Stories for June 1999


Monday, June 28

Rec program still running

Participation has slowed in the town-sponsored Summer Recreation Program at the Rim Country Middle School gymnasium.

No fireworks for Fourth

Folks planning to celebrate Independence Day with their faces turned skyward to watch a spectacular fireworks display will have to look outside Payson.

Summer baseball league a hit

With a 4-2 record, Payson's first-year entry in the Arizona Prep Summer Baseball League is more than holding its own.

Water restrictions begin, but officials see relief on horizon

Folks in Arizona like to boast about the state's dry heat, but in the summer, that lack of humidity and moisture normally translates into high fire danger and lower water stores.

Teams needed for Firecracker tournament

First played in 1981, the Firecracker Invitational Slow Pitch Softball Tournament was one of the state's holiday classics, drawing teams from throughout the Valley of the Sun, eager to escape the searing desert heat. Only Fourth of July tournaments in Show Low and Prescott rivaled the Firecracker in popularity.


Local Diamondbacks spend Father's Day at Bank One Ballpark

For members of the Payson Little League Major Division Diamondbacks, it was a week young boys only dream of.

Jobs were lost to save the owls

Katy Whitehouse's June 22 story "Out with the owls," while replete with facts about the owls, the Tonto forest and the U.S. Forest Service, didn't mention the "people cost."

Promise ring fortifies father-daughter bond

A few months ago my wife a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother saw an article in the Phoenix newspaper. It was in one of Dear Abby's columns. It concerned the request of a "promise ring" by a 14-year-old girl from her father. In the article she explained to her visibly shaken father that promise rings are given to daughters by their fathers, and a promise is made that the daughter will refrain from sex until she is married.

Boaters got shorted at Roosevelt Lake

I wish to make a complaint about the lack of docking facilities at Roosevelt Lake. On the 26th of May, my wife and I went down to the Cholla Bay launch area to put our sailboat in the water. The dock near the ramp was up on shore where nobody can use it.

Pets are not disposable pals

The call came into the Payson Humane Society at 8 a.m., well before the shelter was open. The lady on the line had just adopted a cat from the shelter and was having second thoughts. She wanted to bring the feline back and trade it in for another model.

Retiree getting more JOY out of life

Chuck Moore, a retired Renaissance man, who has been in construction most of his 73 years, has a new project he's calling it, appropriately enough, "Just Older Youth," or "JOY."

Council may boost hotel bed tax

When the Payson Town Council established a bed tax in the 1980s, it didn't stipulate that the money had to be used for tourism, Town Attorney Sam Streichman said.

Three from Rim country head to Special Olympics World Games

Among the more than 7,000 Special Olympic athletes participating in the 1999 International World Games this week in Raleigh, North Carolina are two athletes and one coach from Payson.

New plans for library mesh form with function

Judy Buettner, president of the Friends of the Payson Library, said Lawrence Enyart Architects has gone "the extra mile" to design a structure that meets the needs of the library without adding a lot of frills.

Persistence pays for plucky 90-year-old

Cardiac rehab patient wins year-long campaign to restore program

When Harold Wilson blew out the 89 candles on his cake June 25 last year, he had one wish he wanted Phase III of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Payson Regional Medical Center to continue.

Pikes hold their own at Grand Canyon Games

A pair of Payson Pikes swim team members, who are also sisters, left little doubt Rim country swimmers can compete with the best metropolitan Phoenix has to offer at the June 20 Grand Canyon Games.

Thursday, June 24

Town should not pirate water from Diamond Point

Residents of Diamond Point Shadows area are very concerned, and protest the issuance of permits to sink wells on Lion Springs for water for the Town of Payson.

Rural reps did good job on school funding

Congratulations to Sen. Jack Brown, Rep. Debra Brimhall and Rep. Jake Flake on exceptional service to citizens of the legislative District 4. Thanks to the efforts of our elected officials, the intent of the school equity court case has finally been implemented in at least one case.

Driver learns lesson about cell phone

Louis Buchsieb only took his eyes off the road for a split second, but it was enough time to send his 1992 Jeep Cherokee off the road and down a 75-foot embankment south of Payson.

Ex-bull rider now provides the rides for PBR contests

Who says you can't make a good living spreading the bull or at least raising them. H.D. Page and his father Dillon raise their bulls to buck, kick and raise cain for a Friday night crowd.

Softball sign ups continue at Parks office

Town of Payson Parks and Recreation offices have been a beehive of activity most of the week with Recreation Coordinators Beth Kreider and Teddy Pettet scrambling to schedule upcoming men's and women's softball league play.

Robertson heads to training camp

Payson's Stephanie Robertson, who'll enroll next fall as a freshman student/athlete at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, has been issued an invitation to participate in America's most prestigious heptathlon training camp.

Locals head to Goodwill Games at Glendale's Cactus High School

Former Town of Payson Recreation Coordinator Chris Gallagher might recognize several familiar Rim country faces when he helps host the sectional competition of the 1999 Junior Goodwill Games held July 17 on the campus of Cactus High School in Glendale.

Car wash, bake sales send eight to AAU

With $1,500 in proceeds earned at a recent car wash, bake sale and barbecue, a contingent of about eight fledgling Rim country youngsters, ages 11 to 17, will travel to Billings, Mont. June 30 to participate in the AAU Grand National Greco Roman and Freestyle tournament.

Locals, children winners at benefit tournament

For many of the less fortunate children and seniors in the Rim country, Christmas 1999 will be a bit brighter thanks to Monday's deposit of $9,097 into the coffers of Santa's List.

Crash mighty, but injuries minor

A 30,000-pound APS truck spun backwards, bounced off an oncoming car and rolled onto its side on Highway 87 north of Payson Tuesday afternoon and no one was seriously injured.

Summer school's popularity grows

Tawni Foster will be a freshman at Payson High School next fall, but by then, she'll already know her way around campus.

Relay for Life a moving event

On July 16 and 17, Payson will join some 2,500 other cities and towns across the country in the American Cancer Society's signature event, the Relay for Life.

Town says no to county demand for $278,00

Gila County officials may have to see the Payson Town Council in court before the council agrees to a county demand for more than $278,000 for health services for the town.

Town officials confident about Y2K

Rich Edgar, Payson Town Hall's information systems specialist, was trained as a computer network engineer, but for the past year he's also been working as an exterminator. His mission: squash the year 2000 bug out of every town-owned computer, phone, police car, water pump and fire truck.

County declares drought a crisis

roundup staff reporter What the Rim country needs, says National Weather Service Observer Anna Mae Deming, is a few good rain dancers to bring much-needed moisture to the parched pines of the Payson area.

Firefighters celebrate groundbreaking

Wednesday morning was "one of those days" for the Payson Fire Department.

We need forthright info on Y2K preparation

Y2K information continues to be confusing. There is a lot of Y2K preparation underway by the town government. Reassurance statements by other levels of government, such as they are, are typically cleverly worded to assure people that everything is under control.

Monday, June 21

Tonto Apaches send seven to regional meet

The Tonto Apache track and field team in only its second year of existence has qualified seven athletes for the USA Region 10 championships July 14 to 17 in Provo, Utah.

JRE teacher new coach of Lady Horns softball

When the Lady Longhorn softball team takes the field next spring, a new head coach will be at the helm of the program.

Eighth-graders were just great

As the chairperson of the Rim Country Middle School 8th Grade Promotional Dance Parent Committee, I would like to take this opportunity to let the residents of Payson know what a credit to our community this group of fine young people are. In view of all of the negative things we hear on a daily basis regarding the nation's youth, I feel it is my obligation to "sing the praises" of Rim Country Middle School's Class of 1999.

Courts start alternative program for drug offenders

Beginning Thursday, Gila County officials will have an additional tool to help them battle the high number of drug-related cases that are clogging the judicial system.

Out with the owls

Biologists mark a decade of counting Mexican spotted owls

It's a fine thunderstorm-and-sunshine sort of afternoon on the Mogollon Rim, the pine-covered escarpment that towers above Payson, and we've come calling on a pair of Mexican spotted owls.

Rim country dotted with wildfires

The thunderstorm that passed through northern Gila County over the weekend did little to moisten the arid high desert. Instead, lightning strikes from the storm sparked a total of 16 brush fires in the Rim country.

Bulls vs. riders this weekend

Former world bull-riding champion Cody Custer and his brother, Jim Bob, both of Wickenburg, will be in town this weekend to participate in the Mazatzal Casino Professional Bull Riders Challenge at the Payson Rodeo Grounds.

Conway earns trip to nationals

At five years of age, he climbed on a ropin' horse and almost flawlessly lassoed and tied a fleeing calf, setting the stage for what could become a promising career as a professional rodeo cowboy.

Council to take look at Rim Overlook

The Payson Town Council will consider a request Thursday to approve construction of six buildings with 24 condominiums each for the Rim Overlook Phase 2 Condominium Subdivision, a gated community at 1200 S. McLane Road.

Will it take a tragedy to slow speeders?

What does it take to slow people down in Pine and Strawberry? Most of our speed limits are 25 to 35, yet many people go well over that. We almost expect that from the weekenders, but not from our own.

Let's not forget food and water

My son spotted a bumper sticker on a well-used pickup in Payson. It read: NO FARMS, NO FOOD.

Nothing like a Saturday night at GVP

It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that!

Work is electric, setting idyllic for Childs, Irving residents

Down a grueling 10 miles of twisting, turning, narrow gravel road from Highway 87 and Strawberry sits the little community of Irving.

Thursday, June 17

Twins in running for Wrigley's Doublemint gum commercial

Summer Schneider fidgeted anxiously in her seat, wondering if her identical twin sister, Heather, would return in time to deliver an all-important speech to the two girls' sophomore English class at Payson High School.

Tourney provides prep hoops preview

Prep hoop action heats up the Rim country Friday and Saturday when several of the state's best teams lock horns in the Payson Summer Invitational Tournament.

PEDC president calls for proactive approach to growth

When Payson Town Council member Ray Schum looks down the Beeline Highway toward Phoenix, he sees business development and residential growth heading this way.

MSA donations will be a record

The financial statements are in and the Mogollon Sporting Association's 1999 banquet held May 1 at the Mazatzal Casino was officially the most successful in the organization's seven-year history.

Little League players to be honored

Saturday will be a huge day in the lives of Payson Little League players. At season-ending ceremonies from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Rumsey Park's ramada 5, the all-star teams for the three divisions major, junior and senior will be announced.

Fire station to begin rising in north Payson

Two years after voters rejected a sales tax increase to pay for a new fire department substation, ground will be turned to start construction on the building.

Rolls filling, but still open at charter school

Sixty students have enrolled in the Life School College Preparatory School, a new charter school scheduled to open here in August, but school administrators are still searching for a school building.

Hatred new in aid director's experience

Randy Roberson is a man with a Christian message to deliver and a desire to help people around the world, but he wasn't prepared for what he saw on a recent trip to Albania.

Only spiritual resurgence will stem flow of violence

Darrell Scott's testimony is a view of the Littleton tragedy that agrees with my own, but I could never express it so well.

World/Aid focuses on relief and evangelism

World/Aid, a non-profit 501 C3 agency and member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, is based in Payson.

Local angler brings home bucks from bass tourney

Local angler brings home bucks from bass tourney

Payson trio helps Fountain Hills take seniors tourney

A trio of Payson athletes helped the Fountain Hills Falcons capture the grand championship of the Rim Country Senior Softball Championship Series contested over the course of three weekends this spring at Rumsey Park.

Better to clean campsites than shoot bears

My heart felt very sad when I read the June 8 edition of the Roundup!

Kid's view an enlightening perspective

There's a lesson to be learned from a story that dates back more than a century.

Three recovering from frightful crash

A young Payson man who was tossed 40 feet from the Jeep he was riding in last Friday is now off the respirator and recuperating in a Valley hospital.

Monday, June 14

Congress now responding to needs of border states

It doesn't take long for a visitor from home to notice that Washington, D.C. is quite a bit different from Arizona. In fact, the only thing both places seem to have in common lately is 100 degree weather and it's not a dry heat in the nation's capital!

2 arrested on motel room meth lab charges

A tip led undercover agents from the Gila County Narcotics, Drug, Gang and Violent Crime Unit to an alleged methamphetamine lab in operation at room 3 of the Rim Cafe and Motel in Pine Sunday night.

Plans for Main Street starting to gel

With less than 3 percent of the town's land mass and 47 percent of the calls to the police department, Payson's Main Street area is in trouble.

Goodwill Games today at RCMS

It's not the decathlon competition but it's about as close as a Rim country youngster can get to the Olympic experience.

Summer music camp making a return in Payson

Up and coming young singers and musicians can sharpen their skills this summer during Payson's annual summer music camp.

P-S Fire Dept. looking at slight increase

Contemplating a $1.147 million budget, the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department will hold its final budget hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 16 at the fire station on Hardscrabble Road in Pine, said Fire Chief Paul Coe.

Box Canyon fall breaks bones, requires rescue

A church hiking trip in Box Canyon near Kohl's Ranch was interrupted by a six-hour rescue operation Saturday when a 13-year-old Phoenix girl fell off a 20-foot cliff.

Veto a step back for open government

Despite her contention to the contrary, Arizona Gov. Jane Hull proved a fickle friend of the open conduct of public business when she vetoed Senate Bill 1143 in late May.

All-Star games play this week

Like Arizona weather, the high school sports scene heats up this week with all-star games in eight sports being contested at various venues throughout the state.

New skate park to open by June 30

Early last spring when the project was still in its infancy, Town Parks Supervisor Nelson Beck predicted the much-anticipated Rumsey Park skate park could be completed by the end of June. As it turns out, Beck's prognostication was on-target.

Pauley swings a win at points tournament

Payson Men's Golf Association member John Calderwood says there is good reason to host points tournaments like the June 9 outing.

Rim Club opens 18-hole course

To much fanfare, the Rim Golf Club located just east of Payson opened Saturday giving our community two of the most prestigious golf courses in Arizona.

Police department promoting Block Watch to prevent crime

A pool-cleaning van pulls up to your neighbor's house, unloads some equipment and disappears around the back of the house.

Agency looking for a few good mentors

For the past year, workers from the state's Child Protective Services in Payson have conducted a mentor program to help foster children benefit from the experience of adult role models. Now, those same workers hope to expand the program to include all other children in the community.

Thursday, June 10

Horn hopefuls play in Sedona Summer League

A contingent of Longhorn varsity basketball hopefuls coached by Teddy Pettet are prepping for the 1999-2000 campaign by honing their skills in the six-team Sedona Summer League.

'Old Glory' more than a symbol or a piece of cloth

June 14 is Flag Day. It's the day our nation sets aside to pay special honor to the American flag and its role in our country's history.

Council should protect, serve and hire more officers

I was very surprised to learn that the response time for a city police officer is more than eight minutes more than twice the time to get a fire engine with crew and equipment. It seems as though it may be time for the Town Council (members) to wipe the arena dust from their eyes and look at this sad situation.

Common sense not so common about fire safety

Recently Christopher-Kohl's Fire Department received a call from the USDA Forest Service of a smoke sighting in the See Canyon area in Christopher Creek. As per mutual agreement with the forest service, CKFD investigates smoke sightings reported by the Diamond Point or Colcord towers in or adjacent to the fire district. CKFD has a few minutes' response time in comparison with the half hour or more travel time by the Forest Service.

Kosovo soldiers need our support and deserve honor

The anatomy of military failure, peacetime defects of the military establishment and failure in war are closely connected to the painful record of Vietnam. Much of what went wrong in Vietnam resulted from military institutions that remain unreformed and which failed again in the Iran raid, Beirut, Grenada, and which continue to fail in converting manpower and money into effective military power.

Police did a great job

The citizens of Payson are indeed fortunate to have a police department of the caliber that we have. My congratulations to Chief Gartner and his senior officers for supervising a group of fine men and women.

NATO proposes strict movie rating enforcement

NATO has proposed a new way to keep innocent people from being exposed to violence, and we say, go for it.

A hero of the ponderosa

Newcomers to Payson and those who have lived here for years often share a common bond they love the trees.

New officers back in budget

The hiring of three additional police officers is included in a proposed budget for next year that won Payson Town Council support Wednesday night.

Council approves increase in bed tax

Hotel and motel guests in Payson may be paying a little more for their rooms, but the added revenue from a bed tax increase should help the town relocate the rodeo grounds.

Elk banquet tickets on sale

Local Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation committee member Emily Depugh, a past chairman of the organization, is pretty excited about the prospects of having a banner RMEF big game banquet July 24 at the Mazatzal Casino.


State willing to sell land to Phx. Logistics, town gets its 26 acres

A meeting Thursday morning between town officials, a Phoenix businessman and a three-member board appointed by Gov. Jane Hull, brought Payson one step closer to future development and more jobs, according to Town Council member Ray Schum.

Bad council fiscal policies deny adequate public safety

I would suggest that the current "cash-only spending" for town capital projects has depleted town revenue assets to a dangerous level. As a direct result, our mayor and a majority of the Town Council try to claim there is no money available to fund even five new police officer positions.

Summer recreation hits a snag

Youngsters were turned away when they showed up at the Rim Country Middle School Monday morning for the opening of the town-sponsored summer youth recreation program. The reason, they were told, was that the facility was not deemed ready.

Future wrestlers hit the mats

Summer is a busy time of year for Rim country wrestlers.

Senior ball this weekend

The final diamond shoot-out of the three-tournament Rim Country Senior Softball Championship Series will be played this weekend on the Rumsey II field.

Molestation suspect signs plea agreement

The 28-year-old Mesa del Caballo man accused of molesting young girls in his neighborhood has signed an agreement in which he agrees to plead guilty to one count of child molestation and one count of sexual abuse, according to a county prosecutor.

Monday, June 7

Summer reading easier than ever

When I was young, I remember being handed a book in school that was as heavy as a brick and just as thick. I became discouraged when I tried to read required assignments because I wasn't a fast or skilled reader like my classmates seemed to be.

Council to consider bed tax hike on Thursday

The Payson Town Council will consider a proposal to increase the bed tax rate Thursday, a move that could provide as much as $63,000 in the coming year toward operation of the new rodeo grounds or for other uses.

Buckhead landfill getting longer life

With just a few hurdles left to jump, Gila County officials are preparing for the expansion of the Buckhead Mesa landfill north of Payson.

Schools cash in on state program

For the first time, Payson and Pine school districts, along with school districts across the state, will receive state money for major school repairs.

Saturday house fire lights up night sky

An unattended space heater is suspected in a Saturday night fire that destroyed a Payson home. William Maher and family were away when the blaze destroyed their home on Evergreen Circle in north Payson, just west of the Swiss Village Shops.

Ambitious hike proves too much for three men

Three Scottsdale men were left shivering and waiting out a dark night about 10 miles west of Payson Sunday after running out of water.

Pine dodges post-holiday water woes

A summer tradition of mandatory water conservation in Pine has been held at bay at least for now.

No weekend fires, but plenty of citations

While there were no forest fires in the Payson Ranger District over the weekend, Forest Service officers were kept busy enforcing campfire restrictions in the area.

Town can pump more water, but officials promote conservation

Town officials are reluctant to tell residents this summer to go with the flow, even though seven new wells are now on line and storage tanks are at 90 percent capacity.

Car wash, BBQ sends wrestlers to nationals

A group of about 10 young wrestlers who were silver and gold medalists at the recently completed Grand Canyon Games are hoping to participate in the 1999 AAU Grand National Greco-Roman and Freestyle Tournament, June 28 to July 5 in Billings, Mont.

Slain bear reminder to pick up campsites

The carelessness of campers forced local Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Manager Craig McMullen to perform probably the most undesirable task of his profession.

Meyocks tops in Mutt-and-Jeff play

Play of the day for members of the Payson Women's Golf Association was a Mutt-and-Jeff formatted affair in which only par 3 and 5 holes were scored with one-half handicap.

Szakal wins rainless match

On a cold, windy June 2 morning, 40 members of the Payson Men's Golf Association and 12 counterparts, representing Quailwood near Dewey, huddled on the first tee at Payson Golf Course, hoping rain would not force cancellation of an interclub match.

Former Longhorn star continues as pitching powerhouse at Cal Lutheran

As a senior pitcher on the Payson Longhorns' 1997 baseball team, Tom Canale was one of Arizona's best hurlers, earning a starting slot in the post-season coaches association North vs. South All-Star game.

Future still uncertain as Childs-Irving plants approach 90th birthday

Relicensing efforts continue for the Childs-Irving Hydroelectric Project west of Strawberry, and $77,000 a year in property taxes may be in jeopardy.

Overworked officers need some relief

Many of you may not be aware of the situation our police department is in. If you read the May 28 Roundup about the upcoming budget, you'd have noticed that "our council" has rejected the hiring of five additional police officers and a police sergeant, two of three "priority" items in the draft budget.

We are getting a skewed picture about many issues

Between 1900 and 1995, the population of the world has grown from 1.6 billion to six billion people. During that period of great population growth, the per capita demand for water has increased sevenfold! (The World's Water, Peter H. Gleick). In almost all nations, including the U.S., ground water aquifers are dropping, springs and creeks have dried up, and in many nations great rivers never reach the sea in particularly dry years.

Thursday, June 3

Trio tapped for All-Star game

A trio of standouts on the 1999 state champion Longhorn baseball team have been tapped to play in Arizona's most prestigious post-season classic.

AG&F authorizes lion hunt

For generations, cattle ranchers have argued vehemently that an overabundance of mountain lions are a genuine threat to wildlife as well as their own herds.

Lions blamed for sheep decline

Are predatory kills by mountain lions the reason for the decline in bighorn sheep numbers in the Tonto National Forest? The Arizona Game and Fish Commission's approval of a program to open a planned lion hunt in the area indicates officials consider the animals responsible for shrinking herd numbers.

Wildland firefighters could use the help

I must comment on the uproar over the proposed "interface fire regulations" that Gila County is considering. As a retired firefighter of 30 years who was involved in many wildland/urban interface firestorms in California, I can attest to their destructiveness.

There'll be plenty of ways to pray in school

I've been waiting to see if you get any response to your Editorial of May 21, 1999: "Allow prayer back in school". I hope I'm present to watch the return of prayer. It could be an eye-opener to the diversity of world cultures.

Ken Pratt a kind and caring man

I would like to express my deep sadness over the death of Kenneth Pratt. I would also like to share what Ken meant to me, and I'm certain I speak for many in the community.

Multi-event center needs more support of all kinds

On May 17, I was respectfully informed by the Tonto Apache Tribal Chairperson, Vivian Burdette, that at this time, the Tonto Apache Tribe was going to decline the opportunity to name the new Payson Multi-Event Center. This decision was arrived at by a consensus of their Tribal Board, their Economic Advisory Committee, and input from the tribal community as a whole.

Osco Drug, La-Z-Boy may help owners breathe life into Payson Center

In recent months, the old Payson Center at the southeast corner of the Highway 87 and 260 intersection has taken on the look of a ghost town.

'Please give us more officers'

Police officers, family members plead for relief from overtime

Payson police and their supporters were up in arms and out in force Wednesday night to protest a recent council decision to reject Police Chief Gordon Gartner's request for more patrol officers.

Patrol officer overtime: 435 hours in a year

Payson police officers and their families argued before the Town Council Wednesday that they are working too much overtime.

New fire code not necessary

We are full-time residents and taxpayers who live in Christopher Creek. We agree with the citizens of Young about not needing the uniform fire code in our district. We do not need more government interference into our private lives or lands.

Campfire restrictions continue

Forest users face continued campfire restrictions in the Tonto National Forest and in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

School looking for volunteers for reading program

Frontier Elementary School teachers are looking for volunteers this summer to help students strengthen their reading skills.

Tennis for Kids Saturday

The Payson Tennis Club hosts a Kids Day from 9 to 11 a.m., Saturday, at Rumsey Park. During the course of the two hours, members of the club will give free lessons and gently used racquets and balls to interested youngsters. PTC member Marla Johnson says more than 60 racquets have been given away at previous Kids Days.

Horns head to Luke Greenway

Since the 1950s, the top track athletes in Arizona have gathered at the season-ending Luke Greenway Meet of Champions to battle for the rights to be called the state's best. Invitees include the state champions in each event from the 1A through 5A track and field finales.