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CG's 'zombie' subdivisions are being brought back to life
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CASA GRANDE — “Zombie” subdivisions across Casa Grande are being brought back to life as homes continue to be built and the population is projected to grow significantly.

Those are partially built neighborhoods that were left incomplete due to the recession around 2008.

“They were created by land developers back in 2005 to 2007,” Planning and Development Director Paul Tice said. “They sat there until we started building there.”

When these developments were initially being built, some of them had water and sewer lines and some even had streets built.

“Now that housing is booming again, they (builders) first look at zombie subdivisions,” Tice said.

CG's 'zombie' subdivisions come to life 1/8/21

According to Tice, about two or three years ago there were only two builders in Casa Grande. Now there are 17.

“The short version is that all zombie subdivisions, except one, have come back to life,” Tice said.

According to Tice, the only one that is inactive is Tuscany, on Peart Road south of Florence Boulevard.

However, Tice suspects that sometime in 2021 the subdivision may be picked up. Some homebuilders have expressed interest in the lots.

“All our other vacant lots are under contract with building companies,” Tice said.

During January’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last week, it was clear that housing was booming.

The commission approved a conditional use permit to allow a model home sales complex near Avenida Ellena and Bronco Lane within the Mountain View Ranch Planned Area Development.

The commission also approved a request by Richmond American Homes for a housing product and a conditional use permit and a request by Century Complete for a housing product.

According to a new report by Construction Coverage, out of 95 of the largest real estate markets in the country, Phoenix is currently the second hottest. Pinal County is considered to be a part of the metro Phoenix market.

When the 2030 General Plan was initially being presented, city officials believed that two homes would have to be built every day from now until 2030 to accommodate the number of people expected to move to Casa Grande over the next 10 years.

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CG couple donates nearly half a million dollars to local arts organizations
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CASA GRANDE — Four Casa Grande-based arts organizations will each receive a share of a $500,000 estate.

The BlackBox Foundation, Friends of the Casa Grande Public Library, Casa Grande Friends of the Arts Inc. (which runs the Casa Grande Art Museum) and the Strings of the Sonoran Inc. will each receive a portion of the estate left by Claire and Don Davis.

The Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict at Rock Island, Illinois, will also receive a portion of the estate.

“They were big supporters of the arts and were always extremely generous,” said Tom Cole, an attorney who handled the estate. “It was fun to mail these checks.”

Claire Davis, a retired educator and principal in Casa Grande, died in March at age 89. She and her husband, Don, who died in 2007, agreed to gift the money to the five organizations.

“She played the piano and taught music for many years,” Cole said. “They were very committed to the community. When the (art) museum was being founded, they were big supporters of that and they were among the original donors. I know she enjoyed going to (BlackBox Foundation) plays and art openings.”

The couple were among the 12 original donors who provided funding to start the Casa Grande Art Museum decades ago. They continued to make annual contributions to the organization for several years, Cole said.

“When we asked them to donate $1,000 to start the art museum, they mistakenly thought we meant $1,000 a year as opposed to a start-up donation of $1,000 to get the museum going,” Cole said. “So they continued to make a donation every year for a decade or more. The funny thing is that annual donation probably kept the head of a new entry to the community above water and nobody knew it, not even them. Of course they didn’t ask for a refund. They were the sort of folks every community is blessed with, just not enough to do everything that needs doing.”

Claire Davis had been a nun with the Order of St. Benedict at Rock Island before she met Don while back in college.

She was released from the order and the couple married. They lived in Casa Grande for many years.

“They were both very civic-minded and generous,” Cole said. “That’s just the way they were.”

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Dem lawmakers want FBI to investigate Finchem, Gosar
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PHOENIX — Democratic state legislative leaders are asking the FBI to investigate four Arizona Republican officials, including two with Pinal County ties, over their role in the Jan. 6 riot where protesters breached Congress, resulting in five deaths.

In their letter, the Democrats say that state Rep. Mark Finchem of Oro Valley and now-former Rep. Anthony Kern of Glendale were present in Washington “and actively encouraged the mob, both before and during the attack on the Capitol.’’ And the pair, they said, “sought to conceal the consequences of their conduct by falsely blaming ‘antifa.’”

Finchem represents Legislative District 11, which includes Maricopa, Arizona City, Picacho, Red Rock and parts of Casa Grande and Eloy in Pinal County.

The claims against GOP Congressmen Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar stem from a claim by Ali Alexander, who organized the “Stop the Steal’’ movement, that he worked with them and Republican Congressman Mo Brooks from Alabama on the plan for the Jan. 6 demonstration.

“We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,’’ Alexander said in a now-deleted video on Periscope.

Gosar represents Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, which includes Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Florence and part of San Tan Valley in Pinal County.

The Washington Post reported Alexander said the plan was to “change the hearts and minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside.’’

“They did all of this in public,’’ wrote the eight Democrats, led by House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding of Laveen and Rebecca Rios of Phoenix, his Senate counterpart. “What they did outside of plain view we do not yet know.’’

But they said there is “evidence’’that the four “encouraged, facilitated, participated and possibly helped plan this anti-democratic insurrection on January 6.’’

“It is vital to any current or future federal investigations, and ultimately to the Arizona public they represent, that we learn what these elected officials knew about this planned insurrection and when they knew it,’’ they wrote.

None of the four responded to requests for comment.

But Biggs, in a statement by an aide to The Washington Post, denied ever having been in contact with Alexander, “let along working with him to organize some part of a planned protest.’’

Nothing in the letter provides any evidence that either Finchem or Kern, who were in Washington, actually were involved in trespassing at the Capitol. And Biggs and Gosar were inside during the session.

Nor is there anything specifics saying that they were part of any plan to breach the Capitol.

But the Democrats say that some of the people in Washington were clearly there with something more than peaceful protests.

“Many in the mob wore military or police tactical gear and carried zip-tie restraints, signaling a high level of preparation and coordination for the events that occurred,’’ they said.

More to the point, they are suggesting that, at the very least, it was the actions and rhetoric of the four Arizona lawmakers — and potentially others — that led to what happened.

“For weeks prior to the breach, as group of Republican Arizona legislators and legislators-elect publicly advocated for the overthrow of the election results which encouraged precisely the kind of violent conduct that we witnessed,’’ they said.

Finchem in particular sought to get people to the rally.

On Twitter, he promoted the 9 a.m. speech by the president on The Ellipse, followed by the 1 p.m. demonstration at the Capitol building.

The day before the riot he sent out a picture of himself “holding the line in D.C.’’

And in a separate post he asked whether the country will become “a republic in name only, or will we as a nation governed through consent of the governed realize our full potential, fighting off those who would pervert our national design?’’

During the rally — before there were disturbances — Finchem sent out a picture of people on the steps of the Capitol saying this is “what happens when the people feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.’’

Then as people began breaking into buildings, Finchem sent out another post of a photo of the melee — but with a caption, “Trump supporters stop Antifa from breaking into Capitol.’’

Finchem in particular has adopted a stance since the riot that none of this was the fault of supporters of the president or those who were pushing Congress to overturn the election returns but of left-wing agitators despite numerous reports rejecting that narrative.

Capitol Media Services asked Finchem on Monday what credible evidence he has to back his claims.

“Try then Capitol police and the FBI,’’ he responded.

But the FBI itself has rejected the whole idea.

At a press briefing late last week, a reporter asked if antifa activists had disguised themselves as Trump supporters during the riot.

“We have no indication of that at this time,’’’ said Steven D’Antuono, the Washington field office assistant director.

And Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia also said he saw no evidence antifa was involved in the riot.

In fact the Washington Times, a conservative publication that had promoted the idea of antifa, removed an article it had written claiming that a company that does facial recognition through software had identified antifa members as infiltrating Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol.