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  • Smoke detectors do save lives

    Iwrote this article and it was first published in the summer of 2015, but the story needs to be repeated for those of you who need our help.One of the responsibilities of the Fire Marshal’s offi ce is to perform fire Investigations. There are several certified fire investigators within the Sun City Fire and Medical Department, but all of the investigations are channeled through the Fire Prevention office. Since becoming a fire investigator, I have been able to see first-hand how many different things can cause a fire and the damaging effects a fire can have on a person’s belongings, or even their own life.I was called out at 11 p.m. one night because we had a significant structural house fire with partial collapse in Sun City. The residential fire was in a duplex with one elderly man in one side and a couple in the other side. When I arrived on the scene, the fire was significantly extinguished and the fire crews were still putting out hot spots.The entire roof on one end of the duplex had collapsed.This makes a very difficult task for a fire investigator because the ceiling, insulation, roof structure and shingles are all lying on top of the evidence as far as determining the source of the fire.Now comes the part where you need to methodically put things back in place to determine the area of fire origin, the point of fire origin and the cause of the fire.

  • Online scammers use bait to lure victims

    “You must update your account now”, “You just won a Grand Prize,” “The IRS has a refund waiting for you,” “There’s a problem with your order,” “Here’s a 15% Coupon,” “Click Here”.Sound familiar? In the cyber world, these words are used as “bait” – lures by con artists and scammers using emails, phone calls and texts that are all designed to separate you from your cash, your passwords, your social security number, your security questions or your very identity.These kind of lures are referred to as “phishing” schemes and they work almost every single time. Cybercriminals are always concocting new and creative ways to easily trick victims into handing over their money or sensitive data. When it comes to computer safety, the main line of defense is not technology, it’s YOU!Criminals pose as a person or familiar organization that you trust and/or recognize. They may hack a friend’s computer and their email account and then send mass spam emails which appear to come from them. They may pose as your bank, a credit card company, a charity or someone in authority. Or, they may pose as a State or Gov’t agency - such as the IRS. Criminals go to great lengths to create websites that appear legitimate, but contain fake log-in pages.Just remember: No legitimate organization – not your bank, not your credit card company, not the IRS – will ever ask for sensitive information through unsecured methods, such as emails. Nor will they send unsolicited emails or make calls with threats of lawsuits, fines, arrests or jail time.Scam emails and fake websites also can infect your computer with Malware without you even knowing it. Malware often gets onto your computer by you clicking on tainted links in emails and opening up email attachments. The malware can give the criminal access to your device, enabling them to access all your sensitive files, your address book and even track your keyboard strokes, exposing login information.

  • Difference between traditional, Roth plans lies in how the money is taxed

    Looking at retirement accounts, two modifiers – “traditional” and “Roth” – dominate much of the discussion.They apply to individual retirement accounts and corporate 401(k) savings plans, as well as 403(b) savings plans for nonprofits.The difference lies in how the money is taxed:• In traditional accounts, taxes are deferred until the money is withdrawn – presumably during retirement, when the account holder might be in a lower tax bracket. After age 70.5, account holders must take an annual, taxable required minimum distribution (RMD).• In Roth accounts – named for the late Sen. William Roth Jr. – the money is taxed up front, but then earns interest and appreciates tax-free.Roth accounts also have more flexible rules for withdrawals. There are no RMDs. In fact, Roth plans don’t require any withdrawals until the account holder dies.

  • Surprise looks to fill 2 commission vacancies

    The City of Surprise is accepting applications for the following commissions. All board/commission positions are voluntary.Both the city’s Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission and Disability Advisory Commission have one vacancy.Applications for these commission are available for pick up immediately and can be picked up from the City Clerk’s Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.The City Clerk’s Office is located at Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.Applications are also available online at http://surpriseaz.gov/boards. Submit applications to the City Clerk’s Office in person or by e-mail to clerk@surpriseaz.gov.Applications are always available for all boards and commissions and will be kept on file for future vacancies.

  • Bell, Grand reconnection in Surprise slated for Feb. 16

    ADOT has set Feb. 16 as its target date for completion of the ramps connecting Bell Road and Grand Avenue in Surprise, as well as the activation of the traffic signal atop the bridge.The completion date will ultimately be determined by the weather. But this timeline gives construction crews some wiggle room to complete the project before the stated goal of Feb. 25 — the first day of Cactus League play in Surprise.As discussed at Tuesday’s Surprise City Council work session, this final configuration provides for a better flow of traffic on both roads and eliminates delays once caused by trains passing by the railroad crossing.“I think a lot of people are seeing the advantages of that already, now that the bridge is completed,” said Armando Lopez, the city’s engineering and construction lead for the project. “When the gates did go down along Bell Road (while a train crossed) it would take about three cycles in order for Bell Road and Grand Avenue to catch up to its normal routine. And we don’t really have any say in when those trains go through, in rush hour, spring training or early mornings.”The main access points for the ramps will be Towne Center Drive in the north and Bell Grande Drive to the south.Northbound drivers on Grand can access Bell Road from a ramp at Bell Grande, right next to the current left turn lane for Surprise Marketplace. Overhead signs will show drivers how to get to Bell. If they want to access

  • Surprise man sentenced for 2014 pornography incident

    An Arizona judge sentenced a Surprise man to ten years in prison for a child pornogrphy case in 2014.Judge John Rea sentenced Lawrence Amaral to 10 years in prison this morning. Amaral also faces lifetime probation upon release, the Marciopa County Superior Court tweeted.In October 2014, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Computer Crimes detectives identified and arrested a man on charges of downloading and possessing child pornography on his computer, according to a release from that year. Officials charged Amaral with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.He pleaded guilty to two of those counts in 2016.Amaral worked with his wife at a daycare located inside the St. Louis the King Catholic Church in Glendale for five and a half years.The crimes unit discovered hundreds of videos and images showing very young children, ages three to 14, involved in sexual

  • Smoke detectors do save lives

    Iwrote this article and it was first published in the summer of 2015, but the story needs to be repeated for those of you who need our help.One of the responsibilities of the Fire Marshal’s offi ce is to perform fire Investigations. There are several certified fire investigators within the Sun City Fire and Medical Department, but all of the investigations are channeled through the Fire Prevention office. Since becoming a fire investigator, I have been able to see first-hand how many different things can cause a fire and the damaging effects a fire can have on a person’s belongings, or even their own life.I was called out at 11 p.m. one night because we had a significant structural house fire with partial collapse in Sun City. The residential fire was in a duplex with one elderly man in one side and a couple in the other side. When I arrived on the scene, the fire was significantly extinguished and the fire crews were still putting out hot spots.The entire roof on one end of the duplex had collapsed.This makes a very difficult task for a fire investigator because the ceiling, insulation, roof structure and shingles are all lying on top of the evidence as far as determining the source of the fire.Now comes the part where you need to methodically put things back in place to determine the area of fire origin, the point of fire origin and the cause of the fire.

  • Town hall will offer fire station details

    Sun City Fire and Medical District residents will have a chance to see plans for the new fire station during a public open house.The event is scheduled 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23 in the Youngtown council chambers, 12030 Clubhouse Square. The town hall will allow residents to see preliminary plans for the station, information on its cost and a potential timeline for construction.District voters approved $10 million in bonds to fund the station’s construction, to replace aging equipment and complete deferred facility repairs. Sun City fire officials estimate the station construction would cost about $6 million. The majority of the remainder will be used to purchase two new firefighting apparatus.“This will give people the opportunity to see what we have planned,” said Mike Thompson, Sun City fire chief.The new station will be built on the northwest corner of 111th and Michigan avenues in Youngtown, just a few blocks north of the existing Station 133, 13013 N. 111th Ave., Sun City.The existing station, housed in a building designed to resemble a home, is crowded and outdated for the fire department’s needs. The structure, originally built by the Del Webb Corp. in the early 1960s, also does not meet modern building codes, according to Mr. Thompson. The station’s one truck bay takes up about 50 percent of the building’s footprint.

  • Date changed for property town hall

    The date for the first town hall to discuss the use of the property purchased by Recreation Centers of Sun City has changed.The town hall, originally scheduled for Jan. 23, will now be conducted 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6 in the auditorium at Marinette Recreation Center, 9860 W. Union Hills Drive. The change was necessary because Maricopa County Department of Transportation, due to weather delays, closed the intersection at Union Hills Drive and 99th Avenue during the orginal time of the meeting.The town hall is scheduled to discuss proposed uses for the former buffet restaurant building on Grand Avenue purchased by RCSC officials last year. Two other town halls are scheduled on the subject — 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31 in Arizona Rooms 1 and 2 at Fairway Recreation Center, 10600 W. Peoria Ave., and 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6 in the east hall at Sundial Recreation Center, 14801 N. 103rd Ave.

  • Bell, Grand reconnection in Surprise slated for Feb. 16

    ADOT has set Feb. 16 as its target date for completion of the ramps connecting Bell Road and Grand Avenue in Surprise, as well as the activation of the traffic signal atop the bridge.The completion date will ultimately be determined by the weather. But this timeline gives construction crews some wiggle room to complete the project before the stated goal of Feb. 25 — the first day of Cactus League play in Surprise.As discussed at Tuesday’s Surprise City Council work session, this final configuration provides for a better flow of traffic on both roads and eliminates delays once caused by trains passing by the railroad crossing.“I think a lot of people are seeing the advantages of that already, now that the bridge is completed,” said Armando Lopez, the city’s engineering and construction lead for the project. “When the gates did go down along Bell Road (while a train crossed) it would take about three cycles in order for Bell Road and Grand Avenue to catch up to its normal routine. And we don’t really have any say in when those trains go through, in rush hour, spring training or early mornings.”The main access points for the ramps will be Towne Center Drive in the north and Bell Grande Drive to the south.Northbound drivers on Grand can access Bell Road from a ramp at Bell Grande, right next to the current left turn lane for Surprise Marketplace. Overhead signs will show drivers how to get to Bell. If they want to access

  • Coldwell Realty office spearheads coat, blanket drive

    Violet Hull and Rita Krentzel, sales associates affiliated with Sun City Bell office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, are spearheading a coat and blanket drive.They will be accepting donations of gently used or new coats, blankets, socks and mittens until Tuesday, Jan. 31 during regular business hours at the Sun City Bell office, 17001 N. Del Webb Blvd., Sun City.All items will be presented to the Phoenix Rescue Mission in downtown Phoenix, which serves the more than 18,000 homeless throughout Maricopa County.

  • Undocumented immigrants protected from deportation by Obama order now face uncertainty under Trump administration

    Adriana Garcia grew up Catholic in Peoria, raised with the belief that all people share a common humanity.She is a product of the Peoria Unified School District, where she was an honor student. As a young woman, after graduating from Peoria High, she campaigned for a Phoenix city councilman who, she said, also believed in that common humanity.Ms. Garcia then became one of the first students awarded an internship for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington D.C., where she worked on Capitol Hill for a semester fighting for that ideal.She has been a church volunteer, a community organizer and is now employed by a nonprofit doing legal aid for vulnerable children and youth.Ms. Garcia is 24 years old, and has spent most of her life in this country illegally.But the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has allowed her, and other young undocumented immigrants, to come out of the shadows and pay a fee for a work permit and protection from deportation.

  • Glendale Chocolate Affaire sweetens first February weekend

    Glendale will soon host the sweetest event in town. The 22nd Annual Glendale Chocolate Affaire will be a chocoholic’s dream, with chocolate and more in Historic Downtown Glendale for three days, Feb. 3-5.Where else in the Valley can you fine nearly 40 chocolate purveyors all in one spot, with chocolate favorites like chocolate-covered strawberries, nuts, cheesecake, bananas, and truffles, but new things you may not have tried, including chocolate lemonade, a chocolate steamed bun, spiced chocolate and a Polar Plunge (hot chocolate with a scoop of ice cream.) That's just the tip of the chocolate- covered iceberg – partake in a chocolate lover’s scavenger hunt to find all of the delicious confections.If you really want to find out the best of the best at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire, attend the Sweet Tooth competition, in which vendors enter their best chocolate creation and judges vote on the most decadent and delicious ones.The contest takes places on stage Friday evening at 6 p.m. KTVK-3TV television personality Jaime Cerreta will emcee.The Chocolate Affaire is presented by Arizona’s famous candy makers, Cerreta Candy Company. Glendale’s hometown factory will offer tours all weekend and visitors can expect to find some Willy-Wonka-type magic happening and maybe a free sample of their confections there, as well. Free shuttles, sponsored by SRP, will carry visitors to and from Cerreta’s.Besides the love of chocolate, the other facet of the Glendale Chocolate Affaire is a celebration of romance.

  • Fallen Glendale officer Brad Jones to be honored at Centennial wrestling tourney

    Each year Centennial High School in Peoria hosts a two-day wrestling tournament in honor of Brad Jones, a former Centennial High School wrestler who became a Glendale Police Officer.From Friday, Jan. 20 to Saturday, Jan. 21 the 6th Annual Brad Jones "Pack" Invitational will take place.Officer Jones was killed in the line of duty while responding to an apartment complex near 75th and Glendale avenues October 29, 2011. He had accompanied a probation officer in meeting with a convict. The suspect, Ryan Heisler, shot Jones during the encounter. Jones died later that night.Each year Peoria and Glendale police officers attend this event to support Jones' family and the tournament.The finals are on Saturday  at 6 p.m. at Centennial High School, 14388 N. 79th Ave.The Jones families along with officers from both agencies participate in the opening of the finals.

  • Residents speak, Glendale council listens

    Bill Hutzel is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.“I’ve been sober for several years,” the Glendale resident said. “But in the height of my addiction, I frequented plasma centers, any place I can to get money to fuel my addiction.“The times I was turned away from those facilities for whatever reason, I looked for other resources that I needed. I was there and I was going to get something whether it was an unlocked car or whether it was going into somebody’s open garage. I never did that but I have been tempted to go into somebody’s home to get what I needed.”Mr. Hutzel shared his experience with the City Council last week to highlight his belief that plasma centers often attract an undesirable element and possibly more crime.His testimony along with about 16 other neighbors persuaded the council to unanimously reject a rezoning request that would have allowed for a much larger plasma center to set up shop at the northwest corner of 59th and Kings avenues. More than 50 residents showed up in protest, many wearing red tops to show their unity.“The community that I represent strongly opposes this,” said Councilman Ray Malnar, who represents the Sahuaro District. “ This is in my district. I was elected to represent the community and the people that I represent, I will stand behind them. I always will. That is my commitment when I was elected and will be my commitment in the future. I am your representative. You are my boss.”

  • Pinnacle Peak Road to be widened, includes annexation of right-of-way into city

    Infrastructure improvements are coming to the benefit of Liberty High School and motorists in north Peoria.City Council approved an agreement between Maricopa County and the city to improve Pinnacle Peak Road from 91st to 99th avenues from two lanes to five lanes with a raised median.Unincorporated county land borders Pinnacle Peak Road to the north and the city borders Pinnacle Peak Road to the south. A new residential development is planned to the south of Pinnacle Peak Road.The county maintains the road since it is within its jurisdiction. However, they are interested in the city taking over the maintenance, said city spokeswoman Jennifer Stein.The agreement states the city will take over the maintenance by annexing the county right-of-way into the city if the county agrees to fund the improvements for the north half of the road. The county will contribute about $3 million for improvements, which is expected to be paid in two payments in fiscal year 2018.The south half of the road will be improved by the Meadows, a Maracay Homes residential development, she said.

  • Westbound Grand closed in Peoria Jan. 27-30 for repairs

    Westbound Grand Avenue will be closed Jan. 27-30 for bridge and New River Trail repairs.Pin and hanger assemblies will be replaced so the trail must be closed for safety reasons since the bridge will be supported on temporary towers constructed by Arizona Department of Transportation’s contractor.There will be street and trail signs indicating the closures. Questions and comments can be directed to the ADOT project hotline at projects@adot.gov or 855-712-8530.

  • Fallen Glendale officer Brad Jones to be honored at Centennial wrestling tourney

    Each year Centennial High School in Peoria hosts a two-day wrestling tournament in honor of Brad Jones, a former Centennial High School wrestler who became a Glendale Police Officer.From Friday, Jan. 20 to Saturday, Jan. 21 the 6th Annual Brad Jones "Pack" Invitational will take place.Officer Jones was killed in the line of duty while responding to an apartment complex near 75th and Glendale avenues October 29, 2011. He had accompanied a probation officer in meeting with a convict. The suspect, Ryan Heisler, shot Jones during the encounter. Jones died later that night.Each year Peoria and Glendale police officers attend this event to support Jones' family and the tournament.The finals are on Saturday  at 6 p.m. at Centennial High School, 14388 N. 79th Ave.The Jones families along with officers from both agencies participate in the opening of the finals.

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