By Nolan Madden
Holbrook citizens will have a host of new reasons (14, to be exact) to smile beginning next week, as Friday, April 1, will usher in the inaugural Happy Holbrook Month.
The city’s community development director, Kathleen Smith, introduced the initiative to Mayor Bobby Tyler and the city council on Tuesday with a proclamation, which reads, in part:
“Due to current affairs, a month in honor of happiness is in order…
“…The Holbrook Council declares a Month of Happiness, asking citizens to embrace exuberant behavior, a spirit of optimism, and dedicate themselves to spending the thirty days soaking up happiness…
“…A month of happiness will help recognize simple pleasures, like a smile. The more in-tune with one’s happiness, the more one is inspired to commit good deeds, and…
“…Mental health is a worldwide issue, and happiness increases confidence, and self-esteem, which leads to success, and a healthy lifestyle.”
Smith says citizens can begin joining in the month’s festivities by casting a vote for their Holbrook favorites among four morale-topping categories into a labeled box at city hall:
* Happiest Person in Holbrook. The winner will receive a framed certificate and gift certificate, as well as be featured in The Tribune-News and on the city’s Facebook page.
* Happiest Business. The winner will receive a framed certificate.
* Happiest Classroom (Park and Hulet elementary schools, Holbrook Junior High School and Holbrook High School). The winner, who will be chosen by the schools’ principals, will receive balloons and doughnuts. Nominees must submit a one-page essay describing why they should win.
* Happiest Tourist. The winner will receive a framed certificate. Entrants must use social media to post their submissions picturing why they should win.
The month’s festivities are also slated to include:
* A community flash mob. All of Holbrook is invited to take part in the filming of a viral video, set to the popular Pharell Williams hit song Happy, to promote the happy spirit of Holbrook and its citizens, to be staged at the Holbrook High School football stadium from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 23. Visit facebook.com/holbrookflashmob for questions, dance tutorials and more information.
* A Happiest Riddle/Joke contest. Submit entries into the nomination box at city hall.
* A flash mob within the city is also in the works featuring the HHS Roadrunner Choir cast of the upcoming presentation, Mary Poppins the Musical. The HHS Music Department will present the musical at 7 p.m. on April 8, 9, 14, and 15. General admission is $5. In the meantime, be on the lookout for random musical happiness…
* Holbrook’s Almost Amazing Race. The city is sponsoring The Almost Amazing Race scavenger hunt on Wednesday, April 16, in conjunction with Happy Holbrook Month. The race will begin at 5 p.m. at Hunt Park and should last approximately two hours.
From there, contestants will be given clues to locations throughout the city, where they will encounter roadblocks, detours and challenges both physical and mental, which they will have to complete before receiving their next clue.
Teams of two to four persons are being accepted, and team names and costumes are encouraged. The cost is $5 per person. A vehicle will be needed to participate and a waiver agreeing to drive safely must be signed. Pre-register in person or by phone at city hall. Registration on event day begins at 4 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the winners, as well as for best costumes.
* The city will distribute smiley face stickers to everyone, which can be randomly placed to share a smile or to simply cheer up someone who may need it
* The Holbrook Public Library will highlight happy-themed book selections for its readers throughout Happy Holbrook Month.
* Random giveaways. Get caught being happy and receive a smiley face coffee mug, button, balloon or similar gift.
* Bee Happy. City vehicles will sport happy-themed bumblebee car antenna toppers.
* Happy window clings. Get caught around town with a happy-themed window cling affixed to your car’s window and receive a giveaway prize.
* Happy Holbrook Month banners will be hung citywide, sponsored by Arizona Public Service Co.
Visit or call city hall at 524-6225 with questions or for information.
In other action March 22, the council:
* Heard a presentation by Navajo County District III Supervisor Jason Whiting regarding past and slated structural rehabilitation at the historic Navajo County Courthouse.
* Heard an update from Mayor Bobby Tyler regarding his upcoming meeting with U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain, this week in Pinetop-Lakeside.
* Extended condolences to Holbrook Police Chief Mark Jackson, Holbrook Police Officer Jed Koon, Councilman Earl Kester and City Clerk Cher Reyes, and their families.
* Received an update from City Manager Ray Alley regarding grading and rodent-related soil erosion repairs at the Little Colorado River levee.
Alley also noted the updated status of new automated card lock system hardware and IT installations at select city facilities, which are slated to go online next month.
He advised the council that Federal Aviation Administration inspection repairs at the Holbrook Municipal Airport have been completed, including replacement of runway lighting, electricity transformers, meters and utility poles, and runway paving.
* Received an update from Finance Director Randy Sullivan regarding the update of city banking records through February 2016.
* Denied the proposed amendment of a city ordinance which would allow waiving of spay, neuter, and pet adoption fees at the Holbrook Animal Care and Control Shelter for senior citizen residents under the Golden Agers and Pets program. The measure was opposed by Mayor Tyler, Vice Mayor Wade Carlisle, and Councilmen Earl Kester and Richard Peterson, and was favored by Councilmen Tim Dixon and C.J. Wischmann, and Councilwoman Francie Payne.
* Approved the city’s entry into an intergovernmental agreement with Navajo County to enforce Arizona Office of Manufactured Housing installation standards for mobile home occupancy permits.
* Awarded a contract for building materials for the construction of racquetball courts at Hunt Park to Kay Supply.
* Discussed revised council protocol for the use of cell phones during council meetings. The myor asked that all phones be put in airplane mode or turned off prior to the beginning of each meeting,
* Discussed Manager Alley’s annual performance evaluation.
* Heard a call to the audience by Rosa Alley regarding Healthy Holbrook Night, to be hosted May 4 at Hulet Elementary School.
* Approved the consent agenda, including payment of claims for March 1-17 in the amount of $338,489.32. Vice Mayor Wade Carlisle recused himself from the review and vote due to the inclusion of claims from Walt’s Hardware.
A special event liquor license for Our Lady of Guadalupe Church for Saturday, April 30, was approved.
A liquor license location transfer for Pizza Hut was recommended for approval.
* Approved payment of claims to The Tribune-News in the amount of $508.06.
The council will hold its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12.
By Nolan Madden