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.
Well, I can’t believe once again another month has gone by, and we are working on the last month of the year. I sure hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving with family and friends and that you are looking forward to the holidays.
November started off with the opening of a nice new restaurant, called Bonfire Craft Kitchen and Taphouse, located at 15332 W. Bell Road. The ribbon cutting was held on November 1 and the owner, Dave, and all employees were great. I wish them good luck on their new restaurant.
On Saturday night, November 2, there was a tailgate party at the Ottawa University football stadium. This celebration took place before the last regular season game and was sponsored by One Step Beyond and Charles Collins, one of my constituents. We had a great time with hotdogs, hamburgers and all that goes along with that. A big shout out to all of those who helped make this a success.
Sunday, November 3, found me at the Bell Point HOA Picnic on 184th Ave. and Legend. Many residents were there including my friend Lee Daniels. They are getting ready for all of the new neighbors that will soon be on Bell Point as soon as the development goes vertical.
On Monday, November 4, I was at the Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting for their annual officer elections. The meeting was held in the Northwest Regional Library on Bullard Ave. They also have some Altrusa members as part of their organization.
That same afternoon, I was at a new rehab hospital grand opening located at 15150 W. Mondell Road. It is a beautiful facility and the folks were also very nice.
Of course, November 5 was the first Tuesday of the month and the evening of our Council Work Session followed by the Council Meeting, where action is taken.
Thursday, November 7, was WESTMARC’s Best of the West annual awards dinner celebration at the State Farm Stadium. Our Economic Development team has previously won an award, but this year, others were recognized.
On Friday, November 8, Canyon Ridge Elementary School put on a nice event for our veterans in their outside courtyard. Christopher Raso does a great job with these events, and I thank him for his continued efforts.
Following the Canyon Ridge event, I came to City Hall to help Linda Stevens celebrate her 25 years of service to the City of Surprise. Congratulations Linda, and here’s to many more years.
That same evening, I held my monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the community center at Arizona Traditions. I would like to thank Neal and his team for reserving that spot for me every month.
Monday, November 11, was a great day for the City of Surprise, not only because it was Veterans Day, and we had a great celebration of our veterans with our beautiful parade, but also we cut the ribbon to our latest memorial to another great American, Brian Mancini. He was a true hero who served on the battlefield as a medic when an IED hit his vehicle. The memorial is located behind the library on Bullard, by the lake. It is a beautiful space to sit and reflect.
Tuesday, November 12, was a breakfast for leaders of the local area at Marley Park Heritage Hall. Following the breakfast, I headed to City Hall for the retirement ceremony of Ruby Sitea. The last stop of the day was a ribbon cutting for Vein Envy.
On Wednesday, November 13, we had another grand opening and ribbon cutting at Ugly Tuna Sushi, 15459 W. Bell Road. Daniel and his wife are the owners and their whole team treated us great. The entire council was there to welcome them as well as taste their great food.
On Saturday, November 16, we visited Fire Station 303 at Cotton Ln. and Greenway Rd. This is the start of the Fire Station Open Houses where you can visit the stations and meet the firefighters. There are two in my district. Check the city calendar at www.surpriseaz.gov for future dates.
We had another ribbon cutting on Monday, November 18 for the Surprise Health and Rehab Center at 14660 W. Parkwood Drive. We just keep on growing!
That same evening, I was off to Phoenix to join my colleagues on the Maricopa County Human Services Commission. This group aims to give a helping hand to the folks in our county that are less fortunate than most. We, unfortunately, have more people that you’d think living below poverty level.
Tuesday, November 19, I was in a meeting with our finance team concerning some possible amendments to our budget. After that, I went to my Board and Commission Selection Committee Meeting. The committee reviewed some changes to bring to council to consider relating to the Veterans, Disability and Human Services Commission.
Wednesday, November 20, was yet another day for a ribbon cutting at the second location for Richi’s Diner at 17221 N. Litchfield Road. Liza and her team were very gracious to all of us in attendance. The menu is varied and the diner is spacious. Karaoke happens on Wednesday nights.
On Thursday night, the Mike Nesbitt Show was streamed live from Buffalo Wild Wings on 13882 W. Bell Road. Mayor Hall and Councilman Sanders were guest speakers. If you don’t know who Coach Nesbitt is, he is the Head Football Coach for Ottawa University in Surprise. This year the football team had only one loss in their regular season.
The community manager and the board at Arizona Traditions invited the Mayor to speak in front of the residents in the ballroom on Friday, November 22. Councilmember Hayden and I were present as well. The Mayor went over all of the things happening in Surprise and some things to attend to an almost standing room only audience. He was greeted with appreciation, applause and a couple of kind comments. I want to thank the folks at Traditions for inviting our Mayor to this Town Hall as it has been a number of years since a Surprise Mayor has been invited into this community.
I was honored on Saturday, November 23, to act as a judge at the Chance Shelter Fundraiser “Most Like My Owner” Dog Competition and Fashion Show. It was a very successful event with a great turn out. Audra, Gregg and the entire team did a great job, which raised some much needed funds to build their no kill shelter in Surprise. I want to thank Lew Goldstein, Manager of the Toyota Dealership, for hosting this event for the 2nd year in a row with no charge to Chance Shelter.
On Tuesday, November 26, I was in a meeting with a three constituents, one lady from Bell West Ranch and Mike Gent, our Public Works Director, to discuss plans for bringing back our recycling program. This meeting was asked for by Ro from Northwest Ranch, and I believe most of her concerns and questions were answered. It was explained that we are working on the issue and that it is an issue that many residents want us to solve.
Well, I will close for now and talk to you again at the end of the year. Don’t forget our big Christmas party and tree lighting on Friday, December 6.
Well hello again to all the residents in this great city we call home and we have the good fortune to live in, Surprise. October started off for me with a bang with our City Council Meeting with a large agenda. Wednesday evening, I went to a Community Outreach Meeting, at Western Peaks Elementary School, to discuss the new development called Mesquite Mountain Ranch III. The development will be located off of Sun Valley Parkway on the western edge of Surprise, with great views of the White Tank Mountains. This family community will have amenities to include a pool for the residents.
On Thursday evening, I attended the Construction Board Meeting in the Council Chambers to hear all of the changes in our building codes, which need to be updated.
On Saturday, October 5, the Human Service and Community Vitality Department, in partnership with the Veterans, Disability, and Human Services Commission, put on a Care and Share Expo in the courtyard and parking garage at City Hall. They had many vendors with information, candy, gifts, and food for the visitors that attended.
Tuesday, October 8, I spent the morning at a company in Phoenix, called MSS. They look for people who have made advancements in their respected fields. I nominated Kathy Chandler, of Northwest Valley Connect, for all of her work getting transit started in the West Valley since coming down from Flagstaff about four years ago. The winners will be announced at the Governor’s Awards dinner on October 24th at the Phoenix Convention Center. On Wednesday, October 9, I attended a transportation update meeting at City Hall.
The morning of October 10, I spent two hours on a conference call with the other members of the Maricopa County Human Services Committee trying to find a solution for those folks in the West Valley who have fallen behind in paying their APS bills after our hot summer. The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) directed APS not to turn anyone’s electricity off until after October 18 and also to set up a payment schedule for those customers to pay off their large bills.
On Friday, October 11, I attended the Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting at a conference room at City Hall. These folks did some great things to help educate our young citizens with free books, donation of funds, and support from many volunteers. That same night, I had my regular monthly meeting at the community center at The Retreat in Arizona Traditions. We had a good crowd.
Of course, Saturday night, October 12, was Fiesta Grande. There was great attendance and many good entertainers. I think the crowds were the biggest we have had, maybe because it rained last year, and we could not have it. If you have never been, give it a try next year. The selection of classic cars varied. Thanks to those folks for sharing their vehicles.
On Monday, October 14, we had a meeting with some members of the Board of Saguaro View in the northwest part of my district to discuss what streets the city can maintain. However, the problem is that we do not have the right of way in which the city needs to maintain them. We have gotten some rights signed off to us in recent weeks, so we are making progress. Of course, on Tuesday October 15, we had our City Council Meeting at 6 p.m.
On Wednesday, October 16, we had a groundbreaking for Auviana Medical Development, located at 14753 W Mountain View Blvd. A number of medical buildings are being constructed.
I was invited to the Northwest Ranch HOA meeting, and they wanted to discuss the speeding on North West Ranch Parkway, so I asked our police chief Terry Young to attend and he was very helpful. The other concern was the need for some plants along North West Ranch Parkway, so I am pushing to get some funding for some plants and trees to be put in along the road.
Friday, October 18, at 6 p.m. was another art opening at the West Valley Arts Headquarters, right next to City Hall on Paradise Lane. Bernadette Carroll and her team always do such a good job at these art shows with a nice space.
The family and I have been going to the Ottawa football games regularly this season, and we have a great time every Saturday night. Last year they went to the Victory Bowl. If you have not been to a game, try and get one next season. The beautiful field is worth the trip. So, Saturday night, October 19th, they won again.
On Sunday, October 20, over at Beardsley Park in Sun City West, North West Valley Connect had a great fundraiser on this beautiful day. I ran into a former City Councilman of Surprise and a friend of mine, Jim Biundo, with his classic car entry in the car show. There were also a number of vendors and entertainers.
Wednesday, October 23, you found me in a meeting at City Hall, then another conference call with the Maricopa Human Services Commission for another couple hours. That same day I greeted a company and their audience at the Christ’s Church of the Valley in Surprise. The organization will help people or companies bring their dreams to realities. Mission Create is a nonprofit incubator helping leaders successfully start their mission. They help launch your idea and support you with fundraising, legal compliance, and mentoring, so I welcomed them to Surprise.
On Thursday, October 24, I spent the day and into the night in Phoenix. I had my Valley Metro meeting located at 101 N 1st Ave in Phoenix. The agenda was full with a good discussion about the Tempe Street Car (the newest transit addition to the Phoenix Area). Since the folks voted for the expansion of the light rail, we can go forward with it. My next stop that night was to the Phoenix Convention Center for the Governor’s Award Program to acknowledge those businesses that made great technological advancements. Sorry to report the North West Valley Connect did not win top spot, but I did get to talk to the Governor.
Friday, October 25, at 7 a.m. you found me at the grand re-opening of the Sam’s Club on Bell Road. I was happy to say a few words to thank Lyle, the manager, for the eleven-million-dollar investment in the remodeling of the interior of the entire store to serve the residents better.
On Saturday night, I was at Mark Coronado Park for G.A.I.N. Night. I hope you made it out. I believe it was the largest turnout ever (over two thousand residents). The highlight of the evening for me was the releasing of three rehabilitated owls by our Police Chief Terry Young, Councilmember Chris Judd, and Public Works Director Mike Gent. To see those owls soar away was quite a sight and maybe one of them are now perched in the trees of your backyard. Of course, all the little residents of our city got their share of candy.
On Sunday, October 27, my wife and I attended the Neighborhood Block Party in Sun City Grand. Since I was elected Vice Mayor in January, I have been trying to get to all of the HOA block parties and/or neighborhood get togethers throughout our city. What an enjoyable afternoon it was with the residents on and around Patagonia Way having a meal with Gregg, Lynda, Bonnie, Jenn, Gerry, Chuck, and all the good folks there. The Mayor and Councilwoman Hayden (District 2 representative) were also there.
On Monday, October 28, was my monthly meeting with Mayor Hall. We meet once a month to check with each other as to how things are going or discuss our concerns. Tuesday, I had a transportation meeting at City Hall to discuss the construction on Waddell, Cactus, and Greenway roads, the progress and completion dates.
On Halloween, the last day of the month, you found me at a block party on W Lisbon St. in the community of Royal Ranch. All the homes were decorated with the owners best Halloween décor. John and his wife, as well as Patrick, Amy, and many others were great hosts to us and had lots of treats for the little trick-or-treaters.
Well, I will close for now and wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Have a great day with your family and friends, so be good to yourself and be good to each other.
A big shout out to all the residents in this beautiful city we call home, and Happy Halloween. Before we get started on what I have done and where I have been in September. I just want to let my friends in Bell Point know that you will be getting some new neighbors, as you probably noticed on the east side of Bell Point. It is going to be called Bell Point II South. They cleaned off all the vegetation and turned the dirt over in two days for some new homes.
Wednesday, September 4, we had a Central Arizona Project (CAP) Dinner meeting and were brought up to speed on the CAP. With Surprise having annexed about 200 acres in the northwest part of my district, the CAP now runs through Surprise.
We had our Council Meeting on Thursday, September 5 due to the holiday. That morning, I was at Rio Vista Park in Peoria to see the Vietnam Moving Wall that stayed there for three days. That is quite a sight.
On Saturday night, September 7, Council attended the Ottawa University game at their home football stadium on Tierra Buena. If you have not seen the football stadium yet, it is worth the trip over there. Who would have thought that Surprise would have their own football stadium with press box and the whole nine yards?
Monday, September 9 found me at the groundbreaking ceremony for Fire Station 304. This Fire Station is located on 163rd Avenue in the northwest part of District 1. It will be the largest Fire Station in Surprise when finished and will replace the temporary station, which has been in use for 17 years. Our firefighters and our residents in that area deserve a permanent fire house.
Then, I was off to a Chamber of Commerce Luncheon Meeting with Congresswoman Debbie Lesko at WESTMEC; that school is really growing. Congresswoman Lesko announced she is moving her office to Surprise from Glendale so it will be centrally located.
Legacy School, near Marley Park, had a wonderful ceremony in honor of Patriot Day (September 11). The ceremony included the Surprise Police Department as well as the Color Guard raising the flag. There were many parents, students and elected officials in attendance.
Friday, September 13, found me at my Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting, and their latest project is getting a book return deposit built into the side of the new library at Asante Park. This would help residents since they would be able to drive up and return books without getting out of their car. That same night, I held my monthly meeting at the Community Center in Arizona Traditions. I had a discussion with one of my constituents last month, and she told me that since Arizona Traditions is a gated community, she can’t get in. Well, that cannot be further from the truth. When you arrive at the gate, just inform the guard that you are here to attend the District 1 meeting held by Vice Mayor Winters. Everyone is always welcome!
Tuesday, September 17, was Constitution Day. I was at Canyon Ridge Elementary School along with Mayor Hall and Councilman Sanders. Every year, this school puts on a nice program along with the Sons of the Revolution. I ended my night with our bi-monthly Council Work Session and Council Meeting.
I attended the Veteran’s Summit on Wednesday, September 18. This meeting works to get all of the individual veteran organizations to work together. The main project we need to concentrate on is a Veteran’s Hall. This would allow veterans to have a place to meet and gather. That same afternoon, I was on a conference call to discuss our budget.
On Thursday, September 19, I was at my Valley Metro Meeting in Phoenix. Some of the discussion was the fact the residents approved the continuous building of the light rail. That evening, I was at the Post 96 Meeting at the Neighborhood Center in Arizona Traditions. During this meeting, four young men from Willow Canyon High School were recognized for their completion of the NAU Boys State program where they learned about civic engagement. Mayor Hall and Councilmember Hayden were there to support these young men. Thank you to Post 96 for sponsoring this event each year.
Friday, September 20 (my birthday), found me at Gaines Park in the Original Town Site for a neighborhood picnic. The Mayor and Councilmember Remley were in attendance. It was a beautiful day for this event.
On Saturday, I was at the celebration of placing a Peace Pole at City Hall, across the street from the Police Department. This piece of art was donated to the city by the Surprise Rotary Club in collaboration with the Surprise Arts Commission. Thank you to Jay Likus from the Rotary Club for being the emcee for the event. The beautiful piece of art has a friendly reminder on there to be Peace on Earth in four languages. I was able to thank the Rotary Club and the Arts Commission on behalf of Mayor and Council.
Monday, September 23, found me at Dysart Unified School District’s dedication ceremony for Freedom Traditional School. It was certainly a big celebration with many students, parents, staff and elected officials. This school took the place of the old Parkview Elementary School.
That same evening was my Maricopa County Human Services Commission Meeting in Phoenix, and if you remember, that was the night it was raining like crazy. The discussion that night was about people in low income brackets who may have their electricity turned off. The issue was at what temperature does it need to be for the company to not be allowed to turn off power.
The next morning was beautiful with no more rain, and I was at Fire Station 305 to celebrate the donation of a fire truck to Valley Vista Fire Science Program. It was a great event, and the students were also in attendance.
That evening, I attended the Community Outreach Meeting at Asante Prep in regards to the Austin Ranch Development in the northwest part of my district. This community is going to be very nice.
On Wednesday, September 25, we had a nice tour and ribbon cutting for SeaCa Packaging. This is one of our newest manufacturing plants, which brought in 65 phase one jobs. This company is family owned and operated since 1889. If you have a chance, you can read about the wonderful history of the company and family online at www.seattlebox.com/seaca.html.
That same night, there was a special showing of the Peanut Butter Falcon at the AMC Theater on Litchfield Road. This whole event was set up by Charles Collins, a resident who lives in my district who has a special needs daughter. I want to also thank the manager of the AMC Theater for the special showing for those special clients of One Step Beyond, located on Reems and Bell roads. This was a very nice event.
On Thursday, September 26, I was at the Northwest Valley Connect Meeting – mainly to hear what the new Chief Operation Officer for Total Ride had to say. Total Ride is one of the providers for Ride Choice. They are trying very hard to get their act together.
That same day, I had my monthly meeting with our City Manager, then my monthly meeting with Mayor Hall. At 5:00 p.m. I had my last meeting of the day with Kendra Pettis and Joe Bertoletti from Sports and Tourism. This meeting was to kick around some ideas for events in Surprise.
On Friday, September 27, I spend 2 ½ hours at the Dysart Unified School District Main Offices filling out a survey and breaking into groups to learn how to solve problems. That same afternoon was the ribbon cutting for Trimaco, another great manufacturing facility in Surprise. They specialize in paint supplies and will bring lots of jobs to our city. The owner came to this country with very little money but climbed to the top with a very successful company. I got to the ribbon cutting a little early so I was given a private tour of the facility. Trimaco is located at 13600 W. Sweetwater Ave.
My first stop on Saturday, September 28, was the grand re-opening of the Westside Total Fitness Gym with Keith and Julie. They have a great place at 16630 W. Greenway Road. We cut the ribbon in the morning, and I was able to welcome them to Surprise on behalf of the Mayor. Councilmembers Hayden and Sanders were present as well. I wish the new owner of Westside Total Fitness lots of luck.
Also on Saturday, I was invited to the HOA Picnic for Surprise Farms II at the Fire Truck Park. Ervin from our city’s Neighborhood Services team was there, and he is the number one disc jockey of the Surprise Block Party Trailer. This community is making the big change-over to First Service Management Company. The hot dogs and hamburgers were great and so were the residents. I even got a few, “you’re doing a great job” comments, which is always nice to hear.
To wrap up the month, I had a meeting Monday afternoon. It was a very busy month.
A big shout out to all the citizens who live in this great city we call Surprise, and a happy September to you all (it’s getting cooler). August 6 at 4 p.m., you found me in the Council Work Session and then Council Meeting at 6 p.m. Surprise has had so much going on the last couple of years, I wanted to show you the size of the book that Councilmembers have to read, study, and comprehend for the Council Meetings (this fork is for scale).
On August 8 at 6 p.m., I was back at City Hall to sit in on a presentation that Scott Phillips made. Scott is the Vice-President of Care Free Partners, which is the company who is working on our city center development. What a presentation it was.
The next day, August 9, I was in the Friends of the Library meeting back at City Hall, and I am always amazed at the great work they do for our school aged children, especially the younger ones.
I had a good meeting on my regular second Friday meeting of the month, and Scott Phillips was a guest speaker. He did a great job again talking about our soon to be downtown. We had a good crowd with approximately 30 people in attendance, and a big thank you to all you folks who took time out of your busy schedules to be there.
I have been getting many emails and phone calls to come out and look at the beautiful dog park at Dick McComb Park, and what a difference it is now that all the lights have been installed. I went over there Saturday, August 10 to see the lights and also visit with the people who go there with their pups. Everyone was so happy with how it turned out, so thank you to Donna Miller, Paul Frie, and the rest of the city’s Parks & Recreation team for a great job. A special thanks to Jeff Martin (one of our city engineers) for being the project manager on the job. I don’t want to miss Rita for keeping me up to date on the progress over there.
On the evening of Wednesday, August 14, my wife and I went to the Veterans Disability and Human Services Commission meeting, which meets in the City Council Chambers on the second Wednesday of each month. I don’t usually go to the commission meetings, but they had good speakers talking about special needs kids; and they were invited to speak by Chuck Collins, who is the parent of a special needs little girl. He also lives in my district, and I am proud to call him a friend.
On August 14, I was honored to be at an awards luncheon for the people who work for the city of Surprise. This get-together recognizes those employees who have served in an exemplary manner, above and beyond their usual duties. Years of Service pins are also given out. We have some great people who work to keep your city clean, safe, and self-sufficient. Great job folks. It was a wonderful luncheon.
Tuesday, August 20 through Friday, August 23, I was at the League of Cities and Towns Conference with elected officials from the 91 cities and towns across the state. We had many classes to go to, from topics on homelessness to recycling programs and everything in between. So, we didn’t have much free time, but I did get a chance to talk to our Governor, Senator Martha McSally, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, and all the hard working and intelligent elected officials.
Monday, August 26, found me in my monthly meeting with Mayor Skip Hall, who makes the time to talk to every Councilmember to find out what is important to them and their individual districts because each district’s residents have their own concerns and problems. My time in that meeting is about an hour.
The next morning, the Surprise Chamber of Commerce sponsored a visit for Congresswoman Debbie Lesko at 7 a.m. at the WestMEC facility on Grand Avenue and Dysart Road. I have known Debbie since she was a State Representative. She is a nice person, and we were all filled in on what is going on in D.C and the different bills she has presented and/or sponsored. Thanks to the Chamber for bringing Congresswoman Lesko to Surprise. Finally, Debbie is moving her office to Surprise!
The same afternoon, I had a meeting with some staff and the folks in the northwestern part of my district to see how we can help maintain the roads up there. The major problem is there are so many private landowners, and we have a difficult time trying to get right of ways to get up there and work on those roads.
On Wednesday, August 28, I attended Councilmember Remley’s meeting at Rio Salado College, on Smokey Drive in the Original Town Site. Scott Phillips was also the guest speaker there about our downtown development.
On Thursday August 29, I was at my Valley Metro Board Meeting, only that day we needed to get there early because we had a work shop at 10 a.m. to help us become better board members. Our meeting started at noon, and one of the good things we did was to vote for some transit for our folks in the county. So, starting on October 1 of this year, the county will have a Paratransit system much like the City of Surprise system in which people with disabilities can ride to medical appointments or work. This new program will be delivered by Transdev, the same company that Surprise uses. County residents can look for additional details as October 1 draws near. This does not impact the Surprise program.
On Friday, August 30, you found me at Surprise Funeral Care to attend services for a Surprise police officer, Steven Reppert, who was a Detective Sergeant with Surprise for 22 years, and before that in the Air Force for eleven years. It was a sad time for his wife, Terry, his daughter, Victoria, and his son, Brock. Steve also left two grandchildren, Coltin and Dean, and many other relatives and friends. It was also a sad day for the Surprise Police Department and Surprise as a city lost a very good cop. He will be sorely missed. At fifty years old, he was taken much too soon.
Well, until next month, be good to yourself and be good to each other.
A big hello to everyone in this great city we call Surprise. I hope you are all holding up in this heat. Of course, most of you know, we do not have council meetings in July, but we certainly have other meetings and things to do.
On Tuesday, July 3, I had meetings with Kathy Chandler, CEO of Northwest Valley Connect; Audra, CEO of Chance Shelter; and the owners of an upcoming coffee shop, Spencer’s Place, to discuss the good work they do in Surprise. I also gave each organization a donation to help carry on their missions.
July 8 at 8:00 a.m. found me at the grand opening of Growing Minds Preschool, 17999 Surprise Farms Loop South. It is a beautiful facility, and the folks at the Dysart Unified School District worked very hard to remodel and renovate the building, which has been vacant for several years. At the ribbon cutting, there were words from Assistant Superintendent Jim Dean, Mayor Skip Hall, and others. I wish I could have been there when the children saw the “village”, which is a huge room made up to be a city, including shops, a fire house, police station, city hall, and more.
On Tuesday, July 9, there was a great turn out at Raising Cane’s for a fun night of Lemonade with a Cop (the lemonade was free). Thank you Raising Cane’s, located at 14385 W Bell Road. I was happy to meet Deborah Luder, one of my constituents who lives up in the northwest part of my district. Chief Young could not make it, but Assistant Chief Geoffrey Leggett was there, along with many others of our finest in blue. Another constituent of mine, Charles Collins, from Surprise Farms II was also there.
Thursday July 11, you found me in a meeting with the folks from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) with their CEO, Chris Camacho. Most of the councilmembers were there, including our Mayor. Also our Economic Development Department, including director Jeanine Jerkovic, was in attendance. Our economic development team is the best. GPEC helps us to find sites in our city for commercial and industrial business wanting to locate in Surprise. They are a great help.
Right after that meeting, I had my monthly meeting at 2:30 p.m. with our City Manager to go over what is happening in Surprise, and he usually asks how he can help me. It’s nice to have his support. On Friday, July 12 at 10:30 a.m., I was in the Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting at the Chamber of Commerce building. I have been drafted into the organization since Mayor Skip Hall was elected. As a councilmember, he sat in on these meetings, but now he has his hands full as our Mayor, and it is very difficult to say no to Alyson Cline. Mrs. Cline and her team do a great job making sure our kids are literate by giving books to our schools, helping our teachers, and working with the nonprofit organization Altrusa to make sure every child can read by the third grade.
I want to wish Lynn Peratt a happy retirement. Lynn was our receptionist at City Hall for many years. She always had a smile and was ready to help anyone, including me many times. I told her she could not leave, but she said no. Have a great retirement Lynn, you deserve it.
I had my meeting on Friday night at the Retreat Community Center in Arizona Traditions and had a large showing. I hope I cleared up some confusion with my friends in the northwest part of my district concerning the Lone Mountain Ranch project. That part of the recent annexation process was to bring the acreage of Marisol Ranch into the city so that property will belong to Surprise when the developer starts building. The Lone Mountain Ranch land is not sold to anyone yet, so any development is years down the road.
While I’m on the topic of my monthly meeting, I want to remind everyone that my August meeting will be on Friday, August 9 at 7:00 p.m. in the Retreat Community Room at Arizona Traditions. A special guest, Scott Phillips, will be in attendance. He works with Surprise Center Development Company, the developers of our City Center project. This is a chance to share ideas about what you would like to see in our future downtown. We will have cookies!
Moving on now, I did my Council Conversations television taping on Monday, July 15, and it was a two-part show. First with Sue Larkin of Altrusa International of the West Valley, then part two is with Donna Miller, Director of Parks and Recreation. The show is now running on Channel 11 if you have Cox, or on the city website, https://d1.surpriseaz.gov/2019/07/25/new-council-conversations-altrusa-international-and-asante-library-update/. The first portion of the show focused on reading programs and how involved our city is with ensuing children are able to read. During the second part of the show, I talked to Donna Miller about the new library being built up in my district at the city park in the Asante neighborhood.
Wednesday, July 17 found me at the Community Room at City Hall for a Valley Metro meeting concerning extending the Paratransit program that Surprise has now to the entire Maricopa County area. There are no proposed service changes for Surprise at this time. I went to a similar community outreach meeting in Mesa last month. Even though it is a county project, I felt as a Valley Metro Board Member, and as a Paratransit user, I needed to be there. Our Mayor was also at the Wednesday meeting, along with other Councilmembers.
On Friday, July 19, I had a much anticipated tour of the Asante Branch Library construction site. The Mayor, and Councilmembers Hayden and Remley were also on the tour. I would like to thank Adam with Haydon Construction for doing the work and the tour; and thank you to Jeff, one of our city engineers. It is going to be a beautiful building with meeting rooms and glass walls for natural light.
Monday, July 22, I was in Phoenix at my Maricopa County Human Services Commission Meeting. Maricopa Human Services Department does some good things for people who are not as fortunate as most of us in Surprise. They help people pay their utility bills, rent payments, etc.
Wednesday, July 24, you found me on a tour at the One Step Beyond organization. They do a great job helping developmentally disabled folks get educated, find jobs, find housing, among other things. They are located right here in Surprise on Reems Road. This tour was organized by a constituent who lives in Surprise Farms II, Charles Collins, who has a special needs daughter.
A quick update sent from a constituent on the Dick McComb Dog Park. The lights are installed and working properly. Thank you Donna Miller and the Parks and Recreation team as now I know my residents can enjoy the park at night when the weather is a bit more tolerable.
Some good news for my northwest district residents. The intersection of 163rd and Jomax will begin construction on Phase 1. This phase will include traffic signals and turn lanes. Fire Station 304, which is south of Happy Valley on 163rd, has also begun construction. I appreciate your patience during the construction times and know that this will benefit our residents greatly.
Well, I’ll close my newsletter for August, and will talk to you next month again. Be good to yourself and be good to each other.
A big shout out to all the residents of this great city of Surprise. Our population is quickly growing, and I believe we will easily reach 150,000 in 2020. June was a pretty busy month.
On June 4, we had our City Council Work Session at 4:00 p.m., followed by our City Council meeting at 6:00 p.m. There was a lot going on, not the least of which was the annexation of over a thousand acres in the northwest part of my district. There were many residents at the meeting who were opposed to it, and I can certainly see some of their issues.
Wednesday, June 5, I was at the ribbon cutting of a new phase of Marley Park. This is a great development with large houses, huge pool, nice community center and a basketball court. There is also a number of models to choose from.
Thursday, June 6, found me at the Boards and Commissions Selection Committee meeting at 5:00 p.m. This meeting was held to choose a candidate for a newly opened seat on the Veterans, Disability and Human Services Commission. I serve on this committee, alongside Councilmembers Remley and Sanders. The committee made their selection, and Council approved Larry Brown to fill the seat.
On Saturday, June 8, there was a great event for Jo Jo Collins, who is the daughter of a constituent, Charles Collins. Jo Jo has a rare disease called PURA Syndrome. She is in a wheelchair and is non-verbal. The event was set up to raise awareness for the special needs community, as well as to pull together the resources that are available in our city that connect special needs groups. If you are interested in being involved, please contact Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, June 13, I was at a ribbon cutting with Councilmember Judd. We welcomed a new dental office, Breez Dental, which is located at 15331 W. Bell Road. The grand opening had a number of people in attendance. Welcome to Surprise, Dr. Whitney Sebree.
Friday, June 14 at 10:00 a.m. found me in the Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting where I gave a presentation on the progress of the new Asante Library. This library is going to be a beautiful building located in the northwest area of my district. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product.
As long as we are talking about new buildings going up in District 1, how about our new Abrazo Community Health Center which will be located next to Winco? This small micro-hospital will offer a 24-hour emergency department as well as minor surgery, imaging, labs, pharmacy and other outpatient services. It is scheduled to open in spring of 2020.
We had another great ribbon cutting in the afternoon of Friday, June 14 with the opening of the Hilton Garden Inn on Young Street. The entire City Council attended. This is our first full service hotel in Surprise, and it is a good option for dinner. Needless to say, there was plenty of food at this event.
On Monday, June 17, I had the honor to be in Goodyear for the swearing in ceremony of their newly elected councilmember, as well as returning councilmembers. Goodyear is a nice city, just a short distance to the south of us, and they seem to attract large companies to join their ranks.
Tuesday, June 18, was the afternoon of our City Council Work Session and evening of our City Council meeting, where action is taken.
Thursday, June 20, found me in the Valley Metro Board of Directors meeting at 101 N. 1st Street in Phoenix. This board is made up of a number of Mayors, Vice Mayors and Councilmembers from various cities and towns throughout Maricopa County. One agenda item was the election of officers. Councilman Jon Edwards, from Peoria, was appointed treasurer.
Monday, June 24, was another great ground breaking ceremony at Surprise Regional Library for the Veterans Reflection Circle in honor of Brian Mancini. We had a ceremony inside, and it had a large turn out with comments from those who knew Brian, companies that volunteered their service to build the memorial, and comments from Mayor Hall. There are going to be over 30 companies or individuals donating time, effort, and skills to accomplish this project. Following the ceremony, we all went outside to the actual groundbreaking. The committee that planned the memorial, Honor House, wanted it by the lake because Brian liked fishing and loved the outdoors. It will also have a garden and benches so anyone can come relax and reflect.
On June 25th at 9 a.m., I was at Red Mountain Active Adult Center in Mesa to listen to a presentation from Valley Metro. They want to start a Ride Choice System similar to the system we have in Surprise. While this is commendable, and I support this program, I only hope it will be more effective than ours has been.
That same day, I attended a celebration at the café in City Hall, to celebrate Dr. Dennis Tyner on his newly accepted role as President of OUAZ. He really works hard for that school, and deserves the promotion. I look forward to the future of Ottawa University and congratulate Dr. Tyner.
I found myself at another ribbon cutting on June 27 at the Office Max store on Bell Road. Office Max and Office Depot (same company), formed a partnership with Lenovo California Computer Company, and they had a display right in the front part of the store. Councilmembers Nancy Hayden and Ken Remley were also present. Mayor Hall had a conflict in his schedule, so I welcomed Lenovo to Surprise. I think the Mayor would have done a better job. This arrangement is called a store within a store; there is only one other like it in Florida.
On the same afternoon, I was at yet another ribbon cutting at the Park at Surprise, which is a large independent living facility on Parkwood Drive. A crowd was there with plenty of food for all.
Friday June 18, I had a great tour of the O’Dell Athletic Center at Ottawa University, along with Councilmembers Judd and Hayden, and Mayor Hall. Thanks to Haydon Construction and Patrick (our tour guide) for the opportunity to see the interior of the athletic center before it is completed. From the outside, it does not look very large, but inside, it is huge – with a fitness center, and basketball courts with concert lighting and a stage that can transform the space for events. Thanks to Ottawa University for transforming the City of Surprise.
My next meeting will be on July 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Center at Arizona Traditions, 18250 W Weatherby Drive. Please press 0000 and tell the guard you are going to my meeting, and he will open the gate.
My August meeting will be on August 9 at the same location and same time. It is an opportunity to give feedback on what you would like to see in our new downtown. Scott Phillips, the Vice-President of the Property Owners Consortium, will be there to guide us through the process and answer questions you may have.
One last thought I will leave you with, and that is thanks to the citizens of Surprise for allowing me the honor of being your Vice Mayor. Be good to yourself and be good to each other.