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Latest News in Apache Junction, AZ
Woman alerted of husband’s motorcycle crash in East Valley by phone app
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - An app alerted a woman that her husband was involved in a motorcycle crash near Mesa over the weekend. It happened Saturday morning just before 7 a.m. near 75th Place and University Drive. Tim Caine dropped his son off at football practice and was five minutes from home when the crash happened.“It just says Life360 detects sudden motion on dad’s phone,” said Sarah Caine. ‘Dad’ is actually Sarah’s husband, Tim, and the app Life360 has GPS technology. “This could be...
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - An app alerted a woman that her husband was involved in a motorcycle crash near Mesa over the weekend. It happened Saturday morning just before 7 a.m. near 75th Place and University Drive. Tim Caine dropped his son off at football practice and was five minutes from home when the crash happened.
“It just says Life360 detects sudden motion on dad’s phone,” said Sarah Caine. ‘Dad’ is actually Sarah’s husband, Tim, and the app Life360 has GPS technology. “This could be a result of a collision, hard braking, and dropped phone; we suggest you call dad and check on him,” Caine read from the message. “When I called him, and he didn’t answer, my thought was ‘maybe it fell out of his pocket,” said Caine.
Caine drove to his location and saw the scene of the crash. “So I drove there over the canal, and there he was on the side of the road with people standing over him. I was able to see him before he went into the ambulance,” said Caine.
Her husband later told her that he was a victim of a hit-and-run crash. Tim said he remembers seeing a car driving on the opposite side of the road and then dramatically turned in front of him.
Witnesses told Caine that they saw her husband flying through the air after he slammed on his motorcycle brakes. Arizona’s Family reached out to MCSO, and right now, they’re calling this a single vehicle accident. “I don’t think he’s ever been through anything like this,” said Caine.
The father of two has a broken collarbone, scapula and ribs, along with a collapsed lung. Caine said the past few days have been the hardest of her life, but she’s grateful she’s been there every step of the way, thanks to the app. “The ER nurse, I told her with the app, she told me it saved me an hour or two of waiting to see where he was because they would have to find his emergency contacts,” said Caine.
Tim’s accident occurred just two weeks after he was laid off. If you’d like to help with medical expenses, click/tap here.
Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.
Here's how Labor Day weekend travelers can cope with crowded highways, airports in Arizona
Labor Day weekend is when the last big rush of summer vacationers packs the roads and the skies, eager for an escape before school gets in full swing.Celebrating the long weekend with a trip can be fun but also stressful, with crowds at the airport and congestion on the roadways.Fortunately, holiday travelers can find ways to mitigate those travel stresses, no matter how they get to their destination. Here's advice for people who will be driving, flying or getting off the grid this weekend.Labor Da...
Labor Day weekend is when the last big rush of summer vacationers packs the roads and the skies, eager for an escape before school gets in full swing.
Celebrating the long weekend with a trip can be fun but also stressful, with crowds at the airport and congestion on the roadways.
Fortunately, holiday travelers can find ways to mitigate those travel stresses, no matter how they get to their destination. Here's advice for people who will be driving, flying or getting off the grid this weekend.
Labor Day weekend road trips: These Arizona events are worth the drive
What to know if you're flying out of Phoenix
Labor Day weekend flights were forecast to cost more than last year and pre-pandemic.
Domestic round-trip airfare for the holiday will cost Americans an average of $278, up 23% from last year and 20% from 2019, according to Hopper, a company that monitors airfare prices.
But higher airfares aren’t deterring fliers. About 12.6 million people are expected to fly for Labor Day weekend, according to Hopper.
More destinations: Frontier Airlines just added a slew of new flights from Phoenix
One sign airports will be busier this year is how the Transportation Security Administration’s passenger screenings increased compared with last summer.
The TSA screened 1.9 million to 2.4 million passengers in August to date, each day surpassing the same month in 2021.
Labor Day weekend screenings last year ranged from 1.5 million to 2.1 million passengers from Sept. 3-6, 2021, according to the TSA.
While Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport does not forecast Labor Day weekend traffic, its passenger counts showed the year so far is the busiest it's been since pre-pandemic.
Sky Harbor passenger traffic totaled more than 21 million passengers from January to June 2022, up 30.2% from 2021 traffic but not yet back to pre-pandemic levels. Sky Harbor traffic totaled 23.5 million passengers from January to June 2019.
Sky Harbor Airport travel tips
Sky Harbor's staff offered these tips for people who will be flying for the holiday:
Real ID deadline: When you'll need it to fly, how to get one, what you can use instead
What to know if you’re driving in Arizona
Gas costs a little less. Drivers will find a little relief from this summer's high gas prices, but will still pay more compared with last year.
As of Aug. 25, the average price per gallon for regular unleaded gas was $4.02 in Arizona, down from $4.68 a month ago but up from $3.11 the same day in 2021, according to AAA.
Pack an emergency kit. Drivers should prepare for hot and stormy weather and pack an emergency kit in case they need to stop along a highway, said Doug Nintzel, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Items for an emergency kit include a first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, a small tool kit, drinking water and snacks. If traveling with young children and/or pets, include items you know will keep them comfortable as well.
Plan your departure time. When should you head out? Heavy traffic is typical from 3 to 8 p.m. on the Friday before Labor Day, Nintzel said.
Leaving early in the day can reduce your chance of encountering heavy traffic, he said. But drivers should be mindful that an unexpected issue like a fender bender or disabled vehicle could still delay them.
No highway closures. ADOT and its contractors have no highway closures scheduled for Labor Day weekend. However, motorists should be aware of work zones that could delay traffic during peak travel times.
Nintzel specifically pointed to an ongoing resurfacing project that narrowed parts of southbound Interstate 17 to one lane in some areas between Flagstaff and Sedona.
"Allowing at least some extra time, even if it's 15 minutes, could help limit any frustration in locations like that," he said.
California driving alert: If you're driving Interstate 10 to California, know that recent flooding in the desert may affect your travels.
Parts of I-10 between the state line and State Road 177 in California were washed out because of the floods. With officials giving no estimated timetable for repair work, delays are expected for travel during the holiday weekend.
Interstate 10 delays: Washout will delay travel from Phoenix to Los Angeles
Other tips from ADOT include:
Tips for Grand Canyon visitors
Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest for camping and day use at Grand Canyon National Park. That's why park spokeswoman Joelle Baird suggests travelers arrive early.
"The south entrance gate can get backed up as early as 10 to 11 a.m.," she said. "Visitors can wait for up to hours to get in."
Anyone waiting until now to book campsites or hotels inside the park will find limited options, Baird said. Try Tusayan, Valle, Williams or Flagstaff for hotel rooms.
What to expect if you're going camping or hiking
People planning outdoor escapes won't have to worry as much about wildfires and fire restrictions compared with previous Labor Days because of this summer's active monsoon.
The conditions took staff at Grand Canyon by surprise this year, Baird said. She urged people who come to the park to keep a close eye on the weather, especially if they are planning a long hike.
They should watch for lightning warnings and know lightning safety tips, like knowing where the nearest safe structure or vehicle is and avoiding open areas and the canyon edge.
Get more lightning safety tips at nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit.
Even in the absence of fire restrictions, campers must still use caution. For instance, Grand Canyon only allows campfires in designated campfire rings, Baird said.
Currently, no major wildfires are burning in Arizona. Staff at Grand Canyon monitored a number of fires at the North Rim during the summer, including the lightning-caused Dragon Fire that started in July, Baird said. But most fires left little impact because of the monsoon rains.
As for state parks, only two have fire restrictions: Lost Dutchman in Apache Junction and Picacho Peak in Picacho. Fires of any kind are prohibited at both parks, and smoking and vaping are only allowed in enclosed vehicles, according to Arizona State Parks and Trails.
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Wildcat Wrap: Schedule releases for cross country, swimming and diving and women’s golf
Editor’s note: With several sports going on this fall, Wildcat Wrap serves as a weekly recap that focuses on the Arizona programs that we do not have the time to cover on a regular basis but are certainly worthy of recognition.A trio of Arizona Athletics programs have released their schedules for the upcoming year.Arizona cross country will begin competition the first weekend of September with the George Kyle Invitational in Flagstaff. The meet, held on September 3, will pit Arizona against NAU, one of the nation...
Editor’s note: With several sports going on this fall, Wildcat Wrap serves as a weekly recap that focuses on the Arizona programs that we do not have the time to cover on a regular basis but are certainly worthy of recognition.
A trio of Arizona Athletics programs have released their schedules for the upcoming year.
Arizona cross country will begin competition the first weekend of September with the George Kyle Invitational in Flagstaff. The meet, held on September 3, will pit Arizona against NAU, one of the nation’s premier cross country programs.
The UA, in year 2 under head coach Bernard Lagat, then travels to Southern California for the UC Riverside Invitational on September 17.
Arizona hosts its lone home match, the Dave Murray Invitational, on September 30. The Wildcats then travel back to Riverside for the UCR Highlander Invitational on October 15, followed by the Pac-12 Championships (also in Riverside) on October 28.
Swimming and diving
Swimming and diving unveiled its 2022-23 schedule on Tuesday. The season begins with the Intrasquad Meet on October 8.
The Wildcats then host GCU on October 15, Wisconsin on October 21 and Miami on October 22.
Arizona opens the Pac-12 season at the LA schools, with the men facing UCLA on November 4 and both the men and women competing against USC November 5.
Two weeks later, Arizona travels to Austin for the UT Invitational November 17-19, where the Wildcats will face nationally-ranked Texas. Arizona then travels to Minneapolis for the Minnesota Invitational November 30 - December 3.
Arizona resumes Pac-12 competition with a women’s home meet against Washington State and NAU on January 13. The men and women then host California on January 20 and Stanford on January 21.
Arizona concludes the regular season at ASU on February 4.
Women’s golf also unveiled its 2022-23 schedule on Tuesday.
The three-time national championships will tee off the season at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Nashville September 23-25. Arizona then travels to Evanston, Illinois for the Windy City Classic October 3-4.
Arizona returns to the Midwest for the Marilynn Smith Invitational in Lawrence, Kansas October 17-18. The Wildcats next travel to Kona, Hawaii for the Pac-12 Preview October 31-November 2. That concludes the fall season.
Arizona opens the spring season with the Superstition Challenge in Apache Junction January 22-23. The UA then travels to Guadalajara, Mexico for the Guadalajara FMG Tournament February 5-6.
The Northrup Grumman Challenge in Palos Verdes Estates, California is Arizona’s next stop February 12-14. The Wildcats then travel to Gainesville, Florida for the Gator Invitational March 4-5 before heading to Tempe for the PING/ASU Invitational March 24-26.
Arizona concludes the regular season with the Silverado Showdown in Napa, California April 3-5.
For those wondering, that’s approximately 24,000 miles of travel.
Monsoon safety tips to get you through the season
As monsoon continues to pass through the Valley this season, it’s important to remember to stay cautious.PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - As monsoon season continues through the Valley and beyond, it’s important to remember to stay cautious no matter if you’re a stormy weather veteran or new to the area! Arizona’s Family weather and news reporter Steven Sarabia traveled throughout the Valley in Storm Commander Thursday morning to share some monsoon tips with you to stay safe.Last weekend, many individuals di...
As monsoon continues to pass through the Valley this season, it’s important to remember to stay cautious.
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - As monsoon season continues through the Valley and beyond, it’s important to remember to stay cautious no matter if you’re a stormy weather veteran or new to the area! Arizona’s Family weather and news reporter Steven Sarabia traveled throughout the Valley in Storm Commander Thursday morning to share some monsoon tips with you to stay safe.
Last weekend, many individuals didn’t turn around when seeing flooding on the roads, causing local rescue teams to have to intervene. In Apache Junction over the past weekend, one rescue crew had to get into the water and save a woman from her car. She was driving across a gravel road when her tires got stuck in the mud and her car was suddenly surrounded by water. She was pulled to safety, thanks to the team.
The Superstition Fire and Medical District says that monsoon flooding is especially dangerous because it can happen so quickly. Your vehicle may be equipped with all kinds of safety and prevention equipment, but it doesn’t take much water to wash you and your vehicle away. Oftentimes there’s not just water on the roadways but debris as well. That debris can damage you or your vehicle and its tires, making a bad situation even worse.
Those who attempt to be heroes or brave the storms run the risk of not just putting themselves at risk but also the lives of those next to them on the roads and local rescue teams as well. If you’re concerned about getting stuck on the roads in the middle of a monsoon, consider downloading our First Alert Weather app. Our First Alert Weather team will send out up-to-date push alerts, flood alerts, lightning detection in your area, and other crucial weather information you need to stay safe.
AZFamily's First Alert Weather App First lets you track storms and get severe weather alerts wherever you are. Get animated radar, hourly and 10-day forecasts, video updates, rainfall totals, and an interactive traffic map. It also provides a 250-meter radar, which is the highest resolution possible. This radar allows you to look into the future so you can see where the storm is headed.
Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.
My View: Explore the 'real' Arizona with these 4 day trips (nope, not Sedona or Flagstaff)
Well, it turns out the Valley's new arrivals, and those who have been here awhile, are interested in learning more about how to get to know our city and state better. So let's move beyond Phoenix's must-see places and the Valley's best food and drink spots venture a bit further afield. No, not to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, or other big-time-tourist locations. Save those for when you have out-of-town visitors, they are amazing but won't help you really get to know Arizona.These four destinations in Central Arizona made this list because...
Well, it turns out the Valley's new arrivals, and those who have been here awhile, are interested in learning more about how to get to know our city and state better. So let's move beyond Phoenix's must-see places and the Valley's best food and drink spots venture a bit further afield. No, not to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, or other big-time-tourist locations. Save those for when you have out-of-town visitors, they are amazing but won't help you really get to know Arizona.
These four destinations in Central Arizona made this list because they are one or two hours from downtown, involve some nice walking or hiking (but nothing strenuous), and are where you can learn about our state. I will get to northern and southern Arizona in future articles.
Gas up the car, make sure everyone has comfortable walking shoes, don't forget sunscreen, and set aside some cash for food and goodies. Let’s go.
On the west side of the Verde Valley, the mining town of Jerome clings to the steep side of Cleopatra Hill — a hill that produced 33 million tons of copper, gold, silver, lead and zinc. After the mines played out, it became a ghost town. Then hippies, bikers, and artists made homes, studios and bars out of the old buildings. The fantastic views, turn-of-the-century frontier architecture, local art, and some great food and beverage spots have made this my favorite place to walk around, buy arts and crafts and eat and drink. And, if you like ghosts, it’s kind of their thing.
Don't miss: Jerome Historic State Park to learn about mining in Arizona and La Victoria Glass Blowing Studio to watch an artisan in action.
Have more time? Visit one of the best Native American cliff dwellings anywhere, Montezuma Castle, just a tiny detour north on I-17 before you head back to Phoenix.
If you take US Highway 60 east toward the White Mountains, you will pass the coolest place in Arizona that everyone drives past. Founded in the 1920s by a mining executive, it was initially a research facility. Over the years, it has grown to host trees from around the world and plants of every shape and size.
There are trail loops ranging from short and accessible to a nice climb up through some cool rocks to stunning vistas. They offer tours, have a great nursery where you can pick up a unique plant or three for your yard, and a café.
Don't miss: Take the full Arboretum Main Trail Loop and plan ahead to join the Geology or Edible Plant Tour.
Have more time? Drive through historic Globe and Miami and up to the Salt River Canyon, a little-known location full of amazing views only a little over an hour north-east of the arboretum on some fun twisty bits of US 60.
This state part is my favorite little-known natural wonder, about halfway between Payson and Pine. It is the largest known travertine bridge in the world. The moss-filled tunnel is 183 feet tall, over 400 feet long, and 150 feet wide. A waterfall drops water over the opening and keeps the insides moist and cool. The park features a 1920's lodge with a family-style dining room and a large park area.
Don't miss: Tour the lodge and then picnic on blankets in green grass and under shade trees after your hike.
Have more time? Head another 20 minutes up the mountain to Strawberry and visit the one-room schoolhouse and try some empanadas at the PIEbar.
Central Arizona has a fantastic network of reservoirs, and the best of these gems, Canyon Lake, is just east of Mesa. Although it is the smallest of the four lakes on the Salt River, it is the most beautiful. You can rent boats as well as fishing gear at the marina. Whether you take a tour, rent a pontoon boat or paddle your way about, every turn is a stunning view.
Don't miss: Book a cruise on The Dolly Steamboat and then rent some gear and go fishing off the pier at the Boulder Recreation Site.
Have more time? If you are OK with driving on a well-maintained dirt road, take the Apache trail to Lake Roosevelt. Loop back through Globe to US-60 for some of the best desert views in the state.
There's a chance for rain in Phoenix every day this week
Monsoon activity will remain in the Phoenix area with chances of rain expected to increase later in the week.Below-average high temperatures are expected to be in the low 100s in the Phoenix area.Bianca Feldkircher is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.“We do start drying out a little bit and warming up a little bit as we start the work week," Feldkircher said. "There is an opportunity sometime around midweek where our pattern does support another round of lower desert storms.”...
Monsoon activity will remain in the Phoenix area with chances of rain expected to increase later in the week.
Below-average high temperatures are expected to be in the low 100s in the Phoenix area.
Bianca Feldkircher is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“We do start drying out a little bit and warming up a little bit as we start the work week," Feldkircher said. "There is an opportunity sometime around midweek where our pattern does support another round of lower desert storms.”
The National Weather Service notes everyday this week has at least a 20% chance of showers.
Monday: Sunny, with a high near 99. West wind around 5 mph. At night, 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms before 8pm. Mostly clear, with a low around 83. West southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm after midnight.
Tuesday: A 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11 a.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 102. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon. At night, 30 % chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 82. East wind around 5 mph.
Wednesday: A 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 100. East wind around 5 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon. At night, a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 11 p.m. Partly cloudy, with a low around 80. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
Thursday: A 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11 a.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 100. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph in the afternoon. At night, a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 82. West wind around 5 mph becoming east northeast after midnight.
Friday: A 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11 a.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 101. East wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. At night, a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11 p.m. Partly cloudy, with a low around 81. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming southeast after midnight.
It has seemed very rainy in the Valley this monsoon season. But official readings at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport show there’s been less rainfall when compared to last year.
Why the disconnect? Marvin Percha with the National Weather Service in Phoenix says the airport has missed out on many storms. And since May, rain has fallen in various amounts in other parts of the Valley.
“Southeast Valley kind of like San Tan, Queen Valley, Apache Junction have had anywhere from, looks like, three-and-a-half to even an excessive six inches of rain so far," Percha said.
Percha also says parts of the North Valley saw up to four inches. And that’s compared with less than two inches of rain at Sky Harbor in the same time period. Separately, the airport had issues measuring Sunday’s storm.
Body cam captures Apache Junction officers rescuing woman trapped in flood waters
APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Residents in Apache Junction woke up Friday to the aftermath of extensive flooding in the area. The city confirmed at least five people had to be rescued and more swept away in the vehicles. New body camera video released exclusively to Arizona’s Family shows one of those rescues.The woman in the video, Sue Teders, yells to officers that her dog is in that SUV and also needs to be rescued. Teders’ grandson, Connor Smith, said he came to her aid but couldn’t reach her because o...
APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Residents in Apache Junction woke up Friday to the aftermath of extensive flooding in the area. The city confirmed at least five people had to be rescued and more swept away in the vehicles. New body camera video released exclusively to Arizona’s Family shows one of those rescues.
The woman in the video, Sue Teders, yells to officers that her dog is in that SUV and also needs to be rescued. Teders’ grandson, Connor Smith, said he came to her aid but couldn’t reach her because of the floodwaters. He called 911. “I went to where my grandmother was, and she was in the ambulance. She started crying and said that the dog is gone,” Smith said. “But you don’t know that the dog could still be out there. I know she is little, but we got to look.”
Teders said her car got stuck in mud after the rain. Then, she said suddenly, the wash nearby was filled by a flash flood, and the water quickly surrounded her, pushing her car backward. “My dog was still on my lap at this moment, but it started going and going, and I was hitting tree trunks,” Teders said. “And then it starts going faster and then it’s going and turning, and then water was coming up, and when I hit the tree, my dog got off my lap, it scared her I guess, and she jumped. I’m thinking she jumped on my other seat.”
Teders said she called 911 and tried to explain her situation to dispatchers. Eventually, they found her up against a guardrail. “He broke my back window, and at that point, I said, you know I have a dog, you need to get my dog, get my dog, just come get my dog. Then they broke the side window and said, ‘you need to get out now!’ I said but my dog, ‘you need to get out now; it’s coming hard and fast,’” Teders recalled. “They didn’t want me to even look for the dog because of what was happening outside. I didn’t know what was happening outside, but they did.”
Rescuers pulled Teders out of her back passenger window. But, unfortunately, they couldn’t find her puppy, Claire. “I decided, hey, I need to be happy, my turn — I’m going to go get a dog. And so that’s what she was to me, that’s why it broke my heart,” Teders said. “It was my turn to be her support, to get her out. And I couldn’t. So the guilt of that, first of all for taking her with me, which I very seldomly did, taking her with me and having that happen, I was telling my granddaughter, how do you get over that?”
Smith said his grandmother was physically okay and that, for now, they are still searching for Claire. Smith said Claire was 11 weeks old. Teders granddaughter posted about the ordeal on social media, urging the community to participate in the search.
Allison Vanario said she saw the post and came out to help. She spent hours walking in and around the wash, looking for any sign of Claire. “I was sitting on my bum on social media like a lot of us do in our spare time, and I thought it’s awful and I live close by. If it were my fur babies, I would hope some stranger sitting on their bum would get up and look. It was nice enough out that I figured I wouldn’t die doing it,” Vanario said.
Teders, her family, and total strangers have tried searching for Claire since the floodwaters dried up. So far, there have been no signs of her. While she is grieving the loss of her beloved pet, she is still grateful to the rescuers. “Thank you. I mean, my goodness. They were there as quickly as they could go and I know they had other rescues to deal with,” Teders said. “Without them where would I have been? So thank you.”
Multiple rescues were done on Thursday night as people were caught up in the rushing water. In addition, the city sent crews out in the morning to clear roadways of dirt and debris. The areas hit the hardest were near Tomahawk Road and Junction Street area. One person was also rescued in their home after floodwaters trapped them inside.
Apache Junction city officials say that most streets closed overnight into the early morning hours on Friday are now reopening. However, they are still advising those passing through the region to use as much caution as possible as there is still a lot of debris along roadways.
Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.
People took to Reddit to reminisce about these 1980s Phoenix restaurants. What are they now?
In his book, “The Colossus of New York,” Colson Whitehead wrote about the moment the city becomes yours — when you see a place and say, hey, that used to be ... or as he put it: "when what was there before is more real and solid than what is here now.”Recently, u/excesssss, a child of the '90s, took to ...
In his book, “The Colossus of New York,” Colson Whitehead wrote about the moment the city becomes yours — when you see a place and say, hey, that used to be ... or as he put it: "when what was there before is more real and solid than what is here now.”
Recently, u/excesssss, a child of the '90s, took to Reddit to ask, “What was Phoenix like in the '80s?”
Three hundred comments followed with people reminiscing over aromas, foods and places that defined their Phoenix of the 1980s. It was a time when the city only had one area code, when Interstate 10 stopped at 83rd Avenue and picked up at the I-17, when Arrowhead mall was just one of many orange groves that perfumed the city and provided ammunition to teenagers like Hotsaucefridge who wrote: “it was a thing with teenagers to throw oranges at cars.”
In throwback "Where are they now?" style, here's a look at some classic Valley restaurants of the 1980s and what they've become.
Smitty's, which started as Smitty’s Big Town, brought back memories of a candy and ice cream counter and “free cookies,” for Jasmirris and others.
“If one got lost in Smitty’s, a worker would sit them down with a free cookie,” wrote Fashion_ThrowAway.
According to an Arizona Republic article, Smitty’s opened in 1961 at Buckeye and 16th Street and was the first of its kind to have groceries, general merchandise and a family-style sit-down restaurant.
It eventually became a Fry’s.
Pistol Pete’s Pizza
accidentalretiree received lots of upvotes for “going to Pistol Pete’s during our off-campus lunch hour in high school.”
Drunkenkyle responded: “We had overnight soccer lock-ins there. (Five) gallon buckets of coins and a bunch of smelly kids eating pizza and playing arcade games until your parents picked you up at 6 a.m.”
In a YouTube video, the Pistol Pete’s cowboy advertises an indoor merry-go-round and indoor games that won you tickets for toys.
Pistol Pete’s Pizza has since been taken over by Peter Piper Pizza.
Hobo Joe’s coffee shop
graveyardcatt whose family of seven lived in two hotel rooms for two months while waiting for their house to be built said: “(We) Ate our meals at the Hobo Joe's or at Bill Johnson’s Big Apple.”
Founded by Michigander Herb Applegate, Hobo Joe’s served hamburgers, pies and pancakes. But it was mostly known for the large statue that Herb imagined to be a 50-year-old hobo “throwing his responsibilities to the wind” to travel and experience food. The statue also depicts Joe carrying a copy of the Wall Street Journal in his pocket to demonstrate his sophistication.
Applegate had a dark side. He embezzled money to build his Scottsdale mansion with a waterfall and had possible ties to the mafia, according to a 2019 investigation by The Republic.
After Hobo Joe’s closed in the mid-80s, the statue changed hands a few times until Buckeye Main Street Coalition finished restoring it in 2019. The 25-foot statue stands near Fifth Street and Monroe Avenue in historic downtown Buckeye.
Bill Johnson’s Big Apple
Named after the Big Apple square dance in Roger and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”, the restaurant’s sawdust floors, Western theme and deep-dish apple pies attracted a few celebrities like Ben Johnson, Val Kilmer, Kris Kristofferson, Wayne Newton, Johnny Cash, Barbara Streisand, Lee Majors, Cybill Shepherd and Glenn Campbell, to name a few.
Mining Camp Restaurant
Located at the Apache Junction, this restaurant was known for its Western theme and family-style meals served on tin plates. Fashion_Throwaway recalled its “rad tin cups” and good cactus jelly.
Mining Camp Restaurant, which opened in 1961, was destroyed in a fire in 2017. The owners decided not to reopen.
Thrifty ice cream
The famous squared-off scoops of Thrifty ice cream evoked memories for many.
According to LA Magazine, the chain started as a Los Angeles drugstore with a soda fountain that was opened in 1929 by two brothers, Harry and Robert Borun. In 1940, the brothers decided to make their own ice cream to lure more customers into the store, where they sold the scoops cheap. It worked, and they expanded with more stores around the West.
Bwilcox03 wrote about a Thrifty at 51st and Thomas Street. “My mom would take me to get ice cream there on Friday or Saturday night and all the low riders and gangsters would gather there. That’s why as a 43-year-old matured punk rocker I still love low riders.”
In 1996, Rite Aid bought all Thrifty drug stores but continued selling the ice cream. In 2018, Albertson bought Rite Aid.
In metro Phoenix, Water and Ice stores still carry Thrifty ice cream.
Owned by Bob Sikora, the kitschy-themed restaurant opened in 1971 and grew to 24 locations around the United States. At Bobby McGee’s, the waitstaff wore unusual costumes, the salad bar was housed in a bathtub and drinks were served in mini sinks, bathtubs, a boot and a cactus mug. Oh, and the chairs were toilets.
In a 2006 article, Sikora told The Republic the reason for the costumes was that in 1970 he was in Los Angeles and saw a large costume shop with a going out of business sign. “I said, I’m going to put the waiters in costumes (and) … bought this whole place out.”
After Bobby McGee’s restaurants closed, Sikora converted the only remaining Arizona location at I-17 and Dunlap Avenue to Bobby Q’s.
There is a Facebook Page (Bobby McGee's Arizona) dedicated to those who worked at Arizona Bobby McGee’s where people share memories and photos.
The Chicago-based retro diner was located near Highland and 20th Street in the Town and Country shopping center, where The Republic reported: "sassy waitresses served burgers and meatloaf." It wasn’t uncommon for the waitstaff to dance on the counters.
The jukebox, photos and snarky neon signs went to auction when the diner closed in the early 2000s.
Showbiz Pizza Palace
The Republic described ShowBiz Pizza Palace as "a 90-minute performance by computer-operated animal figures and a lobby arcade filled with video games, kiddie rides, mini bowling lanes and pinball machine" where they offered eight pizzas, sandwiches, salads, cotton candy and ice cream.
OMmegaRainicorn remembered she used to “clamor to get my front row seats to the animatronic Rock-a-fire explosion show.”
The pizzeria bought the bankrupt Chuck E. Cheese’s and eventually rebranded itself as Chuck E. Cheese’s in 1998.
Minder Binders in Tempe
One of the places rumblepony247 reminisced about playing sand volleyball was Minder Binders.
Named after the owner’s favorite Catch-22 character, this red barn venue was known for eclectic memorabilia, big burgers, stiff drinks and hosting some of the top bands.
Celebrities such as Mark Harmon and the Chicago Cubs players frequented Minder Binders. Later, Robin Wilson worked there before he became the lead singer of Gin Blossoms, and after, he returned to the bar to perform.
Minder Binders closed in 2005 and became the Mission @ Minder Binder in 2014, then was sold again in 2018 and became Social Hall.
After the second sale, EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale sold off the remaining memorabilia to the highest bidder.