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Latest News in Queen Creek, AZ

Founders' Day 2022: Don't miss this annual celebration of Queen Creek Sept. 17

The community is invited to come out and celebrate everything Queen Creek at the town's annual ...

The community is invited to come out and celebrate everything Queen Creek at the town's annual Founders’ Day celebration this Saturday.

The family-friendly community event will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 17 at Founders’ Park, 22407 S. Ellsworth Road. It will feature fun activities, great music and Battle of the Badge relay style competitions.

Founders' Day 2021 celebrated the town’s 32nd anniversary and after a pandemic hiatus in 2020, residents were ready to go last year.

"I absolutely love the small town feel of Queen Creek," Andria Cerrone, a resident of the Will Rogers Equestrian Ranch neighborhood, said at last year's Founders' Day. "It's a great place to raise a family and it's affordable. We were looking for horse property and our (neighborhood) has a wonderful boarding and equine care facility."

At the Future Farmers of America Arizona (FFA) agricultural zone last year, Queen Creek High School students were welcoming people to learn more about FFA and participate in the many booths they had set up at Founders' Day 2021.

FFA advisor and agricultural science teacher, Aleah Shook, said Queen Creek offers the perfect setting for the school's FFA program.

"The Queen Creek agricultural science program not only teaches them about animals, it teaches them about business and life skills," she said last year, adding that the program usually averages 100 students each year and has been at Queen Creek High since 1992.

"(FFA) is the biggest youth organization and it teaches them how to be career ready," Shook added.

Town history

Since its incorporation on Sept. 5, 1989, the Town of Queen Creek has fulfilled residents’ dreams for the community. The town has adopted several award-winning plans designed to guide future growth, planning and land use as well as provide amenities. The town has grown from rich rural roots to what is one of the most innovatively planned family friendly home towns in Arizona.

The community’s founding families were drawn to this portion of the Sonoran Desert, known as Rittenhouse, in the early 1900s to farm cotton, corn and potatoes.The fertile valley below the San Tan Mountains offered a safe haven for the early Indian communities and the homesteaders who farmed and ranched along Queen Creek Wash. Citrus, cotton, pecans, vegetables and other crops still provide for area families, and the wash is a key element in the town's plan for future recreational trails and open space.

Before the scattered farm community was called Queen Creek, it had a different name. The area was known as Rittenhouse because of the railroad spur located near Rittenhouse and Ellsworth roads. People used to flag down the train to get a ride into Phoenix. As the community grew, and the use of the railroad stop diminished, the community changed its name and took on the name Queen Creek.

Location, location

Queen Creek is located primarily in Maricopa County, with eastern portions of the town in Pinal County; and is located within 10 minutes of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and 45 minutes of Sky Harbor International Airport. The town’s planning area is bordered on the north by the City of Mesa, to the west by the Town of Gilbert, to the northeast by the City of Apache Junction planning area and to the southeast by the Town of Florence’s planning area. The east is bordered by an unincorporated area of Pinal County, San Tan Valley, and the south is bordered by San Tan Mountain Regional Park, a 10,200- acre park managed by Maricopa County.

Population growth

In 1990, just after the town incorporated, Queen Creek’s population was just over 2,500. The next 10 years experienced a relatively rapid growth rate, with the town’s population escalating significantly by 2010. The Great Recession tempered growth for several years, but by 2015, Queen Creek was one of the fastest growing communities in Arizona. The town’s population continued to increase at a steady, manageable pace, with an estimated population of 41,980 in 2017.

What's in a name?

The Town of Queen Creek's name originated over 100 miles away. Up in the eastern mountains surrounding the Town of Superior, the land is rich with supplies of ore. One of the many mines that opened up in those mountains was the Silver Queen (another was the Silver King, but it was later renamed the Magma Mine). At the base of the Silver Queen Mine there was a creek known as the Picket Post Creek. It was named after the oddly shaped mountain above it (the one you can see today above the State Arboretum). When the Silver Queen Mine opened for production, the name of the Picket Post Creek was changed to Queen Creek. That creek runs down from the mountains, past the mine, through the Queen Creek Canyon, into the area surrounding the present day Town of Queen Creek.

Historical documentary

In honor of the town's 25th anniversary in 2014, the town produced and released “From Rittenhouse to QC,” a mini-documentary about the history of the community and the struggle to become a municipality. Updated in 2020, this PBS award-winning film includes interviews from members of Queen Creek’s founding families and three residents responsible for leading the incorporation effort - Paul Gardner, Mark Schnepf and Steve Sossaman.

Produced in conjunction with OrangeScreen Production, the film is available free-of-charge on the town’s YouTube channel, “TheQCchannel.”

ADOT statewide electric vehicle charger plan gets approval

Arizona is one of the first states in the nation to have its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan given the stamp of approval from the Federal Highway Administration.The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) submitted its draft proposal in August and with the federal approval this week, $11.3 million will be made available immediately with another $16.3 million coming in October of this year to begin implementing the plan. This is a portion of the overall $76.5 million allocated for this program in Arizona over the ne...

Arizona is one of the first states in the nation to have its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan given the stamp of approval from the Federal Highway Administration.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) submitted its draft proposal in August and with the federal approval this week, $11.3 million will be made available immediately with another $16.3 million coming in October of this year to begin implementing the plan. This is a portion of the overall $76.5 million allocated for this program in Arizona over the next five years through the recently enacted federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

The next step for ADOT is to solicit and award the contracts to upgrade existing stations as well as develop new locations along designated alternative fuel corridors. Advertising for bids to upgrade existing stations will begin in spring 2023 followed by bid solicitations in autumn 2023 for new construction. The plan calls for stations to be no more than 50 miles apart wherever possible.

In many cases, stations will be located where there is already infrastructure in place, such as truck stops, roadside lodging, restaurants and shopping centers, among other possibilities.

Currently, the alternative fuel corridors are identified as all five of the federal Interstate Highways throughout the state. These are Interstates 8, 10, 15, 17 and 19, which account for more than 20 percent of all the vehicle miles traveled in Arizona. Other non-interstate corridors will be determined and included in the plan in future years. The plan will next be updated in August of 2023.

Among the specific goals of the plan are reducing electric vehicle drivers’ “range anxiety” by closing gaps in the charging network along the designated corridors and ensuring the network is resilient, equitable, accessible and reliable. Also the plan aims to identify new charging locations as part of an ongoing public outreach process and will use data to evaluate the system and make improvements.

A copy of the plan, more information and contact information to leave feedback are available at azdot.gov/evplan.

'It’s really opened up doors.' How This Culinary Program Prepares Students For Success

Esai Raya of Chandler had an interest in the culinary world since he was in sixth grade. Now, at 18, he’s an apprentice and line cook at Casino Arizona making a full salary and benefits, including tuition reimbursement. He also earned a $2,500 scholarship and plans to attend Scottsdale Community College and become a chef.Raya credits the nonprofit Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) for getting him on track to meet his goals.“It’s rea...

Esai Raya of Chandler had an interest in the culinary world since he was in sixth grade. Now, at 18, he’s an apprentice and line cook at Casino Arizona making a full salary and benefits, including tuition reimbursement. He also earned a $2,500 scholarship and plans to attend Scottsdale Community College and become a chef.

Raya credits the nonprofit Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) for getting him on track to meet his goals.

“It’s really opened up doors that had I not done this, most likely would’ve stayed closed,” he says. “It’s shown me what I want to do.”

Founded in 1990, C-CAP has a broad mission of furthering food and social justice. It provides culinary and wellness education and workforce development to 20,000 students annually in seven regions across the U.S. About 70 schools throughout Arizona, including on the Navajo Nation, purchase the program for their elective culinary classes.

Amy Barko, the program coordinator for Arizona C-CAP, said the program has been implemented for 30 years in the state, providing curriculums and resources such as teacher training and online learning. Though it’s open to anyone, the true mission of C-CAP is to provide underserved teens a pathway to success. And that means more than teaching people their way around a kitchen. Students learn life skills in addition to knife skills.

“It isn’t just the cooking," Barko says. "We take a look at the whole student.”

Barko estimates the other program they are most well known for is hosting cooking competitions for high school juniors and seniors. One hundred students statewide compete for 25 scholarships ranging from $1,000 towards a college savings fund "all the way up to a full-tuition scholarship to the top culinary schools,” according to Barko.

This year, chef and restaurateur Mark Tarbell is hosting C-CAP's biggest fundraiser of the year, the eighth annual Harvest Moon Feast. The event will take place at Tarbell's on October 9. Last year, it raised over $100,000. Tarbell, who is on the national board of C-CAP, has been involved with the organization since it began in Arizona.

“Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate it more and more, as it has a very, very, very, very, direct and positive impact on these young kids,” he says.

Many students use C-CAP to propel themselves into careers in the culinary arts, but some of the cash scholarships can also be used for any type of college education.

“Young people can prove to themselves that they can do things and they go on to other careers outside of the culinary arts, which I think is fantastic,” Tarbell says.

Previous competitor Bria Fogelson of Peoria set goals within the industry, and wants to own a seasonally-based bakery and cafe. She excelled in the competition requiring students to prepare a thinly sliced cucumber salad and French omelet.

“They graded off of flavor, presentation, the sanitation, how you run your own station, and how you were in the kitchen,” she says. “Everything was graded based on performance and how the end product turned out.”

Fogelson did so well, she earned a full scholarship through the C-CAP competition to attend the Culinary Institute of America starting in January.

Competitions also teach students to roll with the punches and not get discouraged, which is integral when working in the fast-paced, high-stress setting of a restaurant kitchen. Chef Kevin Barko, culinary coordinator and board member for Arizona C-CAP, and Amy Barko's husband, said Esai Raya struggled in the second competition, but he didn't give up.

“Some students stomp their feet and leave the room and cry," Kevin says. "Esai didn’t do that. He didn’t even flinch… He continued."

Another big advantage to C-CAP is that it connects students with positions at top resorts, hotels, and bakeries to earn while they learn, like the one Raya has with Casino Arizona. More students recently don’t seem interested in jumping right into college, Kevin notes. An apprenticeship or internship helps them figure out what they want to do while filling a gap in the labor market.

“Employers are in dire need of employees who have some clue about how to work around a kitchen,” Kevin says.

That can lead to much bigger opportunities, C-CAP graduate Peter McQuaid found out. He started working for chef Beau MacMillan on weekends in high school and now, at age 24, is the executive chef of Cala in Scottsdale.

“I did [C-CAP] for two years and competed in the competitions and got a really nice scholarship to the International Culinary Center in New York,” he says. "That was a dream come true for me.”

MacMillan says McQuaid handles the pressures of the job because of the strong foundation, mentorship, and skill set that C-CAP provided.

“Look at how far he’s come in the short space,” MacMillan says.

Like McQuaid, Raya has seen firsthand how essential C-CAP is in making connections.

"Being able to have this opportunity, working with chefs who have gone to culinary school and worked in this industry longer than I’ve been alive" has helped him work toward his goals, he said. "I wouldn’t have been able to do it had I not done C-CAP."

Tickets for the Harvest Moon Feast start at $125 and are available online. The night includes culinary creations by high school teams and their chef mentors, premium cocktails, wine, and live music by Nate Nathan and the MacDaddy-O’s, which features Tarbell on guitar.

What you need to know about Ohio State football quarterback Devin Brown

Devin Brown has made the field for Ohio State.After C.J. Stroud and...

Devin Brown has made the field for Ohio State.

After C.J. Stroud and Kyle McCord combined for 482 passing yards and six touchdowns, the five-star freshman made his debut against Toledo for the Buckeyes.

Here's three things to know about Brown.

Devin Brown played for former Ohio State quarterback Joe Germaine

As a sophomore and junior quarterback at Queen Creek High School in Arizona, Brown got first-hand teaching from a former Ohio State quarterback.

Joe Germaine, who played three seasons for the Buckeyes from 1996-98 and recorded 6,370 passing yards and 53 touchdowns before being selected in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams, was the head coach at Queen Creek before moving to Mountain View High School in 2021.

In his two varsity seasons with Germaine, Brown threw 3,080 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, completing 55.4% of his passes.

Devin Brown transferred to Corner Canyon High School in Utah for his senior year

Transferring to Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah for his senior season, Brown blossomed as a quarterback.

Brown completed 68.3% of his passes for 4,881 passing yards for 57 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, leading the team to a 12-2 record and a 6A state runner-up finish.

Brown, a four-star quarterback in 247Sports' composite rankings, was the No. 43 player, the No. 6 quarterback and the No. 1 prospect out of Utah in the 2022 class.

Devin Brown was once committed to USC

Heading into his senior season at Corner Canyon, Brown's path was set.

The four-star quarterback committed to USC Sept. 19 less than three weeks after the Trojans offered him, joining teams like Michigan State, NC State and Wisconsin.

As Brown flourished as a senior, offers continued to roll in, including BYU, UCLA, Ole Miss, Texas, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

Brown visited Ohio State during its 56-7 win against No. 7 Michigan State and decommitted from USC four days later. The Corner Canyon quarterback joined the Buckeyes' 2022 class Dec. 1 before enrolling early in January.

Get more Ohio State football news by listening to our podcasts

MCCCD invites community to South Mountain Community College president finalists forums Sept. 19

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) has selected four finalists for the next president of South Mountain Community College (SMCC). The search committee, comprised of college, student and community representatives, has conducted a thorough screening and preliminary interviews with applicants in order to identify those best suited to lead SMCC with long-term success.Public forums with finalists will take place on Monday, Sept. 19 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. The forums are open to students, employees and the general public....

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) has selected four finalists for the next president of South Mountain Community College (SMCC). The search committee, comprised of college, student and community representatives, has conducted a thorough screening and preliminary interviews with applicants in order to identify those best suited to lead SMCC with long-term success.

Public forums with finalists will take place on Monday, Sept. 19 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. The forums are open to students, employees and the general public. Each forum allows the audience to ask questions and provide feedback that goes to the chancellor for further consideration as part of a comprehensive and inclusive evaluation of each candidate. The links to access the live-streamed events can be found on the SMCC President Search webpage. Participants may also attend the public forums in person at South Mountain Community College, Student Union 101, 7050 S. 24th St. in Phoenix.

In alphabetical order, the finalists are:

Dr. Richard Daniel

Dr. Richard Daniel currently serves as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Education Forward Arizona, where he works to identify partnerships and fundraising opportunities for the organization’s growth and impact. He previously served as the executive vice president and chief operating officer at College Success Arizona, where he worked to bring transformative opportunities to students from underserved and underrepresented communities in Arizona. Additionally, Daniel has served in senior leadership positions at public research universities and community colleges, including Arizona State University, the University of Texas at El Paso and South Mountain Community College. Daniel holds a doctorate degree in educational leadership and policy studies, a master’s degree in higher education administration and a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Arizona State University.

Veronica Hipolito

Veronica Hipolito currently serves as the vice president of student affairs at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. An innovative leader with over 20 years of experience in higher education, Hipolito recently served as the interim president of Scottsdale Community College. Prior to joining Maricopa, Hipolitio served as the chief student affairs officer for Coconino Community College. She began her career at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in the division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. Hipolito holds a master's degree in community counseling and a bachelor's degree in elementary education from NAU. She is currently completing an Ed.D. in higher education leadership with Gwynedd Mercy University.

Dr. Tanisha Maxwell

Dr. Tanisha M.J. Maxwell has over 20 years of experience in higher education. As the inaugural vice president of student services at Los Medanos College, Maxwell provides executive leadership, supervision and management as the chief student services officer. A first-generation college student, Maxwell is committed to fostering equitable student access and success both in and out of the classroom. Maxwell holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Arizona State University, an M.A. from the University of Missouri-Columbia in counseling psychology, and a B.A. in psychology with a minor in sociology from Arizona State University.

Dr. Janet Ortega

Dr. Jannet Ortega has been part of the Maricopa Community Colleges for the past 31 years, and currently serves as the interim president of South Mountain Community College (SMCC). For the past 12 years, Ortega has served as the vice president of Organizational Effectiveness & Technology at SMCC. Ortega is a graduate of a number of leadership programs, including the NCCHC Fellows Leadership Program, the Arizona Leadership Academy and the NAU Trust Leadership Academy. As a strong believer in “minding the dream,” Ortega understands the importance of maintaining and sustaining strong foundations for students to attain their aspirations in higher education. Ortega earned her bachelor;s degree in business management from Arizona State University and is a graduate of ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College. She received her master's degree in business administration from Arizona State University and a Doctor of Educational Leadership with Distinction from Northern Arizona University.

Learn more about each candidate by reading their full bios here.

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