San Tan Valley, which easily could be the largest city in Pinal County if it actually were a city, has presented many challenges for county government since it sprang up early in the 2000s. Incorporation into a city has been discussed and proposed at times, but getting enough people to appro…

After a years-long wait, the Arizona Department of Water Resources last month released its new model for the Pinal Active Management Area, which includes much of the county but not the northern part. Not having the model had affected development planning, but its specifics raised many questi…

Veterans Day last week was a fitting time to mark the official start of creation of a memorial to Pinal County veterans because, like the day itself, it will recognize the sacrifices made by residents of the county. The project 10 years in the making had its groundbreaking at the site provid…

Phoenix, the state capital and Pinal County’s much larger neighbor to the north, is struggling with what to do about its recycling program, months after Casa Grande faced up to the same issue and decided to end curbside pickup after years of providing the service. Actually, cities and other …

The death of a pedestrian last year in Tempe after being struck by a self-driving Uber test car had an element of mystery. That has been cleared up by a new federal report. As acknowledged earlier, the woman was not seen as a pedestrian. However, the reason she was not seen that way by the c…

Americans traveling in Mexico always knew they were in a very different place, although the experience generally was enjoyable. More recently, cartel violence has resulted in many deaths, but they were often attributed to criminals killing each other. Now the situation has reached a new leve…

The 2020 election season is gearing up. That’s exciting for political junkies but not so much for many Pinal County residents who grow tired of being bombarded with messages. Unfortunately, it’s also the time when we see new reasons to regret the fact that Arizona’s founders saw fit to inclu…

The city of Casa Grande is once again grappling with problems in the alleys and talking about an end to trash pickup there. Residents of some older neighborhoods might not realize that much of the city has no alleys and Casa Grandeans living there are accustomed to wheeling trash containers …

Seeing court action pending in other states, Arizona is suspending its efforts to require Medicaid recipients to work if they can. The plan had been for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System to require work, volunteering or education for about 120,000 people. While the idea seems t…

A new groundwater model, awaited for years, was unveiled Friday, and it had some surprises because of changes included. We can only say that it is good that the state is planning for future years in the desert, but many questions will have to be answered. And hopefully soon.

Maricopa County has had its share of controversial or criminal county officials over the years. Perhaps it is due to the nature of county government in Arizona, which has many people elected to positions. The latest example is Paul Petersen, the county assessor who won two elections but also…

Gov. Doug Ducey has selected a new head of the Arizona Department of Corrections, and David Shinn certainly seems to have the right qualifications. He is a veteran of federal prisons and most recently has been a senior official in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. He faces challenges in Arizona bu…

Decades ago, growing cotton was the main economic engine that drove the development of Casa Grande, Eloy and Coolidge. For many years, agriculture was the leading source of jobs and income. That changed over the years with a few factors, including mechanization, costs, commodity markets and …

Hydroelectric power has been important to parts of the United States for many years. But it’s difficult to build new dams now because they often are controversial for environmental reasons and they already have been built at many of the best sites. A new proposal from a Phoenix company to pu…

Arizona regulates use of groundwater in high-growth and vulnerable areas, and that is a good thing. However, the rules and process present some problems, especially from effects of the Great Recession. The state House of Representatives has a committee looking into the effects on Pinal Count…

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb’s Redirection Mentor Program, which began in San Tan Valley early this year, has expanded to the Casa Grande area. It certainly has the potential to make a difference with young people who might be headed in the wrong direction with their lives.

Pinal County Manager Greg Stanley is retiring after several years of service to the county. The Board of Supervisors has selected Louis Andersen, who like Stanley previously worked in the Public Works Department, as the new manager.

Pinal County’s pending sales tax for building roads was back in the news last week when arguments were heard on a lawsuit that seeks to kill the tax. The county’s Regional Transportation Authority, meanwhile, has been collecting the half-cent tax but has not been able to spend the money. The…

Arizona has had a shortage of corrections officers for a long time, but a recent report highlights that problem. In the 2017-18 budget year, the state paid $40 million in overtime, according to an analysis by The Arizona Republic. That clearly is not a good thing for the state or the workers…

Arizona and other states are preparing for more elections next year following the off-year round in 2018. The next general election, however, will include a vote for president, the first following 2016, when Donald Trump won a shocking victory and foreign hacking attempts played a major part…

We all know that technology has changed American life for the good and sometimes bad. Along with that, new forms of crime have developed, especially in identity theft and other cyber crime. However, new ways of preventing crime also have developed.

With mass shootings continuing at a numbing pace, opinions are flying about how to deal with this complex problem. American sentiment supports increased background checks, and Congress may act on that soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he is waiting for President Trump to …

Phoenix voters last week rejected two measures that had been the subject of much rhetoric and advertising. Perhaps they made the right choice in deciding against blocking light rail expansion and new limits on spending. However, both propositions point out problems in municipal government an…

A Valley legislator is pushing an idea proposed before to count prison inmates for census purposes where they are from, not where they actually live. The proposal, which would have the greatest negative impact on Pinal County’s largest legislative district, should be shelved the way it was before.

Central Arizona College opened its doors 50 years ago after years of work and dreaming by some farsighted community leaders in Pinal County. The college has celebrated each decade of its existence, but this milestone fittingly is being marked throughout the whole academic year, starting this…

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors this week set property tax rates for all districts and governmental entities in the county, although most of them were known in advance when budgets were set. Looking at them together, however, provides some good news.

A report aired last week paints a troubling picture of the Arizona Department of Corrections. Following a televised story that showed inmates at the Lewis prison in Buckeye could freely open and close cell doors, Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the report. To prepare it, he turned to an excellent so…

Another attempt to get Arizona voters to approve recreational marijuana was rolled out last week. This follows rejection last year by only 51% of those casting a ballot. With the next general election more than 14 months away, prepare to be bombarded with information and spin.

Americans have been dealing this week with two more mass shootings that killed 31 people last weekend. In light of that, Gov. Doug Ducey had some very timely remarks last week about his ongoing effort to detain people deemed dangerous. Of course, with the number of mass killings in recent ye…

The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that residents have a constitutional right to online privacy that goes above what they have under the U.S. Constitution. For that, they can thank the Arizona Constitution, which says: “No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home inv…

Despite summer heat and the occasional monsoon storm, Arizona is a great place for outdoor activity most of the time. That led to new bases to train a huge number of military pilots in the World War II era, which introduced many to the then-lightly populated state. And it also led to making …

As Pinal County schools open for the new year, educators once again are striving to obtain the best results from their students. At the same time, some Arizona leaders continue to seek the best as well. Arizonans long have sought to raise achievement in education, and the job is not easy.

A large number of Americans have been troubled by gridlock in Washington, so some hopeful signs this month are welcome. One is over immigration, which has been a big issue in Arizona for years while politicians have been unwilling to work together on any meaningful reforms. This has led to h…

Pinal County’s population grew rapidly in this century because of a land shortage to build homes in Maricopa County and the fact that land was cheaper in Pinal. That is still the case, although housing in Pinal has become less affordable. Since the Great Recession, when a huge inventory of h…

According to federal statistics, a third of teenagers smoked in 1997, and only 9% in 2015. The bad news is that use of electronic cigarettes has risen from 0.6% in 2011 to 20% recently. Vaping is billed as a desirable substitute for smoking, but for millions of teens becoming addicted, it cl…

President Trump has found an alternative to a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. census, which would have played out in court because of Democratic opposition. Immigration is an issue that greatly affects Arizona and Pinal County, but another one is the subject of an executive order from …

Planning for Interstate 11, which could connect Pinal County to Las Vegas and destinations much farther, has continued for several years. In these days when infrastructure funding is often lacking, such a project sometimes seems to be fantasy, yet it makes sense and very well could happen. A…

Even though Casa Grande has a beautiful new Community Recreation Center, some of its major new buildings are old enough that the city has paid down much of its debt. That means the secondary tax rate is falling considerably this year, giving the City Council an option of raising the primary …

Americans always have celebrated the Fourth of July in a big way, as well they should. It’s a day to have some fun while also appreciating the steps some patriots took in the 1770s to establish a nation based on principles that were new at the time. Unfortunately, they have not become univer…

Pinal has long been the state’s third most populous county, but traditionally it was quite rural in nature. That has changed with rapid growth in the 21st century. Sandwiched between the two metropolitan areas in a major Sun Belt state, Pinal is piling up population increases that had long b…

After years of intense battle between the town of Florence and Florence Copper, a settlement may be on the horizon. A 5-2 vote by the Town Council toward that end occurred Friday, and that is a major change in stance. It followed a $1.7 million judgment the company won and signs that some re…

Arizona’s leaders recently dealt with a pending shortage of Colorado River water. While a wet winter and spring may have delayed the problem, it won’t go away and will need future intervention. At least decisions were made to cope.

The population in Arizona and Pinal County is growing, making the state a much larger force than it was in earlier times. Meanwhile, some areas are shrinking, at least in the number of students in school. That is creating a challenge for those responsible for operating schools in those areas…

The Arizona Court of Appeals has rejected an argument from Pinal County Assessor Douglas Wolf regarding classification of ranch land. The unanimous ruling was the correct one, saying that the land should not be reclassified as vacant, which would mean more property taxes for the owner.

Americans generally take a dim view of the pay and perks received by their elected officials, but those people should be compensated to the point that public service is not an excessive burden. There is much to be said for having regular folks, and not just the wealthy, in statehouses and Co…

Americans know well about the gridlock in Congress, and many of them are tired of it. There is no better example than with the immigration issue. It has been a major campaign theme of President Trump for years, and Democrats have no intention of giving him a legislative victory. Meanwhile, t…

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