The Year in Review . .
One of the first big events of the new year was
a masked ball. The Royal Renaissance Singers and Operatunity were brought
to Ajo by the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts to tell the True Story of Cinderella
The Cabeza Prieta Natural History Association continued
its winter lecture series tradition with its fifth year of programs. In addition,
four Childs Mountain tours were part of the 60th anniversary of the Cabeza
Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. A checklist of the 391 plants on the Cabeza
Prieta National Wildlife Refuge was produced.
The Ajo chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society
held meetings from December through March.
New school board members Malin Lewis and Lisa Rossi
and re-elected board member Lonell Blow were sworn in by board member Kord
Klinefelter prior to the first meeting of the year on January 7. They elected
Lonell Blow and Kord Klinefelter to continue in their positions as president
and clerk, respectively.
New officers of Western Pima County Community Council
began their tenure and new board members took office at the January meeting.
New officers were Eric Marcus, chair; Marty Branson, vice-chair; Pauline
Driver, secretary; Lisa Rossi, secretary; and Debi Baggett, public relations.
Newly elected board members were Pauline Driver, Debi Baggett, and Lloyd
Community oriented policing training took place
in Ajo. A community assessment of needs preceded the training which was attended
by deputies, corrections officers, dispatchers, Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers,
and interested local citizens. A community action team addressed two issues
-- teen tobacco use and traffic concerns on surface streets.
Hickiwan District of the Tohono O'odham Nation requested
that visitors stop at the District's offices and get a permit prior to traveling
or sight-seeing in the District. Getting permits avoids problems and protects
residents and visitors alike, they said.
Reorganization continued at the Ajo Community Health
Center with Bertha Hickman appointed executive director and Lydia Larremore
as office supervisor. A new physician assistant brought the professional staff
to four -- two doctors and two physician assistants.
Both the high school boys' and girls' basketball
teams had losing seasons.
Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers conducted a KidCare
Photo ID program for 130 students in grades one through six.
Goyo Cruz retired after half a century in the lumber
and hardware business.
The Ajo Gibson Volunteer Fire Department received
a 1972 International water truck from Southwest Gas. They also received $600
from Mediacom and $192 from the proceeds of the Vaudeville Show.
Deputy Bill Fish of the Pima County Sheriff's Department
was named Officer of the Year for 1998.
Ajo Clean & Beautiful, an affiliate of Arizona
Clean & Beautiful, which works to preserve and enhance Arizona's beauty
and environment, began operating under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce.
An Emergency Response Team was formed at the request
of John Zamar of Phelps Dodge. Team members were Sonja Wade, Chico Ortiz,
David Tibbitt, and Steve Monreal.
The Rotary Club installed an aluminum can recycling
bin at the Ajo landfill. Proceeds from collection of the cans will be donated
to the school media center.
Western Pima County Community Council celebrated
its 10th anniversary following a town hall meeting conducted by supervisor
Ajo Community Health Center accepted the resignation
of John Zamar with regrets. Word was he was temporarily reassigned to a Phelps
Dodge facility in New Mexico. Ron Smith was appointed to fill the vacancy.
While the DARE program was eliminated from Tucson
schools, it remained active in Ajo. Since the DARE officer Tony Stevens combines
the school program with his other duties, Ajo was able to retain the program.
Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers added four new members.
Wes Snell, Darrell Bathurst, and Frank & Lea Cesarec finished the training
program and became active in the Crime Prevention activities of SAV.
The Piecemakers quilting group created an Ajo Heritage
Quilt which they plan to make available for display at Ajo events.
The 21st annual Old Time Fiddlers Contest took place
at the Moose Lodge. Fiddlers came from all over the US and Canada to participate.
The casino 1.5 miles east of Why on Hwy. 86, the
Golden Ha:sañ, opened its doors on February 15. The opening had been
delayed 18 months due to litigation between the Tohono O'odham Nation and
the State of Arizona. The casino has 84 gaming machines.
The Ajo Council for the Fine Arts brought an ensemble
to town featuring the music of Benny Goodman.
More than sixty Ajo homes were represented at the
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day sponsored by the Western Pima County
Community Council . Residents took their paints, chemicals, and other hard-to-dispose-of
items to volunteers at the landfill for safe disposal.
A fashion show fundraiser was not only fun for those
who participated, but made a considerable dent in the funds needed to match
grant funding for improvements at the Ajo Community Health Center. The event
brought in $2,221.05.
The Ajo Unified School District joined school districts
nationwide in celebrating Read Across America Day on Dr. Seuss' birthday,
March 2. Special programs were held and Cat in the Hat hats could be seen
in many rooms on campus.
The Music Man was well-received by two full-house
crowds on March 5 and 6. Many members of the community, school, and several
organizations worked for almost a year to produce the show. Their efforts
were evident and the standing ovation of the crowd showed their appreciation.
Many animals that would have had to be destroyed
have been adopted as a result of articles and pictures published as a cooperative
effort between the Ajo Copper News and Pima County Animal Control staff.
The House Bill to repeal the RV tax passed in the
Arizona House of Representatives. Elaine Richardson will lead the fight for
its repeal in the Senate. The tax of 50¢ a night on RV tourists was
to be used for Tucson's baseball stadium. Many people have been up-in-arms
since its inception.
The Department of Energy and Public Service Company
of New Mexico held a meeting in Ajo to gather public input on the proposed
installation of a high-power transmission line. One of the possible routes
followed the power line through the Goldwater Range, ran through the Ajo
& Why area, and crossed the border near Lukeville.
The Spring Festival saw all the old regulars performing
and selling their wares in the Plaza on Saturday, March 13. In addition,
some new activities were available. The Roots Youth Group kicked off its
fundraising project. They displayed their Scenic Trash Can Art and commissioned
several from businesses and individuals.
Winners at the Desert Artists' Guild's spring show
included Best of Show Maxine Cook and People's Choice Diane Carnright. First
place ribbons also were awarded to Carol Rogers, Jackie Andes, Connie Sease,
Bob Hastert, and Joyce Batchlor.
Lawrence Seligman was appointed chief of police of
the Tohono O'odham Nation following the resignation of former chief Russell
Clanagan in December.
The Tucson Pima Arts Council funded a folklore residency
in Pima County. Steven Hatcher was in Ajo for a month talking with residents
and taping stories about their lives and traditions.
A bus with the words "Ajo Unifield School District
No. 15" was abandoned near Gila Bend. It had evidently been used to transport
illegal aliens until it stopped running and had to be abandoned.
Archaeology month was celebrated in Ajo at the Salazar-Ajo
branch library with a lecture by archaeologist Adrianne Rankin who gave a
lecture updating work being done at Organ Pipe and on the Barry M. Goldwater
Range. At Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument the 11th annual O'odham Traditions
Day was celebrated. An estimated 2000 people watched demonstrations of O'odham
traditions including pottery-making, basketmaking, dancing, and games.
A citizens' proposal for designation of the federal
lands near Ajo (including Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Cabeza Prieta
National Wildlife Refuge, and the Barry Goldwater Range) as the Sonoran Desert
National Park & Preserve brought varied responses from Ajoites--some
positive and some negative.
US Customs inspectors followed two seizures of nearly
a ton of marijuana early in March with the largest cocaine seizure ever recorded
at the Lukeville port of entry. The 1886 pounds of the illegal drug had an
estimated street value of $84,870,000.
Eagle Scout candidate Anders Peterson organized a
Walk-for-Health. He mapped four circular routes in the area of the
Plaza for those who want to stay fit.
Ajo Clean & Beautiful sponsored by the Ajo District
Chamber of Commerce and the Ajo Rotary led Ajo's first Pick-Up and Picnic
Day on Saturday, March 27. Many organizations, youth groups, and individual
volunteers cleaned up trash and filled a large truck donated by Malin Lewis.
Later they enjoyed a picnic at Bud Walker Park with food provided by the
Ajo Unified School District's business manager Robert
Dooley was reinstated as principal of the Discovery School in Glendale. He
remained part time in Ajo through the school year to finish his contract work
here prior to returning to Glendale.
The public access permitting process for Cabeza Prieta
National Wildlife Refuge, Bureau of Land Management, and Air Force and Marines
on Barry M. Goldwater Range was made easier and more consistent. All of the
agencies agreed to issue similar permits that would be valid on the other
Dan Johnson and Eric Krznarich completed training
and passed the National Registry of EMTs examination required for certification
as paramedics in Arizona. The two have worked for Ajo Ambulance since they
were certified as EMTs.
Snow could be seen on the mountains around Ajo although
none fell in town.
Boy Scouts celebrated the 60th anniversary of the
Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge with a campout at Tule Well. They
visited the monument built by Scouts who assisted in the designation of the
area as a refuge in 1939.
The 22 miles of Highway 85 through Organ Pipe Cactus
National Monument have been placed on the ADOT Five-Year Highway Construction
Program for Fiscal Years 2000-2004 and public meetings were scheduled to
give residents and businesses an opportunity to express their views on highway
needs on Hwy 86 between Tucson and Ajo. A bomb
scare at the Golden Ha:sañ closed Highway 86 between Why and Tucson
for about six hours. No explosives were found in the briefcase that was the
cause of the scare.
Ajo High School was listed in the Family PC magazine
as one of the top 100 schools wired for the Internet. AHS has 76 computers
for every 100 students.
The first Kids Care Fair took place on April 17
to give Ajo residents an opportunity to become aware of the programs available
for the health, protection, safety, and care of children in the community,
as well as opportunities for assistance for parents.
GED classes taught by Lea Goodwine-Cesarec began
in early April and continued through June.
Maintenance of the footbridge behind the Ajo Community
Health Center had been done by Phelps Dodge since the bridge was constructed
in the 1960s. When PD announced that it did not intend to continue maintaining
the bridge, so many people responded that they used the bridge, it was nicknamed
the "Bridge to Everywhere." PD and Pima County agreed that PD would cede
all easements to Pima County which will then put a pre-fab bridge in place
and maintain it.
Earth Day, April 22, was recognized by several classes
at the school. First graders picked up trash, while other classes did recycling
A well-planned disaster took place at the high school
as part of EMS week. A simulated motor vehicle accident took place on the
football field to give seventh through twelfth grade students an opportunity
to see what can happen when someone drinks and drives. Other activities included
talks with kindergarten through second graders about medical emergencies
and how and when to call 911. Third through sixth graders were given CPR
Ajo girls placed in seven events at the Ajo Invitational
Track Meet. Of the 12 teams, Ajo girls placed 9th with 23 points; The boys
were tied for 11th with no points.
An Ajo Stage Line bus was seized and the driver detained
for questioning by US Border Patrol agents. There were eight undocumented
aliens aboard the bus. According to owner Will Nelson, the bus was held in
Tucson for two weeks when, following an investigation, he was told he could
get the bus. He was interviewed by US Border Patrol. He and his drivers were
instructed by US Border Patrol in procedures to follow when boarding passengers
at or near the border.
Mail carriers collected 2,366 pounds of non-perishable
food and a $25 donation during its annual food drive.
The state legislature approved a bill that allocated
funding for the Ajo Community Health Center. The request for state funds
came after InterGroup ended its contract with ACHC.
Bob & Sharon Bargabos, Kate Garmise, Earle Hansen,
Darrell Bathurst, and Wes Snell of Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers completed
training in emergency response. Their first assignment was to assist veteran
volunteers with traffic control at the border on Friday, May 28.
Danny Carver, a senior at Ajo High School, hit three
home runs in the final game of the baseball season against San Pasqual.
The 50¢ a day surcharge levied on seasonal space
rentals remained in effect. The repeal of the tax was attached to a technical
tax bill that the Arizona Senate did not pass. Petitions continued to be
circulated throughout Ajo and surrounding communities protesting the tax.
Angie Olais won a shopping spree from Ron's Foodliner.
She was given five minutes in the store to purchase as much as she could
collect up to $400. Her bill for her purchases would have been $401.91.
Walter N. Richardson applied for and received a
Purple Heart for his efforts during the Korean War -- 48 years later.
A mural was painted on the side of the Shadow Ridge
RV park office. The art was brought to Ajo through the efforts of the Ajo
Council for the Fine Arts, artist Carole Hanks who designed the mural, John
Baird who owns of the park and donated the paint, and several artists who
donated their time and expertise.
The Ajo Desert Music Club's annual May breakfast
was attended by 89 people. The group heard music of the west at the Ajo Country
Club. Scholarships were presented to Ylesia Jones, Renee Martinez, and Desirae
Bates for NAUs summer music camp.
The school science fair winners were Roxanne Gradillas
for "The Amazing Jupiter," Rosemary Gradillas for "Tornado Alley," Roger
Axford for "Natural Filtration: How the Earth Filters Water," and Anthony
Pendergrass for "Astronomy in Action." In addition, Mrs. Keime's kindergarten
class won an award for their entry entitled "What's Poppin?" and the first
grade students of Miss Walker and Mrs. Merrick won an award for "Worms."
Award winners were honored at Ajo High School's honors
banquet. Seniors were presented with scholarships and certificates for their
Graduated with distinction at the ceremony held
May 27 were co-valedictorians Isabel Nava and Timothy Schumacher, salutatorian
Daniel Thomas Carman, Brook Lynn Peed, Stuart Jason Orr, Rachel Mikus, and
Reuben Gonzales. Graduated with honor were Patricia Yanez, Rachel Marie Allen,
Liliana Carrillo-Vazquez, and Randi Dawn Gonzalez.
The pool opened on May 27 -- not the new pool, as
previously advertised, but the old pool, for one more year. Due to overbidding
on the contract, the bidding process was delayed. The groundbreaking was finally
held in December with promises that the new pool will be ready for use in
Al Gay filed a claim for damages against Pima County
in the amount of $500,000 for Gay's alleged false arrest on December 5, 1998.
The annual Dicus-Salazar tournament produced enough
money so the Ajo Foundation could award four $1000 scholarships to graduating
The Grad Night Party was attended by 67 students
who celebrated their graduation and that of their friends with an all-night
activity-filled party. The event was sponsored by Pima Youth Partnership with
the support of many community businesses and organizations.
Following a contest to name the Ajo Community Band,
they became known as "The Copper Pits." They performed in the July 4 parade
-- bringing live music back into the parade.
Elizabeth Gilbert was chosen Woman of the Year by
members of the Xi Gamma Pi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. She has been active
in the community and in her church since she came here in 1922 at the age
of one month. She was graduated from Ajo High School in 1939.
Judging of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program
entries for Arizona took place in Ajo. The judging was organized by Vergial
Harp of the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
Sheriff's deputies, corrections officers, and Sheriff's
Auxiliary Volunteers visited the first grade classes of Mrs. Merrick and
Miss Walker. In observance of National Police Week, the classes wrote letters
of appreciation to the Ajo Sheriff's deputies for the good work of local
law enforcement officers.
Paving of about five miles of Ajo's streets was
completed in June. The process involved reusing the top inch of asphalt already
on the streets, adding another inch of material, compacting, and leveling
it to produce a road that shouldn't need maintenance for eight to ten years.
County supervisor Sharon Bronson visited Ajo with
members of county departments to discuss the Sonoran desert conservation plan,
enhancement of tourism for Western Pima county, the budget problems involved
in construction of the new pool, the footbridge, library expansion, and the
possibility of a child care facility for Ajo.
Jose Nogales retired after 29 years in the schools
-- 28 of teaching. He taught US history, Spanish, and English as a Second
Language. He also coached shot put, discus, and cross-country.
Two one-act plays and a melodrama were written by
Ajo residents and presented by the Ajo Community Players.
The Tucson Pima Public Library's summer reading program
came to the Salazar-Ajo Branch Library with presentations for young readers
on a wide variety of topics, such as dry ice, Sonoran desert wildlife, and
toys from early days.
Edward Manuel was elected to a second four-year term
as the chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation. He defeated the next highest
challenger, Vivian Juan-Saunders, by more than 600 votes. In the Legislative
Council races, eight of eleven incumbents were elected including three who
were unopposed. In district council races, many incumbents also kept their
Puerto Peñasco was not included when a fee
was imposed on tourists into the interior of Mexico since the resort area
is in a free zone. Generally fees are collected at checkpoints set up approximately
15 miles into the country. The road to Rocky Point does not have a checkpoint
and no changes were planned for that area.
Copper Crown Realty moved from its Plaza location
where it had been since its inception in 1984. It is now located at 671 N.
2nd Avenue. Arizona Copper Hills Realty, owned by Mary A. M. Smith, moved
in to the Plaza location in October.
The Ajo Desert Sharks swim team looked sharp at
its first meet wearing matching sunhats, suits, and with a colorful new team
banner. About 30 team members and a large parent booster group attended the
meet at which the Ajo swimmers did well.
Ajo's wastewater treatment plant was the topic of
a public meeting on June 16. The plan for a new water treatment plant was
presented by Ajo Improvement Company's president John Zamar and engineer Ron
Peterson. Following approval of the plan by the Pima Association of Governments,
the projected timeline showed bidding taking place by the end of the summer
and the project construction completed by the first quarter of 2000.
About 20 kids between 7 and 12 took part in a Bike Rodeo sponsored by the
Pima County Health Department. Safety and skills were emphasized.
In spite of the fact that some Ajo residents disagreed
with the Chamber of Commerce board's decision to celebrate Independence Day
on Saturday, July 3, the early festivities drew a good crowd. The day was
filled with some traditional and some new activities and many individuals
and organizations participated. The community band, officially named the Copper
Pits, provided music for the parade.
A cactus fruit harvest took place at Organ Pipe
Cactus National Monument. It was sponsored by Organ Pipe and the Hia Ced
O'odham Alliance. Several Ajo residents picked fruit, made saguaro syrup,
and heard about Hia Ced O'odham traditions and customs.
Health care continued to be an issue as Blue Cross
announced that the plan newly contracted with ACHC would be canceled
at the end of the year. Efforts continued to try to bring in other HMOs to
An unseasonably early and wet summer rainy season
began on July 6 and continued through August, adding humidity to the summer
heat. The storms gave residents something to look forward to -- finally some
green in the desert -- and something to complain about as well -- "What!
No phones because of a lightning strike?" Phone service was restored on July
24 at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument after several hours when lightning
rendered stand-by generators and batteries inoperable.
The heat did nothing to deter the undocumented aliens
coming up from Mexico. Several died from the heat and dehydration. and many
were rescued and treated prior to being returned to Mexico.
The modular buildings behind the Curley School were
finally approved for the Ajo Food Bank. Some remodeling and modification must
be done prior to its opening. The revised opening date was spring 2000.
Members of the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts have
completed several murals at businesses in Ajo. The initial mural was painted
on the north wall of what is now Ben Franklin. More recently a mural was
painted on the office building at Shadow Ridge RV Park and inside the Copper
Kettle Restaurant. More were planned.
Students continue to work summer jobs at various
places around Ajo, funding coming from several sources. The National Park
Service, BIA, and Hickiwan District of the Tohono O'odham Nation gave jobs
to eight students and a group leader at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
while the Youth Conservation Corps, the Student Conservation Association,
and the Tucson Youth Development Program provided jobs for several young people
at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
A quilt made in 1966 by Goldie Tracy Richmond, a
trader at San Simon on the Tohono O'odham Nation, was selected as one of
the top 100 quilts of the century. It is owned by the Arizona State Museum
and was displayed at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.
Ajo's swim team the Desert Sharks did well in its
six meets prior to the championships at Flowing Wells. They placed fourth
out of seven teams in the championship meet. Individuals brought home many
medals to Ajo.
Jesus Rodelo, Armando Barajas, and Sean Manuel were
all injured in a one-vehicle accident on Tuesday, July 27, near Curley School.
Rodelo died of his injuries as he was being transferred from an Ajo Ambulance
unit to a helicopter for transport to a trauma center. Barajas and Manuel
were flown to hospitals for treatment and returned home to recover from their
About 50 Ajo residents showed their appreciation
to Elaine Richardson and Debora Norris who worked to bring $95,000 to the
Ajo Community Health Center in one-time funding that will help replace the
loss of revenue due to the cancellation of the InterGroup contract earlier
this year. The health center still needs the support of the community to
remain financially viable.
Ajo's first band camp, led by music director Joel
Berresford, was successful, according to students who attended and Berresford.
They performed in various places around Ajo throughout the week.
Al Gay accused the Border Patrol of harassing his
Hispanic employees and customers. Gay filed a temporary restraining order
requesting them to stop conducting searches and questioning people in his
businesses in Lukeville without warrants. His request was denied but Border
Patrol decided to enact new policies which will limit agents entering Gay's
Ajo's command post dedication took place on August
12. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Major Brad Gagnipain, Captain Rick Kastigar,
and Chief Deputy Stanley Cheske joined Ajo SAVs, sheriff's department personnel,
and many Ajo residents in showing their appreciation for the new addition
to Ajo's support system.
BrookLynn Peed, who worked for the Ajo Copper News
for three years, headed off to the University of Arizona to begin her freshmen
year. Ramona Yanez replaced her as "teenage slave."
The Ajo-Canada golf tournament was almost snowed
out on July 14 in Fort Macleod, Alberta. Eleven Americans, ten Canadians,
and three guests participated.
The American Citizens Social Club donated $430 to
the Ajo school bands for band instrument repair.
Students, teachers, and administrative staff began
another school year on August 23. New staff members include financial director
Patti Spencer, and teachers Jackie Andes, Judy Sandquist, Donna Smith, Marsha
Stoddard, and Bob Corbin.
A fire truck equipped with aircraft fire equipment
was donated to the Ajo Airport by Pima County.
Ajo Stage Line added another vehicle to its fleet
which was assigned to the in-town dial-a-ride service as part of its contract
with the Pima County Department of Transportation. The vehicle was equipped
with a wheelchair lift which should improve service to wheelchair-bound residents.
The high school football season began with a scrimmage
in the mud against the Baboquivari Warriors.
Cabeza Prieta applied for a lease for the 30 acres
adjacent to the current office and visitor center.
An after-school environmental art class was offered
to kids ages 6 to 14 as an activity of the Roots Raices Ta:tk program under
the auspices of the International Sonoran Desert Alliance.
"You know it's hot in Lukeville when your mascara
melts and your eyelashes stick together!" said Ladawna Kornack, winner of
the You Know It's Hot in Ajo When... contest. Second place #1 went to Rosemary
Gradillas who said, "You know it's hot in Ajo when you step outside but your
shadow stays inside!" Second place #2 winner was Nellie David, who said,
"You know it's hot in Ajo when your flip-flops stick to the asphalt because
the bottoms melted!" Although it was not an exceptionally hot summer, the
monsoon season was exceptionally long, lasting a record 91 days and leaving
behind 7.7 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
Ajo Improvement Company filed for an increase in
its rates which will still leave its customers enjoying a lower rate than
most other electric customers in the state.
Dr. Richard E. Duran was named the new Tohono O'odham
Community College interim president. The college will offer accredited courses
through Pima Community College until its own accreditation can be obtained.
Members of Ajo's Ballet Folklorico El Cobre, directed
by Lina Olais, attended a dance workshop. The group often performs at events
Ajo District Chamber of Commerce executive director
Renee Basile-Bearse moved to Pennsylvania. Taking her place was Lori Martinez
who has been in Ajo for about a year.
The Ajo Rotary Club continued to collect aluminum
cans at the Ajo Landfill with the money earned used for books for the school.
Rotarians also took under consideration assuming responsibility for the maintenance
of the Solana trees which have been maintained since their planting by Don
Fedock, who will no longer be doing the job.
Mike Hull, Ajo High School class of '78, set up
a web site for friends of Ajo: http://www.maddhouse.com/ajo/
Many groups have contributed to the Ajo High School
band which continues to improve its performance at every football game.
Roots Raices Ta:tk, sponsored by the International
Sonoran Desert Alliance, and the classes of several elementary teachers have
established a garden on the school grounds. It was the beginning of an environmental
education project to give students hands-on learning experiences in their
own "schoolyard habitat."
Thirty-five youths from Arizona and Sonora met at
Curley School on September 25 to plan for an international youth conference
to be held in San Luis Rio Colorado in February 2000. The young people also
added an international touch to the garden being developed at the school
by building an arch.
Ajo Stage Line has discontinued its Ajo-Phoenix service
for economic reasons.
Noise that can be heard farther than 125 feet was
outlawed by an ordinance passed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors. Any
sound that can be heard beyond the property line or vehicle from which it
is coming is illegal between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The Hickiwan District Council removed the board
of the Hickiwan Development Authority. According to Manuel Osequeda, a new
board has been appointed. Management of the convenience store that shares
the casino building was being managed temporarily by Desert Diamond Management.
They have been negotiating management of Hickiwan Trails campground, too.
Following what appeared to be a reaction by several
students to a potentially dangerous chemical, the school was evacuated. The
Hazardous Materials team and an industrial hygienist gave the school a clean
bill of health. Where trace readings were detected, a thorough cleaning was
Senate Bill 1059 was signed into law on October 5
and contained provisions allowing the continued use of the Barry M. Goldwater
Range for the US Air Force's training mission for another 25 years.
The second annual Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods
(GAIN) community-wide block party was attended by many Ajo residents who
said they enjoyed the free food, entertainment, and fun. The event was sponsored
by the Ajo Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers and many individuals, organizations,
and businesses throughout the community.
Following inquiries from residents, information was
provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation regarding legal distances
of signs from the center of the roadway. Several signs on roadsides were
found to be in violation and were removed.
A US Border Patrol agent newly assigned to this
area, crossed the border into Mexico and returned. Following her return, Mexican
agents drew their weapons allegedly threatening another Border Patrol agent.
The supervisor brought the situation under control and apologized for the
Stacy Santos, senior at Ajo High School, was selected
to participate in the Hoops Down Under Classic basketball tournament in Australia.
She was one of several Arizona girls who formed a team with girls from Wisconsin
and placed 5th in the tournament. "Everyone was very nice and I had fun,"
While the homecoming football game against Baboquivari
was an unhappy loss, the homecoming activities were exciting, as usual, from
the pep rally and the parade to the band's performance and the crowning of
Carolyn Lewis and Colin Korolsky as queen and king. Runners-up were Stacy
Santos and Jesus Carrillo. Other nominees were Connie Mendoza, Bonnie Mendoza,
Emitt Bryant, and Israel Barajas. Last year's queen and king, Randi Gonzalez
and Steve Sanora passed their crowns to their successors.
Don't Mention My Name was the first offering of
the Ajo Community Players for the 1999-2000 winter season. It was a mystery/comedy.
Announcements were made by two separate companies
within two weeks of each other that power plant projects were planned for
the Gila Bend area. Each has an estimated cost of $400 million. Construction
on one project was expected to begin in late 2000 while the other was slated
to begin by late 2001. Combined they will provide about 100 permanent jobs
in Gila Bend.
Nicholas Brian Carver, 20, died Saturday, October
16, of injuries received in a tragic motor vehicle accident between Ajo and
Gila Bend. Nick and his brother Danny were returning to Peoria from high
school homecoming festivities in Ajo.
Dispatcher Alejandrina Sandoval received a commendation
for initiative taken in an incident where her quick response resulted in
saving the life of an Ajo resident.
Ajo District Chamber of Commerce members formed a
committee to enhance the economic climate in the area. Their first project
will be setting up a business resource center.
Coach Marc Alop and assistant coach Bob Corbin led
the Ajo Red Raider football team in a 2-7 season.
The girls' varsity volleyball team coached by Rose
Cameron and Tom Stidham, had a season record of 16-13. The team played one
game in the state meet and lost to Hopi. The JV team had a 6-10 season.
The annual Halloween Parade brought out witches,
goblins, lions, tigers, gypsies, and Minnie Mouse, along with members of Xi
Gamma Pi chapter of Beta Sigma Phi who sponsored the event.
A series of burglaries beginning in July were finally
resolved when Eldon Molina was arrested on November 22 for two of them. Some
of the break-ins occurred at the Ajo Community Center at Bud Walker Park,
Mediacom, the Ajo pool, and Southwest Income Tax. The investigation
The Ajo Community Health Center has made arrangements
for expanded after-hours services to include wound care requiring stitches
and treatment for high fevers with accompanying symptoms like sore throat
or ear pain. Health care providers can be paged if the patient meets the criteria.
Ajo Stage Line's discontinued Phoenix service caused
several people to gather names on petitions which were sent to both Maricopa
and Pima County supervisors requesting rural transportation assistance.
Ric Marin was named Health Department's Employee
of the Quarter for the second quarter of 1999. He has been the office support
person in Ajo since 1995.
Michelle Walsh, 26, died of injuries she received
in a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 10 near Tonopah on Sunday, November
7. Two of her four children were injured in the accident.
Ramon "Moni" Diaz returned home after spending most
of October at Phoenix Children's Hospital where he had his right leg amputated
below the knee following a traffic accident.
The Ajo Community Health Center applied for a block
grant to have the front of the health center made more accessible. The grant
was not approved, so they have initiated a fundraising program to raise the
money necessary to do the remodeling. The project was named EZ Access.
The fall festival in the Plaza was sponsored by
the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce and included free entertainment and
food, crafts, and activities for all ages.
The Pima County Health Department began a series
of Hepatitis B shots for students. The last of the series will be administered
A self-sufficiency workshop was sponsored by Pima
County Parks & Recreation, the Department of Economic Security, and Pima
County Department of Human Services. The workshop taught work search and
life skills to assist participants in their transition from public assistance
to full-time employment. Ten Ajo residents were graduated from the program.
A cookbook was created with recipes provided by
members of the Ajo Federated Church. The cookbook proceeds were slated for
maintenance expenses of the historic church near the Plaza.
An application has been filed with the Federal Communications
Commission for a permit to construct a radio station in Ajo. The FM station
is to be established as a non-profit, non-commercial, educational station.
The seventh annual Veterans' Day Dinner was held
at the Mocambo Ballroom. Proceeds were spent on Christmas gifts for veterans
living at the Veterans' Home in Phoenix.
The Arizona Department of Education released the
scores for Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) which was taken
by more than 45,000 sophomores in the spring of 1999. Ajo students' scores
were poor, but were similar to scores from other schools across the state.
The test is intended to be taken each year until students are seniors, at
which time they are expected to have passed all standards in order to be
graduated. The class of 2002 will be the first to be required to pass AIMS
Christina Vega was invited to participate in a basketball
tournament showcasing the best juniors in the US. The tournament will be
held in July 2000 in Hawaii. She will be doing fundraising projects to earn
the money needed for participation in the event.
Local quilters, the Piecemakers, made 25 little quilts
which they wrapped around dolls and stuffed animals for needy children in
Ajo for Christmas. They also donated some to Ajo Ambulance to be given to
pediatric patients and to deputies to give to children.
Manuel Martinez retired from the Ajo True Value
Hardware store after 35 years.
Elizabeth Reyna announced her retirement from the
Pizza Hut after more than 18 years.
After 55 years, Charles Shields received the medals
he had earned during World War II. A gingerbread family
created by Sandy Rogers was raffled and the money donated to the Ajo Community
Health Center for the EZ Access Project.
Table Top Telephone Company applied for a rate increase
which, if granted, will probably go into effect in the middle of next year.
Deputies were empowered to identify and solve problems
without a directive from above with the adoption of Mission Oriented Policing.
Family and friends in Why and beyond were thrown
into mourning after a two-vehicle collision between Ajo and Why on Highway
85 early Monday afternoon, December 13. Both drivers, Sue Cross and Betty
Holcomb, were declared dead at the scene.
The Ajo school district adopted a fee schedule so
that they would meet requirements for accepting donations from individuals
who were interested in getting federal and state tax credits.
The Artists Guild Reception was the site of the
unveiling of the "Face on the Barroom Floor." Operatunity was scheduled to
be in Ajo on January 28 to present its version of the light opera.
Long-time school board member Lucille Couch received
a "Master of Boardsmanship" for her participation in programs of the Arizona
School Board Association.
The US Border Patrol donated 61 computers to Ajo
schools. They will be used for a keyboarding class and in various locations
throughout the school.
Deputy John Taylor of the Pima County Sheriff's Department
Ajo District, was named Distinguished Patrol Officer for December.
Santa's elves, many affiliated with local organizations,
provided Christmas gifts, food, and treats for Ajo's children and those in
Concerts at school and at churches helped put everyone
in the Christmas spirit.
Ajo's traditional Christmas Eve celebration was
held in the Plaza with Santa Claus as the guest of honor. Jim Bush was presented
with a plaque by his fellow Rotarians for his half-century of work on Santa's
Churches across Western Pima County celebrated the
traditional anniversary of the birth of Christ with festive services.
Pima County Sheriff's Department Ajo District plans
to have the extra deputies on duty along with the SAVs on patrol and the
command center set up in case of emergency, although they anticipate no unusual
In 1999 we said a sad good-bye
to many friends and neighbors.
Juan Aguilar Jr.
Robert M. Alley
Duane C. Amos
Helen Roberts Berry
Frances M. Bustamante
Joe M. Celaya
James L. Couch
Richard B. Dicus
Diana Jo (Pacheco) Gonzales
Calvin L. Gray
John A. Gregory
Lonnie D. Guthrie, Sr.
Earle L. Hansen
T. R. Harrison
J.C. "Jiggs" Jacks
Robert E. Kelley
Robert J. Kerns
Benito M. Lopez
Roy D. Martin
Roy E. Martin
Charles L. McNary
Susan M. Milene
Constancia Cecilia Moreno
Nora Lee Nation
Myrtle F. Page
George A. Payne
Miguel G. Perez
Dale L. Perkins
Wilbur Ray Phillips
Alan K. Polley
Leandro "Lalo" Ramirez
Henry F. Richar
Antonio S. Rios
Evaristo S. Rios
Jesus I. Rodelo
Allan C. Sanderson
Fidel A. Sanchez
Victor W. Sease
Patti Jo Steen
G. A. Trigueros
Florita Longacre Young
They are all are missed.
Copyright 1999 by Ajo Copper News