By Mayor Felix Callicotte
“Festival of Lights”
Each December, the Town of Clifton sponsors the Festival of Lights, a major holiday celebration that brings together residents to kick off the holiday season in Clifton and surrounding Greenlee County. Clifton’s Festival of Lights is one of the largest electric light parades in small town Arizona.
Clifton’s Festival of Lights is a family-focused event that people can make an entire day and night out for a community event and it worked again this year, the 21st year. The real fun is seeing all the families out for the afternoon activities and then getting excited about the parade of lights floats. For the past 20 years the only real complaint about the Festival of Lights celebration was that it didn’t last long enough. As a holiday and community celebration, the day-long event has become so popular and successful that revelers are reluctant to leave when it is over.
Our 21st year event was no different it had it all, food and entertainment along with the floats, emergency vehicles, and various other entries that were all brightly lit creating the awe-inspiringly beautiful “Classic Christmas Cinema” event theme. The Festival of Lights provides the opportunity for us all to meet our neighbors, enjoy our community and just have a great time.
The Town of Clifton would like to thank everyone – Festival of Lights Committee, the attendees, the businesses, the volunteers, and the sponsors that took part this year. It’s great to see community involvement and participation. We would also like to express our appreciation to all of the organizations that helped to make this a great yearly event. We hope to see all of you back for the “22nd Annual Festival of Lights” celebrations in 2018.
“The 2017 winners for the 21st Festival of Lights”
Judges Special Recognition: Greenlee County Health Department ~ Best Use of Music: Morenci High School Band ~ Best Group: Cub Scouts ~ Best Use of Theme: Valley Telecom Group ~ Most Unique: First Assembly of God Church ~ Best Use of Lights: Greenlee County Rodeo Royalty ~ Facebook Favorite: Greenlee County Health Department ~ Best of Parade: Town of Clifton ~ Group Participation Award $300.00 (Provided by the Chase Creek Businesses): The Fallow Family ~ Ugly Sweater Contest: Rene Morales ~ $500 Money Wreath: George Reyes
Congratulations to all the winners! The Town of Clifton hopes everyone had a wonderful and “Safe Holiday Season”. We hope all of you return for the 22nd Annual Festival of Lights celebrations in 2018.
As most of the readers know I am an avid traffic watcher. When it comes to “Distracted Driving” I’ve seen it; The car that stays planted in the street ahead of you after stopping at a “Stop Sign” or after a traffic light turns green; the vehicle that drifts dangerously into your space before veering back into its own; the driver behind the steering wheel looking down as the driver works frantically while “Texting” on a cell phone. It’s annoying, sure, but it can be deadly, too.
People who text and drive, or those who lose themselves in a phone conversation as traffic flies by, are not just being inconsiderate, they are risking their own lives and the lives of everyone around them, including passengers or children who might be riding with the “Distracted Driver” or occupy the car in front of them. This behavior might be more careless than malicious. But there is no comfort for the dead body lying in the road or slumped over in a car because some “Distracted Driver” was making dinner reservations.
Common sense tells us that “Driving while on a cell phone is stupid”, it can be as dangerous as drunken driving. We have seen statistics that confirm just how dangerous and deadly. Our roads are becoming less safe due to the “Distracted Drivers”.
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that diverting your eyes and attention from the road for two seconds at 55mph you travel the length of a football field and that increases the risk of a crash dramatically. Arizona needs a state-wide law that promises real punishment to drivers who operate digital devices behind the wheel. It should be treated as a serious crime. Jail time is not out of the question and perhaps should be mandatory in cases that involve serious injury or death.
Clifton has received permission from ADOT to install two signs on US 191 related to “02-2017 ~ Town of Clifton Distracted Driving Ordinance”. They will have been installed on Wednesday, December 27, 2017. One sign facing northbound traffic on Smelter Hill and the other will face southbound traffic coming down from the Horseshoe Curve from Morenci when entering Clifton. There has been requests for additional signage within “Clifton’s Town Limits”. These requests have been taken under consideration and additional signage may appear soon.
The Town of Clifton will continue to make a concerted effort to inform motorists of this ordinance. The Town has sent mailers, provided flyers, articles in the Copper Era, online notices in social media, alerts on our electronic marque and creating small placards for menu holders at local restaurants. We think adding this new signage will help inform people who may not be from the area about Clifton’s ordinance.
When the Town’s ordinance went into effect back in May prohibiting drivers from holding a cellular phone or other electronic mobile device while operating a motor vehicle within Clifton’s town limits, we had a lengthy warning period where no tickets were issued. Instead, motorists that were in violation received an informational pamphlet. Since the ordinance has begun to be enforced, there have been roughly 10 tickets issued.
Distracted driving has been identified as a top safety concern nationwide and Clifton is no different. The Town Council has placed an emphasis on public safety, and ensuring motorists use hands-free technology while operating a motor vehicle as a priority concern.
Crime Prevention Watch:
CALL THE CLIFTON POLICE DEPARTMENT or the GREENLEE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE to report a CRIME or any SUSPICIOUS activity at the below telephone numbers:
Clifton Police Department: Emergency 911, 928-865-4145 or 928-865-4566
Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office: Emergency 911, or 928-865-4149
CrimeWatch Silent Witness: 928-865-1062
You can be the eyes and remember you can always remain anonymous!