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Bill Van Nimwegen

Bill Van Nimwegen has 685 articles published.

AJHS Routs Cortez, Awaits Showdown at Glendale

Prospectors Score Nine Times in Black Canyon Region Win over Youthful Colts

By Daniel Dullum

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.

“Cortez gets all kinds of credit,” Prospectors Coach Vance Miller said. “They’re a really young team, their coaches have done a great job over there, getting kids out and tonight, they played hard on every down, right to the end.

“We were able to get some of our younger guys in there and get a break for our regulars. The main thing we wanted to do was clean up some things – we only had a couple of penalties – and get ourselves ready for Glendale.”

The Prospectors (5-3 overall, 3-0 region) first found the end zone at 5:24 of the first quarter when Justin Ramirez caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Limongello. Three minutes later, Lohman caught a 17-yard TD pass to make it 14-0.

AJHS closed out the first quarter with Limongello’s third scoring pass, this one to Ethan LaBrue from 13 yards out.

The Prospectors tacked on 21 more points in the second quarter on a 20-yard pass from Limongello to Joe Pomeroy, and touchdown runs of 5 and 25 yards by Lohman. Talon Izbicki’s interception set up Lohman’s second TD of the quarter.

“Once the first half was over, we got the younger guys in there, ran them between the tackles,” Miller said. “It was nice to see some of the younger guys get out there and get some featured runs.”

In the third quarter, reserve quarterback Ethan Knox scored on a 16-yard run, and an interception by Anthony Nguyen set up Aydin Franco’s 25-yard TD run on an end around.

Brody Bullard’s 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter closed out the scoring, and the Colts’ eighth loss of the season.

“They all know that we’re real young right now,” Colts Coach Anthony Groth said. “We only have one senior starting on offense, and one senior starting on defense.

“We’ve been talking now about the mental approach, making sure we’re getting better as a team, and it’s only going to pay off in the long run.”

Groth sees good things down the road with his youthful Colts.

“Our offensive line has three juniors and two sophomores, our starting quarterback is a sophomore. We’re just young all over,” Groth said. “All season, we come out and we compete at the beginning, then we fall off, fall off. I think that’s inexperience.”

Prospectors kicker Chazz Chavez converted a season-best 9 of 9 extra point attempts. Bullard led the AJ defense with six tackles, with five tackles each by Pomeroy and Justin Fabritz.


The Prospectors travel to Glendale this Friday for a 7 p.m. game that goes a long way to determining the Black Canyon Region championship. The Cardinals are 8-0 overall, and tied with AJHS for first place in the region at 3-0.

“We’re at their place and the cards are stacked against us,” Miller said. “Hopefully, Combs played them well enough to give us a good look on film.

“We have to control the line of scrimmage, that’s going to be the biggest challenge for us. They’ve got a big offensive line and a big running back,” he continued. “If we can control the line of scrimmage, I think we can win the ballgame.”

Glendale (ranked No. 2 in the latest AIA 4A power poll) defeated San Tan Valley Combs 49-14 on Oct. 12. The Cardinals’ closest game was their season opener against Flagstaff on Aug. 24, won by Glendale 32-28.

“It’s going to be a fight. Glendale hasn’t had a close game all year,” Miller said. “If we can give them a close game, I don’t know how ready they’ll be to adjust, whereas we’ve already been in four of five close games already. Because of that, we’ll know how to adjust at halftime.

“I think we’ll be the biggest challenge they’ve had all year.”


Apache Junction’s junior varsity-B squad defeated the Phoenix Cortez JV-B 60-14 on Oct. 10 at Davis Field.

Doug Reh ran six times for 138 yards and two touchdowns; and Jordan Digos carried 10 times for 137 yards and three touchdowns. Digos also completed 5 of 10 passes for 85 yards.

Also scoring for AJ was Hunter De La Cruz (65-yard kickoff return), Ayhdin Franko, Nathan Frye and Cameron Haselhorst.

Nathan Munoz and Rudy Robinson led the Prospectors with seven and six tackles, respectively.

Photo above: Prospectors JV-B Coach J.J. Digos addresses his team during a first-half time out. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)

Murder Conspiracy at the U Ranch

By Tom Kollenborn

Recently, I read on the internet about a local cattle family’s ranch being used to hatch a murder conspiracy. The murder conspiracy supposedly included Abe Reid, George “Brownie” Holmes, Milton Rose, Jack Keenan and Leroy Purnell. The ranch was the Quarter Circle U in Pinal County, and the man to be murdered was Adolph Ruth, a Washington D.C. gold prospector. The year was 1931.

The story goes something like this. Dr. Adolph Ruth arrived in Arizona in mid-May of 1931. He was searching for a pointed peak in the Superstition Mountains based on a map his son acquired in Mexico in 1914, which he believed would lead him to buried gold in the Superstitions. The old man was convinced he would be successful in these mountains, because he had failed in California.

Ruth had searched in the southern California desert previously with another map he had acquired from his son. This trip was in December of 1919. Ruth was severely injured during this experience and almost lost his life. His limited success in the Anza-Borrego Desert of California convinced Ruth he would have better success in Arizona.

Ruth arrived in Arizona in May 1931 and went about trying to find somebody to take him into the Superstition Mountains. He eventually ended up at the old Bark Ranch, or what Barkley called the Quarter Circle U Ranch. It was there he met William Augustus “Gus” Barkley.

On June 11, 1931, Ruth tried to persuade Barkley to take him into the region around Weaver’s Needle. Barkley refused because of Ruth’s physical condition and the summer heat. Barkley made every effort to point out the hazards of going into the mountains this time of the year. But Ruth was a man that could not be discouraged easily after his previous adventure in the Anza-Borrego Desert near Warner Hot Springs in 1919. Finally, Barkley agreed to pack Ruth into the mountains, but told Ruth to wait three days for Barkley’s return from a trip to Phoenix.

Barkley left the ranch on June 12, 1931, and returned three days later to find Ruth had already departed for the mountains. Ruth had become impatient during Barkley’s absence and asked two local cowboy-prospectors to pack him into the mountains. These two men were Jack Keenan and Leroy Purnell.

Ruth was packed into the mountains through First Water to a site near Willow Springs in West Boulder Canyon. His campsite was just west of Weaver’s Needle. Ruth’s camp was comfortable; he had water and the temperatures were only up around 94 degrees at midday. Considering the time of the year, these temperatures were very moderate.

Upon learning of the elderly Ruth’s preemptive departure, Barkley followed, riding into Ruth’s camp at Willow Springs in West Boulder Canyon on June 20, 1931. After examining the camp, he determined Ruth had not used the site for at least twenty-four hours. When Barkley realized the old man was missing, he immediately notified the authorities.

A search was mounted, and it continued for forty-five days without a trace of Adolph Ruth being found. The search conditions for Ruth were terrible, with temperatures reaching the 115-degree mark, and the search was finally abandoned around the first of August 1931.

It was later reported that, early in the morning on June 18, 1931, Ruth had met a man near the old brush corral south of West Boulder Canyon. This man claimed Ruth was in good shape when he saw him, but walked with a limp and appeared a little exhausted. They talked about the weather and the black gnats. Ruth asked the man for directions to Needle Canyon. The man told him how to find the trail over Black Top Mesa Pass and into Needle Canyon. He also noted Ruth was carrying a small side pack, like a military gasbag, and a thermos jug. The man also noted Ruth was carrying a side arm of some kind. This fateful meeting was recorded in the man’s prospecting journal.

This individual never stepped forward during the investigation, because by the time he heard about Ruth missing, the search had turned into a murder investigation. It is my contention this was the last human to ever see Adolph Ruth alive. He reported Ruth in good condition, although he thought he was unprepared for such rugged country at this time of the year. When Ruth told him he had a base camp, the man wasn’t as concerned.

Ruth’s skull was discovered a few months later on December 10, 1931, by the Phoenix Archaeological Commission’s expedition. Richie Lewis and “Brownie” Holmes led this group. William A. Barkley and Jeff Adams found the skeletal remains of Ruth on the eastern slope of Black Top Mesa on January 8, 1932, about a quarter of a mile from the location of the skull.

There was no final agreement as to exactly how Ruth died, but there was a consensus that he died of natural causes and did not die from some foul deed perpetrated by some evil contriving individual. The periodicals of the period conjured up all kinds of murder and conspiracy theories. These stories were the source of the many tales that survive today. Ruth’s son, Erwin, was convinced his father was murdered for an old Spanish treasure map he possessed. Erwin Ruth was a very melodramatic individual.

It is pure fantasy to believe a person or parties known or unknown conspired at the Quarter Circle U Ranch in 1931 to murder Adolph Ruth for a treasure map he carried. If the cause of Ruth’s death was not murder, then there could have been no conspiracy at the U Ranch. Again, all evidence suggests Ruth died of natural causes. Doubt was only raised when Ruth’s son, Erwin, made claims his father was murdered for a map he carried.

This conspiracy story was dreamed up to malign a lot of honest Arizona pioneers, because of conflicting beliefs and interest involving lost gold and treasure in the Superstition Wilderness. The Arizona Republic printed the map found on Ruth’s body.

One of these individuals was Quentin T. Cox. He had a very fiery pen and often attacked people and their ideas in writing. Hundreds of his letters exist today, and these letters continue to keep this murder conspiracy going. Milton Rose, according to Cox, was one of the conspirators in the Ruth case. Rose also had a fiery pen and countered any story that implied Ruth was murdered.

I met Quentin Cox on several occasions while employed on the Quarter Circle U Ranch in the 1950s. He often came up to the old U Ranch and visited. His tongue was as fiery as his pen, when it came to talking about certain people associated with the Lost Dutchman Mine. I would listen to his rhetoric, then go about my chores. Quentin Cox had some interesting stories, and he adjusted them according to his theories. It is people like Quentin Cox, Milton Rose and others who keep the tales of the Superstition Wilderness alive and going today.

The Barkleys were true Arizona pioneers who worked hard to eke a living out of this desert and the Superstition Mountains. The Barkley’s never felt guilty or haunted about the Ruth incident or anything to do with it. Old Gus had made every effort to find Adolph Ruth and help his family. No such murder conspiracy ever occurred at the Quarter Circle U Ranch. However, each decade, the story changes and some people claim other preposterous statements about the incident that occurred eighty-five years ago.

Photo above: Dr. Adolf Ruth was last seen on the morning on June 18, 1931, by a man he met near the old brush corral, south of West Boulder Canyon.

Five Propositions to consider before Nov. 6

By Robin Barker

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.

Along with way too many candidates, there are five propositions for us to consider. The first, Proposition 125, would amend the State Constitution, which currently says that public retirement benefits can’t be “diminished or impaired.” In other words, they can’t be messed with.

If Proposition 125 is passed, two retirement plans, retired correction officers and their survivors who were hired before July 1, 2018, and retired elected officials and their survivors, would have their constitutionally mandated benefit increases replaced by a new COLA (cost of living adjustment). The COLA would be based on the average annual percentage change in the Phoenix-Mesa consumer price index.

A “Yes” vote will allow for the COLA adjustment.

A “No” vote will maintain the current constitutional rules to stay in place.

Proposition 126 would amend the State Constitution to prohibit the state, county and any city or town from increasing a sales tax or passing a new one on any service performed in the state. This amendment would not repeal any tax in effect before January 1, 2018.

Services can include various types of economic activities that don’t involve tangible goods, from salon services, pet grooming, amusement, and fitness activities, financial-oriented activities, including real estate transactions, banking, and investment management, to healthcare-oriented activities, such as doctor visits (Ballotpedia).

A “Yes” vote would prohibit State and local governments from raising or passing new sales taxes on services.

A “No” vote would allow the imposition of a tax on services in the future.

Proposition 127 is perhaps the most hard fought proposition on the ballot and certainly has the most supporters and opponents. This proposition would amend the constitution to require electricity providers to generate at least 50% of their annual sales of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. These sources are limited to solar, water, wind, geothermal and biomass/organic matter resources and do not include nuclear, natural gas, coal, or municipal solid waste. Currently, the utilities have until 2025 to generate 15% of their annual sales from renewables under Arizona Corporation Commission rules.

Proponents of 127 argue that the measure would reduce pollution, creating cleaner air and water, reduce health problems and create more jobs (Arizona Department of Health Services and Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona) and that APS is pushing against the proposition for its own interests (Technicians For Sustainability Tucson).

Those against the proposition cite California as being the culprit behind it and assert its passage could cause an increase of between $1000 and $1250 —$9 and $10 a month—in annual electricity costs to Arizona citizens (various television ads).

Even if the proposition is approved, it is not guaranteed that utilities will comply. The Legislature approved a measure that says utilities that violate the standard would pay a penalty of no more than $5000 and as little as $100 (a day), perhaps making it less expensive to ignore the mandate and simply pay the fine. Rep. Vince Leach, R-Tucson, who sponsored the measure, said during hearings that the intent of the law, which was signed by Governor Doug Ducey, was to ensure that it would not matter if voters side with initiative organizers. He said it is the responsibility of lawmakers to protect Arizona residents from out-of-state interests, specifically referring to Steyer of California (Capitol Media Services August 31, 2018).

A “Yes” vote would replace the current Arizona Corporation Commission plan and mandate that 50% of the retail energy sales come from renewable energy by 2030.

A “No” vote would maintain the current rules.

Proposition 305 would amend the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) relating to Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA). The original program allowed parents or guardians of students with disabilities to sign a contract to opt out of the public school system and receive an ESA from the Arizona Department of Education (DOE) that could be spent on private education, homeschooling, or other non-public education. An ESA is funded at 90 percent of what the state would have paid for the student in a public or charter school. Currently, the 5,091 students in the program receive $11,614 a year (Ballotpedia).

The proposed changes would phase an expansion of the current ESA eligibility requirements, beginning in 2020-2021, to include any student who is eligible to attend kindergarten or who is attending kindergarten through grade 12 in an Arizona public school. The number of ESAs would increase by one-half of one percent through the 2021-2022 school year. From that point onward, the number of ESAs could the number of ESAs could not exceed the number approved for the 2021-2022 school year (Legislative Council Analysis).

Proponents of the proposition argue that it “will build on Arizona’s school choice tradition” (The Bishops of Arizona Catholic Conference) and “provide critical aid to children whose needs are best met in a nontraditional public school environment” (Michael Clark, VP & General Counsel Center for Arizona Policy).

Opponents maintain the proposition will expand the ESA voucher system “by a whopping 500% … poking holes in the education funding bucket” (Save Our Schools, Chandler and Tempe) and that “almost all private/religious school tuition is significantly higher” than the amount ESA contributes, so that they “have been used almost exclusively by wealthy families to subsidize the cost of private education” (League of Women Voters, Clarkdale).

A “Yes” vote would allow the gradual increase of the percentage of students eligible to receive ESAs and require a policy handbook to be published.

A “No” vote would preserve the current law regarding ESAs.

Proposition 306 would amend the Citizens Clean Elections Act, a voluntary system of public funding of election campaigns of candidates for statewide and state legislative offices. The proposition would prohibit a participating candidate from making a direct or indirect payment from his/her campaign account to a political party or a private tax-exempt organization that is eligible to engage in activities to influence the outcome of a candidate election. It would also require the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) to propose and adopt rules in a public meeting with the opportunity for public comment as well as approval from the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council or the Attorney General before the rule(s) become final.

Proponents for the amendment appear to agree that passage of this proposition will stop tax dollars from being given to political parties and will create more transparency around the clean elections process.

Opponents appear to feel the proposition would weaken the Commission’s ability to oversee the enforcement of campaign finance laws and take away the Commission’s independence. One opponent, Ken Clark, State Representative District 24, Phoenix, maintains that the CCEC “already prohibits candidates from giving money to political parties or ‘pool’ money with other candidates through existing rules.”

A “Yes” vote would prohibit candidates who receive public money from contributing that money to political parties or private tax-exempt organizations that attempt to influence elections and would mandate public meetings to change or make new rules by repealing the Commission’s exemption from the Administrative Procedures Act.

A “No”” vote would allow the CCEC to determine whether publicly funded candidates can transfer campaign funds to political parties or private tax-exempt organizations and would leave the current law regarding their exemption from the Administrative Procedures Act unchanged.

Little Changes Go a Long Way

Dirtwater Springs updates for a familiar, but fresh take on tradition

By Dana Trumbull

“I couldn’t imagine Apache Junction without Dirtwater Springs.” The iconic eatery’s new proprietor Brenda Barnum had worked in the local restaurant off and on since 2003, virtually raising her three daughters there. “When Dick [Parks] told me he was going to retire, it was like – either someone was going to buy it or it was going to close. I couldn’t let it close, so here we are – keeping it in the family, so to speak.”

Wanting to honor her friend and mentor’s life’s work, Barnum hasn’t changed much inside the restaurant since she took over last January. “We do have a new menu coming out soon, though. It’s mostly the same recipes, but instead of having specific items that come with the meals, you get to pick a few sides… You’ll still be able to get the same fish, chicken fried steak, hand formed burgers and other dishes patrons expect, but we’ve switched from canned veggies to vegetables from the local farmers market, fresh every day.” The restaurant has also added gluten free options.

“We’ve lowered the prices, too, and given people more options, so they can choose what they want and don’t have to pay for what they’re not going to eat,” added Barnum.

On October 1st, Dirtwater Springs began serving breakfast, from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. “We started doing brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and they turned into two of our bigger days. Adding breakfast seemed to be the next logical step.”

One of the bigger changes, set to be unveiled this month, is the reopening of the back patio, which will feature a garden atmosphere , craft beer and a martini bar. Alyssa, Barnum’s youngest daughter has acquired her mother’s love for the restaurant business and has created more than 50 of the 60 martini drinks that will be served in the intimate space. Musical talent will also grace the patio bar on weekends, starting in November.

For a real treat, Dirtwater Springs will be featuring a band that recently played at Flatiron Park, The Delusionists, at their Halloween Party, Saturday, October 27, from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. on the patio. The kitchen will be open.

Barnum, who has a bachelor’s degree in Sustainability and a masters in Environmental Policy and Management, had hopes of working for the forestry service, but was deterred by the practicalities of raising a family. Her studies did, however, change her view of the world, and she brings that awareness to restaurant management. Buying fresh and shopping local are a part of that impact, as well as using eco-friendly packaging. Her future dreams include expanding those efforts. “I would love to set up a cooperative relationship with some of the local farms: like we give them our compostable material and get a discount on fresh produce in exchange. I would love to do something like that, but it’s kind of on the backburner for now.”

Stop by the fresh, new and still traditionally iconic Dirtwater Springs Restaurant, located at 586 Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ, open 8 a.m.-9 p.m. For more information, call 480-983-3478, or visit:

Photo above: Dirtwater Springs is a family effort. L-R: Grandma, the “official dessert tester,” Iva Mignery, owner Brenda Barnum, daughters Alyssa and Cheyanne Barnum, and cousin Christina Schelske. Many of the employees, including the General Manager Brenda Rozell, have   worked at the restaurant more than a decade.

AJ Schools’ Letter Grades Drop

By Dr. Krista Anderson

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).

The system measures year to year student academic growth, proficiency in English Language Arts, Math and Science, the proficiency and academic growth of English Language Learners, indicators that an elementary student is ready for success in high school and that high school students are ready to succeed in a career or higher education and high school graduation rates.

AJUSD schools’ grades are: Desert Vista Elementary School, D; Four Peaks Elementary School, D; Peralta Trail Elementary School, C; Cactus Canyon Junior High, C and Apache Junction High School, D.

The state describes a C grade as adequate performance, but needs improvement on some indicators, including proficiency, growth or graduation rate. A designation of D is described as minimally performing or inadequate performance in proficiency growth and/or four-year graduation rate relative to the state average.

Even before the letter grades were released, we knew we had important work to do. Over the summer, we met with school principals and asked for a comprehensive student improvement plan, and we met again with principals after the first quarter of the 2018-2019 school year for an update. As a district, we are committed to deliver results-oriented actions that will focus on strengthening students’ core skills, as well as providing professional growth opportunities for teachers.

AJUSD administrators will present the letter grade report and a plan to improve student learning at the Governing Board meeting on October 23, 6 p.m., in the District Office Board Room, 1575 W. Southern Ave., Apache Junction.  Some of the topics include a plan to:

  • Ensure that instruction includes time to provide interventions to students to support their learning of foundation skills in reading, math and writing.
  • Emphasize professional development for teachers that will support their expertise in content areas and allow time for them to work collaboratively on standards that they are required to teach.
  • Review daily schedules to maximize learning time throughout the school day for students.

The task at hand will not be easy, but we are up to the challenge. We ask for your continued support as we work hard to raise the bar on student learning and help our students achieve their highest potential.

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.

The contractor pushed the original start date back one week.

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.

Under the plan, the southbound lane of Delaware will be closed initially, detouring those traveling from Superstition to Apache Trail to Meridian, Pinal or Ocotillo Drives.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is administering a drainage and roadway resurfacing project that will include improvements on Delaware. The project will provide a smooth roadway surface, storm drain, sidewalk, curb and gutter and provide pedestrian/bicycle connectivity throughout the project limits.

For more information, please contact project manager Raquel Schatz, at 480-474-8549.

AJPD Warns of the Latest 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. The criminal told the victim that all she had to do was pay the taxes on the grant and she would get the full amount. He told her to put part of the tax money on a Google Play Card and to give the caller the numbers on the card. Then, a second suspect called the victim and told her to put the rest of the payment on two other Google Play Cards. Another phone call followed from the first suspect. He directed the victim to pay additional money to fix her credit.

As you can tell, this was a case of a victim not realizing that someone you do not know calling about a free grant, IS NOT FREE.

Another recent fraud was suffered by a local man who filled out an on-line loan application. This was a third party referral from a website and not the specific site of one company. A few days after he wrote in, the victim received a text message from a person who claimed to be with Lending Club, stating that he was approved for the loan.

A few weeks later, the victim received an email letter stating that he was approved. A fraudulent name and telephone number were provided. The suspect talked by telephone with the victim, convincing him to provide his personal bank information. The suspect said he put money into his account, but the victim needed to take it out and buy Walmart gift cards and send the caller pictures of the gift cards with the identification numbers clearly visible. The victim later discovered that the suspect had withdrawn additional payments from his bank account.

The lesson learned here is to use the specific site of a company that you select for personal business. Talk to someone locally who works with the company to confirm how to apply for a loan.

Please take extra care before reacting to an unsolicited phone call.

Citizens can call the Police Department if they think that they have been victimized. Also, if you need to report a scam, please go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website at:

Resolution Copper Update October 24

SALT Speakers Series to address status of the mine in Superior

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. It is projected to provide several thousand direct and indirect jobs and several billion dollars of economic value over the life of the mine.

According to the company’s website, “The project team is working with policy makers, regulators, businesses, leaders, Native American tribes, environmental advocates and the local community to develop the project safely and in a way that protects the area’s unique environment and cultural heritage.

“The Resolution Copper deposit lies more than a mile beneath the surface, and the most viable way to recover the Resolution resource is by going underground, using a process called block caving.”

Permitting is currently underway, and the public plays an important role in planning and approving the project.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) expects to issue its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Resolution Copper Mine in May 2019, addressing comments received from the March-July 2016 public scoping period. The EIS will then enter a public comment period, address the comments and then disclose to the public in a Final EIS.  The Final EIS for the mine plan and land exchange is expected to be published in the summer of 2020.

Hesston Klenk

Hesston Klenk – Manager of Assurance, Governance and Engagement at Rio Tinto Phoenix Area Mining and Metals – will provide an extensive update and many details about the mine itself, as well as the various types of mitigations and community benefits Resolution expects the mine to provide.

The talk, co-sponsored by the Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT) and the Apache Junction Parks & Recreation Department, will be October 24th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Rm. B-117 in the Apache Junction Multigenerational Center, 1035 N. Idaho Rd. It is free and geared for the public, and attendees are encouraged to come with questions.

Klenk has over 15 years of proven external affairs and project management experience with strong ties to Utah and Arizona business communities and political landscapes. His experience spans contract management and negotiation, government affairs, community engagement and project controls – including expertise in strategic sourcing, construction planning, cost and schedule control, risk management and project management. His approach is fostering collaborative long-term value added relationships with key internal and external stakeholders. His academic background was at Westminster College in Salt Lake City

SALT is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  Speakers Series events take place on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, October-April.  You can learn more about us, what we do and how to join and/or contribute at

Apache Junction Woman Sentenced to 20 Years

Earlier convictions stem from March 2017 arrest of Bollinger couple for sexual conduct with minors

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, which will be followed by two counts of lifetime sex offender probation for violations of Sexual Conduct with a Minor and Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.

In June 2018, her husband, Johnny Ray Bollinger, 36, was sentenced by Pinal County Superior Court Judge Joseph R. Georgini to a total of 160 years in prison for his part in the Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and Involving or Using a Minor in Drug Offenses.

Just prior to sentencing, Georgini told Mr. Bollinger, “This is one that will never be forgotten.” Further commenting in Bollinger’s sentencing that his abusive acts toward teen-age girls reached a depth never seen by him before.

In March 2017, Apache Junction Police Officers responded to a domestic violence call in the 2000 block of West Greenlee Avenue. Prior to police arrival, Mr. Bollinger threatened to commit suicide, but was placed under arrest following the domestic violence investigation.

Subsequent investigation, led by AJPD Criminal Investigation Division Detective Stephanie Jewell, revealed that Paula and Johnny Bollinger were suspected of repeatedly forcing 16 and 17 year old girls to perform countless sexual acts with them. Additionally, the teenage girls were introduced to drug usage (methamphetamine) and instructed how to properly ingest it. The sexual acts would often involve the teenage girls under the influence of methamphetamine.

Video evidence collected by the Apache Junction Police Department documented the sexual abuse and drug activity involving the Bollingers and the teenage girls. It is believed these criminal acts occurred from 2015 through 2017.

The Prosecuting Attorney for Pinal County was Shawn Jensvold, and Paula Bollinger was sentenced by Pinal County Superior Court Judge Kevin D. White on October 8, 2018.

Picture above: Paula Ann Bollinger (right) has been sentenced to two consecutive 10-year prison terms. Her husband, Johnny Ray Bollinger (left) is currently serving 160 years in prison for his part in sexual conduct with a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor and involving or using a minor in drug offenses.

Free Shredding Event Oct. 19

AJ Police Dept., Food Bank, Right Away Disposal to host

The Apache Junction Police Department has teamed up with the Apache Junction Food Bank and Right Away Disposal (RAD) for its first ever Docu-Shred event on Friday, Oct. 19.

The Docu-Shred event is free and designed to promote public awareness about identity theft and fraud prevention. Identity theft impacts millions of people each year. Shredding documents, instead of throwing them in the garbage, is an essential tool in combating identity theft.

From 8 a.m. to noon, RAD will take suitable paper documents to shred in the parking lot northwest of the Apache Junction Police Department, 1001 N. Idaho Road. The public is asked to bring a donation of non-perishable and unexpired food for the Apache Junction Food Bank.

Here are items that are needed:

Peanut butter, jelly, tuna, pasta and pasta sauces, canned soups, canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, macaroni and cheese, Jell-O, fruit cups, beans, rice, nonperishable cakes, muffin, stuffing and pancake mixes, sauces, dressings, oil and spices.

Please do not donate expired food or severely dented or damaged cans as they are of no use to the food bank.

Citizens are invited to bring their unwanted personal documents to be shredded securely on site free of charge. Residents and businesses can bring up to three (3) legal-size boxes of paper records – cancelled checks, pay stubs, credit card statements and the like – for off-site shredding by Arizona Document Destruction and the Arizona Center for the Blind. The boxes of pages may contain staples and paper clips, but must be free of notebooks or other bindings. All participants will receive a certificate of destruction.

If you have any questions, please contact the AJPD Community Resource Coordinator, at 480-474-5442 or

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