Tag Archives: Traffic Construction

October 2, 2019 • D3 Monthly Newsletter

Thank you for signing up to receive city updates and my council newsletters. I am honored to serve the residents of District 3 and I am always available for questions, concerns or comments. Please follow me on Facebook or email me directly at patrick.duffy@surpriseaz.gov.

Ottawa University

Ottawa University held their first home game of the season last month, against Western New Mexico. The game brought many parents, relatives, students and fans from across the city to cheer on the Spirit. The game was close and with Western New Mexico taking the lead in the 3rd, the Spirit were not going to give up. They pulled off a touchdown in the 4th quarter to win the game. I am appreciative of the relationship the city has with the university and look forward to a great season.

Fire Station 304

As the northern region of Surprise continues to grow and develop, the need for a permanent fire station became inevitable. Council participated in the groundbreaking for the new 18,000 square foot permanent fire station in September. This fire station will be the largest in the city and will help to maintain adequate response times. Fire Station 304 will be located on 163rd Ave and San Ysidro Road.

Peace Pole

A peace pole is an internationally recognized symbol of the commitment of the entire human family to engage and endorse peace in their community and worldwide. Thank you to the Rotary Club of Surprise, in partnership with the City of Surprise and the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission, for their donation of a peace pole to the Civic Center Campus. The pole is located on the lawn outside of the Surprise Public Safety Building.

Ribbon Cutting

SeaCa Plastic Packaging hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for their newest manufacturing building. They have been owned and operated by family for over 125 years. SeaCa specializes in the production of wooden, corrugated, plastic and distribution products. This welcome addition will bring jobs and positive growth to Surprise.

Traffic and Road Construction

As the Toll Brothers’ Sterling Grove development continues to move forward, so does work to improve roads surrounding the future housing community.

The developer is responsible for building the north half of Peoria Avenue between Cotton Lane and just west of Citrus Road. Phases 1&2 of the Peoria Avenue work are underway and happening concurrently, with planned completion by November 2019. These phases include building out the north half of the roadway between Cotton Lane and Citrus Road, which will result in one travel lane in each direction, plus a center turn lane until the south half of the road is built. Please note, the south half of the road is not in City of Surprise limits.

Peoria Avenue Phase 3 will begin in August 2022 and will consist of one additional west bound travel lane, sidewalk, and streetlights from 175th Avenue to just west of Citrus Road. Upon completion of Peoria Avenue Improvement Phases 1-3, traffic will be able to flow via single lane in each direction along Peoria Avenue from Cotton Lane to Perryville Road.

Cactus Road improvements between Cotton Lane and 175th Avenue are planned to be complete in early 2020 and include all south half of the road improvements, including: three lanes, a median, sidewalks and streetlights.

Improvements on Cotton Lane between Peoria Avenue and Cactus Road are tentatively planned to begin in 2021. These are west half roadway improvements, including: three travel lanes, a median, sidewalks and streetlights.

All construction schedules are weather dependent and could be impacted by other variables, but are currently on track.

As Surprise continues to grow, the city is working on several significant transportation improvement projects. These projects will range from additional lanes to pavement improvement. The Transportation Projects Map can be found online and will give you a detailed look at the individual projects as well as expected timelines. You can find it here: https://www.surpriseaz.gov/DocumentCenter/View/43102/2019-Transportation-Projects-Map

Day of Service

The City of Surprise is hosting the Fall Day of Service on Saturday, October 19. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved in promoting community pride and volunteer service. The Neighborhood Services team is seeking over 200 residents to help with several indoor and outdoor activities. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Surprise Senior Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock Street, at 8 a.m. to receive their assignment; and should plan to serve until noon. There will be an island party afterwards complete with BBQ, live music, games and more. If you have a group of 10 or more, please sign up in advance by contacting Ervin Cutwright at 623-222-3241 or via email Ervin.Cutwright@surpriseaz.gov. Individuals, families and groups are all encouraged to attend.

Events

Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival is scheduled for October 20 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. Bring your chairs or blanket to Mark Coronado Park, 15960 N. Bullard Ave, for an evening of live entertainment, yard games, inflatables and much more. Admission is free; food and drink are available for purchase.

Public Safety G.A.I.N. night will be held at Mark Coronado Park on Saturday October 26 from 5:00-9:00 p.m. This fun family event will host dinosaurs, a gaming trailer, public safety displays and much more. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Bring two cans of food and get a raffle ticket for an opportunity to win some prizes. Admission is free.

The City of Surprise is accepting applications for the upcoming Veterans Day Parade scheduled for November 11 at 10 a.m. along Bullard Avenue between Paradise Lane and Tierra Buena Lane. This is an excellent opportunity for clubs, organizations and residents to display their patriotic pride while honoring those who have served our country. Entry forms are available at the Parks & Recreation Office or online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.

Closing

As a reminder, City Council agendas are posted online at www.surpriseaz.gov/agendas at least two business days before the meeting. City Council meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Work Sessions are at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are carried live on Surprise TV for cable customers and streamed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV.

I hold a monthly meet and greet at Jim’s Burgers and Eggs from 8:00-10:00 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month. If you have questions, comments or concerns please stop by and chat with me.

September 4, 2019 • D3 Monthly Newsletter

Thank you for signing up to receive city updates and my council newsletters. I am honored to serve the residents of District 3 and I am always available for questions, concerns or comments. Please follow me on Facebook or email me directly at patrick.duffy@surpriseaz.gov.

Arizona League of Cities & Towns Conference

The City Council attended the Arizona League of Cities and Towns Conference last month in Tucson. This conference brings elected officials from across the state together to network and gives us the opportunity to gain valuable information that we may bring back to our individual cities.

Recycling Program

The past few years have seen many negative changes in the recycling industry. Many restrictions have been placed on recycled materials in regards to what would be accepted by other countries. Unfortunately, in return this resulted in a significant drop in prices for recyclables and increased costs to drop-off the materials at recycling processing centers worldwide.

In 2017, the City of Surprise was able to generate revenue to help cover the costs of the recycling program; however, once demand dropped for the recycled materials the city starting incurring expenses as dumping fees increased. From May 2018 to May 2019, our recycling costs jumped nearly 300%. With these new statistics in the recycling industry, the city has temporarily suspended its recycling program and staff is exploring options for what we need to do in Surprise.

Many Arizona communities outside of the greater metropolitan area of Phoenix and across the country have either ended or modified their recycling programs due to the changing market.

You can also do an online search to read countless news stories that highlight the concerns and give details on how some communities are changing their approach to recycling.

Construction Updates

The Greenway Road improvement project from Cotton Lane to Sarival Avenue has completed 30% of the design phase. This project is scheduled for construction bidding in Spring of 2020 with a completion date of Spring 2021.

Waddell Road from SR303 to Reems Road is well under construction with an anticipated completion day of March 2020.

The new traffic signal at Sarival Avenue and Cactus Road is completed and already has greatly improved the flow of traffic.

The City of Surprise is doing resurfacing projects on Cactus Road, from SR303 to Reems Road and on Sarival Road, from Cactus Road to the North Well Site. These projects will be completed by mid-September.

Toll Brothers has been working on Peoria Road from Cotton Lane to 175th Ave. This project is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.

Thank you for your continued patience while these road projects are being conducted.

Day of Service

The City of Surprise is hosting the Fall Day of Service on Saturday, October 19. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved in promoting community pride and volunteer service. The Neighborhood Services team is seeking over 200 residents to help with several indoor and outdoor service projects. There will be an island party afterwards complete with BBQ, live music, games and more. If you would like to sign up, please contact Ervin Cutwright at 623-222-3241 or via email Ervin.Cutwright@surpriseaz.gov. Individuals, families and groups are all encouraged to attend.

Events

The City of Surprise works with the Northwest Regional Landfill, located at 19401 W. Deer Valley Road, to offer residents the opportunity to dispose of a single load of residential waste up to 2,000 lbs. at no charge. The next event is scheduled for September 14 from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Remember, this is only open to Surprise residents and proof of residency is required.

Following the success of the Household Hazardous Waste Collection event in the spring, the city will continue with the scheduled appointment format. Residents are able to schedule appointments beginning September 9. Households on the north side of Bell Road will be picked up from September 30 through October 4. Residents on the south side of Bell Road can expect a scheduled pickup from October 7-11. Please book your appointment via the MySurprise app or by calling 623-222-1920.

Movie night at Mark Coronado Park is back with the first show on Saturday, September 28. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. start time of “Wonder Park.” Admission is free, and there will be food and drink available for purchase.

The City of Surprise has opened registration for the 2019 HOA Academy. This five week academy provides expert information for HOA residents, board members and managers. Residents who want to learn more about living in an HOA community, serving on an HOA board or who just want more information about the laws that govern HOAs are encouraged to attend. Classes are held weekly on Wednesdays, beginning October 16. Space is limited, so please call 623-222-3242 to reserve your seat today.

Closing

As a reminder, City Council agendas are posted online at www.surpriseaz.gov/agendas at least two business days before the meeting. City Council meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Work Sessions are at 4 p.m. and Regular Meetings begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are carried live on Surprise TV for cable customers and streamed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV.

I hold a monthly meet and greet at Jim’s Burgers and Eggs from 8:00-10:00 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month. If you have questions, comments or concerns please stop by and chat with me.

Councilmember John Williams’ Quarterly Newsletter – Jan. 2016

As we begin this new year, we have so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for the support of each and every one of you. It has been an honor and privilege to serve the City as Vice Mayor in 2016 and my constituents in District 3 as Councilman for the last seven years. I am also grateful for all of the fantastic things happening in Surprise. I wanted to share some of the news with you.

Bell Road/Grand Avenue Intersection Project

City Council thoroughly discussed the Bell Road/Grand Avenue intersection project in an interactive conversation with representatives for Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and ADOT during a City Council Meeting on October 20. At that time, City Council moved to proceed with the project.

City Council and staff continue to meet with ADOT concerning the communication roll-out of the Bell Road/Grand Avenue Intersection project to help mitigate the concerns of our residents and business community. ADOT, in partnership with the City, has developed a comprehensive outreach and communications program for the residents and businesses in Surprise. A Public Information Advisory Team comprised of representatives from ADOT, the City, Maricopa County, businesses and residents will assist with developing messaging, disseminating information and facilitating business outreach.

ADOT representatives are scheduled to provide an update at the City Council Work Session on Tuesday, January 19 at 4 pm in the City Council Chambers.

Upcoming Traffic Construction

There are so many Capital Improvement projects scheduled to occur in the next few months that you should be aware of. Those projects include:

Waddell Road Median (Litchfield Road to 1200 feet west): Construction began this month.

Landscaping Median (various locations): The project currently focuses on completing medians in the following locations:

  • Reems Road—Peoria to Cactus (1 mile)
  • Bullard Avenue—Peoria to Cholla (1/2 mile)
  • Waddell Road—175th to Citrus (1/2 mile)
  • Sarival Road—Bell to Northwest Ranch Parkway (900 ft)

It is expected that the request for bid public bid will close in January. Construction is expected to begin in the March/April timeframe with the individual sections prioritized as listed above.

Cactus Road (south side) from Litchfield Road to Rail Road Tracks and Litchfield Road (east side) from Cactus Road to Desert Cove Road: It is expected that the construction of the project will go out for a public bid that will close in January. Construction is expected to begin in the March/April timeframe.

Peoria Avenue (Reems Road to Sarival Avenue): Lennar has begun construction. Project is complete.

Peoria Avenue (south side) from Greer Ranch Parkway to Reems Road:Construction will commence after Lennar completes the construction on the north side.

Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting: The community is invited to attend the next Bullard Avenue Task Force meeting on Monday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m., at the Northwest Regional Library, 16089 N. Bullard Avenue. The city worked with a grant-funded Safe Routes to School design team to create a plan that incorporates the recommendations decided on by the task force this past fall. The recommendations included retaining the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit and restoring two travel lanes in each direction. Also, due to heavier pedestrian crossings at the intersections at Acoma and Sweetwater, the group requested some traffic signals be added, along with crosswalks.

Cactus Road (north half) from 143rd Avenue to Bullard Avenue: This project includes half street improvements with a median. DMB is the project owner, with the City contributing to median costs. The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.

Greenway Road (Bullard Avenue to Litchfield Road): This project is anticipated to be completed in summer 2016. The project includes intersection dip improvements.

Greenway and Dysart Intersection: This project will improve the existing dip section and is anticipated to be completed prior to Spring Training 2016.

A full closure of the intersection is planned for Friday, January 15 at 7:30 pm through Sunday, January 17 at 8 pm. Following full closure, there will be some finishing work that will require lane restrictions through January 24, pending no weather-related delays.

Neighborhood Grant Program

The Surprise City Council has approved funding to support a new Neighborhood Grant Program that provides eligible neighborhoods with small grants to fund neighborhood events, functions or even some community improvements.

Recognizing an opportunity to encourage community engagement and further build strong relationships with communities in Surprise, the city designated $10,000 to support this new grant program.

To be considered, projects must meet the following program criteria:

• Provide a public benefit

• Result in a product, which benefits a neighborhood or the larger Surprise Community

• Be feasible for completion by June 17, 2016

• Involve the benefiting neighborhood in project identification, planning and execution

• Emphasize neighborhood self-help; or be educational, community-building, or a public physical improvement

Additionally, a minimum of 5 neighbors within the residential area must sign the application and support the idea; neighborhoods governed by a homeowner association (HOA) must have HOA approval.

Interested communities should deliver the complete Neighborhood Grant Program application to City Hall, attention Jodi Tas, by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 26.

An information session will be held Saturday, January 30 at 9:00 a.m. at Surprise City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza in the Council Overflow room.

For more information about the grant, visit the Neighborhood Grant Program webpage or contact Jodi Tas, 623.222.1330.

Recent Changes in City Ordinances

On December 4, 2015, the City of Surprise adopted several changes to ordinances related to animal ownership. In an effort to ensure all citizens are made aware of the new changes, the Surprise Police provided the following review of the affected ordinances or city codes.

To begin with, the definition of “at large” was changed in Surprise City Code 10-19. The code also requires a dog owner to contain their pet within a structure (home), an enclosure (fenced rear yard), or restrain and control the animal (leash) at all times. While away from their premises, the dog owner has the same requirements; however, there continues to be an exemption for a dog park.

Within the same city code, there was also a change for homeowners in gated communities. A previous exception stating dogs were not at large anywhere within a gated community has been deleted. At this time, gated communities are treated the same as any other location within the City of Surprise.

Surprise City Code 10-24 also was modified. The code penalizes all owners who: do not get their dog licensed, counterfeit a dog license, remove a valid license from a dog, or place a license for another animal on their dog which is not valid.

Also, the Surprise Police would like to remind citizens of Surprise City Code 10-26. This code states an owner who wants to continue keeping an animal previously declared vicious by a court must obtain liability insurance, have the animal spayed or neutered, and muzzle the animal when taking it off the owner’s premises.

Other changes were also made to Surprise City Code 10-56. The change states an animal found running around a neighborhood may cause the owner to have to pay food and housing charges, if the owner was negligent in allowing the animal to get out. Proof of negligence is more than just a dog getting out – it would come from the dog getting out multiple times or proof the owner is not taking reasonable steps to keep the animal contained.

Additionally, in regard to Surprise City Code 10-79, the code now requires only one person to file a formal complaint with the police about a barking dog prior to enforcement action being taken.

If you have additional questions in regard to these city ordinances, please contact the Surprise Police Department at 623.222.4000.

For more information or to review current Surprise City Ordinances, visit: http://ow.ly/VlWvV

Economic Development Update

The City’s Economic Development Department continues to be busy with inquiries. This past October, they had inquiries from 3 large businesses, 1 small business and 2 for the AZ TechCelerator. There were 2 large business site visits, 12 small business assists and 14 AZ TechCelerator tenant requests.

Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital held their ribbon cutting and open house on November 19. The hospital will officially open its doors this month. The $17.5 million rehabilitation hospital with 40 beds is specifically designed for treating devastating head injuries that general hospitals may not be equipped to handle. The hospital brings 140 jobs to Surprise! The hospital recently hired Dr. Raj Singh as its medical director. He is also the medical director for the Barrow Neurosurgical Associates NeuroSpine and Rehab Center and the Rehabilitation Institute of Scottsdale.

Great news! Oregano’s is coming to Surprise! I am thrilled to have this popular eatery available for our residents! More details will be available soon!

Oregano’s coming soon sign

Construction will soon begin on a new Honda dealership in Prasada. The company is in the final permitting stages now.

Pet Club is now open at the corner of Greenway and Cotton in District 3.

General Plan Summit

Surprise City Council and Surprise Planning and Zoning Commissioners hosted the 2015 Annual General plan Summit on December 4 at City Hall. Department Directors presented the City’s progress toward achieving the Surprise General Plan 2035 goals and policies, discussed the Economic Development Strategic Plan, provided an update to the OTS Heritage District and conversed about City Monument Gateways.

John Lenio, with the commercial real estate firm CBRE, served as the guest speaker and provided a private sector point of view to Economic Development.

Eric Fitzer speaks at General plan Summit

City Council approved several amendments to some land-use elements of the Surprise General Plan 2035 at the Special Council Meeting on December 19.

Key changes include replacing the Village Plan requirements from the development process, with a “Character Area” approach, to provide more flexibility in establishing land-use concepts and building forms to create a unified city. Wildlife Corridors remain within the conservation element and the overall General Plan. Open space is designated within the land-use element.

Prior to the council vote, Community Development hosted a 60-day review period allowing for public input on the proposed changes and hundreds of you helped via an online survey. Public Hearings were held before the Planning & Zoning Commission and the City Council.

New Parks in Surprise

The City held a ribbon cutting celebration for our two newest parks, Veramonte Community Park and Surprise Farms Park, on November 14. Veramonte Community Park located at 12741 N. 140th Avenue, features restrooms, a splash pad, a parking lot and other new park amenities. Surprise Farms Park, located at the southeast corner of 175th Avenue and Surprise Farms Loop South, features a playground, splash pad, basketball court, skate park, restrooms and other park amenities.

children at play on slash pad children skating at skate park

1st Annual Veterans Day Parade

The City hosted its first inaugural Veterans Day Parade on Wednesday, November 11. There were approximately 70 parade entries and 4,500 attendees. I was extremely proud to walk alongside Debbie Lee who is an accomplished author, public speaker and political activist who has traveled the nation telling her son, Marc Lee’s, amazing story and advocating for our troops, their families and the families of our fallen soldiers. Marc Lee was killed in action and became the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq in August 2006. Ms. Lee founded America’s Mighty Warriors (AMW). AMW is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that honors troops, the fallen and their families with programs that improve their quality of life, resiliency and recovery.

623strong was honored to host their 1st Annual America’s Mighty Warriors Challenge fundraiser at DreamCatcher Park on Veterans Day. This competition is unlike any other and represents the heart and dedication of what AMW stands for and strives to instill in the community. The female and male winner of this cross fit style competition had the honor of riding with Debbie Lee in the Surprise Veterans Day parade.

Surprise Dial-A-Ride

With demand for the City’s Dial-A-Ride service increasing, the City Council recently voted to fund an increase in the number of weekday trips offered by the service.

These additional funds have increased the weekday trip cap from 140 to 160 one-way trips per day through the close of the fiscal year in June. A request to sustain the increase will be submitted to the City Council during the FY2017 budget process.

This increase comes after the recent announcement that Surprise Dial-A-Ride now offers holiday service, which is capped at 30 one-way trips per day.

Dial-A-Ride’s regular hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays have a cap of 30 one-way trips.

As a reminder, Dial-A-Ride offers advanced reservations. Certified ADA, seniors and others with disabilities can schedule advance reservations up to 14 days prior to the trip. To make an appointment for Dial-A-Ride service, please call 602.266.8723.

All Dial-A-Ride service requirements remain the same and can be viewed at www.surpriseaz.gov/dialaride.

Spring Training

The 14th annual Surprise Spring Training Season will kick off on Wednesday, Mar. 2 at the Surprise Recreation Campus – The Campus of Champions – featuring Surprise’s home teams: the Kansas City Royals – 2015 World Series Champion and Texas Rangers – 2015 American League Western Division Champion.

The box office is now open! Tickets can also be purchased over the phone with Tickets.com at 888.755.2583 or online at www.surprisespringtraining.com. Service charges may apply to online and phone orders.

Individual tickets and season packages are available. Individual game ticket prices range from $8 in the lawn to $30 in the premium lower dugout and include free parking. Four premium games (see schedule below) have been designated with individual ticket pricing ranging from $13-$35.

Ticket packages available include Full Season, Home Team Half Season, and Home Team 7-Packs. All packages include priority seating and VIP Parking. Full Season and Half Season packages include a VIP season ticket reception.

For questions or more information, please check our website at www.surprisespringtraining.com or call 623.222.2222.

2016 Spring Training Schedule
*Schedule subject to change | Premium Games

Mar 2 Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 3 Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 4 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 5 Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 6 Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 7 San Francisco Giants vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 8 Colorado Rockies vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 9 Milwaukee Brewers vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 10 Chicago White Sox vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 11 Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 12 Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 13 Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 14 Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 15 Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 16 Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 17 Milwaukee Brewers vs. Texas Rangers 6:05 p.m.
Mar 18 Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 19 Seattle Mariners vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 20 Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers 1:05pm
Mar 21 Colorado Rockies vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 22 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Kansas City Royals 6:05 p.m.
Mar 23 Chicago Cubs vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 24 Cincinnati Reds vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 25 San Diego Padres vs. Texas Rangers 6:05 p.m.
Mar 26 Oakland Athletics vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 27 Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Texas Rangers 1:05 p.m.
Mar 28 San Diego Padres vs. Kansas City Royals 1:05 p.m.
Mar 29 San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals 6:05 p.m.
Mar 30 Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers 12:05 p.m.

Shop Surprise!

Please remember that when you choose to shop in Surprise, you are helping shape our community. The money you spend here, stays here. In fact, local sales tax makes up nearly 40% of the city’s General Fund revenues. This money is used for Surprise Police, Surprise Fire-Medical, street maintenance and our parks!

Shop Surprise

Registration for Youth Sports Programs is open

Registration is open through Jan. 23 for a variety of City of Surprise youth sports programs, including softball, tee-ball and baseball.

The final registration day, Jan. 23, is a special Saturday registration, which will be held from 8-11 a.m. at the Community and Recreation Services office, located at 15960 N. Bullard Ave. Normal office hours are Monday – Friday, 8a.m. to 5p.m. Registration can also be completed online at www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

The following sports are open for registration:

Babe Ruth Girls Softball League (Girls, 7–16 years old) – Teaches the game of softball in the spirit of sportsmanship, fun and wholesome competition. An emphasis is placed on the development of skills and the value of teamwork.

12U, 14U & 16U participants will undergo a skills evaluation to be drafted to a team. The skills evaluation will be held Saturday, Feb. 27. Age is determined on or before December 31, 2016.

Cal Ripken Youth Tee-ball – NEW 4-5 year old division! (Boys and Girls, 4 – 6 years old) – The road to the “Big Leagues” starts here! The Cal Ripken tee-ball program will offer separate 4-5 year old and 5-6 year old divisions. Participants will have the opportunity to learn the basic fundamentals and skills associated with the game of baseball in an atmosphere where participation and fun are top priority. Age is determined on or before April 30, 2016.

Cal Ripken Baseball League (Boys and Girls, 7-12 years old) – This league will concentrate highly on instruction and will emphasize the development of fundamental skills over wins and losses. Participants registered in the Major (10-12) American League 46/60 or National League 50/70 division will undergo a skills evaluation and will be drafted to a team. The skills evaluation will be held Saturday, Feb. 27. Age is determined on or before April 30, 2016.

The City of Surprise welcomes you to volunteer for the upcoming Spring Sports Season. The Community and Recreation Services Department is dedicated to providing our volunteers the information and confidence they need to have a fun and successful season. If you are interested, please complete a volunteer application at the Community and Recreation Services Office.

For registration or program fee information, please contact the Sports Division at 623.222.2000 or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation.

Opinion Piece

Being a school administrator and working in education for the last few decades, I’ve personally witnessed the effect that social media has had on students. Students have more information at their fingertips now than ever before. Think about this – According to Pew Research Center, 73% of wired American teens (ages 12-17) utilize social networking sites! While the ease of mobile social media can be utilized as an educational tool and assist with our youth’s studies, it is also damaging. It has been used as a haven for bullying and utilized for schools, specifically colleges, as a source for viewing applicants’ online profiles.

Social media is also distracting! According to CommonSense Media, a nonprofit group that studies children’s use of technology, 69% of American high schools have banned use or even possession of mobile devices on school grounds.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the danger of social media as well. Schools and parents need to continue to monitor, to the best of our abilities, the social networking sites of our youth not only because it distracts them for their schoolwork but to also keep them safe!

In closing, I wish you and your families a wonderful, safe, happy, healthy new year!

My best,

Councilman John Williams
District 3