KUSD employees to get raises
KINGMAN – Nominal pay raises have been approved for all Kingman Unified School District personnel. The salary bumps vary from employee to employee but the total impact to the district will be an expenditure increase of $760,000. Superintendent Roger Jacks said the adjustments include a base pay increase for all levels of teaching in the district. The salary increases take effect with the start of the next school year. The Board also approved a three-year extension of Jack’s employment contract, which was set to expire next summer.
Fenske steps down
Cassens to serve as interim Director
LAKE HAVASU CITY – Valerie Fenske is resigning her position as Administrative Services Director for Lake Havasu City. Fenske was placed on paid administrative leave on March 4 following a complaint about her conduct by a subordinate employee. Human Resources Director Shirley Palbicki said an internal investigation revealed that the bulk of the complaint was unfounded. She said portions of the allegations were substantiated, that the situation was “workable” but that Fenske simply chose to resign. Fenske has headed up the financial operations of the city for nearly five years. Her exit becomes official once she completes burning up paid time off on June 25. City Manager Charlie Cassens is serving as interim Director of Administrative Services.
Running down a kid
Oakleaf accused of child abuse and assault
BULLHEAD CITY – Another adoption victim is reported in the same home in Bullhead City where a man molested six of his young adopted brothers. Michael Oakleaf, 43, is serving a 20-year prison term for sex offenses committed upon adopted brothers 4 to 12 years of age. The convict’s mother, 62-year-old Margaret Oakleaf, is accused of using her vehicle to try to run down her adopted 13-year-old son. Bullhead City police spokeswoman Emily Fromelt said the boy was not struck and that he hid behind a truck parked in a nearby driveway. “She (Oakleaf) got out of the car and yelled at him to never come home again,” Fromelt said. “The boy went to a friend’s house and the neighbor called police.” Oakleaf was arrested and charged with child abuse and assault counts.
Guerrero and GVFD battle finally over
GOLDEN VALLEY – The battle between former Administrative Manager Nicole Guerrero and the Golden Valley Fire District (GVFD) is over. The dispute has been resolved through a confidential settlement. GVFD Board Chairman Paul Gorham said financial terms are not disclosed and parties are bound by an agreement not to speak about the settlement. The deal brings an end to Guerrero’s harassment claim and whistle blowing complaint against the district that terminated her employment in early January.
Bombshell bandit sentenced to prison
MOHAVE COUNTY – The Riverside, California woman who robbed banks in her home state, Utah and in Lake Havasu City has been sentenced to federal prison. A 5 and 1/2 year prison term was imposed April 7 for Sandeep Kaur. Kaur, 24, previously pled guilty to four bank robberies. Her use of a lavish wig and sunglasses disguise, and her threats to blow up the banks that she robbed, earned Kaur the nickname of the “Bombshell Bandit.”
Back to the drawing board
KINGMAN – Staff proposed amendments to the Kingman landscaping ordinance drew a lukewarm reception at the April 7 City Council meeting. The Council voted to send the matter back to staff for further work with direction that revisions be more friendly to commercial enterprise. The Council decision came after input from business community members Toby Orr, Richard Hamilton and Dwayne Patterson. Each of them said they appreciated staff desires to beautify the community through landscaping regulations, but they also argued that a number of the requirements of the amended ordinance are too stringent and expensive, and will have a negative impact on investment and development.
CHLORIDE – A road re-alignment project reconnecting Chloride Road to Patterson Road is completed, and a “ribbon-cutting” ceremony is taking place Friday, April 10, at 10 am. Taking part in the dedication, are several county employees, and possibly statewide and Federal officials, whose efforts made this transition possible. The re-alignment was necessary due to a boundary dispute between a landowner and Mohave County. For the past one-hundred and fifty years, a 900’ section of Patterson Road leading to the celebrated Chloride Cemetery crossed over private property. The present landowner laid claim to the land and forced the county to make changes in road direction, a change that required people who wanted to either visit deceased relatives, or visit the cemetery, to take a five-mile detour. The new road alleviates that situation. Yesterday’s Restaurant is holding an all-day celebration beginning Friday at 11 am, with live music starting at 5 pm. For more information, please call 928-565-4251.
Fire district consolidation discussion ongoing
MOHAVE COUNTY – The possible consolidation of two area fire districts won’t occur quickly. The Mohave County Board of Supervisors has directed involved parties to work to merge the more rural and densely populated Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District into the larger Kingman-based Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District (NACFD). Fire Chief Pat Moore said the NACFD governing board will likely discuss the matter at its April 16 meeting. Moore said public information and input meetings will likely be held in each of the fire districts sometime in June and July. Moore said the consolidation question won’t likely be formally answered until late this summer. Should there be approval, Moore said it would likely take until the early fall to implement a merger.
Navy flight-training exercises expired
MOHAVE COUNTY – The Navy’s Texas-based Training Squadron Twenty-Seven has completed flight-training exercises conducted at the Kingman Airport and the Laughlin/ Bullhead International Airport. The flight-training missions have kept military aircraft buzzing over the tri-state area for the past three months. “The use of your airfield for practice landings and emergency landings was a critical part of our ability to successfully complete this necessary training,” Commanding Officer J.C. Hanson wrote in his letter to Kingman Airport officials. “This detachment was absolutely critical to my squadron’s mission of producing the highest caliber student Naval aviators,” Hanson stated. “Please take pride in the fact that your support has played an important role in keeping the world’s finest Navy manned and trained appropriately to conduct its vital missions.”
Judge Roth retires
MOHAVE COUNTY – Mohave County Superior Court Commissioner Julie Roth is retiring. Court Administrator Kip Anderson said Roth intends to leave the bench at the end of July. Former Presiding Judge Gary Pope appointed Roth to the post in October 1998. Anderson said he’ll soon be posting the position to begin a recruitment campaign to fill the bench spot this summer.
Legal fees bloat GVFD budget
GOLDEN VALLEY – Expenditures in the Golden Valley Fire District have been bloated by legal fees in the current budget. Chief Thomas O’Donohue told board members March 18 that the district has spent $316,000 on legal fees so far this fiscal year. Board Chairman Paul Gorham said total legal expenditures could reach $350,000 by the end of June, but could be closer to $100,000 in the next spending plan. The lion’s share of the district’s legal expenses this year have been associated with pursuit of ambulance service, an effort that nears its end. A significant amount of unexpected legal expenses has occurred in extra billing hours for district attorney Bill Whittington and outside lawyers who’ve handled unanticipated chores with respect to personnel and finance administration matters. Chief O’Donohue led board members through a preliminary budget presentation, stating staff was working hard to trim expenditures wherever possible.
Audit posted on GVFD website
GOLDEN VALLEY – Auditor Jim Saunders addressed Golden Valley Fire District board members during their March 18 meeting. Saunders said his audit revealed deficiencies in internal controls and compliance with state laws in the finance arena. Saunders told board members that the District’s financial reporting was substantially accurate but that the data was poorly handled and documented. Saunders said he was not overly concerned that about $190 in petty cash was unaccounted for. Board members hoped that Comptroller J.J. Thornton, who started her new job March 16, will eliminate errors and problems and improve the financial administration of the fire district. In the spirit of transparency, the Board directed staff to post the audit report on the Fire District’s website. At the same time, the Board decided against posting citizen correspondence on the website, opting instead to keep the communications on file and available for public review at the district office.
Pot grow found
Marijuana, pills, edible and $8.7K seized
LAKE HAVASU CITY – An indoor marijuana grow was discovered in Lake Havasu City on March. Officers executed a search warrant at a residence in the 3100 block of Caravelle Drive as part of an investigation into marijuana sales activity. “Detectives seized 68 marijuana plants, approximately one pound of marijuana, several narcotic drug pills, numerous marijuana edibles and $8,700 in currency,” said police sergeant Kirk Cesena. The resident of the home, Timothy Dula, 51, was taken into custody. Dula was booked into jail for an assortment of drug charges.
Officers injured during an arrest
KINGMAN – Three Kingman police officers suffered minor injuries during a March 11 struggle with a combative Kingman woman. Adriana Paul, 30, was arrested for domestic violence, resisting arrest and aggravated assault on police officers. Police spokeswoman Jennifer Sochocki said the officers responded at 3:45 p.m. to a disturbance at a residence in the 500 block of Sunrise Avenue. “The investigation revealed that Paul was throwing objects at the 57-year-old male Kingman victim as well as breaking objects within the residence,” Sochocki said. “While taking Paul into custody she resisted and used her arms and feet striking three officers.” Sochocki said deployment of a taser during the struggle had no effect on Paul. She was eventually subdued and Fire Department personnel treated the officers for various abrasions and contusions. Sochocki said alcohol is a suspected factor in the incident.
A boulder the cause of derailment
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is answering questions the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad ignored involving a recent train derailment. Railroad traffic was halted overnight and disrupted for a couple of days when three locomotives and one rail car left the tracks early Sunday evening, March 1. While railroad spokeswoman Lena Kent said the incident was caused by a boulder, there was no response to questions about the size of the rock and how it came to be on the tracks. The answers come from the ACC’s railroad safety section. “The derailment was caused by heavy rains that washed out the hillside and a boulder went down the hillside and onto the tracks,” said ACC spokeswoman Rebecca Wilder. “There have been problems with rock slides in this area in the past, but no derailments.” Wilder said the boulder was 3-4 feet in diameter. She said there were no injuries in the incident with damages totaling about $300,000.
LAKE HAVASU CITY – A vice operation led to the March 5 arrests of three women on prostitution charges at a motel in Lake Havasu City. “Several prostitutes were contacted through their online ads, where they agreed to meet at the motel,” a news release stated. “During the operation, the prostitutes agreed to engage in sexual acts with undercover detectives, in exchange for money.” Arrested on prostitution related charges were Yasmeen El-Rhashid, 25, and Jennifer McAllister, 31, both of Nevada, and Debra Ziesmer, 48, Lake Havasu. McAllister was also charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Rollover claims life
MOHAVE COUNTY – Excessive speed and alcohol are suspected factors in a March 7 traffic accident Saturday that claimed the life of a southern Nevada resident in the northwest Arizona community of Littlefield. Travis Hughes, 41, Mesquite, was dead at the scene of the single vehicle rollover on Scenic Boulevard, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. Agency spokeswoman Trish Carter said deputies responded just after 6:00 a.m. to the rollover of a Ford Excursion driven by Hughes. Carter said two passengers were injured in the accident that remains under investigation. Carter said Bartlett Stephenson, 40, Littlefield was airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas where he was initially in critical condition with “head trauma, multiple broken ribs, broken arm and leg and internal injuries.” She said Albert Wharton, 39, Mesquite, was released following treatment of his injuries at Mesa View Regional Hospital.
LAKE HAVASU CITY – Remains found in the Chesapeke Wash last fall have been positively identified, according to Lake Havasu City police. Sergeant Kirk Cesena said the remains are those of James Gunnell, 18. Family members reported the teen was missing last August 1. His body was located near the end of Oro Grande Boulevard on October 4. “DNA testing played a critical part in completing the identification of James,” Cesena said. “The cause of death is still under investigation by the police department.” Anyone with information related to the investigation is urged to contact Lake Havasu police at 928-0855-1171 or to the anonymous Silent Witness Hotline at 928-854-TIPS (8477).
New trial for Ketchner
KINGMAN – Get set for another long and expensive murder trial for Darrell Ketchner. The 57-year-old Kingman man has been sent to prison four times, the last time to death row. Ketchner’s previous murder conviction and death sentence, however, was overturned when a higher court ruled improper testimony was used at his trial. Ketchner is currently positioned to stand trial again for the attempted murder of his girlfriend and the stabbing murder of her daughter, 18-year-old Ariel Allison. Ketchner is currently represented by his appeal lawyer David Goldberg and the defense has reportedly not made any offers to the state regarding case resolution short of trial. That keeps the matter moving forward with the state in pursuit of another death sentence. Mohave County Superior Court Judge Rick Williams and deputy county attorney Megan McCoy remain on board for the second trial. It is not yet clear who would represent Ketchner.
New courthouse to be a slow process
MOHAVE COUNTY – In the aftermath of direction from the Board of Supervisors earlier this year regarding the possibility of a new Mohave County Courthouse, the general public may not understand that the process is going to extend over a very long period of time. Procurement Director Annie Newton-Fruwirth explained that her Department is working on a request for qualifications that aims to determine architectural firms that might be selected to design the proposed facility. Newton-Fruwirth said the current timetable would yield a proposed design by no sooner than June 2016. That would conceivably give birth to a longer period of time to put the project out to bid and get the courthouse constructed. The current plan, involving $25-million or more, would build a new courthouse around the existing courthouse, portions of which would be remodeled in downtown Kingman.
KINGMAN – Nine Kingman women were inducted at the 31st annual Kingman Women Making History Awards ceremony. They are among more than 300 women who have been recognized over the years for their Kingman community commitment and achievements. Those who were inducted during the Sunday, March 1 event at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts include: Windy Rusciano, Volunteerism Suellen Stewart, Religion Jill Moon, Education Joan Bandel, Public Service Joyce Onnen, Business Denise Nelson, Other, Medical Professional Milda Rodgers, Professions Pauline Northrup, Homemaking Tommie Grounds Upton, Pioneering
Haviland rest area closed for upgrades
MOHAVE COUNTY – The Haviland rest area on westbound Interstate 40 is scheduled to be temporarily closed for approximately three weeks beginning Monday, March 9, for upgrades under a statewide rest area renovation program. The Haviland rest area is located at milepost 22, between the Arizona-California state line and Kingman. ADOT will perform repairs and improvements on the restroom facilities, including the replacement of water and booster pumps, septic tanks and leach fields. Other repairs and upgrades will involve road surface paving, and electrical, mechanical and structural work. Additionally, the rest area renovation program incorporates improvements to make the facilities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. ADOT continually seeks ways to improve the state’s transportation system. The rest area renovation program enhances the customer service experience for motorists who utilize the facilities.
Town Hall to focus on veterans’ issues
KINGMAN – A town hall focusing on veterans issues will be held in Kingman this spring. The Northern Arizona Veterans Association Health Care System (NAVAHCS) town hall will be held April 9 at the Kingman Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC). “The town hall event is where Veterans can come out and speak to NAVAHCS leadership, service line managers and subject matter experts about their care in Kingman so we can make improvements if needed and learn what works well so we can continue those processes,” a news release said. The event at the Kingman CBOC at 2668 Hualapai Mountain road is scheduled from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. The CBOC can be reached at 928-718-7300.
Biker Fest this weekend in Kingman
KINGMAN – Thunder-Rode Motorcycle Accessories will hold its second Biker Fest/Customer Appreciation BBQ on Saturday, February 28. Located at 102 East Beale St, corner of 1st behind Mr. D’z and across from Locomotive Park in Historic Downtown Kingman, the event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with free food and beverages prepared by the Kingman Lions. Thunder-Rode offers a wide variety of apparel and accessories for the avid motorcyclist. From jewelry to patches and custom leatherwork – Jack Alexander, owner, has stocked the store with unique items for the Route 66 enthusiasts as well as. Some alterations and patchwork can often be done on-site, while you wait, otherwise it generally just takes and overnight. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10a.m. to 6p.m. and Sundays from 11a.m. to 4p.m. You can also shop on-line at www.Thunder-Rode.com or call 928-377-3608 for more information.
After 32 years of loyal service
Sloma hanging up badge and gun
LAKE HAVASU CITY – One of the mainstays of the Lake Havasu City Police Department is retiring at the end of this week. City Manager Charlie Cassens said Police Captain Richie Sloma is hanging up his badge and gun Friday, after nearly 32 years with the Department. “Captain Sloma started with the City as a dispatcher in 1983 and he became a police officer in 1985,” Cassens said. “The last two years of his career he has spent as the operations captain managing the patrol and investigation divisions. Richie will be missed and we wish him the best as he starts this new chapter in his life.”
Author Shirin McGraham’s new book
Bullhead City (Images of America) available at Hastings
MOHAVE COUNTY – The history of Bullhead City is the focus of a new book that’s just off the press. Author Shirin McGraham uses more than 200 photographs, accompanied by captions and texts, to chronicle the history of the Colorado River Community. Arcadia Publishing’s Bullhead City is from the “Images of America” series that also includes books focusing on the history of Kingman and Lake Havasu City. The Bullhead City book is available at Hasting’s in Bullhead City and can also be ordered online from Arcadia Publishing.
Hiker dies at Ribbon Falls on North Kaibab Trail
GRAND CANYON – On Thursday, February 12th at approximately 1:00 p.m. the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a broken 911 call reporting a deceased man in the vicinity of Ribbon Falls near the North Kaibab Trail. Park ranger medics responded by helicopter. The deceased hiker is a 73-year old male who was day hiking from Phantom Ranch to Ribbon Falls with several companions. Shortly after arriving the victim collapsed. CPR was initiated by by-standers, while another visitor hiked to a place on the trail where limited cell service is available. The victim had been down for approximately 1.5 hours when park medics arrived and the hiker was pronounced deceased upon their arrival. The deceased and his companions were flown to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The deceased was then transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office in Flagstaff Arizona. No further information is available at this time.
Holocaust survivor to share his story
Skate park has had some improvements
BULLHEAD CITY – Bullhead City Manager Toby Cotter said a number of improvements have been made in recent weeks at the skate park at Rotary Park. He told City Council members February 3 that work on the concrete surface and other measures have been taken to make conditions more safe for use of the facility. Cotter said lights should be installed and operating within 90 days. Skate park users had asked for illumination so they can take advantage of cooler nighttime conditions. Cotter said city officials have asked users to assist in development of a long term plan to upgrade the facility. “We need to identify deficiencies (and plan further improvements) for the safety, fun and benefit of all the users,” Cotter said.
BLM no longer accepting palms
LAKE HAVASU – Effective March 1, 2015, the Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Partnership Program will no longer accept ‘Palms’ of any type until October 1, 2015. Sustainability for the Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Program requires that we construct 800 bundles of brush each fiscal year for fish habitat. Only 30% of the materials used for the bundles can be palm material. The Partnership has exceeded the 30% palm threshold for this year. The grace period for palm material continues through February 28, 2015. Please plan accordingly, and we look forward to a continued working relationship with you to improve fisheries within Lake Havasu. The program will continue to receive: Palo Verde, Mesquite, Eucalyptus, Pines, Citrus, and other hard woods. Materials not allowed are: Bougainvillea, Oleander, Salt Cedar, Cactus, Palm Skins, Tumble Weeds, and Scrub Brush. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Jason West with Bureau of Land Management (928) 247-7541, Dave Bohl with Anglers United (928) 231-4741, or Bill Mackie with Lake Havasu Marine Association (928) 680-0223.
Bridgette Smith wins spelling bee
KINGMAN – A student from Kingman won the 2015 Mohave County Spelling Bee. Winners of preliminary spelling bees held at 28 schools around the county competed for the title on January 30. White Cliffs Middle School 7th grader Bridgette Smith claimed the title, correctly spelling “pretzel” and “stoic”, back to back. Evan McMillan from Oro Grande School finished second, followed by Trinity Hartman from Fox Creek Junior High School. Smith will represent Mohave County at the March 21 state spelling bee in Phoenix.
Sex assault case against police officer dropped
LAUGHLIN, Nev. – The Clark County District Attorney’s office will not prosecute a former Bullhead City police sergeant for an alleged sexual assault in Laughlin last October. The announcement came at a January 29 Laughlin Justice Court arraignment hearing for Jesse Hoag, 37. District Attorney spokeswoman Audrie Locke said case analysis determined a conviction was unlikely. “We don’t think we have enough to win,” Locke said, noting the case could be renewed if new evidence arises. The alleged victim in the Nevada case was the sister of one of Hoag’s fellow officers. The Nevada case occurred three weeks after Hoag was placed on administrative leave for allegedly sexually assaulting another young woman in Bullhead City. The 21-year-old who was one of Hoag’s students at Mohave Community College alleged he forced himself upon her after they drove from a bar in Laughlin, across the Colorado River, into Bullhead City. Hoag’s Arizona case is in the preliminary hearing stage. The eleven year veteran of the police department resigned last December.
ATV rider injured
CHLORIDE – Bryan Stewart, 52, from Golden Valley was seriously injured after the ATV he was operating, westbound on Chloride Road at mile marker 3 on Saturday, lost control and crashed. Stewart was airlifted to University Hospital in Las Vegas where he is listed in critical condition. He was not wearing a helmet. The Mohave County Sheriff’s office is investigating, and it appears speed and alcohol may have played a factor in this accident.
New courthouse to be built near old one
MOHAVE COUNTY – The Board of Supervisors have made two key decisions regarding future construction of a new Mohave County Courthouse. Member Buster Johnson dissented in the January 20, 4-1 vote to build a new courthouse near the historical courthouse in downtown Kingman, rather than near the new jail and sheriff’s office closer to the Interstate 40/US 93 junction. The Board also voted 4-1 directing staff to prepare a request for proposals soliciting architectural services for project design. Many decisions will be made in the future, but current Presiding Judge Charles Gurtler said the initial approvals move forward a project suggested by then-Presiding Judge Leonard Langford 35 years ago.
Kingman Finance Director may take county position
MOHAVE COUNTY – The Financial Services Director for the City of Kingman could take the same job with Mohave County. Board of Supervisors approval of the hiring of Coral Lloyd is recommended by County Administrator Mike Hendrix. Lloyd has 30 years of accounting and finance experience, 24 of those with the City of Kingman. Sonja Jaramillo has been heading up county finance on an interim basis since the September retirement exit of John Timko. Supervisors could approve Lloyd’s hiring during their February 2 Board meeting. Her proposed annual salary is $120,000, nearly $22,000 above her current pay with the city. Lloyd could start working for the county as early as February 17.
Fiscal solvency on horizon for fire district
DOLAN SPRINGS – An expert who was tasked nearly two years ago to take charge of a near bankrupt rural fire district has told Mohave County Supervisors that fiscal solvency will be restored by May of this year. John Flynn said the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District (LMRFD) was $700,000 upside down when the Board of Supervisors (BOS) dissolved the District and appointed him as special administrator in early February, 2013. Flynn said a mix of personnel cuts, asset liquidation and a tax adjustment have been used to pay off debt and put the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District (LMRFD) back in the black. “The district is running on a tax rate override which I implemented,” Flynn said during the January 20 Board of Supervisors meeting. “The tax rate is $3.68. That reverts back to $3.25 for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015.” Chief Pat Moore told supervisors his Kingman-based Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District (NACFD) has done its best to meet the challenge of providing service to the people of the LMRFD through a contractual arrangement. “We’re still attempting to fully staff three firefighters per day. We do two in the Dolan Springs area and one in the Meadview area as well,” Moore explained. “It’s not ideal but it’s the highest number of people that we can put out there and still maintain our ability to be stable financially.” Restoration of fiscal solvency begs the question of what happens next with the LMRFD. “There are two options,” Flynn told supervisors. “At your behest you can direct me and I will move toward either consolidating or merging, and that’s a pretty complicated process, or you can call for a special election of board members and the communities of Meadview and Dolan Springs will elect five residents to serve on that board and I would transition that district back to local control.” Supervisor Buster Johnson noted that he’s uncomfortable with the Board of Supervisors making that sort of decision when he’d prefer there were a vehicle for the people of the former, but now dissolved, District, to make the determination. Supervisors voted to direct staff to work with Flynn to delineate options for future Board consideration.
Citizens’ watchdog group forming to oversee fire district
GOLDEN VALLEY – The four month paid administrative leave of absence has come to an end for Nicole Guerrero. The beleaguered bookkeeper was terminated by the Golden Valley Fire District January 14. Guerrero was served notice of intent to end her employment on December 19. She exercised her right to appeal which led to a lengthy pre-disciplinary hearing conducted Friday, January 9. Assistant Chief Jack Yeager has informed Fire District Board members that he followed through with formal termination after careful consideration. “Mrs. Guerrero was notified January 14, 2015 that she has been dismissed, effective immediately and reminded via the final letter, of her appeal rights under the District’s policy manual,” Yeager wrote in his communication to the Board. “We will provide Mrs. Guerrero a final paycheck, in full compliance with the District’s Policy Manual, and complete the necessary personal action forms.” Guerrero will have earned in the neighborhood of $18,000 in pay and benefits while not working since she was initially placed on leave in mid-September. That’s when she named the Fire District in a harassment claim that is still pending. Neither Guerrero nor her lawyer have provided answers to questions about what comes next in her ongoing fight seeking reinstatement, whether there are any meaningful claim settlement negotiations and whether the matter will end up in Court or before the EEOC.
‘Bombshell bandit’ takes plea for bank jobs in three states
A Riverside, California woman who threatened to set off bombs during bank robberies last year in Lake Havasu City, San Diego and St. George entered a plea agreement in federal court January 12. Sandeep Kaur, the so-called “bombshell bandit” pled guilty to four charges related to the bank jobs. Kaur was arrested in August following a 130 mile per hour car chase in Nevada. She faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced April 7.
Judge Williams reassigned to BHC
MOHAVE COUNTY – A five year commute is coming to an end for Rick Williams, Division 5 Mohave County Superior Court Judge. Williams will begin working from a courtroom in Bullhead City starting this Friday, January 16. Williams resides in Bullhead City with his wife and children, but he has been driving to Kingman where he’s handled mostly criminal cases since January, 2009. Being reassigned to Bullhead City ends his daily 90 minute round trip commute to Kingman. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be closer to family and not spend so much time on the road and be able to attend some of the school functions and school plays and sporting events that sometimes I’ve missed because I work out of town,” Williams said. Williams’ legal career, both as a lawyer and judge, has principally focused on criminal cases. That will change with his new assignment, allowing him to handle other cases and areas of law. “It’s a great opportunity to expand my horizons and become a more complete judicial officer,” Williams said. He will keep a handful of his current criminal cases, while the rest will be distributed to Lee Jantzen and other Superior Court Judges.
Railroad Museum to have reduced entrance, free whistles
KINGMAN – The Kingman Railroad Museum and Model Train Exhibit at 402 E. Andy Devine, will hold a special Family Day event the weekend of Saturday, January 31and Sunday, February 1. They are planning to give away wooden train whistles to all children while the supply lasts. During this event, the entrance fee for children under five as well as for active military personnel will be waived. A 50% discount on all other entrance fees will be given when you tell the cashier you say it in The Standard. This event will be repeated Saturday, February 28 and Sunday, March 1. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is operated by the Whistle Stop Railroad Club, a non-profit organization, for the City of Kingman as an educational attraction. They have fixed displays of railroad memorabilia including items from the Harvey House Days, replicas of early trains and items used in railroading in the last 60 years.
Future of defunct fire district unknown
MOHAVE COUNTY – The future of the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District (LMRFD) will be contemplated early this year. Options include pursuit of an election to return to a stand-alone fire district, or a consolidation or intergovernmental agreement approach that would have the Kingman-based Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District (NACFD) continue to provide service within the LMRFD boundary. The LMRFD was nearly $1-million upside down in February, 2013 when the Mohave County Board of Supervisors dissolved the elected fire board and hired specialist attorney John Flynn to administer the District. Flynn quickly ordered drastic personnel cuts, property liquidation and elimination of a $437,000 line of credit. Further, Flynn contracted with NACFD and Fire Chief Pat Moore to provide service within the LMRFD and portions of the communities of Meadview and Dolan Springs. Flynn said the LMRFD has essentially been returned to financial solvency. Flynn's contract to administer the district is coming to an end in February and County Administrator Mike Hendrix said the Board of Supervisors will be briefed during their January 20 meeting.
Water issues will be discussed at Republican Forum
KINGMAN – Important water issues facing Mohave County and municipal government entities are the focus of the Mohave Republican Forum scheduled January 14 in Kingman. County Supervisors Jean Bishop and Buster Johnson and Kingman Mayor Richard Anderson will speak and answer questions about water-related topics. The Forum takes place at the Golden Corral Restaurant, 3580 Stockton Hill Road. Speaking presentations are expected to commence by 5:45 p.m. Admission is $2 and there’s a separate charge for the buffet dinner.
Sipe takes office as pro tem county Commissioner
MOHAVE COUNTY – Various judicial officers were issued their oaths of office during a ceremony at the Mohave County courthouse Monday morning. Billy Sipeclass="cw" is the newest member of the judiciary having been appointed as pro tem Commissioner. Sipe heard his first few cases, including a felony sentencing, Monday afternoon. Constables were not included in the courthouse ceremony. Newly-elected Ray Cullison told Mohave County Supervisors during their Monday board meeting that the constables felt their exclusion was a “slap in the face”. Chairman Steve Moss said the Board of Supervisors will rectify what he called “an oversight”, swearing the constables in during the Board’s next meeting January 20.
Mohave County convict’s death ruled suicide
The Department of Corrections (DOC) said a Mohave County convict from Kingman killed himself at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Buckeye on New Year’s Day. The DOC said Donald Condra, 51, was found dead at about noon. Case prosecutor Jace Zack said Condra allegedly stole work computers while employed by Mohave County and put them to use in his private business where criminal schemes were carried out. He was convicted at trial of multiple fraud, forgery, theft and tampering counts. The DOC withheld further details of the Condra suicide, noting that the incident was under investigation.
BULLHEAD CITY – A family spat resulting in criminal charges brings an end of employment for Mohave County Sheriff’s deputy Steven Armstrong. Agency spokeswoman Trish Carter said the Sheriff’s office terminated Armstrong’s employment December 22, after an internal investigation determined his conduct was inconsistent with department policy. Armstrong, Armstrong’s wife and Armstrong’s mother-in-law each face charges for a domestic disturbance that occurred at the former deputy’s Bullhead City home on November 21. Armstrong was on paid administrative leave before he was fired. Armstrong started with the sheriff’s office in January, 2008.
Discrimination suit settled in Colorado City community
COLORADO CITY – A settlement has been reached after a multi-million dollar jury award for religious-related discrimination in the polygamous communities of Colorado City in north Mohave County and Hildale in southern Utah. A jury in Phoenix last March awarded $5.2-million to Ronald and Jinjer Cooke, who claimed they were denied municipal utility service for religious reasons. The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper reports the Cooke’s have agreed to accept a settlement of about $3-million, while the defendants agree not to appeal the jury decision. The settlement also requires that the cities provide water access to the family.
Teen charged with molesting three young children
KINGMAN – A Kingman teenager has been arrested for sex offenses he allegedly committed three years ago. The Mohave County Sheriff’s office began investigating in late October when a woman said she learned that her 6, 8 and 9-year-old children were molested by Danny Douglas Jr., now 18, when they all lived together in Fort Mohave. Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Trish Carter said investigators learned that Douglas was the subject of arrest warrants issued out of Navajo County and Colorado. Douglas was taken into custody during a December 23 traffic stop in north Kingman. Douglas was booked into the Mohave County jail on local charges including child molestation and three counts of sexual assault.
Angius works for trout fishermen
MOHAVE COUNTY – Mohave County Supervisor Hildy Angius has spent a good portion of this year working through multiple agencies and levels of government to try to restore the trout raising program at the Willow Beach fish hatchery south of Hoover Dam. Part of the effort involves acquiring funding to fix what is essentially a plumbing problem involving an intake pipe leading to the hatchery from the Colorado River. Angius told fellow supervisors Monday that parties are nearing an agreement that would fund repairs and restore the program. “The cost of fixing the water delivery system is going to be split so now it’s just down to who is responsible for what and I’m hoping that this happens before the end of the year,” Angius said. “Senator McCain is personally overseeing this so hopefully you’ll be seeing in the news word of a deal. I don’t want to announce anything before the ink is dry. I’m feeling pretty good about it and this would be nice news for the end of the year if this was to happen.”
Sen. Ward: Water supply should be on next year’s agenda
KINGMAN – State senator Kelli Ward spoke during separate meetings of the Republican Men’s Club and the Mohave County Board of Supervisors held December15 in Kingman. The District 5 Lake Havasu City republican told the board that she supports returning Highway User Revenue Funds that the state legislature swept from counties. “We do have assurances from leadership that that will happen over time,” Ward said. “$30-million last year, $30-million next year, $60-million finally and hopefully that will be complete. Ward said she also appreciates Mohave County efforts to convince the federal government to allow others to make more productive use of public lands. “If we could get more of those lands back into state control, county control, local control we’d have a lot more money to put into our education system,” she said. Ward said she’s also certain that the upcoming state legislative session will include discussion of how to better protect water supply in Arizona.
GOLDEN VALLEY FIRE DISTRICT
Robinson continues with recall efforts
GOLDEN VALLEY – A significant hurdle has been cleared in one member’s quest to recall another member of the Golden Valley Fire District Board. Mohave County officials have indicated that Steve Robinson apparently has enough valid petition signatures to force a public vote to possibly oust Board member Rhonda Brooks from office. But Robinson has no margin for further error. In fact, Mohave County Voter Registration Supervisor Kim Stewart said Robinson “has no margin at all.” Stewart explained that Robinson needed 483 valid signatures to move the recall forward. And she said that’s exactly the number of signatures that were verified-483. County officials invalidated more than one-third of the 736 petition signatures that Robinson submitted on June 20. Disqualification of 253 signatures occurred through statuto rily prescribed reviews conducted by county officials. Elections Director Allen Tempert nullified 134 signatures early in the process. Tempert said those names, on nine petition sheets, were tossed out because they were the product of a previous recall campaign that was cancelled last February. Deputy Elections Director Betty Vernon said Tempert eliminated another 14 signatures from another petition because the circulation affidavit was not signed as is required by law. She said Tempert disqualified three other signatures because they listed P.O.boxes rather than physical addresses. With 151 signatures removed by the elections office, petitions bearing 585 signatures were forwarded to Voter Registration for further review. Stewart said she disqualified 102 more signatures for various failures, including problems associated with voter registration, residency, duplication, authentication and eligibility. It remains to be seen whether anyone might legally challenge the county calculations and verification of the recall petition effort. Fire District Board member Jack Hommel said he will be exploring whether a lawsuit might succeed in the disqualification of a single signature to torpedo the recall. Absent any challenge, Vernon said it appears that it would be early next year when the Board of Supervisors would consider formally calling for a recall election that would be scheduled May 19, 2015. Brooks would be offered the opportunity to resign to eliminate need of a recall vote. Brooks, however, has said she will not step down. Assuming Brooks would opt to try to remain in office, potential recall challengers could work to qualify for the special election ballot after the county formally scheduled the election.
Taylor exits KRMC
KINGMAN – She has been the face of Kingman Regional Medical Center (KRMC) for more than a decade but Jamie Taylor is no longer employed by the hospital. The Director of Development and Public Relations noted her unexpected hospital exit in a December 8 Facebook post. “My 11 year career at KRMC was terminated today,” the post said. "It has been my honor to serve our community. I’m sure there will be other opportunities for me to continue that service through other avenues.” Both Taylor and KRMC CEO Brian Turney declined to elaborate on Taylor’s abrupt departure. Turney said he wishes the best for Taylor. Turney said the hospital will recruit a successor and that Taylor’s duties will be initially absorbed by Communications Specialist Teri Williams and Events Coordinator Scott Kern.
13th annual candle lighting is Sunday
GOLDEN VALLEY – Each year on the second Sunday in December, chapters of The Compassionate Friends around the world light candles at 7 p.m. local time to honor children passed, creating a 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Christ Care Grief Group will host their 13th annual candle lighting ceremony, entitled “Living the Loss of Your Child,” this Sunday, December 14. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Golden Valley Baptist Church, 100 S. Higley Rd. This ceremony honors children and other loved ones who have lost their lives, and is open to all area residents. Guest speaker will be Sherrie Culllison; this year recording artist Aleigh O’Sullivan, originally from the Kingman area, will sing in memory of her late sister. Attendees are encouraged to bring a special candle, a small photograph and a short memory to share. Votives will also be available for those who do wish to bring their own candles. For more information contact Cindy at 928-856-0847.
Moss elected to serve as chairman
MOHAVE COUNTY Mohave County Supervisors have elected new leadership for 2015. During its December 1 meeting in Kingman, the Board selected Steve Moss to serve as its Chairman next year. Moss has served as Vice Chairman of the Board this year. The Board also selected Jean Bishop to serve as Vice Chairman next year. Bishop was first appointed and was subsequently appointed to serve out the remainder of the late Joy Brotherton’s term of office through the end of 2016.
Hendrix to retire, but work under contract
MOHAVE COUNTY – There had been no indication in recent weeks that Mike Hendrix’ employment would not be extended, though there were questions as to how the Mohave County Administrator would be paid and how much. The answers came during Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. The Board approved the same approach that the county used in the previous employment of former Financial Services Director John Timko. Accordingly, and ironically, Hendrix will retire, but continue working for the county under a one-year contract to begin at the start of the new-year. The scenario essentially allows Hendrix to use his earned retirement to fund any raise he might enjoy while the county will continue paying Hendrix $147,500 as a contract employee. Hendrix must fund his own health benefit plan and he can exercise retirement options that will bring him compensation beyond his county contract. Approval of the “retire but work under contract” scenario came by a 3-2 vote of the Board. Supervisor Hildy Anguis explained her vote was against the funding approach, not Henrix.
No ballot box activity until Spring
MOHAVE COUNTY – The Mohave County Elections Department is finished with the November 4 general election. There won’t be any more ballot box activity until next spring, according to County Elections Director Allen Tempert. “The next election is March 10 and the only thing we have on the radar is the So Hi Water District,” Tempert said. He added that the water district in Golden Valley will use a mail ballot to elect three governing board members. Tempert said Voter Registration officials continue processing petitions proposing the recall of Golden Valley Fire District Board member Rhonda Brooks. “The way that thing is going, it’s not going to make the March ballot,” Tempert said. He said the recall vote, assuming the petitions are verified, will likely take place May 19.
Rhoades to job shadow fire chief
KINGMAN – Jake Rhoades will job shadow Kingman Fire Chief Chuck Osterman next week. The Edmond, Oklahoma man hired to take over the Kingman Fire Department will spend the week in training. Rhoades said he’ll learn as much as he can during his introductory week. He said much of his time will be devoted to meeting staff within the Fire Department and other members of the municipal workforce. Rhoades said he and his family are still hunting for a home in Kingman. He officially takes over for the retiring Osterman on January 4.
Town Hall set Dec. 1
GOLDEN VALLEY – Golden Valley residents have an upcoming opportunity to sound off on road-related issues. Mohave County Supervisor Jean Bishop has organized a town hall due to what is a significant issue for many who reside in the town between Kingman and Bullhead City “I’ve had a lot of complaints about the roads out there,” Bishop said. She said road related communication and complaints from Golden Valley residents increase during the monsoon season due to flooding issues. Bishop said the town hall will be focus on road and flood related matters, and will not wander into other topics. She said she has asked the county’s administrator, engineer and development services director to attend to help answer questions. The town hall at the fire district training facility will start at 6:00 p.m. Monday, December 1.
Officer involved in fatal shooting
LAKE HAVASU CITY – A Lake Havasu City man who fired numerous shots outside his home early Sunday, November 23 was fatally wounded by police gunfire. Lake Havasu City Police Lieutenant Troy Stirling said the incident began at 12:05 a.m. when Justin Roady, 33, crashed his vehicle into the garage of his home in the 3100 block of Silversmith Drive. The babysitter who fled the residence with the children she was supervising called police when Roady entered the home, retrieved a weapon, went outside and started shooting. Stirling said arriving officers observed Roady firing shots from a handgun and a rifle outside the home before he raised a handgun toward them. “Three officers took immediate action by firing their service weapons,” Stirling said. “Road was transported to Havasu Regional Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.” The Kingman Police Department is conducting an independent investigation of the shooting. Those placed on administrative leave during the shooting review are identified as Corporal Brian Jacobs and Officers Lorne Jackson and Jason Johnston.
Hakim steps down
BULLHEAD CITY – Tuesday was Jack Hakim’s last day in office as Mayor of Bullhead City. After serving as mayor or council member for 13 1/2 years, Hakim’s not quite sure what it will be like to wake up out of office each day going forward. “I don’t know yet,” Hakim said. “What I do know is I’m going to bean advocate for our kids, our seniors.” Hakim said he’ll maintain his involvement in veterans affairs and looks forward to serving on the Board of Directors for the Colorado River Boys and Girls Club. He said he’ll leave the city in the hands of a talented and dedicated workforce and new Mayor Tom Brady. “I’m feeling really good about that,” Hakim said. “I have a lot of confidence in Tom Brady and all of the Council, including the new members.” Hakim said he’ll very much miss serving as Mayor but that he realizes he made the right decision to retire rather than seek re-election. He’ll remain on the sidelines as the community’s biggest cheerleader. “I just want the public to give our new mayor and council members the same courtesy that they’ve given to me throughout these years,” Hakim said.
Luxury home fire deemed ‘not arson’
KINGMAN – The November 10 fire that gutted an expensive home in the west Kingman foothills was an accident and was not an act of arson. Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District investigator John Holmes said he has not yet determined the specific cause of the accidental fire at 417 5L Ranch Road. Holmes said the point of origin of the fire was in the ceiling area above the dining room. No one was injured during the blaze. The 9,000 square foot residence that is owned and was being rented by Dr. Jamal Al-Khatib is valued at $1.3-million. It is considered total loss.
TOPOCK – A pedestrian was killed when struck by a vehicle while trying to cross a state highway in west Mohave County Thursday, November 13. The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the woman was dead at the scene of the 6:23 p.m. collision in the southbound lane of Highway 95, about one mile south of the Interstate 40 interchange, outside the Colorado River community of Topock. DPS office Tim Case said the name of the adult female is withheld pending notification of kin. He said she had multiple addresses in three different states.
Happy birthday Mohave County!
MOHAVE COUNTY – The fifth largest county in the nation, as measured by physical size rather than population, celebrated its 150th birthday last Sunday, November 9. The Mohave County Board of Supervisors, accordingly has approved a proclamation commemorating the milestone. “Be it resolved that the county of Mohave does hereby observe our sesquicentennial birthday, acknowledge our employees and their continued enrichment of Mohave County’s history and those who helped develop the remarkable history and rich heritage that make Mohave County unique,” the proclamation stated.
Utility erects pole
KINGMAN – Utility crews were busy for a number of days last week at the highly visible intersection of Stockton Hill Road and Beverly Avenue in Kingman. A couple of cranes were used to erect a tall steel utility pole on