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Guns and Ammo magazine has again named Arizona the best state in the U.S. for owning a gun.Rob Wager is an armament specialist at Pawn Palace in Cottonwood. Wager buys, sells and repairs firearms of all sizes and shapes, ranging from self and home defense, to hunting, and sport-shooting weapons.

The ranking, based on five main measurements, solidifies the fact that a strong gun culture exists in the Grand Canyon state, one that has continued to embrace a more pro-gun stance than even other states part of the former Wild West.

The worst state to own a gun is New York, with Washington, D.C. placing behind it at 51st.

The Verde Valley economy is 94.4 percent recovered from the Great Recession, according to Tim Rounds of Rounds Consulting.Jim Rounds, of Rounds Consulting, was the keynote speaker for the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization Annual Speakers Series, held in the Clark Memorial Clubhouse on Friday, Oct. 21. The event, titled The Verde Valley – Success in Action, and Rounds, presented  information on bettering the economy.

Rounds appeared before corporate, civic and philanthropic leaders in the Verde Valley at a breakfast event, “The Verde Valley: Success in Action,” at Clarkdale’s Clark Memorial Clubhouse, Friday, Oct. 21.

An altercation between two students led to the discovery of an unloaded firearm on the Cottonwood Middle School campus Oct. 19.Cottomwood Middle School
According to CMS Principal Matthew Schumacher, the incident that occurred between the two students was precipitated by a back and forth exchange on social media, and was not the result of any bullying on campus.

As an attempted burglary in Cornville’s Verde Santa Fe subdivision last month suggests, having the firepower to back up your words may prevent tragedy.Verde Sante Fe

On Saturday, Sept. 17, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a home on the 5600 block of E. Whisper Ridge in Cornville. The homeowner, in his 80s, had been awakened by the sound of someone rummaging through his cabinet drawers. The homeowner grabbed his handgun, confronted a male suspect and ordered the man to lie on the floor. When the homeowner left the room to retrieve his phone, the suspect escaped out the front door.

Malnutrition and hunger are global problems that may seem overwhelming, but every effort makes a difference to someone.Volunteers pack nutritious meals during last year’s Kids Against Hunger meal-packing event. This year, organizers hope to pack 300,000 meals for distribution locally and to Haiti. Over half the meals stay in Yavapai County.

This year, it’s easier than ever to make a difference. Kids Against Hunger, a community meal-packing event, takes place Saturday, Oct. 22, at Verde Valley Fairgrounds, with packing sessions from 8 to 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 2 to 4:30 p.m.

Since 1911, the Eagle Scout has been the highest rank attainable within the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America organization — one that estimates suggest a mere 4 percent of scouts achieve.Dallin Gordon and Paul Grasso stand before a recently completed gaga pit at Clarkdale-Jerome School. Gordon worked on the project for his Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout rank, and Grasso mentored him.

Clarkdale’s Dallin Gordon, a 15-year-old sophomore at Mingus Union High School, is about to enter that select group of scouts.

Rachel Hernandez and her son, Jaime Valenzuela, are set to become the inhabitants of Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity’s 13th home build.Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Tania Simms, Rachel Hernandez and Jaime Valenzuela stand before Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity's storefront. Hernandez and Valenzuela will soon see construction begin on their two-bedroom home in Cottonwood.

“They’re helping you to get a stable home,” Henrnadez said, outlining the painstaking and timely process to acquire a mortgage and two-bedroom home construction approval through Habitat for Humanity. “I feel very privileged and blessed ..... It’s going to change our lives.”

Construction is expected to begin in Cottonwood in the next month.

We no longer live in a society where we know everyone on our street, but men like Ed Martinez make you wish we still did.Ed Martinez goes through photos from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, showing oil slicked across the water surface, as well as the boats used in the cleanup. Martinez now resides in Cottonwood.

Martinez doesn’t know the meaning of boring, and an hour can easily be burned listening to him talk about the exploits of a life thoroughly experienced. A Vietnam Marine Corps veteran, a former gang member, a bounty hunter, a Master 200 Ton Captain in the United States Merchant Marines — Martinez is all of these things and more, including having a role in the ongoing Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

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