WPCCC meeting was the first of new season

By Ajo Copper News staff

Ajo Copper News of Ajo, Arizona

The September meeting of the Western Pima County Community Council was the first of the new season, following the traditional two-month summer hiatus.

There was no featured speaker for the month. Topics included updates from the Pima County Sheriff's Department Ajo District, US Border Patrol, Ajo Unified School District, Desert Senita Community Health Center, Pima County's Deb Miller, Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation, Freeman Fry, Sherry Serventi, Mike McCoy and Hop David, ISDA, and Ajo District Chamber of Commerce.

WPCCC chair Lil Jones announced that elections for the WPCCC council will be held in December.

PCSD Ajo District commander Lt. BJ Clements reported on local deputy news, including the stationing of two new deputies in the district on September 20. Discussion of audience questions included all-terrain-vehicle pursuit policies, the lengthy process of DUI blood tests, and a county demolition project aimed at abandoned and derelict structures in the Ajo area. Clements assured the audience another K-9 demonstration would be arranged for later in the season.

USBP tribal liaison Aaron Salas and community liaison Roman Rubio introduced themselves. Rubio is taking over for former liaison Vicente Paco, who is now serving in community relations with Tucson Sector.

Rubio said he is a bit nervous as a new liaison but definitely ambitious about serving the best he can. He and Salas talked about a multi-agency citizens' academy coming in November, the local fall festival, and International Day of Peace, all events USBP participates in. Discussion ensued on desert travel safety, Ajo Station staffing and area of responsibility, special patrol units, and cooperation with other agencies.

AUSD principal Lauren Carriere said 13 of the 14 new teachers are here and one is waiting on paperwork to fly from overseas. She talked about the diverse backgrounds and previous locations of the new teachers. A fire in the school media center was probably caused by a faulty surge protector strip, noted Carriere. She said all the other surge strips have been disposed of. Soot damage was extensive and cleanup is expected to last beyond the Christmas break. Carriere said para-pros are being sought to substitute teach, as well as volunteers to read with students and help tutor math and other subjects.

DSCHC chief executive officer Jonathan Leonard told the audience the current focus at the health center is to improve operational excellence by keeping all care-provider positions filled. He said the goal will be to have less turn-over with staff. To that end, Desert Senita recently extended an offer of employment to a nurse practitioner. Leonard pointed out there is a national shortage of health care providers, so DSCHC is working on ways to keep people here longer. He discussed funding for expansion projects, such as the pharmacy and the lobby areas.

Deb Miller, representing Pima County Supervisor Sharon Branson's office, talked about a fishing event at the Ajo community swimming pool on September 26. The pool needs to be drained and cleaned so it will be stocked with channel catfish for a day. She said a similar event was a huge success at the Marana community pool.

Miller asked local Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation manager Merrill Meadows to provide details of the fish off. Meadows assured the audience that Miller was being serious and there really would be fish to fry right in the middle of the desert. She also discussed the PCNRPR mentorship program that helps local youth look into constructive hobbies and career opportunities. She said their soccer program has had a tremendous turnout of kids and parents.

WPCCC councilor Freeman Fry said he had completed the painting and beautification of 22 buildings in Ajo and was now switching to producing plywood cutouts of classic cars and "any other ideas people had" to apply to building exteriors. His Bottle & Brush events to make cutouts will be held every Monday at 6 p.m. from now through the winter season at the Fry residence on Rosser Road. He said he will be assisting with the car show at the Red & White Reunion in October and will organize the Rocky Point rally and car show in November. He will also put on a car show at the Ajo Copper News Low Brow Art Show the weekend after Thanksgiving. Fry may be reached at 602-359-1688 for more information.

Councilor Sherry Serventi talked about a military vehicle parade and show coming to Ajo mid-October on its way from Washington DC to San Diego. She said the VFW and Ajo District Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring the event, which will have food and other vendors.

Councilor Arlene Dreste said veterinarian Mark Weaver will be in Ajo on September 13.

Hop David and Mike McCoy talked about the Low Brow Art Show. McCoy discussed additions to a Rocky Point map he and David created.

Aaron Cooper of ISDA introduced VISTA rep Caitlyn Allen and GED instructor Kate Hyde.

Bety Allen talked about staffing changes at the Ajo CofC and scoping meetings at Organ Pipe.

Many of the meeting's topics will be featured in future articles in this newspaper.

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