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VOC Fire Destroys 3 Homes
Photo courtesy of Charles Allen, Sedona Fire District
What would you do if your home went up in smoke?
Where would you turn if you had no place to go?
How do you face tomorrow when you've lost everything?
Adam and Kellie Grebenstein stare in shock at the remains of their home with their daughter, Kaylee. Photo courtesy of Elaine Marolakos Edelson.
Published May 25, 2012
by Catherine J. Rourke
Sedona, Ariz. -- A fire that erupted at a home in the Village of Oak Creek late Friday afternoon engulfed two neighboring structures as extremely high winds quickly fanned the flames, demolishing two of the structures within minutes and badly damaging the third.
Smoke filled the air in this tiny enclave six miles south of Sedona as firefighters rushed to the scene at Ocotillo and Beaver streets.
No one was hurt but two pets were lost in the tragic blaze that ignited when a propane tank reportedly exploded at one home, according to eyewitness reports.
Sedona Fire District Sedona Fire Marshal Gary Johnson stated that the exact cause of the fire still remains under investigation.
According to a press release from the SFD:
“The decision by Fire Captain Dave Cochrane on the first- arriving fire engine to respond one street over, on Ocotillo Street, enabled his fire crew to stop the fast-moving fire from advancing into a third home less than 15 feet away.
“With winds in excess of 20 miles per hour and gusts approaching 30 miles per hour, his actions clearly saved a third home from being destroyed.”
“Our crews worked tirelessly. They went through many tanks of air and some needed to get an IV with some fluids to maintain hydration. Everyone gave 110 percent that afternoon and the results showed.
"I am very proud of our people and their skill and professionalism. I am also amazed at all of the residents who made a huge difference with the garden hoses. We had people on the roofs putting out gutter fires (pine needles) and people putting out grass fires and cooling down structures.
"We had a few large propane tanks that we had concerns with as well. It was a community effort in many ways!”
One family deeply affected is the Grebensteins, pictured above. Another home destroyed belonged to Sammy and Jayne Davis.
Sammy needs no introductions in the local community where he is known for supporting kids, school sports and as a popular musician who has performed at many community benefits. Sammy lost his equipment in the fire in addition to everything he owned.
Meanwhile, an outpouring of support and sympathy appears on a Facebook page, VOC FIRE FUNDRAISER, established by VOC resident Elaine Marolakos Edelson who initiated efforts to gather community resources for the families and provide immediate assistance, after witnessing the fire and documenting it on her cell phone camera.
Residents who immediately responded to her call for community action include Nancy Bartell, Dana De Luz, Mary Guaraldi, Annalee Hammon Hayden, Shondra Jepperson, Pastor Jim Cunningham
and so many countless others who have been working day and night over the Memorial Day weekend to help the fire victims.
Edelson who wrote the following message to the community on the Facebook VOC Fire Fundraiser link:
We are all here to serve (but not at the sake of ourselves, though) and that service to each other reminds us that we are divine in nature. If we don't work together...we (as a race) don't work at all.
In less than 10 hours, after we started an FB Group to help the folks whose houses burned, 400 folks joined as members in a local community and are taking action to house, feed, care for and renew several families. I'm proud to be part of a very celestial human race. Thank you, thank you.
Several hundred browsers have signed on to the Facebook page as "Friends," many commenting from out of town as they travel over the holiday weekend.
A special fund has been set up to help victims of the fire and a huge fundraiser is underway to help those who lost their homes. The event is tentatively set for June 19 at Canyon Moon Theater.
In another posted comment, VOC resident Dean Edelson states: The neighbors were AMAZING, the way they rallied and came to the rescue with hoses, help and assistance. Makes one proud to be part of this supportive and compassionate community -- Sedona.
Wal-Mart in Cottonwood has pledged clothing for the families, and many businesses are donating goods and services.
Stay tuned for details of the fund-raising event on June 19 and check the column to the right for onoing community announcements and updates on how YOU can help.
Our hearts go out to everyone at this time.
Together, we can make the worst of times the best of times.
We salute our community heroes -- dedicated firefighters at the Sedona Fire District, Elaine Marolakos Edelson, Shondra Jepperson, Nancy Bartell, Dana De Luz, Mary Guaraldi, Annalee Hammon Hayden and so many others who are working tirelessly to assist these families and coordinate efforts to provide for their immediate needs by using their homes, businesses and whatever resources they have.
Now, more than ever, the spirit of community cooperation and collaboration to help folks in need remains so critical, since many people already face financial challenges, such as the rising cost of gas, food, housing and medical care while wages remain absymally low and stagnant.
What happened to those families could happen to you and any one of us at any time. Each and every one of us is just one paycheck -- or house fire -- away from homelessness or disaster. Still, Sedona lacks an emergency shelter.
By coming together as a community, we can ride the waves of misfortune and sail through any storm.
With videos and photos of the fire posted on the Facebook page, along with contributions of goods and services flowing in from many residents and businesses, the Edelsons' efforts represent a glowing example of community spirit and volunteerism in action -- as well as admirable citizen journalism and positive use of social media to help others.
In times like these, people facing such devastating losses as the VOC fire victims need more than just homogenized news reports about the fire. Instead, what they really need is people and newspapers that serve as the glue that binds communities together -- connecting them with resources, hope and actual solutions in their darkest hour.
They need to know where to turn for moral and financial support: how to get clothing, where to find shelter, and how to pick up the pieces of their lives after such tragic events.
Our hearts go out to them and our hats go off to these community angels stepping up to lend a hand.
IN TRAGEDY AND ADVERSITY, WE FIND BEAUTY AND UNITY -- therein lies the greater story and the TRUTH behind the facts of often tragic news.
If the media could start emphasizing this bigger picture instead of all the dry details of such reports, it would help uplift humanity in times of struggle and strife. The rest of us can learn to find the silver lining.
Birds sing after a storm; why can't we?
The good news resulting from this story appears in the right column, highlighting how compassionate people are opening their hearts and giving whatever they have.
And the final good news is that our darkest hour lasts for only 60 minutes. There is always hope.
I am astounded not just with your paper's diligent daily coverage of the fire on a holiday weekend but especially with your refreshingly humane approach. I looked at the rest of the paper and could not believe that you guys have been doing all this without ads and or pay for five years. Truly amazing in this day and age of greed. I am equally impressed with the response of the Sedona residents to come to the aid of their neighbors. Maybe this is a place I should consider moving to... great people, awesome paper and such admirable dedication by everyone. What a town! And probably nicer weather than here too...
We have visited Sedona many times and love it there but had no idea what the townspeople were really like. It is so reassuring to see how Sedona residents are helping their neighbors -- certainly an example to those of us in other cities across the nation. Thank you for pointing out the POSITIVE aspects of what would normally be depressing news. We wish other papers would start doing the same.
Harold and Nancy Jamison
Schenectedy, New York
WOW, SEDONA! YOU ROCK! A phoenix rises from the ashes as an inspiration for all of us ... We love Sedona!
My compliments to the editor for some wonderful articles. You covered this fire pronto. Sammy was a good friend of mine long ago; I loved his music and attended as much as I could. I sent this out to a lot of people hopefully to raise some donations and to show how Sedona people step up to the plate to help their community.
29 Palms, California
Synchronicity brought me to your "Sedona Observer" Web site today. It is a breath of fresh air. Thank you! Through tragedy there is always beauty in good thoughts and deeds that can be done. I put a link to it on my blog and in perusing your site found the "Flying in Formation" article. I posted this very theme on my blog last week about the beautiful Geese in a video (not my video, just a good one). Thank you for sharing!
Editor’s Reply: Thank you for this beautiful link; we will add it to the story page so it will inspire others as it did us. Nature certainly holds many answers for our world, if only we humans would pause long enough to be still, listen, look up and pay attention!
We do not live there but love Sedona and and would like to help. Is there a way we can send something? We like the literary quality and approach of this paper and have been reading your great articles for some years.
This is the only source for news right now while all the rest are off for the weekend. You and Facebook are the only media resources networking to help our neighbors in need right now. Thanks for being there.
Doc St. John
Thanks for the info and news about how the community is rallying around these families. I did not realize three houses were lost to fire. I only heard about Sammy Davis' house. I am forwarding the story to friends to help.
All three families -- Jenny Bertolini, Sammy and Jayne Davis, and Adam and Kellie Grebenstein -- extend their deepest appreciation and humblest gratitude to everyone for the many heartfelt gestures, donations and kindnesses in helping them recover at this time.
Cash Donations and Gift Cards
Until the online financial donation site is set up for all three families, e-mail Elaine Marolakos Edelson at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to make a cash donation at the Wells Fargo bank. Elaine has the account information and what to inform the teller when making your donation.
In addition, all three families need gas cards or gift cards for immediate use. Contact Pastor Jim Cunningham for any gift card donations for the Grebenstein and Davis families by emailing him at email@example.com. Call Walker Marchal, who is the liaison for the Bertolini family, at 928-254-1060.
The Gift of Healing
Sophia has posted an offering that she would be "honored" to provide bodywork, myofascial release, myo-practics, massage and more for the people involved in the fire.
"Trauma can be released, and I hope this helps," she says. Families can call her at 928-282-4656.
MAY 29 UPDATE
Seeking Volunteers for June 19 Fund-raiser
Right now we have 10 people who volunteered to stand a booth at the fundraising event on June 19. If you're interested in helping (rather have more folks than not enough), e-mail Elaine Marolakos Edelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cash Donations and Gift Cards
Until the online financial donation site is set up for all three families -- Jenny Bertolini, Sammy and Jayne Davis, and Adam and Kellie Grebenstein -- e-mail Elaine Marolakos Edelson at email@example.com to learn how to make a cash donation at the Wells Fargo bank. Elaine has the account information and what to inform the teller when making your donation.
In addition, all three families need gas cards or gift cards for immediate use. Contact Pastor Jim Cunningham for any gift card donations for the Grebenstein and Davis families by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call Walker Marchal, who is the liaison for the Bertolini family, at 928-254-1060.
Bertolini Benefit Concert June 17
Walker Marchal and Daniel Holland are orchestrating a huge benefit for Gypsy Jenny Bertolini on June 17 at Relics Restaurant on Sunday, June 17, from 6 pm to midnight. Jenny’s house burned down to the ground in that propane tank explosion along with some others. She also lost her vehicle.
Already scheduled to perform is Saith, Poangui, Ralf Illenberger, Kerry Khonya and many others. There will be a silent auction and other activities. $10 @ the door.
According to Walker, Jenny needs a hair dryer, a crockpot, a rice cooker, a vacuum, a washing machine, a salt/pepper grinder, metal dog bowls for food and water and dog leashes. Fortunately, she was able to get her two dogs and her son, Jesse, out of the house at 4 a.m. If she had been sleeping soundly, they most likely would have died in the fire, but fortunately, Jenny couldn't sleep that night.
Sammy Davis Update
Sammy and Jayne Davis--they are asking (and quite humbly, too) for LOCAL GAS GIFT CARDS. They are still in shock but have eternal gratitude for the love coming to them from all of you. Sammy's musical tech needs are being taken care of right now as we speak, thanks to Ted at Verde Valley Music in Cottonwood, Laura Marolakos and his band of brother musicians -- many thanks to all.
MAY 28 UPDATE
All of the families are so overwhelmed and don't have permanent living spaces, so they are now inundated with clothing and furniture.
The NEW UPDATE is for GIFT CARDS -- to Wal-Mart, Target, Weber's, New Frontiers, Walgreens' -- so they can get what they NEED right now.
Sedona locals can help by :
1. Contributing cash to the Grebenstein Wells Fargo Bank Account in West Sedona.
2. Donating GIFT CARDS to Wal-Mart, Walgreens', New Frontiers, Basha's and other local stores for immediate needs,
3. Contact Elaine Marolakos Edelson on the Facebook link below (if you have not already) with your phone number if you wish to volunteer for the June 19 Fundraiser event in the Village at the Mall.
A special fund-raiser is planned for June 19 at the Canyon Moon Theater.
Stay tuned for more information on how you can help or visit the Facebook page above to learn how to help this worthy cause.
May 27 Announcements
"IT TAKES A VILLAGE... "
Bring your goods and donations to:
Canyon Moon Theater - Village of Oak Creek
Bring clothing/shoes/household items to Canyon Moon Theater in the mall:
Has a collection box and donation jar set up for the fire victims
OBSERVER SUBSCRIBERS IN THE U.S.
AND AROUND THE WORLD
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Many of you around the country have contacted the paper to find out how you can help your Sedona brothers and sisters and we are working on finding a local point of contact for sending your gift cards and donations. For now, here's how you can help.
1. Visit the Facebook social networking page for the VOC Fire and post a notice requesting more info.
2. Those who are not Facebook members can email editor@SedonaObserver.com and we will notify you when we receive a point of contact for your contribution.
May 26 Announcements
Sammy Davis will perform at Canyon Breeze on Friday and Saturday night, June 1-2, at 8 p.m. in Uptown Sedona. Come support him!
Walker Marchal has been heading up the fundraiser for Jenny Bertolini and her son, Jesse, whose house burned down on May 9 in West Sedona. Jenny owns Gypsy Jenny's boutique on Apple Stree at Hwy. 89A (near the Matterhorn hotel in Uptown). They are so overwhelmed that they don't have a list. What would help them right now are GIFT CARDS to Target, Walgreens, Basha's, Walmart, and the like.
Their fundraiser is at Relics, June 17 at 6 p.m. Contact Walker at 928-254-1060 with any questions.
Stay tuned to the VOC FIRE FUNDRAISER page on Facebook for more donation needs, drop-off locations, ongoing yard sales, ways you can help, or to post your announcement. Volunteers will be needed for the June 19 fund-raiser.
MAY 25 ANNOUNCEMENTS
Families remain in desperate need of clothing, household items and monetary donations -- and our prayers:
Adam: pant size 38; shoe size 10 to 10.5; shirt size 17.5 or 36/37
Kellie: pant size 13; shirt L or XL; shoe size 8
Kaylee, age 15 months: size 2T; baby shoe size 6-6.5
Wyatt, age 6: Size 6T, kid shoes size 1-2
Children's clothes for other families: Levi's size 3T; kid shoe sizes 9-10
Clothing and other needs for Jayne and Sammy Davis to be announced.
PUBLIC SERVICE JOURNALISM
for the Common Good
Changing ME-dia to "WE-dia"
Interactive digital journalism that benefits ALL people - not just the powerful elite
In its ongoing spirit of ad-free,
nonprofit public service journalism
for all members of the community...
The Sedona Observer is contributing all of the public donations it normally relies on for the next month to support those who lost their homes in the VOC fire.
We're doing our part to help too, not just reporting the news.
The Sedona Observer is a journalistic gift to the communities of the Verde Valley and across the nation, operating without advertising revenues and relying on public donations. We believe in people over profit and walk our talk.
For the month of June, the paper will operate out of pocket as usual but contribute 100% of all our public donations to the fire victims.
And there is never a charge for flyers, display banners or whatever public announcements need to be posted to spread the word and help our friends and neighbors.
Director Michael Moore reveals America's
excessive love affair with capitalism. Get your copy of this revolutionary documentary film
that Entertainment Weekly called "The most important and urgent political
film of our time."
Join in the dialogue on politics, health care, current events and more! CLICK HERE to read and post your comment.
Plus: "CAN BLOGGING SAVE JOURNALISM?" Is print media in peril? Does cyberjournalism pose a threat to in-depth investigative reporting? Read this fascinating article by Jason Lee Miller, editor of WebProNews.com.
This newspaper is dedicated to my mother and father, who taught me to always stand for my truth, remain fearless and never ever give up.
The Sedona Observer also dedicates this site to our literary heroes - writers, journalists, muckrakers and social reformers - whose work helped to shed light on the social injustices of their time: Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Henry David Thoreau, John Swinton, Jacob Riis, Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell, Karl Marx, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens and others.
Their legacy to expose corruption through the tip of their pens serves as an inspiration for our work here in these media-impaired times.
It is our intention to carry their torch and keep the spirit of muckraking alive in an era when it remains more desperately needed than ever.
"It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live.
And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do.
Otherwise, you will live your life as a prostitute, you will do things only for a reason, to please other people, and you will never have lived and you will not have a pleasant death."
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
A LABOR OF LOVE
We do not accept advertising to prevent outside control of our editorial content. So we're not making a penny off this publication. The Observer, therefore, represents a gift to the Sedona community, Arizona and all of America to uphold the First Amendment and to eliminate censorship.
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Just what, exactly, is The Sedona Observer?
Changing the ME-dia to "WE-dia"
Telling the news the way our forefathers told us to do it:
with plenty of fiery subjectivity
without ads, without cost and without corruption
We're going to have to stop trying to be 'objective' and start telling the truth, and it has to start with the media.
– Jane Fonda on CNN News, Dec. 7, 2011
The Sedona Observer is a NATIONAL, NONPROFIT, NO-COST online newspaper dedicated to reporting the truth behind the facts of today's pressing issues. Produced by professional veteran award-winning journalists, it currently serves a global audience disenchanted with the current state of the world's media.
In addition to representing a new business model for genuine public service media and Emancipatory Journalism, its primary focus is to present content largely neglected by the mainstream press: the truth about the medical industry, Big Pharma and health care; the voices of the 99% and other downtrodden, forgotten and invisible citizens such as the homeless and working poor; and even stories about modern-day debtors' prisons in the literary style of Charles Dickens.
Therefore, The Sedona Observer is NOT just a localized community or regional newspaper, nor does it represent a blog or citizen journalism project. It is for all communities everywhere.
Named for its initial production site in the city of Sedona, Arizona, and retaining its original banner, the Observer presents many Sedona-based stories since the city serves as a metaphor for America - from medicine and media to the environment, big business, housing and the workplace, as well as all the good things surfacing in our communities: unsung heroes and blithe spirits reaching out to others to keep the spirit of humanity alive.
In essence, by observing Sedona we are observing America.
Whether it rises to the occasion and sets a precedent for citizen activism and leadership for other communities across the nation... or even when it stumbles a bit and spills toxic waste into its precious waterway [see story preview below], Sedona represents the quintessential "microcosm of the macrocosm."
The city offers a wide array of big-picture national issues long overdue for closer journalistic inquiry, investigation and illumination. From corruption in its medical facilities and local media to "green" business operations posing as eco-friendly while polluting the environment, Sedona has it all. Like so many other cities.
The stories here serve as a catalyst to open minds and hearts in other cities around the nation by offering possible "soul-utions" to similar challenges. And we write them in the same narrative-style, subjective, fiery, literary journalism format as our forefathers.
More importantly, the Observer represents a JOURNALISMMOVEMENT designed to transform the media by emancipating it from its current homogenized format as a business commodity obsessed with profit and celebrities and restoring it to the format intended by this nation's forefathers as an integrity-based practice for genuine public service and a voice for all people, not just the powerful elite.
We think that America's first journalists -- Ben Franklin, irreverent publisher of the shocking Gazette and Isaiah Thomas, indignant publisher of the daringly radical Massachusetts Spy and William Livingston, outraged publisher of the Watch-Tower, where words subjective descriptions such as "villainous," "corrupt" and "unconscionable" commonly appeared in reference to the rulers of the day -- would wholeheartedly approve of The Sedona Observer.
Coming Soon: Up the Creek
Are EPA violations contaminating Oak Creek?
As employees blow the whistle on allegations of toxic waste dumping by their company in the pristine waters of Oak Creek, the Observer looks at who's minding the store at a runaway operation that apparently considers itself above the law. From EPA violations and insurance coverups to immigration laws, unjust terminations and workplace atrocities, this business seems to have it all.
We're diving in for a thorough journalistic investigation in our traditional Observer style; stay tuned for our report coming soon.
Winner of a Community Journalist of the Year Award
by Catherine J. Rourke
This ongoing series of exposés reveals the truth about the everyday reality of the city's invisible people in an affluent community. While the stories take place in the small town of Sedona, it could be Anywhere, USA. They chronicle the triumphs, trials and tribulations of the nation's "Invisible People" -- the forgotten working and the vanishing Middle Class, celebrating their contributions to society and posing possible solutions to every city's socioeconomic challenges.
Global spiritual film distributor and environmental activist Jim Law, of Sedona-based, visionary film company VOICE Entertainment, is one of those people moved to tears of joy by a tree. In 2007 he led a grass-roots citizen campaign to save Sedona’s sycamores – approximately 60 heritage, 300-year-old trees slated for demolition due to the Highway 179 road expansion project near the city’s Tlaquepaque landmark.
As a result of his collaborative effort with many other community leaders and activists, a majority of the trees were salvaged. While the serial story -- “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” and "Secrets of the Sycamores" (The Sedona Observer, Oct. 21, 2007) -- documents a chronology of this remarkable campaign, it’s time to revisit the status of the road reconstruction project and gauge its influence over the past year on the trees and surrounding environment. MORE ...
It’s no secret that many people are experiencing tremendous upheaval right now. In times of such dramatic change, we can find more wisdom in nature than on all of the Worldwide Web by watching how other creatures manage unpredictable and often treacherous conditions to their distinct advantage.Click here to read this encouraging message.
While the ubiquitous Pepto-Bismol pink appears on everything from NFL uniforms to toilet paper and donuts in "search for the cure," the sad truth is that a cure already exists but remains suppressed to ensure the profits of a multi-trillion dollar industry laughing all the way to the bank off women's unnecessary anguish. It takes the greed of the American medical system to tie up women's health care rights with an innocent and worthless pink ribbon and to turn a disease into "pinkwashing," with a blatant marketing opportunity that profits from women's suffering and leaves them with "awareness" overkill every October but no prevention or cure.
Click here to read the Observer's full investigative report:
Medical pioneer and SottoPelle® founder saves lives by promoting good health through hormonal balance
What medicine and media aren't telling you about hormones can cost you your health, your wallet and, in some cases, even your life. In his new book, Life Regained: The Real Solution to Menopause and Andropause, Dr. Tutera reveals the secret to hormonal balance and for men and women alike. MORE...
PLUS: YOUR HORMONES, YOUR HEALTH!
CLICK HERE TO JOIN IN THE DISCUSSIONS ON DR. TUTERA'SBLOG
The Sedona Observer is the only professional media upholding the tradition of labor journalism and workplace reporting in the interest of the working person and NOT in the interest of big business like most mainstream newspapers today that have eliminated labor and workplace beats. We feature an entire Labor and Workplace page.
In the 1940's there were more than 85 staff labor beat journalists in American newsrooms; today there are less than five and most are hog-tied by corporate news administrations that fail to deliver the truth. The Observer's editor and publisher is a longtime professional labor journalist with no union ties and who created this paper to uphold a great American tradition that brought you the weekend and fights for what's left of your dwindling workplace rights.
A LABOR DAY REPORT
Americans need workplace rights now more than ever in the 21st century -- at least those few who still have their jobs left. Read how the labor movement dropped the ball and left workers holding empty bags with no rights, no raises, no medical benefits and, in ever-increasing numbers, no job and no unemployment at all.
Sedona’s Health Care Emergency Siren Keeps Resounding − Two Years Later – as One Resident’s Cry for Help Remains Ignored by a Heartless Health Care System
Everyone in America knows Joe the Plumber. Now meet Joe the Handyman, of Sedona, Ariz. − shortchanged, defaulted, repossessed and practically foreclosed on everything he’s ever worked for, saved for and lived for. Then, in March 2008, Joe Dimarcolost the most precious thing of all: his beloved wife, Andrea, to cancer. Joe believes her life could have been saved with proper medical and financial support. MORE…
Special report from a demonstrator on the front lines
at New York's Liberty Square
From unconscionable foreclosures and banking practices to the loss of health care and jobs, Americans are speaking truth to power and saying "Enough is enough!" It began on New York's Wall Street and spread across the nation's Main Streets in dozens of cities to evolve into a global people's movement against runaway power and rampant corruption.
In this report, "American Autumn," which was read aloud and distributed at the protests in New York City last weekend, a demonstrator reminds his fellow activists that they share much in common with their forefathers who stood up to similar oppression exactly 235 years ago. Not much has changed as citizens face a caliber of tyranny on Wall Street that mirrors the "go eat cake" mindset of Versailles, as the privileged 1 percent feed off the peasant majority like vultures, no less than they did three centuries ago.
[Scroll down this page to the Observer's March 2009 report calling for citizens to storm the Bastille... At last, we're finally doing it!]
Social Insecurity: Left for Dead
Homeless in Sedona
"The most beautiful place in America..."
With the highest unemployment and foreclosure rate in history and a severe lack of social services, America has turned its back on its bankrupt citizens and left them for dead, without medical care, jobs, financial assistance, short-term disability or even a home.
In Sedona, the community heralds a publicly funded theater while it lacks a shelter for increasing numbers of homeless individuals and families. Now, as the Observer reports the truth behind the facts in the voice of one homeless man, we learn how it really feels to be homeless in "the most beautiful place in America."
We also hear what one agency -- Catholic Charities -- is doing to help those left to fend for themselves out in the cold and the tireless efforts of many dedicated and caring people to provide a roof and support for their forgotten friends and former neighbors.
As increasing numbers of Americans lose everything they ever had, the question becomes: WILL YOU BE NEXT?
As of press time, Senate Republicans continue to block the nomination of Hilda Solis due to her progressive stance in support of the nation's workers. With nearly two months lapsing since the December 19 nomination, the Senate will finally determine this week whether or not Solis will serve as the nation's next Secretary of Labor. For American workers, their fate inevitably hangs in the balance. MORE ...
DOWN AND OUT IN SEDONA
As jobs crumble and Yavapai County holds the highest unemployment rate in the state, the Working Poor are fast becoming the Hungry Poor in this affluent city.
The filmmaker reflects on the past, present and future of his movies, as well as the state of media and medicine in America.
"It's up to the media to do its job.Print newspapers have about a year of life left. We have to figure out new media, new voices and A NEW FORM OF JOURNALISM WITH NEW BUSINESS MODELS that run MORE CONTENT and FEWER ADS..." -- Michael Moore, answering a public question during the Sedona Film Festival after the screening of "Capitalism: A Love Story."
It's Thanksgiving Day across America, a land divided between economic extremes, of excessive have-mores and forgotten have-nots. Many people find themselves struggling to save their homes and jobs this holiday season, in a futile chase of the ever-elusive American dream and shrinking dollar. Both fade into the horizon as the U.S. comes closer to a Third-World nation, poised on a critical cusp between gluttonous excess and total disintegration.
The following story represents the epitome of everything gone haywire in America.
Among the invisible, forgotten and downtrodden citizens hanging by a thread, Arizona resident Rachael Collins battles a callous and corrupt insurance industry that left her for dead after an auto accident. More than five years later, she continues to fight for her life and her rights - what few remain in the United States of Hypocrisy, formerly known as a democracy.
Can America find opportunity in calamity? Despite the dismal outlook, hope lies in finding solutions via innovative collaboration as we move toward a WE versus ME society of higher consciousness. Only by releasing old paradigms of being, doing and having and reinventing ourselves, our workplaces and our lifestyles, individually and collectively, can we find positive transformation and maybe even new jobs.
The Observer reviews Michael Moore's newest film about the very paradigm this newspaper loves to hate and blames for every malady in American life, from the health care debacle and poverty to unemployment and even the demise of journalism. MORE...
"We need to challenge the insurance companies, not appease them. There’s no evidence that suggests they’re constructive players, or are likely to do anything except defend their own parochial interest." Read MORE from Seattle-based political essayist and author Paul Rogat Loeb ...
Seattle-based political essayist Paul Rogat Loeb offers profound insights for our times in these excerpts from his books
The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear and
Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time.MORE...
TIME FOR A NEW REVOLUTION?
Published March 21, 2009
The Sedona Observer encourages readers to burn their credit reports and listen to the following call from Thomas Paine for a Second American Revolution. We agree it's time for Americans to raise their pitchforks and storm the detached Bastille in Washington forking our taxes over to the "Let them eat cake" financial elite in our modern-day Versailles on Wall Street.
What are the social, economic and spiritual trends transforming capitalism into a new, more holistic version of itself? It is our time.This is our place. We are creating the future now by the level of consciousness we invoke in everyday choices and activities. MORE...
For many Americans, the dream once included a home of one’s own, a good job with decent pay, affordable health care and a sense of security that would carry them into retirement. Now, with that dream shattered by a blizzard of pink slips, foreclosures, lost benefits, bankruptcies, frozen wages and mounting medical bills, people are wondering what happened to the American dream. MORE ...
The Beatitudes often come in handy for someone like Father John Dear, a 49-year-old Jesuit priest who has dedicated his life to a path of nonviolence. Like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many other change agents before him, the passion for peace has only paved the way to prison. MORE ...
Sedona Community News - Video
Published February 9, 2009
Mr. Adams Goes to Washington
Sedona Mayor Rob Adams talks about his recent meeting with senators and other political reps in Washington, D.C., to obtain $15 million for three vital city projects
No corporate jets, no tin cups. Just straight talk from the Sedona mayor to congressional leaders about obtaining the city's share of the
2009 Stimulus Appropriations Bill
for various municipal enhancements by the end of 2009.
Demand affordable and accessible health care for all Americans now and put your money back in your wallet. We'll deliver this petition along with your comments to our representatives in Washington. SIGN HERE.
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We know they're out there. Nurses, doctors, healing centers and practitioners who go the extra mile and treat people with compassion, dignity and respect. Send your story suggestions, ideas and comments to: editor@SedonaObserver.com.
Muckraking Investigative Report
AT&T Hangs Up on Consumers
Enough is enough! What will it take to regulate runaway phone company bandits with their oppressive contracts, cryptic fees, hidden costs and unethical marketing campaigns that manipulate and dupe American consumers? Read this Observer undercover investigation of one company's unethical and fraudulent attempt to ditch the truth.
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