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U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick [D-District 1] is back in Congress for her second term and said she is eager to start working. She was meeting her constituents in the Verde Valley on Jan. 26.

After a two-year hiatus, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick [D-District 1], a former Sedona city attorney and Coconino County deputy county attorney, has returned to Congress for her second term.Kirkpatrick said the newly sworn-in 113th Congress has already passed two major bills. The first was the Hurricane Sandy Emergency Relief Bill, authorizing $50.5 billion to help victims of the storm that devastated the Atlantic coast in October. The second was the No Budget, No Pay Act, which stipulates that if members of 113th Congress don’t pass a budget by Monday, April 15, they won’t receive their $174,000-per-year salary until the last day of their term in January 2015.

“So right now the focus is we have to do something about the budget,” Kirkpatrick said. “We’re going to deal with sequestration again in March so that’s a really important issue.”

For the full story and Kirkpatrick's views on the Sedona National Scenic Area, the Violence Against Women Act, veterans issues, gridlock and bipartisanship, gun control, and her goals on congressional subcommittees, ssee the Wednesday, Feb. 6, edition of The Camp Verde Journal.

Consolidating experts explained the idea of shared emergency services to the field’s professionals and the community during two meetings Jan. 30 and Thursday, Jan. 31.

Verde Valley Fire District Fire Chief and Sedona Fire District Governing Board member Nazih Hazime welcomes the crowd during the Jan. 30 informational meeting about shared emergency services. Hazime invited Emergency Services Consulting International to talk to area leaders and the public about the possibilities with regard to consolidating resources.Emergency Services Consulting International gave a presentation discussing why services are consolidating, what it means to districts and communities, and what needs to be done to move forward with such a plan.

For those who attended, it was very well received and all questions and concerns were addressed by the presenters,” said Verde Valley Fire District Fire Chief and Sedona Fire District Governing Board member Nazih Hazime, who organized the visit from consultants Jack Snook and John Flynn.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Feb. 6, edition of The Camp Verde Journal or the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

 

With the exception of some parts of rural Yavapai County, substance abuse among young people has generally declined in recent years, according to recent data presented by Mandy Small and Shana Malone with the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission.

In the Verde Valley, the number of young drug and alcohol abusers users has seemingly decreased, the frequency with which young people used these substances hasn’t changed that much.The information comes from surveys given to the county’s sixth, eighth and 12th graders and was presented at a special lunch meeting hosted my MATForce in Cottonwood Thursday, Jan. 24. MATForce is an agency dedicated to reducing substance abuse in Yavapai County.

The survey asked about a number of substances, from alcohol and tobacco to marijuana and synthetic drugs.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Jan. 30, edition of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Phil Bourdon became Yavapai County’s official county administrator following a more than six-month interim period in the position.

Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip DavisThe Yavapai County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Jan. 22, following an executive session, to make Bourdon the permanent supervisor. The motion also included approval of a salary of $158,458.

“I expect you’re going to see this new A-team emerge out of Yavapai County,” Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis said.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Jan. 30, edition of The Camp Verde Journal or the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

 

Wednesday, March 20, could be a big day for Arizona’s nonprofits. It’s Arizona Gives Day, an event which aims to encourage Arizonans to make donations to as many nonprofits as possible in 24 hours.

Arizona_Gives_DayOn March 20, from midnight to 11:59 p.m., Arizona nonprofits will encourage their supporters to go to the Arizona Gives Day website, find the causes they care about and make a year’s worth of tax-deductible donations in a single day.

“People, hopefully people who have never given to a nonprofit before would be encouraged to give on that one day, for that period on March 20,” said Margie Beach, director of Communications and Community Relations for Rainbow Acres, a nonprofit ranch for adults with developmental disabilities located in Camp Verde.

For the full story, see the Friday, Jan. 25, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

A bicycle painted entirely white from wheels to handlebars leans against a traffic sign in Lake Orion, Mich.

Ralph and Judy Finneren visit the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., in spring 2010 a year before his death. A ghost bike marks the location along Giddings Road in Lake Orion, Mich., near where Ralph Finneren, a community college professor, retired GM worker and father of two was struck and killed by a distracted driver while bicycling home. Judith Finneren  is now attending the Sedona Film School to produce a short film, “Ghostbike: End Distracted Driving Now-Save Lives!”The ghost bike marks the location near where 57-year-old cyclist Ralph Dennis Finneren was struck and killed by a distracted driver on July 27, 2011. Finneren’s widow, Judith Finneren, wants to tell the world the story using the Sedona Film School as the medium.

She is currently in preproduction for her short film “Ghostbike: End Distracted Driving Now-Save Lives!” and will be filming in Sedona on Tuesday, Feb. 5. On Sunday, Feb. 10, the crew heads to Michigan and will wrap-up filming there on Monday, Feb. 18.

For the full story, see the Friday, Jan. 25, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

A 5-year-old boy in the Verde Valley died this month after complications from influenza.

Yavapai_County_SealYavapai County Community Health Services did not identify the child but confirmed that his death was the first influenza-related death in the county in three years. The risk to others is minimal in this specific case, according to the agency.

“At this time, [Community Health Services] has no evidence that anyone is at increased risk of serious illness or death as a result of being exposed to this case,” the county reported in a statement last week.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Jan. 30, edition of The Camp Verde Journal or the Cottonwood Journal Extra.


For centuries, indigenous people — the Native Americans before there was an America — have lived in what’s now known as the Verde Valley. When there’s enough water; there’s no problem. When there’s not enough water; well, that’s another story.

Vincent_RandallVincent Randall, an elder of the Yavapai-Apache Nation knows this very well. Everyone knows that without water there is no life, but for Randall who holds a degree in biology from Northern Arizona University, the precious liquid has a particularly sacred quality.

A former Yavapai-Apache Nation tribal chairman, Randall has been involved in tribal politics and water issues for over 40 years. Randall is the Nation’s Apache Cultural Preservation director, an elder statesman of the Nation’s water team and involved in the Nation’s water negotiations.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Jan. 23, edition of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

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