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Two new members join LTAB with community in mind

February 1, 2019

LAUGHLIN — Gina Mackey, James Maniaci, and Kathy Ochs are returning members to the Laughlin Town Advisory Board. Kathleen Whitehead and Nile Smith are new to the board.

All five of them are ready to serve Laughlin for their 2019-2021 terms. At the first LTAB meeting of 2019, on Jan. 15, they all introduced themselves and their goals for the upcoming term.

This is what Whitehead and Smith had to say.

Whitehead joined the U.S. Air Force in 1969 and in 1970 was honorably discharged after becoming pregnant with her first son. Later in life, she earned a master’s degree in counseling from Chapman University graduating with honors.

She then began a 15-year career as a behavioral health counselor working at Arizona State Prison Complex Tucson, Pima County Jail, and in many other environments.

She first moved to the Tri-state in 2001 and worked at Mohave Mental Health Clinic.

In 2004 she had to move back to Tucson to help her youngest son battle cancer. He is now a 12-year cancer-free survivor.

In 2009, she moved back to the Tri-state and worked for Southwest Behavioral & Health Services and then later ABC Therapy Counseling Center. She said her first residency in the Tri-state taught her that Laughlin was where she wanted to relocate. She has lived in Laughlin ever since.

“I had finally found my forever home,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead retired eight years ago but hasn’t stopped working. She is a member at Laughlin’s VFW and American Legion posts. She also runs a crocheting group and is a member at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

In the past three or four years of LTAB meetings, she has missed only two or three, she said.

“It’s a whole different thing being on this side of the table and looking out and seeing so many friendly faces,” Whitehead said. “For my two-year term I will focus on what is best for the community, but mainly for the veterans, juveniles and mental health issues.”

Whitehead also interacts regularly with the police department, library and senior center to help keep the locals informed and engaged.

Smith said at the LTAB meeting that he was a little nervous going into his first year on the board. However, he feels confident and relaxed due to Mackey, Maniaci, and Ochs returning to the board.

He saved information about himself and instead told the public he is here to serve them.

“It’s not about you knowing me, it’s about me knowing you,” Smith said. “If you want to know more about me, come up to me either before or after the meeting. I am very approachable.”

He said he really wanted to hit home that everyone should come up to the podium in the town hall to speak, whether it is good or bad.

“We can take your criticism,” Smith said.

His goals for the two-year term are to focus on what is good for Laughlin as well.

Among his priorities: He said he would really like to get a crosswalk on Needles Highway between the Laughlin Library and Family Dollar next to Las Palmas Lane.

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