March 8, 2018-Ak-Chin, AZ - Jim Chaston CPA gave a riveting presentation today to a packed house of local residents and business leaders. For those interested, here are the slides from that presentation.
Blog #6 - Feb. 2018
What is a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement?
What Issues Are Considered in an EIS? An Environmental Impact Statement, or an EIS, is a type of assessment required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for federally funded or regulated projects. Of the different types of documentation, an EIS is considered the most thorough and considers all possible impacts of a proposed project –positive and negative – for many different resources.
An EIS requires a Purpose and Need statement, which outlines why the project is needed and what the project hopes to achieve. From here, the study team identifies various options for the Interstate 11 (I-11) Corridor (referred to as corridor alternatives) that meet this Purpose and Need. Information is gathered and analyzed for all alternatives, including a No Build alternative (or, a “do-nothing” alternative) to determine which alternative best meets the project’s Purpose and Need while causing the least negative impacts on the built and natural environments. When adverse impacts are predicted, the EIS would identify strategies to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts. Major resource areas are analyzed.
An EIS provides the federal agencies with the necessary information to make a decision regarding the proposed project and helps determine the potential consequences that could result from the project, what impacts can be mitigated, and which alternative best fits the Purpose and Need.
How Were the Alternatives Defined?
For the I-11 project, an Alternatives Selection Report (ASR) was published in December 2017 to document the development, evaluation and screening of a variety of corridor options from Nogales to Wickenburg. The ASR incorporated ideas and preferences on corridor options from local government agencies, tribes, stakeholders and the public. The ASR provides the basis for determining the alternatives to be evaluated in the Tier 1 EIS, which will analyze both Build Corridor Alternatives (i.e. alternative corridors from Nogales to Wickenburg that could move forward to construction), and a No-Build Alternative (i.e., do-nothing option).
How Does a Tier 1 EIS Differ From a Traditional EIS?
The I-11 Corridor study team is in the process of completing a Tier 1 EIS. A Tier 1 EIS covers the same subject matter as a project-level EIS, only on a much more general scale. Typically, a Tier 1 EIS is used when funding has not yet been identified for a project or for managing the NEPA process across a large geographic area, such as the I-11 Corridor. A Tier 1 EIS involves technical analysis completed on a broad scale and is therefore an effective method for identifying existing and future conditions and understanding the comprehensive effects of the project on the region. It provides the groundwork for future project-level I-11 environmental and technical studies.
A Tier 1 EIS allows the study process to move forward with no identified funding, while still laying the groundwork for where the corridor alternatives could be located. Project-level or Tier 2 environmental studies and identified funding sources would be required to advance construction of the project, which could occur in phases as funding is available. During Tier 2 studies, more detailed project elements would be defined and assessed, such as the specific alignment (the identified route) and the location of traffic interchanges.
For more information about the ongoing Tier 1 EIS, check out our latest fact sheet, which is published in both English and Spanish.
Visit the I-11 Study website at I-11Study.com/Arizona for more information.
As seen in the Maricopa Monitor, February 20, 2018
By BETHANY BLUNDELL Staff Writer
MARICOPA — For the fifth time in a row, Ace Hardware in Maricopa has received the top recognition among stores across the nation.
The Ace Hardware Corporation awarded the Maricopa store the Pinnacle Performance Retailing designation. This title was given for the store’s outstanding performance.
“We have performed according to key performance indicators and at a high enough level to receive this award,” said Mike Richey, owner of Maricopa Ace.
Richey said this recognition places them in the top 10 percent of more than 5,000 Ace stores across the world. He said the two years prior to getting this award, their store was awarded the Platinum award. But then Ace created a high level of recognition, which they have continued to maintain.
He said one of the performance indicators they focus on most is customer service. He said they are “relentless” in providing top-quality service to their customers.
Richey said the Ace Hardware Corporation calls this their “weapon in the world” that helps them stand out from competitors.
One of the ways they provide such high customer service is through their “Helpful Certification,” which is the foundational element of Ace’s “Certified Ace Helpful” retail training curriculum. To become certified, Ace Hardware associates complete courses focused on helping customers and the store conducts a week-long team-based certification event.
He said the staff prides themselves in their service and work really hard to maintain that.
“I’m really proud of the staff,” he said. “I think we have the best crew we’ve ever had. They really take it personal how well the store does.”
Richey said a lot of the award is attributed to the people in Maricopa. He said this award says as much about the community as it does about the store’s service.
“The support we get from the people of Maricopa is just outstanding,” he said.
On high school campuses across the country, there are students concerned with what is happening around them – students who are interested in politics and government, foreign affairs, the law and education. The Junior State of America (JSA) was created by and for these young people. Since its founding in 1934, more than 500,000 student members have become active, informed citizens through JSA. Read our Mission Statement .
What makes JSA so unique is that students organize every aspect of the organization, from the chapter level all the way to state and national administration. Our student leaders, elected by their fellow JSA members, plan and execute all of the conventions, conferences and political-awareness events held by JSA.
JSA allows for an exchange of ideas through stimulating student debates, thought talks, problem-solving, and a variety of simulations. By participating in these activities, each member gains a more intelligent and informed viewpoint. JSA also provides a wonderful chance to meet and make friends with scores of other bright, involved students who have similar interests. It’s an experience that no young person would want to miss.
JSA is a national organization organized at the local chapter level. These chapters collectively form regions which coordinate communication with chapters and run regional events annually. The regions form states which run three large overnight conventions a year, and the national level of general program operations. See the section on how to start a chapter to bring JSA to your school.
You can help spread the word about JSA by using the resources and tools provided on this site. The information in this section about JSA chapters and events, our videos about JSA Summer School, blogs by representatives of JSA states and the new-photo galleries can all contribute to giving prospective members a better understanding of what JSA is all about.
We need your help!
The grant that Arizona JSA has been receiving is being cut down by $15,000 every year, and as a result, convention admission and travel costs are going up. We combat this through the Arizona Scholarship Fund, which supports applicants based on financial need and merit. In Maricopa alone, we had 20 students receive a scholarship to attend the December convention, so the impact of donor's generosity is felt immensely here at home.
We are looking for people who are willing and able to help JSAZ students in one or more of three ways.
1. Donate to the Arizona Scholarship Fund at https://fundraise.jsa.org/fundraiser/1071665. The process is secure, fast, and every dollar is tax deductible.
2. Connect JSA with other community-focused individuals. Whether they are in Maricopa or around the state, any contact information is welcome.
3. Partner with JSAZ in fundraising efforts. We're always looking for new ways to support our students and raise awareness, whether it be on Facebook or Twitter, or at local restaurants and businesses.
What do you suggest in terms of reaching out? Is there a meeting I should attend or an event I should find? I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Here are some links you may find helpful:
Junior State of America Website https:/www.jsa.org
Junior State of America Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/JuniorState/about/?ref=page_internal
Junior State of America - Arizona Website: http://states.jsa.org/arizona/
If you've been thinking about starting your own business and do not know where to start, this unique, free, and easy-to-use resource will lead you through the basics. It helps answer these questions and many more:
• Should I start a business?
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• How can I start a business with no money?
• How much does it cost to start a business?
• What laws and regulations do I need to know to start a business? Do I need a license?
DreamBuilder, presented by Thunderbird School of Global Management in partnership with Freeport-McMoRan, has helped women in more than 60 countries realize their dreams.
DreamBuilder is offered in English and Spanish.
Addition helps City of Maricopa travelers see conditions in real time
- Cameras the Arizona Department of Transportation uses to monitor State Route 347 traffic between the city of Maricopa and Interstate 10 now allow drivers to view conditions themselves via www.az511.gov.
Nine high-definition cameras mounted on traffic signals are available through the Arizona Traveler Information site, showing intersections such as Riggs and Casa Blanca roads and extending as far south as Farrell Road.
"ADOT is always looking to improve traffic flow and safety," ADOT traffic engineer Mark Poppe said. "Giving everyone access to the Maricopa cameras allows motorists to see traffic along SR 347 firsthand and make more-informed travel decisions."
In 2016, ADOT installed a wireless communication system that monitors conditions on SR 347 and allows technicians in Phoenix to adjust signal timing accordingly. The system includes a series of infrared and video cameras, and the latter are now available to the public online.
Besides showing road conditions, traffic cameras are used to quickly spot crashes, allowing first responders to respond faster and allocate appropriate resources. By doing this, secondary crashes are reduced, along with traffic congestion.
ADOT maintains more than 300 traffic cameras across the state and continues adding them to az511.gov. In addition to the SR 347 cameras, the Arizona Traveler Information site recently added views from new cameras along the Loop 202 Santan Freeway in Chandler and Gilbert.
The I-11 corridor study area stretches 280 miles from Nogales to Wickenburg, Arizona. The study area varies in width from approximately 10 wide to 25 miles wile. The map shows the following areas of interest: corridor/study area, cities and towns, county limits, freeway, state/US highways, major streets, railroad tracks, airport, rivers, and lakes. Also shown are the following areas: Bureau of Land Management lands, Reclamation lands, National Forest lands, National Wildlife Refuge, Park and Recreation area, National Park land, National Monument, Tribal Lands, Private Land, State Land, and military area.
New Roads and Freeways Before It's Too Late campaign to give us all the latest details on the efforts underway to improve transportation in the county.
In November you will have an opportunity to cast your vote via mail regarding Propositions 416 and 417 which would build $640 million new roads and freeways in every community throughout the county to keep our vehicles, public safety, and our economy moving in the right direction. This is a comprehensive transportation plan with projects that will get traffic moving north to south and east to west. It also includes funding for Dial-a-Ride services for seniors and the disabled. The result will be faster commutes for residents, faster response times for police and fire, and new infrastructure that will bring more job creating companies to Pinal County.
Utility relocation work is underway in preparation for the SR 347 Overpass project. The official construction of the project is expected to start late this year and take approximately two years to complete. During construction, traffic in the area will be impacted. ADOT is responsible for managing the project. The City of Maricopa is engaged in the process to ensure the project is successful for the future of Maricopa. To help you stay informed on the latest information and lane closures throughout the project the City of Maricopa created the website www.OverpassTracker.com.
Head to www.OverpassTracker.com for an overview of the project, frequent updates on traffic impacts, project timelines, maps and videos of what the project will look like when complete. The City of Maricopa has also established a 24/7 Hotline for you to call and get answers to more specific questions or concerns at 520-316-6910.
The SR 347 Overpass will create a bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR.) Traffic on SR 347 averages more than 31,000 vehicles per day and future (2040) projections show over 60,000 vehicles per day. There are currently 40 to 60 trains per day; the UPRR has plans to expand service, which would increase train traffic upwards of 100 trains per day. Additionally, the Amtrak station is located just west of the intersection and vehicular traffic is routinely delayed for its passenger operations. The completion of the Overpass project will drastically ease traffic congestion and increase safety in the area.