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The Governing Board of the Sedona Fire District unanimously approved an updated fire code — the first one in more than a decade.

According to a report, in 2005, SFD adopted the 2003 International Fire Code with local amendments. At that time fees for plan reviews and permits were adopted as well. In the intervening years, there have been many changes to the fire code. Additionally, fees for plan reviews and permits have remained unchanged.

Over the last few months, there has been talk about the need to replace or even move the Sedona Fire District’s Station 5 in Oak Creek Canyon. Now, the co-owners of the station are lending their support.

The station was originally built for volunteer firefighters but over the years it has become home to two full-time firefighters. But through a special use permit with Coconino County, the station is only allowed to have the two personnel.

A headline in the Sedona Red Rock News stated that Uptown’s new fire station would be “adequate” for the next 20 years. That article was published on Feb. 10, 1972.

The station’s age and inadequate construction by today’s fire standards are two of the reasons the Sedona Fire District is seeking to replace the station with a new one. But where the money will come from for that project — and many others deemed necessary by SFD personnel — has yet to be determined. Earlier this year, the SFD Governing Board approved the creation of a citizen advisory committee to look into funding options, including a bond.

An ongoing issue between residents in a Sedona neighborhood and users of off-highway vehicles may soon be coming to a resolution.

The U.S. Forest Service recently announced that a final decision has been made by Coconino National Forest regarding the Soldier Pass motorized use proposal.

The final decision allows motorized use of Soldier Pass Road by one outfitter or guide, currently Red Rock Western Jeep Tours, and up to 12 unguided public vehicles each day after a permit system has been established.

The city of Sedona will soon draft a letter bound for the Arizona Corporation Commission regarding proposed fees for those who have opted out of smart meters.

The wording in the letter has not been determined but it may indicate the Sedona City Council’s desire to see fees as low as possible “or some other language that neither validates the proposed fee nor prescribes a specific alternative,” City Manager Just Clifton said last week.

The decision to send a letter came during the March 29 council meeting in which the focus was on the rate case filed by Arizona Public Service.

Fire knows no boundaries, which is the exact reason for exercises like the one held on Wednesday, March 29.

The Verde Valley All Hazards Training Association sponsored the third annual Wildland Fire Skills Training Day at the Crescent Moon day-use area just southwest of Sedona.

Agencies from around the Verde Valley turned out, including the Sedona Fire District, U.S. Forest Service, Verde Valley Fire District, Copper Canyon Fire and Medical Authority, Jerome Fire District, Cottonwood Fire Department and representatives from Coconino and Yavapai counties.

In a surprise turnabout, a bill before the state legislature that would have increased the sewer bill for Sedona residents failed to get enough votes to pass.

On Monday, April 17, Senate Bill 1430 was heard on the floor of the state House but was rejected by a vote of 37 to 17. This bill was introduced by Sen. Warren Petersen [R-District 12, Chandler and Gilbert] and was seeking to preempt cities from charging wastewater service fees for vacant parcels that are not currently connected to the system.

The city of Sedona’s transportation master plan is now in the home stretch as possible alternatives to reduce traffic are being narrowed down.

The Sedona City Council has already received some options at previous meetings including those for the Uptown area and Red Rock Crossing. During its April 12 meeting the focus was on State Route 179 as it enters Sedona. The $250,000 traffic study’s draft plan and public outreach will be in June with a final plan presented to council in July.

The city of Sedona is in the early stages of a multi-year process of establishing more than a dozen Community Focus Areas. And on April 11, one that staff feels is near the top of the list was approved.

The Sedona City Council unanimously approved the Schnebly CFA, which is the third to be completed.

“This one, out of all the CFAs, probably is the most unique,” Senior Planner Cynthia Lovely said. “Part of why it’s unique is that this was the original heart of Sedona. This was the original settlement as everything was focused along the creek.”

Dina Aita is only 16 years old, but has probably seen more than any of her peers. She lives in Gaza, but has spent the past school year on exchange at Sedona Red Rock High School. In an interview with the Sedona Red Rock News, she discussed her time in the United States and her life back home.

Q: Why did you want to go on exchange and how did you end up in the United States?

A: The basic two reasons for me to go on exchange .... the first one is to get out of Gaza. It’s hard to travel, so I wanted to see the outside world and this was the first opportunity for me to travel out of Gaza.

Sedona temporarily became a hub for top neuroscientists from across the country.

The Spring Brain Conferences celebrated their 16th anniversary March 16 to 19 at Poco Diablo Resort and for the first time also held an outreach program in Sedona, consisting of a free community event at the Sedona Performing Arts Center as well as presentations in science classes at Sedona-Oak Creek schools.

Last year marked the deadliest on record for transgender people, with 27 reported homicides. Most of the victims were transgender women of color. In the first three months of 2017, eight murders have been recorded — all of the victims were transgender women of color.

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