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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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11/14/2012 8:56:00 AM
Verde Valley Leadership Class VI hosts Regional Issue Day

Class VI of Verde Valley Leadership (VVL) hosted their final issue day for the year at the Cottonwood Recreation Center Oct. 26. The Regional Issue day consisted of informative panel discussions and guests speakers presenting information about local issues that ranged from community services, affordable housing and employment.

The focus of the Regional Issue day was to provide an opportunity for VVL class VI members to introduce the incoming Class VII, how an issue day is planned, operates, and provides an array of issues focused on helping those within the Verde Valley communities.

First on the Agenda was a panel discussion. Carol Quasula and Liza Pederson of Catholic Charities shared the background and services provided by Catholic Charities showing how they are about serving the most vulnerable and offering solutions. Liza informed us of The Loft Homeless Center.

Liza stated, "Everyone who walks through our door is equal; these are incredible people who deserve a voice." Mark Pelletier, the new executive director at Old Town Mission, supports everyone who is in the business of serving food to the needy.

Patty May of Verde Valley Guidance Clinic spoke of her opportunity to develop and open Women's World, a women's in patient center she manages. She believes "there is not a problem without a solution." As a special guest, Patty introduced the group to one of the graduates of the center who shared her success story and how she now adopts new beliefs. Barbara Mikkelsen, from the US Vets, shared a story of her work with a 90 year-old Veteran.

Jack Fields from the Yavapai Co. Attorney's Office spoke of the risks, danger and side effects of "bath salts" and "spice." He explained that they are synthetic drugs and chemists continue to tweak them to avoid being illegal.

The group then heard positive input from Neil Goodell, regarding the Yavapai College Foundation and the Southwest Wine Center vision and development.

After a lunch brought in by Thyme & Again Café, the afternoon speakers focused on Affordable Housing and Employment. Gayle Durkin, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, announced they are currently choosing a family for a new home. Habitat for Humanity uses the sales from the Re-Store to build homes.

Donna Hasting of USDA Rural Development explained their loan programs for low-income households and those people who cannot attain a loan for housing.

Ty Tippetts of Nexus Housing joined the group and brought along a slide show of his successful affordable housing communities throughout the southwest. Ty stated, "Communities need safe and decent affordable housing."

Dave Beach finished the day with his experiences helping the community find employment through Department of Economic Security.

The entire day proved to be a learning opportunity for Class VII. They experienced first hand the challenges and logistics of putting on an issue day and all who attended benefited from inspiring leaders and experts in their fields regarding community relations/support in the Verde Valley.

For more information about Verde Valley Leadership please visit: www.vvleadership.org.


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