. Gentile started seriously pursuing theater her freshman year at Valley Christian, where she performed in “The

Heim said she expects Gentile to keep doing great things in theater. “She always goes 110 percent,” Heim said. “She goes all in and them some. There’s just a wow factor about her. She will work harder than anyone else in the room. She has a beautiful voice; wonderful stage presence; she’s a very dependable ensemble member. She’s an

She goes all in and them some. There’s just a wow “factor about her. She will work harder than anyone else in the room. She has a beautiful voice; wonderful stage presence; she’s a very dependable ensemble member. She’s an absolute joy to teach.

– Marianne Heim, Valley Christian fi ne arts director Nick Coleman

Gracie Gentile of Chandler, dances on the street in New York City while visiting during her senior year in high school.

Worst High School Play in the World.” She started taking ballet, jazz and tap classes at Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy, the studio where Limelight Performing Arts, a nonprofit youth theater, holds its rehearsals and performances. Gentile also studied at another local dance studio and took private acting lessons. She performed as Gingy the gingerbread man in “Shrek the Musical” at

was part of the ensemble in “Bonnie & Clyde” at Actor’s Youth Theater. Last summer, Gentile performed as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” at Dream City Church in Glendale. “That was very special because that was a dream role for me for a long time,” Gentile said. In her freshman year in college, she performed in “Parade,” a musical about the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, who was accused and convicted of raping and murdering a 13-year-old employee, Mary Phagan. “That was just so emotionally challenging, but it was so beautiful to put

absolute joy to teach. She’s well-liked by everyone who meets her.” She said Gentile also was instrumental in getting two Valley Christian choirs to perform at Carnegie Hall at New York City and Disneyland. “She was always bringing an idea to me, any invitation; always quick to say, ‘We should do it and I’m gonna rally everybody and get it done,’” Heim said. “I feel like I’m just waiting; like watch out world; here she comes.” “42nd Street” will be performed July 6-15 at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Information:

that on at my school,” Gentile said.

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TV show features Chandler, EV dancers popping, locking, tap, ballet, break dancing, ballroom and stomping. Handpicked from qualifying events around the nation and thousands of online submissions, competitors are divided into junior and upper divisions. The competition consists of five rounds: qualifiers, duels, the cut, divisional final and world final. In the first four rounds, dancers compete within their division, but in the world final, the winner from each division will compete against each other for the $1 million prize.


A Chandler man is among the Valley dancers competing for a $1 million grand prize on NBC’s “World of Dance.” The Valley contingent of performers includes a veteran robotics trio, teenage girls and a performing duo. The robotics trio Elektro Botz – featuring Dominic LaRovere of Chandler – the all-girl Elektro Elite and Avery & Marcus started dancing across the TV screen in late May on the Jennifer Lopezhelmed show. “The show is wild,” said dancer Phoenix Banuelos of Gilbert, who’s one-third of Elektro Botz and is joined by Mesa native Max Thompson and LaRovere. “There is a crazy level of talent and it has some of the craziest combination of dancers anywhere.” Elektro Botz, who previously competed as the Outlawz on season 11 of “America’s Got Talent,” is looking to tackle World of Dance’s upper division. Banuelos is joined by Red Mountain High School graduate Max Thompson, and Dominic LaRovere of Chandler. “World of Dance” gives dancers the platform to showcase their talents and compete in front of a judging team of dance superstars, including Lopez, Derek Hough, NE-YO and host/mentor Jenna Dewan. It airs Tuesday evenings. “We set out to make “World of Dance” a competition series of the highest caliber

Elektro Elite NBC

The all-girl Elektro Elite includes Alyssa Suarez of Chandler.

– every act that hits the stage gives their all and challenges themselves against the most elite athletes in the world,” Lopez said. “As an executive producer and judge, I’m constantly reminded of the heart and determination it takes to rise to the challenge and become the best of the best. I can’t wait to see the talent that comes across our stage for season three.” On the first season, the French hip-hop duo Les Twins were crowned champions. During the series, solo dancers compete against duos and crews in an unlimited range of dance, including hip-hop,

The three Valley girls began their dance training in ballet, contemporary and jazz, but a few years ago discovered hip-hop. After their mentors won “America’s Best Dance Crew” season seven with Elektrolytes, the girls are aspiring to follow in their footsteps. They’re participating in the junior division. “It’s a little nervewracking to be on TV, but it’s mainly fun,” said 14-year-old Alyssa Suarez of Chandler. “It was such a great experience meeting new people. I’ve wanted to dance since I was a kid. I love to perform on stage in front of people. I use my body to express myself. It’s like acting.” She will attend Hamilton High School in the fall after graduating from Elite Performance Academy on the CTA

Humphrey campus. When 16-year-old Gilbert resident Tayla Rodriguez started dancing as a youngster, the Basha High School student never expected to come so far so quickly. “You never hear about people making it right away,” she said. “It’s a dream. You expect it to happen to you way later in life. For it to happen at 16 is insane.” Ironically, Rodriguez wasn’t interested in dance. But when she saw the moves of her sister, Alexsys, she joined in. “I was super-shy, but I fell in love with it,” she said. “You have to have a certain mentality to go in front of a lot of people.” Mesa resident Aspyn Morrell, who attends Elite Performance Academy, strives to “aspire to inspire before we expire.” She was inspired by her mother, Jolene, who doubles as her dance teacher. “She’s probably the person I look up to the most,” the 13-year-old girl said. “She’s taught me everything I know.”

Avery & Marcus

Competing in the junior division, Avery Gay of Scottsdale and Marcus Sarjeant of San Clemente, California, came together thanks to their coach, balletRED artistic director Josie Walsh. They’ve been working together for only about 18 months, but Gay, 13, and Sarjeant, 17, have developed a love of contemporary and ballet styles. They call See

DANCERS on page 60

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Parkland Memory Care invites you to a fundraising... Parkland Memory Care invites you to a fundraising... Parkland Memory Care invites you to a fundraising...

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If you are interested in starting up your own Donations will WALK Team or re-registering your past go to the Ifteam, you are interested in starting your please come out and signupup! Weown Donations will WALK Team or re-registering your are raising money for the WALK to past End go to the team, pleaseand come and sign up! Alzheimer’s youroutcontribution of We $5 or are money the WALK End $500raising will make an for impact; every to donation and contribution of $5up or your own helps! Thank youyour for your If Alzheimer’s you are interested insupport! starting Donations will $500 will make an impact; every donation WALK Team or re-registering your past helps! Thank you for your support! go to the

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Experienced teen actor to direct ‘12 Angry Jurors’ BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

A recent Hamilton High School graduate with lots of theater experience under his belt is directing a play coming to Limelight Performing Arts. Connor Brigola, 18, of Chandler is the director of “12 Angry Jurors,” a play based on the movie “12 Angry Men.” The show is coming to Limelight Performing Arts June 19-23 and 13 youths are in the cast. “It’s such an honor for me to be able to direct, to work with such talented kids and to also be on the other side,” Brigola said. “I grew up acting. It’s really cool to be able to help shape their skills. My favorite part is watching the growth of the actors and seeing how they embody the roles.” Despite his young age, it’s the second time he has served as director. Brigola directed “The Lion King Jr.” last year at Limelight Performing Arts.


from page 59

themselves “daredevils.” “I train really, really hard, and I believe to be the best, you have to work the hardest,” she said. “To be the best in the class, you have to work even harder. That’s my method. Of course, I have to give up a lot, but it’s worth it in the end. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” Set to attend State University of

Special to SanTan Sun News

Connor Brigola, 18, of Chandler is the director of “12 Angry Jurors.”

He has performed in shows at Limelight for about five years, doing

New York at Purchase this fall, Sarjeant explains the duo works well together by melding the home-schooled teen’s ballet moves with his athleticism. “There is a lot that goes into dancing,” Gay adds. “We have to do side training. We have to eat a certain diet. My friends are ordering hamburgers, and I’m sitting there eating a chicken salad. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not a diet. There’s a lot that goes into it. It’s not easy.”

about 15 productions. Brigola has also performed at Chandler Center for the Arts theater camps. He even had a chance to perform in a Hollywood Hills camp, working with professional actors, the summer after his freshman year of high school. His favorite role at Limelight Performing Arts was the title role in “Tarzan the Stage Musical” between his junior and senior years of high school. “It was a blast,” Brigola said. “That character is such a well-known character. It was just fun to step into the character’s shoes, to experience the Disney magic behind shows, sing lyrics of Phil Collins.” He said “12 Angry Jurors” is about one day in the life of jurors debating over a trial for a man accused of stabbing his father to death. “There are tons of twists and turns and funny goings on, back and forth between characters,” Brigola said. “Parts of it are

full of tension. Parts of it are comedic.” He is not the only Chandler youth who will be part of “12 Angry Jurors.” The following children and teens who live in Chandler will also perform in it: • Jenna Jackson: 16, will enter 12th grade at Perry High School in the fall, playing the role of Foreman • Jaelyn Brown: 17, will enter Grand Canyon University in the fall, playing the role of Juror No. 6 • Shayna Padjen: 16, will enter 11th grade at Campo Verde High School in the fall, playing the role of Juror No. 12 • Ciara Bogan: 11, will enter 6th grade at Kyrene Middle School Dual Language Academy, Juror No. 9 • Zackary Anderson, 19, will enter Arizona State University in the fall, Juror No. 8 “12 Angry Jurors” will be performed at 7 p.m. July 19-23 and also at 3:30 p.m. June 23. Information: limelight.ticketleap. com/12-angry-jurors.

Elektro Botz

“I had older cousins who were dancing as well as teaching,” he said. “I wanted to come here to train. Then I met the other guys and we all just fell in love with dancing. All of the Botz are passionate. We do really creative work, with dancing and music and mixing. “We are addicted to creating something from scratch and seeing it come to life. We’re doing a bunch of robot moves and sounds that didn’t exist before.” Information:

The longtime robotics trio has been popping its way through the competitive dance scene for years. “Like everyone else, we’re doing the best we possibly can,” said Banuelos, who is preparing to move from Gilbert to Los Angeles to pursue a dance career. It’ll be his second relocation, as he came to the Grand Canyon State to follow in his family’s dancing footsteps.


Tour Our Vibrant Growing Campus • Student-guided tours start every hour at

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• Preview the state-of-the-art STEM building and high-tech labs, suite-style residence halls, GCU Stadium, Thunder Alley, Lopes Way and more!

• Explore more than 200 academic degree programs and discover the right major for you • Meet with an admissions counselor to discuss financial options and scholarship opportunities

PRIVATE. CHRISTIAN. AFFORDABLE. Visit for more info! For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at Please note, not all GCU programs are available in all states and in all learning modalities. Program availability is contingent on student enrollment. Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (800-621-7440; Important policy information is available in the University Policy Handbook at https://www.gcu. edu/academics/academic-policies.php GCU, while reserving its lawful rights in light of its Christian mission, is committed to maintaining an academic environment that is free from unlawful discrimination. Further detail on GCU’s Non-Discrimination policies can be found at titleIX The information printed in this material is accurate as of February 2018. For the most up-to-date information about admission requirements, tuition, scholarships and more, visit ©2018 Grand Canyon University 18GTR0070





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Scripture says we’re responsible for our own actions BY DR. RABBI IRWIN WIENER Contributor

Susan B. Anthony, American women’s rights advocate, wrote, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” I think of this every time I read or hear about someone pontificating on what God wants from us and for us. It amuses me that there are those who proclaim to be in direct contact with God, and it is because of this so-called connection that they attempt to control our every thought and action. To ascribe this to arrogance would be to underestimate the detriment to which they affect our lives. Perhaps we could describe these people as sanctimonious. The clear indication is that there are people who think they are better than others and use God as the justification for their feelings. Perhaps we should attempt to understand the purpose for which faith was installed in our psyche. Faith, to me, is synonymous with

hope. Each gives us the opportunity to make sense of our lives, no matter what direction is followed. That is exactly what Scripture is intended to inculcate in us. The words found in these various writings are there to help us understand human nature and the various relationships we discover as time progresses. Whether one believes these words are inspired by, or the result of, revelations does not alter the fact that human behavior is dictated by moral responsibility and the attitude of right and wrong. These are the fundamentals of a civilized society as dictated by God. Still, we are just human. To me, this gives us an added responsibility. To attain a level of attempting to emulate God is not an easy task. We are so fragile and susceptible to so many distortions. The prophets attempted to reinforce this concept of goodness by illustrating what can become of us if we destroy the very fabric of our existence. They illustrate in prose the things we are capable of doing to ourselves and can surely be inherited by those who follow. When Scripture talks about the sins of the fathers carrying forward to our progeny, it is describing what can result if we

do not realize the harm of not recognizing the path of destruction. It is not a curse, but rather a warning. Those who proclaim to know what God wants and needs lead us in the path of destruction. Their literal interpretation of Scripture is also a clear sign of ignorance. We were all created with the ability to think and reason. Scripture was and is designed to teach us to use these tools to enhance life, not inhibit it. Every time we open a page in the Bible we learn something different because the words are a living testament to the universality of God and the gifts given to us by God to understand life a little better. Closed minds lead to closed thoughts and, in turn, to dogmatic approaches to our existence. Living life with no peripheral vision is tantamount to walking around with a blindfold, cutting off not only vision, but light as well. Think of it as walking into a dark room, feeling our way, groping for support, and only realizing redemption when a light appears. Being judgmental or critical is a form of abuse and is contrary to what faith is intended to accomplish.

Acceptance and encouragement are what is needed if we are to find fulfillment. Jealousy leads to contempt. Satisfaction with our lot eliminates frustration. Gratitude gives us the ability to accept what is, with an eye toward what could be, if we try. Perhaps Susan B. Anthony was attempting to teach us these very things. Perhaps Scripture can instill in us the understanding that we are responsible for our actions because they affect not only ourselves, but those around us as well. Perhaps we can and should feel better, not because we followed some prescribed order or spoke words that are lost as they were uttered, but rather because we have a clearer picture of our purpose. Not because someone told us to, but because we know full well the impact we have on our lives, and because we can come together in the one place designed to help us understand a little better – our houses of worship –and to understand that our lives were placed in our hands, not someone else’s. -Dr. Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D. is national chaplain of Jewish War Veterans-USA and he is with Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.

Saguaro fruit brings a future promise, as does God BY LYNNE HARTKE Guest Writer

My husband Kevin and I hit the trail early in June on South Mountain, just minutes after the gate opened at 5 a.m. We wanted to finish our six-mile hike before the temps hit the expected 112 degrees. It was a day to get in, get out, and go home. I couldn’t help agreeing with author Roger Naylor, who wrote, “The desert can unleash a withering, angry heat, a heat that blowtorches the rocks and sand. It is a heat that will make you weep just so it can harvest your tears.” From the bare landscape, I felt the first simmering burn issue a threat and a promise for things to come later in the day. As we jog-shuffled on the mile service road to the Pima Canyon Trailhead, I felt a continuous drip of sweat collect in the band of my shorts like a salty reservoir.

I thought of turning back, but the promise drew me. In the early summer, the creamy-white blossoms of the saguaro give way to scarlet fruit, each the size of a child’s fist and containing thousands of tiny black seeds. Ripening on the top of the saguaro’s accordion-like columns and arms, the delicacies are accessible only to winged creatures: bats, insects, and birds. White-winged doves, especially, perform an important role in the cycle of the saguaro as the digested seeds are deposited elsewhere in the desert, surrounded by bird droppings – a vital fertilizer. The desert-dwelling Tohono O’odham considered the ripening of the fruit so significant that their new year began with the event. Historically, the fruit was knocked down with long poles, collected, and used to make sweet wine as part of the annual Nawait I’i or rain ceremony. “I think we are too late,” I said, as we passed saguaro after saguaro. The

bases were surrounded by the empty husks of already digested fruit. The tops of the columns were bare, except for thousands of pointed spines, like a giant child sporting a new summer buzz-cut. “We should have come last week.” I thought back to our over-crowded calendars. Church events. City business. An out-of-town wedding. I sighed. We had run out of time and missed our opportunity. Kevin picked up the pace, no longer concerned with capturing on camera the hope of future life. We pushed on toward Fat Man’s Pass, going around several other hikers, as the sun burned a hole in the steel-blue sky. As we turned a corner of the trail, I stopped. Stood still. “Look!” I pointed. “A white-winged dove.” The saguaro in front of us wore a full ring of ripened fruit, almost like a lady’s hat with the dove as a living ornament. The bird gorged itself on the red fruit,

poking its head again and again into the ripened center. Coo COO coo coo. Who cooks for you? it’s mate called from a nearby cactus. We were not too late for the fruiting after all. As we snapped several photographs, I felt anticipation rise for the next promise: the hope of the monsoon. Although I am Norwegian in heritage and not Tohono O’odham, as a fellow desert-dweller, I understand the need to hold a party and to invite all your friends and neighbors for significant events. Get ready. Rain is coming. “This desolation will continue until new life is poured out on us from heaven. Then the desert will become an orchard and the orchard will be considered a forest” Isaiah 32:15 (NET). -Lynne Hartke is the author of “Under a Desert Sky” and the wife of pastor and Chandler City Councilmember Kevin Hartke. She blogs at

Our choices have consequences. Choose well. BY SUSAN WILMOT Guest Writer

William Inge, onetime dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, is credited with stating, “There are no rewards or punishments – only consequences.” It speaks to both the truth of God and of a world in which we all live with the consequences of our sinful and rebellious ways.

The prologue to the Book of Psalms, Psalm 1, prompts us to make a choice between two very different ways of being in the world. At two opposite ends of the spectrum, we have the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. If only life’s choices were always as straightforward! In reality, we’re much more of a mixed bag of righteous thoughts, words and deeds, as well as our selfish and self-serving ways. However, the choice remains, and

the psalmist describes what’s at stake. To accept the gift of faith allows us to become increasingly dependent on God and more inclined toward selfless service, peace and justice. To reject the gift of faith is to assert personal independence and self-reliance. Whatever choice we make, we live with the consequences, which also includes elected leadership and the directions they take on our behalf. It’s often deeply frustrating when we

realize some leaders misuse or abuse the power and trust placed in them by the people. As followers of Jesus, the political sphere is part of our mission and ministries, especially when it comes to establishing equity and justice for all, especially the poor and most vulnerable among us. Still, we might wonder if there’s hope for changing hearts, minds and other driving forces motivating some leaders to dehumanize, demonize and mistreat See

CHOICES on page 63




from page 62

certain groups of people, and squander our shared resources for personal gain. The simple answer is, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27). With God we can make a difference. According to the psalmist, the greatest blessing or happiness – the Hebrew can be translated both ways – begins by delighting in God’s teachings. This call to study, pray and meditate on God’s word is found throughout the Scriptures, and for obvious reasons. Relationship is essential to knowledge and wisdom, and we can’t know or do what’s pleasing to God if we don’t know the nature and character of God, or understand what God desires of us. Meditating on God’s word opens the way

to relationship with God and an understanding of God’s ways. It’s a lifelong and dynamic process, not dutiful rote learning or something that’s static. As we read in Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is living and active.” The word of God is also a stream of living water. As the old saying goes, you can’t step into the same stream twice. Since we live in time, the sum of our experiences and knowledge expands and changes. In faith, we’re subject to ongoing transformation into Christ-likeness. The water is flowing, not stagnant, and so the word holds something new for us every time we immerse ourselves in it. The image of God’s people as well-watered trees bearing good fruit is found all over the Word. For example, in Proverbs 3:8 there’s this beautiful description of Lady Wisdom (a.k.a. the Holy Spirit) that

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

resonates with Psalm 1, “She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy.” As followers of Jesus, our roots are in the living water who is our creator, sustainer and redeemer. We die with Christ in the waters of baptism and are raised to new and unending life in Him, bringing color and vigor to the world as we share the hope and promise of eternal life in the good news of Jesus Christ. In Christ, we’re empowered to practice resurrection life now. The consequence of faith and faithful choices is bearing good fruit for God’s kingdom. In other words, as Jesus taught, we love God and live in right relationship with our neighbors, serving their needs according to God’s loving-kindness, compassion and justice. What of the blessing anticipated for those who yield their wills to God’s will?

Our rootedness in the Word and the living water flowing in and through us helps us to live into the fullness of our humanity and into authentic life and freedom in Christ. The blessing is manifest in the fruit of the Spirit producing in us love, joy, peace, patience, goodness and kindness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23a). The prophet Micah (6:8) sums it all up like this: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Our choices have consequences. Choose well. -The Rev. Susan E. Wilmot, vicar at St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church & Preschool, 975 E. Warner Road, Tempe, can be reached at, 480-345-2686 or


Cyril, 480-802-0243; Kathy, 480-895-5194; Shirley, 480-883-9159; or Joyce, 480-802-4902.

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, 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,


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,


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

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,


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, “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,


CONNECTIONS on page 63



from page 63

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,


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


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


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,

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

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. SUNDAY WORSHIP Worship 9 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.

SUNDAY SCHOOL 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


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,,, 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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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.

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CLASSIFIEDS OBITUARIES Rick J. Downing It is with great sadness that the family of Rick J. Downing announces his passing on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at the age of 64. Rick is survived by his loving wife Diane, his mother, Lorraine “Teri” Downing, sister Cathy Downing Kindberg and her husband Karl, his niece Jamie Dinsmore and her husband Chris and their sons Jake and Zach, and his beloved dogs, Beau and Bella. He is preceded in death by his father, Ronald W Downing. Rick was born in Stockton, Illinois in 1953. His family moved to Glendora, California when he was in grade school where he was a Little League baseball stand-out, pitching several no hitters during his years with the Glendora Braves. He went to high school in Glendale, California and Huntington Long Island, NY. He moved to Arizona to attend college at Arizona State for a marketing degree and to pursue his love of baseball playing as a Sun Devil. Always a California boy at heart he loved surfing, baseball, guitar, golf and racing fast cars. He had a quick wit and loved to tell jokes. He could always make you laugh delivering the perfect punch line. He was also an excellent cartoonist. Rick owned Rick J Downing Farmers Insurance Agency on Riggs in Chandler.

CARPET CLEANING 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

CLEANING SERVICES 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

CLEANING SERVICES 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

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:



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

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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


HANDYMAN 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. S&I General Contracting, Inc.

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HANDYMAN 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 CARPET REPAIR I can help your carpets come back to life! I can reattach carpet to meet other flooring, remove bubbles before cleaning to help make your carpet shine. I am a craftsman in the flooring trade. I take pride in finding solutions for your flooring issues. I am insured/bond-able. Not a licensed contractor 775-232-4937 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 EDDIE'S LANDSCAPE *Tree Trimming *Irrigation Repairs *Gravel *Desert Landscape *Re-Seeding *General Lawn Maintenance *Clean-Ups 480-799-0961

LANDSCAPING HECTORS LAWN CARE Owner/Operator Mowing, Edging, Trimming, Blowing, Weed Control, Fertilizer, Irrigation Repair. Spring Clean Ups FREE Estimates 480-636-0286 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:

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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,

MOVING 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.

Call Terry at 602-653-5367

Classified Works! 480-898-6465




CLASSIFIEDS 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 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 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

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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

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

ROOFING THE ROOF MEDICS Residential/Commercial Repairs and Reroofing. Tile, Shingles, Flat, Walk-Decks. Licensed, Bonded, Insured. ROC #256001, K-42. 480-284-7338

SEWER & DRAIN 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



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

"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

No matter what your specialty is, we have a Directory spot for you! Call us at 480-898-6465 or email for details.

WINDOWS/ CLEANING 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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Ice cream parlor scoops up nostalgia BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

People are escaping the scorching temperatures to a cool Chandler oasis with homemade scoops of rich, flavorful ice cream concoctions. Customers say McMahon’s Ice Cream, on East Warner Road just west of McQueen Road, is also a great place to visit any time of year because it offers shakes, malts, floats, ice cream pies and sundaes in a fun setting. The family-owned shop is reminiscent of old-fashioned ice cream parlors with booths, a couch, lots of board games to play and whimsical paintings on wood hanging on the walls. Folks have been screaming for traditional and vegan ice cream at McMahon’s since it opened in February 2017, the owners say, ordering birthday cake, mint chip, pistachio almond, Oreo and other flavors in big and little scoops, in homemade waffle cones and bowls, as well as in cake cones or paper cups. The business is owned by Jim McMahon, a former teacher at Navarrete Elementary School who loved making ice cream at home, and wife Teresa, a mortgage processor for Chase Bank. Daughter Casey, 18, a recent Perry High School graduate, is the assistant manager and son C.J., 19, an Arizona State University student, is a scooper. Jim said he and Teresa wanted to create an ice cream shop with the oldstyle feel of ones they had visited in New York State and Phoenix. While planning the business, they saw many frozen yogurt establishments in the Valley but nothing like what they wanted. “I love ice cream,” Jim said. “I always made it at home in a little Cuisinart machine. For years, we wanted scooped

Photos by Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer

Jim McMahon, co-owner of McMahon’s Ice Cream, serves a sundae at the shop on East Warner Road. He and his wife, Teresa, aimed to create an old-fashioned ice cream parlor when they opened the business.

ice cream. I was used to the drugstore with a counter and a soda jerk, root beer float, sundaes. “What makes us different is we churn the ice cream in small batches, about a gallon to a gallon and a half at a time. We also buy most (of) the ingredients at the grocery store rather than big jugs of artificial flavor and coloring. One taste and people know we are different.” Jim learned how to fine-tune his recipes after meeting a man near Tampa, Florida, who provided classes at his ice cream store. Jeff Markow of Mystic Ice Cream teaches students recipes and allows them

to work at his store for about a week as part of his Mystic Boot Camp. Jim, who had worked as a trainer at JPMorgan Chase in Tempe for 12 years before becoming a teacher, said Markow told him it was easy to start one’s own business. The ice cream at McMahon’s is made with great care, Jim said. For example, the blueberry cheesecake flavor includes blueberry Smucker’s Preserves, graham cracker pie crust and a cheesecake Jell-O mix. Syrup made of decaffeinated instant coffee crystals mixed with fresh brownie bites and chocolate-covered espresso beans creates a decadent chocolatelover’s dream, called Java Jolt. A banana cream and Nilla Wafers ice cream includes Nilla Wafers cookies and real bananas, while Wildcat Crunch has Twix bars pulverized in a blender and combined with dark chocolate and caramel. Golden Oreo cookies, along with Heath Bar pieces and vanilla ice cream create the Golden Toffee flavor of ice cream. The also offers seasonal flavors, including candy cane, gingerbread house and pumpkin pie. And customers can choose any two flavors to use inside a cake. To satisfy vegan customers, McMahon’s offers several vegan ice cream flavors, including vegan chocolate and Oreos and vegan strawberry guava. “They realize it’s really good,” Jim said. “There’s definitely a no-dairy movement.” The McMahons also respond to customers’ requests, including one that wanted them to make a black licorice ice cream. Another customer wanted a salted caramel ice cream so the business created an ice cream with chocolate-covered pretzels and salted caramel.

Kristi Maier of Chandler enjoyed taking her daughters, Rylee, 10, and Kendall, 7, to McMahon’s recently as a reward for getting straight As in school. “It’s amazing,” Maier said of the cookie dough ice cream. “It’s nice to have something to do with your kids.” She added she loved that McMahon’s had several games to play with her children. Connect 4, Jenga, Trouble and cornhole are among the games customers can entertain themselves with inside the shop and on the outside patio. A large cardboard ice cream truck is available in the store for children to color with markers. Many other customers also praised McMahon’s Ice Cream on the shop’s Facebook page. “I’m so glad I stopped by this evening for ice cream with my grandson,” Karen Gardner Kuhn posted. “It was the BEST ice (cream) we’ve eaten and for an 11-yearold to say that you know it has to be good! The ice cream is home made. I had pumpkin pecan and give it two thumbs up. My grandson had vanilla and oreo. Highly recommend you stop by.” Jade Au also favored the flavors of McMahon’s. “The owner Jim is more than friendly and helpful,” Au posted on the McMahon’s Ice Cream Facebook page. “They have a vast vegan ice cream selection, and they all taste GREAT! No wonder why the shop is busy even during winter season. It’s an ideal place to hang out, especially at their outdoor patio.” Jamie Petitt Parra’s sweet review said, “A great place to enjoy some of the BEST homemade ice cream! The shop is a fun, family friendly place, with games at the tables, and cute decor! The service was See

ICE CREAM on page 70

Clever Koi’s new items will delight foodies the updated vegetable ramen, bobbing with roasted tomatoes, chayote squash, Jerusalem artichokes and pickled daiThe Asian-inspired food at Clever Koi is kon. The savory soup gets a boost from a adventurous. leek-compound butter. Dining at Clever Koi, 384 N. Gilbert Dover sole will delight seafood lovers Road, Gilbert, is paradise for epicurean – the pan-seared, flaky white fish falls off explorers, and many new adventures were the fork and is served over summer corn added to the menu this past spring. curry, chayote, bok choy, roasted corn and Traditional Asian dishes like fried rice, white rice. ramen and dumplings get punched up And then there are the XO Noodles – with exotic ingredients like duck fat srira- wok-roasted yakisoba noodles with snow cha, black garlic, Japanese whiskey glaze, peas, bean sprouts, pickled daikon, scalwasabi guacamole, yuzu aioli, ponzu tofu lions and fried shallots. The dish is named cream and especially pickled daikon. after two things – the XO designation for The white, mild-flavored radish appears a “very special” cognac, and a popular all over the menu. spicy seafood sauce from China. The dish That’s not to say there’s nothing on the doesn’t taste fishy at all; it actually has an menu for the unadventurous eater. The earthiness to it. pad thai is familiar and flavorful, and also The new sunchoke and eggplant dip available in a vegan version. Korean fried makes a great appetizer for sharing. The chicken, curry, chow mein, and short ribs hummus-like dip is served with crispy, also are quite satisfying and safe. housemade sesame nori lavash bread and The new menu items also include topped with a pinch of black garlic, which is things that could please any palate, like basically aged garlic that looks a lot like dark


caviar or jelly and has tangy overtones. Beets are the heart of the fantastic vegetable tart. Braised beets are baked into a housemade puff pastry with goat cheese and rosemary and finished with a bourbon syrup. It’s a delicious – and surprisingly savory and filling – addition to Clever Koi’s menu. Among with the more adventurous menu items, though not new, is the chicken and waffle dish, found under “steamed buns.” This crunchy fried chicken thigh on a kimchi waffle with chili maple syrup is lip-smacking good. In addition to its innovative fusion food menu, Clever Koi – which has locations in Gilbert and Phoenix – is known for its ambience. The dining room has several tables and at peak dinner hour, it’s bustling with people and loud with conversations. The kitchen is exposed, releasing an array of appetizing smells into the air and sometimes giving guests a glimpse of flame from the wok action. The patios are popular spots, too, being well-shaded and

well-lit in the evenings. Clever Koi’s cocktail menu is well-known and well-loved by craft cocktail connoisseurs. Beverage director and Clever Koi co-owner Joshua James turns traditional tipples up a notch with drinks like The Dead Hand, a potent and peppery drink with Arette Blanco Tequila, Benedictine Liquor, orgeat (sweet almond-based syrup), blackberries, an absinthe float and fennel pollen. It has a black licorice flavor to it. Those seeking something sweeter might like The Jailbird, made with purple beet-infused gin, Smith & Cross Rum, lime, orange juice, and a light floater of bitter Bruto Americano appertivo liqueur. There’s also a menu of a dozen wines and a dozen beers (including local craft beer on tap), and three kinds of sake. It’s hard to say there’s “something for everyone” at Clever Koi, but we can’t say there’s not either. One thing we can say: For the epicurious, there’s much to explore, and many culinary adventures to have. Information:





from page 69

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

Afrodita Ellerman

Afrodita Ellerman

McMahon’s Ice Cream offers Wildcat Crunch, ice cream with Twix bar pieces and caramel.

great! The place was clean and inviting!” Jim said either he or his daughter, Casey, are always at the shop. Teresa, though a co-owner, still works full time for Chase Bank. Though business started out a little slowly until people knew about the shop, it has exploded in its second year, largely thanks to word-of-mouth and the Living Chandler Facebook group, Jim said. A big rush usually occurs around 7 or 8 p.m. on Saturdays. “It is really crazy,” Jim said. “It’s like a bus dropped them off.”

The McMahon’s Ice Cream team celebrates the Battle of the Burbs trophy that the City of Chandler won this year from the Mix 96.9 FM radio station. The trophy circulates to local businesses this year so the ice cream shop displayed it in May. Pictured are (from left) co-owner Teresa McMahon, son C.J. McMahon, scooper Morgan Romero, co-owner Jim, daughter and assistant manager Casey McMahon and scoopers Derall Riley and Sergio Sanchez.

McMahon’s ice cream scooper Derall Riley, 20, of Gilbert, an ASU student, said it is fun working at the store. “I think a big part of it is the customers,” Riley said. “People just are genuinely so happy to get ice cream. It’s a really good work environment.” McMahon’s Ice Cream at 960 E. Warner Road, Suite 4, is open from 2:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. It is closed on Tuesdays. Information:

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


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





Santan Sun News - June 16, 2018  
Santan Sun News - June 16, 2018