Thursday, January 28, 2021

Proposed APS Power Line into the Village of Oak Creek

Community Survey
– Proposed Arizona Public Service Power Line
into the Village of Oak Creek –

The purpose of this survey is for Big Park Regional Coordinating Council (BPRCC) to solicit your views on the proposed construction of a new high-voltage powerline by Arizona Public Service (APS) into the Village of Oak Creek (VOC). Your response will help inform BPRCC as it formulates a position in response to the U.S. Forest Service’s next request for public comment on the proposal.

Background information is provided below the survey link to familiarize you with the project.

Click here to take the survey (estimated time 7 minutes)

Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion with us!

Background on Proposed APS Transmission Line


Photo #1: View of Big Park looking south to the saddle between two mesas. Red arrow shows apx. route of Kel Fox Trail and the proposed power line into VOC. Photo #2: View from the saddle looking north across Big Park.

Project Description Arizona Public Service (APS) has proposed building an above-ground, high-voltage transmission line into the Village of Oak Creek (VOC). The powerline would be strung on 65-foot high single steel poles (monopoles). The preferred route that APS proposes would begin 15 miles south of the VOC in McGuireville, continue NW along Cornville Road, NE along Beaverhead Flat Road, then follow the historic Kel Fox Trail cross country into the Village. Within Big Park, the transmission line would run along an existing power line to the East, cross SR-179, then turn north terminating at the existing APS substation at the SW corner of SR-179 and Jacks Canyon Road.

Project Objectives According to APS, the purpose of the project is 3-fold: 1) to help prevent future power outages in the VOC; 2) to provide voltage stability (click for more info) to prevent future blackouts; and 3) to add new capacity to meet the needs of existing customers and new development.

Alternatives APS studied several other potential overland routes, as well as two alternative approaches to an above-ground line along Kel Fox Trail. Those alternate approaches were: 1) underground burial of the transmission line, which they deem too costly; and 2) a battery storage facility located in the VOC. Although APS has indicated a battery storage facility may prove the least costly alternative, they believe that battery storage fails to meet the established objectives.

APS map showing potential power line routes into VOC. All the options would converge just S of the VOC and run along Kel Fox Trail into the Village.

Project Trade-Offs

Above-Ground Transmission Line Approach


  • Would help prevent local power outages in the VOC by providing redundancy to the existing line into VOC. APS has declined to provide substantiating data requested by the BPRCC of recent power outages.
  • The new line would mitigate voltage fluctuations and add increased power capacity for new development.
  • An above-ground line would mar the scenic views along the projected route for Big Park residents and visitors. According to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), this area is characterized as highly desired “scenic integrity.”
  • A high voltage above-ground line increases wildfire risks. USFS analysis of wildfire risk indicates the overall chance of a wildfire in populated areas of the VOC (from all sources not just power lines) is 68% higher than in other Arizona communities. In California, a major utility was reported as the cause (click for more info) for over 1,500 wildfires over a 2½ year period.
  • APS will shut down above-ground power lines as needed to reduce wildfire risk or allow first responders to enter the fire zone safely.
  • An above-ground power line would negatively impact property values of residential property in the area.
Battery Storage Facility


  • Storing electrical power from conventional transmission line, a battery storage facility would help prevent local power outages in the VOC by providing additional backup.
  • A battery storage facility is likely to be less costly than a new, above-ground transmission line, thereby reducing the need for higher utility rates.
  • A battery storage facility could eliminate the need for a new, unsightly powerline.
  • A battery storage facility could be the first step in transitioning to a community microgrid (see below) powered by solar energy, thereby reducing VOC’s greenhouse emissions.
  • Battery storage is a relatively new technology. Two years ago an APS battery storage facility in Surprise AZ caught fire, causing a container explosion and injuries to several first-responders.
  • APS claims – although it has provided no substantiating data – that a battery storage facility would not satisfy the community’s need for additional electrical power.

Community Microgrid

  • A community microgrid is a way for communities to meet their energy needs locally. A community microgrid would assist VOC in reducing greenhouse gases while allowing the option of staying connected to conventional powerlines.
  • Many state and local governments, along with local communities and APS, have committed to 100% clean energy solutions.
  • Like the battery storage option, a community microgrid is likely to cost less and lower residential utility bills over the long-term, compared to a new power line.
  • Battery storage costs are coming down with newer and more efficient battery technologies.
  • Arizona has more sunny days than any other state, according to


  • Battery storage is a relatively new technology and could result in a thermal fire on location if not constructed to the highest standard.
  • To avoid impairing the pristine red rock views surrounding VOC, the solar panel facility would have to be sited carefully in an out-of-the way location.

Current Status APS must be granted a special waiver by the USFS in order to construct a power line on the national forestland south of the VOC into the Village. USFS is expected to release a draft Environmental Analysis for public comment sometime in late spring or summer of 2021.The USFS has essentially five options to consider in its final decision:

  • Approve the above-ground transmission line
  • Approve a buried power line
  • Approve a combination of above and below-ground
  • Approve a battery storage project (possibly adjacent to the existing VOC substation)
  • Disapprove the project
APS says that both the above and below-ground transmission line options would require a maintenance road along the route. There is an existing underground natural gas line along Kel Fox Trail. A USFS spokes-person indicated the trail may have to be re-routed if the electrical line were buried parallel to the gas line.The battery storage facility would likely be about the size of a small mobile home and include special fire barriers inside.

Photo top: Typical lithium-ion battery storage container.
Photo bottom: An APS monopole, similar to which would be used in the project.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Message from Supervisor Donna Michaels

Supervisor Donna Michaels
Representing District 3
Yavapai County Board of Supervisors

January 26, 2021

As many of you are aware, the Verde Connect project was a key issue that I addressed in my campaign for Supervisor.  At the first Board of Supervisor meeting on January 6th, I made a motion to cancel the project, which was passed unanimously.

In brief, here is a quick summary of key points that guided our decision.
1. Going forward with this project would be fiscally irresponsible. Estimates to complete the project would require County taxpayer funding of $21M or more, in addition to the grant, which would eliminate funding for other more needed road projects.  ADOT classified this project as mid- to long-term, not of immediate importance, and in its 2016 Verde Valley Master Plan called it “Not needed if Cornville Rd is widened…".

2. The $25 million Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant application for the Verde Connect included statements that, after subsequent evaluation, overstated the actual benefits of the project – importantly traffic congestion relief. See traffic count projections.

3. Citizen response played a key role in changing the Board’s perspective.  84% of citizens opposed this project according to a published Verde Independent poll, as did municipalities and fire districts. 
* Over 1,780 petition signatures collected by the Middle Verde neighborhood opposed the project.
* Camp Verde Town Council opposed unanimously: Resolution 2019-1028.
* Yavapai Apache Nation stated in a letter (June 17, 2019) that the project would not be allowed on their lands, even though the stated benefit of the project was to connect the “divided” Yavapai Apache Nation.
* Beaver Creek Community Association stated in a letter to the Board of Supervisors (June 24, 2019) that they were unanimously opposed. Camp Verde, Beaver Creek and the Yavapai Apache Nation are three of the communities most impacted by the proposed project.
* The City Cottonwood initiated a resolution of support, but citizen input records and meeting agenda notes reflect that there were no votes of support, so it was dropped (agenda minutes available online).
* Town of Clarkdale entertained a resolution of support, but dropped the effort on the grounds of too little information (agenda minutes available online).
* Copper Canyon Fire and Medical District met in an attempt to rally support, but encountered mixed sentiment, so no support was given (
* 84% opposition in Journal polls. 

4. The Environmental Assessment failed to consider the full extent of environmental impact to the remote and pristine section of the Verde River and Coconino National Forest selected for the bridge and road. Adverse safety, agricultural integrity, human environment and economic effects on the Town of Camp Verde, the neighborhood of Middle Verde and the citizens of the Verde Valley were not fully captured.

I want to emphasize my commitment to road improvement and forward-looking solutions that address our current and anticipated traffic congestion issues.  As a resident of the Village of Oak Creek, I personally contend with one of the Verde Valley’s most oppressive logjams on a daily basis.  We must address these issues with care and ensure that your hard-earned tax dollars are used for improvements that effectively address high priority problems.

Donna Michaels

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Message from Supervisor Donna Michaels


Now is the time for us to come together as a community, to volunteer to help insure everyone who wants a Covid-19 vaccination gets one, and for Yavapai County residents to receive their vaccination.

Starting Monday, January 25th, Spectrum HealthCare is launching a VACCINATION STATION EVENT across YAVAPAI COUNTY. The goal for this effort is to administer 1500+ COVID-19 vaccines county-wide, daily. There are vaccination sites in both Eastern and Western Yavapai County.


Roles and descriptions for the Cottonwood and Prescott Valley sites are listed at

Please consider sharing this message with contacts you have who may be able to assist. Each volunteer will need to sign up individually, and include their first and last name, phone number and a unique email address not linked to another volunteer. Lunch will be provided!


Your Supervisor,

Donna Michaels
Yavapai County Supervisor, District 3

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Below is the official statement from the Director of Yavapai County Community Health Services about the situation with getting shots into the arms of Yavapai County residents.

In Yavapai County, we are working to establish vaccination locations and offerings in order to accommodate the needs of our residents. Both hospitals and approximately 25 other local healthcare providers have signed up as vaccine providers as of now. We will also be rolling out a CDC Retail Pharmacy Partner program in the coming weeks (maybe as early as Jan. 19th) that will allow our local pharmacies to carry and administer vaccines. Currently, vaccinations for the Phase 1a groups (healthcare providers and healthcare support occupations, Emergency Medical Service Workers, and Long Term Care facility residents and staff) have been conducted by YCCHS, YRMC, VVMC and Spectrum Healthcare and are our priority. We are hoping to have many of these other local providers and pharmacies on-board by the end of January to help with the phase 1b populations. More information will be posted to our website at as we have more updates on when, where and how people can sign up or show up for vaccinations.

For now, we are asking the public to be patient. We are only being allocated 3,900 vaccines per week in Yavapai County, and the 1b population alone is over 70,000 individuals. This is going to take us weeks, if not months to work through the 1b populations with such a limited vaccine supply. We are hoping to start vaccinating 1c populations in Spring of this year, unless more vaccine is made available to us, allowing us to expedite the process. We are currently updating our website with information, and will have more updates in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned, and we will continue to work hard to roll out the vaccine as efficiently and effectively as we can with the limitations we are facing.

Leslie Horton, MA, MCHES
Yavapai County Community Health Services

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Info on COVID Vaccination Availability


News Release

For Immediate Release: January 11, 2021

Media Contact: Steve Elliott


Nearly 44,000 people in seven hours book appointments for state 24/7 vaccination site

Another 50,000 appointments available through end of January at State Farm Stadium

PHOENIX ‒ In just seven hours today, nearly 44,000 Arizonans have made appointments to be vaccinated at the state’s first 24/7 COVID-19 vaccination site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. 

Of those appointments, nearly 29,000 are for the site’s first week of operation.  

The site, launched by the Arizona Department of Health Services in partnership with the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, Blue Cross® Blue Shield® of Arizona, and the Arizona Cardinals, begins offering appointments at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday for health care workers, first responders, teachers, law enforcement officers, Arizonans over age 75, and others at the top of the priority list for vaccine distribution.

“What great news to have so many Arizonans already able to take advantage of the increased vaccination capacity this site provides,” said ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ. “Even better news is there’s room for plenty more: We have another 50,000 appointments available around the clock through the end of the month.” 

Registration is available for the vaccination site at State Farm Stadium and several other sites throughout the state at Information about all vaccination sites across Arizona can be found at Those without computer access or needing extra help registering can call 1-844-542-8201, staffed through support from the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, the Banner Health Poison and Drug Information Center, and Crisis Response Network’s 211 Arizona program. 

In addition, individuals creating an account on can schedule an appointment on behalf of relatives or dependents through that account, which is recommended for those with older family members or family without access to a computer. Those scheduled for vaccination will need to show identification upon arrival to the vaccination site demonstrating they qualify for phases 1A or priority 1B.

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has established the site in part thanks to a $1 million grant from the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation. More than 300 volunteers with Blue Cross® Blue Shield® of Arizona will provide 24/7 staffing, while the Arizona Cardinals have provided the facility, tents, technical assistance, and other critical support. 

ADHS has contracted with Walgreens to provide pharmacy support and ASU to provide logistical support and additional staffing, supplies, and resources. 

For more information on COVID-19 vaccination, please visit For more information about how to schedule an appointment through, including how to schedule an appointment for a family member, please visit

Monday, January 11, 2021

Agenda: Jan 14th Council Meeting

If you'd like to attend the meeting, send an email to with your name and email address.

9:00 A.M., Thurs, January 14th, 2021 
ZOOM Meeting

The Zoom Waiting Room opens at 8:30 am. Attendees need to check in prior to the 9am start time. Please arrive early so you can be checked in by the host. See meeting protocols for rules pertaining to this meeting.
  1. Call to Order
  2. Roll Call – Mary Pope, Secretary
  3. President’s Report – Camille Cox, President
  4. Secretary’s Report – Mary Pope, Secretary
    1. Approve December minutes (previously distributed to reps/alternates)
    2. Changes to Membership and/or Reps
  5. Treasurer’s Report – Neil Pope, Treasurer Pro-Tem
    1. Current Financial Standing
  6. New Business
    1. Invitation to become Partner to Sedona Village Partnership, Don Groves
  7. Revised Bylaws Review Session – Co-chairs Nancy Maple and Mary Pope
    1. Representation 
  8. Committee and Other Reports
    1. P&Z Committee, Mary Morris, Chair
      1. Introduce P&Z Committee members for 2021
    2. Dark-Skies Committee, Dave Norton
      1. Recap of Committee Meeting with Donna Michaels
    3. Ad hoc Bylaws Committee, Co-chairs Nancy Maple and Mary Pope
      1. NOTICE of Current Bylaws Amendments
      2. Articles VIII Payment of Fees & Assessments
      3. IX Indemnification
      4. X Amendments/Effective Date
Next Executive Board Meeting:
Tuesday, Feb 5th 2pm location TBD
Next Regular Meeting: Thursday, Feb 11th 9am via Zoom