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Yet another local business owner has been duped out of money through an ongoing scam. But this time there’s a bit of a twist that is still under investigation.

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn reported this week that on Nov. 18 an unknown person called a Village of Oak Creek business claiming it was behind on its bill and the power was scheduled to be shut off. The owner dismissed the call as a scam and did nothing. Three days later a man came into the business wearing a shirt and hat displaying “APS” lettering and stated he was there to shut off power. The owner requested information to prevent this from happening and the man/suspect provided a contact phone number before leaving.

You don’t need a flannel shirt, a rusty pickup and a grizzly beard to be one of the many people in the Verde Valley who carries a concealed gun.

Marina Zorilla, who works at a salon in Old Town Cottonwood, carries her Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm handgun.

“I carry every day. I don’t leave the house without it. It’s just become a habit now,” she said.

Zorilla has been carrying for some years now, and chose the model of pistol for its light weight and the ease of concealing it within her purse.

The demands on a firefighter’s body are formidable. Even excepting the possibility of fire-related death, the physical demands can be deadly.

According to Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Verde Valley Medical Clinic Occupational Medicine Director Jason Wesley, the No. 1 killer of firefighters in the U.S. is cardiovascular disease — a trait they share with the rest of the nation, but which is exacerbated by the quick response to stress required by the job.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is making good on a promise to help prevent suicides off Midgley Bridge.

On Friday, Dec. 2, ADOT announced that in partnership with Sedona, the U.S. Forest Service and Coconino County, it will add protective fencing over the next few weeks to the bridge, located north of Sedona on State Route 89A.

Over the last few years, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has been at the forefront of the battle against criminalizing mental health conditions — and now, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, YCSO is getting a helping hand.

With the funds, the YCSO Mental Health Collaboration Program enters its planning and implementation stage. The ultimate goal of the program is to support law enforcement responses such as mental health courts, pre-trial services, diversion and alternative prosecution and sentencing programs, treatment accountability services, training for officers and reentry services to address mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

One man was killed in a three-car collision on Cornville Road near Verde Santa Fe at about 4 p.m. Nov. 23.

Justin Allen Goemaere, 31, of Cottonwood, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. He was riding in the front seat and not wearing a seat belt. Officials are conducting an autopsy.

The city of Sedona needs your help in regard to something most would rather not talk about — wastewater.

The city is in the early stages of updating its wastewater collection system master plan, which was last completed in 2000. Over the past 16 years, there have been substantial changes to the collection system and reconsideration of plans to expand the system to various locations in the city, associate city planner Roxanne Holland said.

The master plan update has a maximum budget of $200,000 with the work being done by Carollo Engineers.

During a open house on Tuesday, Dec. 5, attendance was less than expected. But for those who did attend, staff was able to garner important information from them that will be included in the update.

“Overall the meeting was well received,” Holland said afterward. “The public that attended was supportive of the city’s efforts in
developing the Wastewater Master Plan Update and supportive of improvements or expansion of the sewer system for environmental sustainability. We received some valuable feedback that we will utilize as we move forward with the project.”

The scope of work will include:

  • Development of flow projections.
  • Determination and possible revision of sewer service area boundaries.
  • Hydraulic modeling will be used to determine deficiencies within the collection system.
  • Analysis of possible efficiencies — elimination of lift stations, overflow emergency strategies for major lift stations, feasibility of removing old cluster systems.
  • Identify a capital improvement plan for recommended upgrades and major repairs.
  • Conduct public outreach such as mailings, fliers, website, public meetings.

Many of those in the audience currently have privately-owned septic systems and questioned how they go about tapping in to the citywide system and its costs. About
60 percent of the population is on the city wastewater system. For those looking to join, there is a $9,757 cost to do so. And, city code states that if a homeowner, for example, is the third or fourth house in on a street and wishes to connect to the city’s system, all the homes between the connection point and that house must do the same.

When Sedona became incorporated in 1988, state law mandated that the city provide a wastewater system for the residents. However, because of costs and logistics, 40 percent of the homes and businesses are still not on the system. As the septic tanks age, city officials said that the likelihood of the tanks going bad increases. Holland said there are several ways of telling if a tank is leaking. The first is a strong odor while others include wastewater seeping out of the ground and a backup in the system within the home.

“There’s no way to know the actual number of tanks that may be leaking,” she said, adding that septic system experts can come to one’s home and do tests.

It was also pointed out that the law requires those who go from a septic system to the city system have their tanks filled with gravel.
As the update moves forward, Carollo will continue to compile comments and questions, update the Sedona City Council on their progress, analyze areas of the city looking to connect, meet with smaller groups like HOAs and individual neighborhoods and finally host a second public meeting.

The holiday season is officially upon us as Holiday Central kicked off its fourth year this past weekend with the lighting of the tree in Uptown and breakfast with Santa.

And this year, an old Sedona favorite will make its return but with a holiday twist.  

“We are so excited for Red Rock Fantasy to return to Sedona at Tlaquepaque arts & crafts village,” said Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and a Holiday Central committee member. “This year’s event is shaping up to be what we’ve always wanted Red Rock Fantasy to become — a community-wide event where many business, nonprofit organizations and the entire community is involved.

As a way to provide additional free parking in the Uptown area, as well as potential others uses, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce is looking into buying a vacant building on Jordan Road.

During a presentation to the Sedona City Council on Nov. 22, Chamber President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff stressed the importance of balancing tourism while looking out for the interests of residents and business owners as well.

Imagine looking over the edge of a 27-story building. Now imagine rappelling down the side of it.

For three Sedona professionals, this will soon be a reality and all for a good cause.

For the second time in a month, a former Sedona city councilman has died.

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Dennis Rayner died in his sleep after a long battle with cancer, his wife Marlene said. In late October, former councilman Dan McIlroy died as well.

“He always kept me laughing,” Marlene said of her husband of 52 years. “He always tried to keep my spirits up, despite everything he was going through. It’s been a very rough year.”

Pulitzer Prize winner James Steele came to the Elks lodge to discuss the election.

The Sedona Elks lodge held roughly 50 people on Thursday, Nov. 17, to hear Steele share his insight on the recent general election. The event was hosted by the Verde Valley Chapter of the League of Women Voters.

Steele covered how the election may impact the economy, through taxes and foreign policy.

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