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Ajo Copper News
Ajo, Arizona
July 13, 2022     Ajo Copper News
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July 13, 2022

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Wednesday, July 13, 2022 Ajo, Pima County, Arizona YOUR HOMETOWN NEWSPAPER SINCE 1916 Volume 98, Number 46 ©2022 Local business aid program announced grant winners Center stage at the most recent meeting of the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce was the announcement of 25 local businesses, winners of assistance grants in the Kickstart Ajo program. Grant-winning local entrepreneurs were present at the meeting along with Kickstart committee members and supporters, including (first row) Victor Garcia, Cristal Franco, Bo Johnson, Mary Pat Jennings, Jovita Wallace, Glen Kenoyer, Deborah Mullins, Ariella Walker, and Cinnamon Robles; (second row) Christian Cotay, Jean Vernon, Jody Proscia, Sylvia Schroeder, Caitlyn Allen, Rita Lloyd-Mills, Klaila Neblina, and James Baxter; and (third row) Dominque Segundo, Patti Mars, Aaron Cooper, Rona Cotay, Anthony Molina, Sergio Hernandez, Arlene Dreste, Karen Sucharski, Carol Spencer, Morgana Cooper, Sherri Hurd, Kelley Wilbur, and Nick Sarro. Business owners who were awarded assistance who are not pictured here include Arria Palos and Jason Horton. Kickstart Ajo, an economic de- velopment project now a half-de- cade old, recently awarded a new round of small business assistance grants. At the most recent meet- ing of the Ajo District Chamber of Commerce, 25 local businesses were announced as recipients of forms of assistance totaling nearly $30,000. The program is a rural business support initiative funded by the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation. Its stated goal is one of strength- ening and attracting small busi- nesses to the community. One challenge in starting and running a business in a place like Ajo is the high-risk to low-reward ratio that small businesses face in all rural locations with a seasonal economy. Kickstart Ajo tries to balance the risks and benefits by assisting small business owners with ad- vice, mentoring, networking, and loans. Rita Lloyd Mills from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation said the total award this year was the largest so far. “Ajo is such a special place,” said Lloyd Mills, “near and dear to my heart.” This year there was an unprec- edented number of participants. Jason Horton received funds to help purchase a dump trailer for Jason Horton Construction. Sergio Hernandez was awarded matching funds to purchase pool tables and other things to help Tacos El Tarasco expand its eve- ning business. Glen Kenoyer accepted funds to improve the website for Desert Sky Jeep Tours, and to purchase equipment. He also accepted tenant im- provement funds on behalf of Cindy Phelps to refurbish guest areas at the Ajo Community Golf Course. Arlene Dreste was awarded technical assistance for business plan development to aid Desert Haven Animal Clinic. Jody Proscia received a mini- grant to buy equipment for her baked goods business Jody’s Delectables. Cinnamon Robles accepted a mini-grant to expand her business Cinnamon’s Creations. Karen Sucharski picked up a matched savings grant that will let her purchase equipment for the Ajo Clay Studio. Kathie Kooken received mini- grant funds to buy raised beds for her developing business, Sonoran Garlic. Dominique Segundo accepted a mini-grant to buy baking equip- ment for a new food business. Patti Mars was awarded techni- cal assistance, branding develop- ment and a mini-grant for equip- ment for Desert Flour Bread. Kelley Wilbur was given a mini-grant for a massage table and other equipment for Central Reiki. James Baxter accepted a matched savings grant, marketing support and technical assistance for the artistic enterprise Subtle Flux Studio. Arria Palos was also awarded funds to help her in her work as an artist. Carol Spencer received tech- nical assistance and help with professional development for her massage therapy practice, Massage with Carol. Jean Vernon was given grants for equipment purchases for Horsefly Studio. Sylvia Schroeder was awarded technical assistance and a matched savings grant for Maddie Made Buns. Klaila Neblina received a mini- grant for cooking supplies and food certification for Antonio & Klaila’s Mexican Food. Morgana Cooper accepted matching funds to help buy youth boxing equipment for Bonzai Studio. Anthony Molina was awarded funding for photo editing software and equipment upgrades. for Big Tone Photography. Mary Pat Jennings received technical assistance and building electrical upgrades for Cornelia’s Curations & Curiosities. Nick Sarro accepted funds for upgraded equipment to help in his work as a photographer and app developer. Rona & Christian Cotay were awarded assistance to help expand Ajo Snow. Pat Fisher and Deborah Mullins received technical assistance for social media development and other things for the Ajo Store. Caitlyn Allen and Sherri Hurd of Ajo Fitness were awarded mon- ey to replace worn out exercise equipment. Ajo school board talked personnel and funding At last week’s meeting of the governing board of Ajo Unified School District, the board considered personnel issues, the approval of a pro- posed 2023 budget, and the disposal of unused library books. First on the agenda was the consideration of the resignation of Certified Technical Education teacher Angela Garcia. Garcia is leaving the CTE position to take a job with Head Start, also located on the cam- pus of Ajo schools, but is not administered by the district. Head Start is a federal program and is administered independently. A sticking point in the move is that Garcia already signed a contract with Ajo schools as the CTE instructor for next school year. Leaving one job for another can be considered a breach of that contract. AUSD includes something called a liquidated damages clause on working contracts with teachers. The clause states that if the teacher breaks their employment agreement during the school year, they will have to pay a monetary penalty to the district. In Garcia’s case, it would be around $1,000. School Superintendent Dr. Roman Soltero, in his first board meeting as the new superintendent, recommended activating the liquidated dam- ages clause and imposing the penalty in Garcia’s case but he also noted that the board has the discretion to waive it. Soltero noted that in some cases, districts with similar clauses waive the penalty if a teacher accepts a new job that could be considered a promotion, like from a teacher to a principal. In Garcia’s case, both the new and the old positions are considered teacher positions, so it’s not a promotion. Soltero also pointed out that Garcia signed the 2022/2023 contract with AUSD back in March of this year. The new position she applied for wasn’t advertised until after that date, a fact that could be considered out of Garcia’s control. One reason the school includes the liquidated damages clause is the hardship for the school to replace a teacher that resigns before the end of their contract, in some cases, having to ask other teachers to cover until a replacement is found. School board president Rodney Hopkins said it was his understand- ing, with the school year not even started yet, that a replacement for Garcia had already been hired. School Principal Dr. Lance Chebultz said that’s not exactly true. A new CTE instructor is up for consider- ation, namely Dionne Vega, but Vega is being brought on to teach culi- nary arts. Garcia’s specialty is instructing highschoolers in early child- hood education. The district was hoping to offer both CTE electives in the coming year. In addition, district & superintendent secretary Angelina Valenzuela said getting a credit for CTE classes may require a student to take a class in the same category for two years, one year building on the next. So, offering an early childhood education elective would still require find- ing another teacher to cover it. The board is expected to vote on the issue at Wednesday’s board meeting. The board discussed other personnel issues including Vega’s em- ployment as CTE/culinary teacher, hiring English teacher Gena Lapez, the resignation of special education secretary Candice Moore, and the re-assignment of Debbie House as the new SPED secretary. The board also discussed Pre-K funding, a budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2023 from business manager Laura Smith, approving the funding of the school’s Jump Start program, and the disposal of unused library books as recommended by school librarian Dawnell Connelly. Woman’s remains were found in Ajo Pima County Sheriff’s Department is seeking informa- tion about a woman whose body was found in a wash in Ajo. According to Lt. Jeremy Olsen, “On 7/10/22, deputies responded to the area of 5th/Railroad for a report of a man down. They dis- covered a deceased female in the wash. At this time, the cause of death and the identity is under in- vestigation. At this time, there is no indication of suspicious activ- ity or suspects. Anyone with in- formation regarding this incident is requested to contact PCSD.” The PCSD Ajo phone number is 520-387-8539. Their office is located at 1249 N. Well Road. Weather Report TEMPERATURES Max Min Friday, July 1 106° 81° Saturday, July 2 107° 82° Sunday, July 3 102° 78° Monday, July 4 102° 79° Tuesday, July 5 103° 73° Wednesday, July 6 103° 79° Thursday, July 7 106° 76° Weather information is provid- ed by Freeport-McMoRan. For the week, expect partly cloudy skies, a chance of rain, and a predicted high of 107˚ with a low of 81˚, according to weather. com. Excessive heat warnings in Arizona were issued earlier this week including for Pima County. High temperatures for the Ajo area are expected to stay around 107°. The National Weather Service considers sustained temperatures above 105° as potentially dangerous. The NWS says heat should be taken seriously. On average, excessive heat kills more than any other single weather phenomenon, including extreme cold, tornadoes, or hurricanes.