Chaos at the fair, future of the Float and the identity of Ken and Tuff: there’s no place like Parker, Arizona, and nobody covers it the way Parker Live does!
Dear readers: Parker, AZ is a small town. But unlike most small towns, the community of people who come and go from our beaches is pretty vast, when you add it all up. Many of you reading this don’t live here on a permanent, year-round basis, but consider yourselves river people regardless. At Parker Live, we like that. We think you’re one of us, and aim to provide a place where you can check on the latest going on here on the Parker Strip. So, thanks for another great year!
And now, the top ten stories of 2016, with links to the original articles. Happy New Year!
10. Microburst brings down lighting rig at Fair
High winds plagued the Miss La Paz County pageant all night, but it was a particularly strong microburst that brought the show to an abrupt halt, sending a lighting rig crashing to the ground and injuring one of the show’s tabulators, Amber Byrd. Parker Live talked to Amber afterwards; she said she was feeling “incredibly lucky” and was glad nobody else was hurt, including the children who were close-by. A winner was named later at a school gymnasium.
9. Gas prices discussed, new gas station opens
We tried to separate fact from fiction about the gas prices in Parker, AZ in a piece written in January, and by the following month the Colorado River Indian Tribes had opened the first of two new fuel stations. The conversation picked up because some people believe the gas prices are artificially high in Parker, whereas for many others who go back and forth from metro Southern California, they’re seen as really low.
8. A murder in the Valley
The community was shocked by the murder of Cynthia Williams, a Parker area woman whose body was found in a canal near Poston, AZ. We talked to her brother, who appealed for information about her killers. A combined reward of $10,000 was offered. The Sheriff’s Office responded to claims that Cynthia was a confidential informant working against drug dealers on behalf of the Narcotics Task Force: those claims were false. Eventually, in November, two suspects were arrested for Cynthia’s murder and charged in U.S. District Court.
7. We get drunk for DUI education
In a special edition of the Parker Livecast, several of us congregated at Roadrunner Bar & Grill for a DUI workshop with La Paz County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Curt Bagby on hand to administer blood alcohol tests. The results were informative and entertaining.
6. Triple homicide near Salome
Three senior citizens were shot and killed in a triple homicide in a very rural area of La Paz County near Salome, AZ. The suspect was later involved in a shootout with police in Glendale, AZ where he was reportedly acting erratically at 1am. He was later named as Kitage Lynch, 24.
5. History of our 100 year old Ford dealership
Parker Motor Company’s history is traced back to 1916 in this history of the family-owned small town dealership that continues to serve Parker, AZ. Our piece is largely based around an interview with the Beaver family.
4. Robby Gordon’s father and stepmother found dead
Off-road racer and former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon spoke tearfully in front of his house in Orange, CA after his father and stepmother were found dead inside in September. The Gordons have ties to the Parker area and many in our wider community were shocked at the news.
3. Live in lockup
James Burns, a filmmaker with VICE, wanted to document the experience of being in solitary confinement. So he voluntarily entered the La Paz County Jail of his own free will in December, with the cooperation of the Sheriff’s Department. It was live streamed from his cell. The experiment will end in January if Burns makes it the planned 30 days, or sooner if not.
2. Float’s future conferred
The end of the Bullhead City River Regatta this year because of unmanageable crowds and trash in the river prompted a new discussion about the Parker Tube Float, a Chamber of Commerce fundraiser that kicks off the start of summer here in Parker each year. It turns out that a lot of people want to end the annual Float. Others want to harness the economic power of the Float and say it brings continued benefit to our area.
1. Identity of Ken, Tuff revealed!
A letter to the Editor asked us who ‘Ken Tuff’ is, and we couldn’t help but try to find out. The prominent etchings on the railroad bridge have greeted visitors to Parker for decades now, and have somehow remained burned into the concrete support all that time. Lots of people responded, including some who knew exactly who ‘Ken’ and ‘Tuff’ were (that’s right; they turned out to be two different people). We ended up talking to Tuff and writing the whole story about the night the bridge was painted by two river rats 44 years ago. It was our most-read story of 2016!
Parker Live delivers original and aggregated news and other content from the Parker Strip, the stretch of the Colorado River that joins the states of California and Arizona south of Lake Havasu. Join our Facebook page HERE!