June 1, 2005
You've made our job a whole lot easier
The members of Mingus Mountain Shrine Club would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all that participated in our annual fundraiser, by purchasing the Vidalia Onions. We hope that you will continue your support in the future. "All Shriners support Hospitals and Burn Centers for Children."
President of Mingus Mountain Shrine Club
Harold "Skip" Baker
Freedom of speech, Cottonwood style
My tale starts on April 29. A group of artists had been working on a mural for over a week when I decided to tell them what I thought of it. My complaint with the mural would ultimately lead to my troubles with the artists so I will describe it briefly.
Because the mural is central to my complaint I will describe it briefly. It has a couple of covered wagons, a couple of cowboys, a Mexican with a sombrero, a couple of Indians and a white family underneath a cottonwood tree all set against a backdrop of the Verde Valley. As murals go, it's not bad, it just belongs on a high school classroom wall.
In contrast, Old Town Cottonwood has Egyptian glyphs, Mayan art, and a brightly colored Mexican type drawing. Old Town Cottonwood has over the last 10 years developed a Bohemian/Hispanic sort of culture that has the potential to become a phenomenon like Santa Fe.
Whereas most people consider the mural nice, I actually consider it a cultural invasion that wants to turn us into a generic southwestern town.
In the morning as I was taking my 2-year-old out for a morning walk, I told the artists what I thought of their painting. I told them the running joke of the neighborhood that I should leave a bucket of crayons near the edge of my yard so that drunks and delinquents would hopefully steal them and improve the painting. It insulted them as expected but I just wanted to state my opinion on their last day of painting and I was satisfied.
My daughter and I finished our walk. We were returning home when we saw three police cars at my house. The police told me that saying that wanting people to steal things from my yard was contributing to a crime. They told me that I could not talk to these people or say anything within their earshot. Now I was mad. I had expressed an opinion of a piece of neighborhood art and was harassed for it. This was an issue of free speech.
I knew that there is a 60-foot limit to music played on outside speakers so I put a recorded message on a loop: "Artists go home." I have to admit that this was an incorrect thing to do and was an act of my frustration.
I decided that my daughter and I would take a short walk and return to turn off the annoying message. After less than five minutes, we came back to the house to see a police officer making his way through the back yard and the speakers are on very low. I said, "Do you have a search warrant," and he says "I don't need one because I'm not searching for anything."
I have an 11-year-old home-schooled son who was in his room doing work at the time. The policeman then barked orders at me saying that if I even turned on my stereo that I would be arrested. He said the only thing I could do if I wanted to protest was to put on a sign and walk back and forth across the road and not say a word.
Now, really frustrated and mad, I did another rash and stupid thing. I went over and gave each one a hard stare, knowing fully well that to have someone stare at you without responding to your hellos (I was told I would be arrested for talking to them) can make a person very nervous.
I went back to my house and about 20 minutes later and the police showed up saying that I had threatened one of the artists and I was being arrested for disorderly conduct. I was in my back yard at the time and my almost 3-year-old was in the bedroom with my 11-year-old son at the time. I had to wait handcuffed in the back of the car while my children sat oblivious to my plight until my wife could take off work to come home.
So after 25 hours in the county lockup and $750 bail, I wrote this letter.
I could easily forgive and forget the whole situation, having calmed down over the last two days but I have something driving my ire. I have lived in Cottonwood for 10 years. I have no criminal record whatsoever. I volunteer for Verde River Days and bake chocolates for the yearly chocolate walk.
At no time did the police ask my side of the story. They treated me as a non-entity. They told me that they were not going to read me my Miranda rights because they were not interested in questioning me.
Davis Medical Center a community asset
Just a note to give a huge thank you to the Davis Medical Center in Cottonwood. Dr. Linda Davis cured my shingles after I had seen my own doctor in Sun City and been to the hospital three times. The only help offered were paid shots, which lasted 3 or 4 hours. Dr. Davis is a petite blond dynamo who listens to every word you have to say and you can tell she is concentrating on how to repair and cure your ills.
The outside office is a nice waiting room but the minute you are taken back for help you notice the facilities of a real emergency room. What makes it even more wonderful is the ease and full attention her assistant Jane and other staff work so effortlessly together. You honestly feel that you have landed in the arms of your own loving family who have only your best interest at heart.
I had another problem, which needed immediate attention from an OBGYN, but my doctor could not see me for two weeks and recommended an antibiotic for shingles. I called Dr. Davis ‹ they did not believe that was the problem. I went with my daughter who was receiving treatment and even though I had no appointment, Dr. Davis and Jane did a quick exam and recommended a biopsy. That was done here in Phoenix and the reports came back negative. It could have been much different. Thank goodness for her immediate attention.
She is now working on a very bad back which in over 74 years, I have not been very kind to. Everyone from Terry at the appointment desk to the doctor herself, her assistant Jane, and the other wonderful staff (I wish I knew their names) gives you the best help and attention possible.
Dr. Linda Davis, D.O. is board certified in anesthesiology and family practice. She has a ton of certifications behind her name, but number one is not only her knowledge but also her desire to help. You people in Cottonwood are so lucky. I thank her every day.
Wounded Warrior Project's helping hands
The Mountain View United Methodist Church would like to thank the following people for contributing to the success of Operation Hope on May 1: Ellen Foncannon, pianist; Larry Keim, Jake Baker, soloists; VFW Military Ceremony, Don Finney, Bob Sipple, Naomi Thede and Jean Womack, bell ringers; Verde Valley Voices; Chaplain Gary Simons, guest speaker; United Methodist Women, reception hostesses; Nancy Bowman, Mary Eichman, Virginia Burns, Andrea Julian, Barbara Sipple, Ushers, Carol Jeannette, Lois Billerbeck, Bruce Deland, Donny and Elaine Hanson; Publicity Ruth Anne Vissia and Steve Ayers; and Pastor Mark Conrad.
Thank you everyone for joining us that evening and for your donation of $319. The money will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Dorothy Julian and Julie Scherf
Kathy Adams hit nail squarely on the head
My congratulations to Dan Engler for all the excellent letters to the editor that have been published.
I especially want to congratulate Kathy Adams of Cornville for the overall best description of Social Security I have ever seen in print. She has really done her homework and so perfectly expressed that I am sending reprints to many friends and associates.
I hope she and her family have taken advantage of Bush's other excellent program, the HSA Catastrophic Health Insurance.
As an agent of American Republic Ins. Co., I know many Valley residents are enjoying the benefits thereof.