On one of my recent trips back to Fountain Hills, I was looking through the files in our morgue (That’s an old newspaper term for the room that houses the old newspaper copies.), when I found an issue dated September 22, 1988.
The main headline on the front page was “Open forum on new school bond issue Oct. 19.”
The lead paragraph said, “The Fountain Hills School Board has suggested a public forum be held to discuss the possibility of calling another bond election in February. It was suggested such a forum be held on Oct. 19 in the McDowell Mountain School multipurpose room.
The district was suffering problems of overcrowding.
Board President Maureen Kimber jokingly said the forum should be titled “Double Sessions” so parents would come to the meeting.
Double sessions had been mentioned as a last resort to solve the district’s over-crowding problem.
Almost 1,000 students were attending classes in the two elementary schools.
There were a variety of options listed for discussion. Among them were:
* Passing a bond issue and building a new school.
* Using proceeds from district land sales to buy portable classrooms or build additional classrooms at the two existing schools.
* Using other buildings in the community for school classes.
* Changing the school calendar and creating year-round schools.
* Using double sessions at one or both schools, so not all the district students are in the buildings at the same time.
Most of the board members preferred the first option but would have to call for a February election by the second Tuesday in December. Board member Dave Gray suggested a forum to get parent input. It was eventually held on Nov. 7.
One more option was added for consideration. That was to cut up the Administration Center and convert it into classrooms.
The eventual outcome was the district decided to build a junior/senior high school. Voters approved a $16 million bond issue in May 1990. It was completed in September 1992 and the District’s’ first high school graduation ceremony was held in May 1994.
Also, on the front page of that issue were three large photos of the Mighty Mud Mania, accompanied by a story.
There was also a full page of photos of kids and adults getting covered in mud on an inside page. The event was held for several years in Fountain Park.
Co-sponsored by Sunset Kiwanis and MCO Properties, the event drew some 700 participants.
Another front-page story was the county saying “NO” to McDonald’s plan to build a restaurant on the site where they are presently located.
Franchisee Jim Weiss-mueller met demands of neighbors such as cutting down the size of the drive-through speakers, beefed-up landscaping and no lights shining to the north.
He opened for business on March 1, 1989.
Another big story on the front page of the Sept. 22, 1988, edition was about two Fountain Hills women who shared in a $2.88 million Arizona Lottery prize.
Pati Bell and Annette Melton of ERA Best Real Estate in Scottsdale. They and 18 other people in their office put $2 for that night’s Pick drawing,
Each person received a $140,000 share paid in annual payments over 20 years. The first installment check was for $5,475.28 after tax deductions, Bell said.
The other front page stories were “shorts:” One was about the Noon Kiwanis-sponsored Blood Drive on the following Saturday; another was on an aluminum can collection fund-raiser by the Cub Scouts; and the third was notice of a planning meeting for the annual Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Trade Show. I was the chairman of the Trade Show and the editor at the time. It’s no wonder we got front-page placement for a meeting notice.
I was saddened to see the town lost two fine individuals recently with the passing of former Town Councilmembers Ed Kehe and Mike Archambault. Mike’s parents were The Times’ first landlords in the community. We rented an office from Archie and Pris Archambault in their building on Saguaro Boulevard.
(The building now is the location of Sapori d’Italia restaurant.)
The Times’ first reporter, Rick Snedeker, had a desk, a chair and a large cardboard box, which he used as a trash receptacle, for furnishings.
Mike was a teenager then and would pester Rick from time to time.
When I last saw Rick several years ago at his home where he is retired in South Dakota, he couldn’t believe it when I told him Mike had been a councilman and was a very respected member of the community.
I always enjoyed talking with Ed Kehe whether it was talking about town politics or some other topic when we sat together at The Club for a Monday Night Dinner.
But in all the times I talked with him, I never knew he was a legendary track coach from New York.
Since I ran track in elementary and high school, I’m sure we could have shared some good stories.
All the best to the two families.