Cities in the Verde Valley and around the country saw tens of thousands of marchers, hundreds of thousands in some cities, protesting on Saturday, Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration of the country’s 45th president.

The Women’s March on Washington and sister marches around the country were focused on a host of issues that affect women specifically and the nation in general, such as ending violence, especially violence against women, defending and promoting worker’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights and environmental justice.

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The supposedly community-focused Steering Committee of the Coalition for Permanent Protection of the National Forest in the Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock Area has been eerily quiet since submitting the Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock National Monument proposal for designation to office of the president on Jan. 4.

On Jan. 6, I summarized a list of the main reasons Sedona residents objected to this proposal.

Of the alleged “hundreds” of local supporters the SCCPPNFSVVRRA erroneously claims stand behind this maneuver, only two — Dick Ellis and Birgit Loewenstein — have been brave enough to be publicly vocal about their support.

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The Sedona City Council discussed Wednesday how the city awards the contract for destination marketing and tourism promotion to the Sedona Chamber of Commerce.

Every few years when the contract comes up for renewal, a handful of anti-chamber naysayers who fail to understand or willfully and intentionally ignore the benefits of the chamber/city contract try to persuade council members there is some cheaper way to get the same results.

Bottom line: There isn’t. The chamber works wonders with money it receives from the city.

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Last week, the Sedona Fire District said a fond farewell to one of the Verde Valley’s longest public servants, Fire Marshal Gary Johnson.

Readers may know Johnson from his regular quotes in our news stories and from his occasional headshot we would run alongside them.

Johnson was so much more than a public information officer. He went out of his way to help our staff get some of the amazing photography of wildfires, house fires, rescues and car accident extrications that we’ve been able to publish for our readers.

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Wednesday, Jan. 4, we received word that the Steering Committee of the Coalition for Permanent Protection of the National Forest in the Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock Area — yes, the SCCPPNFSVVRRA’s group’s name is 20 words long — “submitted their [its] proposal for designation” of the Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock National Monument to office of the president.

“Their” is the operative word because it is not supported by an overwhelming majority of residents. The proposal  was rejected in a 6-1 vote by the Sedona City Council and no other elected body in the Verde Valley would even discuss it.

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