I hate going to the Dentist. It was never a pleasant experience for me. When I retired, I lost my dental insurance but that really didn’t bother me as I hadn’t any plans to see a dentist. Three or four years ago, when I still had insurance, my tooth started hurting like it was going to need a root canal. I’m pretty good at identifying the different pains my body has had so I made an appointment with the dentist I had been using. I told him what I thought and he looked in my mouth for about 20 seconds and said “No, you need a crown.” He then started drilling, scraping, and shaping the tooth  and stopped and said “Ya know, I think you need a root canal.” He had his technician make up a temporary crown and then referred me to another dentist because he did not do root canal procedures. Needless to say, I was quite angry. I never went back to him nor did I go to the dentist he referred me to. The “temporary crown” held up until last night when it broke into pieces. Great. Now what was I gonna do? I didn’t know any dentists in my area but I sure needed one to take care of my problem. The tooth started to hurt – like it had three years of not hurting to make up for.

A while back, my wife got a flyer in the mail from Canyon Vista Dental Care, located at 110 S. Idaho Rd., Apache Junction, AZ. Wise woman that she is, she filed it with her myriad of miscellaneous stuff. She handed it to me and said “Call ’em.” So I did. I called just before 11:00 AM thinking I probably would not get an appointment until Monday (this was a Friday). To my surprised relief they told me to come in at 1:00 PM this same day! The lady on the telephone was quite pleasant. She did not snicker too loudly when I told her of my “temporary crown” but that was my own doing so I couldn’t blame her.

I get to the office, fill out some forms with my personal information and then I sat there and waited. All of about six or seven minutes. They called me in and took me to one of their treatment areas. I had about a ten minute wait there but that time was well used by a preliminary exam and X-Rays done by the dental hygienist, Heather. Very soon after that, Dr. Standage came in and introduced himself. One must keep in mind I am 70 years old. Dr. Standage looked like one of my son’s friends when he was just a young child. I said a silent prayer that he had done well in Dental College. The Dr. discussed my options with me and I opted to have the tooth extracted. Heather and Tom, another dental hygienist, proceeded to numb the area in and around the tooth.

The procedure begins. Dr. Standage, armed with an array of what appeared to me to be medieval torture devices, started the extraction. That old tooth did not want to budge. The Doctor continued his efforts from a variety of angles – never hurting me once I might add – and the tooth finally loosened. I could feel it let go. It still did not want to come completely out though. It took him another 15 minutes or so before the tooth let go completely and painlessly came out. He really had to work at it and I have to say it was the most painless tooth extraction I have ever had.

Heather gave me some gauze pads to slow and stop any bleeding and Dr. Standage gave me a prescription for antibiotics to prevent any infection. In a little over and hour I was done and on my way home.

Why am I telling you this? Because I know that there is another person out there who hates going to the dentist as much as I do. I know that he or she fears them and has little if any trust in them. I know that if they give Canyon Vista Dental Care a try they will be glad they did. Incidentally, I am not being paid to write this review. I was moved to write it by the good service and professional care they gave me. Why not give them a try when that foreboding realization that you need a dentist becomes apparent to you. Their telephone number is 480-982-0782 and you can find them on the Internet at

Apache Junction to collect hazardous waste, electronics and shred documents

The city of Apache Junction will hold its annual household hazardous waste, white goods, electronic recycling and document shredding collection event from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 20.

The event will take place at the city of Apache Junction‘s public works operations yard at 575 E Baseline.

This collection event is for items that typically cannot be deposited into a regular trash load.  An effort will be made to recycle most of the items collected.  Residents may bring from their homes items such as anti-freeze, motor oil only, paint, tires with no rims, refrigerators, air-conditioners, freezers, etc.

Electronic recycling will be held for items such as PC’s, laptops, flat panel monitors, power cords, keyboards, typewriters, etc.

Document shredding of confidential documents will be done on-site.

For additional information on the event, call Heather Hodgman at 480-474-8500.


Superstition Fire and Medical District begins providing emergency patient transportation Jan 6th, 2016 · by Dave Montgomery

Superstition Fire and Medical District’s new ambulances are 2015 Horton models and will match looks and colors with the rest of the SFMD fleet of emergency vehicles. (Courtesy of Superstition Fire and Medical District)

Superstition Fire and Medical District began a historic new service to the area Monday, Jan. 4. With the addition of five new ambulances into its fleet of state-of-the-art emergency rescue equipment, SFMD paramedics and EMTs will be responding to calls where the transport of critical patients is needed. Less critical, or low-acuity medical transports, will continue to be provided by Southwest Ambulance.

Southwest Ambulance has provided all ambulance service to the citizens of the fire district for the past two decades. But as Fire Chief Paul Bourgeois explains, the environment has changed and it’s opened the door for a new partnership and new service delivery model for the SFMD.

“There is a basic expectation everyone in our community should have – to be transported to an appropriate medical destination in a timely manner when you call 911,” said Chief Bourgeois. “In this new system, we will retain care of our most critical sick and injured patients all the way to the hospital, providing a more efficient and effective service to our community.”

SFMD successfully worked with Rural-Metro Corp., Southwest Ambulance’s parent company, to develop a ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding to capture the spirit and intent of this arrangement.

“The MOU helps to stabilize and strengthen our relationship with Rural-Metro,” said Chief Bourgeois.

SFMD staff was able to present a cost model showing conservatively that the new ambulance service will be fully self-sustaining in three to four years, with total investment recovery and positive revenue within four to five years.

“Our finance division worked very hard to show the Department of Health Services that this will be a benefit to our community,” said Chief Bourgeois.

The new ambulances are 2015 Horton models and will match looks and colors with the rest of the SFMD fleet of emergency vehicles. Each ambulance costs approximately $208,000. We received a $200,000 grant from the Gila River Indian Community for one of them.

The new units are equipped with many new features for both patient comfort and care, and items that will assist the paramedics while treating a patient while in route to the hospital.
Loading and unloading patients will be made much easier based on the latest technology and equipment available. Each new ambulance is equipped with a Stryker Power Pro Cot – Power-PRO XT. This innovative battery-powered hydraulic system that raises and lowers the patient with the touch of a button is coupled with the Stryker Power-Load cot fastener system, which lifts and lowers the gurney into and out of the ambulance, reducing the risk of injuries.

Helping to allow the paramedic to do the work needed in the safest manner possible, the new ambulances are also equipped with liquid-filled suspension springs, providing significant ride and handling performance improvements over conventional steel and air spring suspension systems.

It is also a much more comfortable experience for the patient. With the high temperatures of our summer months to contend with, each unit’s newer air-conditioning technology allows average cool down times of about nine minutes compared to the average 22 minute cool down time in older units.

“We are excited to be taking this step towards providing the very best pre-hospital service anywhere” said the fire chief. “We believe this is the next wave of change adding to the community para-medicine phenomenon that is changing the way fire-based EMS will look.”

If you would like to know more about the SFMD, visit our website or call our offices at 480-982-4440.

Editor’s note: Dave Montgomery is the assistant fire chief and public information officer for the Superstition Fire and Medical District. The SFMD encompasses 62 square miles and serves Apache Junction, the unincorporated areas of Gold Canyon, Superstition Foothills, Goldfield Foothills and Entrada Del Oro.


Pinal County jobless rate drops as population climbs

Pinal County’s population grew 2.6 percent this year, but its unemployment rate has steadily dropped over the past seven months.

The county’s jobless rate dropped from 6.3 to 6 percent, its lowest since May’s 5.6 percent. The state’s seasonally adjusted rate is also 6 percent, a drop of 0.1 percent. The U.S. rate is unchanged at 5 percent.

“We’ve grown, and we’re still gaining jobs. That’s very, very, very difficult to do,” said Tim Kanavel, Pinal County Economic Development manager. “People are getting jobs, whether it’s at home or in stores or somewhere out of the county.”

Pinal’s estimated population growth was 10,231 people in the past year. The growth rate of 2.6 was the highest in the state. Overall, Arizona’s population grew 1.4 percent in 2015.

 Pinal gained 500 nonfarm jobs in November. The state gained 29,800 nonfarm jobs last month.

Research administrator Doug Walls of the Arizona Department of Administration said the state is nearing pre-recession levels of jobs but still has 7.3 percent to regain. Ten years ago, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent.

All indicators in the employment outlook are “pretty positive,” he said. Ten of 11 job categories showed growth so far in 2015. The only sector reporting losses was natural resources and mining.

According to the state data, the biggest job gains during 2015 have been in education and health, which picked up 13,800 jobs. Leisure and hospitality grew 10,900 jobs, and trade, transportation and utilities (TTU) gained 10,800 jobs.

TTU had Arizona’s biggest month-to-month growth in November with a pickup of 14,600 jobs. Education and health serviced gained 3,400 jobs.

Construction, a large job sector before the recession, remains one of the smaller categories. After nine Novembers in a row reporting over-the-month job losses, construction showed a job gain of 1,600 last month.

“Construction has not recovered the majority of its jobs,” Walls said. “They were clearly at an unsustainable level before the recession.”


APS drops bid for solar fee increase, blames “political gamesmanship”

Arizona Public Service dropped its bid to increase its solar fee today and called out “political gamesmanship” by solar groups that muddied the request to increase the fee.

APS asked the Arizona Corporation Commission to increase its solar fee from an average of $5 monthly to $21. The utility says solar users don’t pay their fair share to access and maintain the electric grid, putting costs onto non-solar customers.

“Unfortunately, what should have been a relatively simple decision-making process has been turned into political theater by attacks and distortions from rooftop solar leasing companies that seek to paralyze Arizona regulators,” APS said in a statement, released Friday.

The commission voted in August to move forward with a hearing now on the solar fee. Solar groups have said the fee needs to be considered as part of a full rate case, where other options to address cost shifts would be on the table.

Instead of deciding on the solar fee increase, APS suggests the commission undertake a hearing that would address the cost it takes APS to serve its customers, both with and without solar, and consider how those costs affect the way the utility’s rates are designed.

“We hope our proposal will provide an alternative for the ACC to move forward with a much-needed discussion about how to update electricity pricing to reflect energy innovations like rooftop solar, battery storage and home energy management systems,” APS said.

If a hearing on the cost of service issue happens soon, the outcomes can be used to address cost shifts in APS’s upcoming rate case, expected to be filed in mid-2016.

In recent weeks, attorneys representing former commissioners and solar company Sunrun asked for the recusal of three Corporation Commissioners from the APS proceeding because of biases.

More than $3 million flooded the Corporation Commission elections in 2014 to support commissioners Tom Forese and Doug Little, and many speculate the money came from APS or its parent company, Pinnacle West. Because of the amount of money spent to elect Forese and Little, attorney Hugh Hallman argued the two regulators are biased and must recuse themselves from the APS solar fee proceeding. Another complaint alleges Commissioner Bob Stump has repeatedly shown his bias against solar companies in social media posts and interviews.

The Alliance for Solar Choice asked for a rehearing on the commission’s decision to hear the solar fee increase proposal now because, the solar group claims, it’s unconstitutional.

In its filing, APS calls the motions to rehear a “desperate attempt to avoid addressing the issues.”

APS sharply criticized solar groups, particularly TASC, which counts solar giants SolarCity and Sunrun as members. APS alleges TASC is using personal attacks and public accusations to undermine the solar fee discussion and avoid talking about real issues.

“They will do anything to delay or change the subject. Take away their ability to engage in innuendo, personal attacks and bumper-sticker sloganeering and they have nothing left to offer,” APS said.

APS said it cannot sustain its level of solar deployment without addressing the costs that are shifted to non-solar customers, and the cost shift continues to grow and needs to be addressed urgently.

“These California-based solar leasing companies have no stake in Arizona beyond the money they can make leasing rooftop solar panels to homeowners, pocketing the tax credits, selling the leases to financial firms and moving on,” APS said.

Court Rich, an attorney for TASC, said it’s great that APS decided to forgo its solar fee, but the accusations against solar groups are “really passive-aggressive.”

“It’s like the little kid stomping their foot going back to their room, but still doing what their parents told them to do,” Rich said.

Rich said he needs to analyze the utility’s idea for a cost of service hearing and what that would mean for solar before commenting on the merits of such a hearing. But he said APS’s move shows the utility knows increasing the solar fee outside of a rate case is wrong.

“APS is really going to be lecturing the solar industry on how to act and what to be doing? That’s ridiculous,” Rich said.



Eagle One

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors played host to the unveiling and ribbon cutting ceremony of a Mobile Veteran Outreach Center at the Historical Courthouse on Saturday, September 19.

The non-profit organization, Honoring/Hiring/Helping Our Heroes of Pinal County (HOHP), acquired an RV (“Eagle One”) from Pinal County for $1.00. Veterans, volunteers, elected officials and members of the pubic gathered to hear the story of how Eagle One, one of two mobile units for veterans in our State, became reality for veterans in Pinal County.

“It was Tom Schryer that saw the need and had the vision to make this happen,” said Kim Rodriquez, HOHP Chair. Rodriquez. “Eagle One has the unique flexibility to bring multiple providers to veterans including, food boxes, counseling, educational services, and other assistance as needed.”

Rodriguez also thanked the many groups and individuals that contributed to raise the $7,500 needed to wrap the RV.

Tom Schryer, Pinal County Director of Health and Air Force Veteran, spoke at the event saying “When I met with Kim, she told me about the HOHP organization and that they were competing for a mobile vet center. As we talked, it became clear that we had what they needed.”

Schryer shared how the need was explained to County Manager Greg Stanley, Assistant Manager Leo Lew, and the Board of Supervisors, where it was clear to project had their support. After working with Kevin Costello from the County Attorney’s Office, the proper legal process was determined to sell the county RV for $1.00, since HOHP is a non-profit organization.

Mr. Schryer also publicly credited and thanked Gila River Indian Community, as they were the original source of funding for the RV. “I talked to them and they were immediately supportive. With their blessing, we put it on the December 17, 2014 Board of Supervisor’s agenda where they voted unanimously in support.”

While speaking to the veterans in attendance, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Cheryl Chase said “It’s not about us, but it’s about each and every one of you. It’s about doing the best we can to serve you who have so bravely risked your lives to protect our freedom.”

The Chairwoman specifically thanked Schryer and Rodrigues for working together to make this vehicle a possibility for Pinal County Veterans. Vice-Chairman Pete Rios, Supervisors Anthony Smith and Todd House, along with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu joined Chairwoman Chase, to celebrate the newest support vehicle to help Pinal County veterans. For many of these Veterans, their nearest help from the Veteran’s Administration is in Phoenix or Tucson


Wall of dust slams western Pinal County

A wall of dust enveloped parts of western Pinal County and the Phoenix metropolitan area in another storm from the annual monsoon season.

The dust preceded wind gusts and heavy rain in some areas late Tuesday afternoon.

 National Weather Service meteorologists say the city of Maricopa received almost three-quarters of an inch of rain.

The storm left 1,600 Arizona Public Service Co. customers in the Casa Grande area without electricity for almost two hours. 

The winds knocked down an electrical wire causing outages at homes, schools and businesses within the perimeter of Kortsen Road to Florence Boulevard and Coolidge Avenue to Clements Road.

Service was restored to all customers by about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

In that type of situation, APS Community Affairs Manager Richard Rosales said customers should report anything to the utility company that may cause an outage. He added those tips help APS crews pinpoint the cause of an outage sooner and restore service faster.  

The storm also caused a semi-truck to roll on its side in the eastbound (southbound) lanes of Interstate 10 near Casa Blanca Road. No information was available on the condition of the driver, but freeway traffic was limited to one lane for hours as the truck was removed.

Farther south, the storm wreaked havoc in Marana and around Tucson. 

Downed power lines just north of the city stranded 11 people in six vehicles for several hours at Twin Peaks and Quarry roads in Pima County. The occupants were safely removed around 4:30 p.m. 

A spokesman for Northwest Fire District said the intersection was closed while power companies secured the area. 

The Tucson Fire Department used social media to warn residents of the dangers that storms pose, posting a video of a duplex whose windows were blasted by thunder when lightning hit a nearby palm tree. 

Arizona’s monsoon season usually runs from June 15 through Sept. 30. In recent years, it has produced massive dust storms, sometimes called “haboobs.” 

Weather experts say haboobs only occur in Arizona, Africa’s Sahara Desert and parts of the Middle East because of dry conditions or large amounts of sand.


Excessive heat warning issued for parts of Arizona

PHOENIX (AP) – Much of south-central and southwestern Arizona is likely to see hotter temperatures over the next two days.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Areas in Arizona covered by the warning stretches from Yuma and other communities along the Colorado River eastward into the Phoenix area and the Pinal County communities of Casa Grande, Coolidge and Flores.

Officials say the temperature is expected to climb to between 112 and 115 degrees on both days.

The warning is in effect from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. both days.

Residents who work or play outdoors face a greater risk of heat-related illness.

The Weather Service is advising people to drink more water than usual, wear a hat outside and take rest breaks in air-conditioned places.


Monsoon storm topples some power lines in Apache Junction

powerlinesAPACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. (AP) — Strong winds from a monsoon storm have topped some power lines in Apache Junction, leaving thousands of residents temporarily without electricity.

Friday afternoon’s storm also brought blowing dust and some brief heavy rain in the Phoenix area, causing up to 45-minute flight delays at Sky Harbor International Airport.

The National Weather Service in Phoenix reported winds at up to 50 mph moved through the Apache Junction area east of Phoenix around 2 p.m. Friday.

Arizona Department of Transportation officials say the downed power lines are on State Route 88 at Tepee Street near Tomahawk Road.

The Salt River Project’s outage map showed nearly 7,500 residences and businesses without power following the storm. That number was quickly cut to about 3,000 as crews worked to repair damaged power poles.