Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Wed, March 20

Need2Know: Distilling award, garden center honored, new location and more

'Schooling' the industry

Olga and Dr. Michael Block, the founders of the renowned BASIS charter school system, have been named "Influential Educators Who Are Changing the Way We Learn in 2015" by Noodle, the acclaimed top education website connecting students with schools, programs, resources, experts and more, according to a press release.

Sixty-seven educators grace the list, and all, according to Noodle, are changing the way people view education and see the world. Noodle honored the Blocks for "[seeking] to create educational institutions that combined the rigors of Asian and European schooling with the American system's emphasis on creativity and originality".

Shifting location

Adorn Interiors, an Arizona-based interior design firm with a location in Prescott at 212 E Gurley St, will be relocating sometime in July to 134 N. Cortez St. -two doors South of The Raven. The local owners of the firm, Melanie and Jeff Davis, are currently remodeling the space. The firm has been in Prescott since 2009.

Watters Garden Center continues streak

For the ninth year in a row, Watters Garden Center was named one of Today's Garden Center magazine's Revolutionary 100 Garden Centers.

The Revolutionary 100 program, which began in 2006, surveys garden center owners and managers on how they run their businesses, according to a press release. These retailers compete in a variety of areas that reveal their business health and how they impact their local communities. The Revolutionary 100 is open to all local garden centers, large and small throughout the United States.

"There are roughly 16,000 garden centers in America, and to have your piers call you one of their best is a true honor," said Ken Lain, co-owner of Watters Garden.

Arizona Medical Association election results and awards

Nathan Laufer, MD, became the 124th president for the Arizona Medical Association's annual meeting May 29-30 and will serve a one-year term, according to a press release. Dr. Laufer is Board Certified in in internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology and has been in practice since 1984.

Laufer oversaw an awards banquet honoring seven members of the healthcare community in Arizona, including William Thrift, MD, of Prescott. Dr. Thrift is a board-certified family physician in private practice and a past president of the Arizona Medical Association, the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians and the Yavapai County Medical Society. Earlier this year, Dr. Thrift was awarded Family Physician of the Year by Arizona Academy of Family Physicians.

Allstate standout

As a business leader and involved citizen in the Prescott Valley area, Allstate Exclusive Agency Owner Robin Binkley has been designated an Allstate Premier Agency for 2015.

The honor is bestowed upon less than half of Allstate's nearly 10,000 agency owners across the country.

"The Premier Agency designation is not only about Binkley's successful business results," said Jim Turner, Regional Sales Leader for Allstate. "The honor also demonstrates Binkley's commitment to delivering an accessible, knowledgeable and personal customer experience."

The agency is at 7749 E. Florentine Road in Prescott Valley and Binkley can be reached at 928-772-0322.

New Director of the Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership

He may not be from around these parts, but Richard Heath is not lacking in experience.

With nearly 26 years under his belt in community and economic development, organizational management, contracting, grant writing and planning, Heath stood out as a prime candidate to serve as Director of the Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership (GPREP).

Heath's duties will include developing a comprehensive business development strategy designed to diversify and strengthen the regional economy in the Quad Cities area, and thereby attracting businesses considering relocating to the region, according to a press release.

The Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership (GPREP) connects the private sector, governments, nonprofits, and academia to provide a unified voice of the Greater Prescott region and communities in the northland.

Heath previously worked for Wisconsin's Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission, serving as its Executive Director since 2010.

"Job creation shapes our region's bright future by assisting companies with the information they need to make the right decision for their business," Heath said. "The attraction of the region is obvious. The Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership is here to show the

communities' assets in their best light."

Heath holds a Master of Arts in Development Studies from Ohio University and is an Army veteran. For more information, contact Richard Heath at 928-772-4883 or online at

Cooking up a strong brew

The distillers at Thumb Butte Distillery (TBD) are not just making alcohol over there; they're also winning awards for it.

At the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition 2015, they came home with a silver medal for their Western Sage Gin and a bronze medal for Rodeo Rye.

The Western Sage Gin is an unflavored gin with the botanicals added during distillation. Local Juniper and local herbs, grown by Warren and Karen Zager, were used in the bouquet of herbs designed and bundled by Dana Murdock at TBD.

The Rodeo Rye is a 90% Rye American Whiskey. The grain mix, distillation and ageing was done by James Bacigalupi, TBD's Head Distiller.

Owners Dana Murdock, Jim Bacigalupi, Scott Holderness and Mario Passalacqua opened up their distillery about a year ago at 400 N. Washington Ave. in Prescott and offer 10 spirits, which they sell throughout the state.

To get in touch with them, call 928-443-8498 or email


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