Miller recognized for ‘priceless service’

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davis scwhan and david millerCAREFREE – During the Jan. 6 town council meeting, Mayor David Schwan presented Councilman Glenn Miller with a plaque containing a check in the amount of zero dollars for his “priceless service to the town of Carefree.”

The mayor also presented Miller with a “Mayor’s Award,” a sundial mounted on a large box resembling an old Victrola, which contained a plaque listing some of Miller’s “many contributions to the town of Carefree.”

During Current Events, Schwan announced there would be a special meeting of council at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 14 to hear a presentation from ASU with respect to a cultural center as an anchor for the Lewis mixed use development.

He also called for another special meeting of town council at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27 as a workshop to discuss the potential cultural center.

Councilwoman Melissa Price asked if Desert Foothills Theater would also be coming back to council as a contender with regard to a cultural attraction.

Schwan said that would also be discussed during the workshop.

jo gemmillJo Gemmill (l) presented council with a wrap up of the Carefree Christmas Festival.

Gemmill said, “We start planning for this spectacular event in August,” and recognized, by name, all the people involved in planning the event.

While the town contributes approximately one third of the cost to put on the festival, Gemmill said they lost two major sponsors this year.

However, she said they also gained a few new sponsors, including Chris Melon, Discount Tire and Toll Brothers.

While APS was previously a festival sponsor, Gemmill said they moved on to sponsor the electric light parade this year, which she deemed a more fitting role for the utility, to a tune of $8,000.

Although the festival was plagued with rain and hail, just two hours before the parade, she said the sun came out, there was a huge rainbow and the “show went on.”

She said this year’s parade had fewer walkers, more floats, better floats and a celebrity emcee who also emcees the Fiesta Bowl Parade.

And, this year, instead of only Fox10 coming out to cover the festival, Gemmill said Channel 12 (NBC affiliate) covered it as well.

She also said there were no accidents or incidents.

michael stullMichael Stull (l), representing Cox Communications provided council with an update on its upgraded services and mentioned it now has Cox Solution stores, which he said are modeled after the Apple stores where people can try their products.

He reiterated Cox’s commitment to the community and stated the company contributed nearly $17 million in cash and in-kind support in 2013 to partners in the cities and towns it serves.

During public comment, Gary Zalimeni, who stated he has been a satisfied Cox customer for the past six years, asked Stull about the Cox project underway that borders state land adjacent to the Scottsdale Preserve and if Cox plans to revegetate when it is through.

Stull said he was not familiar with the project but told Zalimeni he would find out and provided Zalimeni with his contact information.

Representatives from Owens Harkey Advertising, the town’s marketing firm, also made a presentation beginning with Julie McChesney, the firm’s brand development executive, who explained their marketing goals – who they’re messaging and how they’re messaging them.

Matt Owens, CEO, detailed the breakdown of their target audience by three groups: northeast Valley residents, Arizona visitors, and real estate and commercial developers.

Brian Malthaner, CEO of Key 360 Media, presented an in-depth overview of the advertising his firm has done through Arizona Key magazine and its website as part of the town’s destination marketing program.

McChesney mentioned some of the other print advertising they placed as a means of branding Carefree as a destination.

Alexa Ablondi, PR and Social Media Executive provided details and numbers for their top-performing Facebook posts, stating the six-month average engagement rate was around 10 percent.

Owens stated, “A lot of passion and hard work” were going into these programs and every measurable key indicator has been going up.

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