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CG residents can make extra effort to recycle
 Haas  / 

CASA GRANDE — Residents still looking to recycle after Casa Grande did away with its program can do so with a little extra effort, for some items at least.

The city stopped its curbside recycling program at the beginning of the month, leaving residents with blue bins and few options to drop off their recyclables.

Phil Burdick, public information officer for the city of Casa Grande, said residents can either keep their bins or bring them to the Public Works North Operations Center at 3181 N. Lear Ave.

With global commodity markets for recyclables disappearing, cities and towns across the country have been trying to figure out what to do with their recycling programs.

Last month the Casa Grande City Council voted to become the second city in the state to discontinue its program.

Burdick said the city will keep watching the markets carefully and will look for an opportunity to try and restart the program when the market comes back again.

“We are just hoping that there is a solution because it’s not just simply the city of Casa Grande, all municipalities are facing it,” he said. “We are hoping something happens, either the market develops or there are new recycling solutions that we can explore to make it cost effective to recycle again.”

In the meantime residents can take some of their recyclables to five different places in the Casa Grande area including the landfill, which will accept scrap metals, appliances, electronic waste and paints, whereas other places will except aluminum, aluminum cans and clear plastics.

“It becomes a more difficult process to recycle as opposed to throwing the mixed recyclables in the blue bin and putting it out on your curb,” Burdick said. “It’s really the market that is going to determine (if the city resumes a curbside recycling program). When it becomes economically feasible to collect recycling again, we will take another look at the program.

“I think everyone at the city would prefer to be recycling, we just have to find a market that makes it cost effective to do that.”


Recycling options

City of Casa Grande landfill

5200 S. Chuichu Road


Monday-Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Scrap metals, appliances, electronic-waste, paints

Recycle Cans and Plastics

852 W. Gila Bend Highway


Cans and clear plastics only

Timeless Recycling

401 W. Main Ave.


Aluminum cans, plastic #1 (including food containers), copper, brass, electrical wire, Christmas lights, batteries

Wellington Salvage

1429 N. Grant Ave.


Aluminum cans, aluminum, electronics, metals, pallets

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Pride Rock, its characters come to life with production of 'Lion King Jr.'
 mstaude  / 

CASA GRANDE — Pride Rock and its cast of African savannah-dwelling characters, including Simba, Rafiki, Nala, the hyenas and others come to life on stage this weekend as Casa Grande Youth Theater presents “The Lion King Jr.”

Between actors and crew, more than 40 local children and teens are involved in the production, said director Noelle Wells.

“Our cast faced the challenges of learning to move and dance as animals as well as learning to sing in four different African languages,” Wells said.

From stage production to choreography, the production is a showcase of the work kids and volunteers in the city’s youth theater program have done over the summer.

Participants in the program learn all aspects of producing a show.

“The Lion King Jr.” is based on the popular Disney movie. It follows young lion cub and prince Simba, who flees into exile from Pride Rock after his uncle tricks him into believing he caused his father’s death.

While in exile he befriends a meerkat named Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa who become his companions and eventually accompany him on his return to the Pride Lands.

“The Lion King Jr.” features music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice. It’s based on the book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi and on the Broadway production.

The Casa Grande Youth Theater production of the musical includes many of the much-loved songs, dances and lines associated with the movie.

Volunteers with the program made many of the set pieces themselves including a large papier mâché Pride Rock.

Actors in the production auditioned and began rehearsals in June.

There are three chances to catch the show:

7 p.m. Friday, July 12

  • 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday

, July 13

All performances will be held in the Casa Grande Union High School auditorium, 2730 N. Trekell Road.

Admission is $5 per person. Tickets are available at the door, payable with cash only, or may be purchased in advance at Casa Grande Community Services, 1905 N. Peart Road.

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CG council delays discussion on skydiving following death
 Haas  / 

CASA GRANDE — Discussion of the city of Casa Grande’s ongoing battle with a local skydiving company and the Federal Aviation Administration was put on hold Monday during the City Council’s regular meeting.

The item, which appeared on the meeting agenda that was posted on July 3, said the council would meet in executive session to discuss and receive consultation regarding the FAA’s order in relation to skydiving at Casa Grande Municipal Airport, and a proposed agreement with Phoenix Area Skydiving.

However, City Manager Larry Rains pulled the item from the agenda and said it would be rescheduled for a future meeting.

Rains did not disclose at the meeting the reason for the item’s removal, although a skydiving instructor died Friday during a tandem jump that was made out of Phoenix Skydive Center, based at the airport.

Phil Burdick, public information officer for the city, said on Tuesday the instructor’s death was the reason why Rains pulled it from the agenda.

FAA officials are investigating the incident.

According to Ian Gregor, the communications manager for the FAA Pacific Division based in El Segundo, California, a male instructor died during a tandem jump about noon Friday. A female student who was on the tandem jump with him was hospitalized. The extent of her injuries and her condition have not been released.

An FAA safety inspector was sent to the accident site on the Gila River Indian Community Friday afternoon.

A friend of the Mesa woman who survived the jump told FOX 10 the parachute deployed while they were inside the plane, and the pair fell several thousand feet. The student was badly hurt but was able to walk to the Sacaton Rest Area on Interstate 10 to find help.

The woman reportedly told family and friends that her skydiving instructor was new to the company, and it was his first jump in the United States, the television station reported.

The identities of the instructor and the student haven’t been released.

The city has been engaged in a lengthily battle between Phoenix Area Skydiving and the FAA over a potential parachute drop zone at the airport.

According to city documents, the city has passionately opposed the drop zone due to a number of safety concerns. Those concerns were shared by Lindsay Goss of Goss Hawk Unlimited, a business that operates at the airport.

Goss shared her concerns with council members during the call to the public portion of the meeting.

“In the past I said it wasn’t a matter if someone would die, it was a matter of when,” Goss told council members, who could not discuss the matter because it was not an agendized item for public discussion. “Unfortunately it has happened. Now it will be only a matter of when it will happen again and how many will die.”

Goss added that she is not against skydiving and added that she jumped herself in 2004. However, she said she just doesn’t want it going on in her backyard and doesn’t want the heartache of seeing someone dying.

“I want to look out at our property with my daughter and see wonder and amazement of planes flying, and not sadness and anguish of lives lost and memories of bodies hitting the ground or another airplane,” Goss said. “If you allow a drop zone to be placed on the airport, there will be an accident out there. If I’m in the vicinity, it will be my duty as a human being to help someone in need. I do not want to be a part of that but I cannot turn my back on it.

“I do not want to be haunted by someone dying on my property or in my backyard.”

According to the city, the airport had 119,680 aircraft operations for the year ending April 29, 2014, and the city also leases hangars for personal aircraft.

In January 2016, Phoenix Area Skydiving filed a complaint with the FAA saying the airport could accommodate an on-airport parachute drop zone.

However, the city contends the drop zone could impact the efficiency of the operations and traffic flows and potentially could have an impact on the business model of the airport.

In December 2017, the FAA ruled in favor of Phoenix Area Skydiving, saying the city has unjustly discriminated against the company and other aeronautical users intending to use the proposed parachute drop zone. The FAA also found that denying Phoenix Area Skydiving the commercial use of the terminal for customer queuing and loading created an exclusive right in violation of the FAA’s grant assurances.

The city appealed the FAA’s ruling and stated in documents the findings were not supported by the evidence contained in the record and that the conclusions are not in accordance with law, precedent or policy.

The FAA later upheld the original ruling in November, leaving the city with four options. The council later voted to file an appeal with the courts while at the same time completing and submitting a corrective action plan to the FAA and continuing work toward a solution with Phoenix Area Skydiving.

According to the city, the planning and development of the airport has been financed in part by the FAA under the Airport Improvement Program. The FAA has provided $4.7 million in grant funds for airport improvements, which involves complying with federal rules.

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La Palma prison may house up to 3,240 ICE detainees
 jheadley  / 

ELOY — Officially, all California prisoners incarcerated at the CoreCivic La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy have been returned to California, except a few facing local charges, who were sent to Florence.

This opens La Palma Center for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees.

La Palma had previously housed 1,000 ICE detainees before the removal of more than 2,200 California prisoners at the end of June.

Now, ICE has contracted with the CoreCivic facility to hold only its detainees.

Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, ICE public affairs officer, stated in an email to PinalCentral: “Currently ICE has contracted space to house 3,240 adult detainees at the La Palma facility in Eloy.”

Pitts O’Keefe said no families or unaccompanied minors will be detained at the facility. Pitts O’Keefe did not disclose if the detainees would be male, female or both.

When asked what changes must be made to the Eloy facility to accommodate the detainees, Pitts O’Keefe responded, “As with all facilities either owned by ICE or contracted, they all must meet the ICE National Detention Standards.”

Those standards include safety, security, order, care and activities, justice, and administration and management of the detainees.

Inside the ICE National Detention Standards, federal documents state, “This detention standard ensures a safe environment for detainees and employees by establishing contingency plans to quickly and effectively respond to emergency situations and to minimize their severity. This detention standard applies to the following types of facilities housing ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) detainees: Service Processing Centers (SPCs); Contract Detention Facilities (CDFs); and state or local government facilities used by ERO through Intergovernmental Service Agreements (IGSAs) to hold detainees for more than 72 hours.”

The La Palma Center is a Contract Detention Facility.

The federal directive includes the requirement for the facility to provide communication assistance to detainees with disabilities and detainees who are limited in their English proficiency.

The ICE facility is required to provide detainees with language assistance, including bilingual staff or professional interpretation and translation services and to provide them with meaningful access to its programs and activities.

All written materials provided to detainees must be generally translated into Spanish, according to the ICE narrative.

ICE requires the searching of detainees but the rules actually prohibit strip searching them unless “reasonable suspicion” warrants a strip search.

ICE requires medical and mental health screenings of detainees to protect the health of others in the facility.

The detainees will be evaluated and receive a “custody classification level before being admitted into the general population of the facility.”

Any detainee who cannot be classified because of missing information at the time of processing, like a criminal record check, will be kept separate from the general population in isolation.

Things that are examined when a detainee is classified, according to ICE documents, include, “any current criminal offense(s), past criminal offense(s), escape(s), institutional disciplinary history, documented violent episode(s) and/or incident(s), medical information or a history of victimization. Personal opinion, including opinions based on profiling, familiarity or personal experience, may not be considered in detainee classification.”

The initial classification of a detainee and initial housing assignment is supposed to be completed within 12 hours of admission to the facility, according to ICE guidelines.

The detainees are classified into three different groups — low custody, medium custody and high custody.

Those in the custody levels should not be allowed to be “co-mingled” with different custody level detainees, ICE dictates.

ICE holding facilities are required to, “ensure that detainees are provided a nutritionally balanced diet that is prepared and presented in a sanitary and hygienic food service operation.”

ICE has detailed established written directives to ensure the health, hygiene and medical care of detainees are properly met.

ICE requirements maintain the facility must allow detainees correspondence and other mail, trips for non-medical emergencies, marriage requests, recreation, ability of religious practices, access to telephones, visitation and even a volunteer work program.

ICE also requires that detainees have access to the justice system and even a law library.

ICE has not yet stated how long detainees can be held inside the La Palma Center.