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Arizona towns get ready for New Year's Eve

PHOENIX -- As usual, the ball will drop in New York's Time Square on New Year's Eve.

Not to be left out, there will be drops in Arizona as well.

Back in 2000, the owners of Flagstaff's Weatherford Hotel decided to mark the hotel's 100th anniversary by starting a New Year's Eve tradition.

"Thinking of New York City and the Times Square ball, since we live in a Ponderosa Pine forest we came up with the Pine Cone drop," said hotel co-owner Sam Green. "It's become a tradition ever since."

The giant lighted pine cone will drop from atop the hotel again Monday night.

"We have two drops, at 10 o'clock and midnight," Green said. "The 10 o'clock is to commemorate the East Coast celebration, and it's also great for the kids because they can come out early. Fireworks go off in the downtown area after the midnight Pine Cone drop. It's a pretty big party."

Green said the city estimated 10,000 people showed up last New Year's Eve.

There are other drops in Arizona.

In Prescott, a boot drops from the Crystal Saloon on Whiskey Row at 10 p.m. and midnight, with the midnight drop followed by fireworks.

In Show Low, a 6-foot-tall electronic deuce of clubs card drops right in the middle of Deuce of Clubs road. Spectators also have a chance to win a $2 bill by drawing the deuce of clubs in a card game.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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