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West Valley View, Avondale, Arizona, Tuesday, April 24, 2012


108th Ave. 107th Ave.

Resigns (From Page 1)

Owens said. “The one thing I would encourage you all to remember is the decisions that are made as a board member are for a district.” She was first elected as a write-in candidate in a 1992 election held to replace recalled board members. At that time, the district had two schools and fewer than 4,000 students. “I knew the names of the night custodians,” Owens said. “During that time, the district has changed; we have a much larger community.”

9801 W. Van Buren St. in Tolleson, will be her last. “There are not words enough for me to express the honor and the absolute joy that having served this district for 20 years has brought me,” Owens said. “I hope that if I’ve done anything good in the life of the children that have passed through in those 20 years, that that was enough.” The district also recognizes the benefit of Owens’ leadership, guidance and service during the last two decades, Superintendent Lexi Cunningham said. “She has been instrumental in helping the district grow and has seen the district become a district of choice in the West Valley,” she said. “She will be missed, but her legacy will live on in the goals, programs and schools she helped build.” It will be up to the Maricopa County Educational

View photo by Ray Thomas

FIREFIGHTERS and volunteers work to spruce up the Louis B. Hazelton Memorial Cemetery in Buckeye Sunday. The Buckeye firefighters took over the responsibility of maintaining the cemetery in 2010.

Buckeye firefighters embrace graveyard shift

by Sara Clawson staff writer

Trimming around headstones and preparing for funeral services is not part of a firefighter’s training — unless he’s a member of the Buckeye Fire Department. The department took over cemetery duties at the Louis B. Hazelton Memorial Cemetery in 2010. “It’s not a traditional role, I’ll be very honest with

budget shortfalls two years ago, town officials looked at ways to streamline services and reduce staff. “During the tough economic times we were facing a

you,” Fire Chief Bob Costello said. “It’s something we fit into the day … it’s probably not the most efficient use of personnel, but the economy hasn’t healed.” When Buckeye was faced with declining revenues and

few years ago, the dire budget numbers forced cutbacks in several areas of the town’s operations,” Town Manager Stephen Cleveland said. “We had the unpleasant task of laying off scores of employees, consolidating some departments and even some individual job descriptions.” Those cutbacks affected the Parks and Recreation Department, which was maintaining the cemetery, Cleveland said. The town asked the fire department to irrigate, clean,

community by keeping the cemetery functioning at a high level and continuing to support the proud tradition Buckeye families have built there over the years.” Officials want to do more improvements to the cemetery by leveling land and raising headstones or graves that have sunk, Taylor said. “Our goal is to have it looking a little bit better,” he said. “It’s not something traditionally that a fire department does, but we were asked to take care of it and we do the best we can for our community.” At no point do cemetery duties take precedence over a

fire call, Costello said. Over the weekend, volunteers gathered at the cemetery for a service day. Taylor said some brainstorming also took place. He wants to find some businesses to donate shade trees, shrubbery and other supplies to help beautify the area. The cemetery was established in 1938 and was named after the first Buckeye man to die in World War I. The town has had ownership since 1947, when the American Legion Hazelton-Butler Post 53 gave the cemetery to it.

dig graves, maintain headstones and put up chairs for burial services, Fire Capt. Tommy Taylor said. “Having the firefighters take over the daily operations and maintenance at the cemetery has worked out very well,” Cleveland said. “Did it save some money? I’m sure it did, although the previous staff was very small. However, it did much more. It preserved an important service to our

Service Agency to decide if the Tolleson district needs to go through the appointment process to select a board member to replace Owens or wait until the November election, said Karyn Morse Eubanks, administrative assistant to the superintendent and Governing Board.

Emily McCann can be reached by email at or on Twitter @NewsbyEmily.

Goals (From Page 1)

and how much our citizens use it. We know that there’s a demand, we just don’t know where and how much.”

Strategic plan Another objective for Dalke is completing a “strategic plan including the university initiative and future city center strategies.” Currently, the city has 100 acres allocated for higher education and a park, Dalke said. “We have to think about what we want to get for high education. Do we want public universities like ASU, or liberal arts or private universities?” he said. “So that’s something that we have this coming year is to look at strategies for how we recruit higher education.” Both Dalke and Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said bringing higher education to Goodyear would help set the city apart. “I would like to bring something in that other cities

“The cemetery is old and never has had a lot of attention,” Costello said. “We’re trying to, while it’ll never be park-like, we definitely want to improve the way it looks. Some of the guys have taken this on as a project and they want to move forward with it. They’ll do a good job.” To volunteer your time or donate supplies to the cemetery, call Taylor at 623-238-1443.

Sara Clawson can be reached by email t

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don’t have,” Lord said. “We have the right population in Goodyear to bring in universities, they want it.” While the development of Goodyear’s city center has been put on the back burner for the time being because of lack of funding, the city still hasn’t given up on the project, Dalke said. “There’s been a lot of community work on that over the years,” he said. “It’s very important that we don’t take our eye off of that and that we continue to look for opportunities to keep it moving forward.”

Rachel Trott can be reached by email at or on Twitter @byracheltrott.



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