Category Archives: Newsletter

Councilmember Roland Winters Newsletter

December 2018 • Newsletter

Well hello to all my friends in District 1 and to all the folks in this great city we call Surprise. The month of November has certainly been a busy one, and a month with some major changes, starting with my own re-election. I want to thank all those voters in District 1 who voted for me and for those folks who did not vote for me, I will work harder the next four years to earn your trust. The other news (as I am sure most of you know), is that Mayor Sharon Wolcott resigned the evening of November 6 and the City Council appointed Skip Hall as the new Mayor of Surprise with a unanimous “yes” vote, which I appreciate. Skip will be a good mayor who has the experience, skill, integrity and compassion for this city. Now, the Council must appoint someone to replace Mayor Hall for his District, District 5, so if you are interested, please go see our City Clerk Sherry Aguilar and pick up an application.

As you probably also know, we lost a great City Manager in Bob Wingenroth in November. Bob has taken Surprise on a great journey these last four years. He was the lead person to bring the developers and the City together and was resolute to get the court case dismissed so we can progress in the development of our 500 acres around City Hall. I personally was very saddened to see Bob leave, but I wish him well. My last meeting with Bob was November 1.

Saturday, November 3 found me at the Sam’s Club parking lot at 9 a.m. for the Surprise Police Department Bike Rodeo. The event shows our little ones how to ride their bikes safely in Surprise. Our great Police Department puts this event on every year, and this year, it was in District 1. I want to thank our sponsors, Build A Bike, which is located in the Kohl’s shopping center in Surprise at 13980 W Bell Road and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I also want to thank Sergeant Tim Klarkowski and his team for all their hard work. There was a raffle held there, and a 7-year-old girl, Raelyn, was the winner! So on Wednesday, November 14, I met Raelyn, her mom and some of Surprise’s finest at Build A Bike so I could donate a bike to her. Congratulations, Raelyn!

Raelyn, the Winner of the bike raffel and Councilman Winters at the Surprise PD Bike Rodeo

At our first City Council meeting in November, November 6, I had some mixed feelings about being there because it was election night, but I had to be there for city business instead of waiting on the election results. I think if an election falls on a City Council meeting night, we should have the meeting on an alternative night.

Thursday, November 8 found me at Solana at the Park on Parkview. It is an assisted living facility where we were treated to a great veterans celebration leading up to Veterans Day. The program was from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. with Glenn Stark, Army Chief Warrant Officer, retired; the posting of colors by the Surprise Police Department Explorers led by Officer Nate Miller; and Vice Mayor Ken Remley. I want to thank Paige for the photos.

Solona at the Park on Parkview on Veterans Day

That same night at 6 p.m., I was at a meeting at Sundown Mountain School up in Asante about the Saddlehorn Ranch project up there. By the way, that school will be going back to the Dysart School District because Dysart needs more school space up in that part of my district.

On Friday, November 9, I attended the Veterans Day celebration at Canyon Ridge Elementary School on N. Surprise Farms Loop. I was impressed that all the little ones were so good and followed all the requests of the teachers. I want to thank Dysart Unified School District’s Ryan McGinley for the photos.

Veterans Day celebration at Canyon Ridge Elementary School

We had our Veterans Day Parade on Monday, November 12, and what a great parade it was! Thanks to Donna Miller, Paul Frie, and the entire CRS department for doing such a great job that day. I think next year we should increase the route because of the many more entries being added on the parade.

We had another ground breaking on Wednesday, November 14 where Ottawa University will build a large dormitory for their students, so they will be known as a growing, residential university. I personally am amazed at how Ottawa University is growing, and they are such good neighbors. In their 1st year of competitive play, their football team also went to the Victory Bowl.

I had a meeting with our newest department on Thursday, November 15. The Tourism Department is developing plans to make Surprise a destination city rather than a city you go through on your way to Las Vegas.

That same night we went to the WESTMARC Best of the West awards at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, formerly known as University of Phoenix Stadium. It was a sold-out crowd, and Surprise got 1st place in the Excellence in Innovation category for the Global Concierge program that’s run out of the AZ TechCelerator. We also took second in the Economic Engine award category for our Southwest Railplex. That’s the way guys. Good job!

Friday, November 16 found me at the Autumn Festival at Benevilla on Greasewood St. in the Original Town Site. There were many games and activities for all the kids, including bobbing for apples; and the apples were great. Plus, everyone got a pumpkin. The weather man cooperated with a beautiful day.

I was invited to the Surprise Farms I HOA meeting on Monday, November 19 at 7 p.m., and we had a good attendance of residents. I want to thank Renee Nelson and the rest of the Board for inviting me. It is nice that the Cross Church lets the residents use their facilities to meet.

On Tuesday, November 20, I met with APS in my office before the Council meeting concerning the site lines for the 69K electric lines that are going to be hung in the northwest part of my district. They will be just outside of the city limits, but within the city’s planning area. Then, of course, I had the City Council work session and regular meeting.

On Wednesday, November 21, I had a meeting with Tim Keenan who wants to annex and develop some acreage in the northwest part of District 1.

On Saturday, November 24, we were at the Toyota dealership on Waddell for the Chance Shelter Furry Festival to raise funds to build their shelter. Audra and her team did a great job getting that event together, and I want to thank our Toyota dealership for all their support for the Chance Shelter.

Tuesday evening, November 27, I attended the APS outreach meeting about their new power lines at Desert Oasis Grammar School that did not get much of a turn out. APS had many staff members there to explain the different site plans.

Wednesday morning, November 28, found me at a meeting at the Senior Center to discuss our new Ride Choice program that will start Saturday, December 1. Under the new program, Lyft has joined the providers, Ride Choice cards are no longer needed, and there’s only one number to call – (602)716-2111. Plus, you may choose the provider you want. Let’s hope it works well. Please let me know of your experience with it.

On Thursday, November 29, I was at the North West Valley Connect meeting. This organization will get you a needed ride when you are unable to get a ride from other sources. We are now going to try and change the mindset with Valley Metro and get some transit for the West Valley. It is a fact, where public transit is available, businesses thrive. That same evening was the West Valley Arts Council opening show at the Arts HQ. Bernadette and her team did a great job for the opening.

To start the holiday season off, on Friday night November 30, the Council lit the Christmas tree at Surprise Stadium, and the city’s annual Surprise Party kept going all the next day.

This message is for my friend Barbara up in Desert Oasis. I asked you to send me an e-mail, but I have not received it yet.

A request I received from one of my constituents was to display a reminder of our new code about talking on the phone while driving in Surprise, so I will try getting that up there. The actual citations are $250.00 and our police have started to give them out now.

I want to wish all our residents a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a healthy New Year. Be good to yourselves and be good to each other.

Roland F. Winters Jr.
District 1 Councilmember

November 2018 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all the residents in District 1 and everyone in this great city called Surprise. We are certainly getting our great weather back at this time of year. It has been really busy with this election cycle and everything going on in the city. By the time you read this newsletter, the dust will be settled and the elections over.

October started right off on the second with our Work Session at 4 p.m. followed by our City Council meeting where we take action. A number of residents were there from the northwest part of District 1. They were concerned about the conditions of the roads up there, especially with all the rain we have had this year. There is no easy fix to this issue, but we are obtaining right-of-way on Dynamite Road so we can get east/west access for the residents that reside in that area.

October 3 found me at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center to hear our Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speak to the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce. There was also a nice luncheon prepared by the students in the culinary program from Valley Vista High School. If you have not attended an event at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center, it would be worth your time. It’s a beautiful venue!

On Friday, October 5, I attended Sante of Surrpise’s 7 year anniversary event, “La Dolce Vita.” They are located at 14775 W. Yorkshire Drive. Many folks attended the festivities and many of them were former patients. Later that evening, my wife and I attended a play at Willow Canyon High School called “Once Upon a Mattress.” The kids were great in the play and a number of them have received scholarships to colleges to continue their theatrical studies.

October 9 found me in the Boards & Commissions Selection Committee meeting so we could nominate someone for the open seat on the Planning & Zoning Commission. After interviewing a number of candidates and deliberating, we chose to select Scott Krous to serve.

I was at the Surprise Youth Council meeting at the AZ TechCelerator on Bell Road on Wednesday, October 10. One of the things they were working on was coordinating the Zombie Compound during the city’s GAIN Night event. They had shuttle buses transporting folks over to the Zombie Compound in the City Hall parking garage from the rest of the festivities at Mark Coronado Park. The night I was at their meeting, the members asked me to judge their mummy contest.

On Thursday, October 11, I attended a ribbon cutting for a new restaurant called The AZ Fry Guy, located at 15226 W. Bell Road. It is the former space of Mom’s Fixins, and the food was great! That same night was my meeting at the Community Room at AZ Traditions, and we had a good crowd with a number of folks that want lights in the dog park at Dick McComb City Park. I managed to get that item on the City Council agenda for the evening of our meeting on November 6, and it was approved unanimously.

Unfortunately, the Surprise Fiesta Grande event was cancelled due to the rain we had; but next October, it will be better and bigger. Then of course, on October 16, we had our City Council Work Session and Regular City Council meeting.

Sunday, October 21 was, of course, the Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival. It was a beautiful night and there were lots of food trucks, so you did not go hungry. Plus, there was a good band. Mark Coronado Park works very well for events like this.

Monday night, October 22, was my Maricopa County Human Services Commission meeting night in Phoenix. On Tuesday night, there was a community outreach meeting at Sundown Elementary School about a project called Lone Mountain, a housing development located in the northwest part of my district, and there were many residents present.

Let me address my friends in the community of Desert Oasis. I was very disappointed that your Community Manager (David Heckler) would not allow me to greet you or speak to you about what is happening in the city, particularly in District 1, during your HOA meeting on the evening of Wednesday, October 24. I informed David that I would be there to talk to my constituents up there, even if I had to speak to them outside the gym where your meeting was taking place; which I did. However, the groups were small, and I apologize to those I did not get a chance to talk to. I wanted to make sure those residents knew I wanted to talk to them, but was barred from doing so. It is especially frustrating because your HOA only meets once a year, in October, since you are not built-out yet, and the residents don’t have their own board.

I was also told last October (the first meeting of the new Community Manager) that I was not going to have the opportunity to address you then and there. It is very unusual that a sitting City Councilmember is prohibited from addressing his constituents by an HOA. Previous to David Heckler and the Pulte Group managing your community, I spoke in front of your HOA often when Brad was your manager.

Well, I just wanted everyone in Desert Oasis to know that I did want to talk to you about your new library going in up there, some new homes going in, Happy Valley Road going through to 163rd and eastward to hook up to the 303, and the improvements to the intersection of Jomax and 163rd. You can always call me with questions or email me.

On Thursday night, I had a meet-and-greet at the skate park in Dick McComb City Park and some great conversations with some folks in and around Surprise Farms II. It was great seeing the kids enjoying the first skate park in Surprise.

Skate Park in Dick McComb City Park

Friday, October 26 found me at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale for the induction of 28 veterans into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame, including George Van de Langeryt. I was there to honor George and the other veterans, but especially George because he is the Chair of the city’s Disability Advisory Commission and one of my constituents and a friend. This award was not so much about what he did during his time in the military, but what he has done for our country since then. Congratulations, George! We are all very proud of you.

Saturday night, October 27, I was at GAIN night. It was a great night of family fun with music, displays, demonstrations and of course, candy.

We had a great groundbreaking on Tuesday morning, October 30 with the development of the Toll Brothers upscale housing project on 800 acres of Cotton Lane and Cactus. These homes will be priced from $300,000 to one million dollars with many amenities in their community which have not yet been named.

Toll Brothers ground breaking

On Tuesday night, October 30, we had a Council to Council meeting in Tolleson at one of their fire stations. This gives all the Councilmembers from different cities in the West Valley a chance to get together and talk about ways to solve the various issues in each city we serve. The cities in the West Valley take turns hosting that meeting, and it was Tolleson’s turn in October. We discussed the issue of homelessness and how to handle the issue humanely because it is not going away.

Well, that’s all for now folks. As you can see, October was a very busy month so be good to yourself and be good to each other.

October 2018 • Newsletter

Hi to all the residents in District 1 and to the residents of this great city we are fortunate to live in.

To start off with, let me say this month you can exercise one of the most important rights as Americans, and that is the right to vote. So get out there and vote whether by mail or on November 6th election day. Your vote does make a difference.

On Tuesday, September 4th, we started off with our regular workshop and then at 6pm we held our Council meeting where we take action. As most of you know, the Council voted that mobile devices must be operated in hands-free mode when driving in Surprise.

Friday September 7th you found me at the Central Arizona Project (CAP) celebration at their office in Phoenix; just imagine if the leaders that came before us did not start that canal back in the 70’s to carry water from the Colorado River to Phoenix and beyond. Our commercial and housing development would not be what it is today. The CAP was started by visionaries like Carl Hayden. It is really an engineering marvel how it pumps water out of the river and all the way to Tucson by a series of pumps.

That same evening was a night to honor our military, both current and past service members at Willow Canyon High School. One of our very own was honored. Councilman Skip Hall walked across the football field, along with many other heroes who were honored to wear our country’s uniform. Thank you Willow Canyon for doing that for our veterans.

On Monday, September 11th, the Council had a special meeting in the Chambers to canvas the primary vote. Following that vote, there was new information discovered about the District 1 election. You can learn more here:

On Friday, September 14th, I had my regular meeting at the Community Center at Arizona Traditions, and I will have my October meeting on Friday, October 12th. The address is 18250 W. Weatherby Drive. We usually go from 7 pm-8:30 pm and everyone is welcome. I must thank Arizona Traditions for the use of that space.

Monday morning, September 17th, I attended Constitution Day at Canyon Ridge Elementary School on Surprise Farms Loop N. The seventh graders got all dressed up as important Revolutionary characters. Thanks to Christopher Raso for such a great job and all the learners who did so well being all the great leaders of the time. A big thanks to Jill Hoppe, the principal, for the photos.

Tuesday morning, September 18th, I was at the Senior Center in the Original Town Site hearing about our new RideChoice program. The early rollout of the program for Surprise residents began October 1, with the option of staying on the old program until November 30th. The full program launch is December 1st. Some of the changes include: no more Ride Choice cards are needed; call one number and ask for the carrier you want to use; Lyft will also be one of the choices. Another change will be the use of a credit card to book your ride. I am hopeful that this system will run better than our last. Then, of course, that same night was our workshop and the council meeting that followed.

I joined the celebration of the Desert Diamond Casino in the West Valley. Noting the finishing of the steel structure of that magnificent building. It will be a beautiful casino when finished.

On September 20th, I was invited to talk to the residents of the New Fellowship Square on Sarival Avenue, just off of Bell Rd. Fellowship square is a new independent living, assisted living, and memory care residence here in Surprise near Sam’s Club. Some of the residents lived in Sun City Grand, but sold their homes and are now living there. I met many nice people. After our meeting, I was invited to stay for dinner, and it was very good food. Right after that meeting, I attended the Northwest Ranch HOA meeting and had a great meeting answering questions, mostly about the improvements to Greenway Road. They have a new property manager, named Brad, and the Board President is Kelly Hall.

Sunday, September 23rd, we went to Mark Coronado Park for the Second Sundays in the Park event. There was a good crowd and good music. I talked to many people there. There is something big going to happen in the northwest part of my district, but I cannot talk about the details yet. Well I will close for now. Be good to yourself and be good to each other.

September 2018 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all the folks in District 1 and to all the residents in this great city called Surprise. August started right off with a meeting at City Hall for us to find a company to draw up a master plan for the land around City Hall, and there will be some outreach meetings for the public to give us their ideas. So that meeting was on August 1st, and after our master plan is finished, things should be moving forward quickly.

August 7th was the Council Workshop at 4 pm then the Council Meeting which went way into the night as a result of not having any meetings in July.

Wednesday, August 8th found me at the Surprise Chamber of Commerce meeting with US Congresswoman Debbie Lesko as a special guest, and that evening I attended a community outreach meeting in the Desert Oasis Elementary School for another development in the northwest part of District 1.

I attended the Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grant meeting on August 16th at the AZ TechCelerator to divide up our grant funds to all the deserving organizations. The ever present problem is there are never enough funds.

I went to the Ottawa University Football game on Saturday Night the 25th and what a great football stadium they have there. The game was also good, but I can see we are going to need more stadium seats according to what a large crowd that was there.

2018-19 OUAZ Football Team celebrating their fist home game win

I paid my respects to Senator John McCain at the Capitol rotunda on Wednesday, August 29th on what would have been his 82nd birthday. We lost a great American and one of Arizona’s favorite folks, someone who served his state and nation for over 30 years and a true American hero. That day, 15,000 people passed by his casket at the Capitol. Even though he was a very busy United States Senator, he always had time for a photo. The Senator is irreplaceable, and will be sorely missed.

Well that’s all to report this month, but things will pick up as fall gets closer. Be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Roland F. Winters Jr.
District 1 Councilmember

August 2018 • Newsletter

Hello to all my neighbors in District 1 and all the residents in the great city we have the pleasure to live in. Even though we did not have any City Council meetings in July, we still managed to stay busy. We started off on Thursday, July 5 with The Moving Wall Vietnam Memorial coming to town. What a great event! If you missed it, you missed something really special. It is called The Moving Wall because it travels around the United States, and it moves you emotionally and spiritually when you see it. We held the sunrise opening ceremony on Friday morning, July 6 with our Vice Mayor, Ken Remley, welcoming the Wall to Surprise and what a great job he did! It takes years to get it here and most of my colleagues gave up their contingency funds to cover the shortfall with the cost to bring it here.

I would be remiss if I did not try and thank our great employees (our staff) that worked tirelessly to make this event the success it was. Several departments were responsible for hosting the wall, including our Community and Recreation Services Department led by Director Donna Miller and Assistant Director Paul Frie and their team (including staff member Steve Castillo); our Public Works Department led by Director Mike Gent, as well as his team; all the volunteers, both veterans and civilians; and many more unsung workers who helped over five hot summer days. Seeing my cousin’s name on the wall again does not let me forget the over 58,000 names on that wall, both male and female, who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. I was especially proud that weekend to be a Councilmember for all residents of Surprise, Arizona!

On July 11, I was in a meeting in Peoria with the Association of Realtors and heard that there is a housing shortage, especially low cost housing because of the good economy.

I had my meeting on Friday night at 7 pm in the Community Center at Arizona Traditions. My meeting is held the second Friday of the month, every month. Everyone is welcome to chat, voice your concerns, and we accept compliments too. For the past eight weekends, I have been on the road visiting with my constituents.

Tuesday, July 17 found me at the Boards and Commissions Selection Committee meeting so we can fill some commission member openings that have occurred on various Boards and Commissions. This is a good way to volunteer to help your City Council.

On Monday night, July 23, I attended my Maricopa County Social Services meeting in Phoenix. As one of the elected officials on this County Commission, we have the responsibility to spread the grant money to the most deserving folks. Of course, there is never enough funds.

I was invited and attended the HOA meeting for Surprise Farms III in the library of Willow Canyon High School. We have a bunch of good people there. I answered most of their questions they asked me; and of course, one of the most-asked questions I get many times is “What is going on at City Center?” We are now working on getting our master plan done, which has been lacking for a long time. I am confident, once we get that master plan finished, things will move forward with a little more speed. Our last meeting on this project was August 1.

Well now that August is here and elections are on the horizon, please vote for the person you think will do the best job for you and take advantage of your right in a free society and vote. Election Day is August 28.

Be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Roland F. Winters Jr.
District 1 Councilmember

June 2018 • Newsletter

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.

Rotary Club of Surprise donated wireless mics to Canyon Ridge Elementary School

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

May 2018 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all of my neighbors in District one and everyone in Surprise. A happy May to all! Well, April began with my monthly meeting of the MAG Economic Development Committee in Phoenix and the announcement that Dennis Smith, CEO of MAG is retiring. Eric Anderson will be taking over that position. Congratulations, Eric! I am sure you will do a great job for us in Maricopa County.

That same afternoon and evening on Tuesday, April 3, I attended the City Council Work Session and Regular Meeting.

On Saturday, April 7, I was invited to Surprise Farms III HOA picnic at one of their pocket parks. I attended with my wife and we had a good time. There were over one hundred people there, and I had a chance to talk to many of them. Everyone seems really happy to live in that beautiful community, and it is well kept with no trash around. Mark Beaudry and the rest of the HOA Board along with the Community Manager, Santos, do a great job!

Tuesday evening, April 10, found me at Babbo’s Restaurant on Bell Road attending the retirement celebration for Chet Keizer, the former CEO of IRIS USA. We are all sorry to see Chet leave IRIS, but the good news is that he is staying in Surprise! Chet loves Surprise! It is our hope to get him on some Boards and Commissions to take advantage of his knowledge and talents. Congratulations, Chet, on your retirement. I hope it is a long and happy one.

Chet Keizer retirement party

On Wednesday, April 11, I attended an Arizona History and Culture speaker series event on the History of Country Music, and what a great program it was with a bigger crowd in Council Chambers than some City Council meetings. I want to send out a big ‘thank you’ to Susan deJong for lining up all of these educational programs about the history of the west. That was the last one of the season, but I am looking forward to next year. Ms. deJong is the Chair of the Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission.

I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber breakfast meeting at West-MEC Northwest Campus on Thursday, April 12. Both the republican and democratic candidate for Congressional District 8 were in attendance and were asked a series of questions by Garrick Taylor with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. The Lightbox at West-MEC is a great venue for a number of events.

Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson and I traveled to Avondale on Friday, April 13 to look at the Madison Heights apartment community. A similar complex is under consideration in the Original Town Site area of Surprise. The nice apartments are well-built and affordable.

Of course, Friday night was my meeting at Arizona Traditions Community Center which is open to anyone with concerns, complaints. We even accept compliments. We had a very special guest that evening, Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe. Terry presented information on the Circle City Water Company acquisition that includes all of their assets including their allocation of water. I urge you to vote on Tuesday, May 15, or you may have already returned your mail-in ballot. If the voters agree to buy the water company, that would increase our Colorado River supply by over 38%, which helps to meet our future renewable water needs. The city intends to use current and future water assets to fund the purchase. It is not the City’s intent to place the costs of this acquisition on the tax payers or into the Surprise Water utility rates.

Saturday, April 14, I was at the WHAM Annual Recycled Arts Festival. WHAM is located at 16560 N. Dysart Road. WHAM Director Connie Whitlock and her team do such a great job on that show every year. There was a lot of art work on display and some great music with Councilman Skip Hall addressing the crowd!

WHAM Annual Recycled Arts Festival

Later that evening, I attended the Arizona Traditions Block Party in Parcel 14 with my wife. We had a great time, especially since these folks are my neighbors. We had a food truck to order dinner and music played by Harold. It was nice to relax and socialize with the folks in my HOA since I am usually tied up. I want to thank Mona Tom, Sue Rocks and Trudy Slater for pulling all that together. Everyone had fun!

Councilmember Winters with residences of Arizona Traditions

Sunday, April 15th, we spent the afternoon at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center enjoying the Surprise POPS Band. This was the last performance until next year.

Surprise Pops Band

Monday night, April 16, was the State of the City address in the Lightbox at West-MEC on Grand Avenue. As I have said previously, it is a great venue and there was a good crowd.

Tuesday night, April 17, was our City Council Work Session and Regular Meeting with a conversation about our City Center; however, no one can decide what to build on it as yet.

Wednesday, April 18 found me in a budget meeting with the City Manager, two other City Councilmembers and our Department directors. This was a half day get-together for the directors to inform the council about what the various departments were requesting in next fiscal year’s budget in an effort to address the demands for services as the city grows and to ensure the city provides extraordinary service to all our customers. The council will be voting on the Fiscal Year 2019 budget in June.

The same afternoon, I was in the Community Outreach, Partnership & Grants Committee meeting in which we decide who will receive our yearly neighborhood grants and Surprise Community grants. The process has just started, so if you are interested in getting a grant for either of these purposes, please contact Jodi Tas at 623.222.1330, and she will provide you with the details.

On Thursday, April 19 at 2 pm, I was in my bimonthly meeting with the City Manager Bob Wingenroth talking about what has been happening in and with the city and what may lie in the future of Surprise. Of course, this gives me a chance to speak one-on-one with Bob and let him know what my constituents are telling me and how we can improve the city for them. We are lucky to have a City Manager such as Bob Wingenroth who works very hard for the people who live in this great city.

On Thursday, April 26, I attended my JPAC (Joint Planning Advisory Council) meeting at the Wild Horse Pass in Chandler. This Council is part of MAG (Maricopa Association of Government). They help businesses export their products and services. At the meeting, a small business in Surprise and District 1, Rapha Revivifi System, received the Emerging Exporter of the Year award. They will soon export natural hair and cosmetic products. Congratulations to them!

On Friday, April 27, I was in a meeting with a guest speaker from the city of Tempe who was telling us that the city of Tempe has promised every child age 3 and 4 will go to preschool; and if the parents can’t afford it, the city will pay for it. Pretty interesting concept. It is a proven fact that children who attend preschool have an advantage when entering kindergarten. Senator Rick Gray and Councilmembers Hall and Duffy were also present.

Well, I will close for now. Don’t forget to vote in the Circle City Water Company election on May 15, and it can be done by mail.

Reminder that my meeting is on Friday, May 11 at the Retreat Center in Arizona Traditions, 18250 W. Weatherby. Everyone is welcome!

So until next month, be good to yourselves and be good to each other!

Roland F. Winters Jr.
District 1 Councilmember

April 2018 • Newsletter

Happy April to all of my fellow District 1 residents and to all the folks that call this beautiful city home. March got off to a quick start with the Surprise Police Appreciation Dinner at Christ Church of the Valley (CCV) on the evening of Friday, March 2. Many awards were given to show gratitude to the men and women that get on those streets every day and night to keep us all safe. I would like to take this opportunity to thank CCV for their partnership and all they do for our city. We simply ask, and they are there!

On Monday, March 5, I attended a meeting to discuss how we can help the homeless. It is growing into a more significant problem for our residents and visitors in Surprise. It is a very complex issue, and we have to be sensitive to their needs as well. One of the concerns is that we have no place to host them or feed them in Surprise. Most places that can assist or accommodate them are in Phoenix. Our homeless population does not want to leave our city and feel it is their city too.

I had a phone call from the Maricopa County Community Services Commission regarding my interest to serve on their Commission. I was, of course, honored to be considered. There is a process, so I will wait to see if I am chosen.

Friday, March 9 found me at the Economic Development Spring Training Event at Surprise Stadium. Our Economic Development Department is the greatest! They continue to bring a number of opportunities to Surprise!

Tuesday, March 13, I attended Benevilla’s Annual Donor Appreciation Brunch at Briarwood Country Club. The event honored dedicated community members and supporters of their mission. Benevilla President Joanne Thomson presented two awards. The 2018 Bill Wolfrey Community Service Award was given to Larry Vering and the Business Leadership Award was given to Pat Babcock from the West Valley Lutheran Thrift Shop. Benevilla could not provide all their services without the generous contributions of all their donors.

Benevilla Appreciation award winners

On Friday, March 16, I was at the groundbreaking for our newest company, Trimaco, in the Southwest Railplex area of Surprise. With the growing success of their business nationwide, they have outgrown their current west valley location and will be building a NEW 275,000 SF facility and employing over 110 people in Surprise! Trimaco manufactures paint accessories and professional floor protection products for paint retail, auto body and construction industries worldwide. This project represents more than just the current ground-up development, as the President of Trimaco is a long-term investor in Surprise. Mr. Vito Ancona developed Ancona Professional Plaza off Grand Avenue – and now we are happy to welcome him into our industrial park as well!

Following the groundbreaking, we attended the Economic Development Tent Appreciation Event at Surprise Stadium. This annual event is held to show our appreciation to all of our businesses in surprise. It was very successful. We had over 160 people in attendance! Many thanks to Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic for her exceptional leadership and to the entire Economic Development team for working together to show their gratitude as well as attract new business opportunities to Surprise!

I was so very pleased to be in attendance at the ceremony to honor the late CRS Director Mark Coronado. The event took place on Saturday, March 17 prior to the spring training game at Surprise Stadium. His entire family was in attendance. When the Committee to honor Mark made their recommendations at a City Council meeting earlier this year, we approved all three recommendations. You will now see a Mark Coronado legacy seat in the Stadium, in addition to renaming 8-Acre Park to “Mark Coronado Park” with a memorial plaque at the park’s entry gate. Honorary street signs along Bullard Avenue now read “Mark Coronado Way.” I hope, when someone asks 10 or 15 years from now “Who was Mark Coronado?”, there will be someone there to describe all the fantastic things Mark did for the City of Surprise. I would venture to say if it were not for Mark, there would not be a Major League Baseball team in Surprise let alone two teams. My first year on the Council, I worked closely with Mark to develop Surprise Farms Park, now known as Dick McComb City Park. Oddly enough, it was Dick McComb who hired Mark! Mark was fiercely dedicated to make that park a great place to play for generations to come with a splash pad, and the first skate park in Surprise. He also made sure he added these amenities within his budget. I thank Mark for all he did for Surprise in his 17 years of service to this city. Rest in peace now, Mark!

Mark Coronado's family on Surprise Stadium field to receive his honors

Of course on Tuesday, March 20, we held our second monthly City Council Work Session at 4 pm and our City Council Regular Meeting at 6 pm when we actually vote on the different agenda items. In addition after these two meeting, we sometimes go into Executive Session.

Thursday, March 22 found me at my Northwest Valley Connect (NWC) meeting at Benevilla, and for those of you who do not know what that organization is all about, it is all about transportation and getting people where they need to go. NWC will take you to your medical appointments, even the grocery store if you cannot get a ride. They are a non-profit 501(c)3 and there is no charge for their service but they do take donations in any amount. Their drivers are volunteers and they do have accessible vehicles, so if you are a wheelchair user, it isn’t a problem.

We had a ribbon cutting at the Shops at Elm Street on Friday, March 23. For those of you who don’t know where these new stores are, they are located on the corner of Bell Road and Civic Center Drive, right next to the soon to open In-N-Out Burger which is now hiring and paying $12 an hour! Not all of the shops are open yet, but the majority are open for business.

Thompson Thrift

In March, we had another grand opening. Ono Hawaiian BBQ, located at 13864 W. Bell Road, is a fast-casual dining restaurant with 70 store locations throughout California and Arizona. The owners are very nice and the food is excellent. Welcome to Surprise!

Surprise Councilmembers with staff member of Ono Hawaiian BBQ at grand opening

Tuesday, March 27 found me at Willow Canyon High School for a mock crash scenario to demonstrate what can happen when someone makes the decision to drive under the influence. The demonstration costs about $7,000 to put on, so I hope everyone (students and non-students alike) learned something from it. We were fortunate to get a grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. I want to thank our Surprise Fire-Medical Department, Surprise Police Department, Native Air, Dysart Unified School District, Willow Canyon administrators and staff for going above and beyond to help all of us to make the right decisions when it comes to driving under the influence, and not to text while driving. It’s simply not worth it! On a personal note, I think Willow Canyon High School is the best high school in Surprise (because it’s in my District), and I love all the kids there. I don’t want to read in the newspapers that someone was killed or injured in a traffic accident for these reasons. Please be careful out there!

On Thursday, March 29, I attended Arizona Charter Academy’s Community Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at their school at 16025 N. Dysart Road in Surprise. What a great job Melissa Holdaway and her team do to educate those kids, but that’s not all, the young folks are very polite and respectful. We were also entertained by two different choirs. The lunch was catered by Birt’s Bistro. Great job!

Police Officer Terry Vernon ReppertThat same afternoon, I attended the retirement ceremony for Surprise Police Officer Terry Vernon Reppert who served the city for 25 years. The retirements of our public safety personnel are always bitter sweet. On one hand you are happy they are going to have a great retirement, but they will be greatly missed for all their good work they’ve done for us over the years.

Still later in the afternoon on the 29th, I attended the ribbon cutting at the opening of Pinnacle Vein and Vascular Center, 12361 W. Bola Drive near the Original Town Site. Dr. Bajeet Uppal is a vascular surgeon with years of experience, and we welcome him to Surprise.

The last event I went to was the Spring Eggstravaganza on Saturday, March 31 on the Kansas City Royals practice field. What a crowd turned out, like a county fair! Community and Recreation Services Director Donna Miller, Assistant Director Paul Frie and their team did a great job! Everything was well organized and ran smoothly considering all the little people vying for all the eggs scattered all over that field. What a bunch of cuties! I hope all of you had a good Easter!

I wanted to wish retiring IRIS USA CEO Chet Keizer a great retirement! He announced last month that he was retiring, but I am happy to hear he will be staying in Surprise!

As you can see, March was a very busy month!

Don’t forget my Friday Night Chat at the Traditions Community Center, 18250 Weatherby Drive on Friday, April 13 at 7 pm. Don’t let the date scare you away. We have great cookies. My meetings are the second Friday of each month at 7 pm.

Take care! Be good to yourself and be good to each other!

Roland F. Winters Jr.
District 1 Councilmember

February 2018 • Newsletter

A big shout out to all my neighbors in District 1 and to all in Surprise! Happy February! This will be an exciting six to seven months with some of our projects gearing up and five council seats due for election or re-election, including District 1. Election Day will be held on August 28 so get registered and get on the list to receive a mail-in ballot.

The Council canceled our first meeting in January until January 16 since the second was right after New Year’s Day, but January 9 found me at the first MAG Economic Development Committee meeting of the new year up in Phoenix and things were busy all month. On January 10, I attended the Governor’s State of the State address that was hosted by WESTMARC. I was encouraged to hear he is going to increase education spending in his budget. Thursday, January 11 found me at a meeting at Sundown Elementary School for a citizen outreach meeting to inform residents of a new development going up in the northwest area of District 1. Friday night, the 12th, was my regular 2nd Friday Night Chat at the Community Center in the Retreat at Arizona Traditions. I want to take this opportunity to thank Neal Nassano and his team for letting me use that venue.

Councilmember Roland Williams with Governor Doug Ducey at the Governor’s State of the State

Saturday, January 13, was a great day of celebration and service as the city rallied hundreds of residents to the City Hall commons with entertainers and speakers to acknowledge Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all he did peacefully to change our nation. As he said, “Anybody can be great because anybody can serve.” This was our second celebration and service event and it only gets better thanks to the volunteers!

Councilman Winters attending the 2018 MLK Celebration at the City Hall

Tuesday, January 16 found me at our Council Workshop at 4 pm followed by our Regular City Council meeting. We also had a Special City Council meeting on January 23 to hear from the six people who want to be appointed to the District 2 seat through the end of this calendar year. Council is scheduled to vote on the appointment at our February 6 meeting. For the remainder of the District 2 term, this seat will be up for the August 28th election.

I was in a meeting at the new memory care facility on Parkview called “Surprise Memory Care”, very nicely done building and interiors.

I had the pleasure to attend the Northwest Ranch HOA meeting on Thursday, January 18 to present the Board with a check to replace some trees that were breaking up the sidewalks in that community. The city has a grant process where any citizen can apply for a grant to improve their neighborhood. If anyone is interested in applying, please contact Jodi Tas at 623.222.1330. I also brought with me Public Works Assistant Director Karl Zook to discuss Fire Station 304 for District 1 that passed with the bond.

On the date of Sunday, January 21, we had the sad duty to say goodbye to Councilman Jim Hayden who died after a short illness on December 20, 2017. His celebration of life was held at the Kiva Ballroom at Sun City Grand. The ballroom was filled to capacity with many speakers from all different parts of Jim’s many experiences from the Air Force, Glendale Fire Department, Glendale Community College and Surprise City government. Jim was well liked and received many accolades. His wife Nancy received two flags, one from a grateful nation given by Luke Air Force Base and the other from Glendale Fire Department. My warmest regards to Nancy and the entire Hayden family.

Wednesday evening, January 24 found me at the Asante HOA meeting with Public Works Assistant Director Karl Zook for another Fire Station 304 update for the folks up there who are happy they will finally get a permanent fully-staffed fire station, thanks to the voter-approved General Obligation Bond Election last November. I also asked Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe to educate the residents on the ballot measure and special election this May to request permission of the voters to purchase the Circle City Water Company by selling existing water assets. This initiative ensures the city’s ability to provide water services now and into the future, by growing our water supply by nearly 40%.

Thursday, January 25 found me at the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Committee meeting. We heard a very interesting presentation about autonomous vehicles from MAG Transportation Director Eric Anderson. I guess they are on their way and, ready or not, it looks like about five years according to Mr. Anderson. The hope is that the accident rates will decline since there won’t be any human error and insurance rates will drop.

We had a great groundbreaking at the Colonnade for their new assisted living/memory support facility on Friday, January 26. The Colonnade is located at 19116 Colonnade Way. The assisted living facility will have 26 apartments (24 one-bedroom and 2 two-bedroom), while the memory support facility will have 24 studio apartments. The buildings will be connected by a common entry and a shared kitchen. The building should be complete in December 2018. After the event, everyone went to a nice lunch on the lawn area of the Colonnade. It was a very nice event!

Sunday, January 28, I took the day off and went to hear the Surprise POPS Band at Valley Vista High School, and they are always great. That day was the music of big bands, the thirties and forties, Glen Miller, Louie Armstrong, etc. If you have not been there to enjoy their music, it is absolutely worth your time and the price is just canned food donations for the food bank.

Before I close this newsletter, I just want to bring you up to date on the Vietnam Moving Wall that I’ve been working to bring to Surprise. I want to personally thank Jodi Tas for all of her help in getting this wall here. I also want to thank Donna Miller, Paul Frie, the CRS team and all the others behind the scenes. Don’t miss your chance to see it July 5 – 9 in Surprise. Look for specific location details closer to the event dates.

Be good to yourselves and be good to each other!

January 2018 • Newsletter

Well we have gone through another year, and a whole new year lies in front of us. I want to wish the folks in District 1 and all the residents in this beautiful city of Surprise a happy and prosperous 2018.

Of course, one of the sad events last month was the death of one of our Councilmembers and friend, Jim Hayden. He had a good heart and was always willing and able to discuss the issues that faced the Council and this city. Jim’s memorial service will be held on January 21 in the Kiva Ballroom in Sun City Grand beginning at 11 a.m. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Nancy and the entire Hayden family.

There will be a lot of things happening this year in Surprise with the passing of the bond. Streets will be improved, two new fire stations, new Public Works buildings, and the police will finally get a new evidence building. I am excited about the new fire station on 163rd Avenue, in the northwest area of my district. The new station will be moved a little further south of the intersection of 163rd Avenue and Happy Valley Road, which will be a very busy intersection someday. I am also glad that we will be improving Greenway Road at Northwest Ranch Parkway and the alignment of Sarival. The intersection will include a traffic light, so folks will have an easier time entering and leaving the Northwest Ranch community.

I am thankful we finally got around to repaving 163rd Avenue, north of Jomax, for my friends in the northwest part of District 1. In March, the final top coat will be applied.

This new year will also include an election. There will be five seats on the Council as part of the election which will include my District Council seat, as well as Districts 2, 3, 5, and 6. The primary election will take place in August. If you are on the permanent early voting list, you will receive a ballot in the mail.

On Friday, December 1, I was at the groundbreaking ceremony for the next phase of the Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale. The construction is part of the permanent casino being built on the property. When the project is completed, there will not only be a full service casino, but also a resort and hotel.

That same evening, I attended our city’s annual Surprise Party which included the tree lighting ceremony outside the Surprise Stadium on Bullard Avenue and a great holiday party that continued that whole weekend. The celebration gets larger every year, and the residents really enjoy it.

Council Members at the 2017 Surprise Tree Lighting Ceremony

On Saturday, December 2, I joined Councilmembers Skip Hall, Ken Remley and Patrick Duffy at the ribbon cutting for the Port of Subs restaurant. They are located at 14557 W. Grand Avenue. The sub sandwiches are great!

Councilmembers Skip Hall, Patrick Duffy and Roland Winters at the ribbon cutting for the Port of Subs restaurant

Later that same day, I was off to Fire Station 303 on Cotton Lane to check in on their open house which had many visitors. If you have not visited one of our fire stations, it is well worth your time. After that, I stopped back in to Surprise Party at 8-Acre Park to enjoy the sights and events, especially the car show.

Councilmember Winters at the Fire Station 303 Open House

I attended an EPCOR meeting in the ballroom of Sun City Grand. This meeting was part of a series of Community Outreach meetings EPCOR is hosting to explain their plan to apply the costs of repairing their infrastructure over all their service areas, so as to keep the cost down for the rate payers. This meeting took place on December 4, but I don’t know how many more they are going to have before they go before the ACC (Arizona Corporation Commission) for approval. That evening, I was at City Hall for a new art exhibit opening, featuring youth artists.

Tuesday, December 5, I was off to my Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Economic Development Committee meeting in Phoenix. The committee is made up of Mayors, Councilmembers and business owners, working to bring new commercial and businesses opportunities to Maricopa County. I got back just in time for the City Council Work Session at 4 p.m. and then the City Council meeting.

The evening of Wednesday, December 6, my wife and I were at a holiday party put on by Gammage Law firm in Phoenix. We ran into Alan Jones of Lennar Homes. He was telling me how great the staff in Surprise are and what a pleasure it is to work with them. I also had the honor to talk to Grady Gammage for a few minutes. We talked about how many opportunities are opening up in the West Valley.

On Thursday, December 7, I attended the holiday celebration at our TechCelerator on Bell Road where we give startup companies a chance to succeed with reduced rent, advice, etc. Julie Neal is doing a great job over there. One of our startup businesses was bought by Google.

I went to a ribbon cutting on Friday, December 8 for our newest restaurant in Surprise – Raising Cane’s. What a celebration they had with marching bands, choirs, free chicken and much more. It is good to finally see something going up on that property on the corner of Sun Village Parkway and Bell Road… and coming soon is In-N-Out Burger!

Raising Canes Grand Openeing

I was at my Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 13. We are working on building a consortium of business people, office holders and others interested in getting a reliable source of mass transit in the West Valley, which is underserved to say the least. With the leadership of Kathy Chandler and Bonnie Boyce Wilson, I can see it really happening. We were joined by Representative Kevin Payne who applauded our efforts.

On December 14, I attended the annual holiday party that the city gives to all of our loyal workers at lunchtime. It is great to see the employees relax and enjoy themselves once a year and all the directors served up the food provided by Birt’s Bistro.

I attended the holiday party of our seniors that go to the Senior Center for different programs every day. The celebration took place on December 15 at the Colonnade which is a new venue for the event. What is neat about this party every year is that neither the city nor the taxpayer pays for this. The bill is covered by the money earned through the rental of vendor booths at the city’s Surprise Super Swap Meet, held bi-annually at the Surprise Aquatic Center parking lot.

Senior Center Holiday Party at the Colonnade

On Saturday, December 16, the long-awaited new pickleball courts opened up. The date was chosen so the most people could be there, and they were there in force. Jeff Stone, the Surprise President of the Pickleball Association, joined the Council Members in cutting the ribbon. Thanks Jeff for all your hard work in getting this done. It was my pleasure to be there.

Vice Mayor Tande, Councilmembers Hall, Duffy, Remley & Winters at the new Pickleball Courts Grand Opening

On the morning of Monday, December 18, Public Works Director Mike Gent and I took a ride to survey the work done on some of the roads in District 1. As I previously mentioned, 163rd Avenue was repaved. Other roads recently given a layer of asphalt were: Sarival between Bell and Greenway roads; Bell Pointe Road; and some roads in Surprise Farms V. Plus, paved for the first time a number of months ago, was Jomax, east of 163rd Avenue. Then of course, these roads were re-striped. Thanks to Mike and his team for all their hard work.

On Wednesday, December 20, I did a taping of a new Council Conversation show with the city’s Transportation Manager, David Kohlbeck and Public Works Director Mike Gent. If you get a chance to tune into Surprise TV and see it, please let me know what you think. The show is mostly about our transportation systems, such as they are, and the roads in and around District 1.

Many of you know about the other tragedy that took place in our neighboring city of El Mirage, and that was the death of Police Officer Paul Lazinsky who sadly died December 12 in the line of duty. I went to his viewing on December 20 at the Surprise Funeral Care on Bell Road and his funeral service the next day at Radiant Church. There was a 21-gun salute, bag pipes and many other honors and accolades. Officer Lazinsky was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with honors.

Mark your calendars as the Vietnam Moving Wall is coming to Surprise from July 5 through July 9. I have been working with staff for the last year to get this accomplished. We will need many volunteers to help make this a success. If you are interested, please contact Paul Frie at 623.222.2240. More details will follow!

I would like to relate to you a story before I close my January newsletter. Over the last four or five weeks or so, someone who visited me must have noticed my tattered American flag hanging from the front of my home. Well, Christmas morning I woke up rather early and went out in front of my house and someone had left a brand new American Flag on a pole wrapped in plastic standing against the front door. There was a no note or card so I just want to thank you so very much to whoever left it. What a nice Christmas gift and what a nice gesture!

So until next month, I will say goodbye for now. Be good to yourself and be good to each other. To whoever gave me that American flag…thank you!

Roland F. Winters Jr.