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YuCount Newsletter NOVEMBER 2017

Post Date:11/01/2017 4:00 PM


Administrator's Message

I hope you enjoyed October, and had a safe and fun Halloween! At this time of year, we enter into a time for fall festivals and holiday celebrations. Yuma County celebrates the Veterans Day holiday on Friday, November 10. This gives us the opportunity to honor those who have served our country, including our fellow employees who may have previously served in the military or are currently serving in the Reserves or National Guard.  Thank you for your service! 

Later this month, November 23-24, we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you are able to take this time to gather with family and friends, to enjoy your time together and to appreciate one another. For those of you who are required to work on these holidays, I appreciate your dedication to doing the job on these days and nights so that others can enjoy the time off. Thank you for all you do for our community. Please let me know what the County can do to make your job more enjoyable and satisfying, as we serve our fellow Yuma County citizens.

Susan K. Thorpe
Yuma County Administrator

Elections in the United States have changed since 2000.  Not the election themselves, but how we conduct elections.  Punch card chad systems are gone and now election officials across the country have developed more modern, secure and sophisticated ways to improve the process.

In Yuma County, the Recorder and Elections Director have teamed up for the upcoming Somerton Election in November.  Based on sound research from previous elections, the entire upcoming Somerton Election will be "Vote-By-Mail".  Meaning, there will not be any polling places.

It's certainly a sign of the times.  Saving money while making the election process more efficient, but don't worry, this model for running all election will only be used on smaller, more manageable elections.  What we call "Off Cycle" elections.  Those elections such as Presidential and State Elections will still follow the traditional routine of early ballots and voting at the polls.

For those of you living in the City of Yuma, this does not apply to your election in November.  Early ballots and voting at the polls will be the process for the City's Election.

The new legislative session is a couple of months away, but that does not mean that Yuma County is waiting to decide what changes need to be made in state laws.

To begin the process, Yuma County managers had a visit from the Arizona Association of Counties to familiarize themselves with the process of getting a bill passed.

The Executive Director of AACo, Jen Marson, has lobbied for counties since 2002 and has expertise in all Area's County related.  While she manages the daily operations of AACo, she also directs the State and Federal Government Affairs Program while coordinating the Association's Outreach Programs.

In November, many Yuma County Elected Officials and agency heads will be heading to AACo's Annual Conference where all Arizona Counties will begin discussing similar interests in working together on legislation for the upcoming session in January, 2018.

There are some simple steps you can take to help prevent the flu.  One important step is to get a flu shot and recently Health District Officials announced the Seasonal Influenza Vaccine is available for all individuals six months of age and older.  The cost is $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for individuals 18 years and younger.  Medicare part B, AHCCCS and Private Insurance are accepted upon presentation of the card.

There is some other simple ways to keep the flu away from yourself and others, along with not spreading it yourself.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Avoid close contact.
  • Stay home if you feel sick.

Remember the simple steps to keep from spreading the flu and plan now to get your shot.   You can get the schedule of times and locations to receive the shot along with other important information at

Each quarter, Yuma County employees are eligible to be nominated as the Safety Excellence Award Winner of the quarter. 

This quarter's recipient is RICARDO SANDOVAL (Rick), and investigator for the Public Defender's Office.  Rick has been exceptionally vigilant in keeping his fellow employees trained in safety and security.  Rick developed protocols for staff on how to deal with potentially dangerous situations.  He volunteered and offered self-defense training to both his office and at the Statewide Arizona Public Defender Association Conference this past summer. 

Since that training, there have been two occasions where multiple employees utilized Rick's training to evade potentially dangerous outcomes.

It is Rick's can-do attitude that has trained and empowered the Public Defender's staff to be prepared.  CONGRATULATIONS RICK! Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Statewide Annual Arizona Probation Employee Recognition Awards
On September 28, 2017, the Arizona Chief Adult Probation Officers’ Association held its annual Arizona Statewide Probation Employee Recognition Training Event, in Mesa, Arizona.  The event was attended by probation staff and dignitaries from throughout Arizona.  The guest of honor was Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales.
I am proud to announce that Yuma County did not return empty handed!   Due to a new award established last year, the Arizona Chief Probation Officers’ Association presented a Lifetime Achievement award.  I am very proud to report that the winner of this award went to Yuma County’s very own Ron Jones. The following was submitted by Yuma County Chief Adult Probation Officer, Sandi Hoppough in support of Ron’s nomination:
“Ron Jones is the current defense attorney for the Yuma County Adult Drug Court program through his employment with Yuma County as a Conflict Administrator/Special Defense Counsel.  After graduating from Stanford University in 1958, Ron obtained his Juris Doctor in 1961 from the University of Arizona and quickly became a member of the Arizona State Bar Association.  For the past 56 years, Ron has practiced criminal law in Arizona and was previously elected as the Yuma County Attorney.  Following his time at the helm of the County Attorney’s Office, he served as the very first Yuma County Public Defender.  He is a former President of the Yuma County Bar Association and in 1997 assisted the then Presiding Judge Tom C. Cole with the development and creation of the Yuma County Adult Drug Court.

More recently, Ron has been selected for the representation responsibilities for probationers who are placed in the Yuma County Swift, Accountable, Fair, Enforcement (S.A.F.E.) program.  His immense knowledge of criminal law and his compassion for offenders struggling substance abuse and mental health conditions has made him a tremendous asset to both of these programs.  Specifically, his expertise and demeanor have significantly contributed to the success of the Yuma County Drug Court and much of the recognition that this program has received over the course of two decades.  During his time in Drug Court, Ron has drafted nearly all of the legal documents used by the program and has personally represented over 1,400 Drug Court clients over the past twenty years.

Ron truly understands the concept behind a non-adversarial court approach that specialty courts rely upon to achieve successful outcomes.  While so many other programs across the state and the country struggle with attorney or judicial buy-in for their specialty court, Yuma County has been able to consistently rely on the dedication and commitment of Ron Jones for over 60 years.  His contributions, tenure, and achievements are not likely to be matched by many in the legal profession.”  Congratulations Ron, on earning this very prestigious award, and A GREAT BIG YUMA COUNTY THANK YOU for your many years of dedication to the citizens of our community.  The services that you’ve provided to our community can never be repaid.
In addition, our Defensive Tactics Team which consists of officers from both Yuma County Adult Probation and Yuma County Juvenile Probation was selected by the Administrative Office of the Courts’ Committee on Probation Education for the 2016 Defensive Tactics Excellence In Education Award (I prefer to call it “best in the state”).  As the title states, the Defensive Tactics team is responsible for training new officers from throughout the State of Arizona on survival skills when they face a resistant or assaultive probationer whether it is when conducting supervision in the field or during an office visit.  The team trains officers on “Reasonable Use of Force Options,” proper handcuffing techniques, and weapons retention as well as many other skills that are essential to perform their duties in a manner that protects them and our probationers.  In addition to the State training, they provide refresher training several times a year, keeping officers updated on the newest developments in defensive tactics.  All officers are required to attend two refreshers every calendar year as mandatory training.  The Defensive Tactics instructors from Adult Probation are the following:  David Reynoso, Jeremy Heil, Nick Arias, and Domingo Flores.  From Juvenile Probation:  Henry Gonzalez, Matthew Fox, Francisco Esquivel, and Juan Rodriguez.  A big thank you to all of them for helping improve our chances of returning to our families at the end of our shifts.  Congratulations.


Also recognized were the following from Adult Probation:
Rosemarie Barbee, Adult Probation Officer, who was nominated as Arizona’s Line Officer of the Year for 2016, has served our community as an Adult Probation Officer for 17 years.  Due to her tremendous work ethic and professional talents, this is her second nomination.  Rosemarie was nominated for this honor in 2010 as well.  She currently supervises a specialty caseload that is involved in the Superior Court’s Mental Health Court.  Formerly she served a Court Liaison for many years assisting other probation officers in court appearances allowing for more efficient use of time for officers to meet with their assigned probationers. 
Jaime Velasquez, Drug Court Counselor, was nominated as Arizona Employee of the Year for 2016.  Jaime has worked for the Adult Probation Department for more than ten years.  During this past year, the department established a new partnership with a local substance abuse counseling agency to provide on-site services for Drug Court participants.  Jamie was an Administrative Assistant in the DC program and was recently promoted to Drug Court substance abuse counselor.  Jaime was instrumental in transitioning the counselors into the program so the participants experienced the minimal interruption in services.
Alma Villalobos, Probation Services Supervisor, was nominated as Supervisor of the Year for 2016.  Alma is in her 19th year with our department with the last six years as a Probation Services Supervisor.  Before her promotion to supervisor, Alma was selected as Line Officer of the Year for 2007.  Her nomination is a culmination of accomplishments and characteristics, most notably is Alma’s involvement in the development of a much needed “training unit” for our department. In addition, she was instrumental in the project to overhaul our case file review for Quality Assurance process and format, has served as a Motivational Interviewing instructor and coach, and continues to be involved in the statewide committee to develop and test new “Train the Trainer” curriculum.  Alma participated in Administrative Office of the Court’s Adult Code of Judicial Administration workgroup to propose revisions to Intensive and Standard Probation Supervision codes.
Congratulations to all.  I’ve said this before: “Yuma County has the best”.  Probation Works!

Submitted by:
Frank Silva
Adult Probation

How do you make the number one disappear?

Three lives have I. Gentle enough to soothe the skin, light enough to caress the sky, hard enough to crack rocks.  What am I?

The Summer Slimdown Fitness Challenge had a duration of 8 weeks. There were a total of 280 participants present at initial measurements. This year the benefits department decided to include three activities that must have been completed in order to be eligible for an incentive. The three activities were; a buddy picture or a selfie, midway measurements, and the 1% challenge through Blue Cross Blue Shield. A total of 180 employees completed all three activities plus initial and final measurements. Every employee who completed the challenge received a tee shirt, wireless headphones, and a Fitbit.

The next weight loss challenge will start in November, more information to come soon.


November 11, 2017 - Turkey Trot
Start/Finish: Gateway Park
Race Start Time: 8:15 am
On-Site bib pick-up 7:00 AM - 8:00 AM * Go to the Registration table under "Yuma County"

Join family, friends and your community the morning of November 11th for a walk or run at Gateway Park path and under the ocean to ocean bridge. Registration is free to all Yuma County employees and dependents on the health plan. Register by October 27th to receive a T-shirt provided by City of Parks and Recs. All other registrations will be due by November 6th by noon. 

January 27, 2018, Yuma Territorial Marathon & Half Marathon Run
*Caballeros de Yuma will be sending race instruction by email

How to register: Log in to your HRintouch portal under Health and wellness>Fun Runs/Walks

Please note: If you are not an active member on the YCEBT Medical Plan, you can still register for the fun walk/runs in one of three ways below:

Online: “Turkey Trot”
By Phone: 928-373-5200
In person: at the Parks & Recreation Department inside City Hall.

For the marathon run:

HRintouch portal, view your benefits and register for activities:



During this session, one will learn; what is the cost comparison tool, how to use it to your advantage, and how to save money by utilizing it.

There will be a session on Thursday, November 16, 2017, at the Main Library and Friday, November 17, 2017, at Heritage Library.

To register, please log in to your HRintouch portal at, click on the “Health & Wellness” tab, and then on the Lunch & Learn option. 

Lunch will be provided, so space is limited!

We look forward to seeing you there.

Adult Probation
Eric M. Cuen-Probation Officer I
Luis M. Morales-Probation Officer I

Roberto Vasquez Zuniga-Field Data Specialist

County Attorney
Kaitlin H. Wolf-Paralegal

General Services
Thomas Griswold-Custodian

Health Department
Patricia Porter-Health Educator
Mireya Lopez-Public Health Nurse

Justice Court
Rocio N. Yepez-Justice Clerk II
Roxanne C. Wood-Justice Court Clerk I

Legal Defender
Elizabeth  Gomez-Legal Sec. III

Sarah E. Del Real-Library Assist. I
Fernando Perez-Library Assist. I
Ana M. Magdaleno-Custodian

Public Works
Eric S. Tucker-Equipment Operator
Francisco V. Felix-Equipment Operator

Marcos Flores-Sanitarian Aide

information Technology Services
Clifton Summers-chief Information Officer

Justice Court #2
Chantel Heras-Chief Criminal Clerk

Darya S. Espinoza-Financial Services Supervisor




Summary.  The 2017 Great Arizona ShakeOut engaged 111,379 Arizonans in practicing, Drop, Cover, Hold On’, for the ground shaking that accompanies moderate to severe earthquakes (Figure 1). Enrollment improved markedly from 2016 (~66k) and 2015 (~74k), but fell short of 2014’s high water mark of ~124k. FEMA’s financial support arrived late in the game (1 Oct. 2017), but nonetheless provided much-needed help down the stretch. Our primary audience of K-12 and college students and staff comprised 46,707 and 29,090, respectively.

What went well?- There were a number of bright spots in ShakeOut 2017.

  • We leveraged a growing network of ShakeOut folks from the emergency management community, K-12 education, universities, preparedness groups, and tribal communities.
  • Enrollment in Yuma, Maricopa, Coconino and Yavapai Counties, remains high year-after-year (Figure 1).
  • K-12 schools and Colleges continue to participate in large numbers, but there is room for growth.
  • The Cocopah Indian Tribe participated again in 2017.
  • We made inroads into the HealthCare Community, with more than 27 providers in eight counties enrolling 5,915 people.

Challenges. We had little success engaging Arizona’s rural counties and communities and American Indian Tribal communities.

  • ShakeOut underperformed in Arizona’s rural counties, with Apache and Navajo Counties being the exceptions (Figure 1).
  • Enrollment dropped in Pima and Pinal County. This probably results from changes at the Superintendent-level at several school districts in the two counties.
  • Enrollment in Greenlee County was anemic in spite of 2014’s M5.3 earthquake.

Going Forward.- We need to redouble our efforts to engage stakeholders in promoting and showcasing ShakeOut, and we need to encourage professional science societies to support and embrace ShakeOut.

Media & ShakeOut.- We had limited success with the news media this year – less success than in ShakeOut’s record year of 2014, in spite of circulating ShakeOut news to ~325 media outlets.

Planning for Success in 2018. ShakeOut continues to be Arizona’s largest emergency preparedness event. With renewed direct state funding from FEMA for 2018, we have turned the corner in controlling our own ShakeOut destiny. ShakeOut goals in 2018, include:

  • Establish an ad hoc advisory group to advise on organization and promotion of ShakeOut;
  • Grow ShakeOut to more than 150,000 participants;
  • Incorporate FEMA ‘Make A Plan |’ into ShakeOut promotions to broaden our approach and make the ShakeOut experience relevant to overall emergency planning.

Got comments or questions? |

Thank you for supporting ShakeOut & earthquake preparedness in Arizona!

Figure 1. Arizona ShakeOut numbers of 23 October 2017.


Research has shown that people who express gratitude are happier, have better relationships, are more likely to exercise and eat healthfully, and have improved immune function. By calling 1-888-881-LINC (5462), your employees and their family members can speak with one of SupportLinc’s helpful specialists, who can provide them with resources and information on stress management techniques and cultivate contentment.  In addition, the SupportLinc website (located at provides articles and tip sheets on mindfulness and meditation.
This month’s webinar, ‘the mind-body connection’, will be available on demand starting November 21st.  Become aware of how your body feels when it’s under stress and learn how to maintain a relaxed and calm state during stressful times. The webinar can be found on the website under ‘Online Seminars’ in the ‘Centers’ section.  All new and archived webinars are located in this section for ease of access.


On Friday, October 13, 2017, Yuma County participated in the 2017 Kickball tournament.  We had three teams “Full Court Attack, Balls & Dolls and Shake & Bake”.  Balls & Dolls received the winning trophy for the kickball tournament.

The picture also signifies the accomplishments that Yuma County achieved for the 2017 Corporate Cup. During the year, Yuma County participated in various activities: Fun Walk/Run, 3 Philanthropic events and the finale “Kickball tournament”.  Yuma County is one of a variety of employers who competed for the Corporate Cup.  The City of Yuma received the trophy in 2014 and 2015, YRMC received the trophy in 2016 and now, Yuma County has received the trophy for 2017.  This is an exciting accomplishment. 

On May 21, 1945, a delegation of citizens, representatives of various civic organizations of the county, were in attendance to hear C. Warren Cole, airport engineer for the Civil Aeronautical Administration, speak about airport planning on a countywide basis, and recommended the establishment of an aviation commission.  

 As a result of the discussion, the Yuma County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution to establish the “Yuma County Aviation Commission”.   The commission was composed of members of the Board of Supervisors together with six (6) other members from the citizens and taxpayers of Yuma County.  The purpose of the commission was to assist in all possible ways in promoting and developing aviation in Yuma County, and to meet and negotiate with officers and employees of the United States Government, the State of Arizona, and other counties and cities for such purposes, and in general, take action for a long-range program of aviation fields and strips in Yuma County. 

 However, the commission was not authorized to enter into any binding contracts without previous action and approval of the Board of Supervisors, nor was the commission authorized or empowered to spend any public monies of the county or to incur any charges or expenses of any kind against the county. On July 16, 1945, the Board of Supervisors appointed the first three (3) members of the commission: L. C. Dingess, Yuma;  P. R. Campbell, Somerton; and Samuel V. Haydis, Salome, Arizona. Board of Supervisors members were: C. C. Newberry, Chairman; W. D. Riley, and R. H. Thompson. 

Submitted by:
Ginger Hamilton
Yuma County Administration

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