School’s back for the fall! Fountain Hills Unified School District (FHUSD) is bringing the kids back to school starting Tuesday, August 9th for the 2022-23 school year.
This year will be the first year featuring the return of Dr. Cain Jagodzinski! After serving as principal of Fountain Hills High School from 2016 through 2020, “Doctor J” will now be assuming the role of superintendent of FHUSD.
As usual, the school year will begin on a Tuesday, this year on August 9th. The first day of school is usually a half-day for students, so make sure the kids have a ride home.
To earn more about what to expect for the 2022-23 school year in Fountain Hills, go to fhusd.org.
Every year, the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce hosts the “Chamber Gala,” an event where business owners, local leaders, and other notable Fountain Hills residents come together to celebrate the year’s achievements and look forward to the next year. The main attraction of this special night is the Chamber Gala Awards, where awards are given out to individuals and businesses nominated by their peers for excellence in several distinct categories.
This year, three members of RE/MAX Sun Properties have been nominated for awards at the Chamber Gala!
“Around forever and always willing to help with anything.” “She is efficient, friendly, funny, and goes beyond her responsibilities to help out.”
Our Designated Broker and fearless leader, Dori Wittrig, was nominated for “Business Person of the Year!” Not only has Dori been at the head of RE/MAX Sun Properties for almost two years now and led Sonoran Lifestyle Real Estate for 20 years prior, but over the years she has also played a part in almost every organization in Fountain Hills, from the Fountain Hills Community Foundation to the Leadership Academy to the FHCCA, and much more. Her description on the ballot reads:
“Not only did Dori purchase RE/MAX Sun Properties at the very beginning of the pandemic, but her passion for the community continues to grow. Her magazine and website Desert Vibe are now well-known across town. The magazine and website aim to help residents learn more about the community where they live, find activities that interest them, and discover ways to get involved. Her love for Fountain Hills is evident in every business interaction with clients and shines through her work with Desert Vibe and as President of the Fountain Hills Community Foundation.”
Our Executive Assistant and event coordinator, Anita Glenister, was nominated for “Community Volunteer of the Year!” In addition to being a board member of the Fountain Hills Civic & Cultural Association, she has helped put together local events from Concerts on the Avenue to the Turkey Trot and more. She also coordinates refreshments for the In-Home Concert Series. Her description on the ballot reads:
“Anita is a hard worker behind the scenes. She is a Leadership Academy alumni and has served in FHCCA programs and others with dedication and a cheerful smile. She shows respect to everyone and her wisdom brings value to all that she does.”
Voting opened on March 1st and will be open until March 30th. The nominations for this year’s Chamber Awards mark a great showing for RE/MAX Sun Properties, with three of our team members standing out from a pool of thousands of potential local choices. We greatly appreciate anyone who makes their voices heard by voting for their preferred nominees.
Click here to vote for the 2022 Chamber Gala Awards!
Accolades are coming to RE/MAX Sun Properties and the Sonoran Lifestyle Team left and right lately for the group’s amazing performance in 2021.
Despite the market’s volatility, the team at RE/MAX Sun Properties continues to stand out as leaders in Fountain Hills and Rio Verde, following up on a successful year when the company led the local market with $177 million in local area sales volume.
Diane Graham earned a spot as Buyer’s Agent of the Month for January. The award for Listing Agent of the Month as well as Overall Highest Producer for January went to Merry Silbaugh, who also recently received national recognition from RE/MAX International with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rio Verde Agent of the Month was Kristy Coup, who specializes in Trilogy at Verde River. The Sales Team of the Month award went to the Sonoran Lifestyle Team, consisting of Dori Wittrig, John Weil, Toni LePoer, and Michelle Campbell.
The biggest award, however, was for our very own Operations Manager, Dawn Woods.
Announced with a special visit from Jami Kitchen, the RE/MAX Franchise Development Consultant for the Western Region, Dawn was awarded the “Administrator of the Year” award.
This is a huge award, given out to five office administrators in the entire Western United States for excellent performance. She was nominated for this award by everybody here at RE/MAX Sun Properties, and when she won, to say she was pleasantly surprised is an understatement.
The award reads “You were nominated by your office and peers because of your outstanding professionalism and work ethic. Your dedication and commitment to your office while serving clients has truly set you apart. The success of your brokerage is a direct result of the value you provide in your role.”
We couldn’t agree more, and we’re so happy for Dawn!
The 2022 State of the Town Address was this morning at the Community Center. Mayor Ginny Dickey gave a speech, followed by a video presentation, that displayed the challenges Fountain Hills faced in 2021 along with the many huge accomplishments of the year. She concluded the event with a bright outlook for Fountain Hills’ big plans for 2022.
(Some) Highlights of 2021 for Fountain Hills
Completion of the Pandora Drive Drainage Tunnels: The old drainage tunnels along the Fountain Park on Pandora Drive were causing road damage and sinkholes, so, beginning in 2020 the tunnels were completely rebuilt with modern strategies.
Construction of the FH Medical Center: Fountain Hills now has a hospital, constructed over the course fo 2021. It features emergency rooms, urgent care, and phramacy capabilities.
Excellence in Financial Administration: In 2021, the Town saved more than it spent and received awards from the State of Arizona for its pecuniary efficiency.
Fountain LED Installation: As part of the Fountain’s 50th birthday gift, a set of huge color-changing LED lights were installed. Now the Fountain glows at night in a seasonally-relevant color.
Fountain Livestream: Our famous Fountain is now livestreaming, permanently! Since activating this Earthcam feed, the Fountain has been watched over 4,000,000 times by people around the world.
Town Website/Social Media Revamp: The town of Fountain Hills completely revamped their website to meet modern times. In addition to this, the town government is now accessible on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Creation of the “Safety Corridors”: Sections of Palisades Boulevard and Saguaro Boulevard now feature “safety corridors,” or areas where fines for speeding are doubled.
Community Center Remodeling: The Fountain Hills Community Center was repainted, given new floors and interiors, and turned various rooms into usable classrooms. Classes now take place on a daily basis in the rooms of the Community Center.
Renewing of the Parks: This part has only just begun. Parts of Four Peaks Park, the Fountain Park, and Desert Vista Park, are in the process of being reinvented, with better playgrounds, ball courts, and more.
Crosswalk at Saguaro Boulevard for Desert Vista Park: What was once a long stretch of uncrossable road on Saguaro Boulevard, there is now a sidewalk, crosswalk, and crossing sign setup near the intersection of Saguaro and Desert Vista. This makes Desert Vista Park even more accessible.
Building Permits Up 63%: According to Mayor Dickey, 2021 saw the construction of 79 new single-family homes, 99 multi-family homes, and 543 total approved building permits across town. This is a significant increase from the previous year.
Mayor Dickey also applauded the town for its handling of the virus and the conditions created by it, stating “Despite the pandemic, Fountain Hills has moved forward.” She stated that her goal was to make Fountain Hills a place that people will want to come to and stay. “In Fountain Hills, we are all about people,” she said. It looks like Fountain Hills has a bright and ambitious year ahead.
Every January, the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor of Fountain Hills come to the Community Center for the State of the Town Address. On January 25th, the 2022 State of the Town Address is back.
In this year’s meeting, Mayor Ginny Dickey plans to speak on the successes and challenges that the town faced over the course of 2021, especially in regards to the town’s struggles and strategies for overcoming the difficulties of the pandemic.
“I am looking forward to giving this update in front of an audience this year,” said Mayor Ginny Dickey. “As a town, we have been through so many challenges with the pandemic, yet we continued moving forward to meet the needs of our community, and plan for the future.”
During the 2021 Flutter at the Fountain, you may recall a certain masterpiece of a butterfly raffled off at the event. The mastermind behind the beautifully painted “Fountain Flutter” was Vanessa Davisson. If you’ve been in Fountain Hills for a long time, that name may ring a bell.
Born in New York, Vanessa has lived in Fountain Hills since 1979. In those forty-plus years since she has made herself an integral part of the Fountain Hills community. Her art pervades in Fountain Hills, from business logos to wall murals and plenty of stage murals at the Fountain Hills Community Theater. To say she is prolific is an understatement!
Vanessa earned a bachelor’s degree in Illustration and Advertisement Design with a minor in Photography and Painting at Syracuse University. In 2009, she graduated from Arizona State University with a Master’s degree in Art History.
She spent much of her free time traveling around the world, experiencing the art and culture of Europe and Egypt, and especially the Renaissance works of Italy.
She was one of the original Board of Directors of the Fountain Hills Community Theater. She took the responsibility of making scenic background paintings for the local Theater, and others around the valley.
In addition to her murals, paintings, and bas reliefs, Vanessa has designed hundreds of logos for businesses around Arizona and around the country. Those awesome cartoon maps of Fountain Hills from the early 2000’s – that was her too.
Several awards and accolades from several genres of artistic expression have come her way over the years. Multiple paintings received blue ribbons at the Foothills Juried Competition and the FH Juried Competition for painting and mixed media art. She won two Prizm Awards from the FH Community Theater and was nominated twice for the Arizoni award for her set designs. Her painted butterflies from the 2020 Flutter at the Fountain were fan favorites, and her 2021 butterfly was juried by judges to be the raffle butterfly, a big honor considering the competition.
On Vanessa’s website, davissonstudio.com, she says that “Art and life are one and the same. It is through the making of art and the study of art through history that I have come to understand the human experience, colored by our passions, motivations, and desires.”
So, when you’re walking around Fountain Hills and see a logo, a mural, or even the backdrop of a theater performance, you may just be looking at an element of Vanessa Davisson’s huge impact on Fountain Hills.
2021 was a great year, full of twists and turns, fun events, and great memories! Here’s a recap on some of the biggest highlights for the Sonoran Lifestyle Team in the past year.
John Coached Soccer
John Weil spent many an evening with his kids and friends at the Fountain Hills Soccer Club. He taught soccer to the kids, attended competitions, and overall had a blast.
Toni Graduated from SAAR Leadership Academy
Toni graduated from the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors this year. It was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work to achieve a high honor for real estate agents in our area.
Dori presided over the FH Community Foundation and Flutter at the Fountain
Dori Witrig, as the president of the Fountain Hills Community Foundation, worked tirelessly to put together “Flutter at the Fountain,” a huge fundraiser event where local artists created and auctioned off beautiful butterflies.
The team co-sponsored a number of local events and activities with the Town of Fountain Hills
If there was an event, club, or activity in Fountain Hills this year, there was a good chance the Sonoran Lifestyle Team was involved. From the Concerts on the Avenue to Return to Recess to the Cornhole League and beyond, we sponsored or co-sponsored dozens of local groups and activities in 2021.
Robbie Cole joined as Marketing Director
After graduating from Arizona State University with a Master’s degree in Digital Audience Strategy, Robbie Cole joined the team in late September.
Toni Got to be a Firefighter
Toni got to dress up in full Scottsdale Fire Department rescue gear during the “Firefighter Day” activities in Scottsdale on September 26th.
Anita joined as Client Services Coordinator
After knowing Dori and the team for many years, Anita retired from her career in the defense industry to join the Sonoran Lifestyle Team as Client Services Coordinator.
We co-hosted the Glimmer Event with Sami Fine Jewelry
On December 3rd, Sami Fine Jewelry and the Sonoran Lifestyle Team put together a beautiful client appreciation night called “Glimmer.” Baskets were raffled, food was catered by Witnessing Nature, and group photos were taken with Santa Claus.
We had our best year of real estate yet!
Over the course of 2021, our team managed the sale and purchase of homes for 76 families in and around Fountain Hills and Scottsdale, making this our best year yet!
2022 is Here!
Thank you all so much for making 2021 an amazing year with us. Let’s make 2022 an even better one!
Be sure to stay up to date with our Facebook, Instagram, and blog for regular updates on what we’re up to.
Now that we’re at the peak of the holiday season, it’s time to be out getting gifts for your friends and family. Lucky for you, we at the Sonoran Lifestyle Team created a Fountain Hills Holiday Gift Guide!
At SonoranLifestyle.com/gift-guide, you can find a list of local businesses and our recommendations from each one. Representatives from multiple types of business are on this list, from restaurants to jewelry shops to the River of Time Museum Gift Shop and more.
Click here to go to our Holiday Gift Guide webpage and find the perfect local gifts for your loved ones.
The Sonoran Lifestyle Team is on Facebook! Bringing community to Fountain Hills is what we’re all about, and this is a great central hub to learn about what’s going on with us and the town as a whole.
On the Sonoran Lifestyle Team Facebook Page (@SonoranLifestyle), we post multiple times a week, sharing blog articles, creating Event Pages for upcoming activities that we sponsor, and livestreaming local events as they happen.
By following our page, you’ll be able to find all of this and more as it happens. A shared story between the Facebook page and the Instagram page puts live event updates right at the top of your news feed.
See a post of ours that you want to share with your friends and family? Hit the “Share” button to put it up on your timeline. Any interaction with our page helps us a whole lot to spread our reach!
Facebook is just one branch of our social media outreach. We also have accounts on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter that are regularly updated.
Flutter at the Fountain 2021 was this past Saturday, November 6th. The event, hosted by the Fountain Hills Community Foundation and sponsored by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team and dozens of other Fountain Hills businesses, was a huge success.
Magnificent butterflies surrounded the Community Garden’s pavilion as donors looked around, planning for the next day’s bidding. The artists who created the butterflies attended as well and were given accolades for their beautiful works.
Guests ate food made by Witnessing Nature Catering in between speeches from the Sonoran Lifestyle Team’s own Dori Wittrig (who is also the president of the Community Foundation).
She and Stephenie Bjorkman from Sami Fine Jewelry hosted an energetic auction of various baskets full of local products and activities. Some of the baskets reached thousands of dollars from the bidding.
The Main Event
On Saturday at 11:00 AM, the main event opened up to the public. People bid on the butterflies, both in-person and online.
Christina from Water & Ice served Italian Ice, which was very welcome on this warm November day. Toni and Anita from the Sonoran Lifestyle Team made mimosas and other cocktails for guests. Meanwhile, Sami Fine Jewelry had a stand where butterfly-themed earrings and necklaces were sold.
Each and every butterfly was special, and people bid on them accordingly. Two of the butterflies’ bids exceeded $2000 by the end of the day.
Another notable butterfly was “My Sweet Home,” made by seven-year-old Sidney, pictured above. Sidney’s butterfly ended up selling for over $700.
The proceeds from the butterflies and the baskets went to the Fountain Hills Community Foundation, which in turn funds dozens of nonprofit organizations and clubs around Fountain Hills.
The Board members of the Fountain Hills Community Foundation were extremely happy with how Flutter went. Before the event even began, the foundation was able to donate over $40,000 to local groups. This was already a $13,500 increase from 2020.
With Flutter’s numbers not even fully tallied yet, this year will likely go down as a record-breaking year for the Foundation, and thus for groups in Fountain Hills as a whole.
All of this year’s butterflies have fluttered away to their new homes, so stay tuned for next year!