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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.

Americans will spend more than $650 billion on gifts, entertaining and food for the holidays.

Buy Local Month, sponsored by Local First Arizona, runs from Black Friday, Nov. 25, through Sunday, Jan. 1.

The 2016 election has now come and gone and it is the local issues that will affect us the most.Election 2016

On the local level, Cottonwood City Councilman Tim Elinski is likely to defeat Holly Grigaitis to be the city’s new mayor, replacing Diane Joens, who lost her bid for the Yavapai County District 3 seat in the August primary election.

We look forward to working with this new mayor and seeing what he brings to the table to direct Cottonwood toward improving the community for residents.

The almost unimaginable happened Nov. 2 as the Chicago Cubs broke the Curse of the Billy Goat and won Game 7 of the World Series after a drought of 108 years, the longest in the history of any professional sports team. An estimated 49.9 million people watched the game, making it the most-watched World Series game since Game 7 in 1991.Christopher Fox Graham

Other teams have had decades-long droughts, but none are as visceral as that of the Cubs, the perennial “lovable losers” of Major League Baseball. The losing streak is long been part of popular culture and the punchline of jokes. Yet, after a century without a World Series win, Cubs fans are somehow still some of the most dedicated in sports. To be a Cubs fan is to have boundless hope in the face of inevitable doom, like the Norse gods at Ragnarok, facing defeat either at the end of the season or in the playoffs.

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