AZ Heroes to Hometowns seeks volunteers to promote Fry’s fundraiser at stores

A nonprofit organization benefiting military veterans is looking for volunteers to help promote an event next month. AZ Heroes to Hometowns is one of four military-related organizations that have been selected as recipients of this year’s Fry’s Courageous Hearts program. AZ Heroes to Hometowns was created to welcome home wounded service members who, because of […]

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 from Apache Junction to the police department on June 6. In the release, police called […]

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

Sheriff’s office calling the man’s death a homicide   A woman who may have ties to an Apache Junction man found dead under suspicious circumstances has been missing since May 23, 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 […]

Forum speakers explore both sides of Proposition 123 issue

Joe Thomas and Morgan Abraham say they agree schools need to be funded. And they say on May 18, the day after a special election to decide the fate of Proposition 123, they’ll be on the same side, working to make sure Arizona schools receive the funding they need to provide their students with a […]

Special election early voting to start April 20

The last day to register for the May 17 jurisdictional election is April 18. Early voting begins April 20.

Two propositions are on the ballot for the May 17 statewide special election, Elizabeth Bartholomew, legislative analyst and communications manager for the Maricopa County Recorder’s office, said in an e-mailed response to questions. Others could be added, she said.

The first is Proposition 123, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution by the legislature relating to education finance.

A “yes” vote shall have the effect of increasing distributions from the State Land Trust Permanent Endowment Fund in fiscal years 2016-25 from 2.5 percent to 6.9 percent of average monthly market values to benefit Arizona K-12 schools, colleges, and other beneficiary institutions, including a $259,266,200 distribution in fiscal year 2016; and includes protections for state funds in the case of a severe economic downturn, according to language that will appear on the ballot and provided to the Independent by Ms. Bartholomew.

Apache Junction council to address home rule during April 19 public hearing

What is home rule and how does it affect the city of Apache Junction?

The city’s elected officials and staff want registered voters to understand how city programs and services could be impacted by a “yes” or “no” vote if the home rule option — officially known as the alternative expenditure limitation — is placed on the ballot for the Aug. 30 primary election.

To accomplish this, the city officials and staff members are visiting area homeowner association and organization meetings to present their facts about home rule in addition to holding the two state-mandated public hearings. The first public hearing took place April 5; the second will take place on April 19 during the council’s regular meeting. State legislation does not permit the city to use official resources to advocate for a legislative matter; however, it does allow the city to distribute and present facts, City Attorney Joel Stern said during the council’s April 5 meeting.

What is home rule? The home rule option allows the city council members to make annual budget decisions for their city, thus bypassing the state statute. The latter limits the city to the expenditure of estimated available revenues whether such expenditures are less than or exceed the state-imposed limit, as reported in an earlier story in the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent.

Phoenix Film Festival to showcase trio of short movies by Gold Canyon’s Milosevich

Can Holly Milosevich make it two years in a row?

The 18-year-old’s short film “Lucky Pin” was chosen as the grand prize winner of the 2015 Arizona Student Film Festival at last year’s Phoenix Film Festival. Holly took home a trophy and received a $1,000 scholarship to the school of her choice from the Phoenix Film Foundation.

This year, all three films she entered to the student showcase were accepted. Could trophy No. 2 be waiting for her?

“We’ll see what happens,” the soft-spoken filmmaker from Gold Canyon said during an interview.

Holly submitted two films last year. She was disappointed “Mr. Bear,” a film she liked about a teddy bear, was rejected. But it may see new life at other future film festivals. “Lucky Pin” tells the story of a young woman who uses a pin she finds on the ground to track her daughter’s life in photographs, also tracking the love and tragedy that follows it.

She was pleased her three films — “Cat Eyes,” “Birthday Static” and “Beautiful Words” — will find an audience as part of Phoenix Film Festival. She wrote “Cat Eyes” to provide awareness of the transgender community. “Birthday Static” is about a girl who throws a party but is scared no one will come. “Beautiful Words” is about anti-bullying. She based the latter on an experience a friend had.

Everything has a value, state land trust commissioner says about property

Lisa Atkins is looking for ways to keep the state’s trust land as pristine and profitable as possible.

Ms. Atkins is the commissioner of the Arizona State Land Department. As such she is responsible for managing and administering 9.2 million acres of state land held in trust for 13 beneficiaries, the largest of which is K-12 education. In fiscal year 2013, trust revenues exceeded $318 million.

More than 100 people attended a meeting March 23 at which Ms. Atkins — the 21st commissioner in the 100-year history of the department — talked about new approaches to managing trust lands and their resources. Her goal is to enhance value and optimize economic return for trust beneficiaries while incorporating effective environmental protection and land conservation practices, according to a press release.

The event was presented by the Superstition Area Land Trust and Apache Junction Parks and Recreation and took place at the Apache Junction Multi-Generational Center, 1035 N. Idaho Road. SALT is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational corporation to protect and preserve Arizona State Trust Lands bordering the southern slope of the Superstition Wilderness Area, according to its website.

Ms. Atkins began with an explanation of her department’s history and duties, and concluded with a question-and-answer period.

What is the State Land Department?

On May 20, 1912, an act of Arizona’s first legislature created the State Land Commission to serve as the temporary land department of the state, according to the department’s website. Appointed by Gov. George W. P. Hunt, they were charged with assessing, evaluating and making recommendations about the land granted by congress to the state for the Common Schools (K-12) and other institutions. The commission concluded Arizona should not sell its trust land outright, as other states had done. Instead, it should put the lands to their “highest and best use” and the decision to sell or lease the land should be based upon the potential use of each parcel, according to the website.

About 120 without service due to water main break in AJ

Representatives from Arizona Water Company are busy this morning, March 29, repairing two breaks in the water main in Apache Junction, one of which has left about 120 customers without service.

The company received its first service call at 1:10 a.m. March 29 about a water main break on Broadway Avenue near Royal Palm Road, Erv Earl, the customer service superintendent for the water company, said during a phone interview.

The break flooded a portion of Broadway, causing it to be closed between Tomahawk and Royal Palm roads, according to a Facebook post from the Apache Junction Police Department.

Mr. Earl said he did not know the reason for the break. He expected water service to be returned to the area by 11:30 a.m. and the road to reopen by noon, barring any unexpected mishaps, he said. Reopening the roadway could take longer depending on the amount of damage to the asphalt caused by the flooding, Mr. Earl said.

Voters begin election year by casting ballot for presidential preference

With the presidential race everywhere one looks these days, the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent is previewing the 2016 election year and upcoming races in Apache Junction and Pinal County, which includes Gold Canyon.

Presidential preference election, March 22

The 2016 presidential preference election is March 22. The PPE allows registered voters of participating, recognized political parties to cast their vote for who they prefer the Arizona delegates cast their vote for at their party’s national convention, according to information posted on the website arizona.vote, which is overseen by the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

Pinal County voters who have not already mailed in their PPE ballots may drop them off at the Pinal County Recorder’s Office in Apache Junction at 575 N. Idaho Road No. 800, according to an e-mailed response to questions from Pinal County Recorder Virginia Ross.

The office is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. However, on election day, March 22, it will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Ms. Ross said. There will also be a polling site in the lobby staffed by poll workers.