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A celebration of life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Marcos de Niza High School for former Tempe Union High School District superintendent Steve Adolph, who died unexpectedly Nov. 8. He was 60 years old.

The Tempe Union governing board on Wednesday had a moment of silence to commemorate Mr. Adolph, who was assistant superintendent of the Collidge School District at the time of his death.

"He left me a wonderful school district, a wonderful staff and wonderful schools and students," said Tempe Union Superintendent Kenneth Baca, who succeeded Mr. Adolph in 2011 after he announced his retirement.

Mr. Adolph spent nearly three decades of his at Tempe Union during his more than 40 years in education.

A graduate of Marcos de Niza High School, the Valley native held several positions throughout Tempe Union.

He was a social studies teacher at Corona High from 1981-93, then assistant principal at Corona until 1998, when he became principal of his alma mater.

He took over as superintendent in 2007 after six years as associate superintendent at Tempe Union.

When he announced his retirement, he indicated he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The father of two grown children and grandfather to five, he said, "While I love this job, it's the issues that face the district that are the last things I think of before I fall asleep and the first things I think of when I wake up. I still remember when my kids were the age of my grandkids. I want to make sure I don't miss it."

Coolidge Superintendent Charlie Wallace was quoted as saying the district was "still reeling" over Mr. Adolph's passing.

"It is horrible," Wallace said. "We are heart sick."

He and his wife of more than 40 years had been living in Queen Creek.

As superintendent, Mr. Adolph guided the district through a number of fiscal challenges, including a failed override and bond election in 2007, and severe state budget cuts.

In that time, he also saw the district's enrollment increase by more than 1,000 students, the implementation of an online education program and the addition of a second campus at the district's alternative Compadre High School.

When he turned 60 in March, Mr. Adolph wrote on his Facebook page:

For most of you who haven't reached this age yet, 60 isn't so bad! It does sneak up on you, but here I am so that's ok! ...especially when I'm so completely blessed to have such wonderful family and friends, and a delicious home-made apple pie."

Coyotes announce plan to build new home in Tempe

The Arizona Coyotes announced they're planning a new arena in Tempe along Town Lake, where a portion of ASU Carsten Golf Course stands.

The team is negotiating with Catellus Development Corporation, which is a developer for the Arizona State University Athletic Facilities District. The site of the proposed new arena is the Northwest corner of E. Rio Salado Parkway and South McClintock Drive.

The plan includes the construction of a 16,000-plus seat NHL arena for the Coyotes with an attached additional 4,000 seat multi-sport arena. The second arena will be used by Sun Devils Athletics, Coyotes practices, youth hockey practices and games and community events. A second phase of the project envisions a hotel and other amenities on the site.

"We are thrilled to partner with Catellus on this tremendous project that will include our future new home in the East Valley," said Coyotes Majority Owner, Chairman and Governor Andrew Barroway. "The Coyotes are committed to Arizona, and we are extremely excited about our bright future."

"As the first major partner for the ASU Athletic Facilities District, the Coyotes campus will generate momentum for this innovative, urban corridor," said Greg Weaver, Executive Vice President for Catellus Development Corporation. "We are excited to partner with the Coyotes for their new facility." 

The Coyotes and Catellus are to create the budget, design and operational plan for the arena by June 30. The Coyotes will now focus on finalizing a partnership with other public sector constituents including the state and Tempe.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When the city of Glendale backed out of an arena lease deal with the Arizona Coyotes last year, it put the future of the franchise in doubt yet again.

Turns out, Glendale may have done the Coyotes a favor.

The Coyotes announced a proposal Monday to build a 16,000-seat arena near Arizona State University's main campus by 2019, a deal that would put the team in the heart of the Phoenix area's population and financial center.

"Someone said at the time it would be a silver lining," Coyotes President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said of the Glendale City Council's decision. "This is a gold lining."

The new arena will be on a 58-acre parcel within Arizona State's Athletic Facilities District, less than two miles from campus. The NHL arena will include an attached 4,000-seat multi-sport arena that would be used for Coyotes practices as well as by ASU athletics and youth hockey teams.

The Coyotes' agreement with developer Catellus Development Corp. sets a June 30 deadline for creating the overall budget, design and operational plan for developing the arena.

Coyotes majority owner Andrew Barroway said the arena will cost around $400 million, with the team picking up about half the cost. The other half will be through public-private funding, according to LeBlanc.

"Let's be realistic here: These types of arenas don't happen without some kind of public-private partnership," LeBlanc said. "It's an absolute requirement, but the world has shifted where teams would look for the entire bill to be covered by a governmental agency, you see a shift toward the middle of the spectrum."

The Coyotes shared an arena with the NBA's Phoenix Suns after moving from Winnipeg in 1996 and moved to the Phoenix suburb of Glendale in 2003. The team had other options at the time, including Scottsdale, but the area where they are now was expected to be the growth area in Phoenix, so the franchise went with Glendale.

The Coyotes' time in Glendale has been tumultuous, starting with former owner Jerry Moyes taking the team into bankruptcy in 2009, leading to the franchise being operated by the NHL for four years.

The Coyotes signed a 15-year, $225 million arena lease deal with the city of Glendale in 2013, but the City Council voted to terminate the lease last year. The sides agreed to a restructured lease agreement last July to keep the team in Glendale for two more seasons. The team has a lease option for next season and LeBlanc said the team is already working on extending it.

Arizona had considered sites in downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe before LeBlanc announced in June that the team had selected a then-unnamed site for its new home.

One of the drawbacks of having the arena on the west side of town was that it was too difficult for fans on the east side to get to games, particularly during rush-hour traffic for weekday games.

The new site will put the Coyotes on the more-populous east side of the Valley of the Sun and, they hope, lead to bigger crowds. The Coyotes annually have among the NHL's lowest attendance figures.

"Any business that you run, you want to make sure you're close as possible to the majority of your customers," LeBlanc said. "It's just a simple, empirical fact that the majority of the people are on the east side. That's not to say anything negative about our friends here on the west side, it's just a fact that the vast majority are on the east side."

The Coyotes hope to have construction begin by the end of next summer and have the arena ready for play by the 2019-20 season. There are still a few hurdles to cross -- namely the public funding side of the equation -- but Monday was a big step toward the Coyotes finding a permanent home.

"It's a long road to get here, but everything looks great for the Coyotes," Barroway said. "For staying in Arizona. We're going to be in a place we think is the ideal location. We're going to build a world-class facility we believe our fans will be excited about and want to come to."

Army parachute team lights up Tempe sky at Sun Devil Stadium on Thursday night. Dianna M. Náñez/azcentral.com

There were flying objects all right, but not unidentified ones.

The lights in the Tempe skies Thursday night that had some azcentral readers concerned that they were of an extraterrestrial nature were actually the Golden Knights, a celebrated U.S. Army parachute team. Several performers circled above Sun Devil Stadium before landing on the 50-yard line pitchfork.

The event preceded Arizona State's football game against Utah and was part of the school's Salute to Service presentation. The jumps were accompanied by sparklers and smoke.

Recap: Utah beats ASU in Tempe for 1st time since 1976


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Recap: Utah beats ASU in Tempe for 1st time since 1976

Utah beat Arizona State in Tempe for the first time since 1976, with a 49-26 win on Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

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Utah beat Arizona State in Tempe for the first time since 1976, with a 49-26 win on Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

The Sun Devils are now 5-5, sitting at .500 for the first time this season.

Check out updates and analysis from Jeff Metcalfe from throughout the game below.


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A political sea change appeared to be in the offing last night in one East Valley legislative district as Democrats were leading in two of three races, including a Senate race with potential statewide implications.

With 85 percent of the vote counted in Legislative District 18, Democrat Sean Bowie was leading Republican Frank Schmuck in the State Senate race 51.5 to 48.5 percent, while incumbent Republican Rep. Bob Robson of Chandler was trailing incumbent Republican Jill Norgaard and Democratic newcomer Mitzi Epstein in the race for two House seats.

Bowie, an Ahwatukee resident who works as a senior analyst for the provost's office at Arizona State University, said late last night he was cautiously optimistic but not declaring victory. Schmuck, a commercial airline pilot, went to sleep early because he had to get up early to go to work. He had to do the same thing in the primary, when he defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Jeff Dial.

"We're feeling good and I'm cautiously optimistic," Bowie said. "But there's still 20,000 or 30,000 votes to be counted. We're in a good position and we've been leading by about 3,000 votes throughout the night, so I'm feeling good."

Schmuck's campaign manager did not return a call seeking comment.

The 18th district has been identified as one of two districts in Arizona where Democrats felt they could win and gain control of the State Senate. The district covers all of Ahwatukee and parts of Mesa, Tempe and Chandler.

The stunner in that district appeared to be developing in the House race.

While Ahwatukee resident Norgaard appeared likely to get a second term, Epstein, a computer analyst and former Kyrene School Board member from Tempe, appeared to be edging out Robson, a Chandler resident who has been in the Legislature for 12 years.

Unofficial results showed Epstein the top vote getter with 30 percent, followed by Norgaard with just over 29 percent of the vote and Robson with just under 28 percent. Green Party candidate Linda Macias of Tempe was trailing with only 12 percent of the vote.

In other East Valley legislative districts, Republicans appeared to be sailing toward predictable victories except in LD 26, which covers much of Tempe and west Mesa. There, Democrat Juan Mendez had no Republican challenger for the Senate seat, and Democrats Athena Salmon and Isela Blanc appeared to be the likely winners in a four-way race for the two House seats.

With 82 percent of the vote counted, both Salmon and Blanc were each garnering over 31 percent of the vote to 23 percent for Republican Steven Adkins and 12 percent for Green Party hopeful Cara Trujillo.

In District 16, which covers parts of Mesa and Gilbert, Republican David Farnsworth captured two-thirds of the vote and appeared headed to another term in the State Senate after beating Democrat Scott Prior. Republicans Kelly Townsend and Doug Coleman were holding a 2-to-1 lead over Democrats Cara Prior and Sharon Stinard with 100 percent of the votes counted.

In District 17, which covers parts of Chandler and Gilbert, incumbent Republican Steve Yarbrough appears to have handily won another Senate term over Democrat Dr. Steve Weichert, a physician. Jennifer Pawlik, the only Democrat running for the two House seats, was trailing both Republicans—incumbent J.D. Mesnard and former Chandler Councilman Jeff Weninger.

Only one Democrat, Kathleen Rahn, was running for the two House seats in District 25, which covers a large part of Mesa. She was trailing well behind incumbent Republican Russell "Rusty" Bowers and newcomer Michelle Udall, also a Republican, with 78 percent of the vote counted.

Some new faces will be on East Valley school district governing boards, after voters in at least three districts turned out incumbents, according to unofficial results Tuesday.

Three seats were up for election in all school districts.

In Mesa, where nearly three quarters of the vote was counted, incumbent Steven Peterson and newcomers Elaine Miner and Kiana Sears were leading by a wide margin over incumbent Michael Nichols and newcomer Dan Hink.

Voters in both Gilbert school districts also turned thumbs-down on an incumbent.

In Gilbert Public Schools District, with 77 percent of the vote counted, board President Lily Tram appeared to have lost her bid for reelection in a four-way race. Apparent victors are Reed Carr, Sheila Rogers and Lori Wood.

Higley School District also saw the loss of an incumbent as Russell Little fell to last place among four candidates with 90 percent of the vote in. Winners there appear to be incumbent Kristina Reese and newcomers Allison Ford and Scott Glover.

John King, the only incumbent among four candidates for the Kyrene governing board, appears to have won another term. He'll be joined by top vote-getter Michelle Fahy and Michael Myrick. With 77 percent of the vote counted, Eshe Pickett had fallen to last place.

Kyrene covers Ahwatukee and parts of Tempe and Chandler.

Chandler Unified School District had no contest as incumbents Barbara Mozdzen, David Evans and Karen Bredeson-McGee were the only candidates.

In the Tempe Union High School District, where 72 percent of the vote was counted, incumbents Michelle Helm and Sandy Lowe were leading the pack of six candidates along with newcomer Berdetta Hodge. Apparent losers were Don Fletcher, Andres Barraza and Scott Ryan.

With 70 percent of the votes counted in Tempe Elementary School District, incumbents Rochelle Wells and Teresa Divine were leading, along with newcomer Monica Trejo. Coming up short were Veekas Shrivasta and Evan Rogers.

Tempe police and firefighters appeared closer to getting updated equipment, but public safety in Mesa appeared to be taking it on the chin in unofficial results in the two cities' referendum questions late Tuesday.

While Tempe voters were favoring $240 million in bond issues by a 3-1 ratio with 30 percent of votes counted, voters in Mesa appeared to be turning thumbs-down on a 0.4 percent increase in its sales tax. The tax increase was to generate $23 million for fire and police and $15 million for Arizona State University's proposed Downtown campus.

The Tempe bond issues covered a wide assortment of improvements to the city's sewer system, public buildings and other infrastructure updates. It also covers technology upgrades for police.

With 58 percent of the vote counted, votes against the Mesa tax hike totaled nearly 53 percent to slightly more than 48 percent in favor. The public safety share of the projected revenue from the increase was to go toward both equipment upgrades and hiring of additional police officers and firefighters.

That apparent anti-tax mood also seemed to be prevalent in the city's only council race. In Mesa's Second District runoff, small business owner Jeremy Whitaker held a lead over Shelley Allen, a retired city economic development official. Whitaker partially ran on his opposition to the tax increase.

With 63 percent of the vote tallied, Whitaker held a 51.5 percent lead over Allen's 48.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Gilbert voters appeared to return incumbent Town Council member Jared Taylor to another term and elected newcomer Scott Anderson, a natural resource manager for Coconino County.

In the four-way race for two vacancies, Anderson led with 27 percent and Taylor had slightly more than 25 percent, with 77 percent of the vote counted.

Former town redevelopment commission chairman Jim Torgeson was running in third place with just under 25 percent, and Joel Anderson coming in last with 22 percent.

In Chandler, where one at-large seat was up for election, small-business consultant Mark Stewart was beating finance executive Matt Eberle 54-46 percent with 83 percent of precincts reporting. 

Hailey Tucker and Eric He preview the matchup between ASU and USC

Photo by Ben Moffat | The State Press

USC redshirt freshman wide receiver Jalen Greene (10) and redshirt junior wide receiver Isaac Whitney celebrate after a USC touchdown against ASU on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. The Trojans defeated the Sun Devils 42-14.

By Matthew Tonis | 09/29/16 8:28pm

ASU football travels to play USC on Saturday, and who better to preview the game than those who cover the Trojans? The State Press chatted with the Daily Trojan sports editors to get a better look at who the Sun Devils will see across the field on Saturday.

State Press: Has USC looked better than its 1-3 record would suggest? If so, by how much?

Daily Trojan: USC has been a completely different team each time they have taken the field. Suffering tough losses nonetheless, the Trojans looked the best against Utah despite their flaws. Yes, the Trojans are better than their record from a talent standpoint, but because of questionable coaching decisions it's hard to say which version of USC will show up.

SP: What did you think of Sam Darnold's debut start? Is he a guy that can lead USC back from this hole?

DT: Sam Darnold didn't look like he was playing his first game Friday night. He was able to go into a hostile environment with inclement weather and rallied the offense to what has been its best performance so far. Even though he didn't throw a touchdown, he showed his arm strength and perhaps even more importantly showed his feet, which is something that USC should take full advantage of moving forward.

It's with guarded optimism it seems that Darnold could be another in a line of fantastic USC quarterbacks, but having played only one game, it's too early to tell for certain.

SP: How confident are the Trojans heading into this game after the smackdown in Tempe last year, or has that been tempered by their record?

DT: The team certainly hasn't admitted to any thoughts of taking the Sun Devils lightly, and they certainly shouldn't. USC still has yet to prove itself as a legitimate team in the Pac-12 and even though they have played a tougher schedule than ASU, the Sun Devils have been able to take care of business, something USC has faltered on throughout their rough beginning.

SP: Is USC prepared to stop ASU's three-headed monster on the ground?

DT: USC has consistently struggled with dual-threat quarterbacks and this season there have been some worrisome defensive trends heading into a game against such a high-scoring offense. The defense allowed Utah to go 93 yards last week to score the game-winning touchdown, and Utah was able to constantly ram the ball down the Trojans' throat. The defensive line was one of the more questioned units coming into the season, and on Friday they showed why. Sophomore defensive end Porter Gustin and sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith are monsters on defense though and can each be expected to have double-digit tackles by the end of the game.

SP: Finally, what's your game prediction?

DT: The lower that USC can keep the score the better chance they have at winning, since the offense still hasn't proven itself as a legitimate threat. Playing at home should give the Trojans the extra boost they need though, and USC has a more talented roster than the Sun Devils do. USC will win 28-21.

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or follow @Tonis_The_Tiger on Twitter.

Like State Press Sports on Facebook and follow @statepresssport on Twitter.

Tiny Audrey puts up big fight against a big foe: cancer


It takes just seconds for this tiny 4-year-old to capture your heart.

Perhaps it's because she spouts comments you'd never expect to hear from little kid.

But then, Audrey Hughes is no ordinary 4-year-old girl. Audrey wrapped up a year—well, 54 weeks actually—of chemotherapy treatments earlier this summer, after her diagnosis at age 3 with stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma. It's a long word for a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in muscle tissues.

It wasn't the first bout with a difficult health issue for the Gilbert girl. She was born with a tethered spinal cord and spina bifida, which resulted in surgery when she was 10 weeks old. She had a second surgery last summer to remove a tumor from her spinal cord. Because that tumor was determined to be cancerous, she began radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Unbelievable news was delivered to Audrey and her family in early July after an imaging scan showed no more visible signs of cancer.

Audrey's mom, Melissa, points out that a cancer-free declaration can't come for five years once treatment stops. That means Audrey will continue to undergo scans several times a year until she's 9.

Frequent visits to medical providers don't seem to bother Audrey.

Born Nov. 14, 2011, at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, she immediately went to Cardon Children's Medical Center, Melissa said. Surgery soon followed.

The Hugheses went home after surgery "and all was good," Audrey's dad, Ira, said. They had a normal infant daughter. But, then he and Melissa observed Audrey's development regressing and a trip to the doctor resulted in the discovery of the tumor.

On June 16, 2015, Audrey had surgery to remove that tumor, and prepared to begin the year of treatments which she just completed.

"It was a scary time," Ira said.

Rare disease, diagnosis

It's believed that Audrey is just the fifth documented case in the world of rhabdomyosarcoma on a spinal cord, Ira said.

"It's not hugely common," he said, and when it is present it's "usually a soft tissue cancer in the arms or legs."

Dr. Erlyn Smith, a pediatric hematology and oncology physician at Cardon, said the incidence of this cancer in children in the 0 to 4 age group is 4 in 1 million. Just 3.5 percent of all cancer cases in kids age 0 to 14 are rhabdomyosarcoma, Smith said.

"The diagnosis was rare and the location was rare," Smith said.

Melissa describes the days after the diagnosis and surgery as feeling like she'd been hit by a car.

"Then you go into survival mode, and figure out how to take care of everything," including her son, Cole, now 8.

"It was overwhelming," Melissa said. She credits her daughter for everyone's success in the ordeal.

"It was Audrey's "spirit and attitude that got us this far."

Essentially, Audrey has been in and out of the hospital on a regular basis since the tumor was removed, Melissa said.

She and Ira developed a routine in which one of them would stay 24 hours at the hospital while the other was home with Cole and then they'd trade off. Melissa's parents live in Chandler and Cole spent plenty of time with his grandparents, too.

Melissa became a stay-at-home mom after Audrey was born. Ira works from home and said his employer made many accommodations that let him follow a flexible work schedule.

For two months, all four family members lived in Houston while Audrey underwent proton radiation at MD Anderson Cancer Center. It's different from the more traditional photon radiation in that the positively charged parts of the atom (protons) release their energy only after traveling a certain distance and cause little damage to the tissues they pass through. They kill cells at the end of their path, but not along the way.

They chose MD Anderson, Ira said, because "only two hospitals in the U.S. are doing proton" radiation. The other is in San Diego.

Audrey's entire brain and spine had to be treated, he said. Proton treatment also came with better odds of his daughter not losing her sight or hearing or developing additional spinal issues.

"Her entire brain had to be radiated in case there was a cell in the wrong place," he said.

Finding humor in odd places

The Hughes family spent lots of time at Cardon Children's Medical Center in Mesa during Audrey's illness. Audrey found she and several nurses share a similar, goofy sense of humor. So, they'd play tricks on each other all of the time.

Audrey loves bugs and rodents, especially realistic-looking plastic and rubber bugs. She found ways to strategically place plastic bugs around the hospital in attempts to spook the staff. They'd get right back at her, and it helped her "get happy," her mom said.

She taped fake roaches to blood orders, pulled a rubber rat around with a piece of fishing line and hid bugs in bathrooms.

"The nurses have definitely become family," Melissa said.

Smith agreed.

"Audrey was a frequent flyer in the hospital, so she got 'in' with the hospital staff," she said.

Audrey has "a lot of energy," Smith said. "She barely stayed in her room. She rode her tricycle everywhere on the seventh floor, going super fast with her dad chasing her down the hall."

She also displays her oddball sense of humor.

"Do you know why it rains?," Audrey asks. "The angels are peeing in the clouds."

Audrey went so far as to help coax other kids out of their shells, Smith said. "Audrey—she can just deal with everyone and everything and not make a big deal out of it," Smith said, "and her parents make it work."

Speaking honestly, Ira said for most of the last year his family "hadn't been preparing" for the day Audrey would come home with a "clean scan."

"I was preparing to bury my daughter," he said.

But, she came home and the family "sat back and asked what's next," he said.

It's life, he and Melissa said.

Now, the family has to "figure out what normal is," Ira said. "We're all trying to find our spot and how to co-exist together. It's all from a different reference point."

Audrey is psyched to enroll in kindergarten in about a year and may still attend preschool this year, Melissa said.

In the meantime, she ventures outside to see the 30 chickens, two alpacas, nine or so sheep and two goats that the family has on their acreage.

She'll likely soon help Melissa tend to the small garden mostly because both Audrey and Cole love fresh vegetables.

She and Cole play together, like any other siblings. He shares her fondness for rubber rats and bugs.

"It's one foot in front of the other," every day, Melissa said. And, realizing that "the little, petty stuff doesn't matter."

All of the Hugheses want to help spread awareness of childhood cancer. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Ira says families face similar difficult situations every day and if sharing his story helps them, he'll keep doing so. He blogs regularly about Audrey's journey at audreynoelle.com.


— Contact reporter Shelley Ridenour at 480-898-6533 or [email protected].

— Comment on this story and like the East Valley Tribune on Facebook and follow EVTNow on Twitter.