Bullhead City, Arizona

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Bullhead City, Arizona
City
View of Bullhead City with Colorado River in foreground
View of Bullhead City with Colorado River in foreground
Official seal of Bullhead City, Arizona
Seal
Nickname(s): Arizona's West Coast
Location in Mohave County and the state of Arizona
Location in Mohave County and the state of Arizona
Coordinates: 35°6′56″N 114°35′19″W / 35.11556°N 114.58861°W / 35.11556; -114.58861Coordinates: 35°6′56″N 114°35′19″W / 35.11556°N 114.58861°W / 35.11556; -114.58861
Country United States
State Arizona
County Mohave
Incorporated 1984
Government
 • Mayor Jack Hakim
 • Senate John McCain (R)
Jeff Flake (R)
 • City Council Jerry Duvall
Kathy Bruck
Sam Medrano
Tami Ring
Mark Clark
Sheila Shutts
 • Parks and Recreation Commission Helen Howard
David McDaniel
Betsy Frassel
Carolyn Hannasch
Tamara Powers
 • Planning & Zoning Commission Howard Brassfield
Beth Clark
Charles Dewald
Jim Dykens
Ann Pettit
Glenn Roehl
Area
 • Total 59.4 sq mi (154.0 km2)
 • Land 59.4 sq mi (153.8 km2)
 • Water 0.7 sq mi (2.0 km2)
Elevation 540 ft (165 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 39,540
 • Estimate (2013[2]) 39,383
 • Density 665.9/sq mi (257.1/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
Area code(s) 928
FIPS code 04-08220
Website http://www.bullheadcity.com/

Bullhead City is a city located on the Colorado River in Mohave County, Arizona, United States, roughly 90 mi (140 km) south of Las Vegas, Nevada, and directly across the Colorado River from Laughlin, Nevada, whose casinos and ancillary services supply much of the employment for Bullhead City. Bullhead City is located on the southern border of Lake Mohave.

According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 39,540.[1] The nearby communities of Laughlin; Needles; Fort Mohave; and Mohave Valley bring the Bullhead area's total population to about 100,000, making it the largest micropolitan area in Mohave County.[3][4] The latest figures indicate that "...more than 115,000 people flew into Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport on casino-sponsored charters in 2010."[5]

With over 59 square miles, Bullhead City is the largest city in Mohave County in terms of total land area.[6]

Economically, Bullhead City has a stabilizing housing market.

In 2011, the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport was named Airport of the Year by the Arizona Department of Transportation.[7] In the 1980s the airport was home to the helicopters of the hit T.V. Show Airwolf.

History[edit]

The earliest inhabitants of the Colorado River Valley were the Mojave people. The rich soil and plentiful water provided the valley's natives with the necessities to create a prosperous farming community. According to Mojave legend, life began on Spirit Mountain (Nevada), the highest peak visible from the Bullhead City area.[8] The first account of European contact was with Spanish explorer Melchor Díaz. He documented his travels in Northwestern Mohave County in 1540.[9] He accounts of meeting a large population of natives who referred to themselves as the Pipa Aha Macav, meaning "People by the River".[10] From "Aha Macav" came the shortened name "Mojave" (also spelled "Mohave"). While Mohave County uses the modern English spelling, the tribe retains the traditional Spanish spelling "Mojave". Both are correct, and both are pronounced "Moh-hah-vee".[11][12]

Father Garces crossed the Colorado River in the Bullhead City area in 1774.[13]

Hardyville[edit]

In the 19th century the current site of Bullhead City was called Hardyville, named for early resident and politician, William Hardy. A New York native and an entrepreneur, Hardy established a ferry service across the Colorado River and raised Angora goats. He was a colorful and somewhat controversial figure. He was a postmaster, county supervisor and a member of the Arizona Territorial Legislature. In 1864, his personal worth was over $40,000.00, making him the second richest man in Arizona.

From 1852 to 1909, steamboats made regular trips up the Colorado River from Port Isabel, Sonora, passing Hardyville regularly. These stern-wheeler riverboats played an important part in the early development of the areas bordering the Colorado River. The small town saw the construction of a general store, a saloon, a blacksmith shop, a quartz mill, a billiard hall, and a respectable public hall.

Although the 19th century saw a population boom in Hardyville as mining became more profitable, the beginning of the 20th century saw mining activities move away from the Colorado River and Hardyville. When the railroad was constructed from Needles, California to Kingman, Arizona, Hardyville was abandoned and became a ghost town. A small cemetery, now a historic landmark, is the most significant existing remnant of Hardyville.[14]

Bullhead City[edit]

Bullhead City's southern city limits as seen from SR 95.

Decades later, Hardyville would be resurrected as Bullhead City with the construction of Davis Dam between 1942 and 1953.[15] The dam was originally called Bullhead Dam after Bull's Head Rock, a well-known landmark along the Colorado River. Bullhead City became the headquarters for the construction project, which was completed in 1953. Thus the name "Bullhead City" was born. As the nearby Lake Mohave developed into a major tourism destination, and as the casino and resort town of Laughlin, Nevada, sprouted up across the river, Bullhead City grew rapidly.[15]

In 1970, Bullhead City was the name of the six blocks that ran north-south along Highway 95 across the river from Don Laughlin's casino. About a thousand people lived in the original Bullhead City at that time, with about 3,000 people in Riviera. In 1984, the small communities of Bullhead City, Riviera, and Holiday Shores voted to incorporate, choosing the name "Bullhead City" for its historical significance.[16] The annual celebration Hardyville Days pays homage to the history of the town, and the man that first settled this shoreline along the Colorado River.[17]

Bullhead City and the neighboring town of Laughlin, Nevada, have grown in popularity as tourist destinations, and so has the population. Today, tourism is by far the main economy in Bullhead City. In the summer months, tourists from all over come for water recreation on Lake Mohave and the Colorado River. Starting in the fall, tourists from colder states flock by the thousands in their motor homes because of the mild winters.[18]

The city is home to an international airport, two full-service hospitals, and a community college. It also serves as the shopping hub of the tri-state area.

Name origin[edit]

When the railroad bypassed Hardyville, it quickly became a ghost town until the construction of the Davis Dam. The dam was originally called Bullhead Dam, taken from "Bull's Head Rock," a rock formation along the Colorado River.[19] Steam boats on the Colorado River used the rock as a navigation point. After the construction of Davis Dam, the water rose and now almost completely covers the landmark.[15][20] The community that arose during construction of Bullhead Dam was nicknamed Bullhead.

Geography[edit]

Bullhead City is located at 35°6′56″N 114°35′19″W / 35.11556°N 114.58861°W / 35.11556; -114.58861 (35.115643, -114.588655).[21]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 59.5 sq mi (154.0 km2), of which 59.4 sq mi (153.8 km2) of it is land and 0.077 sq mi (0.2 km2) of it (0.13%) is water.

Laughlin Bullhead International Airport is the largest airport in Mohave County and supports the tourism industry in Laughlin, Nevada. It was named 2011 Airport of the Year by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1980 10,719
1990 21,951 104.8%
2000 33,769 53.8%
2010 39,540 17.1%
Est. 2013 39,383 −0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[22]
2013 Estimate[2][23]

As of the census of 2000, there were 33,769 people, 13,909 households, and 9,110 families residing in the city.[6] The population density was 746.6 people per square mile (288.3/km²). There were 18,430 housing units at an average density of 407.5 per square mile (157.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.57% White, 1.01% Black, 1.34% Native American, 1.00% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 8.25% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. 20.16% of the population were Hispanic.

There were 13,909 households out of which 24.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,221, and the median income for a family was $33,914. Males had a median income of $23,617 versus $19,564 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,250. About 11.3% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.2% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.

Bullhead City and the neighboring communities of Laughlin, Nevada, Fort Mojave, Mohave Valley, Arizona and Needles, California, make up what is referred to as the Tri-state Area. This is an economically interdependent group of communities, all geographically connected within a ten-mile (16 km) radius. The population of the Tri-State Area, including Bullhead City, is about 100,000. The catchment area (human geography) of Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport, according to its own statistics, includes 110,000 residents.

Climate[edit]

Bullhead City has a desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh), with a few inches of precipitation year-round. Summers are very hot with temperatures frequently exceeding 110 °F (43 °C) in July and August, and winters are mild with days typically seeing temperatures between 65–75 °F (18–24 °C) degrees in January and February. It is one of the hottest cities nationwide during the summer. Heat waves involving temperatures going over 120 °F (49 °C) are not unusual.

Climate data for Bullhead City, Arizona
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 83
(28)
93
(34)
102
(39)
107
(42)
118
(48)
126
(52)
126
(52)
122
(50)
117
(47)
111
(44)
94
(34)
88
(31)
126
(52)
Average high °F (°C) 66.3
(19.1)
71.3
(21.8)
79.6
(26.4)
88.5
(31.4)
98.4
(36.9)
107.9
(42.2)
112.2
(44.6)
110.3
(43.5)
103.6
(39.8)
90.4
(32.4)
75.4
(24.1)
65.1
(18.4)
89.2
(31.8)
Average low °F (°C) 44.1
(6.7)
46.5
(8.1)
50.3
(10.2)
56.5
(13.6)
65.7
(18.7)
73.2
(22.9)
80.1
(26.7)
79.9
(26.6)
71.8
(22.1)
60.2
(15.7)
50.1
(10.1)
43.2
(6.2)
60.2
(15.7)
Record low °F (°C) 25
(−4)
28
(−2)
33
(1)
40
(4)
47
(8)
55
(13)
64
(18)
60
(16)
54
(12)
37
(3)
31
(−1)
23
(−5)
23
(−5)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.95
(24.1)
1.05
(26.7)
0.78
(19.8)
0.18
(4.6)
0.05
(1.3)
0.02
(0.5)
0.27
(6.9)
0.77
(19.6)
0.34
(8.6)
0.54
(13.7)
0.43
(10.9)
0.60
(15.2)
5.98
(151.9)
Source: Western Regional Climate Center (DRI) [24]

Parks and recreation[edit]

Bullhead City is home to hundreds of acres of city-operated parks. Ken Fovargue Park features lighted basketball courts, a bike trail, ball fields, a playground, and a public swimming pool with a water slide. Rotary Park, the largest city park, covers 300 acres (1.2 km2) of riverfront land. It features maintained beaches with ramadas and barbecues, a large skate park, fishing jetty, fish cleaning station, boat launching ramps, a disc golf course,[25] and a complete lighted sports complex that hosts regional tournaments and local competitions.[26] As of November 2011, work has begun on the design of the new Bullhead City Dog Park, to be located within Rotary Park.[27]

Special events and sports tournaments[edit]

Bullhead City is known for hosting many annual events with the most notable being the annual River Regatta. In August 2013, the 7th annual River Regatta, which was theme as 'Mardi Gratta' attracted more than 29,000 participants. Previous Regattas have had an estimated economic impact on the Bullhead City/Laughlin area of approximately $14 million. The 8th Annual River Regatta is planned for Saturday, August 9, 2014.

Other events take advantage of Bullhead City's exceptional climate in the fall and winter months. Sports tournaments take center stage during these times of the year. Every February, A.Y.S.O. Region 397 hosts the annual Colorado River Invitational Tournament at Rotary Park. The annual youth soccer tournament draws thousands of young soccer players, their parents, siblings and even grandparents to Bullhead City. The City of Bullhead City also sponsors two Senior Softball Tournaments every year; one in the spring and one in the fall. Participants come from as far away as Canada to participate.

Just a few miles south of the city limits, in Fort Mohave, is the Mojave Crossing Event Center, an arena with a seating capacity of 5,000. As the largest stadium/arena in Mohave County,[28] it is frequently used for large events such as graduation ceremonies, circuses, indoor extreme motocross, monster truck rallies, and concerts.

Education and culture[edit]

Bullhead City is home to several educational institutions, the largest of which is the Bullhead City Campus of Mohave Community College. The campus also houses Northern Arizona University's Bullhead City campus, which offers 4-year degree programs. Recently, MCC Bullhead City received a donation of $1.8 million from the BHHS Legacy Foundation to build a 14,000 sq. ft. Health Sciences Building. Arizona governor Jan Brewer attended the groundbreaking ceremony in January 2012. Construction on the Health Sciences building was completed August 2012.[29]

Educational institutions[edit]

Elementary, junior high and high school[edit]

Bullhead City's Elementary schools and Junior High schools are operated by the Bullhead City Elementary School District. These schools include Sunrise Elementary School, Coyote Canyon Elementary School, Desert Valley Elementary School, Diamondback Elementary School, Bullhead City Junior High School, and Fox Creek Junior High School. Bullhead City's high school Mohave High School and River Valley High School, are operated by the Colorado River Union High School District. Other nearby high schools are Laughlin High School and Needles High School. Additionally, Mohave Accelerated Elementary School and Mohave Accelerated Learning Center are public charter schools serving K-12 students in Bullhead City and the surrounding area. Other schools in nearby communities include Young Scholars Academy, Mohave Valley Junior High, Camp Mohave Elementary, Fort Mohave Elementary, and Mohave Valley Elementary. Laughlin and Needles also have public elementary schools.

Libraries[edit]

The Bullhead City area is home to four public libraries: Two Mohave County Libraries (Bullhead City and Mohave Valley),[41][42] one Clark County Library[43] (Laughlin) and one San Bernardino County Library (Needles).[44] Bullhead City's library recently reopened after a major expansion to include a teen section, children section, 11,000 sq. ft. adult section, public computers, sound-proof rooms, and conference rooms for the community. The new "green" building was partially paid for by an environmental grant. Its innovative design comes from architect Will Bruder, which features energy saving technologies and special skylights that take advantage of the desert sun.[45][46]

The new County Library in Bullhead City reopened November 7, 2011. Its 10 million dollar, 24,000 sq. ft. building uses the most recent technologies for adapting buildings for the desert climate, and is designed to resemble a rustic warehouse.

Colorado River Concert Association[edit]

The locally organized Colorado River Concert Association is a group of local citizens who attract performing artists to the community. Their purpose is to provide entertainment to the community while offering opportunities to local students who are interested in the performing arts. The Association usually attracts three to five artists per year to perform in local high school auditoriums. In the past, the Association has brought such artists as John Davidson, The Celtic Tenors, Presidio Brass, Alpin Hong, The Montana Mandolin Society, and QuatroCelli.[47]

Colorado River Museum and Historical Society[edit]

Located in Bullhead City, just north of the Laughlin Bridge, the Colorado River Museum includes replicas of area landmarks, Native American artifacts and displays of historical items, from early settlers to the first slot machines. The museum is operated by the non-profit Colorado River Historical Society. It is open from September thorough May.[26]

Transportation[edit]

Train, bus, and highway[edit]

The Bullhead City area is accessible by Interstate 40 (via Needles or Kingman), Amtrak (via Needles BNSF), Greyhound Bus Services, and Highways 95 and 93. Bullhead City also operates a full-service public transit system, BATS, and is home to several cab companies. Sister cities Needles and Laughlin also operate their own public transit systems.

Airports[edit]

The Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport is the only international airport in Mohave County. There are daily flights to and from Bullhead City, with annual air shows attracting hundreds of spectators. Recently, the airport announced plans to extend the runway to 8,500 feet to accommodate even larger aircraft. This will make it the largest runway within a 90-mile radius.

In 2011, the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport was named Airport of the Year by the Arizona Department of Transportation.[7]

The Bullhead City area is also home to two smaller airports. Eagle Airpark is a 40-acre (160,000 m2) rural airport south of the city limits. Sun Valley Airport is a public use airport with a residential airpark.

Media[edit]

The Bullhead City area is home to several local newspapers, the most widely read being The Mohave Valley Daily News. Others include The Bullhead City Bee, The Needles Desert Star, The Laughlin Times, and The Mohave County Standard.[48][49]

tv2/KLBC, which originates in Laughlin, Nevada, provides the only local television programming to Bullhead City and adjoining communities in Arizona. In addition to local news, tv2/KLBC also produces 'The Morning Show,' hosted by the station's general manager, Bruce Clark.

The City of Bullhead City operates a public service channel on Cable Channel 4 for Suddenlink subscribers. Over a dozen other regional network affiliates originate from Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Bullhead City along the Colorado River

Bullhead City is home to Cameron Broadcasting, the parent company of four local radio stations:

  • KNKK (The Knack 107.1) Top 40 Pop[50]
  • KFLG (K-FLAG 94.7) Country[51]
  • KLUK (Lucky 98) Classic Rock[52]
  • KZZZ (1490 A.M.) Talk Radio

Other Radio Stations available in the Bullhead City area are:

  • KTOX (1340am) Local Talk News longest running Local Morning Talk Show.[53]
  • KNPR (89.5) Public Radio[54]
  • KVYL (93.7) Nostalgia Radio[55]
  • KZUL (95.3) Adult Contemporary[56]
  • KRCY (103.9) Oldies
  • KRRK (106.3) Classic Rock
  • KVAL (104.9) Hot AC
  • KCAN (103.1) Angel Broadcasting Network[57] Christian Talk & Music
  • KNLB (90.5) Christian Radio[58]
  • KHWY (98.9) Dance and Regional Traffic & Weather

Religious, social, and special interest groups[edit]

One of the largest buildings in the city, St. Margaret Mary Church in Bullhead City is visible for miles. It was completed in 2011.

The Bullhead City Tri-State Area is home to dozens of religious organizations. Among them are two Churches of Christ (non-instrumental), three Roman Catholic churches, four Lutheran churches, three Methodist churches, over a dozen Baptist churches, two LDS Churches, the Bullhead Islamic Center, two Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Halls, two Episcopal churches, two Seventh-day Adventist churches, Unity Church of the Mohave Valley, two Assemblies of God, Foursquare (Spirit Life Church), Anointed Word Church, and Calvary Chapel, and Harvest Bible Church (non-denominational) in Mohave Valley. One Pentecostal church(The Potter's House). A Temple Israel Ba Midbor (Jewish services in Laughlin), and active Neo-Pagan (Coven of the Canyon and River)[59] and Buddhist communities (Soka Gakkai Colorado River District).[60][61]

Bullhead City is also home to many special interest groups and social clubs. Among them are The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Bullhead 4-Wheelers,[62] Kiwanis, River Cities Players and Community Theater, Lions Clubs International,[63] Shriners, the Colorado River Historical Society, and Moose International.

Fort Mojave Indian Tribe[edit]

The Fort Mojave Indian Reservation covers almost 42,000 acres (170 km2) in the Tri-State area, and the local history is rich with Native American Culture. Currently the tribe operates two casinos, one full-service hotel, and the Mojave Resort PGA Championship Golf Course.[64] See also, the Mohave people.

Environmental projects[edit]

A 1,200 Megawatt solar generating facility has been approved by Mohave County, to be located on over 10,000 acres (40 km2), just over ten miles (16 km) outside of Bullhead City.[65] The decades-old Mohave Generating Station Coal Slurry Power Plant was shut down in 2005, reducing air pollution and excess use of river water.[66]

  • The Bullhead City Elementary School District has accepted a federal grant to convert a portion of their electricity to solar.[67]
  • Mohave Community College uses a solar array for a portion of their electricity at its Bullhead City campus.
  • In November 2011, the City Council of Bullhead City initiated a city-wide curbside recycling program.
  • The recently constructed Mohave County Library Bullhead City Branch is an environmentally "green" building.

Agriculture[edit]

The Fort Mohave Indian Tribe and other private companies have created an agricultural community that covers several square miles in the fertile fields of Mohave Valley and Fort Mohave, just south of Bullhead City. The main crops are cotton and alfalfa, with some Bermuda farms. Because of the mild winter weather, and despite the extreme heat in the summer, the agricultural economy continues to boom in the area.

Shopping, dining and lodging[edit]

Shopping[edit]

The Bullhead City area is home to the region's only Outlet Mall offering dining and mixed retail.

Dining[edit]

The Bullhead City area is home to many restaurants, including Samurai Steakhouse and Sushi, Buffalo Wild Wings, and International House of Pancakes, Mohave Steakhouse, Maki Sushi, China Buffet, Red Dragon, Casa Serrano, El Palacio Mexican Restaurant, Antonucci's, Krispy Kreme, and Chili's.

Hotels and resorts[edit]

While there are a few small motels in Bullhead City, the sister city of Laughlin, Nevada, makes visiting the area very convenient with more than 11,000 hotel rooms, full service spas, fitness centers, banquet halls, big-ticket concerts, and a River Walk. Laughlin also has three cinema complexes, totalling 23 screens, a 34-lane bowling alley, a classic car museum, and dozens of restaurants.

Lake Mohave[edit]

Main article: Lake Mohave

Bullhead City is at the southernmost border of Lake Mohave, which is part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The federally operated national recreation area offers year-round recreational opportunities. Its lakes cater to boaters, swimmers, and fishermen while its desert rewards hikers, wildlife photographers, and roadside sightseers. It is also home to thousands of desert plants and animals. Contrary to popular belief, Lake Mohave is larger in area, deeper, and cleaner than Lake Havasu. It is also less well-known and much less crowded than all of the other nearby lakes.

Kayaks on Lake Mohave

White water rafting, kayaking, and scuba diving[edit]

The stretch of the Colorado River between Hoover Dam and Lake Mohave is mostly tame but offers a few white water rafting opportunities. If you decide not to hire a guide, permits are required to launch below Hoover Dam and can be obtained through the United States Bureau of Reclamation. Rafting supplies, canoes, kayak rentals and guided kayaking tours are available in Bullhead City.[68] On Lake Mohave, scuba divers can explore Black Canyon, which has excellent diving conditions. Advanced divers can check out Ringbolt Rapids, where swift water makes for an additional challenge. Work Barge on the Arizona side has a 38-foot (12 m) tow barge that sank in 1946. Cabinsite Point has two boat wrecks to view.[69]

Fishing[edit]

Fishing is popular on Lake Mohave and the Colorado River, which is plentiful with several species of fish, including Rainbow trout, Largemouth bass, Striped bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish (channel), and carp. There are dozens of coves and inlets that are well known among fishing enthusiasts.[70]

Camping, biking, and hiking[edit]

The recreation area around Lake Mohave includes dozens of designated hiking trails, camp sites, and bicycle trails.[71]

Lake resorts[edit]

There are two resorts on Lake Mohave: Cottonwood Cove and Lake Mohave Resort. Both resorts have lodging, campgrounds, restaurant, store, and a marina with a gas dock.[72] There are also off-road vehicle roads and hiking trails around Lake Mohave. Supplies and equipment for off-roading, hiking, boating, scuba diving, and fishing are locally available. There are sporting goods stores, scuba diving instructors, guided kayaking tours, and watercraft rentals available throughout Bullhead City.

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
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  22. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
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  30. ^ MCC Nursing Graduate '08. "Mohave Community College | Home". Mohave.edu. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
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  32. ^ "Palo Verde College - Needles Campus". Pages.paloverde.edu. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
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External links[edit]