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It's a boy! Ezekiel Arevalo is Canyon Vista's first 2021 baby
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SIERRA VISTA — Marisela and Anthony Arevalo rang in the New Year with the arrival of Ezekiel Arevalo, a healthy baby boy.

Ezekiel came into the world at 1:03 Friday afternoon and is Canyon Vista Medical Center’s first 2021 baby.

Weighing eight pounds, four ounces and measuring 21 inches, Marisela described her new baby as “very healthy with a lot of hair,” adding that her labor went smoothly.

“He has a 3-year-old brother, Noah, who is very excited about having a baby brother,” Marisela said. “Because of COVID, Noah has not been allowed into the hospital to see Ezekiel in person, but we’ve been sending him photos through our phones.”

The Arevalos work and live in Sierra Vista, and Marisela is a 2014 Buena High School graduate. Anthony was raised in Douglas. Marisela’s parents, Danette and Van Hartwigsen, also live in Sierra Vista and are excited about meeting their new grandson. Anthony has a grandmother, Linda Rose, who lives in Douglas.

“The nurses and hospital staff at Canyon Vista have been amazing,” Marisela said. “We had a wonderful hospital experience, but we’re looking forward to heading home on Sunday and starting our lives together.”

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Gathering in a new way
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SIERRA VISTA — A new business in town provided a “sober family friendly” environment New Year’s Eve as an alternative to alcohol filled events.

Dozens came together to ring in 2021 with games, dancing and mocktails. “We are providing a sober alternative which people need,” said The Gathering Scene co-owner David Walters.

Couches lining one of the walls invite in those passing by. Community art, books and a local board game made by a Sierra Vista resident greet those who come into the space. Books and puzzles are available for those who decide to take load off and hang out. Alcohol-free drinks and coffee are available for purchase. Local art or books can be purchased with the money going to the artist or author.

“We wanted to do something and knew people wanted to get out of the house,” Walters said. “We tell people this is a living room outside of their living room.”

The Gathering Scene is located inside The Mall at Sierra Vista. Walters and Frank Rich opened The Gathering Scene in October because they felt the community needed a space like the one they provide.

“We began talking about it in March. Right before the situation started,” Walters said. “It was the right thing to do. We were shown the way.”

He added that they chose the mall to open their business because of the foot traffic. With people walking by, Rich and Walters can interact with customers who may be peeking in and taking a look at the new establishment.

The mocktails are healthy and made fresh daily by Rich and Walters. Rich had the idea for the mocktail environment after visiting Scotland last year. He said he really enjoys the atmosphere at those places and wanted to bring it to Sierra Vista.

“Mocktails are all the rage overseas,” Walters said. “Right now there aren’t options in the states. This is a healthy alternative. We hit a demographic (that is asking) ‘how can I better myself?’ ”

The Scottish theme is seen in the kilts the owners wear while they work.

“We’re bringing them back,” Rich said with a smile. “This (business) is my baby. I always wanted something like this.”

The Gathering Scene is open Sunday through Saturday during mall hours. Arrangements can be made if a game runs late.

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Sierra Vista police join switch to more complete crime-reporting system
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SIERRA VISTA — After decades of reporting crime under a national system that didn’t relay every offense that occurred in a criminal incident, the Sierra Vista Police Department has switched to a program that will now reveal more to the public.

The program, under the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is called National Incident Based Reporting System, or NIBRS, and it replaces the Uniform Crime Report’s decades-old Summary Reporting System.

Sierra Vista Police will be going “live” with the new reporting system this month, and other agencies in the county are following suit in the first part of this year.

Sierra Vista Police’s Saxony Eaton, the supervisor for the department’s record’s division, has been leading the charge for the agency’s switch to NIBRS. Eaton said there are a handful of advantages in using NIBRS over the SRS system.

One of them is that the public will have more information regarding crime incidents.

“Expanded data collection and reporting in general,” Eaton said. “Crime reporting is more accurate with these expanded offense definitions, distinction between “attempted” and “completed” crimes, additional scoring categories, expanded victim-to-offender relationship data and expanded collection of drug-related and drug use categories. We will be moving from reporting only 10 Part 1 crimes to 52 Group A crimes.

“It truly is a much larger and more detailed picture of what is occurring,” she added.

At a recent Sierra Vista City Council meeting, Police Chief Adam Thrasher explained that under the SRS program there was a hierarchy rule in which only the most serious offenses were reported.

“An example of these differences can be seen in an incident involving murder, robbery and motor vehicle theft,” he said. “The Hierarchy Rule in the SRS states when more than one offense occurs within an incident, only the most serious crime contributes to the agency’s monthly crime totals. Therefore, the agency would count only the homicide for the monthly totals because homicide is the highest offense on the hierarchy. When reported through NIBRS, however, the agency would count the murder, the robbery and the motor vehicle theft.”

Thrasher said the additional reporting of other offenses could make it look like there is more crime in the city, but that’s not necessarily true.

Eaton explained that police will now be including more information that occurred under one crime incident.

“However, part of the balance to this is that previously we would have pulled additional incident reports to account for any additional victims, where now it will include applicable offenses in a single incident,” she said. “What is important is for our community to understand that there is not a sudden increase in crime, but instead an increase in what types of crime and crime data we now can collect and report to the FBI.”

While the SRS reporting system has been used for decades by every police and sheriff’s department that reports its crime statistics to the FBI, national organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriff’s Association in 2015 requested the switch to NIBRS in a letter to the FBI, the federal agency’s website shows.

According to the FBI, NIBRS was created to “improve the overall quality of crime data collected by law enforcement, NIBRS captures details on each single crime incident — as well as on separate offenses within the same incident — including information on victims, known offenders, relationships between victims and offenders, arrestees, and property involved in crimes. NIBRS goes much deeper because of its ability to provide circumstances and context for crimes like location, time of day, and whether the incident was cleared.”

The FBI’s website shows that in 2019, 51 percent of the law enforcement agencies across the United States that had used the SRS system switched to NIBRS.

A map of the U.S. on the FBI’s website shows that Arizona is one of 20 states in which law enforcement agencies are using both NIBRS and SRS.

“The FBI anticipates this number to continue to rise as law enforcement agencies nationwide fulfill their commitment to be NIBRS-compliant by 2021,” the website says. “Ultimately, the national transition to NIBRS will further support the mission of the FBI’s UCR (Uniform Crime Reporting) Program to generate reliable information for use in law enforcement administration, operation, and management.”

The FBI does not require any police department to adopt NIBRS, but it will be phasing out the SRS reporting system. That means that any law enforcement agency that wants to continue reporting its crime incidents to the federal agency must change to NIBRS.

Eaton mentioned that opting out of NIBRS could have other disadvantages for an agency and a community.

“First and foremost if an agency chooses not to participate in NIBRS, that agency will not have their communities’ crime statistics included in the FBI’s nationwide crime statistics publication,” Eaton said. “Second, some federal and state funding are available to agencies based on participation in the UCR program (via SRS) and therefore would lose eligibility for that type of funding in the future.”

Besides Sierra Vista Police, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office will begin using NIBRS in January and will be testing the system for three months, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas. Bisbee and Douglas police departments also are on board for making the switch, as well, officials there said.