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ROOTING FOR THE NEWS

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The statewide committee had already written a letter on April 23 to Yavapai's administrators saying that it found the situation in Prescott extremely serious." The letter worried over the school's accreditation, gerrymandered districts, deteriorating image, violations of open-meeting laws and impairment of educational services."

Arminta Tupper is an observer of the bucolic scene in Prescott. An administrative assistant with the Yavapai County Library District, she said she is concerned both with a free press and a free campus.

Describing board member Dr. Oakley as extremely arrogant," Tupper said Dr. Walker was his Siamese twin." We've been accused of being quasi-union," said Tupper, which in Yavapai County is like being accused of being in the Klan."

She claims that Dr. Oakley has called his detractors irrationally emotional," while Dr. Walker has branded them liars."

These labels outrage her. How can public officials say such things?" she demands.

Not being a public official, Arminta Tupper is free to offer that both men are borderline sociopaths" and suggests reading M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie to anyone who would truly grasp the nature of the administrators at Yavapai Community College.

In stirring up the faculty and the supporters of the faculty, Dr. Paul Walker has done more than provide compelling copy for the Citizens' Monitor.

Dan Hussey owns B & L Carpets in Prescott, and his wife teaches English at the college.

Hussey has made it his business to explore Dr. Walker's credit-card receipts.
For approximately two and a half years, Dr. Walker has taken board members out to dinner after their public meetings. These monthly expenses ran between $250 and $400, which he has charged to the college.

Hussey reasons that if Dr. Walker and the board were discussing business, which would justify use of the college's credit card, then they violated Arizona's open-meeting law. If Dr. Walker and the board did not discuss business, then it was a social dinner and the expense should not have been reimbursed.

Dan Hussey has asked the auditor general and the attorney general to investigate.

Reached by telephone last Sunday, Kathy O'Halleran sounded exhausted but resolute. She'd been up 38 hours straight without sleep, getting out the latest edition of Citizens' Monitor. It was Mother's Day and she'd gone to the park with her two small children. Their softball game ended when the ball lodged in the branches of a tree. Her boy threw a rock to dislodge the ball, but the rock passed its target, returned to earth and whopped the youngster in the eyebrow, necessitating a trip to the hospital and stitches. And now the telephone was ringing.

O'Halleran is encouraged that the state board is continuing to probe the affairs of Yavapai College but is frustrated that things are taking so long.

When I was in Houston, this would already be under a grand jury. Sometimes I think this county will never clean up its act."

Dr. Paul Walker was in meetings when telephoned for comment.
His administrative assistant, Judith Hinchman, said it was very frustrating for so much misinformation to be floating around.

Regarding the cutting of classes like shop and home-ec without faculty input, Hinchman was adamant.

It's not true, no, never. That's part of the problem. Oh, yes, we've heard that. That's one of those things that's been voiced. But it's not true."

She asked for understanding if Dr. Walker did not return the call because he was under so much stress. Everyone was.

Yes, and it's regrettable to see such a state of tension in lovely Prescott.
She agreed.
By the way, what does Judith Hinchman do to relieve the anxiety of living in Prescott?

She gardens.
Oh, really?
Of course.
But what about the javelinas?

Leave the poor javelinas alone," implored Hinchman. They're just trying to get a free lunch."

Hinchman leaves the beasts alone by using an electric fence to jolt them when they get near her plants. Tough love.

Does it work?
Yeah, you better believe it."
Hinchman interrupted the most pleasant chat yet encountered in this awful business to emphasize that she was not speaking on behalf of Yavapai College or Dr. Walker, but only as a private citizen gardener.

Her wishes must be respected.
But what of the tiger manure?
Yes, of course, I've heard of it, but it doesn't work," she volunteered, laughing. The zoo began charging for it when it became the rage. I don't know, maybe if it's quite fresh. Electric fences work. Maybe we should use electric fences on the faculty around here. Tiger manure! I'll bet some crazy professor who majored in zoology made that one up. I'll bet the javelinas are laughing up their noses at us."

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey