Sedona-Oak Creek School District officials are searching for savings that would enable the district to increase salaries in next year’s budget.

“I want our school district to have the most competitive salary schedule,” Superintendent David Lykins told the SOCSD Governing Board when he presented the budget Feb. 7.

Last year, when Proposition 123 passed, the district used all the funds it received to boost salaries, which historically had been lower than other districts.

According to Sedona Red Rock High School Principal Darrin Karuzas and Assistant Principal Deana DeWitt, administrators are working to address results from the 2016 Arizona Youth Survey that indicate two out of five sophomores who took the survey did not feel safe at school.

First up, Karuzas said that he and DeWitt will be forming a student advisory committee in the next few weeks. It is not the first of its kind, but with the current iteration Karuzas intends to “really talk to them about real-life concerns,” becoming a “vehicle to talk and discuss” issues of safety, substance abuse and negative family situations reflected in the survey.

Mingus Mountain Republican Club met Tuesday, Feb. 14, for its monthly luncheon at the Veterans of Foreign Wars — Post No. 7400 in Cottonwood.

This month, the club invited Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski to speak about current challenges facing his city, and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk to present on the effects of marijuana on the county.

Elinski said the main challenges facing Cottonwood at the moment included the lack of jobs and youth activities, homelessness, the lack of financial resources, the minimum wage increase and millennial flight.

A Flagstaff mother of seven almost became collateral damage during an aerial attack on Sedona helicopter tour operators Wednesday, Feb. 15, at a Yavapai College Lunch and Learn.

Amanda Shankland, who also happens to be general manager of the Sedona Airport, took flak for the noise and nuisance of tour helicopters.

Shankland was the featured speaker at the college’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the college’s Sedona campus.

The Sedona Fire District has taken the first step to determine if a bond is the route to take to cover the costs of needed improvements, including replacing two fire stations.

During the Wednesday, Feb. 15, SFD Governing Board meeting, members of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee will be introduced and the board will strategy. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. at Station 1 in West Sedona but the item is scheduled toward the end of the agenda.

With more than 3,500 registered runners, this year’s Sedona Marathon was the largest yet. Those numbers also equate to big bucks for many local businesses during one of the slowest times of the year.

Sedona Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff, who also serves as race director, said an estimated $3.2 million was spent in Sedona the week of the race.  

This year, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education Superintendent Bob Weir is responding directly to the Verde Valley’s lack of skilled construction employees.

Following a successful fall 2016 discussion with construction industry representatives in Cottonwood, Weir met with 17 plumbing, insulation, plastering and drywall, glass and general contracting professionals on Jan. 31 at the Camp Verde Community Library to evaluate the Verde Valley’s industry needs and endorse VACTE’s certification programs as means to train future employees.

In 1986 Bruce Hornsby was at the top of his game with a No. 1 song on the charts and with that the type of instant fame he could only have dreamed of.

Now, three decades and a trio of Grammy Awards later, Hornsby continues to perform an array of music including rock, bluegrass, folk, jazz and country. He and his band, the Noisemakers, will be bringing their style to the Sedona Performing Arts Center to kick off the 23rd annual Sedona International Film Festival. They will be performing at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18.  

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