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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
9:05 PM Tue, Oct. 23rd

Friday Catchall: Lies hog-tie rodeo star impersonator

The Friday Catchall:

• COWGIRL UP - Just when you thought you'd heard all of the ways identity theft can happen, hang on!

A western Pennsylvania woman has impersonated rodeo star Sherry Cervi and set up a sham company to obtain 500 cellphones and $8,000 in saddles, according to her federal court plea Wednesday.

Cervi is one of rodeo's most-loved competitors who happens to be an Arizona native, a two-time world champion racer and 11-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier.

Susan Rowan, 39, also - get this - hoped to meet men by pretending to be the world champion barrel racer, prosecutors said.

Rowan allegedly told Sprint Corp. representatives "that she was a wealthy rodeo star with a business interest" and had employees in need of cellphones, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kitchen said, adding that she ordered about 700 phones from July 2008 to February 2010, and received more than 500.

When confronted by an investigator, she gave phones to friends and relatives and burned many more in a field, Kitchen said.

The public defender disputed the loss totals and some other details, but otherwise declined comment after the hearing. Rowan is free on bail.

I am almost speechless.

Probably dug Cervi's name out of a book. Nice!

This too, knowing that Prescott Frontier Days, the "World's Oldest Rodeo," is only 115 days away! And, yes, Cervi has competed here - just don't ask to borrow her cellphone.

• FACE THIS - From an alert we've learned that Facebook is redesigning its front-page area, called the News Feed.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg described the new News Feed as a "personalized newspaper" that is more visual. Like a newspaper, it will have a prominent, bold front page and be divided into a variety of new sections.

The likely content: bigger photos with lame sayings.

Well, it means one thing to me: Facebook is working to open advertising opportunities.

As a Facebook user, I don't like it.

As a newspaperman, I don't like it.

Oh, well. Embrace the changes or get left behind, right?

• STORM OF PERCEPTION - Ran into Alan Niven, music promoter extraordinaire (formerly the manager of Great White and Guns N' Roses), this past weekend at Hastings.

He had the band Storm of Perception there signing flyers and raising money for the community.

"Just to let you know, the monies raised by signing flyers at Hastings at the Storm in-store (event) went to The Church on the Street," he emailed this week.

They also gave the church "a big ol' box full of cans," he said, adding that "they can use everything they can get there."

I agree, Alan.

Church on the Street is a worthy organization here in Prescott. Keep them in mind, folks.

• ONLY PART OF THE JOB - The Arizona Department of Transportation is proposing a change in its five-year plan, akin to doing a job only 80 percent of the way.

ADOT says, because of dwindling revenues, the state has to cut about $350 million from the five-year roads program. The project locally left off the new list is the stretch of Highway 89 between 89A and Ruger Road.

No big deal? We should be happy it is going to do Highway 89 from Ruger Road to Chino Valley?

Nope. Without the 89A-Ruger Road segment, the state will leave us with a bottleneck, or a "severely constrained two-lane segment," according to the city, between 89A and Ruger Road.

I understand budget cuts. I also understand changes for efficiency. I do not get it when the change leaves residents with nothing. It would be like the state fixing the hole in the Hell Canyon Bridge between Paulden and Ash Fork in part or only most of the way.

Do it all, thank you.

The $15 million 89A-to-Ruger project was on the five-year plan, but has been jettisoned in a schedule up for adoption June 14 by the State Transportation Board.

While local officials are sending letters to ADOT concerning the change, you can weigh in too. A public comment period begins today, allowing people to petition the state about the project. The tentative five-year program will be available for public review and comment at www.azdot.gov. ADOT has developed a "how to read it" guide and welcomes feedback at FiveYearProgram@azdot.gov.

• PICK OF THE WEEK - Don't forget that tomorrow, March 9, at 7 p.m., the Prescott Film Festival will screen the multi-award winning film "Les Misérables" at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center.

For more info, visit prescottfilmfestival.com or ycpac.com.

Enjoy!