Resort (copy)

The Esplendor Resort closed for renovations in 2016 and has yet to re-open. It's been for sale since late 2018.

Esplendor still on market after golf course sale

The Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico remains on the market after an associated property – the Rio Rico Golf Club – was sold in May, its owner said.

Jim Long, CEO of New Mexico-based Heritage Hotels and Resorts, said last Friday that he is still hoping to find a local buyer for the Esplendor, which closed for renovations in August 2016 and has yet to re-open.

However, Long added that he has also been in contact with potential buyers from other areas.

Heritage Hotels and Resorts put the resort and affiliated golf course up for sale last fall. Long told the NI at the time that the resort was on the market for $2.5 million and the golf course at $1.5 million, and that they could be purchased together or separately. 

In May, the golf course sold for $730,000 to a company affiliated with Baca Float No. 3 of Mesa, a company that operates hay farms in the Rio Rico and Tumacacori areas.

New inspection facility planned for Mariposa

A federal agency has plans for a new commercial truck inspection facility behind the Shell gas station near the Mariposa Port of Entry.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and General Services Administration (GSA) are in the process of considering the site, according to GSA employee Osmahn Kadri.

Kadri said the FMCSA currently conducts inspections using an Arizona Department of Transportation facility at the port.

A public hearing on the plan was originally set for June 27 at the Holiday Inn Express in Nogales, but that date was later changed to July 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. A hotel employee said that at least one person had showed up looking for the meeting on the originally scheduled date.

The new facility at Mariposa is among six new FMCSA inspection sites planned at ports of entry in Arizona and California. A GSA document states that existing facilities at those ports “were not built for their needs and… do not allow for thorough, safe inspection of vehicles.”

Renovations completed at Mariposa in 2014 more than doubled the capacity of the port at a cost of more than $200 million. Approximately 337,000 trucks crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales in 2018, according to data from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management.

Program will be used to verify voter citizenship

Santa Cruz will join other Arizona counties, including Maricopa, in using a federal system designed to verify some voters’ citizenship status, according to County Recorder Suzanne Sainz.

The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, or SAVE, is operated by the Department of Homeland Security and can be used to confirm the immigration status of naturalized U.S. citizens.

Sainz said the system would be used to verify the citizenship of voters who wish to register but do not provide a driver’s license or Social Security number.

According to information on the Arizona Secretary of State website, there were 28,784 active registered voters in Santa Cruz County as of April 2019.

Sainz added that she does not believe non-citizen voter registration fraud is a major issue in the county and she doesn’t expect to make heavy use of the SAVE program.

Asked why Santa Cruz County will use the DHS system, which charges $0.50 to $1.50 per query, she said that many other counties are using it.

Empty gas tank foils stolen car attempt

A Nogales man who was busted with a stolen car after he ran out of gas on the interstate was sentenced to four years of probation.

Court records show that on March 19, a deputy saw Marc Giron walking along Interstate 19 in Rio Rico and asked if he was OK. Giron responded that he had run out of gas and was walking to the Pilot station.

When the deputy ran the vehicle’s license plate number, he learned that the car had been reported stolen in Tucson.

Giron, 19, was arrested and later pleaded guilty to attempted vehicle theft, a Class 4 felony. He was sentenced June 24 by Judge Thomas Fink of Santa Cruz County Superior Court, who gave him credit for 96 days served in jail prior to sentencing, and deferred another 30 days for jail pending completion of the Project SAFE anti-drug program.

The judge also ordered Giron to pay a total of $6,724 in restitution to two victims in the case.

City paid more than $8K for magistrate fill-ins

The City of Nogales paid $8,210 dollars to temporary judges serving at the municipal court earlier this year, according to city records.

Two checks were sent to former Justice of the Peace Mary Helen Maley for a combined $630, and three checks to produce executive Michael Vohland totaled $7,580.

Current City Magistrate Vanessa Cartwright started at the court on April 8, but her predecessor, Mayra Galindo, left to start a new position in Goodyear, Ariz. in January of this year, leaving the magistrate position unfilled for several months.

Cartwright’s starting salary is $108,000.

Several temporary judges filled in as the city searched for a new judge, including former Justice of the Peace Mary Helen Maley, Vohland and Patagonia Municipal Court Judge Connie Bracamonte.

In the midst of a tumultuous search process, the state supreme court turned over control of the city court to Superior Court Judge Thomas Fink on Feb. 27. Fink subsequently ordered the city to pay temporary judges at a rate of $50 per hour and appointed Vohland to the role.

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