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Latest News in Prescott, AZ

Town Talk: Utilities Department’s oversight leads to saving time, money

The Prescott Valley Utilities Department is responsible for planning, managing, operating and maintaining the town’s water utilities (except for drainage and stormwater). These functions include drinking water, wastewater, reclaimed water and aquifer recharge.This column will focus on the first two, and a later column on Water Resources will cover aquifer recharge and reclaimed water.Town staff is responsible for the planning and oversight of the utility systems, while the daily operations and maintenance tasks are contra...

The Prescott Valley Utilities Department is responsible for planning, managing, operating and maintaining the town’s water utilities (except for drainage and stormwater). These functions include drinking water, wastewater, reclaimed water and aquifer recharge.

This column will focus on the first two, and a later column on Water Resources will cover aquifer recharge and reclaimed water.

Town staff is responsible for the planning and oversight of the utility systems, while the daily operations and maintenance tasks are contracted to JACOBS, an international company that works locally with approximately 32 employees who operate the town’s water production wells, water tanks, wastewater treatment plant and sewer lift stations.

JACOBS also fixes water leaks, reads water meters and cleans the sewer system. The JACOBS staff and town personnel work together as a team to provide residents with seamless and efficient customer service.

This year, Prescott Valley is making improvements to its water system, which includes adding more fire hydrants to areas of town where better coverage is needed.

The town has been adding about a dozen new water hydrants each year for the past four years, and this year the focus area is Unit 20 on the east side of town.

The town now has a new water system flushing and cleaning technology that will clean sediment from water mains without wasting water. In the past, this could be accomplished only by flushing water out of fire hydrants and wasting it on the ground. This year, residents will see a truck and crew that will flush and filter the water, then return it back into the system without waste. This system is not yet widely used, and Prescott Valley is the first community in northern Arizona, and third in the state, to use this technology.

Prescott Valley is also continuing to work on planning and treatment options related to the PFAS chemicals that have been detected in some of the town’s wells. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to finalize the regulatory limits for PFAS (expected in March 2024) and the town is preparing to meet those requirements.

Although not as exciting (to most people), the town is carrying out several large planning projects related to its wastewater treatment plant, including a master planning study, filtration upgrades, and rehabilitation of the influent pumping station.

One area where Prescott Valley has implemented cost-saving technology is in the inspection and cleaning of sewer lines. The town is using SL-RAT, which is a sonar-based inspection system, to determine whether sewer lines need to be cleaned.

This allows the team to inspect a section of sewer line in under five minutes and move to the next section. If it is determined that cleaning is needed, the town’s Vactor sewer truck and crew are deployed to clean the line, which may take 30 to 60 minutes to accomplish. Previously, sewer cleaning was performed on a rotation schedule in which each sewer line was cleaned every two to three years, regardless of need. The town is now able to inspect all sewer lines in the system each year and pinpoint cleaning efforts to needed lines only. This new technology saves time and money and reduces wear and tear on the expensive Vactor truck.

Please contact the Utilities Department if you have any questions or visit our website at prescottvalley-az.gov.

Neil Wadsworth is the director for the Prescott Valley Utilities Department.

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Prescott Valley in Brief: Citizens Academy set to begin March 20

Prescott Valley tween librarians take their job seriously while having fun Town Talk: Utilities Department’s oversight leads to saving time, money ...

Farmers Market Nutrition Program Launches at Prescott Farmers Market

On Saturday, February 17, 2024, Prescott Farmers Market (PFM) began issuing coupons at their Information Booth for free Arizona-grown fresh fruits and vegetables to qualifying, food-insecure households through the Arizona Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).The FMNP provides Arizona-grown fresh-cut herbs, fruits and vegetables to women participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), to seniors who participate in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and to low-income se...

On Saturday, February 17, 2024, Prescott Farmers Market (PFM) began issuing coupons at their Information Booth for free Arizona-grown fresh fruits and vegetables to qualifying, food-insecure households through the Arizona Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).

The FMNP provides Arizona-grown fresh-cut herbs, fruits and vegetables to women participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), to seniors who participate in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and to low-income seniors who self-declare through farmers market coupons distributed once per year. PFM is an authorized issuer of FMNP coupon booklets.

WIC participants receive $30 worth of coupons when they show their WIC FMNP Eligibility Card at the market info booth. Participants can obtain this card at their WIC appointment. New this year, the eWIC card and EzWIC app cannot substitute for the Eligibility Card. All WIC participants in a household are eligible to receive the coupons.

Proxies are permitted to collect the coupons but cannot certify the income declaration. Declaration forms will be available at the PFM Info Booth. Each participant who receives a WIC or Senior FMNP booklet will also receive an extra $50 in FMNP Match coupons.

Coupons must be used towards the purchase of (1) Arizona-grown fresh-cut herbs; (2) whole, fresh Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables and (3) bagged salad mixes that only contain fresh Arizona-grown vegetables at Prescott Farmers Market.

The deadline to receive the coupons from the PFM Info Booth is September 28, 2024, and they must be spent by November 9, 2024. Approved growers will have FMNP signage displayed at their booth if they can accept FMNP coupons. This program is administered by the Chandler-based nonprofit, Pinnacle Prevention, whose mission is to inspire and advance a healthy food system and opportunities for active living. More information about the FMNP can be found here: https://www.azfmnp.org/.

PFM also accepts SNAP/EBT and Pandemic-EBT cards and doubles those purchases for fresh fruits and vegetables year-round thanks to the Double Up Food Bucks Arizona program.

Customers can find a variety of agricultural goods: fresh seasonal vegetables, mushrooms, lavender, eggs, grass-fed beef and poultry. Local farmers grow a variety of cold-hardy vegetables including leeks, beets, radishes, carrots, salad mix, parsnips, microgreens, spinach and kale. PFM is a producer-only farmers market, meaning every item sold is either grown or produced by the seller here in Arizona; the majority of goods come from within a 30-mile radius of Prescott.

Dogs and other pets are not allowed at the market. ADA service dogs specifically trained to aid a person with a disability are welcome. An emotional support dog does not qualify as an ADA service dog.

As a vital part of the economy, the mission of Prescott Farmers Market is to support and expand local agriculture, cultivate a healthy community and increase access to affordable local food. PFM is a nonprofit organization and a Qualifying Charitable Tax Credit Organization with the State of Arizona.

For more information, visit www.prescottfarmersmarket.org or call (928) 713-1227.

Analyst: Beloved mall retailer facing Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Stores pay high mall rents to benefit from the foot traffic that putting a bunch of stores and restaurants all in the same place. You may not leave your house to go to Great American Cookie or Cinnabon, but you may buy a cookie or a cinnamon roll if you happen to be walking by.The same logic applies to non-destination clothing stores. Typically, the anchor stores at a mall — chains like Macy's, Dillard, J.C. Penney, and similar stores — might attract customers not looking to visit the entire mall. The stores on the interio...

Stores pay high mall rents to benefit from the foot traffic that putting a bunch of stores and restaurants all in the same place. You may not leave your house to go to Great American Cookie or Cinnabon, but you may buy a cookie or a cinnamon roll if you happen to be walking by.

The same logic applies to non-destination clothing stores. Typically, the anchor stores at a mall — chains like Macy's, Dillard, J.C. Penney, and similar stores — might attract customers not looking to visit the entire mall. The stores on the interior, however, work better as a collective whole.

Related: Chapter 11 bankruptcy claims another popular restaurant chain

People tend to walk the mall and pop in and out of various stores. You might visit because you want to go to Gap or Bath & Body Shop, but, in many cases, people simply visit the mall (perhaps knowing they need something) and peruse the different stores.

It's a collective agreement that benefits all the secondary stores at the mall. The problem is that when people don't go the mall, all the stores get hurt. Traffic has long been suffering at lower-tier malls, but higher-end shopping centers have struggled as well.

Placer.ai tracks foot-traffic data from 100 top-tier indoor malls, 100 open-air shopping centers (not including outlet malls), and 100 outlet malls across the country, The trends it's seeing aren't great for mall retailers.

Although consumer confidence dropped in October for the third straight month in a row, foot traffic data indicates that the tide may be turning. In September, weekly year-over-year (YoY) visit gaps to indoor malls, open-air shopping centers, and outlet malls hit a low of 11.6%, 7.8%, and 14.2%, respectively. But those YoY visit gap lows narrowed to 9% for indoor malls, 6.5% for open-air shopping centers, and 12.4% for outlet malls in October .

The malls being tracked by Placer.ai have traditionally been more resilient. If they're struggling (albeit improving over their lows) then the overall picture for mall-based retailers remains bleak.

Beloved mall brand stares down bankruptcy

Clothing retailers constantly have to reinvent themselves. Tastes change and it's very difficult to keep a brand relevant as trends tend to move very quickly.

Express, which was founded in 1980, operates approximately 530 Express retail and Express Factory Outlet stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, the Express.com online store, and the Express mobile app. The company has struggled to pay its bills recently amid slumping sales.

Creditsafe's Brand Head Ragini Bhalla shared some data on the company's financial situation with TheStreet with an email.

"Late payments have increased drastically since June: Mounting debt, cash flow problems, and rumors of bankruptcy are currently swirling around Express Inc. These concerns appear to be valid as Creditsafe data shows that the number of on-time payments made by Express Inc. plummeted from 91.8% in May to 65.99% in June," she shared.

That's part of a growing trend for the retailer.

"If this was an anomaly and improved after that month, it wouldn’t be so worrisome. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Our data shows that the retailer had a high number of late payments (1-30 days) in the second half of 2023 — with 29.12% in June, 26.82% in July, 33.61% in August, 37.58% in September, 35.67% in October,27.5% in November, 28.21% in December, and then 27.7% in January 2024," she added.

Bhalla also expressed concerns over Express's (EXPR) late payments (61-90 days) climbing from .1% in November to 15.2% in December.

"That’s a massive jump in a single month and signals severe pressure on the company’s cash flow," she added.

Express has a cash problem

The company's Days Beyond Term (DBT) has been rising for the last six months, according to Creditsafe data.

The company’s DBT was very low (1) in March 2023. But it then steadily increased for the next six months until it reached 11 in August. Although its DBT dropped to between 6 and 8 from September to November, it spiked back up to 13 in December.

"While its DBT isn’t necessarily that high, it’s more worrying that it hasn’t been stable and has spiked in short periods of time. This signals instability in the company’s finances, which is probably being amplified by the pressures of its mounting debt and revenue declines," Bhalla shared.

Rising debt has hurt the company’s liquidity: Express reported $274.7 million in debt in the third quarter of 2023, which included a $65 million loan it took out in 2023 at a 15% interest rate. Express CFO Jason Judd described the loan as a “short-term measure to strengthen our liquidity position” during a Q2 analyst call.

"To put this into perspective, that was an increase from $235.4 million in debt in the third quarter of 2022," Bhalla added.

Express, which has hired debt restructuring adviser M3 and law firm Kirkland & Ellis, did share that it expects a $52 million payment from the U.S. government under the CARES act.

Net sales for the company fell by 5% in Q3. Sales in its brick-and-mortar stores declined by 16% in the quarter while the company lost $36.8 million in the quarter. Express had a 20-for-1 reverse stock split in August in order to remain compliant with the New York Stock Exchange.

Its stock closed on Feb. 16 at $2.90, up 7 cents on the day but down 65% since Dec. 29.

Cash and cash equivalents totaled $34.6 million at the end of the third quarter of 2023 versus $24.6 million at the end of the third quarter of 2022, and the company had another $21 million in available credit.

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Beginner-Intermediate Salsa Class at The Elks Theatre

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Event Category: AmusementEvent Tags: Elk Theatre and Performing Arts Center Elks Theater Prescott' Salsa Class

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Join us for a Salsa class at 6, then open floor/practice at 7. No partner necessary but bring a friend to make it extra fun!

$10/person, $16/couple, includes open floor hour. $5 for just open floor hour.

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Category: Amusement

Tags: Elk Theatre and Performing Arts Center, Elks Theater, Prescott', and Salsa Class

Address: 117 E Gurley St Prescott Arizona 86301 United States

Venue: Elks Theatre and Performing Arts center

Time: 6:00 pm-8:00 pm

Phone: (928) 848-0901

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