This is the fifth installment of a series featuring the  editorial staff members of your community newspaper, the Sedona Red Rock  News.The city is perhaps the most complicated beat for a community newspaper to cover.

News stories about local politics, city infrastructure projects, crime and fire services are among the most widely read and the subject of most readers’ interest.

Mike Maresh is Larson Newspapers’ city reporter, a beat that puts him at the heart of Sedona Red Rock News’ coverage. He also covers Sedona’s schools, police activity and the Sedona Fire District.

Sedona Red Rock News city reporter Mike MareshOver his nearly 15-year career Maresh has worked for several small-town newspapers, yet interviewed some big names: President George W. Bush, New Mexico Gov. Gary E. Johnson, U.S. Sen. John McCain [R-Ariz.] and football star Joe Namath. He also interviewed future President Barack Obama as a candidate.

Maresh has covered Arizona politics extensively as well, interviewing current Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Terry Goddard, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano when she was Arizona’s attorney general, and Gov. Jan Brewer, first when she was merely a Maricopa County supervisor.

“Every newspaper I’ve worked at I’ve taken something out of it,” he said. “I wouldn’t still be doing this after 15 years if I didn’t enjoy what I was doing.”

Maresh was born in Pico Rivera, Calif., in 1970, the fourth of five children. His family moved to Arizona when he was 6 years old.

Maresh attended Cactus High School in Glendale and played basketball. Although he stands 6 feet 3 inches tall, he has an arm span of about 7 feet 2 inches.

After graduating in 1988, Maresh said he followed his two older brothers’ lead and went to work at a grocery store.

When Sedona Red Rock News reporter Mike Maresh isn’t covering city happenings, he enjoys photography and watching sporting events at his newly purchased home in Cottonwood. Maresh has covered local news for small-town papers for almost 15 years.Around age 21, Maresh said he was on his knees stocking shelves and glanced over to see another employee around age 50 doing the same job. Maresh said he decided then he didn’t want to stock shelves for the next 30 years.

Uncertain about what exactly he wanted to do, but knowing he was good with numbers, he enrolled at Paradise Valley Community College and later transferred to Arizona State University.

A sports reporter from The Arizona Republic visited one of Maresh’s classes and told the students about his job — watching and reporting on sports games.

“I get to go to sports events for free? That sounds like the job for me,” Maresh said.

Maresh worked for his high school newspaper and said he had been told by a teacher that he had a natural writing ability.

Maresh also calls himself a sports fanatic, having memorized vast statistics about basketball and football.
He strung sports articles for the college newspaper and earned his bachelor’s degree in August 1995.

Shortly after graduation, Maresh went to work for the Coolidge Examiner, a weekly paper in Pinal County, owned by the daily Casa Grande Dispatch. Maresh worked under Tom Martinez, a hard news-focused editor.
“He was good. Tough but fair. He taught me more than I ever learned in school,” Maresh said.

Maresh left to work on the Hobbs News-Sun, in Hobbs, the oil capital of New Mexico, located in the southeast corner of the state, near the Texas border. After three to four years, Maresh returned to Arizona and went to work for the Bisbee Review, a satellite newspaper of the daily Sierra Vista Herald.

He spent about four years in Bisbee, writing two or three stories daily. Maresh said he only met his editor a few times during his annual performance reviews.

He said he wanted to transfer to Sierra Vista to be around other reporters, but the editors kept him in Bisbee because he did a good job and needed very little oversight.

Maresh moved to Payson in 2004 to work for the Payson Roundup. He covered city, police, Gila County and school news and worked in the main newsroom.

Maresh wrote in-depth stories on methamphetamine in the Rim country and homelessness, both of which won state journalism awards.

After a brief stint with a group of Las Vegas suburban newspapers, Maresh found a new job with the Lahontan Valley News, a six-day daily paper in Fallon, Nev., a city centered on Naval Air Station Fallon and located 45 miles east of Reno. He covered education, cops and the courts.

“I liked that we were a small paper that put out a daily,” Maresh said.

The small staff consisted of Maresh, photojournalist Kim Lamb, a sports reporter and their editor.
Maresh got himself a Nikon camera and Lamb offered to teach him how to use it.

“I love taking photos,” Maresh said. He professionally shot weddings and in studios.

However, the climate and region took its toll. Located in the high desert of Nevada, winter temperatures hovered between 0 and 20 degrees, and without snowing, which at least would have made the cold bearable, he said.

“I always wanted to come back to Arizona, but didn’t think it was a possibility,” Maresh said.
In late 2009, Maresh had several job offers but chose the Sedona Red Rock News because it was in Arizona. Part of his move involved the desire to settle down and buy a home.

“I wanted to not just find a location, but somewhere I wanted to live and buy a home,” he said. “The choice was easy to make. Most of my family lives here and I’m 75 minutes from people I grew up with in Phoenix.”
Maresh’s brothers Martin, 49, and Morgan, 39, both live in Phoenix, as did his late sister Judy. His brother Miles, 48, lives in Houston.

“Nothing can replace family,” he said.

Maresh works out and runs about three miles a day, which gives him the opportunity to enjoy the Verde Valley every day after work.

Sedona residents will have a chance to experience the Metropolitan Opera broadcast live in their own backyard, thanks to technology.

area residents tour the new Red Rock Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Sedona Red Rock High School on Tuesday, July 6, during a tour and press conference.“I’m proud to announce The Met: Live in HD to this performance hall,” Chamber Music Sedona Executive Director Bert Harclerode said as he opened a press conference Tuesday, July 6, at The Red Rock Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Sedona Red Rock High School. “This is a demonstration of a community effort of the right people at the right time.”

Red Rock Center for the Performing Arts project director Dave Young talks to residents while touring the new building’s makeup room. Young said the center should be completed by the end of September.Beginning Saturday, March 19, the matinee performances at the Metropolitan Opera will be broadcast live at the center starting with Gaetano Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” at 10 a.m. It will be followed by four other operas through Saturday, May 14.

Sedona Red Rock High School Principal Dave Lykins, right, talks Tuesday, July 6, about his excitement to open the new Red Rock Center for the Performing Arts on the school’s campus. During the press conference, Lykins said the center will create a more positive education experience for students. Construction project manager Dave Young is at left.The Met: Live in HD is presented in cooperation with Chamber Music Sedona, the Sedona-Oak Creek School District, Northern League of Arizona Opera and KNAU radio in Flagstaff.

CMS Board President Ed Ingraham said the performance hall, with its state-of-the-art technology, has made the broadcasts possible.

“Two years ago when we understood this building would be available we expanded our mission to performance in general, not just chamber music,” Ingraham said. “The Met: Live in HD is one of the major art movements in the world. We hope it is our first expansion and hope to bring other types of performances. I’m beside myself with pleasure.”

Chamber Music Sedona Executive Director Bert Harclerode, right, talks Tuesday, July 6, about the live broadcast of The Met: Live in HD, which will be televised at the new Red Rock Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Sedona Red Rock High School. The first performance is slated for March 19. At left is Sedona-Oak Creek School District Superintendent Mike Aylstock. The Met: Live in HD began in December 2006 as part of the opera company’s effort to build revenue and attract new audiences. This is the award-winning series’ fifth season of live high-definition performance transmission to movie theaters and auditoriums around the world. The Red Rock Center for the Performing Arts is the newest venue for the program.

The performance hall was a big factor in obtaining the Metropolitan Opera series. Project Manager Dave Young said the hall should be finished by the end of September, which is a 750-seat auditorium with surround sound.
“We’ve known about the broadcast for about one month, but we’ve thought about it for a year. The Met has been responsive and very helpful. These are live, not delayed broadcasts,” Ingraham said.

SOCSD Governing Board President Bobbie Surber said the school’s grounds are here for the community and should be at the service of the community.

“This is a dream come true, starting with the partnerships and the community at large who passed this bond to make the performance hall possible,” Surber said.

Thinking about the students at the high school, Principal Dave Lykins said the hall, along with many other upgrades, are going to create a more positive education experience.

“To qualify is a rigorous process, but I’m sure we can meet [the requirements],” Young said.

Dale Lake, president of the Northern League of Arizona Opera, said the league is deeply appreciative of the chance to be a part of the performance hall and bringing the Metropolitan Opera to Sedona.

“When I told our board about The Met, it was hard to contain their excitement. This is a wonderful opportunity for Sedona — maybe the best,” Lake said.

The general manager for KNAU in Flagstaff, John Stark, promised the station would actively promote The Met: Live in HD to its listeners across Northern Arizona.

Sedona Vice Mayor Cliff Hamilton said walking through the performance hall complex made him want to go back to high school, almost.

“Wow. What a marvelous complement to education in Sedona. The potential of this performance hall is incredible,” Hamilton said.

Harclerode said the performance hall is a living, growing project and there are many opportunities that will present themselves in the future, and there is tremendous potential to tie in with all the schools.

“It is our goal to give the children of Sedona an opportunity to experience performing arts that will last them all their lives,” Harclerode said.

During the 2010-11 season there will be the five operas in the spring. For the 2011-12 series there will be 10 to 11 performances from October through May.

“We hope to blow your minds with the people we bring here,” Harclerode said. “I hope this hall is a cultural icon for all. We all have something in the community we can celebrate. We’re dancing in the streets.”

The newest, and youngest, member of Larson Newspapers’ editorial staff is 22-year-old intern Brennan Jernigan.

This is the fourth installment of a series featuring the  editorial staff members of your community newspaper, the Sedona Red Rock  News.Since joining the staff in May, Jernigan assists copy editor Constance Israel and completes various assignments from Managing Editor Trista Steers.

Born in Westwood, N.J., Jernigan has spent most of his life in the Verde Valley.

When he was between 1 and 2 years old, his parents visited Sedona, where his mother fell in love with the area and took home a jar of red rock dirt. The family moved to Sedona a short time later.

Larson Newspapers Intern Brennan JerniganJernigan attended West Sedona, Sedona Charter and Big Park Community schools before attending Mingus Union High School.

Jernigan gained his love for literature and creative writing during high school, when he read Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” and George Orwell’s “1984” his freshman year.

Mingus English teacher Pete Fredlake also encouraged Jernigan, telling him he should some day write a book because of his writing skill and ability to explore a critical, and sometimes cynical, look at society.

In response to the question of whether or not he considers himself cynical, Jernigan said, “I sometimes expect more out of people than what they put forth.”
In high school, Jernigan formed two punk bands in which he played guitar and sang lead.

Brennan Jernigan looks  over copy at the Sedona Red Rock News editorial office in Uptown,  Thursday, July 1. Jernigan also works at a local fudge-making store in  Uptown. Jernigan is a junior at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah,  majoring in English.Jernigan said the bands’ songs were written about relationships, typical teenage topics and being together as a band.

His first band, Vandelay Industries, was named after a fake company invented by the fictional “Seinfeld” character George Costanza. The band, formed with friends Adam Langford and Nick Olson, generally played an open mic at a former coffeehouse in West Sedona.

The second band, Anatevka, was named for the shtetl in which the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” takes place and featured Langford, Mike Muehlhausen and Andrew Hreha. The band played at Cliff Castle Casino and Canyon Breeze.

After Jernigan graduated from Mingus in 2006, he attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Following his first semester, Jernigan embarked on a two-year proselytizing mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jernigan spent the majority of his time in the poor barrios of the southern suburbs of Buenos Aires and La Plata.
At the end of his mission, Jernigan returned to BYU and is now a junior, majoring in English with a focus on literature and creative writing and a minor in editing.

Last year, he served as assistant editor of Inscape, BYU’s creative writing journal, which publishes fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, art and short stories. He will take the reins as editor when he returns to BYU in the fall.

Jernigan said he considers his LDS faith a defining element of his life, in part because of its focus on family. The way to change things socially is determined by how one raises their children and the next generation, he said.
“Without that, it’s a lot harder to be an upstanding citizen,” Jernigan said.

Jernigan comes from a large family and is the youngest of four. His eldest brother, Josh, 33, is a financial analyst in New Jersey. His sister Ashly, 26, just moved to Los Angeles to study at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

His brother, Zack, 30, is earning his master’s degree at the University of Southern Maine. As a science fiction writer, Zack had some influence on Jernigan’s love of literature. The two used to both read science fiction before Jernigan turned his sights to modern American literature.

Jernigan said he and his brother often discuss authors, writing styles and theory. He said he predominately writes short stories, but often finds the process difficult unless writing under a deadline or for a project.

As an English literature student, Jernigan said he most enjoys American literature written between 1900 and 1950, the period includes the seminal works of authors F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway and J.D. Salinger.

One of his favorite works from the period is Fitzgerald’s 1931 short story “Babylon Revisited.”
“It was the time period when a lot of writers were questioning American stereotypes,” Jernigan said.

After he graduates, Jernigan said he would like to teach creative writing at a university level, hoping he can pass on the love of literature to a rising generation.

When going to an area of the world known for its scenery and distinctive architecture, a camera is a vital piece of equipment to take along.

Sedona Resident Dottie Webster poses with her laptop and  digital camera at her Sedona home June 24. Webster recently traveled to  the Tuscany region of Italy to photograph the area after taking a  photography class in Flagstaff. Sedona resident Dottie Webster planned a trip to Florence, Italy, and a camera was part of her plans, but Webster thought she should learn more about photography and how best to use her new camera to ensure the best photographs.

Webster took a short class in Flagstaff and learned about f-stops, shutter speed, depth of field, lights and shadows, framing and many of the other features and techniques related to taking photographs.

The sun sets in May over Pienza, in the province of Sienna, in the Tusany region of Italy. Pienza was built at the site of the village of Corsignano, birthplace of the future Pope Pius II, who reigned from 1458 to 1464.“I’ve been an amateur photographer for a long time. I always used the automatic setting, but my photos were often overexposed. I wanted to learn how to avoid that and how to take better photographs. I did, and I’m still learning,” Webster said.

After the class, Webster went on a one-week, guided trip with Joel Wolfson and his wife, Barb, to the Tuscany region of Italy. Webster has visited the area a few times and took many photographs. Now she wanted to return and use her new skills.

A Tuscan monastery, shown in May, is framed by cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards. Sedona photographer Dottie Webster took 1,200 pictures during her tour of Italy.“I received an e-mail that Joel was taking a photography trip to Tuscany and I decided to go,” Webster said. “I love Italy. Everything they do is art.”

For example, Webster pointed to a group of photographs she took of a display case at a pizza restaurant. Different types of pizza were arranged in the case colored by their various ingredients. On top of the case was a bowl of large, red tomatoes surrounded by several bottles of wine and two glasses.

Siena Duomo in Tuscany, Italy, photographed by Dottie Webster, was built between AD 1215 and 1263. The black and white colors of the stripes represent Siena's symbolic colors, honoring the two horses of the city's legendary founders Aschius and Senius.“It was a work of art,” Webster said.

The small group traveled throughout Tuscany, visiting several cities — large and small — photographing and learning as they went. One of the more unusual places was down in the ancient Roman viaducts in Siena. They too were decorated with arches and had water running through them. Wolfson had Webster shoot the viaducts, then showed her how to use the light coming in from one of the openings.

“Afterward I saw the difference. The second photos were better,” Webster said.

After the group went out to shoot, they gathered to critique their work.

“I really learned a lot,” Webster said.

At the beginning of the week, Webster said everything she shot was overexposed, but with Wolfson’s help, she discovered her camera was locked on automatic. Once unlocked, Webster still took photos that were overexposed.

Wildflowers bloom in Pienza, Italy in May. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, declared the town a World Heritage Site in 1996. The Val d'Orcia was included on the list of UNESCO's World Cultural Landscapes in 2004.“We figured out I had to learn my camera. Different cameras work differently,” Webster said as she sat in her living room going through the photographs she took on the trip. “I probably took about 1,200 photos then picked out my 17 favorites.”

When she looked at the photographs from the beginning of her week in Italy and compared them with those at the end of the week, Webster said she saw an improvement and was pleased with the outcome.

While in Tuscany, the small group stayed at a bed and breakfast in Pienza, an old town on a hill in the center of the region. Webster took a photograph with the town in the background with a field of wild, red poppies and yellow, clustered flowers.

The Tuscany hills glow at sunset in May. Tuscany is considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, home to polymath Leonardo da Vinci, poets Francesco Petrarch and Dante Alighieri, painters Sandro Botticelli and Michelangelo, astronomer Galileo Galilei, explorer Amerigo Vespucci and opera composer Giacomo Puccini.“The landscapes were fabulous. You could hardly take a bad photograph with the rolling hills, the cypress trees, the vineyards and olive groves,” Webster said, pointing at a photograph of an old stone monastery surrounded by such scenery. She also took a photograph of a house on a hill with a cypress-lined driveway. Many hills undulated in the background, striped with shadows cast by the setting sun.

“The evening light in Italy seems to stay longer than it does here. It makes for great photographs with lots of interesting elements,” Webster said.

Not only the natural landscapes fascinated and inspired Webster, but the architecture of the old buildings as well as the new. She took several photographs of the interesting shapes, windows, arches, doorways and carvings. In one of her photographs, she captured the Siena Duomo. This majestic cathedral has a domed building next to a tall, striped tower topped by a steeple.

In Florence, many of the bridges across the Arno River were stone arches. One, the Ponte Vecchio, had several stores erected across its span. It is the oldest and most famous of the bridges. It was built in 1345 and the overhanging shops have lined the bridge since.

“This was an educational vacation. Now I feel more confident about taking photographs with my Nikon F80,” Webster said. “It was a cultural trip too. We got to meet a lot of the local people.”

However, the trip was also a vacation. The group went to different ristorantes in different cities and villages to taste the foods and wine, and they visited several museums, of course taking photographs along the way.

Webster said the trip gave her the impetus to learn more and not be so afraid to take her camera off automatic.

“You can always take point-and-shoot pictures, but it’s more stimulating to be creative and try different settings and exposures. It’s good for the mind,” Webster said. “When you feel you’re getting stagnant, challenge yourself to learn something new.”

The news stories, editorials, photo captions, letters to the editor, columns and press releases appearing in the Sedona Red Rock News are written by hundreds of different Sedona residents.

This is the third installment of a series featuring the editorial staff members of your community newspaper, the Sedona Red Rock News.Constance Israel, Larson Newspapers’ copy editor since 2008, faces the daunting task of making sure all those news items are correctly spelled, grammatically precise, factually accurate and stylistically uniform.

Israel balances that intense attention to detail with liberation. She lets loose by traveling, letting the winds of fate take her from one corner of the globe to another for months at a time.

Larson Newspapers Copy Editor Constance IsraelBorn in Birmingham, Ala., in 1962, Israel graduated from Mountain Brook High School in 1980, then attended the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

Israel graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, then returned to Birmingham and earned a second bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Uncertain of what she wanted to do, Israel moved to Austin, Texas, and eventually went back to school.

With her degrees, she had worked in psychiatric treatment centers, but she said she wanted something “tangible.”

She enjoyed writing and reading, so Israel earned a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, “with no intention of ever becoming a journalist,” she said.

She went to work for a publishing house working on secondary educational materials.

After 3½ years, Israel took her first leap into the world beyond — with a globe-trotting trip most Americans only read about in novels or guidebooks.

In fall 1997, Israel quit her job, gave up her apartment, put everything she owned into an unlocked storage unit in a friend’s backyard and embarked on a six-month world tour.

She and a friend spent a month in Tanzania, in eastern Africa, where they climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, took safaris across the savannahs and visited Zanzibar.

While Israel had planned the trip with her signature attention to detail, she left India’s travel plans to her friend — who failed to secure Indian visas. When the two arrived in Delhi, they were held for 12 hours at the airport with threats of being sent back to Tanzania.

After hours of begging and pleading with Indian bureaucrats and negotiating with officials, they were granted a 24-hour visa. They spent three days traveling between the U.S. consulate and Indian offices before being granted a two-week stay.

Israel and her friend visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, but spent most of their time in the state of Rajasthan. Among their travels, they visited the “Blue City” of Jodhpur, the “Pink City” of Jaipur and the “Golden City” of Jaisalmer, all named for distinctive architectural colorations.

“Although it was the most difficult, India was one of the places I loved the most. It’s the most extreme place I’ve ever been,” Israel said, adding that for every horror she encountered, there was something equally amazing, from the food, architecture, culture, people or the wildlife. “I have a love-hate relationship with India. I’m always trying to master it. It’s an impossible place to be mellow.”

After two weeks in neighboring Nepal, Israel’s friend returned to United States as planned. Israel traveled alone through Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

“Doing it alone was one of

the best learning, best opening experiences of my life,” Israel said.

Although Israel left with no job and no job prospects, when she returned, she walked into freelance writing and editing, which she did from 1998 until joining Larson Newspapers in 2008.

She embarked on her second tour in 2000, spending about four months in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. Due to a coup d’etat in the Solomon Islands, she got stuck in Australia, which also turned into a great experience.

Constance Israel shares a laugh with her husky, Nike, on June 24. Israel worked as a freelance writer and editor for 10 years before joining the Sedona Red Rock News at a copy editor in 2008.Israel indulged in another passion in 2001, getting Nike, her “dream dog,” a husky she wanted ever since reading about the breed in fifth grade.

Israel moved to the Village of Oak Creek in 2004, partly because of the proximity to Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park, where she has celebrated eight of the nine past Christmases.

She took another tour in 2006, visiting India with her brother, then traveling alone to Laos and the Solomon Islands. She said she’s more than ready to travel again.

“One of the most amazing things about traveling alone is it’s the best way in the world to crack yourself open,” Israel said. “You can have intellectual knowledge, but experience gives you emotional knowledge. Being able to see things firsthand makes everything real.”

When Halo came to live with Conner Kriegel, they were instant buddies.

Halo is an 8-month-old Diabetic Alert Service Dog.The 8½-month-old female yellow Labrador retriever also went instantly to work. She is a Diabetic Alert Service Dog. Kriegel has Type 1 juvenile diabetes and was diagnosed at age 5.

During their first night together, Halo sensed Kriegel’s blood sugar was dropping and woke his 15-year-old master so he could eat something.

“It’s like Christmas getting Halo full-time,” Kriegel said and he scratched behind his dog’s ears while on a recent outing at Sunset Park.

Since October, Kriegel has periodically worked with Halo during her training. He received her full-time June 17.

“I’m stoked to see she went right to her job,” Halo’s trainer Crystal Cockroft from Guardian Angel Diabetic Alert Dogs said as she watched the two interact and play.

During the training, Kriegel’s mother, Gwen Holmes, swabbed his mouth and sent it to Cockroft to use with Halo so the dog could recognize his scent and learn to detect a difference through her keen sense of smell, Holmes said.

Cockroft came along with Halo to continue training Halo and Kriegel for a few days.

“I’ll come back periodically, and they’ll come over to Palm Springs — they have relatives there — and we can do some more work,” Cockroft said.

Conner Kriegel and his dog, Halo, take a break from playing at Sunset Park on June 18 in West Sedona. Kriegel suffers from  Type 1 juvenile diabetes, and Halo helps alert him when his blood sugar level get too high or low. With Type 1 diabetes, Kriegel’s pancreas does not make insulin, so he uses a pump to keep his levels even.

When he eats, he adds an extra pump or two. However, since Kriegel prefers to be outdoors and active in sports his problem isn’t too much sugar, it’s too little.

“Sometimes I can tell and can eat something,” Kriegel said, but his mother said sometimes Kriegel is too busy with what he’s doing to notice right away.

“Nighttime is another issue. In his sleep Conner doesn’t know when his blood sugar gets low. I used to go check his blood sugar twice a night. Now, with Halo, she’ll be on guard,” Holmes said and smiled down at her son and his dog. “I got to sleep all night last night.”

Part of the reason Kriegel received Halo was he intends to go to college and Holmes probably will not go along.

Halo will accompany Kriegel to classes this fall when he begins his sophomore year at Sedona Red Rock High School. During class, if Halo senses Kriegel’s low blood sugar she will give a tug on the Bringsel, a fabric-covered handle attached to Kriegel’s belt, to alert him.

“She’ll paw at him if he ignores her,” Cockroft said.

When out and about, Halo wears a vest with one large pocket on each side. She has water for herself with a collapsible bowl and Kriegel’s medication. At home she only wears her collar.

Having Halo 24/7 is something new for Kriegel, but he is adapting well.

“I’ve never been totally responsible for another being. I almost feel like a dad. I feed her, make sure she has water, walk and bathe her. I have a permanent attachment — a loving, protective one,” Kriegel said and let Halo lick his face as he hugged her around the neck.

The dog received her name for the circle of red spots on top of her head. The rest of her body is light yellow.

“Besides, I like saying, ‘Hello, Halo,’” Kriegel said.

When four U.S. Navy Vietnam war veterans all came together in the Village of Oak Creek recently after nearly 40 years, those years quickly melted away.

Rocky ClineThey were in their early 20s again and resembled kids in a toy store as they talked, laughed and teased each other.

Dennis Rhoades, Rocky Cline, Tony Segarra and John LaFalce reminisced about the time they spent four years together aboard the , from 1967 through 1970.

“I tried Google and all the other search engines to find these guys, then I keyed in the name of the ship and there they were,” Rhoades said.

“And we’ve been looking for him,” LaFalce said and pointed at Village of Oak Creek resident Rhoades. “When we finally found each other we knew we had to get together, soon.”

Dennis RhoadesLaFalce lives in Latham, N.Y.; Cline lives in Highland, Calif., and Segarra lives in Surprise.

“We lived together in close quarters for four years. We were always together, the four of us. We’re like brothers,” LaFalce said and waved his arm to indicate the other three. “We have a strong bond. When I got here and saw Tony, it was like no time had passed. He looks the same.”

There were 65 men on the Endurance and the four had never met before, but quickly gravitated toward each other. Rhoades and LaFalce were boatswain’s mates. Cline was a seaman and Segarra was in supply. However, the other three said Segarra actually did many jobs. He carried ammo, stood watch, and performed a helmsman job among other duties.

“Tony was the JOT [Jack of all trades] — he did everything,” LaFalce said.

Tony SegarraThe main job of the Endurance crew was to seek out Chinese junks, go aboard and look for contraband. If found, they would take the crew prisoners and confiscate whatever was on board.

“We had a Vietnamese liaison on the boat so he could talk to the guys on the junks,” Cline said.

Since the Endurance was a minesweeper, Segarra said they often performed duty looking for submersed mines.

The four men sat in Rhoades’ living room wearing matching Navy blue polo shirts with an insignia of the ship and its name embroidered in gold thread on the left chest. They all brought their personal albums to share photographs and memories. When one mentioned an incident, the others piped in with their view.

John LaFalce“The photos brought us all back, including the cruise book everyone on the ship received,” Cline said. “There were some tough times, even though we remember the good stuff.”

A British Porpoise class submarine, the HMS Rorqual, accidently rammed the ship in the Philippines June 13, 1969, and left a big hole in the side of the Endurance. There was also a small fire in the engine once, Cline said.

“On leave we remember going, but not coming back,” he said, which caused a burst of laughter around the room.

Cline pulled out one photo that showed the USS New Jersey in the distance with a fireball bursting from the side.

The USS Endurance (AM-435) was an  Aggressive class minesweeper aboard which Dennis Rhoades, Rocky Cline,  Tony Segarra and John LaFalce and 70 other men served during the Vietnam  War.“It was five miles away. When it fired, it shook our boat,” Cline said.

U.S. Navy veterans, from left, Rocky Cline, Dennis Rhoades, Tony Segarra and John LaFalce pose  outside Rhoades’ Village of Oak Creek home on Thursday, June 17, during a reunion after decades without seeing each other.Other pictures showed the four during work and playtime. The only difference between then and now was a little age and, for some, a little less hair.

During their two tours in Vietnam, Rhoades, Cline, LaFalce and Segarra supported a 6-year-old Filipino orphan girl.

“We provided her with a Christmas and rebuilt the house she was living in,” LaFalce said.

“I wish we could find her now. We don’t know whatever happened to her.”

The men brought their wives with them, and Lyn LaFalce said she was the fifth onboard the Endurance the whole four years. John LaFalce carried her photo. They started dating in high school.

In conclusion, LaFalce said, “We cruised a lot of miles together then. Now we have a whole new life to share.” The other three nodded.

This is the second installment of a series featuring the editorial staff members of your community newspaper, the Sedona Red Rock News.Most of the photographs anchoring the pages of the Sedona Red Rock News are shot by Tom Hood, one of Larson Newspapers’ two full-time photojournalists.

Tom Hood has been Sedona Red Rock News’ photojournalist since January 2010.After working 13 years for a Prescott area newspaper, Hood spent six years shooting for the Associated Press, a collective of more than 1,700 media outlets, newspapers and radio stations. He joined the Sedona Red Rock News in January.

Sedona Red Rock News staff photographer Tom Hood, shown in this self-portrait Saturday, June 19, worked as a news photographer in Prescott for 13 years before freelancing for the Associated Press Phoenix bureau for six years. Hood joined the News crew in January. Hood has built an impressive resume — he photographed President George W. Bush and Massachusetts Sen. and 2004 Democratic candidate John Kerry for a presidential debate in Phoenix and worked Super Bowl XLII capturing the New York Giants’ upset victory over the New England Patriots.

However, Hood describes himself as “a small-town kind of guy,” who prefers working with a close-knit community.

Born in Reading, Pa., in 1963, Hood moved to Geneva, Ill., at age 16. He graduated high school in 1982 and attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Hood moved to Arizona in 1987 looking for a job in radio. Having experience in print journalism, he took a position with the Prescott Courier in the production department. In 1989, a photojournalist position opened and management asked Hood to take it.

“I developed an eye really quickly. It was kind of natural for me,” Hood said. “In photo, you learn from other people’s stuff. In your down time, you look at other people’s photos and see what they’re doing.”

Hood and his ex-wife welcomed twin sons Jonathan and Tyler in 1996. His daughter Sarah was born in 1999.

Hood left the Prescott Courier in 2002 to pursue teaching. However, he said he missed photography almost immediately.

Shortly afterward, Hood received a letter from the Associated Press, with whom he had done some freelance work. The letter wished Hood well and asked if he would consider freelancing out of the Phoenix bureau.

“Once you start freelancing, all sorts of doors open,” Hood said.

Hood was soon busy with a full slate of photo assignments. He covered politicians and sports teams, traveled as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ team photographer and annually spent every day in March shooting Major League Baseball’s spring training.

He had multiple one-on-one photo shoots with U.S. Sen. John McCain [R-Ariz.] and shot a famous photograph of former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi

[R-District 1] celebrating an election victory with his father, Gen. Eugene Renzi, shortly before the latter’s death.

Along the Arizona-Mexico border, Hood photographed members of the Minutemen Project and flew in a Black Hawk helicopter with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary James M. Loy.

But Hood’s small-town sensibility became clear in 2003, when the AP sent Hood to Tuba City to cover the funeral of U.S. Army Spc. Lori Ann Piestewa.

Piestewa was severely injured when her convoy was ambushed in Nasiriyah, Iraq. Piestewa, two other female and four male soldiers were taken prisoner by insurgents, but she died of her wounds soon after.

In Tuba City, Hood approached Piestewa’s family and in conversation asked permission to shoot photos. An uncle told Hood to come back in a few hours. When he did, the neighborhood was surrounded by national media, but Hood alone was taken inside by the family.

Hood’s intimate and exclusive photos of Piestewa’s family in mourning were published in hundreds of publications nationwide.

“Knowing how to build that relationship comes from years of working in a small town,” Hood said.

Hood said he reshuffled his priorities after his father, mother and stepfather all died in a short period in 2007.

“The death of my parents and stepfather set me back,” Hood said.

Part of that change included moving to the Verde Valley to spend more time with his three children.

“My kids are my No. 1. There’s only a few years you really get to be with them,” Hood said. “This is a crucial time to have a family around.”

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