Tag Archives: Veteran Initiatives

April 13, 2017 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Valley Vista High School – Local Government Presentations

Government and U.S. History teacher John Hastings invited me to speak to Valley Vista students on local government on Thursday, April 6. There were four sessions totaling a few hundred students who learned about the duties of our Surprise City Council and our city departments and how we work with various state, regional and local agencies. The students were impressively engaged and asked several questions afterwards.

Surprise Citizens Patrol 20th Anniversary Recognition Dinner

The Surprise Citizens Patrol held their 20th Anniversary Recognition Dinner on Friday, April 7. Sergeant Curtis James, the founder of the Citizens Patrol in 1997, was a guest speaker along with Jim Joye, the first “President,” as the Commander was called in the early days. Since the program’s inception, Citizens Patrol volunteers have contributed more than 323,303 hours at a cost savings to the city of more than $8 million.

Chief Terry Young expressed his heartfelt thanks for the volunteers’ hard work and dedication to the Police Department and to the city. In addition to celebrating this milestone achievement, 2016 service awards and individual achievement awards were presented. Those receiving awards were:

Others that received awards included: Wayne Gebhart, Squad A Person of the Year; John McMahon, Squad B Person of the Year; Charles Ivey, Squad C Person of the Year and Mike Dolce, Squad D Person of the Year.

Taste of Surprise

The Rotary Club of Surprise hosted their Annual Taste of Surprise event on Saturday, April 8 at Surprise Stadium. There were 43 local restaurants represented and 13 different entertainers providing live music during the event. There were 1,063 tickets sold. All proceeds will benefit five local charities including One Step Beyond Inc, Benevilla, Surprise Youth Foundation, a New Leaf, and Rotary Club of Surprise Community Foundation.

A special thank you to Chris Judd and Amanda Sanchez for their hard work and dedication to this event as well as all the Rotarians for their countless hours of preparing and volunteering for the event.

Tourism Advisory Commission

As spring comes to a close, the Tourism Advisory Commission continues to work hard towards the expansion of tourism in Surprise as discussed at the quarterly meeting on April 11. Agenda items included a detailed overview of the Tourism fund; a history of events recommended by the commission; an overview of the Tourism fund application process; and the Sports Tourism Strategic Plan for which the commission has organized a workshop session to take place Thursday, May 18 to strengthen its current goals.

Additionally, commission members had the opportunity to review recommended projects proposed for state-issued Prop 302 tourism funding for fiscal year 2018. Items included college baseball tournaments, youth baseball tournaments, Spring Training, and Surprise Regional Chamber projects, including the visitor’s guide, website and city map. Recommended items are scheduled to be submitted by June 2017.

Friends of the Libraries Board Meeting

Friends of the Library held their monthly Board meeting on Wednesday, April 12. I have been participating with the non-profit as a liaison to the City of Surprise since February. Friends of the Libraries support local public and school libraries, teachers, and reading and literacy programs. Since 2003, they have donated $506,278.87 to our community. Agenda items for the meeting included, but were not limited to, the Luke Air Force Base outreach program and discussion of a strategic plan with Dysart Unified School District.

Friends of the Libraries recently partnered with us for the Surprise Literacy Program and donated books to the winning class. Below is a picture of Cimarron Springs Elementary School Fifth Grade Teacher Ms. Bethany Mihaupt accepting one of the books.

Councilman Skip Hall with Cimarron Springs Elementary School Fifth Grade Teacher Ms. Bethany Mihaupt
Councilman Skip Hall with Cimarron Springs Elementary School Fifth Grade Teacher Ms. Bethany Mihaupt

Mark Your Calendar

Spring Egg-stravaganza this Saturday

Join the search for more than 50,000 candy and toy-filled plastic eggs as part of the Surprise Spring Egg-stravaganza on Saturday, April 15. The celebration is being held on the Kansas City Practice Fields, located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue, just west of the Surprise Stadium.

The event runs from 7:30 – 10 a.m. The first egg hunt begins at 8 a.m. with the 2 years and under age group. New hunts will follow approximately every 20 minutes by age group with an open hunt at the end for those who missed their age group. Children participating in the hunt should bring baskets or bags to hold their treats and eggs.

For more information about the Spring Egg-stravaganza, including the egg hunt schedule, please call 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

Poetry Slam at WHAM

Mark your calendars and join your neighbors at the Poetry Slam at WHAM on Friday, April 21 from 6 pm until 8 pm at WHAM, 16560 N. Dysart Road. This free event features open mic night for poetry, free verse and storytelling.

Registration is not required. All are welcome to participate as performers and/or listeners. For more information, please contact Surprise Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission Vice Chair Margaret Lieu at 623.334.5271.

Public Art Bus Tour

The Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission is offering a free public art bus tour to the Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg to see the Cowgirl Up exhibit on Saturday, April 22 from 1 – 4:30 p.m. You will start and end at WHAM, 16560 N. Dysart Road, where you can stay to enjoy their Recycle Arts Festival.

Parking is available just south of the WHAM facility in the rear lot of the post office. There will be a museum entry fee of $9 per person.

WHAM Recycle Arts Festival

WHAM Art Association is hosting their Recycle Arts Fest: Exhibit & Fashion Show on Saturday, April 22 at WHAM Community Art Center, 16560 N. Dysart Road. The free neighborhood event is scheduled from 4 – 9 p.m. and will include a Recycle Arts Exhibit and the Eco Styles Fashion Show, a creative art display that underscores the possibilities of working with reusable post-consumer materials.

Artists of all ages and talents are invited to participate. Enjoy food, music, free activities for kids and the spirit of community and collaboration at the Recycle Arts Fest– where creative expression goes green! If you are interested in becoming involved with the 2017 Recycle Arts Fest send an email to whamartassociation@wham-art.org.

Did You Know?

Surprise Resource Center Partners to expand Veteran Assistance Services

The City of Surprise has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Arizona@Work Department of Economic Security to expand the assistance services available to veterans and their families through the Surprise Resource Center.

The following services are available every Tuesday at the Resource Center:

  • Employment Assistance: Meet one-on-one with a workforce development expert to go over career opportunities, resume assistance, interview tips and more
  • Homeless Veterans Assistance: Veterans can connect to resources through the VA Community Resource and Referral Center, which offers assistance to Veterans who are homeless and at risk of homelessness by providing connections to permanent housing, health and mental health care, career development and VA benefits

The city also has a Surprise Veteran Job Club that meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 6 p.m. at the Surprise Resource Center. The center is located at on the AZ TechCelerator campus at 12425 W. Bell Rd, Bldg. A, Ste. #124 in Surprise.

All programs and services are available to the public at no-cost. For more information, please visit the website at www.surpriseaz.gov/resourcecenter or call 623.222.1600.

Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question

April 17, 2015 • Newsletter

Events & Meetings

Ice Cream Social
City staff was treated to an ice cream social which included an awards presentation by City Manager Bob Wingenroth. Mr. Wingenroth honored stand-out employees in several categories including Peer-to-Peer, the City Manager’s Service Award, and the City Manager’s Excellence Award.

Ms. Andrea Villagomez, Finance Department, received the Peer-to-Peer Award for being recognized by her peers for going above and beyond in her duties as an Accounting Technician and David Kohlbeck, Public Works, received the City Manager’s Service Award for his diligent work to help get an alternate bus route implemented by Valley Metro after residents expressed their needs for it.  Lastly, the City Manager’s Excellence Award was received by Police Officers Raymond Johnson, Antonio Martinez and Jason Lewis, Fire Captains Matt Clarke and Wade Rodgers, Fire Engineers Nathan Perkins and Tracy Wright, and Firefighters Ronnie Newman, Michael Naehrbass, Arthur Casillas and David Heiselman.  These Public Safety heroes responded to a call on January 2 where a tractor had overturned in a water-filled ditch and a man was trapped inside the completely submerged vehicle. They were persistent in their efforts to free him, despite difficult circumstances while placing the needs of the victim high above their own.

Andrea Villagomez
City Manager with Andrea Villagomez
David Kohlbeck
City Manager with David Kohlbeck


City Managers Excellence Award winning Public Safety crew
City Managers Excellence Award winning Public Safety crew


Spring Fling @ Kingswood Parke
Kingswood Parke HOA hosted a spring fling on Saturday, April 11. The festivities included free bouncy rides, train rides, face painting, barbeque food and a concert by ABBA FAB. The event was well attended and a good time was had by all!

Spring Fling Kingswood 2015ABBA FAB cover band

Kingswood Parke HOA event

Veteran Initiatives Meeting
Mayor Wolcott and I met with City Manager Bob Wingenroth and Department of Human Service and Community Vitality Director Michael Celaya to discuss the City’s overall approach and strategy to introduce Veteran’s initiatives.

2015 Arizona Youth of the Year Legislative Breakfast
I attended the 2015 Arizona Youth of the Year legislative breakfast with Councilman Todd Tande on Tuesday, April 14. Nine finalists for the 2105 Arizona Youth of the Year award were introduced. Finalists and guests were recognized by Governor Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  Several other State Legislators and local elected officials also attended.

Ms. Goel Ellis, 18, is an 11 year member from the Boys & Girls Club of Tucson.  She began her Club journey at the age of 7 and later became President of the Junior Leader program.  Even while dealing with two parents at home, both fighting serious illnesses, Goel remained committed to active leadership in the club’s programs.  Goel has excelled academically, completing her coursework at Southern Arizona Community Academy seven months prior to her expected graduation date.  She plans on attending the University of Arizona as she looks toward a degree in public administration.

WESTMARC Economic Development Summit
WESTMARC held their West Valley 2015 Economic Development Summit – Beyond Shovel Ready, at the Wigwam Resort on Thursday, April 16. The focus of the Summit was mainly the site selection process. The City of Surprise Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover was the moderator on the site selection process panel with Kevin Sullivan, Senior Vice President of the Arizona Commerce Authority and Chris Camacho, President & CEO of Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Mr. Hoover was also moderator for the site selection factors & project example panel with Mr. Valentin Hernandez, VP of Business Attraction at Arizona Commerce Authority and Chris Petroff, Senior VP of Business Development with Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Kristen Stephenson, Economic Development Administrator with the City of Glendale and Mike Hoover also spoke about site selector tool called, West Valley PRO. This searchable tool would integrate census data and U.S. Department of Labor stats, broken down by occupation, which is quantitative data needed by companies looking to locate in Surprise or the West Valley in general.

WESTMARC ED Summit Panelists, including City of Surprise Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover
WESTMARC ED Summit Panelists, including City of Surprise Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover


Did You Know?

Surprise Police Launch “Hot Cars Can Kill” Campaign
The Surprise Police Department has launched a “Hot Cars Can Kill” campaign to help remind residents of the deadly dangers of leaving kids and pets in the car. According to the National Highway Safety Association, heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. Sadly, 606 children died due to heatstroke between the years of 1998-2013.  Of the 606 deaths, 52% were forgotten in vehicles.

Your Input is Requested
Residents can now provide online input regarding potential capital improvement projects that are currently under review by the City’s Capital Improvement Funding Exploratory Committee. This Committee is charged, in part, with determining which projects should be included if the City considers a future bond initiative as a funding source. They have asked for you to get involved by sharing your thoughts on what matters most to you.

This Committee is looking at potential project lists during this process. You can review the same lists online at www.surpriseaz.gov/cife and provide comments. All comments will be shared by the Committee. Additionally, please feel free to attend the meetings or watch them live on Surprise 11 or at www.surpriseaz.gov/surprise11. Future meeting dates will be posted on the City’s online calendar.

Surprise MVD Office – Temporarily Closed
As a friendly reminder, the Surprise MVD office has been temporarily closed for interior renovation. The office is anticipated to reopen this summer with nearly three times the interior capacity, therefore tripling the customer waiting area capacity and offering customers more efficient and comfortable service at the office. A self-serve kiosk has been placed in the Surprise City Court building, which will be able to a selection of MVD services. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/1MAYM9k.

Grand Avenue Restrictions Saturday due to Construction
Grand Avenue (US 60) will be narrowed to one lane in both directions between Loop 303 and 163rd Avenue in Surprise from 3 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 18. Please allow extra travel time and consider alternate routes.

Volunteers for Clean-Up Event
The City is recruiting volunteers to help with a park clean-up event on Saturday, May 2 from 7:30 am until 12 noon. Volunteers will help with trash pick-up and general landscaping at Lizard Run Park which is located directly adjacent to Bicentennial Park, 16705 N. Nash Street.

Registration is not required for this event. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Nash Street entrance of Bicentennial Park, under the ramadas. Gardening tools and gloves will be provided, although in limited quantities, so please feel free to bring your own and help if you can. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to the volunteers.

For more information, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239.

Mark Your Calendars

Surprise Swap Meet
The Surprise Swap Meet is this Saturday, April 18 from 8 am until 1 pm at the Surprise Aquatic Center Parking Lot!

2015 Recycle Arts & Youth Festival
WHAM Art Association is hosting the second annual Recycle Arts and Youth Festival on Saturday, April 18 from 10 am until 7 pm.  The day’s events include a teen skateboard painting project and the Eco Chic Fashion Show, a creative display that underscores the importance and possibilities of working with reusable material.  Additionally, there will be a recycled art exhibit, food vendors and much more.  The event will be held at WHAM, 16560 N. Dysart Road.

Contact Me

Office: 623.222.1325
Mobile: 623.451.3975
Email: skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov

Ask a Question