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Bill Van Nimwegen

Bill Van Nimwegen has 917 articles published.

Apache Trail Mile Post Markers

By Tom Kollenborn

Several years ago I was helping a friend who worked for the Page Land and Cattle Company gather a few cows on the old Weeks’ cow outfit west of the Apache Trail in the Goldfield Mountains. We were working near the old Government Well Highway Yard on the west side of the road. I was moving four or five cows along an old abandoned section of the Apache Trail when I spotted an old concrete pillar in a thicket of Broombush. The post was about four feet high, triangular in shape, made of concrete and had the numbers “23” and “37” engraved on it.

Mile marker 23

My nature, curious as it may be, dictated that I should step down from my horse and examine this old concrete milepost used by stagecoach drivers of the old Apache Trail. One side of the post had the number “23”, meaning twenty-three miles to the Mesa railhead. The other side of the post had the number “37”, meaning thirty-seven miles ahead to the construction site of Roosevelt Dam.This discovery was made in the summer of 1960. I left the old marker as I found it.

I returned to the site during the winter of 1973. At the time I was teaching a class “Prospecting the Superstitions” for the Apache Junction Community School. I was absolutely amazed to find the old concrete milepost marker still in tact and undisturbed. The milepost marker had stood for sixty-six years.

I had totally forgotten about the old milepost by the spring of 1990. It was by accident I came across it again while photographing the Goldfield Mountain one evening. Again I was surprised it had survived this long.

It was at this time I decided something should be done to protect this old mile marker from vandalism or destruction. I contacted the Tonto National Forest district ranger who eventually arranged for the removal of the milepost marker and the placing of it in the Superstition Mountain Museum at Goldfield Ghost Town, Inc. in 1991.

My friend and close associate, Greg Davis, brought me an article about the Apache Trail. The milepost was mentioned in this article. The article, “The Nile of America” carefully identifies this particular concrete milepost. The article was published March 21, 1908. The following is quoted directly from the article: “About a mile from Mesa the government road begins, and one of the first things noticed was the neat cement mile and half mile posts. Each mile post gives the distance from Mesa to the dam, and the observant teachers soon made up their minds to commit to memory all the combinations of sixty that can be made by using two numbers at a time, 0-60, 14-45, and ‘30 all’ were correctly anticipated, and each found the figures corresponding to the mile post of his life, through not all in the same half day. At the eight mile post Desert Wells is past, where Mesa and Roosevelt stages changes horses.”

The article continues, “Gradually swerving toward the north, at twenty miles the foot hills are reached and soon the beauties of a thoroughly constructed mountain road are appreciated. Passing the ranch (Weeks’ Station) where water is sold at “ten cents a span,” and the deserted mines at Goldfields in the corner of Pinal County, we returned to Maricopa county and stop for dinner at Government Well, near the 23 mile post. This also was a changing station for the stage and here you could change a ten-dollar bill. Only one family lives here and neighbors are not within call, although three or four miles south at the foot of Superstition range can plainly be seen the camp and gold mine of two Scandinavians who are said never to allow a visitor to set foot on their claims.”

Today the named sites along the Apache Trail are difficult to recognize. Old Government Well is located opposite the Needle Vista Point and the old mine mentioned as belonging to two Scandinavians Silverlocke and Goldleaf can still be found if one searches the slopes of Superstition Mountain Southeast of First Water Road.

This interesting article pointed directly to this old concrete road marker that now resides in the Superstition Mountain Museum 3.8 miles northeast of Apache Junction on the Apache Trail.

When they lowered the waters of Apache Lake in the Spring of 2007, another road marker (Three Mile Wash Marker) was found along the old Apache Trail roadbed. Only a portion of this marker was saved and returned to the forest service for preservation.

These markers where placed along the Apache Trail every mile between Mesa and Roosevelt Dam. Only a few survive today. The most amazing one to survive was the Government Well marker. It remained undisturbed for more than eighty years.

50th Anniversary Vietnam Veterans Pinning Event

March 2 at Mesa Market Place

The public and all Vietnam Veterans are invited to attend and participate in this 50th Anniversary Commemoration ‘Pinning Event.’ It will take place at Mesa Market Place on Saturday, March 2, 2019, starting at 11:00 a.m.

Major General James T. Jackson, U.S. Army (Retired), who serves as the Director of The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration will conduct the ‘Pinning.’

The Brookharts and Howard Schneider (with Barleens Dinner Show) will provide music.

Speakers include Major General Jackson, Vietnam Veteran Chuck Byers, and author and Veteran Nancy Fassbender.

Chuck Byers served as a Medic in Vietnam. He was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. He is a Congressional Liaison for Military and Veterans Affairs for Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, Arizona 8th District.

Author Nancy Fassbender will speak about U.S. Marine Cpl. William Wesley Patterson, who served and lost his life in Vietnam. Fassbender penned, ‘My Fallen Hero,’ about Pinal County service people who gave their lives in wars and conflicts to protect our freedoms. She also serves as a board member of The Pinal County Veterans Memorial Foundation.

The POW-MIA Table Ceremony will be performed by the East Valley Young Marines.

The Pinal County Veterans Memorial Foundation is sponsoring this event.

The Mesa Market Place is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and is at 10550 E. Baseline Rd., Mesa. Info: 480-380-5572 and Fully handicapped accessible. Free Parking, admission, and entertainment.

“Fake” Service Animal Law Does Not Give License to Violate the ADA’s Protections

By Rose Daly Rooney
Legal Director for ACDL

Joining at least 20 other states, a new provision in Arizona’s service animal law makes it illegal to “fraudulently misrepresent” any animal as a service animal to a public place or business ( The law carries a civil penalty of up to $250 for each violation.

A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that is trained (or being trained) to perform work for someone with a disability. Animals that provide only emotional support do not qualify as service animals. If an animal does not qualify as a service animal, it is now illegal for a handler to claim that it does.

However, it also remains a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA) to exclude service animals from a public place or business, or to ask individuals with disabilities invasive questions about their service animal. So, when enforcing this new provision, Arizona’s businesses and public places, law enforcement officers, and courts should act with caution to avoid interfering with the rights of people with disabilities.

None of the following situations necessarily signals a fake service animal:

The handler does not have an obvious disability.

  • Why? The ADA and AzDA equally applies to people with obvious disabilities, like blindness or mobility impairments, and people with non-obvious disabilities, like epilepsy, diabetes, and PTSD. Arizona law also protects handlers with service animals in training.

The service animal is not performing a task you generally associate with service animals.

  • Why? The ADA and AzDA only require that the service animal perform a task directly related to the person’s disability. Sure, service animals guide people who are blind and retrieve items for people using wheelchairs. But, service animals can also alert and protect a person with seizures, warn a person who is deaf about sounds in the environment, remind a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, forewarn a person with diabetes to check their insulin, intervene to calm a person with PTSD during an anxiety attack, and perform other disability-related tasks.

The service animal is not the breed or size of a dog you think of when you think of service animals.

  • Why? Service dogs come in all sizes, weights, and breeds. Not all service dogs are German Shepherds. For example, a person with diabetes who has a glucose alert dog may carry a small dog in a chest pack close to his face so the dog can smell his breath to alert him of a change in glucose levels. Courts have ruled that cities with breed restrictions must make reasonable accommodations under the ADA to allow service animals of the restricted breed.

The handler cannot produce the service animal’s registration or certification.

  • Why? Under the ADA and AzDA, businesses and public places may not condition entry on an individual producing documentation to prove that their service animal has been certified, trained, or licensed.

The dog or miniature horse is not wearing a service animal vest or an emblem indicating it is a service animal.

  • Why? Under the ADA, handlers are not required to purchase a service animal vest or patch. Often, companies that sell service animal vests or emblems do not have any method of verifying that the individual buying them has a service animal.

The handler cannot verify that the service animal has undergone professional training.

  • Why? There is no requirement under the ADA or AzDA that the service animal receive professional training. While some service animal handlers arrange for professional training, other handlers provide individual training.

The handler is training a dog or miniature horse to be a service animal.

  • Why? Arizona law defines “service animal” to include dogs or miniature horses that are in training to become service animals. A handler is responsible for any damage done by a service animal in training.

The handler has two service animals.

  • Why? Some people with disabilities may use more than one service animal to perform different tasks. A person who has a visual disability and a seizure disorder may use one service animal as a guide dog and the other as a seizure alert dog. Other people may need two service animals for the same task, such as two dogs to brace themselves or add stability when walking.

The handler brought an emotional support dog or miniature horse to a public place.

  • Why? The new state provision requires the individual to “fraudulently misrepresent” the dog or miniature horse as a service animal. Often, people with mental health disabilities who use emotional support animals may be unclear about the difference between an emotional support and service animal and do not intend to mislead public places.

For more information about service animals, check out the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) FAQ about service animals:

10 Tips for People with Disabilities with Service Animals

  1. The ADA and AzDA still prohibits public places from denying you access to any place where the general public travels with your service animal.
  2. Public places may still only ask two questions to determine whether to allow you access: 1) is your service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has your service animal been trained to perform?
  3. Service animals in training are not “fake service animals” because Arizona law defines service animals to include service dogs and miniature horses in training.
  4. Service animals must be trained to perform task(s) directly related to your disability, but can be trained by you or a professional trainer.
  5. Service animals can be trained to perform tasks related to psychiatric disabilities. These are different from emotional support animals, who are not trained and whose mere presence provides support.
  6. The fake service animal provision does not mean that you must buy your service animal a vest or badge.
  7. Even service animals can be removed from a public place if they become too disruptive or act aggressively and the handler does not take effective action to control the service animal.
  8. Know your responsibilities as a handler of a service animal. Go to the DOJ’s FAQ ( on service animals for more information about your responsibilities.
  9. Know the limits on service dog access in public places. For example, DOJ states that a service dog may generally travel in an ambulance with the handler unless it would interfere with emergency personnel performing their duties. DOJ also states that places that serve food or drink are not required to allow service animals to be seated on chairs or allow the animal to be fed at the table.
  10. Arizona law makes it a class 3 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $350/violation, for a public place to unlawfully deny access of a service animal or service animal in training.

The Arizona Center for Disability Law is a not for profit public interest law firm, dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals with a wide range of physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory and cognitive disabilities. Contact them at: 800-927-2260 or email:

Sharing Space: Wildlife corridors in urban desert

The Sonoran Desert is one of the most biodiverse deserts in the world, contributing to its uniqueness and attractiveness to developers, residents and businesses. Geographic connectivity weaves the vital elements of the desert together, making the ecosystem sustainable. But habitat fragmentation from urban development puts this connectivity at risk, making it the number one threat to the fabric of our unique and attractive surroundings.

Anita Hagy Ferguson will discuss the importance of biological corridors, urban open spaces and collaborative regional planning as part of the SALT Speakers Series February 27th from 6:30-7:30 PM in Rm. B-118 of the Apache Junction Multigenerational Center, 1035 N. Idaho Rd.

Ms. Ferguson is a consultant and facilitator for the White Tank Mountains Conservancy, and leads the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance Connectivity@ White Tank Mountains Conservancy Learning Lab. Her critical focus is on how humans share space with non-human animals in changing urban and rural landscapes.

The series is co-sponsored by the Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT) and the Apache Junction Parks & Recreation Department. It is offered every 2nd and 4th Wednesday October through April, and is free and geared for the public.

AZ Lecture Series: Phil “Wildman” Rakoci

Monday, February 25, at 7 p.m., the Arizona Lecture series, presented by the Apache Junction Unified School District Performing Arts Center, 2525 S. Ironwood, offers “Desert Dwellers,” by Phil Rakoci.

As he regales the calamities of growing up in rural Arizona, comedian Philip “Wildman Phil” Rakoci shares interesting facts and exciting stories about some of the creatures and situations that are so often associated with Arizona’s wild outdoors.

An Arizona native, Rakoci has a passion and exuberance for all things creepy, crawly, strange and exotic. Phil’s home is a living laboratory with over 200 amazing creatures, and he takes his ‘pets’ on the road across the U.S. to entertain and educate audiences of all ages. He has co-starred in episodes of The Discovery Channel’s Emmy award winning series “Breaking Trail” and “Coyote’s Backyard,” and he and his animals have appeared in Ghost Adventures, The Conan show with Conan O’Brien, and numerous other TV shows around the world.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are available for $5 and may be purchased at the door, at the AJUSD District Office, or online at by clicking on the ‘Community’ tab, then ‘PAC Tickets.’ Advance tickets are suggested for this popular series.

For more information, contact Zach Lundquest at 480-982-1110 x.2250.

Just For You Overflows with Creative Gifts & Décor

By Dana Trumbull

On the south side of Apache Trail, just west of Ironwood, there is a row of three single-story buildings, painted bright white, with equally bright blue doors and roofs. The buildings would be nondescript, except for that unexpected pop of color amidst the desert hues around them. With signs on either end proclaiming the strip to be “Apache Trails Self-Storage,” passersby easily assume that the repetitive pattern of bay doors open to nothing more than temporary shelter for an overflow of household goods; but in these small spaces, a few businesses have set up shop. One of them is Just For You.

Walking through the front door of Just For You, 1735 Apache Trail, Suite 8, the illusion of mundanity explodes, revealing a hidden den of varied treasure. The eclectic mix of expertly handcrafted gifts, tastefully repurposed home décor and brightly colored yard ornaments bounces the eye around the room, promising a delightful adventure to anyone seeking a unique gift or personal keepsake. “We have lookers, and then we have buyers,” says Carolyn Eye, one of the nine retired and semi-retired creators and collectors who contribute to the inventory. “They come once to look, and then, a few days later, they come back to buy.”

Each of the partners contributes according to her or his specialty:

Carolyn is an accomplished quilter (40 years), who often sews piecework while tending shop. She sells handmade items from bibs to bedspreads.

Lorraine Edmiston started collecting Himalayan salt lamps for health reasons, “But I got tired of looking at plain blocks of salt, so I decided to do something to make them more interesting.” She developed sources for decorative metalwork to complement the salt lamps and now sells them in the store.

Sherran Doobovsky sews intricate baskets, mats and wall hangings, crafted from fabric covered coils of cotton clothesline.

Mary DeWall has been making greeting cards for 24 years, integrating rubber stamp designs, lettering, embellishments and recycled designs.

Marie Gross searches out bright metal sculptures and farm-themed toys.

Kay Renneke is a retired florist and artist who offers quaint wreaths made from old bedsprings and dried or silk flowers, as well as original drawings and paintings.

Jan Radakovich creates accordion-style memory books that can be personalized with photos and gift cards.

Bruce Walters offers handmade southwestern-style jewelry.

Bruces’ wife, Debbie Walters, says, “I’m like Marie; I don’t make anything. I’m a picker – but I’m kinda picky on what I get.” Her corner of the shop may not be homemade, but it is full of personality – from several eras of décor.

Just For You bursts with the contents of nine shops under one roof. Kay verbalized the sentiment expressed by all, “I love to create. And my family only has room for so much. So, if I want to feed my need to keep on creating and not end up featured on “Hoarders,” I thought, ‘I should be selling.’ So, here I am.”

So maybe a row of storage units is an apt location for Just for You. It is, essentially, a temporary shelter for an overflow of creativity just waiting for you to give your favorite piece a home.

If, by chance, you don’t find what you’re looking for, the artists can be contacted through the shop for custom orders. Mary also teaches card-making classes, and can be contacted through the shop.

Prices range from $2 (handmade cards) to roughly $300 (queen sized quilts and decorated steer skulls).

Store hours during the winter season are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 7 days/week. During the summer, the store will cut back to Thursday-Saturday (same hours).

Photo above: Partners at Just For You: Back Row, L-R – Lorraine Edmiston, Sherran Doobovsky, Mary DeWall, Marie Gross. Front Row, Carolyn Eye, Debbie Walters. Not in Photo: Kay Renneke, Jan Radakovich, Bruce Walters

AJPD Uses Unmarked Cars for Enforcement

In response to increased calls from citizens regarding traffic violations in school zones, Apache Junction Police Department traffic division has increased their enforcement efforts in the areas of Apache Junction High School (Ironwood Dr. and Southern Ave.) and Four Peaks Elementary School (Idaho Rd. and Tepee Street).

To increase the effectiveness of their concentrated enforcement measures, officers are utilizing unmarked vehicles to conduct traffic stops. The safety of citizens, especially our kids, is a high priority; therefore, drivers can expect to see more police presence in school zones.

In addition to speeding violations, officers will be looking for parking violations in the 1700 block of North Idaho Rd. and the 3700 block of East Broadway Rd.

Sons of the American Revolution Honor AJPD Officers

On February 9, 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.

The event was held at the Dobson Ranch Golf Course in Mesa, Arizona. Corporal Marshall Harshman, Officer Justin Griffith, Officer Richard Rivera, Officer Kenneth Eshenbaugh and Officer Brian Brugman all received lifesaving awards stemming from various incidents that occurred in 2018.

The officers were credited with taking lifesaving measures that led to a positive outcome and the survival of the victims. Also in attendance were Captain Arnold Freeman and Sgt. Eric Goodwin.

Top row-left to right: Captain Arnold Freeman, Officer Brian Brugman, Sgt. Eric Goodwym. Bottom Row-left to right: Corporal Marshall Harshman, Officer Justin Griffith, Officer Richard Rivera, Officer Kenneth Eshenbaugh

AJ Welcomes Community to Second State of the City

Mayor takes opportunity to buff accomplishments and boost excitement for Apache Junction’s future

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.

Those who attended the evening program were greeted at the entrance of the Apache Junction High School by smartly uniformed members of the Navy JROTC. With a click of their heels and a “good evening,” attendees were ushered to the Performing Arts Center (PAC) entrance, where a “meet and greet” was in progress. New this year, was a delicious selection of treats prepared by the EVIT Culinary students and served in their dining room adjacent to the PAC.

Classical string quartet music by students under the direction of Sandra Leen filled the air, and guests were encouraged to visit with Mayor Serdy, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, Pinal County Supervisor Todd House, Justice of the Peace Doug Coleman, as well as AJUSD Superintendent Dr. Krista Anderson.

The program began with a stirring rendition of the national anthem by Iceyss Schmitz, one of the winners of the Kiwanis Club’s 2019 AJ Kids Idol contest. Members of the AJHS NJROTC Color Guard joined Ms. Schmitz on stage.

Mayor Jeff Serdy

Mayor Serdy then recognized the ROTC program at the high school and presented a certificate to Cadet Hoffman on stage. Also recognized and welcomed were local and regional dignitaries, the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce and Apache Junction Unified School District Superintendent and Governing Board members.

AJUSD Superintendent Anderson spoke briefly about her appreciation for the partnership the city has with the school district. She emphasized the importance of working together and providing a strong educational structure to strengthen our community.

Also in attendance were most of the Apache Junction City Council members, eager to see their “origin” stories that were featured in the first of two videos. In the presentation, members of the Council reflected on how they became interested in serving and encouraged the audience to consider serving the community as well.

The city’s marketing and production specialist Matthew McNulty produced the videos.

The second video featured stunning drone sequences of some of the city’s many public events, emphasizing improvements to the quality of life in Apache Junction. Highlighted in the presentation were Apache Junction’s award-winning Parks and Recreation Department, the surge in new “rooftop” developments, recent commercial development successes with Fry’s, Goodwill and Ross opening stores, and enhanced public safety through software upgrades at the Police Department.

An ominous soundtrack accompanied a sequence showing the development and opening of the roundabout at Superstition Blvd. and SR 88. The sarcasm was not lost on the laughing audience who were treated to time-lapsed, areal views of the roundabout’s construction and an overhead finale of vehicles using it — a clever pastiche of Busby Berkeley choreography (and no wrecks).

Also covered was a look ahead, now that residents passed a permanent base adjustment budget. The Council is working on possible ownership of the water and sewer districts, single-source trash pickup and an updating of development fee schedules.

After the videos, Mayor Serdy wrapped up the evening by emphasizing Apache Junction’s low crime rate. He also encouraged citizens to become involved with the upcoming Founder’s Day and to watch for development of an Arts Commission. He said that he was going to continue to reach out to Apache Junction’s neighbors to the east and south and has a meeting scheduled for March 14 to discuss ways of working together.

Photo above: Navy JROTC Color Guard and singer Iceyss Schmitz at the February 13 State of the City

Free Tax Assistance

The United Way of Pinal County (UWPC) is excited to announce that they are off and running with their VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program.

This year, they have tax locations available in Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Eloy, San Tan Valley and Maricopa, as well as a pop up site (select days only) in Florence and Coolidge.

Last year, with your help they were able to prepare 1300 tax returns across Pinal County, provide $1.5 million dollars in refunds and ensure that our communities’ most vulnerable were helped.

26% of all returns prepared were for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) filers. This is huge! This could be a single parent with one or two children or a grandparent raising their grandchild.

Clients can schedule an appointment by going to: or by texting UWPC TAXAPPT to 313131 (Make sure there is a space between the UWPC and the TAXAPPT).


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