New Well In Pine May Not Be Best Option

PINE-STRAWBERRY

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There are lots of activities going on in our communities over the next few weeks. Hopefully, the fires will stay away and we can enjoy all the summer fun. But before I talk about those, let me discuss a recent meeting I attended.

For the hundred or so who attended a special meeting with the Arizona Corporation Commission recently, they have some idea of what is going on regarding the water issue in Pine and Strawberry. For those who did not attend, and only read what was reported in the Payson Roundup, the new water plan sounds like both a done deal and a super deal for residents of our two communities.

I did attend the meeting and if this plan goes into action, a few issues are very frightening. First, the moratorium on new water meters would be lifted.

Second, the water from the new well to be drilled in Strawberry will be delivered to Pine through the Magnolia pipeline.

And third, eventually, Pine and Strawberry residents will be paying the price for this new deep well with higher water bills. Even though this is a project for Pine, we all will be paying.

We all know there is a limit on the amount of water available and we all need to conserve it. But also, most of us who live here, either full-time or as weekenders, like the casual, quiet, small community atmosphere. We moved here because of what it is.

We do not want a lot of growth and change, which will happen if there is an end to the moratorium on new water meters. We will have condos, apartment complexes and lots more homes being built in Pine.

The Pine water plan, if approved, would provide water for Pine. Although the well would be in Strawberry, there is no provision in this agreement to protect the people of Strawberry and ensure that they have sufficient water. Several wells have been drilled in Strawberry by Brooke Utilities. These wells have caused wells on nearby private property to go dry.

I do not claim to know everything about this water agreement, which is under consideration by the Arizona Corporation Commission. However, we all need to be paying attention. The meetings of the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District are important, not always fun to attend, but important. This is our future that they are planning. We need to have our say.

Events this summer

Getting back to summer fun, the new and wonderful Ponderosa Market in Pine is having a Grand Opening Celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20. Authentic Native American Dancers will feature Mountain Spiral Dancers, Butterfly Dancers and Buffalo Dancers. Free hot dogs and drinks will be served both days.

Stop by and see what is available right in Pine. And if you do not find what you are looking for, talk to Cindy. She will try to bring it in for you.

United Blood Services will have a blood drive on Tuesday, May 22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Pine. To make an appointment, call Sheri Earp at (928) 476-3655. Drop-ins are welcome. Bring a photo ID, drink lots of water and eat a hearty, low-fat meal before donating. Blood is the gift of life. Be a hero. Give Blood.

The Pine Strawberry Arts and Crafts Festival is on Memorial Day weekend, May 26 and 27, in the Pine Community Center. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, you will have the opportunity to see hand-crafted items in every medium. For information about booth space, contact Gail Jones, (928) 476-4480 or e-mail her at coolpc68@ hotmail.com. The Arts and Crafts Guild meets the last Friday of each month in the craft room at the Pine Community Center. New members are always welcome.

The Pine Strawberry Firefighters and the Strawberry's Elite will be serving pancakes and all the trimmings on both Saturday and Sunday morning, from 7 to 10 a.m. to kick off the Arts and Crafts Festival. What a great way to start a full day.

The seniors will be serving their famous Navajo tacos during the Arts and Crafts Festival. These are the greatest.

The Pine Library Friends will have a huge book sale on Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27, in their activity building at the rear of the Pine Community Center. Buy your raffle tickets for the throw and a watercolor print by local artist, Ruth Rand.

The 11th Annual Quilt Show will be hosted by the Strawberry Patchers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 8, 9 and 10, in the Cultural Hall at the Pine Community Center. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. This is an amazing display of quilts and quilting projects. Don't miss this opportunity to see art at its most creative. For more information, call Kathy MacCleary at (928)472-4410 or Mary Mitchell at (928) 273-7104.

The totally new Strawberry Festival will be Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, in the Hunt field at the end of the pavement on Fossil Creek Road. This will be a huge event with Wild West shows, all sorts of food, lots of activities and games for children and adults and music galore. There will be booths and a flea market.

If you can volunteer to help at this year's Strawberry Festival, call Karen Blake at (928) 476-3658. Lots of exciting volunteer opportunities await you.

A CPR class will be offered to seniors from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, June 11, at the Pine Fire Station.

Mike Ward will teach the class. Fire Chief Bill Dekker has generously agreed to pay for this class. Those taking the class will pay only $2 for their certification card. Please call Sara Rittenhouse, (928) 476-3568, before June 1, to reserve your space.

Donations are still coming in for the Pine Strawberry Fuels Reduction Project.

The Pine Strawberry Historical Society donated $1,000 to the project to be used for maintenance of the fire break.

Many thanks to the Historical Society and to the other organizations and individuals who have donated to this worthwhile effort.

Let's be totally careful with fire and cigarettes and remind our neighbors, relatives and visitors of the need for extreme caution. We are the ones who can prevent a forest fire.

-- 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 cpwrather@earthlink.net.

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