A big shout out to my friends in District 1, and all the folks in Surprise. I must start out this month’s newsletter with a serious issue, and that is there are some petty thieves in the Surprise Farms communities, especially Surprise Farms III. There have been reports of unlocked vehicles being broken in to, and this morning I received a phone call from a constituent in Surprise Farms III who had his license plate stolen off his car, so this is getting ridiculous. I had a conversation with Police Chief Terry Young to inquire about maybe giving this area of Surprise special attention, especially in the overnight hours, but in the meantime keep your eyes peeled for strangers in your neighborhood, lock your vehicle, and try to keep your car in the garage. I don’t think Surprise Farms III has a neighborhood watch program, but maybe it is time to start one. You can receive a lot of help from Officer Chris Tovar and the rest of the police department to set that up. I set up a neighborhood watch program in Parcel 14 at Arizona Traditions a number of years ago, and even though we are a gated community, it helps to have one more deterrent to the low life’s, so keep your eyes open and be alert.
Well May started off very busy with my MAG Economic Development Committee meeting in Phoenix on the 1st at 11a.m., a Workshop meeting back at city hall, and then our Regular Council meeting where the council takes action, so it was a long day.
On Wednesday, May 2, I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum with the two candidates who ran for Congress (Trent Franks seat), Debbie Lesko and Hiral Tipirneni at the Light box at West-MEC vocational school, on Grand and Dysart. What a great venue that is. That same morning, I met with Audra Colson of Chance Shelter. Surprise does not currently have a no-kill shelter for all of the unfortunate pets who get displaced for whatever reasons. Chance Shelter now has many foster parents to care for these animals until their forever homes are found. Audra was on ABC news last week on ABC’s Pay It Forward and received $500.00 towards the building of the Chance Shelter. Audra has a warm heart, and the city hopes her dream of an animal shelter in Surprise comes true.
May 3 found me at Desert Oasis Elementary School to meet and discuss the APS power lines going through right where District 1 meets Peoria, however they will not actually be in Surprise. It was a very informative outreach meeting for the public in the northwest area of my district.
On Friday, May 4, I was at the Fellowship Square Job Fair and they had lots of jobs for local residents. We got a quick tour; it is huge with independent living, assisted living, and memory care services, all within a gated community. The evening of the same day, I attended a get together at our main park to meet the Board of Directors for Chance Shelter. These are all a bunch of dedicated people.
Saturday, May 5 found me at the Aquatic Center on Bullard for safety day. One of the busiest areas was the demonstration of how to install a child car seat in your vehicle correctly. Other presentations were water and fire safety. I was there a little early and saw the helicopter land which was neat.
On Monday, May 7, I had a follow-up meeting in my office with the APS folks just to clarify and discuss the placement of the high voltage lines near the northwest area of District 1, even though they will be in the city of Peoria.
On Tuesday, May 8, I attended the WESTMARC Economic Development Summit at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale. WESTMARC does a good job at bringing jobs into the West Valley and encouraging businesses to locate or relocate out here.
Friday, May 11 at 7 p.m. was my monthly meeting. Not too many residents showed up; maybe it is vacation time. On the second Friday of every month I have my meeting to talk to residents and everyone is welcome. The meetings are held at the Community Center in Parcel 14 of Arizona Traditions.
Monday evening, May 14, the City Council hosted a joint meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission. This does not happen often. There were two topics discussed which included our revenue income to the city and the new state statute that makes it easier for developers to set up CFD’s (Community Financing Districts) when building a new development. This makes it possible for individual HOA’s to have an increase in their community property tax in addition to the ordinary property tax for certain amenities to that community such as Marley Park has done in Surprise.
Of course on Tuesday, May 15 at 5 p.m. was our workshop and council meeting at 6 p.m. The afternoon of May 16, I attended the retirement party for Dr. Gail Pletnick. It was a surprise party at the Dysart District Office, and she was surprised. Have a great, long, and happy retirement, Gail!
On Thursday, May 17, there was a large interfaith breakfast in the courtyard at city hall to celebrate all the efforts of Surprise, Peoria, and interfaith communities to help those who are less fortunate than the rest of us. Just an FYI, Surprise has a count now of how many homeless are in our community and it is 39, so let us all show a little compassion for these folks.
On Monday, May 21, I was at Surprise TV and taped my Council Conversation, which many of you have seen on our channel by now. My guests were Donna Miller (Director of Community and Recreation Services) and Paul Frie (Assistant Director) who stepped in and took charge of the moving Vietnam Wall memorial coming to Surprise and have done such a great job putting it all together. If you have not gotten the word by now, the half size model of the Vietnam Memorial Wall located in Washington D.C. will be coming to Surprise on July 5th and the following morning we will have a ceremony, (click this link to see the flyer). I am so excited about the wall being in Surprise for 5 days after trying for over 2 years. I want to thank all the people who work for our great city, without their efforts and hard work this would not be possible. If anyone would like to volunteer to help make this a great event, please call Steve Castillo at (623)-222-2267.
I was in the Boards and Commission Selection Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 22. This is a committee made up of three councilmembers who choose and nominate future commissioners for the city’s various commissions, and in turn the full council votes on those individuals to fill these positions on those commissions. We do have some openings and if you are interested in serving your city, call our City Clerk Sherry at (623)-222-1200.
That same afternoon we had a Special City Council meeting to “bless” the vote on whether or not to approve the purchase of the Circle City Water Company, and 80% of you said yes, which I agree with because that means we’ll be getting 35%-40% increase in the Colorado River water supply allotment added to our water supply for the city. I hope the remaining 20% of the voters will realize in time that economic development depends on a sure supply of water that is needed in large quantities for manufacturing.
The morning of May 25, I was in my Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Meeting. This is a 501C3 that deals in transit in Surprise and the surrounding area to find and/or deliver rides for folks who cannot find transportation to doctors’ offices, dental appointments, and other appointments.
On Friday, May 25, we had a great event at Canyon Ridge Elementary School in my district when the Rotary Club of Surprise came by with 1,008 wireless mice with batteries for the children’s computers at that school. The Principal, Jill Hoppe, and Assistant Principal Andrew Griesel, were there to accept the donation and were so grateful to the Rotary Club. The Rotary Club members present were President August Heiss, Chris Judd and Jay Lickus. The other big event the Rotary Club does every year is called the Taste of Surprise held at the stadium and all money is donated to various local charities.
We had a really nice ceremony on Saturday, May 26 at the World War II Memorial near the main library on Bullard for the Memorial Day Wreath Laying event. The emcee was George Van de Langeryt, a retired marine and Larry Brown was the keynote speaker. A decorated Vietnam Combat Veteran with a number of Purple Hearts and a Silver Star with a very compelling narrative of his combat experience in Vietnam also participated.
We had another great ceremony on Memorial Day on Monday, May 28 at the Nick Bacon Memorial that is in the courtyard at city hall. Many family members were there including John Bacon, from Surprise Police Department (Nick’s nephew), and another nephew, Norman, who is on the Peoria Police Department and lives in my district, as well as Nick’s brother. Thanks to all that took time out of their busy schedules to be there.
On May 30 at 5 p.m., I attended the West-MEC 2018 recognition ceremony for the students graduating from all the West-MEC schools in the area, and even some from our own West-MEC school right here in Surprise. The ceremony was held at the Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV); what a huge venue at 7007 W. Happy Valley Road, Peoria. There were almost 500 students getting their certificates of completion in so many different disciplines, and they were all so happy and felt a sense of satisfaction as well they should. I heard a number of hardship stories from these kids while they were trying to get through their classes. After that ceremony, I felt better about this state’s future! Good luck to all you graduates.
Well I will close for now. As you can see May was a busy month. Please don’t forget my meeting on Friday, June 8th at Arizona Traditions Parcel 14 Community Center, 18250 W. Weatherby Drive at 7 p.m. I want to thank Neal at Arizona Traditions for letting me use that venue.
Roland F. Winters Jr.
District 1 Councilmember