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.
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.”
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.
One of Kingman’s toughest ‘little’ competitors, five-year-old Georgie Tucker with her finishers CAM BAM medallion. Tucker was tired after completing the challenging kids course but not enough to keep her from enjoying her free 6” sub sandwich at SUBWAY—on of the CAM BAM sponsors.
Mohave County Sheriffs Office pause for smilesand hearty congratulations after finishing the third annual KRMC CAM BAM at Mohave Community College. The MCSO team finished second in the public servant category. Pictured from left to right: Jon Patterson, Lt. Randy McNally, Brennan Cassidy and Will Christie.
Jimmi Dragna, The Standard
KINGMAN – Kingman Fire Department (KFD) is always just a 911 touch away from saving the day. But at Kingman Regional Medical Center’s (KRMC) CAM BAM 3 Saturday KFD rose to the challenge without any cell phone needed and in a place you might not expect. “This big fella had gotten to the top of the A-frame cargo net obstacle and the toe of his shoe was stuck on one side (in the net’s hole) but his body was straddling the top while hanging on the net’s other side,” recalled Dusty Osborn, KFD firefighter and paramedic. Not only did KFD win the public servant, four-man team category award with the best time, they also rescued the CAM BAM participant without further incident.
“We came running up and someone yelled that this guy was trapped on top of the obstacle and couldn’t get free,” said Osborn. “Just then the SO (Mohave County Sheriff’s Office four-man team) came up on the obstacle and Lt. Randy McNally and his tall partner (Brennan Cassidy) helped us free this guy and get him down.”
The day wasn’t quite that difficult for the 125 racers that traversed the rough and tumble CAM BAM 5K course on the east side of the desert range that is Mohave Community College. “We worked tirelessly on this event and I think improved the course from the first two in 2012 and ’13,” said CAM BAM Race Director Dianne Ekstrom amidst an army of 75 volunteers that manned the course’s 20 obstacles and provided water and support for the 200-plus racers, many of whom struggled to finish the 3.1 mile challenging desert course.
The day began with a 7:00 a.m. race time delay, due to the course difficulty even challenging a 20’ tank truck that was filling the water obstacles prior to the CAM BAM start. “Thank God for City Towing, their tow truck just happened to be here at that moment we had a hiccup and the delay was minimal,” said Ekstrom. “The truck was rescued and went on to fill all of the other (eight in all) water obstacles.”
What would prompt an educated person to spend $60 on registration and then drive to the Jagerson St. Campus of MCC early Saturday morning to challenge their physical limits? CAM would be the answer.
Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM) is the reason this event is alive and well. Race Director Ekstrom would explain further. Allopathic means is how society treats medical problems/ailments in today’s world, traditionally with med-schooled doctors and time-honored hospital medical procedures. But CAM is different.
Chiropractic means, acupuncture and massage are the methods that encompass CAM and, in many cases, accomplish what traditional methods may not. Hence the CAM Committee became part of KRMC five years ago to further help those patients in Mohave County in need of alternative treatments.
“This (CAM BAM) fundraiser was our third in as many years and we’ve been able to provide services to approximately 100 people in Mohave County. The overall individual racing category was a runaway with Lake Havasu City resident and veteran runner Dan Kuch going off the front while never looking back. He finished effortlessly in 26:12, almost nine minutes ahead of the second place finisher. But winning times weren’t all of what CAM BAM meant to those racers, volunteers or organizers.
Jeremy Ray, attired as the Man of Steel, Superman, took time to conserve his strength while tackling the difficult obstacles but was more concerned with what he was actually doing and for who. “I think CAM is a great thing and necessary in our community,” Ray said after his finish and in between bites of the catered pizza for finishers, which in his case was sausage and pepperoni without Kryptonite.
“It’s (CAM BAM) for the kids and anything that helps kids I will show up for,” added Ray with a heroic smile that would have made Clark Kent proud. With Superman, but without Spiderman there was a 2014 CAM BAM zombie theme that actually led to a truly remarkable spiderlike occurrence.
Kingman’s Matt Simpson was exiting a deep water obstacle when a ‘watchful’ zombie called out alarmingly that he was carrying a tarantula on his shoulder. “I honestly though he was kidding around. After all he’s dressed as a zombie and I was busy trying to navigate the CAM BAM course. I didn’t really think twice.” But it was a fuzzy, threatening four-inch tarantula and the quick-to-think zombie volunteer Ron Anderson acted without hesitation. “I quickly swatted him off Matt and he was on his way to the next obstacle,” said Anderson.
Simpson would receive an award later for simply finishing after such a harrowing happening and had to put up with zombie Anderson one more time. “He’s a tough guy and I’m glad he finished,” but Anderson wasn’t done. We’re calling Matt Spiderman from now on.” The 2014 course was improved upon and many past participants agreed unanimously it was for the best. But an acquaintance of Superman wasn’t so lucky with the new, improved CAM BAM route.
Ron Kuzma, a 34-year-old Kingmanite lost his balance on the first challenging obstacle and was forced to quit there, suffering a twisted ankle. According to race officials it was the only minor mishap in all three CAM BAM races.
Participants varied in age from a three-year-old girl in the kids shortened course to 50+-year-olds. CAM BAM could easily become a premier obstacle 5K with participation.That sentiment was echoed by the two final finishers through the arch, a pair of Kingman women.
“It’s my birthday today and I wanted to do CAM BAM so badly, but not by myself,” said Kalani Glover who was 21 on race day and loved the mud, sun and fun of the CAM BAM. Her best friend Chantelle Haynes didn’t share that sentiment and at times wanted to quit the course. “I’m not too happy right now,” said a mud soaked Haynes as she shot the birthday girl a defiant glare with mud stained hair. “But it’s ok, we’re friends and it’s all good on her birthday.”
Kingman’s Brett Wildebaur, a U.S. Marine veteran with three Middle East tours in his past was there for the fun and wasn’t too concerned with time just simply enjoying the community support and CAM BAM. “I was good until I hit the water obstacle part of the course, and that’s where my stamina got kinda zapped,” said the 30-year-old Wildebaur.
KFD finished first in the public servant category, MCSO was right on their heels and finishing third was Kingman Police Department. The first place two-man corporate team trophy went to Subway and their employees Natasha Brown and Aster Ainsworth. First four-man corporate went to Sudden Link’s Kelly Cahill, BrendaAguilar, Gabe Lumis and Daniel White. The sponsorship team award went to US Telecom. Their assembled team included brother/sister Mike and Megan Gaul, Dominic Dubay and Zackary Tempert.
The day began with Ekstrom and her crew out at MCC as early as 4 a.m. and husband Bill (a Jamaican Rasta Zombie) removing his blood and dreads long into the afternoon. “It’s so many concerns, worries, and hard work but that’s what makes CAM BAM so much fun,” said Dianne Eksrom.
“It’s a fulltime job to direct this race and we (CAM BAM Committee) are hoping for more people to step up. We all know how fast next summer will arrive. CAM BAM is a successful community event and with a little more word about this excellent fund raiser we could get all of Arizona involved. Life’s obstacles sometime hinder the path to good health. Yet they can always be overcome. And what a better way to help fund overcoming those health concerns but by coming out and testing your own fitness limits and physical mettle. Conquer the obstacles of CAM BAM and help another human being achieve good health,” said Ekstrom.
Five pounds of meth seized in traffic stop
KINGMAN – A multiple pound methamphetamine seizure is reported following a July 3 traffic stop on interstate 40 in Kingman. Mohave County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Trish Carter said deputies pulled over a vehicle that was eastbound without its headlights on at 12:15 a.m. Carter said a consent search of the vehicle was performed after deputies observed an odor of marijuana. She said a usable quantity of marijuana and a pipe were found in the purse of the driver, Candice Onetha Butler, 23, San Tan Valley. “A further search of the vehicle revealed a large quantity of a white crystal substance packaged in several clear plastic bags located inside the trunk,” Carter said. “The substance field tested positive for methamphetamine and weighed approximately five pounds.” Carter said the passenger in the vehicle, Dontrell Anthony Powell, 24, Apple Valley, California, admitted the meth was his and that Butler did not know the drugs were in the vehicle. Carter said Powell and Butler were apparently traveling from California to Oklahoma. Powell was jailed for possession of dangerous drugs, possession of dangerous drugs for sale and transportation of dangerous drugs. Butler was jailed for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Kingman’s oldest municipal swimming pool was home to the Kingman Dolphins Swim Team until they moved to Centennial Pool off Harrison St.
193,000 gallons …. 74 years of chlorination
Jimmi Dragna THE STANDARD
KINGMAN – The Mohave County sun reflects brightly off the floor of the water tight rectangle running parallel to Grandview Ave. It’s just a short uphill walk past Lee Williams High School, from downtown Kingman’s Locomotive Park and that ancient steam engine who is probably the only character in town that hasn’t been in this swimming pool. “The people of Kingman are so very fortunate to have the two excellent pool facilities that we have,” said Kingman Parks and Recreation Director Mike Meersman. But pools in Arizona’s high desert breezes are a challenge to maintain as well as keep up to the standards of the thousands of bathers that take them for granted every summer swim season when they lather up the sunblock and beat the desert’s southwest sun with cool chlorinated supervised fun. From the PCV liner that coats the pool walls and floor to the state of the art pump house that resembles a submarine engine room with a giant espresso machine’s twin tanks, it all works to keep the water “just right.” A state-of-the-art computer monitoring system automatically adding the exact mix of chlorine to keep PH levels correct and safe for every swimmer and casual Kingman bather. When the pool is operational there can be as many as eight lifeguards whose eyes patrol the pool’s thousands of gallons, guaranteeing mom and dad that everybody stays afloat and safe. “I love working here,” Matt smiled during a Monday morning lap swim when the pool is nearly vacant except for a pair of lap swimmers stroking end to end. The Kingman lifeguard is hardly on vacation from his full time education at Tucson’s University of Arizona, opening Grandview Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 a.m. sharp. Then off to Centennial Pool for swim lessons. His day will end long after sunset, back at Grandview when the pool appears completely different from its sun drenched morning complexion. “It is much more challenging to keep an eye on all the swimmers when the sun goes down and our flood lights illuminate the area,” Matt added of an almost eerie ominous darkness that makes Grandview Pool resemble a giant bird bath under the lights at night. But the men during the sunshine hours, Don Manseau and Randy Terry, Kingman Parks and Rec’s Pool Operators know Grandview Pool like no other. They can usually be found deep in the facility’s pump room or checking the operation of the adjacent wading pool where the tiniest of bathers can be found splashing and flopping once the summer’s day becomes full bloom, especially on weekends. “Everybody who’s anybody in Kingman has swam in this Grandview Pool,” related Terry one early Wednesday when he was replenishing chemicals and monitoring the pump room’s operation. “Grandview has been redefined and remodeled over the years keeping it up to date but it has been here on this site even before the original Kingman High School was built here after the war.” So the next time you or a guest to Kingman decide to beat the heat and head for the almost 200,000 gallons of Kingman’s oldest pool remember how respected this Kingman fixture is. “If this pool could talk it would tell some interesting tales,” Terry added with that workmanlike smile. Grandview Pool, Kingman’s best summertime friend and a place you should know better but never take for granted.
Concerned citizens, officials challenge agricultural development unprecedented in Mohave County
KINGMAN – A massive land exchange proposal to bolster a huge farming operation at Red Lake north of Kingman was the subject of a preliminary meeting held Tuesday at the Bureau of Land Management office in Kingman. Former Las Vegas home builder-turned-agricultural entrepreneur Jim Rhodes pitched the land swap in a February letter to the BLM. Rhodes’ representatives have proposed that Rhodes will give up 21,000 acres of his private holdings in exchange for the same amount of publicly-owned acreage managed by the BLM that is located in and around his alfalfa farm about 20 miles north of Kingman. Don McClure, Assistant Field Manager for the BLM Kingman Office, has emphasized that the proposed exchange is in its infancy and that locations and acreage involved are subject to change during a consideration process that could stretch over two years. The proposed land exchange is a public process and it represents the first opportunity for concerned citizens and officials to attempt to challenge or check an agricultural development unprecedented in Mohave County. A Rhodes representative said in February that the goal was to farm about 7,500 acres at Red Lake, but the size and scope of the enterprise has clearly expanded if the BLM exchange serves as any measure. Rhodes himself apparently doesn’t yet know the size of his appetite for farming. “I really don’t know if anyone knows including Jim, the actual size,” said Rhodes attorney Chris Stephens. “A lot of that depends on how well it works.” Stephens explained that the first alfalfa cutting is expected late this month and that it will take time to calculate return on investment that will be key to determining the viability of the venture. “By the end of the year I think they will know the approximate yield and the approximate cost of pumping the water and I think all of those things will drive the size to some extent,” Stephens said. Stephens has said about a half dozen wells have been completed but he’s been unable to provide specifics regarding the number of wells that Rhodes will initiate at Red Lake and how much water supply he intends to develop. The General Manager of the farming operation, Steve Schmidt, said in April that Rhodes would use drip tape irrigation systems that would conserve water use. Stephens and another Rhodes representative told Mohave County Supervisor Gary Watson the same thing in the spring. But Watson said he was “lied to” because more than a dozen circle pivot irrigation systems have been erected that allow more windblown water to evaporate in the summer heat as it falls from sprinklers more than ten feet in the air. Stephens said Rhodes is simply tinkering with his enterprise. “I think it’s a simple case of the business is evolving. Jim tries to change and adapt,” Stephens said. “I think frankly that one of the things that led to some of the (irrigation system) change was the dust issues and it’s just so labor intensive to install the drip tape. But I think he’s still committed to some combination of drip and pivot.” Watson said he’s concerned that the well drilling campaign could tap into salt deposits at Red Lake and taint the aquifer that also serves the City of Kingman and the Hualapai Tribe. Stephens said Rhodes will engage a hydro geologist to explore Watson’s worry, but that he’s also been told that the aquifer contamination scenario is “nearly impossible.” Watson said Rhodes so far has been able to call his own shots while farming on his property. He said Rhodes’ bid for public lands represents the first opportunity for outsiders to question or challenge the expanding farming operation. “This is the arena in which we can fight,” Watson said. “Up to this point he’s been legal with what he’s been doing according to Arizona law. Now we get to voice our concerns.” As part of any land exchange that might occur, Watson said Rhodes should dedicate a full section of property in the middle of the operation to the City of Kingman, allowing the city to better monitor and measure any depletion of the aquifer. Supervisor Jean Bishop said she is also concerned about the magnitude of the farm and how much water it will consume. “I think if they gain too much control over the entire aquifer it’s going to be a problem that maybe can’t be controlled later,” Bishop said. “So I, along with Gary, believe we are going to oppose this land exchange.”