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Thanks to two of the Verde Valley’s educational heavy hitters, area high school students will soon get an education in movie-making.

On Monday, July 11, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education officially partnered with Yavapai College to allow students to take film and media arts program courses at Yavapai College at no cost. The event, hosted by Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus, included an informational address and a question and answer session.

“It went quite well, with about 13 interested people attending,” Yavapai College film and media arts director Helen Stephenson said following the event. “We need a minimum of eight students to launch the program. I think this will be extremely popular as the word gets out … It’s a fantastic opportunity for students, and a huge financial bonus for parents.”

Four Republican candidates came to the Cottonwood Recreation Center on Saturday, July, 16, to explain why they should be the one to fill the Congressional District 1 seat.

A forum was held, asking the candidates a broad series of mostly economic-based questions, put on by the League of Women Voters Greater Verde Valley. Ken Bennett, Paul Babeu, David Gowan and Shawn Redd all attended.

In an unusually short meeting Tuesday, July 12, the Sedona-Oak Creek School District Governing Board unanimously adopted the school district’s final 2016-17 budget, renewed its five-year food service contract and approved a new director of technology.

Near the end of the meeting, which began at 4 p.m., board President Zach Richardson observed that “we’re going to get out of here by five o’clock” and joked, “That’s a world record.”

Bobbie Surber was the only board member not in attendance, either in person or by phone. She said earlier in the day she had a prior commitment.

It was one of those days for personnel from the Sedona Fire District.

The day included a lightning strike on a condominium, a wildfire and a swift-water rescue and ended with a rescue off Bell Rock.

At around 5:30 p.m., crews responded to the popular hiking area for a stranded individual who was unable to go up or down the rock face.

With topics such as Yavapai College, land development, reducing the number of inmates in local jails and the idea of a regional airport, Randy Garrison and Diane Joens put their best foot forward to explain why they want your vote.

The two are vying for Yavapai County District 3 supervisor, a position that has been held for two decades by Chip Davis. He chose not to seek a sixth term and instead run for the Arizona House of Representatives.

Joens and Garrison spoke before about 30 people during a forum on Monday, July 18. The event was held in the Village of Oak Creek and was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters Greater Verde Valley and the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council. Each candidate was given two minutes to introduce themselves followed by one prepared question. They then took more than a dozen questions from the audience.

Whatever else can be said of Yavapai College’s investment in the Verde Valley, the topic produces interesting exchanges — a fact made clear during the Wednesday, July 13, meeting of the college’s Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee at The Collective Sedona Vista Hall in the Village of Oak Creek.

Committee Vice Chairman Bill Regner led the meeting, voicing criticism of Yavapai College’s lack of momentum in providing adequate course access to area residents. In addition, he questioned why members of the Yavapai College District Governing Board recently expressed confusion over what Verde Valley residents wanted the college to provide them.

The Point Fire continues to burn in the Munds Mountain Wilderness located east of State Route 179 and south of Sedona and Schnebly Hill Road.

No significant growth occurred Monday, July 25,  given favorable weather conditions and helicopter water-drop assistance. Fire crews were also successful in safely completing a fire line to the north of the fire on Munds Mountain.

“Today, fire operations will continue to utilize air attack and ground crews to secure the fire line along the rim in the current footprint to limit further spread,” Incident Commander Aaron Graeser said

It was like speed dating — political style.

Six candidates vying for three seats on the Sedona City Council took part in their first forum of the political season on Tuesday, July 19, at the Sedona Public Library. About 75 people turned out for the event hosted by the League of Women Voters Greater Verde Valley and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce.

Incumbents John Martinez and Jessica Williamson, as well as John Currivan and Joe Vernier, are vying for a pair of four-year terms while Tom Lamkin [who was appointed to the council earlier this year] will face Gerhard Mayer for a two-year term. This will fulfill the term vacated in January by Angela LeFevre. Mayor Sandy Moriarty is running unopposed.

Police arrested a man after he barricaded himself in his car and threatened shoot “as many people as he needed to.”

At around 1:50 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20, Sedona police officers were dispatched to a local restaurant in reference to an ex-employee who had entered the restaurant and was causing a disturbance. The employee, 46-year-old Michael Pastore, had been terminated the previous day, said Cmdr. Marlayne Hatler of the SFD.

After a dogged search, the cat’s out of the bag as the Humane Society of Sedona hired its newest executive director.

Austin Gates took over the role Monday, July 18. She took the job after working as vice president and director of the San Diego Humane Society’s Oceanside, Calif., campus.

Gates said she pursued the position to get to a smaller town, one with less traffic, as well as fewer animals in the shelter, so that she could focus more on individual potential pets and community events.

After nearly 17 years on the job, Holly Epright decided it was time for a change. What that change is, she’s not quite sure yet but she’s OK with that.

“Right now I’m just taking a leap of faith and hoping that there’s something on the other side when I land,” said Epright, who will be stepping down as executive director of the Sedona Main Street Program on July 29. “Considering my age and the fact I’m happy and healthy, I just felt it was a good time to start new adventures and have time for me. I’ve been working since I was 13 — full item since I was 16 — so now is a good time to retire and try new things.”

The scenario is familiar to anyone who does the grocery shopping: You walk into the store, looking for fresh produce. Noting that your avocados are rock hard, your bananas green, you wonder where on Earth the fruit is from.

Peru, perhaps, or Brazil. China, maybe?

It seems often that only a small proportion of the produce we consume comes from within our national borders — much less from within the state.

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