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Maricopa's Complete Count Committee works for accurate result of U.S. Census
 Grace Harrah  / 

MARICOPA — The first Complete Count Committee training for the 2020 U.S. Census took place in Maricopa to help ensure the accuracy of the city’s census count.

The U.S. Census, which takes place every 10 years, is vital to cities such as Maricopa to understand their population growth and to obtain funds to support future development.

CCC is a city-run group of volunteers that will initiate outreach to the community in support of the census. The goal is to engage the community and reach as many people as possible, including those in the hard-to-count areas. Though the census does not officially go live until March 23, the CCC will plan accordingly to reach out to the community leaders to share the importance of the census.

Maricopa Intergovernmental Affairs Director Dale Wiebusch is taking on the role of city census director and hopes to achieve a very accurate census count with the help of members of the CCC.

“My intention was that, you’re sort of like the inner core,” Wiebusch said to those who attended the CCC training meeting on Thursday afternoon. “In about a month I’m hoping more people enlist in the activity, and determine what kind of schedule we need to undertake at this point in time. From there we can generate the initial plan.”

The CCC will also partner with the Maricopa Association of Governments on the census to provide a thorough outreach program, including media buys.

Maricopa Mayor Christian Price also elaborated on the importance of the census for the people and for the city.

“If we don’t get an accurate count, we lose federal dollars, which in turn means that we simply don’t have enough money to provide services that are necessary for the community,” Price said.

Services such as the fire department, roads and side streets are just a few that may expand due to the census count. Price said to have the accurate count means to provide services that will ensure the safety and well-being of the community.

“You guys have the ability to get this message out. You all have networks that I don’t have,” Price said.

A factor that will affect the city directly through the census is its future of economic development, as it will let business owners know how much the population has grown to encourage them to come to the city.

“It’s always important from an economic development standpoint,” Price said. “The business owners want to know they’re going to make money by knowing the accurate count as well as the growth of the population.”

The members talked about the Heritage District and other low-income areas because they are projected to be the hard-to-count areas of the city. Though there may be a few bumps in the road, Wiebusch is eager to reach all communities in Maricopa to ensure the overall count.

Other attendees spoke on the criteria that the members of the CCC should have to create a secure plan.

“I think people living in Maricopa is vital,” said Pat Lairson, an agent with Maricopa Real Estate Company. “Maricopa is such a different city in general than any other places I have lived.”

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Maricopa to use $180,000 grant for Heritage revitalization program
 Grace Harrah  / 

MARICOPA — A federal grant is set to go toward revitalizing the Heritage District of Maricopa.

This city has proposed using $180,000 from the Community Development Block Grant for revitalization of the Maricopa Townsite. The funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for low-to-moderate-income communities to address a wide range of community development needs.

The program was presented at the City Council meeting on Tuesday night by the city’s grants and accounting coordinator, Cassandra Brown.

The grant part of a flexible program that provides resources to address a wide range of community development needs. The homeowners of the Heritage District have expressed their concerns in previous years.

“There may have been promises made but not necessarily promises kept,” said Vice Mayor Henry Wade. “And I am happy to be part of an organization that believes in promises kept.”

The presented area of revitalization is a triangular section east of John Wayne Parkway, south of Honeycutt Road, west of Plainview Street and north of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. It existed before major growth in Maricopa since the early 2000s.

Grace Gomez, a neighborhood activist for the Heritage District, has previously spoken on infrastructure issues and is thankful to see the changes finally come to the community. She described the Heritage District as “the heart of Maricopa.”

“I thank the city of Maricopa for being patient with us,” Gomez said.

For this particular program, the grant will mainly be used for the revitalization of the infrastructure of the community. The program will assist with the improvement of the exterior of the homes and public side streets, landscaping, roofing, plumbing, windows and doors, and installation of energy-efficient streetlights.

“It’s always trying to figure out how to apportion the budget to make sure it gives a little something to everyone,” said Mayor Christian Price. He assured Heritage residents that the issue was never forgotten. “It’s just a matter of when everything collides and when all of the stars align. And I’m really happy to say that I think those stars are aligning.

“When it all comes together in the course of the next year or two, I think we’re going to see major improvements to these areas.”

The resolution that will authorize the city to apply for the project will be presented at the next City Council meeting.

Howard Waggner/PinalCentral 

Bob Marsh

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Sinkevitch sentenced to life in prison for killing ex-boyfriend
 bwright  / 

FLORENCE — A 35-year-old woman found guilty last month of murdering her ex-boyfriend in Maricopa in December 2016 will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Kathryn Sinkevitch was convicted May 7 on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Michael Agerter. On Thursday morning, she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Pinal County Superior Court Judge Kevin White.

Agerter’s parents spoke to the court during the sentencing hearing. Sinkevitch made no comment.

In a statement to PinalCentral, Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer said he was glad to see justice for the victim.

“This is a unique situation where all of our law enforcement partners collaborated to hold the defendant fully accountable,” he said. “It’s my hope now that Michael’s family can begin the long process of healing from this tragic loss.”

Agerter was gunned down in his car after pulling into the garage of his Maricopa home. Surveillance videos captured his killer running up to the home and shooting him within a matter of seconds.

During the trial, the state presented evidence that Sinkevitch was found with two stolen license plates in her car. The prosecution said it showed she had been planning to commit a crime.

Sinkevitch also received an email the morning of the murder that informed her Agerter was scheduled to take a paternity test that afternoon. The state argued this let Sinkevitch know exactly when Agerter would arrive back at his home that day.

Sinkevitch and Agerter were in the middle of a custody dispute over their infant child at the time of the crime. Sinkevitch even hired a private investigator to obtain information on Agerter’s home address.

The victim was previously granted an order of protection in Maricopa County Superior Court against Sinkevitch in April 2016, just one month after their romantic relationship had ended.

After the jury reached a guilty verdict last month, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office said in a press release that Agerter had been actively involved in trying to establish paternity of Sinkevitch’s son, who was born in October. He believed he was the father.

“Agerter never saw his son before he was murdered, and the paternity results later confirmed he was the boy’s father,” the release stated.

Agerter’s family also made a statement after Sinkevitch was convicted.

“(Michael) took every legal precaution to protect himself and was trying to do the same for his child,” the family said. “Domestic violence knows no boundaries. Mike’s attempt to protect the child he never met escalated (Sinkevitch’s) aggression towards him, ultimately leading to his death.”