The News print version

The current and back issues of the Apache Junction & Gold Canyon News are available to read online or for download in PDF form. Click on the button below to see the entire publication, including the business directory, advertisements, coupons, classified ads and crossword puzzle.

AJ Educators to Walk-Out April 26

The grassroots group Arizona Educators United (AEU) and the Arizona Education Association (AEA: teachers’ union) conducted a joint press conference at approximately 9 p.m., Thursday, April 19, 2018, to announce the results of the statewide vote. With 57,000 educators responding, 78% voted in favor of a walk-out.

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SUV Strikes Building

A Dodge SUV drove through a building last Friday afternoon taking out the front wall of a business at 1075 S. Idaho Rd. in Apache Junction. The vehicle was driven by one person who was treated at the scene for minor injuries by paramedics from the Superstition Fire & Medical District.

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Term Lengths & Limits Choice Not Going to Voters

At their April 17 meeting, the Apache Junction City Council chose not to take action on limiting the terms of council members and mayor or changing the length of the mayor’s term.

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Two Blazes April 9

The Superstition Fire and Medical District (SFMD) was called to two fires on the Apache Junction outskirts last Monday night. The first occurred around 11 p.m. on April 9, when crews were dispatched to a fire in a commercial building on North Apache Trail, just South of Mountain View Road.

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Pinal County Updates

Action was taken on wedding venue zoning, San Tan utilities, JP courts on March 28. County Manager Greg Stanley reported to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors (BOS) the ruling of the court denying the Goldwater Institute’s request for a preliminary injunction to temporarily halt the collection of the half-cent transportation excise tax (Proposition 417).

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AJUSD FAQs

There are several misconceptions circulating about the change from the four-day to five-day school calendar. In an effort to correct any confusion, a simple fact sheet has been created. The public is also invited to review documents regarding school attendance, transportation costs, cohort enrollment data, school budgets, student achievement, calendar survey results and other data.

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Earth Day

Horizon Health & Wellness (HHW) and Apache Junction Parks and Recreation are hosting the 6th Annual Earth Day Celebration ~ A Festival of Culture and Wellness. The free community event will be held Saturday, April 21st, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at HHW’s EarthHeart Park (EHP), located at 625 N. Plaza Drive in Apache Junction.

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Silver Rose Ceremony

On Saturday, April 21, the American Legion Riders from Post #27, 1018 S. Meridian Road, Apache Junction, will honor 14 victims of Agent Orange with induction into the Legion of the Silver Rose. The event will include a motorcade parade at noon, followed by the Induction Ceremony at 1 p.m. and dinner at 3 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

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Term Length & Limits for Elected Officials

A commercial building on W. Apache Trail near downtown Apache Junction was destroyed by fire on Wednesday night, March 28. According to the Superstition Fire & Medical District (SFMD), both SFMD and the Mesa Fire Department were dispatched at 7:10 p.m. to Apache Trail near Phelps Dr.

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Chamber Board Members Step Down

On Tuesday, April 3, Mike Eastwood, president and CEO of the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce, released a statement informing members of the resignation of two members of the Board of Directors: Chairman of the Board Larry LaPrise and Board Treasurer Peter Heck. LaPrise’s resignation is effective immediately, while Heck will remain until mid-April. Both men cited pending job changes as their reason for leaving.

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Former Fry’s Building Purchased

Scottsdale-based developer SimonCRE purchased 8.915 acres of property at the southwest corner of Apache Trail and Idaho Road in Apache Junction. Part of a larger retail center, the property includes a 61,324-square-foot former Fry’s Food and Drug. SimonCRE purchased the property for $1,925,000.

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AJ Woman Arrested For Drug Trafficking

An Apache Junction woman was arrested at her home on March 15, 2018, and charged with sales of dangerous drugs, narcotic drugs, drug paraphernalia, using a building for drug sales and money laundering. The Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) announced the arrest of Sandra Jo Davis (47) at her residence in the 200 Block of S. Vista Drive, Apache Junction.

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P&Z Approves CUP for Hitching Post

On March 27, the Hitching Post establishment received approval from the Apache Junction Planning and Zoning Commission for a conditional use permit (CUP) to hold various outdoor attractions by a vote of 6-1, with commissioner Michael Frank casting the dissenting vote.

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Cantrell Confirmed as FPES Principal

At the March 27, 2018, Apache Junction Unified School District Board meeting, Four Peaks Elementary School Interim Principal Chad Cantrell was approved as the new Four Peaks principal for the 2018-19 school year. The unanimous vote was met with cheers and loud applause by a sizable contingent of Four Peaks teachers and staff who were in attendance.

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Marching for Our Lives

Apache Junction was well represented by silver-haired seniors among the 20,000 taking part in the Phoenix March for Our Lives Rally Sunday. It was part of a 1.2 million-person protest across the US organized by teen-aged survivors of the Parkland school massacre. I am sure Apache Junction High School students and their parents and siblings were also marching.

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Gold Canyon Says ‘Leave Us Alone’

Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy addressed residents of Gold Canyon at a community meeting on March 22, 2018 at the Gold Canyon Community Church (the former Gold Canyon Elementary School) on Kings Ranch Rd. His message was that there would be an advantage to the Superstition Mountain region if both Apache Junction and Gold Canyon joined together and formed a representative government.

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Roads Tax Suit Has No Merit

Responding to the Goldwater Institute’s recent lawsuit challenging the voter-approved transportation sales tax (Proposition 417), Pinal County and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) filed a motion on Monday, March 19, 2018, asserting that the lawsuit is “untimely and without merit.” The transportation excise (sales) tax approved by voters is intended to fund the transportation plan (Proposition 416), which also passed in the November election.

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Love Triangle Violence

Three Apache Junction residents were arrested after an apparent lovers’ quarrel turned violent and resulted in a stabbing and a shooting. According to Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) Jessie Wirries (29) is accused of unlawfully entering the home of his estranged wife, Heather Wirries (27) in the early hours of March 9.

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Blues & Brews Fest Brings It Down Home

For six hours on an overcast, but pleasant Saturday afternoon, blues fans filled Flatiron Community Park to near capacity to enjoy the second annual Superstition Blues & Brews Festival – and the first one at Flatiron. Promoter John Chavez didn’t have a precise count for attendance, but noted, “It definitely exceeded my expectations."

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Police Officer of the Year

Detective Steven Jeansonne was recognized as Police Officer of the Year for his dedication to the task of examining and recovering digital evidence from electronic devices used in criminal offenses. Jeansonne has received praise from peers and outside law enforcement agencies that he has assisted. Jeansonne has been a member of the Police Department since 2006.

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Pinal County Judge Under Investigation

Steven Fuller, a judge for the Pinal County Superior Court, has been reassigned to handle civil cases, pending allegations of sexually abusing a minor. According to a police report, the alleged victim stated that Fuller touched her genitals and buttocks and rubbed against her in almost weekly occurrences from the time she was age 13 until she reached adulthood. She also stated in the police report that Fuller showed her pornography. She is now 25.

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Donors Thanked

The Mayor and City Council took time at their meeting on March 6 to thank individuals, organizations and agencies who have generously donated time and money over the past quarter to community projects administered by the city. Roger Hacker from the city’s Revenue Development Department introduced the donors and the donations with a qualification that it was not possible to list everyone.

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One Killed in Car Crash

A fatal crash in Apache Junction Saturday, March 3 left an Apache Junction woman dead and 11 others injured. The accident occured around 6:30 p.m. on the freeway near Ironwood Dr. and closed the westbound lanes at Idaho Rd. Superstition Fire and Medical District reported “There is one fatality, two critically injured patients and eight with delayed injuries.Ten ambulances are being utilized to transport the injured to local hospitals.“

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Two Injured When Stagecoach Crashes

On Saturday, Feb. 24, two people were critically injured at the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo when the horse team pulling a Well Fargo stagecoach bolted out of the arena and hit several vehicles. One of the injured is Denny Walter, the chairman of the event, who was riding “shotgun” on the stage.

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McCray Named Assistant to the AJ City Manager

On Thursday, March 1, the city of Apache Junction  named Anna McCray, an experienced member of the city manager’s office, as assistant to the city manager. As assistant to the city manager, McCray will now take a more prominent role in working with the city’s regional partners such as Central Arizona Governments, Maricopa Association of Governments and others, as well as represent the city manager’s office on the budget committee.

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Active Trails Master Plan

For those who love to bike, hike, walk and ride horses while taking in the beautiful views of our little piece of heaven on earth, there is reason to celebrate. At the last City Council meeting on Feb. 20, council members voted unanimously to approve a resolution establishing an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) for the city’s first-ever Active Transportation Plan (ATP). The IGA comes with federal grant money.

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Bluegrass Festival in Earth Heart Park

On Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11, the Arizona Bluegrass Festival is coming to Earth Heart Park, 625 N. Plaza Drive, in Apache Junction. Conceived and organized by the Arizona Bluegrass Association (ABA), the festival will spotlight more than a dozen Arizona bluegrass bands, food trucks, vendors and raffles. In addition, three operating model railroads will be on display inside the Horizon Health & Wellness lobby and in the Earth Heart Park garden.

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Creating a Promising Future

Last summer, I joined Apache Junction Unified School District with a lot of excitement and intentions to take it slow, learn about the district, build relationships, and examine the different organizational systems. However, the best-laid plans rarely go as expected. Early in my stint as superintendent, it became clear that one of the issues that was going to be a hot topic in the district is the school calendar.

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Superstition Wilderness Area FAQs

How did Superstition Mountain get its name? The best answer to this question centers on the early farmers of the Salt River Valley, according to most historians. The farmers grew and cut hay for the Army at Fort McDowell in the late 1860’s. These farmers constantly heard stories from the Pimas how they feared Superstition Mountain.

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Energy Efficient LED Lighting

It’s almost insane, the savings,” declared Steve Ross, co-owner of Flatiron Electric, Inc. He and partner Jim Shields, along with Phoenix Lighting Group (PLG), just completed a five-day lighting refit for Horne Ford at 3400 S. Tomahawk Rd. in Apache Junction. The project replaced the standard light fixtures throughout the business with energy efficient LED lighting.

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Firefighter of the Year

The Superstition Fire & Medical District (SFMD) has recognized Firefighter/Paramedic Ken Simkins as the 2018 Firefighter of the Year. Ken hails from Minnesota, where he worked as a paramedic on an ambulance and volunteered with a Sheriff’s Search & Rescue team. He was hired by SFMD in 2006 (then the Apache Junction Fire District) and has focused his career on excellence in paramedicine and teaching others.

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AJPD Seeks ID Help

The Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) has released a sketch and description of a man wanted for questioning about a sexual assault.
According to a release, officials say that at 4:30 a.m. on January 28, AJPD officers responded to a sexual assault complaint from a victim living on E. Junction Ave. in Apache Junction.

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CyberPatriots Move on to National Finals

Last week, the nationally recognized Apache Junction High School Navy Junior ROTC program claimed another kudos as cadets on the CyberPatriot team scored first place in the Silver Division for Arizona. The students are in their second year of competing in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, which focuses on computer and internet security.

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Saving Dinosaur Park

Dinosaurs are extinct. But after the Association for the Development of a Better Environment (A.D.O.B.E.) presentation at the Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board meeting on January 24, 2018, it seems likely that the Board – and lawyers representing the school district, Pinal County and A.D.O.B.E. – will find a way to preserve Dinosaur Park from the same fate.

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Arrest in Exploitation of a Minor Case

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), in conjunction with the Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD), arrested and charged Christopher Roberson, 36, of Apache Junction with 10 counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.

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Panthers top ALA-I

Imagine Prep-Superstition concluded its boys basketball regular season in winning fashion on Feb. 9, as the Panthers upended American Leadership Academy-Ironwood 83-47. The win gives IPS a 12-4 league record, trailing second place EVAC by a half-game in the CAA Division III, Region 1 standings. Canyon State Academy is in first place at 12-2.

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Chamber Names New President

The Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce announced on Jan. 25 that long-time local businessman Michael Eastwood has been named as the chamber’s new president and chief executive officer. “We are excited to add Michael Eastwood to our team and to our community,” said Larry LaPrise, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors.

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Cami Garcia Wins ‘Spirit of Community’ Award

The first recipient of this soon-to-be annual award is Cami Garcia, who received an engraved plaque in front of an enthusiastic crowd on Saturday. Cami was born and raised in Apache Junction.  She and her husband Joe Garcia have been married for nearly 25 years.

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