Ajo Copper News
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News from 1995
 Border Patrol agents were still doing the paperwork on 475.25 pounds of cocaine they seized on December 28 west of Pisinemo. The drug had an estimated street value of nearly 13-million.
 US West received a rate increase for telephone services.
 Table Top Telephone & US West neared the last hurdle in the sale of the Ajo exchange to the smaller company.
 Dwight Ogden, Dodie Nash, Mollie Pullum, Juanita Arias, and T.T. Sanders were sworn in as members of the Western Pima County Community Council.
 The Rural Arts Traveling Exhibit opened in Ajo.
 Wally Hagen's ashes are being kept in a safe while his children and his last wife, convicted arsonist Marge Hagen, battle over their disposition in court.
 Louie Walters, Lucille Couch, and Benny Lopez were sworn in as school board members. Couch was later chosen to serve as school board president and Lito Castillo as clerk. Vickie Rucker was the fifth board member.
 The Roots youth group began an active year of community service with a clean-up near the landfill.
 Elaine Richardson pledged to work for highway improvement in Western Pima County.
 The annual Old Time Fiddlers Contest drew huge crowds to the Moose Lodge.
 Ajo Ambulance received a commendation from the Tohono O'odham Police Department. That same day one of its units was involved in an accident in which two people were injured.
 A series of diabetes self-management seminars were sponsored by the Ajo Lions Club.
 Dr. Mills was chosen to succeed M.W. Shively as president of the board of Ajo-Lukeville Health Service District.
 A fatal shooting at an off-road race involved an off-duty Pima County Sheriff's Department deputy, David Needham, who was once stationed in Ajo.
 Tom Morisky was chosen to head WALD (Why Ajo Lukeville Development, Inc.).
 Tom and Marty Branson purchased Shive's Pharmacy.
 Elaine Richardson introduced a bill to include Hwy. 85 in the state's 5-year plan for highway construction.
 The community worked to help Ann Wycoff obtain needed cancer surgery.
 Heated discussions continued in various venues over Highway 85 and its future.
 The American Red Cross held a blood drive here.
 A celebration of Sonoran desert culture was held in Caborca with the sponsorship of the Sonoran Institute, Sonoran Desert Alliance, and Friends of Pronatura.
 The Ajo High School drama class presented Money to Burn.
 The Ajo-Why Art Alliance's spring show proved talent is alive and well in rural areas.
 The annual Spring Festival was held in the Plaza with the sponsorship of the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts and the Pima County Parks & Recreation. After the first festival was rained out, the second was held two weeks later.
 Econo-Rail signed a contract with Phelps Dodge to haul scrap metal from the demolition of PD plant building and said they plan to make Ajo a permanent part of their railroad operations.
 The fifth annual O'odham Day was held at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
 A new area-code for all who live outside of metropolitan Phoenix went into effect.
 Three people died and a fourth were seriously injured in an accident near Why.
 Marty Schaller was named interim manager of the Ajo Community Health Center by TMC, the company managing the clinic for the Ajo Lukeville Health Service District.
 A management statement for Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was made available for public review, starting a months' long outcry over some of the provisions.
 The Ajo/Gibson Fire Department held their annual golf tournament.
 James N. Watts, 59, fell to his death while hiking in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Watts was from California.
 Table Top Telephone took over phone service in Ajo on April 14.
 PD Mercantile gave the school a computer in return for over $300,000 in cash register receipts from the store.
 Melanie Wright was critically injured in an accident while returning to Casa Grande after a visit to Ajo. After lingering in a coma, she is now recuperating in a nursing home.
 Easter was observed with the annual ecumenical Lenten and Easter Sunrise services. There were also a variety of egg hunts and parties.
 Girl Scouts held a Girls' Day Out that combined fun with learning about opportunities for women.
 A street light improvement district was proposed to make renovation of local street lights possible. The effort failed to collect enough signatures.
 Lester & Martha Wright opened up Big Burger.
 Ron Fletcher was chosen by the school board to serve as superintendent of Ajo Unified School District 15. Fletcher last served as superintendent of Paloma School near Gila Bend.
 Eight drug smugglers were arrested north of Ajo in a multi-agency effort.
 Gabrielle David and M.W. Shively resigned from the Ajo Lukeville Health Service District board of directors.
 The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument management plans were reviewed at public meetings with much furor.
 The Fiesta de Mayo was held in the Plaza under the sponsorship of the American Citizens Social Club.
 A petition was circulated to keep rural transportation in Ajo.
 The Ajo Why Business Association was formed with Sue Wright elected president.
 Charlotte Thomas was honored as Ajo Woman of the Year by the Xi Gamma Pi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. She was feted at a tea at the Guest House Inn.
 Sgt. John Gilmartin retired from the Pima County Sheriff's Department after 22 years. He is the only department member, so far, to spend his entire career in Ajo.
 Bill Ned returned to Ajo as a sergeant with the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
 Three local SAV members, Larry Nord, Rita Nord, and Karen Snell received awards at the group's annual banquet in Tucson.
 The Ajo High Raider/Raiderette teams had unsuccessfull, yet fulfilling seasons in football, volleyball, cheerleading, basketball, golf, track and bseball.
 Pomp and circumstance were the order for graduation. Melissa McBride was valedictorian and Jeremy Mikus salutatorian of the Ajo High School Class of 1995. Enrique Castillo of the AHS Class of ‘67 was the speaker. In addition to McBride and Mikus, Katie Walters, Marla Gulick, Michael Zimmerman, and Rex Silva graduated with distinction and Denise Lacewell, Tanner Chesley, Melanie Peed, Jackie Vega, Daniel Carrillo, John Hickman, Robert Trebes, Sara Workman, and Jaime Bryant graduated with honors.
 Student speakers at the Ajo Junior High Graduation were Rachel Mikus, Tim Schumacher, Brook Peed, and Liliana Carrillo.
 Pima County Parks & Recreation continued to offer a variety of activities for young and old.
 A benefit dance was held for Amanda Rendon.
 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was briefly on the endangered list when the National Park Service budget was cut.
 Edward Manuel was elected chair of the Tohono O'odham Nation.
 The Ajo District Chamber of Commerce begged for money to keep the 4th of July celebration an Ajo tradition. Ray Phillips donated $1500 toward the fireworks.
 Parade, fireworks, Plaza booths, games, and a goat were among the highlights of Ajo's 4th of July celebration.
 Keith Keime was transferred by Phelps Dodge and his move left vacancies on the boards of the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce and the Ajo Lukeville Health Service District.
 Controversy continued to rage over Hwy 85 and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument management plans, especially where they affected each other.
 Table Top Telephone installed a new switch which they said would dramatically improve service.
 The Pima County Sheriff's Department proposed eliminating their rescue service and making Ajo Ambulance the sole emergency medical services provider. A public meeting about the proposal, sponsored by the Western Pima County Community Council, was sparsely attended with little opposition to the concept.
 Marc Alop was picked to act as principal of the Ajo school system.
 It was hot.
 The Ajo/Gibson Fire Dept. put their new rescue truck, purchased with Community Development Block Grant funds, into service.
 School started on Monday morning, August 21.
 The National Park Service, in response to the considerable public input it had received, announced its intention to produce a supplement to its management and development plans for Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
 A Hia-Ced O'odham exhibit was inaugurated at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
 Pima County Parks & Recreation announced a fee increase for most of its activities.
 School bus cuts and a proposed joint-use library were hot topics of discussion at a PTA meeting.
 Enhanced 9-1-1 service came to Ajo, enabling Pima County Sheriff's Department dispatchers to electronically locate callers.
 An inmate at the Ajo detention center was resuscitated by a corrections officer and sergeant after seizure left him unconscious and apneic.
 The school board rejected the idea of the public and school libraries sharing premises.
 The fuss about the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument plans continued.
 Ajo High School held their homecoming and the AHS Class of ‘75 a reunion. Colleen Lewis and Joey Gonzalez were Homecoming King & Queen.
 Ajo Discount opened its doors in the Ajo Mall.
 Ajo Ambulance was among the many agencies that responded to the infamous Amtrak derailment near Hyder.
 Ajo/Gibson Fire Dept. held its annual open house as part of National Fire Prevention Week. Hazel Smith presented the station with a flag in memory of her late husband, Donald Smitty Smith.
 Buddy Gallerani and Bernie Walsh were re-elected to the Ajo Ambulance board of directors.
 Tucson Parks & Recreation dedicated their class registration building to Lorena Yanez Jones. Many people from Ajo attended the ceremony unveiling her name on the building. Jones, who was Tucson Parks & Recreation's class registration coordinator, was killed in an automobile accident on December 23, 1994, while on her way to Ajo to spend Christmas with her family.
 The Ajo District Chamber of Commerce and Pima County Parks & Recreation held the Ajo Name Day Festival instead of the usual Oktoberfest. Though some thought the Name Day Festival meant organizers were looking for a name for the festival, CofC members said it was in honor of the somewhat clouded history of the community's name.
 Pat & Bob Duncan of Ajo were named Harley-Davidson's first Road Masters for visiting ten sites nationwide on their motorcycles.
 The International Sonoran Desert Alliance held a transportation forum in Why.
 Tucson Medical Center, which manages the Ajo Community Health Center for the Ajo Lukeville Health Service District announced it is merging with Samaritan Health Services, former managers of the clinic.
 Due to public opposition, changes to Hwy 85 were taken out of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument management plan. No entrance booths...no lower speed limit, said park superintendent Harold Smith.
 The annual Halloween Parade of Costumes was held in the Plaza under the sponsorship of the Xi Gamma Pi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi.
 Sonoyta citizens protested the $4 per person, with an $8 per family cap, surcharge assessed Mexican citizens whose plans included travel more than 25 miles into the United States. The charge is mandated by Congress, according to Rudy Dibene, supervisor of Immigration at the Lukeville Port of Entry.
 A homicide suspect was arrested after being stopped at the Lukeville POE.
 A human skull was found near Eberling Tank by Why residents gathering wood.
 Detective Frank Alvillar was given the Sheriff's Medal of Merit for his rescue of Tom Wiley from a burning building last year.
 Ajo Stage Line's contract to provide public transportation in Western Pima County was renewed by the Pima County Dept. of Transportation.
 The remains of John C. Greenway were disinterred from their resting place in front of the Greenway Mansion and taken to Kentucky for reburial next to his wife and son.
 Marking the end of the Pima County Sheriff's Department's rescue program, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik handed over the keys to the department's two rescue vehicles to Ajo Ambulance. The non-profit ambulance company plans to use the units as ambulances. Sheriff Dupnik and his wife, Susan, also attended the VFW's spaghetti dinner in honor of Veteran's Day and the annual Buddy Poppy sale.
 The Ajo Copper News received two awards in a statewide newspaper contest. The third-place awards were for best use of photography and best column in the small weekly newspaper division.
 The first of what the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts hopes to be a series of murals was completed on the wall of the Ajo Mall.
 The Wright Flight program began another season and expanded its program to include ground school for previous program graduates.
 After receiving approval from the voters to dispose of Curley School, the school board accepted an offer of $232,500 for the school made by two Washington couples through Copper Crown Realty. The deal has not yet been made final.
 After 45 years as an Ajo landmark, the smelter smokestack was dynamited on the morning of November 29.
 The Ajo Copper News moved to its new building at 10 Pajaro.
 Arrests cleared several burglary cases.
 At the Western Pima County Community Council election, by-law amendments were approved and Pat Morisky, Eric Marcus, Bobbie Hargis, and Marty Branson were elected to serve on the non-governmental community council.
 The school board voted to try a four-day school week for one year. The move is being made in an effort to cut costs -- a four-day school week is expected to save about $18,000 a year.
 A report that Ajo exceeded particulate pollution standards was based on a rating given the area by the EPA in the late 1970 when Phelps Dodge was still operating the mine and smelter.
 Christmas was celebrated with church services and with the traditional community gathering in the Plaza.



In Memorium
G.T. Tom Alley
Irene Lewis
Martha Breasted
John L Bolles
Maria L. Alvarez
Dolores Chase
Jean E. Reed
Fern Brady
Donald R. Arends
Dorothy Mann
Paul Lonsway
Phillip McCraney
Bob Martin
Charles A. Corella
George . Mohon
Rosie Virginia Zitlau Price
Thomas Murphy
JoseLuis Valenzuela
Gerardo F. Yanez
Edward Ries
Celia M. Lara
Angela Cabellero
Sylvia Augustine Latham
LaVerne Burkett
Lupe Uriarte
Olympia Detrick
Della Cole Distler
Joan McGee
Scott D. Koll
Kenneth Stidham
Elizabeth Betty Farmer
Violeta Rodriguez
Mary Tallant
Rubye Mercer
Ronald Kinkead
Wade McGill
June Pierce
Genevieve Jerry Berry
John E. O'Neill
Kitty Adams
Harold Ford Dison
Charlie Johnson
Harold LeGendre
Charlie Johnson
Andrea Lewis
Betty Hawes
Selwyn Rogers Lewis
Bill Owen Broom
George Dingman
Vallie J. Lee
Francisco Gaonzalez
George Trevino
Malcolm Heybyrne
Edith Westfall
Frank L. Razo
John W. Tressa
Frances Christy
Kenneth Dad Hall
Ethel Hightower
Larry Franklin
Thomas A. Beach
Thomas Marquez
John S. Greenway
Velma Reid
Clinton M. Treadway
Bertha R. Florez
Ruth Downey
Celina Canez
Rosa Jane Sage
Ralph Rendon
John McSweeny
Manuel Ramirez
Nellie McCraney
Charlie Ross
Clayt Joslyn
Frances Flores
Dan Rogers
Joseph F. Link
Martin Corn
Bertha Garrison
Marvin Hughes
Roy Baker
Maria Nuñez
Federico Carrera

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Copyright 1998 by Ajo Copper News