According to David Garcia, an education professor at Arizona State University and candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2018, Arizona offers more choices for K-12 education than any other state.

Regardless, Garcia believes students haven’t experienced the benefit of so many options. Despite the fact that for over two decades Arizona parents have been sold the idea that “as long as parents get to choose, that’s enough accountability,” more and more money has been funneled out of public schools to fund institutions and people who are not held to adequate teaching standards.

The Sedona-Oak Creek Governing Board took the first step toward creating a communications plan that would “improve community relationships, easily recognize and address strengths and weaknesses, and improve the student experience.”

Board Vice President Heather Hermen presented a first draft of the plan at a meeting Monday, March 13.

The year 2017 has already brought some major changes for the Verde River Basin Partnership and the Friends of Verde River Greenway. On the first of the year, the merger of the two water advocacy groups became official, and on Tuesday, March 7, they held their first meeting as a joint organization.

Brent Bitz, former board member of the Partnership, and Chip Norton, president of Friends, spoke about the organizations’ previous missions and achievements and provided an outlook to future goals.

One of the most popular forms of eating out these days will soon be coming to Sedona — if only for four hours.

The inaugural Sedona Food Truck Festival will take place at Posse Grounds Park on Saturday, March 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nearly a dozen food trucks will be on site, each offering at least one $5 sampler menu plus additional items, $5 beer [provided by Rotary Club of Sedona Red Rocks] will be for sale and two concerts will take place. Admission to the event is free.

Religious fundamentalism is a topic that often and easily results in controversial arguments.

In reply to this trend, Björn Krondorfer, professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University, offered some academic insight on fundamentalism and explained the basics of fundamentalist movements in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The presentation was hosted by the Church of the Red Rocks on Feb. 22.

The Arizona Commission on the Arts will present the 12th annual Arizona Poetry Out Loud state finals competition at the downtown Phoenix studios of Arizona PBS on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at 2:00 pm. Nine high school students from throughout the state will compete in the poetry recitation contest for an opportunity to represent Arizona at the 12th Annual Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C.

Local spook-seekers rejoice: Come March 18, Relics Restaurant and Roadhouse will be featured on the Travel Channel’s “The Dead Files.”

“The Dead Files” is a paranormal investigation series featuring psychic medium Amy Allan and former New York Police Department homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi as they independently examine sites purported to be haunted. Neither expert communicates with the other until the end of the show, when their separate conclusions — which often, but not always, coincide — are shared with the managers of the properties.

It was an opportunity too good to pass up for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Sedona Conference.

On Friday, March 3, work began to remodel a building at St. John Vianney Catholic Church — one that was previously used for church storage and an emergency food pantry.
Father Kieran Kleczewski has given the society the entire building for use as both an emergency food pantry and client service office. Renovations are expected to take almost all of the month with the grand opening set for Wednesday, March 29.

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