By Mila Besich-Lira
As I started to save my stories for the last weeks of 2012, I looked back at some of the events, stories and milestones that we covered. It has been an up-and-down year for Superior, but then again, I think every year has its ups and downs.
It is not uncommon for people to hear me say that even-numbered years are the worst, and maybe that is the case personally. After reading through the headlines and stories of the past year, we’ve had all sorts of things happen so I thought I would compile them in review.
Who would have thought at the start of 2012 that the Magma Hotel would barely start construction in Dec. We all had hoped the timeline would go as planned and we would be celebrating the grand opening this month. Instead we are celebrating scaffolding and new fencing, but hey, it is some good news.
In 2012 the Cobre Valley Clinic was completed and we celebrated as a community. That project also experienced many construction and planning delays. Patience is a virtue they say, whoever “they” is.
In Jan., the Chamber hosted another successful home tour and tour busses filled with visitors were given special tours of Superior throughout the busy winter visitor season. Apache Leap days was bigger than it ever had been and the Chamber hosted the first ever Prickly Pear festival, which was a huge success.
In late 2011, Mayor Jayme Valenzuela took his seat after a recall election. He and his fellow council members had to face a tough reality that the town was teetering on the edge of its own very steep fiscal cliff.
The Superior town council was forced to let go of yet another Town Manager, Interim Manager Rita Wentzel was selected and she got to work assessing the financial damages and helped to chart a course for recovery.
RICO funds provided by Sheriff Babeu and County Attorney Jim Walsh helped the Town to offer a robust summer recreation program and community Fourth of July event. The Town also celebrated the official opening of the Canyon segment of the LOST trail with the first ever Eco-Tourism Festival.
The Superior School District charted a new course for the school by installing energy efficient lighting and other mechanics for school operations. The Board was also able to reduce the cost of the bond debt to the tax payers and installed new solar panels that will save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Rotary Club worked with the school to offer dictionaries to third graders and recognized the students of the month. Students in the district worked hard and attended various competitions both at the state and national level.
In May, the school recognized dozens of athletes and thousands of dollars in scholarships were awarded. They celebrated pre-schoolers and Kindergartners, promoted eighth graders and graduated seniors.
Despite a recovering economy throughout the state and nation, Superior residents and businesses continued to be generous. The community raised thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society through the FCCLA Cancer Fight by Candle Light and Superior Has Heart event.
Dozens of benefits were held throughout the community for various families and causes. A heartwarming tardeada was held for the Lopez family when they lost Joe and Steve. Musicians from throughout the state came to play to help the community raise money for their families.
You name it: raffles, golf tournaments, pancake breakfasts, horseshoe tournaments and the newest game in town, Cornhole. If someone, a family or a group needed money, we raised it.
Superior Little League had one of the biggest seasons in its history with a total of 17 teams playing throughout all the divisions. The Senior league All Stars went on to win the District Championship and play in the state tournament. It had been many years since Superior had a Senior League team. Maybe it was the new grass that was installed, but kids in Superior turned out in record numbers to play ball.
We choked and coughed on smoke from the fires that came way to close to Superior. We thanked the firefighters who kept the fires from getting any closer to the Town. We all wished and prayed for monsoons storms, but that really never happened, at least not this summer.
There was another eventful election season in 2012. Candidates from all races visited Superior. Some came to visit the Resolution Copper project exclusively, some visited the entire community, some attended the forum and some never even set foot in Superior, but that is a whole other story. Community members did not hesitate to ask the candidates if they supported the Resolution Copper project.
The Superior Optimist Club remained optimistic they recognized three honor students with laptop computers and kept the Honor Roll Banquet a school tradition. The Miracle on Main Street went off without a hitch and when they needed some extra man power, Superior Junior-Senior High Students were there to help.
Throughout the year, we trimmed, cleaned, pruned, and recycled. We transferred tons of trash out of Superior through various town wide and cemetery clean ups and numerous LOST trail work days.
We recognized residents for their community service and inducted new members to the SHS Hall of Fame. Lorenzo Arroyos served as the Grand Marshal for the Apache Leap Mining Festival parade. Joe, John and Richard Tameron and their wives were grand marshals of the Miracle on Main Street parade.
The end of November did not bring good news. Resolution Copper announced it would lay off 75 percent of its workforce. This created numerous discussions on the subject of the land exchange and the project.
Those who oppose it danced in celebration on Facebook while those who support the project continued to advocate for the exchange. No one really saw that announcement coming.
While 2013 may be starting off with lots of uncertainty, whether it’s due to layoffs at Resolution or the effects should the country fall off the fiscal cliff, one thing is for certain: we will all land on our feet, one way or the other.
I read a quote by Margaret Mead while on vacation this past year: “Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Without a doubt, there is no way we could have accomplished as much as we did in 2012 if it were not for the committed people who keep things going. I am looking forward to whatever 2013 has in store for us.
Happy New Year, Superior!