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Abandoned pup finds home with DPS staffer in Casa Grande
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CASA GRANDE -- Trooper, a 4-month-old lab mix puppy, has a new home with an Arizona Department of Public Safety staffer after being abandoned in the desert near Oracle.

DPS Sgt. David Hopkins Jr. brought the puppy to the District 6 office in Casa Grande on July 27 after it was spotted alone by fire personnel, apparently abandoned, on a dirt road off State Route 77.

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DPS Trooper Sgt. David Hopkins brought Trooper to the District 6 office in Casa Grande after the 4-month-old puppy was found alone in the desert.

Administrative professional Janelle Shearer was working in the office when Hopkins brought the puppy in. She immediately fell in love.

“This puppy is so feisty and has such a great personality,” Shearer said. “When I told (Sgt. Hopkins) to bring the puppy into the office, I had no intention of taking her home. But I just fell in love with her.”

When the puppy arrived at the Casa Grande office, personnel immediately set about to find its owners. She was checked by a veterinarian and found to have no microchip. She also didn’t match the description in any lost dog reports.

“Where she was found, it seems like someone just left her there,” Shearer said. “She didn’t have a collar. She was dehydrated. There were no homes around, but she was already crate trained and potty trained.”

While staffers attempted to find her owners, the little yellow lab remained in the office and fell asleep near Shearer’s feet.

“That’s when I knew she was coming home with me,” Shearer said. “I agreed to take her home so she wouldn’t have to go to the shelter. I thought someone would come forward and claim her.”

The District 6 office has a police K-9 unit and personnel gave her a leash, some food and a kennel.

“I took her clothes shopping and bought her a bandana, sweater, bedding and some other fun things,” Shearer said.

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Trooper

Shearer is the parent of twin 5-year-olds who also fell in love with the puppy.

When no one came forward to claim the dog, Shearer decided that Trooper would become an official member of the family.

“Once she was home it felt like she always belonged there,” Shearer said. “She fit right in. She completes our family in an unexpected way.”

She named the dog Trooper to pay tribute to the way the puppy found its way to their family.

“Some of the guys thought Zona was a better name, after Arizona, but I liked Trooper since she was found by a trooper and she is a trooper,” Shearer said.

Shearer said her whole family is happy to have Trooper as an official member.

But she doesn’t expect to adopt any more stray creatures anytime soon.

“There was a rattlesnake in the parking lot of the office the other day and I told everyone there was no way I was going to take it home,” she said.

Trooper has accompanied Shearer to work in the Casa Grande DPS office a few times since being found.

“One time I saw her watching as some of the DPS K-9s were doing their agility training,” Shearer said. “I told her that she could grow up and be anything she wants to be.”


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CG transit plans focus on ‘micro’ options
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CASA GRANDE — Several years ago, Casa Grande completed a transit study investigating possible routes and vehicle options. Now, the city is ready to look at what implementation of intracity transit might look like.

During a presentation before the City Council on Monday, city Traffic Engineer Duane Eitel and Amy Moran, an Engineer with Wilson & Company, focused on rollout of a possible shared ride service over the next five years.

Moran described the “micro-transit” service as a flexible, on-demand system dedicated to a specific area but without defined stops, and where rides would not be longer than 20-25 minutes. Rides would be booked in advance, similar to how Uber or Lyft operate, but riders would use city vehicles.

The five-year plan would call for a gradual ramping up of services, beginning with three vehicles running for 12 hours on weekdays, at no cost to the rider. Moran suggested adding a small fee, $1.50 per trip, after six months, and then over the following years adding three more vehicles and adding weekend trips. After five years, Moran said the service could expand to outlying areas if major employers were willing to cost-share.

Several council members and Mayor Craig McFarland supported the concept, noting that ride share options in the city are limited.

“Let’s try it,” said Councilwoman Lisa Navarro Fitzgibbons. “We are a growing community, we have high tech businesses here, and we don’t have anything like this. I know it’s not a huge money maker, but other surrounding communities have this.”

If the city becomes a Federal Transit Administration 5307 recipient, it could get an Urbanized Area Formula Grant of just over $900,000, and $2.6 million from the federal CARES Act, to fund a transit service.

Moran recommended that the city partner with a service provider for at least the first few years; the partner would provide vehicles, operators and any service app used, although the city would have to hire a transit coordinator. Another, more expensive option, would involve the city purchasing its own buses or partnering with a neighboring city like Coolidge.

Currently, Casa Grande does have a few stops within the Central Arizona Rapid Transit service operated by Coolidge. Within the county, Maricopa also has a fixed circulator route, Maricopa Express Transit. McFarland said that makes more sense for a city like Maricopa, with more commuters into Phoenix and a younger population, as opposed to more local traffic within Casa Grande.

During the regular session of the meeting, the council awarded contracts to Municipal Emergency Services Inc. for purchasing self-contained breathing apparatus and equipment for firefighters, and to Detailxperts Franchise Systems for custodial services for city park restrooms.


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