By Francie Payne
The Navajo Nation received a $5.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to improve housing conditions in tribal communities and stimulate local economies.
The Joseph City School District Governing Board voted to renew Superintendent Robert Klein’s contract for an additional three years.
Passport Potash entered into a purchase agreement to acquire the 41,000-acre Fitzgerald Ranch east of Holbrook for $15 million, which would bring the company’s total land holdings in the Holbrook Basin to 122,000 acres. The acquisition would give Passport 70,000 acres of contiguous, royalty free private land.
Sky watchers were treated to the first solar eclipse in the United States in 18 years on May 20. The eclipse shadow traveled 1,000 miles per hour, racing south and east over California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas.
Winslow won runner-up honors in the Arizona Division III Softball Championships, falling to the Bour-gade Catholic Lady Golden Eagles 7-1 in the final game. The Lady Bulldogs closed the season with an excel-lent 26-6 record.
Robin Boyd was re-elected as Winslow’s mayor. Councilmen Marshall Losey and Peter Cake were also re-elected. Robert Schlesinger was selected to fill the third vacant council seat.
Danae Hansen and Hayden Hendricks were honored as the Joseph City Junior High School Students of the Year at the annual Holbrook Elks Lodge Youth Awards Banquet. Kristin Baldwin and Daniel Bushman were named Joseph City High School Students of the Year, and Claire Elmer, JCJHS/JCHS Teacher of the Year.
The Holbrook Elks honored Jedde Bowman and Alexandria Jeffers-Sample as the Holbrook Junior High School Students of the Year; Joseph “Gage” Alley and Ashley Jeffers-Sample, Holbrook High School Students of the Year; LouAnn McLaws, HJHS Teacher of the Year; and Donna Campbell, HHS Faculty of the Year.
Lorin Greenwood earned his place as valedictorian of the Winslow High School Class of 2012. Kelley Pugh was salutatorian.
Sharing honors as co-valedictorians at Holbrook High School were Elizabeth Perry and Random Skevington. Ashley Jeffers-Sample was salutatorian.
Joseph City High School’s valedictorian was Dallin Baldwin and Daniel Bushman was salutatorian.
Tyler Craun was valedictorian of Snowflake High School’s Class of 2012. Co-salutatorians were Shannon Mills, Hunter Peterson and Pearce Solomon.
The U.S. Forest Service announced the award of a contract for thinning 300,000 acres of Ponderosa pine to Pioneer Forest Products. The company plans to convert small diameter timber thinnings into non-commodity, high value lumber, panels, furniture, cabinetry, specialty components energy producing products in Winslow.
Nolan Larson of Larson Waste in Snowflake was appointed to the Arizona Commerce Authority Rural Business Development Advisory Council.
The Holbrook High School Male Athlete of the Year was Bryson Keoni, who lettered in cross country, basketball and track. Kellin Bakurza, who lettered in volleyball, basketball and softball, was honored as the HHS Female Athlete of the Year.
The Winslow High School Student Body officers, including President Matthew Smith, Vice President Christopher Garrett, Secretary Corrina Mazon and Treasurer Brennen James, were recognized at the annual honors assembly. New officers, including President Tamry Ramsey, Vice President Sheyenne Sweet, Secretary Addie James and Treasurer Shania Morris, then took their oaths of office. Angelina Garcia was honored as the Outstanding Student Council Member.
Members of the U.S. Congress and the helium industry were scrambling to address a pending worldwide helium shortage. State Geologist Lee Allison noted that the helium fields in northeastern Arizona, including rich deposits in and surrounding the Holbrook Basin, could help.
Nearly 400 motorcycle riders cruised through Holbrook during the 24th annual Run for the Wall ride to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. They made a detour to greet Holbrook students at their schools, then stopped to enjoy lunch, courtesy of Holbrook’s American Legion Post and the community.
Joseph City High School Student Council members Dallin Baldwin, Jacob Fields, Madison Fields and Joel DeWitt were honored, as were Joseph City Junior High School Student Council members Koby Smith, Aaron Johnstun, Kaden Westover and Sam Johnstun.
The Holbrook School District honored Faith Caffey as Holbrook High School Teacher of the Year; LouAnn McLaws, Holbrook Junior High School Teacher of the Year; Daniel Orton, Indian Wells Elementary School Teacher of the Year; Saraphina Benally, Hulet Elementary School Teacher of the Year; and Heidi Hun-saker, Park Elementary School Teacher of the Year. Teacher New to Teaching (TNT) Awards went to Alisha Schelley of Hulet School and Kim Duffy of HHS.
A pencil drawing by Holbrook High School freshman Larry Spencer was selected by Arizona’s 12th an-nual Transition Conference Planning Committee to be featured in the conference brochure.
Former Arizona Cardinal Anthony Edwards, a 10-year veteran of the National Football League, spoke at Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in Winslow.
Aza Thompson, a biology teacher at Winslow High School, was named a STAR Discovery Educator by Discovery Education for her commitment to harnessing digital learning to inspire students’ curiosity and pre-pare them for future careers.
Former Tribune-News reporter Teri Walker was named tourism and events coordinator for the City of Hol-brook.
Pioneer Forest Products chose a site on which to process the anticipated 300,000 acres of Ponderosa pine to be harvested over the next 10 years from the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab and Tonto national forests. Pioneer CEO Herman Hauck stated that the site covers 311 acres on the south end of Winslow. Construction was scheduled to begin in early 2013.
The federal government could owe Native American tribes, including the Navajo Nation, up to $1 billion under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the government must pay the full amount of contracts with the tribes. For nearly 20 years, the government paid the full amount of contracts related to services such as law enforce-ment, health care, education and fire safety, but in 1994, it started to cap payments regardless of the amounts specified in contracts. The high court was split on the ruling, approving it 5-4.
Improved conditions on the Little Colorado River Basin’s short term drought status reversed, and the area was classified as experiencing both extreme and severe drought.
Velma Marcotte was elected president of the Winslow Friends of the Library. Scott Hansen was selected as vice president; Jean Glenn, secretary; and Ted Pate, treasurer. Coraleen Mead, Judy Douglas, Sue Currier, Ricky Jackson and Karen Crane were elected to the board of directors.
Shantae Stradling was crowned as the new Miss Navajo County Rodeo Queen, taking over those duties from Jayme Smith after she was selected as Miss Rodeo Arizona.
Catalyst Paper’s 2011 sustainability report noted that the company ranked high in corporate citizenship, environmental practices, accounting practices and safety, but continued to suffer losses. Included in Catalyst’s holdings was the Snowflake paper mill, which employed 297 workers with an annual payroll of $24 million.
The Arizona Department of Health Services received 486 medical marijuana dispensary applications, including two to five each in the areas including Holbrook, Winslow, Heber/Overgaard and Snowflake.
For the fiscal year ending in February, Passport Potash spent $11.65 million on the Holbrook Basin project, a total similar to the previous year, but up substantially from the $3.5 million spent in the year ending in Feb-ruary 2010. During the last fiscal year, the company spent $3.96 million on property acquisition, and $7.6 mil-lion on exploration and evaluation in the Holbrook area.
More than $418,000 in criminal justice grants were awarded to Navajo County, including a $245,193 Arizona Criminal Justice Commission Byrne Grant, which funds the operation of the county’s Major Crimes Apprehension Team (MCAT); a $93,632 drug, gang and violent crime control grant; and a $79,184 crime victim compensation grant.
The Holbrook School District Governing Board approved a $22.5 million budget for fiscal year 2013. The board also approved Superintendent Dr. Robbie Koerperich to work in the capacity as Holbrook Junior High School principal, with Jeremy Hatch as assistant principal.
Holbrook’s Bucket of Blood Races drew 81 competitors. Overall winners include Bryan Sedlock and Danae Halliday for the half-marathon; Justin Richards and Lucinda Kinlicheenie, 10K; Dillon Nez and Kiah Demuth, two-mile fun run; and Dave Goedecke and Katie Fernau, 20-mile bike race.
Winslow baseball players named to the Division III All Star team included utility player Caleb Layden, outfielder Vittorio Sells and third baseman Matthew Smith.
The Winslow School District Governing Board adopted an $11,768,929 budget for fiscal year 2012-13.
A Thousand Oaks, Calif., woman was killed and her husband was seriously injured in a July 11 plane crash just west of the Winslow-Lindbergh Regional Airport.
Pedro L. Ojeda, M.Ed., assumed the principal position at the Holbrook Indian School.
The City of Winslow began the first phase of a 9/11 Remembrance Garden that will honor the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and their families. The idea, sparked by the Winslow Rotary Club, grew from a memorial that had been in place in the community for the past 10 years and a desire to recognize that tragic day that changed the lives of all Americans.
Citing increased costs of raw materials and a declining market for newsprint, Catalyst Paper officials announced the permanent closure of the Snowflake recycle paper mill July 31. The mill was slated to stop production on Sept. 30.
The Holbrook City Council approved a $10,163,631 budget for fiscal year 2012-13.
Aaron Yazzie, a 2004 graduate of Holbrook High School and a mechanical engineer with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratories, played a significant role in the development of the Mars rover Curiosity’s ability to collect samples from the planet. Curiosity landed on Mars during the first week of August.
Medical marijuana dispensary certificates allocated by the Arizona Department of Health Services included one each for the Community Health Analysis Areas in Holbrook, Winslow, and the Heber/Overgaard and Snowflake area. ADHS reported that there were 30 qualified patients in Holbrook, 52 in Winslow, and 73 in the Heber/Overgaard and Snowflake area.
Passport Potash and HNZ Potash, L.L.C., an affiliate of Hunt Consolidated, Inc., entered an agreement under which they will explore and potentially develop 21 permitted parcels in the Holbrook Basin.
Area leaders met to seek ways to mitigate the damage to the area’s economy and employment created by the announcement that Catalyst Paper would close its Snowflake mill. The mill and its subsidiary, the Apache Railway, employ 307 full-time workers and generate tax revenues of about $568,000 annually, with the biggest shares going to the Snowflake School District ($343,024.41) and Northland Pioneer College ($97,846.89).
American West Potash received good news in its update mineral resource estimate. The new report indicated that the proposed potash mine in the Holbrook Basin may be productive for more than 50 years, based on current detailed engineering and process studies for two million metric tons of finished product per year.
More than 500 area residents attended a public meeting held by the Environmental Protection Agency in Holbrook to gather public comment on the agency’s proposed regional haze plan.
Plans continued to move forward for the proposed wind farm that would stretch from about six miles northeast of Joseph City to the southern border of the Navajo Nation, between Porter Road and State Route 77. Disgen Holdings, L.L.C., a company based in Lakewood, Colo., planned to build as many as 189 generating towers and related facilities, which would generate up to 390 megawatts of renewable energy. The project was expected to cost $600 million to $650 million.
The solar power project being constructed at Winslow High School at no cost to the school district is expected to save an estimated $400,000 in 20 years of use. Through a federal grant, Aneresco, formerly Arizona Public Service Co. Energy Services, will build an 84,000 sq. ft. solar panel east of the baseball field. The en-ergy produced will be used at the main WHS buildings.
Hulet Elementary School in Holbrook, Joseph City High School, Mountain Meadows Primary School in Overgaard and Linden Elementary School were the only Navajo County schools to receive an A grade from the Arizona Department of Education.
Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake, a Snowflake native, won the Republican nomination for the seat being vacated by Jon Kyl, the third ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate. He was set to face Democrat Richard Carmona in the general election.
Navajo County Treasurer Manny Hernandez and Division III Superior Court Judge John Lamb handily defeated their opponents in the Democratic primary, and faced no opposition in the general election. County officials who faced no opposition in either the primary or general elections included Assessor Cammy Darris, County Attorney Brad Carlyon, School Superintendent Linda Morrow, District II Supervisor Jesse Thompson, District IV Supervisor David Tenney and Division IV Superior Court Judge Michala Ruechel.
Former Winslow resident Jolene Pfulb Wilkenson, representing the U.S. Air Force, won the gold medal in the women’s masters division of the Lausanne Triathlon in Switzerland.
Part III of 2012: The Year In Review will be published in the Jan. 4 edition of the newspaper.
By Francie Payne