Over Memorial Day weekend, Verde Valley residents dealt with smoke from the Snake Ridge Fire, currently burning about 8,000 acres east of Camp Verde.

Prevailing winds on Friday and Saturday blew smoke west into Camp Verde, Rimrock and the Village of Oak Creek and by Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the smoke reached most of the Verde Valley from Cottonwood and Clarkdale to Sedona. Yes, we are in the middle of fire season.

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Journalism students at Arizona’s high schools and universities recently won major free speech protections from the Arizona State Legislature.

Senate Bill 1384 was one of the last bills passed this legislative session. With a 41-19 vote in the House and a 29-0 vote in the Senate, the bill grants First Amendment protections to student journalists, whether writing for a school-sponsored publication like those of most high schools or a fiscally independent publication like those of many state colleges.

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Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14, the day when we celebrate our mothers with brunches or breakfasts, flowers or a just a phone call for those of us who live too far away to travel.

The day also offers those who have lost their mother a chance to reflect on her influence on their lives.

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Here’s a sentence I never thought I would actually write: The Barbara Antonsen Memorial Park is officially open.

For those new to Sedona, the Barbara Antonsen Memorial Park has been in the works for 16 years, when the then-Sedona City Council first approved plans for an open-air amphitheater at Posse Grounds Park. Even the Golden Gate Bridge took less time to build.

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If you live in Sedona long enough, you will inevitably have a story about how Sedona Fire District crews have assisted you or a neighbor with a fire or medical emergency.

While we at the newspaper regularly deal with firefighters and emergency medical technicians who let us shoot photos of blazes, car accidents and fire investigations, we also have more personal stories such as a few years ago when SFD crews treated and airlifted one of our copy editors who had suffered a head injury in a bicycle fall.

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