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Relentlessly local coverage of Southern Chandler and our neighboring communities


Chandler schools struggle to gain teacher diversity BY KEVIN REAGAN Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Education in 2016 advised the ranks of elementary and high school teachers needed to become more racially diverse, but that goal has been elusive for Chandler and other East Valley school districts. “Our students need to experience a variety of cultures in action and be exposed to the positive environment that is developed when diverse populations work effectively together,” the department said. It argued teachers of color can serve as role models for students who look like them and strengthen academic outcomes. Chandler Unified School District has been recently spearheading efforts to promote equity and inclusion for minorities, but its workforce has grown little in terms of diversity. According to data CUSD shared with

the SanTan Sun News, less than two percent of certified employees in the district identify as African American – a rate that has not changed in the last five years. The number of Hispanic employees grew by about one percent, Asian employees by about half a percent, and Native American employees showed no growth. Nearly 84 percent of certified staff identify as caucasian. The district’s student demographics are notably more diverse: 54 percent of Chandler students identify as caucasian, 27 percent is Hispanic, eight percent as Asian, and five percent is African American, according to the state Department of Education. CUSD said it’s trying to improve its diversity disparity by encouraging classified employees to pursue teacher See

DIVERSITY on page 4


Ana Rosa Duarte Abbott was more than a little surprised last week when the entire student body at SanTan Junior High School gathered in an assembly to watch her get an unexpected gift of $5,000. You can read why the school's Spanish teacher was honored by Chicanos Por La Causa on page 14. (Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer)

District studying impact of Gila River community wary canines on kids’ learning of ADOT I-10 widening plan BY KEVIN REAGAN Staff Writer


There’s a girl at Weinberg Elementary who had hardly spoken to anyone since the start of this school year. Staff described her as possibly suffering from selective mutism, an anxiety disorder that inhibits kids from socializing. One day, a therapy dog was brought to the girl’s classroom. At the end of a lesson, the girl walked up to her teacher and casually described the dog she has at home. “It was like jaw-dropping,” said Sam Basso, a professional dog trainer. He and his partner, Barb Farmer, like to tell this story when discussing their new program in the Chandler Unified School District. They think the mute girl demonstrates the power dogs can have in a school setting. That’s why they’ve agreed to bring certified therapy dogs to Weinberg’s classrooms for the whole school year.

Severio Kyyitan was awoken one recent morning by a thunderous thumping that reverberated through the walls of his home. It might be an earthquake, he thought, until he looked outside and discovered a pack of wild horses running by his property on the Gila River Indian Community. Animals have free reign on the reservation, he said, and that’s the way Kyyitan likes it. He’s hopeful state officials will keep wildlife in mind as they plan a possible widening of Interstate 10 through the reservation. “We know it’s a need,” Kyyitan said, adding that he doesn’t want the project to interfere with nature. The tribe has been working with the Arizona Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of adding another lane in each direction to a 26-mile stretch


DOGTHERAPY on page 8

Weinberg Elementary student Charlotte Cameron welcomes Scooter Pie. (Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographert)

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I-10 from Chandler to Casa Grande that the state has dubbed the Wild Horse Pass Corridor. This portion of the freeway – the only spot on the interstate that has four lanes instead of six – runs almost entirely along tribal land, meaning the state will have to negotiate an agreement before construction can commence. But ADOT said widening is essential, particularly because I-10 is a “key commercial corridor that supports significant commercial and economic growth for the region, the state and the nation.” During a recent public meeting sponsored by ADOT and the Maricopa Association of Governments in Sacaton, tribal members expressed support for improving the freeway in order to relieve traffic congestion. But some worry about whether enough tribal members know of the project while others have concerns of its long-term

F E AT U R E STO R I E S Fallen Chandler firefighter honored . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community . . . . . Page 13 Chandler charter school marks 25 years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BUSINESS . . . . . . . . Page 22 Disabled Chandler dog at worldwide hit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NEIGHBORS . . . . . . . Page 43 Plenty of scares in region with haunted houses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ART . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 52 New Chandler cafe is getting raves. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 61

STFF ................................................................... Center Section


GILA RIVER on page 8 More Community . . . . . . 01-21 Business . . . . . . . . 22-28 Sports . . . . . . . . . . .37-39 Opinion. . . . . . . . . 40-42 Neighbors . . . . . . . 43-51 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . .52-54 Faith. . . . . . . . . . . . .55-56 Directory . . . . . . . .57-58 Classifieds . . . . . . 59-60 Where to Eat. . . . .61-62



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Chandler’s park rating dropped in new report SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

A greater share of Chandler residents live within 10 minutes of a park, yet a national nonprofit has dropped the city’s overall park score by a few rankings. The Trust for Public Land, which advocates for access to outdoor recreation, puts out rankings each year of what it considers to be the most parkfriendly cities in America. The trust scores cities by how many of its residents can walk to a park within 10 minutes. Chandler places 69th on the trust’s list this year, which was a few rankings down from the 63rd ranking it got in 2018. Chandler ranked 71st in 2016, then moved up to 59th in 2017, before falling back down the following year. Like Chandler’s rankings, the trust’s data and analysis can be bit of a mixed bag. For example, Scottsdale ranked much higher than Chandler on the trust’s list. Yet, Scottsdale has fewer dog parks, basketball hoops and playgrounds per capita than Chandler, according to the trust’s data. Chandler also has almost twice the number of public parks compared to Scottsdale. The Sonoran McDowell Conservancy, a 30,000-acre park surrounding Scottsdale, helps to boost the city’s park score due to its large volume of acreage. By comparison, Chandler’s largest park, Tumbleweed, is only about 200 acres.

Chandler has notably improved with this metric by having 62 percent of its residents living close to a public park. Last year, 59 percent of residents were assessed by the trust as meeting this standard. And Chandler has three park projects in the works that will potentially increase access to more residents. Several years ago, the city set the goal of building a neighborhood park in every square-mile of the city. Nearly 1,000 acres of parkland have been added since the 1990s and the three pending park projects could bring Chandler closer to achieving this goal. Craig Younger, a spokesman for the city, said some parcels of Chandler still don’t have any public parks because of commercial development or masterplanned communities that have their own

private parks. The city is in the process of updating its parks master plan, which hasn’t been done since 2000. The updated plan will serve as a blueprint for future park development. The trust recently put out an analysis showing how cities could improve their park scores by entering into shared-used agreements with local school districts. Chandler already has agreements in place to allow public access to libraries and aquatic centers at local schools, but nothing that would open up all school playgrounds or fields. Some elementary schools in the Chandler Unified School District open up their playgrounds on the weekend, while others choose to remain close to keep out vandals. Joanna Fisher, a spokesperson for the trust, said about 10,500 more Chandler residents would be within 10 minutes of a park if the city had shared-use agreements with CUSD. The trust’s analysis notably excluded private parks managed by homeowner associations, which could impact Chandler’s overall park score. Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke is one of only four Arizona mayors to make a pledge with the trust to have their city adopt long-term park strategies.

Hit Tumbleweed Park and play Chandler’s annual Mayor’s Day of Play will be held 8 a.m.-noon Oct. 19 at Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road. “It’s the city’s biggest celebration of play, and we’re looking forward to giving the community an unforgettable day of entertainment, while elevating the importance of kids and families living healthier and more active lifestyles,” said Mayor Kevin Hartke. Activities at the free event include: Foam Fusion, a giant inflatable obstacle course covered in wall-towall foam; Recreation Village with backyard archery, Water Safety Bingo and balloon tennis; bike safety lessons from freestyle riders; fitness demonstrations and healthy-lifestyle advice from area healthcare agencies. Experts will be onsite to answer questions and ensure car safety seats, booster seats and seatbelts are properly installed. While drive-ups for the safety seat inspections are allowed, parents can avoid lines by making an appointment at chandleraz.gov/fire or by calling 480-782-2120.

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certifications and providing support systems to retain teachers. Jeff Filloon, the district’s director of human resources, said they’re always cognizant of diversity when it makes hiring decisions for new teachers. “Our strategies of making sure that we are mindful of those things, that’s always gonna be in the discussion,” Filloon said. Chandler’s situation is not unique, as other districts in the East Valley have notable diversity gaps in their classrooms. One percent of teachers at Gilbert Public Schools identify as African American and about six percent identify as Hispanic – rates that have changed little over the last four years. Gilbert’s student demographics break down as 64 percent caucasian, 23 percent Hispanic, four percent Asian, and three percent African American. GPS spokeswoman Dawn Antestenis said the district has a recruitment committee tasked with coming up with strategies to improve teacher diversity. One of their initiatives includes recruiting applicants from geographical areas with more diverse populations. Hispanic students presently make up a 51-percent majority in the Tempe Elementary School District, yet only about 13 percent of the district’s certified educators identify as Hispanic. Less than one percent of Scottsdale Unified School District’s certified workers identify as African American or Native American – a rate which has not changed in the last four years. Mesa Public Schools, the state’s largest districts, saw the rate of African-American educators grow from 1.3 percent in 2012 to 1.8 percent this year. Diversity is especially important for Louis Wade, a person of color with a 14-year-old son attending Gilbert Public Schools. Wade grew up in California and had teachers of all different races, some of whom he considered role models. But his son, who is on the autism spectrum, has not had the same educational experience. Aside from his son’s football coach, Wade said he hasn’t seen any other teachers of color in his son’s school. He thinks this lack of diversity can have a negative impact on students of color. “If I don’t see anyone who looks like me, I don’t feel like I’m honored or


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effects. For a resident like Kyyitan, who has spent most of his life on the reservation, there are concerns about how the immediate environment could be impacted by a bigger freeway. Central Arizona is already prone to dangerous dust storms, so he would like to see ADOT consult some weather experts. The Gila River Indian Community has not always been welcoming in the past to Arizona encroaching on its land in order to extend freeways. The tribe attempted to stop the state from building its South Mountain Freeway by filing a lawsuit, claiming the project would cut through sacred land – namely


of undergraduates enrolled in elementary education programs are students of color. Bruce Johnson, the college’s dean, said his department has slowly improved diversity through multiple initiatives, including targeting more Native American students and hiring a fulltime recruiter to reach out to local communities. “We’re trying to get closer and closer to having our students match the demographics of the students they’re going to teach,” Johnson said. Racial and ethnic disparities between students and teachers in Arizona These pie charts show how little progress has been made in diversifying Chandler Unified's teacher ranks between 2014 and 2019. have existed for (CUSDt) years. After the state’s cherished or safe in that space all the population started time,” Wade said. to boom in the 1990s and 2000s, Arizona’s Districts may argue its teachers are a demographics started to become reflection of the college students pursuing more diverse. But the state’s teacher education degrees. And the number of demographics didn’t keep up. minorities enrolling in Arizona’s teacher The East Valley Tribune published programs has been pretty stagnant. an article in 2008 on diversity gaps at a Arizona State University’s Mary number of school districts, noting how Lou Fulton Teachers College recently the economy crash might have shrunk the saw a slight increase in undergraduate teacher pool. But the economy eventually enrollment, but the number of African got better and diversity gaps remained. American and Latino students has hovered The diversity issue has only recently around 32 percent for the last few school gotten more public attention in the last years. couple of years, according to Michael More specifically, enrollment for Afrian Hanson, senior fellow at the Brookings American undergraduates decreased from Institute. four percent in 2015 to 2.5 percent three years He co-authored a study last year that later. examined teacher diversity in Arizona, “We’re trying very hard to remedy Colorado, Utah and Nevada. that,” said Paul Gediman, the college’s Hansen discovered nonwhite teachers marketing director. were leaving the profession at a much He said ASU does a lot of outreach higher rate in these states than the rest with local community colleges and works of the country, based on data collected with organizations like Educators Rising in 2013. to encourage more students to consider The conversation about education teaching. used to always emphasize the quality of The University of Arizona’s College of a teacher’s capabilities, Hansen said, but Education estimates about 48 percent research has shown that diversity can

improve a student’s education. “It has changed the way we think about teacher quality,” Hansen said. “Looking at teacher diversity is actually an element of teacher quality.” The stagnant salaries of Arizona teachers made the profession unappealing in the years following the Great Recession. Positions started to go vacant, prompting the state to create alternative pathways for becoming a certified teacher. For example, someone who already has a biology degree could potentially start teaching science while simultaneously completing the state’s certification requirements. Hansen’s study discovered these alternative pathways attracted fewer nonwhite candidates in the western states between 2011 and 2015. But the rest of the country experienced the opposite trend of more nonwhite candidates undergoing alternative programs. It shouldn’t be left to school districts to address diversity, Hansen added, state governments should be taking the lead to solve this issue. Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman created a new position in her agency this year dedicated to issues of equity and diversity. Erica Maxwell, who Hoffman appointed last month to fill the position, listed teacher diversity as one issue she’ll be working to address. "It’s going to take some work," she recently said in an interview, but the state needs to examine why people of color not only don’t choose careers in education but why they aren’t staying in them. “I personally know great teachers of color who have left the classroom,” Maxwell said. Experts say access to higher education will remain an important element to improving the nation’s teacher diversity. The state introduced a Teachers Academy a couple years ago offering free college tuition to prospective teachers willing to work in Arizona classrooms. Louis Wade and his family think increased education funding can help close the diversity gap in the East Valley by attracting more applicants to the region. Lous is hopeful the situation will get better, because he doesn’t want to have to uproot his son out of Gilbert. “We’ve actually considered moving to a more diverse area,” Wade added.

South Mountain – and it jeopardized water resources. But the courts eventually ruled in the state’s favor and allowed the 22-mile freeway to extend from Chandler to west Phoenix. Construction is expected to be completed early next year, though the freeway is expected to open in December. The tribe seems to be more open to the idea of expanding I-10. It has agreed to participate in a freeway study and has invited state officials to come to the reservation and gather input from community members. “We have a lot of positive momentum,” said Quinn Castro, a transportation engineer for the Maricopa Association of Governments. The state wants this to be an inclusive process, she added, and will be gathering input from all stakeholders. MAG has committed funding from a

and right-of-way plans from that time,” she said. The Gila River Indian Community encompasses about 584 square-miles between Chandler and Casa Grande. With a population of only about 11,000 residents, the reservation consists mostly of a rural desert landscape that contrasts sharply with the metropolitan suburbs surrounding Phoenix. Linda Shelde, a tribal member, was raised on the reservation and enjoys its remoteness from bigger cities. She hopes widening the interstate won’t alter that. “I like the way it is now,” Shelde said. “This is where we were placed, this is what we have, this is what we want.” She knows an expansion is inevitable due to population growth around the region. But she hopes the state will have

half-cent sales tax to pay for expanding the six-mile section of I-10 running through Maricopa County. But there’s another 20 miles of the freeway in Pinal County that wouldn’t be covered by MAG. ADOT has pledged about $50 million for improving the freeway, which may not cover the project’s total cost. Castro said the year-long study will assess three alternatives: a no-build option and two options to construct improvements. If a build-option is ultimately pursued, then the state will have to amend an easement it obtained back in the 1960s from Gila River to build I-10. An amendment hasn’t been done before, Castro added, so it will take time to figure out the process. “Things were much different when the freeway was originally constructed and that easement was based on line-work


GILA RIVER on page 8



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Chandler school given Blue Ribbon honor SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Arizona College Preparatory-Erie has been named a National Blue Ribbon school by the federal government for outstanding academic achievement. The Chandler high school of about 800 students was one of five campuses in Arizona to receive the distinction this year from the U.S. Department of Education. “As a school community, we are very excited to be recognized with this honor,” Principal Robert Bickes wrote in a statement. During an assembly on Sept. 26, the school’s students and teachers cheered with excitement when they saw Arizona College Prep listed as one of 362 new Blue Ribbon schools in the country. The U.S. Department of Education reviews nominations each year from schools wishing to receive the honor, which started in 1982 as a strategy to have successful schools share best practices with other schools. To receive this honor, schools must rank high in their respective state for academic performance and graduation rates. “The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content,” the department says on its website, noting that the school will now receive a flag that “is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.” In its application, Arizona College Prep

noted that 89 percent of its graduating class was enrolled in a four-year college. The school further noted how all of its students take advanced courses, its diverse offering of extracurricular activities, and maintains an average student-to-teacher ratio of 24. “Our small campus allows teachers and staff to form meaningful relationships with students and allows students opportunities to take ownership of their school experience,” administrators wrote in the application. The Arizona Department of Education has rated Arizona College Prep as an “A” school based on its academic proficiency and student growth. The prep school has existed as different iterations for the last decade – having originally opened as Hamilton Prep in 2007 with a population of 93 students. Over the years, the school changed its name and grew in size. Principal Bickes pledged to continue offering quality education opportunities to all students who attend the Chandler school. “I am very excited for our school community and for the recognition that the students and staff have earned since opening our doors,” Bickes added. “I am so proud to be a Knight and to have the opportunity to work with wonderful individuals each and every day.” The Department of Education will honor Arizona College Prep and all the other honorees at a ceremony on Nov. 14 near Washington D.C.

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“We’re getting blown away by some of the stuff that’s happening,” Basso added. Their program, Dogs in Grade Schools, is not intended to be just a fun activity. Basso considers it an experiment to see whether dogs can scientifically improve academic performance. They will be collecting data on student attendance, discipline, and surveying staff on school climate. They’re also in talks with an Arizona State University professor to analyze all their data for an official study. “We’re thinking on a much higher level in terms of what could be done,” Basso said. School dogs are not a new concept, as canines have been brought into classrooms all over Arizona for years. Basso said their program is aiming to be more systematized, with set rules and procedures, so it can be easily replicated in other schools. In addition, he said dogs are often only brought in to help a specific type of student. They want their dogs to serve everyone at Weinberg. “This is not for just kids with maybe a reading disability or a behavioral problem,” Basso said. “This is for the whole school.”

Above, Scooter Pie is surrounded by, from left, DIGS President Barb Founder, Weinberg Elementary counselor Sarah Evenhus and Principal Shirley Mathew. At right, Nathan Raccuglia gives some loves to the dog. (Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer)

The pilot project originated with the volunteers wanting to spread some joy in local schools. Farmer said she and Basso were talking about the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children dead, and wondered how they could use their skills to prevent another tragedy. “All of these school shootings have really impacted our hearts,” Farmer said. Farmer had supervised a dogtherapy program at Dignity Health and Basso’s been training dogs in the Valley for several years. So, they knew they Weinberg Principal gives Scooter Pie a warm welcome. She said the dog makes had the resources and kids eager to get to school. ability to introduce a (Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer) dog-therapy program.


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some contingency plans in place for when the time comes to add another lane. Construction detours will likely bring more traffic through the reservation’s roads, Shelde said, and she’d like some reassurance that Gila River won’t be entirely on the hook for maintaining and patrolling this infrastructure. ADOT recently finished adding another lane to I-10 for a section running south of Eloy. Over the last decade, ADOT has been expanding the capacity of I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson in segments. In late 2019, after ADOT completes two widening projects between Earley Road and Interstate 8 in Casa Grande and between Eloy and Picacho, I-10 will be three lanes in each direction between SR-387 near Casa Grande and Tucson. Margie Thompson, an Eloy resident, didn’t recall many issues with the project south of Eloy when it was underway last year. But when it comes to the part of I-10 running north to Chandler, she foresees some challenges with building another lane and managing the current traffic flow. According to ADOT, it takes about 34 minutes to drive from Casa Grande to

But then came the challenge of finding a place to do it. Farmer said it took her two years to find a school willing to let them bring dogs into the classroom. There were a lot of questions and concerns, she said, about how a program like theirs would work. They eventually found an administrator open to the idea at Weinberg Elementary and the district’s governing board officially approved of the partnership in August. “We want kids to look forward to coming to school,” said Weinberg Principal Shirley Mathew. “School needs to be a

Chandler on the freeway. That time is projected to grow to 42 minutes by 2040 if I-10 remains unchanged. Thompson said she appreciates how ADOT is taking its time to work with the tribe and figure out a plan. “I like the fact they’re not rushing into it and wasting money,” ADOT will need the help of the Gila River Indian Thompson said. “They’re Community to widen the 26-mile Wild Horse Pass gonna take the time to Corridor on I-10 between Chandler and Casa Grande. study it.” (Special to the San Tan Sun News) In addition to expanding I-10, the state semis to go side-by-side,” is studying whether it should replace a Harvey said. “I’ve seen it bridge on the interstate that crosses over done, but I don’t want the Gila River. to be in that area when The bridge was built in 1964 and has endured years of flooding and traffic jams. something happens.” Residents still have the Its functional lifespan is expected to run opportunity to provide out within the next decade or so. input on the freeway by Clement Harvey, another tribal member, emailing or calling ADOT. said he doesn’t have any problems with Comments submitted by improving the bridge or freeway. Oct. 3 will be included He regularly drives over the bridge to get to Phoenix and thinks its narrowness is in its freeway study. Information/commenting: a safety hazard for the community. 10wildhorsepasscorridor.com “There’s barely enough room for two

happy place.” The dogs have brought a great level of excitement to the school, she added, and teachers are finding ways to incorporate them into curriculum. For example, the principal recalled a teacher who recently taught a lesson on circles and had a therapy dog walk in circles in front of the class. “We’ve made the dog part of the learning process,” Mathew said. The dogs have greeted kindergartners on the first day of school, accompanied students on the playground, and served as models for art projects. They’re also motivating students to finish their assignments quicker, as some teachers allow students to pet the dog once they’ve turned in their work. The volunteers have enough trained dogs to bring at least one on-campus each day. The school’s counselor advises them which classrooms would benefit most from having a dog and the animal will typically interact with students for up to an hour. Farmer said she’s come home in tears after witnessing some of the canine interactions at Weinberg. She remembered one student who was so comforted by a dog’s presence; he found the confidence to read aloud in front of the class. “With all this negativity in the world, it’s kind of nice to feel like you’re making a difference in a positive way,” Farmer said. Basso and Farmer have agreed to conduct their project for the whole school year. Once they’ve collected their data, they will decide whether to bring dogs to other CUSD schools. Some academic studies already have found possible evidence that therapy dogs can boost student literacy and psychological well-being. Basso believes their dogs will have a lasting impact on Weinberg’s students and he’s curious to see how they’ll perform in high school. “We think there’s going to be longer-term effects here,” he added. “We don’t think it’s just going to be a short-term effect.”



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Chandler getting closer to e-scooter rules BY KEVIN REAGAN Staff Writer

As cities in the East Valley start to welcome electric scooters on its roads, Chandler may be the latest municipality to adopt regulations restricting their use. Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe and Scottsdale have all passed codes and ordinances in the last couple of years to permit private companies to bring their shared-use scooters within city limits. Companies like Bird, Lime, and Spin have had licensing agreements with these cities, requiring them to pay fees and follow rules regarding where their scooters can be parked. Chandler has been recently studying e-scooters and may make policy recommendations soon that would allow agreements similar to the ones these companies have with other cities. Matthew Burdick, a city spokesperson, said staff will be spending the next couple months collecting public input before deciding whether to bring a policy proposal before the City Council. This past summer, the city surveyed about 500 residents and businesses and a slim majority wished Chandler would limit how many scooters operated in the city. A minority of survey respondents opposed any scooters in Chandler regardless of any regulations the city passes to control them. When asked the greatest appeal of using e-scooters, 43 percent of survey

respondents answered “nothing.” Opinions ranged regarding the need of scooters in Chandler. Some respondents objected to the visual litter they might create, some thought they would be “super fun,” and others were concerned about safety. “My son had a motorized-scooter accident and was badly injured,” one respondent wrote. “I think these things are much more dangerous than people realize.” The city has proceeded to draft some recommended rules for a pilot program Chandler could eventually enter into with scooter companies. The proposed rules would restrict companies to have no more than 150 scooters during the first three months of signing an agreement. That cap would then expand to 300 scooters if the company remains compliant with the city’s rules. No more than five scooters could be clustered together and clusters would have to be at least 150 feet apart. Scooters could not be parked within 10 feet of fire hydrants, on any sidewalk less than six feet in width, on private property, or block access to facilities for people with disabilities. Scooter companies would also have to pay the city an application fee and 10 cents for each ride one of its scooters provides in Chandler, according to a list of proposed regulations. The City Council has not formally

passed any process for regulating scooter companies and the matter is still under review. The scooter policies fall in tandem with other mobility issues the city’s been recently examining as it updates its transportation master plan. Ryan Peters, the city’s government relations and policy director, said Chandler has been studying alternative transit options that may incorporate the latest technology. For example, the city’s been considering a partnership with Lyft, the ride-sharing company, to help transport Chandler residents to bus stops. “There’s only so many places we can build roads,” Peters said. “We need to have an efficient transit system to help supplement that type of commuting.” WalletHub, a financial advisory website, released its list of the 100 best American cities for public transportation and Chandler ranked 82nd on the list. The city was ranked particularly low for its accessibility and convenience to public transit. Scooter companies often market themselves as a cheap solution to reducing congested roadways. But the scooters bring with them a different set of challenges – like unwanted clutter in public spaces. The Scottsdale Police Department issued 181 citations between December and July to violators of the city’s scooter ordinance. Most of these citations were NOW OPEN!

for leaving scooters parked in prohibited areas. The town of Gilbert has not had to issue any citations to violators of its scooter rules. But at least 25 complaints have been submitted by residents to the town since Gilbert entered into agreements with Bird and Lime. At least 10 complaints have been filed to the city of Mesa regarding the 600 scooters that have been operating within its city limits for the last year. The city of Peoria kicked out one scooter company earlier this year after it allegedly tried to change the terms of its agreement. Two scooter companies temporarily pulled out of the pilot program in downtown Phoenix shortly after it launched in September, according to Phoenix New Times. Chandler has additionally studied the option of doing nothing and letting the NOWitself OPEN! market regulate out. One potential NOW OPEN! Chandler downsideChandler to this option is the city’s Arizona Aveof scooters it inability to4040 limitS the number 4040 S Arizona Ave 480-534-5131 wants in Chandler. 480-534-5131

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Where: Chandler Museum, 300 South Chandler Village Drive


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Maggie’s story: A teen’s life cut short by suicide BY JORDAN HOUSTON Staff Writer

Skyline High School senior Maggie Jones approached her mother, Adele Jones, in their Mesa home on Labor Day. Something wasn’t right.  The teen, with long mocha-brown hair, fair skin and crystal blue eyes, was crying. She told her mom she was feeling depressed. Her mother knew Maggie had been struggling with her mental health for about a year now, but today felt more urgent.  “She looked different,” said Adele. “She was crying and wouldn’t let me hug her – she would always at least take a hug.” Adele told Maggie that she would seek out a therapist right away. But Maggie never gave herself the time to receive that care. The girl described by her mother as “a beautiful young woman who loved to help others” had logged onto Twitter the following day, posting a series of tweets to her 114 followers outlining the depths of her despair. One tweet read, “i love how nobody cares even when they know how suicidal you are.” Another stated, “this is the hardest thing I have ever [expletive] done… it’s all wrong.” On Sept. 4, she fatally shot herself. She was 17. Maggie’s death was the 36th East Valley teenager lost to suicide since July 2017. Two other teens – a Gilbert boy who was Maggie’s friend and a Mesa boy – took their lives within seven days after her death. Ironically, the suicides occurred within a 10-day period that included Gov. Doug Ducey’s Sept. 11 signing of a law requiring all school personnel to receive suicide prevention training starting in the 2020-21 school year.

Skyline High School senior Maggie Jones, 17, of Mesa took her life earlier this month. (Special to the San Tan Sun News)

crisis. The suicide prevention foundation says there is no single cause, but that feelings of hopelessness and despair can eventually prompt a person to take their life. During the days leading up to Maggie’s senior year, her mother recalled, the teen frequently talked about how she didn’t want to move out. Maggie lived alone with her parents while the rest of her seven older siblings live out of state. “She wanted to live with us forever,” said Adele. “She would always talk about how apartments are so expensive, so I don’t know if getting closer to knowing that was coming had anything to do with it.” Born in Indiana, Maggie moved to Arizona with her parents when she was 5. She loved traveling and talked of becoming a flight attendant one day. “She was such a happy girl,” said Adele.

“ If I can get the message out and it saves at least one child, then we did good.” - Adele Jones, Maggies Mother The bill was introduced by state Sen. Sean Bowie of Ahwatukee, whose district includes parts of Tempe, Chandler and Mesa, in direct response to the rash of teen suicides in the region. Bowie won support of two Chandler legislators, Sen. J.D. Mesnard and Rep Jeff Weninger, to win unanimous approval of the measure in the Legislature; Weninger’s teenage son had a friend who also had taken his life. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, one person dies by suicide in Arizona every seven hours. Suicide is also the second leading cause of death for ages 15 to 34. “Every single one of those individuals needed help and we need to respond to any suicide with a response that creates the conditions under which all individuals recognize they are not alone,” said Aaron Krasnow, Arizona State University associate vice president of health and counseling services. “They are not a burden to others, their pain is manageable, he said. “They can be supported and there are choices available to them.” Krasnow also said it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact reason for the teen suicide

“She loved to go to California to see our friends and she got to do so much and she saw so much – she loved to travel.” In 9th and 10th grade, Maggie pursued her passion for the arts, participating in Skyline’s stained-glass classes. When she wasn’t in school, she worked as a trainer at Peter Piper Pizza. Adele, who did not have access to Maggie’s social media accounts, said she never saw the warning signs. “She told us she was depressed at times,” said Adele. “But I think people like myself, that don’t suffer from depression, don’t realize how it can take over and how deep.” “I don’t understand it, but it’s real,” she added. Looking back, Adele said she wishes she had been given more information from the school about what to look out for and how to handle the signs. One of the biggest indicators, says the Association for Suicide Prevention, is a change in behavior, especially when related to a painful event, loss or change. Other warning signs include increased use of alcohol or drugs, isolating from family and friends, sleeping too much or too little, fatigue and aggression, among other things.

not going to let it off the hook.” Katey McPherson, a Chandler education consultant and suicide prevention activist who has been monitoring teen suicides in the East Valley for the past few years, agreed with Krasnow and said the cluster of suicides in the region could be stemming from a myriad of factors.   “We’ve got deterioration of the family unit and we have academic rigor that’s being pushed starting in the fourth grade – there’s a lot of academic pressure that kids have now,” she previously told the Tribune. “I think social media is a piece, but it’s not the only piece.”  Krasnow explained that many teens fear jeopardizing their friendships by telling an adult. “The commentary is about not trusting adults to respond in a way that is supportive,” he said. “That would not lead to minimizing, or over-reAlthough she liked to travel, Maggie also told her mother how she never sponding to. those signals wanted to move out of her parents’ Mesa home. (Special to the Tribune) from the teens.” “We are the adults, it’s not Several of Maggie’s friends said she their responsibility to have to navigate all often showed up at school crying -- but of that,” he continued, adding: would “snap out of it” when the bell rang. “We need to give them evidence and “She would show up to school upset be constantly talking to them about ‘if and would go to class crying,” said Skyline you see this, I want you to tell me,’ and senior Emily McDonald. “But immediately don’t just stop there.  Also say, ‘here is she would stop when class started.” what I’ll do and here is how I’ll involve you Anissa Guerra, another close friend, -- what do you think about that?’ make it recalled similar situations. a conversation.”  But both teens described Maggie as a This is exactly what Mesa Public School bubbly person that everyone wanted to is trying to achieve. be around. The district is doubling down on its “She was the greatest person,” said mental health efforts for not only this Anissa. “She was always energetic and she coming school year, but years to come.  was a light in people’s world -- no matter “Mesa has been working on informwhat was going on in her life. ing peers about recognizing the signs of “She was always there for you,” she suicide and taking every sign as a serious added. sign,” said Michael Garcia, MPS director of When it came to confronting Maggie’s opportunity and achievement. tweets, Anissa and Emily faced a common “We have to be careful about this too, dilemma. because we don’t want them to feel reThey explained suicidal posts have sponsible for these suicides,” he stressed. become commonplace on social media, The Mesa district is forming “peer preand that it’s hard to tell when someone is vention clubs” to raise awareness about being serious. mental health and reduce the stigma “A lot of people will do something by surrounding it. accident and be like, ‘oh, kill me,’ or even It is also training students how to recin texts they’ll say ‘KMS’ for ‘kill myself,” ognize the signs and put that information said Anissa. “It’s just a cultural thing, into the hands of an adult, he continued.  honestly I can’t say why, it’s just how our Since incorporating the clubs a few generation is growing up.” years ago, the district has seen a rise in Then came the fear of “snitching.” students reporting suicidal tendencies in Depression, especially when undiagsome classmates, Garcia said.  nosed, is the most common condition Adele said that she hopes Maggie’s stoassociated with suicide. ry will help raise awareness and increase While Krasnow said he doesn’t necesresources for struggling teens.  sarily believe that today’s teenagers are “If I can get the message out and it experiencing more trying emotions than saves at least one child, then we did in the past, the presence of social media good,” said the grieving mother. has complicated many teens’ lives.  “Social media has the incredible power to connect people at a distance, and that can Adults struggling with suicidal thoughts have enormously positive impacts for some people,” he said. “The converse of that is it or who know anyone who might be can can create an echo chamber in which certain call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention thoughts or feelings are only reflected back Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Teens can as confirmed or disconfirmed.” “I’m not in the camp to blame it for also call Teen Lifeline at 602-248-8336. this [suicide],” he continued. “But I’m also




Fallen Chandler firefighter added to memorial BY KEVIN REAGAN Staff Writer

A Chandler fire captain who succumbed to cancer last year has had his name added to a memorial in Colorado for firefighters killed in the line of duty. Capt. Mark “Bo” Boulanger died last September from lung cancer, which he contracted through his 25 years as a Chandler firefighter. He’s the first, and so far only, Chandler firefighter to have their cancer diagnosis classified as a work-related illness. Fourteen of Boulanger’s colleagues traveled to Colorado Springs last month to see his name added to the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial. The International Association of Firefighters erected a black, marble wall in the 1980s and annually etches new names into it of fallen firefighters from across the country. “With their names forever etched into our sacred memorial wall, we will never forget the names of our fallen,” said IAFF General Secretary-Treasurer Ed Kelly during the ceremony on Sept. 21. Boulanger is the first member from Chandler to be added to the memorial, according to Chandler Fire Capt. Mike Pallas. His death had a major impact on the department, Pallas said, because it shined a light on the health risks that come with being a firefighter. “It really did help with an awareness level for our members,” Pallas said. Firefighters experience a 14-percent increase for cancer-related deaths compared to the general population, according to the National Institute for Occupational

The late Chandler Fire Capt. Mark "Bo" Boulanger, who succumbed to lung cancer believe to have been related to his job of 25 years, was added to a memorial in Colorado dedicated to firefighters who lose their lives in the line of duty. (Special to SanTan Sn News)

Safety and Health. Pallas said Valley agencies have spent the last few years implementing new policies and practices to prevent firefighters from being exposed to harmful toxins. But there’s recently been a more “aggressive” approach to prevention, he added, as more scientific research is being done. Preliminary results from a three-year study done by the University of Arizona found that firefighters could significantly reduce their risk to exposure by washing themselves and their gear immediately

after responding to a call. Arizona legislators recognized the prevalence of cancer among firefighters in 2017 when they passed a bill to expand the list of illnesses that can be covered by workers' compensation. But some firefighters across the Valley have still had their medical claims denied by their respective cities. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich penned a letter this summer, asking the Industrial Commission of Arizona to find out how many firefighters had

been denied workers compensation. Boulanger’s case met with a different fate, as his illness was confirmed to be a work-related. If it hadn’t, then he might not have been eligible to be included in the Colorado memorial, Pallas added. Boulanger served in the Army National Guard before he was hired by the Chandler Fire Department in 1993. After his death, the captain’s colleagues described him as an upstanding leader and public servant. “He really took a lot of pride in developing his people and trying to find ways to get the most out of them,” Pallas said.


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Teacher who taught herself English gets surprise BY KEVIN REAGAN Staff Writer

When Ana Rosa Duarte Abbott came to the United States a couple decades ago, her English-speaking skills weren’t the greatest. “I did not speak a word,” the Chandler resident recalled. She took language classes while growing up in Mexico City, but she didn’t have the best experience. Abbott said she eventually had to teach herself the language. If she was ever in the position of teaching someone else a foreign language, Abbott thought, she would want to be an engaged, enthusiastic instructor. Chicanos Por La Causa, a Phoenixbased nonprofit, thinks Abbott has met her standards and recently surprised her with a $5,000-check during an assembly at SanTan Junior High School. Students and teachers cheered with excitement as the Spanish teacher walked across the gymnasium to get her prize. “I didn’t even know they were doing this,” Abbott said shortly after getting her life-size, cardboard check. Abbott was one of four teachers in Arizona to be honored by Chicanos this year as an outstanding educator. As part of the honor, Chicanos will give a $2,500-stipend to Abbott’s school. More than 100 Latino teachers have been recognized by Chicanos since 1998 for inspiring their students and contributing to their communities. SanTan Principal Barbara Kowalinski said the school chose to nominate Abbott for the award because of her unyielding commitment to her students. She not only teaches Spanish, the principal said, but Abbott goes the extra mile to get her students excited about

Ana Rose Duarte Abbott and her husband John hold a cardboard replica of the $5,000 check she received from Chicanos Por La Causa during an assembly at SanTan Junior High School, where she teaches Spanish. (Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer)

learning the language. “She generates a lot of enthusiasm with her kids where they practice all day long,” Kowalinski said. Abbott organizes piñata contests, does lessons about Dia de Los Muertos, and coordinates services for the school’s English-language learners. Kowalinski said Abbott took the initiative to get grant funding to purchase new iPads for these students so that they

could have quick access to translation software. When the school had to add another Spanish class recently, Kowalinski said Abbott willingly took on the additional work. And the extra work came at a time when Abbott was undergoing treatment for health problems. Yet she hasn’t missed a day of school during this time, because she hates the idea of not being available for her

students. “I don’t want to leave them to someone else,” Abbott said, “I am responsible for their learning.” Kowalinski recalled a recent episode where Abbott was undergoing health treatments and had to simultaneously deal with a family emergency back in Mexico City. But the teacher wouldn’t allow these matters interfere with her responsibilities. “She came back and asked me what I needed,” the principal said. “That’s just who she is.” Though she seems to be a natural teacher, Abbott said this wasn’t her first career. She spent a couple years working in the corporate world before realizing she was meant to be in a classroom, where she could help shape the minds of young people. “I love being able to make an impact on who’s gonna be our future,” Abbott said. The award from Chicanos came as a total shock to Abbott who was at times speechless in the moments after receiving the honor. John Abbott, the teacher’s husband, was sitting in the school gymnasium as his wife was surprised with her award. She’s always shown immense devotion to improving the education of her students, he said. “It means a ton to me that other people see that,” the husband said. Ana Abbott said she’s not sure yet what she’ll do with the $5,000. She still has to wait for Chicanos to send her the real check. Chicanos will honor Abbott and three other outstanding teachers at an awards ceremony on Oct. 23, at the Arizona State University Gammage Auditorium.

Hollywood helps Chandler teacher build little library contest could be a quick solution. “Most of my students don’t have access to books at home and have never been to a public library, which means that the only way for them to receive books is here at school,” Abbey wrote in her email to Philipps.


A Hollywood actress helped a Chandler teacher build a library of books inside her classroom. Busy Philipps, known for her roles on “Freaks and Geeks” and “Cougar Town,” recently asked her social media followers to buy some books for Angelica Abbey. “Let’s help her #clearthelist and show (Abbey) and her students that we support them,” the actress wrote online. With nearly two million Instagram followers, the response to Philipps’s post was swift and boxes of books started showing up at Frye Elementary School, where Abbey’s been teaching for the last three years. “I was definitely in shock,” Abbey said after discovering Philipps had spotlighted her online. Abbey’s principal encouraged staff at Frye Elementary to submit emails to the actress with a wish-list of school supplies. Philipps, who grew up in Scottsdale, had been using social media to spotlight 10 teachers across the country that needed help stocking their classrooms. One teacher in Massachusetts asked for new art supplies, while another in Tennessee needed equipment to start a robotics club.

Most of my students don’t have “access to books at home and have never been to a public library, which means that the only way for them to receive books is here at school. – Angelica Abbey

Frye Elementary teacher Angelica Abbey is all smiles over actress Busy Phillips' assistance in getting books for her classroom. (Special to SanTan Sun News)

Abbey knew she needed more books for her students and thought Philipps’s

But Abbey was persistent with her request – resending the same email to Philipps at least six times before finding out the actress had picked her. “I guess it paid off,” Abbey joked. Within a week, Philipps’s followers had gone online and ordered items from Abbey’s list. The teacher estimated she’s gotten almost 500 books so far. Abbey grew up in the Chandler Unified School District and said she had several inspirational teachers who demonstrated to her the value of education.

“I had amazing teachers growing up and I just kind of wanted to be like them,” Abbey said. But the daily work of a teacher is so much more than just teaching, she said. Some days she feels like she has to be a counselor, a nurse, and a teacher. “Being a teacher is like two full-time jobs,” Abbey said. She was warned in college of the limited resources in public education, yet she wasn’t quite expecting the reality of teaching in an area where some families can’t afford school supplies. Frye Elementary is a Title I school, meaning the federal government provides it additional funding because it has a high concentration of low-income students. The district tries to support its teachers, Abbey said, but it can’t provide everything and teachers will often have to pay for items out of their own pocket. By the time her students get to sixth grade, Abbey said there aren’t many who have a love for literature. She hopes her new collection of books will change that. Abbey plans to stack all the donated books along one wall of her classroom and develop a checkout system so students can take them home. “My whole classroom is basically gonna be a library,” Abbey said, “but I really wouldn’t want it any other way.”



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ASU in downtown Mesa: A sneak preview BY JIM WALSH Staff Writer

A 30x50-foot Jumbotron facing toward a pedestrian-friendly plaza and Main Street. Three complete movie production studios large enough to fit a car. An “enhanced immersion studio’’ allowing visitors to interact with 3D artwork. With such a unique list of features and components, it’s not hard to understand the ASU@ Mesa City Center project is not just another office building – and designing it would be a challenge. The long-sought Arizona State University campus will be devoted exclusively to students pursuing careers in “transdisciplinary digital expertise” such as virtual reality. And it seems like a safe bet the controversial, yet much anticipated facility likely will wake up historically sleepy downtown Mesa and inject life into the area – a goal set by Mayor John Giles and several city council members. But other issues remain unsettled as the three-story, 65-foot tall, 110,000 square foot building heads toward the first steps of construction early next year – including what it ultimately will look like, the final price tag and what will happen to some wavy concrete canopies that have jutted off the back of a city building for decades. Despite some concerns that the future landmark doesn’t look like one so far, the project’s site plan won a 4-1 vote for

approval last week from Mesa’s Planning and Zoning Commission. The vote serves as a recommendation for approval by Mesa City Council, which has final authority. But the next step is scheduled for Oct. 8, when more detailed renderings are expected to be presented before Mesa’s Design Review Board, another advisory panel that focuses on issues such as architecture and landscaping. In an exclusive interview with the Tribune, Chaitlow detailed the stunning architectural goals he, Jacobs and their team are working to achieve. There’s not only nothing like this around here. There’s almost nothing like this anywhere,’’ said Steven Chaitow, principal architect at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in San Francisco, who is working on the design with Diane Jacobs of Holly Street Studios in Phoenix. “This is putting Mesa on the map,’’ he said. Even the back of the building will have some unique features beyond serving as necessary site for deliveries and garbage collection. The architects promised a good neighbor program to minimize disturbing neighbors of a nearby apartment complex. “It will be like a studio back lot. It will engage the community,’’ Chaitow said. “We want to make it playful and interesting.’’ Jacobs said the architects have been

working mainly on accommodating the unique studios. She said it’s important for studios to be on the ground floor, so that large props, such as cars, can be easily installed and removed. Acoustics and vibration also are important considerations. In theory, “we can have three movie premieres at once,’’ Jacobs said, with the movies shown on the Jumbotron – similar to those in professional sports arenas – while people hang out in the plaza. There also will be two theaters, one seating 250, as well as a cafe and, of course, classrooms. “We have spent a lot of time on the inside so far,’’ Jacobs said, when board member Tim Boyle criticized the exterior appearance as lacking a “wow factor’’ that is necessary for a landmark project. “It’s uncooked so far,’’ Jacobs said, referring to the exterior. “We feel good about making the pieces click and fit.’’ City council member Jen Duff, who represents downtown, said she is confident the design team will produce a building that will make Mesa proud. “I think we will be very impressed,’’ Duff said. “I’m very excited about it. I think it will set the tone.’’ She said that many people are curious about the building and what it will look like, but eventually, “I think the other cities will have this Mesa-envy thing.’’ Jeff McVay, Mesa’s downtown transformation manager, said five stories originally were planned, but it became

clear early in the design stage that tall studios were required and there was no need for the upper floors. He said the building will be slightly shorter at 65 feet tall and slightly smaller at 110,000 square feet, but that it still will be very large. He said that some of the studios have 45 feet of clear space. “It’s driven by the programming’’ instead of cost, McVay said about the alterations in the building. “It’s a high-rise laying on its side.’’ If the completed building was vertical instead of horizontal, it would be the equivalent of a six-story tall building, he said. No matter what changes are made in the building’s design, the city’s cost is capped at $63.5 million, McVay said, but the ASU’s share will be more than the $10 million originally envisioned. Opponents objected to the city granting ASU a subsidized lease to bring the campus downtown and to increase the area’s vitality. ASU received a 99-year lease at $100,000, committing to a $10 million investment in furnishings and $1.3 million a year for operation and maintenance. “It’s going to be well above that,’’ McVay said. The city is acting as the developer, and the city will own the building and the land. The first phase of construction is scheduled for February 2020, with an opening planned for spring 2022. See

ASU on page 17




from page 16

The five-acre site is the parking lot behind the council’s chambers, south of First Street, east of Center Street, west of Centennial and north of City Hall. The project will straddle

both sides of Pepper Place. Parking will be moved to other cityowned properties, but a detailed parking plan has not been announced. The plaza will lead from Main Street to the new ASU Futures Lab complex, which will include renovation of the city’s Information Technology building into

design studios. McVay said he is hoping that the design studios will serve as a place where ASU students and professors share their ideas with the community at large, helping to spawn the innovation district that the plan envisions. “This is really the anchor and the energy for the innovation district,’’ he said.


With the plaza connecting the project to the Metro light rail and downtown, “you are not going to feel like you are on an ASU campus.’’ The plaza is expected to include grassy, shady areas, a water feature and skating rink that will be used for Mesa’s annual Merry Main Street Christmas event.

High court to review Chandler killer’s sentence SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments later this year from a deathrow inmate hoping to get his sentence overturned for murdering two Chandler residents in 1991. James McKinney, 52, was convicted of breaking into Christene Mertens’s home, stabbing her and shooting her in back of the head. He walked away with only about $120 in cash. About a week later, McKinney and his accomplice, Charles Hedlund, broke into another Chandler home and used a sawed-off rifle to shoot 65-year-old James McClain. They then stole his watch and took off in McClain’s car. A Maricopa County judge sentenced McKinney and Hedlund to death in 1993 and the two have been awaiting their fate ever since. The Arizona Supreme Court rejected McKinney’s argument he should be resentenced because the trial judge did not consider the fact he endured a traumatic

James McKinney childhood. McKinney petitioned the Supreme Court this year to remand his case back to the trial court so that all the details about his post-traumatic stress disorder can be

considered before deciding whether he should be executed. The high court decided this summer to review McKinney’s case and will have oral arguments in December. The nine justices only review about 100 out of 7,000 petitions they’re asked to review each year. If McKinney persuades a majority of the court, the ruling could impact several other death penalty cases in Arizona. According to the defendant’s petition, McKinney experienced a “horrific” childhood – bouncing between the custody of his abusive parents and often living in squalor. McKinney claims he and his siblings had to share a bedroom with cats, dogs, snakes, goats, and a monkey. “It was scary. It seems like we were all stressed out wondering when the next time we were getting beat; wondering when we were going to eat next,” McKinney’s sister was quoted saying in his court petition. In capital cases, juries have to weigh the aggravating and mitigating factors of

the crime when determining whether it warrants a death sentence. A defendant’s poor upbringing is often used as mitigating evidence to sway a juror’s decision. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which represents the state before federal courts, believes McKinney’s convictions have been affirmed and the defendant has already exhausted his appeals. “Petitioner’s convictions and sentences for killing two blameless and essentially incapacitated victims became final years before this Court decided Ring v. Arizona,” counsel for the attorney general wrote in court filings. The Supreme Court set a landmark precedent in 2002 when it ruled Timothy Ring, who was convicted of killing a man in Glendale, should have been sentenced to death by a jury instead of a judge. Ring was taken off death row and resentenced to life in prison. Because McKinney was convicted several years before the Ring decision, the high court will have to decide whether his case can still apply to the precedent it set.

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Around Chandler Assistance League names 3 new board members For the first time in many years, the Assistance League of East Valley has named three new members to its advisory council. “These outstanding individuals will bring their expertise toward helping the all-volunteer group fulfill its core mission, putting caring and commitment into action through community based philanthropic programs,” a spokeswoman said. The league clothes more than 10,000 schoolchildren each year through its signature program, Operation School Bell. New members include Mike Hutchinson, executive vice president for the East Valley Partnership; Maria Hesse, recently retired as vice provost for academic partnerships at Arizona State University; and Curtis M, Chipman, equity partner at the law firm Udall Shumway PLC. They join council members Chris Busch, superintendent of Tempe Elementary School District No. 3, and Dale Speight, senior vice president at FirstBank in Chandler. “I am grateful that three exceptional individuals with wide and diverse backgrounds will join us in shaping and supporting Assistance League of East Valley,” said Janifer Gorney, chair of the organization. “From a deep understanding of the needs of our community, they will help us to provide quality services to East Valley children and adults in need.” Assistance League of East Valley provided a record 10,436 schoolchildren with

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brand new school clothes and hygiene kits last year, awarded 12 college scholarships, provided services to homeless teens and elderly adults, and supplied 5,217 Assault Survivor Kits to hospitals, fire departments and other agencies that care for victims of assault, accidents or fires. In addition to grants and donations, the primary source of fundraising for Assistance League of East Valley is their thrift shop at 2326 N. Alma School Road, Chandler, which is open Tuesday-Saturday 10-5 p.m. Information: assistanceleagueeastvalley.org.

Leidan Mitchell Salon schedules ‘beauty soiree’ Leidan Mitchell Salon & Spa will host a women’s “health and beauty soiree” 2-5 p.m. Nov. 17 at the spa, 2177 W. Queen Creek Road, Chandler. Free and open to the public, the event will include advice from experts on beauty and fashion, a massage and skin consultation, holiday crafts, a visit from the Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders and raffles. Information: leidanmitchell.com. To become a vendor: call Karin Boyle at 602909-9064.

Chandler Elks distribute dictionaries to 3rd graders The Chandler Elks Lodge #2429 distributed 598 dictionaries to third-grade students in the Chandler and Gilbert Public Schools in August and September. The Elks charity, ladies, veterans and

riders committees provided more Spanish-to-English dictionaries to all needy kids than any year past. The number of dictionaries delivered were: Hartford Elementary, 108; San Marcos, 49; Legacy Traditional School,12; Galveston Elementary, 67; Sanborn, 87; Bologna, 89; Shumway, 67; Frye, 71; and Gilbert Elementary, 48.

City to hold hearing on transportation plans Draft plans of the Chandler Transportation Master Plan 2019 Update and the Arizona Avenue Alternatives Analysis study, will be presented at a hearing 5-7 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Chandler Community Center, 125 E. Commonwealth Ave. The meeting is hosted by the city and Valley Metro to solicit public comment on the two studies, which could impact transportation policies, operations, future development and infrastructure Chandler earlier this got feedback on the roadway system, transit and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Participants were asked to identify and prioritize the types of transportation improvements they wish to see in the community. A consultant has now prepared a proposal that will be presented to the City’s Transportation Commission on Nov. 6 for further review. A final version of the TMP will be presented to the City Council for approval in early 2020. The City’s TMP was last updated in

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Dance studio offering free classes this month To celebrate its 28th season, Classic Image Dance in Chandler will be offering a free week of classes Oct. 14-19 for students 2 years old to adult. Owner Shannon Wilson, said, “We are excited to be able to offer our community a chance to dance. I believe all children should be exposed to the arts. The benefits and life-long effects are truly incredible, and I witness it every day through the students in our building. “From increased academic success in both reading and math, to a sense of pride and accomplishment which translates into a higher self-esteem, to the leadership and life skills like responsibility, perseverance, respect, and team work we teach and model, dance and the arts has a 100 percent positive impact on our youth,” she said. Classic Image Dance is also the only YPAD (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance) certified studio in the Valley. This certification ensures a conservative approach to dance education, with age appropriate music and costumes, educational best practices including background checks and CPR/First Aid, abuse awareness & prevention, injury prevention & response, and safety & emergency preparedness. The studio is at 335 N. Austin Drive, Chandler, and offers classes in a wide array of styles. Reservations for the free classes: 480839-4159 or email info@classicimagedance.com.

Residents can weigh in on annual budget survey The City of Chandler is starting its budget process and encourages residents to provide their thoughts about the community and its future. They can complete the survey at chandleraz.gov/budget through Nov. 17. City staff asks that residents answer the first six general questions of the survey. The remaining questions allow you to provide feedback on any or all of following topics. This year, these topics are based on the six City Council strategic goals. Completed paper surveys should be returned to City facilities, scanned and emailed to libby.stressman@chandleraz.gov or mailed to: City of Chandler, Budget Division– Citizen Surveys, Mail Stop 609, P.O. Box 4008, Chandler AZ 85244-4008. Information: 480-782-2254.

Race 4 Unity Walk/Run to hit Tumbleweed Park next month Chandler’s third annual Race 4 Unity Family Fun Walk/Run at Tumbleweed Park will be held at 9 a.m. Oct. 20 to “celebrate friendship and a acceptance to all people regardless of their ethnicity, religion, race, nationality or other difference,” organizers say. Sponsored by the Bahá’ís of Chandler and supported by the Chandler Human Relations Commission, the Race 4 Unity will include refreshments and music along with a Native American blessing and a brief presentation on the virtue of unity. See

AROUND on page 19



Around Chandler


from page 18

Free Registration is at Eventbrite.com and search for “Race 4 Unity.”

Congressman to discuss D.C. at Sun Lakes GOP meeting The Sun Lakes Republican Club will feature Congressman Andy Biggs at its 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8 meeting in the Arizona Room of the Sun Lakes Country Club, 25601 S. Sun Lakes Blvd., Sun Lakes. The public is invited to the free event. Biggs will share his perspective on national legislation and “what’s really going on” in Washington, D.C. Also speaking will be Chandler state Rep. Jeff Weninger, who will provide a forecast of the upcoming legislative session and review recent accomplishments. Information: Mike Tennant, 480-802-0178.

Dinner and dancing series in Sun Lakes ballroom Live bands playing music from the 1950s through the 70s, ballroom and line dancing and optional dinners will be featured at the Sun Lakes Cottonwood San Tan Ballroom, 25630 S Brentwood Drive, Sun Lakes, beginning this month and continu-

ing on various dates through March 25. Scheduled dances are Oct. 13, Nov. 10, Dec. 8, Jan. 5, Jan. 26 and March 1. The final dance on March 29 is a formal dance banquet that includes dinner at $50 per person and reservations for that are required. Tickets to all eight dances combined are available at reduced cost. Information: 480-699-7334 or Tjohnyu@gmail.com.


Vehicles sought for 7th annual car show here The seventh annual Kustom Karz show benefitting Lost Our Home Pet Rescue is Dec. 7 in downtown Ocotillo and organizers say people who want to enter their vehicles should act fast because only 135 vehicles will be allowed, The show, running 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Dec. 7, will be held at 2577 W. Queen Creek Road. The $25 per car or vendor entry fee includes a t-shirt and goodie bag. For visitors, there will be music, raffle prizes, food and 50/50 raffle, a full honor guard and a live performance of the National Anthem and trophy presentations by local celebrities, including Jack Holder, a Pearl Harbor survivor. Information: Ralph Guariglio, kokonuto@cox.net or 480-241-7622.

Chandler man accused of chasing wife with gun






A Chandler man faces multiple felony charges after his arrest for chasing his wife down the street with a loaded gun, forcing two schools to go into lockdown. Robert Hise, 54, was arrested Sept. 19 after police spent several hours looking for him in a neighborhood near McClintock Drive and the Santan Loop 202 freeway. Police were called around 12:30 p.m. by Wise’s wife, who said her husband was chasing her down the street with a gun. Pueblo Middle School and Paloma Elementary were on lockdown for several hours and people living in the neighborhood were asked to temporarily shelter in place while officers and SWAT searched the area. The woman, who was described as hysterical by police, said Hise attacked her while they were at one of their rental properties in the 5600 block of W. Cindy Street in Chandler. He pulled out a gun and told her “Today is the day you die,” according to a report, and forced her to kneel down in front of him. The couple had been living apart for several days. Hise grabbed his wife by the neck, forced her into the house and asked her if she wanted to die by gunshot or suffocation, then started cutting her air


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City celebrates diversity with various programs BY THE CITY OF CHANDLER Guest Writers

The City of Chandler Diversity Office embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion by working hand-in-hand with the City’s Human Relations Commission, local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, community leaders and volunteers. A part of the Neighborhood Resources Department, their small, but mighty team organizes a variety of annual events, programs and special projects that promote diversity and outreach efforts while creating community. Currently, the team is planning several events that will come to fruition in the coming months. First up is the 58th Annual Miss Indian Arizona Scholarship Program, a pageant featuring Native American women that focuses on academics and community service. Held at the Chandler Center for the Arts on Saturday, Oct. 12, the event is organized by the Miss Indian Arizona Association and showcases Arizona Indian traditional principles and values through songs, dance, stories, dress and humor.

Chandler celebrates diversity through a number of city programs throughout the year. (City of Chandler)

to promote the pageant and increase attendance. Tickets for the Oct. 12 evening event are available for purchase online at chandlercenter.org. The City’s Diversity staff also has all hands-on deck for the second annual Día de los Muertos event scheduled for Nov. 1. This free cultural event is coproduced by Chandler-based Cultura Communications and held in Downtown Chandler. Mark your calendar as Most city departments, including Chandler Police, participate the City celebrates a festive in diversity programs in some way. Mexican holiday where families (City of Chandler) and friends honor their were meaningful as they created altars deceased loved ones. During to pay tribute to their fallen officers and the event, colorful altars (ofrendas) firefighters. honoring those who have passed, to Nearly 3,000 residents attended last ensure that they are never forgotten, year and enjoyed the historical exhibits, are decorated with colorful flowers, entertainment, delicious food, arts, candles, photos and food. Different cultures celebrated by the city provide fascinating merchandise, crafts and more. entertainment. (City of Chandler) “Many residents in our community “Having Cultura Communications did not understand the significance onboard has been a huge asset,” said of Día de los Muertos,” said Priscilla Quintana. “Their expertise and connections Each participant receives a scholarship Quintana, Diversity Office management have been key in securing stellar musical acts to assist in furthering their education, and assistant. “It was beautiful to see the and elevating the event. We’re grateful to be the young woman selected as Miss Indian community come together to get a better working with their key staff, which include Arizona serves as an ambassador for all understanding of how the Latino culture Carmela Ramirez, Christina Gonzalez and Arizona Tribes for one year. celebrates those who are no longer with us.” Gilbert Ochoa.” The Diversity Office co-hosts the event The support and participation from Businesses or organizations that are and works closely with the event organizers both Chandler Fire and Police departments

interested in having a vendor booth or sponsoring the event may apply online at chandleraz.gov/diversity. Vendor applications and sponsorships are currently being accepted through Oct. 18. Another diversity-organized event is the annual Multicultural Festival. Slated for Jan. 18, the event was created more than two decades ago. In fact, this upcoming event will be the 25th anniversary of the City’s Multicultural Festival. The free annual festival celebrates the City’s diverse community with a variety of entertainment representing different countries and showcasing cultural traditions. In addition, attendees can enjoy different foods for purchase to taste cuisine from around the world. It’s like a free ticket to explore the world. For more information or to inquire about sponsorship or volunteer opportunities for the upcoming programs and events, visit chandleraz.gov/diversity or call 480-782-4300.

Diversity on stage tonight Chandler’s annual Mariachi and Folklórico Festival and Escenas de Mexico Exhibition will be at 7 p.m. today, Oct. 5 at the Chandler Center for the Arts. GRAMMY Award winner Aida Cuevas, “The Queen of Mariachi,” headlines with Mariachi Aztlán, along with an array of folklórico dancers. Tickets range in price from $45 to $85 and can be purchased at chandlercenter.org or by calling 480-782-2680. Additionally, through Oct. 10, the Gallery at the arts center presents Escenas de Mexico, featuring the work of Phoenix-based painter José Andrés Girón. Using bold colors and a strong sense of humanity, Girón pays homage to daily Mexican life. Admission is free.

Chandler native plays big role in diversity efforts BY THE CITY OF CHANDLER

Meet Priscilla Quintana, management assistant with the City of Chandler’s Diversity Office. She’s been in her current role for more than five years and is responsible for executing several community events, such as Operation Back to School Chandler, the Volunteer Recognition Awards, Día de los Muertos and the Multicultural Festival, to name a few. She also plays a key role in the City’s Census 2020 outreach efforts, coordinates meetings with nonprofit partners and works closely with the Chandler Human Relations Commission. She proudly describes her role at the City as a “catch-all” – she’s a hardworking part of the team and pitches in to get things done, no matter what the project is. Quintana has worked for the City since 2007, starting out as a recreation leader in the Community Services Department.

Before moving to the Diversity Office, she also worked at the City’s Housing Office, Housing Youth Center and Tumbleweed Recreation Center. A native of Chandler and a graduate of Chandler High, her father inspired her to pursue a career with the City. “I grew up in Chandler and I can remember when there were farms on nearly every corner,” said Quintana. Her dad, Javier Ledesma, came to the United States from Michoacan, Mexico, at the young age of 17, in search of opportunity. Ledesma arrived in Chandler when it was a small community of dairy farms and agricultural fields. Chandler soon became home and he still lives in the city today, just five minutes away from City Hall. “My Dad taught us to love the community you live in,” said Quintana. “I felt if I worked for the City of Chandler, I could make a difference.” And what a difference her work has made.

As a public servant with more than 13 years of serving and educating Chandler residents, her work has been very fulfilling and she’s created close friendships throughout her career. In her role, connecting with people is her passion. “I love how we’re able to bring so many cultures together and that the community comes out to have a great time at these (free) events,” said Quintana. She also loves how people are proud to share their own traditions with others. While work is important to give back to her community and also provide for her loved ones, being with her family brings her the most joy in life. Quintana married her high school sweetheart, Ruben, and he proposed to her after three days of dating. They were only 17 and as minors, they couldn’t marry. So they waited. “He’s my everything,” said Quintana. “We fall asleep holding hands every night - we are so cheesy,” she said with a laugh. This fall

they will be celebrating 23 years together. Quintana and her husband Ruben also are the proud parents of three sons: Javier, 21, a senior at Northern Arizona University; Ruben, 19, a United States Marine and husband-to-be; and Maximus, 16, a junior at San Tan Foothills High School in Queen Creek. Quintana comes from a very tight-knit family. She’s best friends with her sister and very close with her niece and nephew. And since her parents are only five minutes away from her work, she has lunch with them every day. “As complete as my family is, I wish I could have more kids. I always wanted to have eight kids,” said Quintana. “I look forward to being a grandmother (Nana) and to be there for my sons and daughter-in-laws the way my parents were there for me.” Residents looking to get involved with the Chandler Diversity Office as a volunteer, connect with Priscilla Quintana at 480-782-4300 or email priscilla.quintana@chandleraz.gov.



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Chandler Bright Beginnings School marks 25 years BY HALEY LORENZEN Staff Writer

The future is bright for Bright Beginnings School as it marks 25 years in Chandler. The private preschool and accelerated public charter elementary school focuses on teaching to the whole child with an emphasis on a hands-on curriculum. “It’s really focused on developing the child as an entire individual so that they can go on and be successful in life,” said school spokeswoman Tanya Marks. The school is ranked by Niche as one of the top 10 best public schools in Arizona and is “A” rated by the Arizona Department of Education. Founded in 1994, Bright Beginnings was one of the first charter schools to open in Chandler. Syd Hoffman founded the school originally as only a preschool. Hoffman was looking for a school for her daughter to attend, and she wanted one that offered rich language, arts and music programs as well as strong academics. Unable to find what she was looking for, she opened Bright Beginnings School. After two years as a preschool, Bright Beginnings added elementary grades and became a public charter school.

Students at Bright Beginnings School are able to find their niche through its high-calibre programs. (Bright Beginnings School)

Because it is a public charter school, Bright Beginnings has smaller class sizes than the average public school. With an average ratio of one teacher for every 12 students, “You can really make those connections and have those

relationships,” said Principal Jennifer Jackman. Jackman, who has been the principal at Bright Beginnings for the past four years, explained that the school puts a bix emphasis on the “high caliber of our

special programs.” Students participate in music, art, wellness and Spanish programs each week. “All the students have a chance to find their niche,” said Marks. Its arts program is unique in the sense that students are not making crafts, but instead learning fine art and art history. The art program teacher, Tracy Crocker, has been at the school for 23 years, longer than any other employee. This year, Crocker said the theme is American Art Appreciation. Each year the theme is different, and students study the masters of each art style, depending on the theme. “I would never go anywhere else,” she said. “Most elementary schools in Arizona don’t have art.” Students at Bright Beginnings don’t just focus on their extracurriculars, however. First grade teacher Jeanne Loop has taught at Bright Beginnings for 14 years. She began teaching a year after her child began at the school and has been with the school ever since. “I love the small classes, because that’s just unheard-of right now,” Loop said. “We’ve been able to keep our creative, hands-on curriculum.” See

BRIGHTon page 26

Entrepreneurs have services, will travel

This bus is loaded with exhibits that give kids a hands-on field trip experience without having to be piled into a bus of their own and driven to a museum or other place of interest. (Special to SanTan Sun News)

Chandler optician Michael Garcia has van to help him provide eye examinations and new glasses and contact lenses. (Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer)

Chandler couple brings field Chandler business brings eyecare to workplace trips to local schools SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Field trips typically involve students getting out of school and going to a museum, planetarium, or historical site. But Christine Cohen of Chandler has found a way to reverse this concept by bringing the field trip to schools. She and her husband, Steve, bought a school bus a couple years ago and

revamped it to serve as a mobile learning center. Inside their bus are several work stations that provide hands-on activities related to Arizona history. There’s a station involving lemons to represent the state’s citrus industry. Another one has cow figurines to See

FIELD TRIPS on page 26


Pun intended, but Michael Garcia knows a business need when he sees one. The Chandler optician has launched a business that helps busy people get classes without going out of their way or interrupting their busy schedule at work. He brings everything to them – including the optometrists, the

equipment and a vast array of frames. A licensed optician since 2001, Garcia teamed up with optometrists Dr. Kerri Luce and Dr. John Riley and optician Joy Perluisi to form Sight on Site Mobile Eye Care. Garcia said he has been an optician for too long to not bring a little bit of mobility to his profession. See

EYECARE on page 26



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Gilbert dentist saves the day for tongue-tie babies BY CECILIA CHAN Staff Writer

A month-old baby wailed at the top of his lungs as a pen-size laser focused its beam into his mouth. “I love you baby, yes I love my baby,” Dr. Hamed Rezakhan cooed as he deftly severed and cauterized two membranes in the infant’s mouth. “I love you my sweet baby.” Within seconds the procedure was done and the baby was back in his mother’s arms. For Dr. Rez, as he is known to his patients and parents, it’s a normal day at Islands Pediatric Dentistry, 1425 W. Elliot Road, Gilbert, where he performs on average two to three tongue-tie and lip-tie releases or a combination of both daily. “It’s very close to my heart,” said Rezakhan, who’s been practicing since 2012 and began offering the specialized laser procedure about two years ago. “Because it makes a huge difference for the individual who is suffering from it, whether it’s a nursing or speech issue and most importantly sleep apnea.” Tongue-tie is when the strip of skin connecting the baby’s tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter than usual and restricts the tongue’s movement. Typically the skin separates before birth. When the tongue is unable to rest on the palate, it can cause sleep apnea, a serious disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during deep sleep. If children don’t sleep well, it affects their ability to learn, Rezakhan said. Less common is lip-tie, where the

The procedure that Rezakhan performed on Kristen Black’s month-old son takes only a few minutes but made the world of difference to the infant. (Special to the San Tan Sun News)

said. “He was not emptying the whole breast and it took a long time and he fell asleep a lot.” She introduced bottle-feeding where it seemed her son was having an easier time but he was swallowing Gilbert dentist Dr. Hamed Rezakhan comforts the month-old son too much air, leading of Gilbert mom Kristen Black after the baby underwent treatment to reflux problems. for tongue tie, which hampered the infant’s ability to get enough Immediately after nourishment. (Cecilia Chan) the procedure, Black was already seeing an her son’s birth he was tongue-tied, but the improvement as she breastfed her son. hospital “didn’t make it sound serious.” While some experts estimate up to She didn’t know her son had a problem 10 percent of newborns are tongue-tied, until he had a fever and she brought him Rezakhan feels the number was much higher from what he’s seen at his practice. “It’s at least double that,” he said, adding 15 to 20 of every 100 patients he’s treated were diagnosed with the condition. “We recommend treatment only if there are symptoms associated with it. Many times, there are no problems.” According to a 2018 study in the International Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, tongue-tie cases have surged with a corresponding increase in diagnosis and treatment. “It’s very undiagnosed,” although the condition is known in the lactation community, said Ronda Finley, office manager for Islands Pediatric. Rezakhan is a big proponent of breastfeeding and educating the community about the condition and the practice has partnered with hospital lactation specialists. Tongue-tie was something Chandler resident Manoj Kumar Panchapakesan never heard about until his daughter, Vaiynu, was born with it in January. “She was not taking milk and was crying because she was hungry” as a result of insufficient latching, he said Gilbert residents Kristen and her husband are briefed by Dr.. Hamed Rezakhan before their monthThe hospital recommended the family old son undergoes treatment for his tongue tie. go see Rezakhan, who performed the procedure on Vaiynu. “I was scared at first,” Panchapakesan tissue behind the upper lip is too thick to an emergency room. said. “It took less than five minutes. Even or too stiff and keeps the upper lip from “They found out he was severely defor a 4-day-old baby, she cooperated well. moving freely. In severe instances, a lip-tie hydrated,” Black said. “We think he wasn’t With the procedure on her tongue we can cause a gap between the two front getting enough milk.” were able to feed in a few hours after the teeth as they grow in.  Her son was put on an IV and stayed in the surgery.” In the case involving Gilbert mom hospital for a couple of days. “The baby is perfectly normal now and Kristen Black’s month-old baby, Rezakhan A lactation consultant determined the she is completely fine,” he added. performed both a tongue- and lip-tie baby’s tongue-tied condition hindered Although the condition can be hard to releases. him from latching. spot in babies, Rezakhan can easily detect Black said she was told shortly after “I breastfed him for two weeks,” Black

it in infants, according to Finley. Rezakhan said he knows of only two other pediatric dentists in the Valley who offer the procedure. All three use the minimally invasive laser technology rather than blades, which cause heavy bleeding and have a longer healing process. Due to the lack of dentists who do this procedure, Islands Pediatric has patients coming from as far as Avondale and Paradise Valley, Finely said. Rezakhan himself is tongue-tie. He was diagnosed at 3 years old when he was having trouble pronouncing his “r’s” but his mother opted not to have the surgery, which was done with a blade at that time. The Scottsdale resident took speech therapy classes and learned to live with it but as an adult, he has neck tension and some sleep apnea, he said. “I’m looking for me to get treated for sure,” he said. Generally, tongue-tie is discovered when a baby is unable to breastfeed or the mom feels pain from breastfeeding because the baby bites down attempting to latch on, Finley said. Sometimes the problem isn’t caught until the child begins school and is assigned to a speech therapist, she added. Tongue-tie can interfere with the ability to make certain sounds — such as “t,” “d,” “z,” “s,” “th,” “r” and “l.” “The counselor or nurses will tell parents to have the child checked out because it’s an anatomy issue,” Finley said. Although the bulk of Rezakhan’s patients for the tongue- and lip-release procedures are on average infants to 6 years old, they did have a 21-year-old patient, Finley said. A mother whose young child was diagnosed with tongue-tie while listening to the symptoms remarked, “that’s my 21-year-old son,” Finley said. Turned out the young man was tonguetie and spoke with a lisp. Rezakhan said not all tongue-tie cases require surgery but if the procedure is done, proper aftercare such as using coconut oil and massaging the area is vital, otherwise, the membrane will grow back and reattach. Mesa mom Kysa Murdock learned that the hard way. She said her oldest son Kaspian Deihl, 4, underwent a tongue-tie release while 4-days-old in the hospital. Before the surgery, Kaspian couldn’t eat and turned blue See

TONGUE on page 27


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Not only does she teach her first grade class, but Loop also teaches an after-school enrichment program where students learn about engineering and physics. Bright Beginnings is also unique in that many students get involved in creating new school projects. “Several of our projects are now in place because a kid said, ‘I think this would be a cool thing to do,’” said Jackman. Those student ideas also led to a school garden, a school newspaper and a “Buddy Bench” used by students who don’t have anyone to play with at recess to find a playmate. “It’s really a testament that our kids feel like they can make a difference. Those are the kinds of things that I think are sometimes missing in schools because


from page 22

symbolize Arizona’s abundance of cattle ranchers. In the early years of statehood, Arizona’s economy was dominated by cotton, copper, cattle, citrus, and the climate – otherwise known as the five C’s. Cohen said she wanted to find a way to bring an activity to students that not only taught them a civics lesson, but would engage them through games and objects. “I just felt like the elementary school students needed more hands-on learning,” Cohen said, “because it was just becoming impossible for teachers to coordinate and provide these types of hands-on learning activities.” Cohen worked as a substitute teacher in Valley schools and noticed some struggled to provide field trips for students. The cost to transport students to a location can be thousands of dollars, she said, which can be a major hindrance for some school districts. The Cohens launched Arizona Mobile Education last year and has already visited more than a dozen schools across the East Valley. Cohen said some schools don’t have time to fit Arizona history into elementary

Inspirational murals and inspiring teachers help make Bright Beginnings School in Chandler popular with both parents and children. (Bright Beginnings)

we’re so focused on a test score,” Jackman said. For the past 25 years, Jackman said they have had an exceptional amount of

support from their teachers, and said she hopes this continues for the next 25 years. “Continuing to have the level of

commitment from the teachers is my hope,” she said. “A lot of our teachers have been here a long time.”

curriculum, so their bus can fill an important gap. The students get to touch cotton seeds, squish copper pennies, learn about solar panels, and even pet a bearded dragon. “Which has nothing to do with Arizona, but he’s super cool and the kids love him,” Cohen added about the reptile. The bus offers about two hours of programming for elementary students and can visit any school in Maricopa County. The field trips start at $9 per student and the Cohens are trying to obtain corporate sponsorships for schools unable to afford the cost. Teachers get to customize their field trip by picking from a selection of learning modules that emphasize one particular subject of Arizona history. The most popular module teaches students about Arizona’s state flag, Cohen said, because they get to create their own flag out of pre-cut materials and take it home. Cohen continues to tweak curriculum and hopes the business can expand enough to be able to service schools outside the Valley. “You never know where an idea’s gonna strike you,” Cohen said, “and so I’m constantly on the lookout and thinking about how I can change or add activities into the program.” Information: arizonamobileeducation.com.


“The employer has to allow us to come visit, but we recommend employees that would like us to visit let their HR know or contact us and we can reach out to their employer,” he said. A comprehensive Eye Exam is $69 and contact lens evaluations are an additional $59. In addition to more than 350 frame styles to choose from, Sight on Site also is the only optical business in the state offering 3DNA Eyewear, which allows customers to design your own style. While the business accepts some insurance, Garcia said he encourages businesses to work out special group rates with him. Garcia said the biggest challenge he has faced with his new business is people to try it. “Employees love this benefit, but being such a new concept, the employees do not know they love it until they experience it for the first time,” he said. He estimates that an average visit to a bricks-and-mortar optician takes about four hours, including the time to get there and back. “When we are on-site, the employee gets their eye care done in 25 percent of the time. Imagine if we saw 40 employees: that’s 120 saved hours right there alone,” he said, adding: “Once a business understands what we are doing, they are excited to have us.” Information: 480-331-6360, info@soseyecare.com or soseyecare.com

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“I have realized the convenience Mobile Eye Care offers is much needed because people delay getting eye exams. Even when they know they need to get an updated prescription, they put it off until it is too late and they either can’t see anymore or they broke their only pair of glasses,” he explained. While the business has been in its formative stages for two years, it was only in the last month that the partners began making appointments to bring their service to businesses. Depending on the size of the business and their own availability, he and his staff can typically set up appointments in less than six weeks. “We can see up to 20 people in a day and need to see at least 12 in one day in order to visit a business,” Garcia said. “We do serve small businesses and let them know that if they cannot get 12 people to sign up, they can also invite friends, family and neighboring businesses. Another option is having an office building host us to serve all businesses in the building.” While they make their appointments mainly Monday-Friday, he expects Sight on Site will also be rolling over to community events eventually.






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How parenting can impact retirement income BY DR. HAROLD WONG Guest Writer

“The Financial Journey of Modern Parenting: Joy, Complexity and Sacrifice” was conducted by Age Wave and funded by Merrill Lynch. In June 2018, there was a survey of more than 2,500 people over 18 and parents to children of any age. Of those, 93 percent said that parenting is the most rewarding aspect of their lives and 92 percent say that their best memories are with their children. While parenting is expensive, 94 percent said that it’s worth every penny. However, 72 percent of parents said that they have put their kids’ interests ahead of their retirement savings and 63 percent reported having sacrificed their financial security for the sake of their kids. There is a very interesting analysis concerning three factors: most rewarding; most challenging; and most expensive. For parents with infants or toddlers, 51 percent said that this stage was “most rewarding;” 31 percent said “most challenging”; and 11 percent said “most expensive.” For parents with kids in the elementary to high school age, 20 percent said that this stage was “most rewarding;” 57 percent said “most challenging;” and 44 percent said “most expensive.” For parents with adult kids: 29 percent said this stage was “most rewarding,” 12 percent “most challenging” and 45 percent said “most expensive.” At the infant-toddler stage, 51 percent “most rewarding” vs 11 percent “most expensive” is a 4.64 benefit-cost ratio. At the adult children stage, 29 percent “most rewarding” vs 45 percent “most expensive” is a 0.64 percent benefit-cost ratio. Parents with infant-toddlers enjoyed 7.19 times the benefit-cost ratio compared to parents with adult kids. Parents with adult kids spend an estimated $500 billion on them – twice what they contribute to their own retirement accounts. Of this, one-fourth is help with their kids’ college expenses. The average cost to raise a kid to age 18 can be over $230,000. In addition, five


from page 24

twice after he choked on milk, Murdock said, adding that after the procedure, they went home with no aftercare instructions. When Kaspian turned 2.5 years old, Murdock suspected a problem. He was basically non-verbal, she said. “He would not attempt to copy sounds and words,” she recalled. “It made him distant and unhappy. He would scream constantly and get frustrated.” He also was waking up cranky and agitated because he wasn’t sleeping well. Murdock took Kaspian to three different adult dentists who she said didn’t look for tongue-tie and one didn’t even bother to look in his mouth. “That would have been me two years ago. If I had not been trained to look for it,” Rezakhan. Murdock said Kaspian was considered

years of college could be $130,000 total for an in-state public school and double for a private school if the parents paid all the cost. Case Study: If family has 2 kids and pays half their college expenses, the total cost is $590,000. Assume they have completed these expenses by age 50 and they could have earned an average 5 percent annually on any savings. If they had no kids and had saved this $590,000 by at age 50, they would have $1,565,445 more retirement funds by age 70 than if they had kids. The $500 billion that parents spend annually on their adult kids does not even include the occasional big-ticket items. About 60 percent help pay for their kids’ weddings and 25 percent help pay for their kids’ first home purchase. For parents with adult children age 1834: 60 percent pay for all or some of their food; 54 percent for their cell phone; 47 percent for their car expenses; 44 percent for school or vacations; 36 percent for rent or mortgage; and 27 percent for student loans. Parents make amazing financial sacrifices for their adult kids: 50 percent would pull money from a savings account; 43 percent would live a less comfortable lifestyle; 26 percent would take on debt; 25 percent would pull money from a retirement account; and 19 percent would work longer and retire later. Asian, African-American and Latino parents are all more likely to sacrifice their own financial security to help their kids. Conclusion: Many parents face a retirement crisis because they have helped their kids too much. Yet, many of their kids will not either want to or be able to return the favor if the parents run out of money in retirement. Free Seminar: “Your Financial Future: Lessons from Warren Buffett” will be held 9:30 a.m.-noon Oct. 19 at the Ahwatukee Event Center, 4700 E. Warner Road, northwest corner of 48th Street. Call 480706-0177 or harold_wong@hotmail.com to RSVP. - Dr. Harold Wong earned his Ph.D. in economics at the University of California/Berkeley and has appeared on over 400 TV/radio programs.

autistic and placed in a special-needs preschool. A year of speech therapy yields little progress for Kaspian, which prompted Murdock to do research. She eventually found Islands Pediatric and her son at 3.5-years-old underwent his second tongue-tie release. “The day after his procedure, he said a three-word sentence – ‘balloon is stuck,’” Murdock said. “It seemed so small but my family cried. Within a month and a half, he learned every letter of the alphabet and its sounds and could count to 10. He’s made tremendous progress.” Murdock is hopeful because Kaspian starts kindergarten next year. “He’s got a meeting next month about his educational future,” she said. “His teacher before this was concerned. But he starts regular education class, which is huge for him.” Information: 602-491-1818 or IslandsPediatricDentistry.com

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State Fair returns with The Cult, fried Oreos

October 2019


The scent of mouthwatering fried foods, heart-stopping rides and concert performances by award-winning artists like rapper Lil’ Pump and country’s Trace Adkins. Visitors can experience these things and more at the Arizona State Fair from Friday, Oct. 4, to Sunday, Oct. 27. “We have some truly amazing things lined up for this year’s fair,” said Jen Yee, Arizona State Fair assistant executive director. “You’re not going to want to miss this.” Fair foodies can expect the classics like Indian fry bread, deep-fried Oreos and turkey legs along with additions like the doughnut tower stick and a 2-foot-long mega corndog. However, one of the most anticipated treats to be served this year is the Flaming Hot Cheetos pickle – a pickle hollowed out and stuffed with the fiery red snack. “I remember my family and I going to the fair every year, just for the food,” said Yee, who lives in Ahwatukee. “It was like having a Thanksgiving dinner every time we went.” Thrill-seekers will get their kicks with a new ride called The Titan, a pendulum-style ride deemed the “the largest portable aerial thrill ride in the United States.” Riders are propelled 180 feet at 60 miles per hour. Not an adrenaline junkie? Be sure to check out the all-new Esports Gaming World—a must-visit for all gamers. The 18-day event is equipped with more than 100 gaming stations and will include virtual

Whether it’s the rides, the games, the exhibits or exotic food groups, the Arizona State Fair draws thousands every year. (Special to the San Tan Sun News)

reality pods, tournaments, gaming demos, professional teams and celebrity streamers. Another new attraction to the fairground includes a retro arcade, stocked with ’80s classics such as Ms. Pac-Man and pinball. The “Monster Museum” will debut just in time for the Halloween season. Fairgoers can take selfies with their favorite horror characters –Michael Myers, Chucky, Frankenstein and his Bride – for $5. The Arizona State Fair will continue to host crowd favorites like rodeos and

monster truck. Livestock competitions take up a large portion of the space at the fairgrounds. Yee said spending time with animals like sheep, pigs and goats and has always been a favorite pastime among women and children. “While we are an urban fair, we still try to incorporate our agricultural roots throughout the grounds,” she said. Gate admission ranges from $12 for See

FAIR on page 30

Chandler Museum offers free programs SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

A number of free programs will be offered this month at the chandler museum, 300 S. Chandler Village Drive, Chandler. Unless otherwise noted, the following programs require no registration. Registration/information: 480-782-2717.

C-Town Suitcase Club

What’s inside Page 2, 3 Santan Family Fun Calendar

Ages 3-5, 10-11 a.m. Oct. 15 This free program, held for 3-5-year-olds and their caregivers, explores everyday objects from the past and how they compare to today. The group travels through time enjoying musical, hands-on and theme-based activities. “Jugs” is the title of this month’s program. Preschoolers will compare jugs and containers from days past and how we store food, produce and drinks now. We will also learn how to recycle and upcycle containers from our households.

History Detectives.

Ages 6-12. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. today, Oct. 5. Use clues from local primary resources to solve a history mystery. This month’s theme is Scavenger Hunt. Use clues to find things located around the museum campus. Don’t forget to check the exhibit hall, the historic McCullough-Price House, and the outdoor spaces.

Stem Saturday.

Ages 5-12. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 12.

Join the Chandler museum and the Museum of Science and Sustainability for investigations into science topics. This month, “Companion Panting: Getting the Most out of Your Garden” will involve how to identify companion plants with the Museum of Science and Sustainability. Solve the puzzle of the three sisters (corn, squash, and beans), and plant a seed to take home.

Demonstration Day.

11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 19. Experience a historical craft, demonstration or performance with our special guests. Outdoor Cooking with Dave McDowell will look at meals to make when camping. McDowell will demonstrate some easy meals and share the recipes.

Step In Their Shoes.

11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 26 Walking in the lives of those who make up and impact our community using interactive and engaging activities. “Women of the West Cowgirl Up!” will explore the history of women in the west. See and try on clothing, get a recipe for a pioneer journey cake, and more.


Oct. 15-Nov. 24- Infamy: Dec. 7, 1941 Iconic photographs illustrate the attack on Pearl Harbor and the moments that led the United States into World War II. It was a day of tragedy, sacrifice and heroism

that united a nation; it was a day that lives in Infamy. Produced by The National World War II Museum Dec.8-April 9: Gaman: Enduring Japanese American Internment at Gila River During World War II over 16,000 Japanese-Americans were forcibly moved from the west coast to Gila River Internment Camp near Chandler simply because they looked like the enemy. This poignant exhibit demonstrates how the Japanese value gaman, enduring the seemingly impossible with patience and dignity, guided these American citizens, through loss and incarceration in the Arizona desert. See the photos, hear the stories, read the names of incarcerees, and view the community contributed paper cranes in this transformative exhibition.

Docent Tours

Free 45-minute tours led by volunteer docents and give insights into the architectural and artistic components of the museum campus as well as details about Chandler’s history. Each Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m.-1.p.m.; Sunday 1-4 p.m.

East Valley History Center

Open weekly to researchers. The museum’s archival materials are available through the help of a research assistant. Each Thursday 2-5 p.m. The museum is open 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday

October 2019








• Read to a Dog • Read & Play Group


• • • •



Family Storytime Lego Club STEAM Club Toddlertime

• Lapsit Babytime









• Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party • Lego Club • Toddlertime

• Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party • ImprovMANIA • Diwali


• Arizona Railway Museum • Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party • ImprovMANIA • Read to a Dog • Intro to Coding with KIBO


• Arizona Railway Museum • Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party



• Arizona Railway Museum • Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party • ImprovMANIA • Read to a Dog

• Arizona Railway Museum • Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party



















• Suns Game

• Read to a Dog • Read & Play Group

• Read & Play Group • Wreaths for Día De Los Muertos

• Suns Game

• • • •

• • • •

• Lapsit Babytime

Family Storytime Lego Club STEAM Club Toddlertime

• Lapsit Babytime

Family Storytime Lego Club STEAM Club Toddlertime

• Lapsit Babytime

• Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party • Toddlertime • Lego Club • STEAM Club

• Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party • Lego Club • STEAM Club • Toddlertime

• • • •

• Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party • ImprovMANIA • Make It! Take It! • Rhythm and Rhyme

• Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party • ImprovMANIA • Halloween Spooktacular • Strange Garden • Howl-O-Ween

• Arizona Railway Museum • Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party • ImprovMANIA • Mayor’s Day of Play

• Arizona Railway Museum • Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party • ImprovMANIA • Strange Garden • Howl-O-Ween

• Arizona Railway Museum • Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party

• Arizona Railway Museum • Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party

Toddlertime Lego Club STEAM Club “A Nightmare Before Christmas” Film Concert

Always call to verify information as some events change or cancel after the calendar is printed. Send family events and activities to STFF@SanTanSun.com SEE


from page 29

to 6 p.m. “It is so important for the fair to be affordable for the community,” Yee said. “We want anyone and everyone to come here and enjoy themselves.” The Arizona State Fair is known for being inclusive to the community. Every fall, local artists and creators are showcased and judged as competitive entries, from almost every county in the state.

adults and $8 for children and seniors. However, Yee mentions that there are quite a few ways to save when visiting the fair. For the first time, the fair will feature “College Day” on Oct. 11. Students will receive free admission from noon to 6 p.m., with a valid school ID. Popular deals are “We Care Wednesdays,” when attendees can bring in cans of food in exchange for free admission, and “Free Fry’s Fridays,” when Fry’s customers can bring their grocery receipts showing purchases of more than $50 and get two free admission tickets. “The Taste of the Fair” package will return on Fridays. This offer includes $3 rides, games and select food Among the State Fair delicacies is this bacon-wrapped sausage. favorites from noon (Special to the San Tan Sun News)

• Billy Currington, Friday, Oct. 4 • The Cult, Saturday, Oct. 5 • Stryper, Wednesday, Oct. 9 • Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Thursday, Oct. 10, • Fiesta Friday, Friday, Oct. 11 • Lee Brice, Saturday, Oct. 12 • Matthew West and Zach Williams, Wednesday, Oct. 16 • Trace Adkins, Thursday, Oct. 17 • Becky G., Friday, Oct. 18 • Lil Pump, Saturday, Oct. 19 • Awolnation, Wednesday, Oct. 23 • Chase Rice, Thursday, Oct. 24 • MC Hammer’s House Party with C+C Music Factory Featuring Freedom Williams, Friday, Oct. 25

Main Stage Music

A slew of great performers will be featured at this year’s Arizona State Fair, starting Friday, Oct. 4. Showtime is 7 p.m. and reserved seating is $40 to $60, unless otherwise noted, and that includes fair admission, too. General admission seating is free with a fair ticket.


This year, Yee said visitors can experience a multitude of contests from “best pie” and “best chalk art” to “best world carvings.” “We even have an Arizona landscape photography contest,” Yee said. Yee stresses the community makes the state fair what it is today. “Seeing the locals come out every year to support one another and make memories together. That’s what makes the state fair different from anything else,” Yee said. “It’s more than just a carnival. It’s a great representation of our state.”


What: Arizona State Fair Where: Arizona State Fair,

1826 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix.

When: noon-9 p.m. Wednesdays and

Thursdays; noon-10 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays; and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays. Oct 4-27. Tickets: Cost: $12 general admission; $8 kids 5 to 13 and seniors 55 and older. Info: 602-252-6771, azstatefair.com.



from page 30

5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27 Arizona Railway Museum, noon to 4 p.m. Visit Chandler’s railway museum at Tumbleweed Park. The Arizona Railway Museum was founded in 1983 as a nonprofit organization and is dedicated to the railways of Arizona and the Southwest. All types of railroad memorabilia and cars are represented in the museum. Arizona Railway Museum, 330 E. Ryan Road, Chandler, Display yard and building free; display cars $5 per person or $15 per family/group. For information, call Tim at 480-833-4353 or Bart Barton at 480-831-6520, azrymuseum.org. 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27 Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Spend the fall at Schnepf Farms and purchase a Halloween pumpkin, get lost in a 4-acre corn maze, ride a train or watch pigs race—all while eating chili. On Fridays and Saturdays there are fireworks. Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek, $19, 480-987-3100, schnepffarms.com. 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 ImprovMANIA, 7 p.m. Join ImprovMANIA on Fridays and Saturdays for family-friendly comedy shows. ImprovMANIA’s improv performances are fast paced, like the show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Prepare for a night of laughter in downtown Chandler. ImprovMANIA, 250 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler, $10, 480-699-4598, improvmania.net. 5, 7, 12, 21 Read to a Dog, 10 to 11 a.m. Children of all ages are welcome to practice their reading skills with a certified therapy dog. Downtown Library, 22 S. Delaware Street, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org. 5 Intro to Coding with KIBO, 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. Children can learn how to code using wooden blocks with the help of robot KIBO. With their coding skills, they will also write programs. Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington Street, Phoenix, $15-$20, 602-716-2000, azscience.org. 7, 21, 28 Read & Play Group, 11:30 to 11:55 a.m. Network with other parents

while children read and play games. Different child development experts may visit on certain days. Hamilton Library, 3700 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org. 8, 15, 22, 29 Family Storytime, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Read books, sing songs and play with puppets at Family Storytime. This week, families will build forts, select books and read. Materials to build the forts will be provided. Sunset Library Monsoon Room, 4930 W. Ray Road, Chandler, free. 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org. 8, 15, 22, 29 Lego Club, 4 p.m. Meet new friends and have fun building with Lego. Lego are supplied, imagination required. No registration required. Lego Club is a Vertex program, where Chandler Public Library intersects with STEAM and makerspace. Sunset Library Monsoon Room, 4930 W. Ray Road, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org. 8, 15, 22, 29 STEAM Club, 4 to 5 p.m. Visit the Chandler Library STEAM Club and have fun every Tuesday with science, technology, engineering, art and math. Win prizes just for showing up. Ages 6-11. STEAM Club is a Vertex program, where Chandler Public Library intersects with STEAM and makerspace. Downtown Library Copper Room, 22 S. Delaware Street, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org. 8, 15, 22, 29 Toddlertime, 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. Toddlertime features singing and puppets to engage the children. The storytime is approximately 30 minutes. Sunset Library Monsoon Room, 4930 W. Ray Road, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org. 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31 Toddlertime, 9:10 a.m. Songs and puppets engage toddlers during this 30-minute event. Downtown Library, 22 S. Delaware Street, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org. 9, 16, 23, 30 Lapsit Babytime, 10 and 11 a.m. Read books, listen to music and interact with fun puppets at play time. All activities are designed for newborns to 18-monthold children. One parent for each child is highly recommended. Downtown Library Copper Room North, 22 S. Delaware Street, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org.


free, 480-782-2665, chandleraz.gov.

10, 17, 24, 31 Lego Club, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Meet new friends and have fun building with Lego. Lego are supplied, imagination required. No registration required. Lego Club is a Vertex program, where Chandler Public Library intersects with STEAM and makerspace. Downtown Library Copper Room North, 22 S. Delaware Street, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org.

25 Halloween Spooktacular, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Bring the whole family to go trick-or-treating in a fun and safe environment. There will be arts and crafts, photos, a Trunk-or-Treat stations and a costume contest. Food and drink will also be available. Downtown Library Plaza, 125 E. Commonwealth Avenue, Chandler, free, 480-782-2669, chandleraz.gov.

11 Diwali, 2:30 p.m. Celebrate Diwali – The Festival of Lights by making Diwali crafts and watching Indian dances. Basha Library, 5990 S. Val Vista Drive, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org.

25, 26 Strange Garden, 5:30 p.m. Creep on over to the Desert Botanical Garden to experience some Halloween magic. Guests can dress up in costumes and dance the night away at the monster bash and pick out a pumpkin. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, free with general admission, 480-941-1225, dbg.org.

14 Suns Game, 7 p.m. Watch the Phoenix Suns take on the Denver Nuggets at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. $10 to $190. 602-379-7867, nba.com/suns.

25, 26 Howl-O-Ween, 6 p.m. Dress up for Halloween and celebrate the holiday with festive games and activities at the Phoenix Zoo. Guests looking for a family-friendly experience can participate in merry events such as the mad science lab and the monster bash dance party. Scary activities include zombie rave and Dr. Killgoode’s Lab of Screams. Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, $9.95 to $12.95, 602286-3800, phoenixzoo.org.

17, 24, 31 STEAM Club, 4 to 5 p.m. Come to the Chandler Library STEAM Club and have fun every Tuesday with science, technology, engineering, art and math. Win prizes just for showing up. Ages 6-11. STEAM Club is a Vertex program, where Chandler Public Library intersects with STEAM and makerspace. Sunset Library Monsoon Room, 4930 W. Ray Road, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org.

26 Pumpkin Dunk, noon to 2 p.m. Visit the Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center to experience a floating pumpkin patch. Have fun swimming and picking jacko-lanterns. Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center, 5901 S. Hillcrest Drive, Chandler, $1-$2.25, 480-782-2750, chandleraz.gov.

18 Make It! Take It! 9:15 a.m. Kids can learn how to create art that strengthens their motor skills. This program is open to children ages 3 to 5. Basha Library, 5990 S. Val Vista Drive, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org. 18 Rhythm and Rhyme, 11 to 11:30 a.m. Young children are welcome to join in a musical celebration at the library. During the event, they can sing, dance and play instruments. Hamilton Library, 3700 S. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org.

28 Wreaths for Día De Los Muertos, 3:30 p.m. Make marigold wreaths and sugar skulls to celebrate those who have passed. Downtown Library, 22 S. Delaware Street, Chandler, free, 480-782-2800, chandlerlibrary.org. 31 “A Nightmare Before Christmas” Film Concert, 7:30 p.m. Watch a special screening of Tim Burton’s classic Halloween film as The Phoenix Symphony accompanies it with the movie’s iconic score. Phoenix Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second Street, Phoenix, $25-$93, 602-495-1999, phoenixsymphony.org

19 Mayor’s Day of Play, 8 a.m. to noon. Enjoy outdoor fun with the mayor at Tumbleweed Park. There will be plenty of activities to promote health and fitness, such as a bounce house and a foam-filled obstacle course. Tumbleweed Park, 745 E. Germann Road, Chandler,

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Halloween Fun with

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This month, Chandler Parks & Recreation has lined up some eek-citing activities filled with spirited fun, gentle scares and thrills. From chilling costume contests, to getting your ghoulish groove on, to diving for pumpkins, we’ve got a boo-nanza of special events that are sure to delight ghouls and boos of all ages. For a complete listing of upcoming activities or for more information on programs highlighted below pick up the Break Time Recreation Guide at Chandler facilities,

visit chandleraz.gov/breaktime or call 480-782-2727.


Halloween Bash THERAPEUTIC RECREATION FRI., OCT. 18 | 6:30–9 p.m. Chandler Community Center

Gremlins and goblins and witches on brooms you’re invited to a party under the moon. It’s Therapeutic Recreation’s Halloween Dance that will be such a fright. Guest can enjoy dancing and eating and music all night.  chanderaz.gov/registration.

SAT., OCT. 26 | Noon–2 p.m.


Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center

Admission: Children $1 • Adults $2.25 • Seniors $1.25 Carve out some time for family fun! We’re turning Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center into a floating pumpkin patch. The pool will be heated and open for free swim. Families are invited to dive in to dunk for pumpkins, enjoy ghoulish games and thrilling on-deck activities.  chanderaz.gov/aquatics.

Zombie Zumba FRI., OCT. 25 | 5:30–8:30 p.m.

Dr. A.J. Chandler Park - Stage Plaza Gather your lil’ ghosts and goblins and trick-or-treat your way through Chandler’s Halloween Spooktacular. Come dressed in your best costume and enjoy a family night of frightful fun! Activities include ghoulish games, trunk-or-treating, photo opportunities, arts and crafts and costume contest. COSTUME CONTEST If you’ve got it, haunt it. Come dress to thrill for a chance to win eek-citing prizes. Participants, beware; prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place in each Age Division. One Best in Show will be given in the Family/Group Division.

SAT., OCT. 26 | 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Tumbleweed Recreation Center

Fitness is undying. Get ready to energize your body and improve your flexibility as you shake, lunge and dance your heart out at Zombie Zumba. Join Chandler’s fitness community for the Halloween edition of Zumba featuring thrilling costume contests, deadly dance moves, giveaways and more.  chanderaz.gov/trc. Daily Drop-In Rates Apply. Included in TRC Membership.

 chanderaz.gov/spooktacular.





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Stinson creating slegacy at Valley Christian BY ZACH ALVIRA Sports Editor

Justin Stinson still recalls his first year playing football at Valley Christian like it was yesterday. Stinson was part of a freshman team that went winless in 2016. As a sophomore, the Trojans won just three games. “We wanted to change that right away,” Stinson said. “We wanted to be known as the guys who helped turn the program around. We started playing with a certain level of swagger. “It helped us get to where we are now.” Stinson and the rest of the 2020 class, along with new coach Kirk Sundberg, catapulted the Trojans from one of the bottom-feeders of the 3A Conference into a championship contender, in just one season. Valley Christian finished 9-4 last season and made it to the semifinals. The Trojans lost to eventual champion Northwest Christian, but it set them up for what has so far been a successful start to the 2019 season. They started 4-0 through the first four games of the season, outscoring opponents 194-35. It wasn’t until they ran against Northwest Christian that the Trojans lost their first game. But Valley Christian remains as one of the top teams in 3A, with an explosive offense and lockdown defense.

others, create matchup nightmares for opposing defensive backs. Add Stinson to the mix and its’ clear to see why the Trojans win some games with ease. “I think he is the best 3A corner,” Sundberg said. “That’s no knock on anyone else out there. There’s some incredible talent in this league and some of those guys can do really good things.” At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Stinson became Valley Christian’s special weapon on both sides of the ball and special teams. His versatility allows him to cover an opponent’s best player anywhere on the field. His physicality allows him to come down into the box to stop the run. So far this season, he is one of the team’s top Valley Christian senior defensive back Justin Stinson has become a playmaker all over the field for the Trojans this season. (Pablo tacklers with 12. He’s also Robles/Staff) tied for a team-high two There are playmakers all over the field the 3A Conference. Running backs Tony interceptions with fellow for Valley Christian. The quarterback Gomez Jr. and Kaden Majercak are two senior Shane Haagsma. duo, Vinnie LaGatta and Jadon Hanzal, bruising backs, while Tanner Canfield, might be the best in the state, let alone Andrew Hanzal and Ben Somora, among See on page 38


Chandler tops AIA’s first Open Division rankings “We challenge the boys every day in practice, mentally and physically,” Garretson said. “We prepare them day-byday so come Friday night, things are going well for them and we can perform at a high level.”

BY ZACH ALVIRA Sports Editor

Chandler High’s football program sits atop the first Open Division rankings, released Tuesday morning, by the Arizona Interscholastic Association. Should the Wolves remain at the top, they will be the first-ever No. 1 seed in the newly-established playoff tournament, pinning the eight best teams from the 6A, 5A and 4A conferences against one another, for a true state champion. The rankings are comprised using the formula from MaxPreps, the leading entity in high school sports across the country. Record and strength of schedule are just two of the categories used by MaxPreps to rank each team. “We just let things take care of themselves,” Chandler coach Rick Garretson said. “As long as we are in the eight that’s all that matters.” Chandler began the season tearing it up, outscoring opponents 258-28, remaining undefeated through the first five games of the season. Junior quarterback Mikey Keene stepped in to replace former quarterback Jacob Conover, who led the Wolves to three straight 6A titles from 2016-18. Through five games, Keene completed 81 of his 98 pass attempts for 1,268-yards and 11 touchdowns. Along with Keene, senior running back Daveon Hunter has exploded onto the scene in his first season in Arizona.

Open Division Rankings (teams in bold make the Open tournament)

Chandler High’s football program was announced as the top-ranked team in the first Open Division rankings released by the Arizona Interscholastic Association on Tuesday morning. (Pablo Robles/Staff)

challenge the boys every day “in We practice, mentally and physically,” Garretson said. “We prepare them day-by-day so come Friday night, things are going well for them and we can perform at a high level. – Coach Rick Garretson

The Colorado transplant rushed for 551-yards and 14 touchdowns, while juniors Nicolas Nesbitt and Rodney Clemente, added 632 more ground yards with eight touchdowns. Chandler topped 4A powerhouse Salpointe Catholic in the rankings - who is undefeated this season but will be a game short because an opponent from Texas canceled its matchcup with the Lancers. Hamilton (6A), Pinnacle (6A) and Centennial (5A) round out the top five in the new Open Division rankings.

1 . Chandler (6A) 2. Salpointe Catholic (4A) 3. Hamilton (6A) 4. Pinnacle (6A) 5. Centennial (5A) 6. Notre Dame Prep (5A) 7. Sahuaro (4A) 8. Campo Verde (5A) 9. Saguaro (4A) 10. Horizon (5A) 11. Canyon Del Oro (4A 12. Red Mountain (6A) 13. Desert Vista (6A) 14. Brophy (6A) 15. Cactus (4A 16. Queen Creek (6A)


from page 37

On offense, his frame helps Valley Christian spread things out. He is able to beat opposing defenders for jump balls or make a block downfield for one of the Trojans’ several players with big-play ability. He’s not afraid to take on a supporting role whenever he is on the field, even when he is getting scouted from several Division I programs. “He’s totally selfless,” Sundberg said. “I mean, you think about a guy who’s really the only guy on our team with multiple D1 offers but he’s as eager to get out there and block as a wide receiver as anyone else on the team.” Stinson has picked up offers from Abilene Christian, Northern Arizona, New Mexico State and South Dakota State. The offer from the Aggies was perhaps one with more meaning than the others, as it is where his father, Derrick, played running back for New Mexico State in 1987. “It would be cool,” Stinson said about the thought of playing where his father did. “I’m going out there on Nov. 1 for an official (visit), so it will be fun to see what they have.” Stinson has plans to commit after the season, as he wants to see if he has any more offers come in. For now, he aims to perform his best both on the field and in the classroom. He also aspires to accomplish something in the weight room very few have done at Valley Christian. “I want to get on the board in the 1,000-pound club,” Stinson said, referring to the combined max weight lifts in a

variety of exercises. Sundberg praised Stinson for his work in the weight room throughout the offseason - he motivates and leads the rest of his team. He referred to Stinson as a natural leader and someone who gets things done at a high level no matter what it entails. It’s for that reason Sundberg believes Stinson and the rest of the 2020 class will leave a strong legacy for the football program and school. That’s been a goal for Stinson since he stepped foot on campus for the first time in 2016. “I want to be remembered for changing the culture here,” Stinson said. “We have a college board. I want people to be able to look up and see my name and remember me for my hard work.” Valley Christian took on Yuma Catholic this past Friday, another contender for a 3A title. The Trojans’ schedule doesn’t get much easier from there, they finish the regular season against four top quality opponents. Each player knows it will take their full effort to finish among the top teams in the 3A conference and make a run at a title. But that’s something they’ve all become accustomed to in their time at Valley Christian. Everything they set out to do whether on the field, in the weight room or classroom, is in honor of the school that means so much to them. “I love Valley Christian,” Stinson said. “I wouldn’t go to any other school even if I had a chance to. It’s a great school, with great Christian education. “There’s a great community around it that makes you feel like a family. You can tell we put God first in everything we do.”

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Justin Stinson, who has four Division I offers, has been called the best cornerback in the 3A Conference by his coach, Kirk Sundberg, and teammates around him. (Pablo Robles/Staff)

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How to relate with survivors of suicide victims BY MISSY PALRANG Guest Writer

When someone chooses to end his or her life, the survivors are unwillingly forced into a world filled with grief and confusion. A world that has no road maps. It’s a world I’m familiar with because I’m a survivor of a suicide victim. Over the past four years, I’ve learned how to be a survivor. My learning curve included recognizing and holding onto things people said and did that helped and quietly stepping away from those that didn’t. I’ve learned most of us don’t know what to say when someone dies by suicide. In many cases, we say or do the wrong things. I reached out to other survivors and asked them what they found to be helpful and not helpful in the aftermath of their loved one’s suicide. These are their responses. Thank you Gale, Amanda, Jacqui, Lisa, Susan, Carrie, Christine, Suzanne, Vanessa, Leslie, Aimee, Reva, Debbie, Abigale, Natalie, Trish, Sharyl, Morag, Elizabeth, Lezlie, Charley, Stephanie, Kristal, Shari, for your contributions.

Please don’t: • Ask for details of our loved one’s death. “How did he do it?” “Did you find the body?” • Ask invasive questions that have no answers. “Do you know why he did it?” “Did you have any indication he was going to?” “Did you know she was suffering?” • Offer advice or opinions unless asked. • Say things like, “Suicide is a sin, he’s in hell now.” “He’s in a better place now.” “At least she’s not suffering anymore.” “At least you have two other children.” • Complain about petty things like how annoying your husband can be, bad service at a restaurant, or how much your ankle hurts. • Say “I know how you feel” then compare this death to your divorce, loss of your beloved cat, or any other loss. • Tell us how you felt when your grandmother died. With all due respect, we probably don’t care at the moment. • Ask ”How are you?” The better question is “how are you today?” • Say “Let me know if you need anything?” We won’t and in most cases don’t even know what we need. • Ridicule, judge, blame, or minimize our situation. Don’t tell us it’s time to move on, take off our wedding ring, or “get

back in the saddle.” Don’t say, “You’re still young and have your whole life in front of you.” Please do… • Say things like, “I’m thinking about you.” “I’m praying for you.” “I’m sorry you’re in this terrible situation.” “We’ll get through this together.” “I’m here for you.” • Help with practical things without being asked. Grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, funeral arrangements, take the garbage to the curb, yard work, put gas in the car and keep a list of who brought what to the house in the days after the death. • Pay attention to our health concerns. Encourage water, vitamins and prescribed medications. • Research community resources and attend support group meetings with us. • Talk about our loved ones but allow us to dictate how much is said. “I’d love to hear more about (say his or her name!) if you’d like to tell me.” “May I tell you a story about him?” • Spend time with us and include us in group activities. “Let’s go for a walk and get some air.” “I’d like to come to your doctor’s appointment with you.” “Let’s meet for coffee.” • Continue to reach out. Most survivors

report the loneliest time is several months after the death when the phone stops ringing. Put a card in the mail, send a text, make a call or stop by. • Listen, be a shoulder to cry on. When it comes down to it, for me personally, the thing that helped the most was the time people gave me. The time they took to sit and listen until I was all cried out, the time they took in the morning to send a text, to call just to see how I was doing - to help me overcome an obstacle I’d encountered, to attend appointments with me or to let me know they were thinking about me. That’s it, just their time. The gifts were nice, the advice they offered was wellintended, the meals provide were helpful… but the time they shared was by far the most valuable thing anyone gave me. I was lucky, I had an army on my side. Many survivors do not. Will you be part of someone’s army? Missy Palrang of Chandler is the author of Frantic Unleashed, Navigating Life after Suicide, A Survivors Journal – Part 1 and Frantic Caged, Navigating Life after Suicide, A Survivors Journal – Part 2. Available on Amazon. Contact the author on facebook.com/franticbooks or franticbookseries@gmail.com

County taking measures to combat rising suicide rates BY JACK SELLERS Guest Writer

Suicide is an issue affecting people of all ages and backgrounds, and sadly, it is a growing challenge for families, schools, businesses, faith-based organizations and all of us who care about building strong, connected communities. Consider: 129 individuals experience death by suicide each day; suicide rates are up 30 percent since 1999; suicide is the second leading cause of death for those ages 10-34. A few weeks ago, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors joined a nationwide effort to bring real human connection and vital resources to those with thoughts of suicide, proclaiming September Suicide Awareness Month. We are encouraging people to know the warning signs and to remember there

are resources out there to help you, a friend, a family member, or anyone who might be at risk. Death by suicide is difficult for those left behind. Making it even more devastating for loved ones is the feeling of being blindsided, of not seeing it coming. While it can feel like a shock, there are often warning signs. Here are a few of them: •Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain. •Talking about being a burden to others. •Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs. •Acting anxious or agitated or behaving recklessly. •Sleeping too little or too much. •Withdrawing or isolating themselves. •Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge. •Extreme mood swings. In addition, certain people are at greater risk to develop suicidal thoughts. Among the risk factors: mental disorders; history of

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trauma or abuse; loss of relationship or job; and severe health issues. There are many resources available to those who need an outlet or a connection. I’d like to highlight two in particular. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) provides free, confidential support to those in crisis. On their website, you can find resources specific to your situation, read stories of hope and recovery and get involved in the effort to prevent suicide. I’d encourage you to visit their website at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. This page also has resources for those of you who might have lost a loved one to suicide. You’re not alone. There’s support for you, too. Twenty veterans in our country die each day by suicide. These are strong men and women but they sometimes need help. Be Connected AZ is the result of a


statewide coalition, of which Maricopa County government is involved, dedicated to holistic support of our veterans. There’s a 24/7 hotline they can call; an online tool that can match them with resources specific to their needs; and connections to training and job skills that can help with that next step in life. Veterans or their families are invited to call 1-866-4AZ-VETS or visit beconnectedaz.org. As one of the state’s largest employers, Maricopa County is encouraging people to watch out for one another and to make the daily human connections that may just save someone’s life. Suicide is a public health challenge and we must be willing to acknowledge it and confront it with compassion and determination. For our families. For our communities. For each other. - Jack Sellers is a Maricopa County supervisor.

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More balance needed in kids’ disaster preparedness BY DAVID LEIBOWITZ Tribune Columnist

Not long after the first day of school back east, my buddy called with a complaint: His daughter, a brand new fourthgrader, had just participated in her first “active shooter drill,” an exercise meant to prepare kids for the possibility that a psychopath with an AR-15 might one day soon storm the school and begin firing. “I can’t believe this is the world we live in now,” my friend said. “We have to train kids on how not to be killed at school. Because it could actually happen, so they have to be ready. Unreal.” This was the point in the conversation where I made a critical mistake – by trying to use reason instead of simply agreeing with him. “You know how many mass shootings there have been in America so far this

year?” I asked. “Let me tell you. About 300. About 300 shootings across the country where four or more people have been shot by a single gunman in a single incident.” My friend: “So what’s your point?” Me: “There are about 100,000 public schools in the United States. Do you know how many people have been killed by gunfire at one of those schools this year? Three. And none of those involved a mass shooter.” We’ve had many of these conversations, so what came next was predictable. My buddy explained how my point made no sense. Then he uttered a phrase I’ve heard many times from him this past decade: “Dude, you don’t have kids, so you really don’t get it.” I’ll stipulate to this fact. He is absolutely correct; I don’t have kids. Nor do I understand why it makes sense to scare the crap out of children, ripping boogeymen from the headlines so children can be prepared for an incident

that has less of a chance of happening than being killed by hornets, wasps or bees. By the way, your chances of dying by a lethal sting? About one in 63,225 across your lifetime, according to the National Safety Council. Your chances of being mauled to death by a dog? About one in 112,000. Being killed by lightning? About one in 162,000. Even if my buddy refuses to recognize my point, I imagine many of you get where I’m going with this: There’s nothing wrong with teaching children to be aware of life’s dangers and preparing them to respond to potentially deadly threats. But such preparation can be detrimental if we don’t also teach kids – and ourselves – to arrange life’s threats in some kind of hierarchy. The child who goes through life swilling sodas and eating pancakes for dinner but ready for a mass shooting on school grounds is likely the kid who dies early

from heart disease. You’ve got a lifetime one in seven chance of dying that way if you’re playing along at home. To be clear, I’m not arguing for ignorance because such an uneducated state represents bliss. I’m arguing for more education in hopes that it creates the ability to balance what’s realistic and what’s wildly unlikely. It’s an exercise I’ve performed myself over and over, like whenever a plane trip makes me nervous. I remind myself that every day in this country, about 87,000 domestic flights take off and land. On the worst day in aviation history, sick bastards managed to gain control of four planes. When it comes to dying in any one particular horrible way, the odds are perpetually in our favor – a point we’d be wise to remember. Unfortunately, our odds of dying overall remain one in one. I haven’t figured out a way around that yet, but I’m working on it.

USMCA agreement vital for Arizona economy BY JOHN GILES, JENN DANIELS, GAIL BARNEY, AND DENNY BARNEY Guest Writers

It is no secret that trade policy has been a major priority for U.S. policymakers, business owners and workers this summer. At the top of the agenda is the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA). If passed, the USMCA will bring much-needed certainty and help ensure continued growth for businesses in Arizona and across the country. Last November, leaders from the U.S., Mexico and Canada signed this new agreement to update existing rules put into place under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While NAFTA strengthened regional trade significantly when it was ratified nearly three decades ago and has resulted in stronger economic growth across North America – as demonstrated by the surge

in cross-border investments and a tripling of U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico – it has become increasingly out-of-date and doesn’t address today’s needs for commerce and trade. For instance, digital transformations that have taken place since 1990 have transformed our economy and the way we do business. Updating NAFTA to include stronger intellectual property protections and more stringent guidelines on digital trade is not just practical; it is necessary. U.S. companies small and large are conducting much of their business online, and the USMCA would ensure they can do so safely and securely while helping smaller businesses expand their customer reach and their operations. This new trade deal would also protect U.S. businesses from anti-competitive behaviors by other countries and improve rules to remove unfair trade barriers. Ultimately, it would help expand our

access to new customers and create a more prosperous and robust business climate for Arizona and the U.S. In fact, a report released by the U.S. International Trade Commission recently found that, once enacted, the USMCA could add about $70 billion to the economy, create nearly 200,000 jobs and have a positive impact on wages for American workers. For Arizona manufacturers, this agreement is particularly important given our economy’s reliance on trade with our North American partners. According to data from the National Association of Manufacturers, one in five Arizona manufacturing firms export to Mexico and Canada, and those two countries purchase more than two-fifths of our state’s global manufacturing exports. If the agreement is not ratified, Arizona manufacturers could face up to $2 billion in extra taxes, compared to zero tariffs today. Further, manufacturing jobs in our

state are well-paying and provide career opportunities to middle-class workers. In fact, the average Arizona manufacturing employee earns more than $82,000 a year in total compensation compared to less than $44,000 a year for other industries. In total, more than 19,000 Arizona jobs rely on tariff-free trade with Canada and Mexico. For the benefit of our workers, our businesses and our state’s economy, we need Congress to act and ratify the USMCA as soon as possible. The Trump Administration has done its part to negotiate a deal that puts American businesses first. Now, Congress must come together and get this done. - John Giles is the mayor of Mesa, Jenn Daniels is the mayor of Gilbert, Gail Barney is the mayor of Queen Creek, and Denny Barney is the president of the East Valley Partnership

Unfair foreign competition at heart of healthcare mess BY SEAN NOBLE Guest Writer

Thanks to de facto U.S. subsidization of other countries’ drug prices, nearly half of all Americans are concerned about their ability to pay for normal health care costs. That number has stayed remarkably consistent for the last 18 years according to a question asked by the Pew Research center. It’s even higher in Arizona, primarily because of doctor and nursing shortages in rural communities. According to the University of Arizona Center for Rural Health, every Arizona county is experiencing severe shortages of healthcare professionals, as well as increasing healthcare costs and decreases in quality. Due to cost increases of healthcare, several Arizona hospitals have closed their doors. Cochise Regional Hospital in Douglas is just one example of these side effects, they closed their doors in 2015. The closure continues to rattle residents and placing untenable workloads

on local emergency services. In lieu of dedicated hospital staff, Douglas residents began calling the local fire department almost a dozen times per day, placing the community at risk by distracting them from their other duties. Unfortunately, new legislation in Congress will only make things worse. Members of Congress have introduced proposals that should scare us all—allowing government officials to set the price of medical care. In July, the Senate proposed doing so with the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, which would price-fix the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare. The House is also considering using a similar remedy, called binding arbitration, which would allow a government-appointed individual or panel to set the market’s prices. Proponents of both measures believe that imposing price controls on drugs will safeguard patients. Unfortunately, however, past case studies suggest that doing so will cost Arizonans more money and reduce access to care in the long run. For the past several decades, Maryland has utilized an “all-payer” system, which

allows the government to set prices for hospital services in specific regions. According to a 2019 study by Manhattan Institute scholar Chris Pope, it has resulted in higher Medicare payments across the board. While Medicare rates are traditionally much lower than private rates, in Maryland they are a whopping 40 percent higher than the national average for inpatient services and 60 percent higher for outpatient services. Price controls on drugs are the equivalent of shooting the messenger rather than the orchestrators. While many like to point fingers at drug companies, the real culprit to high U.S. costs is anticompetitiveness overseas. Congress has sat idly by while other countries have price-fixed their drugs below cost. Rather than impose pressure on other countries abroad, price controls on U.S. manufacturers will increase operating costs on healthcare innovators themselves, which could lead to higher consumer prices for less quality drugs over the long run. Additionally, price controls can reduce

access for patients to life-saving drugs. As reported in a study by the Galen Institute, nearly 290 new medical substances were launched worldwide between 2011 and 2018. Of these, the U.S. had access to 90 percent. In countries with price controls, access was far less, 60 percent in the United Kingdom, 50 percent in Japan, and only 44 percent in Canada. Rather than create this lose-lose scenario for innovators and consumers alike, Congress should finally go after the true stimulant to the inflated prices – reckless healthcare policies abroad. The people of Arizona need a cure to this problem, not a placebo. The US is a world leader in research and development of life-saving medical care because we have a free market system. History has proven that price controls fail the very people they are supposed to help, and Congress should reject them outright. - Sean Noble, Phoenix, is the president of American Noble, an Arizona nonprofit dedicated to promoting free-market policy. He is also a former chief of staff to Arizona congressman John Shadegg.



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Chandler officer on state school safety panel BY KEVIN REAGAN Staff Writer

School Resource Officer Stephen Dieu says it would be incorrect to think of him only as a “kiddy cop.” He has spent the last 11 years patrolling school campuses in Chandler – most recently at the Summit Academy – and thinks his job has a long-term impact on the community. “It’s the most proactive thing you could do in policing,” Dieu said. He now offers his insight to schools statewide as a member of a new task force the Arizona Department of Education created to examine school safety. The agency recently partnered with March for Our Lives, an organization started by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, to develop a research-based approach to school safety. Aside from Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, Dieu is the only officer appointed to the agency’s 23-member task force. Educators, activists and mental health experts make up the rest of the group. The task force will spend the next year

developing a model for school safety to be implemented in districts across Arizona. Dieu said he’s hopeful the group will be able to consistently improve school climates across the state and develop a multi-disciplinary framework, which can be replicated in different school environments. Not long ago school principals were left to their own devices to figure out lockdown drills and safety protocols at their schools, Dieu said. But now the process is more refined and there’s a greater emphasis on preventative intervention. Deadly shootings committed at schools across the country are igniting action and research investigating how these events unravel. Some schools have responded by redesigning their physical layout, others have introduced programs and curriculum to improve students’ mental health. Several high schools in Chandler are more mindful of a student’s emotional needs and created safe spaces for them to release their anxiety. Now more than ever, Dieu said, attention is on social-emotional learning, with its positive correlation to academic

performance. Dieu grew up in Tempe and applied to Chandler Police on a whim with some of his friends. He made it through the testing process and was placed on patrol duty. In 2006, Dieu and another officer were awarded medals for rescuing a suicidal woman who had cut herself and swallowed a bottle of pills. “I just walked away knowing I’ve done what I was supposed to do in this case,” Dieu said at the time of the incident. When Dieu first became a school resource officer at Pueblo Middle School more than a decade ago, he said the attitude toward the job was quite different then. Cops thought of it as an easy assignment for those looking to retire soon, Dieu said. But he’s worked hard to change that mentality and Dieu said there has been a shift in attitude. There is more support and collaboration between school officers and other stakeholders, the officer said, because people are realizing the value of having a cop interacting with students every day. “You provide a tremendous resource for that school community,” Dieu added. Dieu recalled one encounter he

had with a girl who had been sending inappropriate messages to a boy. The officer advised the student of the consequences of such behavior. About a week later, Dieu said a counselor told him the same girl asked to speak with the officer. The girl went on the disclose years of sexual abuse she had endured at the hands of her stepfather. Dieu relayed the information to Mesa Police and an investigation ensued. It was a troubling situation, Dieu said, but he later learned the victim decided to come forward because Dieu had made her feel safe during their previous encounter. “I see it as a tragedy to a triumph,” Dieu said. There are several other similar stories Dieu has collected over the years. That’s the benefit of working at a school, he said, the officer gets to continuously follow-up with the citizens they interact with and watch them grow up. On a recent morning at his home in Chandler, a solar-panel salesman came knocking on Dieu’s door. The salesman quickly recognized the officer from their school days. The salesman told Dieu they remembered always wanting to be good around the officer.

Chandler couple’s dog a world-wide viral hit BY TORRENCE DUNHAM Contributor

Chandler residents Kimberly Elliott and Andrew Hangartner are using their special pup to encourage people across the country to embrace the unique abilities of both humans and animals. The couple’s dog Josh is a Goldendoodle that lives with cerebellar hypoplasia - an under-development of the cerebellum that controls all of his motor function. Elliott said it’s almost like an extreme case of vertigo as Josh cannot control his movement, and suffers from spasticity, clumsiness and lack of coordination. Elliott and Hangartner adopted the dog through a farm rescue in Mesa that was seeking foster homes for a group of three special needs Goldendoodles. “I saw his picture and story on Facebook one morning and I immediately reached out,” Elliott said, adding she fostered numerous dogs before. “Within about 24 hours of having him in our home, I looked at Andrew and I said, ‘you know, we’re going to have to keep this dog forever because he was just amazing.’” Hangartner says Josh can get around the house fine because they have rugs that give him some traction. When Josh goes outside, Elliott and Hangartner keep a close watch on him or hold onto his harness to make sure he doesn’t fall. The two will also pick him up and take him to his water bowl, in addition to

Austria, the Netherlands,” Elliott said. “They were inspired to foster, adopt or just recognize a dog with special needs.” “Then the messages began to change and people started opening up and telling me that Josh inspires them and they’re dealing with grief or depression, anxiety, addiction, a terminal illness or a condition like Josh’s,” Elliott continued. “People have really connected with him and they see a little bit of themselves in him.” The couple now Josh to inspire people to follow Josh’s example of living life to the fullest despite trying circumstances. They created the Kimberly Elliott and Andrew Hangartner have a two-wheeled vehicle so Josh can move around outside a little easier. The non-profit “Be Like Goldendoodle suffers from a condition that makes it almost impossible for him to walk without constantly falling down. Josh Foundation” a few (Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer) months ago to celebrate dogs with special needs hand-feeding his breakfast and dinner. around in his red basket, confidently and educate people about the beauty of “We just built a routine with him,” walking and running with his speciallyspecial abilities. Hangartner said. made device, traveling around meeting Elliott, Hangartner and Josh are about Josh will let the two of them know if people or just relaxing on the couch. to kick-off their very first “Josh tour” on he needs something by panting, making He quickly became an internet Oct. 11. noises or slapping his paw. celebrity with over 91,000 followers on “A huge component of the Josh A few years ago, Elliott and Hangartner Instagram. Foundation is going to schools,” Elliott decided to share Josh’s daily journey “I began receiving all these messages with the world – documenting the to my Instagram from people all over See on page 46 Goldendoodle with a man bun riding the world, Tanzania, Romania, Costa Rica,





Chandler students encourage peers to volunteer SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Santan Junior High School Is trying to make it easier for students to volunteer by bringing the nonprofits to the students. The Chandler school’s student council recently organized its first volunteer fair, where 25 organizations showed up looking to recruit some new helpers. School-safety activists, librarians, and forest rangers showed up to the school’s gymnasium, hoping one of the fair’s 400 attendees might express an interest. Jacob Byars, an eighth-grader and member of student council, came up with the idea of the fair as a means to get his classmates more involved in the community. “I like to encourage everyone to volunteer,” the student said. Several students have volunteer requirements they need to satisfy for National Junior Honor Society, he added, so the council wanted to connect them with a variety of opportunities. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, March for Our Lives, and the Desert Botanical Garden were some of the organizations that showed up to the fair. Byars, who dreams of someday studying reptiles, enjoys volunteering for the Sierra Club, an environmentalist group, where he gets to plant trees and remove buffelgrass. “We really want to get our kids out there in the community (and) making a difference,” said Donna Gustafson, a SanTan teacher and student council advisor. Though she supervisors Byars and his classmates, Gustafson said the students took the initiative to create the event on

Ben Denslow of the Gilbert-based Jem Foundation, a suicide-prevention nonprofit, talks with Jill Hender at the volunteer fair. On the right, Jacob Byars. 13, came up with the idea for the fair. (Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer)

their own. They contacted the nonprofits, she said and invited nearby schools to the fair. Even though Santan students are not old enough to drive, many of the organizations said they have plenty of opportunities for young people. The Arizona Burn Foundation allows students to go out in groups with adults to install free smoke-detectors inside homes across the Valley. Students are needed to help coordinate heart-screening events provided by the Anthony Bates Foundation at Valley schools. Andrea Fisher, the volunteer coordinator for the United Food Bank, said her or-

A legacy

ganization recently dropped the minimum volunteer age from 12 to five. The food bank wanted to get more families involved, Fisher said, so they thought allowing younger kids to volunteer would encourage parents to turn volunteering into a group activity. More than 300 families can be serviced by the food bank in a single day, Fisher added, so there’s always work for kids to do. “We’re always looking for more help,” said Drew Templeton, who’s been organizing volunteers for Phoenix’s Herberger Theater Center for the last 27 years. The theater invites students to work as ushers at various plays and musicals,

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where they may be able to watch a live performance for the first time. Everyone is having trouble finding enough volunteers these days, Templeton said, adults just don’t have enough time to take their kids out for a day of volunteering. “The trickle-down effect that we used to get is not necessarily happening like we used to (see),” Templeton added. The school hopes the fair becomes an annual affair and will instill in students a lifelong devotion to philanthropy. “This needs to be done every year,” Gustafson added. “Our kids need to know where they can volunteer and what’s available to them.”




Group combats homelessness with furniture BY COTY DOLORES MIRANDA Contributor

Even in the heat of a recent September Saturday morning, peals of laughter could be heard from storage units C-1 and C-9 at Ahwatukee’s Armored Self Storage off 48th Street. The happy campers were, in reality, happy packers, local volunteers for Furnishing Dignity, a five-year-old nonprofit that collects gently-used furnishings and household items and redistributes them to needy families and individuals to ensure they’ll have what they need to make a house or apartment into a home. Sometimes it’s just having a bed of one’s own, or a set of gently-used dishware that can make a substantial difference in helping families re-establish themselves. Furnishing Dignity was founded in 2014 by Ahwatukee resident Joyce Petrowski and Anita Buckel of Chandler. A third founding member, Lisa Campbell, now lives out of state. More than 560 local households have benefitted since Dignity’s founding. Petrowski said the impetus behind Furnishing Dignity is a memory she holds dear. “In 2012, while volunteering for another nonprofit, I befriended a homeless, elderly lady,” she explained. “She was able to get into a low-income apartment with only the personal belongings that fit into a small suitcase she rolled with her everywhere she went. “I remember she was so excited one day when she found an old bent up metal TV tray in the garbage,” said Petrowski, the nonprofit’s treasurer. “I reached out to family and friends and asked if they had any home furnishings and would be willing to donate to help furnish her apartment. The response was so overwhelming and we were able to

Anita Bleckel checks out one of Furnishing Dignity’s storage areas. The nonprofit is looking for someone to donate larger storage space. (Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer)

Ahwatukee resident. On Oct. 12, Furnishing Dignity celebrates five years of service at their Cause for Celebration, 6-8 p.m. at Tuft & Needle headquarters, 735 Grand Ave., Phoenix. The mattress company is a major sponsor for the nonprofit. In 2017, the Gilbert Tuft & Needle donated 100 percent of its opening day proceeds to Furnishing Dignity. Anita Buckel was one of the friends

Anita Bleckel, left, and Joyce Petrowski help Furnishing Dignity provide furniture for low-income individuals and families that may be able to afford a roof over their heads but not much else. (Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer)

outfit her apartment, as well as help other low-income residents with some of the extra items that were donated.” Petrowski said word spread and she was asked two more times to help provide furnishings to others moving into apartments. “I soon realized there was a definite need for this service in the valley, and I reached out to a few friends and family and Furnishing Dignity was born in October 2014,” said Petrowski, a 21-year

called upon by Petrowski – whom she credited with being a “fellow professional volunteer” – to serve on the newly-created nonprofit board. “Joyce and I had worked well together for eight years as volunteers for our children’s elementary and middle schools. The kids were moving on to high school when Joyce discovered this need in the community and wanted to start helping to solve it,” said Buckel.

The nonprofit’s name was carefully selected. “We named it Furnishing Dignity because acknowledging the dignity of the human spirit in those we serve was very important to us. Our main focus became serving those who are actively working toward self-sufficiency, foster youth transitioning from state care, and the elderly on fixed incomes,” Buckel explained. Buckel, a Chandler resident of 13 years who holds a master’s in English, recalled a study indicating that those transitioning from homelessness who received furniture assistance had a better chance for success. Observing firsthand the reactions of Furnishing Dignity clients – both individuals and families – still moves Buckel as she recounts their stories. “We have clients who are no longer in a shelter or on the street, but the lack of furniture serves as a reminder of the fragility and impermanence of their situation. There’s something about a furnished home that re-humanize those who’ve been dehumanized by the homeless experience,” she said. “One of our early clients told us he felt like a human being again.” Buckel continued, “I’ve heard children tell their mom ‘Now I can have friends over!’ and “Is this MY bed?! I can keep it?” One young lady coming out of foster care said she woke up the next morning, ‘feeling like a princess’. She’d never owned her own bed before.” “Recently, before we’d even helped her, one mom was in tears explaining what having furniture for the first time in two years was going to do for her family. She was looking forward to a place to sit and eat together, a place to host her son’s friends, her extended family, a home. “Another young man said ‘Silverware?! We haven’t had real silverware in years!’ It is truly the little things that make a world of difference,” she said. Furnishing Dignity is mostly donation

driven, “and it’s definitely a pay-it-forward as it all goes directly to the clients we serve,” added Tamara Silva, a Chandler resident and Furnishing Dignity’s executive director. Silva, who has worked with other nonprofits such as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said volunteers are key to continuing success and service to their clients, and Furnishing Dignity offers multiple ways in which to help. “Before we can make a delivery, we need volunteers to help select, clean, tag and pack household items and furniture. Then on our Pack and Move Day, as a group we deliver the items to a family,” Silva explained. “You really get to see and appreciate how a family reacts when you are part of this day.” Selecting furnishings for each new home isn’t a hit-or-miss project at Furnishing Dignity. One of Buckel’s tasks includes first meeting with the client in their home, assessing room space and asking questions about preferences and colors, especially with children. “Then comes my favorite part: working with their preferences, size considerations, and needs. I love selecting the furniture for their home. I call it channeling my inner interior designer,” she laughed. “Of course, we can’t always provide exactly what they want, but we try to select furniture based on their personality and likes and dislikes. I am not going to give a white couch to a mom of five kids, nor am I going to give a massive sectional to a single elderly man,” said Buckel, adding: “Seeing the end result in each apartment is part of what drives me and inspires me. And seeing how pleasantly surprised they are at the quality of the furniture and the lengths we went to to coordinate the items is very rewarding.” See

FURNITURE on page 46




from page 43

said. “We have a Be Like Josh curriculum where we teach the kids to embrace all levels of abilities, first with Josh and then seeing that amongst each other and amongst their peers. “Josh’s challenge to the kids is to go out and make a new friend, genuinely make a new friend that’s different than you.” Elliott added, “We teach the kids that different is okay, kindness is cool and compassion and inclusion is the way to be like Josh. The couple’s goal for 2020 is to visit at least one school in every state. Elliott they also team up with shelters and rescues to make it an adoption event as well as a Josh meet. The act of providing a foster home and later adopting a Goldendoodle with special abilities not only has made a substantial impact on the couple’s lives


from page 45

Several Greater Phoenix corporations’ employee groups and area civic groups like the National Charity League Ahwatukee Foothills Chapter are often on hand to help with the sorting, packing and or delivery, and sponsoring fundraising events to assist monetarily. Warehouse space is at a premium as the organization continues to increasingly serve more families and individuals. The five smaller storage units are at capacity and there’s a need for more space


but on thousands around the world. “He’s helped us meet a lot of new people, a lot of special people have come into our lives,” Hangartner said. “When we’re out and about, a lot of parents with young children come up to us and want to meet Josh. They sense there’s something special about him. “All the love and kindness that has come into our house and our lives has been the best part for me at least.” Elliott added, “He’s taught me so much. It’s hard to articulate and it may even sound a little strange that an animal can be so life-changing. For me, being his main handler and being his mouthpiece and connecting with the rest of the world, how they feel about Josh has just really softened me. “It’s softened all my edges. I’ve always kind of been a tough chick and Josh has rounded out all my hard edges and I’m grateful for that.” Information: belikejosh.org

– one the nonprofit hopes will be offered them at a less-than-market cost. “We’re currently searching for 7,000 – 10,000 square feet of warehouse space at a discounted rate located from the airport and east,” said Petrowski. “We’re currently working out of storage units at Armored Self Storage in Ahwatukee, and we can be more efficient and increase our capacity with a warehouse.” Christian Colon is Furnishing Dignity’s warehouse manager, and as such is responsible for overseeing donation requests, arranging pick-ups from driveways of donor’s homes.

Despite his malady, Josh is a happy-go-lucky dog whose owners find him an inspiration for anyone who deals with a disability. (Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer)

She also is a faithful worker bee at most Pack and Move Days. Anita Buckel said besides the ongoing need for volunteers in various areas, good old-fashioned cash is always welcome. “Something I’ve learned in this endeavor is that it takes money to do good. Sure, everyone will give you their used items - especially if you pick them up, but the money, that’s a different story. Every non-profit has expenses. For us, it is our employees, storage units, truck, maintenance, gas, insurance, etc. Nothing gets done in the U.S. without money,” she said wryly.

Petrowski said two more important needs currently is spreading awareness of the nonprofit and their work, and increasing regular donors via Furnishing Dignity’s Heart & Home Squad, their monthly donation platform. “As little as a $10 a month for a year commitment will put a complete bed under a child – frame, mattress, foundation, sheets, pillow and comforter,” she said. “And if a business is interested in supporting us, we have sponsorships available for entire families, for our annual Cause for Celebration event, and other ongoing concerns,” added Buckel.



Seton Catholic Prep senior a National Merit semifinalist SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Seton Catholic Preparatory senior Audrey Stevenson is a semifinalist for a National Merit Scholarship She is among 16,000 high school seniors nationwide who are competing in the 65th annual program for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. Audrey, the daughter of Shane and Toni Stevenson of Chandler, has earned a 4.5 GPA on a 5.0 scale and plans to study engineering in college. “Her interest in engineering was solidified during a summer engineering seminar at Santa Clara University,” Seton said in a release. Audrey is president of Seton’s National Honor Society, president of the Sentinel Ambassador Society, official spokeswoman for the Spanish National Honor Society, a leader in Seton’s House System and Pep Band. She was on the soccer, cross country and track teams and is a peer tutor, plays the trumpet in the school band. Audrey also “is an ardent member of the school’s drama department, having played lead roles in numerous plays and musicals,” the school said. Audrey’s volunteer work includes singing in her church choir, participating with the Space Explorers program at Jacobson Elementary and as a summer camp counselor – which included working

Audrey Stevenson with students with special needs. “Audrey is an incredible member of our community, and I appreciate all her hard work that has resulted in her recognition as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist,” Seton Principal Victor Serna said. A 2017 National Blue Ribbon School, Seton Catholic Preparatory is a diocesan, coeducational high school in Chandler open to students of all faiths and dedicated to academic excellence, leadership and loving service to others. Information: setoncatholic.org.

Desert Cancer Foundation slates annual luncheon SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

One of the East Valley’s signature October traditions – the Desert Cancer Foundation of Arizona’s Survive and Celebrate Luncheon – will be held Oct. 17. Established more than 15 years ago, the luncheon – 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 1800 S. San Tan Village Parkway, Gilbert – draws community and healthcare leaders from across the region. The foundation’s mission is to “provide cancer education, access to lifesaving screenings and secure treatment resources for the uninsured and underinsured in Arizona.” Healthcare partners will have booths before and after the event, and two community members will be honored with the Linda Rainford Award and the Edgar H. Hernandez Humanitarian Award. Both award winners have shown dedication and commitment to the mission of the DCFA, a spokeswoman said. Carey Pena, former 3TV anchor and

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Chandler church spreads wings with 2nd campus things they do for children is fantastic.” Although the church holds services every Sunday, Durrett claims that most activities involve small group ministries in people’s homes. “We do life together,” Durrett said. “We believe in relationships over religion, that’s kind of our mantra, we love people and


With a 24-foot-long trailer equipped to turn a middle school cafeteria into a church service, Desert Springs Church of Chandler is opening up a new campus in Gilbert at Cooley Middle School in Gilbert. The Christian church’s new campus will be up and running on Oct. 20 at the school, 1100 S. Recker Road. Desert Springs Church has existed in Chandler for about 22 years, with 700 people attending their Sunday services. Executive Pastor Bryan Durrett said an additional campus was needed to accommodate the number of people from Gilbert who attend services. Starting as a portable church in 1998, Desert Springs planted its Chandler roots at 19620 S. McQueen Road with a permanent campus in 2012. “I love the town of Gilbert, I love the family and the community environment that’s there,” Durrett said. “My wife and I feel called to the town.” Durrett and his wife Lynette were born and raised in Northern California. Upon moving to Arizona, the two decided to become pastors and earned ministry licenses. Together, they have worked for the church for eight and a half years. “We’re a church that wants to be the church and not just a church, we want to be involved in the community and be engaged in what’s going on,” Durrett said.

the town of Gilbert, I love “theI lovefamily and the community environment that’s there, my wife and I feel called to the town. – Executive Pastor Bryan Durrett

Desert Springs Church Executive Pastor Bryant Durrett and his wife Lynette are ethusiastic about being able to open a second campus in Gilbert, seven years have they opened their permanent Chandler campus. (Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer)

Gilbert resident James Estrada began attending Desert Springs a month ago and is thrilled to learn about the new campus

opening just five minutes from his house. “We love it,” Estrada said. “We love the preaching, we love the people and the




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having relationships with people and with God over what we would call religion.” With the growth of the Desert Springs Gilbert campus, they hope to one day open up a permanent location there as well. Until then, Durrett said the portable church is a good place to start. Durrett said he has met with Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels and that he plans to have the church become a part of the local community by volunteering, working with other ministries to serve food to underprivileged kids and adopting a senior living home where they can provide residents with church services. Information: desertspringschurch.com.


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Compadres help fund play program at Conley Elementary BY MIKENNA YARMUS-GANNON Staff Writer

At Conley Elementary School, rock, paper, scissors is no longer merely a hand game. The Chandler Title I school recently began a program to help students interact on the playground and in their day-to-day lives. “We took a look at our school and tried to figure out how can we solve the high level of behavior issues,” said Dean of Students Genisha Wright. “Our focus and our goal is more quality time in the classroom, and if teachers are spending time dealing with behavior issues, that takes away from quality work in the classroom,” Wright added. The STEM school partnered with Playworks, a nonprofit dedicated to “safe and healthy play.” The organization provides site coordinators who visit the school for one week a month to aid in recess and playtimes. They conduct recess rehearsal, where the kids and their teacher practice play for about a half an hour and teach students social and emotional skills through playing games. Playworks also encourages kids to use “rock, paper, scissors” if they come into a conflict on the playground. The site coordinators and the school also partner to conduct the Junior Coaches Leadership Program. The school selects 15 students from

“We see that peer leadership is so influential, and we want to leave the students with the right tools on how to lead us successful recess while their play worksite coordinator is not there,” said site coordinator Denise Canales. “It’s such a great program, and the students feel special more than anything, to be selected from their class or their grade level to help others outside at recess,” she added. Wright claims that the school and parents can already see a difference at Conley. “It’s really helped reduce behavior problems during the day, especially during lunch and recess time,” Having fun at Conley Elementary are, from left, Jeff Thomas, Denise Canales and Braden Apana, all coaches for the nonprofit Playworks. Wright said. “Everybody (Special to SanTan Sun News) is involved in this, it’s not just a team grades four through six to lead students coming into save the day in recess. The site coordinator works with for our school, but it’s now the whole each student one-on-one to teach them school community that’s involved in this the necessary techniques for a conflictprogram.” free playtime. The program is funded by a partnership

at our school “andWetriedtooktoafilook gure out how can we solve the high level of behavior issues. Our focus and our goal is more quality time in the classroom, and if teachers are spending time dealing with behavior issues, that takes away from quality work in the classroom. – Genisha Wright

between the Chandler Education Foundation and the Compadres. The Compadres is a non-profit charity group based in Chandler whose motto is “kids are our game.” “We’re just all about helping kids and making sure our community is the best that it can be,” said former Compadres president Matt Marshall. Last year the group raised about $1 million to donate to different youth charities across the valley. The Compadres set aside $41,000 for the Chandler Education Foundation, so they would be able to implement Playworks in three different Title I schools. “We’re just all about helping kids and making sure our community is the best that it can be,” Marshall said.

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Operation cardboard



Knox Gifted Academy in Chandler celebrated imagination.org’s Global Cardboard Challenge by having kids design cardboard solutions ti problems. The results included 1) a Native American headdress by, from left, fourth graders Felicity Crowl, Grace Weiss and Chloe Lee; 2) Patrick Lin, who made playing cards and stickers; 3) sixth graders Siyaa Pddar and Eva Ropacki, who designed a stunning floral piece; 4) Lilian Masterson, who showed teacher Allison Davis her plan; 5) kindergartner Shamika Solegaonkar with cardboard toys; 6) sixth graders Sophia Neal, left, and Brynn Wilson with their replica of a fort; 7) first grader Niha Rika; and 8) first grader Keya Patel. All photographs by Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer





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In search of dragonflies



Kids and their parents turned out last month for Chandler’s annual Dragonflies and Butterfly and Butterfly Bash at the Environmental Education Center. Among them were 1) 5-year-old Senebura Hameen, holding a Magagascar hissing cockroach; 2) Aryan Shaji Vij, also 5, who participate in the event’s arts and crafts; 3) April Lowe of the EEC, who helped 9-year-old Oliver Lheureux catch dragonflies; 4)Markus Amdam Bang, 6, who favored the arts section; and 6) Jess Hameem, who also handled a hissing cockroach.

All photographs by Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer




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For more community news visit SanTanSun.com

Chandler artist purges dark feelings in exhibit The Chandler artist named her exhibit “Work in Progress” because of her fascination with personal growth and her lifelong pursuit for self-improvement. “I’m always working on accepting and loving myself with all the quirks and shortcomings,” Adams added. “I think that’s true freedom.” The works are intended to be raw and thought-provoking, the artist said and almost serve as a window into her mind. One of the artist’s favorite pieces examines the obsessive need to please others and seek their approval. The drawing, which Adams calls “My Endless Need for Approval,” portrays a faceless humanoid tethered to a jumble of giant letters which spell out “approval.” A large hand enters the picture’s


Karolina Adams admits she’s not the best communicator. That’s why she uses her artwork to express her innermost thoughts and feelings. Her drawings demonstrate a minimalist aesthetic – often portraying faceless figures in blank landscapes. Some pieces are sweet and charming, like the one depicting a friendly elephant. But others are darker and delve deep into Adams’s thoughts on depression and anxiety. “My endless need to purge out my emotions is what creates my artwork,” Adams told SanTan Sun News. “I’m not a great verbal communicator so drawing is how I communicate best.” A collection of Adams’s pieces will be on display this month at the Vision Gallery in downtown Chandler.

Artist Karolina Adams’s artwork is on display at Vision Gallery in Chandler City Hall. (Special to SanTan Sun News)


ADAMS on page 54

Horrors! Houses getting scary for Halloween


Zack Busse knows the haunted house industry well. He practically grew up around Phoenix’s 13th Floor and Fear Farm. This year is Fear Farm’s 20th anniversary and it’s kicking it old school for the celebration. “Back in the day—quick history lesson—it was just one really huge corn maze and we decided to throw actors in there for fun,” Busse said. “People really loved it. Over the years, we grew and we built the haunted house. Everybody’s favorite thing, though, was the haunted corn maze. We’ve brought it back for one year only. It’s an amalgamation of everything that’s worked over the last 20 years—all of our favorite actors and characters and gags and scares.” Busse and his team try to mix up the Halloween destinations each year. At 13th Floor, a new production crew replaces the eight-year employees to give it a “new feel, look and vibe.” This year, classic monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, werewolves and mummies are roaming the property. “I think it’s going to breathe new life into the haunted house,” he said. As for Fear Farm, The Plague is infected with zombies and interactive displays. The property owner is Busse’s great uncle, who sold it to 13th Floor Entertainment Group. The family leases the property now. “My entire life I had big goals and aspirations,” Busse said. “I wanted to go to medical school and be a doctor.” He decided it was too much work, and he wanted to do what he was good at: haunted houses. Absolutely. It’s been my entire life pretty much I had big goals and

The Sanctum of Horror in Mesa offers spine-tingling thrills for Halloween cleebrations throughout October. (Special to SanTan Sun Newst)

aspirations. Go to medical school and be a doctor.” He tossed that aside and got into the field of fright. “It’s pretty crazy looking back on the 20 years,” he said. “The industry has changed so much. It’s hard to put words to it. If you could describe it, it started as a small mom-and-pop family business and we really made it a staple of the Valley.”

HAUNTED HOUSE GUIDE The smell of candy corn is in the air and

the season of shocks and horrors is upon us. Experience the thrills and cryptic stories that local haunted houses have to share with those who dare venture through, or just grab a pumpkin from a patch if scary isn’t your style. Listed here are some of the Valley’s best (scariest) attractions.

SANCTUM OF HORROR Those who enter the Sanctum of Horror enter the twisted mind of Lenore and relive her terrifying past. Navigate through

an ancient graveyard and through St. Charlotte Asylum where the inmates have taken over. The only way out of this realm of horror is through Lenore’s cell, but beware of her terror. Sanctum of Horror, 6555 E. Southern Ave., Mesa, 480-200-8163, sanctumofhorror.com, various days and times through Nov. 2, $22, and $35 for fast passes. See

HORROR on page 54




Beer N Bones a tasty intro to science LAURA LATZKO Contributor

A date night or outing with friends doesn’t have to consist of a conventional dinner at a restaurant or drinks at a neighborhood bar. At the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Downtown Mesa, adults can learn about and interact with different science disciplines while also having a night out with their significant others or friends. As part of Beer N Bones on Friday, Oct. 18, the museum will have Speed Date a Scientist, Q&A sessions, a beerology panel, animal encounters, science stations, artists selling dinosaur-themed work, chances to try different craft beers and cuisine from local food trucks. Alison Stoltman, the museum’s curator of education, said guests come to the museum when they are children or have young kids of their own. This event helps to attract new audiences of adults to the museum. “This is an opportunity for us to get a new demographic into the museum of young adults that don’t often come to the museum but are interested in science,” Stoltman said. Beer N Bones is the museum’s primary fundraiser. This year proceeds from ticket and alcohol sales and a raffle will help the museum to fund a new gallery focused on Arizona 75 million years ago and the renovation of one centered around

Beer N Bones is the only event geared toward adults only. During the Speed Date a Scientist activity, scientists from different disciplines are introduced in a game showstyle manner and attendees have a chance to ask them about what they do. When a gong is rung, the participants move to a different table with another scientist. Each year, the museum brings in scientists from different specialties, such as paleontology, archeology, zoology, chemistry, planetary geology and biomedical engineering. Stoltman said this activity is fun for the guests and the scientists. “They are looking for these Attendees at the Beer N Bones event can pet unusual critters. (Arizona Museum of Natural History) opportunities to get their information out into the public. inquiry-based learning opportunities. This is a really great medium to do As part of the raffle, the museum will that,” Stoltman said. give away a gift basket, a dinosaur quilt As part of the beerology panel, and a one-of-a-kind stamp set. scientists will discuss beer from different In the past, the event has helped to angles, including the evolution of the raise money for Dinosaur Mountain and hop plant, microbial action during the educational programs. Stoltman said Beer fermentation process, the effects of N Bones helps the museum expand. alcohol on brain receptors, modern-day Stoltman said the event was designed brewing techniques and alcohol use for young professionals who are looking throughout history. for more creative, interactive experiences. Throughout the evening, guests can Besides the museum’s lecture series,

Rehearsing for Neil Simon’s “Rumoprs” are Chandler-Gilbert Community College thespians, from left, James Milton, Amandha De Moraes and Kylan Tangermann.

also interact with birds, tarantulas, snakes and lizards. Partnering organizations will offer hands-on activities such as an escape room, a forensic table or a maker space. But it comes down to the beer. Attendees can try a variety of craft beers from local breweries, as well as specialty items such as alcoholic kombucha and craft cider. The alcoholic beverages are donated by local companies. General admission tickets come with two food and drink tickets. VIP tickets have added perks such as early access from 6 to 7 p.m., four food and drink tickets, a commemorative glass and a behind-the-scenes paleo lab tour. “People tend to think of museums as being heavily funded or supported,” Stoltman said. “It takes public support to fund a museum. Events like that this are really important to supporting our goals.”

If you go

What: Beer N Bones Where: Arizona Museum of Natural History, 53 N. Macdonald, Mesa When: 6 to 7 p.m. early VIP entry, 7 to 11 p.m. general public entry, Friday, Oct. 18, Info: 480-644-2230, arizonamuseumofnaturalhistory.org Cost: Tickets start at $20 for general admission, $45 VIP. Food and beverage tickets are $4 each or three for $10.

Jaden Martelli and Vivian Oroz practice for “Rumors.” (Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer)

(Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer)

Chandler-Gilbert College thespians take on ‘Rumors’ SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

A man has been shot, his wife is missing and his friends can’t make sense of what’s happened. That’s the story students of ChandlerGilbert Community College will tell this month when they stage “Rumors” on Oct. 10. Written by Neil Simon in 1988, the comedy is a classic farce full of shenanigans and hijinks. Characters fight,

flirt and mistake each other as they attempt to unravel a strange mystery. Director Shalynn Reynolds said she wanted to find a script that could expose her young cast to the elements of a fastpaced farce. “I wanted to do something that would be fun – that would be a challenge for them,” she said. Several of the college’s veteran theatre students graduated last semester, so Reynolds needed to find a show with

a relatively small cast of 10 actors to take on characters that include cheating politicians, eccentric socialites and clueless psychiatrists. “I’m super lucky,” Reynolds added. “I got a really great group of actors. I’ve been really spoiled.” “Rumors” was a hit when it opened on Broadway in 1988 and ran for more than 500 performances. It won awards and was Simon’s first foray into the topsy-turvy structure of theatrical farces.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright told the New York Times he wrote the romp to cheer himself up during a dark period of his life. The show’s plot revolves around a dinner party that goes array after its host is found unconscious with a gunshot wound. As the guests start to arrive, they all poke and pry to find out what’s happened to their friend. See

RUMORS on page 54





from page 52

foreground with a pair of scissors to cut the humanoid loose of their baggage. “It’s about feeling confident in your own skin,” Adams explained about the drawing. “I’m a people-pleaser, so this one is hard for me to shake.” Another drawing shows the humanoid being pushed down by a giant finger – a symbol for the pressure everyone puts on themselves. Metaphors are commonly deployed throughout Adams’s portfolio as a means to illustrate an abstract idea. In one piece, the artist displays her fear of change by drawing a caterpillar and a butterfly on opposing sides. Insomnia is captured in another drawing, depicting her humanoid character perched upon a crescent moon. Though her artwork is introspective and personal, Adams says she attempts to project relatable feelings by telling stories through simple objects. “Every one of us goes through strengths, weaknesses, limitations and triumphs in life and we all deal with different feelings,” she said. “People who view my work get lost in the stories while finding themselves in the emotion of it.”


Karolina Adams uses her artwork to express some of her deeper reflections on life and living. (Karolina Adams)

Art served as a comfort to Adams throughout her childhood, as she found herself better able to connect with the characters in her paintings than with other kids. She put her artistry on hold to study interior architecture at Chicago’s Columbia College.

After earning her bachelor’s degree, she spent a few years working as a commercial designer before she got burned out by the rigid work schedule. Adams quit her job to devote more time to creating art and has had her work displayed in galleries and festivals across the Phoenix area for the last few years.

from page 52

SCARIZONA SCAREGROUNDS This year the Scarizona Scaregrounds features four haunted houses with Startled Darkness, Epic Fear, Slayer’s Slaughter House, Operation Zombie Storm and Virtual Terror. Attendees can purchase merchandise, a snack deal or a scaredy-cat care package upon arrival. Fast passes are also available for those eager to skip the long lines. Scarizona Scaregrounds, 1901 N. Alma School Road, Mesa, 480-444-2590, scarizona.com, info@scarizona.com, various days and times to Nov. 2, tickets start at $15.


Located on a vast 30 acres of land, Fear Farm invites guests to jump into one of their six main attractions, if they dare. Come with friends or family and enjoy the largest outdoor haunted attraction in town. Fear Farm, 2209 N. 99th Ave., Phoenix, 623-866-5378, fearfarm.com, info@ fearfarm.com, various days and times

The Fear Farm is one of many haunted houses in the Valley that offer some Halloween scares and good fun. (Special to SanTan Sun News)

to Nov. 2, $24.99-$32.99 for general admission, $10 for a fast pass and $20 to skip the line.


Welcome to Phoenix’s most horrifying haunted experience. Attempt to find your way out and away from the horrific nun, Mara in The Possession or fight your way out of decayed town where the virus PL4-

$20 to skip the line.

AZ FIELD OF SCREAMS The AZ Field of Screams features a haunted corn maze that’s planted over a long-forgotten cemetery where the dead seek to raise terror on anyone who dares trespass. Also featured is a less spooky family maze and pumpkin patch where you can purchase your Halloween pumpkin. AZ Field of Screams, 5726 N. 75th Ave., Glendale, 602-999-3276, azfieldofscreams.



Crafts, simple treasure boutique, vintage jewelry, holiday decor, wreaths, 18” doll clothes, baked goods, jalapeno jelly. Handmade items created by the Krafters of Sun Lakes United Methodist Church. 9248 E. Riggs Rd., Sun Lakes (between I-10 & Dobson) Credit cards accepted for purchases of $25 or more.



GU3 has taken over the remainder of its population within the Shadows. The 13th Floor may not be suitable for children 12 and younger. 13th Floor Haunted House, 2814 W. Bell Road, Phoenix, 602-4562250, 13thflooraz. com, various days and times to Nov. 2, $24.99-$32.99 for general admission, $10 for a fast pass and

from page 53

“During the course of discovering it, all these other crazy things are happening,” Reynolds added. The madness continues escalating until the party guests find themselves being interrogated about what they know regarding their indisposed friend. “That’s where the comedy comes in,” Reynolds said, “trying to figure out what has actually happened to the host of the party.” Early on in the rehearsal process, Reynolds had her cast complete exercises to get them comfortable around each other and acclimated to the script’s quick dialogue. The relationships between the

She was recently part of a group of female artists who contributed their work for the “She Tempe” public art project in downtown Tempe. “Work in Progress” will be on display at the Vision Gallery from Oct. 12 to Nov. 15. More information about the artist can be found at karolinaadams.com. com, 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Oct. 2 to Oct. 31 $15-$25.

JACK & JILL’S HAUNTED HILL This “psychological thriller” enters its eighth season in the Valley at a hilltop in Sunnyslope. Groups are sent into the 100,000-square-foot, two-story building and experience original theatrical effects and scenes from a live and story-driven cast. Other attractions include pool tables, a dance floor, full-service bar and grill. Jack & Jill’s Haunted Hill, 3401 W. Greenway Road, Phoenix, jackandjillshauntedhill.com, various days and times to Oct. 31, $25-$35.

TERROR IN TOLLESON Nightmares turn into reality in Tolleson, with 20 new scare zones and themes. Escape the tortured asylum where deranged doctors test toxic waste on patients. Then try to survive the Zombie Apocalypse that follows. Terror in Tolleson, 8609 W. Preston Lane, Tolleson, terrorintolleson.com, 7 to midnight Friday to Saturday from Oct. 4 to Nov. 2, $14-$55.

characters are quite close and intimate, the director said, so she wanted the actors to be able to easily play off each other’s rhythm. Reynolds has been directing shows at the college for the last 10 years and was recently appointed as director of Chandler-Gilbert’s theatre program. Students have several performance opportunities throughout the school year, Reynolds added, which range from musicals to comedy shows. The production’s cast includes Adam Moreno, Liberty Milo, James Milton, Keiko Deaver, Jaden Martelli, and Kylan Tangermann. Four performances will be held on Oct. 10, 11 and 12 at the Chandler-Gilbert campus on Pecos Road. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. each night and Oct. 12 will also have a matinee at 2 p.m.



For more community news visit SanTanSun.com

Life without faith leaves us no place to turn to BY RABBI IRWIN WIENER Guest Writer

All of us live in a world that rotates so fast sometimes we think if it should stop we would just fall off. There are times when we feel as though the room is spinning around us and find ourselves in a constant state of vertigo. Those who have experienced these feelings can understand the madness is associated with these traumatic episodes. After all, we are resilient and steadfast in our determination to survive and make sense of our lives. Wow! What a daunting sensation. Our world as we know it is supposed to offer us the ability to experience the unthinkable and share the unimaginable. Yet, when we read about some revelation, another invention and a concept of machines replacing humans, we begin to wonder whether we are in control of our destiny. The simple things seemed to have disappeared. The feeling of connection lost in the shuffle of speed. The reliance on faith to guide us in paths determined to enhance our lives is now passé. God surely has died. The houses built to offer us the

opportunity to meditate and console are empty. The aged attempt to remember and the young feel as though there is no relevance. What a sad commentary the most enlightened generation is unable to find comfort in plain old beliefs. We have come so far to remain so distant. The questions become mindboggling. If God intended for us to become informed, then why is it so difficult to understand the extent of our capabilities? The pews are empty, the buildings looking lonely; the spirit is gone from the faces that once looked in amazement at ritual and splendor that reminded us of the grandeur of God. What happened to the thankfulness of breath, the wonder of birth, the amazement at witnessing the trees bloom and the aroma of the flowers that bring color to our lives? Is it cynicism or is it distrust keeping us from accepting the marvels occuring every day? Have we become so insensitive to touching or feeling that we cannot even remember the thrill of holidays? Our houses of worship were established to remind us of history, tradition and faith. We began our spiritual journey entering the doors of these noble institutions and, much to our amazement, we felt an unexplainable chill run through our veins. We knew that the generation that

preceded us felt the very same way, but not so sure that the next will also have this euphoric encounter. We must return to the place where we found peace. We must encourage others to remember that even though we may not feel an immediate need, there will come a time when this place will be center stage in our lives. We must remember that support may seem heavy, but there are those who rely on us for their existence to flourish. It is not enough to say that we do not need to participate now because there will come a time when it will be essential. We lose loved ones, we become infirm, we find ourselves isolated from family and friends and we despair in the thought of the end approaching too fast. Can any of us seriously doubt the need, perhaps not now, but someday? We cannot forget the happy moments that we want to share with others. All these adventures in our journey require a place for us to come together and understand that only together can we truly appreciate the value and purpose of our presence. Today, more than ever, we find ourselves at the forefront of striving for human decency. Some dedicate themselves to community efforts. Some concentrate on political endeavors. Some remember the need to remain strong of heart through medical attention.

Somehow, however, we omit the one ingredient that can and should solidify our responsibilities – faith in ourselves and faith in the One who gave us the ability to be who we are. We assemble, however, frequently, or infrequently, in our comfortable pews, sputter a few words, participate in several rituals, exchange cordialities with our friends and neighbors sitting next to us and then return to the everyday routines we left for just a little while. Some of us will whisper to ourselves and maybe to the person sitting next to us, “It is so expensive to believe.” Try to remember this when reaching out for the comfort and solace so needed in times of turmoil. Try to remember this when we drive by and behold there is no more building to enter, no more prayers to listen to, no more reminder of what brought us to this very moment in time. Where do we turn? The simple truth is that we need each other, we need a purpose in our lives and we need to understand that each of us has value. Most of all we must remember that a life without faith will certainly leave us no place to turn. Now, more than ever is this so important. – Dr. Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D. is national chaplain of Jewish War Veterans-USA and spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.

Courage sometimes involves a small step BY LYNNE HARTKE Guest Writer

I sip a cup of Earl Grey tea out on the deck of a cabin near Mormon Lake, Arizona, while listening to the elk bugle in the distance, the sound mingling with the morning chorus of the birds. Our dog Mollie hovers by the screen door, unwilling to join me. She is afraid of the deck—the echo under her pads and the feel of the rough wood. Her puppy brain holds memories of her days on the streets before we rescued her from the pound eight years earlier. Usually, she shows no signs of that traumatic time and is a great, trail-loving

companion, but every time we throw her into something new, I believe she remembers those days when she was alone and abandoned. Despite continual coaxing, I cannot convince her to step outside the four walls of her security. Finally, I heave her 35 pounds of quivering fur into my arms and place her on the deck in front of the steps leading down to the woods where adventures in juniper and oak trees await. My red woolen shirt is now covered in long orange fur, as I move to the bottom of the stairs and repeat the coaxing. The persuading. The bribing. Again, nothing. Mollie’s tail is unfurled. Her ears dejected. Her shoulders hunched. Her entire body speaks one language and one language only. Fear.

A squirrel chatters above me in a Ponderosa pine as I lift Mollie’s deadweight form into my arms and carry her down the 11 steps. I hope she will forget her fear once her feet touch the carpet of pine needles, but as soon as her paws hit the ground, she bolts around the cabin to sit at the front door waiting to be let into her sanctuary. We repeat the process again. The coaxing. The lifting. The shaking. The fear. Soon she is fine with the deck, but the stairs prove to be her nemesis. She hovers at the top. Unsure. Wavering. Is the promise of adventure worth the risk of facing the fear? For the next 30 minutes we practice. Up and down. Up and down. At the time of this writing, Mollie is still tentative, adjusting to the newness. I await the

day when she will go sniffing in the underbrush and return to my whistle, all laughing eyes and wagging tail. But it is not this day. New things can be exciting, but can stir up insecurity, even fear. We may not be able to rely upon old habit patterns and find ourselves hovering at the top of the stairs, needing to learn new skills that will lead us to adventure. Sometimes courage is taking one quivering step in a new direction. Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because GOD, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there. Deuteronomy 31:6 – Lynne Hartke is the author of Under a Desert Sky and the wife of pastor and Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. She blogs at lynnehartke.com.

Sun Lakes United Methodist hosts programs BY DENNY STEELE AND LINDA K. GERCKEN Guest Writers

Sun Lakes United Methodist Church will host an introductory class to Alpha 1011:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in Room 1 of the Education Building. Sometimes referred to as a kindergentler intro to Christianity, Alpha is a six-week course sprinkled with humor, allowing you the chance to explore the Christian faith, ask questions and share

your point of view. It was originally designed for nonbelievers, but it soon became apparent that it is an excellent review for life-long Christians. The free Alpha course will start Oct. 15, 1011:30 a.m., in Room 1 of the Education Building. Information: 480-802-8766. The church is at 9248 E. Riggs Road, west of Robson Library. The holidays are that special time of the year when we are filled with excitement and anticipation of celebrating traditions with family and friends.

Although it may seem everyone is full of holiday spirit, the truth is for some the holidays are a painful reminder of happier times when a loved one was alive to share the celebration. If you dread the approaching holiday season because you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you are invited to attend a workshop entitled Surviving the Holidays 10-11:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at Sun Lakes Methodist Church, Room 4 of the Education Building.

The workshop will provide practical ideas about how to get through the holiday season. A $5 fee covers the cost of the handbook. Information: 480-895-8766 or the church website at sunlakesumc.org. Meanwhile, the church’s annual Krafters Bazaar will be held 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 2 at the church. Crafts, vintage jewelry, holiday décor, 18-inch doll clothes, baked goods and other homemade items by the Krafters will be on sale.




Spiritual Connections

free child care for children ages 10 and younger. Desert Springs Church 19620 S. McQueen Road, Room 106, Chandler hope4all@comcast.net, helpovercomingpainfulexperiences.org

WEDNESDAYS 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


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, 480593-8798, interfaith-community.org

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 St., Chandler 480-899-7386, saintmatthewschurch.org


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, rabbi@chabadcenter.com

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, interfaith-community.org

Meditation Moments

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

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, interfaith-community.org

Christian Business Networking



Silva Class and Meditation

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, christianbusinessnetworking.com

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, christianbusinessnetworking.com

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;

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

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.

SUNDAY WORSHIP At 8:30 am & 10:00 am Childcare Provided • All Welcome!

480-963-3360 | www.chandlermethodist.org | 450 E. Chandler Heights Rd.

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


Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation

Sun Lakes Chapel 9240 E. Sun Lakes Blvd., Sun Lakes sunlakesjewishcongregation.org


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 interfaith-community.org heatherposey70@gmail.com


Jewish Women International Avodah Chapter 1581 Monthly luncheon. Social Box Eateries, 1371 N. Alma School Road, Chandler RSVP: 480-802-9304, 480-655-8812

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 480588-1882

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, beadlover@cox.net Let us help you publicize your church or temple’s events in the Spirituality section by emailing details to news@santansun. com. 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 a digital camera on the “best” or “highest quality” setting. Information is due 10 days prior to publication date. Submission does not guarantee placement.

7 p.m. second Friday of each month

Come, Worship the Lord

Praise Him

Glorify His Name





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REAL ESTATE MANUFACTURED HOMES (SALE) BRAND NEW NEVER LIVED IN 2 BED / 2 BATH HOMES $58,900 Financing Available. Also Available Affordable Homes Between $5K - $15K 55+ Mobile Home Park in Great Chandler Location. Call Kim 480-233-2035

Hiring? Place your ad in Classifieds


WINDOWS/ CLEANING 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-$110 & 2 Story-$150 Up to 30 Panes. Price Includes Inside and Out. Screens Pressure Washed $3 Each. Light Fixture and Fan Cleaning Also Available. Professional Services Since 1995! CALL RON at 480-584-1643 A+ Member of BBB Bonded & Insured

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Tips for Having a Great Garage Sale! 1. Sort through your closets, cupboards and garage for items to sell. 2. Partner up with a neighbor or friend. This is helpful to give each other breaks during the day. 3. Advertise your sale — ask us for our Yard Sale Special! 4. In your ad include the type of sale, (e.g., Yard Sale, Multi-Family Sale), date, time, address/cross streets, and be specific on prices for high dollar items. Popular items you can include: furniture, appliances, electronics, tools, yard equipment, designer/children’s clothes and shoes, craft items, antiques, unique items and collectibles/ collections. 5. Place signs on major cross streets and on the corners leading into your neighborhood. Just a fat, solid black arrow on colorful poster board works fine. 6. Price your items. If having a Multi-Family sale, each family should have a different colored price tag. You can do a $1 table, $5 table, etc., to save time. 7. Money. Be prepared with change, including coins. Do not accept checks. Cash only! 8. Have electricity available to test items. 9. Be safe. Do not let anyone into your home. Take your phone outside with you Have an extra person relieve you occasionally. 10. If it’s warm, offer cold bottled water for sale to cool off your customers! Happy customers buy things! 11. After the sale, remove your signs and donate leftover items to a local charity.

Call Classifieds at 480-898-6465 or email class@timespublications.com to place your ad.






For more community news visit SanTanSun.com

Chandler eatery a second venture for newcomers BY TORRENCE DUNHAM Contributor

A breakfast-lunch restaurant in Chandler is getting noticed and picking up raves only nine months after opening its doors. The Blackberry Café at Dobson and Warner roads, is taking the restaurant scene by storm, within the first year of operation, with nearly 200 reviews combined across Google and Yelp giving the restaurant an average four out of fivestar rating. The Blackberry Cafe features homemade breakfast and lunch items like crepes, pancakes, waffles, sandwiches, hamburgers, wraps and salads. The establishment is owned and operated by Setkia and Reggie Memishovski, who recently moved to the area. Setkia is the lead hostess and business manager; her husband of more than 30 years, Reggie, is the head chef. “It’s been wonderful, Chandler is very welcoming,” said Setkia, adding she loves the city’s community feel. “The positive feedback is really just inspiring, just keeps us going.” The cafe is the couple’s second restaurant. They previously owned a fullservice spot in Chicago for 21 years that featured a little bit of a Europen-flare, serving up items like stuffed cabbage, pierogis and goulash. Setkia’s history in the restaurant business goes back even farther, starting work at her father’s restaurant at age 16. Reggie also worked for Sekia’s father as a busboy, later working side-by-side with him at the restaurant he owned with Setkia. “I started working cleaning tables...I always went to him to watch (and said)

‘what are you doing, what are you making?’ Reggie said. “We started getting closer and I learned a lot of things from him.” Reggie and Setkia decided to sell the restaurant in Chicago and move to sunny Chandler. “I came here on vacation with my kids and I fell in love the first time I came,” Setkia said. “I said, ‘Oh my God, we are moving to Arizona. As soon as we sell the restaurant, we’re moving to Arizona.’”

Taco champs

A big crowd of well-wishers turned out early this year when Setkia and Reggie Memishovski opened their Blackberry Cafe in Chandler and since then, the resturant has been drawing raves for its breakfasts and lunch menu. (Special to SanTan Sun News)

Reggie agreed and the two made the move. However, Reggie was See



To celebrate their 100th anniversary as a family business and their 40th anniversary as a restaurant, the family that owns Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants last month invited dignitaries for a taco eating contest where, from left, 1) Carolyn Serrano, Tempe mayoral candidate Corey Booker, Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke and Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney jammed tacos; 2) Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Lugo did the same; 3) Mesa Police Officer David Keene and Chandler Police Sgt. Daniel Mejia chowed down; 4) Queen Creek Fire Capt. Brandon Athey had his fill and 5) Hartke presented the key to the city to company President Ernie Serrano. ( All photographs by Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer



BLACKBERRY on page 62






from page 61

eager to return to the restaurant life. “My husband was anxious to get back into it, this is in his blood,” Setkia said. “This is what he enjoys doing. He loves to cook. He loves to meet new people all the time.” “I couldn’t wait anymore,” Reggie added. “I said, ‘You know what, let’s go again.’” So, the two found a spot that fit their needs perfectly, a space that had a lot of windows and natural light – an environment that Setkia said was similar to their previous business. The theme of ‘in the family’ continues. Setkia’s sister Sammi works as a server and her son in law Renato is also a cook. The two aren’t sure of the future, whether they will open a second location or not. What is for sure is that Reggie is in

Diners are raving about the Blackberry Cafe’s breakfast dishes.(Special to SanTan Sun News)

the kitchen serving up food, while Setkia handles the front as the couple strives to have customers receive excellent service, food that impresses and a desire to return to the little family-owned restaurant.



E N J O Y B R E A K FA S T, L U N C H & D I N N E R !



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SanTan Sun October 05, 2019  

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