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Since last year, students across the state have taken the AZ Merit standardized tests, which replaced the previous AIMS test.

Beginning March 27, the window officially opened for school districts to begin measuring student proficiency via the test. The AZ Merit has limited scope, assessing English Language Arts and Mathematics, and unlike AIMS is not a requirement for grade-level graduation.

Sedona temporarily became a hub for top neuroscientists from across the country.

The Spring Brain Conferences celebrated their 16th anniversary March 16 to 19 at Poco Diablo Resort and for the first time also held an outreach program in Sedona, consisting of a free community event at the Sedona Performing Arts Center as well as presentations in science classes at Sedona-Oak Creek schools.

The Jerome Town Council unanimously approved a motion to proclaim April 1 to be Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in Jerome during its meeting on March 14.

Mayor Frank Vander Horst emphasized the importance of recognizing Vietnam veterans, many of whom came home wounded or severely disabled, and securing that never again a generation of veterans is disregarded.

According to Sedona Recycles Executive Director Jill McCutcheon, while most communities in the Verde Valley allocate funds to pay for recycling services, Cottonwood has been content to let the county subsidize much of its residents’ recycling needs.

In 2015, Sedona Recycles pulled its approximately two dozen bins at five different sites within Cottonwood city limits, ending a decade and a half of service. At that time, Sedona Recycles and the city of Cottonwood had no contractual agreement with one another. McCutcheon said at the time the organization could no longer afford to cover the cost of providing service.

Religious fundamentalism is a topic that often and easily results in controversial arguments.

In reply to this trend, Björn Krondorfer, professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University, offered some academic insight on fundamentalism and explained the basics of fundamentalist movements in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The presentation was hosted by the Church of the Red Rocks on Feb. 22.

Jerome will have to send out new bids on the Hotel Jerome roof as it looks to work with the leaseholders to make improvements. Asbestos was found in the roof. Councilwoman Alex Barber had noted the possibility last meeting.

Since the November presidential election, in which for the fifth time in American history the winner of the popular vote did not become president, the electoral system has been heavily debated among political groups.

On Feb. 16, the Democrats of the Red Rocks invited former law professor Charles Schudson to speak about the history and effects of the electoral college, and debate if the country would be better off without it.

According to David Garcia, an education professor at Arizona State University and candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2018, Arizona offers more choices for K-12 education than any other state.

Regardless, Garcia believes students haven’t experienced the benefit of so many options. Despite the fact that for over two decades Arizona parents have been sold the idea that “as long as parents get to choose, that’s enough accountability,” more and more money has been funneled out of public schools to fund institutions and people who are not held to adequate teaching standards.

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