The Paulden Area Community Organization elected a new board president and three new board members during the March 7 PACO meeting, replacing former president Jerry Franklin with new head Jane Anderson.
The three new board members, Doug McKinney, Richard Boller, and Karen Landis, round out the nine-member board that includes Anderson, Franklin, Valerie Jensen (PACO treasurer), Starr Bennett, Howard Hughes, and Pamela Shepherd.
Also on the bill for March 7 was a presentation by Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher, who covered a wide variety of topics ranging from the Second Amendment and Paulden crime statistics.
According to Mascher, the Northern Area Command, which includes Paulden, Ash Fork, and Seligman, generated 1,583 calls for service, with most calls (353) relating to animal issues including barking dogs, loose animals, or animal abuse.
Traffic calls ranked number two with 246 traffic related incidents.
"This is one of the communities we get the most traffic related calls," said Mascher.
Other call statistics included suspicious persons (100 calls), welfare checks (54), non-criminal civil calls (49), family disturbances (39), disorderly conduct (30), thefts (29), loud music (26), and firs related calls (22).
"Overall, your report card is pretty good, you guys live in a good place here," said Mascher.
Commenting on the Second Amendment, Mascher drew on his own childhood to set the tone for his stance on gun control.
"The Second Amendment is a real heated discussion," said Mascher. "I grew up in Arizona and I grew up with guns in the house. My father had guns, we were taught gun safety."
Mascher said he thought that's how all kids grew up, until he began his law enforcement career. He realized that not everyone grew up understanding guns and gun safety.
"A little different perspective came when I became a cop," said Mascher. "Guns are part of our culture. They're as American as apple pie. Guns are part of our country from the very beginning. Our forefathers had to stand up and say 'enough is enough' from an oppressive government. The Constitution was crafted and part of that Constitution was the Second Amendment. When our founding fathers signed that Constitution that created the United States.
"When someone recently asked me 'Sheriff, why do you need an AR-15 in your personal life?' I said 'For one, the Constitution says I can, and two, there have been over 1 million Americans who have lost their lives upholding that Constitution that says I can.' How can you argue that?"
When asked about his recent statements regarding enforcement of potential federal gun control, Mascher said that he's not too worried.
"I've never viewed the gun as the problem," said Mascher. "I've never arrested a gun. I've processed them as evidence, but only to convict the criminal. When I was asked what my stance would be, I said first off, an executive order comes from the executive branch of government. I think it's a little far reaching for them to start acting like the legislative branch, who, with congress, creates our laws. I think any current laws that our supreme court has given us will pre-empt anything related to an order form the executive branch of government. The very first line in my oath of office is to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I take that seriously. If an order comes out that infringes upon our Second Amendment rights, I'm not going to cooperate or support it."
Mascher said the YCSO is also working on a gun storage program, where county residents will be able to temporarily store their guns with the Sheriffs office for safekeeping.
Details on the program will be issued by the YCSO as they become available.
Other items on the March 7 PACO agenda included an update on the new family Dollar store being built on the corner of Big Chino Road and Highway 89, expected to open by summer, and the upcoming Culpepper & Merriweather Circus that will be coming to Paulden April 27.
The circus will perform two shows, 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. with ticket sales to begin April 1. Tickets will be available at many local businesses or through PACO.
The price for advance tickets is $10 for teens and adults, $13 at the gate. Discounted ticket prices are available for children under 12 and seniors over 65.
For more information on the circus and all PACO activity visit www.pauldenarea.info.