Crimes against Humanity - Continued
Cartoon by Mike Konopacki, courtesy of Huck-Konopacki Labor Cartoons
Editor's Intro - February, 2008
Unfortunately, the health care song remains the same. And it resounds on a sour note.
Subscribers and return browsers will recognize this page as similar to the "SiCKO in Sedona and all of Arizona" feature we presented in our last issue. We are intentionally running that intro here for the benefit of new visitors to the site so they will understand the public service we are trying to deliver here by reporting these stories.
As for our regular readers, while it appears the page remains the same, the saga doesn't. Like an infectious virus, the health care horrors keep multiplying until they become an epidemic plague. And, while we need a serious anti-virus program to remove the corruption in our system, our political leaders prescribe temporary Band-Aids instead of permanent cures.
In our last issue, we ran the story of Andrea and Joe Dimarco first. While their situation hasn't improved, and Andrea continues her battle with colon cancer, they have new information to report. So we begin again with their testimonial first. It appears their battle with a corrupt system grows even worse than Andrea's struggle with the cancer itself.
The only thing we are happy to report is that some community members rallied round them earlier this month for a health care benefit and forum (see the bottom of the front page for details). This is exactly the kind of compassionate response we hope this page will evoke in people. The Sedona Observer continues to support the Dimarcos; we hope you will too.
New stories join the Dimarcos' and, as we did with theirs, we will forward them all to Michael Moore and other health care reform advocates on your behalf. So continue to send them in.
Oh, by the way, we're even keeping the same cartoon because we couldn't find another one that captures it better than this. As one writer says below, "People need to learn to abandon the system and take matters into their own hands – just like the system has abandoned us. And it will be the death of us all if we don’t wake up and start taking our health into our own hands."
Catherine J. Rourke, STILL UNINSURED
SiCKO Health-Care Horrors
When you hear these stories, these aren't anecdotal stories. These are stories that are representative of the evidence that exists. The evidence says we lose 18,000 Americans every year simply because they don't have a health insurance card. How many thousands we lose because people -- even when they have insurance -- they can't afford the co-pays, can’t afford the deductibles.
You see, at the beginning of the movie, one woman is an editor of a small-town paper, her husband is a machinist. They work good jobs, they’re middle class people. And they end up in their 50s living in their daughter's basement because they’ve been bankrupted by medical bills, and they had health insurance. They had health insurance. The co-pays and the deductibles alone bankrupted them. And the premium - jacking up the premium so high they could no longer afford to keep their own home.
That is a crime. I believe that these insurance companies are a criminal racket. That should not be happening in the United States of America.
-- Michael Moore, testifying before the California state legislature on health care
Editor's Intro - October, 2007
These cries for help undoubtedly remain the most painful editing I have ever had to do in my 30-year journalism career, even more excruciating than the stories I wrote about 9/11. I felt heartsick as the gut-wrenching testimonials flooding my e-mail wreaked of total exasperation, bewilderment and devastation – all preventable if there was proper health-care legislation in place. Sometimes, like when I read the Dimarco story, tears sprung from my eyes.
As Moore himself says, these aren't just anecdotal tales. They are unfortunately very real. What we have here in Sedona's own back yard are unnecessary tragedies with a striking similarity to those in the SiCKO film itself: lost homes, lost life savings, lost lives, lost dreams and lost hope.
In fact, as we were compiling this article long before we even saw the film, our opening paragraph captured the first horror story that came to us about a Sedona carpenter named Raymond B., who sliced himself open last May with a table saw. Despite blood spurting everywhere and a main artery nearly severed, he refused a friend's offer to rush him to the local hospital emergency room for fear he would not be able to afford what he called "the $5,000 Band-Aid."
Ray has no health insurance.
And Ray knows better. Another accident two years ago landed him in the very hospital he was trying to avoid. The aftermath of that nightmare left him with a staggering pile of medical bills he can barely make payments on. Before he cut himself open this time, Ray was already facing foreclosure on his home.
With Sedona's abysmal wages, the prospect of medical bills running into the thousands of dollars — on top of his already unmanageable mountain of debt — was unthinkable. So Ray's friend watched in horror as the woodworker "glued" his gaping wound back together, writhing in pain as he poured hydrogen peroxide on it to prevent the possibility of gangrene.
Then SiCKO came to Sedona. We went to see the film and couldn't believe our eyes and ears. The opening frame was identical to the opening sentence of our story about Ray. So we had to change everything around so readers wouldn't think we were trying to mimic Moore.
Our story now begins with the horrors of Joseph and Andrea Dimarco instead, who also face the inevitable loss of their home much like Ray. Their submission, “Rolling Coins from Our Piggy Bank,” so poignantly captures everything that's wrong with our health system and social agencies that we asked them to appear in our “SiCKO in Sedona” video. Andrea was feeling so ill from her colon cancer that we didn't expect her to appear for the shoot. She not only made the effort to speak out while in pain and on morphine on a brutally hot day, but even volunteered along with Joe to use her real name.
"I have to do something to make a difference," she said. Perhaps Andrea's courage to take a stand will inspire many others to do the same.
When we met for the filming, Joseph gave me a piece of artwork he had crafted – a single word carved in metal: BELIEVE. His message hangs above my desk for encouragement as I write about health-care reform every day until it becomes a reality. I believe that America will not let the Dimarcos remain in a bottomless pit of despair and become forgotten. I believe people like them are the bellwethers of change for this nation, as painful as it may be.
For a real-life sense of the Dimarco's heartbreak, listen to their testimony on our live video stream by Sedona filmmaker Stephen DeVol. Just click on the links to the video on the front page.
But "SiCKO in Sedona" doesn't end here. As the stories keep pouring in, we'll continue to post them. Because we believe they need to be heard until something is done. Click on the links below to submit your story, anonymously if you prefer. And check out the additional section of health-care workers' horror stories on our Workplace page for the truth about what's going on in area hospitals.
The Sedona Observer is not reporting these stories for the sake of sensational news copy. Rather, we hope it will serve as a catalyst for all citizens to take action, insured or not, and end the unnecessary havoc and destruction that capitalistic health "care" wreaks on human life.
The Sedona Observer thanks everyone who had the courage to step forward and tell their stories for the sake of health-care reform. Many of them prove that Ray's reference to the "$5,000 Band-Aid" is certainly no joke.
Now read 'em and weep - as we did. Oh, and as Moore says, "This might hurt a little."
Catherine Rourke, UNINSURED
Health Care Reform Journalist
SiCKO in Sedona Horror Stories
Adding Insult to Injury
A new update by Joseph and Andrea Dimarco, Sedona
“They only care about profit…yet here I sit and cry. Can somebody please help us?”
“Andrea had a reaction from an oral chemo drug called Xeloda. The doctor said if she didn’t have chemo, she didn’t know what else she could do for her.
The doctor also commented that Andrea must be “bored” lying in bed all day. Andrea responded by telling her that she goes out for short walks, does a little gardening and reads. Andrea was appalled that the doctor knew nothing about her quality of life.
At that point the doctor took a phone call and left the room for about six minutes. When she came back into the room, there was no further discussion of more tests, other transfusions or any other medications. Her final statement was that hospice would take care of that. We felt abandoned by her doctor.
What happened to the Hippocratic Oath? I immediately called hospice to get their opinion on this situation and they felt the doctor had just dropped this in their lap. I want to make it clear that there is no sign of the cancer spreading, nor is there any new tumor. But now we will have to locate another doctor to get another opinion on what to do.
Adding insult to injury, the following day we got a bill to pay $9,476.44, due within less than two weeks. As far as "quality of life," we are now on the brink of bankruptcy, with little money to spare to put gas in the truck to go to the doctor in Phoenix, let alone pay for food, utilities, or the roof over our heads. What kind of quality of life is this?
Andrea also needed two more units of blood, bringing the total now to 22 units of blood for the past five months. While we were at the hospital, a nurse of 35 years told us that she does not take any medication that the doctors prescribe due to the side effects. She goes to a natural food store and researches the natural supplements and takes them instead.
This makes me wonder about mentioning to Andrea's oncologist about working with a
naturopathic doctor. Is that what caused her to change her way of thinking and decide not to treat Andrea anymore?
Whose quality of life are we talking about? The electric company doesn't care whether or not we have electricity. The gas company doesn't care whether or not we have heat. The water company doesn't care whether or not we have drinking water. The mortgage company doesn't care whether or not we have a roof over our heads. They all care
about profit, which for them determines their quality of life.
For us, the struggle to get from one day to the next and still have food, electricity, heat, water and a home determines our quality of life. Needless to say, we don't sleep too well at night anymore. Worrying has a way of keeping you up.... So does pain. So much for the quality of life.
What are we supposed to do now?
Andrea and I went to Phoenix for her pain pump to be refilled. The next morning Andrea said she wasn't feeling well, so I called the doctor to let them know and to see if maybe she was having a reaction from one of the medications. Of course it took several hours for them to get back to us.
In the meantime Andrea was getting worse. Her body was cold to the touch and she was delirious. Later that afternoon Andrea said she wanted to go to the hospital. So I called the ambulance and we were taken to the emergency room at Scottsdale Health Care. Within about an hour-and-a-half, the diagnosis was that Andrea had an infection. An hour later we were told that Andrea had an E-coli infection in her blood. This was caused by a colon-vaginal fistula, and fecal matter was discharging into her vagina.
This is common when women have colon radiation therapy. The cells in the body are mixed up and start to communicate with the closest organ. In some cases they join and create a tunnel between the two organs. None of the doctors will do any surgery on Andrea because the tissue in that area is nonviable.
We were in the hospital for 13 days because the infection had moved to the kidney, so her left kidney was filling up. They did a procedure to put a nephrotomy tube in her back to remove excess urine into a bag. A second procedure was also done to remove the old j-stint in the kidney and replace it with a new one. Both procedures went well.
A few days after she left hospital, we had to go back for a dye test to see how the urine was flowing through the kidney stint. As I think back now, for several weeks Andrea was having night sweats and not one doctor recommended a blood test to see if she had an infection or what was going on that was giving her sweats.
We now know that this is called a "tumor fever." This is not uncommon and caused when the tumors become "necrotic." You end up with dead tissue in your liver and colon, which can cause inflammation and heaven knows what. So after worrying for a few days, we are now taking this fever as a good thing.
When we talk to oncologists and cancer research clinic doctors, they all say the same thing: Andrea has a 50/50 chance of recovery. It is most likely that Andrea will be sick from any additional chemo, so the bottom line is what quality of life Andrea wants.
She has requested me to stop all tests and let whatever her body can do on its own be acceptable to her. Here I sit and cry. How long do we have together? After 36 years together, I must accept the possibility of losing my best friend and confidante. The love of
my life may not be by my side."
"After 36 years of marriage, we are facing a bleak future and it is hard to believe that this could happen in America. We thought that we had done all the right things and yet
we are facing losing everything we have worked so hard for."
Joseph and Andrea Dimarco, Sedona
"We have called hospice to come to help me keep Andrea comfortable and to keep her quality of life happy and loving. To the best of my ability, I will remain by her side always.
Meanwhile, things continue to get worse.
When I was told by AHCCCS that I had coverage, I was happy because I have not seen a doctor since my heart attack five years ago when Andrea was diagnosed with cancer.
So I called to make an appointment. Two days later, the following letter arrived – one week short of the scheduled appointment date."
From: FAMILY ASSISTANCE ADMIN
1500 E CHERRY ST COTTONWOOD AZ 86326
To: ANDREA DIMARCO
OFFICE NUMBER: 928-649-6800 CASE NUMBER: 02371809
MAILING DATE: 01/04/08
RE: MEDICAL ASSISTANCE STOPPED - EXCESS INCOME
DEAR ANDREA DIMARCO:
Medical Assistance has been terminated for JOSEPH DIMARCO effective FEBRUARY 01, 2008 because the total countable income is higher than $ 571.00, which is the eligibility income limit for this person.
Person's share of own countable income: $0.00
Person's share of parent's and/or spouse's income total countable income: $578.50
Eligibility income limit: $571.00
Countable income which exceeds the income limit: $7.50
This action is based on 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 435.940, 435.952, 435.601 and 435.602, Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) R9-22-1420, 1421, 1422. The CFR and AAC references are available through public libraries.
"Isn't that a letdown? So, if Andrea or I need medical care, we… ???????
Now that my coverage is gone, Andrea’s coverage ended February 1. It is very scary not knowing what is next. We cannot afford our former Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage at the monthly cost of $1,119.67 and annual $10,000 co-pay. To pay the mortgage and the utilities, we will possibly lose our vehicle, which is already two months in payments now.
That means no transportation anywhere – to doctors, to the store and so on. So I sit here and wait for the next shoe to drop. I can't tell Andrea any of this; she has gone through enough all ready.
Well, the other shoe has just dropped. I got a summons handed to me suing me for credit card for the sum of $7,780.54, plus interest of $2,050.65. So now I have to get a lawyer.
When is it going to end?
Thank you for any help you can give us."
Andrea and Joseph Dimarco
P.O. Box 3875
Sedona, AZ 86340
Cell: (928) 300-7998
Community steps up to support the Dimarcos
HEALTH CARE: FACING BARRIERS
A FILM, FORUM AND FUNDRAISER
Don't let your friends fall into the cracks
of a heartless health care system!
In our October 21 inaugural issue, The Sedona Observer reported the struggles and anguish of Andrea Dimarco in her battle with cancer and the health care system that continues to deny her and her husband Joseph the medical and financial assistance they need to survive.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the Dimarco story is that these are two successful, professional Sedona residents who had health insurance but lost everything due to a crippled and corrupt health care industry.
Rich or poor, young or old, insured or uninsured, Democrat or Republican - no one is immune from the greed and scourge of America's broken health care industry that fails to discriminate in choosing its next victim. That next victim could be you!
The Sedona Observer salutes the Global Community Communications Alliance for its vision and compassion in providing this needed community service. Its quarterly publication, The Alternative Voice, offers solution-oriented perspectives and a service-oriented mission of truth and social justice that reflects our own. We welcome them as part of Sedona's new Media Alliance, sharing links and a movement to change the media to make the world a better place to live.
We must now unite as a community to address how we can help our fellow neighbors who have been abandoned by a cruel and callous system. Together, we can change the tides of health care by stepping out of our comfort zones of denial and initiating the solution-oriented dialogue that leads to action and compassion.
This event was just the beginning. While the theater should have been packed, we look forward to engaging in future community dialogues because we know people are going to have to take a stand against a cruel system. As Ghandi said, "Be the change we wish to see in the world."
WATCH THE DIMARCO VIDEO
Click here to read their story in the previous edition of "SiCKO in Sedona."
More health care stories
No insurance led to bankruptcy
"It's a short story. I had a good job with good insurance. The job ended after 10 years since it was project-based, and I lost my insurance.
I got hurt and was in and out of the hospital. The bills kept piling up higher. The hospital kept harassing me for payment. I tried to send them a little each month, but that didn't satisfy them, so I filed bankruptcy. I had no other choice.
I have another job now, but I still have no insurance. And, of course, I no longer have any credit after working hard and paying my bills on time all my life.
What’s wrong with this picture?"
Six Months to Diagnose my Best Friend with Pancreatic Cancer
"My best friend began having symptoms of a serious medical condition around March 2007. She is on Arizona ACCCHS insurance for the financially challenged. Her doctor started treating her for "gastritis" since she complained of both abdominal and back pain and could not tolerate food. He never ran a blood test on her as her symptoms worsened.
I saw her about once a week at that time. I noticed that she was losing weight. She visited the doctor twice during the month of April; neither time was she weighed during her office visits. Then she requested to be weighed because I kept telling her she was losing weight by her appearance.
The first time they weighed her, she lost 9 pounds. They said: "That is good." The second visit, she requested to be weighed again and she had lost 20 pounds! Mind you, the doctor never inquired about her lack of appetite, nor did he appear concerned enough to run any blood tests.
Then I spent the day with her for her birthday. I observed just how sick she had become and insisted she go to the emergency room for treatment. She said she would wait a few days because she had an appointment with the doctor. He told her she probably had gallbladder problems and finally ordered an ultrasound of the gallbladder. It was now June.
When my friend told the technician about all the pain she was having, she said she would run the test on her entire abdomen. Two days later, she returned to the doctor and was told she had pancreatic cancer that had spread to her liver. Two weeks later her care was transferred to an oncologist in Sedona.
The doctor has now washed his hands of any responsibility. I think this is wrong. Maybe she would be dying anyway, but surgery could have given her at least another year if the cancer had not already metastitized.
She was told she had three to six months to live."
Gail Ganong, RN
All debt and no relief
“I’m in my late forties and have been struggling with menopause for a few years. I was never able to afford any medical help for my conditions, ranging from nonstop bleeding to severe headaches and fatigue, because I don’t have any health insurance.
The medical system has caused me a lot of grief, pain and expense – and yet never provided a solution for my health issues.
It turns out that I got a new job that offered medical benefits, and I thought I would finally be able to get some relief for my conditions. So I went to the doctor, who said she needed to do extensive blood work and tests to see what was going on.
Not once was I ever informed I might have to pay enormous amounts of money for tests that my insurance would not cover. And the doctor never paused to ask me if I would be able to afford the hefty bills involved in diagnosing my problems.
Shouldn’t they have told me what expenses would be involved first? What if someone can’t afford the lab work? They just assume you can or you’ll go into debt like everybody else.
The blood test ended up costing several hundred dollars that I certainly didn’t have. I tried to make payments on it but the company feels it’s not enough, so I continue to face the daily assault of nasty collection callers who mercilessly keep trying to get blood out of a stone and have an attitude like I don’t want to pay.
Let’s face it: Most of us are decent, honest, hard-working people who WANT to pay our bills. We are NOT loafers or deadbeats. But with wages and prices the way they are, how do they expect us ordinary folks to come up with these huge amounts of money when we can barely make ends meet?
What’s worse is that, after the tests that amounted to more than $2,000 dollars, they never found anything wrong with me! I still have the same symptoms of constant bleeding, headaches and fatigue.
I went to yet another doctor who looked over the tests and then just wrote me a prescription for synthetic hormones, which everyone knows to be dangerous. You can’t pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading about the horrible side effects. I asked the doctor if there was anything else and was told that was the best he could do.
So I took the medication out of desperation and two months later I was hemorrhaging and in tremendous discomfort. So much for health care. It’s now two years later and I still have the same conditions, maybe worse – and the resulting bills that were just a waste of money.
A friend told me about some alternative doctors but they are really expensive and not covered by insurance. Where is a working woman supposed to turn for proper, affordable care? When I turned to medicine, I suffered even worse symptoms for which I ended up in debt, and my credit report is damaged.
I should have never gone to the doctor in the first place.
I read your editorial in the last issue [“Stop Feeding Health Care Industry Greed,” Oct. 21, 2007] about how we should start bucking the system by starving it to death instead of handing them what little money we have on a silver platter. That’s the best idea I’ve heard yet. You guys are absolutely right. Just think how we could take our power – and our money and health – back into our own hands if we all just started refusing to make those “criminal” payments, as you so correctly called them.
What the heck; if my credit’s already destroyed, I figure I’ve got nothing to lose anyway. I’ll put that money into seeing a holistic doctor for help. The whole system – health care, credit, etc. – is about to go belly up anyway.”
– B.W., Cottonwood
Too painful to walk
“Both of my feet developed painful neuromas, making it impossible for me to walk in closed-toe shoes. The podiatrist told me it will cost several thousand dollars to have both of them removed. This painful surgery would mean I’d have to stay off my feet for about three weeks.
I don’t have insurance, nor do I have a job that would let me take that kind of time off, with or without pay. Even if I had the insurance, I would lose my job and have no income for the three weeks. So I walk around in pain all the time.
I saw the movie SiCKO and am thinking of trying to get citizenship in another country so I can wear regular shoes again – or at least walk without excruciating pain.”
— D.K., Tucson
Can’t afford the surgery to restore my hearing
“I have lost nearly half of my total hearing and need to wear a hearing aid. I can’t afford health insurance but that doesn’t cover hearing aids anyway, which can run several thousand dollars.
The audiologist tells me there is a surgical procedure that would restore my hearing. It costs about $7,000 dollars for this short outpatient surgery. But first I would need an MRI of my ear for about $2,500, and then the specialist’s fee is enormous, etc., etc. – none of which I can afford.
I don’t understand why we can’t have our taxes pay for our care like the rest of the civilized world. Oh yeah, I forgot…the WAR comes first. Our tax dollars hard at work.
People criticize the health systems of other countries – the taxes they pay, the waits they have, etc. I am already paying a staggering amount of taxes on my measly income and would pay even more if it meant getting care – like restoring my hearing, for example. And I’d rather wait months for the ear surgery I need than go completely deaf.
So meanwhile I struggle to hear and it’s affecting my job and my life every day. Insurance will pay for your Viagra but not for your hearing aids. Priorities, you know, all set by the big boys in high places on Viagra who continue to wage a war that most people don’t want.”
-- T. H., Flagstaff
No coverage for natural alternatives
“I was in and out of doctors offices for years trying to find treatment for a host of ailments that included fatigue, mental fog, lethargy, insomnia and weight gain. I spent thousands of dollars to no avail.
The doctors were desperately trying to find something seriously wrong with me. They had me living in fear that I might have a tumor, so they did an ultra sound that came out of my pocket. Again, everything was fine. So next they wanted to rule out ovarian cancer, another costly test that insurance won’t cover – despite all the media scare articles urging women to run out and get this life-saving test.
Then I found integrative and alternative medicine. I consider it like winning the lottery. Not only was my health restored, but I was able to go laughing all the way to the bank like the insurance companies by dumping them and pocketing the money I was wasting on their premiums – and lots of it.
The alternative doctor quickly revealed through one simple, non-invasive test that my symptoms were none other than extremely low thyroid. He put me on all-natural bio-identical thyroid hormone therapy that is also very reasonably priced.
He also found that I had almost no testosterone in my body. The numbers were right there but the other doctors had neglected to look at them because they don’t think women need it. The alternative doctor explained that the human body, both male and female, cannot function without testosterone.
So I went back to the original doctor to discuss my low-level reading. And he said my testosterone was “too high!” This means they’re not even reading our lab test results correctly! This is frightening to me. How many other women are misdiagnosed for simple symptoms that can eventually lead to bigger problems?
Within one month of natural testosterone and thyroid treatment, most of my symptoms were gone. After one year, I no longer have breast cysts and my osteoporosis has completely vanished! And I am able to get a full night’s sleep for the first time in years.
I now spend nearly $4,000 a year paying out-of-pocket to be treated by all-natural, alternative doctors. I don’t have insurance but it’s no loss because it doesn’t cover natural alternatives – let alone procedures like ovarian cancer tests.
If I wanted to go on all those synthetic hormones already proven to cause breast cancer, heart attack and stroke, I’d be covered by insurance. But where would my health be? I’d be steps closer to the grave and even thinner in the wallet thanks to our dysfunctional, rogue medical system.
The well-being of thousands of women is being compromised by the health-care industry, which refuses to recognize the benefits of natural hormones and other natural remedies. Instead, the American Medical Association sits in the back pockets of the pharmaceutical industry that pours millions of dollars into lobbying against natural, alternative health care and bio-identical hormones. Their propaganda is duping countless women and destroying their health so the industry can make a buck off women’s pain and torment.
The media supports this racket too. Look at all the drug ads we’re barraged with on TV and in magazines. Do you think any of the major magazines would investigate further into natural solutions for their readers? Of course, not. They’re all beholden to the drug companies.
I guess, all in all, I’m a lot better off than most. I hear of people paying in three months what I spend on a year’s worth of natural care just so they can pay their premiums (and then they face enormous deductibles). And best of all, I’m not sold on any pharmaceutical drugs.
Wake up, America, and smell the greed. Anyone who buys into the current health insurance system is only being fooled, and that’s most people. Because we’re brainwashed into thinking we can’t live without the lousy coverage.
I read the health care horror stories in your last issue and just shook my head. Those people dumping all their savings into outrageous premiums for toxic chemicals that will just make them sicker and kill them in the end are nuts. People need to learn to abandon the system and take matters into their own hands – just like the system has abandoned us. And it will be the death of us all if we don’t wake up and start taking our health into our own hands.
We might as well take our precious $10,000 deductibles that we cling to so blindly and put it toward our funerals. America is all about making big bucks off your body, right down to your grave.
As soon as we start taking our health into our own hands and chucking the worthless, overpriced insurance plans and so-called care we’ve been brainwashed to rely on, the better off we’ll be in our health and in our checkbooks.”
-- C.N., Phoenix
READ DOCTORS' TESTIMONIALS IN DIAGNOSIS: DISASTROUS
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WATCH THE DRAKE VIDEO
Look for more stories coming soon!
Courtesy of Gary Huck, Huck-Konopacki Labor Cartoons
Views and statements expressed here represent allegations from the public and not the editorial stance of this newspaper. The Sedona Observer abides by media law and upholds the time-honored policies of the Journalism Code of Ethics. It publishes all opinions under the First Amendment and welcomes those with opposing views to submit letters and testimonials.