Happy St. Patrick's Day. The beautiful snowfall from last weekend was most welcome and is so very beautiful.
The property owners of Pine and Strawberry have certainly stepped forward, showing their caring and concern for this wonderful place.
The response to the request for funds for the fuel break has been overwhelming. Some skeptics said it could not be done. They were proven wrong. Checks of all sizes have been pouring in. The work was to begin this past Monday but snow prevented that. They will get in there as soon as possible.
The snow is providing needed moisture for our trees. However, although it will delay the fire season a bit, it will not eliminate the tremendous threat for this summer. We still need the fuel break cleared.
When the proposal for the fuel break first surfaced, it was thought that the mechanical process would be fast and effective. After careful review, it has been determined that the mechanical process would not be able to do the job as well as hand crews.
There was concern about damage and injury with flying debris as some of this fuel break borders on private property. Also, the machine cannot remove dead trees and large brush. Hand crews are more expensive, but the job will be done more efficiently and safely.
Thanks to all who contributed so generously, there are sufficient funds to get the project started. It will take approximately a month to hand clear the entire fuel break around Pine and Strawberry.
For those who have sent in their checks: Many, many thanks. For those who have not gotten around to it yet, don't delay. Amazingly, $50,000 has been raised. The new cost will be between $75,000 and $100,000. If everyone who has not contributed will send in what they can, we will have the needed funds in time.
The success of this project has caught the eyes and ears of many from Payson to Washington. Because we have shown that we care enough to help ourselves, we will be at the top of the list when we need help. Washington helps those who help themselves.
The Pine Strawberry Fuels Reduction Advisory Committee (PSFRAC) is most grateful to Take Pride Project. Working through them, we were able to take advantage of the tax-exempt status and, also, their bulk mail permit.
Ira Gibel has been receiving the checks and getting them deposited into the special account set up for this project. Many thanks to Ira and the Take Pride Project.
This appeal for funds went out to every property owner in Pine and Strawberry. They live throughout Arizona and in almost every state, but the majority live in the Phoenix area. All have been most generous. With this snowfall and the clearing of the fire break, we should be in pretty good shape for this coming fire season. However, we cannot forget the need to reduce fuels on our own property.
Volunteer of the Year
The deadline is fast approaching for submitting your nominations for the Take Pride Project Volunteer of the Year Award. Entries must be received by March 24. Write a short note stating why you think your nominee is a good candidate for this award and mail it to Take Pride Project, Volunteer of the Year, P.O. Box 1204, Pine, AZ 85544.
The presentation ceremony will be in early April.
Other P/S events
Movie Madness is for school-age children during this school break. "Down and Derby" will be shown at the Pine Library at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 23.
"Every Child Ready to Read" is a very special program for parents, grandparents and caregivers of children from birth to age five, sponsored by the Pine Library. The program is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 22 in the library activity room (the former Kiwanis building.)
Everyone will leave with a gift bag to introduce the world of books and reading to your young children. Don't miss this amazing opportunity. For more information, talk with Becky at the library, (929) 476-3678.
The Dyslexic Art Show, sponsored by Myra's Gallery in Pine, is featuring a special program for children with learning challenges. Stop by the gallery and talk with Myra. Ask her why she wears blue glasses. Her answer will amaze you.
Fill a bag with clothes and pay a dollar during the huge sale at the Senior Thrift Store in Pine. The sale will be March 22 through April 1. Don't miss out on this one.
Join the Pine Strawberry Arts and Crafts group at their monthly meeting at 9 a.m. Friday, March 31 in the craft room at the Pine Community Center.
Stop by the library to pick up your copy of "An Unfinished Life" by Mark Spragg. This is the OneBookArizona selection and the discussion will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 26 at the library.
I will be away some over the next few weeks. Please get your information to me in advance. My fax machine is still out of order. E-mail always reaches me, firstname.lastname@example.org.