Apache Junction election preview: Deadlines approach for counties, state

 Election deadlines are approaching for upcoming races in Pinal and Maricopa counties and the state government.

The primary election is Aug. 26 and the general election is Nov. 4. 

It’s important for all voters to watch their mailboxes closely as election season approaches.

“When people receive anything in the mail marked ‘elections,’ that’s important. It’s not a bill, it’s not spam. It’s important voter information to be on the look out for during a busy elections season,” Matt Roberts, director of communications for the Arizona Secretary of State, said during a phone interview March 25.

City elections
The city of Apache Junction will not have a city election this year, according to City Clerk Kathy Connelly. Apache Junction is primarily in Pinal County with a small portion in Maricopa County, according to the city’s website.

The borderline is Meridian Road. Anyone living west of Meridian is in Maricopa County while those east of Meridian reside in Pinal County, according to the website.

Gold Canyon is an unincorporated community in Pinal County, according to the county website.

State law requires that the polls be open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. on election day, Ms. Connelly said in an e-mailed response to questions April 9.

Pinal County will be conducting these elections for Pinal County voters, she said.

There will be three polling places in Apache Junction. They are:
Cactus Canyon Junior High School library, 801 W. Southern Ave., precincts 44, 46, 47 and 59; Superstition Mountain Elementary School gymnasium, 550 S. Ironwood Drive, precincts 40, 42, 43, 63 and Maricopa County 23; Four Peaks Elementary School library, 1755 N. Idaho Road, precincts 45, 56, 57 and 58.

Precinct numbers are listed on people’s voter registration card, David Galaviz, a customer service representative for the Pinal County Elections department, said during a phone interview April 10.

Pinal County elections
Pinal County, which contains parts of Apache Junction, all of Gold Canyon, parts of Queen Creek and all of San Tan Valley, will seek to fill multiple positions this fall.

The open seats include the justices of the peace, the court constables and the county clerk, according to a March 20 phone interview with Pinal County Recorder Virginia Ross. All of the positions hold four-year terms, Ms. Ross said.

All eight justice of the peace positions will be voted on this year, Ms. Ross said. That includes the position of Shaun Babeu in the Apache Junction Court, which also serves Queen Creek and San Tan Valley.

The eight justice court constable positions will also be up for election, Ms. Ross said, including the position of Ronald LeDuc with the Apache Junction Court.

A Pinal County clerk will also be chosen this election, Ms. Ross said. That position is currently held by Chad Roche.

It’s unknown at this time who will be running for each position as the deadline for registration is May 28, Ms. Ross said. She added that it’s also unclear which positions will need to be voted on in the general election.

“Some of the races are decided in the primary,” she said.

If candidates receive a certain percentage of the votes in the primary election, they are elected to the position without going through to the general election, Ms. Ross said. She added that the formulas for each position are being reviewed by the legislature.

Pinal County is dealing with an additional challenge this election season, Ms. Ross said: its election warehouse burned down Feb. 4, destroying its election equipment.

“We are working on restoring what we lost in the fire,” Ms. Ross said.

The county is in the process of bidding for new vote-scanning equipment, but Ms. Ross said it’s likely the upcoming election will use ballot boxes rather than the more advanced equipment.

“We don’t want to invest in something where in two years we’ll need something newer,” she said. “Deploying this year wouldn’t be prudent.”

The Pinal County Recorder’s office, 31 N. Pinal St. Building E in Florence, can be reached by calling 520-866-6830. It offers a voter registration line at 520-509-3555. Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

There also is a satellite office in Apache Junction at 575 N. Idaho Road Suite 800.

Its phone number is 480-983-7038. Its office hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Maricopa County elections
For the 2014 election, Maricopa County voters will elect a county assessor, a District No. 4 supervisor, a clerk of the superior court and 17 justice of the peace and constable positions, according to the Maricopa County Recorder website.

The current Maricopa County assessor is Paul Petersen. He took over the seat in June 2013 after former assessor Keith Russell resigned, Rey Valenzuela, assistant director of elections for Maricopa County, said in a phone interview March 25.

Although the assessor normally serves a four-year term, Mr. Petersen will have to run in 2014 to complete Mr. Russell’s full unexpired term that runs through 2016. Michael K. Jeanes is the current clerk of the superior court, according to the Maricopa County website.

He was first elected in 1998 and reelected in 2002, 2006 and 2010, according to the website.

For more information on Maricopa County elections, visit the Maricopa County Recorder website or call the county voter hotline at 602-506-1511.

State elections
The state will elect for numerous positions in 2014, including the four-year offices of governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, state mine inspector and corporation commissioner.

Also up for election are the two-year offices of the state’s nine U.S. representatives, 30 state senators and 60 state representatives, according to the Secretary of State website.

Apache Junction is in Congressional District No. 4, represented by Rep. Paul Gosar. It is in Legislative district No. 16.

An additional deadline for the state election deals with initiatives, referendums and recalls, Mr. Roberts said.

The filing deadline for initiatives, referendums and recalls is July 3, Mr. Roberts said. A total of 21 packets have been taken out by various organizations this year, which can be viewed on the Arizona Secretary of State election page.

“In reality, most of the packets won’t make the ballot,” Mr. Roberts said. “Out of the list, if we had three make the ballot I’d be surprised.”

Initiatives require 172,809 signatures to make the ballot, while constitutional amendments require 259,213, he added.

Once the July 3 deadline has passed, voters will be allowed to submit arguments for or against the ballot measures. The deadline for such arguments is July 9, Mr. Roberts said.

The state is particularly focused on getting independent voters to vote in this election, Mr. Roberts said.

“Historically, less than 10 percent of independent voters participate in the primary. We’d like to see that number increase this year,” he said.

For more information on state elections, visit the Arizona Secretary of State website.

Medical marijuana cultivation site, infusion kitchen proposed for Apache Junction

 Apache Junction’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened Dec. 26. Now the city’s planning and zoning commissioners are contemplating whether a site to grow medical marijuana will be allowed next.

 At their May 13 work session, the commissioners heard a presentation about a request for a conditional use permit to allow the operation of a nonprofit medical marijuana cultivation and infusion kitchen facility.

During work sessions, commissioners can listen to and discuss the presentations only. They are not allowed to take action on agenda items, Senior Planner Rudy Esquivias said during a phone interview May 14.

The facility is proposed for a two-parcel site at 1575 E. 18th Ave. in Apache Junction. The applicants are Natures Wonder Inc., which opened the medical marijuana dispensary last year at 68 S. Ironwood Drive, and Phoenix-based Capital Care Connections LLC.

The proposed facility will be both a cultivation site where medical marijuana plants are grown and an infusion site where other products such as candies, beverages, edibles and lotions containing the active ingredients of medical marijuana will be produced, according to planning and zoning documents.

The facility, which will serve Natures Wonder, will not serve as a dispensary and no medical marijuana patients or people other than representatives for the applicants will be allowed to access the facility, according to the paperwork.

Kim Shields, a partner with Natures Wonder, said during a phone interview May 14 that Capital Care Connections will manage the facility.

“Capital Care Connections must know how to grow here in Arizona. Growing here is different from other areas. We have dry weather here so we will have to put humidity into the building,” she said.

If the CUP is approved, the facility would be subject to inspections and approvals from the Arizona Department of Health Services’s Medical Marijuana Division, according to the paperwork.

Odor-control and packaging were two of the concerns raised by commission Chairwoman Tess Nesser, Mr. Esquivias said during his phone interview.

“The chairwoman was doing some research regarding how these issues are going over in Colorado and California,” he said.

Ms. Nesser was concerned about how effective the carbon filter systems were in controlling odor and the packaging for infused products, which children could find attractive, he said.

The filters work, Ms. Shields said.

“There are tons of air scrubbers that clean the air,” Ms. Shields said. She said some smell does remain during the harvest process.

Regarding packaging, Ms. Shields said packaging for infused products is similar to other foods and merchandise, with the words “medical edibles” and the contents printed clearly on the labels.

Medical-marijuana card holders need to lock-up the edible items to keep them from children and other people who should not consume them, Ms. Shields said.

“We’re definitely not trying to solicit children to eat it but if a child or anybody sees a brownie or any kind of candy, they’ll eat it. They’ll probably spit it out because it doesn’t taste very good. But people need to lock up their medical edibles the same way they lock up liquor,” Ms. Shields said. “A lot of this is being responsible. They can buy a $20 safe at Target and lock up their medical edibles.”

Commissioner Robert Schroeder also was concerned about the amount of product the facility would produce, Mr. Esquivias said.

During a phone interview May 14, Commissioner Schroeder said he wanted to know what happens to the excess product produced at the facility. He also wants to know more about the smell that could be generated by the facility and whether its presence there would impact any developments being proposed on vacant lots near the proposed facility.

“There are all sorts of things I’d like solid answers for,” Commissioner Schroeder said.

He added he had to separate his concerns as a planning and zoning commissioner from those as an Apache Junction resident and parent.

“I try to look hard to find the positive in something,” he said. “As a resident and parent, I don’t feel that helps the image of Apache Junction. I’ve seen the city improve its image by leaps and bounds and I hate to see something of this nature have us take a step backwards. I like to see progress; I don’t like us to become synonymous as the marijuana capital of the Valley.

“But as a commissioner, as far as legalities, as long as they cross their T’s and dot their I’s, there is not a lot I can do about it,” he said. “Our job is to determine if it poses a direct threat to the community and if it is harmful to the citizens of Apache Junction.”

The application will be discussed in a public hearing during the commission’s regular meeting May 27. It will begin at 7 p.m. in the Apache Junction City Council Chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd., Mr. Esquivias said.

At that time, the commissioners can decide whether to deny or grant the application or continue it for further discussion, he said.

A full agenda will be available online closer to the meeting date on the city’s meeting management website.

Source:  http://arizona.newszap.com/eastvalley/132125-114/medical-marijuana-cultivation-site-infusion-kitchen-proposed-for-apache-junction

Public Works Employees Make a Splash at Statewide Maintenance Superintendents Event


(L to R) Public Works Employees Chris Newton and Edward “Sam” Cunningham; Supervisor Cheryl Chase; Public Works Employee Jarod Lane; Supervisor Pete Rios; Public Works Employee Gibby Salazar; Supervisors Todd House and Steve Miller and Public Works Employee John Sharp.


FLORENCE – Five Pinal County Public Works employees took part one of the state’s largest road maintenance rodeos in March. The event held in Gilbert saw three employees place in the top three for specific competitions.

The Tom Sheetz memorial Rodeo is sponsored by the Arizona Maintenance Superintendents Association. The rodeo brings in the best road maintenance employees across the state to pit their skills against each other in various heavy equipment and public works categories.

“We chose five employees who were winners at our Safety Roadeo,” said Public Works Director Louis Andersen. “We are proud with their accomplishments at this prestigious event.”

Chris Newton won first place in the backhoe event. Edward “Sam” Cunningham took home second place in the grader competition. Jarod Lane placed second overall in the Master’s event. John Sharp and Gibby Salazar also competed in the rodeo.

This is the first time Pinal County has participated in the Tom Sheetz Memorial Rodeo. The Maintenance Superintendents Association organization is a national leader in providing education and professional development in the Public Works field.

Source:  http://pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/NewsInformation/Lists/News%20and%20Announcements/DispFormA.aspx?List=a034c985-f072-4734-926b-9dcdba43664a&ID=1405

2014 Apache Junction/ Gold Canyon Studio Tour

Art by Pablo Picasso

Artists of the Superstitions is now accepting applications for its 8th Annual Artists Studio Tour to be held Saturday, November 1 and Sunday, November 2, 2014.

Artists with studios in Gold Canyon and Apache Junction are invited to open their studios to the community as well as host other artists.  Artists from surrounding areas may participate by displaying their work at a host studio located in Gold Canyon or Apache Junction.

Interested artists are invited to apply for the Tour by submitting photos of recent work.  Artists must be approved for participation by the Artists of the Superstitions jury of artists and other professionals.  After the application deadline of August 15, 2014, artists will be juried and notified by September 15, 2014, of their status.

The application and agreement for participation as well as additional information about the Studio Tour are available at the Artists of the Superstitions website, http://www.ArtistsoftheSuperstitions.com.  The application packet, which includes the agreement for participation, fee, and photos for jury consideration must be postmarked by August 15, 20134.  If you have questions about the application, please e-mail: artists.superstitions@gmail.com.  To request an application by mail, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Artists of the Superstitions, PO Box 6116, Apache Junction, AZ 85178.

The Artists Studio Tour began in 2007 and has become one of the most popular fall art events in the Gold Canyon/Apache Junction area.  In 2013 over 50 talented artists working in a wide variety of creative media participated at 20 local studios.  The 2014 Studio Tour promises to meet or exceed that level.  In addition to displaying original creations in painting, photography, glass, ceramics, woodworking, jewelry, fiber arts, gourds and other media, the artists will be on hand to discuss their art and many will demonstrate their unique creative processes in their studio settings.

Please visit the website and submit your application to Artists of the Superstitions.

Source:  http://sevledger.com/pages/2014-apache-junction-gold-canyon-studio-tour/

Apache Junction torch run promotes Special Olympics


Photo: Wendy Miller, Independent News Media, Inc. USA

On May 1, about 14 members of the Apache Junction Police Department ran and rode bicycles during the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

The purpose of the run, which was created in 1981, is to increase awareness and raise funds for the Special Olympics movement.

Local public safety personnel received the torch from members of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office at U.S. Highway 60 and South Superstition Mountain Road in Gold Canyon and carried it along an 8.5-mile stretch to Old West Highway and West Apache Trail where they met with members of the Apache Junction Teens Special Olympics team from Apache Junction High School at North Idaho Road. 

Matt Schacherbauer of the AJTSO got to carry the torch with his parents, Mike and Jodi Kotos nearby, alongside the public safety crew to Phelps Drive, where participants posed for a group photo. 

The teens returned the torch to the AJPD, who continued along West Apache Trail to North Signal Butte Road, where they handed off the torch to members of the Mesa Police Department.

Source:  http://arizona.newszap.com/eastvalley/131731-114/apache-junction-torch-run-promotes-special-olympics