Superintendent’s Message: Dr. Debbi Burdick , Cave Creek Unified School District

Dr. Debbi Burdick , Superintendent, Cave Creek Unified School District

In these unprecedented and difficult times, here is some good news to celebrate. Please join me in congratulating the Cactus Shadows High School Graduating Class of 2020! Here is our Falcon Class of 2020, By the Numbers:

  • There are 426 grads — 216 females and 210
  • 67 were in our CS eLearning Program and 3 were early graduates.
  • 169 have been with us from kindergarten.
  • Their combined GPA is a 3.33 on a weighted scale and the highest is a 4.875 — Congrats Valedictorian Billy Mullenmeister for your effort and accomplishments! And, congratulations to Salutatorian Elizabet Cave and Colin McConnon, a National Merit Scholar Finalist.
  • 10 seniors had perfect attendance up to Spring Break and the school closure.
  • 33 seniors participated in the Superintendent’s Challenge, accruing 6926 hours of community service in four years. 25 seniors completed the Challenge. Senior Maya Bellowe had the most hours over her four years for a total of 516 hours.
  • 342 grads are going to college and 8 to the military to serve our country. 6 will be attending other types of schools. 1 is moving onto an apprenticeship and 13 onto Career Education. 12 students will move onto the world of work and 8 are taking a gap year.
  • 24 seniors received the CCUSD Seal of Bi-literacy and 39 will receive the State Seal of Bi-literacy.
  • They have been awarded over 11.5 million in scholarships to date.
  • 18 of our senior student athletes have signed letters of intent.
  • And the Class of 2020 is very ready for college, already graduating with college credits:
    • 16 seniors achieved the Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma
    • 13 seniors were in the International Baccalaureate program;
    • 8 seniors were in Paradise Valley Community College’s Early College Program;
    • 4 attended EVIT—the East Valley Institute of Technology;
    • Over 4 years, 767 took Paradise Valley Community College Dual Enrollment courses;
    • They took 1394 Advanced Placement courses in 4 years;
    • And, took 1401 Career and Technical Education courses.

Best of luck and the warmest congratulations, Cactus Shadows Falcons, Class of 2020!

To contact Dr. Burdick, call 480.575.2000. For more information on the Cave Creek Unified School District, visit

Carefree’s Peterson and Crane Appointed to MAG Committees in June

L-R: Carefree Mayor Les Peterson; Carefree Vice Mayor Jim Crane

The Town of Carefree announced in late June that, “in an effort to strengthen its working relationship with other municipalities and more effectively represent the interests of Carefree residents in important regional matters,” it has increased its representation within in the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) organization.

At the June 24 meeting of the MAG Regional Council, Carefree Mayor Les Peterson was appointed by the membership to the Executive Committee of the Council. In addition, Carefree Vice Mayor John Crane was appointed by the membership to the MAG Economic Development Committee.

MAG is a council of municipal governments and tribal entities that serves as the regional planning agency for Maricopa County, including the neighboring urbanized areas in Pinal County. MAG provides regional planning and policy decisions in areas of transportation, air quality, water quality, economic development and human services. A separate Committee is assigned to each of these areas, under the overall leadership of the MAG Regional Council.

The MAG bylaws summarize the purpose of the organization: “The Maricopa Association of Governments is based on the principle that cities, towns, counties, and Indian Communities, which are closest to the people, should exercise the basic initiative and leadership and should have the primary responsibility for addressing those local problems and needs which require action on an area-wide or regional basis.”

For additional information about the role and purpose of MAG, visit

Carefree Issues Health Emergency Proclamation Requiring the Use of Face Masks/Coverings Within the Town

The following statement and Proclomation was issued today by the Town of Carefree:


“Yesterday, Governor Ducey in conjunction with health officials held a news conference to discuss the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases within the State of Arizona. In part, at this news conference, Governor Ducey permitted local communities to require the use of face masks or facial coverings to help mitigate the spread of the virus. Although Carefree’s infections rates continue to be relatively low, nearby locations continue to see a surge in infections. Due to the highly contagious nature of the virus and need to protect Carefree’s vulnerable population, the following Health Emergency Proclamation will require the use of face mask/coverings within the Town of Carefree to mitigate the transmission of the virus. As a community we must each do our part to protect our families, friends and neighbors and place on a face mask/covering before entering a public setting.”




JUNE 18, 2020

WHEREAS, the federal government, the state of Arizona and Maricopa County have declared a public health emergency to address the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); AND

WHEREAS, the Mayor of the Town of Carefree pursuant to Article II. Section 2-2-4 (G) does hereby find that the following health emergency continues to exist within the Town of Carefree; AND

WHEREAS, COVID-19 is highly contagious and can be fatal resulting in the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic; AND

WHEREAS, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports individuals can be carriers of COVID-19 up to fourteen (14) days without showing any signs of the virus. These carriers can therefore, unknowingly infect additional people; AND

WHEREAS, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that all individuals, particularly those older than 60 years of age, and/or those with chronic medical conditions, should not attend gatherings of greater than six people, should practice social distancing, should practice enhanced sanitation efforts such as frequently washing their hands with soap and water and should wear masks or facial coverings covering their nose and mouth when they are in public places to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19; AND

WHEREAS, a sizable portion of the population in Carefree falls within this vulnerable population and all measures must be taken to follow the CDC guidelines to protect our residents; AND

WHEREAS, Governor Ducey, by Executive Order originally issued initiatives to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 including but not limited to “stay at home” order for nonessential employees and school closures.

WHEREAS, in an effort to re-stimulate the economy Governor Ducey relaxed these original requirements in the middle of May; AND

WHEREAS, this relaxation of the Executive Order may have been a factor contributing to a recent spike in the number of COVID -19 cases and resulting deaths with over 41,000 cases and more than 1,200 deaths within the state to date; AND

WHEREAS, the recent spike in infections throughout the State and Maricopa County over the last few weeks places the Town in the position to require the use of face masks or facial coverings (which shall cover ones nose and mouth) to protect its citizens, employees and businesses within the Town of Carefree that may unknowingly be exposed to COVID-19 and further spread the virus; AND

WHEREAS, on June 17, 2020, Governor Ducey announced that he was permitting local governments to require the use of face masks or facial coverings within public places, public spaces and businesses within their respective community; AND

WHEREAS, this Proclamation shall have the effect of requiring face masks or facial coverings within the Town of Carefree within public places, public spaces and within businesses to the fullest extent practical to help prevent the spread of COVID-19;. AND

NOW THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY PROCLAIMED that a local health emergency exists in the Town of Carefree, Maricopa County as a result of the aforementioned conditions, which impacts the life and health of the Town residents, employees and businesses.

IT IS FURTHER PROCLAIMED AND ORDERED that during the existence of the local health emergency the use of face masks or facial coverings shall be required and placed over an individual’s mouth and nose when practical when an individual is located within public places, public spaces and businesses within the Town of Carefree. The wearing of a face mask or facial covering by children less than 5 years old shall be at the discretion of their accompanying parent or guardian. Those unable to wear a face mask or facial covering because of a medical condition shall be exempt

Dated this 18th day of June

Mayor Les Peterson

Arizona Votes 2020 — Upcoming primary and general election information

While most residents are aware that 2020 is a presidential election year, it is also important to remember that local elections are taking place in Arizona. Here is a rundown of elections coming up in Carefree, Cave Creek, Phoenix and Scottsdale in August and November.

Town of Carefree

The Town of Carefree will hold a primary election Tuesday, Aug. 4. Voters will elect a mayor and six council members. (Any candidate receiving a majority of all votes cast at the primary election will be declared elected without running at the general election.) If necessary, the Town will hold its general election: Tuesday, Nov. 3.



Town of Cave Creek

The Town of Cave Creek will hold its primary election Tuesday, Aug. 4. The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3. Offices to be filled include mayor (1 seat) and council member (6 seats).

Also, on the Town’s Aug. 4 primary election ballot is Proposition 433 — Authorization to continue the Alternative Expenditure Limitation (Home Rule Option) for the Town.



City of Phoenix

The City of Phoenix will hold the regularly​ scheduled mayor and council election Tuesday, Nov. 3. In this election, registered voters who reside in the city of Phoenix will elect a mayor and decide any ballot measure propositions referred by the City Council. Also, voters residing in City Council Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7 will elect council members.



City of Scottsdale

The City of Scottsdale will hold a primary election Tuesday, Aug. 4, for the purpose of electing a mayor and three council members. A general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3, to fill any elected offices that remain unfilled after the primary election. To be elected at the primary election, a candidate must receive a majority of all of the legal votes cast for that candidate’s race.



The deadline to register to vote in all August primary elections is July 6. The deadline to register to vote in the November general election is Oct. 5. To register to vote (or to update/change registration), Maricopa County residents can visit |CST

Photo: ID 27131912 © Brad Calkins |

Desert Foothills Library Continues Curbside Pickup Service

In May, Desert Foothills Library took a prudent, cautious approach to opening the library. While the library itself remains closed, following CDC guidelines in an effort to keep the library community healthy and safe, it began offering curbside pickup of materials.

This service, which began May 18, is available to all library patrons regardless of membership status. Patrons are requested to follow the steps below to request and obtain books, audio books, and DVDs from the Desert Foothills Library Collection. They may request items by using the online library catalog, or by calling the library.

Library staff said, “We’ve got lots of new titles and more on the way!”

To Request Library Materials by Phone:
Place requests for materials by calling the library at 480.488.2286 Monday–Friday, 10am–4pm, and Saturday, 10am–2pm.

To Request Library Materials Online:
Visit and click on “Search our Library Catalog.”
Click log in in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
Log in by entering the patron barcode number, found printed on the back of library cards. Enter password and click log in.
Search for items by title, author or subject, or browse items in the collection by clicking on the “New Titles” lists on the left-hand side of the screen.
Click place request on an item and submit.
Patrons will receive an email when the requested item becomes available for pick-up.

To Pick Up Requested Materials:
Curbside Pickup is available Monday–Friday, 10am–4pm, and Saturday, 10am–2pm. Park in any library parking space.
Materials will be on a table outside the library entrance, in a bag with the patron’s name on it.
All items in the bag will have already been checked out to the patron, with a checkout slip showing the due dates for materials.

To Return Library Materials
Put all library materials in designated drop boxes to the left of the library entrance.
All materials will remain on the patron’s account for three to four days after return, to allow for a quarantine period. This is for the safety of library staff and patrons. Any overdue fees accrued during that period will be waived by staff.

Residents who have questions about this service or any of the digital or virtual services, can visit to learn more, or call the library at 480.488.2286.

Photo: ID 64880522 © Natabene |

The Art of Healing — Through Art

Thunderbird Artists Gallery offers a safe, spacious, inspiring way to rejoin the outside world

By Nancy Pellegrini

Best-selling author Julia Cameron said that “art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing.” We may have spent our stay-at-home period reorganizing and decluttering, but we’ve probably been neglecting our souls. But as Phoenix emerges from its long, solitary spring and enters an uncertain summer, we can use art to help reorder our lives and rejuvenate our spirits. Thunderbird Artists, known nationwide for their award-winning fine art and wine festivals in Arizona, has reopened its Thunderbird Artists Gallery in Carefree — closed for COVID-19, and now open for business.

For those eagerly — but still cautiously — rejoining the outside world, the gallery offers a low-traffic, relaxed environment for visitors to absorb and enjoy the work of fascinating local and global artists hailing from Brazil to Zimbabwe. Be it oils, acrylics, photography, watercolors, stone, steel, gourds, glass, bronze, wood, textiles, ceramics and a wide variety of one-of-a-kind jewelry, Thunderbird Artists Gallery has something for every palate — and every budget.

Artwork by Guilloume

Renowned and award-winning artists include Virgil Ortiz, the world-famous ceramics artist who combines Pueblo traditions with fashion, film and a contemporary edge, Phoenix’s own Jeanne Bonine, who creates vibrant florals in oils and watercolor, and Brazilian Guilloume, whose vision of shared humanity comes in oils, bronzes and bronze wall sculptures. Sculptor and painter Jacinthe Dugal-Lacroix captures elegant bodies in motion, and wife-husband artist team Jeanne and Tod Steele align their vastly different western styles on the same canvas. And that’s just the beginning.

An eclectic, vibrant space offering both stimulation and safety, Thunderbird Artists Gallery welcomes buyers and browsers alike to ease back into the familiar, and to remember everything we love about Carefree.

Thunderbird Artists Gallery, open Tuesday–Sunday (closed July and August), from 10am to 4pm*, is located at 99 Easy Street, (southwest corner of Ho Hum and Easy Street), in Carefree. For additional information, call 480.688.4960, visit or follow the gallery on Facebook.


*Since publication in our JUNE 2020 issue, the Gallery’s temporary hours are Wednesday thru Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Visit the website or call for current gallery hours before visiting. —EDITOR

Local Women and Girls Receive Monetary Awards from Soroptimists Saguaro Foothills

At a time when good news is sometimes hard to find, Soroptimist International of Saguaro Foothills shared the result of its annual awards ceremony, held March 10. Awards money of $11,000 was distributed to 11 deserving women and girls.

The “Live Your Dream” (LYD) award was established in 1972 and is available to women who are financially head of household with dependents, demonstrate need, and are motivated to achieve their education and career goals.

Jennifer, the LYD award winner from Glendale, was awarded $2,500.  Jennifer has been attending Phoenix College and was recently accepted to Arizona State University Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics to pursue a degree in sociology. She works full time as a fraud investigator at UNIFY Financial Credit Union. In addition to pursuing her certified fraud examiner license, Jennifer has full time care of two family members and three children. Jennifer has been selected as a finalist in the Golden West region of Soroptimist International of the Americas and will win an additional monetary award at the regional level.

This year, the organization had seven runners-up for the LYD award, each of whom received $1,000. The runners up were Caren, Ana, Primrose, Consuelo, Kat, Lois and Melissa. Caren is a navy reservist and is pursuing communications at ASU. Ana is studying accounting at Rio Salado Community College. Primrose is a student at Barrett, the Honors College at ASU.  She plans to obtain a dual master’s degree in global studies and creative writing to assist her goal of improving the lives of rural women in Sub-Saharan Africa. Consuelo is pursuing a degree as an accountant at Rio Salado Community College. Kat is a patient care assistant at Banner Health. She is presently enrolled in the nursing program at Gateway Community College and is also taking online classes at Northern Arizona University. Her goal is to become a registered nurse. Lois is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Melissa is studying pre-med and is working to become a full-time physician’s assistant.

The Soroptimist “Young Women’s Service” award recognizes young women who make their community and world a better place through their volunteer efforts.  This program honors girls between the ages of 14 and 18 who contribute their time and energy to volunteer projects in their schools and community.  Each girl was awarded $500 along with $100 to their charity.  The award recipients this year are Maya Ochoa who volunteers at Veteran’s Heritage Project. She told the assembled audience that “what I have learned from the veteran’s I’ve worked with has been life-changing.” Jaclyn Russek, who also volunteers for the Veteran’s Heritage project, received the award: she feels her work with her charity has brought “new perspectives to how she sees the world.” Emily Spencer was the third winner, and she volunteers at Wild at Heart. She shared this quote from Ghandi as especially meaningful to her: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

The Soroptimist “Ruby” award honors women who have worked to improve the lives of women and girls through their profession and/or volunteer work.  This year’s Ruby award winner is Lee Anne Park, who leads the Extra Special Art program at the Sonoran Arts League. Park ensures children with disabilities have the opportunity to communicate and express themselves through her adaptive art program.

This year’s awards ceremony had local VIPs in attendance, including president-elect of SI of the Americas, one of five federations that comprise Soroptimist International. Also, in attendance were CCUSD Superintendent Debbi Burdick, Carefree Mayor Les Peterson and his wife, Mary, Carefree Vice Mayor John Crane, and Cave Creek Council members Susan Clancy and Kathryn Royer.

Soroptimist International is a global women’s organization working together to transform the lives of women and girls.  The organization works at the local, national and international levels to improve lives through education leading to social and economic empowerment.

Learn more about Soroptimist International of Saguaro Foothills at

Photos courtesy of Soroptimist International of Saguaro Foothills

Town of Carefree Announces Adjustments to 2020 Memorial Day Tribute

Photo: Jennifer Lynn, Any Moment Photography

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, the country will remember those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of our nation. Last year, the Town of Carefree inaugurated a Memorial Day tribute in the Carefree-Cave Creek Cemetery to honor those men and women. This year, the challenges of the ongoing pandemic and associated CDC guidelines have caused the Town to modify its traditional morning of remembrance and honor.

This year, the Town of Carefree invites residents to spend part of their Memorial Day at the Carefree-Cave Creek Cemetery. (This is a pioneer cemetery. The wearing of close-toed shoes is a must.) However, the anticipated number of attendees, many of whom are of greater risk of serious illness, and the Town’s inability to offer recommended social distancing in the context of an organized program, has led them to adjust plans.

As in years past, the Tribute Riders will have marked the graves of the 41 veterans interred in the cemetery with the American flag. This year, “Taps” will be played at 8am and throughout the day guests are encouraged to walk the grounds, reflect, and pay respect to veterans. But this year, there will be no formal program. From 7:30am until 9am, face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer will be available near the entry gate, courtesy of American Legion Post 34 in Cave Creek. Guests are asked to comply with CDC guidelines.

The Town says, “It is easy to forget or take for granted those men and women who gave their lives or risked it all. Because of veterans and their selfless sacrifices, we live in prosperity and peace with liberty and freedom. To honor those veterans who have given their lives for country and to provide an appropriate opportunity for those who wish to respect our fallen veterans on Memorial Day in a setting that complies with CDC guidelines, the Town of Carefree is offering this modest, heartfelt tribute.”

For additional information, visit

Kiwanis Marketplace Thrift Store Sets Date for Reopening

Today, Sandra Carrier, general manager of the Kiwanis Marketplace Thrift Store, announced that the store will reopen to the public Tuesday, May 12, at 9am.

“We have been diligent to make sure necessary precautions are implemented to ensure the upmost of safety for all,” said Carrier, who shared a few things that have changed to keep clients and employees safe and healthy:

  • Requiring all who enter the Marketplace to wear a face mask
  • Limit the building occupancy to 35 percent of the city approved allowance.
  • Roadies will no longer enter a home to pick up donations. All donations must be placed in the garage or outside.
  • Restrooms will not be available to the public until further notice
  • Plexiglas shields have been installed at cashier stations
  • The store is marking the floor, around the cashier station, with the appropriate social distancing measures, to keep those in line safe.
  • The drop off donation process may change, so be aware when dropping off donations.
  • All received donations will go through a disinfecting process before being placed out for purchase.

Carrier asks for patience as the store moves forward and navigate these uncharted territories, adding, “Thank you for your continued support during these uncertain times. We have genuinely missed seeing you and look forward to catching up!”

For additional information, call 480.488.8400 or visit

Superintendent’s Message: Dr. Debbi Burdick , Cave Creek Unified School District

Dr. Debbi Burdick , Superintendent, Cave Creek Unified School District

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely reconfigured not only life as we have known it, but also school as we have known it. We know that our families across the nation are adjusting to many situations, including students learning at home whether through virtual school or in some districts, packets of materials dropped off by school buses. For families with younger children, some parents may still be going to work and not able to assist with schoolwork until evenings or weekends; some parents may be working from home and also not able to help with schoolwork until evenings or weekends. Some families are dealing with illness and schoolwork may take a backseat when health is the priority. All families may feel like they are now homeschooling and stress levels for guardians and students alike are high with this new dimension of what school looks like in the 2020 pandemic.

We are also hearing from our educators that they, too, are feeling this stress and anxiety. Many of them have children themselves and are juggling preparing lessons virtually in new formats, connecting with all of their students and then also trying to guide their own children through “school at home” with school days that then seem to never end. In our “new normal,” we all need to take a breath and realize that we are all doing the best we can in this crisis. That may look different for every household depending on their own situations. Things to remember are:

  • Family health is paramount. Keep everyone in your household protected and supported, including yourself. Many have used the analogy of the putting on the oxygen mask on a plane first — then helping others. The same goes here. Keep yourself well and calm as best as you can and then help your children.
  • Pay attention to stress that your child exhibits with school lessons and expectations. When a student hits the frustration point, it is time to take a break. Take a walk with your student, have them eat a snack, do some yoga together — but don’t keep working on lessons when your student becomes stressed and perhaps you do as well. It is okay to take a break. Our teachers are masters at noticing the signs of student frustrations and then switching gears, picking up with what has become frustrating later in the day or the next day.
  • We have heard from families where parents are working out of the home or in the home, that they cannot assist their students during the “school day.” Again, this is where educators understand that parents and guardians need flexibility that fits their own family situation. Let your teachers or principals know if your household needs an alternative scenario and let them know when you can assist with schoolwork. It may be that the weekend is the time that you are able to assist with work assigned during the week.
  • Finally, although I advocate for flexibility as we move forward, I also know that trying to develop some type of a consistent schedule for “school” at home with your learners may help to keep things moving along and less difficult for guardians and students. Find a place in your home for your student that is conducive to “school” with a place to write, good lighting and a comfortable chair. Who knows, you may get the teaching bug and re-career!

To contact Dr. Burdick, call 480.575.2000. For more information on the Cave Creek Unified School District, visit

%d bloggers like this: