First, the fourth- and fifth-grade students in Linda Crawford’s class made folded newspaper pots, filled them with potting soil and planted tiny seeds inside. They watered them carefully and gently, gave them some sunshine and watched.

West Sedona School students including fifth-grader Kayla Rabago, right, dig holes before planting vegetables in the school’s garden Thursday, Oct. 7. Teacher Linda Crawford’s garden club features students from fourth and fifth grade who are growing seedlings in the classroom and planting them in the new garden.In a few weeks, green sprouts poked through the dark soil then tiny leaves appeared. Within days, the classroom came alive with tender green plants. Then it was time for those young sprouts to be let go from the classroom.

Once the final bell rang at West Sedona School on Thursday, Oct. 7, the students who had formed a garden club gathered up the young snow pea and cabbage plants and took them to the garden just outside the cafeteria. It was time to plant a winter garden.

The garden was soft from the recent rains, some places muddy, so Keely Arbogast rolled up her jeans and walked into the fenced area in her black patent leather shoes and white socks. Arbogast, a fourth-grader, joined the garden club for many reasons.

“It sounded really fun, and we have a garden at home, and it’s really cool. You get a big space where you can dig and get dirty without your mom yelling at you,” Arbogast said as she swept some of her stray blond hair from her face with a hand wearing an oversized garden glove. “You can get a whole bunch of food that tastes better and you don’t have to pay for it.”

Crawford is part of the school’s sustainability team and works with Gardens for Humanity. She is impressed with the students’ enthusiasm.

“Our former garden was demolished with the construction, so we’re happy to be starting a new one,” Crawford said. “In this plot we’re looking at food we could even use in the kitchen here on campus.”
The school’s campus on Posse Ground Road underwent construction to erect a new building and several other amenities over the summer.

West Sedona School fourth-grader Keely Arbogast holds snow pea sprouts before planting them in the school’s garden Thursday, Oct. 7. Teacher Linda Crawford’s garden club features students from fourth and fifth grade who are growing seedlings in the classroom and planting them in the new garden.Eventually the garden will be divided for various classrooms for the students to work as a way to enhance the curriculum, Crawford said. It will give the students a chance to see how the food they buy at the grocery store comes about.

About 12 children started digging holes for the young plants. Others plotted out areas where they will start with seeds planted directly into the garden’s soil. One area previously dug for a possible herb garden had to be temporarily abandoned. It was full of rocks and water stood in it about three inches deep — it would not drain.

“Is this good for the plants?” Crawford asked the students. They all answered it was not because the roots need soil that drains excess water away so they don’t rot and kill the plant. The area will be reworked and new soil put in.

Kayla Rabago, a fifth-grade student, said she was in the garden club last year and enjoyed it so much she wanted to be sure to join again this year.

“I love to garden, to grow and eat our own food. My favorites are cucumbers and corn. It’s fun to see stuff come up,” Rabago said.

The students will still take care of the plants just as diligently as they did in the classroom. Hopefully, in a few more weeks they will begin to harvest some of the fruits of their labors.

The garden area is approximately 20 feet by 30 feet with a 3-foot fence surrounding it. One corner has room for a composting drum so the students can put in vegetable and fruit scraps, grass clippings and fallen leaves to make more soil for the garden.

Allegiant Air pilot, attendant visit with awards for heroism

The members of Boy Scouts of America Troop 48 in Sedona weren’t surprised when one of their leaders showed a news clip about an emergency landing of a plane 10 troop members were on July 25.

Members of Sedona’s Boy Scouts of America Troop 48 applaud during a surprise visit by Allegiant Air pilot Ana Vindas and flight attendant Arlene Parker at the troop’s award ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 21, in Sedona. Ten troop members received awards from the airline and the Federal Aviation Administration in recognition of their efforts after the jet they were  traveling in made an emergency landing in Flagstaff on July 25.After all, the Tuesday, Sept. 21, meeting of the troop was an awards ceremony honoring the boys’ accomplishment. Many received pins, ribbons and merit badges.

What did surprise them was the introduction of the Allegiant Air pilot Capt. Ana Vindas and second flight attendant Arlene Parker after the news clip finished.

Only one person in the troop knew the two women were coming. They attended the meeting to commend the Scouts in person and give them awards not only from Allegiant Air but the Federal Aviation Administration.

On July 25, the boys were traveling from Billings, Mont., to a Mesa airport when Vindas announced she had to take the airplane down in Flagstaff because one of the engines had shut down. The boys were on their way home from Island Park Boy Scout Camp in Idaho where they learned emergency and first aid skills.

In the news clip Vindas told news crews she was fortunate to have Boy Scout Troop 48 on board. Troup member Paul Zenovitch said the Boy Scouts train for emergency situations.

“We did what we were trained to do,” he said on the news clip.

Before the Sept. 21 meeting, Vindas said she heard that as soon as she raised the alert the Scouts jumped into action.

Allegiant Air pilot Ana Vindas, left, and flight attendant Arlene Parker smile as they surprise the Boy Scouts.“They were asking the flight attendants how they could help. Once on the ground they went to work helping with the evacuation and assisted with first-aid,” Vindas said. “They were excellent. They’re
a really good group of boys.”

Parker said she was not surprised at the boys’ performance “...because they’re Boy Scouts. ‘Be prepared’ is their motto. At one point, we had to tell them to let the paramedics take over they were so intent on what they were doing.”

When introduced, Vindas and Parker walked to the front of the meeting to a standing, very loud ovation.
“It was with the assistance of your troop that I was able to successfully evacuate the back of the plane. You handled yourselves in a heroic manner,” Parker said.

Each Scout and leader who was on the flight received a model of the airplane and a personalized letter from Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., Allegiant Air CEO, along with a flight certificate.

They also received a personalized placard and coin from the FAA.

Allegiant Air flight attendant Arlene Parker, right, shakes the hand of Boy Scouts of America Troop 48 member Paul Zenovitch, 16, during a surprise visit by Parker and pilot Ana Vindas, center, at the troop’s award ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 21, in Sedona. Ten troop members received awards from the airline and the Federal Aviation Administration in recognition of their efforts after the jet they were traveling in made an emergency landing in Flagstaff on July 25.“It was definitely an honor to be recognized for what we did. It’s not an event that happens every day. To know I helped save that many people gives me a good feeling,” Jason Lionberger said. He has been in Boy Scouts for 10 years.

Kevin Schweiss said getting an award was awesome. It was a shock when the incident happened, but it turned out to actually be fun.

“I was shaking. The plane could have crashed, but we knew what we needed to do and did it for the sake of other people,” Schweiss said.

The first thought on Zenovitch’s mind when he heard the announcement on the plane was about how flying was the safest way to travel.

“My second thought was to see the boys got out quickly and safely. I was the senior patrol leader at the time,” Zenovitch said.

“When they showed up with the awards tonight, I was surprised. I thought we might get some recognition, but I didn’t think it would be this big.”

Mass pet adoption hopes to send 150 animals to homes

Her name is Molly.

The young German short-haired pointer has delighted her owner, Cynthia Collingwood, for one year now. The two found each other at the 2009 Pet-a-Palooza at the Humane Society of Sedona booth.

Kittens play in the kitty room at the Humane Society of Sedona on Saturday, Sept. 18. The society will have a booth during the 2010 Pet-a-Palooza pet adoption event Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Cottonwood Kids Park.“It was a good match. We got her to be a companion to our other dog, Duke. He’s an older guy, and I think it’s better to have more than one dog. It’s worked well,” Collingwood said.

The other day, Collingwood said, the two dogs were lounging together and Molly put her head on Duke’s shoulder.

“Pet-a-Palooza is a wonderful event. I really recommend adopting a pet. It’s the way to go,” Collingwood said.

Pet-a-Palooza is a mass pet adoption at which people can view, walk and hold cats, dogs and other animals from several shelters in one place. After finding the perfect pet, filling out the paperwork and paying the fee, the new pet can go home that day.

Pet-a-Palooza Adoption Event

  • When: Saturday, Oct.. 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Where: Cottonwood Kids Park, S. 12th and Cherry streets

“My motto is always, ‘Come meet you new best friend.’ That’s how it always turns out. I know, I’ve adopted animals over the years and they’ve always worked their way into my heart,” event organizer Joe Sowerby said.

This year is the seventh annual Pet-a-Palooza. It will be at the Kids Park in Cottonwood at the corner of S. 12th and Cherry streets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“There’ll be about 150 animals that desperately need loving homes. We have six adoption groups coming with animals ready to take home. I want to send all the animals home. I want to see all of the cages emptied,” Sowerby said.

The six groups coming include the Humane Society of Sedona, the Verde Valley Humane Society, Tara’s Babies, the Greyhounds of the Verde Valley, Second Chance and Coconino Humane Society.

Sowerby began his mission to find homeless animals loving homes when he visited his local humane society in Michigan to get another cat. He read some literature about how many animals are euthanized every year because of the lack of a home. Sowerby held his first event in the Detroit Zoo. It became the largest adoption event in the country. Since Sowerby visited Sedona often, he began one here.

Sowerby holds the firm belief humans are the reason so many animals are homeless.

“These animals are in jail and we’re responsible. We don’t spay and neuter our pets and consequently they end up in harm’s way,” Sowerby said. “The problem is fixable.”

Sowerby is concerned about the current economy, and thinks animals are at more risk than ever.

“In the Verde Valley we have only one day to place animals. Everyone should adopt a cat or a dog. A pet improves the quality of life. I know mine do,” Sowerby said.

Jackie Bessler, a local DJ, helps organize the event.

“It’s such a great event to bring about awareness of a problem that never sleeps. We make a dent, but every spot that gets opened, another animal always comes to fill it,” Bessler said. “We at the station think this is something we need to be on the bandwagon for.”

Bessler not only helps put Pet-a-Palooza together, he is also a client.

“It’s a family event. It’s about increasing the size of the family with a furry friend who lost theirs,” Bessler said. “They always give more than they get.”

Several vendors will have booths at Pet-a-Palooza with all types of pet supplies.

“For me personally, Pet-a-Palooza is the best thing I do in my life,” Sowerby said.

Give Glendon Good an idea and he’ll come up with a design to make it work.

Inventor Glendon Good inspects a solar tracking system attached to solar panels near his Sedona home Thursday, Sept. 2. The tracking device can help get more power out of the panels by following the rays of the sun as the day goes by.Good is a self-taught designer, engineer and craftsman. He started when he made a skateboard at the age of 8. In college he designed and built his own furniture. He found his niche and his career began.

His focus is aluminum. Some of his sleek pieces made with brushed aluminum and solid bamboo are on display at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and at the Smithsonian Institution’s museum of design.

Good’s latest creation is a photovoltaic solar panel device that will draw more of the sun’s energy for use on earth.

“I’ve been working on a lot of alternative energy projects with others. I’m the kind of guy who does the nuts and bolts work. I find out how to put something together to make it work,” Good said as he laid out his drawings, pointed to the different parts and explained how they work, which he said could get approximately 27 percent more power out of the solar panels.

“The solar panels cost a bundle, so if you can make them more efficient that’s a big payoff,” Good said.

Another bonus with the tracking device is fewer panels are needed to generate the same amount of power so they take up less space. Instead of eight panels, maybe only six are needed.

Good strives for efficiency. His studio, where he designs and builds, is meticulously clean. Each piece, down to real nuts and bolts, are in separate bins, and sheets and tubes of aluminum are organized on shelves. His welding hood sits on a table next to his tungsten inert gas tanks and torch. On the wall behind Good’s desk hangs a six-foot diameter yin and yang he created out of aluminum. It is built to manually rotate depending on a person’s mood. It’s a fun piece, Good said as he moved it around.

The concept for the tracking device is simple: Have the panels move with the sun to capture its direct rays much the same as a sunflower does. The flower’s face pivots to always face the sun. Not only does Good’s design follow the sun dawn to dusk, it also pivots as the level of the sun changes with the seasons.

“A Flagstaff solar company came to see me about how homeowners can get more energy out of what they have,” Good said. “Tracking systems have been around for years. The problem is to put these units on a house. Most roofs aren’t strong enough.”

The device, with the panels, also needed to withstand 90 mph winds. With the weight of the panels and the frame, a roof can lift off, Good said.

“There are a lot of factors to consider, such as wind load, electrical grounding and how to move all the panels together without damaging them,” he said.

Good worked with a variety of specialists such as a structural engineer to assure the system could withstand 90 mph winds, which is required by building codes. A Rimrock company provided precision waterjet cutting for the intricate parts. To bring down the weight, the device is made with aluminum, and most of the components are recyclable.

Good built the prototypes in his studio on Upper Red Rock Loop Road. He started in January and built four prototypes.

“Figuring out all the little details takes time,” Good said in his quiet, laid-back manner.

His fourth prototype came close to being roof-mounted, his original and ongoing goal. It is a nine-panel, two-car carport that measures 12 feet by 20 feet. The panels are mounted on a grounded frame. During the day they track the sun and gather energy. At night they go flat and cover the cars. It produced enough energy to supply the needs of an average-sized house.

“It takes advantage of space by providing the dual benefits of covered parking and solar electricity production,” Good said. “It’s now at the Northern Arizona Center for Emerging Technology in Flagstaff. It’s being tested up there.”

A few yards down the hill from where Good lives is a 12-panel solar unit equipped with Good’s invention. While standing near the panels, a slight noise came from them.

“They just made a little adjustment,” Good said.

The solar tracking device works when a small photo sensor that follows the sun tells the linear actuator it needs to shorten or lengthen its rod, which is connected to another aluminum rod that the panels are mounted on. All 12 move together in unison.

“Throughout the day, little by little they shift,” Good said. “It’s electrical, but it runs off its own juice.”

Underneath the panels is a lower actuator that tilts the panel north to south, according to the azimuth, or angle, of the sun. The sun is lower in the sky during the winter than it is in the summer.

The panels, with final approval from the Yavapai County building department and APS was connected to the electrical grid Aug. 17.

In addition to designing and building the prototypes, Good prepared the schematic documents and instruction to ship to a manufacturer so they can be mass produced.

“As with a lot of my projects I actually design myself out of a job,” Good said and smiled.
Good has not abandoned his original goal and hopes to soon develop a solar tracking unit that will work on a house roof, noting the roof is a great place for them to be.

The Village of Oak Creek may have the same beautiful views, but the community has a completely different feel to it than its counterpart six miles away in Sedona.

With less traffic, and fewer tourists scouring the area, the Village of Oak Creek has become a small town with its own personality.

Oakcreek Country Club General Manager Tony Rizzo takes a break outside of the club’s pro shop Wednesday, Aug. 18, in the Village of Oak Creek. Before being hired in June at the club, Rizzo owned a management company with his father in Glendale.That personality is taken up by its residents, and 33-year-old Village of Oak Creek resident Tony Rizzo and his family are no different.

Currently, Rizzo is the head cheese when it comes to the Village of Oakcreek As-sociation and the Oakcreek Country Club Golf Course, serving as general manager of both.

Speaking of cheese, Rizzo is a big fan of rooting for one of the Green Bay Packers’ biggest rivals, pledging loyalty to his favorite hometown football team in the Minnesota Vikings.

Since quarterback Brett Favre finally showed up to practice with his Vikings teammates Wednesday, Aug. 18, after fellow Vikings Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson and Ryan Longwell showed up at Favre’s front doorstep, Rizzo believes the Vikings will have a great year and is excited the soon-to-be hall of famer is on the field.

“I’m a huge Vikings fan. It’s my team and I can’t wait for the season to start. I usually watch many of the games. I love the team we have, I think we’re going to be very good,” Rizzo said smiling.

Rizzo is originally from a small town in Minnesota called Coon Rapids and attended Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, Minn., before graduating in 1995.

Rizzo was a standout athlete in high school, playing basketball, baseball and golf, but most notably playing football where he earned second team All-State honors as a senior.

His football prowess earned him a spot in college on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team.
Rizzo spent most of his four years at UW-Eau Claire as a backup offensive tackle, but he walked out of there with a degree in marketing and a minor in athletic coaching in May 2000.

After graduation, Rizzo spent most of his time working at the local golf course back in Minnesota before moving to California to eventually become the youngest general manager of the American Golf Corporation in its 36-year history.

At the time, it was the largest golf corporation in the world.

Eventually, Rizzo wound up working with his family in Glendale to help run the family business after leaving the American Golf Corporation in 2004.

Rizzo, along with his family, owned and operated a golf course in Glendale. The Rizzo family is quite involved in the game of golf and have been for most of their lives.

“I’ve been around golf most of my life. It’s something I love and enjoy,” Rizzo said.

Rizzo’s sister, Angie, is a player on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour and her husband, Aaron Oberholser, is a professional golfer himself.

Oberholser plays on the Professional Golf Association Tour and the biggest win of his career came in 2006 at Pebble Beach.

Rizzo’s two brothers Joe and Andrew are involved in golf as well. Joe currently works at the Eagle Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale and Andrew is working on getting his PGA status while living back home in the Twin Cities.

In 2007, Rizzo decided to start a family of his own and married his wife, Heather.

The pair got their first taste of family competition the day before the wedding when his wife’s family teed it up with the Rizzo’s in a friendly golf match.

“We all had a great time that day. It was a fun, family competition. We called it the Rizzo Open,” Rizzo said laughing.

Eventually, the family decided to sell their business and shortly thereafter, Rizzo and his wife made their first trip to Sedona earlier this year in February to run in the Sedona Marathon.

From that point on, the pair was in love with the area, so when the Oakcreek Country Club Golf Course came calling to hire Rizzo in June as its new general manager, the decision was easy.

“It was a no-brainer. We loved Sedona from the beginning so when the call came, it was an easy choice,” Rizzo said.

When asked what he hopes to bring to the table as the new general manager at the Oakcreek Country Club Golf Course, Rizzo said his main focus is customer service.

“I have a strong focus on customer service and hospitality. I really want to bring the community together and when people come play golf here, I want to make sure they feel welcome, and that this is the place to be,” Rizzo said.

Other hobbies besides following the Vikings and running a golf course include playing basketball, hiking and camping.

Rizzo also enjoys working on his 1986 Yamaha Maxim motorcycle, a junker he picked up a few years ago and has been restoring ever since.

“I’ve always had a love for motorcycles so I bought myself a beater and one day, I hope I can finish it,” Rizzo said.

As Rizzo and his family become more a part of the community in the Village of Oak Creek in their first year living here, the community becomes more a part of him every day as well. Hopefully, that will continue for a long, long time.

Sedona nonprofit named Recycling Nonprofit of Year

The Sedona Recycles Inc. staff is still overjoyed about a state-level award the organization recently received.

Sedona Recycles, located in West Sedona, was named the Recycling Nonprofit of the Year by the Arizona Recycling Coalition.

Sedona Recycles employees, from left, Meghan Kincheloe, Jill McCutcheon, Pete Hordorwich and Alex Rovang sit on top of a pile of recyclable cardboard Tuesday, Aug. 17, at the recycling center. The Arizona Recycling Coalition recently awarded the center with its nonprofit of the year award. Sedona Recycles serves Sedona and the Verde Valley.The award was a great way to celebrate 21 years of service to the Sedona area, Director of Community Development Meghan Kincheloe said.

“The coalition sent out nomination forms to nonprofits, businesses and organizations that participate in some form of recycling. We got several nominations,” Kincheloe said.

Kincheloe and Jill McCutcheon went to the recycling conference in Phoenix on Aug. 3 to receive the award. It hangs on the Shelby Drive office wall.

The Small Business of the Year award recipient created the plaque with the Arizona flag in the shape of the state in the center surrounded by the three recycle arrows. Around the edge of the plaque are flowers made from recycled soda bottles.

“This award is something we’ve worked hard for. It was cool to be down there along with the big cities like Phoenix and Tucson,” Kincheloe said. The other five categories included Municipality, School, Lifetime Achievement, Legislative Advocate and Large Business.

“We received the award at this huge banquet. There were several hundred people there,” McCutcheon said. “Sedona was recognized in that although we’re a small community, we have a presence in the state, and that’s thanks to the communities we serve.”

Sedona Recycles’ mission is to serve the Sedona and Verde Valley communities through public education and responsible resource recovery, and to promote and provide opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle.

The organization fulfills its mission by providing free recycling drop-off sites for people to deposit the recyclable materials they collect at their homes or businesses.

“Our education program reaches nearly every school in Sedona and the Verde Valley, and has helped generate recycling programs at 96 percent of local public, private and charter schools,” Kincheloe said.

The organization also operates a dual-stream material recovery operation in Sedona, and processes about 15 tons of material a day. Sorting is done through a partnership with Camp Verde’s Rainbow Acres, a community for adults with developmental disabilities.

“We have 13 drop-off sites with a total of 110 Dumpsters,” Kincheloe said. “We take just about everything but organics, Styrofoam and plastic grocery bags. Stores take those back.”

Items Sedona Recycles does take include paper, cardboard and paperboard, glass, steel, aluminum, plastics numbers one through seven, batteries, electronics, ink-jet printer and laser toner cartridges, and clothing, shoes, toys and small household items.

In addition to the drop-off sites, Sedona Recycles provides recycling bins to schools and businesses, and bins and pickup for special events and festivals.

“We encourage people to recycle everything possible and not throw items away that could be recycled so we can get closer to zero waste. Right now we’re about 10 percent to 15 percent recycling — that’s what we figure for Sedona and the Verde Valley,” Kincheloe said.

McCutcheon said the percentage was figured by surveying what was thrown away at the landfill and determining how much could have been recycled.

For more information and to find a nearby drop-off site, call 204-1185.

Tearful hugs and good-byes were the norm Tuesday, Aug. 10, as kindergarten students were left at school by parents on the first day of school in Sedona.

Kindergarten student Jazmine Scrogham stays close to her mother, Heather, before heading into her first day of school Tuesday, Aug. 10, at West Sedona School. For some parents, leaving their children at school for the first time was tough, providing an emotional moment for both the parents and children.Sedona parents of kindergarten students at West Sedona School said it was tough leaving their children at school for the first time.

Most parents called it a rite of passage and said their
children were well prepared and anxious.

Jessica Herrera said there was little doubt her daughter, Tressie, was going to do fine. It helps knowing her daughter’s teacher very well.

“She is ready for the first day,” Herrera said.

West Sedona School Principal Lisa Hirsch said there were 50 kindergarten students enrolled on the first day of school. Two of its classes are a combination of kindergarten and first-grade students, and the third class is for preschool to second grade.

Hirsch said young children seeing their parents leave for the first time can be extremely frightening, especially for a
5-year-old child.

“It’s called separation anxiety,” she said. A young child may not realize what is going on, and a few might think their parents are leaving them and not coming back, since this pattern is so new to them.

The majority of students, Hirsch said, understand they are being dropped off for the school day, especially if they attended preschool.

First-grader Elsey Schroedl, 6, seems a bit nervous while waiting for classroom doors to open on the first day of school at West Sedona School on Tuesday, Aug. 10. Administrators and teachers from West Sedona School, Big Park Community School and Sedona Red Rock High School welcomed hundreds of students back from their summer vacations for the 2010-2011 school year.However, she said, there will likely be a few students who might be surprised at the length of the school day, since the time preschoolers spend in school per day is often not as long.

“Some students will cry and hang onto parents,” Hirsch said. “In a few minutes, the crying stops. They are very young. They are only 5.”

Josiah Fleishman was dropping off his daughter, Athena, for kindergarten and said he was excited for her, adding it was a nice school with a good staff.

“I am so proud to see her growing up. I didn’t think [this] would come so soon. I have full confidence in her, and she will do great. She’s ready. She is fearless,” he said.

Maria Diaz, who was dropping off her daughter, Ana Ruby, called it an exciting time. She said her daughter is ready for this next step, and she is sure Ana Ruby will soon become friends with some classmates.

Tressie Herrera, 4, holds her mother’s hand while waiting for doors to open for the first day of kindergarten class at West Sedona School on Tuesday, Aug. 10. Kris Rodarte, a parent teacher association member of the school, said West Sedona has great teachers, so the first day of school was going to be great.

Jazmine Scrogham clung to her mother while crying, but her mother, Heather Scrogham, said the tears had nothing to do with school; they were mostly for her daughter getting into trouble beforehand.

She said it was going to be difficult to leave her daughter at kindergarten because she would be thinking about her constantly.

“I will be crying all day at work today,” Scrogham said.

Positive change certainly can start with one person, and Sedona’s Susan Henkels has begun.

Henkels is attending a class in which a project to change the world is a part. Henkels had an idea, a big idea.Susan Henkels relaxes in the garden at her West Sedona home July 29. She started a campaign to change the world by celebrating personal relationships. Sunday, Sept. 5, is expected to be proclaimed “A Day in the Heart of Relationship” by the Sedona City Council.

“Originally, I wanted to flip the divorce statistics from 60:40 to 40:60 by 2022. I still do, but I needed a project I could finish in the four-month span of the class. So I chose a day to celebrate relationships,” Henkels said, “one day to acknowledge and appreciate the people you care about.”

Henkels chose the Sunday before Labor Day and Sedona to start.

With that idea in mind, she drafted a proclamation designating Sunday, Sept. 5, as “A Day in the Heart of Relationship.” Henkels went to Sedona Mayor Rob Adams, who agreed it was a great idea and approved having the proclamation brought before the City Council. The council will read and present the proclamation to Henkels at its regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 10.

“It has been said that wealth was the No. 1 value in our lives. Recent surveys indicate that relationship is now the more important value,” Henkels said. “It’s a day of its own for all of Sedona to celebrate and share with others the joy of their relationships.”

Henkels has counseled couples for many years and discovered two things most often missing in nearly all of the troubled relationships: gratitude and appreciation. “A Day in the Heart of Relationship” is an experience in showing appreciation and gratitude to the people each person cares about, she said.

“As a country, I think we’re sad; we’re depressed. We could use something that can help turn that around. This, when people participate, has the potential to do that, at least on a personal level, and it could grow out to the community,” Henkels said.

For Sedona, now that the State Route 179 construction is coming to an end and the roundabouts are in, Henkels said the city and its residents are ready to celebrate the beginning of a vibrant time.

“I think we are ready to play together as a team, with a shared vision of the possibility that powerful relationships can begin to heal our town, our state, our country and our world,” Henkels said.

Henkels invites everyone who is reading this article to take the day on in any way they would like to honor the relationships that are important to them. The relationships can include spouses, significant others, family, friends, someone who may be alone, pets, employees, bosses, customers or visitors. It can be people within an organization or on a committee, a congregation, city workers or any other relationship that is deemed important and meaningful.

All who participate can choose the method by which they want to celebrate. It is whatever people come up with. Henkels has no preconceived agenda. However, one couple she talked with plan to renew their wedding vows on that day. Four of her friends are getting together for a party.

“Even if it’s just a ‘thank you’ to the person you live with who’s done something nice for you, or simply tell them, ‘I love you,’” Henkels said. “My biggest concern is people will think this is a nice thought, but won’t do anything. I really want people to actually do something. It is amazing the good feeling you get when you do.”

As far as measurable results from her project, Henkels said she doesn’t know. She just hopes people will take the day to celebrate their relationships and pass it forward.

“Part of the project is to give it away,” Henkels said.

Now, Henkels asks that people send her an e-mail describing what they are actually going to do, relationship-wise, on Sept. 5. Photos of the event are also welcome at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“If we do this, Sedona will be known as a friendly, welcoming community where people interact with honor, appreciation and respect. I also would like to see Sedona become a model for this ‘Day in the Heart of Relationship’ for every city and town in this country,” Henkels said.

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Wed Low: 45 °F High: 79 °F
Thu Low: 46 °F High: 78 °F
Fri Low: 50 °F High: 73 °F
Sat Low: 44 °F High: 73 °F
Sun Low: 43 °F High: 75 °F
Mon Low: 48 °F High: 79 °F
Tue Low: 47 °F High: 79 °F
Wed Low: 39 °F High: 76 °F
Thu Low: 34 °F High: 75 °F