If you have not heard in the news, the small town of Plankinton, S.D. lost their school in a devastating explosion Nov. 17. Students had begun to smell gas and were evacuated. While three people were searching out the cause of the smell, something sparked the gas and the school blew up, taking the lives of the superintendent and the janitor and leaving a volunteer fireman in critical condition.
Gail Phylow of Pine has a personal connection to the town and has decided to take up their cause for the holiday. Her cousin, Doug Glover, fought the fire, witnessing the devastation first hand. She is asking each of us to give just $1 toward the fund to help this small rural town rebuild not only their school, but their lives as well.
"Just think of how devastated we would be if this happened to us," she said.
Plankinton is a small community, just like Pine. Watching her daughter on the cheer squad and my daughter play ball, I couldn't help but think that we have been blessed.
Please drop off you $1 at the Pine-Strawberry Medical Clinic or mail it to them at P.O. Box 1990, Pine, AZ 85544. If you have questions, please contact Gail or her husband Bobby at 476-3258. There are lots of Web sites about this tragedy. Try www.state.sd. us/deca/Plankinton/Contact.htm for more details.
On with the holiday events
At 5 p.m., Friday Dec. 8, the Senior Center is having its holiday potluck. This event is for members only. If you need a ride, call Sue Jones at 476-2151 and she will gladly make arrangements for you.
Holiday reading and music
This is the big weekend for A Book for All Seasons bookstore. New owner Kimberly will host a holiday open house from 5 to 9 p.m. tonight. Local storyteller Richard Wentz will read "Stories of Christmas," and other local authors will be there signing their books. Guests can enjoy live music. Everyone is invited to stop in for hot cider and refreshments. A Book for All Seasons is located on Hardscrabble Road in Pine.
Our holiday lighting display
Also starting this weekend, the Fossil Creek Llama Ranch will have a lighted Christmas display open to the public from 1 to 7 p.m. on weekends and 5 to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Admission is just one nonperishable food item for the food bank, and you can bring your own camera for shots of you and Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Snow Family, singing bears, the reindeer and more. To get to the Fossil Creek Ranch, take Highway 87 to Strawberry, turn west on Fossil Creek Road. The ranch is about three-and-a-half miles down and on the left.
Santa Claus is coming to town
Joining in the holiday spirit, the Strawberry Market is bringing Santa Claus to town. Dec 9 and 10 and Dec. 16 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Santa will be checking up on those who have been naughty or nice. Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras for those memory making shots on Santa's knee. And for the tiny tots under 6 years old, Santa has a special gift.
What is Christmas without singing children?
At 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec.13, band director Daria Mason will present a concert featuring second- through eighth-grade students from Pine-Strawberry Elementary School. From the cute to the outstanding, this concert will bring a smile to your face. This is where you will find the true spirit of the holidays.
Thanks for the support
A big community thank-you to all of the businesses, parents and community minded folks who turned out at the Seventh Annual Christmas Tree Auction. With Arvid Thompson as her auctioneer, kindergarten teach-er Allison Randall managed to raise $1,480 for the school. Each class and department will get their individual tree money, and it can be used for supplies, field trips or rewards.
Christmas Lights map
If you have an exceptionally decorated home for the holidays and would like to be included in a Look at the Lights map for Pine and Strawberry, call MVP Realty at 476-3000 and give them your lot number and street.
Santa's mapmakers will gather the addresses and have them ready by Dec. 15. If you are included on the map, you are asked to be sure your home is lit every evening from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. as this is the recommended cruising time.