Q: Why is the road department trying to put the Mandarin House out of business by building that ridiculous entryway that they have?

A: The approach onto Highway 87 from the parking lot of the Mandarin House was not adequate, so the Arizona Department of Transportation, which is doing the repair and resurfacing work on the Beeline, had an engineer redesign it. What looked good on paper, didn't look so good when it was actually laid out, according to ADOT Transportation Engineering Specialist Dave Gerlach.

"It was 24 feet wide and it had the right slopes, but after we looked at it we realized it was too narrow, so we're increasing the size to 38 feet now," Gerlach said. "We used some common sense and said, 'This needs to be bigger.'

"On paper, it always looks great, but (the owner) has delivery trucks semis that go down in there. When it's done, it will be a lot safer and a lot nicer than it was before."

Meanwhile, the repaving of Highway 87 from the south end of Payson all the way to Pine the reason the Mandarin House entrance and other preparatory work is taking place has run into a delay.

"We're having a hard time getting the rubber hot plant up here," said Gerlach.

The half inch layer of rubberized asphalt that will be laid on Highway 87 must be done within a narrow temperature timeframe.

"There are only six or seven of these machines in the state," Gerlach said, "and we are starting to push the envelope."

The machine is tentatively scheduled to arrive Oct. 8 or 9. If it is delayed again for any reason, the resurfacing may get pushed back to spring.

Q: When Payson Mayor Ray Schum talks about his county supervisor redistricting plan, he uses 15,731 as the population for Payson. But in discussions about water, he uses the figure of 14,000-plus. Why the difference?

A: Redistricting is pretty much a numbers game, and numbers are getting tossed around in some very confusing ways. The number 15,731 is a new one on us, but here are some redistricting numbers that it could be confused for:

15,713 The current population of District 3, the southernmost district that includes Globe.

15,544 The current population of Payson Precincts 1-8, larger than the population of Payson because some outlying areas like Mesa del Caballo vote in Payson precincts.

51,337 The total population of Gila County according to the 2000 Census.

"When I speak on my redistricting plan, I am using figures the county put out," Schum said.

We also don't know where the 14,000-plus figure came from. The population of Payson proper was 13,620 according to the 2000 Census. The number of people who can be served with existing water supplies is currently 15,470.

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