Those calling for a Verde Valley resident to be appointed to a top leadership role at Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus have a reason to rejoice: On Aug. 1, Barb Waak became interim Associate Dean of the institution, taking over for the departed Kelley Trainor.

“I do think it’s a very positive thing for the community,” Waak said. “My personal goal in this interim time is to build enrollment on this campus, to restore trust in the community and to increase morale among the faculty.”

Fortunately for Waak, one of her goals is already becoming a reality: Within the first week of instruction at the Verde campus, enrollment numbers indicated an increase over last year’s by nearly two dozen students.

Sedona will be on the world stage once more as Claire Pearson will head to Flagstaff to represent the city at the Individual World Poetry Slam.

iWPS will take place at multiple venues from Wednesday though Saturday, Oct. 12 through 15, featuring 96 of the best of the world’s performance poets.

Pearson said she was more excited than anything to fill the spot, having earned it by winning the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.

It’s been a month since the Sedona Police Department — with assistance from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office — faced a situation they rarely see. One that had a positive ending but could have been much worse.

On July 20, SPD received a disturbance call from a local restaurant involving an employee, 46-year-old Michael Pastore, who had been fired the day prior. Officer Bill Knuth arrived at the scene but by that time Pastore had already left. In an attempt to locate the suspect, dispatchers contacted YCSO since it was reported that he lived in the Village of Oak Creek.

To say that Wendy Jones was excited to be named executive director of the Sedona Main Street Program may be a bit of an understatement.

“I was absolutely over-the-top thrilled,” she said. “I had been looking for something new so when I saw there was an opening, I was ecstatic.”

Jones started just in time to help out with the National Day of the Cowboy, one of SMSP’s biggest events. She received some on-the-job training for the event from outgoing executive director Holly Epright, who retired after 17 years.

In yet another monsoon shocker, a local man’s home was struck by lightning.

Kelli Klymenko, marketing director at the Sedona Arts Center, said his Village of Oak Creek home was struck sometime around 1:30 p.m. on July 20. There were no injuries and no fire, but Klymenko did lose a significant amount of electronics during the strike.

“Ironically, I captured a slow-motion video of the storm at the arts center at the same time,” Klymenko said.

When Molly Spangler saw the opening for economic development director for the city of Sedona, she said the decision to apply was a simple one.

“I had traveled here many times over the years so when I saw the position was available, I was so excited,” she said. “I told my husband and he said to go for it. I had a great job but an opportunity like this checked all the boxes on my list of what I was looking for.”

Spangler, who most recently served as director of investment-ready communities at the Wyoming Business Council in Cheyenne, Wyo., started her new job on July 18. And according to her, so far, so good.

After a dogged search, the cat’s out of the bag as the Humane Society of Sedona hired its newest executive director.

Austin Gates took over the role Monday, July 18. She took the job after working as vice president and director of the San Diego Humane Society’s Oceanside, Calif., campus.

Gates said she pursued the position to get to a smaller town, one with less traffic, as well as fewer animals in the shelter, so that she could focus more on individual potential pets and community events.

After nearly 17 years on the job, Holly Epright decided it was time for a change. What that change is, she’s not quite sure yet but she’s OK with that.

“Right now I’m just taking a leap of faith and hoping that there’s something on the other side when I land,” said Epright, who will be stepping down as executive director of the Sedona Main Street Program on July 29. “Considering my age and the fact I’m happy and healthy, I just felt it was a good time to start new adventures and have time for me. I’ve been working since I was 13 — full item since I was 16 — so now is a good time to retire and try new things.”

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