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By now we’re all familiar with the bright (and sometimes dark) lines that have been drawn nationwide between so-called conservatives and progressives.

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There’s nothing like a crisp fall day, but I must admit this past year there were a few too many for my liking.

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Every Tuesday morning, four of us sign on to a conference call to share about an hour of reading and discussion. We’ve been meeting this way for several years, getting to know each other in the process.

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Here in Christmas City, 40% of Prescott’s population is 65 years of age or older.

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This year is the first in a while that we haven’t hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house.

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The recent election presented Prescott voters with a number of proposed revisions to the city charter.

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A recent Courier article announced the promotion of U.S. VETS Executive Director Carole Benedict to a position with the national organization. Her accomplishments in housing local homeless veterans are truly worthy of the applause.

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Finding practical solutions is something Americans do best.

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Living up the hill on Copper Basin, I frequently take Park Avenue to get to downtown destinations. Although I only see them occasionally, I watch for children and other pedestrians in the school zone in front of Lincoln Elementary School.

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Having come from a metropolitan area and working primarily in big companies, I came to Prescott with a firm if invisible line between business colleagues and friends.

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Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 30, Prescott’s General Plan Committee welcomed residents to a planning workshop at the city’s Adult Center.

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The television program 60 Minutes recently took an in-depth look at the development and current state of Artificial Intelligence.

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Silly as it is, I always get a little pop of pride as I turn into the Yavapai County building on Fair Street and push my ballot into the star-spangled drop box.

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Not too many nights ago, monsoon proved itself to be quite the trickster. As my husband and I sat on the deck watching the sunset, we noticed a swath of dark clouds in the distance.

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Once upon a time, Independence Day celebrated a sense of national unity taken for granted.

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When we bought our current home nine years ago, it checked all the boxes I had in my head: a nice view, granite countertops and a gas stove in the kitchen, a fireplace in the bedroom.

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When I moved to Prescott, I had never been to a rodeo before. I was certainly intrigued when I realized what an important event it was for the city and how much it reflected Prescott’s history and culture over the years.

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May has been a month of exploration into what, for me, are some of Prescott’s most unique offerings.

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Being enrolled in two different political parties, I’m pretty sure our state senator Ken Bennett and I wouldn’t agree on too many things.

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I’ve lived in myriad apartments and homes since leaving my last college dorm room. In Los Angeles I lived in the Beachwood neighborhood, in the shadow of the Hollywood Hills.

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I stood and sang the traditional Good Friday hymn with solemn enthusiasm as the celebrants moved from one Station of the Cross to the next.

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Oh no, I’d done it again. Rather than “Ready, Aim, Fire”, I’d approached a fairly important choice without much preparation, more like “Fire, Aim . . . um, am I really ready for this?”

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Cooperating with other people who share the same goals as you do shouldn’t be so tough, right?

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I count myself lucky to live in Prescott where there are so many opportunities for social involvement. We have a lively arts scene, historical societies and museums to help us appreciate and celebrate the past.

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Sitting at my desk I’m gazing out at the side yard where St. Francis lovingly holds a fawn while a cat and dog at his feet gaze lovingly up at him.

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When our younger family members visit us here in Prescott, it’s like a brisk wind sweeps through the house.

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I’m a PBS watcher and, although there are many fewer ads on that station, there are some, and one in particular I enjoy seeing. It’s a commercial for a river cruise line narrated by the CEO of that company.

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So many habits, so little time! Everything from changing my diet of news, TV shows and movies to saying a fond farewell to sweets and carbs after the food-filled holidays.

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This year we hosted four of our family for the week of Thanksgiving as well as Thanksgiving dinner, which included celebration of our grandson’s fifteenth birthday.

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Thanksgiving came this year with some hopeful news about the purchase of the Gateway Mall and its possible rejuvenation.

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After all the buildup, it’s almost hard to believe the mid-term elections are over.

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I must admit my musical education has a large gap when it comes to instrumental music, especially the classical kind.

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The discovery of PFAS, known as the “forever” chemicals, in several wells serving city residents has spurred a great deal of concern as well as remediation efforts by the City of Prescott.

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Schooling has long entailed memorizing facts – state capitols, dates of historic importance, algebraic formulas and the chemical makeup of the basic elements, among a multitude of other details.

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When I was young how enormous the world was and how abundant, seemingly without limit. How far away the wars and disasters always seemed.

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One of the things I like most about my home is the landscaping, if you can call it that.

September 3, 2022
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Physical pain is one of the things I find most difficult to deal with. I’ve learned to have some patience with ordinary “pains”, like canned music blaring on my phone while I wait for a human voice, or idling at a light that refuses to change.

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The Daily Courier recently published an article, followed by an opinion column from the Republican Women of Prescott, that shed light on the challenges facing teens and the differences in adults’ opinions on how best to support their well-being and growth.

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Lately, there seems to be a theme running through both local and national news: it has to do with intimidation of government officials related to election results and processes.

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I recently went on a leisure trip to New York, and despite a little rain on the first day, everything was enjoyable and went well.

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Often, when I tell someone I write a column for the Courier, he or she will ask, “Oh, what’s it about?”.

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As I write this, Prescott is facing a fistful of 90+ degree days in the ten-day forecast. As an older woman, I don’t particularly relish baring my arms, which have succumbed to gravity and a lack of resistance exercises.

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Like most communities across the country, Prescott is home to many families with school-age children, as well as older folks with young grandchildren.

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If you come from a family with several children, you’ve no doubt had the experience of sharing a room with a sibling or two.

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There’s an old saying that a lady never tells her age; it’s a rule my mother merrily broke at every possible opportunity.

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As I’ve remarked in past columns, those of us living in Prescott have some of the best nature has to offer as our everyday environment.

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The pink and white cherry blossoms have returned to Prescott, bursting like instant bouquets along the roadsides.

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Almost every morning I follow the same routine. The day starts with our two cats lobbying hard by my bedside with meowing and mournful expressions. They’re making sure that they are fed as soon as possible! I really enjoy gazing at the view of Prescott’s hills out the kitchen window as I fill the cats’ dishes. Once the dishwasher is emptied, I make a pot of coffee and pour myself a cup.

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I had lunch with my best friend the other day at one of our favorite spots, the Hassayampa Inn’s Peacock Room restaurant. As we stepped outdoors after our meal, I took a deep breath of fresh air and looked up to the perfectly blue sky, untouched by even the wisp of a cloud.

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Were you watching the Winter Olympic Games? Wow.

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There was a time when a certain section of my closet was saved for “special occasion” clothing: a dress or two, a fancy blouse with chiffon sleeves and beautiful glittery embroidery, slacks with knife-edge pleats and matching jackets.

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Way back in what seems more like a decade than a couple of years ago, our adult son, Nick, was locked down in a studio apartment in Los Angeles.

January 22, 2022
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Have you noticed the spate of new ads for online gambling that started a couple of months ago?

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I’m guessing just about everyone who celebrates Christmas has experienced the air escaping the holiday balloon on Dec. 26. The buildup to the big day buoys us up ...

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My favorite story about humor involves three monks wandering the countryside of ancient China.

December 12, 2021
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Here it comes, folks! The Christmas season is upon us and along with all the festive preparations, I am pausing to make time for some personal preparation.

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I always enjoy reading the Courier’s Rants and Raves and Letters to the Editor. Comments range from local traffic problems to thank you’s for found wallets and good medical care. I also enjoy the sincere and mostly well-informed writers who go back and forth about current events, although sometimes they seem like the blind boys and the elephant.

November 13, 2021
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The stages of life are common knowledge: infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, old age.

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It never fails to amaze me how many hidden gems of neighborhoods there are in Prescott. Even after 15 years, every so often I run into one I’ve never seen before.

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These days, with weather patterns no longer so reliable, it’s hard to know what to expect as the seasons change. The recent rains and those expected next week are certainly welcome and the cooler temperatures are refreshing.

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The equinox marking the official beginning of fall arrives this coming week on Sept. 22. While the warm summer weather may not be ending for a while, piles of Halloween candy have already popped up at the grocery stores, along with spooky decorations.

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Most people who are still working think of retirement as unlimited leisure, every day a Saturday. At least that’s what I thought.

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That sense of relief from being able to meet with others unmasked has slowly seeped out of my happiness balloon.

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My husband and I stood in the pet supply store contemplating the mass of squirming fur in the box in front of us. We had been looking for a calico and immediately noticed there were two in this litter up for adoption.

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I vividly remember the mid-July weekend we moved to Prescott 14 years ago. The cable TV installer was outside putting up the satellite dish in the midst of a fierce storm. Thunder boomed and lightning flashed ...

By ALEXANDRA PIACENZA, Courier Columnist July 24, 2021
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Just two weeks before the country shut down for the pandemic, our son Nick found a new job. Leaving a 5-year stint programming for a river-cruise company, he traded his casual-every-day wardrobe of T-shirts and jeans for shirt and tie as he started with the IT department of a high-powered financial services company.

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The spooky beauty of fire plumes on the horizon is nothing Prescott area folks look forward to seeing. It’s an unwanted reminder of nature’s flip side, the alter-ego to our idyllic setting.

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Since the last time I visited the weekly Prescott Farmers Market, it’s moved to the YRMC overflow parking lot where Miller Valley Elementary School used to be located.

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One of the most beautiful views I ever saw was watching the sun go down over Granite Mountain.

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Driving through downtown last weekend, crowds bustled around the courthouse plaza at an art and chocolate fair.

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As a Sunday School teacher, I taught my three-to-five-year-olds a little song about friendship: “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

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As a kid I could think of nothing more boring and distant from my life than watching the evening news. I was more interested in who had the edge in my high school’s homecoming elections than who was winning the Cold War.

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Some time ago I had the opportunity to participate in some activities at the Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation.

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Having had no after-effects from my first Moderna COVID vaccine shot, except a sore shoulder, a month later I blithely walked into the event center in Prescott Valley for the second dose.

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The long year of pandemic is inching into a second year, with peaks of surges, valleys of temporary recovery and new, previously unknown threats of variants peeking around the corner.

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Last Sunday, the Courier’s Senior News Editor Tim Wiederaenders, wrote a column entitled, “Who are your true friends?” In it he recounted a conversation with an HR director who made it clear that working amicably together does not necessarily make you friends.

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Over the past several months of political turmoil, I’ve been grateful to have lived in Prescott for more than a decade. Before I came here...

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I love the Daily Courier. I love it despite dueling letters to the editor and the potpourri of Rants and Raves. Maybe especially because of those things!

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I like to think of a new year as a clean slate.

December 26, 2020
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I recently received an unexpected request to take a look at a friend’s writings. Another friend of hers had suggested that she might want to have them published in book form. ...

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Despite the pandemic and what seems like endless political wrangling, there are good reasons to reflect with hope on this holiday so closely associated with the beginnings of our country.

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One of the great gifts of being human is the ability to imagine something better: a better mousetrap, a better job, a better relationship, a better community.

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I remember the feeling I had when I first entered a polling place to cast my vote. It was like opening the door to a totally new place called “civic responsibility.”

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I’m sure I join many Courier readers in greeting the news of Ron Barnes’ last Sunday column with loving regret.

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When I first moved to Prescott, I was tempted to think I’d found a lovely, out-of-the-way corner of the world that larger problems couldn’t infiltrate.

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The larger outside world has come to quite a pass. Regardless of your politics, financial situation, social status, color or religion, there is bound to be something in current circumstances that chaps your hide, offends your sensibilities, runs a chill up your spine or just exhausts you thinking about it.

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Once upon a time, there was a political climate that discouraged outright lying and behavior that veered away from a politician’s stated principles.

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I count myself among the people in our area who haven’t been seriously impacted by COVID-19: no disease or job loss for myself, loved ones or friends (or at least quick recovery)....

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On the heels of the public outcry to Save the Dells, the Prescott area has produced another local bipartisan effort, “no new jail.”

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The new American pastime: passing the buck.