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Latest News in Wickenburg, AZ

US 93 reopens near Wickenburg after wildfire forced closure

The Fig Springs Fire closed the road in both directions between I-40 and State Route 71, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.PHOENIX — US 93 has reopened after a 5-acre wildfire forced closures on Friday afternoon.Dubbed the Fig Springs Fire, the flames closed the highway in both directions between I-40 and State Route 71, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation....

The Fig Springs Fire closed the road in both directions between I-40 and State Route 71, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

PHOENIX — US 93 has reopened after a 5-acre wildfire forced closures on Friday afternoon.

Dubbed the Fig Springs Fire, the flames closed the highway in both directions between I-40 and State Route 71, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

CRD - #FigSpringsFire Located S of Wikiup off HWY 93 near mile marker 167. Fire resources are on scene; mapped at 5 ac; forward progress stopped. Highway remains closed follow @ArizonaDOT for road status updates. #AZFire pic.twitter.com/8M7R10a6tY

— Bureau of Land Management - Arizona Fire (@BLMAZFire) April 22, 2022

Officials said the fire is near the Santa Maria River at milepost 166.

Motorists are advised to expect residual delays.

This is a developing story. We will update this story as more information becomes available.

*CLOSURE*US 93 is closed in both directions between I-40 and SR 71 due to a fire at milepost 166.NB lanes are closed at SR 71 (milepost 183) and SB lanes are closed at I-40 (milepost 93). There is no estimated time to reopen the highway.#aztraffic #US93 pic.twitter.com/UGYUpgQTbP

— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) April 22, 2022

Residents in wildfire-prone areas are urged to have an emergency supplies kit to bring with them of they are evacuated from their homes, especially as Arizona residents are beginning to see early widespread fire activity throughout the state.

An emergency supply kit should be put together long before a wildfire or another disaster occurs. Make sure to keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that residents near a disaster store emergency supplies in a plastic tub, small suitcase, trash can, backpack, or other containers.

Residents should make sure they have the necessities, such as three gallons of water per person and a three-day supply of ready-to-eat food, the NFPA said. A first-aid kit, prescription medications, contact lenses, and non-prescription drugs should also be taken into account.

Copies of any important family documents, including insurance policies, identification, bank account records, and emergency contact numbers should also be taken and put into a waterproof, portable container in your kit, the NFPA said.

The association lists other items that would help in a disaster, including:

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3 arrested in kidnapping, beating of man left naked in the desert near Wickenburg

At least three men were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and assaulting a man who was riding in a trailer with a friend to sell a horse in Wickenburg.Court documents say Marion Wotton was driving a trailer eastbound on U.S. 60 between Wickenburg and Aguila on Oct. 28, 2021, with a passenger when three men driving in a separate car told him to pull over.Documents say Kyle Schlotterbeck, Benjamin Bates and another man then pulled the passenger victim, who was not identified, out of the trailer and assaulted him ...

At least three men were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and assaulting a man who was riding in a trailer with a friend to sell a horse in Wickenburg.

Court documents say Marion Wotton was driving a trailer eastbound on U.S. 60 between Wickenburg and Aguila on Oct. 28, 2021, with a passenger when three men driving in a separate car told him to pull over.

Documents say Kyle Schlotterbeck, Benjamin Bates and another man then pulled the passenger victim, who was not identified, out of the trailer and assaulted him on the side of the road.

Documents say the men then put the man in their own vehicle and held him at gunpoint while ordering him to strip naked. The men threw the victim's clothing out the window. Schlotterbeck tied the victim up using zip ties and duct tape while Goddard and Bates struck him, police said in court documents.

The men then pulled over and whipped him with a rope, punched and kicked him before abandoning him on the side of the road after stealing $6,000, the trailer, two saddles and 50 bridles, in all worth over $33,000, according to documents. Documents say Bates told Wotton to leave the trailer at a local pharmacy.

Documents say the man suffered numerous injuries that included several broken ribs. The man walked back to the highway where Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers found him.

Law enforcement searched a Wittmann home near U.S. 60 on Feb. 3 where they found the victim's horse trailer attached to Bates' truck along with two saddles that matched the victim's description. Authorities arrested Wotton, Bates and Schlotterbeck.

Schlotterbeck was booked on one count each of kidnapping, conspiracy and armed robbery with a deadly weapon. Wotton is facing the same charges plus one count of felony theft. It was not immediately clear what charges Bates faced, and a DPS spokesperson refused to give more information.

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Arizona authorities accuse California woman of indecent exposure during Wickenburg store fracas

The owner of the store where the incident happened said after the woman stripped down naked, she started cursing, tossing wine everywhere and tore items off the wall. The woman was later arrested.WICKENBURG, Ariz. - Wickenburg has its fair share of crazy stories, and now, people can add another story to the list: A woman accused of stripping naked inside a store.The incident happened on Feb. 17. The woman, identified in court documents as Melissa Dawn Hahn, was at a bar in the area, where she had a couple of gl...

The owner of the store where the incident happened said after the woman stripped down naked, she started cursing, tossing wine everywhere and tore items off the wall. The woman was later arrested.

WICKENBURG, Ariz. - Wickenburg has its fair share of crazy stories, and now, people can add another story to the list: A woman accused of stripping naked inside a store.

The incident happened on Feb. 17. The woman, identified in court documents as Melissa Dawn Hahn, was at a bar in the area, where she had a couple of glasses of wine. She then headed to a store in the back, and allegedly bared her body.

"I’ve been here 16 years and I’ve never had this problem. Ever," said Karen Jones-Burk, who owns a local business called the Cactus Flower.

According to reports, Hahn walked into the Cactus Flower, and starts trying things on in the middle of the store.

The charges rang up past $4,000, well beyond the bare necessities. When Hahn's card was declined, she revealed herself in more ways than one and gave Jones-Burk a piece of her mind.

"'I have the money and I can do what I want,'" Jones-Burk said, recounting what Hahn said to her. "It just went from there."

Jones-Burk says the woman cursed her up and down, tossed wine everywhere, tore items off the wall, and then tried to leave with $800 worth of merchandise on her back.

"That’s when she proceeded to take everything out, and I mean everything," said Jones-Burk.

Police were called, and officers later caught up with Hahn. By then, she was out of her birthday suit, and into the clothes she allegedly stole.

According to court documents, Hahn is accused of theft, disorderly conduct and indecent exposure.

As for Jones-Burk, she says she plans to press charges for the mess and missing merchandise.

"We don’t see that in Wickenburg. Wickenburg is a quiet cowboy town, and she was more of a wild woman," said Jones-Burk.

At one point, Hahn allegedly offered to buy the entire store, and told Jones-Burk that she’s on a $10,000 a day allowance, a claim that was backed up by her banker.

On that particular day, however, Hahn had already went over her spending limit.

Hahn is reported scheduled for a court appearance next week.

Wickenburg Ranch sales spike from relocating Californians

Since opening in winter 2015, Wickenburg Ranch, a Trilogy resort community, has achieved its most successful year of home sales to date. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, or perhaps because of it, the master-planned lifestyle community with 55+ neighborhoods in the Sonoran Desert foothills recently celebrated its 700th sale. T...

Since opening in winter 2015, Wickenburg Ranch, a Trilogy resort community, has achieved its most successful year of home sales to date. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, or perhaps because of it, the master-planned lifestyle community with 55+ neighborhoods in the Sonoran Desert foothills recently celebrated its 700th sale. The sales, which exceeded Wickenburg’s projected 2020 numbers, come during a time of record high housing demand and prices. COVID has made a lasting impact on the way people live1, and that’s evidenced by the many boomers trading their current living situations to start anew.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated boomers’ moving plans to create a newer, more invigorating lifestyle somewhere better suited for their current stage in life. Wickenburg Ranch’s record year of sales is a testament to that,” said Mollie Beale, Director of Member Experience at Wickenburg Ranch. “Boomer buyers like to do their own research, and they choose to purchase at Wickenburg when they discover the deep connections, lifestyle, and amenities here. The events of 2020 have also pushed more boomers to feel like now is the time to join a community that aligns with their needs.”

Homebuying motivations for boomers haven’t changed, but they have become more important and urgent as the pandemic continues. New residents to Wickenburg Ranch – many of whom are coming from densely populated areas of California, Colorado, the Pacific Northwest and other parts of Arizona – are attracted to the lifestyle community because it combines the best of small-town charm with big city convenience. The shift from larger cities to more rural areas is a trend that’s been thoroughly studied in 20202, and Wickenburg Ranch has quickly become a haven for boomers who are leading that migration.

“COVID has elevated the emotional needs of boomer buyers who want to live a full and happy life,” said Beale. “They’re tired of being socially isolated in cities where they’ve been unable to do things like dining out and seeing friends. In contrast, Wickenburg Ranch is more insular. The terrain of the Sonoran Desert foothills offers a rural charm due to its abundant views, natural open setting, fresh air and connection to the outdoors. But the rural elements are juxtaposed with a unique feeling of connection through social clubs, resort-style activities, a large system of hiking and biking trails, and top-rated golf courses, plus the ultimate convenience of nearby hospitals and other services in Wickenburg and Phoenix.”

Higher home appreciation values have created a seller’s market and for many boomers is another factor creating new urgency for them to move. Boomers are typically viewed as discretionary buyers, and the exodus from dense and more expensive areas like California to Wickenburg Ranch is attractive for Boomers who revel in lower taxes and overall cost of living – especially after cashing out on the high equity of their former homes.

Upon completion, Wickenburg Ranch will include 1,600 homes across 800 acres of serene desert landscape. Home offerings by Shea Homes and Dorn Homes represent years of 55+ consumer research, where quality of space and indoor/outdoor living are paramount. Current floor plans feature single-story living averaging from 1,300 to over 3,000 square feet, complete with modern technology as featured in the Shea Connect for telecommuting, telehealth, and connection to family, friends, and the world outside their immediate community. All Dorn Homes include their Organic Home Plus, a holistic system with state-of-the-art features dedicated to building healthy homes with energy efficiency and optimal ventilation. As with many home sites at Wickenburg Ranch, residences are perched upon the rolling desert hills overlooking the 18-hole golf course, with large patios for year-round entertaining providing one-of-a-kind views of the pristine desert, starry skies, and Arizona sunsets.

Homeowners enjoy outdoor activities all year long thanks to Wickenburg’s scenic setting, mild climate and outdoor walkability. Safety is reinforced by the rural locale, gated community and access to nearby healthcare facilities. The crown jewels of the master-planned community include two golf courses operated and managed by Troon®: the 18-hole championship course Big Wick, voted number one in Arizona for Course Conditions by Golf Advisor, and the award-winning 9-hole entertainment course Lil’ Wick. The latter features illuminated holes for nighttime rounds, music, a bar and grill with outdoor seating and more. As a Troon Privé Club, members enjoy exclusive access to Troon’s golf and lifestyle benefits worldwide. Moreover, residents can call upon premium at-your-service hospitality specialists including a lifestyle director, concierge and on-site sommelier, who facilitate everything from movie ticket bookings to restaurant reservations, wine tastings, social clubs and beyond.

Additional resort-style amenities at Wickenburg Ranch include a 32,000-square-foot clubhouse with a full-service spa, fitness center, art barn, grand living room, five restaurants and golf pro shop. While the restaurants are open and expansive patios allow for outdoor dining, curbside pick-up dining is also available, offering the same level of hospitality to serve members during physical distancing measures.

Glimpsing into the future, Wickenburg Ranch plans to debut nine new model homes from Shea Homes, including the community’s first new duplex product, in March 2021. The expansive number of home offerings, ranging from 1,300 to over 3,000 square feet, will help with the high demand of today’s housing market, accommodate the fast-growing community, and provide more opportunity for Boomers craving a change in lifestyle.

“Boomers are resilient. The trend of these buyers leaving cities for less populated areas, a lower cost of living, and a more enriched life will continue in 2021 and beyond,” said Beale. “Wickenburg Ranch’s quality of life has remained much more intact than other communities during the pandemic. It’s a mix of 5-star hospitality living with a laid-back vibe, suitable for a diverse range of buyers looking for a community where it’s easy to maintain health and wellness, stay active, and connect with like-minded people.”

Wickenburg football coach Mike Mitchell leaves after assistant coach promoted to co-head coach

Mike Mitchell, who led Wickenburg High School's football program for four years, recently resigned over feeling undermined by an administrator's move to promote an assistant coach without his knowledge.The assistant was promoted to co-head coach, according to Mitchell. It was reported by The Wickenburg Sun that Mitchell was written up last season over school d...

Mike Mitchell, who led Wickenburg High School's football program for four years, recently resigned over feeling undermined by an administrator's move to promote an assistant coach without his knowledge.

The assistant was promoted to co-head coach, according to Mitchell. It was reported by The Wickenburg Sun that Mitchell was written up last season over school district procedural violations and disciplined.

Mitchell, 76, was still planning to come back, before he said the school promoted the assistant to share in his head coaching duties without talking to him.

"Our athletic director made a step that I didn't appreciate," Mitchell told The Arizona Republic. "That was involved in everything. I just decided it was time to leave."

Athletic Director Matt Johnson called it "a miscommunication."

"Wickenburg athletic department fully intended for Mike Mitchell to be our head coach this season," Johnson said in an email. "It was a miscommunication, I asked him to coach up an assistant."

Mitchell felt undermined.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I thought we had done a really good job here and I liked the situation. There are a couple of things. They've got an eligibility rule that I've been trying to get them to change. They don't seem to want to progress at all. If they don't want to listen to what I have to say, they can listen to somebody else."

The Wranglers were 24-17 with three state playoff appearances during Mitchell's tenure. He said he is returning to Oregon to lead the football program at Caldera High School in Bend.

"Mike did a great job for us and we wish him well in his new coaching job in Oregon," Johnson said.

Mitchell said one week last season he had 16 players suspended for a game due to the eligibility rule. He felt that the players should have had until Thursday to pick their grades up in order to play on Friday, but he said that they had to sit out the full week.

Mitchell, who has more than 50 years of coaching experience at every level, said he was disciplined over purchasing football equipment during the season with his own money. He said he didn't fill out the proper paperwork through the school and district to do so.

"Matt will tell it was nothing illegal I did," Mitchell said. "I've never been written up in 50-some years. I took offense to it."

Mitchell said the purchase came during the season, but he wasn't written up about it until March 4.

"To me, that's a little crazy," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he would have dealt with that, but when his assistant was elevated to sharing coaching duties with him, that was when he knew he had to go.

"Everything else I would have handled and worked out," Mitchell said. "But to have a guy do that without even talking to me, it's just not how I'm going to do business."

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him on Twitter @azc_obert.

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