A1 A1
spotlight featured top story
Neglected CG underpass to be turned into a work of art
  • Updated

CASA GRANDE — A neglected underpass could transform into a work of art celebrating Casa Grande in the coming months.

In September 2019, the Casa Grande City Council accepted a recommendation by the Arts and Humanities Commission that proposed adding art and design elements to the Union Pacific Railroad underpass on West Gila Bend Highway.

According to City Clerk Gloria Leija, Ellison-Mills Contracting tentatively will come before the City Council on April 5 as the only contractor that submitted a response to be a construction manager at risk for the project.

“The change we hope the project will have on the physical environment is to eliminate the blight by cleaning up the area and beautifying it with paint, metal art, mosaic tiles, signs and landscaping,” Leija said in an email.

According to Leija, if Ellison-Mills Contracting is awarded the contract, the project will most likely start in June and be completed within 90 days.

“Since this project contains many elements, e.g., painting, mosaic tiles, metal art, signs, landscaping, traffic control during the construction, etc., it required a lot of planning and coordination, which has taken some time,” Leija said.

The project theme will pay tribute to the railroad and the city’s multicultural history.

According to Leija, organizations involved include: Art Mobile-AZ, city of Casa Grande, Casa Grande Arts and Humanities Commission, CG Mosaic Creative Communities Team, Casa Grande Main Street and BlackBox Foundation.

According to the Art Mobile-AZ website, the project will beautify the area and promote unity and commerce.

“We greatly appreciate their participation,” Leija said.

Celebrate CAHRA, nonprofits with spring Pinal Ways

There’s no greater sign of devotion to a cause or a community than the choice to dedicate countless hours to “give back.” In Pinal County, there are a wealth of nonprofits, each with varying missions, that do exactly that.

The latest issue of Pinal Ways celebrates many of those organizations in communities around the county. In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Community Action Human Resources Agency, officially marked on March 2, the spring issue also pays special tribute to the nonprofit, taking an in-depth look at CAHRA’s history, the services it offers and how those services benefit the greater Pinal County community.

Many stories in this edition also delve into the incredible work done by a number of locally based foundations, detailing how their work is making a difference in the lives of people throughout Pinal. Many of these organizations have adopted special approaches to addressing difficult challenges or needs that, at times, are not widely well known.

Other nonprofits you will encounter in this edition are:

  • BlackBox Foundation
  • Jose’s Closet
  • Pinal Hispanic Council
  • Hoofbeats with Heart
  • The Historic Florence Foundation
  • Honoring/Hiring/Helping Our Heroes of Pinal County
  • The Lost Dutchman Marathon
  • F.O.R. Maricopa
  • Hope Women’s Center

This Pinal Ways also covers how donations made on Arizona Gives Day, April 6, can aid a number of local nonprofits, including the Future Forward Foundation, or 3F, and United Way of Pinal County, in achieving their missions.

Also featured in the newest issue is a directory of nonprofit organizations within Pinal County, which provides contact information for many of them.

Finally, this season’s Pinal in Pictures celebrates the volunteers who help some of these organizations accomplish all they do. Photos featured in this section were submitted by several local nonprofits and recognize just a few volunteers that have tirelessly given back.

The section also pays special tribute to dedicated volunteer and community leader David Snider, who died earlier this year.

Find out more about Pinal’s nonprofits by picking up a copy of the spring edition at the locations where Pinal Ways is sold.

top story
Organizations raising funds to help injured Apache Junction officer
  • Updated

APACHE JUNCTION — The Apache Junction Police Officers Association and Mesa Fraternal Order of Police Lodge have created an online fundraiser for an officer who was shot and injured while responding to a stolen vehicle call on March 16.

The fundraiser is listed on the Help A Hero fundraising website at https://helpahero.com/campaign/support-for-ajpd-officer-brian-brugman-and-family. As of Monday afternoon, the lodge had raised more than $5,000 of its $15,000 goal to help Officer Brian Brugman and his family pay for medical expenses.

The Friends of Apache Junction is also establishing a Wounded Officer fund to take donations from the community in the name of Apache Junction Police Department Officer Brugman. The organization can be found online at https://friendsofapachejunction.org/.

Brugman was one of several officers pursuing a possible suspect in a stolen truck on March 16, according to Apache Junction Police spokesman Cpl. Marshall Harshman. The officers chased the stolen vehicle earlier in the week but broke off the pursuit because of the possible danger to the community.

Officers spotted the truck again around 2 p.m. on March 16 near Apache Trail and 102nd Street in the parking lot of a business. When officers tried to stop the truck, the driver of the stolen vehicle tried to ram officers several times.

One of the officers shot at the truck, hitting one of the two people in the truck. A suspect in the truck shot back and one of the bullets struck Brugman in the neck.

According to the Help A Hero fundraising page, Brugman’s fellow officers placed him in the back of a detective’s patrol vehicle while the shooting was still going on. One detective held Brugman in the back seat as they rushed to the hospital. Brugman underwent surgery the same day and is recovering in a local hospital.

The two suspects were taken into custody. One was shot during the incident and was taken to a nearby hospital.

Brugman has been an officer with the department for the last four years and was promoted to be a motorcycle officer in January.

The Apache Junction Police Department released a statement from Brugman’s father, Joe Brugman, a few days after the incident.

“We’d like to thank everyone for the incredible outpouring of support for our son Brian. He’s making steady progress toward healing but has a long recovery ahead of him. The quick action of Brian’s fellow officers at the scene of the incident and the skill of his surgeons and medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center saved his life. Brian wanted to be a police officer since he was very young. Like him, the men and women who strive to protect others do so because it is their calling. This is certainly the case for the members of the Apache Junction Police Department and for our son. We are so proud of Brian’s dedication to keeping others safe and we’re forever grateful that he can continue to do so,” Joe Brugman said in the statement.