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Bill Van Nimwegen has 737 articles published.

Participation Up in Local and Statewide Elections

More than half the State’s voters cast ballots, but Pinal County still lags at 41.8%

By Bill Van Nimwegen

UPDATE: 11/12/18, 4:52 p.m. - Over the weekend, as ballots continue to be counted, Kyrsten Sinema (D) took  a 1.64% lead over Martha McSally for the office of U.S. Senator. Most sources are calling this race done. With a difference of only 4,029 votes (0.2%), Steve Gaynor (R) slipped behind Katie Hobbs (D) for the office of Secretary of State. Kathy Hoffman (D), leading by 51,744 votes (2.4%), appears to have secured the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, besting Frank Riggs (R). And, in the race for Corporation Commissioner, Sandra Kennedy (D) pulled into first place with 983,911 votes (25.57%). Incumbent Justin Olson (R) is running second with 974,639 votes (25.33%), and Rodney Glassman (R) is lagging behind with 970,400 votes (25.22%). The top two candidates will serve.

 

Possibly the biggest surprise of the 2018 General Election in Apache Junction, Pinal County and statewide was the exceptional turnout of the electorate.

Voters were unusually energized by the mid-term races, taking the opportunity to vote early by mail or show up at polling places in numbers that compared to a Presidential election.

The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office reported that more than half of registered voters (51.6%) participated, and Pinal County’s 41.8% turnout was significantly higher than the 29.3% turnout for the primary election last August.

In reliably red Pinal County—where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-1—the unofficial results show that all of the Republican candidates won their races. With the exception of the U.S. Senate race between Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally, which was undecided at the time of this writing, District 4 reelected Paul Gosar to the U.S. House of Representatives; District 16 reelected David Farnsworth to the State Senate and Kelly Townsend and John Fillmore were reelected as State Representatives.

Other unofficial results in statewide partisan races also show Republicans taking the wins. Governor Doug Ducey was reelected and Attorney General Mark Brnovich will also hold on to his seat. At press time,  Steve Gaynor was clinging to a diminishing lead over Katie Hobbs for Secretary of State. Kimberly Yee took the State Treasurer win and in the Superintendent of Public Instruction race, Democrat Kathy Hoffman currently leads Republican Frank Riggs. Republican Joe Hart won the State Mine Inspector race.

The still undecided Corporation Commission race has Republicans Rodney Glassman and Justin Olson in the lead but Sandra Kennedy is within .2%.

Three races that were decided after the primary election in Pinal County went to Republicans Doug Coleman for Justice of the Peace and Ted Gremmel for Constable in District 6. Amanda Stanford was reelected as Clerk of the Pinal County Superior Court.

In local, non-partisan races held for special districts, Todd House was reelected and Kathleen Ann Chamberlain will join the Superstition Fire & Medical Board; Dena Kimble was reelected and Chelsea Connolly will join the Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board; and former AJ Chamber of Commerce CEO Larry Johnson was elected to the East Valley Institute of Technology Board.

The Propositions
Proposition 127, a Constitutional Amendment to replace Arizona’s current plan for increasing renewable energy use by 50% by 2030 was voted down by 70%. Receiving similar opposition (65% No votes) was Proposition 305, legislation to expand eligibility for education empowerment scholarship accounts (ESSA). Proposition 125, a measure that will allow the state to adjust how pensions are dispersed for retired correctional officers and elected officials, was approved by 70%. A ballot measure that prohibits the legislature from taxing business services, Proposition 126, was approved; and Proposition 306 was also approved, making publicly funded candidates not eligible to buy services from a political party or partisan organization.

Ex-Prospector Heading North

Looney Transfers from WNMU to Canadian University

By Daniel Dullum

After three seasons at Western New Mexico, Megan Looney was looking for a new challenge, both athletically and academically.

She found it, north of the 49th Parallel.

Looney, a former Apache Junction High athlete, has transferred to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to complete her collegiate women’s basketball career in the 2019-20 season.

A 6-foot forward, Looney played at NCAA Division II Western New Mexico the past three seasons, where she led the Mustangs in rebounding.

“My grandparents have a second home out there, and I really like the area,” Looney said. “Everyone out there is really nice. I’ve been in contact with the coach and he had me come out for a visit in September. I got to meet the team and watched them play a couple of games and scrimmage with them, and toured the campus. I signed when I was there as well.”

Looney said that Lakehead also had what she was looking for academically as well. She will have two years of eligibility, starting in 2019, but has to sit out the next season due to transfer rules.

“Here (USA) you only have four years of eligibility, but (in Canada) you have five,” Looney explained. “In general, going there I’m going to be older because I was 17 when I started playing in college. I’ll be one of the leaders there at 21 years old.

“For now, I’m using that year to train, stay in shape, get stronger and develop my basketball skills. And I’ll be able to focus on my education and graduate.”

Looney conceded that the move to Canada would be challenging, but said, “It’s going to be different. But I’ll have time with my family before I leave. I like that. It also gives me a chance to improve myself as a player.

“It’s still a big move, but I’m familiar with the area and I’m sure I’ll adjust really well.”

In her junior year at WNMU, Looney averaged 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11 games, while shooting a team-best .548 from the field. As a sophomore, she led WNMU in double-doubles, while averaging 6.0 points and 6.8 rebounds with 16 blocks and 17 steals in 26 games.

Jon Kreiner, Lakeland coach, said, “I am very happy and excited that Megan has decided to join the Thunderwolves family. Megan is a very experienced and knowledgeable forward that will instantly provide us with toughness, interior defense, rebounding and she has the ability to hit the outside shot.

“Megan is a very intelligent student-athlete who loves the game and will fit in very nicely with our team.”

Looney will be graduating from Western New Mexico University (WNMU) with a bachelor’s in sociology with a double minor in pre-law and psychology, carrying an overall 3.8 GPA. She will be taking a master’s in social justice at Lakehead over the next two seasons.

On her decision to attend Lakehead, Looney said, “I chose Lakehead because it presented me the opportunity to further my education, and continue to improve my athletic abilities. The coaching staff at Lakehead has impeccable knowledge of the game, which is backed by their stellar record and the talented women they have recruited.

“Along with Coach Kreiner’s knowledge of the game, I was very impressed with how long he has been with this program. Having that kind of stability and dedication is exactly what I need in a coach. I cannot begin to express how blessed I am to have this opportunity. I am beyond excited to have a fresh start at LU, and begin playing with my amazing teammates.”

As a senior with the Lady Prospectors in 2014-15, Looney averaged 23.3 points per game. Previously, she played on state Division I championship teams at Phoenix St. Mary’s as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to AJHS in her junior year.

“It was tough to leave St. Mary’s at first, but I got a chance to start over.  I’m glad that I came to AJ. It was pretty good,” Looney said. “

Megan would also like to acknowledge her family as a major factor in her decision. Her mother Marie, brothers Cameron and Bryson as well as her grandparents Ben and Geraldine Looney, all played a key role in her decision to commit to Lakehead University.

“My mom’s really excited, my brothers and my grandparents are all a big part of me going there. They’ve been really supportive the whole time,” Looney said.  “They really helped out a lot.

Looney also noted that leaving New Mexico for the Great White North is not a problem.

“Not really. I’m kind of ready to leave and move on.”

Asked if she has learned to end all of her sentences with “eh” yet, Looney laughed, saying, “That’s the first thing everyone says when I tell them I’m going there – ‘are you going to be saying that a lot?’

“Not yet, but I’m sure I’ll pick that up!”

Tough Night in Playoffs for AJHS

Top-Seed Salpointe Catholic Puts Hurt on Prospectors

By Daniel Dullum

TUCSON – En route to its 4A playoff football game against Salpointe Catholic, one of the Apache Junction High buses was involved in a minor accident. No one was injured, and Coach Vance Miller insists it wasn’t an omen.

Damage inflicted by Salpointe Catholic on the gridiron was another matter, as the Lancers demonstrated why they earned the No. 1-seed, defeating the No. 16-seed Prospectors 56-7 on Nov. 2 in the opening round of the 4A playoffs.

“Look, we’re not a private school in Tucson with scholarship athletes,” Miller said. “All of our kids live within a mile of our school. We’re proud to play with the kids that we play with.

“Our guys are a little beat up, but they’re glad to be a little beat up. They’re here. They made the playoffs. They’ve overcome that stigma of ‘we’re just AJ. Just AJ didn’t make the playoffs in the last eight years. This AJ fights and they don’t give up. There’s no quit in this team.”

Miller added that the underclassmen benefit from the experience of seeing what they have to do to reach a higher level.

“And we got some of our younger kids out there tonight,” Miller said. “They’re coming back with bright eyes and excited. They’re excited for their future.”

AJHS senior Justin Ramirez said, “I’m just glad I got to play with some of the players I got to play with over the last couple of years that made it to the playoffs … It’s hard, but things happen, and I just hope this program continues how we left it.”

The game kicked off 17 minutes late, and the Prospectors (7-4) got off to a good start, stopping a Lancers drive on downs at the Salpointe 28. But AJHS was unable to take advantage.

“You can’t do that against a team like this,” Miller said. “When they’re bigger and faster than you, everything has to be perfect for you to stay in the game.”

From there, the Lancers (11-0) reeled off three touchdowns on three possessions, taking a 21-0 lead. Junior running back Bijan Robinson scored on touchdown runs of 53 and 40 yards. In between, senior Mario Padilla returned a punt 48 yards for the Lancers’ second score.

An interception by Padilla set up Robinson’s third touchdown, a 15-yard run at 10:44 of the second quarter. At 6:32, Salpointe’s Lathan Ransom picked off a Gibson Limongello pass in the back of the end zone. Two plays later, Padilla hauled in a 51-yard scoring pass from Devin Green, and, three minutes later, added a 28-yard touchdown run.

Ransom’s second interception of the quarter led to a 43-yard TD pass from Green to Julian Robles, extending Salpointe Catholic’s lead to 49-0 at the half.

Miller said, “Our halftime speech had nothing to do with adjustments, nothing to do with yelling and screaming. I just said, ‘I love you guys. Now, seniors, you’ve got one half left. You promised me four quarters of football, win, lose or draw. Now get after it in that second half.’

Lancers Coach Dennis Bene said,. “It all started up front. I thought our O-line did a nice job at the beginning.”

Apache Junction scored its first touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter when William Lohman found the end zone from 6 yards out. Salpointe closed out the scoring with four minutes left in the fourth quarter on sophomore running back David Cordero’s 25-yard touchdown run.

Lohman ran 11 times for 42 yards, and Ethan LaBrue caught 3 passes for 19 yards. Lohman finished his senior season with 1,236 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns.

Limongello was the Prospectors’ leading ground gainer, with 68 rushing yards on 14 carries. The junior signal-caller also completed 10 of 22 passes for 65 yards, but was picked off three times.

On the season, Limongello completed 88 of 160 passes for 1,392 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Robinson led the Lancers with 143 rushing yards on seven carries, all in the first half. Cordero ran seven times for 109 yards, and Green completed 8 of 9 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns.

“I thought (AJHS) was a very well-coached team. They played extremely hard,” Bene said. “We’re just happy to win and move on.”

Photo above: AJHS Coach Vance Miller addresses the seniors following the Prospectors’ playoff loss to Salpointe Catholic. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)

The Wings of the Santa Maria

By Tom Kollenborn

Colonel Francesco De Pinedo, an Italian aviator, carefully planned for his flight around the world during the winter of 1926-27. He would be flying a plane called the Santa Maria, named after Christopher Columbus’ ship.

The Santa Maria was a mono-wing seaplane with two engines, one a pusher and the other a puller. The Franchini engines were water-cooled. The airplane was designed to lift a given amount of weight at sea level. This factor created a real problem for De Pinedo at Hall Lake in New Mexico, because the lake was much higher than sea level.

Colonel Francesco De Pinedo

De Pinedo left his native land of Italy near the end of March 1927. His flight around the world carried him to North Africa, then across the Atlantic to the Amazon Basin, then on to Colombia, across the Gulf of Mexico and then to New Orleans.

From New Orleans, De Pinedo flew across Texas to the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico. De Pinedo landed on Hall Lake, at Elephant Butte, New Mexico, on April 5, 1927, at 3:15 p.m. MST.

Colonel Pinedo had a crew of three. His mechanic was Lt. S. Fachetti, and Captain Carlo Del Prate served as co-pilot and meteorologist.

Colonel De Pinedo had previously been presented the Grand Gold Medal by the Royal Geographic Society for his accomplishments in aviation. His crew was dedicated to him and Italy. This 1927 flight represented Italy’s first attempt to fly around the world.

The world famous aviator De Pinedo presented one of the Santa Maria’s extra cracked propellers to Ettore Franchini, a representative of the Italian Colony known as the Colombo Society, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Colombo Society was an organization that preserved the history of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World. This presentation was made on April 5, 1927, at Hot Springs, New Mexico.

Early on the morning of April 6, 1927, De Pinedo tried to lift off of Hall Lake with his airplane. Before he could lift off the lake, he dumped 250 gallons of fuel, tools and spare parts. The plan was to fly to Roosevelt Lake, then on to San Diego, California.

The plane sank beneath the water after burning at its mooring.

Colonel De Pinedo and his crew arrived at Roosevelt Lake about 11:50 a.m. April 6, 1927. By 12:15 p.m. The Colonel’s airplane was totally consumed by fire during a refueling accident near Hotel Point. A carelessly tossed cigarette caused the fire that consumed De Pinedo’s airplane. The plane sank below the surface of the lake within minutes. This ended De Pinedo and Italy’s dream of having the first team to fly around the world. Today Hotel Point is located at the northern span of the Roosevelt Bridge.

Hotel Point at Roosevelt Lake

The Franchini engines of De Pinedo’s plane were raised from the bottom of Roosevelt Lake on April 19, 1927. Members of the Christopher Columbus Society of Albuquerque, New Mexico recovered the engines. The three men most responsible for this achievement were Ettore Franchini, Tom Domenici and Pete Vichi. A native Arizona diver named Charles Granger helped recover the Franchini engines from forty feet of water at Roosevelt Lake. The engines were eventually transported to New York and then shipped to Italy.

After World War II, Ettore Franchini was awarded a gold medal by the Italian government for his part in helping return the engines. His grandson, John Franchini, once made a presentation in Apache Junction for the Arizona Lecture Series on the “Flight of the Santa Maria.” The engines were eventually used as a memorial to the De Pinedo flight around world that ended tragically at Roosevelt Lake on the 6th of April 1927.

When we look back on the accomplishments of this flight, it was truly a monumental undertaking in 1927. The De Pinedo flight still recorded 16,000 miles across uncharted jungle, ocean and desert. This was quite an accomplishment for 1927 and one month prior to Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic.

Francesco de Pinedo was killed some six years later on Saturday, September 2, 1933, in a fiery plane crash at the Floyd Bennett Field in New York, while taking off to fly non-stop from New York to Bagdad. DePinedo was one of the 20th century’s great pioneer aviators.

In 1993, I traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, searching for information about De Pinedo and found a display and model of De Pinedo’s airplane at the Albuquerque Air Terminal. This display was maintained by an organization known as the Cavalcade of Wings. This group of dedicated volunteers maintains the display at the Albuquerque Air Terminal. If ever you visit the Albuquerque Air Terminal, you should look at this display.

The search for more information about Colonel Francesco De Pinedo linked another part of the world to the Superstition Wilderness Area and Roosevelt Lake.

Photo above: The “Santa Maria,” docked at Roosevelt Lake in 1927.

Vietnam Veterans Honored in Ceremony

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

The program commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and aims to thank and honor Vietnam veterans through the use of Commemorative Partners who set up events throughout the community.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, more than 90 people attended a Vietnam War Commemoration pinning ceremony hosted by Humana, a leading health and well-being partner and Commemorative Partner, and VFW Post #7968 & Auxiliary held at the post in Apache Junction.

Meant to serve as a “welcome home” ceremony, the event publicly acknowledged the military service and sacrifices made by these veterans and their families, during the Vietnam War.

More than 40 Vietnam veterans were presented with Vietnam War Veteran lapel pins, a key component of the Vietnam War Commemoration program, signifying a token of gratitude for their service. The pins were presented by Humana employees and members of the community who personally thanked each veteran for their service.

In addition to the pinning, several members of the community spoke, including Major General Jim Jackson, the Director of the Vietnam War Commemoration program, who flew in from Washington, D.C. to be part of the ceremony; Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy; and Humana Sales Director Steve Stedman and Sales Manager Donna Bell. A representative from Congressman Andy Bigg’s (R-AZ5) office presented each veterans with a letter from the Congressman as they were pinned.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 9 million Americans served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War; approximately 7 million are living today.

Following the ceremony, the community was invited to participate in a veterans health and service fair. Local area veterans organizations were present and shared resources and information with community members.

To learn more, visit www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Photo above: VFW Post #7968 Commander Daniel Greene pins Jan Snyder, whose late husband served in Vietnam.

AZMerit, Calendar, Norms Dominate Oct. 23 School Board Discussion

By Dana Trumbull

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

AZMerit

“We are not proud of our current letter grades,” stated Superintendent Dr. Krista Anderson, referring to the recently received 2017-18 AZMerit academic performance labels assigned by the Arizona Department of Education. The A to F scale reflects student academic growth and proficiency. After three years of four-day academic weeks and higher than normal staff turnover, the district dropped by one letter grade in all of the schools except for Cactus Canyon Junior High, which held onto its pre-existing C label. Peralta Trail Elementary dropped from a B to a C, while Four Peaks, Desert Vista and AJHS dropped to D ratings.

“Our 3-year strategic plan says that we are going to be at state average by 2021 and continue that path beyond,” stated Anderson. “We have smart kids in our district. We have great staff. We just need to be focused on the right stuff, and that is kids and their learning.”

In the October 15 edition of The News, Anderson revealed that school principals had already begun working on “comprehensive student improvement plans” over the summer. “As a district, we are committed to delivering results-oriented actions that will focus on strengthening students’ core skills, as well as providing professional growth opportunities for staff.”

Seeking additional tips to strategically focus academic efforts, Director of Educational Services Heather Wallace took a small team to Vail Unified School District, the creators of Beyond Textbooks, an award-winning curricular collaborative in which AJUSD participates. Historically, the district has focused on increasing the academic performance of the students who score in the bottom 25%; however, the mentors at Vail pointed out that, because the state school labels are largely based on growth, school ratings will improve if that effort is realigned to focus on students who are approaching the “hump” between performance categories at all levels. “At all times you are working to be sure that all kids are making progress,” clarified Wallace, “but the shift needs to be from that bottom quarter to those who are able to make the jump. That’s what increases the overall school letter grades.”

Wallace continued, “The other big piece that we talked about is the relatively new College and Career Readiness component. That’s self-reporting, so we have to really be tracking the data all through the school year. It’s easy to get sidetracked, but if we wait until May to pull the numbers, it’s easy to miss something.”

A few of these components include: the number of students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for college financial aid and the number of students who take two years of a foreign language. One year is required for high school graduation; however, “Taking that extra year as an elective not only helps the school in their point system, but it really does help the student later as they make college and career decisions.”

Additional points toward improving school performance labels can be earned by strengthening Special Education School to Work opportunities and tracking data on student transfers and withdrawals.

“Obviously, having more funding allows you to do more things,” concluded Wallace, “but you can have a lot of money and not do smart things, so it’s about doing smart things with the money that we have.”

Academic Calendar

The Governing Board unanimously approved a new academic calendar that will remain in effect for two years, through 2019-20 and 2020-21. The calendar is similar to the current year, with an intentional effort toward building a stable cycle. It maintains the 5-day school schedule and incorporates 2-week breaks in the fall and spring and over the winter holidays.

Board member Cami Garcia stated, “The kids are more vibrant now [with the return of the 5-day week.] I’ve spoken with teachers and principals, and kids are not falling asleep in 6th or 7th hour; they have full attention at all times. We tried the four-day for three years; I think that we need to be consistent with this calendar for a full year, and then check the test scores and all the things that we looked at when we made the decision.”

Board Norms

After an extensive, albeit subdued conversation about the proposed Board Norms and Expectations document, Board members in attendance agreed to table the adoption vote until November 13 so that all members could be in attendance for the decision. (Board VP Kimble was absent for this meeting.)

“I think for the most part, it’s a pretty good document,” admitted member Christa Rizzi, although she remains reticent about banning Board member access to cell phones during meetings and continues to seek clarification about public discussions outside the Board room. Rizzi is seeking to stall any decision until after the new Board member(s) take office in January.

Other Topics

The Governing Board unanimously approved a $500 annual stipend for Parapro II employees (aides who assist physically challenged students with personal hygiene, eating and mobility). Also approved was the hiring of a math consultant for teachers’ professional support, contracting with Applied Economics for a Demographic and Enrollment Analysis and the Performance Pay Plan and Goals for the superintendent, all of which were discussed at length at the September 25 Board work session.

Receiving both approval and applause was the line item for out-of-state travel for Cactus Canyon Journalism instructor Jason Davis. The CCJH online news blog, Canyon Chronicle, has been named as a finalist for the National Scholastic Press Association (NSAP) “Middle School Story of the Year.” The award will be presented at the NSAP annual convention on November 3, 2018, in Chicago. While there, Davis will also be recognized with a certificate and pin for becoming a JEA Certified Journalism Educator.

Links to Administrator’s Monthly Reports of Celebrations/Highlights and Concerns can be found in this story online at www.ajnews.com.

All-American Veterans Day Parade Nov. 11

Korean War Air Force veteran Gerald Becker named Parade Grand Marshal

The community is invited to come and enjoy a colorful and patriotic display honoring our country’s veterans and active duty military in downtown Apache Junction.

The All American Veterans Day Parade is coordinated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7968 and will be held on Sunday, November 11 beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Gerald “Jerry” Becker

Gerald “Jerry” Becker, 84, a Korean War Air Force veteran, has been named the grand marshal of the parade.

Mr. Becker enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the age of 17 and was promoted to PFC in 1951 on his completion of basic training at Sheppard AFB in Wichita County, Texas. He was soon reassigned to the 3419th Student Squadron for primary weapons training at Lowry AFB in Colorado, then to Camp Stoneman in California, before shipping overseas. Mr. Becker was eventually assigned to the 24th Air Wing Supply Squadron at Clark AFB in the Philippines, where he helped provide munitions to frontline air bases. All of this was accomplished before he turned 18.

In October of 1952, Mr. Becker was assigned to the 547th Ammunition and Supply Squadron in Ulsan, Korea, where he spent the rest of his deployment providing munitions and ordinance to the 5th Air Force in the Pacific.

Gerald “Jerry” Becker (lower left) c. 1953

Mr. Becker was witness to the sabotage and destruction of the rail line and munitions depot his unit supported and described the incident as the worst he has ever experienced. He returned to the States in 1953 and served the remainder of his time in the Air Force with the 320th Armament & Electronics Squadron under the Strategic Air Command. Mr. Becker worked on converting RB-47 Stratojets to atomic bomb capability.

Jerry Becker married Laura Mae just before the completion of his service in 1955. They settled in Redondo Beach, California, where he owned a print shop. The couple raised four sons before moving their business to Mesa in 1991. The Beckers have been married 63 years and still reside in Mesa.

As appropriate for an Air Force Grand Marshal, there will be a flyover during the morning. Last year, attendees were treated to several warbirds buzzing the downtown streets.

The Apache Junction All-American Veterans Parade will begin with the National Anthem, performed by the award-winning Apache Junction High School Marching Prospectors Band. Superstition Fire and Medical district will lead the parade with one of their ladder trucks. Parade route begins at Phelps Dr., heading west on Apache Trail, turning south onto Gold Dr. then east onto Apache Trail ending at Phelps Dr.

If there are any groups or businesses who would like to submit an entry into the parade, the committee will be accepting entry forms until Nov 8. Forms may be picked up at the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce, Elks Lodge #2349, American Legion Post 27, VFW 7968, VFW 9399 or downloaded from our Facebook page. For questions or concerns, email AJVDParade@aol.com, or call 480-393-6341.

After the parade, everyone is welcome to meet the Grand Marshal at the American Legion Post 27, 1018 S. Meridian Rd., Apache Junction, AZ. Beverages and food will be available.

Photo above: Attendees will be treated to the award-winning JROTC Color Guard. Photo by Jack Olson

November Free Movie in the Park

The Apache Junction Parks & Recreation department will be hosting a free Movie in the Park event on Saturday, November 3rd! Bring a blanket and your friends & family for an enjoyable evening outside watching a great family movie. This free event will be held at Flatiron Community Park in downtown Apache Junction!

The November movie features the family Thanksgiving film, Free Birds. A lucky turkey named Reggie gets pardoned by the President to live a carefree lifestyle and not become Thanksgiving dinner. Then a fellow fowl recruits him for a history-changing mission: Travel back in time to the year 1621, just before the first Thanksgiving, in order to keep their species off of the Thanksgiving menu for good! The movie is from the Academy Award winning producer of the Shrek movies and features the voice talent of Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler & Woody Harrelson.

Gary’s Desert Dogs and Pura Vida Grinds will be the food vendors selling on-site, and there will be a Parks & Rec game booth for kids, both starting at 5:00 p.m. Free Birds will start at 6:00 p.m., after the sun sets and the temperature cools down out on the great lawn. Also, don’t forget about the Flatiron Park Splash Pad for those looking to cool down out at the event! The park is located at 100 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ  85120.

For more information on this or other programs and services, please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 480-983-2181, or visit our website at www.ajcity.net/parks.

AJ Water District Reports System Safe

Alerts customers of contaminants found, but says water safe to drink

Customers of the Apache Junction Water District are receiving communication regarding an exceedance of a compound found during routine testing of water in the district system. The water is safe to drink and no action is needed by customers.

As required, the district is reporting to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) that tests have shown a level of one group of contaminants higher than the current standard. Samples from one of the district testing sites taken on Oct. 12 resulted in a locational running annual average of 0.0862 parts per million for total trihalomethanes (TTHMs). The maximum level allowed is 0.080 parts per million (mg/l).

TTHMs are volatile organic compounds which form when disinfectants react with natural organic matter in the water. People who drink water containing excessive TTHMs over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys or central nervous system and could have an increased risk for cancer.

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 will be 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.

In addition, operational changes at water reservoirs, blending TTHM-free water into the system, chemical adjustments and flushing the system at strategic locations will continue. The district will increase non-compliance monitoring, and anticipates resolving the situation prior to next year’s summer months, when hot temperatures contribute to elevated TTHM levels. Compliance sample results will be due again to ADEQ in January and April 2019. The district expects averages to drop to desired levels, during the cooler winter months, and upcoming sample results will confirm the effectiveness of system modifications.

Truck Hits Building Oct. 31

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

Superstition Fire & Medical District (SFMD) said that crews were dispatched around 7:30 a.m. to the scene where two vehicles were damaged. The accident involved a Ford F-250 pulling a trailer going south on Ironwood when it hit a car at the intersection.

The truck/trailer went through a block wall and into a stand-alone garage on the southeast corner. The building was not occupied at the time. SFMD reported that they treated three persons. One person with severe, but non life-threatening injuries was transported to a Trauma Center. Two other persons with less severe injuries were also transported to a hospital.

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