Stories for June 2008


Monday, June 30

Former charter school principal pleads guilty to one drug possession charge

Former Star Valley Charter School administrator Russell Koch was offered and accepted a plea to a single count of possession of dangerous drugs, a Class 4 felony.

Good coaches provide right atmosphere

There are not many financial rewards in high school coaching.

Rim Country racers take top prize at motocross

Staging a motocross racing series in the Payson Event Center, where horses normally reign supreme, was a Herculean task.

Longhorns perform well in passing league play

Summer passing league action, often one of the keys to a successful fall season, has wrapped up for the Longhorn football team.

Solid hitting, pitching helps Payson all-stars win

Solid hitting and commendable pitching from three hurlers lifted the Payson 9-10-year-old Little League all-star team to a 14-6 win over Flagstaff Mt. Elden.

Plumbing, cooling business ready to serve

When customers call Santa Fe Plumbing and Aire Serve, they are surprised when they learn a technician will be able to see them the same day or the next. That is the primary thing that makes the business different than others, said owner Sammy Cruz.

Rim Country trails offer many opportunities to view wildlife

Almost everyone who lives in the Rim Country has a favorite hiking trail where wildlife is abundant and easily spotted.

Sunday, June 29

Hope for animals who endure cruelty


It was just another afternoon at Payson Humane Society. Lots of work to do. Lots of hungry mouths to feed. Lots of laundry. Lots of bacteria, parasites and germs to kill.

Friday, June 27

Star Valley man arrested for drowning seven puppies

Animal abuse is a common problem and it is rare to have an arrest made in such incidents, however, a Star Valley man was taken into custody for drowning puppies earlier this month, according to the Payson Humane Society.

Fires destroy two homes

Payson firefighter injured

Two separate house fires, one in Chaparral Pines and another in Young, caused major damage early this week

Family escapes unharmed from Young house fire

A log home in Young burned to the ground Monday morning. The cause is still under investigation, according to Pleasant Valley Fire Department.

Ham radio operators will show-off in Rim Country this weekend

Thousands of ham radio operators will be showing off their emergency capabilities this weekend.

Hope for animals who endure cruelty

District school budget will sustain, not increase

While state legislators passed their budget Thursday as the June 30 deadline closed in, officials in the Payson Unified School District still had a responsibility to set their budget.

Outwitting the good old boys

Single mother turned developer coaxes Chilson Ranch project through the maze

As a girl, she snuck off to get her pilot's license. As a young woman, she became the family breadwinner. As a diamond broker, she roamed the streets of New York with a couple million dollars worth of jewels in her case.

Off-highway bill awaits governor's signature

New law would impose user fee on quads

A controversial new law that would hit people who own off-road vehicles with a $25 fee has generated debate for three years, but now appears to be gaining acceptance in the Rim Country.

Special July 4th activities planned for Rim Country

Fourth of July festivities fill the day and spill into the evening around the Rim next Friday. Some of the fun continues through the weekend.

Around Rim Country/Community Almanac

Children's program to salute veterans

Discovery of feral cats leads to writings

George Hansen was a tax man.

Heat's on, but it's cool in high mountain lakes

The heat is on, which means temperatures are soaring to 110 degrees in the Valley of the Sun, and this will create the mass migration on the Beeline through Payson on the weekend.

Rim Country man joins wildlife hall of fame

The Rim Country man who and has long been at the forefront of state conservation efforts, including laying the foundation for the Mogollon Sporting Association, is being honored for his dedication, commitment and years of service.

Diamondback camp has plenty of room

Jeff Swanson, Arizona Diamond-backs business manager for Baseball Outreach and Develop-ment, is concerned about the future of the youth training camp scheduled to be in Payson July 7 to 11.

PHS junior tries for champion bareback title

Trevor Haught will take part in National High School Finals Rodeo

Trevor Haught is primed and ready to make a second run at winning a national high school bareback riding championship.

Eva Prychodnik

Eva Prychodnik, 82, died June 25, 2008.

Host families being sought for exchange students

International high school exchange students are coming to study in the Payson area during the 2008-09 school year.

Gila college will lease modular for Globe program

Gila County Community College board members unanimously agreed Tuesday to lease a modular unit for the Globe campus' new cosmetology program.

Center: Drilling for disaster

Payson medical center, police, fire departments use

It is a quiet morning at Payson Regional Medical Center. There are more than a few open parking spots. The overcast from earlier has left the pavement and concrete cool. Nothing is out of place. There is no hint of impending disaster.

Saying never is sometimes like waving a flag in front of a bull

We were 63 re-enlistees sent to an Air Force base in upstate New York for two weeks of "re-enlistee basic" because we had stayed in civilian life for more than two years before re-upping.

Coconino Forest places campfire restrictions in place

Campfire and smoking restrictions across the entire Coconino National Forest will be implemented starting Tuesday, July 1 at 8 a.m.

‘Who are we?' asks Mayor Evans

Evans challenges town policies on growth, promotion and identity as a 'western' town

Less cowboy -- more Indian. Fewer regulations -- more development. Less luxury -- more apartments. Mayor Kenny Evans on Thursday challenged two years worth of town priorities, in a low-key speech full of controversial ideas before about 30 community and business leaders at a luncheon sponsored jointly by the Rim County Chamber of Commerce and the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation.

Follow a withdrawal strategy that won't leave you empty

When you're working, you probably focus on how much you're putting in to your investment portfolio. But when you retire, you may be more interested in how much you take out. And that's why you have to prepare the proper withdrawal strategies.

Thursday, June 26

Melissa Mora Mendoza

Tonto Village III roads got a facelift

Tonto Village III got a facelift this past week. The Gila County road maintenance crew chip sealed all the streets in TV III.

Take pride names volunteers of the year

Take Pride Project 2007 volunteers of the year honors have gone to Bill Armbruster and Dave Prechtel.

Summer roses

June is for brides and roses, and maybe not in that order. Perhaps it is because of the sudden profusion of flora that explodes onto trellises, fences, archways and garden beds, that brides have traditionally chosen this month over all others for their special day.

Ladies hold annual retreat at Creek Bible Fellowship

Creek Bible Fellowship had their ladies annual retreat, Saturday, June 21.

Dailet Marquez

Tuesday, June 24

Volunteering makes woman feel young

Lois Brice was going to be a missionary. Instead, she became a wife, a mother, a seamstress, a social worker, a teacher and now, a hospice volunteer.

Make your home senior-friendly

As people grow older, getting around the house is no longer a given.

Education and the older student

By the year 2030, it is estimated that 20 percent of the population will be 65 or older, with time on their hands and potentially new interests to be satiated.

Pet adoption program for seniors

At Payson Humane Society, we're passionate about pets -- ours, yours and those in need of loving homes. We are also passionate about our senior citizens.

‘Rules of the road' for investors

If you have money in the market, you may sometime wonder what on earth is going on in the financial world.

Travel ideas for seniors

As we get older and wiser, most of us want vacations that are a little easier than we desired in the past. We want to experience new surroundings, as well as sometimes revisit the old.

Welcome to the 2008 Senior Review

Each year, the Payson Roundup brings the residents of the Rim Country this special publication highlighting senior living.

Fire claims home, firefighter injured

A Chaparral Pines home in the 2700 block of East Morning Glory Circle was lost to a fire Tuesday afternoon. When fire personnel from both the Payson and Hells Gate departments arrived at the scene the multi-story log framed home was fully engulfed in fire.

Dog people, cat people -- Humane Society needs everyone

There are dog people and there are cat people. George White, a Payson Humane Society volunteer, is a dog person.

Growing knowledge with gardening

Roses can grow just about anywhere, but in Marge Sullivan's Payson garden, the heat has prematurely zapped their sprightliness.

Payson Senior Citizens Center activities abound

The Payson Senior Citizens Center offers something for everyone.

10 life-planning tips for retiring Boomers; plus cost cuts

A lot of the more than 76 million Baby Boomers headed toward retirement are losing sleep at night, not because they're worried about having enough money to retire. They're wondering what they want to do with the rest of their lives, according to Joan Carter, cofounder of Life Options Institute, an organization devoted to helping people plan for life after age 50

Long life starts with a healthy lifestyle

As the aging process progresses, most men begin making health a priority.

Senior Circle centers on health, education and adds some fun

The Payson Regional Chapter of the Senior Circle has been serving residents of the Rim Country for nine years.

Why retire in Rim Country?

A large portion of the Rim Country's population is retirees.

Monday, June 23

Trail blazing

Blazing the Monument Trail on a Saturday morning is Dusty Miller.

Youth football league board to set draft day, start day

The foundation of the Payson gridiron program for next fall's Central Arizona Youth Football Association play was laid during a late-afternoon meeting Monday, June 23.

Morris memorial golf tourney helps PHS football team

The big winners in the Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament were the Payson High School football program and a PHS graduate who next fall will be awarded a scholarship.

Norma Smith Hinds

Norma Smith Hinds, a former Payson resident, died June 16, 2008 in Lewiston, Maine. She was born Nov. 4, 1928 in Madrid, Maine to Roxa Philbrick Smith and Glidden Douglass Smith.

Robert "Bob" Dale Carroll

Robert "Bob" Dale Carroll of Heber died June 20, 2008 in Phoenix.

Robert (Bob) Loyal Buchanan

Robert (Bob) Loyal Buchanan, of Payson, died June 17, 2008. He was born July 10, 1934 in Apollo, Pa.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held June 18 by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce to welcome the new business, Best Travel by Reed, to the chamber membership.

Elsie Sophie Henriette Aronson

Elsie Sophie Henriette Aronson, 89, of Payson, died June 18, 2008. She was born April 12, 1919 on a farm in Willow Township, Iowa to Fred and Marie (Topf) Kiepe.

Sebastien James Joseph Chasse

Sebastien James Joseph Chasse, formerly of Payson, affectionately known as "Booter," 20, drowned June 11, 2008 in Gunlock Reservoir while on vacation in Utah.

New cleaning service welcomed

The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to welcome a new business to the community, Mountain's Best Cleaning Service.

Sporting group has grant money available for Rim Country uses

A scenario is unfolding in the ranks of the Mogollon Sporting Association that members have never before faced.

All-star game was first class all the way

The Arizona Football Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game might have finally found a permanent home.

Sylvia Bernadette Lloyd

Sylvia Bernadette Lloyd, 70, died June 19, 2008. She was born Aug. 21, 1937 in Green County, Iowa to Bernadette and Roger McElrea.

Coummunity Almanac

Payson Pink Lady Bugs will host a fund-raising Cowboy Dinner from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 28 at the Moose Lodge in Star Valley. Proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure.

Free computer classes for small-business owners

Gila Community College's Small Business Development Center will be hosting computer workshops for small-business owners and managers July 12 and sometime in August. The workshops offered include:

Emergency decontamination drill planned

Payson Regional Medical Center, in partnership with Payson Police and Fire Departments will be conducting an "Emergency Decontamina-tion Drill" between 10 a.m. and noon, Wednesday June 25.

School construction on schedule

With the cost of petroleum rising, Payson Unified School District board members and a construction manager discussed the best way to heat the Rim Country Middle School as its remodel progresses during a board meeting last week.

Painting with a passion

Some people dabble in art as a hobby. Others paint with the hope of selling their work. For Mario Belvedere, his art is his passion. He learned other things to survive.

STAC to traffic: calm down a bit

Committee adopts moderate measures to slow Phoenix St. traffic

About 10 measures to slow down traffic on Phoenix Street and Mud Springs ought to be enough to keep residents safe and satisfied, the Surface Transportation Advisory Committee concluded on Wednesday.

Bike journey raises money for housing center

The journey started in La Jolla, Calif., and will stretch to Georgia. The cast of eight is aged from 18 to 61, and will bike the 3,300 miles in 53 days.

Safe driving class slated

Another AARP Driving Safety Program will be held the first Saturday in July.

Say ‘no' to drugs, ‘yes' to laser bowling party June 27

In conjunction to the "Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Bowling" program, Rim Country Lanes will be hosting a free Laser Bowl party, for students in the Rim Country.

Airport authority hits turbulence

Plane owner's complaint of "unjust" treatment prompts Payson Council to focus on airport

A dispute between the Payson Airport Authority and the owner of a parked glider triggered a stern warning from the feds and an executive session focused on improving communications between the town and the airport.

Relay for Life was huge success

I would like to take this tie to say thank you to all the people who made these years Payson Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society such a huge success.

What it will take for McCain to win

If Senator McCain expects to get elected he must change his attitude on energy 180 degrees or he's going to lose. He now has an excellent opportunity to make himself electable. Recent polls show that 47 percent or more of Americans favor drilling in ANWAR, off shore and many other areas and to promote recovery of oil and gas from the western states shale and sandstone deposits.

Thanks for hosting exchange students

I would like to personally thank Michael Buskirk, Daria Mason and sons Kit and John, Don, Juline, Shauna and Katelyn Curtis and Rob and Jo Sanders who have hosted exchange students, this year through EF Foundation for Foreign Study.

Town's plan better than the YMCA

Here we go again!!

New Tribal Chairman faces daunting challenges with a smooth mind

Jeri DeCola, has a wonderful comeback story.

Choral theater group offers concert June 28

The Payson Children's Choral Theater Group is presenting "The Red, White and Blue," a patriotic musical, at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 28 and at 6 p.m., Sunday, June 29 at Ponderosa Baptist Church, 1800 N. Beeline Highway.

Forest Service honors Gila County sheriff's deputy

Gila County Sheriff's Deputy Leonard "Ski" Kerszykowski was awarded Thursday with a certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Forest Service's Law Enforcement and Investigations division.

Spending on education must increase says educator

America must spend more money on education or the nation will find itself ousted from its cozy seat as a world power, a new group warns.

Cosmetology program at college may be ready in a year

Two percent tax increase approved by Gila Community College board for 2008-09

Friction among Gila County Community College board members regarding the Globe campus' cosmetology program resulted in what the Payson campus' dean called the most contentious meeting since her arrival.

Refurbished bikes go to a good cause

Gila County Sheriff John Armer turns over 75 bikes to Department of Corrections Deputy Warden Ron Lee. The bikes are from the sheriff's evidence storage, either found or confiscated as stolen and never claimed.

Main Street vision

Consultant proposes design for key road based on pedestrian-friendly clusters

Payson should seek grant money and potential developers to start the transformation of Main Street by nurturing a cluster of shops, stores and perhaps restaurants right where McLane makes an offset jog where it intersects the street, a consultant told the Payson Council at its last meeting.

Cooling off

It was 115 degrees in the Valley and around 95-98 in the Rim Country, but at Knoll Lake on the Mogollon Rim it was a cool, comfortable afternoon for fishing or just floating around the lake Sunday afternoon.

SV explores continuing police contract

The Star Valley Council has asked town staff to look into a two-year extension of its contract with Payson to provide police protection -- but its neighbor has to first decide whether the town is losing its shirt on the present arrangement.

Stage home to appeal to buyers

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is a profound statement that applies to the sale of your home. What we may see in our homes as the ultimate in décor and arrangement may be the antithesis of what the prospective homebuyer wants.

Wood bat softball league ends

The CPR efforts Patrick Walker and Joseph Harris desperately applied to the dying wood bat softball league were to no avail.

Thursday, June 19

Woman reclaims tribe chair

First elected in 1986, Jeri DeCola wins 2008 Tonto tribal election

The subdued recent Tonto Apache Tribal Council election -- no campaign signs, little fanfare, and no bitter words spat back and forth -- is like a tidy comforter thrown over an unmade bed. Underneath the seeming docility lie the makings of history. First, only four members were elected, though five seats sat vacant.

Star Valley: How much is down there?

Consultants will estimate underground water storage and use in the face of drought's effect on well levels

Star Valley this week approved a $52,500 study of its underground water, in the wake of a drought that sent well levels plunging and raised questions about how much water lies in the pockets of fractured granite underlying the town.

Star Valley votes 3 percent pay raise for its employees

Town manager gets 16 percent bump for handling tickets, employees get cost of living

The Star Valley council Tuesday approved a 3 percent employee cost of living raise and a 16 percent boost for the town manager.

‘Black Dog Syndrome' unfortunate reality

The dreaded Black Dog Syndrome list. It sounds like something we would make up. But, sadly, it's not. It's reality in the shelter world.

Payson woman sheds 100 pounds and earns statewide recognition

TOPS helps mother of eight shed excess weight -- and then kept it off

Eight pregnancies gave Rose Hill eight wonderful kids, but each pregnancy also left an unwelcome gift -- more weight gain.

Angelina Marie Vega

Cayden Alan Campbell

Wesley Bramble

Scott Beck to appear June 22 at PCSA

One of Sedona's natural wonders -- singer, songwriter and recording artist Scott Beck -- will be the featured guest speaker at the Payson Center for Spiritual Awareness 11 a.m. service Sunday, June 22.

Vacation Bible School had 44 children in attendance

Last week was Vacation Bible School at the Christopher Creek Bible Fellowship Church.

Melodrama will bring in the summer season

Summer officially starts tomorrow, Saturday, June 21, but if the temperature is any indicator, the season is already here.

Foundation benefit was day for old-fashioned fun

All who participated June 14 in the Justice McNeeley Foundation benefit at Rimside Grill enjoyed a day of old-fashioned, small-town camaraderie.

Teens face tough job market

Best jobs locked up before out-of-school students flood limited local labor market

Rim Country teens this summer face tough job prospects, if they're looking for anything better than slinging fast food.

Five questions to ask as you near retirement

Whenever you see people enjoying a comfortable retirement -- traveling, volunteering, pursuing hobbies, taking up a new career -- you can be pretty sure it didn't happen by accident.

Payson has chance to host LL tourney

Little League officials and coaches from around small-town central Arizona will gather tomorrow, June 21, in Winslow to iron out the details of the upcoming area and district tournament.

Spread of invasive mollusk has state officials concerned

There is a growing concern within the fisheries division of the Arizona Game and Fish Department about the spread of an invasive mollusk called a quagga mussel.

Game, fish commission solicits nominations for 2008 wildlife awards

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is soliciting nominations for its 2008 Commission Awards to recognize Arizonans who have contributed significantly to the welfare of the state's wildlife and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Three-club format proves to be challenge for golfers

With only three clubs in their bags, members of the Payson Men's Golf Association were scrambling to keep their scorecards respectable.

Hardwood hopefuls

Basketball camp attracts more than 60 players

The largest group of hardwood hopefuls in the history of the Longhorn youth summer basketball program wrapped up play yesterday, June 19 in Wilson Dome.

Three all-star teams selected

High expectations are in place for hand-picked 12-year-old team

"Let the games begin," could be the rallying cry of the Payson Little League all-stars.

Albert David Pirtle

Albert David Pirtle died June 17, 2008.

Janice Rebecca Ellquist

Janice Rebecca Ellquist died June 10, 2008.

Western writers tour Zane Grey Cabin, museum

Nearly 75 members of the Western Writers of America, Inc. (WWA) visited Payson recently to learn about our local Western heritage by touring the Zane Grey Cabin, the Rim Country Museum and the historic forest ranger station.

Donation helps early education program

When pre-schoolers enter Rim Country Literacy's five-week program, they receive a free book each week as an introduction to the literary world.

Volunteer honors given by Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSAZ) honored its Payson Big Brother and Big Sister volunteers during the annual Big Event held at the Chaparral Pines Golf Club Wednesday, May 7.

Gila college students will exhibit art at arboretum

Some promising student artists from Gila County will be featured in a multi-media exhibit in the Boyce Thompson Arboretum visitor center during July and August.

Company fined $80,000 for water violations on Hwy. 260

Kiewit Western Company will pay $80,000 in civil penalties for water quality violations at construction sites on Highway 260 and Highway 191 in Gila and Greenlee counties.

Four speakers coming to help Rim Country writers get published

The local chapter of Arizona Press Women (APW) is bringing four speakers to Payson on June 28 to help local folks interested in being a writer and/or illustrator of children's books.

Plea negotiations ongoing in school administrator case

Several cases involving Rim Country residents or incidents are at varying stages of the Gila County justice system.

School's override request deserves positive response

Times are tight. Gas prices are high; the cost of food is going up. Health care costs continue to rise.

How do you build a town for people -- not cars?

Flagstaff planner regales Payson officials with how his town dealt with its addiction to the automobile to create real neighborhoods

Payson could reinvent itself as a town where you barely needed a car, enjoy busy and social parks and public facilities and thriving businesses that could rely on neighborhood trade, a Flagstaff town planner last week told an absorbed and attentive roomful of the town's movers and shakers.

Fate of high school pranksters still undetermined

The Gila County Attorney's office has yet to make a determination on the fate of the Payson High School students involved in a year-end prank.

Residents learn plan for pathway

Sherwood Drive residents pan plan to ban parked cars to make way for bike and foot trail

Should Payson prevent people from parking cars in front of their houses to make way for a key link in the town's ambitious trail network?

Kicking up hooves

The Thursday night ropings at the Payson Event Center will continue through September.

Payson locks in $36 million budget limit

Payson adopted a still shifting tentative budget Thursday night, with the decline now set at about 9 percent to $36,093,821.

Officers cleared of all charges in shooting

Two Payson police officers involved in the shooting of a woman in February have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

YMCA deal still in works

Negotiations for gym/pool complex enter the home stretch

The Payson Town Council Thursday night ordered staff to continue final negotiations with the Valley of the Sun YMCA and Mayor Kenny Evans predicted the council will serve up a deal that has been cooking for years sometime in the next month.

Around Rim Country/Community Almanac

Wild horse, burro auction Saturday

Tuesday, June 17

Movie Review: You don't mess with the Zohan

Don't mess with this movie

"You Don't Mess with the Zohan" is closer akin to a "Roadrunner" movie than anything else -- a kind of live action cartoon.

Movie Review: You don't mess with the Zohan

Save the world from this movie

While "You Don't Mess with the Zohan" is a very creative title, "The New Adam Sandler Movie" is probably more descriptive.

Celebrating nature's bounty

When I recently visited Mesa for Mother's Day it was a double treat.

How about a ‘stay-cation'?

Are you finding the gas prices staggering and are you beginning to wonder what else you might do this summer rather than drive to the Midwest to see Aunt Julie and Uncle Bob?

A champion for the ages

Betty McNary started working on a quilt three years ago; doing embroidery that gave her something to do with her hands. At the time, she was in her early 90s and living in Mesa.

Christopher Creek's uranium mine

A lot of people in Payson don't realize it, but in Christopher Creek they sure do.

Great Music Returns to Rim Country with summer concerts

There is something really special about music in the open air, under an open, starry sky.

The Three Rs: Relationships

Young Guy was a complete misfit in his sixth grade class.

Town Council faces hard budget choices

So this optimist fell off the 20th floor.

Monday, June 16

Heat takes its toll at sprint triathlon

A field of 80 weekend warriors showed up Saturday, June 14, at Rumsey Park to test their speed, strength and endurance in one of the most rapidly growing sports in America.

Event raises $8,100 for foundation

The largest crowd in the event's history turned out June 14 in Pine to participate in the 5th annual Justice McNeeley Foundation benefit.

Billie Jeanne Lollar

Billie Lollar died Wednesday, June 4, 2008.

Payson to take part in National Night Out Aug. 5

On Aug. 5, neighborhoods throughout Payson are being invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the "25th Annual National Night Out" (NNO) crime and drug prevention event.

Ready, set, grill! at the Payson Public Library

Now that we've got that last chilly weather cell out of our systems (it happens every year and we still act surprised), it's about time to start having visions of sun tea and lounge chairs on the porch for the next 150 days of atmospheric evening bliss.

Apply for Spirit of Enterprise Awards

Top Arizona businesses help boost our economy and create new jobs in our state.

Frances Lorraine Reed

Frances Lorraine Reed, 80, of Payson, died June 12, 2008.

Elizabeth Ida Elledge

Elizabeth (Betty) Ida Elledge, a former Payson resident, died June 13, 2008.

Son of former Rim Country Middle School teacher drowns in Utah

Former PUSD student Sebastien Chasse, 20, drowned last week while swimming with friends in a reservoir in Washington County, Utah.

Communities tightening up on home water usage

All over Rim Country, the small talk flows down the same predictable path -- "Boy, I hope it rains. We sure could use it."

Careful, Arizona's monsoon season has officially started

The National Weather Service has declared the official start and ending dates for the Arizona monsoon season are June 15 and Sept. 30.

Who pays property taxes?

Property taxes fall into three categories with varying degrees of assessment: residential, vacant land and commercial. For businesses, there is also personal property tax.

Ranger district gets money for more fire breaks

Forest Service allots $179,000 to maintain 1,400-acre buffer around Payson and Pine, Strawberry

The Payson Ranger District has snagged $179,000 to maintain fire buffers surrounding key Rim communities.

Lucas Mark Wheeler

Historic Main Street group may get new life

Payson should revive its historical district committee before it becomes extinct, the Green Valley Redevelopment Area Committee decided on Thursday.

Camping is now OK within the Rodeo-Chediski Fire area

Since June 2002 when the Rodeo-Chediski Fire burned on the White Mountain Apache Reservation and on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, dead, standing trees have been falling over as the trees have decayed.

Class interest sought

Summer - the season for T-shirts.

New team files appeal in murder conviction

Harold Fish was convicted of shooting a man in the forest

A new defense team has filed an appeal of the second degree murder conviction of Harold Fish, a retired Tolleson school teacher who shot a man in the woods near Strawberry.

Women's and men's teams register for softball play

For the upcoming town-sponsored adult softball league, 10 men's teams have registered.

PHS special ed teacher retires

The teacher who laid the foundation for the highly successful Payson High School Special Education program is stepping down.

Living trusts are not just about avoiding probate

The concerns over the high costs and long delays associated with probate are often central to the discussions over why living trusts are far superior to wills as estate planning tools, even for relatively small estates.

Rim Country has new tie to space program

Maj. Tilghman Rittenhouse of the U.S. Air Force, 36, the son of Sara Rittenhouse of Pine, is among the candidates NASA is considering for mission specialist.

Ashlyn Aurora Perez

Adam Foil

Five new teams sign up for sand volleyball league

Just as Patrick Walker pledged, the Payson Parks and Recreation Department Sand Volleyball League has grown to become an overwhelming success.

Ex-mayor seeks state house spot

The Republican precinct committeemen from throughout the five counties of Arizona Legislative District 5 voted to have former Payson Mayor Barbara Brewer run for the state house this weekend.

Propane bills: no wrongdoing

Commission report backs SemStream, but Mayor Evans

SemStream didn't communicate well with its Payson propane customers, but doesn't appear to have done anything wrong in imposing surcharges that doubled and tripled winter heating bills, concluded a staff report for the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Payson's go-it-alone cost is $11-14 million

Phased town pool and gym alternative to YMCA could handle recreation programs

Payson could build a gym that would accommodate town recreation programs and a year-round pool that would support school swim team meets for $11-$14 million, broken into three phases, a consultant told the parks and recreation commission last week.

Rim Country riders showcase skills at Queen Creek rodeo

A band of six young equestrians, who usually can be found each Wednesday evening riding in the Turn and Burn series at Payson Event Center, showcased their skills last week at the Queen Creek Junior Rodeo.

School will put override question on fall ballot

Voters will decide this November whether Payson schools will continue to receive about $1.3 million a year over their base operating budget for the next five years.

The mystery of the wet Senior Center floor

The saga of the Senior Center Dining Room floor has quite a history.

Betty McNary: A champion for the ages

Betty McNary started working on a quilt three years ago; doing embroidery that gave her something to do with her hands. At the time, she was in her early 90s and living in Mesa.

Michael Paul

Friday, June 13

Citizens asked to report unlawful sale of tobacco to minors

Are you ready to make a difference?

Around Rim Country/Community Almanac

Annual Deep Pit Barbecue Saturday

Council avoids layoffs but cuts various projects

$36 million budget has slender reserve, includes 8 percent overall cutback

The Payson council on Thursday only tinkered with a proposed town budget that features an 8 percent reduction in spending and a wafer-thin reserve, but no staff layoffs.

Council OKs Main Street condo project

Long delayed $33-million project will also provide tallest artificial waterfall, help save town lakes

After five years of confusion and delay, the Payson Town Council on Thursday quietly approved plans for a $33-million luxury condo project which will also yield a 100-foot waterfall likely to define the town at the same time it cleans and refreshes the stagnating Green Valley Park lakes.

ADOT defends proposed highway roundabout

Skeptical residents and an irate property owner clash with state traffic engineers at meeting on Airport Road and Highway 87 intersection

The smooth hard sell on a highway roundabout was going just fine Tuesday night, until the charts and graphs of the traffic engineers got swept aside in a tornado of indignation swirling around one unhappy property owner.

Lomie Gray earns standing ovation for 70 years of service

It only took about 70 years. But Lomie Gray Heard, at 102, finally got the standing ovation that quiet service often earns -- but rarely receives.

Payson man convicted of attempted murder

Brett Allen Bell, 43, of Payson, has been found guilty of two counts of attempted first degree murder, four counts of aggravated assault, burglary in the first degree, and two counts of interfering with judicial proceedings.

Eight is not enough

Family also welcomed foreign exchange students

Brady Bunch, eat your heart out. If you thought being the father to six children was plenty, try eight. Dan Hill, owner of Legacy Home Furnishings, is a proud father of eight beautiful children, ranging in age from the 2 to 21.

Man dies in June 1 motorcycle accident north of Strawberry

Richard Fouts, 62, of Fountain Hills died in a motorcycle accident June 1, on Highway 87, north of Strawberry.

New police lieutenant a veteran with department

The newly promoted lieutenant in the Payson Police Department is pretty much homegrown.

When it's intuition versus logic, intuition wins

I'm a scientist, trained to think logically, to stick to the facts, and to avoid such things as intuition and superstition.

CD launch party takes place at casino

Amy Scruggs returns to the Rim Country this weekend to celebrate the launch party of her first CD in the events hall at Mazatzal Hotel & Casino from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday, June 13.

Bench at park dedicated to man who championed dogs

Visitors to the Off-Leash Dog Park at Rumsey Park have a bright new bench on which to sit and enjoy the antics of their four-legged friends and the beautiful views.

Emelia Berentz

Emelia (Millie) Berentz, 93, died June 10, 2008.

Council finds vital piece of the puzzle

Assembling a great community is like asking a relay team put together some monster jig saw puzzle.

Thursday, June 12

Free fishing day at Cragin Reservoir

Saturday's event will be part of ‘National Get Outdoors Day'

C.C. Cragin Reservoir, formerly Blue Ridge Reservoir, will be one of the Arizona waterways that will host a Free Fishing Day on Saturday.

Payson man earns mixed-martial arts black belt

Look up perseverance in the dictionary and you might see a picture of Wyatt Shepherd.

Want a new puppy? Special adoption rates offered

We have a plethora of puppies! Big puppies, little puppies, brown, black, red and spotted puppies.

Nail-biting moments in softball showdowns

A pair of town parks and recreation department coed softball tournaments, which were played at the end of the regular season, turned into exciting, nail-biting showdowns.

Fire restrictions in place, danger is extreme

Don't forget fire restrictions. Fire danger is at extreme.

Diverse group takes part in PATS Peach Orchard Trail hike

Payson Parks and Recreation had another great turnout for the PATS Hike on the Peach Loop portion of the Peach Orchard Trail Saturday, May 31.

PHS coach excited about All-Star game

There's no dampening the enthusiasm Payson High School football coach Josh Anderson has for the upcoming Arizona Football Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game.

Here's how to keep the business all in the family

If you own a small business, you've got a lot to think about: attracting customers, holding down expenses, keeping up with trends and competitors -- the list goes on and on. In short, you do everything possible to make sure your business can support your family.

Longhorns showcasing talents

Aspiring players take part in round robin summer tourneys

Basketball is great stuff say the members of the Payson High School summer league program

Junior Horns Basketball Camp split into two sessions

The popularity of the Junior Horns Basketball Camp has prompted the sponsoring Payson Parks and Recreation Department to split the clinic into two sessions.

Forest visitors need to take out what they bring in

As the summer begins, the northern half of the Tonto National Forest has a tremendous increase in recreational activity.

Tuesday, June 10

World Naked Gardening Day was May 3

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Great fun to watch with friends

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a really fun movie.

Movie Review: Sex and the city

Evolving relationships at heart of movie

OK, I know this is a chick-flick, a girls' night out theme from the get-go.

The grave of Davy Gowan

Some of graves of Rim Country pioneers are isolated enough that some good, healthy hiking is required to stand at the spot and recall the dramatic life it represents.

Fun festival Squared

Twirlers dazzle with two days of dancing

If the breeze picks up and the earth rolls under your feet a bit this weekend, don't worry.

Patching together a scrapbook

First of all, welcome to my rambling attempt at a personal column.

Tips for flying this summer

Because of Homeland Security restrictions and high fuel costs, flying on your vacation is quite different than it was a few years ago.

Picnic Time

New Book: Hanging on to Rim history before it's lost

At some point, most of us want to, or think we can, write a book

A Sampras' Family Favorite

What do you get when a beautiful Hollywood actress marries one of the greatest athletes in history? Well, it results in a busy household with two active young sons!

Monday, June 9

Bald eagles perched atop controversy

Fish and Wildlife Service gathering information on whether desert population merits continued protection

Slapped down by the courts and beset by environmentalists and the Tonto Apache Tribe, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is once more pondering whether desert bald eagles need the extra protection of the Endangered Species Act -- even though the national bird is thriving elsewhere.

New director of Senior Center sets goals

"We want to be in partnership with the community," said Reed Cox, director of the Payson Senior Center since July 2007.

YMCA plan revived

Payson ponders new, slimmed down plan to use park land, town pool as foundation of a recreation center

Should Payson accommodate growing demand for recreation programs by partnering with the YMCA and saving its cash, going it alone, or just scrap the whole wonderful -- and costly -- idea?

Around Rim Country/Community Almanac

Books for Dad 2-for-1 at LFOP Bookstore

Rim Country chamber schedules two meetings for June 26

The June "Business Buzz" meeting will be at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 26 in the Central Arizona Board of Realtors meeting room, 600 E. Highway 260.

Edward Jones opens office in Pine

The financial services firm Edward Jones will open another Rim Country office. This office will serve the Pine/Strawberry area.

Lady Horns make all-east team

Lady Longhorn softball players were noticeably absent when the Class 1A-3A Arizona North vs. South All-Star game was contested June 7 at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher.

Disclosure -- a seller's and buyer's obligation

Sellers of property are obligated by law to disclose all known material (important) facts about the property to the buyer.

Golfers hold their own in Prescott low net play

To travel or not to travel was the dilemma members of the Payson Men's Golf Association faced on June 4.

AIA rules much broken by high school teams

It's no deep, dark secret in high school sports that the Arizona Interscholastic Association's domicile-residence rules are often broken.

700 walkers help Relay of Life raises $50,000 to fight cancer

More than $50,000 will go to the fight against cancer thanks to the hundreds of people supporting the 2008 Relay for Life.

GCC Small Business Development Center hosts computer workshops

Gila Community College's Small Business Development Center is hosting computer workshops for small business owners and managers July 12 and sometime in August. The workshops offered follow:

Writing, illustrating books for children seminar set

A seminar geared to help writers and artists of all ages boost creativity and discover new publishing opportunities in the children's book field is set for June 28 at Gila Community College, 201 N. Mud Springs Road.

Archery and rifle target shooting leagues for all ages

Do you enjoy friendly competition? Do you want to improve your target shooting?

Wall draws about 30,000, motels, restaurants fill up

Visitors to the Vietnam Tribute Wall exceeded even the optimistic hopes of the organizers, with estimates of the three-day crowd in Green Valley Park ranging from a low of 26,000 to a high of 40,000.

Tough budget faces council

Revised spending plan features smaller cut, but wide-spread pain

The tentative Payson budget that will confront the council on Thursday has eased the cutback pain for police and fire, but clobbered parks and recreation programs, human resources and spending on capital improvements.

Memories and tears flow at Tribute Wall

With the Tribute Wall standing in silent testimony to those Americans who died in the Vietnam War, more than 3,000 turned out June 7 at Green Valley Park to honor the fallen heroes.

Law enforcement academy offered this fall

Gila Community College, in partnership with county-wide law enforcement agencies, will be offering a law enforcement academy this fall.

Citizen leadership academy applications sought

The Town of Payson, along with APS as a co-sponsor, is offering residents the opportunity to apply for a position in the Payson Citizen's Leadership Academy.

Bank announces promotion

First State Bank has announced the promotion of Amy Hill to vice president, commercial lender. Hill will have the primary responsibility of business development and retention as well as branch management.

Off-season quest takes Horns to ASU

Payson team members compete in Big Man challenges and

The off season quest to build a state championship caliber football team at Payson High continued June 4 on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.

Memorial roping event to benefit cancer society

The 4th Annual Ted Meredith Memorial Roping will benefit the American Cancer Society this year in memory of Marsha Marcanti.

Soldiers bring love and guilt to The Wall

It's the stories people brought with them that made The Wall so gripping.

Lost Mesa man found safe, miles from destination

Stephen Smith, who became lost on his way to Camp Geronimo last week, has been found safe.

Rim Country loses friend in legislature

Sen. Jake Flake, who has represented Payson and the Rim Country in the Arizona legislature for years, died at his home near Taylor on Sunday.

Friday, June 6

Smart moves can help women achieve goals

All of us face challenges in our efforts to achieve our long-term goals, such as a comfortable retirement.

Cadyn John Sanchez

Madison Lynn Plante

Dylan Amaya

Hot meals for seniors

Senior Center will provide 33,800 meals this year

The Meals on Wheels program, provided by the Payson Senior Center, has expanded this year from serving 115 to 120 meals to homebound seniors to serving 133 to 140 a day, five days a week.

Evacuation plan needed for your pets in case of fire

Well, the weather is warming up and the wind has blown mercilessly with almost no rain. This means fire season is here.

Big game applications for deer, sheep, turkey are due June 10

It's that time of year again when big game applications are due for deer, sheep and turkey for the state of Arizona.

Trio of riders earn first-place finishes in Globe gymkhana series

A trio of young and talented equestrians have ridden their way to first-place finishes in the Horne Motor Company Gymkhana Series held over the course of the past six months in Globe.

‘Black Attack' wins divisional championship

Club Rim volleyball coach Peggy Miles glowingly calls her hard-charging team the "Black Attack."

Possible Suns coach has ties to Holbrook

As a football and basketball coach at Show Low and Payson High Schools in the 1980s, many of our games in both sports were against the Holbrook Roadrunners.

It starts in the summer

Basketball team members spending time with weights, skill camps, in tournaments

Payson's road to a third successive berth in the 3A boys state championship game winds through a summer program of weight training, open gym, skills camps and tournaments.

Wilson dominates at Big Man Challenge

Longhorns take part in NAU football camp

It's completely understandable why Payson High School senior Matt Wilson dominated "the height and weight" competition at the Northern Arizona University football camp Big Man Challenge.

Corn for fuel

Douglas Leroy Koppen

Douglas Leroy Koppen, 67, died May 23, 2008.

Donald Burlison

Donald Burlison, of Payson, died May 31, 2008

Food Care program changes -- cost is now $20 to $35 for a food box

The Food Care program, which helps stretch food dollars is changing.

Jazz trio will perform Sunday at Presbyterian Church

The Payson Friends of Jazz and the Community Presbyterian Church present the Jacob Koller Trio in concert Sunday, June 8.

Grief support group marks year of service

When a child dies, parents mourn and begin the long process of bereavement.

The Meth Messenger

Your brain on meth

Meth is known by many street names: speed, crystal, crank, tweak, go-fast, ice, uppers and black beauties, just to name a few. No matter what it's called, "Meth is Death" on your brain cells, and in fact, your entire body.

Tattoo shop fight sends three to hospital

Three people involved in a fight at a Star Valley tattoo shop ended up in the hospital.

Cancer survivor says get tested

John Robert Holiday - known far and wide in the Rim Country as Doc Holiday - is a cancer survivor. He is celebrating that survival by walking in his third Payson Relay for Life.

Economist urges policy makers to play to Rim's strengths -- tourism, second homes, retail

A noted economist's summary of a bleak economy added up to this: How long can you hold your breath?

Happy town: New Star Valley councilors enjoy short meeting and a balanced town budget

Star Valley swore in three new council members and reseated one mayor Tuesday, at a now typically brief, harmonious meeting dominated by good news on the budget.

Event Center convention hotel plan in limbo

Stalled hotel lease and land purchase dominate meeting agenda

The Payson Council on Thursday declined to officially give a hotel developer more time to develop a once-eagerly courted convention hotel next to the rodeo grounds.

County races limited to five offices

Dan Haapala to challenge Tommie Martin in District 1

Gila County has 10 offices up for election this year, but only five will be contested.

Tom Weeks named to Pine-Strawberry water board

Tom Weeks, a 30-year resident of the Rim Country and one of the area's most respected businessmen, has been chosen to serve on the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District board.

Combat's Painful Lessons

Wall memorial keynote speaker recalls his friends, his wounds

As the chopper swooped in for a landing under fire, Pfc. Rick Romley braced himself to jump out that door, hit the disconcertingly green ground and run for cover.

Tribute Wall roars into town

Throng cheers arrival of Vietnam Tribute Wall and veterans seek solace with the touch of a name

The Vietnam Tribute Wall came roaring into Payson Thursday morning with an honor guard of Vietnam veterans on hogs and Harleys and perhaps 1,000 cheering, flag-waving residents.

Search is on for missing Mesa man

The Gila County Sheriff's Office, assisted by search and rescue personnel and the Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter are searching the Rim Country for a missing Mesa man.

Jim Oliver named fire district administrator

More than 380 residents of the Christopher/Kohl's Fire District are extremely happy after the Tuesday, June 3 county supervisors' meeting.

The view from beneath the dome

It occurred to me the other day -- the older you get the more often odd things come popping into your head -- that it's a good thing that the term for a wise old man is "graybeard."

Village is back to normal

Now that the Memorial holiday weekend is over, the Village can get back to normal.

Stark serenity in Pine

Jim and Rosemary Stark have christened their Pine property Serenity Pines.

Welcome home, at last

The road crew that hauls the Vietnam Memorial Wall from town to town, has seen it all.

Around Rim Country/Community Almanac

Strawberry Festival, quilt show June 6-8

Tuesday, June 3

Summer activities for all ages abound

The words "There's nothing to do" should not be uttered by a single soul in the Rim Country this summer.

Weather history in the Rim Country

The recent dramatic change in weather got me wondering: just how unusual was the weather that we saw on May 22 and May 23? The answer may surprise you.

Movie Review: Forbidden Kingdom

If you like to dream, have elaborate fantasies and like martial arts, then you will enjoy "The Forbidden Kingdom."

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indy's back and the question is: How does this film measure up to the three that came before it?

Stress ain't what it used to be

Everybody knows life keeps getting harder, but how much harder?

Main Street celebrates the return of summer

First Friday Art and Antiques Walk June 6

The summer solstice is June 21, but the season begins June 6 in Payson with the First Friday on Main Street Art and Antiques Walk.

A midsummer's daydream

Purring along at 65 miles-an-hour, my old pick-up seems to sigh with increasing relief as we climb out of the Valley's cauldron toward cooler air at 5,000 feet.

Trips among top prizes at Sunshine Kids benefit

Prudential Arizona Properties is planning its fifth annual Sunshine Kids Fund-raiser Dance and Silent Auction on June 14 at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino in Payson.

Center has new events scheduled during June

June -- the enchanting month. Early sunshine and pleasant temperatures just made for morning walks. Long, languid golden days stretching into evening, not yet touched by the drama of the monsoon. And what could be more pleasant than a picnic lunch on the shore of one of our fabulous Rim lakes?

Around Rim Country/Community Almanac

Order Krispy Kreme doughnuts by June 5

Su Connell named Payson vice mayor

New council changes term to 6 months and shifts power of appointment from mayor to vice mayor

The new town council has signaled an immediate change in direction, with a major change in the role of the vice mayor.

Payson to YMCA: Go back to square one

Thursday study session will give new council a chance to start all over on partnership with YMCA for year-round pool, gym complex

Payson's plan to team up with the YMCA to build a gym and pool complex will stumble back to square one in the course of a council work study session Thursday at 3 p.m. at Town Hall.

Main Street celebrates First Friday on June 6

With summer arriving, you won't want to miss this month's First Friday on Main Street Art & Antiques Walk.

Hiker falls 100 feet, found by volunteers

Coconino Search and Rescue locates man at Woods Canyon

Although the Coconino County seat of Flagstaff is more than 130 miles from Woods Canyon Lake, it was that county's search and rescue unit that responded to a call for help from near the high country lake.

Event Center on iffy grounds

Plea for more time, possibility of second hotel on council agenda

With that new-council smell still fresh, Payson on Thursday may reconsider one of the landmark accomplishments of the Bob Edwards era.

Changing of the guard

It is hard to miss that Payson has a new mayor and council and with that comes many changes, not only in the way town government will function, but also in the philosophy of how it will do business.

Memorial wall arrives Thursday

The replica of the Vietnam Wall will enter Payson on Thursday at 9 a.m. with an escort of an estimated 1,000 motorcycles, many of them Vietnam vets.

Customer has special booth at the Beeline

Bill Johnston has watched Payson grow out the front window of the Beeline Café every day for 32 years

The mounted, black and white pictures on the walls of the Beeline Café showing scenes of handsome young men roping and riding seem taken from a earlier, simpler era decades ago -- when Payson was an itty bitty mountain -- a long way from everywhere.

Happy graduates

Heather Barnett, left, Amanda Breen, center, and Brittany Stanley throw their mortar boards in the air at the conclusion of the Payson Center for Success graduation ceremony.

Rim gardens open to visitors

Six gardens open to visitors this weekend courtesy of the Rim Area Gardeners.

Star Valley to sit new council Tuesday

Star Valley will swear in three new council members tonight, then adopt a $5.5-million budget swollen with revenue from highway traffic tickets.

Construction safety training

Calvin Wright is offering a free 10-hour construction safety class to those in the construction industry. The class will be June 14 and June 21 for five hours each day.

Buy, sell, or hold?

Is this the time to buy, sell, or hold on to your property? Is the glass half full or half empty?

Track and field tradition embedded in Payson family

A stirring reminder of yesteryear and just how good former Lady Longhorn track and field stars Stephanie Robertson and Nicole Engstrom once were lies within the pages of the Arizona Prep Heptathlon All-Time Records book.

Softball tourney floods fields, stores

Two-day Triple Crown softball tourney brings more than 1,000

There was a reason for those long waiting lines at Rim Country grocery stores, filling stations and cafes this weekend.

Kermeth (Shane) Owens

Kermeth (Shane) Owens died May 25, 2008.

Royce (Rocky) O'Donnell

Royce (Rocky) O'Donnell died May 27, 2008.

Reed Hunt and Mason Ridely win summer's first team sorting contest

Monthly team sorting events will take place at the Event Center

Calling upon their finest working cow-horse skills, the trio of Sally Willis, Reed Hunt and Mason Ridely took first place in the first of monthly team sorting events to be held this summer in the Payson Event Center.

Ladies memorial tourney attracts best ball players

While the Payson Men's Golf Association was going toe-to-toe in a reverse poker formatted showdown, their counterparts in the women's association locked horns in an annual memorial tournament.

Former PHS star to share pitching and hitting lessons

Former Longhorn baseball star Jason Sweet would like to share the diamond knowledge he acquired at Payson High School and Grand Canyon University with aspiring young players.

Monday, June 2

Timothy Scott Stevens

Timothy Scott Stevens, 54, died May 28, 2008 in Payson

Residents now have access to urgent care

StatClinix Urgent Care opened its doors in the Rim Country May 29.

Russell Brandon Weaver

Russell Brandon Weaver, 33, died May 13, 2008