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More people in Arizona want a voice at the polls.

Recent numbers released by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett show an increase in voter registration following the 2012 general election last November.

Larson Newspapers Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieAccording to Bennett’s office, the number of registered Arizona voters in January climbed 3 percent to 3,221,133.

With hot issues looming at all levels of government, people who have never felt compelled to vote are registering along with those who let their registration expire over the years.

Even more interesting is the how Arizona voters split along party lines.

According to Bennett, the Republican party remains the biggest in Arizona, but by fewer than 100,000 registered voters.

After the 2012 election there were 1,147,543 Republicans registered to vote.

Trailing a small city’s population behind the historically dominant Arizona party, isn’t the Democratic Party, it’s those registered with independent parties or who didn’t designate a party preference.

There are 1,091,592 voters registered either Libertarian, Green, Americans Elect Party or not affiliated with any party at all.

The state’s Democratic voter population is at 981,998.

Within the “other” category, Libertarian is the most popular, while still only accounting for less than 1 percent of the state’s total registration with 23,412 members.

The Green party follows with 5,066 registered voters.

The newly recognized Americans Elect Party has 258 voters. The party enrolled as an Arizona political party in 2011.

In Yavapai County, there are 126,817 registered voters as of January.

Falling in line with the state’s political alignment, Yavapai County’s voter base is dominated by Republicans with 56,263 registered.

Again, independent parties and unaffiliated voters account for more of the registered voters than Democrats, who totalled 27,153 in the county.

There are 43,401 registered voters in the county who are not registered with the two dominant parties.

Of the 43,401, the Libertarian party claims the most voters at 886, followed by the Green party with 284 and the Americans Elect with nine.

“What are you doing for others,” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said is the world’s most urgent question.

As we observe a day of remembrance for King on Monday, Jan. 21, we should all take a moment and ask ourselves that very question.

Larson Newspapers Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieIn Sedona and the Verde Valley, if you haven’t found a way to help others, you haven’t looked.

From service organizations to task forces to city and town commissions and councils, we receive press releases calling for volunteers on a weekly basis.

The problem isn’t a lack of opportunities to donate your time to help others, but figuring out how to spread it out to all the causes you hold near and dear without running yourself into the ground.

You can help the children by becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, becoming involved in MATForce or coaching a youth sports team.

You can help the elderly by volunteering at a senior center or becoming a caregiver.

You can help animals by adopting a pet or volunteering at an animal shelter.

King worked tirelessly toward helping others and ultimately sacrificed his life in the process.

Selflessly vowing to give to help others in King’s name seems the only appropriate way to honor his memory.

This year, the United States celebrates the 27th anniversary of the federal holiday first observed in 1986.

In 1994, the U.S. Congress designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national call to service, and this year the American people are called to action at a time when many are in need.

The day is the only federal holiday observed as a “day on, not a day off,” according to Corporation for National & Community Service.

Join millions of Americans across the country as they remember King’s dream and commitment to service.

After Monday, don’t forget what King stood for or his quest to make our country better. Pick at least one cause and commit to helping others in need.

While the news never sleeps, takes a holiday or goes on vacation, those who bring it to you do.

Larson Newspapers will give its busy employees a day off to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 22, which means we’ll be working double-time before hand to make that possible.

Larson Newspapers Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieAs the pace in our newsroom pushes full-steam ahead, we ask the public to do its best to keep up with us.

We’ve moved our display and classified advertising, press release and column deadlines up to make sure we get your advertisement or news item before we are ready to put the paper together.

Thanksgiving represents our longest stretch of early deadlines extending throughout an entire week and affecting nearly every person who contributes to the newspaper.

Early deadlines go into effect Thursday, Nov. 15, and affect the Wednesday, Nov. 21, editions of the Sedona Red Rock News, The Camp Verde Journal, Cottonwood Journal Extra, and the Friday, Nov. 23, editions of The Scene and the Sedona Red Rock News.

Our altered deadlines for Thanksgiving are:

For the Wednesday, Nov. 21, Sedona Red Rock News, The Camp Verde Journal and Cottonwood Journal Extra:

? Display advertisements due by 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15.

? Classified advertising due by Friday, Nov. 16, at 3 p.m.

? News items — press releases, columns and letters to the editor — due by noon Wednesday, Nov. 14.

For the Friday, Nov. 23, edition of The Scene:

? Display advertisements due by 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.

? News items due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.

For the Friday, Nov. 23, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News:

? Display advertisements due by Monday, Nov. 19, at 1 p.m.

? Classifieds are due Tuesday, Nov, 20, by 3 p.m.

? News items due by Monday, Nov. 19, at 8 a.m.

Our offices in Camp Verde, Sedona and Cottonwood will be closed all day Thursday, Nov. 22, and reopen Friday, Nov. 23.

Deadlines return to normal as of Nov. 23.

As is always true with submission, anything received after our deadlines will likely not appear in the newspaper.

Around a holiday more than ever its important to get your advertisements, columns, press releases and letters to the editor in early so they have a better chance of making it into print.

We thank you for your cooperation and wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

If you have any questions regarding editorial material, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For questions about advertising, call or email Kyle Larson at 282-7795, ext. 114, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or contact your sales representative.

While the news never sleeps, takes a holiday or goes on vacation, those who bring it to you do.

Larson Newspapers will give its busy employees a day to celebrate the birth of our country, which means we’ll be working double-time beforehand to make that possible.

Larson Newspapers Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieAs the pace in our newsroom pushes full-steam ahead, we ask the public to do its best to keep up with us.

We’ve moved our deadlines up to make sure we get your advertisement or news item well before we are ready to put the paper together.

Our staff will take off Wednesday, July 4.

Early deadlines go into effect Tuesday, June 26, and affect the Wednesday, July 4, editions of the Sedona Red Rock News, The Camp Verde Journal, Cottonwood Journal Extra, and the Friday, July 6, edition of The Scene.

Our altered deadlines for the 4th of July holiday are:

For the Wednesday, July 6, Sedona Red Rock News, The Camp Verde Journal and Cottonwood Journal Extra:

? News items — press releases and letters to the editor — due by 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 26

For the Friday, July 6, edition of The Scene:

? News items due by 5 p.m., Friday, June 29

Our offices in Camp Verde, Sedona and Cottonwood will be closed all day July 4 and reopen Thursday, July 5.

Deadlines return to normal as of July 5.

As is always true with submissions, anything received after our deadlines won’t appear in the newspaper.

Around a holiday more than ever it’s important to get your advertisements, press releases and letters to the editor in early so they have a better chance of making it into print.

We thank you for your cooperation and wish you a happy Fourth of July.

If you have any questions regarding editorial materials, call me at 282-7795, ext. 124.

For questions about advertising, call Kyle Larson at 282-7795, ext. 114, or your sales representative.

The newspaper business isn’t for the thin-skinned.

Every story we publish has fans and critics, even feel-good feature stories we’re sure everyone will love. Someone always has a problem with even those, and they let me know.

Even when we try to remain neutral and allow our readers to decide the state of the city or any given situation, we can be criticized.

Most recently, a visitor to our sister websites called challenging the relevance of our poll question.

The question, “After homicides, is Sedona still a safe city?” appeared at redrocknews.com following the double murder of two tourists just south of the city limits toward Cottonwood.

The man asked how this question was relevant because the murders did not take place in Sedona, and it was an isolated event.

Clearly, he thinks Sedona is still a safe city, which is one of the four answer options.

The question didn’t imply or assume Sedona isn’t safe. It asked our website readers what they think, and 46.3 percent of those who answered the question agree with him. The poll results are listed on Page 2A of the Friday, Jan. 20, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Were we wrong to ask? No, we were simply trying to gauge how the event affected the public.

We receive more hate mail and phone calls telling us we’re horrible people when the stories are controversial or involve crime, but I think readers would be surprised it can even happen when someone writes a story about a life being saved.

We have to let the insults roll off our backs, especially those that are personal. Criticism of the product is understandable and everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and has the right to express that opinion. When the jabs turn personal — especially when we have never met the people dishing them out — that’s when the merit of the argument is lost.

We always welcome comments on our stories and work, whether they are positive or negative, but common courtesy goes a long way in getting your point across.

We’re all in this together, whether we agree or not on any number of issues, and it’s in all of our best interests to follow the Golden Rule. It’s a simple concept but seems to sometimes be the hardest for many adults to master.

The best Christmas gifts are not iPads, expensive jewelry or the latest winter fashions.

The best Christmas gifts are those we take for granted but to another they mean the world.

I heard a heart-warming Christmas story this week in the Larson Newspapers newsroom.

Our copy editor, Constance Israel, become one little puppy’s Christmas angel.

While making her annual winter trek to Bryce Canyon National Park over the weekend, Israel stopped at a dump site in the far reaches of Northern Arizona where she never fails to find homeless animals.

A parking lot full of Dumpsters where people throw out their trash also seems to be where they leave unwanted dogs and cats.

Israel stops here every year armed with food and water to leave for the neglected animals.

This year, knowing she couldn’t leave another young creature behind with what could be one of its last meals, she brought a pet carrier.

On the way home, that pet carrier housed a traveler, a furry puppy now known as Chester.

Rescuing Chester from the Dumpster marked only the beginning of the battle for this young pup.

Wounds as deep as his neck muscles indicate he may have been shot by a gun or an arrow, and the next two weeks will determine Chester’s fate.

News of Chester’s fight spread quickly and donations are pouring in to Golden Bone Rescue, the organization sponsoring Chester’s medical procedures.

Chester’s uncertain fate at the Dumpsters quickly became a Christmas miracle when Israel opened her car door and her home to a little puppy in need.

Golden Bone has already received applications from other caring souls who want to become Chester’s family.

Chester received the best Christmas gift on Sunday, Dec. 18, a week before Christmas. He received a second chance at life, and a good life at that.

Remember all the gifts you’ve received this year, not just those wrapped under the tree.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

As your readers are well aware, property taxes continue to rise with no end in sight. I am an 82-year-old widow on a fixed income and have paid a large amount of taxes in my lifetime, with little complaining, but have reached the point of speaking out.

I have no objection to paying taxes for education, fire department, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System/Arizona Long Term Care System, the library tax, etc., but I am being assessed $1,184 a year for the Camp Verde Sanitary District, and get this, I have never had access to its service, and am told I never will have in my lifetime. [I live on Salt Mine Road.]

“Taxation without representation” was one of the main reasons our forefathers left England. The amount the sanitary district is charging me is almost one half my total tax bill.

Another unhelpful fact for me is despite the big drop in property values the last few years, my property’s evaluation is so high I’m not even eligible for a widow’s exemption. Where is the justice? What will happen if I refuse to pay the sanitary district portion of my bill? Any ideas, people?

— Bertha E. Monroe

Camp Verde

I would like to thank the many people who contributed to the success of our recent fourth annual Matt Showers Memorial Track Meet. Many people including parents, students, grandparents and friends, over 30 volunteers in all, helped make this event a success.

The love and support from our friends and community for this event has always been fantastic. We were able to raise almost $2,000 for the Matt Showers Memorial scholarship fund, which benefits young people from Camp Verde High School. Also thanks to our booster club and to the local company that donated the medals for our meet. Lori and I are blessed to live in such a caring community. Thanks again.

— Mark Showers and Lori Showers

Camp Verde High School

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