I am not a native of these parts, and maybe this is reflected in my naivete concerning certain local issues. Here's my take, though:
I wish Payson or Star Valley or Pine had a good ole barbecue restaurant with country music playing, preferably bluegrass. From a cafeteria line you could choose meat and two sides and apple or peach cobbler. That, and never-ending pitchers of iced tea, is what I remember from my Georgia days. I would even accept beef as the choice of meat, although everyone knows that the Lord meant for barbecue to be pork.
I would love to see a large arch over Main Street as an entrance to "Old Payson." It would define the area much better, and perhaps draw some curiosity from tourists passing through.
I have observed that there are many honest, intelligent, caring folks on both sides of the water thing here, and for the life of me, I don't understand why a good general agreement can't be worked out.
I've never seen better young folks than I have found here. I have worked with many who I am certain will make a strong mark for Good in their adult lives. Payson's biggest single problem, if you ask me, is that all these marvelous young people will not stay here and work for five dollars an hour in jobs with little entitlement or chance for improvement. Where's the incentive? Restaurants have closed from lack of good help. The turnover rate at many other businesses is constant. Many otherwise great kids turn to meth or other mind-blockers because they simply feel trapped in a dead end. There just HAS to be a much better opportunity here for them. What about an organization called "Junior Achievement?" Is that still around?
I'm told that there is a shuttle service to Green Valley Park on the Fourth of July and other large events. Is this true? If so, it needs more publicity. Traffic and parking are keeping many folks away. The park, by the way, is one of the nicest things I have seen a small town do for its citizens. Why is it so little used? Oh, and couldn't more trees be planted around there for shade?
If you ask me, I would place traffic policemen at the major intersections on the major holiday weekends and turn off the traffic lights. Of course, if you ask the policemen who would have to stand out in the heat and traffic, you might get a different answer.
A little town of 15,000, a hundred miles from any big city, has a large regional hospital with its own Life-Flight helicopter and many good doctors and nurses. Now that's impressive.
I never get bored with the drive down 87 highway, at least as far as the Bush Highway turn-off. The scenery is always overwhelming and, depending on the light, is ever changing in subtle hues of desert colors. The drive along The Rim and the one to Pine rate right up there, also.
Is it my imagination, or do the vast majority of folks in this town appear to be genuinely friendly? No matter the circumstances or the weather or personal issues, I see more smiles and get more "Howdys" here than any place I have lived. I get some of the other gestures, too, but they are minimal.
I'm all for landscaping the round-a-bout and placing a beautiful bronze elk there. I think it will add something unique, noteworthy and classy to Payson. I wish there could be something like it at the south end of town -- perhaps a rodeo rider? That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
"Trades and Sales" should win a Pulitzer Prize.
There are fine editors at the local newspapers. They do a superb job, and we can take pride in their publications. I wish Autumn Phillips could have stayed at the Roundup a bit longer, though. This is one fine lady, and will be heard from down the road.
Incidentally, I believe competition is good in most cases and our newspapers here are better off for it. It does appear to get a bit personal at times, though. Hey, I've already raised teenagers.
I love fishing and camping. I've about decided, though, that I either have to limit those activities to October through March or search for a spot in remote Canada. Walking across water is no miracle at Woods Canyon Lake on certain holidays. You simply have to say, "excuse me" a lot.
If the "Campers" that folks haul up to the Rim every weekend were taxed by the foot, we could eliminate holiday traffic problems. The money would easily pay for a bypass or folks would stop bringing these Condos-on-Wheels up the road. Either way we win.
Ah well, I'm just thinking out loud here. Don't blame the newspaper.