Many people today are totally consumed by lobbyists in Washington, D.C., who actually seem to be running our country.

For some folks, the word “lobbyist” conjures up negative images and back room deals.

We can still remember how Jack Abramoff joked about how he ripped off the Native American tribes.

Imagine the country following the Civil War, dealing with carpetbaggers who were waving stacks of checks and flooding committee meeting rooms at the Capitol, while pressuring congressional representatives to vote their way.

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Many people throughout our community had another rough year in 2009.

Many thought that 2008 was as bad as it could get.

Well, sometimes things don’t quite turn around better than we hope for. It is just a fact of nature and in this case economic cause and effect has taken hold of our entire economy.

It did not help our local merchants along State Route 179 to have the construction in their front yards all year again, but that should change in 2010. Hopefully, it will end in early 2010.

I personally have had many challenges this past year, including taking on the duties of managing editor for these past 3 three months.

Thank God I had the support of a very good editorial staff, headed by Trista Steers. She has been a very strong news editor for the Sedona Red Rock News and will be a very good managing editor for all three of our newspapers once she has another few months under her belt.

It also has helped that I have moved Greg Ruland to Cottonwood. He has hit the streets running down there as the Cottonwood Journal Extra’s news editor, and it has relieved a lot of stress up here on the rest of us.

On a personal level, I was given another gift of life with the birth of my second grandson, Adam, born to Kyle and Stacy Larson. Kyle is currently working his way up the system and hopefully will be running this entire operation within the next five years.

It was a wonderful time at Christmas as Vicki and I shared time with Adam, 3 months old, and our older grandson, William, who is now a whopping 19 months old. Family is really an awesome thing to share and we are so blessed with all our family members.

There are still many things facing Sedona and our country right now. These things are going to take some time to fix.

But, the good news is that all those things can be fixed, and I feel we have some very competent people on our Sedona Fire District Governing Board and our City Council. These people take a lot of heat and yet they continue to move forward and try to accomplish what they all think is the right thing for Sedona.

Hopefully, 2010 is going to be the year that our state legislature and Congress make some moves to help get our economy back on track. The current forecast is for a 2.5 percent growth rate. I hope we get all of that and possibly just a little more.

We all need to do our part. Whether it be shopping at our local merchants to help them and Sedona’s economy or making that much needed donation to your favorite local charity. They all need our help right now.

It is through community that we can all get through these times and only a community can keep us strong and hopeful as we move forward into the unknown of another year full of questions.

Please, be kind to one another, treat each other with respect and last but not least, take care of yourself.

We hope to keep you informed throughout all of 2010 with the news in our community that you need to make the best decisions possible to enrich your lives.

 

To say the community of Sedona has an interesting mix of people would be an understatement.

This town has more than its share of so-called professionals. Ironically, living here for more than 45 years, it never ceases to amaze me how the “new guy” in town has all the answers that will fix Sedona’s myriad problems.

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This time of year gives a person very little time to reflect on the happenings that are constantly bombarding us as we go through our busy days right up to Christmas Day.

One such day, of course, is December 7, 1941.

That day, more than many in American history is one of fear, anger, strength and the ultimate sacrifice we were about to embark on during World War II.

The National Intelligence Council came out late last year with some pretty dire predictions for the United States during the next 20 or so years.

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I would like to offer a couple of suggestions this holiday season that I believe will benefit all the residents of Sedona and the surrounding areas.

Consider thinking outside the big box stores and purchase most of your gifts from one of our many unique shops right here in the community of Sedona.

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The holiday season is upon us and with it comes the hustle and bustle of shopping, get-togethers and travel. The Arizona Department of Health Services reminds everyone to take extra care to protect themselves and others from the flu during the holidays.

Stopping the spread of all flu-like symptoms is a major health benefit during this time of year. The holiday season is a great time to share — but not the flu, said Will Humble, ADHS interim director. “The H1N1 influenza virus will be an uninvited guest at pretty much every gathering, shopping mall and party. But you don’t have to take it home with you, if you use good common sense health hygiene.”

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