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.

It took months after her accident to look in a mirror.
 
Now Sedona resident and burn survivor Barbara Quayle speaks in front of crowds and has partnered with burn community organizations to develop programs and techniques to help survivors like herself.
 

Their message is simple. Rappelling down the side of a building pales in comparison to the challenges some people face every day of their lives. On Dec. 9, hundreds of people will take that frightening first step off the 27-story, 415-foot-high CityScape building in Phoenix, all for a good cause.

The annual Over the Edge event raises money and awareness for Special Olympics. “You may be wondering what rappelling down a skyscraper has to do with Special Olympics, the answer is simple,” the Over the Edge website states. “If you are a person with intellectual disabilities, you encounter adversities daily. You must have courage to try something that doesn’t come easily to you.

For the members of Sedona Grateful Dead cover band American Beauty, homelessness is something that hits home for them and if there’s anything they all have in common, it’s deadhead music and combating homelessness.

“I don’t think people realize how prevalent it is here,” said the group’s lead guitarist Rob Marshman, who models his style after Jerry Garcia. “Most people just associate Sedona with tourism.”

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