AJHS Instrumental Music Director Named Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction

David Balogh, Instrumental Music Director at Apache Junction High School, was recently selected as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). Balogh was nominated by student Shelby Caplette for outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence in the classroom.

“I have had Mr. Balogh as a teacher for several years in a row,” explained Caplette, a junior, who plays percussion instruments in the band. “He’s a great teacher; really passionate about music. But the reason I nominated him is because he has taught me about dedication and about balancing my time. That has been so important as I’ve juggled music, National Honor Society, Advanced Placement classes and other activities. This is something that will be important throughout my college and career.”

Student members of NSHSS have the opportunity to nominate an educator who has made the most significant contribution to their academic career. (Caplette was inducted into NSHSS this past summer.) The Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award recognizes role models who have made a lasting difference in their classroom by encouraging students to strive for excellence.

“Dedicated educators who exhibit a commitment to excellence deserve our highest praise and appreciation,” said NSHSS President James W. Lewis. “We’re excited to provide an ongoing means to do so, and we encourage our student members to nominate teachers and counselors who have contributed to their academic success.”

As for David Balogh, “It’s nice to be recognized at this level, but the appreciation of students and parents is really what makes this an honor.”


Formed in 2002 by James W. Lewis and Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes, The National Society of High School Scholars recognizes academic excellence at the high school level and encourages members of the organization to apply their unique talents, vision, and potential for the betterment of themselves and the world. Currently, there are more than 1,000,000 Society members in 160 countries. NSHSS provides scholarship opportunities for deserving young people and offeres lifetime membership to support the transition from high school to college and from college to career. For more information about NSHSS, visit www.nshss.org.

Source:  AJ News

Who Is That Flying The Mexican Flag and Where Are They?

On Saturday, September 13th, there was a political parade in the town of Eloy, Arizona.  Two Democrat Candidates, Ann Kirkpatrick (Candidate for US House in Arizona’s 1st District) and Fred Duval (Candidate for Arizona Governor), shared a float in the parade.


Source Sonoran Alliance

Source Sonoran Alliance

Please remember this in November!!

Apache Junction science teacher named to leadership program

A science teacher at Cactus Canyon Junior High School, 801 W. Southern Ave. in Apache Junction, has been selected to participate in a leadership program with educators from around the state.

Bethany Ligon, who began her teaching career with the Apache Junction Unified School District in 1997, will join the Developing Leaders for 21st Century Science program.

The Arizona Science Teachers Association designed the program in partnership with the Arizona Department of Education and Salt River Project, according to a press release.

A total of 31 teachers were selected for the program.

The group will meet face-to-face and alone throughout the 2014-15 academic year, according to the release.

The program is designed to familiarize teachers with best practices for science education and teach a new approach for K-12 instruction in science and engineering, according to the release.

“AJUSD has a history of being at the forefront of new things,” Ms. Ligon said in the release. “There are a lot of really good elements to the methods that we are learning in this group. There are techniques that I can implement immediately and train my colleagues here in AJUSD to use as well.”

Source:  http://arizona.newszap.com/eastvalley/134877-114/apache-junction-science-teacher-named-to-leadership-program

Veterans group donates to buy Apache Junction police honor guard uniforms

The Apache Junction Police Department will have new uniforms to help reestablish its police honor guard thanks to donations totaling $1,000 from two Apache Junction-based Veterans of Foreign Wars posts.

Gordie Bonnell, commander of Superstition Mountain VFW Post 9399, 133 N. Saguaro Drive; and Derek Tramondo, commander of VFW Post 7968, 250 S. Phelps Drive; each presented a ceremonial check for $500 to Apache Junction Mayor John Insalaco and Apache Junction Police Chief Thomas E. Kelly.

The presentations took place Sept. 2 during the regular meeting of the Apache Junction City Council, which was held in the council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.

The police department had an honor guard three to five years ago but it became inactive due to a lack of city funding caused by the down economy, Chief Kelly told the council members at the meeting.

Source:  http://arizona.newszap.com/eastvalley/134878-114/veterans-group-donates-to-buy-apache-junction-police-honor-guard-uniforms

Apache Junction hires consulting firm to help attract new businesses

Representatives from the city of Apache Junction are hoping to attract more casual dining, entertainment and apparel businesses to the community by using data provided by a consulting firm that identifies retailers best suited to meet the city’s needs.

According to Janine Solley, Apache Junction’s principal economic development specialist, city staff and officials are eagerly awaiting a list of the top 20 companies that will work well in Apache Junction, Ms. Solley said during an interview Aug. 19. The list is being compiled by consulting firm Buxton, she said, adding she expected to receive the information sometime in September.

Based in Fort Worth, Texas, Buxton is a customer analytics firm that advises communities on retail recruitment and business expansion strategies, Courtney Hall, the company’s director of marketing, said in an e-mailed response to a question. Members of the Apache Junction City Council at their June 17 meeting approved a professional services agreement between the city and Buxton for a retail expansion, recruitment and visitor impact analysis, according to the meeting’s minutes, which can be found online.

The cost for Buxton’s services will not exceed $60,000 for the first year of a three-year term and will not exceed $50,000 in the second and third years of the term, according to the meeting minutes.

The scope of services being provided by Buxton to the city include a community and visitor profile that is part of a retail recruitment and retention report, research about the community and a map defining Apache Junction’s trade area; the latter defines the area in which customers shop based on time, not mileage, according to the council information packet from the June 17 meeting, which can be found online.

The services also include a profile of the spending and lifestyle habits of Apache Junction residents and visitors, a marketing package, and an analysis of the city’s retail leakage and supply, according to the documents. Retail leakage refers to the dollars being spent outside the city’s trade area; supply, or surplus money, refers to the amount of dollars coming in from outside the trade area, according to the documents.

The materials used by the economic development department to market the city are more than two years old and in need of updating, Ms. Solley said. The new materials being compiled by Buxton will feature those amenities and demographics that could attract new businesses to locate in Apache Junction, she said.

The key information in the marketing materials can be personalized to an individual business’s requirements, Eric Brown, an account executive for Buxton, said during a phone interview Aug. 27.

His company’s goal is to help Apache Junction representatives understand where the opportunities are, especially in retail, to bring tax revenue to the city and retain existing businesses, Mr. Brown said.
Clients have access to Buxton’s Scout platform of databases, a website that allows users to analyze a trade area, pull demographic reports and review commercial activity in other markets, he said. One report enables business owners to analyze the buying habits of residents and visitors in Apache Junction to determine the types of merchandise they should be stocking on their shelves, Mr. Brown said.

Buxton draws the information from a database of 130 million household records, such as credit card receipts and Internet usage, he said.

“We use the information to paint a picture of who a household might be and we’re then able to match that profile against a database of more than 5,000 retailers to find an objective list of who will be the best fit for the Apache Junction profile,” Mr. Brown said. “At the beginning, our goals were casual dining, entertainment and apparel, as the city requested,” but the final list may include businesses in other areas if they are better suited to the Apache Junction profile, he said.

That type of information also could be used by local business people to help identify a buyer for their company, Mr. Brown said.

During Ms. Solley’s interview, she mentioned real estate broker Dzintars Grauds is having problems finding a business to locate in an empty commercial building in Apache Junction. Mr. Grauds would welcome marketing tools to help promote his local client, he said during a phone interview Aug. 25.

Mr. Grauds is a broker for MCO Realty who represents the owners of a 5,000-square-foot building on West Apache Trail at Delaware that once housed a furniture store. He acquired the listing a couple months ago, he said, and is having trouble finding a good match for the site.

“We want to bring something beneficial for the community,” he said.

He said he has had some inquiries for a social services office and a pawn shop but would prefer to go in the direction of a franchise restaurant. He has approached representatives from Wendy’s, Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A fast-food chains but has not heard back from any of them.

“If the city has a marketing packet I could pass on, I could find the right person in the company’s real estate division to give it to,” he said.

Mr. Brown said he is also tasked by the city of Apache Junction with two other goals. The first is to create a visitor analysis. Buxton has a partnership with a credit card company that allows it to identify the types of purchases by made by people from across the U.S. who have visited Apache Junction and spent money in the community, he said.

The visitor profile analyzes all VISA credit card expenditures during a 12-month period where the cardholder’s originating address is outside Apache Junction’s drive-time trade area, according to the professional services agreement in the meeting minutes. Expenditures are consolidated at the ZIP+4 level so as to de-identify individual cardholder information while providing an accurate consumer profile, according to the agreement.

The second is to create a hotel feasibility study and identify which hotels would be the best match for the community, he said.

Ms. Solley said she hopes to use the information to build on the momentum the city has experienced over the past year with the arrival of new businesses as well as facelifts to existing businesses, she said. Both bolster consumer confidence and tend to attract additional businesses, she said.

Among the new businesses are Planet Fitness, a 20,000-square-foot health club that opened at 3003 W. Apache Trail No. 1; Sun Life Family Health Center, a health care provider offering pediatric and OB/GYN services at 2080 W. Southern Ave. Suite B10; Western Bar-B-Q, a dine-in restaurant that can serve 60-80 people at 300 W. Apache Trail No. 116; Cowboys Up, an upscale, western-themed steakhouse at 285 N. Apache Trail; Banner Children’s Health Clinic, 1075 S. Idaho Road Suite 206; First Auto and Marine, a used vehicle business at 2162 W. Apache Trail; Obies Trains, a model train store at 2114 W. Apache Trail No. 11; and Canyon Carpet and Flooring, 1678 W. Superstition Blvd.; and the reopening of the Food Store (formerly the Orange Food Store) at 420 N. Apache Trail, Ms. Solley said. In addition, a Circle K convenience store is opening on West Apache Trail at Ironwood Road, she said.

A number of local businesses have expanded or been remodeled over the past year. They include Burger King, which underwent a complete facelift of its building and upgrades to its interior at 530 W. Apache Trail; Parkway Professional Plaza, which remodeled the exteriors of its buildings on the northwest corner of West Apache Trail and Idaho Road; Handlebar Pub and Grill, which added a dining patio to its restaurant at 650 W. Apache Trail; and Valero, 1000 E. Old West Highway, which added a dining room and new hot food offerings, Ms. Solley said.

In addition, businesses such as the Good Apple, 100 N. Plaza Drive, and Empowerment Systems Inc., 2066 W. Apache Trail, have taken advantage of the city’s commercial rehab program, Ms. Solley said. The program uses Commercial Development Block Grant money to fund improvements to businesses.

Ms. Solley said she is looking forward to having the updated materials to attract new businesses to the community.

“The better we can tell our story, the better we can reach out and let them know we’re here,” she said.

For more information about the city’s economics development department, visit its website or call Ms. Solley at 480-474-5076.

Source:  http://arizona.newszap.com/eastvalley/134634-114/apache-junction-hires-consulting-firm-to-help-attract-new-businesses