I want to give a big shout-out to all the great folks here in the City of Surprise. Let me start by apologizing to all of you who read my newsletter for being a little late this month. We are starting to get back to normal, and things are getting busier after the summer break. August began with a bang and found me on August 5 at a Surprise Police Department retirement celebration honoring Lieutenant John Bacon, held in the Council Chambers.
On August 10 at 12:30 p.m., the Mayor and I had lunch at Babbos, in District 1, which has a great lunch menu. The Mayor meets with each Council Member at a restaurant in their district monthly to catch up on what is happening across the City of Surprise. Friday, August 13, I had my AZ Traditions Chat held at The Retreat at AZ Traditions at 7:00 p.m., which had a good turnout.
On Tuesday, August 17, we had our workshop at 4 p.m. and the City Council Meeting at 6 p.m. with a full agenda. That same evening the Official Oath of Office was issued to the City’s new police chief, Benny Piña, by Judge Dominguez. He previously served as the deputy police chief in Peoria since 2014. Before that, he served 25 years with the Phoenix Police Department.
The next City Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, at 6 p.m.
On Thursday, August 19, we met to congratulate Terry Young on his retirement at a gathering attended by many Surprise employees who were there to see him off. Terry Young was our Assistant City Manager for a short time. Best of luck to you, Terry.
The same day, I had my Valley Metro meeting, but we are still doing them via Zoom, so I attended from my office at City Hall, but I guess that’s better than going to Phoenix.
Wednesday, August 25, we welcomed Crumbl Cookies to Surprise at their official ribbon cutting. Crumbl Cookies is located at 13983 W. Waddell Road, Suite 100. Congratulations to owners Jason and Lindsey Armstrong. We wish you the best of luck here in Surprise.
Below are some upcoming events happening here in Surprise are:
September 11, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony in the City Hall outdoor courtyard.
September 19, from 3-7 p.m. Sunday in the Park at Mark Coronado Park, 15850 N. Bullard Avenue, Surprise.
October 8, from 7-8:30 p.m. D1 AZ Traditions Chat at The Retreat, 18250 W. Weatherby Drive, Surprise.
October 9, from 5-10 p.m. 8th Annual Fiesta Grande at Villanueva Recreation Complex, 15660 N. Hollyhock Street.
So as you can see, we are getting busy and back to order. I’ll sign off for now, so be good to yourself and be good to each other.
Well, hello to all my friends in District 1, indeed to everyone in the great city we call Surprise. May started great with an invitation from Beth to speak with residents who live in my newest HOA, Rancho Mercardo, in the northwest part of this city, right up against Peoria. So the Mayor and I spent a pleasant afternoon with those folks from all over the United States. The first phase of Rancho Mercado, called Al Meria, is almost finished.
Monday, May 3rd, you could find me at AZProSuites for their ribbon cutting. They are located at 15331 W. Bell Road, Suite 312. They have office space to rent out to start-up businesses. It was an excellent ribbon cutting, and it is good to be back to live ribbon cuttings instead of looking at a computer.
That same day we met to congratulate Donna Miller on her retirement at a gathering attended by many Surprise employees who were there to see her off. Donna was our Director of Parks and Recreation for many years. Happy travels, Donna.
That same evening I was in the school at Asante to hear some new details on Enclave Point, which is being developed in the northwest area of my district and is being annexed into Surprise. I also had a tour of Fire Station 304 on 163rd Avenue, so I had a busy day.
On May 4th, we had our workshop at 4:30 pm and the City Council Meeting at 6 pm and a pretty full agenda. Then on Wednesday, May 5th, the Council Members were in the community room interviewing potential police chief candidates to replace Terry Young, who is now the Assistant City Manager. Benny Pina from the Peoria Police Department got the job of Police Chief with the City of Surprise Police Department.
On May 7th, the Mayor and I had lunch in a Japanese restaurant called Sakura, in District 1, and it is a lovely place to relax and have a meal. The Mayor meets with each Council Member at a restaurant in their district to catch up on what is happening across the City of Surprise. Anyway, Sakura is located at 16433 W. Bell Road, so go check it out.
May 12th at 6 pm found me back at the preparatory school at 23251 N. 166th Drive in Asante to discuss the erection of billboards along the Loop 303, so I would like to have an unofficial survey as to your feelings about billboards along the 303.
My Valley Metro meeting was on Thursday, May 13th, but we are still doing them via Zoom, so I had to go into City Hall for that meeting, but I guess that’s better than going to Phoenix.
Friday, May 14th, found me at California Pools and Landscape at 15240 N. Cotton Lane at 9 am for a ribbon-cutting. What beautiful pools they build. They had tons of photos showing their work.
That evening I started up my meetings after 13 months of the pandemic and had great attendance, mostly folks from the 163rd Avenue and Jomax Road area. We mainly talked about the traffic up there, but when most of the building is finished, we will have 163rd Avenue going through to State Route 74, Happy Valley Road going toward the Loop 303, and right now to Jomax Road, then north on 145th Avenue to Peoria.
On Saturday, May 15th, we had a ribbon cutting ceremony at the beautiful new Gaines Park at 15837 N. Nash Street to honor Floyd Gaines, an early city councilmember. He built the first baseball field in Surprise for all the kids to play baseball. We even had some of Floyd’s relatives, like his son and daughter, in attendance.
May 17th found me at another outreach meeting at the Asante School 23251 N. 166th Drive. On Tuesday, May 18th, we all had to arrive at City Hall at 2:30 pm to get a group photo of the entire 2021 Council. Then, of course, we had our Council Meeting with another full schedule.
Thursday, May 20th, was my Valley Metro meeting. We had a meeting already this month, but that was to approve the budget, and we are still using Zoom. These meetings usually go on for two to three hours, but they have important information, and the City of Surprise needs to have a seat at the table.
On Monday, May 24th, I had two meetings, one about transportation and the other meeting was about our development strategy. Tuesday at 5 pm, we had our Boards and Commissions Nominations Committee meeting with Councilmember Remley and Councilmember Cline joining me. This committee interviews the folks who want to be part of one of our many commissions and boards in Surprise.
I received a phone call from Mike, who lives out in the Sun Valley Parkway area. He wanted to meet with me about the requirements of our municipal property code. We met at City Hall with 15-20 neighbors from “the country” Sun Valley Parkway, and we continued that conversation into my meeting and the workshop meeting on June 15th. I think after that meeting, most residents felt better about the codes. Should anyone have any questions or concerns, please call Tiffany Copp at 623.222.3000.
Saturday, May 29th, found me at the World War ll memorial next to the library to honor those soldiers who gave their all. We had a pretty good bunch of veterans and civilians.
So as you can see, we are getting busy and back to order. I’ll sign off for now, so be good to yourself and be good to each other.
I want to give a big shout-out to all the great folks here in the City of Surprise. Let me start with my apologies to all of you who read my newsletter for being a little late this month. We are slowly getting back to normal, and things are getting busier. I hope you are all safe and healthy and, like me, happy to be coming out of this terrible pandemic.
Tuesday, April 6, you would find me in our council meeting, and it was nice seeing an audience instead of empty chairs. On April 13, the City of Surprise debuted the State of the City video. What a great job our staff did on that. The State of the City video will continue to be replayed on Cox Cable Channel 11 and online at surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv for a while.
As of April 19, passport services have returned to Surprise City Hall by appointment only. Regular business hours for passports are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the City Clerk’s Office. City staff can accept applications for first-time passport books and passport cards and review paperwork for renewals. They do not offer passport photos, so be sure to have your photos with you at your appointment. CVS is one location that does offer passport photos should you need to get them before your appointment. To make an appointment or for questions, please visit surpriseaz.gov/passport or call the City Clerk’s Office at 623.222.1200.
I attended my Valley Metro meeting on April 22. They are still using Zoom for our meetings, but I guess that’s better than going to Phoenix, and Valley Metro still has the mask mandate.
As of April 26, the Maricopa County Library District libraries are open for full browsing. Customers can stop by the library during Pop-In Pick-Up hours to browse every shelf and all selections, rather than a limited collection. Asante Library, located at 16763 W. Vereda Solana Dr., has Pop-In Pick-Up hours Monday – Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Thursday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The library is closed on Sunday. For more information, please visit surpriseaz.gov/library.
To my friends at the Dick McComb Dog Park, I called a meeting on April 27 with the appropriate people that take care of that park. We had some residents in attendance at this meeting to discuss the condition of the park, so look to see some improvements to the dog park.
On April 29, I went back to Dick McComb Park near the splash pad. The Surprise Rotary Club donated a tree to the park, which just so happened to be on Arbor Day. Thanks, Rotary Club, for the beautiful tree. It is right next to the splash pad.
Well, I will close for now, so 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.
A big shout out to everyone in the great and growing City of Surprise. I hope everyone got through the hustle and bustle of the holidays. We will be getting back to our regular routine by the second week of January. I want to wish all the residents a healthy 2020 (the start of a new decade). Last year was a great time for Surprise with many more commercial opportunities, eating choices, road improvements, and yes, a Costco will be opening in 2020.
To start things off on December 3, the Council got together early at City Hall and we had our photo taken in front of the Christmas tree in the lobby. After the festivities, we went into our Work Session at 4 p.m. and then onto our City Council meeting.
The next day, I had my regular monthly meeting with Mayor Hall to keep updated on what is going on in our city.
On Thursday, December 5, I had my Valley Metro meeting in Phoenix, which took up most of my day. That same evening, my wife and I went to see a play at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 10580 N 83rd Drive, at the invitation from their City Council. We saw the Christmas Carol, maybe you have heard of it. If you enjoy live plays, I recommend that play house.
Of course the highlight of the month was the Surprise Party on the evening of the December 6. We had the tree lighting, and even real snow for the young and the young at heart. I must say what a great job Parks and Recreation Director Donna Miller, Assistant Director Paul Frie and their whole team does every year. The party continued all day Saturday then of course the big cleanup, great job people. All at no cost to the residents!
On Monday, December 9, I had a great meeting with four students that are a part of the Surprise Youth Council. They were a great bunch of young people that gave me a good sense the future generation can handle the trials and tribulations ahead of them.
On Tuesday December 10, the Council was invited to meet and chat with the four people who were the finalists for the Community Development Director. I just want to congratulate Chris Boyd, who was the Interim Director and has now been promoted to Director. He has been doing a good job in the position.
The same night found me at the Surprise Senior Center, in the Original Town Site, for their Deck the Hock event, and again, there was real snow and good cookies. On the evening of December 12, most of the Council attended Tech the Halls at the TechCelerator, 12425 W Bell Rd, where we have a number of start-up companies that are trying to build their business with the city’s support.
On Friday, December 13, I was at the Adaptive Christmas Party at Dream Catcher Park for all of the special needs residents in Surprise. Most of the young people there were Dysart Unified School District students. There were trees to decorate, games to play and cookies to eat. These young people don’t dwell on what they can’t do, but concentrate on what they can do. Happy New Year!
Our last Council meeting of 2019 was on December 17, with no Work Session, but plenty on the agenda for the meeting. On Wednesday, December 18, we had yet another ribbon cutting. The Angry Crab Shack, at 11340 W Bell Rd, opened their doors with a big celebration and delicious food. The owners are great people, and put out a great assortment of seafood for the attendees to enjoy.
On Thursday, December 19, I joined almost 400 City employees to celebrate the holidays with a great lunch from Macayo’s Mexican Food and our Directors dishing it out to everyone in line. The event took place in the Ottawa University Cafeteria, and what a nice venue it is. Thank you to Dr. Dennis Tyner and the University staff for their hospitality. We have a good partnership with that school. That same night, I was invited to attend the Surprise Farms III HOA meeting to update all those folks on what’s happening in Surprise and what is in the future. Everyone was happy about Costco opening this year. We had a good crowd and all were very pleasant. I want to thank Santos, the Community Manager there, and Mark and the rest of the board for the invitation. If you want me to speak at your board meeting, just let me know.
One of my constituents, Charles Collins, who lives in Surprise Farms II wanted to donate some things for Toys for Tots. He wanted me to go with him and his daughter. So on December 23, we went down to the Surprise Police Department and met with Officer Chris Tovar and a few other officers for the donation. That same day, I had a scheduled meeting with the City Manager.
I want to congratulate the Willow Canyon High School Marching Band for being selected to be in the Fiesta Bowl Parade on Saturday, December 28. What a great job you did. You sounded awesome!
Well, I will close my first newsletter of the new decade for now, but remember be good to yourself and be good to each other.
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.