My Facebook friend count is almost embarrassing to reveal.

My current total is 40, but I’m extremely picky about who I add. It’s a personal, not professional, domain for me so coworkers and newspaper contacts are out. I also don’t friend anyone I’m not actually friends with, and I mean real, live friends, who I spent one-on-one social time with at some point in our lives and still want to keep in touch with.


Granted, different people use Facebook for different purposes. Some use it professionally to network. Others use it to rally support for a cause. Like me, many use it to keep in touch with friends who once lived nearby and are now spread across the globe.


In most cases, it’s up to the user to decide where to draw the line. Except in one instance, when it comes to teachers and students.

With school back in full swing, The Arizona Republic published an article in its Sunday, Aug. 14, edition concerning teacher-student Internet relationships outside the classroom.

Arizona, unlike other states, such as Missouri, does not impose restrictions at a state level. Missouri’s new law, set to take effect late this month, goes one step further prohibiting all private electronic communication between teachers and students.

In Arizona, it’s currently up to each district to impose restrictions.

According to Superintendent David Lykins, the Sedona-Oak Creek School District has provisions in place to protect students from inappropriate Internet content and blocks access to all social media like Facebook on campus but has no rule about afterhours social media contact. Lykins said SOCSD hasn’t had any problems with social networking but will continue to update policies.

The majority of teachers only have students’ best interests in mind when making any sort of contact with students, whether it’s helping them in the classroom with a tough problem or cheering on the home team at a sporting event. It’s a teacher’s job to foster, support and guide his or her students ... when they’re on the clock.

When a teacher isn’t working, his or her activities of choice aren’t anyone’s business, as long as they’re legal.

Facebook, however, can rob a teacher of this privacy and put him or her at risk of unknowingly influencing student opinion of them based on circumstances the student shouldn’t even be aware of.

Students, on the other hand, don’t yet understand the difference between a personal and professional world. Up to this point in their lives, everything is personal. They go to school with their friends, usually work with their friends and are still learning how a crush on a football player should not affect their math class score.

So, many students most likely consider teachers their friends and feel connected to them, as some teachers do with students.

The difference, however, is the teacher should know the difference between their personal life and their job, and set a good example for students by adhering to moral guidelines.

Students don’t need to see pictures of a teacher vacationing at the beach or funny college photos posted from an old friend. They don’t need to know who their teacher is meeting for happy hour on a Friday after work.

Friending can blur the line between authority figure and equal, which jeopardizes a teacher’s position in the classroom.

After a student graduates, it’s a different situation completely. If the student still wishes to be in contact with the teacher, the relationship has transitioned from professional to personal.

Soon, the Yavapai County redistricting marathon will come to a end when the Board of Supervisors selects a map Monday, Aug. 22.

County staff, led by Yavapai County Administrator Julie Ayers, traveled the county hosting open house meetings, answering questions, taking comments and eventually producing four maps based on popular public opinion.

Maps A, B, C and D made their debut in front of the public June 1, and now, in the eleventh hour, Yavapai County District 2 Supervisor Tom Thurman also proposed a fifth alternative.

In Sedona and the Verde Valley, the original Map C appears to be most popular, even with our county supervisor, Chip Davis. District 3 Supervisor Davis endorsed Map C as the best alternative for the Verde Valley.

Map C pairs Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek with Camp Verde, Lake Montezuma, McGuireville, Cherry and portions of Prescott Valley.

The remainder of the Verde Valley makes up a second district.

The Sedona City Council, Big Park Regional Coordinating Council in the Village of Oak Creek, Cottonwood City Council, Clarkdale Town Council and the Beaver Creek Coordinating Council came out in favor of Map C often citing the map’s ability to possibly keep two supervisor seats in the Verde Valley.

The Camp Verde Town Council has yet to endorse a map but will talk about where the town stands at its meeting Wednesday, Aug. 17.

The ultimate decision, however, will be made by the three supervisors — Thurman, Davis and District 1 Supervisor Carol Springer. They, like county staff, made rounds throughout the county to find out which map their constituents prefer.

After the vote is cast, the county submits the selected map to the Department of Justice for review. The county anticipates receiving approval in December.

Elections for supervisor seats begin in August 2012 with a primary election followed by the general election in November 2012. New supervisors will take their seats in January 2013.

The rotten economy’s latest victim appears to be the Sedona Community Center.

The center closed its pool this summer and eliminated certain activities in an effort to refocus its mission, as written by SCC Board of Directors President Jeff Buresh in his column on Page 2B.

The change didn’t come as a desire or a wish of the board or the center’s staff to mix things up, but as a necessity.

When I moved here five years ago, the center was in the process of becoming the Sedona Community Center rather than the Adult Community Center. The business card in my Rolodex today for SCC Executive Director Susan Barrington is adorned by the old name and logo.

In 2006, Sedona’s economy boomed as housing prices crept up and up, the center’s membership swelled with both senior and younger members, and donations came much more easily through the door.

At that time, the center expanded its mission, adopting a new name and attempting to reestablish itself in the community.

While meal programs for the elderly remained the center’s main focus, the time, money and people surfaced to take operations to the next level.

The pool attracted more visitors and programs expanded allowing the center to begin to embody the true essence of a community center.

A much different light shines on the changes and decisions board members and staff find themselves forced to make today.

Expanding operations is exciting and popular. Downsizing is scary and hard.

The mission of the center when it went by the Adult Community Center and today is to prevent elder hunger. Everything else it offered, while still fitting in with the goals of the center, was extra.

Today, the center, like many of the rest of us, can’t afford extras, and the demand and expense of its primary objective increases as the economy worsens.

More seniors than ever before cannot afford to feed themselves, leaving only SCC to answer their pleas for help.

Fewer people can afford to give their time for free making volunteers to assist with vital programs harder to come by.

Most damaging is the lack of funding available to provide services. Donations are fewer and smaller.

The bottom line is, the center, like the rest of us, has to choose what it can afford and what it can’t, and not live outside its means.

We’ve all cut indulgences from our lives in the last few years, and the center is simply suffering on a larger, more noticeable scale. It can’t afford to do anything more on its own.

Change is the only constant we can count on, and while journalists are often accused of being slow to change, our newest trade book reveals we’re coming around.

The Associated Press released the The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law 2011 at the end of July and an entire section dedicated to social media proves journalists are coming around to the digital age.

The AP Stylebook is the basis for all news writing in the United States and the beginning foundation for every journalist.

Journalism rests on the foundation of the pen and paper, and many journalists, especially the older generation, initially rejected the Internet as a news source fearing it would be the demise of the printed or spoken word.

While the presence of news websites and up-to-date citizen reporting forced journalism as a whole to evolve, AP’s inclusion of social media standards — the newest news spreading craze — is a sign the industry realized we can all live together and create a better informed public.

It’s true online news hurt all traditional media outlets — newspapers, magazines, radio and television — in the beginning.

Traditional media normally delivers the news to its audience on a set schedule, which is where Internet news had and still has the edge. Information can be updated immediately and accessed at any time.

Originally, bloggers stole some of this traffic by embracing the Internet’s capability to deliver timely news. News organizations hesitated to make the move to the Internet, but eventually felt it a necessary step to keep their audiences happy. Once established news outlets began offering news online, Internet users left the blogs and again sought news from credible sources.

After journalists budged on Internet content, many organizations swung to the complete other end of the spectrum and found themselves in trouble.

Those organizations caused their own struggle with the Internet by offering the entire content of the print or broadcast product for free online making reading their newspaper, watching their broadcast or tuning into their station completely unnecessary. Media organizations floundered when sales went down and their audience shifted from their primary product to the Internet.

Then, we figured out the magic recipe — different content for the web and our primary products.

At Sedona Red Rock News, we’ve embraced the Internet, but understand our website and our newspaper are two completely different tools.

Our website,, competes with other media by bringing our audience breaking news, whether it’s a fire, accident or board decision. We also offer features not available in our newspaper, such as an interactive poll, local gas prices, and current weather conditions. We select a few stories from each issue of the newspaper and also make those available online. We do not, however, post every news story or content contributed from community members — columns, letters to the editor or guest perspectives. You have to buy our newspaper to enjoy those features.

Journalism is one of our country’s oldest institutions, and industry change isn’t easy after hundreds of years, but we’re coming along.{jcomments on}

Often when children come in contact with police officers or emergency crews, the situation isn’t good.

Accidents and domestic disputes are common occasions when a child meets a police officer or firefighter for the first time. Mom and Dad might be arguing or the child may have been involved in a traffic accident the first time the child and someone from public safety interact.

Stressful situations frighten the child, who may form negative opinions about the public service provider who helped them simply due to the context of the event. A firefighter’s presence may elicit fear someone is injured, and a police officer may trigger worry a child or someone in their family is in trouble.

National Night Out, an annual event hosted in Sedona and other communities across the country, aims to change this.

On Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 6 p.m., children and adults alike were invited to Posse Grounds Park to meet police officers, firefighters, helicopter paramedics and others who protect our community.

The event gives children a chance to meet people often present in bad situations in a stress-free environment. If children are familiar with police officers and emergency crews, it adds one more element of comfort in an uncomfortable situation.

Introducing children to police officers and firefighters can squash negative stereotypes about either profession before the child has a chance to develop them. Showing children these people are in the field because they care fosters a trusting relationship between a child and public safety workers.

Local agencies, including Sedona Police Department, Sedona Fire District and Guardian Air, display their equipment and vehicles to show children and answer questions.

This year marks the 28th year of the event, which is a proactive attempt by the agencies involved to not only do their jobs, but to interact and communicate with those they serve and protect.

Trista Steers MacVittie

Managing Editor

My throat is sore, my eyes burn and my head throbs — smoke smothers Sedona yet again.

For the past two weeks smoke covering Sedona has gotten progressively thicker each morning. On Thursday morning, July 28, Uptown was barely visible from the Brewer Road and State Route 89A roundabout. As my husband said that morning when he called to warn me about the smoke, “I feel like I’m driving into a forest fire.”

Every year Sedona experiences a spell of campfire-grade air quality due to forest fires, either wild or managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and each time it becomes more frustrating.

I realize residents are now paying for the Forest Service’s past mistakes with regard to forest fire management, and letting naturally occurring fires burn is essential to rebalance forest ecosystems. However, “managing” to me also means managing the smoke produced and communicating with communities affected via the local newspaper.

Last week, the Forest Service did a good job keeping us updated on the Bolt Fire, burning south of Munds Park, but as smoke thickened and its statements made in our July 20 newspaper proved false, correspondence dwindled.

This week, our newsroom received only one fire update Wednesday, July 27.

In Patrick Whitehurst’s July 20 front page article, USFS staff told him their plan entailed letting the fire burn until Saturday, July 23. Well, as I write this editorial, it’s Thursday, July 28.

USFS staff also claimed Sedona residents would experience smoke conditions similar to those seen July 16 and 17. Smoke was noticeable then, but you could see across the street in Uptown.

The article then goes on to quote a spokesperson saying, “If it looks like we’re getting too much [smoke] in the communities, we will actively suppress it and try and stop the smoke or maybe even mitigate the fire, making it burn a little slower, if we can do that.”

It doesn’t appear to me much is being done to lessen the presence of smoke, but we also probably wouldn’t be aware of any such efforts since the stream of press releases nearly dried up. USFS also claimed last week it typically tries to keep in touch with communities affected by smoke. Well, I’m not sure who it keeps in touch with because Sedona’s only newspaper sure hasn’t heard much from them.

Maybe the Forest Service’s emails were lost in the smoke.

Mouth-to-mouth contact is one of the main reasons a person hesitates to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

In today’s world where germs are feared, and often for good reason, people are less and less likely to react quickly to an emergency situation if they don’t know the victim.

Luckily, a new form of resuscitation has surfaced and proved to work better in terms of non-medically trained individuals helping a cardiac arrest victim until an ambulance arrives.

On Friday, July 22, Sedona Fire District Fire Marshal Gary Johnson trained members of our staff in cardiocerebral resuscitation, or CCR.

CCR consists solely of chest compressions, taking the fear of mouth-to-mouth contact out of the equation.

Our staff decided to receive training after reporting a story of one man saving his longtime friend’s life on the golf course using the new method.

We figured if something happens in our office, or while we are out in the community, we should be prepared.

Other businesses are also taking a lead in training their employees to increase the chances of survival if one of them or a customer goes into cardiac arrest.

CPR training in high school seemed intense and complicated counting the number of chest compressions compared to breaths given to the victim. CCR, on the other hand, falls more in line with a person’s natural response to a high-stress situation — just start pushing.

While there is some technique involved, the premise of the procedure is to get the blood and oxygen flowing quickly.

Johnson demonstrated how, even without administering mouth to mouth, simply pushing in on a person’s lungs naturally causes air to leave the cavity and then refill the space when pressure is release, which brings into play one important difference between CPR and CCR. In CCR, the person administering the chest compressions must be sure his or her hands completely release from the chest between compressions so the lungs can fill fully with air.

Chest compressions need to be administered rapidly — approximately 100 per minute — to be effective, and Johnson said it’s always helpful if more than one person can take turns working on the victim.

Johnson also pointed out, like in CPR, it is important to first determine the victim is not breathing before compressions begin. CCR is also to be used only on adults and never children.

The first step to save lives is for the public to be aware, educated and trained to step up and help out while medical crews are on their way.

If you, your family or your co-workers aren’t trained in CCR, contact your local fire district or department or ambulance service to find out about training opportunities so you are prepared.

Every minute counts when a heart stops beating.

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