Ongoing Yarnell Events

Tai Chi – Mon/Wed/Sat 9am Presbyterian Church $4

Yoga – T/Th 8am Blue Barn $4

Meditation – Tue 1pm Blue Barn $4

New Horizons Tue 4pm at the Presbyterian Church.  For 18+ diagnosed with anxiety, depression, bi-polar

Al Anon – Sat 10am Presbyterian Church

Community Garden – T/Th/Sat workdays 10am at the Garden.  Meetings 2nd and 4th Sat at CC at 12pm

Yarnell Fire Auxiliary – 4th Tuesday of the month at 2pm at the Fire Annex Building

Chamber meeting – 3rd Wed of the month 5:30 at the CC


2016: Ready, Set, Go!

What a wonderful New Year it will be…what can go wrong, after all, when we have such a cohesive community – one that stands together, falls together and rises together. Let’s lock arms to make a great January 2016. Keep reading for all the events you can enjoy, share and support.

On a personal nadelynote, I am blessed to have another granddaughter, Adelyn Erica Rabago, born on December 20th! She’s a beauty, of course. She has my genes! HAHAHA. Is it my imagination, or does she have “piano fingers”?

I must have been a good girl in 2015. Santa Lou bought me a new digital piano – my dream piano: a Roland FP-80. This instrument does everything but clean up the dinner dishes, although I think I could train it to do those too! I’ve been playing it for hours every night, getting to know its array of functions. Can’t wait to show it off to you….


  1. Friday, January 8th, Elks Lodge 2160 Wickenburg – I’ll bring on the tunes, they’ll cook a great feast, and this place likes to dance. Come join us from 5:30 – 8:30pm! OR
  2. Friday, January 8th, Yarnell Family Diner – Walt Eckes can’t make it this week, so you’ll be entertained by Delbert Long, AWESOME guitarist. The locals are very familiar with Delbert; check him out while you enjoy dinner, 5pm-8pm.
  3. Friday, January 15th, Third Friday Birthday Night! Our January babies are: (INSERT BIRTHDAYS). I will be away on a conference for the Fire District, so Manzanita Road’s Duo from Prescott will be your Birthday Bash Entertainment! 5pm-8pm, and birthday babies get free dessert. Trivia Game just for fun, provided by Leah Tidey. This is always a fun night.

Carolyn Sands – Jan 2
Diane Tackett – Jan 3
Cliff Dupuy – Jan 10
Barb Schlegel – Jan 17
Mary Skalkoyannis – Jan 24
Rowle Simmons – Yavapai County Board of Supervisors

NOTE: Saturday January 16th… Mike Manone of Yarnell Homes will be having a BB & Pot Luck with bonfire and a drumming. Starts at 5 PM.

FYI, I have been hired a lot lately for private parties – FUN! I’m about to perform for the second time at Simpson Ranch, next Wednesday. I wish I could invite you all; however it’s a private RV Club. But, keep me in mind for private parties, weddings, house parties, etc….I like small intimate settings just as much as the bigger and rowdy ones.


  1. Tuesday, January 12th – EMT Classes begin at the Yarnell Fire District Training Center. These classes provide certification and test prep for the State Requirements and the National Exam. It’s not too late to sign up. Share the info for this 3 month course, and have candidates call 928-427-6578 to sign up.
  2. Wednesday, January 13th at 7pm Acoustic Eidolon Concert at the Yarnell Presbyterian Church. Amazing Duo, world-renowned! Get your tickets in advance: $15 for one, $25 for two. They’re available at the Fire Administration Building. This is a fundraiser for the Yarnell Fire Auxiliary. If you wait, the tickets will be $20 at the door.
  3. Also, Wednesday, January 13th, Yarnell Public Library hosts an Artist Meet and Greet at 3pm. Refreshments include cookies and juice.
  4. Thursday, January 14th, Community Meeting will be held at 6pm in the Yarnell Community Center. Open to all who want to keep up on community projects, recovery from the fire, the Dollar General, Memorial Park status, etc…
  5. Saturday, January 16th at 8:30am is the Community Leadership Breakfast, hosted by the Yarnell Presbyterian Church. This is a social mixer, shall we say.
  6. Monday, January 18th – Dessert Day at the Yarnell Community Center from 11am – 12:30pm. This is a fundraiser for the YCC, and you can enjoy Pie or Cake Ala Mode. Yum!
  7. Wednesday, January 20th at 5:30pm is the Monthly Chamber of Commerce Meeting, at the Community Center. The Chamber has several projects in motion. Come on over to the meeting to learn what’s happening and get involved!

I think that’s a great way to end this event blog for now. I sure hope to see you soon.




Chuck Tidey, Artist & Leader

Artist Chuck Tidey: A Natural Leader

Having been born in LaPort, Indiana, Chuck Tidey would never have thought of Yarnell, AZ as home. He probably wouldn’t have guessed he would be displaying his colorful artwork at the Yarnell Public Library as a Featured Artist. If you asked him, he would tell you he had no aspirations to be an invaluable leader in this community. But things happen for a reason. Throughout life’s pathways, Chuck’s intuitive ability to take initiative when needed has rewarded his life in sensational ways.

SunflowersIf you were to read about his accomplishments – awards for military service, flight school, etc…- you might be tempted to consider him to be unapproachable. But once you meet him, it takes no time to establish that he is a humble, jovial person who enjoys sharing memories. He is certainly not ostentatious. He’s just Chuck Tidey and that’s fine by him.

When he was 9 years old, Chuck moved with his family from Indiana to San Fernando Valley, CA. His father was a mechanic; his mom was a waitress. Chuck fondly remembers when his mother left waitressing and became a dispatcher for the California Highway Patrol. Remember the 1970’s T.V. series, CHiPs? As it turns out, some of the actual dispatch transmissions on the TV series were authentic recordings. Chuck’s mother’s voice was heard by many viewers of CHiPs. Chuck also remembers that his mom came upon a difficult situation while dispatching. In what is known as the Newhall Massacre, April 6, 1970, a shoot out between heavily armed criminals and the California Highway Patrol resulted in four CHP officers being killed within 5 minutes. Chuck recalls that his mother was on dispatch duty at the time, and the incident broke her heart for many reasons. Firstly, the officers were young married men with small children. Secondly, she was forced to endure several weeks of testifying as a dispatch witness. Regardless of hard times, Chuck’s mother is still a lady of strength and good health.

After graduating high school in 1965, Chuck decided not to pursue college. Instead, he enlisted in Flight School, a 2 year program with the US Army.Courtyard He became a Chief Warrant Officer Helicopter Pilot. He spent his first 6 months after flight school stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas. And then, it was off to Vietnam. The ride to Vietnam was quite the adventure. An old troop ship from World War II was his transportation on the 21-day voyage across the Pacific. It was a horrifying trek. Riding through a typhoon in a ship that felt like it was held together by rubber bands does not induce confidence in a successful journey. Yet, he arrived and lives to tell the tale. Upon his arrival, he took his R&R in Sydney, Australia. Chuck served one year in Vietnam, logging 1,064 combat hours. His service earned him service medals and an air medal. His roommate in flight school was sadly the only casualty in his unit. Chuck also survived a helicopter crash caused by engine failure. There were several students onboard, and thankfully, no one was injured.

Chuck and LeahAfter 20 years in a military career, Chuck retired, receiving his first retirement paycheck on his 39th birthday. His life adventures were many, and were just beginning. He then worked for Hughes Aircraft Company for over 11+ years. He had married and became the proud father of a son, James. The marriage lasted 13 years. Again, fate stepped in and brought him to Sambo’s Restaurant in Yuma, AZ. Chuck’s niece worked at Sambo’s, so he would eat there to visit her. But, guess who else waitressed at Sambo’s? The lovely Leah, who shortly thereafter became his wife. Chuck and Leah have been together for 31 years. They have traveled the world, living abroad at times (including Australia), and finally settled in Yarnell. Chuck’s position with Hughes Aircraft led to being transferred to Washington, D.C., where the couple lived and Leah became a secretary. (Somebody had to keep everyone straight! And she still does.) After retiring from Hughes Aircraft, Chuck & Leah moved to the Florida Keys. After awhile, they were ready for a change.

Chuck’s mother lived in Las Vegas, NV. His son lived in Yuma then (he now resides in Idaho). The Tidey’s desired to find a place between the two. Yarnell was the perfect spot. One day in 2003 while driving from Prescott, Chuck found the property. It was 54 acres, which was much more than he and Leah wanted; but delightedly, it was being subdivided, and they were able to purchase the eight acres they now call home. Chuck and Leah designed a dream home: Adobe-Hacienda design, complete with a unique circular sitting room, a wine room, a gorgeous outdoor courtyard, a ramada, and beautiful boulder-layden views. Not only did they design it, but they helped during construction. Leah hung all the insulation, while Chuck pulled the electrical wiring. The house took about 20 months to complete, during which time the Tidey’s rented an apartment in Wickenburg. However, change is calling them again. This home is on the market, waiting for its next owner. Chuck and Leah have decided to downsize and build another home in Yarnell.

Chuck became the Yarnell-Peeples Valley Chamber of Commerce President two years ago. At the time, the Chamber was going Leafy Dragonthrough transitions and a leader was needed to pull things together. He acted quickly to help form the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group immediately after the 2013 fire. The YHRG, as it is called, has not had an easy task, and while their efforts have been enormous, they have faced opposition on many levels. Chuck explained that all one can do is their very best, and it is expected that you can’t possibly please everyone. He believes the group will remain active for about 5 years to ensure that “Yarnell will rebuild better and stronger!”

Chuck began sketching while in flight school, at the age of 18. He actually found himself sketching during class! But art became a hobby that he immensely enjoys. When Chuck and Leah came to Yarnell, Leah found out about the local artist group who paints together on a weekly basis. Many talented artists in the area attend the group sessions. Barbara Schlegel, Jerry Florman, Bill Chaplin and Bob Brandon are among them. Chuck has painted with these artists for 5 years. He has never received formal training, but has a natural gift – especially with his use of bold, brilliant appealing colors. He doesn’t mind abstract art, and he doesn’t mind realism. He just paints from a picture he finds interesting, and makes it his own colorful creation. For Leah’s 40th birthday, Chuck took her on a vacation to Rome, Italy. They were eating dinner on the Piazza River when Leah spotted a painting that she absolutely loved. It was a rendition of brightly colored sunflowers on a red background. Chuck told her to take a picture of the painting, and he would paint her an original from the photo. He accomplished that! And it proudly hangs in the kitchen today. The warmth of the golden and italian red kitchen makes the sunflowers stand out perfectly. Chuck’s medium of choice is acrylic. He has also experimented with a palette using acrylic. He has a story to tell for each painting, which gives it a more artistic meaning. In their guest casita, there is a wall containing a grouping of painted fish. Chuck explained that at one time, he and Leah were going to move back to Florida. He asked each member of the artist group to paint a fish for him, so he would have them in Florida to fondly remember their times together. Thankfully, they stayed in Yarnell. But those brightly colored tropical fish paintings are hanging so beautifully, reminding Chuck and Leah of good friends, the beauty of art and their love for the tropics.

NemoThe Yarnell Public Library features artists each month. The Featured Artist for November 2014 is our very own Chuck Tidey. His art is being displayed there at the time of this writing. Visit the library to see some of Chuck’s favorites: “Nemo”, “Leafy Sea Dragon” and much more. Chuck has also provided a way for visitors to support the library. Each 8 X 10 painting is priced at $100. All of the proceeds will go to Friends of the Library. There will be a “Meet & Greet the Artist” on November 17th from 2pm-4pm. You will not want to miss this opportunity to talk to Chuck and listen to the interesting stories behind the paintings. The bright and inviting colors he chooses are a fabulous reflection of himself.

Thank you, Chuck and Leah for being an important part of Yarnell; not just for the leadership, event promotion, organizing, and all of the tasks you both accomplish, but for being true friends to so many of us, being true to yourselves and for being an example of hope in a community that thrives on it. You are loved….

Jerry Florman – Trial by Fire Made her Stronger

Just as I was beginning to become familiar with her, a fire ravaged Yarnell Hill. The news broadcast on the television kept us glued and somber during the 9-day evacuation period. Her demeanor was humble, sincere and extraordinarily calm. The voice on the news was Jerry Florman and Artthat of Jerry Florman being interviewed by the local Phoenix news anchor. I recognized her voice, her name and the burning scenery of which she spoke. Her words were carefully chosen – her outlook was an amazing tribute to her incredible inner strength. I, for one, felt instantly comforted by listening to her interviews. The question was posed to Jerry: “And what have you been told about your own home in Yarnell?”. That’s the moment my eyes became teary. Her response was so gracious: “It has been confirmed that our home is gone…”

Yes, there was sadness in her recounting of the tragedy. But she, at that moment, was granted the opportunity which she so aptly took: exuding HOPE.

Jerry S. Jones-Florman was born the second of 4 children in Des Moines, Iowa. She was Jerry & Kurt Flormanprivileged to have a mother who excelled at art. Painting was a family hobby. Jerry’s two sisters and brother also painted, though she is the one who continues. Her beautiful pieces adorn the home that she and her husband, Kurt, now rent in Yarnell. The plans are being made and adjusted for the rebuilding of the couples’ fire-destroyed home.

Jerry attended college in Iowa in 1969, seeking a career in Early Childhood Education. “A regret I have in life is not finishing my degree,” she explains. However, she continued by pointing out that all the decisions, triumphs and trials of life make us who we are, and often result in uncanny strength. Her passion for children would lead to opportunities later in her life.

In 1971, Jerry was a “Flower Child Hippie”, a peripheral participant in the Peace Makers movement. She had the desire to see the country, experience individual freedom, and travel extensively. So, while admittedly scaring her dear mother to tears, Jerry decided to hitchhike back and forth across the United States. She did see the country – by the means of her own thumb. Dangerous? At times, but the dangers were overshadowed by her sense of adventure. She tells me of one very terrifying experience:

“I remember ending up in a corn field for the night. The wind was whipping the corn around this way and that – I just KNEW someone was walking through the corn to come get me!” Yet, it always worked out for Jerry, and morning always came, dispelling the fears of darkness.

Growing up, Jerry traveled to Arizona every year with her family. It was a favorite state to visit. In fact, her parents bought a home in Cave Creek. At that time, Jerry was in Philadelphia, PA, and longed to be closer to her parents. And that’s how this lovely lady came to reside in Arizona. A good move indeed, especially since she met the love of her life, Kurt Florman. Jerry became Mrs. Florman in 1977, and there have been few regrets. The couple has an obvious respect and undying love for each other. Jerry had the privilege of marrying into an instant family as well. She has 2 step children and 4 grandchildren, who reside in the Valley.

One giveaway of a solid marriage? Kurt and Jerry opened a Pre-School/Daycare called “Desert Blossoms” in their home, in Cave Creek, AZ; they worked together to realize her dreams for Early Childhood Education. Eventually, the Florman’s were able to build a second home, and the Preschool became New Friends Montessori and moved to a separate building on their property. Many children received a great start through these two preschools. The whole experience was wonderfully rewarding for Jerry.

Naturally, we often wonder how anyone ends up in Yarnell, Arizona – small town, little known, hidden in the most awesome part of the Weaver Mountains….how does someone who lived in Des Moines, Iowa, the Valley, Cave Creek (and all over the country, including corn fields!) find Yarnell? Interestingly enough, Jerry’s sister invited her to come up for a Yarnell Daze Parade in 2002. It happened to be the annual “Yarnell Daze”. She fell in love with this community from the start, prompting her and Kurt to make Yarnell their home in 2003. Jerry poetically describes her take on this community: “The texture of life here is so rich.” Well-spoken, indeed.

Artist study groupShe quickly integrated into the Community Spirit of Yarnell, becoming active in many areas of interest. The Mountain Top Festival that first brought her to Yarnell is her “baby” this year. May 10th, 2014 will be a celebration of Community Spirit, the likes of which have never been seen. The post-fire recovery has unified the community. Jerry is looking forward to a fantastic “Yarnell Daze”. She has been planning, promoting and hosting meetings for the event for several months now. In addition to the busy-ness of Yarnell Daze, she is the writer responsible for The Wickenburg Sun’s weekly column entitled “Up Yarnell Way”. Jerry is quite a talented writer; her passion for Yarnell and all of its activities are evident when you read her articles.

Jerry’s paintings are impressively creative; they are “Realism” paintings, touting immense Jerry Florman painting 1detail and impeccable use of color. One of her paintings reminds me so much of my childhood hometown park, with the old light posts. The local scenes she chooses are peaceful and serene – soothing to view, much like the soothing effect of her speaking voice. Her paintings are on display at the T- Bird Café in Peeples Valley.
Jerry is also a weekly attendee of the local artist’s group that meets to paint every Thursday morning. Chuck Tidey, Bill Chaplin, Barbara Schlegal, Bob Brandon, Cynthia Reece, Anita Kristensen and Sandy Oldman are her Thursday morning companions. This group has become close-knit, and the time they spend together is a highlight in their week.

Jerry has many other hobbies as well. She loves to entertain guests at her home. She gave me a preview of the new house plans, pointing out that there will be plenty of room for Jerry Florman painting 2parties at the Florman house! Jerry also loves to sing. Sometimes she sings with Bill Chaplin and Vanessa Purdy. Her favorite genre of music is “Posi Music”, AKA “Positive Music”. Uplifting lyrics that reflect her hopeful attitude are her songs of choice. One of her very favorite songs is a composition is by Jana Stenfield: “Say Hello to Your Destiny”.

“That’s where we are right here in Yarnell: this is our New Destiny. In light of all that has happened since last June, this is WHERE we ARE,” she says, with that comforting look in her eyes. What a pleasure I had to meet with you, Jerry. I know I can speak for all who know you in Yarnell: we sincerely thank you for the encouragement you give us, the light you shine in your smile, the talents you share with us and the work you do to further unite Yarnell.

Patricia “Trish” Edwards – Violinist, Seamstress and Crafty!

Trish & Chuck EdwardsDevoted wife, loving mother, dedicated to community and a multi-talented lady, Trish Edwards is a beautiful person – inside and out. A visit to the Edward’s Glen Ilah home is inspiring. It is a place clearly filled with family love, happiness and a sense of “home sweet home”. Christmas decor was being slowly dismantled when I visited. The Roth Violin, which Trish has used for 43 years, was neatly in its case under the love seat. The family cat was stealthily sneaking around the corners, and Trish’s husband Chuck, newly retired, joined us for an interview. Family photos, great memories, and some sad ones were all shared. I was impressed by this couple’s transparency. One thing this author enjoys about Yarnell and its surrounding community is the REALNESS of people. The Edwards are REAL.

Trish was born in Scranton, PA and moved at a young age to a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, where she grew up as the oldest of 5 children. She began playing the violin in the fourth Wreathgrade. During elementary school years, Trish and all of her siblings played instruments. One sibling played cello, another played flute, another coronet, one played piano, and of course, Trish on the violin. It was a family orchestral ensemble! Trish was the one who continued playing all through high school. She has had the privilege of playing in the Rock Orchestra in her Ohio High School, as well as the Parma Civic Orchestra and later was able to join the Phoenix Metro Pops Orchestra, all of which became valuable experience in her life.

Trish attended the University of Akron, graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She would later receive her Master’s in Education from the good old “Lumberjacks” at Northern Arizona University. She is now retired from a rewarding school teaching career in Glendale, and still substitutes when she’s needed. Retirement for Trish is no lazy affair! She is very active in the community, serving on committees and volunteering where necessary. She also has several hobbies that engage her time at home. Notice the picture of the beautiful Christmas Wreath – a creation by Trish. She is versatile in her handcrafts, and is also quite the seamstress. She sews and embroiders by hand or with a machine. She also loves gardening, both ornamental flowers and vegetables. Trish is very active in the Presbyterian Church, playing the violin in a small group regularly. Her mentality is simple: she enjoys it! It’s not what defines her, but rather, she defines what she enjoys doing.

HomeShe met her other half, Chuck, in the old fashioned “Sadie Hawkins” method. She asked him to dance, and in fact, it was at Houlihan’s in Phoenix that the couple met in 1982. Chuck and Trish will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this June 29th. They both explained that they will never forget the date the Yarnell Hill Fire ignited, since it was their anniversary weekend. The property behind their home, right up against Walt and Dolores Eckes house, was burned badly. But thankfully, THIS time, their home was untouched. Once before, it was nearly destroyed by a lightning strike, in 1996. The Edwards bought the home in 1992, and at the time, it was their weekend get-away home. Their main residence was in Glendale, where they raised 2 beautiful daughters, Jessica and Allison. Both Chuck and Trish worked in Glendale, but really loved Yarnell/Glen Ilah. When the 1996 lightning storm hit their roof, nothing was left but a couple outside walls and the fireplace. A neighbor called to tell them the house was on fire. Chuck expounds, “The house was built in 1929, and had very Daughter's Weddingold electric, and nothing was up to code. My first thought was, ‘LET IT BURN'”, he laughed. “When the insurance money came through we were able to rebuild, so much better than before.” Trish added that these are the trials of life that make people stronger. She is right, and many of our residents can agree with that!

Chuck Edwards grew up in Neptune, NJ (one of my old haunts!). He is a year younger than his only sister. Chuck is no stranger to a houseful of women! God bless him. So, how does a Ohio Girl meet a New Jersey boy in Phoenix? That was my question. Both Trish and Chuck had done extensive travelling, and Chuck loved cross country trips. Both of them loved Arizona from the first visit, and boom – that’s how they got here. Chuck told an interesting story, which could almost be a “Twilight Zone” lost episode. He had been travelling cross country in 1977, and was filming randomly with his 8mm video camera. Years later, after moving to this area, he was watching the 1977 film, and realized that he had filmed the Highway 89 Yarnell Hill climb from Congress, never really remembering it, but also never realizing that he would actually LIVE in Yarnell someday! What’s meant to be is, well – meant to be…

GraduationChuck officially retired from his position at Fry’s Market in Glendale on January 3rd, 2014. He, like Trish, will never be in retirement boredom. For one thing, he has a great “Man Cave”, a beautiful little building in the back yard that he built himself, with a nice patio and sliding glass doors. It houses his entire movie collection, which is one of his hobbies. He has collected approximately 600 DVD’s including many favorites: Star Wars, The Winds of War (television series), and anything else he enjoys watching.

Another passion of Chuck’s is Elk Hunting, and in fact there are a couple elk skulls in the Edwards’ yard. The Mogollan Rim are is his Elk hunting territory. He explained to me that GraduationElk is a very gamey tasting meat, and many don’t like the strongness of it. Since I haven’t tasted Elk yet, I’m curious now! What’s included in Chuck’s retirement to do list? Volunteering for Community efforts. No one is quite sure if HE volunteered for this, or if he has BEEN volunteered for this. Chuck’s a good man, and he doesn’t mind, and for that, we are all grateful. At a recent party in honor of his retirement, we were all pleased to hear Chuck’s rendition of “Bad, Bad LeRoy Brown”. Sign him up! The man can sing…

Recently, Chuck and Trish had the honor of hosting their oldest daughter’s (Jess) wedding at their Glen Ilah home. They sold the Glendale house to their daughter and new son-in-law. The couple now reside full time in Glen Ilah. We are a lucky community! Their Petssecond daughter, Allison, is a graduate student in the field of Physical Therapy. As of now, Trish and Chuck have no grandchildren, accept of course for Ginger and Sadie, the canine kids. Ginger is the white cutie, and she is about 6 years old. They acquired Ginger from the animal shelter, and Trish explains: “She has a Con mentality”. You see, Ginger has a bad habit of stealing things, right out from under your nose. Chuck was working with tools, and Ginger walked away with them. Trish put something on the dinner plate, Ginger walked away with it. She was a sneaky sort, but they’re doing a good job of breaking the bad habit. Sadie is a black dog, a bit larger than Ginger, who they have owned for 5 months. For now, Ginger and Sadie are the “grand kids”.

I asked Trish what she would love to accomplish or do in the next five years, and she quickly responded that one dream she has to go camping in Europe. She wants to see the countries, but not from a train, rather from their RV. She wants to meet the people and really experience the culture, not in hotels, but by camping. What a great dream. And somehow, I have a feeling it will become a reality for them.

Thank you Trish, for the exemplary love for family and commitment to community you show us. And thank for sharing your talents and music whenever the opportunity arises. Chuck, congratulations on your new life venture; your positive and happy nature are contagious, and we all look forward to seeing the impact you will have in Yarnell. Here’s to the future!

Lou Roggio, Silversmith and Entrepreneur

He is a known loner, a man of serious conviction and fierce loyalty. People either like him Lou-Workingor don’t, but that doesn’t bother him at all. He’s a realist and knows that the only control he has in life is control of himself. There is no pretense, you get what you see, you see what you get, and he’ll always tell you like it is. People in Yarnell know him as the tech/sound man for Denise’s music. But he has a much more intricate personality than that…..He is Lou Roggio.

Lou was born 2nd Generation Sicilian as Louis Roggio, to grandparents who entered America through Ellis Island. His birthplace was Philadelphia, PA, where he resided the first 14 years of his young life. He “fondly” refers to his birthplace as “Filth-a-delphia, the City of Brotherly Shove”. Anyone who talks to Lou about his childhood on the East coast will find out very quickly that he is NOT a fan of crowded eastern cities. The urge to travel overtook him at a young age; he wanted to see the United States, and as he recounts it, he travelled throughout the states by use of his hitch-hiking thumb – not always a good experience, but often the way he could afford to travel. His wandering spirit led him to live in California, Arkansas, Oregon, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, and West Virginia, just to name a few of his adventures in life.

Adventure and Freedom are Lou’s two favorite words, and not necessarily in that order. When I asked him if he has an accomplishment that makes him proud, he explained that “pride is a hard thing, but I am happy that I have been able to maintain a sense of freedom left over from the old pioneers.” Lou values freedom, and values the freedoms provided in the U.S. Constitution; he becomes angered when reading the news every morning, as he watches more and more freedoms being challenged and removed in our country…he is helpless to stop it.

His loyalty for Constitutional rights for all Americans was the driving force for Lou’s voluntary enlistment into the U.S. Army in September of 1964, at the age of 17. His basic training was in Fort Jackson, SC, after which he was trained for Nike-Herc Missiles in Fort Belvar, VA for 8 weeks. His travels abroad began when he was stationed in Germany, where he trained at a Hawk Missile Battery. Then, as fate would have it, Charles de Gaulle withdrew France out of NATO, which meant that U.S. soldiers on French military bases were given seniority for positions. Lou was forced out of the Hawk Missile Battery and received his orders for Vietnam.

Lou doesn’t talk about his experiences in Vietnam much; war is war, peace is peace, and a soldier did what was required to protect and defend – that’s that. He will, however, share the horrible experience of returning from Vietnam after finishing his duty in 1967. “Our own citizens spit on us, as though we betrayed them…” At a young age, Lou had realized how to recognize a true person of loyalty, and someone who is, well…FULL of it. All these experiences made him appreciate freedom and adventure even more.

Lou & Denise RoggioLou’s marriage to Denise is his third (third time’s a CHARM!). He had a brief marriage at a young age after Vietnam. His second marriage lasted for over 20 years, and as Lou states, “We grew apart.” He fathered 2 children that were born 20 years apart: Robin who works for the University of Arkansas, and Louis (not a junior) who is on active duty in the U.S. Army; Louis is married and stationed in Fort Irwin, CA. Lou often pokes a little fun that his daughter, Robin, and his wife, Denise, are only a couple years apart!

Congress, Arizona was Lou’s home prior to meeting Denise. Here’s the story in his own words: “I went back to New Jersey [from Congress] on a 2-week vacation to visit my brother, and I met this lady [yours truly] in parking lot….it took me 18 months to get back home!” Ahhh, what a romance…He added “I have a loving wife that puts up with all my idiosyncrasies.” Oh, well, we all have them.

Es-SenseThe entrepreneurial spirit in Lou has been alive and well for as long as he can remember. Over 40 years ago, having an interest in silver and Turquoise, he purchased a book called “How to Make Indian Jewelry”, and that’s when his silversmithing hobby began. Lou prefers to fabricate silver designs, not cast them. The difference is that casting uses wax as the fabricating material, a mold is made, and silver is melted down, poured into the mold, cooled, etc…However, fabricating is the twisting, hammering and bending of silver wire to form his designs; he doesn’t draw them out on paper first, but he creates them as he goes along. He enjoys the individuality of his pieces, and though some are similar, NONE are identical. He could have them mass produced, but that would defeat the purpose of his handcrafting – one unique piece for one unique person.

detectingLou’s workspace is small, and he always says he doesn’t need much. But one thing he does need is wide open spaces, such as here in Arizona.

Gold Prospecting and Metal detecting became a favorite hobby over 20 years ago. The happy owner of a Minelab GPX 5000 metal detector, a dry washer and a wet washer, Lou enjoys the outdoor sunshine, the hiking and general HUNT. Over the years he has found quite a bit of gold, some of which he has sold, and some he has saved. Gold prospecting is what bonded him with two men that he has maintained good friendships with over many years: Bill Southern, who resides in Morristown, AZ and Bob Mote, who resides in Oregon, and comes to Arizona to prospect every winter. If you are reading this and have an interest in learning the ropes of prospecting (or if you want to meet like-minded people) Lou suggests that you go to His aforementioned friend, Bill Southern, runs the website and is a great resource for prospecting and detector information.

Another hobby Lou developed – one that fit him like a glove – is the realm of computers, and he enjoys everything from Internet to tekkie subjects. He didn’t acquire his first computer until the age of 50, but it was meant to be. Some of the things he quickly learned to accomplish were: building and maintaining web sites (he is the webmaster for the American Legion Post 79 in Yarnell as well as for Denise Roggio and Roggio Music and Argento de Roggio), and how to record albums/CD’s. Lou is the recording producer for Denise’s “Ash ‘N Blues” and “Light My Path”. He has fixed numerous computers, and upgraded lots of software.

Jewelry making has been his focus for the last several weeks. Lou has managed to fabricate almost 3 dozen pairs of genuine 925 silver sterling earrings, some with moonstone, turquoise, moss agate, black onyx, and/or mother of pearl accents. He and Denise work on the website together regularly, getting the information out to facebook and twitter fans, and propagating through the good old way of advertising: word of mouth. To contact Lou and purchase his exquisite jewelry designs, visit: Argento De Roggio.

Thank you, Lou Roggio, for your supportive loyalty, for your creativity, and for sharing a valuable piece of yourself with the Community. (This author thanks you for a wonderful Arizona adventure!)

Barb Schlegel

Barb SchlegelShe has traveled the world, had life experiences which would spark envy in the heart of many; she is a talented artist, experienced teacher and best of all – she is a strong, independent and courageous woman.  And yet, she wears a graceful beauty – inside and out. Her humble and gentle spirit exudes a pleasant warmth, without a single hint of arrogance. She is Barbara Schlegel.

Glen Ilah is home to Barbara and her equally talented hubby of 10 years, Wayne, who is a retired Electrical Engineer. The couple met through a mutual friend, who engineered a dinner so they could get to know each other. The rest is history! Their home is cozy, and filled with history, as well as the added touches that make it uniquely their own.  Wayne purchased the house a decade prior to meeting Barbara. He performed several home improvement projects effortlessly, including electrical work, plumbing, and hand-crafted, stained glass light fixtures. The Schlegel’s have an ongoing project as well: a beautiful new bathroom, which will be complete with a jacuzzi bathtub in the near future. The Glen Ilah home is not their only residence, as they have a home in Surprise, AZ, which they visit almost weekly, enjoying a shopping trip while they stay there.

I was quickly introduced to Ginger and Ash-Lee, the family pets. Ginger, a German Shepherd mix sports a beautiful off-white, tan and grey coat. Barbara pointed out that of course, Ginger was sure I was there to visit HER.  Ash-Lee is a cat that was accidentally inherited after the Yarnell Hill Fire. She came to the Schlegel’s needing food, and was down to skin and bones. Barbara has fully nurtured kitty back to health, and she is now part of their family.

As is the case with many homes in Glen Ilah, the 2013 fire claimed some of their property.  Barb & Wayne SchlegelWayne and Barbara lost outbuildings, which included a garage Wayne built himself, a shed and, sadly, her art studio. She also lost her car, and Wayne lost a a tractor that he had restored. Many precious memories went up in smoke, such as 18 of Barb’s paintings, souvenirs and gifts from her former students – priceless items, for which no amount of money could bring restoration. But, the couple is grateful that the main dwelling structure was untouched, and grateful they were able to move themselves to safety.

Barbara was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, and resided their until 1967. She became intimately knowledgeable in the field of early childhood education since the very home she grew up in was a pre-school, operated by her mother. In 1958, Barbara became a certified teacher in Canada. She married, and due to her then husband’s career, they moved to the U.S. The standards in Canada required a teaching certificate, but the United States required a teaching degree. She was eventually able to attain not only a B.S. but a Masters of Education degree from Arizona State University. Her total teaching experience took place in 5 states and 3 countries (U.S., Canada and Saudi Arabia).

Teaching was very rewarding for her, and still provides a great sense of fulfillment in Barb’s life. She recounted a wonderful story during our interview, that took place while she still resided in Canada. A position became available at a Pre-School Co-op, for which she applied. The prospective employer wanted to know what she planned to do if hired. So, being the independent thinker that she is, Barb visited several different pre-schools, and wrote down all the positives and negatives of each school. Armed with that valuable information, she formulated her own plan for the Pre-School Co-Op. You guessed it, she was hired! In face, the school adopted and implemented Barbara’s innovative plan. The reward continues for her. That same pre-school recently celebrated 51 years strong. Barb attended the celebration, and her plan is still being followed.

Barb Schlegel paintingBarb had the privilege of living in Saudi Arabia with her children for a time, where she also was a teacher of Kindergarten and 1st grade at the American Consulate. Her first husband taught at the University there, and a perk of his position was paid travel. The University sent the family home every 2 years; they were also given an “around the world ticket” so they were able to visit several countries, including Iran, and Taiwan. They also visited the state of Hawaii. Travel was exciting for her and her 2 sons.

She speaks very highly and with motherly love about her sons. One of them resides in Mesa, the other resides in Seattle. She has 2 lovely daughters-in-law, and boasts 8 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, and one great-grandchild on the way – due December 12th. She fondly says her 3rd child was the Pre-School Co-op in Canada. As much as Barb loves teaching children, she took her career to a different level when she wrote college papers on the subject of Gerontology, and became certified on that subject. While teaching at a private school in Phoenix, she became involved in “Inter-Generational Programming”. This involved Barbara taking her 5 and 6 year-old students to a Geriatric center, and teaching them how to relate to the older generation. She explained that it was quite successful. The experience was heart warming, especially seeing her 5 year-olds coloring pictures and talking to the Geriatric patients so innocently. It was good for all involved parties.

Barb related a story from her early teaching days. She was concerned about discipline in Barb Schlegel paintingthe classroom. She wanted to be a nurturing teacher, not the teacher “police”. This prompted her to improve her skills further by taking a course in positive discipline. From that experience came the birth of “Huggy Bear”, the new classroom disciplinarian. Barb explains that since teachers were not permitted to hug a child, she used a stuffed hand puppet that would give the hugs for her at the end of each day. The children would write letters to Huggy Bear, and Huggy Bear would promptly respond. This was an exercise for the young children in reading and writing. It was also a homework assignment for the teacher, responding to all the inquiries. The children came to respect Huggy Bear, and did not want to upset him, so the positive discipline was in force and working!

This fabulous teacher, who always found a way to think outside the box, has even had the opportunity to teach John McCain’s grandson as well as Sandra Day O’Connor’s grandchild at a wonderful private school in Phoenix. And all the while she painted her lovely artwork, mostly as a hobby, generously giving her work to family members and dear friends as Christmas gifts. She was once scolded by a teacher for her art. The teacher told her it was no good, which of course caused her to stop her painting for a time. But she enjoyed it, and decided it was HER hobby, and no one would prevent her. Therefore, the talented acrylic and water-color painter just continued to perfect her craft.

Barb Schlegel paintingYarnell Hill Fire inspired her to paint a mini-series called “Glen Ilah Rising”, which so magnificently depicts the ashen boulders, with the amazing new growth around them – flowers, greenery, and post-fire natural beauty. Barbara paints mostly with acrylics, but has some spectacular water-color paintings, all of which are in glass frames. She explained to me that water-color painting is more difficult, because a mistake is permanent. When using acrylics, a mistake can be painted over once dry. Water color paintings are more fragile to exterior conditions and must be protected, which is why they are in glass frames.

Barb enjoys the Yarnell Artist Group that she and a friend started. She regards the time they spend together on Thursday mornings as the highlight of her week. They meet at a local resident’s home, who has room enough for a large table, and several local artists gather to paint and share their talented pieces with each other. (Bill Chaplin is one artist who attends this weekly solace.) Barb’s scenic paintings are extremely detailed, and her use of color is amazing. One piece in particular captivated me, reminding me of the local Zoo in the town I was raised: a beautiful depiction of an old farm building behind a large Water-Wheel – a truly gorgeous painting.

Barb’s work was recently displayed in the Yarnell Public Library, when she was the featured artist of the month. If you are interested in information regarding her work, purchasing a piece or a print of Barb’s paintings, you may send her an email.

A truly wonderful community is only as good as its members. I have had a fantastic year in Barb Schlegel paintingYarnell. The people I have met have inspired me; the strong community spirit, the social bonding that has taken place due to the recent tragic fire and the further cementing of relationships as we rebuild have amazed me. Meeting and becoming friends with Barbara Schlegel has also inspired me, but in an individual manner. Barb is a person that all young ladies should meet, to witness the character of an upstanding and strong willed “go-getter”, who lives life to the fullest and enjoys her dreams, and who marches to her own drummer. She profoundly shared this with me:  “I am a person who believes that if you put it out there, it will come back to you.” Thank you, Barb, for your positive energy, the legacy you have left your students, and the legacy you are creating for all of us in the community. Glen Ilah/Yarnell are lucky you are here!

Bill Chaplin

Artist – Bill Chaplin

Bill Chaplin: ArtistChange has been a good thing….At least it has for Bill Chaplin. His life mirrors one positive change after another. Some life changes came by chance, and others, he avidly fought for – but all in all, this is a changed man.

The first of many life changes came in 1962. Young Bill and his family resided in the great farmland of Central Illinois, where his mother was diagnosed with a serious lung condition. Doctors advised urgently that she move to a dry climate, otherwise his mother’s disease could claim her life. Without hesitation, the family moved to Scottsdale, AZ. Change was very good! The lung condition was completely healed within 6 months. Bill subsequently resided in the Phoenix area for 30 years.

In Yarnell, Bill is known for his warm smile, after which you may expect a tender and compassionate bear hug. That’s why it comes as no surprise that Bill was an RN for 18 years. He felt strongly that he could impact the lives of his patients through touch. His nursing career was mostly in ICU and Specialty departments. Sincere compassion is a gift that Bill has been blessed to receive, and he shares it effortlessly.

Another shift came, and seemingly at the time, it was not a positive turn in his life – except in hindsight, which is always 20/20. One thing after another seemed to go awry. Bill was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, making him incapable of performing his duties at work. He was then forced to leave his nursing career. In addition to that disappointment was the devastating end a 22-year relationship. By this time, he was also suffering with severe and debilitating back pain.
Bill Chaplin fell into a chasm of desperation.

Depression claimed his heart, and to cope, Bill turned to pain killers for his severe back bill-chaplin-painting1pain, as well as to speed to numb the heart break. His nicotine addiction was up to 4 packs a day – all circumstances that felt hopeless, but yet, a great victory was looming in his life. Bill put his mind over the matter, realizing that he needed to make big changes for his own well being. And 16 years ago, he did just that.

His first accomplishment was to discontinue the use of speed. He made the decision, acted upon it, and thus lies a victorious story. He gave up his cigarette habit as well, which was a 2-year battle, but again, a success! Then, Bill recounts that he had a very poignant experience in Yarnell, AZ, a life changing event that took place for him at the Shrine of St. Joseph. Bill had begun a regimen of running, walking and hiking. One day, he climbed to bill-chaplin-painting2the top of the Shrine to reflect on the Crucifixion at the very top. There was no mistaking what he heard. A voice clearly told him to stop taking the back pain medication. Bill does not care who spoke, he doesn’t even care if it was his very own mind. All he knows, is he heard it, and it was good advice, so he took it. Acupuncture was now the answer for back pain. Bill is an outspoken advocate for this alternative treatment. “Six sessions of acupuncture,” he says, “zero back pain to this day.”

Complications from health issues did afflict him for awhile. The drug Interferon, a treatment used for hepatitis, was very hard on his health. He explains that it nearly killed him. However, Bill is comfortable with change, and he pursued a lifestyle of hobbies and enjoyment to share with others, now that he is healthy in body and spirit. Meditation, exercise and giving back his talent to his community keep him focused and fulfilled.

Bill has been painting for 8 years, and his work was once displayed at the store formerly Bill Chapln: Artistknown as “Brand New Dead Things”, which is now “Patty & Sons”, on the South side of Yarnell. He began painting with water colors in the artist’s group that meets each Thursday in town. His art reflects his life – colorful, sometimes abstract, other times clearly defined, and sometimes peaceful beauty. He has recently been experimenting with acrylic painting and using a palette knife, which he is greatly enjoying. Bill’s work has given him success, as his paintings have been selling regularly. You can view some of his art adorning the walls at the Yarnell Family Diner.

bill-chaplin-painting3Not only is painting a passion for Bill, but he is also a Brown Belt Instructor of Tai Chi, an exercise that is referred to by some as “moving Yoga”. It is a series of controlled motions that are designed to relax the body, revive the mind and aid one’s chemical symmetry. He has the privilege of instructing youth Tai Chi in Wickenburg, AZ. And that’s not all – Bill enjoys singing, and takes vocal coaching classes with Vanessa Purdy, which he has savored for 6 years and counting.

Life changes have been good. They led Bill to his happiest period to date: “I have lived in bill-chaplin-painting4Yarnell for 21 years…the best 21 years of my life.”

Thank you, Bill – Yarnell is happier because of you, too.

Contact the Bill Chaplin regarding Art for Sale and for Tai Chi Information at 928-910-3928