Severe weather to blame for rollover
As a dust storm approaches, a family escaped serious injury after their Ford Expedition rolled and slid down the highway, coming to rest on its wheels as it was headed southbound on Hwy. 93 during a severe dust storm last weekend. Firefighters worked as the dust storm passed, blocking out the last bits of sunlight before sunset. Hwy. 93 southbound was down to a single lane for about 90 minutes. Courtesy GVFD
McCabe appointed Sheriff
MOHAVE COUNTY – Chief deputy Jim McCabe has been promoted to Sheriff through a July 28 appointment decision by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors. McCabe succeeds retiring Sheriff Tom Sheahan, after serving as his chief deputy for more than 17 years. Supervisors spent more than two hours in executive session interviewing McCabe and five other finalists before emerging from the closed-door deliberations. Supervisor Steve Moss’ motion, seconded by Board Chairman Hildy Angius, led to the 4-1 vote for McCabe’s appointment. “Thank you very much for your vote of confidence in me,” McCabe told supervisors. “I can guarantee you I will go forward in a manner that will make you and Mohave County proud. I’m both humbled and honored. Thank you very much.” Supervisor Jean Bishop dissented in the appointment vote. She said she wishes McCabe well but favored the appointment of Lake Havasu City police Lieutenant Joe Archie because she was impressed with his background, credentials and demeanor. “Sometimes you gotta think outside the box and I think that Joe Archie would have brought that to the department,” Bishop said. “I think he would have been a breath of fresh air.” McCabe took his appointment in stride and met with eight key staff members the same day. He said he wanted to have one-on-one communication with about 20 top tier personnel. McCabe said he wanted to provide assurances that he contemplates no major changes as he assumes command of a steady ship, hoping to guide it through a tranquil transition. “My goal right now is just to make sure that everybody feels calm, comfortable and relaxed to do the job that I know they can do, that they know they can do and just go out and do it,” McCabe said. Nonetheless he said he has identified matters that will be priority considerations in the early part of his administration. “We have some retirement issues coming up with a lot of people in the next few years,” McCabe said. “That’s #1 in keeping this ship afloat and then of course we’ve made some progress and inroads into the Colorado City area and I want to make sure that continues.” McCabe said it may take a week or more for him to decide who he’ll ask to serve as his Chief deputy. He said he didn’t want to focus on that until and unless he garnered the appointment. “I do have some people in mind but I want the opportunity to sit down and talk to them first,” McCabe said. McCabe will be sworn into office this Friday by Presiding Mohave County Superior Court judge Chuck Gurtler. He’ll serve out the 28 months that remain in Sheahan’s term of office.
Arizona’s Hip Historian, Marshall Stone, will bring a multi-media presentation on the history of Arizona’s Route 66 Friday, August 15 as part of the Route 66 International Festival in Kingman.
From Rockabilly music to seminars, festival weekend offers something for everyone in the family
KINGMAN – Sounds of Kingman will host two events during the Route 66 International Festival, to be held the weekend of August 15 and 16. The first event will be an inaugural ‘Our Time, Our History Series’ presentation, “Arizona Kicks on Route 66” with Marshall Stone. Stone, known as Arizona’s Hip Historian, will share the history of Route 66 in Arizona, including the impact it had on the state during its prime, and what happened when the interstate ultimately bypassed some of the towns that drew life from the road. His multi-media presentation will include music, video clips, still photos, and extraordinary storytelling magic. His passion is uncovering the weird, the wonderful and the obscure treasures from our past; the semi-forgotten people, places and events that have made us who we are today. This presentation will be held Friday, August 15 at 1 p.m. at Mohave Museum of History and Arts, 400 W. Beale St., in downtown Kingman. Admission is free. The second event will be a performance by Nashville recording artist and Rockabilly Hall of Fame member Garlin Hackney & the Driftback Band. This will be the fifth concert in Sounds of Kingman’s Summer Series – and will be held Saturday rather than their usual Sunday in order to accommodate the Route 66 International Festival schedule. “Hack,” who is a native of eastern Kentucky, was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame June 26, 2000. Driftback members have been playing together for years; their schedule includes the Laughlin River Run and Kingman Rodeo. The band plays a variety of rockabilly, outlaw country, classic and southern rock, and some original selections. The band features Hack on vocals, rhythm and lead; Bob Carlson of Kingman on bass and vocals; Robert Bryant of Las Vegas on drums; David Caldon of Barstow on lead guitar, harmonica and vocals; and Amber and Michelle on percussion and back-up. This concert, sponsored by Monica Busch Investments, will be held Saturday, August 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Metcalfe Park in Kingman. Admission is free.
MCC PN graduate-Tanya Blais: Tanya Blais, of Kingman, was one of 15 practical nursing students to graduate from MCC and receive her professional pin during a ceremony.
BULLHEAD CITY – Fifteen practical nursing students received their professional pins from Mohave Community College during a ceremony conducted at MCC’s Bullhead City campus on July 24. “I look forward in seeing you all in the community,” said Jill Loveless, MCC’s dean of instruction, during the welcoming address of the pinning ceremony. “To the friends and families of the graduates, thank you for supporting our students. We know it takes a lot of hard work to finish the program.” Cindy Cunningham, a registered nurse and program instructor, spoke during the ceremony and congratulated the students on achieving their accomplishments. “You are now nurses. You have chosen a profession that has the ability to affect other human beings in a profound way and often at the worst times of their lives,” she said. “You are about to embark on an extraordinary opportunity.” Of the 15 graduates, nine were from Kingman: Julie Ann Baker, Tanya Maria Blais, Heather Maye Harris, Sylvia M. Hurt, William “Billy” Fredrik Lonon, Jr., Inez Sanchez, Brittney Ann Schmidt, Rebekah Lee Volker, and Erica L. Vollmer. “I became a practical nurse as a stepping stone to become a registered nurse, so now I can take care of my family while I continue school,” said Tanya Blais, 34 of Kingman. “I enjoyed the program. I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot; we had great instructors. I’m excited to be done. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. I enjoy helping people.” The practical nursing (PN) program was the first allied health program at MCC when classes began in 1971. Practical nurses work as part of a health care team under the supervision of a registered nurse and/or a physician. PN students learn physiological, psychological, pathological, and basic nursing care needs of medical surgical patients across the lifespan, pregnant and post-partum patients, neonates, infants and children while maintaining a safe environment for patients and their families. Students who complete the PN program must also pass a licensure exam to begin working in their new careers. Graduates of the program can also continue their education to earn registered nursing degrees. In addition to the Kingman residents, MCC congratulates Bullhead City residents: Ryoko Arai, Tracy Davis, and Leticia Prieto; and Lake Havasu City residents: Carly Ann Burk, Gary Talmadge Kunkel, and Donna Christine Wheeler. Residents who are interested in enrolling into the college and receiving financial aid are encouraged to take the first step of filling out the applications for both MCC and financial aid right away in order to allow time to complete the process. For more information, go to www.mohave.edu to chat with a live agent or call (866) 644-2832 between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays or 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. To learn more about MCC’s nursing programs, go to mohave.edu/nursing.
MOHAVE COUNTY – Tom Sheahan attended his last Mohave County Board of Supervisors meeting as Sheriff Monday. The Board presented the retiring sheriff with praise, thanks and a desk clock. “It’s been a pleasure serving as your sheriff for the last 17-1/2 years and an honor to be affiliated with the sheriff’s office and Mohave County government,” the sheriff said. “I couldn’t have made a better decision in my life many years ago. Thanks for your support over the years.” The sheriff is recommending that his Chief deputy, James McCabe be appointed to serve out his term through the end of 2016. McCabe and five others among 13 applicants have been selected as finalists for the position.The Board intends to conduct interviews and appoint a new sheriff on Monday, July 28. In addition to McCabe, the other finalists are Larry Archie, Wesley Bauer, Michael Contreras, Edward Jones and Doug Schuster.
“I wouldn’t change a thing”
– George Loader, as he was escorted from courtroom
KINGMAN – Convicted killer George Loader goes to prison for the rest of his life boldly stating he would kill again if presented similar circumstances. “I wouldn’t change a thing,” Loader told supporters as he was escorted from the courtroom under heavy security following his July 17 sentencing hearing.
Loader, 37, maintains that Oppenheim, 51, died of an accidental gunshot as they struggled for control of a rifle when they fought because Loader believed Oppenheim molested his three year-old daughter. Loader testified at trial his alternate and evil personality was in control of his body when he dismembered Oppenheim and burned his remains in the desert in November, 2011.
Oppenheim’s daughters and their mother told Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steve Conn that they are horrified and traumatized by the desecration of the victim’s body. And they insisted that Oppenheim would never have harmed or molested a child.
Loader did not address the Court at sentencing but he provided a lengthy statement in a pre-sentence investigation. He said he did not intend to kill Oppenheim and that the shooting was an accident.
Loader called Oppenheim a pedophile who deserved “a good bone-shattering, arm breaking beat down.’’ At the same time Loader also used his pre-sentence statement to apologize to Oppenheim’s family and promise to work from prison to appeal his convictions for first degree murder, misconduct involving weapons and abandonment of a dead body.
Judge Conn said whether the molestation occurred is unknown, but that Loader had no right to serve as Oppenheimer’s jury, judge and executioner. “You just don’t have the right to bypass the court system,” Conn said.
Judge Conn imposed a natural life sentence plus 28 years more in prison. “You should never be allowed to be released from custody again,” Conn said.
We love you George,” Loader’s brother said at the end of the hearing.
“I love you too brother,” Loader said. “See you guys on appeal.”
Mohave Community College’s Success by Design overall winner was Willow Allmon, of Kingman. Willow competed against 43 other artists in a one-hour live art contest. Allmon will now receive a scholarship that is equivalent to one year of tuition to MCC’s new visual communication program.
Ft. Mohave Mesa Fie Chief dies
FT. MOHAVE – A northwest Arizona fire chief died unexpectedly Monday, July 21. Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Chief Darrell Raburn, 64, was pronounced dead following transport to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City.
Assistant Bullhead City Fire Chief Scott Neal said Raburn’s wife called 911 at about 7:30 a.m. Emergency medical personnel arriving at his home in the 2000 block of Sierra Santiago found Raburn unresponsive.
Raburn’s fire service career spanned more than 33 years. Raburn has been working for the Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department for seven years and he served as its Chief for the past six months.
Battalion Chiefs will command fire department operations until an interim chief is selected. A memorial service is scheduled Saturday, July 26, at noon at St. Margaret Mary’s Church, 1691 N. Oatman Road, in Bullhead City.
Three FDs seek new leadership
MOHAVE COUNTY – A death, a retirement and a change of jobs leave three rural area fire departments looking for new leadership. The July 21 death of Darrell Raburn leaves the Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department without a Chief.
Raburn was pronounced dead at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center after being found unresponsive at home. Raburn served about six months as fire chief in a fire service career of more than 33 years.
The Desert Hills Fire Department north of Lake Havasu City is being operated by 18-year department veteran Bill Weber. He is serving as interim chief following the July 11 retirement of Mat Espinoza. Espinoza spent 28 years with the department and 20 of those years as fire chief.
The Golden Valley Fire District is looking for an assistant chief since Ted Martin left to become the Mohave Valley Fire Chief on July 14. The Fire District Board has instructed Chief Thomas O’Donohue to consider internal promotion possibilities before looking beyond the district for an interim assistant chief.
Board blog bickering
GOLDEN VALLEY – The politics of the Golden Valley Fire District are the focus of online blog bickering through Facebook and other websites. Board member Paul Gorham believes board members should stay out of the cyberspace sparring.
“I don’t want to step on anyone’s First Amendment rights of free speech, but I gotta tell ya board members, we’re here serving the community and we shouldn’t be fighting with our constituents,” Gorham said during the July 17 board meeting.
“My dad told me one time you can’t win an argument with a fool or a liar and you shouldn’t be on there going back and forth, back and forth and back and forth. If you can’t talk to them in their face – man to man, woman to woman or person to person – then we shouldn’t be on social media arguing and calling people names.”
Board Chairman Curt Hardy agreed board members should stay out of the blog battles.
“We probably shouldn’t be doing that and I’ve read some pretty nasty stuff about people sitting in this room,” Hardy said. But Hardy and other board members don’t believe the board can impose any restrictions upon free speech.
And Board member Mark Vanik said any possible restriction can be dodged by anyone wanting to communicate under an assumed or fabricated identity. “Social media is a bunch of crap. I typed two words on Facebook one time and that was it,” Vanik said.
“I gotta tell ya, it really looks bad for this district to be in typing wars with people who you don’t even know who the hell they are,” Gorham said.
Board member Steve Robinson conceded he has used the internet to defend himself and the district.
“I try to argue with idiots. Over this past week I have taken the beggings and pleadings of people on this board to heart and the only posts I have made regarding the district is a news story and a commentary that was posted in the paper,” Robinson said. “I realized way too late in spite of slander by people who have violated the law, made statements beyond belief, vicious, going after me personally. I’m stopping that but the board may want to consider actions against people that slander members of the board.”
KINGMAN – A powerful thunderstorm drenched Kingman Monday evening. A Mohave County rain gauge measured 1.3-inches of rain falling in a 25-minute period ending at 7:33 p.m.
The rain washed out city league softball games at Centennial Park and made a mess of political signs left soggy and sagging all over town. Mud, rock and debris lined streets throughout Kingman.
Battalion Chief Bill Johnston said the Kingman Fire Department handled 26 calls for service during and right after the storm.
He said there were at least three water rescues and that trees toppled over on a couple of vehicles.
Johnston said the storm downed several power lines and caused several electrical outages.
The Mohave Wash ran like a raging river as water poured into the drainage channel that is normally dry. Mohave County Sheriff’s office search and rescue personnel were looking along the wash due to a report that a male fell into the water and disappeared during the peak of the storm.
Golden Valley ambulance service to be determined
Dave Hawkins, THE STANDARD
GOLDEN VALLEY – Parties will square off over a two week period this fall to determine who will provide ground ambulance service in the Golden Valley Fire District (GVFD). The GVFD request for a Certificate Of Necessity (CON) to replace current ambulance service provider River Medical will be heard by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Tammy Eigenheer during a hearing in Phoenix scheduled from October 27 to September 7.
River Medical General Manager John Valentine said his company has been providing outstanding service to Golden Valley for more than 30 years and intends to continue doing just that.
“We take great pride in the strides that we’ve made to consistently, throughout the years, elevate our service levels there, our response times and provide the highest quality of employees and technology to the area,” Valentine said. “We see no need to have another provider basically kick us out after all these years.”
Kathy Steadman, attorney for the GVFD, said District officials are convinced that the GVFD can provide better service at a better price. She said an ambulance service run by a fire department provides patients end to end service, from point of arrival to hospital delivery.
“Your first responder gets there, they take all of the medical data, they stabilize the patient and then, instead of handing that patient off (to River Medical), they transport,” Steadman said. “So the person who is injured is looking at the face of the same person from the time they come on scene to the time they’re handed off to a physician in the emergency room.”
Steadman said there’s much to be said about the simple notion of local control and a local entity serving local residents.
“Golden Valley happens to have a higher incidence of elderly people and lower socio-economic folks than a lot of areas in Arizona,” Steadman said. “They deserve first class ambulance transport that isn’t based on profit, that’s based upon doing it effectively as possible with local accountability and the ability, if there are any proceeds left over after providing first class ambulance service, to put those proceeds back into the community instead of them sending them to Colorado or back east or wherever the profit center is for a for-profit ambulance service.”
Steadman said pending service territory applications could have River Medical serving more than 40% of the state of Arizona. She said bigger isn’t necessarily better in terms of ambulance service provision and that attention to local detail can be eroded in a large corporation.
Valentine countered that River Medical has the financial versatility and strength to absorb or compensate for any difficulty that might arise in a portion of its service territory portfolio. He said one need look no further than the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District to see what happens when a rural fire district suffers from attempting to provide ambulance service when ill-equipped to do so.
said River Medical can provide better service because that’s its sole responsibility.
“We do one thing 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We take care of patients. I don’t drag hose. I don’t put out fires. I don’t do trench rescue,” Valentine said. “We transport and take care of critically injured or ill patients every day of the week, seven days a week. So, in my mind, that makes us the best at what we do and that’s take care of patients and put our clinical excellence above that of everyone.”
Valentine said specialization also helps River Medical navigate an ever-increasing maze of regulation in the health care arena. He said River Medical is already a master of that domain while the GVFD would have a substantial learning curve.
Following the hearing ending in early October, ALJ Eigenheer will prepare a recommendation for a determination of who provides ambulance service in Golden Valley. The final decision from Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble is expected early next year, if not sooner.