Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Fri, April 03

Letters to the editor

Give Williams a break

To the editor:

I am a volunteer for Junipine Fire Department 10 miles north of Williams. I was on patrol near Williams on July 4. I have been a firefighter, professional and volunteer for 19 years.

While Williams did take a calculated risk in choosing to go forward with the fireworks display, they were trying to please the people. I, too, had concerns about their decision, but what impressed me was the pre-planning the Williams Volunteer Fire Department had in place. They knew there was a risk and as they proved, they had the resources in place to deal with the risk.

They not only quickly contained the fires, but also had many more firefighters on hand than were needed. In this part of rural Arizona, I have never seen so many volunteers. The Forest Service was there and they were needed, but "if" they had had another fire that drew resources from the area, I'm sure Williams would have reassessed their decision.

Again, I had my concerns, but Williams Fire had this thing covered, to the max.

Bob Freson

Junipine Fire Volunteer

Increase in

visitors not worth the risk

To the editor:

Ok, what about negative moisture content does the city not get? The Forest Service will tell you, things are drier and more flammable than they ever have been before, and also less predictable, due to our 14-year-old drought. I don't care how many firefighters you put out near the fireworks, it's still a god-awful risk to have put on that fireworks show. And it had totally predictable results.

For you who think, at least we got visitors into town for that show, think about the bad feelings engendered by getting five lousy minutes of it! I love fireworks but I didn't want us to take the chance of setting some of our small part of the world on fire for it. Are we that willing to sell ourselves all for the success of one event? And seriously, are you really telling me this town makes enough money on the fireworks show to take this risk?

What arrogance we show! Is this the same problem we have when a developer demands that we cough up enough water for him to put in another 100 houses no one wants?

Jeana Stevenson


Fireworks not in the city's best interest

To the editor:

Last week, we dodged a very large bullet. Our city leaders, in their infinite wisdom, decided that, in spite of extreme fire conditions and projected 25 mile per hour winds, that it would be in the best interests of our city to proceed with the July 4 fireworks display.

As we all know, the display lasted five minutes before it was shut down due to several spot fires, one of which, though small, actually earned a name. We are extremely lucky that the predicted winds did not occur.

Since then, some of our leaders have been quoted as saying that they thought they made the right decision. Their reasoning was based upon the number of people who were brought into Williams by their decision to continue with the display. 

According to Dennis Wells, "The city of Williams decided to have a fireworks display this year because there was a high demand for a fireworks display, and we decided it was a calculated risk we were willing to accept." 

They seemed to feel justified by the facts that the people who came saw five minutes of fireworks and that the resulting forest fires did not get too far out of hand. They (we) got very lucky. I can't help but wonder how many people who live in our tinder-dry area expressed "a high demand for a fireworks display." 

I, for one, could not believe that it would even be considered. I have not seen the movie Jackass, but I've heard enough about it that I thought somebody must have been following the script from it.

It seems that the only thing that matters is bringing people into the city to spend money and to promote growth. Never mind that our wells are at capacity. Just exercise eminent domain and drill another well to accommodate another developer. Never mind that Young Life has an endless train of semi-trailers hauling water seven days a week to supply a business that rations 1,000 gallons of water per day per kid. Just bring in more developments. Bring in a theme park. There's plenty of water in the aquifer. Just drill more wells.

Remember, all the water comes from the same place and we haven't gotten very much for many years.

Mike Helms


City leaders should resign

To the editor:

Williams City Manager Dennis Wells, Fire Chief Bud Parenteau and those members of the Williams City Council that voted to go ahead with the Fourth of July fireworks need to resign their posts immediately.

It is the duty of the city manager, the fire chief and members of the city council to protect the life and property of the residents of the city and surrounding communities. Allowing the fireworks display, one that started a half acre blaze, while the area is subject to extreme fire restrictions was nothing short of a criminal conspiracy to commit arson and arson itself.

These "city leaders" chose to put the life and property at risk at a time when cities across the county, state and nation were canceling their displays to avoid the very thing these individuals caused through their actions. 

These individuals have a duty to protect and they not only failed to fulfill that duty, they ignored it and went ahead with a reckless and dangerous plan that fortunately ended without total devastation of the town and surrounding areas.

It's either time for the responsible parties to resign, or for the citizens of Williams to initiate a recall of the responsible council members. The replacement council members could then move to fire the fire chief and city manager for their part in the willful failure to safeguard life and property.

Joshua Coman

Ash Fork

Lack of water is a fact of life

To the editor:

When I read that the city of Williams was planning to "acquire" a portion of the Pouquette's land for a well site, I was shocked. As I read further, I learned that the method employed to "acquire" their land was eminent domain. I was incensed.

I have lived here all my life and there has always been a concern about water. Lack of water was a fact of life. Until recently, when the city was to be "developed," the people who lived here coped with the lack of water.

With the developers came their demand for water. The city's using eminent domain as a solution to quench the developers' demands is wrong and piratical. It makes about as much sense as the city demanding a portion of my mother's land because they think there is water there. Absurd!

Why do we work to gain a piece of ground if someone is going to use eminent domain to take it away?

Carol Wamble


Newcomers are not bad people

To the editor:

After reading many letters to the editor including Ethel Cole's letter about small towns disappearing, I felt I needed to respond to the very real concerns of the residents of Williams.

My husband and I have lived in many small towns across the country.  Crawfordsville, Ind., Oxford, Conn., and Lebanon, Pa. to name a few.

We chose these small towns to raise our family because we loved the people, the caring and concern for neighbors and having a chance to give our time to the community. In large cities, such as where we are moving from, we found that no one really wanted our time. In fact, I was put on a waiting list of 20 to volunteer at the local animal shelter and I'm still waiting for a call. My husband was an excellent t-ball coach in Indianna.

I taught Sunday school and substituted at the local elementary school. 

All "newcomers" are not bad people. In fact, I think that you will find, if you give us a chance, the majority of the people moving to Williams are doing so because they have a love and respect for nature and want to return to small town life.

After many years of searching, we chose to build our retirement home in Williams to be able to enjoy the quiet beauty of the forest and the wildlife. We do not want concrete, high rise buildings and traffic jams. We pray that although the town will grow, unlike Sedona, it will be slow and well planned. Our promise to you is to respect your town, your way of life and to become valued members of your community. 

Pat Anthony


People, times have changed

To the editor:

What I like about living here is ... but let's start a while back.

The year of 1948 our family came out for dad's health. When we got here we were welcomed. This was in Tucson. We stayed there for three years and we loved it. I went to Korea in 1953 and was back not too much worse for wear.

We moved to Apache Junction for two years. Then we moved up north and landed around Williams.

The thing that gets me the most is we didn't lock the doors when we left and nothing happened to the house. Now we have to lock everything if you go to the mailbox and that is disgusting.

We have people who don't care what they do to this wonderful place as they throw beer bottles out on the side of the road and piles of junk, too.

It just gets to us as we have people that don't obey the laws. They drive through town way over the speed limit. No cops are seen to bother them. Why is that?

To close, it has just went downhill so bad the state is about gone.

Larry Matzdorff


Valle Fire and Rescue forming

To the editor:

The town of Valle and the surrounding areas will soon have a brand new fire and rescue department. Valle Fire and Rescue, Inc. is working to provide you with a much needed service. As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, we will depend on grants and donations.

Valle Fire and Rescue will have a full staff of certified employees, trained and ready for emergency calls 365 days a year. There will also be a training center to provide local fire departments the opportunity to maintain their training at a convenient location. Valle needs and deserves fire protection, prevention and training.

We are often asked what's in it for us. There is nothing for us other than the fact saving lives and property is always the driving force for certified fire and EMS personnel. Our families have been in the fire and EMS industries all our lives so we understand the importance of being there when someone needs help.

Wildland fires have been multiplying the last few years. Valle has potential for serious wildfire. Everyone needs fire protection. People need to feel safe in their home and on the street. We want to be a part of a community that needs help. Valle is classified as a "dead area" for fire and rescue. It is small and growing. We want to grow together as a team of professionals who care about others. By banding together to help people when they need it, we make the world a better place.

We have attended Valle HOA meetings; we have read many letters to the editor. Residents are stating their desire to have a fire department to serve and protect the area. Many Valle residents are retired or prefer a small, quiet area to live in seclusion. We have letters of support from county and state agencies, surrounding fire departments, and the local school district. Residents and the tourists who travel through the area daily need fire and rescue services.

We are trying to give residents the services they need and want, so are asking for feedback from everyone. We need to know what each of you wants from our department. We want to bring fire protection and rescue services to you, as well as to teach prevention strategies.

Now is the time to ask the residents for financial support as well. The cost of real estate and construction has us struggling to get our department started and we need help to acquire the land and build the station. We are asking the community to help bring Valle the fire and rescue service they need and deserve. We are setting up a trust fund for Valle Fire and Rescue to allow people to donate funds. A fundraising bank account has been established at National Bank for anyone wishing to donate.

If you are interested in helping us accomplish this, please call (928) 634-2530 or e-mail us at We will gladly answer any and all of your questions. Chief Howard Lipe and Deputy Chief Beverly Lipe would be glad to talk to anyone who needs information.

Chief Howard Lipe

Valle Fire and Rescue, Inc.

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