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What time is it? In Arizona, it depends on where you’re standing

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A short history of Arizona time

Arizona has a long on-again, off-again relationship with daylight saving time (DST).

• March 1918: DST is established nationwide to save energy during World War I. Arizona complies, but some areas are in the Mountain Time Zone and some in the Pacific Time Zone.

• October 1918: The U.S. returns to standard time.

• March 1919: Country returns to DST, Arizona complies but again in two time zones.

• October 1919: DST repealed.

• Summer 1921: Some Yuma County communities observe DST.

• February 1942: Nation moves to "War Time," Arizona complies, again in two time zones.

• January 1944: Arizona goes off War Time, though some Western communities remain and some interstate commerce continues to observe it.

• April 1944: Arizona returns to War Time.

• October 1944: Arizona returns to Mountain Standard Time.

• April-October 1967: Arizona joins the rest of the nation in DST under the Uniform Time Act of 1966.

• 1968: Arizona opts out of future participation in DST.

• 1974: Arizona, with Idaho and Oregon, is exempted from a federal trial of year-round DST.

• Today: Arizona and Hawaii, along with Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not observe DST. Within Arizona, however, the Navajo Nation does.

Source: Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records

For Mihio Manus, getting to work Monday morning could feel like a bit of a “time warp.”

Even though the commute from his home in Leupp to his job in Kykotsmovi takes an hour, Manus will leave at “8 o’clock . . . but I’ll be getting in and it’ll be 8 o’clock here,” he said.

That’s because Manus works on the Hopi Reservation, which does not observe daylight saving time, but he lives in the Navajo Nation, which does. Both are in the state of Arizona, which doesn’t.

“I’ll be kind of fast-forwarding and not even knowing,” said Manus, 37, of his upcoming time travel.

While the Navajo and the rest of the nation will be turning their clocks ahead one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday, the Hopi and the rest of Arizona will stay on the same schedule. Hawaii is the only other state that does not observe the change.

Daylight saving time was adopted nationally in 1967 when every state but Hawaii fell under the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Arizona decided opt out of the time change a year later to avoid extending the day in the face of the state’s extreme summer temperatures.

Other states have dropped out and gotten back in. Arizona remains out.

It creates for some tricky timing situations in the Navajo Nation, which is spread out over several states, and the Hopi Reservation, which is surrounded by the Navajo Nation.

“Navajo Nation will be an hour ahead and Hopi will not,” said Manus, the managing editor of the Hopi Tutuveni newspaper. “I’ll be getting up and leaving a little bit earlier, but at the same time, the time difference will compensate for that. But it’ll be kind of weird losing and gaining that hour.”

Arizona’s unusual rules and geography mean someone could drive through three areas and go through two time changes while never leaving the state.

“It is kind of a peculiar situation,” Manus said.

State Sen. Jack Jackson, D-Window Rock, said the tricky time shifts can lead to confusion, but he doesn’t think it causes any real problems. In fact, he said, it helps the Navajo Nation.

“That hour makes a big difference for the Navajo Nation because they’re a little further north of the Valley,” Jackson said. “A lot of what happens as far as the commerce on Navajo Nation really comes from New Mexico, and of course, New Mexico will change as well.”

It’s easy to forget about the different time zones. Jackson said he once arrived an hour early to a gathering at a hotel on the Hopi reservation because he forgot about the time change.

“The first time we all went up there we got there too early because of that hour change,” he said laughing. “So we’re like, ‘Oh, OK, well at least we’re here. At least we’re not late.’

“So just minor things like that. I don’t know if other folks have other more serious problems with it,” he said.

Jackson said it can get even more confusing at the local level. In Tuba City, which straddles the Navajo-Hopi border, you can cross the street and gain or lose an hour.

“Folks need to be aware that you can go in Tuba City . . . to the McDonald’s on one side of the street and (on) the other side of the street that place of business may still be closed,” he said.

And some businesses go their own way, regardless of where they’re located.

Rhonda Joe, 34, of Sanders, will have to get up in the dark to get her kids to school after the time change, since schools in the Navajo Nation abide by daylight saving time. But if she wants to do some quick shopping after dropping them off, she may be out of luck since some businesses choose to stay on Arizona time and may not be open yet.

“Every community is totally different,” said Joe, who works in Window Rock. “It’s hard to say which follows and which doesn’t.”

Joe, who said she has to deal with her phone’s clock changing back and forth while she drives to work, said keeping track of time is easier in the New Mexico part of the nation and for Navajo living on that side of the reservation.

“They don’t ever really have to deal with it,” said Joe, who’s lived in the Navajo Nation for two decades. “Unless they’re traveling through Arizona and they lose an hour, I mean they gain an hour – I lose track.”