US Border Patrol arrested about 40% all of
undocumented aliens in Arizona. Their figures showed that 320 of those
at-tempting the trek into the Ari-zona desert died.
The speed limit across the To-hono O'odham Nation on
High-way 86 was raised to 65 mph ex-cept as otherwise posted.
New officers and representa-tives were installed in
organiza-tions and boards including the Ajo Rotary Club, Ajo Garden
Club, Desert Music Club, and Lions Club.
Edith Vance, Ken Freese, and Jim Snyder were newly
elected members of the Western Pima County Community
Council. Ken Kermode joined re-elected members Lisa
Rossi and Malin Lewis on the board of the Ajo Unified School District.
Elected to the Ajo Lukeville Health Service District
were Linda Feidt and Karen Gonzales.
The board of Desert Senita Community Health Center
added four new members – Fred Fout, George Gradillas, Jim Decheine, and
More pollinator gardens were planted in the area.
The gardens are part of an International Sono-ran Desert Alliance
Staff members at the Ajo Neighborhood Recreation
Center received a Team Work Award from the Pima County Natural
Resources, Parks, and Recreation department.
Janice Cantu and Tracy Taft, two of the founders of
the Ajo Schools Arts Partnership, were nominated, along with the
cur-rent program coordinator Claire Bistline, for the Governor's Art
Award in the Arts in Education category.
Why Fire District had an in-teragency training
session during which they practiced many as-pects of fireground
activities. Monthly training continued through the year.
Elks, American Citizens So-cial Club members, and
other volunteers painted the "A" on Camelback Mountain.
Zero tolerance for illegal op-eration of ATVs was
announced by the Ajo District of the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
Head Start teachers have been hired and began
recruiting pre-schoolers for their program. Millie Hedrick and Diana
Ro-mero will be joined by a cook/custodian to staff the pro-gram.
The Piecemakers quilt group displayed quilts at the
Elks Lodge showing off their work.
Ajo High School basketball teams ended their season.
The girls had 10 conference wins and 5 losses during the season and 18
total wins and 11 losses; the boys' conference record for the season
was 8 and 7.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument reopened its
53-mile Puerto Blanco Drive on January 1 following a three-month
closure because of the drought conditions that caused the unexpected
movement of endangered Sonoran pronghorn into the area and some
dangerous events along the border. By the end of the month, rain had
increased enough that some spectacular flower displays were being seen.
Fernando Cruzado, M.D., and Kathryn Gradin, a
physician assistant, were hired by Desert Senita Community Health
Center to replace Dr. Steven Williams and PA Newell Belnap. Dentist
Viviane Winthrop was hired for the newly-funded dental department.
Keith Stone was named Ajo/Gibson Volunteer Fire
Department's Firefighter of the Year for 2002.
The 25th annual Fiddler's Contest brought a crowd
into town for the weekend festivities. Besides fiddling, there was
dancing, jamming, and lots of fun all weekend.
Funding for the Ajo to Phoenix bus route was
approved but transportation has yet to become a reality.
The Sonoran Shindig celebrated the 100th anniversary
of the National Wildlife Refuge System with exhibits, contests,
wildlife displays, food, and fun.
A border runner who was a fugitive avoiding arrest
was killed in Lukeville. Thirty-year-old William Petersen was shot by
US Customs Inspector Phillip Reese when he asked Petersen to leave the
vehicle and was dragged when Petersen started driving away from the
Port of Entry.
The International Sonoran Desert Alliance board
decided to take some time to refocus, plan, and raise funds before
hiring a new director following the resignation of Reggie Cantu who had
been with the organization for seven years.
The Head Start program opened with sixteen 3- and
4-year-olds. They opened again for the new school year in October.
Ajo public school students celebrated Dr. Seuss'
birthday on Read Across America Day. Volunteers from the community read
stories and joined the students in the celebration.
The Bureau of Land Management closed about 65,000
acres west of Highway 85 and south of Darby Wells, Scenic Loop, and
Chico Shunie Roads from March 15 through July 15. They joined Organ
Pipe Cactus National Monument and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife
Refuge in an effort to protect endangered Sonoran pronghorn during
Wildflowers made a pretty show but were not as
spectacular as in some past years.
Marvin Silva was selected Teacher of the Year in the
Ajo public schools.
Hope Coalition was formed involving community
organizations and concerned Ajo citizens in addressing issues of drug
and alcohol abuse.
Principal Jim Walker resigned and a search for his
replacement began. The school board hired the new principal Lina Miller
before school closed. She was introduced to some of the staff before
The 13th annual O'odham Traditions Day was
celebrated at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument with exhibits and
educational demonstrations by O'odham. Games. dancing, food and music
were also part of the fun-filled day.
The 100th anniversary of the National Wildlife
Refuge System was celebrated in Ajo again this month on the date of its
creation, March 14.
Arsenic was mentioned as a concern because Why
Utility Company's annual reports indicated health-related violations in
the amounts of arsenic in the water. New standards have been set by the
EPA which is currently reviewing the feasibility and costs involved in
compliance with the new standards.
Work began on the site of the new Olsen's Market
with tree salvage efforts.
Marge Hagen remained an inmate in the Arizona
Correctional Facility at Perryville, serving a 15-year sentence for
attempted arson of an occupied structure in Ajo. She is expected to be
released on January 5, 2004.
Provider Appreciation Day was celebrated at Desert
Senita Community Health Center.
Alejandrina Molina, 23, died in her home under
suspicious circumstances. Following investigation by the Pima County
Sheriff's Department, the death was declared a homicide. Investigation
The staff at The Stockmen's Bank put up a war
information board for residents to list friends and relatives involved
in the war against Iraq. The Ajo Copper News also printed profiles and
pictures of military people to show support for their efforts. Pizza
Hut had a similar information board.
There were reports of at least one mountain lion in
the area. Residents were encouraged to exercise caution, especially by
keeping pets and small children well-supervised while they're outdoors.
A thank you potluck was held in honor of Barbara
Ford who recently gave up chairmanship of the Ajo Council for the Fine
Arts and the Desert Artists' Guild which she had held for eight years.
The Humane Society's mobile spay and neuter center
was in Ajo for two days giving residents access to low cost services.
Merlin, a visual aid machine, was donated to the
community. The machine is housed at the Salazar-Ajo Branch Library for
use by anyone who needs assistance reading small material. Many groups
and organizations, led by the Ajo Lions Club, contributed to the
purchase of the machine.
Artspace Projects Inc signed a contract as
developer/consultant for the feasibility and predevelopment phase of
the Curley school Project. An Artists Market Study, public meetings,
and a Housing Market Study are being conducted as well as a site
analysis that includes an environmental assessment, an extensive
survey, and an appraisal.
Cornelius "Mac" McGrady was the first speaker in the
public library's Ajo living history series.
The School Improvement Plan developed by
administrators, teachers, and parents was complimented by the State
Department of Education. They said the strengths of the plan were
extensive but an increased focus on writing skills was needed.
Superintendent Bob Dooley had already added a sixth grade writing
skills program to the other skills being emphasized.
Desert Senita Community Health Center sent three
staff members and one board member to Washington, D.C. for the annual
Policies & Issues conference of the National Association of
Community Health Centers.
Six homes in the historic district were opened for
the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce Home Tour.
Flags and bows lined the main thoroughfare in
recognition of troops fighting overseas.
Philip Reese, US Customs inspector at the Lukeville
Port of Entry, was exonerated in the February 13 fatal shooting of
William Otto Petersen.
Tom & Marty Branson resigned from the board of
the Desert Senita Community Health Center following a mandate from the
health center's funding source. Both remain in their elected positions
on the board of the Ajo Lukeville Health Service District.
The traditional sunrise service was held in the
Plaza on Easter Sunday. Other holiday activities included an egg hunt
The Ajo District Chamber of Commerce received word
that it could lose up to 20% of its funding. Ajo residents wrote
letters of support for CofC activities to try to retain its funding
level and the actual cuts were minimal.
A group of residents expressed an interest in adding
heat to the Ajo swimming pool for year-round use. The expense for
heating and staffing the facility was found to be prohibitive.
Plans began for Ajo's sesquicentennial celebration
in 2004. Reunion, production of Ajo's history in The Copper Giant, and
festivals are being planned.
Jack Garchow retired from the Motor Vehicle Division
but agreed to continue to keep the local office open two days a week.
The AHS baseball team ended its season with 6 wins
and 14 losses. The softball team ended its season with 8 wins and 7
losses. The track & field teams had a 14 win and 20 loss record.
The AHS golf team had 3 wins and 23 losses during the season.
Fiesta de Mayo was held on May 3 in the Plaza
sponsored by the American Citizens' Social Club.
Beta Sigma Phi's Xi Gamma Phi chapter's Woman
of the Year was Carmelita Corella.
The Puerto Blanco Drive at Organ Pipe Cactus
National Monument was closed for remodeling with an anticipated
completion early next year.
The honors banquet was sponsored by the Ajo Rotary
Students presented a spring concert of folk and
patriotic songs under the direction of Susan Spitzer.
Jade Valenzuela brought home the state trophy in
shot put. Her distance was 34'11" which beat her last year's winning
throw of 33'1".
A Law Enforcement Explorer Post was started by
personnel in US Border Patrol. It was opened to young men and women
ages 14 through 20.
Retro Bill, a DARE character, presented a
motivational program for students at the elementary school.
Kenneth "Kink" McBiles retired as plant
superintendent for Phelps Dodge Ajo, Inc. and Ajo Improvement Company.
Ray Romero will become operations manager in addition to his management
duties as site manager with Phelps Dodge at Cypress Amex Corporation on
the Tohono O'odham Nation.
Ajo Gibson Volunteer Fire Department received a
grant for a new fire truck which has been delayed several times. The
truck may finally be delivered in 2004. While donations received this
year totaled $24,000 and will provide for operation expenses, $108,000
are needed to meet National Fire Protection Association standards. The
department continues to seek additional funds and volunteers, as well.
National Park Service developed a proposal and
sought public input for increased protection for personnel and
resources from vehicles coming into the US illegally. Work is
progressing on a vehicle barrier that would not impede animals.
A mock motor vehicle accident was staged by Ajo
Ambulance with the help of the Pima County Sheriff's Department,
Ajo/Gibson Volunteer Fire Department, Tohono O'odham Fire Department,
Douglass Funeral Home, and LifeNet as part of National EMS Week.
Members of the Ajo Calvary Baptist youth group
traveled to Washington D.C. with chaperones to attend ceremonies for
law enforcement officers who were honored during National Law
Enforcement Memorial Week.
The annual Ajo Rotary Club honors banquet for
students achieving academic excellence and those receiving scholarships
was held May 1. Seniors receiving scholarships included Dayna Lewis,
Joshua Manuel, Bandon Sepulveda, Carlos Yanez, Raquel Solis, Adriana
Vazquez, Leslie Segura, and Margarita Aceves.
Graduating seniors were valedictorian Adriana
Vazquez, co-salutatorians Dayna Lewis and Margarita Yesenia Aceves,
Raquel Solis, Leslie Segura, Jesus Vejar, Lonnie Guthrie, David
Mesquita, Christian Soto, Jade Valenzuela, Carlos Yanez, Adam Munoz,
Joshua Manual, Vanessa Martinez, Brandon Sepulveda, Brandon Thorpe, and
Jose Valenzuela Jr. Graduation ceremonies were held on Thursday, May
29. The ceremony was followed by an all-night graduation party with
activities at the community pool, the bowling alley, and the school gym.
Postal workers collected 1716 pounds of food to be
donated to the Ajo Food Bank.
Summer school, June 2 to 26, offered an opportunity
for some students to receive extra help in language, reading, English
as a Second Language, and math.
Many residents were upset when Ajo Improvement
requested an increase in water and sewer rates. AIC says it has spent
$1.8 million in improvements that have been absorbed by Phelps Dodge.
No increases have been requested since 1986. The increases, if
approved, could begin in March 2004.
Carmelita Monreal Corella was selected Woman of the
Year for 2003 by Xi Gamma Phi sorority. She is a 1927 graduate of Ajo
High School who retired in 1976 from the Pima County assessor's Office.
She and her husband Charles had two children.
Mountain lions were seen in the Five Acres and in
Gibson Arroyo in town. Arizona Game & Fish Department investigated
and believed that if residents were alert and took precautions, the
lions would move through without incident.
Pima County supervisor Sharon Bronson and Jan Lesher
of Governor Janet Napolitano's southern Arizona office attended the
Western Pima County Community Council meeting answering questions and
giving updates on issues concerning residents of the area.
The annual Tucson Pima Library's summer reading
program had participants from kindergarten through high school. Several
afternoon programs and activities, including a magician, Ronald
McDonald, and animals from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and Reid
Park, added to the fun.
A survey of artists took place as part of the
feasibility study for the Curley School Project.
Residents met with BLM personnel to discuss
concerns. More meetings are planned to update area residents and
continue discussions about BLM's land use plans.
National attention has been drawn to Ajo's Shadow
Wolves, an all-Indian US Customs unit. Bryan Nez and his fellow
trackers were the focus of an article in Newsweek in 2000 and the
Smithsonian in 2002 which was reprinted in Reader's Digest in 2003.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was voted most
dangerous national park by the US Park Rangers Lodge of the Fraternal
Order of Police.
The door to Marvin Silva's room at the Ajo High
school was turned into a makeshift shrine by students expressing their
sorrow after he was killed in an accident shortly after he retired. His
wife, Barbara, also a retired teacher, is recuperating following the
automobile accident on Hwy 85 south of Buckeye.
Four deputies have new vehicles. Chris Wilson, Ken
Walsh, Gilbert Caudillo, and Mike Walsh have completed training and
will now spend part of their time on bicycles instead of their squad
The 4th of July festivities began with the usual
parade. Prizes were awarded later at the festival at Bud Walker Park.
Charlotte & Jim Thomas were grand marshals and Mary Davis,
winner of the parade theme contest, rode in one of many US Border
Patrol vehicles that also participated. Swimming activities were held
for kids at the pool during the afternoon. Fireworks topped off the day.
During the festivities, Pima County supervisor
Sharon Bronson and Congressional representative Raul Grijalva found
time to visit the Curley School and lend their support to the project.
The Plaza Supermarket opened its doors for business
on July 4.
Ajo's Desert Sharks swim team participated in
several swim meets through the summer.
Summer heat again caused the deaths of many
Will Nelson of Ajo Stage Line moved to North
Carolina leaving Ajo Transportation in the care of Cathy Hutton &
A temporary foreign worker bill was introduced in
the Arizona House of Representatives and federal funds are being
released to border counties in an effort to deal with some of the
issues involved in illegal migrant entry across the US/Mexico border.
Mother Nature dumped between 2 and 4 inches of rain
on Ajo in under an hour on July 29 leaving considerable flood damage in
its wake. Pima County representatives, including Supervisor Sharon
Bronson, came from Tucson to assess the damages to about 50 homes.
Special qualifying income rates were established for the Pima County
Home Repair Program so victims of the flooding could get assistance but
few applied. Several businesses, Pima County offices and the public
library sustained damage that took days to months to repair.
The county worked on clean-up and developed
long-term plans to mitigate the possibility of a repeat of the flood
School started with a new principal, a new
counselor, seven new teachers, and a scheduling fiasco in the high
school. Most problems were resolved during the first week. The
elementary school opening went smoothly.
Construction was begun on the modular building to be
used for the adult care facility planned by Desert Senita Community
Health Center. Opening in February is anticipated.
Following a near accident, Ajo District commander
Lt. David Allen reminded residents that they are required to pull off
the road and stop until any emergency vehicle with lights & sirens
operating is safely out of their vicinity.
The Arizona Department of Transportation submitted
an application to the Justice Department asking permission to close 22
mostly rural locations of the Motor Vehicle Division. Many Ajo
residents signed petitions and District 25 Senator Marsha Arzberger
opposed the closures that would affect several offices in her district.
Results of the Stanford 9 testing in the Ajo school
showed students were improving but still below the national average.
Streetlights on Hwy 85 through the Five Acres and
improvements to the Ajo Municipal Airport were approved by the Pima
County Board of Supervisors.
The Ajo Calvary Christian Academy opened on Monday,
August 25, with 39 students. This is the third year of operation.
The Diabetes Outreach Program at Desert Senita
Community Health Center received national recognition when it was
highlighted by the Health Resources & Services Administration's
Desert Senita Dental Center opened on September 15.
Dentist Viviane Winthrop and her staff provide oral health through
Desert Senita Health Center.
The You Know It's Hot in Ajo When… Contest winner
knew it when "…our copy of the Copper News arrives in Montana still
smoking." Dorothy Jorgensen of St. Ignatius, Montana, and Ajo submitted
A power outage was the result of high winds and
storms. The outage lasted about 16 hours in some places.
The death toll for undocumented aliens in Arizona
surpassed last year's record of 145 known deaths. The total this year
was 148, according to US Border Patrol.
The campground at Organ Pipe Cactus National
Monument was closed from September 15 through mid-November. A facelift
included replacement of water lines and resurfacing and widening of
portions of the campground's entrance road.
Sgt. Bill Ned of the Pima County Sheriff's
Department completed 20 years of service and was awarded the
Department's Honorable service Medal by Ajo District commander Lt.
The Ajo Lily Restaurant opened in the Plaza in the
space once occupied b the Copper Kettle. The restaurant is owned and
operated by Bob & Edie Cargill.
The International Sonoran Desert Alliance was
awarded $400,000 from Housing & Urban Development for the Curley
School Project. The county added $20,000 with another Community
Development Block Grant.
Ajo Improvement Company requested rate changes for
water and wastewater service. Public comment is planned for March with
a public hearing scheduled for April 1.
Two Ajo residents are serving on Pima County
committees. Tracy Taft was appointed to the Neighborhood Reinvestment
Bond Advisory Subcommittee and Carol Klinefelter is serving on the
Small Business Commission for Pima County.
Lorraine Eiler is serving her second term on the
Arizona Bureau of Land management Resource Advisory Council which
advises BLM on public land issues.
The AHS Class of 1953 held its 50th class reunion on
Jorge Soto, Eric DeLeon, and Richard Valadez won the
NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass, and Kick Competition in Ajo.
Tracy Taft and June Nickell accepted a 2003
Excellence in Rural development Award at the Governor's Luncheon in
recognition of Ajo's Comprehensive Plan that includes the Curley School
Residents noticed a property tax increase. School
superintendent Bob Dooley said part of that increase was the result of
an Arizona department of education funding issue. He said funds were
received by the school and spent; later the ADE rescinded its decision
and the money had to be repaid. Dooley said this should not happen
again and future tax levies will depend only on the legislative and
student enrollment issues.
Ballet Folklorico de Ajo, directed by Norma Gomez,
performed at the Arizona State Fair on October 11.
Five students took advantage of an opportunity
provided by Ajo Transportation, Ajo Rotary Club, Ajo Elks, Salazar-Ajo
Branch Library, and Ajo Realty to visit the Arizona Capitol Museum to
see an exhibit of the rare, original "Dunlap broadside" copy of the
Declaration of Independence.
The AHS football team played its homecoming game
against Maricopa when Desert Eagle had to forfeit due to ineligibility.
The game ended in a tie. Homecoming floats paraded through town. Eddie
Williams and Reneé Martinez were named King and Queen. A dance
was held on Saturday.
Ajo's Red Raider football team ended its season with
4 wins, 4 losses, and a tie. They made it to the first round of the
Ajo's Lady Raider volleyball team ended its season
with a 10 win and 18 loss record. They attended the regional
championships where they lost to St. David.
Mitch Vader, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church,
The Ajo Garden Club participated in Make a
Difference Day. Some people cleaned up areas of town, others helped
homebound people with their yards, while others spread cheer with
Andrea Mulcahy is the first artist in residence at
the Ajo school. The Ajo Schools Arts Partnership program received a
grant for this expansion. Mulcahy is working with fifth and sixth grade
The Piecemakers, a quilting group, worked on quilts
they plan to donate to the Desert Senita Adult Living Facility when it
Edye Calderon began working as a physician assistant
at Desert Senita Community Health Center.
Progress is being made on the Curley School Project.
Research and study continues in the areas of funding, site assessment,
and market demand.
The Ajo public schools re-ceived a label of
"performing" in Arizona's accountability program for the 2002-2003
school year and has achieved "annual yearly progress" for 2002-2003 in
the federal accountability program. The school had previously been
labeled "under performing" and had not received an "annual yearly
progress" rating for 2001-2002. Among several issues be-ing addressed
at the school are test scores, attendance, and tardi-ness.
Supervisor Sharon Bronson attended the Western Pima
County Community Council meeting and discussed the bond issue that will
be on the May ballot, the flood and floodplain mapping. She continued
to sup-port the Curley School Project.
Students in Rose Cameron's art class painted a
tri-cultural, intergenerational mural on the wall of the Ajo
Transportation office. Ajo Transportation hopes to begin an
extracurricular work-study program leading to certifi-cation as tour
guide for high school students.
Incorporation is being dis-cussed again. A committee
was formed by the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce to inves-tigate the
issue and present the information to the public. The last time the
issue was seriously discussed, in 1984, it was soundly rejected in a
Activities for the winter sea-son began with a
fashion show for Desert Senita Community Health Center, Ajo Lions
Club's turkey shoot, the second annual Great Western Street Fair
spon-sored by the Ajo District Cham-ber of Commerce and The Stockmen's
Bank, and a jazz concert by John Hanagan to benefit the Ajo Schools
Outreach has been the empha-sis at Desert Senita
Community Health Center all year. The Dia-betes Outreach Program has
seen more than a hundred diabetics educated on self-management of their
disease, a series of discus-sions for women on healthy life-styles,
students in grades 5 and 6 learned about self-esteem and anger
management, and staff or-ganized a health fair with another planned for
Detective Bill Clements and Deputy Chris Wilson were
pro-moted to the rank of sergeant with Pima County Sheriff's
The Ajo Head Start program began classes in October
and had an open house for the commu-nity.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument visitor center
was named the Kris Eggle Visitor Center on November 22 in honor of the
National Park Service Ranger who was killed in the line of duty in 2002.
Construction on the five mile section at the
beginning of the Puerto Blanco Drive at Organ Pipe Cactus National
Monument began this month and, when fin-ished, will allow access to
more of the park.
Bureau of Land Management held a meeting to get
public input about land management issues. Their work on long-term
plans for Phoenix South Region and the Sonoran Desert National Monument
will continue for an-other two years.
A proposal to require fees for the disposal of
residential gar-bage at the Ajo Landfill was re-jected by the Pima
County Board of Supervisors. The supervisors believed charging fees
would have placed an undue hardship on Ajo residents, many of whom are
on fixed incomes, and in-crease wildcat dumping in unau-thorized areas.
Construction on Hwy 85 through Organ Pipe Cactus
Na-tional Monument began. Turnout lanes, drainage culverts, and turn
lanes should be completed in the spring.
An auction to benefit the Ajo Council for the Fine
Arts and the Curley School Project drew people to the Ajo Country Club
where many items were auctioned in silent and very vocal live auction
by auctioneer school superintendent Bob Dooley. The event brought in
more than $5,000 to be split between the two causes.
Eighteen Law Enforcement Explorers were graduated
following a 65-hour training academy lasting about five weeks. The
graduates are now ready to work in the community in collaboration with
other organizations helping the elderly, working with youth groups,
providing security or traffic control at parades, dances, flag
raisings, and other events, and participating with other Explorer
groups around the country in law enforcement competitions involving
tactics learned at the academy.
The Ajo Garden Club received the Governor's Award
for their efforts to keep Ajo Clean & Beautiful.
A break in a water main coming from the well kept
two crews of Ajo Improvement Company workers busy for more than 30
hours to repair. In addition, Sheriff's deputies and volunteers were
kept busy distributing emergency drinking water to residents.
BLM continued its discussions with residents about
off-road vehicle use and resident input was gathered by architects and
Artspace Projects for use in designs for the Curley School Project.
Horatio Montijo renovated a model of Mexican Town
that he had donated to the Ajo Historical Society Museum in 1980.
The annual Christmas Bird Counts were held in Ajo
and on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
Western Pima County Community Council held its
annual election of council members. Many community members voted
thinking they were voting on incorporation for the town.
The Chamber of Commerce held a business and
residential holiday lighting contest and La Posada, a reenactment of
the search for shelter by Mary & Joseph, to celebrate the season.
Santa Claus talked with kids compliments of the Ajo Rotary Club. Many
businesses and groups enjoyed holiday parties, open houses, dances, and
Santa visited on Christmas Eve.
Churches held services to celebrate the birth of
Marjorie C. Hagen, serving a 15-year sentence for
arson, is due to be
released from prison on Monday, January 5, her earned release credit
date. Though convicted of only two charges, Hagen is popularly believed
to be responsible for a rash of fires in Ajo in the early 1990s. The
adopted daughter of a Minnesota heiress has also been suspected of the
deaths of four different people, including her adoptive mother, in
three separate incidents but was never convicted.
Firefighters, deputies, and ambulance crew
members were called
out about 7:30 a.m. December 30 to fight a house fire on North Rosedale
reportedly started by a candle. The flames engulfed the residence.
The Democratic Precinct Committee's selection
committee is accepting
resumes from people interested in becoming the community's new justice
of the peace after the retirement at the end of January of Judge John
Casey. Applicants must be able to read and write English, have been a
registered Democrat for the past year, and live within Justice Precinct
3's boundaries. Resumes may be left at K-5 Enterprises, 625 N. Second
Avenue in Ajo, addressed to the attention of Bud Klinefelter. The Pima
County Board of Supervisors will appoint a justice of the peace to
serve until the November 2003 election.
A Mexican citizen playing a nickel slot machine at
the Golden Has:an on
December 21 won the biggest jackpot in the history of the casino in Why
Happy New Year!