2011 Year in Review: The top stories in and around Williams

Part three in a four part series

Submitted Photo<br>
Rod’s Steak House owner Lawrence Sanchez (right) appears shocked as neighboring businessmen assist in boarding up windows.

Submitted Photo<br> Rod’s Steak House owner Lawrence Sanchez (right) appears shocked as neighboring businessmen assist in boarding up windows.

Carriage horse crashes into Rod's Steak House after pit bull attack

At approximately 8 p.m. on Jan. 6, Cowboy Service Carriage Company's 17-year old horse, Razz, crashed through the window of Rod's Steak House while on a routine carriage ride.

The horse became agitated when a loose American pit bull terrier chased the horse and carriage, carrying four people, down Route 66 snapping at its rear and front legs, still biting at the horse even after it crashed through the window.

According to Williams Police Department (WPD) Lt. Darrell Hixon, the pit bull's owner was exiting the Canyon Club when the dog saw the horse, broke loose from its collar, and proceeded to chase the horse into the window.

"The operator of the carriage did a good job trying to control the horse until it eventually just got too spooked and too out of control that the horse and carriage hit the front side of Rod's Steak House," Hixon said.

Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident. The horse sustained cuts and bruises to its nose and legs.

Ken Henry, owner of the Carriage Company, attended to the horse while the driver was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center as a precaution.

"They wrapped and treated the horse there and it was fine," Hixon said. "The people in the carriage were all fine as well."

The WPD cited the pit bull's owner with what they say is customary for loose dogs.

"We cited her for what anyone would cite a person for when their dog is running free, so there is no special citation or anything," Hixon said.

Hixon went on to mention the strange irony surrounding these two animals.

"They told me that the horse several years ago was attacked by another pit bull in Phoenix when it was working, and the dog that attacked it this time has no front teeth because two years ago it was kicked by a horse, so these two were destined to meet," Hixon said.

Still, accounts made by eyewitnesses were not as lighthearted. One source, wishing to remain anonymous, said he still cannot get the image out of his mind.

"People were kicking the dog to stop him biting after the horse had hit the window, but the dog kept it up and the guy was yelling 'someone get that dog before he kills the horse' while trying to keep the people in the carriage," he said. "Finally another guy came along and picked up the dog. I never saw the female owner."

Owners of Rod's Steak House, Stella and Lawrence Sanchez, were stunned when they first saw their building after the episode.

"When I first saw the damage I was blown away," Stella Sanchez said. "When we parked the car and looked in the restaurant the damage just looked awful. I went to look at the horse and his shins were pretty bloody. I think he probably ran into the planter out front and then hit the window. I can't even imagine how it happened."

Employees at Wild West Junction helped Rod's get back on their feet as quickly as possible, supplying the restaurant with plywood and screwdrivers to board the windows.

"It was so kind of them to come and help," Sanchez added.

Henry estimated damage to the carriage at approximately $1,000. The Carriage Company offered a replacement ride to the family who were victims of the incident, and they rode the route again with the same driver after their visit to the Grand Canyon the next day.

Williams officials hire new city manager

After two years without a permanent city manager, Williams City Council members hired Brandon Buchanan to fill the position.

Following Dennis Wells' departure in November 2009, Williams City Finance Director Joe Duffy acted as Interim City Manager. In May, Duffy pressed the city to begin a search for a candidate to fill the position.

The search for a city manager began with 89 candidates. City Council members conferred and narrowed the field to six individuals. After interviews, three candidates were called back for a second interview.

Buchanan, formerly City Administrator in Oakley, Ka. for three years, came out on top.

Buchanan attended graduate school at the University of Colorado School of Public Affairs. Prior to that, Buchanan received his BA from Arizona State. He began his higher education pursuing an architecture degree before switching gears.

"I realized I didn't want to design just one building so I changed to urban planning at Arizona State," Buchanan said.

After completing his degree program, Buchanan moved into internships with the city of Phoenix. He then received his Masters in Public Administration and eventually began work for the city of Oakley.

Councilman Don Dent said Buchanan's background is right in line with what the council was looking for in a candidate.

"He understands what it is like to live in a small community and survive there," Dent said.

Originally from Arizona, Buchanan and his wife, Corrie, from the Los Angeles area, hoped to eventually move back westward to be closer to family. The Williams City Manager position looked like an excellent fit.

"We started looking for a town that would fit where we wanted to live and Williams was kind of the natural choice there," Buchanan said.

Oakley's population, at close to 2,000 people, is just a bit smaller than Williams. Buchanan said small towns provide opportunities for managers to really get involved in the community.

According to Dent, Buchanan's record in Oakley and management style appealed to council members.

"He's less of an office person and more out in the field running the crews," Dent said. "That's very impressive and something we were kind of looking for."

As far as a management philosophy goes, Buchanan said a hands-on approach suits him best.

"I'm more the kind of manager that doesn't mind getting his hands dirty and getting stuff done," he said. "When something needs to get done in the community, whether it's fixing potholes or whatever it is, you need to get it done, whatever it takes."

Buchanan will finish up in Kansas Nov. 3. He and his family will move immediately, with Buchanan showing up for duty at city hall in Williams Nov. 9.

He plans to hit the ground running, visiting with residents to get a pulse on concerns in the community.

"I think as a manager, you can't just walk in right away and start changing everything and laying down the rules," Buchanan said. "You need to see how everything works before you start working yourself into the deal."

Dent said another, less quantifiable, asset Buchanan brings to the table is youthful enthusiasm.

"He truly wanted this job and truly wants to be in a small town," he said. "When we did second interviews and we asked the candidates to bring their wives along, they were both just enthralled with the opportunity. So, I think is going to be a very good choice."

WHS wins United Blood Service statewide challenge with highest community participation

When it comes to generating a high turnout for their quarterly blood drive, Williams High School (WHS) have the "red" stuff.

WHS students Miranda Mann, Stephanie and Amanda Wamble, and Paige Parenteau, along with blood drive coordinator and teacher Mike Fleishman, traveled to Chase Field in Phoenix Sept. 14 to attend The United Blood Service High School Challenge awards ceremony. They were winners of UBS's Hero Excellence Award, winning the highest percent community participation award with 752 percent.

To compete in the statewide challenge, WHS has a quota of blood donors they need to recruit for the four yearly blood drives they host.

Their goal number equals the total number of WHS seniors. So, in four blood drives, WHS must produce a minimum of 48 donors, which they surpassed by 125 percent even before classes started.

"Our goal numbers set by UBS haven't changed that much, still about 48," Fleishman said. "The last drive we had 127 donors. The one before that we have 115. This summer we had about 67."

Not to mention approximately 50 people they were forced to turn away during the last drive due to lack of supplies.

Procuring close to 400 pints of blood this year, WHS is already looking forward to the next drive. The goal next year is to win both categories of competition - most total donors and highest percentage participation. Fleishman is confident they can pull it off.

"If the community actually participates in the blood drive like they used to back in the sixties when the Red Cross was here, we could do this," Fleishman said.

But, at the end of the day, the incentive to win a Diamondbacks game in a party suite isn't the reason WHS participates so heavily in United Blood Service's High School Challenge. Putting faces to the numbers is what matters most to these students.

WHS Senior Paige Parenteau represents one of those faces.

Earlier this summer, when Parenteau was competing in a rodeo in Oklahoma, she fell off her horse during a barrel race, hitting a fence and rupturing one of her kidneys. Ultimately, her kidney had to be removed.

"I had to have three pints of blood, the doctors told me that if I had not gotten those, I would have died," she said.

When Parenteau asks people to donate blood, she tells them, 'yeah, it's scary at first but you have to think about how you are going to impact peoples lives.'

"You may not know whom it's going to impact, but it is going to go change someone's life, it's going to help someone," Parenteau said.

And that someone may be closer than you think.

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