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As anyone who has met him knows, documentary filmmaker Ben Fama Jr. is not one to mince words when talking about the disastrous results of religious ideology.

“Some of the world’s problems unfortunately have to do with belief systems,” Fama said to the crowd gathered to hear him speak Thursday, April 21, at Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus. “Why is it important to challenge these belief systems?”

An ally of the arts community has just announced itself, staking claim to the mission of making good on Sedona’s potential to be one of the country’s top arts destinations.

According to Sedona Culture Collaborative Chairman Rob Adams, a former mayor, the collaborative has been around for four years but until recently kept a relatively low profile.

This week, Sedona-Oak Creek School District Superintendent David Lykins is in an unlikely place, doing a necessary thing: Recruiting teachers for all Verde Valley school districts.

The trip began with a shared concept. Admitting a lack of federal and state funds for Arizona school districts — and the associated difficulties of attracting and retaining qualified teachers — the Verde Valley’s seven superintendents approached Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter, asking him to solicit funds from the Forest Fees Management Association.

High winds fanned the flames of a fire that burned a Village of Oak Creek home, leaving 11 members of a family homeless.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, crews from the Sedona Fire District, Verde Valley Fire District, Camp Verde and the U.S. Forest Service responded to a brush fire behind Rimrock Ride Road, off Jack’s Canyon Road. However, that fire quickly spread to a nearby home, which crews battled for more than two hours. There were no reports of injuries.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is moving forward with a plan to attempt to reduce the number of suicides off Midgley Bridge.

In recent months ADOT has received input from the city of Sedona, Sedona Fire District and Coconino County as well as individuals and groups urging the state to install some type of fencing or barriers on the 77-year-old bridge.

The state listened.

One of the most pressing concerns of Arizona voters is education funding — specifically, will it be possible for students to compete when their schools are among the nation’s most underfunded?

A boy has been arrested in regard to a bomb scare at Sedona Red Rock High School nearly three weeks ago.

According to Lt. Lucas Wilcoxson, of the Sedona Police Department, a sophomore, whose name was not released because of his age, was arrested on Friday, April 15.

It’s been half a year since the city of Sedona introduced its new street performer policy. And like anything new, it’s having a few growing pains but nothing staff feels can’t be worked out with time.

“Things are coming along pretty well but it’s all about baby steps,” Arts and Culture Coordinator Nancy Lattanzi said. “It’s still coming out of its infancy stage. It’s not quite where we want it to be but it’s moving in the right direction.”

No matter where one lives, parents hear the same thing from their teens, “There’s nothing to do.”

The Sedona Parks and Recreation Department has attempted to address that issue locally with a variety of teen-oriented events over the years.

After proudly serving the last 32 years as a firefighter, Scott Schwisow is quickly embracing his new title — retiree.

“It’s slowly sinking in,” he said hours before his official Sedona Fire District walking out ceremony. “It feels a little different after doing this for 32 years. There’s almost kind of a grieving process.”

It was news Sedona Vice Mayor Mark DiNunzio said he’ll never forget but something he later saw as a blessing in disguise.

In early April DiNunzio received a normal check-up from his doctor, who noticed that his blood pressure and cholesterol were much higher than normal.

Sedona Heritage Museum is in possession of many amazing photographs, yet it’s a new platoon photograph that shows what courage Northern Arizona brought to the Vietnam War.

On the night spanning June 15 and 16, 1966, a small U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance platoon engaged People’s Army of Vietnam and Viet Cong fighters, inflicting large casualties over the course of 12 hours before withdrawing with only a few dead.

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