2017’s most-read news stories at apachejunctionindependent.com

“The official cause of the Mining Camp Restaurant fire is electrical. It has been determined that an electrical short, secondary to a water leak, had caused the fire. The point of origin was within the gift shop, towards the front of the restaurant,” Assistant Chief Rick Ochs, public information officer for the Superstition Fire and Medical District, said. (Photo courtesy of SFMD)

Eight of the top 10 news stories with the most page views in 2017 at apachejunctionindependent.com were police or fire district items. They were:

1) A local couple was arrested in connection with the sexual exploitation of a minor, Apache Junction Police Department said. “On March 29, Apache Junction police officers responded to a domestic violence call in the 2000 block of West Greenlee Avenue, in Apache Junction,” Marshall Harshman, AJPD public information officer, said in a press release.

2) Following several months of investigation involving the sale and distribution of dangerous drugs, Apache Junction Police Department’s Community Response Enforcement Unit executed a search warrant May 24 in the 4000 block of North Valley Drive.

3) The Apache Junction Police Department on July 19 arrested an Apache Junction resident on three felony counts of forgery, two felony counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices and one felony count of tampering with a public record. The case followed instances in which puppies died under suspicious circumstances, police said.

4) Four Peaks Elementary School’s principal was arrested by the Pinal County Sheriff’s office on the charge of online luring and aggravated luring of a minor. The arrest was made near the school, 1785 N. Idaho Road, PCSO said.

5) A woman who may have ties to an Apache Junction man found dead under suspicious circumstances has been missing since May 23, 2016, according to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. Renae Gardner, 44, was last seen in the area of Ellsworth Road and Meridian Drive, just west of Apache Junction, according to a flier circulated on Facebook.

6) The historic Mining Camp Restaurant, 6100 E. Mining Camp St. north of Apache Junction, was destroyed in an early morning July 25 fire. Firefighters were called to the scene at 3:03 a.m.

7) The Apache Junction Police Department released information pursuant to ARS §13-3825, the Community Notification of Sex Offenders Law. Notification must be made when certain sex offenders are released from the Arizona State Prison, accepted under an interstate compact agreement or released from a county jail back into the community. It is the responsibility of the chief law enforcement officer having jurisdiction where the offender intends to reside to inform the community.

8) Superstition Fire and Medical District’s fire chief, Paul Bourgeois, took leave and an assistant chief was named to temporarily handle his duties. The Superstition Fire and Medical District Governing Board held a special board meeting on Friday, May 26, that included a closed-door executive session with the district’s attorney to discuss a letter from the fire chief’s attorney regarding breach of contract and his desire to be discharged from his job, according to the agenda. A 53-page letter from Jaburg Wilk Attorneys at Law, representing Fire Chief Bourgeois, stated, in part, “The purpose of this letter is to notify you that you have materially breached Section 3(d) of Paul’s employment agreement (“the Agreement”) and Sections 1 O(b) and 13 of the bylaws by communicating directly with district employees from January 2017 through the present. This letter also constitutes Paul’s notice of constructive discharge.”

9) At about 9:16 p.m. on Dec. 20 the Apache Junction Police Department responded to a multi-vehicle accident with injuries reported at the intersection of North Delaware Drive and Superstition Boulevard. The Superstition Fire and Medical District and the Arizona Department of Public Safety assisted officers at the scene. As a result of the collision three occupants succumbed to their injuries: a male, age 79, and two females ages 77 and 86. Speed and failing to obey a traffic-control device were contributing factors to the cause of the collision.

10) The unofficial results for the Pinal County elections returns for propositions 416 and 417 were updated at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 9 with 102 of the 102 precincts reporting. Both passed.

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