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Global Water finishes transitioning with few customer complaints
 ksawyer  / 

MARICOPA — Global Water Resources customers may not have noticed the changing hands of FATHOM Water Services as the company prepared to shutter its doors in November, but Global Water was left scrambling to pick up the slack.

FATHOM announced its closure on Nov. 9 and by mid-December it had vacated shared office space with Global Water. This tight turnaround of only a few weeks is far shorter than what a normal transition period would be — around five months less.

Global Water hired a total of 12 staff members from FATHOM, which had been responsible for the company’s customer portal, billing, call center and software systems. When FATHOM announced its departure, Global Water needed to reach out to various entities separately and set up contracts with them.

Condensing two companies effectively into one, with FATHOM ceasing to exist, was especially challenging given that FATHOM’s replacement recommendation originally came at a 65% price increase and an eight-year contract with another company. Global Water instead chose to contract directly with providers.

“We had to go essentially negotiate a contract with 10 or more other entities to contract with them directly,” said Jon Corwin, vice president and general manager of Global Water. “The process to hire on FATHOM employees and just the overall logistics in such a condensed time frame was very challenging.”

The biggest difference that customers felt was a minor change of address in the mailing of their bills. The new address is P.O. Box 29072, MSC 771, Phoenix, AZ 85038. For the most part, however, these changes went unnoticed by clients. In a City Council meeting Tuesday, Corwin presented the results of the takeover and his findings that complaints had gone from 121 in 2017 to just 14 in 2019.

“A select few customers have had a minor impact, and we’ve done everything that we can to rectify that in a very short period of time when we find out about it,” Corwin said. “There should be no long-term ramifications of any sort. I think in the long term, it’s actually a benefit to the company and ultimately to our customers because we now have all those services in-house and we have more flexibility.”

FATHOM was originally created by Global Water, but the companies split in 2013 when investors saw a difference in the technology services FATHOM provided and the water utilities of Global Water. Corwin is confident that the takeover is complete and all services are now under the control of Global Water as of several weeks ago.

“I would say we’re on the other side of it,” Corwin said. “Everything is now in-house and has been for several weeks. We’re still working on little tweaks here and there and automating processes and doing little integrations here and there in the software. So there’s still things going on behind the scenes, but the heavy lifting is done at this point.”

Customers can now view, pay and manage their bills online on the customer portal and check out their daily and hourly water consumption stats.

Corwin was in high spirits at the council meeting and was recognized by the council for his one-on-one work with veterans to help manage their water bills.

“I just wanted to commend you … (on) the behind the scenes work you’re doing for our vets,” said Councilwoman Julia Gusse from the bench. “I know one of the issues that we’ve been talking about back and forth is making sure that our vets that are deployed aren’t paying the exorbitant cost of having their water on when they’re not even at home. … You all have been working with them behind the scenes, nobody knows that but now they do and thank you for doing that.”

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Maricopa man catches neighbors' eyes with pet goats
 ksawyer  / 

MARICOPA — A Maricopa man was spotted last week walking his pet goats around his neighborhood on a leash by a passerby who couldn’t help but share the oddity online.

“I’m kind of jealous of the man I saw walking his goat earlier today! #Goals,” wrote Robin Lyn on Facebook, accompanying her post with a photo of James Carr and his leashed goat.

It’s true that seeing a goat on a leash isn’t an everyday occurrence, but Carr has made it his. His two male French Alpine goats are about a year old and go by Bode — “goat” in Portuguese — and Ziege, which means “goat” in German. They are brothers and are named in honor of Carr’s twin daughters, who are currently on their church missions in Portugal and Germany.

The self-identified urban farmer acquired the pair only about four months ago from a friend who “was going to get rid of them one way or another.” The goats joined his growing motley collection of pets, including two dogs, three cats, a fish, a turtle and a bearded dragon lizard.

Carr, a software engineer by day, acquired all of his animals in unusual ways.

A long-haired calico literally fell into the family’s hands when they purchased a Christmas tree and the cat came tumbling out of it. Two more ginger kittens were added last year when they were found abandoned in Hidden Valley. The bearded dragon was attacked by fellow dragons and deemed “unsellable” for his missing tail, so Carr naturally took him in. A member of their Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel handed over the turtle.

Carr’s four daughters and wife are partially to blame for some of their furry friends. His twin daughters were 9 when he sent them to the store to pick up a few things, but they came home with something that wasn’t on the list.

“We sent our twins, when they were about 9 in Wisconsin, down to the corner QuikTrip to get some milk and bananas. They forgot the milk and bananas and came home with this fluffy puppy. ‘Look what we got for free!’ and I’m like, ‘Nooo,’” Carr said with a laugh. So Freckles joined the misfits.

His daughter snuck home a fish from her science class and his wife Shylo brought home their final black dog, Bub, from a woman who had too many dogs.

After the damp Wisconsin weather made it hard for Shylo to stay healthy, the Carrs made the move to Arizona in search of dryer and warmer weather. The family of six has been here for almost six years now and are planning on making Maricopa their permanent home.

The goats are by far the most exotic of the family’s pets — and debatably the hardest to walk.

“The first time they went for a walk, I kid you not, I drug those goats,” Carr said exasperatedly. “We only made it probably halfway down the road because I was exhausted. … It was like a wild horse. They went nuts. They would just pull me. My daughter went with me one time — my 16-year-old — and it knocked her down on the ground.”

The two were not accustomed to human interaction, and Carr took it upon himself to work with them every day after he finished with his day job. As a software engineer, Carr works mainly from home and was looking for a way to unwind and switch gears after a long day at work. The goats provided a great opportunity for him to do just that.

“People have service animals to help them with emotional issues or to help them with anxiety and all that — I don’t have emotional issues and I don’t have anxiety — but for me, it’s been rewarding to watch them improve,” Carr said.

These days, the goats look forward to the walks and the treats that come with them. The neighbors also seem to be enjoying the newest residents and often stop to ask Carr questions and take pictures.

“You will not believe how many people get a kick out of seeing me walk a goat,” Carr said smiling. “There’s been no negative so far with it. As long as they don’t bother our neighbors we don’t think it’s going to be bad. And as you can tell, (we’re) keeping it clean.”

Carr isn’t done growing his urban farm yet though, as he has plans to acquire some nesting hens and maybe even a pig. He’s also planning on building and growing a salsa garden.

Carr thinks he’s been on the Maricopa Facebook pages at least twice, and finds the attention amusing.

“For me it’s a de-stresser,” Carr said. “I’m just walking these guys to switch from work to normal. I’m training them, I’m giving them attention so they’re not just sitting in a pen being ignored.”

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Bragonier guilty on all counts in child molestation case

FLORENCE — Ronald Bragonier, a Maricopa man charged with child molestation, was found guilty on all counts Friday morning.

He was charged with four counts of molestation of a child under the age of 15 and one count of sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15. A 12-person jury rendered a verdict of guilty on all five counts.

Bragonier was accused of using a position of trust to prey on a 13-year-old victim. Closing arguments in the seven-day trial wrapped up at noon Wednesday before Superior Court Judge Jason Holmberg.

The jury deliberated Wednesday afternoon for more than three hours before wrapping up for the day. It continued deliberations all day Thursday.

At 4 p.m. on Thursday, sources told PinalCentral the jury was close to a decision. However, after a decision was expected at 4:30 and 5 p.m., the jurors did not come to a conclusion before Holmberg sent them home for the day.

The jury finally reached its verdict at 10:45 a.m. on Friday.

Bragonier’s sentencing has been scheduled for March 6 at 1:30 p.m.