Councilmember Skip Hall District 5 Update

November 30, 2017 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Council Conversation Taping

Earlier this week, I taped my quarterly Council Conversation that focused on Recreation, Sports & Tourism. Community and Recreation Services Director Donna Miller and Assistant Director Paul Frie provided us with an update of the upcoming events we will be sure to want to attend. In addition, this interview provides an introduction of our newest department, Sports & Tourism, as well as an introduction of the department’s two leaders, Director Kendra Pettis and Assistant Director Joe Bertoletti. You can watch the show here:

Council Conversations with Councilmember Hall, Kendra Pettis (Sports & Tourism Director) and Joe Bertoletti (Sports & Tourism Assistant Director)

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Meeting

A Tribute to the Veterans was the theme of the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce meeting this month. The meeting was held on Tuesday, November 28 at The Colonnade. Vice President of Veteran Initiatives of the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation Steve Yamamori spoke about the Veteran Success Project. An Advisory Committee, of which I am honored to serve on, consists of municipal and community leaders.

Mr. Yamamori shared some veteran statistics. Our country consists of more than 20 million veterans. There are 532,206 veterans residing in our state which makes up 11% of the population. From that number, 477,985 of them are male, 54,221 are female, and 49% are 65 and older.

Due to the difficulty transitioning from the military to civilian life, the Veteran Success Project opened the Military and Veterans Success Center in the West Valley. Luke AFB provided an in-kind donation of space to house this program and in turn, the Veteran Success Project will help every airman with the transition into civilian employment. The building is located by the Lightening Gate of Luke AFB located on Litchfield Road. Included in the facility are three case manager offices and a conference room. There is also a kid’s area and state of the art technology located throughout the building.

Veteran Success Project rendering

The Project’s goal is to serve 100,000 veterans and their families over the next 10 years. The program will offer case-managed, success planning services focusing on transition, education, housing, human services, professional development, career and personal services. To support this endeavor, funding will be a two-pronged strategy to cover immediate costs, as well as legacy funding through an endowment fund. The endowment will be able to fund operating costs in perpetuity.

Governor Doug Ducey’s Policy Advisor on Military and Veterans Affairs, Dr. Joseph Cuffari, provided a legislative update concerning veteran bills during Governor Ducey’s administration. The State of Arizona has 54,746 active duty personnel between their installations: Fort Huachuca, Davis-Monthan AFB, Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma Proving Grounds, Luke AFB and the Naval Observatory. Currently, there are 7,600 personnel at Arizona National Guard’s 36 facilities and 7,400 in reserves in addition to the almost 600,000 current veterans in Arizona.

Arizona receives an economic impact of $11.5 billion from military and veterans, in addition to supplying 77,000 jobs. The state receives $255.9 million in state and local sales tax, based on 2017 figures, as well.

Surprise Youth Council Meeting

The Surprise Youth Council met on Wednesday, November 29 at the AZ TechCelerator. I attended, as well as members from the Surprise Youth Foundation, to share conversation about an upcoming Surprise Youth Festival this spring.

Mark Your Calendar

16th Annual Surprise Party

Celebrate with the City of Surprise at our 16th Annual Surprise Party on Dec.1 and 2 at the Surprise Recreation Campus! This event offers a variety of holiday-themed activities and entertainment experiences. Admission is free with a canned food or toy donation benefiting Sanderson Ford Operation Santa Claus. An overview of the each day’s highlights are below:

Friday, December 1 (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.) – Hot air balloon glow; Arizona Skyhawks Skydivers; a traditional tree lighting ceremony; fireworks; great food and live musical performances from “3 Nations” and “Smashed.” Santa’s Workshop, presented by Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry, offers a free opportunity for youth of all ages to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus while enjoying arts and crafts, cookies, and fun!

Event Lineup

5 – 7 p.m. Musical performances by “3 Nations”
7 – 7:15 p.m. Tree Lighting Ceremony
7:15 – 8:45 p.m. Musical performances by “Smashed” / Festive Balloon Glow
8:45 – 8:55 p.m. Skydivers
8:55 – 9 p.m. “Party in the Sky” Fireworks

*Schedule of events subject to change

Friday’s event will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – Stadium Plaza, located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. Fireworks will begin approximately at 8:55 p.m

Saturday, December 2 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) – Arts, crafts and gifts festival; classic car show; interactive games; camel rides; a petting zoo; clowns; face painters; inflatables; carnival; gingerbread house contest and much more! Throughout the day, enjoy a variety of entertainment, including performances by the City of Surprise dance programs and “Robosaurus” – the world’s largest car-crushing robot. Event activities and attractions may include a nominal fee. Concessions will be available for purchase.

Saturday’s events will be held at the Surprise Recreation Campus – 8 Acres Park, north of Surprise Stadium.

Event Lineup

11 – 11:15 a.m. The 16th Annual Surprise Party kickoff
11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. City of Surprise – Special Interest Class Performance Groups
1 – 3 p.m. “Rock Lobster” musical performance
3 – 5 p.m. “3 Nations” musical performance

*Schedule of events subject to change.

Carnival Operating Hours

Friday 5 – 9 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For additional event information, please contact the Surprise Community and Recreation Services Department at 623.222.2000 or visit

City Council Meeting

The next City Council Work Session and City Council meeting is scheduled next Tuesday, December 5 at Surprise City Hall in the Council Chamber. The Work Session will begin at 5 pm followed by the Regular City Council Meeting that will begin at 6 pm.

Did You Know?

Call for Youth Artists

The City of Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission is partnering with non-profit Friends of the Surprise Libraries for their annual Spring Bookmark Contest which encourages local 6th – 8th graders to express their artistic talent by creating a reading and literacy-themed bookmark. Winners in each grade level will receive a plaque with their bookmark and a monetary award. Plus, their bookmarks will be professionally printed and distributed at the Maricopa County Northwest Regional Library in Surprise. This year, an art show of all the entries will be held at the WHAM (What’s Happening Art Movement) headquarters during the month of March 2018.

Bookmark Contest Timeline:

  • Contest begins December 11, 2017
  • Entries are due no later than January 31, 2018
  • Judging will occur February 7, 2018

Bookmark Contest Awards:

  • 1st place awards and $100 cash prize for each grade level
  • Honorable mention prize of $25 for each grade level

Bookmark Contest Entry Details:

  • See entry form for all entry requirements – Bookmark Contest Entry Form
  • Artwork size 2.5″ by 11″ only (out-of-size will be disqualified)
  • Students may submit more than one entry, but each entry must have its own completed entry form.

Deliver or Mail entries to:

  • Friends of the Surprise Libraries Inc.
    ATTN: Bookmark Contest
    16089 N. Bullard Ave
    Surprise AZ 85374

For more information, please contact Friends of the Surprise Libraries at or (623) 826-4939.

Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975

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