Florence Official's Efforts to Yank Certification from Two Former Police Detectives Fails

Categories: Wild, Wild West

Walt "Hondo" Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson

Two former detectives fired from the Florence Police Department received good news from the officials at the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training.

AZ POST, the body that certifies police officers to carry a badge and a gun, informed both police officers in February that the state board is not taking any punitive action against their police certification and "the matter is closed."

Walt "Hondo" Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson have been fighting to clear their name since being terminated in December 2012. They were fired, in part, for blowing the whistle on a lieutenant they believed was compromising criminal investigations by returning evidence in those cases.

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Former Florence Town Manager Himanshu Patel Doesn't Make the Cut in Cave Creek

Categories: Wild, Wild West

Town of Cave Creek via Facebook
The Cave Creek council selected Peter Jankowski as its primary choice to serve as town manager.

James Palenick, one of the three finalists, was selected as an alternative -- in case a deal with Jankowski falls through.

While former Florence Town Manager Himanshu Patel, also one of the three finalists, received a nomination as an alternative, he failed to get enough votes.

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Former Florence Town Manager Himanshu Patel Vying for Manager in Cave Creek

Categories: Wild, Wild West


Himanshu Patel, who spent about a decade managing the town of Florence, now is vying to become Cave Creek city manager. 
Patel is competing against Peter Jankowski, from Massachussetts, and James Palenick, from North Carolina, for the job. And Cave Creek town officials are expected to make a final decision at December 16 council meeting. 

While he had a long stint in Florence, questions have been raised about his final act as a Florence official.

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Florence Detective Who Was Fired/Rehired Facing Retaliation, According to Memos

Categories: Wild, Wild West

Former Florence Police Detectives Walt "Hondo" Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson. Hunter is now the town code enforcement officer.
Despite their best efforts to get rid of Walt "Hondo" Hunter, Florence Police Chief Dan Hughes and Lieutenant Terry Tryon were forced to accept him back as a member of the Florence Police Department.

The pair orchestrated Hunter's termination in December over alleged town policy violations. But Hunter appealed and a hearing officer in October found there was no merit to his termination. (Ironically, Hunter's partner -- and the town's only black detective -- Jarris Varnrobinson, was fired on the same day over nearly identical allegations of policy violations, but his termination was not overturned.)

Reinstatement to the Florence Police Department hasn't exactly been a victory for the wrongfully terminated detective. Instead, he's being written up for asking questions, "talking over" his boss and, gasp! interrupting a chair delivery.

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El Mirage Pastor Booted from Church Wages Unholy War to Regain Control of Building

Categories: Wild, Wild West

Guadalupe Davila waiting to see the judge at the El Mirage Municipal Court.

Guadalupe "Lupe" Davila, a pastor stripped of his ordination, is not letting up his fight to regain control of a small church on the edge of El Mirage. The members, some of whom he fleeced, aren't ready to give up the fight either.

They're now searching for an attorney who will help them sort out in court the muddled paper trail regarding the ownership of the church and who has legal control of it.

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Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's 2009 Search-and-Rescue Leaders Praised for Kindness (Not Search Skills) by Wife of Deceased Hiker

Categories: Wild, Wild West

Pinal COunty badge.jpg
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who booted the Superstition Search and Rescue team to start his own search crew, has faced criticism over how his office has conducted searches.

But now, the wife of one missing hiker who was found in 2009 by the all-volunteer-no-charge-to-the-county Superstition Search and Rescue (SSAR), is coming out in defense of ... Babeu.

See also:
Dead or Alive? Paul Babeu's Wilderness-Rescue Unit Once Again Proves Inept
Paul Babeu Sticks It to Taxpayers and a Volunteer Rescue Team

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Congressman Ed Pastor Joins Congressman Trent Franks in Opposing Tohono O'odham Nation Proposal for West Valley Casino

Categories: Wild, Wild West

Congressman Ed Pastor
Congressman Ed Pastor has joined Congressman Trent Franks's efforts to block the Tohono O'odham Nation from building a casino in the West Valley.

We called his office to ask why he supported HR 1410, the proposed law, tailor-made for the Gila River Indian Community, an Indian tribe with the West Valley's only casino.

A second casino -- especially one built into a resort with dining and shopping amenities, as the Nation plans -- no doubt would draw away gaming enthusiasts from GRIC's casino and deliver a blow to its gaming revenues.

Pastor didn't return our calls.

See also: Trent Franks, Arizona Congressman, Proposes Narrow Special-Interest Measure to Block Tohono O'odham Nation's Proposed West Valley Casino
See also: Appellate Court Opinion Favors Creating West Valley Reservation for Tohono O'odham Nation
See also: Glendale Officials Ordered to Pay Tohono O'odham Nation's Legal Fees Racked Up as City Continues to Oppose Tribe's Resort-Style Casino
See also: Wanna Bet? The Tohono O'odham Want to Build a Casino in the West Valley

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El Mirage Officials Throw Up Roadblocks for Councilman Who Wants to Host Meet-and-Greet With City Residents

Categories: Wild, Wild West

El Mirage Councilman Jim McPhetres
El Mirage Councilman Jim McPhetres wants to hang out at the city-owned El Mirage Senior Center once a month, invite residents to stop by and chat about city issues.

But, city officials are not making it easy -- even though it is pretty standard for elected officials to set up tables, typically in public buildings, in hopes that constituents stop by with questions, concerns, gripes, and maybe even a compliment or two.

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There's a Guy Named Johnny Bones, and He's Causing Drama in the City of Tombstone

Johnny Bones, ladies and gentlemen.
There's a gentleman in Tombstone who goes by the name of Johnny Bones, and he's causing a ruckus.

Bones was arrested in February, and the American Civil Liberties Union now says Bones is being subjected to "malicious, unconstitutional" prosecution.

There's some real Wild West stuff going on here.

According to a report from the Tombstone Marshal's Office, Tombstone Councilmen Randall Davis and Jim Doherty came into the marshal's office asking what they were going to do about Bones -- who is known to the justice system as Ronald Koch.

The councilmen explained they've been getting complaints about Bones busking (street performing) for a few days, and violating some rules, including busking without a permit.

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Peoria Trash Talk: Curbside Recycling Shoved Down Residents' (Trash) Cans Five Years Ago, And It's Worked Out Beautifully

Categories: Wild, Wild West


Peoria officials are looking at dropping residents monthly garbage fees by 13 percent -- from $15.06 to $13.10.

Hey, every penny counts.

But it's likely that wouldn't be the case if the city hadn't forced its residents to embrace curbside recycling a few years back.

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