By Francie Payne
The people of our area experienced joys and sorrows, triumphs and tragedies in 2012, as people around the world do every year. As this one winds down, we are taking a look back at it, with an emphasis on the joys and triumphs we shared with you.
Beth Carlson was elected president of the Winslow School District Governing Board, Roberta Hadnot was named vice president and Loren Sadler was named clerk of the board. Other members of the school board are Marian Scheid and Dodie Montoya.
Jimmy Crosby, Melissa Buckley, Jake Hatch and Terry Nelson were re-elected to the Navajo County Fair Board. Former board member Rusty DeSpain was also elected. Officer elections followed, with Mike Sample selected as president, Crosby as vice president, Buckley as secretary and Kelly Favro as treasurer.
Christina Chugg and Colton Taylor were appointed to the Snowflake Planning and Zoning Commission.
Ed Sorgen was re-elected as president of the Joseph City School Board and Sherri Hill was re-elected as clerk of the board.
Brian Scott and Brandon McCaslin of BnB Ghosts of Mesa were in Holbrook to conduct an investigation of ghosts in the historic courthouse. According to the pair, they were not disappointed, as about 1 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8, their audio and visual equipment picked up a variety of noises and orbs, and they felt cold air moving around them. Skeptics were advised that the noise could not be attributed to the building’s steam heat system, as it was turned off.
Matthew Barger was re-elected as chairman of the Holbrook Planning and Zoning Commission and Mike Sample was tapped as vice chairman for another year.
The Holbrook City Council was advised by Joseph Winfield of the National Park Service that the city’s Petroglyph Park could become a birding destination. Winfield said he was astounded by the number and diversity of birds observed at the site.
Attorney Robert James Higgins of Lakeside was appointed to the Navajo County Superior Court, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Carolyn Holliday.
Officials of both Passport Potash and American West Potash were renewing core drilling operations in the Holbrook Basin, and working to develop their investment ties and export markets.
Robert Koury of Holbrook was honored at the sendoff dinner for the Hashknife Posse as the only living member of the original posse, which formed in 1957. The following morning, the posse embarked on its 54th annual Pony Express Ride from Holbrook to Scottsdale. The riders were led by Sheriff K.C. Clark, with Mark Reynolds as captain, Dave Alford as trail boss and Chuck Jackman as assistant trail boss. Swing bosses were Tim Kelley of Holbrook, Clayton Alford of Pine, Matt McRae of Payson, Cole Alford of Fountain Hills and James Dusenberry of Scottsdale.
Officer Troy G. Merrill was selected by Arizona Department of Public Safety District Commander Larry Parks of Holbrook as the District 3 Officer of the Year. In 2011, Merrill had 1,146 violator stops, issued 390 hazardous citations, assisted 85 stranded motorists, wrote 709 warnings and repair orders, investigated 22 collisions and made 59 arrests, 24 of which were DUI related offenses. Merrill was also responsible for several significant criminal interdiction cases, including the arrest of a suspect from California for possession and transportation of 115 pounds of liquid Codeine. He seized more than $16,000 in drug money during one traffic stop and three pounds of marijuana, as well as the transport vehicle, in another.
RJ Alvarado of Holbrook earned his second straight state wrestling title with an individual win in the 132-pound weight class.
The Cedar Unified School District Governing Board voted 3-2 to close White Cone High School at the end of the school year due to the district’s continuing financial challenges.
The Holbrook Roadrunners defeated Snowflake 67-61 to earn the Division III, Section I basketball championship.
State Geologist Lee Allison of the Arizona Geological Survey in Tucson said the deposit of potash in the Holbrook Basin could be a significant player in the global potash market, and there do not have to be major environmental impacts. “With a readily high grade of potash available at shallow depths, with uniform layers that aren’t busted up with faults, it could be less costly to mine this potash than deposits in other basins,” he explained.
Four of the 145 films featured in the 2012 Sedona International Film Festival have ties to Holbrook and Winslow. Tina Mio, artist in residence and co-owner of La Posada Hotel in Winslow, is the subject of the short film Tina Mion-Behind the Studio Door. Holbrook native Jeremy Naranjo wrote, directed and produced the thriller Symmetry, and served as assistant director of two other short films featured in the festival, I Want to Be Tom Savini and Christel Clear.
The Joseph City High School girls’ basketball team won the Division IV, Section III tournament with a 52-33 victory over Red Mesa.
Winslow Elks Lodge No. 536 held its annual Law Enforcement/Firefighter of the Year event, honoring Department of Public Safety Officer Jarrod Lampsa, Winslow Police Department Detective Joe Marquez, Navajo County Sheriff’s Deputy Marcor Greenwood and Winslow Firefighter Ben Montiel.
Algae Biosciences was nearing completion of the $5.75 million construction and retrofitting of its production facility at Adamana. Once the expansion was complete, the firm was expected to reach full commercial production of omega-3 fatty acid oils during the second quarter of the year.
Winslow’s Lady Bulldogs fell to top-ranked Page, 46-38, in the championship game of the Division III State Basketball Tournament.
In the Division IV title game, the Lady Wildcats of Joseph City fell to top-seeded Tempe Prep, also by the score of 46-38.
A report from the Arizona Auditor General’s Office indicated that school districts in the state are spending less per pupil in total and in the classroom than the national average, with the classroom dollar percentage reaching a record low 54.7 percent in 2011 compared to the national average of 60.9 percent. One fact keeping classroom spending below the national average is the number of students per class. The Arizona ratio was 18.1 students per teacher, while the national average was 15.3 students per teacher. The report noted that on average, Arizona schools spent $4,098 classroom dollars per student in 2011. In comparison, the Holbrook School District spent $5,291, or 54.8 percent of its funding; the Winslow School District, $3,995, or 52.5 percent; the Joseph City School District, $5,421, or 48.1 percent; and the Snowflake School District, $3,734, or 59 percent.
Angelina Aspaas and Bathany Baldwin, both of Holbrook High School, and Erin Kaytoggy of Alchesay High School won $1,000 one-year scholarships for their Best of Show entries in the 26th annual Northland Pioneer College Juries High School Art Exhibit.
Robert Jaquez, the son of Tony and Cindy Jaquez of Jack Rabbitt, earned the first Mr. Roadrunner crown and raised more than $1,000 during his pageant run. Collectively, the seven Holbrook High School students competing raised $6,140 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and $1,500 for the Travis Yazzie Memorial Scholarship Fund. Drew Shumway was first runner-up and James Self was second runner-up.
Members of the Winslow High School speech and debate team earned four state championships, including Josh Cirre for Poetry and Prose; Emmett Foster, Dramatic; and Daniel Lane, Humor.
The Arizona Oil and Gas Conservation Commission granted a permit for Triomphe Energy, LLC of St. George, Utah, to drill an exploration well on land in the Holbrook area owned by the Jeffers Partnership. Triomphe Energy Manager Todd Clement had reportedly researched the history of oil and gas exploration in the area, and studied the geology, and was optimistic the company would find oil.
David W. Rush and the late Virgil Bushman were inducted into the Joseph City Hall of Fame during the town’s Founders Day celebration.
About 600 people gathered to welcome more than 100 riders coming in on horses and mules to Brigham City Fort northeast of Winslow, commemorating the Mormon colonization of the Arizona Territory in 1876 and in celebration of Arizona’s Centennial.
The Wigwam Motel in Holbrook was selected as the Best Unusual Place to Stay in Arizona as part of The Arizona Republic’s Critics’ Picks for 2012. The Route 66 icon was built by Chester Lewis in 1950.
A series of 66 geocaches were stashed along Historic Route 66 in Arizona, and three of the treasure boxes were hidden in the Petrified Forest. In partnership with the Historic AZ 66 Geocaching Project and in celebration of Arizona’s State Centennial, Petrified Forest provided geocaching enthusiasts with a unique way to explore the national park.
Dallin Baldwin and Tori Baird starred in the Joseph City High School production of Crazy For You, the new Gershwin musical.
Marilyn Fredericks of the Village of Bacavi was sworn in as an associate judge for the Hopi Tribal Court.
Preferred Sands of Radnor, Pa., a frac sand and proppant company that purchased a sand mining business near Sanders in 2011, expanded its operations, increasing production and jobs. The company was on track to mine 1.3 million tons of sand in 2012 and 1.8 million tons in 2013. The company claimed a reserve of 130 million tons at the Sanders site.
Arizona’s nine new Congressional districts cleared their final hurdle with the U.S. Department of Justice’s approval of the state’s Congressional redistricting plan.
Justin Hartman was hired as principal of Winslow Junior High School. At the time, he was an assistant principal at Winslow High School and previously served as the WHS wrestling coach. He was to replace Jim MacLean, who was retiring at the end of the 2011-12 school year.
Thirteen students from Joseph City High School earned several honors at the Eastern Arizona College Skills Day in Thatcher, where they competed with students from 23 other schools. Josh Burt placed first in MIG welding. Tanesha Baldwin was first in medical terminology, while Keanu Taylor received honorable mention. Rochelle Becenti and Michaela Gonder tied for third in chemistry, and Harrison Lorenc and Rueben Paddock each received honorable mention in the same category. Wyatt Johnson earned Best of Show-Superior Artwork for his sketch depicting ranch life. Talaina Kor-Fisher earned a Superior Artwork honor for her acrylic painting of the Beetles.
Northland Pioneer College honored its top 2012 graduates, including Cody Elliott of Eagar and Eduardo Diaz of St. Johns, Outstanding Associate of Applied Science degree recipients; Cassandra Nahsonhoya of Winslow, Outstanding Associate of General Studies degree recipient; Barbara Akins of Eagar, Outstanding Associate of Arts degree recipient; Carrie Faulkner of Eagar, Outstanding Associate of Business degree recipient; and Tanya Puckett, Outstanding Associate of Science degree recipient.
Holbrook High School boys’ basketball coach Raul Mendoza received the seventh annual Spirit of Cotton Award from the Phoenix Suns Charities during halftime of a Suns game against the San Antonio Spurs. The award was created in memory of former Suns Coach Cotton Simmons, and honors a high school coach in Arizona who consistently demonstrates the best qualities of a coach, educator, mentor and community leader.
Tamika Lynn Begay, a sixth grader at Indian Wells Elementary School, was crowned as the South Western Junior Rodeo Queen.
Part II of 2012: The Year In Review will be published in the Jan. 2 edition of the newspaper.
By Francie Payne