And the winner is ...

Each year the Arizona City/County Manager’s Association recognizes the top city/county manager, assistant city/county manager and department head in the state. This year’s Catherine F. Connolly Outstanding Assistant City/County Manager award went to Sedona’s Karen Osburn.

Lai Ngan’s story is similar to thousands of other Chinese immigrants who came to the United States nearly 150 years ago either by choice or by force. But in the end, unlike many, she would prevail.

Ngan’s story was shared by Li Yang, Ph.D., who was the guest speaker at the Church of the Nazarene in the Village of Oak Creek on Jan. 9. Yang, a professor and writer, has written several articles on Chinese-American history that have appeared in publications in the United States, China and Taiwan. She was a part of a speaker program sponsored by the Sedona Public Library and Arizona Humanities.

Most days, recently-hired sports reporter Daniel Hargis wears a shirt with some kind of water polo insignia on it — proof that the 24-year-old Southern California native spent much of his adulthood in the pool.

Hargis, who has been reporting for the Larson Newspapers since December, has been a sports lover as long as he can remember. Nonetheless, he said that he had “never felt good at any of them” until he began playing water polo in high school.

Walking into Edward Simmons’ classroom at Running River School, a visitor will likely notice one thing above all else: His chalkboard is beautiful.

“A big part of Waldorf schools are the aesthetic quality of the chalkboard,” Simmons said, making minor alterations to a chalk picture of a family deciding how best to divide up toys among the children. The image, Simmons explained, was used to teach math concepts to his eight third- and fourth-grade students.

The fire of the 1970s may be distant, but that hasn’t stopped Roger Johnson’s smoking guitar.

Johnson, a Sedona resident and Jeep tour driver, was the lead guitarist of the Sanford/Townsend Band. Now, he’s jumped back into the music world as a singer/songwriter in addition to his guitar work on his latest project, “How Things Are Now.”

It didn’t take Jon Davis long before he realized he had made the right decision to join the Sedona Fire District.

“Everyone I’ve met here at the fire district and out in the community has been fantastic,” he said. “I come from a small town and Sedona has that same feel. Everybody knows everybody. Here, only the faces have changed. It feels like home.”

The 115-page report into the cause and aftermath of burns sustained by a Sedona Fire District firefighter was released this week and shows human error was a contributing factor.

The report centers on an incident that took place Oct. 27 at Station 5 in Oak Creek Canyon. A barbecue propane tank exploded, injuring Capt. Matt Fleece and causing damage to the exterior of the fire station.

“I see it as a freak accident that a number of people could have prevented had they known what the lack of a heat shield and tank stored underneath the barbecue could have done,” Asst. Chief Jeff Piechura. “The report does a really good job of showing how we got to that point through the chain of events.

Even though he knew this day was coming, Gary Johnson said one is never truly prepared for retirement.

“I’m not getting done with all the stuff I had hoped to have done by now,” he said, with a grin. “With any job, you always have stuff in the queue. I was pretty optimistic a month ago that I’d get everything done. But it’s started to sink in to some degree because I’m having to pay attention to the date. It will really set in when I get up on that first Monday and realize I don’t have to go to work today.”

For the last 39 years Johnson has worn a variety of hats for the Sedona Fire District including that of fire marshal, a position he’s held the last five years. He will be retiring on Thursday,
Jan. 5, during a walk-out ceremony that’s expected to be emotional for not only him but his fellow firefighters.  

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