Dec 302011

By Francie Payne–

As the years pass, they seem to pass ever faster, and 2011 was certainly no exception. Even so, area residents found time to leave their mark on our communities, as this look back at the year reveals.


Holbrook City Engineer Caleb Lanting received word from Federal Emergency Management Agency officials that the Holbrook Levee would be recertified in its current condition, and that the Flood Insurance Rate Map will be revised to show that the levee is fully accredited. The notification ended a recertification process that began in 2007 when FEMA directed that all levees used as flood control be decertified and go through the certification process again after the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The cost to the city was $545,890.

Marian Scheid was elected president of the Winslow School District Governing Board, Beth Carlson as vice president and Roberta Hadnot as clerk.

Winslow Fire Chief Boney Candelaria announced his intention to retire on July 1.

Mike Mellor was re-elected as president of the Navajo County Fair Board and Mike Sample as vice president. Melissa Buckley was named secretary of the group and Angela Keene, treasurer.

Paleontologist Bill Parker’s work at Petrified Forest National Park earned him the Intermountain Region Excellence in Natural Resources Research Award. His main goal at the Petrified Forest is to figure out the geological and paleontological story of the park by interpreting Triassic age rocks and fossils.

R.J. Alvarado became the first Holbrook High School wrestler since Ryan Taylor in 1995 to win an individual championship at the highly competitive Peoria Invitational meet.

Ed Sorgen was named president of the Joseph City School District Governing Board and Sherri Hill was named clerk.

The Winslow Ministerial Association presented Freddie Campbell with its Good Samaritan Award.

Winslow High School football coach Gene “Rusty” resigned in order to move to Nebraska.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Jan. 20 at the site of the planned addition to the Little Colorado Medical Center in Winslow. The $4.8 million, 11,000 square foot addition will allow for a psychological examination room, two trauma rooms, three holding beds and eight exam rooms.

The completion of the Obed Bridge project was celebrated by county officials Jan. 25.

The Winslow City Council appointed Charlie Engels and Robert Zaccaria to the Airport Commission.

Winslow High School centerfielder Mireya signed a letter of intent to play softball at South Mountain Community College, where she was to join former teammates Jennifer Yazzie and Bernice Gover in the fall.

The Hopi government continued in its current form following the Jan. 27 defeat of a proposed constitutional amendment that would have established separate branches of government.


Jeffrey Oakes was named chief executive officer of Community Counseling Centers Inc., provider of behavioral health and developmental disability service to Navajo County for more than 40 years. He served as chief operating officer of the organization for the previous two years.

Elaborate wooden headdresses and staffs used in a religious ceremony were returned to the White Mountain Apache Tribe after they were anonymously donated to the Navajo County Historical Society in Holbrook.

MaKenna Romo, a freshman at Holbrook High School, took first place in her grade level in the statewide essay contest sponsored by the Masons of Arizona for her essay, “Media: How They Influence You.”

B.J. Little was named head varsity football coach for the Winslow High School Bulldogs. He has served as an assistant coach for the program for 16 years.

Members of the Navajo County Sheriff’s Hashknife Posse embarked on their 53rd annual Pony Express Ride from Holbrook to Scottsdale. Leaders of the ride were Sheriff K.C. Clark, Posse Captain Mark Reynolds, Trail Boss Dave Alford, Assistant Trail Boss Chuck Jackman, and Swing Bosses Tim Kelley, Clayton Alford, Matt McRae, Cole Alford and Dusey.

The Holbrook High School junior varsity boys’ basketball squad closed the 2010-11 season with a spotless 16-0 record. The team included Sheldon Silversmith, Kyle Chee, Lane Singer, Triston Zahne, Brandon Bitsui, Jesse Spangler, Melcomh Chee, Jimrail Manygoats, Frank Martin, Nathan Turley, Torrian Epps, Tyus Thomas, Hector Yazzie and Coach Delmar Johnson.

Navajo County Manager Jimmy Jayne was selected as the recipient of the 2011 John DeBolske Professional Excellence Award presented by the Arizona City/County Managers Association.

Griffin Lamb of Holbrook took first place in the Arizona State Elks Hoop Shoot for the 8 and 9 year old age group. He shot 19 of 25 free throws, resulting in a tie, then took the title by shooting three out of five baskets in the tiebreaker.

Passport Potash officials announced they had obtained private financing for their Holbrook Basin project after issuing 28,430,000 common shares of stock for a total of $7,107,500. The funds were to be used for continued exploration in the basin.

Remington Baldwin of Joseph City came home a state champion after winning the 145-lb. weight class at the Division IV State Wrestling Championships.

Holbrook’s R.J. Alvarado and Josh Hatch earned individual titles at the Division IV State Wrestling Championships. Alvarado won the 130-lb. division and Hatch won the 152-lb. class.

A $175,000 subsidy from the Hopi Tribe was lined up to allow the reopening of Homolovi Ruins State Park on March 18. According to a 2009 study, the Winslow area park had a $3.5 million annual impact on Navajo County and created approximately 44 full-time jobs when in operation.

Louella Nahsonhoya, who represents the Hopi Reservation, was sworn in as a member of the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of A.T. Sinquah. She will serve until the 2012 general election.

Holbrook native Mike Budenholzer was selected as the head coach of the West squad for the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and as head coach for the West in the NBA All-Star Game. He is the lead assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs.

The Navajo County Board of Supervisors approved the expenditure of $204,000 for hydraulic and economic modeling for the Winslow Levee, part of the feasibility study that must be done before work on the levee can be completed.

Sarah Smithson and Marcy Heavrin were reappointed to the Winslow Arts Council.

Joseph City High School received the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s E.A. Row Overall Excellence Award for the 2009-10 school year. During that time, Joseph City won regional titles in football, volleyball, boys’ basketball and softball, and state championships in football, wrestling, softball, boys’ track and girls’ track. This marked the fifth time JCHS received the prestigious award.

Lynatara Attakai, a senior at Holbrook High School, received a scholarship to run cross country and track at Scottsdale Community College in the fall.


Ira L. Willis of Snowflake and the late Goldtooth Begay (1896-2002) of the Navajo Nation were inducted into the Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame.

Jeff Hill was re-elected as mayor of Holbrook. Charlie Haussman and Phil Cobb were re-elected to the council, and Bobby Tyler also won a seat on the council.

Shawn Palmer, Fay Hatch and Gary Solomon were elected to the Taylor Town Council.

Snowflake voters re-elected Mayor Kelly Willis and elected Beverlee Kay to the town council, but a general election would be required to fill the second opening on the council. Councilwoman Lorri Davis and Blaine Jarvis were slated to face off for the second council seat in the general election in May.

A 1,000-bed private prison was proposed in south Winslow in response to a request for proposals made by the state. The proposal was made by LaSalle Southwest Corrections Corp. If the project is awarded, it would be built just north of the existing state-run prison on State Route 87.

Passport Potash and HNZ Potash were exploring the possibility of potash mining in the Holbrook Basin.

Josh Hatch, a senior at Holbrook High School, won the 152-lb. weight class at the Rocky Mountain Nationals wrestling tournament held in Prescott.

The Pima Community College Lady Aztecs of Tucson, including former Winslow High School standout Paige Shirley of Dilkon, finished the regular season as the National Junior College Athletic Association Region I Division II women’s basketball champions with a record of 26-6.

Curtis Plumb of Holbrook was honored as the 2010 Arizona Department of Public Safety District 3 Officer of the Year.

Navajo County’s population increased by just under 10,000 over the past decade, according to the 2010 Census, which recorded the county’s population as 107,449.

Lester Pate was sworn in as a member of the Holbrook Planning and Zoning Commission.

Linda Hunt and the late M. Russell Westover were inducted into the Joseph City Hall of Fame during the town’s annual Founders Day Celebration.

Will Wilson, and Elwood “Woody” and Beth Peterson were honored as Community Builders at the annual Snowflake Heritage Foundation Dinner.

Building permits issued for new home construction in Navajo County were down in 2010 with a total of 71 as opposed to 79 in 2009.

A massive area plan for Aztec Land and Cattle Co. was unanimously approved by the Navajo County Planning and Zoning Commission March 30. Changes to the county’s comprehensive plan to incorporate the Aztec plan were also approved, and both measures were to be sent to the Board of Supervisors for the final OK.


Artist Tina Mion hosted the grand opening of the Mion Museum at La Posada in Winslow. The 3,000-square foot museum features paintings created by her.

R. Hank Rogers, director of economic development for Apache County, was named to the State Transportation Board as representative of Navajo, Apache and Coconino counties.

“Winslow: A Corner of Arizona History” was selected as the town’s centennial motto by the Winslow Historical Society.

State budget cuts were estimated to have a $1.3 million impact on Navajo County in addition to impacts from previous years scheduled to continue.

White Mountain Connect was named the Outstanding Transit Organization for its innovation, creativity, customer service and operations improvements in providing public transportation services from Lakeside to Holbrook, with several stops in between.

Restoration of Brigham City, one of the first Mormon settlements in Arizona, was selected as one of the City of Winslow’s Arizona Centennial projects.

A fire at Catalyst’s Snowflake Paper Mill destroyed 14,000 tons of waste paper, nearly half of the mill’s inventory. The Winslow Little League celebrated 60 years of service to the community’s youth.

Brad Taver was selected as superintendent of Petrified Forest National Park. He had more than 30 years of experience with the National Park Service after starting with the organization in 1979 as a seasonal surveyor at Yellowstone National Park.

Interest in Holbrook Basin potash was increasing as the Arizona Oil and Gas Commission issued 16 additional permits for potash exploration core holes in the area, including two issued to HNZ Potash joint venture and 14 issued to American West Potash.

Jade Espitia and Shelby Baldonado, students at Holbrook High School, earned gold medals for their presentation “Be Bully Free and Stand Up for Me” at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America spring leadership conference in Glendale.

Dr. Paul Holbrook, a former Holbrook resident serving as department chair for the business and education programs at Coconino Community College, was honored as Northland Pioneer College’s Outstanding Alumnus for spring 2011.

Algae Biosciences Corporation made a public stock offering to raise funds to begin production at its plant near Adamana.

Marvin Yazzie, a senior at Holbrook High School, won first place in metal inert gas (MIG) welding at the Eastern Arizona College Skills Day competition.

Four Winslow High School student-athletes signed letters of intent to play college ball, including Rhett Hardy, who will play football at Peru State College in Nebraska, Wendell Carter, who will play football at Lake Forest in Chicago, Kraig Shirley, who will play football at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and Jevon Estelle, who will play basketball at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

Kody Mike, a Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology student and a senior at Holbrook High School, won a gold medal in the college division of the State Skills USA competition held in Phoenix.


The Standin’ on the Corner Foundation began work on the Eagle Pavilion, which was being built behind the Hubble Trading Post in Winslow. Plans included a new stage for the organization’s annual celebration and other events.

Jake Hatch of Taylor was elected to the Navajo County Fair Board of Directors.

Elks Students of the Year included Randall Justman and Sheriesse Thomas of Holbrook High School, Q Heward and Kelly Lee of Holbrook Junior High School, Alexis Edwards and Zach Miller of Joseph City High School, and Taylor Elmer and Hayden Hendricks of Joseph City Junior High School.

The Petrified Forest Museum Association Board of Directors conferred the status of board member emeritus to Paul Barger for his 41 years of service to the association. His son Matthew was named to the board in his stead.

Taylor Vice Mayor Jordy Fuentes tendered his resignation after being accepted to law school.

Kory Koerperich earned the designation of valedictorian of the Class of 2011 at Holbrook High School and Tess McGee was the salutatorian. The two were also honored as the school’s All-Around Students of the Year.

The Winslow High School valedictorian was Tonya King and Craig Boyd was the salutatorian.

Sarah Farr was the valedictorian of the senior class at Joseph City High School and Justin Parisot was the salutatorian.

The Snowflake High School co-valedictorians were Cameron Byrd and Bryana Merrell, and the salutatorian was Alyssa Flake.

The Navajo County Community College District Governing Board approved a $25.5 million budget for Northland Pioneer College for fiscal year 2011-12, including $4.4 million in unexpended plant funds to be utilized on capital projects.

Winslow senior first baseman Jevon Estelle and junior outfielder Vittorio Sells were named to the Arizona 3A All Conference Baseball Team.

Three Lady Bulldogs, shortstop Gabby Stacey, pitcher Halle Hayes and right fielder Jaleisa Hayes, were named to the Arizona 3A All Conference Softball Team after Winslow placed second in the state tournament behind Estrella Foothills. Also on the list were Tori Hill and Stephanie Swihart of Snowflake, and Jessica Morin of Show Low.

Charles Haussman was elected vice mayor of Holbrook.

Winslow High School metal shop teacher George “Rocky” Rockwell signed on for his 50th year at the school, and was honored by the school board, which named the school’s industrial arts building after him.

Snowflake Councilwoman Lorri Davis won re-election in the town’s general election.

The 10 Hopi Code Talkers, including Franklin Shupla, Warren Koiyaquaptewa, Frank Chapella, Travis Yaiva, Charles Lomakema, Percival Navenma, Perry Honani Sr. and Floyd Dann Sr., U.S. Army, and Rex Pooyouma and Orville Wadsworth, U.S. Army Air Corps, were honored by the Arizona Legislature.

Arizona Land and Cattle Co. President Steve Brophy received long awaited approval from the Navajo County Board of Supervisors for inclusion of his company’s area plan in the county’s comprehensive plan.

Former Holbrook councilman Richard Peterson was selected to fill a vacancy on the city council created by the resignation of Matt Searles.

Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa served as the honorary parade marshal of the Armed Forces Day parade held in Flagstaff.


Fay Hatch was elected as mayor of Taylor and Jane Lee as vice mayor. Alan Ramage was appointed to the council, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of Jordy Fuentes.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association presented Joseph City High School Athletic Director Mike Sterkowitz with the 2011 Pursuing Victory with Honor Administrator of the Year Award.

Northland Pioneer College students Chisolm Groff and Logan Westcott of Snowflake qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo.

Jason Whiting was elected vice mayor of Snowflake.

Calling it the beginning of a new era in U.S. government relations with Native American communities, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar hailed a $3.4 billion settlement against the federal government. The ruling by a U.S. District Court judge ended 15 years of litigation over misused royalties from Indian trust accounts and lands. Arizona tribes represented in the class action suit included the Navajo and Hopi, as well as six others. Class members were to receive at least $1,000 each.

Winslow High School Athletic Director and retired girls’ basketball coach Don Petranovich received a lifetime achievement award from the National High School Athletics Association at a banquet held in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Hopi Tribe received the Governor’s Award for Tribal Archaeology for its partnership with Arizona State Parks to reopen Homolovi State Park north of Winslow, to protect irreplaceable archaeological sites and to share its heritage through interpretive programs.


Editor’s note: The events of July through December will be reviewed in the Jan. 4 edition of the newspaper.