2012 left many questions unanswered

People have always speculated about what might or might not happen in 2012, but this past year turned out to be one full of waiting.

If the world had ended on Dec. 21 Ahwatukee Foothills residents would have been left with many questions unanswered.

Here’s a look back at some of the biggest events of 2012 that left Ahwatukee residents waiting eagerly to see what will come in 2013:

• Ahwatukee Foothills was part of one of the most competitive districts in the state during the 2012 election. Ten candidates stepped up to run for the Congressional District 9 seat. It was a tough race full of name calling and half-truths, but in the end Democrat Kyrsten Sinema came out with a narrow win and will represent Ahwatukee Foothills and many parts of the East Valley in Congress.

In Legislative District 18, incumbents Jeff Dial, Bob Robson and John McComish, all Republicans, were able to keep their seats in the state Legislature. They beat Democratic hopefuls Darin Fisher, Corey Harris and Dr. Janie Hydrick, and independent Brent Fine.

• The final alignment of the South Mountain Freeway was hotly contested during 2011, but there is still no decision made or even a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released.

At the beginning of 2011 the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) held a vote asking the tribe “Yes” or “No” to building the freeway on the reservation, and thereby avoiding cutting through Ahwatukee or South Mountain. “No Build,” as in not building the freeway at all, was also an option in the election and it received the majority of the votes.

While the Arizona Department of Transportation continues to move back the release of the DEIS for the Pecos Road Alignment, a group known as GRIC Landowners has petitioned the tribal government for a new vote, this time with only a “Yes” or “No” option. The Landowners have said that they do not believe that “No Build” is an option and their goal is to save the mountain.

Some GRIC youth have been outspoken against a new vote and against the freeway entirely. They have more protests planned for 2013.

A new tribal vote is expected to happen in early 2013. The DEIS is expected to be released in 2013 and will be followed by months of public comment.

• After years in the court system a final verdict has not been found in the first-degree murder trial of Jeffrey Martinson.

Martinson is accused of killing his 5-year-old son, Joshua Eberle-Martinson, in 2004 after a weekend visit. Martinson was found guilty after trial in 2011, but Judge Sally Duncan declared a mistrial when the jury came back hung on the penalty phase.

Martinson was expected to go back to trial in 2012 but the case has been held up in appeals court. Eight years after the original incident, there are still no answers.

Other court cases for Anthony Rinaldi, accused of shooting and killing his wife in Ahwatukee Foothills, and Ambreatte and Corey Daniels, accused of child abuse after the death of their 3-year-old daughter, also did not go to trial in 2012.

• Developers expressed a lot of interest in land in Ahwatukee in 2011. Lennar Homes approached the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee with plans to build homes on vacant lots at 29th Place and Glenhaven Drive and 17th Avenue and Liberty Lane.

Lennar said it plans to build 49 homes on 9.45 acres of land next to Desert Vista High School. They hope to build nearly 70 homes on 17.55 acres of land at Liberty Lane and 17th Avenue.

Construction for the development near Desert Vista is expected to be completed in 2013.

• This year a new mayor stepped up in Phoenix. Mayor Greg Stanton took office in January and has taken big steps to make the city more transparent. All formal City Council meetings were moved to 5 p.m. to be more accessible for working residents and are now streamed live online. Subcommittee meetings are also streaming live on the city’s website, phoenix.gov.

Stanton also became an outspoken advocate for better education and better services for homeless within the city. He has joined many boards and teamed up with mayors regionally to focus on these issues.

Stanton’s wife, Nicole, took on the issue of bullying and because of her efforts the couple was named Man and Woman of the Year by Echo Magazine.

Phoenix’s mayor put many key advisors into place in 2012. He hired a teen, Caleb Laieski, to advise him on bullying issues and Jodi Beckley Liggett to serve as his full-time senior policy advisor on homelessness. Residents will have to wait and see what changes these advisors will bring to the table in 2013.

Only time will tell what 2013 has in store for Ahwatukee Foothills. As big decisions are made in the next year one thing is for sure, Ahwatukee residents will continue to step up, volunteer, and make the world around them a better place like they do every year. It’s what makes Ahwatukee such a great place to live, work and play.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com