1 Former Green Valley Justice of the Peace Lisa Royal is arrested on suspicion of DUI. Royal, who was Pima County Consolidated Justice Court administrator when she was arrested, pleads guilty, pays $2,096 in fines and spends a night in jail. Three months of unsupervised probation is cut to three weeks. After a vote of “no confidence” by Justice Court judges in May, Royal resigns June 15. In late July, the Green Valley News learns Pima County had hired 237 people since instituting a hiring freeze. Royal is among them, hired on to the Criminal Justice Reform unit “for her expertise in evictions.” At year’s end, her title is executive assistant to Deputy County Administrator Dr. Francisco Garcia, and she is making $90,000.

5 Arby’s announces it will open its second restaurant in Sahuarita, this one in the Rancho Sahuarita area. It opens in November next to where the new library is going in.

8 Gudron Price of Green Valley decided to say thank you to Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers for all they do by writing a check for $20,000. “I’m beyond words,” SAV Commander Doug Kenyon said. “That someone thinks that much of us, I’m just stunned.” Price said she sees SAV all over the community and it was her way of giving back.

8 Documents filed with the Town of Sahuarita show Quail Creek might be adding what amounts to a second clubhouse. The community had recently purchased land and has been on a home-building spree.

8 One of the men involved in the 2010 gunfight that killed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry north of Nogales is sentenced to life by a federal judge. Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes was part of a rip crew that robbed drug smugglers at gunpoint.

9 The wind kicks up and dust drifts off the mine tailings at Freeport-McMoRan’s Sierrita Mine in Green Valley. A Pima County inspector happens to see it and heads for the mine to investigate. In August, the mine pays $55,000 in a settlement but admits to none of the findings and did not admit to any liability, according to an agreement.

12 State Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon resurrects a failed bill from a year earlier — to include a third gender option on driver’s licenses: non-binary. The bill generates a lot of talk but ultimately is held in committee and goes nowhere.

12 Charges are dismissed against an Avondale man who entered a Sahuarita Walmart wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet, leaving customers uneasy. The incident in August 2019 occurred a few days after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. The man, 22-year-old Freedom Pfaendler, sues the Town of Sahuarita, claiming he was illegally searched, falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted. In December, the courts dismiss the case but Pfaendler’s attorney says he will refile the suit.

15 U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick receives overwhelming support after announcing she will step away from her duties to begin treatment for “my alcohol dependence.” The announcement came after she took a fall, breaking several ribs and leaving a gash on her head. She returns to Congress on Feb. 25, and in November, Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, defends her seat in the House.

28 It took five years from concept to reality, but Green Valley Recreation finally opens its 24-court Pickleball Center. More than 300 people enjoy the ceremony and court time at the center on Camino de la Canoa, near the BAJA baseball fields. The project came in at about $1.5 million and is the largest in Southern Arizona.

29 Labs confirm 13,000 people in Arizona have come down with the flu since Oct. 1, an 81 percent increase over the previous year. According to the CDC, 15 million American had become infected, with 8,200 deaths this flu season.

31 The Green Valley News breaks a story nearly 18 months after it happened. Former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, who represented Arizona in Congress for 22 years as a Republican, confirmed that he left the party in September 2018 because “it lost values that I thought were important.” Kolbe, now registered as Party Not Designated, says he still contributes to Republicans. “I didn’t change any of my views,” he says. Would he ever go back? “That’s what I’m hoping, I hope the party returns to its basic principles.”


1 A Sahuarita man has to pull out a pocket knife and stab a pit bull to death after it attacks his two dogs. The man and his dogs were out for a walk when two pit bulls charged through an open gate near Parque Los Arroyos. It took the knife to stop the attack.

3 Green Valley Democrats take part in the Iowa caucuses as one of 25 satellite locations where the Iowa Democratic Party decided to include out-of-staters in the process. The result: 23 supporters for Sen. Amy Klobuchar; 14 for Pete Buttigieg; 13 for Joe Biden.

12 The Sahuarita Unified School District board OKs a $17 million energy efficiency plan. It calls for solar canopies, LED lighting and plumbing upgrades. By year’s end, several parking structures go up with solar on top of them.

15 Walden Grove senior Owen Berry wins the state wrestling title in the 138-pound division. A year earlier, he was the runner-up. “Some people let it get them down but I used it as fuel,” he said.

23 Tour de Tucson organizers consider changing a route to include Green Valley and Sahuarita for the first time. After a lot of questions from Sahuarita, the deal is struck. But the race, typically held in November, is delayed to April 2021, because of the pandemic.

24 After two years of contentious meetings, Green Valley Recreation CEO Kent Blumenthal resigns. Nobody on the board would give details other than it was mutual. Blumenthal had two years left on his contract, and it cost $350,00 to $450,000 to buy him out. That confidential detail was disclosed by former board President Blaine Nisson during a public comment period at a meeting the day after it was announced Blumenthal had resigned.

26 They called it “Ashes to Go” — a quick way to mark Ash Wednesday at St. Francis in the Valley Episcopal Church. They set up a drive-through lane and planted retired Pastor Judy Turberg there for four-and-a-half hours. They had 43 takers.

29 La Posada cancels its popular Taste of La Posada event as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus. It’s the first cancellation of a major event in Green Valley. Not long after, hundreds of events are canceled over the next few weeks, from concerts to — halfway through — the senior games.


3 Pima County begins delivering early messaging on coronavirus, with the overriding theme being, “Don’t panic.” “What we think we’re heading for is something that feels like what we’ve all experienced as a bad flu season,” interim Health Director Bob England says.

9 Basics such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper are snapped up as soon as they hit grocery store shelves. The panic buying, which includes canned goods and other paper products, is seen worldwide and lasts for weeks.

15 The coronavirus makes its presence known with a wave of cancellations and closures locally. An eight-foot wall of toilet paper at Walmart disappears in about 15 minutes. Local hotels see cancellations, some churches voluntarily shut down and businesses such as Community Water Company, The Animal League of Green Valley and Whipple Observatory close — many believe just for a month or so. All of it comes a few weeks before Green Valley’s prime visitor season ends.

19 More than 200 people in an OLLI class in Green Valley are notified that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus on March 11.

20 A Maricopa County man in his 50s is listed as the first person in Arizona to die of coronavirus. Three days later, Pima County’s first death is announced. Green Valley and Sahuarita continue to see dozens of closures and canceled events. The governor and Pima County end restaurant dine-in services.

25 Marking a big shift for the organization, all four open seats on the Green Valley Recreation board are won by candidates backed by Friends of GVR. An opposing group, GVR4Us, had largely controlled the board the previous two years.

26 A man kills his 10-year-old son then turns the gun on himself at the boy’s home in Sahuarita. A friend said Steven Hatch, 49, had recently gone through a divorce. “I’m extraordinarily shocked and saddened by the news because I know how much he loved that kid,” the friend said. “They were together all the time.”

28 Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias dies at his Tucson home. Elias, 61, was appointed to the District 5 seat in 2002, and was re-elected several times with ease. He was a Democrat who loved the job “and loved a good fight,” Supervisor Steve Christy said. Betty Villegas was appointed to the seat until the November election, when Adelita Grijalva won the post.


2 The Pima County Sheriff’s Department removes two exotic animals from the property of a woman who was cited in 2019 for misdemeanor animal cruelty. A water buffalo and a camel are taken from the property after three visits by deputies to the site west of Sahuarita indicated they were not being cared for.

3 The CEO of Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital says COVID-19 has driven it to the financial brink and pens a letter to the state telling them they will close “in the coming weeks” if they don’t get aid. “We’re just trying to stay alive like everyone else,” Kelly Adams tells the Green Valley News. About 10 days later, the hospital gets $6.5 million from the federal CARES Act.

6 Green Valley Council delivers a survey to Pima County that shows residents are taking care of each other during the pandemic but still aren’t clear about what “stay at home” means.

12 Green Valley Fire District has a request: When you call 911, be honest. Crews had walked into a couple of situations where there were sick people in the house they were unaware of. “We can’t run every call with PPE on,” spokesman L.T. Pratt said. “We’re struggling to have enough PPE on the cases where we know we need it.”

14 Arizona pitches in to help Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital with $3.5 million, but it comes with stipulations: executive pay cuts of 20 percent, fully opening their books to the state, and while receiving state aid, no payments are allowed to private owners. CEO Kelly Adams is encouraged by the news and says execs had already taken a 30% cut. The state gives the hospital another $1.8 million in mid-June.

15 Arizona begins ZIP code breakdowns of COVID-19 cases but Pima County warns they’re misleading. Green Valley appeared to be a hot spot in the initial release, but the county Health Department said that’s because it includes nursing homes and a hospital.

15 About 175 students, or 2.7 percent of the Sahuarita Unified School District, go missing after in-person classes are discontinued due to the virus. They didn't show up for digital classes, according to the district. State guidelines suggest not punishing students for whatever happens in the final quarter of school.

22 Sahuarita Town Councilman Erik Dahl resigns after discovering an Arizona statute that bars him from holding public office as a state employee. He also withdraws his name from the 2020 ballot. Dahl works for the state Department of Corrections.


5 Businesses prepare to reopen after a month-long, statewide shutdown. “Oh my gosh, we’re all excited,” said David Baxter, district manager for Denny’s. “We’ve been stir crazy.”

10 It’s snake season: A woman walking her dog on her patio and a man looking for a golf ball in the brush are bitten in Green Valley.

13 The Pima County library system sees huge jumps in usage of its digital offerings. Among the numbers: a 6,433 percent hike over a year ago in use of IndieFlix and its access to documentaries, classic movies and independent movies.

13 The Sahuarita Unified School district plans a drive-through diploma pickup for 2020 graduates. Plans for an Aug. 1 ceremony fall through as the pandemic continues. Talk of a December ceremony also doesn't materialize.

18 A rare Arctic tern veers from its typical migratory route near water and ends up at the lake at Historic Canoa Ranch. The call goes out and dozens of birding enthusiasts flock to the area. In September, the Northern jacana, even more rare, makes a visit.

20 More than 100 people are in line before the doors open at Ross Dress for Less in Sahuarita. The store had been closed two months during the initial shutdown and it encouraged customers to wear masks. About 20 percent in line did so.

23 Yasheika Beckaroo, a 2015 graduate of Sahuarita High School, graduates from West Point and makes history at the same time. She was among 38 African American women to graduate, the most in the academy’s 218-year history.

27 Tristan Lewis is named Walden Grove High School valedictorian but the virus means he never gets to give a speech in front of classmates. Still, he looks back on his education with nothing but gratitude. “My mom, dad and siblings have been so supportive. I’m thankful to my mom for my education all these years, pushing me to do better. I’m thankful to my dad for his 20 years of service to the Air Force and supporting our family. And, I’m thankful to my siblings for always keeping me on my toes and supporting me no matter how busy I was.” He heads for the University of Arizona to study physiology and medical sciences.

27 A 2019 law that restricts federal funds to universities with ties to Confucius Institutes spells the end of Mandarin classes at four schools in the Sahuarita Unified School District. The institute established a site at the University of Arizona in 2007, and began teaching in SUSD in 2014.


1 For only the third time in its history, the White Elephant Parade is canceled. “We do believe that social distancing will be in effect at that time and, as you know, we attract quite a few people and they do bunch together,” White Elephant board president Ivars Vecbastiks said. The parade was canceled in 1965 after ownership of the East Social Center — then the site of the country fair part of the event — changed hands. The parade was rained out in 1973.

10 The Sahuarita Unified School District is the first in the state to offer the Navy Junior ROTC course to eighth-graders. The pilot program is made possible by the National Defense Authorization Act.

11 A power surge is responsible for a 40-minute outage involving 11,500 customers, a brush fire and evacuations after several businesses and a La Posada residential building filled with smoke.

11 Pima County adopts a policy that all employees, vendors and members of the public entering county facilities wear a mask or face covering.

14 After weeks with the doors closed, restaurants reopen but face two struggles: attracting customers and attracting employees. “With staff, some people were feeling uncomfortable coming back to work because of COVID; some had sick family members and we were shortening kitchen hours, too. At the moment, we still don’t have enough staff, but I didn’t want to be closed any longer,” said El Patio manager Nilda Mattson.

14 A survey of Sahuarita Unified School District staff in early June showed 35 percent “very concerned” about opening school up in the fall and 20 percent “not at all concerned.” The survey had 529 responses and was used to build a plan for the new school year. A parent survey later in June shows 28 percent “not at all comfortable” with sending children back to school and 25 percent “very comfortable” returning. There were 3,424 respondents. The district has about 6,000 students.

17 Mason Wunder of Green Valley joins 1,200 plebes at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The graduate of Pusch Ridge Christian Academy north of Tucson was selected from among 16,000 applicants. Born and raised in Green Valley, he said he was ready for the challenge. “Honestly, I’m pretty excited. I’m not super nervous. I’m ready to try something new, to go off and have an adventure,” he said.

19 A local activist group, alliance4action, holds a drive-through petition-signing drive for four initiatives they want to see on the November ballot. Volunteer Polly Daly said she is proud of the turnout. “So many people in Green Valley got in their cars, signed petitions and got to feel like they're doing something,” she said. “This world is so turned upside-down right now some days you look and say, ‘I can't do anything'; well, this is something everybody can do.”

19 Pima County makes it mandatory to wear masks in public but the Town of Sahuarita said the mandate doesn’t apply to incorporated towns and declines to go along with it. The county’s decision came as cases began to spike across the state. Gov. Ducey said cities and counties could come up with their own plans.

24 The Town of Sahuarita releases April sales tax collections numbers, and they’re good. In a month where the state was shut down due to the virus, the town brought in $5,000 more than April 2019, and $82,000 higher than the five-year average for the month.

25 The Green Valley Council and the Town of Sahuarita butt heads over the town’s decision not to comply with strict mask requirements from Pima County. GVC President Thao Tiedt suggests Green Valley residents not shop in Sahuarita because they don’t appreciate “the vulnerability of our older people.” Mayor Tom Murphy says he was “surprised” and “hurt” by the comments, which he says mischaracterize the town.

26 Pima County opens a six-acre pollinator garden on the grounds of Canoa Ranch in late June. The garden includes an artificial wildlife watering hole, native plants and an enhanced wildlife viewing for visitors. The project falls under the Regional Flood Control District.


1 Laurie Lundeen, an affiliate agent with the Green Valley-Continental office of Coldwell Banker Realty Arizona, is ranked among the top 1,000 real estate agents and teams in the nation by 2020 REAL Trends “The Thousand” report.

8 Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier announces plans to hire six to eight employees with mental health expertise to respond to substance abuse, homeless and other related calls that don’t require enforcement. The plan is an effort to address nationwide calls for law enforcement reform.

9 Gov. Doug Ducey signs an Executive Order limiting indoor dining to less than 50 percent occupancy as virus numbers spike. It follows a June 29 order closing gyms, bars, water parks and movie theaters. By year’s end, Pima County is recommending 25 percent occupancy, including staff.

13 The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department calls off the search for a missing hiker three days after he entered the Madera Canyon wilderness area. Jason Wing, 45, became separated from a friend July 10 shortly after hitting the trail. “We really don’t know what we have right now and we don’t want to speculate on any one thing,” Sheriff Tony Estrada says.

22 Banks, fast-food restaurants and retail stores are all feeling the pinch of a coin shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic. Shops are asking for exact change or encouraging donations of change to hunger-relief or putting it on gift cards for later use. Why the shortage? The Federal Reserve placed caps on how many coins financial institutions could order because of declining coin deposits from banks; safeguards in place at the U.S. Mint to protect employees; and increased demand as some businesses reopened.

22 The Retro Rockets, one of the most popular bands to regularly play Green Valley, dissolves after two of its members decide to move home to Minneapolis. The band was always a crowd favorite at Posada Java, the Elks Club and other venues. “Please let everyone in the community know how much we will miss them and how much they have brought joy to our hearts,” lead singer Justine Boswell said.


4 The primary election is all that’s needed to name the new Sahuarita Town Council. Incumbents Bill Bracco, Simon Davis, Melissa Hicks and Gil Lusk return along with newcomer Deborah Morales, a recently retired town employee. In December, the council votes to retain Tom Murphy as mayor and Kara Egbert as vice mayor.

4 Sahuarita Police arrest two Tucson men in the January 2019 murder of a man during a home invasion on Sahuarita Road. In September, two more men are arrested but no motive is given. It is the first murder in Sahuarita in 10 years.

16 Sara Mora is named among 10 finalists for the Arizona Educational Foundation’s 2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year. Mora is a graduate of Sahuarita High and has spent nine of her 11 years as a teacher in the district. She’s a Career and Technical Education teacher at Wrightson Ridge School. Later in the month Mora learns she made the top five.

19 Sahuarita attracts attention nationally after former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and three others are arrested in what prosecutors call a scheme to defraud donors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a campaign called “We Build the Wall.” The effort kicked off at an event in Quail Creek in February 2019, which Bannon attended. An indictment said the effort raised more than $25 million to build a wall on the Mexico border.

24 Four separate brush fires ignite along Interstate 19, one extending the length of six football fields and another drawing close to a wall separating the road from homes. There was no evidence they were started intentionally. They stretched from Sahuarita Road to Duval Mine Road in the southbound lanes.

27 Revered University of Arizona basketball Coach Lute Olson, who coached the Wildcats to the 1997 NCAA championship, dies just shy of his 86th birthday. “A product of the farming country of North Dakota, Lute had the grit and drive of a John Deere tractor, and the absolute tunnel vision most great coaches have to achieve goals,” Green Valley News columnist Corky Simpson wrote.

31 Simon, the wing-man for supervisor-turned-justice-of-the-peace Ray Carroll for nine years, makes his last visit to the vet as his organs slowly shut down. Carroll rescued Simon from an animal shelter when the dog was 5, and Simon spent nearly the next decade rescuing Ray — often offering comedic distraction at meetings or as an excuse to promote pet adoption.


4 United Republicans of Green Valley and Sahuarita’s plans to hold a mock funeral to “Bury the Democratic Party” sparks blowback across the community, with many calling it in poor taste amid a pandemic. Club president Yale Wishnick said the critics didn’t deter him and said they looked at it as an opportunity to educate Democrats. In the end, plans to take the “funeral” past Democratic Party headquarters are short-circuited by a hastily planned project by Continental Shopping Plaza that closed much of the parking lot.

8 Hit hard by the pandemic and declining attendance, Old Tucson Studios announces it is closing. The 50-year Pima County lease to the site west of Tucson was signed in 1973, and it almost made it. The fate of the 360-acre movie-making venue, which opened in 1939, is now in the hands of a Pima County committee, which includes a Sahuarita resident.

9 The Sahuarita Unified School District sees a 9 percent drop in enrollment for fall, a loss of about 600 students over the summer, thanks to the pandemic. “In general, each year our enrollment has been higher than the previous year as far back as I can remember,” Superintendent Manny Valenzuela said. “This is very much a change for us.”

14 Pima County sets a record for highest number of registered voters: 602,697. That’s a 10.9 percent increase from the 2016 election. Democrats had 244,661 registered voters compared to 177,048 Republicans and 173,304 “others,” which includes independents. Statewide, Democrats made gains but Republicans retained the lead with about 1.5 million registered voters.

16 The most popular dog names in 2020 based on licensing data from the Town of Sahuarita: Bailey and Charlie (tied). Female: Molly; male: Charlie. Most popular breed: Chihuahua or Chihuahua mix; 37 dogs had multiple names, for example Boba Fetch and Holly Berry.

20 Hudbay Materials, owner of the proposed Rosemont Mine, announces plans for exploratory drilling on the western slope of the Santa Rita Mountains. The project comes in part because the Rosemont mine is tied up in court for at least another year, stalling work at the site on the eastern slope. The mine announces drilling at two sites and later expands it to three.

27 The Green Valley Fire District announces it will seek the first bond in its 45-year history. The $13 million request would pay for infrastructure and help rebuild a 35-year-old fire station. Voters in November overwhelmingly approve the request.

27 Local animal shelters are seeing high numbers of adoptions during the pandemic. Paws Patrol saw 29 cats adopted in August, a record during its 15 years. The Animal League of Green Valley also saw strong numbers through the summer. The lowest month was due to having fewer animals to adopt out. By the end of the year, TALGV had taken in 40 dogs from the Pima Animal Care Center to adopt out to help the county agency.

27 The Town of Sahuarita completes the SAMTEC project — Sahuarita Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center — but is still looking for tech-focused tenants. The project was funded by a $3 million federal grant along with help from Freeport-McMoRan Foundation and the Arizona Commerce Authority, along with town funds.

30 Green Valley sets a record for most triple-digit days in a year — Sept. 30 marked the 100th day of 100 or higher temperatures. By the end of the year, the area had recorded 108 triple-digit days, the final one Oct. 16.


1 After more than six months closed, the White Elephant thrift shop reopens to robust sales. On its first day back, 501 shoppers come through the doors, spending just shy of $10,000. “We’re excited to be open and send a huge thank you to everyone for being so supportive and to those following the mandates,” manager Karen Lavo said.

12 The election becomes so heated in Pima County — and across the nation — that county Republican and Democratic leaders release a joint statement condemning “political sign theft and damage.” Police and Sheriff’s reports indicate more vandalism than in previous elections.

15 Green Valley Council president Thao Tiedt resigns weeks after announcing plans to move to Washington state to be close to family. Tiedt was an outspoken proponent of Green Valley’s vulnerable population during the pandemic, often taking Sahuarita leadership to task for not supporting county restrictions. In December, Debbie Kenyon is elected to the GVC post for a two-year term.

19 Green Valley Recreation announces it has purchased the long-closed Canoa Hills Golf Course clubhouse, and later discloses it bought the property for just over $503,000. In December, questions arise about the donation of a nearby parking lot to the GVR Foundation and why GVR didn’t buy it outright instead of looking to lease it.

24 Two men are arrested after three attempted bank robberies and one successful heist on the same day. Two of the unsuccessful robberies were in Sahuarita, where at one bank a teller told the would-be robber, “No, really, what can I do for you?” after a note was handed over. The man took the note back and ran off.

26 The Sahuarita Town Council passes an ordinance banning the opening of recreational marijuana dispensaries in town limits. The action comes about a week before voters approve Prop. 207, which allows for the sale statewide of recreational marijuana. The ordinance doesn’t cover the lone medical marijuana dispensary in Sahuarita, whose manager says plans to also sell recreational marijuana in 2021.

28 Kelly Adams, who has been CEO at Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital since July 2018, will step aside by year’s end. Stephen Harris, president and chair of the hospital’s executive board for a year, is the new CEO.


3 The November election brings a few changes to Pima County: Steve Christy retains his seat and will be the lone Republican on the five-member Board of Supervisors; Mark Napier loses his bid for a second term as sheriff to former Sheriff Chris Nanos; Martha McSally loses her Senate seat to Mark Kelly in a special election. Ballot errors delay the results for more than a week in the Continental School override and Green Valley Fire District bond — but both easily pass. The bulk of Green Valley precincts had voter turnout of about 89 percent.

6 Madeline Sperry resigns as Director of Operations for Friends in Deed due to family health issues. Sperry has been in the position since 2015, and served the organization since 2008.

8 One of the candidates for new CEO of Green Valley Recreation was involved in a lawsuit that cost his former employer in Oregon about $700,000. The disclosure came as the Green Valley News published the names of the three CEO finalists. GVR caimed, in error, that confidentiality of the candidates was a condition of the search firm it hired. Scott Somers’ actions in the lawsuit had been called “callously cruel and also stupid” by a district attorney who testified in the case involving the dismissal of an employee. On Nov. 13, the GVR board announces Somers will be the new CEO, starting Jan. 4.

11 Sahuarita gets its first hospital. Northwest Medical Center-Sahuarita, an 18-bed, $45 million, 77,000-square-foot facility, opens at Interstate 19 and Sahuarita Road.

24 The remainder of the high school football season is canceled after a growing number of virus cases and a recommendation by Pima County. Sahuarita and Walden Grove high schools each played three games over four weeks, sometimes scrambling to find opponents as coronavirus sidelined entire teams. The start of winter sports also is delayed.


2 Kent Blumenthal, who served as CEO of Green Valley Recreation for six years, is honored with the naming of the new 24-court Pickleball center. The Kent J. Blumenthal Pickleball Complex is the largest of its kind in Southern Arizona, and is the first GVR facility to be named for somebody.

6 Farmers Investment Co. (FICO) and Freeport-McMoRan’s Sierrita operation in Green Valley announce the completion in October of a $17 million, 12-mile pipeline to deliver Central Arizona Project water to local pecan orchards. The benefit for the community: Less groundwater pumping by two of the area’s largest water users, allowing for the restoration of the local aquifer.

10 Walden Grove High School loses a friend when Raul “Ralph” Alvarado dies of COVID-19 in a Phoenix hospital. Alvarado was a safety monitor at the school for nearly 10 years where his son, Adrian, is a senior this year. Well-known and respected on campus, Alvarado was remembered with a pile of flowers and rows of candles and balloons outside the school entrance.

15 Despite being closed for more than six months in 2020, the Country Fair White Elephant thrift store still manages to give away $590,000 in its annual check presentation to several organizations. The previous year, it gave away $1.7 million.

18 After a lot of stops and starts, pumps are installed at a long-vacant gas station on Camino del Sol in southern Green Valley. The gas station-convenience store closed in 2014, and the current three-year lease was signed in September 2019, then nothing. Jeetendra Yadav now says he’ll open the convenience store and gas station in January.

23 Preliminary numbers from the Sahuarita Unified School District show 28 percent of middle and high school students are failing at least one class. A year earlier, it was 13 percent. The district cites the difficulties brought on by the pandemic as the reason.

29 Green Valley Recreation kills a committee tasked with finding the source of a leak to the Green Valley News. The newspaper published the names of three CEO candidates in November after GVR declined to disclose them, the first time in its history it has not done so. The board decided the incoming CEO didn’t need the headache of an investigation in his first months; one director said the damage had already been done.