Hi, to all of the residents in this great city we call Surprise. City Hall is still closed to day-to-day visitors, but business is going on with emails, phone, and virtual meetings. At our council meeting, we did have a fair amount of folks there because we are now allowing about 50 people, spread throughout the council chambers, to follow CDC recommendations.
Of course, it remains very tragic times, and to add to everything else, we now must wait so long for the results of the election, so I think 2020 will be remembered for a long time.
On Monday, October 19th, we had a meeting of the Rules Committee of which I am a member, we are working on updating our rules and regulations under which the council must work and abide by.
I feel bad we did not have the Veterans Day Parade this year because of the virus, but our Communications department worked on a video that was shown on Veterans Day on Surprise TV and on the Surprise City Gov Facebook page. The council had a small part in that. I want to take this time to thank all our veterans and their families. I hope you had a happy and healthy Veterans Day.
I still have not started up my second Friday night meetings yet; I am still waiting for Arizona Traditions to open the community buildings. I will let you all know when we get started.
Well hello again to all the residents in District one and, indeed, to every citizen of this great city we are all blessed to live in.
September started off with a work session, and City Council Meeting on the 1st. Our Council books are getting very lengthy, so in spite of COVID-19 we have not slowed down much in the growth of Surprise. Speaking of the Coronavirus, I hope all of you are staying safe, keeping those masks on, and practicing social distancing (6 feet). I know it has been difficult for everyone, including me and my family; but hang in there, this too will pass. I feel badly that we have been canceling all the events our residents enjoy, but this can’t go on forever.
On Saturday, September 5th, Senator Martha McSally came to visit Surprise, and the full Council was there.
The Board and Commissions Nominations Committee, of which I am the Chair, held a meeting on September 8th to choose some folks for our many openings on our Boards and Commissions. We had a great turnout of many citizens who wish to help the Council. We did not finish until 6:30 p.m.
On our second Council meeting in September, it was our first opening up of our Council meeting to a live audience, but with some restrictions, such as, people being spread out, no more than 50 people, and masks required when entering and exiting the chambers.
Most of my meetings this month have been virtual meetings, like my Valley Metro Board Meeting. I am not a great fan of these types of meetings, but I guess it is better than going into Phoenix.
For my friends in the Northwest area of District 1, there is a new development going up between the Dollar Store and 163rd Avenue, along Jomax Road. It is Sunrise Ranch; I got a phone call from a constituent asking that question.
Sorry my newsletter is a little late this month. Be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Hello again to all the great folks in district one and indeed in the City of Surprise, and I hope everyone is doing ok considering these special trying times. I do want to start off on a positive note in that Costco will be having their grand opening on Thursday, September 24th at 8 am. Something we have all been waiting for. Be at 13614 N. Sarival and welcome Costco to Surprise, AZ.
I know this virus is getting old, and it certainly has worn out its welcome a long time ago, but let’s hang in there and keep doing what you have been doing to get through this pandemic together.
I am still waiting for Arizona Traditions to open up their buildings, so I can start my meetings again, but I don’t know when that will be. Keep checking the surpriseaz.gov website.
I am also looking forward to the opening of our doors at the Council Chambers so anyone who wishes to be at our council meetings can be there. I miss all of those happy faces, and engaged residents of Surprise as we used to do.
Beginning September 15, meetings of the Surprise City Council will reopen to limited in-person public participation; while maintaining a call-in option for those wishing to participate remotely. In-person participants will be limited to 50 and will be required to wear a facial covering when entering or exiting the chambers. If they so choose, they may remove them while seated. Seating will be marked to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet of separation from those in attendance. You can get all the details and information on when other public meetings are reopening at surpriseaz.gov.
Let’s all say a prayer that our scientists find a vaccine.
To my friends in North-West Ranch, this is the month you’ve been waiting for. Construction starts on Greenway, widening from 303 eastbound to Reems Rd. Also, on the corner of Greenway and North-West Ranch Parkway will be a fully functioning traffic signal. Which means left and right hand turns coming out of North-West Ranch Parkway will be made easier for you.
Thanks to you, the residents, for voting for the G.O. Bond and making this improvement possible.
I recently attend a retirement celebration for Dave Kohlbeck, who has worked for the City of Surprise since 2001! Dave has raised the profile of the City of Surprise around the region and state, through his involvement with Maricopa Association of Governments and Valley Metro, as well as being actively involved in multiple professional organizations including the Government Finance Officers Association of Arizona, Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the American Public Works Association. He also served his fellow colleagues for many years on the 457 Deferred Compensation Advisory Group providing strategic investment oversight, as well as chairing the employee project team that helped the city evaluate and move to a self-funded health care program. He has earned multiple recognitions during this time including the City Manager’s Service Award for his outstanding customer service in leading the City’s transit program, communicating and resolving rider issues, and improving the transit services offered in our community. I wish him congratulations on his retirement!
Hi and a big shout out to all my friends and neighbors in this great city we have the good fortune to live in.
Let’s start off this month with some great news. I just got the word a couple of days ago that Amazon is coming to Surprise. Their facility will be located at the Rail Plex, have a 145,000 square foot building and hundreds of jobs to be filled. I must give our Economic Development Department kudos for a great job. Director Jeanine Jerkovic, Manager Mike Hoover, Kris Cassens, and many more worked many hours to bring this project to fruition. Good Job Everyone. News like this is especially uplifting in these times of campaign rhetoric saying that Surprise doesn’t get the big companies for the head of household jobs.
I would like to continue with some more good news. On Thursday, July 9th we did a groundbreaking for the Kansas City Royals living quarters right across the street from the Texas Rangers building. Of course, because of COVID-19, we had to do things a little differently, with only a few folks digging dirt, but we did take individual photos of the council with a golden shovel in their mask. This moment was in the works for nearly 10 years.
Just a note to my constituents in the North-West part of my district, I hope you are pleased with the improvement in the area; like widening 163rd, sidewalks and curbs, your new firehouse, and the traffic light at Jomax and 163rd. This area is being transformed.
I hope you all are wearing your masks and/or staying home when possible. As always take care of yourself and take care of each other.
A big shout out to all my fellow Surprise residents, as we started off June we went right into our first Council meeting on June 2. We are also still dealing with these trying times with COVID-19 still creating havoc in our beautiful city (more about the coronavirus a little later). I sure hope everyone is staying safe, and staying home whenever possible.
I do have some good news for many of my constituents and other residents in Surprise. We have worked out an agreement with a vendor in Phoenix to take our recyclables and actually recycle them. Starting on Tuesday, July 7 residents can bring acceptable materials to our Public Works yard at 17274 N. Litchfield Road. They will be open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. and 1 p.m.-3 p.m., you can check our website for details. I want to thank Mike Gent for all his hard work finding this vendor.
On Monday, June 8th the sub-committee that I serve on with Councilmember Remley and Councilmember Hayden met for almost five hours, choosing volunteers to serve on our various boards and commissions that we have vacancies on.
We had our second Council Meeting of the month on Tuesday, June 16th (the last meeting before our summer break) and to find out the Council was not immune from COVID-19 was pretty scary, especially when it hits so close to home. We have been spread out on the dais for the last 5 months, but that night we could really spread out.
The next day, on the 17th, the Mayor announced we had an emergency in Surprise and since the Governor left it up to the Mayors and Councils to decide what to do about the rising cases of COVID-19, we as a Council needed to do something, because what we had been doing was not working and our graph was still spiking. I am writing this newsletter on the night of July 1st and the report that I got today says we have 877 cases and that is 50% over last week and that is just Surprise, so the Council started our conversation on the morning of the 18th and talked again on what we could do Friday morning and in the a.m. of June 19th we mandated the wearing of masks and a few other things. That afternoon the County came out with a very similar resolution.
It was a very difficult decision for me to make, maybe the most difficult since I have been on the Council, but it was a unanimous vote yes. There was of course some folks in Surprise that did not like wearing a mask (I didn’t either) and they sent me emails and phone calls, and I really feel badly that they disagreed with the Council, but we are just trying to save lives, we need to get this monster under control. The Governor had to close some places just the other day again. I really feel a lot of empathy for the folks out of work and their uncertainty as to how this is going to come out.
The doctors and scientists say wear the mask and the cases of the virus will come down, let’s hope they are correct.
Of Course, the other disappointment was the cancelling of the fireworks but that was an operational decision due to the COVID-19, and due to the fact it is very dry out there. Well I am sorry about the masks, and sorry there are no fireworks this year. I will miss them also, but there is always next year. So, as always be good to yourself and be good to each other.
A big shout out to my constituents in District One, and indeed to all the citizens of this great city we call Surprise. Well it has been another challenging month in May, not only dealing with COVID-19, but also now we are having riots across our great nation. We are so blessed to live here in Surprise where our residents are law abiding, and our great police force is interested in de-escalating an incident.
I am still operating out of my home office via emails and phone calls since the City is still pretty much shut down. We are trying to gradually return to normal (whatever that is). I have had emails and phone calls asking to open the dog parks ASAP and with the support of our City Manager we got those opened mid-May.
We did have a few events in May. On Wednesday, May 6th the entire Council went to the Senior Center on Hollyhock Street to give out lunches to the seniors as they drove into the parking lot and out again, we gave out 130 hot lunches in about 20 minutes.
Thursday, May 14th found the full Council at 8 p.m. in the stadium with a large display on the score board congratulating all of the graduating seniors in Surprise, with the Council in the foreground. I have so much empathy for those youngsters who worked hard to get their diplomas and not being able to walk across the stage. I remember getting my diploma, it wasn’t that long ago (or maybe it was). No matter how you celebrated, you will never forget it.
Then, of course, our Council meeting was on the 19th, still with no one in the Council Chambers except for Council, maybe sometime in August we may open up after the council takes their annual break in July.
Saturday, May 30th was a great day for the City of Surprise and Chance Shelter, who will be working together to have our first animal shelter in Surprise, not only an animal shelter, but a no kill shelter. At 8 a.m. on the 30th, we gathered together to celebrate the Land Dedication for the Chance Shelter. Courtland Homes (who are building Copper Canyon North) gave Chance Shelter 7 acres on which to build. The location of the shelter will be near the intersection on 183rd Avenue and Deer Valley Road. Our Animal Control Officers will no longer need to drive to Phoenix when they pick up any strays, but drive to our own shelter right here in Surprise. Audra and Greg Colson worked very hard to make this happen. I want to thank Hans from Courtland Homes for all his hard work to get this done and of course for the property. Chance Shelter has so many great volunteers like Helen, Bob, Mary, Gabe Rivas and many others.
So I hope you folks are staying home as much as possible, but wear those masks when you go out.
I will close for now, so as always, be good to yourself and be good to each other. I will be resuming my meetings, my constituents, as soon as AZ Traditions opens their community center. I will let everyone know when that happens.
Well hello to the good folks of Surprise. We are still living in challenging times, but we will get through this. We all still must use our masks in public, wash our hands frequently, and stay away from crowds. I have a lot of empathy for our citizens that are not getting a pay check, and I know you want to get back to work, but I would not want to rush it (maybe after this month).
I am still working from my home office except for the council meetings with no one in the chambers. I have meetings thru the computer and conference calls.
I really can’t go anywhere because I need to stay home which I hope you are also doing, even though I am going stir crazy. Of course, I will not have my monthly community meetings until further notice.
Please stay healthy and be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Hi to all of my fellow residents, March was certainly not what we expected it to be. Some of the other councilmembers and I got the opportunity to read to some students in our local elementary schools on the 3rd and 4th of March, then COVID-19 started to spread in our state and changed our daily lives. On the 5th of March, I started my stay at home routine, working from my home office, sending and receiving emails, and talking to many people on the phone. My Valley Metro meeting was done via conference call on the 19th. We did have a budget meeting on the 27th of March, it was an all-day retreat in the council chambers. I had concerns about going into the meeting, but I think we did what we could to keep everyone safe with everyone keeping six feet apart. This is going to be a balance for me to try and do my job and staying at home. The COVID-19 pandemic will have impacts to our economy.
Right now, we must work together to get through this terrible contagious virus by following these simple procedures: wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, stay at home as much as possible; if you must go out in public, stay away from crowds and keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and others. I am sure you have heard all of this before, but you will do well to remember.
Please note that until further notice, I will not be having my monthly meetings. I look forward to meeting again once the CDC guidelines allow for gatherings. Please visit the City of Surprise website at www.surpriseaz.gov to view any updates to my meeting calendar.
We can all say a prayer for the folks on the front line, the doctors, nurses, and other health care workers who put their lives on the line every day, along with our police and fire people. As always, be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Well, another big shout out to my district friends, and everyone in this great, and growing city that we all have the good fortune to live in. February started off with a bang, and you found me at the ribbon-cutting for our third library in Surprise. The Asante Library is a beautiful building in the northwest part of Surprise and Saturday, February 1st was a great day, for all of Surprise, but especially for residents of that part of the city. We not only had the mayor and council there, but Congresswoman Debbie Lesko and Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman also attended and said a few words. Plus, mother nature gave us a beautiful day.
On Monday, February 3rd, the council was at the ribbon-cutting of another new restaurant at 13621 N Litchfield, right next door to the AMC Theater, called the Amigo’s Mexican Grill. It has great ambience and is very spacious. We had a sampling of their food, and it was very good.
Of course, we had our workshop and council meeting on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, February 5th I was at the main Library on Bullard to judge a bookmark contest painted by many school children throughout Surprise. We had some tough choices for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
On Thursday I had lunch with several employees from Total Ride to discuss some problems still existing in the Ride Choice program that many Surprise residents use. I talked to the vice president and two managers, so maybe the suggestions I offered will be followed.
The mayor of Buckeye invited me to his tent at the Buckeye Air Show. It was great, I didn’t even know Buckeye had an airport.
On Friday, February 14th, (Valentine’s Day) we checked out the Senior Center on Hollyhock St. and our seniors were having a good time at their Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Dance.
That same night, I had my meeting at the Arizona Traditions Community Center with a good turnout.
Tuesday, February 18th was our workshop and our city council meeting where we take action. At this council meeting, we were all awarded a beautiful plaque from an engaged resident, Glen Klitzca and his wife. I was very surprised, honored, and grateful to receive that recognition.
On Wednesday, February 19th, I was invited to the grand opening of the Desert Diamond Casino on Northern Ave in Glendale. It is a very large and beautiful casino. The same evening, I went to a meeting at the Sun Down School in the northwest part of my district to listen about the plans for another development up there. No citizens were present.
Thursday, February 20th was the day of my Valley Metro meeting. We had a workshop at 10:30 am and a meeting at 1 p.m. We heard about some projects underway, voted on some motions, and held an executive board meeting on extending our CEO’s contract.
Friday, February 21st was a busy day for grand openings and ribbon cuttings, we had one at Ottawa University to celebrate the completion of the athletic building, as well as the dorms and student union.
Dr. Tyner and his people at Ottawa continue to amaze me as they grow, not just in brick and mortar, but as a student body.
The other ribbon cutting was the Texas Rangers’ Player Housing Facility, which allows them to stay together rather than in hotels. It is a beautiful building.
Saturday, February 22nd you found me at the 304 Fire Station, up on 163rd Ave. It was cold and raining that day, but there was still a lot of visiting. I think the firefighters up there are anxious to move into their new digs. It is certainly going to be a large new station.
As many of you know, Surprise is a dementia-friendly city, and the mayor and I had a meeting on Monday, February 24th with Keren Montandon, Vice President of Operations for Dementia Education and Cure. Also in that meeting was Brian Browne, the President of Dementia Education and Cure. I have had some inquiries about how to contact this organization. Their phone number is 1-888-317-5559. So, if you are taking care of someone with dementia, they can help you.
Tuesday, February 25th, there was a breakfast meeting at West-MEC, on Grand Ave, for the mayors of Surprise, Youngtown, and El Mirage, to talk about their citizens and tell the audience how they have dealt with some issues. That same day, I went to the Massing of the Colors, which took place in the Palm Ridge Recreation Center on Deer Valley Drive in Sun City West. A very patriotic program with several different organizations displaying their flags.
On Wednesday, February 26th, I was at a Ribbon Cutting for De Boa Jiu Jitsu Studio, 14763 Litchfield Rd., near our movie theater. The owners are Leslie and Andrew Gardineer, and they are going to have a very successful business. Good luck to the Gardineers.
We had a groundbreaking on Thursday, February 27th at Heritage by Asante, in the northwest part of my district, 24490 N 173rd Lane. That same afternoon, we had a flag ceremony for our Assistant Fire Chief Johnston, who is retiring. It was a real nice ceremony, and the flag was given to him. Have a great retirement, Daryl.
That same night, I went to a Chamber of Commerce networking event at Bud Kramer’s Western Trails Ranch out on Grand Ave in Morristown; Dillon’s now owns it. It was a nice event and a nice night out there.
Friday, February 28th found me at Surprise Stadium for a Spring Training luncheon with our business leaders. This was organized by our Economic Development Department to keep our lines of communication open with them.
Well, that is it for this month, I will talk to you next month. As always be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Well, here it is already February. A big shout out to the residents of this great City of Surprise. The weather has been cold, and I am hoping for the warmth to come soon. The first month of the decade started off busy, and it’s not going to slow down. I started this month at a meeting with a developer who wants to bring additional businesses to Surprise.
On Tuesday, January 7, we had our Council Meeting with a full agenda. On January 10, I had my monthly meeting in the Arizona Traditions Community Center with a great crowd of residents.
On Monday, January 13, I welcomed Quick Quack Car Wash to Surprise. They are going to be located near the movie theater on Litchfield Road. This is Quick Quack’s first car wash in Surprise, but they have six in Phoenix, one in Buckeye and one in Tolleson. Their corporate office is in Sacramento, California. It was a cold morning with Councilmembers Hayden and Remley in attendance, along with many Quick Quack employees.
Wednesday, January 15, you found me at the Governor’s State of the State Address, which was very well attended. The Governor has plans to invest more money in education this year. Afterwards, I was in my office meeting with our new Transit Director, Kristen Taylor. She will take over once David Kohlbeck retires in the coming months.
On Friday, January 17, I attended the Tourism Fund Subcommittee meeting, as I am a member. We discussed what events can be brought to Surprise.
Saturday, January 18, I was at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration and Service. Starting with a breakfast in the courtyard, the day was full of volunteers all working together for the greater good of Surprise.
Our second Council Meeting this month was on January 21. Council celebrated a ribbon cutting at Toll Brothers Sterling Grove on January 23. Sterling Grove is an upscale community with homes starting over $300,000 and going up to over a half-million dollars. They have about 13 models open at this time. They offer some beautiful homes with a great golf course.
On Friday, January 24, I was treated to a wonderful tour of Valley Metro. The tour included three buildings as well as the entire transit company. I want to thank the CEO Scott Smith, Pat Dillion, Hillary Foose and all the folks who helped put on the tour.
The Surprise Pops Band is back for another season at The Vista Performing Arts Center on Parkview. Their concerts are every other Sunday and are very entertaining, as well as relaxing. The cost is only a couple of cans of food.
On Monday, January 27, the Mayor and I attended a meeting at Happy Trails with a large turnout of residents to hear a lecture from Brian Browne about Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Brian is very knowledgeable about the disease. The City of Surprise has become a Dementia Friendly city, helping to care for people affected by this terrible disease. We will meet with Brian in the future to see what other ways the city can help.
On January 28, I was in Scottsdale to help One Step Beyond celebrate the grand opening of their fourth campus in Arizona. Their Surprise campus is located on Reems Road. They have many programs for adults who are developmentally disabled, including assistance with finding employment.
On January 29, I attended the Breakfast with the Mayor event, which is a prayer breakfast led by the city’s pastors and ministers at Ottawa University. This partnership with Ottawa has been a great relationship for both parties. That same day I was at the groundbreaking for our new apartment complex, being built on Greenway Road and Civic Center Plaza by Sparrow Construction. Sparrow is an Austin, Texas corporation that plans on building several products in the Valley. This is their first venture in Surprise. This apartment complex, with two buildings, will be age-restricted and our first residential property in the downtown area.
On Thursday, January 30, I was at my Valley Metro workshop in Phoenix at 10 a.m. followed by the meeting where we take action at 11:15 a.m. Some of my Valley Metro meetings take up my whole day. The last day of the month was the icing on the cake when we had the grand opening and ribbon cutting for Spencer’s Place. This coffee shop is a great place where young adults with developmental disabilities can find a job and be productive citizens of Surprise. It’s a dream come true for Karin and Chris (Spencer’s parents) who worked tirelessly to open this coffee shop. Karin was a special education teacher at Valley Vista High School for many years and a number of her former students now work at Spencer’s place. From all of Council at City Hall, we wish you much luck in this new business.
So, for now, I say so long until next month. Be good to yourself and be good to each other.