The Western Pima County Community Council installed new members and officers. The 1993 WPCCC is made up of chair Will Nelson, vice-chair George Skinner, treasurer Dodie Nash, secretary Artemisa Julander, John Tucker, Freeman Fry, and Al Gay. Vickie Rucker was chosen to serve as president of the school board, assisted by Benny Lopez as clerk. Other board members are Lucille Couch, Lito Castillo, and Robert Trebes. A conference on Highway 85 aired community concerns about the highway in and out of town. A proposed toll-road was vehemently opposed locally and in Gila Bend and appeared later in the year to be a dead issue. New members and officers of WALD were installed. The new board is made up of John Tucker, Monico Bustamante, Bobbie Hargis, Mollie Pullum, Robert Rose, Mike Lane, Karen Fry, Veronica Hewitt, and Jack Garchow. U.S. West said they planned to make extensive repairs to the Ajo phone lines. Ajo native Eddie Brown, head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Bush administration, briefly served as Secretary of the Interior before Bruce Babbitt was confirmed and sworn in.
The annual Old Time Fiddlers Contest was held at the Moose Lodge. A public hearing for the consolidation of the school campuses was held. Though some objected, there was not the furor there was when the consolidation of the junior high and high school was proposed. Why Utility re-elected their board of directors: president Jim Robinson, Curtis Taylor, Don Schnell, Jack Winstead, and Betty Holcomb. The Why? Ajo! Gem & Mineral Society held their annual rock show. Household hazardous wastes were collected for disposal by the county at the landfill in a special one-day event. The Lady Raiders won their conference title but did not fare so well at state. The boys’ team did their best but garnered few honors. A blaze devoured much of the historic Hotel Cornelia. The Ajo/Gibson Fire Department battled the blaze for several hours and one firefighter was slightly injured. The fire was attributed to arson. Eva Pena won the county spelling bee, the first Ajo student to do so in twenty years.
Pima County Parks & Recreation and Ajo District Chamber of Commerce sponsored the annual St. Patrick's Spring Festival with entertainment & booths in the Plaza, games and races. Ajo Food Bank celebrated its first decade. Twelve high school students received medals at the State Solo and Ensemble Festival, with Melissa McBride receiving a rating of superior. The musicians competed against others from schools of all sizes all over the state. Phelps Dodge donated $34,050 to the Ajo-Lukeville Health Service District for the purchase of needed equipment. Dr. H.J. Mills decided to enjoy his retirement by volunteering at the Ajo Community Health Center. O'odham Day was celebrated at Organ Pipe National Monument. 1700 visitors participated in the event. The event was a celebration of Tohono O'odham culture. Most of the Ajo school's rapid decline funding was restored when Governor Symington signed the state's budget. Ajo schools suffered a $50,000 budget cut which was much better than the $753,804 cut proposed earlier that year. Billie & John Jackson were honored by the Senior Nutrition Center as their Valentine Sweethearts. A street lighting conference may have been the first step in creating a new street light district using low pressure sodium lamps. The LPS lamps would improve conditions for astronomers here. The current system is antiquated and parts are often not available for repairs and replacement.
Jera Rucker was chosen as delegate to Girls State with Sonia Nicholson as alternate. William Schumacher and Patrick Walters were chosen as Boys State delegates with Todd Farmer as alternate. Ajo celebrated Easter with community services and a variety of secular activities. The classes of '48-'51 held their reunion. Tohono O'odham tribal chair Josiah Moore died. Ajo Community Health Center held its annual health fair with karoke singing, healthy food snacks, caricatures, and health screenings. Margie Martinez’ kindergarten class wrote a letter to President Clinton and were thrilled to receive a reply. US West announced its plans to sell the Ajo phone system, and then other small town systems, to a small private consortium.
The annual Fiesta de Mayo was dedicated to the late Angel Monreal. Festivities included lots of food, craft booths, entertainment, and visiting with friends. Serapia Aguila was honored by the Senior Nutrition Center as their woman of the year. Phelps Dodge Mercantile celebrated 107 years in business with its annual anniversary sale. The school board cut back on administration by not renewing Cynthia Orr's contract as elementary principal and granted Dan Morales a one-year contract as administrator/counselor. The annual Academic Honors Banquet sponsored by the Ajo Rotary Club put the spotlight on Ajo High School's achievers. The girls’ track team were first in 2A-West for the eleventh year in a row; the boys came in third. Both teams made respectable showings at the state meet. A 17-year-old girl was arrested for the arson of a house on Rocalla Katie Walters, Michael Zimmerman, and Melissa McBride were inducted into the National Honor Society. The school board voted to keep the Curley school site for another year and to pay the superintendent's utility bills. They also voted to hire an administrator/athletic director for grades 7-12. Jessica Hickman was valedictorian and Christine Gilmartin salutatorian of the AHS Class of 1993. Mike OíConnor was the keynote speaker at the AHS graduation ceremony. Yolanda Maya Anderson was the AJHS graduation speaker. Fran Haynes was honored as the Ajo Woman of the Year by the Xi Gamma Pi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi.
Viva Las Vega, an undercover operation by the Pima County Sheriff's Dept., resulted in the arrests of 17 people. Johnnie Sieglock was honored as the Senior Nutrition Center's man of the year. Ajo Ambulance began a first responder class which taught many area residents what to do in an emergency. The school board named Ken Farmer head football coach for the coming year.
Tom & Marie Diehl were grand marshals of the 4th of July parade. The celebration covered the whole weekend with the parade, Plaza festivities, and swimming on Saturday, July 3, and the fireworks on Sunday night, July 4. The celebration was sponsored by the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce. Ajo students were rated poor to average by the Arizona Student Assessment Program. The Ajo Photographic Documentary Project ended their summer with a show and a double-page spread in the Ajo Copper News. The project was sponsored by JTPA and the Tucson/Pima Arts Council. Ajo Copper News editor emeritus Ann Hollister David died at her home in Ajo on July 19. US West sought rate increases. Northern Pipeline workers became a familiar sight as they began upgrading the townsite's natural gas lines. $70,000 in CDBG grants were awarded to Ajo groups: the Ajo/Gibson Fire Dept. is being given $30,000 to purchase a rescue truck; and the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce will receive $40,000 for replacement of antiquated street lights. Eddie Brown was named director of the Tohono O'odham health and social services, a newly created position.
Thirteen Ajo kids took part in the Pima County Parks & Recreation golf program. The Ajo Desert Sharks, a swim team, competed in several meets. Margaret Huish retired as school nurse. School started for all local students on Monday, August 23. A fact-finding hearing was held here by the House Rural Health Care Task Force, chaired by Lou-Ann Preble. Dr. Patino was injured in a one-vehicle accident while on his way to the clinic in Gila Bend. He has since returned to work at the Ajo Community Health Center.
The Ajo Red Raider football team began its first 1A-Central season of 8-man football. Their season was injury-plagued and the team did not fare as well as had been hoped. Arthur Fenster was hired as principal and activities director for grades 7-12. The clinic will be providing services in lieu of a school nurse. The WPCCC met on Childs Mountain for discussion about the site's future. In reaction to metro area crimes and violence, Pima County enacted a curfew ordinance for teenagers which is being enforced county-wide, including Ajo and Why. Every kid in Ajo Elementary School was given a DARE T-shirt. Widening Highway 85 between Gila Bend and Buckeye is still being considered, but as a state project, not a private toll-road.
National Fire Prevention Week was celebrated. Firefighters were called to several fires. Jera Rucker and Todd Farmer were crowned ‘93 Homecoming queen and king. The Raiders went down to defeat at the hands of Arizona Lutheran. The varsity volleyball team was given student of the month T-shirts by the Army National guard in recognition of the team's academic achievements. Oktoberfest was a day crowded with entertainment, food, and lots of fun. Melissa McBride was named the first student representative on the Ajo School Board. She participates in board meetings but cannot vote. Ajo was invaded by goblins and brides, clouds and mice as the annual Halloween parade of costumes was sponsored by the Xi Gamma Pi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi.
Sgt. John Gilmartin, Dep. David Allen, and Dept. Frank Alvillar were all commended by the Pima County Sheriff's Dept. for their work in Operation Viva Las Vegas. Dan Morales was re-elected to another term on the board of Ajo Ambulance. Other members are Bernie Walsh, Bob Fulkerson, Veronica Hewitt, and Gabrielle David. The Ajo District Chamber of Commerce took over operation of the Mine Lookout. Refugio Sanchez died when her home burned on November 21. Her husband, Fidel Sanchez, suffered second and third degree burns. Carillon bells, bought with funds raised by a group headed by Phil Lawson, were presented to the Ajo schools. The ceremony included a concert of bell music. The bells are in Curley School. Betty Farmer and her old Girl Scouts reunited for a special weekend. Many were in her troop for ten years-- from second grade through high school.
Punch Woods announced a local advisory board may be formed to direct activities of the Ajo Food Bank. Louie Walters is the new food bank local manager. The Lady Raiders started a season that saw no losses in 1993. The boys’ team, while doing well, saw its share of losses. Lt. Paul Wilson, who had served here as a deputy, arrived to assume command of the Ajo District for the Pima County Sheriff's Department. Following an evaluation, Alfredo Luna was given a two-year extension of his contract as superintendent of schools. Christmas was ushered in with cantatas and carols in local churches, including the 24th annual production of Handel's Messiah by the Ajo Community Chorus. The park was crowded with people who waited for Santa's traditional appearance to light the tree in the Plaza before they continued celebrating with family and friends.