Park Closing Having A Tremendous Impact

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According to Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce Manager John Stanton, the State Parks Board continues to drag its feet regarding the re-opening of Tonto Natural Bridge.

While there have been a couple of steps forward (volunteers have now been allowed back in the park, and the board is at least considering a proposal to open Tonto on the week-ends), the issue remains largely up in the air.

How much of an impact is this having on our communities? Since the closure, the chamber has logged approximately 450 inquiries relating to the bridge from all points of the globe. When you consider those who haven’t bothered to call since reading the news reports, it’s not hard to see that this situation is having a tremendous impact on our towns. Meanwhile, businesses continue to close their doors, and while there may be other circumstances involved beyond the economy, it certainly isn’t helping.

I was really sorry to see Myra’s Gallery is the latest shop to go out of business. Since Myra’s shop featured a variety of art mediums ranging from traditional paintings, wood carvings, jewelry, ironwork, and everything in between — she also provided a perfect outlet for several talented local folks to sell their wares.

Every time one of our local businesses ceases to operate, it has a tremendous impact with large ripple effects on our small communities. The best thing we can do now is continue to keep pressure on the State Parks Board and our elected officials. When our representatives see that we are not letting this issue go, they will be more likely to respond.

Relay for Life team

This year, Pine and Strawberry have their very own Relay for Life team, “The Ponderosa Marketeers.” Relay for Life is a fund-raising activity for the American Cancer Society.

The 2009 event will take place at the Payson High School football field from 6 p.m., Friday, June 5 until 6 a.m., Saturday, June 6.

The Ponderosa Marketeers are looking for team members willing to walk for an hour or so during the event to meet their goal to have a member on the track throughout the entire night.

Anyone in our community — including cancer survivors are encouraged to join. The team is also selling luminaries in memory of those who have lost the battle with cancer and in honor of those who are currently suffering. At dark, on the night of the relay, all of the luminaries will be lit creating a dramatic, memorable tribute for those present.

There will also be entertainment, silent auctions, and fun activities for all ages throughout the night. If you would like more information about joining the Marketeers’ team, purchasing luminaries, or just donating to the cause, please contact Cindy Maack at the Ponderosa Market or call Christy Powers at (928) 476-2239.

There will be a quarterly public meeting for SCAF (Senior Center Affairs Foundation) at 12:30 p.m., Monday, April 13 at the Bruce Thompson Community Center Dining Room in Pine. This is a perfect time to learn more about the program and all that it offers our senior citizens.

In fact, residents and visitors to Pine and Strawberry are welcome to join members of SCAF for lunch and socialization, including a variety of card games at the Bruce Thompson Community Dining Room.

Membership costs only $5 per year and enables you to purchase a nutritious meal for just $4, including a full salad bar.

For those who are only interested in eating from the salad bar the cost is $2.50. If you would like to make a reservation, simply call (928) 476-2151 at least 24 hours in advance. SCAF also provides a “Meals on Wheels.”

Book discussion at library

On April 15 at 10:30 a.m., Jay Martel will lead a book discussion at the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library’s activity room.

The focus of the discussion will be the award-winning book, “Capirotada” by Alberto Alvaro Rios, which depicts his memories of growing up in the border town of Nogales, Ariz. in the 1950s and ’60s. There is no charge to attend and all are welcome.

A class introducing ancestry.com will be held from 12:30 until 4:30 p.m., April 15. There will be an instructor available to show you how to use the library’s computers while learning how to navigate this “do-it-yourself” genealogy site.

If you aren’t able to attend on that date, the same class will be offered again on April 20 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The library is currently seeking financial assistance for its many ongoing youth programs. By giving a tax deductible donation of $25, they will be able to continue to provide outstanding programs to children in our community.

You may drop your donation off at the library or mail it to: Pine Library, P.O. Box 229, Pine, AZ 85544.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact manager Becky Waer at 476-3678.

Community Family Fun Day

The Community Family Fun Day sponsored by Take Pride and Strawberry’s Elite is fast approaching. New details pour in each week.

The event will kick off in the morning with a pet parade. Feel free to dress your pet (dog, cat, goat, pony — real, imaginary, stuffed, large or small) and gather behind the ramada at 9:30 a.m. The parade starts promptly at 10, and the organizers are asking that all pets be restrained (otherwise the parade could turn into a real show!). Also, there will be no motorized vehicles allowed, but you are welcome to bring your bike, tricycle or wagon.

The rest of the day will be filled with reasonably-priced food, fun, and a silent auction for adults, plus a special “Kids Bids” for the younger members of our community. So mark your calendars for Saturday, April 25 and join us here in Pine for this family-friendly event.

Community members are invited to help purchase a piano for the Pine-Strawberry Elementary School music program in honor of Louise Anslow, a treasured member of our community who cherished music education. Take Pride Project is heading up this worthy project and all who donate will be listed on a plaque that will be affixed to the piano.

They are also interested in hearing from anyone who could provide information about a good, used piano.

Please make your checks out to Take Pride-Louise Anslow Memorial and mail to P.O. Box 1204, Pine, AZ 85544. Be sure to include your e-mail address so you can be kept informed about the fund-raising progress.

If you have questions, you may contact Christy Powers at (928) 476-2239, e-mail cpowerspak@gmail.com, or Pat Burke at (928) 476-2099.

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, a day when Christians around the entire world remember the fulfillment of God’s promise to His most precious creation — mankind. While much of our American heritage is being distorted, re-written, and destroyed, it was the hope of a society based on God’s principles that brought the first settlers here and on which our founding fathers launched this amazing “experiment” that has made America great.

While imperfect, man can never fully implement and nurture a perfect society, as individuals, we do have a choice whether we will personally hold to God’s pure standard and try to apply it to our lives. Unfortunately, as we have replaced God’s eternal truths with manmade wisdom, we stand on a slippery slope

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