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Arizona Centennial Series - 10 Top Headlines Spotlighting Arizona

10 Top Arizona Headlines Over The Past 100 Years

Arizona became the 48th state in the Union, officially gaining its statehood February 14, 1912. Since that time dramatic events have captured the news medias attention more than others. Over the past 100 years, Arizonans have become impacted by events that have not only shocked locals but also people across the nation; the following includes the stories we felt attracted the most media attention.


Clyde Tombaugh Discovers Pluto (1930)

On March 13, 1930, Lowell Observatory located in Flagstaff, Ariz. announced the discovery of the planet that would eventually be named Pluto. Clyde Tombaugh discovered the  planet on February 18, 1930. This brought major media attention to the research facility, putting Arizona on the map for a great, defining moment.


New Phoenix Coyotes Arena (2003)

In 2003, the Phoenix Coyotes had a place to call home. In 2002, when development started there was a lot of controversy over the location and how prosperous the sight would be. Names for the arena were selling at rocket high prices, with University of Phoenix Stadium winning, spending $154 million for 20 years. The sports district has allowed new growth to the Valley, attracting news of the team, economic development, what the stadium is bringing to the location and how much the name cost. The location of the stadium has continued to promote success in the Glendale area.


Flying Saucer Sighted In Tucson (1950)

On February 1, 1950, a fiery object shot quickly west through the Tucson skies. A B-29 took off in pursuit of the object, but the plane could not catch up to the object. This is one of the most bizarre cases in Tucson history, documented by the Tucson Daily Citizen (before the paper became the Tucson Citizen). This made citizens question the Air Force base while the news media worked to find and report answers. Eventually, it was said the Air Force was etching vapor trails. This story graced the cover of news media around Arizona for months.

Flying Saucer Sighted in Tucson 1950, Arizona Centennial Series


Cardinals Go To The Superbowl (2009)

It took 61 years and in 2009 the Arizona Cardinals went to the Superbowl. Arizona residents were wearing t-shirts to support the team and news media gobbled up every technique they could to write about the team finally making it. Arizona was not only in the news with this story, the state was put on the map. Although the Cardinals didn’t win the Superbowl, the fact that they got there created quite a historic moment.

Cardinals go to Superbowl 2009, Arizona Centennial Series


Sweat Lodge Deaths (2009)

On October 9, 2009, James Arthur Ray, self-help guru, gave a seminar in Sedona, Ariz. in a sweat lodge where two people died and 12 were sent to the hospital. Every 15 minutes, a volcanic rock the size of a cantaloupe was brought into the self-made tent to cure spiritual and financial problems. Ray has appeared on Oprah and Larry King Live causing the media to go on an information hunt and asked questions about his true healing power sprawling the tragedy nationwide. News media has been covering the story for two years. As of now, James Arthur Ray has not been convicted of any crime.


Hanging Invitations (1900)

A misunderstanding on a hot-button issue put Arizona in the national spotlight more than a century ago. The statute required sheriffs to issue invitations to all sheriffs in the territory whenever an execution was scheduled. George Smiley was scheduled to be hung December 8, 1899; however, amused by the requirement, Sheriff F.J. Wattron of Holbrook sent out gilt-edged cards assuring invitees that the proceedings would be “cheerful” and the execution “a success.” The story went viral when the Associated Press got hold of a card. President William McKinley requested a 30 stay and new invitations be sent out by the sheriff. Wattron re-sent invitations and George Smiley was hung on January 8, 1900.


Arizona Becomes A State (1912)

We had to include Arizona becoming a state as a big news topic. On February 14, 1912, Arizona became the 48th state of the United States. This didn’t come without a price. In 1598, Spain claimed the land as part of New Spain. In 1821, Mexico became independent from Spain and claimed the land. By the late 1820’s, the Spanish had deserted most of their outposts in the area, and Americans began to pour in looking for land and opportunities. In 1848, the United States was at War with Mexico. Arizona became part of the territory of New Mexico in 1853. The westernmost battle in the Civil War was fought in Arizona. On December 29, 1863 Arizona was established as a separate territory and part of the United States. Two famous Indian Chiefs Cochise and Geronimo were natives of Arizona and carried on guerrilla warfare within the territory against the encroaching white settlers until Geronimo surrendered in 1886, ending the Apache Wars. The first attempt at statehood in 1891 was rejected by Congress. Congress twice tried to admit Arizona and New Mexico as one state, but that idea was rejected. Finally in 1912, Arizona entered the union. It was not easy, but the “Grand Canyon State” was a worthy addition to the United States.

Arizona becoms a state 1910, Arizona Centennial Series


Tuscon Shooting (2011)

Jared Loughner, the man accused of the Tucson massacre that left six dead and injured 13 others, including Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Congresswoman, shocked the news media and put everyone across the world in a panic. At this point no one knows the meaning behind the shooting, and Jared Loughner has not been convicted of any crime. News stations across the nation have followed this story for the latest developments and continue to do so. Journalist from around the country have come to Arizona to see what leads could be discovered. President Obama flew into Tucson to give a speech and condolences. Although a recent event, this news story has made a tremendous impact on news involving Arizona.


FBI Memo (2001)

The FBI was informed of a July 2001 memo sent from the bureau’s Arizona office warning headquarters that Arabs were training at U.S. flight schools. The flight schools were located in Arizona. Phoenix-based agent Kenneth Williams wrote a memo to his superiors in Washington two months before the attacks, suggesting that terrorists might be learning to fly commercial jetliners at U.S. flight schools, according to local papers. Once the September 11, 2001 attacks happened, the media generated a special interest in Arizona and flight schools. The controversy was so prominent the story circulated in the news for years after the attacks.


SB1070 (2010)

SB1070 was approved by the Senate on April 13, 2010 with a 35 to 21 vote. This bill has been the harshest measure of the United States fighting illegal immigration. Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill April 16, 2010 putting it into effect. Under the new measure, it will be a misdemeanor offense in Arizona to be without proper immigration paperwork. Additionally, police are now allowed to distinguish an individual’s immigration status if they develop a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an illegal immigrant. Other states, such as California, didn’t agree with the bill, arguing it is racial profiling. Arizona was banned by other states, and the news media has been following this story for the past year. This is the No. 1 news story because it questions constitutional rights and every state recognizes its dramatic impact. The  effects of the bill are uncertain. 

SB1070 Bill Passed 2010, Arizona Centennial Series
centennial top 10

10 Top Intriguing News In Arizona’s Medical World

10 Top Intriguing News Pieces In Arizona’s Medical World

Arizona has had a long, rich history since its established statehood in 1912. People travel here for the sun, the weather, for a change of scenery and for their health. Health, especially, has made Arizona a unique place to live.  Here are our top news pieces that made Arizona that much more intriguing or helped put this state in the limelight.


December 9, 1921 – Climate and Your Health

A doctor in New York City writes an article for the Youngstown Vindicator about how climate may affect health. Those diagnosed with illnesses such as tuberculosis began migrating to Arizona in the 1900’s, and it has since been known as the ideal climate for many illnesses and conditions.

arizona map


December 21, 2010 – St. Joseph’s Hospital Stripped of Catholic Status

After a case at the hospital involving the termination of a pregnancy Catholic bishop Olmsted declared the procedure an abortion, which is barred by Catholic teaching. St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center was then told that they would no longer be able to call themselves a Catholic hospital. The hospital says that this will not hinder their patient care.


April, 2009, Phoenix – Swine Flu

The first Arizona swine flu case was confirmed in Phoenix, Ariz. An 8-year-old boy attending Moon Mountain Elementary School in northwest Phoenix was the first person confirmed in the state to have contracted the virus.

swine flu


November 28, 1993, Scottsdale – Arizona Golfer’s Cancer Struggle

The professional golfer Heather Farr passed away in a Scottsdale hospital after a four-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. She was 28 and an inspiration to many in her professional life and personal struggles.


October 31, 1939, Phoenix – “The Trunk Murderess” Escapes from Asylum

Winnie Ruth Judd, also known as “The Trunk Murderess” after being found guilty for the murders of two young women who’s bodies were hacked up and stuffed into shipping trunks, was placed once again in the Arizona State Hospital for the insane after six days of freedom. Judd and the victims were all employed at the Grunow Medical Clinic before the incident.

Grunow Medical Clinic


June, 2003, Flagstaff – Rare Disease

A woman named Ginger Harvey undergoes surgery for what is expected to be a hernia, only for the doctors to discover a, while not cancerous, harmful growth on her left kidney. Later it is discovered to be a rare condition called Dercum’s Disease after a man with very similar symptoms is seen on television.


October, 2002 – Amoeba Water Scare

Phoenix gets a water scare after two healthy 5-year-olds die within hours of each other of an undetermined type of meningitis. Amoeba was discovered to be the culprit, which causes symptoms of meningitis once it travels up the nose and into the brain and spinal column via water.



June, 1993, Window Rock, AZ – Mysterious Illness

11 people on or near Navajo lands, the majority of them under the age of 40, die of a mysterious illness. The land extends into New Mexico and Utah from Arizona, but far from cities and main roads, making the situation isolated even while baffling investigators.


May 2, 1967, Winslow – Two-Pound Baby

A 3 year old by the name of Dianne Proctor, living with her adoptive parents in Winslow had a strange genetic condition that stunted her growth significantly. At birth she weighed slightly more than two pounds and after three years she weighed as much as an average two-month-old child.

Baby Hand


September, 1985, Tucson – Three Hearts for One Man

Michael Drummond  had a total of three hearts within 10 days. The 25-year-old Arizonan goes from receiving a mechanical heart on August 29th to finally a real heart after complications from the mechanical one caused strokes.

A doctor in New York City writes an article for the Youngstown Vindicator about how climate may affect health. Those diagnosed with illnesses such as tuberculosis, began migrating to Arizona in the 1900’s and it has since been known as the ideal climate for many illnesses and conditions.


The Five C’s of Arizona

Copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate. These “Five C’s” were the core of Arizona’s economy when it first became a state. Though not as important today, they assist in bringing residents and tourists alike to Arizona. If you went to elementary school here you may have heard of these in the classroom. If not, here is a quick breakdown:

The five C's of Arizona's economy

Route 66 information

Historic Route 66

First established in 1926, Route 66 is an American legend. Though it was, for all intents and purposes, “decommissioned” in 1985, the road still lives on in the various states it passed through. In Arizona it exists today as State Route 66. Take a look at the infographic below for more information about the historic road.

Route 66 information

Arizona Centennial Top 10

10 Top Political Events in Arizona’s History

10 Top Political Events in Arizona’s History

Officially gaining its statehood February 14, 1912, Arizona became the 48th state in the Union.  With a history of the Wild West, Cowboys and Indians, and gorgeous sunsets, the Grand Canyon State has a long and impactful history.  In the political realm, Arizona has seen several major political events, policies and leaders in its 100 years of statehood, and these are the events we felt were the most influential.


1963: Arizona vs. California

It was in 1963 when the United States Supreme Court decision Arizona vs. California delegated water rights amongst local Indian reservations in the Grand Canyon Lower Basin. It was a landmark case and a topic of concern that had been a controversial subject matter in Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah government. Ultimately, it went on to help resolve an ongoing debate for control of the Colorado river.


1948: Native Americans officially granted the right to vote

A lawsuit was filed by a Native American who fought in World War II and ultimately led to voting equality in Arizona. In 1948, Frank Harrison and Harry Austin (Mohave-Apaches) at Fort McDowell Indian Reservation were denied voter registration and took the case to court, citing that their constitutional rights as American citizens had be violated. Native Americans had previously been exempt from proper voter registration, as they were deemed “wards of the government” – not independent citizens. They ultimately won and in effect overturned a 20-year-old court case (Porter v. Hall).

Native Americans gained the right to vote in 1948 in a Supreme Court case


1992: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

There had been much controversy surrounding New Hampshire and Arizona in the early ’90s as the only two states whom had not yet officially recognized the MLK Day. Ultimately, the National Football League relocated its Super Bowl XXVII plans from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California in 1993 in the wake of media controversy. Eventually, the law was passed despite much controversy, and Arizona finally established Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a nationally recognized holiday for Arizonans.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Arizona


January 8, 1988: Republican Governor Evan Mecham of Arizona is impeached

Republican Governor Evan Mecham of Arizona was impeached in January of 1988 on charges of money laundering, perjury and failing to report $350,000 to a real estate developer (according to an October 1987 Arizona Republic story). After a string of controversial campaign decisions, however, he was acquitted on all six felony charges in June. Although he attempted to stay in the political and journalism sphere, he was never able to fully reenter.


1919: President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act

In 1919 Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act, making Arizona’s Grand Canyon one of the nation’s oldest and most popular physical landmarks. Over 1,900 square miles, the National Park is also considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world and attracts tourists of all walks of life to hike, climb, explore and vacation. A trademark of Arizona geography, the Grand Canyon Act has helped to preserve this natural wonder and allow its over five million annual visitors to experience a wonder of the world.

President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act


1964 Election: Barry Goldwater of Arizona runs for president

Republican Barry Goldwater of Arizona became the first Arizonan to run for President of the Untied States in 1964, after his party’s nomination. Known as “Mr. Conservative,” he was a harsh conservative when it came to fiscal responsibility and is credited with the Libertarian Party movement of the 1970’s.  Later in his political career, he was critical of his own Republican party of the 1980’s and it’s sudden explosion of religious influence. Although he later lost the election of 1964 to Lyndon B. Johnson, he would continue to have lasting influence in traditional Republican politics for decades to come, until his death in May of 1998.


January 16, 1917: The Zimmerman Telegram

Just prior to America’s involvement in WWI,  The Zimmerman Telegram was a secretive message sent from Germany to Mexico, stating that Mexico would regain Arizona as a territory if they aided Germany in the war. It was intercepted by British Intelligence, translated and sent to United States for analysis.  It was eventually release to the public in March, angering the American people. It dramatically influenced our foreign policy towards the Axis countries, catapulting the United States into WWI

The Zimmerman Telegram was an intercepted message from German officials, asking Mexico to join their war efforts in exchange for Arizona


September 30, 1935: The Hoover Dam was dedicated

The Hoover Dam began construction in 1931 during the Great Depression and was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935. This 726.4-foot-tall dam spans the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona, and supplies large amounts of electricity to Nevada, California and Arizona. According to the Department of the Interior, the Dam has a rated capacity of 2,998,000 horsepower, 17 turbines and 4.2 billion kilowatt-hours produced annually. It provides 15.4 percent of Los Angeles’ power and 18.9 percent of Arizona’s power every year. A necessity for Arizonans way of life, the Hoover Dam was a marvel of man that continues to bring energy to millions every year.


April 23, 2010/July 29, 2010: Arizona Senate Bill 1070

In April of 2010, Arizona Senate Bill 1070 was signed and went into effect under Republican Governor Jan Brewer later that year. A highly controversial bill, SB 1070 is the most stringent anti-immigration law in recent decades and allowed police officers to make arrests for “looking like” an illegal alien. Controversy surrounded its legality and accused the supporters of it of utilizing racial overtones in order to target Mexican immigrants as riots and marches throughout the Phoenix area captivated the nation. Hundreds of thousands of self-proclaimed illegal immigrants gathered in the Grand Canyon State in opposition to the bill in 2010, intensifying the immigration debate on all levels.

Arizona Senate Bill 1070


September 25, 1981: Sandra Day O’Connor is the first female member of the U.S. Supreme Court

On September 25, 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman member of the U.S. Supreme Court and represented Arizona until her resignation on January 31, 2006. Born in El Paso, TX, she would go on to receive a B.A. in economics from Stanford University but was met with strong opposition due to her sex in multiple law firms after graduation. However, she would later become Attorney General of Arizona (1965 – 1969) and appointed to the Arizona State Senate in 1969. Eleven years later, she would be appointed the first woman Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history by President Ronald Reagan and continue to inspire women in politics for years to come.