On the surface, an Arizona state senator from Chandler and Gilbert may be responsible for raising your sewer fees by 7 percent, should his Senate Bill 1430 pass. The bill would negate Sedona’s ordinance charging sewer fees on vacant parcels not connected to the city’s sewer system.

Sen. Warren Petersen [R-District 12] drafted the bill and the only member of the public to speak is a retired Maricopa County judge who, by sheer coincidence, also owns land in Sedona, which by sheer coincidence, is the only one of Arizona’s 91 municipalities that charges such a fee.

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When elected officials declare they will not speak to the media or only to certain members and not others, it raises red flags in our republic.

There is no law requiring elected officials to speak to the press. Legally speaking, officials could hide behind closed doors, only coming out to debate and vote in public meetings.

But officials need the public to support their decisions after enactment and, if so attempted, to get re-elected when their terms end.

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As the 23rd annual Sedona International Film Festival enters its final weekend only a few more days remain to see some of the great films that are being offered this year.

There are more than 200 volunteers at the festival, nearly all of whom are our friends and neighbors working shifts all around town to make sure visiting and local filmgoers enjoy their experience and that the festival goes off without a hitch.

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Next week, the Sedona International Film Festival will screen more than 160 feature films and shorts, including the documentary “Enlighten Us,” focusing on New Age guru James Arthur Ray, infamous for causing the death of three people just outside Sedona in 2009.

In October of that year, a fatal mass causality incident occurred at Angel Valley, a retreat center few miles southwest of Sedona. We had photographers and reporters on the scene the night of the incident and the morning after, as law enforcement investigated the deaths of three people and the hospitalization of 21 others.

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Come Valentine’s Day, couples will spend romantic nights at home or fun time out on the town. The other half, by circumstance or choice, will observe Singles Awareness Day, a tongue-in-cheek protest holiday and head out on the town perhaps to find that special someone.

For me, Valentine’s Day was a chance for a sixth-grade boy to finally tell a certain six-grade girl that he didn’t just “like” her but “like-liked” her in a Valentine. Of course, she’d overlooked the brilliant sixth-grade subtlety in how he underlined the pre-printed “I love you” in marker, and went on to break his heart by moving away at the end of junior high.

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The Sedona Marathon started and concluded on Saturday, Feb. 4, bringing more than 3,000 runners to the city. The official registration was 3,591 while total number of actual runners was roughly 3,090 after about 500 were unable to make it.

While several hundred runners were from Sedona and other communities in the Verde Valley, the bulk were visitors from elsewhere around the country and the world.

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