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 FORMER WESTVIEW STUDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO THREATS, PAGE 4 — the newspaper of Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield Park & Tolleson, AZ (623) 535-8439

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Litchfi eld Park city manager dies

Darryl Crossman, 64, led city for 12 years

by Glenn Gullickson staff writer

Litchfield Park City Manager Darryl H. Crossman is being remembered as a longtime civic leader who had an appreciation for his unique community.

GET A GRIP Sports coverage starts on Page 8.

Crossman Darryl

Crossman, 64, died Jan. 6 after battling cancer.

After he fell ill, Crossman had been working from home early last year, but he was back in the office job by mid-year. Schoaf said it was believed Crossman had

valuable asset to our staff and our community, and his presence and leadership will be sorely missed,” Litchfield Park Mayor Tom Schoaf said.

“Darryl was a

been doing well recently. He had been at work at City Hall on Jan. 5, the day before he was admitted to the hospital with complications related to the illness.

Assistant City Manager Sonny Culbreth was named acting city manager Monday, with the appointment to be confirmed by the City Council at its Jan. 18 meeting. Eventually, a search for a replacement will be launched, Schoaf said.

in November 2004, Crossman served as city manager for 12 years in the 3.3-square-mile city with a population of about 5,500. As Litchfield Park’s chief executive officer, Crossman was responsible for the day-to-day operations of all city departments and for enforcing policy and administrating programs formulated by the City Council. The job includes hiring and supervising department directors and promoting Litchfield Park’s best interest in interactions with other levels of government.

(See City manager on Page 2) After being appointed by the City Council

50¢ Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Litchfield hosting

arts festival

The Gathering changes locations, drops entrance

fee for 25th anniversary by Glenn Gullickson staff writer

The 25th anniversary of The Litchfield Park Gathering: Native American Fine Arts Festival is being observed with a change of venue. When it’s staged Saturday and Sunday, the

festival featuring the work of about 100 Native American artists will be in the center of town. “We thought the 25th year would be an appropriate time to give it a bigger venue,” Tricia Kramer, the city’s special events assistant, said about the decision to move it from the lawn of Litchfield Elementary School. “We’re hoping by moving it, it creates a bigger atmosphere and draws more people to come and really try to learn about the Native American culture and art form,” Kramer said. The decision to eliminate the festival’s gate fee this year should also help draw a crowd that Kramer

(See Festival on Page 3)

Skyline’s usage exceeds expectations More than 200,000 visit Buckeye park; anniversary celebration set for Saturday

by Glenn Gullickson staff writer

Day set for Saturday at White Tank Mountain Regional Park — Page 5.

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TAKE A HIKE! Annual Outdoor Adventure Family

As Skyline Regional Park’s first anniversary is observed, attendance figures show usage of the Buckeye park in 2016 exceeded expectations.

“The park has been very popular,” said Bob

Wisener, Buckeye’s conservation and project manager, who helped develop the park, which opened Jan. 9, 2016. During its first year of operation, more than 200,000 people visited the 8,700-acre park on the south side of the White Tank Mountains, Wisener said. “It’s a pretty impressive number,” he said. “That certainly exceeded my expectations.” Attendance figures were determined after installing trail and vehicle counters at the park last spring, Wisener said. The highest usage of the park was on a Saturday in December, when 661 vehicles were counted, he said. If each vehicle averaged two or three people,

Wisener estimated that 1,500 people had visited the park that day. “That’s a lot of people coming in,” he said. The usage reports show there was a need for the park, Wisener said. “It’s really become a destination in the West

Valley for people to enjoy the Sonoran Desert,” he said. Wisener said the park’s 12 trails covering 16 miles are a big draw for visitors.

He estimated that 65 to 70 percent of visitors

are hikers, 20 percent are mountain bikers and 10 percent are equestrians. The park features easy, moderate and difficult trails of a variety of lengths from less than a quarter of a mile to three miles long, Wisener said.

Some trails offer vantage points of the

Buckeye Valley and toward University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Wisener said reviews posted by visitors on social media have been positive. “We’ve gotten a lot of accolades from the public,” he said.

Programming at the park includes a desert

survival class, stargazing and hikes to identify plants and animals.

The park also features facilities for picnicking and camping. Wisener went to work on the park’s master

(See Skyline on Page 2)

View photo by Jordan Christopher

BUCKEYE RESIDENTS JORGE TEPEZANO and his daughter, Yocelin, route out their desired trail before beginning their hike Monday at Skyline Regional Park in Buckeye. The park will celebrate its first anniversary with a free event from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

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