Pat McMahan owns the largest collection of agates in the United States and second largest in the world.

At his home in Cottonwood, McMahan has carefully identified, labeled and put over 7,000 specimens on display, some of which will be on display at the ninth annual Sedona Gem and Mineral Club Show and Sale on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17 and Oct. 18.

“It’s just an addiction I guess,” McMahan said. “These to me are a work of art.”

gem-and-minerarl-10-1Agates in McMahan’s collection came from as far away as Russia, Africa and Turkey. Others he’s found in his home state of Arizona.

“Arizona is a wonderful place for collecting,” McMahan said. He estimates 70 percent of his collection was found in Arizona.

It’s taken McMahan 20 years to accumulate the collection he boasts today and most specimens he finds don’t make the cut. He said he only keeps 2 to 3 percent of the agates he finds and sells or trades the others. Those that do make it into his collection must have a complete pattern and no cracks.

And McMahan does the dirty work. He collects, identifies, cuts, cleans and polishes his own agates in a shop he built behind his home two years ago specifically for that purpose.

The shop is home to 17 antique rock saws, one of which was made in 1947.

“It’s a very consuming hobby,” McMahan said.

Aside from his work on his collection, McMahan was commissioned by Johann Zenz, from Austria, to work on a book that has become the world authority on agates, “Agates II.” The book was released approximately one month ago.

The book will be available at the show along with postcards featuring pieces from McMahan’s collection.

The show will be held at Sedona Red Rock High School at 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road in West Sedona. Over 35 vendors will be in attendance and three speakers will be featured: Dr. Carleton Moore, authority on meteorites, Walt Wright, a specialist in petrified wood, and Susan Zepkin, specialist in metaphysical properties.

McMahan will give a slide show presentation on agates and Bob Yee will demonstrate sphere making.

The club meets at the Sedona Public Library from September through May on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. McMahan said guests are welcome to attend for free and sit in on the meetings.

Years from now, street lights will illuminate State Route 89A in West Sedona. That much will soon be fact. Everything else is still up in the air and open to debate.

That debate enters its next stage on Wednesday, Oct. 28, when engineers from the Arizona Department of Transportation present the various lighting options to the Sedona City Council.

All 68 of them.

adotThe variations aren’t really as divergent as they sound, however, according to Assistant City Manager Alison Zelms. The major proposed options are split into minor variations. They vary in terms of the number of lights, heights of the poles, spacing between each pole, type of fixture and whether they’ll line one side of the road or be staggered along both sides.

The lights will be placed along the 2.19-mile stretch between Dry Creek Road and Airport Road in West Sedona.

ADOT and the city will elicit comments and feedback from residents about all the options, Zelms said.

At the Oct. 28 meeting, ADOT District Engineer John Harper will describe the potential lighting options and explain how to decipher the detailed Lighting Alternatives Spreadsheet that the city recently posted on its Web site. Based on comments, the council will have to prioritize what residents want most, be it cost to install, maintenance, daytime aesthetic, nighttime aesthetic, etc.

According to the spreadsheet, the number of lights varies between 40 and more than 200 and present heights range between 20 and 55 feet. Options range from only a few, tall poles that arch over the roadway or scores of shorter lights that barely hang their fixtures over the curb.

The matrix compares all the variations in a grid and shows ADOT’s suggested recommendations for each of the options.

The factors are interconnected, i.e., lower pole height means there will have to be more poles, while mast arm length and brightness increase or decrease the number of lights.

“We’ll be getting closer to a smaller number of alternatives,” Zelms said.

According to the spreadsheet’s explanation overview, the alternatives compared in three sections:

n Lighting Characteristics: Pole heights, mast arm lengths, fixture types, the lamp type, the wattage and photometrics — or the measure of how light is dispersed over an area.

n System Measures of Effectiveness: Output, spacing between light poles, the number of light poles on one side of the street or staggered, lighting needed for each road section, total watts and lumens used.

n Lighting Cost Estimate: Installation cost, maintenance costs and the city’s estimated responsibility.

The lights themselves include both high-pressure and low-pressure sodium lights with “cobrahead” fixtures, Monterey-style lights, LED fixtures and numerous fixture styles.

ADOT will also host a lighting alternatives open house Thursday, Nov. 5, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Road.

“This is the start of the discussion to narrow things down and move forward,” Zelms said.

The city and ADOT will take the feedback to reduce the potential options, then schedule further meetings to pare down the finalized lighting plan, she said.

According to the report, comment forms are available in hard-copy or digital format. The forms ask residents to prioritize designs elements, such as whether pole height is more important than energy use or whether overall cost outweighs the number of lights.

Comments are due by Wednesday, Nov. 25.

 

Christopher Fox Graham can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 129, or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Sedona City Council scrapped a resolution regarding National Scenic Area designation Wednesday, Oct. 7, when Sedona resident Angela Lefevre told it draft legislation was already on its way.

Council met in a special meeting to listen to public comment regarding a resolution council intended to send to U.S. Rep. Ann Kirpatrick [D-District 1] based on its opinion of how legislation should read. However, council dropped the resolution and voted unanimously to send Kirkpatrick a letter instead that neither supports or condemns NSA.

Lefevre said someone from Kirkpatrick’s office contacted her Tuesday morning, Oct. 6, to ask about a different issue regarding the NSA and she asked how Kirkpatrick’s draft legislation was coming along. The aide told her they were done with it.

“That floored me,” Lefevre said.

cityofsedonalogoThe aide said staff needed to check a few legal issues and the draft would be out in a couple of days, according to Lefevre.

Based on Lefevre’s revelation, council decided to write a letter to Kirkpatrick which states it supports land trade provisions in Amendment 12 of the forest plan for Coconino National Forest. The letter, however, does not say council endorses NSA.

The first motion of the evening, made by Councilman Cliff Hamilton after over two hours of public comment, stated council supported NSA legislation and listed five items council wanted to see included. The motion failed 3-4. Councilmen Dan Surber and Mark DiNunzio and Councilwomen Nancy Scagnelli and Pud Colquitt voted against it.

“Forever is a long time, people,” Scagnelli said. NSA legislation would be intact permanently unlike Amendment 12, which is reviewed with the forest plan and can be adjusted.

“I’m still not comfortable with forever,” Scagnelli said. Council can only understand the world in the context of what it is today and the stamp of forever doesn’t work.

Colquitt and Surber agreed with Scagnelli and said they too were worried about sacrificing flexibility with implementation of NSA legislation.

The U.S. Forest Service likes flexibility but also does not think land trades are good for this area, said Heather Provencio, district ranger for the Red Rock Ranger District. The district has not taken a position on the issue.

“I’ve been asked by our Washington office to remain neutral,” Provencio said.

At the beginning of the meeting Mayor Rob Adams said the purpose of the meeting wasn’t to debate NSA but later said it appeared that was what the discussion turned into.

However, the main objective was to allow the public to comment, which was achieved, according to Adams. He said he’s never seen a conversation this in-depth during his time on council and that in itself has great benefit.

Sedona residents for and against NSA legislation voiced their opinions.

“Amendment 12 is not strong enough,” Al Spector, owner of Sedona Center, said. Normally, he’s against anything involving the U.S. Congress but NSA legislation takes away the potential for bad change to occur.

Two members of the Sedona- Oak Creek School District Governing Board spoke out against NSA. The school board itself has not yet taken a position.

SOCSD board President Bobbie Surber said she must be younger than Spector because she still doesn’t trust Congress.

“I trust in Amendment 12,” Surber said. Surber expressed concern regarding land trades to build new schools. Under NSA designation it would be much harder, if not impossible.

 

Trista Steers can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 124, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Two people died Thursday, Oct. 8, following a sweat lodge ceremony at Angel Valley Retreat Center located down Forest Road 525B between Sedona and Page Springs.

Verde Valley Fire District personnel were called to the scene at 5:19 p.m. Crews found several victims who had been involved in sweat lodge ceremony. Approximately 48 people participated in the ceremony that lasted over two hours, according to VVFD reports.

angel-valley-deaths-10-14Initially, four patients were flown to Flagstaff Medical Center and six more were taken to Verde Valley Medical Center, in Cottonwood. In total, 21 people were evacuated to area medical centers, the reports stated.

A middle aged man and woman who were taken to VVMC were pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Their names have not yet been released pending notification of next of kin, the reports stated.

At least one victim remains in critical condition.

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at 10:27 p.m. and began conducting a full investigation. Deputies were still on the scene Friday, Oct. 9.

YCSO Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section will determine the exact causes of death and other injuries. Detectives are also obtaining a search warrant for other buildings on the site.

The victims had been inside a “sweatbox” structure on the north side of the property. The sweat lodge was dome shaped and covered in tarps and blankets. Hot rocks and water are used to create a steam inside the closed structure, according to YCSO.

Owners of the retreat center told VVFD personnel that the center was rented out and being used by an outside agent, according to reports.

The retreat center is located south of Hwy. 89A along Oak Creek, west of Sedona and east of Page Springs.

Christopher Fox Graham

Larson Newspapers

 

Children’s laughter in the home Juan Doe shared with his family who died in a car accident is one of his last memories Doe has before he left the home he cannot remember and local law enforcement found him in a ditch.

Where he came from, he doesn’t remember. What he does remember is he had to get out of the home left empty after his wife and daughters died in a car accident.

JuanDoe_011-10-02Today, he lives in Cottonwood in a studio apartment owned by the Verde Valley Guidance Clinic.

A Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputy found Doe near Tapco Road outside Clarkdale on July 23 with cuts on his arms and neck. All he remembered then was his name, Juan.

Doe also thinks he remembers the name of his deceased wife, Juana.

“I always thought that was unusual that Juan and Juana hook up,” Doe said.

He believes his daughters were named Trisha, 12, and Silvia, 10. He said he thinks all three of them died in a car accident, possibly in March.

Before his family died, Doe said he had heart surgery. A big scar down Doe’s chest indicates this memory is likely true. He said he felt depressed after the surgery and his family was helping him through it. Then, they died, which he believes drove him from his home.

Doe said he couldn’t handle being in his family’s home any longer and took off in his car, which he later abandoned and began to hitchhike. He later turned up in the Verde Valley.

Since then, Paulette Guinn, Doe’s case manager at VVGC, has been working with him, trying to trigger any memory that will clue them in to who Doe is and where he came from.

Doe’s short term memory hasn’t been affected. He said he remembers everything since he was found.

Doe cut his hair in August hoping it would help him remember something.

“I am guessing I keep it something like this,” Doe said. He combs it different ways hoping to tap a memory.

Guinn said during her weekly sessions with Doe they talk about his dreams, which they’ve been able to use to make possible connections to his past.

Doe recalls dreams about working on computers. He said he thinks he may have been an electrician.

Guinn and Doe also look for clues in Doe’s behavior and mannerisms.

When Doe watches television, he said he adjusts his viewing schedule to correspond with the central showing time, which leads him to believe he is from somewhere in the central time zone.

Doe’s speech also has a drawl, which Guinn said leads her to believe he could be from Texas. Originally, Doe thought he was from New Mexico but now believes that to be false.

Now, Guinn said, nearly three months after authorities found Doe, they are going to try two new approaches.

A woman in Portland, Ore., contacted the clinic. She said it’s her hobby to find people who have forgotten their identity and match them with missing persons listings. Guinn said they’re going to give it a try.

Doe also agreed to be hypnotized, Guinn said. A Cottonwood hypnotist agreed to give Doe three free sessions of regression therapy, which uses hypnosis, to help Doe remember.

Until Doe remembers who he is, VVGC is trying to help him out mentally and emotionally.

Guinn said Doe’s picking up odd jobs to keep a little money

in his pocket and she unsuccessfully tried to get him on AHCCCS.

Doe doesn’t have any documentation required by AHCCCS to obtain coverage. However, Guinn said a clause allows documentation requirements to be bypassed. After filling out 32 pages of paperwork, Guinn said AHCCCS still rejected him.

Guinn said she doesn’t know what they’ll do next.

 

Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin said Thursday, Oct. 1, he is seriously considering running for governor in the 2010 election.

“I’m running in 2010. There’s no question about that,” Martin said. He will run for either reelection at his current post or governor of Arizona.

Martin spoke at the Republican Men’s club meeting Oct. 1 and they wanted to know if he plans to try his luck for governor on

the ballot.

“I’m convinced there needs to be a change,” Martin said, but he’s less concerned with who does it than he is with something being done.

dean-martin-10-7He told the group he can’t make an official statement until Jan. 1. If he declares his candidacy prior to the election year he would be forced to resign from the treasurer position.

If Martin were governor now, he said he would handle the state’s economic situation differently than Gov. Janet Brewer.

First, he said he’d bring spending levels back to where they were before the housing bubble burst. He would call an immediate special session and readopt the state’s fiscal year 2005-06 budget.

His office is currently running on 75 percent of its FY 1991-92 budget, according to Martin. Other state departments should be able to cut back to FY 2005-06 levels.

“You just don’t spend more than you make,” Martin said.

Mandatory rainy day funds for every department would become a ballot measure if Martin where governor. State departments need to be encouraged to save their surplus rather than spend it but the money needs to be voter protected. A state statute wouldn’t protect savings from being raided.

Establishing separate funds for each department would make it possible to determine if a department can afford its current programs before adding new ones, Martin said.

Lastly, if Martin were governor, he said he’d lower commercial property tax to attract more businesses to Arizona. Businesses are moving to Utah and Texas and skipping right over Arizona.

Ultimately, the governor and Legislature need to clean up the mess, not the taxpayers.

“Why should you have to pay for their mistakes?” Martin asked.

However, all Martin can do is advise at this point.

“I’m like the dealer at the poker game,” Martin said, “but I don’t get to play the game.”

Sedona city vehicles and equipment went to the auction block to bring in approximately $55,000 and save the city maintenance and insurance costs.

The city conducted a review of its fleet in April directed by the city manager’s office, according to Assistant City Manager Alison Zelms. The review looked at the number of vehicles used and the efficiency of the city’s vehicle policies.

cityofsedonalogoThe city auctioned 13 vehicles reducing its overall fleet by 20 percent, according to Zelms.

“We were able to reduce our fleet by a significant amount,” Zelms said.

Vehicle use policies also changed.

Instead of assigning each vehicle to an individual, a group of city staff will use a single vehicle, Zelms said. Not every city staff member was assigned a car.

The Sedona Police Department saw the greatest reduction percentage in the city.

According to Zelms, the auction reduced the police department’s fleet by 10 percent.

The police depart-ment sold its older vehicles including the school resource officer cruisers, Cmdr. Ron Wheeler said.

Resource offices will continue to drive police cars to the schools during the day but they won’t be the cars decorated with school mascots, according to Wheeler. The school officers will take regular cruisers that can in turn be used in the evenings and on weekends for patrol.

The department also auctioned off its older vehicles or those with high millage, as did the rest of the city departments.

Loss of vehicles won’t, however, change the police department’s level of service, according to Wheeler.

“No vehicles were auctioned that would hinder our operation in any way,” Wheeler said.

Reducing the fleet will also bring down the city’s maintenance and insurance costs.

Zelms estimates insurance premiums could drop by around $4,000. Fewer cars will be replaced as well keeping the savings intact.

The city’s goals for its fleet, according to Zelms, include: reducing the number of vehicles in the City Hall parking lot during working hours and in turn increasing parking availability; auctioning vehicles in a timely manner to recoup or prevent additional maintenance costs; minimizing the number of vehicles used; reducing the number of vehicles approaching 5 to 8 years old; and reducing maintenance, insurance and replacement costs.

Sedona residents with an interest in land use planning and development are encouraged to apply to serve on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. The commission plays a critical role in the city’s planning process as they serve as the council’s advisor on land use planning topics, according to a press release. The commission is also involved in important community issues and considers goals and policies for directing and managing future development. Duties include reviewing, evaluating and making recommendations to the council on Community Plan and Land Development Code amendments, rezonings and subdivision applications. Additionally, the commission makes the final decision on conditional use permits and development review applications.

cityofsedonalogoIt is desirable that Planning and Zoning commissioners have some experience or knowledge in land use or related fields, including but not limited to architecture, construction, landscaping, and planning. This voluntary commission is made up of seven citizens appointed to three-year terms by City Council. Currently there are three vacancies. Citizens can learn more about the Planning and Zoning Commission’s particular responsibilities by contacting the Community Development Department and referring to the Land Development Code.

If you are interested in serving on this important commission, applications are available from the City Clerk’s office at City hall located at 102 Roadrunner Drive, or by calling 282-3113. Return completed applications to City Clerk’s Office, Planning and Zoning Commission, 102 Roadrunner Drive, Sedona, AZ 86336.

The deadline to return completed applications is Friday, Oct. 23, by 5 p.m. For more information about the commission, call Audree Juhlin at 204-7107.

 

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