Soon, the Yavapai County redistricting marathon will come to a end when the Board of Supervisors selects a map Monday, Aug. 22.

County staff, led by Yavapai County Administrator Julie Ayers, traveled the county hosting open house meetings, answering questions, taking comments and eventually producing four maps based on popular public opinion.

Maps A, B, C and D made their debut in front of the public June 1, and now, in the eleventh hour, Yavapai County District 2 Supervisor Tom Thurman also proposed a fifth alternative.

In Sedona and the Verde Valley, the original Map C appears to be most popular, even with our county supervisor, Chip Davis. District 3 Supervisor Davis endorsed Map C as the best alternative for the Verde Valley.

Map C pairs Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek with Camp Verde, Lake Montezuma, McGuireville, Cherry and portions of Prescott Valley.

The remainder of the Verde Valley makes up a second district.

The Sedona City Council, Big Park Regional Coordinating Council in the Village of Oak Creek, Cottonwood City Council, Clarkdale Town Council and the Beaver Creek Coordinating Council came out in favor of Map C often citing the map’s ability to possibly keep two supervisor seats in the Verde Valley.

The Camp Verde Town Council has yet to endorse a map but will talk about where the town stands at its meeting Wednesday, Aug. 17.

The ultimate decision, however, will be made by the three supervisors — Thurman, Davis and District 1 Supervisor Carol Springer. They, like county staff, made rounds throughout the county to find out which map their constituents prefer.

After the vote is cast, the county submits the selected map to the Department of Justice for review. The county anticipates receiving approval in December.

Elections for supervisor seats begin in August 2012 with a primary election followed by the general election in November 2012. New supervisors will take their seats in January 2013.

The rotten economy’s latest victim appears to be the Sedona Community Center.

The center closed its pool this summer and eliminated certain activities in an effort to refocus its mission, as written by SCC Board of Directors President Jeff Buresh in his column on Page 2B.

The change didn’t come as a desire or a wish of the board or the center’s staff to mix things up, but as a necessity.

When I moved here five years ago, the center was in the process of becoming the Sedona Community Center rather than the Adult Community Center. The business card in my Rolodex today for SCC Executive Director Susan Barrington is adorned by the old name and logo.

In 2006, Sedona’s economy boomed as housing prices crept up and up, the center’s membership swelled with both senior and younger members, and donations came much more easily through the door.

At that time, the center expanded its mission, adopting a new name and attempting to reestablish itself in the community.

While meal programs for the elderly remained the center’s main focus, the time, money and people surfaced to take operations to the next level.

The pool attracted more visitors and programs expanded allowing the center to begin to embody the true essence of a community center.

A much different light shines on the changes and decisions board members and staff find themselves forced to make today.

Expanding operations is exciting and popular. Downsizing is scary and hard.

The mission of the center when it went by the Adult Community Center and today is to prevent elder hunger. Everything else it offered, while still fitting in with the goals of the center, was extra.

Today, the center, like many of the rest of us, can’t afford extras, and the demand and expense of its primary objective increases as the economy worsens.

More seniors than ever before cannot afford to feed themselves, leaving only SCC to answer their pleas for help.

Fewer people can afford to give their time for free making volunteers to assist with vital programs harder to come by.

Most damaging is the lack of funding available to provide services. Donations are fewer and smaller.

The bottom line is, the center, like the rest of us, has to choose what it can afford and what it can’t, and not live outside its means.

We’ve all cut indulgences from our lives in the last few years, and the center is simply suffering on a larger, more noticeable scale. It can’t afford to do anything more on its own.

Change is the only constant we can count on, and while journalists are often accused of being slow to change, our newest trade book reveals we’re coming around.

The Associated Press released the The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law 2011 at the end of July and an entire section dedicated to social media proves journalists are coming around to the digital age.

The AP Stylebook is the basis for all news writing in the United States and the beginning foundation for every journalist.

Journalism rests on the foundation of the pen and paper, and many journalists, especially the older generation, initially rejected the Internet as a news source fearing it would be the demise of the printed or spoken word.

While the presence of news websites and up-to-date citizen reporting forced journalism as a whole to evolve, AP’s inclusion of social media standards — the newest news spreading craze — is a sign the industry realized we can all live together and create a better informed public.

It’s true online news hurt all traditional media outlets — newspapers, magazines, radio and television — in the beginning.

Traditional media normally delivers the news to its audience on a set schedule, which is where Internet news had and still has the edge. Information can be updated immediately and accessed at any time.

Originally, bloggers stole some of this traffic by embracing the Internet’s capability to deliver timely news. News organizations hesitated to make the move to the Internet, but eventually felt it a necessary step to keep their audiences happy. Once established news outlets began offering news online, Internet users left the blogs and again sought news from credible sources.

After journalists budged on Internet content, many organizations swung to the complete other end of the spectrum and found themselves in trouble.

Those organizations caused their own struggle with the Internet by offering the entire content of the print or broadcast product for free online making reading their newspaper, watching their broadcast or tuning into their station completely unnecessary. Media organizations floundered when sales went down and their audience shifted from their primary product to the Internet.

Then, we figured out the magic recipe — different content for the web and our primary products.

At Sedona Red Rock News, we’ve embraced the Internet, but understand our website and our newspaper are two completely different tools.

Our website,, competes with other media by bringing our audience breaking news, whether it’s a fire, accident or board decision. We also offer features not available in our newspaper, such as an interactive poll, local gas prices, and current weather conditions. We select a few stories from each issue of the newspaper and also make those available online. We do not, however, post every news story or content contributed from community members — columns, letters to the editor or guest perspectives. You have to buy our newspaper to enjoy those features.

Journalism is one of our country’s oldest institutions, and industry change isn’t easy after hundreds of years, but we’re coming along.{jcomments on}

Often when children come in contact with police officers or emergency crews, the situation isn’t good.

Accidents and domestic disputes are common occasions when a child meets a police officer or firefighter for the first time. Mom and Dad might be arguing or the child may have been involved in a traffic accident the first time the child and someone from public safety interact.

Stressful situations frighten the child, who may form negative opinions about the public service provider who helped them simply due to the context of the event. A firefighter’s presence may elicit fear someone is injured, and a police officer may trigger worry a child or someone in their family is in trouble.

National Night Out, an annual event hosted in Sedona and other communities across the country, aims to change this.

On Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 6 p.m., children and adults alike were invited to Posse Grounds Park to meet police officers, firefighters, helicopter paramedics and others who protect our community.

The event gives children a chance to meet people often present in bad situations in a stress-free environment. If children are familiar with police officers and emergency crews, it adds one more element of comfort in an uncomfortable situation.

Introducing children to police officers and firefighters can squash negative stereotypes about either profession before the child has a chance to develop them. Showing children these people are in the field because they care fosters a trusting relationship between a child and public safety workers.

Local agencies, including Sedona Police Department, Sedona Fire District and Guardian Air, display their equipment and vehicles to show children and answer questions.

This year marks the 28th year of the event, which is a proactive attempt by the agencies involved to not only do their jobs, but to interact and communicate with those they serve and protect.

Trista Steers MacVittie

Managing Editor

My throat is sore, my eyes burn and my head throbs — smoke smothers Sedona yet again.

For the past two weeks smoke covering Sedona has gotten progressively thicker each morning. On Thursday morning, July 28, Uptown was barely visible from the Brewer Road and State Route 89A roundabout. As my husband said that morning when he called to warn me about the smoke, “I feel like I’m driving into a forest fire.”

Every year Sedona experiences a spell of campfire-grade air quality due to forest fires, either wild or managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and each time it becomes more frustrating.

I realize residents are now paying for the Forest Service’s past mistakes with regard to forest fire management, and letting naturally occurring fires burn is essential to rebalance forest ecosystems. However, “managing” to me also means managing the smoke produced and communicating with communities affected via the local newspaper.

Last week, the Forest Service did a good job keeping us updated on the Bolt Fire, burning south of Munds Park, but as smoke thickened and its statements made in our July 20 newspaper proved false, correspondence dwindled.

This week, our newsroom received only one fire update Wednesday, July 27.

In Patrick Whitehurst’s July 20 front page article, USFS staff told him their plan entailed letting the fire burn until Saturday, July 23. Well, as I write this editorial, it’s Thursday, July 28.

USFS staff also claimed Sedona residents would experience smoke conditions similar to those seen July 16 and 17. Smoke was noticeable then, but you could see across the street in Uptown.

The article then goes on to quote a spokesperson saying, “If it looks like we’re getting too much [smoke] in the communities, we will actively suppress it and try and stop the smoke or maybe even mitigate the fire, making it burn a little slower, if we can do that.”

It doesn’t appear to me much is being done to lessen the presence of smoke, but we also probably wouldn’t be aware of any such efforts since the stream of press releases nearly dried up. USFS also claimed last week it typically tries to keep in touch with communities affected by smoke. Well, I’m not sure who it keeps in touch with because Sedona’s only newspaper sure hasn’t heard much from them.

Maybe the Forest Service’s emails were lost in the smoke.

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