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A fatal accident involving a motorcycle rider and a school bus occurred at about 6:30 a.m. on Friday, September 21 in the 400 Block of S. Phelps Dr. in Apache Junction. According to officials from Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD), Clinton Pennington (36)collided with an Apache Junction Unified School District (AJUSD) bus that was making a left turn on its regular morning route.
The Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted unanimously to rename the Chamber, “Superstition Region Chamber of Commerce.” The new name will become effective November 10, 2018, when the Chamber unveils its new logo and branding elements. “The Chamber’s reach has always extended beyond Apache Junction,” said Steve Byfield.
The Apache Junction City Council met last Tuesday, September 18, 2018, in Chambers. Mayor Jeff Serdy read a proclamation designating the week of September 23, 2018, through September 29, 2018, as Child Passenger Safety Week, which was accepted by AJPD Lieutenant Thomas Parker. Mayor Serdy also read a proclamation designating September 17 through 23 as Constitution Week.
If you saw it happening, would you know it was domestic violence? If you knew it was domestic violence, would you take the steps to report it? What are you doing to help prevent it? In the news, social media and on television, we see public service announcements highlighting the various issues facing domestic violence.
When speaking with Dr. Eva DeCozio, DVM, Medical Director at VCA Animal Hospital, 17 N. Mountain Rd., Apache Junction, the conversation moves fluidly between animals and humans. It can be difficult to track which she is talking about until eventually one realizes – it doesn’t really matter.
No sooner did Apache Junction score its second touchdown on Sept. 21, the decision to attempt a go-ahead 2-point conversion was made in the Prospectors non-region football game at Davis Field against Phoenix Shadow Mountain. After AJ quarterback Gibson Limongello scored on an 18-yard touchdown run with 10:31 left in the fourth quarter, there was no hesitation on the part of the Prospector coaching staff in going for two.
The Apache Junction Planning & Zoning Commission met on Tuesday, September 11 and unanimously approved a proposed amendment to the city’s land use map to redesignate a 38 acre property at the southwest corner of E. Old West Highway and S. Goldfield Road from Community Commercial to Medium Density Residential. Plans for the site include a community development of 178 single-family houses.
The Board of Directors for the Superstition Mountain Historical Society has announced that Annie Vaugier has been named the new Executive Director for Superstition Mountain Museum, replacing Liz Nicklus who is retiring. Board President Vicki McLaughlin said, “We are excited to welcome her, and we are anticipating great possibilities ahead in this next chapter in the history of Superstition Mountain Museum with Annie in the leadership position.
Two Apache Junction residents with family ties to coastal North Carolina have taken up the challenge to help with relief to victims of Hurricane Florence. Danielle Greene, VFW Post 7968 Auxiliary president, and her husband Daniel, who is the Post’s Commander, are organizing a delivery of non-perishable items and willing hands to help with disaster relief. The couple are calling on the community to pitch in with donations of goods and traveling funds.
The agenda for the September 11, 2018, Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board meeting was short, but critical. The one key action item was approved unanimously by the Board: IT infrastructure replacement and improvement, at a cost of $107,660. The new system will be a “hyperconverged solution” – an all-in-one system with all components converged into one unit.
The term “injury-plagued” is an understatement for Apache Junction runner Faith Rutkowski. Following her first-place finish in the Prospector girls’ first cross country meet of the season at Prospector Park, Faith said, “I’m feeling a lot better” after battling a variety of injuries over her sophomore and junior years. Faith explained, “In my sophomore soccer season, I hurt my hip and went into track and didn’t run a great track season."
The Twentieth Century was the most inventive century in recorded history. The age of technology wrought inventions that rapidly changed our world and made it infinitely smaller and, unfortunately, infinitely more complicated. Until the early 1900’s, inventions plodded along, comparatively, at a snail’s pace. Nothing much happened for many, many centuries after the invention of the wheel. Frankly, there are places in the world where technology still plods along.
The Pinal County Board of Supervisors (BOS) met on September 5, 2018, to approve the canvass of results from the August 28 Primary Election, accounting for every ballot cast on Election Day, including the on-time absentee/early ballots and accepted provisional ballots. As reported last week, the District 6 Justice of the Peace race between Doug Coleman and Kevin Cavanaugh was very close.
The past five or six decades have produced a variety of missing person reports within the contemporary boundaries of the Superstition Wilderness Area. Many of these missing persons show up at home or in another state claiming they didn’t think anyone would miss them. A majority of these missing person reports are resolved with telephone calls between relatives of the missing person. However, there are those reports that defy explanation, and no clues have ever been found.
Congratulations are in order to Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy on being elected to a second term of office, as well as to the winners of the Council race: Gail Evans (incumbent), Christa Rizzi (incumbent) and Robert Schroeder. Throughout the race, it was apparent that every candidate running for municipal office was highly motivated to serve our community. We appreciate each one, win or lose.
You can’t imagine the surprising and unbelievable stories I have heard over the past many scores of years. The tales of gold and treasure lost among the deep canyons and towering spires within the wilderness of Superstition Mountain are numerous. These tales stir the souls of men both young and old. The search for adventure has filled the hearts of many who have followed in the footsteps of “Coronado’s Children” as told by Frank J. Dobie.
The Prospectors had to come from behind twice to do it, but Apache Junction outlasted Vista Grande 39-33 in a non-region 4A football contest Friday at Casa Grande, snapping a two-game losing streak. AJ’s defense forced four Spartan turnovers, including a fumble recovery on a kickoff return late in the game. An interception by Talon Izbicki with time running out sealed the win for the Prospectors (2-2). The loss evened Vista Grande’s slate at 2-2.
Grab your friends and family, along with a blanket or lawn chair, to enjoy a nice afternoon outside with some great music! The Fall Series of Concerts in the Park will be bringing you the musical sounds of three different bands! The first concert will take place on Saturday, September 15 and will feature The Delusionists. They will be playing a lot of hit songs from the 1970s through the 2000s!
Voters approved Proposition 423, the Permanent Base Adjustment, by a margin of about 72 to 28 percent, according to unofficial returns from Tuesday’s election. The Permanent Base Adjustment provides flexibility to the locally elected City Council to set its budget each year based on local needs instead of state imposed numbers.
Mayor Jeff Serdy won a second term in the race for mayor, besting Councilman Dave Waldron by more than 800 votes. According to early unofficial vote counts posted at 11 a.m. on August 30, with all 102 precincts reporting, Serdy had 2,667 votes to Waldron’s 1,805.
The Apache Junction and Gold Canyon community was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Marta Saint-James last week. Marta is remembered as a loving friend to two- and four-legged creatures alike and will be missed for her easy laugh, passionate advocacy and ready-to-help presence.
Unofficial results in one of the Pinal County races for Justice of the Peace in District 6 remains too close to call. As of August 30 at 11:00 a.m., Pinal County was reporting Doug Coleman in the lead with 2,493 votes. Kevin Cavanaugh follows with 2,480 votes, and Glenn Walp is in third place with 1,638 votes.
Horizon Health and Wellness invites the community to join us for our annual Day of Planting at the Earth Heart Park (EHP) located at 625 N Plaza Drive in Apache Junction. On Saturday, September 8, community members are invited to assist with preparing the raised beds and planting vegetables and herbs for the fall/winter season.
On August 15, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors (BOS) met in Special Session to consider a number of items, including the adoption of a 157 page San Tan Valley (STV) Comprehensive Plan. Presented by Pinal County Planning Manager Steve Abraham, the plan covers 70 miles, and is the result of more than 18 months of study and public input, examining the unique needs and issues of San Tan Valley that are “the result of unprecedented growth and development for the last 25 years.”
After a wild and competitive season-opening defeat, Imagine Prep-Superstition kept its momentum going on Aug. 28 with a three-game volleyball sweep over Sequoia Pathways Academy. Two days later, the Lady Panthers swept Imagine Prep-Coolidge 25-14, 25-15, 25-13, improving to 2-1 on the season. The 25-16, 25-8, 25-8 win over Sequoia provided Charlyne Long with her first head coaching win. “Every game means a lot, whether we win or not,” Long said.
The Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) Community Response Enforcement Unit (CREU) arrested Edward Meyer of Chandler last week after a foot chase and a standoff at an Apache Junction residence. On August 14, 2018, CREU detectives attempted to stop Meyer, who was riding a bicycle at 4th Avenue and Smythe in Apache Junction.
Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board member Mike Weaver will resign his position effective September 5, as he and his wife, Bonnie, are moving out of district to a new home in southeast Mesa. The public is invited to participate in a farewell reception at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at the District Office, 1575 W. Southern Ave. in Apache Junction, preceding Mr. Weaver’s last Board meeting.
The Apache Junction Police Department was awarded a $500 grant to be used for the DNA Doe Project for genealogy comparison. Tony Cusinato of Aftermath, presented the award to Crime Scene Technician Stephanie Bourgeois. Bourgeois’ submittal focused on the “Why We Serve” grant program. Stephanie championed this cause after submitting the request for a Jane Doe victim from 1992.
Last week, a report from the Arizona Office of the Auditor General found that some RICO monies collected by former Pinal County Attorney and former Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu were misspent. RICO is shorthand for anti-racketeering laws. They currently give authorities wide latitude to seize assets in criminal cases, whether or not a suspect has been charged or convicted of a crime.
The August 14 AJUSD Board meeting included an update from the new Director of Transportation Lori Jioras. Jioras reported for duty with just days to spare before school started on July 24. The first week of school is arguably the most challenging every year; however, the new job held some very special surprises to test the mettle of the 13 year school transportation veteran from Springfield, MO.
Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) said that two burglary suspects have been arrested and a third suspect shot himself after a chase. AJPD was responding to a complaint in the neighborhood west of Ironwood Rd. and south of 16th Ave. “On August 16, 2018, at about 9:15 p.m. two suspects entered a residence in the 1900 block of West Renaissance in Apache Junction. The suspects entered through an open garage door.”
At the Apache Junction City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 7, the council unanimously approved entering into an agreement with Advanced Chemical Transport, Inc. to conduct two annual collection events for household hazardous waste. The collection dates are scheduled for November 17, 2018 and March 2, 2019. Only one collection event a year was scheduled in the past.
Mediacom Communications officially opened their new customer service center and retail store at 1435 E. Old West Hwy. in Apache Junction on Thursday, August 16 and the company continues to hire new employees to fill positions in a newly-created bilingual call center. Mediacom invested more than $600,000 to expand its Apache Junction presence by leasing and renovating a new office complex that adds more than 10,000 square feet of space.
The city of Apache Junction announced last week that the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) installed roundabout at State Route 88 (Apache Trail) and East Superstition Blvd. will officially open on Monday, August 20. The city will hold a brief photo opportunity on the site with the city’s mayor, council and others at 1:00 p.m. Public is welcome. Those who wish to attend are invited to park in the City Hall lot and walk to the event.
Last week, we received word that Apache Junction’s own Lost Dutchman Marathon was named “Best Marathon” in Phoenix Magazine’s “Best of the Valley” 2018 edition. The week before that, AJ Parks & Recreation was presented with three awards at the annual Arizona Parks and Recreation Association awards event: Outstanding Program (Youth Enrichment Award for the TGIF program), Outstanding Facility Award (Flatiron Park) and the Outstanding Special Event Award (Earth Day Ladybug Release).
AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. It’s an appropriate name for a program that unlocks potential by changing students’ perception of themselves from tacit acceptance of the status quo to belief that they can achieve whatever goals they set for themselves – not with the wave of a magic curricular wand, but with positive mindset, peer support, organizational skills, study skills, communication and self-advocacy.
Two dozen volunteers worked together to restore 3 acres of grassland in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, AZ, as a part of Bronson Williams-Shaw’s Eagle Scout Project. Williams-Shaw, a member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 39 in Apache Junction, coordinated the effort, securing donated water, safety glasses and work gloves from Ace Hardware, Frontier Ace Hardware and Home Depot, as well as food from Toms BBQ to feed all the scouts.
We love promoting Apache Junction, Arizona's gem city at the base of the Superstition Mountains. For those who live and work here, this is home. For many that visit, it's a second home where it's always sunny and friendly with so much to do. Take the time to look around, discover the people, businesses, groups and families that make The New Apache Junction what it is today and the AJ of the future.
The Apache Junction Parks and Recreation department on Wednesday received three honors from the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association during its annual awards presentation. The Apache Junction Parks and Recreation department was given awards for Outstanding Program, the Outstanding Facility Award and the Outstanding Special Event award.
On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors (BOS) unanimously approved an amended resolution concerning immigration policies as they affect Pinal County. When the BOS originally considered a similar resolution two months ago, the “Rios Resolution,” as it was called, was, in large part, a condemnation of ICE policies separating children from their parents at the border. By the time the resolution made its way to the agenda, however, immigration policies were already in flux, due to judicial and administrative decisions.
After traveling 447 miles to play its football season opener, Apache Junction emerged victorious on Friday night, defeating the Royal Highlanders 28-7 at Simi Valley, Calif. The Prospectors (1-0) departed for California Thursday afternoon. “Coming in on Thursday was the best thing for us to do,” AJ Coach Vance Miller said.
Pinal County Housing Operations Manager Rolanda Cephas delivered the department’s monthly report to the Board Of Supervisors (BOS). The practice was initiated earlier this year to keep Supervisors informed as the county works to raise the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) rating for the Pinal County Housing Department.
One of two home invaders were shot and killed in an Apache Junction home on Saturday, July 28, 2018. Officials at Pinal County Sheriffs Office (PCSO) said that two armed suspects forced their way into a residence in the 1400 block of East 29th Ave. around 11:00 a.m. The homeowner was home at the time and confronted the suspects.
On Saturday, July 28, 2018, the Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) hosted a workshop titled “Procedural Justice for Communities: A Dialogue to Change.” The goal of the workshop was to lay a foundation for increasing mutual trust, enhance the community’s perspective of police legitimacy and foster a cooperative attitude between law enforcement and our community.
Over the weekend of September 7-9, Valley women will learn how to bait a hook and fire a pistol, paint landscapes, build cleaner campfires and stay safe in the desert and Rim country woods, among many other classes that are offered. This one is for ladies-only and has been described as a priceless value and an amazing time.
Evan Quiroz admitted he’d never heard of Midland University when he began searching for the next stop of his basketball career. But that’s where the Apache Junction High graduate is headed for the next four years. Quiroz recently signed his national letter of intent to play men’s basketball at the NAIA Division II school in eastern Nebraska.
First, it was Harvey, then Irma, then Maria. Throughout that hurricane season, there was no shortage of maps posted online to show us the size of these devastating storms. One of them included a comparison in size between Irma and Hurricane Andrew. That’s noteworthy because Andrew was in full force in the last week of August in 1992, while Fargo, ND, was hosting the annual American Legion Baseball World Series.
A man was found deceased in the desert south of Apache Junction last Tuesday, July 24. Superstition Fire & Medical District (SFMD) responded to a call for an unconscious hiker about 1:30 p.m. According to SFMD officials, paramedics found the body of a man in his 40s in a desert area near Baseline and Goldfield Roads. The deceased was determined to be homeless and camping nearby.
On Tuesday, July 24, the Arizona Corporation Commission called for new management to lead a troubled Arizona water utility. In a vote of four in favor with one absent, Chairman Tom Forese and Commissioners Boyd Dunn, Bob Burns, and Justin Olson voted to appoint an interim manager to assume operation of Johnson Utilities, LLC as soon as possible. Commissioner Andy Tobin was absent from the meeting.
Tis the season... to watch the tangle of campaign signs sprout like multicolored weeds on the corners of every major intersection. They’re distracting, unattractive and, for the most part, illegible if you are driving anywhere close to the speed limit. Some have so much gibberish on them one has no idea who or what the issue/office or candidate is. Others lean over one way or another waving in the monsoon winds, threatening to escape the hard soil into which they have been drilled, pounded and forcibly inserted.
Claire Hoffman, 2018 AJHS alumnus and most valuable player on the high school’s golf team for three of her four years of competition, took her golf game to Australia this July to play for the American team in the Down Under Sports Cup tournament. The United States team took second place in the international tournament, and Hoffman’s team finished third in the USA tournament.
The fishing at Roosevelt Lake is on fire, with over 20-pound bags of fish! With the temperatures in triple digits, the water is a warm 80 degrees. The fishing should be slow this time of year, however the Let’s Talk Fishin’ Night tournament anglers really stepped up on July 21.
The first time I ever heard the story about the lynching of Starr Daley, it was from George “Brownie” Holmes. Holmes was a pioneer Arizonian. His father was born at Fort Whipple and his grandfather traveled along the Gila Trail in the late 1840’s. “Brownie” Holmes was a good friend of Nancy McCollough and Clay Worst. I am sure both of them heard the “Brownie’s” version of the hanging of Starr Daley along the old Roosevelt Road.
Apache Junction Police have filed criminal charges against a city resident for Animal Cruelty/Neglect. According to an official news release, Vyle Raven-Greyv (69) kept 4 dogs, 7 tortoises, a pot-bellied pig, 8 ducks, 8 chickens, a pigeon, 2 snakes and a lizard at her residence.
Everyone knows that strawberries are sweet, and this loving little 2-year-old pit bull is no exception. Strawberry came to the Paws & Claws Animal Shelter in Apache Junction on June 9 as a stray, picked up by Animal Control. Senior Kennel Tech Jenny Flood immediately knew something was wrong with her front left paw; it was very flat and turned inward.
Apache Junction won the Tempe Varsity Prep Softball League championship by defeating Scottsdale Saguaro 9-8 in the title game, played on June 27 in Tempe. In the semifinal round, AJ defeated the Mesa Mountain View Toros 8-6. Overall, AJ finished its Tempe League play with a record of 10-1-1.
By a vote of 6-1, with Councilman Jeff Struble voting no, council members approved awarding funding contracts between the city of Apache Junction and Apache Junction Food Bank ($33,000); the Boys and Girls Club of the East Valley, Superstition Mountain Branch ($29,000); and Community Alliance Against Family Abuse (CAAFA) ($16,000).
The Apache Junction City Council has given formal approval to the city budget for the fiscal year of 2018-19. The budget reflects a general fund increase of about 3 percent over last year, a reflection of some overall economic growth, an increase in costs associated with the public safety personnel retirement system, the re-plastering of the pool deck at Superstition Shadows Aquatic Center and the addition of a second Household Hazardous Waste collection day.
It was oppressively hot sitting in the Apache Junction High School parking lot at mid-day, but Cristi Harris was full of fresh excitement. She is one of several producers of The Unhealer, an independent feature movie that is being created in and around Apache Junction. Harris and her family live in Phoenix and she is a co-founder of Phoenix-based Shared Card Films.
John R. Acton, Justice of the Peace? The term “oxymoron” comes to mind. I assume Mr. Acton decided to run for Apache Junction JP after realizing that his recent 60-day suspension from his elected position as Constable wouldn’t play well in a run to continue his current job.
In an Arizona court last week, U.S. District Judge Douglas L. Rayes sentenced Randall Charles Tucker (22) to 20 months in prison and ordered him to pay $69,331 in restitution for one count of intentional damage to a protected computer. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Tucker pleaded guilty to the charge last April.
The Sons of the American Legion Post #27 came to the rescue of Desert Vista Elementary School, 3701 E. Broadway in Apache Junction, by donating the $4,267.18 needed to complete the inclusive playground equipment on the west side of the campus.
Those who have recently taken a drive up Apache Trail on their way to the lakes, restaurants, roadside attractions or parks, have seen the extensive construction underway at the road’s intersection with Superstition Boulevard. Passing through the construction zone without delays has been relatively smooth, but soon that will change.
On May 22, I received a call for help from Velma, who is a friend and neighbor in our Gold Canyon neighborhood.Her horse, Lucy, had been down for more than 6 hours and couldn’t get up. Velma and her husband, Curtis, had tried everything they could think of, and even though she struggled to rise, she still could not stand.
Students in Apache Junction Unified District’s Gifted/Talented program recently showcased an array of amazing student projects before taking off for summer break. Linda Gering and Robyn Gonzales from the Educational Services Department visited the gifted/talented students at Desert Vista Elementary School to view and evaluate the projects. Both women said the student work was amazing.
Proving there’s something to be said for perseverance, Aiden McIntyre’s late-blooming baseball career will continue. McIntyre, a 2014 graduate of Apache Junction High, was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 22nd round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on June 6.
The Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce held their 2018 Fry’s Food Community Awards Banquet on Thursday, May 24 at Roadhaven Golf & Tennis Resort in Apache Junction. The annual formal banquet honors outstanding small, medium, large businesses, non-profit, volunteer, teachers, firefighter, police officer and professors for their dedication and outstanding contributions to the community.
Logan Reichwald, a seventh grader at Cactus Canyon Junior High School, 801 W. Southern Ave. in Apache Junction, AZ, was named 2018 Arizona Jr. High School Rodeo Association Bull Riding State Champion. Logan has been riding bulls for two years. Before the end of 2017, Logan had won nine championship buckles and was invited to major rodeo and bull riding events for 2018.
Several Desert Vista Elementary School students were recently recognized for winning local, state and national awards in the Junior American Citizens creative arts contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The students designed posters, wrote essays and did other work intended to allow students to express their patriotism through the visual and written arts.