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Wed, Oct. 16

Where’s the nicest the place in Arizona? Kingman, of course

Mayor Jen Miles presents “Santa” James Zyla with a Key to the City and Kingman’s first Unity Award. (Daily Miner file photo)

Mayor Jen Miles presents “Santa” James Zyla with a Key to the City and Kingman’s first Unity Award. (Daily Miner file photo)

KINGMAN – The City of Kingman has been through a lot in the last year, both good and bad, but it’s the way in which it has promoted the former and overcome the latter that has helped land it as a finalist for Reader’s Digest’s Nicest Places in America 2019.

What’s more is that Kingman was already declared the winner of the Nicest Place in Arizona. Now, it moves on to the next stage of the competition, the Nicest Places in America 2019.

“Santa” James Zyla, community-minded, a gifted musician and much more, was given a Key to the City and Kingman's first Unity Award in April. Zyla has become Kingman’s “adopted grandfather,” according to Chief Bob DeVries of the Kingman Police Department.

“When residents discovered his thoughtful nature and musical gifts, they teamed up to make sure he has a place to stay, gigs to play, and a helping hand when he needs it,” reads Kingman’s submission at “In return he shares hugs, songs, and his one-of-a-kind free spirit.”

And while it’s always fun to talk about the good happening in a city, it’s also important to note the bad and the way a municipality overcomes the negative. For Kingman, that means addressing Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Who is America?” that portrayed Kingman in a less than flattering light, to say the least. In the show, a crowd of “Kingmanites” became heated at the proposition of a new mosque in town.

“Kingman residents decried the intolerance – the city has had a mosque for 30 years, along with a well-established immigrant population – and locals stepped up their efforts to showcase the city’s best qualities,” the submission reads.

Also noted in the nomination were City and community efforts during the record snowfall in 2019 and the clean-up of vacant property by the City of Kingman Management Team.

Kingman was nominated by Coleen Haines, the City’s public information officer, and Rich Markham. To cast a vote for Kingman, go to this link on According to Haines, votes can be cast once every 24 hours. Votes will be accepted through July 21, with results to come in October or November.

Information provided by Coleen Haines and Rich Markham

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