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.

You don’t need a flannel shirt, a rusty pickup and a grizzly beard to be one of the many people in the Verde Valley who carries a concealed gun.

Marina Zorilla, who works at a salon in Old Town Cottonwood, carries her Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm handgun.

“I carry every day. I don’t leave the house without it. It’s just become a habit now,” she said.

Zorilla has been carrying for some years now, and chose the model of pistol for its light weight and the ease of concealing it within her purse.

The demands on a firefighter’s body are formidable. Even excepting the possibility of fire-related death, the physical demands can be deadly.

According to Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Verde Valley Medical Clinic Occupational Medicine Director Jason Wesley, the No. 1 killer of firefighters in the U.S. is cardiovascular disease — a trait they share with the rest of the nation, but which is exacerbated by the quick response to stress required by the job.

A portion of rock from the north face of the southern bluff of Cathedral Rock broke off around approximately 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 21, and tumbled into the spire’s gully. The rock fall may be due to approximately 1.17 inches of rain that fell in the area Sunday and Monday. No injuries were reported.

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