Fishing Activity Heating Up

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Rory Aikens, an old friend from the 1980s, when we both worked for the White Mountain Independent in Show Low, says Rim Country lakes should be producing good numbers of trout.

Aikens, now a Public Information Officers with Arizona Game and Fish Department, reports than 10,000 rainbows have recently been stocked into Willow Springs and Woods Canyon lakes.

"Those are bonus trout over and above the normal trout stockings these popular fishing waters receive," Aikens said.

In addition to fishing activity heating up because of the increased number of trout, Aikens predicts the monsoons will be a boon to anglers.

"When those afternoon clouds start building up and the barometer takes a dip, trout start actively feeding in the mountain lakes," Aikens said.

Additional tout will likely be distributed the next few months at Becker Lake, Scotts Reservoir and River Reservoir, all in the White Mountains and in Willow Springs.

Did ref play a role in playoff loss?

Even the most casual basketball fan has to be scratching his or her noggin, wondering if ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy, under investigation for allegations he bet on games he officiated, had anything to do with the Phoenix Suns Game 3 playoff loss to San Antonio.

I conferred today with fellow Payson Roundup reporter, Erin Turner, a huge Suns fan, to see if I was correct in remembering Donaghy officiated the Suns 108-101 loss to the Spurs.

She, too, remembered he called the game and that Phoenix star Amare Stoudemire played only about 20 minutes because of foul trouble. He finished with five fouls and was charged with two in the opening quarter.

In the first few minutes of the third quarter, Stoudemire was ticketed again for two more fouls, which limited his effectiveness, both offensively and defensively.

Early in the fourth quarter, he received his fifth foul.

It's all to obvious that limiting a superstar's playing time, as happened to Stoudemire, is the best way to affect the outcome of the game.

The argument that there were hidden plots and subterfuge in determining the outcome of game 3 unfolds a bit like the "Grassy Knoll" theory that two gunman were involved in the shooting of John F. Kennedy.

Which means, like the Kennedy assassination, we might never know the truth about game 3.

But, since the Spurs covered the spread, winning by seven points, after Las Vegas bookies favored the team by four, the claim that the game's outcome might have been affected by questionable officiating gains even more credibility.

All this time, Suns fans considered Robert Horry the villain in the playoff loss, when it might have been an unscrupulous official.

Funding PATS

A scenic and safe pathway will wind through Payson when the Payson Area Trails System becomes a reality.

Town Parks and Recreation Coordinator Mary McMullen is unsure when the trails will be finished, but she's working diligently to acquire the funds needed for the ambitious project.

"Funding is the key to success," she said.

The Payson Town Council approved PATS at a March meeting and the Parks and Recreation Department is now accepting sponsor donations.

Sponsors can choose to donate any amount from $100 to $10,000.

The $10,000 donors, or Platinum Sponsors, will have their name(s) and/or company logo displayed on all signs in the quarter-mile trail sections they select. The sponsors will also receive recognition on the PATS Web site and other advertisements.

Other donor amounts are $3,500 (Gold Sponsors), $2,000 (Silver Sponsor), $1,000 (Bronze Sponsors), $250 to $1,000 (Cyclist Sponsors), $100 (Patron Brick).

Also, Trailblazer Sponsors may donate $100 in labor or equivalent in materials.

Money collected will not only be used to build the trails, but also to purchase kiosks, bike racks and benches.

The kiosks and benches will be placed at centers of interest on the trails.

Four centers have been chosen -- SawMill Crossing, Green Valley Park, Rumsey Park and Gila Community College.

The system will incorporate the Payson firebreak as the outer wheel of the network.

Trails will run through town, like spokes connecting the firebreak wheel.

Motorized vehicles will not be permitted on the trails.

According to McMullen, the trails will be pieced together over time and certain sections finished before others.

Some of the funding could come from the Arizona Parks Board after the Payson Parks and Recreation Department submits the trails plan.

The town has received support from the project from Payson District Ranger Ed Armenta.

For more about the project or to become a sponsor, call McMullen at (928) 474-5242, ext. 358.

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