11 9 23 BPC Community News & Meeting Highlights


Newly Opened Local Business Closing due to a family Medical EmergencyByland Spiritual Art Center 

This newly opened local business in Bell Rock Plaza will be closing permanently by next week due to a serious medical emergency of one of the owners with a long recovery period.  Pieces are currently on sale to help pay medical expenses, please call Sandi for an appointment. Click HERE for the information flier. Click HERE to go directly to Byland Spiritual Art Center website

HOLD THE DATES !!FARMERS MARKET in the VILLAGENovember 24th and December 22nd from 4-7pmTo be held within Village Yoga at Vista Village, at the corner of SR 179 & Jacks Canyon RoadFourth Friday event featuring local artisans, growers and other specialty goods!

Coconino NF to sell limited number of Christmas tree permits 11 2 2023 USFS News ReleaseCoconino NF modifying prescribed fire plans to clear airshed 11 6 2023 USFS News ReleasePrescribed burn project cancelled today due to unfavorable conditions 11 8 2023 USFS News ReleaseMaid Fire currently 942 acres, 100% contained 11 13 23 USFS News Release

Former BPC Executive Board member, Carla Williams asks that you check out the Ripple Effect water conservation program by visiting www.rippleeffectsedona.com/.   Do your part in conserving water!Please take this short survey, which will help determine how residents think about water conservation.  Survey Link: https://annta13rexn.typeform.com/ripple-effect  Results will go directly to Ripple Effect.

Verde Valley School

11 6 2023 Newsletter

Sedona Chamber of Commerce

Visit Sedona Newsletter – 11 9 2023 Business Bulletin – 11 6 2023Local News 11 10 23

2023-2024 Concert SeasonClick HERE to go directly to the Sedona Symphony website.2nd Concert is November 19th at 2:30pm at the Sedona Performing Arts Center.Ticket prices begin at $1511 19 23 Concert Details

Click HERE to go directly to the Verde Valley Voices website.CHRISTMAS CONCERT is December 10 at 3:00pm at the Immaculate Conception Church in CottonwoodTickets are $1012-10 23 Concert Details

BIG PARK REGIONAL COORDINATING COUNCILMEETING HIGHLIGHTSNovember 9, 2023A video recording of this meeting is available. 

President John Wichert called the meeting to order at 9:00am with 14 Member Organizations and 8 guests present.  Supervisor Michaels was having technical difficulties, so John welcomed Tom Swaninger, Superintendent of the Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District (SOCUSD) as the first public agency guest speaker.Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District ReportMr. Swaninger began his presentation by expressing his interest in participating more fully in the meetings of the Big Park Council, whether or not he is a guest speaker.  He then reviewed their first annual “Love Our Schools Day” where students, teachers, and members of the community work together on projects (painting, landscaping etc.) as a way for the community to come together and get to know each other.  It was a very successful day.  He then reviewed the athletics programs and their successes in state and regional competitions.  He was especially proud of their achievements, as SOCUSD is a small district of about 800 students competing against many districts which are much larger.   Mr. Swaninger then explained that the schools are very community service oriented and gave an example of the Interact Club putting together 1000 sets of silverware for the Elks Lodge.  He believes that a strong community means a strong public school and a strong public school means a strong community.  He reiterated his desire to continue to work in partnership with the Big Park Council to further this goal.  In answer to a question regarding publicity for the “Love Our Schools Day” it was agreed that participation with the BPC will result in a broader range of publicity.  It was agreed that press releases be sent to the BPC.  School Board President, Randy Hawley then noted that the budget over-ride passed comfortably (60/40) and opportunities for the students will continue to be financed. He thanked the community for their support.John Wichert thanked Superintendent Swaninger and President Hawley, welcoming Ben Lee, Head of the Verde Valley School as the next public agency speaker.Verde Valley School (VVS) ReportDr. Lee began his presentation with a short history of the VVS, founded in 1946, by Hamilton and Barbara Warren on the ideals of academic excellence, world citizenship and intercultural understanding, environmental stewardship, service to others, and the value of physical labor.  VVS is a boarding school with 116 students who are from 14 countries and 7 states.  In 75 years, there have been over 3000 graduates, and Dr. Lee attended a series of alumni events in Tucson, AZ, Boulder, CO, Albuquerque, NM and Los Angeles, CA.  In speaking to the alumni, he learned that the VVS transformed their lives in a very positive way.  He then mentioned the BPC Holiday Mixer that will be held at the VVS and is looking forward to hosting that special in-person event in December.  Students are currently taking part in the Fall Field Expeditions.  Dr. Lee emphasized the importance of these experiences, as well as their academic studies, showing a list of the schools and universities where VVS students have been accepted for advanced education.   He then switched gears and asked for help in strategic planning.  He noted that unlike many independent schools, VVS does not have an endowment and tuition does not fully cover costs.  Another source of income is needed, and this is where advice and guidance are welcome.  He referenced the Southwest Ethnobotanical Education Destination (SEED) lands as an opportunity.  This area is primarily open and empty., however, a portion of the property is the VVS 2-acre farm, which practices regenerative agriculture. Three incomplete buildings (formerly Camp Soaring Eagle) are also on the SEED lands. He stressed that proposed new uses of this area must be in harmony with the neighboring communities and in line with the school’s mission.  VVS would like to complete construction on these beautiful buildings and is seeking advice as to how to use them and the surrounding areas to support the school and to generate revenue.  A conditional use permit was previously submitted to and approved by Yavapai County for this area.  Dr. Lee then presented a number of ideas for use of the SEED lands and asked for opinions and additional suggestions.    The VVS’s plan is to collect, from all of our constituents, our neighbors, our students, our faculty our alums and friends throughout the world; ideas which we will then evaluate according to 6 lenses. Is it a strategic fit? Does it align with our principles? If we build it, will they come? Will our neighbors in the community like this idea, and will they actually use the things that we end up producing, will the County approve and can fund it and sustain it?  And finally, is the idea itself sustainable over time?   Link to SURVEY.   Survey responses will go directly to the VVS.  Also, Dr. Lee welcomed all to sign up for the semi-monthly VVS Newsletter.  Just send him an email at blee@vvsaz.org , adding a reminder that VVS is eligible for AZ Tax Credit donations via VVSTO.  John thanked Dr. Lee and welcomed Yavapai County Supervisor, Donna Michaels to be the next speaker.   Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor, Donna MichaelsSupervisor Michaels began her presentation by complimenting the schools on their presentations, noting that education is vital to the future.  She then focused on regenerative agriculture, noting that there is a great need for regenerative practices in our country and that she’s just launched a project on that, hoping to secure Department of Agriculture research funding.  Supervisor Michaels stated that how we grow our food on this planet affects the climate and we can mitigate some of the damage that we are experiencing across our region by the right kind of regenerative agricultural practices.  She then turned her attention to the subject of her presentation to the BPC, smoke, noting that she will again be meeting with the United States Forest Service (USFS).  She’d recently met with the chief of the USFS on OHV matters and grazing rights, setting metrics that were agreed between the cattle ranchers and the USFS to protect grazing lands and waterways.  The smoke situation is negatively impacting the region’s grape harvest and Supervisor Michaels will recommend following the example of California to move their prescribed burns away from the harvest areas.  She then noted that the NAH referendum in Flagstaff was defeated.  Supervisor Michaels has been a strong opponent to the proposal. [Proposition 480:  This initiative would have rezoned 98.39 acres of residential land for the purposes of constructing a hospital. Under this measure, out of the 98.39 acres of land, 63.18 acres would have been rezoned to highway commercial land, and 35.21acres would have been rezoned to public facilities. (Defeated by 72.4%)] She is working with other potential health care providers who could provide quality health care to our region and do it in a way that grows trust between the provider and the community. John thanked Supervisor Michaels and noting that Sargeant Horn had not yet arrived to report on behalf of the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department, called the business meeting to order at 9:45am.  Secretary Mary Pope called the roll confirming 14 member organizations present.  President John Wichert then called for approval of the draft agenda, and it was reviewed and approved by acclamation.  President’s Report: John WichertADOT Update: John presented an update on BPC’s communication with ADOT regarding the I-17/SR179 interchange.  Initially ADOT declined to do a road safety assessment, because the fatal accident in September 2022 was due to brake failure.  They have reconsidered and will proceed with the assessment to identify measures that can be taken, and they anticipate that the report will be available this coming Spring.  In the interim, they will install a 48” stop sign and rumble strips to warn of the impending stop. The regional director of ADOT also agreed to have the community relations project manager for our district (Jason Stevens) keep BPC updated on what they’re doing.  In reviewing the situation with Mary Morris and David Gill, David noted that if the cause of the accident was brake failure, a larger stop sign would not help.  He provided an example of a sign that said, “If you lose your brakes, don’t take the exit.”  John forwarded this suggestion to Mr. Stevens, and he offered to pass it on to the ADOT team.  Yavapai College Course Needs Assessment: John then turned to the community’s concerns about the course offerings of Yavapai College.  He reminded the Council that we had written to the Dean of the Verde Valley Campus regarding a needs assessment, noting that the new Dean is a board member of the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO) headed by Tom Binnings.  The Dean sent a letter to John noting that enrollment was increasing and that they engaged a market analytics firm to review and recommend course offerings to meet area labor needs.  The college has also started a new department of workforce innovation headed by Dr. Kimberley Moore, who met with VVREO this week.   Tom Binnings will report on this and other meetings with Yavapai College at the December BPC meeting.   Colleen Hinds then noted that the type of needs assessment done by Yavapai College tends to gather information at the state and county level, not necessarily considering local needs.  She suggested that if there were specific local needs, we should reach out directly to the departments involved and work with them on possibilities.    VVREO Liaison appointment: John then announced that the new BPC liaison to the VVREO is Jeff Swan, replacing Steve Fiedler.   Jeff spent his career as a regional superintendent for ADOT.    Sedona Village Rotary Club: John then reported that he and Mary Pope attended a meeting of the Sedona Village Rotary Club, and he presented who the BPC is and what the Council does.  The mission and goals of the Rotary Club are very similar to those of the BPC, and although the Rotary worked with the Council in the past, there hasn’t been close cooperation in recent years.  They requested that a liaison to the BPC be appointed.   After discussion, it was agreed that this would be a great idea.  John will get in touch with the Rotary Club to have a liaison to the Council appointed.  He then noted that at the end of the meeting, he spoke with Crystal Hoyle, manager of Sedona Real Hotel, and she inquired about reactivating the Sedona Village Lodging Association’s membership in the BPC.   The membership committee is seeking to have business member organizations, and this is a good opportunity.  At this point, Sergeant Horn of the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office had arrived and was welcomed to present.  Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO): Sergeant Anthony HornSgt. Horn announced that the VOC Sheriff’s Office is now fully staffed and open for business.  The administrative assistant’s name is Mike Eich and he will be in the office from 8am to 4pm Monday through Friday.  The office is located at 6446 SR 179, Suite 217 in the Village.  Phone: 928-649-6499.   He noted that they offer vacation checks if you are away.  Uniformed volunteers in fully marked patrol cars will check on your residence and make sure it’s still secure.  They also are now able to issue dog licenses and handle records requests, such as police reports.  Because of traffic concerns in the Village, more patrols are being scheduled, especially on Jacks Canyon and Verde Valley School Roads.  There are now 4 deputies assigned to the Village on a rotating schedule.  Sgt. Horn then reported that there is a new public affairs officer who will be doing press releases as of the beginning of 2024.   He is currently riding along with the deputies in the Village to better understand the area and its problem areas.  The USFS estimates that 17,000 visitors a month come into the Village and the Sheriff’s office is researching ways to work with public works to alleviate the traffic issues before the Summer. (e.g. Shuttle services) John thanked Sgt. Horn for his presentation and Mary Pope emphasized that he and our other public agency guest speakers would be most welcome at the BPC’s Holiday Mixer.  Secretary’s Report:  Mary PopeMary asked if there were any revisions to the BPC minutes of October 12, hearing none, Pat Robles moved to have them approved as written, seconded by Paul Sullivan.  Motion passed unanimously.   Mary then reported the resignation of Bell Rock Plaza Representative Elizabeth McFarland.  Without a Representative, the BPC quorum requirements are reduced to 12.  Quorum is calculated by the number of appointed representatives as the representatives form the Board of Directors of the corporation.  She then summarized the results of the Holiday Mixer survey, noting that it will be a wonderful in-person gathering and thank you for your service to the Council and the Community.  Mary then mentioned that the party planning committee of Colleen Hinds, Mary Morris and Mary Pope met with Dr. Ben Lee at the Verde Valley School, noting that  his home and the VVS facilities are amazing.  Invitations will be sent out next week with additional information on the mixer, including special happenings and opportunities.  Unfinished BusinessELECTION of 2024 Executive Board Candidates:  John introduced the candidates, noting that their bios had previously been sent to Reps/Alts and reminding the Council that he would continue to serve as the fifth EB member, Immediate Past President.   While initially, he felt overwhelmed by being elected 2023 President, John noted that this past year has been one of the high points of his life and a very enjoyable experience.  He hopes that the collaborative model the EB has used in 2023 will continue in 2024 as that process spreads the work and makes everyone’s role more palatable.  A meeting is scheduled next week to begin the new board members orientation and will focus on this process.  He is looking forward to being a part of this amazing leadership team, working on behalf of the community.  He then asked the candidates for President and Vice President to speak to the Council, answering any questions.    2024 Executive Board Officers elected by unanimous voice vote are: President, Susan Barber, Vice President, Pat Robles, Secretary, Mary Pope, Treasurer, Patty Reski.  Treasurer’s Report:  Patty Reski501(c)3:  Patty reminded the Council that our 501(c)3 designation has been approved by the IRS and that the IRS has confirmed that donations made to the Council at any time since March 30 may be tax deductible on individual tax returns.October Financial Report: No additional income and only three small routine expenses.  Patty noted that the expense of our MailChimp email account is reduced because of our new non-profit status.  She then mentioned a one-time expense of $30 for the required three-time publication of the change to our Articles of Incorporation required by the Arizona Corporation Commission. 2024 Budget:  Patty noted that there have been no changes to the proposed budget since it was presented and discussed at the last meeting a month ago.  She emphasized that there is no proposed change to the $160 annual membership assessment, although expenses were adjusted for inflation.  Bills from Earthrise have not yet begun to be received, and Patty assured the Council that those will be paid from donations received and not from member assessments.  She then moved for approval of the 2024 budget as presented, seconded by Mary Pope.  Motion passed unanimously.  John Wichert then noted that advice and assistance on grants to finance BPC’s programs would be welcome. Committee ReportsArt in the Roundabouts – Rolf Funk reviewed the initial launch party and recent publicity in the Villager and the View for the project.  He noted that representatives of the committee met with Supervisor Michaels to explore options for ownership of the final artwork.  Rolf then reported that the Sedona Chamber of Commerce November newsletter featured Art in the Roundabouts in an article entitled “How do you Market your business.”   The call to artists began in September and will end November 30.   Several artists have committed to responding.  Membership – John Wichert reported on behalf of Dennis Baumann that the committee held its first coffee meeting at Fire Creek with 8 attendees from the public and had a nice chat for about an hour and a half about projects that the Council was working on.   All felt that these informal meetings are worth continuing, perhaps also indoors at Oak Creek Expresso as the weather gets colder.   Meeting adjourned at 10:38am

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