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Verde Valley museum to get funding boost from USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved funding for rural infrastructure projects, including some in Arizona, which is good news for a central Arizona museum.

The Verde Valley was once home to a number of Indigenous groups who left behind numerous dwellings and artifacts.

Some of those items have been shipped to other communities over the years, and the Verde Valley Archaeology Center wants to bring them home.

The USDA funds include more than $900,000 for an upgrade to the Camp Verde museum, which will be complete in March.

“Our collection space was getting really, really full, and we started looking around for other places,” said Ken Zoll, executive director of the museum.

Other Arizona communities will receive funds for medical facilities, agriculture, housing and other projects.

Ron Dungan has lived in Arizona for more than 35 years. He has worked as a reporter, construction worker, copy editor, designer and freelance writer. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the undergraduate Writers’ Workshop, and has a master’s in history from Arizona State University.Dungan was an outdoors reporter and member of the storyteller team at the Arizona Republic, where he won several awards, and was a contributor on a border project that won the 2018 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting.When not working, Dungan enjoys books, gardening, hanging out with his German shorthaired pointer, backpacking and fly-fishing. He's a fan of the Arizona Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes.