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Cliff Castle Casino’s six-story, 122-room hotel will start hosting guests Tuesday, April 4, but locals need not wait that long to see a portion of what’s been completed. On New Year’s Eve, the casino will unveil its new 5,000-square-foot multipurpose room and 300-car parking garage.Workers operate from scaffolding outside of Cliff Castle Casino’s new hotel. The smaller structure to the left will house an in-ground pool. The new hotel building is expected to be open in April, and on New Year’s Eve, the casino will unveil its new 5,000-square-foot multipurpose room, along with its 300-car parking garage.

“It’s a long time coming,” Marketing Operations Manager James Perry said. “People are excited about it.

Members of the Yavapai-Apache Nation are trekking to San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation about 100 miles east of Phoenix.As Yavapai-Apache Nation members begin a trek to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, singers sing a song of protection. The journey is being mapped with GPS technology, retracing the steps of the Nation’s Exodus in 1875.

At Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus, Thursday, Dec. 1, Yavapai-Apache Nation members marked the official blessing and beginning of the journey, which officials estimate will take three weeks. Thanks to a National Parks Service grant, a geographic information system technician will be accompanying the party, mapping along the way.

Three weeks after opening their doors to the public, the employees and volunteers of the new 17,000-square-foot Camp Verde Community Library are greeting each incoming patron with a warm welcome.Von Hatch, left, checks out a book to Bryanna Truett, 16, in the Camp Verde Community Library’s teen section. The new building has dedicated teen and children’s areas separate from each other, the old building did not.

“There’s something that is good for your soul, to be working in a beautiful space. It’s hard to express how great that is,” CVCL Director Kathy Hellman said as she sat in the second floor common room — a space filled with natural light and comfy chairs, highlighted by a large fireplace and mantle decorated to suit the holidays.

In the space of one week, the Arizona Rangers Verde Valley Company went from announcing it had raised $8,000 for the 2016-18 Verde Valley Shop With a Cop events to announcing it had raised over $12,000.Flanked by Arizona Rangers Major Tim Cummings, left, and Capt. Gary Jordan, Cottonwood Police officer Sgt. Monica Kuhlt draws the winning ticket for a commemorative AZ Rangers carbine.

The donation, the result of a nationwide raffle contest, marks a sixfold increase over last year and a twelve fold increase over 2013 and 2014.

According to Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona Regional Philanthropic Advisor Tracey McConnell, the Arizona Community Foundation offers more than 150 scholarships to Verde Valley high school students pursuing their secondary education.Zack Garcia/Larson Newspapers

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus Room M-137, students and parents will have an opportunity to learn about the funding options available to them through the Arizona Community Foundations of Sedona and Yavapai County.

Gen. George Crook isn’t the first person you might think of as an advocate for the native peoples of America. After all, he is numbered among the greatest military leaders who fought against the American Indians following the Civil War.A bronze sculpture titled Gray Wolf Vigilance by Clyde Ross Morgan was recently donated to Fort Verde State Historic Park. The bronze features Gen. George Crook on his mule Apache, in search of Geronimo, who watches from above. The statue was previously owned by the late Thron Riggs, a former mayor of Sedona, and his wife Iva.

Crook’s final campaign, as head of the Department of Arizona, was an attempt to force Apache leader Geronimo’s surrender. In March 1886 Crook — who had been given the honorary nickname of Nantan Lupan, or “Grey Wolf,” by the Apache — received word that Geronimo would meet him in the Cañon de los Embudos, in the Sierra Madre Mountains near the Mexican border.

Drivers passing by the McGuireville rest area off Interstate 17 on the morning of Nov. 8 were subject to a rare sight: A motor vehicle accident training drill involving five dozen personnel from nine different public safety departments.Firefighters from several agencies work together to apply a neck brace to a high priority car accident victim in a simulated car accident, staged at the northbound Interstate 17 rest area near Rimrock. The simulation had agencies dispatched to an accident involving several children.

An interagency memo on Nov. 7 documented the plan set to begin after 8 a.m.

“The training will consist of a motor vehicle accident involving a 12-passenger van being involved in a rear-end type collision with a passenger vehicle.

According to Arizona Department of Transportation Senior Community Relations Officer Coralie Cole, roundabouts are here to stay despite many community members’ reservations about them — so people might as well get used to them.There is currently a left-turn-only island median where Goswick Way and Industrial Drive intersect with State Route 260, preventing vehicles from driving straight across. This will be replaced with a roundabout.

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