Pine, Strawberry Residents To Select New Leaders For Water Improvement District

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The Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District has been re-formed by the Gila County Board of Supervisors and now needs to have seven residents elected to serve as its board of directors.

Candidates for the PSWID board were asked to submit biographical statements, identify and give their positions on key issues facing the district. Here are their edited responses:

John Breninger

Breninger says he has researched and studied the local water situation, collected the geohydrologic studies and papers done on this area, and served as a member of the Arizona Hydrological Society.

As the delegated PSWID agent and chairman of the Deep Production Well Exploration Committee, Breninger administered the PSWID Project PS 2002-01 geo-hydrologic engineering services contract, which resulted in a groundwater availability technical report, preliminary well design and drilling requirements, wells database management system and inventory of wells, and an assessment and prior information and data.

Breninger has additional volunteer experience in developing demographics for church and school expansion; as a census supervisor; and on the Pine-Strawberry Community Advisory Committee for water services.

Glenn L. Brown

"I am a retired scientist with a Ph.D. in physics from UCLA. I am a member of a number of scientific and technical organizations, including the American Geophysical Union and the Arizona Hydrological Society. I am familiar with basic groundwater hydrology, the geology and hydrology of the Pine/ Strawberry region, the use of computer programs for development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) used for water exploration, and sources of well and ground water data such as the ADWR and USGS data bases," Brown said.

"The quality of life here is unmatched except for one problem. We need more water. We need a reliable source, or sources, of affordable water and a reliable distribution system. These are the key issues," he said.

Tom Filesi

The retired CEO of a public company in the Dallas area, Filesi left Motorola (Phoenix) after 21 years of service to lead Texas-based Optek Technology from near bankruptcy, to a very successful business.

Filesi says his career has been a series of challenges to fix businesses and to solve problems. That experience, he claims, can help the community of Pine-Strawberry address its current water problems.

"There are a number of key issues to be addressed by the Board, but only one super ordinate objective. That is to provide water to District users, reliably on demand, and at a reasonable cost."

For more information, go to www.tomfilesi.com.

Robert S. Grala

"I am a concerned Arizona citizen and a 24/7 resident of the community of Pine. I spoke out at several water-related public and private meetings, in Pine. These meetings were about the state of the local water supply and various remedies. At one such meeting, I was encouraged to consider running for a position on the PSWID Board. While I understood that this would clearly be a controversial position, I immediately knew that it was my civic responsibility and in my best interest to be personally involved."

Grala said he has the ability and desire to analyze difficult situations and resolve them, regardless of their degree of difficulty.

Barbara Hall

Barbara A. Hall has extensive experience serving on boards. She is currently in her third term as president of the Pine/Strawberry Arts and Craft Guild., serving as vice-president for two terms prior.

"I am running because I am concerned about the water shortage in the district. I understand the water improvement district was formed for this purpose. I feel there has been too much information not shared with the citizens," she said.

Hall said the key issues are a non-reliable water source, high rates, poor maintenance, no fire hydrants, inadequate pressure, and a lack of enough resources to serve the community.

Forrest McCoy

McCoy said he is the candidate to bring the control of the water district back to the residents of the communities of Pine and Strawberry.

"I feel that bringing an adequate water supply to our area residents should be the foremost effort of this water improvement district. A search for a new, deep water supply should be the primary objective of the PSWID, and this has not been on the public agenda of this water district while under the control of the Gila County Board of Supervisors during the past two years.

"If elected to the PSWID board, I will work with the other board members to locate and develop new water sources," he said.

Paul Paul

"I have lived in Strawberry full-time since 1992.

"Water is the key issue in both the Pine and Strawberry communities. If elected, I believe that I can help the new board solve some of the water problems that plague our area.

"The board must work together to solve this problem. It may mean that we have to install some conservation measures, improve and update the present water systems, or go out and find new water supplies."

Gary Sherlock

Gary Sherlock decided his background could be helpful in solving the water shortage for Pine and Strawberry.

"My background includes 15 years with Salt River Project at a senior level with budget, supervisory and ‘hands-on' experience in design, project management and implementation of technical projects. My strengths include demonstrated expertise in all aspects of technical work related to analyzing and resolving complex problems.

"I believe the first and most important issue is solving our water shortage and maintaining a reasonable cost for our water service."

Donald L. Smith

Donald L. Smith has lived in the communities of Pine and Strawberry for the past 24 years. He has served on the Pine-Strawberry School Board for eight years and on the Pine/Strawberry Fire Department Board for three years, presently he's serving on the Pine Clinic Board.

"I believe that a Water District has the responsibility to provide for the residents the necessary commodities to sustain life and provide for a comfortable existence. I believe that foremost we must secure and store water to provide for these needs.

"I am opposed to buying Brooke Utilities at this time."

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