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RV Fire Board candidates

For the first time in several year voters in the Rio Verde Fire District will go to the polls on Nov. 6, to vote for the fire district board members. There are three seats up for election in November with four candidates vying for a place. Three incumbents are seeking re-election and are being challenged by a newcomer. Board members Jerry Fickes, George Kattermann and Dr. Neal Vanselow want to continue their service on the board. Bob Bigley has filed as the fourth candidate. Bigley is a six-year resident of Rio Verde. He is retired from the insurance and financial services field. “I believe in helping in the community when you are retired and think you have more time and can be of service,” Bigley said. Bigley said he had served on an ad-hoc committee to form a conservancy district in Indiana. This was a district to deal with watershed issues. Bigley said he did much of the research and nuts and bolts work that went into forming the district, however, he chose not to serve on the board. His wife, Nell, did however.

“The fire district is an important aspect of the Rio Verde community,” Bigley said. “It is something that needs attention at all times.” Fickes is something of the institution on the Fire Board having been first elected to his seat in 2000. He will be seeking a fourth term. Fickes is a career insurance actuary and served as president and chief executive officer for several insurance companies during his 40-year career. He worked with the state of New Mexico Department of Insurance and served as chief actuary in the division of life, annuity and health. Katterman moved to Rio Verde in 1998. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, and attended the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University. He also served in the

U.S. Navy. Katterman served in several executive and management positions in banking along the east coast and in Iowa. He currently serves as president of the Rio Verde Community Association. Katterman was appointed to the Fire Board in 2010 following the resignation of Donna Watson. Vanselow has been a Rio Verde resident since 1997 after a career in medicine as an educator. Vanselow trained in internal medicine and allergy/immunology at the University of Michigan and served as chairman of the department of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Professionals Education at the University of Michigan. Vanselow was also dean at the University of Arizona School of Medicine, chancellor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and vice president for Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Vanselow was appointed to the Fire Board in August 2009 to fill a seat being vacated by Peg Glink.

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RV Fire District election in Nov.

There will be three seats on the ballot for the Rio Verde Fire District in the Nov. 6 General Election. Those members of the five-member board whose terms are expiring include Board Clerk Jerry Fickes and commissioners Neal Vanselow and George Kattermann. Any registered voter living within the district is eligible for be a candidate for one of the seats. The last day for candidates to file a petition to qualify for the ballot is Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 5 p.m. Candidate paperwork is to be filed with the Maricopa County Elections Department, 111 S. 3rd Street, Phoenix. Interested parties may contact Debra Centrella at the Rio Verde Fire District office on Forest Road, 471-2304, for additional information. The election is non-partisan, and the last day to register to vote.

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Three Vacancies on Rio Verde Fire District Board This November


Three vacancies will occur on the Rio Verde Fire District Board for this November 6th General Election. This is a non-partisan election. All candidates must be registered voters from a precinct within the Rio Verde Fire District. The last day for candidates to file petitions for these three vacancies is August 8, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. at the Maricopa County Elections Department located at 111 S. 3rd Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona, 85003-2235. For more information on the vacant Board positions or candidate packets please call Burdena Pasenelli, Board Chairperson, Jerry Fickes, Clerk of the Board, or Debra Centrella, Administrative Manager.

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Posted by on in Fire Department News

$2.5 million

RVFD Draft Budget Approved

Board Approved Budget 2012-2013

With no new major projects or purchases on the horizon for the coming fiscal year, the Rio Verde Fire District will be operating with a basic budget for 2012-13. The board voted 5-0 to approve a tentative budget plan at its May 14 monthly meeting. The proposal is a $2.5 million budget with $2 million alone for personnel wages and benefits.

Board Chairman Birdie Pasenelli asked that a budget item for a new fire engine be deleted from this year’s budget proposal. Commissioner Jerry Fickes noted that it would take more than a year to get a fire engine delivered, so the total would not likely be paid out in one fiscal year. Pasenelli said that with the construction of the fire station addition, now nearing completion, she does not think it would be prudent to go back out for another major capital expense this year. Fire Chief Gary Bradbury said a delay in purchasing a new engine would not be a problem, but

he said the board needs to include it in planning over the next couple of years. The truck they are looking to replace is already 10 years old and the ISO insurance rating agency normally keeps fairly close tabs on the age of equipment. Bradbury said they normally would need to put half the cost down when ordering a truck and pay the remainder on delivery. He said it is rather common to spread these costs over two fiscal years. The board did keep funding for a new cardiac monitor and some personal protective gear for firefighters in the capital budget. Residents who wish to review a copy of the detailed budget may visit the Fire District office at the fire station.

Other items

Bradbury gave the board an update on the fire station addition. He said work is wrapping up quickly and the facility should be ready for move-in by June 1. Bradbury explained the situation where a large amount of concrete poured for the driveway had to be removed and replaced. Some of the concrete arrived late in the day when it was beginning to get too warm to pour, and the contractor was shorted handed that day with people to finish the surface. The result was a bad pour of concrete that did not set or finish properly. He said the concrete contractor and supplier took responsibility for the situation and did the removal and replacement at no cost to the district. An open house for the new facility will be planned for next November in conjunction with the annual fundraiser. Three members of the board are facing re-election this fall including Fickes, Neal Vanselow and George Kattermann. They will be circulating nominating petitions in

July and August. Others interested in running for the Fire District Board may contact Debra Centrella.

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Top Public Safety Personnel Honored

The Fountain Hills Rotary Club recognized area public safety personnel for their outstanding service in the community at its March 27 meeting. From left are Rio Verde Firefighter Nate Malmrose, Rio Verde Fire Chief Gary Bradbury, Fountain Hills Fire Capt. Bryan Golden, Fountain Hills Fire Chief Scott LaGreca and Asst. Chief Randy Roberts, Anne Mikolic for her husband, Fort McDowell Firefighter Aaron Mikolic, Fort McDowell Fire Chief Mark Openshaw, Fort McDowell Police Assistant Michelle Scott, Fort McDowell Fire Chief Jesse Delmar, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Capt. Joe Rodriquez and Sheriff’s Det. Jason Benzel.

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Helps VerdeCares

RVFFA hosts benefit breakfast

The VerdeCares organization is offering its heartfelt thanks to the Rio Verde Fire Fighters Association for hosting the pancake breakfast fundraiser in December. “We truly appreciate all that our Fire District does to care for us in our times of need. How special it was to get to spend time with our Fire District personnel in a non-emergency,”

VerdeCares Director, Vicki Beseke said. “Now that we also know what great cooks and hosts our firefighters

are, well we are already thinking of our next get together.” Rio Verde Fire District firefighters served more than 300 Verde and Verde Foothills residents with some delicious pancakes, sausage, fruit and refreshments. They used more than 25 pounds of pancake flour – that’s how good the pancakes were. Children had fun getting their pictures taken sitting in the fire truck. They had a special visit from Santa who handed out treats to everyone. The benefit raised more than $2,100 in donations for VerdeCares Inc.’s mission to help neighbors in their time of need, Beseke said.

She offered a special thank you to engineer Matt Oden, Chief Gary Bradbury and RVFD administrative manager Debra Centrella for all the hard work in putting this event together. The pancake breakfast was funded by United

Maricopa County Firefighters Association Local 3878 and thanks to Aren Hansen, Local 3878 President for his support and presence at the breakfast. “VerdeCares is proud to be an integral part of our community,” Beseke said.

“Our life enriching services are provided year round at no charge through a team of dedicated trained volunteers who help our neighbors in their time of need. “Our team of over 60 volunteers provides nonmedical companion care,

resource assistance, educational programs, and professional support group forums for our community residents.”

Whether providing transportation, meals, help with grocery shopping, family respite and more, their goal is to help homebound individuals, those recovering from surgery, caregivers and families living with illness. “We are here for our Verde residents,” Beseke said.

 

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Changes in operations at the Rio Verde Fire District top the news from the Verde Communities for 2011. This summer Rural/Metro posted an ambulance rescue unit in Rio Verde for the first time. This means that patients do not need to wait for ambulance transportation coming from another area. In March, Fire Chief Gary Bradbury outlined the ambulance plan for the Fire District Board. Bradbury explained that a fire department or district cannot simply bring in and equip an ambulance on its own. The Arizona Department of Health Services issues what is known as a Certificate of Need (CON) for ambulance services. “One company has the CON for this area, it is Southwest Rural/Metro,” Bradbury said. However, most of the Southwest and Rural/Metro ambulances use only EMS personnel to man them, not firefighters. Bradbury said part of the agreement is to upgrade the ambulance for Rio Verde as a fire rescue unit with firefighters manning the vehicle. Bradbury said the model for such manning is not new. He said it is similar to what Southwest Ambulance did with the Apache Junction Fire District a number of years ago. In this case Rural/Metro would provide the ambulance and equipment, as well as an EMT/firefighter. Under the proposed agreement, the district would provide the location to house the ambulance unit and sleeping quarters for an additional crew member. The second person manning the ambulance would be a paramedic/firefighter employed by the district. The benefit to the district would be an additional firefighter/EMT on duty at no additional cost as well as the much improved response time. Part of the agreement to bring in the ambulance will require improvements to the Rio Verde Fire Station. In November, the Fire Board approved a construction contract for the $477,000 station upgrades to accommodate the ambulance crew. That requires the addition of sleeping quarters for one Rural/Metro employee who is manning the ambulance with one of the existing district personnel. Plans also call for the addition of a 2,000-squarefoot building. Bradbury has outlined for the board the need to have additional storage space and a bay to park the district’s wildland fire engine. That engine currently is parked outside, which Bradbury calls unacceptable for a $300,000 piece of equipment. Bradbury said storage is always a critical challenge for fire departments. He had previously told the board there are items stored in proximity to the fire station living quarters that should not be there. The project calls for an exhaust ventilation system to remove diesel fumes. Bradbury is also asking that laundering equipment for the turnouts to be installed. He said over the long term this would be cheaper than having to send the coats and pants out for cleaning. There would also be additional storage for supplies and equipment and a maintenance/workshop area in the new addition. A third component of the project is the installation of an emergency generator at the station. Several board members indicated their surprise to learn that as the only emergency facility in Rio Verde the fire station does not already have an emergency generator. The cost of the generator is about $75,000. Construction is expected to begin on the addition very soon. Another highlight for2011 was both the Rio Verde and Tonto Verde communities’ efforts to be recognized as Firewise Communities. Rio Verde stepped up its commitment first made in 2010 by acquiring additional grant funding for fire danger mitigation projects. Tonto Verde came on board by organizing residents to pursue the Firewise requirements, but as of the end of the year had not gained official recognition.

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Fire Board approves contract for fire station expansion

The Rio Verde Fire District Board has approved a contract with TSG Contractors out of Phoenix for new construction at the Rio Verde Fire Station. TSG was the low bidder of sever contractors for the project. Their bid was $477,000, which was higher than anticipated based on architect’s estimates. Commissioner George Katterman, who is monitoring the project for the board, said he was taken by surprise by the amount of the bids. However, he attributes that in part to the amount of site work required due to drainage and soil issues, as well as an engineer’s recommendation for reinforced concrete and enhanced base preparation on the site. “TSG is a viable bidder, with a good track record and the bonding capacity we require,” Katterman said. District Fire Chief Gary Bradbury told the board he had done follow up on the background for TSG. He said it was not a company he was familiar with, but he received excellent comments and references

from others who had used the company. Virtually all said they would hire them again. The references included the Laughlin/Bullhead City Airport, Paradise Valley for two fire stations, Desert Mountain High School and the Stellar Business Park in Chandler. Bradbury also reported the company had a clean record with the Registrar of Contractors, an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau with no complaints in the last three years, and also an A+ insurance carrier rating. A key objective of the fire station renovation and expansion is to create space for the Rural/Metro ambulance and crew that moved in this past summer. That requires the addition of sleeping quarters for one Rural/Metro employee who is manning the ambulance with one of the existing district personnel.

Plans also call for the addition of a 2,000-squarefoot building. Bradbury has outlined for the board the need to have additional storage space and a bay to park the district’s wildland fire engine. That engine currently is parked outside, which Bradbury calls unacceptable for a $300,000 piece of equipment. The proposed building is detached from the existing facility. It will have an upper level. Bradbury said storage is always a critical challenge for fire departments. He had previously told the board there are items stored in proximity to the fire station living quarters that should not be there. The project calls for an exhaust ventilation system to remove diesel fumes. Both OSHA and the NFPA call for firefighter turnout gear to be stored away from the diesel exhaust that comes from trucks parked in the station bays. The new expansion also provides new storage space for this gear. Bradbury is also asking that laundering equipment for the turnouts be installed. He said over the long term this would be cheaper than having to send the coats and pants out for cleaning. There would also be additional storage for supplies and equipment and a maintenance/workshop area in the new addition. A third component of the project is the installation of an emergency generator at the station. Several board members indicated their surprise to learn that as the only emergency facility in Rio Verde the fire station does not already have an emergency generator. The cost of the generator is about $75,000. With the project including the building construction, the tenant improvement to the existing building, the exhaust system and the generator, the board briefly discussed the possibility of eliminating any of the project’s components for savings. All board members indicated that with the money available they should move ahead with all phases. Bradbury said there are some items to go over with the contractor before construction begins, but once started the work should take 150 days.

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Verdes Firewise Day is set for Saturday, Nov. 5

Rio Verde is proud of having been recognized as a Firewise Community last year and, to maintain this prestigious recognition, participating communities are required to hold an annual Firewise Day. This year Firewise Day for the Verdes is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Community Center. All residents of Rio Verde and Tonto Verde are urged to attend to demonstrate their support for this important cause. The recently formed onto

 

Verde Firewise Committee is co-sponsoring this event. The meeting will begin with a few presentations that involve an update on the Rio Verde Firewise effort, a status report on the Tonto Verde Firewise project, a report from Fire Chief Gary Bradbury, and eyewitness reports from the wildfires that ravaged Arizona this year. After the presentations, residents will be encouraged to mingle, ask questions, offer suggestions, and enjoy refreshments.

 

Residents are invited to visit the display tables set up around the room to obtain information and brochures from knowledgeable individuals, including firefighters and horticulturist Noelle Johnson. Fire resistant plants will be demonstrated and raffled off to some lucky attendees at the conclusion of this event. Residents are asked to submit landscaping bills and sweat equity reports to the Community Association office to help support an application for continued recognition by the national Firewise organization. Questions may be directed to Eb Scheuing at 471-7393.

Marty Bowin, left, is the Chairman of the newly formed Tonto Verde Firewise Committee. Bowin is shown at the recent Tonto Verde Firewise Orientation meeting with Fire Chief Gary Bradbury and Firewise coordinator Captain Mike Roggenstein of the Rio Verde Fire District. Now the combined Verdes Communities are concentrating on planning and coordinating their Firewise efforts.

Residents can help with fire grant

 

From now until Monday, Oct. 31, Liberty Mutual Insurance is offering several grants of $10,000 each to fire departments across the nation. To help the Rio Verde Fire District win one of these grants, Fire Chief Gary Bradbury and the Rio Verde Firewise Leadership Team ask Verde residents to support the effort by taking the following steps:

 

* Sign on to www.befiresmart.com/pledge to take a 10-question fire safety quiz online which is designed to provide fire prevention education. * Upon completion of the quiz, credit the Rio Verde Fire Department. * Respond to an e-mail request from Liberty Mutual to verify your e-mail address and prevent fraud. * If a household includes two or more residents with separate e-mail addresses, both can take the quiz separately. The Verdes are competing with other small communities for this grant. Once the lowest number of responses is exceeded in this category on the above website’s leader board, the total number of participants from Rio Verde and Tonto Verde will be listed there.

 

Note: Liberty Mutual will contact participants by e-mail to ask them to rally more support for the Fire Department and inform them about their products. If you do not want to receive any further e-mail solicitations from Liberty Mutual, click “unsubscribe now” at the bottom of their message.) If the Verdes wins one of the two grants available to small communities, the funds will go to the Fire District and will help double the buffer zone that has been cleared on the boundary with the McDowell Mountain Regional Park to prevent the spread of wildfires in either direction.

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Rio Verde residents are taking the first steps toward having the community recognized as a Firewise Community by the Arizona State Land Department. About a dozen citizens turned out for a recent meeting in which Lee Ann Berry, a firefighter with the State Land Department, explained the program.

 

Over the past 20 years people living on the boundary between urban areas and open forests and deserts have seen an increasing potential that their property could be destroyed by fire. In the southwest residents have seen the danger increased by prolonged drought conditions.

The Firewise Community program was established to involve citizens directly in the effort to mitigate fire danger where they live. Eb Scheuing is coordinating the Rio Verde effort to get neighbors together. Scheuing said he heard a recent presentation to the community association board by Rio Verde Fire District Chief Gary Bradbury. Scheuing said he talked with Bradbury following that meeting and things got moving on the Firewise effort. So far about two dozen residents are on board to work with the Rio

Verde Firewise committee, according to Scheuing. One of the first things a community must do is contact the coordinating agency in their jurisdiction to hold an informational meeting.

That took place when Berry met with residents earlier this month. Firewise is designed for local control. The residents themselves are asked to work with the local fire department to identify specific and unique hazards that need to be addressed. The Rio Verde Committee has been working with Fire District Capt. Mike Roggenstein to identify the significant hazards Rio Verde has with its interface areas. Scheuing said the Rio Verde Community Association has stepped up to address concerns within the common areas of the community.

They are also working with Maricopa County and McDowell Mountain Regional Park to clean up areas along the park boundary. Scheuing said that Roggenstein has learned from Tonto National Forest that the agency is working on a fuel reduction at the Needle Rock Recreation Area north of Rio Verde. Berry told the group that their job is to create layers of protection that make it more difficult for a fire to move from the wildland areas into their community. This work may include removing dead vegetation and maintaining a healthy landscape area between the homes and wildland. “I’m spending an hour every day trimming trees and hauling stuff off to the dump,” Scheuing said. “Others in the community pay landscapers to do the same.” Rio Verde is moving slowly through the steps to becoming a Firewise recognized community.

Thus far they have accomplished the hazard assessment with an ongoing effort to identify specific problem areas; they have met with the recognizing agency’s representative with Berry; they have created the local organization or committee to oversee the project; and there has been a demonstration of a commitment of $2 per capita in making the program work, this has been done through the RVCA’s efforts as well as what individuals have done with their own property. Recognition as a Firewise Community also requires observing a Firewise Day each year dedicated to a local project.

Scheuing said such a day is being planned for this fall. Firewise is designed to be an ongoing effort to keep the community safe and alert. Once recognized, the community must reapply each year to maintain its designation. “We recognize that wildfires will happen,” Berry said. “But homes do not have to burn. This is a program to address unique local issues with citizens developing local solutions.”

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