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.

Participation Up in Local and Statewide Elections

Possibly the biggest surprise of the 2018 General Election in Apache Junction, Pinal County and statewide was the exceptional turnout of the electorate. Voters were unusually energized by the mid-term races, taking the opportunity to vote early by mail or show up at polling places in numbers that compared to a Presidential election.

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Pinal County Board Report

From the two citizens who spoke passionately during the Call to the Public about voting and the state’s ESSA proposition, to the San Tan Valley resident appealing property code compliance fines; from the deceptively dry minutia of the purchasing division report and consent agenda to decisions clearing the way for construction of the Nikola Motors and Lucid Motors manufacturing facilities, this was a typical non-eventful, yet highly impactful slice of the American pie.

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City Discusses Property Maintenance Codes

Larry Kirch, Director of Development Services, and Dave Zellner, CBO, Building and Safety Manager, presented proposed changes to the city’s property maintenance code, which was last amended in 2006.

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Truck Hits Building

An early morning accident near Roundup and N Ironwood Dr in Apache Junction on Wednesday, Oct. 31 forced a vehicle to crash through a block wall and into a building.

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District Reports Water Safe to Drink

Customers of the Apache Junction Water District are receiving communication regarding an exceedance of a compound found during routine testing of water in the district system.

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All-American Veterans Day Parade Nov. 11

Gerald “Jerry” Becker, 84, a Korean War Air Force veteran, has been named the grand marshal of the parade. Mr. Becker enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the age of 17 and was promoted to PFC in 1951 on his completion of basic training at Sheppard AFB in Wichita County, Texas.

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AZMerit, Calendar, Norms Dominate Discussion

Three topics dominated the discussion at the October 23 Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board meeting: AZMerit school labels, academic calendar approval and Board Norms and Expectations.

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Vietnam Veterans Honored in Ceremony

When Vietnam veterans returned to the United States, there were no welcome home ceremonies at airports or other public places as is the case today.  To remedy that, the Vietnam War Commemoration was established by the President and Congress.

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Movie in the Park

The Apache Junction Parks & Recreation department will be hosting a free Movie in the Park event on Saturday, November 3rd! This free event will be held at Flatiron Community Park in downtown Apache Junction! The November movie features the family Thanksgiving film, Free Birds.

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Fatal Car Accident on Apache Trail

An Apache Junction teen was killed Saturday, Oct. 20 when a car he was riding in veered off of State Route 88 and rolled down an embankment. The driver of the car survived the crash, but has been arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder.

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Veterans Day Weekend

A tribute to veterans and a parade highlight the annual Festival of the Superstitions celebration on November 10-11 in Apache Junction’s Flatiron Community Park, sponsored by Amazing Dental Care.

 

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Educator of Distinction

Da Un “Andie” Chung, an educator at Apache Junction High School in Apache Junction, AZ, was recently selected as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS).

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Fatal Pedestrian Accident

A female pedestrian was struck by a car and killed in Apache Junction on Friday October 19. According to the Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD), the accident occurred at about 5:45 a.m.

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AJ ‘Old Timer’ Falls

The community was saddened by the sudden demise of a local landmark. The majestic saguaro that stood just north of Superstition Boulevard in front of Shady Way Gardens fell to ground last Wednesday night.

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Prospectors' Wild Win

It wasn’t just the kids who enjoyed Apache Junction’s stunning 53-52 4A Black Canyon Region football victory on Oct. 19 in Glendale against the No. 3-ranked Cardinals. Three of the Prospector assistant coaches are also AJHS alumni, who played at a time when Black and Gold football fortunes weren’t so golden.

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CAAFA Open House

It was a perfect sunny day on October 25 for the Community Alliance Against Family Abuse (CAAFA) open house. Along with key community partners, CAAFA created an opportunity to raise awareness about domestic violence in Apache Junction.

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Keep Personal Conflict Out of the Ballot Box

With the General Election just a few weeks away, the ads, posts, snipes, muckraking and political grandstanding has reached fever pitch. The local race for two positions on the local School Board is no exception.

 

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Volunteers are Essential!

Volunteering improves not only the communities in which one serves, but also the life of the individual who is providing help to the community. Numerous studies say personal gains for the volunteer are more far reaching than previously understood.

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Marching Prospectors take 2nd Place

The Apache Junction High School Marching Band strutted to success, walking away with 2nd Place in the 1A Division at the Arizona Marching Band Association (AzMBA) competition at Williams Field High School, 2076 S. Higley Road in Gilbert on Saturday, Oct. 20. The percussion section earned an “Outstanding” designation.

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School Letter Grades Drop

We recently received notice from the State Department of Education regarding letter grades for each of our schools for the 2017-2018 school year. The state bases its score on an A to F letter grade. A is the highest (excellent) and F is the lowest (failing).

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AJ Woman Sentenced

An Apache Junction woman who was arrested in 2017, has been sentenced for her part in sexual exploitation and giving drugs to minors. Her husband was also arrested in 2017 and sentenced last June. Paula Ann Bollinger, 40, of Apache Junction, has been sentenced to two consecutive 10-year prison terms.

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Counties Work to Entice Employers, Workers

Nikola. Lucid. Severtson. Attesa. Green Gas Partners. Different companies. One location: Pinal County. In the past month, Pinal County has landed a very impressive list of firms; some making their plans known ahead of time and others announcing after keeping their intentions quiet.

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Five Propositions to consider before Nov. 6

We can’t turn on the television or the radio or even Facebook without being barraged by election ads. But, have faith, the mail-in ballots are out this week, and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The ads and the signs will disappear, and jolly old St. Nick will take over.

 

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AJHS Routs Cortez

After building a 42-point halftime lead, Apache Junction cruised to a 63-0 4A Black Canyon Region win over Phoenix Cortez at Davis Field on Oct. 12. Junior quarterback Gibson Limongello completed 6-of-9 passes for 145 yards and four touchdowns, and William Lohman ran 10 times for 103 yards and two touchdowns (plus a scoring pass reception) playing in the first half, as the Prospectors used mostly younger reserves in the third and fourth quarters.

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Delaware Roadwork Begins October 22

Construction of roadway improvements for Delaware Drive between Apache Trail and Superstition Boulevard is set to begin on Monday, Oct. 22. Construction is scheduled for Mondays through Fridays, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., through next spring. The roadwork is not expected on weekends or holidays during the construction period.

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AJPD Warns of Scams

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.” This is a public notification regarding two recent scams. A local woman was contacted by telephone and told by a male caller that they represented the United States Grant Department. The victim was told that she was being awarded several thousand dollars because her credit score was very high.

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Resolution Copper Update

Resolution Copper is a joint venture owned by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to develop one of the world’s largest untapped deposits of copper near Superior.  Yield is calculated to meet 25 percent of US demand each year. The planned mine, on which well over a billion dollars has already been spent, will be the largest or one of the very largest investments in Arizona’s history.

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Meet the Candidates for the AJUSD School Board

With all city positions decided in the primary election on August 28, the lone event remaining in the local race is between the four candidates vying for two open seats on the Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board. One candidate is an incumbent: Dena Kimble. The other three candidates are: Braden Biggs, Chelsea Connelly and Gilbert Cancio.

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Arizona Propositions on November 6 Ballot

Five propositions will appear on statewide election ballots for the November 6 general election. Voters will have an opportunity to vote on three State Constitution amendments, one State Statute and whether to allow or overturn a contested legislative bill.

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3rd Suspect Arrested in AJ Double Murder

Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) announced that a third suspect has been arrested in an Apache Junction murder investigation from 2016. PCSO deputies arrested a member of the Loose Cannons motorcycle gang for his involvement in a double homicide.

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Community Responds with a Big Heart

In just 48 hours time, regional residents, businesses and civic groups valley wide donated over $3,500 to the Apache Junction Food Bank to repair its 16-foot, refrigerated truck. By Friday, that total surged to just over $6,000. The vehicle’s drive shaft dropped out on University Drive in Mesa with food in it on Tuesday morning.

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Prospectors Outlast Dysart

Apache Junction, led by running back William Lohman, won its second consecutive 4A Black Canyon Region football contest on Oct. 5, outlasting Dysart 55-34 at El Mirage. Lohman ran for 265 yards and scored five touchdowns – four rushing and one on a pass from Gibson Limongello.

 

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News Staff Recognized with 5 Awards

The Apache Junction & Gold Canyon News staff received five awards at the Arizona Newspapers Association-Associated Press Media Editors (ANA-APME) 2018 Better Newspapers Contest and Excellence in Advertising competition, including one first place, one second place and three third place nods.

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Local Historian Tom Kollenborn Passes at 80

Our community’s local historian and real-deal cowboy, Tom Kollenborn, passed away on Thursday, September 27 at age 80. Tom was the author of the weekly column, “Kollenborn’s Chronicles” in this newspaper and has been a friend to all who have gathered in wonder of the majesty and mystery of the Superstition Mountains.

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AJUSD Board Meets in Work Session

The Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board work session on Sept. 25 included extensive information concerning the strategies to improve academic scores, stabilize the academic calendar, address enrollment issues and create consensus on norms and expectations for Board conduct.

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Lohman Runs Wild in Prospectors Victory

The story of Samson and Delilah mattered little to previously shaggy Apache Junction running back William Lohman. He was determined to get a new quaff for homecoming week. “It’s a lot cleaner, and I was looking like a rag, so that’s when I decided to cut it!” the senior explained after running for 215 yards and four touchdowns in the Prospectors’ 41-14 Black Canyon Region victory over Phoenix Washington on Sept. 28 at Davis Field.

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Gimme Shelter

It is unfortunate that various levels of crime come with growth in a community, and in the late 1980s, it became apparent that reports of domestic violence (DV) seemed to be on the increase. There were no services or resources for the victims anywhere near Apache Junction at that time. In fact, they had to travel as far as Mesa or Casa Grande, but most had no transportation or the finances to do so.

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AJHS NJROTC Cadets Take First Place in Brain Brawl

On Saturday, September 22, Apache Junction High School hosted the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) Prospector Brain Brawl. Out of 16 teams participating in the event, Apache Junction took the first place win, which earned them an automatic qualification for the Western Regional competition in California.

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Water District Budget Approved

The Apache Junction Water District (AJWD) is committed to providing safe and reliable drinking water to our customers. With this commitment comes the responsibility to ensure that infrastructure improvements are made, and that the water system remains financially sustainable.

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Motorcyclist Killed in Collision with School Bus

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.

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AJ Chamber of Commerce Approves Name Change

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.

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Feud at Cottonwood Springs

There are those who believe there is an unlimited supply of water. But in the 1890s prospectors, miners and cattlemen fought over small seeps and springs in the desert around Superstition Mountain. The Cottonwood Springs water feud was between a cattleman and a stable owner in the Goldfield mining camp around 1894. The story goes something like this. When the first Mormon gold miners arrived here from Mesa City in 1881, there wasn’t much water in the area.

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Apache Junction Police Department encourages everyone to join with us in recognizing the on-going societal issue of domestic abuse in our country. On Tuesday, October 2, Chief of Police Thomas E. Kelly will receive a City Council proclamation at the City Council meeting at 300 E. Superstition Blvd. Please wear purple to show support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

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Our Water Future

Mitch Basefsky, CAP’s External Communications Representative for Pima and Pinal Counties and an Arizona water guru for more than 25 years, will discuss the above questions and much more at the October 2nd kickoff of the SALT Speakers Series for the 2018/19 season.

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AJ Council Update

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.

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Facility to Process Bio-Gas from Manure

On September 19, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the issuance by the Industrial Development Authority of revenue bonds not to exceed $60 million. The bond revenue will finance sewage and solid waste facilities to be constructed near Stanfield.

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VCA Offers Alternative Care Options

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.

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AJHS Suffers One-Point Loss to Shadow Mountain

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.

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P&Z Approves Land Use Changes

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.

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New Director at Museum

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.

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Aid to North Carolina

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.

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AJUSD to Replace Outdated IT Infrastructure

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.

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AJ Cross Country

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."

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Invention: The Mother Of...

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.

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Supervisors Approve Pinal County Canvass

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.

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Secrets of the Missing

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.

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“Mine, mine, mine, mine...”

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.

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Stranger Than Fiction

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.

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Prospectors Win

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.

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Fall Concerts in the Park

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!

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AJ Prop. 423 OK’d

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.

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Serdy Wins Mayor’s Race

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.

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Marta Saint-James Passes

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.

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JP Race Too Close to Call

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.

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Day of Planting

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.

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STV Comprehensive Plan

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.”

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Lady Panthers Volleyball Wins

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.

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AJPD Arrests Suspect on Several Charges

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.

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AJUSD Board Member Mike Weaver Steps Down

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.

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Crime Tech Secures DNA Analysis Funds

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.

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Auditor General Says RICO Funds Misspent

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.

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New AJUSD Transportation Director Provides Update

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.

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AJ Police Pursue Burglary Suspects

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.”

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City Council Doubles Down on Waste Collection Event

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.

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Mediacom Opens New AJ Facility

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.

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Roundabout Opens

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.

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Mirror, Mirror...

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).

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Cactus Canyon Attracts AVID Learners

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.

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Eagle Scout Project Restores Grasslands

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.

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Listen While You Browse!

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.

AJ Parks and Recreation Earns State Awards

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.

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BOS Approves Immigration Resolution

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.

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Prospectors’ California Road Trip a Success

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.

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Board of Supervisors Plan Work Session re: Housing

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.

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Apache Junction Home Invader Killed

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.

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AJ Police Dept. Hosts Community Forum

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.

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Becoming an Outdoors Woman Weekend

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.

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Prospectors’ Quiroz Lands at Midland University

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.

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Hurricane Andrew’s Effect on Legion World Series

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.

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Officials Believe Man’s Death Heat Related

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.

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Interim Manager for Johnson Utilities

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.

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Signs of the Time

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.

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“Down Under” Golf

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.

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Angling on Roosevelt

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.

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Hanging Starr Daley

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.

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Police Investigate Animal Cruelty Case in AJ Home

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.

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Homework Required

I have been wondering for a while now why candidates running for certain county offices make a point of clearly affiliating with their political party, even though the office has no basis or influence in party politics. “Aren’t these offices non-partisan?” NO!

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Los Gringos Locos Near 2 Million Served

Debra Nine, one of the five owners of Los Gringos Locos, is excited about the countdown to celebrating the popular restaurant’s two millionth customer – and even more excited that the landmark event will happen sometime very soon.

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AJUSD to Get New Buses

Apache Junction Unified School District could receive funding for up to five new school buses through a settlement between the US Department of Justice and Volkswagen.

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AJ Library is Always ‘Open’

The Apache Junction Public Library has always been the best place to find an escape from the summer heat. Endless entertainment can be accessed with a library card—even on Sundays.

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Mound Success at Scottsdale CC

As a junior at Apache Junction High School, Justin Anderson was a key player in the Prospectors’ state Division IV baseball championship run in 2016.

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C.A.R.E. Provides Medical Assistance to Shelter Pets

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.

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Softball Championship

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.

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Local Non-Profits Receive $78,000 in City Support

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).

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AJ Budget Adopted

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.

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Lights, Camera, Action

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.

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Half Truths and Inuendo

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.

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Community Service Crews

People make mistakes in life. You shouldn’t have to live with that for the rest of your life. I believe in redemption.” This quote from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe reminds us that fortune and misfortune can turn on a dime.

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‘Bitcoin Baron’ Sentenced

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.

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Sons of the American Legion Fund Playground

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.

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Roundabout Progress

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.

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Mare Saved by SFMD

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.

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Brilliant Students Shine

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.

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House's Priorities

As Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Todd House has verbally dragged his heels, providing rationalizations for Johnson Utilities’ actions even as the BOS voted to approve a resolution supporting the ACC investigation into complaints.

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Persistence Pays Off

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.

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Community Contributors Honored

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.

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Junior Bull Riding Champ

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.

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DVES Students Take Top Honors in DAR Contest

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.

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