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Come Valentine’s Day, couples will spend romantic nights at home or fun time out on the town. The other half, by circumstance or choice, will observe Singles Awareness Day, a tongue-in-cheek protest holiday and head out on the town perhaps to find that special someone.

For me, Valentine’s Day was a chance for a sixth-grade boy to finally tell a certain six-grade girl that he didn’t just “like” her but “like-liked” her in a valentine. Of course, she’d overlooked the brilliant sixth-grade subtlety in how he underlined the pre-printed “I love you” in marker, and went on to break his heart by moving away at the end of junior high.

Cities in the Verde Valley and around the country saw tens of thousands of marchers, hundreds of thousands in some cities, protesting on Saturday, Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration of the country’s 45th president.Jerome women's march sister protest

The Women’s March on Washington and sister marches around the country were focused on a host of issues that affect women specifically and the nation in general, such as ending violence, especially violence against women, defending and promoting worker’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights and environmental justice.

With the start of the new year, we are encouraging our readers to send us letters.

We will have a new president and Congress later this week. There are new members of local municipal councils.

We have a new Yavapai County District 3 supervisor for the first time in 20 years and yet another new Yavapai College board member for District 3.

On Jan. 4, we received word that the Steering Committee of the Coalition for Permanent Protection of the National Forest in the Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock Area — yes, the SCCPPNFSVVRRA’s group’s name is 20 words long — “submitted their [sic] proposal for designation” of the Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock National Monument to office of the president.

“Their” is the operative word because it is not supported by an overwhelming majority of residents. The proposal  was rejected in a 6-1 vote by the Sedona City Council and no other elected body in the Verde Valley would even discuss it.

The first days of the new year have arrived.

New Year’s is my favorite holiday because it is the one day of the year when people come together regardless of nationality, religion, creed or culture, to celebrate together.

In July, I posted a news story to my personal Facebook page and shared it on local bulletin boards. The article titled “Scientists say giant asteroid could hit earth next week, causing mass devastation” came with a graphic of an object in orbit and the opening two paragraphs about the doom-bringing asteroid 2016-Fl.File image/Larson Newspapers

However, about by the third paragraph, author Elizabeth Bromstein acknowledged the headline was false, but that the real subject of the article was a study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute that revealed about 59 percent of news stories shared on social media are never clicked on and read. In the last paragraph of the story, Bromstein asked readers to not to give away her trick, but instead comment using a color.

The launching of a manned rocket into space is the epitome of our species, viewed with awe, wonder and pride. It is the cumulation of 4,000 years of mathematics and metallurgy, physics and faith as we lob a metal box to sail the skies alongside the Chariot of Helios and safely return the passenger back to Earth.

With November comes new leadership in the local political arena, the biggest of which is the new mayor in Cottonwood.Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski

While Sedona drives most of the tourist traffic into the Verde Valley and many residents of other communities benefit from that attraction, Cottonwood is the economic powerhouse of the Verde Valley, and how that city is run shapes the fiscal environment of the rest of the Verde Valley.

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