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Though Salt River Materials Group owns approximately 3,000 acres of the Mingus Mountain foothills for its Clarkdale Cement Plant operation, it’s the facility’s control room that makes the
biggest impression.

Three men make it their home for a shift in the plant’s 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation, sitting before a bank of computers. Above their heads, an array of high-definition TVs broadcast live feeds of data, as well as views of the interior of the plant’s 2,500 degree-Fahrenheit, 3,000-tons-aday rotating kiln.The brilliance of the kiln’s massive flame washes out nearly a third of the visual feed.

From Wednesday to Sunday, May 3 to 7, approximately 25,000 people will go through the front gates of the Verde Valley Fair.

It’s an impressive number, made more impressive by the fact that Cottonwood’s Verde Valley Fair is one of a kind — the only fair in the state run by a nonprofit instead of a municipality or county.

Each year, the American Cancer Society asks the Verde Valley to join in the Relay for Life, a fundraising event that invites community members to stay up through the night and walk in support of cancer survivors.

This year’s Relay For Life of the Verde Valley takes place Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13, at Cottonwood Middle School. Beginning at 1 p.m., relay teams check in for the event. From 6:30 p.m. on Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday, each team is expected to have one or more of its members walking the school’s track at all times in recognition of the fact that cancer never sleeps — and, thus, neither do relay teams.

Looking Good Cottonwood has had a banner year.

According to Trevor Faust, supervisor of the Cottonwood Recreation Center Fitness Center, 260 community members registered for the 12-week contest, which challenges participants to lose weight and offers prizes to winners.

Tucson-based Minerals Research Inc. is probably not a familiar operation for most Cottonwood residents, but the slag pile the company is processing in the center of town certainly hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice — for generations, in fact.

The 60-foot pile of iron by-product is nearly a century old, the unsightly remnant of copper mining, an industry that helped define the communities of the Verde Valley.

As the recently established Mission Produce Market proves, there’s a lot more going on at Old Town Mission than most people think.

Changing perceptions about the limited scope of the mission — providing daily meals and food for the homeless — begins with seeing the staff in action, talking with its employees, volunteers and guests.

In order to preserve its historic buildings, Jerome residents may face a new tax. “I have two words: Restoration tax,” said Vice Mayor Jay Kinsella at the April 11 meeting at Jerome Town Hall.

Kinsella had put the issue of how the town can preserve historic buildings on the agenda last month in response to the Cuban Queen — an historic bordello — falling in a windstorm. Kinsella said that the disrepair of the building in the years leading up to the storm was obvious and that this had something to do with its collapse. He said it was the responsibility of the town’s property owners to be guardians of the town’s history.

Walking the Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus prior to 2010, you would’ve been hard pressed to picture a vineyard in the 13.5 acres of scrub land west of the main grounds — much less a facility like the Southwest Wine Center where the massive concrete racquetball courts stood.

Despite the apparent unlikelihood of it all happening, 2010 marked the year that planting began on what would become a wine-producing vineyard run by students enrolled in Yavapai College’s Viticulture and Enology program.

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Verde Valley Weather

Cottonwood United States Cloudy, 74 °F
Current Conditions
Sunrise: 5:32 am   |   Sunset: 7:37 pm
76%     7.0 mph     29.631 bar
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