Hi, to all of the residents in this great city we call Surprise. City Hall is still closed to day-to-day visitors, but business is going on with emails, phone, and virtual meetings. At our council meeting, we did have a fair amount of folks there because we are now allowing about 50 people, spread throughout the council chambers, to follow CDC recommendations.
Of course, it remains very tragic times, and to add to everything else, we now must wait so long for the results of the election, so I think 2020 will be remembered for a long time.
On Monday, October 19th, we had a meeting of the Rules Committee of which I am a member, we are working on updating our rules and regulations under which the council must work and abide by.
I feel bad we did not have the Veterans Day Parade this year because of the virus, but our Communications department worked on a video that was shown on Veterans Day on Surprise TV and on the Surprise City Gov Facebook page. The council had a small part in that. I want to take this time to thank all our veterans and their families. I hope you had a happy and healthy Veterans Day.
I still have not started up my second Friday night meetings yet; I am still waiting for Arizona Traditions to open the community buildings. I will let you all know when we get started.
Well, I can’t believe once again another month has gone by, and we are working on the last month of the year. I sure hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving with family and friends and that you are looking forward to the holidays.
November started off with the opening of a nice new restaurant, called Bonfire Craft Kitchen and Taphouse, located at 15332 W. Bell Road. The ribbon cutting was held on November 1 and the owner, Dave, and all employees were great. I wish them good luck on their new restaurant.
On Saturday night, November 2, there was a tailgate party at the Ottawa University football stadium. This celebration took place before the last regular season game and was sponsored by One Step Beyond and Charles Collins, one of my constituents. We had a great time with hotdogs, hamburgers and all that goes along with that. A big shout out to all of those who helped make this a success.
Sunday, November 3, found me at the Bell Point HOA Picnic on 184th Ave. and Legend. Many residents were there including my friend Lee Daniels. They are getting ready for all of the new neighbors that will soon be on Bell Point as soon as the development goes vertical.
On Monday, November 4, I was at the Friends of the Surprise Libraries meeting for their annual officer elections. The meeting was held in the Northwest Regional Library on Bullard Ave. They also have some Altrusa members as part of their organization.
That same afternoon, I was at a new rehab hospital grand opening located at 15150 W. Mondell Road. It is a beautiful facility and the folks were also very nice.
Of course, November 5 was the first Tuesday of the month and the evening of our Council Work Session followed by the Council Meeting, where action is taken.
Thursday, November 7, was WESTMARC’s Best of the West annual awards dinner celebration at the State Farm Stadium. Our Economic Development team has previously won an award, but this year, others were recognized.
On Friday, November 8, Canyon Ridge Elementary School put on a nice event for our veterans in their outside courtyard. Christopher Raso does a great job with these events, and I thank him for his continued efforts.
Following the Canyon Ridge event, I came to City Hall to help Linda Stevens celebrate her 25 years of service to the City of Surprise. Congratulations Linda, and here’s to many more years.
That same evening, I held my monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the community center at Arizona Traditions. I would like to thank Neal and his team for reserving that spot for me every month.
Monday, November 11, was a great day for the City of Surprise, not only because it was Veterans Day, and we had a great celebration of our veterans with our beautiful parade, but also we cut the ribbon to our latest memorial to another great American, Brian Mancini. He was a true hero who served on the battlefield as a medic when an IED hit his vehicle. The memorial is located behind the library on Bullard, by the lake. It is a beautiful space to sit and reflect.
Tuesday, November 12, was a breakfast for leaders of the local area at Marley Park Heritage Hall. Following the breakfast, I headed to City Hall for the retirement ceremony of Ruby Sitea. The last stop of the day was a ribbon cutting for Vein Envy.
On Wednesday, November 13, we had another grand opening and ribbon cutting at Ugly Tuna Sushi, 15459 W. Bell Road. Daniel and his wife are the owners and their whole team treated us great. The entire council was there to welcome them as well as taste their great food.
On Saturday, November 16, we visited Fire Station 303 at Cotton Ln. and Greenway Rd. This is the start of the Fire Station Open Houses where you can visit the stations and meet the firefighters. There are two in my district. Check the city calendar at www.surpriseaz.gov for future dates.
We had another ribbon cutting on Monday, November 18 for the Surprise Health and Rehab Center at 14660 W. Parkwood Drive. We just keep on growing!
That same evening, I was off to Phoenix to join my colleagues on the Maricopa County Human Services Commission. This group aims to give a helping hand to the folks in our county that are less fortunate than most. We, unfortunately, have more people that you’d think living below poverty level.
Tuesday, November 19, I was in a meeting with our finance team concerning some possible amendments to our budget. After that, I went to my Board and Commission Selection Committee Meeting. The committee reviewed some changes to bring to council to consider relating to the Veterans, Disability and Human Services Commission.
Wednesday, November 20, was yet another day for a ribbon cutting at the second location for Richi’s Diner at 17221 N. Litchfield Road. Liza and her team were very gracious to all of us in attendance. The menu is varied and the diner is spacious. Karaoke happens on Wednesday nights.
On Thursday night, the Mike Nesbitt Show was streamed live from Buffalo Wild Wings on 13882 W. Bell Road. Mayor Hall and Councilman Sanders were guest speakers. If you don’t know who Coach Nesbitt is, he is the Head Football Coach for Ottawa University in Surprise. This year the football team had only one loss in their regular season.
The community manager and the board at Arizona Traditions invited the Mayor to speak in front of the residents in the ballroom on Friday, November 22. Councilmember Hayden and I were present as well. The Mayor went over all of the things happening in Surprise and some things to attend to an almost standing room only audience. He was greeted with appreciation, applause and a couple of kind comments. I want to thank the folks at Traditions for inviting our Mayor to this Town Hall as it has been a number of years since a Surprise Mayor has been invited into this community.
I was honored on Saturday, November 23, to act as a judge at the Chance Shelter Fundraiser “Most Like My Owner” Dog Competition and Fashion Show. It was a very successful event with a great turn out. Audra, Gregg and the entire team did a great job, which raised some much needed funds to build their no kill shelter in Surprise. I want to thank Lew Goldstein, Manager of the Toyota Dealership, for hosting this event for the 2nd year in a row with no charge to Chance Shelter.
On Tuesday, November 26, I was in a meeting with a three constituents, one lady from Bell West Ranch and Mike Gent, our Public Works Director, to discuss plans for bringing back our recycling program. This meeting was asked for by Ro from Northwest Ranch, and I believe most of her concerns and questions were answered. It was explained that we are working on the issue and that it is an issue that many residents want us to solve.
Well, I will close for now and talk to you again at the end of the year. Don’t forget our big Christmas party and tree lighting on Friday, December 6.
Greetings to all of my District 1 neighbors and all the residents of Surprise! I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and paused to give thanks for all of our blessings. It doesn’t seem possible that we are in the last month of 2016.
My first meeting of November brought exciting news! Popeye’s will soon be built near Sam’s Club on Bell Road in District 1. I am very appreciative of the investment many restaurants are making by coming to Surprise!
On Thursday, November 3, I was invited to speak at the Asante HOA Annual Meeting. Since the community is not built-out yet, the community only meets once a year. I’d like to thank Brad Shaeffer and his team for the invitation and the conversation.
I visited Gateway Park in El Mirage on November 4 to see the Vietnam traveling memorial wall and it was a moving experience for me. Approximately two years ago, the wall was in Goodyear. I am hoping to work with the city to bring the wall to Surprise!
My family and I attended the Fire Station 302 Open House. This marked the last open house of the year. For a few months, each station hosted an open house for the public. I hope you took advantage of the opportunity to visit the station and our fire personnel. It was a great opportunity for me, as well, to let our fire staff know how much I appreciate all they do for our residents!
Canyon Ridge Elementary School held their Annual Veterans Day Celebration on November 10. It was a fantastic event and a wonderful opportunity to see all of the students participating. These students are so fortunate to have the dedicated teachers, personnel and volunteers that they do, and the leadership of their principal, Dr. Shelly Isai. I wasn’t allowed to leave empty handed, as a student in Ms. Taylor’s class gave me a painting that now hangs in my office.
That same evening, I attended WESTMARC’s Best of the West Awards at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Best of the West Awards has been a signature event for over 20 years that is designed to celebrate the best of the best in the West Valley. This annual event recognizes outstanding contributions to the quality of life, economic development and innovation in the West Valley. The Surprise Resource Center, a center focused on social services, took first place in the Quality of Life Award category and the AZ TechCelerator, the city’s business incubator, was runner-up in the West Valley Economic Engine Award category.
The Surprise Resource Center opened in December 2015 as a means to strengthen the community by supporting and serving its people. The center began with one program- the Community Action Program (CAP). Through a partnership with Maricopa County and El Mirage, CAP assists with utility and mortgage/rent payments. To date, CAP has served more than 600 families, totaling $370,455 in assistance. Today, the center houses 13 partnerships that offer a range of services from employment assistance to food resources. The center also offers veteran services. About 12% of the city’s population is comprised of veterans; now, employment assistance from Veterans Affairs, Department of Economic Security and the city’s new Veteran Job Club can be accessed from one location.
The AZ TechCelerator continues to offer affordable rent and a collaborative environment that helps young companies build up their business plans, creating new products, services and jobs in Surprise. The TechCelerator has 16 client start-ups, two onsite service providers, a track record of over 200 jobs graduated, and the only Google corporate office presence in the State of Arizona, following Google’s purchase of AZ TechCelerator-grown Athena Wireless. The program has also been able to offer temporary corporate office space for new international company locations to Surprise, such as IRIS USA, Cobalt Medical, RioGlass Solar and Gestamp Solar Steel, which combined have generated more than 300 additional community jobs.
Congratulations to all of our staff involved with both outlets. The recognitions could not have happened without your hard work and dedication to the programs. This was a team effort led by the continued leadership of City Manager Bob Wingenroth. Thank you!
Surprise hosted the 2nd Annual Veterans Day Parade on Friday, November 11. The number of entries increased significantly over last year, requiring our parade route to also increase. We had 102 entries this year. Thank you to Mark Coronado, Director of Community and Recreation Services, and his team for putting this event together and to the residents who came to the parade to honor our veterans.
On the evening of November 11, I hosted my monthly meeting at the Community Center in the Retreat of Arizona Traditions. I continue to host my meetings the second Friday of each month at 7 pm at the Community Center located at 18250 W. Weatherby.
I attended a Public Hearing on the Draft Annual Report on the Status of the Implementation of Proposition 400 at MAG (Maricopa Association of Governments) and that same evening, I attended the Art of Craft Beer & Cuisine event at State 48 Brewery hosted by the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission. The event included a tour of the brewery and an explanation of the brewing process from their Brew Master. The head chef also discussed some of his dishes and how the restaurant believes in using fresh local ingredients. Thank you to owner, Mario Rana, for his hospitality and the delicious pizza!
My family and I visited the Surprise Swap Meet at the Surprise Aquatic Center on November 19. It was a beautiful morning to visit with residents and see the items for sale.
On Sunday, November 20, Councilman Jim Hayden and I were invited to Arizona Traditions 20th Anniversary celebration at their ballroom. We had the pleasure of visiting with residents of the community, listening to the stories of those that have lived there from the beginning of Arizona Traditions and enjoying the wonderful food and entertainment.
The city hosted a fantastic pre-celebration of the re-opening of Bell Road on Monday, November 21 to thank our residents, businesses, partners, etc. for their patience during the closure. I know all of our residents and businesses were excited for the actual opening of Bell Road the following day. The intersection certainly looks different now. The entire project, including the ramps connecting Grand Avenue to Bell Road, is scheduled for completion prior to Spring Training 2017 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. In the meantime, your Bell to Grand Avenue access remains on Dysart Road, east of the intersection and Bell to Reems to Grand, west of the intersection.
November 28 was an exceptionally sad day as I found myself at the National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix to attend the memorial service for a Surprise resident and active community veteran, Bill Lipscomb. Mr. Lipscomb served in the US Air Force and served in Vietnam. He will be sorely missed!
As this year quickly comes to a close, please remember to be good to yourself and be good to each other. I wish you a blessed Christmas and a healthy New Year!
Greetings to all of my fellow District 1 residents! I’d like to give a big shout-out to all of my fellow District 1 residents. I certainly hope everyone in Surprise had a great Thanksgiving holiday and that the meaning behind it was not forgotten. November was a busy month! I was able to connect with many residents from District 1 as well as residents throughout the City.
On November 1, I was invited to Desert Oasis for their Fall Fest Celebration. The event was held at their main community park on another beautiful day in Surprise. I was given a warm welcome by the wonderful families residing in this HOA upon my arrival. Pulte Homes is beginning to build additional homes within the community as well which means additional families will soon join the Desert Oasis celebrations!
On November 7, I was honored to attend the Canyon Ridge Elementary School for a wonderful Veteran’s Day event. I was even provided a tour of the school by some of the National Elementary Honor Society students. I couldn’t be more pleased to have this school located in my District and to personally witness our future leaders grow. These students are mature beyond their years!
The City Council hosted a joint meeting with the Planning & Zoning Commission on Saturday, November 8 from 8 am until 2 pm. The purpose of the meeting was a discussion on the General Plan, our visions for Surprise and future growth.
I attended the Bell West Ranch Block Party on Sunday, November 16. Even though it was a windy day, a good time was had by all. I was able to have good conversations with many of the residents in attendance. A consistent topic amongst those conversations was the status of WINCO. While I was there, I was asked by the Board at Bell West Ranch to judge the Christmas decorations on their homes on the evening of December 18 (the night prior to my monthly Friday Night Chat). There will be a first, second and third place winner and I’m looking forward to being a part of the contest. Lastly, I was very happy to see Jeff Martin from our Neighborhood Services department at the event. Mr. Martin brings all of the equipment, table and chairs to help make your block parties such a great success! Jeff even serves as the DJ. You can also request the presence of any other Department such as the Fire or Police Departments. If any resident in Surprise wants to plan a block party, the City will bring the party trailer to you at no charge. If you are interested, please feel free to contact our Neighborhood Services Department at City Hall at 623.222.1000.
The Surprise Fire Medical Department held a promotional ceremony on Monday, November 17. It’s always an honor to see our men and women who protect our citizens receive hard earned recognition for their daily dedication. Those promoted were sworn in by Chief Tom Abbott.
I held my monthly Friday Night Chat on Friday, November 21. Several residents asked questions, raised concerns or just spoke to me on a personal level. Everyone is invited to attend these chats on the third Friday of every month at 7 pm in the Community Center at the Retreat at Arizona Traditions (18250 W. Weatherby Drive). When you arrive at the gate, just push the number 0 four times and tell the security guard you are there for my meeting.
The day prior to Thanksgiving, I was honored to give a resident the keys to her recently renovated home in Surprise Farms. I will not mention her name out of respect for her privacy, but the City was able to use grant funds to make this renovation possible. We have some exceptional people working for our citizens and often times, they do not get the credit they so deserve. I am only a City Council Member and I only handed this resident her keys but our staff did the work. A special and sincere thank you to Chris Boyd, Jeff Martin, Christina Ramirez, Jason Hughes, and Alicia Rubio (and so many others whose names I haven’t included) deserve this credit. Honestly, this was one of the most rewarding moments I’ve experienced since I was elected to be your Councilman.
There have been so many other events and meetings I’ve attended in November. I just want to leave you with some of them. December is going to be busy as well but everything I’m doing for this District is very rewarding!
I want to wish each and every resident in Surprise a very Merry Christmas, the happiest of holidays and the healthiest New Year. Please be good to yourselves and continue to be good to each other!