Western Pima County Community Council

September 29, 2016

The Western Pima County Community Council reconvened Thursday concluding its summer hiatus. 

WPCCC chair Lil Jones began the meeting announcing that WPCCC Treasurer, Arlene Dreste has resigned, leaving a seat open on the board. All interested in serving on WPCCC should contact Jones at (520) 397-5928.

Lt. Bill Clements, from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in Ajo, announced that a PCSD investigation into a rash of burglaries has led to the arrest of 4 local residents suspected of felony burglary and possession of stolen property. Investigative efforts are not over. Clements advises residents that any information on criminal activity should be reported to the Sheriff’s Department by calling 911 or 88-CRIME.

Efforts to return stolen property is made easier, noted Clements, if owners keep a record of identifying information on their property, such as serial numbers. He added that Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers in Ajo can create a free digital video record of possessions that can later be used in insurance claims or theft recovery. The Auxiliary Volunteers can be reached at (520) 387-8531.

Additional news from Lt. Clements included the announcement that Sgt. Zack Rapaich has resigned, the arrival of 4 new Sheriff’s deputies in March, and the need to hire more Correctional Officers to serve at the Ajo jail. Potential applicants should visit the PCSD website, www.pimasheriff.org.

Superintendent Robert Dooley gave updates from the Ajo Unified School District. He first issued a brief recap of the recent come-from-behind victory of the Ajo Red Raider football team over rival Gila-Bend High School.

Dr. Dooley highlighted recent online media attention given to AUSD from A for Arizona, an initiative highlighting A-grade Arizona public schools serving lower-income student populations. The articles highlight Ajo School’s challenges, recent academic successes, and the innovative ways AUSD is making progress. Those articles can be found at: www.aforaz.org/blog/lets-face-it and www.aforaz.org/blog/guest-blog-momentum-and-high-expectations-in-ajo-az

Construction on the AUSD library building continues after a small fire over 1 year ago revealed structural weaknesses at the school. Dr. Dooley expressed hope that there may be a new school library as early as Christmas, noting that, after the reconstruction, the library building will have increased safety due to structural improvements.

Merrill Meadows, Manager of the Bud Walker Park and Community Center, reported for Pima County Parks and Recreation. The swimming pool at the Park will be closed for the season starting Monday September 5, she said. Lifeguard applications will still be accepted for next summer however. Coaches, too, are needed for the Park’s many sports programs. For more information contact the Community Center at (520) 387-6641.

Future improvements at Bud Walker include a new surface painting of the tennis court made possible with funds from Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson’s office, and a new dugout.

Lil Jones announced on behalf of Desert Senita Community Health Center that a new diabetes support and instruction program is starting at the Health Center. For more information on the program, contact Linda Volin, Pharmacist for DSCHC at (520) 387-5651.


October 6, 2016

Speakers included representatives from Desert Senita Community Health Center, Ajo Unified School District Pima County Sheriff’s Department, and other community groups.

Ron Whitley, owner of Ron’s Yard Services in Ajo, announced an upcoming honeybee relocation service he is starting in Ajo.

In an introduction given by Tina West, she said Whitley was raised in a family that supplied agricultural pollinating services to farmers using bees. During that time he learned how to get honey from bee hives, as well as how to remove and relocated hives from various structures. . “We need the bees.” he said. “If we lose the bees, we’re in trouble.” Noting how vital bees are to local and industrial agriculture.

Last year West asked Whitley if he would be able to add bee relocation services to his existing yard-work business. Whitley remarked then that if someone were to buy him a bee suit, he would. West asked a community member if he would consider buying the suit, and he agreed. So now Whitley is moving forward with plans to provide professional bee removal, and his family is weighing plans to make honey from bees here in Ajo, where our many mesquite trees can provide nectar for honey production.

Whitley can be contacted for bee hive relocation by calling Ron’s Yard Services at 928-919-0326.

Sgt. Kori Tevere from the Pima County Sherrif’s Department in Ajo announced the arrival this January of a new deputy in Ajo. He is new to Ajo but with over 12 years of experience, he is not new to the Sheriff’s Department. In March, four additional deputies are coming in. They will replace four who are transferring out. Also a new K-9 handler is coming to Ajo in January.

Local residents recently arrested in Ajo as a part of the Sheriff’s Department’s investigation into a rash of burglaries earlier this year were released from custody by a court in Tucson while they await trial for charges including felony burglary. Their lack of any prior criminal records could have a factor in their temporary release, Tevere said.

Tom Schnell Ajo SAV director, who was present in the audience noted that there is a meeting organized by the SAVs on November ninth at six p.m. which will cover various issues including home security and telephone scams. The SAV office can be contacted at 520-387-8531.

Laruen Carrier from the Ajo Unified School District thanked community members for the great turnout for the AUSD homecoming parade and game. She recapped other recent events at the school, like a college fair that was held recently at the school, and the International Day of Peace Parade.

On Tuesday and Wednesday and this week school board meetings will be held, all community members are welcome. Contact the school for more information at 520-387-5618.

Bo Johnson introduced himself to the WPCCC audience as the new executive director of the Ajo Chamber of Commerce after starting in that position just a few weeks ago.

Finally Corina Mendez, recreational assistant at Pima County Parks and Recreation announced the many art, crafts, and sports programs at the park which are thriving, including a Halloween haunted house which will be created by local kids for the community to enjoy.

The park can be contacted in Ajo by calling the Ajo community center at 520-387-6641.

WPCCC meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at the Ajo Community Center building at Walker Park, 290, W.5th St. at 7 p.m.