“I’m running on a new knee, so this is great that I’m able to do this!,” exclaimed Carlos Tobon who placed first overall at the fourth annual D-Hill Run this past Saturday. Tobon, a teacher at Loretto Catholic School, received a new knee a little less than two years ago. Asked whether he was a runner, he responded, “No, that’s what makes this so surprising; I’ve never even run in a competitive race before today.”
Tobon went on to talk about the course, “There was some confusion at the top and a few of us ended up running all the way up to the “D” which wasn’t part of the run, so there was some frustration there but the runners made up time on the way down. Jason McCutchen, one of our coaches, sacrificed his run to stay at the “D” to guide the rest of the runners toward the correct route.”
Isabella Valenzuela and Jose Espinosa, second and third place respectively in the 13 and under category, said the best part of the run was, “Running!”, of course. The cousins, both second graders at Joe Carlson Elementary School, were accompanied by Isabella’s mom, Monica Cuevas, who told this reporter, “Isabella ran all the way to the “D” with me. I’m really proud of her!” Isabella beamed. Armando Lopez placed first in the same category.
Aaliyah Montoya, former reporter with The Douglas Dispatch, helped organize the event and ran the track as well. Although suffering from allergies (she wore a surgical mask to stave off the springtime allergens) she was determined, in true “do or die” Douglas fashion, to complete the course. On her 24th birthday, she crossed the finish line with her sister Jada in an hour, averaging a 15 minute mile for the four mile run. “That was fun,” she said after stretching tight muscles, “It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. And what a beautiful day,” she smiled, “I’m glad the sun came out.”
“The D-Hill Run is the primary fundraiser for the Light the D Committee” said Montoya at the opening ceremonies. “The ultimate goal is to use solar energy to light the D permanently at an estimated cost of $15,000. Additional funds will be needed to maintain the solar array and lights, keep the lease paid up, and to repaint the D as needed. We (the members of the committee) feel that restoring and permanently lighting the D will create a sense of pride in the Douglas community as well as DHS students and alumni.”, Montoya continued. “Participants and sponsors today are contributing to a great cause.”
There was much whooping, hollering and applause as the winners in each category were announced and the sponsors thanked. Participants stepped forward to receive their medals, and The Crossfit Gym Team members rushed forward to claim their trophy for first place in the team category. Dr. Kristine Gomez, one of the heartiest cheerleaders at the event, announced the raffle winners, and slowly folks drifted off towards their cars.
It was a gorgeous Saturday in the park, as Montoya had observed earlier. Huge silver lined, sun dappled clouds hung over D-Hill and the surrounding mountains, a perfect backdrop for the runners. Gabriel Robles, DJ for the event, kept the music coming, encouraging an impromptu dance or two. A few non competitors were seen sailing a frisbee across the soccer field, children were laughing and playing on swings and slides. Even though there was no man selling ice cream, and it wasn’t the Fourth of July, it was a real celebration, Douglas style.
Sponsors for the run were: Rotary Club of Douglas, Az, City of Douglas, Crest Insurance Group, Ramirez Advisors Inter-National, Desert Sparrow Aviation, Douglas Run/Walk for the Cure, Douglas Noon Lions Club, Gomez Dental Clinic, Kristine L. Gomez, DDS PC, Dr. Michael and Windy Gomez.
The recall effort against Mayor Robert Uribe is moving forward.
Douglas’ City Clerk Brenda Aguilar and resident Tanya Duarte, who initiated the recall effort against Mayor Uribe, were informed last week by the Cochise County Recorder’s office that the certified petition signatures gathered are sufficient for a recall election.
Of the 801 signatures filed several weeks ago by Duarte, 668 were found to be qualified at the time of signing.
Mayor Uribe has until Friday, April 12 to either resign or force the recall election. The mayor has stated he will not resign however, which means the city council will have until April 27 to call a special election. Should the election take place, it will more than likely be in late August.
The Douglas Dispatch reached out to Mayor Uribe for a comment regarding the recall.
“I represent the people. I took an oath to respectfully serve and represent the community, with integrity, commitment, faith, and loyalty, and thus far, I can humbly say that I have. I will not resign; one who hasn’t done anything wrong doesn’t quit or hide. I remain 100 percent committed to giving Douglas my best,” Mayor Uribe said.
“I have been blessed with the privilege to serve the people of the greatest border community in the state of Arizona, and I am honored,” the mayor went on to say. “The community is saddened by the lies and falsehoods that have fueled anger and division. I don’t even know the reason behind the recall.”
Duarte has stated the reasons for the recall are mainly due to the lack of communication and transparency by the mayor regarding events that were going on within the community that he refused to be open about.
She said the division and animosity the mayor has created amongst the council members and himself; the council members and the community and now his statements pitting citizens against other citizens are other reason for the recall.
Duarte noted that the financial instability of the city and the fact that Douglas is thousands of dollars in debt because of his actions in the handling of the departure of Jim Russell, Douglas’ former city manager, all came out after the recall petition was filed.
Mayor Uribe claims however the city is moving forward in a progressive direction.
“In the last couple of months, we’ve had investors in Douglas; the Port of Entry is closer than in past years, and we are paving our streets,” he said. “Leadership matters. The city is so busy, council will be considering whether or not, we should hold two council meetings per month. The city has finally been active. If I was thinking about myself or my political career, I could have easily turned a blind eye and not cared about the injustice or the irresponsibility going on in the city. I took an oath of office, to make decisions that are promising to the people of Douglas as a whole, not just a specific clique or cliques.”
Duarte said she is so proud of this community for standing up for what’s right and be willing to come forward and have their voices be heard. She is hoping Mayor Uribe will listen to the people of Douglas and save the community the expense of having the recall election, and resign.
A resolution regarding the two-port solution for the Douglas Port of Entry expansion is on the agenda for the Douglas City Council meeting which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday night in the city hall council chambers.
This item, which is one of 26 items on the regular council meeting agenda. comes before the council following a recent conference call with the General Services Administration (GSA) in what is considered the next step in the long process for a two-port solution.
Prior to the regular meeting, a 5 p.m. special meeting will be held where the mayor and council are expected to meet in executive session to discuss and consult with the city attorney the contemplated litigation on a notice of a hostile work environment between City Clerk Brenda Aguilar and Douglas’ former city manager Jim Russell.
At the regular council three different presentations will be made by Dr. Melk, Amanda Baille and David Carranza regarding the Early Childhood Center of Excellence, tourism and marketing between Cochise County and Douglas and economic development in Douglas and the surrounding area.
There will be a call to the public where several local residents have informed the Douglas Dispatch they will bring up the recall that is currently underway against Douglas Mayor Robert Uribe.
Eight different resolutions will be brought before the council for discussion. Those will be followed by four different resolutions.
The council meeting, which is open to the public, will also be streamed live on the Youtube link located on the City of Douglas website page, https://www.douglasaz.gov/.
More information on the council agenda items can be found at https://www.douglasaz.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_04102019-435.