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The Arizona Department of Transportation has a message for motorists who think they can recklessly drive head-on into a dust storm: “Pull Aside, Stay Alive.”

Following the successful launch of last year’s public awareness campaign, ADOT is intensifying its efforts to educate drivers about the threat of dust storms as monsoon season officially begins in Arizona on June 15. ADOT, along with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the National Weather Service, has reactivated its “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” public awareness campaign, including television and radio public-education announcements, to educate drivers about what to do (and what not to do) when they encounter dust storms.

There is a distinct warning tone sounded at the Apache Junction Fire District to sig­nal drowning calls. Mark Gomez doesn’t even like to describe it.

“I don’t ever want to hear it,” said Mr. Gomez, AJFD’s EMS/training coordinator. “It raises the hair on the back on my neck.”

Like so many fire departments in the far East Valley, Mr. Gomez has seen his share of drownings. Some have had happy outcomes. Some have not.

The drowning death May 15 in Glendale of a 17-month- old boy believed to have crawled outside through a built-in doggy-door to the backyard pool is a reminder that fatal accidents can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone.

Name: Gabriel Barrios

Comments: In 2007, offender was convicted of attempted sexual conduct with a minor.  35 year old offender engaged in sexual relations with a 15 year old female known to him.

Automobile airbags undoubtedly save lives, but Attorney General Tom Horne is warning consumers that potentially dangerous and unreliable after-market airbags are being sold to individuals and businesses in Arizona.

“Phony airbags are a real problem because they often fail to work and pose a threat to human lives,” Horne said.  “It is important that consumers buy the appropriate equipment and be on the lookout for counterfeits.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2010 fireworks caused an estimated 15, 500 reported fires, in eight reported deaths, 8,600 people being treated for fireworks related injuries, and $36 million in direct property damage.

Here are some fireworks safety tips:

Call Authorities in the Event of Misrepresentation

APS and SRP want customers to stay safe this holiday season and be aware of potential fraud attempts. Both companies have received reports of individuals falsely claiming to represent APS or SRP to collect payment for electric service.

Several customers in the Phoenix metropolitan area have received telephone call from an individual who claims to represent the utility providers or makes a generic reference to the “electric or power company.”


Some valuable holiday safety tips

Please remember not to leave valuables in plain view inside your vehicles, put them in the trunk or under the seats.

Please make sure that your vehicles are locked at all times and to leave the exterior lights of your homes on at night. Most neighborhoods around San Tan Valley are experiencing vehicle burglaries and most are crimes of opportunity.  Vehicles are left unlocked with valuables left inside the vehicle such as ipods , G.P.S. units, purses, briefcases, and laptop computers and are prime targets.

Following the tragic death of a highway maintenance worker in South Carolina earlier this week, the Arizona Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to move over and slow down in highway work zones.

“We are asking drivers to be mindful and give their undivided attention when entering a highway work zone,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “Work zones can be hazardous not only to the driver and their passengers, but also the ADOT staff members who perform critical work on our highway system and put their lives on the line every day. I urge the public to heed the ‘work ahead’ warning signs and move over when they encounter a vehicle pulled over to side of a highway.”

There are ways to avoid becoming a victim, experts say

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Malls and parking lots filled with shop­pers rushing from store to store in search of the perfect gift.

The holiday shopping season is here, and while shoppers are preoccupied with one goal, criminals also have one thing on their minds — stealing identities, cash and merchandise.

Identity theft is the process of another individual using your personal information without your permission. Identity theft can take many forms, from using your credit card number to renting an apartment. While some forms of identity theft can be easily resolved, others require a significant amount of time and money.

During the holiday season, many people are moved to assist  those who have suffered through a natural disaster.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has  issued a consumer alert about possible scams taking place in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Following major disasters, it’s common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. 

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