I am home again. It is great to be here. Some parts of the country are flooded and here we are in desperate need of rain.
There was a huge error in last week's column concerning the fund-raisers for the Justice McNeeley Foundation. It stated that 25 percent of the proceeds from the Poker Run at Nifty "50" Diner would go to the foundation. All proceeds, 100 percent, from ticket sales for both fund-raising events go to the foundation.
The Quad Poker Run is at Pine Verde Mexican Restaurant in Pine, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. The $10 entry fee includes breakfast, which will be served beginning at 8 a.m. The following Saturday, Oct. 8, is a Poker Run at Nifty "50" Diner beginning at 10 a.m. The tickets for the run are $10. Breakfast will be served as usual and 25 percent of all proceeds from the breakfast will go to the foundation.
This fund-raiser is for Mercedes Miranda, who needs an expensive hearing device to help her at school, church and other times when she needs to hear just one voice.
The Justice McNeeley Foundation raises money for special equipment or services needed by children in our community.
The Rimside Grill is hosting the second annual Oktoberfest in the Pines from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. Fun activities are scheduled throughout the day, including volleyball, horseshoes and a stein-holding contest.
A DJ will provide a variety of German and favorite music beginning at noon and "The Bank" will entertain from 6 p.m. to 10. p.m. Authentic German food will be on the menu. Come and have fun all day long.
Stop by Rimside Grill for a schedule of events or go to their website at www.rimsidegrill.com.
The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library has special children's programs lined up during school vacation. Don Doyle, a renowned storyteller and originator of the Tellabration in Pine will do a special storytelling adventure for children at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 in the cultural hall at the Pine Community Center. What a terrific opportunity for the children to hear a real storyteller.
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, the movie "Lilo and Stitch 2" will be shown at 10 a.m. at the Pine library.
The visiting nurse at the senior center has to make a schedule change for her October visit. She will be at the Senior Center at the Pine Community Center on Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. After October, she should return to her normal day, the fourth Thursday of the month. She will do blood pressure and blood sugar checks.
I recently attended a steering committee meeting for the Fuels Reduction Program. It is absolutely amazing what Mike Brandt is doing to make our communities safer places to live. But he needs help. He needs the help of every homeowner in Pine and Strawberry.
"We live in a sick forest. We have the opportunity to do something about it," Mike said.
He welcomes the opportunity to speak to community groups and organizations about the need for reducing fuels. He has an education program geared to third- and fourth-graders, which will be presented to elementary school children in Pine, Payson and in parts of the Valley. Seventy percent of homeowners do not live here. They live in the Valley and we need to reach them however we can.
The goat program is well under way. Groups of 50 goats are confined with portable fencing on a piece of property. They eat the brush and loosen the soil, which helps to prevent erosion.
The goats are particularly beneficial on steep properties.
It has been proven that properties where goats are used to thin brush are much more fire resistant than where machinery has been brought in.
Erosion is a big worry. The residue from the chipper makes great ground cover for land that has been cleared of brush. Chips are available free for the hauling from the ever growing pile just south of the Ponderosa Market -- the northwest corner of Hardscrabble Road and Highway 87. Do you know some horse people, or anyone, who could use some wood chips? Tell them about these.
"If everyone in these communities would go out and knock down their brush and let us pick it up, we would be well on our way to a safer community," Mike said.
You pile the trimmings on the side of the road and the Fuel Route folks will come and pick it up. That sounds easy enough. The program is free but only applies to homeowners who do their own trimming. Call (928) 476-4272 for more information about the programs. "We will always have forest fires, but we can make our communities fire resistant," Mike added. Let's all do our part and thin, thin, thin.
Please provide information for this column regarding upcoming events, activities and items of interest for residents and visitors of Pine and Strawberry. Call or fax (928) 476-2239 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.