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Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun 

Alyzabeth Ludlam, 12, holds the switch she had just used to turn on the holiday lights display at the Little America Hotel Thursday evening. For more photos, see Page A7.


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TRAILER PARK CONVERSION
Flagstaff trailer park residents given six months to vacate

Cathy Davis has spent the last two years since she moved into Arrowhead Village Mobile Home Park working to make her house feel like home by adding landscaping, plants, installing new floors and remodeling the bathroom.

“I wanted to make our home a cute little home,” Davis said.

However, all the time and money she spent trying to improve the trailer, which she bought in March 2015, may soon be for nothing. On Wednesday, she and the other residents of Arrowhead Village off Blackbird Roost received a notice that the property had been sold and they had six months to have their trailers moved or abandon the buildings they have called home.

“I am totally disabled,” Davis said. “This is my home, how am I supposed to move it?”

Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun 

Cathy Davis, right, stands with her daughter Rachael Watkins in the doorway of their Arrowhead Village mobile home Thursday afternoon.

Davis lives with her daughter, Rachael Watkins, in the single-wide mobile home, which is one of very few that is in sturdy enough condition to be moved away from the park. Davis estimates six trailers in the park of more than 50 are fit to be moved.

In the letter sent to residents, titled “Notice of change of use from mobile home park to commercial use,” residents are told they have until May 7 to either move or abandon their mobile homes. The letter says the new owner, Kings House Inc., is changing the use of the property.

“Once the change has gone into effect no one will be allowed to live on the property,” the letter states.

Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun 

Cathy Davis reads a letter from her new landlord’s lawyer in front of her Arrowhead Village mobile home Thursday afternoon. More than 50 residents of the mobile home park have been given notice to leave the park by May 7, 2018.

However, the property’s zoning does not allow commercial uses unless the owner receives a conditional use permit from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission or a rezoning from the City Council. The parcel is zoned “manufactured home,” which allows for residential use in manufactured homes as a primary use. The zone also permits conventionally framed or constructed single-family homes that are related or incidental to the primary use.

The letter, which directs residents to contact Keith Hammond, the attorney for the owner, tells residents that owners of a single-wide trailer may be compensated up to $7,500 and owners of a double-wide trailer could receive $12,500 through the state’s Mobile Home Relocation Fund if they choose to have their trailers relocated to another mobile home park within 50 miles. Owners of mobile homes who choose to abandon their homes can receive up to $1,850 for a single-wide trailer and $3,125 for a double-wide trailer, according to the letter.

Susan Ontiveros, a neighbor of Davis and Watkins, has lived in the mobile home park for 31 years and remembers the last time residents were told the park would be sold in 2013, which, like this time, was announced right before the holiday season.

Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun 

Cathy Davis, right, stands with her daughter Rachael Watkins in front of their Arrowhead Village mobile home Thursday afternoon.

“I’m really upset at these people,” Ontiveros said of the property’s new owners. “They think they can do something just because they have money.”

In 2013, Landmark Properties, the developer of The Standard, wanted to buy the park in order to build the apartment complex on it. The developer eventually decided not to include the parcel in the plans for the apartment complex, which is now under construction on West Route 66.

Ontiveros’ trailer, which was made in 1978, is not in good enough shape to be moved, due to a flood that caused the trailer to sink into the ground.

“I wouldn’t move it anyway, it would fall apart if I tried,” she said.

Davis and her daughter have started looking around for spaces available in the Flagstaff area, and she said the best case scenario would be finding a piece of land she could park her trailer on and lease to own.

Davis said the former owner of the mobile home park has offered her a space in one of his other parks, including places in Peoria and Apache Junction.

Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun 

Cathy Davis, left, stands with her daughter Rachael Watkins in the living room of her Arrowhead Village mobile home Thursday afternoon.

“I don’t want to go to the Valley, I don’t do well with the heat,” Davis said. “My family is here, and with the income I’m on, I’ll never see them unless they come down.”

Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans, who was involved in advocating for the park’s residents in 2013 and 2014, said the notice, which leads the reader to believe the property already allows commercial uses, is misleading.

If the parcel does come up for rezoning before the council, Evans said she will give weight to how the occupants were treated when they were asked to relocate when making her decision on whether to allow the zoning change.

“This is a disaster,” Evans said. “We already have an affordable housing problem in Flagstaff, and these are people who own their homes and are definitely low-income who are losing their homes.”

Evans said the relocation of the occupants needs to be done in a humane way, and the process will be scrutinized if the new owner asks to rezone the parcel.

“The entire city is watching,” Evans said. “In my opinion, a rezoning is a community right, and if that is their intention, how the people there are treated would weigh in to how the community would grant that right.”

Residents of the park plan to attend the Flagstaff City Council meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. to talk to the council about the notice.


Benji Shanahan, Arizona Daily Sun 

Coconino High School’s Alyssa Jones (left) and Dana Parker (right) sign their letters of intent Thursday to continue their athletic careers.


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top story
FELONY INDICTMENT
NAU professor arrested on stalking charges

A Northern Arizona University professor was arrested Oct. 30 and indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on five counts of felony stalking – one involving a student -- and three counts of giving false information to law enforcement.

Melissa Ann Santana, 36, who worked as an associate professor of interior design, is accused of habitually stalking and harassing two firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service hotshot crew in Flagstaff, the wife of one of the firefighters, one of their friends, and an NAU student.

The stalking occurred from February 2015 to September 2017 and was largely committed through electronic communication, according to U.S. District Court documents. Santana committed the offenses using “many different identities, email addresses, social media accounts and temporary telephone numbers.”

The names of the victims are redacted in the report.

Santana was arrested on the NAU campus on Oct. 30 by United States Forest Service law officers. NAU spokeswoman Kimberly Ott said on Monday that Santana was no longer employed at the university but would not comment on her arrest.

“The university does not comment on what appears to be an ongoing criminal matter,” Ott said.

Hotshots and false statements

Santana met both firefighters through the online dating app Tinder. She met the first firefighter, labeled as N.L. in court documents, in November 2015, where she used the online alias “Ann, 29” according to court documents.

N.L. told law enforcement that he had a sexual relationship with the married professor, meeting mostly in her NAU office and his house, until June 2016, when he ended the relationship.

The second firefighter, labeled as K.T. in court documents, was matched on Tinder with Santana, also under the alias “Ann, 29” in August 2016 and told her he wanted to meet in September 2016. He told law enforcement that he quickly learned that it was the same person who was harassing his coworker.

According to court documents, both men received harassing messages from Santana under multiple false names such as “Laura Towner” and “Kendall Patterson.”

The messages, according to the documents, ranged from sentimental, such as a text to N.L. that said “I miss you so much,” to malicious, with Santana telling K.T. to “be like the Granite guys and go die in a fire,” referring to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013.

She later sent a message to K.T’s fiancé, under the alias “Kelli Torrence,” claiming that she was having a sexual relationship with K.T.

Santana allegedly vandalized one firefighter’s car by keying an expletive into the driver side door and slashing his tires. She also threatened to post another firefighter’s picture online and advertise him for sexual services.

In September 2016, Santana sent an email under the name “Cathy McCarthy” to multiple supervisors of the hotshot crew claiming that Flagstaff hotshots raped her 15-year-old daughter while heading to a fire near Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Rock Springs Police Department told Forest Service investigators that no Cathy McCarthy lives in the town, according to the federal court’s criminal complaint. Investigators also confirmed that the IP address attached to the email belonged to Santana.

The criminal complaint also states that Santana sent a text message using a fake number to the Globe Hotshot Superintendent Dean Whitney on September 2016.

The text said, “Can you please tell REDACTED to call me. He won’t return my phone calls, I’m pregnant, it’s his. He needs to take responsibility. Thanks.”

She sent the same message to the Flagstaff hotshot crew superintendent.

Student harassment

One NAU student,, whose name was also redacted, told Forest Service investigators that he met Santana through a Craigslist post in 2014 and met her in person for the first time in February 2015. The student told the investigator that “stalking on the NAU Facebook page began about a week later.”

The student said he received “harassing phone calls from various unknown numbers, emails and posts on his personal Facebook page.”

He said the cyber-harassment also included a “smear campaign” against him that he had sexually transmitted diseases. The student did not mention Santana by name, but the Northern Arizona IP address shows that the computer’s user searched the names of the hotshot firefighters N.L. and K.T as well as their families.

Court documents state that the student’s friends were harassed online by Santana under the fake name “Amanda Foster.” One of his friends was fired from her job after “continuous false post and emails that claimed she steals.”

The student told investigators that “he confided about being stalked to Santana” and described the former professor as a friend.

Detained

United States Magistrate Judge Charles R. Pyle ordered Santana to be detained, according to court documents. He denied her release on the grounds that she was a danger to the public and a flight risk due to her use of multiple aliases over three years.

The document did not state where Santana is being held.

If convicted she faces a maximum sentence of 40 years, according to federal court documents.


Local
Koch brothers enter private school voucher fray

PHOENIX -- A nonprofit funded at least in part by the Koch brothers is financing a six-figure TV campaign that a spokesman said is designed to "educate'' Arizonans about school choice.

But Brian Faughnan said it isn't designed to sway votes on a measure on next year's ballot over the future of universal vouchers.

A commercial already up and running features what are billed as "Arizona moms'' talking to the camera about the various options available, including traditional public schools, charter schools, private education as well as home schooling. In each case, the women say what makes that possible is "education choice.''

Faughnan said the campaign is "specific to Arizona,'' -- at this point confined to the Phoenix TV market -- saying the idea is to inform residents about the options available to them "and the virtues of school choice policies or education freedom policies.''

One of those choice in Arizona is vouchers of state dollars parents can use to send their children to private or parochial schools. Originally approved as an option for students with special needs, proponents have convinced lawmakers to expand eligibility to where it now includes foster children, reservation residents and children attending schools rated D or F.

But there is a cap on enrollment of about 5,500; currently about 3,500 students get vouchers, which are formally known as "empowerment scholarship accounts.''

Earlier this year the Legislature voted narrowly to remove all conditions. But a compromise to get the necessary votes, supporters had to agree to a cap of about 30,000 by 2023.

Foes of the expansion gathered more than enough signatures to put the expansion on hold until voters can get a chance to ratify or reject the change. That measure will be on the ballot next November unless voucher supporters win a pending lawsuit to disqualify many of the signatures.

Faughnan said the money the Libre Initiative is spending now and will spend in the future is not designed to sway voters.

"This is not about the ballot initiative or the ESA law in the state,'' he told Capitol Media Services, citing the organization's status as a 501(c)(3) charity under the Internal Revenue Code. "This is about educational freedom more generally.''

But while the IRS prohibits such groups from supporting or opposing candidates, they are entitled to engage in "issue advocacy.'' And that includes not only lobbying but also seeking to influence the outcome of a ballot measure, though an IRS publication says it "may not be more than insubstantial activity.''

Still, Faughnan acknowledged the TV campaign -- he would not provide the budget other than to say it is "six figures'' -- comes ahead of what promises to be a high-profile fight over the future of vouchers.

"We're aware that there is an initiative coming up, naturally,'' he said. But Faughnan said the group is not new to Arizona and has been active here for several years.

As to the source of those funds, Faughnan said there are "a lot of different donors.''

"We're blessed with many supporters that choose to promote prosperity for Hispanics and others through our organization,'' he said. "And we're fortunate enough to receive donations from Charles and David Koch and many others.''

Dawn Penich-Thacker, spokeswoman for Save Our Schools Arizona, the group that organized the referendum drive, said that there's nothing wrong with what's in the commercial or educating parents on various school options. But Penich-Thacker said she believes there's another agenda at work.

"Why are they advertising that now?'' she said of the timing. And Penich-Thacker said the Libre Initiative and its benefactors have a financial trail.

"Are they pouring millions of dollars into supporting public schools in Arizona, or are they pouring millions of dollars into supporting the voucher system?'' she said.

"On its face, it's totally innocuous,'' Penich-Thacker continued. "But when you ask them what they're not investing in, then I think their actual intentions are clear.

This isn't the Koch brothers first foray into the issue. They already are fighting the referendum in other ways.

Americans for Prosperity, another Koch-funded organization, has retained attorney Kory Langhofer in the bid to keep the measure off the 2018 ballot. A hearing on the challenge is set for next month in Maricopa County Superior Court.