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CG meal delivery service program expands during pandemic
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CASA GRANDE — Not long ago, the highlight of Isaac Davis’s workday was chatting with the people who came through the daily lunch line at the Dorothy Powell Senior Center, 405 E. Sixth St.

“I miss the people and the conversations we’d have when they come through the line,” Davis said. “We’d get to know them a little.”

COVID-19 changed much of the routine at the senior center, which for years has been a place for the elderly to find various recreational activities, a meal and conversation.

But although the center is closed due to COVID-19, the staff has ramped up its home-delivered meal service, reaching more people throughout Casa Grande.

“With so many seniors self-isolating, we’re finding that more people want meals delivered,” said Raylene Johns, recreation coordinator for the Casa Grande Community Services Department.

The Home Delivered Meals Program provides a chef-inspired hot lunch to seniors in their home every day, Monday through Friday. Each meal includes an entree, vegetable, milk and fruit.

Before COVID-19, the Dorothy Powell Senior Center’s program delivered about 80 meals a day to area residents. They now deliver more than 125 meals to seniors throughout Casa Grande.

The organization also serves people who arrive at the facility to pick up a to-go meal.

“They can’t come in, but we can serve them a to-go meal at the door,” Johns said.

Meals are delivered each day between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Department staffers make the deliveries via four routes, with about 30 stops on each route.

“Even though the senior center is temporarily closed, we are busy,” Johns said.

Davis’ day begins at about 6:30 each morning when he opens the kitchen and along with a staff of about six, begins preparing food for the day.

“We have everything packaged and ready to go by about 10:45 a.m.,” Davis said.

Meals are prepared and packaged on-site at the senior center. On Thursdays and Fridays, an extra meal is delivered so that recipients have a meal on the weekend.

“The meals are packaged to be frozen. Saturday’s meal is delivered on Thursday and Sunday’s meal will be delivered on Friday,” Johns said.

Although the service does not deliver food on city holidays, because Christmas is on a Friday this year, an extra meal will be delivered to seniors on Thursday, she said.

“The meal for Christmas is tuna casserole,” she said.

Davis has been the cook and dietitian for the program for more than 17 years.

His favorite meal to prepare for recipients is his own chili recipe. He makes three kinds including turkey, chicken and beef varieties.

“That’s my favorite,” he said. “It’s easy to make and it tastes good. People like to have soups and stews when it’s cold.”

But meal recipients have their own favorite, he said.

“I think the most popular entree we make is the meatloaf,” he said. “It’s also easy to make and people really like it.

The program’s meatloaf is served with vegetables and a wheat roll.

Funding for the Home Delivered Meals Program is provided by the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens and the city of Casa Grande.

Those wishing to have a meal delivered may call 520-421-8760 to see if they qualify.

Attorney: Plaintiff in Pinal election lawsuit not registered to vote
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FLORENCE — A Pinal County judge is being urged to toss out the latest — and possibly the last — challenge to the results of the presidential race in Arizona and the awarding of the state’s 11 electoral college votes to Joe Biden.

Roopali Desai, who represents Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, told Judge Kevin White on Monday that Arizona law requires anyone filing a lawsuit contesting election results to be a “qualified elector.’’ And that, she said, means they need to be registered to vote.

Only thing is, Staci Burk is not currently registered. Nor was the Pinal County resident registered — or voted — in the just-completed election.

She argued that the only thing required is that she be eligible to register to vote. And she complained that her registration was illegally canceled because someone could not figure out where she lived because she is covered under the state’s “address protection’’ program which allows certain people, including domestic violence victims, to remove their addresses from public records.

Burk needs the go-ahead of White to present what she claims is evidence of massive fraud. That includes not just allegations already dismissed by other judges but a claim that planes were bringing in illegal ballots to Sky Harbor International Airport and they were inserted into the Maricopa County election system.

Even if White tosses the case, that will not end the legal fights over the election results.

Attorney Jack Wilenchik has a pending plea to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of state GOP Chair Kelli Ward.

She contends that evidence she presented to a trial judge proved that Trump “received at least hundreds more votes in Maricopa County than candidate Biden.’’ Ward said there were uncounted votes for Trump and Trump votes that were “flipped’’ to the Democrat.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall Warner tossed that case, concluding that a random sampling of ballots show that the number of errors that turned up, even if extrapolated out, were insufficient to change the outcome. And he refused to give Ward more time to dig up additional evidence.

A separate case is pending before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case brought by attorneys for the Trump campaign. It alleges a series improper acts — and a conspiracy involving Secretary of State Katie Hobbs — that resulted in erroneous election returns.

That claim fared no better than the one before Warner, with U.S. District Court Judge Diane Humetewa finding a series of legal and factual flaws in the arguments.

“The allegations they put forth to support their claims of fraud fail in their particularity and plausibility,’’ she wrote. And Humetewa said the affidavits and reports of expert witnesses “are largely based on anonymous witnesses, hearsay, and irrelevant analysis of unrelated elections.’’

Lawsuits aside, Trump supporters also are holding out hope that Congress, which officially counts the electoral votes on Jan. 6, might decide to reject the tallies out of Arizona and other states which recorded Biden victories. That, however, would require the cooperation of the House of Representatives which remains in Democrat hands.

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Fire station at Casa Grande airport to close down
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CASA GRANDE — Fire Station 503 at Casa Grande Municipal Airport is closing down after reaching the end of its lifespan as crew members relocate to Station 504 on East McCartney Road.

Station 503 was originally meant as an interim station in 2001 after the trailer was donated by Casa Grande Union High School in 1999.

According to some crew members, the trailer has faced a termite issue for about a year along with rats and snakes.

The trailer is believed to be more than 40 years old.

In October 2019, now-retired Fire Chief Scott Miller presented a plan to the mayor and City Council to possibly relocate three existing stations.

During the 2019 presentation, Miller told the council that rather than adding an entirely new station that would have to be filled with new staff and equipment, the department was looking at possibly relocating three of its stations along with the equipment and staff.

Those stations included Station 501 on Florence Boulevard, Station 502 on East Ninth Street and Station 503 at the airport.

Station 501 was built in the 1950s and added on to in the 1980s while Station 502 was built in 1995 with a limited expansion capability.

At the time, Miller suggested that the council consider a $20 million general obligation bond issue, possibly in 2021, to help purchase the land and build three brick and mortar fire stations to replace the three older stations.

According to the 2019 presentation, some of the relocation benefits included a five-minute or less response time to the community, the ability to add resources in the future as needed and being built to last more than 50 years.

The presentation was made during a council study session and no decision was scheduled to be made at that time.

Current Fire Chief Dave Kean has been working on an update to the plan in an effort to bring it to the City Council in early 2021.

“This will be an opportunity for the mayor and City Council to understand the conditions,” City Manager Larry Rains said.

According to Kean, as the city continues to grow, the department responds to around 11,000 calls annually, a significant increase from past years.

“Three out of four stations are inadequate,” Kean said.

According to both Kean and Rains, the repairs at Station 503 would cost more than the trailer is worth.

“Ultimately, we’ve found that it’s past its years of life,” Rains said.

Despite the crew’s planned relocation to the McCartney station, it will only affect response times slightly.

“In a perfect world, we need about six to seven fire stations to cover the entire city adequately. If we had that, we could lower our response times down to around four minutes or so,” Kean said.

Station 504, on McCartney Road, is about 3.5 miles from Station 503.

“My job is to make sure they have the right facilities,” Kean said. “I have to do what is best for my firefighters.”

According to Kean, the move is expected to happen on Tuesday or Wednesday.