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Michael Hartman / Sam Oshins, courtesy 

The Northern Arizona Bowling Jacks club bowling team competes in Las Vegas in December at the Collegiate Shoot-out tournament.

High Country Humane animal shelter sees its first critters, two legs and four

After nearly a year and a half of disuse, the building which previously housed Second Chance is open again, now hosting the newly created High Country Humane.

High Country Humane, previously Paw Placement of Northern Arizona, opened its doors for the first time Wednesday after it was awarded the contracts to provide animal shelter services from the city and the county.

Although only opening their doors Jan. 2, High Country Humane had begun accepting animals as of Dec. 28 and as of writing, they had over a dozen animals in the building with more already being fostered out.

The 20,000-square-foot building is larger and newer than the shelter run by the Coconino Humane Association, which had previously held both the city and county contracts.

Not including the spaces for stray animals that have just been admitted and isolation and quarantine spaces, there are a total of 59 kennels for dogs and 49 kennels for cats. Depending on how many animals they have fostered out, however, and how many animals might be able to be doubled up, they may be able to house well over 100 animals.

Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun 

Kari peeks out of her cage on the opening day of High Country Humane Wednesday afternoon.

Pam Tharp, who sits on the board of directors for High Country Humane and has been with the organization since almost its inception, said she is more than confident in their organization's ability.

“[As Paw Placement, High Country Humane] has been around since 2006. We have a track record that shows our commitment to animals,” Tharp said. “We have a stellar reputation, a commitment to the owners and to the animals.”

Since the contract was awarded in October, Coconino County -- which now owns the building -- and High Country Humane have also been working to prepare the building for its new role, said Steve Conrad, the new executive director of High Country Humane.

“For the most part, it basically came down to fire-life safety issues, you know, making sure that when we opened to the public all our T’s were crossed, for the public’s safety and of course the animals' safety.” Conrad said. “Electrical, plumbing, all the stuff you sort of see in the walls, making sure it was all up to code.”

Tharp said they have also had assistance in this process from other animal welfare organizations from across the state.

Steve Hansen with the Arizona Humane Society, for example, visited the facility, providing High Country Humane with a lot of guidance when it came to policies and procedures and offered up his experience in running an animal shelter, Tharp said.

Despite now being open, High Country Humane still has some progress to make before becoming fully operational. They are currently staffed with 15 people. Of those, five work in customer care while 10 work in animal care, including one full time vet tech.

Conrad said they are also looking to hire a full-time veterinarian who will be able to perform the spaying and neutering in-house as opposed to taking animals to another veterinarian’s office.

In the past, Paw Placement offered lower costs and reduced prices for those who are tight on money but need to spay or neuter their animals. Conrad said they want to get to a point where they can again offer such services.

Such services, and any others they may hope to provide such as an animal food bank, will be dependent on grants and private donations, Conrad said. This is because the contracts with the city and county essentially cover just the basics: keeping the lights on, employees paid and animals looked after.

Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun 

A laughing dog and cat greet customers and rescues at the entrance to the High Country Humane animal shelter in Timberline.

And this is even after the city and county agreed to pay more than they were when Coconino Humane Association held the contract.

While the contract with the Humane Association had the city paying $250,000 per year, the deal with High Country Humane has the city chipping in $280,000. The county will be paying $229,500 per year under this arrangement. The current contract is for five years of services, with the option to extend the contract another five years.

The city and county are also paying into what has been called a deferred maintenance fund to help High Country Humane deal with problems as they occur. In all, the city will put $61,950 into the fund over the next five years.

Tharp said they hope to educate the public on what pet owners need to do for their animals -- most importantly, just how essential spaying and neutering their animals is, especially as a way to keep needless euthanizations as low as possible.

“We have way too many animals for the number of homes that we have available,” Tharp said. “There are many instances where people will bring in a litter of puppies or kittens and the mom isn’t spayed and it’s like, ‘Yeah, we’ll take your puppies or kittens, providing you bring the mom in here so we can get her spayed.’”

They are also still preparing the facility to take other kinds of animals like rabbits or guinea pigs, snakes and some birds. At the moment, they are not accepting such animals and the timeline is unknown.

No deal to end shutdown; Trump says 'could be a long time'

WASHINGTON — No one budged at President Donald Trump's closed-door meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday, so the partial government shutdown persisted through Day 12 over his demand for billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. They'll all try again Friday.

In public, Trump renewed his dire warnings of rapists and others at the border. But when pressed in private by Democrats asking why he wouldn't end the shutdown, he responded at one point, "I would look foolish if I did that." A White House official, one of two people who described that exchange only on condition of anonymity, said the president had been trying to explain that it would be foolish not to pay for border security.

In one big shift, the new Congress will convene today with Democrats taking majority control of the House, and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said they'd quickly pass legislation to re-open the government — without funds for the border wall.

"Nothing for the wall," Pelosi said in an interview with NBC's "Today" show set to air today. "We can go through the back and forth. No. How many more times can we say no?"

But the White House has rejected the Democratic package, and Republicans who control the Senate are hesitant to take it up without Trump on board. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a "total nonstarter." Trump said ahead of his White House session with the congressional leaders that the partial shutdown will last "as long as it takes" to get the funding he wants.

"Could be a long time or could be quickly," Trump said during lengthy public comments at a Cabinet meeting, his first public appearance of the new year. Meanwhile, the shutdown dragged through a second week, closing some parks and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees without pay.

Democrats said they asked Trump directly during Wednesday's private meeting why he wouldn't consider their package of bills. One measure would open most of the shuttered government departments at funding levels already agreed to by all sides. The other would provide temporary funding for Homeland Security, through Feb. 8, allowing talks to continue over border security.

"I said, Mr. President, Give me one good reason why you should continue your shutdown," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said afterward. "He could not give a good answer."

Trump's response about looking foolish was confirmed by a White House official and another person familiar with the exchange, neither of whom was authorized to describe the exchange by name. Trump campaigned saying Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico refused.

At another point Wednesday, Trump told Pelosi that, as a "good Catholic" she should support the wall because Vatican City has a wall, according to a congressional aide. Trump has mentioned the Vatican's centuries-old fortifications before, including at the earlier Cabinet meeting. But Democrats said they don't want medieval barriers, and Pelosi has called Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border immoral.

"I remain ready and willing to work with Democrats," Trump tweeted after the meeting. "Let's get it done!"

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said that there's no need to prolong the shutdown and that he was disappointed the talks did not produce a resolution. He complained that Democrats interrupted Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen as she was trying to describe a dreadful situation at the border.

Nielsen, participating in the meeting by teleconference, had data about unaccompanied minors crossing the border and a spike in illegal crossings, and she tried to make the case to the group that current funding levels won't suffice, according to the White House.

"We were hopeful that we could get more of a negotiation," said McCarthy.

He said the leaders plan to return to the White House Friday to continue negotiations. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Fox that Pelosi will be "more able to negotiate" once she is elected speaker, as expected today.

The two sides traded offers, but their talks broke down ahead of the holidays. On Wednesday, Trump also rejected his own administration's offer to accept $2.5 billion for the wall. That proposal was made when Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials met at the start of the shutdown with Schumer, who left saying they remained far apart. On Wednesday Trump repeatedly pushed for the $5.6 billion he has demanded.

Brady named publisher of the Arizona Daily Sun

Lee Enterprises, Incorporated, a trusted local news provider and leading platform for advertising in 49 markets, has named Colleen Brady publisher of the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff. Brady succeeds Don Rowley, who retired earlier this year after 23 years with the newspaper.

"We all live and work in this community," Brady said. "It's important to build a relationship with the people involved, because what happens here has an impact on each and every one of us."

Brady said the paper's coverage of local sports and its role as a source of news and a watchdog for city government are important tenets going forward, as well as the Daily Sun's involvement with the people of Flagstaff.

"My goal is to be involved in the community like my predecessor was, listening to the needs of the community and building in-depth partnerships," Brady said.

Brady joined the Daily Sun in 2015 as advertising director and served as interim general manager after Rowley’s retirement in September. Her career includes multimedia sales manager for The World Company, which includes the Lawrence Journal World Daily in Lawrence, Kansas. She has also held advertising leadership positions with the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and the Kansas City Star in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Colleen Brady is an experienced newspaper professional who brings extensive advertising and management experience to the publisher position along with thorough knowledge of the Flagstaff market,” said Lee Group Publisher Cathy Hughes. “I look forward to working with Colleen as she continues to build on the success of the Arizona Daily Sun.”

Brady can be reached at 556-2279 or

Judge Ted Reed begins new chapter in Division 1

After 13 years working in the legal profession in Coconino County as both a deputy county attorney as well as most recently judge pro tempore, Judge Ted Reed started his job as an elected judge of Division 1 on Wednesday.

After former Judge Jacqueline Hatch retired at the end of last year, Reed has now been tasked with taking up her case load in addition to his own. As a judge appointed in the 2018 election, Reed will continue to work within Coconino County's Recovery and Juvenile Court in addition to now taking criminal and civil cases.

Superior Court Judge Ted Reed, center, takes the oath of office Wednesday morning during a swearing in ceremony.

Despite his eight years on the bench, Reed has only overseen one jury trial, but the new judge is looking forward to this opportunity to oversee a diversity of cases.

“Excited, that’s how I feel,” Reed said. “I think we have many cases that are ready to be set for trial -- even this next week, where we’re going to be setting cases to trial and calling juries.”

The judge acknowledged that adding criminal jury trials to his caseload will force him to ensure that people are being treated fairly by attorneys and juries. When he has to decide a sentence, he will need to figure out the proper application of justice for both the person found guilty, but the community at large.

“That’s part of the experience. It is figuring out how to hear about the bad things that are happening to people, and figure out how to ensure people’s rights are afforded,” Reed said. “When you have the opportunity to help shape behavior for a better outcome, you do that in light of protecting the community.”

Reed explained that some of the family cases he has overseen as a judge have been in some ways more difficult than murder cases, because family cases can require creative solutions for the children involved in custody or divorce proceedings.

“That’s all on the judge’s shoulders. There is no help,” Reed said. “You can bring in professionals and try to implement services, but that’s all on the judge’s shoulders.”

He also felt that the experience he has gained in recovery and juvenile delinquency courts has been invaluable.

Recovery Court is one that is designed to help people who have a high risk for violating their probation and a high need for a court-supervised treatment program, Reed explained. He said the Recovery Court is built to intercede within the cycle of addiction and criminal incarceration, which does little to prevent continued addiction.

A judge is expected to act different in Recovery Court, including using a different tone than a regular criminal proceeding. Reed explained that many people in the court have a negative view of prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.

“We try to reframe their view of the world by understanding that this judge cares about me, but they certainly won’t learn that if they’re being yelled at,” Reed said.

Presiding Judge Mark Moran explained that Reed has spent his time in the Recovery Court improving it by increasing awareness, size and helping it receive dedicated funding. Moran said Reed’s position as a judge pro tempore, or as a judge that can be hired and fired by the county, has allowed him to gain experience as he helps take some cases off of other judges’ plates.

“Judge Reed has been with us cutting his teeth and doing everything except jury trials,” Moran said. “He brings a very experienced and balanced background to that position, much more so than other judges moving from pro tempore.”

Reed looks at this part of his life as a voter-appointed judge as his next “chapter,” and sees it as one of learning.

“In this job, experience matters. When I took the position I was an experienced prosecutor and I had some experience in family law,” Reed said. “Since then I’ve handled an extremely heavy case load in juvenile court and recovery court. Every case has its own dynamic. Every case provides experience.”

After his election by the voters in 2018, voters will be asked whether they would like to keep judges like Reed on through retention elections. Reed expressed his appreciation for being able to work in Coconino for the voters, and hoped to remain retained in the future.

“I love Coconino County. I’m happy to raise my family here, to serve my career here. I’m honored to do so,” Reed said. “I have no intention of serving anywhere else. I intend to work here until I retire if the community allows me to do so.”

Colleen Brady