Tri-City Miners bowling fundraiser Nov. 4 benefits Queen Creek, STV and AJ athletes

Organization pairs children, adults with intellectual disabilities with typical athletes The Tri-City Miners, a Special Olympics sports team operating in Queen Creek, San Tan Valley and Apache Junction, is hosting a bowling tournament as a fundraiser 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, at Mesa East Bowl, 9260 E. Broadway Road in Mesa. The cost is $100 […]

Road work continues on Ironwood Drive safety improvement project

Road work continues on Ironwood Drive between Apache Junction and San Tan Valley as safety improvements are being constructed on this major arterial. The construction zone is Germann Road on the south to Eliot Road to the north.  This project is widening the road shoulders and placing safety cables in the medians. It is also […]

Mining exhibit dedicated at Superstition Mountain Museum

An air of celebration prevailed. Saturday, May 20, at the Superstition Mountain Museum during a brief dedication ceremony for the new mining exhibit recently completed on the grounds. In attendance was the stalwart volunteer Stamp Mill Crew who spent the winter building a historically accurate small mine operation exhibit that they have named “The Eighth-of-an-Inch […]

2017 Lost Dutchman Days guide

The 53rd annual Lost Dutchman Days is taking place Feb. 23-26 in Apache Junction. Click here to view the online version of the event program that is posted to the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent website.

Pinal County Public Works has sandbags to help with storm flooding

With the remnants of Tropical Storm Newton bearing down on southern Arizona, Pinal County Public Works wants residents to know if they need sandbags, many maintenance yards stand ready with sand and bags, according to a press release. The sandbags are available at the following sites: Apache Junction Maintenance: 305 E. Superstition Boulevard, 6 a.m.-4:30 […]

Entertainment calendar for Queen Creek, nearby communities

Editor’s note: Items on the entertainment page run free of charge as space is available for events in the area. Please submit items by e-mail to ONGOING APACHE JUNCTION — Lost Dutchman State Park: Check for schedule of events and activities. Call 480-982-4485 for more information. MESA — Salt River Tubing: It costs […]

UPDATE: Missing woman may have known Apache Junction man found dead in San Tan Valley

Apache Junction police issue detailed description, phone numbers to report tips   UPDATE: On June 17, the Apache Junction Police Department issued a missing person press release about Renae Dee Gardner. According to the release, Ms. Gardner was reported missing to the police department on June 6. In the release, police called Ms. Gardner’s disappearance […]

Man found dead in San Tan Valley ID’d as Apache Junction resident

Detectives asking for public’s help to solve case A dead body found June 7 in a canal in San Tan Valley has been identified as Keith A. Long, 51, of Apache Junction, according to a post on the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. Detectives say the circumstances surrounding his death are suspicious and are […]

Driving them crazy: Commuters anxious for Ironwood Drive roadwork to end soon

Beth Ann Dillon braces herself and her children in their car these days when approaching intersections on Ocotillo Road.
Mrs. Dillon said drivers have been cutting her off with greater frequency on her 9-mile trip from her home in San Tan Valley to Cambridge Academy East, 20365 E. Ocotillo Road in Queen Creek, where her son attends school.
She has noticed the increase in traffic and decrease in driver courtesy since roadwork to add six pull-out lanes began Dec. 7 on Ironwood Drive between Baseline Avenue and Elliot Road in Apache Junction.
The project was initiated by the city of Apache Junction. The city is contributing $60,000 of the project’s total cost of $550,000. The balance is being paid for by the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Safety Improvement Program for safety projects, Apache Junction Public Works Director Giao Pham said in an e-mailed response to questions.
J. Banicki Construction Inc. is the contractor. The Arizona Department of Transportation is administering the project on behalf of the city of Apache Junction, according to the project description on the ADOT website:
The work includes widening the pavement to provide the pull-out lanes in three locations as well as the addition of pavement markings, signs, guard rails, slope paving and other related work, according to the city’s construction work website:
The pull-outs are intended to provide refuge for broken-down vehicles and emergency and enforcement pull-offs outside of travel lanes, according to the project description on the ADOT website.
While drivers such as Mrs. Dillon say they recognize the need for the roadwork, they question the times of day the lane closures take place, which can be during morning and evening rush hours when many are traveling to and from U.S. Highway 60, immediately north of the roadwork.
According to a Dec. 16-17, 2014, traffic study ordered by the Pinal County Publc Works Department, 27,074 vehicles traveled both north and south on Ironwood Drive north of Ocotillo Road, based on the average traffic count for the two days. During the morning peak hours, a two-day average of 3,694 drove north between 6 a.m. and 8:59 a.m. and the remainder drove south. During the afternoon peak hours, a two-day average of 6,643 drove south between 3 p.m. and 5:59 p.m.; the remainder drove north.
Drivers such as Jason Wolpers of San Tan Valley say the lane closures can more than double his travel time to work.
“We have had to add an hour and a half to our drive times for a 35-minute trip to Gilbert and the 60,” Mr. Wolpers said in a response to questions. “We have children that need to get to school on time who should not be made to get up hours ahead of time. Wish there was something we could do as a community.”
Mr. Wolpers contacted ADOT and asked if the roadwork could take place later in the morning. He received an e-mailed response from Coralie Cole, ADOT’s senior community relations officer, who said:
“Responding to your question if it were possible to start later in the morning, unfortunately that cannot be accommodated because the material source supplying for this project closes early in the afternoon, thus necessitating an early start-time to ensure a full day of operations.”

Combs’ girls soccer team beats Apache Junction in first pool game

Apache Junction girls soccer team came out ready to play but in the first half they couldn’t get the ball into the goal, and lost to San Tan Valley’s Combs High School in their first pool play game of the Apache Junction High School Prospector Gold Cup Tournament girls soccer tournament, held Dec. 31 at AJHS. The only goal of the game was scored by Combs’ Willow Zimmerman in the 35th minute of the game.

While they lost, Apache Junction had control of the ball most of the first half.

“They got a little complacent, they just didn’t come out with the fire they had the first half,” Apache Junction Coach Norm Hoefer said. “That’s something we talked about at half-time, I said ‘okay keep up the intensity, we are controlling the game right now, its our game to win.”

But Combs came out in the second half and started taking shots. During this season, Combs had not won a single game. Last year, they won the Gold Cup Tournament.

“I passed in to Kayla, and Kayla gave it out to me, and I made the right run at the right time,” Willow Zimmerman, who now plays right midfield, said. “It wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Kayla.”

Combs made some adjustments over the winter break, Combs Coach Chris Azanger said.

“In the second half I felt like we controlled the flow of the game much better,” he said. “It is definitely a big confidence boost; we have been talking about the monkey on our back all year.”

Azanger said that the season has been pretty rough for his girls. They have scored only two goals in eight games. But this win gave them a boost of confidence, he said.

Hoefer said that normally his team starts slow and then brings the intensity during the second half.

“We have played Combs before once in the season already, and we beat them one-nothing,” Hoefer said. “We play them every year, so I think they were kind of excited to come out and play the team they thought they could beat.”

“He (Coach Hoefer) started subbing a lot of people a lot more,” Alyssa Rippee said. “And I think we just kind of freaked out when we got that goal scored on us; we got our heads down and we just weren’t coming back up.”

Zimmerman said that it is fun to play Apache Junction.