Pass by the Clemenceau Plaza at the northwest corner of State Route 89A and S. Sixth Street in Cottonwood, and you might notice an uptick in activity.

Now in its fourth month in the historic plaza, Steps to Recovery Homes has fully opened its door to the community. Founders Damien and Anne Browning welcome applicants to its addiction recovery program and help train volunteers. At Miracles Happen, the nonprofit’s resale store two doors down, current and former participants in the recovery program sort, pick up, label and sell used items.

Those who visit Sedona City Hall will now see something new.

On Tuesday, Dec. 27, crews were busy installing 17 bronze statues through-out the campus for display. The statues came from Goldenstein Gallery, which is in the process of moving locations in Sedona but will continue to have satellite exhibits throughout town in the meantime.

Sedona school officials and students are hoping that more local residents will take advantage of a state tax credit that would support a variety of extracurricular activities.

“Tax credits are a popular way for parents to pay the fees for their children’s sports and band programs. Under the program, donors can direct a portion of their state income tax to a specific program or school. The credits must be used for extracurricular activities or other programs outside the classroom,” according to SedonaKidsTaxCredit.com.

It didn’t take long for Ann to realize something was not right when she received a phone call in regard to her missing jury duty.

Ann, a Sedona resident who asked that her last name not be used, was one of many residents in Yavapai and Coconino counties to receive calls in the last two weeks as part of a new scam. Those called are told they have a warrant for their arrest for missing jury duty and then are given the option of paying the fine over the phone using pre-paid debit cards or other means.

The holiday season is a time for giving and that’s exactly what the Sedona Community Food Bank is hoping residents are willing to do.

When the school year began, Executive Director Cathleen Healy-Biaza got quite the surprise. In May, as kids were preparing for summer, there were 48 students at West Sedona School who were enrolled in the food bank’s Kids Weekend Food Pack program. This year that number has nearly tripled to 112. Because of that, the budget for the program went from $9,000 to an estimated $22,000 this year.

Gun culture in the Verde Valley is healthy, and part of the reason is the many licensed gun dealers located right around the corner.

Perry Conrad, with Smoke ’n’ Guns off Main Street in Cottonwood, has said business has been steady and that defensive-style handguns have been the predominant purchase. He pointed to recent murders, “a lot,” he said, as the reason for those purchases.

During its last meeting of the calendar year, the Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education Governing Board swore in two new members and a re-elected member.

Frank Vander Horst and Jeff Wassell took the oath of office, while Steve Pike was welcomed for another term. Vander Horst and Wassell replace four-year-term elected board member Charlene Day and 18-month appointed member Dan Brown.

Both departing members took a moment to congratulate the incoming individuals and offer their endorsement of recently appointed VACTE Superintendent Bob Weir.

Yet another local business owner has been duped out of money through an ongoing scam. But this time there’s a bit of a twist that is still under investigation.

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn reported this week that on Nov. 18 an unknown person called a Village of Oak Creek business claiming it was behind on its bill and the power was scheduled to be shut off. The owner dismissed the call as a scam and did nothing. Three days later a man came into the business wearing a shirt and hat displaying “APS” lettering and stated he was there to shut off power. The owner requested information to prevent this from happening and the man/suspect provided a contact phone number before leaving.

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