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Maricopa takes over waste center, eyes unifying trash service
 ksawyer  / 

MARICOPA — The city of Maricopa is moving to take control of the Waste and Recycling Center in order to lower costs to taxpayers and make changes designed to benefit the city and its residents.

The center is owned by Pinal County, which leases it to the city. Previously, Right Away Disposal was managing the center. However, City Manager Rick Horst felt that more services could be provided if the city gained control.

“We have been paying RAD a flat rate, and that flat rate is far excessive to what the benefit being realized is,” Horst said. “They’re open on Saturdays for about four hours. So our goal is to take over and do the same thing they’re doing right now, but ultimately, to do more.”

Horst gave an example of landscapers who currently have few choices for disposal of their clippings. The Waste and Recycling Center may have the capability to grind up that debris and then sell it as mulch to create profit for the city. This is just one idea of many that the city is discussing for the center.

Horst made it clear that the takeover should not affect residents. However, the city is currently accepting bids for a city-wide contract for trash pickup. If the city finds a suitable partnership, residents in non-HOA neighborhoods may soon be free of the stress of dealing with waste and recycling companies individually for curbside pickup, and each HOA will no longer have a different contract.

“The initial findings suggest that every single community will spend less money than they are now,” Horst said. “Some will save more money, some will save less money, but all of them will save some money. Plus, they no longer have to deal with the headaches of negotiations.”

While this is still in the works, the city has moved forward in taking over for RAD at the Waste and Recycling Center. RAD has officially declined to put in a bid for a city-wide trash pickup program.

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Maricopa man accused of breaking into home of woman he repeatedly assaulted
 ksawyer  / 

MARICOPA — Over the course of the past two years, Tyler Becking, 24, pleaded guilty to a slew of charges involving abuse of the same victim. Then, on Dec. 28, he allegedly broke into the victim’s home in the dead of night to assault her again.

The first arrest came on Sept. 10, 2018, when he and the victim got into a verbal argument in the front yard of a residence on Guilder Avenue. He began choking the woman, who temporarily lost consciousness due to lack of oxygen. She left the residence and called Maricopa police.

Becking then texted the woman, “I wouldn’t have to take care of you bc I will end you both,” referring to the victim and her unborn child. He was arrested for aggravated assault for impeding the breathing of the victim. He was also arrested for disorderly conduct.

He pleaded guilty to assault on Jan. 14, 2019, and the other charge was dropped. He was released on probation at that time.

Not even a month later, in February, Becking was arrested again for two counts of aggravated assault for the prevention of breathing, as well as assault, prevention of the use of a phone during an emergency and interfering with judicial proceedings/resisting. These charges again involved the same victim.

He pleaded guilty in April to one count of aggravated assault and was sentenced to a 90-day jail term and subsequent probation. Becking was also ordered to participate in a domestic violence court program, complete a substance abuse treatment, attend anger management counseling and refrain from contacting the victim.

In September, he violated his parole terms by failing to show up to his domestic violence review hearing.

On Dec. 25, court documents show that Becking violated his probation by consuming alcohol and being out past his court-ordered curfew. This series of events culminated in his alleged burglary attempt on Dec. 28.

At 1:41 a.m., he allegedly entered the residence of his previous victim through a ground floor bedroom window on Alicia Court.

The woman was inside the bedroom smoking a cigarette and attempted to escape but was blocked by Becking. He locked the door and said, “I’ll hurt you if you try to leave.” She remained in the room with him for about two hours, during which time Becking reportedly consumed an entire bottle of alcohol.

She convinced him to let her out to use the restroom next to her bedroom, and then locked herself in. Becking realized what she had done and reportedly banged on the door, which alerted the upstairs roommates. The woman screamed and hid under the sink while her roommate called Maricopa police.

Police gained entry to the residence and found Becking apparently heavily intoxicated in the downstairs bedroom with the window still open. He was arrested for burglary in the second degree, unlawful imprisonment, three counts of disorderly conduct, and threatening and intimidation.

On Jan. 2, Becking’s probation was revoked by Pinal County Superior Court. He is currently being held on a $10,000 bond.

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Horst: 2020 will bring new developments, construction to Maricopa
 ksawyer  / 

MARICOPA — As a decade comes to a close, another is just beginning.

Maricopa began the last decade with a population around 35,000 and is entering 2020 with an additional 19,000 Maricopans, a total of 54,700. This is unusual growth, especially for a city with just 16 years under its belt, but most Maricopans know this is not an ordinary place.

City Manager Rick Horst knows how special the city of Maricopa is and some of what’s ahead in the future.

“We’re presently about 2,000 less (people) than Casa Grande...,” Horst said. “We anticipate that, by the time the census is conducted, we will probably be the largest city in Pinal County. So that and all these other things combined — some of the infrastructure we’re putting in, road improvements, bridge improvements, water and sewer improvements — we’re becoming a place of interest to the retail and business community.”

Copper Sky Commercial Area is the main focus of city development in the coming year, with the first phase almost complete. The No. 1 priority, according to Horst, is to get the Senior Living Center up and running. This center will serve seniors in the community who need access to memory care, nursing and assisted living. Groundbreaking for that project is scheduled to take place this year.

This is a separate facility from the Senior Recreation Center, which will take over the current Maricopa Public Library. The new Maricopa Public Library will be 25,000 square feet and will be situated immediately south of Maricopa City Hall and police department. The planning stages for this project are nearing completion and shovels will hit the dirt in February.

Also on the to-do list for the Copper Sky Commercial project are retail and luxury apartments. One of two apartment complexes scheduled to be built in the coming years, this one features many amenities. Groundbreaking on this project is scheduled for the end of this year, with construction into 2021.

“The second phase will probably follow …. which will be some retail and apartments — and these are market rate luxury apartments,” Horst said. “One of the things people don’t understand in our community is that right now we have 23,000 single-family homes and no apartments or condos or townhomes.”

This new housing will provide not only smaller and more affordable rental property, but will also house retail on the bottom level, attracting business and jobs to the city, according to Horst. He even mentioned a futuristic parking garage that will feature a car elevator for easy access. This is all in the name of attracting young professionals to the city.

“The type of people we’re trying to cater to is, entry-level school teachers, firefighters, police officers,” Horst said. “Matter of fact, a lot of people think we’re opening the doors for maybe a bad influence that we don’t want in our community, but that’s not the case.”

The other apartment complex, most recently the center of controversy over parking spaces, is moving forward next to Walmart. This smaller complex will also be situated next to a new school called A+ Charter School, as well as a host of other businesses. Horst named a few, including Bahama Bucks, a new storage facility, a car wash and a gas station.

Road improvements this month along Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway will also tie in to the new developments, with the idea that it will make traveling around the city easier. This, as well as the new traffic signal on Honeycutt and White and Porter roads and the extension of Bowlin Road, should provide traffic relief for the eastern side of Maricopa.

Horst mentioned he’s hoping to pitch another exciting mixed-use project to council in the coming weeks to help beautify the area just southeast of the John Wayne Parkway overpass.

“We’re working on a project called Maricopa Station,” Horst said. “I’ll be meeting with my city council in two weeks and our Strategic Planning (Commission) and after we get their support we’ll roll that out to the public.”

In conjunction to this project, Horst is hoping when the budget for the new fiscal year is finalized in July, there will also be funds for one or two walking bridges over the tracks.

“We will be budgeting for one of the pedestrian passages that will be on the west side of the overpass so the kids can easily get to the high school and those areas,” Horst said.

Horst was most excited for the prospect of finally beautifying John Wayne Parkway, something the city hasn’t had the jurisdiction to do up until recently. After reaching an agreement with the Arizona Department of Transportation, Horst is hoping to create a welcoming atmosphere for visitors entering Maricopa.

“We’ll have a new entry feature coming in so people know they finally arrived in Maricopa and (we’ll be) cleaning up aesthetically. We want to create a sense of place,” Horst said. “People don’t realize that up to 60,000 cars a day drive through that stretch. A lot of them taking the shortcut to go to San Diego. They drive through and the more pleasant we can make it … people will pause and go, ‘Hm, maybe we ought to take a second look at this.’”

As the city enters a new decade of business and residential development, Horst and city officials have high hopes for what was once a tiny town, and is now well on the way to being a thriving metropolis.

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Young Rams ready to make a charge in final weeks
 Haas  / 

APACHE JUNCTION — Last season Maricopa qualified four wrestlers for state with one state placer.

Of those state qualifiers, only one has returned in 106-pounder Gabriel Garcia, who entered the weekend at 20-4.

It’s a young team, coach Erick Fierro said, with only one senior participating at last weekend’s Prospector Invitational.

“It’s kind of exciting to see where the cards might fall when you get there because they are so young,” Fierro said. “At that age, anything can happen.”

Fierro expects to send five wrestlers to the Division II state meet next month in Prescott Valley.

He added his strong weight classes this year include Garcia at 106 along with Zach Kondravy, who placed at the Prospector Invitational at 152. Others expected to do well include heavyweight Hunter Taylor, Michael Peters at 145 and possibility Cody Long at 160.

“Sometimes he wrestles really well, and other times he wrestles like a sophomore,” Fierro said of Long. “A lot of kids have moved up and down (in weight classes). It’s a good problem to have, but it’s hard to figure out where your roster is going to be.”

Prospector Wrestling Tournament 1/11/20

The Rams will head to the Division II, Section III tournament Feb. 8 at Agua Fria High School in Avondale.

Fierro said despite being a young team, he’s pleased with where his numbers are and added that of the 13 eighth graders in the middle school ranks, 90% have wrestled, so he’s pleased at the direction the program is going.

“We are doing good things at the lower level to start making Maricopa wrestling develop,” Fierro said. “It’s not a sport that is not necessary popular in Maricopa, but we’re making it popular.”