November 13, 2016
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It’s fair to call this group a current and former “Who’s Who of Verde Valley Educators.”
With lagging volunteerism prompting the plug to be pulled on this year’s Camp Verde Cornfest, the community’s attention is now focused on the town’s longest-running weekend event: Fort Verde Days.
Commentary: Mingus not trying to hold secret meeting, but district’s understanding of Open Meeting Law sadly lacking
“The sequence of events that followed the revelation about the website noticing oversight played like something straight out of the playbook of “the dog ate my homework’”
The current formula is not working. The same volunteers are stepping up and carrying a disproportionate load at every community event. It’s become abusive. They’re long past the point of burnout.
OK, hands down, no doubt, the Verde Valley hero of the week is Nancy Erickson. With the realignment of schools in the Cottonwood-Oak Creek District and school board approval of a principal-assistant principal model for the down-sized school system, Superintendent Steve King was left with the unpleasant job of having to demote one of two existing principals.
If all goes as planned, there will be a new option in getting from Point A to Point B in the Verde Valley about 10 years from now.
Not since a citizen initiative in 1997 forced an election to consolidate the Upper Verde Valley’s three school districts into one has the community seen such serious discussion about the long-debated prospect of a marriage between the districts.
Easter is the most revered day in Christianity. It is the observance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet it is unique among holidays in that it has no set date on the calendar, other than a guarantee it will fall on a Sunday.
Closing down a school is usually a nightmare for a school board and its administration.
Editorial: Like consolidation and annexation, new city hall for Cottonwood a matter of all talk, no action
Fast forward five years and guess what? There wasn’t nearly as much resolve, consensus and determination as council members claimed was the case in 2013. For whatever reasons, the deal was never consummated and the city continued to do business at 827 N. Main St., along with 12 other city-owned properties in Cottonwood.
There are some interesting parallels between the perceived benefits of school district consolidation and the current movement by the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District to merge two schools into one.
No one should be surprised that political posturing is taking priority over meaningful debate as policymakers struggle to find solutions to gun violence in America, particularly in our nation’s schools.
For the second time in as many years, there is talk of an overhaul of municipal court systems in the Upper Verde Valley.
A consolidated Upper Verde Valley school district is still much more talk than action.
Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin has taken a lot of heat for the months-long investigation concerning Town Marshal Nancy Gardner.
Depending on how you look at it, the Camp Verde School District has had either a school board problem … or a superintendent problem.
This past weekend, the Verde Valley was provided an important local history lesson courtesy of the Yavapai-Apache Nation’s annual Exodus commemoration.
One of the most effective advertising campaigns in American history employed a common-sense approach to regularly scheduled oil changes for your car.
There was a local singer-songwriter a few years ago whose lyrical license saw him poke a little fun at the Mingus Union High School superintendent’s office.
The civility that punctuated last week’s annexation discussions between the Verde Village Property Owners Association and the City of Cottonwood marked a first for the Verde Valley.
Shortly after the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School Board this week agreed to close down Cottonwood Elementary School and later reinvent portions of it as an early childhood development center, a Facebook post characterized C-OC School Superintendent Steve King as “an education genius.”
The governmental altar of matrimony is front and center in the Upper Verde Valley this week.
The biggest problem with elected officials is that they often forget who has the last word in the popularity contest otherwise known as an election.
The face of Verde Valley homelessness first manifested itself in the late 1980s when a woman established a campsite residence in the Cottonwood Lions Park.
As Supervisor Garrison explains, “The intent of this meeting is to dispel any stories about the City of Cottonwood pursuing annexation and to answer questions from those who fear that such a process could be undertaken without significant public participation.”
It’s beginning to look like the grassroots committee advocating consolidation of the Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school districts would be better off to take matters into their own hands.
According to the Huffington Post, only 8 percent of us succeed with this annual ritual called New Year’s resolutions. Business Insider reports that 80 percent of us will fail at this exercise in commitment by February.
If the Mingus Union School Board eventually chooses to allow voters to decide the fate of school district consolidation, it will be a first for the Upper Verde Valley.
Only three of the seven members of the planning board showed up for the commission’s regularly scheduled meeting. It was only after a phone call to a fourth member that the commission met the legal quorum requirement to be able to conduct business.
“I went to a fight the other night and a consolidation meeting broke out.”
It’s obvious we can throw the concept of neutrality out the window as we move forward with all involved in determining the pros and cons of school district consolidation.
Two different policy-making groups took up the same question regarding school district consolidation this week.
School board must stop trend of administrative musical chairs
If indeed we are seeing the end of the Dr. Dennis Goodwin era in the Camp Verde Unified School District, it’s a good bet that one day there will be people who regret things did not work out.
Good for the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School Board.
The Verde Valley’s relationship with Thunder Valley Rally is much like a troubled marriage that perseveres and has something good to show for it in the end.
School district consolidation has always been a powder keg in the Upper Verde Valley.
Currently mired down in budget analysis, the group studying the consolidation of the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts should slow down, take a deep breath and simplify their work.
The Verde Valley criminal-case logjam that has backed up at the doorstep of Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Michael R. Bluff got some much-needed relief this week.
OK, here we are back to square one in the Seth Collins trial and there’s a lot of finger-pointing going on.
A community’s growth and development often is like the conundrum about the chicken and the egg.
The last two times we went down the road of closing an elementary school in the Verde Valley, it turned into a public relations nightmare for the school superintendent.
The Upper Verde Valley’s history on consolidation/unification of its school districts has been divisive at best and confrontational at its worst.
The legal arena often can be a theater of the unexpected.
It was on the stroke of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 that the world celebrated the end of World War I.
Consolidation of the Cottonwood-Oak Creek, Mingus Union and sometimes Clarkdale-Jerome school districts has been batted around like a ping-pong ball over the past three decades.
Editorial Consolidation task force a wise move for Mingus, Cottonwood-Oak Creek … with professional facilitator
If all goes according to plan, the Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school boards soon will have a special task force in place to make sense of the proposed merger of the two school districts.
As if Arizona’s education system did not have enough problems, it’s beginning to look like the state’s new school grading system is flawed.
You should think of these ballot questions as status-quo measures.
One thing we cannot depend on in the aftermath of Sunday’s horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas is meaningful, respectful dialog on gun control in America.
One of the things government at any level is best at doing is nothing.
Proponents of the effort to consolidate the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts will tell you it’s not just about the bottom line.
At first glance, this year’s Thunder Valley Rally became the success story its proponents always believed it could be.
Hmm … let’s wrap our brains around this. Mingus wants Snyder to work three days a week, at minimum, for a school district that has just one school. The other two days a week, at maximum, would be spent at a school district that has five schools.
The latest study on improving Arizona’s school system points to a predictable solution. Increase the current 0.6-cent education sales tax.
Labor Day isn’t just about barbecues, recreation, big sales and waving good-bye to summer.
For whatever reason, folks in the Verde Valley insist on going round and round over the seven planned roundabouts currently under construction on State Route 260 between Cottonwood and Camp Verde.
The leaves are obviously shaking on political trees in anticipation of the 2018 mid-term elections. That is especially true in Arizona with the news that Joe Arpaio may make a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Jeff Flake.
With every tragedy comes opportunity and the wrath ravaged upon South Texas this past weekend could be the very thing America needs most.
As it applies to former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, America is not a nation of laws. Rather, Arpaio’s case has become an exercise in authority by individuals who put themselves above the law.
Walter Cronkite opened the Feb. 6, 1979, CBS Evening News by saying “the forces of darkness ruled in daylight.”
With this week’s announcement about the resignation of Mingus Union’s highly respected business manager Kirk Waddle, we have an excellent opportunity to put some action behind all the recent words of late about the consolidation of the Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek districts.
There are two morals to the story concerning the Paulden man who was shot by a Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputy and Chino Valley police officer Friday, July 21.
Ducey, through his press aide Daniel Scarpinato, is adamant that he will not appoint himself to serve out McCain’s term should the veteran U.S. Senator resign.
Some will say they are separate and distinct issues, but the doubling up of override extensions for Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek should be part of the renewed debate on school district consolidation.
Staff Reporter Bill Helm once wrote that to work is human, but to volunteer is divine. If that’s the case, there is some divine opportunities in the Verde Valley.
John Parsons, more than anyone else, was the person who challenged the status quo and raised awareness that we were guilty of trashing the single most important asset in the Verde Valley. He fought those battles locally as well as on the county, state and federal levels.
OK, here we are in the midst of summer’s most torrid run of triple-digit days. Throughout the state, communities are at or near all-time record highs with the 120-degree barrier being challenged most every day.
Thank you for your selfless service, Mr. Williams.
What’s so unfortunate for Weir is that all of these “past issues” have fallen squarely in his lap. He is being looked upon to provide solutions to problems he clearly did not create. He is being tasked with removing a cloud about the fiscal practices of V’ACTE when he is clearly an advocate of transparency and propriety.
The $40 million sticker shock the Cottonwood City Council received Tuesday night for future sewer expansion should be front and center today when the Camp Verde Town Council takes a hard look at its own current and future sewer needs.
The crucial issue for what’s left of the VVPOA should be an honest assessment of whether the organization is a representative voice of the eight Verde Village units.
Crucial to City Council benevolence needs to be a realization of whose money the city is being so charitable with. City government does not generate money, nor does it earn it the way you do.
The acrimony resulting from the split vote Tuesday to renew the contract of Cottonwood City Magistrate Douglas LaSota points to a real flaw in the manner municipal courts have been established in Arizona.
A community’s business development success is often measured in the number of new businesses that come to town.
Clarkdale Town Council members Tuesday likely will do the very thing they would give anything to not have to do.
The rhetoric concerning education funding in Arizona plays like a broken record.
Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona lawmakers are taking heat for opening doors to allow more people to become school teachers.
When a big-ticket item is on your personal budget horizon, the typical strategy is to figure out how to do without now in order to justify the later expense down the road.
It’s one thing to do a spec-analysis comparison when shopping for a new car, but it’s quite another to take the salesman up on his offer to give it a test drive.
When Andy Groseta embarked on this latest school district unification effort, he said we had a unique window of opportunity to make it happen this time.
It’s not that we should expect to see meaningful change, but instead should settle for “it’s the thought that counts” in a bid to reduce the state’s vehicle fleet by 10 percent.
We’re not just missing the mark for the recreational offering, but there is money to be made both in terms of the event itself and the tax dollars generated from Phoenix area runners looking for a change of venue
There was an era when the Verde Village Property Owners Association was as vibrant and active as any organization in the Verde Valley.
There once was a school of thought in this country that public schools represented one of the essential foundations of the American concept known as E Pluribus Unum.
Editorial: Local school boards wasted no time in quickly shutting window of opportunity on school district merger
Andy Groseta made a very good point when he resurrected the decades-old issue of unifying the Upper Verde Valley’s three school districts into one.
You hate to see it just when the Valley Academy of Career and Technical Education has a new superintendent and governing board members that engender trust, but you can’t help but think the dominoes are starting to fall in this organization.
The ongoing debate over the future of the Clark Memorial Library is a classic example of the ever-growing conflict of traditionalism in a non-traditional world.
About 35 years ago in Flagstaff, a prostitute more than held her own in a game of mental chess while answering questions from a prosecutor during the murder trial of an infamous motorcycle gang president.
Accessing court records and other public records is the daily stock and trade for news reporters.
This past week’s damning draft audit of the fiscal practices of the Valley Academy of Career and Technical Education hardly come as a surprise.
The job now for those on the short end of the vote is to get over it and move forward.
The collapse of the historic Cuban Queen Bordello should be a wake-up call for town officials over the degree to which Jerome can flex its municipal muscle with properties that fall into such disrepair.
Jance has taken on a quasi-role as Cottonwood’s economic development director and Chamber of Commerce all rolled into one.
Tiered water rates for Verde Village and Verde Santa Fe combined with a new round of city budget talks means Cottonwood once again will be subjected to claims of taxation without representation.
“This comparison, like many others that are made to discredit our community, are not apples-to-apples comparisons and blatantly unfair. In the Verde Valley, there are no communities to fairly compare to since not all have water or fire departments, or pools, or Recreation Center, or libraries or airports.”
There is a regular group from the Verde Valley to be found several weekends a month hitting the pavement in one of the many road races offered in the Phoenix area.
It’s time for Old Town business owners to stop being heavy on complaints, and short on solutions.
For Camp Verde School Board members, the easy and popular answer on school calendar options is staring them right in the face.
A new wrinkle has been added to the Thunder Valley Rally decision awaiting the Cottonwood City Council Feb. 7.
Editorial: Thunder Valley Rally debate has gone on long enough; it’s time for city council to make a decision
The back-door politics of Thunder Valley Rally played like an Olympic-caliber table tennis match last week. That little ball was bouncing all over the place.
The “new look” Cottonwood City Council is off to a solid start in forging its path for the future of the city and, in some instances, the entire Verde Valley.
Forget about providing equal access to those who ingest marijuana for medicinal purposes in rural Arizona. Instead, dollar signs seem to be the real driving force for the state’s medical marijuana industry.
One has to wonder what Dist. 6 Rep. Bob Thorpe is thinking with his current effort to make it difficult, if not impossible, for college-age students to vote.
The discussion to raise Arizona’s levy on a gallon of gasoline is not going to win Prescott House Republican Noel Campbell many friends.
Short of the sense of decency that existed in Jerome, Arizona’s history concerning the MLK Holiday was a sad affair. I
Questions about the applicability of Arizona’s “Stupid Motorist Law” has been the rage on the Verde Independent and Camp Verde Bugle Facebook pages this past week.
While this latest move is indeed the embodiment of the political art of compromise, there is also some political sleight of hand at play here. The old end run.
Ah, the turning of the calendar page into a new year. Resolution time.
In reality – especially with tiny school districts such as Beaver Creek and Clarkdale-Jerome – it’s pulling teeth to get the required number of candidates to run for office in any given election. Further, it’s not at all unusual to have deficit candidate slates, which prompts Superintendent Carter to send out “Help Wanted” notices.
He began his career as a political underdog who made a lot of people eat crow.
With all the hoops one must jump through to get an initiative or referendum on the state ballot, you would think part of that process would be to determine if indeed the measure is even legal or not.
Here’s a Christmas wish for the coming year:
Here we go again. The Arizona Legislature and governor’s office are making enhanced spending for K-12 education one of their main priorities for the new legislative session.
In Arizona, public policy is established in much the same manner bad golfers get through a round. Do-overs and Mulligans.
There is nothing more inspirational than a story about someone who starts at the bottom and works their way to the top.
The new era of political leadership in the Verde Valley is now taking form.
Here we go again. Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter has received applications from five people who want to be next in line to serve as the District 3 representative on the Yavapai College Board of Governors.
Editorial: Verde Valley Christmas season would be incomplete without Verde Valley Voices, Cottonwood Community Band
The Christmas season has a way of bringing out the best in the Verde Valley and it’s hard to find anything better than two local organizations who have a combined 46 years of bringing joy to our communities.
If ever there was a need for strong leadership in the Verde Valley, Thunder Valley Rally could surely use it.
For years, the educational animal known as Verde Valley Career and Technical Education was a mystery to most people.
It wasn’t the kind of news folks in Jerome wanted to hear, but the town’s water supply is at historic and critical low levels thanks to the fickle moods of Mother Nature.