Fire Board Meeting Drew Record Crowd

PINE-STRAWBERRY

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The Pine Strawberry Fire Department Board held a special meeting Tuesday evening and 150 people came out of the woods to attend. This was unusual, because these meetings are usually attended by three or four people.

Word had spread that this meeting was important. The fire board normally meets in the little meeting room at the side of the firehouse. The number of phone calls, beginning early Tuesday, alerted them to expect a large crowd. Fire trucks were moved out and chairs brought. Four long garages were filled and people lined the walls. It was like church on Easter Sunday. Although it was difficult to hear with no speaker system, we got the gist of it and the board saw a concerned community.

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The Monkey Wrench quilt, on display at the Pine/Strawberry Museum, is admired by Skip and Sharon Wilkins. This quilt will be raffled at the end of the summer and all funds will help support the museum and the Strawberry Schoolhouse. Stop by the museum to buy raffle tickets.

The message coming from this meeting is that we all need to communicate. We, the community, need to care enough to appear at these meetings regularly and show our support and concern. We need to listen. We need to recognize and appreciate the expertise and commitment of our fire chief, Bill Decker, the energy and determination of Mike Brandt and the fuels reduction program, and the care, concern and hard work of our elected fire board. We all want the same thing. We want to save our communities from a catastrophic fire. We need to work together, communicate and respect each other. The rest will follow.

The fire board meets at 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the fire station in Pine. Let's fill that meeting room to overflowing every month. Let's show them that we care and let them know we appreciate them and their hard work on our behalf.

There is some confusion about programs. The Fuel Break Program, sponsored by the Fuels Reduction Advisory Board and to which so many property owners contributed so generously, is to clear and maintain the fuel breaks that surround Pine and Strawberry. The remaining funds will be used to keep that area clear so that fire fighters can bring a fire to the ground and have a space from which to attack a fire.

The Fuels Reduction Program works within Pine and Strawberry and aims to reduce fuels from private property. People who clear their property can take advantage of the brush removal service. Each property owner must keep a record of the hours they spend on fuels reduction as part of the grant money secured for this program. This pick-up service is presently not taking more orders until they get caught up. Be patient. In the meantime, if you can haul a load to the brush pit for yourself or your neighbor, that would be a big help.

Remember, if a fire comes, the firefighters will have to pick which homes to save. If you have not done your fuel reduction, they must move on to your neighbor, who has. One thing we can all do to help is to keep the roadways free of combustibles. Have a neighborhood weed eating party.

Beyond all of this, there is the regular work of the fire department under the direction of Chief Decker. Let's be supportive and patient.

The Pine Strawberry Historical Society is selling raffle tickets for a most amazing quilt, The Monkey Wrench Quilt. It is on display at the Pine museum and if you have not seen it, you owe it to yourself to stop by.

Stopping by the museum to take a photo of this quilt, I was delighted to find Skip and Sharon Wilkins, who own a cabin in Pine, but live in Gilbert. Through our conversation, I learned that Sharon is the author of "Ready for Kindergarten," now in its tenth printing.

Skip travels around the country helping businesses and non-profit organizations create happier and more productive workplaces. These two are examples of the interesting people you meet while volunteering at the museum. Call Karen Kelly now at (928) 476-4346 to volunteer at this wonderful museum.

The Pine/Strawberry Archaeological and Historical Society was looking for a fund raising project that would incorporate and enhance our community history. Local quilters Nancy Bollard, Kris Lovetro and Debbie Stanton worked together to create this beautiful quilt.

The Monkey Wrench design dates back to the days of slavery. One slave in the group worked as the blacksmith. He helped slaves create tools to use once they were free. Once the slaves escaped, they traveled north and when they saw a monkey wrench design quilt hanging on a clothesline, they knew it was a safe place for them to stop.

Stop by the museum, see this quilt, read its amazing story and buy raffle tickets. They are $1 each or six for $5.

This is the Fourth of July weekend. The Arts and Craft Fair will be at the Community Center in Pine. Vendors will be displaying a great variety of products, as well as endless food. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 1 and 2.

An "all you can eat" pancake breakfast will be served beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday before the craft fair, hosted by the P/S Fire Department and Strawberry's Elite.

The Pine Library is having a book sale on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Library Activity Building at the rear of the Community Center. Lots of children's and junior books will be available as well as adult books, videos and books on tape. Buy your raffle tickets for the terrific Tea Basket.

The Church on Randall Place invites everyone to a community block party on Saturday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be food, fun, games, a bounce house and a salsa contest. Bring your salsa to find out how good it really is. The community is grateful to this congregation for putting this free event together. To help or donate, call John Lake at (928) 476-4249.

An annual favorite event is the free concert by the 108th Army Band. The lively and fun concert is in the Cultural Hall at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 2. Come early for a good seat.

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