Ten Sedona Boy Scouts were called to serve when their flight to Phoenix was forced to make an emergency landing in Flagstaff on Sunday, July 25.

The boys were on board an Allegiant Air jet traveling from Billings, Mont., to Phoenix, along with three supervising adults, when the pilot came on the public address system and told them she had to take the airplane down in Flagstaff. One of the airplane’s engines had shut down.

boy_scouts_7-30“We weren’t expecting this at all,” Boy Scout Kevin Schweiss said.

Schweiss was on board with his father, Patrick Schweiss, and Boy Scouts Walter Spokes, Jason Lionberger, Paul Zenovitch, Joseph Remy, Tanner Rauch, Peter Hoyle, Chas Rescigno, Ethan Tedrick and Jake Ramirez. Patrick Schweiss, Walt Spokes and Randy Conilogue were the three adult chaperones.

The boys had been in Idaho at Island Park Boy Scout Camp and were on their way back from learning the very skills they would use to help other passengers.

“This is actually what we train for,” Kevin Schweiss said. “You don’t ever think you’d have to use it.”
After the pilot announced the early landing, Schweiss said the plane came down fast.

“They basically just dropped us into Flagstaff,” Schweiss said. “We were up in the air and next thing we were on the ground.”

Patrick Schweiss also described an abrupt end to what Kevin Schweiss called a scary experience.
“I’ve never seen a plane stop so fast in my entire life,” Patrick Schweiss said.

After the plane landed, the flight crew immediately began calling, “Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate,” which signaled to passengers to get off as quickly as possible and leave their belongings behind.

Passengers slid down the emergency slide and some, including the Schweisses, jumped from the airplane wing.

From there, passengers ran to a nearby open field.

“We didn’t know if the plane was going to explode,” Patrick Schweiss said. He and his son were near the end of the line inside the airplane and could see passengers take off running once they reached the ground.

After the leaders gathered the Boy Scouts in the field, Spokes said they were approached by the flight crew. The boys were in uniform signaling to the flight crew they were trained to help in emergency situations.

“It was really kind of amazing to see them all working without being told what to do,” Spokes said. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do without panicking.”

They had a mission and didn’t get too excited in an extremely stressful situation, he said.

The Boy Scouts took first-aid kits provided by the flight crew and bandaged anyone who had injured themselves during evacuation or while running to the field.

Spokes said his 17-year-old son, Walter Spokes, carried an elderly lady across the runway to the field because she couldn’t make it on her own.

“They are really heroes today,” Patrick Schweiss said. “I’ve never been so proud of a group of boys in my entire life.”

After everyone was safe, Schweiss said he broke down in tears because he realized what had just happened.
“I was trying to be a dad and trying to be strong,” Schweiss said. He kept hugging his son and saying, “I love you. I love you. I love you.”

A community newspaper could tell hundreds of different stories in every issue. The managing editor fills the often difficult role of deciding which stories to cover and when, then placing those finished stories on each page in each issue.

Local politics, feature profiles, updates about infrastructure projects, upcoming events, police activity, firefighting rescues, community sports, analysis of the economy and new artistic endeavors all deserve a space.

Larson Newspapers Managing Editor Trista SteersA good editor must maintain a fine balance between unbiased hard news coverage and lighter feature stories that foster a sense of community involvement. She also must decide how the newspaper will act as a check on government, holding elected officials accountable for their actions.

Trista Steers is Larson Newspapers’ managing editor, directing all the coverage of the Sedona Red Rock News and its sister papers, The Camp Verde Journal and the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Having moved up the ranks from reporter to the captain at the helm of all three papers, Steers is a veteran of Sedona’s political controversies and its community successes.

Steers was born to Gary and Kay Steers in Lander, Wyo., population 7,000. The Steers family has lived in Wyoming since the mid-1800s and her grandfather’s ranch was founded in 1886. Both her parents were raised in Lander and most of her extended family still lives in Wyoming.

Managing editor Trista Steers and her fiancé, Henry MacVittie, enjoy a cool monsoon evening on a trail near their home. Steers moved to Arizona four years ago to take a job with the Sedona Red Rock News.Steers is 15 years younger than her late brother Robert, seven years younger than her sister Mista, and three years older than her sister Kindal.

Steers was born to be a journalist. As a child, she said she used to spy on her sisters, “observe quietly” and write down her observations in a notebook, like a reporter. Her mother would staple construction paper to the outside creating homemade books for her.

As a student athlete at Lander Valley High School, Steers played volleyball, basketball and softball but was most passionate about soccer, which she played all four years. She would later continue her passion for soccer after moving to Arizona by coaching the Verde Valley School girls soccer team and an Under-12 soccer team in the Village of Oak Creek.

After graduating from LVHS as valedictorian, Steers attended the University of Montana in Missoula, first majoring in psychology. She was doing well, but she missed writing.

Steers had worked on her high school newspaper for three years and served as its editor for two. She also worked for her hometown biweekly newspaper, the Lander Journal. After her first year in college, she changed her major and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in psychology.

Steers said one of her journalism professors summed up the two types of students who entered the field.

“He said people enter journalism for one of two reasons: They want to make it to the top and work for The New York Times, or they want to live wherever they want,” Steers said. “No matter where you live, there’s a newspaper nearby or some media outlet.”

Steers said that with 100,000 people, Missoula was far too big for her.

“I’m a small-town girl,” she said. “I enjoy community journalism — writing about the good things going on in a community.”

Larson Newspapers hired Steers as city reporter in July 2006, only a few weeks after the Brins Fire had threatened Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.

Steers covered Sedona City Council and Sedona Fire District meetings, the beginning of the State Route 179 Improvement Project, police reports and stories about Sedona’s economy.

Steers said her best story was about a little girl who was seriously injured in a rollover accident. The girl recovered right around Christmas, just in time to go home, which was her Christmas wish. Steers wrote a follow-up story and was invited to the girl’s home to welcome her back from the hospital.

After a year as the city reporter, Steers was promoted to assistant managing editor in August, 2007. She met her future fiance, Henry MacVittie, a local business owner, around the same time.

Growing up in the “little mountain town” of Lander had a profound influence on Steers. She said she learned to love the outdoors and grew up hiking, backpacking and mountain biking.

Living in the Verde Valley has afforded Steers the environment to continue her love of the outdoors. She and MacVittie camp, hike and mountain bike together along many of the trails from Mingus Mountain to Oak Creek Canyon. The couple also attends local events on behalf of Larson Newspapers.

Steers was promoted to news editor in October 2009 then managing editor in April.

Steers said she enjoys being a journalist because she likes being informed and serving as “an information booth” for the community. She also enjoys learning new things to better tell those stories.

“City codes, E. coli at Oak Creek, science, theater, gardening. You have to learn about all these things,” Steers said.

Balancing all the various opinions of a community through the medium of a newspaper can be difficult.
“You have people from both sides of every issue,” Steers said. “You have a small staff trying to do the best job they can.”

It’s just a card game to some, but to aficionados bridge is a game of skill, strategy and competition.

Sedona resident Barbara Ballard plays a card during a bridge game July 16 at the Sedona Elks Lodge. Ballard is just one of the 160-plus members of the Sedona-Oak Creek Duplicate Bridge Club. Just ask any of the 160-plus members of the Sedona-Oak Creek Duplicate Bridge Club. Most of the members play six times a week at the Sedona Elks Lodge. Thursday is for beginners. The group started around 1971 and is still going strong.

On July 16, nearly 60 people sat around tables of four, taking the position of north, south, east or west, the names given to positions.

North and south are partners and east and west are partners. It was a quiet game as players arranged the cards in their hand, bid and played the cards for points.

Directional boards, playing cards and bidding boxes make up the game of bridge.“We play for national points because almost all of us belong to the American Contract Bridge League,” said Joy MacIlraith, who, along with her husband Don, are the longest standing members of the club. They joined in 1982.

“The game helps us keep our minds active. It’s great for the memory, and it’s very social,” MacIlraith said.

The Sedona group plays duplicate bridge, which means the same bridge hand is duplicated at each of the other tables to allow fair comparison of playing skill. The scoring is the difference, longtime club member Pete Stedman said.

“We play with a full deck — both ways,” he said.

The history of bridge goes back to the 18th-century English game of whist, a trick-taking card game. A trick is the four cards played in one round.

Eventually, bridge reached the United States and became popular in the 1930s. Its popularity continues, Linda Besnette said just before beginning the game.

“Our game here is competitive but friendly. It’s a happy group,” Besnette said. She also plays bridge online.

Wilma Wilson studies the board during the Sedona-Oak Creek Duplicate Bridge Club game at the Sedona Elks Lodge in Sedona on July 16. The club has more than 160 members with some playing up to six times a week.Don MacIlraith said the Sedona group is just a tiny part of the bridge movement around the world. The MacIlraiths teach bridge on cruise ships occasionally.

“Millions of people play bridge. They recently had a tournament in Las Vegas with several thousand people playing,” Don MacIlraith said.

Besnette started playing bridge in college in the 1960s, and she likes the competitive nature and strategy offered by the game.

“You never ever learn it all. There’s always something new — a new challenge. It’s a lot of fun,” Besnette said. “It’s up and down too. You feel so good when you play something well, and that lasts you until the next game when you feel like an idiot, but you keep coming back.”

Last fall, the officers of the club saw their numbers had dwindled. So they decided to offer lessons. Nearly 100 people showed up, and about 60 completed the classes. A new series is being planned for the fall for people who want to learn the game, Besnette said. Marsha Helton is the club’s board president and teaches the lessons.

One of the new members who learned last fall, Barbara Ballard, said Helton’s lessons were very helpful, and she feels confident to join in the game.

“I like the challenge and these guys have been very helpful. They’ve gone out of their way to guide me along. The first time Don [MacIlraith] asked me to play with him, I felt like the captain of the football team asked me to the prom,” Ballard said, adding she considers MacIlraith an expert.

Joy MacIlraith said she would be lost without bridge. It is a large part of her life.

“Many of us have become close friends — and we have wonderful potlucks,” MacIlraith said. “We even have at least one case of a club romance, and they got married recently.”

Besnette said there has been some concern in the bridge community about the aging population of players.

“Bill Gates has been working with others to promote teaching bridge in schools. We’d love to go to our schools and teach the kids,” Besnette said.

Besnette said visitors to Sedona can come and join the game.

For more information about the Sedona-Oak Creek Duplicate Bridge Club, call 282-5092.

Larson Newspapers’ typesetter Jo Page is at the hub of our community coverage.

Although photojournalists capture breaking news as it happens, reporters investigate tips to tell in-depth stories and editors direct coverage and write commentaries, typesetters deal with it all.

Larson Newspapers typesetter Jo PagePage’s job is to receive all the press releases, submitted photos, letters to the editor, calendar listings and reporters’ stories, then direct them to their proper destinations. She sorts, formats, edits and prepares all that content for the editors to easily process it from e-mail to the published newspaper page.

It is a job she could have started with fresh out of college, but she came to it in a roundabout way.

Although Page was born in Kansas City, Mo., she was raised on her family’s small farm outside Rockingham, Mo.

The family later moved to Richmond, Mo., where Page went to school.

After graduating from Richmond High School, Page attended the University of Missouri for a year and a half. She soon got married and dropped out to support her husband, who was in graduate school.

Cornville resident Jo Page brushes Dusty, her Rocky Mountain gaited saddle horse, at her home Saturday, July 17. Page works as a typesetter at the Sedona Red Rock News. Page met her husband while riding the trails of Arizona.They moved to Omaha, Neb., in the early 1970s and Page went back to school. In 1973 she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Page went to work in corporate communications with Mutual of Omaha, writing internal publications and employee newsletters delivered daily to the insurance company’s 5,000 employees.
Page took time off in 1976 to give birth to her son, Jeff.

While “very pregnant,” Page and her then-husband visited Phoenix and she said she fell in love with Arizona.
Page went back to work in 1977 in public relations with St. Joseph’s Hospital in Omaha.

Shortly after her family moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1979, Page divorced and moved with her son to Scottsdale in 1980. She soon went to work for Scottsdale Memorial Hospital, handling public relations for the nonprofit hospital.

Page took a job with a for-profit corporate health care company in 1985 in Phoenix, then a family-owned in-home nursing care company in Mesa in 1991.

Her next major move came in 1993 when she went to work for herself, selling insurance with Aflac for the next 10 years.

“Insurance sales was left of center for me,” Page said.

In 1992, Page met her future husband, Don Page, in an equestrian club that took rides on trails around Arizona. The couple immediately hit it off, she said.

Two years later, Jo and Don Page got married on the Las Vegas Strip at the Little Church of the West, a chapel listed on the National Register of Historic Places. His birthday is Sept. 11, hers is Sept. 13, so they exchanged vows on Sept. 12 — an easy date for them both to remember, she said.

The couple also bought their first two Rocky Mountain horses, both geldings, Dusty from North Carolina, and Bourbon from Kentucky. The gentle breed is known for its four-beat gait. They bought a third Rocky Mountain, a mare named Lady, in 2001.

Jo Page retired in 2003. The couple had earlier purchased four acres of property in Cornville, which they moved to in 2006, after Don Page retired from Boeing. They also bought their fourth Rocky Mountain, a mare named Misty. Along with the horses, four cats and three dogs, the Pages’ property was bustling with life. Jo Page also volunteers with Arizona Basset Hound Rescue in Northern Arizona, saving members of the short-legged breed.

“Taking care of the animals takes up a lot of my time,” she said.

Page and her husband visit her son’s family and 3-year-old grandson in Denver about once a year and her stepdaughter, Kara, in Cleveland when they can. 

Although Page enjoyed a busy retirement, she was growing bored.

“Being retired isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” Page said.

Page was hired as Larson Newspapers’ typesetter in January.

“I have a journalism degree, but I never worked in the field,” Page said. “It’s odd because I’m coming back to where I should have started out.”

“I wrote for so many years; you burn out on it,” she said. “I found I liked the editing part better. The editing has always come easier.”

Part of Page’s talent is her experience dealing with the different sources of potential news items and several hundred press releases Larson Newspapers receives weekly.

Through her several careers, Page has worked with nonprofits and for-profits, and for herself, so she has particular understanding of the sometimes competing needs of all the voices hoping to find their way onto the pages of the Sedona Red Rock News.

“Everybody is selling something to somebody every day,” she said, “but not everything is tangible. It is a resident selling their perspective in a letter to the editor, a nonprofit selling awareness of free services, a musician selling a few hours of entertainment to eager ears or a source selling a tip to a good news story.”

“They may not buy it, but you can try and sell it,” Page said.

Many Sedona residents are warming up their sneakers, preparing to take a walk.

Relay for Life event chairman Sam Blom shows luminarias that will line the track at Sedona Red Rock High School during the annual American Cancer Society fundraiser. Blom is hoping more teams will sign up for the event, taking place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sept. 25. While walking with others is not so unusual, this group is walking with the hope of finding a cure for cancer.

Cancer is a plague that touches the lives of every human being, whether it is a loved one, friend, acquaintance, neighbor, co-worker or oneself.

Sedona residents, in their sneakers, will join the Sedona Relay For Life by garnering pledges or donations and walking during the 12-hour event Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sept. 25, at the Sedona Red Rock High School track.

“Relay For Life is the biggest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. There are about 5,000 relays every year across the United States,” Sedona Relay For Life chairman Sam Blom said.

Although the relay is two months away, Blom said they are behind last year’s goal.

“We need more teams, more walkers, more sponsors and we have vacancies on some committees,” Blom said. “We’re still accepting silent auction items with a value of $25 or more, and we have luminarias people can buy.”

Teams generally range from five to 15 participants — Blom said 12 is a good number — and participants take turns walking the track. Businesses, offices, churches, families or neighborhoods can form a team. Individual walkers can join an existing team, as well. Some teams will sell food as their participation, Blom said.

“We’re partnering with the high school, too. My vision is to get all of the high school kids engaged in the relay this year,” Blom said. “We even have some who run for their turn. As they go by they
talk and wave to the walkers.”

The relay begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m. During that time, there will be music, entertainment, games, prizes, food and team building experiences — all part of the fun.

People can bring their tents and lawn chairs and set up on the football field. However, no poles can be staked into the artificial turf. Carpet pieces will be supplied.

Last year about 65 cancer survivors participated. Survivors will be part of the first event, which is a free dinner just for them beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Then, between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m., the official walk begins with the honor walk for survivors. Around 9 p.m. will be the luminaria walk in memory and honor of those people still fighting cancer and for those who lost their battle. Closing ceremonies will be around 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25. All walkers receive a commemorative T-shirt.

“Sometime during the night we’ll have a pajama contest for the funniest PJs. Throughout the night people can bid on the silent auction items.

We’ll have other contests, too, for prizes. It’s going to be a whole lot of fun, and there’s a lot of camaraderie. The interaction is very moving. Everyone has a common cause,” Blom said.

Last year the Sedona Relay For Life brought in $44,000. Blom and his committee hope to top that amount this year. Blom and the committee members will be walking as a team.

To register for the relay, visit www.sedonarelay.com.

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.

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