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Bill Van Nimwegen - page 2

Bill Van Nimwegen has 917 articles published.

Owners of Apache Greyhound Park Pitch Revitalization

Would like to reach beyond current restaurant and off-track betting

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.

Aaron Feinberg and Kimberly Buck from Delaware North, a family-owned hospitality business based in Buffalo, NY, and Rody Espanol with the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce, presented some ideas to enhance the presence of Apache Greyhound Park.

Unless you count which weeds grew the fastest, the park ceased live racing in 2004, and the park’s signature running dog neon feature seems to be missing a leg.

Music festivals, BMX racing, inflatable water parks, paintball activities, “tough mudders,” car shows and a seasonal Santa’s village were all suggested as way to repurpose the dormant track.

In attendance for the presentation were FP&T members Mayor Jeff Serdy and Councilwoman Christa Rizzi, as well as Pinal County Supervisor Todd House and city staff from economic development and planning departments. Mayor Serdy expressed his desire to have many events during the city’s high season (November through April), and Aaron Feinberg said the Delaware North company was interested in leaving a legacy in Apache Junction.

Apache Greyhound Park race board in 2012

Absent from the meeting was a basic plan that extended past cleaning up the track. Mr. Feinberg stressed that, among the facility’s 20 employees, only two are full-time and, because of budget constraints, they were tasked with doing repairs themselves. The meeting took place in a room that the organization wishes to use for a March 1st concert, but was still in need of drywall repairs, carpet replacement and painting. Mr. Serdy and Ms. Rizzi offered to organize volunteers.

As is often mentioned in various Apache Junction surveys, both formal and informal, the city lacks regular entertainment for its younger demographic. Although many events are sponsored by Parks and Recreation, the public library, local schools and various sports leagues, residents are always looking for another gem to add to AJ’s crown. Annual events, like the Lost Dutchman Marathon, 4th of July Celebration and Lost Dutchman Days, reach beyond Apache Junction’s borders, and Delaware North would like Apache Greyhound Park to be a new destination.

E’lan Vallender, with the city’s Economic Development department, thinks the vision is great. “What will it take to get it from here to there?” he asked. He wanted to know if Delaware North was on board with investing in these high-revenue/high-cost events. He recommended prototyping one to get an understanding of all that is involved. He said that there is always risk in ventures like this, and the question is, “Who is willing to take it?”

Apache Junction Police Department Captain Arnold Freeman also attended the meeting and was asked for his thoughts. He said that any event with a lot of noise is going to affect the quality of life in the neighborhood. In addition to noise complaints, he predicted traffic challenges and State Alcohol Board scrutiny.

Apache Junction residents can expect further news as pencils are sharpened and numbers are crunched. Once promoters are aware of the desire and potential, it may not take long for Junctionpalooza to bloom.

Photo above: Aaron Feinberg of Delaware North addresses the February 12, 2019 Apache Junction Focal Point & Tourism Group meeting.

AJ Water District Samples

Update of sample results indicate water is safe

Customers of the Apache Junction Water Utilities Community Facilities District will be receiving communication regarding an update on sample results of a compound found during routine testing of water in the district system. The water is safe to drink, and no action is needed by customers.

Previously, a sample from one of the district testing sites, taken on Oct. 12, 2018, was 0.0924 parts per million of this compound. This resulted in a locational running annual average (LRAA) of 0.0862 parts per million for total trihalomethanes (TTHMs). The maximum level allowed is 0.080 parts per million (mg/l).

On Jan. 14, 2019, a water sample from the same district testing site was 0.0447 mg/l. Improvement may be attributed to cooler weather, operational changes at water reservoirs, blending TTHM-free water into the system, chemical adjustments and flushing the system at strategic locations. Although the recent sample result is well below the allowable level and less than half of the October 2018 sample, the LRAA calculation is 0.082 mg/l (above 0.080 mg/l).

At this time, no alternative source of water is necessary; however, individuals with specific health concerns should consult their health care providers regarding drinking water with this slightly higher compound to determine their risk.

The district is working closely with Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and is in the process of adding pre-treatment and aeration systems to help lower TTHM levels. These modifications to the Superstition Area Water Plant and water storage facilities are anticipated to be in place by the spring of 2019. Optimization of operational changes to water reservoirs, blending TTHM-free water into the system, chemical adjustments and flushing the system at strategic locations will continue. The district has taken the initiative to increase sampling to help with process optimization, and anticipates completing modifications prior to summer months, when warm temperatures contribute to elevated TTHM levels. Compliance sample results will be due again to ADEQ in April 2019.

The Apache Junction Water District serves more than one-third of the city of Apache Junction.

Sheriffs, AJPD Investigating a 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. Police believed he was near Ironwood and Baseline Avenue in Apache Junction. Goodyear PD believed that Milne was possibly armed and made some concerning statements about his girlfriend, Natasha Arredondo of San Tan Valley.

Natasha Arredondo

AJ Police patrolling the area began searching for Milne’s vehicle. Police spotted his car and a traffic stop was conducted. Milne immediately pulled over just south of Guadalupe Road on Ironwood. As the officers were giving verbal commands, Milne refused to show his right hand. Officers then heard one shot, fired by Milne inside the vehicle. Officers approached his car and found Milne had a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. He was pronounced dead on scene.

It was discovered that a Goodyear police officer was on the phone with Milne as the Apache Junction Police were stopping him. Milne was making suicidal statements, telling the negotiator he had done something really bad and needed to have retribution for what he had done. Goodyear police also indicated that Milne’s statements indicated he had done something to Arredondo.

Also on Friday night, at around 11:49 p.m., family members of Arredondo reported her as missing from her residence to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, after her juvenile son was found to be home alone. Milne and Arredondo lived together, and were last seen together at their San Tan Valley home.

At 8:34 a.m., Saturday morning, a citizen called in to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to report a body found in an industrial park near Houston Road and Delaware Road in Apache Junction. When Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies arrived they found a female deceased, who had been shot multiple times. The female was identified by Investigators as Natasha Arredondo.

Investigators believe that Milne shot Arredondo prior to being contacted by the Goodyear and Apache Junction Police. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is handling the homicide investigation, and asks that anyone that may have any information to please contact PCSO at 520-866-5111.

Imagine Prep Takes CAA Playoff Game

By Daniel Dullum

It was good news and bad news for Imagine Prep-Superstition in its CAA Division II boys basketball playoff victory over visiting Phoenix Crestview College Prep on Feb. 8 at Panther Arena.

The Panthers won 66-46, moving on to the third round on Feb. 12, where they will possibly be without sophomore forward Isaiah Broady, who was ejected from the contest.

Broady was ejected after receiving his second technical foul at 4:19 of the third quarter.

“They called an administrative technical on language. It was frustration by Isaiah,” Panthers Coach Travis Gordon said. “Rules are rules, and it’s something you just have to deal with. Our players handled it really well – we didn’t sulk, one of our main cogs was down, the rest of the guys just looked at each other, and picked up the slack.

“The guys didn’t let up. We extended the lead and that’s a sign of a quality team,” Gordon continued. “If it’s ruled that Isaiah can’t play, we’ll adjust. We’ll come out blazing and try to get a W. It’s survive and advance, that’s the name of the game.”

Isaac Montero and Latrell Barker each scored 17 points to lead the Panthers (16-6), with Austin McClary next with 16.

“The first game is always the most nerve-wracking and you’ve got those jitters,” Gordon said. “You get knocked in the mouth so to speak, and those butterflies go away and you start playing basketball.

“Anthony Lopes came in and did a great job of picking up some of the scoring slack. And our bigs did a great job of trying to dominate on the inside. It was a total team effort.”

Lady Prospectors Reach Playoffs

AJ Beats Combs on Senior Night; Fall to CDO in First Round

By Daniel Dullum

After a successful Senior Night 5-1 win over San Tan Valley Combs on Feb. 5, Apache Junction received the good news it hoped for by qualifying for the 4A playoffs.

As the No. 24-seed, the Lady Prospectors traveled to Tucson on Feb. 7 and gave No. 9 Canyon del Oro a battle, but were eliminated by the Dorados 2-0.

Sophomores Marissa Guevara and Kirstyn Ritzen scored the CDO goals within three minutes early in the second half.

Apache Junction finished its season 11-9-1 overall, 2-2-1 in Black Canyon Region play.

AJHS Coach Norm Hoefer said, “CDO was fast and had some good players but we did a good job of controlling the midfield and limiting their chances.

“Unfortunately, we had some chances, but had trouble finding the net.”


Emily Rutkowski scored two goals in the first half, and SeAnna Brennan added two in the second half, as the Lady Prospectors won their regular season finale against Combs.

McKenzie Neace scored AJ’s second goal in the first half. Brennan converted two direct kicks in the second half.

Two Prospectors Place at State

Wright, Limongello Excel at D-III Wrestling Tournament

Apache Junction had two individual place winners at the AIA State Division III wrestling tournament, held Feb. 7-8 at Prescott Valley.

Ethan Wright, the Prospectors’ 220-pounder, claimed fourth place, while Gibson Limongello was the fifth-place winner at 182.

Prospectors’ Ethan Wright (third from left) after receiving his fourth-place medal.

Wright, who finished his season 52-10, was 4-2, eventually losing to Michael Moussa of Catalina Foothills in the third-place match. Limongello, 41-6, was 3-2 and pinned Briggs Baldwin of Safford to claim fifth.

Also representing the Prospectors at state were Nathan Munoz at 160 and Preston Lindstrom at 195.

As a team, the Prospectors finished 15th overall out of 51 teams with 33 points. Walden Grove won the team title with 185.5 points. San Tan Valley Combs was ninth with 63 points.





160 – Nathan Munoz (41-21): Opening Round – pinned by Muzaffar Muzaffaro, Washington, 3:48; Consolation Round 1 – defeated by Gonzalo Rigas, Vista Grande, 4:18 technical fall (18-2).

182 – Gibson Limongello (41-6, 5th Place): Opening Round – pinned by Max Zavalza, Salpointe Catholic, 5:04; Consolation Round 1 – defeated Korben Shuler, Desert Edge, by forfeit; Consolation Round 2 – defeated Zavier Reeves, Youngker, 3-1; Consolation Round 3 – defeated Jacob Morgan, Greenway, 6-4; Consolation semis – defeated by Max Zavalza, Salpointe Catholic, 6-4; Fifth Place – pinned Briggs Baldwin, Safford, 3:58.

195 – Preston Lindstrom (42-17): Opening Round – pinned Leonardo Fogueras, Dysart, 1:43; Second Round – pinned by Roper Howard, Show Low, 0:55; Consolation Round 2 – pinned Alex Linares, Cactus, 4:23; Consolation Round 3 – defeated by Michael Milton, Poston Butte, 8-2.

220 – Ethan Wright (52-10, 4th Place): Opening Round – defeated Michael Moussa, Catalina Foothills, 2-1; Second Round – pinned by Wyatt Powe, Estrella Foothills, 4:44; Consolation Round 2 – defeated Zach Famoso, Marcos de Niza, 3-1; Consolation Round 3 – pinned Joseph Simms, Cactus, 2:30; Consolation semis – defeated Trae Cates, Dysart, 7-3; Third Place – defeated by Michael Moussa, Catalina Foothills, 2-1.





120 – Kavyn Mudd (33-14): Quarterfinal – pinned Jesus Tenorio, Mesquite, 0:36; Semifinal – pinned by Zach Martinez, Marcos de Niza, 1:48; Consolation semis – pinned by Jacob Livingston, Thunderbird, 2:59.

126 – Doug Reh (11-8): Opening Round – defeated Hayden Gerritson, Poston Butte, 12-6; Quarterfinal – defeated Danny Fierro, Marcos de Niza, 11-10; Semifinal – defeated by Maximus Pearce, Tempe, 3-0; Consolation semis – defeated by Michael Davenport, Combs, 9-3.

132 – Joseantonio DeSantiago (22-18): Opening Round – pinned Austin Bennett, Seton Catholic, 1:59; Quarterfinal – pinned by Ronaldo Martinez, Florence, 5:20; Consolation Round 2 – defeated Justin Varney, ALA-Queen Creek, 8-0 major decision; Consolation Round 3 – defeated Alexis Vinegra, Cortez, 12-1 major decision; Consolation semis – pinned by Zachary Stegmeier, Moon Valley, 1:14.

138 – Noah Mittendorf (11-12): Opening round – received a bye; Quarterfinal – pinned by Jeffery Cordova, Florence, 1:52; Consolation Round 2 – received a bye; Consolation Round 3 – defeated by Loren Garcia, Cortez, 12-2 major decision.

145 – Kenneth Brunson (21-24): Opening Round – defeated by Isaiah Robles, Moon Valley, 12-9; Consolation Round 1 – received a bye; Consolation Round 2 – pinned Jeremy Peterman, Poston Butte, 2:29; Consolation Round 3 – pinned by Sam Robinson, ALA-Ironwood, :29.

152 – Josecarlos DeSantiago (15-8): Opening Round – received a bye; Quarterfinal – defeated by Nicholas Dery, Mesquite, 12-6; Consolation Round 2 – defeated Kristofer Carrillo, Poston Butte, 7-5; Consolation Round 3 – defeated Christian Rodriguez, Tempe, 3-2; Consolation semis – pinned by Paul Marghitas, Greenway, 3:50.

160 – Nathan Munoz (41-17, 3rd Place): Opening Round – received a bye; Quarterfinal – defeated by Edgar Orduno, Tempe, 14-2 major decision; Consolation Round 2 – pinned Connor Howlett, Mesquite, 4:30; Consolation Round 3 – pinned Yousif Yalda, Thunderbird, 2:24; Consolation semis – defeated Zack Walker, Florence, 9-5; Third Place – pinned Edgar Orduno, Tempe, 1:38.

170 – Robert Adams (10-6): Opening Round – received a bye; Quarterfinal – defeated by Brysen Schneider, Poston Butte, 12-5; Consolation Round 2 – pinned Jaxson Robson, ALA-Queen Creek, 0:56; Consolation Round 3 – pinned David Mendez, Moon Valley, 2:15; Consolation semis – pinned by Sam Zadel, Seton Catholic, 3:48.

182 – Gibson Limongello (34-2, 2nd Place): Opening Round – received a bye; Quarterfinal – pinned Kaleb Lewis, Florence, 0:40; Semifinal – pinned Kellmer Sanchez, Cortez, 0:50; First Place – defeated by Lewis Everett, Mesquite, 8-0 major decision.

195 – Preston Lindstrom (38-13, 3rd Place): Opening Round – received a bye; Quarterfinal – pinned Michael Milton, Poston Butte, 5:11; Semifinal – defeated by Gabe Sordia, Marcos de Niza, 12-9; Consolation semis – pinned Louie Gonzales, ALA-Ironwood, 4:25; Third Place – pinned Michael Milton, Poston Butte, 3:13.

220 – Ethan Wright (44-6, 2nd Place): Opening Round – received a bye; Quarterfinal – pinned Hunter Harris, Poston Butte, 2:49; Semifinal – defeated Devin Montgomery, Combs, 8-3; First Place – pinned by Quevion McCaulay, Tempe, 1:44.

285 – Justin Fabritz (4-9): Opening Round – pinned by Taniela Taunima, Combs, 1:26; Consolation Round 1 – received a bye; Consolation Round 2 – pinned by Thomas Gaitan, 2:18.

Photo above: Apache Junction 182-pounder Gibson Limongello declared the winner of his fifth-place match. (Photos courtesy Amy Munoz)

Mounted Rangers Help Genesis

On February 6, 2019, the AJ Mounted Rangers met at the Genesis Project and presented a check to Mid Carlozzi for $1,500. The group toured the facilities and were surprised by the amount of help they provide to the hungry and homeless of Apache Junction, including children.

The food they served was just like going to a fine restaurant. They also provide clothes and toiletries, among many other services, like vouchers for showers. It was a family-friendly, clean environment.

If you would like to see the facilities, they are located at 564 N. Idaho Rd., #5, in Apache Junction.

They feed around 200 people per day. They have 120 individuals from local churches and cities volunteer their time to plan, prepare and serve hot, tasty meals five days a week to anyone who is hungry.

The Genesis Project is a 501(c)(3) corporation; donations qualify for an Arizona Tax Credit on your state income tax forms or as a Federal charitable gift.

Other ways to donate include through the website at, or through, or call Mid Carlozzi, President of Genesis, at 440-487-3006 or 480-225-7757. They are also on Facebook.

Photo above: Pictured left to right are: Renee Shutts, Irene White, Mid Carlozzi, Mike Hellberg and Captain Roger Matas.

Kollenborn: Lost Dutchman Days

By Tom Kollenborn

The old prospector of lost mine fame, Jacob Waltz, left the state of Arizona quite a legacy when he died in Phoenix on Sunday, October 25, 1891.

His death marked the beginning of a period of mystery, intrigue, myth and cryptic clues about a rich gold mine in the Superstition Mountains east of Apache Junction. Today, some believe Waltz had a rich gold mine, and others claimed it to be just a fable.

As we celebrate this Lost Dutchman Days, we should think about all the stories these old timers left behind. Most are fiction, but some are true. Our state is unique with its many stories of lost mines, cowboys, gunfighters, miners, prospectors, lawman, ministers, farmers, ranchers, jurists and politicians. These were the men and women who helped Arizona make the transition from territorial status to the modern state it is today.

Stories like the Dutchman mine compel some to search the deep canyons and towering spires of the Superstition Wilderness for Waltz’s lost mine. Prospectors, treasure hunters and the curious come from far and near for a look at the Superstition Mountains and to try their luck at searching for gold. However, most come to enjoy the climate, scenery, tranquility and solitude of the mountains.

The first major group to take advantage of this international interest was the Phoenix Dons Club, now known as The Dons of Arizona. Their first annual Superstition Mountain Trek was held in 1934. The Dons Club, in an attempt to further commemorate the history and lore of the Lost Dutchman Mine and Superstition Mountain, constructed the Lost Dutchman Monument in Apache Junction in 1938. The monument was rededicated in 1988, after standing for fifty years undisturbed by progress. Almost 400 dignitaries and citizens from around Arizona rededicated the monument on February 28, 1988. The governor of Arizona was the keynote speaker for the occasion. Thousands of families have stopped to admire the monument over the years. Many had their photograph taken with the monument in the background. Sam Lowe, columnist for the Arizona Republic recently wrote about the historical significance of the monument in the lives of many prominent Arizonians, including Arizona governors, legislators and historians. More recently, the city of Apache Junction dedicated a bronze statue of the prospector and burro at City Hall on October 4, 2011. The prospector and burro have become the motif of Apache Junction, unique to any other community in Arizona.

The Apache Junction Lions Club so valued the legacy of the Lost Dutchman Mine story and the monument, they implemented the Apache Junction Burro Derby in 1958. The Burro Derby drew thousands to Apache Junction each winter. Hollywood movie stars often became involved with the Burro Derby, between 1960-1963, when they were in town filming at Apacheland.

As I recall, St. George’s Church started a Mardi Gras parade. Lost Dutchman Days evolved in 1965 under the guidance and support of Colonel Rodgers. Lulu Luebben named Lost Dutchman Days. Lulu’s husband, Roy, became the first officially elected Lost Dutchman. If I recall correctly, the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce organized the event each year after 1965. This year’s event (2019) will be the 55th Annual Lost Dutchman Days.

Lost Dutchman Days is known around the nation and world, because of the notoriety of Jacob Waltz and his lost gold mine in the Superstition Mountains east of Apache Junction. Each year, this celebration draws thousands of people to Apache Junction for fun and to share in our history. This event requires a tremendous amount of volunteer energy and ingenuity to pull it off each year.

This event is marked by volunteer dedication everywhere you look. If it were not for community volunteers, there would be no Lost Dutchman Days. It is through their efforts our community puts its best foot forward. We also need to recognize the businesses and sponsors who so strongly support this event. It is also important we recognize the resources and support committed by the city of Apache Junction since 1978, when the city was incorporated.

Recently I had to explain to an old timer how to find the burro and prospector monument in downtown Apache Junction, because of our recent growth. He recalled to me having his picture taken with the burro and prospector in the background in 1939. He said, “When I had that picture taken, there was nothing between the monument and Superstition Mountain.”

I then mentioned Lost Dutchman Days to him. His reply was simple, “You mean the old prospector and burro have an event named after them? It sure pays to hunt gold in these hills friend.”

Please come out and celebrate Lost Dutchman Days with the fine people of Apache Junction on February 22, 23 and 24, 2019. This year’s celebration includes a parade on Saturday, a rousing Rodeo Dance on Friday, a carnival, Arts & Crafts Fair and lots of good food and entertainment.

Community events have sustained Arizona through good times and bad times. Most communities in Arizona have an annual event that attracts thousands of people to Arizona. These community events have been important to Arizona’s sustained growth and prosperity. These events bring people together to enjoy the best of Arizona, its climate, culture, scenery and people.

AVID Learners Get College Insights

By Sally Marks

Rather than relying on counselors, teachers or parents to learn about college life, an NAU Lumberjack visited Cactus Canyon Junior High and provided a presentation to students in student council and the AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination).

Brock Schroeder, a former Apache Junction High School student who graduated in 2017 in the top 10 percent of his class, presented students with an insider’s view of how to get into college and be successful once they get there.

Mr. Schroeder’s presentation covered things to do in high school to increase a student’s chances of getting into college, the SAT test versus the ACT, scholarships, grants and loans, choosing a major and minor, study habits, campus life, dorm life and resources.

“Students respond better to someone closer to their own age – especially regarding college life,” said Lisa Schroeder, a teacher at CCJH and Brock’s mother. “It worked. The students asked questions, and Brock gave honest responses to the challenges college students face, such as tackling procrastination, balancing homework and a busy social life and living in a dorm room with a complete stranger.”

The presentation is one of many unique approaches CCJH employs to get students interested in pursuing college, as well as AVID training to help students use reflection and questioning tactics to understand and master content on a deeper level, rather than through rote memorization.

Mr. Schroeder is a shining example of Apache Junction Unified School District and said he was happy to serve as a role model to younger students.

He is currently enrolled in the Honors College at NAU and is also in the Army ROTC. He is majoring in Political Science, with minors in Military Leadership and Mandarin Chinese. While at college, he has attained Deans List status, has performed a short story in the Hungry Hearts Cabaret, is a member of both the Dome Repel and Color Guard Teams, and is currently the Activities Director of the Chinese Culture Club.

For more information about CCJH call 480-677-6182. For more information about AJUSD call 480-982-1110, or visit or

Photo above: AJHS Alumnus Brock Schroeder answered CCJH students’ questions about college life.

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