Just Breathe And Enjoy Springtime

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Rim Country residents of all ages are breathing sighs of relief.

The exhales of respite are because the dreaded April 15 tax deadline has passed and two weeks of AIMS testing at Pine Strawberry Elementary wrapped up yesterday (Thursday).

With those two challenges now in the rearview mirror, it appears that even the weather was waiting for this week to burst out into a warm spring glow.

Hopefully, that slight snow shower last week was the last gasps of winter.

I'm ready to turn off the gas heat --lthough it hasn't been turned up for reasons we won't go into right now --pen the windows and enjoy the fresh air (allergies permitting).

I'm also stoked to soak up sun and enjoy a good novel while lounging on the back deck. However, those that know me understand that as soon as the temperature climbs past 85 degrees, I will be the first to yell, "it's too hot."

But for now, let's all enjoy the beautiful outdoors under the Mogollon Rim.

Board meets

The Pine-Strawberry School Board, at its April 14 meeting, approved a full-price breakfast and lunch increase for the 2008-2009 school year.

Breakfast will be $1.25 and lunch $1.75. With food and fuel prices climbing at record rates, those prices remain a heck of a deal for a nutritious, well-balanced, tasty meal.

Also, school principal/superintendent Mike Clark briefed the board on the 2008-2009 budget that is still being finalized.

The new budget is estimated to be $2,424,352, which includes a 29 percent increase in utilities and fuel.

Clark faces a daunting challenge trying to balance the budget that must meet all the financial demands of No Child Left Behind and at the same time attract and retain quality teachers who could be enticed to leave by the much greater salaries paid by Valley school districts.

Thankfully, we have a quality of life in Pine-Strawberry that some teachers believe is more attractive.

The board also approved an eighth-grade field trip to Flagstaff where the students will visit Northern Arizona University and the Lowell Observatory.

Become a sub

Also at the school, Clark says there is a critical shortage of substitute teachers. Some are under the assumption substitutes need a degree to be in the classroom. Not so, Clark says.

Qualifications to become a certified substitute teacher are:

For Emergency Substitute Certificate (valid for one year, renewable):High school diploma or GED.

Regular Substitute Certificate (valid for multiple years): Minimum of a BA/BS from any accredited college or university.

Fingerprint clearance card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Those interested in becoming a substitute teacher, please contact Doris Randall or Clark at drandall@pineesd.org or mclark@ pineesd.org. You may also call (928) 476-3283 or stop by the school.

Home-schooled drawing class changed

The date of the second home-schooled drawing class has been changed from April 18 to May 2.

The class will be held in the Pine library activity room from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The class is free, but enrollment is limited to 25 students.

To enroll your home-schooled child, call the library, (928)476-3678 or stop by the library at 6124 Randall Road in Pine.

Theater coming to Pine

Mark your calendar May 8 to attend the spring play performance at the Pine Cultural Hall. For it, the Pine library is partnering with the Pine-Strawberry school to perform two plays.

Sandy Carver, youth program coordinator at Pine library will direct actors from PS junior high in a one-act version of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."

Students in grades one through five, under the direction of Patty Lawrence from PS school, will perform a musical titled "When Dorothy Meets Alice."

In it, the character Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" meets Alice from "Alice in Wonderland." Curtain time is 6 p.m. There is no charge and the community is invited to attend.

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