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The Verde Valley was struck by tragedy last week with the drowning death of 8-year-old Dimas Mendez, of Prescott Valley. The boy was crossing the Verde River on the shoulders of his 39-year-old uncle on Saturday, July 4, when the pair accidently went into 7-feet-deep water and began struggling back to the surface.Managing Editor Christopher Fox Graham

Without comment on June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Arizona's disgraced former congressman, U.S. Rep. Richard "Rick" Renzi, regarding his conviction for extortion, fraud, conspiracy and racketeering. Renzi started his three-year prison sentence in February after years of legal maneuvering following his 2008 indictment.Managing Editor Christopher Fox Graham

Following the June 17 shooting of nine churchgoers at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, S.C., the nation has been embroiled in a discussion about gun violence, race relations, racism and the Confederate flag.Managing Editor Christopher Fox Graham

In her update to the Yavapai College board at a June 9 meeting, college President Penny Wills couldn't help but blame Larson Newspapers for the potential loss of the $4.5 million DK Ranch land donation in the Verde Valley.Yavapai College President Penny Wills called this political cartoon by Larson Newspapers cartoonist Rob Pudim regarding the DK Ranch land deal "very inappropriate." She told the college board that its publication somehow destabilized a potential $4.5 million land donation.

Wills noted that the college has submitted a "very solid proposal" but that the donation was still under review until August. Yet Wills said, "Unfortunately, though, a newspaper in the Sedona area went ahead and submitted what I consider a very inappropriate cartoon and an editorial, that really I think will probably hurt our chances."

Nearly three weeks after Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputy Steven Gorman fatally shot Ebin “Kumar” Lamont Proctor in the early morning hours of May 30, Verde Valley residents still question how an unarmed Cottonwood 18-year-old stopped for a routine traffic violation wound up dead.

Next spring, the Arizona Department of Transportation is finally expected to widen State Route 260 after nearly a decade of an inefficient roadway between Cottonwood and Interstate 17.Managing Editor Christopher Fox Graham

The project was proposed in the early 2000s, but it wasn’t until a head-on collision in 2004 brought the issue to the forefront, when a local pastor, several of his children and another driver were killed in a four-car pileup.

On the corner of my desk at the newsroom is our police and fire radio scanner. The handset squawks every few minutes as firefighters and paramedics, local police officers, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies and occasionally Arizona Department of Public Safety officers on Interstate 17 serve and protect our residents and visitors.Managing Editor Christopher Fox Graham

Still over a year out, political candidates are gearing up for the 2016 presidential race.Managing Editor Christopher Fox Graham

No fewer than 18 people have declared or plan to declare their intention to run for the Republican nomination for president.