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AJ Elks Bring Home the Bacon… and Goat and Veal

In many rural communities, local farmers, banks and feed stores work together to purchase the animals raised by local 4-H Club members when the livestock is offered for sale at the county fair. Those farming coalitions don’t exist in the Apache Junction area, so the local Elks Lodge #2349 has stepped up to even the scales.

The lodge uses grant money, available through the Elks National Foundation, to purchase animals, raised by the young agricultural entrepreneurs in the local Country Kickers (ages 9 and up) and Goldmine Farms 4-H Club (ages 5-8; must be 8 to compete). Dennis Mack, past exalted ruler and current trustee, bidding on behalf of the lodge, purchased four animals this year, with $4,000 from the organization’s Gratitude and Anniversary grants.

After the animals are butchered, the meat is auctioned to members of the Elks Lodge. “I’ve got people waiting!” said Mack, explaining that the event has become quite popular with members. “Everybody gets a chance to bid.”

Winning bidders also receive a thank you note and a gift basket, created by the 4-H members, with items to complement the purchase, such as BBQ sauce and accessories.

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Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested in AJ

A suspect in the March 4 robbery of the US Bank location inside the Safeway supermarket at 3185 W. Apache Trail has been arrested. The suspect, identified as Eric Joseph Rawlings, 48, of Apache Junction, was arrested on Thursday, April 18, after detectives and officers from the Apache Junction Police Department served a search warrant at Rawlings’ residence.

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April 16 City Council Meeting

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Mayor Jeff Serdy read a proclamation designating the month of April 2019 as “Promise for the Future” month. The document acknowledges the program established by Central Arizona College (CAC) to provide tuition-free, 4-semester scholarships to qualifying high school graduates in Pinal County.

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Free Dump Week in May

Residents of Apache Junction can junk a load of trash during “Free Dump Week,” on May 6-11. During that week, the landfill offers Apache Junction residents a drop off opportunity at no cost in partnership with Republic Services, which owns and operates the landfill. City residents can take one free load to the landfill during the week. Please bring proof of residency (such as a water bill).

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Emergency Training

On April 17, 2019, Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) officers and various command staff participated in a multi-agency training exercise at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Participants had no prior knowledge of the  event, which simulated the crash of a commercial aircraft carrying 100 passengers. An incident of this magnitude would require the cooperation and response of several agencies to properly address the situation and handle the multi-faceted problems that would stem from such a critical event.

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County to Look at GC Traffic Patterns

Supervisor Todd House is pleased to announce that Pinal County Public Works Department engineers will be performing a review of traffic patterns in the Gold Canyon area. “What we’ll be doing is a traffic impact analysis study,” Supervisor House explained. “I hosted a public meeting earlier in the month and listened to the concerns of the residents living off of Peralta Canyon Road and elsewhere.

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Supervisors Session Focuses on Ground & Air Transportation

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors (BOS) heard the recommended five-year plan for roadways in Pinal County. These construction, improvement or maintenance projects are funded by a voter approved half-cent transportation Excise Tax. The recommendation for these projects comes from the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), a ten-member panel of residents chosen by the Board of Supervisors.

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AJPD: Alarm Registration & Monitoring Changes

Beginning Monday, June 3, 2019, Apache Junction Police Department will be making some changes to their alarm program. The city of Apache Junction will no longer be processing alarm registrations or accept payments. AJPD will contract with the PM AM Corporation, who will be monitoring the alarm registration and false alarm program.

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Reveles: Comments to Supervisors

Following an extensive 3-month public process, Salt River Project’s publicly-elected Board of Directors today approved changes in price plans, effective with the May billing cycle, that include an overall average annual price decrease of 2.2 percent. The $64 million overall decrease in prices is a result of a reduction in fuel expenses and a modest increase in base prices. The approved decrease will vary by customer type and price plan.

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Denise Hart Named New Chamber CEO

The Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce has named Denise Hart as the Chamber’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited to add Denise Hart to our team and to our community,” said Steve Byfield, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. Denise has been leading the way in challenging businesses; she is going to be a great fit for Apache Junction.

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AJUSD Approves Salary Schedule/Raises

Over the course of the last few months, representative employees from all Apache Junction Unified School District schools and departments have met to research, discuss and rebuild the district’s salary structure. The efforts of this salary committee resulted in a new salary structure that drives the district’s median pay scale from the 25th percentile.

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SRP Board Approves Cut

Following an extensive 3-month public process, Salt River Project’s publicly-elected Board of Directors today approved changes in price plans, effective with the May billing cycle, that include an overall average annual price decrease of 2.2 percent. The $64 million overall decrease in prices is a result of a reduction in fuel expenses and a modest increase in base prices. The approved decrease will vary by customer type and price plan.

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City Homeowners May Qualify for Funds

It is uncommon for funds available to Apache Junction homeowners to languish in city coffers – especially when local residents are repeatedly reminded that the money is there to help get their homes in shape. The city has received federal funds to continue the owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program. The program provides deferred payment loans – up to $55,000 – for heating, air conditioning, plumbing, roofs, ADA accessibility, code violations and health and safety issues.

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House: “Looking Forward to Gold Canyon Plan”

Roberto Reveles and David Coward spoke at the April 3 Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting during the call to the public. The Gold Canyon residents thanked Supervisor Todd House for attending the recent meeting concerning ingress/egress routes for Gold Canyon, as well as the increased traffic anticipated on Peralta Road due to the addition of 761 homes in the new Peralta Canyon subdivision.

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AJHS Student Receives Scholarship

Kennedy Bishop, a senior at Apache Junction High School, 2525 S. Ironwood Drive in Apache Junction, received the Grand Canyon University Presidential Scholarship. The scholarship is for $10,000 a year and can be renewed annually as long as Kennedy maintains her unweighted grade point average of 3.93. Kennedy plans to major in pre-med. Her long-term goal is to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.

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Team Rubicon

What do Lady Gaga, Prince Harry, Congressman Ben Crenshaw and retired Apache Junction Revenue Development Manager Roger Hacker have in common? They all volunteer for disaster relief efforts with Team Rubicon, along with approximately 99,000 other people from all walks of life. Team Rubicon specializes in the rapid deployment of emergency response teams to provide immediate relief to those impacted by natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

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The Pipes are Calling

Recently, the Phoenix Pipe Band, Grade 3, was the Overall Winner among the seven bands competing in the 55th Annual Phoenix Scottish Games, as well as taking first place finishes in both of the sectional events and first and second place finishes in the Grade 5 (entry level) sectionals. Superstition Fire & Medical District (SFMD) Firefighter Geof Shively is the Vice-President of the Phoenix Pipe Band and Pipe Sergeant for the Pipe Band, Grade 5.

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Gold Canyon Development Concerns Residents

The sanctuary of the Gold Canyon United Methodist Church was nearly filled the afternoon of March 28 when 550 residents of Gold Canyon and Peralta Trails neighborhoods gathered for a scheduled community meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to gather information, dispel rumors and address concerns surrounding Peralta Canyon, an approved development of 761 new homes to the north of Peralta Trail.

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City Council Meeting April 2, 2019

The Apache Junction City Council met on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, and four proclamations were read by the mayor and members of the council. April 2019 was proclaimed “Fair Housing Month.” The National Fair Housing Law of 1986, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, prohibits discrimination in housing and declares it a national policy to provide, within constitutional limits, for fair housing in the United States.

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The AJ/GC News is On the Move!

The Apache Junction & Gold Canyon News is undergoing exciting changes as we grow and evolve to better meet the needs of our expanding demographic. The next step will be out the door and into a larger office at 879 N. Plaza Drive, Suite 101-C, Apache Junction. The adobe-style business complex, Arroyo Hermosa Plaza, is directly across the street from Earth Heart Park; our building is inside the plaza, behind the Dog Run Saloon.

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Apache Junction Youth Hero Honored

Apache Junction Police Chief Thomas E. Kelly and Sgt. Eric Goodwyn presented 9-year-old Vivianna Gonzales of Apache Junction with an award in front of her classmates at her school on Wednesday April 4th. Vivianna was recognized for the heroic actions she demonstrated in the early morning hours of February 10th. Viviana called 911 to report that a family member was experiencing a medical emergency and was unconscious.

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AJUSD Honors Employees and Volunteer

The Apache Junction Unified School District Employees and Volunteer of the Month for February were selected from Desert Vista Elementary School and introduced by Principal Pat Smith. Dr. Pam Lane-Garon (“Dr. Pam,” as she is known at the school) is the Volunteer of the Month. “I’ve been able to witness what a difference she makes with our kids,” said Smith.

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Cameras Capture Traffic Patterns Only

As a result of questions on Facebook regarding cameras being installed at intersections along Ironwood Drive, the city of Apache Junction has provided an explanation and a bit of history. “The cameras being installed along Ironwood Drive are part of the city’s Intelligent Transportation System, passed in 2016 and funded by the federal government through the Maricopa Association of Governments.

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Two Pets Escape Mobile Home Fire

The Superstition Fire & Medical District (SFMD) and the Mesa Fire & Medical Department responded to a mobile home fire just after Noon on April 1, 2019. Firefighters were dispatched to the fire at 3700 S. Ironwood Road and the first unit arrived in four minutes to find a double wide mobile home with smoke showing. Firefighters were able to control the blaze in just a few minutes and contain it to the room of origin.

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The Spirit of St. Louis

That media is “biased” is largely a biased opinion. Steve Benson, Arizona Republic cartoonist, once said that people didn’t like his cartoons because their bias didn’t match his bias. It’s true. But Benson’s cartoons are printed in the “opinion” section of the newspaper—not in the “news” section. And it’s been my experience over the past 40 years or so that many people who complain about newspaper bias don’t know the difference between the news section and the opinion section.

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Suspect arrested in AJ Drive-in Robbery

Apache Junction Police (AJPD) have made an arrest in a case involving an armed robbery at the Sonic Drive-in on Apache Trail in Apache Junction. AJPD spokesman Officer Marshall Harshman said that the crime occurred on Wednesday, March 27 at about 10:00 a.m. "Sonic employees reported that a male suspect entered the store, pointed a gun at them and demanded money.

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SFMD Firefighter and Transportation Services Employees of the Year

Join Superstition Fire & Medical District in congratulating Fire Engineer/Paramedic Ryan Ledbetter as SFMD’s 2019 Firefighter of the year, and Paramedic Ryan Tonelli as our Transportation Services 2019 Employee of the year.

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AJPD Responds to Hostage Situation

Last Saturday night, Apache Junction Police made an arrest after receiving a 911 call for a hostage situation.  In a release to the public, AJPD Spokesman Marshall Harshman said:
“On March 23, 2019, Apache Junction Police Department officers responded to a 911 call at a residence located in the 1200 block of South Ironwood Drive.

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Resolution Copper Updates City Council

Hesston Klenk, the Resolution Copper Manager of Governance, Assurance & Engagement, addressed the Apache Junction City Council at their meeting on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Mr. Klenk provided an update on the Resolution Copper Project in nearby Superior—a joint venture owned by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. He said that the operation currently employs about 600 individuals on site; 491 of them live locally.

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Remembering Jeff Bell

Jeff Bell – the city of Apache Junction’s only parks director until his retirement in 2016 – died on Wednesday, March 13, after an illness. He was 61. Bell, born on June 28, 1957, grew up in Casa Grande and volunteered with that city’s parks department before he was a teenager. He worked there before and after he attended Arizona State University, where he earned a degree in recreation management.

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Property Tax Collection Task Force

On Wednesday, 3/20, Pinal County Treasurer Mike McCord, Sheriff Mark Lamb, Business and Personal Property Supervisor Melina Lopez (Assessor’s office) and Deputy County Attorney Chris Keller  submitted a joint presentation to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors about the business personal property tax collection process. Each of the four offices represented plays a role in the collection of business taxes.

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Apache Junction Police Honor Their Finest

On March 15, 2019, the Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) held their 9th Annual Awards Ceremony. This year, the Police Department was honored to have Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams as the keynote speaker.

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DV Mustangs Win Chess League Championship

The Desert Vista Elementary School Mustangs made all the right moves and handily won the 2nd Annual AJUSD Elementary School Chess Tournament. The DVES team won all but four matches during the season.

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School District to Study Possible Bond Election

The Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board added an extra work session to their schedule this month, meeting Tuesday, March 12, to discuss three key topics.

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Bank Robbery Suspect Sought

The Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) is seeking the public’s help with apprehending a suspected bank robber in the city. According to a press release from AJPD:  “The robbery took place on March 4 at 4 p.m. at the U.S. Bank location inside the Safeway supermarket at 3185 W. Apache Trail.

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“Everywhere, People are the Same”

You can make friends; it’s not difficult here,” Valentina summarized her experience as a foreign exchange student attending Apache Junction High School. “It’s the same – with different language, food and habits – but underneath, everybody is the same everywhere you go. I’ve learned to be a citizen of the world, not just my little Italy.”

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City Council Summary Mar. 4-5

Work Session On Monday, March 4, the Apache Junction City Council discussed three items during their work session. The first item was an agreement with Roadway Electric, LLC for traffic signal repair. This is an agreement in partnership with Mesa that will cover repairs to the city’s traffic signals over a three year period at a maximum cost of $100,000 per year or $500,000 if the Mesa contract is longer than three years.

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Big Week for Cactus Canyon

The Cactus Canyon Jr. High girls basketball team won the Middle School League championship on Monday, March 4, defeating J.O. Combs, finishing its season undefeated in 10 games. Eighth-grader Alyssa Demery averaged 12.5 points per game for the Cougars. In a game against Combs, seventh grader Alexis Alsenay made seven 3-pointers to lead CCJH to a victory. The Cougars averaged 35 points per game and held their opponents to an average of 16 points per game.

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Music Student & Composer Scores Scholarship

Apache Junction High School student Matthew Swigert knows how to score. The high school senior recently received a $1,000 scholarship from the Rhythm in Blues Community Choir at Roadhaven Resort, 1000 S. Idaho Road in Apache Junction.  Roadhaven resident Mike Radniecki inquired about potential scholarship recipients, and Swigert was nominated by his teacher, Andie Chung. When the scholarship panel met with Swigert, they were impressed with his work ethic, musical expertise and versatility.

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GC Residents Protest Storage Development

Residents of Gold Canyon who live just east of Kings Ranch Road spoke for twenty minutes at the Pinal County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting on Feb. 13 in hopes of persuading supervisors to block the sale of 7.4 acres of county land adjacent to their properties. A single-level storage unit facility has been proposed by a company seeking to purchase the vacant land.

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How Do You Spell Success?

Three Apache Junction Unified School District  students traveled to Casa Grande to compete in the 56th Annual Pinal County Spelling Bee, and all three students earned a spot in the Top 10. Nearly 70 students throughout the county participated. Hailey Adams, a fifth grader from Peralta Trail Elementary School, placed fourth; Susana Martinez, who attends Cactus Canyon Junior High, came in 5th place and Elijah Anderson, who attends Desert Vista Elementary School, finished 10th.

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AJ Mayor Seeks Regional Committee

Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy has announced a public meeting in Gold Canyon with the goal of forming a group that will represent Gold Canyon and Peralta Trail areas on regional issues. The meeting is scheduled for March 14, at 7 p.m. at the Gold Canyon Community Church, 5810 S. Alameda, in Gold Canyon.

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AJPD to Add New Motorcycles

The Apache Junction Police Department’s (AJPD) mission to keep our community safe recently received some additional support. AJPD will be adding two new police package motorcycles to its fleet thanks to a grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (AZGOHS).

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Lost Dutchman Days Thrills Apache Junction

Lost Dutchman Days overcame the challenges of a statewide winter storm last week and, once again, did not disappoint. Adept fairground crews adapted the layout during a wet setup on Thursday, February 21 and opened the event as planned—for the 55th time. Attendees from near and far were treated to clearing weather and three days of rodeo action, a parade on Saturday, arts fair and a carnival that featured rides and attractions.

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Woman Charged with Running Over, Killing Boyfriend

Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) said that a man has died after an apparent altercation with his girlfriend in the Apache Junction Walmart parking lot. “Oscar Coronado, 25, died early Thursday, February 21 after being struck late Wednesday night by a car allegedly driven by his girlfriend, Dalia Villalobos, 23, in the parking lot off Apache Trail and Delaware Drive,” police reported.

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Police Officer Scam Alert

The Apache Junction Police Department has been alerted to an apparent scam in which a person is representing himself as an Apache Junction police officer. Under the ruse, a person identifying himself as “Sean Parker” is calling individuals and stating he is an Apache Junction police officer.

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2019 State of the City

The City of Apache Junction celebrated its second “State of the City” program on Wednesday evening, February 13, 2019. Mayor Jeff Serdy welcomed the community to an evening with city staff, elected officials and dignitaries from the region.

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Apache Greyhound Park Revitalization

Apache Junction Focal Point & Tourism Group (FP&T) met last Tuesday, February 12, at the Apache Greyhound Park to hear a presentation by Delaware North staff about the possibility of turning the park into a concert/activity venue.

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AJPD Officers Honored

On February 9th 2019, Five Apache Junction Police officers were honored for their lifesaving efforts. The officers were presented medals during a breakfast put on by the Sons of the American Revolution.

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Free Tax Help

Last year, 2,296 Arizona residents across the state gave back to their communities as volunteers providing free tax services. These volunteers prepared more than 86,000 federal and State of Arizona individual income tax returns.

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AJPD Uses Unmarked Cars

In response to increased calls from citizens regarding traffic violations in schools zones, Apache Junction Police Department traffic division has increased their enforcement efforts in the areas of Apache Junction High School and Four Peaks Elementary School.

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Murder/Suicide in AJ

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and the Apache Junction Police Department are investigating what appears to be a murder-suicide that took place last weekend. On Friday, February 8, 2019 at approximately 10:30 p.m., the Goodyear Police Department contacted the Apache Junction Police Department, requesting assistance in locating 30-year-old Stuart Milne, who was possibly suicidal.

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Tourism’s Effect on Pinal County Economy

Newly released numbers from the Arizona Department of Tourism shows that tourists spent over $500 million dollars in Pinal County in 2017. The study conducted by Dean Runyan Associates, highlighted tourism dollars spent in Arizona and broke them down by county. Pinal County’s economy realized $691.5 million in tourism-related spending.

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Gifted Projects

Students at Desert Vista Elementary School, 3701 E. Broadway Ave. in Apache Junction, wrapped up 2018 sharing their Gifted Projects with Jodi Walker, academic coach for AJUSD elementary schools, and Robyn Gonzales, educational services curriculum manager. The students demonstrated initiative, imagination and creativity in their projects and presentations.

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Council Fills P&Z Commission Seat

On Tuesday, February 5, the Apache Junction City Council appointed volunteer Dave Hantzsche to fill the one vacancy on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. There were eight applicants for the seat, and Mr. Hantzsche was selected by a vote of 5-2 with councilmembers Gail Evans and Christa Rizzi dissenting.

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AJ Man Arrested for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

Apache Junction Police Department detectives, working in partnership with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Pinal County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the arrest of an Apache Junction man on Monday, January 28.

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Local Photographer’s Pic Selected for Museum

In April, 2011, when Gold Canyon resident Curt Fonger snapped a series of photos and video near (aptly named) Prickly Point Rd. and Cloudview Ave., he had no idea what an impact they would make. The photos found their way to YouTube, and, from there, they quickly went viral.

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Heat Relief Network Seeks Water Bottles

As we embark into 2019, we begin to think about the upcoming community impact projects — one of the largest being our annual community hydration drive. In the spring of 2018, united together, we launched the Pinal County Heat Relief Network.

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Voters May See Election Changes in Pinal

Voting in Pinal County could see changes in 2020 to simplify and enhance the voter experience. County Recorder Virginia Ross and Elections Director Michele Forney presented nine ideas to the Board of Supervisors regarding the 2020 Elections and beyond.

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Looking Ahead in Apache Junction

Another year has come and gone, and 2019 is sure to bring even more development and good news to Apache Junction. Having completed my first term as mayor, I can look back at a number of issues we have successfully addressed with smart, managed growth for our community.

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Retired SFMD Firefighter Saves AJ Woman

A retired Superstition Fire & Medical District (SFMD) fire captain and paramedic jumped into action and helped save the life of an Apache Junction woman last week.  On Jan. 14, 2019, retired Fire Captain and Paramedic Mike Gregorie witnessed a woman driving erratically in Apache Junction.

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Frito-Lay Scam Alert

Residents of Apache Junction have reported receiving checks by mail from someone claiming to represent the Frito-Lay Company. The scammer offers a check for thousands of dollars in exchange for the victim placing an advertisement on their vehicles.

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Hailey Adams Wins AJUSD Spelling Bee

Hailey Adams, a fifth grader from Peralta Trail Elementary School, won the Apache Junction Unified School District Spelling Bee on Wednesday, Jan. 16. Hailey competed with fellow students from PTES, as well as Four Peaks and Desert Vista Elementary Schools and Cactus Canyon Jr. High, and walked off the stage with the first place trophy.

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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 ‘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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