News Recap for the Year 2000.
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Following dire predictions that computers and all the electronic world would rebel at the beginning of the year 2000, New Year's Eve was quiet -- maybe even quieter than normal.
GED testing was held in Ajo for the first time in several years. Thirteen candidates took the test.
The Natural History Association of Cabeza Prieta began its winter lecture series and conducted tours to the Watchable Wildlife site at the top of Childs Mountain.
The Ajo District Chamber of Commerce held an open house to allow residents an opportunity to visit the CofC's new home at 400 Taladro. The building is being leased from Phelps Dodge. It was the employment office at one time. New CofC officers for the year were president Malin Lewis, vice president Mike Lane, secretary Mitzi Frank, and treasurer, Sue Tout.
An arrest was made for a series of burglaries. A peeping Tom and vandalism were among the many incidents investigated by Pima County Sheriff's Department's deputies and detectives.
Remodeling began on the Ajo Community Health Center's entrance. The EZ Access project was made possible through donations made by members of the community. When the project is complete, electronic doors, a drive-up lane, and desert landscaping will change the look of ACHC.
The Western Pima County Community Council, a non-governmental group, began the year's meetings. Newly-elected and re-elected councilors were Margaret Anderson, Bobbie Hargis, Ken Kermode, June Nickell, Eric Marcus, and Jeanne Oden d'Hal.
At various times throughout the month, Ajoites traveled to Phoenix to express their opinions to various legislators on the repeal of the controversial RV tax. A law was proposed to repeal the tax, except in Pima County. Elaine Richardson was instrumental in seeing that Ajo residents had an opportunity to let the legislators know they would like the tax, which has already been instituted in Pima County to pay for the construction of a stadium in Tucson, to be repealed.
The Old Time Fiddlers Contest brought many visitors to Ajo to be part of the festivities which included not only fiddling, but a chili cook-off, jam sessions, and dances. Some of the fiddlers also fiddled at the school to give students an opportunity to hear their music.
A Land Use Committee was formed to make recommendations to the school board for the best use of the newly acquired 13 acres adjacent to the school. After two meetings they agreed that the space was adequate for both a sports complex and a schoolyard habitat and still allow for possible expansion for classrooms, if necessary, in the future.
Two men were killed and a woman shot when they stopped at a shrine in Mexico. The motive was unknown. All the victims were from the Phoenix area. The incident received widespread attention in the media, causing a prolonged reluctance to travel into Mexico in many people.
Each year the proceeds from the yearly vaudeville show are donated to a worthy cause. This year was no exception as the third annual vaudeville show put on by the Ajo Community Players put smiles on the faces of those attending and brought proceeds in the amount of $500 to the Ajo Community Health Center.
The Ajo Youth Corps was formed to promote community pride and appreciation of Ajo's natural and cultural resources.
Fifteen students won prizes and a chance to win the state contest for poems they wrote for the Ajo 2000 Poetry Contest.
Some of Ajo's music students entered the Solo & Ensemble Contest. One student entered a composition competition sponsored by the Arizona Music Educators Association and was one of 17 asked to play their compositions.
Western Pima County Community Council held its ninth annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day. About 50 people collected almost 1000 pounds of material.
About 50 people attended the WPCCC meeting to hear about the Sonoran Desert National Park proposal. Many people asked questions and made comments.
The Spring Festival sponsored by the CofC had the usual and the unusual -- something for everyone.
Ajo Community Health Center was approved as a federally qualified health center and will receive funding from them.
Emogene Martin was presented with a miniature shopping cart in recognition of 16 years of volunteer service to the Ajo Food Bank.
It rained three times in March, the only rain since last October.
Ajo school children celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday with cake and punch. Many visitors from the community spent time reading aloud to them and they purchased books at the school book fair during the week-long celebration. The culminating activity was an ice cream social with reading activities and more fun.
Archaeology Month was celebrated at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument when they held their 10th annual O'odham Day celebrating native traditions. The event drew about 500 people and included native dancers, storytellers, and demonstrations.
The National Park Service held meetings in southern Arizona to get public input regarding their Wilderness Management Plan. When the draft plan is complete, more public comment will be requested. The plan should be completed by the fall of 2001.
Students ate sack lunches awaiting county inspectors to give the go-ahead to open the new cafeteria. They were finally able to eat in the new cafeteria in May.
Census workers delivered short forms and long forms. The forms were to be filled out by residents and mailed on April 1.
Four students were honored on March 12 at a ceremony in which they received their General Education Degree (GED).
Ajo's second annual Pick Up and Picnic Day brought out organizations and individuals to clean up trash from various areas around town. The work was followed by a picnic with lunch donated by Ajo's Masons and entertainment by local residents.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument produced its first newspaper about the monument and the Sonoran desert. The paper is free and available at many locations in Ajo.
Following an armed robbery at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Sheriff's deputies and US Border Patrol agents tracked the suspects who apparently returned to Mexico. Visitors to remote areas were reminded not to leave vehicles unattended, to check the area before leaving the vehicle, and not to leave valuables in sight in the vehicle.
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds was the final offering of the Ajo Community Players for the season.
Arizona's entries for the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest were judged at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge for the second year. The winner was Ben Giroux of Sunnyside High School in Phoenix. About 600 entries were submitted by Arizona students.
Western Pima County Community Council invited representatives from the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality and Minerals Research and Recovery, Inc. to discuss concerns of local residents about air pollution caused by the company. As a result, the director of PDEQ instructed his staff to begin work immediately on Minerals Research's permit renewal to be ready for public comment within four or five months. An update was presented at the September WPCCC meeting and many of the issues had been addressed at that time.
Two suspects in a Phoenix truck theft were chased to the top of Phelps Dodge tailings and apprehended. The two subsequently admitted they knew the truck was stolen, but not who stole it.
Teachers were unhappy with the restrictive requirements of the school as to the sources of courses for advancement. The board wanted to encourage teachers to take courses in classroom settings outside of Ajo feeling that that would provide increased learning because of increased feedback from other students. Teachers argued that that didn't necessarily happen in classroom settings and that it also reduced the number of opportunities they had to take classes for advancement. The board finally approved a compromise.
The annual sunrise Easter service was held in the Plaza on Sunday, April 23. Other services were held in local churches and many Ajo residents celebrated with traditional Easter activities. Thirty-seven grandparents who are raising grandchildren were treated to free hams from the Ajo Food Bank. The hams were donated through the CofC by Ajo businesses and residents.
The 14th annual Dicus Salazar Memorial Golf Tournament earned funds for five scholarships for Ajo graduating seniors.
The Ajo landfill requires that all users place refuse in bags or boxes prior to disposal in the facility.
Plans were begun for Ajo's next musical extravaganza, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, to be performed in March 2001. The program was later postponed.
Ajo Council for the Fine Arts awarded certificates of recognition to gifted art students at the Gifted Art Students' Show. Their work will decorate the walls of Dago Joe's Restaurant until next year's entries are hung.
A typographical error on an application caused concern for Ajo residents who listen to classical music on KBAQ until it was discovered that the application to broadcast over 89.5 MHz should have read 88.5. The error was corrected and listeners of KBAQ were happy once more.
Traditional entertainment and good fun were enjoyed by many at the Fiesta de Mayo celebration sponsored by the Chu Chu Club.
A survey gathered opinions about the work of the Sheriff's Department in Ajo. According to Ajo's District Commander Lt. David Allen, some negative comments were received, but generally residents said they were very satisfied with the performance of the deputies and the Sheriff's Department.
Third graders Kayla Leon, Angelica Del Rosario, and Renee Maldonado were winners of the National Music Week poster contest. They were awarded silver dollars for their efforts.
A peregrine falcon and a Swainson's hawk were joined by two volunteers from a rehabilitation center in Phoenix to celebrate Migratory Bird Day at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Office. An open house was attended by many and programs for young people were held in the morning.
The Ajo High School Academic Honor Banquet saw many scholarships awarded to deserving students.
The 2nd annual Ajo Schools Science Fair had 27 entries that were judged on oral presentation, visual presentation, and use of the scientific method. Many science topics were explored by individuals and groups of students at all grade levels.
The Ajo letter carriers gathered 2,565 pounds of food for the food bank during their annual food drive on May 13.
Daniel Aguayo, Anders Peterson, and Desirae Bates directed the junior high and high school band during a band concert on May 9. Other music students performing during the concert included the fifth and sixth grade band and string instrument players. The high school choir sang and danced for the audience during a concert on May 8. Elementary students gave a musical rendition of "Stone Soup."
The 18th annual PCPR tots program graduation was held on May 18.
Commencement exercises for Ajo's eighth graders was held on May 24.
Valedictorian Carolyn Lewis and salutatorian Israel Gonzalez led twenty Ajo high school students through graduation ceremonies on May 25. Lewis and Gonzalez were graduated with distinction. Emit Bryant, Jesus Carillo, Laura Di Giano, Robin Finney, Kari Gonzales, Colin Korolosky, and Connie Mendoza all were graduated with honors.
Five Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers completed an additional sixty hours of training and began doing crime prevention patrolling and assisting deputies, in addition to their efforts in emergency response situations and in crime prevention programs.
Year-end activities at the school included a spring sports banquet, DARE graduation, and an elementary track and field day.
The Memorial Day celebration included the Ajo Foundation's annual fundraising week-end activities and the opening of Ajo's new pool at Bud Walker Park. Supervisor Sharon Bronson was joined by Pima County dignitaries and staff at the pool for the opening activities on May 27.
Because many folks were unsure about the value of Ajo's new "Colonia" status, WPCCC brought in a Colonia specialist to talk about programs available for individuals and communities with this status. There are 84 Colonia communities in Arizona.
Father Horacio V. Yanez, a native of Ajo, celebrated his 25th year of ordination in Marysville, Washington.
Four unoccupied structures were partially or completely destroyed in deliberately set fires during May and June, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department. Investigation continues.
AmVets raised and dedicated a flag at the Ajo Cemetery. It flew permanently over the cemetery until the wind damaged it in October. A new all-weather flag was donated.
The summer youth employment program provided 30 of Ajo's young people with jobs for seven weeks during the summer. Jobs for youth were available at other locations, too, including the new pool, and the highway department.
The Ajo District Chamber of Commerce was busy applying for funding and advertising. Applications went out for the Prettiest Painted Place and the Mainstreet Small Cities program. In addition, the Tucson Visitor's Bureau is assisting with the development of a new Ajo brochure.
Since it is an election year, many candidates rode in the Fourth of July parade and attended the festivities in the Plaza. They included Pima County supervisor Sharon Bronson, state senator Elaine Richardson, state representative Carmine Cardamone, US representative Ed Pastor, and constable Wanda Wriston, as well as Jesse George, a candidate for county treasurer and Olivia Cajero-Bedford, a candidate for the state legislature.
Grace Durham was honored as Mother of the Year at the Senior Nutrition Center. Bob Hightower was honored as Father of the Year.
Gathering input is an important part of the planning process. In July, BLM held meetings to gather public input to assist in planning. Their concern was ATVs. When their report came out in December, it ignored the fact that 79% of responses encouraged restricting ATV use on public lands.
Input was also gathered regarding Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range for an Environmental Impact Statement.
The second annual cactus fruit harvest was held at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
Hector Abrego of the Bureau of Land Management was awarded the Julian Hayden Heroes of the Desert Award by the International Sonoran Desert Alliance. He received the award for his interest in people and natural resources management and his positive attitude. Abrego died shortly after receiving the award.
Sharon Bronson submitted a letter of support for the Ajo Historic District as the process for listing the original town site on the National Register of Historic Places continues.
Ajo was one of three finalists in the southwestern region in the Prettiest Painted Places competition sponsored by the Paint Quality Institute. Two judges visited Ajo and took more pictures of painted places in the typical July three-digit heat.
Arson investigations continued as more vacant buildings were set on fire.
The controversy of whether Colonia designation is a positive thing for Ajo continues. The Board of Supervisors changed the designation so that the Colonia status would not show up in the records of the County Recorder since many people felt the designation was detrimental to real estate sales.
Summer heat hit undocumented immigrants and stranded travelers hard. Many died and others were seriously ill. Emergency services found themselves stretched to care for the many undocumented immigrants and still serve their areas.
The Ajo Desert Sharks swim team finished fourth in the championship meet on July 22. The first Ajo Invitational swim meet took place on August 5.
While law enforcement officers were attempting to stop a speeding vehicle, a US Customs officer was injured and the driver of the speeding car was shot in the arm.
As part of the updating and improvements made to the Ajo Community Health Center, Diane Carnright, with help from Barbara Ford and Betty De Roos Hackworth, painted two desert scenes on the walls in the lobby.
The staff of the Ajo Community Health Center presented consultants Ed Sicurello and Marty Schaller with a plaque in appreciation for their hard work and dedication to ACHC.
The second annual Band Camp took place in Ajo prior to the opening of school. Musicians had fun, learned responsibility, got some public exposure, and practiced their talents during a week full of activities. Percussionists had an extra week of camp to hone their skills.
Thirty-two golfers met in the fourth annual Ajo-Canada Golf Tournament in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada.
An Ajo reunion in Payson found many current and former Ajo residents enjoying the relatively cool temperatures of northern Arizona.
School board members welcomed new staff members principal James Walker, third grade teacher Elizabeth Morgart, fifth grade teacher Caleb Kesler, math teacher Edward Erickson, and teachers' aides Maria Duran and Rose Candelaria.
A Sonoran pronghorn was seen on the Scenic Loop Road. It was the first reported sighting of a member of that endangered species so close to town for many years.
Mike Mekelburg joined the Ajo Copper News staff as sports writer for the school year.
The Ajo Post Office celebrated its 100th birthday on August 29 with a special stamp designed by Hop David. Cake and ice cream were served to customers throughout the day.
The winner of the Ajo Copper News "You Know It's Hot in Ajo (and Why) When..." contest was Patrick Walters of Tucson who said, "You know it's hot in Ajo (and Why) when Lucifer calls the Chamber of Commerce to move hell for the summer." Runners-up were Jim Hurst of Maine and Bill Hassenzella of Ajo who tied for second because their entries were similar ? about the "fact" that asphalt streets are liquefied during the hot summers. A second second place award went to Bill Hassenzella for another of his entries ? "You know it's hot in Ajo when the best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance." Bill donated his winnings to the CofC fireworks hoping, he said, "To help make the fireworks as hot as Ajo's summer."
Ajo constable Wanda Wriston retired before the end of her term. The Pima County Board of Supervisors, appointed a citizens' committee to recommend one of the four applicants. The Board of Supervisors appointed Robert W. Harral to finish the term. A new constable will be elected in November 2002. Disagreement with the way the new constable was appointed caused a furor among members of the Democratic precinct committee and some others in the community.
The open primary was the first in Arizona history. Those voters not registered in one of the major political parties, were able to vote for the candidate of their choice.
Circle K and several other businesses were damaged by storms during the summer rainy season. High temperatures late in the month caused discomfort to many as temperatures as high as 113° broke records across southern Arizona. Temperatures were record highs for so late in the year.
An electric rate increase was approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission for the customers of Ajo Improvement Company. Rates increased 6.232 cents per kilowatt-hour but customers still have a significantly lower rate than other areas in the southwest.
Power outages caused some frustration for customers of Ajo Improvement throughout the summer. According to AIC, power was shut off when the company had to switch from power bought from outside sources to power generated at the power plant in Ajo. The switches were efforts to save customers money when prices for power from outside sources soared to record highs caused by high demand due to high summer temperatures.
Drachman Institute began a needs assessment of Ajo's economic and social potential. Their analysis of the information should be available in February and be of assistance to those writing grants for community projects. A steering committee of 12 residents met several times to assist the UofA students in analyzing citizen input and formulating goals and objectives.
Eustolia Flores was named director of the Ajo Food Bank which was opened in late July. An open house and dedication were held on September 15. After several years of wandering from place to place, the site at 201 Esperanza behind the Curley School is permanent. The Ajo Food Bank was dedicated to the memory of the late Leonard G. Garcia Sr. who was active in the operation of the food bank prior to his death earlier this year.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the National Park Service, Federal Highways Administration, and Arizona Department of Transportation was signed on September 22. The agreement was for Highway 85 road improvement through the national monument.
The Ajo Rotary Club began an Adopt-A-Tree project to raise funds for continuing maintenance of the Solana trees. Contributions can be sent to them at PO Box 85, Ajo.
Twelve Ajo youngsters from 8 to 18 have become involved in the Ajo Boxing Club organized by Anthony Parsons and Tom Respondek. Sponsors from the community are helping to purchase equipment and uniforms, and pay registration fees for the young boxers.
Activities for students, a Childs Mountain tour, and exhibit by Cry in the Wilderness Rehabilitation Center were all part of the celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week at Cabeza Prieta.
Homecoming saw the Red Raiders lose to Pusch Ridge but halftime activities were fun. Christina Vega and Nelson Lewis were crowned queen and king. Floats by each class were paraded and the marching band and spirit line performed.
The VFW and Ladies Auxiliary conducted a Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Recognition Program. Korean Conflict veterans, Boy Scouts, and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Youth Choir participated.
The International Sonoran Desert Alliance expanded its bicycle recycling program to include Sonoyta.
An oral history project involving several long-time Ajo residents was completed. Taped interviews and photographs recorded the early history of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Ajo area.
Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods (GAIN), the community-wide block party emphasizing neighborhood safety, was a success. Free entertainment, food, information, and activities were available for all who attended.
The Raider football team ended its season with a 1-8 record.
The varsity volleyball team ended its season with a 4-10 record. The junior varsity girls record was 12-0.
The general election saw national disaster and by the end of the year not everyone was convinced a President had been elected. At the local level, Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson was re-elected, Bob Bryant and Kord Klinefelter were re-elected to the school board, Marty & Tom Branson were elected to fill two of the vacant seats on the Ajo Lukeville Health District board, and in Why, James Lahm was elected to the Why Fire District board.
The new bridge behind the health center was dedicated. Sharon Bronson, several Pima County officials, and about 40 residents attended.
The Ajo Art Gallery celebrated its 10th anniversary in the rain.
The Ajo District Chamber of Commerce held its annual fall festival in a new location ? the school baseball field on Well Road with entertainment by the high school marching band and gospel singers.
Birds on Bikes donated 17 turkeys to the Ajo Food Bank for Thanksgiving for those in need. Other donations brought the total to 25 turkeys. The event was organized by the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce. Others were able to win turkeys at the Lions annual Turkey Shoot (but one person only won a scrawny chicken). APS also had a drawing for a lucky turkey winner.
The Odd Couple was the first offering of the Ajo Community Players this season. They played to an almost-full house.
An English tea and musical program was put on to raise funds for the Ajo Desert Music Club.
Ajo Stage Line received a contract to provide transportation from Ajo to Phoenix three days a week. The service is scheduled to begin on January 8.
A planning retreat was attended by about 25 staff, board members, and community representatives to set goals for the Ajo Community Health Center for the next three years. The goals included some changes in the available facilities, services, and programs in Ajo and the surrounding areas.
Funds are still being collected to bring a mobile spay/neutering unit to Ajo through the Arizona Humane Society.
Ajo and western Pima County will be included in the Pima County Conservation Plan that is required by the federal government in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. Several residents met with an assistant to the county administrator to become involved in the process.
Western Pima County Community Council approved bylaws revisions and elected Louie Walters and Terry Gentner.
The Ajo Community Health Center's Holiday Fling Fashion Show and luncheon brought about 100 people out to enjoy the afternoon at the Ajo Country Club and help raise funds to replace the aging x-ray machine. Special guest models, Ed Sicurello and Marty Schaller, were the highlight of the show.
The holiday season was celebrated in style: among the many events, the bank held its annual bake sale; the Plaza was well-decorated when several businesses set up displays to celebrate the season; Angel Tree program and other groups collected and distributed gifts and food to those in need; the Ajo Community Choir and the Federated Church Choir presented a concert; Ballet Folklorico El Cobre presented Noche Navideña with proceeds benefiting the Ajo High School Band; Organ Pipe had its fourth annual holiday open house with programs and treats; the Baptists and Coyote Howls held their annual Christmas Dinner; arts & crafts were sold and bazaars were held; and businesses, organizations, and individuals celebrated with parties and special treats.
Then Santa slid gracefully into his sleigh, rounded the Plaza, and spent some time with Ajo kids who were delighted to be able to talk with him.
On Christmas Day, many people attended church services. Families gathered and quite a few people ate too much before heading into the week's lull before the arrival of 2001.
Welcome to Our World
These births were reported in the Ajo Copper News in the year 2000.
Dalton Charles Abendschein
Andrea Ryan Alegria
Athina Nanette Alegria
Elijah Colby Alegria
Priscilla Dionne Allen
Abel Antonio Alvarez
Evan Michael Bischoff
Paul Isaiah Brown
Salvador Cabrera, Jr.
Gavin Andrew Ray Camarillo
Wyatt Michael Cañez
Emelda Yasmine Carreras
Anissa Ann Castillo
Audrey Lynn Castillo
Alena Mikal Celaya
Alexis Adela Celaya
Luke J. Cordy
Kylie Jo Crum
Daniel Kurmantai Dawdy
Nathan Shaman Ecker
Robert Joseph Eckert
Samantha Nichole Eskew
Maricella Isabell Galindo
Nadia Elisz Garchow
Christopher Isiah Gilmartin
Jesse Dylan Guthrie
Bryant Caleb Kesler
Ariana Grace Lopez
Adrian Jesus Lopez
Robert Felix Lopez
Tyler Anthony Mann
Javier Jesus Manuel
Alfredo Canto Marin
Carlos Angel Maya
Alexandra Victoria Mesquita
Jodi Ann Morago
Sarah Nicole Moreno
Nathan William Noblitt
Mary Cianna Olea
Brook May Pebworth
Angelica Linda Perez
Lucian James Ray Ramirez
Nicole Marie Reyna
Emily Christine Schaller
Daniel William Senko
Kiran Reeves Strickland
Dolores Marie Trigueros
Alexis Mia Vega
Reyna Andrina Villa
Jade Alexandria Weber
Rogelio Enrique Yon
Jacob Daniel Zevallo
The Year 2000 saw farewells to these friends and neighbors, may they rest in peace.
Earl A. Barber
Irma T. Barry
David B. Bush
Ada C. Cox
Barbara J. Cunningham
Leola E. Drake
William D. Evans
Ralph E. Fadely
Leonard Garcia, Sr.
William Weller Glasby III
Betty J. Guthrie
LaVere "King" Hiteman
Otis M. Jones
Ruth E. Keller
Edward W. Lee
Carol J. Maiville
Henry "Kiki" Mancilla
R. O. McCollum
Alfred Meeden, Jr.
Harold Jay Mills
Betty Jo Montijo
Carmen C. Montijo
David H. Orr
Arnoldo G. Perez
John K. "Hoj" Peterson
Jimmy Lee Petty
Robert C. Poole
Rafael O. Reyna
Amber M. Rice
Sammie B. Ricks
Ida Y. Rios
Lenora E. Santos
Rev. A. Paul Stout
Rodrigo V. Trevino
Mildred Harris Truitt
Jose G. Valdez
Pat Shelly White