Robert L. Thompson, 59, and his parachute made the paper March 21, 1979.

Join the Green Valley News and Sahuarita Sun as we take a look back into the archives!

Parachuting grandparents

Robert L. Thompson, age 59 when the March 21, 1979, issue of the Green Valley News published, thinks skydiving is the perfect sport for the elderly. Thompson was a founding member of Grandparents Who Usually Parachute Sundays (GWUPS), which he formed with his friend William Lockwood. Thompson first began jumping out of planes in World War II as a combat photographer. Since moving to Green Valley, he launched a new campaign to recruit more members into GWUPS.

GV gets cable TV

The Jim R. Smith Company took steps to bring cable television to Green Valley residents, the Green Valley News reported on April 25, 1979. The company had already been providing cable TV to other communities in Southern Arizona. The number of channels offered in Green Valley was a far cry from those available today. The local service back then included all Tucson channels, and one channel each from Phoenix, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

Prom canceled

The 38 couples who purchased tickets to Sahuarita High School's Junior-Senior prom had to make other plans when the event was canceled due to poor ticket sales. According to the April 25, 1979, issue of the Green Valley News, the apparent lack of interest in the prom made it impossible for the school to pay for a band, a banquet, and other expenses without going into debt. That resulted in the junior class having to forfeit the $300 reservation they had made for the banquet room. Plans were also being put into place to refund the money to the 38 couples who had already purchased tickets.

Raises for teachers

Sahuarita teachers, staff and administration would be receiving an 11 percent salary increase, the Green Valley News reported on May 16, 1979. It included a 7 percent base increase, in addition to another 4 percent to help pay for the cost of living since many of those working in the school district had to travel back and forth from Tucson to Sahuarita.

GV fire codes

Ben Owens, chief of the Rural Metro Fire Dept., warned in the June 6, 1979, issue of the Green Valley News that Green Valley needed its own fire codes. While none of the buildings in the community at the time violated any of Arizona's fire codes, Owens believed that Green Valley's buildings would be much safer if the community had its own codes. He criticized the state's fire codes as being "just too vague."

Only proper envelopes!

Green Valley residents probably made sure they used any odd-sized envelopes they had laying around before July 15, 1979. That's when new mailing regulations kicked in. After July 15, the Postal Service would only accept envelopes of standard size, the Green Valley News reported. Anything not a rectangle shape, at least 3-1/2 inches high, and at least 5 inches long were prohibited from being mailed. The goal: to make mail easier for the Postal Service to handle.

What's that smell?

Residents in the Santo Tomas area of Sahuarita were subjected to a rather potent smell due to a chemical leak from a Kerley Chemical Corp. plant in the area. The May 2, 1984 issue of the Green Valley News reported that the smell was caused by mercaptan, a chemical sometimes added to natural gas. According to John Mann, the senior enforcement officer of the Pima Country Air Quality Control District, the chemical isn't toxic. The Kerley plant had a history of causing strange smells. A few years before the chemical leak, the plant was responsible for a rotten egg smell in the area.

Tied up and robbed

Imagine being tied up and left helpless as you watch three burglars steal from your home! That's what happened to two Arivaca women, the Green Valley News reported on May 18, 1984. Border Patrol officers arrested three suspects an hour after the incident. Two of them, ages 21 and 19, were taken to the Pima County Jail. The third suspect, a 17-year-old minor, was taken to the Pima County Juvenile Detention Center.

More emergency calls

Rural Metro Fire Department had to deal with more emergency calls in 1984 compared to 1983. There were 474 calls from Jan. 1 to April 1984, compared to 395 calls the department received throughout 1983, according to the May 16, 1984 issue of the Green Valley News. Fire Chief John Samples said the increase was anything but normal and could be attributed to more people staying in Green Valley.

Reporter nets fellowship

Hard work paid off for student and Green Valley News reporter Ron Steffens, who won a $1,500 fellowship from the University of Arizona, the Green Valley News reported on May 16, 1984. A graduate student in creative writing at UA, Steffens received the Robert C.S. Downs Award in fiction. He had previously worked as a reporter for the Cody Enterprise in Wyoming and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Tulane University.

Out of luck

An escapee from the Arizona Correctional Training Facility in Tucson ran out of luck when the vehicle he stole broke down on I-10. According to the May 25, 1984 edition of the Green Valley News, the 1973 Toyota was taken from a Green Valley woman at the Medical Dental Center, 170 N. La Cañada Drive. The escapee called a nearby Exxon Mobile station for help, and two employees came. However, when they noticed the car was hot wired, they called the Department of Public Safety, which lead to the arrest of the escaped convict. Representatives from the Department of Corrections refused to comment on how he escaped. However, news reports indicate the convict may have jumped a fence.

More books!

Green Valley book lovers received good news in the May 25, 1984, edition of the Green Valley News, as the paper reported an increase in the number of books in the local library. The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved an increased contribution to the library, which would allow the library to add more books to their shelves and add a new member to the library staff. The funding was part of a countywide increase of library funding, totaling $2 million.

Sense of smell

A seemingly ordinary traffic stop over an expired license plate led to the discovery of an estimated $70,000 worth of marijuana. The vehicle, a 1976 Ford LTD, was northbound on I-19 when it was pulled over. A "sixth sense" lead one of the Pima County Sheriff's deputies to walk around the car and smell the trunk, the Green Valley News reported on June 6, 1984. Once the trunk was opened, the deputies found five 25-pound bags of marijuana. The car was taken to the Pima County Sheriff's Department's Impound Yard and the two suspects were arrested and taken to the Pima County Detention Center.

Pay boost for SUSD

Non-teaching employees of the Sahuarita Unified School District were likely rejoicing after receiving a 5 percent pay boost. The news came after teachers got a 5.4 percent pay raise for the 1984-85 school year a month earlier, the Green Valley News reported on June 8, 1984.

Second fire station

Residents of Green Valley gained a second fire station, this one built in Desert Hills. The Green Valley Volunteer Fire Board decided to accept a $443,696 bid for the new station's construction from Division II Construction Co. Inc., the Green Valley News reported on June 13, 1984. The construction of the new fire station had to be completed within 200 days after construction began.

No more seats

Imagine arriving at an airport 45 minutes before you are supposed to begin boarding your flight. Ticket in hand and waiting patiently in line as others before you begin taking their seats, only for you to get to the front of the line to be told the plane doesn't have any more available seats. That's what happened to a Green Valley businessman, the Green Valley News reported on June 22, 1984. The man got a refund after complaining to the travel agency where he booked his flight, but he missed what he said was the "most important" meeting of the year.

Dognapping at station

Being a pet owner can be a lot of work. Between keeping your pet healthy and cleaning up after them on a walks, there's plenty to do. The last thing you might worry about is someone driving up to your car while you're getting gas and taking your poodle away. That's exactly what happened to one Green Valley woman, according to the June 29, 1984 issue of the Green Valley News. The woman, who had been getting gas at a Circle K, said a man in a truck drove up to her car, patted the bed of his truck and said "come on, Fred," to the woman's dog. The poodle then hopped into the man's truck and the two sped away on I-19 after he told the woman, "This is my dog and I'm taking him." The woman said the dog was given to her by her grandfather two years earlier and was worth around $200.

Interested in more history? Come to the Green Valley News/Sahuarita Sun offices and purchase "Green Valley Through the Decades," celebrating 50 years, and "Sahuarita Through the Decades," celebrating 25 years.  

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