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Posts by jhecht@larsonnewspapers.com (Jon Hecht)

Florence L. Spyrow named long-term president and CEO after successfully serving as interim since March

On March 26, Rob Thames, president and CEO of Northern Arizona Healthcare, stepped down from the position after two years on the job. Florence L. Spyrow, who served as NAH’s vice president and chief medical officer of Flagstaff Medical Center, was named interim CEO. This month, the NAH Board of Directors officially named Spyrow as the president and CEO for a permanent basis.

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Florence L. Spyrow named long-term president and CEO after serving as interim since March

On March 26, Rob Thames, president and CEO of Northern Arizona Healthcare, stepped down from the position after two years on the job. Florence L. Spyrow, who served as NAH’s vice president and chief medical officer of Flagstaff Medical Center, was named interim CEO. This month, the NAH Board of Directors officially named Spyrow as the president and CEO for a permanent basis.

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Rogers travels, aims to blunt the ‘blue wave’

Wendy Rogers arrived in Camp Verde without staff. It was just the Republican Congressional candidate and her husband Hal, stopping by at Las Margaritas in Camp Verde on Monday, Oct. 1, for a brief visit before further traversing the enormous 1st Congressional District of Arizona.

Rogers sees her constant travel as the key to her campaign. As a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, she not only drives across the Grand Canyon State, but flies a plane herself. She rattles off the names of small towns across Arizona — Eagar, Eloy, Catalina — that she has not only visited, but come back to multiple times. In Rogers’ view, this is her advantage over her opponent, incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran [District 1], whom she refers to as “invisible.”

“I show up, and I listen, and they know me,” Rogers said. This was Rogers’ third visit to Camp Verde between the primary and general election. “They know me face to face, and there’s nothing that can replace that. No one does that any more. They just try to phone it in. That’s what O’Halleran does. That’s just not going to hack it.”

Rogers’ shoe-leather campaign could have a tough hill to climb. In a year when polls show Democrats surging in districts all over the country, Rogers is trying to turn the tables on a well-funded incumbent Democrat. Election prognosticators like the Cook Political Report and University of Virginia Center for Politics have kept the seat as a likely Democratic hold.

Rogers is undeterred. She says she does not believe in the “blue wave,” and cites President Donald Trump having won the 1st District in 2016 by a percentage point over Hillary Clinton, as well as an increase in the number of Republicans who voted in August’s primary compared to 2016, dwarfing Democrats in the district.

“Don’t even think for a moment that we’re not in the limelight,” Rogers told supporters. “This is the district in Arizona that’s quote-unquote flippable.”

But above all, Rogers touts the enthusiasm of the voters, on clear display in the cramped room at Las Margeritas. Supporters ran out of seats and stood around Rogers as she fired off the Republican base wish-list.

“Build the wall,” Rogers said. The room applauded. “Repeal Obamacare,” The room cheered. She teased the possibility of the president visiting the district before the general election, which was met with delight from the audience.

The loudest eruption of support from the room came when Rogers heralded the need for Republicans to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, as they did in a 50-48 Senate vote Saturday, Oct. 6. Rogers asserted that Kavanaugh was being unfairly targeted by Democrats with sexual assault allegations she called “uncorroborated,” and demanded due process for the nominee. When pressed, she would not definitively say whether she thought the allegations against Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford and others were false.

Rogers viewed the fight over  Kavanaugh as emblematic of the kinds of battle the parties were engaged in this election. She accused the Democrats of having “Trump derangement syndrome” and made references to figures of Republican disdain like billionaire George Soros and actress Kathy Griffin. She complained about groups opposing her having hired a tracker to attend her events and videotape them, a figure whom she referred to as a “stalker,” and successfully obtained a restraining order against.

“If [the House] falls into the hands of the Democrats, they will impeach our president,” Rogers declared. She sought to fire up the voters to not just vote, but donate and volunteer to the campaign. She suggested they write and send op-eds to local newspapers supporting her candidacy.

“I will be there for them,” Rogers said of Verde Valley voters. “They can contact me. I will listen, and I will represent them well regardless of where in the district it is.”

 

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Candidate Wendy Rogers aims to blunt the ‘blue wave’

Wendy Rogers arrived in Camp Verde without staff. It was just the Republican Congressional candidate and her husband Hal, stopping by at Las Margaritas in Camp Verde on Monday, Oct. 1, for a brief visit before further traversing the enormous 1st Congressional District of Arizona.

Rogers sees her constant travel as the key to her campaign. As a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, she not only drives across the Grand Canyon State, but flies a plane herself. She rattles off the names of small towns across Arizona — Eagar, Eloy, Catalina — that she has not only visited, but come back to multiple times. In Rogers’ view, this is her advantage over her opponent, incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran [District 1], whom she refers to as “invisible.”

“I show up, and I listen, and they know me,” Rogers said. This was Rogers’ third visit to Camp Verde between the primary and general election. “They know me face to face, and there’s nothing that can replace that. No one does that any more. They just try to phone it in. That’s what O’Halleran does. That’s just not going to hack it.”

Rogers’ shoe-leather campaign could have a tough hill to climb. In a year when polls show Democrats surging in districts all over the country, Rogers is trying to turn the tables on a well-funded incumbent Democrat. Election prognosticators like the Cook Political Report and University of Virginia Center for Politics have kept the seat as a likely Democratic hold.

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Senate candidate Abboud rallies Democrats

Deedra Abboud stood in the dimly lit back room of the Red Rooster Cafe in Old Town Cottonwood on Friday, Aug. 10. To go with the restaurant’s crimson logo, she wore a bright red pantsuit, accessorized with a pink headscarf. She spoke with a strong Arkansas accent — she moved to Arizona in 1998 — before a room of voters from all over the Verde Valley, many of whom have become more involved in politics since the election of President Donald Trump.

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Monsoon brings summer rain to VOC

In July and August, just as the desert heat reaches its dry, sweltering apex, the Verde Valley is hit by the familiar onslaught of the monsoon. Almost every day, the normally blue Arizona sky is covered with dark, oppressive clouds, which break open in the afternoon for a short but sometimes brutal downpour.

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Lecturer speaks at Verde Valley Medical Center on opioid crisis

“Despite the fact that we’re prescribing so many opioids, we have more people in pain,” said Dr. Don Teater, from Waynesville, N.C. “Opioids are not fixing the problem. In fact it’s getting worse.”

Teater spoke to a roomful of doctors and other medical professionals at Verde Valley Medical Center on May 29 as an expert of many years in two related fields of medicine — pain treatment and drug abuse.

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