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A crime spree over the weekend of Jan. 15 and 16 resulted in thousands of dollars of damage and the arrest of five juvenile suspects.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, six juveniles made their way by automobile through the Cottonwood and Clarkdale areas, slashing the tires of at least 28 vehicles — the majority in Clarkdale — and engaging in various other activities, including burglary at Verde Lea Market.

The Mingus Union High School District voted 4-1 to terminate Eric Harmon’s contract as interim superintendent during a special meeting Jan. 11.

Harmon’s contract would have been up June. As of Jan. 12, however, Harmon was out of his office, having been put on home assignment until his last day, Friday, Feb. 10.

“They gave no reason,” Harmon said on Monday, Jan. 23, adding that he had not been offered a strong contract from the beginning. “It said they had the option to unilaterally terminate me .... [and] they opted to exercise that. I can’t even begin to speculate why.”

Finding a replacement for recently departed Camp Verde Marshal’s Office Cmdr. Jacquelyn MacConnell may be a challenge, but CVMO Marshal Nancy Gardner feels confident in finding the right officer.

“It can be difficult, because obviously salary is going to come into it a little bit,” Gardner said, adding that the salary schedule for the position starts at $75,000 annually. “But I’ve had really good luck and been able to attract qualified candidates in the past.”

A man was killed Tuesday, Jan. 24, when the stolen pickup truck he was driving northbound toward Camp Verde veered off Interstate 17 and crashed after police had flattened two of his tires, according to reports.

Bradley Burton Moore was pronounced dead at the scene just south of Camp Verde. Moore, 29, was driving a truck reported stolen from a construction site in Gilbert.

By accepting the position of photographer for the Cottonwood Journal Extra, Mississippi born and raised Hunt Mercier fulfilled a lifelong pact with himself.

“I promised myself, one day I will end up where there are mountains, but I never thought I’d get to uphold that promise,” Mercier said, adding that prior to his application to the EXTRA he had no knowledge of the Verde Valley. “I had no idea. I looked it up and thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is beautiful.’”

U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran [D-District 1] said he finds it hard to believe Republicans in the federal government will be able to find a good replacement for the Affordable Care Act — commonly known as Obamacare — any time soon.

“There’s no agreement [among Republicans] on the ACA,” O’Halleran said at a roundtable discussion on rural health care and senior prescription drug programs Jan. 18 at the Verde Valley Senior Center in Cottonwood.

Following a one-hour discussion, the Camp Verde Town Council approved a contract with Wendel Energy Services to perform an investment-grade audit of the town’s buildings, parks and wastewater treatment facilities.

The goal of the audit, according to Town Manager Russ Martin, is to “head in a greener direction and also save some money.” Wendel, a New York-based energy consulting firm, will determine the potential for energy conservation projects. It will also provide outlines of expected costs and probable payback schedules associated with said projects.

When Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District Assistant Superintendent Steve King takes over the reigns from departing COCSD Superintendent Barbara U’Ren on July 1, he will inherit management of six schools — five brick-and-mortar facilities and one online educational program.

King admitted that filling U’Ren’s shoes will be a sizable task. “Barb U’Ren is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met,” he said, adding that U’Ren has worked diligently to foster a collaborative culture where the ability of teachers and staff to have a positive impact on children’s lives is maximized.

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Verde Valley Weather

Cottonwood United States Clear (night), 58 °F
Current Conditions
Sunrise: 5:39 am   |   Sunset: 7:12 pm
20%     7.0 mph     29.563 bar
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Sun Low: 39 °F High: 76 °F
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Tue Low: 49 °F High: 72 °F