The temporary mural overlaid on the intersection of Aspen Avenue and Leroux Street in Flagstaff has led to calls for more public input on future installations.
As a result, at least one stakeholders group has already been formed.
The “Destination for all Seasons” graphic was unveiled late last month to a cold reception from locals, many of whom said it clashed with other more artistic murals and public art downtown.
Many complained the Convention and Visitors Bureau did not allow for any public input on the installation before it was painted on a popular downtown street.
Now, the city has created a focus group for stakeholders to give input for other installations downtown.
“A focus group discussion was held on October 3 at the Weatherford Hotel with several stakeholders on the subject,” city spokeswoman Jessica Drum said in an email. “We decided, as a group, that the current installation is fine as it is not a permanent mural. We will be putting together a focus group with the Tourism Commission, (Beautification and Public Art Commission), Heritage Preservation Commission, and other key stakeholders in 2018 to discuss projects like this in the future.”
Drum said the CVB, which commissioned the installation, has not heard any further comments from the public about the graphic in recent weeks.
The graphic, which cost $11,000, was paid for by Bed, Board and Beverage (BBB) tax funds and was included in the CVB 2018 fiscal year base advertising budget, CVB spokeswoman Meg Roederer said in an email when the mural was finished.
Individual expenditures do not come before the City Council for specific approval unless they are $50,000 or more.
Drum said the council has not asked to be more involved in approval ofpublic displays like the street graphic, but other stakeholders will have the opportunity to be more involved through the focus group.
Councilman Charlie Odegaard said he had not heard any input about the mural in recent weeks, but he did not feel the approval for the graphic was “run through the proper channels in the first place.” Odegaard said the graphic should have been approved by multiple city commissions before it was installed.
The Tourism Commission did give general approval to the CVB for on-street advertising earlier in the fiscal year.
Odegaard said he does not think the council’s policies should change to require council input for public displays like the street graphic, and involving the council with expenditures less than $50,000 “could get a little too bogged down with decisions like that.”
Vice Mayor Jamie Whelan said she has received two emails asking her to urge the city to paint over the graphic since it was first unveiled.
“I’m not sure the council needed to have input, but I would have loved to see our commissions, especially the ones more involved in beautification and public art, have an opportunity for input. That’s why we have our commissions,” Whelan said.
Councilwoman Celia Barotz said she would be interested in pursuing further discussion about the council’s involvement with public displays like the street graphic.
“In this case, the dollar amount was relatively low,” she said. “But just because it doesn’t meet the procurement threshold doesn’t mean it doesn’t merit a broader discussion.”
Barotz said projects placed in the “public square” should have broader public input, whether at the council or commission level, or both.
“As a council member, I certainly know many residents of Flagstaff care about the Flagstaff vibe and the Flagstaff aesthetic,” she said. “As public officials, it’s our responsibility to make sure they’re included in the conversation.”
NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Mike Rippey stood among pieces of metal, porcelain and other remnants of the California home where his 100-year-old father and 98-year-old mother had died in the raging wine country wildfires.
Rippey said Tuesday that his brother had discovered their bodies after driving to the home and managing to get past security. His father, Charles, appeared to be heading to the room of his mother, Sara, when he was overcome by the smoke and flames.
"My father certainly wouldn't have left her," Mike Rippey said.
The couple had met in grade school in Wisconsin and been together ever since, celebrating their 75th anniversary last year.
Rippey, 71, said he and his siblings couldn't imagine how either parent would have navigated life if just one had survived the flames.
"We knew there's no way they would ever be happy, whoever was the last one. So they went together, and that's the way it worked," he said stoically.
In the charred remains of the home, only metal and porcelain survived to testify to the couple's long life together. There were coffee cups along a low sill; two metal chairs, side-by-side near a patio table; and a porcelain tea set of white and soft washes of blue, some pieces still intact.
Charles Rippey — nicknamed "Peach" as a toddler for his chubby cheeks — and his wife were among at least 21 victims who have died in the fierce, fast-moving fires that started Sunday and raged through neighborhoods. None of the other victims had been identified.
Authorities were expecting other older people to be among the dead, who, like the Rippeys, might not have been able to move fast enough to beat the flames.
Mike Rippey said his mother had previously suffered a stroke.
A series of wildfires raging across Northern California have destroyed thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. The wildfires rank among the deadliest in state history, and officials expect the death toll to rise as the scope of destruction becomes clear.
At least 185 people were injured, and hundreds of others were reported missing, though many may be safe but unable to use communication systems that were damaged.
Mike Rippey was in London and boarding a flight to California when his brother called and told him their parents had died.
The couple attended the University of Wisconsin and married in 1942 before Charles Rippey served as a U.S. Army engineer in World War II. He then became an executive with the Firestone tire company.
Rippey said he had no plans to rebuild the home.
"Without them, it doesn't mean a thing," he said. "It's gone. They're gone."
Julie Watson in San Diego and Ellen Knickmeyer in Napa contributed to his report.
The convicted felon bailed out of jail Friday by a now missing Glendale kindergarten teacher is related to the Williams police chief.
And it was in Williams that Charlie Malzahn, 27, was arrested Aug. 20, landing him in the Coconino County Jail for nearly seven weeks.
Malzahn, who was the last person to see 44-year-old Cathryn Gorospe after she posted bond for him Friday, is the stepson of Williams Police Chief Herman Nixon.
Gorospe is still missing and Malzahn is not talking to police about her whereabouts. He was arrested Monday while driving a blood-stained Toyota Rav 4 that is believed to have belonged to Gorospe.
Williams Police Department spokesman Lt. Darrell Hixson confirmed the police chief’s relationship with Malzahn and said that Nixon had not seen or had contact with his stepson in more than a year prior to the August 20 arrest in Williams. Malzahn attended Williams High School a decade ago.
Malzahn was charged with auto theft, being a prohibited possessor of a gun and possessing a gun during the commission of a felony.
The auto theft charge arose out of an incident in Tempe in which Malzahn allegedly stole his sister’s Chrysler Town and Country.
The sister told police that Malzahn was driving her car with her and her children in it on Interstate 10 when he accused her of trying to have him “sniped” by the driver of the car next to him. He stopped the car, pulled out a black handgun and kicked his sister and her children out of the vehicle, then drove away.
Malzahn later phoned his sister to tell her that he had left the car at the Canyon Club, a restaurant in Williams. He was arrested by Williams police as he left the establishment.
He was carrying a loaded gun at the time of his arrest, which he was not allowed to carry because he is a convicted felon.
Malzahn interacted with police departments across multiple counties during the three days between Gorospe bonding him out on Oct. 6 and his arrest on Oct. 9.
Tucson police say Malzahn tried to buy items at a mall with Gorospe's credit and debit cards last Saturday afternoon and he may have been driving her Toyota Rav 4.
The vehicle was spotted early Monday in Phoenix and Malzahn was arrested after he crashed the SUV following a police pursuit.
On Saturday morning in Clifton, where Nixon and his stepson previously lived, Malzahn contacted some acquaintances trying to get drugs and a gun, Flagstaff Police spokesman Sgt. Cory Runge said in a press release. Gorospe was not reported missing by her roommate until Sunday afternoon.
Malzahn’s acquaintance in Clifton told police Malzahn was driving a Toyota Rav 4, which matched the description of Gorospe’s vehicle, Runge said. The acquaintance said the vehicle was missing end pieces of the rear bumper and had damage to the front quarter panel, and said there was blood on the center console, interior passenger door, sunroof area and the interior driver door, Runge said. Clifton police then updated the status in the national database as a possible homicide vehicle, he said.
On Monday at about 1:30 a.m., Phoenix Police spotted the vehicle, and Malzahn tried to flee. During the pursuit, he crashed the car and was taken into custody, Runge said. He has not given any update to Gorospe’s whereabouts, Runge said.
Phoenix Police arrested Malzahn on suspicion of unlawful flight, resisting arrest and aggravated assault, Runge said. All charges in Phoenix so far relate to his actions there, not to Gorospe’s disappearance, Runge said.
Malzahn and Gorospe had a romantic relationship at some point, Runge said.
Gorospe’s friend Mikaela Viloria did not respond to questions regarding Malzahn but described Gorospe as an “incredible woman.”
Gorospe is a kindergarten teacher at Arrowhead Elementary School, according to the Deer Valley Unified School District
Malzahn has an extensive criminal history, including convictions for assault, theft, aggravated assault, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, criminal damage and drug charges.
Police are asking for the public’s help to see if anyone recognizes seeing Malzahn and Gorospe together or recognizes the white Toyota Rav 4 with Green Bay Packers stickers on it. Police suspect Malzahn traveled from Flagstaff to Williams, Chino Valley, Prescott, Prescott Valley and Clifton. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Flagstaff Police Department at 928-774-1414.