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21st Century

“This land of Arizona has had an exciting history, so dramatic and inspiring that it needs no exaggeration or fictional embellishment.” ~Barry Goldwater

<<< 20th Century

2000’s – Arizona’s border with Mexico became a major gateway for illegal immigration to the U.S., sparking much intense political debate.

2000 – Exactly 92 years after President Theodore Roosevelt declared Arizona’s Grand Canyon a national monument, President Bill Clinton on January 11, 2000, designated two new national monuments in Arizona —the Grand Canyon-Parashant and Agua Fria national monuments.

2000 – During periods of strong geomagnetic storm activity, the Aurora Borealis – a.k.a. Northern Lights – can sometimes be seen as far south as Arizona. A peak in sunspot activity resulted in an aurora borealis being sighted around midnight on March 10, 2000, in Arizona. It was a rare occurrence to see a red shimmering curtain of light glowing in the northern sky.

2001 – A July 2001 memo sent from the FBI’s Arizona office warned headquarters that Arabs were training at flight schools located in Arizona, suggesting that terrorists might be learning to fly U.S. commercial jetliners. The Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team won the World Series, beating the New York Yankees in. This was the first World Series game ever played in the state of Arizona.

2002 – The Rodeo-Chediski fire burned in east-central Arizona from June 18 until July 7. It was the worst fire in Arizona to date, consuming 467,066 acres of forest. Several local communities, including Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside, and Heber-Overgaard, were threatened and had to be evacuated. This wildfire, among other devastating drought-year fires in the American West, helped propel new forest management laws, enacted by both the U.S. Congress and local authorities. Of these the most notable is the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, which President George W. Bush signed into law in 2003.

2002 – The 17 Tribes Initiative provided tribes with the exclusive right to operate casino gaming in exchange for sharing gaming revenue with state and local governments.

2003 – The Arizona state legislature passed legislation to raise the minimum age for gambling, including the state lottery and Indian casinos, from 18 to 21. The Phoenix Coyotes hockey team moved into their new arena in Glendale, now known as Arena.

2004 – While Governor Janet Napolitano was vetoing every legislative effort to address illegal immigration, Proposition 200 was passed by the Arizona voters, which would at least require proof of U.S. citizenship in order to vote.

2005 – A wet winter followed by a dry summer led to another bad fire season. The Cave Creek Complex fire, the second-largest blaze in Arizona history, was caused by two separate lightning strikes. Fire crews were hampered by the remote rugged terrain, 100°+ temperatures, and low humidity. The fires merged into one huge wildfire, charring nearly 250,000 acres in two weeks, from June 21-July 5.

2005 – The Minuteman Project and the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps were started by concerned citizens in an effort to help prevent illegal immigration on the Arizona-Mexico border. Volunteers ranging from doctors, lawyers, and former police officers to senior citizens in lawn chairs arm themselves with camcorders, binoculars and cell phones – not guns – as a kind of Neighborhood Watch on our border.

2006 – On March 11, snow once again fell in the greater Phoenix area. Gubernatorial candidate Len Munsil, who had a much tougher stance on illegal immigration than incumbent Governor Janet Napolitano, ran a good campaign but lost.

2007 – On July 27, two news helicopters each with a pilot and cameraman on board, who were familiar faces to millions of Phoenicians, collided in mid-air and crashed onto the grounds of the Indian School Park grounds, killing all four men. Both crews had been covering a stolen pickup truck being chased by police taking place on the street below, and both pilots were on the air and reporting live to their newscasts at the time of the collision.

2008 – The Super Bowl was held at the new University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Arizona Senator John McCain ran for President but he didn’t win. The Valley METRO light rail system was placed in service, serving commuters in Mesa, Tempe, and Phoenix.

2009 – The Arizona Cardinals made it to Super Bowl XLIII and played against the Pittsburg Steelers but lost by only a few close points. Governor Janet Napolitano left for Washington, D.C. to start her new job as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Secretary of State Jan Brewer became the governor of Arizona.

2009 – Unknown to most area residents, the Tohono O’odham tribe purchased a 135-acre county island at 91st and Northern Avenue in the Northwest Valley in 2003, and filed its application as a federal land-in-trust. The tribe aspires to build a Las Vegas-style resort and casino in the heart of Glendale’s sports and entertainment district.

2010 – A new law allowing the sale of certain kinds of fireworks in Arizona took effect on December 1; however, a large majority of cities have banned the use of these types of consumer fireworks. In May 2010, cities and groups around the country vowed to boycott Arizona after state lawmakers passed SB1070, a strict new immigration bill. On December 15, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a dangerous area of remote desert outside of Rio Rico, Arizona, unaware that five illegal aliens he was attempting to question were Mexican drug cartel operatives heavily armed with the latest in military grade weapons by way of a flawed ATF/DOJ gun trafficking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious.

2011 – On January 8, while meeting with constituents outside a supermarket, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson was critically injured when she was shot in the head by Jared Lee Loughner; six other people died in the shooting incident, including U.S. District Court Chief Judge John Roll and a nine-year-old girl. In June, Lara Hollingsworth became the first victim of a fatal bear attack in Arizona since at least 1900, as she was walking her dog in Pinetop. On July 5 a monstrous dust storm dubbed a “haboob” swept through the Phoenix valley.

2012 – Arizona Centennial! Arizona celebrates its 100th year of statehood! In other news, Governor Jan Brewer’s January 25 finger-wag to President Obama during a tiff on the airport tarmac went viral as a symbol of resistance against a federal government that has exceeded its authority. A July 31 storm dumped about 5″ of rain in 90 minutes on the community of Anthem along I-17 north of Phoenix, causing flash floods that muddied streets, ruined landscapes, and damaged homes.

2013 – A boutique real-estate developer wants to mark downtown Phoenix’s place on the map with an observation tower dubbed “The Pin.” Designed by Danish architecture studio BIG, the new addition to Arizona’s capital city will manifest itself as a 430-foot high tower topped by a giant helix with an open air observation deck offering 360-degree views.

Hmmm… what will happen next? It’s anybody’s guess!

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