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 MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO BASEBALL-BAT SLAYINGS, PAGE 9 — the newspaper of Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield Park & Tolleson, AZ (623) 535-8439


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Circle of honor

50¢ Friday, April 6, 2012

Aging school getting

new look Gym, cafeteria, administration office to be reworked at Litchfield Elementary

by Rich Ott assistant editor

View photo by Michael Clawson

UPS DRIVER BOBBY WARREN OF WADDELL sits in the cab of his feeder truck in Phoenix. Warren reached a milestone with the shipping company: He has driven more than 25 years for UPS with no accidents.


Tolleson’s Wolverines had some trouble when they

encountered some Tigers on the diamond

— Page 10.

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Waddell resident has more than 25 years of accident-free driving with UPS

by Rich Ott assistant editor

driver Bobby Warren how his day is going, the Waddell resident offers this reply: “Well, I haven’t hit anything, and nothing has hit me, so it’s a good day so far, but it’s early.” Warren has had way more good days than bad — almost 26 years’ worth to be exact.

UPS honored him as one of its elite by naming Warren to its Circle of Honor, an honorary group of UPS drivers who have

Whenever someone asks UPS

achieved 25 or more years of accident-free driving. “It’s outstanding,” said Michael

Baxter, Warren’s supervisor, of the achievement. “The miles they put in, all the situations, traffic, weather, the congestion in our yard alone, it’s amazing.” Warren, who drives one of the company’s big rigs, has a Circle of Honor patch on all of his uniforms now. “I feel awkward about it and proud of it at the same time,” Warren said of the patch. “It is something I wanted and it took

me a long time to get there.”

Safely driving for UPS Warren’s UPS journey began

in August 1979, one year after he graduated from Trevor Browne High School in Phoenix. His time with the 105-year-old package delivery company started like most: part-time unloading and sorting boxes.

degrees” at various community colleges and universities in the state, he stayed with UPS. Then

(See Honor on Page 3) While he “chased three

Phase I of the Litchfield Elementary School rebuild/remodel project is set to wrap up before the start of the 2012-13 school year. The first phase, which has a guaranteed maximum price of $2.5 million, includes remodeling a classroom building into a new cafeteria and kitchen for the school, which serves more than 800 pupils. Phase II is the big one and is set to begin when school is let out May 25. The second phase includes knocking down the gymnasium, the current cafeteria and the administration building. Phase III will knock down classroom building 900 and remove the portable building used for preschool classrooms from the Litchfield Park campus at 13825 W. Wigwam Blvd.

The second phase will have the greatest impact on staff and pupils as there will be no gymnasium for the entire 2012-13 school year and administrators will have to work out of temporary offices, which will be in classroom building 1800. The estimated cost for the three- phase, multi-year project is around $8 million, said Ken Axford, the

(See School on Page 2) Jurors undecided in child-abuse case

by Brent Whiting staff writer

Jurors failed to reach a conclusive outcome on child-abuse charges that were filed in June 2009 against a Goodyear city employee and his wife.

Raul Varela, the city’s engineering director, lost his job after he and his wife, Tricia, were accused in the alleged beating of their 4-year- old adopted daughter. They were taken into custody after police responded to a call at West Valley Hospital in Goodyear, where the girl was being treated for two broken legs and one broken arm, officials said.

On March 29, following a 14-day trial in Maricopa County Superior Court, jurors were unable to reach a decision on two child-abuse charges that had been brought against Raul Varela, 43.

42, guilty of one count of reckless child abuse but were unable to reach a verdict on three child-abuse charges, court records show. A court hearing is scheduled for April 10, when a sentencing date for Tricia Varela is expected to be set.

new trial date of June 25 on the five undecided charges, records show. Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa

On the other hand, jurors found Tricia Varela,

County Attorney’s Office, said Tuesday that prosecutors have every intent of retrying the criminal case. Neither Raul Varela nor his wife could be reached for comment on the case. Raul Varela was placed on paid administrative leave from his $121,436-a-year city job, but later was fired after Goodyear officials determined the alleged misconduct was inappropriate. Child Protective Services, a state agency,

Raul Varela TriciaVarela

intervened and took custody of the injured girl, as well as five other Varela children, three of them adopted.

Brent Whiting can be reached by email at

Furthermore, Judge Connie Contes set a

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