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Golf cart parade one of many Pinal activities aimed at honoring veterans this week
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ELOY — Decorated with American flags and other patriotic symbols, golf carts will roll through Robson Ranch to honor veterans on Thursday.

Thursday is Veterans Day and most federal and county offices will be closed. But activities are planned throughout the county to pay tribute to those who have served the nation in the military.

In Robson Ranch, the golf cart parade begins at 2:30 p.m. at the softball field. More than 100 golf carts are expected to take part, said Steve Reeves, a Robson Ranch resident and president of Support Our Troops Arizona, which is planning the event.

The golf cart parade is one of the several activities the organization plans in Robson Ranch this week to observe Veterans Day.

On Thursday, beginning at about 6:45 a.m., about a dozen volunteers will disperse throughout the community to put up about 450 American flags.

The flags will be on display throughout the day until about 3 p.m. and will add to the flags displayed by homeowners.

“With the flags we put up and the homeowners, combined there should be about 750 flags out at Robson Ranch on Veterans Day,” Reeves said.

SOT-AZ also plans an evening celebration on Thursday as well as a pickleball tournament on Friday and a golf tournament on Saturday.

Robson Ranch events conclude Saturday evening with a barbecue and entertainment.

Earlier in the week, the group held a raffle, car show and bake sale.

Reeves, a retired Air Force fighter pilot, said many of the community residents are military veterans or have family members who are veterans. On Veterans Day, he said, they enjoy showing their patriotism.

SOT-AZ was founded in 2011 in the Robson Ranch community. The goal of the all-volunteer group is to support military men and women by raising money through various activities and flag sales.

While the communities of Casa Grande and Maricopa held Veterans Day parades and activities on Saturday, some other upcoming events this week to honor veterans are:

Wednesday

Vista Grande JROTC celebrates Marines

The Vista Grande High School Junior ROTC will celebrate the 246th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps with a special commemoration Marine Corps ball event at the school. JROTC students will present the colors, serve birthday cake and take part in the time-honored ceremonial tradition that symbolizes the older generation passing on knowledge and experience to the younger generation. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in the school auditorium. It is open to the public and veterans.

Thursday

American Legion event

American Legion Post 8, 713 N. Park Ave. in Casa Grande, will host veterans for coffee, doughnuts and comradeship on Thursday, Veterans Day, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Quail Run RV Resort parade

ARIZONA CITY — A Veterans Day parade will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Quail Run RV Resort, 14010 S. Amado Blvd.

Apache Junction parade and ceremony

APACHE JUNCTION — The annual community memorial celebration in Apache Junction downtown is a daylong event.

Eloy Veterans Day celebration

ELOY — The Eloy Veterans Center hosts the 13th annual Veterans Day Parade beginning at 9 a.m. from Frontier and Main streets.

Saturday

McFarland State Park presentation

FLORENCE — There will be a veterans program on the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at McFarland State Historic Park, Main and Ruggles streets. There will be a video presentation and time for conversation with a survivor, Adolfo “Harpo” Celaya of Florence.

The Coffee Station Company will be providing coffee. Light refreshments will also be served.

Pinal County Stand Down and Resource Day

COOLIDGE — The ninth annual Pinal County Veterans Stand Down and Resource Day is hosted by Honoring, Hiring, Helping Our Heroes of Pinal County from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Veterans Transition Center, 5497 W. McCartney Road.

The event aims to honor veterans. It is open to all U.S. military veterans and includes access to various services.

Jim Westover veterans tribute

CASA GRANDE — Elvis tribute artist Jim Westover, a huge supporter of veterans and veterans causes, performs a special tribute concert aimed at honoring those who served in the military.

The show will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Paramount Theater, 420 N. Florence St. Tickets are $20.


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3-vehicles collide at Florence intersection where roundabouts planned
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FLORENCE — At least one person was injured in a three-vehicle collision Monday morning at a Florence intersection designated for future roundabouts.

The collision occurred at 8:30 a.m. at State Route 79B and Florence Heights Drive. At least one person was transported to an area hospital via ambulance, but none of the injuries was believed to be serious.

A $4.7 million project to replace the town’s most awkward intersection with roundabouts is expected to begin next summer.

The intersection of State Routes 287 and 79B near the southern town limits has been the town’s southern entrance since the beginning of the 20th century. Its current configuration only serves vehicle traffic, despite being surrounded by commercial development and used by all modes of transport, according to a town staff report.

The Florence Town Council has approved a contract with the Arizona Department of Transportation related to the design, right-of-way acquisition and construction of the roundabouts. Federal funds will be used for design and construction, and the town is also contributing financially.


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New LD 11 rep vows to fight for Pinal County
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CASA GRANDE — The new state lawmaker representing Legislative District 11 is a longtime resident of Casa Grande and has lived most of her life within the region, including Arizona City.

Teresa Martinez, a longtime Republican activist, was appointed by the Pinal County Board of Supervisors to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Bret Roberts of Maricopa.

Martinez said her deep roots in the area, with numerous friends and family still working in the area, were a big reason why she wanted to step into the state representative role as an advocate for the county.

In fact, Martinez said she was working at the Casa Grande racquetball club as a receptionist when she was first approached to help out with the local Republican Party.

Despite working for Republican firebrand Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, Martinez described herself as a people person during an Oct. 20 interview and said she was willing to listen to anyone, no matter their politics. Martinez said that while working in Gosar’s office, she has helped people obtain passports and fight for their COVID stimulus monies, even if they initially tell her they abhor her or her boss’s politics.

“I can go up to anybody and talk about any issue,” Martinez said. “Part of communication isn’t just talking, but listening. I have my convictions but when it comes down to the needs of people in this county, they are going to come first.”

The district includes the western edge of Casa Grande plus Maricopa, part of Eloy, Arizona City and Saddlebrooke. New districts are being drawn for the 2022 election.

Having worked within the local Republican Party for over 18 years, Martinez cited numerous relationships with state and federal government offices, as well as local Native American tribes and officials at the Mexican embassy.

“I understand how sausage is made,” Martinez said. “The players like me; without any baggage, they will want to work with me.”

Last month, Martinez and San Tan Valley attorney Neal Carter were appointed by the board to represent state Legislative Districts LD11 and LD8, respectively.

Roberts resigned from the Legislature in September without giving a reason. Carter is stepping in for the late Frank Pratt, who died following a long illness.

Martinez cited water and transportation issues, particularly the widening of Interstate 10, as the most important issues for Pinal County.

Despite being adamant she is not “anti-growth,” Martinez said her priority is making sure the county has access to enough water to last several generations. A big component of that, she believes, will be “outside the box” ideas like desalination or floodwater pipelines that connect the Mississippi and Colorado River systems.

Martinez said she has a “deep appreciation” for the agricultural community and chastised politicos from the Phoenix area who she claimed don’t understand its importance.

“I had a state legislator maybe a month ago tell me that if we get rid of one or two farmers we could have thousands of new homes,” Martinez said. “I came back and said, ‘Wait a minute, one farmer doesn’t just feed his family. He’s not gardening. Whether it’s cotton, watermelon, lettuce, jalapenos, they are actually farming to feed us.’”

Gosar is not the only controversial figure Martinez has worked for. She began her political career working for Rep. Rick Renzi, who was convicted on federal charges in 2013 involving racketeering and money laundering.

Martinez first began volunteering for his campaign, and when Renzi sought reelection in 2004, he appointed her to a staff position.

“I was working at Curves in Arizona City,” Martinez said. “The congressman apparently announced that I was working for him. I got a call from his chief of staff, he told me: ‘Hey, you kind of don’t work for Curves anymore, Renzi said you’re the new Eloy staffer, go to the office, open up and wait for further instructions.’”

Though she didn’t have training, Martinez said she had a “gut instinct” for the job. Martinez said jumping between various roles — working on campaigns, switching to work with Gosar — is part of the territory.

“Politics is a temporary gig,” Martinez said. “You are there until somebody gets elected, and when they aren’t you have to go work as a sub or shutterfly, I did all those jobs. But I still stayed passionate for the cause.”

Martinez said she has maintained conservative values over the years, including being pro-life and pro-gun, and limiting government overreach.

Martinez said she will continue working at Gosar’s Gold Canyon office on a part-time basis. She has one son, who is a sophomore in college.

Now that her appointment is confirmed, Martinez said she is hoping to file for election and run as the district’s representative next year.

“I am a person of service,” Martinez said. “People can still sit together and come with how to resolve issues, even if we disagree, even if those issues are very personal. If I don’t get reelected, that is what it is but I will stay true to my convictions, values and beliefs. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true.”


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