1998 News Recap
Western Pima County
Community Council celebrated its ninth anniversary. Newly elected board members
Dianne Gallerani and Artie Julander were installed.
Proceeds from the Vaudeville Show
put on by the Ajo Community Players were contributed to the Ajo Gibson Volunteer
Fire Department. All performers in the show were local talent.
A portrait of Lillie Salazar painted
by Hector Sotelo was unveiled in a ceremony at the Salazar-Ajo Branch Library,
Salazar was head of the library for 12 years before her death in May 1997.
The registration point for a year-round
11k volkswalk was set up at the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce. The volkswalk
is located at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
The Tucson Symphony Orchestra played
in Dicus Auditorium.
Ron Youngs, 63, of Phoenix died
in a fall down a 100-foot shaft in the Gunsight Mine.
Handicapped accessible ramps were
added to the sidewalks along Solana.
Community First Bank began operating
in Ajo. The company bought rural branches from Bank One.
Firefighters of the Ajo Gibson
Volunteer Fire Department fought their first blaze of the year.
Dean & Arla Hadfield commemorated
their 50th wedding anniversary spending the day with their daughter Sheila
Hadfield Lundgren and her family.
The Cabeza Prieta Natural
History Association offered several Childs Mountain caravans as well as continuing
the winter lecture series with six programs about the Sonoran desert.
The Vietnam Wall was on display
in Sells. The traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that stands
in Washington, D.C. held the names of three local men who were recognized
along with 58,000 others who died during that war.
Pima County Health Department and
the Ajo Community Health Center sponsored events in recognition of Heart
The boards of Ajo Community Health
Center and Ajo Lukeville Health Service District continue to struggle with
the clinic's finances. Paul Vasquez, Karen Gonzales, Susan Guinn-Lahm, and
Tony Ramon were introduced as new ACHC board members.
El Nino didn't keep the fiddlers
from jamming in the parking lot, entering fiddling contests and playing for
dancers at the 20th annual Old Time Fiddlers Contest held at the Moose Lodge.
Jesse Stockman of New Mexico was the grand champion.
Seniors Juan Diarte, Malin Lewis,
Peter Roberts, Hans Peterson, Alex Flores, Colleen Walters, and Angelina
Valenzuela played their last basketball games for Ajo High School against
The Western Pima County Community
Council held its 7th annual Hazardous Waste Collection Day. About 80 households
participated by disposing of their hazardous items with the volunteers from
A silent auction brought in money
for the school band. Glen Barrett donated hand-crafted wooden chairs and
footstools and bids were submitted through the mail.
The 4th annual VFW Chili Cookoff
was won by May Burchfield & Lee Thompson. In second were Jerry Hyde &
Millie Boozer with Aaron Doyle & Rose Ritz in third.
Why Utility elected officers at
its annual meeting: president Curtis Taylor, senior director Don Schnell,
and directors George Hagen, Joe Hammonds, Norman Paden.
The Ajo Council for the Fine Arts
sponsored Igor and the Cowboys bringing jazz to Ajo as their final program
of the season.
The Xi Gamma Pi Chapter of Beta
Sigma Phi recognized members who have belonged to the sorority for 15 or
more years with their highest honor, the Order of the Rose. Those honored
were Cindy Orr, Susan Gilbert, and Paulette Walters.
Among new programs offered for
visitors at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument were a van tour of the Ajo
Mountain Drive and a fine arts experience. A 13-passenger van was driven
by a ranger who explained and entertained along the route. The Artist in
the Outdoors program gave visitors an opportunity to talk with artists and
view the monument through the eyes of the artists who worked at various stops
along the scenic loops. Local artists Loretta Musgrave and Diane Carnright
volunteered to work in the park -- rough job, but somebody had to do it!
Gwen & Bob Kingdon were honored
as Valentine sweethearts by the Senior Nutrition program.
Janet Allen was honored as Xi Gamma
Adult literacy was the focus of
meetings under the auspices of the Salazar-Ajo Branch Library.
The members of Ajo Masonic Lodge
#36 honored the women in the local chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star
on Valentines Day.
The Ajo High School Student Council
received two awards at the state convention. The outstanding Student Council
for 1996-97 was awarded for the 15th time. Their other honor was a new award
given only to the top five student councils in the state.
Members of the Roots Youth Program
held an open house at the International Sonoran Desert Alliance office in
the Curley School. The program provides opportunities for youth ages 12 to
17 in Ajo to explore the natural and cultural history of the Sonoran desert
and to meet youth from other parts of the region.
Miles Manuel, 6, died after falling
from a fence into a pool in the backyard of a vacant house.
Lt. Paul Wilson was transferred
to the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center and Sgt. David Allen
was chosen to fill the vacancy. He was promoted to lieutenant in March and
was given the position as his new permanent assignment.
Preston & Thelma Butikofer
celebrated their golden wedding anniversary while spending the winter in
Ajo. Idaho Falls, Idaho remains their summer home.
The Ajo school board planned to
seek permission from voters to dispose of real estate. They also asked for,
and got, public opinion of the four-day school week.
The Ajo Education Association participated
in the Read Across America program, a national effort co-sponsored by the
National Education Association and the Dr. Seuss Foundation. Students, parents,
volunteers, teachers, and community members joined to make the day a celebration
of reading. Reading was the main focus of the day, but prizes were awarded
as well. The Pima Youth Partnership held a Burgers & Books Family Literacy
Night in honor of Dr. Seuss’ Birthday.
The National Federation of Music
Clubs presented awards of merit to the Desert Music Club, the Ajo Music Club's
presentation of "Crusade for Strings," and the Ajo Copper News.
Lon Brown retired from
the pastorate after 43 years of serving Southern Baptist churches. The church
called their former pastor, the Reverend Mitch Vader, as their next pastor.
Pima County supervisor Sharon Bronson
held a town hall meeting in Ajo to discuss issues of concern to residents.
With Bronson were many department representatives who answered questions and
noted concerns of about 75 residents who attended.
June & Ray Gregerson celebrated
their 54th wedding anniversary at a dinner party in Ajo where they have spent
Twelve students in Sandra Schiffman's
fourth grade class visited the Ajo Copper News office to learn more about
newspapers and writing in general.
The Ajo Community Players presented
an Agatha Christy mystery "Murder at the Vicarage." Meanwhile, Ajo High School
drama club presented the musical "Luann." Both plays were popular.
The CofC and PCPR co-sponsored
an art exhibit in the Plaza as part of an extended festival. The Culpepper
& Merriweather Circus performed in their Big Top, the Spring Festival
took place on Saturday, and the Desert Music Club held a program of chamber
music on Sunday afternoon to round out the weekend.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument's
general management plan was approved by the Pacific West regional director
on January 28. The final step in the planning process resulted in a plan that
will direct managers of the monument over the next 15 to 20 years.
Approval was given to remove target
darts that litter the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. Teams of volunteers
began the arduous task of figuring out the best way to remove the large,
Ruth Wood Cantrell of Reno, Nevada
judged the Desert Artists’ Guild's Fine Arts Show on March 7.
O'odham traditions were celebrated
at the 8th annual O'odham Day celebration at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
A public meeting held by the Ajo
Unified School District showed public support for the five-day school week.
While some favored the four-day week, others agreed that the five-day week
was more beneficial to students. The board voted to return to the five-day
week beginning in August.
In a school election, 170 voters
agreed that the school board could sell, lease, or barter two pieces of school-owned
property. When the superintendent's house on La Mina and the site of the old
elementary school buildings are sold, the money must be used for capital improvements
and plans include a cafeteria on the present campus and repairs to the current
school building which was built in 1956.
El Nino was blamed as flowers spread
in fields across the desert floor while those suffering from allergies sneezed.
The final act of a long, on-going
case was completed with the demolition of the house at 120 Rocalla. Beginning
in 1993, the house was the site of arrests for narcotics. Following several
years of investigation and effort by the Pima County Sheriff's Office and
others, substantial evidence was finally gathered which resulted in the arrest
of several people and confiscation of a large amount of cash and narcotics.
The Pima County Attorney's Office petitioned the court for the forfeiture
of the residence under RICO statutes. The residence, which was in dilapidated
condition was demolished on March 25.
The furor over possible rezoning
of land at Rasmussen and Well began.
Sara Olea retired after 25 years
of service to Ajo as a representative of the Pima County Juvenile Court.
Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers
Karen Snell and Larry Nord received recognition for their work at an awards
dinner in Tucson. Snell was named Volunteer of the Year and received an award
for 5000 hours of volunteer work. Nord received an award for volunteering
for 1000 hours.
Table Top Telephone Company and
seven of its suppliers provided, free of charge, approximately $30,000 worth
of materials, equipment, and labor to rewire the school for future telecommunications
and electronic devices the school may purchase.
The rezoning of the
parcel at the corner of Rasmussen & Well roads created quite an uproar
throughout Ajo and into Tucson as more than 50 Ajo residents attended the
zoning commission and the board of supervisor's meetings to protest or show
support for the efforts of developer Mike Wirth to rezone the 54-acres for
a mobile/manufactured home community. The density of the proposed project
and other concerns were addressed by the board of supervisors in July and
the issue was resolved when they approved the rezoning with some contingencies.
Ajo's literacy group concluded
its tutor training session and new tutors received certificates from Pima
County director of adult education Greg Hart.
Construction of the Air Route Surveillance
Radar-Series 4 facility began on Childs Mountain on April 1.
Western Pima County Community Council
speaker John Zamar of Phelps Dodge discussed permitting in preparation to
the opening of the Ajo mine. He also discussed the Waste Water Treatment
Plant that has been proposed.
Preparations for the production
of "The Music Man" began with auditions scheduled and summer activities arranged.
The musical is scheduled for March 5 and 6, 1999.
The American Red Cross Disaster
Action Team including Micheline Fournier, Cynthia Hunter, Rita "Pili" Mariscales,
Mollie Pullum, Francy Garchow, and Tommy Woods were presented with certificates
following 25 hours of instruction under Red Cross representative Arlene Tschop
who recently moved from Ajo.
The Easter Bunny visited Ajo for
the annual Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by Pima County Parks & Recreation.
The Greenway House was added to
the National Register of Historic Places. The certificate was presented at
the initial activity of the Arizona Site Steward Archeology Conference which
took place at the Greenway House.
The Ajo Community Band began practicing
in the garage of the Ajo Copper News. They hoped to be able to perform for
various community functions such as the 4th of July and the Christmas Eve
Eight members of the National Honor
Society did a community service project at the Ajo Cemetery.
Renee Basile-Bearse began her new
job as executive director of the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce.
Ajo Ambulance celebrated its 7th
Sonny Leon was arrested after leading
a group of law enforcement officers from a number of agencies on a chase through
the desert. Leon had pointed an automatic weapon at Deputy Tony Stevens and
had struck Detective Frank Alvillar's vehicle, knocking him to the ground.
Alvillar sustained minor injuries. Leon also shot at a police dog before
the chase was ended and Leon was arrested. He was later indicted by the Grand
Jury on charges of attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault with
a deadly weapon, two counts of endangerment, interfering with a service animal,
and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.
Four entries were chosen as finalists
for the public art for Ajo's pool which is scheduled to open in 1999. Diane
Carnright and Ricardo Marin were two Ajo residents chosen as finalists. The
other two were Simon Donovan and Diane Shanz, both of Tucson. Diane Shanz
was selected to create the public art component and will work with the architects
from Durant Architects to incorporate decorative ceramic tiles into the pool
At Ajo's Track & Field Invitational
meet, Colleen Walters placed first in 100 meter hurdles and the 300 meter
hurdles; she placed 6th and 8th in the state meet in those events. The Ajo
400 meter relay team placed second. Members of that team were A. Frazer, C.
Lewis, K. Bradley, and N. David. Barry Keime placed first in the high jump
and later was 2nd in the state. The photo in the Ajo Copper News showing his
winning style, also showed the winning style of sportswriter and photographer
Bob Harral, who won an award for the photo.
Ron's Foodliner opened in the Plaza
in the space vacated by the Phelps Dodge Mercantile when it closed in January
after operating in Ajo since 1931.
A double issue of the Journal of
the Southwest entitled "Dry Borders" included articles written by Ajo landowner
The American Citizens
Social Club, better known locally as the Chu Chu Club, sponsored the annual
Fiesta de Mayo in the Plaza. Many residents and visitors enjoyed entertainment,
food, sales booths, and festivities.
The National Park Service held
three meetings -- in Phoenix, Tucson, and Ajo -- to get input from the public
regarding appropriate speeds on the section of highway 85 within Organ Pipe
Cactus National Monument. The preferred speed seems to be 65 mph by those
living in Mexico and those headed for the Mexican border. At 55 mph a few
extra minutes and fewer accidents are likely, according to the NPS. The road
serves two purposes -- getting people from one place to another and protecting
the resources of the national monument -- and the issue will apparently remain
unresolved for some time.
Gregorio Nevares Cruz & Adelaida
Lizarraga Trejo were married in Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico in 1947. They celebrated
their golden anniversary this year.
Kevin Griffith of the Pima County
Sheriff's Department was promoted to sergeant. Griffith has been in Ajo since
Lupita Murillo of channel 4 in
Tucson was the speaker for the 5th grade DARE (Drug Awareness Resistance
Education) culminating activity and graduation.
Operation Brass Ring was a special
law enforcement effort by US Customs Service to increase narcotic seizures
at high risk points of entry such as Lukeville. During the 180-day crack-down
inspectors seized several vehicles containing excessive amounts of illegal
A nationwide auto theft prevention
program replaced the Combat Auto Theft (CAT) program that had been provided
by Pima County Sheriff's Department personnel. The new program is WYC (Watch
Your Car) and is similar to the CAT program, but participants must register
in the state in which they have a valid drivers license and automobile registration.
Ajo's top students were recognized
at the Ajo Rotary Club honors banquet.
Ajo's all night graduation party
kept the graduates, their fellow students, and a few alumni busy and well-fed
until the morning sun sent them all home.
David Castillo was the speaker
for Ajo High School graduation when 23 Ajo seniors were graduated. Deborah
England was valedictorian and Gardenia Saavedra was salutatorian for the
AHS class of 1998. Brissa Bustamante, Elis Castillo, and Colleen Walters
were graduated with distinction and Gabriella Castillo was graduated with
Alex Frazer, outstanding track
team member, and outstanding boy and girl track team members Barry Keime
and Colleen Walters were honored at the spring sports banquet. Peter Roberts
was named to the first team of the All-Conference Baseball team and was Ajo's
player of the year in baseball. Malin Lewis was named to the second All-Conference
team. Randi Gonzales was named to the first All-Conference Softball team
and Ajo's most valuable player. Rachel Allen was named to the second
The school board voted to give
the teachers a well-deserved raise.
Several years ago, WALD arranged
for Ajo Stage Line to use the old PPEP van for its local dial-a-ride service.
When owner Will Nelson bought a new van, WALD donated the old van to the Casa
Hogar Orphanage in Sonoyta.
Burgers & Books, a popular
reading program sponsored by Pima Youth Partnership, ended its monthly activities
with a reading time, pool party, and burger feast.
Memorial Day weekend saw a plethora
of reunions, including one for the AHS class of ‘68. The class of 1966 celebrated
the 50th birthday of many of its members.
Susan Spitzer joined
the Ajo Community Band as director. The County Attorney's Office established
the Bad Check Program to help merchants and individuals collect on bad checks.
The chief investigator and head of the program came to Ajo to explain the
program and encouraged participation.
A new chapter of AMVETS received
its charter at the AMVETS state convention in Phoenix on May 16. Steve Rogers
is the commander of the new post.
Roy & Catherine (Broom) Shelly
celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
The traditional summer activities
continued this summer: Ajo Foundation's Memorial Day Reunion weekend, the
library's summer reading program, summer day camps, t-ball, Little League,
baseball skills clinics, NAU music camp, flag day ceremony, and 4th of July
A new activity provided by the
Ajo Community Players was a play "just for those who stayed throughout the
hot summer." The play was called "Let's Murder Marsha."
Judy Rood became designated broker
and manager of Copper Crown Realty.
The Ajo Why Business Association
dissolved, its officers to become committee members in the Ajo District Chamber
of Commerce. After several years as separate business organizations, the
reunification was said by many to have brought a more positive attitude back
into the business people of Ajo.
The controversial rezoning of the
54 acres at Rasmussen and Well Roads was approved by the Board of Supervisors
with some contingencies.
Ray & Clydene Workman renewed
their vows during their golden wedding anniversary celebration.
Despite continuing efforts to find
a home for the Ajo Food Bank, nothing permanent has been arranged. The
delivery of food from Tucson was interrupted due to a lack of communication
when personnel left for extended leaves. Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson
said she is continuing her efforts to intervene with Tucson Food Bank and
PCPR staff to resolve the issue.
The Ajo Desert Sharks swim team
had 18 members compete in a meet in Marana.
"Tidepools" in ceramic tiles was
approved as the public art component at Ajo's new pool. Diane Shanz of Tucson
will create the tidepools with the help of 45 to 50 Ajo residents who will
be able to glaze tiles of sea life forms.
In spite of clouds and
a little rain, the 4th of July progressed as usual. The parade began at 8:30
a.m. and moved down Solana to the Plaza where the color guard of Luke Air
Force Base raised the flag and festivities began. Entertainment, booths,
and games were topped off by fireworks in the evening. The 162nd Flight Wing
of the Air National Guard fly-by was obscured by clouds in some areas, but
could be heard as they circled the area. Many organizations did their part
in celebrating Independence Day.
The Phillies, the Pirates, and
the Braves were Ajo's Little League teams. They played 3 teams from Gila
Bend. The Gila Bend Reds won the championship.
A US Border Patrol van blew a tire
and rolled on Highway 85 about 15 miles south of Why. Six were reported hospitalized
because of injuries. Ajo Ambulance responded and was joined by units from
Sells EMS and Rural Metro from Gila Bend. Off-duty paramedics from metropolitan
agencies also stopped to help.
Tohono O'odham Police Department
conducted a gun buy-back in response to the death of Amber Lynn Rios, 9,
in May after being accidentally shot by a playmate.
Quilters from Ajo sewed kimonos
for premature babies at Tucson's University Hospital.
Ajo's Desert Sharks swim team participated
in several swimming meets this summer.
The executive board of the Ajo
District Chamber of Commerce participated in a planning meeting and met with
members of the Casa Grande CofC.
Phelps Dodge unveiled
a safety logo. Entitled Zero & Beyond, they hope the heart-shaped logo
will build an identity for PD's safety effort.
Work continued on highway 85 through
Crater Range north of Ajo throughout the summer and beyond. ADOT's efforts
included blasting some rock to widen shoulders, extending the ends of concrete
drainage culverts so they were a safer distance from the roadway, and continued
with resurfacing of the road for a smoother ride and better breaking. The
work was scheduled for completion at the end of 1998.
A councilman from Mesa made a statement,
jokingly, mentioning the heat in Ajo. Several Ajo residents took the remark
to heart and contacted councilman Dennis Kavanaugh who said his comments were
taken out of context and, by way of apology, said that he has been to Ajo
and it has a "comfortable hometown flavor."
Several undocumented immigrants
and a hiker reportedly died due to exposure to the desert heat in what has
been a fairly cool summer with temperatures ranging from 70° up to 111°F.
More than a dozen Ajo youngsters
enjoyed the Hook-a-Kid on Golf program sponsored by local community members
The Childs family announced that
because of abuse to their property they were closing it to the public. The
Childs Ranch, Hot Shot Ranch, and the surrounding property owned by the Childs
family are now off-limits to non-family members.
Despite notices posted in the area,
Pima County zoning amendments were expected to have little effect on life
in Ajo. The Hillside Development rezoning proposed no peaks in western Pima
County for protection and the Riparian Habitat might have an effect on building
in or near mapped washes if they exceed 1/3 acre or a 14,000 square foot
site. The Buffer Overlay zoning amendments may affect the two residents living
within one mile of Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
Winners of the annual "You Know
It's Hot in Ajo When" contest held by ACN were Christopher Bearse, Amber
Alegria, and Cheto Olais.
Robert F. Fulkerson, 19, became
the Navy's youngest ensign. The grandson of Bob & Julia Fulkerson of
Ajo, the young man received his degree in political science from ASU when
he was 18.
School began on Monday, August
24, returning to the five-day week in spite of opposition by many teachers,
students, and parents. The community was divided, but the school board approved
the return to the five-day week.
About 60 people turned out for
the annual Ajo Picnic in Payson.
The swimming pool closed
its doors forever at the end of the 1998 season. The new pool design has
been approved. It is scheduled for construction this winter and should be
completed in time for the 1999 summer season.
Dolores Maya, secretary to the
superintendent, retired after working in various jobs in the schools since
Intergroup decided to cancel its
contract with Ajo Community Health Center. Besides severely disrupting the
health care of nearly 500 Ajo people, the move may affect the ability of
the health center to provide care to the whole community. The long-range
financial impact of the potential loss of 27% of its business is still unclear.
The girls’ volleyball team placed
second in the Greenfields Tournament early in the season and second again
in the Ajo Invitational Tournament.
John Zamar was elected to the position
of vice president, secretary, treasurer of the Ajo Lukeville Health Service
September 11 was proclaimed 9-1-1
Day across the state. According to commander of the Ajo District of the Pima
County Sheriff's Department, Lt. David Allen, Ajo is the only district to
have a communications section. The staff is responsible for answering five
phones, two intercoms, and three radios, all while monitoring one visitor
center, two electronic doors, and the whereabouts and welfare of both the
corrections officers and deputies on duty.
Christina Barnett was named Queen
for 1998 at the Fiesta de Septiembre which was held at Bud Walker Park. The
fiesta concluded with the Queen's Ball. It was sponsored by Pima County Parks
& Recreation and the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts.
Ajo Ambulance, Ajo Gibson Volunteer
Fire Department, Pima County Sheriff's Department, Tohono O'odham Police Department,
and Arizona Department of Public Service continued responding to automobile
accidents and other emergencies.
La Ruta de Sonora (The Route),
a new organization to promote and coordinate ecotourism activities in the
Sonoran desert, met with members of community organizations and businesses
to identify people with expertise and interest in environmentally sensitive
The post office became a construction
zone as old brass window boxes were replaced by modern keyed lock-boxes.
The Ajo Copper News had its 75th
birthday. The paper was founded in 1916, making it 82 years old; however,
the volume number which is supposed to change yearly, is now at 75. The staff's
best guess for the discrepancy is that there were a few years when the issue
numbers got changed but the volume remained the same for another year. Computer
users with Internet connections may find the Ajo Copper News at www.tabletoptelephone.com/~cunews/index.html
Pima County public health nurse
Cathy Burke of Ajo was honored as 1998 Public Health Nurse of the Year.
While the school budget decreased,
the tax rate actually increased.
Vern Rockwell retired after working
for the Ajo post office since 1988.
Stellar Brass, a sextet of Air
Force musicians, gave a free concert. The six young men excelled in technical
skill, enthusiasm, and showmanship, according to local music lovers who attended.
The town of Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico,
40 miles south of Ajo, just south of the Mexican/American border, celebrated
its 300th anniversary with activities and ceremonies sponsored by the municipal
government General Plutarco Elias Calles.
Hickiwan held its annual Ceksan
Tash, a two-day celebration filled with activities.
The Ajo landfill moved
to a new level which is anticipated to be able to serve Ajo residents for
another two years.
The management plan for the Cabeza
Prieta National Wildlife Refuge was released for a final round of public
comment before its final version gives the refuge personnel direction for
the next 15 to 20 years.
Funding was received for the Ajo
Historic District to allow a professional consultant to prepare the required
historical and architectural documentation for the National Register nomination.
Ajo was isolated from the rest
of the world, at least as far as phone calls were concerned, at two different
times. The failures were caused first because of a fiber optic system failure
at US West in Phoenix and later a failed cable linking Table Top with US West.
Sheriff's Department personnel and volunteers responded and the PCSD mobile
command center was brought in to assist with emergency phone needs in Ajo.
Ajo's Roots-Raices-Ta:tk youth
group participated in a clean up event at BLM's National Public Lands Day
in Sierra Vista.
The volleyball team placed eighth
in the state championships, losing to Pima High School. The varsity season
record was 18-6; the JV season record was 10-6; the PCPR team scored 7-1.
The football team did not fare as well with a 1-7 season.
Getting Arizona Involved In Neighborhoods
(GAIN), the replacement for the Neighborhood Night Out, saw about 200 Ajo
residents entertained, fed, given prizes, and provided with information about
safety and neighborhood activities. The event was sponsored by Sheriff's Auxiliary
Volunteers and community businesses & organizations were generous, so
everything was free.
The Roots Youth Group, Xi Gamma
Pi sorority, and the school each provided Halloween scary fun and excitement
for kids and adults.
Junior high school students protested
and the school board approved replacement of lockers. The board also approved
a land exchange with the county which may provide a home for the food bank.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument,
the Hickiwan District of the Tohono O'odham Nation and the Bureau of Indian
Affairs sponsored and provided funding for the first annual Tohono O'odham
youth ranger program which took place at the monument.
Ajo First Baptist and Ajo Heights
Baptist Churches merged to form Ajo Calvary Baptist Church.
Randi Gonzales and Steve Sanora
were crowned Queen and King at Ajo's 1998 homecoming festivities. The football
team was slaughtered, but the band joined the afternoon parade along with
the first place float of the junior class, the second place float of the senior
class, and the third and fourth place floats of the freshmen and sophomores,
The general election
showed few changes. New local additions included Malin Lewis, Lonell Blow,
and Lisa Rossi elected to the school board and Paul Vasquez and Deborah Arens
elected to the Health Service District. Judge John Casey and constable Wanda
Wriston were re-elected with no opposition.
The Arizona Native Plant Society
held its 1998 state meeting in Ajo.
The Romance of the Ranchos IV,
Ajo's gala outdoor dinner dance, brought in funds for another season of programs
to be presented by the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts.
A baby bobcat wandered into the
yard of a home near the Plaza. He was taken into custody by Arizona Game
& Fish personnel.
The Ajo District Chamber of Commerce
sponsored its fall festival with an emphasis on local artists. Many talented
local artists and entertainers demonstrated, exhibited, and sold their wares
beside the traditional booths with food and information. The Ajo Stage Line
bus was dedicated by Pima County supervisor Sharon Bronson and PCDT public
transit administrator Felipe Sanchez.
While official word was lacking,
work was going on at the Golden Has:an Casino 1.5 miles east of Why on the
Tohono O'odham Nation leading some to hope the casino would open soon.
The fundraiser auction and dinner
for the "Music Man" brought in generous amounts from local residents and
businesses. The show will go on, said organizers of the musical which is
scheduled for production March 5 and 6, 1999.
Public input regarding the draft
Legislative Environmental Impact Statement (LEIS) for the Barry M. Goldwater
Range indicated general support for the proposed continuation of military
operations with only a few concerns mentioned.
Volleyball players Eva Cabanillas
(Rookie of the Year), Carolyn Lewis (Most Inspired Players of the Year),
and Rachel Allen (Player of the Year) were honored at the fall sports awards
banquet. All six players on the varsity team -- Rachel Allen, Stacy Santos,
Carolyn Lewis, Eva Cabanillas, Bonnie Mendoza, and Randi Gonzales were named
to the Volleyball All-Regional team. Jesus Carrillo was named most valuable
player in football and Barry Keime was most outstanding football player.
Returning winter visitors flooded
the paper with letters about the RV tax. Not all could be printed but all
were against it.
Ajo Stage Line's new
bus was sideswiped by a Sun Tran bus while unloading passengers in Tucson.
There were no injuries.
CofC volunteers went on a day-long
trip to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to learn more about the facility
and activities available. Others learned more about the park at its holiday
The Western Pima County Community
Council election brought new representatives to districts 1, 3, and 5 --
Debi Baggett, Pauline Driver, and Ed Rydeen -- and new at-large representatives
-- Lisa Rossi and Lloyd Dane -- to the Council.
The CofC held its first annual
Community Awards Banquet to honor Ajo people who have worked to improve the
quality of life in Ajo. Honored were Margaret Anderson, John Zamar, Lonnie
D. Guthrie, Jr., Ajo Gibson Volunteer Fire Department, Ajo Copper News, BrookLynn*
Peed, Sharon "Coozie" McBiles, Don Fedock, and Renee Basile-Bearse.
Glensheen’s Daughter: The Marjorie
Congdon Story by Sharon Darby Hendry is a documentary about a woman known
to Ajo residents as Marge Hagen. She lived in Ajo and was convicted of arson
here and accused of murder.
The feast of the Blessed Juan Diego
was celebrated by Native Americans and others of the Roman Catholic faith.
In Ajo a drizzle clouded the day, but did not stop worshippers.
Why Ajo Lukeville Development (WALD)
continued to work on grant applications and plans for an Adult Assisted Living
Home in Ajo. Plans call for the home to be located in the building known
as the superintendent's house at 500 La Mina.
The new Ajo Community Band joined
the Ajo Community Choir for their annual Christmas concert which packed the
house two nights in a row.
Larry "Gunner" Gibson was convicted
of first degree murder in the slaying of Taylor Courtney in 1977.
One of Santa's first visits of
the year in his newly refurbished sleigh was to Ajo's Plaza. He left Curley
School's tower and landed in his sleigh to the sound of the Ajo Community
Band playing Christmas carols. The Plaza and streets were packed with children
as well as adults who enjoyed the traditional Christmas Eve town gathering.
Many continued on to the Federated Church for their annual concert. Others
wandered through town admiring the many decorated homes. The McBiles and
MerMel were winners of the CofC's Christmas Lighting contest.
In 1998 we said our final sad farewells to:
L. B. Allen
Inez F. Antone
Juanita C. Bailey
Linda Saline Bridgewater
Pete Cano, Jr.
J. Robert Doyle
Angela L. Encinas
Mildred A. Fee
Jodie C. Fincher
Peggy Jean Gibson
Willie L. "Hoot" Gibson
Nell K. Guinn
John W. Hipp
Bura T. Hughes
Lewis P. Joaquin
Eugene L. Kennedy
Jo Belle Lopez
Benigo "Benny" Macias
Salvador L. Mancilla Sr.
Miles S. Manuel
Frank F. Maya
James J. McGrady Jr.
Margaret "Rita" McGrady
M. E. Michael
Aurelio P. "Chambers" Moreno
William E. Nixon
Alice R. Ramsey
Ruth Irene Rasmussen
Alice A. Rogers
Fr. Maurice Roy
Cecil B. Salyer
John H. Tait
Julia E. Taylor
Sandra Walker Terry
Richard "Dick" Thompson
Isaac N. Toler
Jose E. Vanegas
Mary E. Walterscheid
Floyd A. Webb
James R. Weems
Ruby May Welch
Victor O. Wetzel
Thomas E. Wiley
Jay Aaron Woods
Copyright 1998 by Ajo