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As small-town journalists, we are surrounded by the swirl of rumors and “word on the street” about the news stories we cover.

Most of these rumors are easily confirmed or debunked by a phone call, internet search or email. On occasion, however, a source comes forward to provide information on the condition of anonymity and in most cases, their identity is immaterial to the records they provide, such as emails, documents, text messages, recordings or internal memos, and their name remains secret.

School resumes this week through Sedona and the Verde Valley.Camp Verde Elementary

With school back in session, it means more children will be on the sidewalks and streets early in the morning and in the afternoon.

“All politics is theater” is the old adage. Whether you choose to interpret that as a military theatre of operations or stage theater, much of modern American national politics is seesaw between two rival powers who honestly agree on values and duties about 95 percent of time, but most of their time arguing about that final 5 percent. Occasionally, on idle Tuesdays between lunch and midafternoon, laws get passed and actual governing gets done.

Presidential nominating conventions are high theater, described by NPR reporter Mara Liasson a “staged infomercial.”

Shop locally and keep our economy strong.

For more than 50 years, we’ve been catering to Sedona and the Verde Valley. We know it’s a good idea to keep our money circulating locally, supporting small business owners and the economy of the Verde Valley.

Elections in rural Arizona are odd creatures.File photo/Larson Newspapers

On the local level, city and town elections are by law nonpartisan affairs, meaning voters must choose from a slate of candidates, whose names appear on ballots sans the familiar R, D, L or G behind their name, indicating their political party affiliation.

As we prepare for our nation’s 240th birthday, we face a world seemingly more divided than ever.The Uniked Kingdom's flag, Union Jack

We face one of the most contentious presidential elections in our history with two major candidates who faced major internecine opposition before their respective nominations and widespread distrust from both members of their own parties and the electorate as a whole.

The mass murder of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., has reignited the debate on guns in the United States.File photo/Larson Newspapers

Gun violence in mass shootings is rare. The Pulse massacre, the 14 dead in the December San Bernadino attacks, and the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 are heart-wrenching tragedies, but just a sliver of gun deaths nationwide. In 2015, 12,942 people were victims of gun homicide, unintentional shooting, domestic violence shootings and murder-suicides.

Early Sunday morning, we witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in American history at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

The American-born shooter, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and injured at least 53 in a three-hour hostage standoff before being killed by local police, who burst through a bathroom wall of the iconic nightspot and shot him dead.

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