The Arizona Commission on the Arts will present the 12th annual Arizona Poetry Out Loud state finals competition at the downtown Phoenix studios of Arizona PBS on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at 2:00 pm. Nine high school students from throughout the state will compete in the poetry recitation contest for an opportunity to represent Arizona at the 12th Annual Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C.

Local spook-seekers rejoice: Come March 18, Relics Restaurant and Roadhouse will be featured on the Travel Channel’s “The Dead Files.”

“The Dead Files” is a paranormal investigation series featuring psychic medium Amy Allan and former New York Police Department homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi as they independently examine sites purported to be haunted. Neither expert communicates with the other until the end of the show, when their separate conclusions — which often, but not always, coincide — are shared with the managers of the properties.

It was an opportunity too good to pass up for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Sedona Conference.

On Friday, March 3, work began to remodel a building at St. John Vianney Catholic Church — one that was previously used for church storage and an emergency food pantry.
Father Kieran Kleczewski has given the society the entire building for use as both an emergency food pantry and client service office. Renovations are expected to take almost all of the month with the grand opening set for Wednesday, March 29.

School district officials have agreed that the best way to deal with the public is a policy of don’t ask, do tell.

The Sedona-Oak Creek School District Governing Board decided Tuesday, Feb. 28, not to ask residents for comments, questions and suggestions for the direction of the district, opting instead to create a communication plan that would inform the public of what is happening in the schools, at the district level and the governing board.

Carlos Galindo-Elvira, Arizona regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, spoke on the rise of anti-Semitism across the United States on Tuesday, Feb. 28. He was hosted by the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley, which has been organizing hot topic discussions for almost two years.

Galindo-Elvira began by explaining the ADL’s mission, which is to not only protect Jewish people from defamation, but secure just treatment for all. Recent incidences have shown that anti-Semitism has made its way back into the mainstream and is thriving in the current political climate. According to ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, anti-Semitism has not been this prevalent since the 1930s. At the same time, hate crimes against other groups such as Latinos, Muslims or the LGBT community are on the rise as well.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute invited Laurie Moore, director and co-founder of the Sedona Area Homeless Alliance, to speak about the issue of homelessness in the community for the last Lunch and Learn session of the winter term on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

SAHA was created last winter, after Moore and her partner Wing Ryan discovered a shout-out on Facebook from two people passing through the area that were in need of a tent and two sleeping bags. The post sparked the idea of creating a wish list with items that would benefit the homeless community in Sedona and asking people to donate those items.

Sedona-Oak Creek School District officials are searching for savings that would enable the district to increase salaries in next year’s budget.

“I want our school district to have the most competitive salary schedule,” Superintendent David Lykins told the SOCSD Governing Board when he presented the budget Feb. 7.

Last year, when Proposition 123 passed, the district used all the funds it received to boost salaries, which historically had been lower than other districts.

According to Sedona Red Rock High School Principal Darrin Karuzas and Assistant Principal Deana DeWitt, administrators are working to address results from the 2016 Arizona Youth Survey that indicate two out of five sophomores who took the survey did not feel safe at school.

First up, Karuzas said that he and DeWitt will be forming a student advisory committee in the next few weeks. It is not the first of its kind, but with the current iteration Karuzas intends to “really talk to them about real-life concerns,” becoming a “vehicle to talk and discuss” issues of safety, substance abuse and negative family situations reflected in the survey.

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