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On Jan. 21, Cottonwood Police Sgt. Monica Kuhlt was awarded the Moose Lodge Cottonwood Officer of the Year Award at the third annual First Responders banquet held at the Verde Valley Moose Lodge in Clarkdale.Cottonwood Police Chief Steve Gesell, Moose International Heart of the Community Committee Member Allen Marx and Cottonwood Police Sergeant Monica Kuhlt, from left.

Judge Bill Lundy of the Verde Valley Justice Court has been elected by the Justices of the Peace in Yavapai County as its presiding judge.

The duties of the presiding justice of the peace are to supervise the administration of the judicial and internal administrative functions of the five Justice Courts in Yavapai County.

Knowing how difficult it can be for the homeless to get around, Sedona-based bicycling advocate and bicycle tour guide Heather Parris donated seven bikes to Angie’s House, a Cottonwood-based nonprofit that provides transitional housing for those impacted by homelessness, addiction and mental illness.

On Jan. 18, Parris met with Angie’s House founder Angela Lonzano, delivering five immediately rideable bikes and two that needed minor repairs. In addition, she handed over parts and bike helmets donated by a bicycling and gear shop in Cottonwood and mountain bike business in Sedona.

In addition to finding an interim replacement for dismissed Mingus Union High School District Interim Superintendent Eric Harmon, the MUHSD Governing Board has narrowed its list of permanent superintendent candidates down to four.

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Jack Keegan will become the interim superintendent for MUSHD through Friday, June 30, operating in a transitional role between the outgoing Harmon and the incoming superintendent.

Most days, recently hired sports reporter Daniel Hargis wears a shirt with some kind of water polo insignia on it — proof that the 24-year-old Southern California native spent much of his adulthood in the pool.

Hargis, who has been reporting for the Larson Newspapers since December, has been a sports lover as long as he can remember. Nonetheless, he said that he had “never felt good at any of them” until he began playing water polo in high school.

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.

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.’”

According to Chief Steve Gesell, Cottonwood Police Department is experiencing a major need for recruits — a situation, Gesell clarified, that is not singular to Cottonwood.Cottonwood police chief Steve Gesell stands in front of the Law Enforcement Heroes Statue at the Cottonwood police station. The department is emphasizing the quality of life here in trying to recruit officers.

The reason for the increased demand for personnel, Gesell said, is threefold:

  • An improving economy that discourages application to police departments due to other available jobs.
  • Continuing Great Recession cuts that have reduced police department budgets.
  • National anti-police rhetoric.

“It’s actually very concerning,” Gesell said of the situation, adding that the applicant pool was “shallow before this even happened.” According to Gesell, the factors outlined have made drawing from the applicant pool even more challenging.

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