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Fuller gets highest honors at Texas A&M

Texas A&M University recently recognized three students with the highest honors given to graduating seniors at the Learning Communities, Academic Excellence, Undergraduate Research Opportunities, National Fellowships, Capstones and Honors Programs (LAUNCH) Recognition Ceremony as well as commencement.

Among the three was Joshua Fuller of Flagstaff. Fuller earned a Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Award for strong leadership, superior academic achievement, and extracurricular involvement in campus and community activities. The Brown Foundation, Inc. in Houston endowed the Brown-Rudder awards to recognize students who embody the traits of the late Gen. Earl Rudder, World War II hero and president of Texas A&M from 1959 to 1970.

Fuller, who was described by one of his nominators as having an “active mind that makes teaching at the college level a rewarding experience,” graduated magna cum laude with a dual bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish and a minor in neuroscience.

“I knew about half of the nominees for this award, and the way they pursue A&M’s core values in everything they do is inspirational and makes receiving this honor all the more humbling,” Fuller said. “Many of them have persevered through personal and financial challenges while keeping the core values, and that made me realize that no matter my circumstances, I should always strive for excellence and avenues to serve others.”

Among numerous accolades and appointments during his undergraduate career, Fuller was in the University Honors Program and on the Dean’s List; he earned several significant scholarships and fellowships; he participated in the Cornerstone Liberal Arts and Research Program; he served the university as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador; he received the Buck Weirus Spirit Award; and he was named the 2017 Jack Nation Outstanding Psychology Senior.

Fuller earned a prestigious student poster award from the National Academy of Neuropsychology for his research, which he presented at local and national research conferences. He serves as the lead author of an article that is currently in revision.

While working to advance assessment and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in the lab, Fuller also worked part time for the Alzheimer’s Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing Alzheimer’s disease research, support and care. He devoted his time, expertise and energy to numerous other groups around campus and the community.

He volunteered as an Aggie Fish Camp counselor, adviser for the Honors Housing Community, president of the Honors Student Council, chair of the Student Affairs Fee Advisory Board, and founding member of both the Texas Aggies Fighting Alzheimer’s and Christian Healthcare Leaders organizations.

“The most incredible aspect of Josh Fuller is that he is so well rounded and balanced,” his nominator continued. “He works; he is involved in leadership in multiple organizations; he attends church; he plays the piano; he enjoys photography; he volunteers in the community; and enjoys Aggie sports events.”

Fuller will pursue his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Boston University and join researchers at Harvard University’s Massachusetts General Hospital for an Alzheimer’s study in Antioquia, Colombia. He aspires to contribute in meaningful ways to advance diagnostic research and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, which has affected his family as well as the lives of an estimated 40 million people around the world.

A portion of the financial gift that accompanied his award will help him make his cross-country move to Boston, and another part will return to Texas A&M in conjunction with a financial gift his family intends to make.

On May 23, staff and officials from the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership, City of Flagstaff, Arizona Dept. of Forestry & Fire Management, USAA Insurance, The Nature Conservancy, NAU’s Ecological Restoration Institute and many other partners gathered to honor area residents selected as winners of the 2017 Firewise Landscaping Contest. The contestants this year were recognized for their proactive efforts in wildfire reduction on their property, while creating an attractive landscape. Their use of appropriate native flowers interspersed with a balance of Firewise trees, shrubs and stone created beautiful landscapes while increasing the safety of their home and neighborhood.

Implementing Firewise principles around homes is a key component of what it means to become “fire adapted.” A fire adapted community is one that accepts fire as part of the natural landscape, understands the fire risk and takes action before a wildfire occurs.

The contest, organized by the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership, was funded by the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network. Some of the contest winners, not in order, are pictured here with city officials: Dennis and Ruth Moore, Diana Pennington, Bobby Eccleston, Tommy Bustamante, Kim and Tim Bonatus, and Marcella Hill. (Courtesy photo)

How death was both an art form and source of profit during the 1800s

Madeline and Ken Kwiatkowski paid a visit to the Naperville Cemetery, but they weren’t there to remember loved ones.

Instead, the couple was drawn by a Naper Settlement program, Victorian Memory and Mourning, which explored the death and bereavement traditions practiced in the 1800s and offered a primer on how to interpret the symbols seen on 19th-century grave markers.

“I love history, and I see this as a way to learn more about things from the past based on the artifacts and the various designs used on graves and the meanings behind them,” Ken Kwiatkowski said.

The program was led by Sheila Riley, Naper Settlement’s director of learning experiences, who said she has more than three decades of cemetery interpretation experience.

“I’ve only moved to Naperville recently, but I’ve done this type of interpretive work as well as the museum business for over 30 years,” Riley said. “The goal here is to show something about how people during the Victorian period dealt with death.”

Riley offered nearly an hour of background information and presented mourning artifacts before leading the group out to the cemetery. She highlighted a number of Victorian practices that vastly differ from today’s customs, and she covered such things as what was to be worn during bereavement and how long a loved one was to be mourned.

“A lot of these practices began back in the middle of the 19th century, and at the time, there was a social etiquette, as rules of behavior were followed that included both religious and folk traditions,” Riley said. “Mourning typically went on for two years if you were middle class or above. They wore black and were not seen in public. They went through various stages to honor a loved one.”

When Queen Victoria lost her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861, she made wearing black “socially acceptable,” Riley said. The topic of death was very much part of the everyday life of the time.

“You had the Civil War going on, so there was always talk of death, and Queen Victoria set the pace for what was acceptable at the time,” Riley said. “She mourned her husband for 40 years.”

Mourning was also a big business in the late 1800s, she said. Not only did mourners need to purchase black clothing, but there was also accompanying jewelry and other accessories, artwork and numerous items to preserve the loved one’s memory.

“There definitely was a market for goods in the mourning industry as death was common, unlike today where you can often take a pill and you’re cured,” she said.

Much of Riley’s presentation focused on decoding many of the symbols engraved on grave markers.

“Symbols were often used as people couldn’t read, but they knew what the pictures and carvings stood for,” she said.

Ivy, for example, signifies immortality, Riley said. Ferns were used to show humility, roses for love and empty chairs for the void left by someone’s death.

“Sometimes you’ll find a glove in memory of a woman, or a broken column, which meant that someone’s life was shortened,” she said. “There were also large cosmetic memorials that hung in people’s houses.”

One couple said they like visiting graveyards because of their historic nature.

“We enjoy going to old cemeteries and have done tours of this one in Naperville as well as others before,” said Donna Connell, of Wheaton.

“I enjoy history, and I like looking at these grave markings and sort of reading between the lines,” added her husband, Joe. “You see a lot of the family names from people here in Naperville that have streets named after them, and I find the insights intriguing.”

Deb Dima said she moved here three years ago and likes learning more about the area.

“I personally think the art of the tombstone is fascinating, and I’m curious about the Victorian era,” Dima said. “Things have really changed over the years, and people don’t put the same amount of panache into it as they did before. I’m new here and want to know more about the movers and shakers of Naperville.”

Grants awarded to northern Arizona nonprofits

The annual competitive grants process for the communities of northern Arizona, facilitated by the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff, culminated recently in the awarding of grants to nonprofits in Page, Williams and Tuba City.

A total of $22,013 was awarded to seven nonprofit organizations serving residents of Page/Lake Powell. This year’s grant recipients include the Arizona Theatre Company, Association for Supportive Child Care, Coconino County Public Health Services, Glen Canyon Natural History Association, Special Olympics Arizona, The Circle of Page, and United Way of Northern Arizona (Kindercamp).

Eight nonprofit organizations serving residents of Williams were awarded a total of $9,575. This year’s grant recipients include the Arizona Science Center, Coconino Community Services, Girls on the Run of Northern Arizona, Matthew James Broehm VFW Auxiliary Post, United Way of Northern Arizona – KinderCamp, Williams Alliance for the Arts, Williams Fire Department, and Williams Public Library.

In Tuba City, $7,006 was awarded to four nonprofit organizations serving its residents. This year’s grant recipients include the Life Sharing Center, Tuba City Humane Society, Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation, and United Way of Northern Arizona – VITA Program.

For more information about the competitive grants process or ACF of Flagstaff, contact Gwen Groth, Regional Philanthropic Advisor, at or call 520-526-1956.

Community Thanks: Another great year for Blues and Brews

To the editor:

The Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival would like to thank everyone who attended, volunteered and supported this year’s festival. This event would not be possible without the amazing volunteers, many who were local, who came out and supported this fun event once again. Your dedication and commitment to making this event a success keeps us going.

We’d also like to thank our sponsors who have been our partners through the years and come on board each year to make it better – our sponsors include: Twin Arrows Casino and Resort, Russ Lyon/Sotheby’s Realtors, Findlay Toyota, Naked Mobile, Hensley Beverage Company, Melissa Cripps State Farm, Satchmos, Green Tree Inn, Keeping the Blues Alive, Academy Mortgage, A Friendly Cab, ES Sonesta Suites, Competition Car Star, Arizona Music Pro, Pepsi, Massage Envy, Whole Foods, Southside Tavern, The Weatherford Hotel and Great Circle Radio. Thank you for all your support, we couldn’t do this without you.

Thank you to all those businesses that helped us by donating food, services and being awesome! We’d like to thank Eagle Mountain, Canyon Coolers, Arrowhead Water, Cater Oil, NiMarcos Pizza, Arizona Shuttle, United Rentals, Tacos Los Altos, and Peter Piper Pizza.

A very special thank you to Continental Country Club for being our host for this event and for being great community partners. People from all over the state enjoy attending this event because of the location. Thank you to the CVB for all your help in promotions, and for all you do to promote Flagstaff.

Thank you to our charity – Orchestra of Northern Arizona. We were inspired by your children’s orchestra program and it is our hope that the money raised will influence many young lives through music. Thank you for all your volunteers and support.

Thank you to our friends, family and especially our staff. You are the heart of this festival and we couldn’t do it without you. And last, but by no means least, thank you to everyone who attended and made this festival so successful. We do this for you and appreciate all your feedback and love. See everyone again next year!


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Volunteer Opportunities

The Think Jesus Fellowship is looking for a few mature individuals willing to donate a few hours a week to house sit at its Think Jesus House Transitional Living Facility housing homeless veterans and those less fortunate in Flagstaff and on Sundays at Berg's BBQ feeding the less fortunate. For more information, contact Rhonda Karas, house manager, at 530-739-9100 or email