Abbey Reznicek wanted to make a documentary film to uplift those with different beliefs — Sedona seemed like the perfect place.

“I have a passion for minority experiences,” she said. “I wanted to portray someone who doesn’t normally get portrayed and have them be the spotlight and have [them] be the normal one.”

Christmas came a little early for a pair of Sedona families thanks to the generosity of city of Sedona staff members. Santa was on hand — and with the assistance from a handful of his helpers — visited the homes of two deserving families on Thursday, Dec. 21, just in time for Christmas.

This is the sixth year the program has taken place. It ran from 2010 to 2012 and ever since from 2015.

Louis Montenegro was living in a homeless shelter in Santa Rosa, Calif., with only a bag and two pairs of pants when Enchantment Resorts in Sedona not only offered him a job, but also transportation and three months of free housing.

It all seemed too good be true. “I was like, ‘Yeah, right,’” 42-year-old Montenegro said when he first saw the ad on Craigslist. “I thought it looked like a scam.” 

What began as a short getaway up north soon turned into an emotional, life-changing interaction between Tempe resident Steve Baily and Sedona local John Birkett.

The two met while Baily was on vacation late October at the Sedona Golf Resort. At the time, Birkett was close to death due to cardiac arrest.

Big Park Community School sixth-grader Mari Chang loves math and science, reading, singing and also practices ballet 30 hours a week.

Chang, who has been dancing since she was 3 years old, will be performing as Clara — a young girl who receives a magical nutcracker for Christmas — in a Saturday matinee performance of “The Nutcracker,” presented by Phoenix Ballet director Slawomir Wozniak at the Sedona Performing Arts Center.

Days of prepping food followed by hours of cooking and cleaning; But ask anyone who lent a helping hand and they will say it’s all worth it.

For many years, Coffee Pot Restaurant and the Sedona Elks Lodge have opened their doors — and hearts — to anyone wishing to join them for a Thanksgiving dinner free of charge. Kim Guisinger, secretary for the Sedona Elks Lodge, said their attendance was up yet again as they served nearly 1,300 people.

Carol Rowell had already promised her husband no more birds when she first met Buddy, a Goffin’s cockatoo who had pulled most of his feathers.

“He shouted at me, ‘Wings up, Buddy; you come here,’” Rowell said. “So I came over and said, ‘I’m buying you, I’ll handle my husband.’”

A tale about a lonely tree finding friendship with animals of the forest has brought together a local author and three Sedona Red Rock High School sophomores in their own story of creativity and collaboration.
 
Sedona resident Dusty Crisman, who had already been published once before, could have chosen anyone to illustrate her book, “A Lonely Tree,” but knew she wanted to work with students, which brought her to Sedona Red Rock High School.

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