A small but resolute group of Pine and Strawberry residents are working diligently to attain fire prevention and environmental services that should prove to be invaluable to all living and visiting in the Rim Country.
It is the Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee, which debuted two years ago with eight members. Since, it has doubled in size and recently incorporated.
Currently the committee is exploring the potential of biomass. Which means, instead of watching our thinning projects and brush removal "go up in smoke," the group is searching for viable solutions to recycle the resource.
Guests at last week's PSFRC meeting included District 1 Supervisor Tommie Martin, Ken Volz, Director of Payson Economic Regional Development and Larry Stevens, executive of Eastern Gila County Organization.
The guests took time to offer valuable insights and encourage members of the PSFRC to continue their efforts.
CPSFRC committee members cite Capt. Mike Brandt of the Pine Strawberry Fire Department, for his work in keeping their efforts alive.
They say, he has assisted in obtaining grants and is dedicated to educating residents on all aspects of fire prevention, protection of our community and creating and maintaining a healthy forest.
It's obvious, an organization like the PSFRC has the potential to eventually become an integral part of our community.
But to do so, it needs our support.
The best way to back the group is to attend and participate in its meetings. Notice of future meetings will be posted publicly and PSFRC members are encouraging residents to take part.
P/S Fire department offers invaluable service to community
The Pine Strawberry Fire Department is encouraging property owners to contact the department for a free fuel assessment of their property. Grant money is available at this time that will help defray the expense of clearing your property by 50 percent. A representative from the PS Fire Department will visit your property and make recommendations for fire protection.
Now that the weather is clearing, the crews will soon resume brush pickup.
There is no need to call for a request for pickup. The crews work a rotating zone system with pickups scheduled for Monday through Wednesday.
Call Lisa (928) 476-4272 if you would like to have your name added to the list.
How to avail yourself of the services
Place brush, pine needles and leaves in bags on the side of the road and the crew will come by and remove them.
Brush and bags should be placed at a location where are accessible for loading with a skip-loader.
No logs bigger than six inches in diameter or eight feet in length will be picked up. Although there is no fee for this huge community service, the fire department is eligible to receive grant money if homeowners fill out worksheets.
The community worksheet is available at the fire station or can be downloaded from the Pine-Strawberry Fire District web sight at: http://www.pine-strawberryfire.com/.
Go to grant info and click on "download community time sheet."
Complete the time sheet and drop it off at either fire station or mail it.
Membership meeting at Senior Center
The quarterly senior center membership meeting will be held March 10, immediately following lunch.
If you have been a bit remiss in making the meetings, come out and enjoy a delicious chicken-fried steak lunch and catch up.
Pine Strawberry Elementary still has Bashas' Community Support Cards for sale. Contact Doris or Betsy at the school office (928) 476-3283 if you would like to purchase one. The initial cost is $50 and a percent of that is donated to the school as a fund-raiser.
For those who have purchased a Bashas' Community Support Card, don't forget you can "reload" them with any amount and the school will get additional funds.
Recall election ballots in mail
Ballots for the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District recall election are beginning to arrive in the mail.
Remember, there will be no polling place on Election Day -- this is a "vote by mail" election.
Ballots must be received by the Gila County Recorder's office or at the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library, no later than 7:00 p.m. March 11.
The water issue in our community has been argued and debated almost non-stop, now is the time to voice your opinion.
~Kay Foster is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. Contact her with items for this column at (928) 476-2788 or e-mail fosterkay@msn. com.